NHL Rumors: Maple Leafs, Panthers, Kraken, Canucks

In today’s NHL rumors rundown, are the Toronto Maple Leafs re-evaluating their goaltending situation as their two starters look less-than-ready to take on the playoffs?

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Meanwhile, are the Florida Panthers looking to rebalance their roster? The Seattle Kraken are sending Shane Wright to the OHL and what is the latest on trade talk out of Vancouver?

Maple Leafs Might Need to Consider a Goaltender via Trade

According to Matt Larkin of Daily Faceoff, the Toronto Maple Leafs aren’t hitting the panic button yet, but they might be another bad performance or two away from changing their mind about their goaltending. As both Ilya Samsonov and Matt Murray struggle, GM Kyle Dubas might need to make some difficult decisions.

Matt Murray Toronto Maple Leafs
Matt Murray, Toronto Maple Leafs (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

Saying the Leafs have been through this before, Larkin writes:

But in a do-or-die season with no contract in place for 2023-24, Dubas has to keep the [Jack] Campbell debacle front of mind. Dubas can’t afford to be nice. If the bleeding continues for another month, it might be time to re-evaluate the team’s short-term plans as the trade deadline creeps closer. Toronto hasn’t had a goaltender who can put the team on his back and steal games since Ed Belfour two decades ago. Dubas needs to decide if Murray or Samsonov can be that guy.

This comes only a couple of days after fellow Daily Faceoff writer Frank Seravalli suggested the team’s goaltending gamble had paid off. Seravalli believes the team needs to prioritize beefing up their blue line.

Panthers Might Have a Deal in Pocket For Reinhart and/or Bennett

Seravalli also spoke about what the Florida Panthers might be up to and he believes their season could get very interesting. A franchise that is really struggling compared to last season and up against the salary cap right now, he says, “I think their key objective for the deadline is to set themselves up for the summer. They’ve essentially got $12 million coming off the books between dead cap money and also the deal for Patric Hornqvist, which expires.”

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Seravalli wonders if they’ll overhaul their roster after being part of the biggest offseason trade in the NHL. He wonders if the Panthers might consider trading Sam Reinhart or Sam Bennett to do so and believes they could target a top-flight defenseman to play with Aaron Ekblad.

Shane Wright Sent to Kingston

After a strong World Juniors Tournament, Shane Wright of the Seattle Kraken has been sent back to Kingston of the OHL. Chris Johnston of TSN reports that the plan is to trade him to another OHL team for the remainder of the season. Johnston also notes that since Wright played just eight games for the Kraken, the start of his entry-level contract is eligible to slide until 2023-24.

Seravalli notes, “Front runners appear to be Barrie and Peterborough. Can’t count out Ottawa, London or North Bay. Huge piece for a playoff run.”

Latest on Canucks Trade Possibilities

The Province’s Patrick Johnston took a look at the latest news surrounding the Vancouver Canucks and says he believes the ship has sailed on the team’s chances of signing Bo Horvat. He writes, “Horvat has had such an electric season and his current cap hit is so efficient for that performance, he’s become the most coveted player on the trade market.”

Bo Horvat Vancouver Canucks
Bo Horvat, Vancouver Canucks (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Johnston also wonders if the Canucks might consider shopping J.T. Miller, who many believe the team mistakenly chose to sign over Horvat. He notes that a trade won’t be easy, but there is an advantage to having him under contract if they try to deal him. He explains:

Even when the Canucks chose to sign Miller to that US $8 million per season extension, there were questions about whether this was forever-marriage between team and player or simply a marriage of convenience. At least there was cost certainty around Miller now, something that had made potential trade partners a little nervous last season, when the Canucks were talking to teams about trading a player who was then unsigned beyond the 2022-23 season.

source – ‘Canucks by the numbers: (Trade) chips, ahoy! that should be up for discussion’ – Patrick Johnston – The Province – 01/05/2023

The question now is what the Canucks are willing to take (or give) to have another team take Miller off of their hands. He’s not worth what he was before he signed his long-term extension.

Finally, Johnston talks about the prospect of trading Brock Boeser and says the forward needs to pick up his production if teams are going to come calling. He’s not played terribly well since he was given permission to seek a trade option with another club.