Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – August 7, 2022

Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – August 7, 2022

Should the Avalanche forget about bringing back Nazem Kadri? What are their options if they do? Should the Islanders trade Mathew Barzal to make room for Kadri? What’s the latest on Patrice Bergeron and David Krejci? Find out in the Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup.

SHOULD THE AVS SIGN KADRI OR CONSIDER OTHER OPTIONS?

THE DENVER POST: Mark Kiszla doesn’t blame Nazem Kadri for wanting top dollar on the open market. However, he points out that Colorado Avalanche president of hockey operations Joe Sakic doesn’t have a reputation for overpaying talent.

Former Colorado Avalanche center Nazem Kadri (NHL Images).

Kiszla suggests Kadri should fit in somewhere between Valeri Nichushkin’s $6.125 million annual cap hit and Gabriel Landeskog’s $7 million. He believes it would be foolish for the Avalanche to pay more than $26 million over four years for him. The Avs would also have to make a cost-cutting trade to fit him into their cap payroll for the coming season.

Sakic could opt instead to look outside the organization to replace Kadri. Former Avalanche center Paul Stastny remains available via free agency. Kiszla also suggested attempting to acquire Jonathan Toews from the Chicago Blackhawks sometime before next year’s trade deadline.

THE ATHLETIC: Peter Baugh also looked at possible options if the Avalanche can’t afford to bring back Kadri. Stastny, Sonny Milano and Evan Rodrigues remain on the open market plus he didn’t rule out going the rental player route at next year’s trade deadline.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Avalanche would love to bring back Kadri and he’d love to return but the cost of doing so is simply too much. They can’t afford him unless they ship out someone like Samuel Girard to free up the cap space and that’s apparently not something they want to do. So, they’ll either have to go with a more affordable option via free agency or the trade market or look within the organization.

The New York Post’s Larry Brooks reports that “the usual suspects” claim Kadri still seeks a long-term deal starting around $9 million annually. He believes that explains why he remains unsigned. Meanwhile, there’s been ongoing speculation linking Kadri to the Islanders. Speaking of which…

SHOULD THE ISLANDERS TRADE BARZAL TO MAKE ROOM FOR KADRI?

NYI HOCKEY NOW: Stefan Rosner believes the Islanders must soon decide if Mathew Barzal remains part of their future before it’s too late. The 25-year-old center becomes a restricted free agent with arbitration rights next summer and will also be a year away from UFA eligibility.

Barzal has said he views his long-term future with the Islanders but Rosner reminds us that John Tavares said the same thing before he signed with the Toronto Maple Leafs. He cited colleague Jimmy Murphy tweeting a hypothetical trade in which Barzal is traded to the Detroit Red Wings to clear cap space to sign Kadri.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Islanders general manager Lou Lamoriello could surprise us by trading Barzal to the Wings or another club and use the $7 million savings for 2022-23 to sign Kadri. However, I don’t see that scenario happening. Lamoriello can find other ways to shed sufficient salary for Kadri such as shopping Anthony Beauvillier or packaging Josh Bailey with a draft pick or prospect.

Trading Barzal would be a rather extreme measure on Lamoriello’s part. Since he wouldn’t want to take back much salary in return, he’d be getting pennies on the dollar for a gifted playmaking center in his playing prime just to make room for a soon-to-be 32-year-old center seeking big bucks on a long-term deal.

UPDATE ON BERGERON AND KREJCI

THE BOSTON GLOBE: Kevin Paul Dupont reports Patrice Bergeron and David Krejci technically remain unsigned. However, the word around town is Bruins general manager Don Sweeney remains confident they’re done deals with the veteran centers to sign on for one year.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Speculation since June has Bergeron and/or Krejci already having agreed to one-year contracts while Sweeney takes the time to determine how to fit the duo within his limited cap space. If so, the Bruins GM is taking a page from the Lamoriello playbook as the Isles GM has done the same thing in the recent past.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – August 4, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – August 4, 2022

The 2022-23 preseason schedule is released, the Devils avoid arbitration with Jesper Bratt, the Oilers re-sign Kailer Yamamoto, and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.

NHL.COM: The league released its 2022-23 preseason schedule. It begins on Saturday, Sept. 24 featuring the Ottawa Senators and Toronto Maple Leafs facing off in a split-squad doubleheader in Toronto.

