NHL Rumor Mill – February 2, 2023

NHL Rumor Mill – February 2, 2023

Is there a trade market for Patrick Kane? Will the Golden Knights go shopping for help? What’s the latest on the Canucks and Flames? Find out in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.


NEW YORK POST: Larry Brooks reports Patrick Kane might not be a trade deadline fit for the Rangers. He observed the Rangers’ struggles in their last four games in getting to the front of the net and winning puck battles, something he doesn’t think the 34-year-old Chicago Blackhawks winger can resolve.

Chicago Blackhawks winger Patrick Kane (NHL Images).

Brooks observed that Kane is struggling this season with the rebuilding Blackhawks. He also noted that the potentially high cost of acquiring the veteran winger could deplete their tradeable assets and cap space. More enticing options could include the St. Louis Blues’ Vladimir Tarasenko, the Detroit Red Wings’ Tyler Bertuzzi, Arizona Coyotes center Nick Bjugstad or the Nashville Predators’ Tanner Jeannot.

THE ATHLETIC: Arthur Staple included Kane on his recent list of suggested trade targets for the Rangers. However, he claims the entire league knows that the Blackhawks star needs hip surgery and would be damaged goods as a trade candidate. He doesn’t see Kane as the centerpiece of anyone’s deadline plans now.

STARTRIBUNE.COM: La Velle E. Neal III believes the Minnesota Wild face the choice of bolstering their offense or improving their defense before the March 3 trade deadline. He believes the Wild should avoid a big-ticket forward such as Kane. Instead, he advocates that they add size to their blueline by pursuing a more affordable option like Vancouver Canucks blueliner Luke Schenn.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The decline in Kane’s performance this season combined with his nagging lower-body injury could be dampening interest in the long-time Blackhawks star. The remainder of his $10.5 million cap hit is still difficult for many teams to absorb plus he seems reluctant to waive his no-movement clause. Given those factors, there might not be much of a trade market for Kane.


LAS VEGAS SUN: Danny Webster speculated the Golden Knights could enter the trade market before March 3 with captain Mark Stone sidelined indefinitely following back surgery. They could place his $9.5 million cap hit on long-term injury reserve, giving them sufficient room to make a splash before deadline day.

VEGAS HOCKEY NOW: Owen Krepps reports speculation linking the Golden Knights to Tyler Bertuzzi. The 27-year-old Detroit Red Wings forward is slated to become an unrestricted free agent on July 1. He carries a $4.75 million cap hit for this season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Prior to the news about Stone, Krepps felt they wouldn’t pursue big-ticket trade bait such as Timo Meier, Patrick Kane, Jonathan Toews, Ryan O’Reilly or Vladimir Tarasenko if their captain returned to the lineup. That has probably changed with Stone likely done for the season. Team owner Bill Foley wants a Stanley Cup.


THE ATHLETIC: Pierre LeBrun wondered if other moves are coming for the Vancouver Canucks after trading Bo Horvat to the New York Islanders on Monday.

Defenseman Luke Schenn is a pending UFA who will be in demand by the trade deadline given his physical play. LeBrun reported it’s his understanding that the Boston Bruins and Tampa Bay Lightning are among the contenders reaching out to the Canucks about Schenn.

LeBrun also cited his TSN colleague Darren Dreger reporting there’s interest in winger Brock Boeser depending on how much salary the Canucks are willing to retain. Boeser carries a $6.65 million cap hit with two more seasons remaining on his contract.

VANCOUVER HOCKEY INSIDER: Rob Simpson dismissed recent media speculation suggesting the Canucks could trade Thatcher Demko. Despite the 27-year-old goaltender’s struggles earlier this season and some injury issues, he remains an affordable starter with upside.

Simpson also pointed out the difficulty the Canucks would face finding a suitable replacement for $5 million annually or less. He also noted they lack the depth to replace him from within.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Schenn is the most likely of these three to be moved before the trade deadline. Boeser could be traded before March 3 if the Canucks retain a healthy chunk of his cap hit but previous reports suggest they’d want his entire salary off their books. That means an off-season trade seems more likely.

Unless Demko is demanding a trade or the Canucks have gone into full-fledged tank mode I don’t seem him moving. We’ve had no indication Demko wants out and everyone knows Canucks ownership doesn’t believe in rebuilding his roster.


THE ATHLETIC: Julian McKenzie reports Calgary Flames GM Brad Treliving said he’s in the market for a scoring forward. The club has looked within their system to bolster their production by giving opportunities to Jakob Pelletier and Walker Duehr but they didn’t make much of an offensive impact.

