NHL Rumor Mill – February 4, 2023

NHL Rumor Mill – February 4, 2023

Are the Rangers and Sabres interested in Timo Meier? Are the Bruins and Kings looking at Jakob Chychrun? Could the Predators shop Juuse Saros? Are the Capitals in the market for a defenseman? Find out in today’s NHL Rumor Mill!

RANGERS, SABRES LOOKING AT MEIER

DAILY FACEOFF: In his latest Trade Targets update, Frank Seravalli reports the New York Rangers have made San Jose Sharks winger Timo Meier their top target leading up to the March 3 trade deadline. He reminds us that Sharks general manager Mike Grier knows the Rangers’ organization “inside and out, so they’d make great trade partners”.

Seravalli also indicates the New Jersey Devils would love to acquire Meier and pair him with fellow Swiss forward Nico Hischier. GM Tom Fitzgerald recently said he’s looking at “a top-six winger under team control.”

San Jose Sharks winger Timo Meier (NHL Images)

Meier, 26, is a restricted free agent with arbitration rights this summer and is a year away from unrestricted free agent eligibility. His current annual cap hit is $6 million but he’s earning $10 million in actual salary, which is what it will cost to qualify his rights unless he and his team agree to a contract extension with a lower cap hit.

NHL.COM: In a recent mailbag segment, Dan Rosen expressed his skepticism about the Rangers being “in” on Meier. He doesn’t see how the winger’s next contract would fit within their salary structure next season with Filip Chytil, Alexis Lafreniere and K’Andre Miller up for new contracts.

Rosen believes the Rangers would have to include Lafreniere or Chytil plus top prospect Brennan Othmann and their first-round pick to land Meier. He thinks they’d be better off pursuing a rental player.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It wouldn’t surprise me if Drury looked into the Sharks’ asking price for Meier. As Rosen points out, however, this move would take away a significant chunk of their present and future talent. There’s also the high cost of re-signing him when they have several other key players to re-sign. Like Rosen, I think the Devils are a better fit for Meier.

THE BUFFALO NEWS’s Lance Lysowski reported a source said Sabres GM Kevyn Adams’ contact with the Sharks about Meier was merely due diligence just to gauge their asking price. “Nothing serious at this point”.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Adams has also reportedly looked into the cost of obtaining Arizona Coyotes defenseman Jakob Chychrun. He’s in a good position to acquire Chychrun or Meier. They’re already well-stocked with good young forwards who are getting better with every week so maybe Adams would put the focus on a defenseman like Chychrun. Speaking of the Coyotes blueliner…

BRUINS, KINGS INTERESTED IN CHYCHRUN?

BOSTON HOCKEY NOW: Jimmy Murphy recently cited Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman saying he wouldn’t be surprised if the Bruins at least looked into acquiring Arizona Coyotes defenseman Jakob Chychrun. He also thinks they’ve looked into other left-side blueliners such as Columbus’ Vladislav Gavrikov.

Murphy cited an NHL source saying the Bruins will have to move a roster defenseman if they want Chychrun. He believes GM Don Sweeney’s goal is to add to his roster before the trade deadline without making a significant subtraction.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Murphy believes the odds of the Bruins landing Chychrun are low. I agree with him. Sweeney may have looked into it but the rumored asking price of two first-rounders plus a high-end prospect is expensive enough. Parting with a roster defenseman risks upsetting the Bruins’ strong blueline chemistry.

TORONTO STAR: Nick Kypreos recently reported the Los Angeles Kings remain interested in Chychrun. “They are said to be willing to move defenseman Matt Roy and his $3.125 million cap hit to help make it work,” wrote Kypreos.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I still think the Kings are the logical destination for Chychrun. They have a real need for a skilled top-four left-side defenseman and they have depth in promising young assets to dangle as trade bait. Whether Kings GM Rob Blake feels the same way remains to be seen.

COULD THE PREDATORS SHOP SAROS?

