NHL Rumor Mill – February 23, 2022

by | Feb 23, 2022 | Rumors | 75 comments

Will the loss of Jake Muzzin send the Leafs into the trade market? Could Zdeno Chara be shipped to a playoff contender? What is the latest on the Canadiens? Check out the latest in today’s NHL rumor mill.


TSN: Darren Dreger points out the Toronto Maple Leafs could free up over $5.6 million in salary-cap space if sidelined defenseman Jake Muzzin (concussion) ends up on long-term injured reserve (LTIR). Dreger suggested options such as the Anaheim Ducks’ Hampus Lindholm, the Dallas Stars’ John Klingberg, the Montreal Canadiens’ Ben Chiarot or the Seattle Kraken’s Mark Giordano, though he called them “pie in the sky options” right now. He also said the Leafs would like to add a top-six forward to compliment the second line.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: We don’t know yet how long Muzzin could be sidelined. If he goes on LTIR, there’s no certainty he’d be out for the remainder of the regular season. He’d have to be for the Leafs to take on one of those blueliners without it causing a salary-cap headache if he returns before the postseason.

Dreger’s colleague Pierre LeBrun indicated the Ducks have reached out to Lindholm’s agent regarding a contract extension so he might not be available by the March 21 trade deadline. Sportnet’s Elliotte Friedman (stick tap to The Hockey Writers’ Kevin Armstrong) recently said the Leafs had considered Klingberg but they don’t want to part with a first-round pick or one of their top prospects for a rental.

Dallas Stars defenseman John Klingberg (NHL Images).

Speaking of Friedman, he thinks things could get interesting for Leafs general manager Kyle Dubas if he’s willing to use that LTIR space. “I’m on the J.T. Miller train,” said Friedman, referring to the Vancouver Canucks center. Miller wouldn’t be a playoff rental as he has a year remaining on his contract with an annual average value of $5.25 million. However, I don’t think they could win a bidding war with teams like the New York Rangers that have lots of cap space and promising young players to draw upon for trade bait.


TSN: Pierre LeBrun reports teams are calling the New York Islanders expressing interest in Zdeno Chara. The 44-year-old New York Islanders defenseman lacks a no-trade clause but it’s though GM Lou Lamoriello could approach him to see if he wants to move.

NYI HOCKEY NOW: Stefen Rosner cites a league source claiming the Islanders will explore the trade market for Chara once he breaks the league record for most games played by a defenseman later this week. Rosner wonders if Chara could return to the Boston Bruins or if the Pittsburgh Penguins and Toronto Maple Leafs might take a flier on him.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Chara has slowed considerably but there appear to be clubs interested in him for his leadership in a third-pairing role. It’ll be interesting to see if he’s keen for one more crack at the Cup.


MONTREAL HOCKEY NOW: Jimmy Murphy cites Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman recently musing over whether the Montreal Canadiens would consider trading Josh Anderson. Friedman said he’s getting mixed reactions over whether the Canadiens will keep the 27-year-old winger. Murphy feels they should retain Anderson, suggesting he has the look of a future Habs captain.

Marco D’Amico, meanwhile, took note of recent speculation by TSN’s Pierre LeBrun linking the Canadiens to the New York Rangers, citing the ties Canadiens hockey ops executive VP Jeff Gorton has with his former team. LeBrun felt the Habs would prefer prospects over draft picks and pointed out the Rangers’ depth in that department.

D’Amico suggested Vitali Kravtsov could be on their radar, pointing to the Habs’ recent hiring of former Rangers director of European Scouting Nick Bobrov as their new co-director of Amateur Scouting.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Judging from social media, trading Anderson wouldn’t go down well with Canadiens fans. I wouldn’t be surprised if the Habs are listening to offers on most of their players but Anderson could be someone they prefer retaining going forward. Then again, I said the same thing about Tyler Toffoli. Anderson, however, is younger and bigger than Toffoli and those factors could keep him in Montreal.

It wouldn’t be surprising if the Canadiens acquired Kravtsov, who’s been playing in the KHL this season awaiting a trade. The 22-year-old was unhappy with his playing time with the Rangers and would get plenty of opportunities to prove himself with the rebuilding Habs.


