NHL Rumor Mill – May 7, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – May 7, 2022

The Devils are open to trading their 2022 first-round pick plus a look at the Sabres’ roster needs in the NHL rumor mill.

DEVILS COULD PEDDLE THEIR 2022 FIRST ROUNDER

THE SCORE: Kayla Douglas cited New Jersey Devils general manager Tom Fitzgerald indicating his willingness to put his 2022 first-round pick into play in this summer’s trade market. The Devils currently hold the fifth-best odds (8.5%) of winning the 2022 NHL Draft Lottery on Tuesday.

Fitzgerald said he’d be open to using that pick to acquire a player “that we know and feel will help impact the results that we are looking for.” The Devils GM believes it is time for his young team to start contending for the playoffs.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Fitzgerald’s comments have already prompted some observers to muse over what type of player the Devils would want in exchange for that pick. Vancouver Hockey Now’s Rob Simpson recently examined the pros and cons of the Canucks’ offering up J.T. Miller if they’re unable to sign him to a contract extension.

Simpson is merely spitballing here as there’s no indication Miller is on the trade block. Nevertheless, you get the idea of the type of player it could take to pry that first-rounder away from the Devils, especially if they win the draft lottery. Fitzgerald would probably prefer someone with more than a year of term remaining on their contract.

New Jersey Devils forward Pavel Zacha (NHL Images)

Speaking of the Devils, THE ATHLETIC’s Shayna Goldman believes Pavel Zacha is the most likely of their current roster to be traded in the offseason. The 25-year-old spent most of this season on the wing but prefers playing center. He’s a restricted free agent with arbitration rights who isn’t worth much more than his current $2.25 million annual average value.

Goldman also believes the Devils face a big decision regarding Mackenzie Blackwood. Injuries have hampered his development as a starting goaltender over the past two seasons. They must determine if there’s still room for improvement or if he’d be better off with a fresh start elsewhere. She suggested it could depend if a UFA goaltender like St. Louis’ Ville Husso or Colorado’s Darcy Kuemper is willing to sign with them.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Zacha’s name popped up around midseason linking him to the Canucks. Its’ believed they’ll be seeking affordable talent in the early-to-mid twenties. We’ll find out at some point this summer if there’s a potential fit for him in Vancouver.

Goaltending was the Devils’ undoing this season. Blackwood cannot be faulted for his injury history and his struggles attempting to regain his form upon his return to action. Nevertheless, this franchise needs an upgrade between the pipes to have a fighting chance of becoming a playoff contention next season. It’s up to Fitzgerald to address that issue, be it shipping out Blackwood or putting him in a backup role to an established starter.

WHAT ARE THE SABRES’ OFFSEASON NEEDS?

THE ATHLETIC: John Vogl recently examined what roster issues the Buffalo Sabres should address during the offseason.

Goaltending is their most pressing need. Craig Anderson, 40, will take a month or two to decide if he wants to return or retire. Sabres GM Kevyn Adams will look at all his options. Vogl speculated they could sign a second-tier unrestricted free agent such as Braden Holtby, Casey DeSmith or Martin Jones.

They could also acquire a goalie with a year left on his contract to serve as a bridge to young netminders such as Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen, Devon Levi and Erik Portillo. Options could include the New York Islanders’ Semyon Varlamov, the Carolina Hurricanes’ Antti Raanta, Minnesota Wild’s Cam Talbot or Los Angeles Kings’ Jonathan Quick.

