NHL Rumor Mill – May 27, 2021

NHL Rumor Mill – May 27, 2021

Are the Penguins facing a roster shakeup? What next for the Panthers following another early postseason exit? What could be in store for the Oilers this offseason? Find out in today’s NHL rumor mill.

WHAT NEXT FOR THE PENGUINS?

ESPN.COM: Emily Kaplan wonders if the Pittsburgh Penguins will face a roster shakeup following their first-round elimination by the New York Islanders. Veteran core players Evgeni Malkin and Kris Letang have a year remaining on their respective contracts, with Malkin carrying a no-movement clause.

The Penguins risk losing a young depth forward such as Zach Aston-Reese, Jared McCann or possibly Kasperi Kapanen to the Seattle Kraken in this summer’s expansion draft.

PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE: Matt Vensel also wonders about the futures of Malkin and Letang, as well as that of head coach Mike Sullivan.

Pittsburgh Penguins center Evgeni Malkin (NHL Images).

Based on comments earlier this season by Brian Burke, the Penguins president of hockey operations, Vensel speculates they could try to bolster their goaltending while also adding some size and toughness to the lineup. The shaky performance of Tristan Jarry could send the Penguins into this summer’s trade and free-agent markets in search of help between the pipes.

THE ATHLETIC: Sean Gentille believes Jarry’s goaltending cost the Penguins the series. He wonders if they’ll move around some money to pursue a free agent such as Detroit’s Jonathan Bernier or Buffalo’s Linus Ullmark or look to the trade market for help.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Penguins don’t need to blow up the roster but changes are necessary after three consecutive early postseason exits. Burke and general manager Ron Hextall will likely retool rather than rebuild, bringing in younger players to support their aging stars.

Penguins captain Sidney Crosby isn’t in favor of breaking up the core. His opinion could carry some weight with Burke and Hextall but the final decisions rest with those two.

Crosby isn’t going anywhere and Malkin won’t be traded unless he requests it. The Penguins could shop Letang but it wouldn’t be surprising if he returns. He also has a modified no-trade clause listing 18 preferred destinations. He also carries a $7.25 million cap hit next season.

Goaltending is their weakness. Jarry was supposed to be an improvement over the departed Matt Murray but he couldn’t handle the pressure as a starter. Finding a suitably experienced starter will be top of the list, followed by adding more size and toughness.

WHAT NEXT FOR THE PANTHERS?

ESPN.COM: Emily Kaplan speculates the Florida Panthers could lose a good roster player to the Kraken in the expansion draft. It could be a forward such as Patric Hornqvist or Mason Marchment, a blueliner like Gustav Forsling, Radko Gudas or Markus Nuutivaara, or pending UFA goaltender Chris Driedger.

SUN-SENTINEL.COM: Dave Hyde pondered what promising goalie Spencer Knight’s performance in the final two games against the Tampa Bay Lightning means for Sergei Bobrovsky’s future in Florida. He wondered if general manager Bill Zito will try to move Bobrovsky this summer if someone is willing to take on the veteran netminder’s hefty contract.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Panthers drafting Knight in the 2019 draft and signing Bobrovsky days later was a topic of recent amusement for some folks on social media. They conveniently overlook the fact that it was former Panthers GM Dale Tallon who made those moves. Zito was left with a headache.

Bobrovksky’s inconsistent play since joining the Panthers, his full no-movement clause and $10 million annual cap hit through 2025-26 makes him difficult to move, especially with the salary cap remaining at $81.5 million next season. As per Cap Friendly, a buyout will be an expensive long-term headache.

MORE OILERS SPECULATION

EDMONTON JOURNAL: Jim Matheson doesn’t expect Oilers GM Ken Holland to go on a massive spending spree this summer to bolster his roster. While Holland will have $28 million in cap space, a portion will be spent on trying to re-sign pending UFAs Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Adam Larsson and Tyson Barrie.

Matheson considers Larsson the cheapest and most likely to be re-signed. Nugent-Hopkins will be the most expensive while Barrie could be departing after a year in Edmonton because he’ll want a long-term deal.

Holland said he intends to bring back goaltender Mike Smith for another season. Matheson wonders if Mikko Koskinen will be traded, perhaps packaged with a draft pick or prospect to a team like the Columbus Blue Jackets for one of their young goalies.

Buyouts are also possible. Matheson believes James Neal to be the most likely candidate. Holland didn’t rule out trading a prospect such as Evan Bouchard, Philip Broberg or Dylan Holloway for immediate help but he said he’s not doing that for a one-year player.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Holland could try to convince Nugent-Hopkins to accept slightly less than his current $6 million annual average value. If RNH signs elsewhere, Holland will use the savings to bring in a replacement via trade or free agency.

I like Matheson’s suggestion of packaging Koskinen to the Blue Jackets for Elvis Merzlikins or Joonas Korpisalo. Koskinen’s 15-team no-trade list, however, could be a sticking point if he doesn’t want to go to Columbus. Even then, the Jackets could get better offers for one of those goalies.










