Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – August 14, 2022

Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – August 14, 2022

Could the Flames attempt to trade Milan Lucic? Would there be room on the Bruins for his return? What’s the latest on P.K. Subban, Phil Kessel and Josh Bailey? Find out in the Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup

COULD THE FLAMES MAKE ANOTHER BIG MOVE?

CALGARY HOCKEY NOW: Steve Macfarlane recently observed Flames winger Milan Lucic was trending on social media last week after the Boston Bruins signed Patrice Bergeron and David Krejci. He believes the Flames have no urgent need to move the 34-year-old power forward unless they’re planning on making another big trade.

Calgary Flames winger Milan Lucic (NHL Images).

The Flames made headlines last month with a blockbuster trade by shipping Matthew Tkachuk to the Florida Panthers for Jonathan Huberdeau and MacKenzie Weegar. Macfarlane wondered if they might make another impact trade or free-agent signing.

BOSTON HOCKEY NOW: Jimmy Murphy half-jokingly made the suggestion that Bruins general manager Don Sweeney should attempt to bring back Lucic after signing Bergeron and Krejci. He pointed to Lucic’s close friendship with those two as well as Bruins wingers Brad Marchand and David Pastrnak.

Murphy wondered if Sweeney would be interested in acquiring Lucic if the Flames agreed to retain part of his $6 million cap hit. He’s slated to become an unrestricted free agent next summer.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: If the Bruins want a reunion with Lucic (and there’s no indication Sweeney is considering that) they’ll have to wait for next summer. Macfarlane pointed out he remains a key part of the Flames’ leadership core for the coming season as they hope to contend for the Stanley Cup.

Flames GM Brad Treliving could surprise us with another big off-season move. However, I think he’s already made his big splash for this summer.

SUBBAN AND KESSEL TO THE OILERS?

EDMONTON JOURNAL: David Staples reports oddsmakers have the Oilers as the potential destination for free agents P.K. Subban and Phil Kessel.

Staples also noted Oilers Now insider Bob Stauffer said the club could be a choice destination for some aging free agent players. Kessel has been frequently linked to the Oilers this summer in the rumor mill.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I’m no oddsmaker but I’d say Kessel has a better chance of joining the Oilers than Subban. They could use more offensive depth on right wing and he put up a respectable 52 points last season on the offensively anemic Arizona Coyotes. However, we don’t know if the Oilers are interested in him.

LATEST ON JOSH BAILEY

THE ATHLETIC: Kevin Kurz poured cold water on speculation suggesting the New York Islanders could move Josh Bailey to clear cap room to sign Nazem Kadri. He believes if that deal was going to happen it would’ve by now, pointing out most rosters around the league are now set. There are few teams that can afford the 32-year-old winger’s $5 million annual cap hit through 2023-24.

Kurz acknowledged the Isles could retain $1.5 million to $2 million of Bailey’s salary-cap hit to facilitate a trade. However, it wouldn’t make much sense for them to do that.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: If Bailey was in the final season of his contract it might make more sense to retain part of his cap hit. Doing so for two years, however, leaves dead cap space carrying over into 2023-23. Retaining part of his salary could still hamper efforts to sign Kadri, depending on how much they spend to re-sign restricted free agents Noah Dobson, Alexander Romanov and Kieffer Bellows.

Bailey lacks no-trade protection so he could be shopped to rebuilding teams with cap room such as the Arizona Coyotes or Chicago Blackhawks. However, the Isles will be expected to include a decent draft pick or prospect in the deal. There is also the question of whether those clubs want or need a veteran winger at this stage in their rebuilding process.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – August 14, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – August 14, 2022

The Hurricanes plan to start the season without Max Pacioretty, Sharks defenseman Nikolai Knyzhov sidelined for six months, making the case for Logan Thompson to replace Golden Knights starter Robin Lehner, and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.

THE NEWS & OBSERVER: Carolina Hurricanes general manager Don Waddell won’t make any immediate moves to replace Max Pacioretty. Recently acquired in a trade from the Vegas Golden Knights, the 33-year-old winger is sidelined for six months after suffering a torn Achilles’ tendon during training.

Carolina Hurricanes winger Max Pacioretty (NHL Images).

