NHL Rumor Mill – January 25, 2023

NHL Rumor Mill – January 25, 2023

Check out the latest on Bo Horvat, Ryan O’Reilly, Timo Meier and Max Domi plus updates on the Hurricanes, Lightning and Senators in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.

UPDATE ON HORVAT, O’REILLY, MEIER AND DOMI

SPORTSNET: During the Jan. 25 episode of “32 Thoughts”, Elliotte Friedman and Jeff Marek discussed potential trade destinations for Bo Horvat. The 27-year-old Vancouver Canucks center is slated to become an unrestricted free agent on July 1.

Friedman thinks everyone is wondering if the Boston Bruins could make a pitch for Horvat. He believes the New Jersey Devils would be more interested in San Jose Sharks winger Timo Meier because they’ve got Nico Hischier and Jack Hughes at center. The Detroit Red Wings could be an option depending on the state of contract talks with center Dylan Larkin.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Athletic’s Fluto Shinzawa believes the Bruins acquiring Horvat is complex but doable. Getting the Canucks to retain part of his $5.5 million cap hit, finding the right player to offer up as part of the return, sending a contract back to Vancouver and parting with a prospect such as Fabian Lysell are among the multiple factors in play.

I don’t rule out the possibility of the Bruins landing Horvat. However, there are other clubs that could have fewer hoops to jump through with better assets to offer up for the Canucks captain.

Friedman also reported that the Canucks haven’t allowed potential suitors to talk to Horvat’s agent about a contract extension. He believes they’re trying to determine which clubs have serious interest and are willing to meet their asking price.

TSN: Darren Dreger said Ryan O’Reilly is “officially in play” in the trade market. This comes while the St. Louis Blues captain is currently sidelined until mid-February but the Blues are willing to gauge his value. Dreger speculates the asking price could involve “draft picks, you’re talking about a prospect, the draft pick could be determined by the quality of the prospect.”

St. Louis Blues captain Ryan O’Reilly (NHL Images)

SPECTOR’S NOTE: O’Reilly’s solid reputation as a two-way center and leader will make him a player of interest in the trade market despite his injury and offensive struggles in the first half of this season. Nevertheless, clubs will want to see how well he performs once he returns to action before they start making offers before the March 3 trade deadline.

Pierre LeBrun reports the San Jose Sharks have not yet granted permission to Timo Meier’s agent to speak directly to teams interested in a trade where a contract extension could be part of the deal. It’s not out of the question that the Sharks could try to sign the restricted free-agent winger but they haven’t yet put an offer on the table.

LeBrun suggests contenders like the Toronto Maple Leafs would make sense. The Carolina Hurricanes have some interest while the Buffalo Sabres have also reached out to the Sharks about Meier.

SPORTSNET: During his Jan. 23 “32 Thoughts” podcast, Elliotte Friedman told Jeff Marek that he believes the New Jersey Devils are among the teams interested in Meier.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Hurricanes are in a better position cap-wise and prospect-wise than the Leafs for Meier. The Sabres, however, could outbid both clubs. They are loaded with cap space and promising young players to tempt the Sharks.

Given the salary-cap congestion around the league, Chris Johnston believes teams will be looking at a value player such as the Chicago Blackhawks’ Max Domi. He’s a pending unrestricted free agent carrying an affordable $3 million contract who is putting up good numbers this season.

LATEST ON THE LIGHTNING, HURRICANES AND SENATORS

THE ATHLETIC: Pierre LeBrun reports Tampa Bay Lightning GM Julien BriseBrois lacks a first-round pick in 2023 and 2024 or a second-round pick in order to make a big splash at the trade deadline. If he makes a move it’ll likely be a dollar-in, dollar-out swap like his acquisition of Nick Paul at last year’s deadline. BriseBrois said he’s unconcerned over whether rivals like the Boston Bruins or Toronto Maple Leafs make a big splash.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: BriseBrois has proven a very savvy dealer at the trade deadline over the past three years. Despite his lack of draft capital to use as trade bait, he could find a creative way to add a good depth player or two by the deadline.

THE ATHLETIC: LeBrun also reported the Carolina Hurricanes could have $10 million to work with at the trade deadline if they placed sidelined winger Max Pacioretty on long-term injured reserve. GM Don Waddell said his team will explore the trade market but they’re not in a rush to get a deal done.

