NHL Rumor Mill – December 30, 2022

by | Dec 30, 2022 | Rumors | 43 comments

Check out the latest on Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane, Bo Horvat, Ryan O’Reilly and Vladimir Tarasenko, Alexis Lafreniere and more in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.


TORONTO STAR: Nick Kypreos predicts the bottom will fall out of the trade market leading up to the March 3 deadline because of more big-name players being available than in previous years. He also observed that players carrying no-movement clauses (like Chicago Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews) mean they will be “strong-arming” a lot of deals.

Chicago Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews (NHL Images).

Speaking of Toews, Kypreos anticipates he’ll land with the Colorado Avalanche. However, he doesn’t see the Blackhawks getting much more than a third-rounder for him.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s not as crazy as it sounds given Kypreos’ observations of the talent potentially available in the market leading up to deadline day. It’ll be interesting to see how things unfold as March 3 approaches.

Kypreos predicts Patrick Kane will stay with the Blackhawks for the remainder of this season and then test his luck in this summer’s free-agent market.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kane’s agent and Blackhawks management are expected to meet sometime in January when his fate will be decided. Some observers share Kypreos’ view while others think he’d like to chase a Stanley Cup this season as a playoff rental.

Multiple teams could love to acquire Vancouver Canucks center Bo Horvat for a playoff push but few can afford to retain him on a long-term contract. Kypreos believes the Boston Bruins are among those who could, suggesting Horvat could help them transition out of the Patrice Bergeron/David Krejci era.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That’s true at first glance, where the Bruins have $56.9 million invested in 12 roster players for 2023-24. However, the only way I think that’s feasible is if they decide not to re-sign David Pastrnak, who could end up earning $11 million annually or more on his next contract. Horvat could cost over $9 million to sign. That would be potentially $20 million invested in just two players, leaving very little to fill out the rest of the roster.

Meanwhile, The Athletic’s Thomas Drance and Rick Dhaliwal aren’t ruling out the possibility of the Canucks and Horvat reaching an agreement on a contract extension. However, Horvat’s production this season suggests he could earn more in this summer’s free-agent market than what the Canucks can afford to pay him. They believe management will strongly consider trading him if the right offer comes along.

Finally, Kypreos expects the Florida Panthers will be sellers early in 2023. He predicts they’ll peddle forwards like Sam Bennett, Sam Reinhart or Carter Verhaeghe to address their depleted defense corps.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Panthers are pressed for cap space and possess few tradeable assets in terms of draft picks or prospects to address their blueline issues. A one-for-one hockey deal involving one of those forwards could fetch a quality defenseman. Then again, they could move one of those forwards in a cost-cutting deal to free up cap space to pursue a defenseman or two in the offseason.


THE ATHLETIC: Pierre LeBrun thinks it’s more likely the St. Louis Blues move Ryan O’Reilly by the trade deadline as the club struggles to stabilize their season. His agent indicated there haven’t been any contract extension talks this season.

LeBrun is also certain that Vladimir Tarasenko won’t be signing a contract extension. The Blues winger requested a trade following the 2020-21 season. Unlike O’Reilly, Tarasenko has a full no-trade clause giving him a say over what happens leading up to March 3.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: LeBrun’s colleague Jeremy Rutherford recently speculated that the Blues would like to re-sign O’Reilly as a middle-third center on an affordable short-term contract. However, that’ll depend on whether O’Reilly wants to stay put or pursue a payday. If it’s the latter, Rutherford thinks they’ll peddle him before the deadline.


THE ATHLETIC: Arthur Staple believes the New York Rangers and Alexis Lafreniere are reaching a critical point in their relationship. The 21-year-old winger (and 2020 first-overall draft pick) has been reduced to fourth-line duty and was a healthy scratch in Thursday’s game against the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Now into his third season, Lafreniere has yet to achieve his much-anticipated breakout season. He’s been inconsistent and one NHL scout observed he doesn’t seem to accomplish much with or without the puck.

The Rangers still believe Lafreniere could become the player who showed so much potential during his impressive junior career. However, there seems to be a disconnect between the player he could become and where he is now. If things continue on their current path, they could face the choice of whether or not to keep him or trade him.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Staple duly noted that Lafreniere, a natural left wing, has tried to adjust to playing on the right side as Artemi Panarin and Chris Kreider are firmly entrenched as the top-two left-side wingers. However, he also felt the youngster is lacking the determination to do more to earn himself bigger minutes.

