NHL Rumor Mill – June 8, 2023

NHL Rumor Mill – June 8, 2023

Jets center Pierre-Luc Dubois seeks a summer trade, Alex DeBrincat submits a list of trade destinations to the Senators, and the latest on Carter Hart in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.


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.

Winnipeg Jets center Pierre-Luc Dubois (NHL Images).

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.


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.


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.

NHL Rumor Mill – June 7, 2023

NHL Rumor Mill – June 7, 2023

Are more moves coming for the Flyers, Kings and Blue Jackets following their deal to move Ivan Provorov to Columbus? Find out in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.


PHILADELPHIA HOCKEY NOW: Chuck Bausman reports more moves could be coming for the Flyers after they shipped Ivan Provorov to the Columbus Blue Jackets on Tuesday in a three-team deal involving the Los Angeles Kings.

Philadelphia Flyers goaltender Carter Hart (NHL Images)

Flyers general manager Daniel Briere was asked about the status of Carter Hart during his press conference announcing the Provorov trade. The 24-year-old goaltender has been the subject of trade speculation after Briere recently indicated he would listen to offers.

I’m still in the same spot I was,” said Briere. “We’re open for business. We listen on everybody. Everybody’s being treated the same way for us on our side.”

MONTREAL HOCKEY NOW: Marc Dumont noted a rumor that surfaced immediately following the Provorov trade claiming the Flyers were working on a deal involving Hart. He mused over whether the Canadiens should pursue him.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: There’s been nothing new thus far regarding that rumored Hart trade. Perhaps we’ll learn more details soon or maybe it’ll come to nothing. What’s clear is Briere isn’t afraid to make bold moves involving one of his core players provided he gets a solid return. He could trade Hart if someone makes him a good offer.

LA HOCKEY NOW: Austin Stanovich reports the Kings cleared $5.6 million by shipping goaltender Cal Petersen and defenseman Sean Walker. That will give them more cap room to re-sign defenseman Vladislav Gavrikov, goaltender Joonas Korpisalo and forward Gabriel Vilardi. Gavrikov and Korpisalo are due to become unrestricted free agents on July 1 while Vilardi is a restricted free agent.

Stanovich expects Gavrikov will be signed soon, perhaps to a three-year, $6 million per year deal. He also stated there’s nothing linking the Kings to Carter Hart but wouldn’t be surprised if they were in the mix.

THE ATHLETIC: Eric Stephens also weighed in on what the Kings’ next moves could be. He agrees the Provorov trade makes it easier for them to re-sign Gavrikov. Stephens cited colleague Pierre LeBrun indicating the blueliner’s agent seeks a two-year deal while Eric Duhatschek speculated Gavrikov could get around $5.7 million per season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The thinking here for the Gavrikov camp is he could be in line for a much bigger payday in 2025 when the salary cap is expected to rise by a significant amount. He made $2.8 million annually on his current deal so something between $5.5 million and $6 million would be a healthy raise.

As for Korpisalo, Stephens suggested they could re-sign him or look at bringing in another goalie to share the duties with Pheonix Copley.

MAYOR’S MANOR: The influential Kings’ blog offered their analysis of what the Provorov deal means for this club. In addition to re-signing Gavrikov, they believe it allows the Kings to retain forwards Alex Iafallo, Trevor Moore and Viktor Arvidsson. The trio was to be considered cost-cutting trade candidates.

They anticipate the Kings will add another goaltender but will likely only have around $2 million to make that move. “We are not expecting Joonas Korpisalo to be an option for LA.” They also ruled out the possibility of pursuing Anaheim’s John Gibson or Winnipeg’s Connor Hellebuyck.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: With just over $13 million in projected cap space and 16 active roster players under contract, the Kings can easily afford Gavrikov. However, it will take a substantial bite out of their cap space. That’s why they’ll likely pass on Korpisalo in favor of more affordable goaltending options.

The Provorov trade might be the only major one the Kings make this summer. They could look at a smaller deal for a goalie or seek a cost-effective option via free agency.

