NHL Rumor Mill – July 29, 2023
A look at five centers the Bruins could target to replace Patrice Bergeron, possible cost-cutting trade options for the Senators, and more speculation over whether the Blues will trade a defenseman in today’s NHL Rumor Mill
MORE TRADE SUGGESTIONS FOR THE BRUINS TO REPLACE BERGERON
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I’ve noted previous suggestions linking the Bruins to Lindholm and Scheifele. Lindholm is younger, more affordable and has better all-around skills than Scheifele. However, both players will be expensive to acquire right now, perhaps too expensive for the Bruins to acquire. Boston Hockey Now’s Jimmy Murphy cited a source suggesting the Bruins would have to part with Jake DeBrusk as part of the return to land Lindholm.
Wegman also suggested San Jose Sharks captain Logan Couture. He acknowledged a number of obstacles, such as the 34-year-old Couture’s age, expensive contract and three-team trade clause. Nevertheless, he remains productive and would be worth looking into.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: It wouldn’t hurt to check but I don’t see Couture ending up in Boston. His contract is simply too complicated to move.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Too many red flags around Kuznetsov right now with the biggest being his inconsistent play and $7.8 million average annual value through 2024-25.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I’ll admit anything’s possible and the Bruins could consider that option if there’s nothing more suitable available in the trade market.
However, I expect they’ll likely start the season with Coyle and Zacha and see how things shake out. If they need an upgrade at center, better options could become available near the March trade deadline.
HOW WILL THE SENATORS SHED CAP SPACE AFTER SIGNING TARASENKO
OTTAWA SUN: Bruce Garrioch pointed out the Senators will have to make a cost-cutting trade after signing Vladimir Tarasenko on Thursday to a one-year, $5 million contract. They have roughly $900K in cap room with restricted free agents Shane Pinto and Egor Sokolov to re-sign.
According to Garrioch, the most likely scenario sees the Senators shopping forward Mathieu Joseph before the regular season opens in October. He carries an AAV of $2.95 million through 2025-26.
THE HOCKEY NEWS: Steve Warne also considers Joseph the most likely cost-cutting candidate, though he believes the Senators might have to include a sweetener in the deal.
Defenseman Erik Brannstrom ($2 million) is another option but the Senators might prefer retaining him given how many injuries they had on their blueline last season. Warne also speculated they could play hardball with Pinto and sign him to a one-year, $1 million contract and then ink him to a long-term in the new year.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Better off to move Joseph than to deplete the blueline depth or get into a contract pissing contest with the promising Pinto.
LATEST SPECULATION REGARDING THE BLUES DEFENSE CORPS
THE ATHLETIC: Jeremy Rutherford was recently asked by a reader how the St. Louis Blues intend to address their logjam on the blueline. He noted that general manager Doug Armstrong has said he intends to start the season with eight defensemen on the roster, which means they could send Scott Perunovich to the minors as he’s the only one who’s waiver-exempt.
Rutherford wouldn’t be surprised if Armstrong attempts to pull off a trade before training camp. However, he noted the difficulty the Blues GM had in trying to trade Torey Krug to the Philadelphia Flyers as he invoked his no-trade clause to block that attempt. Armstrong would also likely have to sweeten the pot to move someone like Marco Scandella.