NHL Rumor Mill – September 1, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – September 1, 2022

Updates on the notable players remaining in the unrestricted free agent market plus some cost-cutting Bruins trade candidates in today’s NHL Rumor Mill. 

ESPN.COM: Greg Wyshynski took a look at the status of several noteworthy players still available in this summer’s unrestricted free agent market. 

Former New Jersey Devils defenseman P.K. Subban (NHL Images)

P.K. Subban’s agent, Don Meehan, recently told the Montreal Gazette that the 33-year-old defenseman is being selective on where he’ll play next. He said there were “expressions of interest” in his client but those clubs also had other things in play. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Wyshynski believes Subban is ready to be a difference maker if the right fit can be found. He might not be interested in signing with a non-contender. Boston Hockey Now’s Jimmy Murphy believes the Bruins should look into signing Subban to a professional tryout offer. However, it’s still possible he inks an affordable one-year contract with a club before training camp opens.

Evan Rodrigues hasn’t signed a new contract but it appears he’s garnered plenty of interest. His agent, Darren Ferris, told Wyshynski that there are “a good seven or eight teams” he’s having discussions with about his client. 

Some of those clubs have cap constraints, including his former team, the Pittsburgh Penguins. The Calgary Flames have also shown an interest. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Hockey News’ Mike Stephens suggested the Seattle Kraken, Colorado Avalanche and Ottawa Senators as potential destinations for Rodrigues. However, we don’t know if those clubs are among those talking to his agent.

Wyshynski expects Rodrigues will sign a one-year “show-me” contract and then try his luck for a more lucrative deal next summer. 

Many observers felt last season was Keith Yandle’s last but the 35-year-old defenseman isn’t ruling out playing this season. His agent, Jerry Buckley, said he’s still talking to teams but his client wants to find the right fit if he’s to continue his NHL career.  Buckley “highly doubted” Yandle will accept a PTO. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: A PTO might be the only way for Yandle to continue his playing career if that’s what he wants to do. He’s the NHL’s reigning Ironman but his performance has declined in recent years. 

No word on Joe Thornton’s plans. If his playing days are over, the 43-year-old forward reportedly could moving into a managerial role with the Spengler Cup Tournament. 

Speaking of aging veterans, no word yet from 45-year-old defenseman Zdeno Chara regarding his intentions. He hasn’t announced his retirement but it’s assumed he’s played his final NHL game.  

An NHL source claims “a lot of teams” are interested in Sonny Milano. So far, no one’s signed the former Anaheim Ducks winger. 

Former Detroit Red Wings defenseman Danny DeKeyser is healthy and hoping to land with a new NHL club. Agent Matt Federico is confident his 32-year-old client will have a one-year, low-dollar deal in place before training camps open. 

THE BOSTON GLOBE: Matt Porter recently observed the Bruins are above the $82.5 million salary cap by $2.4 million. They can address this at the start of the season by placing sidelined stars Brad Marchand and Charlie McAvoy on long-term injury reserve. However, they must become cap compliant when those players are ready to return to the lineup.

It sounds like Nick Foligno ($3.8 million) will remain part of the main group this season. Defenseman Mike Reilly ($3 million) could be a trade candidate given the Bruins’ depth in left-shot blueliners. Winger Craig Smith ($3.1 million) could be shopped if a youngster such as Fabian Lysell or Jack Studnicka makes a push this season. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It could be Smith who gets moved. There was a rumor last month claiming a team had made an offer for the 32-year-old winger but the two sides couldn’t reach an agreement. 










NHL Rumor Mill – August 27, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – August 27, 2022

In today’s NHL Rumor Mill: The latest on the Senators’ rumored interest in Jakob Chychrun plus three ways the Bruins can get cap compliant later this season.

OTTAWA SUN: Bruce Garrioch reports Senators general manager Pierre Dorion would like to add another defenseman before training camp opens on Sept. 21. If he doesn’t, he’s hopeful that he’s put together a competitive roster for the coming season.

Garrioch writes the Senators have held talks with the Arizona Coyotes regarding Jakob Chychrun but Dorion balked at the asking price for the 24-year-old blueliner.

Arizona Coyotes defenseman Jakob Chychrun (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That’s been the running theme regarding Chychrun since last season. Teams are interested but the Coyotes have set a price too high. Several versions of their asking price have made the rounds including a first-rounder, a top-prospect, and a good young NHL player, a first-rounder, two prospects and two players. The latest is two first-rounders and a top prospect.

