NHL Rumor Mill – January 7, 2023

by | Jan 7, 2023 | Rumors | 42 comments

A look at five teams that could affect this season’s trade market, the latest on Sharks winger Timo Meier and an update on Jakub Vrana in today’s NHL Rumor Mill


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.

Vancouver Canucks captain Bo Horvat (NHL Images).

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.


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.


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.


  1. I think the un certainty of why he was off on player assistance also probably played a role in him not getting claimed.

    • That and Vrana not making the score sheet til his 5th game! To be fair, Grand Rapids is really bad this year! It seems their best players are on the Wings this year!

  2. I thought all along that anyone claiming Vrana was a long-shot at best,

    Another trade that could be in the offing is C Shane Pinto, but only IF and when Norris gets back and the Senators are in a play off hunt mix as we approach TD Day. He’s too good to be a 3rd line C and with Norris and Stutzle entrenched as # 1 and 2 (and Giroux perfectly capable of moving in at any time), and with Pinto approaching RFA status, it would not be surprising to see something go down.

    Where he’d go, and who comes this way (I would suspect it would have to be a Top 4 RD) I’ll leave to the would-be gypsies, but one condition of the trade would have to be the inclusion of Zaitsev to free up that $4 mil + cap hit. For that reason the trade would likely involve one of the re-building teams with cap space who could use a young, established C capable of being a # 1 or 2.

    • Pinto + Zaitsev (retain $1.5M) + 2nd for Hronek + Suter (retain 1/2 salary)
      I don’t think Stevie trades Hronek, but he really needs a 2C.

      • Nothing against Hronek , but if Pinto is ever dealt I think Dorion can do as good or better than that without taking back salary like Suter’s.

    • To George and Dark G and other Sens fans….. knowing you want Zaitzev gone…. Giving it a shot….

      Pinto, Bouch, Zaitzev ($2 M retained) , Kastelic , 1st (lottery protected); 3rd (‘24). For…..

      Chychrun + lowest of the three (Yotes, Habs, Cats) 2nd rounder in ‘24


      Pinto, Bouch, Zaitzev , Sanderson , 3rd. For

      Chychrun + lowest of the three (Yotes, Habs, Cats) 2nd rounder in ‘24

      • Hell No Pengy. First of all, no trade of that magnitude ever happens. Secondly, IF it’s ever decided to deal Pinto, his potential at C, and if going to a team like Arizona along with their choice of Brannstrom, Bernard-Docker or Thompson (all 1st round picks) and Zaitsev would be more than enough to land Chychrun – IF he’s the one they target/ If Arizona said ‘No” well, there are others out there. Besides, he’s essentially a LD and what they want is a RD.

        But regardless, under NO circumstances would Sanderson ever be part of the deal. He isn’t going anywhere.

        If the Senators can win tonight in regulation time against Seattle (and I admit, that’s a big IF the way the Kracken have have been playing), they move to 41 pts – 1 back of Nashville,m 3 back of Edmonton and Pittsburgh, 4 back of Calgary and 5 back of NYI, Minnesota, Seattle (depending on other game results of course) – and will with half a season to go.

        Some have them missing the playoffs for a 6th straight season – maybe so, but if so they won’t go quietly into the night and there will be some over-confident teams taking a hit.

        Right at the moment, the best team in the league – Boston – has lost 4 games. Name the only team to have accounted for 50% of those losses.

      • how about gavrikov for pinto straight up

      • Hi George

        Yes trades of that magnitude are very rare; I think the former Sens Captain involved 9 total assets moved …. My first trade proposal was 8 assets total; the second is 7 total assets

        Agree that 2nd proposal far less likely

        Yotes current ask is 4 assets for 1 (total 5 in trade… so likely minimum).

        I had to add assets in the trade due to inclusion of Zaitzev (an asset Yotes definitely do NOT want right now [Yotes aren’t as opposed to bringing on poor talent if Cap hit much higher than Cash cost…. Zaitzev next year has Cap and cash = $4.5 M] )

        Agree that Sens are not out of contention…. But window for 22/23 tight and slipping ….

        Not a chance they catch Bolts, Bruins, Leafs

        Only way in is WC (highly likely 1, prob both WCs are Metro)

        Sens would need to catch and pass at least one of Rangers, Isles, Caps, Devils, Pens ….

