NHL Rumor Mill – February 20, 2023

by | Feb 20, 2023 | Rumors | 50 comments

Will Patrick Kane soon reach a decision regarding a trade? Should the Oilers pursue a trade of Erik Karlsson from the Sharks? What’s the latest on Vladislav Gavrikov? Find out in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.


DAILY FACEOFF: Naftali Clinton cited Chicago Blackhawks general manager Kyle Davidson said he expects a decision from Patrick Kane whether he’ll waive his no-movement clause before the March 3 trade deadline. Davidson also said captain Jonathan Toews won’t be traded as he takes time away from the team to deal with health issues.

NBC SPORTS CHICAGO: Charlie Roumeliotis reports Kane respectfully denied there was any mutual interest with the Toronto Maple Leafs regarding a trade. The Leafs acquired Ryan O’Reilly from the St. Louis Blues on Friday.

SPORTSNET: Luke Fox wondered which teams Kane might consider being traded to. He listed the Dallas Stars, Winnipeg Jets, Edmonton Oilers, Carolina Hurricanes and Vegas Golden Knights as possible destinations.

Chicago Blackhawks winger Patrick Kane (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kane carries an average annual value of $10.5 million but an actual base salary this season of $2.9 million. As per Cap Friendly, his remaining cap hit (as of Feb. 20) is $2.95 million.

Nevertheless, the Blackhawks still must retain half of his full cap hit to facilitate a trade. Depending on the teams interested in acquiring him, a third team might have to be brought in to broker the deal and divide the remaining $5.25 million to make him more affordable for the acquiring team.

In other words, they’ll have to follow the same template the St. Louis Blues and Toronto Maple Leafs used in Friday’s Ryan O’Reilly trade that also involved the Minnesota Wild. O’Reilly’s full cap hit is $7.5 million. The Blues retained 50 percent ($3.75 million) while the Wild and Leafs split the remainder 50-50 ($1.875 million each).


EDMONTON JOURNAL/THE ATHLETIC: Jim Matheson and Daniel Nugent-Bowman believed the Oilers have to find a way to acquire San Jose Sharks defenseman Erik Karlsson.

They acknowledged the difficulty of freeing up sufficient cap space to do so and of coming up with a suitable return to tempt the Sharks into moving the 32-year-old blueliner. Nevertheless, they believe the reward is worth the risk.

Matheson and Nugent-Bowman believe getting the Sharks to agree to retain at least 40 percent of Karlsson’s $11.5 million AAV (through 2026-27) would be the necessary starting point. They also felt Oilers rearguard Tyson Barrie ($4.5 million AAV through 2023-24) would have to be shipped to the Sharks. Kailer Yamamoto, Warren Foegele or Jesse Puljujarvi would also have to be part of the deal.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s possible the Oilers and Sharks pull off a deal before the March 3 trade deadline that brings Karlsson to Edmonton. However, as Matheson’s colleague Kurt Leavins pointed out, it takes two to tango.

Leavins believes the Sharks will seek three first-round picks (or equivalent) and retain no more than 20 percent of Karlsson’s cap hit. If they’re unwilling to move off that, Karlsson won’t be going to Edmonton or anywhere else. That’s assuming he’s also willing to waive his no-movement clause to join the Oilers.


THE ATHLETIC: Aaron Portzline reports Columbus Blue Jackets defenseman Vladislav Gavrikov remains out of the lineup for “trade-related reasons.” It’s believed the Blue Jackets have a trade in place but it requires another transaction first.

Portzline’s colleague Jonas Siegel believes Gavrikov would fit the bill for the Toronto Maple Leafs to replace the sidelined Jake Muzzin on the blueline. However, he suspects the Leafs may be reluctant to cash in more trade chips for another pending free agent after acquiring Ryan O’Reilly. Siegel also mentioned Nashville’s Mattias Ekholm or Washington’s Dmitry Orlov as possible options.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Perhaps that other transaction goes down this week enabling the Jackets to move Gavrikov. The Boston Bruins and Edmonton Oilers have also been linked to Gavrikov.


  1. I think Gavvy goes to the Oil, but refuse to take Pull-toy in return. Wo the Oil has to dump the busted 1st rounder first.

    • If that’s so, all the Oilers would have to do is put him on waivers for the purpose of terminating his contract. Even if someone claims him, his cap hit gets cleared.

      • That has to be mutual decision between MGT and the player, Paul. Unless the player has committed some unlawful act or the like.

  2. Re: ” Jonas Siegel believes Gavrikov would fit the bill for the Toronto Maple Leafs to replace the sidelined Jake Muzzin on the blueline. However, he suspects the Leafs may be reluctant to cash in more trade chips for another pending free agent after acquiring Ryan O’Reilly.”

