NHL Rumor Mill – December 16, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – December 16, 2022

Check out the latest on Ryan O’Reilly, Bo Horvat, Brock Boeser, Jakob Chychrun, Patrick Kane, and more in today’s NHL rumor mill.

NOTE: The NHL’s annual holiday roster freeze begins at 11:59 pm ET on Monday, Dec. 19, 2022, and expires at 12:01 am ET on Wednesday, Dec. 28, 2022. 

THE ATHLETIC (subscription required): published the first installment of their 2022-23 NHL trade board featuring 25 potential trade candidates. Among the notable tidbits:

St. Louis Blues captain Ryan O’Reilly (NHL Images)

Pierre LeBrun believes the St. Louis Blues could start listening to offers in the new year for center Ryan O’Reilly. LeBrun thinks the Toronto Maple Leafs have talked internally about the Blues pending UFA captain. He also believes the Colorado Avalanche would be a sensible destination.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Blues could listen to offers but I think they’d like to re-sign O’Reilly. There will be plenty of interest if he hits the trade block. Whether the Leafs can win a bidding war for his services is another matter. However, Vladimir Tarasenko seems the most likely to be dealt by the Blues, though his full no-trade clause gives him control over where he could go.

The Colorado Avalanche could be a fit for Bo Horvat if the Vancouver Canucks decide to trade their captain before the March 3 trade deadline.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: TSN’s Darren Dreger believes the Canucks want to free up salary cap space if they move Horvat or winger Brock Boeser. However, they’d also like to add a young NHL centerman and a young NHL defenseman.

Speaking of Boeser, LeBrun claimed the Minnesota Wild have spoken to the Canucks about the 25-year-old winger. Cap space, however, is an issue and the Canucks don’t want to retain any salary. They could take back a contract in return but clearing maximum cap space in a Boeser trade is important to them.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: In other words, they’ll take back a salary that is considerably less than Boeser’s $6.65 million average annual value on a contract that extends past this season. It’s also been previously reported that they might take on an expiring contract depending on what else is included in the return.

LeBrun considers the Ottawa Senators as the destination that makes the most sense to him for defenseman Jakob Chychrun. However, he’s not sure they’ll pay the Arizona Coyotes’ high asking price. He also wondered if the Los Angeles Kings might be a fit.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Chychrun continues playing well since his return from offseason wrist surgery with nine points in 11 games and a plus-minus of plus-five. Someone will step up before the trade deadline and meet the Coyotes’ asking price if he stays healthy and maintains that level of performance. Whether it’s the Senators or Kings remains to be seen.

The New York Rangers will have to improve if they hope to be an enticing destination for Patrick Kane, assuming the Chicago Blackhawks star agrees to be traded.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That’s also assuming the Rangers can afford the Blackhawks’ asking price. They’ll likely want at least a first-round pick plus a top prospect or a good young NHL player as part of the return.

Michael Russo reported there’s chatter the Edmonton Oilers could be interested in Anaheim Ducks defenseman John Klingberg.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Appearing on TSN’s “Insider Trading” on Thursday, Pierre LeBrun reported the Oilers have been internally discussing the merits of Klingberg and of Montreal Canadiens blueliner Joel Edmundson. He said the Canadiens aren’t looking to move Edmundson but could be willing to listen to offers.

Russo also believes the Florida Panthers don’t want to trade Anthony Duclair but might not have much choice if they can’t clear sufficient cap space for the winger’s return from a torn Achilles tendon.

NHL Rumor Mill – May 30, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – May 30, 2022

More speculation over the Blues’ offseason plan, the Canadiens’ Christian Dvorak could be a trade candidate and the latest on the Penguins in today’s NHL rumor mill.


STLTODAY.COM: Ben Frederickson reports it’s been whispered Vladimir Tarasenko has decided he wants to remain with the St. Louis Blues after last summer’s drama following his trade request led to a solid bounce-back season for the 30-year-old winger. He believes Tarasenko and the Blues belong together and hopes the winger and general manager Doug Armstrong agree.

St. Louis Blues winger Vladimir Tarasenko (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Armstrong had difficulty finding a suitable trade partner last summer for Tarasenko, who’d been hampered by shoulder injuries the previous two years. His team-leading, career-best 82-point performance this season should considerably improve his trade value if he still wants out.

Tarasenko has one season remaining on his contract with an annual average value of $7.5 million but with an actual salary of $5.5 million, which could also make him enticing in the trade market. He also carries a full no-trade clause, giving him control over potential destinations.

Armstrong could hang onto Tarasenko for another run at the Stanley Cup next season. Given the winger’s UFA status next summer, however, he could quietly revisit his trade conversations from last summer if Tarasenko’s future in St. Louis remains uncertain.

Frederickson suggests the Blues thank goaltender Ville Husso for his service during the regular season and allow him to depart via free agency. With limited salary-cap space and Jordan Binnington having salvaged his season with a strong playoff performance, it may be time for Charlie Lindgren to sink or swim as his backup.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Frederickson’s colleague Jim Thomas disagrees, believing the Blues should prioritize re-signing Husso given their lack of a clear-cut replacement within their organization. He noted the 27-year-old saved the Blues season when Binnington was floundering. The club has also invested a lot of time in his development. We’ll find out by July 13 which way Armstrong goes with his goaltending.

Regarding pending UFA David Perron, Frederickson believes the Blues should do all they can to keep him in the fold. He also recommended shopping forward Ivan Barbashev while the 60-point winger’s value is high if it’ll free up cap room given their depth up front.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Cap Friendly shows the Blues with $9.775 million in projected cap space. Perron and Husso are their main UFAs while Scott Perunovich and Niko Mikkola are restricted free agents.

Shipping out Tarasenko would clear considerable cap room to retain most of their key free agents and perhaps bolster their defense corps. Moving Barbashev would help if they keep Tarasenko but there won’t be much for other additions unless it’s a dollar-for-dollar swap for another player.


MONTREAL HOCKEY NOW: Jimmy Murphy recently cited a source saying Christian Dvorak’s name is out there in the trade market. He isn’t saying the Canadiens will trade the 26-year-old center but it sounds like teams are making inquiries.

It’s also no secret Canadiens defenseman Jeff Petry is also being shopped and has been since requesting a trade during the regular season. If Petry and his $6.25 million annual cap hit gets moved this summer, Murphy wonders if GM Ken Hughes will attempt to do the same with Dvorak and his $4.4 million AAV.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: A lot will depend upon whether the Canadiens can divest themselves of the remainder of the permanently-sidelined Shea Weber’s contract. There were reports claiming they were close to moving it to the Arizona Coyotes at the trade deadline but it fell through because of the delay in sorting out the insurance issues.

Recent speculation suggests Hughes and the Coyotes could revisit that deal. If so, there might not be as much pressure to shed Dvorak’s contract, especially if Petry gets moved.


PITTSBURGH HOCKEY NOW: Dan Kingerski believes the Penguins’ objective shouldn’t be finding a way to replace Kris Letang. Instead, they should re-sign the pending UFA defenseman but replace others on the blueline corps.

Kingerski believes the Penguins can’t afford to lose Letang’s offense considering the lack of production among their other defensemen. He recommended retaining Mike Matheson following his bounce-back performance this season and the affordable Mark Friedman. He called on management to shop blueliners such as Marcus Pettersson and John Marino and use the cap savings to improve the defense.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: An interesting suggestion but Penguins management might not see it that way. Then again, there has been speculation linking Marino to the Vancouver Canucks, so maybe they can shed him and perhaps Pettersson and find suitable replacements via trade or free agency.