Countdown to TradeCentre: High price for Gavrikov as Oilers eye blueliner
The NHL's March 3 Trade Deadline is approaching, and teams are making 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.
Big price tag on Gavrikov
The Blue Jackets held defenceman Vladislav Gavrikov out of their lineup Tuesday for "trade-related reasons," but no deal appears close with Columbus wanting a large return for the pending unrestricted free agent.
TSN Hockey Insider Chris Johnston reports the Blue Jackets are looking for a three-asset return for Gavrikov, including a first-round pick, as the deadline approaches on March 3.
"I think there's still some 'sticker shock' on the price because the Blue Jackets are sticking, at least to this point, to a three-draft pick kind of return: a first, a third and a fourth at least one team was told this week and I think what makes that even tougher is the fact that this player is a pending unrestricted free agent," Johnston said on Insider Trading. "It doesn't sound like he's inclined to talk to whatever team ends up acquiring him about an extension at this point in time and so you'd be spending those three assets for a rental player who probably wants to become a free agent this summer."
The 27-year-old has three goals and seven assists in 52 games this season, his fourth with the Blue Jackets.
Carrying a $2.8 million cap hit in the final season of his deal, Gavrikov could be easier to squeeze under the salary cap than other trade options this month. TSN Hockey Insider Pierre LeBrun notes the Edmonton Oilers, who remain linked to the highly-paid Erik Karlsson, have had multiple conversations with the Blue Jackets about Gavrikov.
"There's no question the Oilers will continue to keep tabs on San Jose with Karlsson, regardless of whether it's a complicated deal to see through March 3, but in the meantime they want to try to make sure they get someone - Vladislav Gavrikov," LeBrun added. "... The Oilers are dollar-in, dollar-out with no cap room.
"If they can move [Jesse] Puljujarvi and his $3 million average annual value contract, Gavrikov at that AAV makes sense, there's no question Edmonton has talked to Columbus a number of times about him."
Predators rule out buying
The Nashville Predators are five points back of the final wild-card spot with two games in hand on the Minnesota Wild entering play on Wednesday.
Predators general manager David Poile said Tuesday, though, he does not expect to try to add at the deadline to chase one of the final playoff spots.
"I do not think we are a buyer," Poile told 102.5 The Game Nashville, later adding "if things don't change more favorably, we certainly could be a seller."
The Predators, who suffered a costly 4-2 loss to the Arizona Coyotes on Sunday, are 6-4 in their last 10. The team is at risk of seeing their eight-year playoff streak end this season, a run that that has seen Nashville fail to win a postseason round since 2018.
Selling could prove difficult for the Predators, who have just two pending unrestricted free agents on their roster in forward Mark Jankowski and goaltender Kevin Lankinen. The team has four players set for restricted free agency in Cody Glass, Tanner Jeannot, Dante Fabbro and Alexandre Carrier, all of whom are arbitration-eligible.
Nashville could utilize their cap space as an asset, with a projected $10.6 million in deadline space, according to CapFriendly.
Meier watch continues
The market continues to heat up for Trade Bait's No. 1 player, Timo Meier, as the deadline approaches.
TSN Hockey Insider Pierre LeBrun reports that different suitors have different requirements for a deal. He notes the New Jersey Devils want an extension in place to complete a trade, while the Carolina Hurricanes are open to adding Meier as a pending restricted free agent.
The Toronto Maple Leafs are also believed to be interested in Meier, but it's unclear whether they are looking to hold contract talks ahead of a potential deal.
"It sounds like it depends on which team ends up in the lead position here on a trade, and we're talking about the fact that agent Claude Lemieux, who represents Meier, has not yet been given permission as of Tuesday afternoon to speak directly to the teams involved in trade talks with the Sharks," LeBrun said on Insider Trading. "The reason I say it depends is, for example, the New Jersey Devils, who absolutely would love to land Meier - there have been more talks in the last 48 hours between the Devils and the Sharks - they would want an extension to be part of this trade, they want to sign Meier as part of this. The Carolina Hurricanes, another team that has had talks with the Sharks in the last couple of days, they're a bit more open-minded I'm told, and they could make this trade without even talking to Lemieux or without even worrying about an extension at this point.
"So two different approaches there between Carolina and New Jersey and of course you have the Toronto Maple Leafs who, by all accounts, remain interested in Meier as well."
Meier's unassisted goal was the Sharks' lone marker in a 3-1 loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins on Tuesday. The 26-year-old has 31 goals and 52 points in 55 games this season, marking the third time in his seven-year career he's hit the 30-goal mark. He's currently signed at a cap hit of $6 million, with a $10 million qualifying offer required to retain his rights this summer.
TSN Hockey Insider Chris Johnston reported last week that the Sharks are looking for three pieces back, including a first-round pick, in any deal for the 2015 first-round pick.