NHL Rumor Mill – March 5, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – March 5, 2022

What moves could the Leafs, Avalanche, Red Wings and Oilers make before the trade deadline? Check out the latest in today’s NHL rumor mill.

LEAFS

SPORTSNET: Luke Fox reports Toronto Maple Leafs general manager Kyle Dubas has made adding a defenseman his priority before the March 21 trade deadline. What type of blueliner and how much he’ll cost will depend upon the healthy of sidelined rearguard Jake Muzzin, whose $5.625 million cap hit is currently on long-term injury reserve. If Muzzin is out for the regular season with concussion symptoms, one imagines Dubas will seek a comparable left-shot defenseman.

TORONTO STAR: Mark Zwolinski examined what Dubas could part with to bolster his roster before the trade deadline. The Leafs GM isn’t afraid to trade draft picks and he’s got his first-, second-and seventh-round picks in this year’s draft. He might be willing to part with his first-rounder for a defenseman like Dallas’ John Klingberg, Arizona’s Jakob Chychrun or Anaheim’s Hampus Lindholm.

Anaheim Ducks defenseman Hampus Lindholm (NHL Images).

Other trade chips could include a defenseman such as Justin Holl, Rasmus Sandin, Timothy Liljegren or Travis Dermott. Pending restricted free agent forward Pierre Engvall is another possibility. Minor leaguers Joshua Ho-Sang and Alex Steeves and prospects Matt Knies, Nick Abruzzese and Topi Niemela could interest other clubs.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Dubas has shown a willingness in the recent past to swing big deals with seemingly limited cap room. I don’t dismiss the possibility of him pulling another rabbit out of his hat again.

I wouldn’t expect to see Klingberg, Chychrun or Lindholm joining the Leafs by deadline day. The Stars aren’t sellers as they’re battling for a Western Conference wild-card berth. The Coyotes’ asking price for Chychrun is likely too expensive for the Leafs while the Ducks are reportedly trying to re-sign Lindholm.

Some Leafs followers believe Dubas needs to improve his goaltending. That’s as maybe but the reality is there aren’t many quality goalies available that would be an improvement over the current tandem of Jack Campbell and Petr Mrazek. Marc-Andre Fleury seems to be leaning toward finishing the season with the Chicago Blackhawks while there’s no indication the New York Islanders are shopping Semyon Varlamov. The rest of them are career backups or past-their-prime starters.

AVALANCHE

THE DENVER POST: Mark Chambers lists Philadelphia Flyers captain Claude Giroux, San Jose Sharks center Tomas Hertl, Dallas Stars forward Joe Pavelski, Vancouver Canucks center J.T. Miller and Buffalo Sabres defenseman Colin Miller as five potential trade targets for the Colorado Avalanche.

THE ATHLETIC: Peter Baugh and Scott Wheeler list prospect defenseman Justin Barron, the Avalanche’s 2023 first-round pick and prospect forward Oskar Olausson among the potential trade chips general manager Joe Sakic could dangle. Others include defenseman Sean Behrens and their 2023 second-rounder.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Giroux is the main guy the Avs have been linked to in the rumor mill. Everything depends on whether he’ll waive his no-movement clause to go to Colorado. The Flyers will likely seek a first-rounder, a top prospect and a young player in return.

Hertl could also be an option though he and the Sharks are reportedly engaged in contract extension talks. The Stars are in the thick of the Western wild-card chase so they’re not shopping Pavelski, who’d like to stay in Dallas after this season.

The Canucks aren’t parting with Miller unless someone makes a substantial offer that involves young NHL players. Colin Miller, on the other hand, would be an affordable pickup for the Avs once he returns from his undisclosed injury.

RED WINGS

DAILY FACEOFF: Frank Seravalli added Detroit Red Wings forward Filip Zadina to his list of trade targets at No. 12. He said Wings GM Steve Yzerman hasn’t tipped his hand but there’s a sense around the league that the 22-year-old winger could benefit from a change of scenery.

