Welcome to another edition of Full Press Hockey’s NHL Rumors! The 2022-23 regular season is more than halfway done and players will be evaluated. Now, with the trade deadline 32 days away, rumors are sizzling.
Clubs are always working to improve their rosters for next season. Some teams are having difficulty creating enough cap space to make moves. Others are experiencing severe injuries to star players. Trade rumors/signings are still possible. In this Wednesday edition of NHL Rumors, we will take a look at the Toronto Maple Leafs, Buffalo Sabres, and the New York Rangers.
Toronto Maple Leafs – Jake McCabe
Rumor: Per – Frank Seravalli – dailyfaceoff.com. With Jake Muzzin out, McCabe won’t be a replica at the offensive end, but he’d certainly help fill the defensive void, and slide right in next to a guy like T.J. Brodie who can move the puck.
If the Chicago Blackhawks retain half of McCabe’s $4 million cap hit, it seems a no-brainer to acquire him. He is signed through the 2024-25 season. Six of the seven Canadian teams are on McCabe’s seven-team ‘no-trade’ list and the Maple Leafs are not one of them. He’s a defensive D-man and plays the penalty kill. He possesses above average hockey sense and doesn’t quit on plays.
On the other side of the ledger, he lacks mobility and coughs up pucks under pressure because he cannot escape using his feet.
General manager Kyle Dubas may just find that McCabe checks off most of his boxes to fill the void on his blueline.
Buffalo Sabres – Erik Karlsson
Rumor – Per – Craig Button – TSN.ca. While the Buffalo Sabres aren’t currently contenders, adding Karlsson to their strong young team could transform them.
Let’s face it, the current contenders don’t have the required cap space to take on Karlsson’s fourth-highest contract in the NHL. If the San Jose Sharks were to retain 20-40 percent of that $11.5 million cap hit until the 2026-27 season concludes, things could happen. The Sabres have a current cap space of $46.3 million.
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They reside just out of a wild-card spot, only one point behind the Pittsburgh Penguins. They trail the Washington Capitals by two points with three games in hand. With an aspiring young blueline consisting of Rasmus Dahlin and Owen Power, Karlsson can be an excellent mentor with his 14 years in the NHL.
Can Karlsson instantly transform the Sabres into a Cup contender? He certainly wouldn’t hurt with his current rejuvenating season showing 16 goals and 50 assists in 51 games.
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New York Rangers – Nick Ritchie
Rumor: Per – Arthur Staple – theathletic.com. The Rangers want to add to their top-nine forwards without spending too much so as to have some funds for a defenseman.
The Rangers had interest in Ritchie at last year’s deadline per Staple. They are revisiting adding the 6′-2″, 230-pound forward. He was on Staple’s list of 20 possible additions to the New York club. Ritchie has tallied eight goals and 12 assists in 46 games this season.
If the Rangers want a forward who can throw around his weight and screen the opposing goalie, he could be a good fit. He carries a $2.5 million cap hit and could qualify as a rental since he will be an unrestricted free agent in July. He’s a streaky scorer and could do better on a higher quality team.
Ritchie is a decent puck possession player with a Corsi For of 51.0 and a Relative Corsi of 9.8. That means his team controls the puck more when he’s on the ice than not.
He is not afraid to drop the gloves in defense of his teammates and is skilled at irritating his opponents. We’ll see if a deal can be worked out between the teams. The Arizona Coyotes have made it known than most of their roster is available for the right price.
That concludes this edition of NHL rumors. Be sure to catch our next article and thanks for reading!
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