NHL Rumor Mill – January 6, 2022

by | Jan 6, 2022 | Rumors | 56 comments

Some suggested goaltending trade targets for the Oilers plus the latest on the Rangers and Kraken in today’s NHL rumor mill.


SPORTSNET: Marc-Andre Fleury of the Chicago Blackhawks and the Dallas Stars’ Braden Holtby are two of Rory Boylen’s suggested targets to address the Edmonton Oilers’ struggling goaltending.

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

The others include the Seattle Kraken’s Chris Driedger, the Columbus Blue Jackets’ Joonas Korpisalo, the New York Islanders Semyon Varlamov and the Montreal Canadiens’ Jake Allen.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Boylen goes into detail examining the pros and cons of each option and I recommend giving it a read. I’m just going to offer up my brief take.

I don’t think the Oilers can afford to take on Fleury’s $7 million annual average value given their limited cap space. They’ll have to get the Blackhawks to retain part of it and that’s going to mean tossing a sweetener into the deal. They could try to get another club to act as a third-party broker but it could end up costing the Oilers their first-round pick. That’s assuming the Oilers aren’t on Fleury 10-team no-trade list.

The Stars could peddle Holtby if they’re out of playoff contention by the trade deadline but I think they’d be keen to retain him beyond this season as a mentor for promising Jake Oettinger. Holtby could be willing to stick around as playing in the Lone Star State seems to agree with him. They are willing to part with Anton Khudobin, who’s in the minors after passing unclaimed through waivers last month. Teams are said to be calling about Khudobin but we don’t know if the Oilers are among them. He carries an affordable $3.33 million cap hit but has another year left on his contract.

Driedger could be available but he’s got two more years on his contract and I think the Oilers are more interested in a rental at this stage. Besides, I don’t see him as an upgrade over the current crop of Oilers goaltenders.

The Isles could be willing to move Varlamov if they’re comfortable with Ilya Sorokin as their full-time starter. However, his 16-team no-trade list and $5 million cap hit likely take him out of the equation for the Oilers.

Uncertainty over what the Canadiens’ new management will have in store for their roster at the trade deadline accounts for Allen’s inclusion on this list. He’s got a year left on his contract with an affordable $2.875 million cap hit but the Habs aren’t under any pressure to move him out, especially given Carey Price’s undetermined future. I wouldn’t rule it out but I also wouldn’t be surprised if the Habs hang onto Allen.

Korpisalo seems the more realistic trade target. He’s an unrestricted free agent this summer and isn’t expected to be back after the Blue Jackets committed to Elvis Merzlikins as their starter. Promising Daniil Tarasov could be Merzlikins’ full-time backup next season. Kopisalo has an affordable cap hit ($2.8 million) and lacks no-trade protection.


THE ATHLETIC: Arthur Staple looked at possible rental defense options for the New York Rangers. The most expensive would be the Canadien’s Ben Chiarot but Staple is skeptical that their newly install hockey ops VP Jeff Gorton would be interested in helping the club that spectacularly dumped him last May.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: He might if they offered up a first-round pick for Chiarot, which some pundits believe is the going rate for a blueliner of his caliber.

Staple also mused about the Chicago Blackhawks’ Calvin de Haan, the Seattle Kraken’s Mark Giordano, and the Blue Jacket’s Vladislav Gavrikov.

NEW YORK POST: Ethan Sears cited ESPN analyst Kevin Weekes suggesting the Rangers could use another top-six winger. He suggested the Canadiens’ Tyler Toffoli as a possibility.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Rangers have plenty of promising young assets to use as trade bait if they wish to seek immediate help, especially for someone with term on their contract carrying an affordable cap hit like Toffoli. Whether there’s a deal to be made with the Canadiens is another matter, especially if Gorton turns out to be as reluctant to help the Rangers as Staple believes.

THE ATHLETIC: Ryan S. Clark believes the Seattle Kraken could be in a good position to use the March 21 trade deadline to their advantage. They have six players on expiring contracts, including Mark Giordano, Calle Jarnkrok and Marcus Johansson. Those three could have value to playoff contenders, allowing the Kraken to acquire some future assets while clearing some cap space.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Giordano will draw considerable attention and would fetch the best return. Jarnkrok’s versatility and two-way play would also generate interest. Johansson’s injury history and declining production could hurt his trade value.


