NHL Rumor Mill – January 21, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – January 21, 2022

Could the Oilers target a Stars goalie? Will the Blackhawks shop Marc-Andre Fleury? How many teams could have an interest in Jakob Chychrun and John Klingberg? Could the Canucks shop J.T. Miller soon? Find out in today’s NHL rumor mill.

WILL THE OILERS GO SHOPPING FOR A GOALTENDER?

TSN: Pierre LeBrun reports the Edmonton Oilers are looking at all options around the NHL to address their goaltending issues. They’ve kicked tires on Columbus Blue Jackets netminder Joonas Korpisalo, who’s an unrestricted free agent this summer.

The Oilers also internally discussed the Dallas Stars’ Anton Khudobin but the extra year on this contract at $3.33 million makes him less appealing. Stars goalie Braden Holtby could be more interesting as he’s a UFA at the season’s end. However, the real question is whether any of these options are better than Mikko Koskinen for the Oilers.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: No. No, they’re not. That doesn’t mean the Oilers might not acquire one of them in the hope they’ll provide some sort of upgrade. Khudobin did carry the Stars to the 2020 Stanley Cup Final but really struggled this season and wound up demoted to the minors. Holtby’s play has improved this season but his best days remain well behind him. Korpisalo failed to seize the starter’s job after Sergei Bobrovsky left town which is why the Jackets signed Elvis Merzlikins to a five-year extension.

Darren Dreger noted Chicago Blackhawks netminder Marc-Andre Fleury has also come up in the rumor mill but he’s not a fit in Edmonton for salary-cap reasons. When asked about trade possibilities, Fleury said he’s not thinking about that now as he’s trying to help the Blackhawks reach the playoffs.

Dreger expects there will be contract extension talks between the two sides. He also points out there’s an agreement with the Hawks that Fleury isn’t going anywhere unless he asks for a trade.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Fleury might consider a trade if the Blackhawks fail to gain ground in the standings over the next six weeks. His $7 million cap hit and 10-team no-trade clause probably keep him away from Edmonton. Some have linked him to the Colorado Avalanche and Washington Capitals. There’s even talk of a reunion with the Pittsburgh Penguins despite Tristan Jarry’s solid play this season. Whether he ends up with one of those clubs or heads elsewhere remains to be determined.

Arizona Coyotes defenseman Jakob Chychrun (NHL Images).

THE LATEST ON CHYCHRUN AND KLINGBERG

SPORTSNET: Jeff Marek and Elliotte Friedman discussed potential landing spots for Arizona Coyotes defenseman Jakob Chychrun. They suggested the Anaheim Ducks, Boston Bruins, Calgary Flames, Columbus Blue Jackets, Los Angeles Kings, New York Islanders, New York Rangers and St. Louis Blues as possibilities.

Both of them felt the Florida Panthers could be in on Chychrun, citing management’s ongoing efforts to build up their blueline. They felt the Panthers need one more big piece on their defense corps. Marek believes the Coyotes would want Spencer Knight, Anton Lundell and a first-round pick in return but Friedman felt that’s the price to be paid if they’re going all-in this season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Panthers GM Bill Zito has to consider if it’s worthwhile giving up that much of his club’s future to pursue the Stanley Cup this season. Granted, this move wouldn’t be for a rental player. The 23-year-old Chychrun is under contract for three more seasons who led all defensemen in goals last season.

The first-round pick is easy to part with given the Panthers’ depth and position in the standings. Giving up Knight would be tough but perhaps necessary with Sergei Bobrovsky carrying an almost untradable contract for four more seasons. Moving Lundell, who’s enjoying a solid rookie campaign, could be a bridge too far for Zito.

THE ATHLETIC: Shayna Goldman and Saad Yousef recently examined potential trade destinations for Dallas Stars pending UFA defenseman John Klingberg. Their three contenders are the Anaheim Ducks, Los Angeles Kings and Carolina Hurricanes, with the Pittsburgh Penguins, Nashville Predators and Toronto Maple Leafs as dark horses.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Ducks, Kings and Predators have the cap space and depth in promising young players to dangle for Klingberg if they wish to go that route. The Hurricanes showed a willingness to make big deadline deals, acquiring Vincent Trocheck and Brady Skjei two years ago. Their lack of cap space, however, would require some creativity to make the dollars fit.

