NHL Rumor Mill – March 10, 2023

by | Mar 10, 2023 | Rumors | 24 comments

Check out the latest on the Devils’ Jesper Bratt and Timo Meier, the Flyers’ Kevin Hayes, the Predator’s Juuse Saros and the Flames’ Elias Lindholm plus a look at the Red Wings in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.


SPORTSNET: In his latest “32 Thoughts” column, Elliotte Friedman wrote the New Jersey Devils are engaged in contract extension talks with Jesper Bratt. He’s a restricted free agent who is a year away from unrestricted free-agent eligibility.

New Jersey Devils winger Jesper Bratt (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: You know who else is an RFA this summer who’s a year away from UFA status? Timo Meier, the guy the Devils acquired nearly two weeks ago.

Cap Friendly indicates they have $47.8 million invested in 11 players for next season. There’s plenty of money to re-sign Bratt and Meier but it will take a big chunk out of their remaining payroll.

Meier could seek a multi-year deal worth around $9 million annually while Bratt could seek around $8 million. Both have comparable offensive numbers over the past two seasons but Meier has a more established record.

I’ve suggested that Meier could be insurance for the Devils if contract talks with Bratt go sideways. It’ll be interesting to see how those negotiations pan out.

Speaking of Meier, Friedman wonders if the Devils might consider club-elected arbitration with the 26-year-old winger for 85 percent of his $10 million qualifying offer.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: If the Devils did that and won they’d get Meier for one year at $8.5 million. That comes with the risk, however, of the winger deciding to test next summer’s UFA market. That’s fine if they only see Meier as an option for this season and next but not such a good idea if they want to fit him into their long-term plans.

Friedman doesn’t think there was much linking Philadelphia Flyers forward Kevin Hayes to the Carolina Hurricanes before last Friday’s trade deadline. However, he thinks there could be something with the Columbus Blue Jackets. “Two of his biggest fans – Johnny Gaudreau and Rick Nash – are there.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Blue Jackets have a longstanding need for skilled depth at the center position. There was a recent report claiming a team was interested in acquiring Hayes and employing him as a center. Perhaps that unnamed club was the Blue Jackets. We’ll find out in the offseason if there’s anything to it.

Speaking of the Hurricanes, Friedman cited The Athletic’s Michael Russo reporting they contacted the Calgary Flames about center Elias Lindholm. He’s among six Flames who are a year away from UFA eligibility.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: As Friedman observed, the Flames weren’t going to part with Lindholm while they were still battling for a playoff berth in the Western Conference. However, it could be something worth monitoring in the offseason depending on how things shake out for the Flames down the stretch. Those other players Friedman was referring to were probably Mikael Backlund, Tyler Toffoli, Noah Hanifin, Nikita Zadorov and Oliver Kylington.

The Detroit Red Wings are thin on the right side of their blueline after trading Filip Hronek to Vancouver. It’s something they’ll have to address in the offseason.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Perhaps the Red Wings will use one of their two first-rounders in this year’s draft and next year’s draft or one of their three 2023 second-rounders as trade bait this summer to address that need. That’s something The Athletic’s Max Bultman touched on during a recent mailbag segment.

The Wings will have over $32 million in cap space for next season. With that trade capital, they could target cap-strapped clubs with surplus defensemen looking to shed salary this summer.

Friedman believes the Los Angeles Kings made an exploratory call to the Nashville Predators regarding goaltender Juuse Saros.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: A report post-trade deadline out of Nashville indicated the Predators viewed Saros, Roman Josi and Filip Forsberg as their untouchables. It doesn’t hurt to ask, of course, but it appears the Predators are looking at a quick turnaround rather than a major roster rebuild. Saros will be part of that anticipated bounce-back season.


  1. Devils will be able to get both Bratt and Meier signed to long term contracts by this summer. They’ll be able to afford it because of their upcoming prospects who will be able to replace expiring vets. They’ll probably trade Blackwood this summer and replace him with Schmid. Graves may leave but be replaced by Luke Hughes. Severson will probably be replaced by Nemec. Tatar may leave as a UFA but we have other prospects (ie cheaper) guys coming up like Graham Clarke, Alex Holtz, Tyce Thompson or Chase Stillman

    Tom Fitzgerald has done a great job of setting up the team to succeed long term.

    • That is the exact reason why I highly value 1st round picks and don’t like the idea of trading them for rental players at the TDL. When they are ready for the NHL they offset the high paid stars on the team and are usually the ones who outperform their ELC.

    • mikeP, how does that Bahl kid look? Big physical guy who seems to be the #7 guy this year.

      One of those guys who will take a while, but does a bunch of the stuff that is no fun to do.

      • Bahl had growing pains through the first half of year. Over the last month or so he is starting to look like he belongs. Never will be much offense, but a 3rd pair and penalty kill specialist, I’ll take that.

