NHL Rumor Mill – June 8, 2023
DUBOIS WANTS A TRADE THIS SUMMER
TSN: Pierre LeBrun reports that Pat Brisson, the agent for Pierre-Luc Dubois, has informed the Winnipeg Jets that his client doesn’t intend to sign a contract extension this summer. Brisson would like to work with the Jets to arrange a trade to another team for the 24-year-old center.
The Dubois camp last summer informed Jets management that he didn’t intend to sign a long-term contract with them. He was a restricted free agent last summer and accepted the club’s one-year, $6 million qualifying offer. He’s an RFA this summer but is also a year away from unrestricted free-agent eligibility.
LeBrun said the Jets can decide to keep him for next season, take him to arbitration or attempt to move him before next year’s trade deadline.
Darren Dreger said the Jets prefer not to have to trade their top players and they’re not committed to doing that or extending them. However, he believes there’s potential for them to get a solid return in the trade market for someone like Dubois that would help stabilize the club.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Jets general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff seems to have little room to maneuver with Dubois. It doesn’t do any good to have a player on the roster for one more year that you know is going to walk next summer. Dubois’ situation would overshadow the season and become an unnecessary distraction.
The same goes for goaltender Connor Hellebuyck and center Mark Scheifele. Like Dubois, both are due to become UFAs next July. If they’re also unwilling to re-sign, it’s time to bite the bullet and see what you can get for them before the free-agent market opens on July 1. That’s when teams have more cap space and a willingness to spend on quality talent.
If there aren’t any reasonable offers this summer, Cheveldayoff would be justified to retain them and try his luck at the trade deadline. Dubois’ RFA status could complicate things unless the Jets take him to arbitration.
THE ATHLETIC: LeBrun expounded on his Dubois report, saying the Montreal Canadiens remain an interested party. However, he doesn’t see the Habs paying a fortune in a trade for a player they could bid on in next summer’s free-agent market. LeBrun claims there are a few teams looking into Dubois.
SPORTSNET: Ken Wiebe suggests the Jets allow Brisson to broker a deal with clubs that Dubois would be willing to sign with as it could enhance the return. He thinks a bidding war could take place if the center is open to joining a team like the Los Angeles Kings or Boston Bruins or New York Rangers. However, the Jets won’t have much leverage if it’s Montreal or bust for Dubois.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Colorado Avalanche and Carolina Hurricanes have also come up as possible destinations for Dubois. It’ll be interesting to see how this situation unfolds but it’s clear that we’re going to hear a lot more about Dubois in the rumor mill in the coming weeks.
DEBRINCAT PROVIDES SENATORS A LIST OF TRADE DESTINATIONS
TSN: Pierre LeBrun reports that Jeff Jackson, the agent for Alex DeBrincat, has submitted a list of preferred trade destinations to the Ottawa Senators. He also believes Senators GM Pierre Dorion would want the 25-year-old winger signed through this trade to get maximum value in return.
THE ATHLETIC: LeBrun said he doesn’t know which teams are on DeBrincat’s list. However, he speculates the likes of Nashville, Vegas and Dallas could be included. He also wondered if the Michigan native would be interested in playing for Detroit.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: LeBrun drew a comparison to Matthew Tkachuk’s situation last summer with the Calgary Flames. Tkachuk provided a list of preferred destinations to the Flames which helped shape the deal sending him to the Florida Panthers for Jonathan Huberdeau and MacKenzie Weegar.
DeBrincat is a restricted free agent on July 1 who lacks no-trade protection. LeBrun points out that Dorion could send him anywhere. However, he believes it’s better for the Senators to send him to one of the teams on the winger’s list. Those clubs could be interested in signing him, thus ensuring the Senators get a better return.
OTTAWA SUN: Bruce Garrioch believes the Red Wings, Hurricanes, Washington Capitals, Seattle Kraken, Nashville Predators, and St. Louis Blues could be destinations for DeBrincat. Those clubs are all in the market for scoring this summer.
Garrioch noted the Senators were linked to the Philadelphia Flyers because they’re listening to offers for goaltender Carter Hart, prompting some observers to suggest the Senators swap DeBrincat for Hart. However, DeBrincat might not be willing to commit to a long-term contract with a rebuilding club.
Ken Warren, meanwhile, suggests the Senators might be better off using the money they might’ve invested in re-signing DeBrincat to address their roster needs. They require an upgrade in goal as well as a proven two-way, third-line winger.
SPORTSNET: Wayne Scanlan suggests the Senators could get a good asset plus a draft pick. They lack a pick in the first three rounds of this year’s draft.
As for assets, Scanlan suggested there are lots of options from Winnipeg’s Connor Hellebuyck to New Jersey’s Jesper Bratt, who’s also a restricted free agent this summer and a year away from UFA status. He also suggested perhaps getting creative and swinging a three-team deal for someone like Philadelphia’s Travis Konecny or Carter Hart.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Based on LeBrun’s report, I don’t think Winnipeg’s an option here. New Jersey could be depending on how contract talks go with Bratt, but he might not be willing to sign long-term with the Senators. It would be better to pursue someone with some tenure remaining on their contracts. As for Konecny or Hart, see Garrioch’s comment about DeBrincat’s potential reluctance to sign with a rebuilding club.
LATEST ON CARTER HART
SAN JOSE HOCKEY NOW: Sheng Peng yesterday cited Sportsnet’s Jeff Marek speculating that the Sharks could be interested in Carter Hart. However, the Flyers could seek a bigger return for the 24-year-old goaltender than what they got in the Ivan Provorov trade earlier this week.
Peng cited a source saying the Flyers could seek two first-round picks as part of the return. That’s something the rebuilding Sharks can afford.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: You can’t blame Flyers GM Daniel Briere if he’s setting a high asking price for Hart. He’s not under any pressure to move the young netminder, who’s signed through next season and will be a restricted free agent next July. He can afford to shoot for the moon here and see if someone is willing to take him up on it.
DAILY FACEOFF: Frank Seravalli and Colby Cohen discussed the Los Angeles Kings’ goaltending situation. Seravalli thinks Winnipeg’s Connor Hellebuyck would make a lot of sense for the Kings while Cohen mentioned that Hart was also linked to the Kings.
TORONTO SUN: Terry Koshan doesn’t expect the Maple Leafs to get into the bidding for Hart if the Flyers are willing to move him. He thinks they have a bright future in goal with Ilya Samsonov and Joseph Woll.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Samsonov and Woll impressed me with their play for the Leafs this season. Given the club’s limited cap space, I can see them sticking with that tandem for 2023-24.