  1. Anderson’s stats have improved since MSL took over as head coach. Remember that season in Columbus when Anderson scored ~27 goals? MSL was running the power-play… I think the Habs keep him (for now), and I don’t see him as a future captain but you never know!

    • Agreed. If Anderson is moved it will be in the off-season, crazy good offer excepted.

      • He better be a captain or something more…good player, not as good or complete player as Toffoli was and at $5.5M x 5yrs is too much for what he brings.

  2. I don’t doubt NY and Montreal could be trade partners, but unless Suzuki is available, I don’t see anyone else on that roster NY would want at deadline. They need a RW, but I don’t think Josh A and that contract is a fit. 5 more years and 5.5 m per,? No thanks.

    • Lehkonen is useful to the Rangers but I do no think he is a offensive enough for the need

      • Lehkonen is another LW that can play RW. He’s 26 and isn’t any better than anyone else we’ve used in top 6. No thanks

  3. The Pens need a winger for Malkin. If Anderson is not available or too costly, maybe see what it would take to get Hoffman?

    • I suspect the Habs could be easily convinced to offload Hoffman.

      • Kapanan for Hoffman!

      • Be very careful what you wish for.

  4. Would Chara move to a Cup contender? Of course he would, this is why he plays the game. He would also accept a return to Boston.

    Like one poster said online we all want Chara back in Boston until his first shift.

    Chara adds toughness and Pk strength; oterwise doesn’t move much better then a mobile pylon.

    • Chara would also receive a bonus 250k for making playoffs and another 250k if wins cup. A little added motivation to be traded

    • Chara would be better off retiring after being traded to Boston and potentially joining them as an assistant coach where in theory would get him another Stanley Cup ring. The Bruins are contenders though certainly long shots.

      • Why would “Chara be better off” as a coach as opposed to playing?

  5. Slick I don’t agree on Anderson. That contract is the going rate for a player of his size and talent. He could be a huge playoff difference maker to any contender. I would say he’s exactly what the Rangers have been slanting towards since the Mg change.
    Health is the main factor here of course

  6. 62,

    I’m not sure how I feel about it, but how about YOU??

    Tarasenko + Peronovich


    K. Miller + Kakko + 2nd

    Provides your RW help.

    • Interesting proposal but the Rangers are over-paying. Swap Miller with Nils and Peronovich with Robert Thomas and I’m listening if I’m Drury.

    • Rangers are already in need of another LD. Giving up Miller only adds another hole on that side.

      Kakko is the only real RW on the roster.

      Adding 7.5 to next years cap would put NY at roughly 77 million with only 15 players under contract. That’s 7-8 roster spots that would need to be filled including a 2nd line center and a backup goaltender with only 5.5 cap space to do so.

      This doesn’t include re-signing Blais or Gautier.

      Don’t think NY could make this trade if they wanted to.

      • @Captain Obvious

        If the Rangers need a scoring RW there is a perfect fit waiting in the desert…Phil Kessel. He’s a proven scorer in the regular season and in the playoffs. He’s an underrated playmaker as well.
        Likely available for a 2nd round pick with 50% retained.

      • Daryl I think Phil would be a great fit. And doesn’t hurt their cap next year.

    • Iowa, I think the time for Rangers to aquire Tarasenko was in the Buchnevich trade.

  7. I hate bring politics/news into this, unfortunately ‘it’ is a thing. Putin reminds me of Trudeau when he was angling to make the other parties call the last election. Putin is angling for the Allies to start a war. The point I am making, I would not place any value in KHL assets (Kravtsov) right now. If things get worse, and bullets fly, I’d say Russian players in the KHL drop in the draft. Their is no telling if, or how easily, players could make it too the NHL physically even if they wanted too. This trade deadline probably get affected. The draft is TBD but bullets would ensure that.
    Given his ties to Putin personally and he well earned financial situation I wonder what would happen with Ovie going forward.

    • Habsfan1, if you hate to bring up politics don’t bring them up.
      And your wrong on both Trudeau and Putin.
      Trudeau called the election and Putin already started war.
      Stop listening to what liars say and watch what they do.
      The NHL won’t be impacted, the KHL? Really don’t give a crap.

