NHL Rumor Mill – November 4, 2020

NHL Rumor Mill – November 4, 2020

The latest on the notable restricted free agents in today’s NHL rumor mill.

SPORTSNET: Luke Fox examined the latest regarding the remaining notable NHL restricted free agents.

New York Islanders center Mathew Barzal (NHL Images).

New York Islanders general manager Lou Lamoriello reportedly hopes to sign center Mathew Barzal to around $7.5 million per season. The young center’s camp would prefer a higher figure. Fox feels it’s highly unlikely a rival club will sign Barzal to an offer sheet worth $10.9 million or more per season as the compensation to the Isles would be four first-round picks.

Speaking of the Isles, Fox considers it a no-brainer they’ll sign defenseman Ryan Pulock after trading Devon Toews to the Colorado Avalanche in a cost-cutting move last month. Pulock’s arbitration hearing is on Nov. 6.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: An offer sheet for Barzal remains possible but increasingly unlikely. With Cap Friendly indicating 23 of the Isles rivals have less than $10 million in cap space (22 of those with less than $7 million), the possibility of an offer sheet remains remote.

Whatever Pulock gets on his contract will put a big bite into the Isles’ $8.9 million cap space. They’re allowed to exceed the cap by 10 percent during the offseason but must be cap compliant when next season begins. Lamoriello must shed some salary to sign Barzal and ensure he’s under the cap.

The Tampa Bay Lightning continue having difficulty freeing up salary-cap space to sign Anthony Cirelli and Mikhail Sergachev. GM Julien BriseBois has attempted to move veteran winger Tyler Johnson but his difficulties doing so indicate how hard it is to shed salary under the current economic conditions.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: BriseBois will have to package Johnson with a good draft pick or a quality prospect as a sweetener. Even then, he might have to pick up part of his $5 million salary-cap hit. He could find it easier trading Alex Killorn but could still be squeezed to add a pick or prospect in the deal.

Contract talks between the Columbus Blue Jackets and center Pierre-Luc Dubois have stalled but GM Jarmo Kekalainen remains unconcerned. He pointed out Zach Werenski didn’t sign last year until just before training camp.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Dubois is coming off his entry-level contract and lacks arbitration rights. The Jackets also have over $12 million in cap space as a sufficient offer-sheet deterrent. No wonder Kekalainen isn’t worried.

Contract talks between the New Jersey Devils and Mackenzie Blackwood are expected to pick up shortly. The Devils bought out Cory Schneider and brought in a suitable mentor for Blackwood in Corey Crawford. Fox speculates he could seek a deal comparable to the two-year, $8 million contract of Columbus goalie Elvis Merzlikins. He also doesn’t expect the Devils will have much difficulty signing winger Jesper Bratt.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Devils have over $17 million in cap space. Even if they don’t spend to the cap, they’ve got enough for Blackwood and Bratt.

Fox thinks second-line winger Jake DeBrusk’s contract talks have taken a back seat to the Boston Bruins’ attempts to reshape their blueline after losing Torey Krug to free agency. That’s led to DeBrusk popping up in the trade rumor mill. With over $6 million in cap space, the Bruins have room to sign him but they’re also poking around the UFA market.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: DeBrusk lacks arbitration rights so the Bruins could ink him to an affordable bridge contract. That would leave enough cap room to add a defenseman via the UFA market.

Ryan Strome’s upcoming arbitration case could be worth watching. Fox cited the New York Post’s Larry Brooks back in April speculating the Rangers would prefer signing the center to a one-year contract without going through arbitration. The Rangers had debated not qualifying Strome’s rights before doing so.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Brooks reported Strome filed for a one-year contract worth $5.7 million with an arbitrator while the Rangers countered with $3.6 million. He speculated they could walk away if the arbiter awards Strome over $4.538 million.

Florida Panthers defenseman MacKenzie Weegar surfaced in trade speculation but GM Bill Zito insisted he remains a member of the Panthers. The blueliner is slated for arbitration on Nov. 8. Fox speculates Weegar could use Bruins defenseman Matt Grzelcyk’s four-year, $14.75 million contract ($3.687 million AAV) as a comparable.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Weegar’s situation could also bear watching if it takes arbitration to settle his contract. Perhaps Zito attempts to trade the rearguard if an arbiter-awarded salary is more than the Panthers are willing to pay.