DETROIT HOCKEY NOW: Kevin Allen wonders if there will be much of a trade market for Wings backup Thomas Greiss. Washington Capitals GM Brian MacLellan doesn’t seem to like his choices in the trade market. Darcy Kuemper’s improved play takes the Colorado Avalanche out of the goalie market. The Edmonton Oilers, Boston Bruins and Minnesota Wild could be interested in Marc-Andre Fleury but some believe he wants to finish this season with the Blackhawks.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The sixth-overall pick in 2018, Zadina hasn’t blossomed into the scorer he was projected to become. He’s still young enough to get his career back on track and reach his full potential, which could prove enticing to clubs looking for promising scorers.

OILERS

EDMONTON JOURNAL: Jim Matheson reports the Oilers are seeking a dollar-in, dollar-out trade and seek a veteran, big right-shot rental defenseman. He pointed out Oilers winger Josh Archibald is slated to become an unrestricted free agent this summer, suggesting shopping him and his $1.5 million cap hit to an American team.

Archibald has resumed skating with the Oilers after his COVID-related heart-muscle condition cleared up. He also remains unvaccinated, making it difficult for the Oilers to keep him due to Canada-US border restrictions. Matheson acknowledged that could also make American clubs leery of acquiring Archibald.

 

 










NHL Rumor Mill – February 28, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – February 28, 2022

Should the Leafs make a pitch for Marc-Andre Fleury? Which depth players could be the missing piece for Stanley Cup contenders? Could the Rangers add a Sabres defenseman by the trade deadline? Check out the latest in today’s NHL rumor mill.

COULD FLEURY RESOLVE LEAFS GOALIE WOES?

TORONTO SUN: Steve Simmons believes the Maple Leafs could be among several clubs (Edmonton, Boston, Washington, Colorado) lining up looking to acquire Marc-Andre Fleury from the Chicago Blackhawks. The 37-year-old goaltender wouldn’t mind getting traded to a contending team.

Chicago Blackhawks goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury (NHL Images)

Simmons expressed concern over Leafs starter Jack Campbell’s recent struggles between the pipes. He’s also dismissive of Petr Mrazek being ready to go if Campbell cannot regain his dominant first-half form, calling him a “bottom-half NHL goalie” who the Carolina Hurricanes let walk for nothing last summer.

Fleury carries an expensive $7 million cap hit this season. The Leafs placed defenseman Jake Muzzin on long-term injury reserve but they’d have to do some maneuvering to bring in the Blackhawks goalie. Nevertheless, Simmons doesn’t see any better alternatives.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Fleury would bring stability and plenty of playoff experience to the Leafs; crease. However, he has a 10-team no-trade clause and it’s possible the Leafs are on it.

If they’re not, it’ll take considerable salary-cap gymnastics by Leafs general manager Kyle Dubas to land Fleury. Dubas reportedly won’t hold Muzzin out of the lineup if he’s healthy enough to return to the Leafs’ lineup before the end of the season.

WHO COULD BE THE MISSING PIECE FOR STANLEY CUP CONTENDERS

DAILY FACEOFF: Frank Seravalli recently listed five depth players who could help a club win the Stanley Cup as Blake Coleman and Barclay Goodrow did for the Tampa Bay Lightning.

The Montreal Canadiens’ Artturi Lehkonen topped the list, followed by Chicago’s Brandon Hagel, Columbus’ Alexandre Texier, Arizona’s Lawson Crouse and San Jose’s Noah Gregor.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Canadiens don’t have to move Lehkonen by the March 21 trade deadline as he’s a restricted free agent this summer. However, he has arbitration rights and is a year away from becoming eligible for unrestricted free agent status. If he’s only seeking a one-year extension, the Canadiens could ship him out for the right offer by the deadline.

Hagel’s drawn lots of interest because of his age (23), two-way play and affordable $1.5 million annual cap hit over the next two seasons. It’s those factors, however, that could keep him with the Blackhawks, especially if they intend to rebuild after this season. I don’t doubt they’re getting offers for Hagel but it could take a significant one to tempt them into moving him.

Texier’s trade value could be hampered by a recent report indicating he’s still several weeks away from returning from an injured finger. Meanwhile, GOPHNX.com’s Craig Morgan has Crouse on his “no-trade list”, citing his size, two-way play, strong skating and he’s on career highs in almost every statistical category.

Gregor could be available though he hasn’t surfaced in many trade rumors regarding the Sharks. The 23-year-old winger is on a one-year, $750K contract and becomes a restricted free agent this summer.

COULD COLIN MILLER BECOME A RANGER?

