Are the Rangers waiting for Sheldon Keefe or Mike Sullivan to become available as coaching candidates? Could the Golden Knights buy out Robin Lehner? Will the Sharks attempt to trade Kevin Labanc? Check out the latest in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.
ARE THE RANGERS WAITING FOR KEEFE OR SULLIVAN?
NEW YORK POST: Larry Brooks wondered why the Rangers’ search for a new head coach is on hold.
Toronto Maple Leafs head coach Sheldon Keefe (NHL.com).
One possibility is Rangers general manager Chris Drury is waiting to see what happens to Toronto Maple Leafs coach Sheldon Keefe once that club hires a new GM. Another could be what happens with Pittsburgh Penguins’ bench boss Mike Sullivan if former Leafs GM Kyle Dubas becomes their new general manager.
By his own admission, Brooks isn’t letting Sullivan’s possible availability go despite him telling his colleague Mollie Walker that he’s not going anywhere. His initial theory was Dubas would bring Keefe with him if the Penguins hired him but that’s not a certainty. For now, we just wait and see.
Brooks shot down the possibility that they’re waiting for Joel Quenneville to be reinstated by NHL commissioner Gary Bettman. He claimed there’s “no expectation within the industry” that Quenneville (under indefinite suspension since 2021 for his role in the Kyle Beach sexual assault saga) would be reinstated in a timely manner that would make him a candidate for any open head-coaching job “in this current search cycle”.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: In other words, not during this offseason.
COULD THE GOLDEN KNIGHTS BUY OUT LEHNER?
VEGAS HOCKEY NOW: Dan Kingerski points out that Adin Hill is making a strong case to stick with the Golden Knights with his strong performance during their current playoff run. He wondered if they might consider buying out Robin Lehner’s contract and use part of the savings to sign Hill to a long-term deal.
The 27-year-old Hill is slated to become an unrestricted free agent. He’s completing a two-year deal with an average annual value of $2.175 million.
Lehner, 31, has missed the entire 2022-23 season recovering from potentially career-threatening hip surgeries. He has two seasons remaining on his contract with an average annual value of $5 million.
Kingerski suggests buying out Lehner would make sense if the Golden Knights can’t keep him on long-term injury reserve for 2023-24. His cap hit would then be reduced to $750K for 2023-24, rising to $2.25 million for 2024-25 and then falling to $1.75 million for the remaining two years of the buyout.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Lehner must be medically cleared to play in order for Vegas to buy out his contract. So far, there’s no indication yet that he will receive that clearance during the buyout period in late June.
Given Labanc’s offensive struggles since his career-best 56-point performance in 2018-19, Miller doesn’t expect the Sharks would get much in return for him. Maybe a team seeking some offensive depth such as the New York Islanders might take a chance on him.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Speculation over whether the Sharks will trade Karlsson has dominated the Sharks rumor mill. Nevertheless, we can’t rule out the possibility that GM Mike Grier can find a taker for Labanc. Given his salary and with just a year left on Labanc’s contract, Grier might be more receptive to retaining part of his cap hit to facilitate a trade than he would for Karlsson.
What’s in store this offseason for some Flyers veterans? Could the Canadiens target free agents Alex Killorn or Damon Severson this summer? Does Kevin Labanc have a future in San Jose? Find out in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.
WHAT’S IN STORE THIS SUMMER FOR THE FLYERS’ HAYES, DEANGELO AND KONECNY?
THE PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER: Olivia Reiner reports Flyers general manager Daniel Briere believes Kevin Hayes still has a lot of value as a productive 6-foot-5 center. While he thinks plenty of teams would be interested in the soon-to-be 31-year-old Hayes, Briere suggested it was too early to jump to conclusions over his future.
Philadelphia Flyers center Kevin Hayes (NHL Images).
The Flyers GM acknowledged defenseman Tony DeAngelo had an up-and-down year that ended with him being a healthy scratch at the end of the season. He declined to go into the reasons behind DeAngelo’s benching but added this offseason will be a big one for the blueliner as he works his way back into the good graces of head coach John Tortorella.
Briere felt winger Travis Konecny will be an important part of the roster going forward. The 26-year-old winger has two years left on his contract. Briere was impressed with how he took over as a team leader from departed veterans like Claude Giroux and Jakub Voracek.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Briere seems to be kind of lowering expectations a bit with his comments about moving Hayes. I think he will try to move Hayes this summer if he can get an acceptable offer, preferably one where he’s not having to retain any part of his $7.14 million average annual value. However, finding such an offer won’t be easy, especially if the salary cap only rises by $1 million for next season.