On Oct. 3, the Nashville Predators will face SC Bern in Bern, Switzerland on Oct. 3 while the San Jose Sharks take on Eisbaren Berlin in Berlin, Germany, on Oct. 4 as part of the 2022 NHL Global Series. The Predators and Sharks will meet to play their regular-season openers on Oct. 7-8 in Prague, Czechia.

Twillingate, NL and Elsipogtog First Nation in New Brunswick will be hosting Kraft Hockeyville games between the Senators and Montreal Canadiens on Oct. 6 and 8 respectively.

New Jersey Devils winger Jesper Bratt (NHL Images).

The regular season opens in North America on Oct. 11.

NORTHJERSEY.COM: The New Jersey Devils and Jesper Bratt avoided arbitration at the last minute by agreeing to a one-year, $5.45 million contract. Bratt, 24, was asking for $6.5 million while the Devils sought $4.15 million.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Bratt will be a restricted free agent with arbitration rights again next summer. He tallied a career-high 73 points in 76 games last season. Another season with comparable numbers will put him in line for a more lucrative deal.

EDMONTON JOURNAL: The Oilers re-signed winger Kailer Yamamoto to a two-year contract worth an average annual value of $3.1 million. Yamamoto was scheduled for arbitration on Aug. 7.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Yamamoto’s getting a significant raise over the $1.175 million he earned last season. The 23-year-old two-way winger netted career highs with 20 goals, 21 assists and 41 points last season.

The move puts the Oilers above the $82.5 million salary cap by just over $6 million. They can exceed the cap by 10 percent during the offseason and are expected to place sidelined players Mike Smith and Oscar Klefbom ($6.3 million combined salary) on long-term injury reserve to be cap compliant to start the season. However, they still have Ryan McLeod to re-sign and that could force them to shed a salary via trade or waivers.

THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH: The Blue Jackets re-signed forward Emil Bemstrom to a two-year, $1.8 million contract.

COLORADO HOCKEY NOW: The Avalanche signed former Boston Bruins forward Anton Blidh to a one-year, two-way contract worth $750K at the NHL level.

DAILY FACEOFF: The Calgary Wranglers have been unveiled as the Flames’ new AHL affiliate. They were the Stockton Heat from 2015 to 2022.

NHL.COM: The Seattle Kraken hired Jeff Tambellini as their director of player development.










NHL Rumor Mill – August 1, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – August 1, 2022

Could the Avalanche consider Jonathan Toews as a potential replacement for Nazem Kadri? Are the Wild in the market for a forward? Find out in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.

COULD TOEWS MAKE A GOOD REPLACEMENT FOR KADRI ON AVS SECOND LINE?

COLORADO HOCKEY NOW: Adrian Dater recently mused over whether the Colorado Avalanche might consider Chicago Blackhawks center Jonathan Toews as a potential replacement for Nazem Kadri.

Chicago Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews (NHL Images).

Dater noted Toews’ comments last week about how he doesn’t consider the prospect of a lengthy rebuild with the Blackhawks to be very appealing. He also lamented the turnover of players on their roster over the past few years.

Toews’s contract would be a sticking point. He carries a $10.5 million cap hit for the coming season with a full no-movement clause. The Blackhawks would have to retain half of that cap hit, perhaps in a three-team deal.

The long-time Blackhawks captain is now 34 and his best seasons are behind him. However, Dater suggested that he could have a fine year playing on a good team, citing his faceoff skills, playoff experience and leadership.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Dater said he’s heard nothing that would indicate this could or will happen. Still, it’s an interesting suggestion. It’s anticipated Toews and long-time teammate Patrick Kane could be moved before the 2023 trade deadline. Both would likely prefer moving to a playoff contender.

Toews could be interested if the defending Stanley Cup champions came calling. Whether they will, however, is another matter. Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman last month said the Avs had looked into Kane’s availability leading up to last season’s trade deadline. He wondered if they might revisit their interest this season.

