Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – January 29, 2023
Could the Devils be a destination for Vladimir Tarasenko? Would the Bruins have to part with Brandon Carlo or Jake DeBrusk to acquire Bo Horvat? What’s the latest on the Oilers, Senators and Kraken? Find out in the Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup.
LATEST “32 THOUGHTS” RUMORS
SPORTSNET (stick tap to NHL Watcher): During Friday’s “32 Thoughts” podcast, Elliotte Friedman reported the New Jersey Devils had previously spoken to the St. Louis Blues about winger Vladimir Tarasenko. When the Blues were trying to acquire Matthew Tkachuk from the Calgary Flames last summer, one thing they had to do was figure out how to trade Tarasenko. He wasn’t going to accept a trade to Calgary so trading him to New Jersey was discussed.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Devils general manager Tom Fitzgerald is in the market for a scoring winger and has been linked to the San Jose Sharks’ Tim Meier. Unlike Meier, who is a restricted free agent this summer, Tarasenko is due to become an unrestricted free agent. Fitzgerald’s preference could be acquiring someone like Meier who fits within his club’s long-term plans rather than a rental player such as Tarasenko.
Friedman believes the Edmonton Oilers are among the teams with interest in Arizona Coyotes center Nick Bjugstad. He carries an affordable $900K contract this season, has scored 11 goals thus far this season and is among the shootout leaders with three goals.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: There are a lot of notable stars who could be available leading up to this year’s trade deadline. However, there will be more of a market for decent, affordable veterans like Bjugstad given the high number of contenders with limited cap space.
Jeff Marek reports there hasn’t been much progress in contract talks between the Seattle Kraken and defenseman Carson Soucy, who is slated to become an unrestricted free agent this summer. They may have to decide if they’ll keep him for a playoff run and risk losing him for nothing or shopping him before the March 3 trade deadline.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kraken GM Ron Francis would have to find a suitable replacement for Soucy if he trades him. It wouldn’t surprise me if he retains the veteran blueliner as an “own rental” for the playoffs.
Marek also reports some teams seeking goaltending depth for the playoffs are interested in Dallas Stars netminder Anton Khudobin. He’s healthy and currently playing for the Stars’ AHL affiliate. His $3.33 million cap hit ($3.75 million in actual salary) could be a sticking point.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Stars will have accrued over $2.7 million in cap space by the March 3 trade deadline. They could retain part of Khudobin’s salary to facilitate a deal but I think their preference is to get the entirety of that cap hit off their books to create room for any playoff rentals of their own.
HORVAT COULD COST BRUINS CARLO OR DEBRUSK IN A TRADE PACKAGE
BOSTON HOCKEY NOW: Jimmy Murphy cited a source claiming the Vancouver Canucks have always liked Bruins defenseman Brandon Carlo and winger Jake DeBrusk. One of those players would likely have to be packaged with a first-round pick and a top prospect if the Bruins hope to acquire Bo Horvat from the Vancouver Canucks.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I think the Canucks can do better than a package from the Bruins with Carlo or DeBrusk as the centerpiece. Carlo’s injury history should be a big red flag as should DeBrusk’s inconsistent offense.
OILERS SHOULD AVOID EDMUNDSON, SAYS LARAQUE
EDMONTON JOURNAL: David Staples cited former Oiler Georges Laraque telling Oilers Now on Friday that the club should avoid acquiring Joel Edmundson. He claims the 29-year-old Montreal Canadiens’ blueliner has a herniated problem with his back that has hampered his performance.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Edmundson’s been frequently linked to the Oilers in the rumor mill. However, that doesn’t mean they’re going to acquire him to bolster the left side of their blueline. If they are interested they’ll want to see his medical records before signing off on a trade.
LATEST ON THE SENATORS
OTTAWA SUN: Ken Warren recently examined the Senators’ restricted and unrestricted free agents as the club’s playoff hopes fade.
Warren observed it would cost the Senators $9 million to qualify RFA winger Alex DeBrincat. If a team offered up an extremely talented young defenseman the Senators might bite on a deal. However, the best option appears to be waiting until the offseason and seeing if the club’s new ownership is willing to pay him a lucrative long-term deal.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I’ll be surprised if the Senators trade DeBrincat considering what they gave up last summer to acquire him. Never say never if they get an irresistible offer but I think they intend to re-sign him.
He believes the chances of pending UFA goaltender Cam Talbot re-signing with the Senators appear less likely than they did three weeks ago.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Talbot’s struggles during this month before his recent injury could have the Senators considering other goaltending options for next season.
Warren felt that Austin Watson would be moved if someone offered up a late-round pick. Dylan Gambrell will likely be moving on at season’s end. A two or three-year bridge deal for Shane Pinto this summer makes the most sense.
It would be an intriguing call for the Senators if a club comes calling for blueliner Travis Hamonic at the trade deadline. Defenseman Nick Holden could also be moved by deadline day if there’s interest. It might finally be time for the Sens to move on from rearguard Erik Brannstrom.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Senators have been very patient with Brannstrom but I don’t see any significant signs of improvement in his game. He is what he is and the Sens will have to accept that and move on.