NHL Rumor Mill – January 27, 2023

NHL Rumor Mill – January 27, 2023

Could the Devils pursue Timo Meier before the trade deadline? Could the Rangers and Sabres get into the bidding for him? Will Sean Monahan become an Avalanche trade target? Find out in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.

DEVILS INTERESTED IN MEIER?

TSN: Pierre LeBrun reported he spoke with New Jersey Devils general manager Tom Fitzgerald, who indicated he’s looking for a top-six winger before the March 3 trade deadline. Fitzgerald didn’t say which player he was interested in as that would violate the NHL’s tampering rules, but LeBrun believes the San Jose Sharks’ Timo Meier would fit the Devils’ needs.

San Jose Sharks winger Timo Meier (NHL Images)

Fitzgerald said that ideally, he’s not interested in a rental player but someone who could remain with the Devils beyond this season. Meier could fit that description as he’s a restricted free agent on July 1, meaning the Devils would hold his rights after this season if they acquire him from the Sharks.

THE ATHLETIC: LeBrun also pointed out that the Devils still hope to re-sign RFA winger Jesper Bratt and must determine his place in this picture. He believes that Fitzgerald hopes to ink Bratt to a long-term extension somewhere between Nico Hischier’s $7.25 million AAV and Jack Hughes’ $8 million.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: LeBrun indicated that the Devils have the depth in draft picks and prospects to make a suitable offer to the Sharks. However, Fitzgerald will also have to work out a suitable contract offer for Meier, who will cost $10 million simply to qualify his rights before July 1. That’s in addition to working on a contract extension for Bratt.

Fitzgerald could consider Meier as insurance if Bratt’s contract talks become difficult. Like Meier, Bratt’s an RFA with arbitration rights who’ll be a year away from unrestricted free-agent eligibility. Fitzgerald could trade him in the offseason and use the savings to re-sign Meier.

SAN JOSE HOCKEY NOW: Sheng Peng wondered if the Devils might offer up prospect Shakir Mukhamadullin, a 2024 first-round pick (top-15 protected) and Andreas Johnsson for Meier.

Peng also took note of rumors linking the New York Rangers and Buffalo Sabres to Meier. He suggested a package from the Rangers consisting of prospect Brennan Othmann, a 2024 first-rounder (top-10 protected) and winger Sammy Blais. From the Sabres, Peng suggested Jiri Kulich, the Flyers’ 2023 second-round pick and a 2024 third-rounder.

UPDATE ON SEAN MONAHAN

TSN: Pierre LeBrun reports the Colorado Avalanche are a “team to monitor” regarding Montreal Canadiens center Sean Monahan.

The Avalanche expect captain Gabriel Landeskog will come off long-term injury reserve later this season, leaving them with limited salary-cap spaced. LeBrun anticipates they’ll keep an eye on Vancouver’s Bo Horvat and St. Louis’ Ryan O’Reilly but lack sufficient future assets to use as trade bait.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Monahan would be more affordable to acquire than Horvat or O’Reilly. However, the Canadiens won’t just give him away, especially if he picks up where he left off before he was sidelined in early December (17 points in 25 games).

The Canadiens reportedly aren’t actively shopping Monahan but it’s believed they move him for the right offer. That would probably be a first-round pick in this year’s draft or a top prospect.

BARBASHEV ON THE BLOCK?

TSN: Chris Johnston reports St. Louis Blues forward Ivan Barbashev is starting to circulate a little bit in the rumor mill. While he’s off last season’s 60-point pace, Johnston said several playoff contenders have him on their list. He’s slated to become a UFA this summer and carries an affordable $2.25 million cap hit for this season.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 31, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 31, 2022

Marc-Andre Fleury sets a league record, Artemi Panarin and Jesper Bratt maintain their hot starts to the season while Jack Eichel and Trevor Zegras are overtime heroes. Get the details in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: Marc-Andre Fleury picked up his league-record 62nd shootout victory to backstop the Minnesota Wild (4-4-1) over the Chicago Blackhawks 4-3. Fleury made 23 saves in regulation and overtime, Matt Boldy scored twice in regulation while Kirill Kaprizov and Frederick Gaudreau tallied in the shootout. Alex Stalock made 32 saves for the Blackhawks (4-3-1).

