NHL Rumor Mill – April 28, 2020

NHL Rumor Mill – April 28, 2020

Check out recent speculation on the Canadiens, Rangers, and Sharks in today’s NHL rumor mill.


SPORTSNET: In a recent mailbag segment, Eric Engels was asked about backup goaltender options for the Montreal Canadiens. The Dallas Stars’ Anton Khudobin a prime target but would the Canadiens pay more than the $2.5 million AAV he currently earns when they’re paying Carey Price $10.5 million annually? Engels thinks they have the cap flexibility to do it.

Engels felt the Canadiens should consider trading Brett Kulak because they’ve got Alexander Romanov coming next season. Kulak’s affordable contract ($1.85 million AAV through 2021-22) could net the Habs some help elsewhere on the roster. He also feels it’s all but assured winger Ilya Kovalchuk rejoins the Canadiens in the off-season as an unrestricted free agent.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I also believe the Canadiens should make a serious effort to sign Khudobin. They need a skilled, experienced backup to spell off Price over the next couple of seasons under promising Cayden Primeau is fully ready for prime time.

Kulak might not fetch much, but with some teams potentially looking to shed salary under a possible flat cap next season, maybe he could fetch a decent depth player. Kovalchuk should be an affordable, short-term signing on a one-year, bonus-laded deal.

TVA SPORTS: Jean-Charles Lajoie still believes the Canadiens should bring back former Hab Mikhail Sergachev by signing the young Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman to an offer sheet.

Should the Rangers buy out Henrik Lundqvist if the NHL allows for amnesty buyouts in the off-season? (Photo via NHL Images)

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Lightning has over $76 million invested in 16 players for next season, which explains why Sergachev could be a tempting offer-sheet target. However, that’s assuming he’s willing to listen to offers from rival clubs. If he’s not, it’ll be a waste of time. Besides, it’s assumed the Lightning could move a veteran like Alex Killorn in the off-season to make room to re-sign Sergachev.


NEW YORK POST: In a recent mailbag segment, Larry Brooks was asked If Henrik Lundqvist or Marc Staal would be the target of an amnesty buyout if the league allows such buyouts before next season. Buying out Lundqvist would free up $8.5 million for next season, compared to $5.7 million for Staal. “Sentiment aside, I do not think this would be a difficult choice,” replied Brooks.

Brooks admitted the possibility Lias Andersson could be in the Rangers’ 2020 training camp, but it would require a lot of work to breach the differences between the unhappy young winger and the organization, particularly with head coach David Quinn. He felt Andersson could be traded in the off-season as part of a bigger deal.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: If amnesty buyouts are permitted this off-season, shedding Lundqvist’s cap hit makes the most sense. It would be a sad way for his career with the Blueshirts to end, but this is a business decision that would allow them salary-cap flexibility for 2020-21. As for Andersson, I’ll be surprised if he’s still with the Rangers’ organization next season.


THE MERCURY NEWS: In a recent mailbag segment, Curtis Pashelka was asked if Martin Jones would keep his job as the San Jose Sharks’ starting goalie next season. His guess is Jones will be back, but he also felt the Sharks must seek a goalie with NHL experience who can play 35-40 games. Braden Holtby could be out of their price range, but perhaps Robin Lehner or Cam Talbot fits the bill. Pashelka also doesn’t rule out Aaron Dell returning if Lehner or Talbot proves too expensive.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Holtby will be in the market for a lucrative long-term deal. Lehner could be more affordable, but he’ll also want some long-term security. Talbot might be the best option, but I wouldn’t be surprised if he remains with the Flames.

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 27, 2020

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 27, 2020

The NHL community mourns the death of former NBA star Kobe Bryant, plus the latest on Jeff Skinner, Anthony Duclair and more in today’s morning coffee headlines.

THE SCORE: The NHL community took to social media yesterday mourning the death of former NBA star Kobe Bryant and his daughter, Gianna, in a helicopter crash in California. Wayne Gretzky, Alex Ovechkin, Henrik Lundqvist, Martin Brodeur, P.K. Subban, and Mitch Marner were among those expressing their condolences to Bryant’s family on Twitter yesterday.

Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin is among a number of people in the NHL community mourning the sudden death of former NBA star Kobe Bryant (Photo via NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: My sympathies to Bryant’s family, friends, and former teammates.

Marner and Toronto Maple Leafs teammate Frederik Andersen voiced their support for the establishment of a viable professional women’s hockey league. “A lot of those players are great players, and to see them not in a league right now is disappointing,” Marner said. “I really hope they get a league back up and running.”

