Welcome to the Thursday edition of NHL Rumours! The NHL Trade Deadline is quickly approaching. We are only four days away from the deadline and we already had the first shoe drop. Kyle Palmieri and Travis Zajac are off to Long Island. Many feel with Palmieri moving this will open up the trade market now especially at the forward position. Be sure to keep it locked on Last Word on Hockey for all the latest rumours and analysis. In today’s edition of NHL Rumours, we look at the Winnipeg Jets, Buffalo Sabres, and St. Louis Blues
Rumour: According to Darren Dreger who was on the Daily Faceoff Podcast, the Winnipeg Jets have inquired about Mattias Ekholm of the Nashville Predators, but the asking price of a 1st round pick, Ville Heinola and another piece is just too high.
Dreger on DFO podcast says the ask from Nashville for Ekholm was a 1st RD pick, Ville Heinola and something else. The Jets do not want to part with Heinola. Maybe that changes between now and the 12th, but DD doubts it. #GoJetsGo
— NHL Watcher (@NHL_Watcher) April 5, 2021
Analysis: It is no secret the Jets want to upgrade their defensive position. The Jets offence is far superior to their defence and it has been that way for the last couple of seasons now. Especially with the departures of Jacob Trouba, Dustin Byfuglien and others. Now with Nathan Beaulieu out for the rest of the season, the Jets are in desperate need of upgrading their defence. And the rest of the NHL knows it. Hence why the asking price for Mattias Ekholm is so high. However, general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff is reluctant to part with another first-round pick and his top defensive prospect.
The Jets over the past couple of seasons have traded away first-round picks to acquire guys like Paul Stastny and Kevin Hayes at the trade deadline. They do not want to do that again despite their need on defence. And with that need on defence comes the fact that their top defensive prospect Ville Heinola may have to enter the lineup at some point to stabilize the injuries back there. And considering how the Jets value Heinola and his future with the team, there is no chance they are wanting to part with him. Even though Ekholm would be a massive upgrade to their defence.
Rumour: Elliotte Friedman in his latest 31 Thoughts column states that Buffalo Sabres general manager Kevyn Adams is a player to watch at the deadline and is listening to offers on Jack Eichel.
Analysis: The Sabres are definitely a team to watch at the trade deadline is right. They will be sellers for sure with so many potential players on the move. We already know Taylor Hall is being held out of the lineup because of precautionary reasons. And there are definitely multiple teams interested in his services despite his down year. And while Jack Eichel is most likely done for the season, do not put it past Adams trading his star player. Eichel has made no bones about it that he wants out of Buffalo and wants to win. And while the Sabres on paper had a good team, things just did not go their way.
However, if Eichel is going to get traded then it is going to be in the summer not at the deadline. Unless Adams gets an offer that blows him out of the water. The Sabres and Eichel will do their best to resolve their differences and see if they can build a winner in Western New York. But with Eichel’s name being out there in trade rumours, the point of no return has been crossed and it may be only a matter of time before Eichel is moved out of town and the Sabres have to start over yet again.
St. Louis Blues
Rumour: Pierre LeBrun of TSN said on the latest edition of Insider Trading that the St. Louis Blues are open to trading Mike Hoffman and Tyler Bozak.
LeBrun on Insider Trading says the #STLBlues are open to selling pending UFAs. Mike Hoffman and Tyler Bozak are two names that LeBrun says could potentially be on the move.
— NHL Watcher (@NHL_Watcher) April 6, 2021
Analysis: Despite the Blues holding on to the fourth spot in a tough West Division, the team is open to trading their free-agent acquisition from the off-season in Mike Hoffman. The end appears to be near for Hoffman and the Blues as he was a healthy scratch for the second straight game. This season has not gone according to plan for either party, but what do you expect from a guy who is just a pure goal scorer. This is who the Blues signed. They knew as everyone else did is that goal scorers are streaky. They can be red hot or ice cold. And right now Hoffman is ice cold. However, a contending team can always use another goal scorer and a change of scenery could do wonders for Hoffman.
There were reports of Montreal trying to sign Hoffman in the off-season, with Brendan Gallagher out for at least six weeks, they have the cap space to bring him in. You have to wonder if Marc Bergevin circles back on him. The Canadiens could definitely use a player like that for sure. The real interesting player is Tyler Bozak. Bozak is great in the faceoff circle. And we know how much those guys are valued come playoff time. Bozak has been a good fit for the Blues since signing there. They might be hard-pressed to trade him away. But if they do, the team could get good value in return.
That does it for the late Thursday morning edition of NHL Rumours! Stay tuned for another edition tomorrow.
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