NHL Rumor Mill – October 18, 2019

Could the Oilers try to bring back Taylor Hall? Does Jonathan Quick face an uncertain future with the Kings? Are the Hurricanes shopping for a forward? Check out the latest in today’s NHL rumor mill.

COULD THE OILERS PURSUE HALL?

EDMONTON JOURNAL: David Staples cited Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman suggesting the Oilers could be a suitor for Taylor Hall if the New Jersey Devils decide to shop the winger.

Could the Edmonton Oilers attempt to reacquire Taylor Hall from the New Jersey Devils? (Photo via NHL Images)

“It would not surprise me at all if Edmonton is a big suitor here,” said Friedman. “I don’t know if they can make a trade, I don’t know if they have enough to make a deal, but it just wouldn’t surprise me. Put it this way: it’s long been believed that if Edmonton had a chance to correct and bring him back, that they would be interested. But there’s a new GM there now, so we’ll see.”

Hall is slated to become an unrestricted free agent next July. With the Devils struggling, Friedman said the winger’s status is becoming a topic of conversation around the league. Staples notes Hall would have more value as a long-term acquisition. Re-signing him, however, would be very expensive. The Oilers would have to free up at least $10 million in salary-cap space.

 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I don’t see this happening. If the Devils decide to shop Hall they won’t just give him away. I think they’ll want at least a good young player, a top prospect, and a first-round pick. Even if the Oilers came up with a suitable offer I don’t believe they can afford to re-sign him.

Cap Friendly indicates the Oilers have over $57.5 million invested in just nine players for 2020-21. Defenseman Darnell Nurse is a restricted free agent due for a hefty raise and they must re-sign or replace goaltender Mike Smith. There won’t be enough to sign Hall to what will likely be over $11 million annually. That’s assuming he’ll want to re-sign with the Oilers.

QUICK FUTURE WITH KINGS UP IN THE AIR

TSN: During last night’s “Insider Trading” segment, Bob McKenzie observed Los Angeles Kings goaltender Jonathan Quick’s poor performance has led to backup Jack Campbell seeing back-to-back starts. They also have promising Cal Petersen in their system but don’t want to bring him up yet, in part because Quick is on the roster but also because Petersen will have to pass through waivers next year. Quick seems the odd man out but he’s got four years remaining on his contract ($5.8 million annual average value) and isn’t tradeable right now. McKenzie feels his future is up in the air.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Some readers suggested the Kings should swap Quick with a struggling starter on another club, like New Jersey’s Cory Schneider. Easier said than done. While their cap hit is almost similar (Schneider makes $6 million annually), the Devils goalie has a full no-trade clause. Even if Schneider waived it, the Kings probably wouldn’t be interested. I think they would want to trade Quick and replace him with Petersen.

UPDATE ON RISTOLAINEN

TSN: Pierre LeBrun reports Buffalo Sabres defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen was a frequent subject of trade speculation after telling management he’d welcome a trade following another losing season. However, Ristolainen indicated he’s happy playing under new Sabres coach Ralph Krueger. LeBrun doesn’t see a trade taking place at this point.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Sabres are off to a good start and aren’t in any rush to make a trade. They’ll have to move a defenseman once Zach Bogosian and Brandon Montour come off injured reserve but that doesn’t mean they’ll trade Ristolainen. If the Finnish blueliner keeps playing well under Krueger they could look at other options.

HURRICANES EYEING HO-SANG OR PULJUJARVI

LeBrun also reports the Carolina Hurricanes are in the market for a top-nine forward. They’ve looked at New York Islanders winger Josh Ho-Sang and inquired into the Edmonton Oilers’ asking price for winger Jesse Puljujarvi.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: With the Hurricanes sitting atop the Metropolitan Division they can afford to take their time. They may have kicked tires on Ho-Sang and Puljujarvi but that doesn’t mean they’re on the verge of acquiring either guy. LeBrun pointed out the Hurricanes are also looking at other players.

Of the two, Puljujarvi has the most value. The Oilers are reportedly interested in Hurricanes winger Julien Gauthier.










