NHL Rumor Mill – March 25, 2024

NHL Rumor Mill – March 25, 2024

A look at some of this summer’s notable restricted free agents in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.

SPORTSNET: Luke Fox recently listed the latest rumors and reports regarding this summer’s top-12 restricted free agents.

The Vancouver Canucks recently offered an eight-year, $52-million contract extension ($6.5 million average annual value) to Filip Hronek. However, the 26-year-old defenseman’s camp rejected that proposal. Fox believes the Canucks want to keep Hronek’s salary below Quinn Hughes’ $7.85 million AAV but the blueline could try to push it into the $7 million range.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Hronek is completing a three-year deal with an AAV of $4.4 million. He’s enjoying a career-high performance in his contract year with 45 points in 71 games. Hronek has arbitration rights and is a year away from UFA eligibility. It could cost the Canucks between $7 million and $7.5 million annually to keep him in the fold.

Detroit Red Wings defenseman Moritz Seider (NHL Images).

Detroit Red Wings defenseman Moritz Seider is completing his entry-level contract. Fox doubted that Wings general manager Steve Yzerman would attempt to lowball the 23-year-old blueliner. He speculated Seider could get an eight-year deal worth $8.6 million annually.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Seider is the Wings’ best defenseman and a key piece of their rebuilding roster, winning the Calder Memorial Trophy in 2021-22. He’s yet to reach his playing prime. A long-term deal at $8.6 million AAV could become a bargain over time.

The Buffalo Sabres trading Casey Mittelstadt to the Colorado Avalanche earlier this month was based on the belief they would be unable to re-sign him to a long-term extension. Following the trade, the 25-year-old center pointed out how much the Avalanche wanted him by giving up defenseman Bowen Byram in return.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Mittelstadt seems to be settling in well as the Avalanche’s second-line center. A strong performance over the rest of the regular season and in the 2024 playoffs will ensure he’ll get a lucrative long-term extension.

While Fox thinks Seider will get a long-term deal from the Wings, he believes Lucas Raymond could end up with a short-term contract. Like Seider, he’s completing his entry-level deal. Fox pointed out that Yzerman signed Alex DeBrincat last summer to a four-year contract averaging $7.875 million per season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’ll be interesting to see how Yzerman handles Raymond’s contract situation. The 21-year-old winger leads the Wings in scoring with career highs in goals (24), assists (36) and points (60), but he has had bouts of inconsistency in his short NHL career.

Fox wondered if the Carolina Hurricanes will attempt to sign Seth Jarvis to a bridge deal coming out of his entry-level contract or bet big that the 22-year-old winger will break out and sign him to a long-term deal.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: After struggling at times during his sophomore campaign, Jarvis has played well this season for the Hurricanes, sitting third in scoring with a career-high 57 points. I’d say bet big and lock him up long-term. A bridge deal could make him more expensive to sign down the road.

Despite Thomas Harley’s 40-point performance this season, Fox speculates that Dallas Stars GM Jim Nill could sign the 22-year-old defenseman to a bridge deal coming out of his entry-level contract. He noted that Nill did the same with winger Jason Robertson.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I think Harley will get a bridge deal. This is his first full season after splitting the past two seasons between the Stars and their AHL affiliate.

Boston Bruins goaltender Jeremy Swayman refused to comment on an early March report claiming contract extension talks had begun. However, he didn’t deny the report.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Swayman signed an affordable one-year deal last summer due to the Bruins’ limited cap space for this season. He’s going to get a big raise over his $3.475 million and will likely take over as their full-time starter next season. There’s already speculation that his goalie partner Linus Ullmark could be traded during the offseason.

Fox noted the emergence of Quinton Byfield this season leaves Los Angeles Kings GM Rob Blake facing a big decision. He could sign the 20-year-old forward to a bridge deal or attempt to ink him to a long-term contract. Fox suggested the latter might come in between $6.5 and $7 million annually.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: On the one hand, it’s tough to justify a lucrative long-term deal based on one good year. On the other, it’ll cost a lot more than $7 million to sign Byfield coming off a bridge deal if he continues to improve as projected. He’s steadily improved with each season.

