In today’s NHL news and rumors, the developments coming out of Vancouver and for players who have tested positive for the COVID-virus are not good. Meanwhile, Kyle Palimieri’s stock is rising just ahead of the NHL Trade Deadline. The Calgary Flames are likely to become sellers after another loss and which forwards are the New York Islanders connected to in trade rumors? Finally, who are the Edmonton Oilers willing to move and who are they targeting?
Canucks Covid Situation Not Good
Reports coming out of Vancouver are that eight players have been affected by the recent COVID-19 test results but more could follow. Five regulars – Alexander Edler, Braden Holtby, Quinn Hughes, Zack MacEwen, and Antoine Roussel — have joined Adam Gaudette and Travis Hamonic on the Covid Protocol list. The eighth player is a member of the Canucks taxi squad.
** Update: There are now 14 players on the COVID Protocol list from the Canucks: Travis Boyd; Thatcher Demko; Alex Edler; Adam Gaudette; Travis Hamonic; Jayce Hawyrluk; Braden Holtby; Bo Horvat; Quinn Hughes; Zack MacEwen; Tyler Motte; Tyler Myers; Antoine Roussel; Brandon Sutter.
That’s already bad news. The worse news is that the number is expected to grow. TSN’s Darren Dreger reports more positive cases were identified on Friday night and a Brazilian variant of the virus has been identified in some of the players. Several of the players that have tested positive are quite ill. Farhan Lalji of TSN reports, “I’m also being told that in some cases team medical staff may have gone to the homes of players to administer IV treatments.”
Chris Johnston of Sportsnet writes:
“As the scope of the Canucks COVID situation widens, they are starting to bring players back to Vancouver from the AHL. They need reinforcements to serve seven-day quarantines and be ready to play when their NHL schedule resumes.”
Palmieri Upping His Trade Value
Palmieri’s stock is rising among interested teams at this year’s deadline according to a report by NHL.com. That means, should the Devils want to re-sign him, he’s unlikely to budge on his ask. If the Devils want to trade him, the return will be higher after he scored his fourth goal in his past seven games. Palmieri is starting to produce at just the right time. He’s still only got eight goals in 34 games this season, but he’s a consistent 20-goal guy and his recent run is showing he’s not lost that reputation to produce.
Among the parties rumored to be interested are the Islanders and the Boston Bruins. The Islanders are looking to replace Anders Lee (season-ending injury) and the Bruins are looking for scoring beyond their top line of David Pastrnak, Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand. The Bruins may be the leader here as they’ve seen how good he can be. Palmieri has scored five goals in six games against Boston this season.
Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy admitted they could use the help. He said, “Offensively, we’re not built to outscore teams.”
Related: NHL Rumors: Oilers, Panthers, Maple Leafs, Penguins, More
Islanders Connected to Other Forwards
While Palmieri might be on the Islanders list, he’s not the only player. Arthur Staple of The Athletic also noted Columbus Blue Jackets captain Nick Foligno, Buffalo Sabres forward Taylor Hall, and Los Angeles Kings winger Dustin Brown have been linked to the Islanders.
Staple suggests that Hall is not at the top of GM Lou Lamoriello’s list, especially considering the asking price of a first-round pick. As for Foligno and Brown, Staple writes:
Foligno is a pending unrestricted free agent who might even consider signing with Columbus in the offseason after a trade, though that scenario always ends up far more rarely occurring than people speculate. Brown has another year on his deal at $5.88 million, a prohibitive number for the Islanders next season. If the Kings have any hope of making a serious run at the last West playoff spot, they’ll keep Brown for sure.source – ‘What we’re hearing about the Islanders with 10 days until the 2021 NHL trade deadline’ Arthur Staple – The Athletic – 04/02/2021
Expect Flames to Become Sellers, Watch For Bennett to Be Moved
With their loss to the Oilers on Friday evening, the Flames have now made it very difficult to claw their way back into playoff contention. The end of the regular season isn’t far off and the team ahead of Calgary in the standings is the Montreal Canadiens who hold five games in hand.
As such, many are expecting the team will begin looking at selling assets over the next few days. Sportsnet’s Eric Francis believes plenty of teams could line up to make a pitch for forward Sam Bennett, who earlier this season was looking to be moved by the organization.
Oilers Needs vs. Moveable Assets
Sportsnet’s Mark Spector took a look at what the Oilers will need heading into the NHL Trade Deadline and offered up a few names the team might be willing to ship out to get it. He suggests Dmitry Samorukov, Caleb Jones or Ethan Bear (if the return was right) could be moved if the Oilers can land a depth center or top-six winger.
The same names keep popping up. Luke Glendening out of Detroit and Brandon Sutter out of Vancouver tend to be at the forefront of any discussion. Spector also wonders if Ryan Dzingel might be an interesting fit for the Oilers.
In other Oilers news, the team has placed forward Joakim Nygard on waivers on Saturday, according to the NHL’s official release. Nygard has yet to register a point in six games this season with the Oilers, he also has four penalty minutes and has a minus-1 rating.