NHL Rumor Mill – January 26, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – January 26, 2022

Which clubs are in or out on Jakob Chychrun? What’s the latest on Claude Giroux and Marc-Andre Fleury? How’s the Oilers goalie hunt going? Check out the latest in today’s NHL rumor mill.

LATEST CHYCHRUN SPECULATION

SPORTSNET: In his latest “32 Thoughts” column, Elliotte Friedman reports several teams are “going hard” at attempting to acquire Arizona Coyotes defenseman Jakob Chychrun. He believes the Florida Panthers are among them but doubts they’ll part with Anton Lundell. Other suitors could include the Columbus Blue Jackets, Anaheim Ducks, Boston Bruins, Carolina Hurricanes and Colorado Avalanche, while the New York Rangers and Los Angeles Kings are out for now.

TSN: Darren Dreger believes the Toronto Maple Leafs are among the clubs who’ve “kicked tires” on Chychrun but it could take creativity on general manager Kyle Dubas’ part to fit him within their tight payroll. He also cites sources saying the Kings, Panthers, Bruins, Ducks, and St. Louis Blues are among the clubs with a strong interest in the Coyotes blueliner.

Arizona Coyotes defenseman Jakob Chychrun (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: According to Friedman’s colleague Jeff Marek, only one team has pitched an offer that would meet the Coyotes’ rumored asking price of a good young NHL player, a top prospect and a first-round pick. If it was sufficient the Coyotes would’ve moved Chychrun by now. I suspect GM Bill Armstrong will use that offer as leverage to land a better return from another team. With Chychrun carrying three more years on his contract, Armstrong has the luxury of time here.

The Columbus Dispatch’s Brian Hedger is skeptical of rumors linking the Blue Jackets to Chychrun. He believes trading either of the first-round picks they’ll have in this year’s draft would take away a valuable asset that could be used to address their more pressing need for impact centers. Hedger also noted there’s no certainty Chychrun would stay with the Jackets once his current contract expires and raised concern about the rearguard’s history of knee injuries.

RUMOR TIDBITS FROM FRIEDMAN’S LATEST “32 THOUGHTS”.

SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman expects Claude Giroux to meet with his agent Pat Brisson to discuss his future during the All-Star weekend. Friedman believes there are Colorado Avalanche players who’d love to have him as a teammate but it could take getting a third team involved to make it work.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Giroux carries a full no-movement but could waive it to join a Stanley Cup contender like the Avalanche. However, he also carries an $8.275 million cap hit for this season with over $3.8 million remaining to be paid out. The Avs, meanwhile, are pressed for cap space which will make landing him a complicated endeavor.

The Washington Capitals are believed to be looking into acquiring Chicago Blackhawks goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Capitals have just over $2 million in projected trade deadline cap space. Fleury’s cap hit for this season is $7 million with $3.255 million currently remaining to be paid out. They’ll have to free up some room to make this work, assuming they’re not on Fleury’s 10-team no-trade list.

The Edmonton Oilers were willing to part with a late-round draft pick for Martin Jones but the Philadelphia Flyers wanted more for the 32-year-old goaltender. They’ve also looked at the New York Rangers’ Alexandar Georgiev, the Dallas Stars’ Braden Holtby and Anton Khudobin, St. Louis Blues’ Ville Husso, Columbus Blue Jackets Joonas Korpisalo, Washington Capitals Vitek Vanecek and New York Islanders’ Semyon Varlamov.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I don’t see the Rangers moving Georgiev after he did a fine job filling in for the sidelined Igor Shesterkin earlier this season. Ditto the Blues with Husso after he spelled off Jordan Binnington when he missed seven games to COVID-19 earlier this month

The Stars prefer moving Khudobin while the Oilers could be on Varlamov’s 16-team no-trade list. Vanecek won’t be available unless the Capitals acquire an upgrade while Jones and Korpisalo probably aren’t much of an upgrade over the Oilers’ tandem of Mikko Koskinen and Stuart Skinner.

In short, the Oilers appear screwed in their efforts to land a goaltending upgrade.

