Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – January 8, 2023
SPORTSNET: Jeff Marek and Elliotte Friedman listed Vancouver Canucks center Bo Horvat, Arizona Coyotes defenseman Jakob Chychrun and Chicago Blackhawks forwards Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews as possible trade targets over the next few weeks.
Friedman believes the Canucks will go back to Horvat and see if they can make a deal on a contract extension. However, he thinks it’s “extremely unlikely” to happen because they aren’t willing to spend more on Horvat than they did on J.T. Miller (seven years, $56 million).
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Interesting suggestion linking Horvat to the Kraken. Friedman mentioned they’re an improved club but I wonder if he also thinks that the Canucks captain might not want to stray too far from Vancouver?
The Kraken can afford to take on Horvat’s prorated $5.5 million cap hit for this season. They have depth in draft picks and prospects to offer up as trade bait plus they have sufficient cap space for next season (over $20 million) to re-sign him.
However, I’m not sold on Kraken general manager Ron Francis deviating from his current roster-building plans. This is a competitive club in just its second season with an emerging franchise player in Matty Beniers, a promising youngster in their system in Shane Wright and a solid core of experienced veterans.
Let’s not also forget reports claiming the Canucks seek young NHL talent that can provide them with immediate, long-term help rather than a return of futures. If that’s the case, the Kraken lack sufficient depth with those types of players unless they’re willing to part with Beniers and I don’t see them doing that.
As for the Avalanche, The Athletic’s Peter Baugh and The Denver Post’s Bennett Durando pointed out their lack of trade chips necessary to make a competitive bid for Horvat or other big-ticket stars such as St. Louis’ Ryan O’Reilly and Chicago’s Jonathan Toews. Even if they were to acquire one of them, they lack sufficient cap space next season to re-sign any of them.
Marek reports the Arizona Coyotes are in no hurry to move Chychrun. They’re looking for “three big pieces” for the 24-year-old blueliner: a young prospect, a first-round pick plus another first-rounder or an equivalent.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: That equivalent would be a former first-round pick, either a high-end prospect or a young NHL player.
Friedman reports Kane and Toews have not yet met with Blackhawks management to determine what they’re doing. Kane was injured last week and missed a game but it’s hoped he’ll play against the Calgary Flames. There are “rumblings” that it may be a nagging injury that needs to be “cleaned up” at some point but the hope is that he’ll be able to play through it.
Shinzawa believes the Bruins would have to part with their first-round pick, a high-level prospect and at least one more young player. The Blackhawks would also have to retain half of Kane’s remaining cap hit plus take some salary back in the deal.
I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Bruins make a move at the trade deadline to bolster their roster for the playoffs. However, they’re not under any pressure to do so at the moment given their lofty position atop the overall standings.
If the Bruins maintain that perch by the March 3 trade deadline, any moves they make by then will be to tweak their lineup with affordable depth instead of taking on someone like Kane.
Friedman talked about the Edmonton Oilers’ need for a left-side defenseman. The club is looking around the league to see who could be available. They want to give young blueliner Philip Broberg a chance to play for a while before making any permanent decisions.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Sportsnet’s Mark Spector and Adam Vingan recently examined whether Jakob Chychrun would be the right fit for the Oilers. They believe their biggest need is a left-shot shut-down defenseman and don’t consider Chychrun as someone who will address that need. They also reminded us that they recently reported the Oilers will not pursue Chychrun and are standing by their story.