In today’s Rumor Rundown we take a look at the inevitable addition on the blue line for the Toronto Maple Leafs, if they have an option internally and how soon they might make a move. Meanwhile, the Vancouver Canucks are also in the news and most of it stems from what’s going on with defenceman Erik Gudbranson.
What’s the latest on Joffrey Lupul and his mysterious Instagram post? Why doesn’t Columbus have a deal in place with Josh Anderson yet and what’s the word on Jaromir Jagr to the KHL?
Leafs Blue Line Hunting
Gord Miller and Dave Poulin of TSN were discussing the situation on the Toronto Maple Leafs blue line and whether or not they needed to go shopping for some help before the 2017-18 regular season begins. Miller was on the fence, thinking it was 50/50 and that if they were, in fact, looking for help, a young forward might be headed the other way. Part of the issue in Toronto is the lackluster play of defenceman Martin Marincin who hasn’t shown well in preseason so far.
Both hosts discussed possible trade partners and while the Los Angeles Kings were brought up, neither believed the Kings make for a good fit as their assets for trade don’t match what the Leafs might need. Miller suggested the Anaheim Ducks but again, with serious injuries to Sami Vatanen and Hampus Lindholm the Ducks don’t make a lot of sense.
Perhaps the most realistic option would be the Leafs looking to a team like the Vegas Golden Knights who have a backlog of viable defensive players on the roster and will need to ship out a few one-way contracts before the start of the year.
Lance Hornby of the Toronto Sun reports Roman Polak, is an option for the Leafs internally. Right now Polak is at the team’s training camp on a professional tryout (PTO) and could be an option in the bottom pair. Hornby believes that if the Leafs do look outside the organization the “defensive upgrade that most see inevitable via trade could come sooner than later by cashing in one of their forwards for a veteran.”
Erik Gudbranson’s Situation
After recently being involved in the trade discussions with the Florida Panthers for defenceman Jason Demers, there are eyes watching how Erik Gudbranson does this season in Vancouver. A good season could mean a healthy contract extension while a bad one could put him on the first bus out of town.
— Sportsnet (@Sportsnet) September 18, 2017
Gudbranson hasn’t had a chance to show a whole lot in Vancouver so the Canucks aren’t 100 percent sure what they have in the player yet. In his one season in Vancouver, he played only 30 games and scored a single goal and five assists with a plus-minus -14 rating. It is this uncertainty that led to a one-year extension this offseason. Jason Brough of The AthleticNHL reports:
‘the first three months of the 2017-18 season may very well determine Erik Gudbranson’s future with the Vancouver Canucks. If he plays well, a long-term contract extension could be signed early in the new year. If, on the other hand, he doesn’t play well, Canucks management could be facing another P.R. nightmare.’
(Jason Brough, The AthleticNHL, “Canucks could be in tricky situation with defenceman Erik Gudbranson,” Sept. 19, 2017)
After blasting the Maple Leafs for “cheating” on the physical exam results that are keeping him out of the NHL, Joffrey Lupul has since deleted his social media post and apologized for what he called a lack of good judgment and frustration that he’s been out of action for so long.
Nick Kypreos, Elliotte Friedman and Darren Millard spoke about the dramatic situation in Toronto and Kypreos suggested that if Lupul believes he has a legitimate beef, he should file a grievance with the NHL Player’s Association. The deadline to do so is Thursday at 5 pm Eastern. Friedman followed that up by wondering if maybe the Leafs will go ask him to see a doctor just to get a second opinion on Lupul’s health.
Lupul himself said that he would not privately seek a second opinion.
Friedman also reported that any trade for Matt Duchene will likely not include Josh Anderson. The Blue Jackets went out of their way to ensure Anderson couldn’t be picked up by Vegas in the NHL Expansion Draft and word is the Blue Jackets have already turned down a trade scenario that would require Andreson going the other way.
Jaromir Jagr to KHL
It appears unless something shakes loose by October 5, Jagr is headed to the KHL. He has a deal in place and is just waiting to make sure no NHL team comes in with a final offer.
Neftekhimik's GM (Yakupov's father) says they're in talks with Jagr's representatives. Assures that they have enough money to sign him #KHL
— Igor Eronko (@IgorEronko) September 19, 2017
Jim Parsons is a senior THW freelance writer, part-time journalist and audio/video host who lives, eats, sleeps and breathes NHL news and rumors, while also writing features on the Edmonton Oilers. He’s been a trusted source for five-plus years at The Hockey Writers, but more than that, he’s on a mission to keep readers up to date with the latest NHL rumors and trade talk. Jim is a daily must for readers who want to be “in the know.”