NHL Rumor Mill – June 8, 2023

NHL Rumor Mill – June 8, 2023

Jets center Pierre-Luc Dubois seeks a summer trade, Alex DeBrincat submits a list of trade destinations to the Senators, and the latest on Carter Hart in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.


TSN: Pierre LeBrun reports that Pat Brisson, the agent for Pierre-Luc Dubois, has informed the Winnipeg Jets that his client doesn’t intend to sign a contract extension this summer. Brisson would like to work with the Jets to arrange a trade to another team for the 24-year-old center.

The Dubois camp last summer informed Jets management that he didn’t intend to sign a long-term contract with them. He was a restricted free agent last summer and accepted the club’s one-year, $6 million qualifying offer. He’s an RFA this summer but is also a year away from unrestricted free-agent eligibility.

LeBrun said the Jets can decide to keep him for next season, take him to arbitration or attempt to move him before next year’s trade deadline.

Winnipeg Jets center Pierre-Luc Dubois (NHL Images).

Darren Dreger said the Jets prefer not to have to trade their top players and they’re not committed to doing that or extending them. However, he believes there’s potential for them to get a solid return in the trade market for someone like Dubois that would help stabilize the club.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Jets general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff seems to have little room to maneuver with Dubois. It doesn’t do any good to have a player on the roster for one more year that you know is going to walk next summer. Dubois’ situation would overshadow the season and become an unnecessary distraction.

The same goes for goaltender Connor Hellebuyck and center Mark Scheifele. Like Dubois, both are due to become UFAs next July. If they’re also unwilling to re-sign, it’s time to bite the bullet and see what you can get for them before the free-agent market opens on July 1. That’s when teams have more cap space and a willingness to spend on quality talent.

If there aren’t any reasonable offers this summer, Cheveldayoff would be justified to retain them and try his luck at the trade deadline. Dubois’ RFA status could complicate things unless the Jets take him to arbitration.

THE ATHLETIC: LeBrun expounded on his Dubois report, saying the Montreal Canadiens remain an interested party. However, he doesn’t see the Habs paying a fortune in a trade for a player they could bid on in next summer’s free-agent market. LeBrun claims there are a few teams looking into Dubois.

SPORTSNET: Ken Wiebe suggests the Jets allow Brisson to broker a deal with clubs that Dubois would be willing to sign with as it could enhance the return. He thinks a bidding war could take place if the center is open to joining a team like the Los Angeles Kings or Boston Bruins or New York Rangers. However, the Jets won’t have much leverage if it’s Montreal or bust for Dubois.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Colorado Avalanche and Carolina Hurricanes have also come up as possible destinations for Dubois. It’ll be interesting to see how this situation unfolds but it’s clear that we’re going to hear a lot more about Dubois in the rumor mill in the coming weeks.


TSN: Pierre LeBrun reports that Jeff Jackson, the agent for Alex DeBrincat, has submitted a list of preferred trade destinations to the Ottawa Senators. He also believes Senators GM Pierre Dorion would want the 25-year-old winger signed through this trade to get maximum value in return.

THE ATHLETIC: LeBrun said he doesn’t know which teams are on DeBrincat’s list. However, he speculates the likes of Nashville, Vegas and Dallas could be included. He also wondered if the Michigan native would be interested in playing for Detroit.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: LeBrun drew a comparison to Matthew Tkachuk’s situation last summer with the Calgary Flames. Tkachuk provided a list of preferred destinations to the Flames which helped shape the deal sending him to the Florida Panthers for Jonathan Huberdeau and MacKenzie Weegar.

DeBrincat is a restricted free agent on July 1 who lacks no-trade protection. LeBrun points out that Dorion could send him anywhere. However, he believes it’s better for the Senators to send him to one of the teams on the winger’s list. Those clubs could be interested in signing him, thus ensuring the Senators get a better return.

