A look at some of this summer’s notable unrestricted free agents in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.
SPORTSNET: Luke Fox recently examined where things stand with this summer’s top notable NHL unrestricted free agents. Here’s a look at some of the more interesting ones:
Patrick Kane, New York Rangers: He’ll have to take a significant pay cut if he wants to remain with the Rangers beyond this season. New York general manager Chris Drury would also have to make some hard decisions regarding restricted free agents such as K’Andre Miller, Filip Chytil and Alexis Lafreniere.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Cap Friendly shows the Rangers with $16.8 million in cap space with 13 roster players under contract for 2023-24. In addition to re-signing those key RFAs, the Blueshirts must re-sign or replace backup goaltender Jaroslav Halak. I don’t see Kane on Broadway beyond this season unless Drury parts ways with Chytil and Lafreniere or makes a significant cost-cutting trade elsewhere.
Ryan O’Reilly, Toronto Maple Leafs: O’Reilly may be the most coveted center in this summer’s UFA market. He’s quickly fit in with the Maple Leafs but his former club, the St. Louis Blues, hasn’t ruled out bringing him back this summer.
Toronto Maple Leafs center Ryan O’Reilly (NHL Images)
Fox speculates O’Reilly could point to Nazem Kadri’s $7 million average annual value with the Calgary Flames as a comparable. He wondered if the 32-year-old center would take a little less to stay in Toronto.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: O’Reilly earned $7.5 million annually on his current contract. The Leafs have $9 million in cap space for next season with 14 roster players under contract but they could get another $5.6 million in wiggle room if Jake Muzzin remains on long-term injury reserve.
That might leave enough to re-sign O’Reilly if he’s willing to accept $5 million annually. However, he might not get that opportunity if the Leafs make another first-round playoff exit.
Vladimir Tarasenko, New York Rangers: Given the Rangers’ cap limitations and the RFAs to be re-signed, Fox believes Tarasenko will be hitting the open market on July 1. He anticipates the 31-year-old winger will be among this summer’s most-pursued UFAs.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: No argument here.
Matt Dumba, Minnesota Wild: Dumba understands that his tenure with the cap-strapped Minnesota Wild is coming to an end. He was frequently subject to trade rumors with Edmonton, Vancouver and Ottawa kicking tires. However, Wild GM Bill Guerin refused to move Dumba unless he got a comparable return.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Dumba is completing a five-year, $30 million contract. The decline in his performance will affect his free-agent value. He’ll land with another NHL team but I’ll be surprised if he gets a similar contract this summer.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: That will depend on Bertuzzi’s performance with the Bruins in his first-ever NHL postseason and if the oft-injured winger remains healthy.
Tristan Jarry, Pittsburgh Penguins: The oft-injured goaltender’s future with the Penguins could depend on his performance in the playoffs. He’s never won an NHL postseason series.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Another first-round exit and Jarry could be heading to the UFA market on July 1 regardless of whether he wants to remain a Penguin.
Michael Bunting, Toronto Maple Leafs: Fox wondered if the Leafs acquisition of Ryan O’Reilly would make re-signing Bunting less of a priority. He also noted that Leafs GM Kyle Dubas would want to see playoff improvement from his free agents.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Dubas might not be in any position to decide Bunting’s future or those of the Leafs’ other free agents if they fail to at least get past the opening round of the 2023 playoffs.
Bruins Sign David Pastrnak, Acquire Tyler Bertuzzi From Red Wings
It’s been a busy morning for the Boston Bruins.
The biggest news is they re-signed David Pastrnak to an eight-year, $90-million contract extension. The annual average value is $11.25 million with a full no-movement clause in the first five years and a modified no-trade for the final three.
Boston Bruins winger David Pastrnak (NHL Images).
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Boom goes that silly illusion that Pastrnak should accept a “hometown discount” of $8 million annually for eight years.
The Bruins had the 26-year-old winger for the past six years on a bargain deal of $6.7 million annually. Over the course of that contract, Pastrnak became an elite scorer, sitting fifth in total goals (223) and winning the Richard Trophy in 2020. He’s currently on pace to become the first Bruin to enjoy a 50-goal season since Cam Neely in 1993-94.
Pastrnak is poised to become the Bruins’ franchise player with Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand in the twilight of their careers. Indeed, the case can be made that he already is their franchise player.
The Bruins couldn’t afford to lose Pastrnak. His new cap hit is comparable to what Toronto’s Auston Matthews (another Richard Trophy winner) is earning on his contract. Yes, it’s expensive, but that’s the cost of keeping a superstar.
