Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – February 12, 2023
A Jakob Chychrun trade appears imminent, the Oilers are reportedly in talks with the Sharks about Erik Karlsson, plus updates on Timo Meier, Alex DeBrincat, Brock Boeser, Tyler Bertuzzi and more in the Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup.
CHYCHRUN TRADE APPEARS IMMINENT
SPORTSNET: Jeff Marek noted the Arizona Coyotes announced last night that they were keeping Jakob Chychrun out of the lineup for “trade-related reasons”. He said the 24-year-old defenseman won’t be heading to the Edmonton Oilers or Toronto Maple Leafs.
While the Los Angeles Kings tossed cold water on the notion that they were acquiring Chychrun, Marek noted that they were honoring former captain Dustin Brown last night in a pregame ceremony “so let’s see where this goes”. He added there was no guarantee Chychrun would be traded that night as the Coyotes don’t play again until Monday, Feb. 13.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Other insiders also weighed in with conflicting reports over potential destinations for Chychrun.
Daily Faceoff’s Frank Seravalli reported there is “lots of smoke” connecting the Coyotes defenseman to the Kings “but no confirmed fire yet.” Meanwhile, the Ottawa Sun’s Bruce Garrioch tweeted the Leafs and Oilers are among the teams that stepped up efforts to acquire Chychrun.
The Score’s Josh Wegman pointed out that Chychrun has also been linked to the Ottawa Senators, St. Louis Blues and Columbus Blue Jackets. The Buffalo Sabres also previously expressed interest in him. Boston Hockey Now’s Jimmy Murphy cited a league source expressing his belief that the Bruins are still in on Chychrun.
After months of speculation stretching back to last season, it appears Chychrun is finally going to be traded. We should learn where by no later than Monday evening before the Coyotes’ game with the Predators.
LATEST SHARKS SPECULATION
TSN: Chris Johnston tweeted that the Edmonton Oilers and San Jose Sharks have re-engaged in trade talks regarding Sharks defenseman Erik Karlsson. There are considerable financial hurdles to overcome but it’s the second time this season the two clubs have discussed this.
SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman reports Karlsson would have to become about a $6.5 million to $7 million player for the Oilers. His current average annual cap hit is $11.5 million for the next four years.
The Oilers need the Sharks to retain $4.5 million to $5 million annually to make this work. Friedman said nobody knows if the Sharks are willing to do that. Karlsson would also have to agree to waive his no-movement clause to go to Edmonton. If this doesn’t pan out, Friedman speculates they could look at Coyotes blueliner Shayne Gostisbehere.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Sharks are already carrying $2.72 million of dead cap space for this season and the next two from last summer’s trade of Brent Burns to the Carolina Hurricanes. Retaining $5 million of Karlsson’s contract is $7.72 million against their cap for the next two years for two players no longer on their roster, followed by two more years at $5 million per season.
If the Sharks are going to do that they had better get one hell of a return for Karlsson. I don’t see how the cap-strapped Oilers can pull it off. Sure, they can part with a first-round pick as well as a prospect or two such as Dylan Holloway or Xavier Bourgault plus a promising defenseman like Philip Broberg.
However, they’re also a cap-strapped club. Oilers general manager Ken Holland said last week that he was looking at “dollar-in, dollar-out” deals. Unless he’s looking at making a three-team deal that spreads the remainder of Karlsson’s cap hit around, he’ll have to move a player carrying an AAV of $6.5 million to $7 million. He’s not moving Leon Draisaitl ($8.5 million AAV) or Darnell Nurse ($9.25 million). Even if he wanted to, they both have no-trade protection.
So who goes? We may never know if the Sharks and Oilers can’t get the math to work. If they can, it could be a move that addresses one issue for the Oilers (a puck-moving defenseman) but creates another by weakening their forward depth.
Meanwhile, the return for the Sharks could make it difficult to justify carrying a big chunk of dead cap space for four years. Even with the salary cap projected to significantly rise after next season, that’s still a lot of money being paid out to former players.
