NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 5, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 5, 2022

The Canadiens leave all options open with the first-overall pick as the 2022 draft approaches, the Sharks name Mike Grier as their new GM, Bruins winger Jake DeBrusk rescinds his trade request, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

MONTREAL GAZETTE: Canadiens general manager Kent Hughes is stirring up intrigue over what he’ll do with the first-overall pick in the upcoming 2022 NHL Draft. He claimed he hasn’t decided yet if he’ll choose center Shane Wright of the OHL’s Kingston Frontenacs, winger Juraj Slavkovsky of Liiga club TPS in Finland, or center Logan Cooley of the U.S. National Team Development Program.

We’re trying to evaluate how a player projects,” said Hughes. He adds they’re being open-minded and flexible over which is the right situation for those players. The Canadiens GM also didn’t rule out trading the pick or swinging a deal with the New Jersey Devils to end up with the first- and second-overall picks.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Hughes is doing what any GM worth his salt would do with the first-overall pick in a draft where there is no generational player like Connor McDavid available. He’ll get a very good player with that pick if he keeps it regardless of whether he chooses Wright, Slavkovsky or Cooley.

Hughes could surprise us by trading that pick, and if he can land the Devils’ pick without giving up a young core player such as Nick Suzuki or Cole Caufield it’ll be an impressive move. However, I doubt he’ll be able to pull that off. I anticipate he’ll retain the first-overall pick and use it to select Wright given the Habs’ ongoing need for quality depth at center.

SAN JOSE HOCKEY NOW: cited ESPN NHL insider Kevin Weekes reporting the Sharks will name Mike Grier as their new general manager on Tuesday. He’ll become the first black person in NHL history to become the GM of a team.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Weekes has a solid record for breaking NHL news. Grier spent 14 seasons from 1996-97 to 2010-11 as an NHL player with the Sharks, Edmonton Oilers, Washington Capitals and Buffalo Sabres. He went on to serve as an assistant coach with the Chicago Blackhawks, New Jersey Devils and New York Rangers and in 2021 was named the Rangers’ hockey operations advisor.

BOSTON HOCKEY NOW: cited TSN’s Ryan Rishaug reporting Jake DeBrusk’s agent claiming his client has rescinded his trade request. The Bruins signed the 25-year-old winger in March to a two-year contract extension.

Boston Bruins winger Jake DeBrusk (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Interesting to note that DeBrusk withdrew his trade request after the Bruins fired head coach Bruce Cassidy. Make of that what you will.

TSN: Pierre LeBrun reports Evander Kane’s grievance hearing with the San Jose Sharks over the January termination of his contract isn’t likely to be scheduled before free agency begins on July 13.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: LeBrun wonders if the two sides might reach an agreement on a settlement before then. That might be possible now that the Sharks finally have a new general manager in place.

TSN’s Darren Dreger reports Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Mikhail Sergachev has changed agents and is now represented by Dan Milstein. Dreger’s colleague Chris Johnston reports Sergachev is expected to sign a contract extension in the coming weeks.

Pierre LeBrun reports pending UFA winger Ilya Mikheyev’s agent (Dan Milstein) may seek a multi-year deal worth between $4.75 million to $5.5 million annually. The 27-year-old Mikheyev spent the past three seasons with the Toronto Maple Leafs, tallying a career-high 21 goals and 32 points in 53 games in 2021-22.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Mikheyev is a good depth forward but he’s not worth that much. Nevertheless, we shouldn’t underestimate the ability of NHL general managers to succumb to action fever and overpay for second-tier talent in the opening days of free agency.

NHL.COM: The Winnipeg Jets have appointed Scott Arniel as an associate coach under new bench boss Rick Bowness.

PHILLY HOCKEY NOW: Flyers goaltender Ivan Fedotov is apparently going to be serving in the Russian Navy. After being detained in St. Petersburg last Friday for allegedly dodging the draft, he was reportedly hospitalized with what his attorney called stress-induced gastritis. He was then sent to a Russian naval base near the Arctic Circle.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Fedotov, 25, played for CSKA Moscow last season but signed a one-year entry-level contract in May with the Flyers. There are rumors his gastritis was in fact poisoning but there’s no confirmation of this.

Fedotov’s plight is raising concerns that he’s being used as an example to other young Russian players thinking of leaving their KHL clubs to play in the NHL while Russia is at war with Ukraine. It could affect whether Russian prospects are chosen in the upcoming NHL Draft.

