NHL Rumor Mill – October 15, 2020

NHL Rumor Mill – October 15, 2020

The latest on Mike Hoffman, Joe Thornton, Steven Stamkos, Patrik Laine, Jake Gardiner, Anthony Duclair and more in today’s NHL rumor mill. 

SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman reports teams in the market for a scorer like Mike Hoffman include Boston, Carolina and Columbus.

Free-agent winger Mike Hoffman (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: NBC Sports Boston’s Nick Goss believes Hoffman would make sense for the Bruins on a one-year, $6 million contract. However, that would bite deeply into their $11 million in cap space and could mean trading winger Jake DeBrusk or a defenseman.

Meanwhile, the Ottawa Sun’s Bruce Garrioch believes Hoffman will make his decision within the next couple of days. He includes Edmonton and Nashville among the potential suitors.

The Toronto Maple Leafs are courting Joe Thornton but Friedman says not to underestimate the center’s loyalty to the San Jose Sharks.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I respect Thornton and his Hall of Fame-worthy career, but he’s 41 years old and coming off his worst performance (31 points) since his rookie season in 1997-98. That’s right, he made his NHL debut 23 years ago. Thornton is not who the Leafs need to center their third line.

Friedman believes the Tampa Bay Lightning asked captain Steven Stamkos to consider waiving his no-movement clause. “There’s a wall of secrecy around it”. Stamkos is recovering from abdominal surgery.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I’ll be very surprised if Stamkos waives his clause.

Friedman also wondered if the Columbus Blue Jackets made a pitch for Alex Pietrangelo before he signed with the Vegas Golden Knights. Defenseman David Savard was available for a while but that appears to have changed with Pietrangelo going to Vegas.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Cap Friendly indicates the Blue Jackets have over $13 million in cap space. That’s enough to re-sign center Pierre-Luc Dubois and add another player via trade or free agency.

Anaheim, Boston, Colorado, Toronto and Winnipeg are among the clubs to check into the availability of Florida Panthers defenseman MacKenzie Weegar. It’s believed the Leafs rejected a request for Travis Dermott/Andreas Johnsson. Tyson Jost of the Avalanche and Jack Roslovic of the Jets were also discussed.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Weegar recently filed for salary arbitration. Speaking of Roslovic, the Jets are reportedly gauging his value in the trade market. They’d like another established NHL defenseman before next season begins.

Speaking of the Jets, Friedman believes their re-acquisition of Paul Stastny means things remain “status quo” regarding winger Patrik Laine.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Laine isn’t going anywhere unless a team offers up a top-two defenseman similar to Columbus’ Seth Jones in return.

The Vancouver Canucks had an interest in free-agent defenseman Travis Hamonic before their acquisition of Nate Schmidt. They are looking for another defenseman, prompting Friedman to suggest Slater Koekkoek or Sami Vatanen. Hamonic had some interest from Eastern clubs like Philadelphia but prefers staying in the West.

The Flyers had talks with Arizona regarding Coyotes defenseman Jason Demers. Meanwhile, the Carolina Hurricanes are examining trade options with blueliner Jake Gardiner.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Coyotes could make Demers their cap-cutting trade candidate after failing to move Oliver Ekman-Larsson last week. The 32-year-old’s modified no-trade clause expired at the end of last season. He has a year remaining on his contract worth an annual cap hit of $4.5 million but his actual salary is $2.6 million after being paid his signing bonus for this season.

An interesting bit about Gardiner, who has three years left on his contract worth an AAV of $4.050 million with a seven-team no-trade list. I’m not sure how much interest he’ll garner in the trade market given how his performance declined over the last two years.

The Panthers are among the clubs that have talked to free-agent winger Anthony Duclair.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Ottawa Sun’s Bruce Garrioch reports five or six clubs have heard from Duclair, who’s representing himself in the free-agent market. The Senators haven’t shut the door on the winger, who rejected their two-year extension offer that would’ve doubled the $1.65 million he made last season.










NHL Rumor Roundup: UFA Pool Growing Shallow

NHL Rumor Roundup: UFA Pool Growing Shallow

 










NHL Trade Roundup: Reviewing the Deals Last Week

NHL Trade Roundup: Reviewing the Deals Last Week

 










NHL Rumor Mill – October 14, 2020

NHL Rumor Mill – October 14, 2020

The latest on Brendan Gallagher, Mike Hoffman, Tyler Johnson and Johnny Boychuk in today’s NHL rumor mill.

