Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – February 5, 2023

by | Feb 5, 2023 | Rumors | 41 comments

Can the Devils afford to acquire Timo Meier for the long term? Are the Golden Knights buyers or sellers? Who could the Flames pursue in the trade market? Find out in the Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup.


NEW YORK POST: Larry Brooks believes the New Jersey Devils have the assets to acquire Timo Meier if they can find a way to squeeze him within their limited cap space. However, he doubts they can afford to keep him beyond next season when they also have Jesper Bratt to re-sign this summer.

San Jose Sharks winger Timo Meier (NHL Images)

Brooks wonders if management believes the Devils are close enough to Stanley Cup contention that they can afford a pricey rental player or two that could help them defeat Eastern rivals such as Boston, Carolina, Toronto and Tampa Bay.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Devils general manager Tom Fitzgerald said he’d like to add a top-six winger for more than just this season. Like Bratt, Meier is a restricted free agent with arbitration rights who is a year away from unrestricted free agent eligibility. As Brooks points out, however, signing both players would take a big chunk out of their projected $36.5 million in cap space for 2023-24, especially when they only have nine roster players under contract.

Brooks also suggested the Devils would be forced to choose between re-signing Bratt or Meier if they acquire the latter. Meier could be insurance if they have to part ways with Bratt should his contract negotiations become contentious.


THE ATHLETIC: Jesse Granger wondered if the Golden Knights might become sellers at the trade deadline for the first time in franchise history. He believes they haven’t looked like Stanley Cup contenders since mid-November and have played abysmally since Mark Stone was sidelined in mid-January.

Granger doubts that adding an aging rental player such as Chicago’s Patrick Kane or Jonathan Toews or St. Louis’ Ryan O’Reilly would put a club that’s been playing .500 hockey since November over the top.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Granger makes a sensible case for the Golden Knights to move a talented player to a contender for a promising young asset who’s close to NHL ready. Nevertheless, I anticipate they’ll be buyers once again.

Golden Knights owner Bill Foley wants a Stanley Cup. If Stone is out for the season, they can place his $9.5 million cap hit on LTIR and use that space to go shopping for a suitable replacement.

VEGAS HOCKEY NOW: Looked at potential depth acquisition for the Golden Knights leading up to the March 3 trade deadline. The Edmonton Oilers’ Jesse Puljujarvi, Montreal Canadiens Mike Hoffman, and Chicago Blackhawks’ Andreas Athanasiou were among their potential targets.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The site also previously looked at several of the more notable players potentially available if the Golden Knights want to make a bigger splash in the trade pool.


CALGARY HOCKEY NOW: Steve MacFarlane reports the Flames have been in the market for a scoring winger all season. He suggested targeting the Florida Panthers’ Anthony Duclair, the Chicago Blackhawks’ Max Domi and the Philadelphia Flyers’ Travis Konecny.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Flames have a better shot at landing Domi than the other two. The Panthers reportedly want to hang onto Duclair and will be looking at ways to make room for the sidelined winger’s eventual return to action.

Konecny, meanwhile, is thriving under head coach John Tortorella with 49 points in 45 games. He’s got two more seasons on his contract. It’ll take a significant offer to pry him away from the Flyers.


  1. Much as I dislike Vegas – for a variety of reasons – I don’t think the loss of one player – even someone like Stone – will necessarily derail their playoff hopes. Yes, they’ve been in a funk over their past 10 games (2-6-2) but few teams avoid similar funks over a grinding 82-game schedule.

    Right now they hold down 3rd place in the Pacific with a record of 29 18 4 62 pts in 51 gp, scoring 160 while giving up 148 – a +12 differential. They are 1 point back of 1st place Seattle (who hold a game in hand) and 1 point back of 2nd place L.A., over whom they have 2 games in hand.

    The break will, of course, help all teams suffering minor dings, but in the case of Vegas it could be even more beneficial given the ages of many on their roster.

    But they can’t take anything for granted with Edmonton, now in the 1st WC slot, just 2 pts back with a game in hand, Colorado, in the 2nd WC slot, 5 pts back but with 3 games in hand and due to get Landeskog and other injured players back in the fold soon and who I bet goes on a tear down the stretch, Calgary also 5 pts back with a game in hand, and even Nashville who, although 8 pts back, also have 3 games in hand.

    It could be a real dogfight.

