NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 1, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 1, 2022

The Avalanche stage their Stanley Cup victory parade, the Lightning working on trading Ryan McDonagh and signing Nick Paul, the Red Wings hire Derek Lalonde as head coach, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines

THE DENVER POST/COLORADO HOCKEY NOW: The Colorado Avalanche held their Stanley Cup victory parade on June 30 in Denver. During the parade, defenseman Bowen Byram briefly jumped from the fire truck he was riding to mingle with fans along the route. He was nearly prevented from rejoining his teammates by a policeman who thought he was one of the fans.

In other highlights, head coach Jared Bednar gave an emotional speech thanking the Avalanche organization for giving him the opportunity to prove himself at the NHL level. He also praised his players and fellow coaches and thanked the fans for sticking with the club after his difficult first season in 2016-17.

Cale Makar thanked his “underappreciated” defense partner Devon Toews, Mikko Rantanen apologized for “forgetting” how to speak English following the Cup win and drank from a shoe with Artturi Lehkonen, and Nathan MacKinnon joked about finally winning something in his ninth NHL season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: In short, a good time was had by all.

SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman cites multiple sources claiming the Tampa Bay Lightning are working on a trade with Ryan McDonagh. It’s not a move they want to make but may have to for salary cap reasons. The 33-year-old defenseman is signed through 2025-26 with an annual average value of $6.75 million and a full no-trade clause.

Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Ryan McDonagh (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: McDonagh is still an effective defenseman but won’t be easy to move given his age and contract. The Bolts might have to include a draft pick or prospect to make the deal work.

They’ve also got less than two weeks to pull this off. Free agency begins on July 13 and most teams with available cap space interested in acquiring McDonagh could consider more affordable free-agent options if trade talks fall through.

TSN: Darren Dreger reports that the Lightning are closing in on a multi-year contract with Nick Paul. The 27-year-old forward was acquired from the Ottawa Senators prior to the March 21 trade deadline.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Paul’s new contract could be one reason why the cap-strapped Lightning are trying to trade McDonagh. He fit in well with the Bolts, especially during the postseason. He reportedly rejected a four-year, $10-million contract offer from the Senators before he was traded. It’ll be interesting to see what he gets from the Lightning.

DETROIT HOCKEY NOW: The Red Wings have hired Derek Lalonde as their new head coach. He spent the past four seasons as an associate coach with the Lightning and is a former ECHL coach of the year.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: We shouldn’t be surprised that Wings general manager Steve Yzerman went with a former Lightning coach. He’s the one who hired Lalonde during his tenure as the Bolts GM.

BOSTON HOCKEY NOW: A Bruins source indicated former Dallas Stars head coach Jim Montgomery could become their new bench boss. ESPN.com’s Kevin Weekes reports he’s been offered a three-year contract.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: A formal announcement could come as early as today (July 1). Montgomery spent the past two seasons as an assistant coach with the St. Louis Blues.

WINNIPEG SUN: The Jets are reportedly targeting Rick Tocchet as their new head coach. They’ve made him an offer but a deal had yet to be finalized. Tocchet is a former head coach of the Lightning and the Arizona Coyotes.

SPORTSNET: The Toronto Maple Leafs are open to trading the rights of pending UFA defenseman Ilya Mikheyev.

TSN: The Buffalo Sabres signed goaltender Craig Anderson to a one-year, $1.5 million contract. He was slated to become a UFA on July 13.

THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH: The Blues Jackets acquired gritty forward Mathieu Olivier from the Nashville Predators in exchange for a 2022 fourth-round pick that the Jackets acquired from the Toronto Maple Leafs last year.

THE DALLAS MORNING NEWS: The Stars signed goaltender Scott Wedgewood to a two-year contract extension worth $1 million per season. He’ll serve as Jake Oettinger’s backup.

SPORTSNET: Ottawa Senators defenseman Victor Mete released a statement on social media yesterday indicating he was not present at the Hockey Canada gala in 2018 that is now the focus of sexual assault allegations.

