NHL Rumor Mill – May 13, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – May 13, 2022

A look at the Wild’s offseason priorities and the latest on Golden Knights winger Reilly Smith as he approaches UFA eligibility in today’s NHL rumor mill.

WHAT NEXT FOR THE WILD?

ESPN.COM: Kristen Shilton looks at the Minnesota Wild’s keys to the offseason following their first-round postseason elimination by the St. Louis Blues. General manager Bill Guerin goes into the summer with roughly 15 percent of his salary-cap payroll eaten up in dead cap space from last year’s buyouts of Zach Parise and Ryan Suter.

Minnesota Wild winger Kevin Fiala (NHL Images).

Contract negotiations with Kevin Fiala will be a priority. The 25-year-old winger is a restricted free agent with arbitration rights coming off a one-year, $5.1 million contract after a career-high 85-point performance.

Goaltending will also be an issue with Marc-Andre Fleury slated to become an unrestricted free agent. Cam Talbot has one season remaining on his contract but they’re in need of a reliable backup. Guerin must also re-sign RFA defenseman Jacob Middleton.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Cap Friendly indicates the Wild have almost $79 million invested in 23 players for next season, with over $12 million of that going to Parise and Suter.

Fiala enjoyed a terrific performance, providing invaluable scoring punch to their lineup. However, he was held to just three assists in the Wild’s six-game series against the St. Louis Blues and appeared frustrated at times over his lack of production. That could have an effect on contract talks with Guerin.

Coming up with the cap space for Fiala, Middleton, and a new backup will mean shedding some salary via trades. Unless Guerin ships out Fiala and Middleton and goes with cheaper replacements, he might have to peddle Matt Dumba, who’s frequently surfaced in trade rumors over the past two years. Dumba is slated next summer for UFA status and carries a $6 million cap hit for 2022-23.

LATEST ON REILLY SMITH

LAS VEGAS SUN: Danny Webster reported Reilly Smith could be a hot commodity in this summer’s free-agent market. The 31-year-old winger is slated to become a UFA and had 38 points in 56 games this season until sidelined by injury for the final six weeks of the schedule.

Webster stated there was mutual interest between Smith and the Golden Knights on a contract extension. However, the club is already $500K over the $82.5 million cap for next season with only 18 players under contract. They’ll have to decide if trading someone like Evgenii Dadonov, William Karlsson, Laurent Brossoit or even Robin Lehner is worth bringing back Smith.

Smith is completing a five-year deal with an annual cap hit of $5 million. The Golden Knights won’t go that high but Webster suggested clubs like the Buffalo Sabres, Detroit Red Wings, New Jersey Devils or Ottawa Senators might be willing to pay that much.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s going to be interesting to see what the Golden Knights do after missing the playoffs for the first time in their short franchise history. Smith could be allowed to walk away or they could shake things up with some cost-cutting deals that also enable them to bring him back if he’s willing to accept a bit of a pay cut to stay in Vegas.










NHL Rumor Mill – May 6, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – May 6, 2022

Check out the latest on Shea Weber and Jeff Petry plus a look at which players have skated in their final games with the Golden Knights in today’s NHL rumor mill.

LATEST ON THE CANADIENS

MONTREAL HOCKEY NOW: Marco D’Amico cited TSN’s Darren Dreger claiming the Canadiens came close to shipping the contract of sidelined defenseman Shea Weber before the March trade deadline to the Arizona Coyotes. However, Coyotes management grew impatient over the amount of time it took to sort out the insurance issues and opted instead to acquire Bryan Little’s contract from the Winnipeg Jets.

Montreal Canadiens defenseman Shea Weber (NHL Images).

Dreger feels it’s only a matter of time until Weber’s contract is shipped to the Coyotes or perhaps to another club interested in acquiring long-term injury reserve relief.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Some readers have wondered why a team like the Coyotes would be interested in acquiring the contract of a player on permanent long-term injury reserve. In the case of a budget team like the Coyotes, they must spend to reach the salary-cap floor but want to keep their actual payroll as low as possible. Weber’s $7.857 million cap hit over the next four seasons would allow them to do so.

At the other end, there could be a handful of teams pressed against next season’s $82.5 million cap ceiling looking for an LTIR player to allow them to legally exceed the cap by up to the sidelined player’s annual cap hit. The downside to this is they cannot accrue cap space over the course of the season that can be put toward acquiring players by the trade deadline.