OTTAWA SUN: Bruce Garrioch believes the Red Wings, Hurricanes, Washington Capitals, Seattle Kraken, Nashville Predators, and St. Louis Blues could be destinations for DeBrincat. Those clubs are all in the market for scoring this summer.

Garrioch noted the Senators were linked to the Philadelphia Flyers because they’re listening to offers for goaltender Carter Hart, prompting some observers to suggest the Senators swap DeBrincat for Hart. However, DeBrincat might not be willing to commit to a long-term contract with a rebuilding club.

Ken Warren, meanwhile, suggests the Senators might be better off using the money they might’ve invested in re-signing DeBrincat to address their roster needs. They require an upgrade in goal as well as a proven two-way, third-line winger.

SPORTSNET: Wayne Scanlan suggests the Senators could get a good asset plus a draft pick. They lack a pick in the first three rounds of this year’s draft.

As for assets, Scanlan suggested there are lots of options from Winnipeg’s Connor Hellebuyck to New Jersey’s Jesper Bratt, who’s also a restricted free agent this summer and a year away from UFA status. He also suggested perhaps getting creative and swinging a three-team deal for someone like Philadelphia’s Travis Konecny or Carter Hart.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Based on LeBrun’s report, I don’t think Winnipeg’s an option here. New Jersey could be depending on how contract talks go with Bratt, but he might not be willing to sign long-term with the Senators. It would be better to pursue someone with some tenure remaining on their contracts. As for Konecny or Hart, see Garrioch’s comment about DeBrincat’s potential reluctance to sign with a rebuilding club.


SAN JOSE HOCKEY NOW: Sheng Peng yesterday cited Sportsnet’s Jeff Marek speculating that the Sharks could be interested in Carter Hart. However, the Flyers could seek a bigger return for the 24-year-old goaltender than what they got in the Ivan Provorov trade earlier this week.

Peng cited a source saying the Flyers could seek two first-round picks as part of the return. That’s something the rebuilding Sharks can afford.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: You can’t blame Flyers GM Daniel Briere if he’s setting a high asking price for Hart. He’s not under any pressure to move the young netminder, who’s signed through next season and will be a restricted free agent next July. He can afford to shoot for the moon here and see if someone is willing to take him up on it.

DAILY FACEOFF: Frank Seravalli and Colby Cohen discussed the Los Angeles Kings’ goaltending situation. Seravalli thinks Winnipeg’s Connor Hellebuyck would make a lot of sense for the Kings while Cohen mentioned that Hart was also linked to the Kings.

TORONTO SUN: Terry Koshan doesn’t expect the Maple Leafs to get into the bidding for Hart if the Flyers are willing to move him. He thinks they have a bright future in goal with Ilya Samsonov and Joseph Woll.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Samsonov and Woll impressed me with their play for the Leafs this season. Given the club’s limited cap space, I can see them sticking with that tandem for 2023-24.

NHL Rumor Mill – June 7, 2023

NHL Rumor Mill – June 7, 2023

Are more moves coming for the Flyers, Kings and Blue Jackets following their deal to move Ivan Provorov to Columbus? Find out in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.


PHILADELPHIA HOCKEY NOW: Chuck Bausman reports more moves could be coming for the Flyers after they shipped Ivan Provorov to the Columbus Blue Jackets on Tuesday in a three-team deal involving the Los Angeles Kings.

Philadelphia Flyers goaltender Carter Hart (NHL Images)

Flyers general manager Daniel Briere was asked about the status of Carter Hart during his press conference announcing the Provorov trade. The 24-year-old goaltender has been the subject of trade speculation after Briere recently indicated he would listen to offers.

I’m still in the same spot I was,” said Briere. “We’re open for business. We listen on everybody. Everybody’s being treated the same way for us on our side.”

