BS Meter on the Latest Rumors 1 Month from the NHL Trade DeadlineFebruary 3, 2023
BS Meter on the Latest Rumors 1 Month from the NHL Trade Deadline
The annual trade deadline is among the biggest days on the NHL regular-season calendar. With one month to go until this year's deadline of Friday, March 3, this is a good opportunity to look at recent speculation regarding some of the biggest names being bandied about in the rumor mill.
This is usually the time when playoff contenders are shopping for depth that they hope will propel them on a Stanley Cup run. Meanwhile, non-contending clubs begin peddling players they can't afford to re-sign before their free-agent eligibility on July 1.
The first significant trade of 2023 took place on Jan. 30 when the Vancouver Canucks shipped center Bo Horvat to the Vancouver Canucks in exchange for winger Anthony Beauvillier, prospect Aatu Räty and a 2023 first-round pick. Horvat, 27, was the top name on the January edition of our NHL trade block big board.
Several other notable players, such as St. Louis Blues winger Vladimir Tarasenko and San Jose Sharks winger Timo Meier, have become the subjects of recent trade conjecture. We'll take this opportunity to determine if those rumors can pass our BS meter.
Do you agree or disagree with our takes? Weigh in with your thoughts in the comments section below.
Colorado Avalanche Could Target Sean Monahan
The Colorado Avalanche have lacked a reliable second-line center since Nazem Kadri departed for Calgary last summer as a free agent. They've been linked to big-name centers such as the St. Louis Blues' Ryan O'Reilly and the Chicago Blackhawks' Jonathan Toews. However, their limited cap space could force them to consider more affordable alternatives.
One option could be Sean Monahan.
On Jan. 26, TSN's Pierre LeBrun said the Avalanche are a team to monitor regarding the Montreal Canadiens center. He noted they don't have a lot of future assets to use as trade bait. "That's why I think a guy like Monahan makes sense and that's why it's a name I know the Avs have talked about," he wrote.
Monahan, 28, had 17 points in 25 games this season with the Canadiens until he suffered a foot injury on Dec. 3 that has sidelined him since. He's expected to resume playing following the Feb. 2-5 All-Star break. Monahan carries a $6.4 million cap hit, but the Canadiens could retain part of it for the right offer.
BS Meter: not BS
Monahan has a lower cap hit than O'Reilly and Toews and would cost less to obtain than those two. Perhaps the Habs will accept a second-round pick and a prospect such as Sean Behrens or Jean-Luc Foudy.
Shayne Gostisbehere to the Edmonton Oilers?
Sportsnet's Elliotte Friedman and Jeff Marek discussed potential Edmonton Oilers moves in a recent episode of their 32 Thoughts podcast. Friedman said a source told him they were interested in Arizona Coyotes center Nick Bjugstad as well as defenseman Shayne Gostisbehere (16:30 mark).
Gostisbehere, 29, is currently sidelined for four to six weeks with an upper-body injury. Like Bjugstad, he's slated to become an unrestricted free agent on July 1. His salary-cap hit is $4.5 million, but he's earning only $1 million in base salary after being paid the remainder at the start of the season in a signing bonus.
The Oilers are lacking skilled, experienced depth on the left side of their second and third defense pairings. Gotisbehere is in his ninth NHL season and is an experienced puck-moving blueliner with three seasons of 46-plus points on his resume. He has 29 points in 48 games with the low-scoring Coyotes this season.
BS Monitor: It's BS
Gostisbehere is an offensive-minded defenseman, but the Oilers need a more defensive-minded blueliner. They may be conducting due diligence in shopping around but could have someone else in mind.
On Jan. 21, Friedman reported the Oilers were among the teams interested in Vladislav Gavrikov of the Columbus Blue Jackets. A more well-rounded defenseman than Gostisbehere, he's also a pending unrestricted free agent whose $2.8 million cap hit for this season would be easier for the cap-strapped Oilers to absorb.
Will the Wild Use Matt Dumba to Acquire Jakob Chychurn?
In mid-January, the Ottawa Sun's Bruce Garrioch reported the Ottawa Senators had an interest in Matt Dumba.
