NHL Rumor Mill – February 2, 2023
Is there a trade market for Patrick Kane? Will the Golden Knights go shopping for help? What’s the latest on the Canucks and Flames? Find out in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.
IS THERE A MARKET FOR PATRICK KANE?
NEW YORK POST: Larry Brooks reports Patrick Kane might not be a trade deadline fit for the Rangers. He observed the Rangers’ struggles in their last four games in getting to the front of the net and winning puck battles, something he doesn’t think the 34-year-old Chicago Blackhawks winger can resolve.
Brooks observed that Kane is struggling this season with the rebuilding Blackhawks. He also noted that the potentially high cost of acquiring the veteran winger could deplete their tradeable assets and cap space. More enticing options could include the St. Louis Blues’ Vladimir Tarasenko, the Detroit Red Wings’ Tyler Bertuzzi, Arizona Coyotes center Nick Bjugstad or the Nashville Predators’ Tanner Jeannot.
THE ATHLETIC: Arthur Staple included Kane on his recent list of suggested trade targets for the Rangers. However, he claims the entire league knows that the Blackhawks star needs hip surgery and would be damaged goods as a trade candidate. He doesn’t see Kane as the centerpiece of anyone’s deadline plans now.
STARTRIBUNE.COM: La Velle E. Neal III believes the Minnesota Wild face the choice of bolstering their offense or improving their defense before the March 3 trade deadline. He believes the Wild should avoid a big-ticket forward such as Kane. Instead, he advocates that they add size to their blueline by pursuing a more affordable option like Vancouver Canucks blueliner Luke Schenn.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The decline in Kane’s performance this season combined with his nagging lower-body injury could be dampening interest in the long-time Blackhawks star. The remainder of his $10.5 million cap hit is still difficult for many teams to absorb plus he seems reluctant to waive his no-movement clause. Given those factors, there might not be much of a trade market for Kane.
WILL THE GOLDEN KNIGHTS HIT THE TRADE MARKET?
LAS VEGAS SUN: Danny Webster speculated the Golden Knights could enter the trade market before March 3 with captain Mark Stone sidelined indefinitely following back surgery. They could place his $9.5 million cap hit on long-term injury reserve, giving them sufficient room to make a splash before deadline day.
VEGAS HOCKEY NOW: Owen Krepps reports speculation linking the Golden Knights to Tyler Bertuzzi. The 27-year-old Detroit Red Wings forward is slated to become an unrestricted free agent on July 1. He carries a $4.75 million cap hit for this season.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Prior to the news about Stone, Krepps felt they wouldn’t pursue big-ticket trade bait such as Timo Meier, Patrick Kane, Jonathan Toews, Ryan O’Reilly or Vladimir Tarasenko if their captain returned to the lineup. That has probably changed with Stone likely done for the season. Team owner Bill Foley wants a Stanley Cup.
ARE MORE MOVES COMING FOR THE CANUCKS?
Defenseman Luke Schenn is a pending UFA who will be in demand by the trade deadline given his physical play. LeBrun reported it’s his understanding that the Boston Bruins and Tampa Bay Lightning are among the contenders reaching out to the Canucks about Schenn.
LeBrun also cited his TSN colleague Darren Dreger reporting there’s interest in winger Brock Boeser depending on how much salary the Canucks are willing to retain. Boeser carries a $6.65 million cap hit with two more seasons remaining on his contract.
VANCOUVER HOCKEY INSIDER: Rob Simpson dismissed recent media speculation suggesting the Canucks could trade Thatcher Demko. Despite the 27-year-old goaltender’s struggles earlier this season and some injury issues, he remains an affordable starter with upside.
Simpson also pointed out the difficulty the Canucks would face finding a suitable replacement for $5 million annually or less. He also noted they lack the depth to replace him from within.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Schenn is the most likely of these three to be moved before the trade deadline. Boeser could be traded before March 3 if the Canucks retain a healthy chunk of his cap hit but previous reports suggest they’d want his entire salary off their books. That means an off-season trade seems more likely.
Unless Demko is demanding a trade or the Canucks have gone into full-fledged tank mode I don’t seem him moving. We’ve had no indication Demko wants out and everyone knows Canucks ownership doesn’t believe in rebuilding his roster.
LATEST ON THE FLAMES
THE ATHLETIC: Julian McKenzie reports Calgary Flames GM Brad Treliving said he’s in the market for a scoring forward. The club has looked within their system to bolster their production by giving opportunities to Jakob Pelletier and Walker Duehr but they didn’t make much of an offensive impact.
Treliving acknowledged the difficulty of finding a scorer in the trade market. They also have $7 million in trade deadline salary-cap space. He’s reluctant to go the playoff rental route in the past. Treliving mentioned wanting a scorer with “competitiveness and responsibility.”
CALGARY HOCKEY NOW: Steve MacFarlane cited Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman could be among the teams looking at Philadelphia Flyers winger James van Riemsdyk. The 33-year-old is slated to become an unrestricted free agent on July 1 with 21 points in 31 games this season.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Treliving might have to go the rental route to bolster his production. Doing so could cost him a first-round pick or a prospect like Pelletier or Duehr depending on who he’s looking at in the trade market. Someone like van Riemsdyk might not cost too much to acquire but it could mean parting with a decent prospect and a second-rounder.