Waddell admitted it’s an unexpected setback but believes the Hurricanes have sufficient depth to offset Pacioretty’s absence until his return later in the upcoming season. The winger is expected to be placed on long-term injury reserve.

The Hurricanes GM said he’s received calls from clubs looking to dump salary. He didn’t rule out such a move if it made sense for his team but he also pointed out that they will need that space when Pacioretty returns.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: There was some speculation that Waddell might attempt to buy out Jake Gardiner but he indicated that’s not going to happen. The blueliner missed 2021-22 recovering from hip surgery but he’s resumed training in hope of playing this coming season.

SAN JOSE HOCKEY NOW: Speaking of players suffering a torn Achilles’ tendon, Sharks defenseman Nikolai Knyzhov will be sidelined for approximately six months after undergoing surgery on Aug. 10.

The 24-year-old defenseman was the Sharks’ rookie of the year in 2020-21 by earning a top-four spot alongside Erik Karlsson. However, he missed all of last season to groin injuries and a post-surgery infection.

DAILY FACEOFF: Mike McKenna makes the case for Logan Thompson to fill in for Vegas Golden Knights starter Robin Lehner, who is out for the coming season due to hip surgery.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Lehner’s injury prompted speculation that the Golden Knights would attempt to find a short-term replacement via trade or free agency. However, the pickings are slim in both markets. Potential trade partners could also squeeze them to part with a promising young asset as part of the return. My guess is they’ll start the season with Thompson as their starter and see how things unfold.

VEGAS HOCKEY NOW: Speaking of the Golden Knights, they signed depth forward Jake Leschyshyn and Paul Cotter to three-year contracts. Leschyshyn’s deal is a one-way contract worth an annual average value of $766K while Cotter’s is a two-way deal in the first year and one-way in the second year earning $775K at the NHL level.

NEW YORK POST: Islanders prospect Aatu Raty is hoping to earn a roster spot with the parent club this season. He spent most of last season in Finland and briefly played for the Isles AHL affiliate.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The 19-year-old forward is among the leading scorers at the ongoing 2022 World Junior Championship in Alberta.










NHL Rumor Mill – August 13, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – August 13, 2022

Canadiens goalie Jake Allen surfaces in trade gossip, some left wing options for the Jets and possible trade partners for the Penguins in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.

COULD THE CANADIENS TRADE JAKE ALLEN?

MONTREAL HOCKEY NOW: Jimmy Murphy cites an NHL source claiming the Dallas Stars and Arizona Coyotes had inquired about Canadiens goaltender Jake Allen in the past. The source believes it would make sense for both clubs to revisit their previous interest once Carey Price’s situation becomes clearer.

The source told Murphy that the Stars could use Allen if Jake Oettinger hasn’t been signed by the time the season starts or if he stages a holdout during training camp. The Coyotes, meanwhile, need another goalie to back up Karel Vejmelka.

Montreal Canadiens goaltender Jake Allen (NHL Images).

Murphy’s colleague Marco D’Amico followed up by suggesting managing their salary cap, roster and other assets could explain why it might make sense for the Canadiens to move Allen before the season begins. Testing the trade waters on Allen would be wise, especially if Price is trending in the right direction health-wise.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Oettinger could stage a holdout during training camp or during the start of the season. However, I’ll be surprised if things reach that point. The Stars have the cap room to sign him and fellow rising star Jason Robertson to short-term contracts with the promise of more lucrative deals in the near future.

Allen surfaced as a possible trade option for the Vegas Golden Knights to replace sidelined starting goalie Robin Lehner. The Canadiens have Sam Montembeault also under contract for the coming season and he could be a more affordable backup for Price.

The Habs aren’t under any pressure right now to move Allen. They could be willing to part with him if Price has recovered from the complications arising from last year’s knee surgery that sidelined him for most of last season. On the other hand, they could prefer keeping the reliable Allen to ensure Price isn’t overworked.

If Price remains sidelined, some suggest the Canadiens trade Allen anyway, go with a tandem of Montembeault and Cayden Primeau, and tank the season to improve their odds of winning the draft lottery again. However, that can have a damaging effect on team morale, especially in a rebuilding club. It could also do irreparable harm to Primeau’s development.

