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.










NHL Rumor Mill – January 17, 2023

NHL Rumor Mill – January 17, 2023

Changes are coming for the Canucks plus the latest on Erik Karlsson, John Klingberg, Jakob Chychrun and more in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.

CHANGES IN STORE FOR CANUCKS

THE PROVINCE/THE ATHLETIC: Ben Kuzma and Harman Dayal. reports Jim Rutherford, the Vancouver Canucks president of hockey, indicated big changes are coming for the roster during a press conference on Monday to address the state of the franchise.

We have to do major surgery,” said Rutherford. He declined to call it a rebuild but felt it would be a retooling.

Vancouver Canucks captain Bo Horvat (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Rutherford’s toeing the company line with that comment. Team owner Francesco Aquilini is reportedly dead set against rebuilding the roster.

He indicated that the club is stuck right now with contracts that they can’t move. “Until we move those out, or until they expire, it’s going to be hard to make changes. He also warned that some of the changes won’t be popular.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kuzma believes that last comment refers to team captain Bo Horvat. The 27-year-old center is slated to become an unrestricted free agent in July and has become the subject of trade rumors after reportedly rejecting the Canucks’ contract offer earlier in the season.

Rutherford said the Canucks offer to Horvat was fair up to what he’s done in 2022-23 but it’s under market value for his performance this season. The center is on pace to score over 50 goals for the first time in his career.

It’s believed the Canucks can’t or won’t exceed J.T. Miller’s seven-year, $56 million contract in their dealings with Horvat. He could end up shopped by the March 3 trade deadline if the two sides fail to reach an agreement on a new deal.

Kuzma and Dayal both believe overpaying for Horvat will make it difficult to re-sign pending UFA winger Andrei Kuzmenko. Rutherford said they’ve recently opened contract talks with the 26-year-old winger.

Canucks fans hoping for Rutherford to trade Miller and re-sign Horvat are going to be disappointed. Rutherford pointed out the value of retaining players such as Miller. He also wasn’t concerned about how his contract could affect the Canucks over the long term because of the anticipated rise in the salary cap in the near future, which he believes could reach $90 million to $95 million. In the short term, however, Dayal pointed out that Miller’s deal is already having an impact on the Canucks because it’s hampering their efforts to re-sign Horvat.

Dayal also reported that Rutherford is willing to consider buying out contracts if they can’t move them via trade. While they can provide some short-term relief, Dayal noted that they come at a future cost, pointing out that a buyout of Oliver Ekman-Larsson would leave dead cap space on the Canucks’ books until 2031. I think Rutherford could be looking at someone with a year or two left on their contract like defenseman Tyler Myers.

Kuzma also wondered what Rutherford’s plans are for Brock Boeser. The winger’s agent has permission to speak with other clubs but his lack of production and league-wide salary-cap problems make it difficult to move Boeser’s $6.65 million cap hit.

Rutherford didn’t address Boeser’s situation but made a general statement that a player’s performance dictates his trade value. Even then, Rutherford indicated that a contract could still be tough to move if an interested club lacks the cap space to acquire him.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Rutherford might have an easier time moving Boeser if he agreed to retain part of his cap hit. However, that’s a scenario he reportedly doesn’t want to do. It’s my belief the earliest Boeser gets moved is in the offseason when clubs have more cap room to work with and a greater willingness to make significant trades.

Talking about his trade plans, Rutherford said that he won’t necessarily seek draft picks in return. Instead, he prefers bringing in young players from other clubs that didn’t work out with their entry-level contracts and giving them a second chance.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kuzma speculates the Canucks could target someone like the New York Rangers’ Alexis Lafreniere. Dayal, however, is skeptical whether that’s a workable strategy, suggesting recent reclamation projects like Ethan Bear, Travis Dermott, Jack Studnicka and Riley Stillman haven’t done much to improve the club.

Rutherford didn’t say much about the future of head coach Bruce Boudreau as rumors swirl that he could be replaced by Rick Tocchet. He admitted he’s spoken with some potential coaching candidates going back a couple of months. “All I can say is Bruce is our coach right now,” said Rutherford.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Hardly a ringing endorsement or a vote of confidence for Boudreau by Rutherford. As Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman observed, it appears Boudreau will remain the Canucks coach until they’ve found a suitable replacement.

