NHL Rumor Mill – January 7, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – January 7, 2022

Analysis of the Daily Faceoff’s updated 20 trade targets in today’s NHL rumor mill.

DAILY FACEOFF: San Jose Sharks center Tomas Hertl, Montreal Canadiens defenseman Ben Chiarot and Arizona Coyotes blueliner Jakob Chychrun top Frank Seravalli’s updated list of 20 NHL trade targets.

San Jose Sharks center Tomas Hertl (NHL Images).

Hertl’s having a strong performance in his contract year and could fetch the Sharks a strong return. Seravalli suggests keeping an eye on the New York Rangers in the Hertl sweepstakes.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Sharks remain in the hunt for a Western Conference wild-card spot but they could move Hertl if they fail to gain ground between now and the March 21 trade deadline. He’ll draw plenty of interest but the Rangers have the cap space and the depth in tradeable assets to perhaps outbid other clubs.

Seravalli said the Florida Panthers and St. Louis Blues have been linked to Chiarot. He believes the 30-year-old Canadiens defenseman could help Stanley Cup contenders like the Vegas Golden Knights, Colorado Avalanche, Washington Capitals or the Rangers.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: And if one of those clubs is willing to part with a first-round pick they might be able to land Chiarot provided they’re not on his 10-team no-trade list.

The Coyotes won’t have much to build around if they trade Chychrun. That explains why their asking price is so high.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s been reported the Coyotes could seek a return comparable to what the Buffalo Sabres got from the Vegas Golden Knights for Jack Eichel. In other words, a good young NHL player, a top prospect close to being NHL-ready, a first-round pick and a second-rounder.

Coyotes forward Lawson Crouse and New York Rangers goaltender Alexander Georgiev are fourth and fifth on Seravalli’s list. He said the Philadelphia Flyers have spoken to the Coyotes about Crouse. Georgiev made what Seravalli considers a “soft trade request” last summer. While it’s important for a team to have two trustworthy goalies, Seravalli considers Georgiev an unnecessary luxury when the Rangers have one of the best goalies in the league in Igor Shesterkin.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: With 16 points in 31 games, the 24-year-old Crouse is well on his way to exceeding his career-high of 25 points on the low-scoring Coyotes. As Seravalli observes, he could become a 20-goal forward on a deeper club.

Shesterkin’s recent injury history and Georgiev’s improvement over the last month suggest the latter isn’t going anywhere this season. Georgiev is a restricted free agent this summer so the Rangers aren’t under any pressure to move him before the trade deadline.

Columbus Blue Jackets goaltender Joonas Korpisalo, Boston Bruins winger Jake DeBrusk, Blue Jackets center Jack Roslovic, Jackets winger Max Domi, and Vegas Golden Knights winger Reilly Smith fill positions six through 10.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Seravalli said several teams have “engaged” with the Jackets regarding Korpisalo. As an unrestricted free agent this summer, he’s more likely to move than Georgiev.

DeBrusk’s trade request has been well-documented but Bruins general manager Don Sweeney hasn’t found a suitable offer yet. Perhaps DeBrusk gets shopped soon to free up some cap space for Tuukka Rask’s imminent return.

I’m not surprised to see Domi on this list given his UFA status this summer but Roslovic was a bit of an eyebrow-raiser. He’s struggled this season but the 24-year-old is an RFA this summer and really likes playing in his hometown. The Jackets don’t have to move him at the trade deadline but it wouldn’t hurt to entertain offers.

The Golden Knights must shed salary to make room for Jack Eichel’s return from neck surgery next month. Smith is considered the likely candidate because of his UFA status in July. Seravalli suggested he could fetch them a solid return, pointing to the Toronto Maple Leafs parting with a first-round pick and two-fourth-round picks at last year’s deadline for Nick Foligno.

