NHL Rumor Mill – July 5, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – July 5, 2022

Could Claude Giroux sign with the Oilers? What’s the latest on the Leafs and Senators? Check it out in today’s NHL rumor mill.

OILERS INTERESTED IN GIROUX?

THE ATHLETIC: Pierre LeBrun reports there remains mutual interest between Claude Giroux and the Florida Panthers. With the July 13 start of the free-agent market fast approaching, there are other clubs that could pursue the 34-year-old forward.

Florida Panthers forward Claude Giroux (NHL Images).

The Edmonton Oilers could be among Giroux’s suitors if he hits the open market next Thursday. There were internal discussions over whether to pursue him if they’re unable to bring back Evander Kane. Giroux can play center or wing and the idea of his skating alongside Connor McDavid or Leon Draisaitl is an appealing option.

LeBrun also mentions the Ottawa Senators as a possibility. He wonders if the appeal of playing for a Cup contender might be more alluring for Giroux.

NHL WATCHER: cites Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman wondering if the Toronto Maple Leafs would give the Giroux camp a call to inquire into what it would take to sign him. Friedman pointed out that Giroux is building a new home in Ottawa and made it clear at the March trade deadline that he prefers playing in the East.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Bear in mind that there is no longer an interview process for pending unrestricted free agents to speak with clubs interested in signing them. The Oilers, Senators, Leafs or any team other than the Panthers must wait until the market opens at noon ET on July 13 to speak to Giroux and his representatives.

The Oilers could end up seeking other options to replace Kane if Giroux prefers staying in the Eastern Conference. I don’t think the Leafs can afford him unless he’s willing to accept a significant pay cut. Besides, they have other priorities as we’ll soon see.

Giroux’s been linked to the Senators for months because of the hometown ties. However, they’re still several years from Stanley Cup contention. Giroux wants to win now so there might not be a fit there.

LATEST LEAFS SPECULATION

TORONTO SUN: Terry Koshan believes the Maple Leafs must find a way to move goaltender Petr Mrazek and his $3.8 million annual average value through 2023-24. As of today, they can’t afford to sign any of the free-agent goalies (including their own Jack Campbell) who could make a significant difference.

Koshan dismissed the notion of shipping out William Nylander given his value to the Leafs. He suggested forward Alex Kerfoot ($3.5 million cap hit) or defenseman Justin Holl ($2.1 million) as trade candidates.

Maple Leafs management must also figure out a way to replace the 21 goals and energetic play of departing winger Ilya Mikheyev. They could attempt to shop his rights heading into the upcoming NHL Draft. Re-signing restricted free agent defenseman Rasmus Sandin is their blueline priority. Once that’s completed, general manager Kyle Dubas isn’t expected to add to his defense corps as he’ll have seven rearguards under contract.

THE ATHLETIC: Pierre LeBrun wouldn’t be surprised if the Leafs are among the clubs with an interest in Marc-Andre Fleury. The Minnesota Wild is interested in bringing back the 37-year-old netminder for another season. He also thinks the Colorado Avalanche could be a good fit for Fleury if Darcy Kuemper heads to free agency next week.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Cap Friendly shows the Leafs with just $6.4 million in cap space with 18 players under contract for 2022-23. Shedding Mrazek’s contract is a must but it could cost them a quality prospect or draft pick to get it done. Even then, Dubas still might have to shed another contract to free up sufficient room to re-sign or replace Campbell, re-sign Sandin and fill out the rest of the roster.

Speaking of Fleury, NHL.com’s Dan Rosen wondered if he’d sign with the New Jersey Devils. I’m not ruling out a return with the Wild, though the opportunity to play with the Stanley Cup champion Avalanche could be tempting if they come calling on July 13.

UPDATE ON THE SENATORS

OTTAWA SUN: Bruce Garrioch reports Senators GM Pierre Dorion is still open to shopping his first-round pick (seventh overall) in the upcoming draft. He’s in the market for a winger to skate alongside Tim Stuetzle or a top-four, right-shot defenseman.

The Senators made a serious pitch for Kevin Fiala before the Wild traded him last week to the Los Angeles Kings. They had no issue with the $7.9 million salary-cap hit of his new contract but balked at the seven-year term.

Chicago Blackhawks winger Alex DeBrincat is the most mentioned name in the rumor mill. He’d be a good fit with any team but it has to be determined if he’ll sign a contract extension before going down that road. Other trade options include Vancouver’s J.T. Miller and Conor Garland, Edmonton’s Jesse Puljujarvi, and Winnipeg’s Blake Wheeler or Pierre-Luc Dubois.