D’Amico also believes Jeff Petry’s improved performance after Martin St. Louis took over as coach should make it easier for the Canadiens to trade him in the off-season. RDS analyst Marc Denis thinks the Habs would still have to include a draft pick as a sweetener in the deal to make the 34-year-old defenseman more enticing in the trade market.

However, D’Amico pointed to Canadiens general manager Kent Hughes claiming he’d had conversations about Petry with several teams leading up to the trade deadline. Hughes indicated he came close to moving the veteran blueliner but the deal failed to materialize. Interest in Petry should pick up in the offseason, enabling the Canadiens to move him without bundling a draft pick or prospect in the deal.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Petry’s age and $6.25 million annual average value through 2024-25 remain sticking points. Hughes might have to work quickly to find a suitable trade partner willing to take the blueliner’s full contract off his hands without adding a sweetener before teams start spending their available cap space.

MONTREAL GAZETTE: Pat Hickey believes Hughes won’t be able to make any significant moves until he’s got more clarity about Carey Price’s status for next season. If the 34-year-old goaltender requires more surgery on his knee and misses part or most of next season, the Canadiens GM can place Price and his $10.5 million cap hit on LTIR.

Hughes will have to use the savings to bring in a goaltender. Backup Jake Allen struggles under a heavy workload while Samuel Montembault and Cayden Primeau aren’t up to filling the starter’s job on a full-time basis.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: We should learn more about Price’s status before the draft in July. If he’s going to miss substantial time again, Hughes will have to go shopping for a replacement.

Hickey suggested several options via the free-agent market. The St. Louis Blues’ Ville Husso, Colorado Avalanche’s Darcy Kuemper and the Toronto Maple Leafs’ Jack Campbell are among those who could be available this summer, but the Habs will have competition for their services.

WHO HAS PLAYED THEIR FINAL GAMES WITH THE GOLDEN KNIGHTS?

VEGAS HOCKEY NOW: Owen Krepps looked at several players who have probably skated in their final games with the Golden Knights.

Reilly Smith is among the few remaining original Golden Knights. He’s slated to become an unrestricted free agent this summer. A consistent performer coming off a multi-year deal worth $5 million per season, the 31-year-old winger probably won’t be back unless he agrees to a pay cut.

The Golden Knights had a deal in place at the March trade deadline to ship winger Evgenii Dadonov to the Anaheim Ducks. However, it was overturned by the league when it was discovered his no-trade list was still valid and the Ducks were on it. He could be shopped this summer as a cost-cutting move.

Mattias Janmark, Laurent Brossoit and Nolan Patrick could also be cut loose this summer. Like Smith, Janmark is eligible for UFA status this summer. Brossoit and Patrick each have a year remaining on their contracts.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Cap Friendly shows the Golden Knights sitting at just over $83 million invested in 18 active players next season. Somebody’s gotta go if they hope to be cap compliant and ice a full 23-man roster when the season opens in October. Dadonov and his $5 million cap hit still make him their most-likely salary-dump candidate.










NHL Rumor Mill – April 29, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – April 29, 2022

More speculation about the Golden Knights’ offseason plans plus updates on Evander Kane and Andrew Copp in today’s NHL rumor mill.

LATEST ON THE GOLDEN KNIGHTS

DAILY FACEOFF: The job security of Vegas Golden Knights general manager Kelly McCrimmon was among Frank Seravalli’s 10 burning offseason questions facing the 16 NHL non-playoff clubs.

Seravalli acknowledged the plethora of injuries that walloped the Golden Knights roster this season. However, he cited the almost daily drama that dogged the franchise this season, from shedding Vezina Trophy winner Marc-Andre Fleury last summer to backing the bus over Robin Lehner and a lack of teamwork among their players as they seemingly look over their shoulders wondering who’s next.

The Golden Knights have no salary-cap space, no top draft picks and a shallow pool of prospects. Seravalli feels it’s inevitable that head coach Peter DeBoer will be cut loose but he also wondered if McCrimmon will follow him out the door.

SPORTSNET: Rory Boylen also wondered about the futures of McCrimmon, DeBoer and Lehner in Vegas. He felt that moving on from Lehner would create a problem between the pipes for the Golden Knights.

