NHL Rumor Mill – March 17, 2023

NHL Rumor Mill – March 17, 2023

A look at some of this summer’s notable restricted free agents in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.

SPORTSNET: Luke Fox recently examined where things stand for this summer’s noteworthy NHL restricted free agents. Here’s a look at some of the more interesting cases:

Pierre-Luc Dubois, Winnipeg Jets: Fox noted the “grand suspicion” that the 25-year-old Winnipeg Jets center is biding his time until his eligibility next summer for unrestricted free agent status when it’s believed he’ll sign with the Montreal Canadiens.

Winnipeg Jets center Pierre-Luc Dubois (NHL Images).

Fox felt Dubois’ future in Winnipeg would’ve been the subject of more speculation by the trade deadline had the Jets not been enjoying a bounce-back performance this season. Head coach Rick Bowness recently praised Dubois’ performance while expressing the hope that he’ll sign a long-term extension this summer with the Jets.

Dubois’ kept quiet on the matter. Fox believes he could get an average annual salary of $9 million on a long-term pact.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Dubois trade rumors died down after he signed his current one-year, $6 million deal last summer. However, the speculation never fully went away.

Given his strong performance this season, you can bet those rumors will ramp up again in the offseason unless he puts pen to paper and signs a lengthy extension with the Jets.

Timo Meier, New Jersey Devils: It’ll cost the Devils $10 million to qualify the 26-year-old winger’s right unless the two sides agree to a new contract before June 30. Fox indicates that Devils general manager Tom Fitzgerald is making a long-term extension for Meier a priority, pointing out that the Devils have sufficient cap space next season to extend him.

Jesper Bratt, New Jersey Devils: Fox also observed that the 24-year-old winger is about to make the Devils pay after agreeing to a one-year, $5.45 million contract last summer. Like Dubois and Meier, he’s a year away from UFA eligibility. After tallying a career-high 73 points in 2021-22, he had 60 points in 68 games this season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Cap Friendly shows the Devils have $35.6 million in cap space for 2023-24 with 11 players under contract. There’s enough to re-sign Meier and Bratt though it could eat up over $18 million combined. Fitzgerald must also decide if he’s willing to pay Meier and Bratt each more than Jack Hughes’ $8 million AAV. If he’s not, things could get very interesting in New Jersey this summer.

Alex DeBrincat, Ottawa Senators: Fox believes the 26-year-old winger holds all the leverage in contract negotiations with the Senators this summer. His AAV is $6.4 million but in actual salary, he’s earned $9 million this season. He’s also a year away from UFA eligibility. Contract talks will begin following the season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Fox also noted that Senators GM Pierre Dorion is happy with DeBrincat’s performance this season. Nevertheless, the winger’s name surfaced occasionally in the rumor mill.

Considering the high price that Dorion paid to pry DeBrincat away from the Chicago Blackhawks last summer, a long-term extension worth around $9 million annually seems likely.

Others on Fox’s list included Montreal’s Cole Caufield, Anaheim’s Troy Terry and Trevor Zegras, Seattle’s Vince Dunn, the New York Rangers’ K’Andre Miller and Filip Chytil, Edmonton’s Evan Bouchard and Toronto’s Ilya Samsonov.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Those players rarely (if ever) appear regularly in media trade chatter during this season. There’s a chance that contract negotiation for some of them could become more contentious than expected. Nevertheless, I expect those in this group will all be re-signed by their current clubs before training camps open in September.

NHL Rumor Mill – March 14, 2023

NHL Rumor Mill – March 14, 2023

A look at Timo Meier’s contract situation with the Devils, Patrick Kane’s future with the Rangers plus ongoing rumors linking Pierre-Luc Dubois to the Canadiens in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.


NORTHSTAR BETS: TSN’s Chris Johnston recently pondered how the New Jersey Devils will navigate Timo Meier’s contract situation. The recently-acquired winger is a restricted free agent who’s a year away from unrestricted free-agent eligibility. It will cost the Devils $10 million to qualify his rights.

