Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – December 4, 2022
The Canucks give Brock Boeser’s representatives permission to speak with other teams, how the Avalanche could bolster their roster, and the latest on the Senators scouting the Canadiens in the Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup.
CANUCKS GIVE BOESER PERMISSION TO SPEAK WITH OTHER CLUBS
SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman reported the Vancouver Canucks have given Brock Boeser and his representatives permission to speak with other teams about a potential trade. The 25-year-old winger has been struggling to score this season.
Friedman speculates the situation is reaching a point where it’s time to explore a possible move. He doesn’t know, however, where this is going to go. He also said the Canucks and the Boeser camp “have not confirmed” and aren’t commenting.
THE ATHLETIC: Thomas Drance reported Boeser was slated to be a healthy scratch for Saturday’s game against the Arizona Coyotes but go into the lineup owing to an injury to Dakota Joshua. He scored the game-tying goal in their 3-2 overtime win.
The initial decision to scratch Boeser from this game seemed heartless. It was on Hockey Fights Cancer night. Boeser’s father died of cancer earlier this year.
Drance indicated that the Boeser camp being given permission to talk to other clubs isn’t tied to what occurred on Saturday. Instead, it’s being done to enable the Canucks to free up some cap space and because this situation isn’t working out for either side. He questions the club’s decision to attempt to scratch Boeser from the lineup on Saturday when they’re trying to trade him.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Boeser has struggled with consistency due in part to frequent injuries taking him out of the lineup for lengthy periods. Nevertheless, he might benefit from moving on to another club with steadier management where he can get a fresh start.
Boeser’s skills as a scoring winger will draw interest around the league. He’s signed through 2024-25 with an average annual value of $6.65 million, which could prove difficult to move during this season with so many clubs carrying limited cap space. Still, a deal remains possible before the March 3 trade deadline.
The hiring last season of Jim Rutherford as president of hockey operations and Patrik Allvin as general manager was expected to bring stability to a franchise in need of it after the chaotic stewardship of the previous management.
Instead, there were months of uncertainty over J.T. Miller’s contract negotiations before he was finally re-signed in September. A similar situation is taking place with captain Bo Horvat’s contract talks. Head coach Bruce Boudreau’s been called out publicly by Rutherford twice, making his future in Vancouver an unnecessary distraction.
And now there’s the Boeser saga. Canucks followers are increasingly frustrated over the club’s ongoing lack of direction, which doesn’t seem likely to end anytime soon.
WHAT CAN THE AVALANCHE DO TO IMPROVE THEIR ROSTER?
THE ATHLETIC: Eric Duhatschek recently observed the Colorado Avalanche’s need to improve their forward depth. He acknowledged part of the problem is the injuries that sidelined five forwards, including wingers Gabriel Landeskog and Valeri Nichushkin.
The Avalanche still haven’t fully addressed filling the second-line center role following Nazem Kadri’s departure this summer via free agency. Duhatschek suggested Bo Horvat as a playoff rental if the Vancouver Canucks captain becomes available before the trade deadline.
THE DENVER POST: In a recent mailbag segment, Bennett Durando was asked if the Avalanche might seek a gritty, hard-nosed top-six forward. He believes the grit will be addressed once Landeskog and Nichushkin return from injury. Like Duhatschek, he believes they need a top-six forward comfortable playing center.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Everyone anticipates the defending Stanley Cup champions will be buyers again at the trade deadline. The second-line center position is their biggest weakness. Maybe they’ll pursue Horvat if he becomes available or opt for a more affordable choice in terms of return like Montreal’s Sean Monahan.
THE SENATORS STILL SCOUTING THE CANADIENS
MONTREAL HOCKEY NOW: Marc Dumont reports the Ottawa Senators have been scouting the Canadiens for some time. With the holiday roster freeze just over two weeks away (Dec. 20-27), he observed the Senators sent five scouts to the Canadiens home game on Nov. 29. Ottawa GM Pierre Dorion was also at a recent Habs game.
Dumont speculates Josh Anderson could be trade bait. The 28-year-old winger has struggled to adjust to Canadiens coach Martin St. Louis’ system.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Senators’ biggest need is blueline depth, which is why they’ve been frequently linked to Arizona Coyotes defenseman Jakob Chychrun. The Canadiens have a bit of a log jam on their blueline, resulting in promising Jordan Harris becoming the odd man out in recent games.
Perhaps the Senators are scouting Joel Edmundson, who has also been the subject of some trade conjecture. Then again, maybe they’re scouting the Canadiens in preparation for the upcoming game between the two clubs on Dec. 14.