NHL Rumor Mill – February 28, 2023

by | Feb 28, 2023 | Rumors | 59 comments

Check out the latest on Vladislav Gavrikov, Tyler Bertuzzi, and Jakob Chychrun plus updates on the Oilers, Flyers, Canadiens, Avalanche, Leafs and Islanders in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.


THE ATHLETIC: Aaron Portzline reports the Columbus Blue Jackets are still working the phones trying to trade Vladislav Gavrikov. A deal that would’ve sent the 27-year-old defenseman to the Boston Bruins fell through last week. He’s been held out of the lineup for trade-related reasons for two weeks.

Columbus Blue Jackets defenseman Vladislav Gavrikov (NHL Images)

The Edmonton Oilers and Los Angeles Kings are possible destinations. The Toronto Maple Leafs were also considered an option but that changed yesterday with their acquisition of Jake McCabe from the Chicago Blackhawks.

Blue Jackets general manager Jarmo Kekalainen faces the challenge of a glut of defensemen in this year’s trade market. There’s also a dwindling number of teams shopping for blueliners.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Jackets were reportedly seeking a first and a third-round pick for Gavrikov. That price is likely to drop as the deadline gets nearer, especially if the number of teams in the market for blueline depth keeps dropping.


TSN: Darren Dreger reports the Detroit Red Wings has resumed “listening to interest” in winger Tyler Bertuzzi. The asking price is said to be a first-round pick. Dreger indicates this has been spurred by the Boston Bruins, Tampa Bay Lightning and Toronto Maple Leafs loading up in recent weeks.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Bruins, Lightning and Leafs are playoff clubs while the Wings are jockeying with several other clubs for a wild-card berth in the Eastern Conference. It doesn’t hurt to listen to offers for Bertuzzi if they feel they can’t make it but recent reports claimed he was off the table because they were going to go for it with their current group. Maybe general manager Steve Yzerman has changed his mind or maybe he’s just listening. We’ll find out soon enough.


TSN: Darren Dreger reports Edmonton Oilers general manager Ken Holland continues his search for a defenseman. He’s reportedly in talks with the Nashville Predators regarding Mattias Ekholm and with the Montreal Canadiens for Joel Edmundson.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Predators will have to retain half of Ekholm’s $6.25 million cap hit (through 2025-26) for the cap-strapped Oilers to afford him or else the Oilers will have to shed a comparable salary. Edmundson is more affordable ($3.5 million through 2023-24) but there are concerns about a nagging back injury.


NHL WATCHER: cited Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman reported that the Florida Panthers have an interest in Arizona Coyotes defenseman Jakob Chychrun. However, they lack the assets to do it even if it went to the offseason and they had the cap space.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Coyotes’ rumored asking price is two first-round picks and a high-end prospect. However, the Panthers have no first-round picks in this year’s draft or the next two.


THE PHILADELPHIA INQUIRIER: Gustav Elvin cited Daily Faceoff’s Frank Seravalli reporting the market is heating up on Kevin Hayes. The Flyers are apparently willing to retain some of his $7.1 million cap hit to facilitate a trade. The 30-year-old forward has three more years remaining on his contract.

Elvin also noted recent rumors linking James van Riemsdyk to the Minnesota Wild, Carolina Hurricanes, Dallas Stars and Vegas Golden Knights, though recent moves by the last two clubs could take them out of the running.

Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman also wondered about the future of Flyers defenseman Tony DeAngelo. He claimed there’s been some interest in DeAngelo, prompting Friedman to wonder if the Hurricanes might reacquire him.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The only way I see the Flyers moving Hayes is by retaining half of his annual cap hit. If there is any way for them to move DeAngelo they should do it simply to shed the remaining year of his contract with its $5 million cap hit. Management acquired him in the mistaken belief they could turn things around quickly and become a playoff contender this season. They were wrong and they must acknowledge it.

The Athletic’s Michael Russo reported the Wild had a growing interest in van Riemsdyk, who lives in Minnesota during the offseason. However, they aren’t interested in parting with a significant asset to get him. Russo’s associate Charlie O’Connor wondered if the Flyers could swap van Riemsdyk for Wild winger Jordan Greenway.


MONTREAL GAZETTE: Stu Cowan speculated that Canadiens forwards Jonathan Drouin and Mike Hoffman could be moved by the March 3 trade deadline. He also cited BPM Sports’ Georges Laraque reporting several teams are interested in defenseman Mike Matheson.

