NHL Rumor Mill – February 1, 2023

by | Feb 1, 2023 | Rumors | 36 comments

What’s the latest on Timo Meier? Could the Canucks peddle Thatcher Demko or Brock Boeser? Are the Islanders done making additions? Will the Bruins pursue a notable defenseman or center? Get the answers in today’s NHL Rumor mill.


SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman reports the New Jersey Devils are very much in the sweepstakes for San Jose Sharks winger Timo Meier. However, their salary structure remains a concern. They’d prefer to have no forwards earning more than Jack Hughes’ $8 million average annual value. That also goes for winger Jesper Bratt, who’s a restricted free agent this summer.

THE ATHLETIC: Corey Masisak speculates the return the Vancouver Canucks received for Bo Horvat (middle-six forward Anthony Beauvillier, a potential “middle of the lineup” player in prospect Aatu Raty and a top-12 protected 2023 first-round pick) may have hurt the Sharks’ chances of landing a huge haul for Meier.

However, Meier is younger than Horvat plus the Sharks can let other clubs talk to the Meier camp about a contract extension. That was something the Canucks refused to do with Horvat.

SAN JOSE HOCKEY NOW: Sheng Peng reports a source outside the Sharks’ organization claimed they’d heard the club will seek three pieces for Meier. They’ll want a first-round pick and either one Grade-A prospect or two Grade-B prospects, or one good prospect and a young, established NHL player.

San Jose Sharks winger Timo Meier (NHL Images)

Peng subsequently reported a source suggesting the Sharks could end up getting a return similar to what the Canucks got for Horvat. Peng admits that there aren’t many teams in this salary-cap era that can afford to acquire a potentially $9 million per season player such as Meier. Nevertheless, he also pointed out Meier is younger than Horvat plus the Canucks didn’t let teams talk contract with the latter before trading him.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Sharks could have a greater opportunity to land a better return if they allow suitors to work out a contract extension with the Meier camp.

Bear in mind that Meier’s RFA status means the Sharks can wait until the off-season to move him if they don’t get any suitable offers leading up to the March 3 trade deadline. However, they will have a time constraint of June 30. That’s the deadline to issue his qualifying offer, which would be one year at $10 million.


SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman wonders about Thatcher Demko’s future with the Vancouver Canucks. The 27-year-old goaltender is signed through 2025-26 with an average annual value of $5 million. He’s been sidelined since early December with a lower-body injury.

Friedman believes teams will want to get a feel for what the Canucks want to do with Demko. He thinks the Buffalo Sabres, Columbus Blue Jackets, Los Angeles Kings and Pittsburgh Penguins make sense as suitors. The Sabres and Blue Jackets can afford to be patient but the Kings and Penguins would need to know if he could make an impact this spring in the playoffs.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: TSN’s Darren Dreger reports Canucks sources are “a little surprised” at all the trade speculation about Demko. It appears the talk of his potential availability isn’t coming from the team.

Pittsburgh Hockey Now’s Dan Kingerski recently listed more affordable, short-term options for the Penguins such as the Dallas Stars’ Anton Khudobin, the Vegas Golden Knights’ Adin Hill, the Detroit Red Wings Alex Nedeljkovic and the Blue Jackets’ Joonas Korpisalo. Maybe they’d be interested if Demko became available but he’d likely cost more than the Penguins could comfortably afford before the March 3 trade deadline.

The Athletic’s Eric Stephens recently listed several goalie trade targets for the Kings. Among them was the Anaheim Ducks’ John Gibson but Stephens saw his contract ($6.4 million average annual value through 2026-27) as a significant obstacle. The same could be said for Demko’s deal. Meanwhile, TSN’s Pierre LeBrun said the Kings aren’t interested in a rental goalie like the Ottawa Senators’ Cam Talbot or the Carolina Hurricanes’ Antti Raanta. “They’re looking for a long-term fit”.

Friedman writes that Brock Boeser remains linked to the Minnesota Wild in the rumor mill. However, he felt the math doesn’t make sense as things stand.