Adams must also improve his defense corps. Vogl believes they should add a right-handed shot to their heavy left-shot blueline but Adams stressed the importance of finding the right fit.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Adams might have better luck signing one of those second-tier UFA goalies. The Sabres could be part of Varlamov’s 16-team no-trade list, Raanta has a long injury history, the Wild could stick with Talbot ($3.666 million) if they’re unable to re-sign Marc-Andre Fleury and the Kings’ could allow the 36-year-old Quick to finish his career in Los Angeles.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 16, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 16, 2022

Alex Ovechkin takes over third place on the all-time goal list, Connor McDavid, Chris Kreider, Roman Josi and Mitch Marner also reach scoring milestones, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin tallied his 767th career NHL goal as his club downed the New York Islanders 4-3 on a shootout goal by Anthony Mantha. Evgeny Kuznetsov collected two assists for the Capitals while Brock Nelson had a goal and an assist for the Islanders. With 76 points, the Capitals hold the second wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference.

Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Ovechkin surpassed Jaromir Jagr to move into sole possession of third place on the all-time goal-scoring list, becoming the top European goal scorer in NHL history. He now sits 34 goals behind Gordie Howe for second place.

Edmonton Oilers captain Connor McDavid had two points and Evander Kane tallied twice to give the Edmonton Oilers a 7-5 win over the Detroit Red Wings. Warren Foegele snapped a 5-5 tie while Leon Draisaitl, Duncan Keith and Kailer Yamamoto also collected two points for the Oilers, who sit in third place in the Pacific Division with 70 points. Marc Staal scored two goals for the Red Wings.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It was McDavid’s 200th career multi-point game. It’s the most among all players since his debut in 2015-16.

New York Rangers winger Chris Kreider became the sixth active skater to score at least 20 power-play goals in a season as his club nipped the Anaheim Ducks 4-3. Adam Fox had three points (including the winning goal in overtime) and Artemi Panarin collected three assists. The Rangers are tied with the Pittsburgh Penguins with 81 points but hold second place in the Metropolitan Division with a game in hand. The Ducks (65 points) have dropped five straight and sit three points out of the final Western Conference wild-card berth.

Speaking of the Penguins, they dropped a 4-1 decision to the Nashville Predators. Roman Josi collected three assists, becoming the third place in franchise history to record 50 assists in a season. Josi also leads all defensemen in scoring this season with 69 points while his club moved into third place in the Central Division with 74 points. Penguins captain Sidney Crosby picked up an assist to extend his points streak to 10 games.

Toronto Maple Leafs rookie goaltender Erik Kallgren turned in a 35-save shutout in his first NHL start to blank the Dallas Stars 4-0. Mitch Marner collected two assists to surpass the 40-assist mark for the sixth straight season. With 81 points, the Leafs are one back of the second-place Tampa Bay Lightning in the Atlantic Division. The loss puts the Stars one point behind the Vegas Golden Knights (68 points) for the final Western wild-card berth.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This was the first of two games the Leafs will play without Auston Matthews as he serves his suspension for cross-checking Buffalo Sabres defenseman Rasmus Dahlin during Sunday’s Heritage Classic.

The Golden Knights, meanwhile, suffered their fifth straight defeat as they fell 7-3 to the Winnipeg Jets, who’ve won four of their last five games. Kyle Connor led the way for the Jets with a goal and two assists while Connor Hellebuyck made 35 saves for the win. They now sit just two points behind the Golden Knights. Jets forward Andrew Copp missed this game with an upper-body injury.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Six weeks ago, the Golden Knights sat atop the Pacific Division with 57 points. The combination of injuries to team captain Mark Stone and starting goalie Robin Lehner has contributed to their decline since then. They’re in danger of dropping out of the playoff race.

Vancouver Canucks captain Bo Horvat scored twice and added an assist to lead his club over the New Jersey Devils 6-3, snapping a 12-game losing skid against New Jersey. Canucks center J.T. Miller extended his points streak to 13 games with three assists as his club sits one point behind the Golden Knights. Devils forward Pavel Zacha is doubtful for his club’s game tonight against the Calgary Flames after suffering an upper-body injury in this contest.

The league-leading Colorado Avalanche became the first team to reach 90 points this season (91) by beating the Los Angeles Kings 3-0. Darcy Kuemper made 23 saves for his second straight shutout while Mikko Rantanen and Valeri Nichushkin each had a goal and an assist. Josh Manson logged over 18 minutes in his first game with the Avs since they acquired him from the Ducks on Monday.

