NHL Rumors: Panthers eyeing Coyotes defensemen; Sam Bennett back on the block; and why does Ryan Strome’s name still persist as a trade candidate?

The Florida Panthers are in the market for a defenseman. As they battle for first in the Central division the loss of Aaron Ekblad was a devastating blow. That has GM Bill Zito scouring the NHL for his replacement.

NHL Rumors: Panthers could go for a Coyotes defenseman

Arizona is currently holding a playoff spot in the West so nothing is a given with regards to trades. Getting into the playoffs would be extra money the owners are dying for after the losses experienced due to COVID. However, the Yotes could still move one of their blue-liners and not be hurt by it. Remember they were penalized by losing picks for violating rules and testing prospects so they are desperate to add some.

niklas hjalmarsson
Feb 4, 2021; St. Louis, Missouri, USA; St. Louis Blues defenseman Justin Faulk (72) falls to the ice in front of Arizona Coyotes defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson (4) during the third period at Enterprise Center. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

According to Erik Duhatschek, Florida could be looking at Alex Goligoski as a rental but Niklas Hjalmarsson is a potential option as well. Both are pending UFA’s with Hjalmarsson currently out with an upper-body injury but expected to be back by the deadline. Another option mentioned was Jason Demers but if coach Quenneville has a say it’s likely Hjalmarsson.

And if GM Bill Zito is consulting coach Joel Quenneville about who he might want to add, wouldn’t the Arizona Coyotes’ Niklas Hjalmarsson’s name be at the top of the list? Hjalmarsson, if you’ll recall, was a key piece during the Chicago Blackhawks’ championship seasons. When he was traded away to Arizona originally Quenneville couldn’t hide his disappointment.

The Athletic

NHL Rumors: Flames keep losing and likely raises probability Sam Bennett could be traded

The Calgary Flames keep losing (six losses in their last seven) and that’s reengaged the rumor mill on Sam Bennett. While Bennett seems the perfect fit for Darryl Sutter he is a commodity that could help the Flames via trade. Eric Francis put the exclamation mark on the notion in his latest for Sportsnet saying Bennett “will be shopped.”

Bennett’s name was very high on the TSN Trade list when it initially came out. In its most recent release it dropped significantly as he is now 26th. That’s a big fall from his original placement of 9th. I believe we can expect to see his name climb again.

NHL Rumors: Why is Ryan Strome’s name still discussed as a trade candidate?

new york rangers
Feb 26, 2021; New York, New York, USA; Ryan Strome #16 of the New York Rangers celebrates his goal against the Boston Bruins at 2:32 of the second period at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: POOL PHOTOS-USA TODAY Sports

The Athletic’s Rick Carpiniello latest once again mentions Ryan Strome’s name as a potential trade candidate. In fairness to Carpiniello he doesn’t believe the Rangers will do anything at the deadline but believes it would be wise to trade him now for a first round pick – if they could get that.

When I asked a source about Strome for Forever Blueshirts, who is tied for the team lead in scoring and is signed until 2022 about it; I basically got a no clue as to why his name is being mentioned.

There’s is no secret the Rangers are looking for another top center this summer. With that being said, there isn’t one that’s going to be on the market for them come April 12. Names expected to be shopped this offseason are Jack Eichel, Aleksander Barkov, Evgeni Malkin, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Evgeny Kuznetsov, and possibly Sidney Crosby.

As we know, the Rangers want 24 year-old Jack Eichel more than anyone else mentioned.

If the Rangers are going to land Eichel or anyone of the mentioned centers, Ryan Strome may have to be the roster player sent back the other way to replace them in the middle. So trading him for a first round pick at the deadline or without a deal for his replacement in place is beyond risky.

Bottom line, Strome isn’t going anywhere at the deadline. It’s also possible he might not go anywhere at all.