Mete, a member of Canada’s World Junior team in 2017-18, said he was deeply troubled by the allegations. He indicated he was vacationing in Jamaica with his family at the time of the alleged incident and only learned about the situation recently through media reports. He added he’d be willing to fully cooperate if requested by those investigating the matter.

Agents for NHL players Cal Foote and Dante Fabbro recently issued statements saying their clients also weren’t involved in the incident.

TSN: Speaking of the Senators, they’ve informed forward Adam Gaudette that he won’t be receiving a qualifying offer, making him an unrestricted free agent on July 13. The club also announced they’ve hired Trent Mann and Ryan Bowness (son of former Stars coach Rick Bowness) as assistant general managers.

WASHINGTON HOCKEY NOW: The Capitals have promoted Emily Engel-Natzke as their new NHL video coordinator. She becomes the first woman to be hired as part of the full-time coaching staff of an NHL club.










NHL Rumor Mill – June 25, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – June 25, 2022

Speculation is growing suggesting the Canucks could trade J.T. Miller. Could the Capitals or Penguins be among the suitors? Find out in today’s NHL rumor mill.

THE PROVINCE: Patrick Johnston cited CHEK TV’s Rick Dhaliwal reporting the Vancouver Canucks are once again listening to trade offers. He added he checked with the 29-year-old center’s representatives, who weren’t surprised by the news.

Vancouver Canucks forward J.T. Miller (NHL Images).

Miller is a year away from unrestricted free agent eligibility. He’s coming off a career-best 99-point performance this season. He carries a $5.25 million cap hit on his current contract and is in line for a big pay raise.

Johnston spoke with Canucks president of hockey operations Jim Rutherford, who indicated the club would like to keep Miller, However, he warned that it might not make sense for both sides. “We’d like to do it but we’ve got to be careful,” said Rutherford.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Miller was a fixture in this season’s rumor mill leading up to the March trade deadline. The Canucks retained him in part because they were still jockeying for a playoff berth.

It doesn’t hurt to gauge Miller’s value in the trade market but it doesn’t mean he’s certain to be moved. Nevertheless, if the cost of re-signing him proves too high or if he’d prefer to test next summer’s trade market, it’s best to move him this summer (preferably before free agency opens on July 13) when teams have the cap space and the willingness to make deals for players like him.

Better to move Miller for the best possible return now than have his eventual departure hang over the Canucks next season. It would be an unnecessary and unwelcome distraction for him and the team.

There’s no guarantee hanging onto Miller for the trade deadline will result in a better return. If he gets injured, his value plummets. If it’s a season-ending injury, they’ll at worst lose him for nothing to free agency next July or at best get a conditional draft pick if they shop his rights before the free-agent market opens.

WASHINGTON HOCKEY NOW: Sammi Silber cites Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman telling Dhaliwal that the Washington Capitals have been linked to Miller and Colorado Avalanche center Nazem Kadri. The Capitals are searching for a suitable replacement for Nicklas Backstrom, whose future is in doubt after undergoing potential career-ending hip resurfacing surgery.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Miller would be the better choice for the Capitals. He’s locked in for one more season at $5.25 million. Kadri is slated to become an unrestricted free agent on July 13 and in line for a big raise over his current $4.5 million annual average value.

Whether the Capitals can afford the Canucks’ asking price is another matter. I suspect they’ll want a first-round pick or a top prospect plus a young, promising NHL player in return.

Replacing Backstrom isn’t the only issue facing the Capitals this summer. Silber points out they need a proven starting goaltender, a scoring winger and blueline depth.

VANCOUVER HOCKEY NOW: Rob Simpson reports the New Jersey Devils have been mentioned as a suitor for Miller. They’re willing to part with their 2022 first-round pick (second overall) for the right price. He also mentioned the Pittsburgh Penguins could be interested if Evgeni Malkin departs via free agency next month.

Simpson suggested Capitals winger Conor Sheary might be enticing to the Canucks brass, as they remember him well from their days with the Penguins. The Caps also have a right-shot prospect defenseman in Coquitlam native Vincent Iorio who could interest them.

