NHL Rumor Mill – January 16, 2023

by | Jan 16, 2023 | Rumors | 29 comments

Some suggested trade targets for the Avalanche plus the latest on the Coyotes in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.

THE DENVER POST: The Vancouver Canucks’ Bo Horvat, St. Louis Blues’ Ryan O’Reilly and the Chicago Blackhawks’ Jonathan Toews are Bennett Durando’s top-three choices for the Colorado Avalanche to address their need to address their second-line center need.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: They’re the three best options in this season’s trade market for any contender seeking an upgrade at center. Horvat carries an affordable contract and lacks no-trade protection but I think the Avs could be outbid by other clubs if (when?) the Canucks start shopping him in earnest.

Could St. Louis Blues captain Ryan O’Reilly become a Colorado Avalanche trade target? (NHL Images).

Durando observed that O’Reilly is sidelined until mid-February with a broken foot. He also lacks no-trade protection but the remainder of his $7.5 million cap hit could be an issue. Toews, meanwhile, has a full no-movement clause. Even if he agrees to be traded, Durando suggests the Avs might have to get a third team involved to spread his prorated $10.5 million cap hit around.

The Blackhawks’ Max Domi and the Montreal Canadiens’ Sean Monahan round out Durando’s list of centers.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Domi is the most affordable in terms of cap hit ($3 million) and potential asking price. He brings a measure of versatility in his ability to play center or wing. The Avs could face competition from other clubs for his services.

Monahan was enjoying a fine bounce-back performance until he suffered a lower-body injury a month ago. He could still be an intriguing option if he regains his form when he returns to action later this month. The Canadiens could retain half of the remainder of his $6.3 million cap hit but they’ll likely want a first-round pick in return.

Durando also listed the Canucks’ Andrei Kuzmenko along with the Florida Panthers’ Anthony Duclair and the Philadelphia Flyers’ James van Riemsdyk as options if the Avs decide to stick with Evan Rodrigues and J.T. Compher as their middle-six centers.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I think the Canucks will re-sign Kuzmenko once they sort out the Horvat situation. The Panthers reportedly want to hang onto Duclair. The Flyers are said to have told teams they’re willing to listen to offers for van Riemsdyk. They could retain part of the remainder of his $7 million cap hit for the right return.


GOPHNX.COM: In his midseason report on the Arizona Coyotes, Craig Morgan writes that he doesn’t think that management or Jakob Chychrun are in any hurry to force a trade right now. General manager Bill Armstrong and head coach Andre Tourigny praise the defenseman’s professionalism and performance this season. Meanwhile, Chychrun seems to be enjoying playing hockey again after a disappointing 2021-22 campaign.

Chychrun and defense partner Shayne Gostisbehere are the leading candidates to be traded for high-level assets. Players on expiring contracts who could be moved include Nick Bjugstad, Nick Ritchie and Christian Fischer.

Morgan suggested that goaltender Karel Vejmelka could become a dark-horse trade candidate. He also thinks defenseman Josh Brown could draw some interest.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I think there are teams willing to meet Armstrong’s asking price for Chychrun but they’re having to wait until the trade deadline when they will have accrued enough cap space to acquire him.

Vejmelka’s name keeps coming up in the rumor mill as some pundits believe the Coyotes will move him for the right price. I don’t rule it out but I think it will have to be one hell of an offer to do so. He’s signed through 2024-25 with an affordable annual cap hit of $2.725 million. While Vejmelka’s contract is often touted as one reason why teams could be interested in him, it’s also a good reason for the Coyotes to hang onto him.


  1. I’d welcome Gudas and Domi to Toronto. Chychrun too if the price wasn’t so high, or if it were for Rielly rather then picks and prospects. Maybe a three-way with the third team passing on futures and receiving Rielly?
    Yes, I know the Leafs wouldn’t trade Rielly, but this armchair GM would.

  2. ECHO….

  3. You still think Monahan worth an additional first in a deep draft ? I don’t

    JVR could be useful in the playoffs

    • Hi SS—- any first offered by any team MUST be lottery protected…. GM’s learn from the Zito mistake

  4. I’ve never seen such a slow comment day.
    I look forward to the comment almost as much as Lyle’s rumour article.
    What’s happened?

    • Biggest rumor out here in BC is the Canucks on verge of replacing Boudreau with Rick Tocchet, and the fan base is not loving it.

      • I would have thought the fans would support it, considering their record under Bruce.

