Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – June 14, 2020

Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – June 14, 2020

Check out the latest on the Kings and Penguins in today’s NHL rumor mill.

WHAT COULD THE KINGS DO IN THE OFF-SEASON?

THE HOCKEY NEWS: In his postmortem on the Los Angeles’ Kings 2019-20 season, Matt Larkin observed they’ll have around $20 million in salary-cap space if the cap remains at $81.5 million for next season. With all their impact players under contract, Larkin wondered if general manager Rob Blake will chase a major unrestricted free agent. Noting it’s still too early for the club to become a contender, Larkin believes Blake could remain conservative for another year.

THE ATHLETIC (subscription required): In a recent mailbag segment, Lisa Dillman was asked if the Kings might re-sign Trevor Lewis to a contract extension in the off-season. She doesn’t think so, pointing out the 33-year-old center was reportedly available at this year’s trade deadline. She suspects there haven’t been any contract discussions lately.

Los Angeles Kings center Jeff Carter (Photo via NHL Images).

Dillman was also asked if Jeff Carter might be traded. She doubts it, pointing out the 35-year-old center recently underwent core-muscle surgery. She said there wasn’t a trade scenario before Carter’s surgery, but if there was, this would change the equation.

Asked which player she felt might be a good target for the Kings in the 2022 UFA market, Dillman cited Calgary Flames winger Johnny Gaudreau. She cautioned, however, that most pending free agents tend to re-sign with their teams.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I agree that Blake is likely to wait another year before attempting to make a big splash in the UFA pool. However, I don’t rule out the possibility he’ll attempt to pry away a good young player from a cap-strapped rival.

With over $69 million invested in 16 players (as per Cap Friendly) for next season, the Kings also have sufficient cap space to make that kind of addition. Blake has some tradeable assets if the opportunity arises to land a promising NHL talent. The Kings have seven picks in rounds two through four of this year’s draft and six in the same rounds next season.

LATEST PENGUINS SPECULATION

THE ATHLETIC (subscription required): In a recent mailbag segment, Josh Yohe was asked what he thought the Pittsburgh Penguins will do about their goaltending situation. Matt Murray and Tristan Jarry are both restricted free agents with arbitration rights and the Penguins can’t afford to keep both.

Yohe speculates Murray could hit the trade block. He’ll command the most money, which could be a problem for the Penguins if the salary cap declines next season. To keep both goalies would mean trading Kris Letang or a couple of other important players.

Asked which two players won’t be on the roster next season, Yohe thinks Nick Bjugstad and Patrick Marleau are the most likely candidates. Bjugstad’s injury history, however, will make him hard to trade. Marleau, meanwhile, is an unrestricted free agent at season’s end.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Penguins GM Jim Rutherford hasn’t ruled out re-signing Murray and Jarry, but it will require some salary and roster juggling to pull it off. Even if the salary cap remains at $81.5 million, the Penguins have over $68 million committed to 15 players in 2020-21. New contracts for both goalies will eat up a big chunk of that cap room.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – May 10, 2020

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – May 10, 2020

Latest on the league’s plans for the schedule and the draft, the 50th anniversary of Bobby Orr’s legendary Stanley Cup-winning goal, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

THE BOSTON GLOBE: Kevin Paul Dupont cites Bruins president Cam Neely pointing out the NHL and its TV partners would have the opportunity of trying new camera angles if the schedule resumes without fans in arenas. That would include perhaps mounting some cameras in lower-bowl seats or along the top of the glass that surrounds the boards.

“Even closer to the action, league broadcast executives also have toyed with the idea of embedding cameras directly into the boards, or perhaps mounting them directly behind the boards with lenses shooting the action through small portals drilled into the boards.”

Another option could be mounting small Go-Pro cameras to players’ helmets, though the NHLPA would have to agree to it.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Sounds like a great opportunity to provide fans watching on television with some different angles they otherwise wouldn’t see. It would be a great way to give them the feeling that they’re in the game, especially for those who’ve never attended a live NHL contest. 

 

Toronto Maple Leafs general manager Kyle Dubas (Photo via NHL.com).

SPORTSNET: Mixed feelings persist among NHL executives over the league’s proposal to stage the 2020 Draft before the resumption of the season. Toronto Maple Leafs general manager Kyle Dubas was diplomatic when questioned about his take. “We’re just going to try to prepare as though it’s going to happen,” he said. “It’s not going to be normal regardless of what it is, so we’re fine with whatever is decided.”

Player agent Allan Walsh, however, said most general managers he’s spoken with aren’t happy with the idea. “I have not talked to one GM who likes it, and I talk to almost all of them.”  Detroit Red Wings GM Steve Yzerman is among them. “I haven’t heard a good reason why we should do it prior to the end of the season if we do conclude the season over the course of the summer,” he said. Los Angeles Kings GM Rob Blake, however, indicated he and his staff are “quite comfortable with either scenario.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I’m against it, and not because I’m some old-school guy who’s against “outside-the-box” thinking. I’m against it because the league higher-ups believe it’s going to draw big TV ratings and generate excitement among sports fans heading toward the restart of the schedule. I doubt it, especially when the most exciting component of the draft – the possibility of a major trade involving established players – probably won’t be permitted.

What will generate fan excitement is training camp and exhibition games taking place leading up to the proposed resumption of the schedule in July. Save the draft for when the season is over.   

NBC SPORTS BOSTON: Today is the 50th anniversary of Bobby Orr’s legendary Stanley Cup-winning goal.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That was the first Stanley Cup Final game I ever saw. I was seven-years-old at the time, and the only reason I got to see it was because it was an afternoon game. That goal was seared into my memory and made me a life-long Bobby Orr fan. He did many amazing things throughout his career and truly changed the game with his style of play, but it’s that goal everyone remembers. It wasn’t the prettiest goal Orr ever scored, but it’s certainly among hockey’s most memorable.

