NHL Rumors: Maple Leafs, Canucks, Senators, Islanders

In today’s NHL rumors rundown, terrible news for Toronto Maple Leafs’ prospect Rodion Amirov as he was diagnosed with a brain tumour. What are the next steps for the team and the player? In Vancouver, there’s talk of a surprising team showing interest in J.T. Miller. Meanwhile, are the Ottawa Senators open to trading Connor Brown and will the New York Islanders shop Zdeno Chara? Finally, in some odd news, Sean Avery is making his return to hockey.

Amirov Will Miss Remainder of Season

The Toronto Maple Leafs organization and GM Kyle Dubas released a statement on Wednesday informing fans and media that prospect Rodion Amirov has been diagnosed with a brain tumour. He is currently undergoing treatment at a medical facility in Germany and will not return to play for the remainder of the season.

Amirov is trying to stay upbeat and says he wants to be a role model for hope and when Amirov himself commented on the news he said, “I want to stay positive, and I want people to think positively about me.” He began the 2021-22 season with Salavat Ufa of the KHL but an injury to open the season required time to heal. He developed unrelated symptoms that needed further investigation and it was at that time his brain tumour was discovered.

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The silver lining here is that Rodion is reportedly skating three times a week, working out, and in good spirits per his agent.

Sean Avery Signs ECHL Deal

In some interesting news, former NHL forward Sean Avery has signed a contract with the ECHL’s Orlando Solar Bears. He will begin his tenure on the team’s reserve list.

Avery, 41, joins Orlando after last playing professional hockey during the 2011-12 season with the NHL’s New York Rangers and the Connecticut Whale of the American Hockey League.

Insider Floats Possibility Of J.T. Miller to Maple Leafs

In other news related to the Maple Leafs, NHL insider Elliotte Friedman threw out the possibility of a J.T. Miller trade to Toronto at the intermission of yesterday’s game. This is much more likely if Jake Muzzin, who is now in concussion protocol goes on LTIR, but it’s an interesting theory considering Muzzin out might suggest Dubas would prefer to chase after another defenseman.

J.T. Miller, Vancouver Canucks
J.T. Miller, Vancouver Canucks (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

There’s a sense that the Canucks were not willing to move Miller for anything other than a high price and that the Canucks would likely keep him. If the Maple Leafs are kicking tires here, that means the team would have to come forward with an extremely attractive offer.

Darren Dreger of TSN did also confirm Toronto would love to add a top-six winger, something to complement that second line. That said, he also believes they could target another defenseman if the Maple Leafs do lose Muzzin for the rest of the regular season. He notes, “you look at Hampus Lindholm in Anaheim, looking at John Klingberg with the Dallas Stars. We talked about Ben Chiarot. And what about Mark Giordano from the Seattle Kraken?”

Could the Ottawa Senators Move Connor Brown?

As per Shawn Simpson, the Ottawa Senators will contemplate moving forward Connor Brown who has one year left on his deal at $4 million. With the 29-year old needing a new contract and with the Senators looking to make hockey deals, Simpson notes if the Senators are able to land Minnesota Wild’s Kevin Fiala, — who is also rumored to be a potential trade piece — it makes some sense to move Brown now.

Related: Senators’ Tim Stützle Needs to Stay at Centre

The only issue here is that if Fiala is the guy Ottawa is targeting, it’s unlikely Minnesota moves Fiala before the deadline as the team is playing extremely well and Fiala is a large part of their offensive attack.

Islanders to Shop Zdeno Chara in Trade?

As per TSN’s Pierre LeBrun, as the New York Islanders drop out of playoff contention, GM Lou Lamoriello could have a talk with defenseman Zdeno Chara about whether or not he’d like to be moved at the deadline to a potential contender. It is believed the Islanders will explore the trade market once Chara breaks the league record for most games played by a defenseman later this week.

Zdeno Chara New York Islanders
Zdeno Chara, New York Islanders (Photo by Steven Ryan/Getty Images)

Chara does not have any trade protection so he could be moved, but it is believed the Islanders would like to get Chara’s input first. Stefan Rosner of NYI Hockey Now wonders what the market would be and if the Boston Bruins, Pittsburgh Penguins or Toronto Maple Leafs would be interested? He’s not going to play big minutes or be the fastest player on the ice, but he brings leadership and playoff experience.

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