NHL Rumor Mill – May 20, 2023

NHL Rumor Mill – May 20, 2023

Who could become the next general manager of the Leafs? Where could former Leafs GM Kyle Dubas end up? Check out the latest in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.


SPORTSNET: Sonny Sachdeva looked at potential replacements for former Toronto Maple Leafs general manager Kyle Dubas. He noted that team president Brendan Shanahan indicated that he’ll be open-minded in his search but will put the onus on experience.

Shanahan intends to rely heavily on assistant GM Brandon Pridham as the club conducts its search. He confirmed that Pridham will be in the running for the job.

Former Calgary Flames general manager Brad Treliving (NHL.com)

Sachdeva wondered if Brad Treliving might be among the candidates. He stepped down last month from the Calgary Flames after nearly a decade as their general manager.

TORONTO SUN: Pridham and Treliving are also among Terry Koshan’s list of potential candidates. Former Montreal Canadiens general manager Marc Bergevin, Carolina Hurricanes assistant general manager Eric Tulsky, former Boston Bruins and Edmonton Oilers GM Peter Chiarelli, Tampa Bay Lightning assistant GM Mathieu Darche, and former Chicago Blackhawks GM Stan Bowman were among other notables on his list.

DAILY FACEOFF: Matt Larkin’s list included Detroit Red Wings assistant GM Kris Draper, Edmonton Oilers assistant GM Steve Staios and Ray Whitney, who spent over half a decade as a director for the department of player safety and narrowly lost out to Mike Grier for the role of San Jose Sharks general manager.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It would make sense to promote Pridham given his experience with the Leafs organization. If Shanahan opts for someone else, perhaps Tulsky, Darche, Draper, Staios or Whitney would be better choices to bring a fresh perspective to the job.

Whoever gets the job faces some big questions that must be addressed soon.

Do they replace head coach Sheldon Keefe and his staff?

Do they shake up the “Core Four” (Auston Matthews, John Tavares, Mitch Marner and William Nylander) by trading one of them? Will they re-sign Matthews and Nylander to contract extensions or trade one of them or maybe put both on the block? Will it be Mitch Marner who becomes a trade chip?

Can they make oft-injured goalie Matt Murray’s contract disappear? How will they replace their unrestricted free agents if Ryan O’Reilly and Michael Bunting hit the open market?

Who do you want to see as your club’s new general manager, Leafs fans? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.


THE HOCKEY NEWS: Nick Horwat suggests not closing the door on the speculation linking Dubas to the Pittsburgh Penguins earlier in the postseason. While the now-former Leafs GM said earlier this week that he’d step away for a while if he didn’t return with Toronto, his firing by Shanahan could leave the door ajar for the Penguins if he’s interested.

THE ATHLETIC: Kevin Kurz wonders if Dubas might be a match for the New York Islanders given the uncertainty over Lou Lamoriello’s future as their general manager. Dubas and Lamoriello have a good relationship stretching back to their time working together in Toronto.

CALGARY HOCKEY NOW: Steve MacFarlane wonders if Dubas’ availability might affect the Flames’ search for a new general manager.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Dubas said that this season was difficult on his family and he wouldn’t put them through a move if he didn’t return with the Leafs. With a bit of time to reflect, however, maybe he’ll change his mind provided his family is fine with it.

We’ll find out soon enough what the immediate future holds for Dubas. Any club that is interested in hiring him will want to do so as soon as possible with the 2023 NHL Draft (June 28-29) and the start of free agency (July 1) on the horizon.

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 4, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 4, 2022

The All-Star Skills participants are announced, more bad headlines for the Blackhawks, the Ducks name Pat Verbeek as their new general manager, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I underwent surgery on Thursday to repair tendon damage in my right wrist. I will attempt to provide daily updates to the site as usual during my 10-14 day convalescence but my usual comments on notable headlines and trade/free agent rumors could be shorter and fewer. Some of you will probably be thankful for that (insert wink emoji here.). Anyway, please bear with me if uploads are a little later than usual over the next week or two.