        AND catch/ pass ALL of Cats, Sabres, Wings ; while fending off Flyers

        Impossible…. NO

        Improbable…. Yes

        My gut…..more likely than not, Sens miss

        BTW … better to deal with Zaitzev after season…

        Option 1…. Buyout…. Save $1.7 M Cap 23/24; followed by dead Cap $0.8 M in 24/25 (when Cap ceiling [which Sens likely not at that year] is likely $3M – $4M greater than this year (22/23); or

        Option 2… better option…. Pay his SB come 1/7; flip him to Arz for 7th rounder (‘24)….. Arz gets Cap hit of $4.5M but only has to pay about $2.25 M (after escrow) cash….. Yotes basically paying a 7th to get $2.25 M in “free “ cap space; Sens clear Zaitzev off books; free up $4.5M; get an asset (albeit small) rather than giving up a higher asset to move him now

        Yotes (thanks to Gary) are further haemorrhaging $’s every week; and must meet Cap floor next year, the absolute cheapest way possible (heavily front contracts with one year left are the best!!!!)

      • Ya… just looked it up on CapFriendly …. 9 assets…

        Sens got Tierney, Balcers, Norris, DeMelo and 3 picks (which became Sutzle, Ostapuck, Rees)….. 7 assets

        For 2 (Karllsson and Peron)

      • Now Pengy,
        I think your Winding George up Now…..😂⁉️

        No way the Sen’s make that Trade for

        Chychrun + lowest of the three (Yotes, Habs, Cats
        Pinto, Bouch, Zaitzev , Sanderson , 3rd. For
        these 3 are going to be Very Good NHL players…

        Pinto, Bouch , Especaly young d/man Jake Sanderson who will have 33 to 36 point in his first year as a 20 year old…this kid will be a top pairing guy soon

    • Hi George,
      I would Hate for the Sens to Trade a young Centre/Winger like Shane Pinto 10 goals this year so far….❗️
      But if the Sens are missing the playoffs the Leafs are making it

      if it did happen ❓Now Im thinking out loude
      Could he go to the Leafs……. Pinto with Zaitsev and Goaltender Talbot…. for Goaltender Ilya Samsonov & Alexander Kerfoot coming the other way? some salary retained by the leafs
      and maybe a pick or picks swapp involved their
      these teams have done deals before …….🤔

      • williew

        Pinto would be an interesting acquisition for TOR but where would he play? Can he play 2LW? TOR could offer up a RHD prospect like Niemela in a trade but I’m not sure OTT would accept?

        I can’t see the Leafs having any interest in bringing Zaitsev back to Toronto.

        Not sure trading Samsonov for Talbot is wise either?

        OTT would have zero interest in Kerfoot. I’m assuming he was included to balance out the cap numbers.

  3. Given that I have no idea about Vranas issues, a trade with Vancouver for Boeser could be good. Boesers trade value is low and vranas salary is 1m less and one year shorter. A win win trade

    • Except, while we, here, have no idea why he went into the player’s assistance program – I’d bet the other 31 GMs know, And I have a feeling that that is why no one bit when he was on waivers.

    • Retain $.75M on Boser’s salary to make it more even. But I don’t think anyone touches Vrana till he gets some of his mojo back.

      • While Boesers value isnt very high, its higher than Vranas so I think a straight swap makes more sense

      • Canucks are desperate for cap space; they are not looking for any deal where they retain anything except perhaps on OEL (who is probably untradeable for a number of reasons).

  4. Chicago should trade Toews, grab the assets and sign Toews in the off-season.

    Wouldn’t be the first time a player has done it.

    • Its actually rarer than one might think

    • Hoping HexBurkie at least makes the call (re Toews) to inquire …. Can’t know if the trade is worth it unless you at least make the call

      Toews in at 3C over Carter…. Big difference

      Do nothing…. Pens trending (and fast) towards missing playoffs

  5. “I chose the Florida Panthers, first and foremost, because how great of a team they are and how great of a chance they have to win,” – Matthew Tkachuk

    With them sitting closer to the bottom of their division than the top you have to wonder at what point they realize they went about things the wrong way and so try to move out some of the top-heavy contracts. With 136 goals against, only two teams in the Conference have given up more – Montreal and Columbus.

    • Who would you suggest moving out?

      Florida has $6,575,000 in dead cap space.

      No one is touching Bobrovsky.

      Maybe start by changing Paul Maurice.

      Maybe this 2 game win streak stretches to 10

      • their D is not contending for anything. coaching cannot fix that. but they are not the same team since the playoff bowout

      • Essentially, Caper, virtually anyone not named Barkov or Ekblad,

      • GeorgeO, with Florida first round pick being top 10 protected.

