NHL Rumor Mill – January 21, 2019

Updates on the Penguins, Stars, and Coyotes in today’s NHL rumor mill. 

LATEST DERICK BRASSARD SPECULATION

PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE: Jason Mackey reports Penguins GM Jim Rutherford said his acquisition of center Joseph Blandisi from the Anaheim Ducks wasn’t tied to a possible move of Derick Brassard. He claimed he swapped Derek Grant for Blandisi because of concern he’d lose Grant for nothing via waivers if he attempted to demote him. 

Pittsburgh Penguins center Derick Brassard continues to pop up in media trade chatter (Photo via NHL Images).

Mackey noted there’s growing speculation suggesting the Penguins will trade Brassard but Rutherford said he doesn’t know where it’s coming from.  “Media people keep asking about him. We haven’t taken any position one way or the other. I guess it’s a fun topic of the time right now.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Blandisi has since been sent to the Penguins AHL affiliate. For whatever reason, Brassard hasn’t been a good fit as the Penguins third-line center. It wouldn’t be surprising if he’s shipped out before the trade deadline to make room for a replacement. 

Rutherford won’t publicly admit if he’s trading him. Nevertheless, there was a recent report claiming the Columbus Blue Jackets had asked about the veteran center.

MORE MOVES IN STORE FOR STARS?

DALLAS MORNING NEWS: In the wake of the Dallas Stars shipping Devin Shore to Anaheim last week for Andrew Cogliano, Joey Hayden wondered if general manager Jim Nill has more moves up his sleeve before the Feb. 25 trade deadline. He noted ESPN.com’s Emily Kaplan and Greg Wyshynski recently suggested Detroit Red Wings forward Gustav Nyquist or New York Rangers winger Mats Zuccarello as possible rentals to bolster the Stars’ offense.

Both possess salary-cap hits between $4.5 to $4.75 million, meaning the Stars would have to free up some dollars to take on one of them. “Should the Stars want to add another piece before next month’s trade deadline, they’ll likely have to shut down Marc Methot (knee), Martin Hanzal (back) or Stephen Johns (post-traumatic headaches) for the season,” said Hayden. Doing so would free up the necessary cap space.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Hayden observes Methot’s cap hit is $4.9 million, Hanzal’s is $4.75 million and Johns is $2.35 million. Cap Friendly indicates the Stars’ current cap space is $2.53 million and $4.8 million at the deadline. Putting one of those guys on LTIR would provide additional breathing room, especially if they don’t move a salaried player to acquire a scorer.

The asking price for Nyquist could be a first-rounder but the Wings could part with him for a second-rounder. Zuccarello’s recent improvement could also push up his trade value into the second-round pick range. 

POSSIBLE COYOTES TRADE CANDIDATES

AZCENTRAL.COM: Richard Morin listed Richard Panik, Alex Goligoski, Niklas Hjalmarsson, Jordan Weal, and Jordan Oesterle as Arizona Coyotes who could come up in trade discussions. Morin considers Panik, a pending UFA winger, the most likely to be moved, suggesting the Boston Bruins, Colorado Avalanche, Nashville Predators and Minnesota Wild as potential suitors

Goligoski and Hjalmarsson are both signed beyond this season and could attract interest. Goligoski, however, has a full no-movement and Hjalmarsson a 10-team trade list.

Weal, recently acquired from Philadelphia, could have value if he puts up points if he continues skating on the Coyotes’ first line. Oesterle could interest teams seeking an affordable puck-moving defenseman. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Panik tallied 22 goals in 2016-17 with the Chicago Blackhawks. With 10 goals in 45 games, he could hit the 20-goal mark this season. That could make him a cost-effective option for clubs that miss out on landing some of the biggest fish leading up to the trade deadline. I doubt Goligoski and Hjalmarsson, who signed a two-year contract extension last summer, are going anywhere. 










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 21, 2019

Yesterday’s game recaps and some injury updates in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane each had five points leading the Chicago Blackhawks to an 8-5 victory over the Washington Capitals, handing the defending Stanley Cup champions their fifth straight loss. All of Washington’s goals came from defensemen, with John  Carlson scoring twice.

Chicago Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews tallied a hat trick in an 8-5 win over the Washington Capitals (Photo via NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Maybe the Capitals haven’t fully shaken off the dreaded “Stanley Cup hangover”?  Over the last couple of weeks, they’ve looked like a club in need of a rest.  

