In today’s NHL rumors rundown, there is a press conference set for next week by the Philadelphia Flyers. What will GM Chuck Fletcher say about the direction of this team? Meanwhile, the top candidates for Ben Chiarot are out there, but a different Montreal Canadiens player is the most in-demand player from the organization ahead of the deadline. Finally, why are the Arizona Coyotes leaking they have a legitimate offer on the table for defenseman Jakob Chychrun?
How Deep to Flyers Changes Go?
Jeff Marek and Elliotte Friedman discussed the changes coming in Philadelphia on the latest episode of the 32 Thoughts podcast. Among the questions most asked will be what happens with Claude Giroux? Friedman believes the Colorado Avalanche are a good fit but he’s not sure how the math works. Saying that even if a third team gets involved, there’s not an obvious player the Avs want to take off of their roster to accommodate Giroux’s $8.275 million salary — at best, just over $2 million if a second team gets involved to retain money.
Friedman did say, “If Claude Giroux wants to go chase a Stanley Cup, that’s a team you go to, one, and two, I see a fit there.” He added, “This screams Colorado, I just don’t know if it works.”
In the same train of thought, Marek said that if Giroux doesn’t fit, Joe Pavelski would be a player the Avalanche might look at. That said, he too makes a lot of money, currently at $7 million on the Stars’ salary cap.
Maple Leafs Among Potential Landing Spots for Chiarot
Marek asked Friedman about whether or not Ben Chiarot would be the first move that new Canadiens’ GM Kent Hughes will make. Friedman responded yes and said he believes St. Louis, Florida, Calgary and Toronto might be sniffing around this one.
Friedman says the reason he mentions Toronto is because when Chiarot signed with Montreal as a free agent, Toronto was in there, and “they just couldn’t make it work.” He adds, “They liked him, he was interested in them and he is a local guy, he’s a Hamilton guy, right?” When asked if a guy like Chiarot was “Jake Muzzin insurance”, Friedman said he didn’t believe that to be the case but that it certainly wouldn’t hurt the Maple Leafs to have that option.
Lehkonen in Demand More Than Anyone from Canadiens
While Friedman and Marek think Chiarot might be the player that moves first out of Montreal, Frank Seravalli of Daily Faceoff says that Artturi Lehkonen is the most in-demand player on the Canadiens roster. The pending RFA is playing in the final season of his current contract and at $2.3 million, he’s a good value and a versatile player almost any playoff team could use.
Seravalli noted on an episode of the DFO Rundown:
“Teams see Artturi Lehkonen as this year’s version of Blake Coleman. The scouting report on Artturi Lehkonen is that he does everything in his game exceptionally well except finish, which is ironic because he is Finnish, and that’s the guy that teams are really after to get. I know at least three teams that are begging the Montreal Canadiens to try and get Artturi Lehkonen.”
The New York Rangers are a team that has apparently already reached out about Lehkonen’s availability.
Coyotes Haven’t Had Right Offer for Chychrun
Both Friedman and Marek suggested that if the Arizona Coyotes had received the right offer for Jakob Chychrun, this trade would be completed already. The belief is that Arizona leaking they have a legitimate offer suggests they’re trying to get all other interested teams to lay their cards out on the table.
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Friedman suggests the Coyotes want to know who is really in and who isn’t. He doesn’t believe the team wants to wait a long time to make this trade and risk an injury. He’s also thinking the Coyotes don’t want this deal hanging over the franchise if they know they plan is to move the player.
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Jim Parsons is a senior THW freelance writer, part-time journalist and audio/video host who lives, eats, sleeps and breathes NHL news and rumors, while also writing features on the Edmonton Oilers. He’s been a trusted source for five-plus years at The Hockey Writers, but more than that, he’s on a mission to keep readers up to date with the latest NHL rumors and trade talk. Jim is a daily must for readers who want to be “in the know.”