NHL Rumor Mill – September 30, 2022
Several clubs are reportedly interested in Coyotes defenseman Jakob Chychrun, the Panthers goalie situation could be worth monitoring plus the latest on the Leafs in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.
LATEST CHYCHRUN SPECULATION
TSN: Darren Dreger reports interest in Jakob Chychrun by several clubs is growing as the regular season approaches. The 24-year-old defenseman recently confirmed he requested a trade from the Arizona Coyotes.
Dreger said the Ottawa Senators, Toronto Maple Leafs, Edmonton Oilers, Los Angeles Kings, St. Louis Blues and Columbus Blue Jackets are among the interested parties. However, there are salary-cap hurdles for some of those clubs to overcome.
The Coyotes have reportedly softened their asking price a bit but they still want a first-round pick and a prospect involved in all this. They still intend to be patient.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Leafs and Oilers are currently sitting above the $82.5 million salary cap for the coming season. Meanwhile, the Kings and Blues have less than $1 million in cap room and the Blues Jackets less than $1.5 million.
Those clubs cannot afford Chychrun’s $4.6 million salary-cap hit unless it’s a one-for-one swap, a three-team trade to spread the cap hit around or those clubs make a cost-cutting deal to create cap space for him.
The Senators are the only team who can comfortably absorb Chychrun’s contract. They were reportedly interested in him during the offseason but nothing came of it due to the Coyotes’ high asking price. As Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman recently observed, Chychrun’s injury history could also be an issue as clubs could be unwilling to part with too much only to discover he could be damaged goods.
THE ATHLETIC: Jeremy Rutherford included acquiring Chychrun among the Blues’ defensive options to address their already injury-depleted blueline. He observed the Blues are monitoring the situation but wondered if they can find a way to fit Chychrun within their limited cap constraints.
BALLY SPORTS MIDWEST’s Andy Strickland recently tweeted that there hasn’t been any serious dialogue between the Blues and Coyotes regarding Chychrun.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I don’t rule out the possibility of Blues general manager Doug Armstrong swinging a deal for Chychrun. However, that move could come much later in the season depending on whether he can free up sufficient cap space.
MORE TIDBITS FROM TSN’S “INSIDER TRADING.”
Asked if a goaltender could become available in Florida, Pierre LeBrun doubts it’ll happen this season. However, their recent re-signing of Spencer Knight combined with Sergei Bobrovsky’s $10 million annual cap hit gives them the NHL’s highest-paid goalie tandem at $14.5 million.
One reason the Panthers signed Knight to a three-year extension now is they were concerned about losing him next summer to an offer sheet. LeBrun also pointed out that big contracts for veteran goalies like Bobrovsky rarely age well. He believes it’ll be interesting to see how this situation unfolds over the next two or three years.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Knight is the Panthers’ goalie of the future unless his career is adversely affected by injury or loss of confidence. That could set the stage for a Bobrovsky trade down the road.
Moving Bobrovsky won’t be easy. In addition to that hefty cap hit, he’s got a full no-movement clause through 2023-24 followed by a 16-team no-trade list after that for the final two years of his deal. The Panthers could be stuck with him unless they retain half of his cap hit or he ends up on permanent long-term injury reserve.
Dreger reports the Toronto Maple Leafs were calling around inquiring with other teams about defensemen in training camp on professional tryout offers. He believes they’re still trying to upgrade their blueline.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: There might not be as much concern on the Leafs’ part now that Rasmus Sandin is under contract. Still, they could keep an eye on defensemen released from their PTOs or monitor the waiver wire to see who becomes available.
Fitting in another one on an affordable deal could be tough. They’re already sitting over the cap and will have to get creative to get under the $82.5 million ceiling by the start of the upcoming season.