TSN’S Darren Dreger reports the Canucks are still getting a tremendous amount of interest in Boeser. However, those clubs want to know if the Canucks will retain part of the 25-year-old winger’s salary. He’s signed through 2024-25 with an AAV of $6.65 million.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That’s why I believe a Boeser trade won’t happen until the offseason when teams have additional cap space. As long as the Canucks won’t retain part of his salary, he’s difficult to move during this season with so many teams carrying limited salary-cap space.

The Wild won’t be a destination for Boeser unless it’s a dollar-in, dollar-out trade. They’ve got over $74 million invested in 14 players for next season with $14.7 million of that as dead cap space owing to their buyouts of Zach Parise and Ryan Suter.

Friedman believes there are teams that like the nastiness of Canucks defenseman Tyler Myers but he felt that might have to wait until the summer in this season’s tight cap world. He’s not convinced blueliner Luke Schenn returns to the Tampa Bay Lightning but conversations about him continue.


THE ATHLETIC: Kevin Kurz looks at other potential moves that might make sense for the New York Islanders before the trade deadline. He suggested the St. Louis Blues’ Ivan Barbashev if they’re seeking a winger or the Arizona Coyotes’ Shayne Gostisbehere if they’re in the market for a puck-moving defenseman.

NYI HOCKEY NOW: Stefen Rosner believes Islanders GM Lou Lamoriello isn’t done making moves. He thinks they need to add a scoring winger and wondered if Lamoriello might go all in for someone like the Blues’ Vladimir Tarasenko or the Sharks’ Timo Meier. They could also use a depth defenseman.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Islanders have over $11 million in projected deadline cap space. I don’t see Lamoriello sitting on that. He could pursue someone like Tarasenko or Meier but could also pursue more affordable options such as those suggested by Kurz.


SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman reports the Boston Bruins are believed in the market for a left-side defenseman. He wouldn’t be surprised if they’ve inquired about the Coyotes’ Jakob Chychrun or the Blue Jackets’ Vladislav Gavrikov among others.

BOSTON HOCKEY NOW: Jimmy Murphy wondered if the Bruins might shift their focus toward Detroit Red Wings center Dylan Larkin after losing out in the Bo Horvat sweepstakes. A source told Murphy it doesn’t look good for Larkin to remain in Detroit which was why they’re exploring other options. However, Larkin’s agent Pat Brisson recently said he’s not concerned about negotiation, adding the two sides have been talking more in recent weeks.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I think the Bruins’ priority could be adding that left-side defenseman over adding another center. I don’t doubt that general manager Don Sweeney did his due diligence regarding Horvat but adding someone comparable such as Larkin is going to be just as expensive.

They could also go for more cost-effective short-term options on defense given the expensive asking prices for Chychrun (two first-rounders, top prospect) and Gavrikov (a first and a third-rounder). Granted, this is a “go-for-it” season for the Bruins but given how well the current roster is playing they can pursue more affordable depth targets. Besides, they don’t have a lot of trade capital to win bidding wars for big-ticket players.


SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman reports the Carolina Hurricanes weren’t going to acquire Bo Horvat unless they could sign him to a contract extension. With Horvat now with the New York Islanders, he wonders if the Hurricanes will pivot toward Isles center Jean-Gabriel Pageau depending on how things shake out with Horvat.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The 30-year-old Pageau is signed through 2025-26 with an annual cap hit of $5 million and a 16-team no-trade list. His age and contract might not be a fit with the Hurricanes.


  1. That Horvat trade was underwhelming all -around and what i expect from Lamoriello. They gave up very little outside of that pick but they will have to pay at least 8 million to retain a centre coming off a career year. Nothing against Horvat, just not particularly gritty- and outside of this year not extremely offensive, could argue he would be a 3rd line centre on a really good team (again this year aside).
    Same for Larkin- do you really want to pay 8 million for a player like that?

    ROR isnt worth whatever they are asking..

    Luke Schenn and McCabe and are good adds but not for 1st round picks..if they are substantially better than your teams current 5th and 6th d that you would move a 1st you really arent contenders to begin with

    Keep hearing Troy Terry is available? Why would they deal him and curious what you all think he signs for ?