Vegas Golden Knights winger Reilly Smith (NHL Images).

McCrimmon could be on the hot seat this summer along with president of hockey operations and former GM George McPhee. Their lack of cap space will affect efforts to re-sign original Golden Knight Reilly Smith. Winger Evgenii Dadonov could be moved in a cost-cutting deal to a team on his list of preferred destinations.

NBC SPORTS: Adam Gretz has little sympathy for the Golden Knights as he believes they’re to blame for their plight. He believes the club’s problems run deeper than their injuries this season, pointing out their spending on big-ticket stars created havoc with their salary-cap payroll and cut deeply into their roster depth.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Cap Friendly shows the Golden Knights with $83.8 million invested in 18 active players for 2022-23. With the cap sitting at $82.5 million, they have little choice but to shed some salary, especially if they hope to re-sign Smith.

Dadonov seems the most likely candidate given their failed attempt to move him at the trade deadline. He has a $5 million annual average value through 2022-23 with a 10-team no-trade list but finding a suitable trade partner might not be easy.

Moving Lehner would free up another $5 million but that would mean giving the inexperienced Logan Thompson as their starter. The 25-year-old did a good job filling in for the sidelined Lehner but it could be asking too much of him to take over that role on a full-time basis.

OILERS HOPE TO SIGN KANE, RANGERS HOPE TO RETAIN COPP

TSN: Darren Dreger reports the Edmonton Oilers will make a concerted attempt to re-sign Evander Kane while the New York Rangers will do the same with Andrew Copp.

Both forwards are slated to become unrestricted free agents in July. Kane has meshed well alongside Oilers captain Connor McDavid while Copp has been a perfect fit on Artemi Panarin’s line. Dreger wondered if term could be an issue for Kane and the Oilers, wondering if three years would be too much.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kane’s next contract could be determined by the outcome of his ongoing grievance hearing over the San Jose Sharks terminating his contract last January. He had three years at $7 million annually remaining on that deal.

Kane and the Sharks could agree to a settlement with the winger getting something between $4 million and $5 million annually over the next three years. The Oilers could then sign him to a three-year deal worth between $2 million and $3 million. Considering how well he’s playing alongside McDavid, Kane might accept that type of deal.

Copp is completing a one-year deal worth over $3.6 million. He’ll likely seek around $5 million annually on a long-term deal with the Rangers or another club via free agency. The Rangers have around $11 million in cap space with 16 active players under contract for next season and second-line center Ryan Strome also eligible for UFA status. Re-signing those two will eat up most, if not all of that cap space.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 26, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 26, 2022

Cale Makar sets an Avalanche record, Johnny Gaudreau reaches a goal-scoring milestone, the ongoing fallout from the overturned Dadonov trade, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: Cale Makar set a Colorado Avalanche record in his club’s 6-3 victory over the Philadelphia Flyers. Makar scored twice to set the club’s single-season record for most goals by a defenseman with 24. Nazem Kadri had a goal and two assists for the Avalanche, who’ve won five of their last six games and sit atop the overall standings with 97 points. Flyers winger Travis Konecny missed this game with a lower-body injury and is listed as day-to-day.

Colorado Avalanche defenseman Cale Makar (NHL Images).

Calgary Flames winger Johnny Gaudreau scored his 200th career goal in a 4-2 victory over the Arizona Coyotes. Gaudreau also had two assists while Matthew Tkachuk had two points for Calgary (86 points), who hold a seven-point lead over the Los Angeles Kings for first place in the Pacific Division. Flames center Sean Monahan was a healthy scratch.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Monahan hasn’t been the same since struggling through a hip injury last season which ultimately required surgery last May. It generated speculation the Flames could attempt to trade him before the recent trade deadline.

The New York Rangers downed the Pittsburgh Penguins 5-1. Chris Kreider scored twice to tie the Edmonton Oilers’ Leon Draisaitl for second place in the goal-scoring race with 44. Andrew Copp tallied his first goal since the Rangers acquired him at the trade deadline from the Winnipeg Jets. Pittsburgh (88 points) hold a one-point lead over the Rangers for second place in the Metropolitan Division. Penguins center Evgeni Malkin missed the game with an undisclosed illness.

