If you read on Twitter Thursday that the Edmonton Oilers are considering trading Connor McDavid to the Toronto Maple Leafs for Auston Matthews and Mitch Marner, it’s merely because it’s April 1 and the world is full of fools.
With the NHL trade deadline less than two weeks away, though, there’s also more realistic speculation and plenty of legitimate buzz to digest.
It’s unclear what type of return Buffalo might get for Taylor Hall if the 2018 Hart Trophy winner is in fact moved before the deadline. Also, how will the Florida Panthers address their blue-line with Aaron Ekblad out long-term? Will contending teams like Washington, Tampa Bay, Colorado and Vegas make a significant move or stand pat?
These questions will be answered by April 12, but until then here is some of the latest buzz from around the NHL.
Penguins looking for help at centre
With both Evgeni Malkin and Teddy Blueger out with injuries, the Pittsburgh Penguins could use some reinforcements down the middle and the team’s president, Brian Burke, seems to agree.
Burke praised the efforts of Frederick Gaudreau who has stepped up in recent weeks but he told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, “when two of your top four centers go down, you start looking around.”
Burke also mentioned GM Ron Hextall doesn’t want to trade the team’s second-round pick. They don’t have a 2021 first-round selection because it was used to acquire Jason Zucker and they’re without picks in the third and fourth rounds also.
Jets don’t sound like they’ll be too aggressive ahead of deadline
During a Wednesday appearance on Sportsnet 590, Kevin Cheveldayoff was asked how aggressive his team will be in the lead-up to the deadline.
The Winnipeg Jets GM said it’s “hard to say at the moment” before continuing: “I want to be careful. When we traded for Paul Stastny a couple years ago it was an excellent fit. It was exactly what we needed. He was the guy that we needed. He knew some guys in our dressing room already so we knew there was not going to be a problem of him fitting in right there. You have to make sure if you’re going to make a move it better fit, so we’ll evaluate everything. There’s still a lot of runway from here to the 12th so we’ll see how it all plays out.”
Bruins looking for help on right wing
The Boston Bruins could use a boost up front on the right side with Ondrej Kase still out of commission with a concussion. One name attached to the Bruins has been Devils winger Kyle Palmieri. Fluto Shinzawa of The Athletic suggested Palmieri would be an ideal fit for Boston. The pending UFA has certainly enjoyed his time playing against the Bruins with five goals and one assist in six games against Boston this season.
Flyers looking for help between the pipes?
It’s been a rough week for the Philadelphia Flyers. Shayne Gostisbehere was waived, Carter Hart was publicly called out by his coach, and they became the first team to lose to the Buffalo Sabres since Feb. 23 – and they did it in style, falling 6-1.
The Flyers have allowed more goals than every team besides the Ottawa Senators and there are various reports goaltending is an area GM Chuck Fletcher could look into, especially with Brian Elliott and Alex Lyon pending UFAs. Detroit’s Jonathan Bernier and San Jose’s Devan Dubnyk are among the netminders that could be moved at this year’s deadline.
Philly was three points out of fourth place in the East Division heading into Thursday’s slate of games, so with the team on the cusp of a playoff spot there’s still time to turn things around.
Could Maple Leafs target goalie depth?
Another team with questions in the crease is Toronto. Sportsnet’s Chris Johnston was on the radio Thursday morning discussing the status of both Jack Campbell and Frederick Andersen and what the Leafs might consider.
Campbell was one of the players Kyle Dubas picked up ahead of last year’s trade deadline.
“I think Kyle’s done a great job of building an organization and filling his needs,” Cheveldayoff, whose Jets are in the midst of a two-game series with the Leafs, said when asked about Dubas’s work as a GM. “He’s had to manage the salary cap, which is no easy feat when we didn’t, at the time, [know] that it was going to be flat for many years to come and I think some of the acquisitions they’ve made have certainly helped them in a lot of different areas. They’re an elite team that can play a lot of different ways.”