NHL Rumor Mill – October 17, 2019

Are the Canadiens scouting the Sharks’ Marc-Edouard Vlasic? Could the Devils poor start affect Taylor Hall’s contract talks? Check out the latest in today’s NHL rumor mill.

CANADIENS EYEING VLASIC?

TVA SPORTS: cites a report by The Athletic’s Kevin Kurz observing the Montreal Canadiens have heavily scouted the San Jose Sharks. Canadiens coach Claude Julien said his club seeks a top-four, left-shot defenseman.

Kurz refers to Sharks blueliner Marc-Edouard Vlasic. The Montreal native carries a no-movement clause in his eight-year, $56-million contract that runs through 2022-23. He’s currently pointless with a plus-minus of minus-eight.

Are the Montreal Canadiens scouting Marc-Edouard Vlasic of the San Jose Sharks? (Photo via NHL Images)

SPECTOR’S NOTE: If the Canadiens are scouting Vlasic they might not like what they’ve seen thus far. He’s struggled but so has the Sharks as a team. They’ve won three straight but dropped their first four contests.

If Vlasic won’t waive his no-movement clause it’s a pointless exercise trying to acquire him. Just because he’s from Montreal doesn’t mean he wants to play there. Many Quebec-born NHL players haven’t been keen to experience that fishbowl existence.

HIGHLIGHTS FROM FRIEDMAN’S LATEST “31 THOUGHTS”

SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman reports there no reason to believe the New Jersey Devils aren’t considering any option other than re-signing Taylor Hall to a long-term extension. The 27-year-old left-winger is slated to become an unrestricted free agent in July.

It remains to be seen what Hall wants to do. The Devils know being a consistent playoff contender could be key to determining his future.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: If the Devils don’t turn things around soon they risk falling into an insurmountable hole this season. That could affect Hall’s decision. If he’s not under contract as the Feb. 24 trade deadline approaches and they’re out of the playoff race by that point, GM Ray Shero could entertain trade offers.

Friedman also believes the Canadiens looked at Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Juuso Riikola.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Riikola played 37 games last season but only one this season and that was as a winger in last night’s 3-2 win over the Colorado Avalanche.

The Buffalo Sabres are looking to move a defenseman. Friedman thought the Arizona Coyotes could be an option with Niklas Hjalmarsson sidelined for three months. Given the Coyotes’ salary-cap constraints, a big move isn’t likely.










NHL Rumor Mill – October 16, 2019

The latest on Dustin Byfuglien, Kyle Turris, Jake Muzzin and more in today’s NHL rumor mill.

HIGHLIGHTS FROM LATEST TSN “INSIDER TRADING”

TSN: Darren Dreger reports there’s a growing sense of optimism that Dustin Byfuglien could return to the Winnipeg Jets. There’s still no guarantee or timeline for the big defenseman’s return. Byfuglien would be a welcome addition to the Jets’ struggling blueline.

Could Dustin Byfuglien return to the Winnipeg Jets? (Photo via NHL Images)

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Jets will give Byfuglien the time and space he needs to reach a decision. You can bet they’re hoping his return comes sooner rather than later.

Bob McKenzie believes it’s worth watching Kyle Turris’ situation with the Nashville Predators. The 30-year-old center is earning $6 million annually with five seasons remaining on his contract but he’s also seeing fourth-line minutes. McKenzie doesn’t think it’s any secret general manager David Poile was trying to move Turris this summer.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Despite Turris’ reduced ice time he has four points in six games this season. That puts him on a 54-point pace and could make him attractive to clubs in need of depth at center ice. That hefty cap hit, however, could make Turris difficult to move. Poile doesn’t pick up part of a player’s salary to facilitate a deal but he might have to break with that tradition in this case.

Pierre LeBrun believes the Toronto Maple Leafs could find it challenging to re-sign Jake Muzzin. The 30-year-old defenseman is due to become an unrestricted free agent next summer.