Speaking of the Jets, they kept their playoff hopes alive with a 4-3 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets, spoiling Patrik Laine’s return to Winnipeg for the first time since being traded to the Jackets last year. Nikolaj Ehlers scored the winner in overtime while teammate Kyle Connor netted his 41st goal of the season. Laine was held scoreless. With 72 points, the Jets are three points behind the Dallas Stars for the final wild-card berth in the Western Conference.

Shootout goals by Evgeny Kuznetsov and Alex Ovechkin lifted the Washington Capitals over the Buffalo Sabres 4-3. Ovechkin also scored in regulation and has 41 on the season while Jeff Skinner scored twice for the Sabres. The Capitals (82 points) sit two points back of the Tampa Bay Lightning for the first wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference.

HEADLINES

TSN: Pierre LeBrun believes the NHL is going to push for changes to the submission process of a player’s no-trade list. This comes after the league overturned a trade that would’ve sent winger Evgenii Dadonov from the Vegas Golden Knights to the Anaheim Ducks following confusion about whether Dadonov filed his no-trade list on time last summer.

Under the current system, the list is submitted solely between the player’s agent and the club. The NHL and the NHLPA don’t keep track of no-trade lists. LeBrun believes the league seeks a change whereby the NHL Central Registry and the PA each get copies of the lists.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I find the current setup unusual given how a modified no-trade clause gives a player a measure of control over possible trade destinations. It’s surprising it took this long before a screw-up (like what happened to Dadonov) took place.

THE SCORE: Speaking of Dadonov, he admitted having “a stressful couple of days” awaiting a decision by the league. The Ducks were on his no-trade list that the Golden Knights and the league mistakenly believed hadn’t been filed on time. He had felt “upset” at the time but “wasn’t really mad” about the situation.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Following the league’s decision, Dadonov received a big cheer from Golden Knights fans on Thursday after being named the second star in their 6-1 win over the Nashville Predators.

CAP FRIENDLY: The Golden Knights placed winger Reilly Smith on long-term injury reserve yesterday. His annual cap hit is $5 million.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Golden Knights attempted to trade Dadonov to free up salary-cap space in order to eventually take Alec Martinez or Mark Stone off LTIR before the end of this season. It was assumed they might have to make a cost-cutting trade with a non-playoff club. Putting Smith on LTIR could address that problem provided he’s out for the remainder of the regular season.

DAILY FACEOFF: More bad news for the Golden Knights as winger Max Pacioretty suffered a setback in his recovery from an undisclosed injury and isn’t available in the near future.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Pacioretty could become another LTIR candidate if the setback was serious.

SPORTSNET: Montreal Canadiens winger Jonathan Drouin is out indefinitely with an upper-body injury while teammate Brendan Gallagher is out one week with a lower-body injury.

The Edmonton Oilers are suing four of their insurance companies over unreimbursed losses suffered during the COVID-19 pandemic.










NHL Rumor Mill – March 10, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – March 10, 2022

Check out the latest on players such as Marc-Andre Fleury, Claude Giroux, Hampus Lindholm and Reilly Smith plus updates on the Canadiens and Penguins in today’s NHL rumor mill.

LATEST ON FLEURY, GIROUX, LINDHOLM AND REILLY SMITH

WASHINGTON HOCKEY NOW: Sammi Silber cites Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman saying he believes the Capitals remain interested in Marc-Andre Fleury. He doesn’t consider it impossible that they pursue the 37-year-old Chicago Blackhawks goaltender,

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Whether Fleury wants to go to Washington is another matter. Friedman also said yesterday they’re among four-or-five clubs really interested in the veteran netminder but he’s not convinced Fleury is mentally in the right spot to join the Capitals. That’s based on his many years playing with the Pittsburgh Penguins.

PHILLY HOCKEY NOW: Sam Carchidi recently mused over whether Flyers captain Claude Giroux might reunite with former Flyers head coach Peter Laviolette with the Capitals. Carchidi observed the Flyers have been scouting the Capitals and their AHL affiliate in Hershey, starting speculation linking Giroux to the Caps. He also suggested the Capitals could be scouting Flyers defensemen Justin Braun and Rasmus Ristolainen, forwards James van Riemsdyk and Derick Brassard or goalie Martin Jones.

Philadelphia Flyers captain Claude Giroux (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Given the Capitals’ limited cap space, they could’ve been checking out the more affordable options on the Flyers roster. Giroux’s been linked mostly with the Colorado Avalanche, Florida Panthers and St. Louis Blues.

