NHL Rumor Mill – August 21, 2023

NHL Rumor Mill – August 21, 2023

A look at some of this season’s notable trade targets in the NHL Rumor Mill.

THE ATHLETIC: Toronto Maple Leafs winger William Nylander and Winnipeg Jets goaltender Connor Hellebuyck are the biggest names atop Shayna Goldman’s recent list of this season’s biggest NHL trade targets.

Goldman noted the Leafs probably don’t want to trade Nylander but that could change if they’re unable to reach an agreement on a contract extension. That would create the risk of losing the 27-year-old winger to free agency next summer.

Toronto Maple Leafs winger William Nylander (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: There was an assumption in the Toronto media earlier this summer that the Leafs could trade Nylander rather than risk losing him for nothing next summer. However, the consensus now seems to be they’ll keep him this season as they pursue that elusive Stanley Cup and deal with the contract situation after that.

Hellebuyck, meanwhile, doesn’t want to be part of a rebuild if that’s the direction the Jets are going. Like Nylander and most on this list, the 30-year-old netminder is slated to become a UFA next summer. He will likely seek a significant raise. Hellebuyck could be moved before the start of the season but most likely it will happen closer to the trade deadline if a deal materializes.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Word out of Winnipeg is the summer goalie market has dried up which explains why Hellebuyck hasn’t been moved. The Jets could hang onto him for the season if they’re in the thick of the playoff standings but could likely peddle him if not for the right offer.

The Jets also face a similar situation with Mark Scheifele. A handful of clubs in need of depth at center, like the Boston Bruins and Minnesota Wild, could be suitors if the 30-year-old center ends up on the trade block.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Wild have more projected trade deadline cap space ($7.6 million) than the Bruins ($1.99 million) as well as more promising young players in their system. They would be better positioned to pursue Scheifele if they choose.

Goldman believes whatever happens with Hellebucyk could affect Anaheim Ducks goaltender John Gibson. He comes with cost certainty as he’s signed through 2026-27 with an annual cap hit of $6.4 million. Gibson’s stats have suffered in recent years but that could be due to backstopping the rebuilding Ducks.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: There’s been nothing new about Gibson’s status since his agent denied an early July report claiming the 30-year-old goalie demanded a trade.

The Carolina Hurricanes could trade Brett Pesce or Brady Skjei if contract extensions aren’t in place for either player by the start of the season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Hurricanes still need more scoring depth, preferably at center. Perhaps Pesce or Skjei become trade bait to address that need.

Teams that couldn’t afford Erik Karlsson could turn to Calgary Flames defenseman Noah Hanifin. He’s only 26 and carries a $4.95 million cap hit for this season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: If those teams are turning to Hanifin they apparently aren’t making any suitable offers yet to the Flames. It’s believed they’ve set their price for the blueliner and will stick with it even if it means starting the season with him in the lineup.

Speaking of the Flames, Elias Lindholm would probably become their best trade chip if he decides not to sign a contract extension.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Lindholm and the Flames have reportedly discussed a contract extension. No word on whether they’re close to a deal. Perhaps we’ll learn more once the calendar flips to September and training camp approaches.

Goldman also anticipates the budget-conscious Arizona Coyotes could move Nick Schmaltz and his backloaded contract. He’s got three years left on his deal so there’s no rush in moving him.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Recent word out of Arizona suggests the Coyotes have changed their focus from shedding expensive contracts to improving year by year. They’re also reluctant to move Schmaltz because of his chemistry with leading scorer Clayton Keller.

Other possible trade targets include Coyotes winger Jason Zucker, Nashville Predators defenseman Tyson Barrie, San Jose Sharks forward Alexander Barabanov, Philadelphia Flyers forwards Travis Konecny and Scott Laughton, Florida Panthers forwards Sam Bennett and Sam Reinhart, and a St. Louis Blues defenseman.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Zucker, Barrie and Reinhart are pending UFAs. If their clubs are out of playoff contention they could hit the trade block.

Goldman noted the difficulty in moving one of the Blues’ top-four defensemen given they’ve all got full no-trade clauses. Torey Krug reportedly declined to waive his clause earlier this summer to go to the Flyers.

Konecny and Laughton seem like a wait-and-see scenario. Flyers management could prefer observing how this season pans out to determine if those two have a place in the club’s future plans. Those players could also need time to see if they want to be part of a rebuild and how long it might take.

