Welcome back to NHL Rumours! We’re rapidly approaching the deadline, and teams are starting to fall into place in the standings. As we approach April 12th, teams will be shipping players left and right. Make sure to keep your eyes on Last Word on Hockey to get all the news and updates.
Rumour: In his spot on ESPN 102.5, Elliotte Friedman spoke about Erik Johnson’s injury and speculated whether his absence could spark the Colorado Avalanche to acquire a defenceman.
Analysis: Friedman’s mention of a potential trade is fairly interesting. For all intents and purposes, the Colorado Avalanche blue-line is perfect. Erik Johnson was put on Long-Term Injured Reserve in early-March but in the time since, the Avalanche have seen terrific performances from young players like Bowen Byram, Jacob MacDonald, and Ryan Graves. Even without these dominating performances from lesser names, the Avalanche blue-line is seeing three different Norris Trophy-worthy seasons from Cale Makar, Samuel Girard, and Devon Toews.
There seems to be no reason for the Avalanche to need a defenceman. The team has Daniel Renouf and Greg Pateryn on the Taxi Squad in the event that an injury occurs and Conor Timmins and Dennis Gilbert poised for a call-up from the minor leagues. There’s plenty of depth and plenty of talent to go around.
But, then again, the Avalanche will have over $4 million in cap space come the deadline. With terrific players like Mattias Ekholm on the trade block, there might be no reason to avoid trading for a defenceman, if the opportunity presents itself. Still, it’s hard to envision a world where the Avalanche would actively pursue one.
Rumour: In a post-game interview, Taylor Hall himself said he would be open to a trade if the opportunity presented itself.
"If Kevyn came up to you and said someone's interested, would you be willing to listen?" – @BuffaloVogl
Taylor Hall: pic.twitter.com/1zsleJUeii
— The Charging Buffalo (@TheChargingBUF) March 26, 2021
Analysis: This isn’t a shock. The Buffalo Sabres are on a 16-game winless streak. They just traded their second-line centre in Eric Staal. Their goaltending is plagued by issues and their offence hasn’t gotten much going at all. That goes for Hall himself. He only has two goals through the 2020-21 season and has looked completely snakebitten since he arrived in Buffalo.
But of note is the fact that many top analysts don’t think Hall will fetch a First Round pick on the open market. That is rumoured to be the starting asking price right now but the actual deal will likely mount much less in return. But with the way things are going in Buffalo, the return doesn’t matter much. As seen by Eric Staal’s waiving of his no-movement clause for a move to the Montreal Canadiens, players just want freed from the torture of Buffalo. They want to win. Hall’s curt reply to the question clearly shows he wants this same escape. And there’s no doubt that general manager Kevyn Adams isn’t aware of this feeling.
New Jersey Devils
Rumour: Pierre LeBrun reported on Insider Trading that the New Jersey Devils and Kyle Palmieri are far apart on a contract, which could open the door to trades.
ICYMI, INSIDER TRADING: #TSNHockey Insiders discuss…
– Quarantine period being reduced
– Oilers seek right-shot centre…Glendening? Sutter? Ryan?
– Habs/Oilers/Sens’ new skeds
– Draft to be virtual; plan for prospect event?
— TSN Hockey (@TSNHockey) March 26, 2021
Analysis: Another year, another Kyle Palmieri trade rumour. It seems he has been a permanent fixture of NHL rumours for years but he has never been moved. At least, not yet. But with contract negotiations reportedly shaky, there might finally be a reason for New Jersey to let go of their talented scorer.
If he is put on the open market, there’s no doubt that Palmieri will fetch an incredible amount of interest. He’s a very, very talented winger who has scored 24-or-more goals in each of the last five seasons. He’s shown a terrific amount of adaptability, determination, and a knack for scoring. He also bears a comfortable $4.65 million cap hit. This is low enough that, with salary retention, nearly any team in the NHL could find a way to fit Palmieri in.
The price tag that Palmieri would hold is a bit hard to figure out. It surely won’t be cheap, given his talent in recent years, but Palmieri would also be a rental for the remainder of the year, limiting his cost. Either way, the Devils have a great asset on their hands.
Thank you for reading today’s edition of NHL Rumours!