NHL Rumor Mill – October 29, 2020

NHL Rumor Mill – October 29, 2020

A look at possible offer-sheet targets and three teams that should try signing one of them in today’s NHL rumor mill.

SPORTSNET: Sonny Sachdeva listed New York Islanders center Mathew Barzal and Tampa Bay Lightning center Anthony Cirelli, defenseman Mikhail Sergachev and blueliner Erik Cernak among his eight restricted free agents who could become offer-sheet targets during this NHL offseason.

Could New York Islanders center Mathew Barzal become an offer-sheet target? (NHL Images)

Sachdeva’s list also includes Columbus Blue Jackets center Pierre-Luc Dubois, Dallas Stars forward Roope Hintz, Edmonton Oilers defenseman Ethan Bear and Detroit Red Wings forward Anthony Mantha.

THE SCORE: Josh Wegman believes the Nashville Predators, Columbus Blue Jackets and Florida Panthers should attempt to sign Barzal or one of those Lightning RFAs to an offer sheet. He believes it makes sense for the Predators to pony up a five-year deal worth $10.9 million annually for Barzal despite having to give up two first-round picks, a second and a third to the Islanders as compensation.

Wegman suggested the Blue Jackets attempt to sign Sergachev to a four-year contract worth an annual average value of $6.5 million, costing them a first-round pick and a third-rounder in compensation. He also proposed the Panthers target Cirelli for a five-year deal with an AAV of $8 million even though the compensation to the Lightning is a first-round pick, a second-rounder and a third-rounder.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Sachdeva and Wegman acknowledged the rarity of offer sheets and the difficulties in successfully signing away another team’s restricted free agent.

There’s no question most on Sachdeva’s list make tempting targets for offer sheets. However, I wouldn’t have included Dubois, Hintz, Bear or Mantha. Not because they’re not deserving but because I don’t believe any club would overpay to land one of those players.

Cap Friendly indicates the Red Wings have over $15 million in cap space, more than enough to match any offer for Mantha. The Blue Jackets have over $12 million available so matching for Dubois isn’t an issue. The Stars have over $4.1 million and could free up space if necessary without too much difficulty. The Oilers have only 732K in cap space but are expected to place Oscar Klefbom ($4.1 million) on LTIR.

Yes, those clubs could be reluctant to match if the offer is very expensive. A rival club could roll the dice and sign one of those players. With so many teams carrying limited cap space, this offseason would be the perfect time to try that tactic. However, I don’t see those with cap space willing to overspend under the current economic climate. That includes the Predators, Blue Jackets and Panthers.

Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – May 10, 2020

Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – May 10, 2020

More speculation over Alex Pietrangelo’s future plus some suggested blueline trade targets for the Canucks in the Sunday NHL rumor roundup.


THE SCORE: John Matisz recently examined the questions swirling around St. Louis Blues captain Alex Pietrangelo. The 30-year-old defenseman could be the best player potentially available in this year’s unrestricted free agent market.

St. Louis Blues captain Alex Pietrangelo (Photo via NHL Images).

The Blues’ limited salary-cap space means they must shed a salary or two if they intend to re-sign Pietrangelo. That could involve buying out the final year of Alex Steen’s contract ($5.75-million annual average value) and trading goaltender Jake Allen ($4.35 million). Re-signing him could be expensive, as Nashville Predators’ captain Roman Josi’s eight-year, $72.5-million contract could be used as a benchmark. Given Petrangelo’s age, a seven-or-eight year deal would be an overpayment.

If Pietrangelo goes to market, the Toronto Maple Leafs, Vegas Golden Knights, and Winnipeg Jets could be among his possible destinations. The Leafs need a right-side defenseman, but they’ve already got half their payroll tied up in a small group of players. The Golden Knights and Jets require a true No.1 defenseman.

STLTODAY.COM: In a recent live chat, Jim Thomas suggested the Colorado Avalanche, Dallas Stars, and Boston Bruins are among the Stanley Cup contenders with sufficient salary-cap space to take a run at signing Pietrangelo. He dismissed a suggestion from one reader proposing the Blues trade away Jaden Schwartz and Ivan Barbeshev because it wouldn’t free up sufficient dollars to re-sign the captain.

Even with a flat or lower salary-cap, Thomas doubts the market for Pietrangelo will be that depressed. “Boston, Colorado, Calgary, Colorado, Florida, Minnesota, Montreal all have sufficient cap room to make a run at Pietrangelo.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: A lot of clubs will have sufficient salary-cap space to make serious offers for Pietrangelo on the open market. Toronto and Vegas aren’t among them. The Leafs have nearly $77 million invested in 16 players for 2020-21, while the Golden Knights have over $73 million tied up in 15 players. Unless they dump some salary, they can’t afford Pietrangelo, who could see a long-term deal worth around $9 million annually. Even if a flat cap forced him to accept $7.5 to $8 million per season, that’s still too expensive for cap-strapped clubs like Toronto and Vegas.

