NHL Rumors: Blake Wheeler trade bait, and Avs interested in Alexandar Georgiev

blake wheeler
Dec 10, 2021; Vancouver, British Columbia, CAN; Winnipeg Jets forward Blake Wheeler (26) celebrate his goal against the Vancouver Canucks in the first period at Rogers Arena. Mandatory Credit: Bob Frid-USA TODAY Sports

The NHL Rumors mill is expected to kick into high gear now that the Stanley Cup has been won by the Colorado Avalanche. There are many key dates to mark on your calendar as we move through the offseason.

  • July 1: First buyout window opens
  • July 7-8: NHL Draft
  • July 11: Deadline to make Qualifying Offers to RFA’s
  • July 12: RFA’s can talk with teams
    • First buyout window closes
    • Ability to sign own free agents for 8 years closes
  • July 13: Free Agency opens
    • RFA’s can sign offer sheets
  • July 17: Eligible RFA’s can file for salary arbitration
  • July 18: Deadline for team elected salary arbitration
  • July 27: Arbitration hearings begin

Reference: Puckpedia

You can expect a busy summer of activity with the possibility of some interesting new UFA’s thanks to buyouts.

For this edition, we will focus on the possibility of Blake Wheeler being traded from the Winnipeg Jets and the Colorado Avalanche’s goalie situation for next season.

NHL Rumors: Blake Wheeler

blake wheeler trade
Dec 5, 2021; Winnipeg, Manitoba, CAN; Winnipeg Jets forward Mark Scheifele (55) is congratulated by Winnipeg Jets forward Blake Wheeler (26) on his goal against the Toronto Maple Leafs during the third period at Canada Life Centre. Mandatory Credit: Terrence Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The Winnipeg Jets have not had a very good offseason after being told by pending RFA Pierre-Luc Dubois that he intends on becoming a UFA in two years. That was made worse when Barry Trotz turned down their offer to become the next head coach.

With many feeling this is a team in need of an overhaul, Blake Wheeler is now a prime trade candidate this summer.

Sources say the Jets have begun to explore the market and engage with teams on the possibility of moving Wheeler, the franchise stalwart and last remaining holdover from the Atlanta Thrashers days. Wheeler has complete control over his destination until July 1, when his full “no-move” clause converts into a five-team list to which he’d accept a trade. The early sense is Wheeler may be willing to consider a proposed destination that also is not on his list, if it’s a proper fit for his family and career.

Frank Seravalli, DFO

Wheeler, 35, had a solid season with 16 goals and 65 points in 60 contests. However, the Jets are going to have to eat a chunk of his cap hit in order to facilitate a trade. He has two years remaining with a whopping $8.25M AAV and very few playoff contenders can afford him at that cost. Even at 50% cap retention ($4.125M) it could be a stretch. But if certain pending UFA wingers like Johnny Gaudreau and Filip Forsberg sign elsewhere, there could be a trade market for his services.

NHL Rumors: Avs interested in Alexandar Georgiev

nhl rumors alexandar georgiev
Jan 16, 2021; New York, NY, USA; Alexandar Georgiev #40 of the New York Rangers stretches in warm-ups prior to the game against the New York Islanders at Madison Square Garden on January 16, 2021 in New York City. Mandatory Credit: Bruce Bennett/Pool Photo-USA TODAY Sports

The Avs are flying high off their Stanley Cup win, but GM Jos Sakic has his work cut out for him this summer.

Colorado has around $25 million in cap space with 12 free agents to sign (10 UFA, 2 RFA). There are some big names on that list including two key UFA’s that will certainly get paid if they hit the market on July 13.

Nazem Kadri and Darcy Kuemper are already two of the most sought after players less than three weeks away from Free Agent Frenzy. That cap space isn’t going to be enough to sign them and players like Andre Burakovsky, Valeri Nichushkin, and Arturri Lehkonen.

Many feel that Kadri is heading to free agency and going to cash in big. There’s a growing belief that Kuemper, who will seek a raise from him previous $4.5M cap hit may be gone too.

According to Larry Brooks of the NY Post, the Colorado Avalanche asked about New York Rangers pending RFA Alexandar Georgiev last season for a trade.

The Avalanche were interested in Georgiev before the deadline, we have confirmed, but the Rangers did not want to leave themselves bare behind Shesterkin on the cusp of the playoffs…the champs might be receptive.

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Georgiev, 26, finished the season with a 15-10-2 record, a 2.92 GAA, and A .898 SV%. The Rangers, who are cap strapped will most likely not qualify him at $2.65M. They are said to be aggressively shopping him.

Other teams reportedly interested in trading for his rights are the Edmonton Oilers, Toronto Maple Leafs, and New Jersey Devils.