New Jersey Devils winger Timo Meier (NHL Images).

Given the big return the Devils gave up to the San Jose Sharks to acquire Meier, the Devils prefer to re-sign the 26-year-old winger rather than give him that $10 million QO and risk letting him depart next summer as a UFA. Johnston indicated that it’s believed there were some preliminary ideas exchanged between Devils management and Meier’s camp but no serious discussions yet.

Johnston believes it’ll take an eight-year deal worth $9 million annually for the Devils to retain Meier beyond next season. He thinks they’ll face a tough decision in re-signing a player under no pressure to take any discounts or potentially package him to another club.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: There’s a belief that Devils general manager Tom Fitzgerald doesn’t want his forwards earning more than Jack Hughes’ $8 million annually. However, I believe Johnston’s right that it’ll cost around $9 million per season to re-sign Meier. If Fitzgerald isn’t willing to do that, he’ll have to peddle the former Sharks winger, especially if he’s unwilling to qualify Meier’s rights for next season.


Johnston also wondered if Patrick Kane would consider re-signing with the New York Rangers if things go well with them over the remainder of this season. It’ll depend on whether the salary cap and lifestyle and contract needs align.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I don’t rule it out but I don’t see it happening. Cap Friendly shows the Rangers with $16.8 million in projected salary-cap space for 2023-24 and 13 roster players under contract.

Restricted free agents K’Andre Miller, Alexis Lafreniere and Filip Chytil will be seeking raises that will eat up a considerable chunk of that cap space even if the Rangers can squeeze them to accept affordable short-term deals. Miller is a second-pairing defenseman with 31 points this season. Chytil and Lafreniere should both reach 40 points this season.

By my reckoning, the Rangers will be fortunate to get those three re-signed for under $10 million. That’s not taking into account their need to re-sign or replace pending UFA backup goal Jaroslav Halak, which will take up more valuable cap room.

Kane would have to accept a significant pay cut to stay in New York. Even then, the Rangers might face shedding some salary to make the dollars fit. That’s why I expect he’s a playoff rental who’ll be heading into free agency on July 1.


SPORTSNET: During the March 9 episode of The Jeff Marek Show, the host and Elliotte Friedman were discussing what it might mean for the Winnipeg Jets if they missed the playoffs this season.

Friedman mentioned that he believed the Jets and Montreal Canadiens occasionally talked about Pierre-Luc Dubois during this season. The 24-year-old center remains with the Jets but Friedman speculated that was something that could be discussed during the offseason.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Dubois’ agent raised eyebrows last offseason when he mentioned that his client might one day be interested in joining the Canadiens. The center downplayed those remarks during the press conference announcing his new one-year, $6 million contract, claiming he never sought a trade to Montreal or anywhere else.

Nevertheless, questions about Dubois’ future in Winnipeg have never really gone away. Like Meier, he’s a restricted free agent who is a year away from UFA eligibility this summer.

The Jets would love to sign Dubois to a long-term extension, especially with Mark Scheifele and Blake Wheeler slated for UFA eligibility next summer. If he prefers a one-year deal taking him up to UFA status, GM Kevin Cheveldayoff could have no choice but to trade him this summer.

Whether Dubois winds up with the rebuilding Canadiens remains to be seen. They’ve got the draft capital with the Panthers’ first-round pick plus considerable depth in promising youngsters on their roster and within their system to make a competitive pitch to the Jets.

The Canadiens will have around $10.5 million in projected cap space for 2023-24 with 17 roster players under contract. However, they’ll also get $10.5 million in wiggle room if necessary should Carey Price remain on long-term injury reserve as expected. They could afford to add a new contract for Dubois and still have enough to re-sign Cole Caufield to a lucrative new deal.

Whether the rebuilding Canadiens are interested in trading for Dubois remains to be seen. Assuming they are interested in him, they could wait until next summer when he becomes a UFA instead of parting with draft picks and players to get him this summer.

