Welcome back to another edition of NHL Rumours from the crew at Last Word on Hockey. The regular season is now underway as the defending Stanley Cup Champions saw action against the Pittsburgh Penguins and the Seattle Kraken also saw action in their inaugural season. Despite the rosters being finalized, the rumours are continuing to swirl. Today, we look at rumours surrounding the New York Rangers, Chicago Blackhawks and the Philadelphia Flyers.
All NHL Rumours come from their original source and are subject to change.
New York Rangers
Rumour: According to Sportsnet’s Elliotte Freidman, the Rangers have given forward Vitali Kravtsov permission to talk to other clubs to discuss a possible trade.
Hearing NYR have given Vitali Kravtsov permission to contact other clubs in seek of a trade. Kravtsov did not make the Opening Day roster.
— Elliotte Friedman (@FriedgeHNIC) October 12, 2021
Analysis: Back-to-back years where a recent first round pick of the Rangers is looking to be dealt from the club. The Rangers dealt with the same situation last season, as Lias Anderson requested a trade and was eventually moved to the Los Angeles Kings. Now Kravtsov is looking to do the same.
Kravtsov is clearly unhappy with not making the opening night roster with the Rangers and declined to report to their AHL affiliate Hartford Wolfpack. So the Rangers are allowing the 21-year-old forward to search for an opportunity elsewhere. Kravtsov was a highly touted prospect, being selected ninth overall in the 2018 NHL Entry Draft. He ranked third on Ben Kerr’s list of top Rangers prospects. He’s an excellent player and extremely dangerous with the puck on his stick. However, the knock on Kravtsov is his play away from the puck. Very Alex Kovalev-esque, if you will.
The ask for Kravtsov at the moment isn’t quite clear. However, given the offensive talent from the youngster, the Rangers should not have much trouble moving the extremely skilled winger.
Analysis: In the article, Seravalli states that the club certainly doesn’t feel pressure to move Strome, nor are they unhappy with him. However, with the return of Jonathan Toews, Kirby Dach and the acquisition of Tyler Johnson, Strome looks to be on the outside looking in.
Strome had an excellent start when he joined the Blackhawks, scoring 17 goals and 51 points in 58 games. However, his production has been on a steady decline, scoring 38 points in 58 games in 2019-20 and just 17 points in 40 games last season. Now, Strome was skating as an extra and looks to be a healthy scratch to start the season, according to Seravalli.
Strome hasn’t quite lived up to being the third overall pick back in 2015. However, he proved that put in the right situation, he can produce. In the final year of his deal with a $3 million AAV, the Blackhawks shouldn’t have any trouble moving the young centre. We could see Strome flourish given a new opportunity.
Analysis: As LeBrun mentions, it is surprising to see such a prominent player decide to take this route. The Flyers captain is entering the final year of an eight-year deal signed back in 2013. He has played his entire career in Philadelphia since the club drafted him back in 2006. However, the 33-year-old forward is going to play out his contract and then see how he and the team feels about getting together to sign a new deal.
Giroux’s production has taken a dip over the last two seasons. After posting a career-high 102 points during the 2017-18 season and following that up with an 85 point campaign, Giroux has seen his production dip below the point per game pace he sustained from 2017 to 2019, scoring 53 points in 69 games in 2019-20 and 43 points in 54 games last season. This should be expected as Giroux is not on the wrong side of 30, however, still solid numbers for the veteran centre.
The issue is, what way are the Flyers looking to build their roster? The club missed the playoffs last season. If they end up missing again this year, they may look to start rebuilding. Both Sean Couturier and Joel Farabee‘s new deals kick in next season. According to capfriendly.com, the club has just over $12 million in cap space and only 13 players under contract. Only three of them being defencemen. It doesn’t leave much money to extend Giroux. Depending on how the season goes, both parties may look to go their separate ways.