Detroit Red Wings defenseman Nick Leddy, Florida Panthers winger Patric Hornqvist, Anaheim Ducks winger Rickard Rakell, Coyotes winger Phil Kessel and New York Rangers winger Vitali Kravtsov are 11 through 15 on this list.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: With the Red Wings jockeying for a wild-card spot they could be reluctant to part with Leddy. Seravalli suggests the Panthers could move Hornqvist as a cost-cutting move but that could take place in the offseason. His gritty style could be invaluable for them in the playoffs.

I also have my doubts about Rakell being available with the Ducks flying high in the Western Conference. That could change if they should tumble down the standings. A playoff club in need of scoring depth could add Kessel as a rental player. He’s a proven postseason performer.

Kravtsov is on loan to KHL club Traktor Chelyabinsk. He cannot be recalled by his NHL team until Traktor’s season is over.

Chicago Blackhawks defenseman Calvin de Haan, Seattle Kraken blueliners Mark Giordano, Blackhawks center Dylan Strome and winger Henrik Borgstrom and San Jose Sharks winger Evander Kane round out the list.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The 37-year-old Giordano’s a UFA this summer and his chances of playing for a Stanley Cup contender are dwindling. Maybe he’ll get shopped to a Cup contender by the deadline.

Strome’s been in the rumor mill all season long but there’s doesn’t appear to be much interest in him, de Haan or Borgstrom. However, that could change leading up to deadline day.

Kane’s personal baggage and hefty contract have been well-documented obstacles blocking any chance of a trade. It could take enticing another team to get involved as a third-party broker to get a deal done but even that seems like a long shot.










NHL Rumor Mill – January 3, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – January 3, 2022

Should the Islanders trade Semyon Varlamov? Is there any help in the trade market for the Oilers? How can the Golden Knights shed salary for Jack Eichel’s return next month? Check out the details in today’s NHL rumor mill.

NYI HOCKEY NOW: Stefen Rosner ponders the possibility of the New York Islanders putting Semyon Varlamov on the trade block. It hasn’t been the season the Isles or Varlamov envisioned. The club is well out of a wild-card berth in the Eastern Conference while the 33-year-old goaltender is struggling to regain his form being sidelined through training camp and the opening month of the season.

New York Islanders goaltender Semyon Varlamov (NHL Images).

Varlamov has a year remaining on his contract with an annual cap hit and a 16-team no-trade clause. Despite his struggles this season, he was among the league’s best goalies in 2020-21 with a 2.04 goals-against average, a .929 save percentage and a league-leading seven shutouts.

Moving Varlamov could free up some much-needed cap space for next season. They could then seek a more cost-effective backup for starter Ilya Sorokin.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Islanders general manager Lou Lamoriello could start quietly gauging Varlamov’s value in the trade market if his club hasn’t gained ground in the standings by March. It will also depend on whether Varlamov’s performance has improved by then.

Lamoriello could wait until the offseason to make that move. Then again, he could keep his tandem intact for next season provided Varlamov has no issue backing up Sorokin.

EDMONTON JOURNAL: With the Oilers winning just three of their last 12 games, Jim Matheson explored the trade market for help if replacing head coach Dave Tippett isn’t an option.

Matheson feels the Oilers need another top-six forward but there currently aren’t many available. Most teams have little cap space or they’re offering struggling players like Chicago’s Dylan Strome or San Jose’s Evander Kane, who has a myriad of issues. Bruins winger Jake DeBrusk could help but it would cost $4.85 million to qualify his rights this summer.

The Oilers also don’t have many tradeable assets. Matheson suggested maybe winger Kailer Yamamoto, prospect Xavier Bourgault or their 2022 first-round pick. He considers Dylan Holloway a non-starter because they don’t have many blue-chip prospects in their farm system.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Oilers also need a reliable starting goaltender and perhaps a physical shutdown defenseman. Nevertheless, Matheson’s right about their limited possible trade assets. It also doesn’t help that obvious sellers (hello there, Arizona Coyotes and Montreal Canadiens) aren’t in any hurry to swing deals.

THE ATHLETIC: Jesse Granger is the latest to examine options for the Vegas Golden Knights to shed salary ahead of Jack Eichel’s return from neck surgery next month.

