NHL Rumor Mill – January 27, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – January 27, 2022

Could the Canucks make a significant move like trading J.T. Miller? Will the Flyers commence a rebuild by trading Claude Giroux? What’s the latest on Evgeni Malkin, Kris Letang and Evander Kane? Find out in today’s NHL rumor mill.

WHAT NEXT FOR THE CANUCKS AFTER MANAGEMENT MOVES?

DAILY FACEOFF: Frank Seravalli and Scott Burnside discussed what could be next for the Vancouver Canucks after hiring Patrik Allvin as their new general manager and Emilie Castonguay as assistant GM. They believe the top priority is figuring out what to do with J.T. Miller. The 28-year-old center leads the Canucks with 40 points and is signed through 2022-23 with an annual cap hit of $5.25 million.

Vancouver Canucks forward J.T. Miller (NHL Images).

Seravalli reports the Boston Bruins, Calgary Flames, Minnesota Wild and New York Rangers (Miller’s former team) have expressed interest. While Miller has enjoyed his time in Vancouver, he could be open to returning to an American team.

Burnside felt an extension with Miller might be possible if he wants to be part of the Canucks’ process over the next four or five years. If not, that extra year on his current contract could fetch a first-round pick, a high-end prospect and a mix of later-round picks.

NEW YORK POST: Larry Brooks reports the Rangers’ preference is to re-sign second-line center Ryan Strome but Miller could be a potential replacement. The Canucks asking price is said to be astronomical but Brooks believes it could drop as the trade deadline approaches if the Canucks fall completely out of the playoff race by then.

Brooks envisions Miller playing right wing with Mika Zibanejad or Strome during this season and taking over as second-line center next season if Strome departs as a free agent. He also wondered if the Canucks will take a serious offseason run at acquiring Rangers winger Alexis Lafreniere, who was a client of Canucks assistant GM Castonguay when she was a player agent.

NBC SPORTS BOSTON: Nick Goss believes the Bruins should pursue Miller despite the steep asking price as he would fill their need for a reliable second-line center. He doesn’t feel they should dangle top prospect Fabian Lysell but shouldn’t be afraid to dangle any of their other prospects while they’re in “win-now” mode.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Miller speculation has resurfaced because the Canucks finally have their new management team in place. The assumption is they could trade him because Rutherford will make the decisions on trades involving their core players based on his reputation as a wheeler dealer.

Miller could be shopped if the Canucks fall out of contention by the trade deadline. However, Rutherford indicated he’ll provide input but Allvin will handle the day-to-day operations and will be the key decision-maker. While they could get a solid return for Miller before the trade deadline, the Canucks can also wait until the offseason to peddle him if he doesn’t fit into their long-range plans.

If the Canucks do put Miller on the trade block by the deadline, I believe the Rangers would be better positioned to acquire him than the Bruins, Flames or Wild. They have plenty of salary-cap space and a lot of promising young talent to draw upon for trade bait.

FLYERS LEAVE GIROUX’S FUTURE IN HIS HANDS

THE PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER: Giana Han reports Flyers general manager Chuck Fletcher will be having discussions with Claude Giroux to determine their 34-year-old captain’s future with the club. He’s slated to become an unrestricted free agent this summer and holds a full no-movement clause. Fletcher intends to leave the decision up to Giroux whether he’ll waive it to accept a trade.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Giroux will reportedly be discussing his future with his agent next month, perhaps as early as next weekend’s All-Star Game.

Fletcher also indicated he’s looking to aggressively retool his roster rather than engage in a rebuild. The Flyers GM is not sure what moves he’ll make by the trade deadline but indicated “everything’s on the table.” He believes his club needs two or three players to complement the strong core he believes they have when they’re healthy. Despite the injury woes, he felt the club hasn’t played up to expectations and needs more top-end talent.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Some might scoff at Fletcher’s unwillingness to stage a rebuild but he can also look at other teams that have successfully retooled and enjoyed a quick turnaround in their fortunes. The Nashville Predators are the most notable recent example. They weren’t considered a playoff contender entering this season but are among the top teams in the Western Conference. Whether Fletcher can achieve similar results remains to be seen.

LATEST ON THE PENGUINS AND OILERS

THE SCORE: cites The Athletic’s Josh Yohe reporting Evgeni Malkin is willing to accept a pay cut to remain with the Pittsburgh Penguins. His agents have reportedly spoken with Penguins management about a new contract. Malkin’s current cap hit is $9.5 million but he would be pleased with a multi-year deal earning less than teammate Sidney Crosby ($8.7 million AAV).

