NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 14, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 14, 2022

Analysis of some of the biggest signings and trades from the opening day of free agency, a look at two of the notable free agents still available and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

THE ATHLETIC: Johnny Gaudreau explained why he signed a seven-year, $68.25 million contract with the Columbus Blue Jackets. He said the experience of playing at Nationwide Arena and speaking with current and former Columbus Blue Jackets players were motivating factors behind his decision.

Former Calgary Flames winger Johnny Gaudreau signed with the Columbus Blue Jackets on July 13. (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I analyzed Gaudreau’s new contract and those of the other noteworthy signings for Bleacher Report yesterday. His decision to go to Columbus generated considerable surprise on social media. It also left Calgary fans bewildered and upset after he rejected a more lucrative offer from the Flames to join the Jackets. Whatever the reason behind his decision, he makes the Blue Jackets a better team and should accelerate their rebuilding process.

THE PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER: Gaudreau was reportedly interested in signing with the Flyers but their limited salary-cap space meant they weren’t able to make room for him.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Flyers’ offseason moves haven’t sat well with their fans who’ve been quite critical on social media. It’ll be interesting to see what general manager Chuck Fletcher intends to do to improve his roster for next season.

NBC SPORTS BAY AREA/VEGAS HOCKEY NOW: The San Jose Sharks and Vegas Golden Knights each made significant cost-cutting trades with the Carolina Hurricanes. The Sharks shipped defenseman Brent Burns to the Hurricanes while the Golden Knights sent them winger Max Pacioretty.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Mike Grier, the Sharks’ new general manager, is wasting little time addressing his club’s need for an overhaul following several seasons of decline. The Golden Knights, meanwhile, got nothing in return for Pacioretty. They are paying the price for their pursuit of big-ticket talent over the past couple of years in pursuit of the Stanley Cup.

The Hurricanes, meanwhile, are going for it. Burns has three years left on his contract with the Sharks retaining 33 percent of his $8 million cap hit. Pacioretty is a year away from unrestricted free agent eligibility. Both should provide a welcome boost of experience and offense to their lineup as they attempt to stage a run for the Stanley Cup in 2022-23.

THE DENVER POST: The Colorado Avalanche haven’t given up trying to bring back Nazem Kadri as their second-line center. The 31-year-old Kadri is the biggest name remaining among this year’s crop of unrestricted free agent talent.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Cap Friendly shows the Avs with $3.9 million in cap space. They’ll have to shed some salary if they intend to bring back Kadri.

THE ATHLETIC: The Dallas Stars attempted to re-sign John Klingberg before the defenseman became an unrestricted free agent but weren’t able to reach an agreement. The door appears closed on a return after the club signed blueliner Colin Miller and added winger Mason Marchment.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Klingberg is the top defenseman still available in the UFA market. Speculation linked him to the Seattle Kraken but other clubs could get into the bidding.

OTTAWA SUN: Claude Giroux was all smiles as he met with local media after signing a three-year, $19.5 million contract with the Senators. Giroux makes his offseason home in Ottawa and said he was excited to be joining his hometown club. “They’ve got a lot of talented guys who like to work hard and compete,” said Giroux. “I just like the character of the team, and I’ll fit right in with them.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This is the Senators’ most significant UFA signing in years. Giroux was linked to the Sens for months but there was speculation the 34-year-old forward would prefer signing with a Cup contender. He should bring a welcome boost of experience and leadership to their roster.

TSN: The New Jersey Devils have reportedly signed former Tampa Bay Lightning winger Ondrej Palat to a five-year contract with an average annual value of $6 million.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Devils were in the market for a top-six winger. Palat is a solid two-way forward with considerable playoff experience. He’ll be a solid addition to the rebuilding Devils in their quest to become a playoff contender next season.

BOSTON HOCKEY NOW: The Bruins made a noteworthy addition by acquiring Pavel Zacha from the Devils in exchange for Erik Haula. They’re also still in talks with Patrice Bergeron and David Krejci on one-year, bonus-laden contracts.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: A former first-round pick, Zacha struggled to play up to expectations in New Jersey. Perhaps the move to Boston will help the 25-year-old forward improve his game. As for Bergeron, there have been conflicting reports saying he’s going to return while others claim he’s still pondering his future.

