NHL Rumor Mill – January 18, 2022

by | Jan 18, 2022 | Rumors | 26 comments

​​Will the Flyers trade Claude Giroux? Will the Oilers pursue a goaltender with term on his contract? What could the Flames and Ducks do? Check out the latest in today’s NHL rumor mill.

SPORTSNET: Rory Boylen recently examined four NHL clubs facing critical roster decisions over the remainder of this season.

Philadelphia Flyers captain Claude Giroux (NHL Images).

Boylen believes real questions about the Philadelphia Flyers’ core have to be asked. He cites colleague Elliotte Friedman recently saying they have questions about their identity and where they’re headed after last summer’s moves failed to bring about any improvement this season.

Friedman believes Flyers captain Claude Giroux could be traded to a Stanley Cup contender with the possibility of returning to Philadelphia as an unrestricted free agent this summer. Boylen also speculated pending UFA defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen seems likely to be moved by the trade deadline.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Perhaps the question to be asked is whether Chuck Fletcher is the right general manager to fix this club. They showed some promise in 2019-20 but have since been on the downslide.

Fletcher was applauded for acquiring Ryan Ellis from the Nashville Predators last summer and cannot be faulted for Ellis missing most of this season to injury. However, he gave up a first-round pick to acquire Ristolainen.

Giroux could agree to be moved to a contender by the trade deadline but one wonders if he’ll want to return to a club that’s been spinning its wheels for most of the last 10 years. He could decide to finish his playing career elsewhere.

The Flyers also need a new coach. They continue to flounder under interim Mike Yeo after firing Alain Vigneault several weeks ago.

Boylen also explored the Edmonton Oilers’ current season-threatening tailspin. Given their precarious position in the standings, he doubts GM Ken Holland will pursue a rental player, citing his unwillingness to part with a first-round pick or one of his top prospects for a quick fix.

Holland could prefer adding a player with term remaining on his contract. Boylen believes adding a defenseman like Jakob Chychrun isn’t a pressing need when they require a reliable starting goalie. He points out someone like the New York Islanders’ Semyon Varlamov or Montreal Canadiens’ Jake Allen makes a lot of sense on the surface.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Holland has to be feeling the heat from ownership and fans to do something to reverse his club’s fortunes. However, he’s aware he’s dealing from a position of weakness and will have to give up more than he’s comfortable with to address his goaltending.

The Islanders and Canadiens are in worse straits than the Oilers right now but their respective managements probably aren’t feeling the same pressure as Holland. I doubt Isles GM Lou Lamoriello is being goaded to move Varlamov or Canadiens hockey ops VP Jeff Gorton is being pushed to shop Allen. That doesn’t mean those goalies aren’t available but acquiring either one could cost a draft pick or prospect that Holland would prefer to keep.

Boylen also wondered what the Calgary Flames will do with pending UFA Johnny Gaudreau. The winger is having a terrific season so it might make sense to extend him how. However, if they do that and the Flames miss the playoffs or get bounced in the first round again, they’re right back where they started. If they wait and he plays well in the postseason he could decide to test the market.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Boylen believes much of what the Flames do with their roster will depend on their performance this season. Another disappointing effort could see Gaudreau hit the open market this summer. Gaudreau’s declined to talk about his contract and his agent and Flames management are maintaining a cone of silence on the matter.

The Anaheim Ducks have several veterans like Hampus Lindholm who are slated to become UFAs this summer. However, they’re also contributing to the club’s better-than-expected effort this season. They also have an interim GM in Jeff Solomon while they search for a full-time replacement.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Ducks could retain those UFAs if they’re still in the thick of the playoff chase. However, they’ve struggled in recent weeks and could slide out of contention if they don’t get back on track soon. A slide down the standings could lead to guys like Lindholm, Josh Manson and Rickard Rakell hitting the trade block by the March 21 trade deadline.


  1. Safe to say there is a long way to go before the deadline, and most teams are hesitant to make an early move, lest a later injury screws up their plans. But Edmonton?! They have to do something, right? Its amazing that the two most dynamic players in the league are festering there. Just amazing. And its the same story as prior years. Still could be status quo for a while and they just might drop off of the playoff band wagon. Remarkable,

  2. Hey Lyle I haven’t been in to tell you but the RSS feed is working again but this posted twice.

    • Thanks Ron, we were able to get that sorted out after we resolved our recent server issue.

  3. Giroux is ufa at end of season. Id wager Philly would retain salary for the right deal.

    Be great to move JVR and Hayes too. Way overpaid for the results they give.

    Pretty much anyone not named Hart or Provorov Id move. Every game I watch (all of them) they look completely disinterested and skating in sand. Flyers havent looked good since folding Montreal in the playoff bubble.

  4. I am pretty sure Treliving will re-sign Johnny.
    Not sure what the price will be. Treliving also has to sign Tkachuk which knowing how the Tkachuks operate will be a much harder negotiation.

    Johnny is playing a more complete game under the guidance of Sutter and in turn is setting himself up for a nice contract.

    I am not a big fan of Treliving but I will give him credit for being able to resign his players to reasonable contracts

  5. Not sure why Holland is so reluctant to trade his 1st round pick?
    As it stands today it would be a 13th overall. If they keep losing it will definitely move up. A first round pick in 2022 isn’t going to help them this year or next.