MONTREAL HOCKEY NOW: Marc Dumont noted a rumor that surfaced immediately following the Provorov trade claiming the Flyers were working on a deal involving Hart. He mused over whether the Canadiens should pursue him.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: There’s been nothing new thus far regarding that rumored Hart trade. Perhaps we’ll learn more details soon or maybe it’ll come to nothing. What’s clear is Briere isn’t afraid to make bold moves involving one of his core players provided he gets a solid return. He could trade Hart if someone makes him a good offer.

LA HOCKEY NOW: Austin Stanovich reports the Kings cleared $5.6 million by shipping goaltender Cal Petersen and defenseman Sean Walker. That will give them more cap room to re-sign defenseman Vladislav Gavrikov, goaltender Joonas Korpisalo and forward Gabriel Vilardi. Gavrikov and Korpisalo are due to become unrestricted free agents on July 1 while Vilardi is a restricted free agent.

Stanovich expects Gavrikov will be signed soon, perhaps to a three-year, $6 million per year deal. He also stated there’s nothing linking the Kings to Carter Hart but wouldn’t be surprised if they were in the mix.

THE ATHLETIC: Eric Stephens also weighed in on what the Kings’ next moves could be. He agrees the Provorov trade makes it easier for them to re-sign Gavrikov. Stephens cited colleague Pierre LeBrun indicating the blueliner’s agent seeks a two-year deal while Eric Duhatschek speculated Gavrikov could get around $5.7 million per season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The thinking here for the Gavrikov camp is he could be in line for a much bigger payday in 2025 when the salary cap is expected to rise by a significant amount. He made $2.8 million annually on his current deal so something between $5.5 million and $6 million would be a healthy raise.

As for Korpisalo, Stephens suggested they could re-sign him or look at bringing in another goalie to share the duties with Pheonix Copley.

MAYOR’S MANOR: The influential Kings’ blog offered their analysis of what the Provorov deal means for this club. In addition to re-signing Gavrikov, they believe it allows the Kings to retain forwards Alex Iafallo, Trevor Moore and Viktor Arvidsson. The trio was to be considered cost-cutting trade candidates.

They anticipate the Kings will add another goaltender but will likely only have around $2 million to make that move. “We are not expecting Joonas Korpisalo to be an option for LA.” They also ruled out the possibility of pursuing Anaheim’s John Gibson or Winnipeg’s Connor Hellebuyck.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: With just over $13 million in projected cap space and 16 active roster players under contract, the Kings can easily afford Gavrikov. However, it will take a substantial bite out of their cap space. That’s why they’ll likely pass on Korpisalo in favor of more affordable goaltending options.

The Provorov trade might be the only major one the Kings make this summer. They could look at a smaller deal for a goalie or seek a cost-effective option via free agency.

THE ATHLETIC: Aaron Portzline speculates Blue Jackets GM Jarmo Kekalainen might not be done dealing after acquiring Provorov. He noted that Kekalainen said his club will keep evaluating with free agency coming up and he didn’t rule out making another trade.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Blue Jackets have some promising centers on their roster (Kent Johnson, Cole Sillinger. Dmitri Voronkov) and could attempt to select another such as Leo Carlsson with the third-overall selection in this year’s draft. However, they still need more experienced depth at that position. With $12 million in cap space and 19 active roster players under contract for next season, Kekalainen could set his sights on a center through the trade or free-agent markets.

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 6, 2023

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 6, 2023

The Golden Knights take a 2-0 series lead in the Stanley Cup Final, the Canadiens sign Cole Caufield to a long-term contract, the Ducks hire a new head coach, and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.


NHL.COM: The Vegas Golden Knights thumped the Florida Panthers 7-2 to take a 2-0 lead in the best-of-seven Stanley Cup Final. Jonathan Marchessault scored twice and added an assist, Brett Howden tallied two goals, Jack Eichel had two assists and Adin Hill made 29 saves for the win.

Panthers goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky got the hook early in the second period after giving up four goals on 13 shots as the Golden Knights jumped to a 4-0 lead. Anton Lundell and Matthew Tkachuk replied for the Panthers.

