NHL Rumor Mill – January 9, 2023

NHL Rumor Mill – January 9, 2023

Could the Bruins make a pitch for Bo Horvat? Will the Wild pursue Brock Boeser? Which teams could become third-party brokers in this season’s trade market? Find out in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.


THE ATHLETIC: In his latest mailbag segment, Fluto Shinzawa was asked if the Boston Bruins could pull off acquiring Bo Horvat from the Vancouver Canucks.

Shinzawa believes it would be a difficult transaction to make. The Bruins would have to meet the Canucks’ asking price, starting with a first-round pick and a high prospect. Next, the Canucks would have to retain half of Horvat’s $5.5 million cap hit or send a salary back to Vancouver. Third, Horvat would have to sign a contract extension with the Bruins.

Nevertheless, Shinzawa believes the short- and long-term benefits of acquiring Horvat would make a deal worth exploring. He felt it would keep the Bruins’ winning window open when Patrice Bergeron and David Krejci eventually retire.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: TSN’s Pierre LeBrun and Darren Dreger have reported that the Canucks want a “hockey trade” rather than a return heavy with future assets. They want one or two young NHL players who can help them now and in the future along with a high draft pick and/or a high-end prospect.

I don’t think the Bruins have the depth to suitably meet the Canucks’ asking price. Given their lofty perch atop the overall standings, they’re not under any pressure to make that type of move before the March 3 trade deadline. With David Pastrnak due for a hefty pay raise this summer, I don’t see Horvat being part of their long-term future.

Vancouver Canucks winger Brock Boeser (NHL Images).

The Bruins could make a move or two before March 3. Barring serious injury to one or two core players, I anticipate it’ll be an affordable depth move rather than pursuing a big-ticket player like Horvat.

VANCOUVER HOCKEY INSIDER: Rob Simpson reports the Minnesota Wild are among the clubs that have spoken to Brock Boeser’s agent about a trade. The Canucks gave his agent permission to speak with other clubs last month.

Boeser, 25, grew up 15 minutes outside Minneapolis and a half-hour from the Wild’s arena in St. Paul. Simpson cites a source “very close to the deliberations” saying the pressure of playing for his hometown team wouldn’t be a problem for the winger.

Simpson believes Boeser would be a good fit with the Wild given their lack of scoring punch at right wing beyond first-liner Mats Zuccarello. He believes he’d be a lethal addition alongside left-winger Matt Boldy.

Boeser carries an annual cap hit of $6.65 million for the next two seasons. The Wild currently has around $6 million in cap space. The Canucks aren’t interested in retaining salary but could reduce their expected asking price. They could try to get hold of a Wild defense prospect like Brock Faber or Carson Lambos or 22-year-old blueliner Calen Addison.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Wild have come up as a trade partner for Boeser in the past. They also have a need for reliable scoring depth at center.

Cap Friendly indicates they currently have $6.5 million in cap space and a projected $14.8 million in trade deadline cap room. If general manager Bill Guerin is interested in Boeser, he could wait until closer to March 3 to take on his prorated cap hit for the remainder of this season.


DAILY FACEOFF: Frank Seravalli recently listed several clubs with cap space that could become “third-party money brokers” in this season’s trade market. He’s referring to a small group of teams that could weaponize their cap space to harvest assets and help other clubs facilitate trades.

Seravalli pointed out we’ve seen this trend in recent years among cap-strapped playoff contenders pulling off three-team trades to acquire a rental player. The selling team retains half of a player’s remaining cap hit and sends him to a team with cap room. That team retains half of the cap hit that they received from the selling club and flips the player and his remaining cap hit to the buying club for an asset like a draft pick. They also receive an asset or two from the selling club.

This season, 19 of the NHL’s 32 clubs are operating within $2 million of the $82.5 million cap. Seravalli suggests the Arizona Coyotes, Chicago Blackhawks, Anaheim Ducks, Columbus Blue Jackets, Buffalo Sabres and Detroit Red Wings could become third-party trade brokers.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Sabres’ recent improvement suggests they might become buyers rather than sellers at this year’s trade deadline. They’re an exciting young team that’s been charging up the Eastern Conference standings of late. GM Kevyn Adams could consider using some of his plentiful cap space to bolster his roster and help his team nail down its first postseason berth in 12 years.