The Penguins and Leafs are pressed for cap space. Both could stand pat or opt for more cost-effective options by the deadline. I’m not ruling out the possibility one of them swings a three-team deal to land someone like Klingberg. However, there’s no certainty they or the Hurricanes can find a third club to broker the deal given how many clubs have limited cap space this season.

WILL THE CANUCKS TRADE J.T. MILLER?

THE ATHLETIC: Thomas Drance cited Daily Faceoff’s Frank Seravalli saying he could see a scenario where the Vancouver Canucks trade J.T. Miller soon, perhaps before they officially hire a new general manager.

Drance, however, is skeptical of that scenario becoming reality. While sources told him there are teams interested in Miller, the Canucks can afford to wait because he’s under contract through next season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Drance also acknowledged the Canucks will have to make a decision about Miller’s future in Vancouver. Unless a rival club is willing to make an offer too good to refuse by the trade deadline, Canucks management could wait until the offseason to move Miller when teams have more cap room and willingness to pursue players of his caliber.

That should also be a decision that should involve the new general manager. Otherwise, team president Jim Rutherford shouldn’t waste everyone’s time hiring a GM if he’s going to make all the decisions himself.










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 6, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – January 6, 2022

Some suggested goaltending trade targets for the Oilers plus the latest on the Rangers and Kraken in today’s NHL rumor mill.

FLEURY, HOLTBY AMONG SUGGESTED OILERS GOALIE TARGETS

SPORTSNET: Marc-Andre Fleury of the Chicago Blackhawks and the Dallas Stars’ Braden Holtby are two of Rory Boylen’s suggested targets to address the Edmonton Oilers’ struggling goaltending.

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

The others include the Seattle Kraken’s Chris Driedger, the Columbus Blue Jackets’ Joonas Korpisalo, the New York Islanders Semyon Varlamov and the Montreal Canadiens’ Jake Allen.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Boylen goes into detail examining the pros and cons of each option and I recommend giving it a read. I’m just going to offer up my brief take.

I don’t think the Oilers can afford to take on Fleury’s $7 million annual average value given their limited cap space. They’ll have to get the Blackhawks to retain part of it and that’s going to mean tossing a sweetener into the deal. They could try to get another club to act as a third-party broker but it could end up costing the Oilers their first-round pick. That’s assuming the Oilers aren’t on Fleury 10-team no-trade list.

The Stars could peddle Holtby if they’re out of playoff contention by the trade deadline but I think they’d be keen to retain him beyond this season as a mentor for promising Jake Oettinger. Holtby could be willing to stick around as playing in the Lone Star State seems to agree with him. They are willing to part with Anton Khudobin, who’s in the minors after passing unclaimed through waivers last month. Teams are said to be calling about Khudobin but we don’t know if the Oilers are among them. He carries an affordable $3.33 million cap hit but has another year left on his contract.

Driedger could be available but he’s got two more years on his contract and I think the Oilers are more interested in a rental at this stage. Besides, I don’t see him as an upgrade over the current crop of Oilers goaltenders.

The Isles could be willing to move Varlamov if they’re comfortable with Ilya Sorokin as their full-time starter. However, his 16-team no-trade list and $5 million cap hit likely take him out of the equation for the Oilers.

Uncertainty over what the Canadiens’ new management will have in store for their roster at the trade deadline accounts for Allen’s inclusion on this list. He’s got a year left on his contract with an affordable $2.875 million cap hit but the Habs aren’t under any pressure to move him out, especially given Carey Price’s undetermined future. I wouldn’t rule it out but I also wouldn’t be surprised if the Habs hang onto Allen.

