NHL Rumor Mill – May 4, 2021

NHL Rumor Mill – May 4, 2021

Flyers chairman Dave Scott weighs in on his club’s performance plus the latest on the Blackhawks and Sharks in today’s NHL rumor mill.

PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER: Sam Carchidi reports Flyers chairman Dave Scott shares the frustrations of his club’s fans over the course of this season but doesn’t believe radical change is necessary. “We’re closer than our record shows,” said Scott, pointing out this year’s core group is the same that played well under difficult circumstances during the 2020 playoffs.

Philadelphia Flyers winger James van Riemsdyk (NHL Images)

Scott feels the Flyers need another scorer and a top-pairing defenseman. He also hinted a backup goaltender could be on their wish list. The chairman believes general manager Chuck Fletcher will have sufficient salary-cap space to add some key pieces even if he doesn’t trade a high-salaried player like Jakub Voracek or James van Riemsdyk or lose one of them in the expansion draft.

Head coach Alain Vigneault and his staff have Scott’s support though the chairman wasn’t thrilled by the job they did this season. He also suggested February’s COVID-19 outbreak among several players could account for the club’s difficulties once they returned to action.

Scott said he hasn’t lost faith in Fletcher and looks forward to playing a full 82-game schedule.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Stick tap to “CraddyShack” for the link. Landing a scorer, a top-pairing defenseman and a backup goaltender will be costly. Cap Friendly shows the Flyers with $70.2 million invested in 18 players under a flattened salary cap for 2021-22. Goalie Carter Hart, defenseman Travis Sanheim and forward Nolan Patrick are restricted free agents.

I don’t see how the Flyers can bring in some key pieces without shedding salary unless it’s a dollar-for-dollar swap or shopping Hart, Sanheim and Patrick. Feel free to weigh in with your proposals in the comments section below.

THE ATHLETIC: Scott Powers considers center Dylan Strome likely to return with the Chicago Blackhawks next season despite his struggles this season and uncertain future. His trade value could be low coming off a down year. There’s a chance he could be selected in the expansion draft if the Blackhawks expose him.

The Blackhawks would like to keep center Pius Suter but Powers is uncertain if they can afford to re-sign him. He’s a restricted free agent with arbitration rights. If a contract cannot be worked out the Blackhawks could trade him or let him walk.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Blackhawks have $74.3 million tied up in 20 players next season. They can get over $10 million in cap relief by placing the permanently sidelined Brent Seabrook and Andrew Shaw on long-term injury reserve. That would provide plenty of space for Suter but the Hawks will prefer keeping him on an affordable short-term deal.

THE MERCURY NEWS: Curtis Pashelka listed a lack of scoring punch among five reasons the San Jose Sharks will miss the playoffs this season. He feels management’s priority is to address this issue in the offseason or the club will head down the same path next season.

THE ATHLETIC: Kevin Kurz recently reported the Sharks have some decisions to make regarding restricted free agent forwards like Rudolfs Balcers, Ryan Donato, Noah Gregor, Alex True, Joachim Blichfeld, Jeffrey Viel and Dylan Gambrell.

Balcers is the only one probably assured of returning in the opening lineup next season because of his solid play among their top-six this season. Donato is the most expensive of the group ($1.9 million) but he’s tumbled down the depth chart this season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Addressing that scoring depth issue won’t be easy with the Sharks carrying $68.5 million committed to 13 players for 2021-22. Maybe a couple of those RFAs get packaged into a deal for a scorer but it’ll take something else of significance in that package to get it done. They also have a number of veterans carrying expensive contracts that could be difficult to move this summer.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 28, 2019

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 28, 2019

The latest on Sidney Crosby, Corey Perry, Aleksander Barkov, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

TRIBLIVE.COM: Sidney Crosby had his No. 87 retired by the Rimouski Oceanic of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League. Crosby spent two seasons with the Oceanic (2003-04, 2004-05) before being drafted by the Pittsburgh Penguins. In 2005, he led them to the QMJHL President’s Cup championship.

Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby had his number retired by his former junior club (Photo via NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The QMJHL has retired his No. 87 league-wide.  I caught a few games with Crosby’s Oceanic whenever they came to Charlottetown and he was always the best player on the ice. It was obvious he was headed to NHL superstardom. 

THE ATHLETIC: Florida Panthers head coach Joel Quenneville believes Aleksander Barkov and Brett Connolly should be fine after leaving Thursday’s preseason game against the Tampa Bay Lightning. The pair were reevaluated on Friday. Meanwhile, Lightning center Cedric Paquette was fined $2,500.00 for high-sticking Panthers winger Frank Vatrano.

TSN: A broken foot could delay Corey Perry’s debut with the Dallas Stars. Perry signed a one-year contract with the Stars this summer after being bought out by the Anaheim Ducks. The injury sidelined him throughout training camp and could keep him out of their season-opener.

STARTRIBUNE.COM: Victor Rask could be the odd man out among Minnesota Wild centers. Acquired from Carolina midway through last season, Rask managed just three points in 23 games with the Wild.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Rask’s stats have tumbled since reaching 21 goals and 48 points in 2015-16. If he can’t cut it in Minnesota he could end up on the trade block again.

THE SCORE: The Calgary Flames signed free agent winger Tobias Rieder to a one-year, two-way contract worth $700K.

TSN: Ottawa Senators forward Rudolfs Balcers is sidelined indefinitely with a lower-body injury.

NBC SPORTS BOSTON: Bruins forward Joakim Nordstrom’s foot injury could keep him out of the club’s season-opener.

THE DETROIT NEWS: Former Red Wings coach Nick Polano died Thursday of Alzheimer’s disease at age 78. He was the Wings’ bench boss from 1982 to 1985 and was Steve Yzerman’s first NHL coach. He went on to become an assistant GM with the Wings and held scouting jobs with the Calgary Flames and Ottawa Senators.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: My condolences to Palono’s family, friends and the Wings organization.