Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – August 21, 2022
What’s the latest on J.T. Miller? Are the Canucks looking at adding a forward via free agency? Will Evgenii Dadonov become a trade chip at the 2023 deadline for the Canadiens? Are the Bruins shopping Craig Smith? Find out in this edition of the Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup.
LATEST ON THE CANUCKS
SEKERES AND PRICE: CHEK-TV’s Rick Dhaliwal believes Nazem Kadri’s new contract with the Calgary Flames should be great news for Vancouver Canucks center J.T. Miller and his agent. Kadri signed a seven-year deal last week with the Flames worth an average annual value of $7 million. Miller, 29, is slated to become an unrestricted free agent next summer.
Dhaliwal believes Kadri did Miller a favor. He pointed out Miller is young and suggests he’s comparable to New York Rangers center Mika Zibanejad ($8.5 million AAV). He thinks there’s no way the Canucks center will accept seven years at $7 million annually, especially if he has another 99-point performance.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Miller might not reach the heights of 99 points again. However, if he stays healthy this coming season and at least reaches 80 points, he’ll be in the range of Zibanejad money. If he exceeds 90 points again, he could get $9 million annually on his next contract.
This season could be Miller’s last in Vancouver. He and Canucks management have said they’d like to get a deal done but both sides have also suggested that it might not happen.
Dhaliwal pointed out Canucks general manager Patrik Allvin knows Rodrigues and his agent well from their days with the Pittsburgh Penguins. He also suggested that concerns over Tucker Poolman’s health (concussion symptoms) could be behind their interest in de Haan.
CANADIENS COULD SHOP DADONOV AT THE 2023 TRADE DEADLINE
MONTREAL HOCKEY NOW: Marco D’Amico believes the Canadiens have an opportunity to turn Evgenii Dadonov into a valuable trade chip this season. The Habs acquired the 33-year-old winger earlier this summer from the Vegas Golden Knights.
Following the acquisition, Canadiens general manager Kent Hughes didn’t rule out the possibility of trading Dadonov if the right offer came along. The winger carries a $5 million cap hit for the coming season and is due to become an unrestricted free agent next summer.
D’Amico believes putting Dadonov in situations where he can use his offensive skills at even strength and on the power-play could benefit the Canadiens’ young forwards. It would also boost his trade value.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Dadonov could fit so well on the rebuilding Canadiens that the two sides agree to an affordable short-term deal. However, I agree with D’Amico that he’s likely to become a valuable trade chip for them later this season, fetching perhaps a second-round pick from a playoff contender.
BRUINS SHOPPING CRAIG SMITH?
BOSTON HOCKEY NOW: Jimmy Murphy recently cited an informed NHL source claiming Bruins forward Craig Smith has been on the trade market since the offseason started. He also said they had recent in-depth trade discussions with another club, to the point where the Bruins got a trade offer for the 32-year-old winger.
The Bruins sit $2.2 million above the $82.5 million salary cap. They need to shed some salary but GM Don Sweeney could also achieve that by placing a sidelined player such as Charlie McAvoy, Brad Marchand or Matt Grzelcyk on long-term injury reserve to start the season.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: No word on which club is the interested party though I’ve read someone suggesting the Nashville Predators want to bring Smith back. He’s slated to become a UFA next summer and carries a $3.1 million cap hit.
Sweeney doesn’t have to move Smith or anyone else right now. He’s allowed to be over the cap by 10 percent during the offseason. Placing McAvoy or Marchand on LTIR to start the season will also temporarily address that cap issue but he’ll have to dump some salary to become cap compliant when the sidelined player comes off LTIR.