NHL Rumor Mill – January 16, 2023

NHL Rumor Mill – January 16, 2023

Some suggested trade targets for the Avalanche plus the latest on the Coyotes in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.

THE DENVER POST: The Vancouver Canucks’ Bo Horvat, St. Louis Blues’ Ryan O’Reilly and the Chicago Blackhawks’ Jonathan Toews are Bennett Durando’s top-three choices for the Colorado Avalanche to address their need to address their second-line center need.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: They’re the three best options in this season’s trade market for any contender seeking an upgrade at center. Horvat carries an affordable contract and lacks no-trade protection but I think the Avs could be outbid by other clubs if (when?) the Canucks start shopping him in earnest.

Could St. Louis Blues captain Ryan O’Reilly become a Colorado Avalanche trade target? (NHL Images).

Durando observed that O’Reilly is sidelined until mid-February with a broken foot. He also lacks no-trade protection but the remainder of his $7.5 million cap hit could be an issue. Toews, meanwhile, has a full no-movement clause. Even if he agrees to be traded, Durando suggests the Avs might have to get a third team involved to spread his prorated $10.5 million cap hit around.

The Blackhawks’ Max Domi and the Montreal Canadiens’ Sean Monahan round out Durando’s list of centers.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Domi is the most affordable in terms of cap hit ($3 million) and potential asking price. He brings a measure of versatility in his ability to play center or wing. The Avs could face competition from other clubs for his services.

Monahan was enjoying a fine bounce-back performance until he suffered a lower-body injury a month ago. He could still be an intriguing option if he regains his form when he returns to action later this month. The Canadiens could retain half of the remainder of his $6.3 million cap hit but they’ll likely want a first-round pick in return.

Durando also listed the Canucks’ Andrei Kuzmenko along with the Florida Panthers’ Anthony Duclair and the Philadelphia Flyers’ James van Riemsdyk as options if the Avs decide to stick with Evan Rodrigues and J.T. Compher as their middle-six centers.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I think the Canucks will re-sign Kuzmenko once they sort out the Horvat situation. The Panthers reportedly want to hang onto Duclair. The Flyers are said to have told teams they’re willing to listen to offers for van Riemsdyk. They could retain part of the remainder of his $7 million cap hit for the right return.


GOPHNX.COM: In his midseason report on the Arizona Coyotes, Craig Morgan writes that he doesn’t think that management or Jakob Chychrun are in any hurry to force a trade right now. General manager Bill Armstrong and head coach Andre Tourigny praise the defenseman’s professionalism and performance this season. Meanwhile, Chychrun seems to be enjoying playing hockey again after a disappointing 2021-22 campaign.

Chychrun and defense partner Shayne Gostisbehere are the leading candidates to be traded for high-level assets. Players on expiring contracts who could be moved include Nick Bjugstad, Nick Ritchie and Christian Fischer.

Morgan suggested that goaltender Karel Vejmelka could become a dark-horse trade candidate. He also thinks defenseman Josh Brown could draw some interest.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I think there are teams willing to meet Armstrong’s asking price for Chychrun but they’re having to wait until the trade deadline when they will have accrued enough cap space to acquire him.

Vejmelka’s name keeps coming up in the rumor mill as some pundits believe the Coyotes will move him for the right price. I don’t rule it out but I think it will have to be one hell of an offer to do so. He’s signed through 2024-25 with an affordable annual cap hit of $2.725 million. While Vejmelka’s contract is often touted as one reason why teams could be interested in him, it’s also a good reason for the Coyotes to hang onto him.

NHL Rumor Mill – January 12, 2023

NHL Rumor Mill – January 12, 2023

Updates on the asking prices for the Coyotes’ Jakob Chychrun and the Ducks’ John Klingberg plus the latest on the Blackhawks in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.


THE ATHLETIC: Pierre LeBrun reports the Arizona Coyotes remain patient on the Jakob Chychrun trade front. With the 24-year-old defenseman signed through 2024-25, they don’t have to move him before the March 3 trade deadline.

Arizona Coyotes defenseman Jakob Chychrun (NHL Images).

The Coyotes’ asking price for Chychrun is believed to be two first-round picks plus a prospect. However, LeBrun writes that they’re willing to be flexible regarding the quality of the prospect.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: There’s also talk that the Coyotes are willing to accept a first-round pick plus a former first-round pick. The quality of the latter, however, will still have to be high. A first-round bust won’t suffice.