Penguins defenseman John Marino could be an attractive option for the Canucks. Winger Kasperi Kapanen could be another option.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Miller can play wing or center, which could work for the Devils in their quest for an impact player to play alongside their young forwards. However, they might prefer assurances they can re-sign Miller before parting with that second-overall pick. Otherwise, they risk losing him for nothing next summer.

As I mentioned earlier, I’m skeptical that the Capitals have enough to offer up to the Canucks for Miller. Rutherford and GM Patrik Allvin know the Penguins’ depth pretty well from their tenures there. Whether a deal can be made there, however, is another matter.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 21, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 21, 2022

The Lightning defeated the Avalanche in Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Final, the latest details on the Stars’ reported hiring of Pete DeBoer, the Canucks sign KHL star Andrei Kuzmenko, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: The Tampa Bay Lightning avenged their lopsided Game 2 loss to the Colorado Avalanche with a convincing 6-2 win in Game 3 of the 2022 Stanley Cup Final

Tampa Bay Lightning goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy (NHL Images).

A four-goal second period blew the game open for the Lightning, chasing Avalanche goaltender Darcy Kuemper after he gave up five goals on 22 shots. The Bolts also got a 37-save performance from Andrei Vasilevskiy.

Nick Paul scored what proved to be the game-winning goal in the second period after returning from a first-period injury. Steven Stamkos, Ondrej Palat and Pat Maroon each had a goal and an assist while Nikita Kucherov and Victor Hedman both collected two assists. Gabriel Landeskog scored both Avalanche goals.

Game 4 is on Wednesday in Tampa Bay with the Avalanche holding a 2-1 series lead.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: As we’ve come to expect, the Lightning once again rose to the occasion in a must-win contest. They didn’t panic when the Avalanche opened the scoring for the third straight game, pouncing on defensive miscues and playing a much more physical style to neutralize their opponent’s speed. Vasilevskiy was outstanding, shrugging off his poor performance in Game 2 and making several big saves to pick up the win.

This game got chippy as it went on. Several roughing penalties were handed out and there was a fight late in the third period between the Lightning’s Ross Colton and the Avalanche’s Logan O’Connor.

It was a potentially costly win for the Lightning as Kucherov left the game in the third period following a cross-check by Avalanche defenseman Devon Toews. No update was given on his condition following the game. They were already playing without Brayden Point, who sat out this contest after returning from a lower-body injury to play in the first two games.

The Avalanche were without forwards Nazem Kadri (thumb injury) and Andre Burakovsky (injured hand) for this game. Both are listed as day-to-day.

TSN: Pierre LeBrun reports the Dallas Stars and former Vegas Golden Knights head coach Peter DeBoer are working on a four-year contract expected to be worth over $4 million per season. The deal hasn’t been finalized and signed yet but it’s expected to be done soon.

THE PROVINCE: The Vancouver Canucks have signed KHL star Andrei Kuzmenko to a one-year contract. He’ll earn a base salary of $855K along with bonuses that could take him up to $1.95 million. The contract will be officially filed with the NHL on July 13.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kuzmenko is a 26-year-old left wing who tallied 53 points in 45 games this season with SKA St. Petersburg. He’s considered a smart, gifted playmaker. If he plays up to expectations he’ll provide offensive depth among the Canucks’ top-six scorers.

NBC SPORTS WASHINGTON: The Capitals signed forwards Brett Leason and Beck Malenstyn to two-year contracts. Leason’s is a one-way deal worth $750K in 2022-23 and $800K in 2023-24. Malenstyn’s is a two-way deal next season and a one-way deal worth $775K.

OTTAWA SUN: The Senators will play the Montreal Canadiens in two Kraft Hockeyville training-camp games in Gander, NL on Oct. 6 and Bouctouche, NB on Oct. 8.

FLORIDA HOCKEY NOW: The Panthers are reportedly interested in adding Finland’s national coach Jukka Jalonen to their coaching search.










NHL Rumor Mill – June 18, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – June 18, 2022

What’s the latest on Filip Forsberg and Jeff Petry? Could the Devils attempt to move Jesper Bratt? What will the Capitals do about their goaltending? Check out the latest in today’s NHL rumor mill.

