NHL Rumor Mill – January 25, 2023
UPDATE ON HORVAT, O’REILLY, MEIER AND DOMI
SPORTSNET: During the Jan. 25 episode of “32 Thoughts”, Elliotte Friedman and Jeff Marek discussed potential trade destinations for Bo Horvat. The 27-year-old Vancouver Canucks center is slated to become an unrestricted free agent on July 1.
Friedman thinks everyone is wondering if the Boston Bruins could make a pitch for Horvat. He believes the New Jersey Devils would be more interested in San Jose Sharks winger Timo Meier because they’ve got Nico Hischier and Jack Hughes at center. The Detroit Red Wings could be an option depending on the state of contract talks with center Dylan Larkin.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Athletic’s Fluto Shinzawa believes the Bruins acquiring Horvat is complex but doable. Getting the Canucks to retain part of his $5.5 million cap hit, finding the right player to offer up as part of the return, sending a contract back to Vancouver and parting with a prospect such as Fabian Lysell are among the multiple factors in play.
I don’t rule out the possibility of the Bruins landing Horvat. However, there are other clubs that could have fewer hoops to jump through with better assets to offer up for the Canucks captain.
Friedman also reported that the Canucks haven’t allowed potential suitors to talk to Horvat’s agent about a contract extension. He believes they’re trying to determine which clubs have serious interest and are willing to meet their asking price.
TSN: Darren Dreger said Ryan O’Reilly is “officially in play” in the trade market. This comes while the St. Louis Blues captain is currently sidelined until mid-February but the Blues are willing to gauge his value. Dreger speculates the asking price could involve “draft picks, you’re talking about a prospect, the draft pick could be determined by the quality of the prospect.”
SPECTOR’S NOTE: O’Reilly’s solid reputation as a two-way center and leader will make him a player of interest in the trade market despite his injury and offensive struggles in the first half of this season. Nevertheless, clubs will want to see how well he performs once he returns to action before they start making offers before the March 3 trade deadline.
Pierre LeBrun reports the San Jose Sharks have not yet granted permission to Timo Meier’s agent to speak directly to teams interested in a trade where a contract extension could be part of the deal. It’s not out of the question that the Sharks could try to sign the restricted free-agent winger but they haven’t yet put an offer on the table.
SPORTSNET: During his Jan. 23 “32 Thoughts” podcast, Elliotte Friedman told Jeff Marek that he believes the New Jersey Devils are among the teams interested in Meier.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Hurricanes are in a better position cap-wise and prospect-wise than the Leafs for Meier. The Sabres, however, could outbid both clubs. They are loaded with cap space and promising young players to tempt the Sharks.
Given the salary-cap congestion around the league, Chris Johnston believes teams will be looking at a value player such as the Chicago Blackhawks’ Max Domi. He’s a pending unrestricted free agent carrying an affordable $3 million contract who is putting up good numbers this season.
LATEST ON THE LIGHTNING, HURRICANES AND SENATORS
THE ATHLETIC: Pierre LeBrun reports Tampa Bay Lightning GM Julien BriseBrois lacks a first-round pick in 2023 and 2024 or a second-round pick in order to make a big splash at the trade deadline. If he makes a move it’ll likely be a dollar-in, dollar-out swap like his acquisition of Nick Paul at last year’s deadline. BriseBrois said he’s unconcerned over whether rivals like the Boston Bruins or Toronto Maple Leafs make a big splash.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: BriseBrois has proven a very savvy dealer at the trade deadline over the past three years. Despite his lack of draft capital to use as trade bait, he could find a creative way to add a good depth player or two by the deadline.
THE ATHLETIC: LeBrun also reported the Carolina Hurricanes could have $10 million to work with at the trade deadline if they placed sidelined winger Max Pacioretty on long-term injured reserve. GM Don Waddell said his team will explore the trade market but they’re not in a rush to get a deal done.
LeBrun doesn’t believe we should rule out the Hurricanes on pending UFAs like Bo Horvat, Ryan O’Reilly or Vladimir Tarasenko. However, he believes they would want a shot at re-signing that player to get involved. That’s why he thinks they might look at the Sharks’ Timo Meier given his RFA status.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: LeBrun recently said the Hurricanes had spoken with the Canucks about Bo Horvat but the asking price was too high. He also pointed out that Waddell usually doesn’t pursue big-ticket pending UFAs at the deadline, preferring instead players with term remaining on their contracts. Any moves that he makes will depend on the depth of talent available in the trade market and the asking prices for them.
TSN: Darren Dreger reports Ottawa Senators general manager Pierre Dorion is still looking for a defenseman. While he’d ideally like a blueliner with term remaining on his contract he’s also interested in unrestricted free agents. He could have an opportunity to re-sign that UFA or perhaps flip him at the March 3 trade deadline. Dreger also said Dorion is also exploring all of his own UFAs including goaltender Cam Talbot.