NHL Rumor Mill – July 15, 2020

NHL Rumor Mill – July 15, 2020

In today’s NHL rumor mill, we examine the latest on the Flames and Oilers, plus how the elimination of the UFA interview period could be a win for the players.

LATEST ON THE FLAMES AND OILERS

THE ATHLETIC (subscription required): Scott Cruickshank recently examined the effect of a flat salary cap ($81.5 million) on the Calgary Flames for next season. With nine forwards, four defensemen, and one goaltender under contract, they have less than $17 million to work with.

Of their restricted free agents, Cruickshank assumed the Flames will retain Andrew Mangiapane and Oliver Kylington. He suggested shopping Mark Jankowski’s rights or letting him become an unrestricted free agent by not qualifying his rights.

Cruickshank doesn’t expect the Flames can afford to keep both T.J. Brodie and Travis Hamonic. Both are unrestricted free agents at season’s end. He suggested re-signing Brodie and letting Hamonic walk or shopping his rights for a pick at the 2020 NHL Draft. Trade deadline acquisitions Erik Gustafsson and Derek Forbort are unlikely to be re-signed.  Cruickshank expects UFA goalie Cam Talbot could seek a starter’s job elsewhere, leaving the Flames in need of an affordable backup (like Anton Forsberg) for David Rittich.

Trade rumors have dogged Calgary Flames winger Johnny Gaudreau (Photo via NHL Images).

That won’t leave much room to pursue a free-agent star such as winger Taylor Hall unless they make a couple of significant cost-cutting moves.

SPORTSNET: Eric Francis also speculated the Flames will retain Brodie during a recent mailbag segment. He was also asked if the Flames might replace Talbot and winger Johnny Gaudreau with Robin Lehner and Hall. Francis felt there’s a remote possibility to sign Lehner but it made no sense to dump Gaudreau to sign the more expensive Hall.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Francis also noted the trade speculation dogging Gaudreau over the past year-and-a-half, expecting such a move will eventually happen. The 26-year-old has fallen out of favor with Flames fans since a disappointing performance in last year’s playoffs followed by sub-par production during this season.

Another dissatisfying postseason effort on Gaudreau’s part will ramp up the trade speculation during the off-season. He lacks no-trade protection for next season, but his $6.75-million annual average value could be difficult to move under a flat cap.

THE ATHLETIC: Jonathan Willis recently examined the Edmonton Oilers’ cap situation. For next season, they could use their leverage to re-sign Ethan Bear (no arbitration rights) to a cheap one-year contract. Trade deadline acquisition Andreas Athanasiou (restricted free agent) could return at his current salary ($3 million) while veteran goalie Mike Smith (UFA) should return.

Willis speculates winger James Neal and defenseman Kris Russell could be bought out, though the latter could be shopped with 50 percent salary retention (in real dollars worth only $750K to his new team).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I expect most of Willis’ scenario for next season will play out as expected. Smith is in the twilight of his career and could accept another one-year, bonus-laden deal with a $2 million base salary.

ELIMINATION OF UFA INTERVIEW PERIOD COULD BE A WIN FOR PLAYERS

THE HOCKEY NEWS: Matt Larkin believes the recent elimination of the five-to-seven day window for clubs to interview pending UFAs in the CBA extension is a win for the players. With little time for general managers to prepare, it could spark a return to the opening-day bidding wars of the past.

Larkin suggests it will be the end of media leaks leading up to the noon ET start of free agency. It could also mean fewer signings on opening day.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: While this isn’t a rumor, this will affect the UFA market going forward.  The absence of the interview period means there will be more intrigue leading up to the start of the free-agency period. It will also mean we could see some notable UFAs taking several days to sign.

The flat cap could also affect the market value for the top UFA. Larkin speculates that could change in a year or two as hockey-related revenue improves, thus raising the salary cap.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 15, 2020

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 15, 2020

Ted Lindsay Award nominees announced, exhibition and Stanley Cup qualifying round schedules revealed, plus the latest on Johnny Gaudreau, Shea Weber, Pierre-Luc Dubois, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHLPA.COM: Edmonton Oilers forward Leon Draisaitl, Colorado Avalanche center Nathan MacKinnon, and New York Rangers winger Artemi Panarin are the 2020 finalists for the Ted Lindsay Award, presented annually to the NHL’s most outstanding player as voted by the NHL Players Association membership.

