NHL Rumor Mill – February 12, 2022
TSN: Arizona Coyotes defenseman Jakob Chychrun, Montreal Canadiens blueliner Ben Chiarot and Chicago Blackhawks goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury fill the top-three positions in TSN’s Feb. 11 trade bait list. Philadelphia Flyers forward Claude Giroux and Dallas Stars defenseman John Klingberg round out the top five.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I’ve written at length regarding Chychrun, Fleury and Giroux for The Hockey News over the past week. I don’t dismiss the possibility of Chychrun moving by the March 21 trade deadline but the Coyotes’ high asking price suggests this could be an offseason move.
The Colorado Avalanche reportedly has interest in Fleury and Giroux but their limited cap space means they can’t afford both. In either case, they’ll have to get the losing club to retain salary and could still need a third team to get involved in order to broker the deal by spreading out the remaining cap hit. The Avs could also be forced to part with some promising prospects.
Chiarot’s been at or near the top of most trade bait lists since December. It’s assumed the Canadiens could get a first-round pick for him. There were reports last month indicating the Stars were trying to move Klingberg but there’s been nothing of note since then. Much could depend on where the Stars are in the standings in a month’s time.
San Jose Sharks center Tomas Hertl, Seattle Kraken defenseman Mark Giordano, Columbus Blue Jackets forward Max Domi, Vancouver Canucks center J.T. Miller and the Coyotes salary cap space fill spots six through 10.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: No certainty Hertl will be traded following a report this week indicating the Sharks are talking contract extension with his agent. It could depend on how much cap space they’ll have following the outcome of Evander Kane’s grievance over his contract termination.
TSN’s Pierre LeBrun reports Kraken GM Ron Francis is expected to sit down with Giordano soon to discuss the possibility of a trade. He mentioned the Florida Panthers as a possible destination. The well-traveled Domi recently surfaced in trade rumors but there’s no indication which teams might be interested in him.
Miller’s been a hot topic for trade chatter since November. However, recent trade rumors regarding teammate Conor Garland have led some observers to suggest the Canucks prefer not only retaining Miller but perhaps signing him to a contract extension this summer if they can find sufficient salary-cap flexibility.
The Coyotes carry plenty of cap space to help other clubs looking to offload salary or perhaps broker a three-team deal by the deadline. They’re already retaining salary on two contracts (Darcy Kuemper and Oliver Ekman-Larsson) and can only take on one more as the CBA allows just three retained salaries per season.
Coyotes winger Phil Kessel, Buffalo Sabres defenseman Mark Pysyk, Blackhawks defenseman Calvin de Haan, Detroit Red Wings defenseman Nick Leddy and Winnipeg Jets center Andrew Copp sit at positions 11 through 15.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kessel isn’t the scorer of his youth but could still be a worthwhile addition to a team seeking a winger with playoff experience. With 28 points in 44 games, the versatile Copp will draw interest if the Jets got into sell mode in March. Pysyk, de Haan and Leddy could be affordable options for contenders seeking blueline depth.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Petry’s garnered lots of recent trade rumor buzz but his contract ($6.25 million cap hit through 2024-25, 15 team no-trade clause) and declining production this season makes the 34-year-old difficult to move at a time when a large number of teams have little salary-cap wiggle room.
DeBrusk made a trade request in late November but there’s no indication the Bruins are close to moving him or receiving much interest from other clubs. Miller is midway through an expected six-week absence due to surgery for an undisclosed ailment. The Stars placed Khudobin on waivers in December but couldn’t find any takers. Ristolainen might garner some interest but he’s dogged by a reputation for sloppy defensive play.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kravtsov is playing in the KHL and cannot return to the NHL until their season is over. Tierney and Jarnkrok could be affordable depth forward additions. There’s talk the Wings could bring back Staal on another one-year deal as they value his leadership and experience. Larsson underwent sports hernia surgery and isn’t expected to return to action until early April.