  1. Why wouldn’t Martin Jones be included as a viable option for the Oilers, playing well for the most part on a weak Flyers team and carries a smaller cap hit than most goalies listed.

    • The Oilers are needing an improvement in goal, not a sideways move.

      • I have your man.Linus Ullmark.

  2. I could be wrong, but I just don’t see the Jackets trading Gavvy this season. He and Werenski are the Jackets’ most experienced d-men and Gavvy is their only real shutdown d-man.

    • Paul, I completely agree on Gavy. It would be a surprise to see him traded particularly now. I do think he would be sought after as there were NHL insiders reporting that teams were inquiring on his availability at last year’s trade deadline and draft.

      In my humble opinion, Korpisalo to EDM makes sense and could be a win-win trade. Cap hit is reasonable, CBJ could also take on Koskinen’s contract in a futures-oriented deal and provide additional cap room allowing EDM to get G help (I fully acknowledge Korpi has struggled this year but he has shown he can be a #1) and still have their 1st & cap room to pursue other needs at the TDL. Seravelli reported they were talking before the start of the season perhaps the time is coming where they revisit those conversations.

      • DeaconFrost, once again, I agree with you re: Korpisalo to the Oil. I wonder if Jenner could possibly be had too, if the right deal could be made. He could be a great 3rd line center for them.

        To Edm – Korpisalo and Jenner

        To CBJ – Koskinen, Yamo, and 1st.

        Koskinen has a modified M-NTC, but I imagine he’s itching to get out of Edmonton.

        Barrie could also be flipped to make the $$ work.

      • Korpisalo is no improvement over Koskinen.
        Korpisalo (who is a backup goalie) and Jenner (who is a 3rd line centre) will not get a former first round pick who is currently a top six forward and a first round pick.
        Korpisalo hasn’t proved to be a bonafide number one goalie. The most games he has played in one season is 37 games. He is nothing but an average backup goalie. These guys get you a 2nd round pick at best.
        Jenner is a 3rd line centre. No GM is going to trade a top 6 winger for a third line centre.

    • Who is Gavey?

  3. I bet Francis is regretting signing Dreidger @ 3.5 * 3 years. Kinda surprised to see Gavrikov’s name out there he is signed to an affordable contract with a year left, I will admit I don’t see him play much but from what I have seen he is a steady performer. They may package him with Korpisalo for a half decent return?

    • Much like his time in Carolina, Ron Francis has been very unimpressive as a manager …

      • While not knowing what was out there, to me the Kraken draft was nothing short of a disaster. Yes cap is a weapon, but why wait to use it? Why didnt they pick players, on 1-2 year deals, others wanted out for picks? in a year or two you have cap again. For instance I can understand why they didnt pick Johansen or Duchene, but why they didnt take a chance on Tarasenko is beyond me

  4. In more important news, Tuukka Rask has signed a PTO with the Providence Bruins. He is expected to start against the Phantoms on Friday night.
    Things sure are interesting, huh Ed?

    • yawn …..

  5. I was saying all last winter and spring that I wanted the Oilers to trade for Driedger. If that guy is available get him now please Holland!

    • Kenny Holland NEEDS to do something. The 3 glaring needs from last year still have to be addressed.

      3rd Line Center
      Shutdown D

      I believe they have the attractive pieces to pull something off, even with their cap issues.

      Barrie will likely be an easy sell at the deadline or sooner. Yamo needs a fresh start. McLeod, Benson and Lavoie are decent pieces to add. I love Kassian, but think he could be in demand at the deadline too. And then there’s this year’s and next year’s 1st rounders. And, of course, Koskinen.

      Hell, if the right pieces come back, I’d even dangle Holloway, Puljujarvi and Broberg.

      Just do SOMETHING!!!!!

      • I’m really starting to hem and haw about Tippet too.

      • This offseason I got thinking about Tippet. When he was with the Coyotes, they played a strong defensive system. I was excited to see something like that in Edmonton with stronger offensive players. For some reason, it has never panned out on the Oilers.

