NHL Rumor Mill – July 6, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – July 6, 2022

Are the Blackhawks shopping Seth Jones? What’s the latest on Alex DeBrincat, J.T. Miller, Nazem Kadri, Jakob Chychrun, Jesse Puljujarvi, Matt Murray and John Gibson? Find out in today’s NHL rumor mill.

LATEST ON THE BLACKHAWKS

OTTAWA SUN: Bruce Garrioch suggests keeping an eye on Seth Jones. He said the rebuilding Chicago Blackhawks hope to move the 27-year-old defenseman’s hefty contract. Jones is commencing an eight-year deal with an annual average value of $9.5 million. The only way to move that is to retain some salary which would be difficult to do.

Chicago Blackhawks defenseman Seth Jones (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: We can’t dismiss the possibility of Jones getting traded. However, I doubt he’s going anywhere because of the reasons laid out by Garrioch. That contract is almost impossible to move.

Garrioch reports the Blackhawks seek at least three pieces in return for Alex DeBrincat.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: One of those pieces is probably a 2022 first-round pick. The Blackhawks traded theirs away to the Columbus Blue Jackets last summer for Seth Jones.

NHL WATCHER: cited Sportsnet’s Jeff Marek and Elliotte Friedman discussing the possibility of the New Jersey Devils pursuing DeBrincat during their latest “32 Thoughts” podcast. Friedman said the Devils want a player under a lot of team control.

DeBrincat is slated to become a restricted free agent next summer and is two years away from unrestricted free agent eligibility. Friedman wondered if that would be enough team control for the Devils to part with the second-overall pick in the upcoming draft.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Devils would probably want assurances that bDeBrincat will sign a contract extension before giving up that pick and whatever else the Blackhawks want in return. The earliest he can sign an extension is when this year’s free-agent market opens on July 13.

THE PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER: Gustav Elvin examined the pros and cons if the Flyers were to acquire DeBrincat. They’ve been linked to the 24-year-old Blackhawks winger with speculation suggesting they could offer up their first-round pick (fifth overall) in this year’s draft. However, he cited Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman saying the Flyers were unwilling to part with that pick.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Flyers hold two first-rounders in the 2024 draft but I think Blackhawks general manager Kyle Davidson prefers something more immediate.

Garrioch also reported the Blackhawks are trying to trade Dylan Strome but there are rumors the 25-year-old RFA center won’t get a qualifying offer.

UPDATE ON J.T. MILLER

THE PROVINCE: Ben Kuzma reports there’s plenty of interest in Vancouver Canucks center J.T. Miller with the NHL Draft fast approaching. They would prefer retaining the 29-year-old Miller but a contract extension could prove too expensive.

The New York Rangers and Washington Capitals are believed in pursuit of Miller. The Rangers need a second-line center while the Capitals face uncertainty over the long-term absence of Nicklas Backstrom as he recovers from hip surgery.

THE ATHLETIC: Harman Dayal also listed the New Jersey Devils, Carolina Hurricanes, Pittsburgh Penguins, Boston Bruins, Nashville Predators, New York Islanders and Philadelphia Flyers among the possible suitors for Miller.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Like the Blackhawks with DeBrincat, I daresay the Canucks seek three pieces in return for Miller. A 2022 first-round pick will likely have to be part of it. Failing that, a couple of top prospects or a couple of good young NHL players.

Coming off a 99-point season, Miller’s trade value has never been higher. If the Canucks feel they can’t afford to re-sign him, they must move him now if the right deal is there. Waiting until the trade deadline next February risks his value declining if he fails to play up to this season’s level or if an injury takes him out of the trade market.

LATEST ON KADRI, CHYCHRUN AND PULJUJARVI

NHL WATCHER: cited Jeff Marek on yesterday’s “32 Thoughts” podcast wondering if the Detroit Red Wings would be a destination for Nazem Kadri. The 31-year-old Colorado Avalanche center is slated to become a UFA on July 13. Marek observed the Red Wings have lots of salary-cap space this summer and it’s believed they’re really going to try and compete next season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Red Wings GM Steve Yzerman could make a splash in this summer’s trade and/or free agent markets. He might go after Kadri but he might not fit into Yzerman’s long-term plans for the club given his age. It also depends on whether Kadri’s willing to sign with a rebuilding club.