Now, on to today’s headlines…

NHL.COM: The participants in the 2022 NHL All-Star skill competitions were announced yesterday.

The 2022 NHL All-Star Skills competition takes place on Friday, Feb.4, 2022 (NHL.com).

Edmonton Oilers captain Connor McDavid, Colorado Avalanche defenseman Cale Makar and Detroit Red Wings center Dylan Larkin are among those taking part in the Fastest Skater competition. Hardest shot participants include Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Victor Hedman and San Jose Sharks winger Timo Meier.

The Breakaway challenge features Chicago Blackhawks winger Alex DeBrincat and Minnesota Wild winger Kirill Kaprizov. Oilers forward Leon Draisaitl, Boston Bruins center Patrice Bergeron and Calgary Flames winger Johnny Gaudreau will take part in the Accuracy Shooting. Lightning goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy, Carolina Hurricanes netminder Frederik Andersen and Nashville Predators goalie Juuse Saros are among the participants in the Save Streak competition.

Two new events include the Fountain Faceoff at the famed Fountains of Bellagio where participants attempt to shoot pucks into five targets in the shortest period of time and the Las Vegas NHL 21 in ’22. That event is a twist on blackjack in which players will shoot at a rack of oversized playing cards hoping to reach 21 without going bust in the least amount of shots.

Florida Panthers winger Jonathan Huberdeau, Philadelphia Flyers captain Claude Giroux and Vegas Golden Knights captain Mark Stone will take part in the Fountain Faceoff. Participants in the NHL 21 in ’22 event include Toronto Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews, Lightning captain Steven Stamkos and Colorado Avalanche center Nazem Kadri.

NBC SPORTS CHICAGO: Blackhawks chairman Rocky Wirtz and CEO Danny Wirtz released statements yesterday regarding the chairman berating two reporters during a Wednesday town hall. Rocky became upset with a question directed to Danny over what steps the franchise has taken to prevent a situation like 2010 from happening amid the Kyle Beach allegations.

Rocky apologized for his outburst and praised Danny and his staff for the work they have done to improve the culture and the team. Danny, meanwhile, elaborated on the steps his club has taken in implementing policies, programs and training regarding mental health, culture and investigating incidents of non-compliance.

SPORTSNET: Three more people are considering lawsuits against the Blackhawks related to the Brad Aldrich scandal. Aldrich was the former Blackhawks video coach who Beach alleged sexually assaulted him in 2010.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s going to take time to undo the damage Rocky Wirtz’s tantrum did to the Blackhawks’ efforts to move on in a positive way from the fallout of the investigation into Beach’s allegations. Critics are already questioning his fitness to lead the club.

TSN (via THE SCORE): Speaking of the Blackhawks, they will be interviewing Peter Chiarelli for the vacant post of general manager. Chiarelli won a Stanley Cup as GM of the Boston Bruins in 2011 but his subsequent tenure with the Edmonton Oilers was nowhere near as successful as the club struggled to reach the playoffs.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Chiarelli will be just one of several candidates the Blackhawks will interview.

LOS ANGELES TIMES: The Anaheim Ducks officially introduced Pat Verbeek as their new general manager.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’ll be interesting to see what plans Verbeek has in store for the Ducks before the trade deadline and in the offseason. The rebuilding club has exceeded expectations and is in the thick of the playoff race in the Western Conference.

CBS SPORTS: Arizona Coyotes forward Johan Larsson underwent sports hernia surgery and will be sidelined for eight weeks.

TSN (via THE SCORE): Pierre LeBrun reports there’s a strong possibility the 2024 World Cup of Hockey takes place in February of that month rather than September. It would be the first to be staged in the middle of a season.

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – August 30, 2020

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – August 30, 2020

The Lightning take a 3-1 series lead over the Bruins, the Islanders and Golden Knights go up 2-1 in their respective series, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: Ondrej Palat scored twice and Andrei Vasilevskiy made 29 saves as the Tampa Bay Lightning downed the Boston Bruins 3-1 to take a 3-1 lead in their second-round series. Nikita Kucherov collected two assists for the Bolts.

