NHL Rumor Mill – February 21, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – February 21, 2022

Will the Lightning or Wild make moves at the trade deadline? Which Sharks could become trade candidates? Find out in today’s NHL rumor mill.


THE ATHLETIC: Joe Smith recently examined whether the Tampa Bay Lightning will make any moves by the March 21 trade deadline. General manager Julien BriseBois indicated nothing was off the table if a move could be made to improve their chances of winning the Stanley Cup for the third straight year.

Complicating things, however, is the fact that the Lightning has no cap space for this season and very little for next season. Making additions would mean subtracting someone from their roster and they’ve already got some very good value contracts. They also like the additions they made last summer in Pierre-Edouard Bellemare, Corey Perry and Zach Bogosian.

If BriseBois makes a move, Smith believes it’ll be for depth players along the lines of his acquisitions of Blake Coleman and Barclay Goodrow two years ago. He thinks the Bolts GM would part with multiple high picks if it means landing an impact player, especially one who could become a replacement for pending unrestricted free agent winger Ondrej Palat.

Minnesota Wild general manager Bill Guerin (NHL.com).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: BriseBois could be a buyer if one or more of his players carrying a significant cap hit winds up on long-term injury reserve for the remainder of the regular season. While that worked to their advantage last season when Nikita Kucherov missed the entire 2020-21 regular season recovering from hip surgery, they might not get a similar opportunity again. If he makes an addition, it’ll be an affordable depth player. The Lightning still has a very talented roster that could make a run for a third Cup.

Pierre LeBrun last week reported Minnesota Wild GM Bill Guerin is remaining patient and examining his options as the trade deadline approaches. He’d prefer to retain his draft picks because he’s still building up the club’s prospect pipeline. His club’s lofty position in the Western Conference standings also allows him to take time to evaluate his roster’s needs.

Guerin downplayed the notion his club needs depth at center. He’s also reluctant to tinker too much with the Wild’s tight team chemistry. It’s possible he trades for a depth forward than a high-end piece like Philadelphia’s Claude Giroux, Dallas’ Joe Pavelski or San Jose’s Tomas Hertl.

The Wild GM also has to keep in mind the cap constraints he faces after this season as a result of buying out Zach Parise and Ryan Suter last summer.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I’d still keep an eye on the Wild, especially if they start to wobble over the next few weeks. Still, there won’t be much reason to make a big addition if they continue playing well leading up to March 21.


NBC SPORTS BAY AREA: Sheng Peng examines which San Jose Sharks players could become trade candidates (besides Tomas Hertl) if the club becomes a seller by the March trade deadline. They could include Andrew Cogliano, Nick Bonino, James Reimer, Matt Nieto and Alexander Barabanov.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Peng spoke with two NHL scouts and a league executive about the possible returns for those players. It appears they would fetch third-to-fifth-round picks. Bonino, Nieto and Reimer each have a year remaining on their contracts.

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 29, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 29, 2021

Evander Kane facing another league investigation, the Lightning sign GM Julien BriseBois to a new contract, plus the latest on Auston Matthews, MacKenzie Blackwood and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

SPORTSNET: San Jose Sharks winger Evander Kane faces another investigation by the NHL, this time for a possible violation of the league’s COVID-19 protocols. The details being investigated are currently unknown.

San Jose Sharks winger Evander Kane (NHL Images).

The 30-year-old Kane is also facing a league investigation regarding his behavior toward his estranged wife, Anna. Earlier this month, the NHL cleared Kane of allegations by Anna claiming he gambled on league games.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kane and the Sharks reached an agreement last week that he would not attend training camp until further notice.

TAMPA BAY TIMES: The Lightning signed general manager Julien BriseBois to a contract extension. The terms of the deal weren’t disclosed. BriseBois helped to build the Lightning into consecutive Stanley Cup champions in 2020 and 2021.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: BriseBois played a key role in building the Lightning into consecutive Cup champions. He was assistant GM from 2010 to 2018, developing current Lightning players such as Nikita Kucherov, Andrei Vasilevskiy, Ondrej Palat and Anthony Cirelli while GM of their AHL affiliate in Syracuse. As Lightning GM, he acquired Blake Coleman and Barclay Goodrow, who played key roles in the Bolts’ recent championships.

TORONTO STAR: Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews has returned to practice following offseason wrist surgery. He’s expected to return to the lineup in time for their season-opener on Oct. 13.

ESPN.COM: New Jersey Devils goaltender Mackenzie Blackwood said he’s currently unvaccinated, leaving open the possibility he could still get the vaccine at some point. “I have a couple of health concerns and health reasons why I’m working through it a little slower. I wanted to check off a couple of boxes, and not rush to do it,” he said.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Blackwood faces missing his club’s road games in Canada if he remains unvaccinated throughout this season.

EDMONTON JOURNAL: Former Oilers defenseman Adam Larsson revealed he signed with the Seattle Kraken in July for family reasons rather than financial ones. His father, Robert Larsson, passed away three years ago while visiting his son in Edmonton. He said he felt he had to leave for his personal well-being and a fresh start.

NEW YORK POST: Once-promising defenseman Libor Hajek has slid down the Rangers’ blueline depth chart, surpassed by K’Andre Miller, Patrik Nemeth and Zac Jones. His chance of sticking with the Blueshirts out of training camp could be in peril. He could get plucked off waivers by a rival club if assigned to the Rangers’ AHL affiliate.

The Tampa Bay Lightning Are Flying Under The NHL Radar This Season

The Tampa Bay Lightning Are Flying Under The NHL Radar This Season