WILL FORSBERG RE-SIGN WITH THE PREDATORS?

TSN: Chris Johnston reports the Nashville Predators would like to bring back Filip Forsberg. However, it’s not clear at this point if they’ll be able to do that. He said there hasn’t been much progress in contract extension talks since March and both sides seem entrenched in their current positions.

THE ATHLETIC: Adam Vingan recently examined three options for the Predators to replace Forsberg if he hits the open market on July 13. The bold move could be attempting a major trade to acquire David Pastrnak if he’s reluctant to sign a contract extension with the Boston Bruins.

Nashville Predators winger Filip Forsberg (NHL Images).

They could attempt to sign Valeri Nichushkin if the Colorado Avalanche winger becomes an unrestricted free agent next month. Another option is acquiring Jesse Puljujarvi from the Edmonton Oilers as a reclamation project.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Plenty of time remains for Forsberg and the Predators to work out a deal. However, if there hasn’t been any progress in talks when the calendar flips to July, the more likely it’ll be that the 27-year-old left winger goes to market.

I don’t anticipate the Bruins shopping Pastrnak as both sides seem open to working out a contract extension starting on July 13. Sure, it’s possible talks could stall and the Bruins could start listening to offers but I’d say the odds of that happening are low right now.

Nichushkin won’t replace Forsberg’s offense or star power. Nevertheless, he’d be a more affordable option and his two-way game could be a good fit in the Predators’ system.

Puljujarvi’s trade value is low right now and he could be available given the Oilers’ limited cap space. It shouldn’t cost very much to acquire him if the Predators are interested.

CANADIENS WORKING ON PETRY TRADE

TSN: Pierre LeBrun reports the Montreal Canadiens are working on trading Jeff Petry though there’s no guarantee a deal will take place. Five or six teams have expressed an interest in the 34-year-old defenseman.

The Dallas Stars are among those clubs, especially if they lose blueliner John Klingberg to free agency next month. LeBrun said it appears Klingberg could test the UFA market as there have been no contract talks of late with the Stars. The Detroit Red Wings are another potential destination.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Petry-to-Dallas speculation has been around since March when there was talk the Stars looked into acquiring him before the trade deadline. As for the Wings, they have plenty of salary-cap space to absorb the Michigan native’s $6.25 million annual cap hit through 2024-25 and are in need of experienced blueline depth.

A LOOK AT DAILY FACEOFF’S UPDATED TRADE TARGETS LIST

DAILY FACEOFF: Frank Seravalli added five new names to his NHL offseason trade targets list.

New Jersey Devils winger Jesper Bratt is the notable new name, checking in at No. 10. Seravalli noted Devils general manager Tom Fitzgerald recently said the 23-year-old winger is a big part of the club’s future. However, sources said Bratt was available at the trade deadline and there’s been no contract extension talks to this point. He also noted Fitzgerald’s pursuit of “hard skill” this summer.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Bratt completed a career-best 73-point season and is coming off his second NHL contract. Fitzgerald can take his time negotiating with him though Bratt does have arbitration rights and is in line for a big raise.

I’m skeptical that Bratt will get traded but I don’t rule it out. It will depend on what type of skill player Fitzgerald is pursuing this summer and if Bratt would be a trade chip necessary to acquire that type of player.

Speaking of the Devils, Seravalli has Mackenzie Blackwood at No. 20. There’s a sense they’re losing faith in the 25-year-old goaltender after two seasons of injury and inconsistent play. He could be a bounce-back candidate in tandem with a veteran on a deeper club with limited cap space.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Improving the goaltending depth is a must for Fitzgerald this summer. He could shop Blackwood but could also keep him as a backup to be mentored by whoever he brings in as a starter.

New York Islanders winger Anthony Beauvillier, Vegas Golden Knights defenseman Alec Martinez and Pittsburgh Penguins winger Kasperi Kapanen were also added to the list. Beauvillier came in at No. 15, Martinez at 14 and Kapanen at 18.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: These three have previously surfaced in trade speculation mostly as cost-cutting candidates.

