The Coyotes are in last place and going nowhere, but seem undecided what to do with center Martin Hanzal. Meanwhile the Canucks interest in Evander Kane is cooling.
The Arizona Coyotes enter this week mired in the bottom of the Western Conference standings. That's prompting media speculation they could move a couple of their notable players.
Last Thursday, Sportsnet's Eric Engels reported being told Coyotes center Martin Hanzal could be on the move soon. Engels claimed activity was “heating up,” with the Montreal Canadiens “among a few teams in the hunt.”
Hanzal, 29, is eligible next July for unrestricted free agency. It's believed he'd like a long-term extension, while the Coyotes apparently prefer a shorter deal. Given his size (6-foot-6, 226 pounds) and two-way skills, Hanzal could provide a significant boost for the Habs at center.
Hanzal isn't the only Coyote to surface in the rumor mill. Sportsnet's Nick Kypreos reports there's talk young right winger Anthony Duclair could be available. He said the 21-year-old could be had for the right price, but the Coyotes would want “a pretty penny” in return.
After a 20-goal, 44-point rookie performance in 2015-16, Duclair enters this week with only three point in 17 games. Still, it would be unusual to give up on a young winger so early in his career. Coyotes GM John Chayka could be listening to offers, but it's unlikely he's actively shopping Duclair.
CANUCKS INTEREST IN KANE COOLING OFF
Trade talk linking Buffalo Sabres left winger Evander Kane to the Vancouver Canucks has kicked around since July. The chatter escalated following the 25-year-old's recent return from cracked ribs.
The Canucks are in desperate need of a scoring winger, but their interest in Kane is cooling. On Friday, TSN's Bob McKenzie reported trade discussion between the two clubs were “no longer being pursued.” Sportsnet's Elliotte Friedman reports the Canucks weren't willing to pay the Sabres' asking price.
If Sabres GM Tim Murray moves Kane, it's believed he wants a defenseman in return. He could be seeking Chris Tanev or perhaps a younger blueliner such as Nikita Tryamkin, Ben Hutton or Troy Stecher from the Canucks.
Jason Botchford of the Vancouver Sun believes the Canucks interest in Kane “strikes to the core of what is wrong with this team.” He points out Kane's done nothing to improve the struggling Sabres, doubting the winger would “move the needle in Vancouver” before his UFA eligibility in 2018.
The Canucks could revisit their interest in Kane, but they will be better served by considering other options. Given Kane's off-ice baggage and inconsistent play, he's not the best fit for a team in need of a significant rebuild.
HURRICANES' MURPHY ON THE TRADE BLOCK
In late-October, TSN's Darren Dreger speculated over defenseman Ryan Murphy's future with the Carolina Hurricanes. Hampered by injuries, the 23-year-old Murphy (a first-round pick in 2011) struggled to crack the Hurricanes' blueline.
Dreger wondered if Hurricanes GM Ron Francis might trade Murphy. On Friday, he followed up by reporting the young rearguard is on the trade block.
Despite Murphy's struggles, he carries an affordable $787,000 annual cap hit through 2017-18. He's also a right-handed shot, which could make him an enticing commodity in the trade market. The Coyotes, Sabres and Detroit Red Wings could come calling.
Rumor Roundup appears regularly only on thehockeynews.com. Lyle Richardson has been an NHL commentator since 1998 on his website, spectorshockey.net, and is a contributing writer for Eishockey News and The Guardian (P.E.I.).
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