NHL Rumor Mill – February 1, 2023

NHL Rumor Mill – February 1, 2023

What’s the latest on Timo Meier? Could the Canucks peddle Thatcher Demko or Brock Boeser? Are the Islanders done making additions? Will the Bruins pursue a notable defenseman or center? Get the answers in today’s NHL Rumor mill.

THE LATEST MEIER SPECULATION

SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman reports the New Jersey Devils are very much in the sweepstakes for San Jose Sharks winger Timo Meier. However, their salary structure remains a concern. They’d prefer to have no forwards earning more than Jack Hughes’ $8 million average annual value. That also goes for winger Jesper Bratt, who’s a restricted free agent this summer.

THE ATHLETIC: Corey Masisak speculates the return the Vancouver Canucks received for Bo Horvat (middle-six forward Anthony Beauvillier, a potential “middle of the lineup” player in prospect Aatu Raty and a top-12 protected 2023 first-round pick) may have hurt the Sharks’ chances of landing a huge haul for Meier.

However, Meier is younger than Horvat plus the Sharks can let other clubs talk to the Meier camp about a contract extension. That was something the Canucks refused to do with Horvat.

SAN JOSE HOCKEY NOW: Sheng Peng reports a source outside the Sharks’ organization claimed they’d heard the club will seek three pieces for Meier. They’ll want a first-round pick and either one Grade-A prospect or two Grade-B prospects, or one good prospect and a young, established NHL player.

San Jose Sharks winger Timo Meier (NHL Images)

Peng subsequently reported a source suggesting the Sharks could end up getting a return similar to what the Canucks got for Horvat. Peng admits that there aren’t many teams in this salary-cap era that can afford to acquire a potentially $9 million per season player such as Meier. Nevertheless, he also pointed out Meier is younger than Horvat plus the Canucks didn’t let teams talk contract with the latter before trading him.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Sharks could have a greater opportunity to land a better return if they allow suitors to work out a contract extension with the Meier camp.

Bear in mind that Meier’s RFA status means the Sharks can wait until the off-season to move him if they don’t get any suitable offers leading up to the March 3 trade deadline. However, they will have a time constraint of June 30. That’s the deadline to issue his qualifying offer, which would be one year at $10 million.

WHAT NEXT FOR THE CANUCKS?

SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman wonders about Thatcher Demko’s future with the Vancouver Canucks. The 27-year-old goaltender is signed through 2025-26 with an average annual value of $5 million. He’s been sidelined since early December with a lower-body injury.

Friedman believes teams will want to get a feel for what the Canucks want to do with Demko. He thinks the Buffalo Sabres, Columbus Blue Jackets, Los Angeles Kings and Pittsburgh Penguins make sense as suitors. The Sabres and Blue Jackets can afford to be patient but the Kings and Penguins would need to know if he could make an impact this spring in the playoffs.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: TSN’s Darren Dreger reports Canucks sources are “a little surprised” at all the trade speculation about Demko. It appears the talk of his potential availability isn’t coming from the team.

Pittsburgh Hockey Now’s Dan Kingerski recently listed more affordable, short-term options for the Penguins such as the Dallas Stars’ Anton Khudobin, the Vegas Golden Knights’ Adin Hill, the Detroit Red Wings Alex Nedeljkovic and the Blue Jackets’ Joonas Korpisalo. Maybe they’d be interested if Demko became available but he’d likely cost more than the Penguins could comfortably afford before the March 3 trade deadline.

The Athletic’s Eric Stephens recently listed several goalie trade targets for the Kings. Among them was the Anaheim Ducks’ John Gibson but Stephens saw his contract ($6.4 million average annual value through 2026-27) as a significant obstacle. The same could be said for Demko’s deal. Meanwhile, TSN’s Pierre LeBrun said the Kings aren’t interested in a rental goalie like the Ottawa Senators’ Cam Talbot or the Carolina Hurricanes’ Antti Raanta. “They’re looking for a long-term fit”.

Friedman writes that Brock Boeser remains linked to the Minnesota Wild in the rumor mill. However, he felt the math doesn’t make sense as things stand.

TSN’S Darren Dreger reports the Canucks are still getting a tremendous amount of interest in Boeser. However, those clubs want to know if the Canucks will retain part of the 25-year-old winger’s salary. He’s signed through 2024-25 with an AAV of $6.65 million.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That’s why I believe a Boeser trade won’t happen until the offseason when teams have additional cap space. As long as the Canucks won’t retain part of his salary, he’s difficult to move during this season with so many teams carrying limited salary-cap space.