LeBrun doesn’t believe we should rule out the Hurricanes on pending UFAs like Bo Horvat, Ryan O’Reilly or Vladimir Tarasenko. However, he believes they would want a shot at re-signing that player to get involved. That’s why he thinks they might look at the Sharks’ Timo Meier given his RFA status.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: LeBrun recently said the Hurricanes had spoken with the Canucks about Bo Horvat but the asking price was too high. He also pointed out that Waddell usually doesn’t pursue big-ticket pending UFAs at the deadline, preferring instead players with term remaining on their contracts. Any moves that he makes will depend on the depth of talent available in the trade market and the asking prices for them.

TSN: Darren Dreger reports Ottawa Senators general manager Pierre Dorion is still looking for a defenseman. While he’d ideally like a blueliner with term remaining on his contract he’s also interested in unrestricted free agents. He could have an opportunity to re-sign that UFA or perhaps flip him at the March 3 trade deadline. Dreger also said Dorion is also exploring all of his own UFAs including goaltender Cam Talbot.










NHL Rumor Mill – January 3, 2023

NHL Rumor Mill – January 3, 2023

A look at what the Blackhawks could get for their notable trade candidates plus the latest on the Blue Jackets in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.

THE ATHLETIC: Scott Powers and Mark Lazerus recently examined the potential value of the Chicago Blackhawks’ potential trade candidates.

The Blackhawks are preparing as if Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews won’t ask to be traded. Both are eligible to become unrestricted free agents in July and each carries a salary-cap hit of $10.5 million and full no-movement clauses.

Chicago Blackhawks winger Patrick Kane (NHL Images).

If Kane decides to ask for a trade, the Blackhawks will probably seek a first-round pick and a decent prospect. Given his no-movement clause, the limited number of teams he’d agree to be dealt to will have some leverage. The Blackhawks will also have to retain part of Kane’s cap hit.

The asking price for Toews could be a first-round pick given his bounce-back performance this season. It’s less likely that a team will want half of his cap hit. That could mean getting a third team involved to spread the dollars around or the Blackhawks will have to take back a player in return.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Powers and Lazerus believe Kane is more likely to be moved by the trade deadline than Toews. It’s expected we’ll learn more about their fates this season once their agent Pat Brisson has met with Blackhawks management later this month.

Max Domi could also draw interest given his solid performance this season. The Blackhawks could seek a first-round pick but Domi might instead fetch a second-rounder. They could seek a second-round pick for Andreas Athanasiou but there might not be much interest in him at the deadline.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Domi was assumed to be a goner at the trade deadline but Sportsnet’s Jeff Marek reported on Saturday that it might not be a done deal. He seems to have found a home in Chicago and there’s apparently been some discussion between his agent and management about the possibility of a contract extension.

Athanasiou could still be moved cheaply at the deadline. However, he’ll have to pick up his production over the next two months to draw more interest in the trade market.

EDMONTON JOURNAL: Jim Matheson looked at the value of Columbus Blue Jackets defenseman Vladislav Gavrikov in the trade market and if he’d be a fit with the Oilers.

Gavrikov, 27, is putting up solid numbers as a stay-at-home defenseman with the struggling Blue Jackets. Eligible for UFA status in July, his current cap hit is $2.8 million and his next contract will likely be in the $5 million range. The Jackets want to re-sign him but he holds leverage given their limited depth on the left side of their blueline.

Matheson expects it would cost the Oilers a first-round pick and perhaps a third-rounder to acquire Gavrikov. They’d also have to shed salary to take him on. Matheson suggests Jesse Puljujarvi to Columbus but believes the Blue Jackets would want an asset in return.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Matheson suggested it’s more worthwhile for the Oilers to acquire a defenseman with term remaining on their contract if they’re going to give up assets like a first-round pick and prospects. Possible options in that category this season include Arizona’s Jakob Chychrun, Montreal’s Joel Edmundson or Chicago’s Connor Murphy or Jake McCabe. However, Matheson suggested that could come at the cost of stifling the development of young Oilers blueliners like Markus Niemelainen and Philip Broberg.

THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH: Brian Hedger reports Gustav Nyquist might not finish the season with the Blue Jackets. A pending UFA, he could draw interest from rival clubs seeking an experienced forward at the trade deadline.

The versatile 33-year-old Nyquist has provided leadership and consistency for the struggling, injury-ravaged Blue Jackets. Hedger speculates he could fetch multiple picks in the lower rounds or perhaps a late first-round pick from a contender.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Nyquist lacks no-trade protection but his $5.5 million cap hit could be difficult to move under this season’s flat cap unless the Jackets retain part of his salary. The two-way forward can play center or wing and has a respectable 18 points in 35 games this season.










Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – January 1, 2023

Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – January 1, 2023

Start off your New Year with a look at the Leafs’ trade deadline priorities, the future of Max Domi, trade options for the Flyers and more in the first Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup of 2023.

THE LATEST “32 THOUGHTS” TRADE RUMORS

SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman reports the Toronto Maple Leafs could still attempt to take a big swing at landing a defenseman before the March 3 trade deadline. However, the improved performance of their blueline this season has some wondering if they might change their approach. They have limited cap space and don’t have a lot of draft picks but they do possess plenty of prospects.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Young blueliners like Rasmus Sandin, Timothy Liljegren and Conor Timmins stepped up with Jake Muzzin likely done for the season and Morgan Rielly sidelined for 15 games by a knee injury. There could still be some question over whether those rearguards can maintain that level of play in the postseason but their performances over the next couple of months could alleviate that concern. If so, the Leafs could shift their focus toward adding a scoring winger by deadline day.

Chicago Blackhawks forward Max Domi (NHL Images).

Jeff Marek reports Max Domi signing a one-year contract last summer with the Chicago Blackhawks seemed to suggest the 27-year-old forward would be shopped by the trade deadline, However, Domi has fit in well with the rebuilding club. There are ongoing discussions between his agent and Blackhawks general manager Kyle Davidson. With Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews potentially moving on at the trade deadline, a Domi trade no longer seems as certain as it once was.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Davidson could still move Domi if he gets a solid offer like a first-round pick, a high-end prospect or a good young NHL player. As Marek indicated, however, that might not be the done deal everyone thought it was last summer.

Speaking of the Blackhawks, Friedman wondered if defenseman Jake McCabe could end up being a trade target for the Edmonton Oilers.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: McCabe, 29, is in the second season of a four-year deal with an average annual value of $4 million. He also carries a seven-team no-trade list. The Oilers don’t have a lot of projected trade deadline cap space ($1.6 million) so they might need the Blackhawks to retain some salary if they can’t move out enough in this deal or in a separate cost-cutting deal.

LATEST ON THE FLYERS

THE ATHLETIC: In a recent mailbag segment, Charlie O’Connor was asked if any teams might be interested in Philadelphia Flyers forward Kevin Hayes or if his contract would be too expensive to move. O’Connor doesn’t rule out a deadline move but thinks it would be more likely to occur in the offseason. Hayes’ $7.1 million cap hit through 2025-26 won’t draw much interest but that could improve if the Flyers retained half of it.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: All of this arose from recent reports of tension between Hayes and Flyers coach John Tortorella. O’Connor also suggested that teams would be less interested in making a trade for Hayes if there’s a feeling the Flyers will buy him out this summer. That possibility recently arose in the rumor mill but I think it’s premature to make that assumption. It’s also possible that the talk of tension between Hayes and Tortorella is overblown. Nevertheless, their relationship could be worth monitoring over the remainder of the season.

O’Connor was also asked if it would be wise for the Flyers to attempt to move winger Travis Konecny now while his value is high right now. He believes the 25-year-old winger could fetch a first-round pick and a B-level prospect at least. However, O’Connor thinks Konecny is young enough to still deliver for the Flyers as the club turns the corner considering he’s also signed through 2024-25.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Konecny probably isn’t going anywhere as long as Chuck Fletcher remains the GM and the club’s focus isn’t on rebuilding but retooling around their current core. So far, there’s no indication of any shift in the club’s plans.










NHL Rumor Mill – December 28, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – December 28, 2022

The Blackhawks dominate today’s NHL Rumor Mill as we look at the latest trade speculation involving Patrick Kane, Jonathan Toews, Max Domi and more.

THE ATHLETIC: Sean Gentille, Hailey Salvian and Jesse Granger believe Chicago Blackhawks winger Patrick Kane could end up with the New York Rangers by the March 3 trade deadline.

Chicago Blackhawks winger Patrick Kane (NHL Images).

Salvian believes the Blackhawks’ constant losing with a rebuild underway makes it harder to imagine Kane staying in Chicago after deadline day. His no-movement clause gives him complete control over where he could go. She believes a reunion with former Blackhawks teammate Artemi Panarin in New York could make a lot of sense.

Gentille observed the Rangers have over $7 million in trade-deadline cap space with no one on long-term injury reserve. He suggests it could work if the Blackhawks retain a portion of Kane’s salary. Granger didn’t rule out the possibility of Kane landing with the Colorado Avalanche given the number of injuries they’ve had this season.

