Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – November 28, 2021

Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – November 28, 2021

An Eastern Conference club could have interest in Evander Kane, the Hurricanes express interest in the Stars’ John Klingberg, and the latest on the Canucks in the Sunday NHL rumor roundup.


NEW YORK POST: Larry Brooks reports of “credible chatter” claiming an Eastern Conference team could be interested in acquiring Evander Kane from the San Jose Sharks after the 30-year-old winger’s 21-game suspension for violating NHL COVID protocols ends on Nov. 30. Brooks was quick to point out the New York Rangers are not interested in Kane.

San Jose Sharks winger Evander Kane (NHL Images).

Kane has been dealing with considerable off-ice drama this season involving bankruptcy and a messy divorce. He’s also alienated many of his Sharks teammates. While he apologized for his “mistake” of falsifying his vaccination status, it’s uncertain if he’s been vaccinated for COVID-19.

The Sharks are reportedly willing to retain up to half of Kane’s $7 million annual average value through 2024-25. While his offensive skills would make him a good fit among a club’s top-six forwards, his personal baggage could prove an unwelcome distraction and a PR problem.

SAN JOSE HOCKEY NOW: Sheng Peng speculated over which Eastern club would be interested in taking Kane off the Sharks’ hands.

One could be the Carolina Hurricanes given their offseason signing of Tony DeAngelo despite his recent history of disciplinary issues. It could be a “culture-strong” franchise like the Tampa Bay Lightning, Washington Capitals or Pittsburgh Penguins with veteran leadership that Kane would immediately respect. Peng also wondered if the Florida Panthers might be interested given Joe Thornton’s close relationship with Kane when Thornton was still with the Sharks.

Peng said his sources still consider a Kane trade unlikely unless the Sharks also sweeten the pot by adding first-round picks or agree to take a bad contract in return.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Peng makes a good point about Kane perhaps fitting in on a club with veterans he looks up to. That was the case in his first couple of years with the Sharks when Thornton and Joe Pavelski were still with the franchise.

Kane wouldn’t be able to get away with any nonsense playing for the Hurricanes’ Rod Brind’Amour. He could also straighten up playing with the Lightning, Capitals and Penguins or by being reunited with Thornton on the Panthers. The question remains whether any of them are willing to take the chance.


SPORTSNET: Jeff Marek reports several teams have contacted the Dallas Stars inquiring about John Klingberg. One team interested in the 27-year-old defenseman is the Carolina Hurricanes.

Klingberg is slated to become an unrestricted free agent next summer. He seeks an eight-year extension worth in the mid-$60 million range from the Stars.

Marek said the Stars don’t want to trade Klingberg right now because they have playoff aspirations of their own. However, that hasn’t stopped teams from calling.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: We can’t rule out the Stars and Klingberg agreeing to an extension before the trade deadline. They could also keep him as an “own rental” if he’s still unsigned and they’re in playoff contention by the March 21 trade deadline. Still, this situation could be worth following if the Stars fall out of the playoff chase and Klingberg hasn’t signed a new contract leading up to deadline day.

As Marek observed, the Hurricanes aren’t afraid to make bold moves. They were reportedly among the club’s interested in Jack Eichel, their gamble on Tony DeAngelo appears to be working out and they successfully offer-sheeted Jesperi Kotkaniemi. It shouldn’t be surprising that they’re monitoring Klingberg’s situation. For that matter, it wouldn’t be shocking if they acquired Evander Kane.


SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman reports the Vancouver Canucks had permission from the Montreal Canadiens to speak to Claude Julien about their head-coach job. They’ve also talked about Scott Walker for that role. However, he doesn’t think they’re going down that road for either guy. He said the Canucks are considering some options but nothing long-term until they’re convinced they have the right person or people for those jobs.

THE ATHLETIC: Thomas Drance considers it an open secret that the Canucks are looking for a replacement for head coach Travis Green. However, it considers it “enormously telling” if the Julien or Walker routes are closed off to them. It could also be indicative that general manager Jim Benning could be running out of room to maneuver.