CALGARY SUN: The city of Calgary is continuing to work with the Flames in hope of finding a resolution toward the construction of a new arena to replace the aging Saddledome. A third-party intermediary called the Event Centre Visioning Group is continuing talks with both sides with the intention of getting them back to the negotiating table.










Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup (Part One) – July 3, 2022

Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup (Part One) – July 3, 2022

Are the Flyers pursuing Alex DeBrincat? Could the Islanders pursue Johnny Gaudreau? Check out the latest in Part 1 of the Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup

TRADE & FREE-AGENT RUMORS FROM FRIEDMAN’S LATEST “32 THOUGHTS” COLUMN

SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman reports the Montreal Canadiens will continue testing the trade market on veterans such as Christian Dvorak, Jeff Petry and possibly Josh Anderson. Teams believe they’re not interested in moving goaltender Jake Allen. It will be interesting to see if they’ll revisit their interest in Ottawa Senators forward Colin White.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Petry remains the more likely to be moved given his age (34), his trade request last season and his $6.25 million cap hit through 2024-25. It could take a significant offer to pry Anderson away from them.

The New Jersey Devils have made it known they’re willing to shop the No. 2 overall pick in the upcoming draft but there’s no certainty that will happen. There have been some trade rumors regarding restricted free agent winger Jesper Bratt. Kevin Fiala’s new contract with the Los Angeles Kings could have an effect on Bratt’s contract negotiations. The Devils could also pursue St. Louis Blues goaltender Ville Husso if he tests the unrestricted free agent market on July 13.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Fiala signed a seven-year deal with the Kings worth an annual average value of $7.875 million. There was speculation the Bratt camp was seeking over $7 million per season before the Fiala deal was signed. If the Devils trade him, they could seek a good player in return who’s carrying an affordable cap hit beyond 2022-23.

The trade status of Arizona Coyotes defenseman Jakob Chychrun continues to blow hot and cold. This could be one of the times when it heats up.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I’ll believe it when I see it. The Coyotes have set a high asking price. With Chychrun signed through 2024-25, they will remain patient in their quest for the right offer.

A lack of draft capital could make the Seattle Kraken turn to the UFA market rather than pursue talent via trades. Friedman believes they’ll be aggressive, suggesting they could target such notables as Johnny Gaudreau, Nazem Kadri, John Klingberg, etc.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Kraken made two significant signings last summer in Philipp Grubauer and Jaden Schwartz. They have plenty of cap space and a willingness to make another splash or two in the UFA pool.

Chicago Blackhawks winger Alex DeBrincat (NHL Images).

The Philadelphia Flyers made a legitimate pitch for Chicago Blackhawks winger Alex DeBrincat. They’ve also tested the trade market on most of their players.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Sounds like Flyers GM Chuck Fletcher intends to swing for the fences again. Last summer, he acquired Ryan Ellis and Rasmus Ristolainen, shipped out Shayne Gostisbehere to the Arizona Coyotes, and swapped Jakub Voracek for Cam Atkinson.

Friedman thinks the Columbus Blue Jackets will consider upgrading their blueline.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Jackets have over $19 million in cap space with 20 players signed for 2022-23. A big chunk of that could be eaten up re-signing Patrik Laine but there should still be sufficient room to bolster their defense corps.

The Ottawa Senators are willing to move the seventh overall pick for the right offer. They’re seeking a right wing and a right-side defenseman. They’ve had calls on Connor Brown after he indicated he intends to test next summer’s free-agent market. Friedman wondered if they’ll move Matt Murray and land Claude Giroux.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Murray’s injury history and $6.25 million cap hit through 2023-24 scream, “Buyer beware!” I think Giroux’s preference is signing with a Cup contender but maybe he’ll consider joining his hometown club for the right offer.

The Detroit Red Wings are believed working on a contract extension for captain Dylan Larkin. Friedman doesn’t see them among the favorites to land Jack Campbell if the Toronto Maple Leafs goalie hits the open market.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Expect the Red Wings to bring in a reliable backup for starting goaltender Alex Nedeljkovic. Campbell wouldn’t be a fit there unless he’s the starter.