TORONTO STAR: Nick Kypreos believes the Nashville Predators could become sellers if they fall out of playoff contention leading up to the trade deadline. He claimed many believe they’ll shop goaltender Juuse Saros, citing the 27-year-old’s youth and reasonable $5 million cap hit.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I don’t rule out anything if Predators GM David Poile decides to become a seller before March 3. They have promising netminder Yaroslav Askarov in their system. However, I don’t think Poile will turn over the starting duties to the 20-year-old when he’s got Saros under contract through 2024-25.

Maybe that move takes place if Askarov starts challenging Saros for the starter’s job over the next couple of years. I don’t see that happening this season.

LATEST ON THE CAPITALS

WASHINGTON HOCKEY NOW: Sammi Silber recently cited The Athletic’s Eric Duhatschek reporting the Capitals are willing to listen to offers for center Lars Eller if it can bring them help on defense.

General manager Brian MacLellan recently said the team’s plans for the trade deadline will depend on their health leading up to March 3. Silber lists the Montreal Canadiens’ Joel Edmundson, Los Angeles Kings’ Matt Roy and the Vancouver Canucks’ Luke Schenn as potential trade targets for the Capitals.










NHL Rumor Mill – February 1, 2023

NHL Rumor Mill – February 1, 2023

What’s the latest on Timo Meier? Could the Canucks peddle Thatcher Demko or Brock Boeser? Are the Islanders done making additions? Will the Bruins pursue a notable defenseman or center? Get the answers in today’s NHL Rumor mill.

THE LATEST MEIER SPECULATION

SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman reports the New Jersey Devils are very much in the sweepstakes for San Jose Sharks winger Timo Meier. However, their salary structure remains a concern. They’d prefer to have no forwards earning more than Jack Hughes’ $8 million average annual value. That also goes for winger Jesper Bratt, who’s a restricted free agent this summer.

THE ATHLETIC: Corey Masisak speculates the return the Vancouver Canucks received for Bo Horvat (middle-six forward Anthony Beauvillier, a potential “middle of the lineup” player in prospect Aatu Raty and a top-12 protected 2023 first-round pick) may have hurt the Sharks’ chances of landing a huge haul for Meier.

However, Meier is younger than Horvat plus the Sharks can let other clubs talk to the Meier camp about a contract extension. That was something the Canucks refused to do with Horvat.

SAN JOSE HOCKEY NOW: Sheng Peng reports a source outside the Sharks’ organization claimed they’d heard the club will seek three pieces for Meier. They’ll want a first-round pick and either one Grade-A prospect or two Grade-B prospects, or one good prospect and a young, established NHL player.

San Jose Sharks winger Timo Meier (NHL Images)

Peng subsequently reported a source suggesting the Sharks could end up getting a return similar to what the Canucks got for Horvat. Peng admits that there aren’t many teams in this salary-cap era that can afford to acquire a potentially $9 million per season player such as Meier. Nevertheless, he also pointed out Meier is younger than Horvat plus the Canucks didn’t let teams talk contract with the latter before trading him.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Sharks could have a greater opportunity to land a better return if they allow suitors to work out a contract extension with the Meier camp.

Bear in mind that Meier’s RFA status means the Sharks can wait until the off-season to move him if they don’t get any suitable offers leading up to the March 3 trade deadline. However, they will have a time constraint of June 30. That’s the deadline to issue his qualifying offer, which would be one year at $10 million.

WHAT NEXT FOR THE CANUCKS?

SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman wonders about Thatcher Demko’s future with the Vancouver Canucks. The 27-year-old goaltender is signed through 2025-26 with an average annual value of $5 million. He’s been sidelined since early December with a lower-body injury.

Friedman believes teams will want to get a feel for what the Canucks want to do with Demko. He thinks the Buffalo Sabres, Columbus Blue Jackets, Los Angeles Kings and Pittsburgh Penguins make sense as suitors. The Sabres and Blue Jackets can afford to be patient but the Kings and Penguins would need to know if he could make an impact this spring in the playoffs.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: TSN’s Darren Dreger reports Canucks sources are “a little surprised” at all the trade speculation about Demko. It appears the talk of his potential availability isn’t coming from the team.

