Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – November 27, 2022

Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – November 27, 2022

Could the Sabres be a suitor for Jakob Chychrun? Which defensemen should the Leafs target to shore up their injury-ravaged blueline? Are the Oilers shopping for a forward? Find out in the Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup.

COULD THE SABRES OR LEAFS PURSUE CHYCHRUN?

SPORTSNET: With Jakob Chychrun returning to action last week for the first time this season, Jeff Marek wondered if the Buffalo Sabres might be a dark-horse candidate to acquire the 24-year-old Arizona Coyotes defenseman.

Arizona Coyotes defenseman Jakob Chychrun (NHL Images).

Sabres general manager Kevyn Adams has maintained he’s sticking with youth. However, Marek noted that “there is a feeling out there” that they’re running their young blueliners (Rasmus Dahlin, Owen Power and Mattias Samuelsson) hard this season. He believes they’ve got their young core locked in that doesn’t need any more prospects and need to start putting together their team.

Marek also expects the New York Islanders, Los Angeles Kings and Columbus Blue Jackets will be linked to Chychrun.

TORONTO STAR: Nick Kypreos believes Chychrun would be the best answer to address the Maple Leafs’ banged-up blueline corps. He claims Leafs GM Kyle Dubas had a great interest in the Coyotes’ rearguard from the start and that hasn’t wavered.

Kypreos claims the Leafs will have competition, saying there are believed to be six clubs sniffing around for a deal. Four of the more serious contenders have a wider range of prospects than the Leafs.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Chyrchrun rumor mill will grind away now that he’s returned to action from off-season wrist surgery. So far, he’s looked good in the three games he’s played, collecting three points with a plus-minus of plus-four. The longer he plays, the more interest he’ll draw and perhaps the sooner this year-long saga will come to an end.

The Kings have long been linked to Chychrun and possess considerable depth in prospects and young players to tempt the Coyotes. So do the Blue Jackets, who were rumored to have looked into acquiring him leading up to this year’s draft.

I don’t see where Chychrun’s a fit with the Islanders. They’ve already got two solid left-side defensemen in Adam Pelech and Alexander Romanov plus right-shot Noah Dobson has emerged as their blueline point producer. Their focus over the summer was finding a scoring forward.

The Sabres’ biggest need thus far seems to be reliable goaltending. If they want to bolster their blueline perhaps they’ll consider more affordable, healthier options than Chychrun.

As for the Leafs, I can’t see them outbidding other clubs for Chychrun, especially if the Coyotes insist on getting a couple of first-rounders and a high-end prospect or good young NHL player in return.

MORE PROPOSED LEAFS TRADE TARGETS

Nick Kypreos also suggested several other defensemen that could address their blueline woes if Chychrun wasn’t feasible. One was the Nashville Predators’ Dante Fabbro, who’s a restricted free agent next summer. Word is the Predators are willing to move the right-shot defenseman for the right price. Kypreos believes it could cost the Leafs prospect Matthew Knies.

The other is Vladislav Gavrikov of the Columbus Blue Jackets. He’s slated to become an unrestricted free agent in July and could cost a first-round pick and more to acquire.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I must confess this is the first I’ve heard that Fabbro might be available. Perhaps the right price would be a scoring forward. The Predators, however, won’t be under any significant pressure to move him by the March 3 trade deadline given his RFA status.

I still believe the Blue Jackets will try to retain Gavrikov. Nevertheless, he will draw plenty of interest if he hits the trade market before March 3.

Other options include the Seattle Kraken’s Carson Soucy, the Vancouver Canucks’ Luke Schenn, the Anaheim Ducks’ John Klingberg and the Minnesota Wild’s Matt Dumba.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Soucy and Dumba won’t be going anywhere as long as their clubs remain in playoff contention by the trade deadline. Klingberg, on the other hand, will become available when his no-trade clause expires on Jan. 1. Expect the Ducks to start peddling him between then and deadline day.

