NHL Rumor Mill – April 10, 2024

NHL Rumor Mill – April 10, 2024

Check out the latest on the Canadiens and Flyers in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.


SPORTSNET: Eric Engels noted the Montreal Canadiens’ ongoing need for scoring depth following their 4-2 loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs.

A healthy Kirby Dach and improving young players like Juraj Slafkovsky and Alex Newhook should help the Canadiens’ offense next season. Nevertheless, Engels believes general manager Kent Hughes must use his plethora of defensemen and draft picks as trade bait to bolster their scoring punch.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Hughes acknowledged the need for more scoring following last month’s trade deadline. He hinted that he could be a buyer again at the draft. He acquired Dach during the first round of the 2022 draft and Newhook the day before the opening round of last year’s draft.

Dach and Newhook are promising players yet to reach their potential. The Canadiens need one or two established scorers, preferably in their mid-to-late twenties who can fit into the club’s long-term plans.

TVA SPORTS: Jean-Charles Lajoie and Tony Marinaro believe the Canadiens should part ways with struggling winger Josh Anderson.

Montreal Canadiens winger Josh Anderson (NHL Images).

Lajoie believes the Canadiens cannot bring back Anderson next season. He suggests retaining 50 percent of his $5.5 million annual average value or buying out the remaining three years of his deal.

Failing that, Marinaro recommends Anderson start next season with their AHL affiliate in Laval. He pointed out they did the same thing this season with Joel Armia, whose performance improved after spending eight games with their farm team.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’ll be interesting to see what Hughes has in store for Anderson, whose production fell from 21 goals in 2022-23 to just nine this season. The 29-year-old winger carries an eight-team no-trade list this season and a five-team no-trade for the remainder of the contract.

The Canadiens will have over $19 million in cap space (factoring in Carey Price’s $10.5 million on permanent LTIR) for 2024-25. Still, Hughes might not want to carry six years of dead cap space on his books, especially if he’s got plans to bring in a scorer or two this summer.

Buying out Anderson would only count as over $222K next season, climbing to $2.22 million in 2025-26 and $3.72 million in 2026-27 before dropping to $1.72 million in each of the final three seasons. Even with a rising cap, that’s a long time to carry that buyout on the books.

Retaining half his salary would be a better option but it’s still $2.75 million in dead cap space per season for three years. The best move could be to keep Anderson for another season, see if his production improves, and decide his future afterward.


THE ATHLETIC: Kevin Kurz wondered if there could be offseason repercussions for the Philadelphia Flyers if they miss the playoffs. Having held a postseason berth for most of the season, the struggling Flyers are in danger of failing to clinch a spot.

The Flyers could go into next season with Samuel Ersson and Ivan Fedotov as their goalie tandem, depending on the latter’s contract talks. However, it’s not settled that they’re good enough to carry the club into the playoffs.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Carter Hart’s absence from the Flyers contributed to their slide down the standings in recent weeks. Ersson’s done his best to fill the void but wasn’t meant to carry such a heavy workload at this early stage of his NHL career. After being forced to spend the past two seasons in the KHL, Fedotov has only three games of NHL experience and came in a couple of weeks ago under unusual circumstances.

With Hart’s future in the NHL cloudy, the Flyers could bring in a veteran backup for Ersson if Fedotov isn’t re-signed before July 1.

Kurz also cited hockey analyst Doug MacLean speculating that Flyers head coach John Tortorella could move into a management role next season.

MacLean claimed Tortorella requested a transition to management during his final season with the Columbus Blue Jackets. Then-GM Jarmo Kekalainen declined and Tortorella left at the end of the season.

If Tortorella took a management role, Kurz wondered if assistant coach Brad Shaw or Rocky Thompson would take over as head coach. He also noted that former St. Louis Blues bench boss Craig Berube is tight with Flyers president Keith Jones.

Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – March 24, 2024

Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – March 24, 2024

Check out the most recent Canadiens speculation in the Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup.