PITTSBURGH HOCKEY NOW: Jimmy Murphy also reports the Coyotes are willing to be more flexible on specific prospects with interested teams. The one constant is the addition of another 2023 first-round pick. Murphy also reported the Los Angeles Kings, Ottawa Senators, Toronto Maple Leafs, Florida Panthers and Edmonton Oilers have been scouting Coyotes games.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Coyotes have just one pick (their own) in the first round of this year’s draft. It’s understandable why they’d want another as the 2023 draft pool is considered to be a deep one.

They’ve also got seven combined picks in the second and third rounds of the 2024 draft and four second-rounders in 2025 to draw on for trade bait if necessary. Perhaps one or two of those get added to a larger Chychrun deal if it comes to pass.

THE HOCKEY NEWS: Adam Proteau listed several other Coyotes who could be shopped leading up to March 3. Defenseman Shayne Gostisbehere, goaltender Karel Vejmelka, forwards Nick Bjugstad and Nick Ritchie and blueliner Troy Stecher could become trade candidates. Proteau also speculated they could weaponize their cap space to become a third-party broker for cap-strapped playoff contenders at the trade deadline.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Gostisbehere, Bjugstad, Ritchie and Stecher are all unrestricted free agents this summer so it wouldn’t surprise me if they’re all skating on other clubs by March 3.

Vejmelka, however, has two more seasons left on his contract and is playing well for the Coyotes. I don’t see them moving him unless they get one hell of an offer.

THE ATHLETIC: LeBrun reports the Anaheim Ducks’ asking price for John Klingberg starts with a first-round draft pick. However, he doesn’t expect anyone will pay that much given the 30-year-old defenseman’s struggles this season.

THE ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER: Lisa Dillman reports Klingberg knows that he’s trade bait this season. He’s also seen an improvement in his performance since the holiday break in December.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: LeBrun believes Klingberg, who tallied 40-plus points six times in his eight seasons with the Dallas Stars, could regain his form on a playoff contender. The Ducks would probably retain half of his prorated $7 million cap hit if a club meets their asking price. Nevertheless, I don’t see anyone parting with a first-rounder for him unless his production significantly improves over the next couple of months.


THE ATHLETIC: Scott Powers reports Max Domi would like to remain with the Chicago Blackhawks beyond this season. An unrestricted free agent in July, the 27-year-old forward inked a one-year, $3 million contract with the Blackhawks last summer.

Domi understands he could still end up traded to a playoff contender by deadline day. Nevertheless, he said he’d like to stay with the Blackhawks and be a part of their rebuilding program.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The well-traveled Domi seems to have found a home in Chicago. He’s been among their few bright spots in an otherwise miserable season, leading them with 28 points 39 games.

Blackhawks management could move Domi if they get an enticing return that helps them with their rebuilding process. However, I wouldn’t rule out the possibility of him coming back to Chicago next summer as a free agent.

NBC SPORTS CHICAGO: Charlie Roumeliotis wondered if Blackhawks backup goaltender Alex Stalock would draw any interest in this season’s trade market. He’s put up solid numbers this season with a 6-5-1 record, a 2.54 goals-against average, and a .923 save percentage. Stalock is also among the league’s best puckhandling goalies and carries an affordable $750K cap hit.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Stalock could indeed draw the attention of cap-strapped playoff contenders looking to bolster their depth between the pipes for the remainder of the season. It’s difficult to tell right now which clubs would make that move but the picture should become clearer in about four-to-six weeks.

NHL Rumor Mill – January 2, 2023

NHL Rumor Mill – January 2, 2023

Will the Senators re-sign or trade Alex DeBrincat? Are they still trying to move Nikita Zaitsev? What’s the latest on the Coyotes? Find out in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.


OTTAWA SUN: Ken Warren recently wondered about Alex DeBrincat’s long-term future with the Senators. The 25-year-old winger is a restricted free agent with arbitration rights this summer who’s also a year away from unrestricted free agent eligibility.

Ottawa Senators winger Alex DeBrincat (NHL Images).

DeBrincat carries an average annual value of $6.4 million on his current contract. However, he’s earning $9 million in actual salary, which is what it’ll cost the Senators to qualify his rights this summer.

Warren speculates DeBrincat is in the running for a long-term contract worth between $8 million and $9 million. However, he wondered if the Senators’ existing managing board would approve such a deal, especially with the team up for sale and new ownership looming in 2023.