Pittsburgh Hockey Now’s Dan Kingerski recently listed more affordable, short-term options for the Penguins such as the Dallas Stars’ Anton Khudobin, the Vegas Golden Knights’ Adin Hill, the Detroit Red Wings Alex Nedeljkovic and the Blue Jackets’ Joonas Korpisalo. Maybe they’d be interested if Demko became available but he’d likely cost more than the Penguins could comfortably afford before the March 3 trade deadline.

The Athletic’s Eric Stephens recently listed several goalie trade targets for the Kings. Among them was the Anaheim Ducks’ John Gibson but Stephens saw his contract ($6.4 million average annual value through 2026-27) as a significant obstacle. The same could be said for Demko’s deal. Meanwhile, TSN’s Pierre LeBrun said the Kings aren’t interested in a rental goalie like the Ottawa Senators’ Cam Talbot or the Carolina Hurricanes’ Antti Raanta. “They’re looking for a long-term fit”.

Friedman writes that Brock Boeser remains linked to the Minnesota Wild in the rumor mill. However, he felt the math doesn’t make sense as things stand.

TSN’S Darren Dreger reports the Canucks are still getting a tremendous amount of interest in Boeser. However, those clubs want to know if the Canucks will retain part of the 25-year-old winger’s salary. He’s signed through 2024-25 with an AAV of $6.65 million.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That’s why I believe a Boeser trade won’t happen until the offseason when teams have additional cap space. As long as the Canucks won’t retain part of his salary, he’s difficult to move during this season with so many teams carrying limited salary-cap space.

The Wild won’t be a destination for Boeser unless it’s a dollar-in, dollar-out trade. They’ve got over $74 million invested in 14 players for next season with $14.7 million of that as dead cap space owing to their buyouts of Zach Parise and Ryan Suter.

Friedman believes there are teams that like the nastiness of Canucks defenseman Tyler Myers but he felt that might have to wait until the summer in this season’s tight cap world. He’s not convinced blueliner Luke Schenn returns to the Tampa Bay Lightning but conversations about him continue.

ARE THE ISLANDERS DONE DEALING?

THE ATHLETIC: Kevin Kurz looks at other potential moves that might make sense for the New York Islanders before the trade deadline. He suggested the St. Louis Blues’ Ivan Barbashev if they’re seeking a winger or the Arizona Coyotes’ Shayne Gostisbehere if they’re in the market for a puck-moving defenseman.

NYI HOCKEY NOW: Stefen Rosner believes Islanders GM Lou Lamoriello isn’t done making moves. He thinks they need to add a scoring winger and wondered if Lamoriello might go all in for someone like the Blues’ Vladimir Tarasenko or the Sharks’ Timo Meier. They could also use a depth defenseman.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Islanders have over $11 million in projected deadline cap space. I don’t see Lamoriello sitting on that. He could pursue someone like Tarasenko or Meier but could also pursue more affordable options such as those suggested by Kurz.

UPDATE ON THE BRUINS

SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman reports the Boston Bruins are believed in the market for a left-side defenseman. He wouldn’t be surprised if they’ve inquired about the Coyotes’ Jakob Chychrun or the Blue Jackets’ Vladislav Gavrikov among others.

BOSTON HOCKEY NOW: Jimmy Murphy wondered if the Bruins might shift their focus toward Detroit Red Wings center Dylan Larkin after losing out in the Bo Horvat sweepstakes. A source told Murphy it doesn’t look good for Larkin to remain in Detroit which was why they’re exploring other options. However, Larkin’s agent Pat Brisson recently said he’s not concerned about negotiation, adding the two sides have been talking more in recent weeks.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I think the Bruins’ priority could be adding that left-side defenseman over adding another center. I don’t doubt that general manager Don Sweeney did his due diligence regarding Horvat but adding someone comparable such as Larkin is going to be just as expensive.

They could also go for more cost-effective short-term options on defense given the expensive asking prices for Chychrun (two first-rounders, top prospect) and Gavrikov (a first and a third-rounder). Granted, this is a “go-for-it” season for the Bruins but given how well the current roster is playing they can pursue more affordable depth targets. Besides, they don’t have a lot of trade capital to win bidding wars for big-ticket players.

