Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – February 25, 2024

Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – February 25, 2024

Teams are calling about Canucks center Elias Pettersson, the latest on the Penguins’ Jake Guentzel and speculation that the Hurricanes could be listening on Martin Necas. Details on these and other trade conjecture on the Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup.

GROWING INTEREST IN PETTERSSON

SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman reported a lot of noise has developed over the past couple of weeks regarding Elias Pettersson. Teams are calling the Vancouver Canucks to ask what’s going on regarding the 25-year-old center’s contract situation and if he’s available.

Pettersson is slated to become a restricted free agent this summer with arbitration rights. He’s completing a three-year contract with an average annual value of $7.35 million.

Friedman said the Canucks don’t want to comment on this. He added that they’re telling teams they are trying to re-sign Pettersson.

Vancouver Canucks center Elias Pettersson (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Given the Canucks position in the standings (first overall) I’ll be amazed if they were to trade Pettersson by the March 8 trade deadline. It’s rumored they’ve tabled a long-term contract with an AAV of $12 million but he prefers to wait until the offseason to discuss a new deal.

Given Pettersson’s RFA status, the Canucks are under no pressure to trade him by March 8. If the two sides can’t reach an agreement on a long-term extension and it appears he’ll head to market by his UFA eligibility in July 2025 they’ll shop him in June, probably leading up to the opening round of the 2024 draft.

LATEST ON THE PENGUINS

SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman believes the Vegas Golden Knights, Vancouver Canucks, Edmonton Oilers, Carolina Hurricanes and Florida Panthers are among the clubs interested in Pittsburgh Penguins winger Jake Guentzel.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Having interest is one thing. Having the cap space to absorb the remainder of Guentzel’s $6 million cap hit as well as the tradeable assets to entice the Penguins is another. It could take some creativity on the part of one of these teams to pull it off, perhaps involving another club acting as a third-party broker.

Friedman also reports teams are inquiring about the Penguins goaltenders. They’ve got Tristan Jarry and Alex Nedeljkovic at the NHL level and a promising prospect in Joel Blomqvist.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Unless Jarry wants out, the more likely to move is Nedeljkovic. Jarry is the better of the two, leading the league with six shutouts and among the leaders in goals-against average and save percentage. He’s been among the few bright spots for the Penguins this season.

Jarry would fetch a nice return but if general manager Kyle Dubas is looking at retooling the roster rather than rebuilding he’ll want to hang onto his starting goalie. I don’t see him moving Blomqvist as he’s part of that youth movement that Dubas wants for the future.

Friedman also took time to calm the waters about his musing over the possibility of Erik Karlsson returning to Ottawa. “That’s just me spitballing,” he chuckled. “Let’s not get too crazy about that one at this point in time.”

HURRICANES LISTENING ON NECAS?

NEW YORK POST: Larry Brooks reports being told that the Carolina Hurricanes could be willing to entertain offers on winger Martin Necas. He also wondered if the Hurricanes would be calling the Calgary Flames about goaltender Jacob Markstrom.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Speaking of spitballing, could the Hurricanes package Necas in a deal for Markstrom? Discuss it in the comments section below.

UPDATE ON THE DUCKS

SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman believes the Edmonton Oilers are seeking some forward depth. He thinks they’re looking at Adam Henrique and Sam Carrick. He’s not sure if they’re after both players or just one of them.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s been mentioned that the Oilers would like to add a third-line center and a gritty checking-line forward. Henrique would handle that center role plus he can also play on left wing while Carrick would bring a more physical presence to their checking lines. Of the two, Carrick would be the more affordable to acquire in terms of return and cap hit.

NEW YORK POST: Larry Brooks reports Ducks winger Frank Vatrano remains on the Rangers’ radar.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Brooks also took notice of speculation suggesting the Rangers reacquire Pavel Buchnevich from the St. Louis Blues. However, he believes Vatrano is the better former Ranger to bring back into the fold, citing the strong chemistry he had with Mika Zibanejad and Chris Kreider down the stretch in 2022.

