We’re just two weeks away from the trade deadline, and there’s no shortage of NHL Rumours going around. Last Word On Hockey will keep you up to date on every rumour from your favourite NHL Insiders. Settle in because today we’re talking Montreal Canadiens, San Jose Sharks, and Tampa Bay Lightning.
All NHL Rumours are taken from the original source and are subject to change.
Trading deadline is around the corner and I’m told that Tomas Tatar and Jeff Petry are not being shop. Standings will dictate if some UFA players are going to be traded. @CanadiensMTL
— Renaud Lavoie (@renlavoietva) February 9, 2020
Analysis: Montreal is looking like they’ve got a little push left in them. If they can keep this up, the Habs might be able to catch up and secure a wildcard spot for the playoffs. Suddenly, the team that was once expected to be sellers looking to load up on draft picks is looking more like a team that will be sitting on their hands come the deadline.
After all, what sense would it make to trade away veteran players for low-level picks? If the Canadiens are banking on a playoff push, keeping the players on board that they know work in the system is an easy choice. Nate Thompson is on an expiring one-year contract. Marco Scandella hits unrestricted free agency at the end of the season as well.
Ilya Kovalchuk and his cheap cap hit aren’t going to bring the Canadiens any better return than Thompson or Scandella. So again, why bother? If Montreal really does decide to go all-in for a playoff run, it would be worth the possibility of losing any of them to free agency. It really just depends on how serious the front office is willing to take the team’s recent hot streak.
As far as Tatar and Petry go, they’re not going anywhere. The Canadiens have immense depth in the forward department, which was great for them to battle through that rough patch of injuries. Now that the team is starting to come back to life, there isn’t a need to bring anyone in.
Maybe there’s an argument that Montreal could look for a defenceman. Petry gets about 23 minutes of ice time a night, and he owns 35 points this season. If the Canadiens do move someone, it’s not likely to be Petry. They don’t have the same massive depth to their defence, so bringing in a versatile defenceman could help pad their bench.
San Jose Sharks
Was told today that the Sharks and Radim Simek’s camp have been discussing a contract extension for the defenseman. He’s a pending unrestricted free agent. Naturally, it makes sense for them to lock up Simek if they end up dealing Brenden Dillon.
— Kevin Kurz (@KKurzNHL) February 8, 2020
Analysis: Dillon is sure a hot topic lately. The NHL Rumours surrounding him are flying all over the place. With the Sharks an ocean away from a playoff spot, Dillon is trade gold. Moving him would be too easy, and there’s no doubt he’ll bring in a solid return.
Dillon is an important asset to the Sharks. He pairs well with multiple players on the defence, and his contract is a bargain. Losing him would leave a gaping hole in the bench, and that hole might not be worth the savings in cap space.
Independent of what happens with Dillon, signing Simek makes sense for San Jose. The Sharks are a better team with him on the ice. He brings energy to the ice and drives the team’s physicality up. Simek has been battling a nagging knee injury for some time now, and that might be translating onto the score sheet.
In his second NHL season, Simek only has seven points. He’s hot on the tail of his former season-high of nine points. So, is he going to score 30 goals a season? Clearly not. But his ice presence works for the Sharks. And they don’t have many bright spots to look at this year. Just enjoy it, San Jose.
Tampa Bay Lightning
Rumour: Scott Burnside of The Athletic writes that the Lightning could be open to moving some of their young talent to pursue a playoff run. The team could also look at adding to their defence.
Analysis: Does Tampa need to mess with their lineup? Just that question in itself spurs debate among fans and media alike. They’re five points behind the Boston Bruins for first in the Atlantic division, and finally starting to look like the Lightning we saw last year.
This team is deep. They have an impressive pool of replacements if they do head into the playoffs and someone winds up injured. The Lightning gave up some of their young talents last year. It’s not ideal to keep doing so.
Trade away future talent for a player that may make a menial impact on the team in the playoffs? Not a good idea. The team is good, they don’t need to push their stats up by fractions of a point. Even on the blueline, what do they have worth giving up to add even more depth to the defence?
Tampa is finding their groove again. They’ve got the talent. They’ve got the depth. Keep the young guys, don’t make any panic moves at the deadline. Put the phones in a locked drawer and keep the roster that’s working.