Evaluating The Notable Trades Before The 2021 NHL Trade Deadline
Recaps of Sunday’s games feature Patrick Kane and Alain Vigneault reaching career milestones plus updates on Jack Eichel, Auston Matthews, Gabriel Landeskog and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.
NHL.COM: Patrick Kane scored his 400th career goal as the Chicago Blackhawks thumped the Detroit Red Wings 7-2. He had a three-point performance while Alex DeBrincat collected four points and Kevin Lankinen made 44 saves for the Blackhawks. They’ve won six of their last eight games and sit third in the Discover Central Division.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Some observers wondered how the Blackhawks would fill the leadership void when team captain Jonathan Toews was sidelined by a mysterious illness. Kane has certainly risen to the occasion. He’s also tied for second with Edmonton’s Leon Draisaitl (34 points) in the NHL scoring race.
Philadelphia Flyers head coach Alain Vigneault picked up career win 700 as his club blanked the Buffalo Sabres 3-0. Goalie Carter Hart made 28 saves for the shutout while James van Riemsdyk had a goal and an assist.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Vigneault is tied with Mike Babcock for eighth on the all-time list.
The Boston Bruins got two goals from Charlie Coyle and two assists from David Pastrnak as they defeated the New York Rangers 4-1. Rangers goalie Alexandar Georgiev played most of the game with a scratched left eye suffered in the first period. He went to the bench for repairs and returned to the game.
A 28-save performance by Juuse Saros helped the Nashville Predators down the Columbus Blue Jackets 3-1, sweeping their two-game series and handing the Jackets their fifth straight loss. Columbus coach John Tortorella said he wasn’t concerned about his job security in a post-game press conference.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Changes could be coming to the Jackets if they don’t snap out of this tailspin soon. They’re now six points behind the fourth-place Carolina Hurricanes in the Central.
Alex Ovechkin scored the game-winning goal as the Washington Capitals edged the New Jersey Devils 3-2. Capitals goaltender Ilya Samsonov made 19 saves in his first game since coming off the COVID-19 protocol list. Jakub Vrana had a goal and an assist for the Caps. Devils captain Nico Hischier missed the game and is listed as day-to-day after taking a puck to the face on Saturday.
New York Islanders goalie Ilya Sorokin made 20 saves for his second straight shutout in a 2-0 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins. Oliver Wahlstrom and Jean-Gabriel Pageau were the goal scorers.
THE SCORE: Buffalo Sabres captain Jack Eichel claimed he didn’t get hurt during pregame warmup before Thursday’s loss to the New Jersey Devils, contradicting what coach Ralph Krueger told reporters that night. Eichel said he got hurt in New Jersey on Tuesday, which also forced him to miss Thursday’s game. Krueger said Sunday he wasn’t trying to mislead anyone with his statement on Thursday.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: This would be at best a minor issue for a normal team. For the floundering Sabres, however, it’s seen by their critics as yet another example of the dysfunction within the club.
TORONTO STAR: The Maple Leafs could face the Edmonton Oilers tonight without center Auston Matthews and goalies Frederik Andersen and Jack Campbell. They’re nursing injuries and listed as day-to-day. Michael Hutchinson will get the call if Andersen and Campbell can’t play.
THE DENVER POST: Colorado Avalanche captain Gabriel Landeskog tied Peter Forsberg for the third-most goals (202) in franchise history during Saturday’s 6-2 win over the Arizona Coyotes.
NBC SPORTS: Florida Panthers winger Brett Connolly and Minnesota Wild goaltender Alex Stalock were placed on waivers yesterday.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I’m interested to see if a team in need of goalie depth plucks Stalock off the waiver wire. He had decent numbers last season but has been relegated to third-stringer behind Cam Talbot and Kaapo Kahkonen this season.
STLTODAY.COM: Jacob de la Rose became the sixth player on the St. Louis Blues to be placed on injured reserve.
TSN: Four players – Arizona’s John Hayden, Detroit’s Patrik Nemeth, the New York Rangers’ Kaapo Kakko and San Jose’s Tomas Hertl – remain on the NHL’s COVID-19 protocol list.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: There were calls from some in the media in mid-February for the NHL to pause or reduce the schedule over the growing number of players on the protocol list and the postponement of games as a result. Those numbers have significantly dropped over the last two weeks, suggesting the league’s updated protocols are working.
The latest on Tony DeAngelo, Sam Bennett, Victor Mete, Travis Dermott, Vince Dunn and Brett Connolly in today’s NHL rumor mill.