WILD SHOPPING FOR A FORWARD

THE ATHLETIC’s Michael Russo recently tweeted that Minnesota Wild general manager Bill Guerin continues to explore the trade market for a forward. If that doesn’t work out, he could turn to free agency. He’s also open to keeping that spot open for internal competition in training camp but doesn’t want a young forward being the 12th or 13th forward.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Wild have $4.3 million in cap space with 20 players under contract for the coming season. Free-agent options that might fit within their limited room include Sonny Milano, Evan Rodrigues, Tyler Motte or Zach Aston-Reese.










NHL Rumor Mill – July 28, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – July 28, 2022

A look at several proposed destinations for Nazem Kadri plus the Ducks might not be done making additions to their roster. Check it out in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.

WHERE COULD KADRI LAND?

ESPN.COM: Greg Wyshynski examined seven potential destinations for Nazem Kadri. The 31-year-old center is the top player still available among this summer’s unrestricted free agent class.

Colorado Avalanche center Nazem Kadri (NHL Images).

The New York Islanders, Seattle Kraken and Calgary Flames are among Wyshynski’s proposed destinations based on recent speculation, followed by the Boston Bruins, Ottawa Senators, and Detroit Red Wings. He also doesn’t rule out a possible return to the Colorado Avalanche.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Athletic’s Kevin Kurz recently reported the Islanders could be pursuing Kadri after losing out in the Johnny Gaudreau sweepstakes. They need a boost to their offense and, as Kurz and Wyshynski suggest, Mathew Barzal or Brock Nelson could shift from center to the wing to make way for Kadri.

Colorado Hockey Now’s Adrian Dater reported last week that Kadri has offers on the table. However, some are from non-contenders and he’s apparently not interested in signing with those teams. That would take the Kraken out of the running.

The Senators and Red Wings have improved following their recent offseason moves but Kadri might not see them as contenders. It’s believed the Senators are more focused on adding a top-four, right-side defenseman.

Unless the Bruins’ efforts to bring back Patrice Bergeron and David Krejci have fallen through I don’t see them bidding for Kadri. The Flames could try to sign him but he rejected a trade to Calgary three years ago and could still be averse to playing there.

Kadri was very receptive to staying with the Avalanche and they would’ve reportedly loved to bring him back. However, they’ve got limited cap space for the coming season and must ensure they’ve got sufficient long-term space for the big raise Nathan MacKinnon will be entitled to on his next contract. A return to the Avs isn’t in the cards for Kadri unless they shed a lot of salary or he accepts a low-cost one-year contract and goes to market again next summer.

THE DUCKS ARE STILL LOOKING TO ADD TO THEIR ROSTER

THE ATHLETIC: Eric Stephens recently reported Anaheim Ducks general manager Pat Verbeek isn’t done making additions to his rebuilding roster. Having signed forwards Ryan Strome and Frank Vatrano, Verbeek said he’d like to add another forward and a defenseman.

The Ducks remain under the $61 million salary-cap floor for the coming season. Stephens pointed out that John Klingberg remains available in the free agent market. P.K. Subban, Anton Stralman, Calvin de Haan and Ryan Murray are among more affordable stopgap options.

Blueline trade options could include Colorado’s Samuel Girard or Pittsburgh’s Marcus Pettersson. Others could include Carolina’s Ethan Bear or Sean Walker or Sean Durzi of the Los Angeles Kings.

Verbeek said he’s seeking shorter-term options on defense. He indicated he’ll look to the free agent market before going the trade route.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Girard has surfaced from time to time as a possible trade candidate. However, recent reports by Colorado Hockey Now’s Adrian Dater suggest the Avs don’t want to part with him.

Bear just signed a one-year contract with the Hurricanes but that doesn’t necessarily mean they won’t move him at some point. If Verbeek wants short-term blueline options he could pass on Pettersson and his $4.025 million cap hit through 2024-25.










NHL Rumor Mill – July 21, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – July 21, 2022

What are some possible trade destinations for Matthew Tkachuk? What’s the latest on Patrick Kane, Nazem Kadri and Samuel Girard? Find out in today’s NHL rumor mill.

WHERE WILL THE FLAMES TRADE MATTHEW TKACHUK?

THE ATHLETIC: In the wake of yesterday’s report regarding Matthew Tkachuk’s decision not to sign a long-term extension with the Calgary Flames, Hailey Salvian and Sean Gentille examined several possible trade destinations. It’s based in part on a list of teams with whom he would agree to sign a contract extension.

