NHL Rumor Mill – January 18, 2019

NHL Rumor Mill – January 18, 2019

Latest on the Senators, Hurricanes, Red Wings, Canadiens, Kings, Oilers, and Sabres in today’s NHL rumor mill. 


TSN: Darren Dreger and Bob McKenzie report preliminary contract discussions are ongoing between the Ottawa Senators and pending unrestricted free agents Matt Duchene and Mark Stone. With the Feb. 25th NHL trade deadline approaching, a decision will have to be reached soon if they’ll be re-signed or traded. 

NICHOLS ON HOCKEY: Appearing yesterday on Edmonton’s TSN 1260, Dreger believes Senators center Ryan Dzingel could be traded. Like Duchene and Stone, Dzingel is due to become a UFA in July. Dreger thinks the Senators can get a decent return and feels teams looking for an upgrade up front, such as the Edmonton Oilers, have to be considering Dzingel. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: If Duchene and/or Stone haven’t’ re-signed by the time the calendar flips to February I believe the Senators will try to move them. If that happens they could push to re-sign Dzingel. I think the Sens prefer to re-sign Dzingel but if Duchene and Stone are re-signed they won’t have enough cap space to keep him. 


The Carolina Hurricanes could still shop one of their defensemen, such as Dougie Hamilton, for a scoring forward. (Photo via NHL Images)

TSN: Bob McKenzie said the Carolina Hurricanes’ acquisition yesterday of winger Nino Niederreiter won’t prevent them from shopping one of their defensemen for a forward. Dougie Hamilton is frequently mentioned of late as a trade candidate but McKenzie feels any of their right-shot blueliners other than Jaccob Slavin is available for the right price.

McKenzie also noted the Hurricanes still have to decide what to do with pending UFA winger Micheal Ferland. It’s believed team owner Tom Dundon recently met with Ferland. In an interview earlier in the day with Edmonton’s TSN 1260, Darren Dreger said the Hurricane’s preference is to re-sign the winger but it depends on the cost. There’s speculation Ferland’s seeking $6 million per season but Dreger said he doesn’t believe the winger’s agent has submitted that request. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Slavin is a left-hand shot but it’s believed he’s the sole untouchable on the Hurricanes’ blueline. Hamilton, Brett Pesce, and Justin Faulk have popped up in trade speculation since last summer. One of them seems likely to be deal for a scoring forward. If they can’t get Ferland re-signed, he’ll be shopped before the trade deadline. 


TSN: Darren Dreger reports the Detroit Red Wings could have some interesting commodities to dangle in the trade market. Goaltender Jimmy Howard, winger Gustav Nyquist, winger Luke Glendening, and defenseman Niklas Kronwall could be of interest to playoff contenders.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Wings reportedly seek a first-round pick for Howard or Nyquist. Kronwall, who could retire at season’s end, has a 10-team trade list and I think he prefers finishing his career in Detroit. 


TSN: Darren Dreger appeared on Montreal’s TSN 690 yesterday discussing possible moves by the Canadiens. While GM Marc Bergevin recently expressed his reluctance to trade draft picks and prospects this season, Dreger wonders if the growing number of quality players in the trade market might change his mind, especially with the Habs jockeying for a playoff spot. He noted players such as Jake Muzzin and Tyler Toffoli of the Los Angeles Kings and Brayden Schenn of the St. Louis Blues could be tempting targets for the Canadiens or any other club.

THE ATHLETIC: Pierre LeBrun reports Bergevin doesn’t intend to be a buyer or a seller this season. The Habs GM could make a move if it’s a hockey trade for a player with term left on his contract that makes sense for his club. Noting the Canadiens have plenty of salary-cap space, he speculates a team looking to shed salary could come calling.  Speaking of Muzzin, LeBrun reports the Kings’ asking price is a first-round pick and a prospect. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Canadiens need help on the left side of their blueline and Muzzin could be a great fit. If Bergevin remains resistant over moving his picks or prospects, however, he’ll have to look elsewhere for a left-side defenseman. 


NICHOLS ON HOCKEY: Darren Dreger told Edmonton’s TSN 1260 his sources say the Oilers are reluctant to move Puljujarvi, who’s seeing limited playing time and doesn’t want to return to the AHL. While there are rumors the Oilers could move their 2019 first-round pick for a top-four defenseman or top-six forward, Dreger said he doesn’t think they’re aggressively shopping that pick. 