Minnesota Wild goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Before the game, the Blackhawks announced that defenseman Seth Jones is expected to be sidelined for three-to-four weeks with an injured right thumb. It’s a big blow to their defense corps as Jones averaged a team-leading 25:14 of ice time per game.

The New Jersey Devils lifted their record to 6-3-0 with a 7-1 drubbing of the Columbus Blue Jackets, dropping the latter’s record to 3-7-0. Jesper Bratt extended his season-opening points streak to nine games with a goal and an assist while Nico Hischier and Jack Hughes also had two points each. Elvis Merzlikins made 46 saves for the Jackets.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Jackets have a league-worst goals-against per game of 4.40 but their netminders aren’t getting much help from their defense. They’ve given up the eighth-most shots-against per game (34.5) thus far. They’re also not getting much goal support as their 2.60 goals-per-game sits 28th

New York Rangers winger Artemi Panarin had a goal and two assists while Mika Zibanejad’s third-period goal snapped a 2-2 tie to nip the Arizona Coyotes 3-2. It’s Panarin’s third multi-point game thus far, sitting one behind Edmonton Oilers captain Connor McDavid. Coyotes rookie Dylan Guenther collected two assists while goalie Connor Ingram made 36 saves. The Rangers improve to 5-3-2 while the Coyotes fall to 2-5-1.

An overtime goal by Trevor Zegras lifted the Anaheim Ducks to a 4-3 upset of the Toronto Maple Leafs. It was Zegras’ second goal of the game while John Gibson kicked out 33 shots as the Ducks got their second win of the season (2-6-1). Leafs center Auston Matthews tallied his third goal of the season as his club’s record fell to 4-4-2.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Four of the Leafs losses this season have come against rebuilding teams (Ducks, Canadiens, Coyotes) or struggling ones (Sharks). They’re winless in their last four (0-2-2).

Vegas Golden Knights center Jack Eichel tallied in overtime to down the Winnipeg Jets 2-1. Mark Stone scored the tying goal for the Golden Knights (8-2-0) after Adam Lowry opened the scoring for the Jets as they drop to 5-3-1.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Jets got a point out of this thanks to a 46-save performance from Connor Hellebuyck.

IN OTHER NEWS…

THE DALLAS MORNING NEWS: Derian Hatcher and Bob Gainey were formally inducted Sunday into the Dallas Stars Hall of Fame. Hatcher was the Stars captain for nine seasons, including their 1999 Stanley Cup championship. Gainey spent 12 seasons as the Stars coach and general manager, building their Stanley Cup roster by acquiring Ed Belfour, Joe Nieuwendyk, Brett Hull and Sergei Zubov.

TSN: Speaking of the Stars, forward Ty Dellandrea was fined $2,333.33 by the NHL department of player safety for interference on New York Rangers goaltender Igor Shesterkin on Saturday.

GOPHNX.COM: Craig Morgan reports sources said the Tempe City Council will likely refer the Arizona Coyotes’ proposed arena and entertainment district to a referendum, leaving the decision up to Tempe voters. The referendum would be held sometime in 2023.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – August 4, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – August 4, 2022

The 2022-23 preseason schedule is released, the Devils avoid arbitration with Jesper Bratt, the Oilers re-sign Kailer Yamamoto, and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.

NHL.COM: The league released its 2022-23 preseason schedule. It begins on Saturday, Sept. 24 featuring the Ottawa Senators and Toronto Maple Leafs facing off in a split-squad doubleheader in Toronto.