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 9, 2023

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 9, 2023

Wild extend points streak by downing the Jets, Tony DeAngelo receives a two-game suspension, an update on the sale of the Senators and Hall-of-Famer Henri Richard suffered from CTE. Details and much more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.


NHL.COM: The Minnesota Wild extended their points streak to 11 games (9-0-2) by doubling up the Winnipeg Jets 4-2. Marc-Andre Fleury made 46 saves and Marcus Foligno had a goal and an assist as the Wild (37-21-7) held second place in the Central Division with 81 points. Nino Niederreiter and Logan Stanley replied for the Jets (36-26-3) as they’ve won only twice in their last 10 games and sit in the final Western Conference wild-card berth with 75 points.

Minnesota Wild goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It was a costly win for the Wild as Kirill Kaprizov left the game midway through the third period after Stanley fell on him. There was no postgame update on his condition. Speaking of the Wild, forward Ryan Hartman was fined $4,594.59 for slashing Calgary Flames defenseman Rasmus Andersson on Tuesday.

The Jets, meanwhile, played without center Pierre-Luc Dubois due to an upper-body injury. It’s hoped he’ll rejoin the club at some point during its three-game road trip.

Vancouver Canucks center J.T. Miller scored twice, including the winner in overtime, in a 3-2 victory over the Anaheim Ducks. Elias Pettersson collected two assists as the Canucks improved to 27-32-5 on the season. Lukas Dostal made 31 saves for the Ducks as they dropped to 21-35-9.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Speaking of the Canucks, they recently re-signed defenseman Guillaume Brisebois to a two-year contract extension.

The Detroit Red Wings snapped a six-game losing skid by nipping the Chicago Blackhawks 4-3. Lucas Raymond and Dominik Kubalik tallied third-period goals as the Wings (29-26-9) rallied for the win. Taylor Raddysh tallied twice for the 22-37-5 Blackhawks.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Red Wings forward Robby Fabbri left the game in the first period following an inadvertent knee-on-knee collision with Blackhawks forward Tyler Johnson. No word postgame regarding his condition.


NHL.COM: Philadelphia Flyers defenseman Tony DeAngelo received a two-game suspension for spearing Tampa Bay Lightning winger Corey Perry on Tuesday.

San Jose Sharks head coach David Quinn was fined $25,000.00 for comments that demeaned officials resulting in a game misconduct last Saturday.

OTTAWA SUN: Sources reveal the league received at least three bids for the Senators and possibly a fourth. There could be more as league commissioner Gary Bettman recently said as many as 15 groups were given permission to examine the franchise’s finances.

The Remington Group (a Toronto-based real estate development corporation), billionaire Michael Andlauer (part-owner of the Montreal Canadiens and sole owner of the OHL’s Hamilton Bulldogs), and the Kimel Family (one of Southern Ontario’s biggest real-estate developers) are believed to have made bids for the franchise.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Whoever wins the bidding and purchases the Senators do so with the understanding that the franchise will not be relocated to another city. The club is currently working on a plan that would bring about the construction of a new arena close to downtown Ottawa.

Speaking of the Senators, goaltender Cam Talbot has been sidelined for three weeks with a “mid-body injury.”

LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL: Golden Knights goaltender Adin Hill missed practice yesterday with a lower-body injury.

NHL.COM: The Carolina Hurricanes have recalled goaltender Pyotr Kochetkov on an emergency basis after backup Antti Raanta left Tuesday’s game against the Montreal Canadiens with an injury.

DAILY FACEOFF: NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly denied the league has any plans afoot to expand to 34 teams. His comments come following cryptic tweets by ESPN’s John Buccigross and Kevin Weekes last week showing images of Houston and Atlanta.

Expansion isn’t our priority right now,” wrote Daly. However, he didn’t rule out the league listening to groups who have interest, including Atlanta and Houston.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I wouldn’t rule out further NHL expansion but I have my doubts they can make it work in Atlanta again. They tried it twice and both times the franchises struggled to draw fans.

