SPECTOR’S NOTE: Leafs general manager Kyle Dubas said he wouldn’t part with a first-round pick or a top prospect for a rental player. He got himself an excellent top-four defenseman with Giordano without having to sacrifice too much in return.
Seattle Kraken trade defenseman Mark Giordano to the Toronto Maple Leafs (NHL Images).
The Leafs needed a top-four blueliner with Jake Muzzin still sidelined indefinitely by a head injury. Giordano isn’t a physical shutdown rearguard like Muzzin but his mobility, two-way skills and leadership should prove a welcome addition as a playoff rental to their defense corps.
Winner of the Norris Trophy in 2019, the 38-year-old Giordano put up a respectable 23 points in 55 games with the low-scoring Kraken. His puck-moving skills should prove a good fit with the Leafs’ potent offense.
Blackwell, 28, can play center or wing and is also slated to become an unrestricted free agent this summer. He has a decent scoring touch, netting 12 goals and 22 points in 47 games last season with the New York Ranger. Blackwell’s versatility gives the Leafs some flexibility to slot him into a variety of roles should injuries strike.
To free up some additional salary cap room, the Leafs traded defenseman Travis Dermott to the Vancouver Canucks in exchange for the Canucks’ third-round pick in 2022.
The Kraken reportedly sought a first-round pick for Giordano but the number of potential trade partners was shrinking with Hampus Lindholm acquired by the Boston Bruins and the Florida Panthers dealing for Ben Chiarot. Getting two seconds should help them select a pair of promising youngsters to stock up their prospect pipeline.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Hamonic is in the first year of a two-year deal with an annual average value of $3 million. A physical two-way defenseman, the 31-year-old has been sidelined in recent years dealing with injuries and personal matters.
The Canucks wanted to shed salary to garner some cap flexibility heading into the offseason. It remains to be seen if this move is to clear room to re-sign restricted free agent Brock Boeser or the first of other cost-cutting deals.
The Canucks used their recently reacquired pick to bring in Travis Dermott from the Leafs. He’ll get a great opportunity for more playing time in Vancouver. He’s signed through 2022-23 with a $1.5 million cap hit.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Panthers blueliner Aaron Ekblad is expected to be placed on long-term injury reserve with a lower-body injury for the remainder of the regular season. That provides the Panthers with some cap flexibility to add more depth to their lineup for the postseason. Hagg, 27, is a stay-at-home rearguard with an affordable $1.6 million cap hit.
THE LATEST ON KANE, FLEURY, GIORDANO, FORSBERG AND DOMI.
SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman reports Patrick Kane’s agent, Pat Brisson, said the long-time Chicago Blackhawks winger will not be dealt at Monday’s trade deadline. They’re also not moving Jonathan Toews or Seth Jones.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kane and Toews each carry $10.5 million annual salary-cap hit through 2022-23 with full no-movement clauses. Good luck moving either guy at the trade deadline. Those sort of moves, if they happen at all, will take place in the offseason when teams have more cap space, provided either guy is willing to waive their movement clauses. Jones starts his new eight-year contract next season so he’s staying put as well.
Chicago Blackhawks goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury (NHL Images)
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Athletic’s Michael Russo reports Fleury is willing to waive his no-trade clause to go to Minnesota. The Blackhawks reportedly want a first-round pick for Fleury but Guerin is adamant he’s not moving his first-rounder. Russo believes he could part with his second-round pick. Whether that’s something the Blackhawks will accept is another matter. Russo also suggests Cam Talbot’s recent improvement could convince Guerin to stick with his current tandem.
Seattle Kraken defenseman Mark Giordano could be a trade target of the Toronto Maple Leafs. The New York Rangers could also be in the bidding for the 38-year-old blueliner. Leafs general manager Kyle Dubas has let it be known he’s not trading his first-round pick or his top prospects for a rental player. Friedman also believes Leafs rearguard Travis Dermott will be moved no matter what happens. If they fail to land Giordano, Jeff Marek believes they’ll pursue the Philadelphia Flyers’ Justin Braun.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Kraken could retain half of Giordano’s $6.75 million if the Leafs want him but Seattle GM Ron Francis apparently seeks at least a first-rounder as part of the return. Unless he drops his asking price or Dubas changes his mind, the Leafs will have to look elsewhere for a defenseman.
Contract extension talks between the Nashville Predators and winger Filip Forsberg reportedly haven’t gone well. It’s believed Predators GM David Poile has tested the trade market on Forsberg but doesn’t think he’ll get traded though that could change with one phone call.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Poile could surprise us by shipping out Forsberg but doing so could hurt their chances of nailing down a playoff spot. Some folks will say, “So what? They’re not going deep in the playoffs anyway so move Forsberg rather than risk losing him for nothing this summer”. We’ll find out soon enough if the Predators GM feels the same way.
