In today’s NHL rumor rundown, there are updates surrounding Patrik Laine potentially being traded out of Winnipeg, the Tampa Bay Lighting provide an update on Steven Stamkos, and the St. Louis Blues prove they won’t make panic decisions. Finally, in Toronto, there’s talk the Maple Leafs are interested in Matt Murray out of Pittsburgh, but the deal will require multiple moves if it goes down.
Latest on Laine
After making the top ten of TSN’s Top 20 Trade Bait Board this past week, many are wondering if there’s really a chance the Winnipeg Jets would trade Patrik Laine. It certainly seems like there’s more than just talk surrounding the winger but as per Scott Billeck, a beat writer and sports reporter for the Winnipeg Sun, he doesn’t believe it would be a wise decision by the organization.
“You don’t give up on a 22-year-old, 40-goal scorer coming off one of his most complete seasons as a player. Unless the Jets think he’s peaked at 22, there’s no way he should be trade bait. Crazy.”
While he does believe the Jets are looking to add a bigger name to their roster — likely on defense —, and this could require moving a big name, Laine is not the guy. He adds, “Sure, his defence isn’t great, but his offensive acumen is too good to pass up on after 138 goals in 305 NHL games. He’s 22 and nearly a point-per-game player. Absolutely insane.”
That would leave Nikolaj Ehlers as the other Jets player on the list. But, part of the reason he’s not talked about as much as a trade chip is because he’s considered a “happy-go-lucky guy” on the team, according to TSN’s Darren Dreger.
Update on Stamkos’ Status
Bryan Burns of Tampa Bay Lightning notes that head coach Jon Cooper said they’ll give an update on Steven Stamkos before the start of the next series. The forward has yet to play in this postseason thanks to a surgery to repair a core muscle injury March 2.
Blues Won’t Make Reactive Decisions
Some teams will be reexamining their rosters after earlier-than-expected eliminations. Many of them will make panic moves in an effort to fix whatever went wrong over the course of only a few games. The St. Louis Blues won’t be among them.
According to GM Doug Armstrong, he’s not willing to make roster and personel decisions because the team got ousted from the playoffs by a Vancouver Canucks team they were expected to beat. Jeremy Rutherford of The Athletic quotes Armstrong who said:
“I would say that you have to take the (71 regular-season) games and look at what went well and what didn’t go well Then you have to take the tournament in itself and figure out what went well, where you have to improve and why we are not playing right now.”source – ‘Breaking down what the Blues are saying as they move into the offseason’ – Jeremy Rutherford – The Athletic – 09/02/2020
Interestingly, these comments came just hours before the Blues traded goaltender Jake Allen to the Montreal Canadiens in what felt like both a cap dump to make space for Alex Pietrangelo and a signal that the team was still confident in Jordan Binnington despite his poor play in the postseason.
In five playoff games played, Binnington had a 0-4 record and a save percentage of .851. He’s now the lone NHL-caliber goaltender on the team and the Blues will need to look for another netminder either via trade or free agency. That decision make come later as the Blues figure out Pietrangelo’s contract.
St. Louis is in a tough spot here because if Binnington’s poor play continues, and they can’t afford to acquire another strong goaltender, goaltending could be a problem for them all season. The hope has to be that Binnington’s struggles in net were only short-term.
Robin Lehner Thanks Twitter
While it might not necessarily be thanking Twitter and more of a back-handed compliment than anything, Vegas Golden Knights goaltender said Twitter was part of the reason he was able secure a third shut out in the series versus the Vancouver Canucks.
After debate raged on social media as to which goaltender the Golden Knights should start — Lehner had struggled a bit in two games and Fleury was rested — the team went with Lehner. The goaltender seemed to hint the doubt in his ability get him in the right mindset for the game.
He wrote, “Twitter got me fired up for today’s game. Thanks for the motivation!”
Maple Leafs Interest in Murray Means Two Possible Trades
The Toronto Maple Leafs are one of six teams who have shown interest in goaltender Matt Murray out of Pittsburgh. If there’s anything to this deal, one has to wonder if it was discussed at the time of the Kasperi Kapanen trade.
Murray would be a cap savings for the Maple Leafs as Andersen is a $5 million goalie. That means moving him out and replacing him with Murray could save the Leafs around $1 million. That said, the Penguins are not interested in Andersen so swapping out goalies would be a two trade series for the Leafs.
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Jim Parsons is a senior THW freelance writer, part-time journalist and audio/video host who lives, eats, sleeps and breathes NHL news and rumors, while also writing features on the Edmonton Oilers. He’s been a trusted source for five-plus years at The Hockey Writers, but more than that, he’s on a mission to keep readers up to date with the latest NHL rumors and trade talk. Jim is a daily must for readers who want to be “in the know.”