TVA SPORTS: A study of the brain of the late Hall-of-Famer Henri Richard revealed he suffered from chronic traumatic encephalopathy. Richard died in 2020 after suffering from cognitive impairment during the last years of his life. The condition is caused by blows to the head.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: NHL commissioner Gary Bettman has repeatedly rejected the link regarding blows to the head and CTE. This report will likely do little to change his mind.

NHL Rumor Mill – February 7, 2023

NHL Rumor Mill – February 7, 2023

What’s the latest on Patrick Kane? Could the Bruins acquire Timo Meier? Will the Canadiens move Josh Anderson? Could the Penguins use their first-round pick as a trade chip? Find out in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.


CHICAGO SUN-TIMES: Ben Pope reports the Blackhawks and Patrick Kane are preparing for all possible trade scenarios with the trade deadline less than a month away.

Chicago Blackhawks winger Patrick Kane (NHL Images).

Kane is aware that several teams have reached out to his agent to express interest in acquiring him. He admitted there are “definitely possibilities out there that are intriguing and could be exciting.” However, he has not yet decided if he’ll waive his no-movement clause.

Some contenders are believed to be concerned over Kane’s lower-body injury. However, the 34-year-old winger dismissed those worries. Meanwhile, Blackhawks management is preparing for “every potential scenario, large to small,” said team CEO Danny Wirtz.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It appears both sides are approaching this situation cautiously. Kane and Jonathan Toews are expected to meet with Blackhawks general manager Kyle Davidson in mid-Feburary to discuss their respective futures.

Both players could waive their respective NMCs. Perhaps only one of them will do so. Both of them could decide to finish the season in Chicago and explore their options in this summer’s free-agent market.

Teams with an interest in Kane will want assurances that his lower-body injury won’t impede his performance over the remainder of the season. It could also affect whatever return the Blackhawks receive if they find a suitable trade destination for him.


BOSTON HOCKEY NOW: Joe Haggerty believes there’s only one scenario where the Bruins acquire San Jose Sharks winger Timo Meier and that’s if winger David Pastrnak decides to test this summer’s free-agent market.

Meier, 26, is a restricted free agent with arbitration rights who’s 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 would cost to qualify his rights by June 30 unless he and his team agree to a new contract before then.

Acquiring Meier would also mean clearing some salary to make room for him in the current lineup. Haggerty believes that would mean moving out a forward like Charlie Coyle or Jake DeBrusk, or a defenseman such as Brandon Carlo or Matt Grzelcyk.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: As Haggerty pointed out, it seems unlikely that Pastrnak will be going to market based on his comments during the All-Star weekend over his contract situation. He anticipates the Bruins superstar will be staying in Boston on an eight-year, $88 million extension.


SPORTSNET: In a recent mailbag segment, Eric Engels was asked if there was any truth to a recent report that the Montreal Canadiens don’t want to trade winger Josh Anderson. He believes the more accurate portrayal of how general manager Ken Hughes feels about trading or not trading Anderson would be to say that he’s not actively shopping the winger.

Engels doesn’t see Anderson as an untouchable. He believes Hughes would move the winger for the right price, such as a package offer of a 2023 first-round pick, a good prospect and a roster player on an expiring contract. The acquiring club would also have to take on Anderson’s full $5.5 million cap hit.

He also raised the possibility that Hughes could see Anderson as a potential bargaining chip if there was a possibility of acquiring center Pierre-Luc Dubois this summer if he’s unwilling to sign a long-term deal with the Winnipeg Jets.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I believe the report being referred to here was TSN’s Darren Dreger last week saying Anderson wasn’t in play despite the Canadiens getting calls from other clubs. Dreger said the same thing as Engels: Hughes isn’t shopping him but could move him if he gets an offer too good to refuse.

