NHL Rumor Mill – February 25, 2022

by | Feb 25, 2022 | Rumors | 58 comments

Updates on the Filip Forsberg trade speculation plus the latest on the Canadiens, Kraken, Devils, Leafs and more in today’s NHL rumor mill.


TSN: Darren Dreger reports the position of the Nashville Predators is to sign leading goal scorer Filip Forsberg to a long-term contract extension. The 27-year-old left winger is slated to become an unrestricted free agent this summer.

Nashville Predators winger Filip Forsberg (NHL Images).

Talks between the Predators and the Forsberg camp remain in the preliminary stage, sparking speculation with the March 21 trade deadline less than a month away. Considering teammates Ryan Johansen and Matt Duchene are each earning $8 million annually, Dreger believes Forsberg’s cap hit on a new deal would be north of $8 million.

SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman believes if Forsberg wants to stay in Nashville he’ll have to accept an annual average value below captain Roman Josi’s $9.059 million. He feels there’s enough time and will on both sides to get a deal done but doesn’t discount general manager David Poile trade Forsberg if a deal isn’t reached by March 21.

THE ATHLETIC: Joe Rexrode reports Poile told him he’s not looking to trade Forsberg and doesn’t personally know Bally Sports Midwest’s Andy Strickland, who tweeted out that the Predators were “actively shopping” the winger. Poile said the goal is to re-sign Forsberg and negotiations will continue.

Strickland said he stands by his sources but admits the wording of his text might not have been the best choice, suggesting “due diligence” would be a better phrase.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: As Rexrode pointed out, Strickland has a good record of credible reporting. I don’t doubt Poile is keeping his options open by gauging the market for Forsberg if a deal cannot be reached on a contract extension by March 21. I also believe both sides sincerely want to get this sorted out in the coming weeks.

We must remember that Poile reportedly tested last season’s trade market on defenseman Mattias Ekholm, prompting considerable speculation the long-time Predators blueliner would be moved by the trade deadline. Instead, Ekholm was retained and eventually signed to a new deal.

The difference between Ekholm and Forsberg is the former still had a year remaining on his contract. There’s more urgency to sort out the latter’s contract situation given his UFA status this summer.

I don’t expect Forsberg to be traded today, this weekend or within the next couple of weeks. However, we can’t dismiss the possibility of a trade in the days leading up to March 21.


SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman can see the Philadelphia Flyers getting in on Montreal Canadiens defenseman Jeff Petry. “It makes a lot of sense for them.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I disagree. While Petry would provide experienced right-side depth, he’s 34 and carries a $6.25 million annual cap hit through 2024-25. They’re already paying sidelined right-side blueliner Ryan Ellis, 31, the same amount through 2026-27.

The Flyers also have over $67 million invested in 10 players for 2022-23. Unless they’re clearing an equivalent salary, Petry is a luxury they cannot afford.

TSN: Pierre LeBrun reports the Montreal Canadiens’ new management intends to be “pretty aggressive” in this summer’s free-agent market, which opens on July 13. They still intend to get younger in some parts of their roster but hope to lure a star or two to Montreal as part of their roster transformation. The Canadiens have had difficulty signing UFA stars, but LeBrun suggests that could change if Martin St. Louis stays on as head coach.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Salary-cap space will be an issue for the Canadiens. Cap Friendly shows them with over $79 million invested in 10 players for 2022-23.

They’ll be able to exceed the cap by the equivalent of all-but-retired Shea Weber’s $7.857 million by placing him on long-term injury reserve again next season. Nevertheless, they’ll have to shed a lot more to free up room to add a free agent star or two this summer. Forgive my skepticism, but I’ll believe it when I see it.

LeBrun also reports Seattle Kraken captain Mark Giordano looks like he’ll definitely be changing addresses by the trade deadline. The 38-year-old defenseman has already spoken with Kraken GM Ron Francis and both agreed the club should test the trade market for their captain.

Elliotte Friedman, meanwhile, wonders what the future holds for forward Jared McCann. The Kraken forward is the club’s leading scorer and a year away from UFA eligibility. He also suggested the Kraken’s versatile forward Calle Jarnkrok could be a good fit with the Washington Capitals

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Francis’ priority will be on finding a suitable destination and return for Giordano. Still, I can see him keeping his ears open for any decent offers on McCann and Jarnkrok.

