NHL Rumor Mill – December 15, 2022

by | Dec 15, 2022 | Rumors | 37 comments

Check out the latest speculation on Canucks captain Bo Horvat, Oilers winger Jesse Puljujarvi, Red Wings forward Tyler Bertuzzi and more in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.


SPORTSNET: In his latest “32 Thoughts” column, Elliotte Friedman believes it’s unlikely Bo Horvat will still be with the Vancouver Canucks past the March 3 trade deadline. The Canucks have definitely put the 27-year-old center on the trade market and are seeking a premium return for their captain.

Friedman claims there was never a time when a contract extension was close for the pending unrestricted free agent. He said it sounds like Horvat was offered seven and eight-year deals but a wide chasm remains that could be difficult to bridge. The Canucks aren’t keen to sign him for more than J.T. Miller’s $56 million but Horvat’s current play puts him over that amount.

THE PROVINCE: Ben Kuzma believes creativity is needed by the Canucks to re-sign Horvat. A leap from the center’s current $5.5 million average annual value to a market value of $8 million can be achieved if they can clear the necessary cap space.

Vancouver Canucks captain Bo Horvat (NHL Images).

By Kuzma’s estimate, the Canucks would need to find $3.74 million in cap space to retain Horvat and address other roster priorities like re-signing Andrei Kuzmenko next summer. An NHL insider suggested Conor Garland or Ilya Mikheyev can be easily moved. They could also attempt to move Brock Boeser, Tanner Pearson and Tyler Myers for draft picks. However, the insider isn’t sure if the Canucks want to retain Horvat.

NYI HOCKEY NOW: Stefen Rosner cites a source claiming the New York Islanders have checked in with the Canucks about Horvat. With over $10.8 million in projected trade deadline cap space, the Isles can afford his cap hit.

Rosner speculates the Canucks could seek top Isles prospect Aatu Raty as part of the return. Defense prospects such as Samuel Bolduc or Calle Odelius could also be enticing to the Canucks.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: As I mentioned before, the Canucks could resume contract discussions with Horvat leading up to the trade deadline if they don’t get suitable offers from other clubs. However, they don’t have the luxury of time as they did with J.T. Miller last summer. Horvat could be a goner for the right price, which will be high given he’s on pace for a career-high 59 goals this season.


SPORTSNET: Friedman believes this season will be Jesse Puljujarvi’s last with the Edmonton Oilers as everyone agrees it’s time for a fresh start. He’s heard the Anaheim Ducks. Carolina Hurricanes and Detroit Red Wings have at least looked at it but doesn’t think they’ve come anywhere close to what the Oilers would consider fair.

The Oilers won’t move Puljujarvi now as they don’t want to be shorthanded while currently riddled with injuries and battling for a playoff spot. However, that could change once they get healthier. If this carries over into the summer, the Oilers could decline to re-sign Puljujarvi, allowing him to test the free-agent market.

EDMONTON JOURNAL: Jim Matheson reports the Anaheim Ducks appear to be taking a hard look at Puljujarvi. Ducks general manager Pat Verbeek was in Nashville on Tuesday watching the Predators and Oilers.

Matheson speculates the Ducks could be thinking of a “test drive” with Puljujarvi for the remainder of the season. If they like what they see, they could re-sign the winger for less than his current cap hit of $3 million.

The Oilers want to clear some cap space to pursue a defensive blueliner before the trade deadline. The Ducks have five picks in the first two rounds of the 2023 NHL Draft.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Oilers aren’t dealing from a position of strength. Puljujarvi’s stock has tumbled since the offseason because of his low production and public self-doubt over his abilities as an NHL scorer. If they need to clear cap space before the trade deadline they’ll probably have little choice but to accept whatever they can get for him, even if it’s below what they would consider fair.


MLIVE.COM: In a recent mailbag segment, Ansar Khan was asked how Tyler Bertuzzi’s latest injury will affect his contract talks with the Detroit Red Wings. He doesn’t think it will but suggests the bigger question is whether the two sides can reach an agreement on a new contract before the trade deadline.

