NHL Rumor Mill – December 11, 2021
NHL Rumor Mill – December 11, 2021
Analysis of Sportsnet’s Jeff Marek’s list of potential trade candidates in today’s NHL rumor mill.
SPORTSNET: Jeff Marek recently listed 25 potential trade candidates of interest to watch this season.
He starts by wondering if Mark Giordano might be thinking of a shot at the Stanley Cup and if the Seattle Kraken might consider shopping him.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Can’t rule it out. That move could happen near the March 21 trade deadline. On the other hand, I wouldn’t dismiss the possibility of the Kraken re-signing him.
The Montreal Canadiens could get a first-round pick for defenseman Ben Chiarot from a team seeking a deep playoff run.
That seems to be the growing consensus among the pundits. We’ll find out at some point this season if that’s the case.
Marek also wondered if Brendan Gallagher and Tyler Toffoli would want to be part of a potential rebuilding in Montreal.
If the Canadiens decide to move Gallagher and/or Toffoli it’ll likely happen in the offseason. It’s difficult to move older players with several years on their contracts during the season, especially with 22 teams carrying less than $3.6 million in cap space. Some will have more cap room by the trade deadline but they must also keep an eye on next season’s payrolls with the cap only rising by $1 million.
The direction of the Nashville Predators depends on what they do with pending UFA winger Filip Forsberg.
Predators GM David Poile said in July he was engaging in a “competitive rebuild”. That could continue with Forsberg’s departure. If they’re still in playoff contention by the deadline they’ll keep him as an “own rental” and let him walk this summer if they can’t reach an agreement on an extension.
The Dallas Stars are shopping Anton Khudobin. Marek suspects they’re after a forward. Teams like the Carolina Hurricanes have called about John Klingberg but the Stars could keep him for the playoffs if unable to re-sign the pending UFA defenseman.
Concur on both counts.
The Boston Bruins will remain patient in their efforts to move winger Jake DeBrusk until they get the best possible player or players in return.
Interested clubs could also be unwilling to meet the Bruins’ asking price. Marek’s colleague Elliotte Friedman reported GM Don Sweeney was seeking a defenseman or forward of equal value.
The Vegas Golden Knights could move Reilly Smith to free up cap space when Jack Eichel is ready to return to action.
Smith seems the most likely trade candidate. He carries a $5 million cap hit, lacks no-trade protection and is slated to become a UFA this summer.
The Vancouver Canucks are looking to change direction and could surprise us by moving J.T. Miller.
Not if they manage to climb back into playoff contention. Otherwise, I wouldn’t rule out the Canucks testing the trade market for Miller.
Marek doesn’t envision any scenario where Evander Kane returns to the San Jose Sharks lineup. He believes they’ll have to absorb some of his salary to move him.
He’s not the only pundit who believes that. Kane’s off-ice woes, his reputation as a divisive player in the dressing room and his $7 million annual salary cap hit make him difficult to move.
Perhaps a team in Alberta would have an interest in Chicago Blackhawks goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury.
Marek is referring to the Edmonton Oilers. However, that depends on the health of Oiler goalie Mike Smith, whether Fleury would accept a trade to Edmonton and if the Blackhawks are willing to pick up part of his cap hit.
Marek suggested Detroit Red Wings forward Vladislav Namestnikov and defenseman Nick Leddy could become trade candidates.
Only if the Wings drop out of playoff contention again. Otherwise, they’ll keep both in hope of securing their first postseason berth since 2016.
Ditto Ottawa Senators center Chris Tierney and blueliners Erik Brannstrom and Nick Holden.
I agree regarding Tierney and Holden but I can see them giving Brannstrom another season to crack their roster.
The Columbus Blue Jackets could trade Joonas Korpisalo by the trade deadline. Elvis Merzlikins is their starter and Daniil Tarasov shows promise.
Marek wonders if the St. Louis Blues might try to trade Vladimir Tarasenko. It’s clear things are frosty between Taraseno and Blues coach Craig Berube.
Tarasenko hasn’t rescinded his trade request and is fully recovered from his shoulder surgeries. However, his $7.5 million annual average value through 2022-23 remains a sticking point as it was this past summer. The fact he’s owed $9.5 million in actual salary this season and I believe the earliest he gets moved is next summer.
New York Rangers GM Chris Drury won’t budge on honoring Vitali Kravtsov’s trade request unless he gets something of quality in return. Backup goalie Alexandar Georgiev’s name has also been in the rumor mill.
Kravtsov is on loan to KHL club Chelyabinsk and can’t return to the NHL until the KHL season is over. Georgiev’s solid effort filling in for sidelined starter Igor Shesterkin could improve his trade value but the Blueshirts could be reluctant to move him unless they’ve got a reliable backup to replace him.
Arizona Coyotes winger Phil Kessel is available and so is pretty much anyone not named Jakub Chychrun.
I anticipate Kessel gets moved by deadline day. It’ll be interesting to see how many other Coyotes veterans hit the trade block by then.
Marek also wonders what the Pittsburgh Penguins will do with pending UFAs Evgeni Malkin, Kris Letang and Bryan Rust. What happens with Malkin will depend on his health.
I doubt the Penguins shop any of those three if they’re holding a playoff berth by deadline day. Rust is the only one lacking any kind of no-trade protection and carries the most affordable cap hit ($3.5 million).
Marek wondered if Oilers GM Ken Holland will use his first-round pick as trade bait to bring in immediate help for his roster. He also mused over whether the Buffalo Sabres would use one of their three 2022 first-round picks to address an organizational need.