NHL Rumor Mill – February 28, 2023
NHL Rumor Mill – February 28, 2023
Check out the latest on Vladislav Gavrikov, Tyler Bertuzzi, and Jakob Chychrun plus updates on the Oilers, Flyers, Canadiens, Avalanche, Leafs and Islanders in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.
BLUE JACKETS STILL SHOPPING GAVRIKOV
THE ATHLETIC: Aaron Portzline reports the Columbus Blue Jackets are still working the phones trying to trade Vladislav Gavrikov. A deal that would’ve sent the 27-year-old defenseman to the Boston Bruins fell through last week. He’s been held out of the lineup for trade-related reasons for two weeks.
The Edmonton Oilers and Los Angeles Kings are possible destinations. The Toronto Maple Leafs were also considered an option but that changed yesterday with their acquisition of Jake McCabe from the Chicago Blackhawks.
Blue Jackets general manager Jarmo Kekalainen faces the challenge of a glut of defensemen in this year’s trade market. There’s also a dwindling number of teams shopping for blueliners.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Jackets were reportedly seeking a first and a third-round pick for Gavrikov. That price is likely to drop as the deadline gets nearer, especially if the number of teams in the market for blueline depth keeps dropping.
IS TYLER BERTUZZI AVAILABLE AFTER ALL?
TSN: Darren Dreger reports the Detroit Red Wings has resumed “listening to interest” in winger Tyler Bertuzzi. The asking price is said to be a first-round pick. Dreger indicates this has been spurred by the Boston Bruins, Tampa Bay Lightning and Toronto Maple Leafs loading up in recent weeks.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Bruins, Lightning and Leafs are playoff clubs while the Wings are jockeying with several other clubs for a wild-card berth in the Eastern Conference. It doesn’t hurt to listen to offers for Bertuzzi if they feel they can’t make it but recent reports claimed he was off the table because they were going to go for it with their current group. Maybe general manager Steve Yzerman has changed his mind or maybe he’s just listening. We’ll find out soon enough.
OILERS PURSUING EKHOLM OR EDMUNDSON?
TSN: Darren Dreger reports Edmonton Oilers general manager Ken Holland continues his search for a defenseman. He’s reportedly in talks with the Nashville Predators regarding Mattias Ekholm and with the Montreal Canadiens for Joel Edmundson.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Predators will have to retain half of Ekholm’s $6.25 million cap hit (through 2025-26) for the cap-strapped Oilers to afford him or else the Oilers will have to shed a comparable salary. Edmundson is more affordable ($3.5 million through 2023-24) but there are concerns about a nagging back injury.
NO CHYCHRUN TO FLORIDA
NHL WATCHER: cited Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman reported that the Florida Panthers have an interest in Arizona Coyotes defenseman Jakob Chychrun. However, they lack the assets to do it even if it went to the offseason and they had the cap space.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Coyotes’ rumored asking price is two first-round picks and a high-end prospect. However, the Panthers have no first-round picks in this year’s draft or the next two.
LATEST FLYERS SPECULATION
THE PHILADELPHIA INQUIRIER: Gustav Elvin cited Daily Faceoff’s Frank Seravalli reporting the market is heating up on Kevin Hayes. The Flyers are apparently willing to retain some of his $7.1 million cap hit to facilitate a trade. The 30-year-old forward has three more years remaining on his contract.
Elvin also noted recent rumors linking James van Riemsdyk to the Minnesota Wild, Carolina Hurricanes, Dallas Stars and Vegas Golden Knights, though recent moves by the last two clubs could take them out of the running.
Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman also wondered about the future of Flyers defenseman Tony DeAngelo. He claimed there’s been some interest in DeAngelo, prompting Friedman to wonder if the Hurricanes might reacquire him.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The only way I see the Flyers moving Hayes is by retaining half of his annual cap hit. If there is any way for them to move DeAngelo they should do it simply to shed the remaining year of his contract with its $5 million cap hit. Management acquired him in the mistaken belief they could turn things around quickly and become a playoff contender this season. They were wrong and they must acknowledge it.
The Athletic’s Michael Russo reported the Wild had a growing interest in van Riemsdyk, who lives in Minnesota during the offseason. However, they aren’t interested in parting with a significant asset to get him. Russo’s associate Charlie O’Connor wondered if the Flyers could swap van Riemsdyk for Wild winger Jordan Greenway.
UPDATE ON THE CANADIENS
MONTREAL GAZETTE: Stu Cowan speculated that Canadiens forwards Jonathan Drouin and Mike Hoffman could be moved by the March 3 trade deadline. He also cited BPM Sports’ Georges Laraque reporting several teams are interested in defenseman Mike Matheson.
Laraque believes Matheson could fetch a first-round pick and a good prospect. Cowan considers it unlikely that the 29-year-old defenseman will be moved, citing his love of playing in his hometown and his deep connection with GM Kent Hughes, who is Matheson’s former agent.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I doubt there’s much interest in Drouin and Hoffman. However, I said the same thing about Evgenii Dadonov and Hughes sent him to Dallas for Denis Gurianov. So who knows?
I concur with Cowan’s take on Matheson. Hughes could be willing to listen to an offer but it’ll take one heck of an offer to convince him to part with Matheson after acquiring him last summer from Pittsburgh.
LATEST ON THE AVALANCHE, LEAFS, AND ISLANDERS
THE ATHLETIC: Peter Baugh reports the Colorado Avalanche are comfortable with J.T. Compher as their second-line center. That doesn’t mean they won’t make a move if it makes sense but the market for quality centers has been depleted with Bo Horvat and Ryan O’Reilly getting traded, Jonathan Toews remaining in Chicago and Montreal’s Sean Monahan still sidelined.
Baugh noted the Avalanche could use long-term injury reserve (LTIR) to garner some salary-cap flexibility. That will depend on whether captain Gabriel Landeskog ($7 million AAV) or Erik Johnson ($6 million) miss the remainder of the regular season with injuries.
TORONTO SUN: Terry Koshan reports the Maple Leafs might not be done dealing after acquiring Jake McCabe and Sam Lafferty yesterday from the Blackhawks. GM Kyle Dubas said they’ll remain busy and active to see if there’s any way they can improve the roster before Friday’s trade deadline.
NYI HOCKEY NOW: Stefen Rosner reports goaltender Semyon Varlamov wants to remain with the Islanders. He has no interest in getting traded and hopes to re-sign with the Isles when his current contract expires this summer.