NHL Rumor Mill – February 24, 2022
LATEST ON FORSBERG, GAUDREAU AND PAVELSKI
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.
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.
LATEST ON THE CANADIENS, PENGUINS AND COYOTES
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.
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.
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.