    • Mostly agree on Horvat. I’m always leery of players who have a career year in their free agent season, especially after 7+ years of mediocrity.
      Vancouver probably could have locked up Horvat last year with a 6×6 extension.
      Now he’s going to want to parlay this anomaly season into an 8×8+ contract. No way I’d give him anything close to that. (But somebody will!).

      • Shades of Matt Duchene

      • I would bet $20 he gets more than $8M per season if he hits the market. As that is what the market is for top C’s. If he gets 8 years vs 7 in NY, then 8 is in the game. Look at what Kadri got and he was 31 when the contract started, and for 7 years to boot.

        For those who don’t think he produces enough to be a quality 2C, I think a reset on what 2C’s produce is in order. In reality over the last 4 years combined, he has produced like a 1C.

        Since the beginning of 19/20 season, so a little more than 3 seasons worth of games due to pandemic seasons.

        Horvat is 24th in points and 10th in goals for all C’s in the NHL. Don’t want to over value this season, but can’t simply discard it either so looked at it as a whole. Plus a 200′ player and the leader of the room in VCR.

        I think $8M is the floor, but we’ll see soon enough.

      • Hopefully not shades of Lucic when he went to Edmonton

  2. Like Tyler Myers “nastiness”? Myers is 6’7″ but plays like hes 4’7″.

    Zero physicality, cant skate, no mobility, defensive liability with next to zero on the offensive side.

    Boat anchor contract for a slower than molasses defenceman.

    Canucks are going to have to add assets and retain money if they want to move Myers.

    Pretty much swap Myers name for Boesers and comments still apply.

    Signing noted on ice and locker room leader JT Miller to that retirement contract was a massive mistake.

    Bring on the “retool” part 50.

    • Always the good words out of the Jullie-bean, a man to dump s**t on everyone but himself.

  3. forget Isles getting Meier, they gave up all of their prospect capital for Horvat. doubt STL will take just picks for Tarasenko, especially if they are in range of a playoff spot

    still can’t see DET trading Larkin by the deadline, they really want to keep their captain

    • If NJ or Buffalo want Meier they can blow any Islander offer out of the water. I’m sure just being able to offer a 23 1st over a 24 1st besides better prospects would do it.

      • I agree, Len. I believe the Meier trade will come down to those two teams, with my personal hope that he goes to the Sabres.

    • A first, a good prospect and a young established NHLer is exactly what Vancouver got for Horvat. So Meier’s return would be similar. But as Meier is younger and more offensively dynamic than Horvat, the Sharks will get a better prospect that Raty and a slightly better player than Beauvilier.

  4. “A source told Murphy”

    Sure they did, Murph.

    • Garth. Source was his mom so no worries there

  5. I don’t see Larkin leaving Detroit

    I keep reading Boston wants to add a left side dman.

    Lindholm, Grzelyck and Forbort patrol the left side; two questions:

    1 are they looking to add depth; meaning a player that can be sub in and out depending on the opponent and keeping what they have

    2 are they looking to add a significant player; if so who is the odd man out? It’s not Lindholm who they locked up long term on good dollars.

    That leaves Grzelyck and Forbort

    Grzelyck good skater, exit the zone and good passer, can drive the play. Doesn’t perform well under heavy pressure and prone to give aways when under pressure.

    Forbort, good size, strong defensively, blocks a ton of shots, excellent on the pk. Not going to see much offense, more suited for 3rd pairing doesn’t match up great against number1 lines. As long as he keeps to his strength is good value, it when he tries to do much he falls into trouble

    Trade wise Grzelyck would be the odd man out, he hasn’t taken the PP where the Bruins were hoping he would, he would also bring back more in return then Forbort.

    Could Grzelyck be moved to Columbus for Gavrikov? or Vancouver for Schenn.

    Both Gavrikov and Schenn are ufa’s, while Grzelyck has one year remaining at a very reasonable $3,687,500

    • I dont believe they’re going to trade Grizz. He’s a valuable part of the locker room and the D squad.

      • Bruins need a center looking ahead to next year. The defense is solid with a good mix of offense defensemen- Lindholm and Macavoy and defensive defensemen-Forbort and Carlo and two hybrids in Clifton and Grzelcyk. Don’t mess with the defense. Having to use Smith on the first line with Debrusk out tells you there is little depth at forward. The Bruins need a forward particularly a center.