Tampa Bay Lightning winger Ondrej Palat has four goals in his last three games against the Boston Bruins (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: You can read my take of this game by following this link. If both teams keep playing the way they have over the past three games, this series could be over on Monday evening.

Three unanswered goals by Matt Martin, Leo Komarov, and Anders Lee gave the New York Islanders a 3-1 win over the Philadelphia Flyers and a 2-1 lead in their second-round series. Semyon Varlamov returned to the net after giving up three goals on 10 shots in Game 2, stopping 26 shots for the win.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: A strong first period by the Flyers was snuffed out by the Isles’ solid defense and opportunistic scoring over the next two periods. In what’s become a running theme in this postseason, the Flyers’ leading scorers weren’t much of a factor. Their playoff bubble will burst if this trend continues.

Robin Lehner picked up his second shutout in three games by kicking out 31 shots to blank the Vancouver Canucks 3-0. Alex Tuch and Zach Whitecloud scored in the first period and Mark Stone tallied in the third. The Golden Knights lead the series 2-1.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The game was pretty much over in the first period when Vancouver failed to cash in on a 5-on-3 opportunity. Defensive mistakes by the Canucks led to all three Vegas goals, the most egregious being Alex Tuch blazing through the defense to open the scoring.



THE DENVER POST: The recent two-day protest pause in the schedule could help the Colorado Avalanche, allowing banged-up players like Nikita Zadorov, Joonas Donskoi, and Matt Calvert a chance to heal and return to the lineup.

FLORIDA HOCKEY NOW: George Richards reports former Boston Bruins and Edmonton Oilers GM Peter Chiarelli could be the one to watch as the Florida Panthers narrow their list of contenders for their general manager position.

TSN: Darren Dreger reports NBC Sports hockey analyst Ed Olczyk has interviewed for the GM position.

NEW YORK POST: Rangers assistant GM Chris Drury has withdrawn his name from consideration for the Panthers job.

SPORTSNET: Kevin Weekes, Mike Futa and Bill Armstrong are also being considered by the Panthers, as well as the Arizona Coyotes.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’ll be interesting to see how things shake out for the Panthers and Coyotes. Both clubs desperately need quality management.

NBC SPORTS BAY AREA: The San Jose Sharks re-signed center Joel Kellman to a two-year contract extension worth an annual average value of $750K. The first season is a two-way deal.

NHL Rumor Mill – July 27, 2020

NHL Rumor Mill – July 27, 2020

Some suggested free-agent targets for the Sharks plus a rumor linking Peter Chiarelli to the Coyotes in today’s NHL rumor mill.


THE ATHLETIC (subscription required): Kevin Kurz recently listed several potential free agents that he could see the San Jose Sharks pursuing in the off-season.

Goaltending targets could include the New York Islanders Thomas Greiss, the Dallas Stars’ Anton Khudobin, or the Calgary Flames’ Cam Talbot. Of the three, Talbot could be more affordable.

Could the San Jose Sharks pursue Vancouver Canucks winger Tyler Toffoli in the free-agent market? (Photo via NHL Images)

Forward options include Vancouver Canucks winger Tyler Toffoli, Florida Panthers winger Evgenii Dadonov, and Nashville Predators winger Mikael Granlund. The Washington Capitals’ Radko Gudas and Winnipeg Jets’ Dylan DeMelo were among his defense targets.

Finding the right fit won’t be easy. With the salary cap remaining at $81.5 million, the Sharks have over $66 million invested in their payroll for 2020-21. Nevertheless, Kurz doesn’t expect them to sit idly by in the off-season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Goaltending depth could be the priority given starter Martin Jones’ struggles and backup Aaron Dell’s expected departure via free agency. Talbot might be the cheapest option on Kurz’s list but he could also be looking for a starter’s job. If he can’t find that role, he could be amenable to another short-term backup role.

While the changing economic landscape could affect this year’s free-agent market, I doubt the Sharks could afford Toffoli or Dadonov. Granlund is a possibility as his stock declined following his trade to the Predators last year, though his play improved when John Hynes took over as head coach in January. Gudas or DeMelo could be more affordable options to shore up the blueline depth.

