NHL Rumor Mill – March 23, 2022
The 2022 trade deadline may be history but the trade and free agent rumors roll on. Check out the latest on the Canucks, what the offseason could hold for the Bruins’ Jake DeBrusk, and what’s ahead for the Blue Jackets in today’s NHL rumor mill.
WHAT NEXT FOR THE CANUCKS?
VANCOUVER HOCKEY NOW: Following the trade deadline, Rob Simpson was critical of the trade rumors surrounding Canucks scoring leader J.T. Miller for the past two months, calling them “asinine”. He also heaped scorn on the Conor Garland trade speculation, pointing out he’s 26-years-old and under contract for the next four years at an annual salary-cap hit of $4.95 million.
THE PROVINCE: Patrick Johnston also took note of Miller, Garland and winger Brock Boeser staying put despite weeks of trade conjecture. He speculates high-profile trades could still take place in the offseason, even if the leverage for those players won’t be as high as it was this past weekend. If any significant changes take place, Johnston believes it’ll be through trades.
SPORTSNET: Rory Boylen reminded us the Canucks weren’t facing pressure to move those three players. Miller has another year remaining on his contract, Garland has four more and Boeser is a restricted free agent in July. However, he shares Johnston’s view that any major moves to clear cap space or shake up the roster will take place this summer.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Boeser still seems the most likely of the three to be moved. He will cost the Canucks’ $7.5 million to qualify his rights plus he’s also eligible for salary arbitration. Boeser could be on the move if the Canucks fail to shed salary elsewhere. Meanwhile, Miller’s agent is reportedly willing to meet with management this summer to discuss a contract extension.
COULD THE BRUINS STILL MOVE DEBRUSK AFTER RE-SIGNING HIM?
BOSTON HOCKEY NOW: Joe Haggerty believes the Bruins signed Jake DeBrusk to a two-year, $8 million contract extension to make the 25-year-old winger a more tradeable commodity before Monday’s trade deadline. He indicates they were interested in winger Rickard Rakell before the Anaheim Ducks shipped him to the Pittsburgh Penguins, but doesn’t know if DeBrusk would’ve been part of the deal.
THE ATHLETIC: Pierre LeBrun reports DeBrusk’s agent was disappointed his client wasn’t moved before the deadline. While the Bruins felt they were better off retaining the winger, LeBrun speculates they could revisit attempts to trade him in the offseason.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: LeBrun’s colleague Fluto Shinzawa believes it’s up to DeBrusk to determine his fate after this season. If he doesn’t improve over the remainder of the season it will depress his trade value by the July draft, which is the next waypoint in the trade market. A better effort by DeBrusk would boost his trade value and make him easier to move this summer.
WHAT COULD THE OFFSEASON HOLD FOR THE BLUE JACKETS?
THE ATHLETIC: Aaron Portzline reports Columbus Blue Jackets general manager Jarmo Kekalainen suggested bigger moves could be in store for his club in the offseason compared to their limited activity at the trade deadline. He indicated he’ll be in the market for a player who can have an impact right away.
Another big move will be attempting to sign winger Patrik Laine to a contract extension. The 23-year-old winger is a restricted free agent this summer with arbitration rights. Sources told Portzline that initials discussions have begun between the two sides.