NHL Rumor Mill – July 25, 2020

NHL Rumor Mill – July 25, 2020

Check out the latest on the Devils and Kings in today’s NHL rumor mill.

THE ATHLETIC (subscription required): Corey Masisak recently examined how next season’s flat salary cap of $81.5 million could benefit the New Jersey Devils. He observed they’ll have over $27 million in cap space and lots of roster holes to fill.

Part of that will be taken up re-signing restricted free agents such as goaltender Mackenzie Blackwood, defenseman Mirco Mueller, and forward Jesper Bratt. They could also promote two or three players like Nick Merkley, Janne Kuokkanen, and Ty Smith.

Assuming around $14 million of remaining cap space following re-signings of key players and promotions, general manager Tom Fitzgerald will have sufficient flexibility to bring in some skilled veterans via trades and free agency.

Could the New Jersey Devils pursue Tampa Bay Lightning winger Alex Killorn in the off-season? (NHL Images)

Masisak looked at several cap-strapped clubs in the Eastern and Western Conferences that could be possible trade partners or have players that become available via free agency.

Among his suggested Eastern targets were Tampa Bay Lightning winger Alex Killorn, Columbus Blue Jackets winger Josh Anderson, and Florida Panthers wingers Mike Hoffman and Evgenii Dadonov. Western options could include St. Louis Blues defensemen Vince Dunn, Minnesota Wild blueliner Jonas Brodin, and San Jose Sharks winger Evander Kane.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: In an ordinary year, I’d make the case that a rebuilding club like the Devils might not be a desirable destination for free agents or players with no-trade clauses. However, it could be a different story under the new economic landscape.

Players that otherwise wouldn’t be available via trade could become expendable for teams trying to shed salary, while free agents seeking lucrative contracts could find the Devils more appealing. Perhaps one or two of those on Masisak’s list will be sporting Devils jerseys next season.

That depends, of course, on how much Devils ownership is willing to invest next season. Just because they’ll have lots of cap room doesn’t mean they’re going to spend to the cap.

THE ATHLETIC (subscription required): In a recent mailbag segment, Lisa Dillman was asked about the odds of the Los Angeles Kings signing a restricted free agent such as Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Mikhail Sergachev to an offer sheet. She considers those odds virtually nil, as that rarely-used tactic seldom pans out. The Kings have other plans and ideas for rebuilding their roster.

Asked if the Kings might take on a bad contract for assets from a cap-strapped club, Dillman pointed out they’ve never been aggressive in complex deals like those. She also noted that’s not something GM Rob Blake has pursued in the past. She also doesn’t seek the Kings making a big splash in this year’s UFA market, though they could look at some bargain signings.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Blake and the rest of the Kings’ front office have put their focus on rebuilding with youth, primarily from within their system. Their prospect depth is considered among the best in the league right now. Blake could keep his powder dry for next summer’s UFA market when there could be better options available.










NHL Rumor Mill – June 10, 2020

NHL Rumor Mill – June 10, 2020

Check out recent speculation on the Rangers, Devils, and Senators in today’s NHL rumor mill.

SHOULD THE RANGERS PURSUE BRODIN?

NEW YORK POST: In a recent mailbag segment, Larry Brooks was asked if the Rangers should trade prospect K’Andre Miller and maybe a draft pick to the Minnesota Wild for defenseman Jonas Brodin. The reader believes the Rangers’ biggest need is finding a suitable defense partner for Jacob Trouba.

Minnesota Wild defenseman Jonas Brodin (Photo via NHL Images).

Brooks believes Brodin would fill that spot nicely but it would be folly to acquire a player who’s a year away from unrestricted free agency, speculating it could cost the Rangers around $7.5 million annually to re-sign him. He also doesn’t believe it justifies moving Miller.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Brooks suggested the Rangers could resolve that issue from within. He pointed out Brendan Smith played well alongside Trouba after the Blueshirts traded Brady Skjei to Carolina. Libor Hajek could get a shot or they could move Ryan Lindgren alongside Trouba.