Hurricanes winger Martin Necas is completing a two-year bridge deal worth $3 million annually and has arbitration rights. The 25-year-old forward is in a position to justify a significant raise.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Necas has surfaced in trade rumors over the past two seasons. He might end up getting that raise from another club.

Turning to the remaining players on Fox’s list, Matty Beniers’ struggles in his sophomore season could see the 2023 Calder Trophy winner getting a short-term bridge deal from the Seattle Kraken.

Arizona Coyotes defenseman Sean Durzi will seek a lucrative offer coming off his bridge contract. He’s on pace for a career-best performance.

The Buffalo Sabres could try to sign Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen to a mid-term deal. He’s performed well this season but it’s a small sample size to justify a long-term contract.

Notable NHL Trades For March 6, 2024

Notable NHL Trades For March 6, 2024

The NHL Trade Deadline is two days away but business has already picked up in the trade market:

Calgary Flames trade Noah Hanifin to the Vegas Golden Knights in a three-team trade involving the Philadelphia Flyers. The Flames receive a 2025 first-round pick, a conditional 2025 third-rounder and defenseman Daniil Miromanov. The third-rounder becomes a second-round pick if the Golden Knights win the 2024 Stanley Cup. The Flyers receive the Golden Knights’ 2024 fifth-round pick. The Flames are retaining 50 percent of Hanifin’s $4.95 million salary.

Buffalo Sabres trade center Casey Mittelstadt to the Colorado Avalanche for defenseman Bowen Byram.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: There was something to all that early speculation about Mittelstadt in January after all. The Sabres more depth to their blueline while the Avalanche address their need for a second-line center.

Buffalo Sabres trade Casey Mittelstadt to the Colorado Avalanche. (NHL Images).

The Ottawa Senators trade Vladimir Tarasenko to the Florida Panthers for a 2025 third-round pick and a conditional 2024 fourth-rounder that becomes a third-round pick if the Panthers win the 2024 Stanley Cup. The Senators also retain 50 percent of Tarasenko’s $5 million cap hit.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Senators reportedly sought a first or second-round pick plus another asset. It appears Tarasenko’s trade value wasn’t as high as rumored. 

The Edmonton Oilers acquired forwards Adam Henrique and Sam Carrick and a seventh-round pick from the Anaheim Ducks in a three-team deal involving the Tampa Bay Lightning. The Ducks receive the Oilers’ 2024 first-rounder and a conditional fifth-round pick in 2025 plus they’re retaining half of Henrique’s $5.825 million cap hit. The Lightning receive a fourth-rounder from the Oilers and retain half of Henrique’s remaining cap hit. 

The Philadelphia Flyers trade defenseman Sean Walker and a 2026 fifth-round pick to the Colorado Avalanche in exchange for center Ryan Johansen and the Avs’ 2025 first-round pick. 

New York Rangers acquire center Alex Wennberg from the Seattle Kraken in exchange for a 2024 second-round pick and a conditional 2025 fourth-rounder. The Kraken also retains 50 percent of Wennberg’s salary. 

NHL Rumor Mill – February 24, 2024

NHL Rumor Mill – February 24, 2024

Could the Bruins trade a goalie to address other roster needs? Who could be possible trade targets for the Golden Knights? What’s going on with Marc-Andre Fleury, Casey Mittelstadt and Vladimir Tarasenko? Find out in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.


BOSTON HOCKEY NOW: Jimmy Murphy cited TNT NHL analyst Paul Bissonnette suggesting the Bruins trade one of their goaltenders to address their need for a center. He believes they should move Linus Ullmark or Jeremy Swayman to bring in a top-two center and move Charlie Coyle back to third-line center duty.

SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman also thinks the Bruins will have to move someone off their roster if they wish to add to their lineup. He thinks people are looking at Ullmark as a trade candidate. He doesn’t think moving the 2023 Vezina Trophy winner is impossible but wondered if it’s a good idea to sacrifice one of their greatest strengths. He felt the only reason to do it is if they can get something so good that they have to do so.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: A few things to remember here.

