NHL Rumor Mill – January 15, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – January 15, 2022

Check out the latest on the Rangers and Canadiens in today’s NHL rumor mill.

THE ATHLETIC: Arthur Staple recently examined some potential external options for the New York Rangers to bolster their top six and their third defense pairing.

Possible top-six trade targets could include San Jose Sharks center Tomas Hertl, Arizona Coyotes winger Phil Kessel, Dallas Stars forward Joe Pavelski, Philadelphia Flyers forward Claude Giroux, Anaheim Ducks winger Rickard Rakell, Boston Bruins winger Jake DeBrusk and Vegas Golden Knights winger Reilly Smith.

Dallas Stars forward Joe Pavelski (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The availability of Hertl, Pavelski and Rakell could depend upon where their respective clubs are in the NHL standings approaching the March 21 trade deadline. Giroux has a full no-movement clause and it’s uncertain what he intends to do as the Flyers continue to struggle.

DeBrusk requested a trade in late November but there haven’t been any takers yet. Smith could be shopped by the Golden Knights as a cost-cutting measure to make room for Jack Eichel’s debut next month.

To boost the third line, Staple suggested Montreal Canadiens forward Artturi Lehkonen, though he noted the latter has had preliminary contract talks with the Habs. Other options included Ottawa Senators center Chris Tierney, Arizona Coyotes forward Travis Boyd, and Seattle Kraken forward Calle Jarnkrok or former Ranger Colin Blackwell.

Turning to defensemen, Staple believes the asking price for Arizona’s Jakob Chychrun and Montreal’s Ben Chiarot could be too expensive. Seattle’s Mark Giordano won’t be as expensive but still won’t be a cheap rental. Nevertheless, he could fill a need for the Rangers. Other options include Seattle’s Carson Soucy, the Chicago Blackhawks’ Calvin de Haan, Philadelphia’s Justin Braun, the Buffalo Sabres’ Colin Miller or Detroit Red Wings’ (and former Rangers) Marc Staal or Nick Holden.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Bear in mind Staple isn’t saying the Rangers are pursuing the aforementioned players or have them on any potential wish list. Nevertheless, they have the cap space and depth in prospects and promising young players to make competitive bids for one or two of them.

Smith is most often mentioned as a possible rental target given he previously played for Rangers head coach Gerard Gallant when the latter was the Golden Knights’ bench boss. It wouldn’t be surprising if he joins the Blueshirts sometime next month.

SPORTSNET/TSN: Eric Engels reports the Montreal Canadiens search for a new general manager could be resolved in the coming days. He’s heard Daniel Briere and Mathieu Darche are among the three finalists for the job.

Meanwhile, Pierre LeBrun reports the Canadiens are believed to have circled back to player agent Kent Hughes this week after he wasn’t part of their initial interviews. He includes Hughes among the top 3-4 candidates.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Lovers of chaos will be disappointed Patrick Roy doesn’t appear to be among the final candidates, though he was among those initially interviewed for the position. The bottom line is the best candidate will be the one who can work best with hockey ops executive VP Jeff Gorton. I’m leaning toward Darche given his experience with the Tampa Bay Lightning but Hughes could also be a good fit given his experience as an agent.

TVA SPORTS: Yvon Pedneault took note of John Klingberg no longer being in the good graces of Dallas Stars management in his contract year. He suggested the Canadiens offer up Jeff Petry for Klingberg.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Klingberg is four years younger than the 34-year-old Petry, who has three more years left on his contract worth an annual cap hit of $6.25 million. Solely on that basis, Stars GM Jim Nill will never make that trade.










NHL Rumor Mill – January 11, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – January 11, 2022

A number of teams appear interested in Evander Kane plus the latest on the Flames and Canucks in today’s NHL rumor mill.

TEAMS INTERESTED IN SIGNING EVANDER KANE

TSN: With Evander Kane now an unrestricted free agent following his contract termination with the San Jose Sharks, Pierre LeBrun believes the 30-year-old winger will want to sign a one-year deal for the remainder of the season. It would be for a bargain price as he attempts to prove his worth.