    What trade chips? In the upcoming draft they only have their 5th and 6th round picks. It’s supposedly a deep draft … but it ain’t that deep.

    Their 1st they’ve dealt to St. Louis; their 2nd to Seattle; their 3rd to Arizona; their 4th to Nashville; and their 7th to Pittsburgh.

    Do they start dipping into 2024 picks?

    Should Columbus decide to deal Gavrikov, there are a whole lot of teams that would be immediately interested and almost every one of them has far better trade chips to dangle than do the Leafs.

    Besides, their D has been playing very well for the most part. Seems to me what they should be looking at is a goalie, unless they intend to go into round 1 with Samsonov and a rookie.

    • Actually George, they started dipping in their 2024 picks, 2nd to St Louis, 3rd to Kraken. At least they still have their 1st 2024 and Knies (2nd rounder in 2021). Guess someone is really trying to save his job at the expense of their future. Leafs fans might have to re-experience what Habs fans are experiencing in the next few years…

    • George,

      Scooby Dubas can trade any and all future picks with no cause for concern.

      That only becomes an issue for the new GM after Dubious is fired after the Leafs annual one and done playoff drive.

    • I think they’ve already decided they are going to deal Gavrikov, hence the sitting out for trade related reasons, but sounds like they want the farm for him

    • Picks? Who needs stinking draft picks? When you are the premier team in the league the FA’s flock to you and sign for peanuts!

  3. Read yesterday, whether any truth or not i don’t know. The ask from Arizona to ship Chychrun to Boston:

    One of Swayman or Debrusk, 1st and 3rd and one of Lysell or Lohrie.

    Sweeney said Swayman and Debrusk are not available.

    Fun to speculate, lets say the above is true; meaning Sweeney was on board with the 1st, 3rd and Lohrie and that’s not enough, which roster player are you or would you include, or just pass.

    Might surprise you but i would include Grzelcyk and ask for Bjugstad to be included in the deal.

    Grzelcyk, 1st, 3rd and Lohrie
    Chychrun, Bjugstad.

    • Arizona might well bite on that Caper.

    • Caper

      I would do that trade. But a full cap bruins would not have the space one of either Smith or Reilly will need to be added maybe get yotes to eat 1/2 of Bjugstad cap Bruins could also offer one of their good goaltenders in Ahl if need be

      • Interesting you mention the cap because I’m convinced some team has a deal in place and can’t announce the trade until the deadline so that the team acquiring him can accrue the tiniest of space gained between now and then.

      • I think this is a great trade for the Bruins. Replace Grzelcyk with Chychrun. Almost a wash with salary cap and Bruins have 2 more years of Chychrun. Lohrie is a great piece for Arizona but doable for Boston with Chychrun in the fold. Bjudstad is great cheap piece for Boston’s depth. Boston could throw in Kyle Keyser to give Arizona a possible goalie of the future. If Boston can get Barbashev from St. Loius to play 3rd line right wing(out goes Smith) and Luke Schenn from Vancouver for RD depth, Boston would complete the perfect 2023 trade deadline!!

    • Actually Caper, that is one of the best scenarios I have seen. Might really work and the Bruins would be scary as hell

      • To help Boston’s cap situation, Boston needs to find a way to get out from under M. Reilly’s contract. Then possibly extend Barbashev for his 3 million.

  4. Considering the Cap and the crazy names and salary issues being thrown around, if I were Kenny, I’d rather call Mr Yzerman…

    Bert (1/2 salaty retained) and Hronek for Oil’s 1st in 2023, Yamo, Barrie and Bourgault.

    Just the humble ramblings of an old dude 1/2 way through my 1st coffee ☕️

    • Hi Artsy

      To be honnest, I sure hope the Oilers never to this, and I don’t think this could happen since Bertuzzi is not vaccinated, therefore can’t play in Canada (If I am not mistaking). Plus I think Betuzzi might a little be over rated. Would he be worth this year’s Oils 1st rounder ? I guess so, but would I trade Bourgault for him ? Nope. Fact is they really don’t need him.

      Hronek on the other end is a very good D but I doubt the Wings would trade him.

      • Yeah, if Hronek is made available by Yzerman, the line will start to the right. Bertuzzi? Not worth the potential roster headache as long as Covid keeps rearing its ugly head with new variants.

      • Mike Pilon

        You’re wrong about Bertuzzi not being ale to play in Canada, That ban was lifted last October 1st. So yes Bertuzzi can play in Canada. But it gets dicey that if he’s traded to a Canadian team. Will he be aloud to re-enter the U. S. since his American Visa would be revoked. That’s the issue of him being able to re-enter the U. S. if he plays for a Canadian team. He’s not available anyways Yzerman wants to keep him for the playoff push.