First, Bruins general manager Don Sweeney said earlier this season when Ullmark popped up in the rumor mill that it was necessary to keep his goalie tandem intact because they would help keep the Bruins competitive. I don’t doubt that teams might be calling Sweeney about Ullmark or Swayman but that doesn’t mean he’s peddling one of them.

Boston Bruins goaltender Linus Ullmark (NHL Images).

Second, Ullmark has a 16-team no-trade clause and loves playing in Boston. He also carries a $5 million cap hit through 2024-25 and that’s not easy to move in a season with so many teams carrying limited cap room.

Third, when was the last time you saw a goaltender (even a former Vezina winner) get traded for a first or second-line center in the salary cap era? Goalies rarely fetch big returns in trades.

And finally, which first or second-line center is currently available in the trade market? The depth of talent is so thin that third-liner Adam Henrique is considered by experts and insiders to be the best one on the market. No disrespect to Henrique, but he’s not worth Ullmark or Swayman.

I’ve been doing this long enough to know that sometimes a shocking move can take place that no one saw coming. Maybe the Bruins might be able to find that kind of deal leading up to the March 8 trade deadline. But if you recall what we’ve seen in previous trade deadlines over the years, something of that magnitude hasn’t happened in a long time.

THE ATHLETIC: Fluto Shinzawa is concerned about what the Bruins will do if it appears that defenseman Hampus Lindholm could be sidelined beyond the trade deadline. Replacing the minute-munching blueliner could prove a big challenge for Sweeney.

Shinzawa believes the Bruins would love to acquire local boy Noah Hanifin from the Calgary Flames. However, he doubts they have sufficient trade assets to tempt the Flames.

The Bruins lack picks in the first three rounds of this year’s draft while promising Matt Poitras is out for the season recovering from shoulder surgery. They also don’t have sufficient cap space to take on Hanifin’s $4.95 million cap hit.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’ll take some savvy horsetrading on Sweeney’s part to pull off a trade deadline deal for Hanifin. Maybe he can get a third team involved but his lack of tradeable assets makes that scenario seem unlikely.


LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL: With captain Mark Stone sidelined for perhaps the rest of the regular season, Ben Gotz looked at several possible trade options to replace the 31-year-old winger before the March 8 trade deadline if they place him on long-term injury reserve.

Among the most notable are St. Louis’ Pavel Buchnevich, Pittsburgh’s Jake Guentzel, and Seattle’s Jordan Eberle.

Others include former Golden Knight Reilly Smith (now with the Penguins), Arizona’s Jason Zucker, San Jose’s Anthony Duclair or Mikael Granlund, Washington’s Anthony Mantha, Ottawa’s Vladimir Tarasenko, and Anaheim’s Frank Vatrano.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Buchnevich or Guentzel are the best options talent-wise. With Stone on LTIR the Golden Knights could afford their cap hits but the asking prices for those guys are probably well out of their reach. They might have to consider more affordable options in terms of return.


EDMONTON JOURNAL: Jim Matheson reports Minnesota Wild goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury is not looking for a trade. He would rather stick with the club while they’re battling for a wild-card spot in the Western Conference.

Fleury has a full no-movement clause. Matheson wondered if Wild GM Bill Guerin would approach him about a trade if a Cup contender like the Colorado Avalanche came calling. However, Fleury already has three Cup rings and would have to discuss any move with his family.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The longer the Wild remain in the playoff chase the less likely Fleury will be traded. He could always change his mind but he seems set on finishing this season in Minnesota.


THE HOCKEY NEWS: Michael Augello cites Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman and Jeff Marek discussing Buffalo Sabres center Casey Mittelstadt. They claimed that a lot of teams were watching the 25-year-old Mittelstadt.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Teams might be watching Mittelstadt but Sabres GM Kevyn Adams recently denied rumors that he was shopping his leading scorer. Adams also said he intended to get him signed to a new contract following this season. Unless someone makes the Sabres a mind-blowing offer, Mittelstadt will still be in Buffalo when the trade deadline is over.


