NHL Rumor Mill – February 9, 2023

by | Feb 9, 2023 | Rumors | 65 comments

Can the Rangers afford to acquire Timo Meier? What’s the latest on the Leafs, Hurricanes, Coyotes and Stars? Is Jakub Vrana done with the Red Wings? Find out in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.


NEW YORK POST: Larry Brooks remains doubtful about the rumors linking the Rangers to San Jose Sharks winger Timo Meier. He pointed out they’ll have $16.76 million in cap space next season “to add six forwards, two defensemen and a backup goaltender.” That includes new contracts for restricted free agents K’Andre Miller, Filip Chytil and Alexis Lafreniere.

But they are supposed to have interest in trading for Timo Meier and his $10 million qualifying offer. Where are the laughing-crying emojis when you need them?”

San Jose Sharks winger Timo Meier (NHL Images)

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Unless the Rangers are giving up one of those RFAs in return for Meier, I also don’t them being a serious suitor for Meier. Even then, the cost of re-signing him would still bite deeply into their remaining cap space.

I expect the Rangers will be shopping at this year’s trade deadline but it’ll be for the more affordable fare. Brooks advocates pursuing someone like the Nashville Predators’ Tanner Jeannot, though we don’t know if Predators general manager David Poile is a seller at this year’s deadline or if Jeannot would be among those he’d be willing to part with by March 3.


SPORTSNET: In his latest mailbag segment, Luke Fox was asked what realistic moves we can expect of the Toronto Maple Leafs ahead of the March 3 trade deadline.

Fox doesn’t see the Leafs landing a big-name player such as Timo Meier, Jakob Chychrun, Ryan O’Reilly, Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane and Vladimir Tarasenko. Instead, he sees them pursuing such less-heralded trade candidates as St. Louis’ Ivan Barbashev, Columbus’ Vladislav Gavrikov, Vancouver’s Luke Schenn, Chicago’s Sam Lafferty and Jake McCabe and Anaheim’s Adam Henrique and Max Comtois.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I agree with Fox. The Leafs lack the cap space and depth in tradeable assets to pursue a big fish in the trade pool.

Even with Jake Muzzin on long-term injury reserve, Cap Friendly indicates the Leafs have $1.13 million in trade deadline cap space. They’re also unwilling to part with their 2023 first-round pick and top prospect Matthew Knies.


NHL NETWORK: Mike Johnson believes the Carolina Hurricanes need to add a second-line center before the trade deadline. He suggested Chicago’s Jonathan Toews, St. Louis’ Ryan O’Reilly and Detroit’s Dylan Larkin as trade targets.

Johnson believes acquiring one of those three will make the Hurricanes a Stanley Cup contender. He believes Larkin is the best of that trio right now.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Larkin’s come up more frequently in recent trade speculation because he and the Red Wings haven’t yet reached an agreement on a contract extension. He’d definitely be a significant addition to the Hurricanes or any other club. However, I still believe Larkin and the Wings will get a deal done.

As for Toews and O’Reilly, the Hurricanes have the cap room and the depth in young players to make a tempting offer for either guy. However, they usually don’t pursue big-ticket rental players at the trade deadline. It’ll be interesting to see if they change that pattern this year.


GOPHNX.COM: Craig Morgan recently looked at the Arizona Coyotes’ potential trade candidates ahead of deadline day. He indicated Coyotes general manager Bill Armstrong isn’t wavering from his asking price of two first-round picks and a second-round pick (or the equivalent of that in a prospect) for Jakob Chychrun, who continues to be linked to the Los Angeles Kings.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Armstrong’s asking price could lead to Chychrun’s trade situation carrying over into the offseason. However, his impressive performance this season makes him a far more tempting trade target than he was last season when he was battling injuries and adjusting to a new head coach.

Morgan anticipates the sidelined Shayne Gostisbehere’s affordable remaining salary could make him easy to move to a contender seeking help on the power play. He doesn’t rule out the possibility of goaltender Karel Vejmelka getting moved but doubts Armstrong would accept a second-rounder for him. Vejmelka’s lack of a playoff resume is a concern. Morgan also noted there’s plenty of interest in center Nick Bjugstad and speculates he could fetch a second or third-round pick.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I’m still skeptical that the Coyotes will trade Vejmelka but I won’t rule it out if Armstrong got an offer of a first-round pick for him.