Ottawa Senators winger and All-Star representative Anthony Duclair hopes to stay in Ottawa and help the rebuilding club. “When the change is gonna happen, when Ottawa’s gonna become a contender, I want to be part of that,” Duclair added. “So I’m working as hard as I can.” Duclair is a restricted free agent this summer with arbitration rights, but there have been no contract talks thus far with Senators management.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Duclair rejuvenated his sagging NHL career with the Senators. General manager Pierre Dorion’s focus is on his unrestricted free agents, like center Jean-Gabriel Pageau. I daresay contract talks with Duclair will commence at some point following the end of the regular season. Given how well he’s played since coming to Ottawa last season, I expect they’ll try to keep him.

WGR 550: Buffalo Sabres winger Jeff Skinner returned to practice yesterday for the first time since suffering an upper-body injury on Dec. 27. He could be in the lineup when the Sabres face the Senators on Tuesday.

STLTODAY.COM: Blues defenseman Colton Parayko will return to action tonight after missing seven games with an upper-body injury. Winger Sammy Blais (wrist injury) could also be back. The Blues also placed winger Troy Brouwer on waivers yesterday.

THE ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER: The Anaheim Ducks recalled forward Troy Terry from his AHL conditioning stint.

NEW YORK POST: The Rangers have loaned forward Lias Andersson to Swedish club HV71. Andersson had left the Rangers’ AHL affiliate last month and requested a trade, but there appears to be a thaw in the relationship between the 21-year-old forward and Rangers’ management.


Updates on NHL Players Who Have Requested Trades This Season

Updates on NHL Players Who Have Requested Trades This Season


NHL Rumor Mill – January 10, 2020

NHL Rumor Mill – January 10, 2020

Updates on the Penguins, Rangers, and Canadiens in today’s NHL rumor mill.


TSN: Pierre LeBrun reports the Pittsburgh Penguins are talking to teams again about moving winger Alex Galchenyuk. They’d like a draft pick or a bottom-six forward in return because that’s the role Galchenyuk’s filling with them, one that’s not suited for his skills.

Bob McKenzie reports replacing sidelined winger Jake Guentzel remains the priority for Penguins general manager Jim Rutherford. It’s assumed he’ll look at rental players like the Rangers’ Chris Kreider or the LA Kings’ Tyler Toffoli. However, McKenzie said Rutherford could seek a hockey trade by moving players off his roster to acquire a top-six forward signed beyond this season.

PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE: Jason Mackey reports Rutherford could free up cap space by placing Guentzel’s $6 million annual average salary on long-term injury reserve for the remainder of the season. He could also attempt shopping Galchenyuk ($4.9 million) or Nick Bjugstad ($4.1 million).

Could the Pittsburgh Penguins take another run at acquiring Minnesota Wild winger Jason Zucker? (Photo via NHL Images)

It’s hard to imagine Rutherford getting much in return for Galchenyuk, leading Mackey to speculate the Pens might have to part with draft picks and/or prospects, perhaps even their 2020 first-round pick. He listed Kreider, Toffoli, Chicago’s Brandon Saad, or Ottawa’s Jean-Gabriel Pageau as trade targets.

PITTSBURGH HOCKEY NOW: cited a report from The Athletic’s Michael Russo indicating the Penguins have renewed interest in Minnesota Wild winger Jason Zucker. They attempted to acquire Zucker last spring in exchange for Phil Kessel but the latter nixed the deal. TSN’s Bob McKenzie suggested Kings winger Tyler Toffoli as another trade option for the Penguins.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Rutherford will do something before the deadline. With his club playing well despite their injury-depleted roster, he can take his time finding a suitable deal. I think he’ll try moving out Galchenyuk and/or Bjugstad, perhaps to bring in that top-six winger like Saad or Zucker with term on his contract. That could involve packaging his first-round pick in the deal.

Zucker is nearing a return to action after being sidelined by a broken leg since Dec. 17. His availability will depend upon where the Wild are in the standings and if GM Bill Guerin is willing to part with him for the right offer.

It was Guerin’s predecessor Paul Fenton who nearly shipped Zucker to Pittsburgh for Kessel. Fenton was also close to sending Zucker to Calgary at last year’s trade deadline. Guerin, however, could decide Zucker’s worth retaining, especially if the Wild remain in the playoff chase by the trade deadline.


TSN: Darren Dreger said reports are suggesting New York Rangers forward Lias Andersson is potentially dealing with mental health issues. He and his agent denied this, indicating he’s to undergo a minor surgical procedure on his foot. Unhappy over his role with the Rangers, Andersson returned to Sweden last month and requested a trade.

Bob McKenzie reports the Rangers are receiving calls on Andersson. They’re prepared to move him before the Feb. 24 trade deadline if they get the right prospect in return. They’re less interested in a draft pick. They also don’t want to be hasty moving Andersson to avoid sending the wrong message that they’ll trade players in their system who pack up and go home.