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines and Rumors – July 25, 2023

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines and Rumors – July 25, 2023

The Stars sign GM Jim Nill to a contract extension, the Hurricanes sign Tony DeAngelo plus the latest speculation on the Leafs, Rangers and Coyotes in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines and Rumors


THE DALLAS MORNING NEWS: The Stars signed general manager Jim Nill to a two-year contract extension. He is entering his 11th season with the Stars and became the first general manager in franchise history to win the Jim Gregory General Manager of the Year award last season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Nill did a fine job rebuilding the Stars in his early years, weathering some difficult times and bringing in young talent such as Jason Robertson, Roope Hintz and Jake Oettinger. They reached the Stanley Cup Final in 2020 and the Western Conference Final last season.

THE NEWS & OBSERVER: The Carolina Hurricanes have brought back Tony DeAngelo, signing the puck-moving defenseman to a one-year, $1.675 million contract.

DeAngelo, 27, played for the Hurricanes in 2021-22 and was traded to the Philadelphia Flyers last summer, who signed him to a two-year contract worth an average annual value of $5 million. However, the Flyers bought out the final year of his contract earlier this month, making him an unrestricted free agent.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: DeAngelo played a better-disciplined game during his first tenure with the Hurricanes which explains why the Hurricanes brought him back. They had a trade in place with the Flyers earlier this month to acquire him with the latter retaining half of his cap hit but the deal was rejected on a CBA technicality.

The Hurricanes were reportedly among the teams interested in acquiring San Jose Sharks blueliner Erik Karlsson. Signing DeAngelo likely takes them out of the Karlsson sweepstakes.

THE ATHLETIC: Joe Smith reports the Minnesota Wild and goaltender Filip Gustavsson could be headed to arbitration to resolve his contract situation. Gustavsson, 25, is coming off a two-year contract with an AAV of $787,500. He filed for arbitration and his hearing date is Aug. 4.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Gustavsson and the Wild will make their respective contract submissions to the arbitrator 48 hours prior to his scheduled hearing.

CAP FRIENDLY: Speaking of arbitration, Gustavsson is among eight players with hearings scheduled from July 30 (Arizona’s Jack McBain and Boston’s Jeremy Swayman) to Aug. 4 (Gustavsson, Edmonton’s Ryan McLeod, Pittsburgh’s Drew O’Connor and the New York Rangers’ Brandon Scanlin).

Toronto Maple Leafs winger William Nylander (NHL Images).

Others include Boston’s Trent Frederic (Aug. 1) and Anaheim’s Troy Terry.


TORONTO SUN: Steve Simmons believes the Maple Leafs cannot afford to pay William Nylander the $9 million to $10 million annual cap hit that he’s seeking on his next contract. It’s still less than what John Tavares, Auston Matthews and Mitch Marner are currently making.

Simmons doubts the Leafs will get anything close to equal value for Nylander in a trade. He recommends letting the 27-year-old winger play out the final year of his contract and then let him walk via free agency. Simmons argues the Leafs could use the money they would’ve paid Nylander to put toward “all kinds of possibilities for roster movement” between now and next July.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The latest reports on Nylander’s contract negotiations claim they’re not going well with the two sides far apart.

General manager Brad Treliving went through a similar situation in 2021-22 with winger Johnny Gaudreau while GM of the Calgary Flames. He hoped to re-sign Gaudreau but wound up watching the winger depart for Columbus as a free agent last summer.

That’s sparked speculation that Treliving won’t go through the same thing with Nylander. Others, meanwhile, share Simmons’ belief that they should retain him this season as the Leafs chase the Stanley Cup, let him walk next summer and use the cap room to bolster their depth elsewhere.

It’ll be interesting to see how Treliving addresses this. While he won’t get equal value for Nylander in the trade market, he could get a couple of promising young players in return who could blossom into future stars. However, if the “Shanaplan” remains pursuing the Stanley Cup this season, they’ll likely keep Nylander and watch him depart as a free agent next July.

TSN: Travis Yost considers the contract buyout possibilities for the Maple Leafs in the wake of Ilya Samsonov’s contract award via arbitration on Sunday.

With the Leafs now well over the $83.5 million salary cap, Yost believes a buyout is coming before their second buyout window closes barring a cost-cutting trade. He suggests oft-injured goaltender Matt Murray or defenseman T.J. Brodie as candidates, though buying out the latter could hurt their efforts to be a Cup contender this season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Yost also points out that the Leafs could place Murray on long-term injury reserve. However, they would have to be salary-cap compliant once he’s ready to return to the lineup. Of course, if injuries have ended his playing career they can place him on LTIR and buy out Brodie or someone else.