THE SCORE: cited a report by The Columbus Dispatch’s Brian Hedger indicating the Blue Jackets are talking to the Arizona Coyotes about defenseman Jakob Chychrun. He observed Jackets GM Jarmo Kekalainen indicating a willingness to move his first-round pick (12th overall) to acquire a young NHL player with term remaining on his contract.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kekalainen holds the Blackhawks’ first-rounder (sixth overall) so he can afford to move his own first-rounder. The Coyotes reportedly set a very high asking price for Chychrun, who’s signed through 2024-25. The Jackets GM might have to bundle that pick with two or three other pieces to make it work.

TSN’s Ryan Rishaug reports as many as four teams have been kicking tired on Edmonton Oilers winger Jesse Puljujarvi. “Sense is return is marginal at this point but things can change over the next few days.”

OTHER TRADE RUMOR TIDBITS

OTTAWA SUN: Bruce Garrioch reports there’s some trade buzz surrounding Ottawa Senators goaltender Matt Murray. The Blackhawks, Arizona Coyotes, Edmonton Oilers, Toronto Maple Leafs and New Jersey Devils are among the clubs that could use some help between the pipes.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Murray’s injury history and $6.25 million cap hit through 2023-24 makes him difficult to move. The Senators will have to either retain part of his cap hit, take back a comparable contract or bundle him with a quality draft pick or prospect.

The Anaheim Ducks would like to get goalie John Gibson’s contract off their books. He’s got five years left with a $6.5 million AAV and a no-movement clause which could be tough for some teams to swallow.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Gibson’s AAV is $6.4 million and he carries a 10-team no-trade clause. Nevertheless, his contract won’t be easy to move. He also recently denied a report claiming he would welcome a trade. Unless the Ducks retain part of that cap hit, they probably won’t find many takers.

Ignore any trade chatter about Clayton Keller. The Arizona Coyotes see him as one of their building blocks.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 6, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 6, 2022

The Senators buy out Colin White, the Penguins sign Casey DeSmith, the Avalanche retain Andrew Cogliano, concern over former CSKA Moscow being allowed to return to the NHL, and more in today’s morning coffee headlines.

OTTAWA SUN: The Senators are the first team to buy out a player during this NHL offseason’s first buyout period (July 1-12). On Tuesday, they placed forward Colin White on unconditional waivers for the purpose of buying out his contract. He had three years remaining on his deal at an annual average value of $4.75 million.

 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: A first-round pick (21st overall) of the Senators in 2015, White struggled through injuries and inconsistency following his promising 41-point performance in 2018-19. The 25-year-old center becomes an unrestricted free agent on July 13.

Ottawa Senators to buy out Colin White (NHL Images).

Speculation suggests the Montreal Canadiens could target White for an affordable one-year contract. His former agent is Canadiens general manager Kent Hughes, who reportedly attempted to acquire White before the March trade deadline.

PITTSBURGH HOCKEY NOW: The Penguins signed goaltender Casey DeSmith to a two-year contract with an annual salary cap hit of $1.8 million. DeSmith, 30, was slated to become a UFA on July 13.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: So much for speculation of Marc-Andre Fleury returning to Pittsburgh for a last hurrah with the Penguins. The tandem of DeSmith and starter Tristan Jarry will be back next season. At least they’re affordable. The Penguins’ combined cap hit for their 2022-23 goaltending is $5.3 million.

What say you, Penguins fans? Are you like or dislike the DeSmith signing? Please let us know in the comments section below.

THE DENVER POST: Andrew Cogliano is returning to the Colorado Avalanche on a one-year, $1.25 million contract. The 35-year-old was due to become a UFA next week but said returning with the Stanley Cup champions was “a very easy decision on my end.” Next season will be his 16th NHL campaign.

