NHL Rumor Mill – December 1, 2022
RUMOR TIDBITS FROM FRIEDMAN’S LATEST “32 THOUGHTS” COLUMN
SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman reports there were rumors that Patrick Kane would prefer to play out this season with the Chicago Blackhawks and decide his future in next summer’s free-agent market. However, sources told him that’s not the case.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: As Friedman noted, we can expect more clarity on what Kane and fellow UFA Jonathan Toews want in the New Year. It’s believed Blackhawks management will meet with both players at some point this month to discuss their futures.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Karlsson carries a no-movement clause. Assuming he’d agree to be traded to the Panthers, they can’t afford his $11.5 million cap hit through 2026-27 without shedding salary and having the Sharks retain a healthy chunk of it.
The cost in terms of return would also be high, including at least one first-round pick. That’s something the Panthers don’t have, having traded away their first-rounders for 2023, 2024 and 2025.
LATEST ON CHYCHRUN
SPORTSNET: Adam Vingan took note of Arizona Coyotes defenseman Jakob Chychrun’s recent return to action following off-season wrist surgery. The 24-year-old blueliner’s youth, size and affordable $4.6 million salary-cap hit combined with his puck-moving abilities continue to make him enticing for teams seeking a rearguard with his skills.
The Columbus Blue Jackets, New York Islanders, Los Angeles Kings and Buffalo Sabres have been linked to Chychrun. So have the Ottawa Senators. Vingan also pointed out that the injury-ravaged Toronto Maple Leafs need some help on defense.
Vingan also cited Chychrun’s injury history and is prone to turnovers. Nevertheless, he considers him to be a “well-rounded defenseman” who can lead a breakout, control a power play and hold his own against tough competition.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Those interested clubs will want to see Chychrun play some games this season before bidding for his services. The asking price is heavy on futures (draft picks, especially first-rounders, plus prospects and/or a good young NHL player) which is why teams will be cautious given his injury history.
Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman said the Kings seek a left-hand shot on their blueline. While linked to Chychrun and carrying the type of assets the Coyotes would want, he believes there’s no guarantee it happens. Friedman also thinks Chychrun has let management know that he prefers getting moved to a contender.
Coyotes general manager Bill Armstrong could push to move Chychrun this season. The blueliner’s 10-team no-trade clause kicks in next July, giving him more control over where he could be dealt.
SENATORS FACE DEADLINE TO SIGN FORMENTON
OTTAWA SUN: Bruce Garrioch reports the Senators have until 5 pm ET on Dec. 1 to sign Alex Formenton. The 23-year-old winger is a restricted free agent. If he’s unsigned by that deadline, he’ll be ineligible to play in the NHL this season. Garrioch doesn’t anticipate a rival club tending Formenton an offer sheet.
DAILY FACEOFF: Frank Seravalli wonders if the Senators will attempt to trade Formenton to a club willing to sign him before that deadline. There’s speculation the winger could face discipline for his potential involvement in the Team Canada 2018 World Junior team’s sexual assault case. He’s among the few players who have not responded to the allegations directly or indirectly.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The results from the investigation are expected soon but probably not in time for the deadline. It could be that the Senators or clubs potentially interested in Formenton are leery of signing or acquiring him because of this situation. We’ll find out soon enough.
CAN THE PENGUINS FIND A TRADE PARTNER FOR KAPANEN?
PITTSBURGH HOCKEY NOW: Dan Kingerski recently wondered if the Pittsburgh Penguins can find a trade partner for Kasperi Kapanen by swapping him with another player with a comparably bad contract. The 26-year-old winger is in the first season of a two-year deal with a $3.2 million average annual value.
Kingerski suggested the Edmonton Oilers’ Jesse Puljujarvi, Calgary Flames Milan Lucic and San Jose Sharks Kevin Labanc as trade targets.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I doubt there’s any market for Kapanen after being a healthy scratch through most of November. Pujujarvi was the subject of trade rumors for months but nothing’s come of it. Lucic is aging and slowing down but he remains a popular dressing-room leader for the Flames.
Labanc is the more productive of that group with 13 points in 25 games. If the Sharks were to shop him I don’t see them wanting Kapanen in return.