      • Wings aren’t trading Hronek. They don’t have a RD prospect ready to replace him in their top 4.

        Like someone else said, Wings won’t trade Bertuzzi as long as they are fighting for a playoff spot. This vaccine thing isn’t an issue anymore so i’m not sure why people are still bringing this up. Bertuzzi can play in Canada and i don’t think this is going to change back again. The lockdowns and that stuff is over. People don’t want that again and countries can’t afford to shutdown anymore.

      • That, Kronwalled, will depend entirely upon the survival-dna of the so-far “clever” Covid virus – multiple vaccine-resistant variants have surfaced already and if there’s a new, deadlier variant to come, the howl will go up for immediate government bans on air travel from any stricken countries as soon as hospitals right across the U.S. and Canada become swamped – again. Not a great economic scenario, for sure, but politicians will bow to the demands of the public as it rises in volume.

        If and when thousands start dying again the first casualties will be travel … and large gatherings. They would have no other choice.

        And, so far, I have not seen one viable report to suggest that the worst is necessarily behind us.

      • George : ”Not worth the potential roster headache as long as Covid keeps rearing its ugly head with new variants”

        Love it ! Needed a good laugh, thank you sir 🙂

      • Oh ! I just read your message right :

        George : ”Not worth the potential roster headache as long as Covid keeps rearing its ugly head with new variants”

        I taught you wrote ”keeps rearing HIS ugly head”

        My bad

    • @Artsy19

      Detroit passes, No way are we trading Hronek and taking on Tyson Barrie who’s much older than Filip Hronek and not much better.
      Yamamoto is too small for Yzermans liking he’s gearing Detroit up for bigger bodied both at Forward and on D. Yzerman currently took Bertuzzi off the market. So he’s not available. Detroit is still pretty much in the playoff race for the foreseeable future.

  5. I don’t think it is fair to sit players teams looking to trade. I can see one game but multiple games? Is that tanking for a better pick because the team is done. The league should forbid this. Agree or not?

    • It is a good point should have a time limit 3 games or something like that

    • On the one hand, Pete, I can see the intent if a team has decided that X has to go for futures and, naturally, don’t want to see him injured and so screw up any negotiations that may be ongoing with several interested teams.

      But on the other side of the coin, as I understand it, where the fans are concerned it’s incumbent upon a team to ice the best team possible.

      Right now, however, holding a player out isn’t in violation of any specific rule … healthy scratches are quite common and a team doesn’t have to alert NHL HQ why they decide that X is to be a healthy scratch when they’re in the midst of trade negotiations.

      Introducing a specific rule would be going down a slippery slope.

    • While I agree, that might be tough to enforce. My thought is that there should be a cap on the number of games per player and per team for these “trade pending” scratches.

      For instance, no player can be scratched more than 2 games for this in a season and the team has a total of 6 man-games to use for this purpose. I think there’s some value in holding a guy out for a game or two, but for multiple weeks is ridiculous.

      The hard part is, what’s to stop a player from being held out for a “lower body injury” or “upper body injury” for the same purposes. Most of these guys are playing through pain of some kind, so it likely wouldn’t be a lie to say they have a strain or something. Some players may balk at this, but if that’s what it took to go to a contender or get away from a dumpster fire (Arizona) then some probably wouldn’t.

    • Yup good point. Plus is it just me or more players suddenly decide to get their bobo’s fixed, get operations and treatments right in the weeks before trade deadline ? Might be me but just saying…

    • The problem with trying to cap the number of games someone can be out for trade reasons is that the teams will simply start making such players healthy scratches without providing a reason.

  6. @George
    Leafs management team and fans in general are SOLD on Samsonov , which in mind boggling .
    I do like Woll , I think he is going to be their number guy in the not too distant future .
    Would the Columbus goaltender be an expensive , or affordable addition ?

    • Well, Ken, Merzlikins has a cap hit of $5.4 mi per to 2026-27 so acquiring him would not only cost more in terms of returns, but clearing cap space would be a hurdle as well.

      Korpisalo, however, has a cap hit of just $1.3 mil and is a UFA at season’s end and, as I posted recently, he’s been playing very well behind an injury-riddled team.

      But if he’s made available, I am hoping Dorion gets involved immediatement!

      Today, for example, facing the Bruins in Boston, it looks like the rookie Mandolese will start. I wouldn’t expect Ottawa to win anyway, but I’d feel a whole lot better with someone like Korpisalo in there.

      • Korpisalo for unsigned Formenton ?

        Is that equal value?