OTTAWA SUN: Bruce Garrioch recently reported the Senators remain interested in Flames defenseman Chris Tanev. However, the Flames need to trade Noah Hanifin before they deal with the 34-year-old Tanev. Garrioch believes if a deal with the Senators for Tanev was possible it would’ve happened by now. He mentions the possibility of signing him as a free agent in July.

Most of the Senators’ trade discussions involve pending free-agent Vladimir Tarasenko. He has a full no-movement clause but it’s thought that four or five teams have expressed interest in the 32-year-old winger. It’s believed the Edmonton Oilers and Florida Panthers could be among the suitors. The Senators could get a better return if they retain part of his $5 million cap hit.

Pending UFA winger Dominik Kubalik has also drawn some interest but he’s been in the market for a couple of months. The Sens might also have to retain some of his $2.5 million cap hit.

Jakob Chychrun’s name has also surfaced in the rumor mill but the asking price is believed to be high. Some wonder if they should move a core player like Josh Norris, who carries a $7.95 million cap hit but has struggled to score in recent games.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Tarasenko and perhaps Kubalik will be playing elsewhere by March 8. Chychrun and Norris aren’t going anywhere unless someone makes a ridiculous offer for either guy.

NHL Rumor Mill – February 20, 2024

NHL Rumor Mill – February 20, 2024

Check out the latest on the Hurricanes, Sharks, Sabres and Canadiens in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.


THE ATHLETIC: Pierre LeBrun believes the Carolina Hurricanes will be buyers by the March 8 trade deadline. However, general manager Don Waddell said he’s not interested in adding players on expiring contracts.

Our first priority, if we’re giving up premium picks or top prospects, we want to make sure that we get a player for more than a few months”, Waddell told LeBrun. He added that they’re aren’t many non-rental players in the market as most trade candidates are slated to become unrestricted free agents this summer.

Contrary to popular belief, Waddell said he’s not looking to add a goaltender. He pointed out that sidelined netminder Frederik Andersen will be returning soon while Pyotr Kochetkov’s performance has been solid this season. He’s also comfortable with his blueline depth.

Carolina Hurricanes general manager Don Waddell (NHL.com).

Waddell would like to add a top-nine forward or two. LeBrun speculates it might be a forward with term remaining on their contract whose name hasn’t yet surfaced in the rumor mill. He suspects that the Hurricanes GM has inquired about winger Travis Konecny but doesn’t think the Philadelphia Flyers intend to move him, especially after recently naming him an alternate captain.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Hurricanes currently have over $6.6 million in trade deadline cap space so they’ve got the room to add a forward or two. They also have all their picks in this year’s draft along with the Flyers’ second-rounder to draw on for trade bait if necessary.


THE HOCKEY NEWS: Max Miller noted there is speculation suggesting if the San Jose Sharks are going to trade Logan Couture, it won’t happen until the offseason. Couture, 34, is sidelined week-to-week with a lower-body injury that has plagued him since last summer, limiting him to just six games.

With the Sharks near the bottom of the NHL standings, they are expected to be sellers by the March 8 trade deadline. Couture is signed through 2026-27 with an average annual value of $8 million and a three-team trade list.

Miller cited The Fourth Period’s Dave Pagnotta claiming Couture could be sidelined for the rest of the season. “If a move happens, it’s more likely to occur in the off-season,” he writes.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Couture would be almost impossible to move in-season under normal circumstances because of his contract. If he’s out for the rest of this season there will be a genuine concern that his condition could end his career. That will make it more difficult to trade Couture during this summer.


THE BUFFALO NEWS: In a recent mailbag segment, Lance Lysowski was asked if the Sabres can expect any changes before the upcoming trade deadline. He believed contenders would ask about pending free agents such as Erik Johnson, Kyle Okposo and Zemgus Girgensons. Lysowski also felt that Sabres GM Kevyn Adams will try to get a head start on finding players for next season like he did last year by acquiring Jordan Greenway from the Minnesota Wild.

