NHL Rumors Roundup: Top Trade Candidates; Torts wants to coach; Blackhawks; Rangers; and Maple Leafs

The noise has expectedly died down around the NHL rumor mill with the trade of Jack Eichel to the Vegas Golden Knights. Eventually, it will pick back up depending on team needs or injuries. Most assuredly, the closer we get to the March 21st trade deadline it will get louder and louder.

So who are the top trade candidates as we look around the NHL? Let’s start with the top five.

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NHL Rumors: Top Trade Candidates

  1. Phil Kessel: The 34 year-old wants out of Arizona and they are working on it. Last season, he scored 20 goals and 43 points in 56 games for the Yotes. This season with an abysmal Arizona ensemble, he has five points in 12 games and in the final year of a deal that has a $6.8M cap hit.
  2. Vladimir Tarasenko: The 29 year-old is a former 40 goal scorer back in 2015-16. His trade demand from the summer still stands. This season, he has notched 11 points in 9 games. He has one year remaining on his $7.5 million AAV deal and a 10 team no trade clause.
  3. Tomas Hertl: The 27 year-old center will be a UFA this summer and the jury is out if the Sharks will trade him or not. His current cap hit of $5.625M makes him very affordable for the acquiring team. Hertl has 8 points in 11 games this season.
  4. Joonas Korpisalo: The 27 year-old netminder was 9-13-7 last season for Columbus. It really was a struggle for the entire team and he suffered for it posting a 3.30 GAA and .894 SV%. This season he’s 2-2-0 with a 3.43 GAA and a .905 SV%. Columbus is actively taking calls on the pending UFA.
  5. Johnny Gaudreau: There’s that name again. But if the Flames can’t come to terms on an extension by the deadline he will be at the top of this list soon. The 28 year-old pending UFA has 14 points in 11 games this season and looks like he’s playing the best hockey of his career.

John Tortorella wants to coach

Torts, 63, is currently on TV as part of ESPN’s hockey coverage. Although he is enjoying his time there, it’s clear what he wants to do. Asked by co-host Arda Ocal about getting back to coaching, Tortorella was quick to respond.

“I want to coach. I miss it already,” Torts said. “I’m a hockey coach and looking to get back into it.”

Two potential destinations are the Florida Panthers and Chicago Blackhawks.

Chicago Blackhawks Rumors

The Blackhawks are looking to make changes to their front office, and will also need a new head coach after firing Jeremy Colliton on Saturday. Regarding a new coach, that will likely be decided by the next management group.

I have learned that two candidates that were discussed for the GM position are finalists for the Blackhawks.

Eddie Olcyck is in the running to become the next President of Hockey Operations and Jeff Gorton is under serious consideration for the General Manager position.

New York Rangers Rumors

Feb 27, 2020; Nashville, Tennessee, USA; Calgary Flames goaltender David Rittich (33) watches as Nashville Predators left wing Filip Forsberg (9) is unable to get a shot off as he is defended by Calgary Flames left wing Johnny Gaudreau (13) during the second period at Bridgestone Arena. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

The Rangers have lost three games in a row, two in OT, but are struggling to score at even strength. During this current losing streak, they’ve mustered 4 goals 5v5. All of which came against the defensively inept Oilers.

There’s a growing concern in the organization with their top RW, Kaapo Kakko having yet to register a single point in 8 games this season. The inability of Chris Kreider or Alexis Lafrenière to move comfortably to the right side has also compounded the issue. Not to mention top right wing prospect Vitali Kravtsov self exiling himself to Russia by refusing assignment to the AHL.

President and GM Chris Drury may opt to use his ample cap space sooner rather than later to get a top six right wing. Kessel and Tarasenko as previously mentioned fit the bill but I’m hearing Filip Forsberg in Nashville is a desired target.

Forsberg, 27, will be a UFA at season’s end and has 7 points in 9 games. The right-handed shot likes to play on the left side, but the versatile Swede can slot into any of the three forward positions.

Leafs are shopping defensemen

Per Luke Fox of Sportsnet, he relays recent reporting that Travis Dermott or Justin Holl are on the block.

Dermott, 24, has 1 assist in 10 games this season to go with 48 points in his 218 career regular season games. He has one more season at $1.5M on the cap and will be an RFA at the deal’s conclusion.

Holl, 29, has no points in 7 games with a -7 rating this season. He’s registered 41 points in 143 contests and makes $2M AAV for one more season before becoming a UFA.