NHL Rumors: Hurricanes, Sabres, Penguins, Oilers, Blackhawks, More

In today’s NHL rumor rundown, both the Carolina Hurricanes and Buffalo Sabres have defensemen available on the trade block, the Minnesota Wild might be willing to trade Jason Zucker (again) and one team is interested, and is there something fishy going on with the Chicago Blackhawks and Brent Seabrook? Is Zack Kassian really worth $4 million per season and is everyone jumping to gun too early on a Jacob Markstrom trade?

Hurricanes and Sabres Trying to Move D-Man

There are plenty of teams looking to add to their blue line this time of year. A position where you can never have too many good pieces and they say championships are won, if there’s a franchise out there that thinks they need to make a swap or an improvement, they might want to call one of two teams.

Jake Gardiner Carolina Hurricanes
Jake Gardiner, Carolina Hurricanes (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

TSN’s Bob McKenzie reports in the latest edition of Insider Trading that both the Buffalo Sabres and Carolina Hurricanes have made multiple defensemen available in trade. Names include Zach Bogosian, Colin Miller and Marco Scandella from the Sabres and the Hurricanes are willing to move Trevor van Riemsdyk, Jake Gardiner and Joel Edmundson. Edmundson and Gardiner are both new pieces to the team this season.

McKenzie notes that both teams are looking for scoring help so the trades would either be for a forward or prospects who have the potential to score a little in the NHL.

Related: NHL Rumors: Byfuglien, Kucherov, Kings, Maple Leafs, Devils, More

Zucker to Be Almost Traded Three Times?

Jason Zucker of the Minnesota Wild has had an interesting 2019. He was almost traded to Calgary at last season’s trade deadline, then he was offered to Pittsburgh for Phil Kessel before Kessel nixed the trade and got himself traded to Arizona. Now, it appears Pittsburgh Penguins GM Jim Rutherford is interested in acquiring Zucker again.

Jason Zucker Minnesota Wild
Jason Zucker, Minnesota Wild (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

Josh Yohe of The Athletic reports that Zucker remains a realistic trade option for the Penguins ahead of this season’s trade deadline. Still looking for a top-six winger for a playoff run, Zucker is on their radar. Also on their radar is Los Angeles Kings forward Tyler Toffoli.

Yohe writes:

Toffoli would be intriguing to any team that’s a contender. I suspect the Penguins would like to add one more forward before the deadline, preferably of the top-six variety. So these are names to keep in mind.

source – ‘Yohe mailbag: On future trades, the goalie situation and the holidays’ Johs Yohe – The Athletic – 12/19/2019

Related: Blackhawks’ Roundtable: Kirby Dach, Goalie Implications & More

What’s Up With Seabrook in Chicago?

One day after being a healthy scratch, the Chicago Blackhawks announced that veteran defenseman Brent Seabrook will not travel with his team to Winnipeg and is reportedly staying back to undergo medical evaluation.

There have been more than a few people who have commented on the timing of this announcement and the history of the Blackhawks’ organization to have veterans with bad contracts retire early (rumors are for cap circumvention reasons.) It’s hard to jump to that kind of conclusion already considering this could be a legitimate injury but his situation is worth keeping an eye on.

At the same time, if this is an injury, let’s hope it’s not a serious one. Blackhawks head coach Jeremy Colliton said Seabrook has some things nagging him and decision was made to stay in Chicago and get them checked out. It doesn’t sound like anything big.

Related: THW’s Goalie News: Reimer Perfect, the Two Halls

Did People Jump the Gun on Canucks Markstrom?

In his latest 31 Thoughts column for Sportsnet, NHL insider Elliotte Friedman reports the Canucks could wind up trading as many as four players should the team continue to go backwards down the standings. He mentioned interest in Josh Leivo and Chris Tanev, along with goaltender Jacob Markstrom.

Jacob Markstrom Vancouver Canucks
Vancouver Canucks goalie Jacob Markstrom (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson)

Friedman noted that teams don’t often like to wait until the trade deadline so they can get goalies integrated into the system and ironically, Markstrom was absent from a recent practice and Canucks’ game-day skate.

Rumors began to swirl there may be something ready to happen on the Markstrom front. However, Markstrom did end up playing against the Golden Knights and played well on Thursday evening in a 5-4 overtime win for Vancouver.

Related: What They’re Worth: Contracts for Nurse and Kassian

Oilers Insider Suggests High Price for Kassian

Jim Matheson of the Edmonton Journal noted that a four-year, $4 million per season deal for Edmonton Oilers pending UFA Zack Kassian is possible, even a good number. He uses Tom Wilson of the Washington Capitals as a comparison.

Zack Kassian Edmonton Oilers
Zack Kassian, Edmonton Oilers (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

Wilson signed a long-term deal at $5.16 million per deal and Matheson says that because Kassian is older (28-years old) he should come in a bit less. It would hard to imagine the Oilers going as high as $4 million per season for a player who only this year showed he has the propensity to score.

The Oilers and Kassian’s people have begun preliminary talks on an extension.

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