NHL Rumor Mill – November 15, 2022

by | Nov 15, 2022 | Rumors | 40 comments

Four unexpected early-season trade candidates plus speculation over how the Leafs will replace the sidelined Jake Muzzin in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.


SPORTSNET: Rory Boylen lists the Vancouver Canucks Bo Horvat and Thatcher Demko, St. Louis Blues captain Ryan O’Reilly and San Jose Sharks defenseman Erik Karlsson as four trade candidates we didn’t expect to see.

Horvat, 27, is slated to become an unrestricted free agent next July. With the Canucks struggling, his future in Vancouver has come under question. There’s speculation it could cost them $8 million annually for eight seasons to re-sign their captain.

As for Demko, Boylen indicates he’s not the sole reason behind the Canucks’ difficulties this season. However, the 26-year-old goaltender’s inconsistent play has been a contributing factor that could take him out of the franchise’s core of untouchable players.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: With the losses piling up in Vancouver there’s a sense that something’s gotta give. There’s talk that head coach Bruce Boudreau could be replaced which seems the more likely option given how difficult it is at this stage of the schedule to swing a season-saving trade.

Of the two, Horvat is the more likely trade candidate given his contract status. Demko’s struggles are tied in part to the porous defense in front of him. Besides, trading Demko would only create the additional headache of finding a suitable replacement carrying an annual cap hit comparable to his reasonable $5 million per season.

If Canucks management shakes up the roster I suspect it’ll be in the New Year when we get closer to the March 3 trade deadline. Horvat would draw considerable interest from playoff contenders and should fetch a quality return.

San Jose Sharks defenseman Erik Karlsson (NHL Images).

Like Horvat, O’Reilly is due to become a UFA next summer. He turns 32 in February and will be in line for a hefty new deal. However, the Blues are transitioning toward younger talent while O’Reilly is struggling to score this season. They could peddle their captain if it looks like they’ll miss the playoffs.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: O’Reilly has stated he wants to remain with the Blues beyond this season. I doubt he’ll be going anywhere if the Blues rebound and are a playoff contender by the trade deadline. Whether he and Blues management can agree to a contract extension is another matter.

If they’re out of contention by then it wouldn’t be surprising if GM Doug Armstrong trades him. He has parted ways with previous captains, letting Alex Pietrangelo and David Backes depart via free agency. Armstrong could look at getting something for O’Reilly rather than lose him for nothing.

Karlsson’s terrific start to this season for the lowly Sharks has sparked some musings about his trade status. Boylen observed first-year GM Mike Grier traded away Brent Burns to Carolina in July. Karlsson carries a hefty $11.5 million cap hit and a full no-movement clause. However, a trade might be possible if he’s willing to waive the clause to join a playoff contender and if the Sharks are willing to retain a healthy chunk of his cap hit.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Burns was easier to move because his contract was shorter and more affordable than Karlsson’s. He’s signed through 2024-25 with an average annual value of $8 million, which made retaining $2.7 million of that AAV easier to do. Karlsson is signed through 2026-27, which is a far longer period to be carrying dead cap space.

I’m not saying Karlsson can’t or won’t be traded, only that his contract won’t be easy to move. I think Grier will want to retain as little of that big cap hit as possible.


TORONTO SUN: With Leafs defenseman Jake Muzzin sidelined until at least February by a cervical spine injury, Terry Koshan believes GM Kyle Dubas should determine what’s available in the trade market regarding veteran blueliners.

THE JEFF MAREK SHOW (stick tap to “NHL Watcher”): Marek suggested Anaheim Ducks rearguards John Klingberg and Kevin Shattenkirk as trade options to replace Muzzin. Elliotte Friedman disagreed as he doesn’t believe they’re the type of defenders the Leafs need.

Friedman also noted the Leafs have been tied to Arizona Coyotes defenseman Jakob Chychrun. However, he expressed concern over Chychrun’s injury history and the Coyotes’ high asking price.

THE ATHLETIC: Jonas Siegel suggested pending UFAs such as the Washington Capitals Dmitry Orlov, the Ottawa Senators’ Artem Zub and the New York Islanders Scott Mayfield. He also mentioned the Chicago Blackhawks’ Connor Murphy, who has three more seasons left on his contract with an AAV of $4.4 million. However, he wondered if it could cost them a defenseman like Timothy Liljegren or Rasmus Sandin or perhaps forward Nick Robertson in order to get a serious return.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Koshan and The Toronto Star’s Dave Feschuk reported Dubas intends to see if Liljegren and Sandin can elevate their play before going the trade route. They’ve managed to make do with Muzzin missing most of this season thus far. T.J. Brodie is also sidelined but he’s expected to be out for just a couple of weeks.

Dubas won’t go shopping for help as long as the Leafs can keep their heads above water while Muzzin is sidelined. If the blueliner is ruled out for the remainder of the regular season during his February re-evaluation, the Leafs GM will keep him on long-term injury reserve and probably use the cap relief to bring in a rental defenseman. The trade market will likely contain better options by that point.


  1. With the Senators searching around for D help what makes anyone think they won’t do everything in their power to re-sign Zub?