It’s believed the Buffalo Sabres are working on a new contract for winger Victor Olofsson. They’re also expected to examine the goalie market to find someone to share the goalie duties with Craig Anderson, who recently signed a one-year deal.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It would be wild if Campbell signed with the Sabres. It probably won’t happen but it would add some spice to their rivalry with the Leafs.

Friedman wondered if the Anaheim Ducks might bring Josh Manson back via free agency. He also mused over the possibility of the Los Angeles Kings signing him. GM Pat Verbeek will want something tempting to part with goaltender John Gibson.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Gibson has denied rumors he’ll welcome a trade out of Anaheim. He’s got a 10-team no trade clause plus a $6.4 million cap hit through 2026-27 that some teams will find too expensive to take on.

The San Jose Sharks are still going through the process of hiring a new general manager. They could prefer retaining goalie James Reimer but it’s not a certainty. They must also decide if it is worthwhile keeping both Brent Burns and Erik Karlsson.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Karlsson is younger than Burns but carries more term on a more expensive contract plus he has a long history of injuries. Burns has a three-team trade list but perhaps he’d widen it for a chance to play for a contender.

It doesn’t sound like the New York Islanders intend to move goalie Semyon Varlamov. Winger Anthony Beauvillier could be a trade candidate. Friedman sees them as a stealth candidate for Johnny Gaudreau.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Cap Friendly shows the Islanders with $12 million in salary-cap space with 18 players under contract for 2022-23 and defenseman Noah Dobson due for a raise coming off his entry-level contract. They’ll have to shed a lot of salary if they hope to sign Gaudreau and have enough left to sign Dobson and fill out the rest of the roster.

Friedman believes the Jets won’t trade Mark Scheifele. There’s interest in Pierre-Luc Dubois but they still hold his rights for two more years. They will work with Blake Wheeler to look into a trade. There’s also interest in defenseman Brenden Dillon.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The 35-year-old Wheeler’s age, his $8.25 million cap hit and five-team trade list make it difficult to find a suitable trade partner. Teams will have more interest in the younger Dubois, who intends to test the UFA market in two years’ time.

There’s a path for the Vancouver Canucks to sign captain Bo Horvat to a contract extension. With Brock Boeser signed, Friedman doesn’t see him getting traded. The Canucks will set a high asking price for J.T. Miller and should get it whether it’s from the New York Rangers, Washington Capitals or another club.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It seems more likely the Canucks will trade Miller, preferably before the free-agent market opens on July 13. Much of the talk from management seems to suggest a contract extension is a long shot.

Friedman expects Filip Forsberg and the Nashville Predators will reach an agreement on a new contract. He believes it’ll be eight years at $8.5 million annually. He also wondered if Phil Kessel might sign with the Predators, mentioning they nearly acquired him at the trade deadline.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kessel could be an affordable depth option for the Predators. As for Forsberg, there’s speculation the holdup in his contract talks is the inclusion of a no-trade clause, something the Preds don’t usually hand out.

Friedman pondered whether the Dallas Stars can afford long-term contract extensions for young RFAs Jake Oettinger and Jason Robertson. They can’t afford to re-sign Michael Raffl, who wants to continue playing in the NHL.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Stars have over $18 million in cap space with 18 players under contract for next season. Oettinger and Robertson could get affordable bridge deals but it would be best if the Stars can lock them up for long-term contracts now. They would be much more expensive to sign coming off short-term deals.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 3, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 3, 2022

The latest on Kirill Kaprizov, Patrik Laine, Anthony Duclair and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

CBS SPORTS: cited The Athletic’s Michael Russo reporting Kirill Kaprizov underwent minor surgery. The 25-year-old Minnesota Wild left winger is expected to be ready “well in advance” of training camp.

THE ATHLETIC: Aaron Portzline reported contract talks are continuing between the Columbus Blue Jackets and the agent for left wing Patrik Laine. Jackets general manager Jarmo Kekalainen said the discussions are amicable. However, Portzline wrote that it doesn’t sound as though a deal is close. Kekalainen doesn’t expect it will affect the club’s plans for the upcoming NHL draft in Montreal.

Minnesota Wild winger Kirill Kaprizov (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Cap Friendly indicates Laine is a restricted free agent with arbitration rights. He’s coming off a one-year, $7.5 million contract.

