In today’s NHL rumors rundown, will the New York Rangers make forward Tomas Hertl a priority if and when the Sharks ultimately decide to move the forward? Meanwhile, the asking price for defenseman John Klingberg is likely going to be a first-round pick and top prospect. Will there be a team out there willing to pay that? The Edmonton Oilers got more bad news when it comes to the health of Mike Smith. Who will they run with in goal? Why was Brad Marchand snubbed from the All-Star game and finally, is there any chance the Quebec Nordiques make a return to the NHL?
Is Hertl the Rangers’ Top Target?
According to TSN’s Pierre LeBrun, the New York Rangers will watch closely what happens in San Jose and whether or not the Sharks can come to terms with pending UFA forward Tomas Hertl. If he becomes a potential trade piece before the deadline, LeBrun believes the Rangers will be interested.
Hertl will draw tons of interest if he becomes available but this could be something that takes a while to materialize if it ever does. The Sharks need to know their financial situation with the Evander Kane grievance, plus determine whether they are playoff contenders.
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LeBrun expects the Sharks to “circle back” with Hertl and give him an extension offer.
Mike Smith Injured Again for Oilers
Per the Edmonton Oilers social media channel, “Coach Tippett notes that after an MRI on his thumb yesterday, Mike Smith has a partial tear in a tendon & will need one to two weeks to recover.” This is obviously more bad news when it comes to Smith and his nagging injury situation. He just can’t seem to stay healthy.
Stuart Skinner was called up and was playing in the Oilers’ starters net during practice. The netminder has been reassigned from the Bakersfield Condors to the taxi squad but there is some talk that maybe he’ll get the bulk of the starts as Smith tries to get healthy. Having Skinner on the taxi squad keeps his salary off the cap until Saturday’s game.
Tippett said of the recall, “We’re very comfortable bringing him up and playing him. He’s shown he can play at this level.”
Marchand Snubbed For All-Star Game
Brad Marchand was among the notable names not selected to this year’s All-Star festivities. There’s speculation as to why he was left off the team considering how productive he’s been as a player, with some wondering if it’s about choosing a more famous Boston Bruin to go or the NHL just not wanting Marchand there.
He was asked about the snub and noted he’s “not bothered at all” by not being the Bruins’ All-Star rep. He added, “Bergy, he’s been our best player for whatever it’s been, 18 years now. He’s the best two-way player in the league. He’s the backbone to our team.”
A number of big names were left off the teams — among them, Jacob Markstrom, Nazem Kadri, Artemi Panarin, Mikko Rantanen, Aaron Ekblad, and Igor Shesterkin — and questions about the selection process are front and center today.
Quebec Nordiques Return Unlikely
According to a statement by NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman, the league is flattered by interest by Premier François Legault to bring a team back to Quebec, but there is no space in the NHL to do so at this time.
When Legault said in late November, “I spoke with [Mr. Bettman], and we have meetings with him in the coming months,” that led to speculation there was a chance for a team again. Bettman said on Thursday, “unfortunately, we were not aware of any opportunity that could address that interest at the current time.”
Klingberg Trade Talk
If the Dallas Stars end up moving Klingberg because the two sides can’t find an agreeable dollar figure and term on an extension, Rory Boylen of Sportsnet believes he could be moved for a similar return as someone like Justin Faulk when Faulk was traded to the St. Louis Blues from the Carolina Hurricanes. At the time, the Blues gave up first-round prospect Dominik Bokk and defenseman Joel Edmundson.
Boylen says it is believed the Stars would like three pieces, but that teams are unlikely to pay that price to acquire the pending UFA as a rental.
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Jim Parsons is a senior THW freelance writer, part-time journalist and audio/video host who lives, eats, sleeps and breathes NHL news and rumors, while also writing features on the Edmonton Oilers. He’s been a trusted source for five-plus years at The Hockey Writers, but more than that, he’s on a mission to keep readers up to date with the latest NHL rumors and trade talk. Jim is a daily must for readers who want to be “in the know.”