NHL Rumor Mill – July 1, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – July 1, 2022

Check out the latest on Pierre-Luc Dubois, Alex DeBrincat, Johnny Gaudreau, Nazem Kadri, Jesse Puljujarvi and more in the Canada Day edition of the NHL rumor mill.

LATEST RUMORS FROM TSN’S NHL INSIDERS

TSN: Darren Dreger reports there’s “tons of trade interest” in Pierre-Luc Dubois after the 23-year-old center informed the Winnipeg Jets of his intention to test the 2024 unrestricted free agent market. Dreger mentioned the New York Rangers and Montreal Canadiens among the possible suitors but believes it’ll take a substantial offer to pry him away from the Jets.

If it’s the Rangers, Filip Chytil, Braden Schneider or Kaapo Kakko and a first-round pick would have to be part of the return. Otherwise, Dreger doubts Jets GM Kevin Cheveldayoff has the stomach to move Dubois during this offseason.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: And if it’s the Canadiens, a young forward such as Nick Suzuki or Cole Caufield would probably have to be part of that discussion. I doubt the Habs would part with either guy. They also won’t part with the first-overall pick for Dubois but would probably offer up the 26th overall selection they received from the Calgary Flames in the Tyler Toffoli trade.

Chicago Blackhawks winger Alex DeBrincat (NHL Images).

Pierre LeBrun reports the Chicago Blackhawks have been listening to offers for winger Alex DeBrincat for five or six weeks. However, the asking price is more than the first-round pick and prospect the Los Angeles Kings sent to the Minnesota Wild for Kevin Fiala.

LeBrun suspects it would be a “triple-asset haul” for Chicago, including a 2022 first-round pick. With the first round of the draft slated for July 7, things could come to a head over the next several days.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: DeBrincat’s a more reliable offensive winger than Fiala, with two 40-goal seasons under his belt. Unlike the Wild, the Blackhawks are a rebuilding club so they’ll want a larger return focussing on long-term assets.

Bleacher Nation’s Patrick K. Flowers cited Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman saying the Hawks turned down an offer for DeBrincat that would’ve contained a couple of first-rounders. However, there are no details as to what else was proposed in that pitch.

Speaking of Fiala, Chris Johnston reported the Seattle Kraken were among the interested parties before he was shipped to the Kings. They have the cap space to make a splash in the trade or free agent markets this summer.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Writing for The Athletic, LeBrun cited a source saying the Kraken intends to be active in this summer’s UFA market when it opens on July 13. He wonders if they might make a pitch for Johnny Gaudreau if the Calgary Flames winger tests the open market. Cap Friendly indicates they have $22.8 million in cap space with 14 players under contract.

And speaking of Gaudreau, LeBrun said he remains undecided about the offer from the Flames. He suspects the winger wants to keep Calgary in the fold but may want to see what’s out there in the free-agent market.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: If Gaudreau departs, the Flames could be scrambling to find a suitable replacement. Maybe they’ll attempt to sign Nashville’s Filip Forsberg if he goes to market or try to swing a trade for DeBrincat.

Dreger said the Colorado Avalanche will try hard to re-sign Nazem Kadri before he becomes eligible for UFA status on July 13. He wonders if they can afford what could be an $8 million to $9 million annual average value to keep the 31-year-old center.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: With $26.8 million in cap space and 14 players under contract, the Avalanche can afford Kadri. However, that will take a big bite out of their cap space, hampering efforts to re-sign or suitably replace goaltender Darcy Kuemper, winger Valeri Nichushkin and winger Artturi Lehkonen. LeBrun believes they’ll prioritize Nichushkin even though they really want to retain Kadri.