LATEST “32 THOUGHTS” RUMOR TIDBITS

SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman reports the Carolina Hurricanes weren’t going to acquire Bo Horvat unless they could sign him to a contract extension. With Horvat now with the New York Islanders, he wonders if the Hurricanes will pivot toward Isles center Jean-Gabriel Pageau depending on how things shake out with Horvat.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The 30-year-old Pageau is signed through 2025-26 with an annual cap hit of $5 million and a 16-team no-trade list. His age and contract might not be a fit with the Hurricanes.










Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – January 29, 2023

Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – January 29, 2023

Could the Devils be a destination for Vladimir Tarasenko? Would the Bruins have to part with Brandon Carlo or Jake DeBrusk to acquire Bo Horvat? What’s the latest on the Oilers, Senators and Kraken? Find out in the Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup.

LATEST “32 THOUGHTS” RUMORS

SPORTSNET (stick tap to NHL Watcher): During Friday’s “32 Thoughts” podcast, Elliotte Friedman reported the New Jersey Devils had previously spoken to the St. Louis Blues about winger Vladimir Tarasenko. When the Blues were trying to acquire Matthew Tkachuk from the Calgary Flames last summer, one thing they had to do was figure out how to trade Tarasenko. He wasn’t going to accept a trade to Calgary so trading him to New Jersey was discussed.

St, Louis Blues winger Vladimir Tarasenko (NHL Images)

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Devils general manager Tom Fitzgerald is in the market for a scoring winger and has been linked to the San Jose Sharks’ Tim Meier. Unlike Meier, who is a restricted free agent this summer, Tarasenko is due to become an unrestricted free agent. Fitzgerald’s preference could be acquiring someone like Meier who fits within his club’s long-term plans rather than a rental player such as Tarasenko.

Friedman believes the Edmonton Oilers are among the teams with interest in Arizona Coyotes center Nick Bjugstad. He carries an affordable $900K contract this season, has scored 11 goals thus far this season and is among the shootout leaders with three goals.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: There are a lot of notable stars who could be available leading up to this year’s trade deadline. However, there will be more of a market for decent, affordable veterans like Bjugstad given the high number of contenders with limited cap space.

Jeff Marek reports there hasn’t been much progress in contract talks between the Seattle Kraken and defenseman Carson Soucy, who is slated to become an unrestricted free agent this summer. They may have to decide if they’ll keep him for a playoff run and risk losing him for nothing or shopping him before the March 3 trade deadline.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kraken GM Ron Francis would have to find a suitable replacement for Soucy if he trades him. It wouldn’t surprise me if he retains the veteran blueliner as an “own rental” for the playoffs.

Marek also reports some teams seeking goaltending depth for the playoffs are interested in Dallas Stars netminder Anton Khudobin. He’s healthy and currently playing for the Stars’ AHL affiliate. His $3.33 million cap hit ($3.75 million in actual salary) could be a sticking point.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Stars will have accrued over $2.7 million in cap space by the March 3 trade deadline. They could retain part of Khudobin’s salary to facilitate a deal but I think their preference is to get the entirety of that cap hit off their books to create room for any playoff rentals of their own.

HORVAT COULD COST BRUINS CARLO OR DEBRUSK IN A TRADE PACKAGE

BOSTON HOCKEY NOW: Jimmy Murphy cited a source claiming the Vancouver Canucks have always liked Bruins defenseman Brandon Carlo and winger Jake DeBrusk. One of those players would likely have to be packaged with a first-round pick and a top prospect if the Bruins hope to acquire Bo Horvat from the Vancouver Canucks.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I think the Canucks can do better than a package from the Bruins with Carlo or DeBrusk as the centerpiece. Carlo’s injury history should be a big red flag as should DeBrusk’s inconsistent offense.

