NHL Rumor Mill – February 24, 2022

by | Feb 24, 2022 | Rumors | 28 comments

Check out the latest on Filip Forsberg, Johnny Gaudreau and Joe Pavelski plus updates on the Canadiens and Penguins in today’s NHL rumor mill.


BALLY SPORTS MIDWEST’s Andy Strickland tweeted yesterday the Nashville Predators “are actively shopping superstar Filip Forsberg.”

Nashville Predators winger Filip Forsberg (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I’m sure we’ll see other pundits and insiders later today weighing in on this. As of this morning, there’s no indication as to which teams the Predators are talking to regarding the 27-year-old winger, who’s slated to become an unrestricted free agent this summer.

Forsberg’s popped up at times this season in the rumor mill. With the Predators in a playoff spot, the assumption was they’d stick with him as an “own rental”. He leads them with 26 goals in 38 games and sits third in points with 44.

This seems to be an unusual move for a club in postseason contention. It would signal contract extension talks have completely broken down. Forsberg would draw considerable interest from postseason contenders seeking additional scoring punch and could fetch a significant return for the Predators.

CALGARY HOCKEY NOW: Steve Macfarlane cites Flames assistant general manager Craig Conroy yesterday telling Sportsnet 960 saying a contract extension for Johnny Gaudreau is “a done deal”. The 28-year-old left winger is a UFA this summer and leads the Flames with 64 points in 49 games.

That’s a done deal. We’re going to get that done. We’ll get that done,” said Conroy. He added he doesn’t know when that will happen, adding he has to talk with Gaudreau’s agent.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: As Macfarlane observed, Conroy’s remark was off-the-cuff and doesn’t appear to be confirmation that a deal has indeed been negotiated for Gaudreau. The winger and Flames GM Brad Treliving both said they wouldn’t discuss the contract talks with the media.

Prior to this season, Gaudreau frequently indicated his willingness to remain with the Flames. Doing so, however, will be expensive. His current annual average value is $6.75 million. On pace to exceed 100 points this season, he could command between $9 million and $10 million on a seven- or eight-year extension.

Cap Friendly indicates the Flames have $54.45 million invested in 12 players for next season. They must also re-sign Matthew Tkachuk, Andrew Mangiapane and Oliver Kylington. Tkachuk could also be in line for over $9 million annually. They’ll have to shed some salary in the offseason to accommodate those signings.

SPORTSNET: Appearing on The Jeff Marek Show (stick tap to NHL Watcher), Elliotte Friedman believes the Dallas Stars will attempt to sign Joe Pavelski to a contract extension. The 37-year-old forward is a UFA this summer.

Friedman said Pavelski is receptive to staying in Dallas. He plays alongside young forwards Jason Robertson and Roope Hintz, who are a key part of the Stars’ future.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Depending on Pavelski’s asking price and what the Stars do with John Klingberg, I can see him spending another two seasons in Dallas. He’s still an effective and productive player whose leadership is valued by the Stars.


WASHINGTON HOCKEY NOW: Sammi Silber wondered if the Capitals could have Montreal Canadiens forward Artturi Lehkonen on their radar. She cited Daily Faceoff’s Frank Seravalli recently reporting the Capitals seek a “jack of all trades” forward to take pressure off young forwards such as Connor McMichael, suggesting the Canadiens forward as an option.

Silber also noted an RDS report last week claiming the Canadiens had an interest in Capitals goaltender Ilya Samsonov. Moving him, however, would leave the Caps seeking an experienced netminder who can play with consistency.

TSN: Chris Johnston (stick tap to NHL Watcher) reports Canadiens defenseman Ben Chiarot is someone the Toronto Maple Leafs have made at least some calls to Montreal.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Chiarot is expected to be the next player traded by the Canadiens because of his UFA status. With the Leafs allowed to exceed the salary cap by roughly the equivalent of Jake Muzzin’s $5.625 million cap hit when the blueliner was placed on LTIR, that gives them the wiggle room to acquire someone like the Habs blueliner.

Lehkonen is a restricted free agent with arbitration rights who’s also a year away from UFA eligibility. The Canadiens could ship him out before the March 21 trade deadline if the two sides fail to agree on a long-term extension.

PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE: Mike DeFabo examined the Penguins’ roster needs and the possible trade targets and assets they could move.

