NHL Rumor Mill – February 24, 2023
Could Patrick Kane end up with the Rangers? Are the Penguins interested in Jakob Chychrun or peddling Jeff Petry? What’s the latest on Vladislav Gavrikov and Brock Boeser? What about the Senators, Flyers and Capitals? Find out in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.
COULD PATRICK KANE STILL END UP WITH THE RANGERS?
TSN: Chris Johnston reports the hockey world is still waiting for Chicago Blackhawks winger Patrick Kane to decide whether he’ll waive his no-movement clause before the March 3 trade deadline. Johnston believes the New York Rangers, Edmonton Oilers and Dallas Stars could be keeping tabs on the 34-year-old Kane.
NEW YORK POST: Mollie Walker reports the Rangers’ decision to sit Vitali Kravtsov and Jake Leschyshyn for “roster management reasons” prompted speculation they were getting closer to acquiring Kane. It would require a three-team trade to pull this off with the Blackhawks retaining 50 percent of Kane’s $10.5 million salary-cap hit and the Rangers and another club splitting the remainder.
Walker also believes the Rangers would have to waive another player even if Kravtsov and Leschyshyn went to the Blackhawks. Another option would be waiving Kravtsov and Leschyshyn on Saturday and then waiting until March 3 to acquire Kane as the Rangers will have accrued sufficient cap space by that time to squeeze in the remainder of his cap hit in a three-team deal.
NYI HOCKEY NOW: Stefen Rosner cited a source claiming the Rangers and Blackhawks are hammering out the framework of a deal that would send Kane to New York. Kravtsov and Zachary Jones are named as part of the return to Chicago with a third team involved to spread Kane’s cap hit around.
ESPN’s Kevin Weekes reports Kane’s agent, Pat Brisson, said there are “plenty of contenders” interested in his client.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kane to New York won’t be easy to pull off but it’s not impossible. I don’t rule it out if Rangers general manager Chris Drury doesn’t have to give up a first-round pick, a top prospect or a young roster player like Alexis Lafreniere or Kaapo Kakko. Drury could end up with considerable leverage if the Rangers are Kane’s only preferred destination. In that case, the Blackhawks will have to accept whatever the Blueshirts are willing to offer as it’s expected that they’re going to honor Kane’s wishes.
THE LATEST ON THE PENGUINS
THE ATHLETIC: Rob Rossi reports sources are claiming that Pittsburgh Penguins head coach Mike Sullivan wants GM Ron Hextall to trade for Jakob Chychrun. However, Hextall is unwilling to do this because the Arizona Coyotes want him to include the Penguins’ 2025 and 2026 first-round picks as part of the return for the 24-year-old defenseman.
Rossi also noted the Penguins would have difficulty fitting Chychrun’s $4.6 million annual average value within their limited salary-cap payroll for this season. It would require the Coyotes retaining half of his cap hit or the Penguins sending a salaried player to Arizona. Hextall has informed the other NHL general managers that Kasperi Kapanen is available.
TSN: Pierre LeBrun noted a recent rumor flying around claiming the Penguins might be willing to part with defenseman Jeff Petry, who carries an AAV of $6.25 million through 2024-25. LeBrun indicated they’re not expected to make the 35-year-old blueliner available at the deadline.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Hextall’s in a difficult position here. His club is sinking in the standings and could fall completely out of playoff contention without a big move to improve the roster. Chychrun could help but the Penguins GM would be sacrificing two major pieces that will be necessary to rebuild the roster once Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and Kris Letang reach the end of their careers.
As for Petry, his cap hit, age, 15-team no-trade clause and the decline in his production would make him a tough sell with so many teams carrying little or no cap space this season.
SENATORS NOT INTERESTED IN CHYCHRUN
TSN: Pierre LeBrun reports the Ottawa Senators are in the market for a defenseman as well as a center leading up to the trade deadline. However, they’re not among the suitors for Coyotes defenseman Jakob Chychrun. They’ve been linked to him for some time but Senators management considers the Coyotes’ asking price to be too high.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Ottawa Sun’s Bruce Garrioch has reported the same thing for weeks now. The Senators were interested in Chychrun but not at the cost of two first-rounders and a high-end prospect.
