NHL Rumor Mill – December 31, 2022

by | Dec 31, 2022 | Rumors | 22 comments

Are the Bruins interested in Sean Monahan? What’s the latest on Bo Horvat, Jonathan Toews, and Alexis Lafreniere? Could the Red Wings face a decision regarding their goaltending? Find out in our year-ending NHL Rumor Mill.

TVA SPORTS: Yvon Pedneault reports several teams have an interest in Sean Monahan as a playoff rental player. He’s been told the Boston Bruins are among those looking at the Montreal Canadiens center.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Monahan, 28, is slated to become an unrestricted free agent in July. He carries a $6.375 million cap hit and a 10-team no-trade clause. Monahan was enjoying a solid performance with 17 points in 25 games until sidelined on Dec. 6 by a foot injury. He’s expected to return soon to the Canadiens’ lineup.

If Monahan picks up where he left off he’ll draw plenty of interest in the trade market. The rebuilding Canadiens will likely have to pick up a portion of his remaining cap hit but could willingly do so if it’ll improve the chances of acquiring a high-quality draft pick or a good young player.

The Bruins are pressed for cap space and will have to part with a salaried player to acquire Monahan even if the Canadiens retain salary on the deal. I’m also not seeing a heck of a lot on their active roster that would fit into the Habs rebuilding program. If the Bruins make a cost-cutting deal with another team, perhaps they could use the return as part of a package for Monahan.

Vancouver Canucks captain Bo Horvat (NHL Images).

Speaking of the Canadiens, Pedneault wondered if management felt certain about Kirby Dach as a center. If not, he suggested they inquire about Vancouver Canucks captain Bo Horvat.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Canadiens have the depth in promising young players to perhaps put together a tempting offer for Horvat. The 27-year-old center is on pace to reach 50 goals for the first time in his career and will be in line for a big pay raise as an unrestricted free agent this summer.

However, I don’t see the Canadiens pursuing Horvat. They would need assurances that he will sign with them. Otherwise, they’ll be giving up valuable young assets for a veteran who could walk as a free agent in July.

Pedneault believes Colorado Avalanche president Joe Sakic’s target in the trade market could be Chicago Blackhawks center Jonathan Toews.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Pedneault’s not the only observer who believes Toews would be a good fit as a second or third-line center with the Avalanche. Making the dollars fit for the Avs could be tricky. They’ll have over $5 million in projected cap space by the trade deadline but could request the Blackhawks retain half of the remainder of Toews’ $10.5 million cap hit.

Even then, the Avs could be forced to shed a salary unless they make this a three-team trade to spread the cap hit around. That’s assuming, of course, that Toews waives his no-movement clause.

The New York Rangers scratching Alexis Lafreniere from the lineup for Thursday’s game against the Tampa Bay Lightning raises questions about his future. Pedneault believes Lafreniere isn’t a power forward as the Rangers envisioned but a playmaker. He wondered if the 2020 first-overall pick could become trade bait to acquire Patrick Kane from the Chicago Blackhawks.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The New York Post’s Larry Brooks also weighed in on Lafreniere’s situation. He can’t imagine what type of return the 21-year-old left winger could fetch that would be considered equal value. Brooks also pointed out the risk of trading Lafreniere and watching him thrive with another team.

For now, the Rangers don’t have to rush into moving Lafreniere. He’s a restricted free agent in July coming off his entry-level contract and lacks arbitration rights. They could sign him to a low-cost bridge deal and try to help him improve his game. Nevertheless, the young winger could become a valuable trade chip if the Blueshirts make a major move by the March 3 trade deadline or during the offseason.

THE ATHLETIC: Max Bultman recently speculated the Detroit Red Wings could face a decision regarding their goaltending. They’ve been carrying three goaltenders since November when they claimed Magnus Hellberg off waivers.

The Wings have leaned heavily on starter Ville Husso while Hellberg has appeared in three games. Alex Nedeljkovic, meanwhile, hasn’t played since Dec. 8. He could be loaned to their AHL affiliate for a conditioning stint but still remains on their roster.

That could become a problem as sidelined players such as Jakub Vrana, Robby Fabbri and Filip Zadina return to the lineup.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Wings could put Hellberg or Nedeljkovic on waivers to send them down to the AHL but there’s a risk they’ll get plucked away by another club. Perhaps a trade could be in order in the near future.


  1. Toews will go to the Aves, Kane to NYC, Chicago will draft Beddard, and both Kane and Toews will resign in Chicago to play with him. Plus they’ll resign with a huge home town discount to bring in some support. (It’s not like they aren’t rich beyond belief at this point)

    • That would be a utopia for the Blackhawks. But it never works out that way.

      I also think the Rags trade Alexis Lafreniere would be a mistake.

    • Would be something to see Rangers vs Avalanche for the cup if that was to happen. Of course Chicago will get Bedard who will then destroy Vancouver for 15 straight years.

  2. Where does Monaghan fit on the Bruins right now? Is he an upgrade over Coyle? Does it make sense to acquire him for the fourth line? Nosek doesn’t do much offensively, but he’s a heck of a penalty killer and Boston scores plenty of goals.

