In today’s NHL rumors rundown, the Detroit Red Wings will continue to consider Tyler Bertuzzi’s future, but will his injury situation affect his trade or contract status? Would the Toronto Maple Leafs be a team that could show interest? They’ve been rumored to have interest in the past. Meanwhile, could the Philadelphia Flyers be looking to trade Kevin Hayes before ultimately buying him out? Finally, with Nicklas Backstrom potentially a couple of weeks away from returning to the lineup for the Washington Capitals, the team will need to make a trade. Could the Montreal Canadiens get involved here?
Bertuzzi Will Be Traded If He Doesn’t Sign
Ansar Khan of MLive.com was asked if an injury-plagued season will affect Tyler Bertuzzi either being signed or traded this season. His response was that he didn’t think so. He writes, “There is enough of a sample size to know what Bertuzzi can do when healthy and in good shape, with a 30-goal season and two 21-goal campaigns over the past four years.”
What he does think is that Bertuzzi will be moved before the March 3 NHL Trade Deadline if the two sides can’t reach a contract settlement. The Red Wings don’t want him to walk into unrestricted free agency and if he doesn’t sign, they will trade him regardless of where the team is at (including making the playoffs).
Khan thinks there will be plenty of interested teams, including the Toronto Maple Leafs who have long been rumored to be keen on the player. He adds, “The immensely talented Maple Leafs desperately need to win at least one playoff round, which they haven’t done since 2004, and could use the elements Bertuzzi brings.” Should Bertuzzi come in as a rental and potentially sign, that could make it easier for the Leafs to decide what to do with William Nylander, a player many suggest will be too expensive to keep on the roster long-term.
Growing Tension Between Hayes and Tortorella
Sam Carchidi of Philly Hockey Now cited a report by Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman that the Flyers might buy out the contract of forward Kevin Hayes. Carchidi adds that there is a growing tension between head coach John Tortorella and Hayes and that it’s only a matter of time before these two part ways.
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Considering the amount of dead cap space Hayes carries with him if the Flyers buy him out, it seems more logical that the team would try to trade the player first. Perhaps they have tried and haven’t found a trade partner. Retaining half of his salary and trying to move him as a $3.6 million player is less costly than the buyout option.
Do Capitals Need to Clear Cap Space?
Marci D’Amico of Montreal Hockey Now wondered if the Canadiens and Washington Capitals might make for good trade partners, especially considering the Capitals are likely looking at trading someone to free up cap space for a returning Nicklas Backstrom. The speculation is that Backstrom isn’t far off from being able to return after off-season hip surgery.
He wonders if the Canadiens might be interested in taking on an expiring contract targeting someone like Anthony Mantha. He explains:
The Montreal Canadiens, who have openly spoken about making moves for the future, could try and make a move to help the Capitals wiggle out of their incoming cap issues. Be it by way of trade by involving themselves in a three-way trade where they could be the cap broker and retain 50% on an outgoing, expiring contract or by targetting slumping forward Anthony Mantha in exchange for one of their veteran forwards at 50% retained.
Jim Parsons is a senior THW freelance writer, part-time journalist and audio/video host who lives, eats, sleeps and breathes NHL news and rumors, while also writing features on the Edmonton Oilers. He’s been a trusted source for five-plus years at The Hockey Writers, but more than that, he’s on a mission to keep readers up to date with the latest NHL rumors and trade talk. Jim is a daily must for readers who want to be “in the know.”
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