NHL Rumor Mill – November 8, 2022
In today’s NHL Rumor Mill: some suggested goalie trade targets for the Leafs, changes could be coming for the Canucks, the latest on the Senators’ efforts to land a defenseman, and what the future could hold for the Bruins’ Mike Reilly.
SUGGESTED GOALIE TRADE TARGETS FOR THE LEAFS
DAILY FACEOFF: Frank Seravalli examine five potential trade targets for the Toronto Maple Leafs if they decide to bolster their goaltending depth. Injuries to Matt Murray and Ilya Samsonov left them with third-stringer Erik Kallgren and AHL call-up, Keith Petruzzelli, to man the nets.
The Columbus Blue Jackets’ Joonas Korpisalo and the San Jose Sharks’ James Reimer topped Seravalli’s list. Jonathan Quick of the Los Angeles Kings, Dan Vladar of the Calgary Flames and Anton Khudobin of the Dallas Stars rounded out his list. He also had the Detroit Red Wings’ Alex Nedeljkovic as an honorable mention
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Korpisalo has an affordable $1.3 million cap hit but he’s struggled over the past two years since losing the Blue Jackets’ starter role to Elvis Merzlikins. Reimer is a former Leaf who could be welcomed back with open arms by Toronto fans. He’s put up decent stats and has a reasonable $2.25 million cap hit. However, the Sharks could hang onto him until closer to the March trade deadline to maximize his value.
Quick’s name keeps surfacing in the rumor mill in recent years in part because of his lack of no-trade protection. However, the Kings have shown no desire to move him, especially now that they’re a playoff contender again in the Western Conference. Until Cal Petersen finally steps up and seizes the starter’s job, I don’t see Quick going anywhere.
I don’t see the Flames being in any rush to move Vladar. They’ll want a reliable backup in case anything happens to starter Jacob Markstrom. The Stars would love to move Khudobin from their books. He’s playing well with their AHL affiliate but teams could prefer seeing him garner some NHL starts before pursuing him.
Ville Husso has outperformed Nedeljkovic thus far but I don’t believe Wings GM Steve Yzerman is under any pressure to shake up his goalie tandem.
ARE CHANGES COMING FOR THE CANUCKS?
THE PROVINCE: Patrick Johnston cited Jim Rutherford’s appearance Monday on Sportsnet 650 in which he expressed his ongoing unhappiness with the Vancouver Canucks’ performance. Rutherford, the Canucks’ president of hockey operations, called on his players to take more responsibility.
“We have to make the players more accountable,” said Rutherford. “We’ll have to take the necessary steps to try to get the players’ attention.”
Rutherford indicated management attempted to make some trades during the offseason. However, they were hampered by cap space or high prices paid by other clubs.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Daily Faceoff’s Frank Seravalli reported Rutherford’s goal for next summer is moving big contracts to clear salary cap space. “VAN is open for business,” tweeted Seravalli.
So who could become trade candidates for the Canucks by next summer?
They signed J.T. Miller to a seven-year extension with an average annual value of $8 million but he’ll also have a full no-movement clause. Maybe Miller gets shopped before his new contract kicks in as his current deal lacks no-trade protection.
Elias Pettersson is signed through next season with an AAV of $7.35 million and he also lacks no-trade protection. However, he’s also just 23 and supposed to be a foundation player unless Rutherford has soured on him. Defenseman Quinn Hughes is signed through 2026-27 with an annual cap hit of $7.85 million but it would make little sense to move out their best blueliner unless Hughes is pushing for a trade.
Defensemen Oliver Ekman-Larssen ($7.26 million AAV through 2026-27) and Tyler Myers ($6 million annually through 2023-24) could also become trade candidates. Both, however, are past their best-before dates. The Canucks will have to retain some salary or package them with sweeteners in order to move them.
Thatcher Demko is earning $5 million annually through 2025-26. Putting their starting goalie on the trade block, however, would leave a gaping hole between the pipes that could take years to fill.
Winger Conor Garland ($4.95 million AAV through 2025-26) surfaced in media trade gossip earlier this season. He seems a more likely candidate at this point. They could also shop Bo Horvat before the March 3 trade deadline if the pending free agent hasn’t signed a contract extension by then.
LATEST ON THE SENATORS AND BRUINS
OTTAWA SUN: Bruce Garrioch reports Senators GM Pierre Dorion admits he’s having difficulty finding some help for his defense corps in the trade market. He’s spoken to the Arizona Coyotes about Jakob Chychrun but they’ve set a high asking price for the 24-year-old blueliner that Dorion isn’t willing to pay.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Garrioch reported Dorion will continue to look for a top-four defenseman in the trade market. In the meantime, he’ll continue to look within his organization to plug the holes in his blueline.