OILERS SEEK A FORWARD

SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman believes the Edmonton Oilers are in the market for “edgy”, grinding depth forwards. There’s a feeling since Evander Kane was sidelined that they’re easier to play against. He points out that they’re close to the salary cap and wonders if they can find a budget player to address their needs.










NHL Rumor Mill – November 24, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – November 24, 2022

Check out the latest Canadiens speculation plus a look at some other potential blueline trade targets for the Leafs in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.

LATEST ON THE CANADIENS

MONTREAL HOCKEY NOW: The New Jersey Devils’ rumored interest in Josh Anderson apparently hasn’t waned since the offseason. Canadiens podcaster and former broadcaster Tony Marinaro reports Devils general manager Tom Fitzgerald wants the 28-year-old Canadiens winger badly.

Montreal Canadiens winger Josh Anderson (NHL Images).

Marinaro wonders if the Devils would part with a promising youngster such as Luke Hughes, Simon Nemec or Alexander Holtz in a package deal. It remains to be seen if Canadiens GM Kent Hughes (no relation to Luke or Devils winger Jack Hughes) would be willing to move Anderson.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Marinaro also claims there are a couple of teams besides the Devils who would take Anderson. Assuming the Canadiens are willing to move him, they probably aren’t in any rush to do so at this stage in the season.

If there is interest in Anderson, it might be best to wait until the March 3 trade deadline approaches to start considering serious offers. His value in the trade market could be much higher by that point.

Marco D’Amico recently listed Sean Monahan, Joel Edmundson and Christian Dvorak as the Canadiens’ top-three most valuable trade chips.

D’Amico noted TSN’s Pierre LeBrun recently linked Monahan to the Colorado Avalanche, who could be among several clubs that will be in the market for a second-line center. Edmundson has apparently been the subject of conversations between Hughes and his peers, while the recent improvement of Dvorak could bolster his trade value.

Speaking of Anderson, D’Amico speculated the Calgary Flames and Edmonton Oilers could present irresistible offers to Hughes at some point.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I believe Monahan, Edmundson or Dvorak could be moved before Anderson. Much will depend on where the Canadiens are in the standings leading up to the March 3 trade deadline and what the market is for those players. Given the plethora of defensemen the Canadiens are carrying, maybe Edmundson gets traded first.

MONTREAL GAZETTE: Stu Cowan reports the Canadiens possess a logjam of defensemen with Mike Matheson’s recent return from injury and the rise of promising blueliners like Kaiden Guhle, Jordan Harris, Arber Xhekaj and Johnathan Kovacevic. He also noted there were 19 scouts at Tuesday’s game between the Canadiens and Buffalo Sabres.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Some of those scouts would’ve been there simply because their teams will be playing the Canadiens or Sabres in the near future. However, I daresay some could be there to check out some potential trade bait.

LIST OF POTENTIAL BLUELINE TRADE TARGETS FOR THE LEAFS

THE SCORE: Sean O’Leary recently published a list of 10 defensemen the Toronto Maple Leafs could target to bolster their injury-ravaged blueline.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: O’Leary’s list came out before the Leafs acquired promising rearguard Conor Timmins from the Arizona Coyotes on Nov. 23. However, they could perhaps pursue one of his suggested trade targets if Timmins doesn’t pan out or if Morgan Rielly, Jake Muzzin and TJ Brodie are sidelined longer than expected.

Pending unrestricted free agent options include the Columbus Blue Jackets’ Vladislav Gavrikov, the Washington Capitals’ Dmitry Orlov, the Minnesota Wild’s Matt Dumba, the New Jersey Devils’ Damon Severson, the Seattle Kraken’s Carson Soucy and the Vancouver Canucks’ Luke Schenn.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: As I’ve mentioned before, I don’t see Orlov, Dumba, Severson and Soucy going anywhere as long as their respective teams remain in playoff contention. Gavrikov could be shopped if he hasn’t signed a contract extension before the trade deadline. Schenn will likely become available if the Canucks fail to gain ground in the standings.