THE ATHLETIC: Pierre LeBrun reports Dallas Stars GM Jim Nill intends to be patient as the trade deadline approaches. He’s willing to add to his roster but not at any price plus he has limited salary-cap space to work with. The Stars also lack a first-round pick to use as trade currency as Nill shipped that to the Rangers for Nils Lundqvist in September.

LeBrun doesn’t see Nill pursuing a big-ticket trade candidate such as San Jose’s Timo Meier. Thanks to their strong core, the Stars GM could prefer a rental player if the cost isn’t crazy.

LeBrun’s colleague Saad Yousuf recently listed the Stars’ potential trade bait. Winger Denis Gurianov is the most popular name but his trade value is low right now. He could be a candidate for a “one-for-one” swap for a player in a comparable situation.

Forward Radek Faksa and goaltender Anton Khudobin are other trade options. Yousef believes their biggest need is for a middle-six forward for their third line.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Stars are riding high in the Western Conference right now. Nill could surprise us with a major deadline move but I think he’s instead looking at tweaking his roster.


LEAFS NATION’s Nick Alberga recently tweeted that Jakub Vrana may have played his final game with the Detroit Red Wings. He believes the likely scenarios are a trade or offseason buyout.

DETROIT FREE PRESS: Helene St. James reports the Wings are still evaluating Vrana’s play with their AHL affiliate in Grand Rapids. She noted they signaled their willingness to part with the 26-year-old winger when they placed him on waivers but couldn’t find any takers. Any improvement in his game, however, could change things ahead of the trade deadline.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Wings gave up Anthony Mantha to get Vrana at the 2021 trade deadline. They’re unlikely to get much of a return if they put him on the trade block.


  1. I like O’Reilly with the Canes. Perfect fit
    I like Tarasenko with the Rangers UFA
    I like Meier in Jersey wing man for Hughes or Hischier

    I don’t like Presidents Cup winners as Stanley Cup favourites

    • Silver

      Bruins are most definitely the cup favourites. I would say Canes 2. Avs 3 tb4. Leafs 5 Dallas 6. As far as Varana. 99% buyout in summer IMO

      • Any list of Cup favorites has to start with the Bruins if the list creator has been paying attention.

        Of what’s left, the team to keep an eye on as their injured return to action is the defending Cup holders, the Colorado Avalanche.

      • @ GEORGE
        I think people are sleeping on the Rangers as cup favorites…
        If they can move out LAFRENIER for a PACKAGE that is both for now and flnexr 3 years this is the team to watch….IMO….
        I am a Leaf fan but hockey fan first..
        Rangers might have tje best shutdown back end going into last half here on D and in net…
        If they can build a hard playing second line and round out …4th line with decent lesser expensive pick ups …this is the team to watch….
        Take care….

      • Kal el, when I say the Bruins have to head any list of Cup favorites, I am certainly not ruling out teams like Tampa Bay, Carolina, Dallas and, yes, Toronto, NJ and New York Rangers.

        Putting Boston at the head of the list is just a reflection of the way the season has gone – so far.

        But as for trading Lafreniere for a hefty package that would immediately elevate NYR to Boston’s level – I dunno. First of all, would they go that route? I’ve heard comments from Rangers fans that the main reason Lafreniere is putt-putting along after 185 NHL games with just 39g 37a 78 pts (82-game averages of 17g 16a 33 pts) is more to do with his usage by the coach than failing to live up to his advance billing.

        But, whatever the reason, other teams could also be looking at another 1st overall – the maligned Yakopov – who, after his first 185 gp, had 42g 46a 88 pts – not great either, but better than Lafreniere, and maybe other teams would look at that – and other similar examples – and be very reluctant to part with anything extremely useful for a gamble that a mere change of scenery would turn him into the dominant player everyone thought he would become when drafted.

      • Of course, getting Tarasenko certainly edges them closer! Wow.

    • @silver
      agree on 3

      • Respectfully.
        The best and most cost efficient shut down pair in the league are the Two P’s. Pellech and Pullock.

    • I lean towards
      O’Reilly to NYR if can be had for a 2nd 3rd and mid prospect. Need some two way game come playoff times and more faceoff skills


      Kane for Kravtsov and pick. To add scoring to the top line.