    • You meant shero, right?

  2. IMO Toffoli, Hanifin, Lindholm, Pelletier, and any other young promising prospects should be untouchable. The first three on my list, they are the ones who are outperforming their contracts.
    The ones that they should be looking to move out are Dube, Mangiapane, Zadorov, and Weegar. Those players should get the Flames a decent return.
    Backlund is an interesting situation. He is a decent 2nd line centre but would be best used as a third-line centre. He is also the longest-serving Flames member. Probably wouldn’t be a popular move if they trade him.
    In training camp tell Vladar and Wolf that the backup position is up for grabs. If Vladar wins then I believe Wolf can still be sent down to the AHL without going through waivers for one more season. If Wolf wins then do what you can to trade Vladar.
    I know fans have been begging for Wolf to be called up, but in the two games he played in this year’s preseason, he was lit up pretty good. So that may be the reason for the hesitation to call him up.

    • Regarding the Oilers roster, IMO McDavid,Draisaitl,Hyman,and Nugent-Hopkins, Lavoie and any other young promising prospects should be untouchable. The first four on my list, they are the ones who are outperforming their contracts.
      The ones that they should be looking to move out are , McLeod, Bouchard, and Kostin. Those players should get the Oilers a decent return.
      Nurse is an interesting situation. He is a decent 2nd pair defenseman but would be best used as a 3rd pair defenseman. He is also the career Oiler. Probably wouldn’t be a popular move if they trade him.
      In training camp tell Campbell and Pickard that the backup position is up for grabs. If Pickard wins then I believe Campbell can still be sent down to the AHL because no team will claim him on waivers. If Campbell wins then do what you can to trade him and get a real backup. (I know tough)
      I know fans have been begging for Seth Griffith to be called up, but he is too small. So that may be the reason for the hesitation to call him up.

      • Some of the statements you make Sparky are a little ludicrous in my opinion.

        Start of at Lavoie as an untouchable, considering it’s his first time in his career at 22 of being consistent for a long period of time, the guy is a decent prospect but the furthest thing from untouchable.

        There should not be a single prospect that in untouchable for the oilers, none of them are game changing, it just depends what the options are for a trade, obviously not giving them away or trading for bad contracts.

        Bouchard, Mcleod and Kostin are not untouchables like I said about Lavoie but they are all cheaper contracts with more upside than their contract. The idea that you’d win a trade with any of these guys involved is how the Oilers ended out of the playoffs for over a decade and ended up with 4 first over all picks. Whether (before true decade was trading Tom Poti) Matt Greene & Jarrett Stoll for Visnovsky (amazing D man, Oilers needed young not in their prime D men), could say Pitkanen for Lupul (same age), Brodziak and the pick that became Darcy Kuemper for 2 draft picks, Erik Cole for Joni Pitkanen, Penner for Teubert and 2 draft picks (lucky one became klefbom), Tom Gilbert for Nick Schultz, Cogliano for a 2nd round pick, Rieder for Kessy, Gagner for Purcell, (only true draft pick one I will put) 5th round for Nikitin, Hendricks for Dubnyk, Gordon for Korpikoski, Perry for picks, Perron for Klinkhammer and 1st (got traded for Reinheart, know how that worked out), Derek Roy for Arcobello. I’ll stop at the 2015 because that all lead to Mcdavid, but that’s not including wasted draft picks for players who are not NHL players. (Long rant after watching Oilers lose 2 out of 3 trades for many years.)

        Now to Nurse, I am not even a huge Nurse fan and he is overpaid (Previous Oilers management fault not his) but he is one of the top 30 defencemen in the league no questions asked. Far from being a top ten defenceman but definitely not second or third pair. That would mean there is up to 90 defencemen on the left hand side that are better than him which is so completely untrue that it hurts to think someone could think that. There are 32 #1 D men in the league, no matter what, not every team has one of them but there by definition are 32, and not everyone is created equal, you go down the list from whomever you consider the best, Hedman, Makar, Fox whatever, each one is giving up something the previous had, when you get out of the top ten it is a relatively drastic drop of player, but the same thing can be said for any other position.

      • Hey Travis, do you ever read KevJam’s ludicrous posts about the Flames. The Flames seem to live rent free i his head.

        My post was to demonstrate how ridiculous it is for an arch rival Oiler’s fan to post about what the Flames should do.

        If you cared to notice I copied and pasted his post on the Flames ( as closely as possible) and changed the names to Oilers players to demonstrate that. So don’t freak out. He trolled the Flames fans, I responded in kind.

  3. E. Lindholm would look marvelous in Bruins silks.

    • And the Bruins would lead the league in Lindholms!

    • Absolutely SOP!
      If Calgary misses, it will be interesting to see what they do. Can’t see a tear down as they just signed 2 high priced forwards, but if they can’t get Lindholm and Hanifin signed to an extension…. Whaddya do?