LATEST ON THE DEVILS

THE ATHLETIC (subscription required): In a recent mailbag segment, Corey Masisak was asked about what it might cost for the New Jersey Devils to acquire Jack Eichel. Masisak doesn’t believe the Buffalo Sabres intend to move their captain, but if they did, they’d want an offer that includes Jack Hughes or Nico Hischier as part of the package.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Agreed. The asking price for Eichel would be significant, perhaps far too expensive for the rebuilding Devils. 

Asked about the best way for the Devils to weaponize their cap space for 2020-21, Masisak suggested pursuing a young player a cap-strapped club can’t afford to keep, a veteran player a team is willing to move to re-sign others, or taking on a bad contract if it’s packaged with a prospect or draft pick.

He also thinks it’s unlikely the Devils will make trades with the six other clubs that missed the playoff tournament.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Before doing any of that, the Devils must decide if they’ll retain interim general manager Tom Fitzgerald as their full-time GM or replace him with a more experienced hand.

UPDATE ON THE SENATORS

THE HOCKEY NEWS: In his season postmortem of the Ottawa Senators, Matt Larkin believes they’ll be closer to a salary-floor team next season. Nevertheless, he anticipates they’ll likely pursue a couple of UFA veterans on one-year contracts with an eye on flipping them at next season’s trade deadline for draft picks.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Cap Friendly indicates the Senators also have 13 picks in this year’s draft. Apart from their three first-rounders, I can see them using two or three of those extra picks as trade bait to perhaps acquire a good young player from a team in need of shedding cap space.










NHL Free Agents & Trade Candidates – Minnesota Wild

NHL Free Agents & Trade Candidates – Minnesota Wild

 










NHL Rumor Mill – February 19, 2020

NHL Rumor Mill – February 19, 2020

Alec Martinez is reportedly on the verge of becoming a Golden Knight, more talk of Jeff Carter returning to the Flyers, the latest on Chris Kreider, and much more in today’s NHL rumor mill.

KINGS AND GOLDEN KNIGHTS WORKING ON MARTINEZ TRADE

LOS ANGELES TIMES/LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL: cited TSN’s Bob McKenzie yesterday reporting the Los Angeles Kings and Vegas Golden Knights are close to finalizing a deal sending defenseman Alec Martinez to the Golden Knights for two second-round draft picks. The move is expected to be completed today. Martinez was held out of last night’s game against Winnipeg for precautionary reasons.

THE ATHLETIC’s Jesse Granger suspects the delay could be salary-cap related on the Golden Knights side.

**UPDATE** The trade has been completed, with Martinez heading to the Golden Knights for a second-round pick in 2020 and a second-rounder in 2021.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Golden Knights have been in the market for a top-four, right-side defenseman for some time. There was talk they were eyeing New Jersey’s Sami Vatanen, but that no longer appears the case.

Martinez, 32, would bring a welcome presence on the Vegas blueline. He’s got plenty of postseason experience, winning two Stanley Cups with the Kings. He’s also signed through 2020-21 with an affordable $4-million annual average value. The Golden Knights could shift Shea Theodore to the left side and pair him with Martinez.

MORE “CARTER-TO-FLYERS” CHATTER

SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman thinks the Philadelphia Flyers could consider bringing back Jeff Carter, depending on the health of young center Nolan Patrick.

NBC SPORTS PHILADELPHIA: Jordan Hall points out how difficult it would be for the Flyers to pull that off. They have just over $2 million in salary-cap space, meaning there’s not enough to acquire Carter even if the Kings absorbed half of his $5.2-million AAV. They would have to do some cap juggling for the remaining two years of his contract. There’s also the question of what the Kings would want in return, and what assets the Flyers can spare.

More talk of the Philadelphia Flyers bringing back Jeff Carter (Photo via NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Stranger things have happened, and it would make a nice story for Carter to return to the city where his NHL career began. Given the cap difficulties, however, Flyers GM Chuck Fletcher could be forced to seek more affordable alternatives.