THE ATHLETIC: Aaron Portzline speculates Blue Jackets GM Jarmo Kekalainen might not be done dealing after acquiring Provorov. He noted that Kekalainen said his club will keep evaluating with free agency coming up and he didn’t rule out making another trade.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Blue Jackets have some promising centers on their roster (Kent Johnson, Cole Sillinger. Dmitri Voronkov) and could attempt to select another such as Leo Carlsson with the third-overall selection in this year’s draft. However, they still need more experienced depth at that position. With $12 million in cap space and 19 active roster players under contract for next season, Kekalainen could set his sights on a center through the trade or free-agent markets.

Flyers Trade Provorov in Three-Team Deal

Flyers Trade Provorov in Three-Team Deal

The Philadelphia Flyers have traded defenseman Ivan Provorov to the Columbus Blue Jackets in a three-team trade involving the Los Angeles Kings.

As per NHL.com:

Philadelphia trades Ivan Provorov and Hayden Hodgson to Los Angeles in exchange for Cal Peterson, Sean Walker, Helge Grans and the Kings’ 2024 second-round pick. Columbus acquires Kevin Connauton from Philadelphia in exchange for a 2023 first-round pick (22nd overall) and conditional second-round pick in either the 2024 or 2025 NHL Draft. Columbus acquires Provorov from Los Angeles in exchange for Connauton.”

Philadelphia Flyers trade defenseman Ivan Provorov in three-team deal (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The first major trade of the 2023 NHL off-season is also the first trade by Daniel Briere since taking over as Flyers general manager in March. He’s wasting no time putting his stamp on his club with a healthy return for Provorov.

A skilled puck-moving defenseman, Provorov had difficulty playing up to expectations for the Flyers since 2019-20. With 13 goals and 36 points in 69 games, he was on pace for a career-best performance before that regular season was prematurely ended by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Landing a first-round pick in this year’s draft plus two second-rounders in 2024 as part of the return for Provorov will be useful investments in the Flyers’ rebuilding process. They could also be used as trade capital to add more immediate roster help.

Grans, 21, is a promising defense prospect with two AHL seasons under his belt. Walker has a season remaining on his contract and will bring some additional experience to the Flyers blueline.

As per Cap Friendly, the Kings retained 30 percent ($2.025 million) of Provorov’s $6.75 million average annual value through 2024-25. That’s more affordable than carrying Petersen’s $5 million AAV over the same period.

Petersen had a 10-team no-trade clause. He either waived it to go to Philadelphia or the Flyers weren’t on that list. He’s the most intriguing piece of this deal for the Flyers, prompting speculation that Briere could attempt to trade starter Carter Hart. Petersen’s earning more than Hart ($3.979 million) but his struggles last season saw him banished by the Kings to the minors.

The Blue Jackets are hoping that a change of scenery could help Provorov regain his once-promising form. A left-side rearguard, he’ll fill the void on their blueline from the departure of Vladislav Gavrikov, who was shipped to the Kings at the trade deadline. Considering what they’ve given up to get him, this could be an expensive gamble for the Jackets.

Speaking of the Kings, they now have $13.2 million in projected cap space for 2023-24 with 16 active roster players under contract. This move cleared sufficient cap space to re-sign Gavrikov, who was a solid fit with the club over the remainder of the regular season and the playoffs.

NHL Rumor Mill – June 6, 2023

NHL Rumor Mill – June 6, 2023

The Senators exploring trade options for Alex DeBrincat, proposed trade destinations for Connor Hellebucyk and Blake Wheeler, and speculation over what Auston Matthews’ cap hit on his next contract will be in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.


SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman reports the Ottawa Senators have begun exploring the trade market for Alex DeBrincat. A source described it as the Senators conducting “due diligence” given the 25-year-old left winger’s desire to wait until the sale of the club before engaging in contract talks.

DeBrincat is a restricted free agent this summer. He’s also a year away from unrestricted free-agent status. Senators management is considering its options from taking him to arbitration to trading him.

OTTAWA SUN: Bruce Garrioch speculates the decision on DeBrincat could come before the end of this month. League sources confirmed the winger’s agent informed management that his client isn’t ready yet to discuss a contract extension.

Ottawa Senators winger Alex DeBrincat (NHL Images).