ESPN.COM: Anthony Duclair underwent surgery to repair an Achilles tendon injury. The 26-year-old Florida Panthers winger is expected to be sidelined until midway through the 2022-23 season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Duclair carries a $3 million annual average value. With the Panthers having just $3 million in salary-cap space for next season and with 17 players under contract, they could place him on long-term injury reserve to garner some cap relief to sign another player. However, they’ll have to be cap compliant when Duclair is ready to return to action.

MONTREAL HOCKEY NOW: The Canadiens can take their time negotiating a new contract with Alexander Romanov. He has only two seasons with 10 or more games played, he falls under the status of a 10.2(c) restricted free agent. That makes him ineligible to sign an offer sheet with another team as Jesperi Kotkaniemi did last summer.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Canadiens management is currently focused on the upcoming NHL draft in Montreal. Once that’s completed, they’re expected to turn their attention toward their RFAs.

STLTODAY.COM: Blues forward Alexei Toropchenko underwent shoulder surgery and will miss the first two months of next season. The 23-year-old is on a one-year, $750K contracts for 2022-23.

THE NEWS & OBSERVER: PNC Arena, home of the Carolina Hurricanes, could be getting a major facelift and overhaul over the next several years. Opened in 1999, the venue is expected to undergo renovations that were put off for the past two years by the COVID-19 pandemic.










NHL Rumor Mill – July 1, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – July 1, 2022

Check out the latest on Pierre-Luc Dubois, Alex DeBrincat, Johnny Gaudreau, Nazem Kadri, Jesse Puljujarvi and more in the Canada Day edition of the NHL rumor mill.

LATEST RUMORS FROM TSN’S NHL INSIDERS

TSN: Darren Dreger reports there’s “tons of trade interest” in Pierre-Luc Dubois after the 23-year-old center informed the Winnipeg Jets of his intention to test the 2024 unrestricted free agent market. Dreger mentioned the New York Rangers and Montreal Canadiens among the possible suitors but believes it’ll take a substantial offer to pry him away from the Jets.

If it’s the Rangers, Filip Chytil, Braden Schneider or Kaapo Kakko and a first-round pick would have to be part of the return. Otherwise, Dreger doubts Jets GM Kevin Cheveldayoff has the stomach to move Dubois during this offseason.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: And if it’s the Canadiens, a young forward such as Nick Suzuki or Cole Caufield would probably have to be part of that discussion. I doubt the Habs would part with either guy. They also won’t part with the first-overall pick for Dubois but would probably offer up the 26th overall selection they received from the Calgary Flames in the Tyler Toffoli trade.

Chicago Blackhawks winger Alex DeBrincat (NHL Images).

Pierre LeBrun reports the Chicago Blackhawks have been listening to offers for winger Alex DeBrincat for five or six weeks. However, the asking price is more than the first-round pick and prospect the Los Angeles Kings sent to the Minnesota Wild for Kevin Fiala.

LeBrun suspects it would be a “triple-asset haul” for Chicago, including a 2022 first-round pick. With the first round of the draft slated for July 7, things could come to a head over the next several days.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: DeBrincat’s a more reliable offensive winger than Fiala, with two 40-goal seasons under his belt. Unlike the Wild, the Blackhawks are a rebuilding club so they’ll want a larger return focussing on long-term assets.

Bleacher Nation’s Patrick K. Flowers cited Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman saying the Hawks turned down an offer for DeBrincat that would’ve contained a couple of first-rounders. However, there are no details as to what else was proposed in that pitch.

Speaking of Fiala, Chris Johnston reported the Seattle Kraken were among the interested parties before he was shipped to the Kings. They have the cap space to make a splash in the trade or free agent markets this summer.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Writing for The Athletic, LeBrun cited a source saying the Kraken intends to be active in this summer’s UFA market when it opens on July 13. He wonders if they might make a pitch for Johnny Gaudreau if the Calgary Flames winger tests the open market. Cap Friendly indicates they have $22.8 million in cap space with 14 players under contract.

And speaking of Gaudreau, LeBrun said he remains undecided about the offer from the Flames. He suspects the winger wants to keep Calgary in the fold but may want to see what’s out there in the free-agent market.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: If Gaudreau departs, the Flames could be scrambling to find a suitable replacement. Maybe they’ll attempt to sign Nashville’s Filip Forsberg if he goes to market or try to swing a trade for DeBrincat.

