Photo credit:Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports
TLN Rumour Recap: Avs/Flames trade talk, Ducks could deal Henrique & is Karlsson out in Pittsburgh?
By Shane Seney2 months ago
It’s a rare Wednesday edition of the TLN Rumour Recap as the holiday roster freeze is in effect across the NHL. No trades, no waivers, no loans, no movement at all, as the NHL pauses transactions for the Christmas season. The Toronto Maple Leafs dropped a tough one to the New York Rangers on Tuesday night and general manager Brad Treliving will be able to do some reflecting of his roster over the break. While the Leafs GM likely has several items on his wish list for Santa, Treliving’s very happy with where his team sits in the standings after 29 games.
Around the national league, the rumors have been flying of late and there’s expected to be lots of action come the new year, as we creep closer to the All-Star Game in February and the trade deadline in March. Here’s the very latest from around the NHL:
Colorado & Calgary Emerging as Trade Partners
Colorado Avalanche GM Chris MacFarland completed some tidy business recently by sending forward Tomas Tatar to the Seattle Kraken for a 2024 fifth-round pick. Tatar was a late summer signing for the Avs and after 27 games and just one goal, they decided to move on.
The Avs currently project to have $5.6 million in deadline cap space to use and there’s been plenty of speculation brewing about having Calgary Flames forward Elias Lindholm on their radar. Lindholm is a pending unrestricted free agent who just happens to be one of the best forwards available on the trade market this season. Hockey insider Elliotte Friedman commented on the potential deal on a recent episode of 32 Thoughts:
There isn’t a contender in the league who isn’t trying to figure out what the Avalanche are up to, I know some people suspect (Elias) Lindholm, but they’re not the only ones, but I know some people suspect that’s one of the guys that they’re eyeing.
Lindholm has the skillset to play all over the lineup and in all situations and would be a huge addition for the Avs. So far in 32 games, the 29-year-old Swedish forward has recorded 20 points. He’s set to earn $4.85 million this season and does not hold any trade protection. A deal to the Stanley Cup contending Avalanche would likely not hurt his feelings one bit. The Avalanche will likely have Flames defenceman Chris Tanev on their radar as well, as these trade talks could turn into a blockbuster between the two western teams.
Anaheim Ducks Will Sell at the Deadline
The Ducks are sitting with a 12-19-0 record at the holiday freeze and GM Pat Verbeek will have some major decisions to make once 2024 hits. Anaheim continues to slowly rebuild and after a strong start to this season, the team has come back down to earth and are headed for the NHL Draft Lottery.
As for trade candidates, one name to circle is veteran forward Adam Henrique. He’s been linked to the Maple Leafs through a few different insiders and he’s surely the type of versatile experienced forward Treliving could be looking to add to the mix.
Henrique’s a pending free agent who is owed $5.82 million this season and it’s likely Verbeek will have to retain a small portion of the 33 year old’s AAV. In 30 games the Brantford, ON native has scored 10 times and added eight assists. He’s playing a ton of minutes on both the power play and penalty kill and is known to be one of the smartest players in the league when it comes to hockey IQ. He recently scored his first career hat trick against the New Jersey Devils and continues to climb up trade bait boards:
Henrique’s won 51% of his faceoffs and has the versatility to play the wing if needed. There’s going to be a bunch of contending teams that consider adding him for their playoff run and the Maple Leafs are expected to be one of them. Given his salary hit this season, look for the Ducks to retain some money and receive quite the sweetener for doing so.
Penguins Remain Interesting Team to Watch
The Maple Leafs pounded the Penguins 7-0 last Saturday in front of the familiar faces of Kyle Dubas and Jason Spezza. Pittsburgh continues to struggle this season and Dubas has admitted he’s going to wait until early February to fully assess his team and navigate which direction the team will head. While Kris Letang, Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin are safe from being dealt, the same can’t be said for former Norris trophy winner Erik Karlsson.
The Swedish blueliner has been solid for the Pens this season, recording 22 points in 30 games, however the team can’t seem to string wins together. If the struggles continue, there’s some growing speculation Karlsson could be in for a short tenure in Pittsburgh. Recently Dan Kingerski of Pittsburgh Hockey Now recently commented on the chances Karlsson gets moved and had this to say:
From this view of the church, it seems the Penguins could indeed trade Erik Karlsson. He’s here to win, and if that’s not going to happen, both sides could find a quick and amicable parting. Dubas could surely recoup the first and second-round picks the Penguins gave up in the deal, if not more, and even come out ahead. However, next summer is the more likely timeframe for that trade because of Karlsson’s salary.
Dubas is paying Karlsson $10 million per season through the 2026-27 campaign and would surely have to retain some of his annual salary to facilitate the type of return he’s looking for. There’s also long-time Penguin forward Jake Guentzel who will be on a ton of team’s radars should the Penguins continue to slide. Guentzel is as pure of goal scorer as there is in the NHL and is a pending unrestricted free agent who hasn’t necessarily been emersed in contract extension talks. It appears Dubas has his hands full in Pittsburgh with some major decisions brewing in the new year.
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