I don’t think the Rangers will give up on Lafreniere but he could become the subject of trade speculation if he fails to improve as this season rolls along. He’s certainly not going to earn a big payday from the Blueshirts once his entry-level contract expires at the end of this season. A short-term “show me” bridge deal is in his future.


  1. Wonder what it would take for the leafs to land Lafreniere to fill their need for a second LW on the 2nd unit. Kerfoot and leaf’s 1st round pick.

    • I really don’t think that gets it done Jeff. A 1st overall still on an ELC ($925,000) with lots of upside for a journeyman pending UFA costing $3.5 mil off the cap who has 6g 11a 17 pts in 36gp??

      Lafreniere has 5g 12a 17 pts and, as I say, still with lots of upside and at 1/4 the cost. They also have Goodrow, Chytil and Kakko producing as much as Kerfoot.

      Why would the Rangers take him and a 1st round pick that figures to be somewhere in the bottom 5 of Round 1?

      I can think of 15 teams that would better that offer in a heartbeat IF New York ever decided to peddle Lafreniere – starting with Montreal and Ottawa.

      But that is simply not going to happen. Not this year. So the kid was a healthy scratch. All part of the learning process – you want ice time kid? Earn it.

  2. A few things : with the glorious careers they had in Chicago, I would be very surprised if both Toews and Kane wouldn’t wave their NMC, out of loyalty to the organisation. I might be naive, but, that might be a part of their thinking.
    About Lafrenière , two things : a) the Rangers, sticking him at 3rd LW, haven’t helped him much…he could use a change of scenery, and, b), he’s another living proof that, except for generational players (Bedard seems one), the best players are often found, later in the draft.
    Sorry for stating the obvious. Bruins did much better with a 26th .

    • Lafrenière was playing similar game to Landeskog last playoff run and now game to game he often shows a lack of confidence. He and Kakko seem to not shoot enough

      no idea what needs to be done for the Rangers

    • PP. hard to argue that he should be ahead of either Kreider or Panarin. For the record all 3 have tried moving to RW. Unfortunately that “generational talent” tag gets thrown around seemingly every year. Laf hasnt shown to be one. Beside other 2 LW, Kravtsov can play left side. Cuylle playing well in Hartford as is Trivigno. And Othmann killing it again in juniors.Laf could eventually be dealt, but not because of 1 scratch.

      • @slick
        no lack of LW in the system. Othmann could be NHL ready next season

  3. Boston has $26,853,375 in cap space next season with a 12 player roster



    Reilly in the AHL still carries a 1.875 cap hit

    If nothing changes boston cap space will be reduced by $4,650,000 performance bonus to Bergeron and Krejci.

    2023 cap space $22,203,375 with 12 players signed.

    Pastrnak shouldn’t be higher then McAvoy at $9.5 if he wants more let someone else pay him.

    • Caper

      If Sweeney gets pasta under 11. It is a job well done
      Clifton Nosek Smith Reilly Foligno all gone. 50 50 on 46 37 returning Foligno May sign cheap. Tweeks will becoming

      • CD and MrB4 if its 11m let him walk, he isn’t worth it.

        I understand you value him differently but he isn’t worth $10

        Then again at this stage Charlie Mac isn’t worth $9.5

        So yes im ok if Sweeney lets Pastrnak walk.

        If he making 11m then you not suiting up a contending team

    • I think most of you who post here regularly know a lot more about what is going on than I do. Having said that Caper I doubt Boston gets Pasta for less than 10.5. I just hope they sign him period. He is a legit star.

  4. Deal Laf to Van for Kuzmenko. Kuzmenko is nearly a pt per game and I doubt Van has the space to re-sign him. NYR will face a cap crunch also, but have more players that are trade worthy, so they may be able to make room to re-sign him, or consider him a rental, as they have a better likelihood of being in a playoff spot than the Nucks.

    • Johnny Z. So much can happen in Vancouver. So many players that have been in Rumors. Kuzmenko a small sample size so far. Hard to predict how much he could get as a ufa next summer. I think if Nucks move someone, they’ll try and extend him.

    • Kuzmenko and a Horvat rental for Laf improves the Rangers run with the over 30 crowd of Zib Panarin Kreider to win now while they are in their primes

      I am a fan of the kid line but all 3 look to be 2nd liners imho not game breakers.
      tough call. does Laf find his potential as the #1 LW somewhere with 20 minutes a night and a powerplay fixture?