Kris Letang, meanwhile, believes he’s playing well enough to earn a raise over his $7.25 million annual average value. Yohe reports the Penguins are willing to sign him to a short-term deal with the possibility of a raise.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: No word on how short-term those deals could be, how much of a pay cut Malkin will accept and how much of a raise Letang is seeking. Crosby is signed through 2024-25. Those two could prefer three-year deals so they can finish their careers as Penguins with their captain.

EDMONTON JOURNAL: David Staples cites TSN’s Ryan Rishaug reporting there’s a strong sense the Oilers will sign free-agent winger Evander Kane. He’s been skating for over a week in Vancouver and could be ready for games as early as this weekend depending on the outcome of the league’s investigation into whether he violated AHL COVID protocols. ESPN’s Kevin Weekes cites sources saying it’s down to two teams for Kane but the Oilers appear the likeliest destination.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 26, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 26, 2022

Keith Yandle sets Ironman record but Flyers woes continue, the Panthers regain first place in the overall standings, injury updates for Erik Karlsson and Jason Zucker, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: Philadelphia Flyers defenseman Keith Yandle set the NHL Ironman record by appearing in his 965th consecutive game but his club endured a franchise-record 13th straight loss by falling 4-3 to the New York Islanders. Zach Parise snapped a 3-3 tie in the third period for the Islanders.

Philadelphia Flyers defeneman Keith Yandle (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Congratulations to Yandle on his record-setting achievement. It’s among the few bright spots in a miserable season for the Flyers. Their ongoing tumble in the standings won’t result in another coaching change. They’re sticking with interim bench boss Mike Yeo and hired John Torchetti as an assistant coach. The club is expected to evaluate its coaching staff at season’s end. Tochetti could be Yeo’s successor as he replaced him as Wild head coach in 2016.

The Florida Panthers opened a two-point lead (63 points) over the Colorado Avalanche and Tampa Bay Lightning atop the overall standings with a 5-3 victory over the Winnipeg Jets. Mason Marchment scored twice and chipped in an assist for the Panthers. The Jets (41 points) are five points out of the final wild-card berth in the Western Conference.

A four-point performance by Joe Pavelski (two goals, two assists) powered the Dallas Stars over the New Jersey Devils 5-1. Roope Hintz scored for the fourth straight game while Braden Holtby picked up the win with a 38-save performance. They played without defenseman John Klingberg, who’s day-to-day with an upper-body injury. With 46 points, the Stars vault into the final Western Conference wild-card spot.

The Pittsburgh Penguins tallied four straight third-period goals in a 6-3 victory over the Arizona Coyotes. Sidney Crosby and Bryan Rust each had a goal and two assists while Kris Letang tallied twice. Coyotes center Nick Schmaltz scored twice and collected an assist. With 59 points, the Penguins sit one point behind the first-place New York Rangers in the Metropolitan Division.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Penguins played without winger Jason Zucker as he underwent core-muscle surgery and will be sidelined indefinitely. He’s earning an annual average value of $5.5 million. The Penguins could use that as cap relief if he ends up on long-term injury reserve for the rest of the season, potentially allowing them space to become buyers at the March 21 trade deadline.

Sebastian Aho scored twice, including the winner in overtime, as the Carolina Hurricanes nipped the Vegas Golden Knights 4-3. Nolan Patrick had a goal and an assist for Vegas as they overcame a 3-1 deficit to force the extra frame. The Hurricanes sit one point back of the Penguins while the Golden Knights remain in first place in the Pacific Division with 53 points.

The Nashville Predators regained second place in the Central Division (57 points) by doubling up the Seattle Kraken 4-2. Filip Forsberg had a goal and an assist, Matt Duchene tallied his 20th goal of the season and Juuse Saros kicked out 33 shots for the Predators.

An overtime goal by Connor McDavid lifted the Edmonton Oilers to a 3-2 win over the Vancouver Canucks. The Oilers (42 points) move to within four points of the final Western wild-card spot. Spencer Martin made 47 saves in a losing cause for the Canucks, who sit one point behind the Oilers.

The Ottawa Senators got a hat trick from Tyler Ennis and a 32-save shutout from Matt Murray to blank the Buffalo Sabres 5-0. It was a costly win for the Senators as leading scorer Drake Batherson (34 points) left the game with an ankle injury after a questionable hit by Sabres goaltender Aaron Dell sent him crashing awkwardly into the boards. Dylan Gambrell also left the game in the first with an upper-body injury.

