NHL Rumor Mill – March 14, 2022
Will the Avalanche use LTIR to help them land a player or two before the trade deadline? Should the Rangers wait until the offseason to make a big move? Check out the latest in today’s NHL rumor mill.
WILL THE AVS USE LTIR TO BOLSTER THEIR ROSTER?
THE ATHLETIC: Peter Baugh wonders if the Colorado Avalanche will use long-term injury reserve to their advantage at the upcoming NHL trade deadline. Captain Gabriel Landeskog will undergo knee surgery today while defenseman Samuel Girard is sidelined for four weeks with a lower-body injury. Landeskog carries a $7 million salary-cap hit while Girard’s is $5 million.
The Avs could simply try to accrue cap space before the March 21 trade deadline but that could be affected if they call up players from their AHL affiliate to replace Landeskog and Girard. They could put those two on LTIR and use the combined $12 million to go shopping at the trade deadline but would have to become cap compliant if one or both return before the end of the regular season.
A third option could involve placing Landeskog on LTIR. There’s no timetable yet for his recovery from surgery. If he’s not expected back until early May they could use his $7 million to exceed the cap ceiling and pursue a player such as the Philadelphia Flyers’ Claude Giroux (if the Flyers agree to retain some of his salary) or the Winnipeg Jets’ Andrew Copp.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’ll be interesting to see what Avalanche GM Joe Sakic does here. I expect he’ll wait and see what the timeline is for Landeskog’s return and perhaps put him on LTIR if he’s out for the remainder of the regular season.
SHOULD THE RANGERS MAKE A BIG MOVE NOW OR IN THE OFFSEASON?
NEW YORK POST: Larry Brooks suggests Rangers general manager Chris Drury should hang onto his trade chips until the offseason if pending free-agent center Ryan Strome isn’t signed to a contract extension by the March 21 trade deadline. He feels Drury will need them to replace Strome this summer as their second-line center, with the Winnipeg Jets’ Mark Scheifele and Vancouver Canucks’ Bo Horvat as primary trade targets and the Chicago Blackhawks’ Kirby Dach as a secondary target.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: An interesting suggestion by Brooks, who acknowledged the Rangers’ ongoing need for a scoring right winger and how their third line will need to be rebuilt from scratch this summer. Horvat is due to become an unrestricted free agent at the end of 2022-23 while Scheifele is signed through 2023-24 and carries a 10-team no-trade list. Dach is completing his entry-level contract.
Horvat could be the easiest of that trio to acquire as he lacks no-trade protection and could prove too expensive for the Canucks to re-sign. The Jets aren’t in any hurry to trade Scheifele given his contract status but perhaps a core shakeup could be coming if they miss the playoffs this season. I don’t see the Blackhawks trading Dach as they’ll want to rebuild with young players like him.