TEAMS CALLING THE FLYERS ABOUT SEELER AND WALKER

SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman believes two teams have contacted the Philadelphia Flyers about defensemen Nick Seeler and Sean Walker as a pair. They’ve been a solid defense duo this season and the Flyers have been weighing whether to sign or trade them.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: There was talk earlier this season that the Toronto Maple Leafs had looked into Seeler and Walker after a failed attempt to acquire Nikita Zadorov and Chris Tanev from the Calgary Flames before Zadorov was traded to Vancouver.

LATEST ON THE LEAFS, STARS, ISLANDERS AND COYOTES

SPORTSNET: Friedman said the Leafs continue to look for a right-shot defenseman. That’s been their focus for most of this season.

The Dallas Stars have been quietly among the more aggressive teams in the trade market. They’re seeking defense and depth.

NEW YORK POST: Ethan Sears believes Islanders GM Lou Lamoriello would like to add a more reliable No. 3 goaltender. Of the three they have with their AHL affiliate in Bridgeport, only one has a save percentage over .900.

THE ATHLETIC: Pierre LeBrun reported Friday that Arizona Coyotes general manager Bill Armstrong is once again in sell mode leading up to the trade deadline. The obvious trade candidates are rental players such as defenseman Matt Dumba and Jason Zucker.

Armstrong could get calls on players with a year left on their contracts like goaltender Karel Vejmelka and Nick Bjugstad. LeBrun said the Coyotes GM doesn’t sound motivated about Vejmelka and deflected when asked about Bjugstad.

The Coyotes are already well-stocked with draft picks but Armstrong is willing to accept more via trades. He pointed out that some of those picks will be used as trade currency to add established NHL players.










NHL Rumor Mill – February 13, 2024

NHL Rumor Mill – February 13, 2024

Check out the latest on Jake Guentzel, Juuse Saros, Chris Tanev, Vladimir Tarasenko and Jake Allen in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.

PENGUINS REPORTEDLY SET A HIGH PRICE FOR GUENTZEL

THE HOCKEY NEWS: Nick Horwat cited Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman speculating the Pittsburgh Penguins will set a high price for Jake Guentzel if they put the 29-year-old winger on the trade block.

Friedman pointed to what the Philadelphia Flyers received from the Florida Panthers two years ago in the Claude Giroux trade. That deal fetched the Flyers a first-round pick in 2024, a third-rounder in 2023 and winger Owen Tippett, who’s blossomed into a scorer in Philadelphia.

Horwat’s colleague Adam Proteau believes the Penguins should move Guentzel if a team is willing to meet their high asking price. Trading him away would hurt in the short term but could prove beneficial over the long run.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Despite Guentzel’s offensive numbers, team captain Sidney Crosby’s stellar play and Tristan Jarry’s solid goaltending, the Penguins are struggling to remain in the chase for a wild card spot.

The Penguins tried to make one more Stanley Cup run by re-signing aging stars Evgeni Malkin and Kris Letang two years ago. Under new management last summer, they brought in Erik Karlsson and Reilly Smith.

It’s time to accept reality. The Penguins are not a Stanley Cup contender and haven’t been for several years. They’re not even holding a playoff spot right now. Even if they somehow rally and clinch a berth in the 2024 postseason they’ll probably be eliminated in the first round.

The Penguins don’t have to tear this roster down completely but they must restock with promising young talent for now as well as the future. If someone is willing to overpay for Guentzel, Dubas must pull the trigger.

SAROS RESURFACES IN THE RUMOR MILL

SPORTSNET: During Monday’s “32 Thoughts” podcast, Elliotte Friedman brought up Nashville Predators goaltender Juuse Saros as an intriguing trade target for teams seeking a starting goaltender. He noted the Predators are looking for a top offensive player and Saros could be the kind of guy to fetch that type of return.

Nashville Predators goaltender Juuse Saros (NHL Images).

The New Jersey Devils are searching for help between the pipes and recently spoke with the Calgary Flames about Jacob Markstrom, who carries a $6 million cap hit. However, the Devils have limited salary-cap space and the Flames could be reluctant to retain salary for a player signed through 2025-26.