The Bruins appear keen to re-sign Torey Krug, who’d be more affordable than Pietrangelo. The Flames have $64.5 million committed to 13 players, but most reports out of Calgary suggest they won’t pursue a big-ticket free agent. While the Wild ($65.2 million in 17 players) have the room, GM Bill Guerin could be reluctant to saddle himself with another big-money contract when Ryan Suter and Zach Parise already take up so much of his club’s cap space.

The Canadiens and Panthers could afford Pietrangelo, but he might not be keen to go to those markets. The Habs usually have difficulty attracting top free-agent talent, while the Panthers could shed salary if they miss the playoffs again. The Jets have room (nearly $66 million invested in 13 players), but Pietrangelo is likely too rich for their blood.

The Avalanche and Stars have the cap space, but they’re also stocked with good young blueliners. The Avs already have Cale Makar as their first-pairing right-side defenseman, while John Klingberg fills that role for the Stars.

Pietrangelo will attract plenty of interest if he becomes available, probably from several of the aforementioned clubs, and he’s going to get a lucrative deal. Finding the right fit on the roster and payroll, however, could be challenging.


THE ATHLETIC (subscription required): Harman Dayal recently proposed several trade targets to rebuild the Vancouver Canuck’s blueliner. With Chris Tanev likely to depart via free agency and Troy Stecher facing an uncertain future as a restricted free agent with arbitration rights, they must address the right side of their defense corps.

Dayal proposes realistic options such as Florida’s MacKenzie Weegar, Tampa Bay’s Erik Cernak, Washington’s Nick Jensen, and Buffalo’s Henri Jokiharju. He also suggested left-side rearguards like Edmonton’s Caleb Jones or St. Louis’ Vince Dunn if suitable right-side blueliners can’t be found.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: With nearly $64 million invested in 14 players next season, and with Tanev, Stecher, Jacob Markstrom, Tyler Toffoli, Jake Virtanen, and Tyler Motte to be re-signed or replaced, the Canucks don’t have the cap room to suitably address their blueline needs via free agency. Going the trade route for young, affordable options is the best bet.

I don’t know If those targets suggested by Dayal would be available, but they provide a template for the type of rearguard the Canucks could pursue following this season.


NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 27, 2019

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 27, 2019

The Bruins crush the Canadiens, the Flames continue an investigation into allegations of racism and abuse leveled at coach Bill Peters, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.


NHL.COM: David Pastrnak tallied a hat trick to lead the Boston Bruins to an 8-1 thumping of the Montreal Canadiens. He now has a league-leading 23 goals on the season. Teammates Brad Marchand, Charlie Coyle, and Sean Kuraly each collected three points. Canadiens goalie Carey Price was pulled early in the second period after giving up five goals on 11 shots. The Habs are winless in their last five games.

Boston Bruins winger David Pastrnak lit up the Montreal Canadiens during an 8-1 rout on Tuesday (Photo via NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Canadiens’ defensive weaknesses have been on full display over the last five games. Price can usually offset those issues, but when he’s not on his game – which he hasn’t been lately – the Habs suffer. Some pundits believe the Canadiens could pursue a big-ticket scorer like Taylor Hall. They’d be better served to shore up their blueline.

Corey Crawford turned in a 32-save shutout backstopping the Chicago Blackhawks to a 3-0 win over the Dallas Stars, snapping the latter’s seven-game winning streak. Brandon Saad, Patrick Kane, and Connor Murphy were the goal scorers.

Minnesota Wild goaltender Kaapo Kahkonen made 32 saves in his NHL debut in a 3-2 victory over the New Jersey Devils. Ryan Suter’s broke a 2-2 tie in the third period as the Wild extended their points streak to seven games.


CALGARY SUN: Bill Peters will not be behind the Flames’ bench when they face off tonight against the Buffalo Sabres. Management is investigating allegations of racism and abuse leveled at Peters by two former NHL players.

Akim Aliu said Peters hurled racist remarks at him when the two were with the AHL’s Rockford Icehogs in 2009-10. On Tuesday, Michal Jordan claimed Peters kicked and punched him from behind on the bench during a game in 2015-16 when they were with the Carolina Hurricanes. Both incidents have been confirmed by multiple sources.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: At one point yesterday there was a report claiming the Flames had fired Peters, but the club quickly denied it. Nevertheless, there’s a growing sense among the punditry that management could have little choice but to relieve him of his duties.

Jordan’s allegation is also raising questions over the handling of his situation by the Hurricanes management and coaching staff at the time. That includes current head coach Rod Brind’Amour, who was an assistant under Peters when the incident allegedly took place. Brind’Amour declined to comment.

The Peters situation comes on the heels of allegations of abusive behavior leveled at former Toronto Maple Leafs coach Mike Babcock following his firing last week. Some observers believe this could be the start of a culture shift as players speak out against the abuse by so-called old-school coaches.

LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL: Vegas Golden Knights goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury left the team yesterday for Quebec because of a family illness.

LOS ANGELES TIMES: Kings defenseman Alex Martinez is expected to make a full recovery following surgery for a wrist laceration suffered during Monday’s 4-3 loss to the San Jose Sharks.

THE DETROIT NEWS: Red Wings forward Anthony Mantha will be sidelined at least two weeks with a lower-body injury.

WINNIPEG SUN: Jets defenseman Nathan Beaulieu is sidelined seven-to-ten days with an upper-body injury.