SPORTSNET: Eric Engels reported Montreal Canadiens general manager Kent Hughes hopes to accelerate his club’s rebuilding timeline during the offseason. He knows that his roster still needs work, especially their need for scoring depth.

Engels noted that Hughes has plenty of assets to draw on for trade bait this summer. He has plenty of promising young defensemen, four first-round picks and three second-rounders in the next two drafts and plenty of salary-cap space.

Montreal Canadiens general manager Kent Hughes (NHL.com).

At this stage, Engels doesn’t see them pursuing expensive aging veterans in this summer’s unrestricted free-agent market.

MONTREAL GAZETTE: Stu Cowan reported Jeff Gorton, the Canadiens executive vice-president of hockey operations, indicated that his club is always looking to add and to improve the roster. He said the Canadiens are “always looking for a trade” that would help move their rebuild along.

THE ATHLETIC: Arpon Basu also took note of the Canadiens’ depth in young defensemen. He believes this summer gives them a prime opportunity to flip some of those blueliners for help at forward.

Basu noted the Canadiens had done this before. During the first round of the 2022 draft, they shipped promising Alexander Romanov to the New York Islanders for a first-round pick that they sent to the Chicago Blackhawks for Kirby Dach. They did so because Guhle was in their system and would crack the roster the following season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Basu pointed out that David Savard was not moved at this year’s trade deadline but could be traded during the offseason.

THE SCORE: Josh Wegman listed what he believes are the five priorities facing the Canadiens in the offseason.

Wegman feels they should weaponize their $19 million in cap space to continue stockpiling draft picks and prospects by targeting cap-strapped clubs looking to shed salary. Such teams are usually willing to add sweeteners to move out players. As long as it’s a short-term contract, it could help them add a prospect or draft pick.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Canadiens have experience in that department, most notably their acquisition of Sean Monahan two years ago from the Calgary Flames. They could continue to go that route. However, recent remarks by Hughes and Gorton suggest they’re focusing on adding a player who can help them accelerate their rebuild.

The Canadiens should also sign Juraj Slafkovsky and Kaiden Guhle to long-term extensions this summer before it becomes more expensive to re-sign them. The duo have a year each remaining on their entry-level contracts.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Agreed. There’s a risk that they might not play up to the expectations that come with such contracts. Usually, however, such deals turn into long-term bargains if they continue to develop as projected.

Wegman believes the Canadiens should make a modest splash in this summer’s UFA market to bolster their forward depth. Options could include Boston’s Jake DeBrusk, Edmonton’s Warren Foegele or Detroit’s Daniel Sprong.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It could be worthwhile provided they don’t overpay for the privilege. However, they could be more interested in finding a forward in his mid-twenties who would have a bigger impact and fit better within their long-term plans.

Wegman also thinks they should shop a veteran defenseman like Savard or Johnathan Kovacevic. Both are a year away from UFA eligibility. He also advises against buying out Brendan Gallagher or Josh Anderson as it would hurt the Canadiens’ long-term salary-cap flexibility when they project to be contenders again.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Gallagher and Anderson each have three years left on their contract. It’s better to hang onto them for another couple of years and go the buyout route in the final season when the cost will only be spread out over two years.

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 14, 2024

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 14, 2024

The Oilers and Kraken maintain their win streaks while the Jets’ and Panthers’ streaks come to an end and the final 12 players are announced for the All-Star Game. Details and more from a busy Saturday in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.

NHL.COM: The Edmonton Oilers set a franchise record with their 10th consecutive win by nipping the Montreal Canadiens 2-1 on an overtime power-play goal by Evan Bouchard. Leon Draisaitl tied the game in the third period for the Oilers (23-15-1) as they hold the final Western Conference wild-card berth with 47 points. Sam Montembeault stopped 39 shots and Cole Caufield scored for the 17-18-7 Canadiens.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Canadiens called up Joshua Roy from their AHL affiliate in Laval to replace sidelined winger Josh Anderson.