On Oct. 3, the Nashville Predators will face SC Bern in Bern, Switzerland on Oct. 3 while the San Jose Sharks take on Eisbaren Berlin in Berlin, Germany, on Oct. 4 as part of the 2022 NHL Global Series. The Predators and Sharks will meet to play their regular-season openers on Oct. 7-8 in Prague, Czechia.

Twillingate, NL and Elsipogtog First Nation in New Brunswick will be hosting Kraft Hockeyville games between the Senators and Montreal Canadiens on Oct. 6 and 8 respectively.

New Jersey Devils winger Jesper Bratt (NHL Images).

The regular season opens in North America on Oct. 11.

NORTHJERSEY.COM: The New Jersey Devils and Jesper Bratt avoided arbitration at the last minute by agreeing to a one-year, $5.45 million contract. Bratt, 24, was asking for $6.5 million while the Devils sought $4.15 million.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Bratt will be a restricted free agent with arbitration rights again next summer. He tallied a career-high 73 points in 76 games last season. Another season with comparable numbers will put him in line for a more lucrative deal.

EDMONTON JOURNAL: The Oilers re-signed winger Kailer Yamamoto to a two-year contract worth an average annual value of $3.1 million. Yamamoto was scheduled for arbitration on Aug. 7.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Yamamoto’s getting a significant raise over the $1.175 million he earned last season. The 23-year-old two-way winger netted career highs with 20 goals, 21 assists and 41 points last season.

The move puts the Oilers above the $82.5 million salary cap by just over $6 million. They can exceed the cap by 10 percent during the offseason and are expected to place sidelined players Mike Smith and Oscar Klefbom ($6.3 million combined salary) on long-term injury reserve to be cap compliant to start the season. However, they still have Ryan McLeod to re-sign and that could force them to shed a salary via trade or waivers.

THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH: The Blue Jackets re-signed forward Emil Bemstrom to a two-year, $1.8 million contract.

COLORADO HOCKEY NOW: The Avalanche signed former Boston Bruins forward Anton Blidh to a one-year, two-way contract worth $750K at the NHL level.

DAILY FACEOFF: The Calgary Wranglers have been unveiled as the Flames’ new AHL affiliate. They were the Stockton Heat from 2015 to 2022.

NHL.COM: The Seattle Kraken hired Jeff Tambellini as their director of player development.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – August 2, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – August 2, 2022

Kirill Kaprizov returns to the United States, Jesper Bratt and the Devils make their respective arbitration filings, the latest on the Flames and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.

THE ATHLETIC: Michael Russo reports multiple sources said Kirill Kaprizov has returned to the United States from Russia. The 25-year-old Minnesota Wild winger was reportedly under investigation in his native country for allegedly purchasing a fake military ID but that has apparently been refuted.

Minnesota Wild winger Kirill Kaprizov (NHL Images).

Kaprizov is said to have departed Russia late last week by way of Turkey and arrived in New York City over the weekend. He is scheduled to fly to Minnesota on Tuesday to resume his offseason training.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Wild and their fans are undoubtedly relieved to see the Kaprizov intrigue come to an end. There were concerns this situation might drag on for weeks or months.

DAILY FACEOFF: The New Jersey Devils and Jesper Bratt have made their respective filings with the arbitrator ahead of his scheduled August 3 hearing. The Devils filed for a $4.15 million salary while Bratt seeks $6.5 million coming off a career-best 73-point performance last season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Bratt made an average annual value of $2.75 million for two seasons on his previous contract. Both sides could reach an agreement on a new contract before his hearing on Wednesday.

RDS.CA: Calgary Flames general manager Brad Treliving recently met with Jonathan Huberdeau in Montreal, according to the winger’s agent. The Flames acquired the 29-year-old Huberdeau from the Florida Panthers on July 22 as part of the return for Matthew Tkachuk.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Treliving reportedly wanted to meet with Huberdeau as soon as possible following the trade. The playmaking winger is slated to become an unrestricted free agent next July.

