NHL Rumor Mill – March 14, 2023

by | Mar 14, 2023 | Rumors | 30 comments

A look at Timo Meier’s contract situation with the Devils, Patrick Kane’s future with the Rangers plus ongoing rumors linking Pierre-Luc Dubois to the Canadiens in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.


NORTHSTAR BETS: TSN’s Chris Johnston recently pondered how the New Jersey Devils will navigate Timo Meier’s contract situation. The recently-acquired winger is a restricted free agent who’s a year away from unrestricted free-agent eligibility. It will cost the Devils $10 million to qualify his rights.

New Jersey Devils winger Timo Meier (NHL Images).

Given the big return the Devils gave up to the San Jose Sharks to acquire Meier, the Devils prefer to re-sign the 26-year-old winger rather than give him that $10 million QO and risk letting him depart next summer as a UFA. Johnston indicated that it’s believed there were some preliminary ideas exchanged between Devils management and Meier’s camp but no serious discussions yet.

Johnston believes it’ll take an eight-year deal worth $9 million annually for the Devils to retain Meier beyond next season. He thinks they’ll face a tough decision in re-signing a player under no pressure to take any discounts or potentially package him to another club.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: There’s a belief that Devils general manager Tom Fitzgerald doesn’t want his forwards earning more than Jack Hughes’ $8 million annually. However, I believe Johnston’s right that it’ll cost around $9 million per season to re-sign Meier. If Fitzgerald isn’t willing to do that, he’ll have to peddle the former Sharks winger, especially if he’s unwilling to qualify Meier’s rights for next season.


Johnston also wondered if Patrick Kane would consider re-signing with the New York Rangers if things go well with them over the remainder of this season. It’ll depend on whether the salary cap and lifestyle and contract needs align.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I don’t rule it out but I don’t see it happening. Cap Friendly shows the Rangers with $16.8 million in projected salary-cap space for 2023-24 and 13 roster players under contract.

Restricted free agents K’Andre Miller, Alexis Lafreniere and Filip Chytil will be seeking raises that will eat up a considerable chunk of that cap space even if the Rangers can squeeze them to accept affordable short-term deals. Miller is a second-pairing defenseman with 31 points this season. Chytil and Lafreniere should both reach 40 points this season.

By my reckoning, the Rangers will be fortunate to get those three re-signed for under $10 million. That’s not taking into account their need to re-sign or replace pending UFA backup goal Jaroslav Halak, which will take up more valuable cap room.

Kane would have to accept a significant pay cut to stay in New York. Even then, the Rangers might face shedding some salary to make the dollars fit. That’s why I expect he’s a playoff rental who’ll be heading into free agency on July 1.


SPORTSNET: During the March 9 episode of The Jeff Marek Show, the host and Elliotte Friedman were discussing what it might mean for the Winnipeg Jets if they missed the playoffs this season.

Friedman mentioned that he believed the Jets and Montreal Canadiens occasionally talked about Pierre-Luc Dubois during this season. The 24-year-old center remains with the Jets but Friedman speculated that was something that could be discussed during the offseason.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Dubois’ agent raised eyebrows last offseason when he mentioned that his client might one day be interested in joining the Canadiens. The center downplayed those remarks during the press conference announcing his new one-year, $6 million contract, claiming he never sought a trade to Montreal or anywhere else.

Nevertheless, questions about Dubois’ future in Winnipeg have never really gone away. Like Meier, he’s a restricted free agent who is a year away from UFA eligibility this summer.

The Jets would love to sign Dubois to a long-term extension, especially with Mark Scheifele and Blake Wheeler slated for UFA eligibility next summer. If he prefers a one-year deal taking him up to UFA status, GM Kevin Cheveldayoff could have no choice but to trade him this summer.

Whether Dubois winds up with the rebuilding Canadiens remains to be seen. They’ve got the draft capital with the Panthers’ first-round pick plus considerable depth in promising youngsters on their roster and within their system to make a competitive pitch to the Jets.

The Canadiens will have around $10.5 million in projected cap space for 2023-24 with 17 roster players under contract. However, they’ll also get $10.5 million in wiggle room if necessary should Carey Price remain on long-term injury reserve as expected. They could afford to add a new contract for Dubois and still have enough to re-sign Cole Caufield to a lucrative new deal.

Whether the rebuilding Canadiens are interested in trading for Dubois remains to be seen. Assuming they are interested in him, they could wait until next summer when he becomes a UFA instead of parting with draft picks and players to get him this summer.


