NHL Rumor Mill – December 3, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – December 3, 2022

An update on the Coyotes’ efforts to shop Jakob Chychrun, the latest Canucks speculation, and some suggested trade targets for the Oilers in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.

UPDATE ON JAKOB CHYCHRUN

GOPHNX.COM: Craig Morgan reports nothing has changed regarding Jakob Chychrun’s trade request or the Arizona Coyotes’ efforts to move the 24-year-old defenseman. However, everything is in a holding pattern as interested clubs assess the blueliner’s strengths, weaknesses, potential and the Coyotes’ asking price.

Arizona Coyotes defenseman Jakob Chychrun (NHL Images).

It’s expected interest in Chychrun will increase as he rounds into game shape after being sidelined until late November by offseason wrist surgery. He’s looked good thus far and is logging over 23 minutes of ice time per game since his return. Morgan suggests that’s in part because management is trying to showcase the rearguard.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: There remains considerable interest in Chychrun around the league. His puck-moving skills and ability to play big minutes would make him a welcome addition to any blueline.

However, it all comes down to whether the oft-injured Chychrun can stay healthy this season. His injury history is making interested clubs reluctant to meet the Coyotes’ asking price. The longer he can keep playing and producing, the more likely one of those teams will step up and meet that price.

LATEST CANUCKS SPECULATION

VANCOUVER HOCKEY INSIDER: Rob Simpson reports the Canucks leadership group is “fragmented, inconsistent and cliquey.” So much so that “at least two Canucks core stalwarts” would welcome a trade. He believes management needs to make some choices sooner instead of later, preferably in January following the holiday break and approaching the midseason mark.

Simpson also reports the Canucks are getting lots of calls about Luke Schenn. The 33-year-old is a tough right-shot defenseman who’s a leader on and off the ice. If the Canucks can get a prospect with a similar upside they should go for it.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Canucks have shown some signs of improvement in the last couple of weeks. Much depends on how this month plays out, especially with goaltender Thatcher Demko sidelined for six weeks with a lower-body injury.

If they sink again in the standings during Demko’s absence, management could consider getting an early start in the trade market when the calendar flips to January.

WHICH RUGGED FORWARDS SHOULD THE OILERS TARGET?

THE ATHLETIC: Allan Mitchell recently noted the “worst-kept secret in Edmonton” is the Oilers’ search for “a rugged depth forward who can impact the game physically.” He went on to suggest five potential trade targets with average annual values at $3 million or less.

The Boston Bruins have two in Trent Frederic and A.J. Greer. Others include the New Jersey Devils’ Nathan Bastian and the Philadelphia Flyers’ Zack MacEwen.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Of these, the only one possibly available is MacEwen given the Flyers’ low placement in the standings. That’s assuming they finally acknowledged it’s time to start a rebuild as soon as possible.

The Bruins and Devils are flying high in the standings right now and have no reason to shake things up. However, the Bruins are pressed for cap space and that might necessitate moving out a salaried player. That move could come from their blueline as Mike Reilly has been in and out of their lineup this season due to salary-cap constraints.










NHL Rumor Mill – December 1, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – December 1, 2022

Check out the latest on Patrick Kane, Erik Karlsson, Jakob Chychrun and more in today’s NHL Rumor Mill

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

SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman reports there were rumors that Patrick Kane would prefer to play out this season with the Chicago Blackhawks and decide his future in next summer’s free-agent market. However, sources told him that’s not the case.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: As Friedman noted, we can expect more clarity on what Kane and fellow UFA Jonathan Toews want in the New Year. It’s believed Blackhawks management will meet with both players at some point this month to discuss their futures.

San Jose Sharks defenseman Erik Karlsson (NHL Images).

Friedman believes the Florida Panthers have an interest in San Jose Sharks defenseman Erik Karlsson. However, he’s not sure how they’ll pull it off.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Karlsson carries a no-movement clause. Assuming he’d agree to be traded to the Panthers, they can’t afford his $11.5 million cap hit through 2026-27 without shedding salary and having the Sharks retain a healthy chunk of it.

