NHL Rumor Mill – January 3, 2023

by | Jan 3, 2023 | Rumors | 26 comments

A look at what the Blackhawks could get for their notable trade candidates plus the latest on the Blue Jackets in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.

THE ATHLETIC: Scott Powers and Mark Lazerus recently examined the potential value of the Chicago Blackhawks’ potential trade candidates.

The Blackhawks are preparing as if Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews won’t ask to be traded. Both are eligible to become unrestricted free agents in July and each carries a salary-cap hit of $10.5 million and full no-movement clauses.

Chicago Blackhawks winger Patrick Kane (NHL Images).

If Kane decides to ask for a trade, the Blackhawks will probably seek a first-round pick and a decent prospect. Given his no-movement clause, the limited number of teams he’d agree to be dealt to will have some leverage. The Blackhawks will also have to retain part of Kane’s cap hit.

The asking price for Toews could be a first-round pick given his bounce-back performance this season. It’s less likely that a team will want half of his cap hit. That could mean getting a third team involved to spread the dollars around or the Blackhawks will have to take back a player in return.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Powers and Lazerus believe Kane is more likely to be moved by the trade deadline than Toews. It’s expected we’ll learn more about their fates this season once their agent Pat Brisson has met with Blackhawks management later this month.

Max Domi could also draw interest given his solid performance this season. The Blackhawks could seek a first-round pick but Domi might instead fetch a second-rounder. They could seek a second-round pick for Andreas Athanasiou but there might not be much interest in him at the deadline.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Domi was assumed to be a goner at the trade deadline but Sportsnet’s Jeff Marek reported on Saturday that it might not be a done deal. He seems to have found a home in Chicago and there’s apparently been some discussion between his agent and management about the possibility of a contract extension.

Athanasiou could still be moved cheaply at the deadline. However, he’ll have to pick up his production over the next two months to draw more interest in the trade market.

EDMONTON JOURNAL: Jim Matheson looked at the value of Columbus Blue Jackets defenseman Vladislav Gavrikov in the trade market and if he’d be a fit with the Oilers.

Gavrikov, 27, is putting up solid numbers as a stay-at-home defenseman with the struggling Blue Jackets. Eligible for UFA status in July, his current cap hit is $2.8 million and his next contract will likely be in the $5 million range. The Jackets want to re-sign him but he holds leverage given their limited depth on the left side of their blueline.

Matheson expects it would cost the Oilers a first-round pick and perhaps a third-rounder to acquire Gavrikov. They’d also have to shed salary to take him on. Matheson suggests Jesse Puljujarvi to Columbus but believes the Blue Jackets would want an asset in return.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Matheson suggested it’s more worthwhile for the Oilers to acquire a defenseman with term remaining on their contract if they’re going to give up assets like a first-round pick and prospects. Possible options in that category this season include Arizona’s Jakob Chychrun, Montreal’s Joel Edmundson or Chicago’s Connor Murphy or Jake McCabe. However, Matheson suggested that could come at the cost of stifling the development of young Oilers blueliners like Markus Niemelainen and Philip Broberg.

THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH: Brian Hedger reports Gustav Nyquist might not finish the season with the Blue Jackets. A pending UFA, he could draw interest from rival clubs seeking an experienced forward at the trade deadline.

The versatile 33-year-old Nyquist has provided leadership and consistency for the struggling, injury-ravaged Blue Jackets. Hedger speculates he could fetch multiple picks in the lower rounds or perhaps a late first-round pick from a contender.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Nyquist lacks no-trade protection but his $5.5 million cap hit could be difficult to move under this season’s flat cap unless the Jackets retain part of his salary. The two-way forward can play center or wing and has a respectable 18 points in 35 games this season.


  1. Blackngold, yesterday we exchanged posts re the viability of Pittsburgh acquiring Chychrun and late in the day, after I expressed doubt that 2 low 1st round picks plus Dumoulin, Kapanen, Joseph and Poulin would get it done, you asked “What kind of package would work from penguins point to land chychrun?”

    For whatever it’s worth, and from the point of view of a non-fan looking at it from the cold aspect of pure logic, I just don’t see Pittsburgh being able to outbid about a third of the league IF Chychrun is still in the lineup and continuing to produce at his current pace as we approach TD day and IF Armstrong is sticking to his demands for two 1st round picks (or their equivalent), a good roster player and a top prospect.