Fox suggests St. Louis Blues defenseman Vince Dunn could end up with an affordable bridge contract. The 23-year-old is coming off his entry-level deal. The same goes for Edmonton Oilers blueliner Ethan Bear.

Fox also projected the next salary for forward Roope Hintz could come in around $3 million, which will fit within the Dallas Stars’ $4.1 million cap space. It’s expected the Philadelphia Flyers will sign defenseman Philippe Myers to a short-term deal but there could be some benefit to locking him up to a longer-term deal.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – May 5, 2020

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – May 5, 2020

The latest on the league’s 2020 Draft proposal, Oilers and Canucks among clubs looking to host neutral-site games plus updates on Sidney Crosby, Philipp Grubauer, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

2020 NHL DRAFT UPDATE

TSN’s Pierre LeBrun took to Twitter yesterday reporting a good discussion on Monday’s NHL Board of Governors’ conference call over staging the 2020 draft in June before the resumption of the schedule. A decision is expected later this week or sometime next week. Deputy commissioner Bill Daly said, “We think it’s more important to get the right decision than to get a quick decision.”

NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly (Photo via NHL.com).

In his column for The Athletic (subscription required), LeBrun reported holding the draft in June doesn’t require approval from the board of governors. Teams will also seek more clarification regarding the trades involving conditional picks in this year’s draft.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The NHL may claim it wants to take some time to make the right decision, but most pundits seem to feel this is a fait accompli. It appears league headquarters wants to stage the draft in June to drum up excitement among hockey fans for the potential resumption fo the season in July or August.

TSN: Travis Yost points out the potential revisions to this year’s draft lottery would give the Detroit Red Wings a 57 percent cumulative probability of winning the first-overall selection. Bob McKenzie reports the lottery rules will revert to the system last used in 2012, where only one of the bottom-five clubs has a chance of winning that pick. Those teams include the Red Wings, Ottawa Senators, San Jose Sharks, Los Angeles Kings, and Anaheim Ducks. The Senators hold the Sharks’ pick. Teams outside that group can still win the lottery, but would only move up four spots in the order.

SPORTSNET: Chris Johnston reviewed every NHL trade involving conditional picks in this year’s draft, ranking them from the easiest to resolve to the most difficult. Those in the latter category include the conditional third-rounder the Edmonton Oilers packaged with Milan Lucic to the Calgary Flames for James Neal, and the conditional fourth the New Jersey Devils received from the Carolina Hurricanes in the Sami Vatanen deal.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Sorting out the conditional picks will be a challenge. Under the league’s proposal, it would give the teams involved the option of sorting it out among themselves or the league will do it for them.

TEAMS SUBMITTING BIDS TO HOST NEUTRAL-SITE GAMES

THE ATHLETIC: Pierre Lebrun reports between 11 and 14 teams submitted bids to be among the four hub cities for the resumption of the season. This format isn’t the only option but is considered the leading one. He also indicated a few league governors favor delaying resumption as long as possible, perhaps a September-October playoff, when it might be possible for the 16 playoff clubs to host games in their own arenas.

THE SCORE: The Vancouver Canucks and Edmonton Oilers are reportedly among the teams to submit bids to be a host city.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The league and the NHL Players Association have yet to decide on the format for restarting the schedule or when the schedule could resume. It’s believed the league is targeting early June to open training camps for their 31 clubs.

IN OTHER NEWS…

TRIBLIVE.COM: Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby donated 100,000 meals to the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank. That’s the equivalent of 120,000 pounds of food.

THE DENVER POST: Colorado Avalanche goaltender Philipp Grubauer said he was just days away from returning from a lower-body injury when the schedule was paused. He added he’s been cycling 100 miles per day in the Denver area.

ESPN.COM: Over 65 percent of sports fans surveyed favor sports returning to action without fans in the stands. That number rises to 76 percent when asked if they support a return without fans in the stands if players were kept in hotels and their contact with others was closely monitored.