Former San Jose Sharks winger Evander Kane (NHL Images).

LeBrun also indicated Kane’s agent, Dan Milstein, indicated a number of teams have expressed interest in his client. One of those clubs is the Edmonton Oilers but he doesn’t know if that’ll translate into a contract offer. He said it remains to be seen how many of those clubs come back with legitimate offers. LeBrun believes the Kane camp will take their time to evaluate what makes sense.

Meanwhile, LeBrun’s colleague Gord Miller tweeted he’s heard Kane could have a contract with a new team by the end of this week.

CALGARY HERALD: Michael Traikos reports a source close to Kane said the winger wants to play for a championship contender on a one-year deal worth $1.5 million to $2 million. The Toronto Maple Leafs, Carolina Hurricanes, Edmonton Oilers, Florida Panthers, Tampa Bay Lightning and Vegas Golden Knights are among the other teams reportedly interested in Kane’s services.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I noted Kane’s contract termination and the NHLPA filing a grievance on his behalf in today’s morning coffee headlines.

Despite Kane’s personal baggage and his reputation as a dressing room cancer, he is a proven performer as a power forward. Hence the interest by so many clubs provided they can get him cheap. There were rumors prior to his contract termination of several teams interested in him if the Sharks could find a way to swing a three-team deal to spread around his $7 million annual cap hit.

Some of these clubs, like the Hurricanes and Lightning, have well-respected head coaches who get the best out of their players. Some, like the Golden Knights and Panthers, have a solid leadership core within their rosters who can rein in a teammate’s selfish tendencies.

As Traikos pointed out, some of these clubs (Toronto, Carolina) have taken chances before on players with reputations for underachievement (Alex Galchenyuk, Joshua Ho-Sang) or courting controversy (Tony DeAngelo). For the right price, they could take a calculated gamble on Kane.

The Oilers’ interest, however, has a whiff of desperation given their free-fall in the standings. Goaltending is their primary concern but they could use another scoring winger. Nevertheless, they seem like they’re flailing about for anything at this point that can save their season.

Others, like the Golden Knights, Leafs, Lightning and Panthers, have limited cap space. They could end up having to make a cost-cutting deal to create sufficient cap space to sign Kane.

LATEST ON THE FLAMES AND CANUCKS

CALGARY HOCKEY NOW: Steve Macfarlane paused on the idea of the Flames adding Evander Kane and examined the pros and cons of several possible trade options to bolster their offense and improve their blue-line depth.

San Jose Sharks center Tomas Hertl topped his list, followed by Philadelphia Flyers center Claude Giroux and Seattle Kraken defenseman (and former Flames captain) Mark Giordano.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Hertl won’t be available if the Sharks are in playoff contention by the trade deadline. The Flames will have to win a bidding war for his services if he hits the trade block as he’ll generate considerable interest. His three-team no-trade list will significantly narrow the field of potential trade destinations.

Giroux has a full no-movement clause and there’s no indication thus far he’ll be available. That could change by the deadline but there’s no certainty he’ll waive his clause to come to Calgary as a rental forward.

Giordano, meanwhile, could welcome an opportunity to return to the Flames, who reluctantly made him available in last summer’s expansion draft. His agent didn’t dismiss that possibility in a recent interview with Sportsnet’s Eric Francis.

The others on Macfarlane’s list are Pittsburgh Penguins winger Bryan Rust, Boston Bruins winger Jake DeBrusk, Arizona Coyotes winger Phil Kessel, Montreal Canadiens defenseman Ben Chiarot and Minnesota Wild winger Kevin Fiala.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I don’t see Rust or Fiala going anywhere. Rust is a UFA this summer but I believe the Penguins will hang onto him for the playoffs. Fiala was briefly linked to Vancouver Canucks forward J.T. Miller in November but there hasn’t been any other speculation suggesting the Wild are shopping him. Doesn’t mean they won’t but it seems unlikely right now.