Treliving acknowledged the difficulty of finding a scorer in the trade market. They also have $7 million in trade deadline salary-cap space. He’s reluctant to go the playoff rental route in the past. Treliving mentioned wanting a scorer with “competitiveness and responsibility.”

CALGARY HOCKEY NOW: Steve MacFarlane cited Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman could be among the teams looking at Philadelphia Flyers winger James van Riemsdyk. The 33-year-old is slated to become an unrestricted free agent on July 1 with 21 points in 31 games this season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Treliving might have to go the rental route to bolster his production. Doing so could cost him a first-round pick or a prospect like Pelletier or Duehr depending on who he’s looking at in the trade market. Someone like van Riemsdyk might not cost too much to acquire but it could mean parting with a decent prospect and a second-rounder.

NHL Rumor Mill – January 18, 2023

NHL Rumor Mill – January 18, 2023

The Hurricanes are linked to Bo Horvat and the Bruins to Luke Schenn, more speculation about the Jets’ Pierre-Luc Dubois joining the Canadiens plus the latest on the Blue Jackets, Wild and Sabres in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.


TSN: Pierre LeBrun reports the Vancouver Canucks have been in contact with pretty much every contender regarding their captain Bo Horvat. One of those clubs is the Carolina Hurricanes.

The Canucks are said to be seeking a young center as part of a multi-asset return for Horvat. That’s too steep for Carolina at this point, who won’t part with Martin Necas. LeBrun pointed out that the Hurricanes usually don’t spend high on rental players.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Hurricanes need a reliable second-line center if they hope to win the Stanley Cup this season. They have other options to choose from to address that need if the Canucks’ asking price for Horvat remains high. Chicago’s Jonathan Toews, St. Louis’ Ryan O’Reilly, and Montreal’s Sean Monahan could also be available.

NBC SPORTS BOSTON: Nick Goss cited LeBrun’s recent column in The Athletic reporting the Bruins have called the Canucks to inquire about Luke Schenn. Like Horvat, the 33-year-old defenseman is slated to become an unrestricted free agent in July.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: LeBrun suggested the Bruins’ interest in Schenn may be exploratory at this point. He carries an affordable $850K cap hit and has considerable playoff experience as a shutdown blueliner, which would make him enticing for a cap-strapped club like the Bruins.


SPORTSNET: Eric Engels wondered if Winnipeg Jets center Pierre-Luc Dubois’ next game in Montreal following Tuesday’s game will be with the Canadiens. The 25-year-old center is a restricted free agent this summer. Engels suggests the possibility of him suiting up with the Habs remains a possibility as long as he remains noncommittal about a long-term deal with the Jets.

Winnipeg Jets center Pierre-Luc Dubois (NHL Images).

The Canadiens attempted to acquire Dubois from Columbus before he was shipped to Winnipeg in 2021. Last summer, his agent created waves when he mentioned that Montreal was a city his client might like to play in one day.

On Monday, Dubois told the Montreal media he was relaunching his takeover of Vincent Lecavalier’s charity to help underprivileged children in Rimouski, where the Jets forward grew up. He indicated that playing for the Canadiens one day wasn’t what he was thinking about when he started this philanthropic effort.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Dubois once again downplayed the notion of joining the Canadiens. Meanwhile, Jets coach Rick Bowness sang his praises and said he’d do all he could to convince the center to stay in Winnipeg.

The Jets hoped to sign Dubois last summer to a long-term deal but he preferred a one-year extension. If he opts for a similar deal this summer, they could put him on the trade block as he’ll be a year away from UFA eligibility. Whether the rebuilding Canadiens would meet the expensive asking price to acquire him from the Jets is another matter.


THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH: Brian Hedger recently reported that Blue Jackets general manager Jarmo Kekalainen could receive plenty of phone calls leading up to the March 3 trade deadline.

The Jackets have three potential rental players to offer up in pending UFAs like Vladislav Gavrikov, winger Gustav Nyquist and goaltender Joonas Korpisalo. Hedger also speculated that other clubs could target players such as Patrik Laine and Jack Roslovic.

TSN: LeBrun reported the Blue Jackets will seek more than a first-round pick for Vladislav Gavrikov. He pointed out that they got a first- and a third-rounder for David Savard at the 2021 trade deadline. LeBrun also indicated the Blue Jackets still hope to re-sign Gavrikov.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Teams can ask about Laine but I don’t see the Jackets moving him. Roslovic, however, is another story. He’s had a disappointing performance this season and has a year remaining on his contract with a $4 million cap hit. Perhaps they’d consider shipping him elsewhere for the right offer.


