We’ll keep a running tally of today’s notable trades. It will be updated throughout the day.
Anaheim Ducks traded John Klingberg to the Minnesota Wild in exchange for Andrej Sustr, a fourth-round pick in 2025 and prospect Nikita Nesterenko. The Ducks are retaining 50 percent of Klingberg’s $7 million salary.
Anaheim Ducks trade John Klingberg to the Minnesota Wild (NHL Images)
Calgary Flames ship Brett Ritchie and Connor Mackey to the Arizona Coyotes in exchange for Troy Stecher and Nick Ritchie.
Nashville Predators acquire Rasmus Aspland from the Buffalo Sabres for a 2025 seventh-round pick.
Los Angeles Kings trade Austin Wagner to the Chicago Blackhawks for future considerations.
Philadelphia Flyers trade Patrick Brown to the Ottawa Senators for a 2023 sixth-round pick.
Minnesota Wild acquire forward Oskar Sundqvist from the Detroit Red Wings in return for a fourth-round pick in 2023.
Calgary Flames acquire winger Dryden Hunt from the Toronto Maple Leafs in exchange for winger Radim Zahorna.
The Minnesota Wild traded winger Jordan Greenway to the Buffalo Sabres in exchange for a second-round pick in 2023 (originally from the Vegas Golden Knights) and a 2024 fifth-rounder.
Anaheim Ducks trade Dmitry Kulikov to the Pittsburgh Penguins for Brock McGinn and a third-round draft pick.
Winnipeg Jets acquire Vladislav Namestnikov from the San Jose Sharks for a 2025 fourth-rounder.
Los Angeles Kings trade Brendan Lemieux and a fifth-round pick in 2024 to the Philadelphia Flyers for Zack MacEwen
The New Jersey Devils acquire Curtis Lazar from the Vancouver Canucks in exchange for a 2024 fourth-round pick.
The Pittsburgh Penguins re-acquire center Nick Bonino from the San Jose Sharks in a three-team deal involving the Montreal Canadiens. The Sharks received a fifth-rounder in 2024 and a seventh-rounder in 2023 from the Penguins plus a minor-league defenseman Arvid Henrikson from the Canadiens. The Sharks flipped the fifth-rounder to the Canadiens for retaining 50 percent of Bonino’s $2.050 million cap hit. The Habs also received defenseman Tony Sund from the Penguins.
The Detroit Red Wings ship winger Jakub Vrana to the St. Louis Blues in exchange for minor-league center Dylan McLaughlin and a 2025 seven-round pick.
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.
The Bruins become the first club to reach 40 wins this season, the Devils become this season’s first club to reach 20 road wins, the Blue Jackets scratch Vladislav Gavrikov for trade-related reasons, and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.
NHL.COM: The Boston Bruins are the first team this season to reach the 40-win plateau as they nipped the Dallas Stars 3-2 on David Pastrnak’s overtime goal. Pastrnak and Pavel Zacha each had a goal and an assist as the Bruins (40-8-5) sit atop the overall standings with 85 points. Jason Robertson and Joe Pavelski each had two points for the Stars (30-14-11) as they sit on top of the Western Conference with 71 points.
Boston Bruins winger David Pastrnak (NHL Images).
Ryan Graves’ goal with two seconds remaining in the third period lifted the New Jersey Devils over the Columbus Blue Jackets by a score of 3-2. Vitek Vanecek made 31 saves for the 35-13-5 Devils as they became the first team this season to win 20 road games as they sit third in the Eastern Conference with 75 points. Johnny Gaudreau scored for the Blue Jackets as they slipped to 16-34-4.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Blue Jackets played without Vladislav Gavrikov as the defenseman was a healthy scratch for trade-related reasons. The Hockey News’ Adam Proteau weighs in on this latest trend of teams holding players considered trade candidates out of the line, suggesting it shouldn’t be for any longer than a week.
The Carolina Hurricanes defeated the Washington Capitals 3-2 with Stefen Noesen snapping a 2-2 tie in the second period. Hurricanes goalie Frederik Andersen made 13 of his 34 saves in the third period as his club improved to 35-10-8 and sit second in the Eastern Conference with 78 points. Joe Snively had a goal and an assist for the Capitals (28-22-6) as they slipped down into the final Eastern wild-card berth with 62 points.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Capitals played without captain Alex Ovechkin as he’s taken a leave of absence to deal with a family matter and the death of a loved one. He will miss the club’s Stadium Series against the Hurricanes on Saturday.