Whatever the Coyotes want, nobody wants to pay it at this time. Maybe Dorion or another general manager gets desperate if injuries strike in training camp or during the season. Perhaps Arizona GM Bill Armstrong will lower his price to make it more palatable.

For now, I wouldn’t be surprised if Chychrun’s still with the Coyotes when the regular season begins in October.

As for other blueline targets for the Senators, the best remaining free agent options are P.K. Subban and Anton Stralman. Dorion could target cap-strapped teams in the trade market looking to shed salary before the season begin.

THE ATHLETIC: Fluto Shinzawa recently examined three ways the Boston Bruins can become cap compliant when some of their sidelined players return to action later in the season.

One way could be trading Mike Reilly once defenseman Matt Grzelcyk is good to go. The 29-year-old is among five left-handed rearguards with one-way contracts on the Bruins blueline. He carries an average annual value of $3 million.

Trading Craig Smith is another. He turns 33 next month and is in the final season of his contract with a $3.1 million AAV. He could be replaced from within by Fabian Lysell or Oskar Steen.

Shinzawa’s third option is demoting Nick Foligno or attempting to trade him if he’ll waive his partial no-trade clause. However, it would require packaging an asset with him.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: There was a report earlier this month that the Bruins had held trade talks regarding Smith. Nothing has come of them but that doesn’t mean a deal won’t happen at some point.

Reilly could draw interest if the Bruins put him on the block. Foligno carries a $3.8 million cap hit and is slated to become a UFA next summer. His performance, however, has really declined over the past couple of years. Unless he has a bounce-back effort this season, the Bruins’ best option could be sending him to the minors, though it will only trim $1.125 million from their payroll going that route.










Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – August 21, 2022

Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – August 21, 2022

What’s the latest on J.T. Miller? Are the Canucks looking at adding a forward via free agency? Will Evgenii Dadonov become a trade chip at the 2023 deadline for the Canadiens? Are the Bruins shopping Craig Smith? Find out in this edition of the Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup.

LATEST ON THE CANUCKS

SEKERES AND PRICE: CHEK-TV’s Rick Dhaliwal believes Nazem Kadri’s new contract with the Calgary Flames should be great news for Vancouver Canucks center J.T. Miller and his agent. Kadri signed a seven-year deal last week with the Flames worth an average annual value of $7 million. Miller, 29, is slated to become an unrestricted free agent next summer.

Vancouver Canucks forward J.T. Miller (NHL Images).

Dhaliwal believes Kadri did Miller a favor. He pointed out Miller is young and suggests he’s comparable to New York Rangers center Mika Zibanejad ($8.5 million AAV). He thinks there’s no way the Canucks center will accept seven years at $7 million annually, especially if he has another 99-point performance.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Miller might not reach the heights of 99 points again. However, if he stays healthy this coming season and at least reaches 80 points, he’ll be in the range of Zibanejad money. If he exceeds 90 points again, he could get $9 million annually on his next contract.

This season could be Miller’s last in Vancouver. He and Canucks management have said they’d like to get a deal done but both sides have also suggested that it might not happen.

CANUCKS ARMY: Mike Gould also cited Dhaliwal reporting the Canucks have an interest in unrestricted free agents Evan Rodrigues and Calvin de Haan.

Dhaliwal pointed out Canucks general manager Patrik Allvin knows Rodrigues and his agent well from their days with the Pittsburgh Penguins. He also suggested that concerns over Tucker Poolman’s health (concussion symptoms) could be behind their interest in de Haan.

CANADIENS COULD SHOP DADONOV AT THE 2023 TRADE DEADLINE

MONTREAL HOCKEY NOW: Marco D’Amico believes the Canadiens have an opportunity to turn Evgenii Dadonov into a valuable trade chip this season. The Habs acquired the 33-year-old winger earlier this summer from the Vegas Golden Knights.

Following the acquisition, Canadiens general manager Kent Hughes didn’t rule out the possibility of trading Dadonov if the right offer came along. The winger carries a $5 million cap hit for the coming season and is due to become an unrestricted free agent next summer.

D’Amico believes putting Dadonov in situations where he can use his offensive skills at even strength and on the power-play could benefit the Canadiens’ young forwards. It would also boost his trade value.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Dadonov could fit so well on the rebuilding Canadiens that the two sides agree to an affordable short-term deal. However, I agree with D’Amico that he’s likely to become a valuable trade chip for them later this season, fetching perhaps a second-round pick from a playoff contender.

