Welcome back to another edition of NHL Rumours from the Last Word on Hockey crew. The NHL rumours are starting to pick up as we inch closer to the Trade Deadline. As long as the rumours are plentiful, Last Word on Hockey will be your one-stop spot for all the latest rumours from around the league. Today’s NHL rumours will focus on the Pittsburgh Penguins, New York Rangers and the Nashville Predators.
All NHL rumours come from their original source and are subject to change
Rumour: In a recent interview with Seth Rorabaugh of Triblive.com sports, Penguins general manager Jim Rutherford stated that he is looking to acquire a top-six winger to replace the injured Jake Guentzel.
Gratuitous RT of Jim Rutherford’s chat yesterday which touched on:
-What the Penguins are looking for in trying to replace Jake Guentzel.
–Tristan Jarry v. Matt Murray.
-And Kris Letang‘s recent struggles.https://t.co/IOmHCPTsq8
— Seth Rorabaugh (@SethRorabaugh) January 7, 2020
Analysis: Losing Guentzel is a tough blow to the Pittsburgh Penguins. Especially since they are already without their captain and best player Sidney Crosby. However, the Penguins have managed to stay in the playoff picture despite the injuries early in the season to Evgeni Malkin and now Crosby and Guentzel. However, Rutherford states the winger does not have to specifically be a left-winger. The Penguins have a lot of versatility in their line up so Rutherford is just looking for a top-six winger in general. This opens the field up a little more.
Two of the biggest name wingers on the market are Chris Kreider and Tyler Toffoli. Both of these players will be unrestricted free agents at seasons end. The Penguins could potentially gain some cap space by putting Guentzel on the LTIR in order to make room for one of these two players. However, Kreider would be a little more complicated. He has a no-trade clause and the Rangers may not want to trade within their division. However, Toffoli would be an interesting add for the Penguins.
Toffoli is a proven goal scorer with three 20 plus goal seasons under his belt. He has also hit the 30 goals plateau once in his career. Toffoli would add an extra goal-scoring prowess which is certainly missed by the absence of Guentzel. Toffoli is also capable of playing both wing positions. This adds more versatility to an already versatile lineup for the Penguins.
New York Rangers
Rumour: Larry Brooks of the New York Post states that Chris Kreider’s no-move clause pretty much ensures that Kreider will not be going to a Canadian team at this year’s trade deadline.
Analysis: Tough break for Canadian teams if Brooks is right. At least three Canadian teams were rumoured to be interested in Kreider. The Calgary Flames, Edmonton Oilers and the Montreal Canadiens. The latter went out and signed Ilya Kovalchuk which pretty much sums up that they’re out of the running.
While Kreider is certainly going to be a hot commodity at the deadline, this no-move clause could create some potential issues for the Rangers. Kreider can submit an 11 team list of teams he would not accept a trade to. If the Canadian teams are left off that list, you now have at least three potential playoff teams out of the running. Chances are they will not want to trade within the division either. As it stands holds five of the eight playoff positions in the Eastern Conference. This does not leave a whole lot of options for the Rangers. Especially if those divisional rivals are not on Kreider’s list.
While it should not be a problem to move Kreider, this list could potentially hurt the value the Rangers get back in return as the teams like the Flames or Oilers who are in desperate need of a top-six forward would most likely be willing to pay a hefty price to acquire a player like Kreider.
Rumour: Adam Vingan of The Athletic takes a look at potential players that could be on the move if the Predators do, in fact, become sellers at the deadline.
David Poile told @Midday180 last week that “if (the Predators) don’t improve here shortly, we might be a seller for the first time in a number of years.”
If the season were to slip away, who do the Predators realistically have to offer?https://t.co/WLkWiOJdt8
— Adam Vingan (@AdamVingan) January 6, 2020
Analysis: In the article Vingan quotes Poile saying “Right now, we are not in the playoffs, and I am open for business, if you will. … I’m sitting here being outside of the playoffs. We have for the last several years been buyers at the trading deadline. If we don’t improve here shortly, we might be a seller for the first time in a number of years.”
In one of our recent rumours posts, Doug Winkey listed Mikael Granlund, Rocco Grimaldi and Dan Hamhuis as potential pieces that could be moved at the deadline. However, an interesting name that Vingan mentions is Nick Bonino.
Bonino is a two time Stanley Cup champion who can hurt you on both ends of the ice. He is a solid two-way player capable of scoring goals, as is proven by his 13 so far this season. During Pittsburgh’s Cup run in 2016, Bonino put up 18 points in 24 games and was a key contributor to the Penguins Stanley Cup win. He is the type of player teams are always starved for come playoff time as he can offer you play on both special teams, he’s a solid faceoff man who is currently sitting at a 54.8 percent success rate and he is responsible in all three zones. His experience would be a valuable asset for any team looking to go on a run this upcoming post-season.
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