NHL Rumor Mill – March 24, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – March 24, 2022

Could Claude Giroux join the Senators in the offseason? Why didn’t the Coyotes trade Jakob Chychrun and Phil Kessel at the deadline? What other interesting tidbits emerged from the recent trade deadline? Find out in today’s NHL rumor mill.

COULD GIROUX JOIN THE SENATORS THIS SUMMER?

SPORTSNET: In his latest “32 Thoughts”, Elliotte Friedman said he believes Florida Panthers forward Claude Giroux “is doing his research” on the Ottawa Senators. He adds there’s no guarantee it happens.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This isn’t the first time speculation has surfaced linking Giroux, an Ottawa native, to the Senators. It’s easy to dismiss the notion of the 34-year-old joining the Senators at this stage in his career given the club’s difficulties emerging from its much-ballyhooed rebuild. Still, never say never.

WHY DIDN’T THE COYOTES MOVE CHYCHRUN OR KESSEL ON DEADLINE DAY?

GOPHNX.COM: Craig Morgan reports no team will willing to meet the high asking price Arizona Coyotes general manager Bill Armstrong set for defenseman Jakob Chychrun. Armstrong hinted some of the teams he was dealing with had the pieces to make the deal but they didn’t want to break apart their rosters. He anticipates greater trade opportunities for the 23-year-old blueliner this summer, expressing his willingness to listen to offers.

Arizona Coyotes defenseman Jakob Chychrun (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Ottawa Sun’s Bruce Garrioch reported Armstrong’s price tag for Chychrun kept changing, settling on three first-round picks and a high-end prospect. Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman claimed the return the Montreal Canadiens received from the Florida Panthers for Ben Chiarot drove up the Coyotes’ asking price.

The Athletic’s Pierre LeBrun mentioned the Los Angeles Kings and Boston Bruins among the suitors. The latter might not be among those calling about Chychrun this summer given their acquisition and signing of Hampus Lindholm on Sunday.

Morgan reports Phil Kessel wanted a trade to a playoff contender since the start of this season and his camp wasn’t happy that a deal failed to materialize. The Coyotes’ $6.8 million share of his $8 million annual average value was the sticking point, as retaining half of it would’ve left an acquiring team picking up $3.4 million. Teams weren’t willing to acquire that hit. The Coyotes weren’t able to retain any more salary after doing so to ship Johan Larsson to the Washington Capitals.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: As Morgan observes, Kessel’s next chance to join a playoff contender will be this summer as an unrestricted free agent. He’ll have to accept a significant pay cut to do so.

MORE RUMOR TIDBITS FROM FRIEDMAN’S LATEST “32 THOUGHTS”

SPORTSNET: Regarding the possibility of the Vegas Golden Knights trading Evgenii Dadonov to a non-playoff club following the deadline, league bylaws prevent him from playing for the remainder of the season. Friedman speculates the Arizona Coyotes could be a trade partner if they’re not blocked by the league. The Seattle Kraken could be another given their cap room.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Bear in mind Dadonov wouldn’t be a rental player. He’s signed through next season with an annual cap hit of $5 million.

The Montreal Canadiens could be an offseason destination for Colin White. Canadiens GM Kent Hughes is White’s former agent and negotiated the 25-year-old center’s current contract with the Ottawa Senators. The Habs and Senators had some trade conversations before the trade deadline.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: White struggled in the two seasons following his 41-point performance in 2018-19. He was sidelined most of this season with a dislocated shoulder. Perhaps a change of scenery will help him regain his promising form. He’s signed through 2024-25 with an annual average value of $4.75 million.

Zdeno Chara drew lots of interest at the trade deadline. New York Islanders GM Lou Lamoriello kept his promise to Chara and Andy Greene that they would finish the season with the club.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The 45-year-old Chara is an unrestricted free agent this summer. Perhaps one of those interested clubs will try to sign him if he doesn’t opt for retirement.

Seattle Kraken defenseman Carson Soucy drew a lot of attention but the club resisted all inquiries.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Soucy has a year remaining on his contract. The Kraken could attempt to sign him this summer to an extension if they see him as a key part of their future.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 25, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 25, 2022

Zdeno Chara sets record for defensemen, Zach Parise reaches a scoring milestone, the Predators retire Pekka Rinne’s number, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: The New York Islanders’ Zdeno Chara surpassed Chris Chelios for most games (1,652) by an NHL defenseman but his club dropped a 4-3 shootout decision to the San Jose Sharks. Isles winger Zach Parise also reached a personal milestone by tallying his 400th career NHL regular-season goal. Logan Couture netted the winning goal for the Sharks (52 points), who sit seven points behind the Edmonton Oilers for the final wild-card berth in the Western Conference.

