NHL Trade Rumour Roundup: Thoughts on Kane, Nylander, Halak

Vladimir Tarasenko only needed 20 seconds to score in overtime to break a 1-1 tie and get the Blues a 2-1 win over the Maple Leafs.

Evander Kane’s time with the Buffalo Sabres has been tumultuous to say the least. Just last summer there were rumblings the club wanted to get rid of him.

But things are different now, writes Mike Harrington of The Buffalo News. The speedy Kane has begun to show consistent flashes of his former self, tallying 16 goals and 23 points since Dec. 1 (32 games).

The 25-year-old has one year left on his contract, after which he’ll be UFA eligible, so the Sabres will need to decide whether to hang on to him, or “sell high” to address needs on the blue line. Harrington speculates that the Los Angeles Kings, Vancouver Canucks and Anaheim Ducks could be interested in the 2009 first round pick.

It’s a tough situation for Buffalo, according to Harrington, who asks: “Who’s the last player this franchise has had that can combine power and offence?”

No-go on Nylander

With William Nylander’s name bandied about in recent trade speculation, Sportsnet colleague Chris Johnston wrote Thursday night about why it’s foolish to believe the Maple Leafs are considering such a move.

Elliotte Friedman shared his thoughts on the subject in an appearance on Sportsnet 590 The FAN Friday morning.

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Elliotte Friedman: Not crazy for Leafs to build Cup contender soon
Originally aired February 10 2017

“Part of it is that somebody mentions him in a rumour, or the possibility of it, and people go crazy because there are so few rumours out there now,” Friedman said.

“Also, (Leafs coach Mike) Babcock at times has been blunt about how he hasn’t always been thrilled with some of the things that Nylander does out there. He’s got a little bit of (Alexei) Kovalev in him. Kovalev was an artist, a tremendous player and sometimes as great as he was, he did things that the team was like, ‘You know Alex, we wish you’d do it this way.’

“We’re very early in that phase between Nylander and Babcock,” Friedman added. “We’ll see where it goes. I don’t think they’re in a hurry to deal him. I just think sometimes his name gets mentioned once and everybody starts going crazy about it because they miss a good old-fashioned trade rumour.”

Island fun

Remember Jaroslav Halak — the former New York Islanders goaltender who’s now biding his time with the club’s AHL affiliate?

Turns out since his demotion, the 31-year-old veteran of 11 NHL seasons has performed well for the Bridgeport Sound Tigers, totalling an 8-1 record with a 2.11 goals-against average and .924 save percentage in 11 games.

In a recent mailbag, Arthur Staple of Newsday writes that Halak figures to be the only rental player on the club, which sits just outside of an Eastern Conference wild-card spot. With Thomas Greiss and Jean-Francois Berube handling the crease, Halak is a non-factor for the Islanders, who were criticized by the goaltender’s agent earlier this season.

The playoff-tested netminder could prove useful for a number of NHL teams, including the St. Louis Blues and Dallas Stars. As well, a trade for Halak could give the Boston Bruins some support behind No. 1 Tuukka Rask.

Staple also dropped this little nugget in his mailbag. Don’t sleep on the Isles in the Matt Duchene sweepstakes:

I still feel Matt Duchene is at the top of the Isles’ list. The fact he has two more years on his deal means this wouldn’t be a go-for-it rental, but the cost will be steep. Thomas Vanek’s name has been bandied about as a rental, but I doubt the Isles go back down that road.

If there’s a deal to be made, it’s to shore up the middle six behind John Tavares’ line, which has been absurdly dominant the last month. I don’t think [GM Garth] Snow feels a need to add someone to ride shotgun with Tavares, more like someone to anchor the scoring on the second/third lines.Arthur Staple, Newsday