Seattle Kraken winger Jared McCann scored twice and added an assist as his club won their franchise-record ninth straight contest by downing the Columbus Blue Jackets 7-4, extending their points streak to 13 games. Joey Daccord made 30 saves for his eighth straight win while Oliver Bjorkstrand had a goal and two assists for the 19-14-9 Kraken, who sit just behind the Oilers with 47 points. Ivan Provorov tallied twice for the 13-21-9 Blue Jackets.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Blue Jackets made rookie defenseman David Jiricek a healthy scratch from this contest.

The Winnipeg Jets’ eight-game win streak came to an end as they fell 2-0 to the Philadelphia Flyers. Samuel Ersson made 35 saves for the shutout while Cam Atkinson scored twice to snap his goalless streak that stretched back to Nov. 11. With a record of 23-14-6, the Flyers sit third in the Metropolitan Division with 52 points. Connor Hellebuyck turned aside 34 shots for the 28-10-4 Jets, as they slipped into second place in the overall standings with 60 points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Flyers played without Jamie Drysdale (illness) and Sean Couturier (“minor injury”) while Jets center Mark Scheifele sat out with a lower-body injury.

Vancouver Canucks goaltender Thatcher Demko made 26 saves to blank the Buffalo Sabres 1-0. Sam Lafferty netted the only goal for the 29-11-3 Canucks for their fifth straight win as they vaulted over the Jets into first overall with 61 points. Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen stopped 22 shots for the 18-21-4 Sabres.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Sabres defenseman Mattias Samuelsson left the game in the second period after taking an elbow in the face from Canucks blueliner Filip Hronek.

A 36-save performance by Nico Daws carried the New Jersey Devils over the Florida Panthers 4-1, snapping the latter’s nine-game win streak. Jesper Bratt scored what proved to be the game-winner for the 22-15-3 Devils (47 points) as they sit one point out of the final Eastern Conference wild-card spot. Sam Reinhart extended his goal streak to six games for the Panthers (27-13-2) as they sit second in the Eastern Conference with 56 points.

Boston Bruins defenseman Charlie McAvoy (NHL Images).

An overtime goal by Charlie McAvoy gave the Boston Bruins a 4-3 win over the St. Louis Blues. McAvoy and Brad Marchand each had two goals for the 25-8-9 Bruins, who sit first overall in the Eastern Conference with 59 points. Jordan Binnington stopped 31 shots for the 21-18-2 Blues, who are three points out of the final Western wild-card spot with 44 points.

Third-period goals by Nic Dowd and T.J. Oshie lifted the Washington Capitals over the New York Rangers 3-2, leaving the latter winless in their last four games (0-3-1). Charlie Lindgren made 25 saves for the 20-14-6 Capitals (46 points) as they sit two points out of the final Eastern Conference wild-card berth. Adam Fox tallied both goals for the Rangers (26-13-2) as they hold first place in the Metropolitan Division with 54 points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin missed this game with a lower-body injury.

The Carolina Hurricanes extended their points streak to eight games by defeating the Pittsburgh Penguins 3-2 on an overtime tally by Brett Pesce, who finished the game with two goals. Antti Raanta made 38 saves for the 24-13-5 Hurricanes (53) as they sit one point back of the Rangers in the Metro Division. Bryan Rust had a goal and an assist for the Penguins (20-15-6) as they sit two points out of the final Eastern wild-card spot with 46 points.

Detroit Red Wings captain Dylan Larkin scored two goals to lead his club to a 5-3 victory over the Los Angeles Kings, extending the latter’s winless skid to eight games (0-4-4). Patrick Kane had a goal and an assist while Alex Lyon stopped 33 shots for the 21-16-5 Red Wings (47 points), who are one point out of the final Eastern wild-card berth. Quinton Byfield scored two goals for the 20-11-8 Kings, who remain third in the Pacific Division with 48 points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kings head coach Todd McLellan is facing the heat from the club’s fans as they chanted for him to be fired. They could get their wish if the Kings don’t soon reverse their current slide.

