Giroux to Panthers, Lindholm to the Bruins, Deslauriers to the Wild

Giroux to Panthers, Lindholm to the Bruins, Deslauriers to the Wild

The Philadelphia Flyers have traded forward Claude Giroux and minor-league center Connor Bunnaman to the Florida Panthers in exchange for forward Owen Tippett, a first-round pick in 2024 and a third-rounder in 2023 (as per RDS’ Francois Gagnon) while TSN’s Chris Johnston reports the Flyers will retain 50 percent of Giroux’ $8.275 million cap hit.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Giroux’s no-movement clause gave him full control over this situation and severely limited where the Flyers could ship him. While the Colorado Avalanche were also considered among the bidders, it was apparent in recent days that the Panthers were emerging as the most likely destination.

Philadelphia Flyers trade Claude Giroux to the Florida Panthers (NHL Images).

Panthers general manager Bill Zito was considered to be in “go-for-it” mode this season with his club riding high in the Eastern Conference standings. Having bolstered his blueline earlier this week by acquiring defenseman Ben Chiarot from the Montreal Canadiens, he’s provided additional firepower to his forward lines with Giroux.

A versatile, productive forward who can play all three forward positions and is among the best faceoff men in the league, the 34-year-old Giroux will provide the Panthers with veteran experience and leadership to go with his impressive skill set. It’ll be interesting to see where they put him on their already deep forward lines.

The return for the Flyers probably won’t sit well with their fans. Considering the Panthers were believed the only serious bidder, this is the best they could get.

Tippett, 23, should provide some immediate help and will have an opportunity to get his NHL career on track after seeing checking-line minutes with the Panthers. The first-rounder is worthwhile but it’s two years from now. Still, this return is quite light considering the harvest the Anaheim Ducks got from the Boston Bruins for Hampus Lindholm.

The Anaheim Ducks trade defenseman Hampus Lindholm and minor league blueliner Kodie Curran to the Boston Bruins for a first-round pick in 2022, a second-rounder in 2023 and a second-rounder in 2024, along with defensemen Urho Vaakanainen and John Moore. The Ducks will also retain 50 percent of Lindholm’s $5.205 million cap hit.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Having traded Josh Manson to the Colorado Avalanche on Monday, Ducks general manager Pat Verbeek has shipped out another of his veteran defense core in Lindholm after failing to reach an agreement on a contract extension. The 28-year-old blueliner is slated to become an unrestricted free agent this summer.

This is a significant addition for the Bruins, who’ve been lacking skilled top-four left-side blueline depth since Zdeno Chara and Torey Krug departed via free agency two years ago. The 6’3, 208-pound Lindholm plays a solid all-around game and can log big minutes. He’ll lift some of the defensive burdens from Boston’s top rearguard Charlie McAvoy.

It remains to be seen if Lindholm will be merely a rental player or if the Bruins can re-sign him. It’s believed his insistence on a seven- or eight-year deal was the factor that scuttled his contract talks with the Ducks. Bruins GM Don Sweeney has a history of re-signing notable pending free agents acquired by the trade deadline (hello there, Taylor Hall) so perhaps he’ll take a stab at retaining Lindholm if he proves a good fit in Boston.

Verbeek has signaled the rebuild is on for the Ducks considering the draft picks he’s getting in this deal to go along with the 2023 second-rounder he got from the Avalanche in the Manson trade and the 2023 third-rounder he’s getting from the Wild. The Ducks are also getting a 23-year-old defenseman in Vaakanainen who had difficulty cracking the Bruins blueline but could have a better opportunity to reach his full potential with the Ducks.

The Ducks also trade forward Nicolas Deslauriers to the Minnesota Wild in exchange for a third-round pick in 2023.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Wild GM Bill Guerin decides to add some muscle to his checking lines for the playoffs. Deslaurier, 31, is a big, physical depth forward with 10 points and 90 PIMs in 61 games with the Ducks this season. He’s also an unrestricted free agent this summer.










