In today’s rumor rundown, are the Montreal Canadiens becoming buyers at the trade deadline? They already made a trade on Saturday and with the team playing well, GM Marc Bergevin may have shifted his focus. Speaking of shifted focus, what about the Detroit Red Wings? They are sellers but it looks like they want to hang onto some key players. Are the Nashville Predators interested in one of the biggest names on the trade board?
Is Montreal Rethinking Their Trade Deadline Approach?
Jared Clinton of The Hockey News is writing that after an unexpected run by the Montreal Canadiens that has put them in this spot for a playoff run, are the Canadiens buyers at the deadline? It was earlier reported that Marc Bergevin was not going to be very active this season on that front.
It’s not that the team doesn’t have needs.
Montreal clearly possesses needs. A poor power play and penalty kill could use a boost and the team doesn’t need to make a huge splash to make significant improvements. Earlier on Saturday, the Canadiens did make a move sending veteran forward Dale Weise and defenseman Christian Folin to the Philadelphia Flyers for defenseman David Schlemko and minor league forward Byron Froese. These could be the types of moves the Canadiens make heading into Feb. 25.
Are Predators Possible for Artemi Panarin?
Chris Kuc of The Athletic is reporting that the Nashville Predators might be kicking tires on forward Artemi Panarin. Outside of the suitors like the Rangers, Kings, Panthers, Bruins, Maple Leafs, Islanders, Blues, Flyers, Penguins, and Avalanche — the Predators have emerged as a player.
This shouldn’t come as much of a surprise considering the Preds are looking to add at the deadline and have been rumored as players for other top names on the trade market. Those names include Wayne Simmonds, Mats Zuccarello, Jeff Carter, and Gustav Nyquist.
It will be interesting to see if some teams are taken out of the discussion because of Parnarin’s switch to a new agent and the potential that both he and Sergei Bobrovsky might be moved in the same deal. Does that make Florida more of a player than it did earlier?
When Panarin was questioned by reporters on Friday, he certainly gave the impression he’s looking forward to testing free agency. The Score reported his response was, “It’s one life, one chance for free agency and I want to test free agency.” When Columbus Dispatch’s Brian Hedger asked if there was still a chance he could re-sign, Panarin paused, laughed awkwardly, said they still had a chance “but … we’ll see what happens in the summer.”
Panarin said he’s prepared if a trade happens.
Detroit Shifting Focus on Their Own Free Agents?
Mlive.com’s Ansar Khan reports that the Detroit Red Wings and GM Ken Holland may not trade as many of their roster pieces as was originally thought. Holland is having discussions with several of his pending UFA players in an effort to re-sign them before the trade deadline.
The Red Wings have seven UFAs, and among them, the team would like to re-sign goaltender Jimmy Howard, winger Gustav Nyquist, and defenseman Nick Jensen. Khan speculates a two-year deal for Howard at around his current annual average value ($5.3 million) seems possible. Nyquist has played himself into a new contract with a career-high of 54 points this season and Jensen offers the team excellent penalty killing.
Kings Doing Their Thing
GM of the LA Kings, Rob Blake spoke to the Los Angeles Times and said despite TSN wanting to report the Kings won’t make their biggest moves until the summer, they are looking to be active. Blake sarcastically said, “TSN, they’re running our team, then I guess they understand that… There’s speculation every day on this and that. I’m not going to get into that.”
Blake has made it clear he wants to make more deals like the Jake Muzzin trade where he moved a veteran player for draft picks and prospects.
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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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