Tampa Bay Lightning captain Steven Stamkos tallied twice to beat the Anaheim Ducks 5-1. Nikita Kucherov collected three assists to remain the league’s scoring leader with 72 points as his club improved to 22-17-5 and sit in the first Eastern wild-card spot with 49 points. Lukas Dostol turned aside 36 shots for the 14-27-1 Ducks.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Lightning defenseman Erik Cernak missed this game with an upper-body injury.

Five unanswered goals rallied the Colorado Avalanche to a 5-3 win over the Toronto Maple Leafs. Nathan MacKinnon, Mikko Rantanen, Jonathan Drouin and Ross Colton each had a goal and an assist for the 28-12-3 Avalanche (59 points) as they sit one point behind the first-place Jets in the Central Division. Martin Jones stopped 28 shots for the 21-11-8 Leafs as they sit third in the Atlantic Division with 50 points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Avalanche defenseman Josh Manson returned to action after missing the last two games with an undisclosed injury.

The Dallas Stars netted three unanswered third-period goals in a 3-1 victory over the Chicago Blackhawks. Goalie Jake Oettinger picked up the win for Dallas after Scott Wedgewood left the game in the second period with a lower-body injury. With a record of 25-12-2, the Stars are third in the Central Division with 55 points. Petr Mrazek stopped 27 shots for the 12-29-2 Blackhawks.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Blackhawks defenseman Seth Jones returned to the lineup after missing 15 games with a shoulder injury.

Arizona Coyotes goaltender Connor Ingram made 38 saves for his fifth shutout of the season in a 6-0 win over the Minnesota Wild. Nick Bjugstad had a hat trick as the Coyotes (21-18-2) moved to within three points of a Western wild-card spot with 44 points. Goaltender Filip Gustavsson and winger Kirill Kaprizov returned to action for the 17-20-5 Wild after missing several games with injuries.

The Nashville Predators defeated the New York Islanders 3-1 on late goals by Alexandre Carrier and Juuso Parssinen. Juuse Saros stopped 24 shots for the 24-18-1 Predators as they hold the first Western wild-card berth with 49 points. Jean-Gabriel Pageau scored for the Islanders (19-13-10) as they cling to the final Eastern wild-card spot with 48 points.

Calgary Flames goaltender Jacob Markstrom made 31 saves while Blake Coleman had a goal and an assist to defeat the Vegas Golden Knights 3-1. Chandler Stephenson had the only goal for the Golden Knights (24-14-5) as they sit second in the Pacific Division with 53 points. The Flames improved to 20-18-5 (45 points) to move within two points of the final Western wild-card berth.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Golden Knights center Jack Eichel missed this contest with an undisclosed injury.

The Ottawa Senators ended a five-game losing skid with a 5-4 victory over the San Jose Sharks. Vladimir Tarasenko tallied the game-winner with five seconds remaining in the third period while Artem Zub picked up three assists for the 15-23-0 Senators. MacKenzie Blackwood kicked out 36 shots while Mario Ferraro had three assists for the 10-30-3 Sharks, who’ve lost 13 of their last 14 games.

DAILY FACEOFF: Toronto Maple Leafs William Nylander, Mitch Marner and Morgan Rielly and Vancouver Canucks Elias Pettersson, JT Miller, Brock Boeser and Thatcher Demko have been named to the 2024 NHL All-Star Game as voted by the fans. The others included Boston Bruins goaltender Jeremy Swayman, Florida Panthers netminder Sergei Bobrovsky, Colorado Avalanche goalie Alexandar Georgiev, Avalanche defenseman Cale Makar and Edmonton Oilers forward Leon Draisaitl.

NHL Rumor Mill – February 22, 2023

NHL Rumor Mill – February 22, 2023

Are the Blues and Jets interested in Timo Meier? Is Erik Karlsson willing to accept a trade to the Oilers? Could the Predators’ Mattias Ekholm or the Penguins’ Jeff Petry be on the move soon? Find out in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.