NEW YORK POST: Larry Brooks suggested Colin Miller as a possible blueline depth acquisition for the Rangers. The 29-year-old played two seasons under Rangers coach Gerard Gallant with the Vegas Golden Knights.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Those were also Miller’s best NHL seasons. He lacks no-trade protection and carries a $3.875 million cap hit for this season.










NHL Rumor Mill – January 22, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – January 22, 2022

A look at the potential trade value of some notable free-agent defensemen plus the latest on the Blackhawks and Oilers in today’s NHL rumor mill.

WHAT COULD BE THE ASKING PRICE FOR TOP PENDING UFA DEFENSEMEN?

THE ATHLETIC: Pierre LeBrun pondered which of this season’s notable unrestricted free agent defensemen might fetch a first-round draft pick at the trade deadline. There are a number of pending UFAs blueliners but not all of them could move on deadline day. For example, the Anaheim Ducks could retain Hampus Lindholm and Josh Manson as “own rentals” if they’re still in playoff contention.

John Klingberg of the Dallas Stars could fetch the biggest return. LeBrun speculated it could be a package of a first-round draft pick, a prospect and perhaps another pick. He pointed out the Columbus Blue Jackets got a first and a third for David Savard before last year’s trade deadline.

Dallas Stars defenseman John Klingberg (NHL Images).

LeBrun also reported the Buffalo Sabres hope to land a first-rounder for Colin Miller while the Montreal Canadiens wish to net the same return for Ben Chiarot.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I would also add Mark Giordano to this list. The 38-year-old has tallied a respectable 14 points in 34 games on the low-scoring Seattle Kraken. It wouldn’t surprise me if a contender in “go-for-it” mode parted with a first-rounder for an experienced blueliner like Giordano.

Boston Hockey Now’s Jimmy Murphy believes Chiarot would be an excellent fit with the Bruins. Whether GM Don Sweeney is willing to ship his first-rounder to his club’s long-time rival for a postseason rental is another matter. I’ve seen some readers suggest offering up Jake DeBrusk straight up for Chiarot, but if it were that simple that deal would’ve gone down by now.

BIG CHANGES COMING FOR BLACKHAWKS?

NHL NETWORK: Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman was asked which Chicago Blackhawks could stay or go by the March 21 trade deadline. He’d heard a report claiming everyone was available except Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane and Seth Jones.

Friedman believes the Blackhawks unprotected list is very small. He thinks at some point earlier this season they may have been asked about moving Kane but doesn’t feel they’re willing to do that. He also doesn’t see them parting with Alex DeBrincat unless it’s for a significant return.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I believe Marc-Andre Fleury is the Blackhawks’ best trade chip. They’ve been shopping Dylan Strome for some time but haven’t found any takers. Dominik Kubalik could be available given the decline in his production since his 30-goal rookie campaign in 2019-20. I’d expect they’ll want to hang on to younger players like Kirby Dach and Brandon Hagel.

Kane and Toews each have a year remaining on their contracts. Any discussion about their futures will likely take place during the offseason.

COULD MARTIN JONES BE A TRADE OPTION FOR THE OILERS?

EDMONTON JOURNAL: Bruce McCurdy cited Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman raising the name of Philadelphia Flyers goaltender Martin Jones as a trade option for the Oilers during a recent appearance on the Jeff Marek Show.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: McCurdy noted Friedman didn’t mention Jones during a subsequent spot with Oilers Now. He was probably just musing out loud about trade possibilities.

Jones has a 6-6-2 record this season with a 3.31 goals-against average and .908 save percentage. That doesn’t make him much of an improvement over Mikko Koskinen and Stuart Skinner in Edmonton. Jones’ inconsistency was why the San Jose Sharks bought him out last summer and why he inks a one-year, $2 million deal with the Flyers.

Like the Oilers, the Flyers need to reverse their fortunes soon if they hope to climb back into the playoff race. They could shop some of their pending UFAs like Jones before the trade deadline if they’re out of the race by then but that could come too late to help the Oilers.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 21, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 21, 2022

The Panthers hand the fading Oilers another loss, the surging Avalanche extend their points streak to 11 games, Roman Josi reaches a franchise record and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: Sergei Bobrovsky turned in a 40-save shutout and Aleksander Barkov scored twice as the Florida Panthers thumped the Edmonton Oilers 6-0. Sam Reinhart collected three assists for the Panthers, who sit in first place in the overall standings with 59 points. The Oilers, who were in first place in the Western Conference standings on Dec. 1, now sit six points out of a wild-card spot with 38 points.

