NHL Rumor Mill – January 26, 2022
LATEST CHYCHRUN SPECULATION
SPORTSNET: In his latest “32 Thoughts” column, Elliotte Friedman reports several teams are “going hard” at attempting to acquire Arizona Coyotes defenseman Jakob Chychrun. He believes the Florida Panthers are among them but doubts they’ll part with Anton Lundell. Other suitors could include the Columbus Blue Jackets, Anaheim Ducks, Boston Bruins, Carolina Hurricanes and Colorado Avalanche, while the New York Rangers and Los Angeles Kings are out for now.
TSN: Darren Dreger believes the Toronto Maple Leafs are among the clubs who’ve “kicked tires” on Chychrun but it could take creativity on general manager Kyle Dubas’ part to fit him within their tight payroll. He also cites sources saying the Kings, Panthers, Bruins, Ducks, and St. Louis Blues are among the clubs with a strong interest in the Coyotes blueliner.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: According to Friedman’s colleague Jeff Marek, only one team has pitched an offer that would meet the Coyotes’ rumored asking price of a good young NHL player, a top prospect and a first-round pick. If it was sufficient the Coyotes would’ve moved Chychrun by now. I suspect GM Bill Armstrong will use that offer as leverage to land a better return from another team. With Chychrun carrying three more years on his contract, Armstrong has the luxury of time here.
The Columbus Dispatch’s Brian Hedger is skeptical of rumors linking the Blue Jackets to Chychrun. He believes trading either of the first-round picks they’ll have in this year’s draft would take away a valuable asset that could be used to address their more pressing need for impact centers. Hedger also noted there’s no certainty Chychrun would stay with the Jackets once his current contract expires and raised concern about the rearguard’s history of knee injuries.
RUMOR TIDBITS FROM FRIEDMAN’S LATEST “32 THOUGHTS”.
SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman expects Claude Giroux to meet with his agent Pat Brisson to discuss his future during the All-Star weekend. Friedman believes there are Colorado Avalanche players who’d love to have him as a teammate but it could take getting a third team involved to make it work.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Giroux carries a full no-movement but could waive it to join a Stanley Cup contender like the Avalanche. However, he also carries an $8.275 million cap hit for this season with over $3.8 million remaining to be paid out. The Avs, meanwhile, are pressed for cap space which will make landing him a complicated endeavor.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Capitals have just over $2 million in projected trade deadline cap space. Fleury’s cap hit for this season is $7 million with $3.255 million currently remaining to be paid out. They’ll have to free up some room to make this work, assuming they’re not on Fleury’s 10-team no-trade list.
The Edmonton Oilers were willing to part with a late-round draft pick for Martin Jones but the Philadelphia Flyers wanted more for the 32-year-old goaltender. They’ve also looked at the New York Rangers’ Alexandar Georgiev, the Dallas Stars’ Braden Holtby and Anton Khudobin, St. Louis Blues’ Ville Husso, Columbus Blue Jackets Joonas Korpisalo, Washington Capitals Vitek Vanecek and New York Islanders’ Semyon Varlamov.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I don’t see the Rangers moving Georgiev after he did a fine job filling in for the sidelined Igor Shesterkin earlier this season. Ditto the Blues with Husso after he spelled off Jordan Binnington when he missed seven games to COVID-19 earlier this month
The Stars prefer moving Khudobin while the Oilers could be on Varlamov’s 16-team no-trade list. Vanecek won’t be available unless the Capitals acquire an upgrade while Jones and Korpisalo probably aren’t much of an upgrade over the Oilers’ tandem of Mikko Koskinen and Stuart Skinner.
In short, the Oilers appear screwed in their efforts to land a goaltending upgrade.
Friedman wondered if the Toronto Maple Leafs might attempt to acquire Ben Chiarot based on their previous interest in the defenseman before he signed with the Montreal Canadiens. The Calgary Flames, Florida Panthers and St. Louis Blues are among the clubs looking at him.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: TSN’s Chris Johnston reported the Leafs would prefer landing players with a little more term on their contracts. That shouldn’t rule them out of pursuing a UFA like Chiarot but it sounds like Dubas could be reluctant this season to part with assets for rentals after getting burned in last year’s Nick Foligno deal.
UPDATE ON THE SENATORS
TSN: Pierre LeBrun reports Ottawa Senators general manager Pierre Dorion scouted the Minnesota Wild during their recent game against the Canadiens and spoke briefly with Wild GM Bill Guerin. LeBrun doubts there’s anything imminent but pointed out the Wild were among the teams discussed during the Senators’ pro scouting meetings as one of the NHL clubs pressed for salary-cap space.