We’re midway through the month of February, but we have plenty of NHL rumours to go around. The delayed start to the season has pushed the trade deadline back to April 12. Teams might have to get started earlier because of COVID-19 protocols. Some clubs are also debating their contending windows or making a coaching change. Today’s NHL rumours focus on the Ottawa Senators, Buffalo Sabres and Nashville Predators.
All NHL rumours come from the original source and are subject to change.
Rumour: Sportset’s Chris Johnston said that none of the teams in the Senators and Carolina Hurricanes deal should get comfortable with their new teams. Johnston added that Ryan Dzingel will likely get traded at the deadline again.
Headlines: Aquilini/Puljujarvi/Senators-Hurricanes trade/Sandin/Gagner & Tavares to operate GTHL's Toronto Marlboros (was told that's a more accurate description than "buy") https://t.co/CXrAxTF13k
— Elliotte Friedman (@FriedgeHNIC) February 14, 2021
Analysis: The Hurricanes have already placed Alex Galchenyuk on waivers. Galchenyuk will likely be on the taxi squad or playing in the AHL while he waits for minutes with an NHL club. Adding Cedric Paquette was the key part of the deal for Carolina, who is trying to shore up depth for a playoff run. However, he could be part of a package if Carolina wants to really swing for the fences.
Dzingel returns to the Senators and must wait out the quarantine process when he touches down in Canada. However, he may want to rent a place instead of buying one. The Senators will be sellers at the trade deadline and they’ll be trying to flip the two-time Senators’ player for assets. General manager Pierre Dorion knows there are only a few players that are untouchable.
Rumour: The Athletic’s John Vogl examined the trade value of the scuffling Casey Mittelstadt.
Do you envision any type of temporary leaguewide stoppage?
Is Linus Weissbach another Cal Petersen situation?
What should they do with Casey Mittelstadt?
Where is the biggest hole on the defensive side?
It's a jam-packed Sabres Mailbag. https://t.co/SyeIP2yXMH
— John Vogl (@BuffaloVogl) February 14, 2021
Analysis: Vogl stressed that it’s too early to give up on the young forward, but should move him if they don’t see him as part of their long-term plans. Mittelstadt is still only 22 years old and the Sabres will give him more time if they see potential. However, they’ll move on if there are any doubts about being a top-six forward with the club.
The 2017 NHL Draft class does have talented players like Cale Makar, Elias Pettersson, Nico Hischier and Miro Heiskanen. However, there have been plenty of players that have been inconsistent and some that haven’t even made it to the league.
Buffalo put a lot of pressure on Mittelstadt by trying to make him the team’s second centre a couple of seasons ago. Hopefully he can gain some confidence in the AHL in Rochester and get another crack at being an NHL contributor.
Rumour: Adrian Dater of Colorado Hockey Now said that head coach John Hynes could be on the hot seat.
Hearing whispers John Hynes in some real trouble in Nashville. Definitely on the hot seat, at best
— Adrian Dater (@adater) February 14, 2021
Analysis: The seat got plenty warm in Saturday night’s loss to the Detroit Red Wings. Nashville has been fading from contention the last couple of seasons. General manager David Poile dumped Peter Laviolette in the middle of last season and went with Hynes. Poile and Hynes have a connection from Team USA and the Predators managed to get into the bubble. However, they were ousted by the Arizona Coyotes in the qualifying round.
The Predators knew the Central Division would be tough, but they have struggled mightily. Both sides of their special teams have been dreadful and they team lacks offensive spark. Juuse Saros and Pekka Rinne have faced a lot of shots and the ship is sinking. Will Poile get another crack at a head coach or will there be a complete teardown from top to bottom?