DAILY FACEOFF: The Lightning wasted little time locking up three players eligible for restricted free agent status next summer. Defensemen Mikhail Sergachev and Erik Cernak and center Anthony Cirelli were all signed to lucrative long-term contract extensions.

SPORTSNET: The Anaheim Ducks signed former New York Rangers center Ryan Strome to a five-year, $25 million contract on Wednesday evening.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The 29-year-old Strome will fill the Ducks’ second-line center position. This is a good move by the rebuilding club, bringing in some experienced depth to take some of the burden from rising star Trevor Zegas.

DETROIT HOCKEY NOW: Red Wings general manager Steve Yzerman spent just under $20 million via free agency yesterday to make his club more competitive next season. He added forwards David Perron, Andrew Copp and Dominik Kubalik and defensemen Ben Chiarot and Olli Maatta.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Red Wings have patiently rebuilt over the past three seasons. These veteran additions should help them take the next step toward playoff contention next season. Perron, Copp and Chiarot will bring veteran skill and leadership to the Wings roster.

DAILY FACEOFF: The New York Rangers traded defenseman Patrik Nemeth and two draft picks to the Arizona Coyotes in exchange for defense prospect Ty Emberson.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This was a straightforward salary dump by the Rangers, freeing up cap space to put toward re-signing RFA winger Kaapo Kakko.

SPORTSNET: The Calgary Flames brought back defenseman Nikita Zadorov on a two-year contract with an average annual value of $3.75 million.










Notable NHL Free Agent Signings and Trades – July 13, 2022

Notable NHL Free Agent Signings and Trades – July 13, 2022

The following is a list of notable NHL free-agent signings and trades during the opening day of free agency. This list will be updated throughout the day as details become available. I’ll also be doing live grades of today’s biggest signings on Bleacher Report.

Columbus Blue Jackets sign Johnny Gaudreau to a seven-year, $66.5 million contract.

Seattle Kraken sign defenseman Justin Schultz to a two-year, $6 million contract.

Vegas Golden Knights trade winger Max Pacioretty and defenseman Dylan Coghlan to the Carolina Hurricanes in exchange for future considerations.

Ottawa Senators trade winger Connor Brown to the Washington Capitals in exchange for a second-round pick in 2024.

San Jose Sharks sign center Nico Sturm to a three-year, $6 million contract.

Detroit Red Wings sign David Perron to a two-year, $9.5 million contract.

Detroit Red Wings sign Dominik Kubalik to a two-year, $5 million contract.

Seattle Kraken sign Andre Burakovsky to a five-year, $27.5 million contract.

Detroit Red Wings sign Ben Chiarot to a four-year, $19 million contract.

Pittsburgh Penguins sign Jan Rutta to a three-year, $8.25 million contract.

Florida Panthers sign Eric and Marc Staal to identical one-year, $750K contracts.

Colorado Avalanche sign winger Artturi Lehkonen to a five-year, $22.5 million contract.

Dallas Stars sign winger Mason Marchment to a four-year, $18 million contract.

Tampa Bay Lightning sign Ian Cole to a one-year, $3 million contract.

Washington Capitals sign Charlie Lindgren to a three-year, $3.3 million contract.

Columbus Blue Jackets sign Erik Gudbranson to a four-year, $16 million contract.

Tampa Bay Lightning sign Mikhail Sergachev to an eight-year, $68 million contract extension effective 2023-24.

The Lightning signed center Anthony Cirelli to an eight-year, $50 million contract extension effective 2023-24.

The Lightning signed defenseman Erik Cernak to an eight-year, $41.6 million contract extension effective 2023-24.

Washington Capitals sign goaltender Darcy Kuemper to a five-year, $26.26 million contract.

San Jose Sharks trade defenseman Brent Burns and center Lane Pederson to the Carolina Hurricanes in exchange for winger Steven Lorentz, goaltender Eetu Makiniemi and a conditional 2023 third-round pick. The Sharks also retain 33 percent of Burns’ $8 million annual average value through 2024-25.

New York Rangers sign center Vincent Trocheck to a seven-year, $39.38 million contract.

Detroit Red Wings sign forward Andrew Copp to a five-year, $28.13 million contract.

Vancouver Canucks sign winger Ilya Mikheyev to a four-year, $19 million contract.

Chicago Blackhawks sign forwards Max Domi and Andreas Athanasiou to one-year contracts worth $3 million apiece.

