NHL Rumor Roundup: Senators set the market with more trades possible

Tuesday's trade of veteran Dion Phaneuf to the Kings likely was just the beginning for the Senators, whose phone lines are busy ahead of the Feb. 26 deadline.

It's NHL trade rumor season. Each week before the Feb. 26 trade deadline, Lyle Richardson's Rumor Roundup column serves as a one-stop guide to the latest rumblings around the league.

The Senators made the first significant trade of 2018, shipping defenseman Dion Phaneuf to the Kings in a four-player transaction. That move might not be the last by Ottawa general manager Pierre Dorion before the NHL's Feb. 26 trade deadline.

Hours before the Phaneuf trade, TSN's Darren Dreger reported the Senators feel they have the top center in the market in Derick Brassard and are building the case for Mike Hoffman as the best winger available. He added the Jets are among the clubs interested in winger Ryan Dzingel .

Earlier in the day, Sportnet's Elliotte Friedman wrote the Penguins and Sharks may have inquired about Brassard. Friedman also noted the Flames were scouting the Sens in recent weeks. He wondered if they were watching winger Zack Smith, but was told that wasn't the case.

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Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Sun, meanwhile, reported the Penguins were believed among a group of clubs to contact the Senators. While they may have interest in Brassard or Jean-Gabriel Pageau , Garrioch said they aren't being actively shopped and the Sens could retain both players.

The lack of quality centers available in the trade market could bolster the value of Brassard and Pageau, but moving either guy could weaken Ottawa's depth down the middle. That would explain why Dorion has set a high asking price for Brassard. Dreger's colleague Pierre LeBrun reports the Sens GM seeks “a first-round pick, a top prospect and a third piece."

As for Hoffman, he's been a fixture in the rumor mill for months. Garrioch claimed the Sharks, Blues, Devils and Bruins are reportedly in the market for help at forward. Perhaps one of them could pursue the 28-year-old winger.

Signed through 2019-20 with an annual salary cap hit of $5.187 million and a 10-team no-trade list, Hoffman isn't a rental player. He'd be enticing for clubs seeking long-term scoring depth, but the Sens could ask for at least a good young player and a first-round pick or top prospect in return.

MORE: Are we in for a boring trade deadline stalemate?

Canadiens could move a forward

The Canadiens could return from their current four-game road trip without one of their veteran forwards. Center Tomas Plekanec and wingers Max Pacioretty and Alex Galchenyuk have frequently surfaced in this season's rumor mill.

Due to become an unrestricted free agent in July, the 35-year-old Plekanec could be a rental option for playoff contenders looking for an experienced center. Given the Canadiens' weakness at that position, however, it's been speculated they could attempt to re-sign him. Failing that, they could attempt to peddle him at the deadline for a draft pick or prospect.

Sportsnet's Rory Boylen listed the Penguins, Sharks and Wild as possible destinations. The Penguins and Wild, however, have limited salary cap room, making it difficult to pick up the remainder of Plekanec's $6 million cap hit.

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Boylen's colleague Elliotte Friedman suggested the Panthers as a “stealth possibility” for the 29-year-old Pacioretty. While they're loaded with young talent, the Canadiens will want a scoring forward, preferably a center, in return. The Panthers won't part with first-line center Aleksander Barkov and are probably unwilling to move Vincent Trocheck, who's on pace for a career-best 30-goal, 75-point performance.

TSN's Pierre LeBrun is doubtful Galchenyuk will be moved. He pointed out the 24-year-old winger isn't being heard in trade talk as frequently as Ottawa's Mike Hoffman or Edmonton's Patrick Maroon.

That doesn't mean the Canadiens won't move Galchenyuk by the trade deadline. However, his stock may have declined this season to the point where it might be best to wait for the offseason and hope his value improves.

MORE: Plekanec, Brassard, van Riemsdyk drawing interest

Interest mounts for Patrick Maroon

Oilers left wing Patrick Maroon could be skating elsewhere by the deadline. He's due to become an unrestricted free agent in July and there appears to be growing interest in him as a playoff rental.

NBC Sports Boston's Joe Haggerty reported the Bruins could be among the suitors for the 29-year-old Maroon. The 6-3, 227-pounder would give the Bruins some size and experience on left wing. Haggerty noted the Oilers are looking to stock up with younger players.

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TSN's Darren Dreger suggested Maroon could also be on the Jets' radar.

Sportsnet's Elliotte Friedman said he'd also heard Maroon was linked to the Lightning and Maple Leafs. He doesn't think the Leafs are a good fit unless they're planning to move a winger in another deal.