The cost in terms of return would also be high, including at least one first-round pick. That’s something the Panthers don’t have, having traded away their first-rounders for 2023, 2024 and 2025.

The Philadelphia Flyers are at the 50-contract limit and thus cannot promote Artem Anisimov from their AHL affiliate. Friedman wonders if they might make a move to address that issue.

LATEST ON CHYCHRUN

SPORTSNET: Adam Vingan took note of Arizona Coyotes defenseman Jakob Chychrun’s recent return to action following off-season wrist surgery. The 24-year-old blueliner’s youth, size and affordable $4.6 million salary-cap hit combined with his puck-moving abilities continue to make him enticing for teams seeking a rearguard with his skills.

The Columbus Blue Jackets, New York Islanders, Los Angeles Kings and Buffalo Sabres have been linked to Chychrun. So have the Ottawa Senators. Vingan also pointed out that the injury-ravaged Toronto Maple Leafs need some help on defense.

Vingan also cited Chychrun’s injury history and is prone to turnovers. Nevertheless, he considers him to be a “well-rounded defenseman” who can lead a breakout, control a power play and hold his own against tough competition.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Those interested clubs will want to see Chychrun play some games this season before bidding for his services. The asking price is heavy on futures (draft picks, especially first-rounders, plus prospects and/or a good young NHL player) which is why teams will be cautious given his injury history.

Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman said the Kings seek a left-hand shot on their blueline. While linked to Chychrun and carrying the type of assets the Coyotes would want, he believes there’s no guarantee it happens. Friedman also thinks Chychrun has let management know that he prefers getting moved to a contender.

Coyotes general manager Bill Armstrong could push to move Chychrun this season. The blueliner’s 10-team no-trade clause kicks in next July, giving him more control over where he could be dealt.

SENATORS FACE DEADLINE TO SIGN FORMENTON

OTTAWA SUN: Bruce Garrioch reports the Senators have until 5 pm ET on Dec. 1 to sign Alex Formenton. The 23-year-old winger is a restricted free agent. If he’s unsigned by that deadline, he’ll be ineligible to play in the NHL this season. Garrioch doesn’t anticipate a rival club tending Formenton an offer sheet.

DAILY FACEOFF: Frank Seravalli wonders if the Senators will attempt to trade Formenton to a club willing to sign him before that deadline. There’s speculation the winger could face discipline for his potential involvement in the Team Canada 2018 World Junior team’s sexual assault case. He’s among the few players who have not responded to the allegations directly or indirectly.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The results from the investigation are expected soon but probably not in time for the deadline. It could be that the Senators or clubs potentially interested in Formenton are leery of signing or acquiring him because of this situation. We’ll find out soon enough. 

CAN THE PENGUINS FIND A TRADE PARTNER FOR KAPANEN?

PITTSBURGH HOCKEY NOW: Dan Kingerski recently wondered if the Pittsburgh Penguins can find a trade partner for Kasperi Kapanen by swapping him with another player with a comparably bad contract. The 26-year-old winger is in the first season of a two-year deal with a $3.2 million average annual value.

Kingerski suggested the Edmonton Oilers’ Jesse Puljujarvi, Calgary Flames Milan Lucic and San Jose Sharks Kevin Labanc as trade targets.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I doubt there’s any market for Kapanen after being a healthy scratch through most of November. Pujujarvi was the subject of trade rumors for months but nothing’s come of it. Lucic is aging and slowing down but he remains a popular dressing-room leader for the Flames.

Labanc is the more productive of that group with 13 points in 25 games. If the Sharks were to shop him I don’t see them wanting Kapanen in return.










NHL Rumor Mill – November 29, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – November 29, 2022

In today’s NHL Rumor Mill: more speculation linking the Coyotes’ Jakob Chychrun to the Sabres, pondering the possibility of the Hurricanes pursuing a defenseman, the latest on Senators’ winger Alex Formenton plus the Bruins could be working on a trade.

