NHL Rumor Mill – April 22, 2023
NHL Rumor Mill – April 22, 2023
A look at possible offseason moves by the Canucks and Sabres in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.
LATEST CANUCKS SPECULATION
THE ATHLETIC: Harman Dayal and Thomas Drance recently looked at who stays and who could go for the Vancouver Canucks.
They don’t see the Canucks buying out the remainder of Oliver Ekman-Larsson’s contract but aren’t ruling it out.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Cap Friendly indicates that buying out Ekman-Larsson would count against their cap for the next eight seasons. It would be particularly expensive in years three and four when the cap hit would be $4.76 million annually.
General manager Patrik Allvin will listen if teams express an interest in J.T. Miller but praised his performance over the final 30 games of the season. Dayal and Drance don’t see the Canucks moving him just to shed his contract or to blow another big hole in their depth at center after moving out Bo Horvat this season.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: We can’t rule out a Miller trade but it would have to be one heck of an offer to convince them to do it. If they’re going to pull the trigger it’ll have to be before July 1 when his no-movement clause kicks in.
Brock Boeser, Conor Garland, Anthony Beauvillier and Tyler Myers could be the Canucks’ cost-cutting trade candidates.
How much talent is available among right wingers in this summer’s trade market could determine how much interest there is in Boeser, who carries a $6.65 million cap hit through 2024-25. He recently stated that he was glad he wasn’t moved at the trade deadline.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Dayal and Drance suggest it could come down to moving Boeser or Garland, whose average annual value is $4.95 million through 2025-26. They believe the club needs to reallocate cap dollars toward adding a third-line center and improving the blueline.
The Canucks acquired Beauvillier in the Bo Horvat trade. They’d likely prefer to keep him but his speed, work ethic, playoff experience and his expiring contract could give him more trade value than Boeser or Garland.
Myers only has a year left on his contract but moving him won’t be easy. He carries a $6 million cap hit of which $5 million is a signing bonus to be paid out on September 1. He also has a 10-team no-trade list.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I think moving Beauvillier would be a desperate last-resort move if they can’t move any of those other candidates. As for Myers, they’re likely stuck with him until the trade deadline.
WHAT NEXT FOR THE SABRES?
THE ATHLETIC: Matthew Fairburn looked at several questions facing the Buffalo Sabres this offseason.
Addressing their goaltending could be the priority. It would be risky riding a goalie in his first full NHL season like Devon Levi unless they have another reliable option.
The Sabres still have Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen and Eric Comrie under contract for next season. They’ll have to part with one or both of them if they seek an upgrade between the pipes.
THE BUFFALO NEWS: Lance Lysowski reported Sabres head coach Don Granato said he’d be very comfortable going into next season with Levi and Luukkonen as their tandem. However, he added that nobody has earned the net (the starter’s job) yet, suggesting that could be determined by internal competition among his goalies.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Inconsistent goaltending contributed to the Sabres’ inability to clinch a playoff berth this season. A young tandem could fly or become the anchor that drags them down.
Levi played well in his late-season debut but it’s difficult to determine if he’s ready yet for the rigors of a full-time NHL starter. Luukkonen showed flashes of promise this season but also had his difficulties.
Pursuing a reliable veteran to mentor Levi seems the wisest course of action but that could mean parting ways with Luukkonen, Comrie or both. Adams could end up forced to stick with his young netminders if he can’t find a suitable veteran option via the trade market or fails to woo any of the limited options in the free-agent market.
Fairburn also wondered what the future holds for winger Victor Olofsson as younger Sabres emerge as scorers. He’s a year away from UFA status and carries a $4.75 million cap hit for next season.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Olofsson is going to become the odd man out with the emergence of young forwards like Casey Mittelstadt, JJ Peterka and Jack Quinn. He could become a trade candidate this summer, perhaps to add a goalie or an experienced top-four defenseman.