NHL Rumors: Capitals may trade Evgeny Kuznetsov, Rangers need muscle, and Jets Paul Maurice on hot seat

capitals may trade evgeny kuznetsov
Evgeny Kuznetsov on the block? (Getty Images)

Rumors are starting to surface that the Capitals may trade Evgeny Kuznetsov. Lost in the aftermath of the Tom Wilson incident and his wrist slap of $5000 for body-slamming Artemi Panarin, was the fact Washington scratched two players before the game. Goalie Ilya Samsonov and center Evgeny Kuznetsov were taken out of the lineup for disciplinary reasons.

Capitals may trade Evgeny Kuznetsov

“It’s not about that. It’s about we’ve got to work together inside here,” head coach Peter Laviolette answered when asked if it was hard decision. “There’s got to be rules, there’s got to be boundaries and there’s got to expectations set and you have to be accountable to them.”

Now, Insider Pierre LeBrun is signaling that the Capitals are tired of dealing with Kuznetsov issues and may look to trade him this offseason. He’s not the only one that is reporting this as Elliotte Friedman also cited the Caps are “running out of patience” with him.

capitals may trade evgeny kuznetsov
Feb 23, 2021; Washington, District of Columbia, USA; Washington Capitals center Evgeny Kuznetsov (92) passes the puck against the Pittsburgh Penguins at Capital One Arena. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

This isn’t something new. In speaking with a team executive earlier this season, Kuznetsov’s name was listed as one of the potentially high profiled centers that would be available via trade this summer. The others were Jack Eichel, Aleksander Barkov, and Evgeni Malkin.

There seems to be a lot of smoke around this topic and you can expect it to intensify in summer.

New York Rangers need some muscle

new york rangers rumors
Mar 11, 2021; Calgary, Alberta, CAN; Montreal Canadiens right wing Josh Anderson (17) and Calgary Flames left wing Milan Lucic (17) fight during the third period at Scotiabank Saddledome. Mandatory Credit: Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports

In the wake of the Tom Wilson incident and his subsequent writs slap of $5000, the New York Rangers put out a strongly worded letter to the NHL. Contained in the statement were some scathing remarks directed at George Parros who is simply a figurehead for the Department of Player Safety.

Wilson’s dangerous and reckless actions caused an injury to Artemi Panarin that will prevent him from playing again this season. We view this as a dereliction of duty by NHL Head of Player Safety, George Parros, and believe he is unfit to continue in his current role.

If the league won’t protect players that leaves the Blueshirts to figure out how. Jeff Gorton needs to look long and hard for a 4th line player that can be a productive forechecker but also play the role of bodyguard. The Rangers are built to be a skilled team with next to no bite heading into next season. They are a star studded bunch with a lot of young skilled kids just finding their way. Kids that will need protecting.

There are some promising prospects that could be that answer in the future like Will Cuylle and Braden Schneider but they aren’t NHL ready yet. Ryan Reaves out in Vegas has one more year on his contract, maybe the Rangers should get ahead of it an aim for a trade this summer. Milan Lucic just waived his no-move clause and could be a target as well if the Flames would eat some of his cap hit.

Is Paul Maurice on the hot seat in Winnipeg?

Paul Maurice and his Winnipeg Jets are mired in a massive slump losing 7 games in a row. If the Jets were to get bounced early in the playoffs would it be the end of the line? One beat writer in Winnipeg thinks so.

According to Mike McIntyre of the Winnipeg Free Press, if Maurice can’t get his team on track GM Kevin Cheveldayoff could be looking for a new direction. With a bevy of good coaches available and soon to be, this certainly has some merit to it.