NHL Rumors: Latest Trade Speculation from Around the League

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured ColumnistNovember 18, 2014

Clockwise from top left, Colorado Avalanche defenseman Nick Holden celebrates with center Nathan MacKinnon after his goal against the New York Islanders with defenseman Erik Johnson, left wing Gabriel Landeskog, of Sweden, and center Ryan O'Reilly in the second period of an NHL hockey game in Denver on Thursday, Oct. 30, 2014. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
David Zalubowski/Associated Press

The November games count just as much as the April ones in the NHL standings, so teams are always on the lookout for ways to improve their roster in the early going. 

With that in mind, it is never too early to fire up the rumor mill. There are a number of trade whispers circulating around the league that could eventually alter the standings.

Read on to see a few of them.

Colorado Avalanche

David Zalubowski/Associated Press

Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Sun passed along the latest regarding the Colorado Avalanche:

NHL executives are waiting with baited breath to see if general manager Joe Sakic and Roy (who has a say in every move) get antsy and want to start dealing young players in an attempt to get immediate help. … The Avs need a top-four defenceman and many believe if they really want to get one they're going to have to deal forward Ryan O'Reilly.

Colorado is 6-8-5 and on the outside looking in at the early playoff picture in a deep Central Division and Western Conference. The defense has been a real concern this season, as the Avalanche are 24th in the league in goals against per game.

On the flip side, the offense hasn’t been any better and is actually 26th in goals per game.

Still, Garrioch mentioned that they need a top-four defender, and the only way to get something of value is by giving something up in return. Ryan O’Reilly has 10 points this season but is off to a slow start in the goal-scoring department with only two. 

Last year, he set a career high with 28 goals, so it may be best for the Avalanche to “sell high” and look to deal him early before people forget about his production from 2013-14.

Los Angeles Kings

Chris Carlson/Associated Press

Garrioch provided an update on the Los Angeles Kings in the same piece: “While the Kings have no wiggle room under the cap, GM Dean Lombardi is trying to make a move to get another defenceman to replace the suspended Slava Voynov. Trying to test the market and see what's out there, the Kings may be dangling forward Kyle Clifford.”

When you are the defending champions, there are high expectations in place. This team is going to make the Stanley Cup playoffs with a chance to defend its crown, but Los Angeles is not exactly dominating in the early going at 9-5-4.

The Kings are making a living on the defensive side this season, but the loss of Slava Voynov is a problem.

Jae C. Hong/Associated Press

They are fifth in goals against per game and eighth in penalty-kill percentage, but having a goalie like Jonathan Quick is always going to inflate those defensive numbers a bit.

Kyle Clifford is only 23 years old and could have a bright future ahead of him, but there is simply not a lot of significant playing time available for him in the Kings rotation. He is averaging 11 minutes and nine seconds a game on the ice for Los Angeles with one goal and two assists and could be dispensable for the right piece. 

Especially if that piece helps bolster an already strong defense.

Marc Methot

LM Otero/Associated Press

Darren Dreger of TSN.ca passed along the latest on discussions between the Ottawa Senators and defender Marc Methot:

Meanwhile, there's been no progress made on his contract negotiations with the Senators - and virtually no discussions over the past three weeks - which continues to fuel trade speculation. The Anaheim Ducks, Detroit Red Wings, Florida Panthers and Edmonton Oilers are believed to be among the teams interested.

Unfortunately for Methot, he has dealt with injuries all season, but he could return to the ice rather soon. He commented on the process, via Don Brennan of the Ottawa Sun: "I'm working day-to-day here. It's nice to be on the road and actually practicing with the guys. We're just taking it one step at a time.”

Methot is yet to play in the 2014-15 season, but he has eight years of experience in the NHL under his belt. He could certainly provide a boost to a defense looking to make an eventual playoff run. 

Dreger listed Detroit, Anaheim and Florida as possibly interested, which is noteworthy because all three teams are in the top 10 in the NHL in goals allowed per game. Adding someone like Methot, who could provide veteran leadership on defense to go along with solid play, would further improve dangerous defensive units early in the season.

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