      Kid line
      Vesey/Goodrow/rotational winger

  2. After the Dallas GM acquired Lundqvist from NYR, did he become Nill’s Nils?

    • Haha, Yes. Admittedly, I didn’t like that trade at the beginning of the season, giving up a first for him. (still think that might have been an over pay) But for as small as he is and as young as he is, he’s looked really good this year, and will only grow in size and get better. Stars D is strong this year. And we’ve got Thomas Harley in the system still

  3. How about a natural trade of Vrana to the Bruins for Reilly. Both players are wasting away in the minors and are unhappy. Maybe beneficial to both players.

    • Reilly is a left shot defenseman, which is absolutely the last thing the Wings would look to add, since it is their strongest and deepest position within the organization.

    • Maybe Vrana (retain 2M) for Reilly and a 2nd.

      • Except. Bruins do not have a 2nd next 2 years. Crabs not worth 5 mil if they want pick him up next year after buyout on a cheap price it deal

    • Why would the Wings have any interest in another LH D’man ?

      • To dump Vrana, Maata is probably gone.

  4. Where has it been mentioned that the Leafs are unwilling to trade their 1st round pick this year or Knies? I know many “insiders” have speculated that Knies is untouchable but these are the same guys that had no idea Horvat was going to NYI.

    I believe, if history has any indication, that Dubas is willing to consider all possibilities when it comes to finding a player to help their playoff chances.

    I think Dubas would be more willing to trade the 1st or Knies for a player with term remaining.

    With Muzzin likely out for the season and trimming the roster down to the 20 man minimum the Leafs will have plenty of cap space to make a deal.

    • I don’t know where that idea came from, but I do know that Dubas won’t get Gavrikov if he won’t trade his 1st round pick. On all the Jackets blogs I follow, the statement is that Jarmo’s minimum ask is a 1st and a 3rd and only futures are acceptable. We’ll see, but that’s what Tampa handed over for Savard, who is older, was on a more expensive salary cap hit and on an expiring contract.

      • Paul Bowles

        I would agree to giving up a 1st and a 3rd for Gavrikov if they’re allowed to negotiate an extension first.

        I’ve read a couple interesting articles regarding exploring the possibility of trading Brodie. Using assets gained in that trade for help at LW while using futures to help on the Defensive end (Gavrikov or Chychrun).

        The Leafs are doing well as a group defensively this season but they have too many of the same type of defencemen.

      • Daryl,
        Teams are being allowed to talk to Gavvy.

    • As shocking as this might sound. I can see the Sens and Leafs making a deal again this year. I could see Zaitsev and his improved play or Holden or even Hamonic going to T.O.

      • Dark G

        I can see Hamonic or Holden. Can’t see Zaitsev wanting anything to do with going back to Toronto.

      • Lol, Daryl, it was probably playing in that intense fishbowl that sent him into a 3-year funk that he just seems to be getting away from.

  5. Brindamour said during the Spittin Chiclets podcast that the Canes are pursuing something at the trade deadline to replace Max Pacioretty.

  6. My votes for Canes is to actually fix their 2c long term by sending KK, a 1st and prospect to Van for JT Miller

    They even have cap room to make another move and Barbashev fro STL makes sense to me.

    • Am I the only one that thinks JT miller is over rated and his cap makes him almost
      I’m tradable ?

      • FOR 5 mill no. For 8. MILL Yes.

        But JT at 8 worth more than Patches at 7. And KK isn’t getting the job done 2c at 4mill

        So gamble for Cnes but his physical play and two way game is What they need for a playoff and future 2c

      • Miller is coming off a 99 point season and is projected to hit about 75 this year. While I’m not a fan of his deal (more about term than dollars) 5 million?

        I don’t see many players in the NHL putting up that kind of production signing 5 million per deals.

    • As a Canucks fan I’d be ok with that. Miller’s a good player with some faults, but feisty and skilled. He’s just a couple years too old to fit in with the Canucks goals.

    • They would do better to send that package to Detroit for Larkin

  7. I believe Meier to the Rangers isn’t out of the question. Yes, they won’t be able to re-sign him, but since he’s an RFA I think they’d be able to recoup a significant portion of what they pony up for him over the off season when more teams will have cap space.

    I’m not saying they would do it. I’m just saying it’s not out of the realm of possibilities.

    That being said, I wonder, should the Sharks be patient and wait until the summer would get a better return.

    • Number6

      The chances of getting anything of significance in the off-season for Meier’s negotiating rights is a very big gamble.

      At most, I think it would be a 3rd round pick.

      Could they sign him to his QO and then trade him in the summer or at next year’s TDL to recoup more assets?

