NHL Rumor Mill – January 1, 2022
Some recent predictions for the Flames plus the latest on Jake DeBrusk in the first NHL rumor mill of 2022.
PREDICTIONS FOR THE FLAMES IN 2022
TSN: Salim Valji made six predictions for the Calgary Flames in 2022. Among them was his belief general manager Brad Treliving will be active at the March 21 trade deadline by bringing in at least one significant player.
This season could be the Flames’ best opportunity to stage a deep playoff run before having to deal with the effect upon the salary cap of re-signing free agents such as Johnny Gaudreau, Matthew Tkachuk, Andrew Mangiapane and Oliver Kylington.
One possibility could be bringing back defenseman Mark Giordano, who was selected by the Seattle Kraken during last summer’s expansion draft. Treliving could attempt to acquire a forward with term on his contract such as Montreal Canadiens winger Tyler Toffoli.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Treliving made several significant trade acquisitions in the past, bringing in Dougie Hamilton, Noah Hanifin, Elias Lindholm and Milan Lucic. However, those moves took place in the offseason. He’s yet to make a major in-season addition via the trade market, preferring depth moves over bigger ones. It’ll be interesting to see if he’ll roll the dice this time around.
Sportsnet’s Eric Francis believes the Flames will trade for a top defenseman like Giordano or someone else. He pointed out they’ll have to be prepared to pay a high price to bring back their former captain as a number of playoff contenders will also be interested.
Valji also believes the Flames will part ways with center Sean Monahan by buying him out or trading him. The 27-year-old center hasn’t been the same since undergoing hip surgery in the spring. He’s signed through 2022-23 with an annual average value of $6.375 million and a 10-team no-trade list. They’ll need the cap space to re-sign their key free agents.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Trading Monahan is more likely to occur in the offseason. Even then, it won’t be easy. The decline in his performance over the past couple of seasons hurts his trade value. It could mean retaining half of his cap hit, taking back a toxic contract in return, or attempting to broker a three-team trade to spread around his cap hit at the cost of a quality draft pick or prospect.
A buyout could be the way to go here. Cap Friendly indicates it would cost $2.375 million against the Flames cap in 2022-23 and $2 million the following season.
In other predictions, Valji believes Gaudreau will depart via free agency this summer, Tkachuk signs a three-year deal worth $9.5 million annually and they’ll make a strong pitch via free agency for Colorado Avalanche center Nazem Kadri.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I can see those predictions for Gaudreau and Tkachuk taking place. However, I don’t think Treliving will convince Kadri to sign with the Flames. Valji observed the center invoked his no-movement clause to block a trade from Toronto to Calgary in 2019. I think Kadri sees his future elsewhere if he hits the open market this summer.
LATEST ON DEBRUSK
THE ATHLETIC: Fluto Shinzawa believes the return of the taxi squad until February gives the Boston Bruins a better opportunity to honor Jake DeBrusk’s trade request. GM Don Sweeney hasn’t found an offer to his liking, with the 24-year-old winger’s market value said to be a similarly dissatisfied player to a mid-round draft pick.
Shinzawa speculates the Bruins could be forced to accept that draft pick if they hope to move DeBrusk and clear sufficient salary-cap space for Tuukka Rask. It’s believed they intend to bring back the free-agent goaltender later this month as he progresses in his recovery from offseason hip surgery.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: That could depend on how much it’ll cost the Bruins to sign Rask to what’s expected to be a low-cost, prorated one-year contract. They currently have around $2 million in projected cap space.