      • Last offseason the Oilers needs were a goalie (although I don’t know why Smith was a top 7 goalie last season), scoring depth in their bottom 6, a top 6 forward, and defensive depth.
        For a goalie who was available, that was an upgrade that Holland could afford? The only ones he could afford were not an improvement over what he had already.
        Scoring depth in the bottom 6. Additions were Sceviour, Foegele, Hyman, Perlini, Ryan, and from within Benson. With that, in the last few games, McLeod has looked good in the 3rd line centre position.
        As for a d-man, Larsson leaving hurt, but what UFA was available who could replace him?
        The defence will be fixed from within. Bouchard has stepped in this season and has looked really good. Broberg looked good when he was called up and is having a really strong season in Bakersfield. Niemelainen has been a surprise this season when he was called up. He can very well be the replacement for Larsson next season. Samorukov is another guy who has been developing a strong game. He was expected to make the Oilers this season until his jaw was broken in a prospects game right before training camp. Holland also added Keith and Ceci to strengthen the second pairing.
        The top 6 forward fix is Hyman.
        One thing I’m not doing is putting the blame on Holland. Or buying into the hockey insiders who are saying that the Holland didn’t fix the issues from last season.

  6. As I mentioned on morning Coffee… hope Pens can outbid Oil for the Flower….

    “ However …. As we saw in the last 2 games (and early season)…. De Smith MUST be moved…. Hawks already traded with Pens….

    Zucker, DeSmith, O’Connor , Ruhweedel; 1st for

    The Flower and DeHaan both at 50% retained….”

    • I like the idea of the Oilers getting MAF, but I don’t want it to come at a cost of a 1st round pick. IMO you never trade a 1st round pick for a rental player, especially a 37 year old rental player.

      • What good is a mid 1st round pick to the Oilers now when their draft history has shown they’ve had more misses than hits?

        They’re in win now mode. A mid 1st round pick isn’t going to help them for 3-4 years.

        BTW, I’m not saying MAF is the player to target.

        Is there a trade to be made between EDM and MTL? MTL is going nowhere this year. They have assets the Oilers need namely a top 4 D (Chiarot), secondary scoring (Toffoli) and possibly goalie (Allen)

        The Oilers can keep spinning their tires while McDavid and Draisaitl are in their prime.

      • Just because a 1st round pick isn’t going to help the Oilers now, doesn’t mean you throw it away. It still has value and that value is more than a 37 year old goalie who is only going to play 20 or so games for the team.
        If you are going to trade a 1st round pick, you make sure that the return will help the team now and in the future.
        It’s actually easier to list the Oilers 1st round misses than hits. From 2010 to 2019 (10 draft years. The 2020 and 2021 1st rounders are looking good, but are still potential. They are neither a hit or a miss at this point) the only 1st round miss the Oilers had was 2012 with Yakupov.
        I don’t know why people think the Oilers aren’t a good drafting team. There are more than a few Oilers draft picks from outside the 1st round that are on the team, or were turned into other players who are currently on the team.
        McLeod 2nd round 2018.
        Benson 2nd round 2016.
        Lagesson 4th round 2014.
        Bear 5th round 2015. Part of the trade for Keith.
        Jones 4th round 2015. Part of the trade for Warren Foegele.
        Prospects who are having a strong season in the AHL.
        Markus Niemelainen 3rd round 2016. (currently called up to the Oilers)
        Dmitri Samorukov 3rd round 2017.
        Stuart Skinner 3rd round 2017.

      • I agree Kev about the first round thing but it’s typical that the top 2-3 assets available at the deadline as rentals garner that return. Goalies though almost never due. I don’t think chariot is worth a first but I can’t absolutely say he won’t get one. Is he the best d rental asset out there? Gio might be.

