Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup (Part Two) – July 3, 2022

Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup (Part Two) – July 3, 2022

Check out the latest on Ryan McDonagh, Evgeni Malkin, Vincent Trocheck, Sergei Bobrovsky and more in Part Two of the Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup.

SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman reports the Minnesota Wild would like to bring back UFA goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury for another season. He hasn’t made his decision yet and there will be competition for his services.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Depends on how much of a pay cut Fleury is willing to accept. Still, he and GM Bill Guerin are old teammates and friends. They could work something out.

Uncertainty over Nicklas Backstrom’s status makes it difficult to determine the Washington Capitals’ cap flexibility. It’s uncertain if they’ll bring back goalies Vitek Vanecek and Ilya Samsonov. They could pursue Colorado’s Darcy Kuemper if he becomes a UFA next week. They could be in on J.T. Miller.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: With $8.9 million in cap space and 18 players under contract for next season, the Capitals will have to move Vanecek or Samsonov if they intend to bring in Kuemper. He could prove too expensive to sign. The Canucks’ asking price for Miller could include Connor McMichael or Hendrix Lapierre.

The Pittsburgh Penguins continue to negotiate with defenseman Kris Letang. They’re reportedly not close to a deal with Evgeni Malkin but that could change before July 13.

Pittsburgh Penguins center Evgeni Malkin (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The cost of signing Letang will determine how much they’re willing to invest in bringing back Malkin. That could depend on how much of a pay cut he’s willing to accept and whether he’ll accept a three-year deal.

Friedman believes the St. Louis Blues could be a good destination for Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Ryan McDonagh. He admits it might take multiple moves and could affect their efforts to re-sign UFA winger David Perron. He also wondered if they can retain goalie Ville Husso.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Blues have $9 million in cap space and 18 players under contract for next season. McDonagh carries a $6.75 million cap hit and I don’t see the Lightning retaining part of it. They’ll have to shed some salary to fit him in and still have enough for Perron and perhaps Husso.

Friedman is curious whether Darcy Kuemper would consider signing with the Toronto Maple Leafs if Jack Campbell departs next week as a UFA. Re-signing defenseman Rasmus Sandin is trickier than they expected. He also wondered if Max Domi might be a fit.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I wouldn’t rule out the Leafs as a suitor for Kuemper but they’ve got to do something first about Petr Mrazek’s contract. They’ll also likely try to move out Justin Holl and his $2 million cap hit for next season.

Edmonton Oilers goalie Mike Smith isn’t expected to play next season while Duncan Keith’s situation could go either way. Trade candidates could include Zack Kassian, Warren Foegele, Jesse Puljujarvi and possibly Tyson Barrie.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Puljujarvi has garnered a lot of attention recently in the rumor mill as a trade candidate. Kassian could be a buyout candidate while there could be some trade interest in Barrie.

The Tampa Bay Lightning are working with Ryan McDonagh to find a suitable trade. Winger Alex Killorn could also become a cost-cutting candidate.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: McDonagh’s full no-trade clause gives him complete control over potential trade destinations. His $6.75 million annual average value through 2025-26 is also a limiting factor. Killorn carries a more affordable contract at $4.45 million through 2022-23. He carries a 16-team no-trade list.

If the Chicago Blackhawks trade Alex DeBrincat it might spur Patrick Kane or Jonathan Toews to request a trade, especially if DeBrincat’s traded for futures. Teams are also inquiring about Kirby Dach.

SPECTOR’ S NOTE: Kane and Toews have identical $10.5 million cap hits through 2022-23 and full no-movement clauses. Moving either guy will involve retaining a healthy chunk of their annual average salary. One would think the Blackhawks would retain the 21-year-old Dach as part of their rebuilding plans. Then again, a lot of us thought the same thing about Brandon Hagel before they shipped him to Tampa Bay.

The cap-strapped Vegas Golden Knights need to shed salary. They could move Laurent Brossoit for cap reasons. “Trading Nic Hague is not a preferred option”.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Golden Knights are over $2 million above the cap with 18 players under contract for next season. Reilly Smith is believed to be signed but it won’t be made official until July 13 for tagging reasons. They’ll have to move more than Brossoit’s $2.325 million cap hit. Maybe they try to shop William Karlsson and his $5.9 million cap hit.

