Philadelphia Flyers captain Claude Giroux (NHL Images).
It’s believed Panthers forward Owen Tippett was discussed but he wouldn’t be worth it as the centerpiece of the deal for the Flyers. Meanwhile, there are unconfirmed reports the Avalanche have offered up prospect Justin Barron and their 2023 first-round pick.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: No word if there could be a third team Giroux is willing to join or one stepping up to make a bid. It appears he’ll either be heading to the Panthers or Avalanche.
THE ATHLETIC: Eric Stephens reports contract term remains a sticking point in negotiations between the Anaheim Ducks and pending free agent defenseman Hampus Lindholm. General manager Pat Verbeek would prefer a deal that doesn’t stretch in the blueliner’s mid-30s.
Stephens also weighed in on Rickard Rakell, indicting the pending UFA winger’s recent upper-body injury isn’t considered serious. He’s said to be on the Rangers’ radar.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Ducks sat out Lindholm from last night’s game against the Florida Panthers. While it’s still possible he could sign a contract extension, it appears more likely he’ll be moved by Monday’s trade deadline. I also anticipate Rakell will be traded before the deadline.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: One of them might part with a first-round pick. However, if no one’s willing to do so, Kraken GM Ron Francis could be forced to lower his price come deadline day.
DETROIT HOCKEY NOW: Bob Duff cited Daily Faceoff’s Frank Seravalli reporting he believed Tyler Bertuzzi has let Red Wings management know he’s open to moving on. Seravalli doesn’t think Bertuzzi made a trade request but thinks the winger would be okay with a trade.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Bertuzzi lacks no-trade protection so he really has no say in any dealings that could involve him.
What next for the Ducks and Avalanche following the Josh Manson trade? Could the Islanders shop Semyon Varlamov? What’s the latest on the Golden Knights and Oilers? Find out in today’s NHL rumor mill.
ARE MORE TRADES COMING FOR THE DUCKS AND AVALANCHE?
THE ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER: Elliott Teaford suggests the Anaheim Ducks might not be done dealing after shipping Josh Manson to the Colorado Avalanche yesterday. He reminds us that Ducks general manager Pat Verbeek recently indicated he would trade pending unrestricted free agents like Manson if he couldn’t get them re-signed before the March 21 trade deadline.
Ducks defenseman (and pending UFA) Hampus Lindholm has been the subject of trade speculation for weeks. He reportedly seeks a longer-term deal than the five-year contract he’s been offered. He could fetch a good return for the Ducks if he’s moved before the deadline.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Most of the focus will be on Lindholm but he’s not the only UFA the Ducks could peddle by the deadline. Winger Rickard Rakell could also draw interest from clubs seeking a scoring right wing. He’s been linked to the Boston Bruins, New York Rangers and Pittsburgh Penguins in recent trade rumors.
THE ATHLETIC: Peter Baugh observes salary-cap space is tight for the Avalanche. However, they could garner some flexibility by placing captain Gabriel Landeskog and his $7 million cap hit on long-term injury reserve following his knee surgery yesterday.
COLORADO HOCKEY NOW: Adrian Dater rules out the possibility of the Avalanche acquiring goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury from the Chicago Blackhawks. He’s been told there’s not much interest on the Avs part in a big offer for Fleury. He also believes they’ll pursue a forward leading up to the deadline.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Avs have been linked to Giroux for weeks but there have been recent rumblings they could be looking at more affordable options such as the Winnipeg Jets’ Andrew Copp. If the focus is to boost their bottom-six, Copp would make the most sense.
A pair of sources told Kurz the Toronto Maple Leafs could be a fit, but any deal involving the cap-strapped Maple Leafs might involve taking on Petr Mrazek and his $3.8 million cap hit through 2023-24. The Vegas Golden Knights could be another option given starter Robin Lehner’s battle with injuries this season.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Varlamov carries a $5 million annual average value through 2022-23 with a 16-team no-trade clause. Those factors will make him difficult to move if the Islanders wish to shop him as a cost-cutting move. It might have to involve a “hockey trade” with the Isles taking back a player in return.