      • What a mess…HIring Rutherford and Boudreau before that and getting other yes men in the administration of hockey opps…and furthermore building around Hughes and Petterson…what a mess

  5. Pending Monahan’s health…. Pens could certainly benefit from him (Monohan at 3C over Carter would be a significant improvement)

    Retention not necessary if Habstake back a UFA, and I believe could be done with a 2nd…..

    Option 1—- Zucker, O’Connor, 2nd for Monohan

    Monohan annual Cap 6.4; Zucker $5.5…. that’s $0.9 M diff annually; about $225 K At TDL— doable

    If it is Dumo/O’Connor/2nd…. diff is $2.3 M annually ; $575 K at TDL… tougher

    If it is Dumo…. then 50% retention both on Dumo and Monohan; narrows annual differential to $1.1 M ($3.2 M – $2.1 M) and only about $375 K at TDL

    Actual cash increase (retention deal over no retention deal) at TDL (and accounting for escrow) is approximately an extra $210 K cash for Habs; might have to add Gruden; or a 4th to the deal.

    Point is basically moot if Pens lose next 3 in reg … at that point… likelihood of playoffs very slim

    • Pengy

      PIT is at the end of their window to contend with their aging core of Crosby, Malkin, and Letang…all are signed for a few more years. Their prospect pool is not very deep with some saying it’s bottom of the league.

      Do you think they have the assets to get a player that will actually make a difference…a player like Horvat who is still in his prime and could take over #1 C duties from Crosby after this season?

      Not trying to stir the pot but I see some pretty lean years ahead for PIT

      • Hi Daryl

        You are correct— window closing…. and fast.

        Injuries for sure have hurt them of late— out top two RDs and top LD make a big hit on the roster

        Re Horvat… he would not take over Sid’s IC slot next year; if acquired

        I don’t think Pens have the bidding capacity to get Horvat

        They’d need to give up a bundle and their prospect cupboard is basically nigh empty; and adding Horvat next year does not necessarily get them into playoffs for June of ’24; and Tanger, Sid, Gino, Rakell, Carter one year older next year; on an already “old” team

        Next three games…. lose all 3 (vs Ducks, @ Sens, Vs Sens) while at the same time Isles get 3 or more points in next 3 (v Caps; v Bruins; @ Sabres) ….. and the writing is on the wall

        Something needs to get done if they wish to make playoffs this year. Eventually at least a couple of the D will become healthy; some restoration. Production from bottom 6 is an issue. 3C is an issue.

        All in with BH would jut be too costly IMHO

        Measured move IMHO, is what should be done

        Monohan perhaps?

        Or go the safe low cost route….

        Move Dumo (UFA) +++ (that +++ may include a 2nd but not a 1st) for

        Staal bros and Goudas (all 3 UFAs)

        If a 1st is ever on the table…. must be protected; and if with Panthers….. both Staals and Duclair coming over; and Dumo/Ruhweedel must be taken on by Cats

    • How about Drouin to the Avs for a top prospect and 2nd round draft pick
      Reunite him with Mac 29

  6. JVR at 50% retained= 3rd or 4th rd pick

  7. There’s a report in Pittsburgh saying Hextall and Guerin are talking. Mentions Goligoski as a possibility because he has often been a healthy scratch. How about Pettersson and Poehling for Goligoski and Foligno or Gaudreau.

    • hi Sjpp

      hope they (Pens) make a move; but must be a risk/mitigation move. Slide needs to stop; but futures given up by a team that does not really have much of a future; not good

      That said… Pettersson far better than “googles”; I like Foligno’s size but Gaudreau far better.

      Dumo is the LD that must be moved. Billy G needs space in out-years; Dumo is UFA. Boldy deal nuts— I’ll post later about that

    • Wait… Goligoski is still playing hockey? I don’t think the Pens need another aging defenseman. Ok, maybe if the Wild include a sweetener for Gogo and a decent pick for Peterson I would consider it. Time for the Pens to kickoff that rebuild.

      While we’re at it, what will you give up for Zucker?Maybe Calen Addison and a pick?

      • Adison and s pick for Zucker…. Ah but a nice dream

        The better trade….. Hallander and a 7th for McC.. . 82 G pace of 46 Goals… what s bonehead move that was

        Can you imagine what Pens would be like with McC as 3rd line Centre!!!