No word yet if Treliving has met with MacKenzie Weegar, who was also part of the return in the Tkachuk deal. Like Huberdeau, the 28-year-old defenseman is due to become a UFA next summer. Weegar and Huberdeau indicated they’re not ruling out signing long-term contracts with the Flames.

CALGARY HOCKEY NOW: Speaking of the Flames, Andrew Mangiapane’s arbitration hearing is scheduled for Friday, August 5. Steve Macfarlane wonders if the two sides will reach an agreement on a new contract before then.

The 26-year-old winger is coming off a two-year contract with an annual average value of $2.425 million. He scored a career-best 35 goals and 55 points last season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: One way or another, Mangiapane’s going to get a significant raise. For how long has yet to be determined.

THE DALLAS MORNING NEWS: Former Stars executive Tom Holy is the San Jose Sharks’ new assistant general manager.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 30, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 30, 2022

John Klingberg signs with the Ducks, an update on Jesper Bratt’s contract negotiations, and the Sharks will honor Doug Wilson this season. Details and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.

THE HOCKEY NEWS: John Klingberg is off the free-agent market. The 29-year-old defenseman signed a one-year, $7 million contract on Friday with the Anaheim Ducks.

Anaheim Ducks sign former Dallas Stars defenseman John Klingberg (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Some observers expressed puzzlement on social media regarding this move. Why did Klingberg accept just a one-year deal? Why sign with the rebuilding Ducks? For that matter, why did the Ducks make a short-term investment in a veteran player?

Klingberg may have overestimated his value on this summer’s free-agent market. While he reached the 40-point mark last season for the sixth time in his eight-year NHL career, the puck-moving blueliner struggled with consistency during his final season with the Dallas Stars. Interested clubs may have been reluctant to sign to a long-term deal at this point in his career.

This deal gives Klingberg an opportunity to prove that he still has value as a top-pairing blueliner. A strong season in Anaheim will improve his chances for a more lucrative deal, either with the Ducks or another club in next summer’s free-agent market.

The Ducks, meanwhile, had to spend money to reach this season’s $61 million salary-cap minimum. Signing Klingberg achieve that goal, putting them at $63.6 million invested in 22 players.

It also addressed their need to bolster their blueline while adding a veteran presence to their rebuilding roster. If Klingberg plays well this season, the Ducks can peddle him at next year’s trade deadline for a solid return if they’re out of playoff contention by then.

NJ.COM’s Ryan Novozinsky took to Twitter on Friday regarding Jesper Bratt’s contract negotiations with the New Jersey Devils. He cited Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman saying there hasn’t been much discussion between the two sides so it’s hard to figure out what’s going on.

Novozinsky acknowledged it’s been “pretty silent” from Bratt’s camp for weeks regarding updates on contract talks. He believes it’s been another tough negotiation like his last deal.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Bratt’s arbitration hearing is set for Aug. 3.

DAILY FACEOFF: The San Jose Sharks intend to raise a banner for former player, captain and general manager Doug Wilson in the coming season. He’ll be honored in a pregame ceremony by the club before their game against the Chicago Blackhawks.

Wilson spent 14 of his 16 NHL seasons with the Blackhawks before joining the Sharks. He become their general manager in 2003 and held that position until stepping down for health reasons in April 2022. Wilson was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame as a player in 2020.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Wilson built the Sharks into a Western Conference powerhouse during most of his tenure as their general manager. They finished atop the Pacific Divison five times under his watch, won the Presidents’ Trophy in 2009 and reached the Stanley Cup Final in 2016.

PHILLY HOCKEY NOW: The Philadelphia Flyers signed Owen Tippett to a two-year contract with an average annual value of $1.5 million. The 23-year-old right wing was part of the return the Flyers received from the Florida Panthers in the Claude Giroux trade last March.