DeBrusk made a trade request over a month ago but there doesn’t seem to be much interest in his services. Chiarot is expected to be available but the asking price could be a first-round pick. Kessel still has an eight-team trade list and could be reluctant about returning to a Canadian team.

THE SCORE: Brandon Maron cites the Toronto Star’s Chris Johnston reporting the Vancouver Canucks are open to the idea of trading backup goaltender Jaroslav Halak. He has two performance bonuses in his contract totaling $1.5 million that will count against the Canucks cap payroll for 2022-23 if he reaches them. His current cap hit is $1.5 million.

THE ATHLETIC’S Rick Dhaliwal yesterday tweeted the Vancouver Canucks have shown no interest in trying to sign Evander Kane.










NHL Rumor Mill – January 7, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – January 7, 2022

Analysis of the Daily Faceoff’s updated 20 trade targets in today’s NHL rumor mill.

DAILY FACEOFF: San Jose Sharks center Tomas Hertl, Montreal Canadiens defenseman Ben Chiarot and Arizona Coyotes blueliner Jakob Chychrun top Frank Seravalli’s updated list of 20 NHL trade targets.

San Jose Sharks center Tomas Hertl (NHL Images).

Hertl’s having a strong performance in his contract year and could fetch the Sharks a strong return. Seravalli suggests keeping an eye on the New York Rangers in the Hertl sweepstakes.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Sharks remain in the hunt for a Western Conference wild-card spot but they could move Hertl if they fail to gain ground between now and the March 21 trade deadline. He’ll draw plenty of interest but the Rangers have the cap space and the depth in tradeable assets to perhaps outbid other clubs.

Seravalli said the Florida Panthers and St. Louis Blues have been linked to Chiarot. He believes the 30-year-old Canadiens defenseman could help Stanley Cup contenders like the Vegas Golden Knights, Colorado Avalanche, Washington Capitals or the Rangers.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: And if one of those clubs is willing to part with a first-round pick they might be able to land Chiarot provided they’re not on his 10-team no-trade list.

The Coyotes won’t have much to build around if they trade Chychrun. That explains why their asking price is so high.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s been reported the Coyotes could seek a return comparable to what the Buffalo Sabres got from the Vegas Golden Knights for Jack Eichel. In other words, a good young NHL player, a top prospect close to being NHL-ready, a first-round pick and a second-rounder.

Coyotes forward Lawson Crouse and New York Rangers goaltender Alexander Georgiev are fourth and fifth on Seravalli’s list. He said the Philadelphia Flyers have spoken to the Coyotes about Crouse. Georgiev made what Seravalli considers a “soft trade request” last summer. While it’s important for a team to have two trustworthy goalies, Seravalli considers Georgiev an unnecessary luxury when the Rangers have one of the best goalies in the league in Igor Shesterkin.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: With 16 points in 31 games, the 24-year-old Crouse is well on his way to exceeding his career-high of 25 points on the low-scoring Coyotes. As Seravalli observes, he could become a 20-goal forward on a deeper club.

Shesterkin’s recent injury history and Georgiev’s improvement over the last month suggest the latter isn’t going anywhere this season. Georgiev is a restricted free agent this summer so the Rangers aren’t under any pressure to move him before the trade deadline.

Columbus Blue Jackets goaltender Joonas Korpisalo, Boston Bruins winger Jake DeBrusk, Blue Jackets center Jack Roslovic, Jackets winger Max Domi, and Vegas Golden Knights winger Reilly Smith fill positions six through 10.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Seravalli said several teams have “engaged” with the Jackets regarding Korpisalo. As an unrestricted free agent this summer, he’s more likely to move than Georgiev.

DeBrusk’s trade request has been well-documented but Bruins general manager Don Sweeney hasn’t found a suitable offer yet. Perhaps DeBrusk gets shopped soon to free up some cap space for Tuukka Rask’s imminent return.