The Penguins could use a reliable backup goaltender. Possible rental goalies could include Vancouver’s Jaroslav Halak, Dallas’ Braden Holtby, Detroit’s Thomas Greiss and Columbus’ Joonas Korpisalo.

DeFabo also feels they could use a bigger, stronger body on defense, suggesting Philadelphia’s Justin Braun or Detroit’s Marc Staal as trade options. Given the Penguins’ limited trade assets and cap space, he doesn’t see them pursuing big-ticket blueliners like Dallas’ John Klingberg, Anaheim’s Hampus Lindholm or Seattle’s Mark Giordano. He also suggested the Ducks’ Rickard Rakell as a trade target to add a big-bodied scoring forward.

Trade assets could include wingers Kasperi Kapanen and Jason Zucker. Their production with the Penguins has been mixed. DeFabo suggested trying to move expensive left-handed defensemen Mike Matheson and Marcus Pettersson. They could also attempt to move Pierre-Oliver Joseph.

PITTSBURGH HOCKEY NOW: Dan Kingerski believes the Penguins could use some help among their middle-six forwards. His suggested trade targets include Columbus’ Max Domi, Philadelphia’s James van Riemsdyk, Vancouver’s Brock Boeser, Montreal’s Artturi Lehkonen and Seattle’s Jared McCann.

Of these, Kingerski believes former Penguin McCann to be the most likely candidate. If not for the Seattle expansion draft last summer, he’d still be in Pittsburgh.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Zucker’s on LTIR and even if he returns before the trade deadline I doubt he’ll draw much interest if he’s put on the trade block. His declining production makes him a tough sell.

Kapanen could be enticing but his inconsistency hurts his trade value. Joseph could be a worthwhile trade chip but they’ll probably have to package him with a decent draft pick to get a quality return.

The contracts of Matheson and Pettersson could be difficult to move this season. Those moves would probably have to be made in the offseason. Even then, they won’t be easy to move because of the length of those deals. Both earn over $4 million annually but Matheson has four years left on his deal while Pettersson has three.

Forget about seeing van Riemsdyk or Boeser suiting up for the Penguins. However, I think McCann, Lehkonen or Domi are doable, though the Blue Jackets would have to retain a healthy chunk of the remainder of Domi’s $5.3 million cap hit.

I also wouldn’t rule out the Penguins pursuing an affordable and experienced backup goalie. Landing former Capital Holtby would certainly be intriguing but I don’t think the Stars will part with him. Greiss or Korpisalo could be more likely options.


  1. Hey, George! Buy me a beer if my tongue-in-cheek Chiarot to Leafs proposal from yesterday happens?

    • LOL. I will do that. And hey, getting Chiarot in Muzzin’s spot would be a vast improvement for that Leafs D. But what the heck would the Habs want from the Leafs that they are willing to relinquish?

      • If not my proposal from yesterday then Matthew Knies would get it done.

  2. The Jackets have quite a bit of open cap space and Jarmo has stated that he’d be willing to use it as part of a trade for the right assets. Maybe that will mean retaining some of Domi’s salary.

    • Can’t see the Leafs giving up Knies for Chiarot.

      Chiarot’s advanced stats aren’t that great. There are better players available. He’s also a lefty that can play the right side instead of a natural right hander.

      If the Leafs want to replace Muzzin they could target Soucy from SEA and still have money left over to upgrade at LW.

      Severson from NJ would be a nice upgrade on Holl as would Braun from PHI.

      Lots of options if Muzzin on LTIR until playoffs

      • Can’t see or hope not ? Those are two different things. Canadiens are apparently more interested in young prospects than 1st round picks and if alot of teams are interested in Chiarot that might just be the price to pay. Chiarot was a big part with Weber and Edmundson of why the Habs went so far last year, tight and physical defense.

  3. And a bit of encouraging news re pending UFA Nick Paul in Ottawa reported this morning by Garrioch who says “the winger remains confident he’ll sign an extension to stay with the organization”

    • @Mike Pilon

      I hope not.

      In last season’s playoffs the Leafs outshot Montreal by 41 when Chiarot was on the ice.
      He’s also prone to taking dumb penalties.

      There are much better options out there. Would he really move the needle that much in TOR?

  4. Forsberg to the Sens is an interesting thought. We’ve “heard” they have interest in Brannstrom. But, expensive. Expensive to trade for him then you have to sign him. And that money is then tied up and unavailable to some of their more expensive future re-signs.