The New Jersey Devils are giving their fans options for a full refund of their remaining tickets for this season to ticket donations for front-line workers in the COVID-19 pandemic.

 










NHL Free Agents & Trade Candidates – New Jersey Devils

NHL Free Agents & Trade Candidates – New Jersey Devils

 










What’s In Store This NHL Offseason For The New Jersey Devils?

What’s In Store This NHL Offseason For The New Jersey Devils?

 










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 20, 2020

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 20, 2020

Patrick Kane reaches 1,000 points, Justin Williams tallies the game-winner in his return to the Hurricanes, the latest on Gerard Gallant, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: Chicago Blackhawks winger Patrick Kane collected an assist for his 1,000th career point in a 5-2 win over the Winnipeg Jets. Alex Nylander, Erik Gustafsson, and Connor Murphy led the way with two points apiece while Robin Lehner made 36 saves. Jets forward Adam Lowry left the game in the first period with an injured arm. The surging Blackhawks are tied with the Jets (54), sitting just three points out of a Western Conference wild-card berth.

Patrick Kane is the fourth player in Chicago Blackhawks history to reach 1,000 career points (Photo via NHL Images)

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Blackhawks and Jets are moving in opposite directions approaching the All-Star break. The Hawks have won five in a row and seven of their last 10, while the slumping Jets dropped two in a row and six of their last 10.

Justin Williams scored the deciding goal during a shootout in his first game of the season as the Carolina Hurricanes edged the New York Islanders 2-1. Andrei Svechnikov also scored for the Canes while Anders Lee countered for the Isles. The Hurricanes snap a three-game losing skid and hold a one-point lead (59) over the Philadelphia Flyers for the final Eastern Conference wild-card spot.

The Pittsburgh Penguins rallied from a 3-0 deficit to nip the Boston Bruins 4-3. Sidney Crosby picked up two assists while Bryan Rust tallied the winning goal.

Columbus Blue Jackets goalie Matiss Kivlenieks picked up a win in his NHL debut backstopping his club to a 2-1 over the New York Rangers. Oliver Bjorkstrand tallied both Jackets goals.

JOURNAL-PIONEER: Former Vegas Golden Knights head coach Gerard Gallant said he was surprised and disappointed by his firing last week. Gallant has returned to his hometown of Summerside, PEI, and is hoping to quickly return to coaching. He said if the right opportunity came up for himself and long-time assistant coach Mike Kelly, he’d definitely consider it. Kelly was also relieved of his duties by the Golden Knights.

Gallant was slated to coach the Pacific Division in the upcoming NHL All-Star Game. “I talked to the NHL about it and they sort of left it up to me, but I didn’t really feel comfortable (going),” said Gallant. “I just said I’d sooner pass.” Arizona Coyotes bench boss Rick Tocchet will replace Gallant.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Given his credentials, the 2018 Jack Adams Award winner won’t be unemployed for long. I expect he’ll be back behind an NHL bench before the end of 2020.

NJ.COM: Devils goaltender Mackenzie Blackwood suffered a concussion and lost four teeth when struck in the mask by a shot during Tuesday’s game against the New York Rangers. He was symptom-free by Friday and briefly played in Saturday’s loss to Columbus.

TSN: The Edmonton Oilers assigned defenseman Matt Benning to their AHL affiliate in Bakersfield on a conditioning stint.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 12, 2020

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 12, 2020

Patrick Marleau reaches a notable milestone, bad blood between Matthew Tkachuk and Zack Kassian, the “Last Men In” for the 2020 NHL All-Star Game are revealed, and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: San Jose Sharks winger Patrick Marleau scored the winning goal in his 1,700th career NHL game as his club defeated the Dallas Stars 3-2. Marleau is just the fifth player in NHL history to reach that milestone. Gordie Howe is the all-time leader with 1,767 games. Before the game, Stars center and former Sharks captain Joe Pavelski received a lengthy standing ovation from the San Jose fans in his first game against his old club. Pavelski spent 13 seasons with the Sharks before signing with the Stars last summer as a free agent.