TSN: Pierre LeBrun reports the St. Louis Blues have inquired about San Jose Sharks winger Timo Meier. He pointed out that Blues general manager Doug Armstrong seeks a quick retool of his roster by targeting players who are 25 or 26 years old. It’s LeBrun’s understanding that the Blues, who carry three first-round picks in this year’s draft, are willing to part with two of them in a package offer for Meier.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Daily Faceoff’s Frank Seravalli said Armstrong has done this sort of thing before. He pointed to when he traded Kevin Shattenkirk for a first-round pick and used it to acquire Brayden Schenn. He also moved Paul Stastny for a first-rounder and used that to bring in Ryan O’Reilly.

San Jose Hockey Now’s Sheng Peng believes the Blues won’t part with their own first-rounder as that’s likely lottery-bound. He also pointed out that the Blues have some promising prospects (Jimmy Snuggerud, Jake Neighbours, Zachary Bolduc) that could interest the Sharks.

LeBrun also said the Winnipeg Jets have also made inquiries about Meier. So have the Vegas Golden Knights, Carolina Hurricanes and New Jersey Devils.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I still think the Devils are the favorites to land Meier but the Hurricanes and Blues could make some tempting offers to the Sharks. Much will depend on whether the Sharks allow interested clubs to negotiate a contract extension for Meier, who is slated to become a restricted free agent on July 1.

Speaking of the Hurricanes, LeBrun believes they could shift toward Chicago’s Patrick Kane if they can land Meier. He also believes they could look at adding to their defense corps.


SAN JOSE HOCKEY NOW: Sheng Peng cited TSN’s Chris Johnston writing that Sharks defenseman Erik Karlsson is believed willing to waive his no-movement clause to join the Edmonton Oilers.

San Jose Sharks defenseman Erik Karlsson (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Reports emerged earlier this month claiming the Oilers and Sharks were discussing a potential trade involving Karlsson. However, his $11.5 million average annual value through 2026-27 remains a major obstacle.

Some observers believe the Sharks would have to retain at least 40 percent of that cap hit to make a deal happen. So far, there’s no indication the two sides are any closer to bridging that gap.

I’ve also seen a suggestion that the Sharks could move Karlsson to Edmonton without retaining any salary if the Oilers include Tyson Barrie, Cody Ceci, Kailer Yamamoto, Jesse Puljujarvi and Warren Foegele in the deal along with draft picks and prospects. However, we don’t know if the Sharks would accept that kind of return. Such a move would also cripple the Oilers’ depth so much that Karlsson’s presence wouldn’t help them.


TSN: Pierre LeBrun reports Nashville Predators GM David Poile hasn’t given up on this season but is also talking with other clubs about several of his players. Defenseman Mattias Ekholm is said to be drawing the most interest. The 32-year-old blueliner has two more years left on his contract with a cap hit ($6.25 million) that could scare off some clubs.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Let’s all welcome back Ekholm into the rumor mill, ladies and gentlemen! It was only two years ago that he was a hot topic of trade chatter leading up to the 2021 deadline.

The Predators ultimately retained Ekholm and re-signed him to a four-year contract that lacks “no-trade” protection. I doubt he gets moved before the March 3 deadline unless Poile is prepared to retain a significant chunk of Ekholm’s cap hit or take back a comparable contract.


PITTSBURGH HOCKEY NOW: Dan Kingerski reports a Western Conference executive claims the Penguins have made defenseman Jeff Petry available in the trade market. The Penguins acquired Petry last summer from the Montreal Canadiens.

Petry, 35, has two seasons remaining on his contract with an average annual value of $6.25 million. Kingerski pointed out there are few teams with the cap space to take on the blueliner’s contract without sending significant salary the other way.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I don’t see Petry getting traded unless the Penguins want an impact player carrying a comparable contract from a team that needs a puck-moving defenseman. Unless, of course, the Penguins are waving the white flag of surrender on this season. In that case, trying to shed some high-salaried contracts is the first step toward a rebuild.


TSN: Chris Johnston wondered if the Washington Capitals might part with Dmitry Orlov. Contract talks have stalled with the pending free-agent defenseman. He doesn’t think the Capitals are sellers right now but believes they’ll face a difficult decision with Orlov if he’s still unsigned by March 3.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I think they’ll hang onto Orlov (even at the risk of losing him to free agency) and push for a playoff spot once Alex Ovechkin returns to the lineup.