Friedman wondered if the Toronto Maple Leafs might attempt to acquire Ben Chiarot based on their previous interest in the defenseman before he signed with the Montreal Canadiens. The Calgary Flames, Florida Panthers and St. Louis Blues are among the clubs looking at him.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: TSN’s Chris Johnston reported the Leafs would prefer landing players with a little more term on their contracts. That shouldn’t rule them out of pursuing a UFA like Chiarot but it sounds like Dubas could be reluctant this season to part with assets for rentals after getting burned in last year’s Nick Foligno deal.

The Coyotes intend to retain Lawson Crouse…Friedman wonders if Detroit Red Wings forward Filip Zadina could use a change of scenery.

UPDATE ON THE SENATORS

TSN: Pierre LeBrun reports Ottawa Senators general manager Pierre Dorion scouted the Minnesota Wild during their recent game against the Canadiens and spoke briefly with Wild GM Bill Guerin. LeBrun doubts there’s anything imminent but pointed out the Wild were among the teams discussed during the Senators’ pro scouting meetings as one of the NHL clubs pressed for salary-cap space.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 25, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 25, 2022

Keith Yandle ties the league’s Ironman record, Chris Kreider takes the lead in the goal-scoring race, the Avalanche takes over first overall in the standings, the Canucks hire their first female assistant GM, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: Philadelphia Flyers defenseman Keith Yandle tied the NHL’s Ironman record of 964 consecutive games but his club also tied a franchise record with its 12th straight defeat in a 3-1 loss to the Dallas Stars. Roope Hintz had a goal and an assist and Jake Oettinger made 27 saves as the Stars won their third straight game to sit tied with the Calgary Flames with 44 points.

Philadelphia Flyers defeneman Keith Yandle (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Congratulations to Yandle, who can break the record tonight against the New York Islanders. It’s the sole bright spot for the Flyers of late, who hold the fourth-worst record (13-21-8, 34 points) in the Eastern Conference.

Speaking of the Flames, they’ve taken over the final wild-card spot in the Western Conference by thumping the St. Louis Blues 7-1. Matthew Tkachuk collected a career-high five assists while Johnny Gaudreau had a goal and three helpers for Calgary, who hold two games in hand over the Stars and five games over the San Jose Sharks, who also have 44 points.

New York Rangers winger Chris Kreider scored his league-leading 30th goal of the season as his club beat the Los Angeles Kings 3-2. Adam Fox tallied the winning goal in a shootout while teammate Artemi Panarin picked up two assists for the Rangers, who sit atop the Metropolitan Division with 60 points and are just one back of the Eastern Conference-leading Florida Panthers and Tampa Bay Lightning. The Kings, meanwhile, slip to third in the Pacific Division with 48 points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Rangers played without Kaapo Kakko as the 20-year-old winger is listed as week-to-week with an undisclosed upper-body injury. Filip Chytil also missed this game as he’s day-to-day with a lower-body injury.

The Colorado Avalanche extended its home winning streak to 16 games and its points streak to 13 by blanking the Chicago Blackhawks 2-0. Pavel Francouz turned in a 23-save shutout while Nazem Kadri and Mikko Rantanen were the goal scorers. With 61 points, the Avalanche sits atop the Western Conference and has taken over first place in the overall standings.

Ryan Getzlaf had a goal and an assist and Hampus Lindholm collected three assists as the Anaheim Ducks downed the Boston Bruins 5-3. With the win, the Ducks slipped ahead of the Kings into second place in the Pacific with 49 points. David Pastrnak had a goal and an assist for the Bruins, who hold the final Eastern Conference wild-card spot with 50 points. Bruins defenseman Matt Grzelcyk missed this game with an undisclosed injury and is considered day-to-day.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Bruins goalie Tuukka Rask did not look sharp in this game as he struggles to shake off the rust from his lengthy absence recovering from offseason hip surgery. He’s won two of his four starts but gave up five goals in each of his losses and has a 4.29 goals-against average and .844 save percentage after four games.