    I don’t see a fit.

    • Agree DM; Boston may have an interest in Monahan in the off season.

      • That I could see if Krejci and/or Bergeron decide to hang up the skates.

    • Bruins need insurance and an option to not overwork their top 2 centers. Monahan can play wing and is playing for his next contract. I think he is a good depth add to any contender

      Would the Bruins pay the price for Horvat if they could extend him too? He seems like a perfect Bruin

      • Monahan would be a tremendous acquisition.
        Horvat would be outstanding if a long term deal was assured.
        Erik Karlsson at half price would be even better.
        There’s just that thing about being cap compliant. It’s a tough league to swap assets in right now. Most teams are up against the cap ceiling. The rest are watching and learning because their day is coming. All of their young stars are going to get paid when it’s their turn.
        A soft cap would work, but the price is parity.

      • Sop, no thanks for Monahan. He can goe anywhere else but Boston. Simply not what Boston needs.

        Horvat would be the only one of interest on your list.

  3. If Chicago could land Alexis Lafreniere in a deal for Kane, that’s a nice win. Lafreniere scored 19 goals in 79 games last season, as he is only in his 3rd season. Way to soon to give up on him.

    • as a ranger fan if laf goes in a trade for kane that will really hurt

      kid is at least a 2nd liner with an edge for the next decade in this league

      • Agree on that ds! Lafreniere sold me with his play last year and in the playoffs. If I were a Ranger fan, I wouldn’t be happy if they are considering doing that? ……

        Toews to the Avalanche shouldn’t be the primary concern IMHO. The Avalanche need to be much better defensively as a team, then they can get the offense cranking despite their injuries? Look it how they brought it against LA in the 2nd Period? Despite all the injuries, the Avalanche still have big time talent to get it done. They need to focus on not being so sloppy on defense. GO AVS!!!!!!!!

    • I’d be Ok with sending Lafreniere to Vancouver as part of a deal for Horvat. I would not trade him for Kane. We need players who shoot the puck. We have plenty of players who love passing the puck.

      • Bo would fill the 2C in NY great. Laf in Van wouldn’t be blocked to play LW.

        Still NYR has to add.

      • Laf + Chytil and a 3rd for Bo (retain $1M)

    • I don’t think Laffrienere is going anywhere. Certainly not for a rental. This guy has been stuck behind Kreider and Panarin his entire short career. Playing RW just doesn’t work for him.

      Given his lack of opportunity in the top 6 and #1 pp unit, he isn’t exactly a fail.

      Yes, he’s had SOME top 6 time, but nothing more than a few games here and there, and some on his offside.

      Again, TIME! Something NY fans can’t stand, but it’s the reality.

      I’ve seen enough young rangers blossom elsewhere.

      Marc Savard
      JT Miller

      On and on.

      Patience! These kids need more significant roles then they’ve been given.

      A healthy scratch doesn’t mean a trade is imminent. It’s a little tough love.

  4. Re Lafrenierre

    What would the Rangers be looking for in a trade for the former 1st overall pick?

    Seems to be a situation where the organization has set him up to fail or at least not live up to expectations?

    This player was the consensus #1 pick in his draft year. Played all the important minutes on his junior team and Team Canada, yet the Rangers pick him knowing he’d be behind Panarin and Kreider on LW and stick him with their third best centre and next to no PP time.

    Not a good recipe for success.

    • I agree with Captain Obvious – Lafreniere is going nowhere simply because of who he is and his tremendous upside. Yes, playing him out of his natural position and down in the line-up, while not giving him pp minutes, hasn’t helped his development, but I can see the “tough love” handling making him a better all-round player in the not too distant future.

      As to what it would cost to get him in the unlikely situation that they WOULD deal him … well, if Montreal or Ottawa as examples, it would have to involve Suzuki, Caufield, Sanderson, Pinto – and you know that isn’t happening.

  5. The Way Bo Horvat is playing right now and scoring Goals 26 in 35 games…❗️

    Im Sure Vancouver are looking at Re signing him
    if not after a trade he will explore the UFA market and he will pick where he wants to go…..❓

    maybe even back to Vancouver after a crack at the cup ,they should trade away there 2 over priced d/men to help with a re build
    Tyler Myers 1.5 years at $6.M
    OEL 4.5 more years at $7.25M….
    then move RW, Brock Boeser

  6. If Toews to the Avs does not work, would Monahan at half price work instead?

  7. Dont LOOK 👀Now but there is a Buffalo Stamped coming right behind these 4 Teams after beating Bruins 4-3 today ….❗️
    44 pts & 37 games NYR
    44 pts & 37 games NYI
    44 pts & 36 games Pens
    45 pts & 38 games Caps

    HOT 🔥 Buffalo Sabres 38 pts & 34 GAMES

  8. This was a great game game !
    Winning on Bruin turf , as well

    Bright future finally for the Sabres…
    A trip across the bridge to Buffalo to see a game of interest would be an eventful day

    For some reason , I enjoy a Leafs game in Buffalo vs Air Canada Center
    Book a suite in a heritage hotel with a “dummy” elevator – waitor your food
    FUN !!