NHL Rumor Mill – May 18, 2021

NHL Rumor Mill – May 18, 2021

Should the Ducks make a pitch for Patrik Laine? Could the Coyotes pursue Jack Eichel? Check out the latest in today’s NHL rumor mill.

LATEST DUCKS SPECULATION

THE ATHLETIC: In a recent mailbag segment, Eric Stephens was asked if the Ducks might pursue a top-six winger such as Patrik Laine to bolster their offense. After his struggles in Columbus, the 23-year-old winger might not re-sign with the Blue Jackets, though the departure of coach John Tortorella could make him rethink that situation. The high cost of qualifying his rights ($7.5 million) prompted Stephens to speculate the Jackets could trade Laine and leave the headache of signing him to somebody else.

Columbus Blue Jackets winger Patrik Laine (NHL Images).

Stephens suggested there could be sufficient cap space for the Ducks to take on Laine but it could be expensive. It could make it difficult to re-sign Rickard Rakell, Josh Manson and Hampus Lindholm before they become UFAs next summer. While on board with the idea of adding Laine, Stephens suggested someone like Buffalo’s Sam Reinhart could be more cost-effective.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Ducks must shore up their sagging offense. Laine, however, would be an exorbitant acquisition. He also struggles without a quality set-up centerman, something the Ducks lack with 36-year-old Ryan Getzlaf in the twilight of his career. Laine could develop chemistry with promising Trevor Zegras but the latter has yet to establish himself at the NHL level.

Reinhart would be more affordable in terms of salary and return for the Ducks, assuming he’s available in the trade market. His ability to play center or wing would provide them with more flexibility among their top six.

In an earlier piece, Stephens examined the Ducks’ off-season priorities. In addition to acquiring a scorer, he felt they must determine if Ryan Getzlaf will be back and what role he’d play.

He also advocated trying to move players who are not in the club’s long-term picture. That could include Rakell, Manson and Lindholm if re-signing one of them proves difficult. Center Adam Henrique, who has three years and over $17 million remaining on his contract, could be another trade candidate.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Getzlaf is no longer capable of playing a top-six role. If he returns it’ll have to be in a checking line spot.

Rakell, Manson and Lindholm surfaced in trade speculation during the season. The high asking prices for those players were believed why they weren’t moved before the April trade deadline. General manager Bob Murray could entertain trade proposals this summer if contract extension talks stall.

The Ducks could leave Henrique exposed in the expansion draft. If the Seattle Kraken pass him over, however, Murray could have difficulty finding a taker because of his contract, which contains a 10-team no-trade list.

BOSTON HOCKEY NOW: Jimmy Murphy cites an NHL source claiming the Arizona Coyotes are interested in acquiring Buffalo Sabres center Jack Eichel. The source said Coyotes GM Bill Armstrong has had extended conversations with Sabres GM Kevyn Adams over what it would cost to land Eichel.

The source told Murphy the Coyotes have the type of young players to interest the Sabres. The ‘Yotes would also fulfill the Sabres’ wish to ship Eichel out west.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Those young players Murphy’s source alluded to could include winger Clayton Keller, center Christian Dvorak, defenseman Jakob Chychrun and goaltender Adin Hill. I’m not suggesting the Coyotes would have to give up all of them to land Eichel but one or two would have to be part of the deal.

However, I doubt the Coyotes could outbid a club like the New York Rangers or Los Angeles Kings if those teams decide to make serious bids for the Sabres captain. The Blueshirts and Kings carry more depth in quality prospects and young NHL players.










NHL Rumor Mill – May 17, 2021

NHL Rumor Mill – May 17, 2021

A look at some of this summer’s top unrestricted free agents in today’s NHL rumor mill.

TSN: Carolina Hurricanes defenseman Dougie Hamilton topped Frank Seravalli’s recent list of this summer’s top unrestricted free agents.

Carolina Hurricanes defenseman Dougie Hamilton (NHL Images).

Hurricanes general manager Don Waddell indicated in March the two sides agreed to put aside contract talks until the end of this season. Sources claimed a big gap exists between how much the Hurricanes are willing to pay and what Hamilton’s camp believes is his market value.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Seravalli believes it makes little sense for the Hurricanes to sign Hamilton before the expansion draft. That would mean protecting him at the expense of perhaps losing blueliner Jake Bean to the Seattle Kraken.

