NHL Rumor Mill – November 30, 2023

NHL Rumor Mill – November 30, 2023

The Leafs and Canucks could be in the market for defensemen while the Oilers could be scouting the Blue Jackets goalies. Check out the latest in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.


SPORTSNET: In his latest “32 Thoughts” column, Elliotte Friedman noted the Toronto Maple Leafs are down three defensemen with Mark Giordano, John Klingberg and Timothy Liljegren sidelined by injuries. He wondered if this was the year for the Leafs to spend key assets on rental replacements.

THE ATHLETIC: Chris Johnston believes it’s not difficult to draw a line from Maple Leafs general manager Brad Treliving to his former club in Calgary, where the Flames have a blueline that features several attractive trade targets.

Johnston rules out Noah Hanifin given the expense of his next contract and the fact the Leafs are believed to be on his eight-team no-trade list. However, Chris Tanev and Nikita Zadorov could hold some appeal.

Calgary Flames defenseman Chris Tanev (NHL Images).

Other options include former Leaf Ilya Lyubushkin of the Anaheim Ducks and Sean Walker of the Philadelphia Flyers. As for what the Leafs could use for trade capital, Johnston noted that they have nine picks in the 2024 draft, including a first-rounder.

DAILY FACEOFF: Chris Tanev tops Mark Larkin’s list of seven possible trade targets for the Leafs. Others include Zadorov, the Columbus Blue Jackets’ Andrew Peeke, the Nashville Predators’ Alexandre Carrier, the Seattle Kraken’s Will Borgen, the San Jose Sharks’ Mario Ferraro and the Philadelphia Flyers’ Travis Sanheim.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Zadorov’s recent trade request makes him the most likely among this group to be moved. Given the Flames’ recent rise in the standings, however, they’re probably not in any hurry to move Zadorov, Tanev or anyone else.

Peeke could be the next most likely to be available. He was among three defensemen (Adam Boqvist and Jake Bean being the others) that the Jackets were reportedly shopping back in October. Lyubushkin and Borgen could also become available if their respective clubs fail to gain ground in the standings.

Ferraro is signed through 2025-26 and the Sharks might not be keen to move him unless it’s for a substantial offer. The Preds might not be sellers if they continue climbing in the standings.

The Flyers are reportedly willing to listen if they get offers that could build up their foundation but they’re not listening on every player. They might move Walker later in the season but I doubt they’ll part with Sanheim. He has 16 points in 22 games and carries a $6.25 million annual cap hit through 2030-31 along with a full no-trade clause.


SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman noted the Vancouver Canucks cleared cap space by trading Anthony Beauvillier to Chicago earlier this week. He claims they’re scouring the market for a blueliner.

One option could be bringing back free agent Ethan Bear, though he’s not expected to be ready to return from offseason shoulder surgery until late December. He also noted the Conor Garland sweepstakes have slowed down because he’s playing well and the Canucks no longer have a cap crunch. They’re also not interested in moving their first-round draft pick.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Friedman’s colleague Iain MacIntyre reported Canucks GM Patrik Allvin acknowledged his club’s need for more blueline depth. “I think we can get help on the back end, yes,” he said.

They could be waiting for Bear to be ready to return or they could consider other options like those suggested for the Maple Leafs. Given how well they’re currently playing, the Canucks don’t have to rush into making a move. Nevertheless, they could be worth watching before the holiday trade freeze (Dec. 20-27) kicks in.


SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman noted three Edmonton Oilers executives/scouts were in Columbus for the second time this week. They were there on Monday when the Blue Jackets defeated the Boston Bruins with Spencer Martin getting the win in goal. They were also there on Wednesday when Elvis Merzlikins faced the Montreal Canadiens.

