NHL Rumor Mill – July 7, 2022
The rumor mill is abuzz leading up to the first round of the 2022 NHL Draft. Check out the latest on J.T. Miller, Matthew Tkachuk, Alex DeBrincat, Blake Wheeler, Claude Giroux, the Senator’s first-round pick and much more in today’s NHL rumor mill.
SPECTOR’ S NOTE: I wonder if the Capitals are still interested with Nicklas Backstrom determined to return to action in 2022-23 following hip surgery? They were linked to Miller in recent rumors because of uncertainty over Backstrom’s status.
THE ATHLETIC: Pierre LeBrun reports teams are “delicately approaching” the Calgary Flames about Matthew Tkachuk. The representatives for the restricted free agent winger want to see how things play out with his teammate (and pending UFA) Johnny Gaudreau before formalizing a game plan for their client.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Ottawa Sun’s Bruce Garrioch cited St. Louis broadcaster Andy Strickland suggesting the Blues would be interested if Tkachuk becomes available in the trade market. If the Flames lose Gaudreau I expect they’ll put all their focus on signing Tkachuk to a big raise on a long-term deal.
CHICAGO SUN-TIMES: Ben Pope believes the New Jersey Devils (second overall pick), Philadelphia Flyers (fifth overall) and Ottawa Senators (seventh overall) are the most likely suitors for DeBrincat. He reports rumors involving the Flyers and DeBrincat have cooled of late.
THE SCORE: cited Daily Faceoff’s Frank Seravalli reporting the Winnipeg Jets have started exploring the trade market for captain Blake Wheeler. The 35-year-old winger’s no-movement clause has now become a modified no-trade in which he submits five preferred trade destinations. He has two seasons left on his contract with an annual average value of $8.25 million.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Wheeler’s age, cap hit and limited trade destinations make him difficult to move in an offseason where the salary cap has only risen by $1 million.
Pierre LeBrun adds the Carolina Hurricanes to the list of possible suitors for Florida Panthers forward Claude Giroux. They’re prioritizing offense this season and could lose forwards Nino Niederreiter and Vincent Trocheck to free agency next Wednesday.
WILL THE SENATORS SHOP THE SEVENTH-OVERALL PICK?
OTTAWA SUN: Bruce Garrioch reports there’s some “serious interest” in that seventh-overall pick. The offers have increased dramatically since Dorion and his staff arrived in Montreal for the upcoming draft. It’s believed the Montreal Canadiens, Chicago Blackhawks and Arizona Coyotes have been the most aggressive teams pursuing a top-10 pick.
Dorion was asked by a reporter if the Canadiens had offered up winger Josh Anderson for that pick. He declined to say anything about that but added that he’d seriously consider an offer from the Habs if it allowed both clubs to improve.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: There’s also talk the Canadiens are interested in the Devils’ pick and could offer up Anderson in a package deal for that. I’d say they’ll have better luck landing the Senators’ pick with that package but I’m not holding my breath they’ll get either pick.
EDMONTON JOURNAL’s Jim Matheson believes Oilers GM Ken Holland could seek a first-round pick who hasn’t panned on other clubs in return for Jesse Pujujarvi. He listed Detroit’s Filip Zadina, Nashville’s Eeli Tolvanen and Carolina’s Martin Necas as options.
LATEST ON THE LEAFS GOALTENDING SITUATION
TSN: Chris Johnston reports Toronto Maple Leafs general manager Kyle Dubas said his club is still talking to Jack Campbell’s camp. However, there doesn’t appear to be much progress toward a deal. He felt the Leafs will look to add at least one goaltender, mentioning the Minnesota Wild’s Marc-Andre Fleury as an option. Dubas also indicated Petr Mrazek could be sticking around next season.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The whole point of trading Mrazek is to free up cap space for Campbell. If they can’t afford him with Mrazek still on the books, how can they afford Fleury?
Darren Dreger believes Campbell is headed to the open market. He listed the Edmonton Oilers and New Jersey Devils as possible destinations for the 30-year-old netminder with the Washington Capitals and Detroit Red Wings as honorable mentions. Dreger believes Campbell could seek a five-year deal worth $5 million per season.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: My guess is it’s Edmonton or New Jersey for Campbell.
OTTAWA SUN: Bruce Garrioch reports the word is the Leafs have kicked tires on Senators goaltender Matt Murray as one of their options if Campbell departs next week via free agency.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Unless the Senators are retaining half of Murray’s $6.25 million cap hit, I don’t see how the Leafs can afford him. I also think they should seek better options rather than a goalie with a long injury history or it’s Mrazek time again next season.
GOLDEN KNIGHTS COULD SEEK A GOALTENDER
LAS VEGAS SUN: Danny Webster reports the Vegas Golden Knights could be in the market for a goaltender if Robin Lehner and Laurent Brossoit haven’t recovered from their offseason surgeries in time for training camp.
Webster suggested the Montreal Canadiens’ Jake Allen and the Tampa Bay Lightning’s Brian Elliott as possibilities. He rules out any hope of a Marc-Andre Fleury reunion. Webster also indicated the Golden Knights could shop defenseman Alec Martinez. Center William Karlsson has come up as a trade candidate but the sense is things have cooled on that front.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: One option could be the Rangers’ Alexandar Georgiev. The New York Post’s Larry Brooks reports the Blueshirts could move the 26-year-old restricted free agent if they don’t intend to file a qualifying offer by Monday’s deadline.
The Canadiens aren’t moving Allen until they’ve had more clarity on Carey Price’s health and that won’t be known until later in the summer. The Lightning re-sign Elliott in April to a one-year, $900K contract so he’s not going anywhere.
RUMORS FROM THE OTTAWA SUN