In our second look at the NHL rumor rundown report for January 9, 2020, we continue with more news out of Craig Custance’s Top 27 trade candidates piece plus get into news surrounding the Winnipeg Jets. There are updates on the Toronto Maple Leafs and Minnesota Wild plus news on what the Chicago Blackhawks are making available. Finally, are the Montreal Canadiens going to become sellers?
Byfuglien Ready to Get on the Ice?
It is believed that defenseman Dustin Byfuglien could be inching closer to an NHL return as TSN’s Darren Dreger reports he’s at the point in his rehab that testing his ankle on the ice might be the next step.
Dreger tweeted prior to the Jets vs Maple Leafs game on Wednesday, “He hasn’t yet, but a potential return clearly hinges on the next phase and some think he’s at that point.”
The Jets are already thinking about Byfuglien’s return as GM Kevin Cheveldayoff admitted that he’s aware what options he has nearing the trade deadline hinges on Byfuglien’s situation.
Buy Low Option for the Maple Leafs?
Pierre LeBrun said on TSN Radio 1050 Toronto on Wednesday that he believes a buy low candidate for the Toronto Maple Leafs would be Josh Anderson from the Columbus Blue Jackets. There’s no indication Columbus is looking to move Anderson, but that Maple Leafs GM Kyle Dubas might want to inquire.
“If I were the Leafs, (Josh Anderson) is a guy – with his skills set – it’s one thing to be able to grind it up and be a physical player, but he’s also a guy I believe that can score 25 goals a year in the National Hockey League when he gets his game right.”
Anderson is a risk considering he’s been injured but when he returns, he could provide the physicality most insiders and fans believe the Maple Leafs are lacking.
Custance reports that another possible option for the Maple Leafs but at the backup goaltender position is Alexandar Georgiev, a wild card trade piece at this year’s deadline. “It wouldn’t be surprising to hear that the Maple Leafs have inquired on this front,” he writes.
Blackhawks Have a Number of Players Available
If the Chicago Blackhawks don’t make a push here, and quickly, there could be a number of pieces available from their organization at the deadline. Custance says there is still some debate about which goaltender the Blackhawks might move as Corey Crawford has value and Robin Lehner has potentially played himself into the starting role but could fetch a bigger return.
Custance quotes one NHL source when he says, “If there’s a guy like him [Lehner] available at the trade deadline, there’s a ton of value there. And there’s a ton of value with (Crawford). That’s two No. 1 goalies … two huge trade chips.”
The Blackhawks also have Erik Gustafsson and Brandon Saad potentially available.
Interest in Jason Zucker Remains Strong
“Everyone is seeing what Guerin is going to do,” said a GM of Minnesota’s willing to move Jason Zucker. Zucker is still sidelined with an injury but Bill Guerin has admitted he needs to make room in his top six for Kirill Kaprizov, Teams are asking, “Is he selling or not?”
Reports are that Jonas Brodin would draw a lot of interest if the Wild decide to move him as well.
Could Canadiens Decide to be Sellers?
Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman noted that if the Montreal Canadiens fail to climb back into playoff contention, general manager Marc Bergevin might decide to start selling assets.
Among the names mentioned are Tomas Tatar and Jeff Petry who are both playing well. Jean-Francois Chaumont of the le Journal de Montreal also speculates Bergevin could listen to offers for Max Domi if the pending RFA proves too expensive to re-sign.