NHL Rumors: Rangers wish list, Phil Kessel ask, plus Maple Leafs and Canucks trade

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Feb 12, 2022; Vancouver, British Columbia, CAN; Toronto Maple Leafs goalie Petr Mrazek (35) makes a save as Vancouver Canucks forward J.T. Miller (9) reaches for the rebound in the third period at Rogers Arena. Vancouver won 3-2. Mandatory Credit: Bob Frid-USA TODAY Sports

NHL Rumors are heating up across the league as the March 21st Trade Deadline draws closer. There simply is a lot of noise and trying to discern fact from fiction is always a challenge at this time.

Here’s the latest rumblings with regards to the New York Rangers, Toronto Maple Leafs, Vancouver Canucks, and Phil Kessel.

NHL Rumors: New York Rangers wish list

Insiders have been saying for months that the New York Rangers with their massive amount of cap space were going to be extremely active at the trade deadline. And in just last last 24 hours, the Blueshirts rumor chatter has been the loudest.

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November 1, 2018; Anaheim, CA, USA; Anaheim Ducks center Rickard Rakell (67) celebrates his goal scored against the New York Rangers during the third period at Honda Center. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

“The New York Rangers would like to get their hands, once again, on (J.T.) Miller and he is a target of theirs as is Rickard Rakell of the Anaheim Ducks,” Darren Dreger said on TSN’s Insider Trading. “Chris Drury and the Rangers, given the opportunity, would like to bolster his blueline, so they are among the many suitors in on Montreal Canadiens’ defenseman Ben Chiarot three weeks before the deadline.”

According to Arthur Staple of The Athletic, Seattle Kraken pending UFA Calle Jarnkrok is a potential target and GMs Chris Drury and Ron Francis have had some discussion.

Jarnkrok, 30, is having a solid season with the Kraken and can play any forward position. He’s currently playing first line center, which should tell you all you need to know about the Kraken’s lowly position in the standing. He would be a great third line center for the playoffs.

Also, Mark Giordano remains on the Rangers radar as a rental defenseman. That’s been the case since the offseason, when Drury tried to acquire him before the expansion draft.

Another note is that both the Columbus Blue Jackets and Seattle Kraken have been scouting the Rangers. Neither of those teams play them again this season. Keep an eye on Max Domi as a potential add for the Rangers.

What’s the price on Phil Kessel

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Nov 24, 2019; Glendale, AZ, USA; Edmonton Oilers center Connor McDavid (97) against Arizona Coyotes right wing Phil Kessel (81) at Gila River Arena. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Kessel, 34, is a pending UFA and considered a top rental. He is still productive with 33 points in 54 games for the Coyotes. The fact that he is still available is a bit of a mystery. Why hasn’t any team swooped and traded for him? Good question, but if you thought the ask is too high that would be wrong.

“Will teams get out in front for Phil (Kessel)? Told he can be had for a 2nd round pick,” reporter Andy Strickland said. “Would look pretty good on the second line for a number of teams.”

A second round pick? That’s all for Kessel! A guy who has scored 937 career points in the NHL has to be worth more than a second round pick. Matter of fact, recent reporting suggests that teams have been offering a third round pick but also want the Coyotes to retain 50% salary.

If that’s the case, it would explain the hold up.

Maple Leafs and Canucks working on a trade?

Top insiders are buzzing that the Toronto Maple Leafs and Vancouver Canucks are working on a trade after Leafs’ assistant GM Laurence Gilman has been seen scouting the Canucks two games in a row.

So who were they scouting? According to Pierre LeBrun, it was none other than J.T. Miller.

“Of course, that’s not surprising, the Leafs have been linked to Miller before but the Leafs are among several teams that have kicked tires with Vancouver on him,” LeBrun said. “I don’t think there’s anything too serious at this point except for the Leafs doing their due diligence.”

Two other names that the Canucks are also supposedly making available are Brock Boeser and Conor Garland.

Toronto has some cap money to spend with Jake Muzzin on LTIR, and previous rumors had them attached to John Klingberg in Dallas.