Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – February 11, 2024
The Flames and Devils discussed Jacob Markstrom plus updates on the Bruins, Oilers and Sabres in the Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup.
LATEST ON THE FLAMES
SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman reports the respective general managers of the Calgary Flames and New Jersey Devils discussed Flames goaltender Jacob Markstrom before the two clubs played each other last week. Neither team is commenting on this.
Friedman doesn’t know if this was ever taken to Markstrom, who is signed through 2025-26 with an average annual value of $6 million and a full no-movement clause. However, he believes the two sides held a serious discussion on the subject.
Two issues were the Flames’ asking price and salary retention. Friedman heard that those were difficult to overcome and stopped the discussions, adding it seemed unlikely that those talks would resume.
NEW JERSEY HOCKEY NOW: James Nichols suggests plenty of time for things to change with the March 8 trade deadline over three weeks away. He indicated that Markstrom is already willing to waive his no-movement clause and it’s been reported he’d be interested in doing so for the Devils. However, it will only be talk unless the Flames and Devils can reach an agreement that both sides are comfortable with.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Flames aren’t going to give Markstrom away nor are they under any pressure to trade him. In an interview last week with Friedman’s colleague Eric Francis, the netminder said he hadn’t been asked to waive his clause nor is he going to request a trade. With Markstom signed for two more years, the Flames can wait until the offseason if they don’t get any suitable offers before March 8.
With Dougie Hamilton on LTIR for the rest of the regular season, the Devils have the cap room to take on Markstrom’s AAV. The problem, however, is what it’ll cost them next season.
Adding Markstrom’s full $6 million cap hit would push the Devils’ payroll to over $73 million invested in 15 players. That could make it difficult to re-sign or replace pending unrestricted free agent Tyler Toffoli, re-sign restricted free agent Dawson Mercer, fill out the remainder of the roster, and leave sufficient cap room to address any issues that arise next season.
That would explain why cap retention became one of the sticking points mentioned by Friedman. The Flames probably aren’t receptive to that unless the Devils make it worth their while with a significant return.
Speaking of the Flames, Friedman cited defensemen Chris Tanev and Noah Hanifin being among four players currently holding up the trade market along with Pittsburgh Penguins winger Jake Guentzel and Anaheim Ducks forward Adam Henrique.
Hanifin has had contract extension talks with the Flames. Until he signs, however, teams still consider him as being available.
Teams that could be waiting on Tanev and Hanifin include teams seeking blueline depth like the Toronto Maple Leafs and Dallas Stars. Friedman also said he’s heard the Edmonton Oilers are among the clubs with eyes on Guentzel. He thinks the Penguins are willing to see how the month plays out.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: So far, the teams holding those players can afford to be patient. Friedman also noted that some clubs can’t or won’t pay the asking prices for those players and could look at more affordable options.
WHO COULD THE BRUINS TARGET IN THE TRADE MARKET?
Given the high cost of acquiring a second-line center for now and the future, they could instead consider adding an impact winger. They probably couldn’t afford someone like Jake Guentzel but could instead look at more affordable options like Ottawa’s Vladimir Tarasenko, San Jose’s Anthony Duclair and Detroit’s David Perron.
NBC SPORTS BOSTON: Nick Goss also had Duclair on his list. He also suggested they look at adding a forward who can play center or wing such as Anaheim’s Adam Henrique, Minnesota’s Brandon Duhaime, Arizona’s Liam O’Brien, and Washington’s Nic Dowd.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Goss admits acquiring Henrique could be difficult for the cap-strapped Bruins given the forward’s $5.8 million cap hit. Even if Anaheim retains half, the Bruins still might have to send some salary to the Ducks. The Bruins would likely face the same issue with Tarasenko ($5 million) and Perron ($4.75 million).
If the Bruins make an addition or two at the trade deadline it’ll likely be more affordable options than Henrique, perhaps one of those on Goss’ list.
COULD THE OILERS PURSUE PERRON?
EDMONTON JOURNAL’s Jim Matheson tweeted that Oilers GM Ken Holland has long liked Detroit Red Wings forward David Perron. He’s slated to become a UFA this summer but the Wings would have to retain half of his $4.75 million cap hit.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: That’s assuming Perron is available. The Red Wings are jockeying for one of the two wild-card berths in the Eastern Conference. I don’t see Detroit GM Steve Yzerman trading away Perron if his club is in the chase for its first playoff appearance in eight years unless it’s for a better player. If anything, Yzerman could become a buyer by the deadline.
LATEST ON THE SABRES
SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman reports the Buffalo Sabres are seeking help that improve their team now.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: There was a rumor flying around that the Sabres were actively shopping center Casey Mittelstadt and wanted a goaltender in return. The Buffalo News’ Lance Lysowski downplayed that speculation but his tweet is no longer available. However, in a reply to one of his followers regarding the Mittelstadt rumor, Lysowski tweeted they listen when teams make calls but they’re not shopping the 25-year-old center.