NHL Rumor Mill – January 7, 2021

NHL Rumor Mill – January 7, 2021

Recent speculation on the Penguins, Avalanche and Rangers in today’s NHL rumor mill.

THE ATHLETIC: Josh Yohe recently reported Pittsburgh Penguins general manager Jim Rutherford believes spending money in free agency will be pivotal to keeping his club competitive two years from now.

Pittsburgh Penguins center Evgeni Malkin (NHL Images).

Yohe believes the summer of 2022 could be crucial for the Penguins, as Evgeni Malkin and Kris Letang will become eligible for unrestricted free agency. Malkin will be 36 by then, Letang 35. Rutherford feels it will be key to plug in one or two impact players in their mid-20s into the roster.

For now, Rutherford isn’t expected to make any immediate deals. He wants to evaluate the current roster to see what they have to offer.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’ll be interesting to see if the Penguins move on from aging core players like Malkin and Letang next year or retain them on more affordable, short-term contracts. If Rutherford’s intent is to make a big splash or two in the 2022 free-agent market for younger impact players, there might not be enough cap space to retain those veteran stars.

COLORADO HOCKEY NOW: Adrian Dater recently reported Bowen Byram’s solid performance for Canada during the 2021 World Junior Championship have the Colorado Avalanche considering a trade to free up a roster spot for the young defenseman.

Dater doubts this move would happen before February. Nevertheless, he considers Ian Cole a likely trade candidate. The veteran blueliner is eligible for UFA status this summer with a salary cap hit of $4.25 million for this season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Byram has considerable potential and could crack the Avs’ lineup soon. However, there’s no need to rush him. They can take their time and see how things unfold.

Cole lacks no-trade protection but moving him won’t be easy. It could involve packaging him with a sweetener to a team with sufficient cap space to take on his contract.

NEW YORK POST: Larry Brooks reports the Rangers have checked in with free agent Brian Boyle. They need help in the faceoff circle plus there are questions about a vacuum of veteran leadership as well as the makeup and role of the fourth line.

Brooks feels the former Ranger could address those issues but the club informed Boyle they’re taking a wait-and-see approach with their young players. Meanwhile, several other clubs have also reached out to the veteran center.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 21, 2019

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 21, 2019

Jets coach Paul Maurice gets his 700th career victory, Brian Boyle finally finds a new team, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: Winnipeg Jets coach Paul Maurice picked up his 700th career NHL victory in a 1-0 blanking of the Edmonton Oilers. Connor Hellebuyck made 28 saves for the shutout while Patrik Laine scored the game-winner in a shootout. Maurice sits seventh among NHL coaches on the all-time wins list and is the third active coach to reach that milestone. Jets center Bryan Little made his season debut after being sidelined by a concussion during his club’s final preseason game last month.

Winnipeg Jets coach Paul Maurice picked up his 700th career win in a 1-0 victory over the Edmonton Oilers (Photo via NHL Images).

Vancouver Canucks goaltender Jacob Markstrom kicked out 38 shots (16 in the third period) as his club held off the New York Rangers 3-2. The Canucks tallied first-period goals by Bo Horvat, Brock Boeser, and Jay Beagle. Horvat’s goal was the 100th of his career. The Canucks have won five of their first eight games.

The Washington Capitals blew a 3-1 lead but surged to a 5-3 win over the Chicago Blackhawks on third-period goals by Tom Wilson and Lars Eller. Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin tallied his sixth of the season while teammate John Carlson extended his points streak to eight games.

Third-period goals by Brad Hunt and Zach Parise lifted the Minnesota Wild to a 4-3 win over the Montreal Canadiens. Phillip Danault tallied twice in a losing cause for the Canadiens.

Cam Talbot turned aside 29 shots backstopping the Calgary Flames to a 2-1 squeaker over the Anaheim Ducks. Michael Stone and Mikael Backlund were the goal-scorers for the Flames.

IN OTHER NEWS…

SPORTSNET: The Florida Panthers signed free-agent center Brian Boyle to a one-year, one-way contract yesterday,

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Cap Friendly indicates Boyle, 34, will make $940K this season. He’ll be an affordable veteran addition to the Panthers’ forward lines.

THE ATHLETIC: Speaking of the Panthers, general manager Dale Tallon said Aleksander Barkov suffered a minor upper-body injury on Saturday. No word as to how long the Panthers captain could be sidelined.

TSN: Toronto Maple Leafs forward Andreas Johnsson suffered a leg injury during Saturday’s win over the Boston Bruins. X-rays yesterday came back negative.










Top Players Still Available in the 2019 NHL UFA Market

Top Players Still Available in the 2019 NHL UFA Market

 










NHL Rumor Mill – October 9, 2019

NHL Rumor Mill – October 9, 2019

The latest on the Pittsburgh Penguins plus updates on Roman Josi, Alex Pietrangelo, Brian Boyle and more in today’s NHL rumor mill.

COULD INJURIES FORCE THE PENGUINS INTO THE TRADE MARKET?

TSN: Bob McKenzie reports injuries will sideline Pittsburgh Penguins centers Evgeni Malkin and Nick Bjugstad for the next four weeks. While there’s no way they can find a suitable replacement for Malkin, McKenzie wonders if they’ll draw upon their blueline depth to find some short-term help in the trade market.

