NHL Rumor Mill – March 10, 2023
NHL Rumor Mill – March 10, 2023
Check out the latest on the Devils’ Jesper Bratt and Timo Meier, the Flyers’ Kevin Hayes, the Predator’s Juuse Saros and the Flames’ Elias Lindholm plus a look at the Red Wings in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.
TIDBITS FROM SPORTSNET’S LATEST “32 THOUGHTS” COLUMN
SPORTSNET: In his latest “32 Thoughts” column, Elliotte Friedman wrote the New Jersey Devils are engaged in contract extension talks with Jesper Bratt. He’s a restricted free agent who is a year away from unrestricted free-agent eligibility.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: You know who else is an RFA this summer who’s a year away from UFA status? Timo Meier, the guy the Devils acquired nearly two weeks ago.
Cap Friendly indicates they have $47.8 million invested in 11 players for next season. There’s plenty of money to re-sign Bratt and Meier but it will take a big chunk out of their remaining payroll.
Meier could seek a multi-year deal worth around $9 million annually while Bratt could seek around $8 million. Both have comparable offensive numbers over the past two seasons but Meier has a more established record.
I’ve suggested that Meier could be insurance for the Devils if contract talks with Bratt go sideways. It’ll be interesting to see how those negotiations pan out.
Speaking of Meier, Friedman wonders if the Devils might consider club-elected arbitration with the 26-year-old winger for 85 percent of his $10 million qualifying offer.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: If the Devils did that and won they’d get Meier for one year at $8.5 million. That comes with the risk, however, of the winger deciding to test next summer’s UFA market. That’s fine if they only see Meier as an option for this season and next but not such a good idea if they want to fit him into their long-term plans.
Friedman doesn’t think there was much linking Philadelphia Flyers forward Kevin Hayes to the Carolina Hurricanes before last Friday’s trade deadline. However, he thinks there could be something with the Columbus Blue Jackets. “Two of his biggest fans – Johnny Gaudreau and Rick Nash – are there.”
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Blue Jackets have a longstanding need for skilled depth at the center position. There was a recent report claiming a team was interested in acquiring Hayes and employing him as a center. Perhaps that unnamed club was the Blue Jackets. We’ll find out in the offseason if there’s anything to it.
Speaking of the Hurricanes, Friedman cited The Athletic’s Michael Russo reporting they contacted the Calgary Flames about center Elias Lindholm. He’s among six Flames who are a year away from UFA eligibility.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: As Friedman observed, the Flames weren’t going to part with Lindholm while they were still battling for a playoff berth in the Western Conference. However, it could be something worth monitoring in the offseason depending on how things shake out for the Flames down the stretch. Those other players Friedman was referring to were probably Mikael Backlund, Tyler Toffoli, Noah Hanifin, Nikita Zadorov and Oliver Kylington.
The Detroit Red Wings are thin on the right side of their blueline after trading Filip Hronek to Vancouver. It’s something they’ll have to address in the offseason.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Perhaps the Red Wings will use one of their two first-rounders in this year’s draft and next year’s draft or one of their three 2023 second-rounders as trade bait this summer to address that need. That’s something The Athletic’s Max Bultman touched on during a recent mailbag segment.
The Wings will have over $32 million in cap space for next season. With that trade capital, they could target cap-strapped clubs with surplus defensemen looking to shed salary this summer.
Friedman believes the Los Angeles Kings made an exploratory call to the Nashville Predators regarding goaltender Juuse Saros.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: A report post-trade deadline out of Nashville indicated the Predators viewed Saros, Roman Josi and Filip Forsberg as their untouchables. It doesn’t hurt to ask, of course, but it appears the Predators are looking at a quick turnaround rather than a major roster rebuild. Saros will be part of that anticipated bounce-back season.