NHL Rumor Mill – February 23, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – February 23, 2022

Will the loss of Jake Muzzin send the Leafs into the trade market? Could Zdeno Chara be shipped to a playoff contender? What is the latest on the Canadiens? Check out the latest in today’s NHL rumor mill.

LATEST ON THE LEAFS

TSN: Darren Dreger points out the Toronto Maple Leafs could free up over $5.6 million in salary-cap space if sidelined defenseman Jake Muzzin (concussion) ends up on long-term injured reserve (LTIR). Dreger suggested options such as the Anaheim Ducks’ Hampus Lindholm, the Dallas Stars’ John Klingberg, the Montreal Canadiens’ Ben Chiarot or the Seattle Kraken’s Mark Giordano, though he called them “pie in the sky options” right now. He also said the Leafs would like to add a top-six forward to compliment the second line.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: We don’t know yet how long Muzzin could be sidelined. If he goes on LTIR, there’s no certainty he’d be out for the remainder of the regular season. He’d have to be for the Leafs to take on one of those blueliners without it causing a salary-cap headache if he returns before the postseason.

Dreger’s colleague Pierre LeBrun indicated the Ducks have reached out to Lindholm’s agent regarding a contract extension so he might not be available by the March 21 trade deadline. Sportnet’s Elliotte Friedman (stick tap to The Hockey Writers’ Kevin Armstrong) recently said the Leafs had considered Klingberg but they don’t want to part with a first-round pick or one of their top prospects for a rental.

Dallas Stars defenseman John Klingberg (NHL Images).

Speaking of Friedman, he thinks things could get interesting for Leafs general manager Kyle Dubas if he’s willing to use that LTIR space. “I’m on the J.T. Miller train,” said Friedman, referring to the Vancouver Canucks center. Miller wouldn’t be a playoff rental as he has a year remaining on his contract with an annual average value of $5.25 million. However, I don’t think they could win a bidding war with teams like the New York Rangers that have lots of cap space and promising young players to draw upon for trade bait.

CHARA ON THE TRADE BLOCK?

TSN: Pierre LeBrun reports teams are calling the New York Islanders expressing interest in Zdeno Chara. The 44-year-old New York Islanders defenseman lacks a no-trade clause but it’s though GM Lou Lamoriello could approach him to see if he wants to move.

NYI HOCKEY NOW: Stefen Rosner cites a league source claiming the Islanders will explore the trade market for Chara once he breaks the league record for most games played by a defenseman later this week. Rosner wonders if Chara could return to the Boston Bruins or if the Pittsburgh Penguins and Toronto Maple Leafs might take a flier on him.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Chara has slowed considerably but there appear to be clubs interested in him for his leadership in a third-pairing role. It’ll be interesting to see if he’s keen for one more crack at the Cup.

LATEST ON THE CANADIENS

MONTREAL HOCKEY NOW: Jimmy Murphy cites Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman recently musing over whether the Montreal Canadiens would consider trading Josh Anderson. Friedman said he’s getting mixed reactions over whether the Canadiens will keep the 27-year-old winger. Murphy feels they should retain Anderson, suggesting he has the look of a future Habs captain.

Marco D’Amico, meanwhile, took note of recent speculation by TSN’s Pierre LeBrun linking the Canadiens to the New York Rangers, citing the ties Canadiens hockey ops executive VP Jeff Gorton has with his former team. LeBrun felt the Habs would prefer prospects over draft picks and pointed out the Rangers’ depth in that department.

D’Amico suggested Vitali Kravtsov could be on their radar, pointing to the Habs’ recent hiring of former Rangers director of European Scouting Nick Bobrov as their new co-director of Amateur Scouting.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Judging from social media, trading Anderson wouldn’t go down well with Canadiens fans. I wouldn’t be surprised if the Habs are listening to offers on most of their players but Anderson could be someone they prefer retaining going forward. Then again, I said the same thing about Tyler Toffoli. Anderson, however, is younger and bigger than Toffoli and those factors could keep him in Montreal.

It wouldn’t be surprising if the Canadiens acquired Kravtsov, who’s been playing in the KHL this season awaiting a trade. The 22-year-old was unhappy with his playing time with the Rangers and would get plenty of opportunities to prove himself with the rebuilding Habs.










NHL Rumor Mill – February 14, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – February 14, 2022

Check out the latest Canadiens and Canucks speculation in today’s NHL rumor mill.