St. Louis Blues re-sign defenseman Nick Leddy to a four-year, $16 million contract.

Ottawa Senators sign forward Claude Giroux to a three-year contract with an annual cap hit of $6.5 million.

Edmonton Oilers signed goaltender Jack Campbell to a five-year contract with an annual salary-cap hit of $5 million (as per TSN’s Darren Dreger).

Buffalo Sabres re-sign restricted free agent winger Victor Olofsson to a two-year contract with an annual average value of $4.75 million.

Toronto Maple Leafs sign goaltender Ilya Samsonov to a one-year, $1.8 million deal (as per Daily Faceoff’s Frank Seravalli).

New Jersey Devils trade winger Pavel Zacha to the Boston Bruins in exchange for Erik Haula (as per TSN’s Darren Dreger and Daily Faceoff).

Colorado Avalanche signed defenseman Josh Manson to a four-year contract with an annual average value of $4.5 million (as per TSN’s Pierre LeBrun).

St. Louis Blues sign forward Robert Thomas to an eight-year, $64 million contract extension (as per Daily Faceoff’s Frank Seravalli).










NHL Rumor Mill – July 13, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – July 13, 2022

The annual free-agent market opens at noon ET today. Check out the latest on Johnny Gaudreau, Nazem Kadri, Claude Giroux, Brent Burns, Darcy Kuemper, Jack Campbell and many more in today’s NHL rumor mill.

SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman believes the Philadelphia Flyers must clear cap space if they’re to pursue a top free agent such as Johnny Gaudreau. They could attempt to move winger James van Riemsdyk in a cost-cutting trade. He’s been linked to the Arizona Coyotes, Buffalo Sabres and Seattle Kraken.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: van Riemsdyk has a year left on his contract with an annual average value of $7 million, though in actual base salary he’ll earn $4 million. He also lacks no-trade protection.

NEW YORK POST: Ethan Sears believes the New York Islanders need a winger like Johnny Gaudreau to maximize center Mathew Barzal’s talent. Limited salary-cap space, however, could hamper their efforts to sign the 28-year-old left winger.

TSN: Chris Johnston reports Claude Giroux appears to be in the crosshairs of the Ottawa Senators. Pierre LeBrun reports this morning the Senators appear to be the front-runners for the versatile 34-year-old forward.

Florida Panthers forward Claude Giroux (NHL Images).

SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman reports the Senators could also target Giroux’s Florida Panthers teammate (and Ottawa native) MacKenzie Weegar. The Panthers are looking to shed some salary. They’d like to re-sign Giroux, who could also draw interest from the Carolina Hurricanes.

LeBrun believes the Edmonton Oilers are the front-runners for goaltender Jack Campbell while netminder Darcy Kuemper appears headed to the Washington Capitals

San Jose Sharks defenseman Brent Burns could be traded by the end of this week. TSN’s Pierre LeBrun reports the Dallas Stars and Carolina Hurricanes are believed to be on his three-team trade list. He also claimed the Hurricanes have “kicked tires” on the 37-year-old blueliner as well as Montreal Canadiens defenseman Jeff Petry.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Sharks will likely have to retain part of Burns’ $8 million annual cap hit through 2024-25 as the Stars and Hurricanes can’t afford to take on his full contract. Otherwise, they will have to take back a contract of equal value or perhaps attempt a three-team trade to spread Burns’ cap hit around.

MONTREAL HOCKEY NOW: Jimmy Murphy cites a rumor from Radio-Canada columnist Martin Leclerc claiming the Montreal Canadiens almost acquire Pierre-Luc Dubois from the Winnipeg Jets at last week’s NHL draft in Montreal. Leclerc claims those trade discussions between the two clubs about the 25-year-old restricted free agent are ongoing.

Murphy also cited RDS’s Renaud Lavoie claiming the Canadiens were very active in trade talks and a deal could come before free agency begins today.

Pierre LeBrun reports the Canadiens are interested in bringing back pending UFA Brett Kulak. They traded the 28-year-old defenseman to the Edmonton Oilers before the March trade deadline.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Canadiens general manager Kent Hughes has quickly established a reputation as a wheeler-dealer. Dubois is rumored to be interested in joining the Canadiens when he becomes eligible for UFA status in 2024.