San Jose Sharks winger Patrick Marleau scored in his 1.700th career NHL game (Photo via NHL Images).

The Calgary Flames rolled to their fifth straight win by nipping the Edmonton Oilers 4-3. Elias Lindholm scored twice, including the game-winner in the third period. Oilers captain Connor McDavid’s first-period highlight-reel goal was overshadowed by teammate Zack Kassian raining punches on Flames winger Matthew Tkachuk in the second period after Tkachuk nailed Kassian with a big hit behind the Flames’ net. The two had choice words for each other during their post-game interviews.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Another shot fired in the ongoing Battle of Alberta. The two clubs face off in back-to-back games on Jan. 29 and Feb. 1. Circle your calendars, folks, this series should be a dandy.

The Tampa Bay Lightning picked up their 10th straight win by blanking the Philadelphia Flyers 1-0. Andrei Vasilevskiy turned in a 23-save shutout while Pat Maroon tallied the only goal. Maroon subsequently left the game with an apparent right-shoulder injury.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The red-hot Lightning (58 points) have surged past the Toronto Maple Leafs into second place in the Atlantic Division.

The St. Louis Blues picked up their eighth straight home victory by downing the New York Rangers 5-2. David Perron extended his goal streak to four games while Alex Pietrangelo, Brayden Schenn, Zach Sanford, and Ivan Barbashev each collected two points.

Four third-period goals by J.T. Miller, Brock Boeser, Jake Virtanen, and Loui Eriksson lifted the Vancouver Canucks to a 6-3 win over the Buffalo Sabres. Boeser tallied two goals on the afternoon, while Sabres captain Jack Eichel collected two assists to extend his points streak to six games.

Patrice Bergeron scored in overtime as the Boston Bruins edged the New York Islanders 3-2. Isles center Mathew Barzal had two points in a losing cause. Bruins defenseman Matt Grzelcyk left the game in the first period with a lower-body injury.

Caroina Hurricanes goalie James Reimer kicked out 42 shots to blank the Los Angeles Kings 2-0. Nino Niederreiter and Teuvo Teravainen were the goal scorers. The Hurricanes have won three straight.

Columbus Blue Jackets netminder Elvis Merzlikins made 27 saves for his first NHL shutout in a 3-0 win over the Vegas Golden Knights. Emil Bemstrom, Pierre-Luc Dubois and Alexander Wennberg were the goal scorers. The Jackets have won 15 of their last 17 games.

Nico Hischier scored twice as the New Jersey Devils upset the Washington Capitals 5-1. Louis Domingue picked up the win with 33 saves as Mackenzie Blackwood missed the game with an upper-body injury.

Dominik Kubalik scored twice and Robin Lehner made 35 saves as the Chicago Blackhawks doubled up the Anaheim Ducks 4-2. The Ducks have lost six of their last seven contests.

Ilya Kovalchuk’s first goal as a Montreal Canadien was the game-winner in a 2-1 overtime squeaker over the Ottawa Senators. It was the Habs first win in nine games while the Senators have dropped seven in a row. Canadiens goalie Carey Price made 41 saves.

IN OTHER NEWS…

St. Louis Blues winger David Perron, Washington Capitals winger T.J. Oshie, Toronto Maple Leafs forward Mitch Marner, and Vancouver Canucks defenseman Quinn Hughes were voted by NHL fans as the Last Men In for the 2020 NHL All-Star Game in St. Louis on Jan. 25.

TORONTO SUN: Toronto Marlies assistant coach Rob Davison was released from the hospital yesterday following a grand mal seizure before Friday’s AHL game against the Texas Stars. He’s returning to Toronto and will be away from the club indefinitely.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Best wishes to Davison in his recovery. I have a family member who suffered similar seizures, so I know how scary it must have been for the Marlies players and staff to witness what he went through.

NEW YORK POST: Former NBC NHL analyst Jeremy Roenick apologized for joking about wanting to have a sexual threesome with colleague Kathryn Tappen on a podcast in late December.

OTTAWA SUN: On Friday, the Senators named Jim Little as their new CEO. He’s a former executive with Shaw Communications.