If they can’t, Khan believes Red Wings GM Steve Yzerman will trade Bertuzzi rather than risk losing him for nothing to next summer’s UFA market. He suggested the Toronto Maple Leafs were long rumored to be interested in Bertuzzi and remain the logical destination.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Injuries to Leafs defensemen Morgan Rielly and Jake Muzzin have observers (including me) believing they could prefer shoring up their blueline before the trade deadline. However, with youngsters Rasmus Sandin, Timothy Liljegren and Conor Timmins holding the fort, perhaps they might shift their focus to adding another forward.

SPORTSNET: Friedman wondered if the Arizona Coyotes might be willing to entertain offers for Karel Vejmelka. The 26-year-old goaltender is playing well and carries an affordable $2.75 million cap hit through 2024-25.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Vejmelka’s goals-against average is 3.07 but his .913 save percentage is impressive considering the team he plays for. He could draw plenty of interest from playoff contenders seeking an upgrade between the pipes.

The Coyotes are rebuilding under GM Bill Armstrong but I don’t think it’s his intent to perpetually trade away veterans for draft picks. Good starting goalies are difficult to find and Vejmelka is still young enough to be an important piece of their future.

The Canucks aren’t interested in moving first-rounders and would like to replace the second-round pick they shipped to the Chicago Blackhawks earlier in the season.


  1. With all teams at or near the 30-game mark – which is a decent sampling size – here are the top 10 in terms of Best Offense – Best Defense – Worst Offense – Worst Defense in order to better determine trade needs/potential source for needs

    Best Offense
    Buffalo 29gp 115 goals 3.98 gpg
    Boston 28gp 110 goals 3.93 gpg
    Dallas 30gp 110 goals 3.67 gpg
    Edmonton 30gp 109 goals 3.63 gpg
    Tampa Bay 28gp 101 goals 3.61 gpg
    New Jersey 29gp 104 goals 3.59 gpg
    Pittsburgh 29gp 102 goals 3.52 gpg
    Vancouver 29gp 101 goals 3.48 gpg
    Florida 30gp 102 goals 3.40gpg
    Vegas 31gp 104 goals 3.36 gpg

    Best Defense
    Boston 28gp 61ga 2.18 gapg
    Toronto 30gp 70ga 2.44 gapg
    New Jersey 29gp 71ga 2.45 gapg
    Carolina 28gp 73ga 2.61 gapg
    Winnipeg 28gp 75ga 2.68 gapg
    Dallas 30gp 84ga 2.80 gapg
    NY Islanders 30gp 84ga 2.80 gapg
    Colorado 27gp 76ga 2.82 gapg
    Pittsburgh 29ga 84ga 2/90 gapg
    Tampa Bay 28gp 84ga 3.00 gapg

    Worst Offense
    Anaheim 30gp 70 goals 2.33 gpg
    Philadelphia 30gp 72 goals 2.40 gpg
    Chicago 27gp 65 goals 2.41 gpg
    Nashville 27gp 70 goals 2.59 gpg
    Arizona 27gp 74 goals 2.74 gpg
    Columbus 28gp 80 goals 2.86 gpg
    Carolina 28gp 81 goals 2.89 gpg
    Detroit 29gp 85 goals 2.93 gpg
    St. Louis 29gp 85 goals 2.93 gpg
    Montreal 29gp 86 goals 2.97 gpg

    Worst Defense
    Anaheim 30gp 130ga 4.33 gapg
    Columbus 28gp 115ga 4.11 gapg
    Vancouver 29gp 112ga 3.86 gapg
    Chicago 27gp 101ga 3.74 gapg
    St. Louis 29gp 108ga 3.72 gapg
    Los Angeles 32gp 118ga 3.69 gapg
    San Jose 31gp 112ga 3.61 gapg
    Buffalo 29gp 103ga 3.55 gapg
    Montreal 29gp 100ga 3.45 gapg
    Edmonton 30gp 102ga 3.40 gapg

    • Couple changes from last year George when you look at the team performance.

      So the Leafs lose 2 of their top 4 D, including their best one, and sit 2nd in the NHL in goals against.
      Stick tap to Keefe and their forwards for playing the right way and protecting their D and goaltenders. Including and especially their top offensive guys. Just because the coach is right, and can teach it, doesn’t mean the players can or will execute the plan.

      Bodes well for the playoffs? Dare to dream Leaf fans? Hope I’m wrong and they lose in the first RD, but wouldn’t bet against them having some playoff success this year assuming reasonable health.