LeBrun reports the New Jersey Devils are aggressively shopping for a goaltender for the remainder of the season. It’s uncertain when Devils starter Mackenzie Blackwood will return from a heel injury that’s sidelined him since late January. LeBrun suggests that might interest the Edmonton Oilers, who are exploring goalie options.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The reason why the Oilers would be interested is they could try to peddle Mikko Koskinen or Mike Smith to the Devils to free up room to pursue a more reliable goalie in the trade market. The best options could be Chicago’s Marc-Andre Fleury or the New York Islanders’ Semyon Varlamov, but both carried limited no-trade clauses that could include the Oilers on their no-go lists.


SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman reports the Toronto Maple Leafs have talked to the Vancouver Canucks about J.T. Miller. However, he thinks they’re not done tinkering with their blueline and could be considering goalie options. They had conversations with the Dallas Stars about defenseman John Klingberg and could revisit those talks.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Leafs can exceed the salary cap by the equivalent of sidelined blueliner Jake Muzzin’s $5.625 million cap hit after placing him on long-term injury reserve. However, they must become cap compliant if he returns to action before the end of the regular season. Leafs GM Kyle Dubas has a history of salary-cap acrobatics to bolster his roster so it’ll be interesting to see what he does here.

Friedman doesn’t get the sense that anything’s imminent regarding a trade of Flyers captain Claude Giroux. He does expect Giroux’s teammate, Rasmus Ristolainen, could be moved.

The Los Angeles Kings contacted the Canucks in search of scoring. GM Rob Blake would prefer paying less than the second and third-rounder he parted with for Viktor Arvidsson.

Friedman believes the New York Rangers looked at Buffalo’s Victor Olofsson. However, he’s a restricted free agent and Friedman doubts they can afford to re-sign him.


  1. I share Lyle’s skepticism on the Habs, but I don’t think salary cap space will be an issue. There will be veterans who will be moved – Drouin, Petry, Armia for example. The bigger problem would be getting top stars to sign with them. There are a couple of prominent French Canadian UFAs this summer – Letang and Giroux. The new management and coach will help, but I don’t think guys like that would want to sign up for a rebuild at this stage of their careers.

    • I could potentially see Letang signing , he has a connection with Hughes and has couple of cup rings but I would be surprised to see Giroux sign in Montreal. Being a French Canadien and playing in Montreal comes with a lot of pressure.

      • Giroux is not french Canadien, even if his name sounds like it.

      • Claude Julien,

        Claude Giroux is in fact French Canadian, born to French parents in the French town of Hearst, Ont.

        You’re conflating French Canadian with Quebecois.

    • Howard,
      Which UFA would you like to see on the Habs that are relevant players now, not yesterday.

      Who is available to move the needle over the next few years of a rebuild?

      Kotkaniemi? 🙂

      • Kotkaniemi May not be a UFA. Likely won’t be.

        Their primary need right now is an under 30 puck moving D-man who can provide offense. Hampus Lindholm would be my first choice. Rasmus Ristoleinen might be okay as well.

    • I can see Covid 19 mandates and attendance limitations being a huge issue for signing any UFA without guarantees which Hugh’s can’t make, so the thought of a list UFA’s lining up for the Hab’s would be a short one.

      • @Howard

        Ristoleinen has been on one bad team after another. I can’t see him signing as a UFA in Montreal after they finished the season in the basement.
        Can likely say the same for Lindholm

  2. Would the Devils take on Koskinen for a 3 month rental? Sure, but they are not giving anything ov value back, and probably looking for something in return. Devils goal tending is an injury mess right now. This year, again, is sunk, so need to give up futures for a rental. Let the kids learn….

  3. LeBrun reports the Montreal Canadiens’ new management intends to be “pretty aggressive”. Does he have a source for this other than his own conjecture? This stinks of Hughes used to be a player agent and therefore he’s a good bet to sign UFA stars.

    • I think it might be more related to if St. Louis stays as Head Coach, him attracting UFA players as he is perceived as a “players coach”.