New York Islanders defenseman Zdeno Chara (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Congratulations to Chara and Parise on their respective achievements in what could be their final NHL seasons. Both are now well past their playing prime and could face retirement following this season.

A shootout goal by Mikael Granlund gave the Nashville Predators a 2-1 victory over the Dallas Stars after they honored former goaltender Pekka Rinne by retiring his jersey No. 35 in a pre-game ceremony. Rinne’s successor, Juuse Saros, made 27 saves for the win as the Predators opened a six-point lead over the Oilers in the first Western wild-card berth with 64 points. The Stars (59 points) sit just behind the Oilers.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Winner of the Vezina Trophy in 2018 and a two-time All-Star, Rinne retired at the end of last season as the Predators’ all-time leader in games played (683), wins (369), save percentage (.921), goals-against average (2.43) and shutouts (60).

J.T. Miller scored twice and added two assists while Thatcher Demko made 29 saves as the Vancouver Canucks thumped the Calgary Flames 7-1, snapping the latter’s 10-game win streak. Elias Pettersson and Bo Horvat each tallied two goals as the Canucks (56 points) moved within three points of the Oilers. The Flames remain atop the Pacific Division with 66 points.

Toronto Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews scored twice to take over the NHL goal-scoring lead (36) in a 3-1 victory over the Minnesota Wild to snap a three-game losing skid. Petr Mrazek kicked out 29 shots while Mitch Marner collected two assists. With 70 points, the Leafs sit two points behind the second-place Tampa Bay Lightning in the Atlantic Division. The Wild remain in third place in the Central with 65 points, one behind the St. Louis Blues. Leafs winger Ilya Mikheyev left the game early with a non-COVID-related illness.

The Boston Bruins got a two-goal performance by Jake DeBrusk, including the winning goal in overtime, to down the Seattle Kraken 3-2. Charlie McAvoy collected two assists while Linus Ullmark stopped 25 shots. Bruins winger Brad Marchand was held scoreless in his return from a six-game suspension. The Bruins hold the final Eastern Conference playoff spot with 64 points, one behind the Washington Capitals. The Kraken has dropped six straight games.

Speaking of the Capitals, they suffered a 4-1 defeat at the hands of the New York Rangers. Igor Shesterkin turned aside 36 shots for the Rangers while teammates Mika Zibanejad and Alexis Lafreniere each had a goal and an assist. Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin netted his 32nd goal of the season. The Rangers sit in second place in the Metropolitan Division with 71 points, three behind the division-leading Carolina Hurricanes.

Patrik Laine scored a goal to extend his points streak to 11 games as his Columbus Blue Jackets upset the Florida Panthers 6-3. Oliver Bjorkstrand, Jakub Voracek and Jack Roslovic each collected two points for the Jackets while J-F Berube made 39 saves for the win. The Jackets have won four straight games and sit nine points behind the Bruins. The Panthers remain atop the Eastern Conference with 75 points.

Speaking of upsets, the New Jersey Devils rolled to a 6-1 victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins. Jesper Bratt, Nico Hischier and Jack Hughes each collected three points while Nico Daws turned in a 37-save performance for the Devils. The Penguins sit one point behind the Rangers in the Metro Division.

IN OTHER NEWS…

NEWSOBSERVER.COM: Carolina Hurricanes defenseman Tony DeAngelo will be sidelined for at least a month with an upper-body injury. It appears he injured his midsection during a game against the Philadelphia Flyers on Monday.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: DeAngelo was enjoying a solid bounce-back performance with the Hurricanes. Skating for much of the season alongside Jaccob Slavin, he’s third among Hurricanes scorers with 40 points.

THE ATHLETIC: Daniel Kaplan reports Evander Kane described his professional prospects beyond this season as “uncertain” and his pending contract grievance with the San Jose Sharks as “unclear” in a recent court filing in his ongoing bankruptcy case.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The NHL Players Association reportedly filed a grievance on Kane’s behalf three weeks ago over the Sharks terminating his contract. A date for a hearing has yet to be determined.