      Dallas is scoring way more while still playing sound structured hockey. Didn’t see that coming.

    • Yep … that is a different-looking team out there nightly as I’ve been saying for a few weeks now. Whatever system Keefe has installed following the injuries, the entire team has bought in – stars included.

      As the late great Vince Lombardi once said “coaches who can outline a play on a blackboard are a dime a dozen … the ones who win get inside their players’ heads and motivate.”

      • Ya, only thing I would add to Vince quote, and motivate your best players to lead/motivate the rest.
        If your high paid guys ain’t doing it, neither will the other guys. That is what was happening in EDM for years before McDavid, Draisaitl and Nurse became the leadership group.

      • Agree re Dallas Ray. If I had to pick out the biggest “surprises” (good and bad) in each grouping, I’d say” Best Offense – Dallas, Vancouver, New Jersey; Best D – New Jersey, Winnipeg, NYI – Worst Offense – Carolina, St. Louis, Nashville – Worst D – Sr. Louis, L.A., Edmonton

        There are just 5 teams not included in any of the groupings – Seattle, Ottawa, NYR, Calgary, Washington

  2. That Miller contract isnt going to age well.

  3. Yakupov Puljularvi .
    Get what you can Ken

    The lack of trades makes for no fun. Every team waiting for the TD ? Will be too late for some

    Garland and Boeser should move before Horvat.

    • S7, not sure he should just dump him. A 4th RD pick is pretty much a lottery long shot.
      If they have another deal in place and need the space OK. If included to make the cap$ work OK.

      Having a big physical winger who can skate and defend isn’t the worst thing, he is a useful player. He just costs too much if he isn’t producing offense, and he isn’t. And his head is in a bad place by the sounds of it.

      Something dramatic would have to change for them to qualify him, but he would also need to be replaced on bottom 6 if you move him, and would that make you a better team? Maybe, the Oil are deeper up front now.

      ANH seems like a nice idea, trade him for a guy like Kulikov who is a pending UFA, EDM adds a 3rd. ANH takes him for a test drive and see if they get him back on track. If he like the SoCal sunshine and lifestyle, relaxes and starts playing better he signs a 1 year prove it deal for less than QA.

      If it doesn’t ANH nets a 3rd.

    • Puljularvi has a long way to fall to be in the same category of a bust as Yakupov. Puljularvi is willing to listen, learn, and practice what he needs to improve on. That was one of the issues with Yakupov. He was never willing to work on his skating or defensive game. All he wanted to work on in practice was his shot.
      Dubnyk didn’t like him at all. LOL
      This was written a month ago.

      • I dunno Kevjam – the numbers say differently – not by much, mind you, but still favoring Yakupov – at least offensively.

        Yakupov – # 1 overall 2012 – 350gp 62g 74a 136 pts for 82-game averages of 15g 17a 32pts

        Puljujarvi – # 4 overall 2016 – 289gp 47g 57a 104 pts for 82-game averages of 13g 16a 29pts.

      • Ya, I think the difference between the 2 of them is what they do when they aren’t scoring, and neither has scored enough to justify being a top 5 pick.

        You couldn’t even play Yakupov in your bottom 6 and have him play that role. Either not willing or not capable.

      • George,
        The big difference between them is Puljularvi can play without the puck, and Yakupov was useless when he didn’t have the puck. Puljularvi at the very least should have a good career as a third-line NHLer. Not what you envision when drafting a player in the top 5, but not at the Yakupov level of a bust.

      • The real biggest difference!


        Can JP top that on a meaningless early season game TYING goal? I seriously doubt it!

        Yak should go to the rafters for this one.

  4. Horvat will be moved, Dunno where the RD will come from that Van desperately needs. The Isles prospects mentioned are both LD’s. Raty would move the needle.
    Bert to Trono would be intriguing, what would the return be? Trono does not have the D or C that Detroit needs. Trono would need to move some salary even if Bert is half salary.

    • @Johnny Z

      TOR has some good C and D prospects in the organization. Hirvonen and Steeves are Centres. So is DerArguchintsev. Niemela and Villeneuve are good defensive prospects as well as Hollowell who just had a nice audition with the big team.

      TOR has some decent prospects to facilitate a trade. What they don’t have is a 2nd round pick.

