Welcome to the Saturday edition of Full Press Hockey’s NHL Rumors. The trade deadline is a little over two weeks away and the rumors off the ice continue to swirl around players being moved and contending teams preparing for the push to the playoffs. Therefore, we here at Full Press Hockey will continue to deliver NHL Rumors four times a week. The March 5th edition of NHL Rumors looks at the New York Rangers, Toronto Maple Leafs, and Carolina Hurricanes
New York Rangers – Rickard Rakell
Rumor: Per Darren Dreger of TSN on Insider Trading, the New York Rangers are interested in adding Rickard Rakell as well bolstering their blueline.
ICYMI, INSIDER TRADING: #TSNHockey Insiders discuss…
— TSN Hockey (@TSNHockey) March 4, 2022
The New York Rangers continue to play well despite having poor analytical numbers. This was the year the Rangers were going to the next step regardless of whether Chris Drury was at the helm or not. However, ever since the loss of Sammy Blais, the Rangers have been looking for a depth forward (which they will continue to look for). But, more interesting is they need help in their top six as Kaapo Kakko is out of the lineup. Outside of J.T. Miller who the Vancouver Canucks say they are not trading, there are not many options.
But one of those options is Anaheim Ducks forward Rickard Rakell. With the Ducks barely hanging in to make the playoffs, Rakell’s name continues to come up in trade talks. His name has been out there since last year, and Rakell is the perfect fit for what the Rangers need. As a matter of fact, he fits two quotas. He can play in the top six and be a depth guy, as well. In 46 games with the Ducks this season, Rakell has 26 points (15 goals and 11 assists). This will be a cheaper option than Miller, plus he plays with that edge the Rangers need if they want to make a run in the playoffs.
Of course, the Rangers are still connected to Ben Chiarot, as they want to add depth to their blueline.
Toronto Maple Leafs – Goaltending
Rumor: Per Toronto Maple Leafs general manager Kyle Dubas when speaking with the media ahead of the Heritage Classic Game in Hamilton, he is not looking to add goaltending at the deadline.
There has been a lot of speculation over the recent days about the Toronto Maple Leafs may be adding a goaltender at the trade deadline. However, Maple Leafs general manager Kyle Dubas shot down that idea real quick. Instead, he gave an endorsement of his goaltending duo of Petr Mrazek and Jack Campbell. And, if the Maple Leafs were to dive into that market, the only name that fits what the Maple Leafs need is Marc-Andre Fleury. And, the way Fleury is talking, he wants to finish the season in Chicago.
So the Maple Leafs will stick with Mrazek and Campbell. Outside of the blowout loss to Buffalo, Mrazek had been playing much better, especially coming off that injury. Mrazek’s save percentage is currently at .890, while Campbell’s save percentage is back to its normal levels of .917. However, as Dubas mentions, these two have proven they can get the job done. There is a reason the Maple Leafs signed Mrazek to the deal they did. On the Campbell side of things, this is his true first season as a starter, so fatigue is setting in.
Also as Dubas mentions, what Toronto needs to do is focus on defence. If they play better structural defence in front of Campbell and Mrazek, there is no reason the Maple Leafs can’t climb up in the division. That is where the problems lie for Toronto.
Carolina Hurricanes – Calvin de Haan
Rumor: Per Dennis Bernstein of The Fourth Period, the Carolina Hurricanes are looking to add a defenceman, and the perfect fit would be Calvin de Haan.
The Carolina Hurricanes are one of the more interesting teams this trade deadline. They continue to lead the Metro Division with the Penguins right on their heels. However, recent injuries to Brendan Smith and Tony DeAngelo have forced this team into looking to add a defenceman much sooner than originally thought. Not to mention, Hurricanes general manager Don Waddell does not have much cap flexibility. This means they cannot go big game hunting on a player like Jakob Chychrun or John Klingberg. Neither Arizona nor Dallas are going to want to eat salary (though out of the two, Arizona might help Carolina out).
Instead, Bernstein says the Hurricanes should target Chicago Blackhawks defenceman Calvin de Haan We know de Haan is on the move and is quietly having a good season despite playing on a poor Blackhawks team. He is the ideal fit considering he can play either the left or the right side. It will be tough for the Hurricanes to fit his $5.4 million cap hit into the $1.8 million remaining in salary cap space. However, Waddell is not afraid to use LTIR. Not to mention, the Blackhawks could retain salary, along with Carolina sending a player back in the deal.
This is a situation to keep an eye on going forward.
That does it for the Thursday edition of NHL Rumors! Stay tuned for another edition on Sunday.
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