The Senators could also look at signing Claude Giroux via free agency next week. A blueline option could be Arizona Coyotes’ defenseman Jakob Chychrun.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Senators’ status as a rebuilding club could make it difficult for Dorion to acquire most of those players listed by Garrioch. The best option could be Puljujarvi, who won’t cost their first-rounder to acquire. He could benefit from a change of scenery after struggling with the Oilers and might fit in well with the Senators’ young forwards.

Chychrun lacks no-trade protection until 2023-24 and is under contract through 2024-25. Coyotes GM Bill Armstrong could be very interested in the Senators’ pick but his asking price is said to be quite high, including a top prospect and a good young NHL player. That could prove too rich for the Senators.










Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup (Part One) – July 3, 2022

Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup (Part One) – July 3, 2022

Are the Flyers pursuing Alex DeBrincat? Could the Islanders pursue Johnny Gaudreau? Check out the latest in Part 1 of the Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup

TRADE & FREE-AGENT RUMORS FROM FRIEDMAN’S LATEST “32 THOUGHTS” COLUMN

SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman reports the Montreal Canadiens will continue testing the trade market on veterans such as Christian Dvorak, Jeff Petry and possibly Josh Anderson. Teams believe they’re not interested in moving goaltender Jake Allen. It will be interesting to see if they’ll revisit their interest in Ottawa Senators forward Colin White.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Petry remains the more likely to be moved given his age (34), his trade request last season and his $6.25 million cap hit through 2024-25. It could take a significant offer to pry Anderson away from them.

The New Jersey Devils have made it known they’re willing to shop the No. 2 overall pick in the upcoming draft but there’s no certainty that will happen. There have been some trade rumors regarding restricted free agent winger Jesper Bratt. Kevin Fiala’s new contract with the Los Angeles Kings could have an effect on Bratt’s contract negotiations. The Devils could also pursue St. Louis Blues goaltender Ville Husso if he tests the unrestricted free agent market on July 13.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Fiala signed a seven-year deal with the Kings worth an annual average value of $7.875 million. There was speculation the Bratt camp was seeking over $7 million per season before the Fiala deal was signed. If the Devils trade him, they could seek a good player in return who’s carrying an affordable cap hit beyond 2022-23.

The trade status of Arizona Coyotes defenseman Jakob Chychrun continues to blow hot and cold. This could be one of the times when it heats up.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I’ll believe it when I see it. The Coyotes have set a high asking price. With Chychrun signed through 2024-25, they will remain patient in their quest for the right offer.

A lack of draft capital could make the Seattle Kraken turn to the UFA market rather than pursue talent via trades. Friedman believes they’ll be aggressive, suggesting they could target such notables as Johnny Gaudreau, Nazem Kadri, John Klingberg, etc.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Kraken made two significant signings last summer in Philipp Grubauer and Jaden Schwartz. They have plenty of cap space and a willingness to make another splash or two in the UFA pool.

Chicago Blackhawks winger Alex DeBrincat (NHL Images).

The Philadelphia Flyers made a legitimate pitch for Chicago Blackhawks winger Alex DeBrincat. They’ve also tested the trade market on most of their players.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Sounds like Flyers GM Chuck Fletcher intends to swing for the fences again. Last summer, he acquired Ryan Ellis and Rasmus Ristolainen, shipped out Shayne Gostisbehere to the Arizona Coyotes, and swapped Jakub Voracek for Cam Atkinson.

Friedman thinks the Columbus Blue Jackets will consider upgrading their blueline.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Jackets have over $19 million in cap space with 20 players signed for 2022-23. A big chunk of that could be eaten up re-signing Patrik Laine but there should still be sufficient room to bolster their defense corps.

The Ottawa Senators are willing to move the seventh overall pick for the right offer. They’re seeking a right wing and a right-side defenseman. They’ve had calls on Connor Brown after he indicated he intends to test next summer’s free-agent market. Friedman wondered if they’ll move Matt Murray and land Claude Giroux.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Murray’s injury history and $6.25 million cap hit through 2023-24 scream, “Buyer beware!” I think Giroux’s preference is signing with a Cup contender but maybe he’ll consider joining his hometown club for the right offer.

