NHL Rumor Mill – January 26, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – January 26, 2022

Which clubs are in or out on Jakob Chychrun? What’s the latest on Claude Giroux and Marc-Andre Fleury? How’s the Oilers goalie hunt going? Check out the latest in today’s NHL rumor mill.


SPORTSNET: In his latest “32 Thoughts” column, Elliotte Friedman reports several teams are “going hard” at attempting to acquire Arizona Coyotes defenseman Jakob Chychrun. He believes the Florida Panthers are among them but doubts they’ll part with Anton Lundell. Other suitors could include the Columbus Blue Jackets, Anaheim Ducks, Boston Bruins, Carolina Hurricanes and Colorado Avalanche, while the New York Rangers and Los Angeles Kings are out for now.

TSN: Darren Dreger believes the Toronto Maple Leafs are among the clubs who’ve “kicked tires” on Chychrun but it could take creativity on general manager Kyle Dubas’ part to fit him within their tight payroll. He also cites sources saying the Kings, Panthers, Bruins, Ducks, and St. Louis Blues are among the clubs with a strong interest in the Coyotes blueliner.

Arizona Coyotes defenseman Jakob Chychrun (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: According to Friedman’s colleague Jeff Marek, only one team has pitched an offer that would meet the Coyotes’ rumored asking price of a good young NHL player, a top prospect and a first-round pick. If it was sufficient the Coyotes would’ve moved Chychrun by now. I suspect GM Bill Armstrong will use that offer as leverage to land a better return from another team. With Chychrun carrying three more years on his contract, Armstrong has the luxury of time here.

The Columbus Dispatch’s Brian Hedger is skeptical of rumors linking the Blue Jackets to Chychrun. He believes trading either of the first-round picks they’ll have in this year’s draft would take away a valuable asset that could be used to address their more pressing need for impact centers. Hedger also noted there’s no certainty Chychrun would stay with the Jackets once his current contract expires and raised concern about the rearguard’s history of knee injuries.


SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman expects Claude Giroux to meet with his agent Pat Brisson to discuss his future during the All-Star weekend. Friedman believes there are Colorado Avalanche players who’d love to have him as a teammate but it could take getting a third team involved to make it work.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Giroux carries a full no-movement but could waive it to join a Stanley Cup contender like the Avalanche. However, he also carries an $8.275 million cap hit for this season with over $3.8 million remaining to be paid out. The Avs, meanwhile, are pressed for cap space which will make landing him a complicated endeavor.

The Washington Capitals are believed to be looking into acquiring Chicago Blackhawks goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Capitals have just over $2 million in projected trade deadline cap space. Fleury’s cap hit for this season is $7 million with $3.255 million currently remaining to be paid out. They’ll have to free up some room to make this work, assuming they’re not on Fleury’s 10-team no-trade list.

The Edmonton Oilers were willing to part with a late-round draft pick for Martin Jones but the Philadelphia Flyers wanted more for the 32-year-old goaltender. They’ve also looked at the New York Rangers’ Alexandar Georgiev, the Dallas Stars’ Braden Holtby and Anton Khudobin, St. Louis Blues’ Ville Husso, Columbus Blue Jackets Joonas Korpisalo, Washington Capitals Vitek Vanecek and New York Islanders’ Semyon Varlamov.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I don’t see the Rangers moving Georgiev after he did a fine job filling in for the sidelined Igor Shesterkin earlier this season. Ditto the Blues with Husso after he spelled off Jordan Binnington when he missed seven games to COVID-19 earlier this month

The Stars prefer moving Khudobin while the Oilers could be on Varlamov’s 16-team no-trade list. Vanecek won’t be available unless the Capitals acquire an upgrade while Jones and Korpisalo probably aren’t much of an upgrade over the Oilers’ tandem of Mikko Koskinen and Stuart Skinner.

In short, the Oilers appear screwed in their efforts to land a goaltending upgrade.

Friedman wondered if the Toronto Maple Leafs might attempt to acquire Ben Chiarot based on their previous interest in the defenseman before he signed with the Montreal Canadiens. The Calgary Flames, Florida Panthers and St. Louis Blues are among the clubs looking at him.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: TSN’s Chris Johnston reported the Leafs would prefer landing players with a little more term on their contracts. That shouldn’t rule them out of pursuing a UFA like Chiarot but it sounds like Dubas could be reluctant this season to part with assets for rentals after getting burned in last year’s Nick Foligno deal.