Johnston reports the trade winds are blowing increasingly stronger on Jesse Puljujarvi. The Ottawa Senators are among two clubs believed to have an interest in the 24-year-old Edmonton Oilers winger. He’s a restricted free agent with arbitration rights.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Sportsnet’s Mark Spector (No, that’s not me!) reported several professional scouts told him the Oilers could get a second- or third-round pick or perhaps a third-line player with upside for Puljujarvi. He mentioned the Senators and Carolina Hurricanes as having an interest in the former 2016 first-rounder. Spector also wondered if the Arizona Coyotes, New Jersey Devils or San Jose Sharks will come calling.

On the topic of the Oilers, Darren Dreger reports GM Ken Holland will meet soon with Mike Smith to discuss the goaltender’s future. The 40-year-old has one season left on his contract and could spend it on long-term injury reserve. Dreger anticipates Holland will “dive deep” into the UFA pool with an interest in Toronto’s Jack Campbell, St. Louis’ Ville Husso and maybe others.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 25, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 25, 2022

The Lightning stay alive with a Game 5 win in the Stanley Cup Final, Barry Trotz is in no hurry to return to coaching, the Blackhawks will name Luke Richardson as their new coach, Chris Kreider and Joel Farabee undergo surgery, and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.

NHL.COM: Ondrej Palat’s third-period goal lifted the Tampa Bay Lightning to a 3-2 victory over the Colorado Avalanche in Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Final.

Tampa Bay Lightning winger Ondrej Palat (NHL Images).

Andrei Vasilevskiy picked up the win with a 35-save performance, Jan Rutta and Nikita Kucherov also scored while Corey Perry and Mikhail Sergachev each collected two assists for the Lightning.

Valeri Nichushkin and Cale Makar replied for the Avalanche, whose lead in the series has been cut to three games to two. Nichushkin tied a franchise record with his fourth goal in a Stanley Cup Final.

The series returns to Tampa Bay on Sunday for Game 6.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: For the third time in this postseason, the Lightning battled back with a hard-fought victory when facing elimination. Once again, Vasilevskiy was stellar in a must-win game. And once again, it was Palat with a clutch goal, giving him a team-leading three game-winners in this postseason and 12 playoff winners for his career, ranking third in that category among active players.

The breaks went the Lightning’s way in this contest. After the Avalanche got lucky in Game 5 with a missed too-many-men call during Nazem Kadri’s game-winner in overtime, they were tagged this time with 2:43 remaining in regulation, all but snuffing out an opportunity to pull their goalie and push for the equalizing goal. The Bolts also benefited when a tripping call on Makar led to Kucherov’s 4-on-3 power-play goal in the second period.

WINNIPEG SUN: Former New York Islanders coach Barry Trotz turned down the opportunity to coach the Jets, basing his decision on spending more time with his family.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The report indicated Trotz was impressed by the Jets’ approach in both their patience as he considered their offer and willingness to accommodate his needs if he accepted the job.

Sources told the Sun that Trotz was reluctant to face the grind of another NHL season after 23 straight years of coaching. The Islanders also owe him another season of salary ($4 million), allowing him time to step back, spend more time with his family and ponder his future.

DAILY FACEOFF: Frank Seravalli reported the Chicago Blackhawks are expected to name Luke Richardson as their new head coach next week. Richardson has spent the past four seasons as an assistant coach with the Montreal Canadiens.

NEW YORK POST: Rangers winger Chris Kreider underwent surgery to remove a small bone fragment from his wrist. His expected timeline of recovery is two-to-four weeks.

PHILLY HOCKEY NOW: Flyers forward Joel Farabee could miss the start of the 2022-23 season after undergoing disc-replacement surgery in his cervical area on Friday. He’s expected to make a full recovery in three-to-four months.

VANCOUVER HOCKEY NOW: The Canucks have hired former Florida Panthers general manager Dale Tallon as a senior advisor.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Tallon’s NHL career has now come full circle. He began his playing career with the Canucks in 1970-71.

TRIBLIVE.COM: The Pittsburgh Penguins named Tom Kostopoulos as director of player development. He replaces Scott Young, who was named the Canucks director of player personnel on Friday.

NHL.COM: The Nashville Predators signed forward Cody Glass to a one-year, two-way contract worth over $874K at the NHL level.