      • I seem to recall Malkin having to tuck n roll during road trip to get to the burgh. That was before war!

    • Habfan. Not 1st time Putin doing this. He went into Crimea a few years back and I don’t recall it effecting hockey.

    • Hab don’t have an opinion Ray knows everything his taxes are paying for all the financial loss in Canada now stop sharing your opinion or he will freeze your bank accounts. Ray still thinks this was about a virus.

      • Sure thing Obe, I mean Q.

  8. I still think there’s a play for Lafrenierre to get to Montreal.

    The Malkin and Hoffman thing made me chuckle. Two players with identical brains. Float around until the puck comes to me and shoot it when it suits me. One of them has had a lot more success doing it, and is twice the size of the other. I can’t imagine whoever the third person is on that line. Running around trying to make plays, and play defensively for 3 people.

    • @Dark G

      Why is Lafrenierre necessary in MTL? Simply because he’s a francophone?

      MTL has handcuffed themselves with their “French speaking” coaching decisions in the past…should stick to getting the best players available. Lafrenierre is scoring at .32ppg…hardly star calibre. Perhaps he’d crumble under the intense MTL pressure?

      • Or maybe he’ll be the steal that Drouin was!

      • I think zero chance NY is willing to give up on Laffrienere.

        But just for the hell of it, what is Montreal sending back? It won’t be Chiarot , Petry or Anderson. Really couldn’t be any player with term and a cap hit over a few million.

        I just can’t see the player Montreal would tempt Drury with to land Laffrienere.

      • Daryl,
        Habs are far from handcuffed when it comes to French speaking coaches and GMs, but I do agree that Lafrenierre isn’t the prospect to be looking at.

        I can see Schneider, Lundkvist as interests.

      • But I still struggle to see what NY’s interest would be from Montreal?

        Don’t think Schneider is available. He’s definitely making a case to be a FT roster player.

        NY’s cap situation next year will just about guarantee they’re not moving most of their cost controlled players.

        Lundkvist could probably be available.

      • Daryl – sorry I am too late, HF30 already responded. The nerve of you suggesting that the Habs have handcuffed themselves by hiring only French speaking coaches – Ducharme’s record was a very impressive 23-46-14 including a 8-30-7 record this year, which qualifies as the worst in team history. He managed to get an entire team to quit on him. But he spoke perfect French! “… should stick to getting the best players available” hmm, you might be on to something – do you speak French?

      • Weird how so many of these francophone coaches hired by Montreal have won or gone on to win a Jack Adams….

      • yes toine sooooo many – last French speaking Habs coach to win Jack Adams was in 1989. Feels like just yesterday. Maybe we should let them get their first coaching gig somewhere else, learn their trade, and then come coach in Montreal, Maybe then we’ll get a better result.

    • Dark G. and Daryl. Lafreniere is 20. Has played a little over 100 games. Ceiling still high. Only way he goes to Montreal is if Suzuki is coming back. Not likely but let’s see if Montreal ends up with #1 pick.

      • Slick62

        Lafreniere – 20 y/o – 104gp 22g 12a 34 pts

        Yakopov – 20 y/o 111gp 28g 27a 55 pts

        Daigle – 20 y/o 110gp 31g 48a 79 pts

        When does NY begin to feel uncomfortable?

      • 3 more recent comparisons – same draft

        Tim Stutzle – 3rd overall – 102gp 24g 32a 56 pts

        Lucas Raymond – 4th overall – 51gp 13g 26a 39 pts

        Jamie Drysdale – 6th overall and a D-man – 77gp 6g 24a 30 pts

        I’m not saying Lafrenière won’t eventually live up to his 1st overall … but again, the question, when do NY fans begin to feel like maybe he won’t?

      • They haven’t exactly helped his development. He’s been stuck on the bottom 6 or stuck on RW. Pretty hard to unseat Panarin or Kreider.

        He’s not going to unseat anyone on the 1st power play which has been lethal.

        He’s playing off wing even strength , and playing on the 2nd pp unit with Chytil, Goodrow who are far less lethal than anyone on the 1st to say the least.

        I wouldn’t exactly hit the panic button just yet.

