NHL Rumor Roundup: Kings, Bruins need to bolster their struggling offenses

Can’t get enough NHL rumors? Lyle Richardson’s Rumor Roundup column serves as a one-stop guide to the latest rumblings around the league.

Are Roster Changes Next For the Kings?

With his team stuck at the bottom of the Western Conference standings, Los Angeles Kings vice president and general manager Rob Blake replaced John Stevens as head coach with former Vancouver Canucks bench boss Willie Desjardins on an interim basis. 

Blake had to do something to get his club back on track before the season slipped away. Coming off a 98-point performance in 2017-18, they entered Tuesday’s match-up against the Anaheim Ducks with just four victories and nine points in 13 games. 

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Prior to the coaching change, the Kings were regularly popping up in the trade-rumor mill.

Averaging a league-worst 2.15 goals-for per game, the Kings need to bolster their anemic offense, which has some pundits wondering if they’ll peddle a defenseman for a scoring forward. 

On Oct. 28, the Ottawa Sun’s Bruce Garrioch reported there was talk of teams having interest in blueliners Alec Martinez and Jake Muzzin. Unlike many of the Kings’ veterans, both carry affordable salary cap hits of $4 million per season.

Last Wednesday, TSN’s Darren Dreger said he heard the Kings were reluctant to move Martinez as they are not dealing from a position of weakness. Dreger feels there is plenty of interest in the 31-year-old blueliner, “but not at the value that Blake would consider trading him.”

The recent loss of goaltender Jonathan Quick for several weeks to knee surgery prompted some speculation over whether Blake will pursue a short-term replacement. However, the Los Angeles Times’ Helene Elliott reported they’ll stick with backups Jack Campbell and Peter Budaj for the time being.

With no season-saving trades in the immediate future, Blake had little choice but to shake up his coaching staff.  If this move doesn’t work, management could be forced to initiate a roster overhaul before the February trade deadline.

Nylander Impasse Continues

The contract stalemate between the Toronto Maple Leafs and restricted free agent winger William Nylander continues to show no sign of ending. 

Leafs management maintains they’re not shopping the 22-year-old; however, with the Dec.1 deadline to get him signed fast approaching, some pundits continue to ponder potential trade destinations.

Most of the trade chatter links Nylander to the Carolina Hurricanes. They carry considerable depth in young right-shot defensemen to tempt the Leafs. On Saturday, Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman said he believes the Hurricanes are “all in” on Nylander if he hits the trade block.

.@sportingnewsca Carolina AGM Rick Dudley is once again on the press box list for the #Leafs – Golden Knights game. This is the fifth time Dudley has been at Scotiabank Arena in the last couple weeks.

Other clubs are also popping up as potential destinations.

During his “31 Thoughts” podcast last week, Friedman wondered if the Philadelphia Flyers could be a “stealth team” on Nylander, noting they have the pieces to make a deal work. NBC Sports’ John Boruk is skeptical about the Flyers getting into the bidding for Nylander they’re not about to part with good young defensemen like Ivan Provorov, Travis Sanheim or Philippe Myer. In addition, Boruk doesn’t see where Nylander would fit among their top-six forwards and questioned Philadelphia’s willingness to sign the winger to a lucrative deal. 

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TSN’s Darren Dreger believes the Vegas Golden Knights are another club that may be interested, pointing out they have sufficient salary-cap space. If the Golden Knights are, the Leafs could insist on young rearguard Shea Theodore as part of the return. However, considering his value to Vegas’ blueline, Theodore is most likely off the table in any trade discussions over Nylander. 

Bruins Could Move Soon To Bolster Their Scoring

The Boston Bruins possess one of the league’s highest-scoring lines with Patrice Bergeron centering Brad Marchand and David Pastrnak. However, the organization is struggling to get consistent production from their secondary scorers. 

Following Monday’s 2-1 win over the Dallas Stars, the Bruins have managed just eight goals in their last five games — and were shut out in two of those contests. 

Reports emerged late last month speculating the Bruins could be in the market for experienced scoring depth, preferably at center. With the issue an ongoing concern, the trade conjecture continues. 

TSN’s Darren Dreger reported last Wednesday the Bruins might be willing to move a young forward such as Danton Heinen and Anders Bjork in return for an established scorer. He wondered if the struggling Kings might be a fit, though there’s no indication the two clubs have held trade discussions. 

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Bruins president Cam Neely recently told WEEI.com’s Matt Kalman he believes his young players can pick up their scoring. Though, he did acknowledge the Bruins’ patience isn’t limitless. 

Struggling veteran clubs, such as the Kings, Anaheim Ducks and St. Louis Blues, could be trade targets for Boston. At this early stage in the season, however, it could take several weeks before the Bruins find a suitable offer. 

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