LATEST ON THE CANADIENS

MONTREAL GAZETTE: Pat Hickey believes it’s time for the Canadiens to find a new home for Jeff Petry after the struggling 34-year-old defenseman committed a pair of gaffes that led to two recent losses. General manager Kent Hughes recently said he’ll make a deal involving the unhappy Petry if it makes sense for both sides. Hickey acknowledged the Canadiens aren’t dealing from a position of strength and clearing out Petry’s $6.25 million cap space might be more important than any return.

Montreal Canadiens defenseman Jeff Petry (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Easier said than done. Petry’s age, the decline in his performance this season, the remaining three years of his contract and his 15-team no-trade clause (with a no-movement to prevent demotion to the minors) are significant stumbling blocks in the path toward a trade. That deal (if it can be found) might have to wait until the offseason given the high number of teams with limited cap space this season.

SPORTSNET’s Eric Engels (stick tap to Brian Wilde) said there are 12 teams with an interest in Canadiens defenseman Ben Chiarot. The asking price is “at least a first”. The club is also staying patient with winger Tyler Toffoli unless they get a big offer for the 29-year-old forward.

Engels said the Canadiens are gauging Petry’s value in the trade market. He speculates the Dallas Stars or Detroit Red Wings as possible destinations. As for winger Josh Anderson, he’s unlikely to be moved. It would “cost a ton” for a team to land him.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Engels’ colleague Elliotte Friedman reported Saturday the Calgary Flames, Carolina Hurricanes, Florida Panthers, Los Angeles Kings and New York Rangers are believed among the suitors for Chiarot. Toffoli’s under contract for two more years at an affordable $4.25 million annually. Unless he requests a trade, the Canadiens will likely hang onto him.

Given Petry’s age and cap hit, I don’t see him as a fit with the Stars. I understand they could trade John Klingberg or let him depart via free agency but I think they’d prefer a younger and more affordable replacement. I’ve suggested the Red Wings as a trade partner given Petry’s a Michigan native but GM Steve Yzerman could also prefer younger and cheaper talent on his blueline.

I also concur with Engels’ take on Anderson. He’s among the few Habs players who consistently bring a solid effort in every game. Yes, his scoring is erratic but his energy and physical play make him worth keeping.

UPDATE ON THE CANUCKS

VANCOUVER HOCKEY NOW: Rob Simpson weighed in on Sportsnet’s Jeff Marek’s Saturday report claiming the Canucks could have an interest in Pavel Zacha. The 24-year-old New Jersey Devils forward is a former first-round pick who is slated to become a restricted free agent this summer and is a year away from UFA eligibility.

Simpson points out Canucks president Jim Rutherford and general manager Patrik Allvin saw a lot of Zacha during their tenures with the Pittsburgh Penguins. He suggests perhaps Zacha could be viewed as a potential replacement for center J.T. Miller if the Canucks should trade him before the March 21 deadline.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Interesting theory by Simpson. I share his concern about Zacha’s durability and desire, making him “the anti-Miller”. However, he’d be a worthwhile secondary scoring addition to augment Miller if the Canucks intend to retain him.

THE ATHLETIC: Thomas Drance and Rick Dhaliwal report hearing the Canucks linked to New York Rangers winger Vitali Kravtsov, who’s playing in Russia this season awaiting a trade.

Their sources were split over whether he’d been part of any latent discussions between the Canucks and Rangers, who’ve been rumored to have an interest in J.T. Miller. Kravtsov would fit the mold of promising young players the Canucks could target leading up to the trade deadline.










NHL Rumor Mill – February 12, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – February 12, 2022

What’s the latest on Jakob Chychrun, Claude Giroux, Marc-Andre Fleury and other top NHL trade candidates? Check out my analysis of TSN’s latest trade bait list in today’s NHL rumor mill.

TSN: Arizona Coyotes defenseman Jakob Chychrun, Montreal Canadiens blueliner Ben Chiarot and Chicago Blackhawks goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury fill the top-three positions in TSN’s Feb. 11 trade bait list. Philadelphia Flyers forward Claude Giroux and Dallas Stars defenseman John Klingberg round out the top five.

Philadelphia Flyers captain Claude Giroux (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I’ve written at length regarding Chychrun, Fleury and Giroux for The Hockey News over the past week. I don’t dismiss the possibility of Chychrun moving by the March 21 trade deadline but the Coyotes’ high asking price suggests this could be an offseason move.

The Colorado Avalanche reportedly has interest in Fleury and Giroux but their limited cap space means they can’t afford both. In either case, they’ll have to get the losing club to retain salary and could still need a third team to get involved in order to broker the deal by spreading out the remaining cap hit. The Avs could also be forced to part with some promising prospects.