UPDATE ON KREIDER

SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman believes the Boston Bruins, Colorado Avalanche, New York Islanders, and St. Louis Blues could be interested in New York Rangers left wing Chris Kreider. The Washington Capitals could be a stealth candidate, but their recent acquisition of defenseman Brenden Dillon probably takes them out of the bidding.

TSN: Frank Seravalli reports the Avalanche and Bruins are the front-runners for Kreider. He also lists the Blues, Capitals, and Florida Panthers among others who could come calling.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Athletic’s Jeremy Rutherford reports the Blues’ acquisition of defenseman Marco Scandella could be the only move they make at the deadline. Sidelined winger Vladimir Tarasenko is recovering well from early-season shoulder surgery and could return before the end of the season. Colorado Hockey Now’s Adrian Dater believes the Avs could target Montreal Canadiens winger Tomas Tatar if they fail to land Kreider.

THE LATEST ON TROCHECK

SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman reports Florida Panthers center Vincent Trocheck is garnering attention. The 26-year-old has two year left on his contract with an annual average value of $4.75 million. Friedman feels most teams can afford that, though he won’t be inexpensive.

TSN: Pierre LeBrun doesn’t believe the Panthers are shopping Trocheck but acknowledged teams are calling about him. The Panthers desperately need a top-four defenseman, so they have little choice but to listen to offers. He wonders if they might have an interest in Minnesota Wild blueliner Jonas Brodin, but gets the sense Wild GM Bill Guerin wants to retain Brodin.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Panthers GM Dale Tallon will want a defenseman for Trocheck. Failing that, he might have to get creative. LeBrun suggested dealing the center for picks and prospects that could be flogged to another club for a top-four blueliner.

IS LEHNER AVAILABLE?

SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman wonders if a lack of progress in contract talks is affecting Chicago Blackhawks goaltender Robin Lehner, who was unusually quiet during a recent game. The Carolina Hurricanes are reportedly interested in Lehner and have an extra first-round pick to dangle as trade bait.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: With the Blackhawks’ playoff hopes fading, GM Stan Bowman could listen to offers for Lehner if he remains unsigned by the deadline. We’ll see what happens.

COULD THE CANUCKS PURSUE SIMMONDS?

TSN: Pierre LeBrun reports New Jersey Devils winger Wayne Simmonds remains a player of interest for the Vancouver Canucks. Their recent acquisition of Tyler Toffoli was related to filling the gap left by the sidelined Brock Boeser. They still haven’t found a suitable replacement for Micheal Ferland, who’s out for the season due to concussion symptoms. Simmonds has an eight-team no-trade list, but the Canucks aren’t believed to be on it.

SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman also thinks the Canucks could consider adding Simmonds, but that could be difficult to do without a first- or second-round pick in this year’s draft.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: LeBrun believes the Canucks will still add toughness if they can’t land Simmonds. They could be faced with considering more affordable options. Vancouver GM Jim Benning surprised us with his acquisition of Toffoli, so he could have another trick up his sleeve before the deadline.

ATHANASIOU’S VALUE COULD RISE

THE DETROIT NEWS: Ted Kulfan reports injuries to contending teams could bolster the trade value of Red Wings forward Andreas Athanasiou. The Colorado Avalanche, Edmonton Oilers, and Vancouver Canucks could be in play.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Oilers general manager (and former Red Wings GM) Ken Holland might be interested in Athanasiou. However, TSN’s Bob McKenzie reports the Oilers’ injuries and winger Zack Kassian’s seven-game suspension is creating problems for how Holland will approach the deadline. While he’d love a third-line center like Ottawa’s Jean-Gabriel Pageau for a right-winger for Connor McDavid’s line, he’s not prepared to part with a first-round pick and a top prospect for a rental player. Many of those injured Oilers aren’t on long-term injury reserve, giving Holland limited cap space.

The Canucks’ acquisition of Tyler Toffoli likely rules them out for Athanasiou. He could be a fall-back choice if the Avs lose out in the bidding for Kreider.