Sharks general manager Doug Wilson has a well-earned reputation for making bold moves. He could surprise us this summer, though it’ll mean shedding some salary if he intends to make a splash in the UFA market.


EDMONTON JOURNAL: David Staples cites colleague Jim Matheson and The Athletic’s Scott Burnside reporting speculation linking former Oilers GM Peter Chiarelli to the Arizona Coyotes as a possible replacement for now-former GM John Chayka.

Staples points out such a move would reunite Chiarelli with winger Taylor Hall, who was traded by Chiarelli to the New Jersey Devils in 2016. The only way he sees the Coyotes bringing in Chiarelli is if they have no chance of keeping Hall off the free-agent market in the off-season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: On the one hand, Chiarelli won a Stanley Cup in 2011 as GM of the Bruins. On the other hand, his tenure with the Oilers was considered disastrous.

The Coyotes must choose Chayka’s replacement very carefully. This is a team dogged for years by ownership instability and mismanagement. They’ve been building in recent years toward playoff contention with promising young talent. Putting the wrong person in the GM’s chair could send them spiraling again, raising questions about their long-term future in Arizona at risk.

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – May 17, 2020

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – May 17, 2020

The latest on the NHL’s efforts to resume its season and more in today’s morning coffee headlines.

THE ATHLETIC (subscription required): Scott Burnside reports recent suggestions the NHL’s Return to Play committee might have a plan for restarting the season by this week could be optimistic given the back-and-forth between the players and league on a final format. Both sides appear to favor an expanded playoff format involving 24 teams. “Twelve teams from each of the two conferences would gather in four hub cities, six teams per city,” writes Burnside.

An extended period of training for up to three weeks would be required before the playoffs begin. Burnside cites multiple sources suggesting a round-robin lead-in of five games, using points percentage from that tournament combined with regular-season points percentage would give the top two teams in each division a bye, with the bottom four clubs playing a best-of-three to determine the traditional 16-team postseason field.

Burnside also reports the list of potential hub cities has been narrowed to “Toronto, Vancouver, Edmonton, Vegas, Dallas, and Minneapolis/St. Paul as the front-runners.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: There’s was reportedly some pushback against a 24-team playoff format from some quarters, as it would allow the Chicago Blackhawks and Montreal Canadiens – who were all but eliminated from playoff contention when the schedule was paused – into this proposed tournament. The New York Post’s Larry Brooks, however, feels the NHL needs those big-market clubs (as well as the New York Rangers) to make a big splash upon its return and energize more of the league’s fan base.

Brooks also scoffs at critics worried the 24th place Canadiens could win the Stanley Cup under that scenario, pointing out no one had a problem with the 13th-overall Los Angeles Kings winning the Cup in 2012. He also noted the absurdity of the current format in which teams with the best regular-season records meeting in the second round.

THE HOCKEY NEWS: Ken Campbell reported Friday the NHL Players Association is voting this weekend to determine if they’ll extend their deferral of receiving their final paychecks by another month. He considers it a good sign of healthy dialogue between the players and the league, which could bode well for future CBA negotiations.

NBC SPORTS: James O’Brien recently singled out some potential CBA changes proposed by several NHL executives during a survey conducted by The Athletic. They include reducing contract term limits and limiting no-trade/no-movement clauses to players 30 and older, as well as addressing signing bonuses and uneven year-to-year salaries.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: There will be some sticky issues for both sides to sort out in the next round of CBA talks, but reports for the past two years indicate preliminary discussions were cordial before the pandemic pause. Bear in mind that while some executive will push for those aforementioned changes, there’s no certainty their views are shared among their peers.

With the two sides working closely together to navigate a path toward returning to action, it could lead to a better labor relationship. The league and the players need each other now. They cannot afford another lockout coming out of this current crisis.

TORONTO SUN: Steve Simmons reports NHL commissioner Gary Bettman would like to place former Oilers and Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli with the Arizona Coyotes. Bettman would also like to see former Coyotes captain Shane Doan return to the club in the front office but there are “apparently some bad feelings about how everything ended for him in 2017.”