Chiarot’s been at or near the top of most trade bait lists since December. It’s assumed the Canadiens could get a first-round pick for him. There were reports last month indicating the Stars were trying to move Klingberg but there’s been nothing of note since then. Much could depend on where the Stars are in the standings in a month’s time.

San Jose Sharks center Tomas Hertl, Seattle Kraken defenseman Mark Giordano, Columbus Blue Jackets forward Max Domi, Vancouver Canucks center J.T. Miller and the Coyotes salary cap space fill spots six through 10.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: No certainty Hertl will be traded following a report this week indicating the Sharks are talking contract extension with his agent. It could depend on how much cap space they’ll have following the outcome of Evander Kane’s grievance over his contract termination.

TSN’s Pierre LeBrun reports Kraken GM Ron Francis is expected to sit down with Giordano soon to discuss the possibility of a trade. He mentioned the Florida Panthers as a possible destination. The well-traveled Domi recently surfaced in trade rumors but there’s no indication which teams might be interested in him.

Miller’s been a hot topic for trade chatter since November. However, recent trade rumors regarding teammate Conor Garland have led some observers to suggest the Canucks prefer not only retaining Miller but perhaps signing him to a contract extension this summer if they can find sufficient salary-cap flexibility.

The Coyotes carry plenty of cap space to help other clubs looking to offload salary or perhaps broker a three-team deal by the deadline. They’re already retaining salary on two contracts (Darcy Kuemper and Oliver Ekman-Larsson) and can only take on one more as the CBA allows just three retained salaries per season.

Coyotes winger Phil Kessel, Buffalo Sabres defenseman Mark Pysyk, Blackhawks defenseman Calvin de Haan, Detroit Red Wings defenseman Nick Leddy and Winnipeg Jets center Andrew Copp sit at positions 11 through 15.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kessel isn’t the scorer of his youth but could still be a worthwhile addition to a team seeking a winger with playoff experience. With 28 points in 44 games, the versatile Copp will draw interest if the Jets got into sell mode in March. Pysyk, de Haan and Leddy could be affordable options for contenders seeking blueline depth.

Canadiens defenseman Jeff Petry, Boston Bruins left wing Jake DeBrusk, Sabres defenseman Colin Miller, Stars goalie Anton Khudobin and Flyers defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen are at 16 through 20.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Petry’s garnered lots of recent trade rumor buzz but his contract ($6.25 million cap hit through 2024-25, 15 team no-trade clause) and declining production this season makes the 34-year-old difficult to move at a time when a large number of teams have little salary-cap wiggle room.

DeBrusk made a trade request in late November but there’s no indication the Bruins are close to moving him or receiving much interest from other clubs. Miller is midway through an expected six-week absence due to surgery for an undisclosed ailment. The Stars placed Khudobin on waivers in December but couldn’t find any takers. Ristolainen might garner some interest but he’s dogged by a reputation for sloppy defensive play.

New York Rangers winger Vitali Kravtsov, Ottawa Senators center Chris Tierney, Red Wings defenseman Marc Staal, Kraken forward Calle Jarnkrok and Coyotes center Johan Larsson round out the list.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kravtsov is playing in the KHL and cannot return to the NHL until their season is over. Tierney and Jarnkrok could be affordable depth forward additions. There’s talk the Wings could bring back Staal on another one-year deal as they value his leadership and experience. Larsson underwent sports hernia surgery and isn’t expected to return to action until early April.










NHL Rumor Mill – February 11, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – February 11, 2022

Could Mark Stone’s injury provide cap relief for the Golden Knights? Are the Panthers still pursuing Jakob Chychrun? What’s the latest on Tyler Toffoli, Rasmus Sandin and Pavel Zacha? Check out the latest in today’s NHL rumor mill.

STONE INJURY COULD ALLOW GOLDEN KNIGHTS TO ACTIVATE EICHEL

DAILY FACEOFF: Frank Seravalli took note of Vegas Golden Knights coach Peter DeBoer saying captain Mark Stone continues to deal with a nagging injury that already cost him 29 games this season. If Stone should be sidelined until the playoffs, it could provide the club with the necessary cap relief to active Jack Eichel without having to trade a forward such as Reilly Smith or Evgenii Dadonov.

Vegas Golden Knights captain Mark Stone (NHL Images).

Eichel’s annual average value is $10 million while Stone’s is $9.5 million. The move would also enable them to reactivate sidelined defenseman Alec Martinez.

