It’s time to ring in 2022 with our first edition of NHL rumours for the year. Teams are either going for a Stanley Cup Playoff spot or trading for the future. There are going to be some tough decisions for general managers with the March trade deadline. Today’s NHL rumours focus on the Calgary Flames, Pittsburgh Penguins and Philadelphia Flyers.
All NHL rumours come from the original source and are subject to change.
Rumour: TSN’s Salim Valij said the Flames will be active at the trade deadline.
The year is 2️⃣0️⃣2️⃣2️⃣…and, both on and off the ice, I think it will be 12 months of change for the Calgary Flames organisation…
Here are some of my predictions for what will happen 🔻🔻https://t.co/IvooYwJOHS
— Salim Nadim Valji (@salimvalji) January 1, 2022
Analysis: This season might be the best chance for the Flames to go deep in the playoffs. The Pacific is wide open except for the Vegas Golden Knights and the Vancouver Canucks have been surging. Calgary has a lot of big contracts that are expiring and will add more stress to their salary cap situation.
Johnny Gaudreau is an unrestricted free agent and Matthew Tkachuk is a restricted free agent. Both of them will require raises if they re-sign with the team. Andrew Mangiapane and Oliver Kylington are also both RFAs at the end of the season and general manager Brad Treliving will have some hard choices to make.
This could be the last hurrah for the group before it gets taken apart in the off-season. Someone like Mark Giordano or Tyler Toffoli would be a good addition to the group that will make one last charge.
Rumour: Matt Vensel of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette said that money may not be a factor for star centre Evgeni Malkin.
— Matt Vensel (@mattvensel) December 29, 2021
Analysis: Malkin said that he didn’t think about money and he’s pretty rich. The 35-year-old is a free agent at the end of the season, but he isn’t thinking about his contract at the moment.
Malkin is coming off major knee surgery and is looking to get the Penguins into another deep post-season run. Pittsburgh has managed to stay in the playoff spots in the tough Metropolitan Division despite early-season injuries.
The Russian star is in the last year of a deal that saw him make $9.5 million over the last eight seasons. However, it could be an encouraging sign that he might take less money to stay. Pittsburgh does have talented players that they need to make a decision on like Kris Letang. However, Malkin’s unselfishness could make things a lot easier on general manager Ron Hextall.
Rumour: The Athletic’s Charlie O’Connor addresses some fans wanting to throw in the towel on the season.
No Flyers games? Perfect time for a holiday Flyers Mailbag!https://t.co/u3per9BaBL
— Charlie O'Connor (@charlieo_conn) December 23, 2021
Analysis: Trading someone like captain Claude Giroux would put the Flyers in better position to land a coveted draft pick. However, the team isn’t completely out of the race for a wild card spot. Giroux also has a no-trade clause that he’d have to waive in order to get on the market.
Trading off assets means that the Flyers’ brass likely wouldn’t get full-market value in return. General manager Chuck Fletcher will want to get maximum return if he does decide to hit the reset button. He might be better served to wait until the off-season to start wheeling and dealing.
Punting the season would also not help Fletcher’s prospects of staying employed. Philadelphia is a hockey-mad market that wants to make that craves its first Stanley Cup in decades. Many thought the Flyers would be in the mix for the post-season, but their bad start has put hurt their chances of getting into the post-season.