NHL Rumor Mill – May 5, 2023
NHL Rumor Mill – May 5, 2023
A look at some of the offseason’s notable trade targets in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.
DAILY FACEOFF: Frank Seravalli released his latest list of NHL Trade Targets on April 27.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I’m getting to this now only because of the usual surge in rumors involving teams eliminated from the opening round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
San Jose Sharks defenseman Erik Karlsson and Philadelphia Flyers center Kevin Hayes sit first and second respectively.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Both have featured prominently here in recent weeks, especially at the end of the regular season with their respective clubs long eliminated from playoff contention.
Seravalli believes Karlsson’s trade value may never be higher for the Sharks. However, his hefty contract and full no-movement clause will make him difficult to move. Hayes isn’t as expensive (or as talented) as Karlsson. Still, his contract remains a significant obstacle in the path toward a trade.
Colorado Avalanche defenseman Samuel Girard checks in at No. 3. Seravalli believes the Avs don’t want to move Girard but could have little choice given their salary-cap constraints this summer.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Girard has surfaced in trade rumors before. With an affordable $5 million cap hit and his puck-moving skills, he’d attract plenty of interest. He’ll be the Avs’ most likely trade candidate unless they can find another way to clear cap space.
Calgary Flames center Elias Lindholm and Vancouver Canucks center J.T. Miller are fourth and fifth.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Lindholm was non-committal about signing a contract extension this summer. Maybe he’ll change his mind after the Flames fired head coach Darryl Sutter.
Miller’s been floating around in the rumor despite having a seven-year contract extension kicking in on July 1. They need to clear cap space but I expect the Canucks will look at other options like Brock Boeser and Conor Garland.
Washington Capitals center Evgeny Kuznetsov and Winnipeg Jets center Pierre-Luc Dubois sit sixth and seventh.
SPECTOR’S NOTES: These two have also come up frequently in recent rumors. Capitals management is said to be unhappy with Kuznetsov’s performance this season. However, his $7.8 million cap hit through 2024-25 is a stumbling block.
Dubois, meanwhile, is a restricted free agent who’s a year away from unrestricted free-agent eligibility. He’s frequently linked to the Montreal Canadiens. Much will depend on the Jets’ asking price and where the Habs land in the draft lottery, where the prize is highly-touted center Connor Bedard.
One of the following St. Louis Blues defensemen (Colton Parayko, Justin Faulk, Nick Leddy or Marco Scandella) comes in at No. 8. One of them could be moved as a cost-cutting measure.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Plenty of speculation about that after the Blues were eliminated from playoff contention. Scandello has the most affordable cap hit ($3.275 million) and only has a modified no-trade while the others have full no-traded contracts. However, he also missed most of this season to injury.
Tampa Bay Lightning forward Ross Colton and Boston Bruins winger Taylor Hall round out the top 10.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Seravalli points out that the Lightning have less than $10 million to fill eight roster spots. Colton is a restricted free agent this summer. I still see him replacing Alex Killorn, who’s expected to depart as a UFA. The Bolts will find a way to keep him.
Hall made this list because the Bruins, like so many other NHL clubs, must free up space this summer if the salary cap only rises by $1 million as projected to $83.5 million.
The 31-year-old left winger carries a $6 million cap hit through 2024-25 plus a 16-team no-trade clause and a no-movement clause that prevents him from being demoted to the minors. I’m not saying he won’t be traded but I don’t see many teams wanting to add that contract to their books.
Anaheim Ducks center Adam Henrique, Vancouver Canucks defenseman Tyler Myers, Los Angeles Kings blueliner Sean Walker, Bruins rearguard Matt Grzelcyk and Vegas Golden Knights defender Alec Martinez fill slots 11 through 15.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: We’re now in the tier of depth players who should be more affordable to move though there is some contract sticking points to address.
For example, Myers is a 33-year-old blueliner with a year remaining on his contract and a cap hit of $6 million. $5 million of that will reportedly be paid to him in September as a signing bonus. That might make him easier to move by that point but his 10-team no-trade list could also be an issue.
Edmonton Oilers winger Kailer Yamamoto, Pittsburgh Penguins forward Mikael Granlund, Philadelphia Flyers defenseman Ivan Provorov, Winnipeg Jets rearguard Logan Stanley and San Jose Sharks winger Kevin Labanc complete the remainder of the list.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: All of these players at one point in their careers would’ve attracted lots of attention in the trade market. Their recent struggles and (for some like Granlund and Provorov) their contracts could make them difficult to sell if the salary cap remains flattened for next season.