Button explains why Hall may not be best fit for Leafs
The National Hockey League's Trade Deadline is on Monday, April 12 and teams will be making decisions on whether to buy or sell and decide which players can make the biggest difference and hold the greatest value. Check out the latest trade rumours and speculation from around the NHL beat.
Making an Impact
While the Seattle Kraken are not yet a part of the league, TSN Hockey Insider Pierre LeBrun wrote in The Athletic that the expansion team is already having an impact on the trade deadline.
LeBrun explains that teams are hesitant to acquire players with term ahead of April 12 since they might later have to pay the Kraken not to select that player in the expansion draft. Teams have been contacting Seattle general manager Ron Francis to inquire on the price of protecting certain players in addition to the seven forwards, three defenceman and goaltender – or eight skaters and a goaltender - on the protected list and are being told the price could be as high as three assets, including a first-round pick.
“Ron Francis, for a guy that doesn’t have any players to put out there himself, is getting more and more calls, from what I’m being told, from teams around the league who are trying to feel him out and say: ‘Listen, if I make this trade, what would it take from you, that I don’t lose this fourth defenceman, for example,’ LeBrun said Tuesday on Insider Trading. “And those are the types of conversations that teams are having with Ron Francis. And what I’m told is the price is pretty high. In some cases, it’s a first and a prospect is what Ron Francis is saying. That’s scaring off teams from trading for another player.
“Remember, at the trade deadline in 2017, there was an ‘understanding’ between Pittsburgh and Vegas on Marc-Andre Fleury. It didn’t come out that day, it came out in June. But that day, and Jim Rutherford conforms this, the understanding was that Fleury was going to be taken in the expansion draft. Pittsburgh was also going to send a second-round pick.
“George McPhee and Jim Rutherford had a verbal agreement. Nothing official. Seattle is allowed to do that leading up to the deadline if it wants. But of course, it also doesn’t have to, so it adds a bit of intrigue.”
Using Nashville Predators defenceman Mattias Ekholm as an example, LeBrun notes a team is expected to give up a first-round pick, a prospect and an additional asset to acquire him this month and then will be facing giving up a similar haul to ensure you keep your fourth defenceman from Seattle in July.
LeBrun points out that Francis may lower his price closer to the deadline, but the incoming general manager continues to hold power over teams in the present.
Welcome to the Board
The TSN Trade Bait board has its third goalie on it, with Florida Panther pending unrestricted free agent Chris Driedger joining the list at No. 13.
The Panthers signed top prospect Spencer Knight on Wednesday, which could allow the team move Driedger now rather than see him walk in free agency or be selected by the Kraken.
The 26-year-old has a 9-4-2 record this season with a .927 save percentage and a 2.19 goals-against average in a career-high 15 games. He posted a 7-2-1 record last season with a .938 save percentage and a 2.19 GAA.
Driedger joins Detroit Red Wings goaltender Jonathan Bernier (No. 5) and San Jose Sharks netminder Devan Dubnyk (No. 18) on the Trade Bait board.
The Washington Capitals and Philadelphia Flyers are among the teams who have reportedly been considering adding a goaltender ahead of April 12.
Who Can Help?
With the St. Louis Blues fighting to hold on to the fourth and final playoff spot in the West Division, Jeremy Rutherford of The Athletic listed five players who could help the team ahead of the deadline.
Rutherford noted that cap space is an issue for the Blues, whose deadline plans may hinge on whether or not Colton Parayko ($5.5 million cap hit) will be coming off long-term injured reserve this season. He lists Taylor Hall, Kyle Palmieri, Bobby Ryan, Jake DeBrusk and Mattias Ekholm as players that could boost the team’s playoff chances.
Palmieri rose to No. 2 on the TSN Trade Bait board Wednesday, with TSN Senior Hockey Reporter Frank Seravalli writing that his expiring $4.65 million cap hit is “infinitely more tradeable than Hall’s $8 million hit.” The New Jersey Devils forward also has eight goals and 17 points in 33 games this season, while Hall has two goals and 18 points in 35 games with the Buffalo Sabres.
Ryan, listed at No. 20 on the Trade Bait board, has seven goals and 14 points in 37 games with the Detroit Red Wings this season. The 33-year-old carries a $1 million cap hit on his expiring deal.
DeBrusk is No. 29 on the Trade Bait board after posting just three goals and seven points in 21 games this season. Currently sidelined in the NHL’s COVID Protocol, Rutherford argues that the Blues could benefit from buying low on the 24-year-old, though there is some risk since he’s signed through next season at a $3.68 million cap hit.
As for Ekholm, he dropped to No. 6 in Wednesday’s updated Trade Bait board with the Nashville Predators back in the playoff race. The veteran blueliner, who has five goals and 15 points in 30 games this season, is also signed through next season, at a cap hit of $3.75 million.