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.
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.
Check out the latest Canadiens speculation plus a look at some other potential blueline trade targets for the Leafs in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.
LATEST ON THE CANADIENS
MONTREAL HOCKEY NOW: The New Jersey Devils’ rumored interest in Josh Anderson apparently hasn’t waned since the offseason. Canadiens podcaster and former broadcaster Tony Marinaro reports Devils general manager Tom Fitzgerald wants the 28-year-old Canadiens winger badly.
Montreal Canadiens winger Josh Anderson (NHL Images).
Marinaro wonders if the Devils would part with a promising youngster such as Luke Hughes, Simon Nemec or Alexander Holtz in a package deal. It remains to be seen if Canadiens GM Kent Hughes (no relation to Luke or Devils winger Jack Hughes) would be willing to move Anderson.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Marinaro also claims there are a couple of teams besides the Devils who would take Anderson. Assuming the Canadiens are willing to move him, they probably aren’t in any rush to do so at this stage in the season.
If there is interest in Anderson, it might be best to wait until the March 3 trade deadline approaches to start considering serious offers. His value in the trade market could be much higher by that point.
D’Amico noted TSN’s Pierre LeBrun recently linked Monahan to the Colorado Avalanche, who could be among several clubs that will be in the market for a second-line center. Edmundson has apparently been the subject of conversations between Hughes and his peers, while the recent improvement of Dvorak could bolster his trade value.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I believe Monahan, Edmundson or Dvorak could be moved before Anderson. Much will depend on where the Canadiens are in the standings leading up to the March 3 trade deadline and what the market is for those players. Given the plethora of defensemen the Canadiens are carrying, maybe Edmundson gets traded first.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Some of those scouts would’ve been there simply because their teams will be playing the Canadiens or Sabres in the near future. However, I daresay some could be there to check out some potential trade bait.
LIST OF POTENTIAL BLUELINE TRADE TARGETS FOR THE LEAFS
THE SCORE: Sean O’Leary recently published a list of 10 defensemen the Toronto Maple Leafs could target to bolster their injury-ravaged blueline.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: O’Leary’s list came out before the Leafs acquired promising rearguard Conor Timmins from the Arizona Coyotes on Nov. 23. However, they could perhaps pursue one of his suggested trade targets if Timmins doesn’t pan out or if Morgan Rielly, Jake Muzzin and TJ Brodie are sidelined longer than expected.
Pending unrestricted free agent options include the Columbus Blue Jackets’ Vladislav Gavrikov, the Washington Capitals’ Dmitry Orlov, the Minnesota Wild’s Matt Dumba, the New Jersey Devils’ Damon Severson, the Seattle Kraken’s Carson Soucy and the Vancouver Canucks’ Luke Schenn.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: As I’ve mentioned before, I don’t see Orlov, Dumba, Severson and Soucy going anywhere as long as their respective teams remain in playoff contention. Gavrikov could be shopped if he hasn’t signed a contract extension before the trade deadline. Schenn will likely become available if the Canucks fail to gain ground in the standings.
Notable defensemen with term remaining on their contracts include the Arizona Coyotes’ Jakob Chychrun, the Boston Bruins’ Mike Reilly and Matt Roy and Sean Walker of the Los Angeles Kings.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The high asking price for Chychrun is likely too rich for the Leafs. Reilly could be a good option but the Bruins may be reluctant to trade him to a division rival. Leafs general manager Kyle Dubas has a trade history with Kings GM Rob Blake so perhaps Roy or Walker would be more likely options here.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Should the Canadiens trade Josh Anderson? Would the Flames be interested in him? Could Sean Monahan be an option for the Avalanche? Check out the latest in an all-Habs edition of the NHL Rumor Mill.
MONTREAL HOCKEY NOW: Marc Dumont recently suggested the Canadiens would be wise to trade Josh Anderson soon. He expressed concern over whether the 28-year-old power forward can fit into the Habs’ new identity focused on puck control rather than chances off the rush.
Montreal Canadiens winger Josh Anderson (NHL Images).
Dumont also noted that Anderson is starting to slow down, pointing out that forwards tend to see a big drop in production as they approach their 30s’. Nevertheless, Anderson still has a solid reputation around the league for his style of play. With the winger still carrying five years on his contract at $5.5 million annually, it might be a good time for general manager Kent Hughes to gauge his value in the trade market.
Marco D’Amico cited Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman reported on Saturday that the Calgary Flames are still in the market for a scoring forward. He cited TSN’s Salim Valji reporting on Friday that Anderson was a player of interest for the Flames for some time but couldn’t find the right deal to get a trade done.
D’Amico suggested Anderson’s cap hit would be an issue and wondered if Hughes would consider parting with him. The Habs would have to take back a significant salary to make the dollars fit. The Canadiens GM might seek a return of a prospect such as Jakob Pelletier or Matthew Coronato plus the Flames’ 2023 first-round pick “as a starter”. However, Flames GM Brad Treliving is unlikely to be that desperate yet.