      • I dont have the pedigree to have played in the NHL, but St Louis would not get me to sign in Montreal unless the team was great, how can he be viewed as a players coach, he hasnt coached? Cooper in Tampa is a different ballgame

  4. Jake Debrusk refused to answer questions if he still wanted to be traded and said he doesn’t want to be a distraction to the team.

    If you wanted to stay you wouldn’t be a distraction.
    Debrusk who was at 7 goals three games ago now sits at 11.

    Hopefully he continues to produce leading up to the tdl and improve on the asset(s) in return.

    • Caper Re: DeBrusk. He is on an 82 game pace of 19.6 goals. Most guys don’t play 82, so say 18 goals as DeBrusk has been reasonably healthy in his career. And he has done this multiple times in his career.

      The last time the NHL had a full season 42 LW’s scored 18 or more goals. DeBrusk had 27 that year, 21st for LW’s. The next year’s shortened he had 19 in 65. That tied him for 32 among LW’s. Struggled last year. This year he is tied for 46th. So 2nd line goal production, playing predominantly on 3rd line.

      Looks like a 2nd line LW goal producer to me as that is what 2nd line wingers produce and last year is the outlier not the norm. No need to trade him unless you like the return better, or qualify him. He won’t be that over paid, and if you can get him going up the lineup on his off wing, his AAV is totally within the range and he is in his prime years.

      I am only guessing, but he is blocked on the LW by 2 all stars in Hall and Marchand, work him in on RW and keep him if that is his issue. If he still wants a trade and he keeps producing, you will get something for him in off season when more teams involved.

      • Pengy

        Hopefully Rutherford still likes Pettersson and we can somehow swing a deal with him.

    • Ray my concern would be; Debrusk has not been a distraction and likes his teammates. He’s been solid in his composure.

      He still wants out and is playing for the March 21st trade deadline. What happens March 22nd and he is still a Bruin, will he continue the way he is now or will he be upset and not perform?

      • Only one that can answer that is DeBrusk unfortunately Caper.

        I think he will be fine because he is playing on a playoff team with guys he knows well and would assume likes. Players seem to like playing in Boston, they treat their players well by all accounts and are ahead of the curve in that regard. Most recent guy to say that was Gorton when talking about what the Habs need to do off the ice.

        Not like he is in the gulag, he should be able to deal with it with not that much effort. Play for your team mates as well. Plus he will be playing for a contract as he can go to arbitration this off season and next, then a UFA I think?

        He’ll be fine IMO.

  5. Capfriendly reports the Bruins with just over $5m in deadline cap space, throw in Debrusk cap and that pushes it over $8.7

    Having the cap space is nice; however if your looking at a big ticket, this would mean your going to pay a big price.

    Boston is not a cup contender; don’t be parting with assets for a ufa.

    JT Miller should be the target, with one year remaining and more often then not we see players extend with the team they were traded to.

    It will be expensive and ultimately Sweeney will have to decide if it’s to expensive.

    Still need a LD with grit.

  6. Re Muzzin…. as Lyle put… Leafs will need to be cap compliant on his return… hope he is back soon and have full confidence he is back by end of season

    Leafs moves in season need to be player swaps… no futures (prospects/picks) given up

    Cup window realistically is June ‘23 and June ‘24… smart and longer term moves in summer should be the focus, including moving away from 1/2 Cap spent on 4 Fwds

    Re McCann….Pens would love him

    Beating a dead horse again… but a 7th rounder (next year BTW) and a player that will be (at best) a career AHLer (currently 14 points and -5… 40 games… WBS)…. was a big loss in trade… Topsk in scoring and points for Krakken and 82 game pace for 36 goals… at 2.9 M cap hit!!!

    AND that move allowed Leafs to give up zero roster players (that they had prior to trade) to Krakken… so I’m happy for Leafs

    Basically Pens gave Krakken Turbo and McC… and got diddly squat back

    HexBurkie likely could have offered Turbo AND McC directly in expansion…. if Krakken also took Zucker… Pens would be where they are now; AND would have had $5.5 M in space…. that space could be well utilized

    • @Pengy

      I’m going to have to disagree with your assertion about the Leafs “Cup window”

      They’re currently 6th overall. You don’t just fold your tents and pack up the season because you’re not the favourite. Remember a few years ago when Tampa ran away with the President’s trophy and were swept in round one? An upgrade at 2LW and on D would be nice.