The Bruins also made another trade, acquiring Tyler Bertuzzi from the Detroit Red Wings in exchange for a conditional first-round pick in 2024 (top-10 protected) and a fourth-rounder in 2025. The Wings are also retaining half of Bertuzzi’s $4.75 million cap hit for this season.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: This move should provide the Bruins with impressive depth at left wing with Bertuzzi joining Taylor Hall and Brad Marchand for the remainder of the season. However, this deal may have been made due to a lower-body injury suffered by Hall on Monday. That could mean he’ll be sidelined longer than just a few games.
Whatever the motivation for acquiring Bertuzzi, it’s a significant move by Bruins general manager Don Sweeney. It comes a week after bringing in Dmitry Orlov and Garnet Hathaway from Washington. When healthy, the 28-year-old Bertuzzi is an agitating winger with a good scoring touch, tallying 30 goals in 68 games last season.
Bertuzzi is the second player traded by the Red Wings in as many days with Filip Hronek getting shipped to Vancouver yesterday. Wings general manager Steve Yzerman might not be done as he’s also reportedly looking at moving Jakub Vrana and Filip Zadina.
ESPN.COM: Emily Kaplan reported a lot of teams have an interest in Vancouver Canucks winger Brock Boeser. However, a lot of them have balked at his $6.65 million average annual value through 2024-25. The Canucks are open to retaining part of the 25-year-old winger’s cap hit if it helps them net a good return. They’ve even spoken of including draft capital in the deal.
Vancouver Canucks winger Brock Boeser (NHL Images).
CHEK TV’s Rick Dhaliwal reported yesterday that a Boeser trade is not close. He’s expected to play tonight against the Minnesota Wild. Two teams are calling about the winger but his contract is difficult to move and Dhaliwal doubts the Canucks have much of an appetite to retain much salary. They’re also not about to give him away. Dhaliwal considers Boeser easier to move in the offseason when teams have more cap space to work with.
THE PROVINCE: Patrick Johnston reports Boeser acknowledged hearing his name in trade rumors before but this year it feels more real. Some of that is because the Canucks have authorized his agent to speak with other clubs about trading for him.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I’ve been saying the same thing about Boeser since he first surfaced in the rumor mill this season. If the Canucks want to move his entire cap hit from their books, the summer is the best time to do it. However, they’ll have to work quickly. Once the free-agent market opens on July 1, the number of teams with the cap space to take on his cap hit will quickly dwindle.
COULD TYLER BERTUZZI BE THE NEXT RED WING TO BE TRADED?
**UPDATE** The Red Wings traded Bertuzzi this morning to the Boston Bruins for a conditional first-round pick in 2024 (top-10 protected) and a 2025 fourth-rounder. The Wings have retained 50 percent of Bertuzzi’s $4.75 million cap hit for this season.
DETROIT HOCKEY NOW: Bob Duff reports growing speculation regarding Tyler Betuzzi’s future with the Red Wings following the club’s trade of Filip Hronek to Vancouver yesterday. The 28-year-old winger is slated to become an unrestricted free agent this summer.
MLIVE.COM: Ansar Khan considers Bertuzzi the Wings’ best trade chip heading toward Friday’s deadline. They can’t risk losing him this summer to free agency. Bertuzzi could fetch a decent return.
Wings general manager Steve Yzerman would also like to move struggling winger Jakub Vrana. However, he has a year remaining on his contract at $5.25 million and the Wings might have to retain some of his salary to move him. Winger Filip Zadina could also be available but his lack of production and the two years remaining on his contract at $1.825 million annually could hurt his trade value.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Bertuzzi should generate interest from playoff contenders or perhaps clubs seeking a top-six winger willing to attempt to sign him to a contract extension. The Leafs, Stars and Oilers all lack sufficient cap space to acquire him. The Hurricanes still have some wiggle room with $2.6 million in projected cap space after acquiring defenseman Shayne Gostisbehere yesterday.
LATEST FLYERS SPECULATION
TSN: Darren Dreger yesterday reported the Philadelphia Flyers are taking calls on Ivan Provorov. The 26-year-old defenseman carries an AAV of $6.25 million for two more seasons. Dreger believes it would take a significant offer to convince the Flyers to move him.
