NHL Rumor Mill – January 24, 2022

by | Jan 24, 2022 | Rumors | 39 comments

Which Canadiens could draw interest at the trade deadline? What moves should the Flames make to improve their roster? Check out the latest in today’s NHL rumor mill.


Montreal Canadiens winger Tyler Toffoli (NHL Images).

  SPORTSNET: Eric Engels reports Montreal Canadiens forward Tyler Toffoli is looking better after returning from an eight-week absence due to a hand injury suffered on Dec. 4. With 21 points in 29 games this season with the lowly Canadiens, Engels expects clubs like the Calgary Flames and Carolina Hurricanes could come calling for the proven playoff performer with an affordable $4.25 million cap hit for two more seasons. However, the Canadiens aren’t facing any urgency to move him and new general manager Kent Hughes could prefer to keep him on the roster.

MONTREAL HOCKEY NOW: Jimmy Murphy reports there appear to be teams in the NHL trade market interested in Canadiens defenseman Jeff Petry if he’ll waive his modified no-trade clause. Despite the 34-year-old’s struggles this season and his $6.5 million cap hit, an NHL executive told Murphy that several teams he’s spoken with have an interest in Petry if he regains his 40-point form before the trade deadline. Murphy wondered if the Detroit Red Wings might be among them, citing their cap space and previous interest in the Ann Arbor, Michigan native.

TVA SPORTS: cites Daily Faceoff’s Frank Seravalli saying winger Artturi Lehkonen is the Canadiens’ most in-demand player in the trade market. He said teams see the 26-year-old restricted free agent as this year’s version of Blake Coleman, who helped the Tampa Bay Lightning win two Stanley Cups. Seravalli said he knows of at least three teams “begging” the Canadiens to part with Lehkonen.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Toffoli would draw considerable interest in the trade market but the very things that would make him an attractive trade chip are also what makes him valuable to the Canadiens going forward. He recently indicated he wants to stay in Montreal and be part of the solution going forward.

Petry’s age (34) and contract make moving him a difficult challenge, especially given his struggles this season. Retaining part of his annual cap hit would help but Hughes could prefer moving out the blueliner’s entire contract.

Hughes isn’t under pressure to move Lehkonen. However, the winger has arbitration rights and is a year away from eligibility for unrestricted free agent status. He could end up on the trade block if he only wants a one-year deal.


NHL.COM: In a recent mailbag segment, Dan Rosen was asked what moves Calgary Flames general manager Brad Treliving should make to address their roster needs. He believes they should be looking for a No. 1 defenseman and a top-six forward.

Rosen wondered if Treliving will attempt to bring back former captain Mark Giordano from the Seattle Kraken or try to acquire John Klingberg from the Dallas Stars. Given the uncertainty over Johnny Gaudreau’s contract status, Rosen recommends acquiring a forward with term remaining on his contract. Montreal’s Tyler Toffoli, the New York Islanders Josh Bailey, Seattle Kraken’s Jordan Eberle, New Jersey Devils’ Tomas Tatar and the Columbus Blue Jackets’ Gustav Nyquist fall into that category.

THE ATHLETIC: Hailey Salvian was also asked about realistic trade targets for the Flames to bolster their scoring. She considers San Jose Sharks center Tomas Hertl as a player who could provide immediate help but she doesn’t think it’s all that realistic to target him.

Other options include the Canadiens’ Tyler Toffoli and Christian Dvorak, the Vegas Golden Knights Reilly Smith, and the Detroit Red Wings’ Vladislav Namestnikov. She noted Chicago Blackhawks winger Alex DeBrincat might be available and wondered about J.T. Miller’s future with the Vancouver Canucks.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I expect Treliving will be a buyer if his club remains in the playoff chase by the deadline. More than a few pundits believe he’ll make a pitch to bring back Giordano, who would be a more affordable blueline option than Klingberg.

As for forwards, I don’t see the Sharks parting with Hertl while they’re still in the postseason hunt. The Flames will be hard-pressed to outbid other clubs plus he has a three-team trade list.

Toffoli and Dvorak are likely staying put in Montreal. DeBrincat’s not going anywhere unless it’s for a massive return. The Canucks will likely hang onto Miller for the remainder of this season if they stay in the playoff chase.

Smith could be a more realistic option for the Flames. However, he will also draw a lot of interest if the Golden Knights move him to free up cap space for Jack Eichel. Namestnikov would be another decent option as he’s tallied 11 goals and 20 points in 42 games this season. He’s a good two-way player who could be an affordable rental option.

Bailey and Eberle carry an annual average value of $5 million and $5.5 million respectively through 2023-24. Nyquist’s is $5.5 million and Tatar’s is $4.5 million through 2022-23. They’re in the early-30s and are declining assets. Probably not the best options for the Flames up front.