With Danill Tarasov due to return from injury soon, the Blue Jackets could have one goalie too many unless they intend on carrying three. Friedman also noted that it’s possible the Oilers could recall Jack Campbell if he plays well.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Oilers were also linked to Montreal Canadiens goalies Sam Montembeault and Jake Allen but that speculation has recently subsided. Montembeault played well in a 4-2 win over the Jackets so perhaps the Oilers might revisit their interest in him.

NHL Rumor Mill – November 28, 2023

NHL Rumor Mill – November 28, 2023

Check out the latest on the Leafs plus more speculation linking the Coyotes to the Flames’ Noah Hanifin in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.


TORONTO STAR: Kevin McGran reports Maple Leafs general manager Brad Treliving is still in contract extension talks with winger William Nylander. He’s also awaiting clarity on defenseman John Klingberg’s hip injury.

Treliving provided no details regarding the contract discussions with the Nylander camp. He remains hopeful of getting the 27-year-old winger signed before he becomes eligible for unrestricted free-agent status next July.

Toronto Maple Leafs forward William Nylander (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s an encouraging sign that the lines of communication between the Leafs and Nylander’s representatives remain open. There’s still no guarantee that a deal could be hammered out before season’s end but the odds are better if there is ongoing dialogue.

Nylander’s outstanding play this season almost certainly ensures he’ll receive a significant raise over his current $6.9 million average annual value. Estimates range from $8.5 million (too low in my opinion) to $12.25 million (too high). I think it’ll land somewhere between $10 million and $11 million annually.

As for Klingberg, Treliving revealed his hip ailment began during the fourth game of this season. He underwent double hip surgery in 2014. The 31-year-old blueliner is being examined by doctors in New York and it’s believed a decision regarding surgery or physical therapy will be made by the end of this week.

The Leafs need to know how long Klingberg will be sidelined. That will determine if they need to find another defenseman and how much cap space they’ll have to do so.

It’s rumored the Leafs are interested in Calgary Flames blueliners Nikita Zadorov and Chris Tanev. Zadorov recently requested a trade and his agent indicated he has an interest in coming to Toronto, where he would be reunited with Treliving.

TSN: Darren Dreger also recently noted the Leafs’ rumored interest in Tanev given their need for a right-shot defenseman. He also listed former Leaf and current Anaheim Ducks rearguard Ilya Lyubushkin, the Philadelphia Flyers’ Sean Walker, and the Columbus Blue Jackets’ Andrew Peeke.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Flames management isn’t in any rush to move Zadorov or Tanev now that the club has moved up in the standings into a wild-card spot. I doubt the Flyers are that keen to move Walker right now given their ongoing solid play.

The Ducks probably won’t shop Lyubushkin until closer to the March 8 trade deadline. Peeke, however, could be available. Reports earlier this season claimed the Jackets were gauging the trade market on Peeke and Adam Boqvist.


GOPHNX.COM: Craig Morgan noted the recent rumors that have linked the Arizona Coyotes to Calgary Flames defenseman Noah Hanifin. He said the rumor “has some legs” but indicated their level of pursuit in the 26-year-old pending unrestricted free agent is “a bit exaggerated”.

Morgan acknowledged the Coyotes’ need for someone like Hanifin on their blueline. He thinks they really need another top-four option because offseason acquisition Matt Dumba hasn’t played like one.

If the Coyotes acquire Hanifin, Morgan believes they’d have to do so without giving up any of their top prospects. They’d also have to sign him to a contract extension that would fit within their long-term budget.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Those are the two factors that make a Hanifin trade to Arizona unlikely. The Flames will probably want one of the Coyotes’ top prospects as part of the return. Hanifin could also prefer testing the UFA market in July.

I don’t blame the Coyotes for looking into Hanifin’s availability. They’re a club on the rise with a promising future. However, he could prefer joining an already established playoff/Stanley Cup contender.

NHL Rumor Mill – November 23, 2023

NHL Rumor Mill – November 23, 2023

Check out the latest on the Oilers and Flames in today’s NHL Rumor Roundup.