Garrioch believes Senators general manager Pierre Dorion has to see what the trade market looks like for DeBrincat if the winger isn’t committed to staying with the Senators. He noted that the upcoming NHL draft is a time when teams are trying to make deals to shape their rosters for next season.

Dorion has publicly said he’ll make a qualifying offer to DeBrincat. If he’s unwilling to sign it, the Senators GM hinted he could take the winger to arbitration and ask for a 15 percent drop on his qualifying offer.

DeBrincat was earning an average annual value of $6.4 million on a three-year contract. However, he made $9 million in actual salary this season, which is what it would cost to qualify his rights. A 15 percent reduction would be around $7.8 million.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Senators acquired DeBrincat from the Chicago Blackhawks during the 2022 NHL Draft. They could be forced to move him during this year’s draft if the winger remains reluctant to sign a long-term contract.

Trading DeBrincat would be considered a loss for the Senators considering they gave up their first and second-round picks in last year’s draft to Chicago to acquire him. However, Dorion could save face if he can find a solid return that provides the Senators with immediate as well as long-term help.


DAILY FACEOFF: Matt Larkin proposed seven trade destinations for Connor Hellebuyck if the Winnipeg Jets attempt to peddle the 29-year-old goaltender.

The Carolina Hurricanes, Los Angeles Kings and New Jersey Devils are Larkin’s top-three landing spots for Hellebuyck. The three clubs could become Stanley Cup contenders with strong, reliable goaltending. However, the Hurricanes also need game-breaking scoring, the cap-strapped Kings still hope to re-sign pending UFA defenseman Vladislav Gavrikov and the Devils face re-signing two expensive wingers in Jesper Bratt and Timo Meier.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Hurricanes’ focus could be more on their scoring, especially given their front office has said they’re willing to bring back pending UFA goalies Frederik Andersen and Antti Raanta. The Kings would have to free up cap space to take on Hellebuyck and re-sign Gavrikov. The Devils, however, could still have sufficient cap room to take re-sign Bratt and Meier and still add Hellebuyk.

Larkin also listed the Ottawa Senators, Pittsburgh Penguins, Toronto Maple Leafs and Vegas Golden Knights as possible destinations.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I don’t see the Senators pursuing Hellebuyck unless he’s willing to agree to a long-term contract extension. It’s bad enough they could be trading away Alex DeBrincat after a year, they don’t need to see Hellebuyck heading out the door next summer as a free agent.

The Penguins have the cap space for Hellebuyck but I don’t believe they can come up with a suitable return to tempt the Jets given their depleted prospect pool and aging roster. The Leafs need to improve their defense core plus I think they’ll stick with the more affordable goalie tandem of Ilya Samsonov and Joseph Woll. The Golden Knights lack the cap space to pull it unless they’re willing to shed over $6 million to do it.

WINNIPEG SUN: Scott Billeck believes it would be shocking to see Blake Wheeler back with the Jets next season. The 36-year-old left winger was stripped of the captaincy by head coach Rick Bowness but still wields influence in the dressing room. He has a year remaining on his contract but his $8.25 million cap hit will be difficult to move unless the Jets retain part of it.

Billeck suggests buying out Wheeler. While that would cost $2.75 million against their salary cap, it would provide $5.5 million in cap savings for next season to put toward retooling the roster.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Jets could try to move Wheeler in this summer’s trade market. As Billeck observers, they’ll have to take back a bad contract, retain half of his cap hit in a trade with another club, or attempt a three-team deal that spreads his cap hit around.

Despite those options, I wouldn’t be surprised if they buy out Wheeler later this month. His age and cap hit works against finding a suitable trade partner.


TORONTO SUN: Steve Simmons believes Auston Matthews will become the NHL’s highest-paid player in 2024-25. The 25-year-old Maple Leafs center is a year away from UFA status.

Simmons observes that Colorado Avalanche center Nathan MacKinnon will be the highest-paid player with an average annual value of $12.6 million while Edmonton Oilers captain Connor McDavid is second at $12.5 million.

