NHL Rumors: Canucks, Jets, Coyotes, Devils, Oilers

In today’s NHL rumors rundown, one insider believes the Vancouver Canucks will still explore a J.T. Miller trade in the offseason. Meanwhile, Pierre-Luc Dubois is likely to be traded by the Winnipeg Jets. How will that affect Mark Scheifele and Connor Hellebuyck?

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The Arizona Coyotes didn’t move Nick Schmaltz and that was likely due to his contract and the New Jersey Devils are getting to work on a long-term extension offer for Timo Meier.

Miller and Boeser Could Still Be Moved This Summer

According to Pierre LeBrun of The Athletic, there were meaningful trade discussions with Pittsburgh before the deadline about J.T. Miller, to the point where at least two third-party teams were approached by the Canucks and asked if they would take a player from Pittsburgh to make the whole thing work cap-wise. He notes one team gave it serious thought.

J.T. Miller Vancouver Canucks
J.T. Miller, Vancouver Canucks (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

LeBrun adds:

There’s still a decent chance Miller is part of the Canucks’ opening night lineup next fall, but I also believe management will keep listening prior to July 1, just in case. Miller hasn’t been promised anything either way.

source – ‘LeBrun: What’s next for the big NHL names not traded at the deadline, from Karlsson to Miller to Gibson?’ – Pierre LeBrun – The Athletic – 03/08/2023

He adds it goes without saying that the Canucks will try again on moving Brock Boeser this summer. Someone probably has to go because the Canucks are capped out and don’t have a full roster signed for next season. And, when you consider that Filip Hronek is going to need a new deal at the end of next season and his long-term per-season number could start with a seven, the Canucks have some salary cap work to do.

Offseason Trade for Dubois Likely

LeBrun also notes that all things being equal, I think the situation between the Winnipeg Jets and Pierre-Luc Dubois will result in an off-season trade, just like Matthew Tkachuk a year ago from Calgary. The Montreal Canadiens showed interest in Dubois last summer, and there’s no reason to think they won’t come calling again.

LeBrun suggests there is some concern in Winnipeg about how players like Mark Scheifele and Connor Hellebuyck will react if Dubois is moved. They each have one year remaining on their current deals and the Jets are a pretty good team with Dubois a part of it.

Schmaltz’s Back-Loaded Contract Kept Him in Arizona

LeBrun writes that some teams seriously looked at Nick Schmaltz out of Arizona before the trade deadline passed. He wasn’t ultimately moved and that could be because of his back-loaded contract that has $24.45 million total left in its final three years, starting next season.

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Schmaltz would have been a much more attractive option as a point-per-gam player at an AAV of $5.85 million if he wasn’t owed an average of $8.15 million per year after this one. LeBrun writes, “That being a problem is a reminder of how some NHL owners are still smarting from the pandemic. Cash is king.”

Devils Trying to Sign Meier to Long-Term Deal

Devils’ GM Tom Fitzgerald acknowledged that he is trying to sign Timo Meier to a long-term contract in New Jersey. Saying it was a long process to acquire Meier in a trade, he also said “The hope is that we get his name on a long-term contract here.”

There were no pre-trade contract talks between the Devils and Meier and the organization made the deal knowing that there was a chance negotiations could be complicated. Should Meier not be agreeable to a deal, the Devils can always move him ahead of the draft which is something other teams considered that pitched for Meier. A strong playoff run ups his value on a new deal, but also makes him even more attractive to teams that missed out at the deadline.

Oilers Chose Defense Over Offense at Deadline

When he spoke to Bob Stauffer on Oilers Now, the assistant general manager of the Edmonton Oilers, Brad Holland mentions that the Oilers wanted to address penalty killing before the deadline. Says they had the opportunity to potentially add offense in the bottom-six or even top-six, but went for Nick Bjugstad who offers a bit of both, but is more known for his 200-ft game.

Holland noted that the Oilers believe they have enough goal scoring and he also mentioned that when the Mattias Ekholm trade became an option, the Oilers were ecstatic. He called the Ekholm deal perhaps the most significant trade of his and Ken Holland’s tenure with the club.