      • I’m not so sure about that. Although the Rangers couldn’t afford to sign him moving forward, other teams may have the cap space. They simply could allow teams to talk to Meier’s agent and hammer out an agreement before the trade, and that agreement wouldn’t have to be at a 10M cap hit.

  8. The whole situation with Vrana is strange. Reminds me a bit of the situation with Drouin in Tampa.

    Vrana is still top end talent like Drouin (who was also sent to the minors).

    Yzerman pulled Sargachev out of the deal for Douin, so I doubt he’ll let him go for nothing.

    There’s always a team like Edmonton willing to take a chance on players like Evander Kane.

    I can see a team desperate for playoff offense take a chance on him.

    (The Canes would be a good fit because of their team structure)

    • Shreddedred, Yzerman was prepared to let him go for nothing when he placed him on waivers. The fact not one team nibbled suggests that, despite his scoring history, no one was prepared to take on that $5,250,000 cap hit that has one more year to run – at no roster cost to them. Not even bottom-feeders like Arizona, Chicago and Anaheim – each of which is desperate for offense and has lots of cap space (well, Arizona and Anaheim at least ..).

      So the question is, why? We don’t know the reason for his entering the player’s assistance program (nor should we – it’s none of our business), but I would imagine the reason is known to the other 31 GMs.

      When Detroit acquired him from Washington they also got Panik, a 2021 1st Round pick And a 2022 2nd round pick — for Mantha! Who’s on the outs in Washington. And he made such an immediate impact that he was handed his current deal by Yzerman.

      Now, he can’t give him away. We may never know … but something has to be having other teams shying away and Yzerman not doing anything else roster-wise to be able to keep him. It’s not like they’re a threat to make the playoffs any time soon.

      Something just doesn’t smell right.

  9. Stars biggest need is a 2nd line Center. I’d actually like to have Nill bring in Toews as a rental for the playoffs, and move Faksa back to 4th line to play with Glendenning and one of the kids. The Stars have some kids in the system that Chicago might be interested in. And if Toews works out sign him to a cap friendly contract for a year or two. Same thing with O’Reilly. Both are division rivals, so I’m not sure that either would happen

  10. I think Meier is off East to NJ….

    To play top six winger with ether of the 2 top Young Centres… Nico Hischier & Jack Hughes⁉️

    This would give them a Killer top 6 not to mention very Young top 6….

    The Trade for TM.
    -A 1st pick, & A 3rd pick in 2024
    -Young Big D/man Shakir Mukhamadulli
    -Roster player Jesper Boqvist


    • Don’t think NJ has room to sign him AND Bratt this summer but if Meir goes to Nj and I am SJ I am asking only for Mercer and Hughes. To me that would be a big win for SJ.

      Two creative young kids.

      To nj Meier and bonino
      To SJ Mercer, Hughes and 3rd

      • SJ can ask for that and that would be a big win for them, but it is not going to happen. Fitz pivots away quickly from that and lets someone else deal with that QO headache. This is not the Devs all-in year, I think their window is just opening and Fitz will not burn some blue chips for a potential rental.

    • hey Wille W, if SJ was willing to do that trade it would be done already. Shak is playing really well in the KHL, and is a big D, but the question is still there, will it transalate to NHL (as a Devs fan I hope so). The Devs have allowed him to stay in the KHL to put some meat on his bones and last I saw he was up 25lbs from draft year…

      • Hi,redmonsters
        I think there maybe a few offers on the table for TM, Im sure NJ have one there for him too❓

        NJ are loaded with d/men, there top 4 is very good, they also have the young Slovak RD, Nemec and a few others,

        if NJ use the Ottawa model for salarys….❓

        NJ have $36.M to sign players for next Season
        if they can get Severson & Graves for a total of
        $9 to $10.M PA for both… ❓
        Get Jesper Bratt & Timo Meier Both done for $15 to $16.M…. $6.5 & $8.5 in the Bo Horvat range
        they have $10 left for bridge deals and the rest…..

        ihatecrosby… i would Not trade either Hughes or Mercer for TM…. they are both building blocks in NJ.

  11. looks like the Vrana for Mantha trade did little to invigorate either of the young players careers. Mantha has had to watch a few from the press box this year, and the conditioning stint was an excuse to send Vrana to the minors, but not living up to his potential has kept him there. Also, Mantha has disappeared in the playoffs for the Caps. Whatever levers need to be pulled with both guys haven’t been pulled yet. Both player are clearly at risk of getting the boot. bummer.

