Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – February 13, 2022
TRADE RUMOR TIDBITS FROM SATURDAY’S “32 THOUGHTS” SEGMENT
SPORTSNET: Jeff Marek believes the Vancouver Canucks could have an interest in Pavel Zacha. The 24-year-old New Jersey Devils forward is a restricted free agent this summer and is a year away from unrestricted free agent eligibility. The Devils carry talented young centers such as Nico Hischier, Jack Hughes and Dawson Mercer, leaving general manager Tom Fitzgerald with a decision to make about where Zacha fits in.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Zacha is a former first-round pick who didn’t blossom into a star as expected but has become an effective secondary forward who can play center or wing. Fitzgerald could consider moving Zacha if signing him to a long-term extension proves costly or if the forward no longer fits into the Devils’ plans going forward.
Elliotte Friedman wondered if interest in Montreal Canadiens defenseman Ben Chiarot will soon pick up. The St. Louis Blues, Carolina Hurricanes, New York Rangers, Florida Panthers, Los Angeles Kings and Calgary Flames are all reportedly interested in the 30-year-old blueliner.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Friedman noted Chiarot left the game yesterday and wondered if that might spur more interest in what he called “an already popular player.” The thought here is those clubs might want to acquire him before he suffers an injury with the Habs.
Friedman also touched briefly on teams having an interest in Canadiens forward Tyler Toffoli. The versatile forward carries an affordable contract beyond this season but the Habs could be reluctant to part with him unless he asks for a trade.
Friedman reports the Toronto Maple Leafs are working on a trade for Nick Ritchie, who’s currently toiling with their AHL affiliate. He has a year remaining on his contract. If the Leafs were to buy him out it would count as $300K again next season’s cap so they might not wish to retain more than that if an interested club asked them to absorb part of his $2.5 million cap hit. It’s believed there is some traction around the league in finding Ritchie a new NHL home.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Friedman indicated Ritchie hasn’t requested a trade. The Leafs obviously want to shed as much cap space as possible before the March 21 trade deadline. It’ll be interesting to see what it takes to convince a rival club to take him off their hands.
RECENT RED WINGS SPECULATION
MLIVE.COM: Ansar Khan considers defenseman Nick Leddy the Detroit Red Wings’ most viable trade candidate followed perhaps by forward Vladislav Namestnikov. Both are due to become UFAs this summer. Namestnikov is having a good season but the Wings could move him to make room for younger players like Joe Veleno and Jonatan Berggren.
Khan expects defenseman Marc Staal to be re-signed. Thomas Greiss, Danny DeKeyser, Sam Gagner, Troy Stecher and Carter Rowney are also in the final year of their contracts but aren’t likely to draw much interest in the trade market.