NHL Rumor Mill – February 4, 2022
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I underwent surgery on Thursday to repair tendon damage in my right wrist. I will attempt to provide daily updates to the site as usual during my 10-14 day convalescence but my usual comments on notable headlines and trade/free agent rumors could be shorter and fewer. Some of you will probably be thankful for that (insert wink emoji here). Anyway, please bear with me if uploads are a little later than usual over the next week or two.
Now, on to today’s rumors…
WHAT WILL HAPPEN WITH GIROUX?
PHILLY.COM: Giana Han, Olivia Reiner and Gus Elvin recently broke down the Philadelphia Flyers roster. In their opinion, this club needs to do more than retool its roster but that could depend on what happens with captain Claude Giroux.
Giroux is due to become an unrestricted free agent this summer. The 34-year-old carries a full no-movement clause. Flyers general manager Chuck Fletcher recently said it’s Giroux’s decision whether he wants to stay or go by the March 21 trade deadline.
A life-long Flyer, Giroux has indicated in the past his desire to finish his career in Philadelphia. Given the club’s current plight, however, the opportunity to play for a Stanley Cup contender could be hard to pass up. The Flyers would likely recoup a first-round pick and a top prospect for him.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Giroux will draw lots of interest from playoff contenders if he agrees to waive his NMC before March 21. Daily Faceoff’s Mike McKenna suggested he could help the Calgary Flames as a second- or third-line center.
The club’s untouchables include goaltender Carter Hart, 21-year-olds Joel Farabee and Cam York, and veterans Sean Couturier and Ryan Ellis. Likely to return are Cam Atkinson, Scott Laughton, James van Riemsdyk and Kevin Hayes.
Ivan Provorov, Travis Konecny, Travis Sanheim and Oskar Lindblom have had ups and downs over the past two seasons. They’re signed beyond this season and while they could be traded their youth and potential suggests they’ll be retained.
LATEST BLUES SPECULATION
THE ATHLETIC: Jeremy Rutherford was asked if St. Louis Blues winger Vladimir Tarasenko still wants to be traded in a recent mailbag segment. His understanding of the situation is it will be addressed in the offseason. It’s believed his request still stands but it makes little sense trading him now as he and the team are playing well.
Rutherford was also asked about the trade market for defensemen. He indicated the Blues have scouted Montreal Canadiens defenseman Ben Chiarot and Anaheim Ducks blueliner Hampus Lindholm. They’ve also faced Seattle Kraken rearguard Mark Giordano twice this season. Arizona Coyotes defenseman Jakob Chychrun is also available but will be expensive to acquire.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Tarasenko’s not going anywhere this season unless things go very wrong for the winger and the Blues before the trade deadline. It’ll be easier to move him this summer if he still wants to go because his actual salary for next season is $5.5 million.
Any attempt to acquire Chychrun could depend upon whether Tarasenko will still be with the Blues next season. The Coyotes winger carries an affordable $4.6 million annual cap hit but it could prove a tight fit squeezing him into their cap payroll if Tarasenko is still around.
CAN THE AVALANCHE AFFORD KADRI?
NBC SPORTS: James O’Brien wondered if the Colorado Avalanche will sign Nazem Kadri to a new contract before he becomes eligible for unrestricted free agent status this summer. The 31-year-old center is enjoying a career-best season thus far, sitting tied with Edmonton’s Connor McDavid for third place in the NHL scoring race with 60 points in 41 games.
O’Brien points out the Avalanche has over $26 million in cap space for next season. While they could squeeze in a big raise for him, they also have long-term considerations such as re-signing superstar Nathan MacKinnon before his contract expires in 2023. He expects Kadri will seek a big raise, pointing out he recently changed agents.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kadri will seek much more than the current $4.5 million annual cap hit on his current contract. Given his age, the Avs won’t want to pay too much or for too long. He’s likely going to hit the open market if his asking price is north of $6 million annually for more than four years.