        Byfield has played 16 nhl games with 1 goal and 1 assist. Not sure Laffrienere wouldn’t have benefited from a slower development approach. Ditto Kakko, ditto Chytil.

        NY missed on Andersson. Possibly Kravstov. Chytil is struggling, Kakko is struggling.

        Not sure they can afford to give up on Laffrienere. But I am starting to wonder how flawed NYs development process and scouting department may be?

        They’ve been great developing goaltenders and defensemen over the years, but not so much with forwards.

        Outside of JT Miller , Kreider , Stepan, Zuccarello and a few others , they’ve swung and missed an awful lot through the years.

      • I figured it had to be something directly related to how he’s been utilized … just don’t see enough of the Rangers to pinpoint it.

        And actually, that makes Daigle’s contributions all that more impressive in that that was a BAD team he joined way back, and it didn’t really matter what lines he played on, or his pp time, because the rest of the roster was totally crap.

        And I suppose we could say the same about Yakopov, since that wasn’t exactly an Oiler juggernaut he played on.

      • Captain, agree on the opportunity and development path.

        Problem is he was drafted during Covid and the junior leagues in Canada were hardly playing at all. Also due to the agreement between NHL and CHL, it was either NHL of CHL for LAF, so AHL not an option. Bad luck for the kid, a stint in the AHL never hurt a guy and might get some of his offensive confidence back.

      • I always forget that dumb rule about North American players. That really needs to change. I think a year or 2 for some of these players, or even a few months would help build confidence.

        I’m really not sure how they get these kids going?

        This team looks very good, but secondary scoring is a major issue. NY can’t possibly think they have a legitimate shot this year without fixing that issue.

        I mean, Didn’t we just see for a decade plus relying too heavily on your goaltender every night is not going to work? Hello there Lundqvist!

        Sheterkin has been amazing, maybe he steals games, maybe he steals a series. But no chance he steals 2-3-4 series on his own.

        And teams will be playing that top 6 hard in every series. Why wouldn’t they? They have nothing to fear on that bottom 6.

      • Captain, I think the Oil and Rags are in a similar position, getting close not quite ready to go all in.
        IMO a trade for a rental would be a mistake for both. They both also have young guys that should improve this season so have some internal fixes and the playoffs should help with that. So next years deadline might be the time to start making aggressive TDL moves.
        Oil need to get a starting tender and the Rags need to sign Strome or find an option at 2C. Both D should improve and both should improve secondary scoring from within. I think they sign Strome if he is reasonable in his demands, don’t understand why they wouldn’t.

  9. All this chatter about the Rangers speculation…have Eliot or LeBrun or Dreger looked at the cap situation next season…$10.6M to sign Strome or a 2C plus extend Kakko and Blais, that’s $8-9M right there then they need a backup goaltender, 2 more forwards and a defenseman. Oh sure Eliot will conjure up a team willing to retain 100% of cap hit just to keep his JT Miller to NYR mirage going…gosh the imaginations are so active.

    • Well, there is also the rentals options out there. They have plenty of space to accommodate 2-3 that won’t interfere with next years cap.

      And hell, how many teams came into this year over the cap, and still are over the cap? Montreal, Tampa, Vegas, Winnipeg, Vancouver, Edmonton , Detroit, Dallas, Washington, Carolina, Pittsburgh all over the cap.

      Maybe NY needs to be more creative with players having itchy skin, health leaves, etc.

    • Maddo. I think they’ll look to trade Nemeth. Maybe Chytil too. That’s another 5mil. Plenty of young prospects that’ll fill spots. Most feel Jones should already be playing ahead of Nemeth.

      • The Nemeth contract hurts and needs to be moved. Georgiev also to go. Miller and Schneider will stay. Miller reminds me of a young Larry Robinson they would be fools to move him . If Strome holds out for more $$ he’s gone. Chytl probably a cap casualty as he’s not a 2C

  10. Not sure if Chara goes or stays but he sure has done wonders for Noah Dobson on the Island.

    I think there are a few teams that could use him for a cup run, not sure it would cost all that much to get him either given where the isles are in the standings.

