NHL Rumor Mill – February 11, 2023
What will the Maple Leafs do at this year’s trade deadline? What’s the latest on Timo Meier, Brock Boeser, James van Riemsdyk Luke Schenn and Jesse Puljujarvi? Are the Capitals and Sabres planning any moves? Find out in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.
WHAT WILL THE LEAFS DO AT THE TRADE DEADLINE?
TORONTO SUN: Terry Koshan reports Maple Leafs general manager Kyle Dubas has narrowed down his trade wish list to a top-six forward and adding more beef to his defense corps. Dubas indicated he’s leaning more toward adding to his forward lines than to his blueline.
The Leafs GM said that the big names in the trade market aren’t necessarily his targets. He didn’t rule out moving his first-round pick or top prospect Matthew Knies but suggested there are some players and draft capital that he’d be hard-pressed to move away from, especially for a rental player.
TORONTO STAR: Chris Johnston also believes Dubas will be shopping for value at the deadline, putting substance over style. Like Koshan, he noted the Leafs GM’s reluctance to part with a first-round pick or Knies for a rental player.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Perhaps Dubas might part with them for a player that could help them over the long term?
On Friday’s “32 Thoughts” podcast (stick tap to NHL Watcher), Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman said he’d heard that there are teams that believe the Leafs may have considered the possibility of acquiring Timo Meier from the San Jose Sharks and sorting out next season’s salary-cap issues later on.
Adding Meier would entail having nearly $50 million tied up in five forwards as re-signing him could cost between $9 million and $10 million annually. I don’t see them pulling that off unless they move another high-salaried forward or someone else from their lineup. Even then, it would leave them top-heavy with little room to balance out the rest of the roster.
Speaking of Meier…
ARE THE DEVILS STILL INTERESTED IN MEIER?
SAN JOSE HOCKEY NOW: Sheng Peng cited Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman speculating that the New Jersey Devils could want the “final shot” at acquiring Timo Meier before the March 3 traded deadline. Peng also cited TSN’s Pierre LeBrun suggesting the Devils could see the 26-year-old pending restricted free agent as a long-term acquisition.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: That will depend on what other offers are out there for Meier from other teams. As Peng pointed out, another club could also see the winger as a long-term part of their future. That could stoke a bidding war that puts Meier out of the Devils’ comfort zone in terms of return and a new contract for the Sharks forward.
NO WAY ON BOESER FOR GREENWAY?
NHL WATCHER: cited Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman on Friday’s episode of his “32 Thoughts” podcast saying he’s heard rumblings about the Vancouver Canucks shipping Brock Boeser to the Minnesota Wild for Jordan Greenway.
“After really looking into it, I don’t see it,” said Friedman. He claimed Boeser wants to go to Minnesota. However, the Wild can’t do the deal without the Canucks eating a chunk of the winger’s salary. He believes the Canucks would like to do the deal as Greenway is seen as a Rick Tocchet-type.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Boeser’s average annual value is $6.65 million through 2024-25. The Wild can’t afford to take that on for the next two seasons when they’ve got over $14 million in dead cap space over that period due to their buyouts of Zach Parise and Ryan Suter. The Canucks would have to retain half of that to make the dollars work for the Wild as Greenway earns $3 million annually over the same period.
VAN RIEMSDYK COULD BE THE FLYERS TOP TRADE CANDIDATE
THE ATHLETIC: Charlie O’Connor considers James van Riemsdyk the most likely member of the Philadelphia Flyers to be moved by the March 3 trade deadline. He noted that the 33-year-old winger is on an expiring contract “and still good enough to start for pretty much any playoff contender.” O’Connor assumed the Flyers will retain part of van Riemsdyk’s $7 million cap hit to facilitate a trade. He also thinks that pending UFA defenseman Justin Braun could be on the move.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: van Riemsdyk was recently linked to the Calgary Flames given their ongoing need for a scoring forward. He could also become a trade target for clubs that lose out in the bidding for the Sharks’ Timo Meier and the Chicago Blackhawks’ Patrick Kane.
LATEST ON THE CAPITALS
THE ATHLETIC: Tarek El-Bashir reports the uncertainty over whether sidelined defenseman John Carlson will return for the playoffs could push the Washington Capitals into the trade market for blueline help. They could draw on their overcrowded forward lines for trade bait to address that need.
WASHINGTON HOCKEY NOW: Sammi Silber reports Capitals center Lars Eller has been mentioned as a potential trade chip to bring in a blueliner. Forward Anthony Mantha’s future with the club has come into question following several healthy scratches and a lack of consistency. However, Silber considers those rumblings about Mantha to be the result of pure speculation.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Eller is an established and reliable third-line center with an affordable $3.5 million AAV on an expiring contract. Perhaps a swap for a defenseman with a comparable salary would work for the Capitals.
On top of Mantha’s struggles this season, he carries a $5.7 million AAV through 2023-24. I don’t see anyone wanting to take that on unless the Capitals retain a significant portion.
LATEST ON LUKE SCHENN AND JESSE PULJUJARVI
TSN: Pierre LeBrun reported Thursday that the Vancouver Canucks have yet to decide if they’re trading Luke Schenn, who isn’t pushing to be moved. The 33-year-old defenseman is slated to become an unrestricted free agent on July 1.
Meanwhile, Chris Johnston said the Edmonton Oilers are still getting some interest in the trade market in struggling winger Jesse Puljujarvi. With Kailer Yamamoto slated to come off LTIR soon, they’ll need to make a corresponding move.
Johnston speculated they could even put Puljujarvi on waivers. He felt that could make the Oilers winger a more valuable trade chip as he could move between the NHL and AHL without having to clear waivers a second time.
SABRES LOOKING AT DEFENSE
THE BUFFALO NEWS’ Lance Lysowski tweeted that Sabres general manager Kevyn Adams will be looking at his blueline depth as the trade deadline approaches.