SPORTSNET: Mike Johnston listed the Toronto Maple Leafs, St. Louis Blues, Florida Panthers and New York Rangers as possible trade destinations for Anaheim Ducks defenseman Hampus Lindholm.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Leafs, Blues and Panthers have a need for a top-four left-side defenseman. The Rangers’ focus seems to be more on adding a top-six right wing. The Ducks are reportedly attempting to sign the 28-year-old Lindholm to a contract extension but are expected to shop him if an agreement on a new deal isn’t reached by the March 21 trade deadline.

NEW YORK POST: Larry Brooks still believes Vegas Golden Knights winger Reilly Smith makes the most sense as a playoff rental option for the Rangers. The Golden Knights might still have to shop him before the trade deadline if there’s a chance winger Mark Stone and his $9.5 million cap hit come off long-term injury reserve before the end of the regular season.

UPDATES ON THE CANADIENS AND PENGUINS

MONTREAL GAZETTE: Stu Cowan reports Artturi Lehkonen could be drawing lots of interest in the trade market as his stock keeps rising. The 26-year-old Canadiens winger is a restricted free agent this summer. Habs general manager Kent Hughes said he’s not trying to trade Lehkonen but Cowan reminds us he said the same thing last month about Tyler Toffoli, who was eventually traded to the Calgary Flames.

MONTREAL HOCKEY NOW: Jimmy Murphy cites a trusted NHL source claiming the Canadiens are being scouted by the Carolina Hurricanes, prompting speculation they could be looking at a blueliner such as Jeff Petry or Ben Chiarot. Hurricanes GM Don Waddell recently noted he’s down a couple of defensemen due to injury, hinting that would be the area of his roster he might address if the deadline were today. He also cautioned a lot can happen between now and March 21.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Lehkonen is only a year away from unrestricted free agent eligibility. I think the Canadiens will trade him if he’s only interested in a one- or two-year deal.

The 34-year-old Petry’s age and $6.25 million annual cap hit over the next three seasons could be stumbling blocks in the path toward a trade. Chiarot is younger (30), carries a more affordable $3.5 million cap hit and is slated to become a UFA this summer.

If the Hurricanes are scouting those two I think Chiarot’s the more likely to move. They aren’t the only club interested in his services as the Blues have also been linked to him.

PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE: Mike DeFabo recently reported Brian Burke, the Penguins’ president of hockey operations, doesn’t expect his club to make a splash at this year’s trade deadline. “We’re capped out,” he said. “I can’t imagine we’re going to do some big or noisy at the deadline.”

Burke ruled out moving out a high-priced player such as Jason Zucker, Mike Matheson or Marcus Pettersson in a cost-cutting move, stressing the importance of those players to their lineup.

Matt Vensel, however, wondered what the future holds for Penguins winger Kasperi Kapanen after he was benched during Tuesday’s 4-3 loss to the Florida Panthers. He’s been struggling to score this season despite getting opportunities alongside Evgeni Malkin when the latter returned from injury.

Vensel suggests Kapanen could be the one to watch if the Penguins attempt a player-for-player deal at the deadline to add a middle-six forward. He carries a $3.2 million cap hit this season and is slated to become a restricted free agent this summer.

PITTSBURGH HOCKEY NOW: Dan Kingerski reports the Penguins broached the idea of acquiring winger Brock Boeser from the Vancouver Canucks. However, there haven’t been any serious discussions and none are expected before the trade deadline.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: A player-for-player swap is a possibility. However, I don’t think Kapanen will bring in a player who’ll help improve the Penguins’ middle-six depth. It could be a case of swapping him out for a guy struggling with another club and hoping for the best.

As for Boeser, Sportsnet’s Jeff Marek believes he’ll likely go to a team that can afford his $7.5 million qualifying offer. He suggested the Capitals (??) and Los Angeles Kings as possible suitors.










NHL Rumor Mill – February 18, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – February 18, 2022

Check out my analysis of Daily Faceoff’s Trade Targets list in today’s NHL rumor mill.

DAILY FACEOFF: Philadelphia Flyers captain Claude Giroux, Montreal Canadiens defenseman Ben Chiarot, and San Jose Sharks center Tomas Hertl top Frank Seravalli’s top-25 NHL trade targets list.