Some of you might wonder why Engels believes the Canadiens would want an NHL player on an expiring contract in the deal. I think it would be to try and flip that player to another club at the deadline for another asset.

As for using Anderson to acquire Dubois, I concur with Engels that the winger on his own wouldn’t be enough to land the Jets center. They’ll have to add a first-round pick and a top prospect into the mix.

As Engels also pointed out, if the Canadiens really want Dubois and he wants to join the Habs, they only need to wait until the summer of 2024 when he becomes a UFA. Signing him will be expensive but they won’t have to part with any other assets to get him.


PITTSBURGH HOCKEY NOW: Dan Kingerski reports Penguins GM Ron Hextall will not trade his 2023 first-round pick to move out some salary or in a straight-up deal. He said conversations have picked up in the trade market but he has not been asked for his first-rounder.

With limited salary-cap space, Hextall is in the market to improve his third forward line. Kingerski speculates he could be seeking a third-line center.

NHL Rumor Mill – January 24, 2023

NHL Rumor Mill – January 24, 2023

More speculation linking the Jets’ Pierre-Luc Dubois to the Canadiens, the Canucks haven’t given up on re-signing Bo Horvat, plus the latest on Vladimir Tarasenko and David Pastrnak in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.


SPORTSNET: During a Jan. 17 appearance on “Tim and Friends”, NHL insider Nick Kypreos expressed his belief that Pierre-Luc Dubois doesn’t have a long-term future with the Winnipeg Jets.

The 24-year-old center is slated to become a restricted free agent on July 1 with arbitration rights and will also be a year away from unrestricted free agent eligibility. He was repeatedly linked last summer to the Montreal Canadiens before signing a one-year, $6 million deal with the Jets.

Kypreos didn’t rule out the possibility of Dubois joining the Canadiens this summer. “He is not staying in Winnipeg long term,” said Kypreos. “There is nothing that can change his mind from what I’m hearing”.

Winnipeg Jets center Pierre-Luc Dubois (NHL Images).

According to Kypreos, the Jets’ surprisingly strong performance this season is the only reason Dubois isn’t on insiders lists of candidates to be moved at the trade deadline. He doesn’t believe there’s anything that could change Dubois’ mind even if the Jets were to win the Stanley Cup this season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Dubois’ agent raised eyebrows last summer saying his client wouldn’t mind playing for the Canadiens one day. The center downplayed the rumors tying him to the Canadiens last summer and did so again last week when the Jets played the Habs in Montreal.

Winnipeg coach Rick Bowness recently sang Dubois’ praises, adding he’d do everything he could to convince him to sign a long-term contract. There’s no indication thus far that Jets management has engaged in contract extension talks with the Dubois camp.

The Canadiens, of course, haven’t mentioned any interest in Dubois because they’d run afoul of the league’s anti-tampering rules. His addition would accelerate the Habs’ rebuild but they could be leery of investing in a big-ticket player at this early stage of the process. If there were interested, they could balk at the cost of trading for him and then inking him to an expensive new contract.

It’s clear the “Dubois to the Canadiens” speculation isn’t going away as long as uncertainty remains about his future in Winnipeg.


CHEK-TV’s Rick Dhaliwal of the “Donnie and Dhali” show reports it is believed the Vancouver Canucks are still looking at ways to keep Bo Horvat “as tough as that may be”.

Horvat is eligible for unrestricted free-agent status on July 1. The 27-year-old center has become a fixture in the rumor mill since rejecting a contract offer from the Canucks weeks ago.

Dhaliwal said they want to see how things work between Horvat and new head coach Rick Tocchet. They can only sign Horvat or Andrei Kuzmenko but not both and so far no offer has been made to Kuzmenko.

Can they send one final offer Horvat’s way?” asked Dhaliwal, who nodded and said the two sides did talk over the weekend. He firmly believes the Canucks won’t give the Horvat camp permission to talk with other teams as they don’t want to lose leverage in negotiations.