NEW YORK POST: Larry Brooks recently noted an unusually large number of free agents remain unsigned. He wondered how many of them would accept one-year contracts or tryout offers and if the Rangers might be able to tap into that low-cost pool to fill out their roster.

Among the notables that Brooks listed were Max Comtois, Jesse Puljujarvi, Zack Kassian, Anders Bjork, Colin White, Danton Heinen, Austin Watson, Cal Foote and Ethan Bear.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Puljujarvi might not be able to play until much later in the coming season. He underwent double hip surgery and faces a long recovery period.

GOPHNX.COM: In his latest mailbag segment, Craig Morgan was asked about why the Arizona Coyotes didn’t trade Nick Schmaltz this summer given how backloaded his contract was. Morgan believes they’re willing to absorb that cost given their shift to improving year over year as well as Schmaltz’s chemistry with high-scoring winger Clayton Keller.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Morgan believes Keller wouldn’t have been very happy if Schmaltz was traded. He tied the franchise single-season points record (86) in 2022-23 with Schmaltz as his linemate.

Morgan was also asked about the trade rumors that swirled about Coyotes goaltender Karel Vejmelka. While they’re always willing to listen to offers, management hasn’t put Vejmelka on the trade block.

NHL Rumor Mill – May 24, 2023

NHL Rumor Mill – May 24, 2023

Will the Leafs keep their “core four” together after all? What roster priority faces new Flames GM Craig Conroy? What’s the latest Capitals speculation? Find out in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.


TSN: Chris Johnston reports Toronto Maple Leafs team president Brendan Shanahan told the club’s top players – Auston Matthews, John Tavares, Mitch Marner and William Nylander – that they are not likely to be moved. The club’s vision right now is for those “core four” to return next season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Speculation abounded following the Leafs second-round elimination that one of those four would be moved. The consensus was Matthews, who is a year away from unrestricted free agent eligibility, was too valuable to trade and the club would do all it could to re-sign him. Tavares’ no-movement clause meant he wasn’t going anywhere given his stated intent to finish his contract with the Leafs.

Toronto Maple Leafs winger Mitch Marner (NHL Images).

That left Marner and Nylander as the most likely trade candidates with pundits debating which one would get dealt. The belief was either guy would fetch a power forward or a No. 1 defenseman.

If Shanahan intends to keep those four, it means another offseason where the Leafs are hampered by limited salary-cap space to augment the depth around those core players. They have $9.1 million invested in 15 players for 2023-24, though they’ll garner $5.625 million in salary-cap relief if required with Jake Muzzin expected to remain on long-term injury reserve next season.

The only other player who would fetch a quality return is Morgan Rielly and he’s far too valuable to their blueline corps. So, if the Leafs keep their “core four” forwards, don’t expect any blockbuster trade or major free-agent signing this summer that pushes the Leafs over the hump next season.

It’ll just be more of the same. They’ll be a terrific regular-season team that struggles in the playoffs.


CALGARY SUN: Daniel Austin believes addressing Elias Lindholm’s future is among the priorities facing Craig Conroy, who was formally introduced yesterday as the Flames new general manager.

Lindholm is among several Flames (Noah Hanifin, Tyler Toffoli, Mikael Backlund, Nikita Zadorov and Chris Tanev) eligible next summer for unrestricted free-agent status. The 28-year-old center was non-committal about a contract extension during his end-of-season interview but that was before the club fired head coach Darryl Sutter.

Conroy indicated calling Lindholm is among his priorities to determine if he’s changed his mind. He’d love to keep him beyond next season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Conroy indicated that it doesn’t make sense for the Flames to enter next season with seven pending UFAs on the roster. He also said that he’d like to add more youth to his roster core “a little bit” but not change “the core pieces”.

Conroy could decide to peddle some of those UFAs if they’re unwilling to sign contract extensions. The Flames could be worth monitoring during the offseason. They don’t want a repeat of last summer when they lost Johnny Gaudreau to free agency for nothing.


DAILY FACEOFF: Frank Seravalli reports Anthony Mantha has popped up in a few different trade conversations. The 28-year-old winger is signed through next season with a $5.7 million cap hit and is eligible next summer for UFA status.

Seravalli speculates another club might take a flyer on Mantha. However, his struggles this season mean the Capitals won’t get much in return for him.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Capitals might have to retain some of Mantha’s cap hit for next season if they’re keen to move him. I agree with Seravalli that they won’t get much of a return for him.