One is trading a $5 million forward like Jonathan Marchessault, Reilly Smith or Evgenii Dadonov plus backup goalie Laurent Brossoit. Others include shopping Shea Theodore, William Karlsson or Alec Martinez.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I don’t see Marchessault, Theodore, Karlsson or Martinez going anywhere. Granger considers moving Theodore highly unlikely but an option nonetheless because he’d fetch the best return. It could come down to Dadonov or Smith with the latter the more likely trade candidate given his UFA status this summer.










NHL Rumor Mill – December 6, 2021

NHL Rumor Mill – December 6, 2021

A look at several potential trade targets in today’s NHL rumor mill.

DAILY FACEOFF: Columbus Blue Jackets backup goaltender Joonas Korpisalo, Boston Bruins winger Jake DeBrusk and St. Louis Blues winger Vladimir Tarasenko topped Frank Seravalli’s list of 15 trade targets that are in play or will be in the months leading up to the March 21 trade deadline.

St. Louis Blues winger Vladimir Tarasenko (NHL Images).

Korpisalo could welcome an opportunity to play elsewhere. Teams have contacted the Jackets about him within the last couple of weeks. DeBrusk made a trade request over a week ago but his attention to detail and effort level had his trade value seemingly at an all-time low. Tarasenko still hopes the Blues will honor the trade request he made this summer.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Korpisalo is an unrestricted free agent this summer. The Jackets could try to move him now that Elvis Merzlikins is their starter and Danill Tarasov showing promise as his potential backup.

As many as a dozen teams were reportedly interested in DeBrusk. Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman reported the Bruins won’t move him until they find a defenseman or forward of equal value in return. Tarasenko’s $7.5 million annual cap hit through 2022-23 ($9.5 million in actual salary this season) will likely ensure he remains in St. Louis this season.

Toronto Maple Leafs defenseman Justin Holl is fourth on Seravalli’s list as the Leafs will need to shed some salary when sidelined goalie Petr Mrazek is ready to return to the lineup. New York Rangers winger Vitali Kravtsov is fifth on the list. Seravalli observed the Ottawa Senators and Montreal Canadiens were among the interested parties. With former Rangers GM Jeff Gorton now in control with the Canadiens, he wondered if Gorton might make a pitch for Kravtsov, who he drafted in 2018.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Holl’s been on the trade block for over a month but the Leafs didn’t seem in a rush to move him. Perhaps we’ll see some movement here once Mrazek is ready to return. Kravtsov is currently on load to KHL club Chelyabinsk and cannot return to the NHL until the KHL season is over. Interested clubs can still acquire his rights.

Florida Panthers winger Patric Hornqvist, Vancouver Canucks forward J.T. Miller, Chicago Blackhawks forward Dylan Strome, Vegas Golden Knights winger Reilly Smith and Pittsburgh Penguins winger Bryan Rust check in at numbers six through 10 on Seravalli’s list.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Hornqvist has slipped down to the Panthers’ fourth line but I think they’ll still want his experience and gritty style for the playoffs. With the Canucks firing general manager Jim Benning and head coach Travis Green, I don’t think they’re going to make any sweeping roster changes for the time being.

Strome’s been on the trade block for some time but there hasn’t been much interest in the 24-year-old forward. I agree with Seravalli that Smith seems the most likely to become a cost-cutting trade candidate when Jack Eichel is ready to join the Golden Knights in February. I also concur with his take that the Penguins could shop a pending UFA like Rust if they’re out of playoff contention by the trade deadline.

Anaheim Ducks winger Rickard Rakell, San Jose Sharks center Tomas Hertl, Arizona Coyotes winger Phil Kessel, Chicago Blackhawks forward Henrik Borgstrom and San Jose Sharks winger Evander Kane fill spots 11 through 15.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kessel is the only one in this group that seems certain to be dealt before the trade deadline. He’s keen to move on to a playoff contender to earn himself a new contract after this season and the Coyotes are said to be trying to find a new home for him. Given Kessel’s $6.8 million cap hit, interested clubs could wait until closer to the trade deadline.