Darren Dreger said the Detroit Red Wings want to give their current group of players an opportunity to push for a playoff berth. They’re willing to take their chances on a contract extension for Tyler Bertuzzi on July 1.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Red Wings are among several clubs jockeying for the final two Eastern Conference playoff berths. I don’t see GM Steve Yzerman being a seller if they’re still in the thick of the chase by March 3. Barring a major collapse between now and then, Bertuzzi and captain Dylan Larkin (also a pending UFA) aren’t going anywhere by deadline day.


SPORTSNET: Eric Engels believes Montreal Canadiens winger Josh Anderson would be a good consolation prize for the New Jersey Devils if they lose out in the bidding for Sharks winger Timo Meier. Engels pointed out that the Canadiens aren’t actively shopping Anderson but didn’t rule out the possibility of them moving the 29-year-old power forward for the right offer.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: A first-round pick and a top prospect will have to be part of the package to draw the interest of Canadiens GM Kent Hughes.

TAMPA BAY TIMES: Eduardo A. Encina reports if the Lightning are looking to upgrade before the trade deadline it’ll be getting more forward depth. Given their limited cap space, he believes they’ll have to move a player to get a player.





NHL Rumor Mill – February 7, 2023

NHL Rumor Mill – February 7, 2023

What’s the latest on Patrick Kane? Could the Bruins acquire Timo Meier? Will the Canadiens move Josh Anderson? Could the Penguins use their first-round pick as a trade chip? Find out in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.


CHICAGO SUN-TIMES: Ben Pope reports the Blackhawks and Patrick Kane are preparing for all possible trade scenarios with the trade deadline less than a month away.

Chicago Blackhawks winger Patrick Kane (NHL Images).

Kane is aware that several teams have reached out to his agent to express interest in acquiring him. He admitted there are “definitely possibilities out there that are intriguing and could be exciting.” However, he has not yet decided if he’ll waive his no-movement clause.

Some contenders are believed to be concerned over Kane’s lower-body injury. However, the 34-year-old winger dismissed those worries. Meanwhile, Blackhawks management is preparing for “every potential scenario, large to small,” said team CEO Danny Wirtz.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It appears both sides are approaching this situation cautiously. Kane and Jonathan Toews are expected to meet with Blackhawks general manager Kyle Davidson in mid-Feburary to discuss their respective futures.

Both players could waive their respective NMCs. Perhaps only one of them will do so. Both of them could decide to finish the season in Chicago and explore their options in this summer’s free-agent market.

Teams with an interest in Kane will want assurances that his lower-body injury won’t impede his performance over the remainder of the season. It could also affect whatever return the Blackhawks receive if they find a suitable trade destination for him.


BOSTON HOCKEY NOW: Joe Haggerty believes there’s only one scenario where the Bruins acquire San Jose Sharks winger Timo Meier and that’s if winger David Pastrnak decides to test this summer’s free-agent market.

Meier, 26, is a restricted free agent with arbitration rights who’s a year away from unrestricted free agent eligibility. His current annual cap hit is $6 million but he’s earning $10 million in actual salary, which is what it would cost to qualify his rights by June 30 unless he and his team agree to a new contract before then.

Acquiring Meier would also mean clearing some salary to make room for him in the current lineup. Haggerty believes that would mean moving out a forward like Charlie Coyle or Jake DeBrusk, or a defenseman such as Brandon Carlo or Matt Grzelcyk.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: As Haggerty pointed out, it seems unlikely that Pastrnak will be going to market based on his comments during the All-Star weekend over his contract situation. He anticipates the Bruins superstar will be staying in Boston on an eight-year, $88 million extension.


SPORTSNET: In a recent mailbag segment, Eric Engels was asked if there was any truth to a recent report that the Montreal Canadiens don’t want to trade winger Josh Anderson. He believes the more accurate portrayal of how general manager Ken Hughes feels about trading or not trading Anderson would be to say that he’s not actively shopping the winger.

