And away we go, rumor season is definitely kicking in to a higher (anyway) gear:
It appears the Hawks are following the Anthony Duclair-Richard Panik model in more than one set of trade discussions: a value for value deal where each GM hopes a change of scenery/coaching/role will help the player they are acquiring. A couple of these deals appear to potentially include Connor Murphy, who one source described to me last night as “struggling” (from the team’s perspective).
Over the last 72 hours, I have heard about the Hawks having several discussions with three teams, about multiple players. Across the board:
One potential Murphy deal I heard about was with the Senators, possibly involving the Hawks acquiring C Zack Smith (two separate sources).
Before everyone goes off the rails, breaking down a Smith-Murphy deal, a couple of caveats. I was told by one source, the Hawks and Sens are talking about a lot of players right now, and Smith is only one.
At -25 for the year, Zack Smith is not the sexiest acquisition. But none of the names I’m hearing are. It’s more about potentially upgrading a spot in the lineup. Smith does a couple of things consistently well: grind and win faceoffs. Which the Hawks probably need more of, especially faceoff wins.
Speaking of Hawk trade discussions no one will get too terribly excited about . . .
Another potential destination for Murphy, with the possible return of defenseman Brendan Smith. I was told “no deal is imminent, but there have been discussions.”
No news there from my last report. But the teams have been talking about numerous players.
THE COMMON THREAD?
There may be more discussions, and kinds of discussions, going on with more teams, but the ones I’ve heard about seem to be following a very specific pattern: Eastern Conference teams who, like the Hawks, have underperformed and may be looking for a chemistry change at the deadline.
That said, none of these teams are driven right now by the urgency of playoff needs, and some of these conversations—I was told—may not lead anywhere right now, but could resume at the end of the season.
What do you think, discuss below (remember, I’m just the messenger).