Florida Panthers forward Frank Vatrano scored the game-tying and overtime goals to lift his club to a 3-2 win over the San Jose Sharks. It was Panthers center Joe Thornton’s first game back in San Jose against his former club since his departure in 2020. The Panthers (88 points) move one point ahead of the Carolina Hurricanes into first place in the Eastern Conference.

The Boston Bruins (79 points) remain three points ahead of the Capitals for the first Eastern Conference wild-card berth by downing the Chicago Blackhawks 2-1 on an overtime goal by Matt Grzelcyk. Blackhawks goalie Marc-Andre Fleury made 46 saves in a losing cause.

A 36-save effort by Karel Vejmelka gave the Arizona Coyotes a 6-3 win over the Montreal Canadiens for their sixth victory in their last seven contests. Clayton Keller and Lawson Crouse each had a goal and an assist. Cole Caufield tallied twice in eight seconds for the Canadiens.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Canadiens held trade candidate Ben Chiarot out of this game while Josh Anderson missed this matchup with a lower-body injury. The Habs also indicated Ryan Poehling was placed on injured reserve with an upper-body injury.

IN OTHER NEWS…

THE DENVER POST/TWINCITIES.COM: The Colorado Avalanche made their second trade in as many days, shipping forward Tyson Jost to the Minnesota Wild for forward Nico Sturm.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This move adds more size to the Avalanche roster while also swapping Jost’s $2 million salary-cap hit through 2022-23 for the pending free agent Sturm’s more affordable $725K. Avs general manager Joe Sakic could be setting the table for a bigger move before the March 21 trade deadline.

As for the Wild, this deal is being seen as GM Bill Guerin’s attempt to inject some life into a roster that’s struggled over the past month. He believes Jost will have a better chance to showcase his skills with the Wild.

THE DALLAS MORNING NEWS: Stars goaltender Anton Khudobin underwent season-ending hip surgery on Monday. He’s expected to make a full recovery but will be sidelined for six months.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That should put an end to the Braden Holtby trade rumors. The Stars won’t shop their backup while they’re jockeying for a playoff spot. He’s currently sidelined by a lower-body injury though he skated with his teammates during practice yesterday.

NEW YORK POST: Former NHL defenseman Jean Potvin passed away last night at age 72. An 11-year NHL veteran, he spent two tenures totaling seven seasons with the New York Islanders, winning two Stanley Cups with brother Denis Potvin. He also served stints with the Los Angeles Kings, Philadelphia Flyers, Cleveland Barons and Minnesota North Stars. Potvin netted 287 points in 613 total games between 1970-71 and 1980-81.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: My condolences to Potvin’s family, friends and former teammates.










NHL Rumor Mill – March 15, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – March 15, 2022

What next for the Ducks and Avalanche following the Josh Manson trade? Could the Islanders shop Semyon Varlamov? What’s the latest on the Golden Knights and Oilers? Find out in today’s NHL rumor mill.

ARE MORE TRADES COMING FOR THE DUCKS AND AVALANCHE?

THE ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER: Elliott Teaford suggests the Anaheim Ducks might not be done dealing after shipping Josh Manson to the Colorado Avalanche yesterday. He reminds us that Ducks general manager Pat Verbeek recently indicated he would trade pending unrestricted free agents like Manson if he couldn’t get them re-signed before the March 21 trade deadline.

Anaheim Ducks defenseman Hampus Lindholm (NHL Images).

Ducks defenseman (and pending UFA) Hampus Lindholm has been the subject of trade speculation for weeks. He reportedly seeks a longer-term deal than the five-year contract he’s been offered. He could fetch a good return for the Ducks if he’s moved before the deadline.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Most of the focus will be on Lindholm but he’s not the only UFA the Ducks could peddle by the deadline. Winger Rickard Rakell could also draw interest from clubs seeking a scoring right wing. He’s been linked to the Boston Bruins, New York Rangers and Pittsburgh Penguins in recent trade rumors.