NYI HOCKEY NOW: Stefen Rosner reports there is concern over former CSKA Moscow players being allowed to return to their NHL teams next season after Philadelphia Flyers goaltender Ivan Fedotov was accused of dodging the Russian military draft. He was detained and sent to a naval base near the Arctic Circle. Under Russian law, every male citizen between ages 18 to 27 must serve one year in the military.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Those players include New York Islanders goaltender Ilya Sorokin, who turns 27 in August. Rosner points out Sorokin’s departure from CSKA Moscow was different from Fedotov’s as the latter terminated his KHL contract to sign with the Flyers. Nevertheless, this situation could generate uncertainty over the status of those players throughout this offseason.

THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH: Blue Jackets general manager Jarmo Kekalainen denied a report from Sportsnet’s Nick Kypreos claiming former Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Ryan McDonagh was given the choice of going to the Blue Jackets or Nashville Predators.

Kypreos said McDonagh could either accept a trade to the Predators or be claimed off waivers by the Blue Jackets. Kekalainen said the report was “100 percent inaccurate”. The blueliner was shipped to Nashville on July 3.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: There’s also speculation linking the Blue Jackets to Arizona Coyotes defenseman Jakob Chychrun. I’ll have my take on that in today’s Rumor Mill update.

TORONTO SUN: The Maple Leafs promoted Hayley Wickenheiser to one of three assistant general managers along with Ryan Hardy and Darryl Metcalf. They also hired Curtis Sanford as their new goaltending coach and added Matt Moulson to their pro scouting staff.

TSN: Former Leafs goalie coach Steve Briere wasn’t unemployed for long. He’s now the Seattle Kraken’s new goaltending coach.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The NHL is king when it comes to recycling…coaches, that is.

NEW YORK POST: The Islanders have added Doug Houda and Brian Wiseman as assistant coaches.

PITTSBURGH HOCKEY NOW: Long-time Penguins equipment manager Dana Heinze is retiring.

THE ATHLETIC: The Coachella Valley Firebirds have hired Jessica Campbell as an assistant coach, making her the first woman to serve as a full-time coach in AHL history. The Firebirds are the minor-league affiliate of the Seattle Kraken.

DAILY FACEOFF: Former NHL executive Chris Gear provides insight into the NHL draft floor experience.










NHL Rumor Mill – July 5, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – July 5, 2022

Could Claude Giroux sign with the Oilers? What’s the latest on the Leafs and Senators? Check it out in today’s NHL rumor mill.

OILERS INTERESTED IN GIROUX?

THE ATHLETIC: Pierre LeBrun reports there remains mutual interest between Claude Giroux and the Florida Panthers. With the July 13 start of the free-agent market fast approaching, there are other clubs that could pursue the 34-year-old forward.

Florida Panthers forward Claude Giroux (NHL Images).

The Edmonton Oilers could be among Giroux’s suitors if he hits the open market next Thursday. There were internal discussions over whether to pursue him if they’re unable to bring back Evander Kane. Giroux can play center or wing and the idea of his skating alongside Connor McDavid or Leon Draisaitl is an appealing option.

LeBrun also mentions the Ottawa Senators as a possibility. He wonders if the appeal of playing for a Cup contender might be more alluring for Giroux.

NHL WATCHER: cites Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman wondering if the Toronto Maple Leafs would give the Giroux camp a call to inquire into what it would take to sign him. Friedman pointed out that Giroux is building a new home in Ottawa and made it clear at the March trade deadline that he prefers playing in the East.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Bear in mind that there is no longer an interview process for pending unrestricted free agents to speak with clubs interested in signing them. The Oilers, Senators, Leafs or any team other than the Panthers must wait until the market opens at noon ET on July 13 to speak to Giroux and his representatives.

The Oilers could end up seeking other options to replace Kane if Giroux prefers staying in the Eastern Conference. I don’t think the Leafs can afford him unless he’s willing to accept a significant pay cut. Besides, they have other priorities as we’ll soon see.

Giroux’s been linked to the Senators for months because of the hometown ties. However, they’re still several years from Stanley Cup contention. Giroux wants to win now so there might not be a fit there.