The Los Angeles Kings made their big move by acquiring Kevin Fiala last week. Friedman wondered if Fiala’s arrival might prompt one or two of their forward prospects to seek a trade if they feel he’ll block their efforts to crack the lineup.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: If so, perhaps they could be packaged to add an experienced defenseman to their blueline.

It’s believed the Boston Bruins have an interest in Vincent Trocheck if the Carolina Hurricanes center hits the free-agent market next week.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Friedman also mentions Patrice Bergeron and perhaps David Krejci could return but that’s not a long-term plan at center. Trocheck could help at least fill the second-line center spot beyond next season. They have $2.3 million in cap space with 22 players signed for next season. Not a lot of room there.

The Calgary Flames are believed to have offered an eight-year deal to Johnny Gaudreau worth $9.5 million annually. They’re still waiting for a decision from the left winger, who feels loyalty toward Calgary but this is as much a family decision as it is a hockey one.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: If Gaudreau departs I can see the Flames pursuing Filip Forsberg if he doesn’t re-sign with the Nashville Predators.

Friedman wondered if the Carolina Hurricanes might make a pitch to Evgeni Malkin if he doesn’t sign with the Pittsburgh Penguins.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I wouldn’t put anything past Hurricanes owner Tom Dundon.

The New York Rangers probably can’t afford to sign Andrew Copp or Ryan Strome so they’re testing the trade market for centers. Potential trade partners could ask for Filip Chytil, Kaapo Kakko or even Braden Schneider in return. Friedman wondered if they might look at Adam Henrique if the Ducks absorbed part of his salary.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The New York Post’s Larry Brooks reported the Rangers have spoken to the Winnipeg Jets about Pierre-Luc Dubois. They’re also believed interested in Mark Scheifele. He also mentioned Vancouver’s J.T. Miller and Bo Horvat and Detroit’s Dylan Larkin, though those three have just one year each remaining on their contracts. Brooks mentioned Chicago’s Kirby Dach as an intriguing possibility.

The Florida Panthers denied they were trying to lay the groundwork to trade goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky, who has a full no-movement clause for two more seasons. UFA winger Mason Marchment is probably priced out of their market now.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Panthers have $3 million in cap space with 17 players under contract for 2022-23. They can get some cap relief by placing sidelined winger Anthony Duclair (Achilles tendon surgery) on LTIR but they’ll have to be compliant when he returns at midseason.

Coming off their Stanley Cup win, the Colorado Avalanche face big decisions regarding UFAs Darcy Kuemper, Nazem Kadri and Valeri Nichushkin.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Of the three, Nichushkin seems the most likely to be retained. Kuemper and Kadri will be expensive and they’ve got to keep an eye on their long-term cap space with Nathan MacKinnon due for a big raise next summer.










NHL Rumor Mill – June 20, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – June 20, 2022

The Panthers’ offseason cap crunch, a look at possible moves by the Sabres and the latest Ville Husso speculation in today’s NHL rumor mill.

CAP CRUNCH LEAVES PANTHERS FACING TOUGH DECISIONS

DAILY FACEOFF: Frank Seravalli and Mike McKenna recently examined the difficulties facing the Florida Panthers as they attempt to navigate their salary-cap crunch. They have just $3 million in cap space for 2022-23 and sacrificed a lot of draft capital acquiring Claude Giroux and Ben Chiarot at the trade deadline.

General manager Bill Zito has to pare down some payroll. McKenna suggested winger Patric Hornqvist and his $5.3 million cap hit for next season as a trade candidate.

Florida Panthers goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky (NHL Images).