COULD CHYCHRUN BE HEADED TO THE SABRES?

POST MEDIA: Michael Traikos believes the Buffalo Sabres are the favorite to acquire Arizona Coyotes defenseman Jakob Chychrun.

Arizona Coyotes defenseman Jakob Chychrun (NHL Images).

Traikos argues the Sabres have the cap space to get a deal done. They also possess plenty of prospects, having made five first-round picks in the last two years.

With the Sabres stuck once again near the bottom of the Eastern Conference standings, Traikos believes they have the biggest need.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Sabres are reportedly among the clubs interested in Chychrun, but is he interested in going from one perpetually rebuilding team to another? He lacks no-trade protection but reportedly spiked a deal that would’ve sent him to the Columbus Blue Jackets before the 2022 NHL Draft.

Some of you asked me how Chychrun could reject a trade if he lacks no-trade protection. In the Blue Jackets’ case, his apparent unwillingness to go to Columbus was said to have made them reconsider their options. After what happened with Pierre-Luc Dubois in 2020-21, I daresay they don’t want history repeating itself.

The Sabres have had their own recent history of unhappy players (hello there, Jack Eichel) becoming an unnecessary distraction. They’ll have to ensure Chychrun would have no issues coming to Buffalo before pulling the trigger.

There’s no denying the Sabres have the cap room and the depth in promising young talent to tempt the Coyotes. Those five first-rounders Traikos was referring to are Owen Power and Isak Rosen in 2021 and Matthew Savoie, Noah Ostlund and Jiri Kulich from last season’s draft class. Power, of course, isn’t going anywhere but perhaps the Sabres would part with one or two of those other prospects.

COULD THE HURRICANES TARGET A DEFENSEMAN?

THE ATHLETIC: Eric Duhatschek recently took note of the Carolina Hurricanes’ woeful power-play percentage this season, pointing out it was much better last season with Tony DeAngelo on their blueline.

Duhatschek wondered if the Hurricanes might bring in another puck-moving rearguard to improve their power-play production. He wondered if they might add someone such as the Coyotes’ Shayne Gostisbehere or the Anaheim Ducks’ John Klingberg.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The addition of Brent Burns last summer was supposed to be an overall upgrade over DeAngelo. Having scoring wingers like Teuvo Teravainen and Max Pacioretty sidelined by injuries hasn’t helped. Neither has the departure of center Vincent Trocheck via free agency in July or the offensive struggles of sophomore forward Seth Jarvis. Their overall production should improve once Teravainen and Pacioretty return to the lineup, which could also boost Jarvis’ offense.

LATEST SENATORS AND BRUINS RUMORS

OTTAWA SUN: Bruce Garrioch reports Senators forward Alex Formenton is this season’s last remaining unsigned restricted free agent. He has until 5 pm ET on Thursday, Dec. 1 to sign a new contract or be ineligible to play the remainder of this season.

Formenton faces three options. One is signing a new deal with the Senators if an agreement can be reached before Thursday’s deadline. The second is the Senators trade his rights to another club for something in return if he signs with his new team. The third is Formenton ends up playing in Europe for the remainder of this season with the Senators still holding his RFA rights.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Garrioch reports neither side is commenting on the contract talks. Some fans speculate Formenton’s contract status is linked to his being part of Canada’s 2018 World Junior team that’s under investigation over allegations of sexual assault. There’s been no indication thus far that this is the case.

BOSTON HOCKEY NOW: Jimmy Murphy reports the Bruins might do more than just demote defenseman Anton Stralman if he clears waivers later today to free up more cap space. Removing Stralman from their books would clear just enough cap room to accommodate Derek Forbort coming off long-term injured reserve.

Murphy cited an NHL executive recently saying Bruins general manager Don Sweeney was working the phones seeking a cost-cutting trade. This occurred prior to Stralman being placed on waivers. Mike Reilly ($3 million average annual value) and Craig Smith ($3.1 million) are considered trade candidates. Murphy wondered if Brandon Carlo might become a trade option.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Reilly and Smith have frequently surfaced in recent Bruins’ trade chatter but nothing’s come of it thus far. Carlo’s also surfaced as a trade candidate but his injury history could hurt his value.