The Wild won’t be a destination for Boeser unless it’s a dollar-in, dollar-out trade. They’ve got over $74 million invested in 14 players for next season with $14.7 million of that as dead cap space owing to their buyouts of Zach Parise and Ryan Suter.

Friedman believes there are teams that like the nastiness of Canucks defenseman Tyler Myers but he felt that might have to wait until the summer in this season’s tight cap world. He’s not convinced blueliner Luke Schenn returns to the Tampa Bay Lightning but conversations about him continue.

ARE THE ISLANDERS DONE DEALING?

THE ATHLETIC: Kevin Kurz looks at other potential moves that might make sense for the New York Islanders before the trade deadline. He suggested the St. Louis Blues’ Ivan Barbashev if they’re seeking a winger or the Arizona Coyotes’ Shayne Gostisbehere if they’re in the market for a puck-moving defenseman.

NYI HOCKEY NOW: Stefen Rosner believes Islanders GM Lou Lamoriello isn’t done making moves. He thinks they need to add a scoring winger and wondered if Lamoriello might go all in for someone like the Blues’ Vladimir Tarasenko or the Sharks’ Timo Meier. They could also use a depth defenseman.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Islanders have over $11 million in projected deadline cap space. I don’t see Lamoriello sitting on that. He could pursue someone like Tarasenko or Meier but could also pursue more affordable options such as those suggested by Kurz.

UPDATE ON THE BRUINS

SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman reports the Boston Bruins are believed in the market for a left-side defenseman. He wouldn’t be surprised if they’ve inquired about the Coyotes’ Jakob Chychrun or the Blue Jackets’ Vladislav Gavrikov among others.

BOSTON HOCKEY NOW: Jimmy Murphy wondered if the Bruins might shift their focus toward Detroit Red Wings center Dylan Larkin after losing out in the Bo Horvat sweepstakes. A source told Murphy it doesn’t look good for Larkin to remain in Detroit which was why they’re exploring other options. However, Larkin’s agent Pat Brisson recently said he’s not concerned about negotiation, adding the two sides have been talking more in recent weeks.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I think the Bruins’ priority could be adding that left-side defenseman over adding another center. I don’t doubt that general manager Don Sweeney did his due diligence regarding Horvat but adding someone comparable such as Larkin is going to be just as expensive.

They could also go for more cost-effective short-term options on defense given the expensive asking prices for Chychrun (two first-rounders, top prospect) and Gavrikov (a first and a third-rounder). Granted, this is a “go-for-it” season for the Bruins but given how well the current roster is playing they can pursue more affordable depth targets. Besides, they don’t have a lot of trade capital to win bidding wars for big-ticket players.

LATEST “32 THOUGHTS” RUMOR TIDBITS

SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman reports the Carolina Hurricanes weren’t going to acquire Bo Horvat unless they could sign him to a contract extension. With Horvat now with the New York Islanders, he wonders if the Hurricanes will pivot toward Isles center Jean-Gabriel Pageau depending on how things shake out with Horvat.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The 30-year-old Pageau is signed through 2025-26 with an annual cap hit of $5 million and a 16-team no-trade list. His age and contract might not be a fit with the Hurricanes.










NHL Rumor Mill – January 28, 2023

NHL Rumor Mill – January 28, 2023

Check out the recent speculation on Dylan Larkin, Vladislav Gavrikov and Lars Eller plus the latest on the Sharks and Kraken in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.

THE LATEST ON LARKIN, GAVRIKOV AND ELLER

MLIVE.COM: Ansar Khan considers the Detroit Red Wings trading Dylan Larkin as highly unlikely. The 26-year-old center is slated to become an unrestricted free agent on July 1.

Detroit Red Wings captain Dylan Larkin (NHL Images).

Khan believes trading Larkin would set back the Red Wings’ rebuild. They’re more likely to get futures (a young player, prospect, draft picks) than a player who could have an immediate impact.

Communication between Wings general manager Steve Yzerman and Larkin’s agent, Pat Brisson, has been good, with both sides talking regularly. Khan writes that the two sides have agreed on the maximum eight-year term but remain apart on the average annual value. The Wings prefer $8 million while the Larkin camp seeks $9 million.