Harman Dayal recently indicated his belief the Canucks aren’t actively shopping forward J.T. Miller, especially if the club remains in “win-now” mode. His versatility and physical style provides them with some much-needed flexibility and bite.

However, the Canucks must consider if Miller is willing to sign a contract extension and whether it would be worth the high price to sign him. They must also consider if they can still build a winner during the Miller-Bo Horvat window or if a retool would be a better option.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Canucks and Montreal Canadiens have been jockeying for this season’s dubious honor of Canada’s most dysfunctional team.

At least the Canadiens seem to be making some progress with the reports they could bring in former Rangers GM Jeff Gorton as a potential president of hockey operations. The Canucks front office, meanwhile, still seem stubbornly resistant to doing anything significant to shake things up. Granted, it’s worthwhile not to be too hasty and risk making a mistake but at some point, they have to act.

Miller probably won’t be traded this season but I can see his role and those of every player on the Canucks being evaluated by a new general manager in the offseason. That’s assuming ownership finally runs out of patience with Benning by that point and finds a suitable replacement by then.

NHL Rumor Mill – November 25, 2021

NHL Rumor Mill – November 25, 2021

A look at possible Canucks trade candidates plus the latest Stars speculation in today’s NHL rumor mill.


THE ATHLETIC: With trade rumors swirling about the Vancouver Canucks, Thomas Drance looked at which players are likely to become trade candidates if management decides to shake things up or being overhauling the roster.

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

Drance believes J.T. Miller’s competitive style, experience and versatility would interest clubs in “win-now” mode. He said there are teams monitoring the Canucks fortunes with Miller’s short-term future in mind, including the Minnesota Wild.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Miller, 30, is also signed through 2022-23 with an annual cap hit of $5.25 million and lacking no-trade protection. However, his agent told Drance’s colleague Rick Dhaliwal they haven’t had any conversations with Canucks management about trades.

Drance also addressed recent speculation about Canucks winger Brock Boeser. While acknowledging the 24-year-old winger’s talent as a sniper, he felt Boeser’s $7.5 million in actual salary this season is too expensive for most clubs in a flat-cap era. He’s a restricted free agent next summer with arbitration rights.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Dhaliwal also reported Boeser’s agent said he doesn’t believe his client will be traded but he’s aware it could happen. He said Brock has faith in the Canucks team and his teammates to get through their struggles.

Players slated to become unrestricted free agents next summer, such as Jaroslav Halak and Tyler Motte, are the most likely to be moved if the Canucks become sellers by the March trade deadline.

Drance also suggested Micheal Ferland’s permanent long-term injury reserve status could have some value for cap-strapped clubs seeking creative solutions. He also didn’t rule out the possibility of moving players like Travis Hamonic, Jason Dickinson and Tanner Pearson who still have term on their contracts.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Canucks could surprise by moving one of their talented core players. However, I think Drance’s assessment is spot on and I recommend reading the entire piece if you have a subscription to The Athletic.

A rival club could make an offer for someone like Miller or Boeser before the trade deadline that’s too good for general manager Jim Benning (or his replacement?) to pass up. Still, it could be difficult to put that type of deal together during the season.


THE DALLAS MORNING NEWS: Matthew DeFranks recently observed promising goaltender Jake Oettinger is giving Stars management something to think about. He’s outplaying veteran Anton Khudobin but there’s a logjam in goal with Braden Holtby (lower-body injury) expected to return soon from a lower-body injury.

With three goalies on the roster, the Stars don’t have enough cap space to call up any extra forwards or defensemen. DeFranks indicated they could trade Holtby ($2 million) or Khudobin ($3.33 million) but that would deplete depth between the pipes as sidelined starter Ben Bishop’s status remains unclear.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Stars signed Holtby not because they lacked confidence in Oettinger but rather they wanted him to get a little more seasoning in the AHL before bringing him into the roster on a full-time basis. His performance this season shows his effort in the shortened 2020-21 campaign was no fluke.