UPDATES ON GAVRIKOV AND BOESER
THE ATHLETIC: Aaron Portzline reports that multiple team and league sources confirmed that the Columbus Blue Jackets believed they had a deal in place that would’ve shipped defenseman Vladislav Gavrikov to the Boston Bruins. Instead, the Bruins acquired blueliner Dmitry Orlov from the Washington Capitals.
The Jackets have held Gavrikov out of the lineup for over a week now for “trade-related reasons”. It’s unclear if he’ll return to the lineup for Saturday’s game against the Edmonton Oilers. Portzline indicates the Edmonton Oilers, Los Angeles Kings and Toronto Maple Leafs are in the market for a left-side blueliner.
Portzline also noted there is speculation linking the Blue Jackets to Arizona Coyotes defenseman Jakob Chychrun. The Coyotes seek at least a first-round pick as part of the return but there’s no way the Blue Jackets are parting with their 2023 first-rounder as it could become the first-overall selection.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I believe Gavrikov will still get traded but the Blue Jackets might not get the type of return similar to what they had lined up with the Bruins. Still, they could use the following week to see if they can stoke a bidding war between the interested clubs.
SPORTSNET: Iain MacIntyre reports Brock Boeser’s agent, Ben Hankinson, has been working with Vancouver Canucks management trying to find a trade for the 25-year-old winger. However, his $6.65 million salary cap hit through 2024-25 is a major obstacle. Canucks GM Patrik Allvin said he still values Boeser and doesn’t want to force anything.
Hankinson said Boeser would fit in well with the Minnesota Wild. However, the Canucks would have to retain a significant portion of the Minnesota native’s cap hit.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Canucks were believed unwilling to retain any portion of Boeser’s salary. However, MacIntyre noted that Allvin didn’t rule it out in a recent interview, saying it depended on the deal and what’s included.
Boeser to Minnesota is possible if the Canucks are willing to retain half of his cap hit. That would also mean the Wild having to give up a significant asset in return. Allvin could seek a top prospect like Jesper Wallstedt, Marco Rossi, Liam Ohgren or Brock Faber.
UPDATE ON THE FLYERS
TSN: Chris Johnston believes Philadelphia Flyers winger James van Riemsdyk could be a “Plan B” option for teams that lose out in the bidding for San Jose Sharks winger Timo Meier. Those could include the Carolina Hurricanes, Winnipeg Jets or Vegas Golden Knights. He also thinks teams that aren’t in on Meier, like the Colorado Avalanche and Minnesota Wild, could be keeping tabs on van Riemsdyk.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: van Riemsdyk isn’t a 70-plus point performer like Meier but he’s an experienced, big-bodied winger with playoff experience who has reached or exceeded 20 goals seven times in his career, including 24 last season. He’s on an expiring contract with a $7 million cap hit but the Flyers will likely retain half of it for the right offer.
NBC SPORTS PHILADELPHIA: Jordan Hall cited Daily Faceoff’s Frank Seravalli reporting Joel Farabee’s camp has expressed their displeasure to Flyers management over how this season has unfolded under head coach John Tortorella.
Farabee has struggled this season in part because of neck surgery last summer throwing off his offseason training program. He’s managed just nine goals and 17 assists in 59 games this season.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Seravalli listed Farabee at No. 20 on his updated trade targets list. He’s in the first year of a six-year, $30 million contract so I don’t see him getting moved at the deadline. Still, it’ll be worthwhile to keep an eye on this situation.
Farabee isn’t the only player who’s had some difficulty with Tortorella. Kevin Hayes has surfaced occasionally in the rumor mill after he was scratched from a couple of games earlier in the season.
WHAT NEXT FOR THE CAPITALS?
THE ATHLETIC: Tarik El-Bashir looked at who else could be on the trade block for the Washington Capitals after they dealt Dmitry Orlov and Garnet Hathaway to the Boston Bruins on Thursday. Anthony Mantha, Lars Eller, Conor Sheary and Marcus Johansson are among those who could be available.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: All but Mantha are slated to become unrestricted free agents this summer. Mantha has another year remaining on his contract. With a dozen players eligible for UFA status this summer, it’s probably a safe bet that Capitals management will be listening to offers for them.