    If you could get them to take a package of Colin White, our first this year, Brannstrom. That Tomassino kid is intriguing too.

    • Dark G, any trade of their 1st would need to be conditional – i.e., Top 10 protected, as this is a deep draft where the consensus Top 10 are considered a bit above average, and who knows where Ottawa lands in the draft order! I’d hate to see them offer up their 1st – and then see that become # 1 overall. For someone they might not even be able to re-sign.

      • Im not being a contrarian george – but I’ve heard the exact opposite of this draft. To the point that people arent even sure that Wright should go first. And there’s not much consensus on who the rest of the first five are or what order they’ll go. I find it hard to believe Shane won’t go first over all. But he’s not a generational talent. He’s a Ryan O’Reilley. I know. It would be nice to have that pick. But at some point you have to go with the prospects in system and start to move forward.
        Let me see if I can find the articles I read on this draft being all over the place.

      • No, I understand that Dark G. And please do find the links because I’m having a helluva time trying to get a firm handle on the picks.

        I do recall reading that, before the start of the Major Junior season, there were conflicting thoughts as to whether Wright should hold his No. 1 rating, but once they saw him in action again, he was back being the top choice.

        Here’s one site, at least, that still believes it’s a deep draft, with Wright still # 1


      • George , I believe that if the pick is 1 thur 5 they will keep it if not they will use it in a package for a top 6 forward. Could be Forsberg , could be Fiala could be someone else but I would not expect a trade until the playoffs are done.

      • That sounds reasonable. Fiala would be really intriguing. I still think Tierney winds up in Minny at or before TD … but certainly not involving Fiala at this stage. Probably for someone like Greenway.

      • that is likely wishful thinking on Greenway, he recently signed a nice 3 year extension. He is an important piece on their team. Tierney would likely fetch a 3rd or 4th or B prospect time will tell.

      • Unless it’s Tierney and something else significant. One thing is certain – Minnesota has to move at least 2 higher-cost commodities before next season because they take a huge cap hit on those buy-outs that kick in then. And for several years to come.

  5. I believe both Tkachuk and Johnny will take a little less each for the good of the whole. Not a lot less but not 9.5 – $10 m either . Money will be saved on Monahan potentially Lucic moving forward .

    • Have you seen how the Tkachucks negotiate?

      I can’t see him leaving anything on the table.

    • SS

      I’ve already sort of slotted Tkachuk on a line with Robert Thomas and Jordan Kyrou for next season!?!?


    • @GeorgeO

      Couple of players from the Sens I’d love to see on the Leafs.

      What would it take to get Connor Brown back?

      What would it take to pry Artem Zub from the Sens?

      • You can have Brown AND Zaitsev back.

    • Well George, I was wrong. Apparently this is deep draft, better than last year. Coulda sworn I’d heard the opposite.

  6. I. Just Hope of the Fillmore Weekly Free Press reports that Brent Kulak is rumoured to the Leafs for a 3rd round pick.

  7. I think Forsberg would be the perfect rental for NYR.
    But I think this “leak of info” is just a ploy by the Preds to help their negotiations on his new contract.

    • Forsberg is a LW. Bit of a logjam at left wing already no?

      Rw, LD and center (depth) should be on the wish list.

      Not sure how comfortable Forsberg is on his off side. But I certainly wouldn’t give up assets for that experiment.

      • He has played all 3 forward positions early in his career. There is that. I hear his fiancé is a singer/songwriter and probably will not move from Nashville.

  8. If Habs want Samsonov as part of a Lehkonen deal but that leaves the Caps wanting an experienced goalie, maybe Lehkonen & Allen for Samsonov + ?? can be a larger deal?

  9. Washington Caps Goaltender of the Future
    is Ilya Samsonov, he is very young at 25 year old with a big up side.

    I can see them trading Vitek Vanecek for a pick or a hockey trade to help them in the playoffs

    Really would not be surprised to see the Caps bring back Holltby from the Dallas Stars.🤔

    Dallas dont look like they are going to make the playoffs,
    There are 6 teams are fighting for the final 2 spots in the West…, 7th & 8th…… 6 teams all wanting 2 spots
    1-Kings, 2-Preds, 3-Ducks, 4-Canucks, 5-Jets 6-Oiler,
    if the oilers trade soon enough for a goaltender they will get in….❓ if not they are out
    TheSharks are only a few point out but look weak

    Sorry Dallas just dont have the right mix this year in the Western conference


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