FOX 13 SEATTLE: The Kraken placed winger Jared McCann (upper body) on injured reserve. He’s their leading scorer with 21 goals and 33 points in 48 games.

NHL.COM: Toronto Maple Leafs winger Michael Bunting was fined $2,000.00 by the department of player safety for diving/embellishment during a recent game against the Pittsburgh Penguins.

TSN: The Dallas Stars claimed forward Martin Studenic off waivers from the New Jersey Devils.










NHL Rumor Mill – February 23, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – February 23, 2022

Will the loss of Jake Muzzin send the Leafs into the trade market? Could Zdeno Chara be shipped to a playoff contender? What is the latest on the Canadiens? Check out the latest in today’s NHL rumor mill.

LATEST ON THE LEAFS

TSN: Darren Dreger points out the Toronto Maple Leafs could free up over $5.6 million in salary-cap space if sidelined defenseman Jake Muzzin (concussion) ends up on long-term injured reserve (LTIR). Dreger suggested options such as the Anaheim Ducks’ Hampus Lindholm, the Dallas Stars’ John Klingberg, the Montreal Canadiens’ Ben Chiarot or the Seattle Kraken’s Mark Giordano, though he called them “pie in the sky options” right now. He also said the Leafs would like to add a top-six forward to compliment the second line.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: We don’t know yet how long Muzzin could be sidelined. If he goes on LTIR, there’s no certainty he’d be out for the remainder of the regular season. He’d have to be for the Leafs to take on one of those blueliners without it causing a salary-cap headache if he returns before the postseason.

Dreger’s colleague Pierre LeBrun indicated the Ducks have reached out to Lindholm’s agent regarding a contract extension so he might not be available by the March 21 trade deadline. Sportnet’s Elliotte Friedman (stick tap to The Hockey Writers’ Kevin Armstrong) recently said the Leafs had considered Klingberg but they don’t want to part with a first-round pick or one of their top prospects for a rental.

Dallas Stars defenseman John Klingberg (NHL Images).

Speaking of Friedman, he thinks things could get interesting for Leafs general manager Kyle Dubas if he’s willing to use that LTIR space. “I’m on the J.T. Miller train,” said Friedman, referring to the Vancouver Canucks center. Miller wouldn’t be a playoff rental as he has a year remaining on his contract with an annual average value of $5.25 million. However, I don’t think they could win a bidding war with teams like the New York Rangers that have lots of cap space and promising young players to draw upon for trade bait.

CHARA ON THE TRADE BLOCK?

TSN: Pierre LeBrun reports teams are calling the New York Islanders expressing interest in Zdeno Chara. The 44-year-old New York Islanders defenseman lacks a no-trade clause but it’s though GM Lou Lamoriello could approach him to see if he wants to move.

NYI HOCKEY NOW: Stefen Rosner cites a league source claiming the Islanders will explore the trade market for Chara once he breaks the league record for most games played by a defenseman later this week. Rosner wonders if Chara could return to the Boston Bruins or if the Pittsburgh Penguins and Toronto Maple Leafs might take a flier on him.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Chara has slowed considerably but there appear to be clubs interested in him for his leadership in a third-pairing role. It’ll be interesting to see if he’s keen for one more crack at the Cup.

LATEST ON THE CANADIENS

MONTREAL HOCKEY NOW: Jimmy Murphy cites Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman recently musing over whether the Montreal Canadiens would consider trading Josh Anderson. Friedman said he’s getting mixed reactions over whether the Canadiens will keep the 27-year-old winger. Murphy feels they should retain Anderson, suggesting he has the look of a future Habs captain.

Marco D’Amico, meanwhile, took note of recent speculation by TSN’s Pierre LeBrun linking the Canadiens to the New York Rangers, citing the ties Canadiens hockey ops executive VP Jeff Gorton has with his former team. LeBrun felt the Habs would prefer prospects over draft picks and pointed out the Rangers’ depth in that department.

D’Amico suggested Vitali Kravtsov could be on their radar, pointing to the Habs’ recent hiring of former Rangers director of European Scouting Nick Bobrov as their new co-director of Amateur Scouting.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Judging from social media, trading Anderson wouldn’t go down well with Canadiens fans. I wouldn’t be surprised if the Habs are listening to offers on most of their players but Anderson could be someone they prefer retaining going forward. Then again, I said the same thing about Tyler Toffoli. Anderson, however, is younger and bigger than Toffoli and those factors could keep him in Montreal.