      • Hi KevJam

        Not sure whether the Flower alone garners a 1st…. The proposal I had for Pens (1) brought over both a top goalie AND a very good RHD….(2) both at 50%…. But better still (3) had Chi taking on Zucker for another year, and DeSmith and Ruhweedel (both just for this year)

        The 50% and accepting those 3 , IMHO is worth a 1st and O’Connor (solid prospect)

        For Oil… Koskinen for MAF (36% retained to balance Cap only) might go for a 2nd and a 4th (or 5th)

        I’m hoping Pens can outbid Oil, AND jettison Zucker and DeSmith in the same move. Getting DeHaan for 3RD…. Big bonus

        Zucker, DeSmith, Ruhweedel out; MAF and DeHaan in ; at the expense of O’Connor (on the rise but bottom 6 depth right now) ; and with Gino returning soon…. Huge boost to Pens playoff expectations

        If Jarry gets injured and on LTIR…. Unless there is a prudent goalie acquisition….This current 9 G winning streak could easily flip to a 10 game losing streak

    • Hawks already traded with Pens,

      So they should take on underperforming Zucker at 5.5.

      Pending UFAs in Desmith and Ruhweedel, spare part O’Connor and a 1st figuring to be in the 20s range while retaining 50% on Maf and Dehaan?

      You’re dreaming!

      • I’ll second that emotion, Captain. His dreaming is so recurrent and obvious, that it’s gone from a theory to a law.

      • I rarely answer you CO as you tend to only respond with a “you’re dreaming” (like today) type of response without actually stating why

        So … today I’ll take the bait…

        I’m in no way suggesting that HexBurkie would do it; but I support the trade proposal as fair and logical for the below rationale :

        Chi has *no 1st this year; and are certainly now looking in the rebuild mode

        You are really underestimating O’Connor…. He’s depth/bottom 6 now… he’s big, speedy, has good hands, is on the rise, only 23, RFA… a very decent prospect IMHO…. and a prospect that HAS NHL experience; not just a recently drafted Jr or AHLer

        Zucker is a drain on Pens… will not do well (IMHO) for Pens if he stays…. However Has talent , skills and determination…. Is a prime example of a player that should benefit tremendously from a change of scenery…. So his value (@ $5.5 M) should be much more with Chi than with Pens

        Worst case …. He stays static…. and Chi overpays for 1 year only but gets a mid 6 winger to play on roster. Best case (more likely)… they get the Zucker (al la his Wild days) that is an effective top 6 winger

        *will have 1st this year if it is top 2 (per condition)…..De Smith will certainly increase odds of lottery drop percentage… BIG bonus for Chi

        CO… make a suggestion for an offer to Chi that nets MAF and rids Zucker; with at worst (to Pens)… zero net Cap change

      • Embarrassing reading Pengy proposals.

  7. How is Anton Khudobin an improvement over Koskinen? Anton Khudobin is in the AHL because he is not playing well. He has worse numbers this season than Koskinen does. At best this would be a sideways move.
    No thanks to Holtby. Didn’t want him last season and still don’t want him now. The decline in his play started right when the NHL started to decrease the size of the goalies equipment. He was a product of the size of his equipment.
    Joonas Korpisalo’s NHL numbers are horrible. No thanks!
    Jake Allen is interesting and more realistic than Price.
    Semyon Varlamov has good numbers behind a strong NYI defence. The NYI defence isn’t as strong this season and his numbers show that. With the Avs weaker defence his numbers were up and down. Pass, there are better options out there.
    For rentals, MAF and Greiss still top my list.
    For a non-rental Driedger is the guy. He has shown that he is dependable. It’s no surprise to see his numbers decline this season, along with Grubauer’s. It always takes a good 6 to 12 real NHL games for a goalie to get used to a new team, let alone a full team of players who have never played with each other before and still trying to find chemistry. It will take some time. Especially when he isn’t getting a steady run of starts.

    • Greiss (retain $1.8M) + Namestnikov (retain $1M) for Koskinen + Kassian (retain $1.2M) +2022 1st. Oil clears $2.7M and can shop for depth D. I don’t know if Greiss is an upgrade, but the trade may inspire better play from the team.

    • Linus Ullmark is your man!

  8. How much of a difference do you think the quality of defence makes?

    Holland could have had Fredrik Andersen as a UFA. He’s having a very good year in Carolina. Would he have the same results behind the leaky D of the Oilers?