Regarding Saros, Friedman noted the name of Los Angeles Kings center Quinton Byfield has been tossed around. However, he doubts Saros would fetch Byfield. The Carolina Hurricanes are another club in need of goaltending. Friedman mentioned Martin Necas could be attractive to the Predators.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Saros, 28, is slated to become a UFA next summer. The Predators aren’t under pressure to move him now.

Predators GM Barry Trotz earlier this season said he intended to speak with Saros’ agent about opening contract extension talks on July 1. Even if that plan has changed, Trotz isn’t likely to trade his starting goalie while his team is battling for a wild-card berth.

Everything I’ve read and heard coming out of Nashville is skeptical of the Predators moving Saros. They point to the trade talk that swirled about him leading up to last year’s deadline but nothing came of it. They don’t expect anything to happen now.

Nashville Hockey Now’s Clay Brewer made a good point when he noted that it’s rare these days for a starting goalie to fetch a big return. He thinks the Predators should consider moving Saros if the return is two top prospects or young NHL players plus two high draft picks. He’s not holding his breath expecting anyone to pitch that type of offer.

FLAMES SEEKING A FIRST-ROUNDER FOR TANEV

CHEK-TV’s Rick Dhaliwal spoke yesterday with Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman about Calgary Flames defenseman Chris Tanev. Friedman believes the Flames seek a first-round pick for the 34-year-old Tanev but teams are offering up second-round picks.

Asked if the Vancouver Canucks could do that, Friedman didn’t think so. Nevertheless, he believes the Canucks have a lot of time for Tanev, who began his NHL career in Vancouver.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Tanev spent 10 of his 14 NHL seasons with the Canucks before signing with the Flames in 2020. Speaking of the Flames’ asking price, TSN’s Pierre LeBrun suggested it was a second-rounder plus another asset or a first-rounder if teams lacked a second-round pick.

UPDATE ON TARASENKO

OTTAWA SUN: Bruce Garrioch reports Vladimir Tarasenko isn’t paying any attention to the trade rumors swirling about him as he considers his options with the March 8 trade deadline approaching. The 32-year-old Senators winger is slated to become an unrestricted free agent on July 1 and carries a no-trade clause. He has 34 points in 46 games this season.

Tarasenko hasn’t ruled out re-signing with the Senators. He wouldn’t say if he’s spoken with general manager Steve Staios about the situation.

Garrioch noted that Tarasenko recently changed agents again but doubted that it had to do with signing a contract extension with the Senators. He cited an insider claiming the winger made this move to get a contract extension in place with a new club before agreeing to waive his no-trade clause.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: With the Senators mired near the bottom of the Eastern Conference standings, I’ll be surprised if Tarasenko isn’t moved by the March 8 trade deadline. Whether he can get a contract extension as part of the condition of a trade remains to be seen. Interested clubs could be leery about investing long-term before seeing how well he performs for them first.

UPDATE ON JAKE ALLEN

TVA SPORTS: Tony Marinaro and Jean-Charles Lajoie believe Jake Allen’s recent poor performance will adversely affect the Montreal Canadiens’ goaltender’s value in the trade market.

They believe Allen doesn’t want to leave the Canadiens. They speculate he was likely offered a role with the franchise following his playing career.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Allen’s enduring the worst season of his career with the Canadiens carrying three goalies. He seems like the odd man out with Sam Montembeault becoming their starter while promising Cayden Primeau looking more and more like Montembeault’s backup.

Some general managers could blame Allen’s struggles this season on the Habs three-goalie system. One of them could take the chance on him regaining his form with a change of scenery with a traditional two-goalie system..

Canadiens GM Kent Hughes said he’s comfortable carrying all three goalies for the rest of the season. However, it’s believed he’s still willing to trade Allen.

Some observers think Hughes has set his asking price for Allen and won’t budge from it. He’s signed through next season so Hughes doesn’t have to move him at the trade deadline. He could wait until the offseason for a club to meet his price.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 8, 2023

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 8, 2023

A special honor for Nathan MacKinnon plus the latest on Sam Reinhart, Martin Necas, Brock Boeser and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.