I’m not surprised to see Domi on this list given his UFA status this summer but Roslovic was a bit of an eyebrow-raiser. He’s struggled this season but the 24-year-old is an RFA this summer and really likes playing in his hometown. The Jackets don’t have to move him at the trade deadline but it wouldn’t hurt to entertain offers.

The Golden Knights must shed salary to make room for Jack Eichel’s return from neck surgery next month. Smith is considered the likely candidate because of his UFA status in July. Seravalli suggested he could fetch them a solid return, pointing to the Toronto Maple Leafs parting with a first-round pick and two-fourth-round picks at last year’s deadline for Nick Foligno.

Detroit Red Wings defenseman Nick Leddy, Florida Panthers winger Patric Hornqvist, Anaheim Ducks winger Rickard Rakell, Coyotes winger Phil Kessel and New York Rangers winger Vitali Kravtsov are 11 through 15 on this list.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: With the Red Wings jockeying for a wild-card spot they could be reluctant to part with Leddy. Seravalli suggests the Panthers could move Hornqvist as a cost-cutting move but that could take place in the offseason. His gritty style could be invaluable for them in the playoffs.

I also have my doubts about Rakell being available with the Ducks flying high in the Western Conference. That could change if they should tumble down the standings. A playoff club in need of scoring depth could add Kessel as a rental player. He’s a proven postseason performer.

Kravtsov is on loan to KHL club Traktor Chelyabinsk. He cannot be recalled by his NHL team until Traktor’s season is over.

Chicago Blackhawks defenseman Calvin de Haan, Seattle Kraken blueliners Mark Giordano, Blackhawks center Dylan Strome and winger Henrik Borgstrom and San Jose Sharks winger Evander Kane round out the list.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The 37-year-old Giordano’s a UFA this summer and his chances of playing for a Stanley Cup contender are dwindling. Maybe he’ll get shopped to a Cup contender by the deadline.

Strome’s been in the rumor mill all season long but there’s doesn’t appear to be much interest in him, de Haan or Borgstrom. However, that could change leading up to deadline day.

Kane’s personal baggage and hefty contract have been well-documented obstacles blocking any chance of a trade. It could take enticing another team to get involved as a third-party broker to get a deal done but even that seems like a long shot.










NHL Rumor Mill – January 5, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – January 5, 2022

Growing speculation over the Oilers’ goaltending situation, an update on Jakob Chychrun and the latest on Tuukka Rask, Claude Giroux, Mark Giordano and Ben Chiarot in today’s NHL rumor mill.

WHAT WILL THE OILERS DO ABOUT THEIR GOALTENDING?

TSN: Darren Dreger reports Edmonton Oilers general manager Ken Holland is looking at his goaltending as the club has stumbled through a 2-8-2 record in their last dozen games. Available trade options are being considered plus the club is also still searching for a third-line center. Dreger also cited a source claiming head coach Dave Tippett isn’t in immediate danger of losing his job.

SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman reports Holland has already dismissed rumors linking the Oilers to former Toronto Maple Leafs coach Mike Babcock. He wondered if Holland might pursue a rental player like Chicago Blackhawks goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury or Montreal Canadiens defenseman Ben Chiarot.

THE ATHLETIC: Pierre LeBrun reports the Dallas Stars are getting some calls about Anton Khudobin, who cleared waivers last month and was sent to their AHL affiliate. The Stars would have to retain part of his $3.33 million cap hit or take back a contract in return. LeBrun wondered if the Oilers might take a chance on Khudobin even though he has another year remaining on his contract and they have zero salary-cap space.

Could the Edmonton Oilers target Chicago Blackhawks goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury? (NHL Images)

EDMONTON JOURNAL: Terry Jones believes goaltending is the Oilers’ Achilles heel right now and feels they have to be finished with struggling Mikko Koskinen while starter Mike Smith remains sidelined. He thinks Holland’s first move of the New Year is to find a new starting netminder.