THE ATHLETIC: Joe Smith reports the Minnesota Wild’s re-signing Matt Boldy to a seven-year, $49 million contract extension leaves them with just $9 million remaining of their $83 million salary-cap payroll for 2023-24. Goaltender Filip Gustavsson, defenseman Calen Addison and center Sam Steel are among their notable restricted free agents while their noteworthy UFAs include Matt Dumba and Frederick Gaudreau.

According to Smith, Dumba is playing his final season with the Wild. He also suggested winger Jordan Greenway could become a cost-cutting casualty if the club decides to shed some salary to re-sign other players for next season. Smith wondered if Addison might price himself out of Minnesota.

For this season, the Wild have the cap space to make additions at the trade deadline. GM Bill Guerin said how aggressive he’ll be in the trade market will depend on the club’s performance.

Smith claims Arizona Coyotes defenseman Jakob Chychrun and Vancouver Canucks center Bo Horvat aren’t on the Wild’s radar. However, he wouldn’t be surprised if Guerin kicked tires on Chicago’s Jonathan Toews or Patrick Kane.

PITTSBURGH HOCKEY NOW: Dan Kingerski reports a source informed him that the Penguins have had trade discussions with the Wild. The focus of those talks wasn’t readily available.

Kingerski suggested the Wild could help the Penguins free up some salary-cap room. Given the Pens’ depth in right-side defensemen, he doesn’t see them being interested in Dumba. The Wild could use some help at center plus they need left-side defensemen that can provide mobility and offense.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Wild have a projected $16.5 million in trade deadline cap space. I expect Guerin will be a buyer if his club is still in the thick of the playoff race.

With that much cap room heading toward March 3, it will be his best opportunity to add one or two rental players to bolster his club’s Stanley Cup hopes. It also wouldn’t surprise me if he tried to move a depth player under contract for next season to provide himself with some much-needed cap room for 2023-24.


THE ATHLETIC: Matthew Fairburn reports the Buffalo Sabres have been calling around trying to move winger Vinnie Hinostroza. He’s been scratched in 19 of the last 21 games. The Sabres are hoping to move him and his $1.7 million salary to free up a roster spot.

Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – January 15, 2023

Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – January 15, 2023

The latest Canucks speculation plus updates on Matt Dumba, Anthony Mantha, Joel Edmundson and Gustav Nyquist in the Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup.


SPORTSNET: Jeff Marek reports the Vancouver Canucks have spoken with several teams regarding their captain Bo Horvat. Marek claims that “at least one of those conversations revolved around three players, including the team’s No. 1 prospect.” He cautioned that none of those conversations can be described as serious, adding the Canucks are currently just trying to read the marketplace.

Vancouver Canucks captain Bo Horvat (NHL Images).

Horvat, 27, is slated to become an unrestricted free agent in July. He’s currently enjoying a career-best performance, sitting fifth among NHL scorers with 30 goals.

Marek envisions two trade scenarios for Horvat. One would see him moved as a rental player. The other would allow the acquiring team the opportunity to discuss a contract extension with Horvat and his agent, something the Canucks at this point have not allowed teams to do.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Marek believes the Canucks could circle back to the Horvat camp to see if a contract extension can be done. If not, I believe we can expect the trade rumors linking Horvat to specific teams will start to increase once the calendar flips to February.

Elliotte Friedman reports Canucks defenseman Luke Schenn could be reunited with the Tampa Bay Lightning. He signed a two-year contract with the Canucks in 2021 after helping the Lightning win back-to-back Stanley Cups. Friedman believes the Bolts are a legitimate contender for Schenn’s services and he wouldn’t be surprised if they made a pitch to acquire him.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Schenn, 33, carries a very affordable $850K cap hit for this season and is slated to become a UFA in July. He could be shopped before the March 3 trade deadline if the Canucks are out of playoff contention by then.

The Lightning could squeeze the remainder of his cap hit within their limited salary-cap payroll. They could also ask the Canucks to retain part of his salary for the right return.

THE ATHLETIC: Harman Dayal recently included Canucks winger Conor Garland and defenseman Tyler Myers among his list of under-the-radar trade candidates. He also mentioned J.T. Miller but admitted it could be a long shot that management trades him or that another club picks up his seven-year, $56 million contract that kicks in next season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Garland has frequently surfaced in the rumor mill. The 26-year-old winger has three years left on his contract with an average annual value of $4.95 million. He could become a cost-cutting casualty if management decides to shed his salary at the trade deadline or in the offseason.

Myers, 32, has one year left on his deal worth $6 million along with a 10-team no-trade clause. The decline in his performance could force the Canucks to retain part of his cap hit if they hope to move him.