Seravalli wondered if Zito would consider trading goaltender Spencer Knight with Sergei Bobrovsky carrying a hefty long-term contract making him difficult to move. McKenna didn’t think so, pointing out no one’s won a Stanley Cup without homegrown talent. He suggested the Panthers GM might have to find a way to get creative with Bobrovsky down the road.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Sportsnet’s Nick Kypreos recently said the Panthers are shopping Bobrovsky aggressively, so much so they’re willing to retain 50 percent of his $10 million annual cap hit. That might not be enough to ship him out if he’s willing to waive his no-movement clause. Zito could be squeezed to add a good young player or a quality prospect into the deal, further depleting his prospect pipeline.

Hornqvist has an eight-team no-trade list but his age (35) and declining performance are the biggest stumbling blocks on the path to a trade. He’s not impossible to move but Zito could be pressed to add a sweetener or take back a player with a comparable salary.

LATEST ON THE SABRES

THE ATHLETIC: Matthew Fairburn speculated on how the Buffalo Sabres will address their goaltending depth for next season. Craig Anderson was a strong presence on the club’s last season but remains undecided if he’ll return or retire. Promising Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen should be ready to step into a larger role but remains unproven at the NHL level and has been plagued by injuries.

Free-agent goalie candidates could include Marc-Andre Fleury, Darcy Kuemper, Ville Husso, Jack Campbell and Braden Holtby. Trade options could include the Anaheim Ducks’ John Gibson or the Winnipeg Jets’ Connor Hellebuyck.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Sabres stand a better chance of signing one of those free-agent goalies than acquiring Gibson or prying Hellebuyck out of Winnipeg. Gibson last week denied reports he’s open to being traded. The Jets still see themselves as a playoff team next season, something they definitely won’t be if they trade Hellebuyck.

THE BUFFALO NEWS: Lance Lysowski recently reported the Sabres don’t expect some of the higher-tiered UFA goalies will be available to them. Going the cheaper route might be their best option again this summer.

Lysowski also speculated that Victor Olofsson could be a trade candidate. He had 20 goals and 49 points this season but is a restricted free agent with arbitration rights who needs to produce more. He completed a two-year deal worth an annual average value of $3.050 million.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Sabres have $35 million in cap space and must spend to reach the $61 million cap minimum. Fleury, Kuemper and Campbell could be out of reach but Husso could be a possibility. Holtby is past his prime but could be a good mentor in a backup role to Luukkonen. Olofsson could also be a decent bargaining chip if the Sabres want to pursue a goalie through the trade market.

COULD THE OILERS PURSUE HUSSO VIA FREE AGENCY?

NHL WATCHER: tweeted on June 14 that Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman was wondering if the Edmonton Oilers might revisit their rumored interest in Ville Husso from earlier this season. He believes they’re planning for a future without starting goalie Mike Smith via retirement or LTIR.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Cap Friendly shows the Oilers with $7.1 million in cap space for 2022-23 with 15 players under contract. They can get $4.16 million in cap relief if necessary by placing Oscar Klefbom on long-term injury reserve and an additional $2.2 million if Smith retires or also hits LTIR.

That could free up enough to sign Husso if they’re still interested. However, it might not leave enough to suitably fill out the remainder of the roster. They could face parting ways with an RFA like Kailer Yamamoto or Jesse Puljujarvi or attempting to move out another salaried player like Zack Kassian.










NHL Rumor Mill – June 18, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – June 18, 2022

What’s the latest on Filip Forsberg and Jeff Petry? Could the Devils attempt to move Jesper Bratt? What will the Capitals do about their goaltending? Check out the latest in today’s NHL rumor mill.

WILL FORSBERG RE-SIGN WITH THE PREDATORS?

TSN: Chris Johnston reports the Nashville Predators would like to bring back Filip Forsberg. However, it’s not clear at this point if they’ll be able to do that. He said there hasn’t been much progress in contract extension talks since March and both sides seem entrenched in their current positions.

THE ATHLETIC: Adam Vingan recently examined three options for the Predators to replace Forsberg if he hits the open market on July 13. The bold move could be attempting a major trade to acquire David Pastrnak if he’s reluctant to sign a contract extension with the Boston Bruins.

Nashville Predators winger Filip Forsberg (NHL Images).