EDMONTON JOURNAL: David Staples cites a report by a Finnish sportswriter blaming the Oilers for hurting Puljujarvi’s development. The young winger also acknowledged he’s heard the trade speculation but said he’s not thinking about it. The writer, however, believes Puljujarvi would benefit from a trade. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Puljujarvi is only 20 and still has plenty of time to become a scoring winger. I can understand the Oilers’ reluctance to give up on him and risk seeing him blossom elsewhere. However, this situation could reach a point where they’ll have no choice but to move him, especially if they get a decent offer that can help them right away and over the long term. 


WGR 550: cited a report by TVA Sports’ Renaud Lavoie indicating Buffalo Sabres defenseman Nathan Beaulieu is unhappy over the decline in his playing time. He and his agent have requested a trade. Beaulieu said he likes Buffalo but he wants more playing time. 

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 24, 2018

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 24, 2018

Game recaps plus updates on Brad Marchand, Joe Thornton, Cory Schneider and more in your NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: The Boston Bruins extended their points streak to 17 games with a 3-2 win over the New Jersey Devils. Bruins winger Brad Marchand could face supplemental discipline as the league is reviewing his hit to the head of Devils forward Marcus Johansson. Meanwhile. Devils starting goalie Cory Schneider left the game after two periods with a lower-body injury. A further update on Schneider could be made later today.

Jonathan Drouin had a three-point performance to lead the Montreal Canadiens to a 4-2 win over the Colorado Avalanche (Photo via NHL Images).

The Colorado Avalanche’s 10-game points streak came to an end as they feel 4-2 to the Montreal Canadiens. Jonathan Drouin got the better of his friend and former Halifax Mooseheads linemate Nathan MacKinnon by tallying a goal and two assists for the Canadiens.

William Karlsson scored twice as the Vegas Golden Knights downed the Columbus Blue Jackets 6-3. The Golden Knights are one victory away from tying the Anaheim Ducks and Florida Panthers for most wins (33) by a team in its inaugural season.

Travis Konecny tallied his second overtime goal in as many games to give the Philadelphia Flyers a 3-2 victory over the Detroit Red Wings. It’s the Flyers eighth win in their last nine games. The win vaults the Flyers into a tie with the New Jersey Devils for third place in the Metropolitan Division.

The Dallas Stars extended their points streak to five games by thumping the Florida Panthers 6-1. Alexander Radulov scored twice, including his 20th goal of the season. Stars captain Jamie Benn also picked up his 20th goal. Panthers goaltender James Reimer left the game early in the first period with an undisclosed injury. A further update on his condition is expected today.

Bryan Little scored in overtime as the Winnipeg Jets beat the San Jose Sharks 5-4. It was a costly loss for the Sharks, as center Joe Thornton left the game with an apparent injury to his right knee. He had surgery on his left knee last summer. Sharks winger Tomas Hertl was also ejected from the game for boarding Jets defenseman Dmitry Kulikov.

John Gibson kicked out 41 shots and Ryan Getzlaf collected three points to lead the Anaheim Ducks to a 6-3 win over the New York Rangers. Rick Nash tallied twice for the Rangers.

Jack Eichel had a four-point game (one goal, three assists), Ryan O’Reilly scored twice and Robin Lehner turned in a 33-save shutout performance to lead the Buffalo Sabres to a 5-0 beatdown of the Edmonton Oilers. Earlier in the day, the Sabres placed defenseman Nathan Beaulieu (upper body) on injured reserve.

The Los Angeles Kings suffering their seventh loss in eight games falling 6-2 to the Vancouver Canucks. Brock Boeser and Loui Eriksson each scored twice for the Canucks.

Jean-Sebastien Dea’s first NHL goal was a game winner as the Pittsburgh Penguins defeated the Carolina Hurricanes 3-1. Penguins captain Sidney Crosby picked up his 1,079th career point, tying Jaromir Jagr for second place among the club’s all-time points leaders. Earlier in the day, the Hurricanes activated defenseman Brett Pesce from injured reserve.

Yanni Gourde’s overtime goal lifted the Tampa Bay Lightning to a 4-3 win over the Nashville Predators. Lightning winger Chris Kunitz had a three-point performance. In a surprising move, Bolts rookie defenseman Mikhail Sergachev was a healthy scratch.