The Coyotes intend to retain Lawson Crouse…Friedman wonders if Detroit Red Wings forward Filip Zadina could use a change of scenery.


TSN: Pierre LeBrun reports Ottawa Senators general manager Pierre Dorion scouted the Minnesota Wild during their recent game against the Canadiens and spoke briefly with Wild GM Bill Guerin. LeBrun doubts there’s anything imminent but pointed out the Wild were among the teams discussed during the Senators’ pro scouting meetings as one of the NHL clubs pressed for salary-cap space.

NHL Rumor Mill – January 25, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – January 25, 2022

The latest Blackhawks speculation includes the Capitals having an interest in Marc-Andre Fleury plus the latest Claude Giroux, Ben Chiarot, Jakub Chychrun and J.T. Miller in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.


THE ATHLETIC: Scott Powers reports a league source told him anyone on the Chicago Blackhawks could be had in the trade market. That doesn’t mean they’re shopping players like Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane or Alex DeBrincat. However, they would do so if Toews or Kane asked to be moved and would at least listen if someone came calling about DeBrincat.

Powers considers Toews, Kane and Seth Jones to be pretty much untouchable. It would take significant offers to pry players such as DeBrincat, Kirby Dach, Lukas Reichel and Brandon Hagel away from the Blackhawks.

The Blackhawks could end up giving a first-round pick in 2022 or 2023 to the Columbus Blue Jackets as part of the conditions for acquiring Jones. However, Powers doesn’t see them giving away a player they covet simply to fill a draft spot.

Chicago Blackhawks goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury (NHL Images)

Powers believes Marc-Andre Fleury will have the best trade value for the Blackhawks, followed by winger Dominik Kubalik and defenseman Calvin de Haan. Fleury and de Haan are unrestricted free agents. Kubalik is a restricted free agent with arbitration rights but the $4 million it’ll take to qualify his rights could dampen his value in the trade market.

DAILY FACEOFF: The Washington Post’s Samantha Pell told Frank Seravalli and Ryan S. Clark that she believes there’s a greater than 50 percent chance the Capitals could have a new goaltender by the trade deadline. She thinks they’re among the teams interested in Fleury.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Any trade involving Toews, Kane or DeBrincat takes place in the offseason. Swinging the kind of deal it would take to move any of those players takes time and assets that interested clubs probably don’t have right now. That’s assuming Toews or Kane are willing to be traded or that a rival club can make an offer substantial enough to convince the Hawks to part with DeBrincat.

Fleury’s been linked to the Capitals several times in recent weeks as concern mounts over the status of their goaltending. They have just over $2 million in projected deadline cap space but that still won’t be enough to take on Fleury without the Blackhawks retaining some of the remainder of his $7 million cap hit or the Capitals freeing up some cap room. That’s assuming they’re not on his 10-team no-trade list.


SPORTSNET: During their recent “32 Thoughts” podcast, Elliotte Friedman and Jeff Marek discussed possible trade destinations for Philadelphia Flyers forward Claude Giroux and Montreal Canadiens defenseman Ben Chiarot.

Friedman considers the Colorado Avalanche a good fit for Giroux if he wants to chase a Stanley Cup provided they can make the cap dollars fit. Marek also suggested the Dallas Stars’ Joe Pavelski as another fit for the Avs.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Avalanche seems to be linked to everybody, don’t they? I don’t rule out the possibility of general manager Joe Sakic making a move by the March 21 trade deadline. However, the Avalanche are pressed for cap space, requiring some creativity on Sakic’s part to take on the remainder of Giroux’s $8.275 million cap hit for this season if he’s willing to waive his no-movement clause to join the Avs.

As for Pavelski, he’s expressed his desire to stay with Dallas. While the Stars could shop unhappy defenseman John Klingberg before the deadline, I wouldn’t be surprised if they retain Pavelski if the two sides feel they can get a deal done before he becomes a UFA in July.

