NHL Rumor Mill – February 15, 2022
Claude Giroux to the Avalanche? What goaltending options are available to the Capitals? Do the Penguins need to shop for a backup? Find out in today’s NHL rumor mill.
LATEST ON GIROUX
COLORADO HOCKEY NOW’S Adrian Dater yesterday tweeted he was told Claude Giroux has informed Philadelphia Flyers general manager Chuck Fletcher he wants to go to the Colorado Avalanche. Failing that, the Minnesota Wild and St. Louis Blues would be acceptable alternatives.
THE DENVER POST: Sean Keeler believes Avalanche GM Joe Sakic must make a trade to improve his club’s chances of winning the Stanley Cup this year. He considers Giroux the best choice but also suggested Dallas Stars forward Joe Pavelski as an option if they can’t land the Flyers captain.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Avalanche have less than $1.7 million in projected trade deadline cap space. Pulling this off will require the Flyers to retain a healthy chunk of the remainder of Giroux’s $8.25 million cap hit. That could mean involving a third team to broker the deal and spread the cap hit around.
The same goes for Pavelski ($7 million cap hit) though he might not be as costly to acquire as Giroux, provided the Stars are willing to deal with a division rival. They’re still very much on the hunt for a wild-card berth in the Western Conference and could be reluctant to part with him.
WHAT GOALIE OPTIONS ARE AVAILABLE TO THE CAPITALS?
THE ATHLETIC: A reader asked Tarik El-Bashir what the Washington Capitals will do to address their inconsistent goaltending which has contributed to their recent slide in the Eastern Conference standings. He wondered if they’re in the market for a rental such as the Chicago Blackhawks’ Marc-Andre Fleury or target a veteran starter under contract beyond this season such as the Los Angeles Kings’ Jonathan Quick or the New York Islanders’ Semyon Varlamov.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Daily Faceoff’s Frank Seravalli last week reported the Capitals made a “full-court press” for Fleury but it doesn’t appear that’s going to happen, prompting observers to speculate the 2021 Vezina Trophy winner nixed a trade to Washington. The Kings are in the thick of the Western Conference playoff race so I don’t see them parting with Quick, whose performance has improved this season.
Varlamov, however, could be available if the Islanders fail to gain ground in the Eastern Conference standings, provided he’ll waive his 16-team no-trade clause to return to the team where he began his NHL career. The Capitals, however, only have just over $1.9 million in deadline cap space. They might have to move some salary to accommodate the remainder of Varlamov’s $5 million cap hit for this season or convince Isles GM Lou Lamoriello to retain some salary in the deal.
DO THE PENGUINS NEED TO SHOP FOR A BACKUP?
PITTSBURGH HOCKEY NOW: Dan Kingerski recently reported the improved performance of Casey DeSmith over his last two games could lessen the need for the Penguins to pursue a reliable backup if he can maintain that level of play. It would also free up assets for GM Ron Hextall to pursue a middle-six winger or a defensive blueliner.