Friday is here as we welcome you back to another edition of NHL Rumours. Every day, our site provides a recap and detailed analysis of trade and signing rumours from around the league. January 1st is just around the corner as teams begin to look at solidifying their roster for a playoff run and re-sign existing pieces. Keep reading on to find out what’s surrounding the Vancouver Canucks, Ottawa Senators, and New York Islanders.
Rumour: Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman released his 31 Thoughts column this week and per usual, it was a busy one. He mentions that the Canucks are still in on making the playoffs and that they will likely stay put trade wise right now. However, if Vancouver were to sell there would be interest around the league in both Josh Leivo and Chris Tanev.
Analysis: There’s a lot to unpack here. Vancouver has been on a slide as of late, finding themselves fifth in their division and outside of a playoff spot. This comes after a very hot start to the season a sign of hope for a team that has struggled in recent seasons. However, they have started to slip but are not out of it. The Pacific division is still pretty open this year and the Canucks do have lots of talent. Names like Brock Boeser, Elias Pettersson, Quinn Hughes, Thatcher Demko and co can help bring them out not just this year, but the future too.
However, there is still plenty of play left in this season. If the Canucks do rebound it seems very possible they keep this roster fully intact. If not, they have some trade pieces to use. None of what they will be trading would be long-term pieces for the Canucks, Leivo is a very solid player and they got him for cheap. He can play on any line, even the top line as long as he doesn’t have to drive play on it. If he is available due to continued Vancouver struggles there should be a bunch of teams interested.
Tanev isn’t what he once was, however, he too can be a very useful player. Both players are on the final year of their deal and could easily be moved if the time is right. Although, the Canucks will definitely want to see how the next month or so plays out before they even start to make a decision on that.
Analysis: Much like the Canucks position, Ottawa still has a lot of hockey to play before their plan for the future needs to be put into place. Duclair has exploded in Ottawa, he tallied his 20th of the season last night and is on a roll. However, a very high shooting percentage makes you wonder how sustainable this is. Luckily for Ottawa, they can wait to see what they want to do.
A long-term deal doesn’t make much sense. Staying away from 6-8 years will be obvious for Ottawa. Even with how Duclair is now, he is not the game-breaking talent you expect to be worth it in half a decade. However, if he continues this pace for the rest of the season a mid-length deal could make sense. Something in the 3-4 year range that rewards Duclair and also locks him down before he starts ageing.
To trade Duclair you would have to get a very good return. We’re talking something you absolutely can’t turn down. Ottawa found a gem here and it would be shocking if they look to move him. Everyone is available for the right price but with so many different potential options for teams out there it feels like that price won’t be met. Sitting with him, for now, seems like the best choice.
New York Islanders
Rumour: Wrapping up NHL Rumours we have another one from 31 Thoughts where Friedman mentions that New York Islanders prospect Ilya Sorokin is considering an extension in the KHL. This may be to force the Islanders to make a move in dealing the stud prospect so he can get some more playing time in the NHL as soon as he comes over.
Analysis: Sorokin is one of the best NHL goalie prospects out there. LastWordOnHockey’s Ben Kerr detailed him in his prospect series. Sorokin hasn’t had worse than a .929 save percentage in the KHL in six years. He is on CSKA Moscow, one of the best teams in the league, but that is still very impressive. What’s even more impressive is he has been a KHL goalie since he was 17-years-old. There is no doubt the now 24-year-old is a top tier guy to keep your eyes on.
However, the issue is that the Islanders are very good in net currently. Barry Trotz’s teams always seem to have good goaltending. Semyon Varlamov is still signed for a few years and the Islanders also have Thomas Greiss, who has been outstanding the past year and a half. Sorokin doesn’t want to be a third-string behind these guys and may want to start in a place with an easier path to the starter’s role.
The cost of acquiring him would no doubt be high. KHL numbers don’t always translate but it is still one of the best leagues in the world and repeatedly putting up those numbers is nothing shy of impressive. The Islanders would need a big haul to want to move on from him. As even if he stays in Russia for now, at least no other team would have him. The other option may be for the Islanders to try and get rid of one of their current goalies. However, that is risky if Sorokin doesn’t turn out or doesn’t come anyways. It is certainly something to keep an eye on going forward in NHL Rumours.