NHL Rumor Mill – November 26, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – November 26, 2022

What’s the latest on the Sharks’ contract talks with Timo Meier? Should the Islanders pursue him if he hits the trade block? What’s the latest on Jakob Chychrun? Could the Panthers move Patric Hornqvist? Find out in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.

THE LATEST ON TIMO MEIER

SAN JOSE HOCKEY NOW: Sheng Peng reports Sharks winger Timo Meier said there’s nothing new going on regarding his contract extension negotiations. That’s in line with what his agent, Claude Lemieux, said at the start of the season. Lemieux had indicated he didn’t anticipate receiving any offers until the end of this season.

San Jose Sharks winger Timo Meier (NHL Images)

The Sharks could decide to trade the 26-year-old Meier, who is slated to become a restricted free agent in July. “It’s in your head sometimes,” Meier admitted, but he said he’s trying not to get too caught up in it.

Peng recently observed that Daily Faceoff’s Frank Seravalli has Meier at No. 6 on his early-season list of NHL trade targets. He currently has a management annual salary-cap hit of $6 million.

THE ATHLETIC: In a recent mailbag segment, Kevin Kurz was asked if he thought the New York Islanders should pursue Meier or Vancouver Canucks center Bo Horvat if they become available at the March 3 trade deadline.

Kurz believed Meier would be a better fit as he would be a natural to line up alongside first-line center Mathew Barzal. However, he doubted the Isles have the assets to make that deal as bidding for Meier would be fierce. He speculated it could cost them a first-round pick and one of their few high-end prospects, provided Meier would sign a contract extension with them.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Hanging over Meier’s contract situation is the cost of the qualifying offer. As I and other observers have noted, while his annual cap hit is $6 million, he’s being paid $10 million this season in actual salary.

Because Meier signed his current contract before changes to qualifying offer rules were made in 2020, it will cost the Sharks (or whatever team were to acquire him) $10 million just to qualify his rights unless he and the team can agree before then on a new contract with perhaps a lower average annual value.

If Meier does hit the trade block before March 3, teams could consider him to be a rental player instead of one they can retain beyond this season.

MORE CHYCHRUN TO THE BLUE JACKETS SPECULATION

SPORTSNET: In a recent “32 Thoughts” podcast, Elliotte Friedman and Jeff Marek mentioned the Columbus Blue Jackets have once again been linked to Arizona Coyotes defenseman Jakob Chychrun.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Jackets reportedly expressed interest in Chychrun leading up to the opening round of this year’s draft but he supposedly spiked the deal despite lacking no-trade protection. Jackets management denied the story but more than a few pundits claim their interest was genuine.

The Jackets are well-stocked with promising players on their roster (Kent Johnson, Cole Sillinger, Adam Boqvist, Yegor Chinakhov) and in their prospect pipeline (David Jiricek, Denton Mateychuk) that could entice the Coyotes. That’s assuming Chychrun has had a change of heart regarding his rumored unwillingness to go to Columbus.

UPDATE ON THE PANTHERS

SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman doesn’t expect the Florida Panthers will attempt to move veteran winger Patric Hornqvist to make room for Anthony Duclair when the latter is ready to return to the lineup.

Hornqvist is in the final season of his contract with a cap hit of $5.3 million. There’s a belief that Florida GM Bill Zito promised the winger that he wouldn’t be traded elsewhere in order to get him to agree to accept a trade to the Panthers. Friedman doubted that Zito would renege on his promise.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: If Zito wanted to trade Hornqvist he probably won’t find much of a market for an aging, expensive winger playing fourth-line minutes. Besides, Hornqvist still has an eight-team no-trade list.

Zito’s not in a position of strength here and rival clubs could be more interested in players still in their prime like Duclair, Sam Reinhart or Sam Bennett. It’ll be interesting to see how the Panthers GM handles this situation.










NHL Rumor Mill – November 23, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – November 23, 2022

A look at the early season trade targets in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.

ANALYSIS OF THE EARLY-SEASON TRADE TARGETS

DAILY FACEOFF: Vancouver Canucks center Bo Horvat top Frank Seravalli’s first list of trade targets for 2022-23. He pointed out there hasn’t been much talk about a contract extension between the pending free agent and Canucks management since prior to training camp. Seravalli suggests “Colorado, Detroit, Boston and Edmonton” among the clubs that could use a top-flight center like Horvat.