The Canadiens, however, have limited cap space for 2022-23 so they’ll have to ship out some salary to take on Dubois, Kulak or whoever else Hughes might have his eye on. TSN’s Pierre LeBrun claimed the Carolina Hurricanes have been linked to Habs defenseman Jeff Petry, who’s earning $6.25 million per season through 2024-25.

NEW YORK POST: Larry Brooks reports the Rangers remain linked to Nazem Kadri but it could prove difficult to sign him. The 31-year-old center could command $7 million per season on a six-year contract on the open market. Brooks suggests the Rangers attempt a sign-and-trade scenario involving a third club like the Arizona Coyotes or Chicago Blackhawks to spread the cost of Kadri’s new contract around.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Creative, but unlikely to happen, though it would be quite the accomplishment by Rangers GM Chris Drury if he could pull that off.

WINNIPEG SUN: Scott Billeck reports the Jets are still trying to move team captain Blake Wheeler. He anticipates they’ll have to retain a portion of the 35-year-old winger’s $8.25 million cap hit through 2023-24. It seems doubtful they’ll move Nate Schmidt given the defenseman’s contract.

TORONTO SUN: Terry Koshan reports Maple Leafs GM Kyle Dubas has limited free-agent options to add a backup goaltender with just $6.3 million in cap space and RFAs Rasmus Sandin and Pierre Engvall to re-sign. “Perhaps Ilya Samsonov or Eric Comrie will be a fit.” Koshan believes Dubas’ options could improve if he shed a contract such as Justin Woll ($2 million) or Alex Kerfoot ($3.5 million).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Weakening depth at one position to improve depth at another isn’t going to improve the Leafs’ chance of winning a playoff round next season or bring their 55-year Stanley Cup drought to an end.










NHL Rumor Mill – July 12, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – July 12, 2022

Suggested destinations for Evgeni Malkin plus the latest on Patrick Kane, Johnny Gaudreau, Brent Burns, Jack Campbell and more in today’s NHL rumor mill.

POSSIBLE FREE-AGENT DESTINATIONS FOR MALKIN

SPORTSNET: Josh Beneteau lists the New York Rangers, Los Angeles Kings and Vancouver Canucks among six potential destinations for Evgeni Malkin when he goes to market on July 13 as a free agent. The Tampa Bay Lightning, Philadelphia Flyers and Washington Capitals could be other options.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Unless Malkin wants to accept less than what the Pittsburgh Penguins are reportedly offering (three years, $6 million annually), I don’t see most of those clubs as realistic options. As per Cap Friendly, the Lightning and Flyers are maxed out, the Canucks have around $2 million in cap room and the Kings $4 million. They’re not a fit unless they shed salary to accommodate him.

The Capitals have $8.9 million available but they must also acquire two new goaltenders after trading away Vitek Vanecek and not qualifying Ilya Samsonov’s rights. They could get some wiggle room if Nicklas Backstrom ($9.2 million) go on LTIR to start the season as he recovers from hip surgery but they must be cap compliant if he returns to action.

With over $10 million in cap space, the Rangers could afford Malkin as a second-line center. As I said earlier, however, unless Malkin agrees to less than what the Penguins were offering, he may not be a fit on Broadway.

A club with plentiful cap space, such as the rebuilding Detroit Red Wings, can afford to pitch a deal that might be enticing to Malkin. I also wouldn’t rule out the Carolina Hurricanes if they part ways with Vincent Trocheck.

COULD THE AVALANCHE COME CALLING FOR PATRICK KANE?

SPORTSNET: In his latest “32 Thoughts” podcast, Elliotte Friedman speculated the Colorado Avalanche could become a suitor for Patrick Kane if the Chicago Blackhawks winger were to request a trade this summer. Friedman said the Avs were among the teams that inquired into the availability of the 33-year-old Kane prior to the March trade deadline.

Chicago Blackhawks winger Patrick Kane (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Athletic’s Scott Powers doesn’t think Kane or teammate Jonathan Toews have spoken to Blackhawks general manager Kyle Davidson about their futures yet. If either one requests a trade, Powers believes they’ve got about a week to let Davidson know if they want to be moved before the start of the season.

If Kane wants out he’d probably prefer getting dealt to a contender as a rental player rather than go to a rebuilding team. However, his $10.5 million cap hit for 2022-23 and full no-movement clause are serious impediments. Powers believes the Blackhawks could prefer to wait until the trade deadline to retain half of his cap hit before moving him. That’s likely when it would be more comfortable to contenders as well.