GROWING INTEREST IN DEANGELO
TSN: Darren Dreger reports the New York Rangers have told Tony DeAngelo to wait at home as they work on trading the 25-year-old defenseman. Dreger said there’s “a ton of interest in him all of a sudden,” with a source claiming the blueliner could be moved within the next few days.
SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman reports the Rangers are willing to absorb part of DeAngelo’s annual salary-cap hit to facilitate a trade. Friedman believes it won’t be easy to move the blueliner as any acquiring team knows there will be heat.
The Blueshirts aren’t looking at terminating his contract as it would be unlikely to do so without the player’s agreement. If they decide to buy him out at season’s end it’ll be at one-third the remaining value as he doesn’t turn 26 until October.
NEW YORK POST: Larry Brooks believes it might be in DeAngelo’s best interests to enter an anger management program before returning to play given his history of outbursts. He also believes the defenseman’s social media activity could also be a red flag for any organization looking at him.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Dreger’s report merely confirms my belief that there is always an NHL general manager somewhere willing to give players with maturity or personality issues a chance provided they have a talent that can address a roster weakness.
DeAngelo’s defensive game leaves much to be desired but his offensive skills make him valuable to a team lacking blueline production. The Rangers’ willingness to eat part of his $4.8 million AAV improves his trade value. Now it comes down to what the Blueshirts want in return and how much salary they’re willing to absorb to get this deal done.
FLAMES IN NO RUSH TO MOVE BENNETT
TSN: Dreger also reports the Calgary Flames aren’t in any rush to trade forward Sam Bennett after his agent surprised them over the weekend by saying his client would prefer a change of scenery. It has to be a deal that works for the Flames. General manager Brad Treliving is willing to hang onto him as a potentially impactful player for Calgary.
SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman reports Flames coach Geoff Ward dismissed any talk of Bennett being unhappy with his playing time. Ward indicated he spoke with Bennett before the start of the season to give him the choice of where he wanted to play in the lineup. He started at center and after a couple of games asked to be moved to the wing.
Friedman also expects the Flames to move cautiously on Bennett, in part because of his playoff performance. It’s also possible any frustration between player and organization could pass over time. The Flames have tested his value in the trade market but held onto him.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Bennett still hasn’t spoken about his agent’s remarks while the official word from management and teammates is this won’t be a distraction. This could settle down over the course of the season but it could resurface if Bennett’s play suffers or the Flames struggle to stay in the playoff chase.
UPDATES ON METE , DERMOTT AND DUNN
SPORTSNET: Friedman reports the Pittsburgh Penguins were among the clubs showing interest in Montreal Canadiens defenseman Victor Mete. He points out the Canadiens’ limited cap space means it would have to be a dollar-in, dollar-out deal but they do like Mete. He also added the Penguins were poking around Toronto for Maple Leafs blueliner Travis Dermott.
THE ATHLETIC: Thomas Drance looked at whether players such as Mete, Dermott, Bennett or St. Louis Blues defenseman Victor Dunn might make sense as trade targets for the struggling Vancouver Canucks.
Drance doesn’t believe Bennett would resolve the Canucks’ long-term need for an established third-line center. He feels Mete would be a poor fit because the Canucks have a surplus of puck-moving left-shot defensemen.
The Blues’ asking price for Dunn (first-round pick) is expensive plus he couldn’t join the Canucks until after a two-week quarantine period due to Canadian border restrictions. Dermott might not be an ideal fit but he’d be more reasonably priced than Dunn and would join the team more quickly.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Drance offers up a more detailed analysis than my synopsis but I concur with his take. There really isn’t much available that would provide an immediate, affordable improvement to the Canucks’ roster. That doesn’t mean management won’t stop looking but the pickings appear slim right now.
Regarding Dermott, Drance’s colleague Jame Mirtle feels the Leafs will handle the blueliner the same way the Canadiens are handling Mete. They’re leery of moving him because they want to ensure they have sufficient depth over the course of the season. Dermott also won’t fetch a return that provides a swift upgrade to the lineup.
LATEST ON CONNOLLY
Friedman suggests keeping an eye on Florida Panthers winger Brett Connolly, who was a healthy scratch in their last two games. He speculates a contender could show interest in the 28-year-old.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Cap Friendly shows Connolly is in the second year of a four-year deal with an annual average value of $3.5 million. Teams could be reluctant to take on that cap hit given how tight payrolls are this season.
The latest on Sidney Crosby, Corey Perry, Aleksander Barkov, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.
TRIBLIVE.COM: Sidney Crosby had his No. 87 retired by the Rimouski Oceanic of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League. Crosby spent two seasons with the Oceanic (2003-04, 2004-05) before being drafted by the Pittsburgh Penguins. In 2005, he led them to the QMJHL President’s Cup championship.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The QMJHL has retired his No. 87 league-wide. I caught a few games with Crosby’s Oceanic whenever they came to Charlottetown and he was always the best player on the ice. It was obvious he was headed to NHL superstardom.