Vancouver Canucks captain Bo Horvat (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman reports Canucks president of hockey operations Jim Rutherford is in no hurry to decide what to do with Horvat. That’s understandable since the trade deadline isn’t until March 3 so there’s no reason for Rutherford to rush into a decision regarding his captain at this point.

Nevertheless, the longer Horvat remains unsigned the more speculation over his future will increase as the trade deadline approaches. We’ll find out in due course if those clubs mentioned by Seravalli actually get into the bidding for the Canucks captain.

Chicago Blackhawks forwards Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews sit second and third on Servalli’s list.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Seravalli indicated the Blackhawks are expected to start a conversation with Kane in December to gauge his interest in a trade. He and Toews have complete control over their fates given their no-movement clauses.

Friedman wonders whether the Los Angeles Kings would make a pitch for Kane. He indicates they have the picks and prospects to make this move. Provided Kane is willing to accept a trade to Los Angeles, I question whether the Kings can comfortably afford to pick up the remainder of his $10.5 million cap hit.

Arizona Coyotes defenseman Jakob Chychrun and Anaheim Ducks blueliner John Klingberg sit fourth and fifth on this list.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Friedman reported the Coyotes are still asking for “two first-rounders (upcoming picks or recently-drafted prospects), plus something else.”

TSN’s Pierre LeBrun believes the Coyotes based their high asking price for Chychrun on what the Ducks received from the Boston Bruins last season for Hampus Lindholm. That package included a first-round pick and two second-rounders. He also cited the two first-round picks the Chicago Blackhawks received as part of the return from the Tampa Bay Lightning in the Brandon Hagel deal.

As for Klingberg, Seravalli reminds us that the pending UFA’s no-trade clause is lifted on Jan. 1. We can expect to hear his name more frequently in trade rumors between New Year’s Day and March 3.

San Jose Sharks winger Timo Meier, Florida Panthers winger Anthony Duclair, Columbus Blue Jackets defenseman Vladislav Gavrikov, Los Angeles Kings blueliner Sean Walker and Sharks rearguard Erik Karlsson fill positions six through 10.

Seravalli points out Meier’s expensive qualifying offer ($10 million) will have teams looking at him as a rental player than as a restricted free agent…Duclair is only on the list because the Panthers will have to shed salary when he’s ready to return from his offseason Achilles tear but he might not necessarily be the player who gets traded. He carries a $3 million cap hit.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Meier could be shopped unless he and the Sharks can agree to a new deal with a more affordable cap hit. Given his RFA status next summer, the Sharks can wait until the offseason to shop him if they don’t get any offers they like before the trade deadline.

As for Duclair, I think the Panthers intend to keep him after he rediscovered his game playing for them last season. They’ll have to shed around $3 million to become cap compliant.

Gavrikov is a pending UFA but I’m not convinced the Blue Jackets will move him unless contract talks go south before the trade deadline…Seravalli pointed out the Kings have a glut of defensemen. They don’t want to move Walker but he could be the odd man out given his injury history.

Karlsson would help any NHL club but, as Seravalli notes, his $11.5 million annual cap hit and full no-movement clause significantly limit the number of potential trade destinations. That could be a trade that happens in the offseason provided Karlsson is willing to waive his NMC and the Sharks retain a big chunk of his cap hit.

Blue Jackets center Jack Roslovic, Washington Capitals defenseman Nick Jensen, Blackhawks winger Andreas Athanasiou, Coyotes blueliner Shayne Gostisbehere and Sharks goalie James Reimer coming in at spots 11 through 15.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Roslovic’s inconsistency really hurts his trade value…The Capitals could peddle Jensen if they’re out of playoff contention leading up to the trade deadline. The same goes for Athanasiou and Reimer…I would place Gotisbehere higher on this list, perhaps in the bottom half of the top 10. The puck-moving defenseman had 51 points in 82 games last season on the offensively anemic Coyotes and has 10 points in 17 games this season. He should draw plenty of interest near the trade deadline from teams seeking offense from the blueline.

Canucks winger Brock Boeser, Blackhawks center Max Domi, New York Rangers winger Ryan Reaves, Canadiens center Sean Monahan and Pittsburgh Penguins winger Kasperi Kapanen round out the remainder of this list.

