NHL trade deadline rumors: Rangers shutting down Mats Zuccarello, Kevin Hayes and Adam McQuaid Saturday
Although a lot of the NHL’s intrigue is in the Eastern Conference, there’s quite a bit going on in the West as well. The Predators and the Jets are locked in a battle for first in the Central, and the Calgary Flames are stunning the Pacific. One team expected to make a run at the Stanley Cup this season — the San Jose Sharks — has lived up to the billing. However, that’s despite some abysmal goaltending so far this year.
Winger Mark Stone out of Ottawa is also raising eyebrows. Matt Duchene is now out, so Stone is their most enticing asset, but the Senators seem to be working hard to negotiate a new contract with Stone. If they fail to do so, they’ll likely offload Stone before Monday’s deadline, but that’s a dangerous proposition — the last thing they want is to have to settle for less because they’re pushed up against the wire. Holding onto Stone is an option, but it also runs the risk of Stone walking and the Senators getting nothing in return. The other team looking to sell is the Rangers, but their pieces remain on the team for now.
Here are the latest rumors swirling in the league as we approach the deadline.
Ryan Dzingel likely next out in Ottawa
Mark Stone may be the golden goose on the Senators’ wings, but Ryan Dzingel is another player being prized as a rental. TSN’s Darren Dreger said that the Senators are going to get a solid package for Dzingel, which is great news for a team that just got a good return for Matt Duchene. Per Dreger, the Blue Jackets (who traded for Duchene) and Bruins are in on the bidding. The Blue Jackets are gearing up for a run, and they apparently don’t care if they have to do it with a team of rentals.
Per Elliotte Friedman, the Senators are close to making a decision on a team. Saturday is the likely day. If they get a solid return for Dzingel, it’s entirely possible they’ll ride out the season with Stone and try to re-sign him — although Stone may end up commanding the best return of the three.
Rangers scratching Zuccarello, Hayes and McQuaid Saturday vs. Devils
The Devils got the deal they wanted, trading Ben Lovejoy to the Stars for Connor Carrick and a pick. Their opponent on Saturday — the Rangers — haven’t dealt their guys yet. Mats Zuccarello, Kevin Hayes and Adam McQuaid are still on the roster, but perhaps not for much longer. All three will sit against the Devils Saturday, per Darren Dreger.
The Rangers’ phones may be ringing more frequently lately, as Mark Stone’s status remains uncertain after the Matt Duchene trade. The Rangers have solid wingers in Zuccarello and Hayes, so they’re likely the next tier for teams looking to add scoring. The majority of interest will likely come from the East, although the Jets and Predators have to be eyeing the Rangers closely with Duchene off the market.
Capitals bolster defense with Jensen trade
The Capitals continued the arms race in the East with the addition of Nick Jensen from the Red Wings, per Darren Dreger. Jensen is on the final year of his contract, so he’ll be a candidate for an extension. For the time being, however, he joins a contender as the Capitals try to prepare for the loaded Atlantic division come the postseason.
Senators have huge ask for Stone
With Duchene gone and Panarin apparently out of the picture, all eyes will now stay on the Senators as Mark Stone talks continue. According to The Athletic’s Pierre LeBrun, the Senators’ ask for Stone is huge right now, but with the winger on an expiring contract it may be negotiable. There hasn’t been word on where the Senators stand in negotiation with Stone, but Monday’s deadline is coming fast. If the Senators aren’t amenable, teams may try to move on, with the Rangers‘ Mats Zuccarello and Kevin Hayes being primary targets.
Blue Jackets reshuffle deck with Duchene trade
The Columbus Blue Jackets are just a game out of a playoff spot in the East, but with Artemi Panarin and Sergei Bobrovsky being on expiring contracts — not to mention the fact that they’re stuck in a conference with the Lightning, Bruins and Maple Leafs — they were expected to trade Panarin on a rental with the hopes of re-signing him long-term looking bleak.
Instead, the Blue Jackets traded for Matt Duchene, and gave up a fairly substantial haul to do so, indicating that they’re taking this year seriously. The Athletic’s Pierre LeBrun speculates that this means they’re content to let Panarin play out the rest of his contract and potentially let him walk. The move topples a few dominoes in the Western Conference, as the Jets and Predators were looking at trying to land a winger. The Predators were a name heavily circulated in talks for Duchene, whereas the Jets were being name dropped as a team to go for Panarin if they’d landed him. Both teams in the Central race could now stand pat.
Panthers getting calls about Hoffman
Although there’s a good chance Mike Hoffman stays in Florida past the deadline, teams need to have options. The Panthers have asked Mike Hoffman for the 10 teams he would veto a trade to, via his modified no-trade clause, according to The Athletic’s Pierre LeBrun. Per LeBrun, Hoffman is getting interest. Hoffman will be a free agent in 2020, so teams who are inquiring about him are asking for a little more than a half-season rental. With that in mind, it’s not likely Hoffman will be moved, but it’s also not impossible given the Panthers’ disappointing season..
Ducks working to send Miller to San Jose
Goaltending might be the Sharks’ biggest bugaboo this season, and if they aren’t careful, it might be what does them in. They’re trying to address the problem, and according to John Hoven, they’re hoping that the Ducks’ Ryan Miller is their answer. The 38-year-old goalie may be heading up the coast for the final stretch of this season. The Sharks are a playoff team this year, but Martin Jones‘ .896 save percentage has San Jose worried.
According to Hoven, Miller would likely re-sign with the Ducks in the summer, but the Sharks only need a few months of solid hockey out of him to make any deal worthwhile.
Capitals place Smith-Pelly on waivers; trade for Hagelin
The aforementioned Capitals are looking to stay competitive against the Lighting and Maple Leafs, not to mention the Bruins who appear to be looking to be extremely active at this year’s deadline. They reportedly placed DeVante Smith-Pelly on waivers on Wednesday, per Elliotte Friedman, and they then traded for the Kings‘ Carl Hagelin for a third rounder next year and a conditional sixth in the entry draft for 2020. Hagelin, a rental in his own right, has a goal in 22 games this season as the Kings try to retool.
Smith-Pelly — last year’s Stanley Cup hero — didn’t have much production this season. He has 13 goals in just under two seasons with the Capitals, but his seven goals in last year’s playoffs were integral in the Capitals’ championship run.
Red Wings continue to garner interest in Nyquist
Two players who could go either way at this deadline are Gustav Nyquist and Nick Jensen of the Red Wings. Nyquist is a second-tier expiring winger, and a few dominoes need to fall to get him out of Detroit. According to The Athletic’s Pierre LeBrun, Nyquist will likely start to pick up interest once the dominoes of Mark Stone and Artemi Panarin fall. The Wings also may re-sign Nyquist if they don’t move him at this year’s deadline, a la Mike Green.