NHL Rumor Mill – January 5, 2022

by | Jan 5, 2022 | Rumors | 56 comments

Growing speculation over the Oilers’ goaltending situation, an update on Jakob Chychrun and the latest on Tuukka Rask, Claude Giroux, Mark Giordano and Ben Chiarot in today’s NHL rumor mill.


TSN: Darren Dreger reports Edmonton Oilers general manager Ken Holland is looking at his goaltending as the club has stumbled through a 2-8-2 record in their last dozen games. Available trade options are being considered plus the club is also still searching for a third-line center. Dreger also cited a source claiming head coach Dave Tippett isn’t in immediate danger of losing his job.

SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman reports Holland has already dismissed rumors linking the Oilers to former Toronto Maple Leafs coach Mike Babcock. He wondered if Holland might pursue a rental player like Chicago Blackhawks goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury or Montreal Canadiens defenseman Ben Chiarot.

THE ATHLETIC: Pierre LeBrun reports the Dallas Stars are getting some calls about Anton Khudobin, who cleared waivers last month and was sent to their AHL affiliate. The Stars would have to retain part of his $3.33 million cap hit or take back a contract in return. LeBrun wondered if the Oilers might take a chance on Khudobin even though he has another year remaining on his contract and they have zero salary-cap space.

Could the Edmonton Oilers target Chicago Blackhawks goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury? (NHL Images)

EDMONTON JOURNAL: Terry Jones believes goaltending is the Oilers’ Achilles heel right now and feels they have to be finished with struggling Mikko Koskinen while starter Mike Smith remains sidelined. He thinks Holland’s first move of the New Year is to find a new starting netminder.

Robert Tychkowski doesn’t put all the blame for the Oilers’ slump on Koskinen’s shoulders but acknowledges they need help between the pipes. He also cites a lack of goal production beyond superstars Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Things are getting really ugly in Edmonton right now. Koskinen’s difficulties over the past month have proven costly, to the point where Tippett blamed the goaltender for their recent loss to the New York Rangers.

Firing Tippett might provide a spark that improves the Oilers’ goal production but it won’t turn Koskinen into a better netminder or magically make Mike Smith a healthy starter. Holland has no choice but to find a suitable solution between the pipes.

The most immediate should be giving Stuart Skinner more opportunities. While he only won four of nine starts this season he put up better stats (2.70 GAA, .916 SP) than Koskinen.

As for those trade options, Fleury is being mentioned because he’s a pending unrestricted free agent playing for a bad team in Chicago. However, there is no indication Blackhawks management is in any hurry to ship out the 37-year-old goaltender, let alone if the Oilers are among his preferred trade destinations.

Khudobin could be an easier option but the Oilers’ limited cap space means Holland will have to get creative to find a way to make the dollars fit. The 35-year-old Stars netminder could be motivated for redemption after his struggles earlier this season sent him tumbling down the pecking order behind Braden Holtby and Jake Oettinger.

Maybe Holland puts in a call to the Columbus Blue Jackets for Joonas Korpisalo. Like Fleury, he’s due to become a UFA this summer. He isn’t expected to be back with the Jackets after they signed Elvis Merzlikins to a long-term extension. Korpisalo carries a more affordable $2.8 million cap hit and lacks no-trade protection.

I’ve also read and heard some suggestions about Holland acquiring Carey Price from the Montreal Canadiens but that’s just nonsense at this point. Price hasn’t played a single game this season as he’s still recovering from offseason knee surgery. Even if he agreed to waive his no-movement clause, the Oilers can’t afford his $10.5 million annual average value. I doubt there’s any team willing to be a third-party broker right now to take on part of his hefty cap hit for the next four years.


TSN: Darren Dreger reports teams are calling Arizona Coyotes GM Bill Armstrong and making offers for defenseman Jakob Chychrun. However, Armstrong isn’t in a rush to move the 23-year-old blueliner. The asking price is said to be a “Jack Eichel type of return”.

