Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – December 4, 2022

Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – December 4, 2022

The Canucks give Brock Boeser’s representatives permission to speak with other teams, how the Avalanche could bolster their roster, and the latest on the Senators scouting the Canadiens in the Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup.

CANUCKS GIVE BOESER PERMISSION TO SPEAK WITH OTHER CLUBS

SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman reported the Vancouver Canucks have given Brock Boeser and his representatives permission to speak with other teams about a potential trade. The 25-year-old winger has been struggling to score this season.

Vancouver Canucks winger Brock Boeser (NHL Images).

Friedman speculates the situation is reaching a point where it’s time to explore a possible move. He doesn’t know, however, where this is going to go. He also said the Canucks and the Boeser camp “have not confirmed” and aren’t commenting.

THE ATHLETIC: Thomas Drance reported Boeser was slated to be a healthy scratch for Saturday’s game against the Arizona Coyotes but go into the lineup owing to an injury to Dakota Joshua. He scored the game-tying goal in their 3-2 overtime win.

The initial decision to scratch Boeser from this game seemed heartless. It was on Hockey Fights Cancer night. Boeser’s father died of cancer earlier this year.

Drance indicated that the Boeser camp being given permission to talk to other clubs isn’t tied to what occurred on Saturday. Instead, it’s being done to enable the Canucks to free up some cap space and because this situation isn’t working out for either side. He questions the club’s decision to attempt to scratch Boeser from the lineup on Saturday when they’re trying to trade him.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Boeser has struggled with consistency due in part to frequent injuries taking him out of the lineup for lengthy periods. Nevertheless, he might benefit from moving on to another club with steadier management where he can get a fresh start.

Boeser’s skills as a scoring winger will draw interest around the league. He’s signed through 2024-25 with an average annual value of $6.65 million, which could prove difficult to move during this season with so many clubs carrying limited cap space. Still, a deal remains possible before the March 3 trade deadline.

The hiring last season of Jim Rutherford as president of hockey operations and Patrik Allvin as general manager was expected to bring stability to a franchise in need of it after the chaotic stewardship of the previous management.

Instead, there were months of uncertainty over J.T. Miller’s contract negotiations before he was finally re-signed in September. A similar situation is taking place with captain Bo Horvat’s contract talks. Head coach Bruce Boudreau’s been called out publicly by Rutherford twice, making his future in Vancouver an unnecessary distraction.

And now there’s the Boeser saga. Canucks followers are increasingly frustrated over the club’s ongoing lack of direction, which doesn’t seem likely to end anytime soon.

WHAT CAN THE AVALANCHE DO TO IMPROVE THEIR ROSTER?

THE ATHLETIC: Eric Duhatschek recently observed the Colorado Avalanche’s need to improve their forward depth. He acknowledged part of the problem is the injuries that sidelined five forwards, including wingers Gabriel Landeskog and Valeri Nichushkin.

The Avalanche still haven’t fully addressed filling the second-line center role following Nazem Kadri’s departure this summer via free agency. Duhatschek suggested Bo Horvat as a playoff rental if the Vancouver Canucks captain becomes available before the trade deadline.

THE DENVER POST: In a recent mailbag segment, Bennett Durando was asked if the Avalanche might seek a gritty, hard-nosed top-six forward. He believes the grit will be addressed once Landeskog and Nichushkin return from injury. Like Duhatschek, he believes they need a top-six forward comfortable playing center.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Everyone anticipates the defending Stanley Cup champions will be buyers again at the trade deadline. The second-line center position is their biggest weakness. Maybe they’ll pursue Horvat if he becomes available or opt for a more affordable choice in terms of return like Montreal’s Sean Monahan.

THE SENATORS STILL SCOUTING THE CANADIENS

MONTREAL HOCKEY NOW: Marc Dumont reports the Ottawa Senators have been scouting the Canadiens for some time. With the holiday roster freeze just over two weeks away (Dec. 20-27), he observed the Senators sent five scouts to the Canadiens home game on Nov. 29. Ottawa GM Pierre Dorion was also at a recent Habs game.

