The NHL Trade Deadline is three weeks from Monday and the NHL trade rumor mill is churning. However, the NHL Trade market still remains clogged thanks to basically every contending team being up against the cap and to COVID still ravaging the bottom lines of almost every NHL team owner.
With that in mind, there’s even more traction on free agent rentals on the NHL trade market. The usual suspects are part of the NHL trade chatter but what about some under the radar UFA’s that could help a contender?
PK Subban isn’t a UFA but his name has become more prevalent on the NHL trade market than it has been in years.
Could another former Anaheim Duck from the 2007 Stanley Cup team end up in Pittsburgh?
That and more in the latest ‘Off The Record’.
1. Could Burke Reunite With Getzlaf?
The Pittsburgh Penguins could use a big center that can score, especially right now with Evgeni Malkin week-to-week with a lower-body injury. There just happens to be a 35-year-old, experienced center on the Anaheim Ducks headed for unrestricted free agency. This UFA-to-be also happened to win a Stanley Cup with Penguins new President of Hockey Operations Brian Burke when Burke was the General Manager of the Anaheim Ducks in 2007. He likely also gave new Pens GM Ron Hextall fits back when Hextall was an Assistant General Manager for the Los Angeles Kings.
Could Burke and Ryan Getzlaf reunite in Pittsburgh?
I brought this topic up with colleague and friend Dan Kingerski of Pittsburgh Hockey Now and Dan offered some very valid reasons why such a reunion likely won’t happen, citing first and foremost that the Ducks GM Bob Murray has made it clear, the only way Getzlaf will get moved is if the veteran center and Ducks captain comes to Murray and requests a trade. Getzlaf is in the final season of an eight-year contract that carries an $8.2 million salary cap hit. He has a full no-movement clause and Murray has been adamant that out of respect for Getzlaf’s years of service and leadership to the franchise, he will not ask him to waive it. What if Getzlaf somehow got wind that Burke and the Penguins were interested in him?
Off The Record
“First of all, I can tell you I have no direct knowledge that ‘Burkie’ is interested,” an NHL management source told ‘Off The Record’. “That being said, I don’t see why he wouldn’t be, and yeah, if Getzlaf knew that, Brian is probably one of, if not the only guy he’d consider waiving for. It makes a ton of sense. I would keep an eye on it.”
2. UFA Rentals In Demand
Unrestricted free agents have always attracted contending NHL teams leading into and at the deadline as ‘playoff rentals’ but with NHL teams not only hamstrung by salary cap constraints but also their owners hemorrhaging money thanks to the pandemic, now more than ever, NHL General Managers are targeting UFA rentals ahead of the NHL Trade Deadline. Of course, any GM would love and a money-for-money hockey trade that secures a young player with term, but as they say, ‘Beggars can’t be choosers and it’s a ‘Beggars Banquet’ on the NHL Trade Market right now.
Plenty of teams are focused on the likes of Buffalo Sabres winger Taylor Hall, New Jersey Devils winger Kyle Palmieri, Vancouver Canucks winger Tanner Pearson, and Columbus Blue Jackets defenseman David Savard. What about some under the radar UFA’s that could get moved and help a team?
Off The Record:
One NHL management member had this to say:
“I’d keep an eye on Phillip Danault. I know Columbus likes him a lot. [Niklas] Hjalmarsson in Arizona; Alex Edler from the Canucks, and Sami Vatanen will probably be on the move again. You can tell defense is in high demand still.”
3. Interest In Subban Building
One name starting to come up more frequently on the NHL Trade rumor circuit is New Jersey Devils defenseman PK Subban. Yes, Subban still has one year left on his contract that carries a $9 million cap hit, but there’s a sense amongst NHL GM’s that Devils GM Tom Fitzgerald would be willing to eat a good portion of that next season. Combine that with the fact that Subban has reinvented himself and become a much better defensive defenseman that eats up minutes, and he’s suddenly an attractive trade commodity to teams that need a Top 4 right-shot defenseman. He can still work a power play as well by the way.
Off the record:
“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 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.”