  1. Oh please please please let me have your bottom 6 forward! I’ll give you anything!

    • Heh. The only caveat to that bit of sarcasm is that a bottom 6 F on a few select teams could very well turn out to be a top 6 on a few others.

      • Exactly…. DeBursk is a bottom 6 on the Bruins but on a lot of teams he could be a 1st or 2nd line winger ….

      • You really believe that? After the past couple years?

      • It’s less a question of “believe” and more on the fact he’s had decent seasons and, as Joe suggests, could very well rebound in different surroundings, different coaching systems and assigned responsibilities.

        William Karlsson had two full seasons in Columbus with records of 9 11 20 in 81gp in 2016-17 and 6 19 25 in 81gp in 2016-17 – ostensibly operating somewhere in their bottom 6 (Columbus fans please comment).

        Drafter by Vegas, and elevated to the top 6 by Gallant, he responded with 43 35 78 in 82gp in 2017-18, followed by seasons of 34 32 56 in 82gp, 15 31 46 in 63gp and 14 25 39 in 56 gp,

        DeBrusk has had seasons of 16 27 43 in 70gp in 2017-18, 27 15 42 in 68 gp in 2018-19 and 19 16 35 in 65gp in 2019-20.

        I’m NOT comparing DeBrusk with Karlsson – simply showing that turnarounds in production can – and have – happened with a change of scenery. Will it happen with DeBrusk? I don’t know – just as no one else can definitely say it won’t.

        Should he command a # 1 in return? Since no one can say how it will turn out one way or another, all I’ll say is, it will take a GM with gonads to relinquish that. A team projected to be selecting at or near the bottom of Round 1 may do so – but it would be folly for a team such as, say, Montreal or Ottawa, to fork over their # 1.

        I’m sure Sweeney has had offers where the pick is more in the range of Round 3 and any other commodity offered is in the range of second-tier prospects.

      • @ George Karlson is one of very few cases where that has happened. Bennet is another one. Most of the time the player is exactly who they appear to be. No G.M. will give up a 1st rounder for Debrusk. Don’t forget he has a 3.8 million cap hit and that would be to much even for his best season. Way better and less risky options out there for the high value of a 1st round pick. I don’t even give up a 3rd for him and not because of the player but because of the cap hit.

      • Oh I agree What the heck, it doesn’t happen very often that the traded player goes on to turn an adequate/OK career into stunning ones with a change of scenery – but every once in a while a gamble has paid off, as shown in this article


      • No doubt players can turn it around on another team. I’ve seen it happen in Pittsburgh many times. One Robert Lang comes to mind. But as you said it’s a gamble. And as far as assets the teams that are in position to make that gamble are the bottom dwellers. So they arnt gonna give up that top pick or prospect.

      • IMO opinion many folks over value draft picks, by a lot.
        65% of 1st round picks play 200 games, so not 65 % are stars, but stick around the NHL for 3 seasons. Not that high a bar, but all I could find.

        Obviously higher at the top half than the bottom. A little over 30% of 2nd rounders. So drafting in the 20’s in RD one is somewhere between those two #’s.

        DeBrusk is a solid NHL player today with 277 games played already, and the only reason the B’s are exploring options is because he asked for a trade. Likely because he is stuck behind Hall and Marchand at LW.

        The B’s don’t want picks back, they want an NHL player back and won’t make a deal during the season unless they do.

        Is he overpaid as some suggest, agreed, by a bit. He is the B’s 7th highest paid forward. He plays on the 3rd line. He produces like a quality 3rd line player produces, 75th with fewer games than most LW’s. Not sure why folks think that 3rd line players score 20 goals, very few do as they don’t get the same opportunities that guys in the top 6 do, most are asked to take a defensive role.

        He is a 3rd liner that you can move up and has a reasonable shot at producing as a 2nd line LW, because he has already, multiple times.

        Methinks this move get’s done in the offseason or maybe he stays.

      • So Ray if the Bruins want to upgrade at either center, wing and or D who’s going to leave it would have to be a player salary for player salary trade ….and being that the Bruins are playing well right now you would think Sweeney would want to bring some other help in for the possible last ride

      • Draft picks are unfortunately undervalued by most. They are the currency of the nhl. The chance of drafting a cost controlled asset is of huge value.
        Debrusks biggest detriment is his contract. He got it based on his performance before and hasn’t lived up to it. Maybe he gets more in offseason but I doubt it. He’ll be due even more money. And won’t have shown he is worth it as a top 6.

      • Joe, if they want an impact player, the trade chip is Swayman because they have 2 goalies already and he has real value so can’t be just a rental.
        Not saying they should, in fact I think it would be a risky move as we have no idea if Rask wants to play next year, or if he is the same Rask before his injury/surgery. Looked a little rusty last game again in the first period again.

