NHL Rumor Mill – July 30, 2020

NHL Rumor Mill – July 30, 2020

The latest Islanders and Coyotes speculation plus an update on Jesse Puljujarvi in today’s NHL rumor mill.

THE ATHLETIC (subscription required): Before the New York Islanders facing the New York Rangers in yesterday’s exhibition game, Arthur Staple took questions from Isles fans in a live chat.

New York Islanders goaltender Semyon Varlamov (NHL Images).

Asked about possible cost-cutting measures for the cap-strapped club, Staple doubts anyone will trade for Semyon Varlamov. The goaltender has three years left on his contract with an annual average value of $5 million.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Staple indicted former Isles goalie Robin Lehner would be available via free agency for perhaps the same price. Unless general manager Lou Lamoriello is willing to include a sweetener, I don’t see Varlamov being moved. They plan to let Thomas Greiss depart via free agency and have Varlamov tutor promising Ilya Sorokin.

Staple suggests Nick Leddy could be the Islanders’ best trade chip. The defenseman has two years remaining on his contract with an AAV of $5.5 million. Others could include blueliner Johnny Boychuk and perhaps Josh Bailey. He felt they would have to include a first-round pick if they hope to move winger Andrew Ladd.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Ladd was almost moved to Minnesota for Zach Parise at the trade deadline but that deal fell through. Given the new economic landscape, I doubt they’ll revisit that plan.

Leddy lacks no-trade protection and has a reasonable cap hit but his actual salary could be a sticking point. It rises to $6.5 million next season and $7 million in 2021-22. Injuries are taking a toll on Boychuk, who has a modified no-trade clause and a $6 million AAV through 2021-22. Bailey’s AAV is $5 million through 2023-24.

Staples doesn’t expect a rival club attempting to sign Mathew Barzal to an offer sheet.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Never say never, but it’ll have to be a monstrous offer to make Lamoriello walk away. It’s possible but unlikely, and Lamoriello will do everything he can to match it.

THE HOCKEY NEWS: Ryan Kennedy wondered what’s in store for the Arizona Coyotes under interim GM Steve Sullivan. His most pressing matter is re-signing Taylor Hall before the winger becomes eligible for unrestricted free-agent status at the season’s end.

Kennedy speculates Hall could test the market before deciding what to do. Sullivan and the Coyotes’ ownership must decide if re-signing the 28-year-old winger to an expensive, long-term deal is in their best interests.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’ll take a heckuva sell job on Sullivan’s part to convince Hall to stay, especially if they get eliminated from their upcoming qualifying-round series by the Nashville Predators.

Cap Friendly indicates they have over $79.9 million invested in 17 players next season. They’ll get $5.275 million in cap relief by placing all-but-retired Marian Hossa on long-term injury reserve, but that’s not enough to re-sign Hall and fill out the rest of the roster.

EDMONTON JOURNAL: David Staples observed a report out of Finland suggesting winger Jesse Puljujarvi indicated he recently had a “good and constructive” conference call with Oilers GM Ken Holland and coach Dave Tippett. The young winger isn’t ruling out returning to the club next season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: A restricted free agent, Puljujarvi spent this season playing in Finland hoping the Oilers would honor a trade request. Holland didn’t budge, leaving the young forward to re-examine his position.

Puljujarvi wants to return to the NHL and it appears he’s accepted his share of the responsibility for his poor play. However, we still have to wait and see if this means he’ll be returning to the Oilers next season.










NHL Injury Outlook – The First Bye Week

NHL Injury Outlook – The First Bye Week

 










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 5, 2019

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 5, 2019

The Leafs re-sign Cody Ceci and Alex Kerfoot, the Canadiens ink Ben Chiarot, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

TORONTO SUN: The Maple Leafs yesterday re-signed restricted free agents Cody Ceci and Alex Kerfoot. Ceci inked a one-year, $4.5-million contract while Kerfoot agreed to a four-year, $14-million deal. 

The Toronto Maple Leafs re-signed defenseman Cody Ceci to a one-year contract (Photo via NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Good cost-effective moves by the Leafs, who acquired Ceci and Kerfoot via trades on Monday. Cap Friendly indicates they have over $3.76 million in salary-cap space, with Mitch Marner still to be re-signed.

The Leafs are allowed to exceed the $81.5-million salary cap by 10 percent during the off-season. If necessary, they can place permanently sidelined Nathan Horton ($5.3 million) on long-term injury reserve. They can do the same with sidelined players Zach Hyman and Travis Dermott until they’re ready to return to the lineup later in the fall. The Leafs could also bury a couple of contracts in the minors for the start of the season.

