NHL Rumor Mill – June 21, 2023
LATEST FROM TSN’S “INSIDER TRADING”.
LeBrun indicates the Devils have looked into it but what gives them pause is the amount of money the 30-year-old Hellebuyck would seek in his next contract. It’s believed he’d seek something comparable to the $9.5 million annual cap hit of Tampa Bay’s Andrei Vasilevskiy. LeBrun believes the price would have to come down for the Devils to get more involved.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Hellebuyck is a former Vezina Trophy winner who is a finalist this year for the award. Of course, he’s going to seek something comparable to Vasilevskiy, especially if he wins the Vezina again.
Bear in mind that Hellebuyck lacks no-trade protection. The Jets can send him to anyone willing to meet their asking price. However, they’ll get a better return if he’s willing to sign with whichever team he’s dealt to. That could be a limited number of possible destinations.
Turning to Hellebuyck’s teammate Pierre-Luc Dubois, Darren Dreger reports there are more teams than the Montreal Canadiens and the Los Angeles Kings interested in the Jets center. The Kings have limited salary-cap space while the Canadiens have made it clear they’re willing to wait until Dubois becomes an unrestricted free agent next summer.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The “Dubois-to-Montreal” speculation hasn’t been as heated as it was a couple of weeks ago. That doesn’t mean a trade to the Canadiens isn’t possible. However, it appears they’ve made it clear that they’re comfortable with Dubois heading somewhere else if the Jets asking price is too high. The same applies to his contract.
LeBrun was asked whether there was a pathway for Ryan O’Reilly to return to the Toronto Maple Leafs. Acquired from the St. Louis Blues near the trade deadline, O’Reilly sounded like he would be heading to free agency during his end-of-season interview perhaps because of the Leafs cap constraints.
However, new Leafs GM Brad Treliving has informed the O’Reilly camp that they’re interested in bringing him back. The 31-year-old center also hasn’t ruled out a possible return. However, he appears to be the top center in an otherwise weak UFA market.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: O’Reilly isn’t the dominant two-way center he was when he lead the Blues to the 2019 Stanley Cup. Nevertheless, he’s still a very effective one when healthy and will draw plenty of interest from playoff contenders. The Leafs will face competition for his services.
UPDATES ON PESCE AND YAMAMOTO
COLORADO HOCKEY NOW: Evan Rawal cited Yvon Pedneault of Le Journal de Montreal listing the Avalanche among the teams interested in Carolina Hurricanes defenseman Brett Pesce. The 28-year-old defenseman is a year away from UFA status. The Hurricanes hope to re-sign him but it’s believed they could trade him if a deal cannot be worked out.
Rawal doesn’t buy into it citing how much they’re already paying for defensemen with Bowen Byram and Devon Toews due for raises soon. He believes the only way this works is if they trade away one of their defensemen.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I agree with Rawal that if the Avs pursue a defenseman this summer it’ll be a depth blueliner, not Pesce.
EDMONTON JOURNAL: David Staples cited TSN’s Chris Johnston and Daily Faceoff’s Frank Seravalli believe there should be a market for Oilers winger Kailer Yamamoto. Seravalli doesn’t believe they’ll get much of a return but won’t have to pay to move him.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The objective here for the cap-strapped Oilers is shedding Yamamoto’s $3.1 million cap hit for 2023-24. If all they get back is a draft pick or prospect it’ll be worth it if the money can be put toward re-signing a key player or adding an upgrade.