NHL Rumours: Toronto Maple Leafs, Anaheim Ducks, Chicago Blackhawks

NHL Rumours, Hampus Lindholm

It’s Wednesday and we’ve got more NHL rumours for you. The trade deadline is coming soon and teams are making moves for the big day. We’ll have plenty of NHL rumours until then even more continuing after too. Today’s rumours feature the Toronto Maple Leafs, Anaheim Ducks, and Chicago Blackhawks.

NHL Rumours

Chicago Blackhawks

Rumour: TSN’s Darren Dreger reported on Insider Trading that there is growing interest in Chicago’s Brandon Hagel. He noted that if he were to move it would be for a first-round pick and another piece. Hagel does have two more years after this on his contract at a very cheap $1.5 million.

Analysis: The 23-year-old would also be an RFA after his contract is up, meaning the team buying him would control his rights still too. That is a huge reason a player who may not be generally thought of as someone who would go for a first is fetching this potential return. Hagel is a really underrated player for the Blackhawks. He currently has 31 points in 51 games but is also one of their best players from a possession standpoint.

His solid underlying numbers make him an outlier on a team that struggles to control possession. He is similar to when the Tampa Bay Lightning picked up Barclay Goodrow and Blake Coleman for first-rounders. However, Hagel may even be a better player than both, especially Goodrow. Regardless, it is not a guarantee he gets moved as this is the exact type of player you try and draft. He is also young enough that even if the Hawks retool for a few years he’d still be around 26 or so when they want to be good again. It’s something to keep an eye on.

Anaheim Ducks

Rumour: Daily Faceoff’s Frank Seravalli is reporting that Hampus Lindholm is on top of a lot of teams’ trade target lists for this deadline. He has jumped up to number one on Daily Faceoff’s trade bait list. He also mentions that term has been the sticking point with further contract talks between him and the Anaheim Ducks.

Analysis: The Ducks are at a really interesting spot. Having a surprising start to the season thanks to breakouts from the likes of Troy Terry and Trevor Zegras, expectations started to grow. However, they have recently cooled down and now have some major decisions to make. Lindholm, Josh Manson, Rickard Rakell, and Ryan Getzlaf are all major UFA’s. If they were to move all of them they could get a haul in return and quickly push forward a rebuild. However, some also wonder if they want to keep some players for the long-term as veteran leadership too.

Getzlaf would make sense to keep but the other three could really fetch a good return. Lindholm isn’t what he used to be but is still a very useful defenceman. Any team looking for a solid second-pair guy would be smart to call Anaheim on him. And with the severe lack of good defencemen available, the Ducks could try and create a bidding war.

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Toronto Maple Leafs

Rumour: Also on TSN’s Insider Trading, it was reported that the Toronto Maple Leafs are expecting Jake Muzzin to return in about a month. This isn’t trade news but could affect their plans for the deadline.

Analysis: Muzzin is dealing with another concussion which can be very tough to predict a return. However, if it is indeed a month, that would be well before the end of the season. The regular season is set to finish on April 31st and a month would see him return around mid-April. The reason this is such a big deal is it means they likely wouldn’t be able to use Muzzin’s cap space to add another player.

The Leafs will be looking to buy still, but if Muzzin was expected to be out until the playoffs, they could have used his entire cap hit to go and get another player. It would have opened the possibility of adding a player such as Claude Giroux or someone else with a larger cap hit. However, they may be looking for someone a little cheaper if Muzzin is expected back.

The other question this raises is should they add more defensive depth or look for a second-line left-winger? Nick Robertson is playing there currently and some believe it is to showcase him for a trade. Regardless, he has looked pretty solid on the line, already having scored a goal. As we get closer to the deadline we will have a better picture of the cap room each team has to work with. Until then, all we can do is guess.

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