    • p.s. — watching some of Griffins highlights, Vrana might be finding his mojo. 6 goals in the last 9 games.

  12. Hi Starsfan,

    I am also a fan of the stars. I like your thoughts on bringing in O’Reilly or Toews, but I think if they do that Faksa needs to go the other way. At center they have Hintz, Seguin, Johnston, Faksa, and Glendenning. Benn and Dellandrea could also play center, if needed. I would prefer to move Faksa.

    I think a swap of Gurianov for Puljujarvi would be interesting as well.

    • Agreed on all of your points…I think the only reason that Faksa is getting second line duties is to showcase him for the deadline…
      Not sure about Gurianov for Puljujarvi, both seem like busts at this point…and IMHO, Marchmant could be used for trade bait too…he just hasn’t lived up to anyone expectations and I think he looks lost out there at times. I’d rather give some of the kids a chance to be honest. We’ve got so many in the pipeline…And I thought it was great seeing Studanich in the lineup again. I notie him more last night that Marchmant.

  13. Vrana would fit nicely on leaf’s second line.

    Detroit would need to retain $$ to make it worth while for the leafs. Maybe roberstson and Detroit retains 50%.

  14. If leafs lose in first round it’s time to for a shake up. If coyotes get first overall pick trade Matthews for 1st overall (not sure if coyotes do that). Save cap space unless you can get young number one. D Wait for JT contract to expire . New window starts in 2 years with marner and nylander still in their prime and Bedard with a couple of years experience under his belt. Tons of cap space to build around that core.

    • The Coyotes would definitely NOT do that. They’d take Bedard without blinking … and simply wait until Matthews is a UFA and, if he indicates he’d like to “go home” to play (a rationale that often is used for Toronto or area-born players on other teams), sign him. With an increased cap by that time that would be the making of a helluva good offense.

      • ^This^

      • Yup ^this^ for sure

  15. Vladimir Tarasenko to Rangers…

    • I wonder what the return might be.

      • Ya the return will be interesting Good pick up for nyr

      • I saw somewhere – Blais and a second rounder, but that makes no sense…Mikkola also headed to Rangers being reported
        …more to come

      • 4th Period reporting that Sammy Blais and 2023 1st are “part of the package” and that STL retained 50%.

      • Blais, Skinner, 2023 first and a 4th is being reported.

      • Seems like it’s Sammy Blais and at least one draft pick, while D-man Niko Mikkola is also headed to NY with Tarasenko.

  16. Looks like the tank is going to Nyr

  17. Read an article yesterday that didn’t think return would be huge. Vlad had full nmc and Rangers were a team he wanted to go to. I’m thinking maybe Kravtsov or Jones along with a conditional 2nd.

  18. Holy smokes, you folks are all so polite and reasonable. What’s going on here, this is the internet!

    But yeah. Just jumping on to say that this is the first deadline in a while that promises some pretty big news from a lot of corners. As a Hawks fan, it’s a bummer to have Toews and Kane leaving, but at least I’ll have a couple of teams to root for this postseason.

    I think the destinations for both of them open up considerably once a double-retention scenario pops up, and you can bet Kyle Davidson is investigating every possible option there.

    Toews in Carolina makes soooo much sense. Coach Rod would LOVE him. For Kane … can it be anywhere but the Rangers?

    • (And seconds later, it’s Tarasenko to NY. Ummmmm, so yeah, I was right grammatically anyway … it’s anywhere but the Rangers for Kane … heh)

  19. According to The Athletic‘s Arthur Staple, the Blues will receive a 2023 first-round pick, a prospect, and forward Sammy Blais

    • 1st, 4th, Sammy Blais, a prospect named Hunter Skinner for Tarasenko and Nico Nicola

  20. So does the return on Tarasenko “set the market” for Patrick Kane? I don’t know much about Mikkola. Is he just a depth addition or does he have a bigger impact?

    If so, what does a similar package look like from other contenders?

    I would think for my Bruins you’d have the 2 draft picks plus maybe Marc Mclaughlin and Ahcan? There may be other pieces too to balance out cap hits. Whatever the package I’m weary of trading away a first rounder for a rental, but I also realize if there’s ever been a year to go “all in” it’s this one. Gonna be an interesting next few weeks for sure.

    Also, I would think this takes NYR out of the running for Kane.