Secondary Scoring Remains The Boston Bruins’ Achilles Heel
The latest Islanders and Rangers speculation in today’s NHL rumor mill.
POSSIBLE FORWARD OPTIONS FOR THE ISLANDERS
THE ATHLETIC: Shayna Goldman recently explored where the New York Islanders could turn to add a top-nine forward before the season begins. Free-agent options could include Brian Boyle, Tobias Rieder, Devante Smith-Pelly or former Isles winger Thomas Vanek.
Looking at the trade market, Goldman listed Nashville’s Kyle Turris, Vegas’ Cody Eakin, the Rangers’ Vladislav Namestnikov, Los Angeles’ Tyler Toffoli, or Winnipeg’s Nikolaj Ehlers. If Toronto needs to clear salary to re-sign Mitch Marner, perhaps Kasperi Kapanen or Zach Hyman become available.
Vancouver’s Tanner Pearson could be on the move if the Canucks need to free up cap space for Brock Boeser. LA’s Ilya Kovalchuk or Boston’s Charlie Coyle are other possibilities.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Islanders general manager Lou Lamoriello could evaluate his roster during training camp and preseason play before deciding if additional moves are necessary. Cap Friendly indicates the Isles have over $6 million in cap space though that’ll shrink a bit once Anthony Beauvillier is re-signed. That will still leave sufficient room if Lamoriello decides to bring in an affordable UFA forward.
Many of the aforementioned trade options carry expensive contracts, meaning the Isles must give up a salaried player to make the dollars fit. Some of the players on Goldman’s list (Nashville, Vegas, Rangers) have limited cap space.
The Leafs could part with Kapanen or Hyman if necessary to sign Marner. As we’ve seen, however, Leafs GM Kyle Dubas has juggled his cap space this summer without hurting his roster.
The Canucks could part with Pearson but he improved in Vancouver after struggling in Los Angeles and Pittsburgh last season. They might prefer shipping out someone like Loui Eriksson or Brandon Sutter.
The Kings would love to move Kolvachuk but I don’t think Lamoriello is keen on a reunion with the aging winger. The Bruins could put Coyle on the block to free up room to re-sign Charlie McAvoy and Brandon Carlo, but talk out of Boston suggests they’ll consider other trade options.
Winnipeg could be a possibility once they get Patrik Laine and Kyle Connor under contract. They need depth on the right side of their defense and Ehlers has frequently come up in this summer’s trade chatter. Goldman suggested Nick Leddy as an option but he’s a left-side defender.
LATEST ON KREIDER, LEMIEUX AND DEANGELO
THE ATHLETIC: Rick Carpinello believes New York Rangers winger Chris Kreider is more like than not to be traded before he goes to free agency next summer. Carpinello suggests Kreider’s UFA value could be in the range of seven years at $7 million annually. He doubts the Blueshirts will invest that much in a player turning 29 next year.
Carpinello also dismissed the possibility of an offer sheet for Brendan Lemieux or Anthony DeAngelo. He feels the Rangers would walk away and accept the low compensation of a third-round draft pick.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Expect this summer’s Kreider trade chatter to carry over into this season, provided he’s not moved before then. One way or another, this season could be his last with the Rangers.
As for Lemieux and DeAngelo, I think any club interested in either guy will go the trade route instead of the offer sheet. If a team wanted to use the latter, they could sign away either player for under $1.3 million without giving up anything in compensation.
Check out the latest on the Bruins and Blues on the eve of Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Final in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.
BOSTON HERALD: Trade deadline acquisitions Charlie Coyle and Marcus Johansson are paying dividends for the Bruins in the Stanley Cup playoffs. Coyle is fifth among their postseason scoring leaders with eight goals and 15 points. Johansson, meanwhile, has four goals and 11 points.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Johansson is a UFA this summer. He could be just a playoff rental for the Bruins, who have over $68 million (stick tap to Cap Friendly) invested in 19 players. Defensemen Charlie McAvoy and Brandon Carlo are restricted free agents due for significant pay raises.