If the Canucks continue to spiral they could start unloading expensive contracts like Boeser’s…Reaves has been a healthy scratch in recent games. The Rangers wouldn’t want much in return as they’d prefer the cap flexibility.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Boeser’s a scoring threat when healthy but his injury history could make him difficult to move…Domi would draw interest from contenders seeking a versatile depth rental…Reaves’ toughness should make him an affordable and enticing option for contenders seeking postseason grit…Monahan’s having a solid season (11 points in 17 games) with the Canadiens and would make a good depth center on a playoff contender…Kapanen’s trade value is so low right now that the Penguins probably couldn’t give him away at this point.










Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – November 6, 2022

Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – November 6, 2022

Will the Sharks sign or trade Timo Meier? What’s the latest on Bo Horvat’s contract talks? Could injuries force the Leafs into the trade market for a goaltender? Find out in the Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup

WHAT WILL THE SHARKS DO WITH MEIER?

THE ATHLETIC: Eric Duhatschek recently wondered if Timo Meier will become trade bait at some point in this season. The 26-year-old winger enjoyed a career-best 35-goal, 76-point performance in 2021-22. He’s slated to become a restricted free agent next summer with arbitration rights and will be a year away from unrestricted free agent eligibility.

San Jose Sharks winger Timo Meier (NHL Images)

Meier is earning an average annual value of $6 million but he’s earning $10 million in actual salary for this season. That’s how much it’ll cost the Sharks to qualify his rights unless the two sides agree to a new contract with a salary-cap hit.

The Sharks could attempt to shop Meier before the March 3 trade deadline if unable to re-sign him before then. However, his backloaded contract could turn him into a rental player if the acquiring club can’t afford the $10 million qualifying offer.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The question, as Duhatschek observes, is whether Meier can be considered a $10 million per season player. Another season with 76-or-more points could make that case, though there are players who had over 100 points last season (Matthew Tkachuk, Johnny Gaudreau) who agreed to deals worth around $9.5 million.

Duhatschek believes Meier will be an intriguing player in the trade market if the Sharks decide to move him before the deadline. He would draw considerable interest but that $10 million qualifier could dampen that enthusiasm and perhaps hurt his trade value to the Sharks.

NO PROGRESS IN HORVAT CONTRACT TALKS

SPORTSNET: Jeff Marek reports “there’s been no moving of the needle whatsoever” in contract extension negotiations between the Vancouver Canucks and captain Bo Horvat.

The 27-year-old center is slated to become a UFA next summer and is earning an AAV of $5.5 million. Marek believes people are starting to get curious about whether the Canucks will decide if his future is in Vancouver or elsewhere.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Plenty of time still exists for the two sides to hammer out an agreement before July 1. Unlike most of his teammates, Horvat’s been a reliable presence on the Canucks this season with a team-leading 10 goals.

However, the Canucks’ performance this season could also be a determining factor. If they’re out of playoff contention leading up to the trade deadline, management could decide that a shakeup of the club’s leadership is required. That could lead to Horvat getting shopped before March 3.

WILL THE LEAFS SHOP FOR A GOALTENDER?

THE ATHLETIC: With Matt Murray and Ilya Samsonov sidelined by injuries, Jonas Siegel wondered if the Toronto Maple Leafs might consider shopping around for an experienced netminder as their third goalie. Current third-stringer Erik Kallgren is struggling to establish himself at the NHL level.

Siegel suggested the Vegas Golden Knights as a possible trade partner. Logan Thompson and Adin Hill have played well thus far while Laurent Brossoit is currently with their AHL affiliate on a conditioning stint.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Siegel notes the Leafs have some cap flexibility with Jake Muzzin on long-term injured reserve to acquire a third netminder. For now, they’ve signed Toronto Marlies netminder Keith Petruzzelli to an NHL contract to tandem with Kallgren. If he and Kallgren don’t pan out, they could consider claiming a goalie off waivers or going the trade route.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – August 25, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – August 25, 2022

The World Cup of Hockey is expected to return in 2024, the salary cap could significantly rise after 2023-24, Phil Kessel signs with the Golden Knights, and much more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly confirmed the league and the NHL Players Association are moving forward with plans to stage the World Cup of Hockey in 2024. The intent is to hold the tournament during a 17-day window in February 2024 featuring at least eight nations with games played in North America and Europe.

