NHL Rumors: Wild, Maple Leafs, Penguins, Blackhawks, More

In today’s NHL rumor rundown, there is news on the Toronto Maple Leafs and their continued search to improve their defense, this time leading them to conversations with the Minnesota Wild. Also with the Wild, it sounds like the Pittsburgh Penguins are calling, but on who? There are questions in Chicago about whether or not they’re buyers or sellers and who gets moved if they’re sellers and what does goaltender Robin Lehner really want out of free agency?

Maple Leafs Interested in Matt Dumba?

It seems as though the Maple Leafs are turning over every rock in an attempt to improve their blue line but not everything is on their radar. During a recent TSN Leafs Lunch broadcast, Pierre LeBrun joined Andi Petrillo and Craig Button and discussed how Maple Leafs GM Kyle Dubas isn’t just going after rentals but working on acquiring players that have term and can help for next season.

(Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports)

This has led to speculation the Maple Leafs have interest in Wild blueliner Matt Dumba. Dumba is rumored to be available out of Minnesota and The Fourth Period’s David Pagnotta points out he could be a potential fit for the Leafs. If there’s a deal there, Kasperi Kapanen plus more would likely have to be involved

Pagnotta writes:

The Wild want a top-six forward and Kapanen fits the bill, but it’s going take more than him for Minnesota’s GM Bill Guerin to move Dumba. Do the Leafs include UFA-to-be Ceci in the deal, so the Wild can flip him elsewhere, or is a separate move more likely? Somethings to keep tabs on if the Leafs don’t go the rental route.

Pagnotta also wrote that this isn’t the first time the Maple Leafs have expressed an interest in Dumba.

Related: Florida Panthers Have Plenty to Be Thankful For

Penguins Still Interested in Jason Zucker

Michael Russo of The Athletic is reporting there is continued interest by the Penguins in Wild winger Jason Zucker. The issue is cap space and the Penguins lack of it.

Jason Zucker Minnesota Wild
Jason Zucker, Minnesota Wild (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

Zucker is a $5.5 million forward for the next three seasons and Russo writes:

If they can figure out a way to make Zucker’s $5.5 million AAV work for the next three-plus seasons, all bets are off because the Penguins are looking for a winger to resume the role of Jake Guentzel, who’s expected to miss the remainder of the season.

source – ‘What will Bill Guerin do? A look at the Wild trade landscape as they hit the bye’ – Michael Russo – The Athletic – 01/22/2020

Russo believes Zucker’s 10-team no-trade clause could come into play if the Wild decide to move him and that Zucker might prefer joining his hometown Vegas Golden Knights.

Related: Should Oilers Explore Terminating Brandon Manning’s Contract?

Panthers and Duncan Keith?

The Chicago Blackhawks need more time to determine whether or not they are buyers or sellers this season but should they become sellers, Elliotte Friedman wonders if Florida Panthers head coach (and former Blackhawks bench boss) Joel Quenneville would have an interested in defenseman Duncan Keith.

Duncan Keith Blackhawks
Duncan Keith, Chicago Blackhawks, Nov. 9, 2017 (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Friedman writes:

“Nothing is happening with the Blackhawks as long as they’re still in the race, but if they fall out, would Joel Quenneville ask to pitch ageless physical specimen Duncan Keith on the virtues of southeast Florida?”

Also with the Blackhawks, pending UFA Robin Lehner hinted that his main focus in free agency may not be securing a long-term deal according to Chris Johnston. While he’d like the stability of a long-term deal, he’s not willing to take a lower annual average salary to get additional term. Basically, he wants both.

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