NHL Rumors: Skinner, Bobrovsky, Blackhawks, More

In today’s rumor rundown, the Sabres might be looking at a king’s ransom for Skinner in trade and that could be hard to ignore, while the Blackhawks realize they’ll have some creative work to do to land a top-five draft pick. Meanwhile, could the Vancouver Canucks be making a plan to pitch the biggest goaltender in the market.

Skinner’s Good Play May Up The Chances of a Trade

You wouldn’t think trading your best offensive weapon is the right way to go but for the Buffalo Sabres and Jeff Skinner, his strong play to start the season might actually up the chances of him being traded before the trade deadline this season.

Sabres left wing Jeff Skinner
Sabres left wing Jeff Skinner (Russell LaBounty-USA TODAY Sports)

Darren Dreger was on TSN 1050 and said that between the asking price rumored for Skinner to re-sign long-term ($8.5 – $9 million per season) and the fact this is a contract year for Skinner, there is real concern Skinner can duplicate these kind of numbers over the length of any contract. Dreger said, “I’m not so convinced where they’re at a place where they’re willing to invest in him yet long term.”

That doesn’t mean the Sabres won’t eventually get there but there is a sense that Skinner can’t keep this pace of the full length of the season but should he, they’ll be more confident in his ability. The Sabres will also get more offered to them if Skinner becomes a trade piece.

Dreger adds that if the Sabres aren’t sold they want to invest long-term in Skinner they might be able to “get a king’s ransom for him.”

Related: NHL Trade Rumors: Weber, Hitchcock, Blues Core, More

Blackhawks Searching for a Top-Five Pick?

It’s almost sacrilegious to suggest these days that any team tank for a race to the bottom of the NHL standings and a chance to take the top draft pick, especially when you consider the way the NHL Draft Lottery works now. But, Jimmy Greenfield of the Chicago Tribune is suggesting the team might find some creative ways to land a top-five pick.

Stan Bowman - Chicago Blackhawks
Stan Bowman, Blackhawks General Manager (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

As Greenfield writes:

Call it what you want but this team needs top five picks in the draft and that’s not going to happen if they sneak into or lurk around the playoff picture. They have done strong work to rebuild — sorry, “restructure” — with terrific defensive prospects but they need to focus on the offense now.

source – ‘From tanking to using salary cap space, the Blackhawks have tough decisions to make’ – Jimmy Greenfield – The Chicago Tribune – 11/22/2018

The trick will be trying to make a hockey trade that doesn’t include some of their young prospects for draft picks. They know this season might be a write-off and they can’t afford to mortgage their future. What assets currently on the team can they trade that would land a top-five pick? Not much.

Canucks Chasing Sergei Bobrovsky?

JD Burke of The Athletic writes that the Vancouver Canucks being in or out on Sergei Bobrovsky is not necessarily and open and shut case. Burke calls Jim Benning a big-game hunter and doesn’t anticipate that tactic of acquiring players will change anytime soon.

Sergei Bobrovsky Blue Jackets
Sergei Bobrovsky, Columbus Blue Jackets, Feb. 22, 2018 (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Burke writes:

Look at the laundry list of stars and assets that the Canucks have zeroed in on over the last four-plus seasons. Players like P.K. Subban, Steven Stamkos, John Tavares, Loui Eriksson, Milan Lucic (twice), Jay Beagle, the first overall pick and on and on — I’m sure I’ve forgotten someone, and I’m equally certain you’ll let me hear about it in the comments section.

source – ‘Why the decision to chase Sergei Bobrovsky isn’t an open and shut case for the Canucks’ – JD Burke – The Athletic – 11/22/2018

Burke believes the history of the Canucks to chase these players will lead to them chasing Bobrovsky. There are certainly some questions in goal and enough of the Vancouver media seem to be dancing around the idea should Bobrovsky hit free agency that there may be something to all of this.

A Defenseman Leaving Edmonton?

With the acquisition of Chris Wideman, are the Oilers looking at moving a defenseman? Wideman’s arrival could mean trouble for blueliner Matt Benning or Kevin Gravel and certainly could be problematic if Jason Garrison was hoping to get secondary power play time.