They could attempt to sign Valeri Nichushkin if the Colorado Avalanche winger becomes an unrestricted free agent next month. Another option is acquiring Jesse Puljujarvi from the Edmonton Oilers as a reclamation project.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Plenty of time remains for Forsberg and the Predators to work out a deal. However, if there hasn’t been any progress in talks when the calendar flips to July, the more likely it’ll be that the 27-year-old left winger goes to market.

I don’t anticipate the Bruins shopping Pastrnak as both sides seem open to working out a contract extension starting on July 13. Sure, it’s possible talks could stall and the Bruins could start listening to offers but I’d say the odds of that happening are low right now.

Nichushkin won’t replace Forsberg’s offense or star power. Nevertheless, he’d be a more affordable option and his two-way game could be a good fit in the Predators’ system.

Puljujarvi’s trade value is low right now and he could be available given the Oilers’ limited cap space. It shouldn’t cost very much to acquire him if the Predators are interested.

CANADIENS WORKING ON PETRY TRADE

TSN: Pierre LeBrun reports the Montreal Canadiens are working on trading Jeff Petry though there’s no guarantee a deal will take place. Five or six teams have expressed an interest in the 34-year-old defenseman.

The Dallas Stars are among those clubs, especially if they lose blueliner John Klingberg to free agency next month. LeBrun said it appears Klingberg could test the UFA market as there have been no contract talks of late with the Stars. The Detroit Red Wings are another potential destination.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Petry-to-Dallas speculation has been around since March when there was talk the Stars looked into acquiring him before the trade deadline. As for the Wings, they have plenty of salary-cap space to absorb the Michigan native’s $6.25 million annual cap hit through 2024-25 and are in need of experienced blueline depth.

A LOOK AT DAILY FACEOFF’S UPDATED TRADE TARGETS LIST

DAILY FACEOFF: Frank Seravalli added five new names to his NHL offseason trade targets list.

New Jersey Devils winger Jesper Bratt is the notable new name, checking in at No. 10. Seravalli noted Devils general manager Tom Fitzgerald recently said the 23-year-old winger is a big part of the club’s future. However, sources said Bratt was available at the trade deadline and there’s been no contract extension talks to this point. He also noted Fitzgerald’s pursuit of “hard skill” this summer.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Bratt completed a career-best 73-point season and is coming off his second NHL contract. Fitzgerald can take his time negotiating with him though Bratt does have arbitration rights and is in line for a big raise.

I’m skeptical that Bratt will get traded but I don’t rule it out. It will depend on what type of skill player Fitzgerald is pursuing this summer and if Bratt would be a trade chip necessary to acquire that type of player.

Speaking of the Devils, Seravalli has Mackenzie Blackwood at No. 20. There’s a sense they’re losing faith in the 25-year-old goaltender after two seasons of injury and inconsistent play. He could be a bounce-back candidate in tandem with a veteran on a deeper club with limited cap space.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Improving the goaltending depth is a must for Fitzgerald this summer. He could shop Blackwood but could also keep him as a backup to be mentored by whoever he brings in as a starter.

New York Islanders winger Anthony Beauvillier, Vegas Golden Knights defenseman Alec Martinez and Pittsburgh Penguins winger Kasperi Kapanen were also added to the list. Beauvillier came in at No. 15, Martinez at 14 and Kapanen at 18.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: These three have previously surfaced in trade speculation mostly as cost-cutting candidates.

LATEST CAPITALS SPECULATION

NBC SPORTS WASHINGTON: Andrew Gillis recently examined possible goaltending candidates for the Capitals if they part ways with Ilya Samsonov or Vitek Vanecek this summer. He suggested monitoring the New York Islanders’ Semyon Varlamov and Los Angeles Kings’ Jonathan Quick.

Both have a year remaining on their respective contracts. He also doesn’t anticipate they’ll be among the bidders for the Toronto Maple Leafs’ Jack Campbell if he tests the open market in July.

WASHINGTON HOCKEY NOW: Sammi Silber recently cited Sportsnet’s Nick Kypreos claiming the Florida Panthers are shopping starting goalie Sergei Bobrovsky hard, so much so they’re willing to retain as much as 50 percent of his $10 million annual cap hit.

