NHL Rumor Mill – February 2, 2022
Check out the latest on the Canadiens, Stars, Canucks, Ducks, Panthers, Predators, Wild, Kings and Coyotes in today’s NHL rumor mill.
LATEST PETRY SPECULATION
TSN: Pierre LeBrun reports a league source suggested a scenario that the Dallas Stars could become a team with interest in Montreal Canadiens defenseman Jeff Petry if they move John Klingberg, a pending free agent who has requested a trade. The idea would see them replace Klingberg with the 34-year Petry.
LeBrun added the Canadiens are telling teams they don’t have to move Petry, who’s signed through 2024-25. They’re also not moving him at a discount simply because he’s struggling this season.
SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman reports a few teams have indicated they see a Petry move being more likely to occur in the offseason than at the March 21 trade deadline. Despite his difficulties and those of the Canadiens this season, he put up good stats last season and that hasn’t gone unnoticed.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Petry’s stats could improve playing on a better team. However, he’s a 34-year-old defenseman carrying a $6.25 million annual cap hit through 2024-25 and a 15-team no-trade clause. Meanwhile, the salary cap is flattened for the foreseeable future. If the Canadiens don’t intend on retaining part of his cap hit or agree to take back a toxic contract, they’ll have to include a sweetener to convince an opponent to pick up the full remainder of his contract.
The Stars acquiring Petry as a replacement for Klingberg would make sense if they were a Stanley Cup contender. They’re not. They’re a struggling club with $19.45 million invested in past-their-prime forwards Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin through 2024-25. They’ve already got nearly $18 million invested in blueliners Miro Heiskanen, Esa Lindell and Ryan Suter. Restricted free agents Jason Robertson, Denis Gurianov and Jake Oettinger must be resigned while UFAs Joe Pavelski and Alexander Radulov must be re-signed or replaced.
Finding a deal that works for the acquiring club, the Canadiens, and Petry is easier said than done. It will be quite an accomplishment for Habs rookie GM Kent Hughes if he can pull it off.
RUMORS FROM FRIEDMAN’S LATEST “32 THOUGHTS”.
SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman believes the Vancouver Canucks could be considering re-signing J.T. Miller instead of trading him. That’s one reason why other names like Conor Garland have surfaced in the rumor mill. Canucks president Jim Rutherford wants to create room and that’s why he’s exploring all possibilities.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Friedman is referring to cap flexibility, something the Canucks haven’t had for a while. It doesn’t mean Rutherford’s going to engage in a fire sale of his best players or make cost-cutting deals before the trade deadline. However, that could change if his club fails to gain ground in the playoff chase by the March 21 deadline.
Whoever becomes the new Anaheim Ducks general manager faces a big decision regarding the future of pending UFA defenseman Hampus Lindholm. Friedman doesn’t believe the Ducks can afford to keep him post-deadline even if they’re in playoff contention unless they know he’s staying. He also mentioned the Ducks have many options with UFA blueliner Josh Manson, including keeping him.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I can also see them retaining Lindholm, Manson and fellow UFA Rickard Rakell as “own rentals” if they’re still holding a playoff spot by deadline day.
The Ducks haven’t been in the postseason since 2018. Like every team, they’ve endured revenue losses during this pandemic. Ownership could be unwilling to jeopardize potential playoff money this season by trading away a key player or two even at the risk of losing them to free agency this summer.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Panthers’ focus is reportedly on bolstering their blueline depth. It wouldn’t be surprising if they draw on their forward depth to address that need.
Nashville Predators GM David Poile said he likes his team and doesn’t want to make many changes. “We’re content where we are,” he said.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: That’s understandable given the Predators’ improvement this season. It’s probably safe to say Poile won’t be shopping pending UFA winger Filip Forsberg, who’s played a key role in the Preds’ performance. Poile could be a buyer by deadline day but it will probably be a minor move or two.
Los Angeles Kings GM Rob Blake will meet with winger Dustin Brown during the all-star break to discuss his future. The Kings have no desire to move goaltender Jonathan Quick. They are in the market for a big left-shot defenseman. Blake declined to comment about Arizona Coyotes defenseman Jakob Chychrun.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Brown is a UFA this summer while Quick has a year remaining on his deal. I can see Blake signing Brown to an affordable one-year deal. Chychrun would be a terrific fit with the Kings but the Coyotes seek a good young NHL player, a first-round pick and a top prospect in return.
COYOTES ARE ONCE AGAIN WILLING TO TAKE ON CONTRACTS
TSN: Chris Johnston reports teams in need of salary-cap relief could be in touch with the Arizona Coyotes before the trade deadline. The Coyotes have let it be known they’re willing to take on contracts or money in exchange for future assets like they did last summer. It will depend upon the length of the contract and the type of player being brought in.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: They could also become a third-party broker between two clubs, retaining part of a player’s cap hit in exchange for a draft pick or prospect.