WHERE WILL GAUDREAU GO?

CALGARY SUN: Wes Gilbertson reports the Flames could be trying to figure out how to reshape their roster if superstar left winger Johnny Gaudreau departs via free agency. If he leaves, it could also affect the club’s efforts to sign restricted free agent winger Matthew Tkachuk to a long-term contract. Gilbertson wonders if the Philadelphia Flyers, New Jersey Devils or Seattle Kraken could come calling if Gaudreau hits the market.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Philly Hockey Now’s Sam Carchidi cites a source close to the Gaudreau camp raising doubt over whether the Flyers can afford him. They could gain some cap relief if Ryan Ellis goes on LTIR but that could get tricky if Ellis returns at some point. The Flyers were also rumored looking into trading winger James van Riemsdyk ($7 million) but there doesn’t seem to be much interest.

The Athletic’s Kevin Kurz wondered if Gaudreau could be a fit with the New York Islanders. With over $11 million in cap space, they could free up more by trying to trade Anthony Beauvillier and/or goaltender Semyon Varlamov. However, they also must re-sign defenseman Noah Dobson and Alexander Romanov, and I doubt they can clear sufficient room to pay Gaudreau over $10 million annually on a seven-year deal.

Meanwhile, the Kraken are flush with cap space and could make a big splash in the UFA market. Whether Gaudreau wants to play for a club that is probably another two or three years away from becoming playoff contenders is another matter.

LATEST ON BURNS AND CAMPBELL

SAN JOSE HOCKEY NOW: Sheng Peng reports new Sharks GM Mike Grier didn’t shut down speculation his club could look into trading Brent Burns. Peng cites Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman saying several clubs have called Grier to inquire about the status of the 37-year-old defenseman. The Sharks GM indicated he would understand if Burns wanted to join a Stanley Cup contender.

Friedman speculated the Dallas Stars could be a destination as they’re about to lose blueliner John Klingberg to free agency. Peng suggested the Carolina Hurricanes as an option after they traded away Tony DeAngelo. He believes the Sharks would have to retain part of Burns’ $8 million cap hit to make a deal work.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Burns is signed through 2024-25 so Grier could be reluctant to retain part of his cap hit over that period. Still, he might not have much choice if the hirsute blueliner wants out. It could also be worthwhile if the Sharks can get a solid return. Burns also has a three-team trade list but might expand it to join a contender.

EDMONTON JOURNAL: David Staples wonders if the Toronto Maple Leafs’ inability to sign Jack Campbell could lead to the pending UFA goaltender signing with the Oilers. He cited Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman suggesting the Oilers as the front-runners for Campbell’s services.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I would’ve considered Darcy Kuemper as a better option for the Oilers but he would prove more expensive to sign than Campbell due to his Stanley Cup win this season. If the Oilers aren’t interested in Campbell the Washington Capitals certainly will be. So could the New Jersey Devils.

UPDATES ON THE STARS AND RANGERS

THE DALLAS MORNING NEWS: Matthew DeFranks recently examined what’s on the offseason “to-do list” for Stars GM Jim Mill. Find a top-four defenseman to replace the departing John Klingberg and adding a scoring forward are among his priorities, along with fending off possible offer sheets for goalie Jake Oettinger and re-signing scoring star Jason Robertson.

NEW YORK POST: Mollie Walker reports the Rangers could be in the market for a backup goaltender for Igor Shesterkin. They’re also trying to find a trade partner for defenseman Patrik Nemeth ahead of a possible buyout.










NHL Rumor Mill – May 14, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – May 14, 2022

What will the Capitals do with their goaltending this summer? Are the Sharks open to trading Erik Karlsson or Brent Burns? Will the Blackhawks seek improvement between the pipes? Who could the Red Wings target via free agency? Find out in today’s NHL rumor mill.

WILL THE CAPITALS LOOK TO IMPROVE THEIR GOALTENDING?

ESPN.COM: Greg Wyshynski considers the Washington Capitals goaltending an interesting situation worth monitoring during the offseason. Vitek Vanecek and Ilya Samsonov are both restricted free agents. Vanecek had a solid regular season but fared poorly in the playoffs while Samsonov was the opposite.