    Letting him go as a UFA would only mean then having to search around for TWO RD. That would be stupid in the extreme.

    As for trading him now, that is as remote a possibility as can possibly be … and dealing him to the Leafs somewhere beyond that.

    • George O

      Agreed about Zub. Can’t see OTT trading him or allowing him to walk as a UFA unless his contract demands are unreasonable?

    • George … I honestly think everything is on hold until the team sells. I think Dorion is a lame duck GM at this time. It sounds like the sale of the team could be pretty quick, probably because of multiple interested parties. At that point Dorion and Smith are gone … and probably Anthony Leblanc as well. I think this is a lost season while all of the stuff at the top gets worked out.

      • You could be right, Peter … nor would that course of events surprise me. Hell, I’m not convinced that it’s a slam-dunk the team stays in Ottawa! (if they do move, it WON’T be to Quebec City – no new owner – if they’re not from La Belle Province – will want that added language baggage)

      • I think they will stay in Ottawa. Watch for the Melnyk daughters and Alfie to be involved in a minority ownership position with a richer owner. The team isn’t what is attractive but the Lebreton Flats development is what is more appealing to investors. Don’t forget that Guy Laliberte put together a proposal on that land (including an arena) in the past. He might revisit.

        Exciting times from that point of view.

        As far as the team they need to keep playing the younger players (especially Dmen). JBD looks pretty good. No reason to send him down. I think the Brannstrom experiment might be over. I would bring up Thomson later in the season for a long look.

        The season is young and they might right the ship. But it is certainly not the young Dmen (Sanderson and JBD) that have been the weak players on the backend. So keep playing them.

  2. Could Ryan McDonagh be moved?

  3. If Vancouver decides to trade Demko, they can have Merzlikens. The Jackets can add one of their defenseman prospects (not Jiricek) as added incentive.

    • Not enough. If I was a Leafs fan, thank God I’m not though, I would be starting with Morgan Reilly and a 1st round pick for Demko. Losing Reilly would hurt, but adding Demko would more than makeup for that loss.

      • Waaaay to much for Demko. A 1D and a 1st rd pick, for a goalie? Bad trade for the Leafs.

      • @Kevjam

        Why would VAN trade for Reilly when they already have Hughes?
        They’re also facing a rebuild so they’d be looking for young players/prospects.

        Larsson or Soucy from SEA make a lot of sense.

      • Demko for Campbell.

      • Daryl, Seattle sits 3rd in the Pacific and 9th in the league overall – what motivation would cause them to move Soucy or Larrson?

      • bad trade for both teams.
        Whatever Reilly may be, he is the Leafs #1 D-man, moving him is setting up demko for failure in the uniform. Also, Goalies do not cost this much in trade – only in fantasy hockey.

        For Vancouver, they already have Hughes, so Reilly doesn’t bring the change they need, they would be ecstatic with the return though.

        Also the matter of Reilly’s no trade clause and the fact that the Leafs are getting robbed on this deal.

      • Daryl – Morgan Rielly is only 28 years old, which is 2 years younger than Adam Larsson and the same age as Soucy. He is also stronger defensively than Hughes and probably a better skater than the rest of the Canucks defensemen.
        Seattle is in the same division as the Canucks. There is no way they trade him there.
        SOP and Taz – Last season Demko got votes for the Vezina. At his young age, there is a good chance that he will win a Vezina in his career. These types of goalies never enter the trade market. In order to get one you have to draft one. Three more seasons at only a $5 million cap hit, also make him an expensive acquisition.

    • 🍁I dont see Vancouver Moving there young 25 yr old goaltender Thatcher Demo.. if they were….

      The Senators should be All over that one as Goaltending is a very week area for them …That and the Sens Defence,

      The Sens need to look at RD options, i know they have Zub if they can re sign him….❓they cant put all there eggs in one basket so to speak…. with the often injured Chabot who they say is out a week it will be more like 2 weeks+❗️

      1) John Klingberg will cost them a first pick or maybe a swap fora top 6 LW Alex Formenton
      And next
      George’s Favorite player……🤔😜

      2) Erik Karlsson @ 40-50% retaned $6.M for the next 4.5 years
      will cost them a 1st pick, young winger Alex Formenton, and Salary dump $4.5M
      RD man Nikita Zaitsev who was waved and not picked up yesterday
      over the next 12 month they need to fix both of these areas

      • Better options are:


        all three would be a good fit question is what the cost would be.

    • I need to start noting when I’m being sarcastic.

  4. If Demko is on the trade block, the Leafs should be throwing the kitchen sink to the Canucks for him. Any goalie in the NHL would be struggling and have confidence issues playing behind that defence. This looks like a Dubnyk scenario all over again.

  5. Not saying Demko cant be traded but if he is its for a big return. Sure he isnt playing great, even terrible, but beyond that he is a good goalie. To me it looks more like a goalie playing behind a terrible defence that has lost his confidence. Horvat is another matter(I like him to Columbus), unless they can trade Miller that is. Also, just throwing this out there, EK65 to NJ at deadline if NJ is in a playoff spot and cap is going up by +4m

    • Karlsson to NJ is interesting, but they only have $1.1 million in Deadline cap space available. It will take some cap juggling for NJ to pull that off.
      They also have 8 RFAs to sign this offseason. It will be tough for them to make a deal for Karlsson.

