NHL Rumor Mill – November 30, 2023

NHL Rumor Mill – November 30, 2023

The Leafs and Canucks could be in the market for defensemen while the Oilers could be scouting the Blue Jackets goalies. Check out the latest in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.


SPORTSNET: In his latest “32 Thoughts” column, Elliotte Friedman noted the Toronto Maple Leafs are down three defensemen with Mark Giordano, John Klingberg and Timothy Liljegren sidelined by injuries. He wondered if this was the year for the Leafs to spend key assets on rental replacements.

THE ATHLETIC: Chris Johnston believes it’s not difficult to draw a line from Maple Leafs general manager Brad Treliving to his former club in Calgary, where the Flames have a blueline that features several attractive trade targets.

Johnston rules out Noah Hanifin given the expense of his next contract and the fact the Leafs are believed to be on his eight-team no-trade list. However, Chris Tanev and Nikita Zadorov could hold some appeal.

Calgary Flames defenseman Chris Tanev (NHL Images).

Other options include former Leaf Ilya Lyubushkin of the Anaheim Ducks and Sean Walker of the Philadelphia Flyers. As for what the Leafs could use for trade capital, Johnston noted that they have nine picks in the 2024 draft, including a first-rounder.

DAILY FACEOFF: Chris Tanev tops Mark Larkin’s list of seven possible trade targets for the Leafs. Others include Zadorov, the Columbus Blue Jackets’ Andrew Peeke, the Nashville Predators’ Alexandre Carrier, the Seattle Kraken’s Will Borgen, the San Jose Sharks’ Mario Ferraro and the Philadelphia Flyers’ Travis Sanheim.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Zadorov’s recent trade request makes him the most likely among this group to be moved. Given the Flames’ recent rise in the standings, however, they’re probably not in any hurry to move Zadorov, Tanev or anyone else.

Peeke could be the next most likely to be available. He was among three defensemen (Adam Boqvist and Jake Bean being the others) that the Jackets were reportedly shopping back in October. Lyubushkin and Borgen could also become available if their respective clubs fail to gain ground in the standings.

Ferraro is signed through 2025-26 and the Sharks might not be keen to move him unless it’s for a substantial offer. The Preds might not be sellers if they continue climbing in the standings.

The Flyers are reportedly willing to listen if they get offers that could build up their foundation but they’re not listening on every player. They might move Walker later in the season but I doubt they’ll part with Sanheim. He has 16 points in 22 games and carries a $6.25 million annual cap hit through 2030-31 along with a full no-trade clause.


SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman noted the Vancouver Canucks cleared cap space by trading Anthony Beauvillier to Chicago earlier this week. He claims they’re scouring the market for a blueliner.

One option could be bringing back free agent Ethan Bear, though he’s not expected to be ready to return from offseason shoulder surgery until late December. He also noted the Conor Garland sweepstakes have slowed down because he’s playing well and the Canucks no longer have a cap crunch. They’re also not interested in moving their first-round draft pick.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Friedman’s colleague Iain MacIntyre reported Canucks GM Patrik Allvin acknowledged his club’s need for more blueline depth. “I think we can get help on the back end, yes,” he said.

They could be waiting for Bear to be ready to return or they could consider other options like those suggested for the Maple Leafs. Given how well they’re currently playing, the Canucks don’t have to rush into making a move. Nevertheless, they could be worth watching before the holiday trade freeze (Dec. 20-27) kicks in.


SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman noted three Edmonton Oilers executives/scouts were in Columbus for the second time this week. They were there on Monday when the Blue Jackets defeated the Boston Bruins with Spencer Martin getting the win in goal. They were also there on Wednesday when Elvis Merzlikins faced the Montreal Canadiens.

With Danill Tarasov due to return from injury soon, the Blue Jackets could have one goalie too many unless they intend on carrying three. Friedman also noted that it’s possible the Oilers could recall Jack Campbell if he plays well.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Oilers were also linked to Montreal Canadiens goalies Sam Montembeault and Jake Allen but that speculation has recently subsided. Montembeault played well in a 4-2 win over the Jackets so perhaps the Oilers might revisit their interest in him.