TAMPA BAY TIMES: Lightning defenseman Erik Cernak received a two-game suspension for elbowing Buffalo Sabres blueliner Rasmus Dahlin, who’s sidelined with a concussion.

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 26, 2019

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 26, 2019

Flames coach Bill Peters accused of making racial slurs to a former player, Henrik Lundqvist reaches another milestone victory, former Leafs coach Mike Babcock criticized for bullying tactics, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.


NHL.COM: The Pittsburgh Penguins extended their points streak to five games with a 3-2 win over the Calgary Flames. Jake Guentzel netted the winning goal in overtime. Penguins defenseman Kris Letang returned to the lineup for the first time since suffering an undisclosed ailment on Nov. 4.

During the game, former NHL player Akim Aliu took to Twitter insinuating Flames coach Bill Peters uttered racial slurs at him when the two were in the minors a decade ago. Flames general manager Brad Treliving said the club will make a complete investigation before commenting on Aliu’s comments.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Aliu didn’t directly name Peters but referred to the Calgary airport code. He played for Peters on the AHL’s Rockford IceHogs in 2009-10. That’s when the former defenseman claims the remarks were made.

New York Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist picked up his 455th career victory by downing the Minnesota Wild 3-2 (Photo via NHL Images).

New York Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist picked up his 455th career win as his club edged the Minnesota Wild 3-2. He moved into fifth place on the all-time wins list. Tony DeAngelo scored the winner in overtime. During the game, Minnesota Wild winger Mats Zuccarello was given a video tribute and a nice ovation by Rangers fans. Zuccarello spent nearly nine seasons with the Blueshirts.

The Dallas Stars tied a franchise record with their seventh straight win as they doubled up the Vegas Golden Knights 4-2. Alexander Radulov scored twice and set up another as the Stars extended their points streak to 12 games. Stars defenseman John Klingberg collected three assists.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: After dropping eight of their first name games, the Stars have roared back in November. They now sit third overall in the Western Conference.

Anaheim Ducks goaltender John Gibson made 26 saves to blank the New York Islanders 3-0, snapping the latter’s franchise-record 17-game points streak. It’s the Isles’ first regulation loss since Oct. 11. Ryan Getzlaf had a goal and an assist for the Ducks.

Shorthanded third-period goals by Cedric Paquette and Ondrej Palat carried the Tampa Bay Lightning to a 5-2 victory over the Buffalo Sabres. Palat also collected two assists. Lightning defenseman Erik Cernak will have a hearing with the NHL department of player safety for elbowing Sabres defenseman Rasmus Dahlin, who left the game with a concussion.

Jakub Voracek scored the tie-breaking goal as the Philadelphia Flyers nipped the Vancouver Canucks 2-1. Sean Couturier also tallied for the Flyers, while J.T. Miller scored for the Canucks, who’ve won just three of their last 11 contests. Earlier in the day, the Canucks announced winger Antoine Roussel (knee injury) was heading to their AHL affiliate in Utica for a conditioning stint.

Columbus Blue Jackets goaltender Joonas Korpisalo turned in a 25-save shutout in a 1-0 win over the Ottawa Senators. Oliver Bjorkstrand netted the game’s only goal.

The Nashville Predators blew a 2-0 lead but went on to down the St. Louis Blues 3-2 on shootout goals by Filip Forsberg and Daniel Carr. Blues goaltender Jake Allen made 37 saves. Winger Troy Brouwer finally made his season debut with the Blues following a wait for his work visa to be approved.

After blowing a 3-0 lead, the San Jose Sharks defeated the Los Angeles Kings 4-3 on an unassisted overtime tally by Patrick Marleau. Timo Meier also scored twice for the Sharks.


Boston Bruins winger Brad Marchand, Edmonton Oilers center Connor McDavid, and New York Islanders forward Brock Nelson are the NHL’s three stars for the week ending Nov. 24, 2019.

TORONTO SUN: Former Maple Leafs coach Mike Babcock is under criticism for his treatment of winger Mitch Marner during the latter’s rookie season. Babcock asked Marner to rank his teammates based on their work output, then shared the results with his teammates. The players were reportedly more upset with Babcock than they were with Marner. Babcock confirmed the story to Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman, claiming he was trying to focus on work ethic and role models with Marner and apologized at the time.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Babcock also came under fire from former NHL players Mike Commodore and Mark Fraser. They claim most of the players who skated for the long-time NHL coach hated him, as he used his power to turn teammates against each other. The emerging stories have dimmed some of the luster from Babcock’s otherwise stellar NHL record.

SPORTSNET: Speaking of the Leafs, center Alexander Kerfoot received a two-game suspension for boarding Colorado Avalanche defenseman Erik Johnson.

NBC SPORTS BOSTON: Bruins center Patrick Bergeron will be sidelined for two games with a lingering lower-body injury.

YARDBARKER: The Florida Panthers demoted goaltender Sam Montembeault to their AHL affiliate in Springfield.

NJ.COM: Tom Fitzgerald has stepped away from his assistant coach duties with the New Jersey Devils and returned to his position as their assistant general manager.