NHL Rumor Mill – February 15, 2023
DEVILS, HURRICANES, LEAFS AND GOLDEN KNIGHTS INTERESTED IN TIMO MEIER
TSN: Pierre LeBrun reports the San Jose Sharks still haven’t yet granted permission to Timo Meier’s agent (Claude Lemieux) to speak directly to teams involved in trade talks with the Sharks. It sounds like it could depend on which team becomes the front-runner to acquire the 26-year-old Sharks winger, who is slated to become a restricted free agent on July 1.
LeBrun said there have been more discussions recently between the Sharks and New Jersey Devils, who’d love to sign Meier to a contract extension as part of a potential trade. The Carolina Hurricanes have also spoken with the Sharks and could be more willing to acquire Meier without worrying about a contract extension at this point. The Toronto Maple Leafs also remain interested in the Sharks winger.
Fox believes the Leafs feel like the biggest long shot here. While they could fit Meier within this season’s salary-cap limitations if the Sharks retain half of his current $6 million cap hit, sorting out his future beyond this season is a problem for a team with considerable payroll already invested in their top-four forwards.
THE ATHLETIC: Jesse Granger is skeptical of the Golden Knights’ chances of landing one of this year’s top trade candidates such as Meier before the March 3 deadline. Apart from the salary cap ramifications, the Golden Knights’ limited prospect pool and available future trade capital make them unlikely to outbid other clubs for a big-ticket player.
Granger believes the Golden Knights will pursue more affordable options to bolster their forward depth. The Detroit Red Wings’ Tyler Bertuzzi, St. Louis Blues winger Ivan Barbashev and the Edmonton Oilers’ Jesse Puljujarvi were among his suggested targets.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Leafs and Golden Knights both appear to be long shots in the Meier sweepstakes. It could come down to the Devils or Hurricanes, though we can’t rule out another club not mentioned above jumping in with a surprise offer.
LATEST ON ERIK KARLSSON
THE ATHLETIC: Pierre LeBrun believes the Edmonton Oilers are keeping tabs on San Jose Sharks defenseman Erik Karlsson. However, he considers the financial hurdles too overwhelming to clear. Karlsson carries an $11.5 million annual cap hit through 2026-27 meaning the Sharks would have to retain a sizeable chunk to make him more palatable for the Oilers.
LeBrun acknowledged the possibility of a three-team deal to spread Karlsson’s cap hit around and make him more affordable for the Oilers. However, he doubted the third party brokering the deal would want to have any portion of Karlsson’s cap hit on their books as dead cap space through 2026-27.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Like LeBrun, I think it would be really exciting if the Oilers could pull this off given the jolt it would send through the trade market leading up to the March 3 deadline. However, I share his opinion that a Karlsson trade is more likely to occur in the offseason when teams have more cap space and a willingness to spend. Even then, the Oilers will still face long odds to get him.
UPDATE ON GAVRIKOV
THE ATHLETIC: Aaron Portzline listed the Buffalo Sabres, Dallas Stars, Edmonton Oilers, Los Angeles Kings, Toronto Maple Leafs and Washington Capitals as contenders in search of help on defense. He didn’t directly link them to VladislavGavrikov but feels the 27-year-old defenseman has played his last game for the Columbus Blue Jackets, who yesterday announced he was being held out of the lineup for trade-related reasons.
Portzline’s colleague Pierre LeBrun reports hearing the Edmonton Oilers have spoken to the Columbus Blue Jackets about Vladislav Gavrikov more than once. The Oilers are a “dollar-in, dollar-out” club and Gavrikov carries an affordable $2.8 million cap hit this season. LeBrun believes the math works if they can move winger Jesse Puljujarvi and his $3 million cap hit in a direct deal for Gavrikov or to another club in a separate move.
SPORTSNET: Luke Fox believes the Maple Leafs have some level of interest in Gavrikov. However, Leafs general manager Kyle Dubas has said he won’t part with a first-round pick for a rental player. Gavrikov is slated to become an unrestricted free agent on July 1.
BOSTON HOCKEY NOW: Jimmy Murphy cited Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman speculating the Bruins could also be among several clubs looking at acquiring Gavrikov. Friedman also mentioned the Leafs, Oilers and the Los Angeles Kings if they don’t acquire Arizona Coyotes blueliner Jakob Chychrun.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: There’s no shortage of interest in Gavirkov among playoff contenders seeking an affordable top-four left-side defenseman. However, TSN’s Chris Johnston pointed out that the Blue Jackets’ asking price is a sticking point.
The Jackets reportedly seek three draft picks: a first-rounder, a third and a fourth-rounder. I daresay those interested clubs will try to wait until the March 3 trade deadline gets close in the hope that the Jackets lower their price.
THREE TEAMS INTERESTED IN LUKE SCHENN
THE PROVINCE: Ben Kuzma reported Monday that there are at least three teams interested in acquiring Vancouver Canucks defenseman Luke Schenn before the March 3 deadline. The Boston Bruins, Calgary Flames and Toronto Maple Leafs are among those reportedly in the mix.
Schenn is on an expiring contract with an $850K cap hit. His physical style of play and Stanley Cup experience makes him an attractive target for contenders in need of affordable blueline depth.