Florida Panther goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Oilers are 0-5-2 in their last seven games and seem at a loss to figure out how to reverse their fortunes. They obviously need better goaltending but head coach Dave Tippett seems to have lost the room. Perhaps a coaching change might provide a spark of improvement while management tries to find an upgrade between the pipes. I’ll have more about that in the rumors sections.

The Colorado Avalanche extended its points streak to 11 games with a 4-1 win over the Los Angeles Kings. Darcy Kuemper kicked out 40 shots while Nathan MacKinnon and Mikko Rantanen each collected two points. The Avs hold first overall in the Western Conference with 57 points while the Kings have dropped three straight and cling to second place in the Pacific Division with 45 points.

Nashville Predators captain Roman Josi collected two assists to set a franchise record with 358 as his club downed the Winnipeg Jets 5-2. Ryan Johansen and Mikael Granlund each had two points for the Predators, who snapped a four-game losing skid to sit four points behind the Avalanche. With 40 points, the Jets sit four points out of the final wild-card spot in the Western Conference. Earlier in the day, the Jets placed winger Nikolaj Ehlers on injured reserve with an MCL sprain. He’s listed as week-to-week.

An overtime goal by Shea Theodore lifted the Vegas Golden Knights to a 4-3 victory over the Montreal Canadiens. Theodore finished the night with a goal and two assists as his club sit in first place in the Pacific Division with 50 points. Canadiens goaltender Sam Montembault made 49 saves.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Montembault will see plenty of action in the coming weeks. The Canadiens announced goalie Jake Allen will be sidelined for up to eight weeks with a lower-body injury.

The Pittsburgh Penguins took a 5-1 lead and held off a third-period surge for a 6-4 win over the Ottawa Senators. Penguins defenseman Mike Matheson scored twice and collected an assist while Senators center Josh Norris tallied twice. The Penguins sit in third place in the Metropolitan Division with 53 points, winning eight of their last 10 games. Earlier in the day, they placed Jason Zucker and Louis Domingue on injured reserve.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Zucker could be out week-to-week as he’s been sidelined by the same injury that recently kept him out of the lineup for seven games.

A late goal by Charlie McAvoy lifted the Boston Bruins to a 4-3 victory over the Washington Capitals. David Pastrnak scored twice for the Bruins, who hold the final Eastern wild-card berth with 48 points. Winger Brad Marchand left the game in the second period with an upper-body injury following a hit from Garnet Hathaway and forward Anton Blidh in the first period from a big hit by winger Tom Wilson. The Capitals sit five points ahead of the Bruins with 53 points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin (56 points) collected an assist to open a two-point lead over Edmonton’s Leon Draisaitl for the lead in the NHL scoring race.

Tyler Seguin and Jason Robertson each scored twice and collected an assist to lead the Dallas Stars over the Buffalo Sabres 5-4. John Klingberg picked up four assists for the Stars (40 points) who sit four back of the San Jose Sharks for the final Western Conference wild-card berth. Rasmus Dahlin had a goal and two assists for the Sabres.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Sabres announced goalie Malcolm Subban underwent season-ending lower-body surgery while defenseman Colin Miller is out six weeks following surgery for an undisclosed ailment.

Speaking of the Sharks (44 points), they fell 3-2 to the Seattle Kraken. Carson Soucy scored twice and Philipp Grubauer made 22 saves for the Kraken. Sharks forward Timo Meier scored his 21st goal of the season and sits ninth among the league’s leading scorers with 46 points.

The Philadelphia Flyers have lost 10 straight games for the second time this season as they dropped a 2-1 decision to the Columbus Blue Jackets. Oliver Bjorkstrand and Patrik Laine scored for the Jackets as Elvis Merzlikins made 33 saves for the win.










NHL Rumor Mill – January 12, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – January 12, 2022

Check out the latest on Evander Kane, John Klingberg, Jakob Chychrun, Tomas Hertl, Max Domi and more in today’s NHL rumor mill.