Robert Tychkowski doesn’t put all the blame for the Oilers’ slump on Koskinen’s shoulders but acknowledges they need help between the pipes. He also cites a lack of goal production beyond superstars Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Things are getting really ugly in Edmonton right now. Koskinen’s difficulties over the past month have proven costly, to the point where Tippett blamed the goaltender for their recent loss to the New York Rangers.

Firing Tippett might provide a spark that improves the Oilers’ goal production but it won’t turn Koskinen into a better netminder or magically make Mike Smith a healthy starter. Holland has no choice but to find a suitable solution between the pipes.

The most immediate should be giving Stuart Skinner more opportunities. While he only won four of nine starts this season he put up better stats (2.70 GAA, .916 SP) than Koskinen.

As for those trade options, Fleury is being mentioned because he’s a pending unrestricted free agent playing for a bad team in Chicago. However, there is no indication Blackhawks management is in any hurry to ship out the 37-year-old goaltender, let alone if the Oilers are among his preferred trade destinations.

Khudobin could be an easier option but the Oilers’ limited cap space means Holland will have to get creative to find a way to make the dollars fit. The 35-year-old Stars netminder could be motivated for redemption after his struggles earlier this season sent him tumbling down the pecking order behind Braden Holtby and Jake Oettinger.

Maybe Holland puts in a call to the Columbus Blue Jackets for Joonas Korpisalo. Like Fleury, he’s due to become a UFA this summer. He isn’t expected to be back with the Jackets after they signed Elvis Merzlikins to a long-term extension. Korpisalo carries a more affordable $2.8 million cap hit and lacks no-trade protection.

I’ve also read and heard some suggestions about Holland acquiring Carey Price from the Montreal Canadiens but that’s just nonsense at this point. Price hasn’t played a single game this season as he’s still recovering from offseason knee surgery. Even if he agreed to waive his no-movement clause, the Oilers can’t afford his $10.5 million annual average value. I doubt there’s any team willing to be a third-party broker right now to take on part of his hefty cap hit for the next four years.

UPDATE ON CHYCHRUN

TSN: Darren Dreger reports teams are calling Arizona Coyotes GM Bill Armstrong and making offers for defenseman Jakob Chychrun. However, Armstrong isn’t in a rush to move the 23-year-old blueliner. The asking price is said to be a “Jack Eichel type of return”.

THE ATHLETIC: Pierre LeBrun doesn’t believe a Chychrun deal is imminent but the fact they’re fielding calls suggests the possibility of a deal before the March 21 trade deadline. However, he points out they’re under no obligation to move Chychrun by then. The blueliner carries an affordable $4.6 million annual cap hit through 2024-25.

SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman believes Chychrun could potentially be the first big trade of 2022. He also noted Coyotes winger Phil Kessel and pending UFA forward Lawson Crouse could be available.

GOPHNX.COM: Craig Morgan dismissed a rumor claiming Chychrun and his agent requested a trade. He also believes Armstrong could be doing Chychrun a favor by moving him to a team where he’d have a better chance at success than having him burn through several years of his playing prime with a rebuilding club.

NBC SPORTS BOSTON: Nick Goss cited Sportsnet’s Nick Kypreos claiming the Bruins were among several teams in the mix for Chychrun. Others include the New York Islanders, Los Angeles Kings, Anaheim Ducks, Edmonton Oilers, Florida Panthers and Toronto Maple Leafs.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Armstrong can afford to wait for the right offer for Chychrun. Maybe that comes before the March trade deadline but I think it’s more likely to take place in the offseason when some clubs will have more salary-cap space and a willingness to make big trades to address roster weaknesses.

