Welcome to another edition of NHL Rumours! There is plenty going on around the hockey world and a lot to be excited for. The Los Angeles Kings made history, winning 11 consecutive road games to begin a season. San Jose is a wagon again and has found the back of the net numerous times. As great as those are, the rumour mill is churning fast. Today we focus on the Toronto Maple Leafs and the New Jersey Devils.
Toronto Maple Leafs
The search for another defencemen is on for the Maple Leafs. It could be a challenge to pluck one from the Calgary Flames, but the search goes on. One thing Brad Treliving made evident is thinking more long term and not pouring all their eggs into a rentals basket.
One name that they’ve circled around is Philadelphia Flyers defenceman Rasmus Ristolainen. He has term on his contract and could be a pillar on the back end for the next four seasons. That’s not the only name, and Toronto is not the only team eyeing his services.
Ethan Bear is still a free agent and has been skating. There is a chance that interested teams will be able to watch him skate and see how he looks. Bear isn’t typically a player who will log big minutes, but is a serviceable depth player who can help offensively. One team that would love to keep him in the fold is the Vancouver Canucks. However, after the acquisition of Nikita Zadorov, money is tight.
Other teams that remain interested in Bear are Washington, New Jersey, Vancouver, and Pittsburgh. Toronto is the big one though, as the injury to John Klingberg leaves a hole on the back-end.
New Jersey Devils
Rumour: Elliote Friedman discusses that the Devils could be in on defencemen
Our next set of NHL Rumours stays in the eastern conference. The New Jersey Devils were dealt a tough blow when they found out Dougie Hamilton would be out indefinitely. After suffering a torn pectoral, the team put him on long term injured reserve. A bright spot for the team is seeing the emergence of Luke Hughes. He has helped fill those big shoes and has been steadily producing, as he has five points in his last five games. The Devils also got a boost from their second overall pick in the 2022 NHL Draft, Simon Nemec. He has fit in nicely and has also gotten on the scoresheet. However, reinforcements could be on the way.
Friedman lays out that the Devils could look to add defencemen, given the uncertainty of how long Hamilton will be out. The two names linked to the Devils by Friedman are Tyson Barrie and Anthony DeAngelo.
Barrie has been given permission to speak to other teams and seek a trade. He has been off to a sluggish start and has 10 points in 23 games. DeAngelo is intriguing but also surprising.
DeAngelo was a huge factor during the 2021-22 season, and was a focal point of the Hurricanes’ power play. Carolina opted to move the defenceman, only to reacquire him this offseason. His ability to help transition offensively sees him as a fit with the way Carolina plays. Although, he has fallen out of favour in Carolina.
The Hurricanes have a plethora of depth, and too many cooks in the kitchen. Jalen Chatfield and Dmitry Orlov have solidified the third pair and give the team the best chance to win. Together, they have 5.2 expected goals against and average 1.62 expected goals against per 60 minutes. They do a good job of shot suppression, which is great for Carolina. But how does this benefit New Jersey?
DeAngelo has a cheap contract and could help fill the offensive ability left behind with Hamilton being out. He can help quarterback the power play unit. But his glaring issue is defending in his own end. That’s a precise reason why he is scratched more than playing under Rod Brind’Amour.
The fit is potentially there, but the Devils may be better suited to let the rookies play and weather the storm.
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