THE ATHLETIC: Pierre LeBrun doesn’t believe a Chychrun deal is imminent but the fact they’re fielding calls suggests the possibility of a deal before the March 21 trade deadline. However, he points out they’re under no obligation to move Chychrun by then. The blueliner carries an affordable $4.6 million annual cap hit through 2024-25.

SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman believes Chychrun could potentially be the first big trade of 2022. He also noted Coyotes winger Phil Kessel and pending UFA forward Lawson Crouse could be available.

GOPHNX.COM: Craig Morgan dismissed a rumor claiming Chychrun and his agent requested a trade. He also believes Armstrong could be doing Chychrun a favor by moving him to a team where he’d have a better chance at success than having him burn through several years of his playing prime with a rebuilding club.

NBC SPORTS BOSTON: Nick Goss cited Sportsnet’s Nick Kypreos claiming the Bruins were among several teams in the mix for Chychrun. Others include the New York Islanders, Los Angeles Kings, Anaheim Ducks, Edmonton Oilers, Florida Panthers and Toronto Maple Leafs.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Armstrong can afford to wait for the right offer for Chychrun. Maybe that comes before the March trade deadline but I think it’s more likely to take place in the offseason when some clubs will have more salary-cap space and a willingness to make big trades to address roster weaknesses.


NHL.COM: Amelie Benjamin reports Tuukka Rask is making progress in his recovery from offseason hip surgery and could make his debut with the Boston Bruins AHL affiliate in Providence this weekend should he receive medical clearance.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Athletic’s Fluto Shinzawa wondered what Rask’s contract could be once he signs with the Bruins. He thinks it will most likely be an affordable one-year deal. How much they pay him could depend on whether they can free up some cap space by honoring winger Jake DeBrusk’s trade request.

SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman doesn’t get any sense of urgency from the Philadelphia Flyers to ship out pending UFA center Claude Giroux as they’re still battling for a playoff spot. He considers it unlikely Mark Giordano will stay with the Seattle Kraken as he’ll have considerable value at the trade deadline. He also wondered if the St. Louis Blues might attempt to acquire Canadiens defenseman Ben Chiarot.


  1. Oilers should see if Ullmark is available, assuming he is willing to waive his NT clause. Bruins might do it if Rask is willing to sign a 2-3 year deal. The other way will Koskinen go but he is UFA. The benefit for Bruins if this aligns is that they save some money assuming Rask signs for 3,5m for 2-3 years until Swayman is ready. Ullmark is a good goalie and hasnt been as bad as some media says

    • Swayman is ready now and in my opinion and is better than Linus right now would love to see Ullmark moved but at that cap not so sure it’s possible. Steen seems to be playing like a keeper right now so move Jake for a young defensemen with upside. Boston needs a good 2nd line center so closer to deadline snag one.

    • I would look at Rask as 2/4 million.Remember he will not move or play for anyone else.Moving Ullmark would be smart.Expand a trade including Ullmark,Debrusk,and a high pick for RNH.Edmonton is desperate in goal

      • That is way too much for RNH. Plus the cap numbers do not work for oil either

      • RNH has a NMC and has a decent cap hit. I don’t see the Oilers trading him anytime soon.

      • Way too much? Even if that pick is a first it’s a steal for the bruins.

      • Steve R, no thanks RNH has another 7yrs and will be 29 in April.

        Oilers can keep him and his 3 goals

      • RNH and Ullmark just signed new deals that include a full NMC.
        Do you guys really think they will be asked to waive them a few months after signing them?

        Say good bye to all your credibility if you are a GM.

        These are not pending UFA’s on crappy teams, chances are slim to none.

        Unfortunately for Holland there are no good options which are a big improvement, which is likely why Ullmark got a NMC this off season, as their were not many good UFA options then either.

        If Holland makes a move for a tender, they will either be struggling right now, or they will get fleeced.

        Decent options closer to TDL if their teams stay out of a playoff position: Holtbly, Halak and Fluery. Or somebody else who turns their game around who is struggling today.

