NHL Rumor Mill – January 7, 2023
FIVE POTENTIAL SELLERS THAT COULD AFFECT THE 2023 NHL TRADE MARKET
SPORTSNET: Rory Boylen recently listed the Vancouver Canucks, Philadelphia Flyers, Arizona Coyotes, St. Louis Blues and Chicago Blackhawks as the five potential sellers that could affect this season’s trade market. Those clubs all carry notable talent that has frequently surfaced in trade speculation.
The Canucks’ potential trade bait includes Bo Horvat, Brock Boeser, J.T. Miller and Andrei Kuzmenko. Kevin Hayes, James van Riemsdyk, Ivan Provorov and Travis Konecny are the notable Flyers who could be on the moves.
Jakob Chychrun tops the list of Coyotes’ trade candidates, which includes Shayne Gostisbehere and Karel Vejmelka. Blues such as Vladimir Tarasenko, Ryan O’Reilly and Jordan Binnington could be available. Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews are the notables for the Blackhawks.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Most of the players on this list are eligible to become unrestricted free agents this summer. They are the most likely to be shopped if their current clubs can’t or won’t re-sign them.
I think Horvat, van Riemsdyk, Chychrun, Gostisbehere, Tarasenko and Kane are the most likely to be playing with other clubs by the March 3 trade deadline.
Boeser, Hayes, and Binnington all carry expensive annual salary-cap salaries on long-term contracts that could prove too difficult to move during this season with so many teams lacking salary-cap space. It wouldn’t be surprising if they remain in the trade market heading into the offseason.
I expect pending UFAs such as Toews, O’Reilly and Kuzmenko to re-sign with their current clubs. The others are on long-term deals (Provorov, Konecny, Vejmelka) and remain important key players to their current clubs. They could still have roles to play with those teams beyond this season.
Miller is a unique exception. He has a seven-year, $56 million contract starting in 2023-24 with no-trade protection. However, he’s in the final season of his current contract with a $5.25 million cap hit and lacks a no-trade clause. A playoff contender looking for immediate and long-term help could consider him a worthwhile trade candidate before March 3.
LATEST ON MEIER
THE ATHLETIC: In a recent mailbag segment, Corey Masisak was asked if he felt Timo Meier would still be with the San Jose Sharks beyond this season. The 26-year-old winger is a restricted free agent with arbitration rights this season. His current average annual value is $6 million but he’s earning $10 million in actual salary, which is what it will cost the Sharks to qualify his rights.
Masisak is skeptical about Meier’s future in San Jose, citing uncertainty over his contract situation, the club’s ongoing struggles, and whether he fits into general manager Mike Grier’s long-term roster plans. Given Meier’s RFA status, the Sharks can wait until the offseason to move him if unable to reach an agreement on a new contract by then.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Grier could move Meier by the trade deadline for the right offer. However, I think other general managers don’t want to deal with the headache of his qualifying offer and arbitration rights. They could prefer waiting to see how the Sharks handle this situation in the offseason.
UPDATE ON VRANA
DAILY FACEOFF: Frank Seravalli said a number of people around the NHL were surprised that no one claimed Detroit Red Wings forward Jakub Vrana off waivers earlier this week. He noted there was one club that discussed internally the possibility of trading for him.
Seravalli wondered if there was a deal available where Detroit retain a portion of Vrana’s salary equivalent to whatever it would cost the Wings to buy out the remainder of his contract this summer.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I wasn’t surprised that Vrana cleared waivers. His $5.25 million annual cap hit through 2023-24 is too expensive for most clubs to absorb this season.
Seravalli’s suggestion of a trade where the Wings retain a portion of his salary seems the most sensible option. However, that might not take place until the offseason as any interested club might want to see how well he performs in Grand Rapids. They could also want to see him get in some NHL games before the trade deadline.