Robin Lehner made 34 saves and Michael Amadio scored the only goal as the Vegas Golden Knights shut out the Washington Capitals 1-0. It was the seventh straight road victory for Vegas, who remains atop the Pacific Division with 52 points. The Capitals hold the first wild-card berth in the East with 55 points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Lehner had a frightening moment in the second period when a slapshot by Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin broke the cage of his mask, forcing him to use the mask he wore last season as a backup. “It was probably the hardest shot I have ever taken to the head,” said Lehner. It was a little scary, as I felt the cage bend…”

The Minnesota Wild extended their points streak to seven games by crushing the Montreal Canadiens 8-2. Nico Sturm had a goal and two assists while Kirill Kaprizov, Mats Zuccarello, Jared Spurgeon and Kevin Fiala were among eight Wild to finish the night with two points. Canadiens center Christian Dvorak left the game after a high hit by Spurgeon in the first period and didn’t pass the concussion protocol.

HEADLINES

THE PROVINCE: The Vancouver Canucks made franchise history as Emilie Castonguay become the club’s first female assistant general manager. Castonguay had previously made history by becoming the first female NHLPA-certified player agent in 2016. She played NCAA Division 1 hockey in her youth and holds degrees in law and finance.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Congratulations to Castonguay, who was also under consideration for the role of general manager of the Montreal Canadiens before they hired player agent Kent Hughes last week.

NHL.COM: New York Rangers winger Chris Kreider, St. Louis Blues goaltender Ville Husso and San Jose Sharks winger Timo Meier were the NHL’s three stars for the week ending Jan 23, 2022.

TRIBLIVE.COM: Pittsburgh Penguins forward Teddy Blueger will be sidelined six-to-eight weeks following surgery to repair a fractured jaw.

DAILY FACEOFF: The International Ice Hockey Federation accidentally leaked Canada’s roster for the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics before Hockey Canada’s official reveal today. Former NHLers include Eric Staal, Jason Demers, David Desharnais and Mark Barbeiro. 2021 NHL first-overall pick Owen Power and third-overall pick Mason McTavish are also on the roster.










Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – January 23, 2022

Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – January 23, 2022

Check out the latest on Jakob Chychrun, Jake DeBrusk and Evander Kane plus an update on the Oilers’ search for a goaltender in the Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup.

LATEST ON CHYCHRUN AND DEBRUSK

SPORTSNET: Jeff Marek reports the Arizona Coyotes have received an offer of a young player, a prospect and a first-round pick for defenseman Jakob Chychrun. The package is said to be two former first-rounders plus a first-round pick. The Los Angeles Kings, Anaheim Ducks, Boston Bruins, Florida Panthers, New York Rangers and Columbus Blue Jackets are said to be among the suitors.

Arizona Coyotes defenseman Jakob Chychrun (NHL Images).

Marek believes the Panthers are the team to watch in this bidding for Chychrun. He also said the Rangers offered up a package that included winger Vitali Kravtsov.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Coyotes general manager Bill Armstrong could use that offer as leverage in hope of getting a better deal from one of the other clubs with an interest in Chychrun. With the 23-year-old blueliner under contract for three more seasons, Armstrong isn’t under pressure to move him before the March 21 trade deadline. He can wait until the offseason if he doesn’t get an offer to his liking.

I can see the Panthers being very interested in Chychrun. His youth and contract would make him a perfect fit on their blueline and in their long-term plans. Marek last week speculated the asking price could be goalie Spencer Knight, center Anton Lundell and a first-round pick. Some observers misconstrued his comments to mean that’s what the Coyotes have asked for but there’s no indication that’s the case. Nevertheless, the Panthers could be forced to give up quite a bit to pry Chychrun away from the Coyotes.

The Rangers are well-stocked with promising young players and can afford to part with a first-round pick. It makes sense for GM Chris Drury to include the unhappy Kravtsov given the winger’s preference for a trade led to his playing in Russia this season.

It would be interesting to know who is the other player in the Rangers’ offer. Alexis Lafreniere, Kaapo Kakko, Braden Schneider and K’Andre Miller are former first-rounders but I don’t think Drury is willing to part with any of them. Perhaps he would offer up Filip Chytil or Nils Lundkvist, though I can’t see the Coyotes agreeing to that.