Philadelphia Flyers captain Claude Giroux (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Lot of speculation over where Giroux could go with the Colorado Avalanche believed the front-runner. As Seravalli points out, the 34-year-old Flyers captain’s no-movement clause gives him full control over this situation.

Chiarot is expected to return to action next week from a minor injury, sparking conjecture the Canadiens could trade him soon. The Florida Panthers, New York Rangers and St. Louis Blues are said to be among his suitors.

Hertl and the Sharks have reportedly started contract extension talks. As Seravalli observes, there’s no certainty they’ll reach an agreement before the March 21 trade deadline.

Chicago Blackhawks winger Brandon Hagel and Arizona Coyotes blueliner Jakob Chychrun sit fourth and fifth. Seravalli reports the Florida Panthers, Toronto Maple Leafs, New Jersey Devils and Calgary Flames were known to have talks with the Blackhawks about Hagel, though the Flames moved on to Tyler Toffoli.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I noted yesterday the report by Ben Pope of the Chicago Sun-Times citing a source saying Hagel was virtually off the table. The Blackhawks could be listening to offers for just about everyone but Hagel probably won’t be moved unless they get a terrific offer.

As for Chychrun, lots of teams are believed to be interested. However, the Coyotes’ hefty asking price of a high first-round pick, a top prospect and a good young NHL player explains why he’s still in Arizona.

Vancouver Canucks winger Brock Boeser, Dallas Stars defenseman John Klingberg, Blackhawks goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury, Canadiens blueliner Jeff Petry, and Seattle Kraken rearguard Mark Giordano fill spots six through 10.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Seravalli notes the Boeser trade chatter increased soon after the Canucks new management team was in place. He’s a restricted free agent with arbitration rights who’ll cost $7.5 million to qualify his rights.

However, the Canucks are still chasing a playoff berth in the Western Conference. Hockey ops president Jim Rutherford and general manager Patrik Allvin both said there’s no urgency to make trades. They could wait until the offseason to shop Boeser if they can’t reach an agreement on a new contract or receive a suitable trade offer before the March 21 deadline.

The Stars are also in the playoff hunt in the Western Conference. They might not shop pending UFA Klingberg unless they fall out of contention over the next four weeks. Fleury’s contract and modified no-trade clause make shipping him to a Stanley Cup contender a difficult move. The same goes for Petry. Giordano, on the other hand, could end up on the move before March 21 if the Kraken can find him a suitable destination.

Ottawa Senators forward Nick Paul, Canucks forward J.T. Miller, Stars winger Joe Pavelski, New York Rangers goalie Alexandar Georgiev, and Columbus Blue Jackets netminder Joonas Korpisalo fill spots 11 to 15.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Paul, Pavelski and Korpisalo are UFAs this summer while Georgiev is a restricted free agent. The Senators hope to retain Paul but they could shop him if they can’t reach an agreement on an extension.

What I said about Klingberg applies to Pavelski. I continue to have my doubts the Rangers will move Georgiev as that will send them into a thin goalie market for an experienced, reliable backup.

New Jersey Devils forward Pavel Zacha, Winnipeg Jets forward Andrew Copp, Blue Jackets winger Max Domi, Boston Bruins winger Jake DeBrusk and Vegas Golden Knights winger Reilly Smith are in spots 16 to 20.

Zacha and DeBrusk are RFAs with arbitration rights while the others are UFAs. The Devils could entertain offers for Zacha but they can also afford to wait until the offseason. It’s been three months since DeBrusk requested a trade.

Copp will draw interest in the trade market if the Jets become sellers but that’s not yet a certainty. The well-traveled Domi could be on the move again. The Golden Knights won’t have to trade Smith to clear cap space if Mark Stone and Alec Martinez remain on LTIR for the remainder of the regular season.

Anaheim Ducks winger Rickard Rakell, Blue Jackets center Jack Roslovic, Detroit Red Wings defenseman Nick Leddy, Coyotes winger Phil Kessel and Calvin de Haan round out the list.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Rakell could be on the move if the Ducks continue to slide out of playoff contention. Roslovic has really struggled following the Jackets coaching change last summer. Leddy and de Haan should be affordable pickups for playoff contenders seeking defensive depth. Kessel could also interest clubs looking for a winger with playoff experience.