RUMOR TIDBITS FROM FRIEDMAN’S LATEST “32 THOUGHTS”.

SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman believes the Edmonton Oilers and San Jose Sharks had “legit conversations” about Sharks defenseman Erik Karlsson. However, he doesn’t think it got to the point where it got to Karlsson.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I think Friedman means that it didn’t reach the point where the Sharks felt talks reached the stage where Karlsson would have to be asked to waive his no-movement clause to go to Edmonton.

Friedman also said he felt last summer that there was a high probability of Anaheim Ducks defenseman John Klingberg ending up with the Oilers. The blueliner was interested in Edmonton at the time but the salary-cap pieces couldn’t fit. Friedman no longer expects Klingberg will join the Oilers but expects he’ll be moved by the March 3 trade deadline.

Minnesota Wild GM Bill Guerin is only interested in a trade that will improve his club or provide him assets that he can use in another deal. Friedman isn’t sure Arizona Coyotes defenseman Jakob Chychrun would make sense for the Wild as a potential replacement for Matt Dumba given their salary-cap concerns after this season.

The Ottawa Senators are considering rental defensemen. It would give them an opportunity to evaluate someone they’d like to re-sign plus they want to finish as strong as possible for their players and their fans.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 16, 2023

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 16, 2023

The Jets move into first place in the Western Conference during Sunday’s action, the Canucks and Canadiens also emerge as winners during Sunday’s action, former Canuck Gino Odjick passes away, and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: The Winnipeg Jets took over first place in the Western Conference with a 2-1 win over the Arizona Coyotes. Pierre-Luc Dubois and Blake Wheeler scored for Winnipeg while Clayton Keller replied for Arizona. The Jets (29-14-1) has won eight of their last nine games and hold a one-point lead over the Vegas Golden Knights with 59 points. The Coyotes (13-25-5) have lost nine straight games.

Vancouver Canucks center Elias Pettersson scored in the shootout to defeat the Carolina Hurricanes 4-3 after overcoming 2-0 and 3-2 deficits. Brock Boeser scored at 19:43 of the third to send the game into overtime and the shootout rounds as the Canucks sit at 18-22-3 on the season. Jaccob Slavin collected two assists for the Hurricanes (27-9-8). With 62 points, they hold a three-point lead over the New Jersey Devils for first place in the Metropolitan Division.

The Montreal Canadiens upset the New York Rangers 2-1 on Cole Caufield’s third-period goal. Kirby Dach also scored and Sam Montembeault picked up the win with a 38-save performance for the 18-23-3 Canadiens. Artemi Panarin scored for the Rangers (24-13-7) as their seven-game points streak ended. With 55 points, they sit four points behind the Devils in third place in the Metropolitan Division.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Canadiens rookie Juraj Slafkovsky suffered a lower-body injury in this game and will be evaluated in Montreal.

Former NHL enforcer Gino Odjick (NHL.com).

HEADLINES

THE PROVINCE: Former Vancouver Canucks enforcer Gino Odjick passed away on Sunday from a heart attack at age 52. Odjick was diagnosed in 2014 with amyloidosis, a rare heart condition that produced protein deposits in the heart. The initial diagnosis nearly killed him.

Odjick spent 12 NHL seasons with the Canucks, New York Islanders, Philadelphia Flyers and Montreal Canadiens. Eight of those seasons were spent in Vancouver, where he became a fan favorite and a beloved teammate known for his good humor and friendly nature. In 605 career games, he scored 64 goals and 137 points with 2,567 penalty minutes.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: My condolences to Odjick’s family, friends and former teammates. He was among the league’s most feared enforcers on the ice but was respected by opponents and renowned for his kindness to fans and teammates.

BOSTON HOCKEY NOW: Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman reported Saturday that word around the league is the Bruins and David Pastrnak had made progress in contract extension talks. Bruins general manager Don Sweeney subsequently said he had no update to provide about those talks.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I’ll be very surprised if Pastrnak departs Boston as an unrestricted free agent in July. He wants to stay and the Bruins want to keep him. The dollars are likely what’s causing talks to progress slowly.

