NHL Rumors: Penguins, Maple Leafs, Canucks, Devils, Oilers

In today’s NHL rumors rundown, the Pittsburgh Penguins have been scouting the Buffalo Sabres. Who might they have their eyes on? Could the Penguins also be thinking about a deal with the Toronto Maple Leafs? Meanwhile, the Vancouver Canucks continue to test the trade market on almost every player and the New Jersey Devils have told defenseman P.K. Subban he won’t be back with the team next season. Finally, the Edmonton Oilers are dealing with some illnesses. What does this mean for their goaltending situation?

Penguins Scouting Robert Hagg?

Dan Kingerski of Pittsburgh Hockey Now reports that the Penguins had two scouts at the game between the Maple Leafs and Sabres, while Sabres assistant GM Jason Karmanos was at a recent Penguins game. The belief is that the Penguins might have an interest in left-handed defenseman Robert Hagg.

Robert Hagg Buffalo Sabres
Robert Hagg, Buffalo Sabres (Photo by Bill Wippert/NHLI via Getty Images)

The team is looking to add or make deals before the deadline but doesn’t have much money in which to do so. Hagg carries a $1.6 million salary and is a pending UFA at the end of the season. What’s also interesting is that Kingerski suggests the Penguins might be a team that could do business with the Toronto Maple Leafs.

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He notes that the Maple Leafs looking for a left-shot defenseman and the Penguins have six reliable blueliners, thus they could provide them with one. He writes:

I’m absolutely spitballing, but could the Penguins be convinced to give up a LHD (and retain salary) because they have a surplus six deep, including Mark Friedman and P.O. Joseph? Toronto thinks highly of Robertson, a 2019 second-round pick.

Is Kingserski suggesting the Penguins add a left-shot defenseman and then trade a left-shot defenseman?

Canucks Continue Testing Market

Elliotte Friedman noted that the situation in Vancouver is pretty simple these days. Unless your name is Elias Pettersson, Quinn Hughes or Thatcher Demko, the Canucks are calling around to see what you are worth in trade. Friedman noted during Saturday’s 32 Thoughts segment:

“They’ve been going out, getting information on the value of their players on the open market. There are very few Canucks that haven’t been talked about … but they’re out there looking at the rest of their team saying, ‘OK, what information can we glean and what is the market for them?’ I think what the Canucks have also been doing–for those players who may need new contracts soon, they’ve been asking about the possibilities of staying.”

P.K. Subban Done in New Jersey

Defenseman P.K. Subban met with New Jersey Devils general manager Tom Fitzgerald over the weekend and according to a report by Pierre LeBrun of The Athletic, Subban was told that the team wouldn’t be extending him to another contract. This means that he will absolutely be traded before the NHL Trade Deadline if the Devils can find a team willing to take on his contract.

P.K. Subban, New Jersey Devils
P.K. Subban, New Jersey Devils (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

LeBrun adds:

This isn’t going to be about dumping the 32-year-old for just any return. A trade for Subban has to make sense for the team and the player, too. The Devils would also need to eat some of Subban’s $9-million cap hit to make any deal work.

source – ‘LeBrun: Devils GM Tom Fitzgerald discusses P.K. Subban, Damon Severson and his team’s future’ – Pierre LeBrun – The Athletic – 03/07/2022

LeBrun also notes that the Devils haven’t talked to other teams about too many of their players. Specifically, Fitzgerald has not had a conversation about moving Damon Severson. As for goaltending, while the team has both Mackenzie Blackwood and Jonathan Bernier signed through next season, Fitzgerald talked about going “back to the drawing board” which means the Devils will likely be making changes in that area this offseason.

Oilers Recall Skinner, But Is Mike Smith Done?

The Edmonton Oilers recalled Stuart Skinner from the AHL this weekend after goaltender Mike Smith didn’t participate in practice on Sunday. It’s not clear if this is a temporary move, but the reports on Smith are not that he’s injured, but has been sidelined with “non-COVID illness.” Evan Bouchard also left Saturday’s game versus the Montreal Canadiens with a stomach illness.

There’s a lot of chatter about what the Oilers should do in the net to close out the season. A growing sentiment is that Smith shouldn’t get the bulk of the starts. Many believe he needs to earn his next shot at an NHL start by finding his health and his game again in the AHL.