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