Bear in mind the Leafs must be cap compliant when Hyman and Dermott return to the roster. It could also complicate efforts to call up players during the season. They could be forced to make another cost-cutting deal before the end of the year.

MONTREAL GAZETTE: The Canadiens yesterday signed unrestricted free agent Ben Chiarot to a three-year, $10.5-million contract. The annual average value is $3.5 million. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: A solid addition to the Canadiens blueline. Chiarot is a big-bodied defenseman who was among the Winnipeg Jets’ leaders in hits and blocked shots last season while averaging over 18 minutes of ice time per game. He’ll bolster their depth on the left side. With over $8.4 million in cap space, the Habs have room to add a forward or another defenseman. 

OTTAWA SUN: The Senators signed defenseman Christian Wolanin to a two-year, $1.8-million contract extension. 

SPORTSNET: The Carolina Hurricanes inked forward Brian Gibbons to a one-year, two-way contract worth $725K at the NHL level 

NHL.COM: The Vancouver Canucks signed right wing Justin Bailey to a one-year, two-way deal 

VANCOUVER SUN: The Canucks also shuffled their amateur scouting department. 










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 24, 2019

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 24, 2019

Game recaps, Bruins and Jets clinch playoff berths, Bruins re-sign Zdeno Chara, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: The Boston Bruins clinched a postseason spot by thumping the Florida Panthers 7-3. Bruins captain Zdeno Chara had a big day, becoming the 22nd defenseman in NHL history to reach 200 career goals and re-signing a one-year contract extension. The new deal is worth $2 million in base salary plus $1.75 million in performance bonuses. Meanwhile, the Bruins got some bad news earlier in the day when it was revealed Sean Kuraly will be sidelined a month with a fracture in his right hand.

Boston Bruins re-sign captain Zdeno Chara to a one-year extension (Photo via NHL Images)

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Chara’s new contract is a reasonable one for both sides. The Bruins keep their captain in the fold for another season to maintain stability and leadership on their blueline. Chara gets a fair deal for a player of his declining (but still effective) skills.

The move also provides the Bruins with salary-cap flexibility. With over $68.6 million invested in 19 players, that should provide sufficient room to re-sign restricted free agents Charlie McAvoy, Brandon Carlo, and Danton Heinen, who are all coming off entry-level contracts. 

The Winnipeg Jets (94 points) secured a playoff berth by blanking the Nashville Predators 5-0. Kyle Connor netted a hat trick while Connor Hellebuyck turned aside 33 shots for the shutout. The Jets also hold a four-point lead over the Predators for the top spot in the Central Division.

Mark Giordano had a goal and two assists to give the Calgary Flames a 3-1 victory over the Vancouver Canucks. Giordano now has points in seven straight games. The Flames (101 points) have a six-point lead over the San Jose Sharks for first place in the Pacific Division and the overall Western Conference standings.

The Colorado Avalanche (80 points) moved ahead of the Arizona Coyotes into the final Western Conference wild-card berth by defeating the Chicago Blackhawks 4-2. Colin Wilson had a goal and an assist for the Avs, while the Blackhawks (74 points) slip six points behind Colorado. The Avs played without winger Mikko Rantanen, who sat out the game with an undisclosed injury and will miss today’s contest against the Hawks.

The Arizona Coyotes (79 points) dropped one point out of the final wild-card spot in the Western Conference by falling 2-1 to the New Jersey Devils in a shootout. Pavel Zacha tallied the winner for the Devils. The Coyotes are winless in their last four contests.

Josh Bailey scored twice, including the go-ahead goal, as the New York Islanders doubled up the Philadelphia Flyers 4-2. The Islanders (93 points) move within one of the Washington Capitals for first place in the Metropolitan Division while the Flyers (80 points) are seven points out of a playoff berth in the East.

The Carolina Hurricanes (89 points) remain two ahead of the Montreal Canadiens for the first wild-card spot in the East by defeating the Minnesota Wild 5-1. Teuvo Teravainen had a goal and two assists for the Hurricanes, while the Wild (79 points) slip one behind the Avalanche in the Western Conference wild-card chase. Wild winger Zach Parise missed the game with a lower-body injury.

Brendan Gallagher, Max Domi, and Tomas Tatar each had three-point performances as the Montreal Canadiens beat the Buffalo Sabres 7-4. With the win, the Canadiens (87 points) hold a three-point lead over the Columbus Blue Jackets for the final Eastern wild-card spot. Gallagher tallied his career-high 33rd goal of the season. The Sabres are now officially eliminated from postseason contention.

