NHL Rumor Mill – November 14, 2020

NHL Rumor Mill – November 14, 2020

The latest on the Bruins and Rangers in today’s NHL rumor mill.

BOSTON HOCKEY NOW: In his latest mailbag, Joe Haggerty was asked if the Bruins will sign a free agent. Right now, he doesn’t think so but that could change once the dates for next season are sorted out.

Will the Boston Bruins re-sign or trade Jake DeBrusk? (NHL Images)

It also hinges on their remaining moves, such as whether they’ll re-sign winger Jake DeBrusk or trade him. If they do the latter in exchange for a young defenseman, it could free up space to pursue a scorer like Mike Hoffman on a one-year deal. Either way, they could also be in a position to sign winger Anthony Duclair on a short-term contract.

Haggerty also mentioned the possibility of swapping DeBrusk for a defenseman when asked if the Bruins would trade for a rearguard to fill the gap left by Torey Krug’s departure. He also noted they were willing to part with Urho Vaakanainen and other assets (including a high draft pick) for Oliver Ekman-Larsson. However, he thinks the Bruins would have to convince the other club to absorb part of a defenseman’s salary or take back someone like John Moore in return.

Ultimately, Haggerty thinks the Bruins could go into next season with their current blueline corps. He has his doubts Zdeno Chara will be back, though Chara’s agent said his client is waiting on a season format before re-upping with the Bruins.

Speaking of Chara, Haggerty’s colleague Jimmy Murphy reports there’s speculation linking the big blueliner to the Tampa Bay Lightning, Toronto Maple Leafs and New York Islanders.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: If the Bruins re-sign DeBrusk, which I expect they will, they’ll have to go into the bargain bin for a free-agent left-side defenseman or stick with their current blueline and see how things unfold during the season.

The Bruins have over $6.6 million in cap space, which should be enough to get DeBrusk signed to an affordable two-year bridge deal and leave some wiggle room for other additions. Depending on when the season begins, they could get some early cap relief by placing sidelined wingers Brad Marchand and David Pastrnak on long-term injury reserve and use it to add a player or two. However, they would have to shed salary to become cap compliant when those two return.

As for Chara, I don’t see how the Lightning, Leafs or Islanders could fit him in even if he accepted a bargain basement deal.

The Lightning must shed salary to sign restricted free agents Anthony Cirelli and Mikhail Sergachev. The Isles must re-sign RFA center Mathew Barzal. Once that’s done, they are expected to officially announce the signings of Cory Schneider, Matt Martin and Andy Greene, which will use up whatever cap space they’ve got left. The Leafs, meanwhile, are over the cap by $1 million but are expected to bury salary in the minors.

Unless those clubs make a cost-cutting trade or acquire a player on permanent LTIR to allow them to exceed the cap, they don’t have room for Chara or anyone else.

THE ATHLETIC: Rick Carpiniello looked ahead at possible moves by the New York Rangers at next year’s trade deadline. He expects they’ll be sellers again, suggesting center Ryan Strome as a prime trade chip, especially if he has another big year skating alongside Artemi Panarin.

Carpiniello speculates the Rangers could attempt to package defenseman Tony DeAngelo for either a second-line center or a first-pair right-side blueliner. Rearguards Brendan Smith and Jack Johnson could also be shopped. Winger Pavel Buchnevich could also hit the trade block if youngsters Alexis Lafreniere and Kaapo Kakko earn top-six minutes.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s far too early to determine which Rangers will be trade candidates by the deadline. Much will depend upon where they are in the standings by then. I doubt they’ll shake things up too much if they’re holding onto a playoff spot. The play of Strome, DeAngelo, Buchnevich, Smith and Johnson will determine how much value they might have in the trade market by the deadline.