Colorado Avalanche center Nathan MacKinnon is among the finalists for the 2019-20 Ted Lindsay Award (Photo via NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: All are worthy finalists. They could also be in the running for the Hart Memorial Trophy. The finalists for that award will be announced on July 21.

NHL.COM: The league released its schedule of exhibition games and the Stanley Cup qualifiers schedule for Phase 4 of its return-to-play plan. All Western Conference games will be played at Rogers Place in Edmonton and all Eastern Conference games at Scotiabank Arena in Toronto.

SPORTSNET: Johnny Gaudreau’s separation from his linemates and the main group during the opening two days of the Calgary Flames’ training camp is raising eyebrows. Flames coach Geoff Ward claimed the move was due to “circumstances that became apparent last week.” He declined to elaborate.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The first-line winger continues to participate in the Flames’ practices with a smaller group, and Ward suggested he could be reunited with his linemates at some point. The NHL’s tight controls over the players’ medical status could cause imaginations to run wild over Gaudreau’s situation. If he were suffering COVID-19 symptoms, he wouldn’t be at practice. Perhaps he’s nursing a recent injury.

TSN: Montreal Canadiens captain Shea Weber was “unable to practice” yesterday but took to the ice afterward with assistant coach Luke Richardson for some individual work. Canadiens coach Claude Julien anticipates Weber will return to practice on Wednesday.

THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH: Blue Jackets center Pierre-Luc Dubois missed practice yesterday with what is believed to be a minor issue. Because of the league’s return-to-play rules, the team didn’t provide details.

STLTODAY.COM: Blues defenseman Colton Parayko returned to the ice yesterday with his teammates after missing the first day of training camp. Teammate Robert Bortuzzo remained absent. Both are believed to have recently tested positive for COVID-19. Blues coach Craig Berube expects Bortuzzo will return soon.

THE WASHINGTON POST: Capitals forwards Lars Eller and Carl Hagelin intend to leave the protective bubble during the playoffs to be with their expectant wives. Eller’s wife is due to give birth on Aug. 8 while Hagelin’s spouse is due in September. Both players must isolate and test negative for four consecutive days before returning to the lineup.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Players are allowed to leave and return to the host cities for family reasons.

CHICAGO SUN-TIMES: Blackhawks defenseman Calvin de Haan missed practice yesterday for a family emergency. Teammate Corey Crawford remains “unfit to play” for the second straight day.

WGR550.COM: Buffalo Sabres winger Michael Frolik has reportedly received a contract offer from KHL team Avangard Omsk. The 32-year-old is an unrestricted free agent at season’s end.

THE ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER: The Anaheim Ducks re-signed winger Troy Terry to a three-year, $4.35-million contract extension. Terry, 22, is completing his entry-level contract.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Terry is among several promising youngsters the Ducks hope to rebuild around over the next several years. He’s tallied eight goals and 28 points in 81 games over the past three seasons.

NHL.COM: The Vancouver Canucks signed prospect defenseman Jack Rathbone to an entry-level contract.

SPORTSLOGO.NET: cites The Athletic reporting the Ottawa Senators will be switching to a slightly modified version of the 2d Senator Head logo they wore from 1997 to 2007.










Teams Continue to Prepare for NHL Draft

Teams Continue to Prepare for NHL Draft

 










NHL Rumor Mill – July 14, 2020

NHL Rumor Mill – July 14, 2020

Check out the latest on Brock Boeser, Alex Pietrangelo, and Torey Krug in today’s NHL rumor mill.

CANUCKS NOT SHOPPING BOESER

TSN: Vancouver Canucks general manager Jim Benning vehemently denied recent rumors he was exploring trading Brock Boeser. Appearing on TSN 1040 on Monday, Benning claimed the team has been happy with the 23-year-old winger since drafting him in 2015.  I don’t know where this stuff comes from,” said Benning. “I have no intention of trading Brock Boeser.”

THE ATHLETIC: Thomas Drance and Harman Dayal Boeser spoke to Benning and received assurances he wasn’t on the trade block.

Vancouver Canucks winger Brock Boeser (Photo via NHL Images).