JETS STILL NEED A LEFT WINGER

SPORTSNET: Ken Wiebe recently reported the Winnipeg Jets could use a third-line left winger. Possible internal options to address that need include Jansen Harkins or Morgan Barron. If they wish to look outside the organization, trade options could include the Arizona Coyotes’ Lawson Crouse or the Edmonton Oilers’ Jesse Puljujarvi.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Wiebe’s article appeared before the Coyotes signed Crouse to a five-year, $21.5 million contract on Aug. 8. Puljujarvi, meanwhile, agreed to a one-year, $3 million deal with the Oilers, fueling speculation that it could improve his trade value. However, there’s no certainty he’ll hit the trade block during the offseason.

THE ATHLETIC: Murat Ates also noted the Jets’ need for a third-line forward who can play top-six minutes in a pinch. Possible free-agent options include Sonny Milano, Evan Rodrigues, and Tyler Motte.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Jets have over $6 million in cap space for the coming season with 19 roster players under contract. General manager Kevin Cheveldayoff can draw upon his glut of defensemen to make a trade for a suitable third-line forward. However, I think he’ll have better luck addressing that need through free agency where some affordable options remain.

POSSIBLE PENGUINS TRADE PARTNERS

PITTSBURGH HOCKEY NOW: With the Penguins sitting over the $82.5 million salary cap by $1.4 million for the coming season, Dan Kingerski listed four teams that could become trade partners that could be willing to take on salary.

The Buffalo Sabres, Arizona Coyotes, Anaheim Ducks and Chicago Blackhawks are all rebuilding clubs with considerable cap space for 2022-23. They could be willing to take on a salaried veteran if he’s packaged with a draft pick or prospect.

Kingerski listed Marcus Pettersson, Brian Dumoulin, Jason Zucker and Teddy Blueger as potential trade candidates. Kasperi Kapanen could be another despite signing a two-year deal worth $3.2 million annually.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Plenty of time remains for the Penguins to become cap compliant. My guess is they’ll draw from their blueline corps for a trade candidate, possibly shopping Pettersson or Dumoulin.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – August 13, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – August 13, 2022

The latest on J.T. Miller, how David Krejci’s return to the Bruins helps Taylor Hall, the Blackhawks sign their final two RFAs, and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.

VANCOUVER HOCKEY NOW: Canucks star J.T. Miller wants to stay in Vancouver but he isn’t sure that’s going to happen. Appearing on John Scott’s “Dropping The Gloves” podcast, the 29-year-old forward said he wants a new contract with the Canucks but he understands if it’s not meant to be.

Vancouver Canucks forward J.T. Miller (NHL Images).

Miller is slated to become an unrestricted free agent next July. “Trust me, I’d like to have a deal done in Vancouver and be there, but I have to respect everybody’s vision and if it doesn’t line up, it kind of is-what-it-is,” said Miller. He also indicated that the two sides aren’t as close in contract talks as they’d like to be.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Miller will be 30 by the time his current contract expires. It could cost up to $9 million per season on a seven-year deal to keep him in Vancouver.

If Miller was between 25 and 28 years old perhaps he’d have that contract extension by now. However, there’s a legitimate concern that his performance will decline once he reaches his mid-30s, which would turn that contract into a salary-cap burden for the Canucks.

NBC SPORTS BOSTON: Much of the linemate talk about David Krejci’s return to the Bruins is focused on David Pastrnak but left wing Taylor Hall could benefit more from the 36-year-old center’s NHL comeback.

Joining the Bruins late in the COVID-shortened 2020-21 season, Hall had 14 points in 16 regular-season games skating alongside Krejci on the second line. He had 20 goals last season with Charlie Coyle and Erik Haula as his center. Hall could reach 30 in the coming season with Krejci as his linemate.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Bruins could have two potent scoring lines with Krejci centering Hall and Pastrnak while Patrice Bergeron returns to the first-line center position with Jake DeBrusk on right wing and Brad Marchand on the left side once he returns from offseason surgery by late November.