ESPN.COM: Emily Kaplan reported the Flyers are trying to move Provorov but a deal hasn’t emerged yet. Meanwhile, she believes there’s a limited market this week for forward Kevin Hayes even if the Flyers retained part of his $7.1 million cap hit. Pending UFA winger James van Riemsdyk remains the most likely to be moved by Friday’s deadline.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Flyers could surprise by shipping out Provorov and/or Hayes, which would certainly provide some excitement for what’s shaping up to be a quiet deadline day. However, I agree with Kaplan that van Riemsdyk is the most likely to be traded, and I can see the Flyers retaining part of his $7 million AAV for the right return.
ESPN’s Greg Wyshynski tweeted that Jackets GM Jarmo Kekalainen said he’s communicated with Quick and his agent. He said he has the utmost respect for the goaltender and his career and will “try to do the right thing” for him.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Quick’s performance really declined this season which is why the Kings decided to trade him for Joonas Korpisalo. The rebuilding Jackets will probably retain half of his $5.8 million cap hit for a suitable offer. Perhaps a playoff contender looking for an experienced backup will take a chance on him.
LATEST ON COLTON PARAYKO
THE ATHLETIC: Jeremy Rutherford reports a source claims the St. Louis Blues want to move a defenseman. Colton Parayko seemed the likely candidate due to his poor performance this season and the Blues desire to free up salary-cap space.
Despite the 29-year-old Parayko’s struggles, there is interest in him around the league. However, a source close to the blueliner, who was born in St. Albert, Alberta, claimed he would only waive his no-trade clause to go to Edmonton.
Rutherford believes this situation could carry over into the offseason if Blues GM Doug Armstrong can’t find a suitable deal by the trade deadline. Of course, it will depend on whether Parayko will agree to be moved.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Parayko is signed through 2029-30 with an AAV of $6.5 million. Given his on-ice difficulties this season, that contract could prove difficult to move if the Blues don’t retain part of his salary, which I doubt they want to do. It could come down to swapping him for a comparable contract. If Parayko remains adamant about only going to Edmonton, he’ll be with the Blues for a long time.
The Trade Deadline is March 3, 2023. Check out the latest on J.T. Miller, Jakob Chychrun and Colton Parayko plus updates on the Flyers, Red Wings, Hurricanes, Leafs, Oilers and Wild in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.
Vancouver Canucks center J.T. Miller (NHL Images).
One source said those talks have reached an impasse but could be revisited before Friday’s trade deadline. It’s not known what the Penguins discussed sending to the Canucks for Miller, whose new seven-year contract with an average annual value of $8 million kicks in on July 1. Vensel noted that Pittsburgh general manager Ron Hextall last week said he wouldn’t part with future assets unless it was for an impact player signed beyond this season.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Vancouver Hockey Insider’s Rob Simpson believes it would have to be “a pretty damn nice package” to tempt the Canucks into parting with Miller. He also noted Canucks star Elias Pettersson likes having Miller around.
Miller’s current contract carries a cap hit of $5.25 million and lacks no-trade protection. The Canucks could retain half of that for the remainder of this season to facilitate a deal as it would clear his upcoming contract completely off their books. I’m not sure if the Penguins have the assets to tempt the Canucks but perhaps the latter is desperate to move Miller.
(UPDATE: Cap Friendly confirms whatever the Canucks retain on the remainder of Miller’s current contract would also have to be retained on his new contract as well)
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I still think Chychrun could be moved by the deadline. It certainly won’t be a good look for the Coyotes to sit him out for over two weeks and not trade him. However, I don’t think that’s something that concerns Armstrong. If Chychrun isn’t moved, he’ll just shrug and say he’s not budging off his asking price. I can understand Armstrong’s insistence on getting a quality return for Chychrun but he risks hurting the blueliner’s value by not being a little more flexible in trade talks.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Parayko’s contract makes him difficult to move during the season. He’s signed through 2029-30 with an AAV of $6.5 million and full no-trade protection. Maybe he would’ve waived it to join the Oilers but the Blues aren’t going to just give him away.
LATEST FLYERS SPECULATION
TSN: Pierre LeBrun reports the Philadelphia Flyers are getting more calls about winger James van Riemsdyk. The Vegas Golden Knights, Winnipeg Jets and Calgary Flames have looked into acquiring him. LeBrun believes the Flyers could seek a second and a third-round pick.
PHILLY HOCKEY NOW: Sam Carchidi reports Flyers general manager Chuck Fletcher is willing to listen to offers on all his players if it makes sense for his team. He added that he wants his roster to get younger.