Silber wondered if the Capitals would be interested. She also suggested the Capitals could prefer keeping their options open with Campbell, Colorado’s Darcy Kuemper and St. Louis’ Ville Husso possibly available via free agency.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Varlamov might approve a trade back to where his career began but I don’t see the Capitals investing in him unless they can get him signed to a contract extension. The Kings could stick with Quick for his final season before passing the full-time goalie duties to Cal Petersen.

Bobrovsky’s contract expires in 2026. Even at $5 million annually, that’s a lengthy investment in a 33-year-old goaltender who struggles at times with consistency. I think the Capitals will test their luck in the UFA market and make a cost-cutting deal if necessary to add a goalie.

WASHINGTON HOCKEY NOW: Sammi Silber cites a report out of Russia claiming Alex Ovechkin called Evander Kane earlier this season to encourage him to sign with the Capitals following his contract termination by the San Jose Sharks. Kane ultimately signed with the Edmonton Oilers.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I’m including this one just for fun. And no, I don’t see Kane signing with the Capitals. They already have a first-line left winger (hello there, Ovechkin) and they’ll likely invest their limited cap space in improving their goaltending and perhaps their blueline depth.










NHL Rumor Mill – June 4, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – June 4, 2022

The latest roundup of Penguins speculation plus a look at potential trade candidates on the Panthers and Coyotes in today’s NHL rumor mill.

LATEST ON THE PENGUINS

PITTSBURGH HOCKEY NOW: Dan Kingerski predicts the Penguins and pending free agent center Evgeni Malkin could meet “more than halfway” on a new contract that keeps him in Pittsburgh for two seasons at $7 million annually.

Pittsburgh Penguins winger Jason Zucker (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Seems reasonable, though Malkin would probably prefer three years to finish his career when teammate Sidney Crosby’s contract expires in 2024-25.

However, he expects UFA defenseman Kris Letang will get a four-year deal worth an annual average value of $9 million somewhere else.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Letang has said he wants to finish his career in Pittsburgh with Crosby and Malkin. If he’s seeking a big-money raise, however, this season will have been his last in a Penguins jersey.

Kingerski expects restricted free agent winger Kaspari Kapanen will be shopped, perhaps to add a bit of muscle to the Penguins’ lineup. He also believes they’ll let backup goalie Casey DeSmith depart via free agency and attempt to find a reliable backup. “No chance in hell it’s Marc-Andre Fleury,” said Kingerski. “None.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I’ll be surprised if Kapanen or DeSmith return with the Penguins next season. They could decide not to qualify Kapanen’s rights if they can’t find anyone willing to acquire him via trade. Fleury returning to Pittsburgh to finish his career would be a great story but I don’t think we’re going to see it happen if general manager Ron Hextall has faith in Tristan Jarry as their starter.

Finding a suitable backup goalie won’t be easy. Kingerski’s colleague Dave Molinari points out that most of this summer’s cut-rate free agent netminders likely won’t be winning a Stanley Cup anytime soon. They include Louis Domingue, Nashville’s David Rittich and Buffalos’ Malcolm Subban.

Kingerski also looked at possible free-agent targets on right wing. He listed Vegas’ Reilly Smith, Toronto’s Ilya Mikheyev, Carolina’s Nino Niederreiter and Colorado’s Valeri Nichushkin but suggests current Penguin Rickard Rakell would be a better fit.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: A trade-deadline acquisition, Rakell fit in well with the Penguins and has expressed a willingness to return. Whether they can reach common ground on a deal remains to be seen. Much will depend on what happens with Malkin and Letang.

PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE: Matt Vensel looked at the Penguins’ potential options for Jason Zucker. The 30-year-old winger has a year remaining on his contract worth $5.5 million and has battled injuries in recent years.

The Penguins could attempt to move Zucker in a cost-cutting deal but his contract would be considered a negative trade asset around the league unless they throw in a prospect or draft pick. They could also try to swap him for a comparable veteran forward and hope the latter will be a better fit in Pittsburgh.