The Flyers also named Rocky Thompson as an assistant coach.

YARDBARKER: The Seattle Kraken recently announced the Kansas City Mavericks as their ECHL affiliate.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 7, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 7, 2022

The 2022-23 schedule is released plus the latest on Kirill Kaprizov, Filip Forsberg, Kris Letang, Patrice Bergeron, John Klingberg, Evander Kane and more on the eve of the first round of the 2022 draft in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: The league released its 2022-23 schedule on Wednesday. The regular season begins in Prague on Oct. 7 and 8 as the Nashville Predators and San Jose Sharks face off in the 2022 Global Series. The first games in North America will be held on Oct. 11 featuring the New York Rangers facing the Tampa Bay Lightning.

The Colorado Avalanche will raise their 2021-22 Stanley Cup banner in Denver on Oct. 12 prior to their home opener against the Chicago Blackhawks. That evening will also see the Toronto Maple Leafs travel to Montreal to face the Canadiens while the Vancouver Canucks will face the Oilers in Edmonton.

The 2023 Winter Classic will be held on Jan. 1, 2023, between the Bruins and Pittsburgh Penguins at Fenway Park in Boston. Hockey Day in Canada featuring all seven Canadian teams in action will be on Jan. 21.

The Florida Panthers will host the 2023 NHL All-Star Game with the skills competition on Feb. 3 and the All-Star Game on Feb. 4. The regular season will end on Apr. 13.

THE ATHLETIC: Media reports out of Russia claim Minnesota Wild winger Kirill Kaprizov is wanted in his native country for allegedly buying a fake military ID card in 2017 while he was playing in the KHL. The Wild and the NHL are gathering information to determine the credibility of the story.

Minnesota Wild winger Kirill Kaprizov (NHL Images).

Reports also claimed Kaprizov had fled Russia but Wild general manager Bill Guerin said he’s still in the country and is safe with family and friends. Guerin said he and the club have been in touch with Kaprizov’s agent and aren’t pushing the panic button.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This is a result of Russia’s war with Ukraine. Under Russian law, eligible men between 18 and 27 must serve a year in the military, though exemptions are provided for athletes. Russo cited a source claiming Kaprizov’s exemption ended on June 30.

Last week, Philadelphia Flyers goaltender Ivan Fedotov was detained under suspicion of dodging the draft and sent to a remote Arctic naval base. Fedotov broke his contract with KHL club CSKA Moscow to sign with the Flyers in May. It’s generated increasing concern over whether Russian players will be allowed to return to the NHL next season. 

TWINCITIES.COM: Speaking of the Wild, they signed defenseman Jake Middleton to a three-year contract extension with an annual average value of $2.45 million.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Middleton was due to become a restricted free agent with arbitration rights when the free-agent market opened on July 13. Acquired from the San Jose Sharks before the trade deadline, he proved to be a good fit with the Wild. He skated with Jared Spurgeon on their top pairing, providing an additional measure of grit to their blueline.

NHL.COM: Nashville Predators general manager David Poile said his club is closer to signing Filip Forsberg now than when they made their eight-year contract offer earlier in the offseason. The 27-year-old left winger is slated to become an unrestricted free agent on July 13.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It looks like Forsberg will stay in Nashville barring a last-minute collapse in negotiations before the free agent market opens next Wednesday. There’s no indication from the Forsberg camp of any disagreement with Poile’s assessment of their contract talks.

I assumed a sticking point was the lack of no-trade protection. Poile indicated Forsberg will get a full no-movement clause and a full no-trade if he signs with the Predators.

The Predators GM said the holdup was over money. It’s rumored that could be between $8 million and $9 million per season on an eight-year deal.

PITTSBURGH HOCKEY NOW: Penguins GM Ron Hextall said he’d be surprised if his club didn’t get defenseman Kris Letang signed to a new contract before July 13. However, he seemed less optimistic about re-signing Evgeni Malkin but said the two sides will continue working on it.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Letang is reportedly seeking a five-year deal worth between $8 million and $9 million annually. The Penguins are also said to have put the priority on re-signing the 35-year-old defenseman before turning to Malkin.