TSN: Minnesota Wild prospect Pavel Novak is taking time away from hockey to deal with an oncological disease.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Best wishes to Novak in his treatments. Here’s hoping he makes a full recovery and resumes his playing career.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 23, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 23, 2022

The Avalanche are one win away from becoming Stanley Cup champions, the Panthers name Paul Maurice as head coach, Ben Bishop is interested in joining Stars management, and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.

NHL.COM: The Colorado Avalanche is one win away from winning hockey’s greatest prize following a 3-2 victory over the Tampa Bay Lightning in Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Final. Nazem Kadri scored in overtime to give the Avalanche a 3-1 lead in the best-of-seven series.

Colorado Avalanche center Nazem Kadri (NHL Images).

Kadri’s goal was controversial as the Avalanche appeared to have too many men on the ice. Lightning head coach Jon Cooper indicated his belief that the goal shouldn’t have counted during his brief post-game press conference.

NHL Hockey Operations released a statement following the game claiming the on-ice officials didn’t see a too-many-men situation on the ice at the time of Kadri’s goal. The call is not subject to video review.

It wasn’t the only goal that emerged from questionable circumstances for some fans. The Lightning’s Anthony Cirelli opened the scoring but the mask of Avalanche goaltender Darcy Kuemper was knocked off prior to the goal. However, NHL Rule 9.6 (helmets) states that when a goaltender loses his facemask and/or helmet and the opposing team has control of the puck, play is stopped only when there is no immediate or impending scoring opportunity.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s a shame that such a well-played game would end in controversy. I don’t fault the on-ice officials as the rulebook leaves it up to their judgment to determine what constitutes a too-many-men situation. Calls can also sometimes get missed in the heat of the action and it’s not easy to see everything even with four officials on the ice. 

Nevertheless, it’s puzzling that this type of play isn’t reviewable. If it was, perhaps Kadri’s goal wouldn’t have counted.

For NHL fans of a certain age, this will be comparable to Brett Hull’s “skate in the crease” Cup-winning goal in the 1999 Stanley Cup Final. Should the Avalanche go on to win this series, some will consider their championship to be tainted.

Game 5 is Friday in Denver.

CBS SPORTS: Lightning defenseman Erik Cernak left Game 4 in the second period after blocking a show by Avalanche center Nathan MacKinnon. His status is unclear for Game 5.

FLORIDA HOCKEY NOW: The Panthers officially named Paul Maurice as their new head coach. Interim coach Andrew Brunette, who was a finalist for the Jack Adams Award, has been asked to remain with the organization and could join Maurice’s staff.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I get why the Panthers hired Maurice given his 24 years of NHL coaching experience with the Hartford Whalers, Carolina Hurricanes, Toronto Maple Leafs and Winnipeg Jets. Brunette’s inexperience was apparent when the Panthers were swept from the second round by the Lightning.

Still, Brunette did a good job taking over behind the Panthers bench in difficult circumstances after Joel Quenneville stepped down last October, guiding them to their first-ever Presidents’ Trophy in franchise history. Unless there were issues among the players over Brunette’s coaching, he should’ve been given the opportunity to return behind their bench next season.

THE DALLAS MORNING NEWS: Former Dallas Stars goaltender Ben Bishop is interested in joining the club’s management in some capacity. He and the team are currently discussing a potential role for him within their front office.

SPORTICO: The Arizona Coyotes are pitching a $1.7 billion arena complex with the city of Tempe for a 46-acre property on a current landfill site. Earlier this month, the Tempe City council voted to move forward with arena negotiation talks with the Coyotes.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Coyotes reportedly hope to secure the go-ahead from the Tempe City Council to begin construction by the end of this year at the earliest. It could take three years before the arena could be ready for use.

CHICAGO SUN-TIMES: The Blackhawks named Meghan Hunter and Mark Eaton as their new assistant general managers.