It wouldn’t be surprising if the Canadiens acquired Kravtsov, who’s been playing in the KHL this season awaiting a trade. The 22-year-old was unhappy with his playing time with the Rangers and would get plenty of opportunities to prove himself with the rebuilding Habs.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 23, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 23, 2022

Zdeno Chara reaches a milestone, the Predators drop the Panthers, Patrik Laine extends his points streak as his Blue Jackets upset the Leafs, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: Zdeno Chara tied Chris Chelios for most games played by an NHL defenseman (1,651) as his New York Islanders sunk the Seattle Kraken 5-2. Zach Parise scored two goals and collected an assist for the Islanders while Chara collected an assist while logging 20:15 of ice time. The Kraken has dropped five straight games.

New York Islanders defenseman Zdeno Chara (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Chara can break the record when the Islanders face off against the San Jose Sharks on Thursday.

The Nashville Predators scored three straight third-period goals to overcome a 4-3 deficit and defeat the Florida Panthers 6-4, snapping the latter’s nine-game home winning streak. Tanner Jeannot scored twice, Filip Forsberg had a goal and two assists and Roman Josi netted a goal and picked up an assist as the Predators (62 points) hold a three-point lead over the Los Angeles Kings for the first wild-card spot in the Western Conference. Jonathan Huberdeau and Sam Reinhart each finished the night with two points for the Panthers, who sit atop the Eastern Conference with 75 points.

Patrik Laine scored twice, including the game-winner in overtime, to extend his points streak to 10 games as the Columbus Blue Jackets upset the Toronto Maple Leafs 4-3. Auston Matthews had a goal and two assists for the Leafs, who are 0-2-1 in their last three contests but remain in third place in the Atlantic Division with 68 points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Some observers are raising concerns about the Leafs’ goaltending as Jack Campbell and Petr Mrazek gave up 15 goals over the last three games. However, they haven’t been helped by their teammates’ sloppy defensive play around their net. It’s an ongoing issue that could get worse with Jake Muzzin in concussion protocol for the second time this season. That’s sparking speculation the Leafs could go shopping for help if Muzzin ends up on long-term injury reserve. I’ll have more about that in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.

St. Louis Blues goaltender Jordan Binnington made 25 saves for his first win since Jan. 9 as he backstopped his club to a 4-1 victory over the Philadelphia Flyers. Ivan Barbashev had a goal and an assist and Vladimir Tarasenko potted the winning goal. With 66 points, the Blues moved one point ahead of the Minnesota Wild into second place in the Central Division.

Speaking of the Wild, they were upset by the Ottawa Senators 4-3. Thomas Chabot scored twice for the Senators (including the winning goal) and collected an assist while Anton Forsberg got the win with a 40-save performance.

A shootout goal by Trevor Zegras lifted the Anaheim Ducks over the San Jose Sharks 4-3. Rickard Rakell scored twice, including the game-tying goal, as the Ducks sit just outside the final Western Conference wild-card spot with 59 points. Brent Burns had a three-point performance and Logan Couture scored twice for the Sharks, who sit nine points behind the Ducks and Kings.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Keep an eye on the Sharks as the trade deadline approaches if they don’t gain any ground in the playoff chase. They’re getting closer to becoming sellers and that will stoke rumors over the fate of pending free agent center Tomas Hertl’s future in San Jose.

HEADLINES

TSN: Arizona Coyotes winger Andrew Ladd will miss the next four-to-six weeks with a lower-body injury.

NHL.COM: Speaking of the Coyotes, they made a minor trade with the Boston Bruins by shipping them the rights to college defenseman Michael Callahan in exchange for a seventh-round pick in 2024.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Coyotes general manager Bill Armstrong has been busy in the trade market. This was the third trade he’s made since Feb. 19, acquiring Nick Ritchie from the Leafs and also shipping goalie Carter Hutton to Toronto.

THE ATHLETIC: Former Anaheim Ducks general manager Bob Murray has reportedly joined the Calgary Flames as a scout.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Murray resigned from the Ducks last fall amid reports he’d mistreated his employees. He indicated at the time of his resignation that he was entering an alcohol abuse program. Here’s hoping he got the help he needed and gets his career back on track.

CBS SPORTS: The Philadelphia Flyers placed forward Derick Brassard (hip) on injured reserve.