Vladimir Tarasenko and Brayden Schenn each had a goal and an assist as the St. Louis Blues held off the Tampa Bay Lightning 4-3. With 88 points, the Blues sit two back of the Predators for second in the Central Division. Lightning center Brayden Point scored his 40th of the season.

The Pittsburgh Penguins (93 points) remain tied with the Islanders for second in the Metro Division after nipping the Dallas Stars 3-2. Jared McCann scored twice for the Penguins, including the game-winner in the third period. The Stars (82 points) sit two points above the Avalanche in the first wild-card spot in the West. Stars center Jason Spezza was a healthy scratch for the second time in a week.

The New York Rangers upset the Toronto Maple Leafs 2-1 on an overtime goal by Ryan Strome. Despite the victory, the Rangers are officially eliminated from playoff contention. The Leafs (94 points) have won just four of their last 10 games.

Anthony Mantha scored twice, including the winner in overtime, as the Detroit Red Wings surprised the Vegas Golden Knights 3-2, snapping the latter’s four-game winning streak. Vegas sits five points behind the Sharks in the Pacific Division. Wings defenseman Jonathan Ericsson missed the game with a lower-body injury.

Ottawa Senators goaltender Craig Anderson made 26 saves to pick up his first victory since Dec. 17 by edging the Edmonton Oilers 4-3. Brady Tkachuk tallied two goals, including the winner in overtime. The Oilers (74 points) are six points behind the Avalanche for the final Western playoff spot. A lingering back injury prevented Senators forward Zack Smith from playing in this game.

Speaking of the Oilers and Senators, Ken Hitchcock is receptive to the idea of returning behind the Edmonton bench next season. Meanwhile, the Senators confirm their intention to hire a president of hockey operations to provide assistance to general manager Pierre Dorion, who continues to have the full support of team owner Eugene Melnyk.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Remains to be seen if the eventual new Oilers general manager wants Hitchcock back. He might prefer bringing in his own bench boss. As for a new hockey ops president for the Senators, that move will take some of the burdens off Dorion, allowing him to focus on rebuilding the roster.

The Los Angeles Kings downed the Anaheim Ducks 4-3 on a shootout goal by Anze Kopitar.

NBC SPORTS: Columbus Blue Jackets goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky has been dealing with an upper-body injury that’s been bothering him for a while. His status for today’s game against the Vancouver Canucks remains unclear.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Bad enough for the Blue Jackets to be slumping when they’re trying to secure a wild-card spot. Having their starting goalie hampered by an injury makes matters potentially worse. 

DENVER POST: NHL referee and Colorado native Brad Watson has retired after 23 seasons. He worked 214 playoff games and eight Stanley Cup Finals.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Best wishes to Watson in his retirement. 

 










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 16, 2018

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 16, 2018

Former goaltender Ray Emery has passed away, an update on Joe Pavelski and the latest notable contract signings in your NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: Former goaltender Ray Emery, died by drowning in Hamilton, Ontario yesterday. He was 35. Emery spent 11 seasons in the NHL, playing for the Ottawa Senators, Anaheim Ducks, Chicago Blackhawks and Philadelphia Flyers.

Emery backstopped the Senators to the 2007 Stanley Cup Final. He was also a two-time Masterton Trophy finalist, shared the William M. Jennings Trophy with Corey Crawford and won a Stanley Cup with the Chicago Blackhawks in 2013. 

Former NHL goaltender Ray Emery passes away at age 35. (Photo via NHL.com)

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Very sad news for the hockey community.The day before his death, Emery had taken part in a local charity game to raise money to feed hungry children in the community.

Emery had his ups and downs during his NHL career, especially during his tenure with the Senators. However, he was well-liked by teammates, opponents and fans, as the tributes continue to pour in honoring his memory. 

NBC SPORTS: San Jose Sharks captain Joe Pavelski finished third at the American Century Championship golf tournament. 

THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH: The Blue Jackets re-signed forward Oliver Bjorkstrand to a three-year contract worth $7.5 million. The annual salary-cap hit is $2.5 million. Bjorkstrand, 23, tallied a career-best 40 points last season.

MONTREAL GAZETTE: The Canadiens avoided salary arbitration with Phillip Danault, inking him to a three-year, $9.249-million contract. The annual average value is $3.083 million.

NHL.COM: The Los Angeles Kings signed defenseman Kurtis MacDermid to a two-year, two-way contract.

SPORTSNET: The Buffalo Sabres signed forward Justin Bailey to a one-year, two-way contract. 

