NHL Rumor Mill – March 2, 2022
WHAT’S NEXT FOR THE BLACKHAWKS UNDER NEW GM DAVIDSON?
THE ATHLETIC: Mark Lazerus and Scott Powers suggested Kyle Davidson, the Chicago Blackhawks’ new full-time general manager, should attempt to craft a trade package that will help the club gain a first-round pick in this year’s draft. The Hawks traded their first-rounder to the Columbus Blue Jackets last summer in the Seth Jones trade.
Trade candidates could include free agents such as Marc-Andre Fleury, Dominik Kubalik, Calvin de Haan, Ryan Carpenter and Dylan Strome. Of these, only Fleury could fetch a first-rounder but goalies are difficult to trade. In Fleury’s case, the Blackhawks intend to honor the promise made by former GM Stan Bowman giving the netminder total control over whether and where he goes.
Davidson’s intent to rebuild also raises questions over the futures of long-time Blackhawks stars Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews. Both have a year remaining on their contracts. Will one or both be re-signed and if so, will they be on long- or short-term deals?
DAILY FACEOFF: Matt Larkin also weighed in on those factors. He thinks Davidson should try to convince Kane, who’s still a star, to stick with the rebuilding club as they try to build around Jones, Alex DeBrincat and Kirby Dach.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: TSN’s Chris Johnston reports it sounds like Fleury might not be inclined to move by the trade deadline and seems to be leaning toward finishing the season in Chicago. The 37-year-old goalie could change his mind if a Stanley Cup contender comes calling. If he prefers to stay, however, it will rob the Blackhawks of a valuable bargaining chip leading up to the March 21 trade deadline.
There’s been some speculation suggesting the Blackhawks could listen to offers for Alex DeBrincat. However, I’m in agreement with Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman, who said he’d be surprised if the Hawks traded the 24-year-old scoring winger. They need a player like him to build around.
DEBRUSK STILL WANTS TO BE TRADED
TSN: Pierre LeBrun reports agent Rick Valette, who represents Boston Bruins winger Jake DeBrusk, said his client’s trade demand made back in November still stands. Valette also said he’s spoken with other clubs (with the Bruins’ permission) to let them know they’re willing to negotiate a contract extension if it will facilitate a trade.
DeBrusk, 25, is a restricted free agent this summer with arbitration rights. LeBrun said interested clubs are concerned about the $4.4 million qualifying offer it would take to retain his rights after this season. He speculates perhaps an agreement on an extension at a cheaper price might send everyone home happy.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: DeBrusk’s performance has improved in recent games after being moved up to the club’s top line in what was considered an attempt by management to showcase him for a trade. That may have improved his trade value but could also make him valuable to the Bruins as they push to secure a playoff berth. They could decide to retain him if they don’t get any suitable offers now and then try to trade him in the offseason.
LATEST FLYERS SPECULATION
TSN: Pierre LeBrun reports Philadelphia Flyers captain Claude Giroux has yet to tell management he’s ready to waive his no-movement clause. LeBrun believes things could pick up next week. He indicated the Flyers have told teams Giroux could arguably be the most impactful player at this year’s trade deadline. That means it could be expensive to acquire him, perhaps a first-round, a young player, and a prospect or two assets of higher quality.
Darren Dreger reports Rasmus Ristolainen’s fate could be decided as early as this week. There will be contract talks between his agent and Flyers management but he could be shopped if the contract doesn’t make sense for the Flyers.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Flyers can set that high price for Giroux and they might get it. However, the closer we get to the deadline the more they risk driving interested parties toward other cheaper options. Whatever return the Flyers get isn’t going to make their fans happy. It’ll be a big win if they can get a first-rounder, a quality prospect and a promising young player.
TRADE RUMOR TIDBITS FROM FRIEDMAN’S LATEST “32 THOUGHTS”