Dumont speculates Josh Anderson could be trade bait. The 28-year-old winger has struggled to adjust to Canadiens coach Martin St. Louis’ system.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Senators’ biggest need is blueline depth, which is why they’ve been frequently linked to Arizona Coyotes defenseman Jakob Chychrun. The Canadiens have a bit of a log jam on their blueline, resulting in promising Jordan Harris becoming the odd man out in recent games.

Perhaps the Senators are scouting Joel Edmundson, who has also been the subject of some trade conjecture. Then again, maybe they’re scouting the Canadiens in preparation for the upcoming game between the two clubs on Dec. 14.










NHL Rumor Mill – November 30, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – November 30, 2022

In today’s NHL Rumor Mill: Roope Hintz’s new contract could affect Bo Horvat’s and Dylan Larkin’s contract negotiations, the Stars are in the market for a forward, and the Ducks’ five most tradeable assets.

HINTZ’S NEW CONTRACT COULD AFFECT HORVAT AND LARKIN

TSN: Pierre LeBrun reports Dallas Stars center Roope Hintz’s new eight-year contract ($8.45 million average annual value) and New York Islanders center Mathew Barzal’s eight-year contract extension ($9.15 million AAV) are affecting Bo Horvat’s contract talks with the Vancouver Canucks and Dylan Larkin’s with the Detroit Red Wings.

Detroit Red Wings captain Dylan Larkin (NHL Images).

Horvat and Larkin are both eligible for unrestricted free-agent status next July. LeBrun believes Horvat would’ve signed a deal comparable to Hintz’s during the offseason but he’s not so sure he’d do so now given the shifting marketplace. The expectation of a rising salary cap after three years of a flattened cap could affect next summer’s free-agent market.

VANCOUVER HOCKEY INSIDER: Rob Simpson believes Hintz’s new contract will affect Horvat’s contract negotiations with the Canucks. If they make a similar investment in their captain it could require shedding some salary to fit that new deal under their salary cap.

Simpson pointed out that Brock Boeser lacks no-trade protection in his current deal. Meanwhile, J.T. Miller’s no-movement clause doesn’t go into effect until his contract extension kicks in next July.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: There’s no question that Hintz’s and Barzal’s contract extensions will affect the market value of Horvat and Larkin. Both players could seek between $8.5 million and $9.5 million on their subsequent contracts as Hintz and Barzal have set the market value.

With nearly $40 million in projected cap space for 2023-24 (based on the cap rising by the projected $1 million to $83.5 million), the Red Wings are in a good position to re-sign Larkin to a lucrative long-term deal. The only question is how much general manager Steve Yzerman is willing to invest in his captain, who wants to remain part of the Wings’ rebuilding process.

The Canucks, however, will only have $13.5 million, making it difficult to squeeze Horvat within their limited cap space unless they make a cost-cutting move or two. That could happen if they fail to qualify for the 2023 playoffs. Then again, they could part ways with Horvat and use the savings to invest in stocking up their porous blueline.

STARS SEEK A SCORING FORWARD

TSN: Darren Dreger reports the Stars would like to add another scoring forward to their ranks. They want to find someone to play alongside Tyler Seguin and Mason Marchment on their second line.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Dreger referred to that as a “top-six luxury item”. In other words, it’s something they’d like to add but it’s not a season-breaker. They have a projected $2.7 million in trade deadline cap space. Perhaps they’ll make a move as the trade deadline draws near and more rental options become available.

TOP DUCKS TRADE ASSETS

THE HOCKEY NEWS: Veteran defensemen John Klingberg and Kevin Shattenkirk top Adam Proteau’s list of the Anaheim Ducks’ top-five tradeable assets.

Klingberg is on a one-year deal with a 10-team no-trade list as of Jan. 1. He’s the biggest proven blueline commodity next to the Arizona Coyotes’ Jakob Chychrun and Shayne Gostisbehere in the trade market.

Teams could turn to Shattenkirk if they lose out on Klingberg and Chychrun given his Stanley Cup pedigree. Blueliner Dmitry Kulikov, winger Frank Vatrano and center/winger Adam Henrique round out Proteau’s list.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Ducks are currently at the bottom of the overall standings and could likely still be there by the March 3 trade deadline. General manager Pat Verbeek was a seller leading up to last season’s deadline and will be again in 2023. Any one of those players on Proteau’s list could be playing elsewhere by the end of March 3.