Dreger said the Colorado Avalanche will try hard to re-sign Nazem Kadri before he becomes eligible for UFA status on July 13. He wonders if they can afford what could be an $8 million to $9 million annual average value to keep the 31-year-old center.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: With $26.8 million in cap space and 14 players under contract, the Avalanche can afford Kadri. However, that will take a big bite out of their cap space, hampering efforts to re-sign or suitably replace goaltender Darcy Kuemper, winger Valeri Nichushkin and winger Artturi Lehkonen. LeBrun believes they’ll prioritize Nichushkin even though they really want to retain Kadri.

Johnston reports the trade winds are blowing increasingly stronger on Jesse Puljujarvi. The Ottawa Senators are among two clubs believed to have an interest in the 24-year-old Edmonton Oilers winger. He’s a restricted free agent with arbitration rights.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Sportsnet’s Mark Spector (No, that’s not me!) reported several professional scouts told him the Oilers could get a second- or third-round pick or perhaps a third-line player with upside for Puljujarvi. He mentioned the Senators and Carolina Hurricanes as having an interest in the former 2016 first-rounder. Spector also wondered if the Arizona Coyotes, New Jersey Devils or San Jose Sharks will come calling.

On the topic of the Oilers, Darren Dreger reports GM Ken Holland will meet soon with Mike Smith to discuss the goaltender’s future. The 40-year-old has one season left on his contract and could spend it on long-term injury reserve. Dreger anticipates Holland will “dive deep” into the UFA pool with an interest in Toronto’s Jack Campbell, St. Louis’ Ville Husso and maybe others.










NHL Rumor Mill – June 30, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – June 30, 2022

Could the Rangers and Canadiens pursue Pierre-Luc Dubois? What’s the latest on J.T. Miller and Filip Forsberg? Are the Oilers poised to trade Jesse Puljujarvi? Who could the Senators buy out? Check out the latest in today’s NHL rumor mill.

RANGERS OR CANADIENS INTERESTED IN DUBOIS?

SPORTSNET: Ken Wiebe cites a report by Francois Gagnon of RDS linking the New York Rangers to Pierre-Luc Dubois. The 23-year-old restricted free agent center has told the Winnipeg Jets of his intention to test the unrestricted free agent market when he becomes eligible in 2024.

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

The Rangers and Jets have reportedly held conversations about Dubois. Rangers general manager Chris Drury is said to be very interested in him. They were also believed to have an interest in Jets center Mark Scheifele to give them a solid one-two punch at center with Mika Zibanejad.

Wiebe believes any deal would have to include discussions regarding young Rangers such as Filip Chytil, wingers Alexis Lafreniere and Kaapo Kakko and defenseman Braden Schneider. He also indicated the Montreal Canadiens as also having an interest in Dubois.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: To be clear, Wiebe isn’t saying the Rangers must ship all those players to the Jets for Dubois. He means at least one of them will have to be part of the trade package.

Wiebe isn’t suggesting a deal is imminent, suggesting this could be simply to stoke a bidding war for Dubois. He said the Jets’ primary objective remains signing the center to a one-year contract and then attempting to convince him to rethink his long-term plans. Still, it doesn’t hurt to investigate Dubois’ value in the trade market for future reference if he remains adamant about moving on in 2024.

The New York Post’s Larry Brooks is against the Rangers pursuing Dubois, suggesting it may have been the Jets calling the Rangers to check into their interest given their trade history. He believes Dubois will command a substantial raise (seven years, $50 million) on the open market, casting doubt over how the Blueshirts can squeeze him into their already tight salary-cap payroll. Brooks also doesn’t want to see them part with Chytil following his promising performance in the recent postseason.

As for the Canadiens, maybe they surprise us by offering up a package of draft picks (excluding the first-overall pick), one or two prospects or a prospect and a good young NHL player not named Nick Suzuki or Cole Caufield to the Jets. Dubois is rumored to be eager to join the Canadiens as a free agent in two years’ time. If so, it would be worthwhile for the Habs to simply remain patient and wait for Dubois’ availability in 2024. Then it’s only costing money and not assets as well.

LATEST ON J.T. MILLER

CHEK-TV’s Rick Dhaliwal recently reported a source told him there are reports the Vancouver Canucks are listening to trade offers for J.T. Miller. The 29-year-old center is a year away from UFA eligibility. He also indicated Miller’s representatives aren’t surprised by those reports.