NBC SPORTS PHILADELPHIA: Jordan Hall believes Flyers backup Martin Jones has solid rental potential for any team with instability between the pipes. He’s a pending UFA on a one-year, $2 million contract. Hall noted a report in late January indicating the Edmonton Oilers were willing to give up a late-round draft pick for Jones but the Flyers likely wanted to let the market play out for leverage purposes.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Zacha, 24, is a restricted free agent with arbitration rights completing a three-year deal with a $2.5 million annual cap hit and $3 million this season in actual salary. The Vancouver Canucks were also reportedly interested in him.
THE ATHLETIC: Joe Smith suggested Vancouver Canucks bottom-six forward Tyler Motte could be an intriguing trade option for the Tampa Bay Lightning. He’s a UFA this summer with a $1.25 million salary-cap hit this season. A second-round pick or an equivalent prospect could be the asking price but it remains to be seen if the Canucks will trade him while they’re jockeying for a wild-card spot in the Western Conference.
UPDATES ON THE GOLDEN KNIGHTS AND OILERS
LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL: David Schoen believes the slumping Golden Knights needs to bolster their goaltending with starter Robin Lehner still battling injuries. Possible trade options could include the New York Rangers’ Alexandar Georgiev, New York Islanders’ Semyon Varlamov, the Columbus Blue Jackets’ Joonas Korpisalo and the Dallas Stars’ Braden Holtby.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: With just over $1.2 million in projected deadline cap space, the Golden Knights don’t have much wiggle room here to add a goalie. Varlamov’s $5 million cap hit through next season is too expensive and the Stars aren’t moving Holtby with Anton Khudobin undergoing hip surgery. That leaves Georgiev and Korpisalo and there’s no certainty either guy will give Vegas the boost they need between the pipes.
EDMONTON JOURNAL: Jim Matheson believes Oilers GM Ken Holland has to be in “add mode” as the trade deadline approaches with his club scrambling to nail down a playoff berth. He believes Holland should add an older, bigger defenseman such as the Philadelphia Flyers’ Justin Braun, the Detroit Red Wings’ Marc Staal or the Seattle Kraken’s Carson Soucy. Braun and Staal are pending UFAs while Soucy has a year remaining on his contract with a cap hit of $2.75 million.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The cap-strapped Oilers will need some help acquiring one of those defensemen. Matheson speculates Holland could be prepared to offer up checking-line forward Josh Archibald (and pending UFA) as a trade chip. However, he might have to include a pick or prospect in the deal.
The Sabres down Leafs at Heritage Classic, a big night for Blue Jackets rookie Cole Sillinger, the Avs regain first place in the overall standings, the Wild honored former captain Mikko Koivu, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.
NHL.COM: The Buffalo Sabres upset the Toronto Maple Leafs 5-2 at the 2022 Tim Hortons NHL Heritage Classic before over 26,000 fans at Tim Hortons Field in Hamilton. Peyton Krebs and Vinnie Hinostroza each scored twice and Craig Anderson made 29 saves for the win. Auston Matthews scored his league-leading 45th goal of the season for the Leafs (79 points), who sit three points behind the second-place Tampa Bay Lightning in the Atlantic Division.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Matthews will face a hearing for cross-checking Sabres defenseman Rasmus Dahlin during the final five minutes of the third period.
Speaking of the Lightning, they snapped a three-game losing skid by holding off the Vancouver Canucks 2-1. Andrei Vasilevskiy made 35 saves while Victor Hedman and Ross Colton scored for the Lightning. J.T. Miller replied for Vancouver (65 points), who remain three points behind the Vegas Golden Knights for the final wild-card berth in the Western Conference. Canucks center Elias Pettersson missed the game as he’s day-to-day with an upper-body injury.
Nashville Predators captain Roman Josi (NHL Images).
Roman Josi scored twice and added two assists to lead the Nashville Predators over the Minnesota Wild 6-2. Filip Forsberg scored two goals and chipped in an assist while David Rittich got the win with a 26-save performance. With the win, the Predators (72 points) opened a three-point lead over the Golden Knights for the first Western Conference wild-card spot. The Wild (72 points) sit four points back of the St. Louis Blues in third place in the Central Division.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Before the game, the Wild honored former captain Mikko Koivu by making him the first player in franchise history to have his number retired. He’s their all-time leader in games played (1,028), assists (504) and points (709).