BOSTON HOCKEY NOW: Joe Haggerty noted rumors linking Kane to the Bruins. Given how well they’re playing, he wondered whether they need a rental player like the Blackhawks winger, pointing out Kane is on pace for a paltry 13 goals this season.

Haggerty linked to Spittin’ Chiclets co-host Ryan Whitney suggesting the possibility of Kane joining the Bruins. “Get rid of (Mike) Reilly, get rid of (Craig) Smith and Chicago retains half salary and boom (Kane) is a Bruin,” tweeted Whitney.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Rangers appear to be in a better position to acquire Kane if the pending free agent agrees to waive his no-movement clause. Along with the Panarin connection and their cap space, the Blueshirts are loaded with promising young players such as Kaapo Kakko, Alexis Lafreniere or Filip Chytil to tempt the Blackhawks.

Getting rid of Reilly and Smith is easier said than done considering the Bruins’ failed efforts to do so thus far. Of course, that could change as the trade deadline approaches but it’s not a certainty. If the Bruins can’t shed those salaries, they’ll have no chance of landing Kane.

Even if Kane is willing to go to Boston, the Bruins lack the depth in youngsters within their system to outbid a club like the Rangers. The Blackhawks will likely ask for top prospect Fabian Lysell and the Bruins’ first-round pick in 2023 as part of the return along with probably two or three other pieces going to Chicago.

NBC SPORTS CHICAGO: Charlie Roumeliotis doesn’t believe Kane has made a decision on whether he’ll stay or go. His representatives are scheduled to meet with Blackhawks management after the calendar flips to 2023.

Roumeliotis observed that Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews is on pace to reach 30 goals for just the fourth time in his career. Like Kane, he’d a pending free agent carrying a full no-movement clause. He believes Toews could be a good second or third-line center with a club like the Colorado Avalanche or Winnipeg Jets.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Like Kane, the Blackhawks will likely have to retain up to half of Toews’ remaining cap hit to make him affordable to clubs like the Avalanche and Jets given their limited cap space. The ‘Hawks won’t get as much of a return as they could with Kane but they’ll still want draft picks and promising young players as part of the deal.

Max Domi is on a one-year contract and could draw interest in the trade market. He’s second among Blackhawks scorers with 11 goals and 23 points. Domi’s also been strong in the faceoff circle this season, which could also prove useful for playoff clubs.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Domi’s production and 56.1 faceoff win percentage could indeed prove enticing for postseason contenders seeking depth at center. His affordable $3 million contract will also be attractive for clubs with limited cap space.

Roumeliotis wouldn’t be surprised if bottom-six sparkplug forward Sam Lafferty draws interest in the trade market. His $1.15 million average annual value through 2023-24 will also be appealing.










NHL Rumor Mill – December 5, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – December 5, 2022

The latest trade speculation on the Canucks’ Brock Boeser plus some suggested trade targets for the Wild in today’s NHL Rumor mill.

LATEST ON BROCK BOESER

THE PROVINCE: Patrick Johnston reports Brock Boeser’s future with the Vancouver Canucks remains murky.

Vancouver Canucks winger Brock Boeser (NHL Images).

It was reported by Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman on Saturday that the 25-year-old winger’s agent has been given permission to speak with other clubs about a trade. Boeser’s agent, Ben Hankinson, declined to comment about the story as Jim Rutherford, the Canucks president of hockey operations.

Johnston believes a trade seems unlikely given Boeser’s $6.65 million annual salary through 2024-25 plus a tight salary-cap situation for most teams around the league. Nevertheless, the door remains open.

THE ATHLETIC: Thomas Drance and Rick Dhaliwal report Boeser’s status on the trade block isn’t new. They indicate the winger has not asked to be moved. There’s no ill will between the player and management but rather a mutual agreement to see if there’s a fit for him elsewhere.

Drance and Dhaliwal indicate there’s an understanding among the front office that the return could be “relatively pedestrian” because of Boeser’s expensive contract, his concerning two-way play and his limited goal production this season. The move would be made to garner salary-cap flexibility. The same would apply to other expensive supporting players such as Tyler Myers, Tanner Pearson and Conor Garland.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: No word yet whether Boeser’s agent is having any success drumming up potential trade partners. I daresay we’ll likely start hearing of possible suitors over the next week or two.

Boeser lacks no-trade protection, giving Canucks management plenty of options for potential destinations. However, Cap Friendly shows just three teams (Chicago Blackhawks, Buffalo Sabres and Anaheim Ducks) have the cap space to take his cap hit. Those clubs are rebuilding and Boeser might not fit into their long-term plans.