TWINCITIES.COM: The Minnesota Wild signed Connor Dewar to a two-year, $1.6 million contract.

NJ.COM: New Jersey Devils co-owner Michael Rubin is selling his stake in the franchise and his stake in the NBA’s Philadelphia 76ers.










Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – June 19, 2022

Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – June 19, 2022

What’s the latest on Alex DeBrincat and Patrick Kane? Are the Devils trying to re-sign or trade Jesper Bratt? What are the Senators’ plans heading into the draft next month? Find out in the latest edition of the Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup.

UPDATE ON DEBRINCAT AND KANE

THE ATHLETIC: Pierre LeBrun reported Friday the Chicago Blackhawks are listening to offers for Alex DeBrincat. There’s no guarantee they’ll trade the 24-year-old winger but if they do it’ll be for a “young player/high picks/top prospect type of return.”

Chicago Blackhawks winger Alex DeBrincat (NHL Images).

DeBrincat has a year remaining on his contract with an annual average value of $6.4 million. He becomes a restricted free agent next July with arbitration rights. LeBrun indicated part of what teams are trying to figure out is what his next contract might look like. He added the Los Angeles Kings are among several clubs to express an interest in DeBrincat.

NBC SPORTS CHICAGO: Charlie Roumeliotis wonders if Patrick Kane will want out of Chicago if the Blackhawks trade DeBrincat. The 33-year-old winger has hinted his potential future with the club could be tied to his linemate’s.

Kane is a year away from unrestricted free agent eligibility. He can sign a contract extension starting on July 13 but could be reluctant to do so without more clarity on what the roster and the potential rebuild timeline could look like.

Roumeliotis suggests it might be better for the Blackhawks to trade Kane if he’s hesitant about a long-term extension rather than let him depart via free agency next summer for nothing.

NEW YORK POST: Larry Brooks wonders about Kane’s worth to the Rangers as a rental player after they were eliminated from the Eastern Conference Finals by the Tampa Bay Lightning.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Blackhawks general manager Kyle Davidson has indicated his intent to rebuild the roster. He’s also said he’ll keep Kane and team captain Jonathan Toews informed about his plans.

Davidson showed a willingness to trade a young player for the right return when he shipped Brandon Hagel to the Lightning for two players and two draft picks. He could move DeBrincat for the type of return outlined by LeBrun. Time will tell if there’s a team willing to meet that expensive asking price.

Bear in mind that Davidson doesn’t have to move DeBrincat before next summer. The winger is two years away from UFA eligibility so Davidson can be patient in evaluating trade offers. He won’t just move DeBrincat for the sake of doing so.

Kane could decide it’s time to move on if DeBrincat is traded. He’s still an elite forward who can contribute to a playoff club. If Kane is looking ahead at next summer’s free-agent market, Davidson could attempt to move him this summer or at some point before next season’s trade deadline.

ARE THE DEVILS TRYING TO SIGN OR TRADE BRATT?

ESPN.COM’s Kevin Weekes tweeted yesterday that he’s been told there have been no significant contract extension talks between the New Jersey Devils and winger Jesper Bratt. He confirms there are several teams interested in trading for the 23-year-old restricted free agent.

NJ.COM’s Ryan Novozinsky reports Bratt’s agent called him a week ago and said the two sides have had multiple discussions regarding a contract extension. He followed up by reporting Devils officials confirmed the contract talks are ongoing, noting these things take time.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I don’t doubt that there are teams calling Devils general manager Tom Fitzgerald to express their interest in Bratt if contract negotiations fall through and he heads to arbitration. Nevertheless, it appears Devils management and Bratt’s camp are continuing to work toward a deal. Just because teams are calling doesn’t mean he’s going to be traded.

LATEST ON THE SENATORS

OTTAWA SUN: Bruce Garrioch recently reported Senators general manager Pierre Dorion confirmed he’s received calls regarding what it might take for the club to trade the seventh-overall pick in this year’s draft.