Pittsburgh Penguins goaltender Casey DeSmith stopped 38 shots while Sidney Crosby and Rickard Rakell each had three points in a 3-1 win over the San Jose Sharks. Jake Guentzel also scored twice for the Penguins (27-17-9) as they vaulted over the Capitals into the first Eastern Conference wild-card spot with 63 points. Timo Meier replied for the 17-27-11 Sharks.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Sharks winger Kevin Labanc revealed his father, Milan, had been in a medically induced coma for over two months after falling from a ladder while hanging Christmas lights during the American Thanksgiving weekend. Labanc said his father is now out of the woods and recovering. That explains why the winger’s on-ice performance has suffered in recent weeks leading to his being a healthy scratch in eight of the Sharks’ last 10 games.
The Tampa Bay Lightning defeated the Colorado Avalanche 4-3 on a shootout goal by Steven Stamkos. Andrei Vasilevskiy turned aside 43 shots for the 35-16-2 Lightning as they moved past the Toronto Maple Leafs into second place in the Atlantic Division with 72 points. Nathan MacKinnon had a goal and an assist for the 28-19-5 Avalanche as they cling to third place in the Central Division with 61 points.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Avalanche played without defenseman Erik Johnson as he’s sidelined indefinitely with a lower-body injury. He joins Cale Makar (head injury) and Josh Manson (lower body) among injured Avs blueliners though Manson could return to action for Wednesday’s game against the Minnesota Wild.
Winnipeg Jets center Pierre-Luc Dubois scored the game-tying goal and tallied in the shootout in a 3-2 victory over the Seattle Kraken. David Rittich made 27 saves for the Jets as they improved to 34-19-1 and sit two points behind the Western Conference-leading Stars with 69 points. Philipp Grubauer stopped 38 shots for the 30-18-6 Kraken as they’ve dropped four of their last five games and sit third in the Pacific Division with 66 points.
Ottawa Senators goalie Kevin Mandolese kicked out 46 shots in his NHL debut to backstop his club over the New York Islanders 3-2. Tim Stutzle and Drake Batherson scored in the shootout as the Senators improved to 26-24-3 (55 points) to sit seven points out of the final Eastern wild-card berth. Ilya Sorokin made 32 saves for the Islanders (27-23-7) as they sit one point behind the Capitals with 61 points.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Islanders center Jean-Gabriel Pageau missed this contest as he’s listed as day-to-day with an upper-body injury.
The St. Louis Blues kept their playoff hopes alive with a 6-2 victory over the Florida Panthers. Ivan Barbashev had a goal and two assists while Brayden Schenn tallied twice for the Blues (25-25-3). With 53 points, they’re eight points behind the Wild for the final Western Conference wild-card berth. The Panthers dropped to 27-24-6 and sit two points out of the final Eastern wild-card spot with 60 points.
Montreal Canadiens goaltender Jake Allen picked up his first shutout of the season with a 22-save performance to blank the Chicago Blackhawks 4-0. Jonathan Drouin collected three assists for the 23-27-4 Canadiens while the Blackhawks dropped to 16-31-5 on the season.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Canadiens played without Arber Xhekaj as the rookie defenseman is out indefinitely with an apparent shoulder injury. Blackhawks blueliner Jarred Tinordi left the game in the first period with an undisclosed injury.
IN OTHER NEWS…
VANCOUVER HOCKEY INSIDER: Canucks goaltender Thatcher Demko denied rumors claiming he wanted to be traded. He said he had no idea where the speculation was coming from. Sidelined by a lower-body injury since early December, Demko said he’s focused on returning to action when he dresses as the Canucks backup in their game on Saturday against the Philadelphia Flyers.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Demko rumors probably started innocently enough with a pundit musing over whether the Canucks might consider moving the netminder despite the three years remaining on his contract. Like the game of “Telephone”, the story changed as it bounced around the media and blogosphere and eventually morphed into Demko requesting a trade.
THE PROVINCE: Speaking of the Canucks, goaltender Spencer Martin cleared waivers yesterday and will be assigned to their AHL affiliate in Abbotsford, BC.
DETROIT HOCKEY NOW: The Red Wings placed winger Lucas Raymond on injured reserve and recalled winger Jakub Vrana from their AHL affiliate in Grand Rapids.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Vrana’s future with the Wings was considered in doubt after he was demoted to the minors. Recent speculation even suggested we would never see him skating with the parent club again as talk of a trade or a contract buyout surfaced in the rumor mill. This is a golden opportunity for Vrana to silence his doubters and prove he still has a future in Detroit.
A TO Z SPORTS’ Alex Daugherty cited Nashville Predators general manager David Poile telling the “Robby & Rexrode” Show that he doesn’t believe his club will be a buyer by the March 3 trade deadline. He suggested he could become a seller if things don’t improve favorably for his struggling club.