Larkin’s next contract would also affect other contracts. Khan reports they’d like to bring in a top-line scoring center and believes they could be among the teams pursuing Bo Horvat if the Vancouver Canucks captain hits the open market on July 1.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I doubt Larkin gets shopped by the March 3 trade deadline even if he remains unsigned or the Wings are out of playoff contention by that point. It wouldn’t be surprising if both sides compromise on a figure between $8 million and $9 million per season.

The Wings have over $41 million in projected cap space for 2023-24 so there’s plenty of room for Larkin’s new contract. However, they must also re-sign or replace fellow UFAs like Tyler Bertuzzi, Pius Suter, Adam Erne Oskar Sundqvist, Olli Maatta and Alex Nedeljkovic.

THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH: Brian Hedger recently reported the Blue Jackets are exploring trade scenarios involving defenseman Vladislav Gavrikov. The club has granted permission for rival teams to speak with him and his agent.

Gavrikov, 27, is eligible to become an unrestricted free agent on July 1. He carries an affordable $2.8 million cap hit for this season. Hedger indicated a scenario exists where the Jackets could match the best contract offer for Gavrikov generated through those trade discussions.

Hedger believes the long Gavrikov goes without a new contract the more likely he’ll be traded. The Edmonton Oilers and Toronto Maple Leafs have emerged as potential trade destinations. It’s believed the Jackets will seek a first and a third-round pick in return. If Gavrikov gets a contract extension from a rival club, it could increase the return to the Jackets.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Trading away Gavrikov could also ensure the Blue Jackets finish dead last in the overall standings by season’s end. That would improve their odds of winning the 2023 draft lottery and securing the rights to top prospect Connor Bedard.

WASHINGTON HOCKEY NOW: Sammi Silber cited The Athletic’s Pierre LeBrun and Eric Duhatschek reporting Capitals center Lars Eller has come up in the rumor mill. They suggest he could be used as a trade chip to add a defenseman. Duhatschek speculated the Los Angeles Kings as a destination as they’re deep on the right side of their blueline and could part with Sean Walker or Matt Roy.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Much will also depend on how long Capitals defenseman John Carlson remains sidelined. Silber also mentioned that winger Anthony Mantha has been the odd man out this season. The Capitals might prefer moving Mantha over Eller.

UPDATES ON THE SHARKS AND KRAKEN

THE MERCURY NEWS: Curtis Pashelka reported San Jose Sharks GM Mike Grier might not be done dealing after shipping out Matt Nieto and Ryan Merkley to the Colorado Avalanche earlier this week.

The Sharks have other pending UFAs in forward Nick Bonino and goaltender James Reimer who could draw interest in the trade market leading up to the March 3 deadline. Winger Timo Meier could also attract plenty of attention if Grier decides to move him.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Bonino and Reimer seem likely to be playing elsewhere on March 3. Meier could be shopped but he’s a restricted free agent this summer. If Grier didn’t receive sufficient offers, he can simply wait until the offseason to peddle him.

SEATTLE HOCKEY INSIDER: Rob Simpson examined possible trade chips for the Kraken if GM Ron Francis becomes a buyer at the trade deadline.

Prospects Jagger Firkus, Ryker Evans and Jani Nyman could become trade bait. Francis also carries three second-round picks in the 2023 draft.

Simpson believes the Kraken’s priorities will be shoring up their depth on defense and at center.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Francis could put more emphasis on using those draft picks as trade bait rather than draw from his shallow prospect pool.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 26, 2023

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 26, 2023

The Leafs, Hurricanes and Blues Jackets each collect 3-2 overtime wins, the surging Kraken take over first place in the Pacific Division, the Avalanche and Sharks make a four-player trade, and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: Toronto Maple Leafs winger Mitch Marner scored 19 seconds into overtime in a 3-2 win over the New York Rangers after teammate Timothy Liljegren tied it late in the third period. The Leafs improved their record to 30-11-8 and are tied with the Carolina Hurricanes with 68 points. Filip Chytil tallied twice for the 26-14-8 Rangers as they sit in third place in the Metropolitan Division with 60 points.

Toronto Maple Leafs winger Mitch Marner (NHL Images).