NHL Rumor Mill – November 29, 2023

NHL Rumor Mill – November 29, 2023

The latest on the Oilers, Flames, Hurricanes, Sharks, Flyers, Devils and Panthers in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.


OTTAWA SUN: Bruce Garrioch has a collection of trade rumors this week from around the NHL. So let’s dive in…

The Edmonton Oilers continue to look for a goaltender after sending Jack Campbell to the minors. However, it’s believed the front office wants to give new head coach Kris Knoblauch an opportunity to right the ship before trading away assets.

St. Louis Blues goaltender Jordan Binnington (NHL Images).

Garrioch thinks the Oilers kicked tires on St. Louis Blues netminder Jordan Binnington. It’s believed they’re willing to move a number of assets with the exception of their 2024 first-round pick.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Binnington has a full no-trade clause so he’s probably not going anywhere. He also has a $6 million average annual value that the cap-strapped Oilers can’t afford to take on unless they can shed salary in the deal or in a separate move.

The Calgary Flames are trying to move center Elias Lindholm and defensemen Noah Hanifin, Chris Tanev and Nikita Zadorov. They’re all slated to become unrestricted free agents next summer.

Zadorov recently made a very public trade request which apparently hasn’t sat well with his teammates. He’s been linked to Toronto, where former Flames general manager Brad Treliving is the Maple Leafs GM. They’re looking for a defenseman with John Klingberg on long-term injury reserve (LTIR).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Boston Hockey Now’s Jimmy Murphy cites a league source recently speculating that the Bruins could be interested in Zadorov. The source also noted that the Bruins had been listening for offers for Matt Grzelcyk and wondered if a one-for-one swap was possible.

The Flames could be keeping their options open but I don’t see them moving anyone right now. They’ve risen into wild-card contention in the Western Conference and will likely want to see how things progress before deciding if they’ll be sellers by the March 8 trade deadline.

Teams in the market for a defenseman should contact the Carolina Hurricanes. They’re willing to move pending UFA blueliners Brett Pesce and Tony DeAngelo.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Pesce was the subject of offseason speculation but the Hurricanes apparently intend to hang onto him and sort out his contract situation once the season is over. DeAngelo, on the other hand, could be available if clubs are seeking an experienced puck-moving rearguard.

San Jose Sharks GM Mike Grier is willing to move Mackenzie Blackwood. Several teams have expressed interested in the 26-year-old goaltenders.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Blackwood is playing fairly well this season with the rebuilding Sharks. He also carries an affordable $2.35 million AAV through 2024-25 and lacks no-trade protection. However, the earliest I see him moving could be leading up to the March trade deadline. Blackwood’s future with the Sharks could also depend on whether Grier intends to sign pending UFA goalie Kaapo Kahkonen to a contract extension.

The Flyers are willing to give forward Morgan Frost a fresh start elsewhere because he’s been scratched by head coach John Tortorella. There’s talk they were interested in shipping him to Ottawa for Shane Pinto. However, that was before Pinto was suspended for breaking the league’s gambling rules. Garrioch said the Senators have shown no interest in moving Pinto.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Frost could have an opportunity to draw back into the Flyers’ lineup with Noah Cates sidelined for six to eight weeks.


NEW JERSEY HOCKEY NOW: James Nichols cited Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman speculating that Devils GM Tom Fitzgerald could be looking around for help between the pipes. Friedman noted that Fitzgerald was also interested in boosting his goaltending at the start of the season but has ramped up those efforts as the tandem of Vitek Vanecek and Akira Schmid continues to struggle.

Nichols noted that Fitzgerald was in the mix for Connor Hellebuyck prior to his re-signing with the Winnipeg Jets. Other options could include the Anaheim Ducks’ John Gibson, Jake Allen or Sam Montembeault of the Montreal Canadiens, the Philadelphia Flyers’ Carter Hart or Ville Husso, James Reimer or Alex Lyon of the Detroit Red Wings.