NHL Rumor Mill – November 25, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – November 25, 2022

Which forwards could the Golden Knights target in the trade market? Should the Oilers attempt to acquire Kasperi Kapanen? Are the Wild in the market for more scoring? Find out in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.

TRADE TARGETS FOR THE GOLDEN KNIGHTS

VEGAS HOCKEY NOW: Owen Krepps has Vancouver Canucks center Bo Horvat at the top of his list of six potential trade candidates for the Golden Knights to boost their forward depth. He admits, however, the Canucks could set an asking price that’s too expensive for Vegas.

Montreal Canadiens center Sean Monahan, Chicago Blackhawks forward Max Domi, Columbus Blue Jackets winger Gustav Nyquist, Edmonton Oilers winger Jesse Puljujarvi and Pittsburgh Penguins winger Kasperi Kapanen round out Krepps’ list.

Chicago Blackhawks forward Max Domi (NHL Images).

Krepps acknowledged the cap-strapped Golden Knights will have to shed some salary. One way could be shopping goaltender Laurent Brossoit ($2.3 million) as Logan Thompson and Adin Hill are playing well as the goaltending tandem. Another option could be shopping defenseman Alec Martinez.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I doubt the Golden Knights can free up sufficient cap space to acquire Horvat and they probably can’t afford the Canucks asking price in terms of picks and prospects. Monahan’s $6.4 million cap hit also probably prices him out of their market unless the Habs agree to retain some of his salary, and that will mean parting with a sweetener they probably can’t afford to give up. The same goes for Nyquist and his $5.5 million cap hit.

Domi ($3 million), Puljujarvi ($3 million) and Kapanen ($3.2 million) are more affordable and likely obtainable targets. Domi is the best of this bunch. While inconsistent, he’s putting up better stats this season (14 points) than Puljujarvi and Kapanen combined (nine points). However, the Golden Knights might not be able to outbid other clubs if he continues playing as well as he has for the rebuilding Blackhawks.

WOULD KAPANEN BE A FIT FOR THE OILERS?

THE ATHLETIC’S Jonathan Willis recently wondered if Pittsburgh Penguins winger Kasperi Kapanen might be a worthwhile “change-of-scenery flip” for the Edmonton Oilers. He pointed out Kapanen makes around the same cap hit as Jesse Puljujarvi and is signed a year longer. Willis noted he’s “better 5v5 scoring & finishing history, worse possession metrics.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kapanen straight up for Puljujarvi. Both might benefit from a change of scenery. Who says no? Provide your answers in the comments section below.

THE WILD ARE SEEKING SOME SCORING HELP

THE ATHLETIC’S Michael Russo tweeted on Wednesday that Minnesota Wild general manager Bill Guerin admitted he’s looking for scoring help. However, he’s hoping the issue can be addressed internally.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Keep an eye on the Wild in the coming weeks. Guerin could be active in the trade market if he can’t find an internal fix for his scoring woes.










NHL Rumor Mill – November 23, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – November 23, 2022

A look at the early season trade targets in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.

ANALYSIS OF THE EARLY-SEASON TRADE TARGETS

DAILY FACEOFF: Vancouver Canucks center Bo Horvat top Frank Seravalli’s first list of trade targets for 2022-23. He pointed out there hasn’t been much talk about a contract extension between the pending free agent and Canucks management since prior to training camp. Seravalli suggests “Colorado, Detroit, Boston and Edmonton” among the clubs that could use a top-flight center like Horvat.

Vancouver Canucks captain Bo Horvat (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman reports Canucks president of hockey operations Jim Rutherford is in no hurry to decide what to do with Horvat. That’s understandable since the trade deadline isn’t until March 3 so there’s no reason for Rutherford to rush into a decision regarding his captain at this point.

Nevertheless, the longer Horvat remains unsigned the more speculation over his future will increase as the trade deadline approaches. We’ll find out in due course if those clubs mentioned by Seravalli actually get into the bidding for the Canucks captain.