    With McDavid and Draisaitl their window to win is now. EDM first round picks must be in play to upgrade with proven talent. They need secondary scoring. They need help on D, and they still need a goalie.

    • @Daryl Anderson has already proved that he can play great on a defensively challenged team, so yes he would have been great on Edmonton until the playoffs that is. Edmonton has no secondary scoring to go along with that average defense and poor goaltending so even Patrick Roy in his prime could not help them. Thing is everyone knew that coming into the season and what does they do. Sign Ceci, Hyman and trade for Keith. They could have easily improved there goaltending and bottom six with that cap space. Heck they could have even signed 1 or 2 defensively responsible defenseman. Hymans cap hit alone equals close to some teams entire bottom 6. This falls squarely on the General Manager. Not the coach, the players or anyone else.

      • @What the heck

        Oh, I completely agree. Holland showed that he wasn’t a very good manager during his last years in DET. It’s amazing how a few Hall of Famers can influence a GMs resume. He gave out a lot of bad contracts at the end in DET.

    • Did you see Freddy Andersen play last season?! .895 save percentage and 2.96 gaa.
      Smith last season – .923 save percentage and 2.31 gaa.
      Smith was a top 7 goalie last season! Who would you prefer to sign? The 32 year old guy who had a really bad season and lost his starting position, for 2 years and $4.5 per season? Or the 37 year old guy who had a strong season and who you know for 2 years at $2.2 million a season?

      • Wow, plenty of EDM tender talk today.
        With ya KevJam, Oil’s starter has been out since game 3, struggled a bit since coming back which is normal for first 3 games.

        Smith is the unknown, like KevJam said was a top 10 tender last year, if he plays well, problem solved. Doesn’t even need to be as good as last year. Koskinen goes back into the role he is comfortable in as a backup, off they go.
        If he does not play well make a deal, but until then why give up assets for guys who are playing no better than Koskinen or considerably worse than Smith was last year? Until somebody explains to me why that is a good idea, I will agree with what Holland is doing as it makes sense.

        Give the guy more than 3 games to get it going. Oilers need to rally around each other, show some emotion to get this going again, not like the rest of the team has played well lately either.

        They are better than this, go prove it. The cavalry ain’t coming, as they don’t have any cap space.

        Go time boys! Might just surprise ya’ll.

      • @Kevjam why are you only losing last year as the comparable? Anderson was hurt for a good portion and never got it together. I always like to average out the last 3 years to judge where a player is not just one year which could be an anomaly. How someone can only use 1 pandemic shortened season as there reasoning to gauge a player is just bad management.

      • @KevJam

        Not sure how you can’t place blame with Holland?

        Andersen had a poor season last year. If you look at his numbers the past 3 seasons they’re very similar to Smith and Andersen is 7 years younger.

        Did they indeed address their defensive weaknesses? Ceci and Barrie are awful defensively. Both are career minus defenceman. Keith was a great defenseman 5 years ago.

        Did they address their secondary scoring with Hyman? $5.5M for 20 points and a -9 so far this year. Foegele career high in NHL is 30 points. Same with Perlini. RNH…another secondary scoring player that is a career minus player.

        They need defensively responsible players.

        Oh, would you rather “waste” a 1st round pick on a rental player to make a playoff run or “waste” another year of McDavid and Draisaitl in their prime?

  9. To Edmonton – Price & 40% retained

    To Montreal – Koskinen, Puljarvi, a prospect (Holloway), a 1st this year, a conditional 2nd next year (If the Oilers win the SC this year or next year).

    • That would create a big hole in the Oilers top 6 forward group with Puljujarvi.
      Price has had health issues the past 2 seasons and is 34 years old. He hasn’t even played a game this season. No way is he worth a former 4th overall pick and potentially 3 more 1st round picks.

      • I don’t any 3 goalies in the cap era have combined for that type of return.

    • Get rid of the prospect, jp. Then you have the makings of a fair deal.

    • RR,
      Eichel got Tuch, a prospect, a 1st and a 2nd, with nothing retained.

      5x$5million , unable to play, facing unknown surgery.

      Price is worth that at LEAST..