If we’re going to play the guessing game, Buchnevich could be the most likely to move. The Rangers have a surplus of wingers and he could slip down the depth chart, especially if Lafreniere is moved to right wing and plays well at that position. However, that’s not a certainty as we don’t know how well the youngster will adjust to the NHL level, let alone getting used to skating on his wrong wing.










NHL Rumor Mill – November 7, 2020

NHL Rumor Mill – November 7, 2020

An update on Jake DeBrusk plus the latest on the Rangers and Red Wings in today’s NHL rumor mill.

WHAT WILL DEBRUSK’S NEW CONTRACT LOOK LIKE?

BOSTON HOCKEY NOW: Joe Haggerty speculates Jake DeBrusk’s next contract with the Bruins could be between what Ryan Strome signed with the New York Rangers and what Jake Virtanen and Denis Gurianov signed with their respective clubs.

Boston Bruins winger Jake DeBrusk (NHL Images).

Strome, 27, signed a two-year, $9 million contract this week, with an annual average value of $4.5 million. Virtanen agreed to a two-year, $5 million deal ($2.55 million AAV) with the Vancouver Canucks. Gurianov inked a deal similar to Virtanen’s with the Dallas Stars.

Haggerty suggested DeBrusk could get a two-year bridge deal worth between $3.5 million and $4 million annually. That will put him in line to seek a more lucrative deal in two years’ time when he’ll be a restricted free agent with arbitration rights.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: DeBrusk was the subject of some trade speculation in recent weeks. However, I doubt the Bruins part ways with him. While his production can be streaky, he still provides meaningful secondary scoring to the Bruins. They also hold the hammer in contract negotiations and will ink him to an affordable bridge deal.

LATEST ON THE RANGERS

NEW YORK POST: Larry Brooks reports the Rangers completed their offseason business after signing Brendan Lemieux on Friday to a two-year contract. While they made no significant acquisitions via trades or free agency, they shed some salary by trading Marc Staal to Detroit and buying out the final season of Henrik Lundqvist’s contract. The Blueshirts also avoided arbitration with Lemieux, Ryan Strome, Tony DeAngelo and Alexandar Georgiev.

Brooks believes any roster restructuring will have to wait. He noted there was a limited trade market, if any, for DeAngelo, Strome, and Pavel Buchnevich. They have sufficient cap space to promote from within.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Perhaps the trade market for DeAngelo, Strome or Buchnevich improves over the course of 2020-21. That depends on how they perform and the Rangers’ roster needs. I feel Strome is more valuable to the Rangers right now given his terrific chemistry with Hart Trophy finalist Artemi Panarin. That could leave DeAngelo or Buchnevich as the more likely trade candidates.

RED WINGS NOT DONE MAKING MOVES?

THE DETROIT NEWS: Ted Kulfan reports Red Wings general manager Steve Yzerman has sufficient cap space ($9.5 million) to add talent if he chooses. Yzerman acknowledged this during a recent interview, pointing out a number of players remain available in the free-agent market. He said he would consider adding talent as the start of the regular season draws nearer.

Yzerman also indicated he’d be open to adding via trade. However, he said the market is quiet right now.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Defensive depth was a big weakness last season for the Wings. Yzerman’s already made moves to address that problem by acquiring Marc Staal, Troy Stecher and Jon Merrill. Nevertheless, it wouldn’t surprise me if he brought in one more experienced blueliner on a one-year deal. He could also look at adding an experienced checking-line winger.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 20, 2020

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 20, 2020

Check out the latest on Sidney Crosby, Cale Makar, Johnny Gaudreau, Jakub Voracek, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines

TRIBLIVE.COM: Sidney Crosby was absent from Pittsburgh Penguins practice yesterday after leaving the ice during Saturday’s scrimmage. Penguins coach Mike Sullivan declined to comment, citing the NHL’s new rules withholding player medical information during the coronavirus pandemic. However, a team source said Crosby’s departure was a precautionary measure for an undisclosed ailment.

Colorado Avalanche defenseman Cale Makar (Photo via NHL Images).