Laraque believes Matheson could fetch a first-round pick and a good prospect. Cowan considers it unlikely that the 29-year-old defenseman will be moved, citing his love of playing in his hometown and his deep connection with GM Kent Hughes, who is Matheson’s former agent.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I doubt there’s much interest in Drouin and Hoffman. However, I said the same thing about Evgenii Dadonov and Hughes sent him to Dallas for Denis Gurianov. So who knows?

I concur with Cowan’s take on Matheson. Hughes could be willing to listen to an offer but it’ll take one heck of an offer to convince him to part with Matheson after acquiring him last summer from Pittsburgh.


THE ATHLETIC: Peter Baugh reports the Colorado Avalanche are comfortable with J.T. Compher as their second-line center. That doesn’t mean they won’t make a move if it makes sense but the market for quality centers has been depleted with Bo Horvat and Ryan O’Reilly getting traded, Jonathan Toews remaining in Chicago and Montreal’s Sean Monahan still sidelined.

Baugh noted the Avalanche could use long-term injury reserve (LTIR) to garner some salary-cap flexibility. That will depend on whether captain Gabriel Landeskog ($7 million AAV) or Erik Johnson ($6 million) miss the remainder of the regular season with injuries.

TORONTO SUN: Terry Koshan reports the Maple Leafs might not be done dealing after acquiring Jake McCabe and Sam Lafferty yesterday from the Blackhawks. GM Kyle Dubas said they’ll remain busy and active to see if there’s any way they can improve the roster before Friday’s trade deadline.

NYI HOCKEY NOW: Stefen Rosner reports goaltender Semyon Varlamov wants to remain with the Islanders. He has no interest in getting traded and hopes to re-sign with the Isles when his current contract expires this summer.


  1. The JVR for Greenway makes some sense so probably not happening

  2. I can’t see the Preds retaining $3M a season for 3 more years on Eckholm.

    I would imagine to retain that much money the ask would be a 1st round pick plus another asset. Now add that to the actual cost to acquire the player…it’s got to be a package including 2-1sts, a 2nd, and a top end prospect like Bouchard

    Might be worth it to have a defenceman like Eckholm for 3 more years at $3M annual cap hit…?

    • @daryl
      I can see NSH moving one of their 30 something Dmen or they should try. Shame they will waste prime years of a goalie who can steal a series.

      Forsberg or Duchene would fit the Canes but who is left in NSH to sell tickets

      • Forsberg isnt going anywhere, but, maybe they can move Duchene if they retain 2-3m

    • Daryl,
      Could see the Oilers doing young Bouchard & a 2nd pick🤔
      Ekholm at $2.5 to $3 M retained ……❓

      Nobody is taking on Ekholm on at his Full Salary of $6.25.M for 3.5 more years ❗️

  3. Day dreaming…

    Out: Kerfoot, Niemela, Hirvonen

    In: Bertuzzi, 50% salary retained

    Nylander – Matthews – Bunting
    Bertuzzi – Tavares – Marner
    Lafferty – ROR – Engvall (Knies when available)
    Acciari – Kampf – Jarnkrok

    I wish.

    • Keep Kerfoot. Trade Engvall

      • Placing Kerfoot 3.5 million on 4th line may be ‘symbolic’. That’s 2nd line money.

      • no guy

      • Why would you like to keep kerfoot?
        3.5M on the 4th line makes no sense for the Leafs.
        Engvall doesn’t hit but he is very effective defensively with his long wing span. Not to mention he is producing more than kerfoot.

      • Yes guy.

    • Detroit has no use for Kerfoot, Make it Engval we can use another bigger body. Niemela is a nice RHD prospect that we need to build up our RD prospect pool as it is extremely thin. No thanks on Hirvonen he’s too small at 5’9″ Yzerman likes his forwards and D big.

      • 5’9” Hirvonon is probably put more guys in the board then 6’4” Engvall

      • @yes guy Hahaha
        I think you’re right!

  4. Matheson is going nowhere. He’s playing well and signed for a few more years at reasonable dollars. The Habs, even in their current state, need veterans to support the young D-men.

    I expect Drouin to be moved although for not much of a return. Maybe a 4th rounder or another once bright prospect that didn’t work out like Gurianov. Some contender will pay that small price for forward depth.

    I don’t expect Hoffman to be traded, seeing as he has another year on his contract. Maybe next year on possibly in the off-season.

