The Trade Deadline is 3 pm ET today. Check out the latest in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.
LATEST ON THE FLYERS
THE ATHLETIC: Charlie O’Connor explains why the Philadelphia Flyers haven’t been active leading up to deadline day. It’s because the Flyers lack the kind of assets that other teams believe should be prioritized. They’re either fall-back rentals (James van Riemsdyk) or veterans with expensive contracts (Kevin Hayes) that can be difficult to move by the deadline.
Philadelphia Flyers winger James van Riemsdyk (NHL Images).
TSN: Chris Johnston believes van Riemsdyk remains on the Vegas Golden Knights’ radar. The Winnipeg Jets could also be interested. The Flyers could retain half of his $7 million cap hit to facilitate a trade.
SPORTSNET: Eric Engels also cited a couple of sources claiming at least two playoff-bound clubs are interested in the 29-year-old Canadiens defenseman. Edmundson has a year remaining on his contract with a $3.5 million cap hit.
FLAMES GETTING CALLS ABOUT MIKAEL BACKLUND
CALGARY HOCKEY NOW: Steve MacFarlane reports there’s some late-breaking trade buzz around Flames forward Mikael Backlund as the club could be trending toward selling at the deadline. MacFarlane cited Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman reporting that the Carolina Hurricanes are among the clubs calling the Flames to see whether they’re buying or selling.
NYI HOCKEY NOW: Stefen Rosner reported league sources claimed the Islanders have been in discussions with the Nashville Predators and St. Louis Blues. Isles GM Lou Lamoriello could be looking at acquiring a defenseman. Rosner mentioned a source believes Lamoriello should be looking at Predators blueliner Dante Fabbro.
MORE SPECULATION FROM TSN’S INSIDER TRADING
TSN: Chris Johnston reports the Ottawa Senators are still working the phones. They could be seeking another center.
Darren Dreger believes the Winnipeg Jets aren’t done dealing after acquiring winger Nino Niederreiter on Feb. 25. He thinks they’re still seeking a forward. He also thinks the Vegas Golden Knights could still be active.
Pierre LeBrun reports the Carolina Hurricanes are still trying to add to their roster. However, they have no appetite to part with their first-round pick for a rental player.
NEW YORK POST: Mollie Walker reports the Rangers’ decision to sit Vitali Kravtsov and Jake Leschyshyn for “roster management reasons” prompted speculation they were getting closer to acquiring Kane. It would require a three-team trade to pull this off with the Blackhawks retaining 50 percent of Kane’s $10.5 million salary-cap hit and the Rangers and another club splitting the remainder.
Chicago Blackhawks winger Patrick Kane (NHL Images).
Walker also believes the Rangers would have to waive another player even if Kravtsov and Leschyshyn went to the Blackhawks. Another option would be waiving Kravtsov and Leschyshyn on Saturday and then waiting until March 3 to acquire Kane as the Rangers will have accrued sufficient cap space by that time to squeeze in the remainder of his cap hit in a three-team deal.
NYI HOCKEY NOW: Stefen Rosner cited a source claiming the Rangers and Blackhawks are hammering out the framework of a deal that would send Kane to New York. Kravtsov and Zachary Jones are named as part of the return to Chicago with a third team involved to spread Kane’s cap hit around.
ESPN’s Kevin Weekes reports Kane’s agent, Pat Brisson, said there are “plenty of contenders” interested in his client.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kane to New York won’t be easy to pull off but it’s not impossible. I don’t rule it out if Rangers general manager Chris Drury doesn’t have to give up a first-round pick, a top prospect or a young roster player like Alexis Lafreniere or Kaapo Kakko. Drury could end up with considerable leverage if the Rangers are Kane’s only preferred destination. In that case, the Blackhawks will have to accept whatever the Blueshirts are willing to offer as it’s expected that they’re going to honor Kane’s wishes.
THE LATEST ON THE PENGUINS
THE ATHLETIC: Rob Rossi reports sources are claiming that Pittsburgh Penguins head coach Mike Sullivan wants GM Ron Hextall to trade for Jakob Chychrun. However, Hextall is unwilling to do this because the Arizona Coyotes want him to include the Penguins’ 2025 and 2026 first-round picks as part of the return for the 24-year-old defenseman.
Rossi also noted the Penguins would have difficulty fitting Chychrun’s $4.6 million annual average value within their limited salary-cap payroll for this season. It would require the Coyotes retaining half of his cap hit or the Penguins sending a salaried player to Arizona. Hextall has informed the other NHL general managers that Kasperi Kapanen is available.
TSN: Pierre LeBrun noted a recent rumor flying around claiming the Penguins might be willing to part with defenseman Jeff Petry, who carries an AAV of $6.25 million through 2024-25. LeBrun indicated they’re not expected to make the 35-year-old blueliner available at the deadline.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Hextall’s in a difficult position here. His club is sinking in the standings and could fall completely out of playoff contention without a big move to improve the roster. Chychrun could help but the Penguins GM would be sacrificing two major pieces that will be necessary to rebuild the roster once Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and Kris Letang reach the end of their careers.
As for Petry, his cap hit, age, 15-team no-trade clause and the decline in his production would make him a tough sell with so many teams carrying little or no cap space this season.
SENATORS NOT INTERESTED IN CHYCHRUN
TSN: Pierre LeBrun reports the Ottawa Senators are in the market for a defenseman as well as a center leading up to the trade deadline. However, they’re not among the suitors for Coyotes defenseman Jakob Chychrun. They’ve been linked to him for some time but Senators management considers the Coyotes’ asking price to be too high.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Ottawa Sun’s Bruce Garrioch has reported the same thing for weeks now. The Senators were interested in Chychrun but not at the cost of two first-rounders and a high-end prospect.