A contract buyout could be another option as it would shave $3.5 million from their books for next season. However, they could be prevented from doing so if he’s still considered injured when the buyout period rolls around.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Another option is that Hextall sticks with Zucker and considers other cost-cutting options. There’s been speculation suggesting he could shed some salary by shopping a defenseman such as John Marino or Marcus Pettersson.

POTENTIAL TRADE CANDIDATES AMONG THE PANTHERS AND COYOTES

FLORIDA HOCKEY NOW: George Richards recently looked at potential cost-cutting trade candidates for the Florida Panthers this summer.

He noted there was some social media buzz suggesting the Panthers move Sergei Bobrovsky. However, the 32-year-old goaltender’s $10 million annual cap hit and full no-movement clause for the next two seasons make him a tough trade.

Players who could be easier to move include Patric Hornqvist (one season remaining at $5.3 million), Sam Bennett (two seasons at $4.4 million per) and Radko Gudas (one season, $2.5 million).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I’ve learned in this business not to dismiss out of hand the possibility of a high-salaried veteran with full no-trade protection getting traded. Yes, Bobrovsky could be shopped this summer. However, finding a trade partner willing to take on his full cap hit for the next four years when the salary cap is only rising by $1 million this summer makes him difficult to move.

They could find some takers for Hornqvist or Gudas but Bennett would be the more enticing trade candidate. The 25-year-old is a versatile two-way forward coming off a career-best 28-goal, 49-point performance with a reputation for elevating his game in the postseason.

Those factors would also make Panthers GM Bill Zito reluctant to part with Bennett. He might not have much choice if he’s pressed to free up cap room for next season.

ARIZONA SPORTS: Sam Graveline recently looked at some possible trade chips for the rebuilding Coyotes.

Topping the list is defenseman Jakob Chychrun, who’s been the subject of trade speculation for most of this season. GM Bill Armstrong could seek a return of multiple draft picks and a top prospect.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Armstrong reportedly set a high asking price for Chychrun during this season. He’s not expected to lower it during this offseason.

Defenseman Shayne Gostisbehere’s trade value may have improved following his 14-goal, 51-point performance this season. He’s set to become a UFA next summer. Restricted free agent forward Lawson Crouse could also have some trade value after reaching 20 goals this season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Gostisbehere’s solid bounce-back performance was among the few bright spots for the offensively anemic Coyotes this season. Contenders seeking a puck-moving blueliner could come calling. Unless Crouse’s contract demands are unreasonable I expect the Coyotes will re-sign him.










NHL Rumor Mill – May 26, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – May 26, 2022

Could the Panthers try to trade Sergei Bobrovsky? Can the Canucks afford Brock Boeser? Which LA Kings could become trade candidates? Are the Senators still willing to trade their 2022 first-round pick? Find out in today’s NHL rumor mill.

COULD THE PANTHERS SHOP BOBROVSKY?

NHL WATCHER: On a recent “32 Thoughts” podcast, Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman suspected the Florida Panthers tried hard to trade Sergei Bobrovsky during the season or lay the groundwork to do so. He doesn’t know if it’s possible to move the goaltender but he heard the Panthers really worked on it to see if it was possible.

Florida Panther goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Good luck with that. Bobrovsky, 33, carries a $10 million annual salary-cap hit through 2025-26. He also has a full no-movement clause until 2024-25 when the no-trade portion is modified to a 16-team no-trade list.

The only way I see this happening is for the Panthers to retain between $3 million to $5 million of that annual cap hit. That’s assuming Bobrovsky is willing to accept a trade. If he does, it’ll be to a limited number of clubs.

Anything can happen, of course, but I wouldn’t hold my breath anticipating a Bobrovsky trade this summer.

CANUCKS CAN AFFORD BOESER, SAYS RUTHERFORD

VANCOUVER HOCKEY NOW: Rob Simpson reports Canucks president of hockey operations Jim Rutherford dismissed speculation his club would have to trade Brock Boeser or negotiate off his $7.5 million qualifying offer. Rutherford indicated they can afford to fit the 25-year-old winger’s QO within their budget for 2022-23. “We are definitely not pressured to trade him for financial reasons,” he said.

