NHL Rumor Mill – January 29, 2022

by | Jan 29, 2022 | Rumors | 36 comments

Check out the latest on Matthew Tkachuk, Tomas Hertl, and Timo Meier plus some suggested backup goalie candidates for the Penguins in today’s NHL rumor mill.


THE ATHLETIC: Jeremy Rutherford and Hailey Salvian examined the options facing Calgary Flames winger Matthew Tkachuk when he becomes a restricted free agent with arbitration rights this summer. It will cost the Flames $9 million to qualify his rights. He’s also a year away from unrestricted free agent eligibility.

Calgary Flames winger Matthew Tkachuk (NHL Images).

The Flames are likely looking for a long-term contract between $9 million and $10 million annually. They wonder if a $10 million annual average value on an eight-year deal would get the job done.

It’s assumed Tkachuk would join the St. Louis Blues (his hometown club) one day if he doesn’t stay with the Flames on a long-term deal. However, sources say he’d also have interest in the Vegas Golden Knights, Dallas Stars, Nashville Predators and New York Rangers to name a few.

CALGARY HOCKEY NOW: Steve Macfarlane believes Flames management should be in “go-for-it” mode given the uncertainty over the futures of Tkachuk and pending UFA winger Johnny Gaudreau.

He feels they need to bolster their secondary scoring and their blueline depth. Trade rumors linked them to Montreal Canadiens defenseman Ben Chiarot and Seattle Kraken winger Jordan Eberle. There’s also speculation about a possible reunion with former captain and current Kraken blueliner Mark Giordano.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Cap Friendly shows the Flames with $50.2 million invested in 11 players for 2022-23. They have sufficient cap space to re-sign Tkachuk and Gaudreau but those moves would quickly eat up around $20 million of it, leaving little room to re-sign Andrew Mangiapane, Oliver Kylington and fill out the remainder of the lineup. It could come down to Tkachuk or Gaudreau depending on how much they’re willing to pay on a long-term deal.

The Flames currently have over $5.5 million in trade deadline cap space so there’s some wiggle room to add to their roster this season. Whether they’ll follow Macfarlane’s advice this season remains to be seen. They’re currently jockeying for the final wild-card spot in the Western Conference and could go from buyers to sellers if they fall further out of contention by the March trade deadline


THE ATHLETIC: Corey Masisak wondered what the San Jose Sharks will do with defenseman Erik Karlsson sidelined until at least mid-March following surgery on his forearm earlier this week. With a tough stretch of games coming up in their schedule and in a tight battle for the final Western Conference wild-card berth, they’ll have to figure out if they’ll be buyers, sellers or stand pat at the trade deadline.

If the Sharks buy, they could pursue a top-six winger and a defenseman to help their blueline while Karlsson remains sidelined. Selling could mean shopping UFA center Tomas Hertl for a significant return involving draft picks and prospects.

The following day, Masisak’s colleague Eric Duhatschek was asked in a mailbag segment if they would also trade winger Timo Meier if they go into sell mode at the trade deadline. A favorable arbitration ruling in the Evander Kane case could provide the Sharks with sufficient space to sign both to long-term extensions.

With Meier signed through 2022-23 and slated to become an RFA with arbitration rights next summer, Duhatschek believes the Sharks will move heaven and earth to keep him.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The next month will determine the Sharks’ path leading up to deadline day. Hertl has expressed a willingness to stay and that could be possible if they get significant cap relief from terminating Kane’s contract. If not, they could be forced to part with him at the deadline if they’re out of playoff contention rather than lose him for nothing.


PITTSBURGH HOCKEY NOW: Earlier this week, Dan Kingerski examined some potential backup goaltending options for the Penguins. With Louis Domingue week-to-week with an injured foot, their current roster option remains Casey DeSmith, who has struggled this season.

Affordable trade options could include the Florida Panthers Jonas Johansson, Buffalo Sabres’ Craig Anderson, Ottawa Senators Anton Forsberg and the LA Kings’ Garret Sparks.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Johansson could be available. His recent emergence from COVID protocol forced the Panthers to send Spencer Knight to the minors because he’s waiver exempt.

The Sabres’ banged-up goalie corps likely means they’ll hang onto Anderson until some of the others get healthier. I don’t see the Kings parting with Sparks while they’re jockeying for a playoff spot. They’ll want him as insurance in case of injury to Jonathan Quick or Cal Petersen.

There’s speculation the Senators are getting calls from other clubs interested in Forsberg. Perhaps the Penguins are among them. However, they could prefer to hang onto him and attempt to re-sign him to a multi-year deal.


  1. Calvin Pickard beat the Pens last night in Pensburgh. Maybe Hexie will consider him too!

    • Johnny Z..yeah Pickard played well for Detroit last night.

      Also Desmith playes better as well and Dominque is due back he was real good at san jose..

