NHL Rumors: Maple Leafs in on J.T. Miller, Chara on the move, and Lindholm extension

J.T. MILLER TRADE RUMORS
Nov 13, 2021; Las Vegas, Nevada, USA; Vancouver Canucks center J.T. Miller (9) scores on this first period shot against the Vegas Golden Knights at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

Today’s NHL rumors begin with the Toronto Maple Leafs and a possible change to their trade deadline approach.

Toronto received some good news on defenseman Jake Muzzin, who was injured in a collision with Montreal’s Chris Wideman on Monday.

“He’ll be going through concussion protocol and all that stuff and we’ll be patient with that of course. It’s positive,” head coach Sheldon Keefe said about his longterm outlook.

However, the word is that Muzzin will hit LTIR and that’ll give the Leafs $5.625 million in cap room with the trade deadline looming.

NHL Rumors: Leafs and J.T. Miller?

“So, when you look at defensemen that the Toronto Maple Leafs are targeting, you look at Hampus Lindholm in Anaheim, looking at John Klingberg with the Dallas Stars. We talked about Ben Chiarot. And what about Mark Giordano from the Seattle Kraken? Again, those are all just pie in the sky options at this point,” Darren Dreger said on Insider Trading. “And then you look at adding a forward up front. Toronto would love to add a top-six winger, something to complement that second line.”

When it comes to a top six forward, Elliotte Friedman said on Sportnet that if the Leafs have LTIR they will be in on J.T. Miller.

Miller, 28, has one more year on a deal worth $5.25M, so the Leafs would need to figure out how to make it work moving forward. He has 53 points in 50 games this season.

NHL Rumors: Zdeno Chara will be wanted man

nhl rumors
Nov 15, 2021; Tampa, Florida, USA; Tampa Bay Lightning left wing Pat Maroon (14) and New York Islanders defenseman Zdeno Chara (33) fight during the first period at Amalie Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Chara, 44, played in his 1,651st career game — tying him with Chris Chelios for the most games played by a defenseman in NHL history. The hulking veteran defenseman will be a UFA at the end of this season and is a likely rental since the Islanders will be sellers at the deadline.

“Teams have started to call Lou Lamoriello and the Islanders who are fading out of the playoff race, they were never really in the race all year, one the league’s true disappointments, and they’re saying to Lou Lamoriello, ‘Hey keep us in mind if you decide to do ​something with Zdeno Chara,'” LeBrun said. “Now this is an interesting situation. Chara does not have a no-trade clause, but he’s a future Hall of Famer and the sense around the league is that Lou Lamoriello is going to go to Chara at some point and see if in fact he actually wants to move.”

TSN

Several contenders are already linked to Chara including the Blues, Bruins, and Panthers.

Lindholm and Ducks begin extension talks

Lindholm, 28, is making $5.2 million against the cap which and was considered a top rental trade target. The big left-handed defenseman (6-4, 216) has 20 points in 51 games this season averaging top pair minutes at 22:46.

Of course, the Ducks realize his value and have started extension talks. Per Pierre LeBrun new GM Pat Verbeek has begun negotiations with Lindholm’s agent, Claude Lemieux to see if the two sides are close in terms of a new contract.

This will help Verbeek assess whether or not he should be putting Lindholm on the block come March 21.