NHL Trade Rumors: Buzz from Around League as 2021 Deadline Approaches
Prior to Wednesday, there wasn't much action ahead of Monday's 3 p.m. ET NHL trade deadline. There were plenty of rumors, but none of the league's 31 teams were making any major moves.
That started to change, though, when the New Jersey Devils traded veteran forwards Kyle Palmieri and Travis Zajac to the New York Islanders in exchange for forwards A.J. Greer and Mason Jobst, a 2021 first-round draft pick and a conditional 2022 fourth-round draft pick.
There will be more moves before Monday afternoon arrives, possibly involving big names. Until then, rumors about trades will continue circulating.
Here's some of the latest buzz from around the NHL with the trade deadline quickly approaching.
Blues Potentially Open to Trading Hoffman?
Mike Hoffman has played well during his first season with the St. Louis Blues, tallying nine goals and 12 assists in 36 games. But it's possible he won't be with the team as they try to make their way into the postseason.
According to Pierre LeBrun of TSN and The Athletic, Blues general manager Doug Armstrong could be open to trading some of his team's pending unrestricted free agents ahead of the deadline, based on what LeBrun has heard from "different teams around the league." St. Louis sits in fifth in the West Division with 40 points, one spot out of a playoff berth.
"We know from Doug Armstrong's history that he's not worried about trading pending UFAs when his team underachieves," LeBrun recently said on Insider Trading. "... Hoffman would be one, perhaps Tyler Bozak another."
Hoffman signed a one-year deal with the Blues in January after spending the previous two seasons with the Florida Panthers. Bozak hasn't been as much of a contributor for St. Louis this year. He has two goals and two assists in 14 games and has missed some time because of an upper-body injury.
So while it's possible the Blues could heat up and make their way into the playoffs, they may be trying to do so without Hoffman and/or Bozak on their roster.
Rittich Reportedly Drawing Trade Interest
According to TSN's Frank Seravalli, things are shaping up for it to be a "pretty quiet deadline" for the Calgary Flames. But that doesn't mean their players aren't drawing some trade interest.
Seravalli reported on Insider Trading that the Flames are "taking calls and have received interest" for goaltender David Rittich, who is set to become an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season. The 28-year-old has spent his entire five-year NHL career in Calgary.
This season, Rittich has played in 15 games and made 12 starts, owning a goals-against average of 2.90 and a .904 save percentage. Jacob Markstrom is the Flames' starting goaltender, making 28 starts, so it's possible they would be open to dealing Rittich in order to add draft capital or other players.
As for Calgary's other pending UFAs, Seravalli said that it's been "a little more quiet" in terms of interest for players such as center Derek Ryan and more. That's why there may not be many moves on the horizon for the Flames, who are in sixth in the North Division with 35 points.
Could Several Goaltenders Soon Be on the Move?
Rittich isn't the only goaltender who is reportedly drawing trade interest. According to Sportsnet's Elliotte Friedman, numerous other goalies could be on the move ahead of the deadline.
Friedman reported that the San Jose Sharks' Devan Dubnyk and the Arizona Coyotes' Antti Raanta are "names to watch" as the trade deadline nears. Friedman also reported that the Carolina Hurricanes could be open to trading some of their goaltender depth because Petr Mrazek recently returned from injury.
With Mrazek back in the fold, the Hurricanes have three solid goaltenders, with both James Reimer and Alex Nedeljkovic playing well this season. But don't expect Carolina to add any more goalies to the mix.
"There was a wild rumor the Hurricanes thought about Anaheim's John Gibson, but that was shot down from multiple places," Friedman wrote. "They're comfortable with Mrazek."
However, it wouldn't be surprising if Carolina deals either Reimer or Nedeljkovic, as it likely won't have enough playing time to go around for all three of its goaltenders.