Nashville Predators defenseman Mark Borowiecki is day-to-day with a lower-body injury.

THE DETROIT NEWS: Former Red Wings defenseman Vladimir Konstantinov has joined opponents of Michigan’s 2019 auto no-fault insurance law in criticizing a fee cut that would slash payments to medical providers almost in half. Konstantinov was left permanently disabled following a limousine crash in 1997. He stands to lose the round-the-clock care he’s received at home for near 25 years.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 24, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 24, 2021

The Flames expand their lead in the Western Conference, Connor McDavid’s point streak comes to an end, Steven Stamkos reaches a milestone and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: The Calgary Flames (29 points) opened a three-point lead over the Edmonton Oilers atop the Western Conference by defeating the Chicago Blackhawks 5-2. Matthew Tkachuk broke a 2-2 tie in the third period while Trevor Lewis and Johnny Gaudreau put the game out of reach. The Flames have won four straight.

Tampa Bay Lightning center Steven Stamkos (NHL Images).

Speaking of the Oilers, they were beaten 4-1 by the Dallas Stars, snapping Connor McDavid’s point streak at 17 games. Stars defenseman John Klingberg collected three assists while teammate Roope Hintz had a goal and an assist. Oilers defenseman Duncan Keith left the game midway through the second period with an upper-body injury.

Andrei Vasilevskiy had a 34-save shutout and Steven Stamkos scored a goal and set up two others as the Tampa Bay Lightning blanked the Philadelphia Flyers 4-0. Stamkos became the seventh active player to tally at least three points in a game 80 times in their career.

HEADLINES

TAMPA BAY TIMES: Lightning center Brayden Point will be sidelined for four to six weeks with an upper-body injury.

NEW YORK POST: The Islanders have seven players in COVID protocol as Zdeno Chara became the latest to receive a positive test. Chara joins Josh Bailey, Anders Lee, Ross Johnston, Adam Pelech, Andy Greene and Kieffer Bellows.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This is the third team to suffer a COVID-19 outbreak since late October. The San Jose Sharks also had seven players and a coach sidelined while the Ottawa Senators had three games postponed last week with 10 players and a coach waylaid by the coronavirus. All the players were fully vaccinated.

The Sharks didn’t have any games postponed and there’s no indication yet if the Isles’ schedule will require any changes. This will also stoke concern over the possibility of the NHL pulling out of participating in the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics. The league has until Jan. 10, 2022, to make that decision.

The Islanders got additional bad news yesterday when they announced leading scorer Brock Nelson will be out two to four weeks with an undisclosed lower-body injury.

TWINCITIES.COM: Minnesota Wild defenseman Jared Spurgeon is listed as week-to-week following a lower-body injury suffered during a recent game against the Florida Panthers.

MONTREAL GAZETTE: Canadiens defenseman Brett Kulak will miss the club’s upcoming three-game road trip with a lower-body injury.

DETROIT HOCKEY NOW: Injuries will keep Red Wings defenseman Troy Stecher (wrist) and center Mitchell Stephens (lower body) on the shelf until after the February Olympic break.

NORTHJERSEY.COM: The New Jersey Devils officially unveiled their third jersey yesterday. Designed by former Devils great Martin Brodeur, it is a black jersey with the “Jersey” on the front.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The unveiling was spoiled when photos of the third jersey were leaked the day prior. The reaction seemed mixed on social media with some folks liking it, some hating it and some amused by the name on the front, sparking a good-natured reply from the Devils.

HOCKEY HALL OF FAME: Mike Gartner takes over as chair of the Hockey Hall of Fame selection committee while Cammi Granato joins the 18-member committee. Gartner replaces John Davidson, who is retiring from the position on Dec. 31.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 11, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 11, 2021

The Rangers sign Mika Zibanejad to a lucrative contract extension, Zdeno Chara and Zach Parise officially sign with the Islanders, a large number of players hit the waiver wire, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NEW YORK POST: The Rangers yesterday announced Mika Zibanejad signed an eight-year contract extension worth $68 million. The annual average value is $8.5 million. This deal will keep Zibanejad with the Rangers until he’s 36. By keeping his AAV under $9 million, it provided the Blueshirts with some cap flexibility to re-sign key players such as Adam Fox in the near future.

