The Toronto Maple Leafs have improved since suffering lopsided back-to-back losses against Buffalo and Nashville, finishing November by winning three of four games. While that’s silenced most of their critics, it hasn’t keep them out of the rumor mill.
On Monday, Darren Dreger told TSN 1050 he will be surprised if center Nazem Kadri is still with the Leafs by the trade deadline. Dreger feels Kadri hasn’t reached the level of consistency GM Dave Nonis expects of him.
The young center is slated to become a restricted free agent in July. His previous contract talks dragged on into training camp before a deal was reached.
Throughout last season Kadri, along with defenseman Jake Gardiner, were frequently mentioned in trade rumors. Back then Nonis said if he moved either player he would seek a player of comparable age and skills in return. It’s unlikely that asking price has changed.
Kadri’s performance will determine his long-term future in Toronto. The Leafs are also thin at center, so unless they’re getting a center in return it makes little sense to move Kadri. Given the Leafs recent improvement and their position in the standings, there’s no need to shake up the lineup right now.
PENGUINS ON PROWL FOR PANTHERS?
Over a week ago it was reported the Florida Panthers wanted to ship out some veteran forwards to make room for younger players. Speculation suggested Tomas Fleischmann, Sean Bergenheim and Tomas Kopecky could be available.
Rival clubs could be pursuing a different Panthers winger. Sportsnet’s Mike Johnston cites a report from colleague Elliotte Friedman claiming there’s interest in right winger Brad Boyes, who’s among a handful of Panthers with 10-plus points this season.
Friedman suggests Boyes could be a good fit with the Pittsburgh Penguins, who’ve been in market for a scoring winger since October. The Penguins are expected to draw from their depth in promising young defensemen as trade bait. That won’t help the Panthers, who are among the NHL’s lowest-scoring clubs.
Considering the Panthers are still in the playoff hunt, they’re unlikely to part with one of their few reliable scoring forwards right now.
KINDL TALK HEATING UP
Teams in need of an experienced depth on defense should keep an eye on Detroit Red Wings blueliner Jakub Kindl. MLive.com’s Ansar Khan believes it’s only a matter of time until the 27-year-old Czech is traded.
Khan reports Kindl’s performance has improved since last season, but he still must compete harder on a regular basis. He also notes the Wings must eventually make room for some of the young defensemen in their system.
Kindl is under contract through 2016-17 at an annual cap hit of $2.4 million, which could make him attractive in the trade market if the salary cap for 2015-16 fails to significantly increase. The Wings’ asking price won’t be expensive, as they could seek a draft pick.
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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