    They need a goalie. They need defensively responsible forwards and defenseman. They need secondary scoring.

    Ceci was a mistake. Barrie was a mistake. Keith was a mistake. That’s $13M on defence that can’t defend. And after this year Nurse’s extension kicks in at $9.25M 😳

    Look at Holland’s last years in DET. Would you want this guy building your team?

    • Oil shoulda jumped on Rutherford when they had the chance. He’d have given them at least one cup during the mcdavid era.

    • Barrie and Yamamoto and 2023 2nd and 3rd for Klingberg and Holtby (1/2 salary retained)

    • don’t know how how/why Holland still has a job.

  6. The problem for the oil is the hockey world knew they needed a goalie And. Holland signs Smith to a 2 year deal totally nuts. Should have bought out koskanin And got a real goalie they can’t even purge the line up as no one going to want anyone other then mcDavid. Leon. Or Nurse. And to lesser extent rnh and Jesse. They are a mess

    • Nobodys going to want Nurse and that 9.5 anchor deal hes got.

  7. Wasn’t the knock on Ryan Ellis that he’s injured all the time? Trade for a guy who is constantly injured, that is on the GM actually.

  8. It’s ironic how the heat now being put on Chuck Fletcher comes so soon after Bobby Clarke’s withering criticism of Ron Hextall. There seem to be culture issues in Philly. The players deserve most of the blame but I think it’s guys like Clarke, a senior adviser, who should be moved.

    • Clarke was a great player and it pretty much stops there Howard. As a GM himself he was exposed for not being great in that capacity when the NHL introduced the salary cap in 2005. When you could no longer spend ownership’s money like a drunken sailor it wasn’t very long before the league and the rest of the world found out he wasn’t that great it in that role.

  9. I disagree on Ellis. Injury history with Nashville and small. Good QB when in the lineup which has been historically sporadic . Voracek moved and now it may be time for Claude.

    Oilers need a permanent solution in net. Whatever it takes outside McDavid Draisaitl and Nurse. If the right player is available make the deal.

    • They had that opportunity two summers ago when Markstrom was available but Holland didn’t want to spend the extra year for Markstrom.

      Ask yourself this…which player would be more useful right now…Markstrom at $6M or Keith at $5.5M. Imagine how EDM blue line would look if they signed Brodie as a UFA…he’s done a good job with Reilly in TOR.

      DAL isn’t taking any package like that for Klingberg without a 1st round pick.

      • Keith signing was a head scratcher for sure

      • Keith has been really good after a slow start. They gave up nothing for him, but ya his cap hit is a little high. Why do you assume Brodie would have come to Edmonton Daryl? Maybe so, but the player does have a say in it and he is from Ontario. Easy to say harder to do.

        I wouldn’t swap out Keith for Markstrom as the Oil needed to replace Klefbom (Not Hollands fault).

        I would suggest having Markstrom and not having Hyman is more likely if they had signed Markstrom.

        That is fair, and I would suggest they would be a better team. But you also have to remember that the Oil would have had to make another move or not resign somebody else as they didn’t have the cap space last off season that this did this past summer. So subtract another piece if you add Markstrom at $6M. Which player would you have cut loose? Buy out Neal sooner I suppose, but still wouldn’t have been enough. Or give up a 1st rounder to move him.

      • Then Barrie, Yamamoto, and a 2023 1st! Gotta salvage the season, Kenny boy! (and your job!)

      • Well they just might Johnny, but reading into Hollands comments, he wants the players to prove that he isn’t just wasting assets to try and save a season.
        Holland won’t BS ownership to save his job. Chiarelli did, how did that work out?
        The goaltending has been bad, impossible to argue that point. Holland gambled and lost. But so has the rest of the team, that is what makes this such a difficult decision. Get a tender, spend quality assets that can help you this off season and next season, and they still miss the playoffs or get punted in 1st round?
        That would wasting assets that could and will help you down the road.

        Or fire the coach, not fair but nobody said coaching in the NHL was fair.

  10. Dark G had the first post in this thread this morning, suggesting that Ottawa sign Giroux in the off-season as a UFA.

    I responded – twice – and each time I did so when I hit “send” it took me right out of the site.

    Now Dark G’s post has disappeared!

    • George— maybe it is on the Dark Web… sorry had to

      • Nice

      • LOL. Never thought of it that way.

    • While he from Ottawa not sure Giroux wants to go “home” only to continue losing. Think he signs with a much better team in a lesser role IMO.

  11. @Ray Bark

    Just thinking Brodie may have considered Edmonton to stay in Alberta and the possibility to play with McDavid?

    Keith cost the Oilers a cheap, young D man in Caleb Jones and a 3rd round pick….and about $4.6M in cap space. The Oilers could have traded for Nick Leddy, Ryan Graves, or Nate Schmidt. All three better options than an aging Duncan Keith.

    The Oilers overpaid for Hyman. The Leafs are getting similar output from Bunting at 1/6th the cap hit. $950K

    They could have traded Koskinen after signing Markstrom. Somebody would have taken a chance on him and if not he could have been bought out. The team has no confidence in Koskinen.

    Holland has done the same thing in EDM that he did his last few years in DET. Sign players to overvalued contracts.