NHL Rumor Mill – January 11, 2023
What’s the latest on Erik Karlsson? What’s going on with the Canucks? Are the Flyers gauging the trade market for Ivan Provorov? Could the Wild shop Matt Dumba? Are the Oilers shopping around for a defenseman? Check out the latest in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.
TEAMS ARE CALLING ABOUT ERIK KARLSSON
TSN: Pierre LeBrun reports that teams have spoken with the San Jose Sharks about what a trade might look like for Erik Karlsson. The 32-year-old is this season’s highest-scoring blueliner with 55 points and is on pace to become the first rearguard since Brian Leetch in 1991-92 to reach 100 points in a season.
LeBrun still thinks this would be an off-season move it if happens at all. Karlsson has a full no-movement clause and would have to agree to be traded.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I concur that this is a potential move that probably doesn’t happen until the offseason when teams have more cap space and a greater willingness to make big trades.
Getting Karlsson to waive his NMC isn’t the biggest hurdle. It’s sorting out how to move a talented defenseman who is approaching his mid-30s’ carrying a contract with an average annual value of $11.5 million through 2026-27. There’s also the matter of what the Sharks would want in return.
THE LATEST ON THE CANUCKS
THE ATHLETIC: Pierre LeBrun reports teams are still poking around about Vancouver Canucks winger Brock Boeser. He doesn’t think a trade is close to happening but interested clubs are giving consideration to how to make a deal work.
The Minnesota Wild have spoken to the Canucks about bringing Boeser back to his home state. However, LeBrun doesn’t think they can make it work cap-wise. The 25-year-old winger has two more seasons left on his contract with an AAV of $6.65 million.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Wild have over $14 million in dead cap space for 2023-24 due to their buyouts of Zach Parise and Ryan Suter. Matt Boldy, Calen Addison and Sam Steel are restricted free agents this summer.
I can’t see Boeser landing in Minnesota unless the Canucks retain a portion of his salary (which they reportedly don’t want to do) or the Wild shed sufficient salary for Boeser and those RFAs.
LeBrun also reports teams are calling the Canucks about Andrei Kuzmenko. The 26-year-old winger is enjoying a fine NHL debut season but he’s also slated to become an unrestricted free agent this summer. He currently carries an affordable $950K cap hit.
The Canucks haven’t started contract extension talks yet but LeBrun said they haven’t given up hope of re-signing him. He indicated the winger enjoys playing in Vancouver but it could cost $6 million on a short-term deal to keep him there.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: With 35 points in 39 games, Kuzmenko’s been a bright spot in a turbulent season for the Canucks. Perhaps if they can move Boeser it’ll free up sufficient space to keep the Russian winger.
FLYERS LISTENING ON PROVOROV
THE ATHLETIC: Pierre LeBrun reports multiple sources confirmed the Philadelphia Flyers are listening to offers for Ivan Provorov. The 25-year-old defenseman has two more years remaining on his contract with an average annual value of $6.75 million so there’s no urgency to move him before the March 3 trade deadline.
SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman also doesn’t think there’s anything imminent regarding a Provorov trade. However, he feels they could be heading in that direction.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Appearing on NHL Network, Friedman said he believes the Flyers will consider just about everything over the next 12 to 18 months. He also said they’re concerned that Provorov could blossom elsewhere so they’ll want a really good return.
COULD THE WILD SHOP MATT DUMBA?
TSN: Darren Dreger reports the Edmonton Oilers and Ottawa Senators have reached out to the Minnesota Wild regarding Matt Dumba. The 28-year-old defenseman is slated to become an unrestricted free agent on July 1 and lacks no-trade protection.
However, the Wild are playing pretty well right now and they still need Dumba as they jockey for a playoff spot. They’re not sure yet if they can move him even though they can’t afford to re-sign him given their salary-cap constraints for next season. Dreger believes their asking price for Dumba would be high and they would have to potentially hit the trade market to find a replacement for him.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I don’t see Dumba going anywhere before the March 3 trade deadline unless the Wild fall out of contention or they ship him to another club in exchange for a comparable defenseman. He could become their “own rental” for the 2023 playoffs.
OILERS CALLING AROUND FOR A DEFENSEMAN
TSN: Pierre LeBrun reports Edmonton Oilers general manager Ken Holland has been calling around the league in search of a defenseman. It’s believed he’s spoken to the Arizona Coyotes about Jakob Chychrun and the Montreal Canadiens regarding Joel Edmundson.
However, asking prices are high right now for blueliners in the trade market. LeBrun expects Holland won’t panic and will remain patient. He also believes it’ll take more than a trade to resolve the Oilers’ current struggles as the message internally is, “We need to play better”.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Oilers supporters howling at Holland to do something – ANYTHING! – to acquire a defenseman overlook that he’s handcuffed by his limited cap space. He’s also dealing from a position of weakness right now. If it was possible to unload, say, Jesse Puljujarvi or Warren Foegele for a top-four left-side blueliner, that deal would’ve gone down by now.
The Coyotes reportedly seek two first-round picks (though one of those could be a former first-rounder) along with a high-end prospect or good young NHL player for Chychrun.
It’s believed the Canadiens hope to land a first-rounder for Edmundson. Before you scoff, remember that they got a first-round pick from the Florida Panthers last March for Ben Chiarot. Edmundson also has a year remaining on his contract so there’s cost certainty there ($3.5 million) for an interested team.
Maybe those prices go down as the trade deadline nears. Then again, they could remain high if more clubs get into the bidding for Chychrun or Edmundson.