  5. The Pens lost some speed losing Kapanen. Maybe they can take a chance on Drouin benefitting from a change of scenery. Drouin(50% retained) for McGinn?

    • Want Larkin? Just 2 1sts, Hallander, and Zucker. Then Detroit brings him back in the fold this summer.

      • Larkin for Dumoulin,McGinn and Carter after he agrees to reup with Pens!

      • Yeah no thanks, No interest in either Hallander and Zucker for any deal involving Dylan Larkin. 2 1st with Hallender and Zucker would be a no go for Detroit. Larkins agent Pat Brisson has already said that Larkin won’t accept a trade without an extension attached. In other words Larkin won’t be a rental and those pieces are nowhere near getting Larkin reasonably extended.

      • Larkin for Dumoulin,McGinn and Carter ????

        A 38 yo Carter, 31 yo Zucker (pending ufa) and 31 yo d-man for Larkin?

        This is the kind of package you pay to get rid of, not get rewarded in a trade.

        This offer is in jest I’m hoping?

    • I would make that trade in a heartbeat…McGinn is horrible..but..a first rounder for Matheson? Delusional

      • Yup Ed,

        -a 1st rounder was dilusional for Chiarot too
        -Getting something for Dadonov was dilusional as well specially not a 25yo that can still be turned around
        -Getting Monahan for free with a 1st rounder was dilusional
        -Getting rid of Shea Weber’s contract was dilusional

        You know what ? Let’s just wait

  6. Florida has some young players that were 1st’s. Knight is in player assistance program, and is probably done for season. Could he get his life on track in Arizona? Would Florida part with Lundell now that Duclair is back? Include Forsling for cap purposes? They have pieces that Yotes might be interested in.( Add a 1st in 2028. Lol) never say never. Getting Chychrun under cap would be hardest part, but Florida to me was always the most likely landing spot. He grew up there I believe his parents still live there.

  7. Really thought the Oilers were going to get McCabe and Lafferty from the Hawks….😳

    They Are both what we really need for 2 of the 3 positions we need help in…..🤔

    • I thought Lafferty would end up in Tampa…but it doesn’t matter anymore, they don’t have a pick until 2030

    • willie w

      Is Holland asleep at the wheel?

      EDM needs defensive help. A good defensive forward or two and a good defensive defenceman or two.

      The West is wide open.
      Eckholm would fit nicely in EDM. He lacks no trade protection and is signed for 3 more seasons. For EDM to fit him onto their roster NSH would have to retain salary.

      If McCabe at 50% retained landed CHI a 1st I can guarantee you that Eckholm at 50% retained would cost more than Bouchard and a 2nd.

      Those middle 1st round picks aren’t going to help EDM for years down the road. The time to strike is now.

      • Holland has been rumoured to be after Ekholm. Now that Puljujarvi has been traded we might hear something else soon.
        Ekhom is exactly the type of d-man the Oilers need.
        IMO a 1st round pick for McCabe is a big overpayment.

      • The Preds are lacking an RHD and offence. If you add Barrie to the deal with a 1st and a prospect (possibly Bourgault) the Preds won’t need to retain any salary.

  8. Bertuzzi for Farabee?

    Miller and Boeser for KK, and two 1sts?

    OEL to WSH for Eller/Mantha and 2nd?

    Hayes to CMB for Roslovic and Nyqvist?

    Ekholm to EDM for Barrie and PJ and 1st?

    JVR 50% retained to NYI for Bolduc and 7th

    • The Jackets are in the middle of a rebuild a No to Hayes, too old, too much salary.

  9. Looks like EDM sent Puljujarvi to Carolina…

  10. Jesse Puljujarvi is now a Hurricane. 2019 3rd round unsigned pick Patrik Puistola goes to the Oilers.

    • KevJam

      The Leafs traded the 1st for McCabe at $2M for 2 more full seasons. He’s not a rental. Can Columbus get a 1st and 3rd for UFA Gavrikov now?

      It’s nearly impossible to find a #3/4 defenceman for that kind of money.

      If Holland is in on Eckholm he will need to move money out or have NSH retain salary. If NSH is rebuilding they’ll want picks/prospects not likely high salary NHL players.

      Picks and prospects aren’t going to help McDavid and Draisaitl in their prime.

      • I was pretty darn close to what the Oilers actually gave up for Ekholm. The only difference was a couple of late-round picks and Schaefer instead of Bourgault.