SPORTSNET: Jeff Marek reports there has been interest in other Flyers in the trade market such as defensemen Travis Sanheim and Ivan Provorov and forward Travis Konecny. There’s no belief the Flyers are in a hurry to move those players though it’s always possible someone could make a big pitch for them before Monday’s trade deadline. Marek believes decisions on those players could be summer decisions.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Based on the reaction of Flyers fans on social media following the Giroux trade and the recent re-signing of Rasmus Ristolainen, they’re not happy with general manager Chuck Fletcher. Moving Sanheim, Provorov or Konecny this summer won’t sit well with them unless they’re getting solid returns.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Speculation is growing in Winnipeg over what moves Jets GM Kevin Cheveldayoff has in mind for his club on deadline day. The Winnipeg Sun’s Scott Billeck reports Copp and Paul Stastny are the two noteworthy trade assets. The Winnipeg Free Press’ Mike McIntyre wondered if Cheveldayoff might acquire a middle-six forward such as the Bruins’ Jake DeBrusk, the Blackhawks’ Dominik Kubalik or the Montreal Canadiens’ Artturi Lehkonen.
Jeff Marek doesn’t expect the Edmonton Oilers to make a big splash at the trade deadline. They’ve explored the goalie market but that hasn’t borne fruit. They’re happy with their forwards but could seek a left-shot defenseman.
Marek also believes the Canucks could be sellers if they don’t gain ground in the playoff race this weekend. Forwards Brock Boeser and Conor Garland have come up in trade rumors. He doesn’t expect they’ll move center J.T. Miller.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Canucks could peddle Boeser and/or Garland at the trade deadline but they can also wait for the offseason if there are no current offers to their liking. Boeser is a restricted free agent this summer while Garland is signed through 2025-26. The Province’s Patrick Johnston reports the Los Angeles Kings, New Jersey Devils, Maple Leafs and Bruins have been linked to Garland.
Friedman believes the Ottawa Senators and pending UFA forward Nick Paul aren’t far apart in contract talks but both sides appear dug in. Both sides want to get a deal done but don’t yet have an agreement on the money.
Check out the latest on the Blackhawks, Rangers and Canucks in today’s NHL rumor mill.
NBC SPORTS CHICAGO: Charlie Roumeliotis reports it’s believed the Blackhawks won’t move Marc-Andre Fleury unless he asks to be traded. The 37-year-old goaltender has a 10-team no-trade clause and has surfaced in recent trade rumors, with the latest tying him to his former club, the Vegas Golden Knights. If he does request a trade, they won’t send him somewhere he doesn’t want to go.
Fleury acknowledged if he were to be traded he’d want to play for a Stanley Cup contender. “If…IF…I move, I would love a chance to win,” he said. “That’s what I play for and that’s what I love. It’s still a big if at this point.”
SPECTOR’S NOTE: One reason is there are not many Cup contenders seeking an upgrade between the pipes. The Edmonton Oilers and Washington Capitals could use Fleury but they’re not considered among this season’s Cup favorites. There’s also a report the Capitals attempted to acquire him but it’s rumored he rejected the deal. The remainder of his $7 million cap hit for this season is another sticking point. Fleury could end up finishing this season with the Blackhawks.
DAILY FACEOFF: Frank Seravalli reports sources said Blackhawks interim general manager Kyle Davidson was listening to offers for wingers Alex DeBrincat and Brandon Hagel. He claims there’s considerable interest in Hagel, who is signed through 2023-24 with a $1.5 million annual salary-cap hit. Seravalli suggests Hagel might fetch a first-round pick and a prospect.
THE ATHLETIC: Mark Lazerus reports winger Dominik Kubalik’s struggles this season have him facing an uncertain future with the Blackhawks. The 26-year-old winger is a restricted free agent with arbitration rights but his production is down this season.
CHICAGO SUN-TIMES: Ben Pope acknowledged Seravalli’s report about Hagel but said a source told him the 23-year-old winger is virtually off the table. Fleury and defenseman Calvin de Haan are the Blackhawks’ biggest trade chips. Kubalik and fellow RFA Dylan Strome have been on the market for months despite persuasive arguments for keeping both.
Chicago Blackhawks winger Alex DeBrincat (NHL Images).
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Davidson might be listening but that doesn’t mean he’s moving DeBrincat or Hagel. Both are young enough to be core players on this rebuilding roster. Unless the gambit here is to piss off long-time leaders Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews to the point where they demand a trade in the offseason, it makes little sense to move DeBrincat or Hagel unless the return is significant.
