NHL Rumors: Ducks, Maple Leafs, Golden Knights, Sabres, Jets, More

In today’s NHL rumors rundown, the Anaheim Ducks have apparently set their ask for forward Rickard Rakell. Not every team is keen to pay the price. The Toronto Maple Leafs are still favored to be active players before the deadline and New York Islanders’ GM Lou Lamoriello essentially admitted his plan is to use his newly found cap space to add a player. The Buffalo Sabres may talk to Taylor Hall about his no-move clause and could the Winnipeg Jets take another swing at the rental market?

Ducks Want Huge Haul for Rakell

The Athletic’s Pierre LeBrun reports that if the Ducks are going to trade Rakell, the current ask is a young, experienced NHL player and a first-round pick. While Rakell is not a rental and he’s having a productive season (19 points through 30 games), that’s a hefty price.

Rickard Rakell Anaheim Ducks
Rickard Rakell, Anaheim Ducks (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman notes that the Calgary Flames inquired on Rakell, but balked at that price. Friedman also believes that price may be too rich for the Maple Leafs, even though GM Kyle Dubas has said he’s willing to trade a top prospect to land the player he needs.

It is expected that the market will favor buyers and if the Ducks want to move Rakell, they’ll need to lower their ask. At the same time, reports suggest the Ducks aren’t shopping the forward, merely taking calls. He could absolutely stay put and Anaheim is fine with that.

Lehner Clears Up Rumors

Lehner is back with the Golden Knights but there was a bit of a shadow hanging over his return, many wondering what had taken so long. Some speculation was that Lehner’s previous struggles with substance abuse and mental health issues was keeping him out longer than expected.

Lehner spoke with the media and revealed that this was not the case and that he was not only was rehabbing his lower-body injury, but had also suffered a concussion. The goaltender added that he typically wouldn’t have explained why he was out or spoken much about his injury but he felt the need to clear his name. He was disappointed he felt the need to defend himself.

Sabres to Ask Hall to Waive No-Move Clause?

When asked about his feeling towards re-signing Taylor Hall, TSN’s Pierre LeBrun notes that Sabres GM Kevyn Adams was open-minded on the idea. He said he has a good relationship with Hall’s agent Darren Ferris and they would be talking. Then LeBrun noted: “Translation: Would be shocked if Adams doesn’t talk to Hall/Ferris about a potential move. Hall has full NMC so ball is in his court.” LeBrun later said on That’s Hockey!: “To me the idea that they had earlier in the year where Taylor Hall would sign an extension to stay in Buffalo, to me that’s out the door now in my opinion, even though the Sabres won’t confirm that.”

The Sabres season has been a disaster and if the team can get something out of moving Hall to a contender, they might try. There’s been some talk about Hall to the New York Islanders and Sportsnet’s Luke Fox also listed Hall among his top-seven pure rental targets for the Maple Leafs. 

Other Leafs Targets

Beyond Hall, Fox also suggests that Anaheim’s Ryan Getzlaf, Buffalo’s Eric Staal, Columbus’ Nick Foligno, New Jersey’s Kyle Palmieri, Minnesota’s Mikael Granlund and Los Angeles’ Alex Iafallo could be targets for Dubas. The Sportsnet Staff reports that a mid-season slump raises speculation that the Toronto Maple Leafs may just go all-in this trade deadline.

New Jersey Devils Kyle Palmieri
New Jersey Devils Kyle Palmieri (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)

There is a bit more talk lately that Palmieri might be on Dubas’ radar and there’s still plenty of chatter Toronto and Nashville might do business.

Islanders to Use Cap Space

GM Lou Lamoriello admits he’ll use his $5.5 million of LTIR space to find a replacement for sidelined winger Anders Lee and The Athletic’s Arthur Staple believes the Isles’ first-rounder in this year’s draft is most likely in play. Staples writes:

Spending assets for a forward or two who come off the books after the season just seems the simplest course for Lamoriello to take, and there are seemingly enough impact options already on the market to make that a worthwhile play.

source – ‘Five things to know as the Islanders aggressively try to fill the Anders Lee injury void’ – Arthur Staple – The Athletic – 03/17/2021

Jets to Take Another Swing Before Deadline?

While it hasn’t always worked out for them in the past, Ken Wiebe of Sportsnet writes that the Jets might try again to add at the deadline. Who and what they go for really comes to price and fit. Noting that adding a rental versus a player with term changes what he’ll need to spend, GM Kevin Cheveldayoff said:

But as far as the UFAs, we’re hopeful that we can continue to do business as usual, whether it’s in a pandemic or not. I think the hard part is the flat cap moving forward. That makes it very uncertain how to allocate the different resources. So as far as that goes, we’ll try to make it as ‘business as usual’ as possible.”

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