The Detroit Red Wings are believed working on a contract extension for captain Dylan Larkin. Friedman doesn’t see them among the favorites to land Jack Campbell if the Toronto Maple Leafs goalie hits the open market.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Expect the Red Wings to bring in a reliable backup for starting goaltender Alex Nedeljkovic. Campbell wouldn’t be a fit there unless he’s the starter.

It’s believed the Buffalo Sabres are working on a new contract for winger Victor Olofsson. They’re also expected to examine the goalie market to find someone to share the goalie duties with Craig Anderson, who recently signed a one-year deal.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It would be wild if Campbell signed with the Sabres. It probably won’t happen but it would add some spice to their rivalry with the Leafs.

Friedman wondered if the Anaheim Ducks might bring Josh Manson back via free agency. He also mused over the possibility of the Los Angeles Kings signing him. GM Pat Verbeek will want something tempting to part with goaltender John Gibson.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Gibson has denied rumors he’ll welcome a trade out of Anaheim. He’s got a 10-team no trade clause plus a $6.4 million cap hit through 2026-27 that some teams will find too expensive to take on.

The San Jose Sharks are still going through the process of hiring a new general manager. They could prefer retaining goalie James Reimer but it’s not a certainty. They must also decide if it is worthwhile keeping both Brent Burns and Erik Karlsson.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Karlsson is younger than Burns but carries more term on a more expensive contract plus he has a long history of injuries. Burns has a three-team trade list but perhaps he’d widen it for a chance to play for a contender.

It doesn’t sound like the New York Islanders intend to move goalie Semyon Varlamov. Winger Anthony Beauvillier could be a trade candidate. Friedman sees them as a stealth candidate for Johnny Gaudreau.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Cap Friendly shows the Islanders with $12 million in salary-cap space with 18 players under contract for 2022-23 and defenseman Noah Dobson due for a raise coming off his entry-level contract. They’ll have to shed a lot of salary if they hope to sign Gaudreau and have enough left to sign Dobson and fill out the rest of the roster.

Friedman believes the Jets won’t trade Mark Scheifele. There’s interest in Pierre-Luc Dubois but they still hold his rights for two more years. They will work with Blake Wheeler to look into a trade. There’s also interest in defenseman Brenden Dillon.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The 35-year-old Wheeler’s age, his $8.25 million cap hit and five-team trade list make it difficult to find a suitable trade partner. Teams will have more interest in the younger Dubois, who intends to test the UFA market in two years’ time.

There’s a path for the Vancouver Canucks to sign captain Bo Horvat to a contract extension. With Brock Boeser signed, Friedman doesn’t see him getting traded. The Canucks will set a high asking price for J.T. Miller and should get it whether it’s from the New York Rangers, Washington Capitals or another club.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It seems more likely the Canucks will trade Miller, preferably before the free-agent market opens on July 13. Much of the talk from management seems to suggest a contract extension is a long shot.

Friedman expects Filip Forsberg and the Nashville Predators will reach an agreement on a new contract. He believes it’ll be eight years at $8.5 million annually. He also wondered if Phil Kessel might sign with the Predators, mentioning they nearly acquired him at the trade deadline.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kessel could be an affordable depth option for the Predators. As for Forsberg, there’s speculation the holdup in his contract talks is the inclusion of a no-trade clause, something the Preds don’t usually hand out.

Friedman pondered whether the Dallas Stars can afford long-term contract extensions for young RFAs Jake Oettinger and Jason Robertson. They can’t afford to re-sign Michael Raffl, who wants to continue playing in the NHL.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Stars have over $18 million in cap space with 18 players under contract for next season. Oettinger and Robertson could get affordable bridge deals but it would be best if the Stars can lock them up for long-term contracts now. They would be much more expensive to sign coming off short-term deals.










NHL Rumor Mill – July 2, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – July 2, 2022

Check out the latest on Kris Letang, Evgeni Malkin, Filip Forsberg, Johnny Gaudreau, Alex DeBrincat, Jack Campbell and more, plus some contract buyout candidates in today’s NHL rumor mill.

RUMORS FROM THE LATEST “32 THOUGHTS” PODCAST

SPORTSNET: Jeff Marek and Elliotte Friedman discussed the latest trade and free-agent speculation during their latest “32 Thoughts” podcast.

Regarding Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Kris Letang, Friedman said teams have told him there’s a path toward a deal between the club and the pending unrestricted free agent. He also indicated the same for the Nashville Predators and pending UFA winger Filip Forsberg.

Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Kris Letang (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Penguins were reportedly offering Letang a three-year contract while he sought a five-year deal said to be between $8 million and $9 million annually. Perhaps that path is a three-year contract at around $8.25 million? We’ll see.

Friedman suggested an eight-year deal at $8.5 million annually for Forsberg. There’s speculation the holdup could be the winger seeking a no-trade clause, which the Predators as a rule tend to avoid.

Friedman doesn’t think the Penguins are getting close to a deal with Evgeni Malkin.

SPECTOR’ S NOTE: Recent reports out of Pittsburgh say the same thing, though there’s talk the Penguins will shift their focus to Malkin once they sort out how much it’ll cost to retain Letang. It will also depend on how much of a pay cut Malkin is willing to accept to stay in Pittsburgh.

Turning to Johnny Gaudreau, Friedman said he wouldn’t be surprised if the Calgary Flames offered him an eight-year contract worth around $9.5 million. He believes the Flames are willing to be flexible.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: TSN’s Pierre LeBrun reported Thursday that Gaudreau hasn’t reached a decision yet. He suspects the winger will keep the Flames in the loop but wants to see what offers he’ll get on the open market.

Friedman also elaborated on a recent rumor he’d heard about an offer the Chicago Blackhawks received for Alex DeBrincat. He said it was a reasonably high first-round pick plus another first-round pick and a prospect. However, it wasn’t enough to get the deal done.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Montreal Canadiens, Columbus Blue Jackets, Buffalo Sabres, Anaheim Ducks, Winnipeg Jets and Arizona Coyotes have multiple picks in the first round of this year’s draft. Maybe one of those teams made that pitch for DeBrincat. Discuss!

Regarding his report of the Tampa Bay Lightning looking into shopping Ryan McDonagh, Friedman believes the St. Louis Blues could be among the suitors. He thinks the 32-year-old defenseman would be a good addition to their blueline.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Yes, he would, but his $6.75 million cap hit wouldn’t be when Cap Friendly shows them with just over $9 million in cap space and 18 players under contract for 2022-23. They must re-sign or replace pending UFA goaltender Ville Husso plus they’re keen to retain UFA winger David Perron. Unless Blues GM Doug Armstrong intends on shedding salary, he’ll have to pass on an opportunity to acquire McDonagh.

Friedman mused over the possibility of the Edmonton Oilers signing Toronto Maple Leafs goaltender Jack Campbell on July 13.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Edmonton pundits believe Oilers GM Ken Holland intends to go goalie-shopping after speaking with Mike Smith in the near future. He’ll need a starter if Smith retires or spends next season on their long-term injury reserve list.

Recent speculation out of Toronto claims the Leafs and Campbell aren’t close to a deal. He could see a multi-year deal worth over $5 million per season, which the Leafs currently can’t afford unless they dump some salary. I expect the Oilers will be among those lining up to speak with Campbell’s agent if the netminder is available on July 13.

Speaking of the Leafs, Friedman doesn’t see them acquiring goalie John Gibson from the Anaheim Ducks. They had previous talks with former Ducks GM Bob Murray without success. Friedman doesn’t see that changing with Pat Verbeek now in charge in Anaheim.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Gibson recently denied rumors claiming he would welcome a trade. He carries a $6.4 million cap hit through 2026-27 and a 10-team no-trade list. The Leafs could be on that list.

Finally, Friedman wonders if the New Jersey Devils will attempt to sign Blues goalie Ville Husso if he hits the open market on July 13.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Landing a reliable starting goalie is among the priorities for Devils GM Tom Fitzgerald. I wouldn’t be surprised at all if he’s among the general managers putting in calls to Husso’s agent on July 13.

POTENTIAL CONTRACT BUYOUT CANDIDATES

THE HOCKEY NEWS: San Jose Sharks defenseman Marc-Edouard Vlasic topped Mike Stephens’ recent list of potential contract buyout candidates. The buyout window opened on July 1 and runs until 5 pm ET on July 12.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Sharks are still without a full-time replacement for general manager Doug Wilson. Still, it didn’t stop them from axing Bob Boughner as head coach on July 1.

I doubt they’ll find any takers for Vlasic in the trade market given his hefty contract and the decline in his play. We can’t rule out a buyout before July 12.