NHL.COM’s Rick Sadowski reports Colorado Avalanche defenseman Cale Makar skipped practice yesterday after leaving the ice on Saturday. Coach Jared Bednar couldn’t comment on Makar’s status citing the league’s new injury protocols.

NEW YORK POST: Pavel Buchnevich’s absence from Rangers practice since Saturday is not expected to be long-term. The winger is suffering from an undisclosed ailment not related to COVID-19. Coach David Quinn doesn’t expect Buchnevich to miss the start of the Rangers’ upcoming qualifying-round series against the Carolina Hurricanes.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Given the league’s cone of silence on a player’s health during the pandemic, we’ll have to get used to deciphering clues over whether they’ve tested positive for the coronavirus or dealing with something else. It’ll get easier when the games begin. A good indicator a player absence isn’t COVID-related is if he leaves the ice limping or clutching an arm or a shoulder.

CALGARY SUN: Johnny Gaudreau was reunited with linemates Sean Monahan and Elias Lindholm yesterday. It’s the first time the winger has skated at his usual spot on the Flames’ top line since training camp opened last week.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Flames tried to downplay Gaudreau’s situation, but it sparked whispers among fans and pundits over everything from contracting the coronavirus to concerns about his conditioning to questions about his future in Calgary.

NBC SPORTS PHILADELPHIA: Flyers winger Jakub Voracek returned to practice yesterday after being “unable to participate” on Saturday.

“I feel good,” said Voracek. “Why are you asking? You guys panic so much it’s not even funny, holy f—. You guys are making it sound like I’m dying or something. Everything’s fine.”

Voracek’s absence was due to a delay in the results of his COVID-19 test on Friday, which subsequently came back negative.

NBC SPORTS BOSTON: Bruins forward Charlie Coyle was held out of practice on Saturday for precautionary reasons following an inconclusive COVID test. A follow-up test came back negative.

SPORTSNET: Vancouver Canucks winger Micheal Ferland revealed he’s dealing with an issue related to his vestibular system, which is an inner-ear sensory system tied to the brain dealing with balance, eye movement, and spatial transmission. It was originally suspected Ferland’s lengthy absence was related to a concussion suffered earlier this season. He’s attempting to play his way back into the Canucks lineup during Phase 3 training.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The report noted Ferland’s play still needs improvement, but he managed to play a full scrimmage on Sunday.

TORONTO SUN: Zach Hyman was back on the ice Sunday taking shots on a couple of Maple Leafs’ reserve goaltenders. He missed practice Saturday after blocking a shot on Friday.

THE WASHINGTON POST: Capitals defenseman Michal Kempny is feeling better following the NHL’s four-month pause. He’d been struggling to regain his form following hamstring surgery in April 2019.

THE NEWS & OBSERVER: The Carolina Hurricanes posed for their annual team photo with everyone wearing masks.

 










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 19, 2020

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 19, 2020

Updates on Sidney Crosby, Steven Stamkos, Cale Makar, Jakub Voracek, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

TRIBLIVE.COM: Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby left yesterday’s scrimmage in the second period for “undisclosed reasons.” Penguins coach Mike Sullivan declined to comment citing league protocols, but winger Conor Sheary suggested Crosby’s departure was a “maintenance thing.”

Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby (Photo via NHL Images).

 THE DENVER POST: Colorado Avalanche defenseman Cale Makar left practice yesterday. Coach Jared Bednar said Makar was “unfit” to complete practice. It’s uncertain if he’ll participate in Sunday’s scrimmage.

CBS SPORTS: Philadelphia Flyers winger Jakub Voracek didn’t participate in yesterday’s practice. It could simply be a day off for Voracek after participating in every practice since Monday.

