NHL Rumor Mill – December 13, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – December 13, 2022

Bo Horvat could be available before the March 3 trade deadline, an update on Brock Boeser and more Canucks speculation in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.


TSN: Citing a report by CHEK TV’s Rick Dhaliwal, Pierre LeBrun reports Bo Horvat rejected a contract offer from the Vancouver Canucks. The offer was made to the 27-year-old Canucks captain two weeks ago.

Vancouver Canucks captain Bo Horvat (NHL Images).

LeBrun indicated the Canucks are “focused on the trade market between now and March 3”. Horvat is slated to become an unrestricted free agent in July. He’s completing a six-year contract with an average annual value of $5.5 million.

THE ATHLETIC: Dhaliwal and Thomas Drance report neither the Canucks nor the Horvat camp would comment regarding the specific numbers in the contract offer. However, it’s believed the club’s proposal was a maximum eight-year deal that was “well shy of $8 million”, which is the going baseline rate for top centers.

Things could change between now and March 3. J.T. Miller spent months on the trade block before the Canucks re-sign him to a long-term extension in September. Nevertheless, the club is said to be actively listening to trade offers for Horvat.

Dhaliwal and Drance report the Canucks could seek a package including multiple young players, including a centerman and a right-shot defenseman. Management is also believed to be reluctant to retain salary to facilitate a trade.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Canucks could move Horvat before the trade deadline for the right offer. However, they could revisit negotiations with their captain if they don’t get any pitches to their liking or if he has a change of heart about rejecting their contract proposal.

A Horvat trade isn’t a foregone conclusion. However, the Canucks have less time to hammer out a new contract for him compared to when they were negotiating with Miller.

If Horvat won’t budge and the Canucks are unwilling to meet his price, then they’ll peddle him before deadline day rather than risk losing him to free agency for nothing in July. You can bet there will be considerable interest from playoff contenders in the market for a scoring center.


THE ATHLETIC: Dhaliwal and Drance report there’s nothing new to report on the Canucks efforts to trade Brock Boeser. The Canucks are receiving calls about the 26-year-old winger but his $6.6 million annual cap hit through 2024-25 is proving difficult to move. His flatlined production of late hasn’t helped.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Boeser reportedly hasn’t asked to be traded. However, it’s believed there’s a mutual feeling that a deal might be best for all concerned. As previous reports suggest, it could take time to find a suitable trade partner. I’ve mentioned before that it wouldn’t be surprising if this carries over into the offseason when teams have more cap space to work with.

Haman Dayal recently noted the trade speculation surrounding Luke Schenn. The 33-year-old Canucks defenseman surfaced in the rumor mill after his agent tweeted that his client would be a “perfect deadline acquisition”, citing his solid defensive game and his two Stanley Cups with the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Schenn, however, doesn’t sound like someone hoping to get traded. He told Dayal that his priority remains to try and stay long-term in Vancouver and help the Canucks build into a winner. He added that he and his family have put down roots in Vancouver. He’s also earned top-four minutes with the Canucks after being a sixth-seventh defenseman with the Lightning.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Canucks management has to be pleased with Schenn’s performance. Nevertheless, he carries an affordable cap hit on an expiring contract that lacks no-trade protection. If the front office commits to a rebuild, Schenn could prove to be an attractive trade chip leading up to March 3.

VANCOUVER HOCKEY INSIDER: Rob Simpson recently wondered about the fate of Jack Rathbone. The 23-year-old defenseman saw limited action this season with the Canucks and is now playing for their AHL affiliate in Abbotsford.

Simpson observed Rathbone seemed quite unhappy during the Canucks road trip against the Golden Knights in Las Vegas. He didn’t play in that game on Nov. 26 and two days later was demoted to Abbotsford. Simpson wondered if he might request a trade should he become tired of playing the waiting game with the Canucks.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Dhaliwal and Drance report Rathbone has not asked for a trade. He remains focused on playing his way back into the Canucks lineup. Still, his situation could be worth monitoring in the coming weeks.

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 2, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 2, 2022

The Canucks sign Brock Boeser, the Sharks fire head coach Bob Boughner, the Jets hire Rick Bowness as their new bench boss, the Lightning sign Nick Paul, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

VANCOUVER HOCKEY NOW: The Canucks signed Brock Boeser to a new three-year contract worth an annual average value of $6.65 million. The 25-year-old winger was slated to become a restricted free agent with arbitration rights on July 13. It would’ve cost the Canucks $7.5 million to qualify his rights before then.

Vancouver Canucks winger Brock Boeser (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Cap Friendly shows that $6.65 million is a flat rate per season. The deal takes him up to unrestricted free agent eligibility and comes with a 10-team no-trade clause in the final season.