    • I have changed my mind on Ullmark LOL
      I would take him now depending on the asking price.
      MAF and Thomas Greiss (both UFS’s at the end of this season) still top my want list, but I wouldn’t be upset if the Oilers can make a deal that works for Ullmark. Although he does come with a big cap hit. Ullmark’s HDS% still scares me a little though.

    • The Oilers can’t afford Ullmark or anyone else because they are at the cap limit. Ullmark is signed for 3 more years after this. You just can’t only satisfy the Bruins money situation. A dollar for dollar player trade is the only possibility. Also Swayman is already a good goalie at the NHL level and would be wasted at Providence.

  2. Given Reimer’s difficulty in net since returning to the Sharks, I would say the handwriting is on the wall for Hertl. Unless Reimer’s game picks up quick, Hertl is gone before the trade deadline, and the Sharks will try to get some solid picks for the 2022 draft while they plummet in the standings. That will be followed by a buyout of Vlassic in the summer. I could also see them trading Burns for draft picks as well, as he could certainly be useful to a contending team for the playoffs. Might even be time to consider trading Couture as well, as he’s dynamite in the playoffs too. Please, someone take Kane.

    • Wonder if Hertl will be the “Sweetener” to accompany Kane to his next destination….hmmm.
      It would have to be to a team with cap space, such a the Wings, Sens, Kracken, not Buffalo…..just amusing myself.

  3. Coyotes fans (if there are any) hope Armstrong gets back more for Chychrun than Buffalo did for Eichel …

    rather than upgrade his own net Holland opted to give out big $ for Hyman .. serves him right …

    • Stevie could trade Griess for Koskinen + a 2023 2nd. I don’t know if that would be an improvement for the Oil, but it would be a .9M cap savings…LOL

      Then Stevie could trade Leddy back to the Isles for a 2023 2nd.
      Thennnnnnnn Stevie could take those 2 2nds and add his own 2023 2nd and one of his LD prospects not named Edvinsson and trade those 4 assets for Jacob Chychrun! Very cool!

  4. Circling back to yesterday. Rangers have already locked up Zib long term. Giving Strome a long term deal at age 29 just because he’s put up baseline points (mostly secondary assists) for 2.3 seasons is a mistake. The guy had 1 decent season before coming to Rangers. And now the same people here that constantly complain about giving out big contracts in these times based on past performance are going to ignore the obvious fact that his performance is probably going to rapidly decline over the next few years. Rangers don’t have any top end center prospects but, that’s where you dip into positions of strength and go get some via trade. Signing Strome will basically keep you from adding anyone next season.

    • who can the Rangers add that is younger with similar production as Strome? thats the key. would help if Chytil had chemistry with any wingers

      • Ds,

        It could very well become the norm that teams start handing out young 2nd line centers.

        If Oprah becomes an NHL gm , everyone gets a 24-25 yo center capable of 60 points!

        “You get a 2nd line center, and you get a 2nd line center, and you get a 2nd line center!”

    • Strome – 8 goals, 10 first assists, 8 second assists. As per Natural Stat Trick.
      Chiarelli trading Strome hurt the Oilers more than the Hall trade.

    • ds. Teams like LA have abundance center prospects compared to Rangers who have overload at left wing and defense. In the last year we’ve seen 2 of the best young centers become available. I’m not talking today. If NY extends Strome they’ll be stuck with an untraceable contract for next 4-5 years.

      • Eichel is one, who is the other?

        Eichel was an extreme and rare case.

        I wouldn’t hold my breath for this scenario to come up again.

        LA has prospects, but they’re prospects. Certainly no guarantee they can fill the role.

        No reason Strome needs a 6-8 year deal. And no reason to believe he falls off a cliff in 2-4 years. He’ll be 32.

        I’ve seen you lobby for Hertl. Who’s the same age as Strome. How is this not a problem?

        -3 in one game, “turnover machine”, (debunked)mostly secondary assists” (debunked) it just seems like you’re reaching for reasons to not like this guy?