WILL KOVALCHUK STAY OR GO?

THE ATHLETIC: Pierre LeBrun speculates the Montreal Canadiens could likely trade winger Ilya Kovalchuk if an agreement on a contract extension can’t be reached before the trade deadline. He suggests the Avalanche and Bruins as possible destinations.










Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – February 16, 2020

Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – February 16, 2020

Could Joe Thornton accept a trade to the Avalanche? Could the Panthers peddle Vincent Trocheck? What’s the latest on Jake Muzzin’s contract talks? Could Max Domi hit the trade block? All this and more in the Sunday NHL rumor roundup.

LATEST ON THORNTON

OTTAWA SUN: Bruce Garrioch believes San Jose Sharks general manager Doug Wilson will attempt to move as many pieces as possible before the Feb. 24 trade deadline. Defenseman Brenden Dillon is expected to be traded, but there will be a lot of attention on veteran Sharks center Joe Thornton. He has a full no-movement clause, but there’s a belief he could waive it to join a Stanley Cup contender. Garrioch thinks the Boston Bruins and Colorado Avalanche are good fits.

COLORADO HOCKEY NOW: Adrian Dater believes Thornton would be a good fit with the Avalanche. He’d be a short-term replacement for sidelined center Nazem Kadri and a potential playoff replacement for Tyson Jost or Vlad Kamenev. Jost hasn’t scored in 31 straight games. Dater also wouldn’t be surprised if Thornton returned to Boston.

Could San Jose Sharks center Joe Thornton be a good fit with the Colorado Avalanche (Photo via NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Stick tap to Shawn Lamba for the Dater link. Thornton hasn’t indicated his intentions except to say he’d think about it if approached about a trade to a contender.

Returning to the Bruins, where his NHL career began, would make a nice story, but he’s not the second-line scoring winger they need. The Avs could be a better fit, but GM Joe Sakic could have other options on their radar.

UPDATES ON THE PANTHERS

SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman reports there’s talk Vincent Trocheck could be available as the struggling Florida Panthers search for a defenseman before the trade deadline. The 26-year-old has two more seasons left on his contract with an annual average value of $4.75 million, which Friedman feels many teams can handle.

OTTAWA SUN: Bruce Garrioch believes Trocheck’s contract could be difficult to move unless Panthers GM Dale Tallon agrees to pick up a portion of his annual salary-cap hit. He thinks the slumping Panthers could be ready to accept the reality of their situation and become deadline sellers. Pending UFA wingers Mike Hoffman and Evgenii Dadonov could be on the move.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Tallon could go from buyer to seller if the Panthers fail to gain ground in the Eastern Conference standings. He’s made no secret of his wish to acquire a defense partner for Aaron Ekblad to bring some stability to his blueline, but that sort of player isn’t cheap or easy to find.

Dangling Trochek instead of a rental player like Hoffman or Dadonov could fetch that type of return. Given the Panthers’ limited salary-cap space, it would have to be a dollar-in, dollar-out move.

UPDATE ON MUZZIN’S CONTRACT STATUS

TORONTO SUN: Lance Hornby reports Jake Muzzin believes he’s close to a contract extension with the Maple Leafs. The 30-year-old defenseman is due to become an unrestricted free agent on July 1. Muzzin didn’t go into specifics, but it’s believed it could be a four-year deal worth around $5.5 million annually.

SPORTSNET: Chris Johnston reports the CBA tagging rule could determine when Muzzin and the Leafs reach their agreement. They can only commit so much salary following the season they’re in. That amount goes up by 10 percent on March 1, leading Johnston to speculate the contract won’t be completed until after that date.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Sounds like this is a done deal, it’s just a matter of time. Assuming it’s $5.5 million annually, that will push the Leafs’ cap payroll for 2020-21 to over $76.8 million invested in 16 players. If the cap rises to $84 million, it won’t leave much to re-sign or replace their other free agents.