Wyshynski wondered if the Capitals will seek an upgrade between the pipes. If they decide to keep their tandem intact, for how much and for how long? He also believes their blueline needs improvement.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Capitals need a reliable starter. There are only four suitable options via this summer’s unrestricted free agent market and one of them (Marc-Andre Fleury) apparently isn’t interested in playing for them. Colorado’s Darcy Kuemper, Toronto’s Jack Campbell and St. Louis’ Ville Husso could be available but will be expensive to sign. The Capitals would face competition from other clubs for those goaltenders should they test the open market on July 13.

General manager Brian MacLellan could try the trade market by looking at netminders such as Anaheim’s John Gibson, Los Angeles’ Jonathan Quick, Vegas’ Robin Lehner and the New York Islanders’ Semyon Varlamov. Acquiring either of them, however, won’t be easy and will cost assets as well as salary.

Limited salary-cap space will also impede the pursuit of a goalie upgrade or the addition of a quality defenseman. Cap Friendly shows the Capitals with $73.5 million invested in 17 active players for 2022-23 with Vanecek and Samsonov as their key free agents. MacLellan might have to shed a contract or two to find sufficient cap space to address those needs.

THE SHARKS COULD BE OPEN TO TRADING KARLSSON OR BURNS THIS SUMMER

THE MERCURY NEWS: Curtis Pashelka reports San Jose Sharks interim general manager Joe Will indicated he has no problem talking to other clubs about trading Erik Karlsson or Brent Burns this summer. Both players recently surfaced in the rumor mill after the Sharks missed the playoffs last month.

San Jose Sharks defenseman Erik Karlsson (NHL Images).

Will said nothing was off-limits in terms of looking at ways to improve the roster wherever they could. However, he added that would be a decision left to whoever becomes the club’s general manager. He stated no changes are imminent but they’re open to discussion.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: In other words, Will is talking about a hypothetical trade scenario involving Karlsson or Burns rather than something that will actually take place. He or his successor are making it known they’re open to offers for their high-end talent but that doesn’t mean they’re actively shopping those players.

That being said, I wouldn’t be surprised if Sharks management quietly gauged the market for Karlsson or Burns. However, Karlsson’s injury history, the 37-year-old Burns’ age, and their respective hefty contracts and no-trade clauses make moving either defenseman a difficult task in an offseason where the salary cap is rising by only $1 million for 2022-23.

LATEST ON THE BLACKHAWKS

THE ATHLETIC: Scott Powers and Mark Lazerus recently reported goaltending is the biggest issue facing the Chicago Blackhawks this summer. Current netminders Kevin Lankinen and Collin Delia are slated to become UFAs this summer.

GM Kyle Davidson said Lankinen and Delia are part of the conversation but there are players in this summer’s free-agent market the Blackhawks will be looking at. He also didn’t rule out a foray into the trade market. A source claims the club hasn’t started contract discussions yet with Lankinen.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I expect the Blackhawks could keep Lankinen or Delia as a backup as they pursue a reliable starter via free agency or a trade. Many of the options I listed for the Capitals could also apply here.

Davidson has $61.4 million committed to 14 players with Dominik Kubalik, Dylan Strome, Kirby Dach, Caleb Jones and Philipp Kurashev slated to become restricted free agents. There is sufficient room to add a decent starter provided those RFAs can be inked to affordable deals. Strome or Kubalik could be traded or allowed to depart as UFAs.

WHO COULD THE RED WINGS TARGET VIA FREE AGENCY?

DETROIT HOCKEY NOW: Kevin Allen recently published a list of forwards who might interest Detroit Red Wings GM Steve Yzerman in this summer’s UFA market.

Carolina Hurricanes center Vincent Trocheck, New York Rangers forward Andrew Copp and Tampa Bay Lightning forward Nick Paul were Allen’s top three candidates

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Trocheck and Paul should be available this summer but it remains to be seen if they want to sign with a rebuilding club. Copp, however, could be off the market as the Rangers are quite keen to re-sign him.

Nashville Predators winger Filip Forsberg, Rangers center Ryan Strome and Lightning winger Ondrej Palat were also among Allen’s choices.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Red Wings’ plentiful cap space means they could afford to pay Forsberg a big raise. Like Trocheck and Paul, he might not prefer joining a rebuilding team.

Strome’s situation with the Rangers could go either way. Yzerman drafted Palat when he was GM of the Lightning so the latter might be willing to consider a reunion.