Carter Hutton made 25 saves as the St. Louis Blues shut out the Ottawa Senators 3-0.

EDMONTON JOURNAL:  Toronto Maple Leafs coach Mike Babcock, former Edmonton Oilers winger Ryan Smyth and two-time Olympic champion Danielle Goyette were named Order of Canada in Hockey honourees.

NEWSDAY: Sources say the New York Islanders are closing in on a deal that will see them play some of their games at Nassau Coliseum in the years leading up to the opening of their new arena in Belmont Park.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The New York Post’s Larry Brooks lists the logistical headaches for the Isles players and staff shuttling between the Coliseum and Barclays Center. 

TSN: Former Dallas Stars winger Valeri Nichushkin is among the Russian athletes barred from participating in the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea.

SPORTING NEWS: NHL commissioner Gary Bettman has met with Seattle mayor Jenny Durkan as the city moves toward landing an expansion franchise.



NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – August 1, 2017

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – August 1, 2017

The Columbus Blue Jackets re-signed head coach John Tortorella.

Blue Jackets re-sign Tortorella, Sabres re-up Beaulieu and more in your NHL morning coffee headlines. 

THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH:  The Blue Jackets signed head coach John Tortorella to a one-year contract extension stretching through 2018-19. Financial terms weren’t disclosed but the deal spares Tortorellia and the Jackets the awkward situation of having him enter this season in the final year of his current deal. Tortorella won the Jack Adams Award as NHL coach of the year for 2016-17, marking the second time he’s won that honor.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Tortorella is earning $2 million per season on his current deal. Coming off his award-winning performance in 2016-17, it was assumed he would ink a lucrative long-term deal with the Jackets. Perhaps both sides agreed to take a “wait-and-see” approach. Should the Jackets continue to thrive under Tortorella’s tutelage, it’s a safe bet they will lock him up long term. 

WGR 550: The Buffalo Sabres avoided salary arbitration with defenseman Nathan Beaulieu, signing him to a two-year contract worth an annual average value of $2.4 million. The Sabres acquired Beaulieu in June from the Montreal Canadiens. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Beaulieu now has the opportunity to become a top-four defenseman with the Sabres. 

Speaking of the Canadiens, former Habs defenseman Andrei Markov signed a two-year contract with the KHL’s AK Bars Kazan. 

LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL: Defenseman Nate Schmidt hopes to re-sign with the Vegas Golden Knights before his arbitration hearing on Thursday. The Golden Knights selected Schmidt from the Washington Capitals during the expansion draft in June. 

SPORTSNET’S Elliotte Friedman reports the New York Islanders and defenseman Calvin de Haan have made their salary pitches prior to his arbitration hearing on Wednesday. The Isles are offering $1.95 million while de Haan seeks $5 million. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Isles offer is ridiculously low, as de Haan earned $1.966 million annually on his previous contract. The blueliner’s asking price, however, is way too high. I think they’ll end up settling for around $3.8 million per season. 

THE PLAYERS’ TRIBUNE: Now-retired winger Bryan Bickell reflects on his NHL career. He was forced into retirement because of multiple sclerosis.

NBC SPORTS: released their 2017-18 NHL television schedule. “The Blackhawks lead all clubs with 17 total appearances on NBC and NBCSN, followed by the Penguins and Flyers with 16, and the Capitals, Red Wings, and Bruins with 15 appearances apiece, respectively.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Fans of other clubs will complain about NBC showing favoritism toward those clubs but the network goes where the ratings are. Like it or not, those teams usually attract the highest ratings. 

MLIVE.COM: A recent fan survey by The Hockey News reveals Detroit Red Wings fans have lost faith in the club’s management. The Wings “finished dead last when it came to each team’s fan base” while its front office ranked 29th.


NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 30, 2017

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 30, 2017

Minnesota Wild forward Nino Niedereiter and Mikael Granlund are the notable players facing salary arbitration hearings this week.

This week’s arbitration dates, Stars to host 2018 Draft & more in your NHL morning coffee headlines. 