Tkachuk leveled Eichel with a hard, clean open-ice hit late in the second period. Eichel briefly left the game but returned to action in the third period. Tkachuk received a 10-minute misconduct and a two-minute roughing penalty in a scrum following the hit.

The Panthers winger would receive another misconduct late in the third period. He has a combined 36 penalty minutes in this series thus far, setting an NHL record for the most through the first two games of a Stanley Cup Final.

Panthers defenseman Radko Gudas left the game early in the first period following a hit by Golden Knights forward Ivan Barbashev. Panthers forward Eetu Luostarinen remained sidelined for the second straight game due to a lower-body injury suffered in the final game of the Eastern Conference Final.

Vegas Golden Knights winger Jonathan Marchessault (NHL Images).

The series shifts to Florida for the next two games. Game 3 will be Thursday at 8 pm ET.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Golden Knights dominated Game 2 from the opening faceoff, taking advantage of Florida’s porous defense and undisciplined play. Bobrovsky had a rough outing but Panthers coach Paul Maurice believed his club should’ve played better in front of their goalie. Their sloppy performance has prompted some to suggest that their 10-day layoff between series has done them more harm than good.

Tkachuk’s thunderous bodycheck on Eichel was done in part to try to light a spark under his floundering teammates. Following the game, the Golden Knights center said it was a clean hit. “Got to be aware of it,” Eichel said. “Got to keep your head up. I’ll be fine.” He shrugged off concerns about an injury, claiming that he left the game because he’d had the wind knocked out of him. He would set up Marchessault’s second goal in the third period.

Speaking of Marchessault, he is likely moving into consideration for the Conn Smythe Trophy. After managing just two assists in Vegas’ first seven games of this postseason, he’s since tallied 12 goals and 19 points, including three goals and four points against the Panthers. The Golden Knights’ Twitter handle trolled Florida during Game 2, pointing out that they chose Marchessault when the Panthers left him unprotected in the 2017 expansion draft.


MONTREAL HOCKEY NOW: The Canadiens signed Cole Caufield to an eight-year, $62.8 million contract worth an average annual value of $7.85 million. That makes the 22-year-old winger the second-highest-paid skater on the team next season, earning just $25,000 less than linemate and team captain Nick Suzuki.

MONTREAL GAZETTE: Caufield’s contract is front-loaded as he’ll earn $9.975 million in each of the first two seasons as well as a $5 million signing bonus for each of those seasons.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Caufield emerged as a gifted young sniper since joining the Canadiens late in the 2020-21 season, helping the Habs reach the 2021 Stanley Cup Final.

The young winger struggled through the first half of 2021-22 until Martin St. Louis took over as head coach. Under St. Louis, Caufield has tallied 48 goals in 83 games, including 26 goals in 46 games before suffering a season-ending shoulder surgery in January.

Caufield has the potential to become a consistent 40-goal scorer. If he regularly reaches that plateau, his contract will be a bargain for the Canadiens over the next eight years.

THE ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER: The Anaheim Ducks announced yesterday that they’ve hired Greg Cronin as their new head coach. Cronin spent the past five seasons coaching the AHL’s Colorado Eagles.

Being a young team, I felt we need a teacher of the finer points of the game, and someone who has worked extensively over time with talented young players, helping them develop into successful NHL players,” said Ducks general manager Pat Verbeek. “Greg has done all that and more, and we are excited to name him head coach of the Anaheim Ducks.”

NEW YORK POST: Despite rumors linking Patrick Roy to the New York Rangers, the club does not consider him a coaching candidate and will not interview him for the position. Former Nashville Predators coach John Hynes and former Washington Capitals bench boss Peter Laviolette are considered the front-runners for the job.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Roy guided his Quebec Remparts to the QMJHL championship and the Memorial Cup this season. He was also the head coach of the Colorado Avalanche from 2013-14 to 2015-16. There’s speculation one of the prospective owners of the Ottawa Senators could be interested in hiring Roy if their efforts to purchase the club are successful.