However, the Kraken has a three-day window before the expansion draft to interview pending free agents. Things could get interesting if Hamilton is willing to listen to what they could offer.

Seravalli excluded Washington Capitals winger Alex Ovechkin and Colorado Avalanche winger Gabriel Landeskog from this list. There’s no indication either player will be leaving their respective clubs. Both would impact their team’s expansion protection lists if they sign before July 21.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Both clubs could be comfortable waiting until after July 21 to re-sign them if both players are determined to stay put.

Anaheim Ducks center Ryan Getzlaf was also excluded. The Ducks are open to having him return for another season but it remains to be seen if he’ll look elsewhere to chase another Stanley Cup.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Getzlaf, 36, could be back for one more year. Several factors – including his family, his health and his willingness to accept a lesser role with the rebuilding Ducks – will determine his future.

Edmonton Oilers forward Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Boston Bruins winger Taylor Hall, Toronto Maple Leafs winger Zach Hyman and Oilers defenseman Tyson Barrie round out the top five.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Oilers hope to re-sign Nugent-Hopkins but that will depend on what he’s seeking in terms of salary. He’s completing a seven-year, $42 million contract. Barrie’s future in Edmonton is less clear.

Mutual interest exists between Hall and the Bruins in talking contract after this season but that will depend on his playoff performance. Hyman wants to stay in Toronto and the Leafs want to keep him but their limited salary-cap space could be an issue.

Seravalli includes former Arizona Coyotes head coach Rick Tocchet on his list at No. 6. He believes Tocchet will draw interest from multiple teams.

Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask, Vegas Golden Knights defenseman Alec Martinez, Montreal Canadiens center Phillip Danault and Florida Panthers forward Alexander Wennberg fill out the top-ten.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Bruins could bring back Rask on a short-term deal if he’ll accept less than his current annual average value of $7 million. Martinez and Danault face uncertain futures with their current clubs as there’s little indication of contract talks. Wennberg rejuvenated his career in Florida. Panthers GM Bill Zito knows him from their days with the Jackets, signed him last fall, and could ink him to a new deal.

Buffalo Sabres goaltender Linus Ullmark, St. Louis Blues winger Mike Hoffman, Oilers defenseman Adam Larsson, Leafs goalie Frederik Andersen and Tampa Bay Lightning winger Blake Coleman checked in at Nos. 11 to 15.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s believed the Sabres hope to re-sign Ullmark. Whether he wants to stay is another matter. Hoffman was hoping a big season in St. Louis would bolster his stock in this summer’s UFA market. His inconsistent play, however, could put a lucrative new deal further out of reach.

Recent reports out of Edmonton suggest the Oilers are close to a new deal with Larsson. Andersen’s injury history and his uneven playoff performances could hurt his value but not enough to prevent him from landing with another NHL club. Coleman’s physical two-way style and decent scoring touch will draw plenty of attention if he tests the market.

Colorado Avalanche winger Brandon Saad, Blues winger Jaden Schwartz, Nashville Predators winger Mikael Granlund, New York Islanders winger Kyle Palmieri, and Dallas Stars defenseman Jamie Oleksiak fill in spots 16 to 20.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Avs likely won’t have the cap space to re-sign Saad as they’ll be keeping Landeskog plus goalie Philipp Grubauer and defenseman Cale Makar must be signed. The Blues prefer to keep Schwartz but their limited cap space will make it difficult to do.

Granlund could be an affordable re-signing for the Predators. Palmieri’s stock took a tumble in the regular season but could rebound with a strong postseason effort. The Stars could part ways with Oleksiak as they’ll need their limited cap room to re-sign blueliner Miro Heiskanen.

Bruins center David Krejci, Winnipeg Jets center Paul Stastny, Canadiens winger Tomas Tatar, Lightning defenseman David Savard and Bruins blueliner Mike Reilly are in spots 21-25.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Bruins could re-sign Krejci on an affordable short-term deal, especially if they can also retain Taylor Hall. The Jets could retain Stastny if he’s agreeable to a cost-effective contract.

The Canadiens will likely cut ties with the inconsistent Tatar. Savard was a playoff rental for the Lightning as was Reilly with the Bruins. Savard will draw interest from clubs seeking a shutdown blueliner.

Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Cody Ceci, Arizona Coyotes blueliner Alex Goligoski, Leafs forward Nick Foligno, Canadiens winger Corey Perry and Coyotes forward Michael Bunting complete the top 30.










Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – May 16, 2021

Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – May 16, 2021

Is there a path for the Bruins to land Jack Eichel? Should the Rangers consider signing Pekka Rinne? What’s the latest on Seth Jones’ contract talks. Check out the latest in the Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup.

COULD THE BRUINS LAND EICHEL?

THE BOSTON GLOBE: Matt Porter examined possible paths for the Boston Bruins to acquire Jack Eichel. The Buffalo Sabres captain raised eyebrows during his exit interview last week expressing unhappiness over his situation, claiming there was a disconnect between himself and the club regarding treatment for his herniated disk in his neck.

Buffalo Sabres center Jack Eichel (NHL Images).

Porter believes the Bruins could afford Eichel’s $10 million annual salary-cap hit for the next five seasons if they let unrestricted free agents like David Krejci, Tuukka Rask and Sean Kuraly depart this summer. He also pointed out Bruins president Cam Neely admitting his club is a little thin at center. Current top-two centers like Patrice Bergeron and Krejci are in their mid-thirties.

The toughest question is whether the Bruins can afford what would be an expensive asking price by the Sabres. Porter feels it could mean parting with winger David Pastrnak. Eichel’s injury could also complicate matters.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I don’t doubt Bruins general manager Don Sweeney will inquire about Eichel if the 24-year-old center and the Sabres fail to smooth over their differences. Sweeney has a recent trade history with the Sabres, having acquired Taylor Hall from them at the trade deadline.

Sweeney got Hall for a song because the veteran winger used his no-movement clause to ensure he’d go to Boston. The Bruins won’t have that advantage with Eichel because his NMC doesn’t kick in until 2022-23.

Sabres GM Kevyn Adam would seek a significant return, perhaps one too expensive for the Bruins. That could involve Pastrnak or defenseman Charlie McAvoy.

SHOULD THE RANGERS SIGN RINNE THIS SUMMER?

NEW YORK POST: Larry Brooks makes the case for the New York Rangers to sign Pekka Rinne if the Nashville Predators goaltender becomes an unrestricted free agent this summer. He feels the 38-year-old Rinne would bring much-needed leadership to the Rangers’ dressing room and act as a mentor for starting goalie Igor Shesterkin.

Brooks believes Alexandar Georgiev, the Rangers’ current backup, might benefit from a change of scenery if the Blueshirts move him and his $2.425 million cap hit.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Rinne could test the free-agent market this summer. However, I suspect he’ll retire as a player and perhaps take on a front-office role with the Predators. I

If Rinne decides to continue his career I don’t think he’d be the right choice for the Rangers. Yes, he’d bring leadership but performance is another matter. His best seasons are behind him and he saw only one start for the Predators over the final month of the regular season.

LATEST ON SETH JONES

SPORTSNET: Chris Johnston reports the Columbus Blue Jackets have asked Seth Jones if he’ll consider looking at a contract extension at some point during the offseason. The 26-year-old defenseman is slated to become an unrestricted free agent next summer.

Johnston said Jones has spoken with his agent and is taking the weekend to think things through. He expects the blueliner will get back to Jackets management over the next several days about whether he’s willing to discuss an extension now.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: There was speculation the Jackets could attempt to trade Jones this summer if he won’t commit to an extension. However, The Athletic’s Aaron Portzline recently reported the Jackets were willing to keep Jones into next season without an extension. Initial discussions had begun between Jackets GM Jarmo Kekalainen and Jones’ agent, Pat Brisson.

Kekalainen also told Portzline he and his staff have looked at whether the return is greater for trading pending UFAs one year away from the expiration of their contracts versus moving them at the trade deadline. He feels competition tends to be more intense at the trade deadline.

The Jackets could take their chances going into next season with Jones if he remains unsigned and try to change his mind. If he doesn’t, they’ll shop him to the highest bidder at the trade deadline.










NHL Rumor Mill – May 15, 2021

NHL Rumor Mill – May 15, 2021

In today’s NHL rumor mill, Drew Doughty calls upon Kings management to add experienced depth plus a look ahead at possible offseason moves by the Senators and Canucks.

