In today’s NHL rumors rundown, are the Buffalo Sabres looking at Jakob Chychrun? And, if they are, will they be willing to pay the asking price Arizona has set to acquire the defenseman? The Toronto Maple Leafs are waiting on a status update regarding Jake Muzzin potentially returning this season. The Vancouver Canucks might have started the process of hiring Rick Tocchet as their next head coach and the New York Rangers are going after two big NHL Trade Deadline names.
Sabres Aren’t Likely to Pay Chychrun Asking Price
Elliotte Friedman asked while on The Jeff Marek Show if Jakob Chychrun going to Buffalo makes sense. Friedman believes it does make sense because the Sabres want a bigger player and feel they get pushed around a bit. That said, the price being what it is, Friedman isn’t convinced the Sabres will pony up to get him.
Friedman also believes the Sabres will try to sign Dylan Cozens to a long-term deal.
Maple Leafs Should Know Muzzin’s Status Before the Deadline
Chris Johnston of TSN reported during the recent Insider Trading report that the Toronto Maple Leafs expect to have word on the condition of defenseman Jake Muzzin before the NHL Trade Deadline. Muzzin will see a specialist in February and the Leafs want some certainty around his ability to return before the playoffs, if at all. If he’s not coming back, they can (and likely plan to) use his space at the deadline.
The Leafs have to have clarity on this if they’re plan is to go out and spend the money that comes off of the salary cap with Muzzin on LTIR. “It sounds as though some clarity there may be coming in not too distant future,” Johnston said.
Canucks Set to Hire Rick Tocchet as Next Head Coach
Johnston also said it appears to be a question of when, not If, Rick Tocchet is brought in to be the new head coach of the Vancouver Canucks. It’s not entirely clear when he will replace Bruce Boudreau as Tocchet was on TNT’s broadcasts on Wednesday night saying he didn’t have a contract with Vancouver.
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Johnston believes negotiations have started on that deal and Tocchet will bring in a couple of additions to his coaching staff as well. Johnston said nothing’s official yet, but it does sound as though it’s getting very close. That Boudreau wasn’t on the ice for the morning skate (an optional one) in Vancouver has people wondering if the process is already beginning.
Bertuzzi Open to Staying in Detroit
Pending UFA Tyler Bertuzzi is reportedly open to remaining in Detroit, but that depends on the contract he’s offered. The two sides are reportedly going to get to work on discussions about a new deal after the All-Star break and David Pagnotta of The Fourth Period notes that Bertuzzi could be moved if the Red Wings feel they can’t get a deal done.
Pagnotta says there would be plenty of interest in Bertuzzi from teams if the Red Wings make him available.
Rangers Make Timo Meier Their Primary Trade Target
Both Kevin Weekes and Frank Seravalli are reporting there is interest from the New York Rangers is Sharks’ forward Timo Meier. Weekes seems to think the Rangers should still prioritize Patrick Kane, but Seravalli is reporting that Meier has moved to the top of their list in terms of possible trade targets.
Meier is not a pending UFA. He’s set to be a restricted free agent, which means the Rangers would be thinking about offering a long-term extension as part of the trade. He’s due a qualifying offer of $10 million — as the player has arbitration rights — but the thought is that an eight-year deal could get him locked in at around $8.5 million per season.
Also with the Rangers, Arthur Staple of The Athletic writes that a league source told him that the Rangers asked the Columbus Blue Jackets about defenseman Vladislav Gavrikov. The asking price is said to be a first-rounder plus a mid-round pick.
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.”