LATEST LEAFS SPECULATION

TORONTO SUN: Terry Koshan believes the Maple Leafs must find a way to move goaltender Petr Mrazek and his $3.8 million annual average value through 2023-24. As of today, they can’t afford to sign any of the free-agent goalies (including their own Jack Campbell) who could make a significant difference.

Koshan dismissed the notion of shipping out William Nylander given his value to the Leafs. He suggested forward Alex Kerfoot ($3.5 million cap hit) or defenseman Justin Holl ($2.1 million) as trade candidates.

Maple Leafs management must also figure out a way to replace the 21 goals and energetic play of departing winger Ilya Mikheyev. They could attempt to shop his rights heading into the upcoming NHL Draft. Re-signing restricted free agent defenseman Rasmus Sandin is their blueline priority. Once that’s completed, general manager Kyle Dubas isn’t expected to add to his defense corps as he’ll have seven rearguards under contract.

THE ATHLETIC: Pierre LeBrun wouldn’t be surprised if the Leafs are among the clubs with an interest in Marc-Andre Fleury. The Minnesota Wild is interested in bringing back the 37-year-old netminder for another season. He also thinks the Colorado Avalanche could be a good fit for Fleury if Darcy Kuemper heads to free agency next week.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Cap Friendly shows the Leafs with just $6.4 million in cap space with 18 players under contract for 2022-23. Shedding Mrazek’s contract is a must but it could cost them a quality prospect or draft pick to get it done. Even then, Dubas still might have to shed another contract to free up sufficient room to re-sign or replace Campbell, re-sign Sandin and fill out the rest of the roster.

Speaking of Fleury, NHL.com’s Dan Rosen wondered if he’d sign with the New Jersey Devils. I’m not ruling out a return with the Wild, though the opportunity to play with the Stanley Cup champion Avalanche could be tempting if they come calling on July 13.

UPDATE ON THE SENATORS

OTTAWA SUN: Bruce Garrioch reports Senators GM Pierre Dorion is still open to shopping his first-round pick (seventh overall) in the upcoming draft. He’s in the market for a winger to skate alongside Tim Stuetzle or a top-four, right-shot defenseman.

The Senators made a serious pitch for Kevin Fiala before the Wild traded him last week to the Los Angeles Kings. They had no issue with the $7.9 million salary-cap hit of his new contract but balked at the seven-year term.

Chicago Blackhawks winger Alex DeBrincat is the most mentioned name in the rumor mill. He’d be a good fit with any team but it has to be determined if he’ll sign a contract extension before going down that road. Other trade options include Vancouver’s J.T. Miller and Conor Garland, Edmonton’s Jesse Puljujarvi, and Winnipeg’s Blake Wheeler or Pierre-Luc Dubois.

The Senators could also look at signing Claude Giroux via free agency next week. A blueline option could be Arizona Coyotes’ defenseman Jakob Chychrun.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Senators’ status as a rebuilding club could make it difficult for Dorion to acquire most of those players listed by Garrioch. The best option could be Puljujarvi, who won’t cost their first-rounder to acquire. He could benefit from a change of scenery after struggling with the Oilers and might fit in well with the Senators’ young forwards.

Chychrun lacks no-trade protection until 2023-24 and is under contract through 2024-25. Coyotes GM Bill Armstrong could be very interested in the Senators’ pick but his asking price is said to be quite high, including a top prospect and a good young NHL player. That could prove too rich for the Senators.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 5, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 5, 2022

The Canadiens leave all options open with the first-overall pick as the 2022 draft approaches, the Sharks name Mike Grier as their new GM, Bruins winger Jake DeBrusk rescinds his trade request, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

MONTREAL GAZETTE: Canadiens general manager Kent Hughes is stirring up intrigue over what he’ll do with the first-overall pick in the upcoming 2022 NHL Draft. He claimed he hasn’t decided yet if he’ll choose center Shane Wright of the OHL’s Kingston Frontenacs, winger Juraj Slavkovsky of Liiga club TPS in Finland, or center Logan Cooley of the U.S. National Team Development Program.