CHICAGO SUN-TIMES: The Blackhawks signed their last two restricted free agents in Caleb Jones and Philipp Kurashev. Jones agreed to a one-year, $1.35 million contract while Kurashev inked a one-year deal worth $750K.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Cap Friendly shows the Blackhawks have all their roster players under contract for the coming season with $8.49 million in projected salary-cap space when the regular season begins in October.

SAN JOSE HOCKEY NOW: The Sharks announced Scott Gordon and Ryan Warsofsky as their new assistant coaches. Thomas Speer is their new goalie coach while Nick Gialdini will be their video coach.










NHL Rumor Mill – August 12, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – August 12, 2022

How will the Golden Knights replace sidelined goalie Robin Lehner? What’s the latest on Coyotes’ defenseman Jakob Chychrun? Find out in today’s NHL rumor mill.

EXAMINING THE GOLDEN KNIGHTS’ OPTIONS TO REPLACE LEHNER

THE ATHLETIC: With Robin Lehner sidelined for the upcoming season by hip surgery, Jesse Granger examined the Vegas Golden Knights’ options to replace the 31-year-old goaltender. If Lehner goes on long-term injury reserve, they’ll have roughly $7 million in usable cap space.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Golden Knights are already above the $82.5 million salary cap for 2022-23 by over $5.7 million with Shea Weber on long-term injury reserve. Most of Lehner’s $5 million cap hit is expected to be used to sign their remaining restricted free agents.

The Golden Knights could promote promising Logan Thompson as their starter backed up by Laurent Brossoit or Michael Hutchinson. That would provide them with the cap space to add a free agent such as Paul Stastny, Sonny Milano or Phil Kessel.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: They would have to be careful in how much of that cap wiggle room they invest in other players. Spend too much and they won’t have enough room to address their goaltending if Thompson, Brossoit and Hutchinson can’t get the job done.

If they decide to seek a replacement for Lehner outside the organization the pickings are slim. Braden Holtby remains unsigned but his career may be over due to injuries. Granger noted Cory Schneider is still available. He spent the past two years in the AHL.

New York Islanders goaltender Semyon Varlamov (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Forget about free agency. Holtby’s done and Schneider’s last decent NHL season was 2017-18.

Granger suggested New York Islanders goaltender Semyon Varlamov as a trade option.

VEGAS HOCKEY NOW: Owen Krepps included Varlamov among his list of suggested trade options. He also mentioned the Columbus Blue Jackets’ Joonas Korpisalo, the San Jose Sharks James Reimer, and the Anaheim Ducks’ John Gibson.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Islanders general manager Lou Lamoriello reportedly prefers to keep his goalie tandem intact for the coming season. As Krepps pointed out, however, there are rumors that he’s looking to clear cap space to sign free agent center Nazem Kadri officially. Lamoriello could change his mind provided the Golden Knights aren’t on Varlamov’s 16-team no-trade list.

The Blue Jackets signed Korpisalo to a one-year deal where he’ll be serving as Elvis Merzlikins’ backup so he’s probably unavailable. There is talk the Sharks could trade Reimer for the “right price”. Earlier this summer, Gibson denied rumors claiming he’d welcome a trade out of Anaheim. He carries a 10-team no-trade list.

What hurts the Golden Knights is their lack of trade capital. Since 2018, they’ve mortgaged their future by acquiring stars such as Mark Stone, Max Pacioretty and Jack Eichel. Investing big money in those players (plus free agent signings like Alex Pietrangelo) also forced them to make cost-cutting deals such as practically giving away Pacioretty last month to the Carolina Hurricanes.

Perhaps they could get Varlamov if the Isles are only looking to shed salary but I don’t think Lamoriello wants to move him. The Sharks will want something decent for Reimer while the Ducks’ asking price for Gibson could start with a first-round pick. Given he’s carrying a $6.4 million annual cap hit through 2026-27, they probably can’t afford him over the long term.

Granger also mentioned the possibility of signing Dallas Stars goalie Jake Oettinger to an offer sheet. He points out that the Golden Knights lack their own second-round pick in 2023. That means an offer sheet would have to be between $4.2 million and $6.3 million to meet the compensation requirement of a first and third-round pick.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Forget it. The Stars have $10.3 million in cap space. I estimate it’ll take between $6.5 million and $8 million to sign Oettinger to an unmatchable offer sheet. The compensation there is a first, a second and a third-round pick. As Granger observed, they lack their own second-rounder next year.

