With the NHL general managers meeting in Toronto Tuesday and teams starting to realize what they’re lacking 15 games into the season, it’s time to crank up the rumour mill. Here are the latest topics making the rounds in hockey’s game of broken telephone.
Senators test Hamburglar market
With newly acquired Mike Condon filling Craig Anderson’s support role nicely, the Ottawa Senators have floated backup goaltender Andrew Hammond out there as trade bait, reports Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman.
Hammond, 28, has only appeared in two games this season due to injury, posting a .793 save percentage. The White Rock, B.C., native carries a salary cap hit of $1.35 million through 2017-18.
A number of teams — Philadelphia, Los Angeles, Boston — have had their goaltending depth tested by injury.
“We’re going to see where we’re at [with Hammond],” Sens GM Pierre Dorion told the Ottawa Sun Sunday. “We’re comfortable carrying three goalies because of the Anderson situation. It could be very fluid as far as being here and not being here. We’re going to support him any way we can.
“That’s why, for the time being, we’re just staying status quo.”
Dorion did say he was looking to see if he could improve his club via trade at the GM meeting this week.
“The one thing that is great about the GMs is they’re not afraid to try and fleece you at any point in time,” he quipped.
Flames’ Hamilton responds to trade chatter
When your name pops up in a Hockey Night in Canada trade report, there’s a good chance you’ll catch wind of it.
Sportsnet’s Nick Kypreos reported Saturday night that although the Calgary Flames aren’t shopping Dougie Hamilton, GM Brad Treliving has received calls on his top-scoring defenceman from the Arizona Coyotes and Pittsburgh Penguins.
“I saw it, for sure,” Hamilton, 23, told the Calgary Sun. “You can’t think too much into that stuff. Just try to keep playing hockey.”
“It’s part of the game. I think every deadline, every draft and all that stuff, there are always rumours. There are so many rumours and stuff, and I don’t know how much of it is true or anything, right?”
Though he leads Calgary D-men with six points, Hamilton ranks fifth in ice time among that group. He is a minus-9 and has committed 18 minutes in penalties through 16 games.
“I’m happy here and I want to keep helping try to turn this around for the Flames, so I can’t look into that stuff,” Hamilton said. “It’s just a distraction, if anything.”
Those distractions will continue to mount as Calgary — losers of four in a row and the only NHL team with 10 regulation L’s — falters.
Changes in net and behind the bench have already been made. This was supposed to be a bounce-back season in Alberta. Tensions are running high early.
Something has to give in Vancouver, right?
There were rumours that head coach Willie Desjardins might take the fall for Vancouver’s 6-9-1 start. President Trevor Linden said Desjardins was not to blame and highlighted an improved defensive structure.
Following that, Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friendman asked Linden about a rumour that he himself was considering stepping down. Linden shot that down, too.
General manager Jim Benning is still hunting for a top-six forward to boost his anemic offence, but he’s dealing from a point of weakness.
Will management be patient enough to not sacrifice prospects or decent young players (Bo Horvat) in order to make a run at the playoffs?
“We feel we’ve under-performed, and we’re not happy with the results to date,” Linden told Vancouver radio Friday. “We do feel this group has more to give.”
The only thing going for this team, which has been hit by injuries (Jannik Hansen’s rib, the latest), is that they play in a weak Pacific Division and remain just six points behind the division-leading Oilers.
“We’ve got our eye on the future, obviously. We’ve got some very good prospects that aren’t with us. Those people aren’t part of the discussion, so it limits what you can do,” Linden said. “Our improve has to come from within.”
Hanzal rumours, so hot right now
The perennially injured but fantastic-when-healthy Martin Hanzal has deadline trade written all over him. The Coyotes are all about the future and have a number of young centres coming up the pipe line.
How many other point-producing, 6-foot-6, 226-pound centremen will be available to rent for a playoff run? (Cough, Montreal Canadiens, cough.)
Hanzal, 29, returns to the Arizona lineup this week. He has a modified no-trade clause and a workable cap hit of $3.1 million.
Why did the Parliament game fall apart?
The Senators thought it would be cool to hold an outdoor game on Parliament Hill, but the feds said no. How come?
Well, there is this theory, put forth by Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Sun:
“Confirm or deny: One of the reasons the federal government turned down the bid by the Senators and the league to host a Heritage Classic on Parliament Hill was the fact they asked about using the ice for other activities — say an MPs game — and were told by the NHL they’d have to rent it.”
Olympic participation in the balance
All the big boys — IIHF, NHL, NHLPA, Hockey Canada and USA Hockey — are meeting Wednesday in New York to discuss the NHL’s participation in the 2018 Winter Games.
We’re not holding our breath for a final decision, but hopefully we’ll gain more clarity on a cloudy situation.
Rene Fazel confident he can come to terms with NHL about Olympics. Promises to find money to cover travel and insurance.
— Aivis Kalniņš (@A_Kalnins) November 14, 2016