Coyle is assured of returning with the Bruins as he has a year remaining on his contract. Given his postseason play, it’s unlikely they’ll move him in the offseason.
NBC SPORTS: Bruins defenseman Charlie McAvoy is ok after making a painful shot block in the third period of Game 3. The blueliner was visibly in pain and left the game with just two minutes remaining in the third period.
STLTODAY.COM: After being the least-penalized team through three rounds, the St. Louis Blues are awash in penalties in the Cup Final. They’re averaging 11.3 minutes per game against Boston compared to 6.8 minutes per game against their earlier playoff opponents. Blues coach Craig Berube is frustrated and befuddled by the spike in penalties against his team, adding he didn’t agree with some of the calls.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Berube noted his players are allowing frustration and emotion to creep into their play, especially when play is stopped. The Bruins are also very good at drawing penalties so the Blues must ensure they don’t rise to the bait. Not easy to do when emotions are running high. Given the Bruins lethal power play, which went four-for-four in Game 3, the Blues must play with more discipline in this series.
TSN: Blues center Robert Thomas and defenseman Vince Dunn skated with their teammates during practice yesterday. Thomas has an unspecified injury while Dunn is recovering from concussion symptoms. Their status for Game 4 remains uncertain.
The Minnesota Wild have reportedly traded forward Charlie Coyle to the Boston Bruins. According to TSN’s Bob McKenzie, the Wild will receive forward Ryan Donato and a fifth-round pick.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: According to The Athletic’s Michael Russo, the deal won’t be officially announced until 10 PM ET, presumably because of the Wild’s flight delay. No word yet on what year that draft pick will be in but presumably it’s this year.
This is likely the first of what could be several moves by Wild general manager Paul Fenton over the next several months. He’s received permission from ownership to do whatever he deems necessary to shake up his roster for the short- and long-term, even if it jeopardizes their playoff hopes. With the Wild currently clinging to the final wild-card spot in the Western Conference, Fenton has evidently seen enough and isn’t wasting time retooling his roster.
Coyle, 26, is a native of Weymouth, Massachusetts so this move to Boston will be like coming home after spending his entire NHL career with the Wild. He’s a versatile forward who can play center or wing, possesses good size (6’3″, 220 lbs) and decent scoring touch, reaching 56 points in 2016-17. He could fill that second-line winger role or third-line center spot for the Bruins. Perhaps this move turns Coyle into the 35-goal scorer he was projected to become when he joined the Wild.
Donato, 22, can also skate at center or on the wing. While smaller than Coyle (6′,193 lbs), he has offensive potential but found it difficult cracking the Bruins’ roster. He’s earning $900K this season and should be an affordable re-signing for the Wild, who also clear Coyle’s $3.2 million salary-cap hit through 2019-20 from their books. Donato recently said he believes he can become a full-time NHL player. He’ll get his opportunity with the Wild.
Updates on Matt Duchene and Charlie Coyle plus the latest on the Blackhawks, Canucks, and Canadiens in today’s NHL rumor mill.
SENATORS SHOPPING DUCHENE
TSN: Barring a last-minute change, TSN’s Darren Dreger reports the Ottawa Senators are planning to trade center Matt Duchene. Pierre Lebrun adds this news isn’t surprising and notes the Nashville Predators and Columbus Blue Jackets are among the clubs to inquire into Duchene’s trade status. Dreger also reports the Senators will soon make a decision about Mark Stone’s future with the club. Both are pending free agents this summer.
OTTAWA SUN: Bruce Garrioch reports it’s believed at least five teams have expressed interest in Duchene. It’s expected Senators general manager Pierre Dorion will step up efforts to move Duchene, Stone, and Ryan Dzingel if he can’t get them to agree to new contracts before the trade deadline. Garrioch adds the Winnipeg Jets are interested in the Senators’ trio.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Blue Jackets’ interest in Duchene could also be tied to the possibility of trading away winger Artemi Panarin before the deadline. Like the three Senators forwards, he is also slated to become a UFA in July.
