We’re close to the end of 2019, but we still have plenty of NHL rumours as we get ready for the New Year. Teams are trying to scramble for playoff spots or getting ready to play for the future. The trade deadline is over a month away and the NHL rumours will be heating up. Today’s NHL rumours will focus on the New York Rangers, Toronto Maple Leafs and Chicago Blackhawks.
All rumours are taken from the original source and are subject to change.
New York Rangers
Rumour: During the Headlines segment on Hockey Night in Canada, Elliotte Friedman said that teams are waiting to see if forward Chris Kreider will be made available. Friedman added there are plenty of teams that want the services of the veteran forward.
From Colorado to Boston to St. Louis to Pittsburgh, several contenders are showing interest in the availability of Chris Kreider.
— Sportsnet (@Sportsnet) December 29, 2019
Teams like the Colorado Avalanche, Pittsburgh Penguins, Boston Bruins and St. Louis Blues were listed among the suitors for Kreider. However, one other factor if Kreider wants to stay with the team. Kreider is in the final year of his contract that is worth $4.625 million and has a modified no-trade clause.
Analysis: Clubs are in a holding pattern as general manager Jeff Gorton decides if the can keep the winger. The Rangers have plenty of other contracts like Ryan Strome, Jesper Fast, Anthony DeAngelo, Brendan Lemieux, and Alexandar Georgiev coming up at the end of the season.
However, players like Strome, Fast and Georgiev could be on the move if Brett Cyrgalis of the New York Post is correct. Gorton could get some more picks and assets to add to one of the better prospect pools in the league.
New York has $2.9 in cap space as of now and would love to find some money for some of their future pieces. This could develop into a situation like when Mats Zuccarello was dealt to the Dallas Stars at last season’s deadline.
Any of the teams listed would love to have a winger like Kreider that can add second-line scoring for them. All of those clubs are contenders and want to add more scoring depth to make a run.
Toronto Maple Leafs
Rumour: Friedman also said during the Headlines segment that Leafs would make players like Jeremy Bracco, Dmytro Timashov and Ben Harpur are on the trade block. All three are minor players with the club and only Timashov is on the big club at this time.
All three players are under $1 million each in salary, but that would clear a little bit of space and take possibly three contracts off of their books if general manager Kyle Dubas can do anything.
Analysis: The Leafs have 47 contracts on their books and can carry a maximum of 50. Toronto is also up against the salary cap and are grateful for long-term injured reserve for taking some of the salary pressure off of them.
All three players are under the age of 25 and Bracco and Timashov seem like the more sought-after players. Friedman said that Bracco has drawn the most interest. Terry Koshan of The Toronto Sun said more power to Dubas if he can move any of these three for something tangible.
Rumour: Ben Pope of the Chicago Sun-Times speculated on what the Blackhawks may do with the extra salary cap space they have with all of the injuries they have. Seeing Calvin de Haan and Brent Seabrook on injured reserve has opened up $12.8 million in cap space.
ICYMI, Calvin de Haan and Brent Seabrook are out for the year, and there are a lot of repercussions to break down.
All the details here: https://t.co/o7EMrgxM5p
— Ben Pope (@BenPopeCST) December 27, 2019
That cap hits return for the start of the next season. However, Chicago will have to find some defensive cover to get through the rest of the season. Pope tossed out names like Sami Vatanen of the New Jersey Devils and Mark Borowiecki of the Ottawa Senators as possible names. The Hawks’ beat writer even said that Toronto’s Jake Muzzin would be on the radar. However, that seems to be more of a long shot. Muzzin’s recent injury also complicates things.
Analysis: Blackhawks’ general manager Stan Bowman has some decisions to make on how he wants to play his hand. Does Bowman want to play out the season and try for a shot a higher draft pick? Or does he want to make a run at a rental like Muzzin?
Vatanen and Borowiecki would be cheaper options and wouldn’t incur the picks, prospects and players that Muzzin would. All three defencemen are unrestricted free agents at the end of the season, so they’d likely be rentals.
The Blackahwks salary cap pain returns in the summer. Bowman will have to make some deals to clear out some space. Chicago was so up against the cap that they only played with 17 skaters a few weeks ago. However, there is some relief this season at least.
NEW YORK, NY – OCTOBER 27: New York Rangers Left Wing Chris Kreider (20) reaches out for the puck during an Eastern Conference matchup between the Boston Bruins and the New York Rangers on October 27, 2019, at Madison Square Garden in New York, NY. (Photo by David Hahn/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)