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TLN Rumour Recap: Flames, Penguins & Panthers teams to watch on the trade market
By Shane Seney3 months ago
Welcome back to another edition of TLN’s Rumour Recap. Let’s jump right in, as the trade market is starting to heat up in a major way and it fittingly has everything to do with the Calgary Flames.
The Flames have been all over the news to start the season as management has been going back and forth on exactly what their plan is going to be when it comes to their pending free agents. Now it sounds like there’s much to consider in Calgary.
Flames Listening to Trade Offers on Defensemen
According to Darren Dreger of TSN, Flames GM Craig Conroy is open for business. However, a full rebuild isn’t going to fly. Nazem Kadri is not interested in hanging around Calgary if the organization isn’t putting winning hockey games first and foremost.
Kadri is in the second year of a seven-year contract with the Flames and has no desire to play through a rebuild. Conroy is taking calls on several pending unrestricted free agents including forward Elias Lindholm, along with defencemen Nikita Zadorov, Noah Hanifin, and Chris Tanev. If the returns on these deals turn heads for all the wrong reasons, the noise in Calgary is going up tremendously. Kadri holds a full no-movement clause and has full control over his potential trade destination.
The likes of Zadorov, Hanifin and Tanev are going to be talked about a ton in trade talks over the course of the next few weeks.
Zadorov makes the most sense to be the first to go as his agent Dan Milstein has publicly come out and asked for the towering defenceman to be moved, after he himself requested the trade immediately following the Flames’ game against Toronto last week. A lack of ice time is front and centre according to Milstein, and you also have to consider Zadorov came out earlier in the season and wanted more commitment and buy in from his teammates. It also sounds like his trade request was already handled in the Flames dressing room:
The Vancouver Canucks, New Jersey Devils and the Maple Leafs have all been linked to trade talks with the Flames, with even a report about how a Maple Leaf mentioned something to Zadorov in-game. Gotta love a candid conversation. Tanev and Hanifin will also have fierce markets for their services, so Conroy really has a chance to re-tool on the fly.
Through a 5-8-2 record, Zadorov has appeared in 14 games, scoring once and adding five assists. Anything he contributes offensively is a bonus, the 6-foot-6 blueliner is all about what colour of sandpaper he’s bringing to each and every game. Zadorov’s 26 hits will interest GM’s more, along with his tenacity and of course his frame.
Tanev isn’t near as intimidating physically, however he’s as sound defensively as they come. Turning 34 in December, Tanev has been doing it a long time and knows what his strengths are on the ice. Stanley Cup contenders are going to be fighting to get their hands on the Toronto native. He leads the Flames in blocks with 37. This would rank 2nd on the Leafs behind TJ Brodie, who has 41. Tanev holds a modified no-trade clause, as he submitted a list of 10 teams he’s not interested in.
As for Hanifin, the youngest of three, he also happens to be the most expensive at $4.95 million against the cap this season. His trade clause is eight teams wide and he’s managed to chip in six points on the season. Not necessarily the start he was looking for, however the 26-year-old is a legitimate top-four defenceman who can play in all situations and effectively. With 48 points two seasons ago, Hanifin’s market will be intense. It will be curious to see if any of the trades include contract extensions. Conroy could really do some creative negotiating if there’s some team security included in the asking price.
Dubas Loves to Wheel and Deal
Kyle Dubas has already made some bold moves in Pittsburgh and you expect much of the same to continue before March’s trade deadline. While Erik Karlsson appears to be working out just fine, leading Pens blueliners with 15 points in 14 games. Kris Letang sits second with eight.
The Penguins only have $17,351 currently in cap space, which means if Dubas wants to do anything significant he’ll need to considering moving one of his core pieces. Rickard Rakell and Jake Guentzel are two players to watch as their names have hit the rumor mill early on this season.
Rakell makes $5 million a year and is signed through the 2028-29 season. His modified no-trade clause protects him from eight teams, however his zero goals on the season remain an elephant in the room. With only four assists in 14 games, it’s been a rough go and Dubas will have his work cut out for him trying to land fair value for Rakell, who finished last season with 28 goals and 60 points.
Meanwhile, the tenured Guentzel is a pending unrestricted free agent and will be an interesting case to watch. If contract extension talks go nowhere, then of course Dubas will entertain some phone calls. Guentzel’s been rather consistent in Pittsburgh, so upgrading from him may be tough. Considering his chemistry with Sidney Crosby, this could be a risky move by Dubas and company and something they may want to pass on.
Florida Panthers Just Getting Started
The Panthers have started strong at 10-4-1. They’ve just recently got Sam Bennett back into their lineup and are still without top-four defensemen Aaron Ekblad and Brandon Montour.
The Panthers have been in on Patrick Kane, and will be one of the last teams in the running if they don’t end up signing him. The thing is, a team like Buffalo can add Kane without having to make a trade thanks to some rare cap space from GM Kevyn Adams, where Panthers GM Bill Zito has to make a deal to create space to sign Kane.
Zito has his hands full to pull off this magic trick. The Panthers have limited trade candidates and may have to go off the board. Could someone like Sam Bennett and his $4.42 AAV be in play? He doesn’t hold any trade protection, and a market for a player of his style would be in high demand. This could help retool, make room to sign Kane and dress both of his stud defencemen in one clean swoop.
As for the Maple Leafs, they’ve reportedly met with Kane and his reps this week as he’s been training close by. Brad Treliving has a history of being someone who is ‘in’ on just about all major negotiations league wide so this really shouldn’t be surprising to hear.
Thanks for stopping by another edition of TLN Rumour Recap. Trade winds are heating up across the league and it won’t be long before something significant goes down.
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