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Countdown to TradeCentre: Could Vancouver flip Lindholm in a Guentzel trade?


The hours are ticking down until Friday's 3pm ET NHL Trade Deadline and urgency is building for teams to make decisions on whether to buy or sell, and on which players can make the biggest difference and hold the greatest value. Check out today's trade rumours and speculation from around the NHL beat.

Blockbuster brewing?

Jake Guentzel may be in his final hours with the Pittsburgh Penguins, as TSN Hockey Insider Darren Dreger reports are hoping to have a trade in place by this evening.

The Vancouver Canucks are among the interested teams and have discussed flipping Elias Lindholm, acquired just last month in a major trade with the Calgary Flames, to the Boston Bruins to complete the move.

Lindholm, a pending unrestricted free agent, has four goals and six points in 15 games with Vancouver after posting nine goals and 32 points in 49 games with the Flames. 

Still sidelined by injury, but believed to be nearing a return, Guentzel was the Penguins leading scorer prior to being hurt, posting 22 goals and 52 points in 50 games. He carries a cap hit of $6 million on his expiring deal, 

"The Guentzel domino seems like it’s about to tip over at this point in time," TSN Hockey Insider Chris Johnston said Tuesday on Insider Trading. "The Pittsburgh Penguins have a high degree of ‘want’ to get this deal done by Wednesday night and they’re working through the final offers.

"One of the teams that has shown up with interest is the Vancouver Canucks. A lot of connections there between Patrik Allvin and Jim Rutherford. How could they make this work if they were the team to get Guentzel? What I’ve been able to uncover is that they have had discussions with the Boston Bruins about potentially flipping Elias Lindholm, who they just acquired from Calgary a little more than a month ago, to the Bruins as a way to maybe have all the machinations fall into place in terms of cap space, getting back some assets that could be used in this deal.

"I wouldn’t necessarily put Vancouver at the front of the line. It sounds like there’s a little bit of sticker shock from the Canucks' end of things. But the mere fact that they’re out there potentially, or at least contemplating trading Lindholm so soon, tells us first of all how aggressive Vancouver is right now, and how thin the market is at centre. The Bruins don’t see a lot of options out there, and that’s what’s got them having these conversations."

Lindholm was acquired by Vancouver on Feb. 1 for Andrei Kuzmenko, prospects Hunter Brzustewicz and Joni Jurmo, a 2024 first-round draft pick, and a conditional 2024 fourth-round draft pick. Dreger notes that the Canucks helped set the market with that trade, which is now working against them in their pursuit of Guentzel. 

"It’s interesting that the Canucks would be spooked by the high price tag that the Penguins have established on Guentzel," Dreger added on Insider Trading. "The Canucks are part of why the ask is so high on Jake Guentzel because of the price they paid to acquire Elias Lindholm from the Flames.

"When you look at what Kyle Dubas needs for Guentzel you’re talking about a first-round draft pick, you’re talking about a young NHL roster player, and a very good prospect or prospects. There could be some flexibility in all that. If the NHL roster player is a good player or the prospect is a top prospect, perhaps that lessens or sways the overall look. We’ll find out about that in the next 24 hours."

TSN Hockey Insider Pierre LeBrun reported Monday there were five-to-six suitors in the race for Guentzel, including the Canucks and Vegas Golden Knights. 

The Golden Knights may be out of the running after striking a deal Tuesday with the Washington Capitals for Anthony Mantha. Vegas sent 2024 second- and fourth-round picks to Washington, who retained 50 per cent of Mantha's $5.7 million cap hit. The move leaves the Golden Knights with $4.43 million in space to work with, per CapFriendly.



Oilers eyeing Henrique

After waiving veteran Sam Gagner on Tuesday, the Edmonton Oilers appear to have set their sights on an upgrade at centre ahead of Friday's deadline. 

TSN Hockey Insider Chris Johnston reports the Oilers are targeting pending unrestricted free agent Adam Henrique from the Anaheim Ducks. The 34-year-old forward has 18 goals and 42 points in 60 games this season with the Ducks as he pursues a second straight 20-goal campaign. He carries a cap hit of $5.825 million cap hit on his expiring deal.

"At this point, the priority for Edmonton is to try to acquire Adam Henrique from the Anaheim Ducks. He’s viewed as a good fit on multiple levels. He does have some trade protection on his contract but I believe he has warmed to the idea of a move to Edmonton if a trade can be consummated between the Ducks and Oilers. At this point, it seems like that’s where Edmonton is aiming a lot of its focus over the next couple of days.

"Jason Zucker, on paper, seems like the kind of forward Edmonton might like but I’m told they’re not in on him. He is being held out of Arizona’s lineup on Tuesday for trade-related reasons because action has picked up around that forward."

The Coyotes held Zucker out of the lineup Tuesday against the Chicago Blackhawks as trade interest builds in the winger.  Zucker, 32, is playing on a one-year, $5.3 million contract. He has nine goals and 16 assists in 51 games for the Coyotes this season, his 13th NHL campaign.


Sens await market movement

The Ottawa Senators appear to be playing the waiting game as the trade deadline draws closer.

TSN Hockey Insider Darren Dreger reports interest in Senators pending UFA Vladimir Taransenko and defenceman Jakob Chychrun, signed through next season, should build once the top names on the market are moved. 

"Jake Guentzel, given the trades we’ve already seen to this point, would be considered the jewel in the crown," Dreger explained. "But what about Vladimir Tarasenko? Tarasenko is a little more complicated because he has the full no-movement clause but he is a player of interest because he can flat out score. There are so many contending teams that like the idea of adding that finishing touch.

"Could a team like Vegas step up? They want to add at least one forward, maybe a couple of forwards.

"And what about Jacob Chychrun? When Noah Hanifin goes from the Flames, and that’s going to happen in the next couple of days, then I think that the action that’s been established over the last couple of days on Chychrun will move up another layer. All sorts of permutations as we look at the Ottawa Senators."

Bruce Garrioch of Postmedia reported earlier this week the Senators are looking for a second-round pick and a prospect back for Tarasenko. Signed at a $5 million cap hit, the 32-year-old has 17 goals and 41 points in 57 games this season. 

Acquired by Ottawa at last year's trade deadline from the Arizona Coyotes, Chychrun has nine goals and 31 points in 59 games this season. He sits third on the team in average ice time at 22:35 per game.