LATEST ON RASK, GIROUX, GIORDANO AND CHIAROT

NHL.COM: Amelie Benjamin reports Tuukka Rask is making progress in his recovery from offseason hip surgery and could make his debut with the Boston Bruins AHL affiliate in Providence this weekend should he receive medical clearance.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Athletic’s Fluto Shinzawa wondered what Rask’s contract could be once he signs with the Bruins. He thinks it will most likely be an affordable one-year deal. How much they pay him could depend on whether they can free up some cap space by honoring winger Jake DeBrusk’s trade request.

SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman doesn’t get any sense of urgency from the Philadelphia Flyers to ship out pending UFA center Claude Giroux as they’re still battling for a playoff spot. He considers it unlikely Mark Giordano will stay with the Seattle Kraken as he’ll have considerable value at the trade deadline. He also wondered if the St. Louis Blues might attempt to acquire Canadiens defenseman Ben Chiarot.










NHL Rumor Mill – December 29, 2021

NHL Rumor Mill – December 29, 2021

A look at several proposed Bruins trade targets plus some Red Wings speculation in today’s NHL rumor mill.

BOSTON HOCKEY NOW: Jimmy Murphy recently looked at some possible trade targets for the Bruins. He suggested Arizona Coyotes winger (and former Bruin) Phil Kessel as an option to replace Jake DeBrusk if they can trade the latter. The 34-year-old Kessel’s put up decent stats on a horrible Coyotes club and could provide the Bruins with middle-six scoring they need.

Arizona Coyotes winger Phil Kessel (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kessel for DeBrusk: who says no? Probably Coyotes general manager Bill Armstrong. He’ll likely want a draft pick and prospect for Kessel, and that pick could be a second-rounder if you want him to absorb a healthy chunk of the Coyotes’ share ($6.8 million) of Kessel’s $8 million cap hit. That’s assuming the Bruins are on the winger’s eight-team trade list or that he’s willing to add them to that list.

Other options included pending other pending unrestricted free agents such as the Pittsburgh Penguins’ Bryan Rust, Seattle Kraken’s Mark Giordano, San Jose Sharks Tomas Hertl and Dallas Stars’ Joe Pavelski.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I don’t see the Penguins parting with Rust as long as they remain in playoff contention. They’ll likely keep him as an “own rental” if unable to reach an agreement on a contract extension before the March 21 trade deadline.

Giordano’s situation is an interesting one. The Kraken named him their first captain in franchise history and undoubtedly hope to re-sign him, but the 37-year-old defenseman isn’t getting any younger and his opportunities to play for a Stanley Cup contender are dwindling. He has a list of 19 preferred trade destinations.

The Sharks and Stars are just a handful of points outside of a Western Conference wild-card berth. They’ll retain Hertl and Pavelski if they should vault back into postseason berths.

Moving either guy won’t be easy as they each have three-team trade lists. Perhaps they could be convinced to widen those lists if their respective teams asked them to do so.

THE ATHLETIC: In a recent mailbag segment, Max Bultman was asked about possible moves by the Detroit Red Wings before this year’s trade deadline.

He doesn’t see the Wings parting with Tyler Bertuzzi even though he’s a year away from UFA status and missed several games because of his vaccination status. He doesn’t see any team parting with draft picks and prospects for a player like Bertuzzi who would miss a bunch of games in Canada this season.

Bultman suggested seeing what they could get for pending UFAs like Nick Leddy, Vladislav Namestnikov or Thomas Greiss if the Wings become sellers. If they’re buyers, he proposed a “fairly-young, change-of-scenery candidate like Boston’s Jake DeBrusk.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Bear in mind that Bultman is merely speculating here and isn’t saying the Wings will consider trading Bertuzzi, Leddy, Namestnikov or Greiss or pursuing DeBrusk. Still, it’ll be interesting to see what GM Steve Yzerman has up his sleeve at this season’s deadline after swinging the biggest trade of the day at last season’s deadline.

Where the Wings sit in the standings as the deadline approaches could determine what moves he makes. They’re currently holding the last wild-card berth in the Eastern Conference. I doubt he’ll be a seller if they’re still in the position or higher in the standings by deadline day.