BRUINS SHOPPING CRAIG SMITH?

BOSTON HOCKEY NOW: Jimmy Murphy recently cited an informed NHL source claiming Bruins forward Craig Smith has been on the trade market since the offseason started. He also said they had recent in-depth trade discussions with another club, to the point where the Bruins got a trade offer for the 32-year-old winger.

The Bruins sit $2.2 million above the $82.5 million salary cap. They need to shed some salary but GM Don Sweeney could also achieve that by placing a sidelined player such as Charlie McAvoy, Brad Marchand or Matt Grzelcyk on long-term injury reserve to start the season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: No word on which club is the interested party though I’ve read someone suggesting the Nashville Predators want to bring Smith back. He’s slated to become a UFA next summer and carries a $3.1 million cap hit.

Sweeney doesn’t have to move Smith or anyone else right now. He’s allowed to be over the cap by 10 percent during the offseason. Placing McAvoy or Marchand on LTIR to start the season will also temporarily address that cap issue but he’ll have to dump some salary to become cap compliant when the sidelined player comes off LTIR.










NHL Rumor Mill – August 2, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – August 2, 2022

A look at how the Islanders could clear cap space to sign Nazem Kadri and a potential cost-cutting trade candidate for the Bruins in today’s NHL rumor mill.

HOW WOULD THE ISLANDERS CLEAR CAP SPACE FOR KADRI?

NYI HOCKEY NOW: Stefen Rosner cited a source who told him over the weekend that Nazem Kadri could be joining the New York Islanders. However, the hold-up is the Isles need to clear out some salary-cap space.

New York Islanders winger Josh Bailey (NHL Images).

Rosner had no details about Kadri’s rumored deal with the Islanders. However, he believes it could be worth around $7 million annually. With the club currently carrying around $11 million in cap space, Kadri’s anticipated cap hit wouldn’t leave much to re-sign restricted free agent defensemen Noah Dobson and Alexander Romanov.

Under the collective bargaining agreement, teams are allowed to exceed the salary cap by 10 percent during the offseason but must be cap compliant when the regular season begins. Islanders general manager Lou Lamoriello could find it difficult to dump salary with teams knowing it’s to make room for Kadri.

Rosner reports the Islanders are shopping Josh Bailey. The 32-year-old winger carries a $5 million annual cap hit through 2023-24. Rosner suggests his veteran presence could do wonders for rebuilding clubs with cap space such as the Arizona Coyotes or Chicago Blackhawks.

However, Lamoriello would have to add a couple of draft picks or a prospect in the deal to move Bailey. Winger Anthony Beauvillier and goaltender Semyon Varlamov have also appeared in trade rumors but Rosner believes they’re staying put.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Rosner isn’t the only person to tie Kadri to the Islanders in recent days. There’s speculation the two sides already have an agreement in place but are waiting to announce it once Lamoriello frees up sufficient salary-cap space. Until then, however, it’s still just speculation at this point.

Bailey’s age and contract are sticking points but he did put up a respectable 44 points with the Islanders last season. He also lacks no-trade protection, giving Lamoriello plenty of potential trade partners. I agree with Rosner that the Isles GM will have to include a sweetener or two in the deal as an enticement.

Potential trade partners could also squeeze Lamoriello to part with Beauvillier or Varlamov rather than Bailey.

COULD THE BRUINS SHOP CRAIG SMITH?

THE BOSTON GLOBE: Kevin Paul Dupont recently pondered how the Bruins will free up salary-cap space for their efforts to sign Patrice Bergeron, David Krejci and Pavel Zacha. They have around $4.8 million in salary-cap space.

Dupont points out the Bruins will get some early-season wiggle room by placing Brad Marchand and Charlie McAvoy on long-term injury reserve until they return from offseason surgeries around Dec. 1. However, he’ll have to shed some salary once those players return to the lineup.

Craig Smith could be the likeliest to go. He carries a $3.1 million cap hit for the coming season and becomes a UFA next summer.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Smith, 32, is a former four-time 20-plus goal scorer who had 16 goals and 36 points last season. He lacks no-trade protection and could interest clubs seeking an experienced middle-six winger. However, the Bruins might have to include a draft pick or prospect as a sweetener in the deal.

Speculation earlier in the offseason suggested Matt Grzelcyk could become a trade candidate. He’s signed through 2023-24 with a $3.67 million AAV.