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.
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.”
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.”
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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.”