NHLPA.COM: This week is the final one for this summer’s NHL salary arbitration hearings. The notables include Minnesota Wild forwards Nino Niederreiter (Aug.3) and Mikael Granlund (Aug. 4), Pittsburgh Penguins forward Conor Sheary (Aug. 4), New York Islanders defenseman Calvin de Haan (Aug. 2) Buffalo Sabres blueliner Nathan Beaulieu (Aug. 4) and Vegas Golden Knights rearguard Nate Schmidt (Aug. 3). 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: So far, only one arbitration hearing was held and that was Detroit’s Tomas Tatar, who agreed to a new contract with the Red Wings before the arbiter’s decision was reached. Don’t be surprised if the aforementioned players end up re-signing with their respective teams before their scheduled hearings. 

DALLAS MORNING NEWS: For the first time in NHL history, the annual draft will be held in Texas. It was announced yesterday that the Dallas Stars will host the 2018 NHL Draft on June 22-23, 2018. 

THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH: The Blue Jackets are reaping the rewards from the best season in franchise history. The season-ticket base has risen by more than 1,000 fans to above 10,000. Their season-ticket renewals are at an all-time high (96 percent) and corporate partnerships are strengthening.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: After years of mediocrity, the Jackets have finally given their fans something worth supporting. With their depth in promising young talent, they are in good position to build upon last season’s success. 

SPORTSNET: Former Quebec Nordiques coach and general manager Maurice Filion passed away Friday at the age of 85. He built the Nords into a WHA champion and transitioned with them in 1979 to the NHL. He drafted Michel Goulet and Dale Hunter and was also there when the Stastny brothers joined the club following their defection from Czechoslovakia in 1981. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: My condolences to Filion’s family and friends. 


Coyotes Ship Smith to Flames, Sabres Acquire Beaulieu from Canadiens

Coyotes Ship Smith to Flames, Sabres Acquire Beaulieu from Canadiens

Arizona Coyotes ship goaltender Mike Smith to the Calgary Flames.

The Arizona Coyotes shipped goaltender Mike Smith to the Calgary Flames in exchange for goaltender Chad Johnson, defenseman Brandon Hickey and a conditional third-round pick in 2018. If the Flames reach the playoffs next season, that pick becomes a second-round selection. The Coyotes also pick up 25 percent of Smith’s $5.6 million annual salary-cap hit.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: For the second straight year, the Flames acquire a veteran starting goaltender. They’re hoping the 35-year-old Smith will pan out better than Brian Elliott, who struggled in Calgary last season and is expected to depart via unrestricted free agency on July 1.

Smith spent the past six seasons with the Coyotes, backstopping them to the 2012 Western Conference Final. Since then, he’s struggled with consistency, injuries and adjusting to a rebuilding roster. He also helped Canada win a gold medal in the 2015 World Championships. He has two seasons remaining on his contract at a reasonable cap hit for the Flames of around $4.2 million annually.  

Given Smith’s decent numbers last season and his stellar play at the 2015 Worlds, he could fare better in Calgary with a better team in front of him. 

Over the last three seasons, goaltending proved a serious weakness for the Flames. General manager Brad Treliving knows Smith from his days with Coyotes management and obviously believes he’ll be a worthwhile short-term investment while their goalie prospects develop. However, he’s taking a gamble on a netminder whose best seasons are behind him. 

The Coyotes, meanwhile, now require a proven starting goaltender. Louis Domingue isn’t ready yet for that role and Johnson is best suited for backup duty.  Hickey’s spent the past three seasons at Boston University and is likely destined for their farm team next season.

The Buffalo Sabres acquired defenseman Nathan Beaulieu from the Montreal Canadiens in exchange for the Sabres’ third-round pick in the upcoming 2017 NHL Draft.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Canadiens fans expected Beaulieu would be moved. A former first-round pick, he struggled to play up to expectations in Montreal. They probably won’t be pleased with GM Marc Bergevin getting such a low return.

With Beaulieu gone and promising Mikhail Sergachev shipped to Tampa Bay in the Jonathan Drouin deal, the Canadiens need some skilled youth on their blueline. This will only stoke the rumors suggesting winger Alex Galchenyuk will be shopped for a defenseman.

As for the Sabres, they get a decent depth defensemen at an affordable price. If Beaulieu can reach his potential in Buffalo, this could turn into a steal. 


NHL Rumor Mill – June 14, 2017

NHL Rumor Mill – June 14, 2017

Trade rumors continue to dog Montreal Canadiens forward Alex Galchenyuk.

Updates on Alex Galchenyuk, Matt Duchene, Sami Vatanen, Dion Phaneuf and more in your NHL rumor mill. 

