NHL Rumor Mill – November 9, 2020
The latest update on the notable unrestricted free agents in today’s NHL rumor mill.
SPORTSNET: Emily Sadler provided an updated list of the best remaining NHL unrestricted free agents.
Mike Hoffman remains atop the list, with Sadler reporting his agent recently indicated 13 clubs expressed an interest in his client since the market opened a month ago. The winger also isn’t opposed to accepting a one-year contract. The Boston Bruins, Carolina Hurricanes, Columbus Blue Jackets and Nashville Predators are seeking scoring.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Not really much new here on Hoffman or the others on this list. Nevertheless, I’ll point out some of the more noteworthy tidbits.
Nothing new to report on winger Mikael Granlund. He could be another candidate for a short-term deal.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Granlund struggled during his brief tenure with the Nashville Predators but he had five seasons with 41-or-more points in six seasons with the Minnesota Wild. The 28-year-old could be a good addition for a club seeking an affordable playmaker.
Defenseman Travis Hamonic would prefer to remain in the Western Conference. Talks with the Vancouver Canucks broke off once they acquired Nate Schmidt. Sadler suggests Hamonic’s former team, the Calgary Flames, could really use a right-side stay-at-home blueliner.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Cap Friendly indicates the Flames have just over $1 million in cap space. I doubt Hamonic returns to Calgary unless he accepts a substantial pay cut.
Sadler believes it’s still possible Ilya Kovalchuk could return with the Montreal Canadiens.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Never say never but the Canadiens’ recent acquisitions of wingers Josh Anderson and Tyler Toffolli makes Kovalchuk’s return to Montreal unlikely.
Early speculation had center Erik Haula reuniting with the Vegas Golden Knights, but they’re now above the cap ceiling after signing Alex Pietrangelo.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Haula won’t be returning to Vegas unless the Golden Knights make a cost-cutting trade.
Clubs that lost out on signing T.J. Brodie and Tyson Barrie could have an interest in blueliner Sami Vatanen. Sadler suggested the Vancouver Canucks as a destination.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Canucks are above the $81.5 million salary cap by over $1.5 million. They could get some wiggle room if winger Micheal Ferland ($3.5 million annual average value) goes on long-term injury reserve next season. That would give them room for Vatanen if he’s willing to accept a cost-effective one-year deal.
Gritty winger Matt Martin is still available but there are reports he and the New York Islanders were working on a new contract.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s believed Martin and the Isles have an agreement in place but the club is waiting until they’ve signed Mathew Barzal and shed another salary or two to officially announce the deal. The same goes for blueliner Andy Greene and goaltender Cory Schneider.