The 28-year-old Minnesota Wild defenseman will be an unrestricted free agent at season's end. While the Wild were in a playoff spot, Garrioch wrote that general manager Bill Guerin wasn't sure he wanted to risk losing Dumba for nothing as a free agent in July.
Garrioch also reported the Senators were interested in Arizona Coyotes blueliner Jakob Chychrun. However, they didn't want to pay the Coyotes' asking price of two first-round picks and a high-end prospect.
According to Garrioch, Guerin also spoke to the Coyotes about Chychrun. He speculated that the Wild general manager might be looking at getting an asset for Dumba that he can flip to the Coyotes as part of a deal for Chychrun or another defenseman in the marketplace.
BS Meter: Its BS
On Jan. 26, The Athletic's Joe Smith and Michael Russo reported Dumba's struggles this season had hurt his trade value. As a result, the Wild might end up keeping him for the remainder of the schedule.
Guerin could be a buyer leading up to the trade deadline, but he's unlikely to acquire a player who's signed beyond this season. The Wild have $74.2 million invested in only 14 players for 2023-24, $14.7 million of which is dead cap space related to buying out Zach Parise and Ryan Suter. They don't have the room to take on additional salary.
Could the Calgary Flames Pursue Vladimir Tarasenko?
On Jan. 23, Johnny Gaudreau returned to Calgary to face off against the Flames for the first time since signing with the Columbus Blue Jackets last July. Three days prior to that game, The Athletic's Eric Duhatschek noted that no one on the Flames had been able to fill the void left by Gaudreau's departure.
Vladimir Tarasenko was among Duhatschek's proposed options to address that need. The 31-year-old St. Louis Blues winger is slated to become an unrestricted free agent on July 1. With the Blues struggling to remain in wild-card contention in the Western Conference, they might shop Tarasenko before the March 3 trade deadline.
Duhatschek suggested a first line of Jonathan Huberdeau, Nazem Kadri and Tarasenko would be an intriguing line for Calgary if the latter agreed to waive his no-trade clause to join the Flames. He also wondered how well Tarasenko would perform under Flames coach Darryl Sutter, but he noted the latter had success with Marian Gaborik on the Los Angeles Kings.
BS Meter: It's BS
To be fair to Duhatschek, he was merely musing over whether Tarasenko could be a good fit with the Flames. However, it's unlikely the Blues winger will end up in Calgary by the trade deadline.
In a recent episode of his 32 Thoughts podcast (35:28), Elliotte Friedman said the Blues attempted last summer to acquire Matthew Tkachuk from the Flames prior to his trade to Florida. He's under the impression that the Blues were trying to figure out how to trade Tarasenko, but he wasn't going to go to Calgary and the Flames weren't interested in him.
New Jersey Devils Could Be Interested in Timo Meier
With his team sitting fourth overall in the Eastern Conference standings entering the NHL All-Star break, New Jersey Devils general manager Tom Fitzgerald could become a buyer at the NHL trade deadline. He recently told The Athletic's Pierre LeBrun that he'd ideally like to add a top-six winger.
Fitzgerald didn't say which player he might target, but LeBrun speculated that Timo Meier would be a perfect fit.
A restricted free agent in July who's a year away from unrestricted free agent eligibility, Meier is among the Sharks' leading scorers. The 26-year-old winger could fit in well alongside Devils centers Nico Hischier and Jack Hughes.
The Sharks could peddle Meier if they're unable to reach an agreement on a contract extension before the trade deadline. His average annual value is $6 million, but he's earning $10 million this season in actual salary, which is what it would cost the Sharks to qualify his rights. They've reportedly agreed to let rival clubs speak to Meier's camp about a contract extension, per Sportsnet's Elliotte Friedman (h/t Sheng Peng of SJ Hockey Now).
BS Meter: Not BS
Fitzgerald cannot say which players he's interested in, as that would violate the NHL's tampering rules. He indicated that he'd like to add a player whose contract rights extend beyond this season, though.
Meier could be a long-term addition if they can reach an agreement on a new contract. The Devils would become a serious Stanley Cup contender if they're able to add him.
Stats (as of Feb. 2, 2023) via NHL.com. Salary and line combination info via Cap Friendly.