TSN’s Pierre LeBrun believes the Avalanche isn’t finished in the trade market. He thinks they’re still interested in Philadelphia Flyers captain Claude Giroux among other forwards.

THE ATHLETIC: Peter Baugh observes salary-cap space is tight for the Avalanche. However, they could garner some flexibility by placing captain Gabriel Landeskog and his $7 million cap hit on long-term injury reserve following his knee surgery yesterday.

COLORADO HOCKEY NOW: Adrian Dater rules out the possibility of the Avalanche acquiring goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury from the Chicago Blackhawks. He’s been told there’s not much interest on the Avs part in a big offer for Fleury. He also believes they’ll pursue a forward leading up to the deadline.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Avs have been linked to Giroux for weeks but there have been recent rumblings they could be looking at more affordable options such as the Winnipeg Jets’ Andrew Copp. If the focus is to boost their bottom-six, Copp would make the most sense.

WILL THE ISLANDERS SHOP VARLAMOV?

THE ATHLETIC: Kevin Kurz recently reported it’s believed New York Islanders goaltender Semyon Varlamov won’t waive his no-trade clause to go to the Edmonton Oilers. He also wondered if the Washington Capitals (one of Varlamov’s former clubs) might turn to the Isles netminder if they’re unable to acquire Marc-Andre Fleury from the Blackhawks.

A pair of sources told Kurz the Toronto Maple Leafs could be a fit, but any deal involving the cap-strapped Maple Leafs might involve taking on Petr Mrazek and his $3.8 million cap hit through 2023-24. The Vegas Golden Knights could be another option given starter Robin Lehner’s battle with injuries this season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Varlamov carries a $5 million annual average value through 2022-23 with a 16-team no-trade clause. Those factors will make him difficult to move if the Islanders wish to shop him as a cost-cutting move. It might have to involve a “hockey trade” with the Isles taking back a player in return.

LATEST ON CRAIG ANDERSON, MARTIN JONES, PAVEL ZACHA & TYLER MOTTE

TSN: Pierre LeBrun speculates there could be some “tire-kicking” on Buffalo Sabres goaltender Craig Anderson. The team has huge respect for Anderson and LeBrun doesn’t think they’ll move him unless he’s comfortable with it.

NBC SPORTS PHILADELPHIA: Jordan Hall believes Flyers backup Martin Jones has solid rental potential for any team with instability between the pipes. He’s a pending UFA on a one-year, $2 million contract. Hall noted a report in late January indicating the Edmonton Oilers were willing to give up a late-round draft pick for Jones but the Flyers likely wanted to let the market play out for leverage purposes.

SPORTSNET’S Elliotte Friedman (stick tap to NHL Watcher) said the Montreal Canadiens are one of the teams with an interest in New Jersey Devils forward Pavel Zacha.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Zacha, 24, is a restricted free agent with arbitration rights completing a three-year deal with a $2.5 million annual cap hit and $3 million this season in actual salary. The Vancouver Canucks were also reportedly interested in him.

THE ATHLETIC: Joe Smith suggested Vancouver Canucks bottom-six forward Tyler Motte could be an intriguing trade option for the Tampa Bay Lightning. He’s a UFA this summer with a $1.25 million salary-cap hit this season. A second-round pick or an equivalent prospect could be the asking price but it remains to be seen if the Canucks will trade him while they’re jockeying for a wild-card spot in the Western Conference.