IN OTHER NEWS…

NBC SPORTS BAY AREA: San Jose Sharks defenseman Erik Karlsson has surgery to repair a small muscle tear in his left forearm. He’s expected to be sidelined until at least mid-March.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Sharks are battling for a wild-card spot in the Western Conference. Losing Karlsson will be a big blow to their blueline. He has 26 points in 33 games this season.

TSN: The Vancouver Canucks are reportedly close to naming Pittsburgh Penguins assistant general manager Patrik Allvin as their new GM. Allvin’s spent 16 seasons with the Penguins and worked for Canucks president Jim Rutherford during the latter’s tenure as Penguins GM.

OTTAWA SUN: Senators owner Eugene Melnyk isn’t pleased with the Ontario government’s COVID limitations on arena capacity. “They’re misinformed and they’re miscalculated. They should be challenged and they will be challenged.” The club was allowed to have 500 fans in attendance starting Monday, but they will play 11 games at home before restrictions are lifted to 50 percent capacity by Feb. 21.










NHL Rumor Mill – January 22, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – January 22, 2022

A look at the potential trade value of some notable free-agent defensemen plus the latest on the Blackhawks and Oilers in today’s NHL rumor mill.

WHAT COULD BE THE ASKING PRICE FOR TOP PENDING UFA DEFENSEMEN?

THE ATHLETIC: Pierre LeBrun pondered which of this season’s notable unrestricted free agent defensemen might fetch a first-round draft pick at the trade deadline. There are a number of pending UFAs blueliners but not all of them could move on deadline day. For example, the Anaheim Ducks could retain Hampus Lindholm and Josh Manson as “own rentals” if they’re still in playoff contention.

John Klingberg of the Dallas Stars could fetch the biggest return. LeBrun speculated it could be a package of a first-round draft pick, a prospect and perhaps another pick. He pointed out the Columbus Blue Jackets got a first and a third for David Savard before last year’s trade deadline.

Dallas Stars defenseman John Klingberg (NHL Images).

LeBrun also reported the Buffalo Sabres hope to land a first-rounder for Colin Miller while the Montreal Canadiens wish to net the same return for Ben Chiarot.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I would also add Mark Giordano to this list. The 38-year-old has tallied a respectable 14 points in 34 games on the low-scoring Seattle Kraken. It wouldn’t surprise me if a contender in “go-for-it” mode parted with a first-rounder for an experienced blueliner like Giordano.

Boston Hockey Now’s Jimmy Murphy believes Chiarot would be an excellent fit with the Bruins. Whether GM Don Sweeney is willing to ship his first-rounder to his club’s long-time rival for a postseason rental is another matter. I’ve seen some readers suggest offering up Jake DeBrusk straight up for Chiarot, but if it were that simple that deal would’ve gone down by now.

BIG CHANGES COMING FOR BLACKHAWKS?

NHL NETWORK: Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman was asked which Chicago Blackhawks could stay or go by the March 21 trade deadline. He’d heard a report claiming everyone was available except Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane and Seth Jones.

Friedman believes the Blackhawks unprotected list is very small. He thinks at some point earlier this season they may have been asked about moving Kane but doesn’t feel they’re willing to do that. He also doesn’t see them parting with Alex DeBrincat unless it’s for a significant return.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I believe Marc-Andre Fleury is the Blackhawks’ best trade chip. They’ve been shopping Dylan Strome for some time but haven’t found any takers. Dominik Kubalik could be available given the decline in his production since his 30-goal rookie campaign in 2019-20. I’d expect they’ll want to hang on to younger players like Kirby Dach and Brandon Hagel.

Kane and Toews each have a year remaining on their contracts. Any discussion about their futures will likely take place during the offseason.

COULD MARTIN JONES BE A TRADE OPTION FOR THE OILERS?

EDMONTON JOURNAL: Bruce McCurdy cited Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman raising the name of Philadelphia Flyers goaltender Martin Jones as a trade option for the Oilers during a recent appearance on the Jeff Marek Show.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: McCurdy noted Friedman didn’t mention Jones during a subsequent spot with Oilers Now. He was probably just musing out loud about trade possibilities.

Jones has a 6-6-2 record this season with a 3.31 goals-against average and .908 save percentage. That doesn’t make him much of an improvement over Mikko Koskinen and Stuart Skinner in Edmonton. Jones’ inconsistency was why the San Jose Sharks bought him out last summer and why he inks a one-year, $2 million deal with the Flyers.