Notable defensemen with term remaining on their contracts include the Arizona Coyotes’ Jakob Chychrun, the Boston Bruins’ Mike Reilly and Matt Roy and Sean Walker of the Los Angeles Kings.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The high asking price for Chychrun is likely too rich for the Leafs. Reilly could be a good option but the Bruins may be reluctant to trade him to a division rival. Leafs general manager Kyle Dubas has a trade history with Kings GM Rob Blake so perhaps Roy or Walker would be more likely options here.










NHL Rumor Mill – November 17, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – November 17, 2022

Could the Senators attempt to bring back Erik Karlsson or are there better trade options for them with the Canadiens or Penguins? Should the Leafs target Karlsson or are there better alternatives to address their defense? Check out the latest in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.

COULD THE SENATORS TRY TO REACQUIRE ERIK KARLSSON?

SAN JOSE HOCKEY NOW: Sheng Peng cites Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman speculating the Sharks may have had conversations with the Ottawa Senators regarding Erik Karlsson. In 2018, the Senators traded Karlsson to the Sharks, who signed him to an eight-year contract with an average annual value of $11.5 million.

San Jose Sharks defenseman Erik Karlsson (NHL Images).

Karlsson has never lost his affection for the city of Ottawa and he and his family still maintain a home there. With the 32-year-old defenseman enjoying the best start of his career, Sharks general manager Mike Grier earlier this week indicated he was willing to entertain offers for the blueliner.

Peng points out that trading Karlsson will be difficult given how few teams can afford his contract, which also contains a full no-movement clause. He also noted that Friedman doubted the Senators could afford to do so even if the Sharks agreed to retain 50 percent of Karlsson’s cap hit. That’s because they still want to re-sign winger Alex DeBrincat and defenseman Artem Zub.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Grier’s comments combined with Senators GM Pierre Dorion telling reporters he’s still actively shopping for a defenseman prompted some folks to suggest a reunion with Karlsson. If the Sens had more long-term cap space perhaps there would be a possibility, assuming that Karlsson would waive his NMC to return to Ottawa.

The Senators have $21.7 million of cap space for 2023-24 if the cap only rises by $1 million as originally projected with just 10 players under contract. DeBrincat, Zub and Shane Pinto will eat up a big chunk of that cap room as well as pending UFA goaltender Cam Talbot if they attempt to re-sign him. If not, replacing Talbot could also prove to be expensive.

There is also the question of the Sharks’ asking price. They’re not going to just give Karlsson away, especially if they have to retain a portion of his cap hit to facilitate a trade. They’ll want a decent return, perhaps in the form of a package containing a first-round pick, a high-end prospect and a promising young player like Pinto or Jake Sanderson. And if it becomes a three-team trade to spread the cap hit around, that third team will also want a sweetener.

ARE THERE OTHER BLUELINE TRADE OPTIONS FOR THE SENATORS?

TVA SPORTS: Louis Jean wondered why the Senators didn’t attempt to sign David Savard in 2021 when he became an unrestricted free agent. He felt the 32-year-old rearguard would’ve been a perfect complement for Thomas Chabot.

Savard is currently signed with the Montreal Canadiens through 2024-25 with an AAV of $3.5 million. Jean wondered if Dorion might put in a call to Habs GM Kent Hughes.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Anything’s possible, I suppose, but I don’t see that call taking place. If Dorion wasn’t interested in Savard in 2021, he’s probably not interested now.

PITTSBURGH HOCKEY NOW: Dan Kingerski recently wondered if the Penguins and Senators could become trade partners. In addition to needing defensemen, the Senators could use some help at center with Josh Norris sidelined until at least January with a shoulder injury.

Kingerski suggested Brian Dumoulin and Jeff Carter as short-term options for the Senators since both are slated to become UFAs next summer. Other options could include center Teddy Blueger and defensemen such as Mark Friedman or Ty Smith.

