NHL Rumor Mill – February 11, 2022

by | Feb 11, 2022 | Rumors | 30 comments

Could Mark Stone’s injury provide cap relief for the Golden Knights? Are the Panthers still pursuing Jakob Chychrun? What’s the latest on Tyler Toffoli, Rasmus Sandin and Pavel Zacha? Check out the latest in today’s NHL rumor mill.


DAILY FACEOFF: Frank Seravalli took note of Vegas Golden Knights coach Peter DeBoer saying captain Mark Stone continues to deal with a nagging injury that already cost him 29 games this season. If Stone should be sidelined until the playoffs, it could provide the club with the necessary cap relief to active Jack Eichel without having to trade a forward such as Reilly Smith or Evgenii Dadonov.

Vegas Golden Knights captain Mark Stone (NHL Images).

Eichel’s annual average value is $10 million while Stone’s is $9.5 million. The move would also enable them to reactivate sidelined defenseman Alec Martinez.

THE ATHLETIC: Jesse Granger also weighed in on the conjecture, pointing out there’s nothing certain about the Golden Knights plans, only that league sources were speculating about it. It’s uncertain whether Stone’s injury will sideline him for the remainder of the season. If he were to return to the lineup following the trade deadline and before the end of the regular season, the club wouldn’t be able to make a cost-cutting trade.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Call it the “Kucherov Gambit” when a team places a player on LTIR for the remainder of the season to garner cap relief only to welcome him back into the lineup for the postseason when the salary cap doesn’t count. That’s what the Tampa Bay Lightning did last season with Nikita Kucherov. Actually, it should be known as the Patrick Kane gambit, since it was the Chicago Blackhawks who set the standard in 2015 when Kane was sidelined by a broken collarbone.

It’s a form of cap circumvention but it’s also allowed under the CBA. Some general managers might grumble but they’re not about to do anything about it because they know they can also benefit from it if facing similar circumstances.

No one’s faking an injury here. Kane and Kucherov suffered legitimate injuries that took time to heal and their recoveries were monitored by the league to ensure everything was above board cap-wise. They’ll do the same for Stone and the Golden Knights if he ends up on LTIR for the remainder of the regular season.


FLORIDA HOCKEY NOW: In a recent mailbag segment, George Richards was asked if the Panthers still had an interest in Jakob Chychrun. He believes they do but doubts they can meet the Arizona Coyotes’ asking price for the 23-year-old defenseman. He felt they would be fine with a rental like the Montreal Canadiens’ Ben Chiarot.

Richards also doused any talk of the Panthers part with rookie star Anton Lundell to acquire Chychrun, calling him untouchable. “Get his name out of any rumor right now – in fact, it probably shouldn’t have been brought up.” However, he doesn’t dismiss the notion of giving up goalie Spencer Knight for the Coyotes blueliner.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I believe it was Sportsnet’s Jeff Marek who suggested the Coyotes could ask for Lundell as part of the return. As Richards observed, they could ask for him but that doesn’t mean the Panthers will do it.

There’s no reason for the Panthers to part with Lundell as he’s already become an indispensable part of their lineup. Trading him for Chychrun would address their need for another skilled puck-moving blueliner but it would create a hole on their forward lines that could prove difficult to plug.


TSN: Discussing what could be next for the Edmonton Oilers following yesterday’s coaching change, Darren Dreger suggests their need for a top-four defenseman is greater than their requirement for reliable goaltending depth. He considers the addition of a right-shot blueline a priority.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I still believe addressing their goaltending is the priority. Given the limited options available or the cost of acquiring Chicago’s Marc-Andre Fleury if they’re not on his 10-team no-trade list, adding a defenseman would be the next best option. The Dallas Stars’ John Klingberg would be the best rental blueliner but the Oilers might not have sufficient assets to win a bidding war for his services.

SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman repeated his speculation that the Calgary Flames could be interested in Montreal Canadiens forward Tyler Toffoli. He also suggested a reunion with the Los Angeles Kings, who are seeking some scoring.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Toffoli is also the type of player the Canadiens could prefer retaining for their upcoming rebuild. If he forces the issue and wants out, the Habs could seek a first-round pick and either a top prospect or good young NHL player in return.

