We are back with the Monday edition of NHL Rumours. Every day brings us closer to the tense trade deadline and teams are jockeying for position every night. Last Word on Hockey will bring you the newest news and best analysis each day. Today’s NHL rumours feature the Minnesota Wild and Calgary Flames.
Analysis: Zucker’s name has come up before. He was nearly sent to the Pittsburgh Penguins in exchange for Phil Kessel before Kessel vetoed the trade. The 28-year-old missed a few games earlier this year but is still having a good season with 14 goals and 29 points in 44 games through Sunday night. His cap hit of $5.5 million through 2022-23 is also very reasonable for a player with his abilities.
If Pittsburgh is indeed a possible destination again this winter, they will want to move Alex Galchenyuk to Minnesota. The 25-year-old has been a complete bust in his one season with Pittsburgh so far. He has just five goals and 17 points in 45 games. The Wild could afford to absorb that as part of the return for Zucker since Galchenyuk will be a free agent after the season.
Very few contenders could afford Zucker other than Pittsburgh but the Columbus Blue Jackets should be on the radar. Another top-six scoring option would bolster their playoff chances. They are third in the Metropolitan after a recent surge but are fighting off several teams including the Carolina Hurricanes. A trade for Zucker might involve Columbus’ first-round pick but they have shown a willingness to make big trades.
Rumour: Russo also discussed a price for Mathew Dumba, who has been rumoured to be on the trade block for months.
Analysis: Russo’s rumoured price was daunting to say the least. He reported that the Wild would need a first-round pick, a prospect, and a centre to willingly ship away Dumba. This is a hefty package but for Dumba but his return is more than worth it. The 25-year-old has scored double-digit goals in every full-year of his career, save for his rookie season and this year. He also netted 50 points during the 2017-18 season and was on pace for 56 last year before succumbing to injury. He’s done all of this while maintaining modest advanced stats and holding his own defensively.
Dumba’s struggles this year, though, made many think that his deadline cost would be a bit cheaper. He only has four goals and 18 points through 54 games so far, far from his usual self. Still, the Wild aren’t letting one poor year deface such the value of such a promising young defenceman. They’re sticking to a hefty wish list, something that may turn away more than a few teams. Yet, maybe that’s what the Wild want; looking to either sneak away with a beyond-strong return or keep their promising blue-liner instead.
Analysis: Sam Bennett has not worked in Calgary. The fourth overall pick from the 2014 NHL Draft has never made a significant impact with the Flames in over 350 games. His most productive season came in 2015-16 when he scored 18 goals and 36 points in 77 games. His scoring has been 26-27 points in the three seasons since that one and this year and this one is going to be even worse. Bennett has just five goals and nine points in 40 games and is averaging the lowest amount of ice time in his career. It’s time for a change.
Bennet could be a perfect fit to send Minnesota’s direction for Brodin even if Calgary is hesitant to include him. They might not have enough cap space to absorb the entirety of Brodin’s contract without sending an NHL player making more than the league minimum back. Bennett would be perfect for Minnesota’s low-scoring system and he would have a chance to take a spot in the top-six.
Bennett hasn’t been a significant offensive driver but he does have good underlying numbers. His Corsi For has been above 50 percent since 2017-18. He does help drive play in a positive direction even if he isn’t necessarily scoring. He deserves a shot with a new team considering Calgary’s usage through early February this year. There is still plenty of time for the 23-year-old to make an impact in the NHL.