Edmonton Oilers defenseman Duncan Keith and winger Zack Kassian are also on Stephens’ list, as well as Toronto Maple Leafs goaltender Petr Mrazek and Ottawa Senators netminder Matt Murray.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Recent reports out of Edmonton suggest Kassian is a more likely buyout candidate than Keith, whose experience and leadership are still prized by Oilers management. They need to shed some salary to bolster their goaltending.

The Leafs could buy out Mrazek if they can’t find a trade partner for him before July 12. As for Murray, the Ottawa Sun’s Bruce Garrioch reported this week that the Sens aren’t likely to go that route.

SPORTSNET: Rory Boylen had Senators forward Colin White and Florida Panthers winger Patric Hornqvist on his list of buyout candidates.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Garrioch indicated White could indeed be bought out by the Senators. The Panthers could do the same if they can’t find a club to take him off their hands in the trade market.










NHL Rumor Mill – July 1, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – July 1, 2022

Check out the latest on Pierre-Luc Dubois, Alex DeBrincat, Johnny Gaudreau, Nazem Kadri, Jesse Puljujarvi and more in the Canada Day edition of the NHL rumor mill.

LATEST RUMORS FROM TSN’S NHL INSIDERS

TSN: Darren Dreger reports there’s “tons of trade interest” in Pierre-Luc Dubois after the 23-year-old center informed the Winnipeg Jets of his intention to test the 2024 unrestricted free agent market. Dreger mentioned the New York Rangers and Montreal Canadiens among the possible suitors but believes it’ll take a substantial offer to pry him away from the Jets.

If it’s the Rangers, Filip Chytil, Braden Schneider or Kaapo Kakko and a first-round pick would have to be part of the return. Otherwise, Dreger doubts Jets GM Kevin Cheveldayoff has the stomach to move Dubois during this offseason.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: And if it’s the Canadiens, a young forward such as Nick Suzuki or Cole Caufield would probably have to be part of that discussion. I doubt the Habs would part with either guy. They also won’t part with the first-overall pick for Dubois but would probably offer up the 26th overall selection they received from the Calgary Flames in the Tyler Toffoli trade.

Chicago Blackhawks winger Alex DeBrincat (NHL Images).

Pierre LeBrun reports the Chicago Blackhawks have been listening to offers for winger Alex DeBrincat for five or six weeks. However, the asking price is more than the first-round pick and prospect the Los Angeles Kings sent to the Minnesota Wild for Kevin Fiala.

LeBrun suspects it would be a “triple-asset haul” for Chicago, including a 2022 first-round pick. With the first round of the draft slated for July 7, things could come to a head over the next several days.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: DeBrincat’s a more reliable offensive winger than Fiala, with two 40-goal seasons under his belt. Unlike the Wild, the Blackhawks are a rebuilding club so they’ll want a larger return focussing on long-term assets.

Bleacher Nation’s Patrick K. Flowers cited Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman saying the Hawks turned down an offer for DeBrincat that would’ve contained a couple of first-rounders. However, there are no details as to what else was proposed in that pitch.

Speaking of Fiala, Chris Johnston reported the Seattle Kraken were among the interested parties before he was shipped to the Kings. They have the cap space to make a splash in the trade or free agent markets this summer.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Writing for The Athletic, LeBrun cited a source saying the Kraken intends to be active in this summer’s UFA market when it opens on July 13. He wonders if they might make a pitch for Johnny Gaudreau if the Calgary Flames winger tests the open market. Cap Friendly indicates they have $22.8 million in cap space with 14 players under contract.

And speaking of Gaudreau, LeBrun said he remains undecided about the offer from the Flames. He suspects the winger wants to keep Calgary in the fold but may want to see what’s out there in the free-agent market.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: If Gaudreau departs, the Flames could be scrambling to find a suitable replacement. Maybe they’ll attempt to sign Nashville’s Filip Forsberg if he goes to market or try to swing a trade for DeBrincat.

Dreger said the Colorado Avalanche will try hard to re-sign Nazem Kadri before he becomes eligible for UFA status on July 13. He wonders if they can afford what could be an $8 million to $9 million annual average value to keep the 31-year-old center.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: With $26.8 million in cap space and 14 players under contract, the Avalanche can afford Kadri. However, that will take a big bite out of their cap space, hampering efforts to re-sign or suitably replace goaltender Darcy Kuemper, winger Valeri Nichushkin and winger Artturi Lehkonen. LeBrun believes they’ll prioritize Nichushkin even though they really want to retain Kadri.