THE ATHLETIC: Chris Chelios will not have his contract as an in-studio hockey analyst with ESPN renewed at the end of this season. The move is part of a series of budget cuts by the network.

TSN: Michael Thompson, the general manager of infrastructure services for the city of Calgary, said the $1.2 billion deal to replace the aging Saddledome comes with a 35-year lease that includes a commitment from the Flames to remain in the city.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The deal is drawing increasing criticism from those concerned with the high cost of the project and how it will be funded. One critic said the agreement would ultimately generate no operating revenue for the city.

Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – June 4, 2023

Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – June 4, 2023

The latest on Jets stars Connor Hellebuyck, Mark Scheifele and Pierre-Luc Dubois as well as updates on Ducks goalie John Gibson, Devils defenseman Damon Severson, Flyers blueliner Ivan Provorov and Canadiens winger Cole Caufield in the Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup.


SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman reported the Winnipeg Jets will be listening to offers for Connor Hellebuyck, Mark Scheifele and Pierre-Luc Dubois. All three are a year away from unrestricted free-agent eligibility.

Friedman claims the Jets aren’t throwing in the towel on being a contender. He said they’ve made it clear that this isn’t going to be a rebuild this summer. They could get some futures (draft picks, prospects) as part of the return if any of those players get traded. However, they also have several good players on long-term contracts that they want to support.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Daily Faceoff’s Frank Seravalli has Hellebuyck sitting second on his updated list of offseason trade targets with Scheifele at fourth and Dubois seventh.

Seravalli suggested Los Angeles, New Jersey, Ottawa, Toronto, Carolina, Pittsburgh and Vegas all have openings for a goaltender “based on play or contractual status”. Of these, I suggest Los Angeles, New Jersey, Carolina and Pittsburgh as more viable destinations for Hellebuyck.

Hellebuyck lacks no-trade protection so the Jets can send him anywhere. However, I think Ottawa would want assurances that he would agree to a contract extension before trading away valuable assets to get him.

Toronto’s cap constraints make acquiring him difficult unless they shed one of their expensive “core four” forward to clear space for him. They could instead stick with the promising (and affordable) tandem of Ilya Samsonov and Joseph Woll.

Winnipeg Jets center Pierre-Luc Dubois (NHL Images).

Vegas also lacks cap space plus they seem to be managing just fine with their goaltenders of Logan Thompson, Laurent Brossoit and current playoff hero (and possible Conn Smythe Trophy contender) Adin Hill. They’ve also got sidelined Robin Lehner’s $5 million cap hit on their books.

As for Dubois, the Winnipeg Sun’s Scott Billeck noted the ongoing rumors linking the 24-year-old center to his hometown Montreal Canadiens. However, he also suggested the Colorado Avalanche, New York Rangers, Los Angeles Kings and Boston Bruins as possible destinations.

Billeck noted the Kings could need a new No.1 center if Anze Kopitar comes off their books next summer. However, I expect Kopitar will sign a contract extension to finish his career in Los Angeles.

The Rangers need a scoring right winger. Dubois doesn’t address that issue unless they shift second-line center Vincent Trocheck to the right wing.

Keep an eye on the Avalanche and Bruins. They both have limited cap space but I wouldn’t be shocked to see one of those clubs finding a way to land Dubois. I also wouldn’t rule out the Canadiens but that might depend on how much he’d want on a contract extension as well as the Jets’ asking price.


THE ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER: Lisa Dillman recently reported John Gibson is ready to move on from the Anaheim Ducks. It’s believed the 29-year-old goaltender met last month with Ducks general manager Pat Verbeek to express those sentiments.

Gibson has four seasons remaining on his contract with an average annual value of $6.4 million plus a 10-team no-trade clause. He wants to play for a winning club but that won’t be possible over the next several years with the Ducks engaged in rebuilding their roster.