THE ATHLETIC: Jesse Granger also weighed in on the conjecture, pointing out there’s nothing certain about the Golden Knights plans, only that league sources were speculating about it. It’s uncertain whether Stone’s injury will sideline him for the remainder of the season. If he were to return to the lineup following the trade deadline and before the end of the regular season, the club wouldn’t be able to make a cost-cutting trade.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Call it the “Kucherov Gambit” when a team places a player on LTIR for the remainder of the season to garner cap relief only to welcome him back into the lineup for the postseason when the salary cap doesn’t count. That’s what the Tampa Bay Lightning did last season with Nikita Kucherov. Actually, it should be known as the Patrick Kane gambit, since it was the Chicago Blackhawks who set the standard in 2015 when Kane was sidelined by a broken collarbone.

It’s a form of cap circumvention but it’s also allowed under the CBA. Some general managers might grumble but they’re not about to do anything about it because they know they can also benefit from it if facing similar circumstances.

No one’s faking an injury here. Kane and Kucherov suffered legitimate injuries that took time to heal and their recoveries were monitored by the league to ensure everything was above board cap-wise. They’ll do the same for Stone and the Golden Knights if he ends up on LTIR for the remainder of the regular season.

ARE THE PANTHERS STILL INTERESTED IN CHYCHRUN?

FLORIDA HOCKEY NOW: In a recent mailbag segment, George Richards was asked if the Panthers still had an interest in Jakob Chychrun. He believes they do but doubts they can meet the Arizona Coyotes’ asking price for the 23-year-old defenseman. He felt they would be fine with a rental like the Montreal Canadiens’ Ben Chiarot.

Richards also doused any talk of the Panthers part with rookie star Anton Lundell to acquire Chychrun, calling him untouchable. “Get his name out of any rumor right now – in fact, it probably shouldn’t have been brought up.” However, he doesn’t dismiss the notion of giving up goalie Spencer Knight for the Coyotes blueliner.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I believe it was Sportsnet’s Jeff Marek who suggested the Coyotes could ask for Lundell as part of the return. As Richards observed, they could ask for him but that doesn’t mean the Panthers will do it.

There’s no reason for the Panthers to part with Lundell as he’s already become an indispensable part of their lineup. Trading him for Chychrun would address their need for another skilled puck-moving blueliner but it would create a hole on their forward lines that could prove difficult to plug.

LATEST TIDBITS FROM TSN’S INSIDERS AND SPORTSNET’S 32 THOUGHTS

TSN: Discussing what could be next for the Edmonton Oilers following yesterday’s coaching change, Darren Dreger suggests their need for a top-four defenseman is greater than their requirement for reliable goaltending depth. He considers the addition of a right-shot blueline a priority.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I still believe addressing their goaltending is the priority. Given the limited options available or the cost of acquiring Chicago’s Marc-Andre Fleury if they’re not on his 10-team no-trade list, adding a defenseman would be the next best option. The Dallas Stars’ John Klingberg would be the best rental blueliner but the Oilers might not have sufficient assets to win a bidding war for his services.

SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman repeated his speculation that the Calgary Flames could be interested in Montreal Canadiens forward Tyler Toffoli. He also suggested a reunion with the Los Angeles Kings, who are seeking some scoring.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Toffoli is also the type of player the Canadiens could prefer retaining for their upcoming rebuild. If he forces the issue and wants out, the Habs could seek a first-round pick and either a top prospect or good young NHL player in return.

There were rumblings the Dallas Stars may have considered a coaching change. Friedman believes they’d decided to stick with head coach Rick Bowness.

Friedman would be surprised if the Toronto Maple Leafs traded defenseman Rasmus Sandin.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: As would I. It would be premature to give up on him for a quick fix.

Despite speculation about Nick Paul’s future with the Ottawa Senators, a source told Friedman he’s pessimistic Paul would be available by the trade deadline.

Teams are showing interest in New Jersey Devils forward Pavel Zacha and New York Rangers winger Vitali Kravtsov, who is expected to return to the NHL next season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Zacha was the sixth-overall pick by the Devils in 2015. While he hasn’t blossomed into a star as hoped, he’s put up decent numbers in a secondary role.

The 24-year-old Zacha is a restricted free agent with arbitration rights who’s a year away from unrestricted free agent eligibility. The Devils could be reluctant to part with him but perhaps they’ll entertain offers if they feel he’ll be difficult to retain beyond 2023.










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 – 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.