Engels doesn’t see Anderson as an untouchable. He believes Hughes would move the winger for the right price, such as a package offer of a 2023 first-round pick, a good prospect and a roster player on an expiring contract. The acquiring club would also have to take on Anderson’s full $5.5 million cap hit.

He also raised the possibility that Hughes could see Anderson as a potential bargaining chip if there was a possibility of acquiring center Pierre-Luc Dubois this summer if he’s unwilling to sign a long-term deal with the Winnipeg Jets.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I believe the report being referred to here was TSN’s Darren Dreger last week saying Anderson wasn’t in play despite the Canadiens getting calls from other clubs. Dreger said the same thing as Engels: Hughes isn’t shopping him but could move him if he gets an offer too good to refuse.

Some of you might wonder why Engels believes the Canadiens would want an NHL player on an expiring contract in the deal. I think it would be to try and flip that player to another club at the deadline for another asset.

As for using Anderson to acquire Dubois, I concur with Engels that the winger on his own wouldn’t be enough to land the Jets center. They’ll have to add a first-round pick and a top prospect into the mix.

As Engels also pointed out, if the Canadiens really want Dubois and he wants to join the Habs, they only need to wait until the summer of 2024 when he becomes a UFA. Signing him will be expensive but they won’t have to part with any other assets to get him.


PITTSBURGH HOCKEY NOW: Dan Kingerski reports Penguins GM Ron Hextall will not trade his 2023 first-round pick to move out some salary or in a straight-up deal. He said conversations have picked up in the trade market but he has not been asked for his first-rounder.

With limited salary-cap space, Hextall is in the market to improve his third forward line. Kingerski speculates he could be seeking a third-line center.

NHL Rumor Mill – January 19, 2023

NHL Rumor Mill – January 19, 2023

A growing number of teams could be interested in Bo Horvat, the latest on Brock Boeser and Jesse Puljujarvi plus a look at some potential Canadiens trade bait in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.


THE ATHLETIC: Eric Duhatschek and Michael Russo suggested the Boston Bruins could be a good destination for Vancouver Canucks center Bo Horvat. They mused over the possibility of the Bruins acquiring Horvat and signing him to a contract extension should Patrice Bergeron or David Krejci retire at the end of this season.

The Carolina Hurricanes could also be a landing spot for Horvat. However, they’re unwilling to part with Martin Necas.

THE PROVINCE: Ben Kuzma reports the Bruins, Hurricanes and Colorado Avalanche are kicking tires on the Canucks captain. However, there are cost certainty concerns and the Canucks have not granted permission for potential suitors to talk contract with Horvat’s agent.

BOSTON HOCKEY NOW: Jimmy Murphy cites an NHL source confirming the Bruins and Canucks have talked about Horvat. The Avalanche, Hurricanes, Detroit Red Wings and Seattle Kraken are also believed to be really interested in Horvat but the Canucks’ asking price is high. The source expected prospect Fabian Lysell and a first-round pick would have to be the starting point in any talks between the Bruins and Canucks.

THE ATHLETIC/VEGAS HOCKEY NOW: Jesse Granger and Owen Krepps included Horvat in their lists of potential trade targets for the Golden Knights if winger Mark Stone and his $9.5 million cap hit end up on long-term injury reserve. Stone is currently listed as week-to-week with an upper-body injury.

POST MEDIA: Michael Traikos added the New York Rangers, New York Islanders, Los Angeles Kings and Pittsburgh Penguins as possible suitors for Horvat. He wondered whether an offer of a first-round pick, a top prospect and a young roster player would be too much or too little.

Vancouver Canucks captain Bo Horvat (NHL Images).