Chicago Blackhawks forwards Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews sit second and third on Servalli’s list.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Seravalli indicated the Blackhawks are expected to start a conversation with Kane in December to gauge his interest in a trade. He and Toews have complete control over their fates given their no-movement clauses.

Friedman wonders whether the Los Angeles Kings would make a pitch for Kane. He indicates they have the picks and prospects to make this move. Provided Kane is willing to accept a trade to Los Angeles, I question whether the Kings can comfortably afford to pick up the remainder of his $10.5 million cap hit.

Arizona Coyotes defenseman Jakob Chychrun and Anaheim Ducks blueliner John Klingberg sit fourth and fifth on this list.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Friedman reported the Coyotes are still asking for “two first-rounders (upcoming picks or recently-drafted prospects), plus something else.”

TSN’s Pierre LeBrun believes the Coyotes based their high asking price for Chychrun on what the Ducks received from the Boston Bruins last season for Hampus Lindholm. That package included a first-round pick and two second-rounders. He also cited the two first-round picks the Chicago Blackhawks received as part of the return from the Tampa Bay Lightning in the Brandon Hagel deal.

As for Klingberg, Seravalli reminds us that the pending UFA’s no-trade clause is lifted on Jan. 1. We can expect to hear his name more frequently in trade rumors between New Year’s Day and March 3.

San Jose Sharks winger Timo Meier, Florida Panthers winger Anthony Duclair, Columbus Blue Jackets defenseman Vladislav Gavrikov, Los Angeles Kings blueliner Sean Walker and Sharks rearguard Erik Karlsson fill positions six through 10.

Seravalli points out Meier’s expensive qualifying offer ($10 million) will have teams looking at him as a rental player than as a restricted free agent…Duclair is only on the list because the Panthers will have to shed salary when he’s ready to return from his offseason Achilles tear but he might not necessarily be the player who gets traded. He carries a $3 million cap hit.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Meier could be shopped unless he and the Sharks can agree to a new deal with a more affordable cap hit. Given his RFA status next summer, the Sharks can wait until the offseason to shop him if they don’t get any offers they like before the trade deadline.

As for Duclair, I think the Panthers intend to keep him after he rediscovered his game playing for them last season. They’ll have to shed around $3 million to become cap compliant.

Gavrikov is a pending UFA but I’m not convinced the Blue Jackets will move him unless contract talks go south before the trade deadline…Seravalli pointed out the Kings have a glut of defensemen. They don’t want to move Walker but he could be the odd man out given his injury history.

Karlsson would help any NHL club but, as Seravalli notes, his $11.5 million annual cap hit and full no-movement clause significantly limit the number of potential trade destinations. That could be a trade that happens in the offseason provided Karlsson is willing to waive his NMC and the Sharks retain a big chunk of his cap hit.

Blue Jackets center Jack Roslovic, Washington Capitals defenseman Nick Jensen, Blackhawks winger Andreas Athanasiou, Coyotes blueliner Shayne Gostisbehere and Sharks goalie James Reimer coming in at spots 11 through 15.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Roslovic’s inconsistency really hurts his trade value…The Capitals could peddle Jensen if they’re out of playoff contention leading up to the trade deadline. The same goes for Athanasiou and Reimer…I would place Gotisbehere higher on this list, perhaps in the bottom half of the top 10. The puck-moving defenseman had 51 points in 82 games last season on the offensively anemic Coyotes and has 10 points in 17 games this season. He should draw plenty of interest near the trade deadline from teams seeking offense from the blueline.

Canucks winger Brock Boeser, Blackhawks center Max Domi, New York Rangers winger Ryan Reaves, Canadiens center Sean Monahan and Pittsburgh Penguins winger Kasperi Kapanen round out the remainder of this list.

If the Canucks continue to spiral they could start unloading expensive contracts like Boeser’s…Reaves has been a healthy scratch in recent games. The Rangers wouldn’t want much in return as they’d prefer the cap flexibility.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Boeser’s a scoring threat when healthy but his injury history could make him difficult to move…Domi would draw interest from contenders seeking a versatile depth rental…Reaves’ toughness should make him an affordable and enticing option for contenders seeking postseason grit…Monahan’s having a solid season (11 points in 17 games) with the Canadiens and would make a good depth center on a playoff contender…Kapanen’s trade value is so low right now that the Penguins probably couldn’t give him away at this point.










Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – November 20, 2022

Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – November 20, 2022

Could the Blue Jackets be a destination for Bo Horvat? Are the Canucks trying to move Tyler Myers to the Senators What’s the latest on Erik Karlsson? Will the Coyotes consider moving more than Jakob Chychrun? Check out the latest in the Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup.

THE LATEST CANUCKS SPECULATION

THE PROVINCE: Patrick Johnston reports the Vancouver Canucks won’t lack for trade candidates if management can find teams willing to deal with them. They could opt to make another coaching change but Johnston suggests a trade might be the next option to shake things up.

President of hockey operations Jim Rutherford has indicated his club might have to consider moving one or two players they otherwise wouldn’t have moved in the offseason. He’d seek a return that would enable them to remain the same as they are now and get a couple of younger assets.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman weighed in on the Canucks during a recent “32 Thoughts” podcast episode. He felt Elias Pettersson and Quinn Hughes are their only untouchables and they could listen on everyone else.

Vancouver Canucks captain Bo Horvat (NHL Images).

I would add goaltender Thatcher Demko to that list given the difficulty they’ll encounter in finding a suitable replacement. Demko’s had his struggles this season but that’s due in part to the Canucks’ horrible defense. They could regret trading him if he goes on to regain his form with another club.

Johnston suggested center Bo Horvat, defenseman Tyler Myers, winger Conor Garland and blueliner Jack Rathbone as trade candidates.

Horvat, 26, is slated to become an unrestricted free agent next summer. He’s scoring plenty of goals this season and carries an affordable $5.5 million cap hit. Johnston assumes the Canucks will trade their captain if he’s not re-signed.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Friedman said he’s heard some rumors linking Horvat to the Columbus Blue Jackets given their need for a center. However, I think the Jackets would want assurances that Horvat will sign with them before parting with valuable assets to acquire him.

Regarding Myers, Johnston writes the 32-year-old is at best a depth defenseman now. He doesn’t see teams giving up younger blueliners to get him, especially if the Canucks aren’t willing to retain any portion of his $6 million average annual value through next season. Johnston noted reports linking Myers to the Toronto Maple Leafs but cited league sources claiming that the Leafs interest was lukewarm.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Friedman reported on Saturday night that the Canucks talked to the Ottawa Senators about a possible swap of Myers for Nikita Zaitsev, who recently cleared waivers and was demoted to the Senators’ AHL affiliate. He’s not sure where things stand on that possible deal but said it had been discussed.

Johnston cited sources saying Garland, who is building a home near Boston, would be amenable to a move closer to home. He’s on a five-year deal with an AAV of $4.95 million.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Garland’s hardworking style should draw interest if the Canucks dangle him in the trade market. His annual cap hit isn’t bad but could be difficult to absorb for some cap-strapped clubs.

AN UPDATE ON ERIK KARLSSON

SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman reports he doesn’t believe San Jose Sharks management has approached Erik Karlsson yet about waiving his no-movement clause. He also thinks the Sharks are trying to determine what teams are willing to do regarding the 32-year-old defenseman’s contract. He’s signed through 2026-27 with an AAV of $11.5 million.

Friedman also addressed the possibility of Karlsson returning to the Ottawa Senators. It considers it “very unlikely” the Sens will be able to pull it off.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Karlsson’s NMC and cap hit are major sticking points. His list of preferred trade destinations could be quite small. His cap hit will be very difficult for most clubs to take on. The Sharks will probably be asked to retain a portion of it up to 50 percent.

COULD THE COYOTES LOOK AT MOVING MORE THAN CHYCHRUN?

SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman notes that defenseman Jakub Chychrun will make his long-awaited return to the Arizona Coyotes lineup on Monday. He also suggested keeping an eye on Coyotes blueliner Conor Timmins, who is currently in the AHL on a conditioning stint. Timmins has been hampered by injuries and Friedman wonders if he could also end up on the move.