If Johnson is traded, Lysowski speculated Adams will try to add another defenseman who could be part of the roster for next season, preferably a top-four blueliner. He also thinks the Sabres GM will open contract extension talks with Casey Mittelstadt’s agent. Lysowski doesn’t see them trading Mittelstadt or forwards Dylan Cozens, Jack Quinn, JJ Peterka, Tage Thompson or Alex Tuch.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Mittelstadt recently surfaced as a trade candidate in the rumor mill. However, Adams was insistent in an interview last week that he wasn’t shopping the 25-year-old center and intends to re-sign him.


THE ATHLETIC: Arpon Basu noted that Montreal Canadiens GM Kent Hughes recently said he’s not shopping David Savard. However, Basu believes he’s listening to offers. He believes the market for a shot-blocking, right-shot defenseman like Savard will open up once the Calgary Flames trade Chris Tanev.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Savard, 33, is signed through next season with an AAV of $3.5 million. He also lacks no-trade protection.

I don’t doubt that Hughes will listen to trade offers for Savard. As we’ve seen, however, he sets a high price for his players and usually won’t budge until someone meets it. With Savard under contract for next season, he’s under no pressure to trade him now. If no one meets his price, he’ll wait until the summer or next season.

NHL Rumor Mill – February 14, 2024

NHL Rumor Mill – February 14, 2024

More info on the Devils’ attempt to acquire Jacob Markstrom, Sabres GM Kevyn Adams denies shopping Casey Mittelstadt, Boone Jenner wants to remain with the Blue Jackets, plus the latest on the Flyers and Oilers in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.


NEW JERSEY HOCKEY NOW: James Nichols cites Daily Faceoff’s Frank Seravalli reporting Calgary Flames management recently approached goaltender Jacob Markstrom about waiving his no-movement clause to accept a trade to the New Jersey Devils.

Seravalli doesn’t think there were any issues on Markstrom’s part about joining the Devils. Nichols cited Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman that the two sides were in agreement on a deal that would’ve worked for both sides, with Devils forward Alexander Holtz believed to be part of the return to the Flames.

Calgary Flames goaltender Jacob Markstrom (NHL Images).

Friedman indicated the deal fell apart over the issue of the Flames retaining part of Markstrom’s $6 million average annual value through 2025-26. Seravalli doubts the deal can be revived as the Devils are looking elsewhere for goaltending help.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: If Markstrom were an unrestricted free agent this summer or next perhaps the Flames might’ve been more agreeable to retaining part of his salary cap hit. Having part of his cap hit on their books for the remainder of this season plus the next two wasn’t something they seemed keen to do.


WGR 550: Buffalo Sabres general manager Kevyn Adams denied recent speculation claiming he was shopping Casey Mittelstadt.

Appearing Tuesday on “Schopp and the Bulldog”, Adams praised the versatile 25-year-old forward, who leads the Sabres with 43 points this season. He also indicated that he hopes to work toward a contract for Mittelstadt and get him signed.

Mittelstadt is due to become a restricted free agent with arbitration rights on July 1.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Mittelstadt’s contract status plus the fact several of his teammates have already signed long-term contracts sparked speculation he could be shopped because the Sabres didn’t want to sign him.

Adams could be tempted if a rival GM made an enticing pitch for Mittelstadt. However, I’m taking him at face value when he says he wants to re-sign him. Bear in mind that Mittelstadt’s RFA status means his rights still belong to the Sabres so Adams is under no pressure to move him by the March 8 trade deadline.

THE BUFFALO NEWS: Speaking of the Sabres, Lance Lysowski reports Victor Olofsson is remaining patient while awaiting a trade. The 28-year-old winger is slated to become an unrestricted free agent on July 1 and has been the subject of trade speculation this season.

Moving Olofsson could be tricky. His production is down this season, he’s been a frequent healthy scratch and he carries a $4.75 million cap hit.

THE HOCKEY NEWS: Michael DeRosa cited The Fourth Period claiming the Colorado Avalanche have been linked to Olofsson. They need depth at center but DeRosa thinks they could also use more scoring among their bottom six.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Sabres might have to retain half of Olofsson’s cap hit to move him by the March 8 trade deadline. Even that might not fetch much of a return.


