NHL Rumors: Skinner, Kovalchuk, Rangers, Avs, More

In today’s NHL rumors, there are updates on the status of Jeff Skinner’s contract in Buffalo and questions about what to do if he doesn’t sign before the trade deadline. Meanwhile, the New York Islanders are looking to upgrade their scoring and one insider thinks they might be looking to an interesting and surprising name. What’s happening with the potential trade pieces coming out of New York and is there a team interested in Andre Burakovksy?

Sabres Could Take Chance on Skinner

Elliotte Friedman was on Calgary’s Sportsnet 960 and spoke about Jeff Skinner’s contract negotiations with the Buffalo Sabres. The two sides still haven’t reached a deal on an extension and in a lot of cases, that would be cause to trade the scorer knowing you could lose him for nothing in free agency as a pending UFA. The Sabres might feel differently.

Buffalo Sabres forward Jeff Skinner
Buffalo Sabres forward Jeff Skinner (53) celebrates his game-winning goal following the overtime period of an NHL hockey game against the San Jose Sharks, Tuesday, Nov. 27, 2018, in Buffalo N.Y. (AP Photo/Jeffrey T. Barnes)

When asked if he believed the Sabres would keep Skinner past the deadline even if they couldn’t sign him, Friedman said, “I think Buffalo would. I think they would.” He went on to explain there was an executive he spoke to at a game last week and after he watched Skinner score twice which kept the team in the game and the Sabres got a point in overtime, he said, ‘How can they let this guy go.’

Friedman believes the Sabres mentality would be to tell themselves they have one advantage, they can always give him the extra year. At the end of the year, they have that ability to say, ‘Alright, we control the extra year and we can do that.’”

Related: NHL Rumors: Ducks, Carter, Puljujarvi, More

Islanders Interested In Ilya Kovalchuk?

Darren Dreger had a Tuesday morning radio hit on Montreal’s TSN 690 and wondered what the plan would be for the New York Islanders heading into the trade deadline. “I do feel like Lamoriello is definitely interested in doing something, and maybe adding a little bit more scoring punch. He doesn’t have a whole lot of areas of concern,” Dreger said.

Los Angeles Kings Ilya Kovalchuk and Vegas Golden Knights Deryk Engelland
Los Angeles Kings Ilya Kovalchuk and Vegas Golden Knights Deryk Engelland (AP Photo/John Locher)

That something could be Ilya Kovalchuk out of Los Angeles.

Dreger went on to say, “I had somebody just kind of whisper in my ear yesterday – and let’s not call it a source or anything firm, just wild speculation is what it is – wondering whether Lamoriello might have interest in Ilya Kovalchuk with the Los Angeles Kings.” He mentioned stranger things have happened and that if placed in the right role with the club Kovalchuk could flourish.

The question becomes the long-term nature of Kovalchuk’s contract. After signing a three-year $18.75 million contract with the Kings, it might be a reach to think the Islanders would want to take on all that term.

Related: NHL Rumors: Maple Leafs, Senators, Jets, More

Rangers Might Have the Most Value to Offer at Deadline

Darren Dreger had a Tuesday morning radio hit on Toronto’s TSN 1050 and discussed the options for the New York Rangers at the trade deadline. Dreger suggests there is a laundry list of players other teams might be interested in.

Adam McQuaid, New York Rangers
Adam McQuaid, New York Rangers, September 27, 2018 (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)


When asked if the Toronto Maple Leafs might have any interest in Adam McQuaid, Dreger responded, “I can’t say they wouldn’t. He’s a character guy. I know the Rangers like him a lot.”

Dreger also mentioned Kevin Hayes late last week during another interview and wondered about the possibility of Hayes being moved to help another team’s playoff run but then circling back to sign with the Rangers in the summer.

Avs in on Burakovsky

Pierre LeBrun said during a segment on Leafs Lunch on Toronto’s TSN 1050,“So I’ll give you a name that I know Colorado has kicked tires on, and I don’t know how far it’s gotten, but Andre Burakovsky in Washington has been on the trade block for a bit now. He’s just fallen out of favor in Washington.”

Andre Burakovsky - Washington Capitals
(Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

LeBrun described Burakovksy as a young player who was great during the Capitals’ Stanley Cup run and could be acquired for not much while giving the Avs control over another contract. As an RFA, GM Joe Sakic can then decide what he wants to do during the summer.