While Matthews lacks MacKinnon’s Stanley Cup ring and McDavid’s plethora of individual awards, Simmons believes he’ll get between $14 million and $15 million annually on his next contract.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I’ve speculated that Matthews could get a more conservative $13.5 million but it wouldn’t shock me if it exceeds $14 million. He’s a two-time Richard Trophy winner who last year became the first player in over a decade to tally 60 goals in a season. The Leafs center has reached the 40-goal plateau in five of his seven NHL seasons and won the Hart Memorial Trophy in 2021-22.

Matthews isn’t a better player than McDavid. Nevertheless, if the Leafs won’t pay him between $14 million and $15 million annually, another club will happily do so via next summer’s free-agent market, when the salary cap is expected to jump by at least $4 million. That’s the way the market works.

As for McDavid, he’ll regain his title as the NHL’s highest-paid player once his current contract is completed at the end of 2025-26.

NHL Rumor Mill – June 5, 2023

NHL Rumor Mill – June 5, 2023

Could the Bruins trade Hampus Lindholm to re-sign Tyler Bertuzzi or Dmitry Orlov? Who could become candidates for contract buyouts later this month? Find out in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.


BOSTON HOCKEY NOW: Jimmy Murphy recently cited a report from Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman indicating the Bruins were exploring how to retain Tyler Bertuzzi. The 28-year-old winger is slated to become an unrestricted free agent on July 1.

Boston Bruins winger Tyler Bertuzzi (NHL Images).

Murphy also noted 98.5 The Sports Hub producer James Stewart claiming Bertuzzi was seeking $7 million annually on his next contract. Stewart also claimed the Bruins preferred Dmitry Orlov over Hampus Lindholm, who is about to enter the second season of an eight-year, $52 million contract. Like Bertuzzi, Orlov was a trade deadline acquisition who is due to become a UFA on July 1.

Stewart said the Bruins had “buyer’s remorse” with Lindholm and he was available in a trade. Murphy cited a former NHL executive saying he’d hear the same thing but two current NHL executives said they had no knowledge that Lindholm was available.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Sweeney would undoubtedly love to re-sign Bertuzzi and/or Orlov. However, I think he’ll have to move other players if he hopes to accomplish that feat.

Lindholm has a full no-trade clause plus a no-movement clause that prevents his demotion to the minors. I don’t see him waiving those clauses to be shipped to another team.

I also share Murphy’s doubts that Bruins general manager Don Sweeney will give up on Lindholm after acquiring and signing him last season to that long-term contract. The 29-year-old blueliner played well for the Bruins this season until being hampered by a broken foot in the playoffs.


DAILY FACEOFF: Frank Seravalli recently listed five NHL players who could become candidates for contract buyouts this summer. The buyout period begins on June 15 or 48 hours following the completion of the final game of the Stanley Cup Final. It runs until 5 pm ET on June 30.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: A 48-hour buyout window also opens in late July/early August for a team following the settlement of their final salary arbitration case or receipt of their final arbitration award.

Seravalli listed Edmonton Oilers winger Kailer Yamamoto, Boston Bruins defenseman Mike Reilly, Pittsburgh Penguins winger Mikael Granlund, Washington Capitals winger Anthony Mantha and Dallas Stars defenseman Ryan Suter as his buyout candidates.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Buyouts for players 26 and older are two-thirds of the remaining value of the contract over twice the remaining tenure. The exception is the 24-year-old Yamamoto, whose buyout would be one-third of the remaining value over the two-thirds period.

Those clubs could attempt to move those players via trades rather than buying them out. Seravalli that the Capitals have informed teams they’re willing to move on from Mantha. Even if these teams have to retain some salary to facilitate those trades, it could still be more affordable than a buyout.

Nevertheless, if these cap-strapped clubs can’t find any takers for those players, they could have no other choice but to go the buyout route.


Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – June 4, 2023

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.


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.

Winnipeg Jets center Pierre-Luc Dubois (NHL Images).

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.


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.


THE ATHLETIC: Charlie O’Connor wonders if Ivan Provorov still has a place on the Philadelphia Flyers blueline. He’s regressed since his stellar 2019-20 performance.

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.


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.


SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman reports the New Jersey Devils could be opening to trading the rights of pending UFA defenseman Damon Severson if they can’t sign him to an extension before July 1.

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.