NHL Rumor Mill – January 28, 2022
CANUCKS NEW GENERAL MANAGER FACING BIG DECISIONS
Teams have been calling about center J.T. Miller, who’s signed to a bargain contract running through 2022-23. The Canucks aren’t under pressure to move him now but the offers might be better for him at this year’s trade deadline compared to next year’s.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: TSN’s Pierre LeBrun believes the Canucks need to restock their prospect pipeline. He thinks they would listen if a club offered up three or four prospects or three or four assets. Whether they get that offer remains to be seen.
Winger Brock Boeser is owed a $7.5 million qualifying offer after this season. If the Canucks are uncomfortable with that, do they attempt to trade him at the deadline, wait until the offseason or attempt to re-sign him for a lower annual average value?
Backup goalie Jaroslav Halak will soon trigger $1.5 million in bonus money. The Canucks will have to carry that overage into next season when he could be playing with another club. They could try to move him at the trade deadline, but he carries a no-movement clause. Winger Tyler Motte is also slated to become an unrestricted free agent this summer and could also draw interest from contenders.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I don’t see the Canucks becoming sellers unless they fall out of playoff contention by March. They could get solid offers for Miller or Boeser at the trade deadline but they aren’t under pressure to move either guy by that point.
Moving Miller would be understandable given his age and UFA eligibility next summer but Boeser’s only 24 and considered to be part of their long-term plans. Moving him would likely be an offseason decision if they’re unable to work out a suitable contract.
They could find a team capable of absorbing Halak’s bonus clause. However, his no-movement is a serious sticking point. Still, he could waive it if a contender shows interest.
UPDATES ON PRICE AND DEBRUSK
TVA SPORTS: Kent Hughes, the new general manager of the Montreal Canadiens, acknowledged the importance of Carey Price to the organization, calling him “untouchable”. However, he needs to get more answers about the 34-year-old goaltender’s health before determining what comes next in terms of his future. The option of a contract buyout doesn’t appear to be in his plans. “I can’t answer that right now, but I don’t think so,” said Hughes.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Lot of suggestions about the Canadiens perhaps shopping Price at the trade deadline after Hughes was hired last week. It’s not going to happen. He carries a hefty $10.5 million annual average value through 2025-26 plus a full no-movement clause and he remains sidelined recovering from offseason knee surgery.
Buying him out would count as $10.8 million against the Canadiens cap next season, followed by three seasons of $9.08 million annually before dropping to $583K annually for the remaining four seasons of the buyout. So yeah, I also don’t think this is an option.
THE ATHLETIC: Fluto Shinzawa reports there’s no trade imminent for Boston Bruins winger Jake DeBrusk. His inconsistent play means the Bruins won’t get top assets in return. A trade might not help him smooth out the peaks and valleys in his game.
DeBrusk’s contract is also an issue. He’s a restricted free agent this summer due for a $4.41 million qualifying offer. The Bruins are unlikely to meet that QO but that would make him an unrestricted free agent this summer. They must find a team willing to qualify DeBrusk or at least take the risk of negotiating a new contract. Otherwise, acquiring him would be like trading for a rental player.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Bruins GM Don Sweeney reportedly sought a player of equal value. Given Shinzawa’s assessment, DeBrusk could end up spending the rest of this season in Boston. Still, we shouldn’t rule out the Bruins finding a taker by the trade deadline but it’s doubtful they’ll get equal value.
LATEST ON THE RED WINGS
The Red Wings gave up a second-round draft pick for Nick Leddy. Khan doubts they can get a similar return but feels they’ll take what they can get for a player they aren’t going to re-sign. Forward Vladislav Namestnikov is having a good season and would draw interest if the Wings decide not to re-sign him. They could re-sign defenseman Marc Staal for another season for his leadership.
Khan speculated they could attempt to move Thomas Greiss but there usually isn’t a big market for goaltenders at the trade deadline. He doesn’t expect Troy Stecher, Danny DeKeyser, Sam Gagner and Carter Rowney will attract much interest.