NHL Rumor Mill – December 21, 2022
PROPOSED TRADE DESTINATIONS FOR HORVAT
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Follow the link above for Dixon’s and Bakula’s detailed explanations behind their proposals. Having done my own suggested destinations for Horvat earlier this season, I appreciate the efforts and rationale they put into theirs.
Horvat is slated to become an unrestricted free agent in July. He’s on pace for a career-high of 50 goals this season, meaning he’ll cost well over $8 million per season to re-sign on a long-term deal. The Canadiens, Hurricanes, Red Wings and Bruins will need assurances that Horvat will sign with them before pulling the trigger on this deal. Otherwise, they risk giving away prime assets on a player who could bolt on July 1.
Montreal Hockey Now’s Marc Dumont does a good job explaining why the Canadiens won’t get into the bidding for Horvat. It’s not the right time for the rebuilding Habs to pursue a player like Horvat. Management won’t be interested in mortgaging the future for an aging asset on an expiring contract.
Subtracting Savard’s $3.5 million from the Canadiens’ cap payroll, they’d have over $65 million invested in 15 roster players for 2023-24. They’ll likely get $10.5 million in cap relief if necessary if Carey Price is unable to continue his playing career but they won’t know that until the offseason. Meanwhile, winger Cole Caufield is coming off his entry-level contract and is in line for a significant pay raise on his next contract.
Given those factors plus the likelihood of a flattened salary cap for 2023-24, I wouldn’t hold my breath waiting for the Canadiens to acquire and sign Horvat.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Hurricanes are chugging along right now but they continue to have a big hole at the second-line center position. They’d have the cap space to comfortably re-sign Horvat next summer.
Acquiring Horvat now would give the Hurricanes his exclusive negotiating rights until July 1. However, they could consider a more affordable second-line center rental option for the playoffs like Montreal’s Sean Monahan and pursue Horvat in the free-agent market without giving up a promising asset like Jarvis.
Dixon and Bukala also suggest the Horvat-McDonough package for the Red Wings in exchange for prospect goaltender Sebastian Cossa, prospect defenseman Shai Buium, plus a 2023 first-rounder and the second-rounder they got from the St. Louis Blues.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Like the Hurricanes, the Red Wings can easily afford an expensive new contract for Horvat. They could certainly be interested if unable to re-sign captain Dylan Larkin. If he stays, Horvat would provide them with a solid one-two punch at center.
This pitch depends on whether Wings GM Steve Yzerman will part with a projected future starting goalie like Cossa, especially given Alex Nedeljkovic’s struggles over the past two years in the Wings’ crease. He could be reluctant to do that.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Horvat could be a great fit with the Bruins, especially if this season proves to be the last for Patrice Bergeron and/or David Krejci. Acquiring him now provides them with additional depth at center for the remainder of 2022-23 as they pursue the Stanley Cup.
The Bruins have been very much in “win-now” mode for several years. They’ll have a projected $56.9 million invested in 12 players for next season with winger David Pastrnak due for a big raise. It could cost a combined $20 million to do it, leaving next to nothing for the rest of the roster under a flattened cap for next season.
All in all, the Hurricanes and Red Wings seem the more likely destinations given the depth in promising assets that both clubs possess as well as plentiful cap space to afford his new contract. Whether those teams get into the bidding remains to be seen.
UPDATES ON MYERS AND BONINO
TSN: Darren Dreger reports Tyler Myers is maybe being overlooked as a secondary trade chip for the Vancouver Canucks. He’s got a year remaining on his contract with a $6 million cap hit and a modified no-trade clause.
Myers wants to stay in Vancouver. However, Dreger said there’s a belief there could be interest in the big veteran defenseman, suggesting he improve playing on a more structured team.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Myers will be owed $6 million in actual salary next season. However, $5 million of that is a signing bonus on July 1.
I think interested clubs will either want the Canucks to retain up to half of his cap hit now or else they’ll just wait until after his signing bonus is paid in July and then attempt to acquire him.
THE ATHLETIC: Corey Masisak suggests San Jose Sharks forward Nick Bonino could draw interest from playoff contenders seeking an experienced versatile two-way forward. He’s an unrestricted free agent carrying an affordable $2.050 million cap hit this season and a five-team no-trade list.