Speaking of the Hurricanes, they got an overtime goal from Martin Necas to beat the Dallas Stars by a score of 3-2. Sebastian Aho scored his 200th career NHL goal as they extended their points streak to six games. The Hurricanes (30-9-8) sit second overall in the overall standings with two games in hand over the Maple Leafs. Jason Robertson scored his 33rd goal of the season for the 28-13-9 Stars as they hold a two-point lead over the Winnipeg Jets for first place in the Western Conference with 65 points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Hurricanes goaltender Frederik Andersen left this game following the first period with an upper-body injury. There was no post-game update as to the severity of his injury. He was activated off long-term injury reserve on Jan. 11 after missing over two months with a lower-body injury.

The Columbus Blue Jackets also picked up 3-2 overtime victory by downing the Edmonton Oilers thanks to Kent Johnson’s winning goal. Joonas Korpisalo made 34 saves as the Blue Jackets improved to 15-30-3 on the season. Zach Hyman tallied his 25th goal of the season for the 27-18-4 Oilers, who hold the first Western Conference wild-card berth with 58 points.

Seattle Kraken winger Oliver Bjorkstrand scored twice and Jared McCann collected three points to crush the Vancouver Canucks 6-1 and move into first place in the Pacific Division with 61 points. It was the first loss for Rick Tocchet since taking over as Vancouver’s head coach on Sunday. The Canucks slipped to 19-26-3.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kraken rookie Matty Beniers left the game with an upper-body injury. No update was provided as to his condition.

The Ottawa Senators got goals by Shane Pinto and Claude Giroux to hold off the New York Islanders 2-1, handing the latter their sixth straight loss. Brock Nelson replied for the Islanders (23-22-5) as they sit five points out of the final Eastern wild-card spot with 51 points. The Senators improved to 21-23-3.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Before the game, Islanders general manager Lou Lamoriello shouldered the blame for his club’s struggles this season. He also expressed confidence in his coaching staff. Meanwhile, Senators goaltender Cam Talbot left the game midway through the second period with a leg injury. The club is expected to have an update on his condition on Thursday.

HEADLINES

COLORADO HOCKEY NOW/SAN JOSE HOCKEY NOW: The Colorado Avalanche acquired defenseman Ryan Merkley and forward Matt Nieto from the San Jose Sharks in exchange for defenseman Jacob MacDonald and forward Martin Kaut.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Nieto previously played for Colorado from 2016-17 to 2019-20 and is being brought in to improve the Avalanche’s penalty kill. Merkley and Kaut are two young players in need of a fresh start after struggling to stick with their former clubs. Evan Rawal of Colorado Hockey Now believes MacDonald’s inclusion in this swap suggests sidelined defensemen Bowen Byram and Josh Manson could be returning to the Avs’ lineup soon.

PITTSBURGH HOCKEY NOW: Penguins goaltender Tristan Jarry will be sidelined with an undisclosed injury until after the upcoming All-Star break. The club recalled goalie Dustin Tokarski.

CALGARY HOCKEY NOW: Flames defenseman Chris Tanev (upper-body injury) is also sidelined until the All-Star break.

ARIZONA SPORTS: Coyotes signed defenseman Juuso Valimaki to a one-year contract extension worth $1 million. He was also fined $4,189.19 by the NHL department of player safety for slashing Anaheim Ducks forward Max Jones.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 22, 2023

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 22, 2023

The Oilers’ Connor McDavid reaches 40 goals on the season while Canucks fans bid farewell to Bruce Boudreau during Hockey Day in Canada, Canadiens winger Cole Caufield to undergo season-ending surgery, and much more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.

NHL.COM: Edmonton Oilers captain Connor McDavid tallied his league-leading 40th goal of the season to double up the Vancouver Canucks 4-2. Zach Hyman had a goal and three assists while Ryan Nugent-Hopkins collected three points for the Oilers (27-18-3), as they vaulted over the Los Angeles Kings into third place in the Pacific Division with 57 points.

Edmonton Oilers center Connor McDavid (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: McDavid becomes the fastest player to reach 40 goals in a season (48 games) since Jaromir Jagr did it in 46 games in 1995-96.

The Canucks (18-25-3) have lost 10 of their last 12 games. Before the game, Sportsnet’s Jeff Marek reported they’re expected to announce the hiring of Rick Tocchet as their new head coach on Monday.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That news prompted an outpouring of support for embattled head coach Bruce Boudreau on social media and from Canucks fans during this game. Boudreau was touched by the cheers from the fans, bidding them a tearful farewell at the end of the game.