LATEST CAPITALS SPECULATION

NBC SPORTS WASHINGTON: Andrew Gillis recently examined possible goaltending candidates for the Capitals if they part ways with Ilya Samsonov or Vitek Vanecek this summer. He suggested monitoring the New York Islanders’ Semyon Varlamov and Los Angeles Kings’ Jonathan Quick.

Both have a year remaining on their respective contracts. He also doesn’t anticipate they’ll be among the bidders for the Toronto Maple Leafs’ Jack Campbell if he tests the open market in July.

WASHINGTON HOCKEY NOW: Sammi Silber recently cited Sportsnet’s Nick Kypreos claiming the Florida Panthers are shopping starting goalie Sergei Bobrovsky hard, so much so they’re willing to retain as much as 50 percent of his $10 million annual cap hit.

Silber wondered if the Capitals would be interested. She also suggested the Capitals could prefer keeping their options open with Campbell, Colorado’s Darcy Kuemper and St. Louis’ Ville Husso possibly available via free agency.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Varlamov might approve a trade back to where his career began but I don’t see the Capitals investing in him unless they can get him signed to a contract extension. The Kings could stick with Quick for his final season before passing the full-time goalie duties to Cal Petersen.

Bobrovsky’s contract expires in 2026. Even at $5 million annually, that’s a lengthy investment in a 33-year-old goaltender who struggles at times with consistency. I think the Capitals will test their luck in the UFA market and make a cost-cutting deal if necessary to add a goalie.

WASHINGTON HOCKEY NOW: Sammi Silber cites a report out of Russia claiming Alex Ovechkin called Evander Kane earlier this season to encourage him to sign with the Capitals following his contract termination by the San Jose Sharks. Kane ultimately signed with the Edmonton Oilers.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I’m including this one just for fun. And no, I don’t see Kane signing with the Capitals. They already have a first-line left winger (hello there, Ovechkin) and they’ll likely invest their limited cap space in improving their goaltending and perhaps their blueline depth.










NHL Rumor Mill – June 14, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – June 14, 2022

Is Ducks goalie John Gibson open to a trade? Could the Canadiens trade winger Josh Anderson? What’s the latest Tyson Barrie speculation? Find out in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.

DOES GIBSON WANT OUT OF ANAHEIM?

THE HOCKEY NEWS: Steven Ellis cited a tweet by Sportsnet’s Nick Alberga claiming John Gibson has informed the Anaheim Ducks that he’s open to being dealt. The 28-year-old goaltender has five years remaining on his contract with an annual salary cap hit of $6.4 million.

Anaheim Ducks goaltender John Gibson (NHL Images).

It’s unclear where Gibson would want to play. Ellis listed the Toronto Maple Leafs, Buffalo Sabres, New Jersey Devils and Edmonton Oilers among four clubs that would be looking to address their goaltending this offseason.

WASHINGTON HOCKEY NOW: Sammi Silber believes the Capitals should at least inquire if Gibson is open to a trade. However, the Ducks would have to retain some salary to make it worthwhile for the Capitals.

TSN: Bryan Hayes reported Gibson’s agent dismissed Alberga’s report, claiming there was nothing to it and they don’t want out of Anaheim. Nevertheless, he and panelists Jamie McLennan and Jeff O’Neill didn’t rule it out. McLennan observed Gibson’s contract provides cost certainty, suggesting his stats would improve with a better team in front of him.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I don’t doubt there would be teams willing to gamble on Gibson if he and the Ducks agree it’s time to part ways. As the TSN panel observed, he’ll be in his early-30s and nearing the end of his contract when the rebuilding Ducks are ready to become contenders. He could be unwilling to waste what remains of his playing prime in that situation.

However, Gibson’s $6.4 million annual average value is a sticking point. Ducks general manager Pat Verbeek could be reluctant to retain any portion of that contract given how many years remain on his contract. There’s also his 10-team no-trade clause, which could feature some of the teams mentioned by Ellis and Silber.

