NHL Rumor Mill – November 29, 2022
In today’s NHL Rumor Mill: more speculation linking the Coyotes’ Jakob Chychrun to the Sabres, pondering the possibility of the Hurricanes pursuing a defenseman, the latest on Senators’ winger Alex Formenton plus the Bruins could be working on a trade.
COULD CHYCHRUN BE HEADED TO THE SABRES?
Traikos argues the Sabres have the cap space to get a deal done. They also possess plenty of prospects, having made five first-round picks in the last two years.
With the Sabres stuck once again near the bottom of the Eastern Conference standings, Traikos believes they have the biggest need.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Sabres are reportedly among the clubs interested in Chychrun, but is he interested in going from one perpetually rebuilding team to another? He lacks no-trade protection but reportedly spiked a deal that would’ve sent him to the Columbus Blue Jackets before the 2022 NHL Draft.
Some of you asked me how Chychrun could reject a trade if he lacks no-trade protection. In the Blue Jackets’ case, his apparent unwillingness to go to Columbus was said to have made them reconsider their options. After what happened with Pierre-Luc Dubois in 2020-21, I daresay they don’t want history repeating itself.
The Sabres have had their own recent history of unhappy players (hello there, Jack Eichel) becoming an unnecessary distraction. They’ll have to ensure Chychrun would have no issues coming to Buffalo before pulling the trigger.
There’s no denying the Sabres have the cap room and the depth in promising young talent to tempt the Coyotes. Those five first-rounders Traikos was referring to are Owen Power and Isak Rosen in 2021 and Matthew Savoie, Noah Ostlund and Jiri Kulich from last season’s draft class. Power, of course, isn’t going anywhere but perhaps the Sabres would part with one or two of those other prospects.
COULD THE HURRICANES TARGET A DEFENSEMAN?
THE ATHLETIC: Eric Duhatschek recently took note of the Carolina Hurricanes’ woeful power-play percentage this season, pointing out it was much better last season with Tony DeAngelo on their blueline.
Duhatschek wondered if the Hurricanes might bring in another puck-moving rearguard to improve their power-play production. He wondered if they might add someone such as the Coyotes’ Shayne Gostisbehere or the Anaheim Ducks’ John Klingberg.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The addition of Brent Burns last summer was supposed to be an overall upgrade over DeAngelo. Having scoring wingers like Teuvo Teravainen and Max Pacioretty sidelined by injuries hasn’t helped. Neither has the departure of center Vincent Trocheck via free agency in July or the offensive struggles of sophomore forward Seth Jarvis. Their overall production should improve once Teravainen and Pacioretty return to the lineup, which could also boost Jarvis’ offense.
LATEST SENATORS AND BRUINS RUMORS
OTTAWA SUN: Bruce Garrioch reports Senators forward Alex Formenton is this season’s last remaining unsigned restricted free agent. He has until 5 pm ET on Thursday, Dec. 1 to sign a new contract or be ineligible to play the remainder of this season.
Formenton faces three options. One is signing a new deal with the Senators if an agreement can be reached before Thursday’s deadline. The second is the Senators trade his rights to another club for something in return if he signs with his new team. The third is Formenton ends up playing in Europe for the remainder of this season with the Senators still holding his RFA rights.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Garrioch reports neither side is commenting on the contract talks. Some fans speculate Formenton’s contract status is linked to his being part of Canada’s 2018 World Junior team that’s under investigation over allegations of sexual assault. There’s been no indication thus far that this is the case.
BOSTON HOCKEY NOW: Jimmy Murphy reports the Bruins might do more than just demote defenseman Anton Stralman if he clears waivers later today to free up more cap space. Removing Stralman from their books would clear just enough cap room to accommodate Derek Forbort coming off long-term injured reserve.
Murphy cited an NHL executive recently saying Bruins general manager Don Sweeney was working the phones seeking a cost-cutting trade. This occurred prior to Stralman being placed on waivers. Mike Reilly ($3 million average annual value) and Craig Smith ($3.1 million) are considered trade candidates. Murphy wondered if Brandon Carlo might become a trade option.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Reilly and Smith have frequently surfaced in recent Bruins’ trade chatter but nothing’s come of it thus far. Carlo’s also surfaced as a trade candidate but his injury history could hurt his value.