      • I don’t recall ever lobbying for Hertl. Maybe when he still had a couple seasons left on deal. Pierre Luc Dubois was other center. I’m not suggesting Rangers trade for one of LAs prospects to replace Strome. I think it would be a good idea to swap prospects just to have. I’d personally look to Montreal and inquire about Suzuki. Im sure they’d have interest in Laf

      • Not a good match slick. What mont needs is young centers. Ny doesn’t have the asset depth to make a deal for Suzuki.

  5. What is easier to acquire? A 3rd line centre or a 2nd line winger?
    I wonder if Holland can find another 2nd line winger then that can give the Oilers the option to move RNH to the 3rd line centre position.
    Just a thought.

    • Only guy they can afford is Holloway KevJam. Macleod is playing better of late, Tippet needs to give him some ice time as a reward, see if he can run with it.

      Benson should get a shot with RNH or Draisaitl tonight with McDavid out, another guy who earned a look for better minutes.

      Oilers need to look within short term. The cavalry ain’t coming.

    • Kev, at time of Strome trade, he had 1 goal and 1 assist in 18 games after getting all of 34 points in a full 82 game season the previous year. Yes, he’s played well with Rangers, but IMO he won’t be able to sustain those numbers long term. Can’t just overlook his lack of production for most of his career. Nor can you overlook the rest of his game besides points.

      • Slick, I was in EDM then too and you’re right he didn’t produce points as a 3C at that time. He also had wingers that should be in the AHL or Europe vs NHL.

        What he did do well, because he was asked to, was defend against the other team, often against better opposition than he had on his wing. He was minus one a team that was a negative 42. Did some PK as well. Which is why Oiler fan was pissed when he got traded for Spooner, as he at least had some value compared to the return.

        He was a good defensive C that year, but couldn’t produce offence. Seems like he can now that he has talent on the wings.

        Not a perfect player, but a good one IMO. IMO LAF doesn’t get you Suzuki, not sure what LAF is worth? Likely an unproven guy, as he is one too.

        Think LA would trade Byfield for him? Not sure I would. But somebody like that is who you likely get.

  6. Oilers fans, offering Koskinen, Kassian and Puljujarvi
    both as the sweetener and to make the dollars work, would you rather get Ullmark and DeBrusk from the Bruins or Korpisalo and Domi from the Jackets?

    • Neither if Puljujarvi is part of the deal.
      Korpisalo would be the easier of the two to acquire considering he’s a UFA at the end of this season though.
      I would rather either MAF from Chicago or Greiss from Detroit, but if those deals can’t be made and as long as the parts work I’ll take either goalie.
      I’m tired of Koskinen and his hot and cold play.

  7. is Korpisalo really that much of an upgrade to Koskinen? Columbus had more confidence in Elvis M to be their goalie

    Is Ullmark much of an improvement over Koskinen ?
    Maybe the Oilers can swing a 3-way trade to acquire Kuemper, Avs acquire MAF and the the Hawks acquire Koskinen+prospect/picks

    • Rumor has it the Avs are in on MAF as they aren’t happy with Kuemper, plus he has health issues.

  8. Leaf fan here so take the idea with appropriate grains of salt, as fans often write trades that solely serve their team. But here it is if the Oilers are desperate don’t want pendeing UFA or a long term contract…

    Leafs goalie Mrazek for Hyman reduced to similar salary level as Mrazek’s salary. So really teams have nothing invested both solve current issues.

    Just a very dark horse idea

    Both teams can reverse their free agent decisions of the summer

    • OBD, when the schedule heats up, the Leafs will need Mrazek healthy and playing well.
      I like Hyman too but Edmonton’s not making that deal after signing him to a UFA contract.
      These next three or four months are going to test teams’ depth at all positions. I agree with Lyle that Skinner should be given a chance to prove his value to Edmonton.
      Tippett’s comments about Koskinen make me think he’s looking over his shoulder these days. Bruce Boudreau might have a bunch of GMs thinking about changes behind the bench.