TSN: Pierre LeBrun reported the Sharks haven’t given permission yet to Timo Meier’s agent to speak directly to other teams about a contract extension. He expects that will happen “closer to trade offers being firmed up”. LeBrun tweeted that the New Jersey Devils and Carolina Hurricanes remain “very much interested in Meier” depending on a contract extension.
NBC SPORTS BOSTON: Nick Goss cited ESPN’s Emily Kaplan reporting the Bruins, Maple Leafs and Vegas Golden Knights are “monitoring the Timo Meier situation.” She also suggested there could be some “surprise teams” in the mix.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Meier is a restricted free agent this summer with arbitration rights and is also eligible next summer for unrestricted free agent eligibility. His current annual cap hit is $6 million but his actual salary is $10 million, which is what it will cost the Sharks (or another club) to qualify his rights unless he agrees to a new contract.
I think we’re more likely to see Meier traded before Karlsson. The expectation is he’ll be moved well before the March 3 trade deadline. Perhaps it could happen at some point this week but it wouldn’t surprise me if it happens the following week. Those clubs interested in Meier will want time to negotiate with his agent.
Those “surprise teams” could be those out of playoff contention with salary-cap space to take on what is expected to be a lucrative new contract for Meier. Perhaps the Anaheim Ducks and Detroit Red Wings will be among those suitors.
SAN JOSE HOCKEY NOW: Sheng Peng recently examined the trade value of Kevin Labanc. The 27-year-old Sharks winger had 25 points in 45 games leading up to Feb. 8 but Peng doubts his trade value is very high.
Labanc has a year remaining on his contract but his $4.725 million cap hit is considered too rich to make up for his inconsistent play and one-dimensional game. Peng doubts the Sharks will retain part of his salary this season to move him but didn’t rule it out in the offseason once they’ve gained clarity on Erik Karlsson’s trade situation.
THE LATEST “32 THOUGHTS” TRADE TIDBITS
SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman reports there “appears to be a path” for the Senators to trade defenseman Nikita Zaitsev. He’s assuming it’s a west coast team based on rumblings he’s heard.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Zaitsev is signed through next season with an average annual value of $4.5 million and a 10-team no-trade list. That “west coast team” could be the Vancouver Canucks as they’re in need of experienced blueline depth.
Friedman also said the Senators have been asked about Alex DeBrincat but they’re not trading the 25-year-old winger “at this deadline.” They want to wait for the club’s new ownership to take over before they attack contract talks.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Like San Jose’s Timo Meier, DeBrincat is a restricted free agent this summer with arbitration rights who’s a year away from UFA eligibility. He carries an annual cap hit of $6.4 million but his actual salary is $9 million, which is what it’ll cost the Senators to qualify his rights.
Jeff Marek believes Senators forward Austin Watson could be available at the trade deadline. He also speculates the Edmonton Oilers could place winger Jesse Puljujarvi on waivers by Tuesday to make room for Kailer Yamamoto as he returns from injury. That’s assuming the Oilers haven’t traded Puljujarvi by then.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Boeser’s salary remains an obstacle. He’s carrying an annual cap hit of $6.65 million through 2024-25 and the Canucks are reportedly reluctant to retain salary to facilitate a trade.
Marek reports Detroit Red Wings’ pending UFA Tyler Bertuzzi has been linked to the Dallas Stars, Edmonton Oilers and Tampa Bay Lightning. Meanwhile, the Winnipeg Jets, Minnesota Wild and Vegas Golden Knights could be looking at Philadelphia Flyers UFA winger James van Riemsdyk.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Bertuzzi, 27, had a 30-goal performance last season but injuries have limited him to just 7 points in 20 games this season. Meanwhile, the 33-year-old van Riemsdyk has 21 points in 34 games with the Flyers and netted 24 goals last season.
Friedman also believes New York Rangers winger Vitaly Kravtsov could be available.