Just ten days remain until the NHL’s Trade Deadline extravaganza on March 3rd. The NHL rumor mill continues to churn, with several significant names remaining in the mix despite a bevy of blockbuster trades, with some teams even reportedly still looking to add. Here are all the latest whispers and rumblings from across the NHL as the clock ticks ever louder.
Boeser's agent trying to make Minnesota homecoming work
The Vancouver Canucks are clear sellers this trade season, as evidenced by the blockbuster deal that saw Bo Horvat land with the New York Islanders last month.
Another player who has consistently appeared in the rumor mill is Brock Boeser, and the forward could be eyeing a Minnesota homecoming. Boeser's agent, Ben Hankinson, received permission from the Canucks to contact Wild general manager Bill Guerin in an effort to find a fit for his client, according to The Athletic's Michael Russo and Joe Smith.
Boeser has seen his offensive production slip in each of the past three seasons and has just 10 goals through 49 games in 2022-23. Would a change of scenery provide a spark to a player who flirted with 30-goal campaigns in each of his first two full NHL seasons?
"He’s 25 years old. He can score. He’s not scoring at a great rate this year, but he’s putting up a lot of points. But I think he’d be a great fit," Hankinson told The Athletic.
Boeser would give a boost to the Wild's forward corps, but his $6.65-million cap hit through the 2024-25 season could be tricky for Minnesota to accommodate.
“There’d have to be a lot of salary retained by Vancouver, and I don’t think that’s something they’re too excited to do, because they just signed Brock Boeser," Hankinson said. "[Guerin] would have to have them eat a big, big chunk of that $6.65 [million] to fit him in next year and the year after, because that’s when the cap gets really tight for the Wild.”
Could the Blues reverse course?
With Vladimir Tarasenko and Ryan O’Reilly both sent packing, the St. Louis Blues appeared ready to strip their team down the studs and commit to a full-scale retool.
Their already-existing core of burgeoning young stars like Jordan Kyrou and Robert Thomas, as well as important supplementary pieces including Pavel Buchnevich, gave the impression that the time was right for a reset.
Blues GM Doug Armstrong, however, appears to have different ideas.
Daily Faceoff’s Frank Seravalli reported on Tuesday that after acquiring first-round picks in each of their blockbuster deals, the Blues are back in the market for one of hockey’s biggest potential deadline adds.
San Jose Sharks forward Timo Meier has been linked to St. Louis, with the reason being that a trio of first-round picks the Blues now own could put them in the driver's seat in terms of available assets
Sources: #stlblues have entered the chat for #sjsharks Timo Meier.
St. Louis, while also attempting reshape its defense corps, is looking to leverage the picks they’ve acquired from O’Reilly and Tarasenko trades.https://t.co/8pjQIaOQOb
— Frank Seravalli (@frank_seravalli) February 21, 2023
Seravalli also outlined Armstrong’s history of flipping draft picks, and how a move like this would make sense for the Blues given their aforementioned core.
“This shouldn’t be a shock, this is exactly what Blues general manager Doug Armstrong has done in his playbook previously,” Seravalli said on Daily Faceoff Live. “Think back to the trades he’s done in recent years: Kevin Shattenkirk for a first-round pick, he then takes that pick and uses it to acquire Brayden Schenn in the summer. More recently than that, Paul Stastny moved at the deadline for a first-round pick, he then takes that pick in a package to get Ryan O’Reilly.”
“My guess is that the Blues will now leverage those first-round picks, and may even keep their first-round pick to try and bring someone like Timo Meier into the fold who can then play with Jordan Kyrou, Robert Thomas and Brayden Schenn and be a part of that Blues core moving forward,” Seravalli added.
How close is Gavrikov to Boston?
Earlier Tuesday afternoon, David Pagnotta of The Fourth Period whipped hockey Twitter into a frenzy with his report that the Boston Bruins had the framework of a deal in place to acquire top deadline target Vladislav Gavrikov from the Columbus Blue Jackets.
On the other end, however, Boston Globe reporter Matt Porter quickly followed that up by attempting to kaibosh the rumblings, reporting that there was no such deal in place.
Despite a report today of a deal in place pending the Bruins clearing space, I'm told this (from Sunday) remains true.
No agreement, but they are talking to CBJ about Gavrikov (profiled below). https://t.co/8OHg2zrM5U
— Matt Porter (@mattyports) February 21, 2023
Meanwhile, in Columbus, The Athletic’s Aaron Portzline reported that not only was a framework in place but that the “deal was essentially done.”
Safe to say, things have gotten extremely busy with regards to the 27-year-old left-shot defenseman.
Rumours surrounding the hulking Russian have heated up significantly since Saturday when Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman revealed during the second intermission of Hockey Night in Canada that the Bruins were “in on Gavrikov.”
The blueliner, meanwhile, has been scratched since Saturday for the Blue Jackets' last four games for outlandishly transparent “trade-related reasons.”
Gavrikov is as good as gone from Columbus, and it seems like Boston is the likely destination. Now, the only questions that remain are when, and how much will he cost?
Penguins looking to mix up their bottom-six?
The Athletic’s Pierre LeBrun has reported that the Pittsburgh Penguins, locked in a seven-team showdown for the final two wild-card spots in the east, are looking to add multiple bottom-six forwards with term, per Penguins GM Ron Hextall.
LeBrun’s report outlines that the Penguins are opting to remain patient amidst a deadline market that has seen prices swell up. Hextall’s idea, per LeBrun, would be to potentially wait until closer to March 3, when prices on fringe pieces could potentially drop as the hours to deal them wain.
“The problem with the market is that it can change in a hurry,” Hextall says. “All of a sudden, prices are high, and they turn low. Everybody asks what they think are fair prices and we all have our different opinions.”
Notably, despite inconsistent play and frequent injuries, there doesn’t seem to be much indication from Hextall that the Penguins will look to bolster their goaltending depth.
Tristan Jarry, who has been rock solid while healthy, will undoubtedly be Pittsburgh's number one down the stretch, however, that availability has been few and far between at times. The B.C. native made just his third start in the last eight weeks against the New York Islanders on Monday, losing 4-2 in an Islanders come-from-behind effort.
Behind him, a combination of Casey Desmith and Dustin Tokarski has left plenty to be desired, with the backup tandem boasting a combined record of 11-14-4 in their starts.
Schenn trade seems imminent
With the Vancouver Canucks continued descent to the NHL’s basement this season, several players appear to be headed out the door.
Former captain Bo Horvat was the first domino to fall, and it appears that another locker room leader may be next.
Rick Dhaliwal of Donnie and Dhali has reported that talks surrounding Luke Schenn have picked up considerably over the past few days, and that he will not dress for Vancouver’s Tuesday night tilt with the Nashville Predators.
The former fifth-overall pick has had somewhat of a career rebirth in Vancouver, with Schenn frequently lining up alongside Quinn Hughes and serving as a steady shutdown option in contrast to his fleet-footed partner.
I mentioned on Donnie and Dhali this morning that talks for Schenn were heating up and now talk he could sit tonight.
— Rick Dhaliwal (@DhaliwalSports) February 21, 2023
Schenn will reportedly return to Vancouver, and while details surrounding any potential deal remain sparse, reported suitors include potential reunions with the Toronto Maple Leafs or Tampa Bay Lightning, as well as the Minnesota Wild.