Dillman noted the Kings and Penguins could use help between the pipes but both clubs could find it difficult to accommodate his salary or meet Verbeek’s potential asking price.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Seravalli has Gibson sitting 10th on his trade targets list. He also wrote that the Ducks goalie was available last summer but the asking price was high.

Seravalli wondered if the Ducks would be willing to retain part of his cap hit to bring it down to around $5 million to make a move more palatable. Four years is a long time to retain $1.4 million annually but it might have to be done unless Verbeek can find a way to pull off a three-team deal.


THE ATHLETIC: Charlie O’Connor wonders if Ivan Provorov still has a place on the Philadelphia Flyers blueline. He’s regressed since his stellar 2019-20 performance.

Provorov remains a strong skater and good puck-mover who flashes high-end skill but his offensive game has not progressed nor does he drive the play at even strength. The Flyers have tried different defense partners with him to no avail.

O’Connor mused over whether Provorov remains a fit with a rebuilding Flyers team under a demanding head coach like John Tortorella. A trade seems likely if general manager Daniel Briere can find a rival GM who thinks Provorov could improve with a change of scenery. However, it’s hard to predict what he might fetch in a trade.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Provorov sits 18th on Seravalli’s trade list. He anticipates the Flyers will receive calls about the 26-year-old defenseman. Like O’Connor, however, he’s not sure they’ll move him or what Provorov’s stature is among general managers around the league.


MONTREAL HOCKEY NOW: Marco D’Amico cited Montreal broadcaster Tony Marinaro’s recent report on the status of Cole Caufield’s contract talks with the Canadiens. The 22-year-old winger is completing his entry-level contract.

According to Marinaro, he’s heard that the average annual value of Caufield’s next contract will not exceed that of linemate Nick Suzuki. The Canadiens captain’s AAV is $7.875 million.

Marinaro followed up by reporting the contract talks are progressing with all signs pointing to a seven- or eight-year deal.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Some Canadiens fans and pundits are worried that a rival club might swoop in on July 1 and sign Caufield to an expensive offer sheet that the Habs might have difficulty matching.

TSN’s Darren Dreger recently dismissed that notion saying the word around the league is the Canadiens would match any offer. A Caufield offer sheet is quite unlikely this summer. Nineteen teams have less than $15 million in cap space for 2023-24. Several others lack sufficient draft picks to pay the high compensation rate for successfully signing him away. That’s assuming Caufield would sign one in the first place.

I didn’t dismiss the possibility of Caufield’s cap hit being slightly higher than Suzuki’s as the latter signed his contract two years ago. It will be a big win for the Canadiens to get him signed for less than Suzuki’s AAV on a long-term deal.


SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman reports the New Jersey Devils could be opening to trading the rights of pending UFA defenseman Damon Severson if they can’t sign him to an extension before July 1.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: They won’t get much of a return for Severson because of his UFA status but better than losing him to the free-agent market for nothing. That’s assuming he’ll sign with whatever club acquires him.

NHL Rumor Mill – June 2, 2023

NHL Rumor Mill – June 2, 2023

The latest on Jets goalie Connor Hellebuyck and center Mark Scheifele plus updates on Senators winger Alex DeBrincat and Canadiens winger Cole Caufield in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.


WINNIPEG SUN: Scott Billeck looked at the prospect of the Jets trading goaltender Connor Hellebuyck and center Mark Scheifele if unable to sign them to contract extensions this summer. Both are slated to become unrestricted free agents next July.

Hellebuyck projects to be the Jets’ best trade chip as he could fetch a significant return if they rebuild or intend to retool on the fly. Possible trade destinations could include the Los Angeles Kings, Buffalo Sabres, Ottawa Senators, New Jersey Devils and Detroit Red Wings.

Winnipeg Jets goaltender Connor Hellebuyck (NHL Images).

