NHL Rumors: Wild, Panthers and Nylander, Schmaltz, More

In today’s rumor rundown, there were murmurs the Minnesota Wild had inquired about William Nylander but things may have changed. Another team out of the East might not be interested in Nylander, the Blackhawks might look to sell some interesting pieces if they are out of the playoffs and the New Jersey Devils aren’t prepared to make big moves, despite their recent struggles.

Wild In or Out on William Nylander?

Michael Russo of The Athletic said the Minnesota Wild checked in on the asking price to acquire William Nylander from the Toronto Maple Leafs and that a forward with some offensive upside could benefit the team. However, with the recent success of the Wild and possibly the information relayed by Lewis Gross (Nylander’s agent) about the contract cost, the Wild may have changed their minds.

Eric Staal, Minnesota Wild
Eric Staal, Minnesota Wild, November 11, 2017. (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Russo writes:

But in the last month, with the Wild having won 11 of their past 16 games and after I’ve talked to a horde of team and league sources about this very subject, the Wild’s interest — whether it was once legit or just simple due diligence — has waned.

source – ‘Which Wild players could end up trade bait, even if it won’t be for Nylander?- – Michael Russo – The Athletic – 11/19/2018

Speculation is Toronto would want defenseman Matt Dumba and the Wild don’t want to trade him. There is also word that it would take $8 million to sign Nylander and that $8 million might be too much for the Wild because they would have to move another salary out to make Nylander’s fit.

If nothing else, adding Nylander at or near that cost means likely saying goodbye to Eric Staal or/or Mikael Granlund.

Related: NHL Rumors: Hitchcock, Duchene, Skinner, Panarin, More

Florida Panthers Out Too

When it comes to paying Nylander, Elliotte Friedman suggests that the Florida Panthers are likely out of the Nylander sweepstakes too. Friedman said, “My question with Florida is not the assets – it’s how much do they want to pay him?”

Jonathan Huberdeau Panthers
Jonathan Huberdeau, Florida Panthers Oct. 17, 2017 (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Friedman went on to explain that if you see who the Panthers have as stars and what they’re paying those stars, you’ll notice players like Alexsander Barkov make less than $6 million per season and Jonathan Huberdeau is similar. If Nylander wants $7 or $8 million, “that’s going to be more than your best players. And I could see some teams being resistant of that.”

Related: NHL Rumors: Kessel, Senators Video, Flames Goaltending, More

Blackhawks Considering Moving Nick Schmaltz?

An article by Jimmy Greenfield at the Chicago Tribune suggests the Blackhawks might become sellers this season,  and if they do, center Nick Schmaltz might become an intriguing trade possibility. After scoring 21 goals last season, Schmaltz is a restricted free agent next summer and has just two goals in 20 games in 2018-19.

Nick Schmaltz Chicago Blackhawks
Nick Schmaltz, Chicago Blackhawks, Nov. 9, 2017 (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

as a sophomore in 2017-18. Blackhawks general manager Stan Bowman has some cap space to work with next season but Greenfield believes he’s not in a position to give Schmaltz a big raise unless he deserves one.

Greenfield writes:

Bowman has some salary-cap room to work with next season, but he’s not in a position to give Schmaltz a big raise unless it’s clear he deserves one.

source – ‘5 things about the Blackhawks to watch when the Blackhawks aren’t worth watching’ – Jimmy Greenfield – The Chicago Tribune – 11/19/2018

Greenfield also said in a mailbag segment he feels Bowman will have to think long and hard about trading Schmaltz or letting him depart as a free agent. The Blackhawks don’t exactly have depth at forward or dynamic prospects ready to jump in but Schmaltz could be used to obtain assets at the deadline.

Devils to Stay the Course

Despite their recent struggles, it appears the New Jersey Devils are not going to be making any quick decisions. Abbey Mastracco of NJ.COM  expects the Devils will stay the course for now.

The team has all their picks in the first three rounds of the next three drafts (except for their third-rounder in 2019), and the team is most interested in building from within. They might look for an upgrade but are not willing to trade their best draft picks to add NHL-ready talent right now.