CALGARY SUN:  Flames center Sean Monahan hopes the season resumes this summer. “Everybody is just looking forward to get back with one another and push each other to get to that end goal,” he said. That end goal being, of course, the Stanley Cup. 

THE SCORE: If the league resumes play this summer, Vegas Golden Knights winger Mark Stone will be ready to return from the lower-body injury that sidelined him before the schedule was paused by the pandemic. 

TRIBLIVE.COM: Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Kris Letang made an unspecified donation intended to provide meals to the Students and Families Food Relief Fund and the Knead Community Cafe in the Pittsburgh area.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – May 7, 2020

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – May 7, 2020

Kings GM Rob Blake will find positives in resuming the season, an update on Jeff Carter, Capitals winger Brendan Leipsic in hot water over offensive comments, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

THE LATEST ON A POSSIBLE RESUMPTION OF THE NHL SEASON

LOS ANGELES TIMES: Despite his club being out of playoff contention if the season resumes, LA Kings general manager Rob Blake believes it could be worth it. “We will find positives by playing those games,” he said. “That’s our mentality. It’s expected of us.” Despite the different scenarios being floated around, Blake said the message to his players is to keep the same mindset. “There are still games to be played.”

A nagging core injury will keep Jeff Carter out of the LA Kings lineup if the schedule resumes in July (Photo via NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Among the positives is assessing the performance of their promising young players, as well as potential free-agent veterans battling for jobs.

NBC SPORTS: James O’Brien reports we shouldn’t expect to see Jeff Carter in the lineup if the Kings return to action. Blake indicated the veteran center hasn’t been able to travel to see a specialist regarding a core muscle injury because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Carter continues to rehab at home.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: O’Brien speculates other aging NHL veterans on cellar-dwelling clubs, such as San Jose Sharks center Joe Thornton, could also be shut down for the rest of the season.

THE DETROIT NEWS: While the last-place Red Wings have nothing to play for if the schedule re-starts, winger Justin Abdelkader feels it would still be beneficial. “You can work on your skills and development, you can get better, and there’s going to be an opportunity to get better. As a team, and for me personally, that can help lead into the following season.”

SPORTSNET: British Columbia Premier John Horgan has written to the NHL and NHL Players’ Association offering a place to play if the league seeks a hub city to resume the season. Ontario Premier Doug Ford and Alberta Premier Jason Kenney have also spoken to the league about staging games in Toronto and Edmonton.

TORONTO STAR: Maple Leafs Sports & Entertainment was forced to change its date for initial payments of season tickets for Maple Leafs and Raptors games following an angry backlash from season-ticket holders. The first payment was slated for May 8 but has been changed to June 8 for now. Given the uncertainty over when the NHL and NBA will return to action amid the COVID-19 pandemic, ticket holders felt MLSE was showing disregard to the fans.

TORONTO SUN: Steve Simmons reports a long-time Maple Leafs and Raptors season-ticket holder said he wouldn’t return to watch live games until there’s a COVID-19 vaccine or assurance the virus has been defeated.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: MLSE’s tone-deafness aside, getting fans to return to games next season could be challenging for pro sports in general and the NHL in particular, considering they’re the most gate-reliant of the major professional sports leagues.

The league plans to resume this season without fans and are considering starting next season in December in hopes social-distancing restrictions will be lifted by then. If there’s still no vaccine and little assurance the coronavirus has been contained by then, however, fans could still be reluctant to return.

NBC SPORTS BAY AREA: The San Jose Sharks assume their arena (SAP Center) will be among the last to open for NHL games. They’re examining different scenarios for reopening once the pandemic ends based on local health guidelines.

IN OTHER NEWS…

NBC SPORTS WASHINGTON: The Capitals and the NHL condemned offensive comments made in a private group chat on social media by Brendan Leipsic and Florida Panthers forward Jack Rodewald. Leipsic made derogatory remarks toward teammates Nic Dowd and Garnet Hathaway, several former Vancouver Canucks teammates, and the wife of a current Canucks player.

Leipsic deleted his Instagram account and issued a statement on Twitter claiming his friend’s account was hacked and those comments were circulated on social media. He apologized for his “misogynistic and reprehensible” remarks but faces a meeting with Capitals GM Brian MacLellan to discuss the matter.

TVA SPORTS: Montreal Canadiens center Jesperi Kotkaniemi is recovering well from an injured spleen suffered in early March, but he won’t return to action if this season resumes. He’s on track to be ready for the start of 2020-21.

THE ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER: The Anaheim Ducks re-signed defensemen Christian Djoos and Jani Hakanpaa to one-year contract extensions Wednesday. Djoos accepted $1 million, down from $1.25 million for this season, while Hakanpaa will be paid $750,000, down from $850,000. The cuts could be linked to uncertainty over next season’s salary cap limits.

AZCENTRAL.COM: The Arizona Coyotes provided money to Gila River Arena to pay their staff during the pandemic but they’ve yet to be paid.

NORTHJERSEY.COM: The New Jersey Devils will donate 10,000 tickets for next season to health care workers with RWJBarnabas Health in honor of National Nurses Day and Week.










NHL Free Agents & Trade Candidates – Los Angeles Kings

NHL Free Agents & Trade Candidates – Los Angeles Kings

 










What Are Rob Blake’s NHL Off-Season Plans For The Los Angeles Kings?

What Are Rob Blake’s NHL Off-Season Plans For The Los Angeles Kings?