  5. Funny how a year or 2 ago a lot of Ranger fans with the we’re not ready to win yet attitude always referenced how they needed to save cap space for those giant contracts Laf and Kakko would need. Laf practiced with 4th line before being scratched. Will be interesting to see what happens tomorrow in Florida. Or Montreal next week.
    Also, in Lebrun article, his opinion on Kane and Toews is complete opposite of Kipreos. He has Toews staying- Kane leaving.

    • Well, even with marginal raises they are still cap strapped.

      They need to sign 11players and are committing 66 million to 12 next year.

      The fantasy of spending 5-6-8-10 to “win now” still can’t be done.

      “Win now” shouldn’t have been the mindset 2-3 years into a rebuilding.

      As many Ranger fans, the idea of “oh my god, this 18-19-21 year old isn’t producing 80 points on the 3rd or 4th line playing with Reaves, or McLeod , let’s trade them all for 8 million dollar players “ wasn’t exactly well thought out.

      Time. These young players were all rushed. Time. It’s a rebuild.

      Adding Panarin, Trouba only grossly confused the rebuild.

  6. Feels like the Rangers (or at least their writers) have always coveted Tarasenko!? He WOULD create two dominant forward lines for them. Maybe Armstrong could swing a deal for Lafreniere–but I think dollars would be a mess, and a contract extension for Vladdy would be a requirement.


    • Laf had 19 even strength goals last season with 3rd line minutes. the kid is not a game breaker nor is he Yakupov.

      • Agree totally ds. Kind of reminds me of the last couple of years when some Boston fans wanted to run DeBrusk out on a rail for his “lack of consistency” and apparent “lack of confidence.”

        All he’s done this year is turn in a solid game-in game-out effort producing 14g 13a 27 pts in 34gp while at the same time turning in solid defensive efforts.

        I haven’t heard any “trade deBrusk” proposals in quite a while.

    • Iowa. We’ll give you Blais back for Vlad. That Buch trade not looking good for us.

    • As a Blues fan i would do that.

  7. Maybe Zadina for Lafrienne would work.

  8. This is for Ray Bark, from yesterday:

    Hi Ray, I read your post too late yesterday to reply, but wanted to comment as the issue of referees and criticism is a thing with me. You wrote yesterday:

    “You want them (refs) to get as little publicity as possible. They get a small fraction of what players, coaches and GM’s get paid. Their performance is dealt with like any other employee, and their discipline is private with regards to the what and why. As it should be, or nobody would be stupid enough to do the job.

    Anyone who has spent any time in a minor hockey rink know exactly what I am talking about.”

    Referees are professionals, and they get paid between 300K – 400K, US, plus per diems, and benefits. Not exactly chump change and surely enough to render what they get paid compared to players irrelevant when it comes to owning up to criticism.

    Secondly, referee performance is not dealt with like any other employee in the NHL, at least compared to players, coaches & GMs. Surely that’s the point. Player discipline is publicized, often with a video detailing the rationale. Coaches get announced fines along with a rationale. Of course refs are going to make mistakes like players, et al, and yes it’s part of the game. But players criticizing refs a detriment to the game – any more than players or coaches being criticized by the league? Any more than allowing gambling on sports, which used to be seen as a threat to the integrity of the game but somehow promoted by the league as almost a must do?

    Employee performance dealt with in private? Pro sports do not occur in a private office – it’s a public venue; indeed, publicity is an integral part of the game. Except, somehow for players criticizing refs.

    Danger to the refs? NHL refs enter the rinks through a secured entrance and leave the same way with security in place during games. The prospect of danger is nowhere near like a local rink, or a small town where everyone knows where the ref lives. In that sense NHL refs are more sheltered, not less, as players make personal appearances, and are recognized in the streets the way that no ref is.

    So why all the protection and mothering of refs? Perhaps if players or coaches could criticize them it might improve their performance. That is a goal of criticism, after all.

    That’s my opinion, Ray.

    • All fair points LJ, I think the NHL, and every sports league have similar rules with regards to officials. If we lived in a different world than today’s environment sure.

      I don’t know the reason they have, but we guess from the outside, I am going with safety.

      People are flippin’ nuts these days, not the majority or every fan obviously, but enough to take it seriously. The last thing the NHL or any other pro sports league wants is Ref’s getting harassed away from the rink and I am including their families in this.

      So on the other end what benefit does it serve? I don’t see a lot of upside other than some fans get what they want. They won’t be more accountable than they are now will they? So most fans get to yell more at the game? Freak out on Twitter? Try and cancel them? What exactly would the proponents of it do with this information?

