NHL Rumor Mill – April 23, 2020

NHL Rumor Mill – April 23, 2020

Recent speculation on the Oilers, Flames, and Red Wings in today’s NHL rumor mill.

OILERS

SPORTSNET: In a recent mailbag segment, Mark Spector was asked if the Edmonton Oilers might bring back Taylor Hall if they can shed some salary. He felt there’s zero chance of the 28-year-old winger returning to Edmonton, pointing out the Oilers already carry several players with expensive contracts. “I think it’s a dream Oilers fans should wake up from. Hall’s not coming back,” wrote Spector.

(NOT MARK) SPECTOR’S NOTE: I agree with “Cousin Mark”. Hall returning to the Oilers is a pipe dream. Stop pining about what could’ve been and look forward.

Jesse Puljujarvi’s future remains an off-season question for the Edmonton Oilers (Photo via NHL Images).

Asked out the most likely scenario for Jesse Puljujarvi, Spector said the Oilers prefer he returns and plays for them. If he doesn’t, they could let him spend another season in Finland (where he’ll make less money), or trade him at the draft for perhaps two second-round picks, or a second and a prospect (the Oilers lack a second-rounder in this year’s draft). Spector thinks Puljujarvi should return to the Oilers on a one-year deal and prove he can still play.

(STILL NOT MARK) SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’ll be interesting to see how the Oilers handle this situation. Puljujarvi’s done well in Finland (53 points in 56 games), but that’s not much of an indicator whether he can be an effective NHL player.

Asked if Sam Gagner might sign with the Oilers as an unrestricted free agent, Spector believes he will. He’d be an affordable signing, his home is in Edmonton, and Oilers general manager Ken Holland could see Gagner as a future member of the front office.

(THE OTHER ) SPECTOR’S NOTE: Gagner is completing a three-year deal worth an annual average value of $3.15 million. He’s not getting that much ever again, but he could be a decent fourth-line pickup for the Oilers (or somebody else) on a one-year, $900K contract.

FLAMES

SPORTSNET: Eric Francis recently opened up the mailbag to address questions from Calgary Flames fans. Asked if the Flames might shake up their core, Francis doesn’t believe they will. Acknowledging the production of stars like Johnny Gaudreau is down this season, he feels the early end to this season ensures Gaudreau will return next season. He thinks players like Gaudreau and Monahan shouldn’t be shopped until they’ve had a shot at redemption.

(THE BETTER-LOOKING) SPECTOR’S NOTE: I didn’t put any stock into the trade rumors involving Gaudreau and Sean Monahan this season. Yes, their production was down this season, but they’re only a year removed from their respective career-high point totals. They’re still in the mid-twenties and very much in their playing prime. Unless they asked to be moved, they’re not going anywhere.

Francis thinks the Flames will kick tires on Taylor Hall if he tests the UFA market but believes they’ll use their cap space to plug holes in their defense corps than overspending on Hall. He also doesn’t see both T.J. Brodie and Travis Hamonic returning next season but Brodie could stay.

Francis also sees the Flames attempting to re-sign UFA goalie Cam Talbot or taking a stab at Vancouver’s Jacob Markstrom or Vegas’ Robin Lehner. He doesn’t think they’ll try to buy out Milan Lucic’s contract, pointing out he fills an effective physical role, as well as his popularity with his teammates and among Calgary fans.

Asked if interim coach Geoff Ward will remain as their bench boss after this season, Francis believes he will, citing GM Brad Treliving saying he’s seen enough to make his decision. Following a shaky start, the Flames turned things around under Ward, who has a year remaining on his contract.

RED WINGS

THE DETROIT NEWS: Ted Kulfan recently weighed in with his thoughts on what Red Wings GM Steve Yzerman will do with his 12 restricted free agents.

Tyler Bertuzzi will likely get a long-term deal. Anthony Mantha’s situation could be more complicated. He could sign a one-year deal to post up big numbers before his UFA eligibility in two years, or the Wings could ink him to a four- or five-year deal believing he’ll keep progressing.

Kulfan believes Robby Fabbri has shown enough this season to be part of the Wings’ short-term future. He expects Adam Erne to be re-signed but feels he must take a bigger step forward.

