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

 










NHL Rumor Mill – August 27, 2019

NHL Rumor Mill – August 27, 2019

The latest Islanders and Rangers speculation in today’s NHL rumor mill.

POSSIBLE FORWARD OPTIONS FOR THE ISLANDERS

THE ATHLETIC: Shayna Goldman recently explored where the New York Islanders could turn to add a top-nine forward before the season begins. Free-agent options could include Brian Boyle, Tobias Rieder, Devante Smith-Pelly or former Isles winger Thomas Vanek.

Could Los Angeles Kings winger Ilya Kovalchuk become a trade option for the NY Islanders (Photo via NHL Images).

Looking at the trade market, Goldman listed Nashville’s Kyle Turris, Vegas’ Cody Eakin, the Rangers’ Vladislav Namestnikov, Los Angeles’ Tyler Toffoli, or Winnipeg’s Nikolaj Ehlers. If Toronto needs to clear salary to re-sign Mitch Marner, perhaps Kasperi Kapanen or Zach Hyman become available.

Vancouver’s Tanner Pearson could be on the move if the Canucks need to free up cap space for Brock Boeser. LA’s Ilya Kovalchuk or Boston’s Charlie Coyle are other possibilities.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Islanders general manager Lou Lamoriello could evaluate his roster during training camp and preseason play before deciding if additional moves are necessary. Cap Friendly indicates the Isles have over $6 million in cap space though that’ll shrink a bit once Anthony Beauvillier is re-signed. That will still leave sufficient room if Lamoriello decides to bring in an affordable UFA forward.

Many of the aforementioned trade options carry expensive contracts, meaning the Isles must give up a salaried player to make the dollars fit. Some of the players on Goldman’s list (Nashville, Vegas, Rangers) have limited cap space.

The Leafs could part with Kapanen or Hyman if necessary to sign Marner. As we’ve seen, however, Leafs GM Kyle Dubas has juggled his cap space this summer without hurting his roster.

The Canucks could part with Pearson but he improved in Vancouver after struggling in Los Angeles and Pittsburgh last season. They might prefer shipping out someone like Loui Eriksson or Brandon Sutter.

The Kings would love to move Kolvachuk but I don’t think Lamoriello is keen on a reunion with the aging winger. The Bruins could put Coyle on the block to free up room to re-sign Charlie McAvoy and Brandon Carlo, but talk out of Boston suggests they’ll consider other trade options.

Winnipeg could be a possibility once they get Patrik Laine and Kyle Connor under contract. They need depth on the right side of their defense and Ehlers has frequently come up in this summer’s trade chatter. Goldman suggested Nick Leddy as an option but he’s a left-side defender.

LATEST ON KREIDER, LEMIEUX AND DEANGELO

THE ATHLETIC: Rick Carpinello believes New York Rangers winger Chris Kreider is more like than not to be traded before he goes to free agency next summer. Carpinello suggests Kreider’s UFA value could be in the range of seven years at $7 million annually. He doubts the Blueshirts will invest that much in a player turning 29 next year.

Carpinello also dismissed the possibility of an offer sheet for Brendan Lemieux or Anthony DeAngelo. He feels the Rangers would walk away and accept the low compensation of a third-round draft pick.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Expect this summer’s Kreider trade chatter to carry over into this season, provided he’s not moved before then. One way or another, this season could be his last with the Rangers.

As for Lemieux and DeAngelo, I think any club interested in either guy will go the trade route instead of the offer sheet. If a team wanted to use the latter, they could sign away either player for under $1.3 million without giving up anything in compensation.










NHL Rumor Mill – August 12, 2019

NHL Rumor Mill – August 12, 2019

Rasmus Ristolainen implies a trade request, plus the latest on the Blues and Coyotes in today’s NHL rumor mill.

DOES RISTOLAINEN WANT OUT OF BUFFALO?

THE BUFFALO NEWS: Lance Lysowski cites a recent report from Finland’s MTV Sports indicating Sabres defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen implied he’s requested a trade. “I cannot say anything other than the fact that on the 12th of September, I will be at one of the NHL team’s training camps,” he said. The blueliner added he wants to keep his discussions with Sabres management private.