      Why do we feel entitled to it?

      My only point is the cost/benefit or risk/reward of doing it. Hi risk, small reward IMO.

      • We’re missing each other Ray. I am not saying fans are entitled to hear what players say about referees per se – though I acknowledge that would be a bi-product.

        What I am saying is that players or coaches in post game comments should be able to say they think the calls made or missed by refs cost them the game, without fines or suspensions.

        You are correct, professional leagues don’t allow it. I don’t think that’s reasonable.

        Thanks for the exchange and last word to you.

      • Ya LJ, some leeway to the coaches/players wouldn’t be the end of the world, and $100K is stiff.
        Seems like the coaches usually speak differently once they have had 24 hrs to calm down vs post game when they are emotional. As they realize it was simply a mistake by the official.

        IMO, and again just guessing from the outside, it is all about inflaming the fans against the refs and trying to avoid it. I wouldn’t be surprised if there had been incidents in the past that have preceded the current rules. Unfortunately the world we live in, where the few morons cause rules for the many.

  9. Kypper ????

    Kane definitely staying with Chi to YE and Toews only getting z 3rd

    Kypper is just rambling (without thought again)

    If Avs would only br parting with a 3rd for Toews….

    Dumo; 2nd ; O’Connor certainly beats that

    Toews at 3C (instead of Carter) and Dumo replaced by Smith (already s Pen)..,, is a potential mover (from potential WC/bubble to battling for 2nd in Metro come April) at a relatively low cost

    Hard to see Kane remain a Hawk for rest of season (he’s not coming back there next season…. Why not move on and get a deep playoff run with another team?)

    • Hi Pengy

      There is zero chance that CHI asks Toews to waive his NTC for a 3rd round pick.
      Also zero chance that CHI takes a 31 year old Dumoulin, 24 year old Drew O’Connor and a late 2nd round pick.

      CHI is trying to rebuild. At minimum they’ll seek a 1st round pick and top prospect or young promising NHL roster player.

      I’m on board that Toews would be a good addition to any team, especially PIT or TOR but he’s definitely not going for a package of spare parts.

      • Hi Daryl

        Dumo (UFA) was just there only to balance Cap

        Fully agree a 3rd not happening by any stretch

        I do think 2nd plus O’Connor is a fair offer (your free was 1st and top prospect [O’Connor is])

        If Chi pushed for higher (not sure but they might)….the most HexBurkie should rationalize is

        Dumo, 1st , O’Connor


        Toews (50 % retained) and a 3rd (Dallas’)

    • Pengy..
      Happy 2023
      We need a 3rd line center carter is useless needs to go to wing

      When we won cups we had stahl 2009

      Bonino 2016 2017

      Of these three who would you take

      Adam Henrique 32 2 years left at $5.8 ducks absord some salary. He has 10 goals + 1 on a crap team excellent face off guy good 200 ft player

      Max domi. Blackhawks ufa @ $ 3 million. Only 27. great shot, good skater leads Chicago with 11 goals

      Ryan Oreilly… ufa off year but Stanley cup champion

      I would go after Jakob Chychrun full throttle. 24. 6 ft 3. 210. 4 goals 17 points in 18 games played. 2 years more at a affordable $4.6 million..

      Petry out letang out
      I would go

      Brian Dumoulin $4.1
      Kaspari Kapanen $3.2
      2023 # 1 pick
      2023 # 2 pick
      Prospect sammy Poulin

      With chychrun only 24 and number 1 puck Pickering coming in 2 3 tears you have two big young studs on defense

      You get Petry healthy letang healthy chychrun and Peterson good top 4. rutta and ry smith

      I would go

  10. I love Pasta as a player but disagree that he is a star. Love the smile but way to many giveaways trying his one on one moves. Marchand is twice the player Pasta needs to learn the W is worth more than his personal point total. Pasta at 9 I can live with sounds to me he is worried about his point totals if Bergeron and Krech don’t come back and who will be at center. Pasta needs to remember Boston played him with two of the best in NHL when he was just a kid either you want to be a Bruin or you don’t make up your mind.

    • Obe. Have to agree to disagree

      Pasta is a star and a big one. He wants fair compensation and will get it Sweeney is just trying to convince him to take the Bruin discount so team can be better

      • Kinda with Obe on this one. Agree that Marchand is the offensive driver of that line and has been for years. Bergy is the best defensive C in the NHL, or at least has been for a decade.