TSN: Pierre LeBrun noted the Devils had spoken with the Calgary Flames regarding defenseman Nikita Zadorov. However, they want to see if their club can regain its “A” game following their sluggish start before going the trade route.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Injuries have also piled up for the Devils this season with key players such as Jack Hughes, Nico Hischier and Timo Meier sidelined for long periods of time. Perhaps a healthier roster might help them right the ship.

In the meantime, I expect Fitzgerald will keep an eye on the goalie market. Even if the club improves over the course of the season, he could seek an upgrade by the trade deadline if they’re in playoff contention by then.


ESPN: Kevin Weekes believes the Florida Panthers will shift their focus to re-signing pending free agents such as Sam Reinhart, Gustav Forsling and Brandon Montour now that the Patrick Kane sweepstakes has ended.

FLORIDA HOCKEY NOW: Panthers GM Bill Zito remains hopeful of getting Reinhart under contract. The rise in the salary cap for next season could make it possible for Zito to re-sign everyone provided they take the decision to accept less money to stay. That’s what Aleksander Barkov did while Matthew Tkachuk took less than market value to join the Panthers.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Reinhart will be the most expensive to re-sign. He’s earning an AAV of $6.5 million but is on pace for a career-high season as he leads the Panthers with 15 goals and 27 points in 22 games.

NHL Rumor Mill – November 28, 2023

NHL Rumor Mill – November 28, 2023

Check out the latest on the Leafs plus more speculation linking the Coyotes to the Flames’ Noah Hanifin in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.


TORONTO STAR: Kevin McGran reports Maple Leafs general manager Brad Treliving is still in contract extension talks with winger William Nylander. He’s also awaiting clarity on defenseman John Klingberg’s hip injury.

Treliving provided no details regarding the contract discussions with the Nylander camp. He remains hopeful of getting the 27-year-old winger signed before he becomes eligible for unrestricted free-agent status next July.

Toronto Maple Leafs forward William Nylander (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s an encouraging sign that the lines of communication between the Leafs and Nylander’s representatives remain open. There’s still no guarantee that a deal could be hammered out before season’s end but the odds are better if there is ongoing dialogue.

Nylander’s outstanding play this season almost certainly ensures he’ll receive a significant raise over his current $6.9 million average annual value. Estimates range from $8.5 million (too low in my opinion) to $12.25 million (too high). I think it’ll land somewhere between $10 million and $11 million annually.

As for Klingberg, Treliving revealed his hip ailment began during the fourth game of this season. He underwent double hip surgery in 2014. The 31-year-old blueliner is being examined by doctors in New York and it’s believed a decision regarding surgery or physical therapy will be made by the end of this week.

The Leafs need to know how long Klingberg will be sidelined. That will determine if they need to find another defenseman and how much cap space they’ll have to do so.

It’s rumored the Leafs are interested in Calgary Flames blueliners Nikita Zadorov and Chris Tanev. Zadorov recently requested a trade and his agent indicated he has an interest in coming to Toronto, where he would be reunited with Treliving.

TSN: Darren Dreger also recently noted the Leafs’ rumored interest in Tanev given their need for a right-shot defenseman. He also listed former Leaf and current Anaheim Ducks rearguard Ilya Lyubushkin, the Philadelphia Flyers’ Sean Walker, and the Columbus Blue Jackets’ Andrew Peeke.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Flames management isn’t in any rush to move Zadorov or Tanev now that the club has moved up in the standings into a wild-card spot. I doubt the Flyers are that keen to move Walker right now given their ongoing solid play.

The Ducks probably won’t shop Lyubushkin until closer to the March 8 trade deadline. Peeke, however, could be available. Reports earlier this season claimed the Jackets were gauging the trade market on Peeke and Adam Boqvist.


GOPHNX.COM: Craig Morgan noted the recent rumors that have linked the Arizona Coyotes to Calgary Flames defenseman Noah Hanifin. He said the rumor “has some legs” but indicated their level of pursuit in the 26-year-old pending unrestricted free agent is “a bit exaggerated”.