LATEST ON THE CANADIENS

LE JOURNAL DE MONTREAL: Marc de Foy expects defenseman Jeff Petry and winger Tomas Tatar will remain with the Montreal Canadiens after the trade deadline. He claims that the decision was made a long time ago. Both players have a year remaining on their respective contracts.

He speculates center Max Domi could be on the move, pointing to a recent rumor linking him to the Minnesota Wild. He thinks Habs GM Marc Bergevin could have a Wild defenseman, like Matt Dumba or Jonas Brodin in his sights.

OTTAWA SUN: Bruce Garrioch believes the Canadiens must lower their asking price of a second-round pick for winger Ilya Kovalchuk if they intend to move him by the trade deadline. He expects teams will come calling about Max Domi but doesn’t think the Habs intend to go that route.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The rumor linking Domi to the Wild came from The Athletic’s Michael Russo in a piece suggesting that several teams could be interested in Dumba and Brodin.

Here’s what Russo wrote: “The Canadiens would likely part with center Max Domi, maybe in a trade for Brodin because they have a surplus at Domi’s position and could use a quality left-shot defenseman.” He mentioned Domi because he feels the Wild would want a center in return for either blueliner. He’s not saying Domi is definitely on the block, he’s not saying it’s a Domi-for-Dumba swap, and he’s not saying the Habs are definitely pursuing Brodin.

All of the trade chatter about Domi seems to originate from a few Montreal pundits unhappy with the 24-year-old’s performance this season. They also suggest his RFA status (with arbitration rights) could complicate his future in Montreal. Perhaps that’s true, but GM Marc Bergevin isn’t under any pressure to move Domi at the trade deadline. If he decides to shop Domi, he can do it in the summer, when teams have more money and a willingness to make hockey trades.

MORE RUMORS FROM THE OTTAWA SUN’S BRUCE GARRIOCH

New York Islanders GM Lou Lamoriello is said to have mild interest in Travis Zajac. The New Jersey Devils center has a year left on his contract and history with Lamoriello.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Zajac reportedly refused to waive his no-movement clause earlier this season when presented with a trade opportunity. Just because he has a history with the former Devils GM doesn’t mean he’s going to accept a trade to the Islanders.

Garrioch believes Ottawa Senators defenseman Dylan DeMelo will be on the move by the deadline. The Calgary Flames, Tampa Bay Lightning, Winnipeg Jets, and Vegas Golden Knights could be potential destination for DeMelo.

If the New York Rangers don’t trade Chris Kreider, Ottawa’s Jean-Gabriel Pageau could become the top forward available. Don’t expect the Senators to get a first-round pick for him.










NHL Rumor Mill – February 14, 2020

NHL Rumor Mill – February 14, 2020

The latest on Alec Martinez. Tyler Toffoli and Jake Muzzin plus updates on the Wild, Islanders, Devils, and Senators in today’s NHL rumor mill

WILD GM FACES TOUGH DECISIONS AS DEADLINE NEARS

THE ATHLETIC: Michael Russo believes Minnesota Wild general manager Bill Guerin must decide if he’ll be a seller by the Feb. 24 trade deadline. Teams are showing interest in defensemen Matt Dumba and Jonas Brodin and winger Marcus Foligno, though Russo wouldn’t be surprised if Foligno stays put. He believes Toronto, Carolina, Tampa Bay, Vegas, Winnipeg, Columbus, and Montreal are among the teams with interest in Dumba or Brodin.

Are the Toronto Maple Leafs eyeing Minnesota Wild defenseman Matt Dumba? (Photo via NHL Images)

The Maple Leafs seem the most interested in Dumba, but Russo feels they’ll have to part with a center like Alexander Kerfoot, and Russo doubts he’d be enough. The asking price from the Lightning could be Anthony Cirelli.

Russo doesn’t see the Hurricanes parting with Martin Necas for either rearguard. He also thinks the Canadiens could part with Max Domi for Brodin as they have a surplus at Domi’s position and need a left-shot defenseman. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Since trading Jason Zucker to Pittsburgh earlier this week, Guerin has warned his players that other moves could be coming if they fail to play up to his expectations. Nevertheless, he’s not going to move Dumba, Brodin, Foligno or anyone else simply for the sake of making a trade.

