As the weather gets colder, the NHL Trade rumors for 2016 are just starting to heat up. Now rumors in sports, just like in life, always need to be taken with a grain of salt, however, there are a few that seem like it is not if it’s going to happen, but more like when.
First up, the Pittsburgh Penguins.
The Penguins have a unique situation on their hands, they have two goalies that are good — as in very good. However, according to the Pittsburgh Post Gazette, this is causing a bit of a problem for the Pens and General Manager Jimmy Rutherford.
Marc-Andre Fleury and Matt Murray have established their qualifications as No. 1 goalies in the NHL, but the problem is you can’t play them both at the same time, and when both goalies are playing well above average, it can actually cause a problem on the team since one or the other wants to be in net, especially if he has a hot hand.
Rutherford wanted two good goalies, and he got them, but from the sound of his demeanor, he may have thought this idea out incorrectly.
“Despite the fact I like having the two top goalies, it’s difficult when both goalies are used to playing the majority of the games,” general manager Jim Rutherford said Monday. “You get into weeks where they’re splitting and going every other game. That hasn’t worked, at this point, as well as I thought it would.”
Fleury has been the “weaker” of the two goalies so far in 2016, but his overall resume makes fans believe that he will get hot down the stretch. Fleury has racked up a 6-5-3 record, and 3.38 goals against average. Now that is a pretty high GAA for someone like Fleury, who is a living legend on the ice. Fleury is closing in on 400 career wins, and has two Stanley Cup championships under his belt, but could he be on the trading block?
Normally that answer would be no, however, young Matt Murray is minding the net just fine right now.
Murray is 7-1 so far in 2016, with a save percentage of .939 and a 1.75 goals-against average. He also is just 22-years-old, which is 10 years younger than Fleury.
The defending champion Penguins are off to a great start once again this season, but will they be fielding offers for one of their goaltenders down the stretch?
Now on to the Detroit Red Wings.
Are the Wings looking to deal one of their goaltenders as well? No matter how many times General Manager and executive Vice President Ken Holland downplays it, the simple truth is that Detroit can’t carry two goalies like Jimmy Howard and Petr Mrazek, for several reasons. The first is similar to the Penguins’ problem, they are both quality players who could easily be starters on many other teams in the league, which makes it hard to play one over the other.
However, the second, and possibly bigger reason is what they earn.
According to Cap Friendly.com, Howard earns $5.2 million per season, while his counterpart Mrazek earns $4 million a season. That is a lot of cash wrapped up in two goaltenders. Waiting in the wings for his shot at a chance with the big club is Jared Coreau. Coreau is the the third-string goalie on the Wings roster, but that could change if Howard or Mrazek were to be dealt. At 60foot-5, 220-pounds, Coreau is an imposing figure to opponents, and has the potential to be a starter in this league.
The third reason is the NHL draft. With the newest NHL team, the Las Vegas Golden Knights, entering the league in 2017, the odds of Detroit losing one of their goaltenders in the supplemental draft is high. Instead of losing one of their net minders to the draft, why not deal one and get something in return.
Finally, any team who thought they would get in the Dougie Hamilton sweepstakes can forget it. Well, at least according to the Calgary Herald.
Calgary Flames GM Brad Treliving was adamant on Wednesday morning, and repeated later in the day by an emphatic Brian Burke, who was at his bombastic best.
In front of a full house of media, Treliving was ready to set the record straight on all these rumors floating around about Hamilton, which he called “absolutely false.” In fact, Treliving said these rumors were started by an “idiot GM.”
“This one idiot GM made a call asking, ‘Would you move him for a dozen sticks,’ or something,” said Burke, whose club beat the Toronto Maple Leafs on Wednesday night.
“(Treliving) told them we weren’t looking to trade him and said, ‘The next time you have a stupid idea like that save yourself a quarter and don’t call.’ Next thing you know that GM told another he made an offer. Then another GM called and asked if he was up for grabs and we said no.
“He’s 6-foot-5, 237 pounds, he’s a right-hand shot and a great kid. He skates like a deer, he can shoot the puck and make plays. We really like him. So, ‘Oh ya, lets move him somewhere. Let’s get rid of him. There are a lot of those guys in the National Hockey League.'”
Well, that should answer the doubters who believe that Hamilton will be dealt anytime soon. Then again, the Flames have started the season on such a bad note that Treliving may have just lost his patience and took it out on the media. After all, when teams are preparing to trade someone, they usually always keep it out of the public eye the best they can.
[Featured Image by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images]