GALLAGHER’S FUTURE IN MONTREAL IN DOUBT?

TSN: Darren Dreger wonders about Brendan Gallagher’s future with the Montreal Canadiens after contract talks broke off. Discussions between the right-winger and the Canadiens were going well until they acquired Josh Anderson and Tyler Toffoli and now general manager Marc Bergevin is playing hardball with the Gallagher camp.

Gallagher is a year away from becoming an unrestricted free agent, giving the two sides plenty of time to negotiate a deal. However, this situation has some observers wondering if Bergevin might consider trading the 28-year-old winger. Frank Seravalli believes the Vancouver Canucks would be among the suitors, pointing to their need for a scoring winger and Gallagher’s ties to Vancouver.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Gallagher’s situation could be a preview of what most of next year’s UFA class could experience. The cap is expected to remain flat again for 2021-22 and that will force general managers to be less accommodating with their pending UFA talent than they were in the past. The acquisitions of Anderson and Toffoli also provide Bergevin with leverage that he didn’t have before the offseason began.

Cap Friendly indicates the Canucks have $1.998 million in cap space. Seravalli believes they have some ability to move out some contracts, suggesting Loui Eriksson or Brandon Sutter, as well as noting uncertainty over winger Jake Virtanen’s future. He feels GM Jim Benning would like to make one more splash in this offseason.

The Canucks might be interested in Gallagher if he hits the trade block, but I doubt they can put together a deal to land him. The winger carries a cap hit of $3.75 million. Benning will have to move over $4 million to take him on, assuming he can put together an enticing package for Bergevin. Other clubs with more roster and salary-cap flexibility could outbid the Canucks.

Tampa Bay Lightning winger Tyler Johnson (NHL Images).

UPDATE ON JOHNSON

TSN: Seravalli reports Tyler Johnson has expanded his list of trade destinations from five to eight clubs. His camp is also willing to accept some suggestions from Tampa Bay Lightning management to best facilitate a trade that will get the club out of salary-cap hell.

The Lightning could be forced to include a draft pick with Johnson or any other player (Alex Killorn, Yanni Gourde) they would consider moving in a cost-cutting trade. Those players, however, hold all the cards with their no-trade clauses.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Lightning will probably have to pay far more than they would prefer to move one of those players. Every GM in the league knows their cap situation and won’t make it easy for them.

LATEST ON HOFFMAN

TSN: Frank Seravalli reports Mike Hoffman is holding firm on his value and belief he’s a $5.5 million to $6 million player. He believes the 30-year-old winger can be had on a one-year contract. The Boston Bruins, Columbus Blue Jackets and Nashville Predators are the most interested, though the Canucks and Canadiens could get into the mix if they can move some pieces.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: NBC Sports Boston’s Nick Goss indicates the problem for Bruins GM Don Sweeney is signing a player such as Hoffman would take up a big chunk of his $12 million in salary-cap space. The other clubs said to be interested in the winger will face the same issue. Hoffman and the remaining players in this year’s UFA market could be waiting a while to get what they want or be forced to significantly lower their asking prices.

ISLANDERS TRYING TO MOVE BOYCHUK

THE ATHLETIC: Arthur Staple cites a report by The Fourth Period claiming the New York Islanders were close to trading Johnny Boychuk on Monday evening. The 36-year-old defenseman carries an annual average value of $6 million over the next two seasons, though in actual salary he’ll be owed just $5.25 million for the duration of his contract.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: No indication if efforts to trade Boychuk are ongoing following their trade of Devon Toews on Monday to the Colorado Avalanche. The veteran blueliner also carries an eight-team list of trade destinations, though perhaps he can be persuaded into broadening that list.










NHL Rumor Mill – October 13, 2020

NHL Rumor Mill – October 13, 2020

A look at the top remaining unrestricted free agents, three potential Canadiens’ trade candidates, and more in today’s NHL rumor mill.

TOP REMAINING UFAS

SPORTSNET: Winger Mike Hoffman, Evgenii Dadonov, Mikael Granlund and Ilya Kovalchuk, along with defenseman Travis Hamonic top Emily Sadler’s list of the best remaining players in this year’s NHL unrestricted free agent market.