THE ATHLETIC: Joe Smith reports the Minnesota Wild have received calls about Matt Dumba. The 28-year-old defenseman is slated to become a UFA in July and currently carries a $6 million AAV.

We’re not actively shopping him,” said Wild general manager Bill Guerin. “It would have to be something that works extremely well for us.” Guerin would want another defenseman in return that can help them in the playoffs.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: In other words, a hockey trade or nothing at all. Then again, the Ottawa Sun’s Bruce Garrioch recently wondered if Guerin would trade Dumba for a return that he could then flip to the Arizona Coyotes as part of a return for Jakob Chychrun.

Unless Guerin gets an irresistible offer for Dumba, I think he’ll retain him as an “own rental” for the remainder of the season.

THE ATHLETIC: Harman Dayal noted the Washington Capitals scratched winger Anthony Mantha from two straight games last week. He’s scored 23 points in 44 games this season but has been inconsistent.

The 28-year-old Mantha is also among the Capitals’ highest-paid players with an AAV of $5.7 million. Dayal wondered if they’ll stick with him or consider a change of scenery trade.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Washington Hockey Now’s Sammi Silber writes that Mantha held himself accountable following his two-game benching, calling it a “wake-up call.” She feels the Capitals aren’t ready to hit the panic button just yet. That could change, however, if his performance doesn’t improve.

MONTREAL HOCKEY NOW: Speaking of the Capitals, The Athletic’s Marc-Antoine Godin recently suggested in a recent episode of Le Support Athletique that they might be a good fit for Joel Edmundson. The Montreal Canadiens defenseman has a year remaining on his contract with an annual cap hit of $3.5 million and a 10-team no-trade clause.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Every Capitals defenseman except for John Carlson is on an expiring contract this season. Edmundson could bring them depth for this season and a cost-certain asset for 2023-24.

SPORTSNET: Jeff Marek reports the Columbus Blue Jackets have started talking to teams about Gustav Nyquist. The 33-year-old winger is a UFA in July and carries a $5.5 million cap hit for this season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Nyquist’s experience and versatility could make him enticing for playoff contenders seeking depth on the wing. The Jackets might have to wait until closer to the March 3 trade deadline to move him as that’s when interested clubs could be better placed to acquire the remainder of his cap hit. Perhaps they could hasten things by retaining part of his prorated salary for a decent return.

NHL Rumor Mill – December 13, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – December 13, 2022

Bo Horvat could be available before the March 3 trade deadline, an update on Brock Boeser and more Canucks speculation in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.


TSN: Citing a report by CHEK TV’s Rick Dhaliwal, Pierre LeBrun reports Bo Horvat rejected a contract offer from the Vancouver Canucks. The offer was made to the 27-year-old Canucks captain two weeks ago.

Vancouver Canucks captain Bo Horvat (NHL Images).

LeBrun indicated the Canucks are “focused on the trade market between now and March 3”. Horvat is slated to become an unrestricted free agent in July. He’s completing a six-year contract with an average annual value of $5.5 million.

THE ATHLETIC: Dhaliwal and Thomas Drance report neither the Canucks nor the Horvat camp would comment regarding the specific numbers in the contract offer. However, it’s believed the club’s proposal was a maximum eight-year deal that was “well shy of $8 million”, which is the going baseline rate for top centers.

Things could change between now and March 3. J.T. Miller spent months on the trade block before the Canucks re-sign him to a long-term extension in September. Nevertheless, the club is said to be actively listening to trade offers for Horvat.

Dhaliwal and Drance report the Canucks could seek a package including multiple young players, including a centerman and a right-shot defenseman. Management is also believed to be reluctant to retain salary to facilitate a trade.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Canucks could move Horvat before the trade deadline for the right offer. However, they could revisit negotiations with their captain if they don’t get any pitches to their liking or if he has a change of heart about rejecting their contract proposal.

A Horvat trade isn’t a foregone conclusion. However, the Canucks have less time to hammer out a new contract for him compared to when they were negotiating with Miller.

If Horvat won’t budge and the Canucks are unwilling to meet his price, then they’ll peddle him before deadline day rather than risk losing him to free agency for nothing in July. You can bet there will be considerable interest from playoff contenders in the market for a scoring center.


THE ATHLETIC: Dhaliwal and Drance report there’s nothing new to report on the Canucks efforts to trade Brock Boeser. The Canucks are receiving calls about the 26-year-old winger but his $6.6 million annual cap hit through 2024-25 is proving difficult to move. His flatlined production of late hasn’t helped.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Boeser reportedly hasn’t asked to be traded. However, it’s believed there’s a mutual feeling that a deal might be best for all concerned. As previous reports suggest, it could take time to find a suitable trade partner. I’ve mentioned before that it wouldn’t be surprising if this carries over into the offseason when teams have more cap space to work with.