    • In addition to Stone they are also currently without Whitecloud and Miromanov on D, and the veterans who could probably use the break better than most to get over minor dings and re-charge their batteries are Karlsson, Marchessault, Kessel, Pietrangelo, Martinez and McNabb.

      I just don’t see them suddenly turning into sellers – unless this recent funk stretches on into February and they drop like a rock.

      • I agree George. I don’t think selling is in their DNA.

      • George O

        I agree.

        I do not think the players mentioned Hoffman, Anathasiou, or Puljujarvi would make any improvement to their roster. None of them are having great seasons…

        With the Stone injury they will be able to get any player they want with his $9.5M cap hit on LTIR. If Stone is healed by the playoffs it would be like adding two stars at the TDL.

      • Looking at their 2-6-2 run over their past 10, 2 of the 6 losses were by 1 goal in regulation, as well as 2 in OT.

        In terms of what may be regarded as “decisive losses” those would be 5-1 to L.A., 4-0 to Dallas, and a pair of 4-1 losses to Arizona and NYR.

  2. As a Devils fan, I have to say I’ve run through the numbers and it’s not even close. The Devils have more than enough to re-sign both Meier AND Bratt, even at ridiculous contracts (10M and 9M respectively).

    They have a tremendous number of contracts coming off the books after this year, much of which are dead weight (players like Bernier and Johnsson) and UFAs that will be replaced by entry level contracts.

    It’s possible that Brooks is expecting the Devils to re-sign Severson and Graves, but their heirs are already in the system in the form of Simon Nemec and Luke Hughes. I can’t see the Devils re-signing them to big money to the terms they’d command on the open market.

    Add to that the expectation of the cap going up significantly after this off-season and there’s really no reason they wouldn’t be able to comfortably re-sign Bratt and Meier.

    • Number6, Brooks is a hack, never believe/trust anything he says. Yes there is more than enough room to sign Meier and Bratt. BUT, Fitz I believe is also on record saying he is concerned about paying over what his #1 star makes (Hughes gets $8 million). So the question I believe, is Fitz able to sign Meier and Bratt to around $8 million. I think possibly Bratt, but this is Timo’s best chance to hit the jackpot. Fitz has probably already found out this answer (I believe SJ let teams talk with his agent), so Fitz already knows whether to trade or not for Meier. I guarantee you he will have that answer before a trade is done (Lou what did you do?).

      • Yep, I agree with you on Brooks’ credibility, I’m just responding to the article.

        I’ve heard that Fitz would like to keep them under Hugh’s cap hit but it seems a bit unrealistic to keep all players’ salaries below someone who has a sweetheart deal, half of which consisted of RFA years. Imagine if the Avalanche had set a hard cap at McKinnon’s cap hit. They would never have been able to sign Rantanen and Landeskog.

        I think the 8M is a target and a negotiation tactic, not a number set in stone.

      • After a year or so when the cap can start to reflect the actual financial state of the league and goes up if jersey wants any top fa then they gonna have to top Hughes. That notion needs to go out the window

      • I think Meier has earned a paycheck potentially high than Hughes….Bratt, not so much IMO. Hope Fitz gets a Meier trade and extension done soon. LGD

    • Number6 – next season the cap only rises by 1 mil to $83.5 mil

      NJ has $46,913,334 committed to 10

      Fs Jack Hughes ($8 mil), Hischier ($7,250000), Palat ($6 mil), Holtz ($894,167) and Mercer ($894,167)

      D – Hamilton ($9 mil), Marino ($4.4 mil), Siegenthaler ($1,125,000) and Smith ($1.1 mil)

      G – Vanecek ($3.4 mil)

      They also have $2,450,000 in Dead Cap

      Their 8 RFAs to re-up (Bratt, Sharangovich, McLeod, Boqvist, Bastian, Zetterlund, Bahl and Blackwood) account for $14,469,125 off the current cap. When the dust settles on their new deals you’re probably looking at something closer to $22.5 mil in total.

      That would bring their roster to 18 and around $69,413,334 off the cap.

      Their 3 UFA Fs – Tatar $4.5 – 10g 17a 27 pts +26; Wood $3.2 – 8g 9a 17 pts E, and Haula $2,375,000 – 4g 17a 21 pts +9 in total account, so far, for 22g 43a 65 pts and a cumulative +35 with a total cap hit of $10 mil. Do you think they have the ELCs ready to step in and replace that production?

