Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – June 4, 2023
The latest on Jets stars Connor Hellebuyck, Mark Scheifele and Pierre-Luc Dubois as well as updates on Ducks goalie John Gibson, Devils defenseman Damon Severson, Flyers blueliner Ivan Provorov and Canadiens winger Cole Caufield in the Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup.
LATEST ON HELLEBUYCK, SCHEIFELE AND DUBOIS
SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman reported the Winnipeg Jets will be listening to offers for Connor Hellebuyck, Mark Scheifele and Pierre-Luc Dubois. All three are a year away from unrestricted free-agent eligibility.
Friedman claims the Jets aren’t throwing in the towel on being a contender. He said they’ve made it clear that this isn’t going to be a rebuild this summer. They could get some futures (draft picks, prospects) as part of the return if any of those players get traded. However, they also have several good players on long-term contracts that they want to support.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Daily Faceoff’s Frank Seravalli has Hellebuyck sitting second on his updated list of offseason trade targets with Scheifele at fourth and Dubois seventh.
Seravalli suggested Los Angeles, New Jersey, Ottawa, Toronto, Carolina, Pittsburgh and Vegas all have openings for a goaltender “based on play or contractual status”. Of these, I suggest Los Angeles, New Jersey, Carolina and Pittsburgh as more viable destinations for Hellebuyck.
Hellebuyck lacks no-trade protection so the Jets can send him anywhere. However, I think Ottawa would want assurances that he would agree to a contract extension before trading away valuable assets to get him.
Toronto’s cap constraints make acquiring him difficult unless they shed one of their expensive “core four” forward to clear space for him. They could instead stick with the promising (and affordable) tandem of Ilya Samsonov and Joseph Woll.
Vegas also lacks cap space plus they seem to be managing just fine with their goaltenders of Logan Thompson, Laurent Brossoit and current playoff hero (and possible Conn Smythe Trophy contender) Adin Hill. They’ve also got sidelined Robin Lehner’s $5 million cap hit on their books.
As for Dubois, the Winnipeg Sun’s Scott Billeck noted the ongoing rumors linking the 24-year-old center to his hometown Montreal Canadiens. However, he also suggested the Colorado Avalanche, New York Rangers, Los Angeles Kings and Boston Bruins as possible destinations.
Billeck noted the Kings could need a new No.1 center if Anze Kopitar comes off their books next summer. However, I expect Kopitar will sign a contract extension to finish his career in Los Angeles.
The Rangers need a scoring right winger. Dubois doesn’t address that issue unless they shift second-line center Vincent Trocheck to the right wing.
Keep an eye on the Avalanche and Bruins. They both have limited cap space but I wouldn’t be shocked to see one of those clubs finding a way to land Dubois. I also wouldn’t rule out the Canadiens but that might depend on how much he’d want on a contract extension as well as the Jets’ asking price.
GIBSON COULD PART WAYS WITH THE DUCKS
THE ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER: Lisa Dillman recently reported John Gibson is ready to move on from the Anaheim Ducks. It’s believed the 29-year-old goaltender met last month with Ducks general manager Pat Verbeek to express those sentiments.
Gibson has four seasons remaining on his contract with an average annual value of $6.4 million plus a 10-team no-trade clause. He wants to play for a winning club but that won’t be possible over the next several years with the Ducks engaged in rebuilding their roster.
Dillman noted the Kings and Penguins could use help between the pipes but both clubs could find it difficult to accommodate his salary or meet Verbeek’s potential asking price.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Seravalli has Gibson sitting 10th on his trade targets list. He also wrote that the Ducks goalie was available last summer but the asking price was high.
Seravalli wondered if the Ducks would be willing to retain part of his cap hit to bring it down to around $5 million to make a move more palatable. Four years is a long time to retain $1.4 million annually but it might have to be done unless Verbeek can find a way to pull off a three-team deal.
PROVOROV TRADE IS NOT A CERTAINTY
Provorov remains a strong skater and good puck-mover who flashes high-end skill but his offensive game has not progressed nor does he drive the play at even strength. The Flyers have tried different defense partners with him to no avail.
O’Connor mused over whether Provorov remains a fit with a rebuilding Flyers team under a demanding head coach like John Tortorella. A trade seems likely if general manager Daniel Briere can find a rival GM who thinks Provorov could improve with a change of scenery. However, it’s hard to predict what he might fetch in a trade.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Provorov sits 18th on Seravalli’s trade list. He anticipates the Flyers will receive calls about the 26-year-old defenseman. Like O’Connor, however, he’s not sure they’ll move him or what Provorov’s stature is among general managers around the league.
UPDATE ON CAUFIELD’S CONTRACT TALKS
MONTREAL HOCKEY NOW: Marco D’Amico cited Montreal broadcaster Tony Marinaro’s recent report on the status of Cole Caufield’s contract talks with the Canadiens. The 22-year-old winger is completing his entry-level contract.
According to Marinaro, he’s heard that the average annual value of Caufield’s next contract will not exceed that of linemate Nick Suzuki. The Canadiens captain’s AAV is $7.875 million.
Marinaro followed up by reporting the contract talks are progressing with all signs pointing to a seven- or eight-year deal.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Some Canadiens fans and pundits are worried that a rival club might swoop in on July 1 and sign Caufield to an expensive offer sheet that the Habs might have difficulty matching.
TSN’s Darren Dreger recently dismissed that notion saying the word around the league is the Canadiens would match any offer. A Caufield offer sheet is quite unlikely this summer. Nineteen teams have less than $15 million in cap space for 2023-24. Several others lack sufficient draft picks to pay the high compensation rate for successfully signing him away. That’s assuming Caufield would sign one in the first place.
I didn’t dismiss the possibility of Caufield’s cap hit being slightly higher than Suzuki’s as the latter signed his contract two years ago. It will be a big win for the Canadiens to get him signed for less than Suzuki’s AAV on a long-term deal.
DEVILS COULD SHOP SEVERSON’S RIGHTS
SPECTOR’S NOTE: They won’t get much of a return for Severson because of his UFA status but better than losing him to the free-agent market for nothing. That’s assuming he’ll sign with whatever club acquires him.