      The Leafs should keep Muzzin on LTIR until the playoffs. Utilizing his cap space they could revamp their team with a trade to SEA. Trading Holl and Dermott would free up cap space too.

      Giordano, Soucy, And Jarnkrok would be ideal fits in TOR

      • Not sure you fold you tents either Daryl, because they have Matthews for only a few more years, same as EDM’s situation with McDavid. But when I read your post I decided to do a quick look and see how often a 6th seed or worse in their conference wins the cup, as you mention somebody who didn’t, but not who does.

        Since 2000 the answer is 1; the LA Kings, finished 8th. And rolled through the playoffs.

        If you go 4 or worse the answer is 2, add in St Louis in 2019. They were 1 pt out of 3rd, and 2 pts out of 2nd.

        I would check my count as I burned through it fast, but you get the jist.

        So is it possible, yep. Is it likely, not even close.

        Will a significant trade help that cause, maybe. But those are expensive, usually in quality future assets, so is it a good idea? Depends on the team and the player I suppose.

        So I get Pengy’s point.

      • Hi Daryl

        No worries… we agree to disagree

        Is there a chance Leafs could win the cup this year…. It is not impossible…. But very close to

        The 6th place is not the issue… the hurdles (teams they have to win series against) is IMHO

        I just can’t see Leafs beating BOTH FLA teams in a series; then beat Canes; then beat Knights or Avs

        They might get a series win… all 4…. To me …. Just too much of a long odds

        I’m certainly not saying at all to fold up their cards…. Just do player for player swaps or only give up futures (prospects or picks) for players with term…. So they can be there next year

        I certainly hope I’m wrong, and perhaps I will be proven wrong…. I’d be very very happy to be wrong… I just couldn’t bet on Leafs to win the cup this year no matter how good the odds provided are

        Fingers crossed that I‘m wrong

    • Pengy
      Hate to rain in your parade
      Muzzin is too slow
      As is Tavares ..
      Both Ritchie facsimiles
      Almost 17 mil in lost cap space

      • @Ray Bark

        The Leafs are 6th overall in the league. I believe that LA was the 8th seed in the Western Conference the year they won the Cup…

        Leafs don’t need to swing for the fences and deplete their prospect pool…but this LTIR space is a gift they can’t pass by

        @Ray Bark

        Tavares is nearly a point per game player this year. He’s in a bit of a slump.
        He’s never been a great skater…

        Stop dumping on the Leafs and Tavares…plenty of teams were prepared to pay more when he was available as a UFA

      • I stand corrected Daryl. Almost think I would have checked before I went through the other effort of seeing where the winners finished?

        Especially since I have been saying the Leafs are a really good team for the last 2 months!

        Ya, give er if the Leafs. Kind of have too. Tough part is that they are in the Div from hell.

        I think you mean Ken below on 2nd part. And on Tavares, the Isles reportedly offered more to keep him in NY.

      • Hi Ken

        No challenge re your assertion on JT and Muzzin not being fleet of foot… I still am a supporter of JM

        JT still ~ PPG player

        He’s with Leafs until he asks for a trade… and I don’t see that happening for the next 2 or 3 years

  7. LeBrun is becoming Engels light. I think the Habs should be patient and do the rebuild professionaly not pationately. The Hab fanbase has enough passion for the whole league.

    It was good and a little surprising to see Lyle skeptical of anything to do with the Habs.

    • Agree OBD….Habs a great and storied franchise… professional (prudent, long term focused, strategic ) rebuild …. sans passion/speed/quick fix rebuild

    • Why surprising? You seem his petry take?

    • @Ray Bark

      Sorry. I meant to direct the second part of my other post towards Ken.

  8. The Team 1200 was being pretty matter-of-fact about the Habs situation(s) this morning. From some terrible TERRIBLE contracts that they still owe boatloads of money on, to free agents genuinely not wanting to sign there—-to a four game winning streak that suddenly has fans in re-tool mode rather than re-build mode.

    Yes. It’s been painful in Ottawa. But, mostly it’s being done the right way. I still think we’re one new owner away from getting it done right.

