NHL Rumors: Avalanche, Devils, Red Wings, More

In today’s NHL rumor rundown, there is news around the Colorado Avalanche, specifically Nathan MacKinnon and his next contract. There is also buzz surrounding Sami Vatanen’s availability out of New Jersey and news that the Detroit Red Wings might be shopping Andreas Athanasiou.

MacKinnon Willing to Take Less to Win

With the talk of Colorado being the favorite to land Taylor Hall at this point, the timing of recent comments made by star center Nathan MacKinnon seem fitting. Jordan Horrobin of Forbes writes that even though MacKinnon’s current deal doesn’t run out until 2023, he’s saying he’s willing to take less on his next deal to keep a strong team together.

Colorado Avalanche forward Nathan MacKinnon
Colorado Avalanche forward Nathan MacKinnon (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Considering many see his current deal as the most team-friendly in hockey, this speaks highly of him as a player who wants to win. “I was just excited to get paid that much money at such a young age,” MacKinnon said Wednesday. “Obviously it’s pretty (team) friendly now, but I was worth that at the time … I have no regrets.”

MacKinnon’s agent told TSN’s Darren Dreger:

He wants to win a Stanley Cup with the Avalanche and if the pieces are right and they are in place and his contract were expiring, then yeah perhaps he’d be willing to take less money, but what’s the salary cap going to look like at that point? If it’s $90-plus million, taking less might be going from $14 to $13 million or $13 million down to $11.5 million so there’s a lot of work to get done before that happens.”

When players like MacKinnon say these types of things, it makes the likelihood that a team like the Avalanche will look even harder at Hall knowing they might not be adding him just as a rental.

Related: Top Lines in Colorado Avalanche History

Sami Vatanen Available, On Golden Knights Radar?

Justin Emerson of The Las Vegas Sun suggests Sami Vantanen could become available out of New Jersey as the Devils’ season slips away and that he would be a good fit for the Vegas Golden Knights who have a pressing need on the blue line. Vatanen will become an unrestricted free agent next July.

New Jersey Devils Sami Vatanen
New Jersey Devils Sami Vatanen (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

Emerson points out that by adding Vatanen, the Golden Knights could shift Nate Schmidt or Shea Theodore back to the left side where they’re more comfortable. He could also skate on their second power-play unit.

The asking price could be draft picks or prospects, but Emerson points out that the Golden Knights don’t like to acquire rentals.

… while Vatanen is a free agent at the end of the year, they have some cap space this summer if they want to retain him. Or perhaps they go free-agent hunting for Pietrangelo or Tyson Barrie or any of the other options.

source -‘ Examining Sami Vatanen as a trade target for the Golden Knights’ – Las Vegas Sun – Justin Emerson – 12/04/2019

Related: Red Wings Rebuild: Three Years Into the Future

Time to Move Athansiou?

MLive’s Ansar Khan suggests that Detroit Red Wings GM Steve Yzerman could be reaching a point where he believes it’s time to move on Andreas Athanasiou. Athansiou is one of several wingers slated to become restricted free agents and he’s not contributing to the point the Red Wings would certainly want to re-sign him.

Andreas Athanasiou
Detroit Red Wings center Andreas Athanasiou celebrates (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

Detroit’s focus may be more on keeping Anthony Mantha and Tyler Bertuzzi and given Athanasiou’s struggles, a long-term deal seems unlikely. The issue is trading him now means moving him when his value is at its lowest.

Expect Yzerman to see what’s out there and if he can’t find value for the winger, the team will revisit the idea of a trade in the offseason.

Related: NHL Rumors: Coyotes, Hall News, Canadiens, Maple Leafs, More