New York Islanders goaltender Robin Lehner made 19 saves to earn a 3-0 shutout over the Anaheim Ducks. Cal Clutterbuck scored two first-period goals for the Islanders, who picked up their fifth straight victory.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: With the win, the Isles (62 points) opened a three-point lead for first place in the Metropolitan Division over the Capitals and Columbus Blue Jackets. So, Lou Lamoriello for GM of the year and Barry Trotz for coach of the year? 

The Vancouver Canucks moved ahead of the Ducks and Minnesota Wild into the second wild-card spot in the Western Conference by edging the Detroit Red Wings 3-2. Canucks rookie sensation Elias Pettersson celebrated his return to action after missing five games with a knee injury with a goal and an assist.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Canucks are definitely giving their fans something to cheer about this season. Their playoff chances will improve if Pettersson can stay healthy the rest of the way.

Vinnie Hinostroza’s third-period goal proved to be the game-winner as the Arizona Coyotes doubled up the slumping Toronto Maple Leafs, who’ve won just three of their last 10 contests. Leafs winger Andreas Johnsson left the game in the second period with a concussion following a hit by Coyotes defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Leafs (60 points) sit second in the Atlantic Division but the Boston Bruins and Montreal Canadiens are nipping at their heels with 59 points. 

Nino Niederreiter scored his first two goals since joining the Carolina Hurricanes in a 7-4 drubbing of the Edmonton Oilers. Lucas Wallmark also scored twice for the Hurricanes while Leon Draisaitl tallied twice for the Oilers.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Oilers managed to make a game of it by cutting a 6-1 lead to 6-4 but Wallmark’s second goal of the game late in the third snuffed out Edmonton’s comeback attempt. Gotta wonder how much longer the Oilers will stumble along before general manager Peter Chiarelli makes a trade, provided he’s not fired first. 

NBC SPORTS BAY AREA: The San Jose Sharks placed defensemen Erik Karlsson and Marc-Edouard Vlasic on injured reserve. Karlsson’s undisclosed injury could jeopardize his participation in the upcoming NHL All-Star Game in San Jose.

 










NHL CBA Update – January 20, 2019

In recent weeks, discussions between the NHL and NHL Players Association regarding a possible a World Cup of Hockey tournament in September 2020 prompted speculation the event could become a deadline for a new collective bargaining agreement.

NHL and NHLPA agree not to stage a World Cup of Hockey in 2020.

Both sides have the option to opt-out of the current agreement this September. It was assumed they would avoid the current CBA expiring while the tournament was taking place. 

Considering the contentious labor history between the two sides, the possibility of labor peace by September 2020 would be a welcome change.

Last week, however, the league and the PA released joint statements announcing it was “no longer realistic” to schedule that tournament next September.

Such news would ordinarily suggest more labor trouble on the horizon. However, most observers noted the tone of the statements was rather mild, with both two sides indicated their intention to continue broader discussions.

In other words, just because there won’t be a World Cup of Hockey next year doesn’t necessarily mean there won’t be a new CBA in the near future.

Since November, various reports have the league and the PA holding ongoing talks regarding a possible CBA extension.  NHL commissioner Gary Bettman seems keen to avoid a fourth lockout on his watch, recently telling reporters he’s not looking for a fight with the PA.

Fans can be forgiven for their cynicism over Bettman’s comment. As the good folks at the Puck Soup podcast observed, the commissioner said the same thing roughly a year before imposing the season-killing lockout of 2004-05. 

By most accounts, the league doesn’t have any significant issues worth jeopardizing a season over. Escrow and Olympic participation are hot-button topics for the players but the PA doesn’t sound as militant as it once was.

Some pundits have noted a distinct change in tone between the two sides, providing hope that a new collective bargaining agreement can be worked out without another long work stoppage. Time will tell if that’s the case. 










Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – January 20, 2019

Latest on the Maple Leafs, Senators, Islanders, Blackhawks and more in today’s NHL rumor roundup. 

LEAFS SHOPPING FOR A DEFENSEMAN

SPORTSNET: Nick Kypreos reports the Toronto Maple Leafs are searching for a right-shot defenseman. He brought up Alex Pietrangelo of the St. Louis Blues, who was first mentioned in trade speculation a couple of months ago.