DeAngelo only has a year remaining on his contract. An improved performance next season could boost the Flyers but also bolster his value in next season’s trade market as a playoff rental.
Konecny occasionally surfaced in the rumor mill this season. He thrived under Tortorella’s coaching this season so I doubt we’ll see him moved this summer.
Lajoie believes Killorn (a Quebec native) would be the type of physical winger who would appeal to Canadiens general manager Kent Hughes and head coach Martin St. Louis. While the Lightning winger is coming off a career-best season, Marinaro cautioned that he’s on the downside of his career.
MONTREAL HOCKEY NOW: In a recent mailbag segment, Marc Dumont was asked which UFAs he sees the Canadiens pursuing. He thinks they might sign a right-shot defenseman who can be a mainstay on the top pairing alongside Mike Matheson while their younger blueliners develop. Dumont suggested New Jersey Devils rearguard Damon Severson, though he’s heard that he’d prefer to avoid playing in a market like Montreal.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Killorn would be ideal if he were five years younger as he could fit in well in the Canadiens’ long-term plans. However, he turns 34 in September and would probably prefer skating with a playoff contender rather than a rebuilding club. I daresay Severson would feel the same way.
LABANC FACING UNCERTAIN FUTURE IN SAN JOSE
THE MERCURY NEWS’ Curtis Pashelka tweeted Monday that Sharks winger Kevin Labanc faces an uncertain future in San Jose. General manager Mike Grier said he “can’t say whether he’ll be here,” adding he’ll see what happens and what presents itself.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Labanc, 27, has a year remaining on his contract with an AAV of $4.725 million. He also lacks no-trade protection. He’s struggled since tallying a career-best 56 points in 2018-19. With the Sharks rebuilding, it sounds like Grier could dangle Labanc as a trade chip this summer.
The Bruins become the first club to reach 40 wins this season, the Devils become this season’s first club to reach 20 road wins, the Blue Jackets scratch Vladislav Gavrikov for trade-related reasons, and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.
NHL.COM: The Boston Bruins are the first team this season to reach the 40-win plateau as they nipped the Dallas Stars 3-2 on David Pastrnak’s overtime goal. Pastrnak and Pavel Zacha each had a goal and an assist as the Bruins (40-8-5) sit atop the overall standings with 85 points. Jason Robertson and Joe Pavelski each had two points for the Stars (30-14-11) as they sit on top of the Western Conference with 71 points.
Boston Bruins winger David Pastrnak (NHL Images).
Ryan Graves’ goal with two seconds remaining in the third period lifted the New Jersey Devils over the Columbus Blue Jackets by a score of 3-2. Vitek Vanecek made 31 saves for the 35-13-5 Devils as they became the first team this season to win 20 road games as they sit third in the Eastern Conference with 75 points. Johnny Gaudreau scored for the Blue Jackets as they slipped to 16-34-4.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Blue Jackets played without Vladislav Gavrikov as the defenseman was a healthy scratch for trade-related reasons. The Hockey News’ Adam Proteau weighs in on this latest trend of teams holding players considered trade candidates out of the line, suggesting it shouldn’t be for any longer than a week.
The Carolina Hurricanes defeated the Washington Capitals 3-2 with Stefen Noesen snapping a 2-2 tie in the second period. Hurricanes goalie Frederik Andersen made 13 of his 34 saves in the third period as his club improved to 35-10-8 and sit second in the Eastern Conference with 78 points. Joe Snively had a goal and an assist for the Capitals (28-22-6) as they slipped down into the final Eastern wild-card berth with 62 points.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Capitals played without captain Alex Ovechkin as he’s taken a leave of absence to deal with a family matter and the death of a loved one. He will miss the club’s Stadium Series against the Hurricanes on Saturday.
Pittsburgh Penguins goaltender Casey DeSmith stopped 38 shots while Sidney Crosby and Rickard Rakell each had three points in a 3-1 win over the San Jose Sharks. Jake Guentzel also scored twice for the Penguins (27-17-9) as they vaulted over the Capitals into the first Eastern Conference wild-card spot with 63 points. Timo Meier replied for the 17-27-11 Sharks.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Sharks winger Kevin Labanc revealed his father, Milan, had been in a medically induced coma for over two months after falling from a ladder while hanging Christmas lights during the American Thanksgiving weekend. Labanc said his father is now out of the woods and recovering. That explains why the winger’s on-ice performance has suffered in recent weeks leading to his being a healthy scratch in eight of the Sharks’ last 10 games.