As I said before, the Canucks’ front office handled this situation very badly. They could’ve just fired Boudreau and named one of their assistant coaches to replace him on an interim basis until a full-time bench boss was found. Instead, they left him to twist in the wind as rumors ramped up over his future, forcing him to answer questions from the media day after day over his impending fate. It reflects poorly on the Canucks as a franchise, raising concerns over the direction of the club.

An overtime goal by Rem Pitlick lifted the injury-depleted Montreal Canadiens to a 3-2 win over the Toronto Maple Leafs. Pitlick finished the night with two points while Sam Montembeault stopped 36 shots as the Canadiens (20-24-3) overcame a 2-0 deficit to win three of their last four games. The 28-11-8 Leafs sit in second place in the Atlantic Division with 64 points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Before the game, the Canadiens announced that Cole Caufield will undergo season-ending surgery to repair his injured right shoulder. Caufield’s agent revealed his client had played with the injury over the past two-three months and was willing to continue but team doctors decided he would risk worsening the damage. The 22-year-old winger is the 11th Hab currently sidelined, joining such notables as Carey Price, Brendan Gallagher, Sean Monahan, Paul Byron, Jonathan Drouin, Kaiden Guhle, Jake Allen and Juraj Slafkovsky.

Carolina Hurricanes center Sebastian Aho tallied a hat trick to lead his club over the New York Islanders by a score of 5-2, handing the latter their eighth loss in their last nine games. The Hurricanes (29-9-8) hold a four-point lead over the New Jersey Devils for first place in the Metropolitan Division with 66 points. With 51 points, the Islanders (23-20-5) remain two points behind the Pittsburgh Penguins for the final wild-card berth in the Eastern Conference.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Before the game, the Islanders recalled forward Aatu Raty to replace Cal Clutterbuck, who is sidelined indefinitely with an upper-body injury. Meanwhile, Hurricanes defenseman Jaccob Slavin missed this game with a lower-body injury.

Dallas Stars goaltender Jake Oettinger made 33 saves for his fourth shutout of the season to blank the Arizona Coyotes 4-0. Radek Faksa tallied twice for the Stars (28-13-7) as they hold a two-point lead over the Winnipeg Jets for first place in the Western Conference with 63 points. The Coyotes dropped to 14-27-5.

Speaking of the Jets (61 points), they improved to 30-16-1 with a 5-1 win over the Ottawa Senators. Captain Blake Wheeler had a goal and two assists to reach his 900th career point while Mark Scheifele scored twice and collected an assist. Josh Norris replied for the Senators as they slipped to 20-23-3.

The Vegas Golden Knights remain one point behind the Jets for third overall in the Western Conference by downing the Washington Capitals 6-2. Paul Cotter tallied twice while Nicolas Roy had a goal and two assists for the 29-16-2 Golden Knights while T.J. Oshie and Marcus Johansson replied for the 25-18-6 Capitals, who remain three points ahead of the Penguins in the first Eastern wild-card spot with 56 points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin missed this game with a lower-body injury and is listed as day-to-day.

A shootout goal by Nathan MacKinnon lifted the Colorado Avalanche to a 2-1 win over the Seattle Kraken. Alex Newhook scored in regulation for the Avalanche (25-17-3) as they’ve won five straight and vaulted over the Calgary Flames into the final Western Conference wild-card berth with 53 points. Ryan Donato replied for the Kraken, who’ve dropped three of their last four contests. At 27-14-5 (59 points), they sit one point behind the first-place Golden Knights in the Pacific Division.

The Flames, meanwhile, defeated the Tampa Bay Lightning 6-3 as Rasmus Andersson had a goal and two assists while Tyler Toffoli and Dillon Dube each had a goal and an assist. Steven Stamkos, Anthony Cirelli and Vladislav Namestnikov scored for the Lightning (29-15-1) as they sit in third place in the Atlantic Division with 59 points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Flames (22-16-9) have the same number of points as the Avalanche (53), but the latter has three more wins and holds two games in hand.

Third-period goals by Ryan Johansen, Matt Duchene and Cole Smith powered the Nashville Predators to a 5-3 victory over the Los Angeles Kings. Duchene scored twice while teammate Roman Josi collected three assists for the 22-18-6 Predators, who move within three points of the final Western Conference wild-card spot. The Kings (25-17-6) have lost three straight games and slipped into the first Western wild-card berth with 56 points.