We’re trying to evaluate how a player projects,” said Hughes. He adds they’re being open-minded and flexible over which is the right situation for those players. The Canadiens GM also didn’t rule out trading the pick or swinging a deal with the New Jersey Devils to end up with the first- and second-overall picks.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Hughes is doing what any GM worth his salt would do with the first-overall pick in a draft where there is no generational player like Connor McDavid available. He’ll get a very good player with that pick if he keeps it regardless of whether he chooses Wright, Slavkovsky or Cooley.

Hughes could surprise us by trading that pick, and if he can land the Devils’ pick without giving up a young core player such as Nick Suzuki or Cole Caufield it’ll be an impressive move. However, I doubt he’ll be able to pull that off. I anticipate he’ll retain the first-overall pick and use it to select Wright given the Habs’ ongoing need for quality depth at center.

SAN JOSE HOCKEY NOW: cited ESPN NHL insider Kevin Weekes reporting the Sharks will name Mike Grier as their new general manager on Tuesday. He’ll become the first black person in NHL history to become the GM of a team.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Weekes has a solid record for breaking NHL news. Grier spent 14 seasons from 1996-97 to 2010-11 as an NHL player with the Sharks, Edmonton Oilers, Washington Capitals and Buffalo Sabres. He went on to serve as an assistant coach with the Chicago Blackhawks, New Jersey Devils and New York Rangers and in 2021 was named the Rangers’ hockey operations advisor.

BOSTON HOCKEY NOW: cited TSN’s Ryan Rishaug reporting Jake DeBrusk’s agent claiming his client has rescinded his trade request. The Bruins signed the 25-year-old winger in March to a two-year contract extension.

Boston Bruins winger Jake DeBrusk (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Interesting to note that DeBrusk withdrew his trade request after the Bruins fired head coach Bruce Cassidy. Make of that what you will.

TSN: Pierre LeBrun reports Evander Kane’s grievance hearing with the San Jose Sharks over the January termination of his contract isn’t likely to be scheduled before free agency begins on July 13.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: LeBrun wonders if the two sides might reach an agreement on a settlement before then. That might be possible now that the Sharks finally have a new general manager in place.

TSN’s Darren Dreger reports Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Mikhail Sergachev has changed agents and is now represented by Dan Milstein. Dreger’s colleague Chris Johnston reports Sergachev is expected to sign a contract extension in the coming weeks.

Pierre LeBrun reports pending UFA winger Ilya Mikheyev’s agent (Dan Milstein) may seek a multi-year deal worth between $4.75 million to $5.5 million annually. The 27-year-old Mikheyev spent the past three seasons with the Toronto Maple Leafs, tallying a career-high 21 goals and 32 points in 53 games in 2021-22.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Mikheyev is a good depth forward but he’s not worth that much. Nevertheless, we shouldn’t underestimate the ability of NHL general managers to succumb to action fever and overpay for second-tier talent in the opening days of free agency.

NHL.COM: The Winnipeg Jets have appointed Scott Arniel as an associate coach under new bench boss Rick Bowness.

PHILLY HOCKEY NOW: Flyers goaltender Ivan Fedotov is apparently going to be serving in the Russian Navy. After being detained in St. Petersburg last Friday for allegedly dodging the draft, he was reportedly hospitalized with what his attorney called stress-induced gastritis. He was then sent to a Russian naval base near the Arctic Circle.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Fedotov, 25, played for CSKA Moscow last season but signed a one-year entry-level contract in May with the Flyers. There are rumors his gastritis was in fact poisoning but there’s no confirmation of this.

Fedotov’s plight is raising concerns that he’s being used as an example to other young Russian players thinking of leaving their KHL clubs to play in the NHL while Russia is at war with Ukraine. It could affect whether Russian prospects are chosen in the upcoming NHL Draft.