Dorion confirmed he’s spoken candidly to those interested parties that his club might move the pick in return for a player who can help them get to the next level. Garrioch speculates the Senators GM might not get his best offer until draft day. Dorion didn’t rule out retaining the pick.

Garrioch also reported Dorion has been public about his search for a top-end winger and a top-four defenseman. He speculated the Sens GM could target a cap-strapped club like the Tampa Bay Lightning, Vegas Golden Knights, Montreal Canadiens, Boston Bruins, Florida Panthers, Chicago Blackhawks, San Jose Sharks, Edmonton Oilers and Minnesota Wild.

The Senators have been linked to Wild winger Kevin Fiala as he could be a good fit alongside Tim Stuetzle. Garrioch suggested Claude Giroux could be a good fit if the Panthers fail to re-sign the pending UFA forward.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: You can read my take on this story in my column for The Hockey News.

SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman reports Senators winger Connor Brown might test next summer’s UFA market. They’ll have to decide if they’ll let him play out the season or make a move.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Trading Brown would free up $3.6 million for the Senators. That cap space could be put to good use by acquiring a right winger via trade or free agency.










NHL Rumor Mill – June 16, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – June 16, 2022

Is it worthwhile for the Blackhawks to trade Alex DeBrincat? Are there any potential trade partners for the Sharks’ Brent Burns? Check out the latest in today’s NHL rumor mill.

THE PROS AND CONS OF TRADING DEBRINCAT

THE ATHLETIC: Scott Powers explains why the Chicago Blackhawks are likely to trade Alex DeBrincat this summer.

Chicago Blackhawks winger Alex DeBrincat (NHL Images).

One reason is it would be pointless carrying the 24-year-old winger on an expensive long-term contract when their rebuild process could take four or five years to complete. DeBrincat is a restricted free agent with arbitration rights next summer who will cost $9 million just to qualify his rights. Powers believes Blackhawks management would prefer to have cap and roster flexibility at this point.

Powers also suggested that there’s no certainty DeBrincat will sign a long-term extension if the Blackhawks are rebuilding. Moving him now while he still has a year left on his contract could help them fetch the best return.

Mark Lazerus, on the other hand, believes it would be short-sighted madness by the Blackhawks to trade DeBrincat. While acknowledging Powers’ points, he believes it’s worthwhile to retain a player to build around who wants to be in Chicago. Lacking a star like DeBrincat during the rebuilding phase could also hurt the Blackhawks at the gate.

CHICAGO SUN-TIMES: Ben Pope reports the New Jersey Devils have been linked to DeBrincat. They hold the second-overall selection in this year’s draft. So have the Philadelphia Flyers (fifth-overall pick), Ottawa Senators (seventh overall), New York Islanders (13th overall) and Los Angeles Kings (19th overall).

Trading away DeBrincat could also lead to long-time Blackhawks stars Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews to depart either by requesting a trade or via next summer’s free-agent market. Both have one season remaining on their contracts.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Blackhawks general manager Kyle Davidson has already indicated the club is undergoing a rebuild. However, that process could take place with DeBrincat as a foundation player.

I don’t think Davidson is actively shopping DeBrincat but could listen to offers. It’ll take a significant one to convince him to part with the two-time 40-goal scorer. If he moves DeBrincat, it’ll likely be in the days or hours leading up to the opening round of this year’s draft on July 7.

POTENTIAL TRADE DESTINATIONS FOR BRENT BURNS

NBC SPORTS BAY AREA: Sheng Peng recently examined potential trade destinations for Brent Burns if the 37-year-old defenseman and the San Jose Sharks decided to part ways. Peng observed Burns didn’t exactly quash the notion of chasing a Stanley Cup elsewhere during his end-of-season interview last month.

Peng listed the Dallas Stars, Nashville Predators, and New York Islanders as three possible destinations, speaking with reporters and bloggers who cover those clubs if Burns would be a suitable fit.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Despite his age and the three years remaining on his contract, Burns would still be a terrific fit for a team with Stanley Cup aspirations seeking a big puck-moving defenseman.

