The NHL Trade deadline is three weeks from today and while the NHL Trade rumor mill is churning, there’s yet to be any impact trades made as April 12 is rapidly approaching. Will the NHL trade market open up this week?
As of now, it appears the major factors like Canadian quarantine, salary cap issues, and the tight standings have NHL GMs in a holding pattern and waiting on each other to make the first big move.
“That supply and demand equation, I don’t know what it looks like right now,” Tampa Bay Lightning GM Julien BriseBois told the media recently. “I know a lot of teams are in the same situation we’re in where they literally have no cap space or very, very little, not enough to add a player without subtracting. At the same time, the schedule matrix and the divisional format, there’s a lot more four-point games. The teams on the bubble, I don’t know what’s ultimately going to guide their decisions. Are they going to add or try to sell? Will there be more teams standing pat? I don’t know. It’ll be interesting to find out.”
That sounds familiar doesn’t it Boston Bruins fans? That’s because that’s very similar to what Bruins GM Don Sweeney told the media back on March 10.
“Your team usually dictates what you should try and do,” Sweeney said. “Ours will probably indicate what direction we’d like. We certainly have areas we’d like to explore to add. But it’s been challenging. I think things will loosen up because there will be some teams that will identify themselves as not necessarily in the position they want to be.
Some player movement will happen. But movement across the [Canadian] border is a difficult thing because of quarantine. The health of your group will sometimes dictate how many player transactions will be there. Money is tight. You have 18 teams on LTI. So, it’s really navigating the unknown right now. Plenty of talks and conversation going on.”
Two days later, the Columbus Blue Jackets acquired defenseman Mikko Lehtonen from Toronto Maple Leafs in exchange for goalie Veini Vehvilainen. That’s been the only NHL Trade since then.
The vibe and general consensus I got when researching for my latest ‘Off The Record’ column was that this could be the week where the floodgates begin to open because of the 14-day Canadian quarantine. Also that unrestricted free agents will be the wild card on the NHL trade market because teams are so cap-strapped going forward past this season and are hesitant to add cap space and term unless the same amount is going back the other way.
Sweeney is scheduled to address the media at 5:15 PM ET and while the main topic will be whatever update he can provide on the five Bruins players on the NHL COVID List if, given the chance, this puck scribe will be sure to ask when he expects the clogged NHL Trade Market to open up and if he plans to get a head start on his counterparts?
Now on to the rest of the BHN Links:
In yesterday’s BHN Daily, I presented the case for New Jersey Devils defenseman and longtime Bruins nemesis PK Subban being a trade target for contending teams like the Bruins and I also asked if the Bruins should try and acquire Subban if the Devils would eat 40-50 percent of his $9 million cap hit next season? A good portion of tweets and Facebook comments basically questioned my sanity and asked why any team would want Subban at this point? Well, if you don’t believe me, maybe hall of fame hockey writer Larry Brooks can convince you. (NY Post)
Is New Jersey Devils winger Kyle Palmieri the top NHL Trade target for Lou Lamoriello and the New York Islanders? Colleague and buddy Christian Arnold has been all over Lou’s pursuit of a scorer to fill the void left by captain Anders Lee’s injury that will keep him out for the remainder of the season. (NYI Hockey Now)
Almost three years later, it continues to look like a good thing that the Bruins didn’t sign center John Tavares when he hit the 2018 NHL Free Agent market. (Toronto Star)
With Evgeni Malkin week-to-week with a lower-body injury he suffered from that monstrous hit from Bruins defenseman Jarred Tinordi last Tuesday, the Pittsburgh Penguins are struggling to score, and colleague and buddy Dan Kingerski examines what they can do to solve their scoring woes. (Pittsburgh Hockey Now)
Finally, for your Murph’s Music Pick of The Day, here’s a band that is on my bucket list for concerts, The Hold Steady!