Daly indicated the plan is to play a preliminary round pool in Europe and a preliminary round in North America, with the semifinals and the final held in a North American city.

There is uncertainty over Russia’s participation in the tournament. The NHL has suspended all business operations with that country over its invasion of Ukraine. That’s in alignment with the International Ice Hockey Federation suspending Russia from all international tournaments until further notice.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The NHL’s decision not to participate in the 2022 Winter Olympics due to COVID-19 concerns pretty much guaranteed a World Cup of Hockey for 2024 thanks to the extension to the collective bargaining agreement. The NHL is also expected to participate in the 2026 Olympics.

It’s interesting that the league is willing to shutter its operations in midseason for a World Cup. One of the main reasons why they stayed out of the 2018 Olympics was the supposed unhappiness among team owners over “lost revenue” from a two-week pause in February for the Olympics every four years. It’s a different story for a league-run international tournament where they get the bulk of the revenue.

ESPN.COM: Speaking of Russian players, Daly said the league isn’t anticipating that they’ll have any difficulty obtaining work visas for the coming season. Russian players reapplying for visas encountered some difficulties earlier this season. Minnesota Wild star Kirill Kaprizov was twice denied entry to the United States before successfully returning earlier this month.

Several European players played without work visas last season after the NHL worked out an exemption with the U.S. Government due to the pandemic.

SPORTSNET: Daly also believes the NHL salary cap will significantly increase following the 2023-24 season. That will be a year earlier than previous forecasts. He said revenue projections for the coming season are very solid. The salary cap rose by just $1 million to $82.5 million for 2022-23

Vegas Golden Knights sign winger Phil Kessel (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The cap was artificially set at $81.5 million for the past two seasons due to revenue losses caused by the pandemic. It is to rise by $1 million again in 2023-24 and was supposed to rise by another $1 million in 2024-25 until the players paid back their share of hockey-related revenue through escrow.

VEGAS HOCKEY NOW: The Golden Knights signed Phil Kessel to a one-year, $1.5 million contract. The 34-year-old winger played the past three seasons with the Arizona Coyotes, netting 44 assists and 52 points last season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Golden Knights needed some offensive depth among their top-six wingers after trading away Max Pacioretty and Evgenii Dadonov this summer in cost-cutting moves. Kessel could end up skating alongside first-line center Jack Eichel. He also needs just eight more games to set the NHL’s Ironman record, currently held by Keith Yandle with 980 games.

NHL.COM: Timo Meier said he hasn’t held contract extension talks yet with San Jose Sharks general manager Mike Grier. The 25-year-old winger is a year away from restricted free agent status.

Meier said he’s focused on preparing for the upcoming season. He looks forward to meeting with Grier and new Sharks head coach David Quinn when he returns to San Jose for training camp next month.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Re-signing Meier should be Grier’s priority if he’s retooling the roster rather than rebuilding it. The winger enjoyed a career-best performance last season with 35 goals and 76 points in 77 games.

Meier’s earning an annual average value of $6 million but his actual salary is $10 million. That’s what it will cost the Sharks to qualify his rights next summer unless the two sides can reach an agreement on a new contract at an AAV below $10 million before then.

THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH: Alexandre Texier will not be joining the Blue Jackets for the coming season as per the advice of the NHL/NHLPA Substance Abuse and Behavioral Health Program. He will not be paid his $1.525 million NHL salary for 2022-23 and it won’t count against the club’s salary cap. Texier will be permitted to sign a one-year contract with a European team for this season.

Texier was granted an indefinite leave of absence from the Blue Jackets last March after being sidelined by a fractured finger in January. In a statement, he indicated that he’s experienced personal issues and challenges that require him to be close to his family. He expressed his appreciation to the Blue Jackets and their fans for their support and empathy.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Here’s hoping Texier receives the help he needs and can maintain his playing career either in the NHL or in Europe.

NEW YORK POST: Islanders defenseman Sebastian Aho was arrested on Aug. 13 in Sweden for drunk driving and had his license suspended as a result. Aho blew .03 on the breathalyzer, putting him over the .02 limit. He was fined 40,000 Swedish Krona.

