NHL Rumor Mill – January 30, 2023
LATEST ON THE SHARKS
SAN JOSE HOCKEY NOW: Sheng Peng reports multiple NHL hockey ops people that he’s spoken with believe that San Jose Sharks captain Logan Couture would be a perfect second-line center for any Stanley Cup contender in need.
Couture would fetch the Sharks a solid return. However, his contract makes him unlikely to be moved. The 33-year-old center is signed through 2026-27 with an average annual value of $8 million and a three-team trade list.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Couture is enjoying a solid performance this season with 42 points in 51 games. His contract isn’t as hefty cap-wise as teammate Erik Karlsson ($11.5 million), whose strong performance this season made him the subject of trade rumors in recent weeks. Nevertheless, that’s still difficult for most NHL clubs to absorb with so many of them carrying limited cap space this season. His three-team trade list is another major obstacle.
Couture’s age would also be a major concern. He turns 34 on March 28 and a lot of general managers would have serious qualms about acquiring a player in his mid-thirties with four years remaining on his contract at $8 million per. The Sharks could retain part of it to facilitate a trade but they could also be reluctant to carry that much dead cap space for that long.
Meier, 26, is a restricted free agent with arbitration rights this summer who’s also a year away from unrestricted free agent eligibility. While he’s carrying a $6 million AAV on his current contract, he’s earning $10 million in actual salary, which is what it’ll cost the Sharks to qualify his rights.
That qualifying offer has sparked plenty of media chatter speculating the Sharks could move Meier by the March 3 trade deadline.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Most of the recent Meier speculation claims the Sharks have granted interested teams permission to speak with his agent about a contract extension as part of a possible trade. Unless they’re willing to pony up, Meier could become an unrestricted free agent on July 1.
Bear in mind that the Sharks don’t have to move Meier by March 3. They could simply wait until the offseason and peddle him in June. However, they could prefer moving him during this season rather than risk losing him to the UFA market on July 1 if they decide qualifying his rights is too expensive.
DID LARKIN REJECT RED WINGS’ EIGHT-YEAR OFFER?
DETROIT FREE PRESS: Helene St. James recently reported the Red Wings offered captain Dylan Larkin an eight-year contract extension worth an AAV of $8 million. As there was no formal announcement of the deal, St. James concludes the 26-year-old center rejected the offer.
St. James speculates the Larkin camp could be seeking something comparable to the eight-year, $73.2 million ($9.15 million AAV) signed by Mathew Barzal with the New York Islanders. Larkin indicated there’s no ill will between his camp and Wings management.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: It appears the two sides are still working toward bridging the gap regarding the dollars. There’s been no indication that the Wings are shopping Larkin or that he’s not interested in staying in Detroit.
LATEST ON GOSTISBEHERE AND MCCABE
GOPHNX.COM: Craig Morgan reports there’s been plenty of concern among Arizona Coyotes fans that Shayne Gostisbehere’s upper-body injury will adversely affect his value leading up to the trade deadline. He’s sidelined for four-to-six weeks.
Coyotes management doesn’t share their fans’ concerns. Other teams already know Gostisbehere’s value as a player and already know his strengths and weaknesses.
General manager Bill Armstrong doesn’t intend to sit any of his potential trade assets (such as Jakob Chychrun) until the trade deadline to protect them from getting hurt. Doing so wouldn’t sit well with the player, the Coyotes’ coaching staff or the NHLPA.
SPORTSNET: Luke Fox noted recent rumors linking the Toronto Maple Leafs to Chicago Blackhawks defenseman Jake McCabe. The 29-year-old is among the bright lights in an otherwise dismal season for the Blackhawks.
McCabe carries a $4 million cap hit through 2024-25. Dixon suggests he could be a perfect replacement for the sidelined Jake Muzzin if the latter is no longer able to continue his playing career.
The Blackhawks asking price for McCabe is reportedly a second-round pick and a B-level prospect if acquired at his full AAV. It will cost more if the Blackhawks are to retain part of his salary.