    • Bert ain’t happening. I don’t even think the guy wants to play in Canada. Plus I saw (I think it was) Lebrun talk about the Leafs are looking at maybe getting ROR from the Blues. Not a bad move but what will be the cost if there’s any truth to it.

  5. Vancouver fans, what’s going on?

    Listening to NHL radio the other day, they said Vancouver is believed to have offered Horvat an 8yr deal between $5.5 and $6m per and he turned it down.

    Now trying to trade Horvat, Boeser? where is the future?

    What doesn’t make sense is Horvat is your number one Center, they don’t grow on trees. However if trying to move out these players, why would you tie up $8m per year for 7yrs to a player who will turn 30yrs old before that contract kicks in.
    What is missing?

    • @ Caper
      Tough call. 30 goals once. 61 points career high.
      Right now having a career year much like JT Miller did last season. His shooting % is up too.
      He is a #2 center on a top team. Plays every situation.

      I see him in Boston

    • What is missing? Evidently Van needs a cap-oligist that JR/Arvin will listen to. 😁

    • Ya Caper, a clear strategy seems to be absent for the last while in VCR.
      I think that’s why Linden left, wanted to stay the course with the patient rebuild. Ownership saw an attendance reduction while they were losing, tried to speed it up. Benning took his marching orders as he didn’t have millions in the bank.

      Didn’t work, now trying to thread needle again. Not that far out of a wild card spot, but if Horvat won’t sign they have to move him IMO. The dreaded middle ground.

      I wouldn’t want to pay Boeser want he makes either so good luck with that option.

    • The Canucks mgmt totally botched the Miller situation. Should have traded him but held out for too much, then signed him based on his career year stats. Love Miller, but based simply on age, he was the piece that should have been moved. Then signing Horvat could have been easier.

    • Hi Caper,
      yes i think your Right with Boston looking at
      Bo Horvat as a trade before the dead line,

      if not i think they will go after him when the UFA period begins july 1st 2023👌 as they will need a 1st & 2nd line centre’s

      Horvat is going to get $8.M to $8.5M now
      But if Vancouver keep going the way the played last night they are going to be in the playoff hunt 7&3 in there last 10 games
      at 29 points and a game in hand 2 wins could take them up to 6th spot in the western conference❗️🤔

      Would Arizona take him in a swap for Jakob chychrun ❓

      • WW

        Horvat. Would make a good Bruin. But. Not sure how they squeeze him in the cap. 25 mil in space with 11 going to pasta Bonuses of 46 and 37 and a bunch to resign or replace. Here is hoping both 37 and 46 resign. Or at least 1 of them

      • MB4, if you would have said $11M for Pasta last year I would have said your nuts. But even if he doesn’t get to $11, gonna be close.
        Gaudreau and Huberdeau signings changed changed my opinion on that.

        So just for debate sake, as they won’t have to make this decision, and you could get Horvat for $8.5M and you had to choose between him and Pasta, who would you take?

        Tough call IMO. C is a more important and valuable position. Pasta is an elite scoring winger.

      • Ray the big difference I think would come from news that soon the cap will be going up significantly, not the upcoming year but years beyond that.
        That wasn’t known at the time of Gaudreau and Huberdeau signing. So Pasta would have a case about the rising cap. As a UFA I do see 10M as the minimum but wouldn’t be surprised at 11.5 either

      • That would be novel, but Van wants to cut cap. How bout Horvat + Myers(retain $1.5M) for Chyrun and an AZ 2nd.
        Az flips both for futures (young players, prospects, and picks and retains 1/2 salary on Bo and shaves another $1.5M on Myers. Myers at $3M would be a bargain price for a RD! And H Horvat would get up to 4 nice pieces!

      • True that Taz, makes for tough decisions for the B’s though. Hard to let a player like that walk, assuming he wants to be back.