OTTAWA SUN: Bruce Garrioch reports the Arizona Coyotes finally appear poised to move Jakob Chychrun after making the 24-year-old defenseman a healthy scratch on Saturday for “trade-related reasons.”
Arizona Coyotes defenseman Jakob Chychrun (NHL Images).
Garrioch believes the Los Angele Kings, Edmonton Oilers, Toronto Maple Leafs and Boston Bruins have been among the club in hot pursuit of Chychrun. The Senators were in the mix but the Coyotes’ asking price of two first-round picks plus a high-end prospect was too expensive.
FLORIDA HOCKEY NOW: George Richards rules out the possibility that the Panthers could be Chychrun’s destination. It’s said that the Florida native would love to return home and play for the Panthers but Richards believes they lack the means to make it a reality.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: On Saturday, Sportsnet’s Jeff Marek reported sources from the Oilers and Leafs claimed they’re not in on Chychrun. The Kings also denied it but Marek observed they were honoring former captain Dustin Brown that night, meaning they didn’t want to comment on something that would distract from Brown’s big night.
NHL Insider Nick Kypreos tweeted Sunday that it sounded like Chychrun was headed to the Kings with prospect defenseman Brandt Clarke going to the Coyotes. However, The Athletic’s Scott Wheeler followed up by citing a source claiming Clarke isn’t being traded by the Kings.
I wouldn’t rule out the Bruins since general manager Don Sweeney has a history of swinging big moves at the trade deadline. However, Kings GM Rob Blake has the depth in young assets to outbid Sweeney. We could find out as early as today where he ends up.
So far, the 34-year-old Kane has yet to inform Blackhawks management whether he’ll waive his no-movement clause before the March 3 trade deadline. The organization feels it’s 50/50 that Kane will waive.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kane’s interest in the New York Rangers and his disappointment over their recent acquisition of Vladimir Tarasenko suggests he’s leaning toward accepting a trade to the right club. We’ll learn soon enough if he’s willing to go to one of those aforementioned teams. If he’s open to all four, it’ll come down to the best offer.
LATEST ON THE OILERS INTEREST IN ERIK KARLSSON
THE ATHLETIC: Daniel Nugent-Bowman reports questions abound over financial obstacles and structural fits regarding the Edmonton Oilers’ reported interest in San Jose Sharks defenseman Erik Karlsson. He cited an Oilers source saying that acquiring the 32-year-old Karlsson was possible but “remarkably unlikely”.
Nugent-Bowman believes it would require the Sharks to retain a sizeable portion of Karlsson’s $11.5 million annual cap hit over the next four seasons. Even then, the Oilers would have to move a roster player such as Tyson Barrie ($4.5 million cap hit through next season).
With Oilers GM Ken Holland last week saying his cap-strapped club having to make “dollar-in, dollar-out” deals, it would take moving more than Barrie to make a Karlsson trade happen. That’s on top of paying what’s expected to be an expensive asking price by the Sharks.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Anything’s possible but this could be a difficult lift for the Oilers during the season. It could require shedding two or perhaps three roster players depending on how much of Karlsson’s cap hit the Sharks are willing to eat.
Adding Karlsson would provide a welcome boost of superstar talent to their blueline. However, it could also weaken them elsewhere on the roster.
A Karlsson trade could take place before the trade deadline. Nevertheless, I still believe it’s more likely to occur in the offseason when teams have more cap space to work with and a greater willingness to make significant trades involving superstar talent.
UPDATES ON VRANA AND KRAVTSOV
THE ATHLETIC: Max Bultman reports Jakub Vrana said he doesn’t know what the Detroit Red Wings has in store for his future. Vrana, 26, has struggled to get his career back on track after emerging from the NHL/NHLPA Player Assistance Program in January. He was subsequently placed on waivers and is currently playing with the Wings’ AHL affiliate in Grand Rapids.
Vrana told Bultman that everyone knows he wants to remain a Red Wing. However, the club’s lack of public insight into his situation has sparked speculation that he’s not part of their long-term plans.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: There’s talk Vrana could be peddled at the trade deadline or during the offseason. If a trade isn’t possible they could buy out the final year of his contract this summer.
NEW YORK POST: Larry Brooks reports sources confirm that Vitaly Kravtsov’s camp has requested the Rangers move their client before the March 3 trade deadline if he’s not part of their immediate plans.
The 23-year-old winger could become a trade chip but only if the Blueshirts can get a satisfactory return. Brooks speculates GM Chris Drury could also look at shopping Kravtsov in the offseason.
Can the Rangers afford to acquire Timo Meier? What’s the latest on the Leafs, Hurricanes, Coyotes and Stars? Is Jakub Vrana done with the Red Wings? Find out in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.