It’s a reasonable contract for the Canucks and Boeser. It also shows that management was understanding of the personal difficulties the winger faced this season coping with the knowledge that his father was dying. This deal could pay off for the Canucks if Boeser can reach his 30-goal potential. It would also bolster his stock when he becomes eligible for UFA status.

THE PROVINCE/TSN: The Canucks also signed promising defenseman Jack Rathbone to a two-year, one-way contract worth $850K per season. They also hired former Philadelphia Flyers interim coach Mike Yeo as an assistant coach.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Boeser and Rathbone signings leave the Canucks with $2.15 million in cap space with 19 players under contract for 2022-23. However, they will get $3.5 million in cap relief if necessary with winger Micheal Ferland on their permanent long-term injury reserve list. Still, I wouldn’t rule out a contract buyout before the July 12 deadline or a cost-cutting trade.

NBC SPORTS BAY AREA: The San Jose Sharks fired head coach Bob Boughner and his assistant coaches on Friday after three losing seasons. Interim general manager Joe Will said the move was made in part to allow whoever becomes their new GM to have full autonomy in choosing their coaching staff.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I understand the logic behind that but I would’ve thought they would’ve made that decision at the end of the regular season. This could an indicator of the difficulty the Sharks are encountering in finding a replacement for former general manager Doug Wilson. Allowing the new GM to hire his own staff might be a means of enticement for suitable candidates.

WINNIPEG FREE PRESS: The Winnipeg Jets are hiring former Dallas Stars head coach Rick Bowness as their new bench boss.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Bowness’ hiring should help reduce starting goaltender Connor Hellebuyck’s workload given his adherence to a disciplined defensive system. It’ll be interesting to see if he can heal what’s considered a fractured dressing room in Winnipeg.

TAMPA BAY TIMES: The Lightning signed forward Nick Paul to a seven-year contract worth an annual average value of $3.15 million. The deal also comes with a full no-trade clause in the first four seasons and a 16-team no-trade list in the final three years.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Acquired from the Ottawa Senators before the trade deadline, Paul quickly established himself as a key member of the Lightning roster, especially during the postseason. The length of this deal reflects how highly they think of him.

The move leaves the Lightning sitting above the $82.5-million salary cap by $5.13 million. They’re allowed to spend over the cap ceiling by 10 percent during the offseason. When the season begins, they can use the $6.875 million of the permanently sidelined Brent Seabrook as cap relief by placing him on their LTIR list.

However, that doesn’t leave sufficient wiggle room to re-sign or replace pending UFAs Ondrej Palat, Jan Rutta and Riley Nash. That’s why Lightning management is reportedly looking at trading defenseman Ryan McDonagh and his $6.75-million annual cap hit through 2025-26.

NHL.COM: The St. Louis Blues have hired Craig MacTavish as an assistant coach.

NEW YORK POST: The Rangers signed Julien Gauthier to a one-year contract extension worth $800K. The 24-year-old winger was slated to become a restricted free agent on July 13.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Post noted Gauthier had requested a trade and wondered what impact this signing will have on a potential deal. Perhaps this is part of a “sign-and-trade” move by the Rangers. We’ll find out soon enough.

PHILLY HOCKEY NOW: Flyers goaltender Ivan Fedotov was reportedly arrested in St. Petersburg on suspicion of “dodging the Russian Army”. He was taken to the Russian military registration and enlistment office in St. Petersburg. Chosen by the Flyers in the 2015 draft. The 25-year-old Fedotov spent the past six seasons in the KHL.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Fedotov signed an entry-level contract with the Flyers on May 7. This is an ominous turn for Russian players hoping to skate in the NHL next season. It could also have an effect on the upcoming NHL draft. Teams could be leery of choosing Russian players over concerns they could be prevented from skating in North America.

NBC SPORTS PHILADELPHIA: Speaking of the Flyers, they’ve hired Brad Shaw as an assistant coach.

THE DALLAS MORNING NEWS: The Stars have added Alain Nasreddine and Steve Spott as assistant coaches.

DETROIT HOCKEY NOW: Former Red Wings great Pavel Datsyuk expects to officially announce his retirement from professional hockey.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Best wishes to Datsyuk in his retirement. The 43-year-old forward spent the past five seasons playing in the KHL. Before that, Datsyuk spent 14 seasons in the NHL with the Wings, becoming one of the greatest two-way players in the league by winning three Selke Trophies and four Lady Byng Trophies. He also helped the Wings win two Stanley Cups.

CALGARY SUN: Long-time Flames organist Willy Joosen passed away at age 66. He held that role at Scotiabank Saddledome since 1988.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: My condolences to Joosen’s family, friends and the Flames organization.