      Tkachuk Part 2?

      They could get a pretty good haul IMO.

  4. Tyler Toffoli is a good example of yesterday’s discussion on Bedard ‘s “poor skating”

    Toffoli has a proven track record of hockey IQ overcoming skating.

    He’s still missed in Montreal as a mentor.

  5. “Cap strapped club with surplus defensemen looking to shed salary” = ST. LOUIS BLUES!

    Army + Steve Y = FREQUENT trade partners!

    Parayko to Wings—-heard it here 1st!!!

    ps. I think I like Vrana already (after 2 games)


    • I.P. – there are those of us in Detroit who wonder what went on with Vrana here. It’s like, after he returned from the Players Assistance Program, we did our best to bury him, diminishing any trade value he might have. We need goal scorers, and, when all is well, Vrana should be a 30+ man. Something unseen happened, and we may never know what.

  6. Flyers fire Chuck Fletcher. Its about time.

    Gut the roster, tear it down and build it up the right way.

    • While I do not like Fletcher at all, I don’t think ownership allowed him to and likely won’t extend a different leash to Danny.

      They run themselves like the Canucks do.

      • Hey theSaint…..

        Nobody Runs a Team into the ground like the Canucks do….❗️
        The Owner looks after that 100%

      • @ Willie… too true

      • Atkinson, Selke, Koneckny, Ellis.. more than half their decent prospects last year.. what die these folks have in common?

  7. KevJam – are you advocating that the Flames embark upon a re-build with the suggestion they part with Mangiapane, Dube, Zadorov and Weegar?

    Yes, they have been spinning their wheels over their past 10, going 4-4-2, but have won their past 2 and sit 4 points back of the Jets, both with 65gp and 34 points left up for grabs.

    Dube, costing just $2.3 mil with 2 years left, seems to be a bargain with 17g 21a 38pts and only a -2 in 65gp; Mangiapne, also with 2 years left, costs $5.8 mil and has 13g 19a 32 pts and is +4 in 65gp, Zadorov, at a cap hit of $3,750,000 with 1 year to go, has 9g 5a 14 pts and is +9 over 65gp, while Weegar, whose $6,250,000 new deal kicks in next season, has 1g 19a 20pts and is +8 over 64gp.

    Each is also clearly durable, with only Weegar missing 1 game to date. The loss of Kylington really hurt and, to a lesser degree, the veteran Stone.

    But the positions that seem to be at thew root of the problem are in net with Markstrom and Vladar both with a save % in the 0,895 area … and perhaps behind the bench with Suter’s ancient act maybe wearing thin.

    • I’m not suggesting a rebuild, more of a retool. The Flames also have an issue scoring, and that comes from missing a player that can rush the puck up the ice from the d-zone to the o-zone. That is what the Flames excelled at last season and is how they created the majority of their offence. That is Sutter hockey and after losing Gaudreua the Flames weren’t able to replace that. Huberdeau was the wrong type of player to acquire. Huberdeau is a puck distributor, not a carrier. That is on Treliving, not Sutter. Huberdeau’s contract pretty much makes him untradeable.
      Dube, Mangiapane, and Weegar should have enough value to help acquire that type of player. Zadorov is just horrible and they just need to unload him.
      Pelletier, Zary, and Coronato shouldn’t have an issue replacing Debe and Mangiapane. Plus they could also make a great kid line the fans can get excited about and behind.
      Trading Weegar would be a move to clear up a little cap space and they still have the option to extend Stecher. He should be cheaper than Weegar.
      I don’t see Sutter as the issue. How can a coach be so great one year and then so horrible the next? With the way the team has been performing any coach would criticize his players. If the players don’t like it, then play better! The man has won a couple of Stanley Cups. Listen to him.
      I remember Huberdeau’s agent tweeting something about the definition of insanity is doing something over and over again and expecting a different result. I replied to that with, “If a Stanley Cup-winning coach is asking a player to do something over and over again, then that player is probably not doing it right.” Walsh blocked me after that. LOL

  8. I think the Wings may rely on their prospect depth to fill that spot on the right. Chances are Edvinsson and Albert Johansson make the jump up next season. I think they’re both technically LDs, but they both play RD at times in GR. I wouldn’t expect either to spend much time on a 3rd or 4th pairing when they make the jump to Detroit because putting young D’s with Chariot is a disaster. They’ll pair them with either Walman, Seider or Maata. What would help is adding a defensively sound bruising type defender to play with Chariot on the bottom pairings.

  9. Flames did not replace Gaudreau and Tkachuk’s goals with Huberdeau and Kadri. Not even close.
    Mangiapane had 34 last year. Will end up with half of that
    Can’t win every game 1-0

    They do need to add a player like a Schmaltz and Konecny