UPDATES ON THE GOLDEN KNIGHTS AND OILERS

LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL: David Schoen believes the slumping Golden Knights needs to bolster their goaltending with starter Robin Lehner still battling injuries. Possible trade options could include the New York Rangers’ Alexandar Georgiev, New York Islanders’ Semyon Varlamov, the Columbus Blue Jackets’ Joonas Korpisalo and the Dallas Stars’ Braden Holtby.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: With just over $1.2 million in projected deadline cap space, the Golden Knights don’t have much wiggle room here to add a goalie. Varlamov’s $5 million cap hit through next season is too expensive and the Stars aren’t moving Holtby with Anton Khudobin undergoing hip surgery. That leaves Georgiev and Korpisalo and there’s no certainty either guy will give Vegas the boost they need between the pipes.

EDMONTON JOURNAL: Jim Matheson believes Oilers GM Ken Holland has to be in “add mode” as the trade deadline approaches with his club scrambling to nail down a playoff berth. He believes Holland should add an older, bigger defenseman such as the Philadelphia Flyers’ Justin Braun, the Detroit Red Wings’ Marc Staal or the Seattle Kraken’s Carson Soucy. Braun and Staal are pending UFAs while Soucy has a year remaining on his contract with a cap hit of $2.75 million.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The cap-strapped Oilers will need some help acquiring one of those defensemen. Matheson speculates Holland could be prepared to offer up checking-line forward Josh Archibald (and pending UFA) as a trade chip. However, he might have to include a pick or prospect in the deal.










NHL Rumor Mill – February 18, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – February 18, 2022

Check out my analysis of Daily Faceoff’s Trade Targets list in today’s NHL rumor mill.

DAILY FACEOFF: Philadelphia Flyers captain Claude Giroux, Montreal Canadiens defenseman Ben Chiarot, and San Jose Sharks center Tomas Hertl top Frank Seravalli’s top-25 NHL trade targets list.

Philadelphia Flyers captain Claude Giroux (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Lot of speculation over where Giroux could go with the Colorado Avalanche believed the front-runner. As Seravalli points out, the 34-year-old Flyers captain’s no-movement clause gives him full control over this situation.

Chiarot is expected to return to action next week from a minor injury, sparking conjecture the Canadiens could trade him soon. The Florida Panthers, New York Rangers and St. Louis Blues are said to be among his suitors.

Hertl and the Sharks have reportedly started contract extension talks. As Seravalli observes, there’s no certainty they’ll reach an agreement before the March 21 trade deadline.

Chicago Blackhawks winger Brandon Hagel and Arizona Coyotes blueliner Jakob Chychrun sit fourth and fifth. Seravalli reports the Florida Panthers, Toronto Maple Leafs, New Jersey Devils and Calgary Flames were known to have talks with the Blackhawks about Hagel, though the Flames moved on to Tyler Toffoli.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I noted yesterday the report by Ben Pope of the Chicago Sun-Times citing a source saying Hagel was virtually off the table. The Blackhawks could be listening to offers for just about everyone but Hagel probably won’t be moved unless they get a terrific offer.

As for Chychrun, lots of teams are believed to be interested. However, the Coyotes’ hefty asking price of a high first-round pick, a top prospect and a good young NHL player explains why he’s still in Arizona.

Vancouver Canucks winger Brock Boeser, Dallas Stars defenseman John Klingberg, Blackhawks goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury, Canadiens blueliner Jeff Petry, and Seattle Kraken rearguard Mark Giordano fill spots six through 10.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Seravalli notes the Boeser trade chatter increased soon after the Canucks new management team was in place. He’s a restricted free agent with arbitration rights who’ll cost $7.5 million to qualify his rights.

However, the Canucks are still chasing a playoff berth in the Western Conference. Hockey ops president Jim Rutherford and general manager Patrik Allvin both said there’s no urgency to make trades. They could wait until the offseason to shop Boeser if they can’t reach an agreement on a new contract or receive a suitable trade offer before the March 21 deadline.

The Stars are also in the playoff hunt in the Western Conference. They might not shop pending UFA Klingberg unless they fall out of contention over the next four weeks. Fleury’s contract and modified no-trade clause make shipping him to a Stanley Cup contender a difficult move. The same goes for Petry. Giordano, on the other hand, could end up on the move before March 21 if the Kraken can find him a suitable destination.

