NHL Rumor Mill – November 6, 2019

Rumors

The Hurricanes and Sabres could be shopping defensemen, the latest on Kyle Turris, and more in today’s NHL rumor mill.

HURRICANES, SABRES COULD MOVE DEFENSEMEN

TSN: Pierre LeBrun reports the Carolina Hurricanes are carrying a surplus of defensemen and don’t want to risk losing one on waivers. He claims they’re willing to move Trevor van Riemsdyk or Haydn Fleury for a top-nine forward. Both are restricted free agents next summer.

Darren Dreger also reported the Buffalo Sabres will have a log-jam on the blueline once Marco Scandella and Zach Bogosian return from injuries. He said Sabres general manager Jason Botterill is starting to shop around for a top-six and a bottom-six forward.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Scandella and van Riemsdyk could have the best trade value. Fleury was selected seventh overall in the 2014 NHL Draft but he’s struggled to meet expectations with the Hurricanes. The oft-injured Bogosian is unlikely to draw much interest. Possible trade destinations include the Winnipeg Jets, Los Angeles Kings, New York Rangers, Detroit Red Wings, and Montreal Canadiens.

HIGHLIGHTS FROM LATEST “31 THOUGHTS”

SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman reports Ottawa Senators GM Pierre Dorion’s scouting trip to Los Angeles and Nashville sparked trade speculation. He’s in the market for an experienced forward but warned not to jump to any conclusions. The Predators are trying to move Kyle Turris and that had some wondering about a possible reunion with the Senators. Dorion declined to comment but Friedman said he was told it’s not happening.

Don’t expect a reunion for Kyle Turris and the Ottawa Senators (Photo via NHL Images)

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Bringing back Turris and his $6-million annual salary-cap hit through 2023-24 makes no sense for the rebuilding, cost-conscious Senators. Dorion’s scouting trip to Los Angeles could’ve been to watch Kings winger Tyler Toffoli, though it was more likely to check out the Kings before the upcoming game between the two clubs.

Friedman predicts the Colorado Avalanche could go “big-game hunting” in the trade market. They’re dynamite when healthy and have plenty of assets.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: If GM Joe Sakic does target a big-name player (Taylor Hall, perhaps?), it’ll likely be near the Feb. 24 trade deadline. Of course, he could make an earlier move if his banged-up club doesn’t soon snap out of its current slump.

The return of Travis Dermott and Zach Hyman’s imminent return has teams checking to see if the Toronto Maple Leafs are interested in moving a big salary. They’ve been told the Leafs want to see their strongest roster in action before making any decisions. “That means, as expected, a team of 20 or 21; so two or three will be traded or waived,” said Friedman.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: If the Leafs move a big contract it won’t be Auston Matthews, John Tavares, Mitch Marner or Morgan Rielly. Kyle Dubas last year promising William Nylander he wouldn’t be traded as long as Dubas was general manager. Frederik Andersen obviously isn’t going anywhere. They’re all the Leafs carrying annual average values of $5 million or more.

The Los Angeles Kings could move some more veteran players this season. Drew Doughty and Anze Kopitar, as well as their young prospects. aren’t going anywhere. There hasn’t been much contract extension talk with pending UFA Kyle Clifford. Friedman believes interested parties will have to work to entice the Kings into parting with him.










NHL Rumor Mill – November 5, 2019

Rumors

Updates on Tyler Toffoli, Marc Staal, and Taylor Hall in today’s NHL rumor mill.

TOFFOLI TRADE SPECULATION GROWING

SPORTSNET: Chris Johnston notes Los Angeles Kings winger Tyler Toffoli is among several notable veterans (including Ottawa Senators winger Bobby Ryan and Chicago Blackhawks defenseman Brent Seabrook) who were recent healthy scratches. He considers them available in the trade market, though Toffoli is younger (27), slated to become an unrestricted free agent next summer and doesn’t carry contract baggage like the others. Johnston suggests Toffoli is a player worth watching near the Feb. 24 trade deadline.

Los Angeles Kings winger Tyler Toffoli has come up in recent trade speculation (Photo via NHL Images).

