Another day, another Last Word on Hockey article covering your latest NHL Rumours. Every day, our team breaks down a selection of the latest rumblings from around the National Hockey League. As the trade deadline draws nearer, teams begin to turn their eyes to more specific targets in preparation for this season and next. Today, we’ll look at NHL Rumours from the Toronto Maple Leafs, Montreal Canadiens, Edmonton Oilers, and Calgary Flames.
Toronto Maple Leafs
Rumour: Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman mentioned in 31 Thoughts that the Toronto Maple Leafs have had teams call about forward Kasperi Kapanen. However, at this point, he would only be moved in a big deal.
Analysis: The Leafs are a team that currently find themselves on the outside of the playoffs coming into the All-Star weekend. However, it is only by a few points. Nonetheless, it would be a very disappointing year if they missed the playoffs. One of the biggest issues all year has been the defence for Toronto. It has just been way too shaky. The offence, per usual, as been amazing. John Tavares, Mitch Marner, Auston Matthews, William Nylander are some of the big names. However, guys like Jason Spezza, Kapanen, and Ilya Mikheyev have also made a huge impact. It’s why trading someone like Kapanen for a short rental wouldn’t make any sense.
Kapanen is a solid middle-six winger on a very team-friendly deal. He makes just over three million for two more years after this one. That is some good value for a guy who had 44 points last year and is on pace for 47 this season. Despite this, the want for Toronto to upgrade their team through offence has been known via fans. Some think a backup goalie is the way to go. Frederik Andersen has really struggled as of late and part of that may be because of how much he has had to play. The other side may be that the defence just isn’t good enough. Too often the team finds themselves lost in their own end. Often, this falls on the goalie.
Big Deals Only
The only way Kapanen gets moved for now appears to be if the Leafs pick up a big fish. Given they don’t have their first-round pick, Kapanen may be a piece that gets talks started. Who this could be is undetermined. However, if they are giving up a cost-controlled asset like Kapanen, and potentially more, it would likely have to be a younger defenceman who has a bit of term left too. No one season rental that walks or needs to be re-signed to a huge cap hit. This will be something to keep an eye on in NHL Rumours.
Rumour: Staying with Friedman but moving to his 31 Thoughts Podcast, he mentions that the Vegas Golden Knights could be a team that is interested in Jeff Petry if the Montreal Canadiens are willing to move him.
Analysis: This would be an interesting fit for both sides if a deal were to happen. Montreal is slipping out of the playoffs and will need to decide if they want to try and re-tool soon. They don’t have a ton of UFA’s, however, they do have some interesting two-year rentals. Jeff Petry and Tomas Tatar being two of the names that have another year left on their deal. Petry is one of the more underrated defensemen in the league. He is perfect in a second pair role where he can help feed the puck up the ice. It is exactly why a team like Vegas is such a good fit.
They need some guys to help move the puck on the backend, it has been apart of their struggles. Shea Theodore is very solid but he needs some help. Getting a guy like Jeff Petry for the top-four could be crucial. They also would have him for an extra year too. Vegas hasn’t been shy of making deals since they came into the league. The draft they nailed, but they have also picked up Max Pacioretty and Mark Stone in the past seasons. Petry wouldn’t have the name value of these two but could go a long way for their playoff odds.
The Pacific is a very close division with no one team running away with it. If Vegas could boost their team they would no doubt be among the favourites in the division. However, they will also need some saves first. For Montreal, this could be the perfect opportunity to gain some more draft capital or assets. The Tatar trade worked out in spades for them and Vegas got a solid player too.
There is potential these two teams could work together. What’s more, Vegas has two second and third-rounders this season and three second-round picks next year. They have the capital to make a move. Montreal could retool as their young core gets some more experience and look to come back in a year or two. This kind of deal could fit all parties involved.
Edmonton Oilers / Calgary Flames
Rumour: We end NHL Rumours off with a split team rumour where TSN’s Pierre LeBrun was on TSN1040 and mentioned that both the Flames and Oilers may look for some top-six forwards as long as their around the playoff hunt.
Pierre LeBrun on TSN1040: Brad Treliving (CGY) one of the more active GM’s. Expect him to make a move before the deadline. Ken Holland could be looking at the same top 6 forwards as CGY if EDM stays in the race.
— J (@Account4hockey) January 22, 2020
There are two teams to break down here so let’s start with Calgary. It is no surprise they will be active this deadline. It has been a pretty disappointing year thus far. They are among the teams who are grouped into the Pacific division, even though they likely expected to be comfortably near the top by now. The Flames are in a compete-now window and breaking things down for a season wouldn’t help much.
They do have all their top round picks for this year and next and could work with that if a top-six guy becomes available. Keeping an eye on someone like Chris Kreider feels like a good idea for Calgary. If he were to come available he would be the perfect fit to Calgary’s gritty style of hockey. He also has tons of talent and would help add some depth scoring to the team. Kreider would be a very costly add, but so will pretty much any true top-six guy.
As for Edmonton, they are closer to the playoffs then lots of people thought they may be. However, Ken Holland wants to make sure they will be competing all year if he is to add. Jean-Gabriel Pageau is a name that has been floated around with Edmonton a lot. He isn’t a true top-six but could add some great forward depth. However, Andreas Athanasiou is a name Edmonton should keep an eye on.
He has tons of speed and would be the perfect fit on Edmonton’s wings. Something they badly need is fast and skilled wingers to play with either Connor McDavid or Leon Draisaitl. This could be an ideal fit if he were to come available. He would also likely be cheaper than someone like Kreider as he is not as proven. If Holland wants to keep his first-round pick he may be able to still acquire someone like Athanasiou for a second and third-rounder. Both of these teams will be fun to watch and see what they do as the NHL Trade Deadline approaches.