NHL Rumor Mill – May 21, 2021

NHL Rumor Mill – May 21, 2021

Reaction to rumors linking Jack Eichel to the Coyotes, plus the latest on the Flames and Red Wings in today’s NHL rumor mill.

ARE THE COYOTES INTERESTED IN EICHEL?

AZ COYOTES INSIDER: Craig Morgan said a report earlier this week claiming the Arizona Coyotes were a “serious contender” to acquire Buffalo Sabres captain Jack Eichel appears to be inaccurate. His understanding is the Coyotes aren’t interested in trading for Eichel and he doesn’t think they’ve even talked to anyone about the Sabres star.

Buffalo Sabres center Jack Eichel (NHL Images).

Morgan acknowledged the Coyotes could use Eichel, noting they haven’t had a legitimate first-line center in 20 years. However, they forfeited their first-round pick in this year’s draft, which would be a crucial part of the Sabres’ asking price.

The Coyotes cannot afford to give away any more first-round picks. Concerns about Eichel’s neck injury, leadership and his willingness to be in Arizona would also be worrying issues.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I believe the Los Angeles Kings could be the front-runners if the Sabres put Eichel on the trade block. They’ve got the cap space, plenty of draft picks, and considerable depth in prospects and promising roster players to make a competitive bid if general manager Rob Blake is so inclined.

The Rangers would be next but their proximity to Buffalo would make trading Eichel to New York a sticky issue for Sabres management. Their preference could be moving him as far away as possible.

UPDATE ON THE FLAMES

CALGARY SUN: Wes Gilbertson reports Flames general manager Brad Treliving acknowledged his club must make changes following this season’s disappointing performance. Whether he’ll be sticking around to make those changes remains to be seen. While Treliving is said to have two years left on his contract, he indicated he hasn’t heard from team ownership yet about his own job security.

Gilbertson also reported captain Mark Giordano could be left exposed in this year’s expansion draft, where he’d be a tempting target to be plucked away by the Seattle Kraken. Giordano said he wants to remain with the only NHL club he’s ever played for. However, the Flames can’t risk leaving younger defensemen like Rasmus Andersson, Noah Hanifin or Chris Tanev exposed.

Daniel Austin reports winger Johnny Gaudreau is willing to discuss a contract extension. He’s slated to become an unrestricted free agent next summer. Gaudreau said he loves the city and loves playing there. Austin considers the winger to be their best trade chip and re-signing him won’t be easy.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Big decisions are coming for the Flames this summer, starting with whether Treliving remains as the general manager. If he does, he’ll likely be working more closely with head coach (and former Flames GM) Darryl Sutter on addressing their roster needs.

The Flames’ best option with Giordano is exposing him in the draft but cutting a side deal with the Kraken so they’ll take someone else from their protected list. Otherwise, they’ll have to hope Kraken GM Ron Francis will be put off by Giordano’s age (37) and the single year left on his contract.

Gaudreau’s been the whipping boy for fans and pundits for the Flames’ recent struggles. Nevertheless, I think he’s sincere about wanting to sign an extension. He’s going to seek a hefty raise over his current $6.75 million annual average value.

Given the decline in Gaudreau’s production over the last two seasons, the Flames must decide if he’s worth that kind of long-term investment. If not, they could shop him this summer. for the best possible return.

LATEST ON THE RED WINGS

THE ATHLETIC: Max Bultman reported Detroit Red Wings GM Steve Yzerman believes his club must add more scoring and shore up the depth on the left side of his blue line.

Bultman speculates Yzerman could turn to free agency or trades to address those issues, especially for a left-shot defenseman. He also noted the Wings GM would consider trading draft picks and prospects for a 26-or-young scorer who would fit in with the club’s current young forwards.

THE DETROIT NEWS: Ted Kulfan reports Marc Staal is open to returning with the Wings next season. The 34-year-old defenseman is an unrestricted free agent this summer, completing a six-year, $34.2 million contract. He’s also open to playing with brother Eric (who’s also a pending UFA with the Canadiens) or Jordan in Carolina.

MLIVE.COM: Ansar Khan reports Jonathan Bernier is also interested in returning with the Wings. Like Staal, the 32-year-old netminder is an unrestricted free agent this summer.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Look no further than Jakub Vrana for the type of young forward Yzerman would like to add to his roster. He acquired Vrana from the Washington Capitals (along with two draft picks and veteran winger Richard Panik) in exchange for Anthony Mantha at last month’s trade deadline. Yzerman didn’t give up draft picks and prospects in that deal but he would to in order to land another comparable young scorer.

If Staal and Bernier are willing to accept affordable short-term deals then there’s probably a place for both with the Wings. However, that will depend on what moves Yzerman has in store during the summer. Both could be replaced by younger options via trades or free agency.










