NHL Rumor Mill – March 7, 2022
Will Marc-Andre Fleury accept a trade? Should the Wild acquire Shea Weber’s contract? What’s the latest on the Penguins? Could the Bruins pursue Jakob Chychrun? Check out the latest in today’s NHL rumor mill.
WILL FLEURY ACCEPT A TRADE?
TORONTO SUN: Steve Simmons reports a source claims Marc-Andre Fleury has told the Chicago Blackhawks he doesn’t want to be moved at the trade deadline. “That basically removes Fleury from the trade deadline, unless of course he changes his mind,” writes Simmons.
CHICAGO SUN-TIMES Ben Pope took to Twitter to counter Simmons’ report, saying his understanding is the Fleury situation remains “up in the air.” He doesn’t think the goalie has ruled it out.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Pope added it’s believed Fleury wants to stay in Chicago and could even re-sign with the Blackhawks if he doesn’t retire. Still, he believes a Fleury trade remains possible. Stay tuned…
SHOULD THE WILD ACQUIRE WEBER’S CONTRACT?
THE ATHLETIC: Michael Russo suggested the Minnesota Wild consider acquiring the contract of sidelined Montreal Canadiens defenseman Shea Weber after noting Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman reported the Canadiens are willing to trade that contract.
Assuming Weber’s playing career is over, his $7.857 million annual salary cap hit through 2025-26 could provide the Wild a way out of salary-cap hell for the next three seasons after they bought out Zach Parise and Ryan Suter last year. It could free up room to sign Kevin Fiala to a contract extension or delve into this summer’s free-agent market.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: An interesting suggestion. It remains to be seen if Wild general manager Bill Guerin will act on that or if he has other plans to find some much-needed salary-cap space beyond this season.
LATEST PENGUINS SPECULATION
PITTSBURGH HOCKEY NOW: Dan Kingerski noted the Penguins have scouted the Toronto Maple Leafs and Vancouver Canucks over the past week. He believes Penguins GM Ron Hextall won’t “go big” at the March 21 trade deadline but instead seek affordable options for a middle-six winger or blueline depth.
Kingerski wondered if the Penguins could give up a left-hand defenseman (and retain salary) because they’re deep on that side. He noted Toronto winger Nick Robertson has struggled to crack the Maple Leafs lineup.
He also downplayed the “Brock Boeser for Kasperi Kapanen” speculation regarding the Canucks and doesn’t see them parting with J.T. Miller. He wondered instead if Hextall could interest Vancouver hockey ops president (and former Penguins GM) Jim Rutherford in a prospect such as Pierre-Olivier Joseph, Nathan Legare or Samuel Poulin, suggesting Canucks winger Conor Garland or defenseman Travis Hamonic as trade options.
I anticipate Hextall will try to boost his roster at the trade deadline, though it might not be a splash as big as the Carter acquisition. The Penguins have no games scheduled against the Leafs or Canucks so perhaps there’s a deal to be made with one of those clubs.
TIDBITS FROM DAILY FACEOFF’S RECENT “ICEBREAKERS”.
DAILY FACEOFF: Frank Seravalli recently reported the Florida Panthers have no interest in trading goaltender Spencer Knight. It’s believed the Panthers and Arizona Coyotes engaged in discussions regarding Coyotes defenseman Jakob Chychrun around the holidays. The Coyotes wanted Knight as part of the package but that obviously didn’t happen.
Speaking of Chychrun, Seravalli noted the Boston Bruins were also interested in the Coyotes blueliner. He wondered if Bruin goalie Jeremy Swayman could be part of the proposed transaction. The Bruins would then need a backup for Linus Ullmark, prompting Seravalli to suggest perhaps someone like Philadelphia’s Martin Jones might work.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Ottawa Sun’s Bruce Garrioch speculated about the Bruins perhaps packaging winger Jake DeBrusk as part of a deal for Chychrun. However, I think the Coyotes will stay patient on offers for him. With Chychrun signed beyond this season, they can wait until this summer to move him if they don’t get any offers to their liking by March 21. I think the Bruins prefer keeping their goalie tandem intact for the remainder of the season to see how things shake out.
Ottawa Senators forward Nick Paul would draw considerable interest from playoff contenders seeking affordable forward depth. Sources say there’s been little contract between the Senators and Paul on a contract extension.
The Carolina Hurricanes have started contract extension talks with Jesperi Kotkaniemi. He’s a restricted free agent with arbitration rights who’s on a one-year. $6.1 million contract. Seravalli wonders if a six- or seven-year deal at a lower annual average value between $4 million and $4.5 million might work for both sides.
The Vancouver Canucks must also soon reach a decision on trading or retaining forward Tyler Motte. He’s slated to become a UFA this summer. Sources said there haven’t yet been substantive contract discussions.