Portzline also noted there is speculation linking the Blue Jackets to Arizona Coyotes defenseman Jakob Chychrun. The Coyotes seek at least a first-round pick as part of the return but there’s no way the Blue Jackets are parting with their 2023 first-rounder as it could become the first-overall selection.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I believe Gavrikov will still get traded but the Blue Jackets might not get the type of return similar to what they had lined up with the Bruins. Still, they could use the following week to see if they can stoke a bidding war between the interested clubs.
SPORTSNET: Iain MacIntyre reports Brock Boeser’s agent, Ben Hankinson, has been working with Vancouver Canucks management trying to find a trade for the 25-year-old winger. However, his $6.65 million salary cap hit through 2024-25 is a major obstacle. Canucks GM Patrik Allvin said he still values Boeser and doesn’t want to force anything.
Hankinson said Boeser would fit in well with the Minnesota Wild. However, the Canucks would have to retain a significant portion of the Minnesota native’s cap hit.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Canucks were believed unwilling to retain any portion of Boeser’s salary. However, MacIntyre noted that Allvin didn’t rule it out in a recent interview, saying it depended on the deal and what’s included.
Boeser to Minnesota is possible if the Canucks are willing to retain half of his cap hit. That would also mean the Wild having to give up a significant asset in return. Allvin could seek a top prospect like Jesper Wallstedt, Marco Rossi, Liam Ohgren or Brock Faber.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: van Riemsdyk isn’t a 70-plus point performer like Meier but he’s an experienced, big-bodied winger with playoff experience who has reached or exceeded 20 goals seven times in his career, including 24 last season. He’s on an expiring contract with a $7 million cap hit but the Flyers will likely retain half of it for the right offer.
NBC SPORTS PHILADELPHIA: Jordan Hall cited Daily Faceoff’s Frank Seravalli reporting Joel Farabee’s camp has expressed their displeasure to Flyers management over how this season has unfolded under head coach John Tortorella.
Farabee has struggled this season in part because of neck surgery last summer throwing off his offseason training program. He’s managed just nine goals and 17 assists in 59 games this season.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Seravalli listed Farabee at No. 20 on his updated trade targets list. He’s in the first year of a six-year, $30 million contract so I don’t see him getting moved at the deadline. Still, it’ll be worthwhile to keep an eye on this situation.
Farabee isn’t the only player who’s had some difficulty with Tortorella. Kevin Hayes has surfaced occasionally in the rumor mill after he was scratched from a couple of games earlier in the season.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: All but Mantha are slated to become unrestricted free agents this summer. Mantha has another year remaining on his contract. With a dozen players eligible for UFA status this summer, it’s probably a safe bet that Capitals management will be listening to offers for them.
Did the Flyers attempt to move James van Riemsdyk in a cost-cutting trade? Will the Rangers have sufficient cap space to get into the playoff rental market at the 2023 trade deadline? Could Lars Eller become the odd man out in Washington? Find out in the Sunday NHL rumor roundup.
WGR 550: cited Daily Faceoff’s Frank Seravalli discussing the Philadelphia Flyers’ attempt to shed salary last week by shopping James van Riemsdyk. The 33-year-old winger has a year remaining on his contract with an annual cap hit of $7 million.
Philadelphia Flyers winger James van Riemsdyk (NHL Images).
Seravalli believes the Flyers were attempting to make some room to take a run at signing Johnny Gaudreau, who subsequently ended up with the Columbus Blue Jackets. He felt there were five or six teams (including the Buffalo Sabres, Arizona Coyotes, Chicago Blackhawks and Detroit Red Wings) asking for a significant piece to be included with van Riemsdyk, such as a first-round pick. In the end, the Flyers decided against it.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: There was talk leading up to the recent NHL draft that the Flyers were trying to move van Riemsdyk. With almost all the top talent now gone from the free agent market, it seems unlikely they’ll be trying to clear the veteran winger to make room for a significant addition this summer.
Keep an eye on van Riemsdyk during the upcoming season. The Flyers could attempt to move him at the trade deadline if they’re out of the playoff chase by then.
NEW YORK POST: Larry Brooks believes the next challenge for Rangers general manager Chris Drury is ensuring he accrues sufficient cap space over the course of 2022-23 to get into the playoff rental market at the 2023 trade deadline.
Anticipating the Rangers’ cap space at just over $2 million when the season opens, Brooks projected they would have around $9 million in accrued cap room at the trade deadline in February. If managed properly, he thinks Drury would have enough for a big-ticket rental such as Chicago Blackhawks’ winger Patrick Kane or Vancouver Canucks center J.T. Miller.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s still a long way between now and the 2023 trade deadline. Something could come up to bite more deeply into the Rangers’ accrued cap space. It will be a challenge for Drury, and every general manager on a potential playoff contender in 2023, to ensure they’ve got enough room to make additions to their rosters by the deadline in the hope of staging a deep playoff run.
WASHINGTON HOCKEY NOW: Sammi Silber reported the Capitals’ addition of Dylan Strome could create a potential logjam at center, particularly if Nicklas Backstrom returns from hip surgery at some point in the coming season.
With the club also looking at giving promising Connor McMichael a larger role, Silber speculated it could make Lars Eller the odd man out. They could try to shift him to left wing but that could also cause congestion there with Alex Ovechkin, Anthony Mantha and Marcus Johansson filling three of those spots.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Eller, 33, is due to become an unrestricted free agent next summer. He carries an affordable $3.5 million cap hit and lacks no-trade protection.