Jeff Marek reports the Rangers have also inquired about Jake DeBrusk. The Boston Bruins winger requested a trade in late November.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Bruins GM Don Sweeney reportedly seeks a forward or defenseman of comparable value. I don’t think he’d be interested in Kravtsov and I doubt Drury offers up any of those young forwards I mentioned earlier except for maybe Chytil. It’ll be interesting to see if a deal can be made there.

UPDATE ON EVANDER KANE

SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman reports there still isn’t clarity if the NHL will add any penalty to Evander Kane over his alleged breaking of AHL COVID protocols during his tenure with the San Jose Sharks farm team. The Washington Capitals are believed to have considered whether to sign Kane, though there’s no indication any offer has been made to the embattled winger.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kane has also been linked to the Edmonton Oilers, Carolina Hurricanes and Florida Panthers. There was a rumor the Oilers already had him under contract and are awaiting the result of the league’s investigation before announcing it. That decision could come sometime next week.

OILERS’ GOALTENDER SEARCH CONTINUES

Friedman also said the Edmonton Oilers checked into the cost of acquiring a goaltender. Money will have to go out to make the dollars fit for the cap-strapped Oilers. He believes if the Oilers could’ve done something where they gave up a late-round pick they would’ve done it. However, they’re not keen to part with their first, second, or third-rounder in this year’s draft.

Rory Boylen recently published a list of possible goalie targets for the Oilers. They include the Chicago Blackhawks Marc-Andre Fleury, the Dallas Stars’ Braden Holtby or Anton Khudobin, the Seattle Kraken’s Chris Driedger, the Columbus Blue Jackets’ Joonas Korpisalo, and the New York Islanders’ Semyon Varlamov.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Oilers traded their third-rounder to the Chicago Blackhawks in the Duncan Keith trade. Cap Friendly indicates that pick would become a second-rounder if the Oilers reach the Stanley Cup Final and Keith is a top-four among the Oilers in ice time during the first three rounds of the playoffs. Those scenarios seem unlikely given the Oilers’ current position in the standings and their roster weaknesses.

As for Boylen’s list, Fleury and Varlamov’s respective cap hits and no-trade clauses make them unlikely to land in Edmonton by the trade deadline. The Stars prefer moving Khudobin over Holtby but the extra year and $3.33 million on the 35-year-old’s contract isn’t something the Oilers seem willing to take on.

Driedger and Korpisalo are younger with affordable cap hits but I don’t think they’re going to move the needle very much for the Oilers. Desperate times, however, call for desperate measures. The question is whether the Oilers can work out a suitable trade that fits within their tight cap payroll.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 22, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 22, 2022

Hurricanes defenseman Tony DeAngelo gets three points against his former club, Sidney Crosby enjoys a four-point performance and Hall-of-Famer Clark Gillies has passed away. Details and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: Carolina Hurricanes defenseman Tony DeAngelo scored and set up two others in a 6-3 victory over the New York Rangers. It was DeAngelo’s first game against his former club. Sebastian Aho also had a goal and two assists for the Hurricanes (56), who move ahead of the Rangers into first place in the Metropolitan Division with four games in hand. Mika Zibanejad and Chris Kreider each had a goal and an assist for the Blueshirts.

Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby (NHL Images).

Sidney Crosby tallied a hat trick and picked up an assist to lead the Pittsburgh Penguins over the Columbus Blue Jackets 5-2. Brian Dumoulin scored and picked up two assists for the Penguins, who’ve won four straight and 15 of their last 17 games. With 55 points, they’re one back of the Hurricanes and Rangers in the Metropolitan.

Shootout goals by Anton Lundell and Aleksander Barkov carried the Florida Panthers to a 2-1 victory over the Vancouver Canucks. Spencer Knight made 27 saves for the Panthers in regulation and overtime while Spencer Martin kicked out 33 shots for the Canucks in his first NHL game since Feb. 1, 2017. With the win, the Panthers (61 points) opened a two-point lead over the Tampa Bay Lightning for first place in the overall standings.