He wouldn’t be surprised if the Wings cut ties with Madison Bowey and Brendan Perlini.










NHL Free Agents & Trade Candidates – Detroit Red Wings

NHL Free Agents & Trade Candidates – Detroit Red Wings

 










NHL Rumor Mill – March 28, 2020

NHL Rumor Mill – March 28, 2020

Check out the recent free agent and CBA speculation in today’s NHL rumor mill.

THIS SUMMER’S FREE AGENTS COULD MAKE LESS MONEY

SPORTSNET: Luke Fox recently speculated this year’s NHL free agents could find it difficult landing a financial windfall. If the remainder of the schedule and the playoffs are canceled, they’ll be robbed of the opportunity to showcase their worth. They could also face a flat salary-cap as a result of the loss of hockey-related revenue.

Could Taylor Hall find it difficult to get a lucrative new contract under a flat salary cap for next season? (Photo via NHL Images)

“If your name is Taylor Hall, Braden Holtby, Jacob Markstrom, Tyson Barrie, Alex Pietrangelo or Torey Krug, this is a concerning development”, wrote Fox. “Same goes for soon-to-be RFAs like Max Domi, Anthony DeAngelo, Sam Reinhart, and Tyler Bertuzzi.” He suggested bridge deals might make more sense until NHL revenue stabilizes.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: One factor Fox neglected to mention was which teams with plenty of salary-cap room might benefit if the cap maximum remains at $81.5 million. They could have a better opportunity to land a quality UFA talent than they would’ve had under a higher cap. They include the Buffalo Sabres (over $47 million committed to 10 players), Detroit Red Wings ($46.2 million invested in 11 players), New Jersey Devils ($55.2 million invested in 13 players), Montreal Canadiens ($63.1 milliion in 16 players), and Ottawa Senators ($41.9 milion in nine players).

The restricted free agents are far more likely to receive bridge contracts than the UFAs. Those with arbitration rights, like Domi, DeAngelo, Reinhart, and Bertuzzi, could use that leverage if their respective teams attempt to use a flat cap as a reason to avoid making more lucrative contract offers. It might also lead to some of those RFAs getting traded if they threaten to go to arbitration to get what they want.

COULD A NEW CBA BE ON THE HORIZON?

SPORTSNET: During his recent “31 Thoughts”, Elliotte Friedman theorized the current high level of cooperation between the NHL and the NHL Players’ Association during these difficult times might lead to a new long-term collective bargaining agreement.

Seattle expansion franchise and a new US television deal are on the NHL’s radar. To make everything work, the league needs long-term labor peace. Friedman noted the National Football League and the NFLPA recently announced a new 10-year CBA. If the NHL can get that new TV deal done, he wondered if the NHLPA would be willing to vote for a 10-year CBA. In return, the players could get the Olympics and some form of escrow relief

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Friedman isn’t the only person observing the improved relationship of late between the NHL and NHLPA. The Athletic’s Pierre LeBrun recently wrote he couldn’t recall a higher level of cooperation between the two sides.

Since the fall of 2018, there’s been growing cordiality between the two sides, culminating in last September’s mutual agreements not to trigger their respective early out-clauses, allowing the present agreement to run to September 2022.

However, LeBrun also noted that relationship will be tested as the two sides attempt to navigate the tricky financial issues raised by the pandemic. If they can successfully work their way through that, the groundwork will be laid for perhaps a smooth transition into a new CBA and long-term labor peace by 2022.

 










NHL Teams Constantly Seek To Conjure Up Chemistry

NHL Teams Constantly Seek To Conjure Up Chemistry

 










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 3, 2019

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 3, 2019

Game recaps, Stars clinch a playoff berth, Wild eliminated from postseason chase, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines. 

NHL.COM: The Nashville Predators (96 points) defeated the Buffalo Sabres 3-2 to move into a tie with the Winnipeg Jets for first place in the Central Division. P.K. Subban had a goal and an assist and Ryan Johansen tallied the winning goal. 

