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NHL Trade Buzz: Thornton considers moving on from Sharks

Vigneault sees no need for Flyers to make deal; Gustafsson won't travel with Blackhawks

by Tracey Myers @Tramyers_NHL / Staff Writer

Welcome to the NHL Trade Buzz. There are two days remaining until the 2020 NHL Trade Deadline on Monday at 3 p.m. ET, and has all the important news, rumblings and analysis heading toward the deadline.

Here's a look around the League at the latest deadline doings:


San Jose Sharks

Joe Thornton is in his 15th season with the Sharks. As the trade deadline looms, would he want a chance to win the Stanley Cup with another team?

"You know, it is [tempting]," the 40-year-old forward told The Athletic before the Sharks lost 3-2 at the New York Rangers on Saturday. "But it's not like I feel like this is my last year. I feel like I'm healthy, I feel like I still have a lot in the tank left. It's not like [this is] a last-hurrah type thing. I feel good, and my mind feels great. It's not like, 'Oh, this is going to be my last shot at it.' So that's where my mind is at right now."

If Thornton waives his no-move clause and accepts a trade, it opens the possibility he could try to win the Cup for the first time elsewhere this season and return to the Sharks next season.

"There's lots of possibilities," said Thornton, who reached the Stanley Cup Final with San Jose in 2016. "That could be an option. There's lots to play with. It is what it is, and we'll see what happens. I'm a Shark now, and I love being a Shark."

Thornton has 27 points (four goals, 23 assists) in 61 games for the Sharks (26-31-4), who are 13 points behind the Winnipeg Jets for the second wild card into the playoffs from the Western Conference. 

Coach Bob Boughner said he thought it would have to be "an absolutely perfect situation" for Thornton to be traded.

"That situation, I'm not sure if it's out there. But I think if it did happen, it would have to be a situation where … my impression in talking to him is a situation where he comes in and helps the team make a difference on a night-to-night basis."

Video: CBJ@SJS: Thornton rips slap shot from circle for PPG



Florida Panthers 

As the Panthers fight to get into the Stanley Cup Playoffs, they'll do what's necessary at the trade deadline -- within reason. 

"Anything that makes us better, but we are not mortgaging our future," general manager Dale Tallon told The Athletic on Friday. "We're not going to use the great kids who we have in the system just for a Band-Aid."

Among those the Panthers aren't looking to part with are three forward prospects: 21-year-old Owen Tippett, their first-round pick (No. 10) in the 2017 NHL Draft, 19-year-old Grigori Denisenko, their first-round pick (No. 15) in the 2018 Draft and 19-year-old John Ludvig, their third-round pick (No. 69) in the 2019 Draft.

Tallon will also proceed with caution regarding his core players.

"We're not giving up a top core guy unless it's somebody who comes in, knocks our socks off and we feel the move is an improvement on that particular player," he said.

The Panthers (32-23-6) are two points behind the Toronto Maple Leafs for third in the Atlantic Division. 

Video: FLA@ANA: Barkov taps in pass from Huberdeau


Philadelphia Flyers

Coach Alain Vigneault joked about the voice that he has in any trade deadline considerations with the Flyers.

"I have a nice French voice," Vigneault said before the Flyers played the Winnipeg Jets at Wells Fargo Arena on Saturday. All kidding aside, however, Vigneault is fine if the Flyers do nothing at the deadline.

"I like my team, and for me this is no different than any other day during the regular season," Vigneault said. "I know that Chuck [Fletcher, Flyers general manager] looks at any option that could improve our team. He's been doing that since the first day that I was hired. Now we're into the final stretch. If there's something that he feels can improve our team he'd definitely look at it. But I'm very happy moving forward with the players we have here."

Defenseman Shayne Gostisbehere, who has been out since sustaining a knee injury Feb. 6, is on a conditioning assignment with Lehigh Valley of the American Hockey League and will play for them on Saturday. Vigneault expects Gostisbehere to be back with the Flyers on Sunday. His return would give the Flyers seven healthy defensemen and likely cancel any urgency to trade for a defenseman.

Philadelphia (34-20-7) is third in the Metropolitan Division, three points behind the Washington Capitals and Pittsburgh Penguins for first place.


Pittsburgh Penguins

General manager Jim Rutherford said the Penguins would like to add a depth forward before the deadline. 

"Always, when you look at a forward, a two-positional player would be ideal," Rutherford told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review on Friday. "But that doesn't always come along like a [Jared] McCann or [Nick] Bjugstad (who were acquired by the Penguins from the Panthers on Feb. 1, 2019). Those guys can play both the wing and the center. But I would think it would probably be a winger."

