Welcome back to another edition to NHL Rumours from Last Word on Hockey. We are less than a week away from the trade deadline and rumours are starting to heat up. We have already seen our share of deals leading up to the deadline and will surely get more and more deals as we continue to inch towards the deadline. Today, we look at NHL rumours from the Montreal Canadiens, Toronto Maple Leafs and the Boston Bruins.
All NHL rumours come from their original source and are subject to change.
Rumour: Elliott Friedman had a hit on Sportsnet 590 Writers Bloc Podcast. He states that while he doesn’t think Montreal wants to move Jeff Petry or Tomas Tatar, he wonders if the recent trades and return teams are getting for their forwards force the Habs to move Tatar.
Friedman speaks of the Canadiens at 1:37:17 of the February 18th edition of the podcast.
Analysis: Montreal is stuck between a rock and a hard place. They’re currently on a five-game losing streak. However, have not lost any ground in the playoff race because the Toronto Maple Leafs are struggling as well. However, as each game passes, their chances get less and less. This is forcing Bergevin to make some really tough decisions. Tatar still has a year left on his deal after this year, there is no pressure to move him. However, with the returns that the Minnesota Wild received in the Jason Zucker trade and what the Los Angeles Kings received for Tyler Toffoli, it’s hard to imagine that Bergevin would not move Tatar if an offer like that presented itself.
Really, when you sit back and look at it. The return for Tatar should be even more than what Zucker and Toffoli brought in. Tatar is 29 years old and has one year remaining on his deal at $4.8 million. He is outscoring both players by a large margin as he has 21 goals and 54 points in 63 games. Zucker had 29 points in 45 games at the point when he was moved. Toffoli had 34 points in 58 games. Toffoli is also set to become an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season. Given that Tatar still has term, that should make his return even more.
Two teams to watch here would be the Colorado Avalanche and the Edmonton Oilers. Both teams are looking to add some depth to their forward groups and both teams are currently struggling through some injuries that may force their hands to get a bit more aggressive in the trade market.
While there is no doubt Bergevin will want to hold onto his leading point producer, he may have no other choice if teams come calling with an offer he just can’t refuse.
Toronto Maple Leafs
Rumour: On Sportsnet 590’s Leafs Hour Podcast, Chris Johnston states that the Leafs have inquired about Edmonton Oilers defenceman Adam Larsson.
Analysis: Johnston states that the Leafs have done their due diligence on essentially every possible solution to their problem, which is their right defence. The issue the Leafs have is that they have very limited cap space so they cannot take on a hefty contract unless they move out some cap themselves.
This is where it gets interesting for the Leafs. While they have been rumoured to be interested in Mathew Dumba from the Wild and Josh Manson from the Anaheim Ducks, it seems as though they don’t have the parts to make these deals work. However, a deal for Larsson is something that they could potentially swing.
While surely the Leafs do not want to move Kasperi Kapanen, a deal involving Kapanen and Larsson just makes too much sense. The Oilers are in need of some scoring help. The Leafs need defence. So is there a potential deal to be had involving the two players?
In terms of cap, the Leafs would be taking on a little less than $900,000 extra. They have enough wiggle room to allow them to do this. For the Oilers, it gives them a little bit more breathing room as they’re currently pushed up against the cap themselves.
Larsson would instantly slot in as the top pairing defender on the right side for the Leafs. He would help stabilize what has been a terrible defence group this season. With the injury to Morgan Reilly, the Leafs have struggled mightily. If they have any hope of holding onto their playoff spot, they will need to fix this as soon as possible.
With the Oilers depth on defence including prospects on the way up. This is definitely a deal they can afford to make.
Hit comes at 1:42:55 of the February 18th edition of the podcast.
Analysis: Friedman mentions that while they were not willing to give up a first-round pick to acquire Blake Coleman, the Bruins would most certainly move their pick in order to get Kreider or Palmieri.
Rightfully so. Both players are more proven and more dynamic than Coleman. So of course, they would be more comfortable paying more for them.
The Bruins are looking to bolster their forward group entering the playoffs to help make another run at the Stanley Cup. If you look at the Bruins roster, the offence falls off after “The Perfection Line”. If the Bruins could pick up another legitimate scoring threat to add to their top-six, they become even scarier than they already are heading into the playoffs.
Both players have similar cap hits at around $4.5 million per season. However, Palmieri has an extra year on his deal. Whereas Kreider is an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season. Because of this, Palmieri will most likely cost a little extra. This could be the deciding factor in which player they elect to trade for leading up to the deadline.