It wouldn’t be surprising if Kubalik and Strome are traded away, though the decline in their respective production means they won’t fetch much of a return for the Blackhawks. Given their arbitration rights, it might not be worth the hassle to keep them.
NEW YORK POST: Larry Brooks reports the Rangers interest in Vancouver Canucks forward (and former Ranger) J.T. Miller has been “an open secret” for some time. The versatile Miller can skate at center or right wing. He could prove useful to them beyond this season if they’re unable to re-sign pending UFA center Ryan Strome this summer. However, the Blueshirts probably won’t be able to afford an extension for Miller and would have to seek another top-six center in 2023.
THE ATHLETIC: Arthur Staple reports the asking price for Miller could be the classic “draft pick/prospect/player”. He wondered if the Rangers could land him by pitching a first-round pick and promising defenseman Nils Lundkvist.
Staple also commented on a recent report by Daily Faceoff’s Frank Seravalli saying the Vegas Golden Knights may have reached out to the Rangers about Alexandar Georgiev. However, sources say the Blueshirts haven’t received any real offers yet for the 26-year-old goaltender. He’s slated to become a restricted free agent with arbitration rights this summer and is a year away from UFA eligibility. Parting with Georgiev would leave the Rangers seeking an experienced replacement.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’ll be interesting to see what moves Rangers GM Chris Drury makes before the March 21 trade deadline. He’s got plenty of deadline cap space and lots of promising young players/prospects to draw upon for trade bait.
Drury is well-positioned to make a solid bid for Miller but would it be with an eye on keeping him beyond next season or as a short-term measure? Will he pass on Miller and consider other options? We’ll find out soon enough.
I’ll be surprised if they move out Georgiev. He’s not a UFA so they can peddle him in the offseason if he doesn’t fit into their plans. He did a good job filling in for starter Igor Shesterkin when he was sidelined for several games earlier this season. Better to stick with the backup you know down the stretch and into the playoffs.
DAILY FACEOFF/THE ATHLETIC: Scott Burnside and Thomas Drance report Vancouver Canucks president of hockey operations Jim Rutherford and general and general manager Patrik Allvin are both preaching patience, stressing there’s no urgency for the club to make moves before the March 21 trade deadline.
Rutherford said the final decision to make trades rests with Allvin, who indicated he wants to evaluate his club’s performance as they continue to fight for a playoff spot in the Western Conference.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Canucks’ new front office still has five weeks before the trade deadline to evaluate their players and determine who to move and who to keep if they decide to become sellers by March 21. It appears they’re going to give this roster a chance to gain some ground in the standings and see if they have a shot at securing a playoff berth. If they fall out of contention, they could start shipping out some players.
The interest in bringing in younger players indicates they’re looking at a quick turnaround rather than a lengthy rebuild. Shopping Miller could help them land such a player. Whether it would be any of those listed above remains to be seen.
Colorado Avalanche defenseman Samuel Girard (NHL Images).
Chambers still thinks Girard could be traded, claiming the Avalanche want to acquire a forward and shed the 24-year-old defenseman’s $5 million annual salary-cap hit. He also indicated management was unhappy with Girard’s performance against the Golden Knights in last spring’s second-round series, singling out his turnovers and lack of production.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Chambers had speculated about Girard’s future with the Avs during his column earlier this week. He also mentioned the emergence of young rearguard Bowen Byram could make Girard expendable.
I didn’t dismiss the possibility of the Avs using Girard as a trade chip for a second-line forward before the March 21 trade deadline. I see no reason to change that opinion if Byram continues playing well over the course of the season.
TSN: Pierre LeBrun reports Eric Staal is hoping to return for an 18th NHL season. The 37-year-old center continues to skate in Minnesota as his agent is in regular contact with three or four clubs. Those teams could decide later this month if signing Staal works for them.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Staal’s best years are now well behind him. That was apparent in his 13 points in 53 games last season with the Buffalo Sabres and Montreal Canadiens. However, Staal did have a decent performance with the Canadiens during their run to the 2021 Stanley Cup Final, collecting eight points in 21 games. He could be an affordable depth option.
THE ATHLETIC: Arthur Staple recently wondered if New York Islanders general manager Lou Lamoriello might jump into the trade market to bolster his blueline. He pointed out Toronto Maple Leafs defenseman Trevor Dermott is available for the right price. Dermott is a “serviceable left-handed defenseman” who would be “cheap enough to fit under the cap right now.”
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Dermott might not be on Lamoriello’s radar if he’s considering an early-season move for a blueliner. Perhaps he’s considering other options or maybe the Leafs’ asking price is more than he’s willing to part with.
The Leafs are shopping a defenseman but have yet to open contract talks with Jack Campbell, while trade chatter grows about Blue Jackets goaltender Joonas Korpisalo. Check it out in today’s NHL rumor mill.