Regarding Chiarot, Friedman believes the St. Louis Blues, Florida Panthers and Calgary Flames have an interest in the Canadiens blueliner. He also wondered if the Toronto Maple Leafs might pursue him, pointing out they were interested in Chiarot before he signed with Montreal but couldn’t make it work.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Like the Avalanche, the Leafs also carry limited cap space, though absorbing the remainder of Chiarot’s $3.5 million cap hit wouldn’t be as challenging as it would for the Avs to take on the more expensive Giroux. GM Kyle Dubas has shown the ability to swing deals with a tight payroll in the past so we shouldn’t reject that possibility out of hand.

The Canadiens’ rumored ask for Chiarot is a first-round pick. Don’t forget that Dubas parted with his 2021 first-rounder last year for Nick Foligno. Will he part with another first-rounder for another rental player this year? Stay tuned…


THE ATHLETIC: Arthur Staple weighed in on a recent report by Sportsnet’s Jeff Marek and Elliotte Friedman reporting the New York Rangers made a trade offer to the Arizona Coyotes for defenseman Jakob Chychrun centered around Vitali Kravtsov. The 23-year-old winger is playing in Russia this season awaiting a trade by the Rangers.

Unless there are more pieces to a deal for Chychrun, it won’t address the Rangers’ need for more scoring punch on the wings. Adding Chychrun, who has three years remaining on his contract with an annual cap hit of $4.6 million, could complicate things when left-side defenseman K’Andre Miller becomes a restricted free agent in 2023.

GOPHNX.COM: Craig Morgan believes we should be careful about the rumors regarding what’s being offered to the Coyotes for Chychrun, especially when it gets too specific about the Coyotes’ asking price. He doubts GM Bill Armstrong will get into specifics about what he’s seeking for Chychrun. He’s not going to limit his asking price as that would close off alternatives.

Morgan also dismisses reports that those trade talks are heating up when the trade deadline is two months away, calling it a “media-driven narrative”. He reminds us that agents and league executives love to stir the pot.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: A sensible take by Morgan. One need only look at the trade market where we’ve seen just one trade so far this month compared to four in December and three in November to see just how quiet things are right now. General managers and agents are probably talking, and some could be dropping tidbits to their media pals to drive to generate some activity, but moves involving notable players appear weeks away.

Business should start to pick up as we go through February and intensify once the calendar flips to March. Whether Chychrun gets moved over the next two months remains to be seen. Armstrong doesn’t have to move him by the trade deadline. He can afford to wait until the offseason to get the deal he likes.

SPORTSNET 650: Daily Faceoff’s Frank Seravalli believes the Vancouver Canucks could get more than a first-round pick and a highly-touted prospect if they were to trade J.T. Miller. He felt the New York Rangers has expressed some interest in Miller, as well as the Boston Bruins, Minnesota Wild and Calgary Flames.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I don’t see the Canucks making any significant roster moves until they’ve hired a new general manager, which should take place within the next couple of weeks. I also doubt they’ll move a core player like Miller if they’re still in the playoff hunt by the March 21 trade deadline. They’re also unlikely to be in a big hurry to move him since he’s still got a year left on his contract.

NHL Rumor Mill – January 24, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – January 24, 2022

Which Canadiens could draw interest at the trade deadline? What moves should the Flames make to improve their roster? Check out the latest in today’s NHL rumor mill.


Montreal Canadiens winger Tyler Toffoli (NHL Images).

  SPORTSNET: Eric Engels reports Montreal Canadiens forward Tyler Toffoli is looking better after returning from an eight-week absence due to a hand injury suffered on Dec. 4. With 21 points in 29 games this season with the lowly Canadiens, Engels expects clubs like the Calgary Flames and Carolina Hurricanes could come calling for the proven playoff performer with an affordable $4.25 million cap hit for two more seasons. However, the Canadiens aren’t facing any urgency to move him and new general manager Kent Hughes could prefer to keep him on the roster.

MONTREAL HOCKEY NOW: Jimmy Murphy reports there appear to be teams in the NHL trade market interested in Canadiens defenseman Jeff Petry if he’ll waive his modified no-trade clause. Despite the 34-year-old’s struggles this season and his $6.5 million cap hit, an NHL executive told Murphy that several teams he’s spoken with have an interest in Petry if he regains his 40-point form before the trade deadline. Murphy wondered if the Detroit Red Wings might be among them, citing their cap space and previous interest in the Ann Arbor, Michigan native.