Rakell is also a pending UFA but there’s less certainty he’ll be traded given the Ducks’ improvement this season and their recent management change. Hertl is willing to talk contract with Sharks management. As Seravalli pointed out, they’ve got an aging, expensive core and Hertl is in line for a significant raise on his next deal. This could go either way.

Borgstrom was a promising young forward who didn’t reach expectations with the Florida Panthers and is seeing third-line minutes with the Blackhawks. There might not be many takers if he’s available.

Kane is now with the Sharks’ AHL affiliate after serving a 21-game suspension for using a fake COVID-19 vaccination card. His other off-ice troubles have also been well-documented. The Sharks are trying to trade him and there were rumors of an Eastern Conference club having an interest in him. His $7 million annual cap hit, however, could also make moving him a difficult task.










Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – November 21, 2021

Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – November 21, 2021

Will the Rangers go shopping for a forward? Have they started contract talks with Ryan Strome? What moves could be in store for the Sabres after trading Jack Eichel? Check out the latest in the Sunday NHL rumor roundup

LATEST RANGERS SPECULATION

THE ATHLETIC: Arthur Staple took note of TSN’s Darren Dreger’s recent report claiming the New York Rangers are in the market for a middle-six forward to replace Sammy Blais after he suffered a season-ending knee injury. He also felt they could pursue a defenseman but that could be a move made closer to the March 21 trade deadline.

Staple believes the Rangers can’t afford to take on players with term remaining on their contracts as new deals will be required next summer for Blais and restricted free agent Kaapo Kakko plus they’ll also require a second-line center and a backup goalie.

Arizona Coyotes winger Phil Kessel (NHL Images).

Looking at players on expiring contracts, Staple suggested the Seattle Kraken’s Calle Jarnkrok or Marcus Johansson, the Ottawa Senators’ Chris Tierney, the Carolina Hurricanes’ Nino Niederreiter, the Arizona Coyotes’ Phil Kessel, the Chicago Blackhawks’ Dylan Strome, the Montreal Canadiens’ Artturi Lehkonen and the Los Angeles Kings’ Gabriel Vilardi.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I doubt Niederreiter will be available. The Hurricanes are among the NHL’s best teams and have little reason to ship him out for a draft pick or prospect. If they were to move Niederreiter, it would be to bring in a player to address a different roster need.

The Los Angeles Kings aren’t a struggling club like the others listed here but they could become a seller should fall out of the playoff chase as the season rolls along. Vilardi was recently demoted to the minors and could become a trade chip at some point. Staple’s colleague, Lisa Dillman, speculated the former first-round pick might be at the point in his career where a trade could help get his career back on track. She proposed the Tampa Bay Lightning and the rebuilding Coyotes as possible destinations for Vilardi.

Kessel would be an expensive addition unless the Coyotes retain part of his $6.8 million cap hit. Teams with an interest in the veteran winger could prefer waiting until the trade deadline to pursue him.

The Blackhawks tried shopping Strome since last season but couldn’t find any takers. The interim management probably won’t have any better luck. He’s been skating on their checking line but is best suited on the second line with better wingers.

As for the Kraken, Senators and Canadiens, they’re going to be among this season’s sellers but they don’t have to dump expiring contracts right now. They’ll likely wait until the second half of the season in order to find the best return possible.

BOSTON HOCKEY NOW: Jimmy Murphy wondered if the Boston Bruins might try to entice the Rangers into taking winger Jake DeBrusk off their hands. He had a strong preseason but has been inconsistent thus far this season. DeBrusk remains a mainstay in the rumor mill among NHL scouts and executives but there’s no indication the Bruins and Rangers are talking trade.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: DeBrusk might still be a topic of trade chatter in some NHL circles but there’s doesn’t seem to be much interest in him. The media speculation about the 24-year-old winger’s trade status has died down since the summer.