Speaking of the Lightning, they dropped a 5-1 decision to the Anaheim Ducks, who snapped a four-game losing skid. John Gibson turned aside 32 shots for the win while teammate Derek Grant tallied two goals. The Ducks (47 points) moved two points ahead of the Los Angeles Kings for second place in the Pacific Division.

St. Louis Blues goaltender Ville Husso stopped 27 shots to shut out the Seattle Kraken 5-0. Brandon Saad collected two assists for the Blues as they moved into second place in the Central Division with 53 points. Colton Parayko became the first defenseman in Blues history to score on a penalty shot.

The Minnesota Wild got two goals from Ryan Hartman in a 5-1 victory over the Chicago Blackhawks. Kaapo Kahkonen picked up the win with 35 saves while Blackhawks netminder Marc-Andre Fleury was pulled after giving up four goals on 13 shots. With 49 points, the Wild hold a five-point lead over the San Jose Sharks for the first wild-card spot in the Western Conference.

An overtime goal by Roope Hintz lifted the Dallas Stars over the Detroit Red Wings 5-4. Hintz, Jason Robertson and Esa Lindell each had a goal and an assist as the Stars (42 points) moved within two points of the Sharks for the final Western Conference wild-card berth.

Brock Nelson scored twice and Ilya Sorokin had a 17-save shutout as the New York Islanders blanked the Arizona Coyotes 4-0.

ISLANDERS GREAT CLARK GILLIES HAS PASSED AWAY

Former New York Islanders forward Clark Gillies (NHL.com).

The Islanders last night announced Hall-of-Famer Clark Gillies had passed away at age 67. No cause of death was revealed. One of the great power forwards in NHL history, Gillies spent 12 of his 14 seasons with the Islanders, helping them win four straight Stanley Cups from 1980 to 1983. He also spent three seasons as Isles captain from 1976-77 to 1978-79 and played his final two NHL seasons with the Buffalo Sabres before retiring in 1988.

A six-time 30-plus goal scorer, Gillies finished with 319 goals and 697 points in 958 regular-season games and 47 goals and 94 points in 164 playoff games. The Islanders retired Gillies’ No. 9 in 1996 and he was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2002.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Gillies was a core part of the Islanders dynasty who led by example and was beloved by teammates and fans. At 6’3” and 215 pounds, he was one of the largest players of his era. Affectionately nicknamed “Jethro” after the Beverly Hillbillies character, Gilles was also one of the toughest players of his era though he never had more than 100 penalty minutes in a season. My condolences to Gillies’ family, friends, former teammates and the Islanders organization.

IN OTHER NEWS…

THE PHILADEPHIA INQUIRER: Flyers forward Joel Farabee (upper body) was placed on injured reserve yesterday. He’s expected to be sidelined for four weeks.

TSN: Former Detroit Red Wings forward Justin Abdelkader signed a professional tryout contract with the Wings’ AHL affiliate in Grand Rapids. He spent last season playing for EV Zug in Switzerland.










NHL Rumor Mill – January 21, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – January 21, 2022

Could the Oilers target a Stars goalie? Will the Blackhawks shop Marc-Andre Fleury? How many teams could have an interest in Jakob Chychrun and John Klingberg? Could the Canucks shop J.T. Miller soon? Find out in today’s NHL rumor mill.

WILL THE OILERS GO SHOPPING FOR A GOALTENDER?

TSN: Pierre LeBrun reports the Edmonton Oilers are looking at all options around the NHL to address their goaltending issues. They’ve kicked tires on Columbus Blue Jackets netminder Joonas Korpisalo, who’s an unrestricted free agent this summer.

The Oilers also internally discussed the Dallas Stars’ Anton Khudobin but the extra year on this contract at $3.33 million makes him less appealing. Stars goalie Braden Holtby could be more interesting as he’s a UFA at the season’s end. However, the real question is whether any of these options are better than Mikko Koskinen for the Oilers.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: No. No, they’re not. That doesn’t mean the Oilers might not acquire one of them in the hope they’ll provide some sort of upgrade. Khudobin did carry the Stars to the 2020 Stanley Cup Final but really struggled this season and wound up demoted to the minors. Holtby’s play has improved this season but his best days remain well behind him. Korpisalo failed to seize the starter’s job after Sergei Bobrovsky left town which is why the Jackets signed Elvis Merzlikins to a five-year extension.