TVA SPORTS: cites Daily Faceoff’s Frank Seravalli saying winger Artturi Lehkonen is the Canadiens’ most in-demand player in the trade market. He said teams see the 26-year-old restricted free agent as this year’s version of Blake Coleman, who helped the Tampa Bay Lightning win two Stanley Cups. Seravalli said he knows of at least three teams “begging” the Canadiens to part with Lehkonen.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Toffoli would draw considerable interest in the trade market but the very things that would make him an attractive trade chip are also what makes him valuable to the Canadiens going forward. He recently indicated he wants to stay in Montreal and be part of the solution going forward.

Petry’s age (34) and contract make moving him a difficult challenge, especially given his struggles this season. Retaining part of his annual cap hit would help but Hughes could prefer moving out the blueliner’s entire contract.

Hughes isn’t under pressure to move Lehkonen. However, the winger has arbitration rights and is a year away from eligibility for unrestricted free agent status. He could end up on the trade block if he only wants a one-year deal.


NHL.COM: In a recent mailbag segment, Dan Rosen was asked what moves Calgary Flames general manager Brad Treliving should make to address their roster needs. He believes they should be looking for a No. 1 defenseman and a top-six forward.

Rosen wondered if Treliving will attempt to bring back former captain Mark Giordano from the Seattle Kraken or try to acquire John Klingberg from the Dallas Stars. Given the uncertainty over Johnny Gaudreau’s contract status, Rosen recommends acquiring a forward with term remaining on his contract. Montreal’s Tyler Toffoli, the New York Islanders Josh Bailey, Seattle Kraken’s Jordan Eberle, New Jersey Devils’ Tomas Tatar and the Columbus Blue Jackets’ Gustav Nyquist fall into that category.

THE ATHLETIC: Hailey Salvian was also asked about realistic trade targets for the Flames to bolster their scoring. She considers San Jose Sharks center Tomas Hertl as a player who could provide immediate help but she doesn’t think it’s all that realistic to target him.

Other options include the Canadiens’ Tyler Toffoli and Christian Dvorak, the Vegas Golden Knights Reilly Smith, and the Detroit Red Wings’ Vladislav Namestnikov. She noted Chicago Blackhawks winger Alex DeBrincat might be available and wondered about J.T. Miller’s future with the Vancouver Canucks.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I expect Treliving will be a buyer if his club remains in the playoff chase by the deadline. More than a few pundits believe he’ll make a pitch to bring back Giordano, who would be a more affordable blueline option than Klingberg.

As for forwards, I don’t see the Sharks parting with Hertl while they’re still in the postseason hunt. The Flames will be hard-pressed to outbid other clubs plus he has a three-team trade list.

Toffoli and Dvorak are likely staying put in Montreal. DeBrincat’s not going anywhere unless it’s for a massive return. The Canucks will likely hang onto Miller for the remainder of this season if they stay in the playoff chase.

Smith could be a more realistic option for the Flames. However, he will also draw a lot of interest if the Golden Knights move him to free up cap space for Jack Eichel. Namestnikov would be another decent option as he’s tallied 11 goals and 20 points in 42 games this season. He’s a good two-way player who could be an affordable rental option.

Bailey and Eberle carry an annual average value of $5 million and $5.5 million respectively through 2023-24. Nyquist’s is $5.5 million and Tatar’s is $4.5 million through 2022-23. They’re in the early-30s and are declining assets. Probably not the best options for the Flames up front.

Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – January 23, 2022

Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – January 23, 2022

Check out the latest on Jakob Chychrun, Jake DeBrusk and Evander Kane plus an update on the Oilers’ search for a goaltender in the Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup.


SPORTSNET: Jeff Marek reports the Arizona Coyotes have received an offer of a young player, a prospect and a first-round pick for defenseman Jakob Chychrun. The package is said to be two former first-rounders plus a first-round pick. The Los Angeles Kings, Anaheim Ducks, Boston Bruins, Florida Panthers, New York Rangers and Columbus Blue Jackets are said to be among the suitors.

Arizona Coyotes defenseman Jakob Chychrun (NHL Images).