THE HOCKEY NEWS: Sammi Silber suggested the Arizona Coyotes could offer up some interesting trade options for the Capitals. She noted Clayton Keller’s agents meeting with the Coyotes to discuss the club’s future. While Keller didn’t request a trade, she wondered if he’ll be on the move sooner rather than later.

Silber acknowledged bringing in Keller would be a stretch for the Capitals. The Coyotes will set a high asking price. There’s also the cost of taking on his $7.15 million AAV through 2027-28.

Nick Schmaltz could be another option. He carries a $5.85 million cap hit through 2025-26 but there are injury concerns.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I doubt that the Capitals can afford to get in on Keller or Schmaltz if the Coyotes put them on the trade block. They’ve only got $7.3 million in cap space with 17 players under contract for 2023-24. They also lack sufficient depth in draft picks and prospects to win a bidding war.

NHL Rumor Mill – May 19, 2023

NHL Rumor Mill – May 19, 2023

Check out the latest on the Blues, Islanders and Kraken in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.


STLTODAY.COM: Matthew DeFranks recently noted that Blues general manager Doug Armstrong could use one of his three first-round picks in this year’s draft as trade bait to land a player. They must be 27 or younger, have at least three years remaining on their contract, and be worth giving up one or two picks that could fall between 23 and 32 in the draft order.

DeFranks looked at some possible options that could fit the bill. Winnipeg’s Kyle Connor, Calgary defenseman Rasmus Andersson and Columbus’ Patrik Laine topped his list.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: While anything’s possible, I don’t see Connor, Andersson or Laine being available for the Blues or anyone else this summer. They’re too valuable to their respective clubs.

Arizona Coyotes forward Nick Schmaltz (NHL Images).

Three Arizona Coyotes forwards – Clayton Keller, Nick Schmaltz and Lawson Crouse – would fit the mold.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Schmaltz has frequently surfaced in the rumor mill of late. The Coyotes won’t part with Keller or Crouse unless they asked to be moved.

DeFranks suggested a young New York Rangers forward such as Kaapo Kakko, Alexis Lafreniere or Filip Chytil. He wondered if the Rangers would still want to do business with the Blues following the Pavel Buchnevich and Vladimir Tarasenko trades.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Rangers need to bolster their scoring depth at right wing. Unless they’re planning on flipping one or two picks they get from the Blues to another club to address that need, they’ll likely want a good player in exchange for Kakko, Lafreniere or Chytil. Of the three, Lafreniere seems the more likely candidate as he’s popped up a few times in the rumor mill.

Tampa Bay Lightning winger Brandon Hagel would make sense for the Blues. Ross Colton would be another though he’s a year away from unrestricted free-agent eligibility.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Lightning need to shed salary but I expect them to retain Hagel and Colton.

Edmonton winger Kailer Yamamoto, Philadelphia forward Joel Farabee and Washington defenseman Rasmus Sandin round out DeFranks’ list.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Yamamoto is the most likely to be available. He’s popped up as a cost-cutting trade candidate for the Oilers. The Flyers might consider moving Farabee for the right return as they’re expected to begin rebuilding this summer under new GM Daniel Briere. The Capitals acquired Sandin before the trade deadline so I doubt they’re going to part with him.

To sum up, Schmaltz and Yamamoto seem the more viable trade candidates on this list. However, other options could present themselves as we get closer to the NHL Draft on June 28-29 in Nashville.


THE ATHLETIC: Kevin Kurz recently speculated that Josh Bailey has likely played his final game for the New York Islanders. Despite his reduced production this season and $5 million average annual value, his $3.5 million in actual salary for next season could make him more tradeable.

Kurz suggested teams looking to reach the cap minimum for next season like Arizona and Chicago might take an interest in Bailey. The 33-year-old winger might not care where he goes as long as he gets playing time and a chance to resurrect his career.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Bailey only has one year left on his contract. If a trade isn’t possible the Islanders could buy him out to free up cap room for next season.

Goaltender Semyon Varlamov frequently said he’d like to remain with the Islanders. A league source told Kurz that multiple teams could be interested in the 35-year-old backup if he tests this summer’s free-agent market.

Varlamov could get a three-year deal worth $3 million annually. The Isles probably won’t go that long, preferring a two-year contract.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: If Varlamov really wants to stay perhaps he’ll skip that extra year he might get on the open market. The Isles would probably want to keep him because he and starter Ilya Sorokin are a solid goalie tandem.


THE SEATTLE TIMES: Geoff Baker believes the Seattle Kraken need to tweak their roster for 2023-24 and beyond if they hope to build on this season’s impressive performance.