        All depends who comes back Joe, if you get a legit 2C for this year and next, then ya, I would if the B’s keep playing well and Rask and Ullmark play well too.

        At least I think I would, with the full knowledge there is a good chance that Swayman will turn into a bonified NHL starter.

        Really tough to pull the trigger on that one. If the B’s can work their way into the top 2-3 in the Atlantic, the maybe. Would take some serious nuts to do it though. Scary one, makes me nervous just typing it.

      • Ray with the Bruins cap space what it is Sway don’t make that much $$$ even if they trade him to bring back a legit 2nd line center

      • Team can eat some salary as well as part of the deal.
        Bruins got Hall and Lazar (resigned both) for Bjork and a 2nd. Buff ate half of Halls salary.

        Hall had a NMC which made it way easier on BOS as he wanted to play there.

    • Yes George that may be true but one must keep in mind if that is true, those teams would generally be the weak team. It’s unlikely a bottom six player on a team like the Habs would be anything more than that on a better team like any of the other 30 somewhat teams.

      Just like Toronto, lots and lots of smoke (rumors about players/team) but no fire (nothing we were hoping or excepting happens).

      That begging line is a perfect example. Begging, please.

      • True, but if he responds like William Karlsson then it will have been worth the gamble. If not, c’est la vie – which is why I say a team like Montreal or Ottawa would not – and should not – offer up a 1st Round pick for that gamble, whereas a team projected to pick low in Round 1 might.

  2. Re Knights…. Yes Smith should be in demand and easier to move.

    I still say the better move (*if they HAVE to cut Cap) is Dando. Smith means more to the team

    *not 100% clear if they (Knights) MUST make an “exit Cap” move…. Does anybody hear have updates on return ETA for Patches and/or Martinez? Eichel playing is at least 4 weeks away….. at TDL Knights would be looking to either shed (or hope for a combined IR/LTIR) of in and around $5M ‘ish…. If Eichel DOES return B4 end of season

    They may just wait it out getting down to the TDL wire; and if at that time a player (or players) in the Cap value of $5 M or more have just been placed on IR (better still LTIR)…. Then their risk is 2-3 weeks of Cap gambles

  3. Chrisms on January 24, 2022 at 1:15 pm
    You really believe that? After the past couple years ?

    Don’t tell anyone it’s our secret

  4. Wings have 3 young RHD, in Seider, Hronek and Lindstrom, not sure where Petry would play. Plus Yzerman has been very careful with his cap, doubt he brings in Petry, as there is no spot for him and cap hit is high for an older player

  5. Debrusk worst year was last year and he admitted the Covid lock up. And no family around really screwed him up mentally. Same for. Chris. Wagner. I would think Debrusk will go back to the 40 50point player once again. On new team

    • Nemestenkov for Debrusk if Debrusk agrees to sign a 1x $2M prove-it deal beforehand.

      • Hard pass Pass

      • That’s one of the other killers to yhis guys value. He is due a hefty qualifying offer. At least for what he’s shown past couple years. Why would he agree to take less unless he is not qualified and becomes a ufa and nobody offers less?

        Minus the 2mil thing that’s the kinda deal Boston is looking at.

      • What does DeBrusk need to be qualified at? He makes $3.6M so a little more than that I assume?
        If you’re going to compare players on DET, I think Fabbri is a closer comparable, he is just a year older, stats over career similar, both not scoring as much as folks would hope recently.

        He signed an extension for 3 x $4M which kicks in next year, which I think is pretty close to what DeBrusk would use as a comparable if they go to arbitration or negotiate an extension, if he changes his mind or ends up somewhere else.

      • Over 4.4 mil. Very expensive if he don’t pan out as a top 6. Hence why risk a high quality asset.

      • Ya, that is high Chrisms but not by a crazy amount. Not sure what BOS would do in the off season if they had to make that decision?

        But still think a good comparable is Fabbri as far as an extension goes. 3 x $4M.

        Can a team trading for him get him to sign for that? Would BOS offer that? I dunno. Not sure DeBrusk would agree to it, as he is a year away from UFA but if I was his agent I would recommend it.

        So like I said slightly over paid. The B’s need him or a reasonable replacement this year, so he may not get traded.

        Draft picks are currency, but not all currency is equal. A 2nd or 3rd RD pick very likely doesn’t equal an NHL player, not sure why the B’s would trade him for that when they are trying to win games now. It has more value as a currency if you suck.

        I think we simply disagree on the player.

  6. Hi all

    I’m sure most of you may have read a Dear John letter (either to you or one of your friends) before. The “Dear Jim” letter below touched my heart and I wanted to share it with everybody here.

