It’s Saturday and the Last Word on Hockey is here with another dose of NHL trade rumours. We gather a group of three or four rumours and try to make sense of them. The NHL Trade Deadline is under a month away on February 25th. Expect these rumours to heat up as we get closer to the date. Today we are looking at the Columbus Blue Jackets, Toronto Maple Leafs, and Colorado Avalanche.
Columbus Blue Jackets
Rumour: Forward Artemi Panarin has fired his agent, Dan Milstein and hired Paul Theofanous to represent him. Theofanous also represents Columbus goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky. The move has increased speculation that the two Russian players could sign as a package deal in July.
Meanwhile, Pierre Lebrun reported during TSN’s Insider Trading that the Nashville Predators and Boston Bruins have asked about Panarin, but were shocked at how high the Blue Jackets asking price was. They could move on to other forward targets such as Mark Stone or Matt Duchene of the Ottawa Senators if the price does not come down.
Analysis: It is a bit tempting to read the tea leaves on Panarin’s change of agents. However, one should be careful in assuming the move means he will sign with the same team as Bobrovsky. The number of teams capable of fitting two marquee free agents under the salary cap will be small. The change of agents might have nothing to do with Bobrovsky. It could purely be Panarin trying to get the best value for himself.
As far as the trade value goes, the Blue Jackets are in no rush to trade Panarin. It is still over two weeks til the deadline. The Blue Jackets will likely wait until the last minute to get a big package for Panarin, and only start to move off that asking price if the deadline nears.
Rumour: Mike Chambers of the Denver Post believes that there is a very good chance that the Colorado Avalanche could move defenceman Tyson Barrie at the trade deadline. With prospects Cale Makar and Conor Timmins on the way, the Avalanche may view Barrie as expendable.
Analysis: Barrie, 27, is signed for the rest of this season and next year, with a cap hit of $5.5 million per season. He is an excellent offensive defenceman with 57 points last season, and 40 points in 49 games this year. While some have criticized Barrie’s defensive play, his possession stats are outstanding. He drives the offence from the Colorado back end.
Couple his production with a cheap cap hit and if Barrie is available there could be a bidding war for his services. The Avalanche should ask for at least as much as the Los Angeles Kings got for Jake Muzzin.
Toronto Maple Leafs
Analysis: Glendening, 29, has scored eight goals and 18 points this season. He is signed for the rest of this season and next year with a cap hit of $1.8 million. Glendening played two seasons under Leafs coach Mike Babcock while he was coaching the Red Wings. He could fill the role of fourth line centre, which the Leafs have been trying to fill for some time.
However, Glendening’s contract could be expensive, especially next season when Auston Matthews‘ new contract kicks in and Mitch Marner also has a new deal. This could cause a problem for the Leafs. The Wings would need to retain salary for such a deal to work. Most concerning for the Leafs though should be Glendening’s possession numbers. They are amongst the worst in the NHL, and that is even when using relative stats that adjust for the fact he’s been playing on a poor Red Wings team. It is hard to see this as a Kyle Dubas type of move.
Main Photo: COLUMBUS, OH – JANUARY 13: Artemi Panarin #9 of the Columbus Blue Jackets is congratulated by his teammates after scoring a goal during the first period of the game against the New York Rangers on January 13, 2019 at Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio. (Photo by Kirk Irwin/Getty Images)
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