NHL Rumor Mill – March 16, 2022
Are the Avs setting the table for a big move? Could Tyler Bertuzzi or Sean Monahan be moved before the trade deadline? What’s the latest on Ben Chiarot and Andrew Copp? Find out in today’s NHL rumor mill.
AVALANCHE COULD HAVE A BIGGER DEAL IN STORE
THE DENVER POST: Mike Chambers speculates Colorado Avalanche general manager Joe Sakic could be preparing for a bigger move after making two trades in as many days. On Monday, he shipped a draft pick and prospect to the Anaheim Ducks for Josh Manson. Yesterday, he sent Tyson Jost to the Minnesota Wild for the more affordable Nico Sturm.
Chambers believes Philadelphia Flyers captain Claude Giroux and San Jose Sharks center Tomas Hertl could be most enticing to the Avalanche if they can find sufficient salary-cap space to acquire them. Swapping Jost for Sturm gives them almost $3 million in projected trade deadline cap space. They could also garner additional flexibility by placing sidelined winger Gabriel Landeskog ($7 million annual cap hit) and defenseman Samuel Girard ($5 million) on long-term injury reserve.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Sakic isn’t done dealing. I believe he’s in “go-for-it” mode this season with his club riding high in the standings, especially after they came up short in last year’s playoffs. I’ll be surprised if he doesn’t make a major move before Monday’s trade deadline.
BERTUZZI, MONAHAN LATEST DAILY FACEOFF TRADE TARGETS
DAILY FACEOFF: Frank Seravalli added Detroit Red Wings winger Tyler Bertuzzi and Calgary Flames center Sean Monahan to his growing list of NHL trade targets as the March 21 deadline approaches. Bertuzzi debuts at No. 13 and Monahan at 15.
The Flames, meanwhile, would prefer not to move Monahan now while his trade value is at its lowest. However, there are teams said to be interested to see if the 27-year-old center can reboot his career with another club.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Bertuzzi is signed through next season with a $4.75 million annual cap hit and lacks no-trade protection. Monahan, meanwhile, carries a $6.375 million cap hit through next season and has a 10-team no-trade list.
The Wings and Flames don’t have to move either guy at the trade deadline but it doesn’t hurt to gauge the market. They could wait until the offseason when they’re likely to find more suitors with available cap space willing to make deals.
The Flames, however, could be under greater pressure to move Monahan. As Seravalli observes, they can’t afford to carry Monahan’s contract if they intend to sign Johnny Gaudreau to a long-term contract extension. Maybe they can find a suitable offer before Monday.
LATEST ON CHIAROT, COPP, AND MIDDLETON
TSN: Pierre LeBrun reports interest has intensified in Montreal Canadiens defenseman Ben Chiarot since the Avalanche acquired Josh Manson. The Calgary Flames, Carolina Hurricanes, Florida Panthers and St. Louis Blues are among the potential suitors. The Canadiens are interested in Calgary prospect Jakob Pelletier but LeBrun isn’t sure if the Flames will move him. The Hurricanes lack a first-round pick but maybe they can entice the Habs with a prospect or two while the Blues don’t want to pay the asking price of a first-round pick.
Darren Dreger said the Minnesota Wild also has an interest in Chiarot but they also don’t want to part with a first-rounder. Meanwhile, there’s discussions between the two clubs about prospect center Jack McBain, who has told the Wild he doesn’t intend to sign with them. The asking price is a second-round pick, which doesn’t worry the Canadiens provided they can get him signed.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Blues are also rumored to be interested in the Arizona Coyotes’ Jakob Chychrun and the Philadelphia Flyers’ Ivan Provorov. It will take significant offers to acquire either guy, much more than what it could cost to land Chiarot. Maybe they can tempt the Canadiens with a couple of quality prospects if no other club meets the Habs’ asking price.
Dreger also believes the Winnipeg Jets will soon have to reach a decision whether they’ll retain or trade pending UFA forward Andrew Copp. He said the Avalanche, New York Rangers and Boston Bruins are among those interested in the 27-year-old Jet.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s an interesting situation for Jets GM Kevin Cheveldayoff. He risks losing Copp for nothing to free agent in July, but trading him now would signal to his roster that he’s giving up on reaching the playoffs. They’ve won four of their last five, by the way, and are just two points out of a wild-card berth in the Western Conference.
LeBrun also reports Jacob Middleton is garnering interest in the trade market. The 26-year-old San Jose Sharks defenseman is seeing top-four minutes alongside Erik Karlsson and Brent Burns and carries an affordable $725K cap hit. The asking price is a second-round pick plus another pick or prospect. The Toronto Maple Leafs, Tampa Bay Lightning and Boston Bruins have been linked to the physical left-side blueliner.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: As LeBrun indicates, Middleton’s a great story this season, going from signing an AHL contract with the Sharks to seeing significant minutes on their blueline. However, what’s working for him in San Jose might not work for him with another club. Interested teams should tread carefully here.
UPDATE ON THE LEAFS
TSN: Chris Johnston reports his sources indicated the Maple Leafs are looking for help in goal, on defense and on their forward lines. They’ll have to trade someone off their roster to make the dollars fit if they intend to make multiple additions before the trade deadline.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: NYI Hockey Now’s Stefen Rosner cites a source claiming New York Islanders goaltender Semyon Varlamov is on the Leafs’ shortlist. Whether they’re on Varlamov’s list of preferred trade destinations, however, is another matter.