Dhaliwal suggested keeping an eye on Brandon Carlo if the Boston Bruins came calling about Horvat. “Right-shot D, 25 years old, that’s who I would ask for. Brandon Carlo,” he said.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Dhaliwal stressed there is no confirmation the Bruins have an interest in Horvat. The Canucks need blueline depth but Carlo’s injury history should be a concern.

Media consensus believes Horvat’s a goner. As always, however, it’s worth remembering that this season was supposed to be J.T. Miller’s last with the Canucks before he was signed to a long-term contract extension.


THE ATHLETIC: Jeremy Rutherford believes trade-deadline talk involving the St. Louis Blues should pick up once Vladimir Tarasenko returns from a hand injury later this month. The 31-year-old winger is slated to become a UFA on July 1.

Rutherford believes Tarasenko’s return will become a showcase of whether he can prove he’s healthy and can help playoff contenders. He has a full no-trade clause so it remains to be seen if he’ll waive it to go to a contender or ride out the season in St. Louis and hit the open market in July.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Rutherford wondered if the Carolina Hurricanes would be interested in Tarasenko after losing Max Pacioretty to injury for the rest of the season. They have nearly identical average annual values with Pacioretty earning $7 million and Tarasenko $7.5 million.

BOSTON HOCKEY NOW: Jimmy Murphy cited Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman claiming the Boston Bruins and winger David Pastrnak are getting closer to a contract extension. He believes the two sides are meeting almost every day.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Bruins aren’t going to let Pastrnak hit the open market in July. He’s going to stay in Boston on an eight-year contract. It’s just a question of how much the average annual value breaks down.

Pastrnak is a former Richard Trophy winner who is jockeying with Edmonton’s Connor McDavid for the goal-scoring crown this season. He sits fifth in total goals (251) since 2016-17. I expect he’ll get around $12 million annually. That’s the going rate for goal scorers of his caliber.

NHL Rumor Mill – January 18, 2023

NHL Rumor Mill – January 18, 2023

The Hurricanes are linked to Bo Horvat and the Bruins to Luke Schenn, more speculation about the Jets’ Pierre-Luc Dubois joining the Canadiens plus the latest on the Blue Jackets, Wild and Sabres in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.


TSN: Pierre LeBrun reports the Vancouver Canucks have been in contact with pretty much every contender regarding their captain Bo Horvat. One of those clubs is the Carolina Hurricanes.

The Canucks are said to be seeking a young center as part of a multi-asset return for Horvat. That’s too steep for Carolina at this point, who won’t part with Martin Necas. LeBrun pointed out that the Hurricanes usually don’t spend high on rental players.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Hurricanes need a reliable second-line center if they hope to win the Stanley Cup this season. They have other options to choose from to address that need if the Canucks’ asking price for Horvat remains high. Chicago’s Jonathan Toews, St. Louis’ Ryan O’Reilly, and Montreal’s Sean Monahan could also be available.

NBC SPORTS BOSTON: Nick Goss cited LeBrun’s recent column in The Athletic reporting the Bruins have called the Canucks to inquire about Luke Schenn. Like Horvat, the 33-year-old defenseman is slated to become an unrestricted free agent in July.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: LeBrun suggested the Bruins’ interest in Schenn may be exploratory at this point. He carries an affordable $850K cap hit and has considerable playoff experience as a shutdown blueliner, which would make him enticing for a cap-strapped club like the Bruins.


SPORTSNET: Eric Engels wondered if Winnipeg Jets center Pierre-Luc Dubois’ next game in Montreal following Tuesday’s game will be with the Canadiens. The 25-year-old center is a restricted free agent this summer. Engels suggests the possibility of him suiting up with the Habs remains a possibility as long as he remains noncommittal about a long-term deal with the Jets.

Winnipeg Jets center Pierre-Luc Dubois (NHL Images).

The Canadiens attempted to acquire Dubois from Columbus before he was shipped to Winnipeg in 2021. Last summer, his agent created waves when he mentioned that Montreal was a city his client might like to play in one day.