  8. Billy G— Boldy contract…. Billy G has gone Cukoo for Coa Coa Puffs

    Boldy— less than 90 GP; on 23 G (82 game pace); likely with nice NHL future…. but 7 @ $7M when Boldy has no Arb rights; only 90 GP to go on; and most importantly Billy G has dead cap of $15 M next year and the year after

    long lock ups to secure players that you Know for sure are key players; AND willing to pay a little extra now if you know there will be savings down the road

    None of that is certain

    Billy G’s bet…. willing to over-pay by $2M or so (bridge likely in the $4.5 M to $5.5 M range) for a couple of years because he thinks Boldy will be worth $10’ish in 3 years and beyond; all the while crimping an already tight Cap for the next 2 years

    This, IMHO , is a mistake

    He could have gone bridge…. power all with Billy G… no Arb rights

    Wild realistically do not have playoff hopes next year or in 24/25…. this year sitting OK now… but must go through Stars/Jets (not necessarily in that order) and then if somehow they do get by (low odds) try their hand at beating the winner of Pac Div; still no shot at beating Bruins (or the outside chance of Bolts back in for 4th SCF in a row)

    This was a very very strange signing

    • The timing may be strange, but this will be a good contract. Boldy is gonna be a star.

  9. LeBrun has O’Reilly to the Maple Leafs in an Athletic article today. Durando says the Avs are a fit. LET THE BIDDING BEGIN.


    • iowa prince, that’s more of “here’s who I think the Leafs should go after” than any hint of an actual trade.

      “It’s a fact that Leafs general manager Kyle Dubas isn’t keen on trading for rentals, especially if it means giving up a first-round pick. But come on, the time is now. The playoff-savvy Lightning likely await again in the first round of the playoffs. Yes, O’Reilly has struggled this season, and now he’s injured, but he’ll be back before the deadline. And adding a veteran top-six forward with his Stanley Cup and Conn Smythe pedigree would be an ingredient the Leafs could benefit from as they try to shed their playoff demons. Worth noting that he also has the acuity to play wing if need be. Now, there’s also the little fact that the Blues haven’t given up on their season, at least not yet, despite their injuries. They’re hanging in there, just six points out of a wild-card spot. But Blues general manager Doug Armstrong also has a track record of being realistic with his team’s chances. I predict he’s a seller closer to March 3. There is no tomorrow for this Leafs front office if this isn’t the year, finally, where this team gets over the playoff hump. Go get ROR.”

      Sure. And who do the Leafs send the other way if for no other reason than to clear the necessary cap space? Right now CapFriendly shows them with $1,122,500 in cap space. O’Reilly’s expiring cap hit is $7.5 mil.

      I seriously doubt the Blues want any of the usual suspects (Kerfoot, Engvall, Holl), and their 1st round pick figures to be closer to the 2nd round than anything 1st round substantial – the draft ain’t that deep.

      With that kind of return, and the fact they are very much in the hunt for a playoff spot (far closer now than they were the year they won the cup) they’re better off hanging onto O’Reilly.

      But just for argument sake who would you see coming over from the Leafs that a) the Blues would want and b) the Leafs would need to move to clear cap space?

      • The leafs have Muzzins ltir as long as he doesn’t come back before the playoffs. It looks like his career might be over let alone come back for the playoffs so should be safe. A first rounder even a late one will always have good value in today’s cap world. I would say a first rounder and a b+ level prospect. O’Reilly will have a say in where he goes so I think that will be the biggest hurtle for the leafs and the blues.

      • What the heck, according to CapFriendly that $1,122,500 in LTIR cap relief for the Leafs aready factors in Muzzin’s cap hit.

        And there are other teams in the Cup hunt who have more space with which to play and far better 1st round positions and prospects to dangle should they, too, see O’Reilly as a valuable rental addition heading down the stretch (assuming he’s not hampered any further by the injury that currently has him on IR) – NYI – Winnipeg – Colorado ($6,375,633 LTIR) – Washington ($5,002,117 LTIR) – Boston ($4 mil LTIR)

    • iowa prince: LeBrun, by his own admission, is merely playing matchmaker in that column where he’s suggesting certain players (like O’Reilly) should be traded to certain teams like the Leafs. He’s not actually linking O’Reilly to the Leafs in terms of trade rumors or anything he’s been told. He just thinks O’Reilly would be a good fit with the Leafs.

      • Aka, click bait.

  10. Horvat is the better & easier option for the Av’s whether that’s their choice or not.

    So on Kuzmenko. Trade him & probably get a later 1st. A good prospect but no guarantee but gain cap relief not signing him. Keep him & sign him a make other moves necessary to retool. Which?

  11. 100% Boldy is going to be a star . I trust Billy G on that front .
    Where is Dumba on the list of priorities

  12. O’Reilly’s cap hit is 7.5 million, not $10 million. I don’t know where that figure comes from.

    • O’Reilly’s cap hit is correctly referenced, Barclay. The $10.5 million is referring to Toews.