    In that event there are sure to be several teams jumping into the equation whose 1st round picks will be much higher up the scale than those of the Penguins (probably somewhere in the bottom 3rd) and whose prospect pools run much deeper than that of Pittsburgh’s.

    In the most recent consensus rankings of the prospect pools by The Hockey Writers, Pittsburgh is dead last. And that includes Joseph and Poulin.

    IF he does indeed finally go somewhere before the end of this season, my bet would be to one of the following Top 10-ranked teams in terms of prospects (in order 1 to 10): Buffalo, Anaheim, Detroit, NJ, Columbus, Dallas, Montreal, Minnesota, Seattle, L.A. At least 7 of those will have picks higher up than Pittsburgh’s, much better prospects to dangle, and a roster player they’d be willing to part with just as good as, if not better, than Kapanen and Dumoulin.

    Anyway, as I say, that’s the way I see it

    • Hey George, teams that appear high up and show to be very deep of good prospects usually they are near the bottom of the NHL standings and teams with poorer prospects are usually teams making cup runs, some being successful and other not so much.

      Another trend I’ve seen is a team whose AHL team is also a cup winner, the NHL team greatly benefits from it by making them a top tier team and even towards being champs. But by doing this, the AHL team and the prospects take a step back.

      • True, for the most part anyway, Ron. But of the 10 teams I listed, Buffalo, Detroit, NJ, Minnesota, Dallas, Seattle and L.A. are either in or competing hard for playoff spots, while among those 10 at the bottom of the prospect pool it’s a real mix of contenders and also-rans: contenders: Pittsburgh (32nd with a good part of the roster getting long in the tooth); Colorado (31st and showing definite signs of a Cup hangover); NYI (30th – and no real threat to go deep); Boston (29th – odds on favourites (in my view anyway) to win it all; Tampa Bay (28th – still a solid line-up that will prove difficult for any team meeting them); Vegas (27th – pretenders who always find some way to lose); Vancouver (26th – hard to figure out sometimes – good F complement – D needs upgrade); Florida (25th – dropping like the proverbial rock_; St. Louis (24th – no depth to cover the 2 serious injuries just suffered – will slide to the bottom grouping); Calgary (23rd – another enigma showing that they have not adequately replaced Gaudreau and Tkachuk).

  2. There’s been a lot of talk about the Rangers being favorites for Kane. Right now, they’ve got the Alexis Lafreniere problem on their hands. One of my Ranger fan friends is ready to write him off as a bust.
    The problem with trading Lafreniere at this point is that teams won’t want to give too much given that he’s been underwhelming so far. And the Rangers aren’t giving him away, as there’s still a hope that he’ll develop into a top player. The perfect solution would be to deal him as part of a rental for Kane to help with a Cup run. Only situation which would be worthwhile for both teams.

    • Deal Laf in a package for Horvat or Boeser.

  3. I’ve noted on here several times i’m not a Johnathan Toews fan; however my desire to win the cup is greater then my dislike of Toews.

    Maybe Toews is the player Boston could target for a playoff run. Not sure if he can play wing or put him on third line Center.

    Toews would offer a more balance game then Kane and with a 64.4% in the faceoff dot, you be starting with the puck more often then not.

    • Mrbruin4 or is it Rick? (I’m confused jk)

      1st, Zboril, Smith and Reilly

      Chicago retain

  4. Caper

    What should bruins offer for Toews. At 1/2 retained that would make it worth it?

    • Better off going for Monahan because of the cap issue.

    • MrBruin4

      Aside from Lysell I don’t think BOS has any prospects that CHI would want?

      To retain 50% I would say a 1st pick this year, which could be the 32nd pick, a 3rd this year
      and a 3rd next year if BOS wins the Cup.

      Biggest question is where or how does BOS get the cap space to trade for Toews?

  5. The Pens LD is a problem for them. I think someone like McCabe would be an upgrade over any one on the roster right now.