NHL Rumor Mill – November 28, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – November 28, 2022

Could Patrick Kane be ready to part ways with the Blackhawks? Are the Sabres really interested in acquiring Coyotes defenseman Jakob Chychrun? Find out in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.

WILL PATRICK KANE STAY WITH THE BLACKHAWKS OR CONSIDER A TRADE?

THE ATHLETIC: Mark Lazerus has long maintained that he’s not sure whether Patrick Kane will stick with the Chicago Blackhawks this season or agree to be moved by the March 3 trade deadline.

Chicago Blackhawks winger Patrick Kane (NHL Images).

Lazerus still believes Kane truly wants to stay in Chicago but feels that the long-time Blackhawks superstar is wearing down as the losses pile up for the rebuilding club. He now thinks that a trade could be inevitable.

Kane still hasn’t given any indication as to his intentions. He’s in the final season of his contract with a $10.5 million cap hit and a full no-movement clause.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The speculation over Kane’s future – and that of fellow Blackhawks franchise player Jonathan Toews – began shortly after last season’s trade deadline as management made clear its intention to rebuild the roster. As the Blackhawks continue to flounder, media conjecture over their respective futures will grow once the calendar flips to 2023 and the trade deadline appears on the horizon.

Recent reports claim Kane could meet with management sometime in December to discuss his situation. At some point, he’s going to have to make a decision. The 34-year-old winger can finish out the season with the Blackhawks and head to free agency and a fresh start elsewhere next July or decide to pursue a Stanley Cup with another club this season and perhaps bolster his free-agent value in the process.

Kane’s contract remains a significant obstacle on the path to a trade. Nevertheless, we can expect the Blackhawks to attempt to get creative with potential trade partners to make this work, such as retaining up to 50 percent of his remaining cap hit.

As Lazerus indicates, however, the final decision rests with Kane. Sometime between now and March 3, we’ll have our answer.

SABRES REPORTEDLY INTERESTED IN CHYCHRUN

THE BUFFALO NEWS: Lance Lysowski took note of Sportsnet’s Jeff Marek wondering aloud if the Sabres would be a dark-horse candidate for Jakob Chychrun during Saturday’s “32 Thoughts” segment on Hockey Night in Canada. He also noted Marek’s colleague Elliotte Friedman recently reported the Coyotes’ asking price includes a pair of first-round picks (either prospects chosen in previous drafts or future selections) plus “something else.”

Lysowski cites sources confirming the Sabres are among several clubs to have expressed an interest in acquiring the Arizona Coyotes defenseman. Sabres general manager Kevyn Adams declined to discuss Chychrun when contacted by Lysowski on Sunday. However, Adams admitted he’s always on the lookout for anything that can improve his club.

With over $17 million in cap space, the Sabres can easily afford Chychrun’s $4.6 million annual salary-cap hit through 2024-25. Lysowski believes his style of play would fit well on their blueline, taking pressure off younger defensemen such as Rasmus Dahlin, Owen Power and Mattias Samuelsson.

The Coyotes’ asking price, however, could be a problem for the Sabres. Adams has stated his desire to maintain a stockpile of high-end prospects.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I can’t blame Adams for looking into what it would cost to acquire Chychrun. His club has the depth in prospects and promising young players to meet the Coyotes’ asking price. Whether the Sabres GM wants to pay it, however, is another matter.

There’s also the question of whether Chychrun would want to go from one perpetually rebuilding team in Arizona to another in Buffalo. Lysowski pointed out the blueliner has a connection with Sabres owners Terry and Kim Pegula as he attended high school in Florida with two of their children. However, that might not be enough to convince him to go to Buffalo.

Chychrun lacks no-trade protection this season but it’s believed that the Coyotes want to do right by him if possible by sending him to a club of his choosing. It’s rumored he rejected a trade to the Columbus Blue Jackets in early July.










Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – November 27, 2022

Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – November 27, 2022

Could the Sabres be a suitor for Jakob Chychrun? Which defensemen should the Leafs target to shore up their injury-ravaged blueline? Are the Oilers shopping for a forward? Find out in the Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup.

COULD THE SABRES OR LEAFS PURSUE CHYCHRUN?

SPORTSNET: With Jakob Chychrun returning to action last week for the first time this season, Jeff Marek wondered if the Buffalo Sabres might be a dark-horse candidate to acquire the 24-year-old Arizona Coyotes defenseman.

Arizona Coyotes defenseman Jakob Chychrun (NHL Images).

Sabres general manager Kevyn Adams has maintained he’s sticking with youth. However, Marek noted that “there is a feeling out there” that they’re running their young blueliners (Rasmus Dahlin, Owen Power and Mattias Samuelsson) hard this season. He believes they’ve got their young core locked in that doesn’t need any more prospects and need to start putting together their team.

Marek also expects the New York Islanders, Los Angeles Kings and Columbus Blue Jackets will be linked to Chychrun.

TORONTO STAR: Nick Kypreos believes Chychrun would be the best answer to address the Maple Leafs’ banged-up blueline corps. He claims Leafs GM Kyle Dubas had a great interest in the Coyotes’ rearguard from the start and that hasn’t wavered.

Kypreos claims the Leafs will have competition, saying there are believed to be six clubs sniffing around for a deal. Four of the more serious contenders have a wider range of prospects than the Leafs.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Chyrchrun rumor mill will grind away now that he’s returned to action from off-season wrist surgery. So far, he’s looked good in the three games he’s played, collecting three points with a plus-minus of plus-four. The longer he plays, the more interest he’ll draw and perhaps the sooner this year-long saga will come to an end.

The Kings have long been linked to Chychrun and possess considerable depth in prospects and young players to tempt the Coyotes. So do the Blue Jackets, who were rumored to have looked into acquiring him leading up to this year’s draft.

I don’t see where Chychrun’s a fit with the Islanders. They’ve already got two solid left-side defensemen in Adam Pelech and Alexander Romanov plus right-shot Noah Dobson has emerged as their blueline point producer. Their focus over the summer was finding a scoring forward.

The Sabres’ biggest need thus far seems to be reliable goaltending. If they want to bolster their blueline perhaps they’ll consider more affordable, healthier options than Chychrun.

As for the Leafs, I can’t see them outbidding other clubs for Chychrun, especially if the Coyotes insist on getting a couple of first-rounders and a high-end prospect or good young NHL player in return.

MORE PROPOSED LEAFS TRADE TARGETS

Nick Kypreos also suggested several other defensemen that could address their blueline woes if Chychrun wasn’t feasible. One was the Nashville Predators’ Dante Fabbro, who’s a restricted free agent next summer. Word is the Predators are willing to move the right-shot defenseman for the right price. Kypreos believes it could cost the Leafs prospect Matthew Knies.

The other is Vladislav Gavrikov of the Columbus Blue Jackets. He’s slated to become an unrestricted free agent in July and could cost a first-round pick and more to acquire.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I must confess this is the first I’ve heard that Fabbro might be available. Perhaps the right price would be a scoring forward. The Predators, however, won’t be under any significant pressure to move him by the March 3 trade deadline given his RFA status.

I still believe the Blue Jackets will try to retain Gavrikov. Nevertheless, he will draw plenty of interest if he hits the trade market before March 3.

Other options include the Seattle Kraken’s Carson Soucy, the Vancouver Canucks’ Luke Schenn, the Anaheim Ducks’ John Klingberg and the Minnesota Wild’s Matt Dumba.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Soucy and Dumba won’t be going anywhere as long as their clubs remain in playoff contention by the trade deadline. Klingberg, on the other hand, will become available when his no-trade clause expires on Jan. 1. Expect the Ducks to start peddling him between then and deadline day.