Baker believes adding “a tougher, more imposing forward or two” should be a priority.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It will be interesting to see how the Kraken’s improvement this season affects general manager Ron Francis’ roster-building program. Perhaps he shares Baker’s view that they need more size and toughness up front. That could be something worth monitoring during the offseason.

NHL Rumor Mill – May 15, 2023

NHL Rumor Mill – May 15, 2023

What next for the Oilers after their postseason elimination? Which clubs might become trade destinations for Connor Hellebuyck? Who could the Avalanche target for their second-line center position? Check out the latest in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.


ESPN.COM: Ryan S. Clark looked at the Edmonton Oilers’ offseason priorities now that they’re eliminated from the 2023 Stanley Cup playoffs.

They have less than $3 million in salary-cap space with defenseman Evan Bouchard due for a new contract. He became a top-pairing option skating alongside trade-deadline acquisition Mattias Ekholm and quarterbacked the league’s top power play.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Edmonton media is still doing their playoff postmortems so there hasn’t been much from them yet regarding the Oilers’ potential offseason plans. I daresay we’ll be hearing more about that in the coming days.

Bouchard came to life when paired with Ekholm. He’s coming off his entry-level contract so Oilers general manager Ken Holland could use his leverage to force the young defenseman into accepting an affordable short-term bridge deal with the promise of a bigger pay raise down the road. That’ll depend, of course, on how much salary Holland can free up this summer.

Forwards Klim Kostin and Ryan McLeod are also slated to become restricted free agents this summer. Meanwhile, trade deadline pickups Nick Bjugstad, Mattias Janmark and Derek Ryan are slated to become unrestricted free agents.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kostin and McLeod should be affordable re-signings. However, they also have arbitration rights which could complicate things. Bjugstad, Janmark and Ryan shouldn’t be expensive to retain but there isn’t sufficient cap space to keep them all unless they accept pay cuts. Maybe one of them gets re-signed while the others hit the open market.

The Oilers’ cap space has occasionally surfaced in the rumor mill as pundits speculated over which players could become cost-cutting candidates. Kailer Yamamoto ($3.1 million through next season), Warren Foegele ($2.75 million), Cody Ceci ($3.25 million through 2024-25) and Brett Kulak ($2.75 million through 2025-26) have come up as trade options. We could find out in the next several weeks whether any of them hit the trade block.

Winnipeg Jets goaltender Connor Hellebuyck (NHL Images).


NEW YORK POST: Larry Brooks speculated that Winnipeg Jets goaltender Connor Hellebuyck will likely be available this summer. The soon-to-be 30-year-old netminder is a year away from UFA status and unlikely to sign an extension after seven seasons with the Jets.

There could be a bidding war for Hellebuyck. He thinks the Pittsburgh Penguins, Ottawa Senators and Los Angeles Kings could be interested.

Brooks believes the New Jersey Devils’ priority should be acquiring a franchise goalie such as Hellebuyck. He proposed offering up winger Jesper Bratt in a package that also draws on depth within their system.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Devils can absorb Hellebuyck’s $6.1 million salary for next season and still have plenty of cap space to re-sign Timo Meier to a hefty raise, especially if they follow Brooks’ advice and peddle Bratt.

Hellebuyck lacks no-trade protection so there’s no problem for the Jets to send him to New Jersey if they get a tempting offer from the Devils. However, the question then becomes whether he wants to stick around beyond next season or test the market where he’s sure to get a lucrative long-term deal worth far more than his current contract.

Bratt as the centerpiece of a package offer could interest the Jets. However, he’s also a restricted free agent with arbitration rights coming off back-to-back 73-point performances with the Devils. The 24-year-old winger is also a year away from UFA eligibility and will seek a big raise over the $5.45 million he earned this summer. That could prove too much of a headache for the Jets to take on.


COLORADO HOCKEY NOW: In a recent mailbag segment, Evan Rawal was asked if he sees any potential trade targets that might work to solve the Avalanche’s second-line center issue.

Rawal mentioned Philadelphia’s Kevin Hayes, Calgary’s Elias Lindholm, Washington’s Evgeny Kuznetsov, Arizona’s Nick Schmaltz, Winnipeg’s Pierre-Luc Dubois and Mark Scheifele, Anaheim’s Adam Henrique and Columbus’ Jack Roslovic.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Rawal looked at the pros and cons of each center. I’ll just throw in my two cents here.