In a recent interview, Buffalo Sabres defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen seemed to imply he’s requested a trade

“I haven’t been able to help the team win,” he told MTV Sports, according to the translation. “Recent seasons have been tough and I haven’t been able to enjoy hockey.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Ristolainen’s been the subject of frequent media trade chatter since April. The Sabres’ recent additions of right-side defensemen Colin Miller and Henri Jokiharju stoked the speculation.

The Score’s Sean O’Leary reminds us Ristolainen “reportedly drew interest in trade talks after the Winnipeg Jets dealt Jacob Trouba to the New York Rangers in June.” The blueliner’s recent comments ensure he remains a fixture in the rumor mill leading up to the start of training camp next month.

LATEST BLUES SPECULATION

STLTODAY.COM: In a recent live chat with his readers, Tom Timmermann addressed some questions regarding several Blues players. He believes restricted free agent Ivan Barbashev could be seeking a deal similar to Oskar Sundqvist’s four-year ($2.75-million AAV) contract. He doesn’t expect Joel Edmundson to be traded, citing Jay Bouwmeester’s potential retirement at the end of this season and Carl Gunnarsson’s injury history.

Timmermann feels roster space is as much a factor regarding bringing back Pat Maroon as salary-cap space. He doubts the Blues will consider trading Alex Steen in a cost-cutting move as they still value his contributions. If Jordan Binnington and Jake Allen play well this season, the latter’s trade value could improve.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Don’t expect any big shake-ups by the Blues this season. Coming off a Stanley Cup championship, management will try to keep the roster intact as much as possible. Maroon could be the exception, depending on whether they feel his spot on the roster can be filled by a younger, cheaper player.

FIVE UFAS WHO COULD HELP THE COYOTES

AZCENTRAL.COM: Winger Justin Williams and center Brian Boyle are among five players Richard Morin believes could help the Arizona Coyotes if the price is right. Riley Sheahan, Alex Petrovic, and Magnus Paajarvi round out his list.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Williams is expected to return with the Carolina Hurricanes for one more season or retire. Boyle, 34, could bring some invaluable experience and leadership to the young Coyotes. Sheahan, Petrovic, and Paajarvi would be younger (late-twenties) and more affordable options.










NHL Rumor Mill – June 29, 2019

NHL Rumor Mill – June 29, 2019

Check out the latest on Artemi Panarin, Phil Kessel, Joe Pavelski, Anders Lee, Patrick Marleau, and more in today’s NHL rumor mill.

RANGERS WON’T GET INTO BIDDING WAR FOR PANARIN

NEW YORK POST: Larry Brooks reports the New York Rangers will pursue left winger Artemi Panarin via free agency on July 1. However, they don’t intend to get into a bidding war for his services. A source told Brooks that if they offer a seven-year deal for between $11 – $11.25 million annually, they won’t go higher to increase or match other bids. The Florida Panthers and New York Islanders could also be suitors for Panarin, as well as goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky.

Can the Rangers afford Artemi Panarin? (Photo via NHL Images)

Brooks also reports the Rangers won’t sign support players for anything beyond two years. They’re also said to be interested in bringing Brian Boyle back to New York.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’ll be very interesting to see how much Panarin gets on the open market. There’s talk it could be over $12 million annually on a seven-year deal. That’ll price him out of most markets this summer. The Panthers are the favorites to sign him and Bobrovsky on July 1.

KESSEL IN STANDOFF WITH PENGUINS MANAGEMENT?

THE ATHLETIC: Rob Rossi reports sources claimed several teams remain interested in acquiring Pittsburgh Penguins winger Phil Kessel. However, his unwillingness to expand his eight-team trade list is creating bad feelings within the Penguins organization and affecting their off-season plans.

 Kessel’s off-ice behavior, which includes regularly visiting a Pittsburgh casino, is influencing some younger teammates like Jake Guentzel. He’s also had run-ins with head coach Mike Sullivan. Some also blame Kessel for adversely affecting Evgeni Malkin’s performance. However, Kessel’s supporters among management and the roster believe he’s being unfairly targeted for the Penguins’ problems.