  9. Blake wants a scorer for less than a 2nd & 3rd? That’s not happening.

    I don’t see Miller going anywhere unless an offer blows the socks off JR.

    • Hi Gordie

      Re “I don’t see Miller going anywhere unless an offer blows the socks off JR.”

      Agree…. But you know Jimbo loves Zucker…. just sayin’….he says tongue ‘n cheek… LOL

      Pens could throw in a 7th (‘23) and Hallander …. as those two apparently are worth McCann (per HexBurkie)

      …. Pens 1st + McCann (so 7th (‘23) and Hallander ) + Zucker…. for Miller…. LOL… is it MLK day… I have a dream…

      • You might get Garland if anyone or possibly Schenn but he’s cheap & good value.

        JR is fishing during the assessment phase while Allvin gets up to speed. Gauging the market & trying to get bidding wars going or nothing significant will occur.

      • Hi Gordie…Pens would benefit quite a bit with Schenn in (replacing Ruhweedel)

        Much better player, smarter player, waaaa y stronger, 3” taller and almost 40 lbs heavier, better production…. Only 6 months older; and only $100 K per more…. what’s the ask?

  10. Edmonton deals would have to be in sync . Varlamov for a 3 rd and Lavoie
    Koskinen and Yamamoto for Mukhamadullin. That name bar cost would be highest in the league and would go elbow to elbow

    Ristolainen for Petry with a conditional pick to resigning .

    • Interesting proposals S7, for efficiency purposes just include Koskinen in the first one for Varlamov.

      Mukmadullin looks like a promising prospect, but if your trading future for the right now of Varlamov, need to keep Yamamoto. Can do it in the off season and Holloway will be closer to ready.

      Mukmadullin looks like a guy with attributes you keep unless your blown away.

  11. There is a press conference today regarding Price. My guess is he will be shutdown for this season. I think it is extremely likely he is ‘all but retired’ meaning the Habs will have LTIR of 10.5 million to play with. We’ll see what the presser says but that and deadline trades will go a long way to free up cap space for the Habs….

  12. The Pens defensive zone coverage was pitiful last night against the Devils. They need to bring in at least 1, maybe 2 guys on defense to have any hope in the playoffs. Maybe look into someone like de Haan, Cole,Lindholm, Soucy or Demelo.

    • Hi sjpp

      Soucy….fantastic idea

      Yes to DeHaan , Lindholm , or DeMelo

      I don’t think Cole would be the right move… was right a few years ago; not now

  13. I still don’t know why CF keeps showing next seasons Habs under contract at 10 players. I still count 17 under contract. Their cap hell isnt as bad as it seems.

    • I’ve been wondering about that too Bruinsfan. I see commitments to these 17: Gallagher, Anderson, Hoffman, Armia, Byron, Caufield, Suzuki, Evans, Poehling, Petry, Drouin, Dvorak, Savard, Edmundson, Allen, Weber, Price + Alzner ($833,333 in dead cap).

      Adding up all the foregoing cap hits they have $79,766.309 invested, leaving (at $81.5 max) leaving just $2,733,691 to sign 6. They have 7 RFAs to re-up (Lehkonen, Pitlick, Pezzetta, Romanov, Clague, Schueneman, Montembeault), to go along with these 7 UFAs to either re-sign or find replacements for: Paquette, Dauphin, Chiarot, Kulak, Wideman, Hammond, Pereault.

      Of course, there will be savings through LTIR (e.g. Weber, Price, Edmundson?) and some of those RFAs are likely ticketed for Laval.

      Maybe Lyle can shed some light on why CapFriendly keeps showing just 10 cap commitments.

      • it does not count the guys who are on IR ; LTIR ; NHLPA P on the other hand it does count their cap hit

      • 16 players on 1 way contracts + Caufield on a 2 way ; 1.728 cap space against the current salary cap to fill the roster but they recoup 7.857 when Weber goes back on LTIR and 10.5 of the used $ goes against Price’s contract so if he goes on LTIR that would be 18,357 to play with not to mention $ saved on buyouts or $ gained if roster players are traded to lesser valued players, prospects on entry level contract or draft picks. In other words they will have coin to spend.