While it’s debatable if Pietrangelo’s still available, Kypreos speculated they could be a few losing streaks away from making him available. Pursuing a top-four rearguard will be expensive.

Possible trade chips could include their 2019 first-round pick or prospects such as Timothy Liljegren or Calle Rosen. The Leafs aren’t willing to part with winger Kasperi Kapanen or 2018 first-round pick Rasmus Sandin. 

Elliotte Friedman suggested the Leafs consider such options as Jake Muzzin of the Los Angeles Kings or Radko Gudas of the Philadelphia Flyers. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: If Pietrangelo becomes available (and that might not happen until June at the earliest), Kapanen and Sandin would probably be the Blues’ asking price. Muzzin is a left-shot defenseman so he can’t address that right-shot need. Gudas shoots right and would provide some grit to their blueline but he’s skating on the Flyers’ third defense pairing. The Leafs could be seeking someone with a better right-side presence than Gudas. 

Ottawa Senators reportedly make an eight-year contract offer to center Matt Duchene (Photo via NHL Images)

SENATORS MAKE OFFER TO DUCHENE

SPORTSNET: Nick Kypreos reports the Ottawa Senators made an offer to center Matt Duchene believed to be in the vicinity of $64 million over eight years. The annual average value would be $8 million, which Kypreos deems a fair offer for Duchene. He also speculated there could be a soft deadline to this. If the two sides fail to reach an agreement soon, Kypreos believes Senators general manager Pierre Dorion will need at least two weeks to shop Duchene before the Feb. 25 trade deadline to get the best return possible. 

Elliotte Friedman believes the Senators also made an offer to pending UFA winger Mark Stone. He’s not certain of the salary numbers but assumed they could be higher than Duchene’s. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Eight years and $64 million may seem like a fair offer for Duchene but does his camp feel the same way? They could decide he might get more via free agency. 

ISLANDERS COULD BE DEADLINE BUYERS

NEW YORK POST: Larry Brooks wouldn’t be shocked if New York Islanders GM Lou Lamoriello became a buyer as the Feb. 25 trade deadline approaches. While no one knows what the famously tight-lipped Lamoriello has in store, Brooks noted he has a history of making moves near the deadline when he believes his team is close.

Lamoriello has a collection of young assets he could peddle near the trade deadline. Brooks speculates his rental targets might include Matt Duchene or Mark Stone of the Senators, or maybe a defenseman such as Jake Muzzin or Alec Martinez of the Kings. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Islanders are the biggest surprise of this season. After losing John Tavares to Toronto via free agency, they were expected to finish near the bottom of the standings. Instead, they begin this week sitting atop the Metropolitan Division.

As Brooks points out, we don’t know what Lamoriello’s plans are or who he might target if he does decide to be active in the trade market. But I think he’ll do what he can to improve his club’s playoff odds. 

COULD AVALANCHE PURSUE HAYES?

DENVER POST: Mark Kiszla believes the Colorado Avalanche should pursue New York Rangers center Kevin Hayes, suggesting it can be done without mortgaging the future. GM Joe Sakic holds two first-round picks in this year’s draft, one of them a lottery-protected selection from the Ottawa Senators. Kiszla suggests Sakic offer up the Avs first-rounder to the Rangers. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It would certainly be a bold move by Sakic to pursue Hayes. He has to do something, however, to bolster his club’s secondary scoring depth. Already guaranteed of a high pick in this year’s draft, perhaps even the first-overall selection, Sakic can afford to dangle his own first-rounder to bring in a reliable second-line scorer. 

BLACKHAWKS SELLING?

THE ATHLETIC (subscription required): Scott Powers reports a league source claims the Chicago Blackhawks are shopping forwards Marcus Kruger, Chris Kunitz, and Andreas Martinsen. Kruger could attract interest from clubs seeking checking-line depth.  Powers also recently examined the pros and cons of trading defenseman Erik Gustafsson. If they move Gustafsson, he could fetch a third-round pick. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kruger, Kunitz, and Martinson are all due for UFA status this summer. Kruger has a seven-team no-trade list while Kunitz has a full no-movement clause. Each could fetch a draft pick but probably nothing higher than a third. 










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 20, 2019

Game recaps plus updates on Erik Karlsson, Mikko Rantanen, Tuukka Rask, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines. 