      • He also best buds with macavoy. I am ok for him getting moved. But definitely not for just Schenn

      • Why do the Bruins need a center? Bergy is coming back and I believe DK does too. After Bergy got his 1000 point the team was chanting one more year. Bergy yelled I’m not going anywhere. Exactly why I believe Pasta is waiting on them to decide if they play another year.

    • Sop, we probably disagree on this, as you know i’m not a big fan of playoff Matt.

      I wonder with him being a local boy and his dad working on the bull gang doing the ice; if that matters or not.

      Also agree with team chemistry; however, this is it, this is the year. If ever there is a year to go all in, it’s this year.

      Boston needs a couple of pieces and need strong character players that would be coming in.

      They need to ship dollars out to bring in.

      Is the team strong enough to win the cup as it’s comprised of today?

      They have strong depth up front, but thin on the back end.

      They don’t have an Adam McQuaid or Kevin Miller type dman. That for me is the main add, follow by the same type for the 4th line and both players need to be good skaters, with good hockey sense and provide energy.

      • Yeah, Caper. I agree with most of your points. I like Grizz, though. Plus him and Chuck are good pals and great when they play together. I’d keep him. I’d like to upgrade from Greer and Smith.

  6. Logical question: Why would Columbus trade for Demko when Merzlikins is signed @ $5MM and they want to trade Korpisalo to make room for Tarasov?

  7. Buffalo – Demko ?

    I imagine the Sabres will do something ?!?!

    That young core…,
    Scary Good 😊

  8. Isles won’t be going after a big ticket guy like Tarasenko or Meier as they no longer have the assets in draft choices and prospects to spare. They can’t afford to deplete their system. They’re better adding more affordable scoring depth like Barbashev or Dadanov, who could be had for a mid round pick.

    • Bolduc and Mid round pick for JVR 50% retained ?

      Helps on PP. tips the puck well and good for 20 plus goal seasons

      That work?

      • Don’t think the Isles want to give up Bolduc. But JVR would be a good target. Flyers want to dump him off.

  9. Would Demko to LA for Quick & Byfield work for both teams?

    LA roster built to win now and gets 4 more years of Demko.

    Quick can fill in for Van till they get a prospect to develop and they get Byfield for giving up a really good goalie.

    LA keeps picks to keep building the cupboard but their roster with c9 races are win now.

  10. Bowser to Buffalo…

  11. Boeser to Buffalo…

    • Please ignore, I am an idiot!

      • I thought maybe one of Sha Na Na was making a comeback as a hockey player!

    • Both of them ?

  12. Re; Who Needs a Starting Goaltender……..🤔❓❓

    Top 3 Are…

    1/ The Ottawa Senators
    Great young Team but no Starter in Sight…
    in the Sen’s organization NHL, AHL, ECHL…..
    They have lots of Picks and Assets to trade….
    A Starter Goaltender is on there list Along with a 2nd pair RD man….🤔 Trade bait, Alext Debrincat and picks and prospects

    2/ The Buffalo Sabers
    Great young Team, maybe young 23 yr old
    Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen.. but he is 2-3 years away
    they also have picks and forward prospects

    3/ Pens Tristan Jarry is a UFA in July..❗️ has good numbers again this year GA.2.65 SV% 0.921…
    But the Pen’s Defence Sucks….🙈 they need to fix there d first, before All the Old guys up front Retire in 2 years time

    LA, ……..But do they want to trade a strong Goaltender in the Pacific to there Rival…..⁉️😳

  13. Demko to LA for Petterson (retain $2M), Roy and a 2nd.

    • A lot of salary going back to VAN Andy only getting a second

      Peterson May never return bound

      Demko is a sure thing

      That offer may have to be altered to a first or

      Peterson with some $ retained and Byfield for Demko

  14. In the off-season, Markstrom to Buffalo for a 1st. Flames flip that 1st and Coleman to the Flyers for Konecny

    • Trade us, Elias Lindholm, please. We’d like to complete the set.