Jack Johnson was mentioned in recent trade speculation. McKenzie also suggested throwing Erik Gudbranson into the mix. It would have to be a dollar-in, dollar-out move to allow sufficient cap space when Malkin and Bjugstad return.

THE ATHLETIC: Rob Rossi reports Penguins general manager Jim Rutherford said it’s too early to pursue a trade for a center. Rutherford tried to peddle Johnson at the end of training camp. Rossi speculates he could call up a couple of forwards from their AHL affiliate.

Could the Pittsburgh Penguins attempt to shop Jack Johnson for a center? (Photo via NHL Images)

SPECTOR’S NOTE: There’s not much of a market for Johnson and I doubt Rutherford will have much luck floating Gudbranson in the trade market. Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman suggested Juuso Riikola as an option. The Penguins will probably ride it out for the time being while Rutherford keeps an eye on the trade market and the waiver wire.

INTEREST GROWING IN BOYLE

TSN: Bob McKenzie reports there’s significant interest in Brian Boyle. The free-agent center is talking with several teams. McKenzie claims one of those clubs must either clear some salary-cap space or a roster spot to sign Boyle.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Wonder if the Penguins might be among those teams?

HIGHLIGHTS FROM FRIEDMAN’S LATEST “31 THOUGHTS”

SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman reports Roman Josi’s contract negotiations with the Nashville Predators have hit a snag. There was momentum in those talks during the summer but that’s stopped now.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Tennessean’s Paul Skrbina suggests Josi’s asking price could be north of $9 million per season. Josi and Predators GM David Poile have downplayed the situation. I expect he’ll be re-signed but it won’t be for a hometown discount.

The St. Louis Blues could use Oliver Ekman-Larsson’s contract as a baseline in negotiations with Alex Pietrangelo. Ekman-Larsson is in the first season of an eight-year, $66-million deal with the Arizona Coyotes.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Cap Friendly indicates Ekman-Larsson’s annual average value is $8.25 million. The Pietrangelo camp could seek over $9 million per season.

The Florida Panthers will try to move Mark Pysyk. The veteran defenseman is slated to become an unrestricted free agent next summer. Friedman noted the New Jersey Devils and Vancouver Canucks had an interest during the summer. His AAV ($2.73 million) could be difficult for clubs with limited cap space to absorb.










NHL Rumor Mill – September 16, 2019

NHL Rumor Mill – September 16, 2019

The latest on Brock Boeser, Mikko Rantanen, Brandon Carlo and more in today’s NHL rumor mill.

BOESER

THE PROVINCE: Ed Willes believes the Toronto Maple Leafs didn’t make it any easier for the Vancouver Canucks to re-sign Brock Boeser with their expensive re-signing of Mitch Marner on Friday.

While Marner had more points (94) than Boeser (56 points in 69 games) last season, the latter’s average production (.42 goals per game, .41 assists and .81 points) is comparable to the former’s .28 goals per game, .65 assists and .93 points. If the Canucks are offering Boeser $7 million annually, Willes suggests Marner’s contract could push that figure even higher.

Mitch Marner’s new contract could affect the Vancouver Canucks efforts to re-sign Brock Boeser (Photo via NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Canucks limited salary-cap space also complicates things. Cap Friendly indicates they have over $4.1 million, well below what Boeser could be seeking. They’ll have to make a cost-cutting move or two to fit Boeser within their cap payroll.

THE DENVER POST: Mike Chambers speculates it could cost the Colorado Avalanche around $10.5 million per season to re-sign Mikko Rantanen. The 22-year-old winger is currently skating in his native Finland awaiting a new contract. Chambers also noted Marner’s new contract could be used as a comparable. Rantanen’s coming off a career-high performance of 31 goals and 87 points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Unlike the Canucks, the Avalanche have plenty of salary-cap space (over $15.6 million) to re-sign Rantanen. Avs general manager Joe Sakic probably hopes to get the winger under contract for less than $10.5 million to squeeze out enough long-term cap room for other signings down the road.

CARLO

BOSTON HERALD: Steve Conroy reports Bruins GM Don Sweeney offered no timetable for when Brandon Carlo will be reporting to training camp. The 22-year-old defenseman is the Bruins’ only remaining restricted free agent after Charlie McAvoy re-signed yesterday.

The Bruins have a little more than $3.2 million in salary-cap space but Sweeney feels he can get the blueliner under contract without making another move. He could also place Kevan Miller and/or John Moore on long-term injury reserve if they’re not ready to start the season.

HUTTON

TSN: Former Vancouver Canucks defenseman Ben Hutton “has received multiple offers and he’s currently weighing all of his options, which reportedly include the Kings, Rangers, Red Wings and Wild.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: With training camps now underway, Hutton might not want to take too much longer weighing his options. Those clubs could decide to look elsewhere if he doesn’t soon reach a decision. 

BOYLE

TSN also reported veteran center Brian Boyle has attracted interest from four or five clubs. However, all have been in a holding pattern trying to clear sufficient salary-cap space.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Athletic’s Scott Burnside recently reported the logjam of unsigned restricted free agents has also prevented Boyle from landing a contract with a new team. Perhaps the recent signings will make improve his chances.










The Latest on the NHL’s Notable Unsigned UFAs

The Latest on the NHL’s Notable Unsigned UFAs