Korpisalo seems the more realistic trade target. He’s an unrestricted free agent this summer and isn’t expected to be back after the Blue Jackets committed to Elvis Merzlikins as their starter. Promising Daniil Tarasov could be Merzlikins’ full-time backup next season. Kopisalo has an affordable cap hit ($2.8 million) and lacks no-trade protection.

LATEST ON THE RANGERS AND KRAKEN

THE ATHLETIC: Arthur Staple looked at possible rental defense options for the New York Rangers. The most expensive would be the Canadien’s Ben Chiarot but Staple is skeptical that their newly install hockey ops VP Jeff Gorton would be interested in helping the club that spectacularly dumped him last May.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: He might if they offered up a first-round pick for Chiarot, which some pundits believe is the going rate for a blueliner of his caliber.

Staple also mused about the Chicago Blackhawks’ Calvin de Haan, the Seattle Kraken’s Mark Giordano, and the Blue Jacket’s Vladislav Gavrikov.

NEW YORK POST: Ethan Sears cited ESPN analyst Kevin Weekes suggesting the Rangers could use another top-six winger. He suggested the Canadiens’ Tyler Toffoli as a possibility.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Rangers have plenty of promising young assets to use as trade bait if they wish to seek immediate help, especially for someone with term on their contract carrying an affordable cap hit like Toffoli. Whether there’s a deal to be made with the Canadiens is another matter, especially if Gorton turns out to be as reluctant to help the Rangers as Staple believes.

THE ATHLETIC: Ryan S. Clark believes the Seattle Kraken could be in a good position to use the March 21 trade deadline to their advantage. They have six players on expiring contracts, including Mark Giordano, Calle Jarnkrok and Marcus Johansson. Those three could have value to playoff contenders, allowing the Kraken to acquire some future assets while clearing some cap space.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Giordano will draw considerable attention and would fetch the best return. Jarnkrok’s versatility and two-way play would also generate interest. Johansson’s injury history and declining production could hurt his trade value.










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 Morning Coffee Headlines – December 13, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 13, 2021

Andre Burakovsky pots his first career hat trick, Max Pacioretty sets a Golden Knights record, Alex Pietrangelo has concerns about COVID protocols for the Winter Olympics, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.com: Colorado Avalanche winger Andre Burakovsky tallied his first career hat trick in a 3-2 win over the Florida Panthers. Burakovsky broke a 2-2 tie in the third period as the Avs picked up their fourth straight win while snapping the Panthers’ five-game points streak.

Colorado defenseman Jacob MacDonald was stretchered from the ice in the second period following a hit by the Panthers’ Ryan Lomberg. He was said to be “alert, responsive and has full movement” and undergoing further evaluation. The Avs also played without captain Gabriel Landeskog as he’s sidelined for two weeks with a lower-body injury. Earlier in the day, they placed goaltender Jonas Johansson on waivers after recalling Pavel Francouz from their AHL affiliate.

Vegas Golden Knights winger Max Pacioretty (NHL Images).

Max Pacioretty pushed his goals streak to a franchise-record six games as the Vegas Golden Knights downed the Minnesota Wild 6-4. Pacioretty and Mark Stone each had a goal and two assists to extend their points streaks to eight games while teammate Chandler Stephenson picked up four assists. The Wild (39 points) still lead the Western Conference but have lost two straight games.

The Vancouver Canucks picked up their fourth win in as many games under new head coach Bruce Boudreau by holding off the Carolina Hurricanes 2-1. Brock Boeser and Elias Pettersson scored for the Canucks. Martin Necas replied for the Hurricanes, who played without leading scorer Sebastian Aho due to a non-COVID-related illness.

Nashville Predators goaltender Juuse Saros had a 32-save shutout to blank the New York Rangers 1-0. Philip Tomasino scored the game’s only goal in the Predators’ fifth consecutive win, bringing Rangers’ goalie Alexandar Georgiev’s three-game win streak to an end. Earlier in the day, the Predators placed center Ryan Johansen in COVID protocol.

The Anaheim Ducks defeated the St. Louis Blues 3-2 on an overtime goal by Troy Terry, who also scored the tying goal in the third period on a penalty shot. St. Louis forward Nathan Walker had a goal and an assist. Blues forward Jordan Kyrou missed the game with an upper-body injury.