OILERS SHOULD AVOID EDMUNDSON, SAYS LARAQUE

EDMONTON JOURNAL: David Staples cited former Oiler Georges Laraque telling Oilers Now on Friday that the club should avoid acquiring Joel Edmundson. He claims the 29-year-old Montreal Canadiens’ blueliner has a herniated problem with his back that has hampered his performance.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Edmundson’s been frequently linked to the Oilers in the rumor mill. However, that doesn’t mean they’re going to acquire him to bolster the left side of their blueline. If they are interested they’ll want to see his medical records before signing off on a trade.

LATEST ON THE SENATORS

OTTAWA SUN: Ken Warren recently examined the Senators’ restricted and unrestricted free agents as the club’s playoff hopes fade.

Warren observed it would cost the Senators $9 million to qualify RFA winger Alex DeBrincat. If a team offered up an extremely talented young defenseman the Senators might bite on a deal. However, the best option appears to be waiting until the offseason and seeing if the club’s new ownership is willing to pay him a lucrative long-term deal.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I’ll be surprised if the Senators trade DeBrincat considering what they gave up last summer to acquire him. Never say never if they get an irresistible offer but I think they intend to re-sign him.

He believes the chances of pending UFA goaltender Cam Talbot re-signing with the Senators appear less likely than they did three weeks ago.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Talbot’s struggles during this month before his recent injury could have the Senators considering other goaltending options for next season.

Warren felt that Austin Watson would be moved if someone offered up a late-round pick. Dylan Gambrell will likely be moving on at season’s end. A two or three-year bridge deal for Shane Pinto this summer makes the most sense.

It would be an intriguing call for the Senators if a club comes calling for blueliner Travis Hamonic at the trade deadline. Defenseman Nick Holden could also be moved by deadline day if there’s interest. It might finally be time for the Sens to move on from rearguard Erik Brannstrom.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Senators have been very patient with Brannstrom but I don’t see any significant signs of improvement in his game. He is what he is and the Sens will have to accept that and move on.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 28, 2023

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 28, 2023

Recaps of Friday’s game, Auston Matthews sidelined for at least three weeks, updates on Gabriel Landeskog and Cole Caufield plus some potentially bad news for hockey-related revenue in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: The Carolina Hurricanes got a 5-4 overtime win over the San Jose Sharks with Martin Necas scoring the tying and winning goals. Sebastian Aho also scored twice for the Hurricanes (31-9-8), who sit in first place in the Metropolitan Division with 70 points. Michael Eyssimont had a goal and two assists for the Sharks as they dropped to 14-25-11 on the season.

Carolina Hurricanes forward Martin Necas (NHL Images)

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Necas became the first player in Hurricanes/Whalers history to score an overtime goal in consecutive games and the fifth player in NHL history to score the tying goal in the final minute of regulation and the game-winner in the first minute of overtime.

New Jersey Devils center Jack Hughes scored twice (including the winner in overtime) in a 3-2 victory against the Dallas Stars. Goaltender Vitek Vanecek made 33 saves for his ninth straight win as the Devils (32-13-4) sit two points behind the Hurricanes in second place in the Metro Division. Roope Hintz tallied his 20th goal of the season for the 28-13-10 Stars, who hold a three-point lead over the Winnipeg Jets for first overall in the Western Conference with 66 points.

The Calgary Flames got a 29-save performance from Dan Vlader to beat the Seattle Kraken 5-2. Vladar tied a franchise record for the most games without a regulation loss with 13. Elias Lindholm and Blake Coleman each had a goal and two assists as the 24-17-9 Flames held the first wild-card berth in the Western Conference with 57 points. Martin Jones made 33 saves for the Kraken (28-15-5) as they sit in second place in the Pacific Division with 61 points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Before the game, the Kraken announced rookie center Matty Beniers will be sidelined for two games with an undisclosed injury and is considered day-to-day.

