With one week left until the trade deadline, it goes without saying that anything reported this minute could be hastily dated.
But here’s some down-and-dirty updates from around the NHL for one week from the March 3 deadline 3, 3 p.m. ET:
• Patrick Kane’s agent, Pat Bryson, told me Thursday night that his star client has been undecided about waiving the no-movement clause. We can get a decision as early as Friday. Fellow Chris Johnston I mentioned Friday A decision is expected within 24 hours. It’s an emotional time for Kane, and I don’t blame the future Hall of Famer for her struggles with her. If he decides to transfer, as I’ve written before, I think he gives one team to Bryson and then it’s up to Blackhawks general manager Kyle Davidson to see if there’s a trade fit. Three teams have the interest and would make the most sense: Rangers, Stars, Oilers. Money bet on the Rangers. There is a common interest if Ken decides he wants to move on.
• The Capitals appeared to have sent a note to other clubs on Sunday saying they were willing to listen to trade offers for unrestricted free agent Dmitry Orlov. This was clearly a game-changer for the Bruins, who were in deep conversations with Columbus over Vladislav Gavrikov. As writer Aaron Portzline reports, the Jackets felt they were making a deal with Boston, but the Bruins kept asking for more time off, presumably to create more cap space. It shows you how quickly things can change around a deadline. Orlov was unavailable until this week after the Vanishing Caps kept losing matches. He is a defensive man. A smart move by Bruins general manager Don Sweeney to pivot.
• It was also the right call for Caps general manager Brian McClellan to be completely honest about his struggling team. It would have been difficult for him to make the trade, but he had to recoup the assets when it was clear he couldn’t re-sign Orloff, and he was able to do it before Boston traded a first-round pick elsewhere. I mean, how many first-round picks are still going to move? The Islanders, Maple Leafs, and Rangers have already pitched their first run, and these picks don’t grow on trees. Washington decided it had to move quickly on Orlov. All this caused boiling blue jackets.
• The Capitals are now actively listening to a number of pending UFAs, but the impression I’m getting is that they don’t want to do a full sale either. There is a balance they will try to strike between trading pending UFAs but also retaining and possibly signing others. They want a competitive team next season.
But I think Lars Eller is being traded, for example. UFA suspended defensemen Nick Jensen and Eric Gustafsson were both in contract talks with the Caps late last week. But of course the Orlov camp was like that. Would you trade hats on these two scammers? I could see them trading one and signing the other. In the meantime, I also think they’ll be like the Blues in their attempt at a quick roster shake-up. There is no interest in rebuilding with Alex Ovechkin. So I could see Washington trying some interesting add-ons this summer. But in the end, just being healthy will be great for them next season. Injuries have been tough this year, and they have taken their toll.
• He returned to Arena 1 with Columbus and Jafrikov on Friday morning. The Oilers have had a number of conversations with them on him over the past month, but the price has always been way too high. He might come now. My sense is that Edmonton was interested in returning to Gavrikov’s conversation on Friday. Do kings and cards also inquire? I still think Jakob Chychrun is LA’s biggest attraction, and I don’t think Kings GM Rob Blake wants to spend a first-round pick on a charter player, which is also why I’m told he wasn’t really a player in Orloff.
• Speaking of Chychrun, some interesting reporting from our very own Rob Rossi in Pittsburgh, who linked the Penguins to a potential deal with Arizona on the blueliner. I checked in that Friday morning and indeed the penguins had multiple conversations with the wolves. It is difficult to gauge whether it will lead to anything concrete between now and next Friday.
• I wonder about Colorado as a potential landing spot for Eller. The problem is, Avs don’t have a second or third round selection this year or next. I can’t imagine they would trade first for Eller. They traded a few possibilities last year at Deadline. … If I were from Washington, I’d call the Avs and try to entice them to a bigger deal that would include both Eller and one of the defensemen.
• And finally on Timo Meier, more conversations between the sharks and interested suitors were expected on Friday. I was wrong before, but I think Meyer lands in either New Jersey, Carolina, or Vegas.
(Top photo by Dmitry Orlov and Patrick Kane: Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
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