TSN: The Halifax Mooseheads announced they will be retiring former star Nathan MacKinnon’s No. 22 during their Quebec Major Junior Hockey League home opener on Sept. 22 against the Charlottetown Islanders.

MacKinnon played his junior hockey with the Mooseheads from 2011-12 to 2012-13 before being chosen first overall in the 2013 NHL Draft by the Colorado Avalanche. He led them to the 2013 Memorial Cup and was named tournament MVP.

Colorado Avalanche center Nathan MacKinnon (NHL Images).

It’s a true honour to have my jersey retired by the Mooseheads,” he said in a statement. “I can’t wait to share this moment with everyone back home in moose country.”

MacKinnon is the first member of the Mooseheads to be a first-overall NHL draft pick. He also joins Jean-Sebastien Giguere, Alex Tanguay and Jody Shelley as the only Mooseheads to have their numbers retired.

FLORIDA HOCKEY NOW: Sam Reinhart is slated to become an unrestricted free agent next summer. However, the 27-year-old Panthers winger hopes to stay in Florida. “It’s not something I stress over or lose sleep over too much,” said Reinhart. “They know I want to be here, I know they want me here.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Reinhart is in the final season of a three-year contract worth an average annual value of $6.5 million. He scored 31 goals last season, marking the second straight year that he exceeded the 30-goal plateau. Reinhart also had eight goals and 13 points in 21 playoff games during the Panthers’ Stanley Cup run last spring.

CAROLINA HOCKEY NOW: Martin Necas is in the final season of his two-year, $6 million contract. The 24-year-old forward will be a restricted free agent with arbitration rights next summer.

Necas said he’s putting his focus on improving his play rather than on a new deal. “Whatever is going to come is going to come,” he said.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Necas enjoyed a breakout regular season with a career-best of 28 goals and 43 assists for 71 points in 82 games but was limited to just seven points in 15 playoff contests. He’s hoping to build on last season’s efforts and improve his postseason performance.

THE HOCKEY NEWS: Vancouver Canucks winger Brock Boeser said he and his teammates are “sick and tired of having these expectations and not following through” after missing the playoffs in the last three seasons.

Boeser, 26, also understands he needs to be better than last season’s 18-goal performance. He was hampered by a broken hand at the start of training camp and was still grieving the death of his father earlier in the year.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This season will be a crucial one for Boeser and the current core of Canucks players. He could be among some big changes for the club if they miss the playoffs for a fourth straight year.

STLTODAY.COM: Blues winger Kasperi Kapanen has been accused of aggravated drunken driving in Finland. The case was brought to court in late August but few details were provided. Further information is expected following a court hearing in February 2024. Kapanen, 27, made a statement indicating he made “an unacceptable error in judgment” and would take “full responsibility.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It doesn’t sound like Kapanen will face a suspension by the Blues or the NHL. St. Louis general manager Doug Armstrong released a statement indicating the club was aware of the incident. He expressed disappointment in Kapanen’s “lapse of judgment” but is “entrusting him to make the necessary changes to avoid putting himself in a similar situation in the future.”

DAILY FACEOFF: The Philadelphia Flyers hired former Anaheim Ducks general manager Bob Murray as a Senior Advisor. They also formally announced the hiring of former NHL winger Dany Heatley as a pro scout.

CHICAGO HOCKEY NOW: Hall of Fame defenseman Chris Chelios will have his No. 7 retired by the Blackhawks during a Feb. 25 game against the Detroit Red Wings.

A three-time winner of the James Norris Memorial Trophy (twice with the Blackhawks), he spent nearly nine seasons with the Hawks from 1990-91 until traded to the Wings in Feb. 1999. Chelios also spent over nine seasons (1998-99 to 2008-09) with the Red Wings, winning two Stanley Cups.










Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – May 28, 2023

Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – May 28, 2023

The latest on the Hurricanes, the Flyers are willing to entertain offers for Carter Hart, and the possibility of the Blackhawks and Canucks swapping first-round picks in the Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup.

LATEST ON THE HURRICANES

THE NEWS & OBSERVER: Luke DeCock believes the Carolina Hurricanes are running out of chances with their current group to win the Stanley Cup. After another disappointing postseason, they could have one final shot at it before difficult roster decisions must be made.