Darren Dreger noted Chicago Blackhawks netminder Marc-Andre Fleury has also come up in the rumor mill but he’s not a fit in Edmonton for salary-cap reasons. When asked about trade possibilities, Fleury said he’s not thinking about that now as he’s trying to help the Blackhawks reach the playoffs.

Dreger expects there will be contract extension talks between the two sides. He also points out there’s an agreement with the Hawks that Fleury isn’t going anywhere unless he asks for a trade.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Fleury might consider a trade if the Blackhawks fail to gain ground in the standings over the next six weeks. His $7 million cap hit and 10-team no-trade clause probably keep him away from Edmonton. Some have linked him to the Colorado Avalanche and Washington Capitals. There’s even talk of a reunion with the Pittsburgh Penguins despite Tristan Jarry’s solid play this season. Whether he ends up with one of those clubs or heads elsewhere remains to be determined.

Arizona Coyotes defenseman Jakob Chychrun (NHL Images).

THE LATEST ON CHYCHRUN AND KLINGBERG

SPORTSNET: Jeff Marek and Elliotte Friedman discussed potential landing spots for Arizona Coyotes defenseman Jakob Chychrun. They suggested the Anaheim Ducks, Boston Bruins, Calgary Flames, Columbus Blue Jackets, Los Angeles Kings, New York Islanders, New York Rangers and St. Louis Blues as possibilities.

Both of them felt the Florida Panthers could be in on Chychrun, citing management’s ongoing efforts to build up their blueline. They felt the Panthers need one more big piece on their defense corps. Marek believes the Coyotes would want Spencer Knight, Anton Lundell and a first-round pick in return but Friedman felt that’s the price to be paid if they’re going all-in this season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Panthers GM Bill Zito has to consider if it’s worthwhile giving up that much of his club’s future to pursue the Stanley Cup this season. Granted, this move wouldn’t be for a rental player. The 23-year-old Chychrun is under contract for three more seasons who led all defensemen in goals last season.

The first-round pick is easy to part with given the Panthers’ depth and position in the standings. Giving up Knight would be tough but perhaps necessary with Sergei Bobrovsky carrying an almost untradable contract for four more seasons. Moving Lundell, who’s enjoying a solid rookie campaign, could be a bridge too far for Zito.

THE ATHLETIC: Shayna Goldman and Saad Yousef recently examined potential trade destinations for Dallas Stars pending UFA defenseman John Klingberg. Their three contenders are the Anaheim Ducks, Los Angeles Kings and Carolina Hurricanes, with the Pittsburgh Penguins, Nashville Predators and Toronto Maple Leafs as dark horses.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Ducks, Kings and Predators have the cap space and depth in promising young players to dangle for Klingberg if they wish to go that route. The Hurricanes showed a willingness to make big deadline deals, acquiring Vincent Trocheck and Brady Skjei two years ago. Their lack of cap space, however, would require some creativity to make the dollars fit.

The Penguins and Leafs are pressed for cap space. Both could stand pat or opt for more cost-effective options by the deadline. I’m not ruling out the possibility one of them swings a three-team deal to land someone like Klingberg. However, there’s no certainty they or the Hurricanes can find a third club to broker the deal given how many clubs have limited cap space this season.

WILL THE CANUCKS TRADE J.T. MILLER?

THE ATHLETIC: Thomas Drance cited Daily Faceoff’s Frank Seravalli saying he could see a scenario where the Vancouver Canucks trade J.T. Miller soon, perhaps before they officially hire a new general manager.

Drance, however, is skeptical of that scenario becoming reality. While sources told him there are teams interested in Miller, the Canucks can afford to wait because he’s under contract through next season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Drance also acknowledged the Canucks will have to make a decision about Miller’s future in Vancouver. Unless a rival club is willing to make an offer too good to refuse by the trade deadline, Canucks management could wait until the offseason to move Miller when teams have more cap room and willingness to pursue players of his caliber.