Rutherford told the newspaper he will decide whether to acquire a defenseman after he gets an update on Brian Dumoulin and John Marino on Saturday. Dumoulin had surgery for a broken ankle Dec. 1 and Marino had facial surgery on Feb. 10 after being hit by a shot four days earlier.

The Penguins (37-17-6) are tied for first in the Metropolitan Division with the Washington Capitals. The teams play Sunday at Capital One Arena (12 p.m. ET; NBC, TVAS). 

Video: TOR@PIT: Crosby, Zucker team up for power-play goal


Winnipeg Jets

The Jets acquired forward Cody Eakin from the Vegas Golden Knights on Friday, three days after picking up defenseman Dylan DeMelo in a trade with the Ottawa Senators.

Will the Jets do anything else before the deadline?

"It's hard to say," general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff said Friday. "As close as Monday is, Monday is far away off yet. We'll see how some things play out. If there are some hockey deals to look at, we're certainly open to those and looking at those. Some of those things might be able to happen, given the flexibility of the [NHL salary] cap that we do have. But again, it really all still comes down to fit and we'll evaluate something. And if something becomes interesting based on that fit, we'll explore it to the extent that we can."

The Jets (32-25-5) hold the second wild card into the playoffs from the Western Conference. 


Chicago Blackhawks

Is Erik Gustafsson headed elsewhere? It looks likely; the defenseman will not travel with the Blackhawks for their game against the Dallas Stars at American Airlines Center on Sunday (3 p.m. ET; ESPN+, TVAS, FS-SW, NBCSCH, NHL.TV). 

Gustafsson was held out of the lineup for precautionary reasons when the Blackhawks defeated the Nashville Predators 2-1 in overtime at United Center on Friday.

"Obviously being pulled from the lineup, that's what it adds up to," coach Jeremy Colliton said of the likelihood of Gustafsson being traded. "But we'll see."

Gustafsson, who has 26 points (six goals, 20 assists) in 59 games, spoke about hearing his name in trade rumors after a team meeting on Thursday.

"I kind of try not to look at the phone or hear anything on the TV or radio or anything, but it's hard. It's on here every time, too," Gustafsson said. "But just like I said before, if this happens, it's happening. It's something I can't control. Like I said before, I want to stay in Chicago. I like it here."

The Blackhawks (27-26-8) are seven points behind the Winnipeg Jets for the second wild card into the playoffs from the Western Conference.

Video: WPG@CHI: Gustafsson nets wrist shot through traffic


New Jersey Devils

Trade talk continues to surround several Devils players, including Kyle Palmieri. But the 29-year-old forward said he isn't paying attention to it.

"It's just a lot of noise. It's not something I can control," Palmieri told The Record. "There are plenty of Twitter GMs out there but right now, I'm staying focused on the game and the guys in this room. Until someone tells me otherwise, that's what my focus is on."

Palmieri has 42 points (22 goals, 20 assists) in 57 games this season for the Devils, who are last in the Metropolitan Division. Palmieri has one year remaining on his contract, which has an eight-team no-trade clause. On Sunday, the Devils traded defenseman Andy Greene to the New York Islanders and forward Blake Coleman to the Tampa Bay Lightning. General manager Tom Fitzgerald said there's likely more trades to come.

"Teams call and ask me what I'm thinking, and I've been very transparent with all the general managers out there," Fitzgerald said on Sunday. "I'm not just giving players away, but I'm not telling anyone that this player or that player is off limits." 

Video: CBJ@NJD: Palmieri roofs Hischier's slick set-up


Toronto Maple Leafs

Tyson Barrie has seen his name mentioned in trade rumors, but the Maple Leafs defenseman is approaching the situation with humor.

"I skyrocketed there to No. 5 on the [TSN] Trade Bait, so it happens quick," Barrie said before the Maple Leafs lost to the Carolina Hurricanes 6-3 at Scotiabank Arena on Saturday.

Barrie has 35 points (five goals, 30 assists) in 63 games with the Maple Leafs and said he'd like to remain with them.

"I love it here," Barrie said. "I love the guys and we want to be a team that does something special this year and I'd obviously like to be around for that. But it's out of my control."

The Maple Leafs (32-22-8) are third in the Atlantic Division, two points ahead of the Florida Panthers.

Video: TOR@DAL: Barrie's shot deflects into the net

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