  1. It would be crazy for Montreal to trade picks and players for PLDubois when he is slated to become a free agent after this year and could possibly join Montreal at that time for “just money”.
    Through back-channels, Montreal must know if really wants to come there. If he does, I would only offer Wpg a 3rd rounder which becomes a 2nd if Montreal resigns him. Otherwise I just wait. Montreal is not pushing for a Cup next year, so no reason to trade away picks and players to “go for it” this upcoming season.

    • Dubois would certainly be a player the Habs would be interested in. A big center with a strong all around game. Young enough to be a player to build around. Would leave the Habs strong up the middle for the next several years.
      If Dubois does not wish to sign a long term extension this summer, the Jets will have no choice but to look to trade him. If the Habs are interested and he’s interested in coming to Montreal and signing long term, they should try to work out a reasonable trade, without overpaying. In the NHL, teams and players have to jump at opportunities when they present themselves. We never know what could happen if we wait too long.

    • Ask the Rangers if they regret playing it safe and trading for Fox…

      • A second-round pick and a third-round pick wasn’t really a risk when acquiring Fox.

    • Peg would never do that deal. Would get at minimum. A 1st and good prospect at next years deadline

      • I’d figure the 1st acquired from Calgary in the Monahan trade, a decent prospect (not named Lane Hutson) and a veteran such as Dvorak

    • Voilà. Shortcuts during a rebuilt just don’t work.
      Draft and develop.

      (if he wants to sign as a UFA, that’s something else.)

      • It’s not a shortcut. It’s a supplement. Face it. Most prospects and first rounders don’t become top level players. The Habs have a fair amount of prospects but veteran support is always needed. Dipping into a solid prospect pool to pick up a top 6 Center is well worth it.

  2. Re; Pierre-Luc Dubois and the Hab’s

    He will be a UFA at the end of the 2023-24 season
    Why trade picks or anything❓ when you can sign him for FREE in july 2024 if he want to go there so Bad….not like the habs will be a contender before then…?

    Habs also need a #1 Starting Goaltender⁉️
    Montembeault is a UFA in July 2024.
    Jake Allen is a UFA in July 2025
    and they only have 24 yr old Cayden Primeau’ in the system coming up, who now looks more like a Back up Goaltender Now….🤔

  3. I know it would be a risk, but what if the Rangers decide to resign Kane and trade Lafreniere? Right now, at the age of 32, Kane is outperforming Lafreniere. Lafreniere hasn’t lived up to his 1st overall pick. He is young and is putting up decent stats and will only get better, that is the risk. Because of that the Rangers could easily get at least a good young prospect and another good roster player on an ELC for Lafreniere. That’s the way I see it, he isn’t living up to his draft position and the Rangers can benefit by selling high on him now.

    • Or, he could turn to be like another infamous # 1 pick named Alex who also lit up the Q as a Junior

      Lafreniere – 173gp 114g 183a 297 points

      Daigle – 137gp 94g 187a 281 points

      • I’m kinda looking at Taylor Hall as a comparison for Lafreniere. Through their first 3 seasons, they have similar points per game average. First overall busts like Daigle and Yakupov are few and far between.
        IMO the Rangers are thin on RW. Tarasenko is pearly a rental. So if they can resign Kane and use Lafreniere to get a good young RWer on an ELC, that should help them balance their wingers out and cap.

      • Understtod. But a lot of what transpired over their first 3 seasons for Hall, Lafreniere and Faigle also very much centered around the relative strengths and weaknesses of their teams.

        Just looking at it from a statistical standpoint, and extrapolating over 82-game averages, it shows Lafreniere much closer to Daigle than Hall:

        Hall – 171gp 68g 80a 145pts – for 82-game averages pf 31g 38a 69 pts

        Lafreniere – 200gp 45g 39a 84pts – for 82-game averages of 19g 16a 35pts

        Daigle – 181gp 41g 64a 105pts – for 82-game averages of 19g 29a 48pts

      • And since Yakopov was also mentioned, here are his comparative stats over his first 3 seasons

        192gp 42g 46a 88 points – for 82-game averages of 18g 20a 38 pts

  4. Well the Jets can trade DuBois to any team not just MTL so the idea that you’re getting him for a 3 rd rd pick is ludicrous haha.
    From the players point of view if he indeed wants to go to MTL I don’t think he’d want to wait another year if he is really unhappy.
    If he decides that a long term deal with the Jets is not his cup of tea he will be dealt at the deadline next spring for a nice return imo.
    I think his real upside value is a playoff type of player. Big, mean and can score. I’m thinking Timo Meier next spring value.
    Anyway he’s valuable both to the Jets and other squads. I’m hoping for a resign. Make up your own term and $