The Flyers GM didn’t rule out moving 30-year-old forward Kevin Hayes for the right offer. Hayes has said he’d prefer to remain with the Flyers than get traded to a contender. He has three years remaining on his contract with an annual cap hit of $7.1 million and a 12-team no-trade clause.
Fletcher said he’d be looking for draft picks and prospects in the trade market. He’s also open to retaining salary to facilitate a trade, which Carchidi felt was in reference to James van Riemsdyk and his $7 million cap hit on his expiring contract.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: van Riemsdyk seems the most likely Flyer to get moved before Friday’s trade deadline. Moving Hayes won’t be easy unless Fletcher is willing to retain some salary or take back a comparable contract.
RED WINGS TO BECOME SELLERS?
TSN: Darren Dreger reports the Detroit Red Wings could become sellers as they’re recognizing the arms race in the Eastern Conference is too rich. He feels they can’t risk letting winger Tyler Bertuzzi depart for nothing as a free agent this summer. They’re also looking at moving winger Jakub Vrana and perhaps winger Filip Zadina.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Back-to-back lopsided losses this week to the Ottawa Senators stalled the Red Wings’ momentum. They’re still within striking distance of a wild-card berth but general manager Steve Yzerman could decide his roster needs a little more tinkering before they’re finally ready for playoff contention.
Waddell said he’s not giving up the young players on his roster. LeBrun believes he’s referring to Seth Jarvis and Martin Necas. Prospect defenseman Alexander Nikishin is also off-limits. The Hurricanes still have around $7 million in deadline cap space.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Waddell will likely make another addition before the deadline. It might not be as impressive compared to the moves made by his Eastern rivals in recent weeks. Still, just because he won’t move his best young talent doesn’t mean he can’t get a good player if the trade market is anything to go by. He could be waiting to see if prices drop as the deadline draws near.
LEAFS, OILERS, AND WILD NOT DONE DEALING?
TSN: Chris Johnston doesn’t rule out the Toronto Maple Leafs making another move before Friday’s deadline. He pointed out that the 2023 first-round pick they received from Washington could be used as potential trade ammo.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I made a similar observation during my evaluation of yesterday’s Leafs-Capitals trade. I also noted that Leafs general manager Kyle Dubas is loading up because he knows his job is on the line. He could use that first-rounder to add another player who could help them get over the playoff hump.
Darren Dreger doesn’t rule out the Edmonton Oilers making another move. He said they’re looking at a forward such as Detroit’s Tyler Bertuzzi or Arizona’s Nick Bjugstad.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Coyotes held Bjugstad out of last night’s game for “trade-related reasons”. He’ll likely be on the move between now and Friday’s deadline, perhaps heading to Edmonton.
THE ATHLETIC: Joe Smith reports Minnesota Wild general manager Bill Guerin could still make another move or two before the trade deadline. He noted that they still have $7.4 million in trade deadline cap space after acquiring Marcus Johansson and Gustav Nyquist on Tuesday.
Smith wondered if Guerin might pursue someone like the Red Wings’ Tyler Bertuzzi. He also noted there’s “still some smoke” around James van Riemsdyk and the Flyers. Smith also wouldn’t be surprised if winger Jordan Greenway gets moved if there’s enough interest by Friday.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: It would be surprising if Guerin doesn’t use that cap space to his advantage. He has enough draft picks and prospect depth to make a significant addition if he chooses.
Blue Jackets general manager Jarmo Kekalainen faces the challenge of a glut of defensemen in this year’s trade market. There’s also a dwindling number of teams shopping for blueliners.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Jackets were reportedly seeking a first and a third-round pick for Gavrikov. That price is likely to drop as the deadline gets nearer, especially if the number of teams in the market for blueline depth keeps dropping.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Bruins, Lightning and Leafs are playoff clubs while the Wings are jockeying with several other clubs for a wild-card berth in the Eastern Conference. It doesn’t hurt to listen to offers for Bertuzzi if they feel they can’t make it but recent reports claimed he was off the table because they were going to go for it with their current group. Maybe general manager Steve Yzerman has changed his mind or maybe he’s just listening. We’ll find out soon enough.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Predators will have to retain half of Ekholm’s $6.25 million cap hit (through 2025-26) for the cap-strapped Oilers to afford him or else the Oilers will have to shed a comparable salary. Edmundson is more affordable ($3.5 million through 2023-24) but there are concerns about a nagging back injury.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Coyotes’ rumored asking price is two first-round picks and a high-end prospect. However, the Panthers have no first-round picks in this year’s draft or the next two.