    • You can have Chiarot! For Ty Smith and a 2nd

    • Hi SJPP

      Dumo for sure a huge issue @ LD….. HUGE issue

      But…. P-O J playing very very well; Pettersson certainly doing well ( Pettersson not expected to be a point producer)

      Smith…. Too small a sample to go on (only 32 mins)…. But I’ve not seen him do anything problematic. He definitely didn’t click on QBing the top PP…. but zero prep and just thrown in there… huge shoes to fill ….. tough to put a grade on that. Defensively he appears fine (again only 32 mins… small sample size)

      Rutta (Rightie) when put on left…. Mixed results….. certainly not good with CR (no one is)

      On the right

      Tanger… down year and injured.

      Petry…. Most games …. Relatively Even keel (certainly playing beliwcap hit, but mostly even keel). He has a handful of very good games; but an equal number (maybe a couple more) of bad games….. reduce the frequency of bad games… all good

      Friedman….only 3 games this year but has played very well; also played quite well last year

      CR…. Don’t get me started

      Pens can have a dramatic improvement in D play once Tangerand Petry are healthy; and sitting or demoting (neither option costs assets) Dumo and CR

      Petry/P-O J
      Freidman/ Smith or Rutta/Smith or Freidman (RD)/Rutta(LD)

      Carter at 3C (setting aside his recent 2 G 2 A in last 3 games) has been extremely poor on the possession and Expected GF-Expected GA stats

      Full NMC… so he’s not going anywhere

      Cap Space tight…. So any serious trade move costs futures and Cap has to go out in deal (Dumo)

      If Sully continues with Dumo and CR playing regularly , barring a trade…. Penguins may miss playoffs 💩💩💩

      • @ Pengy we need a third line center Carter sucks and needs to go to wing.

        Of these three centers if we can get one who would you want ?

        Adam Henrique 10 goals + 1 on a crap team great face off man, good 200 foot player strong skater good shot…Anaheim absorbs salary.

        Max Domi 27 ufa @ $ 3million freat one time shot on the off wing on the power play, tied for the lead in goals with the Black hawks with 11, has some snarl to his game, can play wing, good skater.

        RYan Oreilly32 UFA @ $7.5 million any deal will have to inculde Zucker who is playing well at $ 5.5 million and add from there

        What’s your rank ?


  6. As far as Nyquist is concerned, I can see the Jackets retaining some salary for the right return. Say a 2nd round pick or a prospect of similar worth.
    But where Gavrikov is concerned, things get strange. While a 1st and a 3rd sounds interesting, a strong middle six forward (not named Puljujarvi) and a 2nd round pick is another possibility.
    I don’t care if Puljujarvi’s salary makes the dollars work. He’s a 4th line winger and, despite the Jackets’ record (They’re regularly putting 10 rookies on the ice, due to injuries), they have a strong fourth line. If Puljujarvi was a center, there’s a possibility that the Jackets would accept him as part of a trade. But if the Oilers insist on making Puljujarvi to any deal, I would expect Kekalainen to insist on a 1st, a 3rd, Puljujarvi and either a prospect or another pick. And Puljujarvi would probably become a fixture in the press box.

  7. John Zeits

    The Pens don’t have the cap space to take on Chiarot for Smith. Pettersson and Heinen for Chiarot and you have a deal.

  8. Re; Matheson suggesting….?

    Oilers to acquire a defenseman with term remaining on their contract if they’re going to give up assets like a first-round pick and Jesse Pulijarvi Possible options for 2nd pair LD are
    Jakob Chychrun,
    Joel Edmundson,
    Jake McCabe.,
    so far with the playoff picture strting to take shape
    more teams will fall out the race by late Jan
    Connor Murphy is a RD❗️ Oilers need a LD… ✔️
    not sure why he pu him in this conversation?

    Matheson Said, it will stifle the development of young LD men Oilers blueliners 24 yr old Niemelainen is projected to be a 3rd paring d/man in time
    21 yr old Broberg is projected to to 2nd paring
    LD man in time
    Thats because nether of these 2 LD are ready for a full 82 game season …. and the NHL guy they have is Horrible for a 6-7th d/man Ryan Murray is a bust
    The oil need to trade for this 2md paring LD man Sooner than Later❓

  9. Jakub Vrana placed on Waivers!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 😣
    DRW needs the roster spot for Fabbri’s return and won’t wend down a kid on an ELC!!!
    I bet Verbeek in Anaheim claims him! Stevie’s pal has room on his roster and plenty of cap space!