There were rumblings the Dallas Stars may have considered a coaching change. Friedman believes they’d decided to stick with head coach Rick Bowness.

Friedman would be surprised if the Toronto Maple Leafs traded defenseman Rasmus Sandin.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: As would I. It would be premature to give up on him for a quick fix.

Despite speculation about Nick Paul’s future with the Ottawa Senators, a source told Friedman he’s pessimistic Paul would be available by the trade deadline.

Teams are showing interest in New Jersey Devils forward Pavel Zacha and New York Rangers winger Vitali Kravtsov, who is expected to return to the NHL next season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Zacha was the sixth-overall pick by the Devils in 2015. While he hasn’t blossomed into a star as hoped, he’s put up decent numbers in a secondary role.

The 24-year-old Zacha is a restricted free agent with arbitration rights who’s a year away from unrestricted free agent eligibility. The Devils could be reluctant to part with him but perhaps they’ll entertain offers if they feel he’ll be difficult to retain beyond 2023.


  1. Leafs best be looking for a goalie as well. Campbell has returned to the form that made him a career backup.

    Not that it matters whose in net unless Dubas adds some sandpaper to his Charmin soft roster.

  2. The issue has been defence in Edmonton for a decade . Nurse salary will hamstring any help. Worth more than Reilly and Pietrangelo “don’t think so Tim”. Bouchard is a nice player but still young.who is left after that ?? Barrie. After that? Thin way to thin

    As a continuance from yesterday … Pelletier is 20 years old and top rookie in the AHL. A perfect fit in Montreal . Valamaki 16 th overall pick and captain of team Finland in WJ in his final junior year. Dube captain of team Canada. Montreal would certainly be interested in those players involving Toffoli and or Dvorak

  3. Curious to know which NHL teams are showing interest in Vitali Kravtsov and why, other than the fact he was taken 9th overall by NYR in 2018?

    So far he’s played 167 KHL games and has 36g 32a 68 pts, 39 AHL games with 6g 9a 15 pts and 20 NHL games with 2g 2a 4 pts – so it can’t be based on any untapped explosive offensive talents.

    • “the fact he was taken 9th overall by NYR in 2018?”
      You answered your own question there.

      • LOL. Well, I suppose Yakopov also held some interest for other teams based solely on where he was drafted … for a while at least.

      • I guess even Luca Cereda held some brief interest based on where he was picked, as did Brandon Convery 🙂

  4. Until Holland finds a legit #1 goalie, the Oilers will continue to struggle. Not that they don’t need d-men (plural) but their net is a sieve.

  5. IF (big IF) the Flower does not have Oil on his blocked list…. What will it take in trade (of course Hawks need to retain 50%, maybe even another team retaining some as well)?

    • I would think Fleury would be as aware of the D deficiencies and lack of secondary scoring as anyone, so why would he be content to go to a team knowing even a portion of his $7 mil cap hit would further hamstring them from improving that D and offense in any appreciable way this year – never mind next when they’d need to re-sign him as a UFA?

      As matters now stand Holland is paying 7 players (McDavid, Draisaitl.Hyman, Nugent-Hopkins, Nurse, Keith and Barrie) 58% of his cap and next year, when Nurse’s cap hit jumps to $9,250,000. that will rise to 62.5%.

      And on top of that he has to deal with RFAs Puljujarvi, Yamamoto, McLead, Perlini, Benson, Lagesson, never mind UFA Kane (who’s been invisible so far). Adding UFA Fleury to that nightmare of negotiations won’t make things any easier.

      • Hi George

        Agree re next year and Cap… the Flower (IF brought in) would only be for this year; bill effect on Cap next year

        Re his 10 team block list….TSN alluded that he provided his list already at the start of the season… no one in the media seems to know which teams are blocked on that….

