NHL Rumor Mill – March 15, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – March 15, 2022

What next for the Ducks and Avalanche following the Josh Manson trade? Could the Islanders shop Semyon Varlamov? What’s the latest on the Golden Knights and Oilers? Find out in today’s NHL rumor mill.

ARE MORE TRADES COMING FOR THE DUCKS AND AVALANCHE?

THE ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER: Elliott Teaford suggests the Anaheim Ducks might not be done dealing after shipping Josh Manson to the Colorado Avalanche yesterday. He reminds us that Ducks general manager Pat Verbeek recently indicated he would trade pending unrestricted free agents like Manson if he couldn’t get them re-signed before the March 21 trade deadline.

Anaheim Ducks defenseman Hampus Lindholm (NHL Images).

Ducks defenseman (and pending UFA) Hampus Lindholm has been the subject of trade speculation for weeks. He reportedly seeks a longer-term deal than the five-year contract he’s been offered. He could fetch a good return for the Ducks if he’s moved before the deadline.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Most of the focus will be on Lindholm but he’s not the only UFA the Ducks could peddle by the deadline. Winger Rickard Rakell could also draw interest from clubs seeking a scoring right wing. He’s been linked to the Boston Bruins, New York Rangers and Pittsburgh Penguins in recent trade rumors.

TSN’s Pierre LeBrun believes the Avalanche isn’t finished in the trade market. He thinks they’re still interested in Philadelphia Flyers captain Claude Giroux among other forwards.

THE ATHLETIC: Peter Baugh observes salary-cap space is tight for the Avalanche. However, they could garner some flexibility by placing captain Gabriel Landeskog and his $7 million cap hit on long-term injury reserve following his knee surgery yesterday.

COLORADO HOCKEY NOW: Adrian Dater rules out the possibility of the Avalanche acquiring goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury from the Chicago Blackhawks. He’s been told there’s not much interest on the Avs part in a big offer for Fleury. He also believes they’ll pursue a forward leading up to the deadline.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Avs have been linked to Giroux for weeks but there have been recent rumblings they could be looking at more affordable options such as the Winnipeg Jets’ Andrew Copp. If the focus is to boost their bottom-six, Copp would make the most sense.

WILL THE ISLANDERS SHOP VARLAMOV?

THE ATHLETIC: Kevin Kurz recently reported it’s believed New York Islanders goaltender Semyon Varlamov won’t waive his no-trade clause to go to the Edmonton Oilers. He also wondered if the Washington Capitals (one of Varlamov’s former clubs) might turn to the Isles netminder if they’re unable to acquire Marc-Andre Fleury from the Blackhawks.

A pair of sources told Kurz the Toronto Maple Leafs could be a fit, but any deal involving the cap-strapped Maple Leafs might involve taking on Petr Mrazek and his $3.8 million cap hit through 2023-24. The Vegas Golden Knights could be another option given starter Robin Lehner’s battle with injuries this season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Varlamov carries a $5 million annual average value through 2022-23 with a 16-team no-trade clause. Those factors will make him difficult to move if the Islanders wish to shop him as a cost-cutting move. It might have to involve a “hockey trade” with the Isles taking back a player in return.

LATEST ON CRAIG ANDERSON, MARTIN JONES, PAVEL ZACHA & TYLER MOTTE

TSN: Pierre LeBrun speculates there could be some “tire-kicking” on Buffalo Sabres goaltender Craig Anderson. The team has huge respect for Anderson and LeBrun doesn’t think they’ll move him unless he’s comfortable with it.

NBC SPORTS PHILADELPHIA: Jordan Hall believes Flyers backup Martin Jones has solid rental potential for any team with instability between the pipes. He’s a pending UFA on a one-year, $2 million contract. Hall noted a report in late January indicating the Edmonton Oilers were willing to give up a late-round draft pick for Jones but the Flyers likely wanted to let the market play out for leverage purposes.

SPORTSNET’S Elliotte Friedman (stick tap to NHL Watcher) said the Montreal Canadiens are one of the teams with an interest in New Jersey Devils forward Pavel Zacha.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Zacha, 24, is a restricted free agent with arbitration rights completing a three-year deal with a $2.5 million annual cap hit and $3 million this season in actual salary. The Vancouver Canucks were also reportedly interested in him.

THE ATHLETIC: Joe Smith suggested Vancouver Canucks bottom-six forward Tyler Motte could be an intriguing trade option for the Tampa Bay Lightning. He’s a UFA this summer with a $1.25 million salary-cap hit this season. A second-round pick or an equivalent prospect could be the asking price but it remains to be seen if the Canucks will trade him while they’re jockeying for a wild-card spot in the Western Conference.