Dhaliwal said the two sides remain far apart in contract talks. He cited one source claiming the Canucks have been entertaining offers for Miller since February.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Dhaliwal suggested a contract comparable for Miller is the Rangers’ Mika Zibanejad, who’s starting an eight-year, $68 million deal ($8.5 million annual average value) in 2022-23. That could prove too expensive for the Canucks, which would explain the growing chatter about Miller in the rumor mill.

SPORTSNET: Luke Fox suggests Miller could be the “optimal big-splash target for the Toronto Maple Leafs” if they’re willing to go for it. He acknowledged it would be a risky move, especially with Leafs GM Kyle Dubas being reluctant to acquire players without term. Still, he thinks the Leafs have the trade assets to tempt the Canucks. Fox believes it would be worthwhile to acquire a forward such as Miller to address their needs right now.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I don’t see them pursuing Miller. The Leafs already have enough depth on the top-two lines. Their biggest need is a reliable starting goaltender if Jack Campbell departs via free agency.

UPDATE ON FILIP FORSBERG

THE TENNESSEAN: Gentry Estes reports Nashville Predators GM David Poile confirmed he’s offered pending UFA winger Filip Forsberg an eight-year contract.

Dollars might be the holdup as the Forsberg camp is reportedly seeking an annual average value somewhere in the low $8 million range as reported by Daily Faceoff’s Frank Seravalli. Estes also speculates another snag could be a no-trade clause as Poile as a rule doesn’t hand those out.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: CHEK-TV’s Rick Dhaliwal cited Forsberg’s agent acknowledging they’re not there yet on the money but both sides continue to grind away at it. There’s a reasonable chance Forsberg remains with the Predators as long as those negotiations continue over the next two weeks.

OILERS CLOSE TO TRADING PULJUJARVI?

EDMONTON JOURNAL: David Staples cited Oilers insider Tom Gazzola reporting he’s been told Oilers winger Jesse Puljujarvi is on his way out of Edmonton. It appears both sides are comfortable with the idea that it’s time to move on.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Puljujarvi is a restricted free agent with arbitration rights this summer. He has shown flashes of offensive talent over the past couple of seasons but it just seems that things aren’t getting better after five seasons with the Oilers.

Maybe Puljujarvi can reach his offensive potential with another club. If there’s a decent return to be had, the Oilers should consider it.

POTENTIAL SENATORS BUYOUT CANDIDATES

OTTAWA SUN: Bruce Garrioch observed the first buyout window opens on July 1 until 5 pm ET on July 12. It’s believed Senators management is considering going that route. He believes forward Colin White is their top buyout candidate. Defenseman Michael Del Zotto is another. Goaltender Matt Murray has been mentioned but Garrioch doesn’t think that’s going to happen.

The Senators are still listening to offers regarding their first-round pick (seventh overall) in this year’s draft. GM Pierre Dorion is in the market for a top-four defenseman and a high-end winger.

Garrioch said the Montreal Canadiens have been calling teams with picks in the top-10 to see what it would take to nab one. There’s also talk the Arizona Coyotes, San Jose Sharks and Chicago Blackhawks are willing to take on contracts if a draft pick is added as a sweetener. He thinks it wouldn’t be surprising if Senators defenseman Nikita Zaitsev was moved that way.










Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – June 26, 2022

Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – June 26, 2022

Does the Jets’ Pierre-Luc Dubois hope to one day play for Montreal? What will the Canadiens do with Evgenii Dadonov? Could the Devils pursue Leafs goalie Jack Campbell if he goes to free agency? Find out in the Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup.

IS DUBOIS HOPING TO JOIN THE CANADIENS ONE DAY?

THE ATHLETIC: Murat Ates believes Pierre-Luc Dubois sincerely wants to test the 2024 unrestricted free agent market as was reported last week by Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman. He felt the 24-year-old Winnipeg Jets center hopes to play for the Montreal Canadiens in the long run and hasn’t been shy about expressing that within team circles.

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

I don’t think telling the Jets about his UFA plans is posturing in the slightest; I think it’s the truth,” wrote Ates. He doesn’t see them trading Dubois this summer unless they get a mind-blowing offer. He envisions the young center getting a one-year contract this summer, playing hard through 2022-23 as the Jets try to convince him to accept a longer-term deal, and trading him next summer if he doesn’t change his mind.