NHL Rumor Mill – December 16, 2021

NHL Rumor Mill – December 16, 2021

Should the Oilers pursue Coyotes defenseman Jakob Chychrun? Is it time for the Islanders or Rangers to make trades? Read on for the latest in today’s NHL rumor mill.

UPDATED ON JAKOB CHYCHRUN

THE JEFF MAREK SHOW: Marek and Elliotte Friedman discussed the possibility of the Arizona Coyotes shopping Jakob Chychrun. The 23-year-old defenseman was considered untouchable but Friedman recently speculated the Coyotes could entertain offers.

Arizona Coyotes defenseman Jakob Chychrun (NHL Images).

Friedman indicated Chychrun has not requested a trade. However, the Coyotes know their current rebuild can’t be easy on the blueliner while he’s in the prime of his career. They also know his value will never be higher than it is right now. Most observers also understand the decline in his stats this season is reflective of the club and not his performance.

General manager Bill Armstrong declined to comment but Friedman said the Coyotes are taking calls. The asking price is massive but it’s not scaring off interested parties because of the overall circumstances involving Chychrun’s affordable contract and the Coyotes rebuilding process.

Discussing the slumping Edmonton Oilers needs later in the conversation, Friedman felt Chychrun could help address their need for a left-shot defenseman. Marek suggested the Montreal Canadiens Ben Chiarot or the Coyotes’ Shayne Gostisbhere but Friedman believes Chychrun would be the better add because of the three years remaining on his contract.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Chychrun would be a fine addition to any NHL team’s blueline. There are some teams that have the assets (draft picks, prospects, young NHL-ready players) to entice the Coyotes.

However, I don’t think the Oilers can afford that asking price, let alone outbid rival clubs to land Chychrun. Cap Friendly also shows them maxed out on cap space so they’ll have to clear around $4 million to comfortably absorb Chychrun’s contract. And no, I don’t see the Coyotes absorbing any portion of his cap hit. I also think addressing their goaltending is the Oilers’ most pressing issue.

LATEST ON THE ISLANDERS AND RANGERS

THE ATHLETIC: Arthur Staple recently wondered if New York Islanders GM Lou Lamoriello will make a move to bolster his club’s sagging fortunes. He feels the club needs to string some wins together to justify an addition, even a short-term one that costs assets.

Staple believes the Isles’ priority would be adding a left-shot defenseman and a top-nine winger. Blueline options could include Montreal’s Ben Chiarot, the Chicago Blackhawks’ Calvin de Haan, perhaps the Seattle Kraken’s Mark Giordano or the Ottawa Senators’ Nick Holden.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Speculation suggests the Canadiens could get a first-round pick for Chiarot but I don’t see Lamoriello taking that plunge. I’m not convinced yet the Kraken will shop Giordano but if they do it’ll likely be at the March trade deadline, which would be too late to save the Isles’ season. Maybe the Blackhawks made de Haan available but they could also wait until the deadline. Holden could be the easiest to get but I don’t think he’d move the dial much for the Isles.

Staple also mused over whether the New York Rangers need to bring in some additional scoring. He has nothing against Julien Gauthier or Dryden Hunt but pointed out they haven’t been able to stick as top-nine forwards prior to this season.

The Rangers’ fast start means there’s no pressing need to address this issue. Staple speculated Rangers GM Chris Drury can afford to remain patient and wait until more teams stop shopping players on expiring contracts.

Possible targets could include the Coyotes’ Phil Kessel, the Los Angeles Kings’ Dustin Brown, the Dallas Stars’ Joe Pavelski or the San Jose Sharks’ Tomas Hertl.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kessel is the most likely of that group to be available. Pavelski has indicated his preference to stay with the Stars beyond this season and I think the Stars will try to accommodate him on a short-term deal. I don’t see the Kings parting with Brown. Ditto the Sharks with Hertl if they’re still in playoff contention.