    “Dear Jim

    I miss you. For over a year you publicly acknowledged your affection for me before you so graciously had the heart to overpay (considerably I might add, thank-you) to acquire me. Now you have moved on and I miss you. I would love to come to the West coast to join you again. I’ve talked at length with my twin GMs , Ronny and Big Bri ; and they have come up with a great deal that benefits you and once again reunites us.

    I’d like to add (as if you didn’t already know , LOL) that my current team has gone 16-2-0 in the last 18 games…. Hottest team in the league; AND, I have lead the team over the last 5 weeks in average points per game and average goals per game. Not only that; over the last 5 weeks; no player in the NHL has averaged anywhere near what I have averaged. That being 2 goals per game!!!

    Now I’ve talked to Ronny and Big Bri and they tell me that you have been pressed by ownership and local media to trade your back up goalie as he has a performance bonus that kicks in very soon.

    Here is what I’ve got them to agree to: I can come and be with you again and bring my friends Casey and Chad with me; and my current team will take off your hands your current back-up. Your low low cost in this transaction is but your third pairing D-Man . I believe his name is Luke.

    Hoping we’ll be together soon

    ❤️❤️❤️ JZ”

    • Creative.

      • The statement that he leads the league (over the last 5 weeks) averaging 2 goals per game is actually true….scary

        Shhhhhh…. We won’t tell Jimbo that he’s only played one game in the last 5 weeks; and one of those (2) goals was a “nick” of the shaft of his stick, while the shot (Kappy) came from behind JZ ; and while JZ was facing the goalie; and effectively did not change directions (was going in anyway); while the other was a crease scrum that eventually squeaked under the pads and in

    • A tear came to my eye, LOL.
      I am sure being that JR is as emotional attached to his past relationships, that he would fully consider such a touching appeal….minus Chad and Casey…..LOL, but something worth a bit more.

      • I’m certainly hoping that Jimbo moves with his heart

    • Sorry, my friend. Your memory is short. I would like to have you back with me, but as I told you before, my backup goalie has an NMC in his contract and is going nowhere, by his choice or mine, now that my new coach has the team contending.

      You had better let your GM do the dealing, as your declining play and memory loss might indicate that you have entered your dotage.

      • Dear Francis

        I think you forget that my dearest Jim had accidentally (on purpose… tee hee) let it slip to the Toronto Star’s Chris Johnson only 2 weeks ago, that he IS in fact actively shopping his back up goaltender; and that that particular goaltender’s agent was quoted as saying that all his client wanted to do was to play and was not against being moved.

        My memory and looks have faded, but never in my career have I ever averaged 2 goals per game over a 5 week period. I’m on fire!!

        Sincerely yours

        P.S. I believe there are a few (no more than four or five hundred thousand) Pens’ fans that believe I should rekindle with my Jimbo in Vancouver

      • Being on the injured list, I have ample opportunity to exchange thoughts with my pal, J.R. He didn’t mark a date on his calendar, but he said any whimsy he entertained about trading Halak was outside of your specified time period, and before the Boudreau boost necessitated a Demko backup. He mentioned also that he felt Halak was unlikely to find his desired increase in playing time in Pittsburgh.

        In fact, just today, J.R. told “Pro Hockey News” that ” the bonus isn’t an issue for them (the Canucks) and that Halak helps them win games. The publication even went so far as to suggest the decision has already been made to not move Halak.

      • The publication I referred to is correctly named “Pro Hockey Rumors.”

  7. Question to Kings fans

    I realize they are loaded with prospects…. But why have they (Kings) not at least been experimenting with Frk on the big club more?

    He gets the same Sal from Kings or Reign… absolutely no difference….and is certainly firing on all cylinders in the AHL

    Is it just that there is literally no room for him on the big club? Or is there/are there an/any underlying issue(s)?

  8. Sweeney’s going hard after Chychrun. Looking forward to seeing Jeff in a B’s jersey this season. next up second line centre. Will not respond to chism, and edvanape

  9. The Blackhawks aren’t going to trade DeBrincat, that would be foolish. He’s one guy on their team that can fill up the back of the opposing team’s net and one very positive thing going for them in Chicago! The Avalanche are playing the Hawks @ home tonight, hope they don’t take them lightly with MAF probably in goal? Colorado better wake up their defensive coverage has been terrible lately and the goaltending has bailed them out. As good as the Avalanche are they better correct that or it will be another out this year. GO AVS!!!!!!!!!

  10. Debrincat is a pure of goal scorer as you can find. You rarely trade that kind of player. although his -9 is concerning

    PP = points. Too many pundits just look at points. No power play time way less points.

    I would ramp up interest on Bailey left unprotected in expansion draft