Core players such as Sebastian Aho, Martin Necas, Brett Pesce, Brady Skjei and Teuvo Teravainen will need new contracts next summer, and Brent Burns and Jaccob Slavin the year after that. Meanwhile, some changes could come this summer with Jesper Fast, Jordan Staal and goalies Frederik Andersen and Antti Raanta slated to become unrestricted free agents on July 1.

Carolina Hurricanes forward Martin Necas (NHL Images)

DeCock speculated Hurricanes management could decide to peddle Teravainen this summer if they’re unlikely to re-sign him. They could also perhaps sell high on Necas or Jack Drury, who both struggled in the postseason. There are also lingering questions regarding their overall roster toughness.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Hurricanes have plenty of salary-cap space ($24.1 million) to retain players like Staal and Andersen on affordable short-term contracts. Meanwhile, they could go shopping for a scoring forward with size and grit via the trade or free-agent markets.

SPORTSNET: Ken Wiebe wonders if the Hurricanes and Winnipeg Jets would become trade partners if the latter attempts to shake up their “core four” of goalie Connor Hellebuyck and forwards Mark Scheifele, Pierre-Luc Dubois and Blake Wheeler.

Pyotr Kochetckov is the only Hurricanes goalie under contract for next season. Hellebuyck has one season left on his contract with a manageable $6.167 million cap hit. He’d unlikely be a long-term fit but that might not be a deterrent for a team in “win-now” mode.

Scheifele, meanwhile, doesn’t necessarily fit into the Hurricanes’ defensive-zone commitment. Nevertheless, perhaps Rod Brind’Amour could be the type of coach that inspires Scheifele to play a 200-foot game. The 29-year-old center will also be motivated as he’s also a year away from UFA status and will want to ensure his value remains high.

Wiebe listed Necas, Teravainen and Pesce as possible Hurricanes trade chips as well as top prospect Scott Morrow and their 2023 or 2024 first-rounder.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Weibe isn’t saying that the Hurricanes and Jets are talking trade. He’s merely looking at which members of the Jets core might be available and of potential interest to the Canes. We’ll learn in the coming weeks whether these two clubs intend to have trade discussions.

We can’t rule out the possibility of the Hurricanes rolling the dice on stars with a year left on their contracts in their quest to win the Stanley Cup next season. Whether Carolina GM Don Waddell is prepared to go that route remains to be seen.

FLYERS COULD ENTERTAIN TRADE OFFERS FOR HART

PHILLY HOCKEY NOW: Chuck Bausman cited Flyers general manager Daniel Briere telling Philadelphia sports radio 94.1 WIP that he’s open to trading goaltender Carter Hart.

Most likely, Carter will be our goalie for the future, but I’m not in a position to turn down anything,” said Briere. “I have to listen.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Hart was considered among the rebuilding Flyers’ few untouchables so that’s a significant statement by Briere. However, he didn’t say that he is trading Hart but only indicated that he’s willing to entertain offers.

Those offers, however, will have to meet what will likely be Briere’s high asking price. He’s not going to just give him away. I daresay he’ll want at least a first-round pick and a top prospect in the deal.

Someone could step up and overpay to get Hart. However, I think he’ll be returning to the Flyers crease this fall.

COULD THE BLACKHAWKS AND CANUCKS COMBINE ON A DRAFT PICK TRADE?

THE PROVINCE: Patrick Johnston recently took note of The Athletic’s Scott Powers indicating the Chicago Blackhawks would love to move up into the top-15 in this year’s draft order. In addition to the first-overall pick, they also hold the 19th overall pick.

Powers indicated the Blackhawks are willing to package second-round picks with the 19th overall pick. He suggested the Canucks as a trade partner as they hold the 11th overall selection.

Johnston cited one source suggesting the Blackhawks could land the Canucks pick based on the scenario laid out by Powers. Another source told Johnston that they might be willing to entertain that scenario if they can move a contract in the deal.

