NHL Rumor Mill – March 17, 2022
THE LATEST ON GIROUX, SANHEIM AND DVORAK.
SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman reports the Colorado Avalanche are interested in Philadelphia Flyers captain Claude Giroux, “but there’s a preference for the Panthers, although it doesn’t look like anything is close”. The Flyers haven’t been impressed with offers thus far but it’s expected the real negotiations start following Giroux’s 1,000th game tonight. The 34-year-old forward controls this process.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I’m not sure if Friedman is referring to the Panthers as Giroux’s or the Flyers’ preference. Regardless, I’m not surprised that he hasn’t been moved yet. He and the Flyers wanted to have him reach his 1,000th game as a Flyer. He could be moved over the weekend.
Friedman also addressed rumors suggesting the Flyers might shop Travis Sanheim after re-signing defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen last week. He noted the two played together so it would make sense to keep them. He also wondered what the Flyers will do with talented rearguard Ivan Provorov given his struggles this season.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I’d be more shocked if the Flyers move Provorov than I would if they move Sanheim. While general manager Chuck Fletcher will consider his options, I think he’ll keep those two defensemen.
TVA SPORTS: As Montreal Canadiens center Christian Dvorak returns from injury, Renaud Lavoie believes the club’s goal is to trade him. He considers the 26-year-old Dvorak more of a Western Conference player. Lavoie said several teams were interested in Dvorak, including the Minnesota Wild, but it remains to be seen if they’re willing to compromise to get him.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Elliotte Friedman said he’d heard the Wild had a prior interest in Dvorak but they can’t fit him into their lineup now. The Wild will be facing a salary-cap crunch after this season. Dvorak’s signed through 2024-25 with an annual cap hit of $4.45 million.
UPDATE ON THE LEAFS AND BLUE JACKETS
SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman reports Toronto Maple Leafs general manager Kyle Dubas doesn’t want to part with any of his top prospects or his first-round pick for a rental player. Anaheim Ducks defenseman Hampus Lindholm is their top target but they’ve also looked at the Seattle Kraken’s Mark Giordano, the Flyers’ Justin Braun, the Dallas Stars’ John Klingberg, and the San Jose Shark’s Jacob Middleton.
The Leafs have been shopping Travis Dermott and Justin Holl for months. Friedman wouldn’t be surprised if Dermott gets a fresh start elsewhere. He also makes a “completely insane prediction” of the Leafs acquiring New York Islanders blueliner Zdeno Chara.
If the Leafs decide to pursue Chicago Blackhawks goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury it’ll come down to whether Fleury believes he can win in Toronto. Friedman also dismissed the possibility of the Leafs acquiring John Gibson from the Ducks.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s going to cost the Leafs a top prospect and/or a first-round pick as part of the return for Lindholm, Giordano and Klingberg, though the latter isn’t going anywhere with teammate Miro Heiskanen sidelined by mononucleosis. Those guys are all slated to become unrestricted free agents this summer. I also don’t see Chara agreeing to a trade to the Leafs.
Fleury’s situation is so muddied we don’t know if he’s staying or going. At this point, I’ll be surprised if there’s a deal that will work well enough for the Blackhawks to approach him about it. I wouldn’t be surprised if the Leafs end up sticking with the goalies they already have and hope for the best.
Columbus Blue Jackets forward Max Domi could be on the radar of the Washington Capitals while Jeff Marek suggested the Boston Bruins and Colorado Avalanche as possible destinations. Marek also suggested Jackets defenseman Dean Kukan as a fit with the Edmonton Oilers but Friedman doubts that’ll happen.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Washington Hockey Now’s Sammi Silber believes Domi could be a good fit in Washington. However, his $5.3 million cap hit makes him an expensive rental for the cap-strapped Capitals.
MORE RUMOR TIDBITS FROM FRIEDMAN’S LATEST “32 THOUGHTS”
SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman repeated his earlier reports suggesting the Canadiens were among the teams interested in New Jersey Devils forward Pavel Zacha, as well as contract extension talks continuing between the Nashville Predators and Filip Forsberg.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: But are the Stars willing to move him? They’re not believed to be in sell mode as they jockey for a wild-card berth in the Western Conference. Radulov also might not be the best fit for the Rangers. The 35-year-old winger has been hampered by injuries in recent years and his production is down this season with just 18 points in 52 games.
Two sources expressed doubt to Friedman that New York Islanders goalie Semyon Varlamov will be going anywhere by the trade deadline. Isles forward Cal Clutterbuck’s name has come up in the rumor mill quite a bit of late.
Keep an eye on the St. Louis Blues. Friedman expects they’ll be busy in the trade market. They were interested Ben Chiarot before he was traded to the Panthers and are linked to the Arizona Coyotes’ Jakob Chychrun.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Blues are pressed for cap space so it might have to be a dollar-in, dollar-out move, or a three-team trade to spread the cap hit around if they intend to add a notable defenseman.
The Capitals continue to monitor the goalie market.