Pastrnak is earning an average annual value of $6.66 million on his current deal. That proved to be a bargain for the Bruins given his status among the league’s elite goal scorers. He’s in line to earn over $11 million annually on his next deal. That’s how much Auston Matthews is currently making with the Toronto Maple Leafs.

I’ve read and heard complaints from some Bruins fans (or those claiming to be Bruins fans) that Pastrnak is being greedy and should accept a hometown discount to stay in Boston. The bottom line is the market for former Richard Trophy winners currently on pace to reach 60 goals this season is over $11 million. If the Bruins won’t pay it, other clubs will happily step up to do so in July.

ESPN’s Kevin Weekes reports the Minnesota Wild are making some ground in contract discussions with Matthew Boldy. The 21-year-old sophomore winger is in the final season of his entry-level contract and has 29 points in 41 games this season.

OTTAWA SUN: The Senators got some good news as center Josh Norris is expected to return to action this week. He’s been sidelined by a shoulder injury since October.

LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL: Golden Knights goaltender Robin Lehner was sued for $3.9 million by a Wisconsin company for allegedly failing to repay a business months before he filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. Lehner and his wife cited up to $50 million in debts, most of those business-related.

CBS SPORTS: Speaking of the Golden Knights, winger William Carrier is listed as day-to-day with an upper-body injury and will miss Monday’s game against the Dallas Stars.

DETROIT HOCKEY NOW: The Red Wings placed goaltender Alex Nedeljkovic on waivers yesterday to create roster room for returning winger Filip Zadina. Nedeljkovic is currently with their AHL affiliate in Grand Rapids on a conditioning stint and carries an average annual value of $3 million.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Nedeljkovic was supplanted as the Red Wings starter by offseason acquisition Ville Husso this season while Magnus Hellberg has played well in a backup role. If unclaimed, he’s expected to remain in Grand Rapids for the foreseeable future.

NHL.COM: The Tampa Bay Lightning assigned forward Rudolfs Balcers to their AHL affiliate in Syracuse for conditioning. He’s played just three games with the Lightning after being claimed off waivers from the Florida Panthers on Nov. 12.










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.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 14, 2023

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 14, 2023

Oilers captain Connor McDavid celebrates his birthday with a three-point performance, the Jets’ Cole Perfetti sets a franchise rookie record, Connor Bedard is named the top North American skater in midseason prospect rankings, and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: Edmonton Oilers captain Connor McDavid celebrated his 26th birthday with two goals and an assist in a 7-1 drubbing of the San Jose Sharks. Leon Draisaitl and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins each had a goal and two assists as the Oilers (23-18-3) hold the final Western Conference playoff berth with 49 points, opening a four-point lead over the St. Louis Blues. The Sharks fell to 13-23-8 on the season.

Edmonton Oilers center Connor McDavid (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: McDavid is riding a 12-game points streak. He’s currently the league leader in goals (37), assists (45) and points (82) in just 44 games.

The Winnipeg Jets picked up their seventh win in their last eight games by dropping the Pittsburgh Penguins 4-1. Mark Scheifele scored twice while Cole Perfetti collected three assists. With 57 points, the Jets (28-14-1) are tied with the second-place Dallas Stars in the Western Conference but the latter holds that spot with 22 regulation wins. The 21-14-6 Penguins remain one point up on the New York Islanders for the final Eastern Conference playoff spot with 48 points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Perfetti became the first rookie in Jets history to have multiple games with three-plus assists in a single season. He’s tied with Arizona’s Matias Maccelli for most assists (19) among this season’s rookies and third in rookie points with 25.

New Jersey Devils forwards Jack Hughes and Jesper Bratt each tallied two goals in a 6-2 victory over the Anaheim Ducks. Damon Severson collected three assists while Vitek Vanecek stopped 31 shots for the Devils (27-12-3) as they moved to within two points of the Metropolitan Division-leading Carolina Hurricanes with 57 points. Adam Henrique and Trevor Zegras replied for the Ducks as they fell to 12-27-4.