If the Jackets shop Panarin, it’s believed they want to get a player back as part of the return who can help them right away. If that kind of deal isn’t out there but they still wish to move him, perhaps they can swing a separate deal to offset his absence with Duchene? Should be interesting to see how this shakes out.
WILL THE SABRES PURSUE COYLE?
THE BUFFALO NEWS: With the Sabres in need of depth at center, Mike Harrington suggests they pursue Minnesota Wild center Charlie Coyle. He’s under contract through next season with an affordable $3.2-million cap hit.
While the loss of Wild captain Mikko Koivu seemingly puts a stop on trading Coyle, Harrington suggests he could be had at a cost of one of the Sabres’ first-round draft picks. He notes Wild GM Paul Fenton was given permission by team owner Craig Leipold to shake things up if necessary. The struggling Wild are clinging to the final wild-card spot in the Western Conference.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Harrington isn’t saying the Sabres are pursuing Coyle but it’s not a bad suggestion. The Wild seem poised to tumble out of playoff contention, providing first-year GM Fenton an excuse to start retooling his roster for next season. I daresay Coyle will frequently surface in the rumor mill as the trade deadline approaches.
At this stage, the Sabres’ three first-rounders (their own plus those they received from the Sharks and the Blues) won’t be top-10 selections. They can afford to part with one of them for a good player to bolster their lineup beyond this season.
LATEST ON THE BLACKHAWKS, CANUCKS, AND CANADIENS
CHICAGO TRIBUNE: Jimmy Greenfield reports it’s uncertain whether the Blackhawks will be sellers after rising into playoff contention. He believes there are seven players – goaltender Cam Ward, defensemen Gustav Forsling, Slater Koekkoek, and Carl Dahlstrom, centers Marcus Kruger and John Hayden, and forward Brandon Perlini – who could be moved without giving the impression they’re giving up on the playoff race.
VANCOUVER SUN: Ben Kuzma reports Canucks GM Jim Benning acknowledged he’d like to have another goal scorer but finding one is easier said than done. “I’m not necessarily looking at rentals. If we’re going to do trades, it’s going to be players who can be pieces of the puzzle moving forward,” he said.
With trading deadline coming in a little more that a week, I’m told that chances are high that nothing much will happen with the @CanadiensMTL
— Renaud Lavoie (@renlavoietva) February 17, 2019
Oilers and Flyers discussing a Cam Talbot trade, plus the latest on the Senators, Jets, Flames, and Wild in today’s NHL rumor mill.
FLYERS, OILERS DISCUSSING POSSIBLE TALBOT TRADE
TSN: Darren Dreger reports Philadelphia Flyers and Edmonton Oilers have engaged in preliminary trade discussions regarding Oilers goaltender Cam Talbot. He pointed out Talbot has a modified no-trade clause but it’s believed he gave the Oilers permission to talk to the Flyers. It’s expected the Oilers would have to take back a goalie such as Anthony Stolarz or Mike McKenna. The Oilers would be making this move to free up salary-cap room for returning defenseman Andrej Sekera.
NBC SPORTS PHILADELPHIA: John Boruk also reports the Oilers and Flyers are discussing a possible Talbot trade. He cites a source saying the Flyers want the Oilers to take back pending UFA goalie Brian Elliott. Adding Talbot would provide rookie netminder Carter Hart with an experienced backup and mentor. Boruk also noted Hart and Talbot have been friends for years.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Talbot is a UFA this summer and no longer fits into the Oilers’ plans. They desperately want to get Sekera back into the lineup in hopes he’ll keep their flagging playoff hopes alive. The Oilers would probably prefer taking back a more affordable netminder like Stolarz ($761K) or McKenna ($700K) than Elliott and his $2.75 million salary-cap hit. It’ll be interesting to see how this shakes out.
SENATORS SCOUTING JETS
TSN: Bob McKenzie believes the Ottawa Senators continue their push this week to re-sign pending unrestricted free agents Matt Duchene and Mark Stone. He expects it could take another day or three for the Sens to determine where they are. He also believes management is also exploring their trade options out of necessity. He reports general manager Pierre Dorion and his assistants are in Winnipeg to scout the Jets and their AHL affiliate.