        It might be worthwhile to keep their pick and drop down.

      • Hi Caper

        The pick is not protected…. Habs own that pick…. Option was ‘22 or ‘23 pick…. Per CapFreindly…. Cats 1st round pick in ‘23 …. Owned outright by Habs…. No conditions

      • Horny UFA…. Retain 50%, add asset… move him, is best option this year ; IF he is expected to return in-season from LTIR

        If he stays on LTIR…. they’ll stay under Cap…. Horny gone 1/7

    • That may be what Tkachuk said publicly, George. What was surely said sotto voce was: low taxes, sunny weather, low scrutiny.

      • LOL. Well, he got that right. Can you imagine the media reaction to the joke that is Brobovsky – not to mention management decisions – anywhere where that media has a pulse?

  6. Pinto is a third line centre on a team heading for a sixth consecutive year missing the playoffs.

    He has a total of 55 NHL games which is far from an “established C” that commands a top 4D with a sweetener.

    He shows potential but is a very good prospect for the time being.

    • Ummm pinto has been the second line centre on that team who is making a solid run for that playoff spot

      I admit Ottawa may fall short but they can be reasonably predicted to finish with 95 points . It may take 100 to get in the playoffs in the eastern conference. If they can string a lengthy win streak together to cancel out that early season 7 game losing streak right after they lost Norris they just may make it in.

  7. Re “ ….I expect pending UFAs such as Toews, O’Reilly and Kuzmenko to re-sign with their current clubs

    I can see RoR and Kuxmenko re-up…. But Toews back with BlackHawks? Since he’ll be 35 to start 23/24 season…. Cap hit on team regardless

    I think he’ll be approached by many teams…. All his choice…. One more chance at Cup vs re-upping with a rebuilding team that won’t be anywhere near a cup until after he’s retired…. I just think he may choose the former over the latter

    His hometown team is 1 point out of second (with a game in hand on the Stars) in the West…. Finish his career in the Peg??

    • Interesting idea Pengy, especially if they can’t re-sign PLD this summer. They could get a good return for him.

      I think Toews has another couple years in him, when you look at other older guys who are staying competitive later into their 30’s. He would have some good wingers to play with.

      • In VAN case they have to decide what their plan is.

        Signing Miller to a big contract says they’re trying to be competitive now…trading the likes of Horvat, Boeser, Kuzmenko, Schenn, etc says they’re rebuilding. Trouble is…they’re handcuffed against the salary cap.

        Plenty of bad value deals on that team including OEL, Myers, Garland, and Boeser. Not to mention when Miller’s new deal kicks in next season. Going to take some tough choices to get out of that mess.

      • Hi Ray

        I agree … Toews has 2 years (possibly 3 left)

        Carter 3 1/2 years older (one more year after this) ….. I don’t see Toews as poor as Carter, 3 years from now

        Would love him on Pens

        Can see him on Jets for $2.5 M (Sal) * 2 (maybe 3) plus PBs (structured to risk-favour Jets…. But rewarding to Jets AND Toews if he attains them)

    • Pengy, I also don’t see Toews staying. He didn’t hide his displeasure with team last deadline when they decided to sell and start rebuild.

  8. I heard somewhere that only 6 teams have the space that could have taken Vrana on waivers. He will have to be traded to move on. I am sure he is sulking in the minors at least for now.

  9. I was wondering if the Avalanche are considering making a trade because out here in “Avs land” the moves the team makes are usually not leaked or rumour mill isn’t like other NHL cities, it seems? The Avalanche just make a deal when they know it is time to do it. I wonder if that is being considered with all the injuries but I trust Sakic and McFarland with the ability to make a good decision for the team So, if the Avs are going to make a move, I would do this:

    TO THE Flyers: Girard and Kaut for
    TO THE Avs: Koneckny and a 2023 2nd round

    • Sorry brother no way that gets you tk.

      Think along these lines,

      1st + 2nd + Byram


      1st 23’+ 1st 24 + Kaut

      anything less and you can go somewhere else and make a deal .

      TK and Sanheim and Hart are the 3 i hold onto maybe add farabee to that group. So to get those players the ask will be high.

      I’d rather see what the market for Provorov is.

  10. @George, how about this:

    To Nsh:
    C Shane Pinto

    To Ott:
    C Yakov Trenin
    D Dante Fabbro
    2023 2nd round pick

    Is that enough? Big man Trenin takes 3rd C on Ottawa, hopefully Fabbro doesn’t dud in the new digs, and you get a 2nd.