      Could be rhe answer..

      We need another forward and a depth defenceman for the third pairing..

      Josh Mason got crushed today vs Ottawa went to locker room hasnt returned.

      He was a candidate for third pairing.

  2. With the way Gustavsson has struggled this year – both at the NHL and AHL levels – I doubt we’ll see G Anton Forsberg dealt any time soon – especially to Pittsburgh. Now, if they want Murray back ….

  3. Hertl is not going anywhere. The Sharks need to find a team to take one of their expensive D-men….maybe this summer….

    • That sounds easy enough, but who’s taking often injured Karlsson at 11.5 per, 31 years old 5 years remaining after this year? This is about as immovable as they come. Even retaining 50%.

      Or Burns at 8 per, 36 year old with 3 years remaining?

      Or Vlasic at 7 per, 34 years old and 4 years remaining.

      The only real option would be a bottom feeder / rebuilding team. And all 3 have m-nmc or full nmc.

      I just don’t see any of them getting moved. Certainly without having to throw in some serious sweeteners.

      • LOL. well, you can out the bottom feeder in Canada’s capital for any of those albatross contracts – especially Karlsson. Not that any of them would waive their NM/NTC to comes here anyway.

      • George,

        I think the Sharks are caught in a catch 22. The only way to move those contracts are to move picks and or prospects imo.

        Can this team afford to give up picks and prospects?

        This is what happens when you erode the core of a team and still think you have a chance at winning at the expense of youth. Horrible asset management for way too long.

        This team is a disaster from top to bottom.

        Can they rebuild around 25 yo Meier, and Hertl at 28?

        This team needs to be gutted and completely rebuilt from top to bottom. I believe it’s their only way out of this mess.

      • And underlying all this is the basic question: how does Wilson keep his job?

      • The impossible just takes more creativity! LOL! (was supposed to land here)

      • EK has been pretty good this year and Burns can still play but Vlasic has fallen of a cliff and is by far the worse contract of the three

    • Sweeney offers. Sharks.
      Conner Clifton. Jake Debrusk Trent Frederick.
      For Brent Burns. 1/2 retained

      • Not a bad option,if they can t get Chycrun,Klinberg,leddy,Chariot,Dillon,add Vaakanian to get a deal done.

      • Now that is a reasonable proposal unlike most I see around here …

      • I thinks it’s somewhat reasonable. Until I think about the Bruins chances of going deep, need of a 2nd line center and adding age to an already somewhat aging core.

      • Wilson should jump at that if Burns is willing to move east.

      • $3M retained on Burns would be more reasonable for that “haul”. I understand that Bruin fans want more, LOL

    • SJ needs to roll the dice. Sell Hertl to high bidder and resign him in July. they could get some new pieces for him

      • That would be very smart

  4. Burns contract will end same time as 63 71. And probably 37s new one. Perfect for the sell off rebuild Burns is still very good and he won’t need to log 25 mins again he would probably rotate between 2 rd and 3rd depending on team being played would still have 1st to use to help get 2ctr

  5. The impossible just takes more creativity! LOL!

    • J Z. That’s what it is all about the hypothetical Creation of what you think a trade could look like fair to both teams. Not saying has chance to happen

  6. 1st studnicka Vak. For Miller

    1st senyshen Vak for giroux

    • MrBruin4–I like the Giroux deal. Having two centers who win 60% of their draws would help the Bruins offensively and defensively.

      I’ll run that deal by SOP to see what he thinks about adding a G to his handle. Maybe, he’ll come up with some GOSSIP.

      • I love Claude Giroux. Always have. I’d trade for him in an instant.

      • Two of the Leaf games I’ve seen in the past few years were against the Flyers and in both cases Giroux was the best player on the ice. A team that gets him for a playoff run will have added a big piece.

    • No way either of those proposals get even close.

      All the young players have barely any NHL experience. They’re all busts at this point.

      Senyshyn is 24 years old and played 14 NHL games.
      Vaakanainen is 23 years old and played 27 NHL games.
      Studnicka is 22 years old and played 27 NHL games.

      How would BOS for Giroux and his $8.275M cap hit?

  7. The Sens goalie situation is interesting. They do have Gus on a one way contract next year. Seems the crease may be to crowded. I think they may very well trade forsberg to and go with a Murray/Gustafson combo next year.

    • Before the start of this season I would have agreed Jeff. But Gustavsson seems to have regressed – badly – at the NHL and AHL levels- 12 NHL gp 3.80gaa – 0.892 save %

      None of the younger goalies are anywhere near ready for the NHL – at least 2 years away

      Mads Sogaard – 17 gp AHL – 2.65gaa – 0.911 save %
      Kevin Mandolese – 12gp AHL – 3.19gaa – 0.895 save %
      Leevi Merilainen – Kingston, OHL – 3.41gaa – 0.889 save %

      Forsberg, meanwhile, has been a model of consistency while they try and get Murray back in some sort of groove – both in terms of playing well and staying off the IR.