THE ATHLETIC: Florida Panthers head coach Joel Quenneville believes Aleksander Barkov and Brett Connolly should be fine after leaving Thursday’s preseason game against the Tampa Bay Lightning. The pair were reevaluated on Friday. Meanwhile, Lightning center Cedric Paquette was fined $2,500.00 for high-sticking Panthers winger Frank Vatrano.
TSN: A broken foot could delay Corey Perry’s debut with the Dallas Stars. Perry signed a one-year contract with the Stars this summer after being bought out by the Anaheim Ducks. The injury sidelined him throughout training camp and could keep him out of their season-opener.
STARTRIBUNE.COM: Victor Rask could be the odd man out among Minnesota Wild centers. Acquired from Carolina midway through last season, Rask managed just three points in 23 games with the Wild.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Rask’s stats have tumbled since reaching 21 goals and 48 points in 2015-16. If he can’t cut it in Minnesota he could end up on the trade block again.
THE SCORE: The Calgary Flames signed free agent winger Tobias Rieder to a one-year, two-way contract worth $700K.
TSN: Ottawa Senators forward Rudolfs Balcers is sidelined indefinitely with a lower-body injury.
NBC SPORTS BOSTON: Bruins forward Joakim Nordstrom’s foot injury could keep him out of the club’s season-opener.
THE DETROIT NEWS: Former Red Wings coach Nick Polano died Thursday of Alzheimer’s disease at age 78. He was the Wings’ bench boss from 1982 to 1985 and was Steve Yzerman’s first NHL coach. He went on to become an assistant GM with the Wings and held scouting jobs with the Calgary Flames and Ottawa Senators.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: My condolences to Palono’s family, friends and the Wings organization.
Check out the listing of today’s notable NHL free-agent signings. This will be updated throughout the day as signings become official.
The Chicago Blackhawks signed goaltender Robin Lehner to a one-year, $5-million contract.
The New York Islanders sign left wing Anders Lee to a seven-year, $49-million contract. The Isles also signed goaltender Semyon Varlamov to a four-year contract worth $5 million per season.
The Carolina Hurricanes sign goaltender Petr Mrazek to a two-year, $6.5-million contract.
The Montreal Canadiens have tendered an offer sheet to Carolina Hurricanes center Sebastian Aho. The proposed contract is for five years, with an average annual value of $8.454 million.
The Montreal #Canadiens have tendered an offer sheet to RFA Sebastian Aho of the Carolina Hurricanes at $8.454M x 5 years
— CapFriendly (@CapFriendly) July 1, 2019
New York Rangers sign left winger Artemi Panarin to a seven-year, $81.5 million contract. The annual average value is $11.6 million.
Florida Panthers signed goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky to a seven-year, $70 million deal. They also signed winger Brett Connolly to a four-year, $13-million contract, defenseman Anton Stralman to a three-year, $16.5 million contract and forward Noel Acciari to a three-year, $5-million contract.
The Nashville Predators sign center Matt Duchene to a seven-year, $56-million contract.
Dallas Stars sign center/winger Joe Pavelski to a three-year, $21-million contract. The Stars also signed winger Corey Perry on a one-year, bonus-laden contract worth up to $3.25 million. They also signed defenseman Andrej Sekera to a one-year contract with a $1.5 million base salary and $500K in bonuses.
Minnesota Wild sign winger Mats Zuccarello to a five-year, $30-million contract. The Wild also sign forward Ryan Hartman to a two-year contract with an annual average value of $1.9 million.
Vancouver Canucks sign defenseman Tyler Myers to a five-year, $30-million contract. The Canucks also signed blueliner Jordie Benn to a two-year, $4-million contract and rearguard Oscar Fantenberg to a one-year, $850K deal.
Pittsburgh Penguins sign forward Brandon Tanev to a six-year contract with an AAV of $3.5 million.
Columbus Blue Jackets sign forward Gustav Nyquist to a four-year, $22-million contract.
Washington Capitals sign forward Richard Panik to a four-year, $10-million contract and forward Garnet Hathaway to a four-year, $6-million deal.
Colorado Avalanche sign winger Joonas Donskoi to a three-year contract estimated at around $3.5 million per season. They also sign winger Pierre-Edouard Bellemare to a two-year, $3.6-million contract.
Chicago Blackhawks sign center Ryan Carpenter to a three-year, $3-million contract.
Detroit Red Wings sign center Valtteri Filppula to a two-year, $6-million contract. They also signed defenseman Patrik Nemeth to a two-year deal.