NHL Rumor Mill – February 5, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – February 5, 2022

Check out the latest on the Bruins, Golden Knights and Ducks in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.

ADDRESSING THE BRUINS’ ROSTER NEEDS

THE ATHLETIC: Fluto Shinzawa believes the Boston Bruins’ most pressing need is for a second-line center for this season and perhaps beyond. He suggested the Philadelphia Flyers’ Claude Giroux could address the former while the Vancouver Canucks’ J.T. Miller would be a good candidate for the latter.

Shinzawa felt center Jack Studnicka could become a trade piece if he can rebuild his game and help the Bruins. Other teams have shown an interest in Studnick and defenseman Urho Vaakanainen, though there are questions about the latter’s ceiling and if he’s playoff ready. If the Bruins believe Vaakanainen is ready, Mike Reilly could be on the move, though Vaakanainen could fetch a better return.

NBC SPORTS BOSTON: Nick Goss believes a lack of defensive depth could be a fatal flaw for the Bruins as it was in recent postseason runs. He suggested targeting the Chicago Blackhawks’ Calvin de Haan, the Seattle Kraken’s Mark Giordano, the Detroit Red Wings’ Nick Leddy or the Arizona Coyotes’ Jakob Chychrun.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Giroux, Miller and Chychrun could prove to be out of the Bruins’ price range unless they’re willing to part with top prospect Fabian Lysell and that’s something they shouldn’t do. Leddy or de Haan could be more affordable options.

Giordano is somewhere in the middle. He probably won’t be as expensive as Giroux, Miller and Chychrun but will cost more than Leddy or de Haan. The Kraken could seek a first-round pick and a prospect.

LATEST ON THE GOLDEN KNIGHTS

NHL.COM: Dan Rosen was recently asked how the Vegas Golden Knights will clear salary-cap space for Jack Eichel’s contract when he’s finally healthy and ready to join their lineup. They currently have Eichel, defenseman Alec Martinez and forward Adam Brooks on injured reserve.

Vegas Golden Knights defenseman Alec Martinez (NHL Images)

If all three are activated they’ll have to start trading or waiving some depth players. If they’re still over the $81.5 million cap, they’ll have to move a more impactful player like Evgenii Dadonov or Reilly Smith, who each carry cap hits of $5 million.

VEGAS HOCKEY NOW: With the Golden Knights’ recent signing of Brayden McNabb to a three-year deal worth $2.85 million per season, Owen Krepps speculates they could look at shedding a defenseman to trim some payroll. He suggested Martinez could be the odd man out. While they re-signed the 34-year-old blueliner last summer, he’s been sidelined for all but 11 games this season. Meanwhile, the Golden Knights have managed well in his absence.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Martinez carries a $5.25 million annual average value. Moving him would spare them from shipping out Dadonov or Smith. However, his 16-team no-trade list for this season could complicate efforts to move him.

DUCKS POTENTIAL TRADE CANDIDATES

SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman looked at the “to-do list” of new Anaheim Ducks general manager Pat Verbeek. He believes winger Rickard Rakell is the most likely of the Anaheim Ducks’ three notable pending UFAs to get traded. The top question is whether Verbeek can allow Hampus Lindholm to walk if he doesn’t think he can re-sign him.

Josh Manson would also draw interest if they shop him. He’s been linked to the Toronto Maple Leafs but Friedman reports the Leafs are one of the teams on his no-trade list.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’ll be interesting to see what Verbeek does as the trade deadline approaches. I think much will depend on where the Ducks in the standings by then. They last reached the playoffs in 2018. Like every club, their revenue has taken a hit by COVID-19 and a chance to get some postseason cash could be tempting. Those three could be retained as own rentals if they’re still in the thick of the Western Conference playoff chase.