Colorado Avalanche winger Valeri Nichushkin, Avs winger Andre Burakovsky, Toronto Maple Leafs forward Ilya Mikheyev and KHL forward Andrei Kuzmenko round out Allen’s listing.










Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – May 8, 2022

Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – May 8, 2022

Could the Sharks shop Erik Karlsson or Brent Burns this summer? Has Mark Scheifele requested a trade from the Jets?

WILL THE SHARKS TRADE KARLSSON OR BURNS THIS SUMMER?

SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman reports it appears there were some “very preliminary” trade talks this year involving San Jose Sharks defenseman Erik Karlsson and a couple of teams. He doesn’t believe those discussions got far but it seems the Sharks may recognize that having two elite, right-shot former Norris Trophy winners on their blueline hasn’t meshed as well as they’d hoped. That other defenseman, of course, is Brent Burns.

San Jose Sharks defenseman Erik Karlsson (NHL Images).

The Sharks are currently searching for a new general manager after long-time GM Doug Wilson stepped down for health reasons earlier this year. They still wish to contend but carrying Karlsson and Burns may be a luxury they cannot continue to afford in a salary-cap world.

Friedman pointed out Burns has less term on his contract than Karlsson. He feels the Sharks will listen if a rival club makes an offer they like for one of them.

NBC SPORTS BAY AREA: Sheng Peng last week also weighed in on the Sharks blueline with his takeaways of acting GM Joe Will’s remarks during his end-of-season press conference. He noted Will saying that players have choices, thoughts and prerogatives on where they are in their careers.

Peng noted that there were rumblings last summer suggesting Burns could be open to being traded to a contender. He also pointed out the long-time Sharks rearguard did little to quell that speculation during his exit interview.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Sharks are pressed for cap space next season with Cap Friendly showing them carrying over $73 million invested in 19 active players for 2022-23. That’s not counting any penalty they might receive if an arbitrator rules against them in Evander Kane’s grievance hearing over his contract termination in January.

Karlsson is signed through 2026-27 with an annual average value of $11.5 million and a full no-movement clause. Burns’ deal goes through 2024-25 with an $8 million annual cap hit and has a list of just three acceptable trade destinations.

Moving either guy this summer could prove difficult. The Sharks might be forced to retain some salary or take back a toxic contract to make it happen.

Karlsson and Burns aren’t the only defensemen the Sharks could part ways with during the offseason. There’s talk of buying out Marc-Edouard Vlasic and the remaining four years of his contract. Meanwhile, Radim Simek claims he got the runaround from management and the coaching staff when he questioned the decline in his playing time over the second half of the season.

WILL THE DEVILS TARGET FIALA IN THE OFFSEASON?

Jeff Marek reported the New Jersey Devils could target Kevin Fiala as GM Tom Fitzgerald looks to add an impact player in the offseason and is willing to shop his 2022 first-round pick. The 25-year-old Minnesota Wild winger netted 85 points this season and Marek believes the Devils see him skating alongside fellow Swiss forward Nico Hischier.

The Wild face a salary-cap crunch after this season with over $12 million in dead cap space from last summer’s buyouts of Zach Parise and Ryan Suter. That will make it challenging to sign Fiala as the 25-year-old winger is a restricted free agent with arbitration rights.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Offering up that first-rounder could be enticing to Wild GM Bill Guerin if he knows he can’t afford to re-sign Fiala. The winger is completing a one-year, $5.1 million contract and is in line for a lucrative new deal.

If Fitzgerald can’t swing a trade, perhaps he’ll attempt to go the offer sheet route. Such moves are scarce and rarely successful but the Devils have the cap space to make it work provided Fiala is interested.

NO TRADE REQUEST FROM SCHEIFELE

Elliotte Friedman reports Mark Scheifele did not ask for a trade during his exit interview last week with Winnipeg Jets management. The 29-year-old center raises eyebrows earlier in the week with comments regarding his future. Friedman said we’ll see where everything goes in the offseason as the Jets have a lot of choices to make.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Winnipeg pundits believe Scheifele could be on his way out while some Jets fans on social media have called for general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff to trade him. There’s a belief of a lack of accountability within the Jets’ dressing room over their disappointing performance this season.

Scheifele has two years remaining on his contract with an annual average value of $6.125 million plus a 10-team no-trade list. While his defensive game draws criticism, his scoring will ensure he attracts plenty of interest if Cheveldayoff shops him this summer.