Traikos also believes the Canucks can’t afford to wait too long to move Horvat. St. Louis’ Ryan O’Reilly and Vladimir Tarasenko, Chicago’s Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews, San Jose’s Timo Meier, Ottawa’s Alex DeBrincat, Philadelphia’s James van Riemsdyk and Montreal’s Sean Monahan could soon become available in the trade market.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: A lot of playoff contenders would love to have Bo Horvat on their roster for the 2023 playoffs and perhaps beyond if they can reach an agreement on a contract extension. Most, however, won’t be able to afford the Canucks’ asking price. A number of them will lack sufficient cap space to pull it off unless they get creative and pull off a three-team swap to spread around the remainder of Horvat’s $5.5 million cap hit.

As for the Canucks’ asking price, Rutherford said earlier this week that he’d be interested in acquiring players on entry-level contracts who are struggling with their current teams. He probably won’t balk at getting a first-round pick but he’d like to add young NHL-ready players given ownership’s insistence on retooling the roster rather than rebuilding.

All of this is just spitballing right now. Teams are making inquiries into Horvat’s availability and what it would cost. It’ll likely only be two or three clubs that’ll come up with suitable bids. I don’t rule out Horvat getting traded in January but I think a February deal is more likely.

THE ATHLETIC’s Pierre LeBrun and Michael Russo report teams are still interested in Canucks winger Brock Boeser. He’s signed through 2024-25 with a $6.65 million annual cap hit. It’s possible the only way he gets traded is if the Canucks retain part of his salary. The Minnesota Wild have spoken to them about Boeser but they might not be able to make it work cap-wise without Vancouver retaining salary.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Province’s Ben Kuzma shares that view. Canucks management reportedly wants to clear the entirety of Boeser’s cap hit from their books. If they maintain that stance, they might have to wait until the offseason to move him when teams have more cap room.


THE ATHLETIC: Daniel Nugent-Bowman believes it’s time for the Edmonton Oilers to part ways with Jesse Puljujarvi after he was made a healthy scratch for Evander Kane’s return to the roster on Tuesday.

GM Ken Holland has been working the phones. However, he couldn’t find any takers for Puljujarvi last summer because he refused to accept discounted future assets for a player who was a top-six forward last season. The decline in the 24-year-old winger’s performance this season leaves management praying that someone will take his $3 million contract off their hands.

DAILY FACEOFF: Frank Seravalli reported the Oilers have had some promising conversations with a couple of teams regarding Puljujarvi. That’s potentially good news for Oilers fans concerned that the club might have to package Puljujarvi with an asset to move him before the March 3 trade deadline.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Color me skeptical about the Oilers’ chances of moving Puljujarvi before deadline day without bundling him with a draft pick or prospect. Sure, anything’s possible but his stock has really tumbled since last summer when it wasn’t that high to begin with.

EDMONTON JOURNAL: Jim Matheson dismissed the notion of the Oilers parting with defenseman Philip Broberg as part of a package offer to the Arizona Coyotes for Jakob Chychrun.

Matheson considered it unlikely to happen because the Oilers don’t see Chychrun as a fit they need plus they like Broberg too much.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Oilers’ focus seems to be on acquiring a shutdown defenseman like Columbus’ Vladislav Gavrikov or Montreal’s Joel Edmundson. And no, they won’t part with Broberg for either of those guys.


MONTREAL GAZETTE: Stu Cowan reports the Canadiens could have a different look following the March 3 trade deadline. Veterans like Edmundson and forwards Jonathan Drouin, Evgenii Dadonov, Sean Monahan and Josh Anderson could be in play as the Habs continue their rebuilding process.

Drouin, Dadonov and Monahan are slated to become unrestricted free agents this summer. GM Kent Hughes will attempt to get something for them by the deadline. Hughes acknowledged Edmundson and Anderson have frequently surfaced in media trade rumors but called those reports “not necessarily accurate.”

Don’t expect the Canadiens to shop Samuel Montembeault. Hughes said they want to keep the 26-year-old goaltender.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Drouin and Monahan have been sidelined by injuries while Dadonov hasn’t played well this season. Those factors will affect their value in this season’s trade market. I doubt he’ll be able to get first-round picks or top prospects for them.

Edmundson and Anderson would have more value but they’re both signed beyond this season. Hughes could be less inclined to move them but I don’t doubt that he’ll listen to offers that include a first-rounder.