LATEST FLYERS SPECULATION
THE PHILADELPHIA INQUIRIER: Gustav Elvin cited Daily Faceoff’s Frank Seravalli reporting the market is heating up on Kevin Hayes. The Flyers are apparently willing to retain some of his $7.1 million cap hit to facilitate a trade. The 30-year-old forward has three more years remaining on his contract.
Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman also wondered about the future of Flyers defenseman Tony DeAngelo. He claimed there’s been some interest in DeAngelo, prompting Friedman to wonder if the Hurricanes might reacquire him.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The only way I see the Flyers moving Hayes is by retaining half of his annual cap hit. If there is any way for them to move DeAngelo they should do it simply to shed the remaining year of his contract with its $5 million cap hit. Management acquired him in the mistaken belief they could turn things around quickly and become a playoff contender this season. They were wrong and they must acknowledge it.
The Athletic’s Michael Russo reported the Wild had a growing interest in van Riemsdyk, who lives in Minnesota during the offseason. However, they aren’t interested in parting with a significant asset to get him. Russo’s associate Charlie O’Connor wondered if the Flyers could swap van Riemsdyk for Wild winger Jordan Greenway.
Laraque believes Matheson could fetch a first-round pick and a good prospect. Cowan considers it unlikely that the 29-year-old defenseman will be moved, citing his love of playing in his hometown and his deep connection with GM Kent Hughes, who is Matheson’s former agent.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I doubt there’s much interest in Drouin and Hoffman. However, I said the same thing about Evgenii Dadonov and Hughes sent him to Dallas for Denis Gurianov. So who knows?
I concur with Cowan’s take on Matheson. Hughes could be willing to listen to an offer but it’ll take one heck of an offer to convince him to part with Matheson after acquiring him last summer from Pittsburgh.
Baugh noted the Avalanche could use long-term injury reserve (LTIR) to garner some salary-cap flexibility. That will depend on whether captain Gabriel Landeskog ($7 million AAV) or Erik Johnson ($6 million) miss the remainder of the regular season with injuries.
TORONTO SUN: Terry Koshan reports the Maple Leafs might not be done dealing after acquiring Jake McCabe and Sam Lafferty yesterday from the Blackhawks. GM Kyle Dubas said they’ll remain busy and active to see if there’s any way they can improve the roster before Friday’s trade deadline.
NYI HOCKEY NOW: Stefen Rosner reports goaltender Semyon Varlamov wants to remain with the Islanders. He has no interest in getting traded and hopes to re-sign with the Isles when his current contract expires this summer.
SPORTSNET: Jeff Marek noted the Arizona Coyotes announced last night that they were keeping Jakob Chychrun out of the lineup for “trade-related reasons”. He said the 24-year-old defenseman won’t be heading to the Edmonton Oilers or Toronto Maple Leafs.
Arizona Coyotes defenseman Jakob Chychrun (NHL Images).
While the Los Angeles Kings tossed cold water on the notion that they were acquiring Chychrun, Marek noted that they were honoring former captain Dustin Brown last night in a pregame ceremony “so let’s see where this goes”. He added there was no guarantee Chychrun would be traded that night as the Coyotes don’t play again until Monday, Feb. 13.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Other insiders also weighed in with conflicting reports over potential destinations for Chychrun.
Daily Faceoff’s Frank Seravalli reported there is “lots of smoke” connecting the Coyotes defenseman to the Kings “but no confirmed fire yet.” Meanwhile, the Ottawa Sun’s Bruce Garrioch tweeted the Leafs and Oilers are among the teams that stepped up efforts to acquire Chychrun.
After months of speculation stretching back to last season, it appears Chychrun is finally going to be traded. We should learn where by no later than Monday evening before the Coyotes’ game with the Predators.
LATEST SHARKS SPECULATION
TSN: Chris Johnston tweeted that the Edmonton Oilers and San Jose Sharks have re-engaged in trade talks regarding Sharks defenseman Erik Karlsson. There are considerable financial hurdles to overcome but it’s the second time this season the two clubs have discussed this.
SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman reports Karlsson would have to become about a $6.5 million to $7 million player for the Oilers. His current average annual cap hit is $11.5 million for the next four years.
The Oilers need the Sharks to retain $4.5 million to $5 million annually to make this work. Friedman said nobody knows if the Sharks are willing to do that. Karlsson would also have to agree to waive his no-movement clause to go to Edmonton. If this doesn’t pan out, Friedman speculates they could look at Coyotes blueliner Shayne Gostisbehere.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Sharks are already carrying $2.72 million of dead cap space for this season and the next two from last summer’s trade of Brent Burns to the Carolina Hurricanes. Retaining $5 million of Karlsson’s contract is $7.72 million against their cap for the next two years for two players no longer on their roster, followed by two more years at $5 million per season.