NEW YORK POST: Larry Brooks reports Rangers management is staying mum on Andersson’s situation, their three-goaltender system, and potential decisions on pending UFAs Chris Kreider and Jesper Fast and RFAs Tony DeAngelo, Ryan Strome, and Alexandar Georgiev. It’s believed Andersson hasn’t spoken with the Rangers since his suspension for walking out on their AHL affiliate in Hartford. Brooks said there’s an extreme disconnect between the young forward’s self-evaluation and the Rangers’ assessment of his status and performance

Brooks also reports DeAngelo could put the Rangers in salary-cap hell next season. The 24-year-old defenseman is on pace for a 69-point performance this season. Forced to accept a one-year, $925k contract last summer, DeAngelo has salary-arbitration rights this summer.

Brooks suggests Calgary Flames defenseman Rasmus Andersson’s new contract (six years, $4.55-million per season) as a comparable, wondering how high DeAngelo’s asking price could go. He also thinks Ryan Strome’s play this season could push the winger into the $5-$6 million per season range.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Andersson’s made cryptic statements to the Swedish media regarding his time within the Rangers’ organization. He said many incidents disturbed him, leading one journalist to speculate the young forward was bullied. It seems there are irreconcilable differences between Andersson and Rangers’ management. If he’s not moved before the trade deadline, he’ll likely get traded in the offseason.

Cap Friendly indicates the Rangers have over $66.7 million invested in 15 players for 2020-21. At DeAngelo’s current rate of production, he could seek over $5 million annually on his next contract. Given his age and value to the Rangers’ blueline, they can’t afford to lose him. It could force the Rangers to part ways with Kreider and Fast.


TSN: Darren Dreger yesterday told TSN Radio 690 that the conversation around the league that the Montreal Canadiens aren’t thinking about a complete rebuild, nor are they interested in doing so soon. Pierre LeBrun believes Habs management will decide their plans for the remainder of the season during their Jan. 20 bye week.

If they haven’t gained ground in the standings by then, LeBrun feels they could become sellers. If recently-acquired winger Ilya Kovalchuk continues playing well, LeBrun thinks he could be flipped at the trade deadline.

SPECTOR’ S NOTE: Barring a stunning reversal of fortune, the Canadiens will be sellers leading up to the Feb. 24 trade deadline. Pending UFAs like Kovalchuk, Nate Thompson, and Marco Scandella are the most likely trade candidates.

Don’t expect high-priced talent like Carey Price and Shea Weber to be going anywhere. I also don’t see them shopping RFA Max Domi. He’s well-liked within the organization, loves playing in Montreal, and among their few skilled veteran forwards. Maybe they try shopping Tomas Tatar, who’s a year away from UFA eligibility.

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 9, 2020

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 9, 2020

Auston Matthews sets an NHL record for American-born players, Logan Couture sidelined, the Flames re-sign Rasmus Andersson, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.


NHL.COM: Toronto Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews became the first American-born player to score 30 goals in each of his first four NHL seasons in a 4-3 shootout loss to the Winnipeg Jets. Matthews reached the milestone by scoring twice against the Jets, who took the game on Blake Wheeler’s game-winner. With the win, the Jets hold the first wild-card berth (52 points) in the Western Conference. Before the game, Leafs defenseman Morgan Rielly admitted he’s been playing through a lower-body injury this season.

Toronto Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews is the first American-born player to score 30 goals in each of his first four NHL seasons (Photo via NHL Images).

Kevin Hayes’ shorthanded second-period goal proved to be the game-winner as the Philadelphia Flyers held off the Washington Capitals 3-2, snapping a four-game losing skid.

The Dallas Stars picked up their fifth straight win by edging the Los Angeles Kings 2-1. Anton Khudobin made 30 saves while Jamie Benn and Blake Comeau scored within 37 seconds in the second period.


NBC SPORTS BAY AREA: San Jose Sharks captain Logan Couture reportedly fractured an ankle during his club’s 3-2 loss to the St. Louis Blues on Tuesday. He’s listed as week-to-week and could be sidelined for at least six weeks.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Losing their leading scorer could be the death blow to the Sharks’ fading playoff hopes.

CHICAGO SUN-TIMES: Blackhawks goaltender Robin Lehner is ready to return from a knee injury, but center Dylan Strome will miss at least one game with a sprained ankle.

THE ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER: Despite Corey Perry’s suspension, the Anaheim Ducks still intend to honor his tenure with the club during tonight’s game against the Dallas Stars. Perry spent 14 seasons with the Ducks, helping them win the Stanley Cup in 2007 and winning Hart and Maurice Richard trophies in 2011. He signed with the Stars last summer after the Ducks bought out his contract.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Perry’s chippy style of play aside, he was one of the best players in Ducks’ history. He sits second in games-played (988) and goals (372) and third in assists (404) and points (776). For a time, he was also among the league’s elite scorers.