“I’ve felt I’ve always been pretty honest with the media, and I feel like it was really unnecessary — and even the timing of the tweet was questionable with us getting ready to make a deep run. The last time I checked, the trade deadline has passed,” said Boeser.

They also cited a reply from THN 1040 Matt Sekeres, who reported Friday a Boeser trade was among several options being mulled over by the Canucks’ front office to free up salary-cap space.

If you were expecting a sitting GM to confirm he might have to trade a good young winger because he has made a mess of the salary cap, well, perhaps you are also waiting for COVID-19 to magically disappear in the heat.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Drance and Dayal doubt the Canucks would move Boeser even if they were kicking around the idea. They point out it’s almost impossible to win such a trade in this off-season. Such a move would also damage the club’s chemistry as they’re better with Boeser in the lineup.

Maybe Benning and his staff were considering the idea. Sekeres makes a good point that we can’t expect the Canucks GM to admit it. We should also remember Sekeres said it was among several options they were looking at. It doesn’t mean they were giving it serious consideration.

UPDATES ON PIETRANGELO AND KRUG

THE SCORE: Sean O’Leary cites Alex Pietrangelo telling NHL.com’s Louie Korac he remains hopeful of re-signing with the St. Louis Blues. The 30-year-old defenseman is in the final season of his seven-year, $45.5 million contract and is slated to become an unrestricted free agent.

Pietrangelo said he and GM Doug Armstrong haven’t held any contract talks because of the uncertainty over the remainder of this season. He believes they’ll resume once the playoffs are over.

Brandon Maron, meanwhile, cites Torey Krug telling The Athletic’s Fluto Shinzawa he understands he might have to consider playing for another team after this season. The 29-year-old blueliner is also slated for UFA status at the end of this season.

Krug said he’s currently focused on the upcoming playoffs, but admitted he probably has to prepare himself for unrestricted free agency. Then he’ll see what happens with the Bruins and other teams.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Pietrangelo and Krug are the top defensemen and among the best players in this year’s UFA market. Both will attract considerable interest if they become available.

The constraints of a flat salary-cap for 2020-21 will affect their efforts to remain with their present clubs. Cap Friendly indicates the Blues have over $79 million invested in next season’s payroll with Pietrangelo and Vince Dunn to re-sign. The Bruins have $63.5 million but must also re-sign or replace Krug, Jake DeBrusk, Zdeno Chara, Anders Bjork, and Matt Grzelcyk.

Both clubs could face cost-cutting trades to re-sign those blueliners. Blues goaltender Jake Allen and forwards Jaden Schwartz, David Perron, and Tyler Bozak have surfaced as possible trade candidates. DeBrusk was mentioned as a trade option if Krug’s new contract takes a big bite out of their cap room.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 14, 2020

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 14, 2020

A roundup of notable news from the opening day of Phase 3 training camp, including the latest on Auston Matthews, David Pastrnak, Corey Crawford, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NOTES FROM DAY ONE OF TRAINING CAMP

NHL.COM: The league revealed a total of 30 positive COVID-19 tests from 4,934 tests administered to over 600 players taking part in the Phase 2 voluntary training period (June 8 to July 12). They’re also aware of an additional 13 players who tested positive outside the Phase 2 training. All players who tested positive were/have been self-isolated and followed CDC and Health Canada protocols.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The league will continue testing players in Phase 3 and will release weekly updates. Bear in mind this doesn’t mean all the players with positive tests remain sidelined. A number of them may have already recovered. 

TSN: Toronto Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews confirmed he tested positive for COVID-19 last month. He said he was asymptomatic during his two weeks of self-quarantine at his Arizona home and is now fully healthy. Matthews indicated he couldn’t really pinpoint how and when he contracted the virus.

Toronto Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews (Photo via NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Matthews remains the only player to be publicly identified as testing positive for the Coronavirus.

NBC SPORTS BOSTON: David Pastrnak and Ondrej Kase were missing from the opening day of Bruins’ training camp. Their absence was due to their quarantine period since returning from the Czech Republic. They’re expected to join their teammates within the next couple of days.

CHICAGO SUN-TIMES: Blackhawks goaltender Corey Crawford missed practice yesterday and was declared “unfit to play” by head coach Jeremy Colliton. Under the NHL’s return-to-play protocols, the Blackhawks cannot disclose the reason behind Crawford’s absence or how long he’ll be away. Center Zack Smith (back injury) was also absent. 