DAILY FACEOFF: Frank Seravalli suggested five options for the Edmonton Oilers to target in order to upgrade their goaltending.

Topping his list is James Reimer of the Detroit Red Wings. Mackenzie Blackwood of the San Jose Sharks and Jake Allen of the Montreal Canadiens were next, followed by the Arizona Coyotes’ Karel Vejmelka and the Philadelphia Flyers’ Carter Hart.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Blackwood and Allen appear the more likely to be available. The Sharks are going nowhere fast while the Canadiens could opt to move Allen if they decide to go with a tandem of Sam Montembeault and Cayden Primeau (which I think they should).

Speaking of Blackwood, TSN’s Darren Dreger said he’d be looking at the Sharks netminder if he were the Oilers general manager. When Oilers GM Ken Holland is doing so remains to be seen.

Like the Canadiens, the Red Wings are carrying three goalies but they’re also trying to reach the playoffs this year. They could opt to hang onto Reimer.

The same goes with Vejmelka and Hart. Their respective clubs are off to better-than-expected starts this season and they could be reluctant to move their starting goalies right now. Perhaps that changes if they fall out of contention as the season goes along.

A lot would also depend on how much the Oilers are willing to overpay for one of those goalies.

Montreal Canadiens goaltender Sam Montembeault (NHL Images).

Seravalli also dismissed the notion of the Boston Bruins parting with Jeremy Swayman or Linus Ullmark. He also rejected speculation about Nashville Predators’ starter Juuse Saros, pointing to Predators general manager Barry Trotz’s desire to sign Saros to a contract extension next summer.

EDMONTON JOURNAL: David Staples cited TSN’s Darren Dreger speculating over what it might cost the Oilers to acquire Sam Montembeault from the Montreal Canadiens.

Dreger believes the Canadiens would want a “substantial” return for Montembeault, who’s earning $1 million this season and is slated to become an unrestricted free agent in July. He thinks prospect Xavier Bourgault would have to be part of the deal.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I’ve also heard speculation suggesting the only way the Oilers can swing a trade for a goalie is to find someone who’ll take struggling former starter Jack Campbell and his $5 million average annual value through 2026-27 off their hands.

Maybe that’s possible but it would take a hell of an offer with a lot of sweeteners bundled with Campbell to make it happen. Right now, I don’t see that sort of deal happening. Maybe in the offseason leading up to the draft but not during a season where most teams are pressed against the $83.5 million cap.


THE ATHLETIC: In a recent mailbag segment, Julian McKenzie was asked if there was any scenario he could see where the Calgary Flames could shed higher-salaried players such as Jonathan Huberdeau, Nazem Kadri, MacKenzie Weegar and Jacob Markstrom should they decide to rebuild.

Such moves would require some salary retention on the Flames’ part. Given Huberdeau’s hefty contract, they would likely have to include a draft pick or a prospect to tempt another club into taking him off their hands.

McKenzie said he would be very surprised if those four players were shipped out this season. He believes the Flames should focus on bringing in younger, better players (like Conor Zary) to build around the expensive core.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Even with the salary cap projected to rise significantly over the next two or three seasons, Huberdeau, Kadri, Weegar and Markstrom would still be difficult to move. All but Markstrom are in the first year or two of their long-term deals while Markstrom has two more seasons left on his contract.

BOSTON HOCKEY NOW: Jimmy Murphy recently cited NHL analyst Pierre McGuire telling the Eye Test Podcast that he thinks the Flames and Boston Bruins seem like trade “dance partners.” He noted that Bruins GM Don Sweeney has long coveted Flames defenseman Noah Hanifin.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That dance might take place near the March 8 trade deadline if the Flames are out of playoff contention by that point. Given the Bruins’ limited trade deadline cap space ($2.6 million), perhaps Sweeney will wait until the offseason when he could pursue Hanifin via the free-agent market.

