NHL Rumors: Capitals, Canucks, Oilers, Bruins

In today’s NHL rumors rundown, has Anthony Mantha fallen out of favor with the Washington Capitals? Are the Vancouver Canucks trying to get out from under Conor Garland’s contract? Might the Edmonton Oilers have found a serviceable defenseman in Vincent Desharnais that they can run with instead of making a big trade?

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Plus, are they about to get Evander Kane back? Finally, are the Boston Bruins and David Pastrnak making progress on a new contract?

Capitals Unhappy with Anthony Mantha?

According to Sami Silber of Washington Hockey Now, “Speculation has led some to wonder if things between Mantha and the Capitals are beyond repair, especially with The Athletic suggesting that he may have “fallen out of favor” as the coaching staff is choosing to keep him out of the mix for now.” Silber notes that Mantha has a cap hit of $5.75 million, too, which begs the question of whether he could be traded.

Anthony Mantha, Washington Capitals
Anthony Mantha, Washington Capitals (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

She argues that if he’s going to be scratched or remain in the bottom six, he’s not going to be a player many teams have an interest in. Harman Dayal of The Athletic writes:

Who knows what the Capitals will consider next — if they’ll just hang on to him or consider a change of scenery trade — but in any case, the fit isn’t right and the situation is only worsening.

source – ‘NHL trade candidates under the radar: 10 players who are falling out of favor’ – Harman Dayal – The Athletic – 01/12/2023

Mantha did return to the lineup for the Capitals on Saturday. He finished with four shots, but no points.

Canucks Want to Get Out From Under Garland’s Contract

Dayal also notes that the Canucks would like to move Conor Garland’s contract if they can. He writes that Garland had a productive first season with the Canucks, “but the new front office isn’t nearly as fond of the undersized winger as the last administration.”

Connor Garland Vancouver Canucks
Connor Garland, Vancouver Canucks (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Dayal adds that the Canucks have a lot of money tied up in forwards and with a monster contract potentially coming for Andrei Kuzmenko,  “due for a mammoth raise from his ELC, “Garland’s contract is one the club would surely like to wriggle out of. It’s not going to be easy to move, however.”

Dayal adds that the Canucks are shopping Tyler Myers’ deal as well. He also asks if management has an appetite to dump J.T. Miller’s contract just four months after signing him to a huge deal. He responds, “It seems like a long shot.”

Oilers Will Need to Make a Roster Move

According to Mark Spector, the Oilers are going to make a choice internally on one of their defensemen as they do their best to see what they have available before making a big trade. He writes, “Oilers won’t be bringing 8 defencemen back from this trip, will choose between [Vincent] Desharnais and [Markus] Niemelainen.” He adds, “Desharnais showed himself to be smoother with the puck, perhaps a bit better passer v. two weak opponents. I’d bet Niemelainen gets farmed.”

The Oilers are rumored to be in on trade conversations regarding multiple defensemen, but the team is doing its best to find a solution internally. Edmonton won three straight on this current road trip and played some of their better defensive hockey.

In other Oilers news, Evander Kane is close to a return. Multiple reports note that he will see his doctor on Monday and could be in the lineup for the team on Tuesday. Kurt Leavins of The Edmonton Journal writes:

Evander Kane will see his doctor on Monday. The player thinks he is good to go. The team hopes so, too, but has a responsibility to make damn sure of that. If he is, not only is this a 1st line player returning. It will require a significant roster move in order to accommodate his salary. Nibbling around the edges of the roster will not be enough. And I fully expect Kane back this week, and perhaps as soon as the Seattle game on Tuesday. So, a move is imminent. I foresee Kailer Yamamoto returning to the lineup as well.

source – An already hard decision for the Edmonton Oilers G.M. is getting much harder: 9 Things’ – Kurt Leavins – The Edmonton Journal – 1/15/2023

Pastrnak and Bruins Making Progress

When asked where the Boston Bruins were at with David Pastrnak, Elliotte Friedman noted during the 32 Thoughts podcast, “Well, I want to be careful with this one but the word around the league is that the Bruins and Pastrnak are making some progress.: He added, “Don’t get out of control with that. But I just want to say the word is, it appears as if some progress is being made in that negotiation.”

There is some good news out of Boston as the team signed Pavel Zacha to a four-year extension with a $4.75 million annual average salary.