HEADLINES

NHL.COM: Connor Bedard of the WHL’s Regina Pats is the No. 1 North American skater as NHL Central Scouting released its midseason rankings of the top prospects. The 17-year-old center is the WHL’s leading scorer and was named MVP of the 2023 IIHF World Junior Championship. He could become the first WHL player to be chosen as the NHL’s first overall draft pick since Ryan Nugent-Hopkins in 2011.

Leo Carlsson, a center with Orebro HK of the Swedish Hockey League, is ranked No. 1 among international skaters.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Bedard is the crown jewel of the 2023 prospect class. He could become the most impressive draft pick since Connor McDavid was chosen first overall by the Oilers in 2015.

NBC SPORTS CHICAGO: The Blackhawks sent winger Lukas Reichel back to their AHL affiliate in Rockford in anticipation of Patrick Kane’s return to the lineup. Kane’s missed three games with a lower-body injury.

VEGAS HOCKEY NOW: Golden Knights captain Mark Stone is listed as week-to-week with an upper-body injury suffered during Thursday’s game against the Florida Panthers.

NHL.COM: Arizona Coyotes forward Clayton Keller was fined $5,000.00 by the department of player safety for cross-checking Ottawa Senators defenseman Erik Brannstrom on Thursday.

Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Mikhail Sergachev was fined $5,000.00 for roughing Vancouver Canucks winger Conor Garland during Thursday’s game between the two clubs.

THE PROVINCE: The NHL Players Association is looking into concerns raised over treatment received by Vancouver Canucks winger Tanner Pearson for a broken hand suffered earlier this season. Reports emerged claiming Pearson has undergone three or four procedures and could be sidelined for the remainder of this season. That’s raised speculation that the situation could be career-ending.

Canucks defenseman Quinn Hughes on Thursday suggested Pearson’s injury “wasn’t handled properly.” He clarified his remarks the following day, saying he wasn’t trying to direct blame at anyone and was expressing concern for his teammate.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Sportsnet reported the Canucks are conducting an internal investigation into the handling of Pearson’s injury.

PHILLY HOCKEY NOW: Flyers coach John Tortorella has banned players from using Ipads on the bench during games to evaluate or review their play. He considers them distracting and wants his players’ attention focused elsewhere, preferring they be more engaged with each other.

Someone mentioned that Tortorella will be perceived as “old school” because of his approach. “I don’t give a flying s**t how I’m perceived,” he said.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Tortorella made it clear a long time ago that he didn’t care about the perception of fans and media over how he does his job.

THE BUFFALO NEWS: Former NHL forward Brian Gionta has joined the Niagara University hockey coaching staff as director of player development. Gionta spent 16 seasons in the NHL and retired as a player in 2018. He was inducted into the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame in 2019.










NHL Rumor Mill – January 13, 2023

NHL Rumor Mill – January 13, 2023

The latest on Patrick Kane, Ivan Provorov and John Klingberg plus updates on the Jets, Kraken, Bruins and Canucks in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.

LATEST FROM TSN’S “INSIDER TRADING”

TSN: Pierre LeBrun reports the conversation between Blackhawks management and Patrick Kane about his future won’t be happening until the 34-year-old winger has returned from the “little injury” that has been nagging him this season. Teams with an interest in Kane are monitoring his health status closely. He’s expected to resume play on Saturday.

Chicago Blackhawks winger Patrick Kane (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s understandable why interested clubs are closely watching Kane’s health in the coming weeks. Assuming he agrees to be traded, those teams will have to deal with difficult financial gymnastics and what could be an expensive asking price to obtain him.

Darren Dreger observes the Winnipeg Jets have the cap space to become buyers at the trade deadline if they wish. They are slowly getting back players that were sidelined during the first half of the season and a lot will depend on the health of their roster as the deadline nears.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Jets did a fine job handling the absence of those injured players. Still, I think general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff will keep an eye on the trade market for a deal or two that bolsters his roster for the playoffs.