FANRAG SPORTS NETWORK: Chris Nichols cites Darren Dreger’s appearance on Montreal’s TSN 690 discussing Alex Galchenyuk’s status with the Montreal Canadiens. Dreger notes the recent trade rumors about Galchenyuk stems from his “curious development” with the Canadiens, prompting the belief he could benefit from a change. Dreger said he hasn’t heard anything yet to indicate Galchenyuk’s in the trade market.

Dreger also said he hasn’t heard anything new regarding the Nathan Beaulieu trade speculation.  He dismisses the notion that Carey Price could be moved, but thinks the Habs should look at every piece (other than Price) and determine the value in the trade market.

He also notes rumors continue to link Colorado Avalanche center Matt Duchene to the Canadiens. He knows the Avs won’t trade defenseman Tyson Barrie unless they get a blueliner in return. “So that’s just wild speculation, but those are the conversations that are taking place.”

Regarding the possibility of the Chicago Blackhawks shopping a key player, Dreger doubts they’ll move Brent Seabrook as he remains very valuable to the club. He said Niklas Hjalmarsson’s name is “kind of out there”, but thinks there’s a connection involving the Vegas Golden Knights and Marcus Kruger and Trevor van Riemsdyk. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s widely assumed Galchenyuk and Beaulieu could be traded by the Canadiens this month. Some rumors suggest packaging the duo to Colorado for Duchene, though that could be simply wishful thinking by some Habs followers. I certainly don’t see the Avs agreeing to a swap of Duchene and Barrie for Galchenyuk and Beaulieu. Even if they did, the Habs would be taking on $10 million in combined salary, leaving little room to re-sign Alexander Radulov and to fill out the rest of the roster.

The Blackhawks will definitely be trading somebody. They could be forced to move more than Kruger and van Riemsdyk if the salary cap ceiling fails to significantly rise for next season. My guess is it could be Artem Anisimov ($4.5 million cap hit) if they’re unwilling to move Seabrook or Hjalmarsson. 

OTTAWA SUN: Bruce Garrioch reports defenseman Marc Methot’s future with the Senators could be in doubt if Dion Phaneuf doesn’t waive his no-movement clause for the upcoming expansion draft. The Sens have indicated they’ll protect seven forwards, three defensemen and one goaltender.  Garrioch suggests they might have to consider protecting eight skaters and a goalie to protect Methot, Phaneuf, Erik Karlsson and Cody Ceci, though that means they risk losing a forward such as Zack Smith, Jean-Gabriel Pageau or Derick Brassard.

Senators GM Pierre Dorion could leave Methot exposed and offer up a draft pick to the Golden Knights to ensure they don’t select him. Otherwise, it might make more sense to trade Methot before the draft for an asset rather than lose him for nothing. They could leave Methot exposed and accept the possibility of losing him, or they could attempt to trade Phaneuf to one of the teams on his 10-team list of preferred destinations. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Phaneuf has until Friday to reach his decision, though it sounds as though he already has. I can see Dorion trying to swing a deal with Vegas to ensure Methot isn’t selected in the draft. I’ll be surprised if he trades Phaneuf, though we can’t full dismiss the possibility. 

NBC SPORTS: Jason Brough lists the New Jersey Devils, Tampa Bay Lightning and Toronto Maple Leafs as possible suitors for Anaheim Ducks defenseman Sami Vatanen before the expansion draft. Acquiring Vatanen could affect their respective player protection lists. The Devils could be forced to choose between Ben Lovejoy or John Moore, the Lightning between Andrej Sustr or Jason Garrison and the Leafs Connor Carrick or Martin Marincin. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: As Brough points out, landing Vatanen means losing one of those players to the expansion draft wouldn’t be a big deal.

EDMONTON JOURNAL: David Staples cites NHL insider Mark Spector suggesting the Toronto Maple Leafs, Calgary Flames or Vancouver Canucks could outbid the Oilers for pending UFA defenseman Kris Russell. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Russell’s free-agent value will be better than it was a year ago. Spector believes Russell, who skated on a one-year, $3.1 million deal, is a $4 million per season defenseman now. I daresay he won’t have to wait as long for a new contract as he did last year and could get a multi-year deal for over $4 million annually. Remains to be seen if the Leafs, Flames or Canucks pursue him. Depends upon how things shake out in the trade market over the next couple of weeks.