Winger Mike Hoffman is among the best remaining players in this year’s NHL UFA market (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Hoffman and Dadonov are the best of the bunch but they could end up signing for considerably less than they hoped given the current economic climate. I wouldn’t be surprised if interested clubs are using the market against both wingers to drive down their asking prices.

The Columbus Dispatch’s Brian Hedger reported yesterday Granlund was in discussions with multiple teams and is whittling down his list to find the best fit. He doesn’t know if the Blue Jackets are among them.

Centers Erik Haula and Carl Soderberg, left-wingers Anthony Duclair and Andreas Athanasiou, and defenseman Sami Vatanen fill out the top-10.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: All four are on my recent listing of possible bargain signings.

The rest include centers Alex Galchenyuk, Derick Brassard and Joe Thornton, wingers Corey Perry, Colin Wilson, Matt Martin, Patrick Marleau and Conor Sheary and defenseman Zdeno Chara.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I can see the Stars bringing back Perry on another affordable one-year deal. A recent report claimed the San Jose Sharks could bring back Marleau. Thornton could also be back with the Sharks while Chara is expected to return with the Boston Bruins.

POTENTIAL CANADIENS TRADE CANDIDATES

TVA SPORTS: The Montreal Canadiens’ signing of winger Tyler Toffoli yesterday leaves the club sitting above the $81.5 million salary cap by over $353K. They’ll have to offload over $1 million to become cap compliant before the start of next season. Trade options could include Jordan Weal ($1.4 million), Paul Byron ($3.4 million) and Joel Armia ($2.6 million).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Byron has three seasons left on his contract. TVA Sports noted he has two 20-goal seasons on his resume but his production declined due to injuries over the last two seasons. His cap hit could make him the most difficult to move.

Armia or Weal are more affordable but they probably won’t have as much value as Byron in the trade market. The Canadiens have 14 picks in next year’s draft so perhaps one of those selections could be packaged with one of those players as a sweetener.

The Canadiens also have eight defensemen under NHL contract for next season. Brett Kulak surfaced in recent trade chatter so perhaps there might be a market for him. Kukak is signed through 2021-22 with an annual average value of $1.85 million.

BRUINS INTERESTED IN WEEGAR?

BOSTON HOCKEY NOW: Jimmy Murphy cites three sources claiming the Bruins have shown interest in MacKenzie Weegar. The rugged 26-year-old defenseman recently filed for salary arbitration. Word around the league is the Panthers have been shopping Weegar for some time.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Murphy points out Weegar’s a right-hand shot while the Bruins’ biggest need is a left-shot defenseman. He also wonders how the Bruins will address the departure of Torey Krug.










Alex Pietrangelo Signs With The Golden Knights

Alex Pietrangelo Signs With The Golden Knights

Sportsnet and TSN report Alex Pietrangelo has agreed to a seven-year, $61.6 million contract with the Vegas Golden Knights. The annual average value is $8.8 million. Elliotte Friedman reports the deal comes with a full no-movement clause.

Alex PIetrangelo has joined the Vegas Golden Knights (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: To the surprise of no one, the Golden Knights land the big fish in this year’s UFA pond. Pietrangelo, 30, is among the NHL’s elite defensemen who captained the St. Louis Blues to their first-ever Stanley Cup in 2019. His experience, leadership and all-around skills will provide a significant boost to their blue line.

The contract is expensive and lengthy, with an annual cap hit and a no-movement clause that could become burdensome for Vegas should Pietrangelo’s skills decline over the latter half of the deal. In the short term, however, his presence should keep the Golden Knights among the Cup contenders.

Cap Friendly reports Pietrangelo’s contract pushes the Golden Knights above the $81.5 million cap ceiling by over $6.9 million. They can sit over the cap by 10 percent during the offseason but must be cap compliant when the 2020-21 season opens sometime next year.

The Golden Knights have reportedly been trying to shed salary by shopping goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury ($7 million AAV through 2021-22) and defenseman Nate Schmidt ($5.95 million AAV through 2024-25). One of them, or perhaps someone else (Jonathan Marchessault?) could be playing elsewhere when the regular season begins.

**UPDATE** The Golden Knights didn’t take long to shed some salary, trading Nate Schmidt to the Vancouver Canucks for a 2021 third-round pick.