In a way, it feels like a lot more of the same even though there are developments with players everyone has been keeping an eye on.
Sportsnet insider and all-around respected hockey analyst Elliotte Friedman posted a recent edition of his very popular “31 Thoughts” column and in it, he lays out some pretty juicy tidbits for folks who love NHL rumors. Covering everything from a Matt Duchene for P.K Subban trade to player attitudes heading into the season, Friedman explains his feelings regarding a number of topics.
At the same time, other trusted hockey analysts like Pierre LeBrun are asking why the Colorado Avalanche would want this kind of trade distraction heading into the start of an NHL season?
If you're the Avs, why do you want this kind of distraction to linger? Make your best trade and move on https://t.co/XvL6VuAg4x
— Pierre LeBrun (@PierreVLeBrun) September 14, 2017
The Matt Duchene/Avs Marriage Is Over
Friedman believes a deal between the Colorado Avalanche and Columbus Blue Jackets is close. More importantly, Duchene believes a deal out of Colorado is close, even though he doesn’t know exactly where that means he’ll end up. Duchene spoke of having a new identity coming into this season and he is looking forward to being the best version of himself he can be regardless of what team’s jersey he’s wearing.
It is believed if the deal with the Blue Jackets comes through, the Avs will have to either accept a deal they aren’t thrilled about or the Jackets will need to offer more. The former seems more likely.
The consensus seems to be that general manager Joe Sakic messed this impending trade deal up by asking for far too much when he had multiple teams interested. Sakic’s unwillingness to part with Duchene for anything less than the moon and stars has now backfired, limiting the options. Since Duchene has reported to camp but also told reporters he will not answer trade questions and is merely at camp in support of his teammates, it is looking more and more like Duchene is not planning on playing another game for the Avs this season.
Darren Dreger reported that he’s not sure where things sit with the Avs and Duchene either. He does, however, think there are more teams in play than just the Blue Jackets.
I can’t excuse the possibility of Montreal having still a fair bit of interest in Duchene. Nashville told me yesterday that they haven’t talked to Colorado in quite some time – a long time, is what I was told from the Preds’ management. You look at the Columbus Blue Jackets as a potential fit for Duchene as well, but why wouldn’t Montreal still have some interest. The rumor and the connection has been there over the past several months. Well if they do still have some interest, then obviously Bergevin and the Habs have the flexibility to make that work.
Dreger also added, “What Sakic, I’m told, wanted on the draft floor was a left-shot young defenseman, plus, plus, and maybe plus. And he just couldn’t get that.”
Golden Knights Need Time
There are 11 one-way defense contracts on the Vegas Golden Knights roster and teams are calling about the availability of the overflow that is bound to make its way out of Vegas. Still, George McPhee doesn’t seem to be in a rush to move these contracts and has been letting rival general managers know that he’s still evaluating what he has before deciding who to move.
Trades are inevitable with the team and it’s only a matter of time, but the likelihood that Shea Theodore, Nate Schmidt or Colin Miller are moved are slim.
The Zetterberg Oops
Henrik Zetterberg recently conducted an interview with a Swedish news outlet and in that news report, it was posted that Zetterberg said he didn’t think he’d play more than two years in Detroit before calling it quits. That stirred up some issues within the fan base and the Red Wings organization as Zetterberg has four years remaining on his contract and that could pose issues for the organization if the player chooses to call it a career in the NHL earlier than expected.
Zetterberg did a follow-up interview in an attempt to clarify his statements and noted that it was his intention to finish the four remaining years, but that he needed to see how his health was holding up as he reached the final stages of his time as a player with the Red Wings. He believed his statements were taken out of context and his desire is to complete all four years with the team.
It isn’t known whether or not this is Zetterberg honestly believing he wants to finish all of his committed years or if the organization advised the player to squash speculation before it got out of hand.
Iginla Being Picky
Michael Traikos is reporting that while one of the great players in NHL history, Jarome Iginla has not found a home yet because the veteran forward is being selective. Among those teams it is believed he’s holding out for an offer from are the Edmonton Oilers, Calgary Flames and Pittsburgh Penguins.
There is a slight issue for Iginla in that no one is in a rush to sign a 40-year-old winger who only produced 27 points in 80 games. All three teams might be looking to see what they have internally before committing to Iginla and that could mean signing later in the season instead of prior to camp.
Iginla is not the only one looking for work. Jaromir Jagr, Juri Hudler and Brian Gionta are still playing the waiting game.
Jim Parsons is a freelance writer who covers the Edmonton Oilers and news and rumors posts here at The Hockey Writers.
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