BOSTON HOCKEY NOW: Bruins captain Patrice Bergeron hasn’t signed on the dotted line yet, but recent discussions indicate he’s considering a return with the Bruins next season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: An earlier report last month had Bergeron agreeing to come back. Back in May, he indicated that he would either return with the Bruins or retire. If he’s leaning toward playing, I think we’ll see him suiting up for a 19th season in Boston.

DAILY FACEOFF: Frank Seravalli reports John Klingberg will be hitting the free-agent market next week. Talks between the 29-year-old defenseman and the Dallas Stars have been cordial but they don’t appear to be any closer to working out a new contract.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Reports last fall claimed Klingberg sought an eight-year deal with the Stars worth between $7.75 million and $8.5 million per season. With Jake Oettinger and Jason Robertson due for big raises coming off their entry-level deals, the Stars won’t have enough cap room to pay them and Klingberg.

SPORTSNET: Edmonton Oilers GM Ken Holland said his club isn’t close to a deal with Evander Kane. He said they’ll continue to speak with his agent to see if something can be worked out. Kane, 30, is due to become a UFA next week.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kane also has a grievance hearing over his terminated contract with the San Jose Sharks coming up sometime after July 13 unless he and the Sharks can work out an agreement before then. That could affect the Oilers’ efforts to sign him.

TSN: Washington Capitals GM Brian MacLellan said Nicklas Backstrom is determined to play next season after undergoing hip surgery last month.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Uncertainty over Backstrom’s status raised speculation the Capitals could be shopping around for a replacement. His determination to play is admirable but that will be decided by how well he recovers from hip-shaving surgery.

WASHINGTON HOCKEY NOW: Speaking of the Capitals, they’ll get more clarity on the status of Carl Hagelin’s season-ending eye injury later this summer. Hagelin suffered the injury during practice in early March. He underwent two surgeries which permanently took away some of the vision in his left eye. It also affected his depth perception but that could return in time.

VANCOUVER HOCKEY NOW: Canucks management indicated there’s not much to report on contract extension talks with J.T. Miller. However, they’re more optimistic about re-signing captain Bo Horvat.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Both players have a year remaining on their contracts. Miller has been the subject of considerable trade speculation this season. There are rumors he could be traded either during the draft or before the start of the UFA market next week.

NHL.COM: New Jersey Devils GM Tom Fitzgerald said Jesper Bratt will not be traded and has received a qualifying offer from the team. The 23-year-old winger is coming off a career-best 73-point performance and is slated to become a restricted free agent next Wednesday.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: So much for the recent speculation claiming the Devils could shop Bratt if they couldn’t work out a suitable new contract.

NORTHJERSEY.COM: Speaking of the Devils, they hired Kate Madigan as their new assistant GM, becoming the first woman in franchise history to hold that role.

THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH: The Blue Jackets signed defenseman Adam Boqvist to a three-year contract extension worth an annual average value of $2.6 million.

NHL.COM: Former NHL defenseman Bryan Marchment died suddenly on Wednesday in Montreal. Marchment, 53, was attending the upcoming draft in his role as a scout with the San Jose Sharks.

A physical blueliner during his playing career, Marchment spent 17 seasons in the NHL with the Winnipeg Jets, Chicago Blackhawks, Hartford Whalers, Edmonton Oilers, Tampa Bay Lightning, San Jose Sharks, Colorado Avalanche, Toronto Maple Leafs and Calgary Flames from 1988-89 to 2005-06. In 926 regular-season games, he had 182 points and amassed 2,307 PIMs. His son, Mason Marchment, plays for the Florida Panthers.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: My condolences to Marchment’s family, friends, former teammates and the Sharks organization.