TSN: Blackhawks forward Andrew Shaw opted out of participating in the return-to-play plan to recover from ongoing concussion symptoms. He hopes to return to action for the 2020-21 season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The deadline for opting out was 5:30 pm ET yesterday.

STLTODAY.COM: Blues defenseman Colton Parayko and forward Robert Bortuzzo were absent from practice yesterday. General manager Doug Armstrong said he expects the duo will return soon.

TRIBLIVE.COM: Patric Hornqvist is among 11 players absent from Penguins practice yesterday The others include forwards Anthony Angello, Adam Johnson, Sam Miletic, Sam Poulin, Phil Varone, defensemen Pierre-Olivier Joseph, Juuso Riikola, goaltenders Casey DeSmith, Alex D’Orio, and Emil Larmi.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Nine of the players were reportedly sidelined because of exposure with a person who has been in contact with someone who tested positive for COVID-19, though the teams didn’t identify them as per league protocols. They won’t be participating in practices until they’ve passed additional screenings. 

THE TENNESSEAN: Nashville Predators defenseman Roman Josi and forward Colton Sissons weren’t with the main group at practice but skated earlier in the day.

THE ATHLETIC: Vancouver Canucks winger Micheal Ferland was listed as unfit to play yesterday. It’s believed linked to post-concussion symptoms related to a head injury suffered nine months ago.

THE NEWS & OBSERVER: Martin Necas was the notable absence from the Carolina Hurricanes practice yesterday.

THE ATHLETIC’s Arpon Basu updated his story on three Montreal Canadiens reportedly testing positive for COVID-19, indicating two of those players tested were false positives.

MONTREAL GAZETTE: reported Brett Kulak, Xavier Ouellet, and Josh Brook missed practice yesterday. Max Domi is taking 7-10 days to decide if he’ll rejoin his teammates because he’s a type-1 diabetic with celiac disease.

EDMONTON JOURNAL: Oilers defenseman Caleb Jones was listed unfit to play with the main group yesterday, but would skate with a smaller group working with extra goaltenders.

CALGARY SUN: Flames forwards Dillon Dube and Buddy Robinson were absent from yesterday’s practice.

TSN: Florida Panthers assistant coach Mike Kitchen opted out of the return-to-play plan.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: We better get used to this lack of information regarding the absence of players throughout the return-to-play plan. Don’t be surprised if this trend continues beyond the return-to-play period. It could make one yearn for the days when a player was absent because of an “upper-body” or “lower-body” injury.

CBS SPORTS: Philadelphia Flyers defenseman Shayne Gotisbehere underwent arthroscopic knee surgery during the league’s hiatus. He was at training camp yesterday but admitted he’s not fully 100 percent.

TSN: Speaking of the Flyers, Nolan Patrick remains sidelined with a migraine disorder. He’s not expected to participate in the return-to-play plan.

IN OTHER NEWS…

MONTREAL GAZETTE/NEW YORK POST/TWINCITIES.COM: Montreal Canadiens defenseman Alexander Romanov, New York Islanders goaltender Ilya Sorokin, and Minnesota Wild forward Kirill Kaprizov signed their entry-level contracts (ELC) yesterday. They’re allowed to practice with their new clubs but cannot participate in the upcoming playoff tournament in Phase 4 of the return-to-play plan. They will also burn off the first year of their ELCs.

TWINCITIES.COM: The Minnesota Wild removed the interim label from head coach Dean Evason’s title, signing him to a two-year contract extension.

SPORTSNET: Mikhail Grigorenko is returning to the NHL in 2020-21, signing a one-year, $1.2-million contract with the Columbus Blue Jackets. He spent the past three seasons in the KHL.

TORONTO SUN: Canadian broadcasters are unhappy over NBC Sports serving as the world feed for all NHL games played in the hub city of Toronto. Sportsnet will provide the world feed for the hub city of Edmonton. The Stanley Cup Final, to be held in Edmonton, will have Canadian and American feeds for the individual rights-holders.

 










Potential Problem Areas In The New NHL CBA

Potential Problem Areas In The New NHL CBA