UPDATES ON THE GOLDEN KNIGHTS AND OILERS

LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL: David Schoen believes the slumping Golden Knights needs to bolster their goaltending with starter Robin Lehner still battling injuries. Possible trade options could include the New York Rangers’ Alexandar Georgiev, New York Islanders’ Semyon Varlamov, the Columbus Blue Jackets’ Joonas Korpisalo and the Dallas Stars’ Braden Holtby.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: With just over $1.2 million in projected deadline cap space, the Golden Knights don’t have much wiggle room here to add a goalie. Varlamov’s $5 million cap hit through next season is too expensive and the Stars aren’t moving Holtby with Anton Khudobin undergoing hip surgery. That leaves Georgiev and Korpisalo and there’s no certainty either guy will give Vegas the boost they need between the pipes.

EDMONTON JOURNAL: Jim Matheson believes Oilers GM Ken Holland has to be in “add mode” as the trade deadline approaches with his club scrambling to nail down a playoff berth. He believes Holland should add an older, bigger defenseman such as the Philadelphia Flyers’ Justin Braun, the Detroit Red Wings’ Marc Staal or the Seattle Kraken’s Carson Soucy. Braun and Staal are pending UFAs while Soucy has a year remaining on his contract with a cap hit of $2.75 million.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The cap-strapped Oilers will need some help acquiring one of those defensemen. Matheson speculates Holland could be prepared to offer up checking-line forward Josh Archibald (and pending UFA) as a trade chip. However, he might have to include a pick or prospect in the deal.










NHL Rumor Mill – January 22, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – January 22, 2022

A look at the potential trade value of some notable free-agent defensemen plus the latest on the Blackhawks and Oilers in today’s NHL rumor mill.

WHAT COULD BE THE ASKING PRICE FOR TOP PENDING UFA DEFENSEMEN?

THE ATHLETIC: Pierre LeBrun pondered which of this season’s notable unrestricted free agent defensemen might fetch a first-round draft pick at the trade deadline. There are a number of pending UFAs blueliners but not all of them could move on deadline day. For example, the Anaheim Ducks could retain Hampus Lindholm and Josh Manson as “own rentals” if they’re still in playoff contention.

John Klingberg of the Dallas Stars could fetch the biggest return. LeBrun speculated it could be a package of a first-round draft pick, a prospect and perhaps another pick. He pointed out the Columbus Blue Jackets got a first and a third for David Savard before last year’s trade deadline.

Dallas Stars defenseman John Klingberg (NHL Images).

LeBrun also reported the Buffalo Sabres hope to land a first-rounder for Colin Miller while the Montreal Canadiens wish to net the same return for Ben Chiarot.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I would also add Mark Giordano to this list. The 38-year-old has tallied a respectable 14 points in 34 games on the low-scoring Seattle Kraken. It wouldn’t surprise me if a contender in “go-for-it” mode parted with a first-rounder for an experienced blueliner like Giordano.

Boston Hockey Now’s Jimmy Murphy believes Chiarot would be an excellent fit with the Bruins. Whether GM Don Sweeney is willing to ship his first-rounder to his club’s long-time rival for a postseason rental is another matter. I’ve seen some readers suggest offering up Jake DeBrusk straight up for Chiarot, but if it were that simple that deal would’ve gone down by now.

BIG CHANGES COMING FOR BLACKHAWKS?

NHL NETWORK: Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman was asked which Chicago Blackhawks could stay or go by the March 21 trade deadline. He’d heard a report claiming everyone was available except Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane and Seth Jones.

Friedman believes the Blackhawks unprotected list is very small. He thinks at some point earlier this season they may have been asked about moving Kane but doesn’t feel they’re willing to do that. He also doesn’t see them parting with Alex DeBrincat unless it’s for a significant return.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I believe Marc-Andre Fleury is the Blackhawks’ best trade chip. They’ve been shopping Dylan Strome for some time but haven’t found any takers. Dominik Kubalik could be available given the decline in his production since his 30-goal rookie campaign in 2019-20. I’d expect they’ll want to hang on to younger players like Kirby Dach and Brandon Hagel.

Kane and Toews each have a year remaining on their contracts. Any discussion about their futures will likely take place during the offseason.

COULD MARTIN JONES BE A TRADE OPTION FOR THE OILERS?

EDMONTON JOURNAL: Bruce McCurdy cited Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman raising the name of Philadelphia Flyers goaltender Martin Jones as a trade option for the Oilers during a recent appearance on the Jeff Marek Show.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: McCurdy noted Friedman didn’t mention Jones during a subsequent spot with Oilers Now. He was probably just musing out loud about trade possibilities.

Jones has a 6-6-2 record this season with a 3.31 goals-against average and .908 save percentage. That doesn’t make him much of an improvement over Mikko Koskinen and Stuart Skinner in Edmonton. Jones’ inconsistency was why the San Jose Sharks bought him out last summer and why he inks a one-year, $2 million deal with the Flyers.

Like the Oilers, the Flyers need to reverse their fortunes soon if they hope to climb back into the playoff race. They could shop some of their pending UFAs like Jones before the trade deadline if they’re out of the race by then but that could come too late to help the Oilers.