LeBrun said there have been no contract discussions, in part because the Leafs were focused on re-signing their restricted free agents this summer. Blueliners Tyson Barrie and Cody Ceci are also slated for UFA status. LeBrun thinks the Leafs want to take some time to evaluate and prioritize those rearguards. They can’t afford to re-sign all three and might not be able to re-sign two of them.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Cap Friendly indicates the Leafs have over $65.5 million invested in 11 players for 2020-21. Muzzin and Barrie could cost at least a combined $13 million to re-sign. That won’t leave much for the rest of the roster. Leafs GM Kyle Dubas did a good job juggling his limited salary cap space this summer. It’ll be interesting to see if he can pull it off again.

LeBrun and McKenzie reported the struggling Minnesota Wild and New Jersey Devils will remain patient with their respective head coaches. Speculation arose in recent days over the future of Wild coach Bruce Boudreau and Devils bench boss John Hynes, with false reports yesterday claiming Hynes was fired. Dreger also noted the Dallas Stars have stumbled from the gate but there’s no sense of panic coming from the front office or the coaching staff.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Hynes could feel the heat much sooner than the others. Expectations were high following the summer’s acquisitions of P.K. Subban, Wayne Simmonds, Nikita Gusev, and promising Jack Hughes. Many observers predicted they would be a playoff contender. If they don’t turn things around soon, calls for Hynes’ firing will grow among Devils followers.










NHL Rumor Mill – October 15, 2019

The latest on the Penguins in today’s NHL rumor mill.

THE ATHLETIC: Pierre LeBrun reports the Pittsburgh Penguins better-than-expected start without sidelined centers Evgeni Malkin and Nick Bjugstad has taken some pressure off general manager Jim Rutherford. Nevertheless, he’s still carrying nine defensemen and sources say he’s still trying to move one of them.

Could the Pittsburgh Penguins attempt to shop a defenseman like Erik Gudbranson (Photo via NHL Images).

LeBrun suggests the Winnipeg Jets could be an option, though they’re still waiting for Dustin Byfuglien to reach a decision on his future. He wondered if Erik Gudbranson might be a fit with the Anaheim Ducks.

Despite losing Niklas Hjalmarsson to injury, the Arizona Coyotes appear intent to address his absence from within. There’s no indication the struggling New Jersey Devils are seeking help but they could if they don’t snap out of their early-season funk.

LeBrun also said there’s competition in the trade market. The Dallas Stars are still shopping Julius Honka, plus the Buffalo Sabres could have moves to make once their blueline is fully healthy.

PITTSBURGH HOCKEY NOW: Dan Kingerski reports a source claims the Penguins kicked tires on Joshua Ho-Sang. The New York Islanders winger cleared waivers two weeks ago and has requested a trade. Kingerski said his source claims the discussion was initial contact.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Jets really can’t make a move without Byfuglien’s decision. Their $6.6 million in cap space will evaporate if he decides to return. They’ll have to do a dollar-in, dollar-out deal at this point. The Ducks are seeking a right-shot defenseman but they might prefer a more affordable option that Gudbranson and his $4 million cap hit through 2020-21.

The Coyotes and Devils could be worth monitoring if they haven’t suitably addressed their respective issues soon. Losing Hjalmarsson is a big blow to their blueline but they also need to boost their anemic offense.

Rookie winger Sam Lafferty is playing well thus far for the Penguins. If he keeps this up they’ll have no need for Ho-Sang unless it’s to move out one of those defensemen.










NHL Rumor Mill – October 14, 2019

Updates on the Ducks and Coyotes in today’s NHL rumor mill.

ARE THE DUCKS STILL SEEKING A RIGHT-SHOT DEFENSEMAN?

THE ATHLETIC: In a recent mailbag segment, Eric Stephens said he couldn’t say the Anaheim Ducks have given up seeking a right-shot defenseman after efforts to acquire Justin Faulk fell through.

Could the Anaheim Ducks target a right-shot defenseman like Buffalo’s Rasmus Ristolainen? (Photo via NHL Images)

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Ducks were linked to Buffalo Sabres’ defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen. It was assumed he could become available once Brandon Montour returns from injury.

