NHL Rumor Mill – March 4, 2022
LATEST ON MILLER, BOESER AND GARLAND
TSN: Pierre LeBrun reports Toronto Maple Leafs assistant general manager Laurence Gilman scouted two recent Vancouver Canucks games largely to watch J.T. Miller. The Leafs are among several teams linked to the 28-year-old center but LeBrun believes they were doing due diligence. He also believes the Canucks aren’t that interested in moving Miller unless a team steps up to acquire him.
Darren Dreger said only a handful of clubs have expressed an interest in Miller, likely because of the Canucks preference to hang onto him when he has another year remaining on his contract. The New York Rangers would like to acquire him. They’re also linked to the Anaheim Ducks’ Rickard Rakell and the Montreal Canadiens’ Ben Chiarot.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Miller doesn’t appear too concerned about the trade rumors. Vancouver Hockey Now’s Rob Simpson reports the Canucks star isn’t paying much attention to it, saying he has no reason to believe he’ll be traded unless his agent or management approach him about it. Based on his comments, it’s apparent that the discussion hasn’t happened yet.
Chris Johnston reports the Canucks’ asking price for Brock Boeser and Conor Garland is believed to be slightly more modest. Teams have been in contact with the Canucks over that. While still on the fringe of the playoff race, they are getting closer to making some decisions. They could be more likely to move one or both, perhaps for players rather than draft picks or future assets.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Boeser is due for a significant raise this summer as a restricted free agent with arbitration rights who will cost the Canucks $7.5 million just to qualify his rights. Canucks president of hockey operations Jim Rutherford indicated he’s seeking salary-cap flexibility, which could also assure a Boeser trade.
Garland, meanwhile, is in the first season of a five-year deal with an annual average value of $4.95 million. The 25-year-old carries a reasonable cap hit but could become part of Rutherford’s cost-cutting measures.
COULD THE JETS TRADE SCHEIFELE?
THE ATHLETIC: Murat Ates recently addressed trade speculation from his readers regarding Mark Scheifele’s future with the Winnipeg Jets. One of them mentioned Daily Faceoff’s Frank Seravalli speculating this season could be the 28-year-old center’s last with the Jets.
Ates doesn’t think it’s a certainty this is Scheifele’s last season in Winnipeg but doesn’t rule it out. He’s got two more seasons left on his contract, meaning a decision on his future will have to be reached by the end of next year at the latest. If they were to trade Scheifele, Ates believes they need to get the best center available in return.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Scheifele won’t be moved before this season’s trade deadline. However, I think management needs to seriously consider making some changes to the Jets’ core. This team peaked three years ago and is only getting slowly worse, not better. They don’t need a massive rebuild but retooling by moving someone like Scheifele could be worth consideration.
PETRY IS STILL A TRADE CANDIDATE
MONTREAL HOCKEY NOW: Marco D’Amico cites TSN’s Pierre LeBrun reporting the Canadiens still intend to trade Jeff Petry should a team step up with a suitable offer. It might be difficult to move the 34-year-old defenseman’s $6.25 million cap hit before the trade deadline but there will be no shortage of suitors with salary-cap flexibility in the offseason.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Rumors have linked Petry to the Philadelphia Flyers. They already have a 30-something mobile right-side defenseman with a $6.25 million cap hit in Ryan Ellis. I’m well aware of his injury woes this season but he’s still considered a big part of their future plans. Acquiring Petry makes no sense for the Flyers unless Ellis goes permanently on long-term injury reserve.
LATEST ON THE SENATORS
OTTAWA SUN: Bruce Garrioch reports Senators defenseman Michael Del Zotto could be on the move before the trade deadline. Del Zotto, 31, is currently skating with the Senators’ AHL affiliate in Belleville. General manager Pierre Dorion is getting calls from some teams seeking a veteran defenseman.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Senators are the eighth NHL club for the well-traveled Del Zotto. He could draw some interest from a contender seeking an affordable depth defenseman. He won’t fetch much of a return, perhaps a late-round draft pick.