General manager Jim Rutherford is said to be seeking a hockey trade for Kessel, which includes not taking back a lot of salary in return. That could also affect Rutherford’s efforts to move the winger. The Pens GM has received a couple of offers for defenseman Kris Letang but ownership doesn’t want to part with him or Malkin.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The sources for this piece appear to be front-office types unhappy with Kessel’s refusal to expand his list of trade destinations. Perhaps they’re hoping this provides additional “motivation” for the winger to reconsider. That tactic, however, could backfire.

If Kessel sticks to his guns, and he has every right to do so under his contract, this situation becomes more toxic. It could also make it harder to move Kessel. The Penguins will seem desperate, reducing whatever leverage they could’ve had. It could also make potential suitors fearful of Kessel being a “bad influence” upon their rosters.

UPDATES ON PAVELSKI AND MARLEAU

NBC SPORTS BAY AREA: Ali Thanawalla cited The Athletic’s Craig Custance reporting the number of teams interested in Joe Pavelski is at “double-digits”. Pavelski met with the Dallas Stars and Tampa Bay Lightning this week. The Minnesota Wild are also rumored to be among the suitors.

Custance’s colleague Kevin Kurz took to Twitter yesterday saying there’s an “overwhelming sense” Pavelski won’t be returning with the San Jose Sharks.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Sharks signing Erik Karlsson may have spelled the end of Pavelski’s tenure in San Jose. He wants a lucrative deal which they can’t afford now. This could be, as Kurz put it, the end of an era for the Sharks. 

THE SCORE: Josh Gold-Smith cites The Athletic’s Pierre LeBrun reporting Patrick Marleau would like to return to the Sharks. The 39-year-old winger believes he has one good season left and would like it to be in San Jose, where he spent 19 of his 21 NHL seasons.

LEE AND ISLES TO PART WAYS?

TSN: In his updated list of this summer’s top UFAs, Frank Seravalli believes New York Islanders captain Anders Lee will be moving on via free agency. He believes the shift in the market means Lee stands to make more than what the Isles expected.

Citing what Mark Stone got with the Vegas Golden Knights (eight years, $9.5 million per season), Seravalli suggests Lee could get at least $7.5 million annually, perhaps more.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Most reports out of New York suggested term, not dollars, was the issue. Lee wanted a seven-year deal from the Isles but they would only go as far as five years for the 29-year-old winger. Given their meeting with Artemi Panarin this week, it seems Isles GM Lou Lamoriello is preparing to find a replacement for Lee. 

LATEST LEAFS SPECULATION

TORONTO STAR: Kevin McGran reports Maple Leafs GM Kyle Dubas said he’s continuing to have “good dialogue” with Mitch Marner’s representative. He praised the pending restricted free agent and hopes to keep working toward an agreement. He’s also expressed interest in bringing back UFA defenseman Ron Hainsey. Meanwhile, the Leafs lack of blueline depth could mean Nikita Zaitsev stays put despite his trade request.

PANTHERS STILL SHOPPING REIMER

TSN: Pierre LeBrun reports the Florida Panthers are still working hard trying to trade goaltender James Reimer. They’d prefer moving him rather than buying him out. “Reimer has two seasons left on his current contract at a $3.4 million cap hit.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The buyout period ends at 5 pm ET on Sunday, June 30. My guess is the Panthers could be forced to go that route. Teams seeking backup goalies could prefer more affordable options via the UFA market. 

UPDATES ON BOYLE, JOHANSSON, AND TALBOT

 

 

 










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 16, 2019

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 16, 2019

Game recaps, Nazem Kadri and Joe Thornton receive suspensions, the Flyers hire Alain Vigneault as their new head coach, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines. 

