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NHL Rumors: Analyzing Hottest Trade Buzz Entering 2020 Deadline Day

Megan ArmstrongSenior Analyst IFebruary 24, 2020

New York Rangers center Chris Kreider lines up for a face-off during the second period of an NHL hockey game against the Boston Bruins, Sunday, Oct. 27, 2019, at Madison Square Garden in New York. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)
Mary Altaffer/Associated Press

Phone lines are busy across the NHL as the trade deadline looms at 3 p.m. ET on Monday.

New York Rangers left winger Chris Kreider is perhaps the hottest name on the market. The 28-year-old's chances of remaining with the Rangers dwindled on Sunday. Next door, New Jersey Devils forwards Kyle Palmieri and Wayne Simmonds have been reported as targets.

Meanwhile, across the country, the San Jose Sharks have been asked about the availability of two longtime franchise stars.

Below is a closer look at these three rumors. 

                  

Will Chris Kreider Depart New York After 8 Seasons?

Friday, Larry Brooks of the New York Post reported that the Rangers were prioritizing extending Kreider rather than trading him.

"But there is still work to be done to bridge the gap between parties," Brooks noted. The 2009 first-round pick will see his four-year, $18.5 million contract expire after this season, per Spotrac.

However, TSN's Darren Dreger provided a discouraging update Sunday:

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Darren Dreger @DarrenDreger

Hopes of a new contract between Chris Kreider and the New York Rangers are fading. Obviously, if the negotiation doesn’t shift in the hours ahead, Kreider will remain the top available player on the TSN Tradebait Board leading up to tomorrows deadline.

Brooks followed Dreger's report with one of his own Sunday evening, relaying that Kreider and the Rangers "were unable to reach an agreement," leading to New York being "likely" to deal him on Monday. Brooks provided context into the alleged failed contract negotiations:

"Indeed, the divide on the contract term, with the Rangers offering six years and Kreider asking for the seven years he will almost certainly command on the open market July 1, remained an immovable obstacle neither side was able or willing to hurdle in order to make a deal. There was also a difference on the money, with the Blueshirts believed offering under $7 million per."

Kreider is a Rangers lifer to this point in his career, debuting during the 2012-13 campaign. Through 60 games this season, the Boston College product scored 24 goals and assisted 21. His 45 points rank fourth on the team behind Artemi Panarin (60), Mika Zibanejad (60) and Ryan Strome (55).

The Rangers are seventh in the Metropolitan Division at 33-24-4 (70 points). On the fringe of playoff contention, it makes sense for New York to get what they can for Kreider before he hits the open market in the offseason.

Sportsnet's Elliotte Friedman has named the New York Islanders as "in" on Kreider. But the forward has a limited no-trade clause, The Athletic's Rick Carpiniello noted, which he updated before this season began with 11 teams he can veto a trade to. The Rangers are not in a desirable position.

                    

Will the New Jersey Devils Part with Kyle Palmieri or Wayne Simmonds?

The Devils are widely expected to be sellers.

Sportsnet's Elliotte Friedman reported over the weekend that Palmieri and Simmonds are garnering "a lot of interest," though an anonymous team disclosed that "it would take something spectacular" to prise Palmieri from New Jersey.

Palmieri leads the Devils with 42 points with 22 goals and 20 assists across 57 games. The 29-year-old was traded to New Jersey from the Anaheim Ducks in June 2015 and then signed a five-year contract with the team following the 2015-16 season.

"It's just a lot of noise," Palmieri said recently, per NorthJersey.com's Abbey Mastracco. "It's not something I can control. There are plenty of Twitter GMs out there, but right now, I'm staying focused on the game and the guys in this room. Until someone tells me otherwise, that's what my focus is on."

Palmieri likely does not need to shift his focus away from helping the 24-27-10 Devils finish this season stronger than they started it.

There seems to be more weight to trade rumors involving Simmonds, though. Friedman pointed out that Simmonds' 6'2", 185-pound "physical presence could be a boon for playoff teams."

Simmonds has not been as effective as Palmieri for the Devils this season, with eight goals and 16 assists across 61 games. This is his first season in New Jersey after spending the latter part of 2018-19 with the Nashville Predators following a trade deadline move from the Philadelphia Flyers.

                

Is This the End of the Thornton Era in San Jose?

Thornton has been a Shark since the Boston Bruins traded him to San Jose in Nov. 2005.

According to TSN's Frank Seravalli, "multiple teams have inquired" about the 40-year-old center, as well as fellow 40-year-old forward Patrick Marleau.

Thornton was asked over the weekend whether he is tempted to request a trade to a Stanley Cup contender. 

"You know, it is [tempting]," the four-time All-Star said, per The Athletic's Kevin Kurz. "But it's not like I feel like this is my last year. I feel like I'm healthy. I feel like I still have a lot in the tank left. It's not like a last-hurrah-type thing. I feel good, and my mind feels great. It's not like, 'Oh, this is going to be my last shot at it.' So that's where my mind is at right now."

The Sharks have severely underwhelmed this season at 26-32-4 after making it to the Western Conference Final last season, where they lost 4-2 to the eventual champion St. Louis Blues. With San Jose out of contention, Seravalli noted that general manager Doug Wilson "will likely" accommodate Thornton and Marleau if either disclosed he wanted to compete for this season's Stanley Cup.

However, Seravalli added that there is "at least one Eastern Conference Stanley Cup contender...ready to pull the trigger on Marleau":

"At this point, Marleau is probably the more likely of the two 40-year-old greybeards to be moved—which is why he's up to No. 11 on the TSN Trade Bait board. Marleau is more productive with 10 goals, he's a cheaper salary cap addition playing at the league minimum $700,000, and he's already moved on from San Jose once —to sign with Toronto in 2017. The shock to the system is gone."

That said, The Athletic's Joe McDonald reported earlier in February that the Boston Bruins "at least pondered how Thornton might fit on the current roster."

Thornton is owed $2 million this season before becoming an unrestricted free agent this summer.

Marleau played for the Sharks from 1997 to 2017 before signing with the Toronto Maple Leafs in July 2017. He played two seasons in Toronto before returning to San Jose on a one-year contract in October. He will be an unrestricted free agent following this season.

The Sharks recently dealt defenseman Brenden Dillon to the Washington Capitals.

All moves can be viewed on the league's official 2019-20 trade tracker.

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