NHL Rumours marches on after an exciting All-Star break. The trade deadline is now less than a month away and the market will likely pick up soon. Continue to check in with Last Word on Hockey for the best analysis as soon as news hits. Today’s NHL rumours feature the Ottawa Senators, Minnesota Wild and Anaheim Ducks.
Analysis: DeMelo is a relatively new name on the market for Ottawa. Most of the talk has swirled around Jean-Gabriel Pageau but it makes sense that the Senators would sell the majority of their upcoming free agents. The 26-year-old DeMelo is one such player and could be a cheap rental both considering his lack of production in 2019-20 and low cap hit. He has a cap hit of just $900,000 and is not likely to get a significant raise this summer.
That is because DeMelo is having a bad season. He has just seven points, all assists, on 49 shots in 38 games. He has never been an especially potent scorer; last year was a career-best four goals and 22 points but this year is very poor in terms of traditional stats. His only obvious value is as a physical presence where he has posted 70 hits and 52 blocks this year.
However, there is much more to his game when looking at advanced stats. His 52.6 Corsi For percentage is best among all Ottawa skaters who have played more than seven games. He has done an exceptional job helping the Sens control the action despite a lack of eye-grabbing offensive stats. Several teams could use an extra defenceman and DeMelo is one such option popping up as January closes.
Rumour: Pierre LeBrun recently speculated about the state of each NHL team and had a very interesting thought regarding Mathew Dumba‘s future in the State of Hockey.
The trade deadline goes one month today on Feb. 24. As such, I worked the phones this week to produce a 31-team, 8,500-word deadline overview. Much will change in the coming weeks, but here's where all the teams stand now:https://t.co/wdBXaxMWtu
— Pierre LeBrun (@PierreVLeBrun) January 24, 2020
Analysis: It is certainly shocking to think that Dumba could be on the move less than two years after signing a new deal. The 25-year-old still has three full years left on his contract after this season with an annual cap hit of $6 million. His age and potential could draw a big return if the Wild want to make a headline trade mid-season.
The reason Dumba could be traded is that GM Bill Guerin does not see him as the key defender in Minnesota’s future. Minnesota locked 30-year-old Jared Spurgeon into a massive contract that runs through 2026-27. It is clear they value the older player’s contributions. Spurgeon is certainly more productive this year but Dumba has tremendous offensive upside. He is just two years removed from a 50-point campaign and would be doing much better this year if he wasn’t shooting an abysmal 2.4 percent on 124 shots.
Trading Dumba makes no sense with the rest of Minnesota’s blue line lacking much in the way of excitement. Spurgeon is good but his contract could age poorly and veteran Ryan Suter is almost 36 with an even worse contract. Sending Dumba away would shift Minnesota into a hard rebuild. They need to do that anyway but by selling pieces that are easier to replace; teams can find an impact forward far more easily than an impact defender.
Rumour: The last of today’s NHL rumours takes us back to the Ottawa Sun and some indication that Anaheim could be an aggressive seller at the deadline.
Analysis: The Ducks have been rumoured sellers for several weeks as the team fell further behind. Most of their contracts are still not obvious trade chips but GM Bob Murray is willing to listen on anybody.
Two of the most obvious players that could be traded are Ryan Miller and Ondrej Kase but don’t count out Jakob Silfverberg as an option. The 29-year-old carries a cap hit of $5.25 million through the 2023-24 season. That is an expensive player but Silfverberg could be worth it. He is a consistent 40-point scorer and is on pace to set a new career-high this year. His per-game scoring is .66 right now which is better than 2016-17’s .62 when Silfverberg scored 49 points.
Silfverberg would add an above-average scoring option to a team’s top-six. His health should also help in trade negotiations as he has never played fewer than 70 games. The ability to stay on the ice night after night is something teams value highly on top of scoring since it means they have fewer worries about who is available. Anaheim is having a terrible season. Selling one of their best goal scorers would help accelerate their current rebuild.