THE ATHLETIC (subscription required): Fluto Shinzawa reports the Boston Bruins had nine regulars – David Pastrnak, Ondrej Kase, David Krejci, Torey Krug, Tuukka Rask, Nick Ritchie, Charlie Coyle, Sean Kuraly and Chris Wagner – listed as “unfit to play” on Saturday. Head coach Bruce Cassidy didn’t elaborate other than to say the club had no injuries to speak of.

Pastrnak is quarantined after coming in contact with someone who tested positive for COVID-19. Krejci, Ritchie, Coyle, Kuraly, Wagner, Krug, and Rask all participated in practices before Saturday.

NEW YORK POST: Rangers winger Pavel Buchnevich left training camp early yesterday for undisclosed reasons. Coach David Quinn declined to comment citing league protocols.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Once again, the league’s cone of silence over a player’s health status leaves fans and pundits playing a guessing game. In most of the cases indicated above, it appears a player was either banged up during practice or having a maintenance day following a full week of practice and scrimmaging. Apart from Pastrnak, none of these absences appear tied to COVID-19.

THE SCORE: cited The Athletic’s Joe Smith reporting Steven Stamkos was a full participant in practice yesterday. The Tampa Bay Lightning captain is nursing a lower-body injury suffered during Phase 2 training. Head coach Jon Cooper said Stamkos could get a shot at playing in the club’s exhibition game on July 29 if he’s healthy and feels ready to go.

CBS SPORTS: Chicago Blackhawks defenseman Olli Maatta was back on the ice Saturday after skipping practice on Friday. His absence may have simply been a maintenance day.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Maintenance means anything from simply having a day off for rest to getting treatment for a nagging injury.

THE BOSTON GLOBE: Former NHL linesman Kevin Collins is the president, CEO, principal owner, and clerk of the works of Mass Alternative Care, Inc. It’s a marijuana-based company he started up that employs around 60 people in western Massachusetts. The company using cannabis for a diverse range of products for medical and adult recreational use.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: As the story suggests, Collins’ post-retirement business is growing like a weed.










NHL Rumor Mill – March 27, 2020

NHL Rumor Mill – March 27, 2020

Check out the latest Rangers off-season speculation in today’s NHL rumor mill.

NEW YORK POST: Larry Brooks believes the Rangers face a daunting challenge to re-sign Tony DeAngelo this off-season. The 24-year-old defenseman is a restricted free agent with arbitration rights with 53 points in 68 games this season.

Can the New York Rangers afford a big raise for defenseman Tony DeAngelo? (Photo via NHL Images)

It could cost the Rangers at least $6 million on a long-term contract. The two parties could agree to a short-term bridge deal around $5 million per season. Failing that, DeAngelo could become the first Ranger in over a decade to file for arbitration, but that’s not an alternative favored by anyone.

A cap crunch is coming for the Rangers, with Jacob Trouba earning $8 million annually, Adam Fox due for a big raise down the road, and promising Nils Lundkvist within their system. If signing DeAngelo proves too difficult, Brooks suggested shopping him for a legit top-nine forward with top-six potential.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Cap Friendly indicates the Rangers have over $67 million invested in 15 players for next season. Assuming the cap remains at $81.5 million, a $6-million annual average value for DeAngelo will eat up almost half of their roughly $14 million in cap space.

If they can find a way to shed the final season of Henrik Lundqvist‘s contract (or a significant chunk of it), it would free up room for DeAngelo’s new deal. Still, it might also be a good idea to sell high on DeAngelo if they’re confident Trouba will improve, Fox won’t regress, and a promising youngster like Lundkvist can make an easy transition to the NHL.

Brooks also reported there was some discussion within the Rangers front office if they would be better off with a prototypical north-south forward (like Columbus’ Josh Anderson) rather than a finesse-oriented one like Pavel Buchnevich. While the 24-year-old winger surfaced in trade speculation, the Rangers weren’t close to moving him.