        Pasta is the trigger man and can finish at an elite level. So combined made one of the best lines in the NHL and still are today.

        You’re right MB4, Sweeney needs to decide if giving him what he would get as a UFA is best for the team, long term. Not sure it is, if you can get a guy like PLD with the $. But who the flip knows. Bird in hand?

        Really, really tough call.

    • I’m with, Obe. 8 x 8.88 is where they should settle. There’s not much money left with that and Charlie’s 9.5. With that said, I believe it’s entirely up to Pasta. He’ll decide what’s best for him ultimately. The turnovers kill me. Blind spin passes, and drop passes to no one in particular? Enough already.

  11. I find it interesting that all the predictions of how Lafreniere would fit into the Rangers lineup turned out to be true. So many pundits said they should have either selected a player they actually needed at number one, or should have traded down to draft a more suitable player and still get something out of having the number one pick.

    Taking a player that is so solid and promising in one position and then forcing him to play another is just ridiculous.

    At this rate he will be another Daigle…

    • Ouch! lol

    • theSaint

      Well, maybe they were following the EDM model…just take the guy that’s the consensus #1 and Hope for the best?

      How many top picks did EDM use on the same type of forward instead of using their draft position to strengthen their entire team?

      I believe that Sergachev, McAvoy, and Chychrun were available when EDM had their pick in 2016 when they took Puljujarvi. Tkachuk was also still available. Imagine if EDM traded the #3 pick down a couple spots for a player and the #6 pick and took Sergachev instead of Puljujarvi?

      Over the course of the last 9 draft years EDM has picked two defencemen and 7 forwards.

      Unless it’s a can’t miss guy like McDavid or Matthews you trade down to fill what your team needs not pick the guy that’s supposed to go at that spot and try to make him play another position unless your intention is to let him learn it in the AHL.

      EDM definitely has a problem identifying talent.

      NYR may have hoped Lafrenierre could play 3LW against inferior opponents but he’s an offensive winger that needs a centre to set him up. Tough to find that on the third line on most teams.

      • yes I was going to compare them to the EDM draft history. Sometimes just taking the “best” player is not going to be best for the whole team!

  12. Pastrnak has been the best value in hockey. Time to pay for the goals.
    If Huberdeau is worth 10.5 and Marner is worth 10. Explain how he is less.
    I am too lazy to look it up but has to be top 10 in goals over his current contract. For sure per 60
    And yes because he is a francophone
    Lafreniere to the Habs.

    • dont forget Gorton is in montreal too… more reasons for no it hahahah

      but for extra laughs….
      Habs acquire Laf and sign PLD this summer. Thats a spicey meatball

  13. Pasta definitely can fire the puck but like Ovi and Stammer standing with trigger ready waiting for PP to set up the puck on a tee doesn’t really impress me that much. If they pay Pasta 11 it’s to much. Scooby-Doo at 10.5 and Marner at whatever means zip both way over paid haven’t won crap. Bruins need to decide if they can compete for cup post Bergeron and Krech. If not let Pasta go and rebuild if so than sign him for reasonable price and find a couple of centers. Money doesn’t necessarily make the player I’d rather have Lindholm than Charlie and he makes way less.

  14. Hi Pengy

    I’m not sure how you can consider O’Connor a top prospect?
    He’s 24 with 38 NHL games and 7 points.

    Don’t forget that CHI just dumped DeBrincat last year at the draft and he was an established goal scorer in the NHL.

    If O’Connor is PIT top prospect they’re in trouble.

    I think TOR might be wise to load up this year? If Matthews and Nylander won’t sign extensions this summer the Leafs are not going to be in a position to load up next year as Matthews and Nylander will be UFAs.

    Two players from CHI that would help TOR are Toews and Domi. It would give them a very good selection of forwards to play agisnst other teams top defensive line on the road.

    A second line of Toews, Tavares, and Marner would be pretty tough to match up against as well as a third line of Kerfoot, Domi, and Jarnkrok.
    Holmberg, Kampf, and Aston-Reese would be a very good fourth line.

    If CHI was to retain salary on Domi and Toews I would be fine with the Leafs offering up their 2023 1st, DerArguchintsev, Hollowell, Engvall, 2023 3rd.

    Engvall is a salary cap consideration that could possibly re-sign with CHI.

  15. Disageeing with Kypreos, I can think of 3 million reasons why the Avs would bite on O’Reilly instead of Toews.

    Probably unlikely that Armstrong trades within division unless it’s too good to pass.


    • Army traded Staz within the Division