CBS SPORTS: The Anaheim Ducks inked left wing Kevin Roy to a one-year, two-way deal. 

 











NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 23, 2018

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 23, 2018

Game recaps, Rangers trade Grabner to Devils, Bruins ship Vatrano to Panthers. Details and more in your NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.com: Auston Matthews game-tying goal set the stage for Tyler Bozak’s shootout winner as the Toronto Maple Leafs edged the New York Islanders 4-3. Matthews, however, left the game late in the third period with an undisclosed injury. A further update is expected today. Speaking of the Islanders, they’re reportedly closing in on a new five- or six-year contract with winger Josh Bailey worth $5 million annually. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Leafs fans will be holding their breath today awaiting further word on Matthews’ condition. As for Bailey, looks like he could get a significant boost over his current $3.3-million annual cap hit. With 62 points in 58 games, the 28-year-old winger is enjoying a career-best season in his contract year. This could be a gamble on the Isles part, and not just because they’re investing so much in a late-blooming scorer. This could also be considered a vital step in their efforts to re-sign franchise player John Tavares before his UFA eligibility on July 1, as Bailey is one of Tavares’ linemates.

The New Jersey Devils acquired winger Michael Grabner from the New York Rangers (Photo via NHL Images).

A three-goal second-period outburst powered the Minnesota Wild to a 4-2 win over the New Jersey Devils. Taylor Hall extended his points streak to 13 by scoring one of the Devils two goals. Meanwhile, the Devils acquired winger Michael Grabner from the New York Rangers in exchange for their 2018 second-round pick and defenseman prospect Yegor Rykov. It’s the first trade between the two clubs since the Devils moved to New Jersey in 1982

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Grabner was one of the notable names among the trade candidates heading toward Monday’s 3 PM ET trade deadline. A speedy forward with a good scoring touch who can play either wing and kill penalties, Grabner was also one of the more affordable rental players on the market, carrying a $1.6-million salary-cap hit. With the Devils jockeying for playoff position,Grabner should provide a much-needed boost to their forward lines.

Speaking of the Rangers, they fell 3-1 to the Montreal Canadiens. The Habs were playing without goaltender Carey Price, who’s sidelined indefinitely after suffering a concussion in Tuesday’s loss to Philadelphia. They also announced defenseman Shea Weber, sidelined since Dec. 16 with a foot injury, will undergo season-ending surgery. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: RIP Montreal Canadiens’ 2017-18 season. You started ugly, finished poorly and won’t be missed by Habs fans. 

A late third-period goal by Vincent Trocheck gave the Florida Panthers a 3-2 victory over the Washington Capitals. Before the game, Panthers goaltender Roberto Luongo delivered an emotional speech honoring the victims of last week’s Stoneman Douglas school shooting. Luongo lives in Parkland, where the school is located, and expressed his support for the school’s survivors, many of whom are advocating for tougher gun laws. 

Nashville Predators goaltender Pekka Rinne collected his 300th career NHL victory as he made 33 saves to help his club crush the San Jose Sharks 7-1. 

Tampa Bay Lightning winger Nikita Kucherov tallied his league-leading 80th point as his club edged the Ottawa Senators 4-3. 

Johnny Gaudreau’s three-point performance (one goal, two assists) led the Calgary Flames to a 5-2 win over the Arizona Coyotes, snapping the Flames three-game losing skid and the Coyotes four-game win streak. 

Goaltender Petr Mrazek picked up his first win with the Philadelphia Flyers, backstopping them to a 2-1 victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets. Flyers captain Claude Giroux scored one goal and set up the other.

Kari Lehtonen had an 18-save shutout performance as the Dallas Stars blanked the Los Angeles Kings 2-0. 

The Edmonton Oilers nipped the Colorado Avalanche 3-2 on an overtime goal by Connor McDavid. 

Marco Scandella’s overtime goal lifted the Buffalo Sabres to a 3-2 win over the Detroit Red Wings. 

BOSTON HERALD: The Bruins traded winger Frank Vatrano to the Florida Panthers in exchange for a third-round selection in the 2018 NHL Draft. They also announced forward Anders Bjork underwent successful shoulder surgery on Wednesday and is expected to require six months of recovery. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Vatrano was once considered a promising scoring forward but he was surpassed on the Bruins depth chart by youngsters Danton Heinen and Jake DeBrusk. With the Panthers trying to reach the playoffs, Vatrano could provide some depth to their forward line. This move should also give him an opportunity to get his NHL career back on track. 

STLTODAY.COM: The Blues placed defenseman Robert Bortuzzo (knee)  on injured reserve