Johnston’s colleague Luke Fox reports Toffoli’s contract lacks no-trade protection and would be easier to move than an older veteran like Jeff Carter, Dustin Brown, or Jonathan Quick. The winger acknowledged the struggles that led to his recent scratching fueled the trade speculation. “It comes with not playing well and not winning games, so whatever happens, happens,” he said.

BOSTON HOCKEY NOW: Jimmy Murphy wonders if the Bruins will revisit their previous interest in Toffoli or Carter to bolster their second line. He considersToffoli a more affordable option than Carter.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Much will depend upon Toffoli’s performance, the cost of re-signing him, and whether Kings management believes he has a role in their rebuilding plans. General manager Rob Blake could be open to enticing offers. If he decides to shop Toffoli it could happen close to the trade deadline to get the best return possible.

MARC STAAL’S DAYS WITH THE RANGERS COULD BE NUMBERED

THE ATHLETIC: Rick Carpiniello believes the New York Rangers will eventually part ways with Marc Staal. The 32-year-old defenseman was a healthy scratch from their last three games. The Rangers are bringing in younger blueliners. That won’t leave room for Staal, who’s signed through 2020-21 with an annual average value of $5.7 million.

Carpiniello believes Staal could still play in a lesser role with a better team. The Rangers could try to trade him but Staal must agree to waive his no-movement clause. They would also have to pick up part of his salary-cap hit.

That move, however, might not come until next summer and could mean taking back a bad contract at another position. A contract buyout next summer would cost the Rangers $3.5667 million next season and $1.067 million the following season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Staal will have to get into some games if the Blueshirts hope to drum up some interest in his services. He could agree to waive his NMC if a playoff contender comes calling this season. The Rangers would likely agree to pick up part of his cap hit rather than back a toxic contract or buying him out next summer.

HALL’S AGENT TO MEET WITH DEVILS GM

THE SCORE: Josh Wegman cites NHL.com’s Michael Morreale reporting Taylor Hall’s agent will meet with New Jersey Devils GM Ray Shero at some point during the club’s upcoming Western Canada road trip. The two have spoken regularly but this will be their first face-to-face meeting since training camp.

Hall is slated to become an unrestricted free agent next summer. Wegman speculates Shero could trade Hall if he’s unable to re-sign him before the trade deadline.










NHL Rumor Mill – November 4, 2019

Rumors

Could the Blues pursue Taylor Hall or Chris Kreider? Are changes coming soon to the struggling Sharks? Should the Blackhawks shop Erik Gustafsson? Check out the latest in the NHL rumor mill.

COULD HALL OR KREIDER INTEREST THE BLUES?

NEW YORK POST: Larry Brooks suggests Taylor Hall didn’t sound like he’s planning to re-sign with the New Jersey Devils after he went off on Devils fans following a 7-6 loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning on Wednesday. He wonders if Devils general manager Ray Shero will start soliciting trade offers if the pending UFA decides to move on or wait until the trade deadline.

Could the St. Louis Blues look into acquiring New Jersey Devils winger Taylor Hall? (Photo via NHL Images)

Brooks thinks the St. Louis Blues could be primed to land Hall sooner rather than later after losing winger Vladimir Tarasenko to shoulder surgery. He also speculates they might have some interest in New York Rangers pending UFA Chris Kreider.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Unless Shero gets a great offer for Hall before January he’ll probably wait until close to the Feb. 24 trade deadline to move the winger. The Devils will want a significant return for the 2018 Hart Trophy winner. Kreider will be a more affordable acquisition than Hall. Time will tell if the Blues are among the suitors for either guy.

CHANGES COMING SOON FOR THE STRUGGLING SHARKS?

THE MERCURY NEWS: Curtis Pashelka wonders if a small or drastic move might be ahead for the San Jose Sharks. With a record of 4-10-1, they’re sitting at the bottom of the Western Conference standings.

Pashelka pointed out GM Doug Wilson made moves to snap his club out of previous doldrums. The biggest was in 2005 when he acquired Joe Thornton from the Boston Bruins.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Sharks are struggling in goal and still haven’t adjusted to the offseason departures of forwards Joe Pavelski and Joonas Donskoi. If Wilson decides to make a significant move it could be in the crease. However, there isn’t much of a market for goaltenders right now.

SHOULD THE BLACKHAWKS PUT GUSTAFSSON ON THE BLOCK?