      He will be re-signed.

  8. Brent Burns is a RD he is not with Boston needs.

  9. Contrary to many reports Calgary does not have problems retaining or attracting free agents. It is a very clean modern and safe city second most head offices in Canada reside here and Alberta tax situation is ok especially when players get paid in US dollars and spend it in Canadian dollars.

    Typical Canadian inferiority complex think every player wants to leave.

    I am very confidant the flames will sign Tkachuk and Gaudreau to long term contracts at 9 million each for 7 or 8 years. Mangiapane will sign a long term deal for around 4- 5 million and Kylington will also be signed to a long term deal.
    That will put the Flames close to the cap, probably have to shed a bit of salary.
    The bigger question is can Calgary win a Stanley cup with those players?

    • True but do you really think tkachuck is even remotely close to that in value?
      He’s not.
      Calgary would be better off with out paying tkachuck an albatross of a contract. Anything over 6.5m is too much.

      • Ron,

        I actually think Tkachuk is worth 9 million as well at Gaudreau.
        If down the road you want to trade him at least you get something for him.

    • FlameFan, I agree 100% with your take on free agency.

      As to the signings you foresee, let me play Devil’s Advocate to get your take on who you think will be back and who either moved or not re-upped due to cap constraints.

      As matters now stand, they are committed to 11 players next season at a total cap hit of $50,200,000, leaving some $31.3 mil to sign 12 (IF it remains at $81.5 – but let’s say it goes up $2 mil to $83.5 and go from there).

      The 11 are Monahan (1 yr), Backlund (2 yrs), Lucic (1 yr) Coleman (multi-yr), Lindholm (2 yrs), Dubé (2 yrs), Hanifin (2 yrs), Anderson (multi-yr), Tanev (2 yrs), Markstrom (multi-yr), Valimaki (1 yr)

      Should Tkachuk (an RFA) and Gaudreau (a UFA) each get $9 mil and Mangiapane (an RFA) $4-$5 mil (let’s split the diff and say $4.5) that’s $22.5 mil off the cap, leaving $11 mil to sign 9. Two other RFAs – Ruzicka and Kylington – are coming off $801,666 and $750,000 respectively. If they get modest increases to, say, $2.5 each, now you’re down to $4 mil to sign 7 (is RFA Parsons retained?)

      Obviously, some of the UFAs won’t be back – e.g., Lewis (35 y/o) and Richardson (36 y/o), but what about Pitlick $1.7 mil), Ritchie ($900,000), Zadorov ($3,750,000), Gudbranson ($1,950,000) and Stone ($750,000)? Do they fill most of that 7 with elevations from the minors? That’s especially crucial along the D since the last 3 named are all D.

      So, just from your vantage point, what other moves might they make to keep the roster balanced in terms of NHL experience?

      • Hey George,

        I like reading your posts because at least you understand the cap situation teams have to follow.

        I think for cap reasons the Flames may have to look at moving Backlund, Monahan, or Lucia. Maybe even trading Dube for draft pick to free up 2.3 million.
        If they sign all those players they don’t have to free up much cap space probably in the neighborhood of 2 million and that’s if the cap goes up by another million.

      • Well, if they do decide to move Monahan I would sure like it if Dorion went hard after him. I know others have suggested they try and get Giroux but if both were on the market my druthers would be Monahan.

        Neither is a “local” product (Monahan from Brampton and Giroux from Hearst) but both do have local connections in that they played their Major Junior in Ottawa and Gatineau.

        But Monahan is 27 y/o and 6′ 3″ 205 lbs whereas Giroux is 34, 5′ 11″ 195 lbs. Those 7 years and sizes can make quite a difference in durability down the line.

        Getting either won’t be cheap, but if Pinto comes back healthy this spring from his shoulder surgery I’m sure the Flames would be interested from both a talent and cap perspective.

  10. Penguins’ goaltending and the goalies named above. None of Domingue, Forsberg, Sparks or Johansson are NHL level goaltenders. They are not even backup level. If you have any of these guys on your NHL roster you are in a bad spot, which happens. These are guys that you sign in the off season to play for your minor league team. Afterall, you need 2 for your NHL team, at least 2 for your AHL team, and maybe even 2 for your ECHL team.

    These are NOT guys that you focus on for mid-season trade acquisitions for your NHL situation.

    Anderson is the only one worth looking at for the emergency backup role. And when I say worth looking at, I mean at the cost of something like a 4th rounder. He is doing well, but he is pushing 41 years old and the body could just quit tomorrow.

    Fun fact: Anderson is the oldest goalie in the league and the 3rd oldest player overall (Chara, Thornton).