Ottawa Senators forward Nick Paul, Canucks forward J.T. Miller, Stars winger Joe Pavelski, New York Rangers goalie Alexandar Georgiev, and Columbus Blue Jackets netminder Joonas Korpisalo fill spots 11 to 15.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Paul, Pavelski and Korpisalo are UFAs this summer while Georgiev is a restricted free agent. The Senators hope to retain Paul but they could shop him if they can’t reach an agreement on an extension.

What I said about Klingberg applies to Pavelski. I continue to have my doubts the Rangers will move Georgiev as that will send them into a thin goalie market for an experienced, reliable backup.

New Jersey Devils forward Pavel Zacha, Winnipeg Jets forward Andrew Copp, Blue Jackets winger Max Domi, Boston Bruins winger Jake DeBrusk and Vegas Golden Knights winger Reilly Smith are in spots 16 to 20.

Zacha and DeBrusk are RFAs with arbitration rights while the others are UFAs. The Devils could entertain offers for Zacha but they can also afford to wait until the offseason. It’s been three months since DeBrusk requested a trade.

Copp will draw interest in the trade market if the Jets become sellers but that’s not yet a certainty. The well-traveled Domi could be on the move again. The Golden Knights won’t have to trade Smith to clear cap space if Mark Stone and Alec Martinez remain on LTIR for the remainder of the regular season.

Anaheim Ducks winger Rickard Rakell, Blue Jackets center Jack Roslovic, Detroit Red Wings defenseman Nick Leddy, Coyotes winger Phil Kessel and Calvin de Haan round out the list.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Rakell could be on the move if the Ducks continue to slide out of playoff contention. Roslovic has really struggled following the Jackets coaching change last summer. Leddy and de Haan should be affordable pickups for playoff contenders seeking defensive depth. Kessel could also interest clubs looking for a winger with playoff experience.










NHL Rumor Mill – February 17, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – February 17, 2022

Check out the latest on the Blackhawks, Rangers and Canucks in today’s NHL rumor mill.

BLACKHAWKS

NBC SPORTS CHICAGO: Charlie Roumeliotis reports it’s believed the Blackhawks won’t move Marc-Andre Fleury unless he asks to be traded. The 37-year-old goaltender has a 10-team no-trade clause and has surfaced in recent trade rumors, with the latest tying him to his former club, the Vegas Golden Knights. If he does request a trade, they won’t send him somewhere he doesn’t want to go.

Fleury acknowledged if he were to be traded he’d want to play for a Stanley Cup contender. “If…IF…I move, I would love a chance to win,” he said. “That’s what I play for and that’s what I love. It’s still a big if at this point.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: One reason is there are not many Cup contenders seeking an upgrade between the pipes. The Edmonton Oilers and Washington Capitals could use Fleury but they’re not considered among this season’s Cup favorites. There’s also a report the Capitals attempted to acquire him but it’s rumored he rejected the deal. The remainder of his $7 million cap hit for this season is another sticking point. Fleury could end up finishing this season with the Blackhawks.

DAILY FACEOFF: Frank Seravalli reports sources said Blackhawks interim general manager Kyle Davidson was listening to offers for wingers Alex DeBrincat and Brandon Hagel. He claims there’s considerable interest in Hagel, who is signed through 2023-24 with a $1.5 million annual salary-cap hit. Seravalli suggests Hagel might fetch a first-round pick and a prospect.

THE ATHLETIC: Mark Lazerus reports winger Dominik Kubalik’s struggles this season have him facing an uncertain future with the Blackhawks. The 26-year-old winger is a restricted free agent with arbitration rights but his production is down this season.

