The trade deadline is inching closer and there’s a long line of NHL Rumours coming down the pipe. Last Word On Hockey is bringing you the latest gossip across all 200 feet of ice. Start your weekend off right with the NHL Rumours surrounding the Toronto Maple Leafs, St. Louis Blues, and New York Rangers.
All NHL Rumours are taken from the original source and are subject to change.
Toronto Maple Leafs
Rumour: Rory Boylen of Sportsnet.ca wrote about what it would take for the Maple Leafs to be sellers at the deadline.
Analysis: It’s hard to tell if you should consider the Toronto Maple Leafs buyers or sellers. They desperately need defence, they’re dying for a decent backup goalie. But they’re tapped out cap-wise, so how do you bring anyone else in?
Talk about a shaky team. The Leafs have run so hot and cold this season that it’s no surprise that no one knows what to make of them. Sellers? Buyers? Who knows. One thing that’s evident to anyone with a decent hockey I.Q. and half functioning vision is that Toronto needs goal-tending. But they’ve also been looking for a right-handed defenceman for about 57 seasons.
So, what direction do they take? Clearly, the defenceman. The Leafs need someone on the right side so badly, it’s almost laughable. How long do you let an issue go before you address it? Simply going on a minor win streak shouldn’t put the club off that road. Don’t lose focus and go for a backup goalie and shoot yourself in the foot.
Toronto shouldn’t be major sellers at the deadline. They’ll have to do something about their cap crunch situation, but regardless, their needs are more important than whatever surplus they think they have. Focus on the defence. Then, if they can, address the net. Beyond that, well, who even wants to look that far down the barrel? One step at a time, folks.
St. Louis Blues
Analysis: Tarasenko has been sorely missed on the St. Louis Blues bench since he underwent shoulder surgery. Ideally, the team would rather have Tarasenko back and not have to fill the void his injury left. General Manager Doug Armstrong is expecting to know a timetable for his return before the bell tolls on February 24th.
Well, here’s hoping his expectations are met. Sticking with the teams plan to re-evaluate Tarasenko in five months, that would put his comeback close to the postseason. St. Louis could add a top six winger in the mean time, and sit tight until the playoffs.
The salary cap relaxes, the coveted sniper returns to the bench. They’ve still got the benefit of the depth of their newest addition, and Armstrong can leave the regular season knowing his team is primed for another playoff push.
New York Rangers
Rumour: Adam Herman of Blueshirtbanter.com tweeted that the Rangers have multiple players available, but that any selling will be followed by major buying.
Analysis: The New York Rangers have plenty of attractive chips on the trade block. They’re still carrying three goalies, and Alexandar Georgiev is a likely candidate to be moved. Chris Kreider is another hot topic in the rumour mill.
Kreider is considered one of the top rental forwards up for grabs ahead of the deadline. He’ll be an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season, and there’s no reports of a resigning on the horizon. On the flip side, there are reports that the Rangers are asking a pretty penny for him.
Brendan Lemieux and Anthony DeAngelo are also expected to be for sale. They’re not quite as hot of a topic, but could still bring something in for the team. New York is likely focused on moving Georgiev and Kreider due to the return they’d bring. Either player could set the club up to make a major move at the end of the season.