NHL Rumor Mill – February 4, 2023
Are the Rangers and Sabres interested in Timo Meier? Are the Bruins and Kings looking at Jakob Chychrun? Could the Predators shop Juuse Saros? Are the Capitals in the market for a defenseman? Find out in today’s NHL Rumor Mill!
RANGERS, SABRES LOOKING AT MEIER
DAILY FACEOFF: In his latest Trade Targets update, Frank Seravalli reports the New York Rangers have made San Jose Sharks winger Timo Meier their top target leading up to the March 3 trade deadline. He reminds us that Sharks general manager Mike Grier knows the Rangers’ organization “inside and out, so they’d make great trade partners”.
Seravalli also indicates the New Jersey Devils would love to acquire Meier and pair him with fellow Swiss forward Nico Hischier. GM Tom Fitzgerald recently said he’s looking at “a top-six winger under team control.”
Meier, 26, is a restricted free agent with arbitration rights this summer and is a year away from unrestricted free agent eligibility. His current annual cap hit is $6 million but he’s earning $10 million in actual salary, which is what it will cost to qualify his rights unless he and his team agree to a contract extension with a lower cap hit.
NHL.COM: In a recent mailbag segment, Dan Rosen expressed his skepticism about the Rangers being “in” on Meier. He doesn’t see how the winger’s next contract would fit within their salary structure next season with Filip Chytil, Alexis Lafreniere and K’Andre Miller up for new contracts.
Rosen believes the Rangers would have to include Lafreniere or Chytil plus top prospect Brennan Othmann and their first-round pick to land Meier. He thinks they’d be better off pursuing a rental player.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: It wouldn’t surprise me if Drury looked into the Sharks’ asking price for Meier. As Rosen points out, however, this move would take away a significant chunk of their present and future talent. There’s also the high cost of re-signing him when they have several other key players to re-sign. Like Rosen, I think the Devils are a better fit for Meier.
THE BUFFALO NEWS’s Lance Lysowski reported a source said Sabres GM Kevyn Adams’ contact with the Sharks about Meier was merely due diligence just to gauge their asking price. “Nothing serious at this point”.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Adams has also reportedly looked into the cost of obtaining Arizona Coyotes defenseman Jakob Chychrun. He’s in a good position to acquire Chychrun or Meier. They’re already well-stocked with good young forwards who are getting better with every week so maybe Adams would put the focus on a defenseman like Chychrun. Speaking of the Coyotes blueliner…
BRUINS, KINGS INTERESTED IN CHYCHRUN?
BOSTON HOCKEY NOW: Jimmy Murphy recently cited Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman saying he wouldn’t be surprised if the Bruins at least looked into acquiring Arizona Coyotes defenseman Jakob Chychrun. He also thinks they’ve looked into other left-side blueliners such as Columbus’ Vladislav Gavrikov.
Murphy cited an NHL source saying the Bruins will have to move a roster defenseman if they want Chychrun. He believes GM Don Sweeney’s goal is to add to his roster before the trade deadline without making a significant subtraction.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Murphy believes the odds of the Bruins landing Chychrun are low. I agree with him. Sweeney may have looked into it but the rumored asking price of two first-rounders plus a high-end prospect is expensive enough. Parting with a roster defenseman risks upsetting the Bruins’ strong blueline chemistry.
TORONTO STAR: Nick Kypreos recently reported the Los Angeles Kings remain interested in Chychrun. “They are said to be willing to move defenseman Matt Roy and his $3.125 million cap hit to help make it work,” wrote Kypreos.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I still think the Kings are the logical destination for Chychrun. They have a real need for a skilled top-four left-side defenseman and they have depth in promising young assets to dangle as trade bait. Whether Kings GM Rob Blake feels the same way remains to be seen.
COULD THE PREDATORS SHOP SAROS?
TORONTO STAR: Nick Kypreos believes the Nashville Predators could become sellers if they fall out of playoff contention leading up to the trade deadline. He claimed many believe they’ll shop goaltender Juuse Saros, citing the 27-year-old’s youth and reasonable $5 million cap hit.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I don’t rule out anything if Predators GM David Poile decides to become a seller before March 3. They have promising netminder Yaroslav Askarov in their system. However, I don’t think Poile will turn over the starting duties to the 20-year-old when he’s got Saros under contract through 2024-25.
Maybe that move takes place if Askarov starts challenging Saros for the starter’s job over the next couple of years. I don’t see that happening this season.
LATEST ON THE CAPITALS
General manager Brian MacLellan recently said the team’s plans for the trade deadline will depend on their health leading up to March 3. Silber lists the Montreal Canadiens’ Joel Edmundson, Los Angeles Kings’ Matt Roy and the Vancouver Canucks’ Luke Schenn as potential trade targets for the Capitals.