THE ATHLETIC: Aaron Portzline reports Columbus Blue Jackets captain Boone Jenner has become a wanted man in this season’s trade market. However, the 30-year-old forward made it clear that he doesn’t want to be traded.

Jenner said he wants to be part of the rebuilding roster’s development. He acknowledged there’s a lot of work to be done but believes they can get it done.

A versatile, hardworking forward, Jenner carries an affordable $3.75 million AAV through 2025-26. That contract along with his style of game makes him attractive to playoff contenders. However, Jackets GM Jarmo Kekalainen said it would take an over-the-top offer before he would consider trading his captain.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Jenner also seems keen to spend his entire NHL career with the Blue Jackets. That might change in a couple of years when he becomes eligible for UFA status if the Jackets haven’t improved by then.

If Kekalainen gets replaced at the end of this season a new GM could have designs on trading Jenner, who carries an eight-team no-trade clause. For now, however, it seems unlikely that he’ll be moved by the March 8 trade deadline.


THE ATHLETIC: Kevin Kurz reports Philadelphia Flyers head coach John Tortorella recently said that his club isn’t shopping defenseman Sean Walker. However, Tortorella thinks they’d be dopes if they didn’t listen to offers, adding they’d move him if it made sense for the organization.

Walker’s been the Flyers most consistent defenseman this season. Moving him would hurt their blueline.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Flyers’ acquisition of Jamie Drysdale has heightened anticipation that Walker could be traded. However, Kurz cited Tortorella saying the 21-year-old Drysdale remains a work in progress.

Kurz noted the Flyers have been carrying eight defensemen. One way to address this would be to trade Rasmus Ristolainen while attempting to re-sign Walker and defense partner Nick Seeler. While Ristolainen is on The Athletic’s trade board, any deal would involve the Flyers retaining part of his $5.1 million AAV through 2026-27. Walker, however, is simply more valuable in the trade market.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The decision would be easier for Flyers management if the club was out of playoff contention. However, they’re holding on to third place in the Metropolitan Division. GM Daniel Briere said that wouldn’t affect his decision to make trades for the future but he could be feeling pressure from ownership to keep this group intact for the rest of the season.

I’ll be very surprised if Briere can find a taker for Ristolainen. While his play has improved under Tortorella’s coaching, his cap hit is a significant obstacle in the path to a trade.


EDMONTON JOURNAL: David Staples cited Daily Faceoff’s Frank Seravalli’s recent appearance on “Oilers Now” telling Bob Stauffer that Oilers top prospect Philip Broberg could factor into the club’s plans for the trade deadline.

Seravalli wasn’t talking about the Oilers shopping Broberg, who’s spent most of this season with their AHL affiliate in Bakersfield. Instead, he believes that Brober is now NHL-ready. That could give them the flexibility to move out other players.

Staples speculates blueliner Brett Kulak could be that player. While the Oilers like Kulak, Daily Faceoff pointed out that replacing him with Broberg represents an immediate $2 million in cap savings.

Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – February 11, 2024

Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – February 11, 2024

The Flames and Devils discussed Jacob Markstrom plus updates on the Bruins, Oilers and Sabres in the Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup.


SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman reports the respective general managers of the Calgary Flames and New Jersey Devils discussed Flames goaltender Jacob Markstrom before the two clubs played each other last week. Neither team is commenting on this.

Friedman doesn’t know if this was ever taken to Markstrom, who is signed through 2025-26 with an average annual value of $6 million and a full no-movement clause. However, he believes the two sides held a serious discussion on the subject.

Calgary Flames goaltender Jacob Markstrom (NHL Images).

Two issues were the Flames’ asking price and salary retention. Friedman heard that those were difficult to overcome and stopped the discussions, adding it seemed unlikely that those talks would resume.

