In today’s NHL rumor rundown, Chris Johnston and Elliotte Friedman had a lot to say during Sportsnet’s Saturday Headlines, specifically regarding the Calgary Flames, Toronto Maple Leafs, Nashville Predators and Montreal Canadiens. Plus, there’s news on the Colorado Avalanche and interest in a Los Angeles Kings forward.
Maple Leafs and Rasmus Sandin
Chris Johnston started by chatting about the World Junior Tournament and noted that Rasmus Sandin has had a great tournament for Sweden (they just win the bronze medal.) Having said that, he will become an option for the Toronto Maples going into next week when he returns to North America.
Johnston noted that he’s a teenager and if he doesn’t play 10 NHL games this season his contract could slide into next season. Even so, the Maple Leafs are apparently not concerned about that and there is a belief he’s going to get games in for the Maple Leafs.
With injury issues for the team Sandin could get a look and become a useful piece for the Maple Leafs to close out the season.
Flames Cap Space
Elliotte Friedman started his news items by restating that the Calgary Flames are looking to make a trade and spend some of the money they freed up when they moved Michael Frolik. He had more insight when it came to what they were looking for.
First, he said the Flames are not interested in rentals, they want someone with term. “That’s where their preference is.”
Second, one big consideration is where Elias Lindholm plays long-term. The Flames will need to determine if he is a center or a winger? If he’s a center, they’ll look at right-wingers. If he gets slotted in as a winger, the Flames may look for a center.
Canadiens Considered Sven Baertschi
Before signing Ilya Kovalchuk on an inexpensive two-way contract, Friedman noted that the Montreal Canadiens considered trading for Sven Baertschi of the Vancouver Canucks.
Obviously, nothing came out of that conversation but it could be because Kovalchuk was willing to sign such a team-friendly contract to close out the season and the Canadiens didn’t have to give up any assets to get Kovalchuk in a Canadiens uniform. Baertschi has one more season after this on his deal at $3.36 million per season.
Uncertainty About Justin Williams
Friedman said “We thought there would be information this weekend, but as Chris Johnston points out, I was an idiot.” What Friedman was referring to was the report he made that a decision was coming from Justin Williams as early as this weekend regarding his NHL playing career.
When the conversation moved over to Johnston to update the situation, he said there was a lot of smoke around Williams but nothing is imminent. “Nothing has sorted itself out yet with the Hurricanes and there are questions about whether or not he’ll be back this season,” he said.
He finished with, “It does seem in the air that he’s thinking about another year in the NHL.”
Predators, Specifically Poile Is Getting Impatient
David Poile is getting impatient according to Elliotte Friedman. Already noted that he’s ready to call the Nashville Predators sellers if they don’t start to climb up the standings, Friedman said Poile is ready to do something now.
“He’s starting to burn up the phones lines to see what’s out there and if things don’t change the Predators could make some kind of roster change pretty quickly.”
Avs Interested in Toffoli Over Kreider
Chris Kreider is arguably the most notable rental potentially on the trade block. That said, he may not be the prime target for the Colorado Avalanche.
Colorado Hockey Now’s Adrian Dater writes that he’s hearing the Avalanche might be interested in acquiring Los Angeles Kings forward Tyler Toffoli. Dater notes the Kings had a scout at Saturday’s Colorado game and that Toffoli fits the bill of what the Avs are looking for — a player with size and scoring ability and wouldn’t cost too much.
That cost, however, could be a first-rounder (potentially a late one).
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.”