It’s time for another edition of our NHL rumours. Media outlets are putting out their big board of trade bait with less than a month to go before the March 21 trade deadline. Teams are trying to stockpile players for a Stanley Cup push. However, some are trying to stockpile picks to plan for the future. The deadline is where championships can be won. Today’s NHL rumours focus on the Toronto Maple Leafs, Arizona Coyotes and Chicago Blackhawks.
All NHL rumours come from the original source and are subject to change.
Toronto Maple Leafs
Rumour: Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman appeared on the Jeff Marek Show and he said Toronto isn’t done making moves.
— Sportsnet 590 The FAN (@FAN590) February 21, 2022
Analysis: Toronto did make a minor trade getting Carter Hutton from Arizona. However, Friedman alludes to something bigger in the pipeline. What will be General Manager Kyle Dubas’ focus? Will he try to add some depth and toughness at the bottom of the lineup? Could he focus on bolstering the defence that’s been inconsistent at the bottom pairs?
The loss to the rival Montreal Canadiens may have answered that question as Justin Holl struggled. Toronto has strong offensive players, but may have to run into the high-powered Tampa Bay Lightning or the Florida Panthers in the Atlantic Division first round.
The Leafs don’t want another opening-round exit and they will do everything they can to get the monkey off their back. However, Dubas doesn’t want to give up the first-rounder or some of his higher-end prospects.
Rumour: The Athletic’s Big Board 2.0 came out and Coyotes defencemab Jakob Chychrun was at the top of the list.
The NHL trading deadline is a month away; here's our Trade Board 2.0, adding a few names, subtracting a few others, and of course, we lost No. 21 from the original list, because Tyler Toffoli was moved to Calgary last week: https://t.co/DrkAV7kZU7
— Eric Duhatschek (@eduhatschek) February 21, 2022
Analysis: The Coyotes know they can get a haul for the former first-round pick. He’s a coveted asset because he’s young (23) and has a manageable cap hit of $4.5 million until the end of the 2024-25 season. Landing Chychrun wouldn’t be a rental and it would be a pure hockey trade.
Arizona is going to have to play it close to the vest considering they’ll be playing in a 5,000-seat arena for the next three seasons. No one on the Coyotes’ roster will be untouchable and they’ll operate close to the salary cap floor. The young defenceman will net them picks, prospects and likely some low-cost players.
The main worry is no one has met the asking price to make a trade. One executive in The Athletic’s big board breakdown said they won’t pursue him because of the struggles in his own end. Chychrun will get his points, but needs to play up to his size.
Rumour: Mark Lazerus of The Athletic reports that the Blackhawks want to try to hold onto Brandon Hagel.
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— Mark Lazerus (@MarkLazerus) February 19, 2022
Analysis: Chicago is in the middle of a disappointing campaign, but management would like to keep Hagel. The Daily Faceoff’s Frank Seravalli said the 23-year-old is drawing interest from teams. However, interim general manager Kyle Davidson knows what he has in the young forward.
Hagel has a team-friendly deal at $1.5 million for the next two seasons. He’s done pretty much anything that the Hawks have asked him. The winger can move up and down the lineup and fill multiple roles. Hagel can be a complimentary scorer on the first two lines or can be the motor guy on the bottom six. He’s able to squeeze every ounce of skill out and he’s endeared himself to the Chicago faithful.
Davidson may be tempted to get that first-round pick lost in the Seth Jones trade. However, there are other unrestricted free agents like Marc-Andre Fleury, Calvin de Haan and Andrew Shaw. Chicago has a couple of seasons to carve out a well-deserved raise for Hagel, who has earned that payday and then some.