      • Hi JZ

        I love the multi-player, multi team trades. Love them. However, they are rare

        Your moves have logic…. But Armstrong has to feel confident that those moves are better than a single move for Chychrun…. some in the media speculating that Armstrong’s ask is (A) two firsts, roster up and commer , and prospect….. or (B) multi-player package equivalent to A

        In your proposal, Yotes giving up a 2nd as well

        So the net effect of the multi-trade/multi-player/multi-team; for retaining on Myers and Bo…. They’d need to net greater than

        Two firsts; 2nd; up and commer; prospect; plus whatever value is placed on retention (Myers/Bo)

        I just don’t think that return would have Armstrong moving on the deal

        Armstrong also covets expiring (or 1 year remaining ) front loaded contracts (remaining Cap far exceeding cash)…. Myers has $5M SB due next 1/7….. so not valuable for Armstrong to retain on

        Perhaps if it is ‘Nucks adding a 1st (lottery protected) no retention Myers but 50% on Bo; for Chychrun

        Then Yotes retaining 50% on Meyers…. gets a 1st (lottery protected) and a prospect

        Bo (retained an additional 25% by Yotes) @ 25%…. Gets 1st (lottery protected) , Up and commer on roster; 2nd

        Net to Yotes for Chychryn (and cash/cap retentions on Myers/Bo)….. Three 1sts (all lottery protected); 2nd; an up and commer already in NHL; and a prospect

        Again…. Very complicated; longshot deals; but I think ‘Nucks have to up the deal to move the Armstrong needle

        and that many 1sts in a multi-team; multi-player; retention swap is far-fetched enough as it is @ TDL; now…. Basically impossible

        If I’m Armstrong… slightly lower the ask; get a deal done now…. If Chychrun gets injured (or slumps in play)…. Value drops

  6. One of the positive for the Canucks is Jack Studnicka has 2 goals in 12gp. In 38 games played for Boston he had a total of 1 goal and a season high of 3pts, which he has also tied in 12 games for Vancouver.

    • Re; Bo Horvate

      Boston have $26.5 to spend in cap spaceNext year

      Pasta at $9.5M $10.5M range
      Zacka to resign at $3.75M
      Swayman an RFA a bridge deal $3.5M❓
      total $17.25M

      Then they need for next year a #1 Centre as they have 3 & 4 centres but not a first line in Boston for next year….⁉️

      Bo Horvat at $8M to $8.25 M
      total $25.25 Million
      left is about 1.25M, they still need to free up for next year an other $3M to sign or bring up a couple young guys

      They also have 9 d/men just now, potental trades
      Brandon Carlo $4.1 M
      Mike Reilly’s salary is $3.M

      Maybe its a package deal with Canucks and Bruins
      2 Players and A pick 3rd round pick to make the money work,
      Forward Craig Smith @$3.1M is a player Boston is trying to move also

      Canucks need to fix there Defence and they also need to dump OEL $8M & Tyler Myers @$6.Million in salarys….🤔

  7. Bertuzzi is the kind of player that the Leafs need, however, his injury history scares me. I’d rather not pay a high price for a very high risk player.

  8. LOL Ken Holland is delusional if he honestly thinks he’s going to get any kind of value for Jesse Puljujarvi. He’ll be lucky to get a 3rd or 4th round pick for him if even that.

    As for Tyler Bertuzzi his value is plummeting he’s going to miss a minimum of 2 months with a broken right hand and a broken left hand. He wanted 7 years @ $7,000,000 per just to remain in Detroit. he won’t get that from Yzerman or on the open market. he’ll be lucky to get a 3-4 year deal @ $5,500,000 or $6,000,000 and that’s being pretty generous.

  9. I know it’s taboo for me to cheer for a Leaf player, but I’m really rooting for Mitch to continue his streak and break the record this year. He’s fun to watch.

    • Yeah, have to admit I like watching his game as well. Kind of reminds me way back when I was a Habs fan in the 1950s/1960s and definitely not a Leafs fans, but whenever the Leafs were involved I was always entertained by Dave Keon’s game. Marner reminds me a lot of him.

  10. Mariner has more teeth than Keon.
    A long way to 51 games but approaching the half way mark . Not out of the realm of possibility . I think hockey fans everywhere are cheering for him.

  11. Anybody hear familiar withCBA and contract terminations…. Question…

    Re Rindell and terminating contract:

    Axel Rindell Toronto Maple Leafs unconditional waivers | TSN


    I understand the why (from Leafs perspective…. Contract limits)…. But HOW can they unilaterally terminate his contract?

    Buyouts can’t happen until nextJune…. and unilaterally terminating a contract now; when player not in breach???

    • @Pengy

      Is it possible that Rindell wants to go back overseas? Perhaps a KHL deal for more money is available? He can’t be making much on an AHL/ECHL deal?