Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – March 6, 2022
UPDATE ON THE CANADIENS
SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman reports the Montreal Canadiens are trying to move Shea Weber’s contract. The 36-year-old defenseman has been sidelined this season amid speculation his playing career may be over because of injuries. He has four years remaining on his deal worth an annual average value of nearly $7.9 million but only $6 million in total actual cash. They could attempt to move him to a cap-strapped team seeking long-term injury room or a club hoping to reach the cap floor that doesn’t want to spend very much over the next couple of seasons.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Vegas Golden Knights could be a club that could be interested in Weber’s LTIR space. They have $82.3 million already committed to next season’s payroll. Teams that could use Weber’s contract to reach the cap floor after next season could include the Arizona Coyotes, Anaheim Ducks, Buffalo Sabres and Ottawa Senators.
MONTREAL HOCKEY NOW: Marco D’Amico cites a well-placed NHL source claiming the Canadiens and Dallas Stars are engaged in trade discussions. The Stars have been linked to Canadiens defenseman Jeff Petry in the rumor mill. They’re believed to be exploring trade options for pending free-agent blueliner John Klingberg as well as how to replace the right-shot rearguard.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I still don’t see the Stars shipping out Klingberg while they’re still in the thick of the Western Conference playoff chase. That could change if they slide out of contention over the next week or two. If they’re reportedly unwilling to invest over $7 million annually on the 29-year-old Klingberg on a long-term deal over concerns his performance will decline, it’s puzzling why they would consider adding a 34-year-old blueliner carrying $6.26 million annually for three more seasons.
LATEST ON GIROUX
SPORTSNET: Jeff Marek reports Philadelphia Flyers general manager Chuck Fletcher and his staff were scouting their AHL farm team’s recent game against the Charlotte Checkers, who are the farm team of the Florida Panthers. Marek mentioned speculation linking Flyers captain Claude Giroux to the Panthers, suggesting the Flyers staff were scouting winger Owen Tippett.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Panthers general manager Bill Zito was believed seeking a top-four defenseman. Perhaps he’d consider instead adding a versatile two-way forward like Giroux if efforts to land a quality blueliner don’t pan out. I expect he’ll make a significant move before March 21.
UPDATES ON SOME NOTABLE PENDING FREE AGENTS
SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman reports the San Jose Sharks are taking a real run at trying to sign Tomas Hertl to a contract extension…The Anaheim Ducks are leery on term for Hampus Lindholm…Things are quieter regarding Nashville Predators winger Filip Forsberg and Calgary Flames winger Johnny Gaudreau…The Vancouver Canucks have been testing the trade market on some of their notable players. They’re also evaluating what it could cost to re-sign those due for new contracts. What could be the tipping point is if the Canucks can get a young defenseman out of this.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Lindholm cap could seek a seven or eight-year deal while the Ducks could be considering something around five years. Term is also said to be important to Hertl.
Predators GM David Poile recently denied a report claiming he was shopping Forsberg, insisting he’s trying to sign him before the March 21 trade deadline. Assuming the Flames and Gaudreau haven’t reached an agreement by the trade deadline, I don’t see them trading him. He’s been invaluable to their improvement this season.
The Athletic’s Thomas Drance and Rick Dhaliwal recently reported the Canucks priority is to carve out salary-cap space to improve their roster this offseason and beyond. They’re also seeking draft picks, prospects and younger players between 20-25 at multiple positions.
They indicated the Canucks inquired about Arizona’s Jakob Chychrun but didn’t call back once they heard what the asking price would be. There’s also speculation linking them to Colorado Avalanche blueliner Bowen Byram.
Drance and Dhaliwal also reported winger Nils Hoglander was garnering interest around the league, with the Los Angeles Kings and Minnesota Wild said to be interested. However, the team sees the 21-year-old Hoglander as the type of young player they need more of going forward.
DUCKS SHOPPING COMTOIS?
SPORTSNET: Jeff Marek reports Ducks winger Maxime Comtois is starting to be heard in the rumor mill. He’s been hampered this season by injury and COVID-19. Comtois was the Ducks’ leading scorer last season.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Maybe Ducks GM Pat Verbeek packages Comtois with one of his pending UFAs by the deadline in hope of landing a bigger return including a promising young player or a high draft pick?