NHL Rumor Mill – March 5, 2022
What moves could the Leafs, Avalanche, Red Wings and Oilers make before the trade deadline? Check out the latest in today’s NHL rumor mill.
SPORTSNET: Luke Fox reports Toronto Maple Leafs general manager Kyle Dubas has made adding a defenseman his priority before the March 21 trade deadline. What type of blueliner and how much he’ll cost will depend upon the healthy of sidelined rearguard Jake Muzzin, whose $5.625 million cap hit is currently on long-term injury reserve. If Muzzin is out for the regular season with concussion symptoms, one imagines Dubas will seek a comparable left-shot defenseman.
TORONTO STAR: Mark Zwolinski examined what Dubas could part with to bolster his roster before the trade deadline. The Leafs GM isn’t afraid to trade draft picks and he’s got his first-, second-and seventh-round picks in this year’s draft. He might be willing to part with his first-rounder for a defenseman like Dallas’ John Klingberg, Arizona’s Jakob Chychrun or Anaheim’s Hampus Lindholm.
Other trade chips could include a defenseman such as Justin Holl, Rasmus Sandin, Timothy Liljegren or Travis Dermott. Pending restricted free agent forward Pierre Engvall is another possibility. Minor leaguers Joshua Ho-Sang and Alex Steeves and prospects Matt Knies, Nick Abruzzese and Topi Niemela could interest other clubs.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Dubas has shown a willingness in the recent past to swing big deals with seemingly limited cap room. I don’t dismiss the possibility of him pulling another rabbit out of his hat again.
I wouldn’t expect to see Klingberg, Chychrun or Lindholm joining the Leafs by deadline day. The Stars aren’t sellers as they’re battling for a Western Conference wild-card berth. The Coyotes’ asking price for Chychrun is likely too expensive for the Leafs while the Ducks are reportedly trying to re-sign Lindholm.
Some Leafs followers believe Dubas needs to improve his goaltending. That’s as maybe but the reality is there aren’t many quality goalies available that would be an improvement over the current tandem of Jack Campbell and Petr Mrazek. Marc-Andre Fleury seems to be leaning toward finishing the season with the Chicago Blackhawks while there’s no indication the New York Islanders are shopping Semyon Varlamov. The rest of them are career backups or past-their-prime starters.
THE DENVER POST: Mark Chambers lists Philadelphia Flyers captain Claude Giroux, San Jose Sharks center Tomas Hertl, Dallas Stars forward Joe Pavelski, Vancouver Canucks center J.T. Miller and Buffalo Sabres defenseman Colin Miller as five potential trade targets for the Colorado Avalanche.
THE ATHLETIC: Peter Baugh and Scott Wheeler list prospect defenseman Justin Barron, the Avalanche’s 2023 first-round pick and prospect forward Oskar Olausson among the potential trade chips general manager Joe Sakic could dangle. Others include defenseman Sean Behrens and their 2023 second-rounder.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Giroux is the main guy the Avs have been linked to in the rumor mill. Everything depends on whether he’ll waive his no-movement clause to go to Colorado. The Flyers will likely seek a first-rounder, a top prospect and a young player in return.
Hertl could also be an option though he and the Sharks are reportedly engaged in contract extension talks. The Stars are in the thick of the Western wild-card chase so they’re not shopping Pavelski, who’d like to stay in Dallas after this season.
The Canucks aren’t parting with Miller unless someone makes a substantial offer that involves young NHL players. Colin Miller, on the other hand, would be an affordable pickup for the Avs once he returns from his undisclosed injury.
DAILY FACEOFF: Frank Seravalli added Detroit Red Wings forward Filip Zadina to his list of trade targets at No. 12. He said Wings GM Steve Yzerman hasn’t tipped his hand but there’s a sense around the league that the 22-year-old winger could benefit from a change of scenery.
DETROIT HOCKEY NOW: Kevin Allen wonders if there will be much of a trade market for Wings backup Thomas Greiss. Washington Capitals GM Brian MacLellan doesn’t seem to like his choices in the trade market. Darcy Kuemper’s improved play takes the Colorado Avalanche out of the goalie market. The Edmonton Oilers, Boston Bruins and Minnesota Wild could be interested in Marc-Andre Fleury but some believe he wants to finish this season with the Blackhawks.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The sixth-overall pick in 2018, Zadina hasn’t blossomed into the scorer he was projected to become. He’s still young enough to get his career back on track and reach his full potential, which could prove enticing to clubs looking for promising scorers.
EDMONTON JOURNAL: Jim Matheson reports the Oilers are seeking a dollar-in, dollar-out trade and seek a veteran, big right-shot rental defenseman. He pointed out Oilers winger Josh Archibald is slated to become an unrestricted free agent this summer, suggesting shopping him and his $1.5 million cap hit to an American team.
Archibald has resumed skating with the Oilers after his COVID-related heart-muscle condition cleared up. He also remains unvaccinated, making it difficult for the Oilers to keep him due to Canada-US border restrictions. Matheson acknowledged that could also make American clubs leery of acquiring Archibald.
Friedman on TJMS says if there’s a chance some of Vegas’ injured players won’t be back before the end of the regular season he wonders if they’ll add, missing the playoffs is not an option there.
— NHL Watcher (@NHL_Watcher) March 4, 2022
One recurring theme from talking to a dozen or so NHL front-offices sources over last few days, the buyers keep telling the sellers they need more time (for cap reasons mostly, 16 teams in LTIR). Sellers are getting a bit antsy, they want to get it going… — Pierre LeBrun (@PierreVLeBrun) March 4, 2022