An overtime goal by Pierre-Luc Dubois lifted the Winnipeg Jets to a 4-3 win over the St. Louis Blues. Kyle Connor had a goal and two assists for the Jets as they sit four points behind the Golden Knights. Jets forward Andrew Copp left the game after taking a hard open-ice hit by Blues forward Oskar Sundqvist.
Columbus Blue Jackets rookie Cole Sillinger tallied his first NHL hat trick in a 6-4 victory over the Golden Knights. Oliver Bjorkstrand had a goal and three assists while Max Domi had a goal and an assist for the Jackets. The Golden Knights have dropped four straight games.
Shootout goals by Adrian Kempe and Trevor Moore gave the Los Angeles Kings a 3-2 win over the Florida Panthers. Kings goaltender Jonathan Quick stopped 30 shots in regulation and overtime in his 700th career NHL game. With 74 points, the Kings hold a six-point lead over the Edmonton Oilers for second place in the Pacific Division. The Panthers (86 points) are one back of the Eastern Conference-leading Carolina Hurricanes.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Kings played without Drew Doughty and Dustin Brown as both were placed on injured reserve yesterday.
The Colorado Avalanche (89 points) regained first place in the overall standings by blanking the Calgary Flames 3-0. Darcy Kuemper made 46 saves for the shutout while Nathan MacKinnon scored twice for the Avs. The Flames remain atop the Pacific Division with 79 points.
Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby extended his points streak to nine games to lead his club over the Carolina Hurricanes 4-2. Tristan Jarry kicked out 41 shots for the win while Brian Boyle had a goal and an assist for the Penguins, who opened a two-point lead over the New York Rangers for second place in the Metropolitan Division with 81 points. With 87 points, the Hurricanes sit two back of the Avalanche in the overall standings.
The New York Islanders got their third win in a row by holding off the Anaheim Ducks 4-3. Kyle Palmieri scored twice and Ilya Sorokin stopped 39 shots for the win. Anaheim remains four points back of the Golden Knights. Ducks winger Rickard Rakell missed the game with an upper-body injury.
Montreal Canadiens rookie Cole Caufield’s overtime goal lifted his club to a 4-3 victory over the Philadelphia Flyers. Rem Pitlick scored with 43 seconds left in regulation to set the stage for Caufield’s winner. Nick Suzuki scored twice for Montreal, who played without Artturi Lehkonen (upper body) and lost center Ryan Poehling with an upper-body injury. Flyers captain Claude Giroux scored his 900th career point in his 999th career NHL game.
Verbeek’s priority is believed to be signing Lindholm. He’s the only one of those three pending unrestricted free agents the Ducks GM mentioned by name during a recent meeting with season-ticket holders.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Verbeek will have to make the money worth their while if he hopes to get those three to sign deals that are at most four years in length. Otherwise, he should start peddling those three now because I doubt they’ll take less than market value cap-wise on short-term deals to stay in Anaheim.
The annual average value of Lindholm’s current contract is $5.205 million but he’s earning $6.75 million in actual salary. He could seek at least $7 million annually on his next contract.
LATEST ON FLEURY AND KUBALIK
CHICAGO SUN-TIMES: Ben Pope reports Blackhawks goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury hopes to avoid this summer’s free-agent market by re-signing with the Hawks or inking an extension with whichever club might acquire him at the trade deadline. Pope also reported the Ducks and Edmonton Oilers have been linked to Blackhawks winger Dominik Kubalik.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Fleury is an unrestricted free agent this summer. He could be amenable to a one-year contract but could seek something not too far below his current annual average value of $7 million.
Kubalik is a restricted free agent with arbitration rights who’s a year away from UFA eligibility. He’s earning an annual average value of $3.7 million while his actual salary this season is $4 million. Maybe the Ducks are eyeing the 26-year-old winger as a possible replacement for Rakell.
