In today’s NHL rumors rundown, there is talk the Anaheim Ducks are reluctantly taking calls on defenseman Josh Manson ahead of the trade deadline. What is the ask? The Edmonton Oilers are open to re-signing one of their goaltenders, while the Toronto Maple Leafs are still taking stock of their goaltending situation. The St. Louis Blues are open to moving a name like Mike Hoffman and the Philadelphia Flyers are listening to offers on Scott Laughton.
Oilers Open to Re-Signing Mike Smith
While a guest on Oilers Now with Bob Stauffer, Oilers general manager Ken Holland was asked about his thoughts on extending goaltender Mike Smith for another season. At 13-3-2 on the season, Smith has been exceptional for the team but there’s always a concern about his age and whether or not Edmonton wants to reinvest in someone who is 39 years old.
“He’s a big influence on where we are in the season,” Holland said. He then went on to add that he had multiple older players into their high thirties and some into the forties when he was the GM in Detroit and they did a lot of winning. Holland noted that he isn’t scared of age. “I don’t look at age, I look at how you play. If he keeps going what he’s going, why wouldn’t we want to do it again? He’s playing at a high level.”
Maple Leafs Still Calling Around on Goalies
Elliotte Friedman was a guest on NHL Now and touched on a few different teams. He suggested the Florida Panthers might take a big swing before the deadline because their players have earned it. He noted that the Arizona Coyotes will be an interesting team to watch considering no one expected them to be in a playoff spot, and he wonders if there will be first-round picks involved in rentals.
When it comes to the Maple Leafs, when asked how aggressively GM Kyle Dubas will pursue a goaltender, Friedman responded, “I think they’ve been doing their groundwork for some time now to figure out exactly they’ve got to do here.” He added:
“I think they’ve looked at some of Arizona’s guys, Raanta and Kuemper, I think they’ve looked at Ullmark from Buffalo. I believe they’ve looked Rittich from Calgary. I think they’ve called basically anybody that might have a goaltender available and said, what would we need to do or what would you be interested in?”
Friedman added that Frederik Andersen might have to go out in any trade because the Leafs just don’t have a ton of cap room. Andersen’s cash this year is $1 million because he was already paid a $4 million bonus. That could be intriguing for some teams.
As for what the Leafs might be looking to add for a forward, Dubas said:
“I think the emergence of Galchenyuk playing with John and William, both in terms of the fact he’s produced a little bit but in terms of how hard he’s playing and the effectiveness that he’s brought to the group, I think certainly reduces the urgency.”
Blues Open to Moving Mike Hoffman
Pierre LeBrun reported during on the most recent TSN Insider Trading segment that Blues GM Doug Armstrong is the type of general manager who doesn’t play around if he identifies an issue that needs to be addressed. This season, it’s the underwhelming play of some of his UFAs. LeBrun suggested the Blues are open to moving said pending free agents before the deadline, even though St. Louis is technically still battling for a playoff spot.
“We know from Doug Armstrong’s history that he’s not worried about trading pending UFAs when his team underachieves. He traded Kevin Shattenkirk at the deadline in ’17 despite being in a playoff spot, he traded Paul Stastny in Winnipeg in 2018 despite being a point out, and word is, talking to different teams around the league is that he’s open to moving some pending UFAs.”
LeBrun suggested Mike Hoffman would be one player who could be moved. Perhaps Tyler Bozak is another.
Ducks Taking Calls on Manson
LeBrun also reports that, as reluctant as the Ducks are to move defenseman Josh Manson, the team is listening to trade offers ahead of the deadline and would consider a deal based on where the Ducks are at in the standings. LeBrun does acknowledge the price is very high and teams are going to have to step up.
“We’re talking a top prospect and a first-round pick,” says the NHL insider. That he’s one of only a handful of high-profile right-shot defensemen available, along with his rugged style of play, Manson could become an attractive asset for teams heading into the playoffs.
Flyers Could Move Scott Laughton
Friedman noted as part of his 31 Thoughts column that the Flyers are listening to offers for Laughton. There hasn’t been much contract extension talk regarding the UFA forward and there are some teams that would be interested if Laughton became available.
Friedman said he could see the Pittsburgh Penguins with interest in the Flyers forward and there’s been chatter that Toronto has considered him as an option. If a deal with the Penguins is possible, Friedman does acknowledge that a third team might need to get involved considering the Flyers and Penguins aren’t likely trade partners.
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.”