Marek believes the Panthers are the team to watch in this bidding for Chychrun. He also said the Rangers offered up a package that included winger Vitali Kravtsov.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Coyotes general manager Bill Armstrong could use that offer as leverage in hope of getting a better deal from one of the other clubs with an interest in Chychrun. With the 23-year-old blueliner under contract for three more seasons, Armstrong isn’t under pressure to move him before the March 21 trade deadline. He can wait until the offseason if he doesn’t get an offer to his liking.

I can see the Panthers being very interested in Chychrun. His youth and contract would make him a perfect fit on their blueline and in their long-term plans. Marek last week speculated the asking price could be goalie Spencer Knight, center Anton Lundell and a first-round pick. Some observers misconstrued his comments to mean that’s what the Coyotes have asked for but there’s no indication that’s the case. Nevertheless, the Panthers could be forced to give up quite a bit to pry Chychrun away from the Coyotes.

The Rangers are well-stocked with promising young players and can afford to part with a first-round pick. It makes sense for GM Chris Drury to include the unhappy Kravtsov given the winger’s preference for a trade led to his playing in Russia this season.

It would be interesting to know who is the other player in the Rangers’ offer. Alexis Lafreniere, Kaapo Kakko, Braden Schneider and K’Andre Miller are former first-rounders but I don’t think Drury is willing to part with any of them. Perhaps he would offer up Filip Chytil or Nils Lundkvist, though I can’t see the Coyotes agreeing to that.

Jeff Marek reports the Rangers have also inquired about Jake DeBrusk. The Boston Bruins winger requested a trade in late November.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Bruins GM Don Sweeney reportedly seeks a forward or defenseman of comparable value. I don’t think he’d be interested in Kravtsov and I doubt Drury offers up any of those young forwards I mentioned earlier except for maybe Chytil. It’ll be interesting to see if a deal can be made there.


SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman reports there still isn’t clarity if the NHL will add any penalty to Evander Kane over his alleged breaking of AHL COVID protocols during his tenure with the San Jose Sharks farm team. The Washington Capitals are believed to have considered whether to sign Kane, though there’s no indication any offer has been made to the embattled winger.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kane has also been linked to the Edmonton Oilers, Carolina Hurricanes and Florida Panthers. There was a rumor the Oilers already had him under contract and are awaiting the result of the league’s investigation before announcing it. That decision could come sometime next week.


Friedman also said the Edmonton Oilers checked into the cost of acquiring a goaltender. Money will have to go out to make the dollars fit for the cap-strapped Oilers. He believes if the Oilers could’ve done something where they gave up a late-round pick they would’ve done it. However, they’re not keen to part with their first, second, or third-rounder in this year’s draft.

Rory Boylen recently published a list of possible goalie targets for the Oilers. They include the Chicago Blackhawks Marc-Andre Fleury, the Dallas Stars’ Braden Holtby or Anton Khudobin, the Seattle Kraken’s Chris Driedger, the Columbus Blue Jackets’ Joonas Korpisalo, and the New York Islanders’ Semyon Varlamov.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Oilers traded their third-rounder to the Chicago Blackhawks in the Duncan Keith trade. Cap Friendly indicates that pick would become a second-rounder if the Oilers reach the Stanley Cup Final and Keith is a top-four among the Oilers in ice time during the first three rounds of the playoffs. Those scenarios seem unlikely given the Oilers’ current position in the standings and their roster weaknesses.

As for Boylen’s list, Fleury and Varlamov’s respective cap hits and no-trade clauses make them unlikely to land in Edmonton by the trade deadline. The Stars prefer moving Khudobin over Holtby but the extra year and $3.33 million on the 35-year-old’s contract isn’t something the Oilers seem willing to take on.

Driedger and Korpisalo are younger with affordable cap hits but I don’t think they’re going to move the needle very much for the Oilers. Desperate times, however, call for desperate measures. The question is whether the Oilers can work out a suitable trade that fits within their tight cap payroll.

NHL Rumor Mill – January 22, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – January 22, 2022

A look at the potential trade value of some notable free-agent defensemen plus the latest on the Blackhawks and Oilers in today’s NHL rumor mill.