Like the Oilers, the Flyers need to reverse their fortunes soon if they hope to climb back into the playoff race. They could shop some of their pending UFAs like Jones before the trade deadline if they’re out of the race by then but that could come too late to help the Oilers.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 21, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 21, 2022

The Panthers hand the fading Oilers another loss, the surging Avalanche extend their points streak to 11 games, Roman Josi reaches a franchise record and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: Sergei Bobrovsky turned in a 40-save shutout and Aleksander Barkov scored twice as the Florida Panthers thumped the Edmonton Oilers 6-0. Sam Reinhart collected three assists for the Panthers, who sit in first place in the overall standings with 59 points. The Oilers, who were in first place in the Western Conference standings on Dec. 1, now sit six points out of a wild-card spot with 38 points.

Florida Panther goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Oilers are 0-5-2 in their last seven games and seem at a loss to figure out how to reverse their fortunes. They obviously need better goaltending but head coach Dave Tippett seems to have lost the room. Perhaps a coaching change might provide a spark of improvement while management tries to find an upgrade between the pipes. I’ll have more about that in the rumors sections.

The Colorado Avalanche extended its points streak to 11 games with a 4-1 win over the Los Angeles Kings. Darcy Kuemper kicked out 40 shots while Nathan MacKinnon and Mikko Rantanen each collected two points. The Avs hold first overall in the Western Conference with 57 points while the Kings have dropped three straight and cling to second place in the Pacific Division with 45 points.

Nashville Predators captain Roman Josi collected two assists to set a franchise record with 358 as his club downed the Winnipeg Jets 5-2. Ryan Johansen and Mikael Granlund each had two points for the Predators, who snapped a four-game losing skid to sit four points behind the Avalanche. With 40 points, the Jets sit four points out of the final wild-card spot in the Western Conference. Earlier in the day, the Jets placed winger Nikolaj Ehlers on injured reserve with an MCL sprain. He’s listed as week-to-week.

An overtime goal by Shea Theodore lifted the Vegas Golden Knights to a 4-3 victory over the Montreal Canadiens. Theodore finished the night with a goal and two assists as his club sit in first place in the Pacific Division with 50 points. Canadiens goaltender Sam Montembault made 49 saves.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Montembault will see plenty of action in the coming weeks. The Canadiens announced goalie Jake Allen will be sidelined for up to eight weeks with a lower-body injury.

The Pittsburgh Penguins took a 5-1 lead and held off a third-period surge for a 6-4 win over the Ottawa Senators. Penguins defenseman Mike Matheson scored twice and collected an assist while Senators center Josh Norris tallied twice. The Penguins sit in third place in the Metropolitan Division with 53 points, winning eight of their last 10 games. Earlier in the day, they placed Jason Zucker and Louis Domingue on injured reserve.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Zucker could be out week-to-week as he’s been sidelined by the same injury that recently kept him out of the lineup for seven games.

A late goal by Charlie McAvoy lifted the Boston Bruins to a 4-3 victory over the Washington Capitals. David Pastrnak scored twice for the Bruins, who hold the final Eastern wild-card berth with 48 points. Winger Brad Marchand left the game in the second period with an upper-body injury following a hit from Garnet Hathaway and forward Anton Blidh in the first period from a big hit by winger Tom Wilson. The Capitals sit five points ahead of the Bruins with 53 points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin (56 points) collected an assist to open a two-point lead over Edmonton’s Leon Draisaitl for the lead in the NHL scoring race.

Tyler Seguin and Jason Robertson each scored twice and collected an assist to lead the Dallas Stars over the Buffalo Sabres 5-4. John Klingberg picked up four assists for the Stars (40 points) who sit four back of the San Jose Sharks for the final Western Conference wild-card berth. Rasmus Dahlin had a goal and two assists for the Sabres.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Sabres announced goalie Malcolm Subban underwent season-ending lower-body surgery while defenseman Colin Miller is out six weeks following surgery for an undisclosed ailment.

Speaking of the Sharks (44 points), they fell 3-2 to the Seattle Kraken. Carson Soucy scored twice and Philipp Grubauer made 22 saves for the Kraken. Sharks forward Timo Meier scored his 21st goal of the season and sits ninth among the league’s leading scorers with 46 points.

The Philadelphia Flyers have lost 10 straight games for the second time this season as they dropped a 2-1 decision to the Columbus Blue Jackets. Oliver Bjorkstrand and Patrik Laine scored for the Jackets as Elvis Merzlikins made 33 saves for the win.