NHL.COM: The Anaheim Ducks picked up their second straight win following a 12-game losing skid by edging the New Jersey Devils 3-2. Goaltender John Gibson made 29 saves and rookie Troy Terry collected his first two NHL points, including a goal. Daniel Sprong also had a goal and an assist. Earlier in the day, Devils winger Kyle Palmieri was named as Taylor Hall’s replacement in the upcoming NHL All-Star Game while Miles Wood (lower body) was placed on injured reserve. 

A six-goal second period powered the Colorado Avalanche to a 7-1 drubbing of the Los Angeles Kings. Avs winger Mikko Rantanen scored twice but also left the game as a precautionary measure due to a lower-body injury. Tyson Barrie collected three assists. 

St. Louis Blues rookie goalie Jordan Binnington made 28 saves to pick up his fourth win in five stars in a 3-2 victory over the Ottawa Senators. The Blues also activated forward Alex Steen off injured reserve but winger David Perron is listed as day-to-day with an upper-body injury. 

The Dallas Stars snapped a four-game losing skid by doubling up the Winnipeg Jets 4-2. Ben Bishop made 27 stops while blueliners John Klingberg and Esa Lindell each collected two assists. 

New York Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist is now sixth on the NHL’s all-time wins list. (Photo via NHL Images)

New York Rangers netminder Henrik Lundqvist backstopped his club to a 3-2 victory over the Boston Bruins. It was his 446th career victory and moved Lundqvist into sixth on the all-time wins list. Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask suffered a concussion following a first-period collision with Rangers forward Filip Chytil. Mika Zibanejad scored twice for the Blueshirts. 

Two third-period goals by Nolan Patrick helped the Philadelphia Flyers down the Montreal Canadiens 5-2. Flyers rookie goalie Carter Hart turned aside 33 shots. 

Tampa Bay Lightning captain Steven Stamkos scored twice and set up another to lead his club to a 6-3 win over the San Jose Sharks. Evander Kane scored twice for the Sharks while teammate Erik Karlsson was a late scratch due to a nagging lower-body injury. 

Florida Panthers defenseman Aaron Eklad scored a goal and added an assist in a 4-2 victory over the Nashville Predators. It was Ekblad’s 62nd career goal, setting a franchise record for defensemen. 

Zach Parise’s 20th goal of the season was also the game-winner as the Minnesota Wild nipped the Columbus Blue Jackets 2-1. 

Vegas Golden Knights winger Jonathan Marchessault tallied a hat trick in a 7-3 thumping of the Pittsburgh Penguins. It was the ninth win in 11 games for the Golden Knights, who also welcomed back defenseman Colin Miller off injured reserve. 

The Calgary Flames extended their points streak to eight games (7-0-1) by defeating the Edmonton Oilers 5-2. Flames captain Mark Giordano had a goal and two assists. 

NBC SPORTS: The concussion lawsuit settlement deadline for NHL players has been extended. It’s not immediately clear what the new deadline is for the 318 players who had sued the league claiming it failed to protect them or warn them about the dangers of head injuries. 










NHL Rumor Mill – January 19, 2019

Latest on William Nylander, Vladimir Tarasenko, Wayne Simmonds, Kevin Shattenkirk, Cam Talbot and more in today’s NHL rumor mill. 

COULD THE LEAFS TRADE NYLANDER THIS SUMMER? 

Could the William Nylander rumor mill grind back to life in the offseason? (Photo via NHL Images)

SPORTSNET (VIA KUKLA’S KORNER): Brian Burke predicts the Toronto Maple Leafs will move William Nylander this summer. He feels the winger’s contract is structured in such a way (front-loaded) that it’ll make it easy for the club to move him this summer.

Burke suggested several factors as to why Nylander could be traded so soon after the Leafs re-signed him. He considers the winger a valuable asset who’ll fetch a good return, noted the Leafs have too many highly-skilled forwards “who aren’t big”, and he’s a good player but not a difference maker. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: A month ago, it would’ve been laughable to suggest the Leafs could trade Nylander next summer. After all, Leafs general manager Kyle Dubas told Nylander he won’t be traded.

But with Nylander struggling since returning to action last month following a lengthy contract standoff, there’s growing discontent over his performance and how much the Leafs have invested in him. If he fails to improve over the remainder of this season and the Leafs suffer another early playoff exit, the Nylander trade chatter will intensify in the offseason. 

