NHL Rumors: Blues, Maple Leafs, Golden Knights, Sharks

In today’s NHL rumors rundown, there are questions about whether the St. Louis Blues will speed up a retool/rebuild by going after two big names ahead of the NHL Trade Deadline. Meanwhile, it is believed the Toronto Maple Leafs tried to get another name added to their blockbuster deadline deal.

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The Vegas Golden Knights have officially freed up another $9.5 million in salary cap space and the San Jose Sharks may be slow-playing a Timo Meier trade.

Could the Blues Target Meier and Chychrun?

Jeff Marek and Elliotte Friedman discussed the idea of the Blues not being motivated to take the lengthy rebuild route and wondered if the team could target Timo Meier and Jakob Chychrun ahead of this season’s trade deadline, speeding up their retooling faster than most expect. They argued the organization has the prospects and picks to make the deal, plus the cap space and an aggressive GM who could attempt to turn things around rather quickly.

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Reports are that the Blues have been asked about the availability of both Colton Parayko and Torey Krug. If the Blues were really retooling, they might be open to moving either. That said, both have full no-trade clauses. There would have to be conversations with both to see if any teams pique their interest in a trade and the Blues may decide where to go from there.

Maple Leafs Wanted Ivan Barbashev Added to Big Trade

Elliotte Friedman noted in his recent 32 Thoughts podcast that he believes the Toronto Maple Leafs tried to get the Blues to add Ivan Barbashev to their trade that included Ryan O’Reilly and Noel Acciari. He noted that the only reason the Leafs didn’t end up adding the third component was that GM Kyle Dubas would have been forced to remove a piece from his current roster and he wasn’t prepared to do so.

Ivan Barbashev, St. Louis Blues
Ivan Barbashev, St. Louis Blues (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Friedman believes that Dubas first reached out to the San Jose Sharks about Timo Meier and then realized the price was so high on the forward that he could add two players for the price of one. He decided to pull the trigger on the deal with St. Louis, which Friedman also said GM Doug Armstrong was eager to get done. The running joke was that Armstrong wanted to make the trade before St. Louis won any more games.

Andy Strickland wrote on Twitter, “By acquiring two first-round picks already, and possibly another, the #stlblues have just expanded their options exponentially. This includes some of the bigger names rumored to be moved who aren’t headed to the unrestricted free-agent market.”

Golden Knights Place Mark Stone to LTIR

The Vegas Golden Knights have officially placed Mark Stone on long-term injured reserve (LTIR), creating an additional $9.5 million in LTIR cap space. The expectation now is that the organization will go big-game hunting over the next 11 days and add a significant name before the trade deadline.

If Vegas spends the newfound cap space, they won’t be able to bring Stone back prior to the postseason.

Sharks May Slow-Play a Timo Meier Trade

Friedman reported that he thinks GM Mike Grier is slow-playing a Meier trade. Comparing it to a card game, he suggested that the Sharks know they have the best asset of the trade deadline but they want to bring as many teams into the mix as possible. He believes Grier will wait, and wait, and wait.

As is, the New Jersey Devils and Carolina Hurricanes are the two favorites and he says there might be a feeling in New Jersey that the Devils need to keep pace with the New York Rangers and New York Islanders, both of whom have already added their big pieces ahead of the deadline.