NHL Rumor Mill – January 27, 2023
Could the Devils pursue Timo Meier before the trade deadline? Could the Rangers and Sabres get into the bidding for him? Will Sean Monahan become an Avalanche trade target? Find out in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.
DEVILS INTERESTED IN MEIER?
TSN: Pierre LeBrun reported he spoke with New Jersey Devils general manager Tom Fitzgerald, who indicated he’s looking for a top-six winger before the March 3 trade deadline. Fitzgerald didn’t say which player he was interested in as that would violate the NHL’s tampering rules, but LeBrun believes the San Jose Sharks’ Timo Meier would fit the Devils’ needs.
Fitzgerald said that ideally, he’s not interested in a rental player but someone who could remain with the Devils beyond this season. Meier could fit that description as he’s a restricted free agent on July 1, meaning the Devils would hold his rights after this season if they acquire him from the Sharks.
THE ATHLETIC: LeBrun also pointed out that the Devils still hope to re-sign RFA winger Jesper Bratt and must determine his place in this picture. He believes that Fitzgerald hopes to ink Bratt to a long-term extension somewhere between Nico Hischier’s $7.25 million AAV and Jack Hughes’ $8 million.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: LeBrun indicated that the Devils have the depth in draft picks and prospects to make a suitable offer to the Sharks. However, Fitzgerald will also have to work out a suitable contract offer for Meier, who will cost $10 million simply to qualify his rights before July 1. That’s in addition to working on a contract extension for Bratt.
Fitzgerald could consider Meier as insurance if Bratt’s contract talks become difficult. Like Meier, Bratt’s an RFA with arbitration rights who’ll be a year away from unrestricted free-agent eligibility. Fitzgerald could trade him in the offseason and use the savings to re-sign Meier.
Peng also took note of rumors linking the New York Rangers and Buffalo Sabres to Meier. He suggested a package from the Rangers consisting of prospect Brennan Othmann, a 2024 first-rounder (top-10 protected) and winger Sammy Blais. From the Sabres, Peng suggested Jiri Kulich, the Flyers’ 2023 second-round pick and a 2024 third-rounder.
UPDATE ON SEAN MONAHAN
The Avalanche expect captain Gabriel Landeskog will come off long-term injury reserve later this season, leaving them with limited salary-cap spaced. LeBrun anticipates they’ll keep an eye on Vancouver’s Bo Horvat and St. Louis’ Ryan O’Reilly but lack sufficient future assets to use as trade bait.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Monahan would be more affordable to acquire than Horvat or O’Reilly. However, the Canadiens won’t just give him away, especially if he picks up where he left off before he was sidelined in early December (17 points in 25 games).
The Canadiens reportedly aren’t actively shopping Monahan but it’s believed they move him for the right offer. That would probably be a first-round pick in this year’s draft or a top prospect.
BARBASHEV ON THE BLOCK?
TSN: Chris Johnston reports St. Louis Blues forward Ivan Barbashev is starting to circulate a little bit in the rumor mill. While he’s off last season’s 60-point pace, Johnston said several playoff contenders have him on their list. He’s slated to become a UFA this summer and carries an affordable $2.25 million cap hit for this season.