WINNIPEG FREE PRESS: Jason Bell also reported on the presence of Dorion and his assistants in Winnipeg. He notes there’s plenty of speculation links Stone and/or Duchene with the Jets. Bell speculates “Jets forward Jack Roslovic, slick-skating Moose blue-liner Sami Niku and top goaltending prospect Eric Comrie” could be among the players they’re scouting. He also noted the Jets had scouts following last night’s Senators-Red Wings game in Detroit.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: With the trade deadline drawing nearer, it’s widely assumed the Senators could reach a decision on the status of Duchene and Stone by the end of this week. If they cannot re-sign the duo it’s expected they’ll be shopped to the highest bidders before Feb. 25.
The Jets are reportedly seeking a top-six forward and their first-round pick in the 2019 NHL Draft is said to be in play. The Sens will certainly want a first-rounder to replace the one they dealt away to the Colorado Avalanche last season. It’s said they’ll also want a top prospect and a good young player for Duchene or Stone.
Jets GM Kevin Cheveldayoff apparently doesn’t want to mortgage his club’s future for a quick fix and is said to be reluctant to part with Roslovic. It’ll be interesting to see if he’ll reconsider to land Duchene or Stone or look elsewhere for more affordable help.
FLAMES IN THE MARKET FOR A GOALIE?
TSN: Bob McKenzie reports the recent struggles of goaltender David Rittich has sparked speculation over whether they’ll pursue another netminder before the trade deadline. He wondered if they’ll pursue a rental such as Detroit’s Jimmy Howard or a possible long-term solution such as Los Angeles’ Jonathan Quick. While management still has faith in their goalie duo of Rittich and Mike Smith, McKenzie said all options remain on the table and this situation could bear monitoring leading up to the deadline.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Howard is the best of the possible rentals but the Wings’ asking price is said to be a first-round draft pick. Having traded away their second-round pick in this year’s draft. Flames GM Brad Treliving could be leery about parting with his first-rounder. Going after Quick would be a significant and expensive move that would also probably cost the Flames their first-round pick as part of a package to Los Angeles.
Columbus Blue Jackets goalie Sergei Bobrovsky has also featured prominently in this year’s rumor mill but Calgary might not be on his list of preferred destinations. Most of the speculation has tied him to the Florida Panthers.
If the Oilers talks with the Flyers regarding Talbot fall through, one has to wonder if the Flames might look into his availability. Depends, of course, on their willingness to help their hated rival and Talbot’s willingness to waive his no-trade to go to Calgary.
WILD TO BECOME SELLERS?
TSN: Pierre LeBrun cites Mike Russo of The Athletic reporting Minnesota Wild GM Paul Fenton received permission from team owner Craig Leipold to do whatever is necessary to retool the roster, despite the fact they’re currently jockeying for a playoff berth in the Western Conference. While core players such as Charlie Coyle, Mikael Granlund, Jason Zucker, and Jonas Brodin could all potentially be in play, LeBrun believed pending UFA center Eric Staal could be worth watching. Staal wants to stay with the Wild and has a 10-team no-trade clause. ” It’s a 10-team list that we’re told is vastly populated with all the obvious contenders and I’m not convinced that he’d want to waive, we’ll see,” said LeBrun.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: What’s notable about this story is it came out around the same time Wild coach Bruce Boudreau was guaranteeing his club would clinch a playoff berth. Just because Fenton has permission to shake things up, even at the risk of jeopardizing his club’s playoff hopes this season, doesn’t mean he’s going to do it. I expect he’ll monitor his club’s performance over the next week to determine if they need to sell while monitoring trade offers from rival clubs.
Coyle and Brodin have frequently surfaced in the rumor mill over the last couple of years but Granlund and Zucker could fetch better returns. All four are also under contract beyond this season, which could make them more palatable to clubs seeking long-term depth.