NEW YORK POST: Speaking of the Rangers, Mollie Walker reported there haven’t been any contract extension talks between management and Ryan Strome. The 28-year-old center is slated to become an unrestricted free agent next summer. Given their recent signings of Mika Zibanejad and Adam Fox plus Kakko due for a new contract, Walker believes the Rangers probably can’t afford to re-sign Strome.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Cap Friendly shows the Rangers with over $70.8 million invested in 16 players for 2022-23. Strome will seek a higher annual average value than his current $4.5 million. He’ll likely hit the open market next summer unless the Rangers shed some salary to re-sign him.

WHAT NEXT FOR THE SABRES?

THE BUFFALO NEWS: In a recent mailbag segment, Lance Lysowski was asked if the Sabres would pursue a starting goaltender via next summer’s free-agent market. He doesn’t see them going that route with promising Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen on the cusp of the NHL.

If Luukkonen is ready for the job next season, the Sabres could bring back Dustin Tokarski or sign a reliable veteran on a short-term deal. Lysowski recommends going the trade route if Luukkonen isn’t ready.

Lysowski was also asked which of the Sabres pending UFAs could be shopped at the trade deadline. He felt Colin Miller’s value as a right-shot defenseman puts him at the top of the list.

Others could include Vinnie Hinostroza, Drake Caggiula, Cody Eakin, Robert Hagg, Craig Anderson and Dustin Tokarski but he doesn’t expect the Sabres will trade them all. He speculated they could attempt to bring back Mark Pysyk.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Sabres have made their big moves after trading Jack Eichel, Taylor Hall, Sam Reinhart and Rasmus Ristolainen since April. Any major moves between now and March 21 will likely be to move out some pending UFAs for draft picks.










NHL Rumor Mill – November 7, 2021

NHL Rumor Mill – November 7, 2021

What’s next for the Blackhawks after firing their head coach? Will the Stars make a cost-cutting deal soon? Find out in this edition of the Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup.

WHAT ELSE IS IN STORE FOR THE STRUGGLING BLACKHAWKS?

THE ATHLETIC: Scott Powers wondered what other changes could be in store for the Chicago Blackhawks after interim general manager Kyle Davidson replaced Jeremy Colliton as head coach yesterday with Derek King on an interim basis.

Chicago Blackhawks goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury (NHL Images).

The Blackhawks GM could spend the next 10-15 games to determine if moves need to be made to help the club improve or nudge it toward getting worse and improve their chances of keeping their 2022 first-round pick. That selection was part of the deal in acquiring Seth Jones from the Columbus Blue Jackets but Powers points out the Blackhawks would retain that pick if they finish low enough in the standings and have the draft lottery balls drop in their favor.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Cap Friendly has the details of the conditions for the Blackhawks’ 2022 first-round pick.

Powers feels the Blackhawks have a handful of players they could move this season, suggesting Marc-Andre Fleury and Dominik Kubalik as trade candidates. Fleury, Calvin de Haan, Ryan Carpenter and Kevin Lankinen are among their notable upcoming unrestricted free agents.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Fleury’s struggling behind the Blackhawks’ porous defense. However, there could be playoff contenders willing to bet the 36-year-old netminder will regain last season’s Vezina Trophy-winning form on a better club. His $7 million cap hit, however, could keep him in Chicago until the weeks leading up to the March 21 trade deadline.

Kubalik carries an affordable $3.7 million cap hit and is just two seasons removed from his 30-goal NHL debut. He’s also a restricted free agent with arbitrations rights next summer, which could make him a more enticing option for teams seeking a scoring winger they can keep beyond this season.

Prior to Colliton’s firing, Mark Lazerus pondered the fate of Dylan Strome. The 24-year-old center has been a healthy scratch in most of the Blackhawks games this season and often sees checking-line duty when he gets into the lineup. Given the club’s struggles, Lazerus wondered why they won’t at least move Strome up in the lineup and put him with some skilled linemates.