Calgary Flames winger Matthew Tkachuk (NHL Images).

The St. Louis Blues are often mentioned as the top destination for Tkachuk because he grew up in St. Louis and his family still lives there. Others include the Nashville Predators, Detroit Red Wings, New Jersey Devils, New York Islanders, Vegas Golden Knights and Dallas Stars.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Salvian and Gentille examined the pros and cons of each club. I’m going to offer up my brief take on each.

Before I begin, I believe the Flames aren’t looking to rebuild. They’ll seek a return that helps them remain a playoff contender in the coming season as well as for several seasons afterward. They’ll want at least one good young NHL player as part of a package deal that could also include a first-round pick and/or a top prospect.

Cap space is also important. Tkachuk will command over $9 million annually on his next contract. Some of the aforementioned teams lack the cap room to pull it off unless they’re sending a couple of salaried players to the Flames or making a cost-cutting move with another club to free up sufficient space to re-sign him.

The Blues are bumping against the $82.5 million cap. It could cost them winger Jordan Kyrou as part of the return. And no, I don’t see the Flames accepting Vladimir Tarasenko, who’s slated to become an unrestricted free agent next summer. He’s also older (30) and might not waive his no-trade clause.

After re-signing Filip Forsberg, the Predators have three forwards each earning at least $8 million annually on long-term deals. General manager David Poile could be reluctant to add a fourth. I don’t think they have a suitable young player to tempt the Flames. Sophomore Philip Tomasino has potential but he’s yet to fully display it.

The Red Wings have the cap space and plenty of promising youngsters to entice the Flames. However, I don’t see Wings GM Steve Yzerman parting with Lucas Raymond and he’s definitely not giving up Calder Trophy winner Moritz Seider. I also don’t consider Jakub Vrana or Tyler Bertuzzi (a UFA next summer) as centerpiece players for the Flames.

Islanders GM Lou Lamoriello needs a scoring winger to skate alongside playmaking center Mathew Barzal. However, the Flames could ask for Barzal in return. NYI Hockey Now’s Stefen Rosner points out the Isles lack prospect depth. He also shot down the notion of the Flames having an interest in forwards such as Anthony Beauvillier or Kieffer Bellows.

The Vegas Golden Knights love to make blockbuster moves. However, they’re over the cap already and I don’t see the Flames having any interest in William Karlsson or Jonathan Marchessault as part of the return. They recently had to move Max Pacioretty and Evgenii Dadonov in cost-cutting deals to remain cap compliant.

If the Stars want Tkachuk, they must part with rising star Jason Robertson. They also have $11 million in cap space with restricted free agent goaltender Jake Oettinger to re-sign. They need offense but I think GM Jim Nill will stick with the more affordable Robertson.

I think the Devils are the best fit. Winger Jesper Bratt could be a good return though he recently filed for salary arbitration. If he’s willing to accept a long-term deal from the Flames, there could be a deal there. The Flames would probably have an interest in a prospect such as Luke Hughes, Simon Nemec or Alexander Holtz as part of the return.

UPDATES ON PATRICK KANE, NAZEM KADRI AND SAMUEL GIRARD

TSN’s Darren Dreger tweeted he’s checked into recent trade speculation regarding Chicago Blackhawks star Patrick Kane. He said the winger’s camp remains undecided on his future so everything at this point is speculative.

COLORADO HOCKEY NOW: Adrian Dater reports former Avalanche center Nazem Kadri has offers on the table from several clubs but they’re either teams he doesn’t want to play for due to location, they lack contender status or both. Maybe a team or two that he wouldn’t mind playing for and would like to have him lacks the cap space to sign him.

Dater believes Kadri would love to return with the Avalanche but doesn’t think their offer is what the center hoped for. He puts the odds of Kadri returning to Colorado at 30-70 or maybe 20-80.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I’ve heard that Kadri was waiting for teams that had an interest in him to clear cap space to sign him. Whatever’s behind the holdup in signing him, it appears he might have to accept less than he hoped to get. He’ll still receive more than the $4.5 million AAV of his previous contract, but it probably won’t be anywhere near the $8 million per season that some observers predicted he’d get.

Dater also tweeted he’s not hearing that the Avs are shopping Samuel Girard. “Things can always change but I believe he’s staying.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Girard and his $5 million AAV came up as a trade option if the Avs wanted to shed salary to make room for Kadri.