Mike Hoffman could be a more suitable alternative for the Flames. The 32-year-old winger’s production has improved following a slow start to this season. His contract ($4.5 million annually through 2023-24) is less of a long-term risk though it would still require some effort to fit him within the cap-strapped Flames’ payroll.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Despite the Canadiens’ better-than-expected start they’re still in rebuild mode. I don’t see Hughes just giving away Anderson but he could entertain serious offers if it’ll bring in assets that fit into the Habs’ short- and long-term plans.
Friedman suggested keeping an eye on the Blues regarding the Flames’ search for a scoring winger. Vladimir Tarasenko and/or Ryan O’Reilly are slated to become unrestricted free agents next summer. I think they might consider moving one or both if they’re out of playoff contention leading up to the March 3 trade deadline. However, that won’t provide any immediate relief for the Flames.
Maybe the Flames will kick tires on Anderson or Hoffman if they can’t find better options elsewhere. While the Flames are in “win-now” mode and they have a recent trade history with the Canadiens, I don’t see Treliving giving up one of his top prospects and a first-round pick for Anderson.
D’Amico also noted The Athletic’s Pierre LeBrun included Sean Monahan on his recent list of notable centers who could be moved before this season’s trade deadline. LeBrun speculated a healthy and productive Monahan could be of interest to the Colorado Avalanche. D’Amico suggested the 28-year-old center could become a trade chip that lands the Canadiens a third first-round pick in the 2023 NHL Draft.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: If Monahan fetches a first for the Canadiens I doubt it’ll come from the Avalanche. They have their first-round pick for 2023 but traded away their second, third and fourth-rounders. If they are willing to part with their first, I daresay it would be for a more notable center such as Ryan O’Reilly or Jonathan Toews if they become available by the trade deadline.
In today’s NHL Rumor Mill: the latest Canadiens speculation, a look at which defensemen the Canucks might target, and the Golden Knights owner weighs in on how his club could invest next season’s cap space.
LATEST ON THE CANADIENS
SPORTSNET: In his latest mailbag segment, Eric Engels was asked how the Montreal Canadiens might address the void in goal if Carey Price’s knee injury brings an end to his playing career.
The club will likely try to identify future starting goalies in the 2023 draft while attempting to develop the prospects within their system. However, Engels anticipates a trade is the most likely way to bolster that position.
With Jake Allen signed for two more seasons, Engels felt there was no immediate need to address that position. Given the type of team they’re trying to develop, they might not need to depend on a goalie the way they did in the past with Price.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: In other words, they might only need a reliable goalie who can rise to the occasion in big-game situations rather than one who can dominate at that position.
Asked about Sean Monahan’s future with the Canadiens, Engels believes it’ll be a short one. He speculated the Habs could get a first-round pick for the 28-year-old center at the trade deadline if he stays healthy and plays well.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Monahan’s looked good in the early going for the Canadiens. He could fetch a first-rounder at the trade deadline from a playoff contender provided he maintains his current level of performance throughout this season.
MONTREAL HOCKEY NOW: Marco D’Amico recently reported the Canadiens are still searching for a right-shot defenseman despite the recent addition of Jonathan Kovacevic off waivers. They’re still seeking a veteran presence on the blueline for at least the short term.
D’Amico believes they’re not going after a big fish like the Arizona Coyotes’ Jakob Chychrun. They are exploring various options as their lineup is too congested at forward to provide any roster flexibility.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Maybe they’ll consider shopping Monahan for that defenseman? Or perhaps Jonathan Drouin if he also has a healthy and productive early season? Granted, their respective cap hits make them expensive to move at this point in the season. Monahan’s is $6.375 million while Drouin’s is $5.5 million.
Dreger said the problem is so many teams are looking at the same type of defenseman, namely the Coyotes’ Jakob Chychrun. However, Chychrun is currently unavailable as he’s still recovering from off-season surgery. Teams will want to see him play before making offers but the Coyotes are still setting a high asking price.
Short-term options could include Danny DeKeyser, Thomas Hickey or Jason Demers. In the long-term, perhaps Chychrun becomes more affordable at the trade deadline. The Anaheim Ducks’ John Klingberg could be another deadline option as well as the Ducks’ Kevin Shattenkirk or Dmitry Kulikov, the Coyotes’ Shayne Gostisbehere and Troy Stecher, the Seattle Kraken’s Carson Soucy, and the New Jersey Devils’ Damon Severson.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: It doesn’t appear as though there are any quality options available right now to the Canucks or any other club in the market for blueline help. Many of those players Dreger rattled off could certainly become obtainable at the deadline but that could be too late to help the struggling Canucks.
