Some bad news on one player could turn out to be a blessing in disguise in regards to another. The Philadelphia Flyers have announced that rookie sensation Carter Hart will be out at least ten days with a lower-body injury. Hart has been playing phenomenally this season and his absence could end what little hope the Flyers had of reaching the postseason this year. However, it will force the team to start Brian Elliott tonight in their Stadium Series game against the Pittsburgh Penguins, Philly’s final game before the deadline. Recent acquisition Cam Talbot is still new to the team and unable to jump in net just yet. However, Talbot’s presence makes Elliott expendable and the Flyers are known to be shopping him. The team tried to move Elliott to the Edmonton Oilers as part of the Talbot return, but ended up trading away the younger Anthony Stolarz. However, with playoff-bound teams like the San Jose Sharks and Vegas Golden Knights in need of reinforcements in net, Elliott is very much still in play. A strong performance on a grand stage tonight could be enough to convince those kicking the tires to take a shot on Elliott. Moreso, the injury news on Hart could be the final straw for new GM Chuck Fletcher, as he is still allegedly unsure of whether to sell or not at the deadline. With Elliott, Wayne Simmonds, Michael Raffl, and several others drawing interest, Fletcher should be more encouraged to part with those pieces now that his stud goaltender is out for what could be weeks.
- The New York Rangers are one of the most talked-about teams as the deadline approaches, as rentals Kevin Hayes, Mats Zuccarello, and Adam McQuaid and even term players like Chris Kreider and Vladislav Namestnikov are drawing considerable interest. The New York Post’s Larry Brooks writes that the Nashville Predators are one of the teams in talks with the Rangers, but it appears that one of their best assets may be off the table. Brooks reports that the Predators will not trade 2017 first-round pick Eeli Tolvanen for a rental this season. Nashville does not have interest in Hayes, but has looked into Zuccarello, however they won’t offer up Tolvanen to land him. Brooks believes Tolvanen would only be available to the Rangers in a deal for Kreider. The talented Finnish forward has only seen limited NHL action thus far, but is still coveted by sellers – not only the Rangers – for his potential. In this scenario, it’s the sellers who may have to ante up with a signed player to get the prized prospect. As for the Rangers, they may have better luck getting a top return for Zuccarello elsewhere. Brooks states that the Calgary Flames and Pittsburgh Penguins are among the teams pursuing the veteran winger, while a report yesterday stated some contenders are willing to pay the price to package Zucarello and Hayes together.
- Meanwhile, the price for McQuaid has gone up significantly today following the trade of Ben Lovejoy to the Dallas Stars. McQuaid is arguably the top rental defenseman left on the market, currently ranked No. 21 overall on TSN’s Trade Bait List. With the trade statuses of Alex Edler, Niklas Kronwall, Cody Ceci, and others still unclear, McQuaid looks like the top target for defense-needy teams versus the likes of Michael Del Zotto and Bogdan Kiselevich. McQuaid is by no means a star or season-changing acquisition, but he is likely the best available defenseman even as just a physical, stay-at-home defender. If the New Jersey Devils can draw a third-round pick and young roster player for Lovejoy, the Rangers are suddenly looking at second-round territory with McQuaid. To protect their top trade assets, New York will not play McQuaid, Zuccarello, or Hayes today, reports Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman.
- Many have felt that the allure of the free agent market for Matt Duchene and Mark Stone and the caliber of return the Ottawa Senators could get for trading them left Ryan Dzingel as the most likely of the trio to re-sign with the team. That certainly isn’t going to be the case. The Ottawa Sun’s Bruce Garrioch reports that Dzingel recently turned down a five-year extension offer worth more than $20MM, a significant pay raise over his current $1.8MM cap hit. After that, the team made the definitive decision to trade him before the deadline. Garrioch adds that Stone also rejected the Senators’ last offer, and eight-year pact of unknown value, but the team has not yet completely closed the door on a new deal. They continue to take offers on the star winger though, as Garrioch writes that the Winnipeg Jets, Calgary Flames, Boston Bruins, and Tampa Bay Lightning are the team’s most involved in Stone talks. He believes the Bruins are also interested in Dzingel. It remains to be seen who ends up with Stone or Dzingel and how the returns compare to that of Duchene, but one way or another the Senators are walking away from the deadline with a complete lack of star power on the roster, but a massive influx of picks and prospects to show for it.