THE ATHLETIC: Pierre LeBrun pondered which of this season’s notable unrestricted free agent defensemen might fetch a first-round draft pick at the trade deadline. There are a number of pending UFAs blueliners but not all of them could move on deadline day. For example, the Anaheim Ducks could retain Hampus Lindholm and Josh Manson as “own rentals” if they’re still in playoff contention.

John Klingberg of the Dallas Stars could fetch the biggest return. LeBrun speculated it could be a package of a first-round draft pick, a prospect and perhaps another pick. He pointed out the Columbus Blue Jackets got a first and a third for David Savard before last year’s trade deadline.

Dallas Stars defenseman John Klingberg (NHL Images).

LeBrun also reported the Buffalo Sabres hope to land a first-rounder for Colin Miller while the Montreal Canadiens wish to net the same return for Ben Chiarot.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I would also add Mark Giordano to this list. The 38-year-old has tallied a respectable 14 points in 34 games on the low-scoring Seattle Kraken. It wouldn’t surprise me if a contender in “go-for-it” mode parted with a first-rounder for an experienced blueliner like Giordano.

Boston Hockey Now’s Jimmy Murphy believes Chiarot would be an excellent fit with the Bruins. Whether GM Don Sweeney is willing to ship his first-rounder to his club’s long-time rival for a postseason rental is another matter. I’ve seen some readers suggest offering up Jake DeBrusk straight up for Chiarot, but if it were that simple that deal would’ve gone down by now.


NHL NETWORK: Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman was asked which Chicago Blackhawks could stay or go by the March 21 trade deadline. He’d heard a report claiming everyone was available except Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane and Seth Jones.

Friedman believes the Blackhawks unprotected list is very small. He thinks at some point earlier this season they may have been asked about moving Kane but doesn’t feel they’re willing to do that. He also doesn’t see them parting with Alex DeBrincat unless it’s for a significant return.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I believe Marc-Andre Fleury is the Blackhawks’ best trade chip. They’ve been shopping Dylan Strome for some time but haven’t found any takers. Dominik Kubalik could be available given the decline in his production since his 30-goal rookie campaign in 2019-20. I’d expect they’ll want to hang on to younger players like Kirby Dach and Brandon Hagel.

Kane and Toews each have a year remaining on their contracts. Any discussion about their futures will likely take place during the offseason.


EDMONTON JOURNAL: Bruce McCurdy cited Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman raising the name of Philadelphia Flyers goaltender Martin Jones as a trade option for the Oilers during a recent appearance on the Jeff Marek Show.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: McCurdy noted Friedman didn’t mention Jones during a subsequent spot with Oilers Now. He was probably just musing out loud about trade possibilities.

Jones has a 6-6-2 record this season with a 3.31 goals-against average and .908 save percentage. That doesn’t make him much of an improvement over Mikko Koskinen and Stuart Skinner in Edmonton. Jones’ inconsistency was why the San Jose Sharks bought him out last summer and why he inks a one-year, $2 million deal with the Flyers.

Like the Oilers, the Flyers need to reverse their fortunes soon if they hope to climb back into the playoff race. They could shop some of their pending UFAs like Jones before the trade deadline if they’re out of the race by then but that could come too late to help the Oilers.

NHL Rumor Mill – January 21, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – January 21, 2022

Could the Oilers target a Stars goalie? Will the Blackhawks shop Marc-Andre Fleury? How many teams could have an interest in Jakob Chychrun and John Klingberg? Could the Canucks shop J.T. Miller soon? Find out in today’s NHL rumor mill.


TSN: Pierre LeBrun reports the Edmonton Oilers are looking at all options around the NHL to address their goaltending issues. They’ve kicked tires on Columbus Blue Jackets netminder Joonas Korpisalo, who’s an unrestricted free agent this summer.

The Oilers also internally discussed the Dallas Stars’ Anton Khudobin but the extra year on this contract at $3.33 million makes him less appealing. Stars goalie Braden Holtby could be more interesting as he’s a UFA at the season’s end. However, the real question is whether any of these options are better than Mikko Koskinen for the Oilers.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: No. No, they’re not. That doesn’t mean the Oilers might not acquire one of them in the hope they’ll provide some sort of upgrade. Khudobin did carry the Stars to the 2020 Stanley Cup Final but really struggled this season and wound up demoted to the minors. Holtby’s play has improved this season but his best days remain well behind him. Korpisalo failed to seize the starter’s job after Sergei Bobrovsky left town which is why the Jackets signed Elvis Merzlikins to a five-year extension.