Morgan acknowledged the Coyotes’ need for someone like Hanifin on their blueline. He thinks they really need another top-four option because offseason acquisition Matt Dumba hasn’t played like one.

If the Coyotes acquire Hanifin, Morgan believes they’d have to do so without giving up any of their top prospects. They’d also have to sign him to a contract extension that would fit within their long-term budget.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Those are the two factors that make a Hanifin trade to Arizona unlikely. The Flames will probably want one of the Coyotes’ top prospects as part of the return. Hanifin could also prefer testing the UFA market in July.

I don’t blame the Coyotes for looking into Hanifin’s availability. They’re a club on the rise with a promising future. However, he could prefer joining an already established playoff/Stanley Cup contender.

Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – November 26, 2023

Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – November 26, 2023

The latest on Patrick Kane plus updates on the Islanders and Coyotes in the Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup.


SPORTSNET (via Kukla’s Korner): Elliotte Friedman believes we should learn by early this week when Patrick Kane will finally decide where he’ll play this season. The 35-year-old unrestricted free-agent winger has made it “tougher than an escape room” to figure out where he’s going.

Free agent winger Patrick Kane (NHL Images).

Most observers have speculated the Florida Panthers and Detroit Red Wings as potential destinations. Friedman thinks Kane has narrowed his choices down to a couple of teams.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Panthers have reportedly pursued Kane since the summer and could offer him the best opportunity to win the Stanley Cup this season. However, the Red Wings have the advantage of salary-cap space if he’s seeking a multi-year deal.

VEGAS HOCKEY NOW: Chris Gawlik noted some recent speculation linking Kane to the Golden Knights. However, he dismissed that notion by pointing out their lack of salary-cap space plus the difficulty they would face in finding a suitable place for him on their roster.

Barring a long-term injury to one of their top-six forwards, the Golden Knights don’t need Kane to win the Stanley Cup this season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I get the notion of a defending champion wanting to load up for another run at the Cup. Nevertheless, Gawlik does a fine job of pointing out why the Golden Knights probably won’t do it.


THE ATHLETIC: Arthur Staple wonders what the New York Islanders will do to replace Adam Pelech, who was placed on long-term injury reserve when he injured his left arm during Friday’s game against the Ottawa Senators. Staple noted how the Isles struggled during Pelech’s two previous long absences due to injuries in 2020-21 and last season.

Islanders general manager Lou Lamoriello plucked journeyman defenseman Mike Reilly off waivers Saturday from the Florida Panthers. He’s an affordable stopgap to buy time while Lamoriello looks elsewhere for help if needed.

The Islanders had $700K in cap space prior to Pelech’s injury. Putting him on LTIR enables them to dip into his $5.75 million cap hit. Staple pointed out that recent rumors had Lamoriello inquiring into Calgary Flames defensemen Noah Hanifin and Nikita Zadorov. Another option could be Carolina Hurricanes rearguard Tony DeAngelo.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Staple pointed out that Pelech can come off LTIR as early as Dec. 16 but he could be out until sometime in January if surgery is required. That could be the determining factor whether Lamoriello heads into the trade market. Bear in mind that if they use the LTIR savings to add a defenseman they must be cap-compliant when Pelech is ready to return.


GOPHNX.COM: Craig Morgan recently reported that Arizona Coyotes GM Bill Armstrong is actively engaged in trade talks that would involve shipping existing draft picks and prospects out the door to bring in existing NHL talent.

Morgan pointed out how much of a positive impact offseason addition Sean Durzi has made to the Arizona Coyotes’ defense corps. The 25-year-old blueliner is someone who can grow with the club’s young core.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: After three years of tearing the roster down, Armstrong has shifted his focus on building up around core players like Clayton Keller and promising future stars such as Logan Cooley. However, don’t expect him to just start shoveling out most of his draft picks and prospects for veterans.