      • Agree on the Tippett comment BCLeaf Fan, what he said about Koskinen was not Tippett like, so ya might be feeling some heat.

        What he said was true, but sure as heck isn’t going to help the situation. We will see I guess. Think he throws Smith under the bus like that? I don’t.

        Smith is the wild card in this situation, is he healthy or not? Rumor is MCL sprain which is a bad injury for a tender to come back from as you reinjure it easily and usually need an off season. Worse if you are 39. If he is healthy will he regain his form of last season which was excellent and better than any option available today? I dunno, but they need to find out soon.

  9. Anyone know what the oilers cap situation is? It will play a big part of what happens with them.

    • They have very little cap space available. So all trades have to be dollar in/dollar out. Although I don’t know how TDL affects players cap hits.

  10. I keep seeing mention of a third team in trade rumours involving Price, in order to help with the cap hit.

    As a Habs fan, I may be biased, but do people really think Price has a negative value at half his cap hit? I would think a few teams would be very interested in him at $5.25M – that’s not high cost for a goalie who might lead you to a Cup, IMO.

    Koskinen’s AAV is $4.5M! Do you really need Price’s cap hit to be $3M to make him valuable?

    I personally don’t see a third team needing to get involved in that at all.

    (not saying he gets traded, only that I don’t get that part of the speculation)

    Not a rhetorical question – genuinely curious to see what people here think!

    • If he comes back and looks decent he has value at even 7 mil. Not gonna be a huge get … maybe a late first. But value.

      • Price at 80% of old Price is still greater then any thing the oilers currently have at half his salary.

        Half needs to be retained just to make things work for pretty much any team and a third team just makes it that much more affordable.

        Who else other then the oilers could use him this year and moving forward?

        next year a couple of other teams like the Avs enter the mix so I doubt he goes anywhere this year.

    • The issues with Price are his age, contract length, and injuries. When healthy yeah the guy is worth his cap hit, but he has missed more games than he has played the last 2 or 3 three seasons. It’s hard to give up assets for that.

    • @paddy, I’m sure Price would have value at 50% retained but why would the Habs do that. It’s 5.25 million dead cap space for 4 years. I also don’t believe teams are thinking Price wins them the cup. He hasn’t won anything yet. He had a great playoffs last year but his regular season over the last 4 years have been mediocre at best. He’s also damaged goods at the moment. Nobody knows what Prices issues actually are. Can they be repaired to the point where he can handle the pressures of Nhl hockey again? Don’t get me wrong if I was the Oilers or the Avalanche and I could get Price at 5.25 million I jump all over it as he’s proven capable of being one of the best goalies in the game but it is a huge gamble. Montreal is better off keeping Price if they need to retain that much salary. Unless Price wants to be traded of course then I think as an organization you do what you to accommodate him as he’s been the face of the franchise for years and represented the team well.

    • I would think the suggestion of a 3rd team getting involved isn’t to facilitate getting the cap hit below 50% of current, but to alleviate some of the burden on the Canadiens. So maybe they hold 30% of his cap and another team 20%, then they’re only stuck with about $3M per, and another team about $2M per. It’s a big ask to retain 4 years of $5.25M on an elite goalie. The return would have to be huge.

    • Hmmm Koskinen, Kassian, and Yamamoto for Price (retain $1.5M)
      Doable if taking back 3 poop contracts!!!

    • Great answers, everyone – I love the debate. And bigphatbastard, that makes sense with splitting the cap hit up.

      My thinking: if they trade Price, the rebuild is on in full. And if that’s the case, $5.25M cap hit isn’t a big deal, at least for the next 2-3 years, when they will be able to be comfortably below that.

      To me, Price at ~$6M is a piece some teams would like and be willing to take a risk on and will get you some young talent or a decent pick(s) in return. Especially if you think Koskinen, for example, has a hit of $4.5, that makes Price’s net cap hit +$1.5M in the first year (i.e. Oilers gain $6M but lose $4.5M). Now *that* has value. If you get rid of another longer bad contract or two and suddenly he has massive value.