DOUGHTY WANTS KINGS TO MAKE BIG MOVES THIS OFFSEASON

THE SCORE: Josh Gold-Smith cites Drew Doughty calling upon Los Angeles Kings management to bring in more experience to their rebuilding roster. The 31-year-old defenseman feels he and veteran teammates Anze Kopitar, Jonathan Quick and Dustin Brown are running out of time.

Los Angeles Kings defenseman Drew Doughty (NHL Images).

Doughty acknowledged the club’s been rebuilding but feels they have the salary-cap space to make some big moves. “There’s no point in just waiting for these prospects to develop when you’ve got guys in their prime, hungry to win, and sick of losing,” he said. When asked if he’d be happy if big moves aren’t made, Doughty simply replied, “No.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kings general manager Rob Blake has patiently built up his roster with promising youngsters but his veteran core wants to return to playoff contention and a shot at winning the Stanley Cup again.

Doughty has six more seasons left on his contract with an annual average value of $11 million. Kopitar has three more at $10 million annually, Quick has two years at $5.8 million and Brown one year at $5.875 million. Blake could trade one or two of those players but their age or hefty contracts would be difficult to move.

Cap Friendly shows the Kings with over $20 million in cap space for 2021-22 with all their core players under contract. There’s room to make a big offseason move to accelerate the rebuild. That’s why the Kings have been linked to Buffalo Sabres center Jack Eichel in recent trade rumors.

We’ll have to wait and see what Blake has in store for his roster this summer. If he sticks with his current plan, however, he’ll have an unhappy No. 1 defenseman on his hands. And that will raise questions about Doughty’s future in Los Angeles.

LATEST ON THE CANUCKS AND SENATORS

THE ATHLETIC: Thomas Drance included reallocating salary-cap space among his list of offseason priorities for the Vancouver Canucks. Once restricted free agents Elias Pettersson and Quinn Hughes are re-signed, there won’t be enough cap room to rebuild the blueline, upgrade their bottom-six forwards and add a top-six winger.

They could get some relief if the Seattle Kraken select goalie Braden Holtby (4.3 million) in this summer’s expansion draft. A contract buyout or two is possible. Drance also proposed bundling a future asset to move an additional contract or attempt to move Micheal Ferland’s contract to a cap-strapped team.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Canucks have over $65 million tied up in 15 players. Most of that will be used up signing Pettersson and Hughes.

GM Jim Benning could be squeezed by the Kraken for a draft pick to take Holtby off his hands. Ferland and Jay Beagle could start next season on long-term injury reserve. However, it would be less complicated if one or both could be shipped to teams better equipped than the Canucks to carry those contracts. Those moves also mean including a draft pick, prospect or young NHL-ready player into the deal.

Benning attempted to trade disappointing winger Jake Virtanen this season but couldn’t find any takers. His $3.4 million in actual salary for next season combined with his recent off-ice issues could give Benning little choice but to buy out Virtanen.

THE ATHLETIC: Ian Mendes includes the acquisition of a top-four defenseman among his suggested offseason priorities for the Ottawa Senators. He feels they need a veteran blueliner who can log over 20 minutes per game.

Mendes proposed targeting teams with expansion draft protection issues or those with salary-cap issues in the trade market. They could also go the free-agent route.

OTTAWA SUN: Bruce Garrioch reports the Senators want to add another center and perhaps a top-four defenseman. GM Pierre Dorion could attempt to address those needs from within but could shop around first.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Senators have over $53 million invested in 17 players with Brady Tkachuk and Drake Batherson as their notable free agents. They’ll have plenty of salary cap room once those two are re-signed, but that depends on how close to the $81.5 million cap owner Eugene Melnyk is willing to spend.










NHL Rumor Mill – May 14, 2021

NHL Rumor Mill – May 14, 2021

The latest on Jack Eichel, Taylor Hall, Tyson Barrie and Nolan Patrick plus recent speculation on the Red Wings and Lightning in today’s NHL rumor mill.

LATEST ON EICHEL, HALL, BARRIE AND PATRICK

WGR550.COM: TSN insider Frank Seravalli said he spoke to an NHL general manager potentially interested in trading for Jack Eichel saying he considers the Buffalo Sabres captain untradeable at the moment. He cited the status of the center’s health and his apparent unhappiness with the Sabres.

