In today’s NHL rumors rundown, with the Nashville Predators ask for Mattias Ekholm so high, is there a chance a different defenseman is moved instead? The Toronto Maple Leafs continue to be front and center in trade speculation and there is talk the New York Islanders might look at an unexpected name before the trade deadline.
Ekholm Ask Remains High, Ellis Enters Trade Discussion
TSN’s Pierre LeBrun noted during Tuesday’s Insider Trading segment, the Predators ask for Ekholm remains high. Noting the Predators are looking for three assets in any deal, the hockey club wants a first-round pick, an elite prospect and a third asset which could take on different forms. Part of the reason is because the team is not in any rush to trade the player.
LeBrun notes that the Predators have discussed internally what the best time to trade the blueliner would be and there’s some thought to actually moving him after the NHL Expansion Draft when more suitors would be interested. This has led to another insider wondering if perhaps Ryan Ellis of the Predators would be available in a trade instead.
Elliotte Friedman of Sportsnet suggested during his latest 31 Thoughts column, that the biggest question Predators’ GM Daid Poile must answer is whether or not to move Ekholm or Ellis? Friedman writes:
“Initially, the latter was off limits, but something’s made the Predators think. Both are highly regarded defenders. There are a lot of players with Ellis’s term (six years remaining at a $6.25-million AAV) who couldn’t get moved now, but I could see him being an exception.”
Flyers a Fit for Ellis?
He wonders if the window to move a player with Ellis’ contract is small and that the Predators might want to take advantage of it before they miss their opportunity. He notes the Philadelphia Flyers would be an ideal fit but not in the short term because of Ellis’ injury. Instead, Ellis could replace a valuable loss — Matt Niskanen — for the long term.
“An Ellis/Ivan Provorov partnership? Does anyone else think Philadelphia might leap at that?”, asked Friedman.
Andersen Not at Practice For Leafs, Dubas Targeting Granlund
We’ve talked repeatedly about the Maple Leafs and what they might do at this year’s trade deadline — to the point some comments suggest we should drop the discussion. Unfortunately, the Leafs current situation keep giving insiders reasons to speculate. Wednesday, it was because goaltender Frederik Andersen was not on the ice for practice.
As per Chris Johnston of Sportsnet, he writes” The three goaltenders doing work before Leafs practice are Jack Campbell, Michael Hutchinson and Ian Scott. No sign of Frederik Andersen.” He hasn’t been seen on the ice since Friday’s game and his absence is likely due to the nagging injury, but that hasn’t stopped people from speculating. The likelihood is that there is no change to their netminding tandems but there is a ton of talk about what the Leafs will do with their goaltending over the next two weeks.
Friedman believes the Leafs have checked around on goalies but doesn’t see a long list of potential healthy options to acquire in a sensible trade.
Also, it was revealed by TSN’s Frank Seravalli during the latest Insider Trading segment (video link), the Leafs top target is Predators forward Mikael Granlund. Seravalli notes that the reason a trade likely hasn’t happened yet is because of the questions surrounding timeline on players having to quarantine when moved from the United States to Canada. Right now the minimum is a 14-day stint in a hotel, but Toronto has been trying to push to have that number reduced.
Might Islanders Be Considering Dustin Brown?
Friedman also wondered if New York Islanders GM Lou Lamoriello will consider acquiring Kings winger Dustin Brown to replace sidelined captain Anders Lee. While the Isles have been connected to names like Taylor Hall and Kyle Palmieri, Friedman argues Lamoriello is the kind of GM that will go for players others aren’t thinking about.
Brown’s name certainly hasn’t been on the radar for most insiders who have been making trade bait boards and he’s not a rental with one more season on his current deal after this at $5.875 million.
Jim Parsons is a freelance writer who covers the Edmonton Oilers and news and rumors posts here at The Hockey Writers.
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