The Coyotes have eight picks in rounds two through four and two picks in round seven of the 2024 draft, six picks through rounds two and three in 2025 and five picks in rounds two and three in 2026. Armstrong can draw on some of them as trade chips to pluck away quality talent from cap-strapped clubs or those who lack draft picks throughout those rounds.

Armstrong won’t be going after aging stars on expiring contracts. Instead, he’ll likely pursue players like Durzi who are in the mid-to-late twenties and could be part of the Coyotes’ long-term plans.

NHL Rumor Mill – November 23, 2023

NHL Rumor Mill – November 23, 2023

Check out the latest on the Oilers and Flames in today’s NHL Rumor Roundup.


DAILY FACEOFF: Frank Seravalli suggested five options for the Edmonton Oilers to target in order to upgrade their goaltending.

Topping his list is James Reimer of the Detroit Red Wings. Mackenzie Blackwood of the San Jose Sharks and Jake Allen of the Montreal Canadiens were next, followed by the Arizona Coyotes’ Karel Vejmelka and the Philadelphia Flyers’ Carter Hart.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Blackwood and Allen appear the more likely to be available. The Sharks are going nowhere fast while the Canadiens could opt to move Allen if they decide to go with a tandem of Sam Montembeault and Cayden Primeau (which I think they should).

Speaking of Blackwood, TSN’s Darren Dreger said he’d be looking at the Sharks netminder if he were the Oilers general manager. When Oilers GM Ken Holland is doing so remains to be seen.

Like the Canadiens, the Red Wings are carrying three goalies but they’re also trying to reach the playoffs this year. They could opt to hang onto Reimer.

The same goes with Vejmelka and Hart. Their respective clubs are off to better-than-expected starts this season and they could be reluctant to move their starting goalies right now. Perhaps that changes if they fall out of contention as the season goes along.

A lot would also depend on how much the Oilers are willing to overpay for one of those goalies.

Montreal Canadiens goaltender Sam Montembeault (NHL Images).

Seravalli also dismissed the notion of the Boston Bruins parting with Jeremy Swayman or Linus Ullmark. He also rejected speculation about Nashville Predators’ starter Juuse Saros, pointing to Predators general manager Barry Trotz’s desire to sign Saros to a contract extension next summer.

EDMONTON JOURNAL: David Staples cited TSN’s Darren Dreger speculating over what it might cost the Oilers to acquire Sam Montembeault from the Montreal Canadiens.

Dreger believes the Canadiens would want a “substantial” return for Montembeault, who’s earning $1 million this season and is slated to become an unrestricted free agent in July. He thinks prospect Xavier Bourgault would have to be part of the deal.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I’ve also heard speculation suggesting the only way the Oilers can swing a trade for a goalie is to find someone who’ll take struggling former starter Jack Campbell and his $5 million average annual value through 2026-27 off their hands.

Maybe that’s possible but it would take a hell of an offer with a lot of sweeteners bundled with Campbell to make it happen. Right now, I don’t see that sort of deal happening. Maybe in the offseason leading up to the draft but not during a season where most teams are pressed against the $83.5 million cap.


THE ATHLETIC: In a recent mailbag segment, Julian McKenzie was asked if there was any scenario he could see where the Calgary Flames could shed higher-salaried players such as Jonathan Huberdeau, Nazem Kadri, MacKenzie Weegar and Jacob Markstrom should they decide to rebuild.

Such moves would require some salary retention on the Flames’ part. Given Huberdeau’s hefty contract, they would likely have to include a draft pick or a prospect to tempt another club into taking him off their hands.

McKenzie said he would be very surprised if those four players were shipped out this season. He believes the Flames should focus on bringing in younger, better players (like Conor Zary) to build around the expensive core.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Even with the salary cap projected to rise significantly over the next two or three seasons, Huberdeau, Kadri, Weegar and Markstrom would still be difficult to move. All but Markstrom are in the first year or two of their long-term deals while Markstrom has two more seasons left on his contract.

