In today’s NHL rumors rundown, the Vancouver Canucks are looking for a trade partner and searching league-wide for a forward 25-or-under. Meanwhile, the Los Angeles Kings are looking to make a deal and seeking out a team that has a dynamic defenseman available. Derek Stepan is injured and the news about how long he’ll be out is not great. Finally, it sounds like the Toronto Maple Leafs are really keeping an eye on the situation in Nashville and may be looking at a couple of players available from that roster.
Canucks Have Called Every Team
As per a report by Pierre LeBrun on the latest Insider Trading for TSN, Canucks GM Jim Benning has been busy. While nothing has materialized, the NHL insider notes there “isn’t a single team that hasn’t heard from Jim Benning over the last couple weeks.”
LeBrun notes that Benning is looking for a forward that is 25-and-younger and someone who can fit with his young core. He’s desperately trying to make a deal but LeBrun says that it’s so difficult to make an ’apples for apples’ trade, his conversations with 30 other teams hasn’t led to anything.
LeBrun did say that some of the calls weren’t about actually pulling the trigger on a trade but Benning “doing his due diligence and knowing what’s out there ahead of April 12.” LeBrun said there’s still lots of time, but that may not be entirely accurate.
The Canucks lost again on Thursday to the Oilers, making it four losses in a row and they are now sitting second-last in their division, just ahead of Ottawa. They are nearly half-way through the season and if a trade is made with a non-Canadian team, it will be another handful of games before that player can slot into the lineup and help this club turn things around.
Kings Looking for Dynamic Defenseman
During the same TSN Insider segment, Darren Dreger reported that Kings are on the hunt for a “dynamic defenseman”. Los Angeles is one of the hottest teams in the NHL right now and competing for a playoff spot. GM Rob Blake would like to add and keep the team’s momentum going.
Like the Canucks, the Kings want someone 25-and-under, but that player has to be a dynamic, left-shot defenseman. Dreger notes the Kings have an abundance of forwards, particularly at centre ice, and are willing to trade a forward to land the blueliner that can help them. Dreger said:
“I’m reminded of the big trade that involved the Columbus Blue Jackets a few years back, and the Nashville Predators. Ryan Johansen for Seth Jones. If something like that could be worked out by Rob Blake, then he’d do that in a heartbeat.”
The Kings have a ton of cap room, so cost is not necessarily a factor in the team’s search for the right player that can help them this season.
Not Good News on Stepan’s Injury
Ottawa Senators head coach DJ Smith said forward Derek Stepan is week-to-week with an upper-body injury but it “doesn’t look promising.” What this means for the Senators and as possible Stepan trade is unclear but it’s a lot less likely the Senators look to move him now.
There was talk the team might try to facilitate a trade that could get him closer to his family and his newborn.
Maple Leafs Keeping Tabs on Predators
As word spreads that the Predators are now sellers ahead of this season’s NHL Trade Deadline, David Pagnotta of The Fourth Period labels the Maple Leafs as a team to watch here. He suggests GM Kyle Dubas has had his eye on Mikael Grandlund, but there’s also talk Toronto might be interested in Erik Haula.
The Leafs had interest in Mikael Granlund and Erik Haula in the off-season – Granlund more than Haula – and both can become UFAs this summer. If/when the Predators officially enter the seller’s market, these two veterans will be on Toronto’s radar.
He adds that Nashville is a good team for Toronto to do business with because they have plenty of cap space to retain salary and the Maple Leafs might need to move salary out to make deals work. He point out that Granlund has a $3.75 million cap hit, while Haula has a $1.75 million hit. He wondered if Leafs centre Alex Kerfoot would be of interest to the Predators.
If the two teams can work out a deal, Granlund would slot in on the left side of the Leafs’ second line with John Tavares and William Nylander and Haula can take over the third-line center position.
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Jim Parsons is a freelance writer who covers the Edmonton Oilers and news and rumors posts here at The Hockey Writers.
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