I’m not suggesting there isn’t a market for Gibson. I just believe that moving him could prove easier said than done when the salary cap is only rising by $1 million for next season.

COULD THE CANADIENS SHOP JOSH ANDERSON?

MONTREAL HOCKEY NOW: Marco D’Amico recently reported Canadiens general manager Kent Hughes is getting lots of calls from some rival GMs expressing interest in Josh Anderson. The 28-year-old winger has five years left on his contract with an annual cap hit of $5.5 million.

D’Amico believes Anderson could be an excellent trade chip for the Canadiens if Hughes decides to capitalize on the power forward’s strong reputation around the league. He also cited Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman telling Oilers Now host Bob Stauffer that Anderson is a hot commodity right now.

A high-ranking NHL executive told D’Amico the Canadiens haven’t floated Anderson in trade talks. However, they are willing to listen if case a team is willing to meet their high price.

NYI HOCKEY NOW: Stefen Rosner wondered if the New York Islanders could pry Anderson away by offering up the 13th overall pick in this year’s draft. The Canadiens are pressed for cap space and Hughes could have little choice but to unload some players.

The Islanders also have limited cap space for next season. Based on that, Rosen also proposed they offer Quebec native Anthony Beauvillier ($4.15 million annually) for Anderson.

EDMONTON JOURNAL: David Staples cited Bob Stauffer suggesting to Elliotte Friedman it might be a good idea for the Oilers to acquire Anderson if they were to lose winger Evander Kane to free agency.

Friedman countered by suggesting the Oilers would be better off re-signing Kane as they lack the draft picks to meet the Canadiens’ high asking price. Failing that, he recommended finding Kane’s replacement via free agency rather than chasing players through trades.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I wouldn’t rule out the possibility of the Canadiens listening to offers for Anderson. The fact they’ve set an expensive price tag on him indicates how highly they think of him as a player and a person. Sure, Hughes could move him if someone’s willing to overpay but I doubt he’ll be upset if nobody does.

Would Hughes listen if Isles GM Lou Lamoriello offered up that first-rounder plus Beauvillier? Maybe, but we don’t know if Lamoriello is even looking at anyone on the Canadiens roster. His focus could be elsewhere.

LATEST ON TYSON BARRIE

PITTSBURGH HOCKEY NOW: Dan Kingerski suggested the Penguins should consider Tyson Barrie as a replacement for Kris Letang if the latter departs this summer via free agency. He believes the 31-year-old defenseman would fit the Penguins’ style well and would cost nearly $3 million less than the $7.25 million AAV of Letang’s current contract.

VANCOUVER HOCKEY NOW: Rob Simpson suggested Barrie could be a good fit with the Canucks. He doesn’t consider him too old at 31, believing he’d bring qualities and depth that the Canucks could use on their blueline.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Barrie is signed through 2023-24 with an annual cap hit of $4.5 million and lacking no-trade protection. Some observers suggest he could become a cost-cutting casualty for the cap-strapped Oilers. His improved play this season could have teams like the Oilers, Canucks or perhaps the Dallas Stars looking into his availability this summer.










NHL Rumor Mill – June 9, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – June 9, 2022

Updates on Johnny Gaudreau, Claude Giroux and David Pastrnak plus the latest on the Oilers in today’s NHL rumor mill.

UPDATES ON GAUDREAU, GIROUX AND PASTRNAK

TSN: Pierre LeBrun believes Johnny Gaudreau’s sincerity over his public statements that he loves playing in Calgary. He thinks the 28-year-old left winger will give the Flames a chance to sign him. However, LeBrun wouldn’t be surprised if the Gaudreau camp decides to test the unrestricted free agent market on July 13.

Calgary Flames winger Johnny Gaudreau (NHL Images).

The New Jersey Devils have been mentioned as a potential suitor for Gaudreau given their salary-cap room. LeBrun also suggested the Seattle Kraken as a bit of a wild card but they also have the cap space and could be aggressive in the UFA market.

