Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – October 30, 2022
Will the Red Wings sign Dylan Larkin or replace him with Bo Horvat? What’s the latest on the Canucks and Penguins? Find out in the Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup.
WILL THE RED WINGS SIGN LARKIN?
THE ATHLETIC: In a recent mailbag segment, Max Bultman was asked why the Detroit Red Wings hadn’t signed captain Dylan Larkin to a contract extension. The 26-year-old center is in the final season of his contract and eligible for unrestricted free-agent status next July.
Bultman was surprised that the Wings haven’t re-signed Larkin yet. He speculates that Mathew Barzal’s recent contract extension (with an average annual value of $9.15 million) could be affecting Larkin’s negotiations. Bultman wondered if the Wings captain would accept $9.5 million annually on a seven-year deal or perhaps something between $8.2 million to $8.3 million on an eight-year deal as the total dollars would still be around the same.
TORONTO STAR: Nick Kypreos suggested keeping an eye on the Red Wings should trade rumors start up on Vancouver Canucks captain Bo Horvat later this season. He indicated Larkin was seeking a deal as high as Barzal’s and speculated Wings general manager Steve Yzerman could instead “choose to spend a good portion of that on Horvat.”
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Larkin is earning an annual cap hit of $6.1 million on his current deal and has a full no-trade clause for this season. The Michigan native has indicated there’s nowhere else he’d rather play that in Detroit. With the Wings finally showing signs of improvement after years of rebuilding, he could stick around and lead this club to the next level.
Bultman is of the opinion that the Wings cannot afford to lose their leader in Larkin, fearing it would set their rebuild back for years. He also noted, however, that Yzerman has a history of taking negotiations with his stars down to the wire, having done so with Steven Stamkos in Tampa Bay back in 2016.
Plenty of time remains for the two sides to work out an agreement. Nevertheless, Larkin could become the subject of growing trade speculation if he’s not re-signed leading up to the March 3 trade deadline, especially if the Wings are out of playoff contention by then.
As for Horvat, he’s also eligible for UFA status next summer and could become a trade candidate if the Canucks fail to improve over the course of this season. His contract talks reportedly stalled when he rejected what Kypreos called a lowball offer from management this summer.
Maybe Yzerman will pursue Horvat at the trade deadline if he can’t get Larkin under contract by then. However, I doubt he’ll waste trade assets on acquiring the Canucks captain unless Horvat is willing to sign a contract extension. He could wait and attempt to sign Horvat via free agency but the 27-year-old center could have other destinations in mind.
LATEST ON THE CANUCKS AND PENGUINS
SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman reports the Vancouver Canucks made it clear to some of their players that if changes were to be made it wouldn’t potentially be just the head coach. They told those players they’ve had two coaches with this group and it isn’t working so far. If anybody thinks they can sit back and wait for a coaching change, the changes might instead be with the roster.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: That’s a point that has been raised by some other pundits as well. Having already done a coaching change last season, at some point you have to start making the players accountable as well.
As Friedman reported, those Canucks seemed to get the message as they won their last two games. It’ll be interesting to see if that message sticks as they attempt to dig themselves out of the current hole they dug for themselves.
THE ATHLETIC: In a recent mailbag segment, Josh Yohe was asked if the Pittsburgh Penguins still intend to trade a defenseman. He doesn’t feel they’re urgently trying to make a move but doesn’t rule it out at some point.
Yohe acknowledged Pierre-Olivier Joseph has played well thus far and the Penguins don’t dislike him. However, he still believes they want to get Ty Smith into the roster at some point sooner rather than later, which would entail shipping out Joseph for perhaps a forward prospect.