NEW JERSEY HOCKEY NOW: James Nichol cited a report from The Fourth Period claiming the New Jersey Devils are among four teams interested in Flames defensemen Chris Tanev and Nikita Zadorov. The others were the Toronto Maple Leafs, Dallas Stars and Vancouver Canucks.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Devils are struggling defensively of late and Devils GM Tom Fitzgerald has shown a willingness to make big moves during the season. We shouldn’t dismiss the possibility of him landing Tanev or Zadorov at some point this season.

NHL Rumor Mill – November 20, 2023

NHL Rumor Mill – November 20, 2023

Are the Sabres a fit for Patrick Kane? Could the Panthers pursue Nikita Zadorov? What’s the latest Canucks speculation? Find out in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.


THE BUFFALO NEWS: In his latest mailbag segment, Lance Lysowski was asked why so many Sabres fans think Patrick Kane will sign with their club if he’s trying to latch onto a Stanley Cup contender.

Kane has links to his hometown Sabres including with Sabres general manager Kevyn Adams and head coach Don Granato. He noted that the club is among the few with the cap space, opportunity and supporting cast to entice the 35-year-old free-agent winger.

Free agent winger Patrick Kane (NHL Images).

However, Lysowski doesn’t see Kane selecting the Sabres unless they overpay or give him a multi-year contract. The latter scenario seems unlikely as they have several right-wing options for next season that include Alex Tuch, Jack Quinn and Matthew Savoie.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Sabres are among a handful of clubs (including the Carolina Hurricanes, Florida Panthers, Tampa Bay Lightning and Toronto Maple Leafs) that have been linked to Kane in the media rumor mill. He’s expected to decide by the end of this week as to where he’ll spend the rest of this season. The Sabres and Panthers have reportedly kept in touch with his camp since the summer.


FLORIDA HOCKEY NOW: In a recent mailbag segment, George Richards was asked if he thinks the Panthers will be in on Nikita Zadorov. The defenseman recently requested a trade from the Calgary Flames.

Richards believes the Panthers always have an interest in any player who could help them out. However, he doubts that they have what it would take to make a move for someone like Zadorov.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That means depth in draft picks and prospects, something the Flames would want in return for Zadorov.

The Panthers have traded away their first-round picks for 2024 and 2025 as well as their 2024 second-rounder. Their prospect pipeline was ranked No. 23 by The Athletic back in August largely because of Anton Lundell’s success. They won’t part with Lundell as he’s a key part of their roster.


THE PROVINCE: In a recent mailbag segment, Patrick Johnston was asked if the Canucks are continuing to search for more defensive depth with Carson Soucy sidelined for six to eight weeks.

Johnston noted that the Canucks were interested in the Flames’ Nikita Zadorov since before last summer’s draft. His teammate Chris Tanev loved his time playing in Vancouver and would probably welcome a return, especially with how well the Canucks are playing right now.

However, Johnston doesn’t believe the Flames want to trade either player to Vancouver. To make it work, the Canucks might have to find an Eastern Conference club willing to swing a three-team deal.

The Canucks would also like to add another winger or two. Conor Garland has been in the rumor mill for some time but no one’s sprung for him yet. If the Canucks could trade Anthony Beauvillier and his expiring contract, they could use the savings to add a more effective player to their lineup.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Canucks strong performance of late means management doesn’t have to rush around trying to find a suitable deal this early in the season. They could end up having to wait until the calendar flips to 2024 before they start finding any suitable possibilities in the trade market.

Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – November 19, 2023

Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – November 19, 2023

In the Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup: the latest on the Leafs and Patrick Kane, an update on the Flames pending free agents and the Oilers appear interested in the Canadiens’ goaltenders.


SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman believes the Toronto Maple Leafs have had a conversation with Patrick Kane. The 35-year-old free-agent right winger is fielding offers as he searches for the right team to play with this season.

Free agent winger Patrick Kane (NHL Images).