      I haven’t seen any offers come even close

      • Cause they won’t. Goalies do not have that kind of value. They just don’t.

    • edit 5x$5 million should be 5x $ 10million

      • What team that is a solid contender could afford Price at, we’ll full price?

        The answer is zero. Can you see Price waiving to go to a bottom feeder? I can’t.

        Zero chance he is moved at that full cap hit. Zero.

        Comparing an often injured Price at 34 years old and will be knocking on 40 by the end of his deal to Eichel at 25 and will be 30 at his deals end is apples to battleships.

        Goaltenders will never see that kind of return, and never will.

    • To Edmonton – Price (3M retained) + Chariot (1.75M retained)

      To Montreal – Koskinen, Kassian, a prospect (Holloway), a 1st this year


  10. Smith is 40 in March.When do you quit looking at last year’s performance ? He had injury issues with Calgary

    Oilers need a permanent solution in net .Tenders noted are not even close. Didn’t Korpisalo let in 7 on his return ? Fleury is as old as Smith. They may have to wait and should do that. Maybe someone becomes available or develops

    • S7, yep.
      Holland didn’t see a #1 guy in the last crop of UFA’s, he did with Markstrom the year before, but got out bid by Calgary who had a tough year last year, really good this year.

      Vladar was a steal for the Flames as well, so far any way.

      Skinner has a chance to be the guy down the road, needs to keep playing a ton though.

      • @Ray Bark

        Wasn’t the issue with the Markstrom offer from EDM that Holland wouldn’t offer the same term as CGY? I heard the salary was the same.

        Markstrom’s career numbers are pretty consistent.

        To say Andersen wasn’t a #1 is just inaccurate. He was likely the most overworked goalie in the league for 3 seasons.

        The issue with EDM is still their secondary scoring and defensive play.

      • Ya, think it was term Daryl, 6 of one half dozen thing IMO.
        And agree on the 2nd part of your comment as well. They give up too many chances 5 on 5.
        IMO the reason is Holland had too many holes to fill. They need top 6 winger and got one in Hyman. Had to patchwork the D short term when he lost Larsson that was out of his control. Keith has actually been good, Ceci is a 4-5 guy and if asked to do more than he can, he struggles. A move he wouldn’t have made if Larsson wanted to stay.

        They have some young guys coming with Broberg for top 4, and a few that more that one should make the cut next year and Holloway is a blue chip guy when his wrist heals, which it should. Benson will stick and has skill, Macleod needs time and reps, but will stick. Elite skater. Long term 3C IMO, and a good one.

        Barrie gets moved in off season, this or next.

        So do you sell assets in a year your not quite ready, or wait until the young guys can fill the holes?

        If it was me I take the heat from fans and media, and wait to fill holes from within and go for it then. But it ain’t my job, and EDM fans have been pretty flippin patient already.

  11. Whatever it takes get Cychrun, Package Rask, Beecher Debrusk and a 2nd. if that doesn’t get the job done nothing will. Those are three first rounders he’s not worth anymore than that. Anyone that gives more than that should be fired. Spoiled brat.

    • @Rick W

      Are you serious? Rask will only play for BOS so that’s a non starter. If DeBrusk was in demand he’d be gone by now.
      No way in hell any team trades a 24 year old defenceman that plays 20+ minutes a night for a goalie coming off hip surgery, a declining firmer 1st round pick and a lottery ticket.

      Who is the spoiled brat you’re referring to?

  12. Rask won’t sign or play with anyone else . He will retire first. I would try to move Ullman to Edmonton once Rask health is confirmed . Has to be some kind of fit there that’s works for all parties

  13. You’re dreaming! Stop!

    I clearly stated why! How much more “obvious “ could I be?
    Zucker overpaid underperforming.

    O’Connor left over garbage. Check his AHL stats! The. Tell me about his speed!

    2 pending ufas and a 20+ 1st round pick = garbage!!!!


  14. As usual Ray Bark makes the most sense in this conversation. Oilers fans might want to give Smith a decent chance to get back to his best.
    I think the coach put his own job in jeopardy with his ill-advised comments about Koskinen.
    Time will tell; Edmonton fans remind me so much of Leaf fans.