A primary reason is his compatibility with Mika Zibanejad and Chris Kreider on and off the ice. He also reached career highs this season in assists (30) and points (46).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Buchnevich also has another season remaining on his contract with an affordable $3.25-million AAV. They can afford to hang onto him for another season and see if that chemistry with Zibanejad and Kreider continues to flourish.

Brooks reports Jesper Fast‘s future with the Blueshirts is in doubt. The 28-year-old winger will become an unrestricted free agent at the end of this season. Management had preliminary discussions with Fast’s camp before last month’s trade deadline but failed to reach an agreement on a contract extension.

A lower-than-projected salary cap for next season means fewer dollars for the Rangers, but also for other clubs, which could make it difficult for Fast to find better options elsewhere. Brooks speculates the Rangers could circle back to Fast once the fate of this season is decided.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Re-signing RFAs like DeAngelo, Brendan Lemieux, and Alexandar Georgiev could leave the Rangers with little room to retain Fast. Unless, of course, they find a way to shed Lundqvist’s contract.

 










NHL Rumor Mill – February 29, 2020

NHL Rumor Mill – February 29, 2020

Check out the latest on the Rangers plus recent updates on Shayne Gostisbehere and Tyson Jost in today’s NHL rumor mill.

FLYERS WEREN’T SHOPPING GOSTISBEHERE AT THE TRADE DEADLINE

NBC SPORTS PHILADELPHIA: Jordan Hall reported the Philadelphia Flyers weren’t shopping Shayne Gotisbehere contrary to speculation on social media. Even if they were, his trade stock is low due to injuries and a career-worst performance this season.

General manager Chuck Fletcher admitted teams had called about the 26-year-old defenseman. “Nothing really makes sense right now to me to move one of our seven D unless we’re getting a really great impact player back in some area,” he said. “Those types of trades usually don’t happen right now.”

Despite trade speculation, Shayne Gostisbehere remains with the Philadelphia Flyers (Photo via NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It wasn’t just on social media where Gostisbehere surfaced in trade rumors. His name was floated more than once in the press, especially last fall when he was linked to the Montreal Canadiens.

Nevertheless, Fletcher admitted teams had made inquiries, but it’s apparent he wasn’t going to get back a solid return. That might not stop rival general managers from seeing if they can get him on the cheap.

LATEST ON THE RANGERS

NEW YORK POST: Larry Brooks believes the Rangers trading Brady Skjei to the Carolina Hurricanes at the trade deadline means they won’t have to rip up the roster to accommodate new contracts for restricted free agents such as Ryan Strome and Tony DeAngelo. He also feels they won’t have to trade winger Pavel Buchnevich to get under next season’s salary cap.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Rangers are in a better spot cap-wise for next season, but they’re not out of the woods yet. They have over $67 million invested in 15 players for 2020-21.

With Skjei off the books and Kreider re-signed, they have sufficient room to re-sign RFAs DeAngelo, Strome. Alexandar Georgiev and Brendan Lemieux, as well as UFA winger Jesper Fast if they wish. The arbitration rights held by those RFAs could complicate things. If they seek much more than the Rangers are willing to spend, it’ll quickly eat up that cap space.

They could pass on Fast, or consider trading one of those RFAs this summer if their asking prices prove too expensive. They could walk away from an arbitration ruling, or maybe move Buchnevich or somebody else to make room for the new salaries. If they’re looking at adding someone, that could also lead to a cost-cutting deal.

DOES JOST STILL HAVE A FUTURE WITH THE AVALANCHE?

THE ATHLETIC: Following the trade deadline, Ryan S. Clark wondered if Tyson Jost still has a future with the Colorado Avalanche. The 21-year-old center popped up in the rumor mill leading up to the recent trade deadline. He’s spent 31 games as their fourth-line center this season and has shuffled up on the lineup due to injuries. A healthy roster might not leave much room for Jost.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: If Jost isn’t traded this summer, next season could prove crucial to his future with the Avs. Clark suggests he could be left unprotected in the 2021 expansion draft.