The Senators also have Brady Tkachuk, Tim Stutzle and Josh Norris on long-term deals each worth around $8 million annually. Given the state of their blueline, Warren mused over whether the money that would go to DeBrincat would be better spent improving the defense corps. If they remain out of playoff contention, perhaps they’ll contemplate shopping DeBrincat before the March 3 trade deadline.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Senators gave up a lot to acquire DeBrincat from the Blackhawks knowing full well what his contract situation was going to be. Unless the DeBrincat camp seeks over $10 million annually, I believe the Sens will re-sign him to a long-term deal worth close to $9 million annually.

ESPN’s Kevin Weekes reported Sunday the Senators are actively trying to trade defenseman Nikita Zaitsev. “They’ve granted permission to his representatives to speak with clubs,” writes Weekes, adding they’re willing to include a high draft pick or a prospect to accommodate a trade.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Zaitsev carries an average annual value of $4.5 million through 2023-24. That’s why they’re trying to trade him and have been doing so since November. He’s currently on injured reserve with a lower-body injury.

The inability to find any suitors thus far for Zaitsev is the reason behind the Senators’ willingness to package a high pick or a prospect in the deal. They seem desperate to get that contract off their books. It remains to be seen if they can pull it off.


GOPHNX.COM: Craig Morgan looked at several Arizona Coyotes players who could draw interest from playoff contenders at the March 3 trade deadline.

Everyone knows defenseman Jakob Chychrun wants to be traded. He has 17 points in 19 games since returning from offseason wrist surgery in November. The Coyotes’ likely asking price is two first-round picks and either a second-round pick or a prospect. Chychrun earns an AAV of $4.6 million for the next two seasons but his actual salary rises to $5.4 million next season and $7 million in 2024-25.

Blueliner Shayne Gostisbehere is a pending unrestricted free agent rearguard on pace for 61 points this season. His AAV is $4.5 million but his actual salary this season is $1 million as his $2.5 million signing bonus was paid out at the start of the season. Morgan believes it makes little sense to move Gostisbehere for less than a second-round pick.

A dark horse trade candidate is goaltender Karel Vejmelka. Morgan wondered if clubs might have faith in Vejmelka’s body of work to offer up something meaningful. If not, does it make any sense to move him? Morgan suggests doing so could hurt the Coyotes’ morale.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I think Chychrun’s a goner by deadline day if he remains healthy and productive. Gostisbehere will also likely be skating with a contender by March 3.

As for Vejmelka, he’s signed through 2024-25 with a very affordable $2.7 million AAV and hasn’t asked to be traded. The 26-year-old goalie should have a place as part of their long-term plans. Unless the Coyotes get an irresistible offer, I don’t see them moving Vejmelka.

NHL Rumor Mill – December 15, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – December 15, 2022

Check out the latest speculation on Canucks captain Bo Horvat, Oilers winger Jesse Puljujarvi, Red Wings forward Tyler Bertuzzi and more in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.


SPORTSNET: In his latest “32 Thoughts” column, Elliotte Friedman believes it’s unlikely Bo Horvat will still be with the Vancouver Canucks past the March 3 trade deadline. The Canucks have definitely put the 27-year-old center on the trade market and are seeking a premium return for their captain.

Friedman claims there was never a time when a contract extension was close for the pending unrestricted free agent. He said it sounds like Horvat was offered seven and eight-year deals but a wide chasm remains that could be difficult to bridge. The Canucks aren’t keen to sign him for more than J.T. Miller’s $56 million but Horvat’s current play puts him over that amount.

THE PROVINCE: Ben Kuzma believes creativity is needed by the Canucks to re-sign Horvat. A leap from the center’s current $5.5 million average annual value to a market value of $8 million can be achieved if they can clear the necessary cap space.

Vancouver Canucks captain Bo Horvat (NHL Images).

By Kuzma’s estimate, the Canucks would need to find $3.74 million in cap space to retain Horvat and address other roster priorities like re-signing Andrei Kuzmenko next summer. An NHL insider suggested Conor Garland or Ilya Mikheyev can be easily moved. They could also attempt to move Brock Boeser, Tanner Pearson and Tyler Myers for draft picks. However, the insider isn’t sure if the Canucks want to retain Horvat.