Florida Panthers goaltender Alex Lyon kicked out 29 shots to win his first start of the season by beating the Minnesota Wild 5-3. Sam Reinhart and Anton Lundell each had a goal and an assist as the Panthers improved to 23-20-5. With 51 points, they’re two points out of the final Eastern wild-card berth. Kirill Kaprizov had three assists for the Wild (25-16-5) as they sit third in the Central Division with 54 points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Wild played without winger Marcus Foligno as he is sidelined by a non-COVID-related illness.

The Chicago Blackhawks got a 29-save performance from Jaxson Stauber in his NHL debut to upset the St. Louis Blues 5-3. Jason Dickinson had a goal and two assists for the 14-26-4 Blackhawks, who’ve won six of their last seven games. Jordan Kyrou and Ivan Barbashev each had a goal and an assist for the Blues (23-21-3), who sit four points out of a wild-card spot in the West.

Buffalo Sabres forwards Victor Olofsson and Peyton Krebs each tallied two goals in a 6-3 win over the Anaheim Ducks. Ilya Lyubushkin collected three assists for the 23-19-3 Sabres as they moved to within four points of an Eastern wild-card spot with 49 points. Trevor Zegras scored twice and collected an assist for the 13-29-5 Ducks.

The Philadelphia Flyers got goals from Scott Laughton and Noah Cates to hold off the Detroit Red Wings 2-1. Carter Hart turned aside 30 shots for the Flyers (20-20-7) as they’ve won five of their last seven games. Lucas Raymond replied for the Red Wings as they slipped to 19-18-8 on the season.

Three unanswered third-period goals by Patrik Laine, Gustav Nyquist and Sean Kuraly lifted the Columbus Blue Jackets to a 5-3 win over the San Jose Sharks. The Jackets improved to 14-30-2 while the Sharks fell to 14-24-9.










NHL Rumor Mill – January 18, 2023

NHL Rumor Mill – January 18, 2023

The Hurricanes are linked to Bo Horvat and the Bruins to Luke Schenn, more speculation about the Jets’ Pierre-Luc Dubois joining the Canadiens plus the latest on the Blue Jackets, Wild and Sabres in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.

THE LATEST ON THE CANUCKS

TSN: Pierre LeBrun reports the Vancouver Canucks have been in contact with pretty much every contender regarding their captain Bo Horvat. One of those clubs is the Carolina Hurricanes.

The Canucks are said to be seeking a young center as part of a multi-asset return for Horvat. That’s too steep for Carolina at this point, who won’t part with Martin Necas. LeBrun pointed out that the Hurricanes usually don’t spend high on rental players.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Hurricanes need a reliable second-line center if they hope to win the Stanley Cup this season. They have other options to choose from to address that need if the Canucks’ asking price for Horvat remains high. Chicago’s Jonathan Toews, St. Louis’ Ryan O’Reilly, and Montreal’s Sean Monahan could also be available.

NBC SPORTS BOSTON: Nick Goss cited LeBrun’s recent column in The Athletic reporting the Bruins have called the Canucks to inquire about Luke Schenn. Like Horvat, the 33-year-old defenseman is slated to become an unrestricted free agent in July.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: LeBrun suggested the Bruins’ interest in Schenn may be exploratory at this point. He carries an affordable $850K cap hit and has considerable playoff experience as a shutdown blueliner, which would make him enticing for a cap-strapped club like the Bruins.

MORE SPECULATION TYING DUBOIS TO THE CANADIENS

SPORTSNET: Eric Engels wondered if Winnipeg Jets center Pierre-Luc Dubois’ next game in Montreal following Tuesday’s game will be with the Canadiens. The 25-year-old center is a restricted free agent this summer. Engels suggests the possibility of him suiting up with the Habs remains a possibility as long as he remains noncommittal about a long-term deal with the Jets.

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

The Canadiens attempted to acquire Dubois from Columbus before he was shipped to Winnipeg in 2021. Last summer, his agent created waves when he mentioned that Montreal was a city his client might like to play in one day.

On Monday, Dubois told the Montreal media he was relaunching his takeover of Vincent Lecavalier’s charity to help underprivileged children in Rimouski, where the Jets forward grew up. He indicated that playing for the Canadiens one day wasn’t what he was thinking about when he started this philanthropic effort.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Dubois once again downplayed the notion of joining the Canadiens. Meanwhile, Jets coach Rick Bowness sang his praises and said he’d do all he could to convince the center to stay in Winnipeg.

