NHL Rumors: Canucks, Jets, Stars, Maple Leafs

In today’s NHL rumors rundown, what’s the latest on Vancouver Canucks’ goaltender Jaroslav Halak? Is he soon to be traded? Is he making things complicated? Meanwhile, the Winnipeg Jets are getting their captain back soon. The Dallas Stars should have options when it comes to trading defenseman John Klingberg and a couple of scribes take a closer look at why the Toronto Maple Leafs would be interested in Klingberg as a trade option.

Canucks and Halak Trade

It’s been previously reported that the Canucks are thinking about trading Halak, in part because he will have a bonus due in the amount of $1.25 million based on games played. If the Canucks can deal him prior to that happening, they’re open to it. That said, when talking about the Edmonton Oilers goaltending situation, Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman reported in his latest 32 Thoughts column that Halak doesn’t seem inclined to want to move. 

Jaroslav Halak, Vancouver Canucks
Jaroslav Halak, Vancouver Canucks (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

The Canucks don’t have much choice but to let him decide what happens here as the team gave him a no-move clause as part of his contract. The only option Vancouver might have is telling him that he’s unlikely to play any more games in Vancouver if he doesn’t waive. The threat of not getting the $1.25 million might be enough for him to consider it. At the same time, if the Canucks badly need him, Halak can simply wait and gamble on whether that amount of money isn’t enough for Vancouver to warrant playing an inferior goaltender.

Wheeler Set to Return for Jets

As per a report by Sportsnet’s Ken Wiebe, Jets winger Blake Wheeler could return to the lineup this weekend. Wheeler has missed the last nine games with a knee injury and it would have been more if COVID-related postponements hasn’t wreaked havoc on the team’s schedule. 

Related: Maple Leafs Could Look to Clear Cap Space for 2022 Trade Deadline

Wheeler spoke with the media about how he thought the injury could have been something much worse and said he feels lucky not to have had a really serious injury over his career. He added, “Even that particular injury, initially I thought it was going to be one of those where it was much more severe than it ended up being. Once again, just counting my blessings for sure.”

Six Potential Landing Spots for Klingberg

According to Shayna Goldman and Saad Yousuf of The Athletic, three potential landing spots for defenseman John Klingberg, assuming the Dallas Stars get what they’re asking for in trade are the Anaheim Ducks, Los Angeles Kings and Carolina Hurricanes. A couple of dark horse teams would be the Pittsburgh Penguins, Nashville Predators and Toronto Maple Leafs.

John Klingberg Dallas Stars
John Klingberg, Dallas Stars (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

The article suggests some of these teams will also be in on Jakob Chychrun and Klingberg could be a backup plan and the return could increase if the acquiring team knows he’s open to signing an extension right away.

Why the Maple Leafs for Klingberg?

On the surface, it doesn’t make much sense that the Maple Leafs would be in the market for another offensive defenseman, especially with Morgan Rielly signed to a new long-term deal. The scribes argue that after their first pairing of Rielly and T.J. Brodie, “they have a void next to lefty Jake Muzzin.” Klingberg would be a depth move.

They also write:

“After signing Rielly to an extension recently, it would be hard to imagine Toronto signing Klingberg to the kind of long-term extension he’s looking for, but at $4.25 million this season, he’d be an instant upgrade for a team that’s looking to win now. Toronto also has a prospect pool that would interest the Stars so they have the means to make something happen. With little to no potential of Klingberg singing there long-term though, it would come down to how much the Toronto front office wants to put on this season as opposed to preserving prospects for the future.

source – ‘John Klingberg trade talks accelerate: Analyzing destinations for the Dallas Stars defender’ – Shayna Goldman and Saad Yousuf  – The Athletic – 01/17/2022
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