NYI HOCKEY NOW: Stefen Rosner cites a source claiming the New York Islanders have checked in with the Canucks about Horvat. With over $10.8 million in projected trade deadline cap space, the Isles can afford his cap hit.

Rosner speculates the Canucks could seek top Isles prospect Aatu Raty as part of the return. Defense prospects such as Samuel Bolduc or Calle Odelius could also be enticing to the Canucks.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: As I mentioned before, the Canucks could resume contract discussions with Horvat leading up to the trade deadline if they don’t get suitable offers from other clubs. However, they don’t have the luxury of time as they did with J.T. Miller last summer. Horvat could be a goner for the right price, which will be high given he’s on pace for a career-high 59 goals this season.


SPORTSNET: Friedman believes this season will be Jesse Puljujarvi’s last with the Edmonton Oilers as everyone agrees it’s time for a fresh start. He’s heard the Anaheim Ducks. Carolina Hurricanes and Detroit Red Wings have at least looked at it but doesn’t think they’ve come anywhere close to what the Oilers would consider fair.

The Oilers won’t move Puljujarvi now as they don’t want to be shorthanded while currently riddled with injuries and battling for a playoff spot. However, that could change once they get healthier. If this carries over into the summer, the Oilers could decline to re-sign Puljujarvi, allowing him to test the free-agent market.

EDMONTON JOURNAL: Jim Matheson reports the Anaheim Ducks appear to be taking a hard look at Puljujarvi. Ducks general manager Pat Verbeek was in Nashville on Tuesday watching the Predators and Oilers.

Matheson speculates the Ducks could be thinking of a “test drive” with Puljujarvi for the remainder of the season. If they like what they see, they could re-sign the winger for less than his current cap hit of $3 million.

The Oilers want to clear some cap space to pursue a defensive blueliner before the trade deadline. The Ducks have five picks in the first two rounds of the 2023 NHL Draft.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Oilers aren’t dealing from a position of strength. Puljujarvi’s stock has tumbled since the offseason because of his low production and public self-doubt over his abilities as an NHL scorer. If they need to clear cap space before the trade deadline they’ll probably have little choice but to accept whatever they can get for him, even if it’s below what they would consider fair.


MLIVE.COM: In a recent mailbag segment, Ansar Khan was asked how Tyler Bertuzzi’s latest injury will affect his contract talks with the Detroit Red Wings. He doesn’t think it will but suggests the bigger question is whether the two sides can reach an agreement on a new contract before the trade deadline.

If they can’t, Khan believes Red Wings GM Steve Yzerman will trade Bertuzzi rather than risk losing him for nothing to next summer’s UFA market. He suggested the Toronto Maple Leafs were long rumored to be interested in Bertuzzi and remain the logical destination.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Injuries to Leafs defensemen Morgan Rielly and Jake Muzzin have observers (including me) believing they could prefer shoring up their blueline before the trade deadline. However, with youngsters Rasmus Sandin, Timothy Liljegren and Conor Timmins holding the fort, perhaps they might shift their focus to adding another forward.

SPORTSNET: Friedman wondered if the Arizona Coyotes might be willing to entertain offers for Karel Vejmelka. The 26-year-old goaltender is playing well and carries an affordable $2.75 million cap hit through 2024-25.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Vejmelka’s goals-against average is 3.07 but his .913 save percentage is impressive considering the team he plays for. He could draw plenty of interest from playoff contenders seeking an upgrade between the pipes.

The Coyotes are rebuilding under GM Bill Armstrong but I don’t think it’s his intent to perpetually trade away veterans for draft picks. Good starting goalies are difficult to find and Vejmelka is still young enough to be an important piece of their future.

The Canucks aren’t interested in moving first-rounders and would like to replace the second-round pick they shipped to the Chicago Blackhawks earlier in the season.

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 22, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 22, 2022

Recaps of Monday’s games, the stars of the week are revealed, Evgenii Dadonov trade held up by the league, plus some notable contract signings, injury news and waiver moves overshadowed by yesterday’s trade deadline in NHL morning coffee headlines.


NHL.COM: Nashville Predators winger Filip Forsberg scored twice and collected three assists in a 6-3 victory over the Anaheim Ducks. Matt Duchene tallied two goals and added an assist as the Predators sit in third place in the Central Division with 78 points. Ducks winger Troy Terry netted his 30th goal of the season.