The Tampa Bay Lightning defeated the Colorado Avalanche 4-3 on a shootout goal by Steven Stamkos. Andrei Vasilevskiy turned aside 43 shots for the 35-16-2 Lightning as they moved past the Toronto Maple Leafs into second place in the Atlantic Division with 72 points. Nathan MacKinnon had a goal and an assist for the 28-19-5 Avalanche as they cling to third place in the Central Division with 61 points.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Avalanche played without defenseman Erik Johnson as he’s sidelined indefinitely with a lower-body injury. He joins Cale Makar (head injury) and Josh Manson (lower body) among injured Avs blueliners though Manson could return to action for Wednesday’s game against the Minnesota Wild.
Winnipeg Jets center Pierre-Luc Dubois scored the game-tying goal and tallied in the shootout in a 3-2 victory over the Seattle Kraken. David Rittich made 27 saves for the Jets as they improved to 34-19-1 and sit two points behind the Western Conference-leading Stars with 69 points. Philipp Grubauer stopped 38 shots for the 30-18-6 Kraken as they’ve dropped four of their last five games and sit third in the Pacific Division with 66 points.
Ottawa Senators goalie Kevin Mandolese kicked out 46 shots in his NHL debut to backstop his club over the New York Islanders 3-2. Tim Stutzle and Drake Batherson scored in the shootout as the Senators improved to 26-24-3 (55 points) to sit seven points out of the final Eastern wild-card berth. Ilya Sorokin made 32 saves for the Islanders (27-23-7) as they sit one point behind the Capitals with 61 points.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Islanders center Jean-Gabriel Pageau missed this contest as he’s listed as day-to-day with an upper-body injury.
The St. Louis Blues kept their playoff hopes alive with a 6-2 victory over the Florida Panthers. Ivan Barbashev had a goal and two assists while Brayden Schenn tallied twice for the Blues (25-25-3). With 53 points, they’re eight points behind the Wild for the final Western Conference wild-card berth. The Panthers dropped to 27-24-6 and sit two points out of the final Eastern wild-card spot with 60 points.
Montreal Canadiens goaltender Jake Allen picked up his first shutout of the season with a 22-save performance to blank the Chicago Blackhawks 4-0. Jonathan Drouin collected three assists for the 23-27-4 Canadiens while the Blackhawks dropped to 16-31-5 on the season.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Canadiens played without Arber Xhekaj as the rookie defenseman is out indefinitely with an apparent shoulder injury. Blackhawks blueliner Jarred Tinordi left the game in the first period with an undisclosed injury.
IN OTHER NEWS…
VANCOUVER HOCKEY INSIDER: Canucks goaltender Thatcher Demko denied rumors claiming he wanted to be traded. He said he had no idea where the speculation was coming from. Sidelined by a lower-body injury since early December, Demko said he’s focused on returning to action when he dresses as the Canucks backup in their game on Saturday against the Philadelphia Flyers.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Demko rumors probably started innocently enough with a pundit musing over whether the Canucks might consider moving the netminder despite the three years remaining on his contract. Like the game of “Telephone”, the story changed as it bounced around the media and blogosphere and eventually morphed into Demko requesting a trade.
THE PROVINCE: Speaking of the Canucks, goaltender Spencer Martin cleared waivers yesterday and will be assigned to their AHL affiliate in Abbotsford, BC.
DETROIT HOCKEY NOW: The Red Wings placed winger Lucas Raymond on injured reserve and recalled winger Jakub Vrana from their AHL affiliate in Grand Rapids.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Vrana’s future with the Wings was considered in doubt after he was demoted to the minors. Recent speculation even suggested we would never see him skating with the parent club again as talk of a trade or a contract buyout surfaced in the rumor mill. This is a golden opportunity for Vrana to silence his doubters and prove he still has a future in Detroit.
A TO Z SPORTS’ Alex Daugherty cited Nashville Predators general manager David Poile telling the “Robby & Rexrode” Show that he doesn’t believe his club will be a buyer by the March 3 trade deadline. He suggested he could become a seller if things don’t improve favorably for his struggling club.
SPORTSNET: Jeff Marek noted the Arizona Coyotes announced last night that they were keeping Jakob Chychrun out of the lineup for “trade-related reasons”. He said the 24-year-old defenseman won’t be heading to the Edmonton Oilers or Toronto Maple Leafs.
Arizona Coyotes defenseman Jakob Chychrun (NHL Images).