NHL.COM: Power-play goals by Auston Matthews and Andreas Johnsson gave the Toronto Maple Leafs a 3-2 victory over the Boston Bruins to take a 2-1 lead in their opening-round series. Leafs goaltender Frederik Andersen kicked out 34 shots. The Leafs were also playing without center Nazem Kadri, who was suspended for the remainder of this series for cross-checking Bruins winger Jake DeBrusk in Game 2. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE:  A much better team effort by the Leafs in this game after being manhandled by the Bruins in Game 2. They also did a fine job neutralizing the Bruins top line of Patrice Bergeron, Brad Marchand, and David Pastrnak. Kadri’s suspension could be between three-to-five games, depending on how long this series goes. Seems like he was fortunate not to receive stiffer punishment. 

Warren Foegele and Dougie Hamilton each scored twice and goalie Petr Mrazek had an 18-save shutout as the Carolina Hurricanes blanked the Washington Capitals 5-0 to narrow the Capitals’ series lead to 2-1. It was a costly win for the Hurricanes as rookie winger Andrei Svechnikov left the game with an apparent head injury following a fight with Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin and winger Micheal Ferland was also sidelined following a hit from Capitals right wing Tom Wilson. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Credit the Hurricanes for not getting rattled by losing two key forwards like Svechnikov and Ferland. They dominated the Capitals in this contest to pick up their first playoff victory since 2009. I saw some on Twitter scolding Ovechkin for knocking out Svechnikov but the youngster goaded Ovechkin and was a willing participant in that scrap. Here’s hoping he wasn’t seriously hurt and returns to action soon.

Colorado Avalanche center Nathan MacKinnon scored twice in a 6-2 win over the Calgary Flames in Game 3 of their opening-round series (Photo via NHL Images).

Nathan MacKinnon scored twice and rookie defenseman Cale Makar scored in his first-ever NHL game as the Colorado Avalanche thumped the Calgary Flames 6-2 to take a 2-1 series lead. Flames goalie Mike Smith made 50 saves in this one. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Credit the Avalanche for a strong effort in this one. They took control of this contest from the opening whistle in what was Calgary’s worst performance in this series. Giving up 56 shots in a playoff game is an unacceptable effort for a club that finished atop the Western Conference. 

Nashville Predators goalie Pekka Rinne made 40 saves to backstop his club to a 3-2 win over the Dallas Stars and a 2-1 lead in their opening-round series. Mikael Granlund broke a 2-2 tie in the third period with a long wrist shot that eluded Stars netminder Ben Bishop. Before the game, the Predators announced Wayne Simmonds (knee) and Brian Boyle (appendix procedure) are listed as week-to-week.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Rinne was hot and Bishop was not in this contest. Granlund and Rocco Grimaldi’s goals were stoppable shots for Bishop, who’ll look to return to the strong form he displayed in the first two games in this series. The absence of Simmonds and Boyle could hurt the Predators checking-line depth as this series goes on. 

NBC SPORTS: San Jose Sharks center Joe Thornton will miss Game 4 of his club’s opening-round series with the Vegas Golden Knights. He’ll serve a one-game suspension for an illegal check to the head of Vegas forward Tomas Nosek. 

CBS SPORTS/THE SCORE: Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Victor Hedman (undisclosed ailment) and winger Alex Killorn (undisclosed injury) could miss tonight’s crucial Game 4 against the Columbus Blue Jackets. The Jackets hold a 3-0 lead in the series and could close it out with a win tonight. 

NBC SPORTS: The Philadelphia Flyers announced Alain Vigneault was hired yesterday as their new head coach. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Vigneault brings plenty of experience behind the Flyers bench as a former bench boss of the Montreal Canadiens, Vancouver Canucks, and New York Rangers. He guided the Canucks and Rangers to the Stanley Cup Final (2011 and 2014 respectively) and is a former winner (2007) of the Jack Adams Award

TSN: Edmonton Oilers winger Milan Lucic suffered a leg injury following practice the day before their final game of the season against Calgary. He’ll be in a cast for two more weeks and the injury isn’t expected to affect his summer training program.

CHICAGO SUN-TIMES: Blackhawks right wing Patrick Kane was named the captain of Team USA at the upcoming 2019 World Championships.