OILERS AMONG THREE TEAMS INTERESTED IN EVANDER KANE

TSN: Darren Dreger reports the Edmonton Oilers, Florida Panthers and Tampa Bay Lightning are believed to be the top-three clubs interested in signing Evander Kane. Oilers captain Connor McDavid is said to be on board with adding the former San Jose Sharks winger.

Kane and his agent continue to conduct due diligence here holding Zoom calls with general managers and coaches. Meanwhile, Chris Johnston said it could take several weeks for Kane’s grievance hearing with the Sharks to take place. The league and the NHLPA are comfortable with the winger signing with another club and resuming his NHL career while this process is ongoing.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman also wondered if the Carolina Hurricanes could also get into the bidding. Meanwhile, there are reports suggesting Kane could sign with the Oilers before the end of this week.

Dallas Stars defenseman John Klingberg (NHL Images).

Earlier this week, there was speculation suggesting the Oilers had an interest in Montreal Canadiens winger Brendan Gallagher. We can put that to rest if the Oilers sign Kane.

KLINGBERG, GIORDANO AMONG NOTABLE DEFENSEMEN IN TRADE MARKET

TSN: Darren Dreger reports several pending unrestricted free agent defensemen could draw interest in the trade market. Right-side blueliners include the Dallas Stars John Klingberg, Buffalo Sabres’ Colin Miller and (potentially) the Anaheim Ducks’ Josh Manson, while the Montreal Canadiens Ben Chiarot and (potentially) the Seattle Kraken’s Mark Giordano.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Miller and Chiarot are the most likely to be shopped given their clubs’ low position in the standings. I initially had doubts about the Kraken shopping Giordano but recent reports suggest it could happen before the March 21 trade deadline. I don’t see Klingberg or Manson getting moved as long as their clubs remain in playoff contention by deadline day.

RUMORS TIDBITS FROM FRIEDMAN’S LATEST “32 THOUGHTS”

SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman reported there was some speculation that the Sharks could use the money freed up from terminating Kane’s contract to re-sign pending UFA center Tomas Hertl. However, that currently seems to be a premature assumption.

Friedman believes the Carolina Hurricanes and Colorado Avalanche are going to appear in almost every trade rumor.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That’s because both clubs are considered Stanley Cup contenders in “go-for-it” mode. I would also include the Florida Panthers, who are linked to Evander Kane and are said to be shopping around for blue-line depth.

Friedman includes the Hurricanes with the Anaheim Ducks, Los Angeles Kings and St. Louis Blues with interest in Jakob Chychrun. He believes the contract of the 23-year-old Arizona Coyotes defenseman ($4.6 million through 2024-25) is right in the Hurricanes’ wheelhouse.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Cap Friendly shows the Ducks and Kings in better shape cap-wise to take on Chychrun’s contract at the trade deadline than the Hurricanes and Blues. They also have more tradeable assets in terms of promising prospects.

Friedman said some teams believe the Coyotes could prefer shipping the blueliner to an Eastern club. However, I don’t think that’s set in stone, especially if a Western club is willing to meet their asking price.

Speaking of Chychrun, the Ottawa Sun’s Bruce Garrioch reports the Senators may have kicked tires but he doubts they’ll acquire him. Garrioch believes he “likely doesn’t fit the bill for what the Senators are trying to accomplish here.”

With the Bruins finally signing Tuukka Rask, Friedman wondered if Columbus Blue Jackets forward Max Domi would be a good fit in Boston.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: They could prefer finding a new home for Jake DeBrusk first. Hey, maybe a DeBrusk-for-Domi swap? If not, maybe DeBrusk for Lawson Crouse? Friedman’s colleague Jeff Marek recently noted the Bruins had been linked to the Arizona Coyotes forward.

Oilers GM Ken Holland all but confirmed he’s not interested in trading his 2022 first-round pick. He’d floated that notion earlier this season if this club was in a strong contender position but that’s not the case now.










Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – November 21, 2021

Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – November 21, 2021

Will the Rangers go shopping for a forward? Have they started contract talks with Ryan Strome? What moves could be in store for the Sabres after trading Jack Eichel? Check out the latest in the Sunday NHL rumor roundup

LATEST RANGERS SPECULATION

THE ATHLETIC: Arthur Staple took note of TSN’s Darren Dreger’s recent report claiming the New York Rangers are in the market for a middle-six forward to replace Sammy Blais after he suffered a season-ending knee injury. He also felt they could pursue a defenseman but that could be a move made closer to the March 21 trade deadline.