  14. Rangers interested in Olofson? Jeeeez. The one thing they don’t need is a LW! Or one that can play RW like they already have been doing. This was mentioned yesterday in regards to Forsborg. And before him JT, DeBrusk, E Kane, Garland, etc 2 rentals I can see to NYR. Kessel and Rakkel

    • Rakkel can finish and would help the 2nd powerplay unit. Some of the younger forwards are playing well but never score. Time to give them someone who can

    • Miller plays 1st line center in Vancouver, not left wing. I can’t help but think Miller would make that 2nd pp unit much better. Garland is playing 1st line RW with Miller at center.

      I mean, my grandmother may be an upgrade over Chytil?

      I’ve read NY has interest in Mark Scheifele. This definitely would be the kiss of death to Strome, but he or Miller would be great replacements on that 2nd line.

      • I don’t watch Vancouver but if Muller is 1st line center, then where’s Pettersson and Horvat playing? I don’t doubt Miller is playing center, but would that put Strome at RW. Garland listed as RW. Didn’t realize that. Read a few weeks back that Schiefele wasn’t happy. Would be a great pick without a huge cap hit and only 2 more years

      • Miller is playing LW with Horvat as center and Boeser as right wing. Garland played with Pettersson last game

      • Looking at his game log, he appears to be moved around. But last 2 games he’s taken 34 face offs.

        Prior 3 games 11 total.

        Prior 3 to that, 49 face offs.

        So it appears he’s playing more than a fair share of his time at center.

        By way of comparison, Strome has taken 575 face offs.

        Zibanejad 821.

  15. What kind of Mickey Mouse organization names a 38 year old player, who they’ll trade at the deadline, their first captain in team history? Embarrassing beyond belief, yet you could see it coming for miles.

    • This is so true. What a disaster so far in Seattle. Yes they have plenty of cap space – but who wants to go there? Francis screwed up big time.

      • Just a tad early for that isn’t it boys? GM’s learned their lesson from Vegas, and weren’t going to make that mistake again.
        So you think he should have chosen different players I assume. Any details on what you guys would have done differently? I know the B’s and Oil well, he got the same guy I would have taken if it was me.

        Vegas were able to use their cap and acquire, Patches, Stone and Martinez but started in a better place to compete immediately. Francis didn’t have the same opportunity so took a different approach, but can still use when the opportunities come that make sense for them. But he likely waits as he builds a younger core.

        That Carolina team seemed to be set up to compete for long time after he left. Maybe Seattle will too in a few years. I will wait until then to judge.

        I didn’t like the Graubaur signing, but he needed a vet tender and there weren’t many available.

  16. I don’t care who they named captain but Seattle is turning into a dump last time there was one scary place downtown. Their next captain should be a younger long term player.

    • I do think they drafted poorly, they could have had Tarasenko, Kuznetsov as well as taking a shot on Landeskog, Domi and Ryan Johansen. Instead, they took a bunch of 3rd liners… guys like Eberle and Schwartz are not going to do much for a team if they are the horses. They drafted old guys like Mark Giordano, on 1-year deals, who they are going to to trade in their first season – seriously what kind of silly team makes a guy who’s a half year rental the first captain in franchise history? Also, they hired a poor coach. Seems like it’s clown-time with Ron Francis and the Kraken.

      • Fair enough Brock, but all those guys have big tickets and weren’t performing at the time of the draft. Which is more than likely why they were exposed.
        Tarasenko, coming off his 3rd shoulder surgery and wasn’t even playing. Plenty of teams could have trade for him. Dunn was the right call.
        Landeskog was about to become a UFA, I would bet they spoke to him, because they had a week, but it appears he wanted to stay in COL. Can’t say I blame him. Donskoi right choice.
        Domi overpaid, and is still trade bait. But sure a better choice.
        Johansen, 22 pts in 48 last year on an $8M ticket for 4 more years. No thanks. I would have taken Jarnkrok. Still would. Better value.

        Gio, can still play, wanted a leader, got one.
        Was there much else on CGY?

        Would they be a better team this year, obviously.
        Playoff team? Maybe? But barely if so.

        Cap space sweet FA. Odds of sustained future success about the same, nada.


        Just a different opinion, all good.

      • Donskoi’s one goal season, what a factor!