NHL Rumor Mill – January 19, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – January 19, 2022

With a new general manager in place, what roster changes could be coming for the Canadiens? What’s the latest on Claude Giroux, Jakob Chychrun and John Klingberg? Will the Rangers and Leafs make moves at the deadline? Read on to find out in today’s NHL rumor mill.

WHAT’S NEXT FOR THE CANADIENS?

SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman wondered what other changes are coming for the Montreal Canadiens now that they’ve hired Kent Hughes as their new general manager. He’s like to know how Hughes’ hiring will affect their amateur scouting department, which current roster players are untouchable and if there have been any conversations with the core players over who wants to stay or go?

DAILY FACEOFF: Mike McKenna and Tyler Yaremchuk discussed the Canadiens options for some of their free agents. They agree pending UFA defenseman Ben Chiarot could fetch a nice return. Yaremchuk felt restricted free agent forward Artturi Lehkonen could also get something decent at the trade deadline while UFAs Cedric Paquette and Brent Kulak could get a lower pick.

Montreal Canadiens defenseman Ben Chiarot (NHL Images).

If the Canadiens want to kickstart their rebuild they will have to do more than just trade pending free agents. Yaremchuk suggested trading someone like Jake Allen or perhaps a bigger piece. McKenna wondered if they could make a hockey trade involving Carey Price or Jonathan Drouin to bring in some much-needed defense.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: With the March 21 trade deadline just over two months away there’s still plenty of time for Hughes and Hockey Ops VP Jeff Gorton to start fielding trade offers or shopping players who don’t fit into their long-term plans or those who want to leave. Moving the pending free agents is the easy part, trying to move those with expensive contracts like Price and Drouin might have to wait until the offseason when teams usually have more cap space and a willingness to take on players with term remaining on their deals.

As for their amateur scouting department, I wouldn’t be surprised if Gorton has already begun laying the groundwork for changes there. He’ll work in tandem with Hughes to bring in the people they need before the draft in July.

UPDATES ON GIROUX, CHYCHRUN, KLINGBERG , LAINE AND MORE

TSN: Pierre LeBrun observed Claude Giroux’s name has floated around the rumor mill but the Philadelphia Flyers have not spoken to rival clubs about moving their captain. Management hasn’t spoken to the 34-year-old center about waiving his no-movement clause nor has he approached them about getting traded.

LeBrun points out the March 21 trade deadline is nine weeks away and there’s still plenty of time for the slumping Flyers to improve their fortunes. However, he acknowledged that trade discussion between management and Giroux could take place if they remain out of playoff contention. With his no-movement clause, he’ll control his fate as the deadline approaches.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Agreed. There’s no rush to move Giroux on the Flyers’ part right now. Let’s see where they’re at once the calendar flips to March.

SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman reports there are teams that believe the Florida Panthers are interested in Arizona Coyotes defenseman Jakob Chychrun. It’s an “all-in” year for the Panthers.

GOPHNX.COM: Craig Morgan addressed a recent comment by Friedman suggesting if the Coyotes trade Chychrun it’ll be to an Eastern Conference team. He doesn’t think that’s accurate, doubting the Coyotes would limit their trade options when trying to secure the best deal.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Coyotes GM Bill Armstrong could prefer trading Chychrun to an Eastern team so his club would only have to face the blueliner once or twice per season. Nevertheless, I concur with Morgan that Armstrong likely won’t spurn a pitch from a western club that meets his asking price of a good young NHL player, a high draft pick and a top prospect.

The Dallas Stars have stepped up efforts to trade defenseman John Klingberg.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Several playoff contenders could pursue him as a rental player. The Boston Bruins, Carolina Hurricanes, Florida Panthers and Los Angeles Kings have been speculated as potential suitors.

Friedman wonders if the Columbus Blue Jackets will consider it worthy of their resources for now and down the road to sign winger Patrik Laine to a hefty contract extension. The 23-year-old winger is a restricted free agent with arbitration rights this summer.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That’s a decision that might have to wait until the offseason for an answer.

Rasmus Ristolainen could be worth watching. Friedman wondered if the Flyers pending UFA defenseman will consider testing the market this summer.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Depending on the outcome of this season, the Flyers could make that decision for him. Perhaps there will be a change in management if they miss the postseason.

The New York Rangers could be stealthy near the trade deadline. He also said the Toronto Maple Leafs aren’t against clearing cap space to prepare for a deadline addition.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Rangers GM Chris Drury has plenty of salary-cap space and lots of promising young assets within their system to dangle as trade bait if he wishes. I wouldn’t be shocked if he made one or two significant moves to load up for the playoffs.










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.