NHL Rumor Mill – April 28, 2021

NHL Rumor Mill – April 28, 2021

Could the Rangers pursue a veteran defenseman this summer? Which pending free agents will the Red Wings keep? Check out the latest in today’s NHL rumor mill.

NEW YORK POST: Larry Brooks recently reported the Rangers were a finalist in the offseason Zdeno Chara sweepstakes before the 44-year-old defenseman signed with the Washington Capitals. Brooks feels they need to add a veteran presence to their blue line. Someone in their mid-to-late 20s or even in their thirties from a winning program, preferably with a Stanley Cup on his resume, would be ideal.

Vegas Golden Knights defenseman Alec Martinez (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Rangers could look into this year’s unrestricted free agent market to address that need. The one who best fits that description is Vegas’ Alec Martinez (33), who won two Stanley Cups with the Los Angeles Kings. Chara could also be available again but he might still prefer playing for Cup contenders if he decides to return for another season. Minnesota’s Ian Cole and Toronto’s Zach Bogosian also have Stanley Cups on their resume but aren’t as skilled as Martinez or as respected as Chara.

The top defenseman potentially available is Carolina’s Dougie Hamilton but he’ll be expensive to sign. The Blueshirts could prefer more affordable options given their depth in young players and the cost of re-signing some of them over the next couple of years.

DETROIT FREE PRESS: In a recent mailbag segment, Helene St. James was asked which pending UFAs the Red Wings could bring back. They include center Luke Glendening, goaltender Jonathan Bernier, defenseman Marc Staal and forwards Bobby Ryan, Sam Gagner, Darren Helm and Valtteri Filppula.

St. James considers Glendening a lock to be re-signed given his presence in the dressing room and his work ethic and professionalism. Bernier is a close second because he gives the Wings a chance to win every game he plays plus they lack an NHL-ready netminder in their farm system.

Ryan and/or Gagner could be re-signed depending on the circumstances. Perhaps one-year deals can be worked out for Helm and Staal. Filppula isn’t expected back as he was a healthy scratch until injuries forced otherwise.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Cap Friendly shows the Red Wings with just $33.4 million invested in only nine players for 2021-22. They can easily afford to re-sign most or all of those aforementioned UFAs to cost-effective one-year contracts if they wish. How many of them want to return with the rebuilding Wings remains to be seen. Guys like Glendening and Bernier could draw interest from playoff contenders if they test the open market.










Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – April 18, 2021

Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – April 18, 2021

In today’s NHL rumor roundup: a look at what might be in store for Ryan Getzlaf, Josh Manson and Rickard Rakell this summer plus some speculation over Jonathan Bernier’s future with the Red Wings.

THE ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER: The day following the April 12 trade deadline, Elliott Teaford reported Anaheim Ducks captain Ryan Getzlaf acknowledged having had trade discussions with general manager Bob Murray. However, the talks never advanced far enough for the 35-year-old Getzlaf to consider waiving his no-movement clause.

Anaheim Ducks captain Ryan Getzlaf (NHL Images).

Getzlaf said he wanted to help Murray’s rebuilding project, even if that meant accepting a trade as a playoff rental player if the return helped the Ducks. The pending unrestricted free agent intends to wait until this season is over before considering his future plans.

He could re-sign with the Ducks or sign elsewhere and accept a considerable pay cut from the $8.25 million salary-cap hit of his current contract. Retirement is also a possibility. Family concerns and his own play could also factor into his decision.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It wouldn’t be surprising if Getzlaf agrees to play another season with the Ducks. Perhaps they’ll work out a one-year, bonus-laden deal.

THE ATHLETIC: Eric Stephens reported Murray set high asking prices for defenseman Josh Manson and winger Rickard Rakell before the trade deadline. The Ducks GM said his goal was to add players already drafted who had a bit of NHL experience already if possible. Stephens wondered if the Ducks will make a significant move with either player at the 2021 NHL Draft in July.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Manson and Rakell are due to become unrestricted free agents next summer. They’re worth keeping around if the Ducks were just retooling with an eye on reaching the playoffs next season. That’s no longer the case.

Perhaps Murray can find a suitable return for one or both players during the draft weekend. Failing that, both will likely be shopped as rental players at next year’s trade deadline.

THE ATHLETIC: Max Bultman wondered what the future holds for Jonathan Bernier. The Detroit Red Wings goaltender was the subject of trade rumors leading up to the April 12 deadline. He’s due to become an unrestricted free agent this summer. GM Steve Yzerman intends to wait until the end of the season to talk contract with his free agents.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Bultman pointed out this summer’s expansion draft could complicate things. If they re-sign Bernier before the draft he’ll have to be protected. Waiting to sign him until after the draft could alleviate that problem.










NHL Trade Deadline: Top 5 Central Division Trade Candidates

NHL Trade Deadline: Top 5 Central Division Trade Candidates

 










Top 5 Goaltenders Who Could Be Dealt By the NHL Trade Deadline

Top 5 Goaltenders Who Could Be Dealt By the NHL Trade Deadline