In return, Kingerski suggested the Senators part with Alex Formenton. The Sens have until Dec. 1 to sign the RFA winger or he’ll become ineligible to play in the NHL this season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Senators could be on Dumoulin’s 10-team no-trade list and I don’t see Carter agreeing to waive his no-movement clause to go to Ottawa. If Dorion were interested in the Penguins’ defensemen I believe he’d prefer Marcus Pettersson or Pierre-Olivier Joseph than Friedman or Smith.

LATEST LEAFS SPECULATION

TORONTO STAR: Nick Kypreos proposed a way for the Maple Leafs to acquire Erik Karlsson. “Could the Leafs get the Sharks to take (Jake) Muzzin’s contract back, retain salary, and build a deal around top prospect Matthews Knies?”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Why would the Sharks want Muzzin’s contract? He’s earning a $5.6 million AAV through 2024-25 with a full no-trade clause this season. They could agree to that if the Leafs are taking Karlsson’s full cap hit through 2026-27 off their books, assuming Muzzin agrees to be shipped to the Sharks.

I’m assuming the “retain salary” bit refers to the Sharks’ absorbing part of Karlsson’s $11.5 million AAV. However, if they’re taking on Muzzin’s contract, why would they retain any part of Karlsson’s cap hit? Sorry, I don’t see that happening.

DAILY FACEOFF: Frank Seravalli lists six trade options for the Leafs to replace Muzzin by using his placement on long-term injured reserve to acquire a defenseman.

The Anaheim Ducks’ John Klingberg tops Seravalli’s list, followed by the Columbus Blue Jackets’ Vladislav Gavrikov and the Los Angeles Kings’ Matt Roy. The Seattle Kraken’s Carson Soucy and the Washington Capitals’ Nick Jensen or Dmitry Orlov round out the list. He also suggested keeping an eye on the Minnesota Wild’s Matt Dumba.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Those defensemen likely won’t be available until close to the March 3 trade deadline.

Klingberg isn’t a shutdown blueliner like Muzzin so I don’t see him as a good fit for the Leafs. Gavrikov could be a better option but I think the Jackets intend to re-sign him.

Seravalli points out the Kings have a surplus of defensemen and Roy has another year on his contract. However, they could be reluctant to part with him given his adaptability and ability to play big minutes. Seravalli also admitted Soucy might not be available yet given the Kraken have exceeded expectations thus far this season. I agree that he could be an intriguing option if the Kraken are out of playoff contention by March and looking to sell.

The Capitals could go into sell mode if they’re out of a playoff berth before the March trade deadline. However, I see them improving as their injury-ravaged roster gets healthier, which could put Jensen or Orlov out of reach. As for Dumba, his status could depend on where the Wild are in the standings as March approaches.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 15, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 15, 2022

Recaps of Monday’s games, the Hockey Hall of Fame Class of 2022 is inducted, the three stars of the week are revealed, and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: The St. Louis Blues held off the Colorado Avalanche 3-2 on a third-period power-play goal by Jordan Kyrou. Jordan Binnington stopped 45 shots while Robert Thomas had a goal and an assist for the Blues (6-8-0), who’ve now won three straight games. The Avalanche (8-5-1) got a 36-save effort from Alexandar Georgiev while Mikko Rantanen tallied a goal and collected an assist.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Before the game, the Avalanche announced that Kurtis MacDermid would be sidelined for four-to-six weeks with a lower-body injury. They also placed sidelined forward Shane Bowers (upper body) on injured reserve.

Calgary Flames winger Jonathan Huberdeau (NHL Images).

Calgary Flames winger Jonathan Huberdeau tallied his 200th career NHL goal as his club held on to nip the Los Angeles Kings 6-5 and improve their record to 7-6-2. Tyler Toffoli and Elias Lindholm each had a goal and two assists for the Flames while Arthur Kaliyev scored twice for the 10-7-1 Kings.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Huberdeau was returning to action after missing the last three games with an injured foot. Coming off a career-best 115-point performance with the Florida Panthers in 2021-22, he’s having a slow start with his new club this season with seven points in 12 games.

