Welcome back to the Tuesday edition of NHL Rumours! The trade deadline is now only two weeks away. We saw our first move prior to the deadline with Eric Staal going to Montreal. There is a chance we see more moves coming prior to the deadline especially north of the border. That being said, the Last Word on Hockey has got you covered for all the latest news and analysis. In today’s edition of NHL Rumours, we take a look at the Toronto Maple Leafs, Montreal Canadiens, and Edmonton Oilers.
Toronto Maple Leafs
Rumour: In the latest edition of 31 thoughts, Elliotte Friedman of Sportsnet says the Maple Leafs do not want to push the limit of the cap acquiring a goaltender. However, Friedman believes Maple Leafs general manager Kyle Dubas has a move or two up his sleeve once the numbers work themselves out.
Analysis: Obviously there is a lot of mystery surrounding goaltender Frederik Andersen‘s injury. However, the Maple Leafs do not need another goaltender if they believe his season is not over. Injuries take time to heal, especially for a goalie. The best thing they can do is to wait it out. Jack Campbell is doing a fine job in between the pipes. The real thing to watch for Toronto is what they do on offence. Kyle Dubas has made no bones about it, he wants to add a forward at the deadline. He feels like a scoring winger will help round this team out.
Several names the Maple Leafs have kicked tires on have been Mikael Granlund of Nashville and Rickard Rakell of Anaheim. Both have reasonable cap hits. But the Maple Leafs are up against it this season. They would need to make the money work to add one of those two players. And while they have inquired about those players, Toronto is hoping those teams come back to them with offers closer to the deadline. Dubas is not looking to jump on the first trade offer he gets. He is going to play the game as long as it takes to get the players he wants on the roster.
Analysis: Another Canadian team not content with their team is Canadiens general manager Marc Bergevin. While he may have won the off-season with his moves, the team has been struggling recently after their hot start. They just traded for Eric Staal for depth down the middle, more specifically for face-offs. However, they are up against the cap. In order to make another deal or two, they would have to move money out. One of the players suggested is Artturi Lehkonen. The Canadiens drafted Lekhonen in the second round of the 2013 NHL Draft. He made his NHL debut until the 2016-17 season. After scoring 18 goals in his rookie season, there was hope Lehkonen could be a consistent 20-goal scorer, but that has not panned out.
With the addition of Cole Caufield, the Canadiens will want to get him into the lineup as quickly as possible. Therefore, Lehkonen is expendable. He currently makes $2.4 million this season and will be a restricted free agent at the end of the season. If the Canadiens were able to trade him and open up some room on the books, they could upgrade the defence inserting someone into the lineup to replace the injured Ben Chiarot. You know Montreal has a trick or two up their sleeve as well. Nobody saw the Staal move coming.
Analysis: Luke Glendening is one of those players everyone wants to have on their team. He is a cheap option at $1.8 million and is one of the best face-off guys in the game right now. As Friedman points out the move makes too much sense not to happen. This is an area the Oilers struggle with. However, if the Oilers really want Glendening, they may have to pay a steeper price than they originally wanted to. Several teams will be in the mix for Glendening services, including those Maple Leafs.
As we have seen in recent history especially on the teams that have won the Stanley Cup, face-offs matter. Look at Matt Cullen on Pittsburgh during their back-to-back runs to the Cup. His main job was to take draws in the defensive end. This will be the same role for Glendening if a contending team acquires his services. While it might not be the most glamourous role on the team, it is an important one, especially when the playoffs come. At 64 percent who wouldn’t want a guy like Glendening on their team.
That does it for this edition for NHL Rumours, stay tuned for another edition on Wednesday.
Embed from Getty Images