BOSTON HOCKEY NOW: Jimmy Murphy recently cited NHL analyst Pierre McGuire telling the Eye Test Podcast that he thinks the Flames and Boston Bruins seem like trade “dance partners.” He noted that Bruins GM Don Sweeney has long coveted Flames defenseman Noah Hanifin.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That dance might take place near the March 8 trade deadline if the Flames are out of playoff contention by that point. Given the Bruins’ limited trade deadline cap space ($2.6 million), perhaps Sweeney will wait until the offseason when he could pursue Hanifin via the free-agent market.

NEW JERSEY HOCKEY NOW: James Nichol cited a report from The Fourth Period claiming the New Jersey Devils are among four teams interested in Flames defensemen Chris Tanev and Nikita Zadorov. The others were the Toronto Maple Leafs, Dallas Stars and Vancouver Canucks.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Devils are struggling defensively of late and Devils GM Tom Fitzgerald has shown a willingness to make big moves during the season. We shouldn’t dismiss the possibility of him landing Tanev or Zadorov at some point this season.

NHL Rumor Mill – November 20, 2023

NHL Rumor Mill – November 20, 2023

Are the Sabres a fit for Patrick Kane? Could the Panthers pursue Nikita Zadorov? What’s the latest Canucks speculation? Find out in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.


THE BUFFALO NEWS: In his latest mailbag segment, Lance Lysowski was asked why so many Sabres fans think Patrick Kane will sign with their club if he’s trying to latch onto a Stanley Cup contender.

Kane has links to his hometown Sabres including with Sabres general manager Kevyn Adams and head coach Don Granato. He noted that the club is among the few with the cap space, opportunity and supporting cast to entice the 35-year-old free-agent winger.

Free agent winger Patrick Kane (NHL Images).

However, Lysowski doesn’t see Kane selecting the Sabres unless they overpay or give him a multi-year contract. The latter scenario seems unlikely as they have several right-wing options for next season that include Alex Tuch, Jack Quinn and Matthew Savoie.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Sabres are among a handful of clubs (including the Carolina Hurricanes, Florida Panthers, Tampa Bay Lightning and Toronto Maple Leafs) that have been linked to Kane in the media rumor mill. He’s expected to decide by the end of this week as to where he’ll spend the rest of this season. The Sabres and Panthers have reportedly kept in touch with his camp since the summer.


FLORIDA HOCKEY NOW: In a recent mailbag segment, George Richards was asked if he thinks the Panthers will be in on Nikita Zadorov. The defenseman recently requested a trade from the Calgary Flames.

Richards believes the Panthers always have an interest in any player who could help them out. However, he doubts that they have what it would take to make a move for someone like Zadorov.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That means depth in draft picks and prospects, something the Flames would want in return for Zadorov.

The Panthers have traded away their first-round picks for 2024 and 2025 as well as their 2024 second-rounder. Their prospect pipeline was ranked No. 23 by The Athletic back in August largely because of Anton Lundell’s success. They won’t part with Lundell as he’s a key part of their roster.


THE PROVINCE: In a recent mailbag segment, Patrick Johnston was asked if the Canucks are continuing to search for more defensive depth with Carson Soucy sidelined for six to eight weeks.

Johnston noted that the Canucks were interested in the Flames’ Nikita Zadorov since before last summer’s draft. His teammate Chris Tanev loved his time playing in Vancouver and would probably welcome a return, especially with how well the Canucks are playing right now.

However, Johnston doesn’t believe the Flames want to trade either player to Vancouver. To make it work, the Canucks might have to find an Eastern Conference club willing to swing a three-team deal.

The Canucks would also like to add another winger or two. Conor Garland has been in the rumor mill for some time but no one’s sprung for him yet. If the Canucks could trade Anthony Beauvillier and his expiring contract, they could use the savings to add a more effective player to their lineup.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Canucks strong performance of late means management doesn’t have to rush around trying to find a suitable deal this early in the season. They could end up having to wait until the calendar flips to 2024 before they start finding any suitable possibilities in the trade market.