HEADLINES

LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL: Golden Knights defenseman Alex Pietrangelo has expressed concern about the potential COVID-19 protocols in Beijing and is uncertain if he’ll participate in the 2022 Winter Olympics. Pietrangelo was already named to Canada’s roster along with the Edmonton Oilers Connor McDavid and the Pittsburgh Penguins Sidney Crosby.

I’ve got four kids that are under the age of 3 1/2. For me to be potentially locked up there for five weeks plus the Olympics, that’s a long time being away from my family,” said Pietrangelo. He indicated he won’t make a decision until the players receive further clarification on the COVID protocols for the Olympics.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Chinese law states people who test positive for COVID-19 face a quarantine period of between three to five weeks. It remains to be seen if there will be exemptions for Olympic participants.

The NHL and NHLPA have until Jan. 10 to opt-out of Olympic participation without facing financial consequences. League commissioner Gary Bettman expressed concern last week over those protocols but said he’d leave it up to the players to decide if they’ll participate in the Beijing Games.

Other NHL players could share Pietrangelo’s concerns. A number of them could back out of participation rather than risk a lengthy quarantine in China without pay if they contract COVID-19 during the Olympic tournament.

THE ATHLETIC: Aaron Portzline reports Columbus Blue Jackets goaltender Joonas Korpisalo faces a deadline to fulfill his mandatory military service in Finland before the end of the regular season. All Finnish males between 18 and 28 must serve a required number of days of compulsory service.

The Finnish government released a statement indicating athletes like Korpisalo, who turns 29 on Apr. 28, will begin their service on Apr. 11. However, the Blue Jackets regular season ends on Apr. 29. The required service is 165, 255 or 347 days depending on the assignment.

Korpisalo said he put off his service due to his offseason training schedule. His passport expires in a year’s time and the Finnish government won’t issue him a new one until he completes his service.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Portzline pointed out it was easier in the past for Finnish athletes to avoid service but the rules were changed several years ago. Korpisalo said he wouldn’t leave the Jackets to do his service while their season was ongoing. However, this could affect his chances of getting a new NHL contract this summer when he becomes eligible for unrestricted free agent status.

ESPN.COM: The Chicago Blackhawks placed forward Reese Johnson on injured reserve with a broken right clavicle.










NHL Rumor Mill – December 11, 2021

NHL Rumor Mill – December 11, 2021

Analysis of Sportsnet’s Jeff Marek’s list of potential trade candidates in today’s NHL rumor mill.

SPORTSNET: Jeff Marek recently listed 25 potential trade candidates of interest to watch this season.

Seattle Kraken defenseman Mark Giordano (NHL Images).

He starts by wondering if Mark Giordano might be thinking of a shot at the Stanley Cup and if the Seattle Kraken might consider shopping him.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Can’t rule it out. That move could happen near the March 21 trade deadline. On the other hand, I wouldn’t dismiss the possibility of the Kraken re-signing him.

The Montreal Canadiens could get a first-round pick for defenseman Ben Chiarot from a team seeking a deep playoff run.

That seems to be the growing consensus among the pundits. We’ll find out at some point this season if that’s the case.

Marek also wondered if Brendan Gallagher and Tyler Toffoli would want to be part of a potential rebuilding in Montreal.

If the Canadiens decide to move Gallagher and/or Toffoli it’ll likely happen in the offseason. It’s difficult to move older players with several years on their contracts during the season, especially with 22 teams carrying less than $3.6 million in cap space. Some will have more cap room by the trade deadline but they must also keep an eye on next season’s payrolls with the cap only rising by $1 million.

The direction of the Nashville Predators depends on what they do with pending UFA winger Filip Forsberg.

Predators GM David Poile said in July he was engaging in a “competitive rebuild”. That could continue with Forsberg’s departure. If they’re still in playoff contention by the deadline they’ll keep him as an “own rental” and let him walk this summer if they can’t reach an agreement on an extension.