SPORTSNET: Luke Fox cited Elliotte Friedman and Nick Kypreos reporting the Toronto Maple Leafs have let the rest of the league know Travis Dermott or Justin Holl are available for the right price. Fox speculates that price is either “an upper-mid-round draft pick” or “perhaps a rugged d-man with less term on his contract.”
The cap-strapped Leafs have no space to add a salaried player, they hold just three draft picks in the 2022 draft, and management must clear cap space for the short and long term. Holl is signed through next season with a $2 million cap hit and a 10-team no-trade list while Dermott is earning $1.5 million annually through 2022-23.
Toronto Maple Leafs goaltender Jack Campbell (NHL Images).
SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’ll be interesting to see which one gets moved. Holl, 29, is more expensive and his no-trade complicates efforts to move him. He’s struggled this season but played well over the previous two campaigns. The 24-year-old Dermott is younger, more affordable and he lacks no-trade protection but he’s had consistency issues and been relegated to mostly third-pairing duty.
TORONTO SUN: Michael Traikos reports agent Kurt Overhardt, who represents Leafs goaltender Jack Campbell, denied reports contract extension talks are underway with his client. “Whoever said we’re talking is full of crap,” said Overhardt.
Traikos believes the Leafs have already waited too long to ink Campbell to an extension, believing it should’ve taken place during the summer. As the 29-year-old goaltender’s value rises, Traikos believes he could be playing elsewhere next season the longer it takes the two sides to start contract talks.
Campbell is slated to become an unrestricted free agent next summer. His current annual cap hit is $1.65 million but Traikos believes the Leafs will be lucky to get him for twice that amount if his strong play continues throughout this season. He pointed to Philipp Grubauer getting a long-term deal worth $5.9 million annually from the Seattle Kraken and Cal Petersen earning $5 million annually on a three-year contract.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Leafs have little choice but to sign Campbell for probably between $5.5 million and $6 million annually. They’ve got no one in their system capable of challenging him for the starter’s job, there aren’t better options in the trade market and Cap Friendly shows few suitable long-term alternatives via next summer’s free-agent market.
That explains in part why they’re looking to move one of their defensemen. They must free up cap space before next season to absorb Campbell’s new contract.
THE ATHLETIC: Aaron Portzline recently reported trade chatter was increasing about Columbus Blue Jackets goalie Joonas Korpisalo. He said there were whispers around the league claiming Columbus general manager Jarmo Kekalainen was fielding calls for the 27-year-old netminder.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Korpisalo is a UFA relegated to backup duty behind Elvis Merzlikins. He could be on the move at some point before the March 21 trade deadline.
The Coyotes seem like a prime landing spot given their struggles this season but they could be reluctant to acquire someone who could bolt via free agency next summer. . The Sabres are getting surprisingly good goaltending from 40-year-old Craig Anderson and backup Dustin Tokarski but that could change as the season goes along.
Sloppy defensive play and inconsistent offense are the Canadiens’ biggest problems this season. I doubt they’ll pursue Korpisalo with Carey Price set to return to the lineup in the coming weeks and Jake Allen doing a decent job between the pipes in his absence.
With the Jack Eichel trade watch finally over, here’s the latest on the Maple Leafs in today’s NHL rumor mill.
SPORTSNET: Luke Fox cites Nick Kypreos reporting Toronto Maple Leafs general manager Kyle Dubas is now focused on signing Jack Campbell to a new contract after getting Morgan Rielly signed to a long-term extension. Asked about Kypreos’ report, Campbell neither confirmed nor denied it but indicated he’d love to stay in Toronto.
Toronto Maple Leafs goaltender Jack Campbell (NHL Images).
Fox pointed out Campbell’s made $4.2 million in career earnings so he’ll be seeking a significant pay raise on his next contract. With just $7.2 million in cap space for 2022-23, the Leafs could try to keep the cap hit on his next deal as low as possible. He speculates Campbell’s agent could use the three-year, $15 million deal signed by Calvin Petersen with the Los Angeles Kings as a comparable.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Leafs also have 15 players under contract for ’22-’23. Whatever it costs to re-sign or replace Campbell, they’ll have to get creative to free up sufficient cap room. Perhaps it’ll be a cost-cutting trade or maybe they acquire the contract of a player permanently on long-term injury reserve.
THE JEFF MAREK SHOW: Elliotte Friedman reported the Leafs are shopping a right-side defenseman. He speculated it could be Travis Dermott, who is listed as day-to-day with a foot injury.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Dermott has slipped down the Leafs’ depth chart under head coach Sheldon Keefe. The 24-year-old might benefit from a change of scenery. He carries an annual average value of $1.5 million through 2022-23.