CALGARY SUN: The city of Calgary is continuing to work with the Flames in hope of finding a resolution toward the construction of a new arena to replace the aging Saddledome. A third-party intermediary called the Event Centre Visioning Group is continuing talks with both sides with the intention of getting them back to the negotiating table.










NHL Rumor Mill – July 4, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – July 4, 2022

Should the Islanders pursue Johnny Gaudreau? What’s the latest on Jakob Chychrun? Could the Blackhawks have an interest in Petr Mrazek or Matt Murray? What’s the latest on the Oilers, Golden Knights and Sabres? Find out in today’s NHL rumor mill.

SHOULD ISLANDERS TRY TO SIGN GAUDREAU?

NEW YORK POST: Larry Brooks made the case for the New York Islanders to sign Johnny Gaudreau if the Calgary Flames left winger hits the open market on July 13. He acknowledged it would be an expensive undertaking but suggested general manager Lou Lamoriello should shed a combination of Semyon Varlamov, Josh Bailey and Anthony Beauvillier to do it.

Calgary Flames winger Johnny Gaudreau (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Islanders need a high-scoring winger to skate alongside playmaking center Mathew Barzal. However, it’s unlikely Lamoriello will set his sights on such an expensive target as Gaudreau.

Lamoriello seems unwilling to move Varlamov. Bailey could be a cost-cutting candidate while Beauvillier becomes a trade chip to add a forward or defenseman. However, I don’t see them being part of a grand plan to land a blue-chip free agent like Gaudreau.

CHYCHRUN STAYING IN ARIZONA?

GOPHNX.COM: Craig Morgan reports Arizona Coyotes GM Bill Armstrong said not much has changed on the Jakob Chychrun trade front. He’s still willing to entertain offers but for now, he expects the 24-year-old defenseman will be returning with the Coyotes for 2022-23.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: In other words, no one’s made an offer that would entice Armstrong to part with Chychrun. That could change this week leading up to the 2022 NHL Draft in Montreal on Thursday and Friday.

If not, Armstrong seems content to have Chychrun in the lineup for the ’22-’23 campaign. The blueliner is under contract through 2024-25 with an affordable $4.6 million annual average value and lacks no-trade protection for the coming season.

COULD THE BLACKHAWKS TAKE ON MRAZEK OR MURRAY?

THE ATHLETIC: Mark Lazerus and Scott Powers believe the Chicago Blackhawks could begin to address their goaltending this week. They anticipate GM Kyle Davidson could contact the Toronto Maple Leafs about Petr Mrazek or the Ottawa Senators regarding Matt Murray. He might be willing to take on one of them in exchange for draft picks and/or prospects.

Mrazek carries a $3.8 million annual salary-cap hit for the next two seasons. Murray is signed through 2023-24 with an AAV of $6.25 million.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Davidson will likely ask for a sweetener like a draft pick and/or prospect to be packaged with Mrazek or Murray. He also won’t part with a high draft pick or prospect to do this favor for the Leafs or Senators.

LATEST ON THE OILERS, CANUCKS, GOLDEN KNIGHTS AND SABRES

THE ATHLETIC: Daniel Nugent-Bowman reports the Edmonton Oilers are still awaiting answers from Mike Smith and Duncan Keith before free agency begins next week. Both players have a year remaining on their contracts and there’s talk they could retire. Given Smith’s injuries, it appears more likely he’ll go on long-term injury reserve for next season than retire.

Nugent-Bowman also reports winger Jesse Puljujarvi hasn’t requested a trade. It sounds as though he’d like to return with the Oilers as a top-six winger. The Oilers could ask the restricted free agent to start the season on their third line and see if he can work his way higher in the lineup.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: My guess is Smith goes on LTIR, Keith returns to finish his contract, and Puljujarvi gets traded.

VEGAS HOCKEY NOW: Owen Krepps acknowledged recent trade speculation swirling about Golden Knights defenseman Nic Hague. He believes it wouldn’t be a bad thing to move him in a cost-cutting deal given their blueline depth, allowing the Golden Knights to recoup some assets in return.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Most pundits I’ve read on the subject believe moving Hague isn’t an option at this point. However, the Golden Knights might not have much choice if they can’t find other ways to reduce their payroll before 2022-23.