Carolina Hurricanes goaltender Pyotr Kochetkov made 27 saves for his first career NHL shutout in a 3-0 victory over the Chicago Blackhawks. Jordan Staal and Jordan Martinook each had a goal and an assist for the Hurricanes as they improved their record to 10-5-1 while the Blackhawks dropped to 6-6-3.

The New York Islanders got a 36-save performance from Semyon Varlamov to double up the Ottawa Senators 4-2. Mathew Barzal collected two assists for the 11-6-0 Islanders. Claude Giroux and Tim Stutzle each had two points for the Senators as they fall to 5-9-1. Giroux extended his points streak to nine games.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Barzal is tied with Brock Nelson as the Islanders’ leading scorer this season with 18 points. He has yet to score a goal.

HEADLINES

NHL.COM: The Hockey Hall of Fame’s Class of 2022 was officially inducted on Monday night. The six members included former Ottawa Senators captain Daniel Alfredsson, former NHL goaltender Roberto Luongo and former Vancouver Canucks forwards Daniel and Henrik Sedin. Finnish women’s hockey star Riikka Sallinen and pioneering Black hockey star Herb Carnegie were also inducted.

PHILLY HOCKEY NOW: Bill Clement and Al Morganti were inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame for media excellence.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Congratulations to the Class of 2022 for their well-deserved honors.

NHL.COM: Colorado Avalanche winger Mikko Rantanen, Boston Bruins goaltender Linus Ullmark and New York Rangers defenseman Adam Fox were the NHL three stars for the week ending Nov. 13, 2022.

THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH: Blue Jackets winger Patrik Laine will be sidelined for three-to-four weeks with a sprained ankle. He’s the latest member of the injury-ravaged club to be sidelined, joining Zach Werenski, Jakub Voracek, Nick Blankenburg, Justin Danforth and Adam Boqvist.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Jackets are also sitting at the bottom of the Eastern Conference standings with nine points in 14 games. This rash of injuries will only make it more difficult for this club to climb out of that increasingly deep hole.

TSN: The Toronto Maple Leafs announced defenseman Jake Muzzin is sidelined indefinitely with a cervical spine injury and will be re-evaluated in February. Fellow blueliner T.J. Brodie is expected to miss two weeks with an oblique injury.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The absence of Muzzin and Brodie has some pundits suggesting general manager Kyle Dubas should make a trade to bolster their injury-ravaged blueline. I’ll have more about this in today’s NHL rumor mill.

DAILY FACEOFF: Arizona Coyotes defenseman Jakob Chychrun and center Nick Schmaltz are set to return to the lineup next week. Chychrun has been sidelined by off-season wrist surgery while Schmaltz has been sidelined by a rib injury since the Coyotes’ season opener.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Chychrun’s been a fixture in the trade rumor mill for months. Expect the speculation to ramp up once he resumes playing.

NHL.COM: Seattle Kraken defenseman Carson Soucy was fined $5,000.00 by the department of player safety for roughing Winnipeg Jets center Pierre-Luc Dubois on Sunday.

SAN JOSE HOCKEY NOW/CBS SPORTS: Sharks defenseman Radim Simek has been placed on IR with an upper-body injury while blueliner Nikolai Knyzhov (Achilles) has been placed on long-term injury reserve.

WGR 550: Buffalo Sabres forward Jack Quinn will be sidelined this week with an undisclosed injury.










NHL Rumor Mill – March 24, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – March 24, 2022

Could Claude Giroux join the Senators in the offseason? Why didn’t the Coyotes trade Jakob Chychrun and Phil Kessel at the deadline? What other interesting tidbits emerged from the recent trade deadline? Find out in today’s NHL rumor mill.

COULD GIROUX JOIN THE SENATORS THIS SUMMER?