      Then there’s the UFA D – RD Severson $4.166,666 4g 11a 15 pts +25 and LD Graves $3,166,667 5g 11a 16 pts +27 – that’s another $7 mil with 9g 22a 31 pts and a cumulative +52 +on the back-end (so far) – again, are you confident they have the ELCs ready to step in and replace that without a hitch?

      They may all be regarded as very good prospects – but until they actually start playing under the pressure of an NHL season they remain just that – prospects.

      What I’m getting at it, those cap numbers could be a lot tighter than you’re contemplating so signing both Meier and re-upping Bratt might not be as simple as you believe.

      • I don’t expect many (if any) UFAs to return. The possibilities would be Wood, who has been having a horrible season and has seemed to have lost a step) and Graves, whom I believe will command a contract length that has the potential to block upcoming young defensemen.

        As for RFAs, I think it’s questionable whether they bring Blackwood back. The team seems to love him, but he doesn’t look like he’ll be worth his qualifying offer, and I wouldn’t be surprised if they move him in the off-season and replace him with Schmid (or Daws).

        Haula may be back, but I don’t expect a huge raise (if any) for him. The poor guy’s been bounced around 6 teams in the last few years and he’s likely to take a reasonable deal to settle his family down. Otherwise, the Devils would likely be looking for a bottom 6 center since they don’t seem sold on Boqvist taking over his slot, plus they’re ridiculously thin at depth centers.

    • Hi Number6
      i dont know if i see the Devels Re-signing both d/men , and Graves LD, &
      Severson RD, UFA $4.2M that could go up $1-2 M?

      They also have Hamilton at $9.M RD
      & John Marino @$4.4M
      just on RD they would have $19M….🤔

      LD add in New contract for Graves @ $5-6M
      $3.4M for Jonas Siegenthaler and
      Smith for $1.1M and Kevin Bahl at $750,
      the d would be at +$29.M just on the d

      Maybe they use Severson RD, UFA $4.2M or
      John Marino @$4.4M as trade bate before or after the trade deadline to get a scoring forward the devels are looking for….⁉️

      NJ d looks like its going to be very very good ether way going forward

      With young Vitek Vanecek, well 27… just putting in his first full season as a #1 Goaltender they look very good…..
      i think they will look at more affordable 3 rd paring d/men and same with ther bottom 6 they have to make the numbers work if the want to keep both
      Bratt, Meier …❓
      I wonder if they could get them both for
      $15M-$16M 🤔

    • Very well said, and I totally agree. The Devils are in great position to sign both Bratt and whoever else they bring in to add to their top 6 (Miere or someone else). With so many top prospects nearing NHL ready status, letting Severson and/or Graves walk is totally acceptable and will allow for a significant savings in cap space this off-season. The following summer, not only will the cap go up, but Schneider’s buyout comes off the books too. The Devils will be in excellent shape to contend for many years to come with young, prime age players, and good vets, and a great cap situation.

    • Brooks is a Ranger fan-boy.
      He is assuming a lot of things with what NJ is / can do next season. Devils can very easily afford Meier and Bratt at 9 mil per each and still be comfortable signing players they need .

    • Number6, Shero did a nice job locking up Hishier and Hughes.

      Signing Hishier 7yrs @ $7.25 on Oct 18,2019
      Signing Hughes 8yrs @ $8m per Nov 30,2021

      He likes to get his deals done early. With the cap going to go significantly in a couple years. These are the deals that turn teams into Stanley Cup contenders.

      Interesting note about Shakir Mukhamadullin he is from UFA (but he’s not) Russia.

  3. It is interesting listening to the rumours around the deadline.

    I think the perfect place for Mieir is the Leafs. They could then trade him at the draft to recoup their assets.

    That would then allow them to go after a top four defense man.

    Using a third team to bring down the cap hits just makes this possible.

    This would allow them to go after Mieir and Chykrun.

    As far as I am concerned the only asset not on the table is Knies unless they could get a young player with term that fills that role.

    The Leafs have a lot of potential high skilled prospects plus all of this years picks. Other than possibly next years First Dubas should go all in only using this years picks? Every trade they make they should bring back late round picks because they develop those guys real well. Roster players like Kerfoot and almost everyone else in the bottom six need to be moved for salary cap purposes and spots on the protected list.

    • Leafs cannot afford to extend Meier. So he will be a rental. I can’t see the Leafs being willing or able to offer the assets that the Devils can as a long term piece.