New York Rangers center Mika Zibanejad (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Post’s Larry Brooks indicated Zibanejad’s new deal is a little longer than Rangers’ management preferred. However, it was necessary to reach that $8.5 million cap hit as he likely would’ve received up to $10 million annually on the open market. As per Cap Friendly, they now have over $62 million invested in 16 players for 2022-23 with Fox, Ryan Strome, Kaapo Kakko and Alexandar Georgiev among the notables slated for new contracts next summer.

Zibanejad thrived since being traded to the Rangers in 2016, including a career-best 41 goals and 75 points in 57 games in 2019-20. He had a slow start last season following a bout of COVID-19 but finished strong with 50 points in 56 contests.

This signing should also take the Rangers out of the Jack Eichel sweepstakes. I’ll have more on that in today’s Rumor Mill. Brooks believes the only way it happens is if the Sabres retain 40-50 percent of Eichel’s $10 million AAV which isn’t going to happen.

DAILY FACEOFF: The New York Islanders officially announced the signings of Zdeno Chara and Zach Parise. They’re both on one-year, one-way contracts with an annual average value of $1.5 million. They’ll receive a base salary of $750K plus $750K in bonuses.

Frank Seravalli reported Erik Gustafsson has returned to the Chicago Blackhawks. The 29-year-old defenseman signed a one-year deal believed to be worth $800K.

Forty-three players hit the waiver wire yesterday. Vancouver Canucks defenseman Travis Hamonic and Edmonton Oilers forward Kyle Turris are the two notable names on that list.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Hamonic was absent from the Canucks training camp and preseason for reasons related to the NHL’s vaccination protocols. Unvaccinated players face restrictions that could prevent them from participating in road games, which could also result in them being suspended without pay.

There was talk of the Canucks attempting to trade Hamonic. He’s on a two-year, $6 million contract with an eight-team no-trade clause.

THE PROVINCE: Speaking of the Canucks, they traded defenseman Olli Juolevi to the Florida Panthers for defenseman Noah Juulsen and forward Juho Lammiko.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s a trade of young players who failed to pan out with their previous teams. Injuries also hampered the development of Juolevi and Juulsen. The latter is now on his third team in two seasons.

THE SCORE: Vegas Golden Knights president of hockey operations George McPhee accused player agent Allan Walsh of attempting to sabotage efforts to trade Marc-Andre Fleury by telling other clubs his client was considering retirement.

McPhee praised Golden Knights general manager Kelly McCrimmon’s handling of the situation. While acknowledging Fleury learned of his trade to the Chicago Blackhawks on social media, McPhee said they spoke with the goalie’s camp leading up to the deal. They stopped communicating with them when Walsh started telling other clubs Fleury planned to retire.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’ll be interesting to hear Walsh’s side of the story. The agent generated some controversy during the 2020 playoffs by posting an image on Twitter of Fleury with a photoshopped sword running through his back and head coach Pete DeBoer’s name on the blade. The suggestion was DeBoer stabbed his client in the back by giving Robin Lehner more playing time in the postseason. That image was removed at Fleury’s request.

SPORTSNET: New Jersey Devils goaltender Mackenzie Blackwood returned to practice yesterday after clearing all COVID-19 protocols. He’d received an inconclusive COVID test on Thursday. He said he “still has some things to do” before deciding one way or the other on getting vaccinated, “but I’m probably going to be getting the shot in the next couple of weeks.” He’s the only unvaccinated member of the Devils.

TSN: Speaking of the Devils, they signed forward Jimmy Vesey to a one-year, $800K contract.

NBC SPORTS WASHINGTON: Capitals head coach Peter Laviolette indicated captain Alex Ovechkin is day-to-day with a lower-body injury. He doesn’t consider it serious, suggesting the 36-year-old winger could be in the lineup for their season opener on Wednesday against the New York Rangers.

THE DENVER POST: The Avalanche signed defenseman Jack Johnson to a one-year, $750K contract.

SPORTSNET: Ottawa Senators forward Austin Watson is expected to be sidelined roughly four weeks with an injured ankle.

TRIBLIVE.COM: Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Mark Friedman was fined $1,812.50 for spearing Columbus Blue Jackets forward Sean Kuraly during Saturday’s preseason game.

Former NHL forward Frans Nielsen signed with DEL club Eisbaren Berlin. The 37-year-old center tallied 473 points in 925 career NHL games with the New York Islanders and Detroit Red Wings.