  11. Captain Obvious

    The Larkin trade was in jest! Hextall is already on record saying he will not part with a no. 1 for a rental and the suggested trade involved 2 no. 1”s and Zucker? Maybe that was in jest too?

  12. Stevie Y probably won’t make a big plunge after the last loss. Wings are coming back to earth & be folly to spend assets that he doesn’t see as longer term addition. He’ll stay the course he has set.

  13. Oilers getting ready to add JC for the D

  14. Kane a NYR

  15. Would like to see the Bruins bring Lucic back home with them after game tonight

  16. Sandin. For bruins 1st and gustofsen. From caps. Leafs really going hard to get out of rd 1

    • where do LEafs flip that 1st to?

  17. @Bruins

    That’s a clever deal , don’t U agree …
    Getting a 1st round pick back !!!
    A starting defenseman , a lot of criticism with Leafs emptying their cupboard , here is Dubas , putting elite future talent back in the cupboard

    I have to admit , I am guilty , knocking Dubas , inexperience , especially the 2016 draft , in which Hart – goaltender was there for the taking , the Leafs drafted away off the board ,

    Dubas has openly admitted to making mistakes , has come a long way to maybe becoming an elite GM , proven this last few weeks …
    He’s definitely got the pedal to the metal , passionate with his train of thought moving towards success in this years playoffs

    Good luck to him and especially the Leafs and Leafs nation

    What are peoples thoughts on Leafs new addition from Washington ?

    • Just heard they added Schenn from VCR.

      • For a third this year and traded Engels for 3rd in 24 from isles

    • so who do the Leafs dress on D?
      i assume they are not done
      rielly brodie
      giordano mccabe
      gustafsson schenn
      liljegren holl

  18. Come to think of it Sherlock , Is Dubas preparing for yet, another deal , especially since 1st round picks are the flavour of the month going into Fridays trade deadline ..

    Gustafsson and the pick , more perhaps moving forward for another defenseman or forward ?

    Thoughts …. Vancouver , Nashville

    PS – pick they received from Boston – going to Toronto

  19. Yes Engvall gone. Kerfoot stays.

    • And Luke Schenn.
      So many deals, it’s a trip to Costco

  20. I guess Holl and his $2m is next on the way out

  21. This is absolutely Wild !!!

    Schenn a Leaf

    Engblob – A goner !

    The 1st round pick is still floating in cyberspace , whereabouts is that going to land ?!?!?!

    @George – Do U want to rethink your thoughts of Leafs advancing !!!

    Dubas – whatever U R taking , I want some !
    U have outdone yourself
    Congrats !!

    • Bertuzzi maybe to play on the 2nd line with Johnny T and Willie.

    • Definitely a wow Ken.
      IMO he stole McCabe because he is getting him for $2M a year.

      Just heard Oilers land Ekholm. Haven’t heard what goes back. Should calm stuff down in their own end.

  22. This is turning into a fantasy hockey trade deadline. I don’t think I have seen one team make this many moves in 24 hours.
    I don’t know how to feel….

  23. Eckholm. To oil

    • Yep MB4.
      Barrie, Schaefer, and a 1st going back. Might be some later round picks being exchanged.

      Ekholm is exactly the type of D they needed.

      So Nash is 2 pts back of CGY with 3 games in hand, neither in a playoff spot. Different approaches to this years TDL.

      Crazy days!

      • Barrie was still decent on Oiler powerplay…. will they add a puck mover?

      • Bouchard will take over the PP.
        Barrie was excellent on the PP, but so has Bouchard been when given the opportunity.

        Ekholm, Nurse, Bouchard and Broberg can all move the puck well.

        They needed a calm veteran defender with size, and got one. Paid for him too.

  24. The Leafs have acquired several upgrades to their team over the last few days/hours at C, RW, and on D.

    There are two areas they have not addressed. LW and goalie.

    Could they be banking on Knies signing at the end of his NCAA season to fill the LW spot? I don’t think so? I think they’ll sign him after his season is done and send him to the Marlies for a taste of pro hockey.

    Who is available to fill the spot on LW? Bertuzzi? Garland? Bennett? Verhaege?

    As for a goalie I know Korpisalo is available. He’d be good insurance. How about Khudobin? Could Dubas pry Veljmaka from Arizona for the BOS 2023 1st they just got?

    • @Daryl

      Strong post

      Dubais might consider a goalie addition for sure . He is definitely on a roll , what’s stopping him

      A belligerent LW would for sure be ideal , especially if ROR has to go to the third line , play against the oppositions 1st line