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NHL Rumor Mill – December 18, 2017

Speculation over Tyler Seguin’s future plus updates on the Penguins in your NHL rumor mill.

SEGUIN FACING UNCERTAIN FUTURE IN DALLAS?

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DALLAS MORNING NEWS: In a recent mailbag segment, Mike Heika was asked if Dallas Stars forward Tyler Seguin has proven worthy of a contract extension, or if that depends on the club’s record before the trade deadline. 

Heika doesn’t believe the Stars will trade Seguin this season, but wonders if the club extends him next summer or let it run into his UFA season of 2018-19. If he has a healthy and successful playoff, Heika bets the Stars re-sign him. If he doesn’t, “the question about trading him before or during next season is very relevant.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Seguin’s earning an average salary-cap hit of $5.75 million on his current contract, though in actual salary he’s making $6 million this season and will earn $6.5 million in 2018-19. Since joining the Stars he has four consecutive 70-point campaigns. With 29 points in 34 games, he is on pace for another one.

It could cost the Stars between $8-$9 million annually on a long-term deal to re-sign him. Seguin’s performance over the remainder of this season and in the playoffs will play a significant role in determining his future with the Stars. 

SUGGESTED TRADE PARTNERS FOR THE PENGUINS

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SPORTSNET: Sonny Sachdeva lists the Vegas Golden Knights, Toronto Maple Leafs, Ottawa Senators, Colorado Avalanche and Minnesota Wild as five potential trade partners for the struggling Pittsburgh Penguins. The Penguins haven’t suitably addressed last summer’s departure via free agency of third-line center Nick Bonino. GM Jim Rutherford is aware of the problem and seems to be inching closer toward a midseason deal. 

Sachdeva notes the Golden Knights were among three teams to recently express interest in Penguins defenseman Ian Cole. If they’re still keen, he suggests swapping Cole for Erik Haula or Cody Eakin. The Leafs were also reportedly interested in Cole and center Tyler Bozak is often mentioned by the Pittsburgh media as a player the Pens brass “hold in high regard.” 

Derick Brassard could be an option if the Senators decide to shake up their struggling roster. While his $5 million cap hit could be difficult to absorb, Sachdeva reminds us of the Pens’ earlier interest in Matt Duchene ($6 million cap hit) prior to the Colorado Avalanche shipping him to Ottawa. Center Jean-Gabriel Pageau could be another player of interest for the Pens. The Senators could seek defensive help, prompting Sachdeva to suggest Cole or Olli Maatta as possibilities.

The Avalanche were also among the clubs with interest in Cole. Sachdeva suggests Carl Soderberg, whose offensive skills could be a good fit with the Pens. There’s also a chance the Penguins could try to bring back Matt Cullen, who departed last summer to sign with the Minnesota Wild. Cullen seems like an odd man out with the Wild and Sachdeva doubts it’ll cost the Penguins much to acquire him. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Given the Golden Knights impressive play, perhaps their interest in Cole has cooled in the last couple of weeks. With the Leafs near the top of the Eastern Conference standings, I don’t think they want to move Bozak or any of their other pending UFAs.

Considering the recent trade speculation about the Senators they could be a trade partner for the Pens. I doubt Rutherford parts with Maatta for Brassard or Pageau. Quite frankly, I don’t see Maatta hitting the trade block at all.

Soderberg’s been inconsistent in Colorado but he did have a 51-point performance there in 2015-16 and is a versatile two-way forward. Perhaps playing for the defending Cup champions could improve his play. Bringing back Cullen is much more affordable and could be  tempting. However, he’s best suited in a fourth-line role. 



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