    • I doubt the Jackets could clear enough cap space next year to afford Hovat and still ice a halfway decent team.

  6. Could Bo Harvat be the replacement for Bergy and Krejci next season?

    • Either ROR or Bo would be a great fit there come next year

      • Big fat nope to ROR. I do like Horvat though.

      • Re Reilly and the Bruins … and speaking of D – just saw this crop up on Facebook

        “On this day in 1973, Bobby Orr became the first defenseman in NHL history to register a seven point night, scoring three goals and four assists against the Rangers.”

    • Yep on Horvat to B’s if he doesn’t stay in VCR. Have to be one of the leaders to get him if he tests the market. C is the main area of weakness or will be shortly. Plenty of space, plus plenty of holes to fill next season. Plus Pasta to sign.

      I can see teams like COL and CAR getting into mix for Horvat as well.

  7. Surely Muzz will be on LTIR going forward. He has had both back and concussion issues and, clearly, regularly re-injures himself. He can’t self declare that he is going on LTIR but I hope for his post career life he finds himself there. He is one bad hit from real trouble.

    • Sadly I think he’s there now, LJ, and it’s a shame because he is a gamer. Hope he’s able to regain good health and stay involved in the game.

  8. The Maple Leafs will be looking at both these RD guys Klingberg & Karlsson

    Im not sure what they could offer
    leafs d is often injured, and a very week area along with goaltending

    Leafs are still waiting on Matt Murray to see what he can do

    Why would the Canuks take back Morgan Reiley if they are rebuilding…. they the Canucks already have a over paied ,Bad, Old Defence⁉️

    The Canucks have a number of young peices, they need to get rid of the old over priced defensemen on the back end and go from there and add to that area
    maybe that will happen if they trade Horvat or TJ Millar if they are going to miss the playoffs🤔

  9. You’re right. The leafs will look at skilled puck movers over shut down D…….the shut down being the guy..they’ve needed for about 5 years now.

    Zaitsev is on waivers

  10. Habs should be all over Demko if Vancouver really wants to trade him.

    Jake Allen and Joel Edmundson for Demko, matches cap, fills needs on both teams.

    • Good trade for the Habs, not so good for the Canucks. Edmundson’s back issues will likely be a red flag for the Canucks.

    • Montreal would be a good place for Demko as well. Although I think it will cost more than Allen and Edmondson.

      • if and its a big If… Demko is Avalable Or Not
        Thants if the go into a Full Rebuild….❓

        Both the Habs and Sens should be 100 % All over that

        -A 1st pick, could be a top 15
        -LW Alex Formenton top 6 winger and back
        -GoaltenderAnton Forsberg 3 more yrs @$2.5M
        – and…?

        -A 1st pick
        -Goaltender Jake Allen @$2.8 & $3.8 for the next 2 yrs
        and a d/man… or is it Both….❓
        is it young 21yr old d/man top prospect
        Justin Baron …? ….
        or and
        -d/man Joel Edmundson @$3.5M
        money would have to work for the Habs

    • I honestly think if he gets dealt, it’ll be an American team that he ends up with.

    • My rationale is that Vancouver will need an NHL goalie coming back and a top 4 D.

      Edmundson is 6’5 220, a top 4 with an A on his jersey who is only available because Habs are in rebuild and the rookie D are surprising everybody.

      Allen is a solid goalie for a tandem with Spencer Martin.

      Demko is having an awful start to the season and is a gamble at this point if Canucks are looking to move him.

      As fans we have a tendency to over-evaluate “our” own players so I’ll grant the possibility that I may be off-base.

  11. Forget Formenton. Ottawa has … no chatter, no “we’re close” no “we’re too far apart on $ and term” – zilch! Until it’s been established that he was in no way involved on the 2018 mess no one is taking him in a deal and I doubt Ottawa has even tried to move him.

  12. Who would Leaf fans target as a realistic option for goaltending, going forward.
    Who would you ship out in order to bring that goalie in?

    For the record, I watched Samsonov quite a bit with Washington and I think he’s going to be really good. I’d stick with him.

    • I thought he was a good signing and insurance for Murray’s inevitable string of injuries. I also thought Samsonov would end up being the Leafs number one as the season went on. He is free agent after the season and has a lot to prove.

      Right now I don’t know better options out there for the Leafs. The true elite goalies are not going to be traded. Means they are looking at a veteran which they will have to overpay for. They are better to keep their youth … they have done a good job drafting without a 1st round pick the last few seasons. Found a lot of good 2nd and 3rd round picks.

      For the Leafs it is ultimately who do they play in the first round of the playoffs and how do they match up. Last year they got the worst matchup possible. And I still think TB is the worst matchup for Toronto.

  13. Horvat and a first for jason zucker! Seems fair xD kidding all, but def a rutherford move like lunquist and a 1st for reeves.
    Every time during the St.l cup run we learned oskar could be a 2 way center.