CHICAGO SUN-TIMES: Ben Pope acknowledged Seravalli’s report about Hagel but said a source told him the 23-year-old winger is virtually off the table. Fleury and defenseman Calvin de Haan are the Blackhawks’ biggest trade chips. Kubalik and fellow RFA Dylan Strome have been on the market for months despite persuasive arguments for keeping both.

Chicago Blackhawks winger Alex DeBrincat (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Davidson might be listening but that doesn’t mean he’s moving DeBrincat or Hagel. Both are young enough to be core players on this rebuilding roster. Unless the gambit here is to piss off long-time leaders Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews to the point where they demand a trade in the offseason, it makes little sense to move DeBrincat or Hagel unless the return is significant.

It wouldn’t be surprising if Kubalik and Strome are traded away, though the decline in their respective production means they won’t fetch much of a return for the Blackhawks. Given their arbitration rights, it might not be worth the hassle to keep them.

RANGERS

NEW YORK POST: Larry Brooks reports the Rangers interest in Vancouver Canucks forward (and former Ranger) J.T. Miller has been “an open secret” for some time. The versatile Miller can skate at center or right wing. He could prove useful to them beyond this season if they’re unable to re-sign pending UFA center Ryan Strome this summer. However, the Blueshirts probably won’t be able to afford an extension for Miller and would have to seek another top-six center in 2023.

THE ATHLETIC: Arthur Staple reports the asking price for Miller could be the classic “draft pick/prospect/player”. He wondered if the Rangers could land him by pitching a first-round pick and promising defenseman Nils Lundkvist.

Staple also commented on a recent report by Daily Faceoff’s Frank Seravalli saying the Vegas Golden Knights may have reached out to the Rangers about Alexandar Georgiev. However, sources say the Blueshirts haven’t received any real offers yet for the 26-year-old goaltender. He’s slated to become a restricted free agent with arbitration rights this summer and is a year away from UFA eligibility. Parting with Georgiev would leave the Rangers seeking an experienced replacement.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’ll be interesting to see what moves Rangers GM Chris Drury makes before the March 21 trade deadline. He’s got plenty of deadline cap space and lots of promising young players/prospects to draw upon for trade bait.

Drury is well-positioned to make a solid bid for Miller but would it be with an eye on keeping him beyond next season or as a short-term measure? Will he pass on Miller and consider other options? We’ll find out soon enough.

I’ll be surprised if they move out Georgiev. He’s not a UFA so they can peddle him in the offseason if he doesn’t fit into their plans. He did a good job filling in for starter Igor Shesterkin when he was sidelined for several games earlier this season. Better to stick with the backup you know down the stretch and into the playoffs.

CANUCKS

DAILY FACEOFF/THE ATHLETIC: Scott Burnside and Thomas Drance report Vancouver Canucks president of hockey operations Jim Rutherford and general and general manager Patrik Allvin are both preaching patience, stressing there’s no urgency for the club to make moves before the March 21 trade deadline.

Rutherford said the final decision to make trades rests with Allvin, who indicated he wants to evaluate his club’s performance as they continue to fight for a playoff spot in the Western Conference.

CHEK-TV’s Rick Dhaliwal cited Elliotte Friedman noted the Canucks interest in New Jersey Devils forward Pavel Zacha. However, he also said to keep an eye on the Washington Capitals as they need some help up front.

THE ATHLETIC: Thomas Drance and Harman Dayal listed Zacha, Boston Bruins winger Jake DeBrusk, Pittsburgh Penguins winger Kasperi Kapanen, Carolina Hurricanes’ forward Jesperi Kotkaniemi and Toronto Maple Leafs’ defenseman Travis Dermott among several players between 20 and 25 years old that they speculate could be on the Canucks trade radar.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Canucks’ new front office still has five weeks before the trade deadline to evaluate their players and determine who to move and who to keep if they decide to become sellers by March 21. It appears they’re going to give this roster a chance to gain some ground in the standings and see if they have a shot at securing a playoff berth. If they fall out of contention, they could start shipping out some players.