  11. Oh god no not Chara!!! Once around the mulberry bush is enough he moves slower than Bogwater.

    • While I agree with your assessment, the playoffs are a different kettle of fish that thrive in bog water. When the whistles get thrown away, and they do, players like Chara become mean, feared and effective IMO. I would take him if I were the Leafs and play him on the third pair with Lybushkin. His cap hit is low, and you could bring in a god 2nd pair RD with Muzzins Cap space. I love Sandin and would play him second pair only if Muzzin was not able to come back, because he and Lijgrin (sp) are not quite ready for playoff hockey yet.

  12. No one cares about the KHL. No impact back to the NHL. However, Junior players selected this summer may see a slip in their respective rankings.
    Trying to think ( without cheating) how many Non French speaking captains in Montreal ? Weber Bobby Smith…
    Lidstrom with Detroit was the first Euro captain or non Canadian to win Stanley

  13. Hab captains since 2000
    Pacioretty (American) 3 yrs
    Gionta (American) 4 yrs
    Koivu (Finn)- 9 yrs

    Prior to that,
    Gainey 8 yrs

    Smith was never Captain.

  14. I am surprised there is NO Leaf news on here!
    Leafs are in “pickle”
    GOALTENDING has gone right off the board , Campbell cannot even talk, when interviewed, self esteem has plummeted..
    Their second line and second defense pair is non existent, unless their new addition , Lyubushkin can prove himself, but who does he partner up with.
    Tavares is a total NO show, what do the Leafs do here, with this albatross, mammoth contract, a player whom has totally lost his confidence, skill level has deteriorated.
    This is more than just LTIR, to repair this roster.
    This roster is a mess, not fixable, away too many ‘holes” to be addressed !
    This is not a good picture, Dubais you my as well resign now, because the boom will be lowered in the very not far off future, only so much the board of directors will put up with..
    The play of late is atrocious !

    • Toronto is 6th in the league. +38 goal differential and Tavares has 7 points in his last 9 games? He has 47 points in 49 games. .959 points per game.

      I am not a fan of how Toronto is structured. I’m also not a fan of Tavares contract specifically.

      But what more can you realistically expect here? Am I totally missing something?

      • Totally agree. Geez, go into a bit of a funk for 3 or 4 games in the middle of a long, grueling season and you’d think the bottom was about to fall out. Three quarters of the league would give their eye teeth to be where they are right now.

      • Captain you aren’t missing anything. When they paid JT $11M they screwed up the team for years to come. It created the Mathews and Marner contracts which made holes in the lineup an issue since. They are probably first round losers again to TBay.

    • Good to see Trono being Choke City of the Hockey World!
      They need to trade one of their top 4 salaried players for a top 4 D-man and a scoring winger.

  15. Captain Obvious
    Where the freek do you get your stats from , out of a peanut butter jar ?
    Tavares has 1 goal and 6 assists in his last 12 games
    He hasn’t scored in 11 games !
    Where do you get 7 points in his last 9 games .
    Is this player being mistaken for Sidney Crosby , no contest by the way , other than they both make the same amount of money .
    George , U say a funk 3 or 4 games .’
    Leafs were blown out by thec2 weakest teams in the nhl , montreal and Columbus
    Games they did perform well , the opposition goaltender stood the show .
    My reasoning stands , Leafs have a huge problem , defense, goaltending , Campbell has been away off of his game for sometime now , and he’s not rebounding . Mrazek is Mrazek , a bad overpaid signing

    • A peanut butter jar? Why do so many here resort to being a tool bag when they don’t agree with someone else?

      You may want to check your sources.


      NJ devils game was 9 games ago. February 1st – 22nd .

      If you need help counting points just let me know! Obviously someone needs to help you count.

      Go back 1 extra game he has 9 points in 10 games!

      Feel like an idiot now? Spare me the apology and stick it in your “peanut butter jar” lmao

      • cpt obvious

        review those stats
        no goals in those 5 games and 2 assists

        go back further , u will see my notes are correct
        watching the game against columbus, commentators mentioned Tavares hasn.’t scored in 10 games …
        Tavares is a total bust, Mrazek is another total bust
        11.5 plus 3.5 mil = 15 mil in total blue sky
        There is a SERIOUS problem here, and Campbell is showing hi true colours, not a number 1 goaltender, by any means

      • Look at the stats I just put out for you! 7 assists in last 9 games!