Darren Dreger noted Chicago Blackhawks netminder Marc-Andre Fleury has also come up in the rumor mill but he’s not a fit in Edmonton for salary-cap reasons. When asked about trade possibilities, Fleury said he’s not thinking about that now as he’s trying to help the Blackhawks reach the playoffs.

Dreger expects there will be contract extension talks between the two sides. He also points out there’s an agreement with the Hawks that Fleury isn’t going anywhere unless he asks for a trade.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Fleury might consider a trade if the Blackhawks fail to gain ground in the standings over the next six weeks. His $7 million cap hit and 10-team no-trade clause probably keep him away from Edmonton. Some have linked him to the Colorado Avalanche and Washington Capitals. There’s even talk of a reunion with the Pittsburgh Penguins despite Tristan Jarry’s solid play this season. Whether he ends up with one of those clubs or heads elsewhere remains to be determined.

Arizona Coyotes defenseman Jakob Chychrun (NHL Images).


SPORTSNET: Jeff Marek and Elliotte Friedman discussed potential landing spots for Arizona Coyotes defenseman Jakob Chychrun. They suggested the Anaheim Ducks, Boston Bruins, Calgary Flames, Columbus Blue Jackets, Los Angeles Kings, New York Islanders, New York Rangers and St. Louis Blues as possibilities.

Both of them felt the Florida Panthers could be in on Chychrun, citing management’s ongoing efforts to build up their blueline. They felt the Panthers need one more big piece on their defense corps. Marek believes the Coyotes would want Spencer Knight, Anton Lundell and a first-round pick in return but Friedman felt that’s the price to be paid if they’re going all-in this season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Panthers GM Bill Zito has to consider if it’s worthwhile giving up that much of his club’s future to pursue the Stanley Cup this season. Granted, this move wouldn’t be for a rental player. The 23-year-old Chychrun is under contract for three more seasons who led all defensemen in goals last season.

The first-round pick is easy to part with given the Panthers’ depth and position in the standings. Giving up Knight would be tough but perhaps necessary with Sergei Bobrovsky carrying an almost untradable contract for four more seasons. Moving Lundell, who’s enjoying a solid rookie campaign, could be a bridge too far for Zito.

THE ATHLETIC: Shayna Goldman and Saad Yousef recently examined potential trade destinations for Dallas Stars pending UFA defenseman John Klingberg. Their three contenders are the Anaheim Ducks, Los Angeles Kings and Carolina Hurricanes, with the Pittsburgh Penguins, Nashville Predators and Toronto Maple Leafs as dark horses.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Ducks, Kings and Predators have the cap space and depth in promising young players to dangle for Klingberg if they wish to go that route. The Hurricanes showed a willingness to make big deadline deals, acquiring Vincent Trocheck and Brady Skjei two years ago. Their lack of cap space, however, would require some creativity to make the dollars fit.

The Penguins and Leafs are pressed for cap space. Both could stand pat or opt for more cost-effective options by the deadline. I’m not ruling out the possibility one of them swings a three-team deal to land someone like Klingberg. However, there’s no certainty they or the Hurricanes can find a third club to broker the deal given how many clubs have limited cap space this season.


THE ATHLETIC: Thomas Drance cited Daily Faceoff’s Frank Seravalli saying he could see a scenario where the Vancouver Canucks trade J.T. Miller soon, perhaps before they officially hire a new general manager.

Drance, however, is skeptical of that scenario becoming reality. While sources told him there are teams interested in Miller, the Canucks can afford to wait because he’s under contract through next season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Drance also acknowledged the Canucks will have to make a decision about Miller’s future in Vancouver. Unless a rival club is willing to make an offer too good to refuse by the trade deadline, Canucks management could wait until the offseason to move Miller when teams have more cap room and willingness to pursue players of his caliber.

That should also be a decision that should involve the new general manager. Otherwise, team president Jim Rutherford shouldn’t waste everyone’s time hiring a GM if he’s going to make all the decisions himself.