Simmons claims there’s word NBC hockey analyst Pierre McGuire interviewed for the general manager’s job with the New Jersey Devils. McGuire denies it. “They have a GM,” he said.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Craig Morgan covers the Coyotes for The Athletic. In a recent mailbag segment, he expressed doubt over Chiarelli joining the Coyotes.

PUCKPEDIA: Part One of a three-part player agents poll examined such issues as the minimum age for drafting players, as well as changes to entry-level contracts and arbitration.

THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH: Several notable Blue Jackets sidelined by injuries when the schedule was paused will be ready to go if the season resumes this summer. They include defenseman Seth Jones and forwards Cam Atkinson, Oliver Bjorkstand, and Alexandre Texier. Winger Josh Anderson (shoulder) could also be ready to return, depending on when play resumes.

NHL Rumor Mill – May 16, 2020

NHL Rumor Mill – May 16, 2020

Check out recent speculation on the Red Wings, Coyotes, and Canucks in today’s NHL rumor mill.


MLIVE.COM: Ansar Khan recently listed some possible goaltending and blueline free-agent targets for the Detroit Red Wings. He doesn’t expect they’ll have a shot at top-tier options like St. Louis’ Alex Pietrangelo, Washington’s Braden Holtby, Boston’s Torey Krug, or Vegas’ Robin Lehner.

Could the Detroit Red Wings target Calgary Flames goalie Cam Talbot as a free-agent option? (Photo via NHL Images)

The goalie targets could include Calgary’s Cam Talbot, the New York Islanders’ Thomas Greiss, or San Jose’s Aaron Dell. Defense choices could include someone like Calgary’s TJ Brodie, Travis Hamonic, or Erik Gustafsson.

DETROIT FREE PRESS: Helene St. James suggested several affordable short-term free-agent forward options. They include Colorado’s Vladislav Namestnikov, Florida’s Evgenii Dadonov, and the New York Rangers’ Jesper Fast.

SPECTOR’S HOCKEY. According to Cap Friendly, the Wings have over $46.2 million invested in 11 players. They have the cap room to pursue a big-name free agent.

These reports suggest, however, general manager Steve Yzerman could prefer cost-effective secondary talent to augment his roster as it transitions toward younger players. Nevertheless, the Wings will have to overpay a bit to entice second-tier players to join their rebuilding club. 


THE ATHLETIC (subscription required): In a recent mailbag segment, Craig Morgan addressed a recent rumor suggesting former Edmonton Oilers general manager Peter Chiarelli might be hired by the Arizona Coyotes for a senior management role. “I don’t think Chiarelli will be joining the organization,” he said.

Morgan shed no light on the status of free agent Taylor Hall, saying he had no gut feeling or best guess about the winger’s status. Regarding the conditional draft picks involved in the trade that brought Hall to the Coyotes, Morgan reported GM John Chayka indicated they don’t have anything to discuss yet because the season remains paused. Chayka also indicated he has multiple plans for dealing with his club’s limited salary-cap space for 2020-21.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Coyotes have almost $80 million invested in 16 players next season. They must shed salary to re-sign or replace Hall and fellow UFAs Brad Richardson and Carl Soderberg, as well as restricted free agents like Christian Fischer and Vinnie Hinostroza. 

TSN: Sven Baertschi faces an uncertain future with the Vancouver Canucks. The 27-year-old winger spent most of this season with their AHL affiliate in Utica while GM Jim Benning attempted to trade him. Baertschi is hopeful he’ll be shipped to another NHL club in the off-season. “I don’t want to be back in the minors,” he said.

Bartschi is a year away from UFA status and carries an annual average value of $3.36 million. He missed most of last season to concussion and felt he wasn’t considered part of the Canucks’ future plans. “I don’t think Vancouver expected me to come back and play,” Baertschi explained. “That’s my personal opinion.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Baertschi showed 20-goal potential but injuries hampered his performance. The Canucks might not be able to move him unless they pick up part of his annual cap hit, or package him with another asset, or take back a contract of equal value.