NHL Rumor Mill – March 10, 2022
LATEST ON FLEURY, GIROUX, LINDHOLM AND REILLY SMITH
WASHINGTON HOCKEY NOW: Sammi Silber cites Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman saying he believes the Capitals remain interested in Marc-Andre Fleury. He doesn’t consider it impossible that they pursue the 37-year-old Chicago Blackhawks goaltender,
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Whether Fleury wants to go to Washington is another matter. Friedman also said yesterday they’re among four-or-five clubs really interested in the veteran netminder but he’s not convinced Fleury is mentally in the right spot to join the Capitals. That’s based on his many years playing with the Pittsburgh Penguins.
PHILLY HOCKEY NOW: Sam Carchidi recently mused over whether Flyers captain Claude Giroux might reunite with former Flyers head coach Peter Laviolette with the Capitals. Carchidi observed the Flyers have been scouting the Capitals and their AHL affiliate in Hershey, starting speculation linking Giroux to the Caps. He also suggested the Capitals could be scouting Flyers defensemen Justin Braun and Rasmus Ristolainen, forwards James van Riemsdyk and Derick Brassard or goalie Martin Jones.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Given the Capitals’ limited cap space, they could’ve been checking out the more affordable options on the Flyers roster. Giroux’s been linked mostly with the Colorado Avalanche, Florida Panthers and St. Louis Blues.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Leafs, Blues and Panthers have a need for a top-four left-side defenseman. The Rangers’ focus seems to be more on adding a top-six right wing. The Ducks are reportedly attempting to sign the 28-year-old Lindholm to a contract extension but are expected to shop him if an agreement on a new deal isn’t reached by the March 21 trade deadline.
NEW YORK POST: Larry Brooks still believes Vegas Golden Knights winger Reilly Smith makes the most sense as a playoff rental option for the Rangers. The Golden Knights might still have to shop him before the trade deadline if there’s a chance winger Mark Stone and his $9.5 million cap hit come off long-term injury reserve before the end of the regular season.
UPDATES ON THE CANADIENS AND PENGUINS
MONTREAL GAZETTE: Stu Cowan reports Artturi Lehkonen could be drawing lots of interest in the trade market as his stock keeps rising. The 26-year-old Canadiens winger is a restricted free agent this summer. Habs general manager Kent Hughes said he’s not trying to trade Lehkonen but Cowan reminds us he said the same thing last month about Tyler Toffoli, who was eventually traded to the Calgary Flames.
MONTREAL HOCKEY NOW: Jimmy Murphy cites a trusted NHL source claiming the Canadiens are being scouted by the Carolina Hurricanes, prompting speculation they could be looking at a blueliner such as Jeff Petry or Ben Chiarot. Hurricanes GM Don Waddell recently noted he’s down a couple of defensemen due to injury, hinting that would be the area of his roster he might address if the deadline were today. He also cautioned a lot can happen between now and March 21.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Lehkonen is only a year away from unrestricted free agent eligibility. I think the Canadiens will trade him if he’s only interested in a one- or two-year deal.
The 34-year-old Petry’s age and $6.25 million annual cap hit over the next three seasons could be stumbling blocks in the path toward a trade. Chiarot is younger (30), carries a more affordable $3.5 million cap hit and is slated to become a UFA this summer.
If the Hurricanes are scouting those two I think Chiarot’s the more likely to move. They aren’t the only club interested in his services as the Blues have also been linked to him.
PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE: Mike DeFabo recently reported Brian Burke, the Penguins’ president of hockey operations, doesn’t expect his club to make a splash at this year’s trade deadline. “We’re capped out,” he said. “I can’t imagine we’re going to do some big or noisy at the deadline.”
Burke ruled out moving out a high-priced player such as Jason Zucker, Mike Matheson or Marcus Pettersson in a cost-cutting move, stressing the importance of those players to their lineup.
Matt Vensel, however, wondered what the future holds for Penguins winger Kasperi Kapanen after he was benched during Tuesday’s 4-3 loss to the Florida Panthers. He’s been struggling to score this season despite getting opportunities alongside Evgeni Malkin when the latter returned from injury.
Vensel suggests Kapanen could be the one to watch if the Penguins attempt a player-for-player deal at the deadline to add a middle-six forward. He carries a $3.2 million cap hit this season and is slated to become a restricted free agent this summer.
PITTSBURGH HOCKEY NOW: Dan Kingerski reports the Penguins broached the idea of acquiring winger Brock Boeser from the Vancouver Canucks. However, there haven’t been any serious discussions and none are expected before the trade deadline.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: A player-for-player swap is a possibility. However, I don’t think Kapanen will bring in a player who’ll help improve the Penguins’ middle-six depth. It could be a case of swapping him out for a guy struggling with another club and hoping for the best.