        That list, once provided, can only change in-year with mutual agreement (Hawks and MAF)

        Hawks could just trade him to one of those other 21 without his say; OR talk to him about “opening up” the list to enable a trade of mutual liking to one of his “currently” blocked 10

        I agree…. If already in his blocked list…. Much less likely he’d agree to waive/change that list to allow a trade to Oil *who do have D issues)

        Again, IF (big IF) Oil NOT on his blocked list… what will it take from Oil to acquire him? I’m confident that they (Oil) would at the very least have interest in discussing what it would take…. So …. What, in your opinion; would it take

      • In the highly unlikely scenario that would see Holland thinking Fleury alone could turn around their fortunes this year – never mind the remote chance they could re-sign him – I would see Chicago laughing at any suggestion involving Keith, Barrie or Ceci and absolutely hysterical at any thought of bringing in Nurse at that price.

        So, if I’m them (and knowing there could well be some competition in a Fleury trade proposal), I’d want Bouchard and Puljujarvi, along with a draft pick. To which Holland would probably say “nuts to that” and hang up.

      • Thanks George

        3 assets (2 players …. Let alone young players with owned rights ; and a pick) will not be viable (and highly unlikely acted upon) by any team…. Chi asking it as first stance… not unrealistic to imagine…. First ask always very high

        I do foresee a potential bidding war happening… but UFA goalies have never reaped that much

        I of course would love the Flower to come to Pens but that just won’t happen…. He better not go to Caps!!!

        The bidding war will be limited to maybe 3 teams max… space needed (even at 1/2 Cap) and for the most part teams other than Oil and Caps would be looking at MAF rental as a back-up and not starter ; and as you’ve said… even with the Flower as a starter (Oil or Caps)…. still not pushing them over the hump to make a long run let alone a Cup

        If I’m Oil… I inquire (Hawks) for sure…. a phone call could just tell them…. “No chance…. You are on his 10 team blocked list”; OR if not on list…. At least they (Oil) know the ask and weigh whether to engage negotiations

        My gut feeling is they make the call but end up down a cheaper path to their goaltending woes….. who knows…. Perhaps the Troika (Smith, Skinner , and Koski on return) can right the ship so to speak???

    • The Oiler players have the next 5 weeks to prove they deserve to have their GM give up quality assets to add anything at the deadline.

      They snapped out of it prior to all start break, and have slumped right back into the lackadaisical play, and lack of commitment to play energized structured play, that caused the long slump prior.

      This includes their best players.

      If they don’t, it could be a really interesting off season in Edmonton.

      Having your coach fired, who is a really good guy and well respected individual, should wake you up. No more scapegoats, it’s on the players now, especially the leadership group.

      We’ll see.

      • Well said.
        Can fire 23 players
        Regardless Holland has to add defence. Anybody. What if Nurse goes down ?
        An old saying -good night Nurse

    • I’m just glad Fluery blocked a move to the Capitals…that would have been awful

      • That isn’t official – just something based upon Friedman’s contention that, because he still has strong feelings towards Pittsburgh he wouldn’t go to one of their most intense rivals.


        But that’s ludicrous. What if, during his stint in Vegas and now in Chicago, they met Pittsburgh in a series. Would he be reluctant to play? Hell, what about ordinary seasonal games where a win over Pittsburgh could jeopardize their playoff chances? Would he beg off a start?

        I don’t think so.

  6. 3 giant deals for the Leafs to make.
    Leafs 1st (2022)

    TO Vancouver for Tyler Myers and Halak

    2023 2nd
    to Dallas for Hakanpaa

    2022 2nd and Amirov to NYI for Chara

    Leafs new gritty giant D

    Morgan – Brodie
    Muzzin – Myers
    Chara – Hankapaa

    This D would cover a lot of area and make the opposition a little bit more fearful around our crease and coming on into the blue line while still being mobile.

    Please Spector do not advocate any of these players going to other teams on this site..we don’t want other Gms getting any bright ideas. Thanks 😉

    • those trades aren’t entirely crazy..
      I do think Campbell should be the one they move. He’s looking stinky.

      I also was scouring cap friendly to see a goalie the Oil could make a move on and no matter who I stumbled upon, it had to be RNH + Ceci and a sweetner to get it done. The logical targets are Columbus and NYI. Maybe if the Islanders sent Beauvillier back. I dunno. There’s not a lot of available starting goaltending now. Just some iffy back ups.

    • Oh man.

