Welcome back to another edition of NHL rumours from the crew at Last Word on Hockey. Rumours are starting to heat up with the trade deadline less than three weeks away. Today, we will look at NHL rumours from the Vancouver Canucks, Edmonton Oilers and the Florida Panthers.
All NHL rumours come from their original source and are subject to change.
Rumour: Sportsnet Chris Johnston reports that negotiations between the Canucks and Jacob Markstrom are not going well.
— Sportsnet 960 (@Sportsnet960) February 4, 2020
Analysis: Johnston mentions that there was a two-year deal presented to the Markstrom, however, it’s not going to be enough. Markstrom is putting together a fabulous season boasting a 20-14-3 record with a 2.74 goals-against average and a .917 save percentage. It’s his third straight year posting solid personal numbers and it’s helping him earn a nice raise going into next season.
While it’s a good problem to have, it creates a major issue for the Canucks moving forward. With the expansion draft on the horizon, the Canucks will only be able to protect one of their goaltenders. Markstrom or Thatcher Demko. Markstrom is six years older than Demko and they believe Demko is their future starter. However, do they believe he is ready to take over the starting duties as early as next season? If not, it will be hard for them to not lock up Markstrom. The issue here is Markstrom will be looking for a longer-term deal with a no-move clause so that he cannot be exposed to Seattle in the expansion draft. This forces the Canucks’ hand to leave Demko exposed, which will surely end with him being taken by Seattle.
The other issue is the limited amount of cap space the Canucks have, with the contracts of Elias Petterson and Quinn Hughes coming to an end after next season, both players will need big raises. Locking up Markstrom for a long term deal hoarding cap space that they need for other important players may not be the road the Canucks want to go down. Given the issues they face, it may be best to let Markstrom walk and move forward with Demko and Michael DiPietro.
Rumour: TSN’s Ryan Rishaug via his Twitter account mentions that the Oilers main focus is still a third-line centre. He throws out Jean-Gabriel Pageau‘s name, however, he says he is unsure the Oilers are willing to give up their first-round pick.
Still believe the Oilers top priority heading to deadline is a 3LC. Pageau would be a great fit but not sure they’ll move their 1st. Perhaps a more traditional shut down 3LC is more realistic. Win some face offs and play against top Forwards.
— Ryan Rishaug (@TSNRyanRishaug) February 4, 2020
Analysis: The Oilers may not be willing to give up their first, but if they want to make the playoffs and make some serious noise, they will need to do just that. The Oilers are currently being carried by Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl. This can only last for so long and definitely won’t last in the playoffs. The playoffs are all about depth and matchups. Which is why Pageau would be the absolute perfect addition to this group.
Pageau has proven his ability to score as he currently has 20 goals this season. This would sit him in third in Oilers scoring behind the aforementioned McDavid and Draisaitl. Pageau also brings a solid defensive game and is capable of shutting down the opposition’s top players. The addition of a player like Pageau would make the Oilers a legitimate contender this season.
Analysis: Even though the Panthers are sitting in a playoff spot and do not need to move Hoffman as he would be used as their own rental. However, this is legs to this rumour. The Panthers asked Hoffman to submit his 10 team no move list back in December so they are already prepared to talk to the teams who are not on the list.
Hoffman is a prolific goal scorer who has scored over 20 goals every year since he entered the league. Hoffman is currently enjoying a solid season as he has scored 19 goals and 23 assists for 42 points in 52 games.
If the Panthers do move Hoffman, it will certainly be in a hockey deal to address another team need. Dale Tallon mention in a recent Q and A that he would like to acquire a veteran defenceman to play alongside Aaron Ekblad. The possibility is there for them to use Mike Hoffman to address that need.
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