NHL Rumors: Panarin, Hakstol, the Roster Freeze, More

In today’s rumor rundown, NHL trade talk is picking up just a couple days out from the roster freeze and there are at least three or four teams leading the way in terms of trade rumors. There were reports the Flyers were planning on switching coaches and there are two teams looking at Artemi Panarin in terms of a free agent signing.

Talk Before the Roster Freeze

Bob McKenzie was on TSN 690 and said that GMs are telling him there is more trade talk going on leading up to the holiday roster freeze on December 19, 2018, than ever before. The Los Angeles Kings, St. Louis Blues, Chicago Blackhawks and the Philadelphia Flyers are the teams making the most noise and most likely to make a move.

Jeff Carter, Anze Kopitar - LA Kings
(Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports)

If your name isn’t Drew Doughty or Anze Kopitar, you could be had in trade out of Los Angeles. That includes players like Jake Muzzin, Jeff Carter and Tyler Toffoli.

The Blues are also ready to talk about anyone from Vladimir Tarasenko to Alex Pietrangelo. McKenzie said, “These guys are all ears because they can’t afford not to be.”

Related: NHL Rumors: Burakovsky, Hakstol, Tarasenko, More

Panarin Being Targeted By Chicago and New York?

During the 31 Thoughts podcast that dropped on December 13, 2018, Elliotte Friedman suggested that the New York Rangers and Chicago Blackhawks might be two teams interested in Artemi Panarin when free agency opens up this summer.

Artemi Panarin, Columbus Blue Jackets
The Blackhawks moved Panarin in the midst of cap issues. (Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports)

John Dietz of the Daily Herald also notes that the Blackhawks are planning to target Panarin this summer and that Chicago wants to put a stop to the bleeding as soon as possible.

The Rangers see Panarin as way to speed up their rebuild and a good piece to build around so they’re fine with the high-ticket price tag that will come with signing him and with the names rumored to be shipped out of New York over the next couple months, should have plenty of room on their salary cap to make a pitch.

Related: NHL Rumors: Kapanen, Carter, Hurricanes, Blues, More

Flyers to Replace Hakstol With Quenneville Report on Pause

A report came out on Sunday that suggested the Philadelphia Flyers had reportedly decided to fire Dave Hakstol as their head coach and are hire Joel Quenneville. That report was first released by Dave Isaac of the Courier-Post. Another report came out Darren Dreger that nothing had been decided and the situation was still being updated.

The latest is that Joel Quenneville himself has denied the rumor and multiple media outlets are suggesting as of now, Hakstol is still the coach and there is no change happening. One report read, “As of right now this second, Dave Hakstol is still the coach of the Philadelphia Flyers. I’m now hearing Quenneville is OUT, which is the opposite of what I heard last night.”

Anthony SanFilippo reported that the announcement of a new head coach may be delayed but if they fire Hakstol today there could be an interim coach for Tuesday. As of this writing, Hakstol was not on the ice for the Flyers practice on Monday morning.

Related: NHL Rumor Shootdown: Nugent-Hopkins, Marner Moves Unlikely

Sabres Unlikely To Pursue Rentals

The Buffalo Sabres have been one of the surprises of the NHL season so far but their spot near the top of the Eastern Conference hasn’t cemented them as buyers at this year’s NHL trade deadline. In fact, it is being reported that the Sabres may not do much in terms of acquiring rental players for a playoff run.

GM Jason Botterill doesn’t appear to be inclined to deviate from his long-term plan and will only trade for players with term or contracts the organization can control beyond this season.  That means that if the Sabres are going to trade one of their three first-round draft picks this summer, the player coming back will be of significance to the team going forward.