MEIER COULD BE TOO EXPENSIVE FOR THE RANGERS
NEW YORK POST: Larry Brooks remains doubtful about the rumors linking the Rangers to San Jose Sharks winger Timo Meier. He pointed out they’ll have $16.76 million in cap space next season “to add six forwards, two defensemen and a backup goaltender.” That includes new contracts for restricted free agents K’Andre Miller, Filip Chytil and Alexis Lafreniere.
“But they are supposed to have interest in trading for Timo Meier and his $10 million qualifying offer. Where are the laughing-crying emojis when you need them?”
San Jose Sharks winger Timo Meier (NHL Images)
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Unless the Rangers are giving up one of those RFAs in return for Meier, I also don’t them being a serious suitor for Meier. Even then, the cost of re-signing him would still bite deeply into their remaining cap space.
I expect the Rangers will be shopping at this year’s trade deadline but it’ll be for the more affordable fare. Brooks advocates pursuing someone like the Nashville Predators’ Tanner Jeannot, though we don’t know if Predators general manager David Poile is a seller at this year’s deadline or if Jeannot would be among those he’d be willing to part with by March 3.
NO BIG DEADLINE MOVES FOR THE LEAFS?
SPORTSNET: In his latest mailbag segment, Luke Fox was asked what realistic moves we can expect of the Toronto Maple Leafs ahead of the March 3 trade deadline.
Johnson believes acquiring one of those three will make the Hurricanes a Stanley Cup contender. He believes Larkin is the best of that trio right now.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Larkin’s come up more frequently in recent trade speculation because he and the Red Wings haven’t yet reached an agreement on a contract extension. He’d definitely be a significant addition to the Hurricanes or any other club. However, I still believe Larkin and the Wings will get a deal done.
As for Toews and O’Reilly, the Hurricanes have the cap room and the depth in young players to make a tempting offer for either guy. However, they usually don’t pursue big-ticket rental players at the trade deadline. It’ll be interesting to see if they change that pattern this year.
LATEST ON THE COYOTES
GOPHNX.COM: Craig Morgan recently looked at the Arizona Coyotes’ potential trade candidates ahead of deadline day. He indicated Coyotes general manager Bill Armstrong isn’t wavering from his asking price of two first-round picks and a second-round pick (or the equivalent of that in a prospect) for Jakob Chychrun, who continues to be linked to the Los Angeles Kings.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Armstrong’s asking price could lead to Chychrun’s trade situation carrying over into the offseason. However, his impressive performance this season makes him a far more tempting trade target than he was last season when he was battling injuries and adjusting to a new head coach.
Morgan anticipates the sidelined Shayne Gostisbehere’s affordable remaining salary could make him easy to move to a contender seeking help on the power play. He doesn’t rule out the possibility of goaltender Karel Vejmelka getting moved but doubts Armstrong would accept a second-rounder for him. Vejmelka’s lack of a playoff resume is a concern. Morgan also noted there’s plenty of interest in center Nick Bjugstad and speculates he could fetch a second or third-round pick.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I’m still skeptical that the Coyotes will trade Vejmelka but I won’t rule it out if Armstrong got an offer of a first-round pick for him.
UPDATE ON THE STARS
THE ATHLETIC: Pierre LeBrun reports Dallas Stars GM Jim Nill intends to be patient as the trade deadline approaches. He’s willing to add to his roster but not at any price plus he has limited salary-cap space to work with. The Stars also lack a first-round pick to use as trade currency as Nill shipped that to the Rangers for Nils Lundqvist in September.
LeBrun doesn’t see Nill pursuing a big-ticket trade candidate such as San Jose’s Timo Meier. Thanks to their strong core, the Stars GM could prefer a rental player if the cost isn’t crazy.
LeBrun’s colleague Saad Yousuf recently listed the Stars’ potential trade bait. Winger Denis Gurianov is the most popular name but his trade value is low right now. He could be a candidate for a “one-for-one” swap for a player in a comparable situation.
Forward Radek Faksa and goaltender Anton Khudobin are other trade options. Yousef believes their biggest need is for a middle-six forward for their third line.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Stars are riding high in the Western Conference right now. Nill could surprise us with a major deadline move but I think he’s instead looking at tweaking his roster.
DETROIT FREE PRESS: Helene St. James reports the Wings are still evaluating Vrana’s play with their AHL affiliate in Grand Rapids. She noted they signaled their willingness to part with the 26-year-old winger when they placed him on waivers but couldn’t find any takers. Any improvement in his game, however, could change things ahead of the trade deadline.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Wings gave up Anthony Mantha to get Vrana at the 2021 trade deadline. They’re unlikely to get much of a return if they put him on the trade block.