Simpson said that doesn’t suggest the Canucks will qualify Boeser by the July 11 deadline or that any decisions have been reached about the winger’s future in Vancouver. Rutherford said they’ll see how things work out and see if a fair deal can be reached for Boeser and the team.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Boeser is a restricted free agent with arbitration rights this summer. His performance was below expectations this season in part because of injuries and concern over his father’s battle with dementia. The two sides could require arbitration to resolve the issue but I daresay they’ll try to avoid that possibility.

Cap Friendly indicates the Canucks have $69.4 million invested in just 13 players for 2022-23. If necessary, they can exceed the $82.5 million cap by $3.5 million with all-but-retired Micheal Ferland on long-term injury reserve.

Nevertheless, fitting in Boeser’s $7.5 million qualifying offer could mean Rutherford ends up shipping out a salaried player to free up cap space. Maybe he parts with J.T. Miller ($5.25 million cap hit) if the two sides fail to agree to a contract extension. Perhaps he puts Bo Horvat or Conor Garland on the trade block. Maybe he tries to move defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson.

On the other hand, he and Boeser could agree to a new contract at a lower cap hit than his qualifying offer. Depending on how much of a reduction it is, Rutherford might not have to employ a drastic measure like moving Miller or Horvat.

LATEST ON THE KINGS

THE ATHLETIC: Lisa Dillman included Gabriel Vilardi, Alex Iafallo and Sean Durzi on her list of potential Los Angeles Kings trade candidates. She also didn’t rule out the possibility of general manager Rob Blake listening to trade offers for Quinton Byfield or Arthur Kaliyev but doubted either guy will be moved.

There’s been speculation Blake might consider using his 2022 first-round pick to add an experienced player to the roster. However, Dillman doesn’t see him going that route, pointing out the Kings prefer to hang onto their high draft picks.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Blake was rumored to be interested in Arizona Coyotes blueliner Jakob Chychrun this season. He has the depth in promising young players and prospects to make a decent offer and the cap space to take on his $4.6 million cap hit.

The Coyotes reportedly want a first-round pick as part of the return. Maybe Blake decides to part with his pick (which sits outside the top-16) if it’ll bring Chychrun to Los Angeles.

SENATORS STILL WILLING TO SHOP THEIR FIRST-ROUNDER

OTTAWA SUN: Bruce Garrioch reports Senators GM Pierre Dorion told TSN 1200 is willing to move his 2022 first-round pick if it’ll fetch an impact player to help the club. He’d like to add a top-four defenseman and some depth up front, though the latter could be addressed internally. Dorion also indicated he’s not interested in acquiring a player who could depart via the UFA market in a year or two.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 22, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 22, 2021

The Oilers’ Connor McDavid and the Panthers’ Sergei Bobrovsky reach career milestones, the Hurricanes and Sharks remain undefeated, and much more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: Edmonton Oilers captain Connor McDavid scored two goals, including the 200th of his career, to lead his club over the Arizona Coyotes 5-1. Zach Hyman also tallied twice for the Oilers, who are undefeated at 4-0-0 while the Coyotes are 0-3-1. McDavid is the first player to reach double-digits this season with 11 points.

Florida Panthers goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky (NHL Images).

Sergei Bobrovsky made 30 saves to become the third Russian goaltender to reach 300 career NHL wins as the Florida Panthers beat the Colorado Avalanche 4-1. Panthers rookie Anton Lundell had a goal and an assist. Like the Oilers, the Panthers are off to a 4-0-0 start. The Avalanche, meanwhile, dropped to 1-3-0.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Bobrovsky is the second Russian-born goalie to reach 300 wins. Evgeni Nabokov (353 wins) was born in Kazakhstan while it was part of the Soviet Union.