The Jets hoped to sign Dubois last summer to a long-term deal but he preferred a one-year extension. If he opts for a similar deal this summer, they could put him on the trade block as he’ll be a year away from UFA eligibility. Whether the rebuilding Canadiens would meet the expensive asking price to acquire him from the Jets is another matter.

UPDATE ON THE BLUE JACKETS

THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH: Brian Hedger recently reported that Blue Jackets general manager Jarmo Kekalainen could receive plenty of phone calls leading up to the March 3 trade deadline.

The Jackets have three potential rental players to offer up in pending UFAs like Vladislav Gavrikov, winger Gustav Nyquist and goaltender Joonas Korpisalo. Hedger also speculated that other clubs could target players such as Patrik Laine and Jack Roslovic.

TSN: LeBrun reported the Blue Jackets will seek more than a first-round pick for Vladislav Gavrikov. He pointed out that they got a first- and a third-rounder for David Savard at the 2021 trade deadline. LeBrun also indicated the Blue Jackets still hope to re-sign Gavrikov.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Teams can ask about Laine but I don’t see the Jackets moving him. Roslovic, however, is another story. He’s had a disappointing performance this season and has a year remaining on his contract with a $4 million cap hit. Perhaps they’d consider shipping him elsewhere for the right offer.

WILL THE WILD BECOME BUYERS AT THE TRADE DEADLINE?

THE ATHLETIC: Joe Smith reports the Minnesota Wild’s re-signing Matt Boldy to a seven-year, $49 million contract extension leaves them with just $9 million remaining of their $83 million salary-cap payroll for 2023-24. Goaltender Filip Gustavsson, defenseman Calen Addison and center Sam Steel are among their notable restricted free agents while their noteworthy UFAs include Matt Dumba and Frederick Gaudreau.

According to Smith, Dumba is playing his final season with the Wild. He also suggested winger Jordan Greenway could become a cost-cutting casualty if the club decides to shed some salary to re-sign other players for next season. Smith wondered if Addison might price himself out of Minnesota.

For this season, the Wild have the cap space to make additions at the trade deadline. GM Bill Guerin said how aggressive he’ll be in the trade market will depend on the club’s performance.

Smith claims Arizona Coyotes defenseman Jakob Chychrun and Vancouver Canucks center Bo Horvat aren’t on the Wild’s radar. However, he wouldn’t be surprised if Guerin kicked tires on Chicago’s Jonathan Toews or Patrick Kane.

PITTSBURGH HOCKEY NOW: Dan Kingerski reports a source informed him that the Penguins have had trade discussions with the Wild. The focus of those talks wasn’t readily available.

Kingerski suggested the Wild could help the Penguins free up some salary-cap room. Given the Pens’ depth in right-side defensemen, he doesn’t see them being interested in Dumba. The Wild could use some help at center plus they need left-side defensemen that can provide mobility and offense.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Wild have a projected $16.5 million in trade deadline cap space. I expect Guerin will be a buyer if his club is still in the thick of the playoff race.

With that much cap room heading toward March 3, it will be his best opportunity to add one or two rental players to bolster his club’s Stanley Cup hopes. It also wouldn’t surprise me if he tried to move a depth player under contract for next season to provide himself with some much-needed cap room for 2023-24.

SABRES SHOPPING HINOSTROZA

THE ATHLETIC: Matthew Fairburn reports the Buffalo Sabres have been calling around trying to move winger Vinnie Hinostroza. He’s been scratched in 19 of the last 21 games. The Sabres are hoping to move him and his $1.7 million salary to free up a roster spot.










Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – January 15, 2023

Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – January 15, 2023

The latest Canucks speculation plus updates on Matt Dumba, Anthony Mantha, Joel Edmundson and Gustav Nyquist in the Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup.

LATEST ON THE CANUCKS

SPORTSNET: Jeff Marek reports the Vancouver Canucks have spoken with several teams regarding their captain Bo Horvat. Marek claims that “at least one of those conversations revolved around three players, including the team’s No. 1 prospect.” He cautioned that none of those conversations can be described as serious, adding the Canucks are currently just trying to read the marketplace.

Vancouver Canucks captain Bo Horvat (NHL Images).