The Dallas Stars are shopping Anton Khudobin. Marek suspects they’re after a forward. Teams like the Carolina Hurricanes have called about John Klingberg but the Stars could keep him for the playoffs if unable to re-sign the pending UFA defenseman.

Concur on both counts.

The Boston Bruins will remain patient in their efforts to move winger Jake DeBrusk until they get the best possible player or players in return.

Interested clubs could also be unwilling to meet the Bruins’ asking price. Marek’s colleague Elliotte Friedman reported GM Don Sweeney was seeking a defenseman or forward of equal value.

The Vegas Golden Knights could move Reilly Smith to free up cap space when Jack Eichel is ready to return to action.

Smith seems the most likely trade candidate. He carries a $5 million cap hit, lacks no-trade protection and is slated to become a UFA this summer.

The Vancouver Canucks are looking to change direction and could surprise us by moving J.T. Miller.

Not if they manage to climb back into playoff contention. Otherwise, I wouldn’t rule out the Canucks testing the trade market for Miller.

Marek doesn’t envision any scenario where Evander Kane returns to the San Jose Sharks lineup. He believes they’ll have to absorb some of his salary to move him.

He’s not the only pundit who believes that.  Kane’s off-ice woes, his reputation as a divisive player in the dressing room and his $7 million annual salary cap hit make him difficult to move.

Perhaps a team in Alberta would have an interest in Chicago Blackhawks goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury.

Marek is referring to the Edmonton Oilers. However, that depends on the health of Oiler goalie Mike Smith, whether Fleury would accept a trade to Edmonton and if the Blackhawks are willing to pick up part of his cap hit.

Marek suggested Detroit Red Wings forward Vladislav Namestnikov and defenseman Nick Leddy could become trade candidates.

Only if the Wings drop out of playoff contention again. Otherwise, they’ll keep both in hope of securing their first postseason berth since 2016.

Ditto Ottawa Senators center Chris Tierney and blueliners Erik Brannstrom and Nick Holden.

I agree regarding Tierney and Holden but I can see them giving Brannstrom another season to crack their roster.

The Columbus Blue Jackets could trade Joonas Korpisalo by the trade deadline. Elvis Merzlikins is their starter and Daniil Tarasov shows promise.

Concur.

Marek wonders if the St. Louis Blues might try to trade Vladimir Tarasenko. It’s clear things are frosty between Taraseno and Blues coach Craig Berube.

Tarasenko hasn’t rescinded his trade request and is fully recovered from his shoulder surgeries. However, his $7.5 million annual average value through 2022-23 remains a sticking point as it was this past summer. The fact he’s owed $9.5 million in actual salary this season and I believe the earliest he gets moved is next summer.

New York Rangers GM Chris Drury won’t budge on honoring Vitali Kravtsov’s trade request unless he gets something of quality in return. Backup goalie Alexandar Georgiev’s name has also been in the rumor mill.

Kravtsov is on loan to KHL club Chelyabinsk and can’t return to the NHL until the KHL season is over. Georgiev’s solid effort filling in for sidelined starter Igor Shesterkin could improve his trade value but the Blueshirts could be reluctant to move him unless they’ve got a reliable backup to replace him.

Arizona Coyotes winger Phil Kessel is available and so is pretty much anyone not named Jakub Chychrun.

I anticipate Kessel gets moved by deadline day. It’ll be interesting to see how many other Coyotes veterans hit the trade block by then.

Marek also wonders what the Pittsburgh Penguins will do with pending UFAs Evgeni Malkin, Kris Letang and Bryan Rust. What happens with Malkin will depend on his health.

I doubt the Penguins shop any of those three if they’re holding a playoff berth by deadline day. Rust is the only one lacking any kind of no-trade protection and carries the most affordable cap hit ($3.5 million).

Marek wondered if Oilers GM Ken Holland will use his first-round pick as trade bait to bring in immediate help for his roster. He also mused over whether the Buffalo Sabres would use one of their three 2022 first-round picks to address an organizational need.