NHL Rumors: Leafs Goaltending, Rangers Trades, More

In today’s NHL rumors, the Maple Leafs might be on the hunt for another netminder, the Rangers have some attractive pieces they might make available in trade and there are updates on latest speculation out of Columbus and Colorado.

Maple Leafs Might Be Looking For Goaltending

As per a report by TSN, the Toronto Maple Leafs might be looking for additional help in goal as they are without goaltenders Frederik Andersen and Garret Sparks, the latter of which was just confirmed to have suffered a concussion. The organization traded for Michael Hutchinson but might look to add more. They aren’t quite ready to bring up Kasimir Kaskisuo from the AHL.

Kaskisuo Wilderness - Toronto Maple Leafs
Kasimir Kaskisuo was left undrafted during last year’s draft festivities, but the NAHL gave the netminder an avenue to continue playing toward a professional career. (Jordan Hellberg/Minnesota Wilderness)

Babcock said, “We’d like (Kaskisuo) to get playing, we don’t want him to be sitting around. So maybe we’ve got to find another goalie and go from there.”

Related: NHL Rumors: Benn, Seguin, Frolik, Oilers, More

Rangers Have Some Attractive Trade Assets

Darren Dreger was on NBCSN and was asked about the unrestricted free agents for New York Rangers. Dreger thinks the Rangers will trade Mats Zuccarello before the February 25th trade deadline. Dreger explained the Rangers were upfront with the fanbase saying they’d be moving in a different direction and Zuccarello fits the type of player the organization was talking about moving away from.

“Mats Zuccarello has been an excellent New York Ranger. He’s a quality leader inside that room, on the ice as well. At 31 years of age, he has room left to deliver some pretty good hockey. But not the direction the New York Rangers would be going in to sign him.”

Mats Zuccarello, Chris Kreider, NHL, New York Rangers
According to Larry Brooks, almost everyone – including Chris Kreider and Mats Zuccarello – could be available for trade this offseason. (Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports)

Dreger also said that Rangers forward Kevin Hayes is, no question desireable to many teams but the Rangers haven’t officially decided if they want to trade Hayes. “But it’s all dependent on what is being offered, the interest that’s going to continue to grow in Hayes and other players leading up to the 25th trade deadline.”

Finally, Dreger adds that the Rangers will monitor the interest in Adam McQuaid. He’s a 6’4” player who maybe you don’t need in a playoff run, but some teams will like to have him in the lineup.

Related: NHL Rumors: Oilers, Flames, Maple Leafs, More

Blue Jackets and Panarin

The topic shifted to the Columbus Blue Jackets when speaking with Dreger and the talk surrounded Artemi Panarin. He’s in the final of his deal and while rumors persist he may leave Columbus, Dreger did say, “there’s a mutual sense that they at least want to explore the possibility of extending there.”

Artemi Panarin Blue Jackets
Sonny Milano could have a future golden opportunity depending on what happens to Artemi Panarin. (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Dreger then said over the next three weeks to a month, Panarin’s agent will need to meet with his client to explore what it is exactly that Panarin wants to do. There is a strong chance he’ll stay but this guy is a “big money player” so there is some question about whether or not the Blue Jackets will commit to the term and money Panarin will command on the open market.

Dreger said a number of players have learned from what John Tavares went through this past summer and may emulate that sort of situation this offseason. Panarin could be one of those guys. One thing Dreger doesn’t think will happen is a trade out of Columbus before the deadline.

Related: THW Podcast – Ep 5: One-on-One With Sean Shapiro & Reid Wilkins

Avalanche to Explore Market for Depth Scoring?

The Hockey News wrote a piece looking at the top line, but lack of depth behind that line in Colorado where the Avalanche are 2-5-3 in their last 10 games. He suggests it’s time to consider making some noise in the trade market. Jared Clinton wonders if it’s time to shop goaltender Semyon Varlamov or listen to offers on blueliner Nikita Zadorov or free agent defenseman Patrick Nemeth.

The reality, however, is that perhaps none of these players fetch the Avs what they really need and that the only way to grab that immediate scoring help they’re looking for is to make available their first-overall pick, of which they have two.