Ed Graney of the Las Vegas Review-Journal recommends the Golden Knights avoid over-reacting, especially when the trade and free-agent markets won’t be kind. He suggests seeing how things play out with Thompson as their starter before exploring other options. I daresay that’s how management will handle this for now.

COULD THE COYOTES MOVE CHYCHRUN BEFORE TRAINING CAMP?

TSN’s Shawn Simpson recently took to Twitter reporting the feeling around the league is the Arizona Coyotes could trade Jakob Chychrun before training camp opens next month. He said the Ottawa Senators were among the teams in the mix but the Coyotes’ asking price for the 24-year-old defenseman is “ridiculously high”. He credits Senators GM Pierre Dorion for being patient.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Coyotes beat writer Craig Morgan of GOPHNX.com expects Chychrun will be in Arizona’s lineup when the season begins in October. He’s acknowledged that could change but feels the next best opportunity to trade the blueliner could be the 2023 trade deadline.

Coyotes GM Bill Armstrong tried moving Chychrun last season and during last month’s NHL draft. There’s plenty of interest in the blueliner but little in meeting Armstrong’s price, which is believed to be heavy on futures, including a first-round pick, a top prospect and a promising NHL-ready player.

It’s possible Chychrun gets moved before training camp or before the regular season begins. Unless Armstrong lowers his price, however, I wouldn’t hold my breath, especially with the rearguard under contract through 2024-25.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – August 12, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – August 12, 2022

Golden Knights goaltender Robin Lehner will be sidelined for the season by hip surgery, Flyers prospect facing trial in Russia, Ed Olczyk officially joins the Kraken broadcast team, and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.

LAS VEGAS SUN: Vegas Golden Knights goaltender Robin Lehner will undergo hip surgery that is expected to sideline him for the entire 2022-23 season. Lehner, 31, battled injuries last season, including season-ending shoulder surgery in April.

Vegas Golden Knights goaltender Robin Lehner (NHL Images).

The Golden Knights currently have goaltenders Logan Thompson, Laurent Brossoit and Michael Hutchinson under contract for the coming season. Brossoit’s status remains uncertain after undergoing hip surgery earlier in the offseason.

With the Golden Knights already exceeding the salary cap, Lehner is expected to be placed on long-term injury reserve. While that would provide $5 million in cap relief, most of that will go toward signing restricted free agents Nic Hague and Jake Leschyshyn.

CAP FRIENDLY: indicates the Golden Knights can exceed the $82.5 million salary cap by over $12.857 million by placing Lehner and Shea Weber ($7.857 million) on LTIR.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Despite the cap relief, this is a big blow for the Golden Knights. Lehner was supposed to be their starting goaltender this season. This news has sparked speculation over how they’ll replace him. I’ll have more about that in today’s NHL Rumor Mill update.

PHILLY HOCKEY NOW: Flyers prospect goaltender Ivan Fedotov will face a preliminary hearing in Russia on Sept. 20. The 25-year-old signed a contract with the Flyers in May and was expected to back up Carter Hart this season. However, Fedotov was reportedly arrested last month on suspicion of evading military service. He has filed a complaint against the Russian government’s attempts to recruit him for military service.

Meanwhile, Mikhail Vorobyev pleaded guilty to bribery charges related to evading Russian military service. He played the last two seasons in the KHL but his NHL rights are still owned by the Flyers.

NHL.COM: Ed Olczyk has officially joined the Seattle Kraken’s broadcast team as a television analyst. Olczyk spent the past 15 years as the Chicago Blackhawks’ TV color analyst.

BOSTON HOCKEY NOW: The Bruins recently announced the promotion of Jamie Langenbrunner to assistant general manager. He’s spent the past eight seasons in the Bruins’ hockey operations department.

SAN JOSE HOCKEY NOW: The Sharks are reportedly bringing back a California Golden Seals’ look for their 2022-23 Reverse Retro jersey. The Oakland Seals were part of the NHL expansion in 1967-68 and changed their name to California Golden Seals in 1970 until their relocation to Cleveland in 1976.