HOW WILL THE GOLDEN KNIGHTS INVEST THEIR FUTURE CAP SPACE?
THE ATHLETIC: Jesse Granger recently interviewed Vegas Golden Knights owner Bill Foley. At one point, Granger indicated that next season’s salary cap could rise by $4 million and asked Foley how that might affect the club’s plans.
The Golden Knights owner replied that it would give them the opportunity to pursue “another really quality forward.” He felt they were fine at center but could use more depth among their top-nine forwards.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Something for Golden Knights fans to keep in mind if the cap does rise by $4 million next summer.
The Canadiens will place Carey Price on LTIR after announcing the signing of Kirby Dach, the Senators ink Tim Stutzle to an eight-year extension, Disney and Turner announce their 2022-23 NHL schedules and more in today’s Morning Coffee Headlines.
MONTREAL GAZETTE: The Canadiens will garner salary cap relief for the coming season by placing Carey Price on long-term injury reserve. The 35-year-old goaltender has four years remaining on his contract with an average annual value of $10.5 million.
Montreal Canadiens goaltender Carey Price (NHL Images).
Canadiens general manager Kent Hughes said he’d have more news about Price after the netminder meets with team doctors prior to training camp later this month. He continues to be plagued by a nagging knee injury that shows no sign of improvement.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Hughes signaled last month that he would likely place Price on LTIR. I wouldn’t be surprised if the long-time Canadiens starter has played his final NHL game.
The Canadiens can exceed the $82.5 million salary cap by 10 percent during the offseason but must be cap compliant when the season starts next month. Putting Price on LTIR now means they can exceed the cap by the equivalent of his $10.5 million AAV. Cap Friendly shows them at $10.24 million. It also allowed them to sign Kirby Dach to a new contract.
Hughes also indicated that forward Paul Byron might also start the season on LTIR as he returns from hip surgery. There are also questions over whether Sean Monahan (hip surgery) and Jonathan Drouin (wrist) will be ready to start the season.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Monahan and Drouin probably won’t be sidelined for much longer as they seem close to being cleared to play. It sounds like Byron could require more time.
MONTREAL HOCKEY NOW: The Canadiens also announced they reached an agreement with Kirby Dach on a four-year, $13.5 million contract. The 21-year-old center was acquired from the Chicago Blackhawks in July and was the Habs’ final remaining free agent of the summer.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Dach’s average annual value is just over $3.36 million. It’s a reasonable amount that could benefit the Canadiens’ cap payroll if he can play up to expectations.
The third-overall pick in the 2019 NHL Draft, Dach is looking forward to a fresh start in Montreal after struggling through injuries and inconsistent play during his brief tenure with the Blackhawks. He could start the season as their third-line center or shift to right wing depending on Monahan’s status.
OTTAWA SUN: The Senators announced they’d signed Tim Stutzle to an eight-year, $66.8 million contract extension. Stutzle, 20, is in the final season of his entry-level contract. His annual cap hit starting in 2023-24 will be $8.35 million.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: We shouldn’t be shocked by this signing. Senators GM Pierre Dorion had already locked up young core players such as Brady Tkachuk, Josh Norris, Drake Batherson and Thomas Chabot so it’s fitting that he followed suit with Stutzle.
The third-overall pick in the 2020 NHL Draft, Stutzle has the makings of a superstar. He followed up a promising rookie performance of 29 points in 53 games during the COVID-shortened 2020-21 season with a 22-goal, 58-point effort in 79 games in 2021-22.
Stutzle, Tkachuk, Norris, Chabot and Batherson are all 25-or-younger. Locking up that core on long-term deals should provide roster stability as Dorion continues to build around them. Those expensive contracts could become bargains over the long term if they play up to their potential.
NHL.COM: Disney and Turner Sports announced their 2022-23 NHL broadcast schedules. ESPN will open the season on Oct. 11 with a doubleheader featuring the New York Rangers hosting the Tampa Bay Lightning before the Vegas Golden Knights meet the Kings in Los Angeles. TNT will host the 2023 NHL Winter Classic on Jan. 2 in Boston at Fenway Park between the Bruins and the Pittsburgh Penguins.
ESPN.COM: The Arizona Coyotes expect to sell out every home game this season at Arizona State University’s Mullett Arena. They indicated their season-ticket sales have surpassed what they were making in their former arena in Glendale.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Coyotes had better sell out every home game at the 5,000-seat Mullett Arena. Failure to do so would be the latest embarrassment for a franchise that has had more than its share of them.
NHL.COM: The Edmonton Oilers announced the establishment of its Hall of Fame yesterday. It may include former players, coaches, trainers, staff, executives “or any other person whose role or service in the organization since its founding in 1972 is recognized as extraordinary.”
DAILY FACEOFF: Speaking of the Oilers, they signed former Vancouver Canucks forward Justin Bailey to a professional tryout offer.