TEAMS INTERESTED IN DOMI AND ARMIA
TSN: Darren Dreger reports there’s a higher level of interest in the trade market for Max Domi. The Columbus Blue Jackets winger has elevated his play in recent games. Dreger noted Domi may not be among the top tier of players in the trade market but he’s not that far below.
MONTREAL HOCKEY NOW: Marco D’Amico also cited Dreger reporting the Canadiens have fielded some calls about forward Joel Armia based on his playoff performance over the past two seasons. D’Amico points out Armia has three more seasons left on his contract with an annual average value of $3.4 million, suggesting the Canadiens might have to retain some salary to move him or take back a contract in return.
The Blues remain interested in the Montreal Canadiens’ Ben Chiarot and the Seattle Kraken’s Carson Soucy. They’re also seeking a fourth-line penalty-killing forward.
Rutherford acknowledged the trade speculation linking the Blues to Philadelphia Flyers captain Claude Giroux. While not ruling it out, he considers the addition of Giroux a long shot citing his contract and the Blues’ depth at forward.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Blues are also bumping up against the $81.5 million salary cap. It will take some creativity to acquire Chiarot or Soucy even though they carry affordable cap hits. It could take a three-team deal to bring Giroux to St. Louis.
Leafs and Capitals not on Marc-Andre Fleury’s trade list? Will it take a three-team deal to move Claude Giroux? Should the Rangers pursue Rickard Rakell or Hampus Lindholm? All this and much more in today’s NHL rumor mill.
LEAFS, CAPITALS REPORTEDLY NOT ON FLEURY’S TRADE LIST.
Chicago Blackhawks goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury (NHL Images)
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The options beyond Fleury aren’t great for either club. The Toronto Sun’s Terry Koshan listed the Dallas Stars’ Braden Holtby and Anton Khudobin, the Vancouver Canucks’ Jaroslav Halak, Columbus Blue Jackets’ Joonas Korpisalo, New York Rangers’ Alexander Georgiev, and the Ottawa Senators’ Anton Forsberg as possible options. None of them are likely to resolve the Leafs and Capitals’ goaltending issues.
WILL IT TAKE A THREE-TEAM TRADE TO MOVE GIROUX?
Pierre LeBrun said it could take a three-team deal for the Philadelphia Flyers to move Claude Giroux before the trade deadline. It’s not the preferred option as the Flyers would rather make a straight deal with another team.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: A lot of the teams linked to Giroux (Colorado Avalanche, Florida Panthers, St. Louis Blues) have limited salary-cap space. Pulling off a straight trade with one club remains possible but absorbing the remainder of Giroux’s $8.275 million cap hit won’t be easy.
SHOULD RANGERS PURSUE RAKELL OR LINDHOLM?
THE ATHLETIC: Arthur Staple suggests the New York Rangers shift their focus for a top-six right winger on the Anaheim Ducks’ Rickard Rakell if the Vancouver Canucks’ J.T. Miller is no longer on the table. If general manager Chris Drury intends to use defenseman Nils Lundkvist as his main trade chip, Staple wondered if there’s a deal with Anaheim that could include blueliner Hampus Lindholm.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Carrying over $30 million in projected trade-deadline cap space and plenty of promising young assets, the Rangers are expected to be buyers before the trade deadline. Maybe Rakell or Lindholm is on Drury’s radar or maybe he’s eyeing up other options. Perhaps he’s looking at Seattle’s Mark Giordano, Vancouver’s Conor Garland or Montreal’s Artturi Lehkonen. Speaking of Miller…
CANUCKS DOWNPLAY MILLER AND BOESER TRADE SPECULATION
SPORTSNET: Iain MacIntyre reports Vancouver Canucks president of hockey ops Jim Rutherford and general manager Patrik Allvin continue to downplay media trade rumors swirling about forwards J.T. Miller and Brock Boeser. While acknowledging receiving calls from other clubs, they’re not shopping either player.
Allvin maintains the club’s plan for Miller, who has a year remaining on his contract, is to meet with the 29-year-old center this summer to discuss his future with the Canucks. While it will cost the club $7.5 million to qualify Boeser’s rights this summer, management feels they still have time to navigate this issue.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Miller or Boeser could be moved by March 21 if a rival club steps up to meet what will be a high asking price for either player. However, they’re not facing the same pressure to move either guy as they would if they were eligible for UFA status this summer.