Staple believes the Rangers can’t afford to take on players with term remaining on their contracts as new deals will be required next summer for Blais and restricted free agent Kaapo Kakko plus they’ll also require a second-line center and a backup goalie.

Arizona Coyotes winger Phil Kessel (NHL Images).

Looking at players on expiring contracts, Staple suggested the Seattle Kraken’s Calle Jarnkrok or Marcus Johansson, the Ottawa Senators’ Chris Tierney, the Carolina Hurricanes’ Nino Niederreiter, the Arizona Coyotes’ Phil Kessel, the Chicago Blackhawks’ Dylan Strome, the Montreal Canadiens’ Artturi Lehkonen and the Los Angeles Kings’ Gabriel Vilardi.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I doubt Niederreiter will be available. The Hurricanes are among the NHL’s best teams and have little reason to ship him out for a draft pick or prospect. If they were to move Niederreiter, it would be to bring in a player to address a different roster need.

The Los Angeles Kings aren’t a struggling club like the others listed here but they could become a seller should fall out of the playoff chase as the season rolls along. Vilardi was recently demoted to the minors and could become a trade chip at some point. Staple’s colleague, Lisa Dillman, speculated the former first-round pick might be at the point in his career where a trade could help get his career back on track. She proposed the Tampa Bay Lightning and the rebuilding Coyotes as possible destinations for Vilardi.

Kessel would be an expensive addition unless the Coyotes retain part of his $6.8 million cap hit. Teams with an interest in the veteran winger could prefer waiting until the trade deadline to pursue him.

The Blackhawks tried shopping Strome since last season but couldn’t find any takers. The interim management probably won’t have any better luck. He’s been skating on their checking line but is best suited on the second line with better wingers.

As for the Kraken, Senators and Canadiens, they’re going to be among this season’s sellers but they don’t have to dump expiring contracts right now. They’ll likely wait until the second half of the season in order to find the best return possible.

BOSTON HOCKEY NOW: Jimmy Murphy wondered if the Boston Bruins might try to entice the Rangers into taking winger Jake DeBrusk off their hands. He had a strong preseason but has been inconsistent thus far this season. DeBrusk remains a mainstay in the rumor mill among NHL scouts and executives but there’s no indication the Bruins and Rangers are talking trade.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: DeBrusk might still be a topic of trade chatter in some NHL circles but there’s doesn’t seem to be much interest in him. The media speculation about the 24-year-old winger’s trade status has died down since the summer.

NEW YORK POST: Speaking of the Rangers, Mollie Walker reported there haven’t been any contract extension talks between management and Ryan Strome. The 28-year-old center is slated to become an unrestricted free agent next summer. Given their recent signings of Mika Zibanejad and Adam Fox plus Kakko due for a new contract, Walker believes the Rangers probably can’t afford to re-sign Strome.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Cap Friendly shows the Rangers with over $70.8 million invested in 16 players for 2022-23. Strome will seek a higher annual average value than his current $4.5 million. He’ll likely hit the open market next summer unless the Rangers shed some salary to re-sign him.

WHAT NEXT FOR THE SABRES?

THE BUFFALO NEWS: In a recent mailbag segment, Lance Lysowski was asked if the Sabres would pursue a starting goaltender via next summer’s free-agent market. He doesn’t see them going that route with promising Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen on the cusp of the NHL.

If Luukkonen is ready for the job next season, the Sabres could bring back Dustin Tokarski or sign a reliable veteran on a short-term deal. Lysowski recommends going the trade route if Luukkonen isn’t ready.

Lysowski was also asked which of the Sabres pending UFAs could be shopped at the trade deadline. He felt Colin Miller’s value as a right-shot defenseman puts him at the top of the list.

Others could include Vinnie Hinostroza, Drake Caggiula, Cody Eakin, Robert Hagg, Craig Anderson and Dustin Tokarski but he doesn’t expect the Sabres will trade them all. He speculated they could attempt to bring back Mark Pysyk.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Sabres have made their big moves after trading Jack Eichel, Taylor Hall, Sam Reinhart and Rasmus Ristolainen since April. Any major moves between now and March 21 will likely be to move out some pending UFAs for draft picks.