THE ATHLETIC: Hailey Salvian included the Devils among her list of potential destinations for Gaudreau. The Philadelphia Flyers, Pittsburgh Penguins, New York Islanders and Nashville Predators are other possibilities.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I think the Flames will do all they can to keep Gaudreau in the fold. Still, you can’t blame him if he wants to consider all his options.

The Devils are an up-and-coming team in need of an established first-line winger. Gaudreau was born and raised in South Jersey. It’s only natural to assume they’d be among his pursuers.

It’s easy to dismiss the Kraken because they’re a new team still building their roster. However, general manager Ron Francis raised eyebrows by signing Philipp Grubauer and Jaden Schwartz last summer. It’s a long shot but I wouldn’t rule out the possibility of Gaudreau landing in Seattle.

I don’t see the Flyers and Islanders signing Gaudreau unless they’re prepared to clear cap space for what could be a seven-year, $70 million contract. The Penguins would have the cap room if Evgeni Malkin and Kris Letang depart via free agency The chance to play alongside Sidney Crosby could be tempting.

Predators GM David Poile could be in the market for a new left winger if he fails to get Filip Forsberg under contract. If he balks at signing Forsberg for $8.5 million annually, I don’t see him handing out up to $10 million annually for Gaudreau.

Turning to Claude Giroux, LeBrun said the 34-year-old center’s priority is re-signing with the Florida Panthers. It won’t be easy given their salary-cap limitations but they’ve informed him that they’re interested in signing him.

Failing that, he wants to find a team where he can chase the Stanley Cup but also a place for his young family.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Following Giroux’s trade to Florida, there was speculation he could sign with his hometown Ottawa Senators if he won a Cup this spring. That faded after the Panthers were eliminated in the second round. We’ll see if it gets resurrected if he goes to market in July.

BOSTON HERALD: Steve Conroy reports David Pastrnak’s agent refuted a recent report claiming his client had an issue with Bruins general manager Don Sweeney. The report cited a source close to Pastrnak saying he wouldn’t sign with the Bruins if Sweeney remain GM.

In an email to Conroy, JP Barry said he spoke with the winger and they have no idea where that story came from. “We both have a strong relationship with Don and the plan hasn’t changed one bit. We will sit down in July and begin extension negotiations.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Pastrnak is slated next summer to become a UFA. The recent firing of head coach Bruce Cassidy, uncertainty over captain Patrice Bergeron’s future and injuries sidelining Brad Marchand and Charlie McAvoy from the start of next season contributed to concerns over the club’s ability to sign the talented winger.

Barry’s remarks should alleviate some of the concern about Pastrnak’s future among Bruins fans. However, that speculation will return and grow the longer he goes unsigned over the course of this summer.

LATEST ON THE OILERS

EDMONTON JOURNAL: David Staples listed the highlights of Oilers’ general manager Ken Holland’s season wrap-up press conference on Wednesday.

Holland indicated he’s interested in bringing back Evander Kane. The 30-year-old winger meshed with Oilers captain Connor McDavid after coming to Edmonton in January as a free agent. He doesn’t know if Kane wants to return but intends to meet with him next week.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Oilers got Kane for a bargain at $2 million for this season. He’s going to want much more than that on his next contract. Finding the cap space to keep him will be challenging for Holland.

The Oilers GM appears uncertain about Jesse Puljuarvi’s future. He intends to meet with his agent, admitting he has to sort out where the 24-year-old restricted free agent winger fits into the club’s plans.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: There’s already speculation that Puljujarvi could get traded instead of re-signed this summer.

Staples’ colleague Jim Matheson wondered if the winger could be shipped to the Chicago Blackhawks for Dylan Strome, who was Connor McDavid’s former junior teammate. However, he cautions the Oilers should be careful not to give up too soon on Puljujarvi.

Montreal Hockey Now’s Jimmy Murphy suggested Puljujarvi could be a fit with the rebuilding Canadiens. Sammi Silber of Washington Hockey Now thinks the Capitals should keep an eye on the Oilers winger.

Holland indicated that salary-cap constraints will make it difficult to keep his current roster intact.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: In other words, some players who are unrestricted free agents won’t be back. There could also be one or two cost-cutting trades to free up cap room for other additions.