NHL Rumor Mill – February 25, 2023
Are the Rangers moving closer to landing Patrick Kane? Should the Leafs make another big move? Are the Jets interested in Timo Meier? Are the Capitals and Penguins calling about Jakob Chychrun? Find out in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.
THE RANGERS REMAIN LINKED TO PATRICK KANE
TSN: Chris Johnston reported on Friday that Chicago Blackhawks winger Patrick Kane could reach a decision on whether to accept a trade within the next 24 hours. He was held out of practice yesterday for what the club called a “maintenance day”. The New York Rangers, Edmonton Oilers and Dallas Stars are believed to be among the potentially interested clubs.
THE ATHLETIC: On Thursday, Arthur Staple reported a league source claimed the Rangers were searching for a third team to pick up 25 percent of Kane’s $10.5 million cap hit with the Blackhawks retaining 50 percent.
Staple also cited sources saying that the Blackhawks likely wouldn’t make the deal unless a first-round pick is part of the return or a conditional second-rounder that turns into a first-rounder if the Rangers reach the Eastern Conference Finals and Kane plays 50 percent of the games. He felt a conditional 2024 second-rounder and winger Vitaly Kravtsov for Kane with the Hawks retaining 50 percent of his salary should do it.
NEW YORK POST: Larry Brooks reports there’s a plan in place that might involve a 2024 conditional first-rounder, Zac Jones, or both going to Chicago for Kane.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Rangers will hold considerable leverage if they become Kane’s only preferred trade destination. It’s believed the Blackhawks will try to honor his request out of respect for all he’s done for the franchise over the past 16 seasons. They might not get much of a return from the Rangers as a result.
SHOULD THE LEAFS MAKE ANOTHER BIG MOVE?
TORONTO STAR: Nick Kypreos believes Maple Leafs general manager Kyle Dubas needs to go all-in and make one more major acquisition before the trade deadline. He believes the Leafs need to bolster their blueline even if it means parting with top prospect Matthew Knies to do it.
Kypreos recommends Dubas call the Nashville Predators about Mattias Ekholm, who has three more seasons remaining on his contract with an average annual value of $6.25 million. “It’s time to go big or go home,” he writes.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The problem with pursuing someone like Ekholm is it’ll leave the Leafs with over $78.8 million (stick tap to Cap Friendly) invested in just 13 roster players for 2023-24 with a salary cap expected to rise by $1 million to $83.5 million. That doesn’t leave much money to fill out the rest of the lineup.
JETS INTERESTED IN MEIER
THE ATHLETIC: Murat Ates reports a league source said the Winnipeg Jets are interested in trading for San Jose Sharks winger Timo Meier. However, his camp indicates he’s not interested in signing a long-term extension with them. The 26-year-old winger is a restricted free agent with arbitration rights this summer who’s also a year away from unrestricted free agent eligibility.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: That’s not worth parting with the Sharks’ asking price of three pieces (including a first-round pick) for Meier. That type of investment requires assurances that Meier is willing to stick around for several seasons. The Jets should try to load up for the playoffs but should pursue more affordable options.
VEGAS HOCKEY NOW: Owen Krepps doubts the Golden Knights have enough tradeable assets to put together an enticing trade offer for Meier. He points out that other clubs linked to Meier (Jets, New Jersey Devils, Carolina Hurricanes, St. Louis Blues) have deeper prospect pools to draw on for trade bait.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Agreed. Vegas’ prospect pipeline is rather thin compared to those other clubs. I doubt we’ll see Meier suiting up for the Golden Knights after the March 3 trade deadline.
PENGUINS, CAPITALS INTERESTED IN JAKOB CHYCHRUN
THE ATHLETIC: Pierre LeBrun followed up on colleague Rob Rossi’s report linking the Pittsburgh Penguins to Arizona Coyotes defenseman Jakob Chychrun. He reports the Penguins have had multiple conversations with the Coyotes but it’s difficult to gauge if there’s a deal to be made before the trade deadline. LeBrun believes Chychrun remains the top attraction for the Los Angeles Kings.
WASHINGTON HOCKEY NOW: Sammi Silber cited TSN’s Darren Dreger reporting the Capitals have an interest in Chychrun and possess the draft capitals and assets to pull it off. Dreger noted the Capitals have two first-round picks, giving them the draft currency to do it.
Silber pointed out the Capitals only have one defenseman (John Carlson) under contract for next season. Chychrun is signed through 2024-25 at an affordable $4.6 million per season.
GOPHNX.COM: Craig Morgan reported on Thursday that Coyotes GM Bill Armstrong confirmed Chychrun won’t be suiting up for the club’s remaining games leading up to the March 3 deadline. However, they’ve made a mutual decision that he’ll resume skating with his teammates in practice.
Armstrong also denied a rumor that the oft-injured defenseman was sidelined again. “He’s 100 percent healthy and ready to go,” said Armstrong. He added there remains a lot of interest in the blueliner. Morgan also pointed out that the Coyotes GM could retain Chychrun for the rest of the season if no one meets his asking price and try again to move him in the offseason.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Penguins GM Ron Hextall yesterday said he wasn’t going to waste assets on a rental player. Chychrun, however, doesn’t fall into that category and would provide an immediate boost to Pittsburgh’s blueline.
Capitals GM Brian MacLellan, meanwhile, could be taking a page from the St. Louis Blues playbook. In other words, he could seek a quick roster retool by using his first-round picks for an established young NHL talent under contract beyond this season.
LATEST ON THE FLAMES AND OILERS
CALGARY HOCKEY NOW: Craig Ellingson noted Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman reporting the Flames have kicked tires on Brock Boeser. However, he doesn’t see the Flames landing the Vancouver Canucks winger.
Ellingson acknowledged adding a top-six winger like Boeser would help the Flames. However, it would come at the cost of sending a significant player to the Canucks to make the salary-cap dollars fit.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The only way this works for the Flames is if it’s a three-team deal with the Canucks retaining half of Boeser’s salary. That’s something Canucks GM Patrik Allvin said he’s reluctant to do unless he’s getting a significant asset in return.
EDMONTON JOURNAL: Jim Matheson reports Oilers GM Ken Holland continues working the phones presumably for a defenseman before March 3. The Oilers have been linked to the Sharks’ Erik Karlsson and the Columbus Blue Jackets’ Vladislav Gavrikov. Matheson believes they’re not keen to part with a first-rounder for Gavrikov.