NHL Rumors: Predators, Maple Leafs, Blue Jackets, Penguins, More

In today’s NHL rumor rundown, the Nashville Predators are a team on the outside looking in but that isn’t stopping one of the key players from expressing his opinion about what the team should do at the trade deadline. Jake Muzzin talks about a new deal with the Toronto Maple Leafs, the Pittsburgh Penguins are looking for a forward and Josh Anderson is a popular guy around the NHL.

Predators Don’t Want to Add

While this might not represent what GM David Poile thinks about his team, Matt Duchene of the Nashville Predators doesn’t think the organization should add anything at the trade deadline. Duchene says that he believes the team has what it takes to qualify for the playoffs on their own.

Matt Duchene Nashville Predators
Nashville Predators center Matt Duchene (Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports)

Duchene told the media on Monday that he thinks the Predators are a playoff team and that they don’t need to make a trade before the February 24 deadline. Instead, he hinted that the players within the room need to step up, including himself. Duchene has not been performing up the level of his new $56 million contract and the Predators have already lost a coach thanks to their struggles.

Related: The NHL’s Best Farm Systems Ranked – Midseason Update

Jake Muzzin Wants to Stay in Toronto

Preliminary talks with defenseman Jake Muzzin appear to be underway as the returning blueliner spoke with Maple Leafs media prior to the game on Monday.

Muzzin was recalled after a quick conditioning stint and is back with the Leafs as they try to stay healthy and headed for a playoff spot in Eastern Conference. Despite their short-term questions, long-term GM Kyle Dubas is going to need to focus on shaping his blue line which has four key players potentially leaving next season.

If the Maple Leafs can hold onto Muzzin and get him locked in at a decent number, that would help and by negotiating now, Dubas can get a sense of what type of deals he’ll need to do before February 24 as he’s rumored to be looking to add players with term. If Muzzin is locked in, that’s one less player with term Toronto needs to acquire.

Muzzin said when asked about his potential for signing a new deal:

The organization, the way they look after us. The guys here the buzz in the city about hockey is huge. Being close to home is always a nice touch, especially with a little one around now. There’s lots of good things here and I’d love to stay.

Related: The Best of ‘Mr. Goalie’ Glenn Hall

Expect Penguins to Make a Deal

Josh Yohe of The Athletic reports that Pittsburgh Penguins general manager Jim Rutherford remains ready to add a top-six forward thanks to the injury to forward Jake Guentzel.

General manager Jim Rutherford Pittsburgh Penguins 2019 NHL Draft
General manager Jim Rutherford of the Pittsburgh Penguins, 2019 NHL Draft (Photo by Dave Sandford/NHLI via Getty Images)

Rutherford says:

“If the right one is out there, then yes, that’s what we’re looking at. I’m not sure if I’d feel that way if Jake were healthy. But Jake’s not healthy. Ideally I’d like to give us more depth and more options in the top six. Can we do that, in terms of the right style of player and the right cost? That’s the ultimate question, but we are looking into it.”

source – ‘Penguins GM Jim Rutherford is ready to make a trade: ‘The goal is to win now’ – Josh Yohe – The Athletic – 01/27/2020

Who the Penguins might be keying in on is unclear but there is plenty of buzz they might be looking at Jason Zucker from the Minnesota Wild and winger Chris Kreider will likely be available.

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Will Josh Anderson’s Contract Get Him Traded?

Aaron Portzline of The Athletic says the contract status of Josh Anderson is the reason there is talk about the forward being moved. Portzline says rival general managers have inquired into Anderson’s status for some time.

Josh Anderson Columbus Blue Jackets
Josh Anderson, Columbus Blue Jackets (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Portzline writes:

If he’s traded as a pending RFA, the acquiring club is promised at least one season of his services and it would still have a chance to sign him long term. If he’s traded next season, as a UFA, he’s a pure rental.

This is why most NHL executives, reached by The Athletic, indicated they expect Anderson to be traded either by the Feb. 24 trade deadline or over the summer, say, at the NHL Draft.

source – ‘Josh Anderson’s uncertain future, and why the Blue Jackets power forward is surfacing in trade rumors’ – Aaron Portzline – The Athletic – 01/27/2020

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