Unless someone offers up a first-line center or a second-line center and something else for Dumba, he’s not going anywhere. The asking price for Brodin could be a second-line center. If Guerin doesn’t get any suitable offers, he’ll wait until the off-season for something he likes. 

COULD INJURIES FORCE ISLANDERS INTO THE TRADE MARKET?

THE ATHLETIC: Arthur Staple recently suggested the pressure could be on New York Islanders GM Lou Lamoriello to make a move as injuries pile up. Staple suggested Ottawa Senators center Jean-Gabriel Pageau as one option, but doubts Lamoriello would part with a first-round pick to get him.

New Jersey Devils center Travis Zajac could be another target. Lamoriello drafted and signed him to his current contract when he was Devils GM, but Zajac already rejected a trade offer and could remain reluctant to move. More affordable options could include Anaheim’s Derek Grant, Los Angeles’ Trevor Lewis, or Detroit’s Luke Glendening.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Lamoriello is the NHL’s most secretive GM, so we have no idea what he’s planning. Still, I wouldn’t be surprised if he makes a move before the deadline. With over $23 million in projected deadline cap room, he has more than enough to swing a significant deal. We’ll find out soon enough what he has in store.

UPDATE ON THE DEVILS

TSN: Bob McKenzie cites colleague Pierre LeBrun’s recent report claiming the Vancouver Canucks might have interest in New Jersey Devils winger Wayne Simmonds. However, that could depend upon the performance of physical winger Micheal Ferland when he returns to the lineup. Ferland is currently skating with the Canucks’ AHL affiliate as he works his way back from an upper-body injury.

Darren Dreger expects Devils GM Tom Fitzgerald will be busy leading up to the trade deadline. There could be “a ton of activity” involving pending UFAs such as Simmonds, Andy Greene and perhaps Sami Vatanen. There’s also interest in players signed beyond this season, such as Kyle Palmieri and Blake Coleman.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: NJ.com’s Chris Ryan acknowledged teams could call about Palmieri and Coleman, but he feels the Devils would need a big incentive to move them. In other words, you won’t be getting either guy at rental prices.

LEAFS COULD RE-SIGN MUZZIN BEFORE TRADE DEADLINE

TSN: Darren Dreger speculates the Toronto Maple Leafs could re-sign Jake Muzzin before the upcoming trade deadline. The 28-year-old defenseman is due to become an unrestricted free agent this summer.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This isn’t a trade rumor and the Leafs aren’t a seller as the deadline nears. Nevertheless, whatever Muzzin’s gets on his next deal will affect the Leafs’ salary-cap payroll for 2020-21. They already have over $71.3 million invested in 15 players, with notables such as Tyson Barrie, Travis Dermott, and Jason Spezza to re-sign or replace. Muzzin’s new contract won’t leave much room to fill out the rest of the roster. 

LATEST ON MARTINEZ

TSN: Bob McKenzie reports the Los Angeles Kings’ asking price for defenseman Alec Martinez appeared to be a second-round pick and a prospect. He said the Winnipeg Jets, Calgary Flames, Florida Panthers, and Carolina Hurricanes have varying degrees of interest in Martinez, who has a year remaining on his contract.

LIMITED INTEREST IN SENATORS UFAS.

TSN: Darren Dreger reports there hasn’t been as much interest as we might think in the Ottawa Senators’ pending UFAs. Contract talks between Senators GM Pierre Dorion and a couple of those UFAs, like Mark Borowiecki, could pick up next week.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Those UFAs include Borowiecki, Jean-Gabriel Pageau, Craig Anderson, Vladislav Namestnikov, Ron Hainsey, Tyler Ennis, and Dylan DeMelo. Perhaps the limited interest is due to the Senators’ intention to re-sign some of them. It could also be that those players are low down on the priority list for most buyers.