Lazerus noted the Blackhawks have tried trading Strome for nearly a year, suggesting the recent management change clouded his situation. Even if they could find a team to ship him to, they’d be selling low right now on one of their best trade chips.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Blackhawks might have to accept a lesser return for Strome. There’s obviously not much of a market for him right now and they’ve done him and themselves no favors by keeping him in the press box for most of this season. Like Kubalik, he’s an RFA with arbitration rights next summer.

THE HOCKEY NEWS: Adam Proteau believes there are players the Blackhawks shouldn’t consider trading, such as Alex DeBrincat and Kirby Dach. However, he suggests Davidson should contemplate shopping long-time stars Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane. While they each carry $10.5 million cap hits, they’ve got just one season left on their contracts following this one. Proteau thinks a team poised for a long Stanley Cup run could be willing to take on one or the other.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It comes down to whether Toews and Kane will agree to be moved. Both carry full no-movement clauses and might not be keen to waive them despite the Blackhawks’ struggles. Perhaps that decision is made next summer. It would be easier if they approached management and requested to be traded but there’s no certainty they’ll do that.

LATEST ON THE STARS

THE DALLAS MORNING NEWS: Matthew DeFranks recently reported Stars goaltender Ben Bishop is now technically eligible to come off long-term injury reserve. However, that decision remains with Bishop and general manager Jim Nill.

Bishop’s been sidelined since undergoing knee surgery last fall. The 34-year-old goalie has been practicing with the Stars but they lack sufficient cap space to take him off LTIR. They can accomplish this by sending players to the minors or via trades.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Stars already have two goaltenders in Braden Holtby and Anton Khudobin. Holtby, 32, has seen the bulk of their starts this season and sports a solid 2.46 goals against average and .924 save percentage. He also carries an affordable one-year, $2 million contract and lacks no-trade protection. Perhaps he becomes a trade candidate when the Stars decide to reactivate Bishop.










NHL Rumor Mill – October 23, 2021

NHL Rumor Mill – October 23, 2021

Could Vladimir Tarasenko spend the season with the Blues? What’s the latest on Dylan Strome? Find out in today’s NHL rumor mill.

THE ATHLETIC: In his recent season predictions for the St. Louis Blues, Jeremy Rutherford expects Vladimir Tarasenko will spend the entire season with the club. The 29-year-old right winger sought a trade during the offseason due to his unhappiness over two shoulder surgeries performed by team doctors and his subsequent treatment by their medical staff.

St. Louis Blues winger Vladimir Tarasenko (NHL Images).

Rutherford questioned whether the Blues would trade Tarasenko if he got off to a great start. That could result in general manager Doug Armstrong getting some legitimate offers, but moving him could also affect the production of linemate Robert Thomas.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Tarasenko’s performance will be a factor, but his $7.5 million annual average value ($9.5 million in actual salary for this season) through 2022-23 is another reason why he probably won’t be moved this season.

A Tarasenko trade (if it happens) takes place next summer. That’s when there will be teams with more cap space and a willingness to invest in an established scoring winger with just one season left on his contract at a lower actual salary.

Rutherford also predicted Armstrong could bring in a goaltender from outside their organization. He doesn’t see how they get through an 82-game season with the current tandem of Jordan Binnington and Ville Husso without any injuries or a slip in performance.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Something to keep an eye on as the season progresses. There’s no need to make that move right now.

NBC SPORTS CHICAGO: Charlie Roumeliotis yesterday observed scouts/representatives from 15 different NHL clubs attended Thursday’s game between the Chicago Blackhawks and Vancouver Canucks at the United Center. “Anaheim, Arizona, Boston, Buffalo, Calgary, Florida, Minnesota, Montreal, Nashville, N.Y. Islanders, Pittsburgh, Seattle, Tampa Bay (2) and Winnipeg.” Center Dylan Strome, the subject of recent trade speculation, played his first game of the season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Most of those clubs were there simply to scout the performances of both clubs for upcoming games. The Blackhawks face the Coyotes, Flames, Predators, Islanders, Penguins, Kraken, and Jets in the coming weeks. The Canucks will soon face off with the Kraken, Predators, Ducks, Jets and Canadiens. Still. some were probably checking out Strome.