In today’s NHL rumors rundown, why did the Washington Capitals decide to move on from Jakub Vrana? Meanwhile, was Anthony Mantha in the Detroit Red Wings’ doghouse? The Edmonton Oilers didn’t take any big trade deadline swings, but the Winnipeg Jets did. Why didn’t each team do more? The Toronto Maple Leafs had intense conversations about a different forward before adding Nick Foligno and how likely is a Taylor Hall extension with the Boston Bruins?
Capitals Moved a Frustrated Vrana
The Capitals and Red Wings pulled off the arguably biggest trade on Monday, but what led to the decision by Detroit to move on from Anthony Mantha. Furthermore, why were the Capitals open to giving up such a large haul, including Vrana?
Capitals general manager Brian MacLellan was very open about the deal and hinted that the team needed to move Vrana off the Capitals roster because body language suggested the player was frustrated and a tug of war with the coaching staff made it clear it was best to move on.
There was also the issue of his pending restricted free agency and that the team felt it better to have the cost certainty associated to Mantha’s contract. Interestingly, Elliotte Friedman said during his 31 Thoughts podcast that Mantha was also in the doghouse a bit with the Red Wings.
Bruins On Hall Extension
As part of his 31 Thoughts column, Friedman reports that Hall was adamant about joining the Bruins because he’s hoping it turns into a long-lasting relationship that goes well beyond this season. Hall was traded just before Monday’s trade deadline and speculation is that he shot down other trade options, forcing the Buffalo Sabres’ hand — as was well within his rights based on his contract.
When it came to what the Bruins paid for Hall, Bruins’ writer Conor Ryan notes that GM Don Sweeny was not open to trading a first-round pick and was able to use a second to get the deal done. Sweeney noted, “The market dictates a lot of times what you have to give up.” Joe Haggerty reports that Sweeney commented on a possible contract extension: “It comes down to success and fitting in. I think the proof will be in the results.”
As for other teams who were interested in Hall, the New York Islanders, Vegas Golden Knights and St. Louis Blues seemed the strongest pursuers beside the Bruins.
Oilers Didn’t Talk to Third Team
Speaking of Hall, Edmonton Oilers general manager Ken Holland wouldn’t comment directly on another player, but it sounds obvious he didn’t make a push to acquire Hall at the deadline. He noted that he was never in conversation with a third team to help broker a bigger deal and suggested the Oilers looked at a few other things but the prices reflected how much (or how little) he did.
According to reports, the Oilers had an interest in defenseman Patrik Nemeth before he was traded to the Colorado Avalanche.
Ekholm Extension in Nashville
One player who didn’t move was Nashville Predators defenseman Mattias Ekholm. Some speculated that GM David Poile might have decided to wait until after the NHL Expansion Draft now that the Predators are in a playoff spot. That said, new reports are that Poile intends to speak with Ekholm following this season about a contract extension, “not whether we want to trade him.”
He indicated he would not lose Ekholm in the expansion draft and it sounds like the desire to move the veteran blueliner has gone away.
Jets Took Big Swings Before Deadline
Jets GM Kevin Cheveldayoff noted during this post-deadline media avail that he tried to do more than add just Jordie Benn but the trades just weren’t there. Reports are they asked about Columbus Blue Jackets defenseman Vladislav Gavrikov and kicked the tires on Arizona Coyotes defenseman Alex Goligoski.
Cheveldayoff said the Jets “tried to do a few things that might have been big swings. But the players we targeted didn’t move.” Friedman says, they considered one very big deal, but ultimately decided they didn’t like the price and that whatever they were looking at was going to be expensive.
Maple Leafs Had Conversations About Conor Garland
The Leafs considered Coyotes winger Conor Garland before acquiring Nick Foligno from the Blue Jackets. While Friedman doesn’t think they were ever close on landing the forward, he said the Leafs had “intense” conversations about the player and got as far as talking to the Coyotes about a potential deal.
Joshua Kloke notes that the Maple Leafs GM Kyle Dubas said that they would like to get Rodion Amirov to North America as soon as possible.
Flames Unable to Move Derek Ryan
Pat Steinberg of the Fan690 believe that the Calgary Flames were looking to move pending UFA Derek Ryan before the deadline. Unfortunately, there wasn’t really a market for him.
It could have been a cost related issue as Ryan older at 34, at $3.125 million cap hit and he’s six points in 24 games. If the goal for a team was to land a third-line two-way center, there were less expensive options out there.
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.”