NEW JERSEY HOCKEY NOW: James Nichols suggests plenty of time for things to change with the March 8 trade deadline over three weeks away. He indicated that Markstrom is already willing to waive his no-movement clause and it’s been reported he’d be interested in doing so for the Devils. However, it will only be talk unless the Flames and Devils can reach an agreement that both sides are comfortable with.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Flames aren’t going to give Markstrom away nor are they under any pressure to trade him. In an interview last week with Friedman’s colleague Eric Francis, the netminder said he hadn’t been asked to waive his clause nor is he going to request a trade. With Markstom signed for two more years, the Flames can wait until the offseason if they don’t get any suitable offers before March 8.

With Dougie Hamilton on LTIR for the rest of the regular season, the Devils have the cap room to take on Markstrom’s AAV. The problem, however, is what it’ll cost them next season.

Adding Markstrom’s full $6 million cap hit would push the Devils’ payroll to over $73 million invested in 15 players. That could make it difficult to re-sign or replace pending unrestricted free agent Tyler Toffoli, re-sign restricted free agent Dawson Mercer, fill out the remainder of the roster, and leave sufficient cap room to address any issues that arise next season.

That would explain why cap retention became one of the sticking points mentioned by Friedman. The Flames probably aren’t receptive to that unless the Devils make it worth their while with a significant return.

Speaking of the Flames, Friedman cited defensemen Chris Tanev and Noah Hanifin being among four players currently holding up the trade market along with Pittsburgh Penguins winger Jake Guentzel and Anaheim Ducks forward Adam Henrique.

Hanifin has had contract extension talks with the Flames. Until he signs, however, teams still consider him as being available.

Teams that could be waiting on Tanev and Hanifin include teams seeking blueline depth like the Toronto Maple Leafs and Dallas Stars. Friedman also said he’s heard the Edmonton Oilers are among the clubs with eyes on Guentzel. He thinks the Penguins are willing to see how the month plays out.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: So far, the teams holding those players can afford to be patient. Friedman also noted that some clubs can’t or won’t pay the asking prices for those players and could look at more affordable options.


THE ATHLETIC: Fluto Shinzawa looked at what the Boston Bruins might do leading up to the March 8 trade deadline.

Given the high cost of acquiring a second-line center for now and the future, they could instead consider adding an impact winger. They probably couldn’t afford someone like Jake Guentzel but could instead look at more affordable options like Ottawa’s Vladimir Tarasenko, San Jose’s Anthony Duclair and Detroit’s David Perron.

NBC SPORTS BOSTON: Nick Goss also had Duclair on his list. He also suggested they look at adding a forward who can play center or wing such as Anaheim’s Adam Henrique, Minnesota’s Brandon Duhaime, Arizona’s Liam O’Brien, and Washington’s Nic Dowd.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Goss admits acquiring Henrique could be difficult for the cap-strapped Bruins given the forward’s $5.8 million cap hit. Even if Anaheim retains half, the Bruins still might have to send some salary to the Ducks. The Bruins would likely face the same issue with Tarasenko ($5 million) and Perron ($4.75 million).

If the Bruins make an addition or two at the trade deadline it’ll likely be more affordable options than Henrique, perhaps one of those on Goss’ list.


EDMONTON JOURNAL’s Jim Matheson tweeted that Oilers GM Ken Holland has long liked Detroit Red Wings forward David Perron. He’s slated to become a UFA this summer but the Wings would have to retain half of his $4.75 million cap hit.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That’s assuming Perron is available. The Red Wings are jockeying for one of the two wild-card berths in the Eastern Conference. I don’t see Detroit GM Steve Yzerman trading away Perron if his club is in the chase for its first playoff appearance in eight years unless it’s for a better player. If anything, Yzerman could become a buyer by the deadline.


SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman reports the Buffalo Sabres are seeking help that improve their team now.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: There was a rumor flying around that the Sabres were actively shopping center Casey Mittelstadt and wanted a goaltender in return. The Buffalo News’ Lance Lysowski downplayed that speculation but his tweet is no longer available. However, in a reply to one of his followers regarding the Mittelstadt rumor, Lysowski tweeted they listen when teams make calls but they’re not shopping the 25-year-old center.