The regular season is almost here and the NHL rumours are going to fire back up again. Teams are making their final cuts, but there will be plenty of moves to be made. General managers will now tinker with their respective rosters to get the right fit for their clubs. Today we cover NHL rumours about the New York Islanders, Dallas Stars and Colorado Avalanche.
All NHL rumours are taken from the original source and are subject to change.
New York Islanders
Rumour: David Pagnotta of The Fourth Period stated that the New York Islanders are looking to deal defenceman Thomas Hickey. Pagnotta stated the general manager Lou Lamoriello has been trying to deal Hickey since last season, but there haven’t been any takers
Islanders have tried to trade Hickey, going back to last season. I guess no deal worth doing led to waivers. He has 3-years left on his deal (including this season) at a $2.5M AAV.
— David Pagnotta (@TheFourthPeriod) September 30, 2019
Analysis: Hickey was one of three players waived by the Islanders on Monday. He joins Tanner Fritz and Joshua Ho-Sang as the team’s final cuts, as they round out their 2019-20 lineup. To many, Hickey’s waiving isn’t much of a surprise. He’s managed a combined 115 points in 449 NHL games, all with the Islanders. Four of these 115 points came last season, a disappointing conclusion to the potential end of his tenure in New York.
Hickey was limited to only 40 games last year after taking an awkward slide into the boards in mid-December. He missed two months of play as a result of the injury. After returning on February 26, Hickey appeared in only eight of the team’s remaining 21 games. This was the result of continued injury and Devon Toews taking over his roster spot.
Toews is, again, overtaking Hickey headed into the new season. This move also opens the door for prospects like Noah Dobson. Dobson has spent the last three seasons in the QMJHL, where he’s put up admirable numbers. Last season, he tallied 52 points in 56 games.
The Islanders are clearly fond of Dobson after a strong pre-season showing. He’s spent a modest amount of time paired alongside Nick Leddy during the exhibition games, leading many to believe that the two will appear together in the Islanders season opener on Friday.
Rumour: TSN’s Bob McKenzie said on TSN1050 in Toronto that the Stars want a second or third-round pick or a young player for displaced defenceman Julius Honka. General manager Jim Nill wants to get something decent in return for the former first-round pick in 2014.
Analysis: Honka can’t seem to crack one of the better defensive groups in the league, featuring John Klingberg, Miro Heiskanen, and Esa Lindell. Honka had plenty of promise when drafted 14th overall in the 2014 NHL Draft. However, he’s not been able to put it together since.
The 23-year-old Honka has been linked in deals throughout the off-season. Teams like the Carolina Hurricanes (pre-Justin Faulk deal), Montreal Canadiens and Winnipeg Jets have been linked to the young Finn. Carolina may be out of the market, but Montreal and Winnipeg would love him as a defensive option. Honka would likely relish the chance to get some regular playing time.
Nill will probably jack up the asking price to trade to a divisional rival like the Jets. However, his asking price is high no matter who calls about a trade. The return is the only mystery at this juncture in him being traded
Rumour: Adrian Dater of ‘Colorado Hockey Now’ stated that the team is still in the market for a backup goalie. Names that have come up in conversations have been Tristan Jarry of the Pittsburgh Penguins and Eric Comrie of the Jets.
The Avalanche did trade for Antoine Bibeau earlier in the off-season but may want someone with more NHL experience to backup Philipp Grubauer.
I think the Avs thought about adding a Jarry or Comrie, but for now they tentatively plan to stick with Bibeau as "third" goalie. Team is mindful of org goalie depth though
— Adrian Dater (@adater) September 29, 2019
Analysis: Jarry did beat out Casey DeSmith for the Penguins backup job behindMatt Murray, but likely could be had in a deal. The 24-year-old is a restricted free agent at the end of the season.
Comire looks to be the backup behind Laurent Brossoit and Connor Hellebuyck on the Jets depth chart. A trade to Denver would allow Comrie to get some actual NHL game experience.
The Avs have a solid starter in Grubauer but lost Semyon Varlamov to the Islanders in the off-season. This year, Grubauer will play the lion’s share of games for Colorado but needs to get some nights off if the Avalanche want to be a serious contender. The team’s current backup is Pavel Francouz, who looked strong in his first AHL season last year. Still, his NHL-readiness is up for debate. Reeling in a capable backup, to support the iffy play flaunted by Francouz and Bibeau, could be mandatory if the Avalanche want to live up to their pre-season expectations.
BROOKLYN, NY – DECEMBER 12: New York Islanders defenseman Thomas Hickey (4) looks to make a pass during a game between the New York Islanders and the Vegas Golden Knights on December 12, 2018 at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, NY. (Photo by John McCreary/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)