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TLN Rumour Recap: Bunting trade talks, Duclair an option for contenders and Guentzel on the move?
By Shane Seney1 month ago
The calendar has flipped to 2024 and it’s time for our first TLN Rumour Recap of the year. With the All-Star Game around the corner, general managers continue to evaluate their rosters and will have to make a concrete decision in the very near future on which direction they’re taking their franchise.
The trade deadline is set for March 8th and rumors have been flying all over the place of late. There’s no doubt trade talks have picked up in a major way since the holiday freeze was lifted and here’s the very latest from around the league:
Michael Bunting Emerging as Trade Candidate
To the surprise of many, hockey insider Elliotte Friedman recently named Carolina Hurricanes forward Michael Bunting as a potential trade candidate ahead of this season’s deadline. Bunting is in his first season with the ‘Canes, after signing a three-year $13.5 million contract last summer. Friedman had this to say on a recent broadcast:
There is word around the league that when Carolina was looking to clear some cap room and maybe make a move for a goaltender, Bunting’s name came up. He’s still seventh or eighth [on the Hurricanes] in ice time. There was some talk about if he could be the person moved in order to create the room.
The Hurricanes have managed to win four games in a row and sit second in the Metropolitan division with 46 points, however haven’t been able to find consistent goaltending and have used the likes of Frederik Andersen, who is now hurt, Antti Raanta, who has been waived this season, and youngster Pyotr Kochetkov, who leads the team in appearances and save percentage at .904.
As for Bunting, it’s not often a team signs a free agent, they sit third on the team in scoring after 38 games and then is now involved in trade talks. It seems to be some buyers remorse. The pesky forward has been inconsistent at times this season, the 28-year-old has recorded nine goals and 26 points on the year.
Sorry Leafs fans, Ilya Samsonov for Bunting won’t be something the Hurricanes get involved with, so there’s no chance these two teams chat. Bunting does hold a modified 10-team no-trade clause for the first two years of his contract.
Sharks and Bruins Linked to Duclair Deal
The San Jose Sharks are expected to be actively selling ahead of the trade deadline as GM Mike Grier looks to ship out some pending free agents to continue to build for the future. Keep an eye on Anthony Duclair as he’ll be of interest to a number of contending teams, including the Boston Bruins.
Recently, Duclair was linked to Boston via Fluto Shinzawa of The Athletic and it does make some sense for these two teams to connect as they’re heading in opposite directions and the Bruins have a need for more depth up front.
Duclair is owed $3 million this season and does not hold any trade protection. He’s collected 13 points in 34 games this season and is someone the Bruins know very well from Duclair’s days with the Florida Panthers. Last year he speedy winger posted 11 points in 20 Stanley Cup Playoff games, which included a series win over the Bruins. Boston doesn’t hold any 2024 draft pick in the first three rounds, so this could be a scenario where salary is retained in San Jose and the Bruins end up giving up one of their better prospects who is NHL ready.
Penguins Remain Team to Watch
While Erik Karlsson was a hot topic on a previous recap, as he’s become a summer trade candidate in Pittsburgh, Jake Guentzel may be moved long before. Guentzel is a pending unrestricted free agent and if the Penguins can’t get into a playoff position before the NHL All-Star game in early February, look for Kyle Dubas to start turning up the heat on the trade market.
There’s a ton of speculation about Guentzel being an option for either the Edmonton Oilers or Vancouver Canucks and this will certainly be something to keep an eye on over the next month or so. The Penguins vet is one of the best pure offensive threats on the rental market and so far this season, has scored 17 times and posted 42 points in 36 games.
Guentzel is owed $6 million against the cap this season, so some salary retention could come into play which means Dubas will be asking for a ton. It’s likely, if Guentzel does get traded, at least a first-round pick and top prospect will be making way back to Pittsburgh. The 29-year-old sniper has a 12-team modified no-trade clause in his contract and if the Penguins don’t get hot in a hurry, Dubas will have no choice but to give his roster a facelift ahead of the trade deadline.
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