St. Louis Blues sign forward Nathan Walker to a two-year, $1.4-million contract.
New Jersey Devils sign winger Wayne Simmonds to a one-year, $5-million contract.
Edmonton Oilers signed goaltender Mike Smith to a one-year, $2-million contract and sign forward Markus Granlund to a one-year, $1.3-million contract. They also re-signed winger Alex Chiasson to a two-year deal worth $2.15-million per season.
Ottawa Senators sign Ron Hainsey to a one-year, $3.5-million contract and winger Tyler Ennis to a one-year, $800K contract.
Toronto Maple Leafs sign center Jason Spezza to a one-year, $700K contract.
Calgary Flames sign goaltender Cam Talbot to sign a one-year. $2.75-million contract.
Montreal Canadiens sign goaltender Keith Kinkaid to a one-year, $1.75-million contract.
Tampa Bay Lightning sign goaltender Curtis McElhinney to a two-year, $2.6-million contract. They also signed defenseman Luke Schenn to a one-year, $700K contract.
Buffalo Sabres sign forward Curtis Lazar, goaltender Andrew Hammond, and defenseman John Gilmour to one-year contracts each worth $700K. The Sabres also acquire forward Jimmy Vesey from the New York Rangers in exchange for a third-round pick in 2021.
Winnipeg Jets sign defenseman Nathan Beaulieu to a one-year, $1-million contract.
Trade Alert: The New York Rangers trade Jimmy Vesey to the Buffalo Sabres in exchange for a third-round pick in 2021.
Twas the evening before the NHL UFA market opens at noon ET tomorrow. Here’s a quick look at the latest speculation.
UPDATE ON THE OILERS
EDMONTON JOURNAL: In the aftermath of the Oilers buying out Andrej Sekera, David Staples speculated they could pursue winger Brett Connolly via free agency. He also suspects general manager Ken Holland could shop for a third-line center. Staples still “strongly believes” restricted free agent winger Jesse Puljujarvi is in play and will be traded.
TSN: Frank Seravalli reports former Calgary Flames goaltender Mike Smith is expected to join the Oilers tomorrow on a one-year, bonus-laden contract. His base salary is expected to be around $2 million with an additional $2 million in bonuses.
THE SCORE: Sean O’Leary cites Sportsnet’s John Shannon reports the Oilers are among four clubs pursuing former Anaheim Ducks winger Corey Perry.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Say what you will about Holland (and believe me, Oilers fans have said plenty following the Sekera buyout), he’s not wasting time laying the groundwork for tomorrow’s UFA frenzy.
As for Connolly, TSN’s Pierre LeBrun reports “all signs” point to the winger inking a four-year deal with the Florida Panthers tomorrow. As we’ll soon see, it looks like they’re out of the bidding for Artemi Panarin.
CANADIENS PURSUING LEE?
Appearing on the NHL Network, Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman said he wouldn’t be surprised if the Montreal Canadiens have left wing Anders Lee on their radar.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Friedman said he was told: “Montreal is going to do something.” Given their salary-dumping trade of Andrew Shaw and Nicolas Deslauriers today, that “something” could be a significant addition. It could be Lee. It could be Matt Duchene, who visited the Habs last week during the free-agent interview period. Maybe they’ll add a left-side defenseman via free agency (Jake Gardiner?) or trade (Shayne Gostisbehere). Whatever it is, Habs GM Marc Bergevin has set the table for a big move tomorrow.
OTHER NOTABLE RUMORS
TSN’s Bob McKenzie speculates Artemi Panarin and Sergei Bobrovsky won’t be signed as a set. Suggests the NY Islanders are the favorites to land Panarin while Bobrovsky could end up with the Florida Panthers.
TSN’s Darren Dreger yesterday reported over 10 teams have checked in with winger Marcus Johansson. “Has to be looking forward to a raise on the $4.6 million he made this season.”
Dreger’s colleague Frank Seravalli tweets former Oilers and Philadelphia Flyers goalie Cam Talbot appears headed to the Calgary Flames.
NEWSOBSERVER.COM’s Chip Alexander yesterday tweeted Carolina Hurricanes GM Don Waddell confirmed goaltender Curtis McElhinney will depart via free agency. Meanwhile, TSN’s Pierre LeBrun reports the Hurricanes (despite the addition of James Reimer) are still trying to sign Petr Mrazek. They’re also in on Semyon Varlamov.
COLUMBUS DISPATCH’s Brian Hedger reports winger Ryan Dzingel won’t be returning to the Blue Jackets. “No idea where he’ll land, but it’s not Columbus from what I’ve been told.