Welcome back to NHL Rumours, brought to you daily by the Last Word on Hockey team. Every NHL Rumours article provides a snapshot of the rumour and then dives into a more detailed analysis of it. 2020 started right yesterday with an invigorating 2020 Winter Classic at the Cotton Bowl Stadium in Dallas, Texas, but there are 29 other NHL teams to focus on too. Today we’ll look at three of them — the New York Rangers, Detroit Red Wings, and Edmonton Oilers.
New York Rangers
Analysis: Andersson, the team’s top draft pick in 2017 (seventh overall), has quickly fallen from grace. He looked good in AHL action last year, posting 20 points in 36 games with the Hartford Wolf Pack, but tallied only six points in 42 games with the big club. This year, he made the team out of camp, but only tallied one assist in 17 games with the Rangers. After a demotion to Hartford, Andersson still struggled, only putting up five points in 13 games. Andersson then walked out on the team, demanded a trade, and the Rangers subsequently suspended him.
It would be one thing if the Rangers’ asking price was just too high, but it appears as though no team is even interested in acquiring Andersson. Andersson certainly has a history of attitude issues, as evidenced by his silver medal incident at the 2018 IIHF World Junior Championships. One certainly has to wonder if this pattern, which is continued by walking out on the Rangers, is blacklisting him from teams around the league.
Andersson certainly has shown flashes of potential, as he put up 19 points in 42 games playing against men in the SHL his draft year. Whether the Rangers can get anything of substance in return for him remains very much up in the air. If they can’t, it’s a wasted top-ten draft choice for the organization. Some names that were drafted after Andersson include Martin Necas, Nick Suzuki, and Robert Thomas. Ouch.
Detroit Red Wings
Rumour: In a piece examining the Red Wings’ goaltending situation beyond this year, The Athletic’s (subscription required) Max Bultman looks at options in net, most namely the Rangers’ Alexander Georgiev.
Analysis: The 23-year-old Georgiev has made quite a name for himself over the past few seasons. The Ruse, Bulgaria native has appeared in 19 games for the Rangers this season. He’s posted a 3.23 goals-against average and .908 save percentage. Those are impressive numbers considering the Rangers’ porous defence this year. He’s certainly stolen some games for them this season. He’s split time between the AHL and NHL the past two seasons since the Rangers signed him out of Finland. Now, he’s established himself as a legitimate backup option in the NHL that could work in a platoon situation.
Georgiev’s name has been linked to a couple of teams this year. The Red Wings are being linked to him for the first time. There’s a bit of a goalie logjam arriving in New York if Henrik Lundqvist sticks around, and Georgiev will become expendable for the right price. If the Red Wings can acquire him without mortgaging their futures too much, Detroit could solidify their goalie position with him and Jonathan Bernier until some of their prospects are ready. It would be a smart move by management to make them competitive as more prospects get NHL ice time.
That’s been the narrative in Edmonton for several seasons now. Multiple failures to acquire talent on the wing and defence have restricted the Oilers in recent years. This is all despite a talented centre core. While the defence has been much better this year via the coaching of Dave Tippett and the arrival of young pieces like Ethan Bear, offensive depth has been an issue. The wing positions are in dire need of help.
Enter Toffoli. The 2014 Stanley Cup Champion has eclipsed the twenty-goal mark three times. He’s on pace to do so again this season. A responsible, consistent player, Toffoli could thrive if given the chance to play alongside McDavid or Draisaitl. No offence to Anze Kopitar, his current linemate, but McDavid would have the potential to boost Toffoli’s numbers. It would also allow Tippett to ice players like James Neal and Zack Kassian lower in the lineup, spreading out their already established talent on the wings. Plug in a younger player with two proven point-getters instead of one, and you’ve got a team that’s much more primed for success. If the Oilers can swing it, Toffoli would be a season-altering acquisition.
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