Haman Dayal recently noted the trade speculation surrounding Luke Schenn. The 33-year-old Canucks defenseman surfaced in the rumor mill after his agent tweeted that his client would be a “perfect deadline acquisition”, citing his solid defensive game and his two Stanley Cups with the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Schenn, however, doesn’t sound like someone hoping to get traded. He told Dayal that his priority remains to try and stay long-term in Vancouver and help the Canucks build into a winner. He added that he and his family have put down roots in Vancouver. He’s also earned top-four minutes with the Canucks after being a sixth-seventh defenseman with the Lightning.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Canucks management has to be pleased with Schenn’s performance. Nevertheless, he carries an affordable cap hit on an expiring contract that lacks no-trade protection. If the front office commits to a rebuild, Schenn could prove to be an attractive trade chip leading up to March 3.

VANCOUVER HOCKEY INSIDER: Rob Simpson recently wondered about the fate of Jack Rathbone. The 23-year-old defenseman saw limited action this season with the Canucks and is now playing for their AHL affiliate in Abbotsford.

Simpson observed Rathbone seemed quite unhappy during the Canucks road trip against the Golden Knights in Las Vegas. He didn’t play in that game on Nov. 26 and two days later was demoted to Abbotsford. Simpson wondered if he might request a trade should he become tired of playing the waiting game with the Canucks.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Dhaliwal and Drance report Rathbone has not asked for a trade. He remains focused on playing his way back into the Canucks lineup. Still, his situation could be worth monitoring in the coming weeks.

NHL Rumor Mill – December 3, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – December 3, 2022

An update on the Coyotes’ efforts to shop Jakob Chychrun, the latest Canucks speculation, and some suggested trade targets for the Oilers in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.


GOPHNX.COM: Craig Morgan reports nothing has changed regarding Jakob Chychrun’s trade request or the Arizona Coyotes’ efforts to move the 24-year-old defenseman. However, everything is in a holding pattern as interested clubs assess the blueliner’s strengths, weaknesses, potential and the Coyotes’ asking price.

Arizona Coyotes defenseman Jakob Chychrun (NHL Images).

It’s expected interest in Chychrun will increase as he rounds into game shape after being sidelined until late November by offseason wrist surgery. He’s looked good thus far and is logging over 23 minutes of ice time per game since his return. Morgan suggests that’s in part because management is trying to showcase the rearguard.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: There remains considerable interest in Chychrun around the league. His puck-moving skills and ability to play big minutes would make him a welcome addition to any blueline.

However, it all comes down to whether the oft-injured Chychrun can stay healthy this season. His injury history is making interested clubs reluctant to meet the Coyotes’ asking price. The longer he can keep playing and producing, the more likely one of those teams will step up and meet that price.


VANCOUVER HOCKEY INSIDER: Rob Simpson reports the Canucks leadership group is “fragmented, inconsistent and cliquey.” So much so that “at least two Canucks core stalwarts” would welcome a trade. He believes management needs to make some choices sooner instead of later, preferably in January following the holiday break and approaching the midseason mark.

Simpson also reports the Canucks are getting lots of calls about Luke Schenn. The 33-year-old is a tough right-shot defenseman who’s a leader on and off the ice. If the Canucks can get a prospect with a similar upside they should go for it.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Canucks have shown some signs of improvement in the last couple of weeks. Much depends on how this month plays out, especially with goaltender Thatcher Demko sidelined for six weeks with a lower-body injury.

If they sink again in the standings during Demko’s absence, management could consider getting an early start in the trade market when the calendar flips to January.


THE ATHLETIC: Allan Mitchell recently noted the “worst-kept secret in Edmonton” is the Oilers’ search for “a rugged depth forward who can impact the game physically.” He went on to suggest five potential trade targets with average annual values at $3 million or less.

The Boston Bruins have two in Trent Frederic and A.J. Greer. Others include the New Jersey Devils’ Nathan Bastian and the Philadelphia Flyers’ Zack MacEwen.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Of these, the only one possibly available is MacEwen given the Flyers’ low placement in the standings. That’s assuming they finally acknowledged it’s time to start a rebuild as soon as possible.

The Bruins and Devils are flying high in the standings right now and have no reason to shake things up. However, the Bruins are pressed for cap space and that might necessitate moving out a salaried player. That move could come from their blueline as Mike Reilly has been in and out of their lineup this season due to salary-cap constraints.