That should also be a decision that should involve the new general manager. Otherwise, team president Jim Rutherford shouldn’t waste everyone’s time hiring a GM if he’s going to make all the decisions himself.










NHL Rumor Mill – January 18, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – January 18, 2022

​​Will the Flyers trade Claude Giroux? Will the Oilers pursue a goaltender with term on his contract? What could the Flames and Ducks do? Check out the latest in today’s NHL rumor mill.

SPORTSNET: Rory Boylen recently examined four NHL clubs facing critical roster decisions over the remainder of this season.

Philadelphia Flyers captain Claude Giroux (NHL Images).

Boylen believes real questions about the Philadelphia Flyers’ core have to be asked. He cites colleague Elliotte Friedman recently saying they have questions about their identity and where they’re headed after last summer’s moves failed to bring about any improvement this season.

Friedman believes Flyers captain Claude Giroux could be traded to a Stanley Cup contender with the possibility of returning to Philadelphia as an unrestricted free agent this summer. Boylen also speculated pending UFA defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen seems likely to be moved by the trade deadline.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Perhaps the question to be asked is whether Chuck Fletcher is the right general manager to fix this club. They showed some promise in 2019-20 but have since been on the downslide.

Fletcher was applauded for acquiring Ryan Ellis from the Nashville Predators last summer and cannot be faulted for Ellis missing most of this season to injury. However, he gave up a first-round pick to acquire Ristolainen.

Giroux could agree to be moved to a contender by the trade deadline but one wonders if he’ll want to return to a club that’s been spinning its wheels for most of the last 10 years. He could decide to finish his playing career elsewhere.

The Flyers also need a new coach. They continue to flounder under interim Mike Yeo after firing Alain Vigneault several weeks ago.

Boylen also explored the Edmonton Oilers’ current season-threatening tailspin. Given their precarious position in the standings, he doubts GM Ken Holland will pursue a rental player, citing his unwillingness to part with a first-round pick or one of his top prospects for a quick fix.

Holland could prefer adding a player with term remaining on his contract. Boylen believes adding a defenseman like Jakob Chychrun isn’t a pressing need when they require a reliable starting goalie. He points out someone like the New York Islanders’ Semyon Varlamov or Montreal Canadiens’ Jake Allen makes a lot of sense on the surface.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Holland has to be feeling the heat from ownership and fans to do something to reverse his club’s fortunes. However, he’s aware he’s dealing from a position of weakness and will have to give up more than he’s comfortable with to address his goaltending.

The Islanders and Canadiens are in worse straits than the Oilers right now but their respective managements probably aren’t feeling the same pressure as Holland. I doubt Isles GM Lou Lamoriello is being goaded to move Varlamov or Canadiens hockey ops VP Jeff Gorton is being pushed to shop Allen. That doesn’t mean those goalies aren’t available but acquiring either one could cost a draft pick or prospect that Holland would prefer to keep.

Boylen also wondered what the Calgary Flames will do with pending UFA Johnny Gaudreau. The winger is having a terrific season so it might make sense to extend him how. However, if they do that and the Flames miss the playoffs or get bounced in the first round again, they’re right back where they started. If they wait and he plays well in the postseason he could decide to test the market.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Boylen believes much of what the Flames do with their roster will depend on their performance this season. Another disappointing effort could see Gaudreau hit the open market this summer. Gaudreau’s declined to talk about his contract and his agent and Flames management are maintaining a cone of silence on the matter.

The Anaheim Ducks have several veterans like Hampus Lindholm who are slated to become UFAs this summer. However, they’re also contributing to the club’s better-than-expected effort this season. They also have an interim GM in Jeff Solomon while they search for a full-time replacement.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Ducks could retain those UFAs if they’re still in the thick of the playoff chase. However, they’ve struggled in recent weeks and could slide out of contention if they don’t get back on track soon. A slide down the standings could lead to guys like Lindholm, Josh Manson and Rickard Rakell hitting the trade block by the March 21 trade deadline.