NHL Rumor Mill – January 20, 2022

by | Jan 20, 2022 | Rumors | 32 comments

Will the Blackhawks shop Marc-Andre Fleury? Are the Panthers interested in Jakob Chychrun? Will the Golden Knights trade Reilly Smith? Could the Bruins entertain offers for Urho Vaakanainen? Check out the latest in today’s NHL rumor mill.


THE ATHLETIC: Scott Power reports there’s an assumption around the league that Chicago Blackhawks goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury will be finishing the season elsewhere. Two league sources suggest Fleury’s play of late could fetch the Blackhawks a first-round pick, something they could be without in this year’s draft because of last summer’s Seth Jones trade.

Chicago Blackhawks goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury (NHL Images)

Powers also cited a Blackhawks source claiming the club hasn’t discussed a contract extension with Fleury. The 37-year-old netminder becomes an unrestricted free agent in July. He carries a $7 million cap hit and a 10-team no-trade no-trade clause. The defending Vezina Trophy winner also has three Stanley Cup rings on his resume.

Teams that fancy themselves contenders but have middling-to-poor goaltending (Edmonton, Washington) could come calling. Powers wondered if a reunion with the Pittsburgh Penguins might be possible regardless of how well Tristan Jarry plays this season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Capitals, Oilers and Penguins also have little projected salary-cap space. Any deal involving Fleury and those clubs would have to be dollar-in, dollar-out or involve some salary retention in the Blackhawks part. The Hawks might be willing to do that for a 2022 first-round pick.

Oilers general manager Ken Holland recently said he didn’t want to part with his first-rounder for a short-term fix. Unless he changes his mind, we can probably rule out the Oilers as a destination if Fleury is willing to go to Edmonton.

The Penguins are playing very well right now. If that continues over the next couple of months they could stick with Jarry and hope his playoff meltdown last year was a one-off. The Capitals could kick tires but that’ll depend on the play of Ilya Samsonov and Vitek Vanecek in the coming weeks.

FLORIDA HOCKEY NOW: Colby Guy cites Sportsnet’s Jeff Marek and Elliotte Friedman confirming the Panthers are interested in Arizona Coyotes defenseman Jakob Chychrun. George Richards last week reported the Panthers would take a look at the Boca Rotan native, who has three seasons remaining on his contract with an annual cap hit of $4.6 million.

Guy said the Panthers seek a left-handed defenseman who can bring some consistency to the blue line. Marek speculated the asking price for Chychrun could be goaltender Spencer Knight, rookie center Anton Lundell, and a first-round pick.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Chychrun would be a terrific fit on the Panthers blueline. His contract would give them an asset that helps them now and over the next three years. However, I doubt GM Bill Zito will give up that much to get him. He could part with his first-rounder but Knight and Lundell are also going to be vital components in the Panthers’ long-term future. I’ll be shocked if he parts with them.


VEGAS HOCKEY NOW: Owen Krepps recently examined the pros and cons of the Golden Knights potentially shopping Reilly Smith at the trade deadline. The 30-year-old winger is an unrestricted free agent this summer.

Shipping out Smith and his $5 million cap hit for this season would help the Golden Knights free up sufficient cap space when Jack Eichel is ready to make his debut in the coming weeks. He could also fetch them a solid return. However, doing so would hurt the club’s identity and take away a skilled player who could help them win the Stanley Cup.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Krepps argues there are other options the Golden Knights could take to free up that cap space for Eichel. GM Kelly McCrimmon could very well prefer those options (trading Evgenii Dadonov?) over moving Smith. However, shopping the veteran winger remains the easiest option given his value in the trade market and his lack of no-trade protection.

THE ATHLETIC: Fluto Shinzawa suggests a trade might be the best bet for Boston Bruins defenseman Urho Vaakanainen to become a full-time NHLer. He believes clubs like Arizona or Seattle could have their eye on a 23-year-old former first-rounder who isn’t playing a major role, suggesting such players could improve skating with rebuilding teams.

Shinzawa said the Bruins aren’t in a rush to trade Vaakanainen. However, he speculates they could listen to any offer that could improve their odds of winning this season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Vaakanainen on his own probably won’t draw that type of offer. Packaged with Jake DeBrusk? Maybe, but I wouldn’t hold my breath given the apparent lack of interest DeBrusk is drawing thus far in the trade market.


  1. Doubt maf gets a first based on the historical value of goalies in the trade market. Certainly not from pens who ar best would be looking at a 1a 1b situation. If a team like edm or wash are looking for a clear cut starter then maybe a first? It’s a long shot.

    Two of those three pieces would be fair for chychy. Honestly with bobs contract moving knight if they are seriously all in this year should be in consideration. Plenty of time to develop another goalie before bob is gone.

    • I don’t think Lundell or Knight should be on the table. Besides, wouldn’t there have to be a little more salary going the other way? Sending 2 prospects and a pick for Chycrun would deplete their LTIR, and all other moves would be more difficult to make.

      • Question is are the panthers all in or not? If so then those are pieces you move to go for it.

  2. VGK could trade Smith to the Wings for Namestnikov. That would free up $3M for the Knights as 2 UFA’s trade teams. That would also unite Riley with his 2 younger bros, Gemel and Giavanni!

  3. Vegas is in a bit of a tough spot here. I’m sure they would rather trade Dadonov, but would need to add significant sweeteners to convince someone to take him and his contract off their hands. I doubt anyone is looking to trade for him. Smith, on the other hand, is more valuable, and might bring assets back in return, but only from current contending teams. I’m curious to see how this pans out.

