In a mailbag column, The Athletic’s Jeremy Rutherford writes (subscription required) that while the Blues have been linked with a number of high-profile teams such as the Ottawa Senators, Buffalo Sabres, Montreal Canadiens, Edmonton Oilers and the New York Rangers, it’s unlikely the team will make a big move for a big name forward with years on his contract like a Max Pacioretty or a Mike Hoffman despite recent rumors to the contrary.
Due to the high trade demands being made for these players, Rutherford believes that trading a top prospect for a player who has a large contract to fit into their salary cap space doesn’t make a lot of sense as the team wants to have as much flexibility when free agency arrives this summer. Instead, the scribe believes the team needs to go the rental route and acquire a player (for a much cheaper price) so the team can make their run.
The team already is without their 2018 first-round pick which they traded for Brayden Schenn, so moving a top prospect could set the team back long-term. The team should look into a player such as Rick Nash, Michael Grabner or Patrick Maroon as options as they likely won’t cost them one of their top prospects in Jordan Kyrou, Robert Thomas or Klim Kostin.
- The Athletic’s Kevin Kurz (subscription required) writes that alarms should sound after San Jose Sharks center Joe Thornton refused to say that he will definitely be back this season. That’s a surprise considering he is a player who last year played through torn MCL and ACL injuries during the playoffs. Historically, he’s been a player who goes out on the ice no matter how hurt he is, so the idea that he might not be back this season suggests the injury is worse than people think. Could he have already played his last game as a San Jose Shark?
- Fox Sports West Patrick O’Neal tweets that Los Angeles Kings forward Trevor Lewis was sent back to Los Angeles to be re-evaluated after being injured in Friday’s game against the Florida Panthers. While indications are that the injury isn’t serious, head coach John Stevens wanted to have him evaluated after he sustained a serious crash against the boards.
- Tampa Bay Times’ Joe Smith writes that the rumors of a potential Ottawa Senators-Tampa Bay Lightning deadline deal refuses to go away. He writes that there have been a number of rumors, including talk of Erik Karlsson, and points out that Ottawa’s chief scout is expected to be at the Tampa Bay game tonight.