LeBrun reported the full no-trade clause of Anaheim Ducks defenseman John Klingberg reverted on Jan. 1 to a 10-team list of preferred trade destinations.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Cap Friendly indicates it’s a 10-team no-trade list to the end of the season. Bit of confusion there. Regardless, LeBrun points out Klingberg will want to join a playoff contender so there shouldn’t be too much issue with him waiving it should one of them make a suitable pitch to the Ducks.

Dreger was asked if the Seattle Kraken could draw on their stockpile of 11 picks in this year’s draft (including three second-rounders) if they wish to boost their roster for the postseason. While it’s too early in the season for GM Ron Francis to start shopping picks, there’s a belief he could do so for the right fit.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: In other words, if there’s an affordable depth option or two out there. I can see Francis making that type of move if the Kraken remains in the thick of the postseason hunt by the March 3 trade deadline. I don’t see him pursuing a big-ticket player like Patrick Kane.

ESTIMATING PROVOROV’S TRADE VALUE

THE PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER: Giana Han examined the pros and cons of the Flyers trading Ivan Provorov. The 25-year-old defenseman has recently become the subject of rumors suggesting it might be best for all concerned if he was traded to a playoff contender.

Han believes potential buyers would want to determine how much of Provorov’s struggles stem from himself or his current environment. With an annual average value of $6.75 million through 2024-25, he wouldn’t be a rental player. Given his age, he could still have some upside for contenders as a top-four blueliner.

NHL Network analyst Brian Lawton believes the Flyers shouldn’t trade Provorov for anything less than a first-round pick. He also thinks two other pieces should be included in the return. Han points out the Flyers aren’t under pressure to move Provorov by the March 3 trade deadline. However, they should be willing to listen to offers given their need to accumulate assets for the future.

THE SCORE: Josh Wegman lists the Los Angeles Kings, Edmonton Oilers, Detroit Red Wings, Ottawa Senators and Buffalo Sabres as five clubs that should try to acquire Provorov. He believes the Flyers defenseman would make a good consolation prize for teams that fail to acquire Jakob Chychrun. Provorov could also be more affordable to acquire than the Arizona Coyotes blueliner.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Time is on the Flyers’ side here. They can afford to wait for the offseason if they don’t get any suitable offers for Provorov before the trade deadline.

Provorov has heard the recent trade talk but insists he wants to remain with the Flyers. He lacks a no-trade clause so he won’t have any say in the matter if GM Chuck Fletcher (or his replacement?) decides to peddle him.

His contract offers interested teams cost certainty for the next two seasons. However, his cap hit could prove difficult to move this season given the high number of cap-strapped teams.

UPDATES ON THE BRUINS AND CANUCKS

THE ATHLETIC: Fluto Shinzawa believes Boston Bruins GM Don Sweeney won’t hesitate to move any of his prospects, including Fabian Lysell or Mason Lohrei, if they’ll help to fetch a return that helps them pursue the Stanley Cup this season.

Shinzawa points out the Bruins are all-in to win the Stanley Cup this year. He also noted that Sweeney hasn’t had any qualms over shipping out prospects in his recent trades, pointing to last season’s deal with the Anaheim Ducks for Hampus Lindholm.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Depleting their prospect pool could cost the Bruins down the road when current stars like Patrice Bergeron, Brad Marchand, David Krejci and Taylor Hall have moved on.

Given where they are in the standings right now, Bruins fans will likely forgive Sweeney if shipping out promising youngsters fetches a return that turns them into Stanley Cup champions in June.

SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman yesterday reported Vancouver Canucks president of hockey operations Jim Rutherford and general manager Patrik Allvin have had talks with Rick Tocchet. Now a TNT hockey analyst, Tocchet was an assistant coach with the Pittsburgh Penguins when Rutherford was their general manager and Allvin his assistant GM.

Friedman doesn’t think the Canucks are close to a coaching change, suggesting it could be at least a couple of weeks away. Still, Rutherford and Allvin could go with someone they’re familiar with if they decide to part ways with current bench boss Bruce Boudreau.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Media consensus suggests Boudreau is the most likely head coach to be replaced during this season. Whether Tocchet becomes his replacement remains to be seen. In my opinion, it’ll take more than a coaching change to address the Canucks’ roster weaknesses. That’s the management’s responsibility.