From the Kings, the Jets could look at Sean Durzi and Gabe Vilardi along with prospects like defenseman Brandt Clarke and Francesco Pinelli. Peyton Krebs, goalie Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen and prospect Matthew Savoie or a first-round pick could be the Jets’ asking price from the Sabres.

The Jets could want Shane Pinto as part of the return from the Senators. Jesper Bratt of the Devils is a great player but the winger wouldn’t help the Jets down the middle. As for the Wings, maybe an offer of prospect center Marco Kasper, goalie Ville Husso and the ninth-overall pick in this year’s draft might entice the Jets to listen.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Goaltenders don’t usually have great value in the trade market but Hellebuyck could be an exception to that rule. The 29-year-old goaltender is in his playing prime. He won the 2019 Vezina Trophy and is a finalist for the award this season.

Turning to Scheifele, he could be the hardest player for Jets general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff to part with. Drafted in 2011 by Cheveldayoff, Scheifele’s become the face of the franchise. However, it may be necessary if the Jets seek a fresh start.

The Boston Bruins, Carolina Hurricanes, Detroit Red Wings and Calgary Flames are Billeck’s suggested trade partners. He suggested pursuing defenseman Brandon Carlo and winger Jake DeBrusk from the Bruins, Seth Jarvis or Martin Necas and Brett Pesce from the Hurricanes, prospect center Marco Kasper or the 2023 ninth-overall pick from the Red Wings or perhaps a straight-up swap of Elias Lindholm with the Flames.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Scheifele’s coming off a career-best 42-goal performance this season. However, his production has been inconsistent since reaching a career-high 84 points in 2018-19 and that could adversely affect his value in the trade market. He will attract interest in the trade market but the offers might not be as lucrative as hoped.


OTTAWA SUN: Bruce Garrioch reports Senators general manager Pierre Dorion said his club is prepared to discuss an eight-year contract extension with winger Alex DeBrincat. However, the 25-year-old restricted free agent hasn’t made a decision on his future.

It will cost the Senators $9 million to qualify DeBrincat’s rights for 2023-24. Dorion indicated he’s had preliminary talks with the winger’s agent. The club could take him to arbitration to try and take as much as 15 percent off his salary. He also said that the Senators might have to consider trading DeBrincat if he’s not interested in signing with them.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Senators acquired DeBrincat during the first round of last year’s draft. They could peddle him during this year’s draft in Nashville on June 28-29 if not sooner if there’s no contract agreement in sight by then. Expect to see his name appear more frequently in the rumor mill in the coming weeks.


RDS.CA: Darren Dreger doesn’t believe the Montreal Canadiens face any real threat of Cole Caufield receiving an offer sheet if he’s still unsigned on July 1. The 22-year-old left winger is coming off his entry-level contract and lacks arbitration rights.

Dreger believes the Canadiens are in a good position on this issue. He thinks they’ll match any offer if another team is crazy enough to go that route. He also said that he hasn’t heard anything about another club being a threat to do so.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Assuming Caufield is willing to sign an offer sheet, a large number of clubs can’t afford to send him one. Cap Friendly indicates 14 teams have less than $10 million in cap space. Another five have less than $15 million. Of the clubs that have more cap room, most face significant investments in their own talent.

There’s also the matter of compensation. It could take an offer sheet worth $10 million annually to have a reasonable chance of deterring the Canadiens from matching. The compensation in that case is two first-rounders, a second and a third. Most teams can afford to pay that price. If anyone’s crazy enough to offer $10.8 million, the compensation is four first-rounders.

Cynics will point to the Carolina Hurricanes signing away Jesperi Kotkaniemi in 2021 but that was a different situation. The Canadiens had less cap flexibility at that time and the price of signing Kotkaniemi in terms of contract and compensation wasn’t as expensive as it will be for Caufield.

An offer sheet is also possible but they remain rare occurrences. If it happens, I think the targets would be more affordable, lesser-talented players than Caufield.