The incident occurred at 10:30 am after Aho and his wife had visited friends the night before. His agent, Claude Lemieux, said his client was surprised he was still over the limit by the next morning and is very sorry about the mistake.










NHL Rumor Mill – August 8, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – August 8, 2022

Looking ahead at the 2023 free-agent class in your NHL Rumor Mill.

SPORTSNET: Chicago Blackhawks winger Patrick Kane, Colorado Avalanche center Nathan MacKinnon, and Boston Bruins winger David Pastrnak top Ryan Dixon’s recent listing of the top unrestricted free agents of 2023.

Vancouver Canucks center J.T. Miller, Minnesota Wild defenseman Matt Dumba, and St. Louis Blues winger Vladimir Tarasenko are next on Dixon’s list. The Pittsburgh Penguins’ Tristan Jarry is the notable goaltender in the group.

Colorado Avalanche center Nathan MacKinnon (NHL Images).

Blues center Ryan O’Reilly, New Jersey Devils blueliner Damon Severson, Calgary Flames center Sean Monahan, Detroit Red Wings center Dylan Larkin and Blackhawks center Jonathan Toews round out Dixon’s list.

THE SCORE: Sean O’Leary also put out a listing of his notable 2023 UFAs with most of the same names as Dixon’s. This was published before Jonathan Huberdeau’s signing with the Flames, which explains why he’s on that list.

Several notables on O’Leary’s list include Canucks center Bo Horvat and forwards Joe Pavelski of the Dallas Stars, Tyler Bertuzzi of the Detroit Red Wings, James van Riemsdyk of the Philadelphia Flyers and Max Pacioretty of the Carolina Hurricanes.

O’Leary’s defensemen include the Anaheim Ducks’ John Klingberg, the Penguins’ Brian Dumoulin, the New York Islanders Scott Mayfield, Florida Panthers’ Radko Gudas, Washington Capitals Dmitry Orlov and the Flames’ MacKenzie Weegar.

The noteworthy goaltenders include the Islanders’ Semyon Varlamov, the Los Angeles Kings Jonathan Quick, the Red Wings’ Alex Nedeljkovic, the Ottawa Senators’ Cam Talbot and the Montreal Canadiens’ Jake Allen.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s a slow day for trade and free-agent rumors as we endure the dog days of the NHL offseason. So it’s a good time to review these lists and offer up my two cents on which players will hit the open market next summer and which ones won’t.

I don’t see MacKinnon, Pastrnak, O’Reilly, Severson, Larkin, Horvat, Pavelski, Orlov and Weegar being available by next July. They’ll likely sign contract extensions with their current teams.

Jarry, Pacioretty, Bertuzzi, Dumoulin, Mayfield, Nedeljkovic, Talbot and Allen fall into the “maybe” category for me. Much will depend on their respective performances in the coming season, what they’ll seek on their next contracts, and whether their current clubs can afford to sign them.

I anticipate the remainder will become UFAs. There will still be enticing talent available such as Kane, Miller, Dumba, Tarasenko, Klingberg, and Quick for teams to pursue. Toews could sign with another club but I wouldn’t be surprised if he retires. Monahan’s hip surgeries could bring a premature end to his playing career.

O’Leary also published a list of next summer’s notable restricted free agents. His top forwards include the Senators’ Alex DeBrincat and Tim Stutzle, the Islanders’ Mathew Barzal, the Winnipeg Jets’ Pierre-Luc Dubois, the Canadiens’ Cole Caufield, the Stars’ Roope Hintz, the Ducks’ Trevor Zegras, the New York Rangers’ Alexis Lafreniere and the San Jose Sharks’ Timo Meier.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: All but DeBrincat, Dubois and Meier will be re-signed. The trio will be a year away from UFA status next summer. They could hit the trade block if they’re unwilling to make a long-term commitment with their current clubs.

Notable RFA defensemen include the Rangers’ K’Andre Miller, the Edmonton Oilers’ Evan Bouchard, the Seattle Kraken’s Vince Dunn, the Hurricanes’ Ethan Bear, and the Ducks’ Jamie Drysdale.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: All but Bear seem certain to be re-signed by their current teams. He struggled last season with the Hurricanes partly because of the effects of COVID-19. However, a healthy bounce-back performance this season could ensure a longer term for him in Carolina.