Johnston reports the trade winds are blowing increasingly stronger on Jesse Puljujarvi. The Ottawa Senators are among two clubs believed to have an interest in the 24-year-old Edmonton Oilers winger. He’s a restricted free agent with arbitration rights.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Sportsnet’s Mark Spector (No, that’s not me!) reported several professional scouts told him the Oilers could get a second- or third-round pick or perhaps a third-line player with upside for Puljujarvi. He mentioned the Senators and Carolina Hurricanes as having an interest in the former 2016 first-rounder. Spector also wondered if the Arizona Coyotes, New Jersey Devils or San Jose Sharks will come calling.

On the topic of the Oilers, Darren Dreger reports GM Ken Holland will meet soon with Mike Smith to discuss the goaltender’s future. The 40-year-old has one season left on his contract and could spend it on long-term injury reserve. Dreger anticipates Holland will “dive deep” into the UFA pool with an interest in Toronto’s Jack Campbell, St. Louis’ Ville Husso and maybe others.










Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – June 19, 2022

Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – June 19, 2022

What’s the latest on Alex DeBrincat and Patrick Kane? Are the Devils trying to re-sign or trade Jesper Bratt? What are the Senators’ plans heading into the draft next month? Find out in the latest edition of the Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup.

UPDATE ON DEBRINCAT AND KANE

THE ATHLETIC: Pierre LeBrun reported Friday the Chicago Blackhawks are listening to offers for Alex DeBrincat. There’s no guarantee they’ll trade the 24-year-old winger but if they do it’ll be for a “young player/high picks/top prospect type of return.”

Chicago Blackhawks winger Alex DeBrincat (NHL Images).

DeBrincat has a year remaining on his contract with an annual average value of $6.4 million. He becomes a restricted free agent next July with arbitration rights. LeBrun indicated part of what teams are trying to figure out is what his next contract might look like. He added the Los Angeles Kings are among several clubs to express an interest in DeBrincat.

NBC SPORTS CHICAGO: Charlie Roumeliotis wonders if Patrick Kane will want out of Chicago if the Blackhawks trade DeBrincat. The 33-year-old winger has hinted his potential future with the club could be tied to his linemate’s.

Kane is a year away from unrestricted free agent eligibility. He can sign a contract extension starting on July 13 but could be reluctant to do so without more clarity on what the roster and the potential rebuild timeline could look like.

Roumeliotis suggests it might be better for the Blackhawks to trade Kane if he’s hesitant about a long-term extension rather than let him depart via free agency next summer for nothing.

NEW YORK POST: Larry Brooks wonders about Kane’s worth to the Rangers as a rental player after they were eliminated from the Eastern Conference Finals by the Tampa Bay Lightning.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Blackhawks general manager Kyle Davidson has indicated his intent to rebuild the roster. He’s also said he’ll keep Kane and team captain Jonathan Toews informed about his plans.

Davidson showed a willingness to trade a young player for the right return when he shipped Brandon Hagel to the Lightning for two players and two draft picks. He could move DeBrincat for the type of return outlined by LeBrun. Time will tell if there’s a team willing to meet that expensive asking price.

Bear in mind that Davidson doesn’t have to move DeBrincat before next summer. The winger is two years away from UFA eligibility so Davidson can be patient in evaluating trade offers. He won’t just move DeBrincat for the sake of doing so.

Kane could decide it’s time to move on if DeBrincat is traded. He’s still an elite forward who can contribute to a playoff club. If Kane is looking ahead at next summer’s free-agent market, Davidson could attempt to move him this summer or at some point before next season’s trade deadline.

ARE THE DEVILS TRYING TO SIGN OR TRADE BRATT?

ESPN.COM’s Kevin Weekes tweeted yesterday that he’s been told there have been no significant contract extension talks between the New Jersey Devils and winger Jesper Bratt. He confirms there are several teams interested in trading for the 23-year-old restricted free agent.

NJ.COM’s Ryan Novozinsky reports Bratt’s agent called him a week ago and said the two sides have had multiple discussions regarding a contract extension. He followed up by reporting Devils officials confirmed the contract talks are ongoing, noting these things take time.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I don’t doubt that there are teams calling Devils general manager Tom Fitzgerald to express their interest in Bratt if contract negotiations fall through and he heads to arbitration. Nevertheless, it appears Devils management and Bratt’s camp are continuing to work toward a deal. Just because teams are calling doesn’t mean he’s going to be traded.