OILERS SEEK A FORWARD

SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman believes the Edmonton Oilers are in the market for “edgy”, grinding depth forwards. There’s a feeling since Evander Kane was sidelined that they’re easier to play against. He points out that they’re close to the salary cap and wonders if they can find a budget player to address their needs.










NHL Rumor Mill – November 26, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – November 26, 2022

What’s the latest on the Sharks’ contract talks with Timo Meier? Should the Islanders pursue him if he hits the trade block? What’s the latest on Jakob Chychrun? Could the Panthers move Patric Hornqvist? Find out in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.

THE LATEST ON TIMO MEIER

SAN JOSE HOCKEY NOW: Sheng Peng reports Sharks winger Timo Meier said there’s nothing new going on regarding his contract extension negotiations. That’s in line with what his agent, Claude Lemieux, said at the start of the season. Lemieux had indicated he didn’t anticipate receiving any offers until the end of this season.

San Jose Sharks winger Timo Meier (NHL Images)

The Sharks could decide to trade the 26-year-old Meier, who is slated to become a restricted free agent in July. “It’s in your head sometimes,” Meier admitted, but he said he’s trying not to get too caught up in it.

Peng recently observed that Daily Faceoff’s Frank Seravalli has Meier at No. 6 on his early-season list of NHL trade targets. He currently has a management annual salary-cap hit of $6 million.

THE ATHLETIC: In a recent mailbag segment, Kevin Kurz was asked if he thought the New York Islanders should pursue Meier or Vancouver Canucks center Bo Horvat if they become available at the March 3 trade deadline.

Kurz believed Meier would be a better fit as he would be a natural to line up alongside first-line center Mathew Barzal. However, he doubted the Isles have the assets to make that deal as bidding for Meier would be fierce. He speculated it could cost them a first-round pick and one of their few high-end prospects, provided Meier would sign a contract extension with them.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Hanging over Meier’s contract situation is the cost of the qualifying offer. As I and other observers have noted, while his annual cap hit is $6 million, he’s being paid $10 million this season in actual salary.

Because Meier signed his current contract before changes to qualifying offer rules were made in 2020, it will cost the Sharks (or whatever team were to acquire him) $10 million just to qualify his rights unless he and the team can agree before then on a new contract with perhaps a lower average annual value.

If Meier does hit the trade block before March 3, teams could consider him to be a rental player instead of one they can retain beyond this season.

MORE CHYCHRUN TO THE BLUE JACKETS SPECULATION

SPORTSNET: In a recent “32 Thoughts” podcast, Elliotte Friedman and Jeff Marek mentioned the Columbus Blue Jackets have once again been linked to Arizona Coyotes defenseman Jakob Chychrun.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Jackets reportedly expressed interest in Chychrun leading up to the opening round of this year’s draft but he supposedly spiked the deal despite lacking no-trade protection. Jackets management denied the story but more than a few pundits claim their interest was genuine.

The Jackets are well-stocked with promising players on their roster (Kent Johnson, Cole Sillinger, Adam Boqvist, Yegor Chinakhov) and in their prospect pipeline (David Jiricek, Denton Mateychuk) that could entice the Coyotes. That’s assuming Chychrun has had a change of heart regarding his rumored unwillingness to go to Columbus.

UPDATE ON THE PANTHERS

SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman doesn’t expect the Florida Panthers will attempt to move veteran winger Patric Hornqvist to make room for Anthony Duclair when the latter is ready to return to the lineup.

Hornqvist is in the final season of his contract with a cap hit of $5.3 million. There’s a belief that Florida GM Bill Zito promised the winger that he wouldn’t be traded elsewhere in order to get him to agree to accept a trade to the Panthers. Friedman doubted that Zito would renege on his promise.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: If Zito wanted to trade Hornqvist he probably won’t find much of a market for an aging, expensive winger playing fourth-line minutes. Besides, Hornqvist still has an eight-team no-trade list.

Zito’s not in a position of strength here and rival clubs could be more interested in players still in their prime like Duclair, Sam Reinhart or Sam Bennett. It’ll be interesting to see how the Panthers GM handles this situation.