The Leafs have kept silent on the matter. Friedman considers it unlikely that they’ll sign Kane as he thinks the two parties wanted to talk to each other and conduct due diligence. He anticipates that Kane will decide on where he’ll play in the coming days. The Leafs appear more committed to addressing their defense.

Friedman also believes the Toronto Maple Leafs need to figure out where things are going with John Klingberg. He was unable to play during their Global Series games in Sweden.

Luke Fox wondered if the Leafs might place Klingberg and his $4.15 million cap hit for this season on long-term injury reserve. He’s been absent from the lineup for a week with an undisclosed injury and only lasted 10 minutes before leaving Saturday’s full-team practice.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Putting Klingberg on LTIR could provide additional wiggle room to perhaps sign Kane. However, I agree with Friedman that their focus is on improving their blueline.


SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman reported there’s nothing new to report regarding trade rumors involving the Calgary Flames defensemen. They’re undoubtedly taking a lot of calls from other clubs and there’s been “a lot of conversation” over what they want to do and when. Friedman wonders when the Flames will get to a point where they’ll allow some of these teams to talk to those players.

Meanwhile, Flames captain Mikael Backlund spoke to some of his teammates to “end the noise”. He wants them to concentrate on playing as long as they’re with the Flames.

THE ATHLETIC: Julian McKenzie reports the Flames’ recent 4-1-1 streak has dampened some of the criticism aimed at the club’s performance as well as the spate of trade rumors.

If the Flames remain competitive, McKenzie wonders what effect it will have regarding the futures of Noah Hanifin, Elias Lindholm and Chris Tanev. They’re slated to become unrestricted free agents in July and have been frequent subjects of trade speculation.

TORONTO SUN: Lance Hornby noted that talk of the Maple Leafs’ interest in Nikita Zadorov or Chris Tanev has eased following the Flames’ recent improvement.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Flames general manager Craig Conroy is taking a wait-and-see approach regarding Lindholm, Hanifin, Tanev and Zadorov. If the Flames improve and get back into playoff contention, he could decide to hang onto them even if it means losing them to free agency in July. Should they remain out of contention by midseason, Conroy could start seriously entertaining trade offers from playoff contenders.


SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman reports the Edmonton Oilers continue to look at the goaltending market. He indicated that several teams who were recently in Montreal said the Oilers were looking at all three of the Montreal Canadiens’ goaltenders. However, Friedman doesn’t believe anything is imminent between the two clubs as the Oilers are determined not to make a panic trade that they might regret.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Canadiens are carrying goalies Jake Allen, Sam Montembeault and Cayden Primeau. Allen has the most experience but his $3.85 million annual average value through 2024-25. That’s too expensive for the Oilers unless they ship out a player with an equivalent salary or convince the Canadiens to retain half of Allen’s cap hit. He also has a 10-team no-trade clause.

Montembeault has an affordable $1 million cap hit but it’s believed the Canadiens hope to re-sign the pending UFA goalie. Primeau is the least experienced and probably the least likely option for the Oilers.

Allen and Montembeault have decent stats with the rebuilding Canadiens. Their numbers could improve with a better team. Whether the Oilers will take that chance remains to be seen. They’d prefer a more established option but those don’t seem to be available right now.

NHL Rumor Mill – November 15, 2023

NHL Rumor Mill – November 15, 2023

The Flames are listening to trade offers on several players, the latest on Patrick Kane’s search for a new team, and an update on Predators goalie Juuse Saros in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.


TSN: Pierre LeBrun reports Calgary Flames general manager Craig Conroy and his staff are listening to offers on more than just defenseman Nikita Zadorov following his trade request on Friday. They’re also willing to entertain trade proposals regarding their other pending unrestricted free agents such as center Elias Lindholm, and defensemen Noah Hanifin and Chris Tanev.