Under that scenario, the Jets allow Dubois’ agent to speak to other clubs about a contract extension prior to a trade. Ates doesn’t see the Canadiens or another club signing Dubois to an offer sheet this summer as the Jets can easily match it.

MONTREAL HOCKEY NOW: Prior to Ates’ report, Marco D’Amico weighed in on the possibility of Dubois being linked to the Canadiens. He recommends the Habs be patient in this situation, pointing out the Jets would seek an expensive asking price such as a top prospect like Kaiden Guhle, Calgary’s 2022 first-round pick, a center like Christian Dvorak and more. It would be better if they continue to replenish their already respectable prospect pool.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Canadiens could attempt to acquire Dubois this summer. However, the high asking price as envisioned by D’Amico isn’t worth it at this juncture when management is in the midst of rebuilding.

They could be among the suitors under Ates’ scenario for next summer. They could have more depth in promising assets to part with by that point if they want to make a competitive pitch. Then again, rather than give up assets in a trade, they could wait until free agency in 2024 to sign him if they have sufficient cap space to do so.

WHAT WILL THE CANADIENS DO WITH DADONOV?

MONTREAL HOCKEY NOW: D’Amico recently examined the Canadiens’ options to maximize the value of Evgenii Dadonov. They recently acquired the 33-year-old winger from the Vegas Golden Knights in return for sending them Shea Weber’s contract.

One option could be trading Dadonov before the free-agent market opens on July 13. That would enable them to shed his $5 million cap hit and perhaps use the savings to put toward signing a free agent or two.

Another would be laying the groundwork for a trade deadline deal. D’Amico suggested showcasing him during the season at right wing alongside Nick Suzuki and Cole Caufield.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I don’t rule out Dadonov getting moved during the offseason. However, I think he’s more likely to be shopped as a playoff rental player at next season’s trade deadline.

COULD THE DEVILS PURSUE CAMPBELL?

NEW YORK POST: Larry Brooks reports there’s chatter among NHL sources suggesting the New Jersey Devils could be in on Jack Campbell if the 30-year-old goaltender doesn’t re-sign with the Toronto Maple Leafs before the free-agent market opens on July 13.

One source speculated the Devils could try to get a head start by trading for Campbell’s rights if the Leafs can’t or won’t sign him. The idea would be offering up Mackenzie Blackwood, who struggled over the past two seasons.

The Devils might also be interested in New York Rangers goalie Alexandar Georgiev if he becomes a UFA this summer. He’d be brought in to work as part of a tandem rather than as a starting goalie.

TORONTO SUN: Terry Koshan recently reported on the possibility of the Maple Leafs starting next season with a new goalie tandem. Right now, the Leafs lack the $5 million per season to keep Campbell out of the UFA market. General manager Kyle Dubas must also find a way to shed Petr Mrazek’s contract.

Koshan observed Colorado’s Darcy Kuemper, Minnesota’s Marc-Andre Fleury and St. Louis’ Ville Husso as possible free-agent options for the Leafs. Trade targets could include Anaheim’s John Gibson, the New York Islanders’ Semyon Varlamov, the Rangers’ Alexandar Georgiev and Los Angeles’ Jonathan Quick.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Over two weeks remain for the Leafs and Campbell to work out a new contract. However, as Koshan points out, the closer they get to July 13 without a new deal, the more likely it is that Campbell tests the market.

Cap Friendly shows the Devils with over $25 million in cap space for 2022-23 with Jesper Bratt, Pavel Zacha and Miles Wood as their notable restricted free agents. They’ll have sufficient room to sign Campbell, especially if they were to ship out Blackwood and his $2.8 million cap hit to the Leafs or another club.

The Leafs could acquire Blackwood if they can find a way to shed Mrazek’s $3.8 million annual average value through 2023-24. However, I think they would see him as a backup rather than a starter.

Of those UFA options listed by Koshan, Kuemper and Husso might be willing to join the Leafs. I don’t think Fleury is keen to come to Toronto. There’s talk the Minnesota Wild wants to bring him back for another season.

As for the trade targets, Gibson shot down recent rumors claiming he wants out of Anaheim, Varlamov has a 16-team no-trade list and all seven Canadian teams could be on it, and the Kings could retain Quick after his solid performance this season. Georgiev will be available as the Rangers are believed to be seeking another backup for Igor Shesterkin.