REPORT: BRUINS’ SWAYMAN “OFF-LIMITS” IN TRADE MARKET
BOSTON HOCKEY NOW: Jimmy Murphy cites a trust NHL source saying Bruins goaltender Jeremy Swayman is off-limits in any trade talk now and was quite possibly never available in the first place.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Teams undoubtedly called the Bruins to ask about him but they have no reason to trade him. There was speculation they could use him as trade bait in a package deal for a second-line center because Linus Ullmark is signed through 2024-25 with a $5 million cap hit. However, Swayman’s signed through next season at a dirt-cheap $925K. They’re not going to move the February rookie of the month.
LATEST ON THE KRAKEN, SABRES, COYOTES
THE ATHLETIC: Pierre LeBrun reports Seattle Kraken GM Ron Francis is willing to use his salary-cap space to act as a third-party broker for a cap-strapped playoff contender attempting to acquire an expensive trade target. However, it will have to be the right price, perhaps in the form of a second- or third-round draft pick. Francis could also use his cap space to acquire a player with term left on his contract who could fit into the Kraken’s long-term plans.
TSN: Darren Dreger reports the Buffalo Sabres are in the market for a top-end defenseman to pair with top prospect Owen Power when he makes the jump to the NHL next season. If unable to land that blueliner before the trade deadline, they could attempt to sign one via this summer’s free-agent market.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: That’ll require quite a sell job on the part of Sabres management given the many years of upheaval that have enveloped this club.
Chris Johnston reports the Arizona Coyotes could put goaltender Karel Vejmelka on the trade block before the deadline if unable to sign him to a contract extension. He’s earning less than $900K and is a year away from UFA eligibility.
“At the end of the day, there’s no guarantee I can get those three free agents back,” said Verbeek. “I’m going to attempt to sign them, if it doesn’t happen, I can’t just let them walk out the door free.”
Verbeek has reportedly started contract talks with Lindholm last week. There’s no word of discussions yet with Manson or Rakell.
LeBrun’s colleague Eric Stephens considers Lindholm a player the Ducks would prefer not to move but might have to if they can’t get him signed to an extension. He believes they’re willing to listen on Manson and Rakell. Stephens also suggested Max Comtois might benefit from a change of scenery.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’ll be interesting to see how this all shakes out. Lindholm would draw the most interest in the trade market. Former GM Bob Murray listened to offers on Rakell last season but ultimately retained him. Manson remains week-to-week with an injured finger and might not be back before the trade deadline.
UPDATE ON THE CANUCKS
CHEK TV: Appearing on the “Donnie and Dhali” show on Monday, Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman said the Vancouver Canucks have thrown almost every player’s name out there except for Elias Pettersson, Quinn Hughes, and Thatcher Demko to gauge their worth if they became available. However, they’re still in the playoff chase and don’t have to make any decisions by the trade deadline with players like J.T. Miller under contract for next season and Brock Boeser a restricted free agent this summer.
NEW YORK POST: Larry Brooks reports the Rangers got a good look at Miller during their 5-2 loss to the Canucks on Sunday with Miller setting up the Canucks’ first two goals. Brooks believes he’d be a great fit on the Rangers but the asking price and the lack of pressure on the Canucks to trade him would make Miller an expensive acquisition for the Blueshirts.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Canucks management could be more willing to entertain offers for players such as Miller if they tumble out of contention over the next three weeks leading up to March 21. Nevertheless, they can afford to wait until the offseason if they don’t get any offers to their liking.
COULD THE FLYERS SHOP RISTOLAINEN OR BRASSARD?
BOSTON HOCKEY NOW: Jimmy Murphy recently cited Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman speculating Rasmus Ristolainen could get moved. The 27-year-old Philadelphia Flyers defenseman has never played in the postseason in his NHL career and Friedman thinks his physical style is best-suited to playoff hockey. Murphy wonders if Ristolainen would be a good fit with the Bruins, citing rumors claiming general manager Don Sweeney was interested in the blueliner before he was traded to the Flyers by the Buffalo Sabres.