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, Ottawa Senators, and Boston Bruins in an all Atlantic edition.
Toronto Maple Leafs
Rumour: We start with TSN’s Insider Trading where Bob McKenzie says that Toronto Maple Leafs are listening in on offers for defenceman Tyson Barrie. However, the only way they would move him would be if they got assets to immediately flip for another defenceman, or if they get a defenceman in return.
Analysis: So, while it is a possibility Barrie gets moved, it seems unlikely. The biggest issue would be finding a partner to take him and knowing you can get something in return. The Leafs are still right in the thick of a playoff race. Considering they don’t have their first-round pick, they won’t be looking to sell off and punt this season. However, if a team is interested in Barrie the Leafs will listen.
The issue is getting enough assets from a Barrie trade to be useful in another trade. The Leafs have been linked to a name like Matt Dumba over the past few weeks. Would the return they get for Barrie be enough to then flip for Dumba? How much more would need to be added if not? Toronto has spent a lot of their assets this season and given that their window is nowhere near closed, they can’t sell the farm.
Guys like Kasperi Kapanen, Andreas Johnsson, or Alexander Kerfoot might be possible trade chips on top of a return. However, then you’re removing a couple of big pieces out of your team. Finding a logical deal for Barrie feels like it will be a tough move, but Kyle Dubas has shown that he can be craft before. Keep an eye on this as NHL Rumours approach the NHL Trade Deadline.
Analysis: Duclair has really found a home with the Senators since coming over the last deadline. After scoring 14 points in 21 games last season with Ottawa, Duclair signed a one-year “prove it” deal to show he was legit. Well, the pending RFA has added 37 points in 60 games this season. What’s crazy about that is that the number is probably low. Duclair has been incredibly unlucky in 2020, barely being able to find the back of the net.
What is super encouraging for Ottawa, however, is the fact that through this streal Duclair still adds in other ways. Often he is finding his way to being one of the hardest working Senators on the ice. His lack of production isn’t for a lack of effort. That was the biggest issue early in his career. The knock-on him was his inconsistency and that when he wasn’t scoring he wasn’t helping. Now, even when he isn’t scoring he’s buzzing all around the net, helping in transition, and playing a hard backchecking game. For Ottawa, it is a no-brainer to re-sign him.
Duclair being an RFA means he is not on the open market this summer. This is likely the biggest reason Ottawa will leave contract talks to after the season is done. There is no rush, let Duclair play the last part out and see where everyone stands. The Senators will likely look to avoid a long-term deal with Duclair. However, a three or four-year deal would make sense both ways. Duclair would get some stability, something he hasn’t had in the NHL. Ottawa would get a solid player under contract as they rebuild. It seems like a good fit both ways.
Analysis: We will be focusing on the Boston Bruins part of this as Doug Winkey already covered the Colorado part. For Boston, this could be a very interesting pickup if Thornton does want to chase a cup. Joe Thornton started his career in Boston playing eight seasons there before moving to the San Jose Sharks. It would be a cool full-circle moment, however, it’d make sense on-ice too.
One of Boston’s biggest issues is its depth scoring. Their top line is monstrous and that is obvious. However, the depth could still use some help. Thornton is one of the best passers in NHL history and while he isn’t what he once was, he still has amazing vision and can help out in a bottom-six. He can also be an amazing fit on the powerplay.
San Jose continues to retool as they traded away Brenden Dillon earlier this week. They don’t have their first-round pick this season. However, it is clear they won’t make playoffs and retooling for next year seems smart. This team has been destroyed with injuries and accepting this isn’t this year seems like a good move. If Thornton wants to look for a cup, this feels like a good fit for all parties.
That’s all for NHL Rumours, tune in again later today for more!