    • Jakub Vrana 25-26 yr old was a Really Good LW
      when he was in Washington scoring 25 goals for a couple of season….What went wrong in Detroit ⁉️

      Maybe a team that needs help in there top 6
      with cap space can pick him up like the Ducks and Sabers who have lots of cap space❓

  10. Maybe Johnny Z – then again, maybe not.

    I mean, in 147 gp since 2019-20 with Washington and Detroit he has potted 58g 51s 109pts which works out to 82-game average of 32g 29a 61 pts – and those stats are decent enough for some team with lots of cap to claim him – despite his $5.250,000 cap hit which another year to run.

    But his recent shoulder woes followed by going into the player’s assistance program (reason unknown) might also cause some to consider it … and then pass. He sure isn’t going to turn Chicago, Arizona or Anaheim into instant winners, so what would be the purpose in bringing him on board?

    • Since the start of the 2020-21 season, the only NHL player with more 5-on-5 goals per 60 minutes of ice time than Jakub Vrana is Auston Matthews. That is not something you can say about “any player.” And he did well when he came back from his shoulder injury last year, 19 pts in 26 games.

      • Not denying that … in fact I cited his decent stats.

        What I am saying is that, the few teams with sufficient cap space to absorb his cap hit for the rest of this season and next are not really going anywhere – they know it – so what would be the purpose of bringing in a Vrana – certainly not going to turn their seasons around single-handedly, but he might do enough to bump them up a few spots, thereby decreasing their odds in the lottery. So, with some uncertainty as to why he went into the player’s assistance program, why would sny of those teams bother?

        The vast majority of those teams he COULD help with his offense simply don’t have the cap space to take him on.

    • George – I think Vrana whas a good chance to be picked up by a team.
      I am just spit-balling here and I only bring up the Leafs since that’s the team I know.

      Going into next year the Leafs have a vacancy on LW. Kerfoot won’t be resigned and whether they can keep Bunting is unknown.
      Knies will almost certainly be called up and play a top 6 LW role. The other remains a question mark – will Robertson get there or not?

      I can see a scenario where the ducks trade Vrana to the Leafs for Kerfoot (cap purposes) and Robertson plus an additional asset(s) in the form of pick/prospect depending on how much Anaheim/Arizona is willing to retain.
      They may flip kerfoot then for a small return.

      The Leafs get a top 6 LW with a contract that expires the same time as Matthews and Nylander.

      Now I’m not saying the Leafs should go after him, I’d rather see Robertson develop along with Knies as the top 2LW, I just think this is free assets for a rebuilding club – hard to pass that up. There are about 10 other teams (I assume) that can be targeted the same way

  11. Better hope the Avalanche don’t get healthy because if they do, watch out!!! Despite their poor play of late, they’re just a couple of healthy guys away from getting it going. GO AVS!!!!!

  12. Taz

    Leafs could definitely use a LW to play with Tavares and Marner.

    Vrana could be an option but I wonder what Yzerman is hoping for here? Is he hoping he gets claimed to add $5.25M of cap space? Is he hoping he goes unclaimed so they can send him down to rebuild his game enough to become more valuable at the TDL?

    My question is this…is Detroit still building? They have a few good pieces and are in 19th place in the league and 5 points out of a wild card spot. They’re not a contender and a bit of a long shot to make the playoffs.

    In order for a contender like the Leafs to fit Vrana under the cap DET would have to take salary back. I doubt they’d retain salary for the rest of this year and next year.

    Expendable players on the Leafs starts with Engvall. Kerfoot would be next. Their salaries equal Vrana’s salary. Would DET take Kerfoot, Engvall, and a 3rd for Vrana with no money retained?

    There’s a potential that DET could turn Kerfoot into a 2nd/3rd round pick and Engvall into a 3rd/4th round pick. That’s 3 assets for a guy you were willing to let go for nothing.

  13. Thanks for the positive feedback gentlemen, well a couple of you anyway….LOL 😄
    I think there if a plan here if Vrana is not claimed and one if he is claimed, Stevie could have sent down one of the kids and kept Vrana, but being that his ex-partner and good friend is 1st on the waiver wire, there may be plan there, too!