NHL Rumor Mill – January 8, 2022
IS A PRICE DEADLINE DAY DEAL POSSIBLE?
SPORTSNET: In a mailbag segment earlier this week, Eric Engels was asked about the possibility of the Montreal Canadiens moving Carey Price by the March 21 trade deadline. He doesn’t see that happening unless the 34-year-old goaltender returns to action and plays well before deadline day.
Even under that scenario, Price isn’t going anywhere unless he agrees to waive his no-movement clause. Engels believes that conversation could take place at some point between the netminder and hockey ops VP Jeff Gorton if it hasn’t happened already. He doesn’t see Price sitting through what could be a five-year rebuild with the Canadiens for another shot at the Stanley Cup.
CALGARY HERALD: Michael Traikos doesn’t expect Price to be moved before the trade deadline. His contract ($10.5 million annually) is too hefty to move in-season plus he hasn’t played since Game 5 of the 2021 Stanley Cup Final.
Nevertheless, Traikos mused over what it might take for the Edmonton Oilers to acquire Price to address their porous goaltending. He suggested a package of Mikko Koskinen, Jesse Puljujarvi, prospect Dylan Holloway and/or the Oilers 2022 first-round pick with the Canadiens picking up half of Price’s cap hit.
Traikos also suggested more sensible options such as Canadiens backup Jake Allen, Seattle’s Chris Driedger or Columbus’ Joonas Korpisalo. However, none of those goalies have the potential to backstop the Oilers to the Stanley Cup Final.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s possible the Canadiens find a taker for Price before the trade deadline but that’s probably a slim hope at best. Even if he returns before March and regains his form, that contract is just too hefty to move during a season where just 10 teams currently have over $5 million in projected salary-cap space.
LATEST ON KLINGBERG AND CHYCHRUN
YAHOO! SPORTS: Thomas Williams cites The Fourth Period’s David Pagnotta indicating sources claim John Klingberg requested a trade from the Dallas Stars. The 29-year-old defenseman is slated to become an unrestricted free agent in July.
Pagnotta said contract talks between the two sides “hit a wall” with Klingberg seeking a long-term deal. Williams sees the Stars attempting to cash in on the offensive blueliner at the trade deadline. However, they’re also still in the thick of the playoff chase and that could complicate things.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: No word in the Dallas media or from other NHL insiders about Klingberg’s trade request. It appears the request may have come earlier in the season. If so, the Stars don’t seem to be in any hurry to move him.
If they remain in the playoff race by the deadline they could simply retain Klingberg as an “own-rental” for the postseason. That could change, however, if they fall out of contention by March 21. Given Klingberg’s value as a puck-moving defenseman, he could fetch a solid return if he hits the trade block.
GOPHNX.COM: Craig Morgan noted the recent rumors swirling around Jakob Chychrun. He agrees Arizona Coyotes general manager Bill Armstrong will set a high asking price for the 23-year-old defenseman. However, he also points out the Coyotes aren’t in any rush to trade Chychrun and there’s no guarantee they’ll move him.
Morgan observed the March 21 trade deadline will create pressure for some teams to get something done but so does the need to win. He wonders if the Edmonton Oilers might get back into the mix despite Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman’s recent report calling the Oilers an unlikely destination.
TORONTO STAR: In his latest mailbag segment, Kevin McGran was asked if Chychrun would be worth the Maple Leafs giving up top prospects, a first-round pick and a solid roster player. McGran isn’t sure they would be in the market for a player like him during the season because of their limited cap space. He thinks they’ll look at low-cost rental players.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Chychrun is an attractive trade target and I don’t doubt there’s considerable interest in him. However, I agree with Morgan that the Coyotes aren’t in any rush here with the blueliner under contract for three more years. If they don’t find a return to their liking before the trade deadline, they’ll revisit trade options during the offseason, likely around the July draft weekend.