NHL Rumors: Flyers, Marner and Matthews, Quick, More

In today’s rumor rundown, there is news out of Philadelphia with a new GM ready to roll. The Toronto Maple Leafs will refocus their efforts on the Marner and Matthews contracts and there is speculation out of LA that the Kings might be willing to move their top goaltender if the season falls apart on them.

Flyers Getting Down to Business

TSN’s Bob McKenzie said on Insider Trading that newly appointed GM of the Philadelphia Flyers will make his first priority getting the Flyers back into the playoffs this year. That means the team will need to make adjustments and there could be some moves coming. That said, McKenzie said to expect moves within reason.

McKenzie said:

“That’s true to a certain degree, but don’t expect Chuck Fletcher to come in and start trading first-round picks or a prospect like Morgan Frost for immediate short-term help to try and get himself in the playoffs. … No. 1 is maybe finding a short-term fix in net. The goaltending hasn’t been good enough. And it could be a short-term but might even be a longer-term fix… The other one would be giving Dave Hakstol, the head coach, a fair amount of time for evaluation. Fans and media wanted this guy fired before Hextall. He needs to have the opportunity now to get something done.”

It is expected the Flyers will look at “in-house solutions” first and AHL defenseman Philippe Myers or goaltender Anthony Stolarz could get some time with the big club. Should that not work, expect Fletcher to explore the trade market.

Could defenseman Shayne Gostibehere may be a piece that gets moved out? If not Gostibehere, perhaps Travis Sanheim? Gotisbehere already noted that Fletcher met with the entire team and told them the game plan is to start winning games. He was positive about it but the sense was that if the team didn’t start winning, things might change.

Related: NHL Rumors: Zuccarello, Kovalchuk, Seattle Franchise, More

What Happens With the “Big Three” in Toronto?

With the William Nylander deal now done, McKenzie also said the Toronto Maple Leafs will now turn their attention to pending restricted free agents Auston Matthews and Mitch Marner. McKenzie believes that Maple Leafs would like to get those negotiations going right away with both players.

Mitch Marner - Toronto Maple Leafs
Mitch Marner. Photo taken by Katie Whitty.

The question becomes, who goes first and who goes last? McKenzie believes neither wants to be the first to sign because the second player would like to see what the first gets in his deal. It’s not dissimilar to the concern Nylander had by being the first to sign and undervaluing himself. The trick is, someone has to be first otherwise the Maple Leafs have two more players sitting out after this season.

The only saving grace for Toronto would be if players like Mikko RantanenBrayden PointPatrik Laine signed first with their respective teams. But, even then, that could be risky because if the Avs, Lightning or Jets overpay, Marner and Matthews can use those players as a benchmark for their deals. 

Related: NHL Rumors: Muzzin, Simmonds, Fletcher, Oilers, More

Nylander Promised He Won’t Be Traded

Right after Nylander signed, some speculation was that he’d stay with Toronto and be moved next season or the season after. Dave Feschuk of The Toronto Star is reporting, that according to Nylander, a trade won’t be happening.

Toronto Maple Leafs centre William Nylander
Toronto Maple Leafs centre William Nylander (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn)

“Kyle has told me multiple times that as long as he’s here, he’s not going to trade me,” Nylander said Monday. But NBC analyst Pierre McGuire said a promise isn’t worth much. McGuire says, “Unless it’s written on paper, it doesn’t really count.” He used Demar DeRozan’s trade in Toronto as a perfect example of how a GM will do what needs to be done to improve their team.

Technically, Nylander’s no-trade doesn’t kick in until the last year of his deal, so up to that point, he can be moved.

TSN analyst Ray Ferraro said if Dubas has made that promise, it’s a mistake.  Ferraro explains:

“My first thought (after hearing Nylander’s comment) was nobody should say that to anybody. Because you just don’t know. What if a trade comes up that is incredibly attractive for Toronto and the other team says, ‘We want Nylander to be a part of that package.’ Then what do you do?”

source – ‘Leafs GM’s promise to Nylander could be as good as the next trade offer’ – Dave Feschuk – The Star – 12/04/2018

Jonathan Quick a Trade Asset?

Lisa Dillman of The Athletic writes that Jonathan Quick could be a trade piece out of Los Angeles despite him being one of the keys to turn the Kings season around.

Jonathan Quick - LA Kings
Jonathan Quick #32, Los Angeles Kings – December 18, 2017 (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Dillman writes:

If the Kings are far enough outside a playoff spot at the trading deadline, is Quick a chip they could conceivably deal? The better he plays, the greater return would be in a possible trade. The Kings like what they have coming in the goalie pipeline and have been satisfied with the performances of both Jack Campbell and Cal Petersen thus far this season.

source – “Is Jonathan Quick the key to a Kings’ rebound or a potential trade piece?” – Lisa Dillman – The Athletic – 12/03/2018

It seems unlikely the Kings would trade him but at the same time, he’ll attract plenty of interest and a potentially strong return considering he lacks no-trade protection on his $5.8-million annual cap hit through 2022-23 is fair.