A trade seems unlikely at this point in the season. Perhaps the market might open up as the schedule draws nearer to the March 3 trade deadline. However, I wouldn’t be surprised if this is the type of deal that occurs in the offseason when clubs have more cap space and a willingness to spend on players like Boeser.

SUGGESTED TRADE TARGETS FOR THE WILD

THE ATHLETIC: Michael Russo and Joe Smith discussed some possible trade targets for the Minnesota Wild to land another top-six forward.

Smith suggested the Chicago Blackhawks’ Max Domi or Andreas Athanasiou would be affordable rental players. The Florida Panthers could move Anthony Duclair to become cap compliant but has another year on his contract at $3 million. Russo also mentioned Duclair and wondered if they might look at Montreal Canadiens forward Sean Monahan.

Russo and Smith also agree that this is Matt Dumba’s final season with the Wild. The 28-year-old defenseman is slated to become an unrestricted free agent in July. They believe general manager Bill Guerin could shop Dumba before the trade deadline even if they’re in the playoff race. However, his $6 million cap hit and modified no-trade clause could make him difficult to move.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Guerin could explore Dumba’s value in the trade market before the deadline. The odds of moving him will be better if the Wild are out of postseason contention. He could dangle Dumba as trade bait for a scoring forward. However, Russo and Smith also observed the Wild could risk depleting the right side of their blueline by moving him.

Cap Friendly indicates the Wild will have over $10 million in projected trade deadline cap space with their current roster. Moving out the remainder of Dumba’s cap hit will free up additional room to perhaps add a top-six rental forward and bring in a right-side blueliner if necessary.










NHL Rumor Mill – November 25, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – November 25, 2022

Which forwards could the Golden Knights target in the trade market? Should the Oilers attempt to acquire Kasperi Kapanen? Are the Wild in the market for more scoring? Find out in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.

TRADE TARGETS FOR THE GOLDEN KNIGHTS

VEGAS HOCKEY NOW: Owen Krepps has Vancouver Canucks center Bo Horvat at the top of his list of six potential trade candidates for the Golden Knights to boost their forward depth. He admits, however, the Canucks could set an asking price that’s too expensive for Vegas.

Montreal Canadiens center Sean Monahan, Chicago Blackhawks forward Max Domi, Columbus Blue Jackets winger Gustav Nyquist, Edmonton Oilers winger Jesse Puljujarvi and Pittsburgh Penguins winger Kasperi Kapanen round out Krepps’ list.

Chicago Blackhawks forward Max Domi (NHL Images).

Krepps acknowledged the cap-strapped Golden Knights will have to shed some salary. One way could be shopping goaltender Laurent Brossoit ($2.3 million) as Logan Thompson and Adin Hill are playing well as the goaltending tandem. Another option could be shopping defenseman Alec Martinez.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I doubt the Golden Knights can free up sufficient cap space to acquire Horvat and they probably can’t afford the Canucks asking price in terms of picks and prospects. Monahan’s $6.4 million cap hit also probably prices him out of their market unless the Habs agree to retain some of his salary, and that will mean parting with a sweetener they probably can’t afford to give up. The same goes for Nyquist and his $5.5 million cap hit.

Domi ($3 million), Puljujarvi ($3 million) and Kapanen ($3.2 million) are more affordable and likely obtainable targets. Domi is the best of this bunch. While inconsistent, he’s putting up better stats this season (14 points) than Puljujarvi and Kapanen combined (nine points). However, the Golden Knights might not be able to outbid other clubs if he continues playing as well as he has for the rebuilding Blackhawks.

WOULD KAPANEN BE A FIT FOR THE OILERS?

THE ATHLETIC’S Jonathan Willis recently wondered if Pittsburgh Penguins winger Kasperi Kapanen might be a worthwhile “change-of-scenery flip” for the Edmonton Oilers. He pointed out Kapanen makes around the same cap hit as Jesse Puljujarvi and is signed a year longer. Willis noted he’s “better 5v5 scoring & finishing history, worse possession metrics.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kapanen straight up for Puljujarvi. Both might benefit from a change of scenery. Who says no? Provide your answers in the comments section below.

THE WILD ARE SEEKING SOME SCORING HELP

THE ATHLETIC’S Michael Russo tweeted on Wednesday that Minnesota Wild general manager Bill Guerin admitted he’s looking for scoring help. However, he’s hoping the issue can be addressed internally.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Keep an eye on the Wild in the coming weeks. Guerin could be active in the trade market if he can’t find an internal fix for his scoring woes.