Jeff Marek also mentioned Shayne Gostisbehere could be another rearguard the Coyotes could move. He believes that would be more of a trade deadline deal.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Of that trio of Coyotes defensemen, Gostisbehere might be the easiest to move. The Coyotes won’t seek an expensive asking price for him as they are for Chychrun plus he doesn’t have the history of injuries that have plagued Chychrun and Timmins.

The 27-year-old Gostisbehere has rejuvenated his career with the rebuilding Coyotes and is slated to become a UFA next summer. He had 51 points last season in 82 games and has 10 points in 16 contests this season. “Ghost Bear” could be enticing as a rental player for postseason contenders seeking offense from the blueline.










NHL Rumor Mill – November 19, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – November 19, 2022

Could the Capitals be interested in Canucks captain Bo Horvat or Sharks defenseman Erik Karlsson? Should the Penguins make a move for a third-line forward? What’s the latest on the Flames? Find out in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.

LATEST CAPITALS SPECULATION

WASHINGTON HOCKEY NOW: Sammi Silber cited Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman wondering if the Capitals might pursue Bo Horvat if sidelined center Nicklas Backstrom’s playing career is over.

Vancouver Canucks captain Bo Horvat (NHL Images).

Friedman noted that the Vancouver Canucks center is a shooter rather than a passer like Backstrom. The Capitals already have a shooter in captain Alex Ovechkin.

SPORTSNET (via NHL WATCHER): During the latest “32 Thoughts” podcast, Elliotte Friedman suggested the Capitals as a possible destination for Erik Karlsson if the San Jose Sharks defenseman would agree to a trade.

Friedman observed the Capitals only have one defenseman under contract for 2023-24. He also suggested the Florida Panthers as a destination as they’ll have money coming off their salary-cap payroll next season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Earlier in the week, Silber speculated Capitals general manager Brian MacLellan might want to consider making a trade to bolster his struggling lineup while they’re still in playoff contention with the season still young. She noted recent rumors linking the Capitals to the Montreal Canadiens and Ottawa Senators.

Acquiring someone like Horvat or Karlsson will be costly. Silber recently wondered at what point the Capitals would consider trading struggling sophomore center Connor McMichael. I think he’d almost certainly have to be part of a package for an impact player such as Horvat or Karlsson.

Whether such a deal can be made, however, is another story. The Capitals could lack sufficient tradeable assets to pry either guy away from their current teams.

SHOULD THE PENGUINS MAKE A MOVE OR TWO?

THE ATHLETIC: Rob Rossi suggested two moves the Pittsburgh Penguins could make to snap them out of their current rut.

One is placing Kasperi Kapanen on waivers due to his disappointing performance. Rossi doubted anyone would claim the underachieving winger’s contract and believes he should be sent to their AHL affiliate in Wilkes-Barre/Scranton once he clears waivers.

Rossi also believes the Penguins must find a role player with an edge for their third line. He suggested making a move for Nashville Predators winger Tanner Jeannot.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I agree with Rossi’s take on Kapanen. He’s been in and out of the lineup of late and hasn’t contributed when he is playing. He could become a distraction for their farm team if he’s unhappy with demotion but, as Rossi suggests, the Penguins must be confident enough in their AHL coaching staff to handle the situation.

Adding a gritty role player like Jeannot is a good idea but I don’t believe the Predators are keen to part with him, at least not yet. The positives he could bring to the Penguins could also make him valuable to their current club. Perhaps that might change if the Preds fail to rise in the standings. For now, if the Penguins are in the market for such a forward they might have to consider other options.

UPDATE ON THE FLAMES

CALGARY HOCKEY NOW: Steve Macfarlane wonders if Adam Ruzicka’s recent promotion to the Flames’ top line might take them out of the trade market for a scoring forward. The 23-year-old winger has played well in that role thus far after being a healthy scratch in 10 of the Flames’ first 11 games.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Macfarlane admits we’ve only seen a small sample size of Ruzicka’s play on the top line thus far. In the five games since his promotion, however, he has two goals and five points. If Ruzicka can maintain that chemistry with Elias Lindholm and Tyler Toffoli, it would take the pressure off management to shop around for another scorer.