The Toronto Maple Leafs’ Ilya Samsonov, the Bruins’ Jeremy Swayman and the Panthers’ Spencer Knight are the top RFA goalies.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Samsonov has to make a good impression with the Leafs this season or he could be traded or cut loose next summer. Another solid performance by Swayman this season should ensure he receives a contract extension.

Knight’s situation, however, could be tricky. On the one hand, I expect the Panthers want to re-sign him. On the other, they’ve got Sergei Bobrovsky eating up valuable cap space and playing time. The Panthers can afford to re-sign Knight but maybe he’ll be open to an offer sheet. His situation will be worth monitoring.










NHL Rumor Mill – July 27, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – July 27, 2022

Could the Canucks trade J.T. Miller to the Islanders for a top-four, right-side defenseman? Could Matthew Tkachuk’s new deal affect the Sharks’ contract talks with Timo Meier? Find out in today’s NHL rumor mill.

J.T. MILLER FOR NOAH DOBSON?

THE PROVINCE: Ben Kuzma mused over whether the New York Islanders might offer up defenseman Noah Dobson to the Vancouver Canucks as part of a package for J.T. Miller. He pointed out the Canucks’ former management had an interest in the 22-year-old Dobson stretching back to his junior days.

Vancouver Canucks forward J.T. Miller (NHL Images).

The Islanders have $11 million in cap space. Dobson is a restricted free agent whose 51-point performance last season could put him in line for a raise comparable to that of Buffalo Sabres defenseman Rasmus Dahlin’s two-year contract.

Dahlin will earn $5.8 million in actual salary this coming season and $7.2 million in 2023-24. That could prove too expensive for the Isles if Dobson seeks a similar deal, especially with Mathew Barzal due for a new contract next summer.

Miller, 29, is in the final season of his contract with an affordable $5.25 million cap hit. He’s slated to become an unrestricted free agent next summer and could cost $8 million annually on his next contract.

There were reports during the draft that the Islanders had an interest in Miller. However, Canucks president of hockey operations Jim Rutherford denied having any trade discussions about him with the Isles.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Canucks seem reluctant to part with Miller. His agent recently said there’s a pathway toward his client signing a long-term extension but I daresay it’s a very expensive one.

Dobson, 22, would have to be part of the Canucks’ asking price if the Islanders were interested in Miller. The Summerside, PEI native would bring some much-needed skilled depth to the right side of their blueline.

Whether Islanders GM Lou Lamoriello is willing to part with Dobson, however, is another matter. Recent reports suggest he could be kicking tires on UFA center Nazem Kadri.

WILL TKACHUK’S NEW DEAL AFFECT MEIER’S CONTRACT TALKS?

SAN JOSE HOCKEY NOW: Sheng Peng cited The Mercury News’ Curtis Pashelka musing over what effect Matthew Tkachuk’s new deal with the Florida Panthers will have on the Sharks’ contract talks with Timo Meier.

Tkachuk, 24, signed an eight-year, $76 million contract with the Panthers on Friday. Pashelka observed the former Flames winger has 285 points since 2018-19 while the 25-year-old Meier had 222. He wondered if Tkachuk’s new deal would serve as a blueprint for the Sharks winger if he has a “monster year” in the coming NHL season, perhaps earning $1 million less per season than Tkachuk’s $9.5 million average annual value.

Meier is entering the final season of a four-year deal with an AAV of $6 million but an actual salary of $10 million, which is what it’ll cost the Sharks to qualify his rights. If the two sides fail to work out a suitable contract extension, Peng wondered if Meier might fetch a return comparable to what the Flames got from the Panthers for Tkachuk.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Meier’s future in San Jose will depend upon whether he buys into the club’s direction under new general manager Mike Grier. If the club is engaging in a long rebuild, he could be reluctant to ink a long-term deal, forcing Grier to peddle him in the trade market.

Meier is a skilled offensive winger but doesn’t play the same physical style as Tkachuk. He could bolster his stock with a career-best performance in this coming season, raising the cost of signing him but also boosting his value in the trade market. Still, I doubt he’d land two players comparable to Jonathan Huberdeau and MacKenzie Weegar.