Brad Marchand became the first Boston Bruin to reach 100 points since Joe Thornton in 2002-03. (Photo via NHL Images)

Brad Marchand became the first Boston Bruin to reach 100 points since Joe Thornton in 2002-03 as his club beat the Columbus Blue Jackets 6-2. Marchand’s teammate Jake DeBrusk scored twice and set up another. With the win, the Bruins (105 points) secured second place in the Atlantic Division. The Blue Jackets (94 points) slipped into a tie with the Montreal Canadiens for the final Eastern Conference wild-card berth. 

The Canadiens, meanwhile, kept their playoff hopes alive by overcoming a 2-1 deficit to double up the Tampa Bay Lightning 4-2. The loss means the Lightning no longer have a shot at breaking the NHL single-season record of 62 wins set by the Detroit Red Wings in 1995-96

The Carolina Hurricanes (95 points) moved back into the first wild-card spot in the East by defeating the Toronto Maple Leafs 4-1. Dougie Hamilton scored two goals for the Hurricanes. The Leafs (99 points) have secured third place in the Atlantic. 

Tyler Bertuzzi became the first player in Detroit Red Wings history to tally three-or-more points in four straight games in a 4-1 victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins. Bertuzzi scored two goals and collected an assist while teammates Dylan Larkin had three assists and Anthony Mantha scored twice. Earlier in the day, the Red Wings formally announced head coach Jeff Blashill was re-signed to a two-year contract extension. The loss prevented the Penguins (97 points) from clinching a playoff position. They also played without defenseman Brian Dumoulin, who’s day-to-day with a lower-body injury.  

Despite defeating the Winnipeg Jets 5-1, the Minnesota Wild (83 points) was eliminated from the playoff race last night. Zach Parise scored two goals for the Wild. 

The Dalla Stars are heading to the playoffs for the first time since 2016 thanks to a 6-2 drubbing of the Philadelphia Flyers. Alexander Radulov led the way with two goals and two assists while Mats Zuccarello (one assist) returned to action after being sidelined for over a month with a broken arm. 

The Wild was eliminated because the Colorado Avalanche overcame a 2-0 deficit to thump the Edmonton Oilers 6-2. Alex Kerfoot scored twice for the Avalanche (88 points), who opened a four-point lead over the Arizona Coyotes for the final playoff berth in the Western Conference. 

Speaking of the Coyotes (84 points), their playoff hopes took a hit by falling 3-1 to the Los Angeles Kings. Coyotes goaltender Darcy Kuemper left the game in the third period after taking a stick to the face. His status for their remaining two games remains in doubt. Kings defenseman Kurtis MacDermid missed the game with an upper-body injury

The Vancouver Canucks rallied from a 2-1 deficit to beat the San Jose Sharks 4-2. Tanner Pearson scored twice and Markus Granlund tallied the winning goal. The Sharks have won just once (1-8-1) in their last 10 games. 

Edmonton Oilers center Connor McDavid, Columbus Blue Jackets goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky, and Boston Bruins winger Brad Marchand are the NHL’s three stars for the month of March 2019.  St. Louis Blues goaltender Jordan Binnington was named rookie of the month for the second straight month. 

NBC SPORTS: Washington Capitals defenseman Michal Kempny underwent season-ending surgery to repair a torn left hamstring and is expected to be sidelined four-to-six months. 










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 13, 2019

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 13, 2019

Game recaps, injury updates, fighting continues to decline, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines. 

NHL.COM: After missing three games with a lower-body injury, New Jersey Devils rookie goaltender Mackenzie Blackwood made 32 saves as his club edged the Philadelphia Flyers 3-2. Teammate Nico Hischier had a goal and an assist. Flyers forwards Sean Couturier and James van Riemsdyk also had two-point performances. 

The New York Rangers picked up their first-ever victory at Barclays Center by defeating the New York Islanders 2-1. Mats Zuccarello tallied the winner late in the third period for the Rangers, who lost defenseman Fredrik Claesson to an apparent right shoulder injury

Tampa Bay Lightning winger Nikita Kucherov widened his lead in the scoring race with three points in a 5-3 win over the Buffalo Sabres (Photo via NHL Images)

Three unanswered third-period goals by Nikita Kucherov, Steven Stamkos, and Ryan Callahan lifted the Tampa Bay Lightning to a 5-3 win over the Buffalo Sabres. Kucherov, the NHL’s scoring leader, collected three points and now has 75 in 45 games. 

