There is plenty to talk about in the NHL this week. After a few trades, perhaps the doors are opening leading into the trade deadline. And, if the action is starting to heat up, who is next?
There are whispers a contending team in the Eastern Conference might have their eyes set on Jake Muzzin out of LA, while a team in Western Conference on the playoff bubble is anxious to make a move, but also cautious about who and what they give up to improve their team. An inside report out of Columbus suggests the Blue Jackets might have to move two of their stars and the Senators are talking often with their big free agents.
Here are the biggest rumors in the NHL this week, January 19, 2019.
Maple Leafs Interested in Jake Muzzin
Darren Dreger was on TSN 1050 talking about the plan in Toronto and how willing Maple Leafs GM Kyle Dubas is to trade assets for a defenseman. One name the Maple Leafs are interested in is Jake Muzzin.
Dreger says that the asking price for Jake Muzzin is a first round pick and a prospect but he’s a lefty so he doesn’t exactly fill their most pressing need. Giving up someone like Kasperi Kapanen or Andreas Johnsson might be a tough thing to do if the player isn't a perfect fit.
Oilers Trying to Take the Smart Approach
Elliotte Friedman was on Sportsnet 960 and discussed the Edmonton Oilers possible approach to the trade deadline suggesting both their prospects and their first-round draft pick in 2019 is available in trade for the right return. That said, Friedman reports the team is also going to tread carefully and make sure the deal is the right one.
The Oilers aren't looking at moving Jesse Puljujarvi, but will if that's what nets the best return. Friedman believes the team isn't shopping him, but that they are receiving calls and listening to offers. At the end of the day, it sounds like the Oilers will be active and are looking to make a deal.
Senators Met with Duchene
Darren Dreger reports that the Ottawa Senators have met with Matt Duchene‘s agent Pat Brisson and discussed “general parameters in term and the finances" for a new deal. No agreement is in place but the two sides will continue talking.
Speculation is not to expect a deal in the next couple week but that Duchene will need to decide “well in advance of the Feb. 25 trade deadline” about his plans for Ottawa. Should he not sign, other GM's should expect a phone call that Duchene is available.
Blue Jackets Getting No Indication Their Stars Will Stay
As per an interview with Aaron Portzline of The Athletic, the Blue Jackets are still uncertain about what the immediate future holds for stars Sergei Bobrovsky and Artemi Panarin.
In respect to Bobrovsky, Portzline said, “There is an issue between this club and this player, this club and this player’s representation that I’m not sure they can come back from. I’m not sure there’s a long-term relationship here that can be salvaged.” This could mean Columbus feels they need to dump Bobrovsky and go out and acquire another goaltender by the deadline.
When it comes to Panarin, the team and his representation are going to meet over the All-Star break and if there's no indication that Panarin is ready to sign an extension, they may choose to move him as well, then flip the picks they get in return for immediate help, softening the blow of losing their best offensive weapon.