NHL Rumor Mill – January 20, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – January 20, 2022

Will the Blackhawks shop Marc-Andre Fleury? Are the Panthers interested in Jakob Chychrun? Will the Golden Knights trade Reilly Smith? Could the Bruins entertain offers for Urho Vaakanainen? Check out the latest in today’s NHL rumor mill.

UPDATES ON FLEURY AND CHYCHRUN

THE ATHLETIC: Scott Power reports there’s an assumption around the league that Chicago Blackhawks goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury will be finishing the season elsewhere. Two league sources suggest Fleury’s play of late could fetch the Blackhawks a first-round pick, something they could be without in this year’s draft because of last summer’s Seth Jones trade.

Chicago Blackhawks goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury (NHL Images)

Powers also cited a Blackhawks source claiming the club hasn’t discussed a contract extension with Fleury. The 37-year-old netminder becomes an unrestricted free agent in July. He carries a $7 million cap hit and a 10-team no-trade no-trade clause. The defending Vezina Trophy winner also has three Stanley Cup rings on his resume.

Teams that fancy themselves contenders but have middling-to-poor goaltending (Edmonton, Washington) could come calling. Powers wondered if a reunion with the Pittsburgh Penguins might be possible regardless of how well Tristan Jarry plays this season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Capitals, Oilers and Penguins also have little projected salary-cap space. Any deal involving Fleury and those clubs would have to be dollar-in, dollar-out or involve some salary retention in the Blackhawks part. The Hawks might be willing to do that for a 2022 first-round pick.

Oilers general manager Ken Holland recently said he didn’t want to part with his first-rounder for a short-term fix. Unless he changes his mind, we can probably rule out the Oilers as a destination if Fleury is willing to go to Edmonton.

The Penguins are playing very well right now. If that continues over the next couple of months they could stick with Jarry and hope his playoff meltdown last year was a one-off. The Capitals could kick tires but that’ll depend on the play of Ilya Samsonov and Vitek Vanecek in the coming weeks.

FLORIDA HOCKEY NOW: Colby Guy cites Sportsnet’s Jeff Marek and Elliotte Friedman confirming the Panthers are interested in Arizona Coyotes defenseman Jakob Chychrun. George Richards last week reported the Panthers would take a look at the Boca Rotan native, who has three seasons remaining on his contract with an annual cap hit of $4.6 million.

Guy said the Panthers seek a left-handed defenseman who can bring some consistency to the blue line. Marek speculated the asking price for Chychrun could be goaltender Spencer Knight, rookie center Anton Lundell, and a first-round pick.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Chychrun would be a terrific fit on the Panthers blueline. His contract would give them an asset that helps them now and over the next three years. However, I doubt GM Bill Zito will give up that much to get him. He could part with his first-rounder but Knight and Lundell are also going to be vital components in the Panthers’ long-term future. I’ll be shocked if he parts with them.

LATEST ON REILLY SMITH AND URHO VAAKANAINEN

VEGAS HOCKEY NOW: Owen Krepps recently examined the pros and cons of the Golden Knights potentially shopping Reilly Smith at the trade deadline. The 30-year-old winger is an unrestricted free agent this summer.

Shipping out Smith and his $5 million cap hit for this season would help the Golden Knights free up sufficient cap space when Jack Eichel is ready to make his debut in the coming weeks. He could also fetch them a solid return. However, doing so would hurt the club’s identity and take away a skilled player who could help them win the Stanley Cup.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Krepps argues there are other options the Golden Knights could take to free up that cap space for Eichel. GM Kelly McCrimmon could very well prefer those options (trading Evgenii Dadonov?) over moving Smith. However, shopping the veteran winger remains the easiest option given his value in the trade market and his lack of no-trade protection.

THE ATHLETIC: Fluto Shinzawa suggests a trade might be the best bet for Boston Bruins defenseman Urho Vaakanainen to become a full-time NHLer. He believes clubs like Arizona or Seattle could have their eye on a 23-year-old former first-rounder who isn’t playing a major role, suggesting such players could improve skating with rebuilding teams.

