NHL Rumor Mill – May 7, 2022

by | May 7, 2022 | Rumors | 12 comments

The Devils are open to trading their 2022 first-round pick plus a look at the Sabres’ roster needs in the NHL rumor mill.


THE SCORE: Kayla Douglas cited New Jersey Devils general manager Tom Fitzgerald indicating his willingness to put his 2022 first-round pick into play in this summer’s trade market. The Devils currently hold the fifth-best odds (8.5%) of winning the 2022 NHL Draft Lottery on Tuesday.

Fitzgerald said he’d be open to using that pick to acquire a player “that we know and feel will help impact the results that we are looking for.” The Devils GM believes it is time for his young team to start contending for the playoffs.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Fitzgerald’s comments have already prompted some observers to muse over what type of player the Devils would want in exchange for that pick. Vancouver Hockey Now’s Rob Simpson recently examined the pros and cons of the Canucks’ offering up J.T. Miller if they’re unable to sign him to a contract extension.

Simpson is merely spitballing here as there’s no indication Miller is on the trade block. Nevertheless, you get the idea of the type of player it could take to pry that first-rounder away from the Devils, especially if they win the draft lottery. Fitzgerald would probably prefer someone with more than a year of term remaining on their contract.

New Jersey Devils forward Pavel Zacha (NHL Images)

Speaking of the Devils, THE ATHLETIC’s Shayna Goldman believes Pavel Zacha is the most likely of their current roster to be traded in the offseason. The 25-year-old spent most of this season on the wing but prefers playing center. He’s a restricted free agent with arbitration rights who isn’t worth much more than his current $2.25 million annual average value.

Goldman also believes the Devils face a big decision regarding Mackenzie Blackwood. Injuries have hampered his development as a starting goaltender over the past two seasons. They must determine if there’s still room for improvement or if he’d be better off with a fresh start elsewhere. She suggested it could depend if a UFA goaltender like St. Louis’ Ville Husso or Colorado’s Darcy Kuemper is willing to sign with them.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Zacha’s name popped up around midseason linking him to the Canucks. Its’ believed they’ll be seeking affordable talent in the early-to-mid twenties. We’ll find out at some point this summer if there’s a potential fit for him in Vancouver.

Goaltending was the Devils’ undoing this season. Blackwood cannot be faulted for his injury history and his struggles attempting to regain his form upon his return to action. Nevertheless, this franchise needs an upgrade between the pipes to have a fighting chance of becoming a playoff contention next season. It’s up to Fitzgerald to address that issue, be it shipping out Blackwood or putting him in a backup role to an established starter.


THE ATHLETIC: John Vogl recently examined what roster issues the Buffalo Sabres should address during the offseason.

Goaltending is their most pressing need. Craig Anderson, 40, will take a month or two to decide if he wants to return or retire. Sabres GM Kevyn Adams will look at all his options. Vogl speculated they could sign a second-tier unrestricted free agent such as Braden Holtby, Casey DeSmith or Martin Jones.

They could also acquire a goalie with a year left on his contract to serve as a bridge to young netminders such as Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen, Devon Levi and Erik Portillo. Options could include the New York Islanders’ Semyon Varlamov, the Carolina Hurricanes’ Antti Raanta, Minnesota Wild’s Cam Talbot or Los Angeles Kings’ Jonathan Quick.

Adams must also improve his defense corps. Vogl believes they should add a right-handed shot to their heavy left-shot blueline but Adams stressed the importance of finding the right fit.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Adams might have better luck signing one of those second-tier UFA goalies. The Sabres could be part of Varlamov’s 16-team no-trade list, Raanta has a long injury history, the Wild could stick with Talbot ($3.666 million) if they’re unable to re-sign Marc-Andre Fleury and the Kings’ could allow the 36-year-old Quick to finish his career in Los Angeles.


  1. Should NJ win out on the May 10 draft lottery and move to # 1 that will put an end to thoughts of trading their 1st pick.

    More likely they wind up with the 5th pick (although they could possibly fall two slots to # 7) which means, whoever ‘s in that slot is likely looking at 3 Centers – Matthew Savoie from Winnipeg of the WHL, Logan Cooley of the USA Under 18s, and Savoie’s teammate Conor Geekie – a 6’ 3″ 200-pounder.

    Even if the Canucks have their eyes on someone else – and a different position – ranked in that range, I doubt the pick alone would be enough to land NJ the likes of Miller. Something else of significance would have to be included.

    • Hasn’t NJ already had enough luck in the lottery already ? They made me wonder if they had some dirt on Bettman.

      • LOL. Should they ever get that lucky they’d be right up there with the Oilers in terms of howls of anger from around the league. 8.5% – man, that would be some fantastic luck.

    • That first and Zacha? Or more if Miller is open to signing an extension. But I agree, that first alone isnt enough for Miller

      • Kent, Zacha is one of those 4th line Cs who may be on the verge of pricing himself out of the game. He’s a big guy whose 82-game averages over 385 games played work out to 15g 21a 36 pts which, in and of itself, isn’t too bad for a 4th liner.

        But then there’s his glaring career -66 and the fact he’s coming off a $2,250,000 cap hit and is an RFA with arbitration rights. How much more will he be seeking?

        I doubt the Canucks would be interested.

  2. Jersey could be a trade match with the Jets if they are moving Scheifele. Top center with an affordable 6.5m two years remaining on his contract.

    • Nj is set down the middle for the next decade. They need the goalie next and some better 2way wingers

      • good point

  3. I agree George. You don’t get a player like Miller for just that pick.
    I would think in the Canucks or Jets situation and with there fan base it’s player out player in. I feel both clubs consider themselves playoff teams not rebuilding squads.
    In the jets case if MS gets moved I think you will see a Laine/DuBois type of deal. If they can sign DuBois long term soon and they feel Perfetti or Stastny could fill that spot to some degree perhaps they could lean more into draft pick territory and a lessor position player.
    I’m still in the coaching change camp. However if MS is adamant about a move let’s change the culture by moving him and a Dman for a significant Dman upgrade in any deal.

  4. Hey NJ! how about Bertuzzi for that 1st and Sharangovich!

    • Bert is definitely the kind of player they would like but with only a year left and then a UFA I don’t think NJ would be to interested unless he would agree to an extension.

    • Sharangovich is a better player so why would they make that trade.