Welcome back to another edition of NHL Rumours from the crew at Last Word on Hockey. Despite it still being early in the season, teams are already looking to make moves to upgrade their teams. With the shortened season, teams can’t let wins slip away from them early. Any lengthy losing streak could cripple a team’s playoff hopes. With that, we will take a look at NHL rumours surrounding the St. Louis Blues, Anaheim Ducks and Columbus Blue Jackets.
All NHL rumours come from their original source and are subject to change.
St. Louis Blues
Rumour: On the most recent edition of TSN’s Insider Trading, Frank Seravalli mentions that we will possibly see Vince Dunn traded by the St. Louis Blues.
INSIDER TRADING: #TSNHockey Insiders discuss…
— TSN Hockey (@TSNHockey) January 26, 2021
Analysis: Seravalli mentions the teams have engaged in conversations with other teams regarding their young defenceman. This is a bit of surprise after the career Dunn has had thus far. He’s a player who plays with an edge to his game, is an extremely gifted skater and puck mover and an outstanding powerplay specialist. However, Dunn still seems to have fallen out of favour of coach Craig Berube.
The Blues had reportedly had conversations with teams on Dunn during the offseason as well. Before he signed a one year deal worth $1.875 million. With so many teams looking to acquire a defenceman like Dunn, it would be surprising if the Blues couldn’t find a suitor. He’s everything you would want from the modern-day defenceman. He fits the mould perfectly. However, with a lot of teams up against the cap, it’s hard to bring in any cap without moving some out. And according to Elliotte Friedman in his latest 31 thoughts, the ask is a first-round pick.
Teams to watch here if Dunn does get moved would be the Winnipeg Jets, Montreal Canadiens and Ottawa Senators. The Jets left side is arguably the weakest position in their lineup at the moment. And with the club just upgrading their centre position bringing in Pierre-Luc Dubois, it wouldn’t be surprising to see them try to improve the defence as well.
The Canadiens are another team. They are up against the cap as well. However, the need for a puck-moving defenceman has been there for a while. Alexander Romanov has been extremely impressive and the club has been rolling out of the gates. However, Bergevin is always looking to improve. He may not want to mess with what looks to be a good thing quite yet. But you can be sure Bergevin will definitely keep an eye on the situation and have his hat in the ring on this one as well.
The Senators would be a team that would definitely want to acquire Dunn’s services as well. They are rebuilding, but GM Pierre Dorion isn’t afraid to make a trade. While it wouldn’t be in the best interest of the club to give up a first-round pick this year given their status in the league, Dunn is certainly a player who would improve their team. With him still being so young as well, he fits right into their rebuild.
Rumour: In his latest 31 Thoughts article, Elliotte Friedman states that the Ducks are looking for scoring.
Analysis: The Ducks have had a decent start to the season with a 3-2-2 record after the first six games. They’ve been outstanding at keeping pucks out of their net thanks to a solid defence group and one of the best goaltenders in the league in John Gibson. The Ducks have only allowed 14 goals in six games which ranks them eighth in the league, however, they have more games played than all the teams sitting ahead of them.
However, putting the puck in the net is a different story. The Ducks have only scored 12 goals this season. That sits them in third last in the entire league. If the Ducks want to try to push for a playoff spot in the West Division, they’ll need to acquire some offensive help. They cant rely on Gibson to steal games for them every night. As it stands, the Ducks sit tied for third in the West Division. However, we would expect the top three seeds would belong to the Blues, the Colorado Avalanche and the Vegas Golden Knights. That fourth spot is definitely up for grabs though. If the Ducks want to secure it, they’ll need to find some scoring.
It’s hard to say who the Ducks would even be targeting at this point. With the season only just getting start, teams are still trying to figure out where they stand. The Detroit Red Wings are a team that would certainly move some players as they are currently rebuilding and the likely hood of them participating in this year’s Stanley Cup Playoffs is slim. Could there be a possible reunion between the Ducks and Bobby Ryan? Ryan is off to a hot start with four goals and one assist in six games. He would certainly be the type of rental player a team would look at prior to the trade deadline.
It’s hard to really pinpoint exactly who they would be targeting, however, it’s a deal we wouldn’t expect to happen for at least another couple of weeks.
Columbus Blue Jackets
Rumour: TSN’s Shawn Simpson tweeted that he would expect Patrik Laine to sign an eight-year contract extension with the Blue Jackets before the end of January.
I would expect a Laine 8 year extention, to come before the end of January.
— Shawn Simpson (@TSNSimmer) January 26, 2021
Analysis: Laine was just acquired by the Blue Jackets in a blockbuster deal that saw the Blue Jackets send disgruntled centre Pierre-Luc Dubois to the Winnipeg Jets along with a third-round pick in exchange for Laine and Jack Roslovic. Laine, who had also requested a trade out of Winnipeg, seems to be extremely happy about the move, especially considering if he’s going to lock up long-term without even playing a game for the club.
However, that’s also why this is a bit strange. Obviously, GM Jarmo Kekalainen would want to lock up an elite goal scorer line Laine long-term. He doesn’t want to have to deal with the same scenario he dealt with Dubois to come up again with Laine. A short term extension would allow Laine to walk away as he’ll soon have UFA rights. Getting him locked up for 8 years will obviously allow Kekalainen to control the star winger. However, he hasn’t played for the team yet. Will he work out? Will he be able to play under John Tortorella? As we know, he’s a tough coach. His style of coaching might not be something that would exactly work with a player like Laine. Not to mention, he’s not the most responsible player defensively. Tortorella is going to have to take the good with the bad when it comes to Laine.
For the Blue Jackets, yea it makes sense to lock him up long term so if Laine doesn’t work out, they can move him as they please. However, for Laine, it seems a bit strange to lock up at a maximum of eight years for a team you have yet to step foot on the ice for. He wanted to be a top-line winger and he’ll certainly get to be that in Columbus. It will be interesting to see how this all turns out when Laine gets on the ice with his new team. One thing is for sure though. Regardless of what happens, we’ll be seeing Laine fill the net with Columbus in the very near future.
That does it for this edition of NHL Rumours. Be sure to tune in tomorrow for all the latest rumours from around the league.