SIMMONDS TO BE SIGNED OR TRADED BY DEADLINE

PHILLY.COM: Sam Carchidi reports Philadelphia Flyers GM Chuck Fletcher said Wayne Simmonds will be re-signed or moved by the Feb. 25 trade deadline. The club isn’t willing to lose Simmonds to free agency this summer for nothing. 

NICHOLS ON HOCKEY: cited Elliotte Friedman’s appearance yesterday on Edmonton’s 630 CHED discussing Simmonds’ future. He believes it more likely than not that the 30-year-old winger will be traded. He suggests Nashville or Boston as possible destinations. 

THE TENNESSEAN: Joe Rexrode acknowledged Simmonds would bring the Predators a strong net-front presence but believes the Flyers’ asking price will be too expensive. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I also believe Simmonds is more likely to be traded and I think the Bruins will be among the frontrunners. I don’t doubt the Predators would have interest but not at any cost. Simmonds isn’t the only Flyer available in the trade market. After forward Dale Weise cleared waivers, Fletcher reportedly told him to stay home and wait for a trade. 

ARE THE BLUES BUYERS OR SELLERS?

STLTODAY.COM: In a recent live chat with his readers, Tom Timmermann said he believes the St. Louis Blues will be sellers at the trade deadline unless the Central Division standings do a complete 180-degree turn. He doesn’t see them trading prospects to make a run for the postseason, suggesting unrestricted free agents such as Carl Gunnarsson and Jay Bouwmeester could be moved.  

While the Blues might get better returns for Brayden Schenn and Alex Pietrangelo by trading them with a year left on their contracts, moving them if they can’t get a good return now would be a bad idea. 

BOSTON GLOBE: Matt Porter noted the trade speculation surrounding Blues winger Vladimir Tarasenko. While he would be a great fit with the Bruins, the Blues would probably want a combination of top draft picks, high-end prospects and young standouts such as Charlie McAvoy and Jake DeBrusk in return. Porter also notes the Bruins have only $3.8 million in salary-cap space while Tarasenko carries an annual average value of $7.5 million. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I don’t doubt the Bruins want to add another scoring winger but I daresay they’re looking at affordable rental options. Tarasenko is well out of their price range. 

LATEST ON BRASSARD, SHATTENKIRK, AND TALBOT

SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman reports the San Jose Sharks are in the market for a center. He thinks they checked into the availability of Pittsburgh Penguins center Derick Brassard.  

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Penguins GM Jim Rutherford apparently wants a roster player who can fill the third-line center position. The Sharks won’t be able to help them there unless Rutherford uses assets received from the Sharks to bring in a center in a separate deal. 

NEW YORK POST: Larry Brooks suggested the recent improvement of defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk could hasten his departure from the Rangers. He has two years remaining on his contract with an annual average value of $6.65 million and a 10-team no-trade list. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Shattenkirk is a right-shot puck-moving defenseman with five 40-plus point seasons on his resume. He’s also been hampered by injuries in recent years. Unless the Rangers are willing to pick up part of his cap hit or take back a toxic contract, I’m not sure they’ll find much interest in his services. 

EDMONTON JOURNAL: David Staples cited Sportsnet’s Brian Burke talking about the trade value of Edmonton Oilers goaltender Cam Talbot, who’s due to become a UFA this summer. “I don’t think you can move him at that salary. I just don’t think he’s moveable. But I don’t think anyone is going to take a UFA that is making that kind of money and hope he gets his game straightened out for the last month of the year.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: As Staples points out, Burke is telling Oilers fans a hard truth: Talbot has little or no trade value. His salary-cap hit is $4.16 million and he’s playing poorly this season. 

STARS NOT DONE DEALING?

DALLAS MORNING NEWS: During a recent live chat with his readers, Matthew DeFranks speculates Stars GM Jim Nill isn’t done dealing after shipping Devin Shore earlier this week to Anaheim for Andrew Cogliano. While the Stars are pressed for cap space to add a top-six forward, DeFranks suggested putting Martin Hanzal, Marc Methot or Stephen Johns on LTIR could clear some room. He also doesn’t rule out the possibility of Nill trying to find a trade partner for someone like Brett Ritchie, Valeri Nichushkin, or Julius Honka.