The Canucks would like to move Tyler Myers, who has a year left with a $6 million cap hit on his contract. Johnston, however, suggested winger Conor Garland ($4.95 million cap hit through 2025-26) might be more enticing to the Blackhawks because he’s six years younger than Myers and still in his prime.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: To summarize: the Hawks move up to 11th overall plus they add a good roster player in Garland who has several years remaining on his contract. The Canucks drop down to 19th overall but add one or two second-rounders and clear nearly $5 million in cap space from their books.

That’s a very interesting trade scenario for those two clubs. It’ll be interesting to see if it comes to pass during the first round on June 28.










NHL Rumor Mill – May 26, 2023

NHL Rumor Mill – May 26, 2023

More speculation and suggestions for the Hurricanes plus the latest on the Blackhawks in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.

WHAT SHOULD THE HURRICANES DO DURING THE OFFSEASON?

THE HOCKEY NEWS: Following the Carolina Hurricanes’ elimination from the Eastern Conference Final, Adam Proteau examined three areas they must address during the offseason.

Proteau believes the Hurricanes need to get bigger and better on their forward lines. He suggested perhaps Boston’s Tyler Bertuzzi and/or Philadelphia’s James van Riemsdyk, who are both slated to become unrestricted free agents on July 1.

Addressing the goaltending is another area to address. Frederik Andersen and Antti Raanta are also UFAs on July 1 while promising Pyotr Kochetkov has just 27 games of NHL experience under his belt. He also believes they shouldn’t touch their defense corps.

DAILY FACEOFF: Matt Larkin believes the Hurricanes should trade for a superstar “no matter the cost”. While they play a strong team game under head coach Rod Brind’Amour, they haven’t had a 40-goal scorer, a 90-point scorer or a player among the top-15 in scoring over the past five seasons.

Carolina Hurricanes winger Andrei Svechnikov (NHL Images).

Larkin noted the Hurricanes attempted to acquire Matthew Tkachuk from the Calgary Flames prior to his getting traded last summer to the Panthers. They also pushed hard to get Timo Meier from the San Jose Sharks before he was shipped to the New Jersey Devils before the March trade deadline.

Could Hurricanes general manager Don Waddell be willing to do the same this summer? Larkin wondered if he’d part with players like Andrei Svechnikov or Brett Pesce or Seth Jarvis if someone like Toronto’s Mitch Marner became available in the trade market.

THE ATHLETIC: Cory Lavalette also wondered about the notable Hurricanes such as Sebastian Aho and Teuvo Teravainen who are a year away from UFA status.

Lavalette anticipates they’ll find a way to re-sign Aho but Teravainen’s future is more uncertain. Given his struggles this season, he could be on his way out.

Martin Necas had a breakout performance this season and is heading into the final season of his bridge deal. Lavalette wonders if the Hurricanes will be willing to commit to Necas long-term. If not, his value in the trade market will never be higher while his cap hit ($3 million) is so low.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Hurricanes have over $24 million in cap space for next season with 17 active roster players under contract. Sorting out the goaltending will be a priority but it shouldn’t eat up much cap space if they bring back Andersen on a short-term deal given the limited depth in this summer’s trade and free-agent markets.

Adding a superstar is easier said than done. Yes, the Panthers landed Matthew Tkachuk last summer in a blockbuster move. However, such deals are rare, expensive and risky. The Hurricanes have the assets in terms of young players, prospects and cap space to pull it off. Whether they can find an available superstar this summer remains to be seen. Their willingness to get into a bidding war to land one is also up for debate.

LATEST ON THE BLACKHAWKS

THE ATHLETIC: Scott Powers recently brought us up to speed on what he’s hearing about the Chicago Blackhawks’ offseason plans.

For starters, don’t expect a major draft surprise from the Blackhawks regarding the first-overall pick. They’re definitely using it to select top prospect Connor Bedard.

The Blackhawks aren’t optimistic about moving up in the draft order with the first-rounder (19th overall) they got from the Tampa Bay Lightning. The Vancouver Canucks (11th overall) might make the most sense given their need to shed salary for next season. Powers wondered if the Canucks would be enticed to part with that pick if the Blackhawks offered to take on one of the contracts they’re trying to move by bundling the Lightning’s pick along with a second-rounder.