Horvat, 27, is slated to become an unrestricted free agent in July. He’s currently enjoying a career-best performance, sitting fifth among NHL scorers with 30 goals.

Marek envisions two trade scenarios for Horvat. One would see him moved as a rental player. The other would allow the acquiring team the opportunity to discuss a contract extension with Horvat and his agent, something the Canucks at this point have not allowed teams to do.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Marek believes the Canucks could circle back to the Horvat camp to see if a contract extension can be done. If not, I believe we can expect the trade rumors linking Horvat to specific teams will start to increase once the calendar flips to February.

Elliotte Friedman reports Canucks defenseman Luke Schenn could be reunited with the Tampa Bay Lightning. He signed a two-year contract with the Canucks in 2021 after helping the Lightning win back-to-back Stanley Cups. Friedman believes the Bolts are a legitimate contender for Schenn’s services and he wouldn’t be surprised if they made a pitch to acquire him.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Schenn, 33, carries a very affordable $850K cap hit for this season and is slated to become a UFA in July. He could be shopped before the March 3 trade deadline if the Canucks are out of playoff contention by then.

The Lightning could squeeze the remainder of his cap hit within their limited salary-cap payroll. They could also ask the Canucks to retain part of his salary for the right return.

THE ATHLETIC: Harman Dayal recently included Canucks winger Conor Garland and defenseman Tyler Myers among his list of under-the-radar trade candidates. He also mentioned J.T. Miller but admitted it could be a long shot that management trades him or that another club picks up his seven-year, $56 million contract that kicks in next season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Garland has frequently surfaced in the rumor mill. The 26-year-old winger has three years left on his contract with an average annual value of $4.95 million. He could become a cost-cutting casualty if management decides to shed his salary at the trade deadline or in the offseason.

Myers, 32, has one year left on his deal worth $6 million along with a 10-team no-trade clause. The decline in his performance could force the Canucks to retain part of his cap hit if they hope to move him.

UPDATES ON DUMBA, MANTHA, EDMUNDSON AND NYQUIST

THE ATHLETIC: Joe Smith reports the Minnesota Wild have received calls about Matt Dumba. The 28-year-old defenseman is slated to become a UFA in July and currently carries a $6 million AAV.

We’re not actively shopping him,” said Wild general manager Bill Guerin. “It would have to be something that works extremely well for us.” Guerin would want another defenseman in return that can help them in the playoffs.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: In other words, a hockey trade or nothing at all. Then again, the Ottawa Sun’s Bruce Garrioch recently wondered if Guerin would trade Dumba for a return that he could then flip to the Arizona Coyotes as part of a return for Jakob Chychrun.

Unless Guerin gets an irresistible offer for Dumba, I think he’ll retain him as an “own rental” for the remainder of the season.

THE ATHLETIC: Harman Dayal noted the Washington Capitals scratched winger Anthony Mantha from two straight games last week. He’s scored 23 points in 44 games this season but has been inconsistent.

The 28-year-old Mantha is also among the Capitals’ highest-paid players with an AAV of $5.7 million. Dayal wondered if they’ll stick with him or consider a change of scenery trade.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Washington Hockey Now’s Sammi Silber writes that Mantha held himself accountable following his two-game benching, calling it a “wake-up call.” She feels the Capitals aren’t ready to hit the panic button just yet. That could change, however, if his performance doesn’t improve.

MONTREAL HOCKEY NOW: Speaking of the Capitals, The Athletic’s Marc-Antoine Godin recently suggested in a recent episode of Le Support Athletique that they might be a good fit for Joel Edmundson. The Montreal Canadiens defenseman has a year remaining on his contract with an annual cap hit of $3.5 million and a 10-team no-trade clause.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Every Capitals defenseman except for John Carlson is on an expiring contract this season. Edmundson could bring them depth for this season and a cost-certain asset for 2023-24.

SPORTSNET: Jeff Marek reports the Columbus Blue Jackets have started talking to teams about Gustav Nyquist. The 33-year-old winger is a UFA in July and carries a $5.5 million cap hit for this season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Nyquist’s experience and versatility could make him enticing for playoff contenders seeking depth on the wing. The Jackets might have to wait until closer to the March 3 trade deadline to move him as that’s when interested clubs could be better placed to acquire the remainder of his cap hit. Perhaps they could hasten things by retaining part of his prorated salary for a decent return.