NHL Rumors: Vanek, Pominville, Blues, Blackhawks, More

In today’s NHL rumor rundown there are two players potentially emerging as options for the St. Louis Blues, a couple of veteran forwards are staying in the best possible shape in case they get called and the Chicago Blackhawks might be ready to shop a struggling defenseman.

Blues Looking at Two Big-Time Forwards?

Larry Brooks of the New York Post took a closer look at Taylor Hall‘s comments about the New Jersey Devils fans and speculates that the team and Hall aren’t close on a new deal. Brooks believes Hall comments suggest he’s not someone who plans on sticking it out long-term with the Devils’ organization.

Taylor Hall New Jersey Devils
Taylor Hall, New Jersey Devils (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

If his hunch is correct, he believes Devils GM Ray Shero may try to see what’s out there in terms of interest for Hall so he has a backup plan ready to go. Brooks believes the St. Louis Blues are a team that would have interest thanks to the injury to winger Vladimir Tarasenko. 

Brooks also speculated that if Hall does end up looking like New Jersey is where he’ll stay, Chris Kreider from the New York Rangers is an option the Blues might look at. This falls in line with previous speculation from Elliotte Friedman that Kreider would be a good fit for the Blues.

Related: The NHL’s Best Farm Systems Ranked

Blackhawks Shopping Erik Gustafsson?

Jimmy Greenfield of the Chicago Tribune notes that the Chicago Blackhawks may be contemplating a big decision when it comes to their blue line. If defenseman Adam Boqvist is NHL ready, is the organization ready to trade defenseman Erik Gustafsson?.

Erik Gustafsson #56 of the Chicago Blackhawks
ANAHEIM, CA – DECEMBER 05: Erik Gustafsson #56 of the Chicago Blackhawks follows through on a shot on goal during the second period of a game against the Anaheim Ducks at Honda Center on December 5, 2018 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)

Gustavsson has the remainder of this season before he hits unrestricted free agency and the likelihood he re-signs seems low. The Blackhawks have Calvin de Haan, Olli Maatta and Connor Murphy on reasonable deals and Duncan Keith and Brent Seabrook aren’t about to be moved, even if there is buzz Seabrook may be shopped by the team. Having been an offensive d-man in the past, Gustafsson’s numbers have sharply declined this season and he’s on pace for less than half of what he posted for points in 2018-19.

Should he continue to struggle and be a healthy scratch, he’s bound to be moved by February’s trade deadline. Greenfield writes it appears he’s not turning out to be what the franchise had hoped:

Even if his defensive skills remained average at best, the Hawks still needed him to quarterback a power play that became one of the league’s most effective when he was added to it midway through last season.

source – ‘Column: Trading Erik Gustafsson would help the Blackhawks begin their future when it needs to — now’ – Jimmy Greenfield – Chicago Tribune- 11/03/2019

Related: Chicago Blackhawks Logo History

Veteran Unsigned Forwards Staying Ready

John Vogl of The Athletic took a look at two veteran NHL forwards who have yet to be offered a spot on an NHL roster this season, but are staying in shape in the event their teams come calling.

Red Wings left wing Thomas Vanek
Red Wings left wing Thomas Vanek (Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports)

One of those players is Jason Pominville who said:

“I’m still working out and skating as much as I can just to keep myself somewhat sharp. I don’t know if I’m really doing this for a reason, but I still feel like I owe it to myself in case something happens.”

source – ‘Still open to NHL opportunities, both Thomas Vanek and Jason Pominville are happy just being hockey dads right now’- john Vogl – The Athletic – 11/02/2019

Meanwhile, Thomas Vanek is skating in Minnesota while spending time coaching his son. Vanek said:

“I’m still skating and staying in shape and if the right thing – and it would absolutely have to be the right thing – would come along, then I would think about it very hard to come back and give it one more shot.”

The big difference between the two players is that Pominville seems to only want to sign in Buffalo and Vanek would play in any situation if he felt it was the right fit and if he believed he had a legit shot at winning a Stanley Cup.

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