If the Sharks are going to do that they had better get one hell of a return for Karlsson. I don’t see how the cap-strapped Oilers can pull it off. Sure, they can part with a first-round pick as well as a prospect or two such as Dylan Holloway or Xavier Bourgault plus a promising defenseman like Philip Broberg.
However, they’re also a cap-strapped club. Oilers general manager Ken Holland said last week that he was looking at “dollar-in, dollar-out” deals. Unless he’s looking at making a three-team deal that spreads the remainder of Karlsson’s cap hit around, he’ll have to move a player carrying an AAV of $6.5 million to $7 million. He’s not moving Leon Draisaitl ($8.5 million AAV) or Darnell Nurse ($9.25 million). Even if he wanted to, they both have no-trade protection.
So who goes? We may never know if the Sharks and Oilers can’t get the math to work. If they can, it could be a move that addresses one issue for the Oilers (a puck-moving defenseman) but creates another by weakening their forward depth.
Meanwhile, the return for the Sharks could make it difficult to justify carrying a big chunk of dead cap space for four years. Even with the salary cap projected to significantly rise after next season, that’s still a lot of money being paid out to former players.
TSN: Pierre LeBrun reported the Sharks haven’t given permission yet to Timo Meier’s agent to speak directly to other teams about a contract extension. He expects that will happen “closer to trade offers being firmed up”. LeBrun tweeted that the New Jersey Devils and Carolina Hurricanes remain “very much interested in Meier” depending on a contract extension.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Meier is a restricted free agent this summer with arbitration rights and is also eligible next summer for unrestricted free agent eligibility. His current annual cap hit is $6 million but his actual salary is $10 million, which is what it will cost the Sharks (or another club) to qualify his rights unless he agrees to a new contract.
I think we’re more likely to see Meier traded before Karlsson. The expectation is he’ll be moved well before the March 3 trade deadline. Perhaps it could happen at some point this week but it wouldn’t surprise me if it happens the following week. Those clubs interested in Meier will want time to negotiate with his agent.
Those “surprise teams” could be those out of playoff contention with salary-cap space to take on what is expected to be a lucrative new contract for Meier. Perhaps the Anaheim Ducks and Detroit Red Wings will be among those suitors.
SAN JOSE HOCKEY NOW: Sheng Peng recently examined the trade value of Kevin Labanc. The 27-year-old Sharks winger had 25 points in 45 games leading up to Feb. 8 but Peng doubts his trade value is very high.
Labanc has a year remaining on his contract but his $4.725 million cap hit is considered too rich to make up for his inconsistent play and one-dimensional game. Peng doubts the Sharks will retain part of his salary this season to move him but didn’t rule it out in the offseason once they’ve gained clarity on Erik Karlsson’s trade situation.
THE LATEST “32 THOUGHTS” TRADE TIDBITS
SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman reports there “appears to be a path” for the Senators to trade defenseman Nikita Zaitsev. He’s assuming it’s a west coast team based on rumblings he’s heard.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Zaitsev is signed through next season with an average annual value of $4.5 million and a 10-team no-trade list. That “west coast team” could be the Vancouver Canucks as they’re in need of experienced blueline depth.
Friedman also said the Senators have been asked about Alex DeBrincat but they’re not trading the 25-year-old winger “at this deadline.” They want to wait for the club’s new ownership to take over before they attack contract talks.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Like San Jose’s Timo Meier, DeBrincat is a restricted free agent this summer with arbitration rights who’s a year away from UFA eligibility. He carries an annual cap hit of $6.4 million but his actual salary is $9 million, which is what it’ll cost the Senators to qualify his rights.
Jeff Marek believes Senators forward Austin Watson could be available at the trade deadline. He also speculates the Edmonton Oilers could place winger Jesse Puljujarvi on waivers by Tuesday to make room for Kailer Yamamoto as he returns from injury. That’s assuming the Oilers haven’t traded Puljujarvi by then.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Bertuzzi, 27, had a 30-goal performance last season but injuries have limited him to just 7 points in 20 games this season. Meanwhile, the 33-year-old van Riemsdyk has 21 points in 34 games with the Flyers and netted 24 goals last season.
Friedman also believes New York Rangers winger Vitaly Kravtsov could be available.