The interest in bringing in younger players indicates they’re looking at a quick turnaround rather than a lengthy rebuild. Shopping Miller could help them land such a player. Whether it would be any of those listed above remains to be seen.










NHL Rumor Mill – February 14, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – February 14, 2022

Check out the latest Canadiens and Canucks speculation in today’s NHL rumor mill.

LATEST ON THE CANADIENS

MONTREAL GAZETTE: Pat Hickey believes it’s time for the Canadiens to find a new home for Jeff Petry after the struggling 34-year-old defenseman committed a pair of gaffes that led to two recent losses. General manager Kent Hughes recently said he’ll make a deal involving the unhappy Petry if it makes sense for both sides. Hickey acknowledged the Canadiens aren’t dealing from a position of strength and clearing out Petry’s $6.25 million cap space might be more important than any return.

Montreal Canadiens defenseman Jeff Petry (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Easier said than done. Petry’s age, the decline in his performance this season, the remaining three years of his contract and his 15-team no-trade clause (with a no-movement to prevent demotion to the minors) are significant stumbling blocks in the path toward a trade. That deal (if it can be found) might have to wait until the offseason given the high number of teams with limited cap space this season.

SPORTSNET’s Eric Engels (stick tap to Brian Wilde) said there are 12 teams with an interest in Canadiens defenseman Ben Chiarot. The asking price is “at least a first”. The club is also staying patient with winger Tyler Toffoli unless they get a big offer for the 29-year-old forward.

Engels said the Canadiens are gauging Petry’s value in the trade market. He speculates the Dallas Stars or Detroit Red Wings as possible destinations. As for winger Josh Anderson, he’s unlikely to be moved. It would “cost a ton” for a team to land him.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Engels’ colleague Elliotte Friedman reported Saturday the Calgary Flames, Carolina Hurricanes, Florida Panthers, Los Angeles Kings and New York Rangers are believed among the suitors for Chiarot. Toffoli’s under contract for two more years at an affordable $4.25 million annually. Unless he requests a trade, the Canadiens will likely hang onto him.

Given Petry’s age and cap hit, I don’t see him as a fit with the Stars. I understand they could trade John Klingberg or let him depart via free agency but I think they’d prefer a younger and more affordable replacement. I’ve suggested the Red Wings as a trade partner given Petry’s a Michigan native but GM Steve Yzerman could also prefer younger and cheaper talent on his blueline.

I also concur with Engels’ take on Anderson. He’s among the few Habs players who consistently bring a solid effort in every game. Yes, his scoring is erratic but his energy and physical play make him worth keeping.

UPDATE ON THE CANUCKS

VANCOUVER HOCKEY NOW: Rob Simpson weighed in on Sportsnet’s Jeff Marek’s Saturday report claiming the Canucks could have an interest in Pavel Zacha. The 24-year-old New Jersey Devils forward is a former first-round pick who is slated to become a restricted free agent this summer and is a year away from UFA eligibility.

Simpson points out Canucks president Jim Rutherford and general manager Patrik Allvin saw a lot of Zacha during their tenures with the Pittsburgh Penguins. He suggests perhaps Zacha could be viewed as a potential replacement for center J.T. Miller if the Canucks should trade him before the March 21 deadline.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Interesting theory by Simpson. I share his concern about Zacha’s durability and desire, making him “the anti-Miller”. However, he’d be a worthwhile secondary scoring addition to augment Miller if the Canucks intend to retain him.

THE ATHLETIC: Thomas Drance and Rick Dhaliwal report hearing the Canucks linked to New York Rangers winger Vitali Kravtsov, who’s playing in Russia this season awaiting a trade.

Their sources were split over whether he’d been part of any latent discussions between the Canucks and Rangers, who’ve been rumored to have an interest in J.T. Miller. Kravtsov would fit the mold of promising young players the Canucks could target leading up to the trade deadline.