The Carolina Hurricanes are 3-0-0 after downing the Montreal Canadiens 4-1. Sebastian Aho led the way with two goals and an assist while former Hab Jesperi Kotkaniemi netted the insurance goal in his first game back in Montreal since signing with the Hurricanes in August. The sad-sack Canadiens are 0-5-0.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: History buffs will point to the start of 1995-96 when the Canadiens replaced its general manager and head coach following a similar start. I don’t anticipate history to repeat itself, especially with coach Dominique Ducharme in the first season of a three-year contract. Nevertheless, it’s going to be a long, difficult season for Ducharme, GM Marc Bergevin and the players if they don’t string some wins together soon.

Third-period goals by Logan Couture and Kevin Labanc lifted the San Jose Sharks over the Ottawa Senators 2-1, spoiling the season debut of Senators winger Brady Tkachuk, who picked up an assist on Drake Batherson’s goal. James Reimer kicked out 30 shots as the Sharks are 3-0-0 to start the season. Sharks defenseman Brent Burns played in his 600th consecutive NHL game. Senators center Shane Pinto left the game in the first period favoring his right shoulder.

The Washington Capitals stretched their record to 3-0-1 by beating the New Jersey Devils 4-1. Evgeni Kuznetsov and former Charlottetown Islander Daniel Sprong each had a goal and an assist while Alex Ovechkin collected two helpers. Earlier in the day, the Devils placed center Jack Hughes on injured reserve with a dislocated left shoulder.

Patrik Laine scored in overtime as the Columbus Blue Jackets nipped the New York Islanders 3-2. Oliver Bjorkstrand collected three assists for the Jackets, who are 3-1-0 thus far. Mathew Barzal tallied one of the Islanders’ goals.

The Calgary Flames blanked the Detroit Red Wings 3-0 on a 33-save shutout performance by Jacob Markstrom. Johnny Gaudreau and Erik Gudbranson each had two assists while Elias Lindholm scored in his third straight game.

The New York Rangers got third-period goals by Alexis Lafreniere and Barclay Goodrow to down the Nashville Predators 3-1. Philip Tomasino tallied his first-ever NHL goal for the Predators. The Rangers are 3-1-1 in their last five contests.

Connor Hellebuyck made 38 saves and Kyle Connor scored twice as the Winnipeg Jets picked up their first win of the season (1-2-1)with a 5-1 victory over the Anaheim Ducks. The win comes with Mark Scheifele joining Blake Wheeler on the COVID protocol list following two positive tests. Unlike Wheeler, he’s asymptomatic and not subject to a 10-day quarantine.

The Chicago Blackhawks still seek their first win of the season (0-4-1) after falling 4-1 to the Vancouver Canucks. Thatcher Demko made 29 saves for the win and Conor Garland had a goal and an assist. Before the game, the Blackhawks honored Patrick Kane for playing his 1,000th career NHL game last season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Blackhawks decided to wait until fans were allowed back in the United Center to honor Kane’s achievement.

HEADLINES

THE SCORE: Montreal’s Carey Price, St. Louis’ Jordan Binnington, Colorado’s Darcy Kuemper, New Jersey’s Mackenzie Blackwood, Philadelphia’s Carter Hart and Chicago’s Marc-Andre Fleury are the goaltenders on Canada’s long list for the 2022 Winter Olympics.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Those goalies all come with uncertainties. Price is in the NHL players’ assistance program with no timetable for his return, Binnington’s been inconsistent since backstopping the Blues to the 2019 Stanley Cup, Blackwood remains unvaccinated for COVID-19, Hart struggled throughout last season and Fleury has been shaky behind a porous Blackhawks defense thus far this season.

TRIBLIVE.COM: The Pittsburgh Penguins placed forward Jeff Carter and goaltender Tristan Jarry in the NHL’s COVID-19 protocol. Each player is asymptomatic.

STLTODAY.COM: St. Louis Blues winger Brandon Saad was placed on the COVID protocol yesterday. He will be unavailable for the club’s home opener on Saturday against the Los Angeles Kings.

VEGAS HOCKEY NOW: Golden Knights defenseman Alec Martinez was still being evaluated yesterday after leaving Wednesday’s game against the Blues with a lower-body injury.

TAMPA BAY TIMES: The Lightning received their 2021 Stanley Cup championship rings at a private ceremony on Thursday night.