Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – February 5, 2023
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.
WILL THE DEVILS PURSUE MEIER AS A PLAYOFF RENTAL?
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.
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.
WILL THE GOLDEN KNIGHTS BUY OR SELL?
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.
LATEST ON THE FLAMES
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.