Los Angeles Kings goalie Pheonix Copley kicked out a career-high 45 shots to hold off the Florida Panthers 4-3. Adrian Kempe had a goal and an assist as the Kings improved to 28-17-6 and moved into sole possession of first place in the Pacific Division with 62 points. Carter Verhaeghe and Matthew Tkachuk each had two points as the Panthers slipped to 23-22-6 and remain five points out of the final Eastern Conference playoff berth with 52 points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Panthers captain Aleksander Barkov was named to the Atlantic Division roster for the upcoming 2023 NHL All-Star Game as a replacement for sidelined Toronto Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews. Speaking of the Leafs and Matthews…

Ottawa Senators captain Brady Tkachuk tallied twice to thump the Maple Leafs by a score of 6-2, snapping the latter’s points streak at five games. Anton Forsberg stopped 33 shots for the 22-23-6 Senators. William Nylander scored his 27th goal of the season for the Leafs (30-12-8), who are tied with the New Jersey Devils for third place in the Eastern Conference but the Devils hold a game in hand.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The reason Barkov is replacing Matthews in the All-Star Game is that the Leafs center is sidelined for at least three weeks with a knee sprain suffered Wednesday against the New York Rangers.

The New York Rangers downed the Vegas Golden Knights 4-1 with Jaroslav Halak making 33 saves to win his fifth straight start. Vincent Trocheck had a goal and an assist for the Rangers (27-14-8) as they sit in third place in the Metropolitan Division with 62 points. Phil Kessel replied for the 29-18-3 Golden Knights, who are tied with the Kraken for second in the Pacific Division but the latter holds two games in hand.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Golden Knights activated defenseman Shea Theodore and forward William Carrier off injured reserve for this game.

New York Islanders netminder Ilya Sorokin turned in a 23-save shutout to blank the Detroit Red Wings 2-0, ending his club’s six-game winless skid. Anders Lee and Brock Nelson scored as the Islanders improved to 24-22-5, sitting four points out of the final Eastern playoff spot. The Wings fell to 21-19-8 and sit seven points out of that wild-card spot.

The Vancouver Canucks beat the Columbus Blue Jackets 5-2. Elias Pettersson tallied twice and Bo Horvat collected a career-high four assists for the 20-26-3 Canucks. Kirill Marchenko scored both goals for the 15-31-3 Blue Jackets, who sit in last place in the overall standings.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Following the game, the Canucks announced forward Ilya Mikheyev will undergo season-ending knee surgery next week. Earlier in the day, the Blue Jackets announced winger Gustav Nyquist was sidelined indefinitely with an undisclosed injury.

HEADLINES

THE DENVER POST’s Bennett Durando reports Colorado Avalanche captain Gabriel Landeskog (knee injury) could start skating under team supervision following the upcoming All-Star break. However, there is no definitive start date.

TSN: Montreal Canadiens winger Cole Caufield told reporters yesterday that he injured his shoulder twice before undergoing season-ending surgery. The first time was on Dec. 23 against the Dallas Stars and on Jan. 3 against the Nashville Predators. Both times, he was able to pop it back into place.

Three different doctors subsequently recommended having surgery or risking further damage to the shoulder. The surgery will take place on Feb. 1. Caufield admitted he would’ve continued playing if the Canadiens were in playoff contention.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Canadiens’ placement near the bottom of the Eastern Conference standings turns out to be a blessing in disguise. Caufield could’ve wound up suffering more serious damage that would’ve meant a much longer recovery period that would’ve stretched well into next season.

MONTREAL GAZETTE: Speaking of the injury-plagued Canadiens, they’ve called up prospect Owen Beck on an emergency basis after Nick Suzuki, Kirby Dach and Christian Dvorak missed practice on Friday for medical treatment.

Pat Hickey reports the looming bankruptcy of US sports network Bally Sports Regional Networks could have an adverse effect on the NHL’s hockey-related revenue. Los Angeles, Anaheim, Arizona, Dallas, St. Louis, Nashville, Minnesota, Detroit, Carolina, Columbus, Tampa Bay and Florida are the NHL markets directly affected.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Hickey pointed out the network owes a number of sports teams billions of dollars in rights fees. While it’s unknown how much money is owed to those NHL teams, Hickey speculated that it could have a negative effect on HRR that drives down the salary cap, ensuring players pay more in escrow to offset the difference.










NHL Rumor Mill – January 27, 2023

NHL Rumor Mill – January 27, 2023

Could the Devils pursue Timo Meier before the trade deadline? Could the Rangers and Sabres get into the bidding for him? Will Sean Monahan become an Avalanche trade target? Find out in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.

