NHL Rumor Mill – January 14, 2023
NHL Rumor Mill – January 14, 2023
Have the Sharks set an asking price for Erik Karlsson? Are teams calling about Timo Meier? Will the Wild trade Matt Dumba? What’s the latest on the Panthers and Penguins? Find out in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.
LATEST SHARKS RUMORS
SAN JOSE HOCKEY NOW: Sheng Peng cited Edmonton Oilers color commentator Bob Stauffer saying he’s heard the Sharks seek three first-round picks for Erik Karlsson. Stauffer also said they would retain 18 percent of the 32-year-old defenseman’s $11.5 million cap hit through 2026-27.
Peng believes the Sharks asking for three first-rounder seemed wild. He checked with his sources and they’ve heard nothing about this. “That doesn’t seem like a serious request if you want to trade Karlsson,” writes Peng. “Even getting a single first-rounder seems questionable, unless the Sharks retain a lot more than 18 percent, all things considered.”
THE MERCURY NEWS: Curtis Pashelka reports Sharks general manager Mike Grier declined to get into his asking price for Karlsson. He didn’t consider Stauffer’s report to be totally accurate.
Whatever his price would be, Grier said it would have to be a return that makes the Sharks stronger in the future and gives them the ability to turn things around quickly. He also said he’s not in any hurry to move a defenseman who’s currently on pace for 100 points this season.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: To be fair to Stauffer, what he heard may have been Grier’s initial ask or perhaps it was speculation from a Sharks source. Three first-rounders for a defenseman at Karlsson’s stage of his career is pretty steep despite his performance this season. Retaining only 18 percent of his cap hit means that an interested club has to pick up around $9.5 million annually for the next four seasons.
I don’t doubt that Grier’s getting calls about Karlsson. However, I don’t think this is a trade that happens this season given the limited cap space among potential suitors that Karlsson would consider acceptable trade destinations. It seems like it would have to be a three-team deal to spread the dollars around. That might be easier to pull off during the offseason.
Grier also told Pashelka that he’s had some preliminary discussions with Timo Meier’s agent regarding a new contract, although there’s been nothing substantial yet regarding offers and counteroffers.
Meier, 26, is a restricted free agent this summer. He carries an annual cap hit of $6 million but is earning $10 million this season in actual salary. That’s what it’ll cost the Sharks to qualify his rights unless he agrees to accept a new contract with a lower average annual value.
Grier indicated Meier is another player that other GMs have inquired about this season. However, he’s indicated he’s had some good talks with the winger regarding his situation and the team.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Meier’s unique situation could also make him a rental player for playoff contenders if they’re unable or unwilling to re-sign him to an AAV of $10 million.
With Meier and Karlsson, Grier isn’t facing pressure to move one or both by the trade deadline. Given their respective contract statuses, he can wait until the offseason to see how things shake out.
ARE THE WILD SHOPPING DUMBA?
OTTAWA SUN: Bruce Garrioch reports sources claimed that the Ottawa Senators have an interest in Minnesota Wild defenseman Matt Dumba. The Wild aren’t sure they want to risk losing the pending unrestricted free agent for nothing this summer. Minnesota GM Bill Guerin is said to be open to a deal even though his club is in a playoff position.
Garrioch also reports the Wild are among the teams that have contacted the Arizona Coyotes about blueliner Jakob Chychrun. He speculates that might be the reason why Guerin is open to trading Dumba. If he can get a quality asset for Dumba, he could include it in an offer for Chychrun or another defenseman on the market.
SPORTSNET (Stick tap to NHL Watcher): On his latest “32 Thoughts” podcast, Elliotte Friedman said Guerin isn’t going to move Dumba just to get something for the pending UFA defenseman.
Friedman said the Wild believe they can win the Stanley Cup this season. Guerin won’t do anything that will weaken the team. The Senators and Vancouver Canucks have called about Dumba but there’s nothing close.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I wouldn’t fully dismiss the notion of Guerin trading Dumba based on the scenario envisioned by Garrioch. Still, it won’t be an easy move to make, especially if he’s planning on going after Chychrun.
Dumba’s 10-team no-trade clause can also be a sticking point. I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s still with the Wild following the March 3 trade deadline.
UPDATES ON THE PANTHERS AND PENGUINS
FLORIDA HOCKEY NOW: George Richards believes the Panthers could become sellers by this season’s trade deadline if they’re not in playoff position by that point.
Daily Faceoff’s Frank Seravalli reported Panthers GM Bill Zito has a “deal in his pocket” to trade Sam Reinhart and/or Sam Bennett. However, Richards writes that there’s nothing in the works regarding either forward. He also indicated management doesn’t have a firm plan yet regarding the trade deadline.
If the Panthers become sellers, Richards anticipates pending UFAs like Eric and Marc Staal and Patric Hornqvist could be shopped. He wondered if they would trade or attempt to re-sign pending UFA defenseman Radko Gudas.
There’s been whispers the Panthers could trade Anthony Duclair once he’s ready to return to action from an offseason Achilles injury. However, Richards said Duclair enjoys playing for the Panthers and they want to keep him. With a year remaining on his contract worth $3 million, it would be surprising if the winger got traded.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Panthers will be worth monitoring over the next four-to-six weeks. They could become sellers and perhaps they would shed Reinhart or Bennett to free up some much-needed cap space and restock their prospect pipeline.
PITTSBURGH HOCKEY NOW: Dan Kingerski believes the Penguins’ primary concern approaching the trade deadline is adding a third-line center.
Potential trade targets could include Anaheim’s Adam Henrique, San Jose’s Nick Bonino, Arizona’s Travis Boyd, and perhaps Florida’s Eric Staal and Chicago’s Jason Dickinson. The Penguins’ limited cap space, however, will be a factor in determining how they choose to address that issue.