THE BUFFALO NEWS: Mike Harrington reports the Sabres signing goaltender Craig Anderson last week to a one-year deal doesn’t mean they’re done seeking help between the pipes. He anticipates they’ll sign or trade for a netminder while allowing Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen more time to develop.

Harrington doesn’t expect they’ll pursue notable UFAs such as St. Louis’ Ville Husso or Toronto’s Jack Campbell. Free-agent targets could include Dallas’ Braden Holtby, Pittsburgh’s Casey DeSmith or Winnipeg’s Eric Comrie. Trade options could be the Islanders’ Semyon Varlamov, San Jose’s James Reimer or the New York Rangers’ Alexandar Georgiev.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: As I noted earlier, the Isles seem unwilling to move Varlamov. I think the Sharks intend to retain Reimer for the coming season. Georgiev could be a good addition if they’re looking beyond 2022-23.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 4, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 4, 2022

The Lightning traded Ryan McDonagh to the Predators, the Jets officially hire Rick Bowness, an update on David Perron and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines

NHL.COM: The Tampa Bay Lightning traded defenseman Ryan McDonagh on Sunday to the Nashville Predators in exchange for defenseman Philippe Myers and forward Grant Mismash.

Tampa Bay Lightning traded defenseman Ryan McDonagh to the Nashville Predators (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Lightning general manager Julien BriseBois indicated this was a cost-cutting move. The cap-strapped club clears most of McDonagh’s $6.75 million annual average value through 2025-26 from their payroll. However, BriseBois took pains to point out this was a result of a flattened salary cap. He obviously didn’t want to move McDonagh, who played a key role in the club’s recent championship successes.

Cap Friendly indicates the Bolts are over $933K above the $82.5 million cap, though they can get $6.875 million in cap relief with permanently sidelined defenseman Brent Seabrook on their long-term injury reserve list. It might not be the only move they make in order to find sufficient space to re-sign or replace pending unrestricted free agents such as Ondrej Palat, Jan Rutta and Riley Nash.

BriseBois also dismissed speculation he would buy out Myers, saying they’ve really liked the blueliner since his junior days. He carries a $2.55 million cap hit for 2022-23.

McDonagh put on a brave face on the trade, saying he believes the Predators have the pieces to win a Stanley Cup and accepting the move as a business decision. However, McDonagh’s agent said his client was crushed about being traded just days after the Stanley Cup Final.

The deal leaves the Predators with $18.1 million in cap space with 18 players under contract through 2022-23. A new contract for pending UFA Filip Forsberg could eat up over $8 million of it.

WINNIPEG SUN: The Jets yesterday officially announced their hiring of Rick Bowness as their new head coach. Terms and details of his contract weren’t revealed but TSN’s Pierre LeBrun reported it was for two years at $2.5 million per season.

STLTODAY.COM: Blues management is hopeful of getting pending UFA winger David Perron under contract. The 34-year-old winger is coming off a four-year deal with an annual average value of $4 million.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The article goes on to indicate the problem isn’t finding room for Perron’s new contract within their 2022-23 payroll. It’s how it could affect their 2023-24 payroll when Vladimir Tarasenko, Jordan Kyrou and Robert Thomas will be due for new contracts.

DAILY FACEOFF: The Edmonton Oilers’ Ken Holland, Calgary Flames’ Brad Treliving and Winnipeg Jets’ Kevin Cheveldayoff are among the general managers under the most pressure this offseason.

Holland must sort out his goaltending and try to re-sign Evander Kane. Treliving must re-sign free agent forwards Johnny Gaudreau, Matthew Tkachuk and Andrew Mangiapane. Meanwhile, Cheveldayoff must decide if he’ll trade Blake Wheeler or Mark Scheifele and determine what to do with Pierre-Luc Dubois after he signaled his intent to test the 2024 UFA market.

MLIVE.COM: Improving the Detroit Red Wings’ team defense and solving the special teams is among the challenges facing new head coach Derek Lalonde.