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Countdown to TradeCentre: Saros, Chychrun staying put?


The NHL's March 8 Trade Deadline is approaching, and teams are making decisions on whether to buy or sell, and on which players can make the biggest difference and hold the greatest value. Check out today's trade rumours and speculation from around the NHL beat.


Saros staying in Nashville?

Nashville Predators general manager Barry Trotz confirmed Tuesday he's planning to keep goaltender Juuse Saros unless he's blown away by an offer over the next 10 days.

Nashville had previously been listening on Saros, but with the Predators holding the final wild-card spot in the Western Conference, a trade involving their starting goaltender appears unlikely. 

“That is the case. I’m going to leave a little window open if there’s a crazy deal that comes out and knocks me out of my chair," Trotz told 102.5 The Game. “I expect us to be fighting for that playoff spot. My job is to keep the balance between the long-term and the short-term.”

Trotz noted that if he was wowed by an offer, he would take it to Saros' camp to make sure the deal worked in the eyes of all parties involved. 

While Saros appears to be staying put, backup Kevin Lankinen could be on the move with the Predators receiving trade interest in the pending unrestricted free agent.

“He’s prepared and he can win against big teams," Trotz said of the 28-year-old. "I’ll get back to [who called] here in the next week or so,” 

Lankinen has an 8-4-0 record this season with a .892 save percentage and a 3.23 goals-against average. He's signed at an expiring cap hit of $2 million. 

The Finnish netminder made his NHL debut with the Chicago Blackhawks in 2020-21. He has a career record of 42-41-12 with a .903 save percentage and a 3.15 GAA over four seasons with the Blackhawks and Predators.

Saros, also 28, is signed through next season at a cap hit of $5 million. He has a 24-21-2 record this season with a .905 save percentage and a 2.91 GAA, both of which are on track to be his career-worst numbers.

Moving Lankinen could clear the way for the Predators to recall prize prospect Yaroslav Askarov for an extended NHL stint to end the season. Selected 11th overall in the 2020 draft, Askarov has an 21-7-1 record this season with the AHL's Milwaukee Admirals, posting a .920 save percentage and a 2.11 GAA. The 21-year-old goaltender earned a victory in his lone start with the Predators this season, turning aside 27 of 29 shots against the Washington Capitals on Dec. 30.  

Chychrun staying in Ottawa?

Jakob Chychrun spent most of last season atop the TSN Trade Bait board with the Arizona Coyotes before finally being dealt to the Ottawa Senators.

While the defenceman has once again appeared on Trade Bait board this season, currently checking in at No. 13, TSN Hockey Insider Darren Dreger reports that it appears he will stay put for now.

"The reality of the situation in Ottawa really hasn't changed specific to Chychrun. There's no rush. There's no sense of contractual urgency to trade this guy," Dreger explained Tuesday on Insider Trading. "He's a valued piece of the organization. Now, they bring Shane Pinto off of suspension, and he's provided some depth certainly up the middle, more balance to the Ottawa Senators, a deeper complexion if you will.

"So, is it possible that Jake Chychrun gets traded before the deadline or on the deadline? It's possible, but it's unlikely. More likely is they revisit in the offseason."

Chychrun, signed through next season at a cap hit of $4.6 million, has nine goals and 30 points in 57 games this season season. He sits third on the team in average ice time at 22:36 per game.

The 25-year-old sounded off on trade rumours involving him last month, calling Ottawa, "a second home" for him.

“I think it’s ridiculous, if I’m being honest,” Chychrun told Ian Mendes of The Athletic. “I went through it in Arizona and that was a different situation. But to see it now is a bit ridiculous. And I don’t think it’s based off anything.”

Selected 16th overall by the Coyotes in the 2016 draft, Chychrun is set to miss the playoffs for the eighth time in his nine NHL seasons.


Selling in New Jersey?

Struggling to make up ground in the wild-card race, the New Jersey Devils could find themselves in position be a seller at next week's deadline.

The Devils are five points back of the Tampa Bay Lightning - with two games in hand - for the final wild-card spot entering play Wednesday, with the Washington Capitals, Pittsburgh Penguins and New York Islanders also involved in the crowded race.

TSN Hockey Insider Darren Dreger reports the Devils are facing a decision on pending unrestricted free agent Tyler Toffoli after acquiring him in the off-season from the Calgary Flames

"They could (trade him), but that's not their intent, nor is it their want," Dreger said on Insider Trading. "They'd prefer to extend Tyler Toffoli, they have already engaged, at least to some degree, in extension talks with the agent Pat Brisson. Why wouldn't you? I mean, this guy has 25 goals, you can see he's a part of their future. The predicament is they're a non-playoff team right now.

"So I believe that the New Jersey Devils are going to take the next three games out west to deeply analyze their team and as you get closer to the trade deadline, if they feel that they're not playoff worthy, then perhaps they explore some of the interests that they're getting in Toffoli as a free agent."

Toffoli, 31, has 25 goals and 42 points in 58 games this season as he carries a cap hot of $4.25 million on his expiring deal. A veteran of 791 career games, the 2014 Stanley Cup champion has been moved twice before in-season, being dealt from the Los Angeles Kings to the Vancouver Canucks in 2020 and from the Montreal Canadiens to the Flames in 2022. 

After picking up a 7-2 win over the Sharks on Tuesday, the Devils will continue their current road trip on Friday against the Anaheim Ducks and before closing it out Sunday against the Kings.