TWINCITIES.COM: Minnesota Wild defenseman Matt Dumba donated $11.2K to help with Australia’s wildfire relief. He spent over two weeks last spring touring the country’s east coast and credits the experience with helping him mentally overcome a pectoral injury that cost him half of last season.

CALGARY SUN: The Flames re-signed defenseman Rasmus Andersson to a six-year contract extension worth an annual average value of $4.55 million.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Andersson, 23, has quickly established himself as a key member of the Flames’ defense corps. This is a good move by management, locking him into a long-term deal that could become a bargain as he continues his development as a top-pairing rearguard.

TSN: Montreal Canadiens forward Nick Cousins was fined over $2,600.00 for boarding Detroit Red Wings defenseman Mike Green.

New York Rangers defenseman Ryan Lindgren won’t face supplemental discipline for his hit on Colorado Avalanche winger Joonas Donskoi.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Maybe the department of player safety decided he suffered enough punishment after getting his butt kicked by Nazem Kadri following that hit.

TRIBLIVE.COM: The Pittsburgh Penguins placed Joseph Blandisi on waivers.

STLTODAY.COM: Blues goaltender Jordan Binnington has agreed to a shootout challenge with pop star Justin Bieber with the proceeds going to a charity of the winner’s choice. It appears the challenge will take place during the offseason.

MLIVE.COM: Detroit Red Wings fans sang “O Canada” prior to Tuesday’s game against the Montreal Canadiens after the anthem singer’s microphone malfunctioned.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Classy move by Wings fans.

Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – December 29, 2019

Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – December 29, 2019

The latest on Chris Kreider, Tyler Toffoli, Brandon Saad, and more in the Sunday NHL rumor roundup.


SPORTSNET (via KUKLA’S KORNER): With Taylor Hall no longer available, Elliotte Friedman reports Chris Kreider is now the big name in the trade market. He claims contenders such as the Colorado Avalanche, Boston Bruins, St. Louis Blues, and Pittsburgh Penguins are believed to be interested in the New York Rangers winger.

With Taylor Hall off the trade market, there’s interest in New York Rangers winger Chris Kreider (Photo via NHL Images).

Friedman recalls the Rangers didn’t move pending free agents Kevin Hayes and Mats Zuccarello last season until close to the trade deadline. They’re a better team this year and Kreider likes being a Ranger. Teams don’t believe the winger’s available right now, but they’re waiting to see if there will be a change in his trade status.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Rangers’ performance in January could determine Kreider’s immediate future. If they’re in playoff contention, they might hang onto him for the remainder of the schedule. If there’s no progress in the standings or his contract discussions, they’ll put him on the block and see what they can get.

With Hall gone and the Rangers possibly holding onto Kreider, Friedman wonders if someone will try to move quickly on winger Tyler Toffoli from the Los Angeles Kings.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Toffoli’s stock could rise if the Rangers are reluctant to move Kreider. Like Kreider, Toffoli’s an unrestricted free agent in July, and there’s no indication he and the Kings are progressing toward a contract extension. The Boston Bruins have reportedly had an interest in him for the past two seasons.

The Chicago Blackhawks recently announced Brandon Saad is expected to be sidelined for three more weeks with an ankle injury. Friedman believes there was some interest in him before his injury. Once he’s healthy, some teams could take a look at Saad, even though he’s got a year remaining on his contract.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Saad lacks no-trade protection this season, but he carries an expensive annual average value of $6 million. They have over $72.5 million invested in 15 players for 2020-21 with goaltenders Robin Lehner and Corey Crawford, center Dylan Strome, and defenseman Erik Gustafsson among their notable free agents. Saad could be moved in a cost-cutting deal if the Blackhawks get a solid return of draft picks and prospects.

The Rangers also intend to be patient with unhappy Lias Andersson. The 21-year-old forward has requested a trade, but the Blueshirts don’t intend to move him for the sake of it. Just because Andersson wants out doesn’t mean they intend to move swiftly.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The New York Post’s Larry Brooks yesterday reported there’s been little interest in Andersson, the seventh-overall pick in the 2017 NHL Draft. Even though the Rangers have little leverage in trade discussions, Brooks said they’re not going to necessarily bite on the first offer they receive.

The Buffalo Sabres are looking to move an extra defenseman and the New Jersey Devils are looking for blueline help.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Sabres are said to be looking for help for their forward lines. They’ll want a forward (preferably a center) for one of their blueliners. Earlier this month, Friedman said the Devils were shopping Miles Wood. Maybe there’s a fit there.