In today’s rumor rundown, there are rumors the Canucks might try to trade a pretty good forward for help on the blue line this summer, there are updates on what to do with Taylor Hall when he comes back from his knee surgery and the Oilers interest in Connor Brown out of Toronto, plus more.
Could Virtanen Be Traded By Canucks?
Jason Brough of The Athletic suggests that the Vancouver Canucks might look at trading winger Jake Virtanen to bolster their blue line over the summer. With Alex Edler’s future uncertain and with their blue line not much deeper than Edler, it is an area of concern for the team.
I wonder about the future of Virtanen in Vancouver. To me, he’s the most obvious trade chip that the Canucks could play to help fix the defence. After all, they’re not going to move Pettersson, Horvat, or Boeser.
source – ’10 thoughts on the Canucks, who can’t afford any more bad contracts’ – Jason Brough – The Athletic – 02/27/2019
Virtanen’s play has been a bit up-and-down during his NHL career but still holds some value around the NHL because of his potential. He may be the piece Vancouver can dangle to get the most in return but also doesn’t remove a key piece of the organization when it comes to the young prospects and stars they want to build around.
What the Devil to do About Taylor Hall
We mentioned the news that Taylor Hall will be having surgery to repair his knee and may or may not return this season for the Devil’s in yesterday’s rumor rundown. Bob McKenzie said the more interesting story coming out of New Jersey as it pertains to Hall is what the team will do moving forward and once he’s healthy.
Hall has one season left on his contract but the Devils are not looking much like a playoff team. McKenzie said that in a similar way to how the Senators had to make a decision on Erik Karlsson, the Devils will have to either convince Hall that the team can be competitive or move him so as to not lose him in free agency next summer.
Elliotte Friedman recently wondered if an offer sheet was a potential for the Devils to try and grab a player that could help Hall bring the Devils back to playoff respectability. GM of the Devils, Ray Shero said he has no desire to move Hall and that it’s not often you can trade for a player who comes in and becomes an NHL MVP.
Outside of the injury, Hall’s future and how the Devils approach it is certainly one to keep an eye on.
Jets Interest in Simmonds Not What People Thought
Elliotte Friedman recently said on his 31 Thoughts Podcast, he believes what he thought was strong interest by the Winnipeg Jets in forward Wayne Simmonds was not as strong as many believed.
Friedman said that leading up to the deadline, he does still think there was interest from the Jets and that Simmonds was preparing to waive his no-trade clause to go there. But, Friedman explained, “… they made the choice to go with [Kevin] Hayes, which took their first-round pick out of play.” He also said Morrissey got hurt and once that happened, they switched to focusing on defense.
So, the rumors that Simmonds almost became a Jet before he became a Predators player might be as accurate as some believe. Friedman also said that Simmonds didn’t really want to leave the Flyers and it sounds like there is a chance he looks at the team again in free agency.
Oilers Had Interest in Connor Brown
One of the things Friedman and Jeff Marek also talked about on the podcast was the Edmonton Oilers interest in Connor Brown from the Toronto Maple Leafs. Friedman heard that the discussion centered around Matt Benning for Brown and Marek said he’d heard the Oilers might have offered up Jujhar Khaira.
Both suggested the rumor that Adam Larsson was somehow connected to that deal was not true. Friedman also mentioned that somewhere along the lines he heard the Oilers might have offered up Zack Kassian for Brown, which he believes signals the fact the team really liked the idea of getting Brown out of Toronto. Apparently, the Oilers weren’t the only ones.
A number of teams apparently inquired about Brown but the Leafs ultimately decided to hang onto him and not give him up for a rental since they like him too.
“By the way, Kassian an interesting one. Someone told me Nashville looked at Kassian before they got Brian Boyle,” Friedman said.
Islanders Having a Little Trouble With Lee
While both Friedman and Marek said it’s not likely the Islanders will reveal their plans for a number of their pending free agents, they have heard a couple of whispers coming out of the organization. “The one I’ve heard about [Anders] Lee is the Islanders are concerned about the term,” indicated Friedman. “That’s all I’ve heard. No questions about the player or the willingness to keep him, it’s all about the term on him.”
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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.”