However, his $8 million annual cap hit and three-team trade list are significant sticking points. Unless the Sharks retain salary or take back a contract of roughly the same value, I don’t see Burns changing teams this summer.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 10, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 10, 2022

The Lightning are on the verge of their third straight trip to the Stanley Cup Final plus the latest on Evander Kane, the Avalanche’s injured players, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: The Tampa Bay Lightning are one win away from advancing to the Stanley Cup Final for the third straight year after downing the New York Rangers 3-1 in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Finals.

Tampa Bay Lightning winger Ondrej Palat (NHL Images).

Ondrej Palat broke a 1-1 tie late in the third by deflecting Mikhail Sergachev’s screened point shot past Rangers goaltender Igor Shesterkin. Brandon Hagel added the insurance goal into an empty net. Andrei Vasilevskiy made 24 saves for the win. The Lightning can wrap up the series on home ice in Game 6 on Saturday.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This was the tightest-checking game of this series with the outcome in doubt before Palat netted his second straight game-winner. Both goaltenders were outstanding but Shesterkin had no chance on Palat’s goal. It was the Rangers’ first loss on home ice since Game 1 of their first-round series against the Pittsburgh Penguins.

There’s no question the Lightning have shaken off their slow start to this series and now hold the momentum returning to Tampa Bay for Game 6. Their championship experience and disciplined play have made the difference over the last three games. We’ll find out on Saturday if the Rangers can find a way to overcome this deficit and force a seventh and deciding game in New York.

EDMONTON JOURNAL: Evander Kane appeared to bid farewell to Edmonton after posting a gracious thank-you to the Oilers and their fans on Instagram yesterday. In his statement, Kane said he was grateful “to have had the opportunity to play with such a committed, hardworking and loyal group of men.” He called the team a “first-class organization” and thanked them “for giving me the opportunity to play for such a historic franchise.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: An optimistic will say Kane is leaving the door open for a possible return. Perhaps I’m being cynical, but this looks like he’s saying goodbye. The 30-year-old winger is slated to become an unrestricted free agent this summer.

THE DENVER POST: The Colorado Avalanche got some good news on some of their sidelined players ahead of the Stanley Cup Final. Goaltender Darcy Kuemper said he’s fully recovered from the upper-body injury that forced him out of Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals against the Edmonton Oilers and sidelined him for the remainder of that series.

Forwards Nazem Kadri and Andrew Cogliano suffered broken thumbs during that series. However, Avalanche coach Jared Bednar is optimistic they could return at some point during the Stanley Cup Final. The Avs are awaiting the winner of the Eastern Conference Finals.

THE SCORE: Bruce Cassidy was as surprised as everyone else when he was recently fired as head coach of the Boston Bruins. Speaking with reporters on Thursday, Cassidy said he was told by management that his job was safe during his end-of-season interview.

Cassidy might not be unemployed for long. He revealed he’s already spoken with a number of teams. “I want to get back to work. Hopefully, it’s a really good fit – best fit possible,” he said.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Some observers say that this doesn’t reflect well on Bruins general manager Don Sweeney, who visited Cassidy at home to deliver the bad news. I’ve heard it suggested that Sweeney was forced into firing him by team president Cam Neely.

Whatever the reason or whoever was behind it, this story only adds to the sense of offseason upheaval and confusion swirling about the Bruins of late.

TORONTO SUN: The Maple Leafs are seeking a new goaltending coach after parting ways with Steve Briere on Thursday. He’d held that role since 2015-16.

NYI HOCKEY NOW: The New York Islanders have relieved assistant coaches Jim Hiller and John Gruden of their duties.

MONTREAL GAZETTE: The Chicago Blackhawks have reportedly asked the Canadiens for permission to speak with assistant coach Luke Richardson.

THE PROVINCE: The Blackhawks have also asked the Vancouver Canucks for permission to meet with assistant coach Brad Shaw.