Welcome to the Tuesday edition of NHL Rumours! The NHL season continues to roll on as we are now six weeks away from the NHL Trade Deadline. There are mixed reports about what action will be like at the deadline this year. However, that still has not stopped teams from becoming buyers or sellers at the deadline. The real question will be once the trade season begins do we see action before the deadline because of quarantine rules? In this edition of NHL Rumours, we look at the New Jersey Devils, New York Islanders, and Columbus Blue Jackets
New Jersey Devils
Rumour: Craig Custance and Eric Duhatschek of The Athletic put together their trade bait board, a name that continually being brought up is Kyle Palmieri of the New Jersey Devils, who is 10th on their board.
Analysis: Kyle Palmieri is an interesting character for the Devils. He is in the final year of his deal with the Devils, and like the rest of the team is underperforming. He has recorded nine points (three goals and six assists) on the season thus far. Palmieri’s name was mentioned in trade talks last season heading up to and on deadline day. However, the Devils did not pull the trigger. As general manager Tom Fitzgerald has stated, they will move Palmieri for the right deal and the right deal was not there. And that could be the same situation this season as well. You know a contending team will come calling for him. Palmieri has the ability to slot in on the second or third line for a team looking to go deep in the playoffs.
However, as Custance and Duhatschek mention, they feel like he will end up being like Chris Kreider. Always in trade speculation but ends up signing a new deal with his current team. And that is not a bad thing for a player who is from New Jersey and loves playing for the Devils. Not to mention, he is ideal for the Devils considering they are going through a rebuild. He brings leadership, a strong presence, and the goal-scoring ability that a young team needs. The Devils have been looking for someone to fill the net and trading Palmieri leaves the Devils in a bigger hole than they already are in.
New York Islanders
Rumour: Arthur Staples of The Athletic writes the New York Islanders could be looking into adding depth on defence at the NHL Trade Deadline.
Analysis: It is going to be hard to find anything to come out of Long Island with Lou Lamoriello at the helm. He keeps everything closely guarded, especially when it comes to trade talks surrounding certain players. However, the Islanders have a need at the defence position. They are playing with fire playing the same six games night in and night out. Eventually, the odds are going to catch up with them. The Islanders have kept Sebastian Aho (defenceman) on the roster since the beginning of the year because they knew someone would claim him off of waivers. They also have kept Thomas Hickey on the taxi squad as well, but Barry Trotz does not seem eager to play either one of them.
If the Islanders do go after a defenceman at the deadline, it will not be one of the top guys on the board. Look for them to go for a cheaper option like Jon Merrill from the Detroit Red Wings or Mike Reilly from the Ottawa Senators. They also could look to add term with a guy like Mark Borowiecki from the Nashville Predators. Borowiecki has a year left at $2 million and could slot into the role Andy Greene is in. Now, that is if Greene decides to retire or play for another team. However, other than that, the Islanders will probably remain at status quo. And like previously mentioned, it will be hard to get much out of Lamoriello as we get closer to the trade deadline.
Columbus Blue Jackets
Analysis: This should come as no surprise who follows the Blue Jackets over the last couple of seasons. Savard is joining a long line of players who will likely be on their way out of town. Savard played a pivotal role in the Blue Jackets making the playoffs last season. The Blue Jackets matched him up against the best players the Toronto Maple Leafs had to offer and he shut them down. And while he ranks number two on the board behind Mattias Ekholm of Nashville, Savard could get a bigger haul. Many people will ask why? Well, that is because Savard has a year left remaining on his current contract. With the salary cap remaining at $81.5 million, getting a player with a term is huge. It helps with the finances for next season.
It will be interesting to see what the Blue Jackets do here. General manager Jarmo Kekalainen has a history of playing out contracts. But in the case of Savard, if a contending team comes calling and the deal is ripe for the taking, he might just pull the trigger. Because Savard could be the missing link a contending team needs to win the Stanley Cup.
That does it for this edition of NHL Rumours. Stay tuned for another edition on Wednesday.
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