    • Hi DJ

      I do like the first trade as Myers has term (so first going in trade not an issue)… I think Jimbo might not bite on that deal tho

      Like the second deal… Hakanpaa has term and I like his play

      Re big Z…. Certainly won’t cost that much in trade at all…Amirov only should be enough…..just the optics of the trade … Leafs gaining 10” in height; almost 100 lbs; and getting a player more than twice the age… would be quite the headlines

      Great adds for this year but nightmare situation re out-year Cap (already going to be a problem)

      Biggest concern to me is that I believe chances of a cup this year are well below 1%… well below

      To win Cup this year, Leafs (even with upgrades) will very likely have to go through at least 2 of Panthers; Bolts; Avs…. and I have low confidence they can get by any of them

      I’ve been a Leaf fan for 5 1/2 decades…. I sadly just can’t see them winning the cup this year

      With that in mind…. Minor tweaks, hope for the best… make the big moves off season

      Leafs as at now spending just a hair under 1/2 Cap on top 4 (all forwards)…. Come 24/25…. Even if some miracle happens and they can keep AM… then Nylander can’t stay….

      Leafs must pay AM at least $14 M (and even at that AM loses a minimum $16 M TAKE HOME over term of contract vs going with Krakken, Predz; Stars; Knights; Panthers; Bolts or the Houston Yotes; and somewhere between $6 M -$11 M going to other US based teams)

      So AM at $14 M and keeping Nylander (who will get a raise)…. That’ll be more than 1/2 the Cap in 24/25 (even with a Cap increase); and Leafs currently only have 3 players under contract for 24/25 (JT, MM, Reilly)…. So Leafs IMO have to start thinking of Cup window (June of ‘23 and June of ‘24) and long term ; and not through big trades at the super longshot this year is

    • This trade would result in the Canucks taking on an additional $1.3 million for this year and next. They’re already up against the cap so I doubt they would do this trade.

  7. I would think the Oilers might look to VGK for goaltending.
    The Habs could look too.

    Brossoit is UFA at the end of next year and would be a cap dump at this point. $2.32 million

    • Oilers would love to take on L.Brossoit, but he is a career back up, and a very good one and I think Las Vegas will keep him….

  8. The Edmonton Oilers #1 need is a good and younger Goaltender. Its has been like this for 4+ years now.

    Mike Smith is Old 40..& Very fragile, he needs to take note of Tuukka Rask & RETIRE ….!!!
    Mikko is a Back up, young Skinner is not quite ready.
    What the Plan Mr.Holland… Dont wait to long if you do, your not making the playoffs and you should be FIRED…

    Darren Dreger needs to take his Elton Johns off and watch a game with the volume ON…!!

    The Edmonton Oilers have d/men that can play both side RD, & LD… But they do need a big tough d/man who will Hit….. after Nurse they are All Soft… not sure why we traded for duncan Keith @$5.5 mill for 2 more years, and yes an other Bad Ken Holland trade.

  9. Stevie should trade for Dadonov.
    Daddo + 2023 2nd + 2023 Sabers 3rd for Namestnakov (1/2 salary retained)
    Then Stevie could retain 1/2 salary on Daddy and flip him for 2 more 2nds!

    • That’s assuming there’s any interest at all in Dadonov who has shown – since getting that fat contract from Dorion – that his bloated stats in Florida were due solely to his linemates at the time.

      I wouldn’t take him at half his cap hit, let alone fork over 2 second round picks!

      • I agree George – I never want to even entertain the possibility of Dado wearing the Winged Wheel. Stay away….far far away !

  10. Looking at Holland’s dilemma: It does not look as if a suitable goaltender will be available w/o an enormous give, so turn to the D that are available and bite the bullet and trade your 1st for one!
    Chariot(1/2 retained) + Lehtkonen for A 1st, Yamamoto, Foegle (for cap sake), 2023 6th

  11. Now that Ed has Kane would a Hyman 5Mill to the Hawks work for the Flower with 2 mill held ? Ed gets a goalie for a season Hawks get a good second third line grinder that everyone seems to like playing with

  12. If GM’s won’t address cap circumvention, why have a cap?
    To Edmonton:Lundkvist and Gorgiev
    To NYR: Holloway