DEVILS INTERESTED IN MEIER?

TSN: Pierre LeBrun reported he spoke with New Jersey Devils general manager Tom Fitzgerald, who indicated he’s looking for a top-six winger before the March 3 trade deadline. Fitzgerald didn’t say which player he was interested in as that would violate the NHL’s tampering rules, but LeBrun believes the San Jose Sharks’ Timo Meier would fit the Devils’ needs.

San Jose Sharks winger Timo Meier (NHL Images)

Fitzgerald said that ideally, he’s not interested in a rental player but someone who could remain with the Devils beyond this season. Meier could fit that description as he’s a restricted free agent on July 1, meaning the Devils would hold his rights after this season if they acquire him from the Sharks.

THE ATHLETIC: LeBrun also pointed out that the Devils still hope to re-sign RFA winger Jesper Bratt and must determine his place in this picture. He believes that Fitzgerald hopes to ink Bratt to a long-term extension somewhere between Nico Hischier’s $7.25 million AAV and Jack Hughes’ $8 million.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: LeBrun indicated that the Devils have the depth in draft picks and prospects to make a suitable offer to the Sharks. However, Fitzgerald will also have to work out a suitable contract offer for Meier, who will cost $10 million simply to qualify his rights before July 1. That’s in addition to working on a contract extension for Bratt.

Fitzgerald could consider Meier as insurance if Bratt’s contract talks become difficult. Like Meier, Bratt’s an RFA with arbitration rights who’ll be a year away from unrestricted free-agent eligibility. Fitzgerald could trade him in the offseason and use the savings to re-sign Meier.

SAN JOSE HOCKEY NOW: Sheng Peng wondered if the Devils might offer up prospect Shakir Mukhamadullin, a 2024 first-round pick (top-15 protected) and Andreas Johnsson for Meier.

Peng also took note of rumors linking the New York Rangers and Buffalo Sabres to Meier. He suggested a package from the Rangers consisting of prospect Brennan Othmann, a 2024 first-rounder (top-10 protected) and winger Sammy Blais. From the Sabres, Peng suggested Jiri Kulich, the Flyers’ 2023 second-round pick and a 2024 third-rounder.

UPDATE ON SEAN MONAHAN

TSN: Pierre LeBrun reports the Colorado Avalanche are a “team to monitor” regarding Montreal Canadiens center Sean Monahan.

The Avalanche expect captain Gabriel Landeskog will come off long-term injury reserve later this season, leaving them with limited salary-cap spaced. LeBrun anticipates they’ll keep an eye on Vancouver’s Bo Horvat and St. Louis’ Ryan O’Reilly but lack sufficient future assets to use as trade bait.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Monahan would be more affordable to acquire than Horvat or O’Reilly. However, the Canadiens won’t just give him away, especially if he picks up where he left off before he was sidelined in early December (17 points in 25 games).

The Canadiens reportedly aren’t actively shopping Monahan but it’s believed they move him for the right offer. That would probably be a first-round pick in this year’s draft or a top prospect.

BARBASHEV ON THE BLOCK?

TSN: Chris Johnston reports St. Louis Blues forward Ivan Barbashev is starting to circulate a little bit in the rumor mill. While he’s off last season’s 60-point pace, Johnston said several playoff contenders have him on their list. He’s slated to become a UFA this summer and carries an affordable $2.25 million cap hit for this season.










NHL Rumor Mill – January 26, 2023

NHL Rumor Mill – January 26, 2023

Check out the latest on Ryan O’Reilly, Bo Horvat, Jakob Chychrun, Anthony Mantha and Andrei Kuzmenko in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.

O’REILLY HOPES TO REMAIN WITH THE BLUES

THE ATHLETIC: Jeremy Rutherford reports St. Louis Blues captain Ryan O’Reilly sounds like he doesn’t want to be moved by the March 3 trade deadline.

This is where I really want to be,” said the 31-year-old center. “I hope I don’t get moved, but I think things will probably progress, especially with the deadline coming up and the talks with that. We’ll see how it goes. We’re starting to get into that.”

