The NHL Trade Deadline is looming and things are heating up. This has sparked plenty of NHL rumours, adding to the excitement of the mid-season. As long as NHL rumours remain around, Last Word on Hockey will look to keep fans up to date. Today, we will cover rumours surrounding the Vancouver Canucks, Calgary Flames, and Edmonton Oilers.
Analysis: Ferland is on Vancouver’s long-term injury reserve with yet another concussion. The persistent brain damage is reaching a point where many agree that the only-27-year-old forward should, frankly, consider retirement. He’s missed games with either a concussion or “upper-body injury” 10 times, including this most recent IR placement. It’s a terrible thing to see happen to such a young and skilled forward like Ferland. The two-time 40-point-scorer came to Vancouver with high-hopes but has, once again, been hindered by injuries.
While it’s not his fault in the slightest, the track record has made Ferland a fairly poor top-six forward to lean on. He’s only appeared in 14 games this season; far too few to make any sort of impact on a team that so eagerly signed him. Now, with Vancouver the leader of a very tight Pacific Division, their circumstance may be forcing their hand. The Canucks are first in their Division but are only a mere five points away from being out of the playoff race entirely. They’ve done a great job of heating up as of late, winning six of their last 10, but bringing in a goal-scoring talent like Ferland could help them run away with their playoff berth.
Simmonds would be a great addition to this cause. He has had five seasons of 25-or-more goals, with one additional year where he netted 24, throughout his 12-year career. In those 12 years he has only scored under-15 goals twice: his rookie season and his third-year in the league, where he scored nine and 14 respectively.
Point-blank, Simmonds can score. He even netted 17 goals last year. He’s currently on a cheap contract, is on the New Jersey Devils trade block, and has noticeably struggled this season; all traits that could make for a very affordable deal for Vancouver. If Vancouver chooses to make any sort of Trade Deadline-deal, Simmonds may be a perfect fit.
Rumour: The TSN crew also mentioned, during Insider Trading, that the Flames Trade Deadline plans may have changed with the recent injury to Mark Giordano. Now, instead of looking to deal away defenceman T.J. Brodie, the Flames are going to be looking to add depth defence.
Analysis: Brodie has been on the trade block for years, as the Flames have looked to sell high on his strong playmaking abilities. These trade talks have been gaining traction this year, with the TSN crew noting that many teams thought he was going to be accessible come the Deadline. Now, with Giordano out week-to-week with a lower-body injury, the Flames are looking for all of the help they can get.
Giordano could be out through the Deadline, if not longer. This leaves Brodie tied as the highest scoring, active defenceman on the team. It’s been a down year for Brodie, who only has 14 points. This low-scoring total is, unfortunately, the highest among the team’s active defencemen now that Giordano is injured. This leaves a struggling Brodie as an important asset, more than a valuable trade asset. He’ll likely see a boost in ice time with Giordano out with Calgary clearly hoping that this boost in ice can lead to a boost in scoring.
If it doesn’t any time soon, Calgary should make a move. The pool of valuable defencemen available around the league, the Flames should have no problem finding an offensively-minded name to try and fill the shoes left by Giordano’s absence. Calgary is currently in possession of the Western Conference’s second Wild Card spot, with three teams within a one-win grasp of the spot. The Flames have absolutely no room to flounder now and will need to make a decision on what to do with their defence as soon as possible.
Analysis: Tatar is undoubtedly the best player among recent NHL rumours. He currently leads the Canadiens in scoring, with a daunting 20 goals and 51 assists in 56 games. This is 12 points more than any other Canadians player, showing his true value to the team. Still, Montreal is six points out of a playoff spot with no true playoff hopes in sight. This has led them to, at least, consider dealing away their best player in exchange for assets and draft picks for a strong 2020 NHL Draft.
Edmonton could be an almost-unfair home for Tatar. Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl have become one of the greatest duos to take NHL ice. Adding Tatar to that duo would be dangerous and would surely clinch Edmonton a playoff spot, in the tightly-locked Pacific Division. The Oilers also have plenty of assets to deal away in return for a two-year Tatar-rental. Prospects like Raphael Lavoie or even Jesse Puljujarvi could make for great returns, alongside high-end draft picks, for the nearly point-per-game Tatar.
This is yet another tight pre-Deadline decision. Tatar would be an astonishing addition to Edmonton’s already tremendous top-six and would effectively bolster the entire team but the Oilers will need to weigh the daunting return price the Montreal is sure to be asking for.