    • What pray tell would timo bring back at the draft? He’d essentially have to pre negotiate an extension to have any value. And by doing that you are essentially giving him the ufa perk of choosing his destination cause he could choose who he is willing to negotiate with.

  4. Re “The Leafs have a lot of potential high skilled prospects …”

    Who, exactly? They are currently ranked 19th by the Hockey Writers. Aside from Knies and maybe Robertson, who is “potentially high-skilled” in their system?

    • George O

      Topi Niemela was voted Top Defencenan at the WJC 2020-21

      Rasmu Sandin WJC Top Defenceman 2019-20

      Fraser Minten is having a good year in the WHL.

      Matthew Knies is a point per game player in the NCAA

      Ty Voit is having a good year in Sarnia in the OHL

      Pontus Holmberg is having a decent year in the NHL

      The Leafs have some good prospects and NHL ready talent playing in tte AHL.

      They likely have the assets required to make a trade. The big question is…is it worth giving up assets for marginal improvement?

      • But according to the Hockey Writers, Daryl, all that doesn’t warrant a higher prospect ranking than 19th – which indicates, in their assessment, that over half the league (18 teams) not only rank higher, but if willing to relinquish a 1st round pick for the likes of a Meier or Chychrun they have better “assessed” prospects and a higher 1st rounder.

        And you can bet there will be more than just the Leafs interested in those two players or some other “top 4 D” – which seems to be a need for half the league.

  5. And wha is Jack Hughes worth on his next deal ? You had better start to accrue for that now.
    Devils should and would go after Meier
    Even send Bratt the other way if you have to. I don’t think you have to . Timmo into his prime and a stud.
    Holtz first and Muhammad alphabet

    • Hughes has 7 years left on his deal; no need to worry about what he might be worth on his next one for at least 5 more years, especially if you’re trying to be a contender. Nice work completely butchering Shakir Mukhamadullin’s name.

      • You knew who he was talking about so it works!

      • Well, sorry, if ever a name was to be butchered, that’s it. I wonder if his nickname among the tea, is Mucker?

      • Nice work completely butchering the word team George.

      • You noticed that, eh?

  6. Yeah, I don’t see Vegas surrendering either, but if Stone is out til the play-offs (he should be to make sure he is healed up properly this time) then it would be very “in character” for them to go after the biggest rental out there. With Stone’s LTIR they could be a total cap hit of about $26M over cap max!
    If Stone is to come back before the play-offs, trade for Nyqvist and utilize his LTIR and still load up! Then have Gus join them in the play-off fun!

  7. Horvat Islanders 8yrs

    • You knew LLams would have to do it. A player having a career year who previously averaged around 55pts for an 82 game season. A player who will be 28 at the start of next season. Maybe it works out for Isles.

    • No way! How much?

      • $8.5 million.

      • Well, according to CapFriendly, for next season that brings them to 17 players to which they’re committed at a total cap hit of $76,588,333, leaving them $6,911,667 with which to sign 6.

        Their 3 RFAs shouldn’t cost much to re-up (Bolduc, Wotherspoon and Wahlstrom) whose expiring ELCs totals $2,486,667 -but even at a minimum $1 mil each, that’s still $3 mil off what they have left, leaving $3,911,667 with which to sign 3.

        Of their 3 UFAs, the big ticket is Varlamov at an expjring $5 mil so, unless he’s willing to re-up at some bargain-basement hit, they’re going to have to move out some other contracts to keep him or, find a goalie somewhere else. Their other two expiring UFAs are Parise ($750,000) and Mayfield ($1,450,000).

      • Trade looks good for Isles now, Lou had to have an idea he could get him signed prior.

        NYI are a better team than they were a week ago. Not a terrible contract IMO. Time will tell.

      • I struggle with the 8.5 and this being by far his best statistical year.(on pace to be)

        Other than that he’s been a 45 point per season player on average . Is he that player? Or has he emerged as an 80-90 point guy at 27?

        Time will tell, but if he’s a 45-50 point player this contract will be awful.

      • To think that he changed his stick to a light weight flea flicker from his old lumbering one and earned himself many more millions….

    • That $8.5Mx8 is now the floor for Larkin. Too bad….I still think 8x$7.5 would have been fair.

  8. Eichel is a mush!!!

  9. Bo Horvat Sign’s a 8X$8.M deal with NYI Today…..💥

    Well done Lou……👏

    Vancouver take Note how to run A TEAM……⁉️😳

    • williew

      VAN is already adept at signing guys to I’ll advised contracts. 🤣