      • I’d do that in a heartbeat ihateCrosby. But I have the sneaking suspicion that Formenton is quasi-persona non grata in the NHL until that dragged out “investigation” is officially declared over.

        Anyway, right now he’s not exactly setting that Swiss league on fire with 8g 4a 12 pts and 70 pim over 18 games played.

        What I’d offer Columbus for Korpisalo (after getting permission to talk with he and his agent first to see if they’d be prepared to sign in Ottawa and if what they’ll be seeking is reasonable) is prospect Tyler Boucher (currently with Ottawa 67s of the OHL), goalie Mandolese and Lassi Thompson.

      • CMB is in a weird state along with OTt. CMB can sign some veteran goalie to backup so that trade you propose helps build their prospect pool and OTT gets a healthy goalie finally. Looks like a win win.

        I didn’t know formenton scenario is that convoluted. Crazy times.

  7. Cannot see SJ retaining 40% just to help EDM obtain Karlson.

    Would CMB make sense?

    To CMB: Karlson
    To SJ: Voracek, Boqvist and a 2024 2nd and 4th

    Sj can either ride the Voracek contract for one season on ir or buy him out. Either way they free 3 yrs of the 11 plus million of Karlson.

    For CMB they now can use the Voracek cap space on Karlson to have a upgraded D. They have. CMB cap space for it sending Voracek and Boqvist.

    CMB really needs someone to be the general on their backend and team offense.

    Then they can trade Nyquist and Roslovic for Hayes and finally get their 1C

    • Doubt Karlson would wave to go to CBJ. Woukk lol d only save for cup contender

      • Agree he most likely wouldn’t want To go but I don’t see any contender with cap space but CMB needs someone like him.

        I think it would be a good slot for him to have a chance to get back to the playoffs.

        All wishful thinking

    • Karl son has how many years left on his contract and some of you suggest the Sharks could retain a portion of his salary for the remainder of his term as dead cap space where even if Karlson goes LTIR the sharks portion of their retained cap hit won’t, just like Murray’s salary retention Ottawa’s gonna carry until that deal is done. Sure both rebuilding teams will have the space but you can’t sell me on the idea that’s a good use of the cap, after all we are talking about either having a guy taking up that space contributing or space that’s just a big hole in your lineup.

      • My CMB proposal SJ retains nothing of Karlson.

      • Have to agree there – that would put SJ into the same hole facing Minnesota with those massive $14 mil dead cap for those buyouts.

      • Ihatecrosby I wasn’t pointing you out as one of the some that think it’s not an issue to retain cap over several years to make a deal. If a GM is going to retain they’ll have no problem to do it on an expiring contract that wasn’t going to be resigned anyway. That way, it’s a win win for the team (GM) willing to retain salary.

      • The thing about SJ and anyone worried about that dead cap space…this is a rebuilding team . Guess how many years it will take for a full rebuild? No not 3,4,5,6 years . Closer to 8-10 . Sorry but that’s the truth . With the right assets,, an EK trade with a higher retention is possible. I just don’t see it happening until the summer. Yes I would love to see him play here , but reality sets in and there are higher priorities. A meat and potatoes Dman , a 3rd line C and some other forward that can score.

      • Yes you’re not wrong there as well as helping reaching the floor if needed, etc., but cap space would be better served using it to pay for something else. You’re not only retaining cap space but actual dollars!

        How does that conversation go? Where you tell your boss the only way to move this guy is if we eat the percentage that he’s been overpaid for the remainder of the term? That can’t be a good one. LOL

  8. A Korpisalo Gavrikov package would be a nice add for someone . Like LA

    The 12 Days of Chychrun…
    (but whose counting)

  9. …or Talbot even.

  10. On the other hand, one might be patient – two or three teams should be sellers but haven’t decided that yet, which might include even the last two playoff position tams in the east if the value is there

  11. Is draft pick compensation based on actual money paid or cap space taken on in these deals?

    I’ve always wondered how it works with salary retention when the player gets less in real money than the AAV.

    Like Kane getting 2.9 million in real money but his AAV is 10.5. If a third team was to take 50% of the contract before flipping him, what do they actually pay? Obviously not 5.25 million. Would they pay 1.45? or the prorated amount for the rest of the year?

  12. So far I like what Dubas has done bringing in O’Reilly and Acciari. I think he’s not done yet. I’m going to say he’s looking at bringing in 1-2 cleaners like Schenn, Gudas or McCabe. gavrikov could be in play but that would require dumping UFAs like Kerfoot, Engvall or Holl to contenders for picks to swap for the above.

    I also predict he’s going to bring in Knies for the playoffs or at least keep him rather tgan trade him.

    He has Der-Argustinstev, Robertson and Niemela as top prospects as chips likely to be for another forward.