NHL Rumor Mill – June 1, 2023
The Hurricanes intend to be busy in this summer’s trade market, some proposed targets for the Avalanche to boost their forward lines, and some trade targets for the Blackhawks in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.
HURRICANES TO BE BUSY IN THIS SUMMER’S TRADE MARKET
THE NEWS & OBSERVER: Luke DeCock reports Carolina Hurricanes general manager Don Waddell intends to go the trade route this summer rather than through free agency to bolster his roster for next season.
“I think the trade route is something we’re going to explore very heavily before free agency,” said Waddell during his end-of-season media availability yesterday. He indicated he’d like to boost the Hurricanes’ scoring but would also like to add some size to his roster.
“We’d like to get a little heavier, if possible,” said Waddell. He’s also hoping for a bounce-back performance from winger Teuvo Teravainen and for young players like Seth Jarvis to continue their improvement.
Waddell indicated there’s still no timeline for when pending free agent Max Pacioretty will return to action following his second torn Achilles. While they’re interested in bringing back the 34-year-old winger, he said they “have to make sure we don’t get caught counting on something that isn’t there.”
DeCock also reported that Hurricanes owner Tom Dundon has made re-signing center Sebastian Aho to a long-term contract extension “a top, top priority.” Dundon said he’d like to get Aho signed as soon as possible. Aho is eligible to become an unrestricted free agent next July.
Dundon also believes it’s possible to bring back captain Jordan Staal. He anticipates it’ll be done quickly. “We want to keep him here.” The Hurricanes captain is also open to bringing back pending UFA goalies Frederik Andersen and Antti Raanta, pointing out that Pyotr Kochetkov remains waiver-exempt next season.
THE ATHLETIC: Pierre LeBrun reports Waddell wasted little time reaching out to Aho’s agent to get the ball rolling on contract extension talks. LeBrun also noted there’s little bitterness between the Hurricanes’ front office and Aho over the latter signing that five-year, $42.295 million offer sheet from the Montreal Canadiens that was quickly matched by the Canes.
LeBrun believes Aho wants to stay with the Hurricanes. He speculates they’d like to keep the average annual value of his next contract under $9.5 million.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Hurricanes want to keep their roster as intact as possible for another shot at a Cup run next year after finishing this season with the second-best record (111 points) in franchise history. Despite being swept by the Florida Panthers in the Eastern Conference Final, they point to how close each game was in that series and how it could’ve gone their way had they caught some puck luck.
The Hurricanes might have to front-load Aho’s contract to keep it around $9.5 million. I anticipate it’ll cost them closer to $10 million annually on a seven- or eight-year deal to keep him in the fold.
It sounds like they’re also going to let Pacioretty go to market on July 1. Given his age and recent injury history, he’d had to accept a one-year deal with a substantial pay cut to stay in Carolina.
The Hurricanes have over $24 million in cap space for 2023-24. They can afford to bring back Staal, Andersen and Raanta and still have sufficient cap room to add a scorer. Waddell could target clubs looking to shed salary without taking too much back in return.
PROPOSED TRADE TARGETS FOR THE AVALANCHE
THE HOCKEY NEWS: Adam Proteau observed the Colorado Avalanche will get $7 million in cap relief with captain Gabriel Landeskog sidelined for next season recovering from knee surgery. With $20.3 million in cap room, he proposed five targets to boost their forward lines.
If the Avs look to free agency, Proteau suggested bringing back Ryan O’Reilly to provide the grit and experience they need for a deep playoff run. He anticipated O’Reilly could cost between $4 million and $5 million annually. He also suggested pending UFA winger Vladimir Tarasenko would be a good fit on their second line. So could Pittsburgh Penguins winger Jason Zucker if he tests the market.
Proteau also suggested the New Jersey Devils’ Timo Meier or the Vancouver Canucks Brock Boeser. Meier is a restricted free agent who might become available via an offer sheet though the Devils could match it. The Canucks, meanwhile, are looking to shed salary but also need help in the blueline. Proteau suggested offering up Samuel Girard in exchange for Boeser.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’ll be interesting to see how the Avalanche proceed this summer. Their priority remains a second-line center but they could also look at adding a short-term replacement on left wing for the sidelined Landeskog.
O’Reilly or Tarasenko might be possible but it depends on what they’re seeking on their next contracts. There’s been some speculation suggesting O’Reilly might return to the Blues on a short-term deal for around what Proteau was proposing.
Meier will be far too expensive if he becomes available via trade or offer sheet. Boeser for Girard would address the Canucks and Avs’ respective needs. However, Canucks management seems to be leaning toward retaining Boeser while shipping out someone else to garner some cap relief.
PROPOSED TRADE TARGETS FOR THE BLACKHAWKS
THE ATHLETIC: Scott Powers recently listed several trade targets for the Chicago Blackhawks if they wish to weaponize their cap space for 2023-24. They might be able to land some first-round picks or quality prospects by targeting cap-strapped teams carrying unwanted contracts.
Vancouver Canucks winger Conor Garland, defenseman Tyler Myers and winger Brock Boeser topped Powers’ list. Other options include Washington Capitals winger Anthony Mantha and New York Islanders winger Josh Bailey.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Garland or Myers are the most likely to be available. As noted earlier, the Canucks seem to be leaning toward hanging onto Boeser.