    • I’m sure Ottawa doesn’t want him back.

    • Going backwards here. Just read morning coffee section. Deboer stating Eichel still a month or 2 away makes me think they’re going to milk this as long as they can. A little cap gymnastics with ltir? I do think they’ll move Dadonov before Smith

  4. As far as Vac getting traded this year it would have to be in a larger type package like debrusk vak and a 1 st and maybe more. For chycrun or similar

    • DeBrusk would have to agree to a 1-year “prove it” contract at less than his QO to be included in any meaningful trade.

      • He would probably do it depends on the new team

    • What is every Bruins fan’s fascination with DeBrusk?

      His last three seasons have been terrible yet their GM is “holding out for what he’s worth” He’s scoring at a .22ppg pace the past three seasons. He also carries a $3.65M cap hit. That’s a lot if salary for somebody producing at a 4th line rate.

      In comparison Pierre Engvall has scored at a .27ppg pace the last three years and makes 1/3 the salary…plenty of people think he has not trade value.

      Same thing with Vaakanainen. He’s played 23 years old and 22 NHL games.

      Do you actually think DeBrusk, Vaakanainen, and a low 1st round pick (20-28) gets Chychrun or Klingberg?

      In the words of that famous Boston band Dream On

  5. If I am a team with cap space (and i am staring at you Devs) i take Dadonov and want either Brisson or 2023 first. Then flip Dadonov at half retained for some other assets. Question is, does Vegas go for that.

    • Not sure it’ll cost that much. Especially if they have a deal lined up to flip. Say a second from vegas to take him the get a third from another team. Picking up two high picks for the prorated money is a pretty big deal.

      • If Dadonov was one year deal I would agree whole heartedly with you Chrisms. But as its a 2 year deal I am asking for more. Plus something useful could be returned to Vegas, not seeking “futur considerations”.

      • Maybe you are right. But vegas could also trade smith so it’s not like their backs are against the wall.

      • Agreed Chrisms, I am just GM dreaming….

      • Don’t forget it cost the Leafs a 1st rounder to rid themselves of one year of Marleau and his cap hit.
        Jersey would likely want a 1st to help Vegas…especially mid season.

        Jersey is in a good place to acquire assets to retain salary…as long as the owner is willing to spend the $$$

  6. How about this. Keep in mind Oilers traded Gretzky. And Hall.
    Edmonton sends Draisitl to NYR. Smith to Chicago.
    Chicago sends Fleury and a 3rd to Edmonton.
    NYR sends 2022 1st to Chicago. 2023 1st, Nemeth, Lundkvist and Kravtsov.

    • Last part should’ve said “to Edmonton”. They need a shakeup. This gets them Fleury in net. A steady LD. Young, offensively gifted RD. Kravtsov will be available at end of season. They’ll be getting RNH back. Maybe signing Kane. Better goaltending,defense, and more balanced offense.
      Rangers can move Strome to RW and put Draisitl between him and Panarin.

      • The hole they fill with the short term pickup of MAF wouldn’t be worth the big one they create by trading Draisitl.

      • How about this: Nemeth, Lundkvist, Kravtsov and Georgiev to the Oil for Draistal and their Finnish goalie.

    • That’s fun. But if they are acquiring maf rental sounds like they plan to make playoffs. So futures isn’t what they would want.

    • That sucks for the Oilers.

  7. Panthers will not trade Knight or Lundell, let alone as a package, that is pure foolishness.

  8. I don’t see Boston trading Vaakanainen. As the Bruins don’t have much depth on the Blue line.

    With Zboril season ending injury according to Mark Divver he’ll be a UFA at season end.

    25yrs old, 3 season completed, expiring contract and less then 80 nhl games.

    Zboril has 54 games played, would’ve got 80 games in as he was playing very well. Do with season ending injuy, he’ll be a UFA.

    • Vak. Is just RFA. Not arbitration eligible

    • They should be playing Vaak over Clifton right now anyways.

      He had an extremely good run of games with Clifton out.

    • Ya Clifton had a tough game against CAR, but quite a few of them did.
      Vaak can definitely skate like a top 4 guy and has some skill. Could put some meat on though, the guy needs to hit the gym hard.

      He looked comfortable in the NHL for the first time against Nash from the games I have watched.

      Clifton is a 7th D, good depth guy because he battles hard. But that’s about it.

      Too bad about Zboril was finally getting it going and looking to have a good role. Hope they get in front of it and try to keep him, not like they couldn’t use more D depth.

    • How about in a package for chychun?Or Lindholm in Anaheim.

      • Really like the Lindholm idea.
        Just wonder if ANA is planning on resigning him. Only 28 and they seem to be on the upswing.

        Big, skates good for big, smart, can handle the minutes, kills penalties.

        Just what they need.

  9. I can see Tippet and a couple of firsts maybe add Vatrano for Chychrun. They will not be sending Knight and Lundel. Maybe one in a major deal but not both

    Why would Fleury agree to go to Edmonton at his age ?
    Maybe back to Vegas or Pitt. I bet he retires prior to next year

  10. If Rask plays well ROS it will be interesting to see how the Bruins handle the Goaltending situation … would they resign Rask for another year or two, do they try to trade Ullmark or keep him what would they do with Sway maybe trade him another year in the minors probably won’t sit well with him, do they try to trade Ullmark now to improve in another area ….. on the other hand if Rask struggles goodbye to him I would say