Shinzawa said the Bruins aren’t in a rush to trade Vaakanainen. However, he speculates they could listen to any offer that could improve their odds of winning this season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Vaakanainen on his own probably won’t draw that type of offer. Packaged with Jake DeBrusk? Maybe, but I wouldn’t hold my breath given the apparent lack of interest DeBrusk is drawing thus far in the trade market.










NHL Rumor Mill – November 19, 2020

NHL Rumor Mill – November 19, 2020

The latest Bruins speculation plus some free-agent options available to the Blue Jackets in today’s NHL rumor mill.

NBC SPORTS BOSTON: DJ Bean examined what’s left for the Bruins to do during this offseason. They must sign winger Jake DeBrusk, determine if defenseman Zdeno Chara will return and fill a need for depth among their middle-six forwards.

Will Zdeno Chara return to the Boston Bruins? (NHL Images)

Given the Bruins’ limited salary-cap space ($7.35 million per PuckPedia) and DeBrusk’s streaky scoring, Bean believes the 22-year-old restricted free agent should receive a short-term deal worth somewhere in the range of $4 million annually.

Nothing much has happened with Chara, but if the unrestricted free agent wanted to leave, Bean thinks he would’ve done so by now. He feels the Bruins could use him as a third-pairing, left-side defenseman.

Bean believes the Bruins need additional left-wing depth. Possible options could include Mike Hoffman, Anthony Duclair, Erik Haula or Andreas Athanasiou. He doubts they have sufficient cap space for Hoffman.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I think the Bruins intend to sign DeBrusk on that short-term deal suggested by Bean. It’ll likely happen by the time training camp opens, which could be around mid-December if the NHL begins its 2020-21 schedule on Jan. 1.

Chara is reportedly waiting to see what the schedule forward for ’20-’21 looks like before deciding if he’ll return for another season. I concur with Bean that if the 43-year-old rearguard was signing with another club he would’ve done so by now, though we can’t rule out the possibility he’d get a better offer elsewhere. Nevertheless, I believe his preference is playing for the Bruins.

The Bruins could go the free-agent route to address their need for another left winger. Unless they make a cost-cutting trade, however, they can’t afford Hoffman. They might have to go into the bargain bin.

They could also go the trade route to address that need. Boston Hockey Now’s Joe Haggerty reports prospect defenseman Urho Vaakanainen could be a trade candidate.

THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH: Brian Hedger examined the free-agent options available to Blue Jackets GM Jarmo Kekalainen if he wants to bring in additional depth.

The Jackets could use a short-term replacement for Gustav Nyquist, who’s sidelined for five months recovering from shoulder surgery. Options include Hoffman, Mikael Granlund, Erik Haula and former Blue Jackets Derick Brassard and Anthony Duclair. However, Hedger believes Kekalainen could instead look at promoting a promising young player.

Hedger feels the Jackets’ blueline depth took a bit of a hit when Ryan Murray and Markus Nutivaara were traded in cost-cutting deals. He suggests Sami Vatanen would be a good fit on the right side of the third pairing.

Kekalainen might need an experienced goalie if he decides to trade Elvis Merzlikins or Joonas Korpisalo for additional cap space. Options could include Craig Anderson, Jimmy Howard, and Ryan Miller.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Jackets popgun offense was a concern before Nyquist was sidelined. Kekalainen could go the UFA route or promote from within, but I’ve also read reports suggesting he could instead target a cap-strapped rival in the trade market.

Kekalainen could look to within his system to address his need on the third pairing but I wouldn’t rule out making an affordable short-term free-agent signing. Vatanen might be the best option but might not be cost-effective.

If Kekalainen trades Merzlikins or Korpisalo I believe he’ll promote Matiss Kivlenieks rather than add an aging UFA netminder.