Bruins inquire about Virtanen … Ekholm would fit a Bruins need
Jimmy Murphy of Boston Hockey Now: TSN’s Darren Dreger confirmed again Jake Virtanen and Adam Gaudette‘s availability. If someone is to trade for Virtanen, salaries will have to match or be below Virtanen’s $2.5 million cap hit. The Boston Bruins have inquired.
Nashville Predators defenseman Mattias Ekholm also may be available, and he would fit a Bruins need. Ekholm has a year left on his deal at a $3.7 million cap and wouldn’t last long on the trade market. Will the Bruins look to upgrade their second pair?
Avalanche goaltending situation
Adrian Dater of Colorado Hockey Now: (mailbag) Believe the Colorado Avalanche will run with Philipp Grubauer and Hunter Miska/Adam Werner while Pavel Francouz is out. Francouz is at least a couple of weeks away from returning. If GM Joe Sakic is looking for a backup goalie, maybe San Jose Sharks Devan Dubnyk would be an option. Dubnyk is in the last year of his deal and carries a $4.3 million cap hit. Francouz would have to remain on the LTIR for awhile and/or maybe the Sharks could retain salary.
Goaltender Grubauer is in the last year of his contract and the Avalanche should be thinking hard about signing him to a contract extension. Grubauer carries a $3.3 million cap hit this year but would be in the $5 million range as a UFA.
Blackhawks haven’t offered a contract to Zhafyarov
Mark Lazerus and Scott Powers of The Athletic: There was a report from Sport-Express.Ru that the Chicago Blackhawks had offered KHL 26-year old forward Damir Zhafyarov a contract. According to a source on Wednesday, the Blackhawks hadn’t offered him a contract.
The source added that Zhafyarov’s season is over in March and is looking to sign an NHL entry-level deal and that multiple teams have shown some interest.
“Smallish, high-skilled winger who’s a playmaker,” a KHL league source described Zhafyarov. “His size is his greatest weakness. And I can’t say he’s speedy enough to be an NHL player with that size. He’s mobile, sees the ice really well, has a great hockey IQ and great work ethic as well. But it’s not enough to make the NHL with that size.”