In today’s NHL rumors rundown, is the health of the goaltenders in Toronto a huge concern for the Maple Leafs? One insider digs deeper on what general manager Kyle Dubas might do if Frederik Andersen’s recovery is not where it needs to be. Meanwhile, the Vancouver Canucks are making progress on an extension with Tanner Pearson while players from the Nashville Predators are moving down the trade bait board. The San Jose Sharks are open to adding salary at the deadline and are the Seattle Kraken playing a role in deadline deals? Finally, are the Montreal Canadiens still working on something?
Are Maple Leafs’ Worried About Health of Their Goaltenders?
TSN’s Darren Dreger was a guest on Overdrive and discussed concern that neither one of the Maple Leafs goaltenders are healthy — referring to in Andersen and Jack Campbell.” He does add that the organization isn’t concerned these are long-term injuries and there is an expectation Andersen will return to the ice soon.
Dreger did caution that the Leafs can’t go into the playoffs with Campbell and Michael Hutchinson as your one-two. He wonders if the team is at least having an internal discussions asking if there is a reason to improve the No. 3 goaltender. He doesn’t think there’s a heightened level of urgency to do anything, but the other hosts suggest the Maple Leafs are 12 days away from the roster being set. “If there’s a goaltender available that can give you a little more depth in that position, you have to look at it if you’re Toronto.”
Dreger added that if there’s no sign of Andersen by the 9th or 10th of April, the level of desperation likely changes for the general manager Kyle Dubas.
Tanner Pearson Negotiations Going Well
TSN’s Frank Seravalli reports that the Canucks are confident that something will get done on a Tanner Pearson contract extension and that both sides are optimistic. It could involve Pearson taking a little bit of a pay cut as that seems to be the way things are going this season and with the market trends.
The Canucks are doing everything they can to try and keep Pearson. Seravalli says the team has identified him as a “glue guy” in their room and he’s extremely close with captain Bo Horvat. They want to get a deal taken care of before the deadline.
Predators Players Being Move Down Trade Bait Board
Seravalli also notes that Predators players who were rumored to be moved before the trade deadline may no longer be moved based on the recent run by Nashville and the poor play by the Chicago Blackhawks. With the Predators now in the fourth playoff spot in their division, names like Mattias Ekholm have slid down the board, with other players like David Savard taking his place.
General manager David Poile wants to give his team as much of a chance to make the playoffs as possible and the organization could wait until the very last minute to decide on moving their tradeable assets.
Sharks Open to Adding Salary in Trades
Pierre LeBrun reports in his latest piece for The Athletic that the San Jose Sharks are letting teams know that they’re willing to take on money as long as it comes with another asset or two in the process. He notes:
“The Sharks have more than $6 million in cap space and are seeking to leverage that into an asset or two. Keep an eye on them potentially being that third team in a complicated cap deal to facilitate trades.source – ‘LeBrun: How the Kraken are impacting the NHL trade deadline and why the Flyers could add a goalie’ – Pierre LeBrun – The Athletic – 03/31/2021
Canadiens Working on Another Deal
LeBrun notes that we shouldn’t be surprised if the Canadiens make another move before the deadline, one to specifically clear out salary cap space. He also notes that the Canadiens might have been working on another deal on the same day they acquired Staal from the Buffalo Sabres.
He suggests that other move either fell through or got put on hold and says, “I think a lot of the teams talking to Montreal seem to want to wait closer to April 12 to make a decision.” Artturi Lehkonen is a name to watch as he’s RFA after the season, 25 years old and could draw some interest from other teams.
Kraken Starting to Play Role in Deadline Deals
LeBrun also notes that Seattle Kraken GM Ron Francis is becoming a popular man as the deadline rolls around. He writes, “Sources around the league say some teams are trying to feel him out to see what his price might be to appease some protection list issues ahead of the July expansion draft.”
The reason is because teams are worried that any additional assets they pick up — and spend a lot to acquire — could be plucked off the team by the Kraken at the NHL Expansion Draft. Those teams are calling Seattle first and trying to work out a deal where the Kraken either agree not to take the player they just traded for, or offer an asset to ensure Francis takes someone they’d be willing to lose.
What is the cost to do this? Apparently, Francis is letting teams know that Seattle wants a first-round pick and a prospect and maybe another piece to be told which way to look during the expansion draft.
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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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