CHICAGO TRIBUNE: Jimmy Greenfield believes the Blackhawks should trade defenseman Erik Gustafsson for a return that helps their ongoing rebuild. If recent call-up Adam Boqvist proves he’s here to stay, Gustafsson no longer has an obvious spot in the lineup.

The pending UFA is coming off a career season (60 points) but he’s struggled this season and was a recent heathy scratch. Greenfield feels there’s little chance Gustafsson re-signs with the Blackhawks.

GM Stan Bowman could wait until the trade deadline when Gustafsson’s value could be higher. Greenfield speculates Bowman explored this summer’s trade market and didn’t discover much of a market for a blueliner with one good season in his resume.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: If Gustafsson’s performance doesn’t improve he won’t fetch much of a return regardless of when he’s put on the trade block.










Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – November 3, 2019

Rumors

The latest on Dustin Byfuglien and Jesse Puljujarvi plus some recent Penguins speculation in today’s NHL rumor roundup.

NO END IN SIGHT FOR BYFUGLIEN SAGA

SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman reports a resolution in the ongoing saga between the Winnipeg Jets and Dustin Byfuglien doesn’t seem likely. The defenseman has been absent from the club pondering his future. He recently underwent ankle surgery and could be sidelined until sometime in the new year. Friedman claims the situation has become emotional, heated, and heading to arbitration.

The relationship between Dustin Byfuglien and Winnipeg Jets’ front office seems to be souring (Photo via NHL Images)

Friedman said the Jets were told not to discuss the situation, which explains general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff’s guarded comments. During Byfuglien’s exit physical at the end of last season, the team felt he was ready to play. He didn’t tell them he had issues with his ankle during the summer and informed them of his intention to retire.

Byfuglien’s side of the story is he was injured going into the playoffs, played hurt, took the summer off to heal, returned to Winnipeg intending to play but his ankle acted up again while skating. Friedman said a broken bone was also discovered in Byfuglien’s foot during the surgery. There’s a dispute over when the injury happened and when everyone knew about it.

Chris Johnston said there are bad feelings and money involved. As Byfuglien is still under contract, part of an arbiter’s role could be trying to determine when the defenseman starts getting paid again. The Jets suspended him during his leave of absence for salary-cap purposes. While Byfuglien is uncertain over the status of his career, he’s indicated a willingness to return to action.

If Byfuglien does return, Friedman said it remains to be seen if he’ll play for the Jets or if they’ll want him back.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: If this requires arbitration to settle it could spell the end of Byfuglien’s tenure in Winnipeg. If he’s still willing to play, however, it could prove difficult for the Jets to trade him. 

Playoff contenders would certainly have interest in Byfuglien’s services. However, his recent surgery, age (34), salary-cap hit ($7.6 million annually through 2020-21) and 14-team no-trade list will affect efforts to move him. 

Meanwhile, this situation hampers the Jets’ ability to address their weakened blueline. Byfuglien’s suspension currently gives them over $6.6 million in salary-cap space. If he returns, however, they must shed salary to become cap compliant.

They could be forced to make a dollar-for-dollar swap. The Hockey News’ Jared Clinton recently observed there are veteran options like Chicago’s Brent Seabrook, Pittsburgh’s Jack Johnson or the New York Rangers’ Marc Staal. However, they have their contract baggage of their own and won’t improve the Jets’ defense corps.

INTEREST GROWING IN PULJUJARVI

SPORTSNET: Chris Johnston reports Jesse Puljujarvi’s strong play in Finland has attracted some suitors in the NHL trade market. The 21-year-old restricted free agent is playing overseas while awaiting a trade by the Edmonton Oilers. General manager Ken Holland is heading to Finland to watch Puljujarvi play in an upcoming international tournament.

Johnston doesn’t believe the organization has made a decision if they’ll try to trade Puljujarvi right away, wait until the Dec. 1 deadline to re-sign him approaches, or try and keep him. Holland spoke extensively with teams since the summer. Johnston believes the New York Rangers have shown persistent interest in Puljujarvi.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Rangers are a rebuilding club. They’re using defenseman Brendan Smith as a fourth-line right wing. Depending on the asking price, Puljujarvi could be a fit with the Blueshirts.