Powers indicated the Blackhawks are willing to listen to offers from clubs trying to offload contracts if it’ll bring them a high draft pick and/or a quality prospect. He also noted that they intend to keep their free-agent signings to short-term deals.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Blackhawks GM Kyle Davidson wasted little time establishing a reputation as a wheeler-dealer during last year’s draft. Lacking a first-round pick entering that draft, he emerged with three of them which he used to select Kevin Korchinski, Frank Nazar and Sam Rinzel.

Don’t be surprised if Davidson finds a way to move up in the draft order by weaponizing his salary-cap space.










NHL Rumor Mill – August 29, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – August 29, 2022

What’s the latest on J.T. Miller’s contract extension talks with the Canucks? Could a couple of Metro Division teams become his potential trade destinations? Find out in today’s NHL rumor mill.

THE ATHLETIC: Rick Dhaliwal and Thomas Drance recently provided an update on contract extension talks between the Vancouver Canucks and J.T. Miller. The 29-year-old center is slated to become an unrestricted free agent next July.

The two sides discussed a contract extension earlier in the offseason but a big gap remains. Miller’s agent said there’s a good chance contract talks could be cut off if a deal isn’t in place by the start of the regular season.

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

Canucks management wants to retain Miller but they have to maintain salary-cap discipline. It appears both sides are in “wait-and-see” mode for the time being.

VANCOUVER HOCKEY NOW: Rob Simpson reported the New York Islanders were among a handful of clubs reportedly interested in Miller during the 2022 NHL Draft last month in Montreal. Simpson cited four NHL general managers claiming at least two Metropolitan Division teams are interested in the Canucks center.

Simpson subsequently suggested the New Jersey Devils and Carolina Hurricanes as potential trade destinations for Miller.

Miller could skate on the wing for the Devils alongside Jack Hughes or Nico Hischier but still take faceoffs. He also suggested Devils defenseman Damon Severson as part of the return to bolster the Canucks right-side blueline depth.

As for the Hurricanes, Simpson suggested a return of a first-rounder, 23-year-old forward Martin Necas and potentially defenseman Brett Pesce or Ethan Bear.

NYI HOCKEY NOW: Stefen Rosner believes now is the time for the Islanders to acquire Miller. He thinks it’s risky for the Canucks to hang onto him during the season and risk losing him to injury. If he struggles this season, it would hurt his trade value.

The Islanders failed to bring in a scoring forward this summer to bolster their offense. Adding Miller now would give him time to adjust to his new teammates, providing the Isles with the scorer they need to contend for the Stanley Cup.

Rosner believes a deal for Miller will cost the Islanders a first-round pick and a right-side, right-shot defenseman. He suggested including Scott Mayfield but he wouldn’t fit the Canucks need for a young defenseman. They would have to include a sweetener such as Samuel Bolduc.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Canucks could surprise us by moving Miller before training camp opens if they know there’s no way they can afford to re-sign him. Nevertheless, they don’t appear to be in any hurry to make that move. I doubt we’ll see Miller heading to a new club before training camp unless a rival club makes an offer along the lines of Simpson’s suggested return from the Hurricanes.

Speaking of the Hurricanes, I don’t see them pitching that offer of a first, Necas and Pesce or Bear. They made two significant additions already in Brent Burns and Max Pacioretty and recently signed Paul Stastny in part to offset Pacioretty’s absence with a torn Achilles.

The Devils added Ondrej Palat and Erik Haula to their forward lines this summer and I don’t believe they’ll part with Severson despite his UFA status next July. They’ll likely stick with their current roster and see how the season unfolds. Their biggest weakness remains between the pipes. Unless Vitek Vanecek or Mackenzie Blackwood steps up this season, they’ll likely be in the market for a goalie later this season.

As for the Islanders, I don’t think they can afford Miller now unless they’re willing to part with Noah Dobson, who would perfectly fit the Canucks need for a young right-shot defenseman. Indeed, I wouldn’t be surprised if the rumored deal the two clubs were discussing at the draft fell apart because the Canucks wanted Dobson.