Oettinger remains waiver-exempt so the Stars can send him down to their AHL affiliate once Holtby returns from his lower-body injury. Trading Holtby or Khudobin, however, would be an easier way to address this. The uncertainty over Bishop, however, remains a nagging issue. He’s reportedly eligible to come off LTIR but still isn’t physically ready to play.

The Stars shouldn’t have much difficulty moving Holtby or Khudobin if they go that route later in the season. There are already some clubs (hello there, Buffalo Sabres) in need of experienced goalie depth who could come calling.

NHL Rumor Mill – November 23, 2021

NHL Rumor Mill – November 23, 2021

Could the struggling Canucks trade J.T. Miller and Brock Boeser? Are the Wild interested in one of them? Check out the latest in today’s NHL rumor mill.

CANUCKS ARMY: cited Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman indicating tension is really high among the Vancouver Canucks organization. “Everybody’s looking around at everybody else and saying, ‘okay, we’re waiting for something to happen.’ Is it going to be an executive? Is it going to be a coach or is it going to be a player? Who’s it going to be,” he said.

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

Friedman also observed there are agents calling the Canucks trying to figure out who’s getting moved if anyone. He also said he’s heard from a couple of teams that saying they can tell the Canucks are trying to be careful to avoid making a move that could hurt them for decades.

THE PROVINCE: Ben Kuzma reports the Minnesota Wild have contacted the Canucks expressing interest in J.T. Miller. He speculates the Wild would likely dangle winger Kevin Fiala, who’s on an expiring contract and has managed just three goals this season despite 58 shots.

Fiala could regain his scoring touch with a change of scenery but Kuzma believes the Wild must sweeten the deal if they hope to land Miller. He suggested big winger Jordan Greenway but felt he’d be better suited to a fourth-line role rather than skating alongside Elias Pettersson. He’s also on an expiring contract worth $2.1 million this season, which could be difficult for the cap-strapped Canucks to absorb.

Kuzma thinks a logical ask by the Canucks in any trade would be a high draft pick. They shipped their 2022 second-round pick to the Arizona Coyotes in the offseason. Kuzma wondered if Fiala and a second-rounder would be enough for Miller or would it take another pick to close the deal. He also suggested the Wild could be just fishing in hope of landing a player who can help them get out of a tough division and make noise in the playoffs.

VANCOUVER HOCKEY NOW: Rob Simpson reports NHL executives will tell you Brock Boeser has been “out there” since the offseason but the trade talk has heated up in recent days. Simpson wondered if that knowledge might be contributing to the 24-year-old winger’s woeful production of late.

Simpson noted Canucks general manager Jim Benning didn’t rule out the possibility of trades during his media availability last week. It appears there’s interest in Boeser but it won’t be easy finding a trade partner with sufficient cap space and a glut of defensemen. He also cited a source saying Elias Pettersson wouldn’t be happy if Boeser was traded. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Canucks are a hot mess and show no sign of significant improvement. Team owner Francesco Aquilini met with Benning last week but apparently, no changes were in the offing as Aquilini intended to remain patient.

The takeaway from that suggests Benning and head coach Travis Green are safe for now. That could mean a shakeup trade could be coming if the Canucks’ fortunes don’t improve soon.

Fiala is a scoring winger but consistency has long been an issue with his production. The 25-year-old winger is a restricted free agent with arbitration rights next summer. His $5.1 million cap hit this season is comparable to Miller’s $5.25 million and would be a little more affordable than Boeser’s $5.875 million. Greenway is also an RFA with arbitration rights next summer.

If Miller or Boeser are available I would expect Benning will be getting some interest from clubs other than the Wild. Given his uneven trade record, however, Canucks fans will be understandably nervous about his ability to land a solid return for either guy.