The NHL Trade Deadline is three weeks from tomorrow and the NHL Trade rumor mill is buzzing!
As they have been throughout the season, the Boston Bruins are rumored to be on the prowl for a Top 4 left-shot defenseman, and for that top 6 winger, they’ve been coveting since Jarome Iginla left town after the 2013-14 season. The Bruins and multiple contenders are lining up for Buffalo Sabres winger Taylor Hall and New Jersey Devils winger Kyle Palmieri, as well as, Columbus Blue Jackets defenseman David Savard and Nashville Predators defenseman Mattias Ekholm.
Speaking of the Predators, after they dealt defenseman PK Subban to the New Jersey Devils at the 2019 NHL Entry Draft in an obvious salary dump, many viewed Subban as a declining asset and problem child strapped to a $9 million cap hit for three more seasons. In his first season with the Devils, Subban didn’t do anything to shed those harsh labels with just seven goals and 11 assists in 68 games and a -21 plus/minus rating. Rumors surfaced as far back as the 2020 NHL Trade Deadline, that the Devils would love to make a cap dump of their own with Subban but there were, as expected, no takers for the monster cap hit and the struggling 2013 Norris Trophy winner.
Fast forward to just over a year and Subban, in the eyes of many opposing players, coaches, scouts and management has reinvented himself on the ice. The 31-year-old six-foot, 210-pound rearguard has committed a defense-first approach in 5-on-5 play and is still a powerplay threat. In 28 games this season and heading into Sunday’s 1 PM ET matinee against the Pittsburgh Penguins, Subban had three goals and 11 assists and trimmed the plus/minus down to -4. He also had two powerplay goals and three assists on the man advantage.
From my latest ‘Off The Record’ column for National Hockey Now:
“There’s definitely more eyes on PK these days,” another NHL pro scout told OTR recently. “He’s clearly rededicated himself to the game and he’s an asset for a contender if they can fit him under their cap. Even, if ‘Fitzy’ [Devils GM Tom Fitzgerald] ate half, that’s still hard for a lot of contending teams but I think someone does it, to be honest. I think PK deserves a lot of credit for the way he’s refocused on hockey.”
As referenced above, the Boston Bruins are focused on acquiring a left-shot defenseman to play in one of their top 4 pairings. However, as of Sunday, there has been no concrete evidence that defenseman Brandon Carlo (concussion) is coming back anytime soon and while Kevan Miller (knee) is closing in on a return, this latest 13-game absence, unfortunately, seems like his reconstructed right knee cap isn’t going to hold up as much as everyone hoped. The recent COVID outbreak that postponed the Bruins’ game against the Sabres in Buffalo yesterday and then their first home game with fans since March 7, 2020, is just another sad reminder that things can change in a hurry.
As the great Scotty Bowman always says ‘you can never have enough defensemen’ and that begs one to ask, would a peaceful Brad Marchand-PK Subban reunion be such a bad thing? Could these two longtime rivals become teammates?
Now onto the rest of the BHN Daily links while Bruins fans vomit green beer on what normally would be parade day in South Boston and Holyoke!
Speaking of Bruins NHL Trade targets, Bruins GM Don Sweeney went hard after then Carolina Hurricanes defenseman Noah Hanifin at the 2015 NHL Entry Draft. The Norwood, MA native eventually got dealt to the Calgary Flames in a five-player trade at the 2018 NHL Entry Draft in a five-player trade that featured former Bruins defenseman Dougie Hamilton going to the Carolina Hurricanes. The Bruins were linked to Hanifin again this past offseason but if his recent play has any say, the former Boston College star isn’t going anywhere as he’s prospered under new head coach Darryl Sutter. (TSN)
Are the first place Edmonton Oilers finally reaching their potential? (Edmonton Sun)
Will Palmieri be the big acquisition before the NHL Trade Deadline that New York Islanders GM Lou Lamoriello is working on to help fill the void left by Anders Lee’s season-ending injury? (NYI Hockey Now)
Who are the Pittsburgh Penguins targeting on the NHL Trade market? (Pittsburgh Hockey Now)
Are the Montreal Canadiens secretly orchestrating a major NHL Trade? Will the Toronto Maple Leafs acquire a defenseman? The panel on Sportsnet Hockey Headlines discussed. (Sportsnet)
Finally, today would’ve been St. Patrick’s Day Parade day in plenty of North American cities and towns. Two cities that would’ve packed their downtown cores are dear to my heart. Montreal, QC and Holyoke, MA. Thinking of all my friends in both places!