NHL Rumor Mill – July 19, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – July 19, 2022

The latest speculation linking the Jets’ Pierre-Luc Dubois to the Canadiens plus updates on Blake Wheeler and Samuel Girard in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.

LATEST “DUBOIS-TO-CANADIENS’ SPECULATION

WINNIPEG SUN: Paul Friesen brings us up to speed on the speculation linking Jets center Pierre-Luc Dubois to the Montreal Canadiens.

Winnipeg Jets center Pierre-Luc Dubois (NHL Images).

First, there was word earlier in the off-season that the restricted free agent was only interested in a new contract taking him up to unrestricted free agent status in 2024. That was followed by Dubois’ agent indicating his client would love to play for the Canadiens one day.

Dubois reportedly attended the 2022 NHL Draft in Montreal anticipating a trade but Jets general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff sought a hefty return. The latest twist saw the 24-year-old center opting against salary arbitration, leaving him open to offer sheets from rival clubs. The Jets, meanwhile, didn’t file for club-elected arbitration.

It’s possible Dubois accepts his one-year, $6 million qualifying offer from the Jets by Friday’s deadline. He could reject it and attempt to negotiate a better deal.

MONTREAL HOCKEY NOW: Jimmy Murphy speculates Dubois could stage a contract holdout. It could put more pressure on Cheveldayoff to work out a trade with Canadiens GM Kent Hughes.

Murphy’s colleague Marco D’Amico assumed the Jets asked the Canadiens for Nick Suzuki or Cole Caufield as part of the return for Dubois. That would be a no-go for the Canadiens, but he wondered if recently-acquired center Kirby Dach might be a trade chip that entices the Jets.

MONTREAL GAZETTE: Jack Todd doesn’t see the Canadiens parting with Suzuki, Caufield or a promising prospect such as Kaiden Guhle. He believes if Hughes was really interested in Dubois he wouldn’t have gone through so much trouble to acquire Dach from the Chicago Blackhawks.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Friesen recommends that Cheveldayoff put his best offer on the table and let Dubois accept it by the December deadline or sit out the season. The only leverage Dubois has now is to withhold his services but that’s not going to help his trade value or reputation.

Cheveldayoff doesn’t seem interested in trading Dubois this summer unless he gets an irresistible offer. It’s assumed he’ll sign the center to a one-year contract and spend the coming season trying to convince him to ink a long-term deal next summer.

Dubois will once again become an RFA with arbitration rights at season’s end but will also be a year away from UFA eligibility. If he remains uninterested in staying with the Jets, that’s when Cheveldayoff will likely put more emphasis on moving him.

It’s possible Dubois gets an offer sheet from another club but don’t look for one from the Canadiens. They’re bumping against the $82.5 million cap ceiling and face ongoing uncertainty over the status of Carey Price for the coming season.

UPDATES ON WHEELER AND GIRARD

WINNIPEG SUN: Speaking of the Jets, Friesen’s colleague Scott Billeck reports their best opportunity to trade captain Blake Wheeler’s contract was prior to free agency opening last Wednesday.

Management, however, was stubborn and insisted on interested parties picking up Wheeler’s full $8.25 million cap hit over the two years remaining on his contract. As a result, the market for the 35-year-old winger has cooled.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: In other words, Wheeler’s not going anywhere unless Cheveldayoff can find someone to take that full cap hit off the Jets’ hands. Good luck with that now that most teams have used up their cap space in the free-agent market.

NYI HOCKEY NOW: Stefen Rosner took note of the Colorado Avalanche’s efforts to bring back free-agent center Nazem Kadri. Because of their limited salary-cap space, Colorado Hockey Now’s Adrian Dater suggested Samuel Girard could be a cost-cutting trade candidate. The 24-year-old defenseman is signed through 2026-27 with an average annual value of $5 million.

Rosner suggested the Islanders attempt to acquire Girard. Dater believes the Avs’ asking price would be a first-round pick but Rosner believes they’re not in a position to get too picky.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Dater has since tweeted that he doubted Girard gets traded pointing to his value to the Avs. After subsequently speaking with three sources, he now believes there’s a lesser chance of Kadri returning to Colorado.