        I guess the commentator gets his stats from a peanut butter jar?

        Wth does that even mean?

  16. Looks like Sweeney’s moving Heaven and earth to try to make this club stronger for the post season, the bruins have secured the services of D Mike Callahan from the coyotes I actually saw this one coming
    I believe this was an E 3 from Eklund, E4 Chiarot to b’s if Ek says it, his word is his bond.

  17. 2021-22 Regular Season
    Tue 2/22
    4-3 OT
    0 1 1 1 0 5 0.0 0 0 0 0 0 0 19:09 19:09
    Mon 2/21
    0 0 0 -2 0 1 0.0 0 0 0 0 0 0 15:04 0:00
    Sat 2/19
    0 1 1 -1 0 1 0.0 0 0 0 0 0 0 15:08 15:08
    Thu 2/17
    0 0 0 0 0 0 0.0 0 0 0 0 0 0 16:13 0:00
    Mon 2/14
    0 1 1 1 0 0 0.0 0 0 0 0 0 0 15:30 15:30
    Sat 2/12
    0 1 1 -1 2 4 0.0 0 1 0 0 0 0 17:53 17:53
    Thu 2/10
    0 1 1 -1 0 5 0.0 0 0 0 0 0 0 18:46 18:46
    Mon 2/7
    4-3 OT
    0 2 2 -1 0 3 0.0 0 1 0 0 0 0 19:51 9:55
    Tue 2/1
    0 0 0 -1 0 4 0.0 0 0 0 0 0 0 15:57 0:00

    tavares stats for february

    o goals and 7 assists

    • 7 points in 9 games!

      Remember this?

      Ken on February 23, 2022 at 9:29 pm
      Captain Obvious
      Where the freek do you get your stats from , out of a peanut butter jar ?
      Tavares has 1 goal and 6 assists in his last 12 games

      Actually, Tavares has 2 goals and 9 assists in his last 12 games.

      Not 7 points in 12 as you got from that peanut butter jar!

      So you’re complaint about a guy with 11 points in his last 12 games?

      What is the expectation here? 3-5 points per game?

  18. I am not a peanut butter fan
    but wow butter is good !
    try it, wow is it really good !

    • Cpt Obvious
      U can’t see the forest for the trees …
      Tavares is a bad player
      2nd pairing defense is brutal
      Starting goaltender is going to the dogs
      There is no backup

      U may not be able to read , understand stats , but Tavares is going no where FAST

      • Well can, as I stated in my first reply. I’m not a fan of how Toronto is structured, nor am I a fan of Tavares contract.

        But 11 points in 12 games and you’re complaining?

        What is that realistic number supposed to be? 2-3–7 points a game? He’s 31 years old and averaging a hair under a point a game.

        What more could you realistically expect?

        How many nhl’ers average a point a game or better?

        Mcdavid went through a 10 game goal drought.

        Gretzky went through a 21 game goal drought.

        It happens!

  19. I will go back to johnny z comment

    Choke city of the hockey world

    55 years and running

    • Well, on the positive side they have a ways to go before catching the Chicago Cubs – after becoming the first team to win consecutive world series in 1907 and 1908 it took them108 years before they won another.

    • Toronto has way too many holes to fill & aren’t built for the playoffs with their butter soft players. I just hope Dubas doesn’t (nor should he be allowed to) unload our top end prospects in an attempt to save his neck. I can see TO out in the 1st round again with their play of late & inconsistent goaltending….am I off base here?

    • What a classic troll move. You lost the argument because, uhm, numbers don’t lie you bring that up? These players have been playing and losing for over 50 yrs now!

      Ken there are 31 other teams you can be a fan of, the Leafs and their fans don’t need you. Bye.

      You, Rick and Pengy might be happier cheering for different teams.

  20. The french thing in Montreal is and will always be there.
    I’m wondering now though if the Rangers aren’t handling Lafrenniere perfectly. There’s zero pressure on the kid. He gets a feel for the NHL on lines 3 or 4 depending and when there’s an injury he moves up. There just haven’t been any injuries. The Rangers are just clicking right now on those top two lines.

    Regarding Chara. He takes up SO much space he doesn’t need his speed on the pk.