RECENT PENGUINS SPECULATION

THE ATHLETIC: In a recent mailbag segment, Josh Yohe was asked about the possibility of the Pittsburgh Penguins trading Jack Johnson since Erik Gudbranson was shipped to Anaheim. He doesn’t see Johnson getting moved but didn’t rule it out. He points out they had a deal to trade the veteran defenseman on the table in late September. However, they aren’t displeased with his performance.

Asked about Nick Bjugstad, Yohe thinks he could be the next forward to go. He hasn’t been impressed with Bjugstad’s performance since joining the Penguins last season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Why didn’t Penguins GM Jim Rutherford move Johnson if they had a deal on the table? Perhaps the return wasn’t that good, or maybe they had to include a first-round pick, something Rutherford doesn’t want to do. Bjugstad’s unimpressive play could also hurt any attempt to trade him during the season.










NHL Rumor Mill – November 2, 2019

Rumors

Recent speculation on the Rangers, Sharks, Oilers, and Sabres in today’s NHL rumor mill.

DEANGELO AND STROME PLAYING THEIR WAY OUT OF NEW YORK?

NEW YORK POST: Larry Brooks believes the more points Tony DeAngelo and Ryan Strome collect this season, the more likely they’ll price themselves out of the New York Rangers. The pair are restricted free agents next summer with salary arbitration rights.

Could defenseman Tony DeAngelo prove too expensive for the New York Rangers to re-sign? (Photo via NHL Images)

The Rangers could be squeezed again for salary-cap space, especially if the cap only rises by 2.5 percent as it did for this season. Brooks speculates DeAngelo could seek an annual average value between $4 – $4.5 million on a two-year contract while Strome could ask for a one-year deal worth between $4.5 – $5 million.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Strome (10 points) sits third among Rangers scorers while DeAngelo (eight points) is their highest-scoring defenseman. It’s still early and their production could decline throughout the season. But if they put up decent numbers, the Rangers could have a difficult time re-signing them. That could make one or both of them trade candidates. 

SHARKS NEED HELP BETWEEN THE PIPES

THE HOCKEY NEWS: Jared Clinton believes the San Jose Sharks must find a solution to their goaltending problem before it’s too late. Martin Jones and Aaron Dell have struggled since last season.

Clinton acknowledged there’s no blue-chipper available in their system and no clear-cut option in the free-agent market. They also have limited salary-cap space. Jones’ contract ($5.75-million annual average value) and declining play makes him difficult to move. Nevertheless, Clinton feels they must do something to address this problem, even if it’s a cheap short-term solution.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Jonathan Quick of the Los Angeles Kings is the only noteworthy goalie mentioned in recent trade rumors. Unfortunately, he’s performing no better than Jones and Dell. Sharks general manager Doug Wilson could be forced to remain patient in hope better options become available in the coming weeks.

TWO-WAY CENTER TRADE OPTIONS FOR THE OILERS

THE ATHLETIC: Allan Mitchell believes the Edmonton Oilers are in need of another two-way center. Possible trade options include the Ottawa Senators’ Jean-Gabriel Pageau, the Winnipeg Jets’ Mathieu Perreault or Jack Roslovic, the Calgary Flames’ Mark Jankowski or the Toronto Maple Leafs’ Nic Petan. Mitchell considers Jankowski the most attractive choice.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Pageau is slated to become a UFA next summer. if the Senators shop him it’ll likely be closer to the Feb. 24 trade deadline when they could find more suitors and possibly better offers.

Mitchell suggested dangling a defenseman like Kris Russell or Matt Benning to the Jets. I doubt either one will entice the Jets to part with Perreault or Roslovic. They won’t improve the Jets’ porous defense. 

Calgary seems an unlikely trade partner but they did swap Milan Lucic and James Neal during the offseason. It would depend the Flames’ roster needs and whether the Oilers are willing to meet that price.

Mitchell wrote this piece before Petan was assigned to the minors. He’s not on the Oilers’ radar.