  5. I can understand that the idea of waiting for next summer sounds good to Mtl fans. But there are some obstacles.
    1/ Would JLB really want to wait, he could get injured, does he really want to risk that?
    2/ If the Jets trade him this summer to a team that is ahead of Mtl he could resign there, LA comes to mind

    • Agreed, Kent. Obviously the Habs won’t be ready to contend for a few years and are unlikely to make the playoffs next year. Obviously it would be better to get him for nothing next year. But there are no guarantees. The Jets might trade him somewhere else and he may just decide to stay there. That’s why if the Habs can get him this summer for a reasonable price and sign him to an extension, they should do so.

      • Howard, you’ve convinced me : I am now un favori of trading for Dubois, next summer.
        The 1st Montreal got from the Flames was already used, though: we picked Philip Mesar with it.
        The Panthers’ 1st (lottery protected), a 2nd, Struble , and Emil Heineman ?

      • Patrick, the Mesar pick was made with the first rounder the Habs got from the Flames for Toffoli. I was referring to the first rounder the Habs got from Calgary for taking Monahan off their hands.

    • Well if he is traded to another team and decides to stay there he is not the only good player that will be available then and in the near future.

      Then there could be that the other team acquiring him will want to make sure he ‘ll sign a contract right away, they also will be scared to lose him to Montreal.

      If he really wants to come to Montreal, he will no matter what.

      Bottom line there is no way the Habs should pay future assets for him. If he changes his mind and signs with another team then Habs can go for someone else.

      There is a difference between having to pay something and hoping that they will have to pay something dear Habs non-fans

  6. I agree with everyone that it would not be wise to give up prospects and draft picks for Dubois when you can sign him as a UFA for nothing in a year. I also don’t see Dubois ending up in Montreal. I believe there is mutual interest on both sides for Dubois to end up in Montreal but although I think Dubois is sincere in wanting to sign in Montreal, I also think he is looking to sign a $9.5+ million dollar deal which won’t happen in Montreal. Montreal will use Suzuki’s contract as the ceiling which is around $7.9 million. Their stats are similar this year. Dubois will get more money playing somewhere else and take it.

  7. There are lots of examples of players that were going “home “ for sure that signed elsewhere.

    Johnny Gaudreau was going to Philadelphia for sure, signed in Columbus. Matthew Tkachuk was definitely going to St.Louis, but ended up signing in Florida.

    Money still talks. If you wait for him to go to ufa it might work out, but it might not.

    • Bobby Ryan was definitely headed to Philadelphia but wound up in Ottawa – Stamkos was positively headed “home” to Toronto but quickly changed his mind and remained in Tampa when exposed to the circus that ensued when he visited Toronto.

  8. Post trade deadline + bored Friedman = same old speculations.

  9. This is the problem with a 2 yr to UFA…..

    Offer sheet him at a 1 and 3 level omprnsatory amt. the old team matches then they can’t trade him for 2 calendar year which thrn put him into being a UFA.

  10. Speaking of the Habs, seing the way Gurianov has been playing since he arrived in Montreal, I think this is going to be a real steal by Kent Hugues !

    • Mike,
      I think your right there,

      RW, Denis Gurianov Scored his (6th) goal of the season tonight beating the Pen’s 6-4..❗️
      i think he has the potential to be a 20+ goal scorer hitting 50 pts as a RW….

      Taliking about RW, I wonder if they will trade Josh Andreson at the Draft..❓

      Habs have to very good RW coming soon,…
      Joshua Roy & Filip Mesar👌
      The Habs just need a starting Goaltender!

      • The jury’s still out on Gurianov. He’s had a few good games but has to prove himself over the long run. His qualifying offer would be $2.9m. – too high. If he keeps playing well, he may be worth a two year deal 8n the $1.5m. Range.
        Anderson’s play of late is why he’s not getting traded unless Hughes is blown away with an offer.

      • Honestly Willie, Roy might be good but he apparently has some attitude problems.. Anderson is under a good contract IMO 5m for a 25 goals a year scorer is quite okay. Mesar is looking good I agree

        Think I would use Roy as trade baith, he has good value because of his wjc performance, altough it might cause a commotion because of that stupid french factor.

        I am more excited about Sean Farrel, Lane Hutson and Logan Mailloux.

        We’ll see I guess.

      • About Gurianov, he has 4 goals,1 assist, 5 points in 9 games with the Canadiens and physicality aside he makes me think of Anderson but with better hands. Guess It’s because he is big and very fast