NHL Rumor Mill – June 9, 2023
NHL Rumor Mill – June 9, 2023
The latest on Pierre-Luc Dubois, Carter Hart and Brock Boeser plus updates on the Devils and Blackhawks in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.
POTENTIAL TRADE DESTINATIONS FOR DUBOIS
THE SCORE: Josh Wegman listed the Boston Bruins, Carolina Hurricanes, Colorado Avalanche, Detroit Red Wings and Montreal Canadiens as potential landing spots for Pierre-Luc Dubois. The 24-year-old Winnipeg Jets center could be traded this summer as he’s not interested in signing an extension with the club.
Wegman believes compensation would be a hangup for the Bruins given their depleted prospect pool. That’s not an issue for the Hurricanes, who also have plenty of salary-cap space. Wegman speculates Jesperi Kotkaniemi might interest the Jets.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Bruins’ limited cap space also probably takes them out of the running. The Hurricanes need scoring but the Jets might prefer someone like Martin Necas or Seth Jarvis over Kotkaniemi.
The Avalanche also have a limited prospect pool but they could dangle defenseman Samuel Girard. They’re also getting some cap relief with Gabriel Landeskog ($7 million average annual value) out for next season recovering from knee surgery. The rebuilding Red Wings have plenty of prospects to draw on for trade bait but they’d have to convince Dubois to sign long-term.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Dubois could be a terrific fit with the talented Avalanche but I think that they’d have to add more than Girard to make this deal worthwhile for the Jets. The Red Wings have the assets to make a tempting offer and the cap space to sign him to a long-term deal. However, I don’t see him committing to such a contract with a rebuilding team.
The Canadiens are considered the most likely landing spot given his agent’s comments last summer suggesting his client would one day like to play for the Habs. The Athletic reports they reached out to Winnipeg about Dubois after the Jets were eliminated from the playoffs. They have the assets and cap flexibility to make this happen.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The question is, how badly do the Canadiens want Dubois? Enough to part with more than just draft picks and prospects? Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman last weekend indicated the Jets were seeking more than just futures for Dubois, Connor Hellebuyck and Mark Scheifele. They want a return that enables them to make a fast turnaround. That could mean the Habs part with Kirby Dach or Josh Anderson.
The other issue is how much the Canadiens are willing to pay for Dubois on a long-term deal. While Nick Suzuki is their highest-paid skater at $7.875 million, The Athletic’s Arpon Basu reports general manager Kent Hughes said that’s not a cap for signing an unrestricted free agent or someone who’s a year away from UFA eligibility. If Hughes is comfortable paying Dubois an AAV of $9 million, perhaps a deal can be made here.
LATEST ON CARTER HART
SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman reported hearing different feedback regarding the trade status of Philadelphia Flyers goaltender Carter Hart. Some claim a trade is “nowhere near close” while others thought it was “getting pretty hot.” Friedman cited sources linking Hart to the Canadiens, Toronto Maple Leafs, Buffalo Sabres and Ottawa Senators.
The Canadiens have backup Jake Allen for another season while Sam Montembeault had a good season and played well for Canada at the 2022 World Championships. However, Hart’s ceiling is considered to be higher.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: According to The Athletic’s Arpon Basu and Marc Antoine Godin, the Canadiens aren’t interested in Hart.
Friedman claimed there were mixed messages from his sources regarding the Leafs with one denying interest while some aren’t ruling it out. He also cited their change in management and how GM Brad Treliving likes to be in on everything.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I wouldn’t rule it out but I can see them sticking with an affordable tandem of Ilya Samsonov and Joseph Woll, who both played well for them this season. They also have to deal with shedding the contract oft-sidelined goalie Matt Murray.
The Sabres will be part of goalie trade rumors until they either make a trade or say they’re sticking with what they have. As for the Senators, Friedman said their rumors interest was “denied to me”.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Hart might not be a certainty to move as originally believed. Friedman followed up by reporting that a source told him to dial back the Hart trade rumors as that’s not a front-burner issue for the Flyers.
BOESER TRADE RUMORS COOLING
THE ATHLETIC: Pierre LeBrun recently reported the temperature on the Brock Boeser front has cooled. The winger’s agent was given permission to speak with other clubs by the Vancouver Canucks but nothing came of it, adding that no teams are calling the Canucks about him.
Boeser had a meeting with Canucks GM Patrik Allvin following the season and expressed his desire to stay put. That doesn’t necessarily mean he’s out of play but the club is more than happy to keep him if they don’t get any suitable trade offers.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: That would explain why we’ve heard more about Conor Garland or Tyler Myers as trade candidates in recent weeks.
UPDATES ON THE DEVILS
NJ HOCKEY NOW: James Nichols cited Pierre LeBrun reported that the New Jersey Devils have made an eight-year contract offer to winger Jesper Bratt. The average annual value is unknown but expected to be a high number. They’re also in talks with winger Timo Meier, whose AAV could be higher than Bratt’s.
The Devils have also had discussions with pending UFA forward Erik Haula. There is mutual interest in working out a new contract. Meanwhile, UFA defenseman Ryan Graves’ future in New Jersey isn’t as clear. His agent indicates that the Devils need to figure out if they have room. Nichols noted the arrival of Luke Hughes and Simon Nemec knocking on the door could see Graves moving on.
The Columbus Blue Jackets had expressed an interest in acquiring the rights of pending UFA rearguard Damon Severson. That was before they traded for Ivan Provorov earlier this week but Nichols suggests that doesn’t necessarily mean they’re no longer interested in Severson, who’s a right-handed shot while Provorov shoots left.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Hockey News’ Jason Newland believes the Blue Jackets’ acquisition of Provorov kills the idea of them signing Severson. He believes the latter will be too expensive, suggesting the Jackets could invest that money elsewhere.
**UPDATE** TSN reports the Blue Jackets acquired Severson this morning in a sign-and-trade deal. He is signing an eight-year contract with the Jackets.
BLACKHAWKS MUST SPEND TO REACH THE CAP MINIMUM
THE HOCKEY NEWS: Matt Carlson recently reported the Chicago Blackhawks had $42 million in salary covering 13 players for next season (Note: This was before they signed Andreas Athanasiou to a two-year deal with an AAV of $4.25 million).
With the salary cap minimum being between $62 million and $63 million, GM Kyle Davidson will have to go shopping to be cap compliant for the start of 2023-24.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Athletic’s Scott Powers reports Davidson said he’ll have no problem reaching the cap floor. He’ll utilize his cap space to gain assets, but that market hasn’t been determined yet.
In other words, Davidson will be a buyer in this summer’s free-agent market. He could also take on some salary via a trade or two.