With the Sabres off to a good start, they’re in no hurry to make a significant move. That could change if they falter like they did last season.

The Ducks, meanwhile, are also off to a better-than-expected start. General manager Bob Murray could remain patient with his roster to see how things shake out throughout the season.

COYOTES HAVE CAP FLEXIBILITY TO MAKE MOVES

AZCENTRAL.COM: Richard Morin recently included salary-cap flexibility among his five reasons to be optimistic about the Arizona Coyotes this season. They possess roughly $3.3 million in cap space. Morin feels Coyotes general manager John Chayka will be able to add to his roster should the situation arise, thanks in part to new owner Alex Meruelo.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Cap Friendly indicates the Coyotes have around $2.4 million in cap room. If Chayka does make a move it could be to bolster his offense. Despite the off-season addition of winger Phil Kessel, the Coyotes are the NHL’s lowest-scoring team. They’ve tallied just seven goals in four contests.










Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – October 13, 2019

Updates on the Devils, Oilers, and Penguins in today’s NHL Sunday rumor roundup.

FATE OF DEVILS’ HALL AND HYNES IN THE SPOTLIGHT

SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman reports the New Jersey Devils’ slow start has some observers wondering how patient they’ll be with Taylor Hall. The 27-year-old winger could become the big fish in next summer’s free-agent pond.

Friedman speculates rival general managers could start calling Devils GM Ray Shero about his plans if he can’t re-sign Hall. However, he feels it’s far too early for Shero to consider shopping the winger.

The New Jersey Devils’ early-season struggles is stoking speculation over Taylor Hall’s future (Photo via NHL Images).

Colleague Chris Johnston said there hasn’t been much contract talk lately between the two sides. He feels it’s an ongoing process but doesn’t dismiss the possibility of an extension being dependent upon the outcome of this season.

NEW YORK POST: Larry Brooks suggests the Devils’ sluggish start could put head coach John Hynes on the hot seat. While Shero is a loyal and patient general manager, there’s a sense of urgency this season. Brooks thinks Scott Stevens might make a good replacement for Hynes.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Speculation over Hall’s future has been ongoing since the summer. The longer he goes unsigned the more conjecture will arise over his status with the Devils. I agree with Johnston that this season’s outcome could be a determining factor.

Given the Devils’ big off-season additions and Hall’s pending free-agent status, Hynes must quickly find a way to get his club on the winning side of the ledger or he’ll end up paying the price. A few wins in the Devils’ upcoming games will turn down much of that heat.

LATEST OILERS SPECULATION

Johnston reports Jesse Puljujarvi is comfortable with spending the season in Finland. The 21-year-old restricted free agent winger is waiting for the Edmonton Oilers to honor his trade request. The Oilers have until Dec. 1 to sign him or trade him to a club that will sign him. Otherwise, he’ll be ineligible for the rest of his NHL season.

EDMONTON JOURNAL: Kurt Leavins reports there’s some talk the Oilers could have interest in Carolina Hurricanes winger Julien Gauthier, who saw fourth-line duty against Columbus on Saturday. His waiver-exempt status could also make him an attractive trade option.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Should the Oilers continue playing well leading up to Dec. 1 they won’t be under any pressure to move Puljujarvi. If a suitable return isn’t found they’ll let him spend the season in Finland and try signing or trading him next summer.

Unless the Oilers are willing to offer up something worthwhile, Hurricanes GM Don Waddell has no reason to trade Gauthier. Like the Oilers, the Canes are off to a great start and Waddell’s not facing pressure to swing a deal right now.

NO SUITABLE DEALS YET FOR THE PENGUINS

Friedman reports Pittsburgh Penguins general manager Jim Rutherford is willing to deal from his blueline depth for a forward. However, he hasn’t found anything worthwhile in the trade market. He’s not interested in moving his 2020 first-round pick.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Rutherford will remain patient while Evgeni Malkin and Nick Bjugstad recover from their injuries. If there’s nothing suitable in the trade market he’s got little choice but to wait for his two sidelined centers to return.