LATEST ON THE SENATORS

OTTAWA SUN: Bruce Garrioch recently reported Senators general manager Pierre Dorion confirmed he’s received calls regarding what it might take for the club to trade the seventh-overall pick in this year’s draft.

Dorion confirmed he’s spoken candidly to those interested parties that his club might move the pick in return for a player who can help them get to the next level. Garrioch speculates the Senators GM might not get his best offer until draft day. Dorion didn’t rule out retaining the pick.

Garrioch also reported Dorion has been public about his search for a top-end winger and a top-four defenseman. He speculated the Sens GM could target a cap-strapped club like the Tampa Bay Lightning, Vegas Golden Knights, Montreal Canadiens, Boston Bruins, Florida Panthers, Chicago Blackhawks, San Jose Sharks, Edmonton Oilers and Minnesota Wild.

The Senators have been linked to Wild winger Kevin Fiala as he could be a good fit alongside Tim Stuetzle. Garrioch suggested Claude Giroux could be a good fit if the Panthers fail to re-sign the pending UFA forward.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: You can read my take on this story in my column for The Hockey News.

SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman reports Senators winger Connor Brown might test next summer’s UFA market. They’ll have to decide if they’ll let him play out the season or make a move.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Trading Brown would free up $3.6 million for the Senators. That cap space could be put to good use by acquiring a right winger via trade or free agency.










NHL Rumor Mill – June 16, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – June 16, 2022

Is it worthwhile for the Blackhawks to trade Alex DeBrincat? Are there any potential trade partners for the Sharks’ Brent Burns? Check out the latest in today’s NHL rumor mill.

THE PROS AND CONS OF TRADING DEBRINCAT

THE ATHLETIC: Scott Powers explains why the Chicago Blackhawks are likely to trade Alex DeBrincat this summer.

Chicago Blackhawks winger Alex DeBrincat (NHL Images).

One reason is it would be pointless carrying the 24-year-old winger on an expensive long-term contract when their rebuild process could take four or five years to complete. DeBrincat is a restricted free agent with arbitration rights next summer who will cost $9 million just to qualify his rights. Powers believes Blackhawks management would prefer to have cap and roster flexibility at this point.

Powers also suggested that there’s no certainty DeBrincat will sign a long-term extension if the Blackhawks are rebuilding. Moving him now while he still has a year left on his contract could help them fetch the best return.

Mark Lazerus, on the other hand, believes it would be short-sighted madness by the Blackhawks to trade DeBrincat. While acknowledging Powers’ points, he believes it’s worthwhile to retain a player to build around who wants to be in Chicago. Lacking a star like DeBrincat during the rebuilding phase could also hurt the Blackhawks at the gate.

CHICAGO SUN-TIMES: Ben Pope reports the New Jersey Devils have been linked to DeBrincat. They hold the second-overall selection in this year’s draft. So have the Philadelphia Flyers (fifth-overall pick), Ottawa Senators (seventh overall), New York Islanders (13th overall) and Los Angeles Kings (19th overall).

Trading away DeBrincat could also lead to long-time Blackhawks stars Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews to depart either by requesting a trade or via next summer’s free-agent market. Both have one season remaining on their contracts.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Blackhawks general manager Kyle Davidson has already indicated the club is undergoing a rebuild. However, that process could take place with DeBrincat as a foundation player.

I don’t think Davidson is actively shopping DeBrincat but could listen to offers. It’ll take a significant one to convince him to part with the two-time 40-goal scorer. If he moves DeBrincat, it’ll likely be in the days or hours leading up to the opening round of this year’s draft on July 7.

POTENTIAL TRADE DESTINATIONS FOR BRENT BURNS

NBC SPORTS BAY AREA: Sheng Peng recently examined potential trade destinations for Brent Burns if the 37-year-old defenseman and the San Jose Sharks decided to part ways. Peng observed Burns didn’t exactly quash the notion of chasing a Stanley Cup elsewhere during his end-of-season interview last month.

Peng listed the Dallas Stars, Nashville Predators, and New York Islanders as three possible destinations, speaking with reporters and bloggers who cover those clubs if Burns would be a suitable fit.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Despite his age and the three years remaining on his contract, Burns would still be a terrific fit for a team with Stanley Cup aspirations seeking a big puck-moving defenseman.

However, his $8 million annual cap hit and three-team trade list are significant sticking points. Unless the Sharks retain salary or take back a contract of roughly the same value, I don’t see Burns changing teams this summer.