Nashville Predators winger Filip Forsberg (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Sidelined since March 8, Ducks winger Jakob Silfverberg is listed as week-to-week with a blood clot in his right leg. It is being managed and he could return to action before the end of the season.

The league-leading Colorado Avalanche (95 points) opened a five-point lead over the Florida Panthers in the overall standings by beating the Edmonton Oilers 3-2 on an overtime goal by Mikko Rantanen, who finished the night with two goals. Kailer Yamamoto had a goal and an assist for the Oilers (75 points) as they sit one point behind the second-place Los Angeles Kings in the Pacific Division.

Brad Marchand scored twice, including the winner in overtime, to lead the Boston Bruins over the Montreal Canadiens 3-2. Canadiens goaltender Jake Allen made 43 saves. With 83 points, the Bruins hold a three-point lead over the Washington Capitals for the first wild-card berth in the Eastern Conference.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Before the game, the Bruins signed winger Jake DeBrusk to a two-year contract extension with an annual average value of $4 million. The 25-year-old DeBrusk requested a trade in November so this move caught many observers by surprise. I’ll have more about this in today’s Rumor Mill.

Minnesota Wild goaltender Cam Talbot turned in a 28-save shutout to blank the Vegas Golden Knights 3-0. Nicolas Deslauriers scored the winning goal in his first game with the Wild since being acquired from the Anaheim Ducks over the weekend. With 78 points, the Wild are tied with the Nashville Predators but hold second place in the Central Division with two games in hand. The Golden Knights, meanwhile, cling to the final Western Conference wild-card berth with 72 points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Acquired from the Chicago Blackhawks earlier in the day, Marc-Andre Fleury suited up for the Wild as Talbot’s backup.


NHL.COM: 33 trades involving 54 players were made leading up to yesterday’s 3 pm ET trade deadline.

LAS VEGAS SUN: The NHL’s Central Registry is holding up a trade that would send winger Evgenii Dadonov from the Golden Knights to the Anaheim Ducks. The issue involves Dadonov’s 10-team no-trade, with reports indicating the Ducks were on that list. It’s uncertain if the winger agreed to accept a trade to Anaheim.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Daily Faceoff’s Frank Seravalli reports Dadonov filed his 10-team no-trade list last summer while a member of the Ottawa Senators. The Golden Knights appear to be claiming they didn’t receive his no-trade list from the Senators when they acquired him in July.

NHL.COM: Nashville Predators captain Roman Josi, Winnipeg Jets winger Kyle Connor, and Arizona Coyotes winger Lawson Crouse were named the NHL’s three stars for the week ending March 20, 2022.

NEW YORK POST: The Islanders signed forward Cal Clutterbuck to a two-year contract extension worth an annual average value of $1.75 million and winger Zach Parise to a one-year extension worth $1.5 million.

NHL.COM: The Ottawa Senators inked goaltender Anton Forsberg to a three-year extension worth an annual cap hit of $2.75 million.

TSN: Speaking of goalies getting new three-year contracts, Karel Vejmelka agreed to one with the Arizona Coyotes worth $2.725 million annually.

PHILLY HOCKEY NOW: Flyers defenseman Ryan Ellis will miss the remainder of the season with what’s believed to be a hip/groin injury. He appeared in just four games with the Flyers.

WASHINGTON HOCKEY NOW: Capitals winger Carl Hagelin will undergo a second surgery for an eye injury suffered on March 1. There is no timetable for his return.

TORONTO SUN: Maple Leafs defenseman Rasmus Sandin was placed on long-term injury reserve with a knee injury.

NEW YORK POST: Rangers forwards Kaapo Kakko (wrist injury) and Kevin Rooney (upper-body injury) remain sidelined for the remainder of March.

THE HOCKEY NEWS: The Arizona Coyotes claimed goalie Harri Sateri off waivers from the Toronto Maple Leafs, the Seattle Kraken claimed defenseman Derrick Pouliot from the Vegas Golden Knights, and the Vancouver Canucks claimed forward Brad Richardson from the Calgary Flames.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Leafs general manager Kyle Dubas wasn’t pleased with the Coyotes plucking Sateri away after the Leafs signed him on Sunday to a one-year contract. However, the Coyotes were well within their rights to do so.

A player who skated in a European league during the season who signs with an NHL club must first clear waivers before he can join that team. Dubas knew this but I suspect he was hoping Sateri would pass unnoticed through waivers.