SABRES NOT PLANNING TO MOVE A DEFENSEMAN

THE BUFFALO NEWS: In a recent mailbag segment, Lance Lysowski was asked which defenseman the Buffalo Sabres will trade when Brandon Montour returns from injury. Lysowski doesn’t believe any of them will be moved for the time being. They have no salary-cap restrictions with Zach Bogosian on long-term injury reserve. He acknowledged they might have to create room at some point but there’s no rush.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Rasmus Ristolainen was a frequent subject of trade chatter this summer. However, his improved play under new coach Ralph Krueger could make the Sabres reluctant to part with him. Marco Scandella was recently floated as a trade option. He’s eligible for unrestricted free agent status next July.










NHL Rumor Mill – November 1, 2019

Rumors

A review of TSN’s first trade-bait board of the season in today’s NHL rumor mill.

TSN: New York Rangers winger Chris Kreider, Toronto Maple Leafs defenseman Martin Marincin, and Edmonton Oilers winger Jesse Puljujarvi top Frank Seravalli’s first NHL trade-bait board of this season. Dallas Stars defenseman Julius Honka and Calgary Flames blueliner Travis Hamonic fill out the top-five spots.

New York Rangers winger Chris Kreider tops TSN’s first NHL trade-bait board of this season (Photo via NHL Images).

Kreider is slated to become an unrestricted free agent next July. With the Rangers still feeling its rebuilding pains, Seravalli wondered if the speedy winger might be a good fit with the St. Louis Blues now that Vladimir Tarasenko’s sidelined for five months.

Marincin could be moved as the Leafs clear salary-cap space for Zach Hyman’s return. Seravalli said Oilers general manager Ken Holland will be in Finland to check on Puljujarvi’s progress. The winger will be taking part in the Karjala Cup next weekend.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Unless the Rangers get an enticing offer I believe they’ll hang onto Kreider until February. The trade deadline is Feb. 24 and that means more suitors and better offers. Marincin could end up getting waived.

Puljujarvi is a restricted free agent coming off his entry-level contract. Holland can take his time and evaluate offers for the 21-year-old winger. If Puljujarvi isn’t re-signed by Dec. 1, he’ll be ineligible to play the remainder of this NHL season. Nevertheless, Holland could be content to let him play the season in Finland and try again to re-sign or trade him next summer.

Honka’s status is similar to Puljujarvi’s, except there might not be as much interest in the young blueliner. Seravalli wonders if the Flames uneven start might prompt GM Brad Treliving to shake things up. He also suggests Hamonic, an unrestricted free agent next summer, could finish the season in Calgary if the Flames get back on track.

Columbus Blue Jackets defenseman Ryan Murray, Leafs winger Nic Petan, Detroit Red Wings winger Andreas Athanasiou, New York Islanders winger Josh Ho-Sang and Los Angeles Kings goaltender Jonathan Quick fill spots six to 10.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Murray’s currently sidelined three-to-four weeks with a broken hand. The Leafs are reportedly trying to trade Petan. Given their need to make room for Hyman, they could be forced to put him on waivers if not takers are found in the trade market.

Athanasiou’s slow start and restricted free agent status next summer are behind the chatter about his future with the Wings. However, reports out of Detroit indicate they’re optimistic he’ll snap out of his scoring funk soon. The Islanders are trying to move Ho-Sang but so far there are no takers.

Quick’s poor start has prompted trade conjecture. His hefty contract, declining performance and injury history makes him a tough sell.

Flames rearguard T.J. Brodie, Nashville Predators center Kyle Turris, Philadelphia Flyers blueliner Samuel Morin, Winnipeg Jets forward Jack Roslovic, and New Jersey Devils winger Taylor Hall round out the bottom five.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Like Hamonic, Brodie’s a UFA next summer. Despite the Flames’ recent struggles, I doubt either blueliner hits the trade block this fall. That could change, however, if they’re still struggling in the New Year.

The Predators reportedly tried moving Turris during the summer. Signed through 2023-24 with a $6-million annual salary, he’s not going anywhere anytime soon.

Morin’s struggled to crack the Flyers lineup. He might benefit from a change of scenery.

Roslovic frequently surfaces in the rumor mill as trade bait for a defenseman. GM Kevin Cheveldayoff’s shown no interest so far in making that move.

Hall is the biggest name potentially available in next summer’s UFA market. With the Devils stumbling from the gate there are growing questions over his future in New Jersey. As long as he remains unsigned he’ll be a fixture in this season’s rumor mill.