Boston Bruins winger David Pastrnak’s late second-period goal proved to be the game-winner as his club nipped the Toronto Maple Leafs 3-2. Sean Kuraly had a goal and two assists while Tuukka Rask turned aside 30 shots. 

Montreal Canadiens goalie Carey Price kicked out 28 shots to pick up his third shutout of the season in a 3-0 win over the Colorado Avalanche. Phillip Danault had two assists for the Canadiens, who vaulted over the Islanders and Sabres into the first wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference. 

The Columbus Blue Jackets downed the Washington Capitals 2-1 on an overtime tally by Artemi Panarin, after which he and his teammates mimicked Washington’s Evgeny Kuznetsov’s “bird dance” goal celebration. Capitals starter Braden Holtby left the game after being struck in the left eye with a stick in the second period. He was originally expected to return to action but team doctors felt it better that he remain out of the game. Holtby will be re-evaluated later today. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The blade of Blue Jackets winger Cam Atkinson’s stick somehow slipped through Holtby’s mask during a scrum in front of the Capitals’ net. Here’s hoping the injury isn’t serious. 

Detroit Red Wings forward Tyler Bertuzzi picked up his first career NHL hat trick in a 5-2 win over the Minnesota Wild. Thomas Vanek also scored twice and Dylan Larkin collected three assists. Following the game, Wild coach Bruce Boudreau called the loss the worst he’s experienced since taking over as Minnesota’s bench boss.  “Effort, compete, I don’t know where it was,” said Boudreau. 

Boudreau wasn’t the only coach to rip his team’s performance as Jim Montgomery of the Dallas Stars expressed his unhappiness over his club’s effort in a 3-1 loss to the St. Louis Blues.  “It’s everybody. Unfortunately, I’m very frustrated that I have not been able to gain consistency in our performance, and I haven’t been able to change the culture of mediocrity,” said Montgomery. Vladimir Taransenko scored twice for the Blues. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Wild and Stars possess the talent to be higher than they currently are in the standings. They’re starting to turn underachievement into an art form. 

Vegas Golden Knights winger Alex Tuch set a franchise record with a nine-game points streak as his club beat the Chicago Blackhawks 4-3 on an overtime goal by Shea Theodore. Tuch and Max Pacioretty each had two points. Alex DeBrincat scored twice for the Blackhawks. 

The San Jose Sharks picked up their sixth straight victory by downing the Ottawa Senators 4-1. Sharks defenseman Erik Karlsson has yet to score against his former club. The Sharks activated blueliner Justin Braun off injured reserve but lost winger Joonas Donskoi to an upper-body injury

Los Angeles Kings goaltender Jonathan Quick’s 38-save performance carried his club to a 5-2 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins, snapping the latter’s six-game road winning streak. It was Quick’s 301st career victory, tying him with Mike Richter for fourth all-time among American-born netminders. Anze Kopitar scored two goals and Jeff Carter had a three-point game. Penguins winger Jake Guentzel netted both of his team’s goals. 

Arizona Coyotes rookie Conor Garland scored twice, with the first deflecting in off his face, in a 3-2 win over the Edmonton Oilers. Garland left the game for stitches and returned to score the winner in the third period.

THE SCORE: Anaheim Ducks head coach Randy Carlyle didn’t take kindly to a reporter’s question about his job security following the club’s 10th straight loss on Friday. He abruptly ended the media scrum, calling the reporter “a jerk” and complaining about being asked “dumb questions”. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Carlyle certainly seems to be feeling the heat right now. Remains to be seen if Ducks general manager Bob Murray intends on replacing him. Despite the long losing skid, the Ducks are only one point out of a wild-card spot in the Western Conference. However, they risk tumbling further out of contention if they fail to find a way to pull out of their tailspin. 

BOSTON GLOBE: Fighting continues to decline in the NHL. At the mid-point of this season, the number of fighting majors is down to 0.38 per game.