LeBrun noted that Hanifin was reportedly close to signing a contract extension but opted to wait “and now that ship has sailed.” He said the Flames aren’t in any hurry to move those UFAs as they’ve got until the March 8 trade deadline.

Calgary Flames forward Nazem Kadri (NHL Images).

Darren Dreger said the Toronto Maple Leafs, Vancouver Canucks and New Jersey Devils are the “primary teams” interested in one of those Calgary defensemen. He also believes that center Nazem Kadri isn’t keen to stick around if the Flames regress, adding that there could be others who feel the same.

THE ATHLETIC: LeBrun believes Maple Leafs GM Brad Treliving has an interest in Zadorov but “there’s no question” he also inquired about Tanev.

CALGARY SUN: Daniel Austin took note of Dreger’s remark about Kadri, who signed a long-term deal last year with the Flames.

He pointed out that there are other Flames veterans like Jonathan Huberdeau, MacKenzie Weegar, Blake Coleman, and Jacob Markstrom on long-term contracts who expected the club would try to compete for the Stanley Cup.

Austin also wondered whether players like Rasmus Andersson would want to re-sign if they saw their teammates getting traded away.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Things are a mess in Calgary right now. Zadorov’s trade request could set off an avalanche of change this season if the Flames fail to improve before the New Year.

Pending UFAs such as Zadorov, Lindholm, Hanifin and Tanev will draw plenty of interest from playoff contenders seeking rental players. Trading those with hefty contracts such as Kadri, Huberdeau, Weegar and Markstrom, however, could prove more difficult. Those moves might have to wait until the offseason when teams have more cap space and a willingness to spend.


ESPN.COM: Greg Wyshynski reports free agent right wing Patrick Kane has started meeting with teams this week to determine his next NHL destination. His agent Pat Brisson said there is no timetable for his client to sign.

It’s expected Kane will meet with up to eight teams this week. He’s been linked to the Buffalo Sabres and Florida Panthers, who have checked in with him since free agency. The New York Rangers and Detroit Red Wings were also said to be on his radar.

NEW YORK POST: Larry Brooks reports well-placed sources claim the Rangers are not getting into the Kane sweepstakes this time. They acquired the future Hall-of-Fame winger before last season’s trade deadline but the two sides parted ways on July 1 when his contract expired.

Brooks listed the Sabres, Panthers, Red Wings, Toronto Maple Leafs, Dallas Stars and Tampa Bay Lightning among the possible suitors for Kane.

TORONTO SUN: cited NHL analyst John Shannon reporting he’d heard that Kane met with the Maple Leafs on Tuesday. He also claimed the Lightning, Stars and Carolina Hurricanes were among the interested parties.

TSN: Darren Dreger said Kane and Brisson hope to cut that list of potential destinations down by this weekend and hope to have a final decision in place by early next week.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Your guess is as good as mine where Kane ends up. At least we’re finally into the end game of this saga after months of speculation.

Some clubs, like the Sabres and Red Wings, have the cap space to sign him to a decent contract. The others, however, could give him a better chance to win the Stanley Cup this season provided he’s willing to accept an affordable one-year deal.


THE ATHLETIC: Pierre LeBrun noted that Nashville Predators goaltender Juuse Saros would be a “dream addition” for some teams, “including wishful thinkers in Edmonton.” However, he reports the Preds have “no intention to move him.”

Predators GM Barry Trotz told LeBrun that he met with Saros’ agent and indicated his intent to re-sign the 28-year-old goaltender. Trotz acknowledged the recent trade rumors swirling about Saros but he doesn’t plan on moving him.

LeBrun suggested that could change if the Predators can’t get Saros signed next summer to an extension. However, they seem confident that he’ll want to stay.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Trotz said that his club is in “a little bit of a retool type of situation here” and sees Saros as their backbone once it’s completed.

As LeBrun noted, things can change if a rival club makes an offer for Saros too good to pass up. However, I wouldn’t hold my breath waiting for that to happen this season.