Hayes and Kuznetsov carry average annual values exceeding $7 million. Unless their clubs are willing to retain some salary, they won’t fit for the cap-strapped Avalanche. Scheifele at $6.125 million for next season is also a tight squeeze.

Schmaltz ($5.85 million) is younger and more affordable but his injury history is a red flag. Dubois, meanwhile is a restricted free agent with arbitration rights this summer. He’ll probably become too expensive for the Avs in both return and salary.

Henrique ($5.85 million) is 33 and his best seasons are behind him. Roslovic, 26, carries an affordable $4 million but his production is inconsistent and there are concerns over his defensive game.

Lindholm ($4.8 million) could be the best fit cap-wise if he’s available. However, that could change depending on who the Flames hire as their new general manager and head coach.

NHL Rumor Mill – May 6, 2023

NHL Rumor Mill – May 6, 2023

The Wild could be parting ways with some notable players, an update on the Coyotes’ Nick Schmaltz and a look at the Flyers’ plans for the free-agent market in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.


TWINCITIES.COM: Dane Mizutani believes the Minnesota Wild’s upcoming salary-cap crunch for next season means they may have to part ways with five players this summer. Matt Dumba, Gustav Nyquist, Ryan Reaves, Oskar Sundqvist and John Klingberg are unrestricted free agents but the Wild might not be able to re-sign them all.

THE ATHLETIC: Joe Smith, Michael Russo and Shayna Goldman looked at which players the Wild could re-sign and those they might part ways with. They also believe Dumba, Nyquist, Sundqvist and Klingberg won’t be back. They noted there’s mutual interest from the Wild and Reaves in his return but the Wild must be careful not to overpay.

Minnesota Wild defenseman Matt Dumba (NHL Images)

They also speculate that defensemen Alex Goligoski and Calen Addison could become cost-cutting trade candidates. Goligoski was a frequent healthy scratch and might be willing to waive his no-movement clause to get traded somewhere he can play. It would free up $2 million for next season.

Addison was scratched after the Wild acquired Klingberg down the stretch and the playoffs. There’s a feeling they could be open to trading their top defense prospect following his inconsistent performance this season.

Goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury has said he’s not interested in moving on and is happy to finish the final season of his contract backing up Filip Gustavsson if need be. However, Smith, Russo and Goldman wondered if Fleury might change his mind if the Wild got an offer for him that he might find attractive.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Dumba would love to remain with the Wild but both sides understand that’s not an option because of cap constraints. Reaves is 36 and knows his next contract is his last but he might have to accept a pay cut whether he signs with the Wild or another club.

Goligoski has only a year remaining on his contract with an affordable cap hit but he’s now 37 and his best years are behind him. There might not be much interest in him around the league unless the Wild includes a sweetener in the deal. His no-movement clause could complicate things.

Addison, on the other hand, could have value in the trade market. Despite his struggles this season, the 23-year-old blueliner still had 29 points in 63 games. He’s a restricted free agent coming off his entry-level contract and would be an affordable signing for any club interested in acquiring him. Given the Wild’s cap crunch, they could seek a draft pick or prospect in return.

As for Fleury, he made it quite clear in his end-of-season interview that he’s tired of moving and will honor the final year of his contract with the Wild. He will finish next season in Minnesota.


GOPHNX.COM: In a recent mailbag segment, Craig Morgan was asked if Arizona Coyotes center Nick Schmaltz could become a trade candidate this offseason.

He believes so, noting that Schmaltz’s trade value will never be greater than it is now. The 27-year-old center is unlikely to be a major piece of the puzzle when the Coyotes emerge from their rebuild. However, they’ll have to consider the effect moving him would have upon linemate Clayton Keller as the two had terrific on-ice chemistry.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Schmaltz has three seasons remaining on his contract with a reasonable average annual value of $5.85 million. If the Coyotes shop him the ideal time is before July 1 when his 10-team no-trade clause kicks in.

When healthy, Schmaltz is a productive center who tallied a career-best 59 points last season and 58 points this season, each in 63 games. His injury history is a concern but he reportedly garnered interest from some playoff contenders leading up to the March 3 trade deadline.


THE ATHLETIC: In a recent mailbag segment, Charlie O’Connor was asked if the Philadelphia Flyers would attempt to sign a top-line forward or defenseman via free agency.

O’Connor replied that we shouldn’t hold our breath. Interim general manager Daniel Briere and head coach John Tortorella made it clear that the goal for next season is to get younger, not to go spending in the free-agent market. If the Flyers do make forays into the UFA market, O’Connor believes it’ll be to bring in supporting players on short-term contracts.