SPORTSNET: In his latest “32 Thoughts”, Elliotte Friedman said he believes Florida Panthers forward Claude Giroux “is doing his research” on the Ottawa Senators. He adds there’s no guarantee it happens.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This isn’t the first time speculation has surfaced linking Giroux, an Ottawa native, to the Senators. It’s easy to dismiss the notion of the 34-year-old joining the Senators at this stage in his career given the club’s difficulties emerging from its much-ballyhooed rebuild. Still, never say never.

WHY DIDN’T THE COYOTES MOVE CHYCHRUN OR KESSEL ON DEADLINE DAY?

GOPHNX.COM: Craig Morgan reports no team will willing to meet the high asking price Arizona Coyotes general manager Bill Armstrong set for defenseman Jakob Chychrun. Armstrong hinted some of the teams he was dealing with had the pieces to make the deal but they didn’t want to break apart their rosters. He anticipates greater trade opportunities for the 23-year-old blueliner this summer, expressing his willingness to listen to offers.

Arizona Coyotes defenseman Jakob Chychrun (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Ottawa Sun’s Bruce Garrioch reported Armstrong’s price tag for Chychrun kept changing, settling on three first-round picks and a high-end prospect. Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman claimed the return the Montreal Canadiens received from the Florida Panthers for Ben Chiarot drove up the Coyotes’ asking price.

The Athletic’s Pierre LeBrun mentioned the Los Angeles Kings and Boston Bruins among the suitors. The latter might not be among those calling about Chychrun this summer given their acquisition and signing of Hampus Lindholm on Sunday.

Morgan reports Phil Kessel wanted a trade to a playoff contender since the start of this season and his camp wasn’t happy that a deal failed to materialize. The Coyotes’ $6.8 million share of his $8 million annual average value was the sticking point, as retaining half of it would’ve left an acquiring team picking up $3.4 million. Teams weren’t willing to acquire that hit. The Coyotes weren’t able to retain any more salary after doing so to ship Johan Larsson to the Washington Capitals.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: As Morgan observes, Kessel’s next chance to join a playoff contender will be this summer as an unrestricted free agent. He’ll have to accept a significant pay cut to do so.

MORE RUMOR TIDBITS FROM FRIEDMAN’S LATEST “32 THOUGHTS”

SPORTSNET: Regarding the possibility of the Vegas Golden Knights trading Evgenii Dadonov to a non-playoff club following the deadline, league bylaws prevent him from playing for the remainder of the season. Friedman speculates the Arizona Coyotes could be a trade partner if they’re not blocked by the league. The Seattle Kraken could be another given their cap room.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Bear in mind Dadonov wouldn’t be a rental player. He’s signed through next season with an annual cap hit of $5 million.

The Montreal Canadiens could be an offseason destination for Colin White. Canadiens GM Kent Hughes is White’s former agent and negotiated the 25-year-old center’s current contract with the Ottawa Senators. The Habs and Senators had some trade conversations before the trade deadline.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: White struggled in the two seasons following his 41-point performance in 2018-19. He was sidelined most of this season with a dislocated shoulder. Perhaps a change of scenery will help him regain his promising form. He’s signed through 2024-25 with an annual average value of $4.75 million.

Zdeno Chara drew lots of interest at the trade deadline. New York Islanders GM Lou Lamoriello kept his promise to Chara and Andy Greene that they would finish the season with the club.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The 45-year-old Chara is an unrestricted free agent this summer. Perhaps one of those interested clubs will try to sign him if he doesn’t opt for retirement.

Seattle Kraken defenseman Carson Soucy drew a lot of attention but the club resisted all inquiries.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Soucy has a year remaining on his contract. The Kraken could attempt to sign him this summer to an extension if they see him as a key part of their future.










NHL Rumor Mill – March 12, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – March 12, 2022

The latest on Hampus Lindholm, Josh Manson, Rickard Rakell, Marc-Andre Fleury, Dominik Kubalik, Max Domi and Joel Armia plus updates on the Blues and Senators in today’s NHL rumor mill.