Eichel and the Sabres’ front office are in disagreement over the treatment of a herniated disk in his neck. He’s said to be interested in a surgical procedure never done on an NHL player before while the Sabres prefer a conservative rehab approach.

Seravalli still feels there are teams around the league with sufficient salary-cap space who would take the risk on Eichel. He believes the Los Angeles Kings are interested based on a cursory conversation they had with the Sabres before the trade deadline. He thinks they have the assets to make a trade work but rules out the Kings parting with top prospect Quinton Byfield.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Eichel and the Sabres have reportedly agreed to wait until early June to decide on the next step in his treatment. The healthier he is, of course, the more interested they will be. As Seravalli indicated, those clubs will want to review Eichel’s medical reports before agreeing to swing a deal with the Sabres.

NBC SPORTS BOSTON: Nick Goss recently reported Bruins president Cam Neely said his club would like to try and re-sign Taylor Hall but they’d like to see how things go in the playoffs. Hall is providing a big boost to the Bruins’ offense since his acquisition from the Sabres at the trade deadline.

Boston Bruins winger Taylor Hall (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Hall is due to become an unrestricted free agent this summer but has expressed an interest in staying with the Bruins. His performance in the upcoming postseason and what he’s looking for in his next contract will determine his future in Boston.

TSN: Darren Dreger reports Tyson Barrie could test this summer’s UFA market following his solid bounce-back performance this season with the Edmonton Oilers. Barrie would like to stay in Edmonton but he also wants the stability of a long-term contract. That might not be possible with the Oilers attempting to re-sign Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Adam Larsson and Darnell Nurse.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Last season’s disappointing performance with the Toronto Maple Leafs hurt Barrie’s stock in last year’s free-agent market. His play this season could fetch him a lucrative new deal elsewhere. Dreger mentioned Barrie could seek a five- or six-year term. Whether that’s possible given the current salary-cap constraints remains to be seen.

Frank Seravalli speculated on the possibility of Nolan Patrick seeking a fresh start away from the Philadelphia Flyers. The 22-year-old forward is a restricted free agent and recently hired his third agent in as many years. Seravalli said the Flyers still feel Patrick is a player just scratching the surface of his talent and would like to see him get a full summer of training and come to training camp healthy for the first time in a while.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Selected second overall in the 2017 NHL Draft, Patrick missed all of 2019-20 with migraine issues. Perhaps the two sides will work out another one-year contract and see how things work out from there.

RECENT SPECULATION ON THE RED WINGS AND LIGHTNING

THE ATHLETIC: Max Bultman recently examined the Detroit Red Wings’ biggest offseason priorities. He wondered if they might use their stockpile of draft picks and abundant salary-cap space to accelerate their rebuild as long as the players’ involved fit their desired age range.

Perhaps GM Steve Yzerman could attempt to use one of his younger players to make a deal similar to the one where he shipped Anthony Mantha to Washington for a package deal involving Jakub Vrana.

Bultman also feels the Wings should see if they can leverage this summer’s expansion draft to perhaps add players who might be exposed by other clubs. They must also find more offense and decide if they’ll bring back goaltender Jonathan Bernier.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Wings were among the teams linked to Jack Eichel earlier this week. While they have the cap space and assets to make a competitive bid, I’m not convinced Yzerman would pursue that type of deal. I’m not saying he won’t kick the tires but a blockbuster of that magnitude could cost more established assets than he’s willing to give up.

In a recent mailbag segment, The Athletic’s Joe Smith was asked which Tampa Bay Lightning players are most likely to be shipped out this summer to dump some salary.

Smith believes Tyler Johnson will be moved despite the failed attempts to move him via trade and waivers in the offseason. Johnson’s no-trade clause becomes a modified one this summer but a sweetener (like a first-round pick) might have to be added.

The Lightning also have players they could move in return for assets, such as Ondrej Palat and Alex Killorn. They don’t want to lose either player but one of those forwards could be among the cost-cutting options.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That could also involve some creative moves by Lightning GM Julien BriseBois involving a third team similar to the deal that brought David Savard to Tampa Bay before the trade deadline.










Potential Trade Destinations For The Sabres’ Jack Eichel

Potential Trade Destinations For The Sabres’ Jack Eichel