While the Los Angeles Kings tossed cold water on the notion that they were acquiring Chychrun, Marek noted that they were honoring former captain Dustin Brown last night in a pregame ceremony “so let’s see where this goes”. He added there was no guarantee Chychrun would be traded that night as the Coyotes don’t play again until Monday, Feb. 13.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Other insiders also weighed in with conflicting reports over potential destinations for Chychrun.
Daily Faceoff’s Frank Seravalli reported there is “lots of smoke” connecting the Coyotes defenseman to the Kings “but no confirmed fire yet.” Meanwhile, the Ottawa Sun’s Bruce Garrioch tweeted the Leafs and Oilers are among the teams that stepped up efforts to acquire Chychrun.
After months of speculation stretching back to last season, it appears Chychrun is finally going to be traded. We should learn where by no later than Monday evening before the Coyotes’ game with the Predators.
LATEST SHARKS SPECULATION
TSN: Chris Johnston tweeted that the Edmonton Oilers and San Jose Sharks have re-engaged in trade talks regarding Sharks defenseman Erik Karlsson. There are considerable financial hurdles to overcome but it’s the second time this season the two clubs have discussed this.
SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman reports Karlsson would have to become about a $6.5 million to $7 million player for the Oilers. His current average annual cap hit is $11.5 million for the next four years.
The Oilers need the Sharks to retain $4.5 million to $5 million annually to make this work. Friedman said nobody knows if the Sharks are willing to do that. Karlsson would also have to agree to waive his no-movement clause to go to Edmonton. If this doesn’t pan out, Friedman speculates they could look at Coyotes blueliner Shayne Gostisbehere.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Sharks are already carrying $2.72 million of dead cap space for this season and the next two from last summer’s trade of Brent Burns to the Carolina Hurricanes. Retaining $5 million of Karlsson’s contract is $7.72 million against their cap for the next two years for two players no longer on their roster, followed by two more years at $5 million per season.
If the Sharks are going to do that they had better get one hell of a return for Karlsson. I don’t see how the cap-strapped Oilers can pull it off. Sure, they can part with a first-round pick as well as a prospect or two such as Dylan Holloway or Xavier Bourgault plus a promising defenseman like Philip Broberg.
However, they’re also a cap-strapped club. Oilers general manager Ken Holland said last week that he was looking at “dollar-in, dollar-out” deals. Unless he’s looking at making a three-team deal that spreads the remainder of Karlsson’s cap hit around, he’ll have to move a player carrying an AAV of $6.5 million to $7 million. He’s not moving Leon Draisaitl ($8.5 million AAV) or Darnell Nurse ($9.25 million). Even if he wanted to, they both have no-trade protection.
So who goes? We may never know if the Sharks and Oilers can’t get the math to work. If they can, it could be a move that addresses one issue for the Oilers (a puck-moving defenseman) but creates another by weakening their forward depth.
Meanwhile, the return for the Sharks could make it difficult to justify carrying a big chunk of dead cap space for four years. Even with the salary cap projected to significantly rise after next season, that’s still a lot of money being paid out to former players.
TSN: Pierre LeBrun reported the Sharks haven’t given permission yet to Timo Meier’s agent to speak directly to other teams about a contract extension. He expects that will happen “closer to trade offers being firmed up”. LeBrun tweeted that the New Jersey Devils and Carolina Hurricanes remain “very much interested in Meier” depending on a contract extension.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Meier is a restricted free agent this summer with arbitration rights and is also eligible next summer for unrestricted free agent eligibility. His current annual cap hit is $6 million but his actual salary is $10 million, which is what it will cost the Sharks (or another club) to qualify his rights unless he agrees to a new contract.
I think we’re more likely to see Meier traded before Karlsson. The expectation is he’ll be moved well before the March 3 trade deadline. Perhaps it could happen at some point this week but it wouldn’t surprise me if it happens the following week. Those clubs interested in Meier will want time to negotiate with his agent.
Those “surprise teams” could be those out of playoff contention with salary-cap space to take on what is expected to be a lucrative new contract for Meier. Perhaps the Anaheim Ducks and Detroit Red Wings will be among those suitors.
SAN JOSE HOCKEY NOW: Sheng Peng recently examined the trade value of Kevin Labanc. The 27-year-old Sharks winger had 25 points in 45 games leading up to Feb. 8 but Peng doubts his trade value is very high.
Labanc has a year remaining on his contract but his $4.725 million cap hit is considered too rich to make up for his inconsistent play and one-dimensional game. Peng doubts the Sharks will retain part of his salary this season to move him but didn’t rule it out in the offseason once they’ve gained clarity on Erik Karlsson’s trade situation.