      Maybe the talent the Habs get back is not elite level stuff, but decent enough to be something to build on.

      Will be interesting to see what happens!

  11. If Rask signs for 3 years the Bruins would then have 3 NHL caliber goalies signed for at least this year and next. I would prefer to see Ullmark traded and a tandem of Rask and Swayman going forward (better for the cap and better for the long term). Unfortunately, however, Ullmark isn’t going anywhere after signing a lucrative deal with a NMC.

    Bergeron and Marchand aren’t getting any younger. The Bruins need to be in win now mode.

    What would the return be like if Boston packaged Swayman with Debrusk? Could toss in picks and contracts (Moore, Wagner) to make something work.

    • Swayman is not beig traded, as he is their future goalie. Ullmark will be the problem until 23-24 season when they have a 16 team trade list. He has a full NMC till then. Would you want to be traded to Canada right now??? LOL

      • What’s wrong with Canada Johnny? While I appreciate our southern neighbors and have travelled their for biz and pleasure numerous times and have folks I call friends there, I would prefer to live up here in the great white north.

        Never say never on Swayman, but as it sits now, not getting traded. If I had to bet he is headed to Providence so he gets more games for his development.

  12. A damaged center about to undergo experimental surgery with no track record of success and 5 x 10 million traded for a 1st a 2nd a prospect a power forward and ZERO retained, hello Jack Eichel.

    I think the speculative trades for Price and retention are outlandish.

    • Very interesting point, too, habfan30!

      • @Ray Bark : Canada is disrupting these healthy pros from playing their sport over a virus which has 99.9 survivability for HEALTHY individuals. Canada’s political climate is not a place healthy hockey players want to play for the time being, that’s all.

      • Got nothing to do with politics Johnny, it is a public health issue/choice. Nothing to do the death of hockey players which is non existent as they are all vaxxed, and ya, healthy, so they are not the ones at risk. Nobody is suggesting they are which is why they play elsewhere and practice here.

        It has to do with $$ as they don’t want to lose the revenue in empty, or partially empty arenas. Alberta is 50% capacity.

        The reason the arena’s are an issue is jamming 18,000 people in an arena will cause mass infections (this one spreads to all vaxxed or not) to not all healthy people, who spread to more regular folk which may or may not be vaxxed, which they worry will jam up the health system and hospitals, which impacts everybody, not just covid patients.

        They are choosing to spread it out to reduce the risk of jamming up the health system, that’s all.

        If everybody was vaxxed, likely wouldn’t be the restrictions at all, but they ain’t so there is still risk. Hospitals are getting busy again, vast majority not vaxxed. There are no fully vaxxed patients in ICU in Alberta. Zero. Not hard to figure out where the issue is.

        Can still go to a restaurant etc if vaxxed, just not an indoor stadium. You can agree or not, but that is the logic behind it.

  13. The bruins should get Chychrun.

  14. Too bad Ray that you have to live with the logic that is flawed by politics.

    • It’s only political if you choose to make it political. The #’s don’t lie Johnny, if everybody was vaxxed we aren’t in this position. That is a hard cold unfortunate fact that shouldn’t have anything to do with politics. Ignore the facts if you want, but that is a choice that has nothing to do with politics unless you want it to.

      The NHL doesn’t factor into it, just another consequence of some peoples decisions.

      • sure, sure………..I know differently. I am caring for a vaxxed and boosted person right now. And that is all I am saying on this Ray.
        Ullmark does not go to Edmonton. A SN writer thinks Kenny could get Allen. That might be an improvement.

      • Ignore the facts then Johnny, that is your choice. Omicron may turn out to be a blessing long term, time will tell. Fact is, we don’t know that yet. When we do, we will adjust.

  15. If Rask signs for anything more than two mill nothing
    has changed, he is still the same greedy self centered individual he always has been. Me me and only me please get rid of this guy trade him to Edmonton for Ryan along with Debrusk and and make room for Chychrun.