The NHL season is over halfway through and most teams have an idea whether they’ll be buyers or sellers at the deadline. With teams gearing up for the playoffs, there are lots of NHL rumours swirling about. Today we’ll be looking at rumours surrounding the Toronto Maple Leafs, Anaheim Ducks, and Carolina Hurricanes.
Toronto Maple Leafs
Analysis: Kapanen has been used as a theoretical trade chip for the Leafs for quite some time now. He has had a rough 2019-2020 season, however, based on prior seasons it could be fair to assume he is better than what this year has shown. He has a unique skill set that provides value on the Leafs, but would also look very enticing for any teams looking to trade with the Leafs. Not only is he incredibly fast and able to help with offence as a middle-six forward, or top line in a complementary role, he can also kill penalties.
The Leafs could get back a top-four defence as well as something else according to Mirtle. The Leafs defence has maybe been blown out of proportion for how bad it is, however, it still isn’t a strong core by any means. In order to contend for a cup, another top-four defenceman would be good to add, especially if it meant getting Cody Ceci out of the top-six altogether. Adding that extra asset on top of a top-four would be excellent for the team, no matter what it is.
Rumour: In “Beyond Headlines”, Chris Johnston said that the Anaheim Ducks might be willing to take on bad contracts in exchange for sweeteners.
Analysis: Lot’s of the top teams in the NHL are currently up to the cap, or over and using LTIR room. The Ducks currently have 39 points through 45 games. They are last in the West and are firmly out of a playoff position. Being at the start of a rebuild, they can utilize their cap space to gain assets to help the rebuild along. While they only have a little over $2 million in cap space, with Ryan Kesler on IR, they can exceed the cap $6,875,000 should they max out.
Picks and prospects will be the name of the game for the Ducks. They are currently turning around an old team that was competitive for years, and it will take time. Team’s up against the cap with players to re-sign this off-season, such as the Bruins with Torey Krug, or the Penguins with Jared McCann and Matt Murray could look to unload some overpayments and Anaheim could use their position to their advantage.
Rumour: According to Hurricanes beat writer Cory Lavalette, Waddell said the Hurricanes can take on a player with a 5-6 million dollar contract. They would like to also keep all bonuses under the cap this season so they don’t carry over.
Waddell said the team has the cap space to take on a player with a $5-6M contract (as long as they don’t use any calling up players due to injury). That said, they’d also like to get all bonus money (Williams and ELC players) under the cap this year rather than carrying it over.
— Cory Lavalette (@corylav) January 8, 2020
Analysis: With the Hurricanes currently holding a wild-card spot, they look like they might be going to the playoffs for the second season in a row. The Hurricanes just added Justin Williams to the mix in order to strengthen their top nine. The Hurricanes have no glaring flaws in their team this season. Their weakest point would likely still be at goaltending. Between James Reimer and Petr Mrazek, the tandem provides the Hurricanes with average goaltending. With such a strong forward and defence core, it is the worst position by default.
It seems weird that the Hurricanes would try to add a goalie with their current cap space unless it was a legitimate starter, and it doesn’t seem like a player like that would be available as a deadline rental. The Hurricanes could look to add a designated penalty killer or other players to fill niche roles for the team.
That’s it for today’s NHL rumours! Join us again tomorrow for more.
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