NHL Rumor Mill – May 12, 2023

NHL Rumor Mill – May 12, 2023

In today’s NHL Rumor Mill, we look at the Devils’ possible offseason moves and if there are other clubs besides the Canadiens that could pursue Pierre-Luc Dubois.


ESPN.COM: Kristen Shilton looked at the potential offseason plans for the New Jersey Devils following their playoff elimination by the Carolina Hurricanes.

The Devils must determine if Timo Meier is part of their long-term future. They parted with a package of players, prospects and draft picks to acquire the 26-year-old winger from the San Jose Sharks before the trade deadline.

Meier is a restricted free agent who’s a year away from unrestricted free-agent eligibility. It will cost the Devils $9 million to qualify his rights unless they agree to a more economical long-term contract.

New Jersey Devils winger Jesper Bratt (NHL Images).

What they do with Meier will also determine what they do to improve their lineup next season. Winger Jesper Bratt is coming off a 73-point performance and is also an RFA this summer while Miles Wood, Damon Severson and Ryan Graves are slated to become UFAs. Shilton speculates the Devils’ improvement and promising future could make them a desirable destination for free agents.

THE HOCKEY NEWS: Adam Proteau believes improving the defense should be the Devils’ offseason priority. They have over $34 million in cap space with 12 players under contract for 2023-24.

Some might prefer Devils general manager Tom Fitzgerald use some of that cap room to re-sign Meier but their offense remains potent without him. Their defense needs a direct boost. Proteau suggested pursuing a UFA such as Minnesota’s Matt Dumba or Boston’s Dmitry Orlov.

THE ATHLETIC: Shayna Goldman believes Fitzgerald’s goal will be to re-sign Meier and Bratt and balance the books around them or replace the high-end skill of whichever one departs.

To balance the rising cost of those two, they should maximize players on entry-level contracts like defensemen Luke Hughes and Simon Nemec. Goldman also believes they must stabilize their goaltending situation.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Devils have core players like Jack Hughes, Nico Hischier, Dougie Hamilton and Ondrej Palat under long-term contracts.

They have plenty of salary-cap room to address those aforementioned issues. However, they must ensure they have sufficient long-term space for when their up-and-coming talents like Dawson Mercer and Luke Hughes are ready for new contracts within the next couple of years. The anticipated big jump in the salary cap after next season should help them in that regard.

The situation with Meier and Bratt will be interesting. It can be argued that they didn’t produce as expected in the postseason. That could have an effect on their contract negotiations.


SPORTSNET: In a recent mailbag segment, Ken Wiebe was asked if the Boston Bruins could be front-runners for Winnipeg Jets center Pierre-Luc Dubois.

The potential departures of Patrice Bergeron and David Krejci suggest Dubois would be a good fit with the Bruins but Wiebe doubts the cap-strapped club can afford to re-sign him. The 24-year-old center is a restricted free agent this summer and could seek over $8 million annually on a long-term contract.

Wiebe believes a lot of contending teams will be interested in Dubois even if it’s for one shot at winning the Stanley Cup. His appeal is enhanced if he’s willing to sign an extension with the team that trades for him.

The Colorado Avalanche could be a possibility as they’ll be looking for a second-line center. The Montreal Canadiens still look like the front-runner but Wiebe believes it’s not a “Habs-or-bust” scenario. He believes an Eastern Conference team close to New York is the most likely outcome but doesn’t rule out the Los Angeles Kings as a sleeper.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Wiebe is among the few pundits I’ve read or heard that aren’t pushing the narrative of Montreal as Dubois’ sole destination. Some, like Nick Kypreos, have floated the scenario of a contender signing Dubois for just a one-year deal for a chance at pursuing the Cup next season even at the risk of him walking away as a free agent next summer.

The Canadiens likely remain Dubois destination of choice but we can’t rule out the possibility that he ends up with another club, perhaps on a lengthy contract extension. That will provide fodder for Montreal followers demanding the Canadiens trade for Dubois this summer and ink him to a long-term deal.