THE LATEST “32 THOUGHTS” TRADE TIDBITS
SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman reports there “appears to be a path” for the Senators to trade defenseman Nikita Zaitsev. He’s assuming it’s a west coast team based on rumblings he’s heard.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Zaitsev is signed through next season with an average annual value of $4.5 million and a 10-team no-trade list. That “west coast team” could be the Vancouver Canucks as they’re in need of experienced blueline depth.
Friedman also said the Senators have been asked about Alex DeBrincat but they’re not trading the 25-year-old winger “at this deadline.” They want to wait for the club’s new ownership to take over before they attack contract talks.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Like San Jose’s Timo Meier, DeBrincat is a restricted free agent this summer with arbitration rights who’s a year away from UFA eligibility. He carries an annual cap hit of $6.4 million but his actual salary is $9 million, which is what it’ll cost the Senators to qualify his rights.
Jeff Marek believes Senators forward Austin Watson could be available at the trade deadline. He also speculates the Edmonton Oilers could place winger Jesse Puljujarvi on waivers by Tuesday to make room for Kailer Yamamoto as he returns from injury. That’s assuming the Oilers haven’t traded Puljujarvi by then.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Bertuzzi, 27, had a 30-goal performance last season but injuries have limited him to just 7 points in 20 games this season. Meanwhile, the 33-year-old van Riemsdyk has 21 points in 34 games with the Flyers and netted 24 goals last season.
Friedman also believes New York Rangers winger Vitaly Kravtsov could be available.
Do the Islanders have more to do after acquiring Bo Horvat? Will this trade spur the Bruins and Capitals to go shopping in the trade market? Find out in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.
THE FALLOUT FROM THE BO HORVAT TRADE
THE ATHLETIC: Following the New York Islanders’ acquisition of Bo Horvat yesterday, Kevin Kurz felt they have more to do if they hope to contend for the Stanley Cup this season. He believes the move doesn’t resolve their depth issue, especially after trading Anthony Beauvillier and Aatu Raty to bring in Horvat.
Vancouver Canucks trade Bo Horvat to the New York Islanders (NHL Images).
Kurz points out that Oliver Wahlstrom remains sidelined with an injured knee since Dec. 27 while Cal Clutterbuck is listed as out indefinitely. With approximately $9 million in trade deadline cap space, the Islanders have room to add another forward, particularly one that goes to the front of the net.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Cap Friendly shows the Islanders currently carry $11.3 million in accrued cap space by deadline day. That could fluctuate depending on potential call-ups or demotions but they should still have sufficient room to make another addition if necessary.
Finding sufficient trade assets to add another noteworthy player could become a problem for the Islanders. They’ve traded away their 2023 first-rounder and their third-rounder could end up belonging to the Coyotes as part of the conditions of shipping Andrew Ladd to Arizona in 2021.
In the Horvat deal, they also included one of their better prospects in Raty. Potential trade partners could ask for William Dufour or Calle Odelius.
NBC SPORTS BOSTON: Nick Goss noted the Bruins were rumored to be interested in Horvat before he was shipped to the Islanders. He believes they need another goal-scorer on the wings or a middle-six center with a left-hand shot.
THE ATHLETIC: Fluto Shinzawa included those players in his list of trade targets for the Bruins. He also mentioned the Blue Jackets’ Jack Roslovic and the Blues’ Ryan O’Reilly along with the Detroit Red Wings’ Oskar Sundqvist, San Jose Sharks Kevin Labanc and the Florida Panthers’ Colin White.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Apart from O’Reilly, the aforementioned players would be affordable trade options in terms of salary and return for the Bruins, who currently have $4 million in projected deadline cap space. That cap space could shrink substantially when winger Jake DeBrusk comes off LTIR later this season.
The Bruins will probably have to get creative to acquire O’Reilly. That could involve getting a third team involved to broker the deal and spread O’Reilly’s $7.5 million cap hit around.
BOSTON HOCKEY NOW: Speaking of the Bruins, Jimmy Murphy cited Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman speculating the Bruins could add to their left defense. However, he considers it highly unlikely that they’ll part with DeBrusk or right-shot defenseman Brandon Carlo.
WASHINGTON HOCKEY NOW: Sammi Silber doesn’t expect the Capitals to follow the Islanders’ example and swing a major trade for an impact forward. She pointed out they could have 14 healthy forwards when they return from the All-Star break.