On Monday, Dubois told the Montreal media he was relaunching his takeover of Vincent Lecavalier’s charity to help underprivileged children in Rimouski, where the Jets forward grew up. He indicated that playing for the Canadiens one day wasn’t what he was thinking about when he started this philanthropic effort.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Dubois once again downplayed the notion of joining the Canadiens. Meanwhile, Jets coach Rick Bowness sang his praises and said he’d do all he could to convince the center to stay in Winnipeg.

The Jets hoped to sign Dubois last summer to a long-term deal but he preferred a one-year extension. If he opts for a similar deal this summer, they could put him on the trade block as he’ll be a year away from UFA eligibility. Whether the rebuilding Canadiens would meet the expensive asking price to acquire him from the Jets is another matter.


THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH: Brian Hedger recently reported that Blue Jackets general manager Jarmo Kekalainen could receive plenty of phone calls leading up to the March 3 trade deadline.

The Jackets have three potential rental players to offer up in pending UFAs like Vladislav Gavrikov, winger Gustav Nyquist and goaltender Joonas Korpisalo. Hedger also speculated that other clubs could target players such as Patrik Laine and Jack Roslovic.

TSN: LeBrun reported the Blue Jackets will seek more than a first-round pick for Vladislav Gavrikov. He pointed out that they got a first- and a third-rounder for David Savard at the 2021 trade deadline. LeBrun also indicated the Blue Jackets still hope to re-sign Gavrikov.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Teams can ask about Laine but I don’t see the Jackets moving him. Roslovic, however, is another story. He’s had a disappointing performance this season and has a year remaining on his contract with a $4 million cap hit. Perhaps they’d consider shipping him elsewhere for the right offer.


THE ATHLETIC: Joe Smith reports the Minnesota Wild’s re-signing Matt Boldy to a seven-year, $49 million contract extension leaves them with just $9 million remaining of their $83 million salary-cap payroll for 2023-24. Goaltender Filip Gustavsson, defenseman Calen Addison and center Sam Steel are among their notable restricted free agents while their noteworthy UFAs include Matt Dumba and Frederick Gaudreau.

According to Smith, Dumba is playing his final season with the Wild. He also suggested winger Jordan Greenway could become a cost-cutting casualty if the club decides to shed some salary to re-sign other players for next season. Smith wondered if Addison might price himself out of Minnesota.

For this season, the Wild have the cap space to make additions at the trade deadline. GM Bill Guerin said how aggressive he’ll be in the trade market will depend on the club’s performance.

Smith claims Arizona Coyotes defenseman Jakob Chychrun and Vancouver Canucks center Bo Horvat aren’t on the Wild’s radar. However, he wouldn’t be surprised if Guerin kicked tires on Chicago’s Jonathan Toews or Patrick Kane.

PITTSBURGH HOCKEY NOW: Dan Kingerski reports a source informed him that the Penguins have had trade discussions with the Wild. The focus of those talks wasn’t readily available.

Kingerski suggested the Wild could help the Penguins free up some salary-cap room. Given the Pens’ depth in right-side defensemen, he doesn’t see them being interested in Dumba. The Wild could use some help at center plus they need left-side defensemen that can provide mobility and offense.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Wild have a projected $16.5 million in trade deadline cap space. I expect Guerin will be a buyer if his club is still in the thick of the playoff race.

With that much cap room heading toward March 3, it will be his best opportunity to add one or two rental players to bolster his club’s Stanley Cup hopes. It also wouldn’t surprise me if he tried to move a depth player under contract for next season to provide himself with some much-needed cap room for 2023-24.


THE ATHLETIC: Matthew Fairburn reports the Buffalo Sabres have been calling around trying to move winger Vinnie Hinostroza. He’s been scratched in 19 of the last 21 games. The Sabres are hoping to move him and his $1.7 million salary to free up a roster spot.