NHL Rumor Mill – February 22, 2023
Are the Blues and Jets interested in Timo Meier? Is Erik Karlsson willing to accept a trade to the Oilers? Could the Predators’ Mattias Ekholm or the Penguins’ Jeff Petry be on the move soon? Find out in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.
BLUES AND JETS INTERESTED IN TIMO MEIER
TSN: Pierre LeBrun reports the St. Louis Blues have inquired about San Jose Sharks winger Timo Meier. He pointed out that Blues general manager Doug Armstrong seeks a quick retool of his roster by targeting players who are 25 or 26 years old. It’s LeBrun’s understanding that the Blues, who carry three first-round picks in this year’s draft, are willing to part with two of them in a package offer for Meier.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Daily Faceoff’s Frank Seravalli said Armstrong has done this sort of thing before. He pointed to when he traded Kevin Shattenkirk for a first-round pick and used it to acquire Brayden Schenn. He also moved Paul Stastny for a first-rounder and used that to bring in Ryan O’Reilly.
San Jose Hockey Now’s Sheng Peng believes the Blues won’t part with their own first-rounder as that’s likely lottery-bound. He also pointed out that the Blues have some promising prospects (Jimmy Snuggerud, Jake Neighbours, Zachary Bolduc) that could interest the Sharks.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I still think the Devils are the favorites to land Meier but the Hurricanes and Blues could make some tempting offers to the Sharks. Much will depend on whether the Sharks allow interested clubs to negotiate a contract extension for Meier, who is slated to become a restricted free agent on July 1.
KARLSSON REPORTEDLY WILLING TO ACCEPT A TRADE TO THE OILERS
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Reports emerged earlier this month claiming the Oilers and Sharks were discussing a potential trade involving Karlsson. However, his $11.5 million average annual value through 2026-27 remains a major obstacle.
Some observers believe the Sharks would have to retain at least 40 percent of that cap hit to make a deal happen. So far, there’s no indication the two sides are any closer to bridging that gap.
I’ve also seen a suggestion that the Sharks could move Karlsson to Edmonton without retaining any salary if the Oilers include Tyson Barrie, Cody Ceci, Kailer Yamamoto, Jesse Puljujarvi and Warren Foegele in the deal along with draft picks and prospects. However, we don’t know if the Sharks would accept that kind of return. Such a move would also cripple the Oilers’ depth so much that Karlsson’s presence wouldn’t help them.
PREDATORS’ MATTIAS EKHOLM DRAWS INTEREST IN THE TRADE MARKET.
TSN: Pierre LeBrun reports Nashville Predators GM David Poile hasn’t given up on this season but is also talking with other clubs about several of his players. Defenseman Mattias Ekholm is said to be drawing the most interest. The 32-year-old blueliner has two more years left on his contract with a cap hit ($6.25 million) that could scare off some clubs.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Let’s all welcome back Ekholm into the rumor mill, ladies and gentlemen! It was only two years ago that he was a hot topic of trade chatter leading up to the 2021 deadline.
The Predators ultimately retained Ekholm and re-signed him to a four-year contract that lacks “no-trade” protection. I doubt he gets moved before the March 3 deadline unless Poile is prepared to retain a significant chunk of Ekholm’s cap hit or take back a comparable contract.
PENGUINS MAKING JEFF PETRY AVAILABLE?
PITTSBURGH HOCKEY NOW: Dan Kingerski reports a Western Conference executive claims the Penguins have made defenseman Jeff Petry available in the trade market. The Penguins acquired Petry last summer from the Montreal Canadiens.
Petry, 35, has two seasons remaining on his contract with an average annual value of $6.25 million. Kingerski pointed out there are few teams with the cap space to take on the blueliner’s contract without sending significant salary the other way.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I don’t see Petry getting traded unless the Penguins want an impact player carrying a comparable contract from a team that needs a puck-moving defenseman. Unless, of course, the Penguins are waving the white flag of surrender on this season. In that case, trying to shed some high-salaried contracts is the first step toward a rebuild.
UPDATES ON THE CAPITALS, RED WINGS, CANADIENS AND LIGHTNING
TSN: Chris Johnston wondered if the Washington Capitals might part with Dmitry Orlov. Contract talks have stalled with the pending free-agent defenseman. He doesn’t think the Capitals are sellers right now but believes they’ll face a difficult decision with Orlov if he’s still unsigned by March 3.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I think they’ll hang onto Orlov (even at the risk of losing him to free agency) and push for a playoff spot once Alex Ovechkin returns to the lineup.
Darren Dreger said the Detroit Red Wings want to give their current group of players an opportunity to push for a playoff berth. They’re willing to take their chances on a contract extension for Tyler Bertuzzi on July 1.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Red Wings are among several clubs jockeying for the final two Eastern Conference playoff berths. I don’t see GM Steve Yzerman being a seller if they’re still in the thick of the chase by March 3. Barring a major collapse between now and then, Bertuzzi and captain Dylan Larkin (also a pending UFA) aren’t going anywhere by deadline day.
COULD JOSH ANDERSON BE A GOOD FIT WITH THE DEVILS?
SPORTSNET: Eric Engels believes Montreal Canadiens winger Josh Anderson would be a good consolation prize for the New Jersey Devils if they lose out in the bidding for Sharks winger Timo Meier. Engels pointed out that the Canadiens aren’t actively shopping Anderson but didn’t rule out the possibility of them moving the 29-year-old power forward for the right offer.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: A first-round pick and a top prospect will have to be part of the package to draw the interest of Canadiens GM Kent Hughes.
TAMPA BAY TIMES: Eduardo A. Encina reports if the Lightning are looking to upgrade before the trade deadline it’ll be getting more forward depth. Given their limited cap space, he believes they’ll have to move a player to get a player.