NHL Rumors: Brassard, Skinner, Predators, More

In today’s rumor rundown, the Penguins are still considering the idea of trading Derick Brassard, but what are they looking for in return? There is also news that the Buffalo Sabres and Jeff Skinner are still talking contract extension and the Nashville Predators are going to be one of the busier teams at this year’s NHL Trade Deadline according to hockey insiders who think this may be the year to go for it all.

Derick Brassard Could Be a Hot Commodity

Dan Kingerski of Pittsburgh Hockey Now is reporting Pittsburgh Penguins forward Derick Brassard could be a hot commodity in this year’s trade deadline search for a center. While he’s not the biggest name in free agency, he is a reliable center that can offer depth on a team competing for a longer playoff push.

Penguins center Derick Brassard
Penguins center Derick Brassard (Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports)

Brassard may be competing with names like Matt Duchene, Kevin Hayes, Brayden Schenn, and others on the market, but he costs $3 million (which is relative inexpensive and his salary will be prorated) and is an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season.

In previous seasons, a center of Brassard’s quality might have fetched a strong return: much like when a first, second and third-round pick was given to the Detroit Red Wings to acquire Tomas Tatar or when The St. Louis Blues got a first-round pick and a solid prospect for Paul Stastny. That may not be the going rate this season and the Penguins might not just be looking for picks as they’ll need to replace Brassard with a center if moved.

What is certain, as centers come off this list, Brassard will become more and more attractive to competing teams.

Related: NHL Rumors: Duchene, Muzzin, Point, More

Buffalo Sabres and Jeff Skinner Talks Progressing

Darren Dreger was on WGR 550 in Buffalo and reported that talks between forward Jeff Skinner and the Sabres are on-going and that, “They are having amicable conversations and they’re moving forward with talks. Skinner believes he’s a part of what’s coming in Buffalo and he wants to be a part of it.”

Buffalo Sabres Jeff Skinner
Buffalo Sabres forward Jeff Skinner celebrates his game-winning goal. (AP Photo/Jeffrey T. Barnes)

It will be interesting to keep up with this story as Skinner is rumored to be seeking a large pay raise in the summer as a pending unrestricted free agent. Currently making $5.725 million in the final year of his deal, speculation is Skinner might be looking for as much $9 million per season on a long-term contract extension. Will Skinner decide that staying in Buffalo and playing with a star like Jack Eichel is better than making as much money as is possible on the open market? That’s a decision he may have to make.

Related: NHL Rumors: Datsyuk, Leafs Search for Defense, Oilers, More

Expect the Nashville Predators to be Busy at Trade Deadline

TSN’s Hockey Insider Bob McKenzie was on TSN 1290 and reported that the Nashville Predators might be a team to keep an eye on as the Feb 25. trade deadline approaches.

David Poile, Nashville Predators, NHL
Predators general manager David Poile (Photo by Shelley Lipton/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

He notes:

“They’ve got an opportunity here to do things not just this year. So it’s not so completely crazy our of your mind ‘Sacrifice all the elements of the future, do it for this year,’ but there’s an enormous drive –  I don’t want to say pressure, because it’s all self-imposed – I think there’s an enormous drive on the part of David Poile to do everything he possibly can to give this team a shot to win, and that moment is now.”

The Predators are always a team that ranks high on prediction polls when it comes to Stanley Cup contenders out of the Western Conference and this year is no different. The team also has most of its core locked up beyond this season. For GM David Poile, it will be about deciding if what he has is good enough to get over “that hump” or if he needs to add one or two pieces to really offer his team a chance to win hockey’s biggest prize.

Listen to the Latest Episode of the THW Podcast

For the latest news on the rumors surrounding the Edmonton Oilers, Ottawa Senators and San Jose Sharks, have a listen to the latest episode of The Hockey Writers Podcast.