St. Louis Blues captain Ryan O’Reilly (NHL Images)

O’Reilly was referring to his contract negotiations. He’s slated to become an unrestricted free agent on July 1 and is earning an average annual value of $7.5 million on his current contract. He also lacks no-trade protection. O’Reilly is currently sidelined with a broken foot until mid-February.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: TSN’s Darren Dreger reported on Tuesday night that O’Reilly was “officially in play” in the trade market. General manager Doug Armstrong could be gauging the market on the 2019 Conn Smythe Trophy winner in case discussions fail to produce a new contract by the trade deadline.

It’s believed the Blues would prefer to retain their captain but he’ll have to accept a short-term contract with a lower salary cap hit.

O’Reilly will draw interest in the trade market. Boston Hockey Now’s Jimmy Murphy believes Bruins GM Don Sweeney should give the Blues a call but cautions against pursuing him if the asking price is similar to what the Vancouver Canucks seek for Bo Horvat. Speaking of Horvat…

LATEST CANUCKS SPECULATION

TORONTO STAR: Nick Kypreos is hearing that the Dallas Stars and New Jersey Devils are among the teams that could aggressively pursue Canucks captain Bo Horvat. He said both clubs want an extended playoff run this spring and seem willing to pay for it.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Horvat’s also been linked to the Carolina Hurricanes, Colorado Avalanche, Detroit Red Wings, Minnesota Wild and Seattle Kraken in recent trade conjecture.

Teams will be interested in him as a rental player but I think they’ll pay larger returns if they can sign him to a contract extension. So far, the Canucks reportedly haven’t allowed his agent to speak with other clubs yet.

CHEK TV’s Rick Dhaliwal reports agent Dan Milstein said contract discussions have started with the Canucks regarding his client Andrei Kuzmenko. His camp’s preference is for a short-term “bridge deal.”

THE PROVINCE: Ben Kuzma reports Kuzmenko’s representatives seek a two-year contract worth an average annual value of between $5 million and $6 million.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kuzmenko is an unrestricted free agent on July 1. He’s steadily improved this season as he adjusted to the NHL game, sitting second among Canucks scorers and 22 goals and third in points with 43 in 47 games.

Kuzma pointed out that the Canucks’ rabid fan base prefers management sell high on Kuzmenko at the trade deadline for a return that helps them rebuild instead of retooling. However, I think we’ll see him re-signed to a two-year deal worth $5.5 million per season, especially if they end up moving Bo Horvat at the trade deadline and Brock Boeser in the offseason.

ISLANDERS EYEING CHYCHRUN?

NYIHOCKEY.COM: Stefen Rosner cited Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman reporting someone told him the New York Islanders were looking around at Jakob Chychrun. He said they’d previously had an interest in the 24-year-old Arizona Coyotes defenseman. However, Friedman doesn’t think the Islanders should pay the Coyotes’ high asking price.

THE ATHLETIC: The Islanders are also on Shayna Goldman’s list of potential trade destinations for Chychrun. She noted the Isles need offense and he can provide it from the blueline. However, their more pressing need is for a high-end winger.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Going after Chychrun would be a desperate move by Isles GM Lou Lamoriello at this stage in the season with his club sliding out of playoff contention. He spent last summer trying in vain to land a scoring forward and I believe that’s where his priority lies this summer.

NO TRUTH TO “MANTHA-TO-MONTREAL” RUMORS

WASHINGTON HOCKEY NOW: Sammi Silber reported Anthony Mantha’s recent scratching from the Capitals’ lineup sparked trade rumors about the 28-year-old forward. One of them had the Montreal Canadiens shipping defenseman Joel Edmundson to the Capitals for Mantha. However, a source told Silber that there haven’t been any trade discussions involving Mantha between those two clubs.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The oft-injured Mantha’s had a frustrating season in Washington. He’s been healthy but managed just nine goals and 24 points in 46 games.

Mantha is a native of Longueuil, a suburb of Montreal, which might explain why this rumor popped up linking him to the Canadiens. I don’t see him as a fit with the rebuilding Habs.