NO LONG-TERM CONTRACT OFFERS FOR LINDHOLM, MANSON AND RAKELL?

THE ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER: Elliott Teaford reports scuttlebutt around the league suggests defensemen Hampus Lindholm and Josh Manson and winger Rickard Rakell won’t get long-term contract extension offers from the Anaheim Ducks. Pat Verbeek, their new general manager, is said to favor three- or four-year extension offers (or possibly shorter) rather than six- to eight years deals.

Anaheim Ducks defenseman Hampus Lindholm (NHL Images).

Verbeek’s priority is believed to be signing Lindholm. He’s the only one of those three pending unrestricted free agents the Ducks GM mentioned by name during a recent meeting with season-ticket holders.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Verbeek will have to make the money worth their while if he hopes to get those three to sign deals that are at most four years in length. Otherwise, he should start peddling those three now because I doubt they’ll take less than market value cap-wise on short-term deals to stay in Anaheim.

The annual average value of Lindholm’s current contract is $5.205 million but he’s earning $6.75 million in actual salary. He could seek at least $7 million annually on his next contract.

LATEST ON FLEURY AND KUBALIK

CHICAGO SUN-TIMES: Ben Pope reports Blackhawks goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury hopes to avoid this summer’s free-agent market by re-signing with the Hawks or inking an extension with whichever club might acquire him at the trade deadline. Pope also reported the Ducks and Edmonton Oilers have been linked to Blackhawks winger Dominik Kubalik.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Fleury is an unrestricted free agent this summer. He could be amenable to a one-year contract but could seek something not too far below his current annual average value of $7 million.

Kubalik is a restricted free agent with arbitration rights who’s a year away from UFA eligibility. He’s earning an annual average value of $3.7 million while his actual salary this season is $4 million. Maybe the Ducks are eyeing the 26-year-old winger as a possible replacement for Rakell.

TEAMS INTERESTED IN DOMI AND ARMIA

TSN: Darren Dreger reports there’s a higher level of interest in the trade market for Max Domi. The Columbus Blue Jackets winger has elevated his play in recent games. Dreger noted Domi may not be among the top tier of players in the trade market but he’s not that far below.

MONTREAL HOCKEY NOW: Marco D’Amico also cited Dreger reporting the Canadiens have fielded some calls about forward Joel Armia based on his playoff performance over the past two seasons. D’Amico points out Armia has three more seasons left on his contract with an annual average value of $3.4 million, suggesting the Canadiens might have to retain some salary to move him or take back a contract in return.

LATEST ON THE BLUES AND SENATORS

THE ATHLETIC: Jeremy Rutherford weighed in on some of the recent trade speculations regarding the St. Louis Blues. One source said they’re no longer involved in talks with the Seattle Kraken regarding Mark Giordano while Arizona Coyotes defenseman Jakob Chychrun isn’t the blueliner they’re focused on as they seek a shutdown rearguard.

The Blues remain interested in the Montreal Canadiens’ Ben Chiarot and the Seattle Kraken’s Carson Soucy. They’re also seeking a fourth-line penalty-killing forward.

Rutherford acknowledged the trade speculation linking the Blues to Philadelphia Flyers captain Claude Giroux. While not ruling it out, he considers the addition of Giroux a long shot citing his contract and the Blues’ depth at forward.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Blues are also bumping up against the $81.5 million salary cap. It will take some creativity to acquire Chiarot or Soucy even though they carry affordable cap hits. It could take a three-team deal to bring Giroux to St. Louis.

OTTAWA SUN: Bruce Garrioch reports Senators GM Pierre Dorion is ready to deal but things are quiet right now in the trade market. He’s willing to move defensemen Michael Del Zotto and Josh Brown and forwards Chris Tierney and Zach Sanford.

Teams are expressing interest in pending UFA forward Nick Paul and goaltender Anton Forsberg. However, the Senators are focused on keeping them.