The Capitals have little space to work with unless they intend to move a forward like Anthony Mantha or Lars Eller. Silber noted that the trade value isn’t high for those two as they’ve been struggling to produce.
Silber doesn’t see the Capitals chasing a big-ticket forward. Instead, they need someone like the Montreal Canadiens’ Joel Edmundson or the LA Kings’ Matt Roy to provide a solid presence and leadership on the blueline.
RUMOR TIDBITS FROM FRIEDMAN’S LATEST “32 THOUGHTS” COLUMN
SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman reports there were rumors that Patrick Kane would prefer to play out this season with the Chicago Blackhawks and decide his future in next summer’s free-agent market. However, sources told him that’s not the case.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: As Friedman noted, we can expect more clarity on what Kane and fellow UFA Jonathan Toews want in the New Year. It’s believed Blackhawks management will meet with both players at some point this month to discuss their futures.
San Jose Sharks defenseman Erik Karlsson (NHL Images).
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Karlsson carries a no-movement clause. Assuming he’d agree to be traded to the Panthers, they can’t afford his $11.5 million cap hit through 2026-27 without shedding salary and having the Sharks retain a healthy chunk of it.
The cost in terms of return would also be high, including at least one first-round pick. That’s something the Panthers don’t have, having traded away their first-rounders for 2023, 2024 and 2025.
The Philadelphia Flyers are at the 50-contract limit and thus cannot promote Artem Anisimov from their AHL affiliate. Friedman wonders if they might make a move to address that issue.
LATEST ON CHYCHRUN
SPORTSNET: Adam Vingan took note of Arizona Coyotes defenseman Jakob Chychrun’s recent return to action following off-season wrist surgery. The 24-year-old blueliner’s youth, size and affordable $4.6 million salary-cap hit combined with his puck-moving abilities continue to make him enticing for teams seeking a rearguard with his skills.
Vingan also cited Chychrun’s injury history and is prone to turnovers. Nevertheless, he considers him to be a “well-rounded defenseman” who can lead a breakout, control a power play and hold his own against tough competition.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Those interested clubs will want to see Chychrun play some games this season before bidding for his services. The asking price is heavy on futures (draft picks, especially first-rounders, plus prospects and/or a good young NHL player) which is why teams will be cautious given his injury history.
Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman said the Kings seek a left-hand shot on their blueline. While linked to Chychrun and carrying the type of assets the Coyotes would want, he believes there’s no guarantee it happens. Friedman also thinks Chychrun has let management know that he prefers getting moved to a contender.
Coyotes general manager Bill Armstrong could push to move Chychrun this season. The blueliner’s 10-team no-trade clause kicks in next July, giving him more control over where he could be dealt.
SENATORS FACE DEADLINE TO SIGN FORMENTON
OTTAWA SUN: Bruce Garrioch reports the Senators have until 5 pm ET on Dec. 1 to sign Alex Formenton. The 23-year-old winger is a restricted free agent. If he’s unsigned by that deadline, he’ll be ineligible to play in the NHL this season. Garrioch doesn’t anticipate a rival club tending Formenton an offer sheet.
DAILY FACEOFF: Frank Seravalli wonders if the Senators will attempt to trade Formenton to a club willing to sign him before that deadline. There’s speculation the winger could face discipline for his potential involvement in the Team Canada 2018 World Junior team’s sexual assault case. He’s among the few players who have not responded to the allegations directly or indirectly.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The results from the investigation are expected soon but probably not in time for the deadline. It could be that the Senators or clubs potentially interested in Formenton are leery of signing or acquiring him because of this situation. We’ll find out soon enough.
CAN THE PENGUINS FIND A TRADE PARTNER FOR KAPANEN?
PITTSBURGH HOCKEY NOW: Dan Kingerski recently wondered if the Pittsburgh Penguins can find a trade partner for Kasperi Kapanen by swapping him with another player with a comparably bad contract. The 26-year-old winger is in the first season of a two-year deal with a $3.2 million average annual value.
Kingerski suggested the Edmonton Oilers’ Jesse Puljujarvi, Calgary Flames Milan Lucic and San Jose Sharks Kevin Labanc as trade targets.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I doubt there’s any market for Kapanen after being a healthy scratch through most of November. Pujujarvi was the subject of trade rumors for months but nothing’s come of it. Lucic is aging and slowing down but he remains a popular dressing-room leader for the Flames.
Labanc is the more productive of that group with 13 points in 25 games. If the Sharks were to shop him I don’t see them wanting Kapanen in return.