NHL Rumor Mill – December 31, 2021

NHL Rumor Mill – December 31, 2021

How will the Golden Knights clear salary-cap space for Jack Eichel’s return in February? Could the Canadiens trade Brendan Gallagher or Tyler Toffoli before the March trade deadline? Check out the latest in today’s NHL rumor mill.

VEGAS HOCKEY NOW: Evgenii Dadonov and Reilly Smith top Owen Krepps’ list of potential cost-cutting Vegas Golden Knights trade candidates to clear salary-cap space for Jack Eichel’s return to action in February.

Vegas Golden Knights winger Reilly Smith (NHL Images).

The Golden Knights acquired Eichel in an early-season trade from the Buffalo Sabres. He’s been on long-term injury reserve after recovering from neck surgery last fall and is expected to make his Golden Knights’ debut in late February.

Eichel carries a $10 million annual salary-cap hit. His return would put the Golden Knights over the $81.5 million salary-cap ceiling by $4.6 million.

Krepps considered Dadonov the most likely trade candidate, pointing to his lack of consistency this season. He felt the winger could be of interest to rebuilding clubs like the Ottawa Senators or Detroit Red Wings. Dadonov’s annual cap hit is $5 million through 2022-23 and he carries a modified no-trade clause.

Smith is also earning $5 million and is slated to become an unrestricted free agent in July. That could make him a trade candidate and he could fetch a good return. However, he’s producing at a better level than Dadonov and could be worthwhile retaining for the playoffs.

Other trade candidates include Brayden McNabb and Mattias Janmark. Krepps also suggests they could get some cap relief if defenseman Alec Martinez remains on LTIR recovering from a facial injury.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Krepps piece was published before Golden Knights winger Max Pacioretty was sidelined indefinitely by wrist surgery. As NBC Sports’ James O’Brien points out, Pacioretty’s $7 million cap hit won’t totally cancel out Eichel’s $10 million but it would alleviate much of that potential salary-cap strain if the veteran winger goes on LTIR for the remainder of the season.

The Golden Knights could still be forced to move Dadonov or Smith if Pacioretty and Martinez return before Eichel’s debut or soon afterward. While Krepps believes Dadonov is the more likely trade candidate, I think it’s Smith who ends up moving despite his value to the Golden Knights.

Dadonov’s inconsistency, the extra year on his contract and his 10-team no-trade list would make him harder to move than the productive Smith, who lacks no-trade protection. I doubt the Senators are interested in bringing Dadonov back. Meanwhile, the Red Wings are jockeying for a wild-card berth and could prefer Smith over Dadonov if they’re in the market for a scoring winger.

SPORTSNET: Eric Engels made three bold predictions for the Montreal Canadiens in 2022. He doesn’t believe they’ll trade winger Brendan Gallagher before the March 21 trade deadline but felt winger Tyler Toffoli could be on the move by then.

Engels points out Gallagher is in the first year of a six-year, $39 million contract with a no-movement clause and partial no-trade clause. He considers the idea of retaining some of his salary and recouping good value in a trade to be farfetched. Engels also believes Gallagher would be of more worth to the Canadiens as their captain leading a crop of new up-and-coming players.

Toffoli, on the other hand, has an affordable $4.25 million annual cap hit and lacks no-trade protection. Despite his recent hand injury, he’s the type of player postseason contenders could be interested in as the deadline approaches.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Bear in mind that Engels is merely making “bold predictions” here and isn’t citing sources indicating what the Canadiens intend to do with Gallagher and Toffoli. They still haven’t chosen a new general manager yet and we don’t know what they and Jeff Gorton (their new executive VP of hockey operations) intend to do at the trade deadline.

Nevertheless, I concur with Engels that Toffoli would be more likely to move before the trade deadline than Gallagher if the Canadiens intend to commence a full roster rebuild.

Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – December 12, 2021

Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – December 12, 2021

Check out the latest on Jake DeBrusk, Evander Kane and Evgenii Dadonov in the Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup.

CALGARY HOCKEY NOW: Steve Macfarland wondered if Jake DeBrusk will flourish with another team in the same way Sam Bennett’s has since the Calgary Flames traded him to the Florida Panthers last season.

Boston Bruins winger Jake DeBrusk (NHL Images)

Like DeBrusk, Bennett was a former first-round pick who requested a trade after struggling to reach his potential and seeing his role with his club reduced. After nearly six disappointing seasons with the Flames, he has blossomed with the Panthers.

Macfarland noted the Bruins seek a player of equal value for the 25-year-old DeBrusk. He wondered if the Flames might convince them to take a look at defenseman Nikita Zadorov the Bruins’ need for a physical defenseman.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Flames were mentioned among the dozen clubs reportedly interested in DeBrusk. Zadorov’s $3.75 million cap hit for this season is comparable to DeBrusk’s $3.675 million so the dollars would work for both cap-strapped clubs. Macfarland believes the Flames would have to include a sweetener with Zadorov to further entice the Bruins.

The Bruins, however, could prefer a better option than Zadorov. He’s bounced from the Colorado Avalanche to the Chicago Blackhawks to the Flames over the past two seasons.

PITTSBURGH HOCKEY NOW: Dan Kingerski reports Ryan Bowness, the Penguins Director of Pro Scouting, attended Evander Kane’s first game with the AHL’s San Jose Barracudas on Saturday. Scouts from the Boston Bruins, Detroit Red Wings, Nashville Predators, Toronto Maple Leafs and Dallas Stars were also in attendance.

Kingerski pointed out scouts’ schedules are often made weeks in advance. They also love the Sharks and Barracudas being in the same location, especially if both clubs are playing on the same night as they can kill two birds with one stone.

He noted all of those aforementioned clubs could use a power forward like Kane. However, that doesn’t mean those scouts were there specifically to watch him.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It could be a coincidence those scouts were there last night. Then again, maybe one of them was evaluating Kane’s performance.

The Red Wings are the only club with sufficient cap space to take on Kane’s $7 million annual average value. That doesn’t mean they have any interest in him.

VEGAS HOCKEY NOW: Owen Krepps recently suggested moving Evgenii Dadonov would make the most sense for the Vegas Golden Knights to free up sufficient salary-cap space when Jack Eichel returns to action in February. The 32-year-old winger has bounced around the Golden Knights’ lineup this season. He’s signed through 2022-23 with an annual cap hit of $5 million.

Krepps suggested shipping Dadonov back to the Ottawa Senators, who have the cap space to take on his contract. He also suggested other “bottom-feeder teams” like the Chicago Blackhawks, New Jersey Devils or Seattle Kraken as potential trade partners. He felt the Golden Knights would only want a third- or a fourth-round pick or perhaps an affordable depth forward in return.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I won’t outright dismiss the idea of Dadonov being peddled to the Senators, Devils or Kraken but I won’t hold my breath expecting one of them to take him on. Those clubs would likely squeeze the Golden Knights to include a draft pick in the deal as a sweetener.

I would rule out the Blackhawks. They’re already sitting over the cap ceiling with Tyler Johnson and Andrew Shaw on long-term injury reserve.

NHL Rumor Mill – November 5, 2021

NHL Rumor Mill – November 5, 2021

The Golden Knights face a potential salary-cap crunch after acquiring Jack Eichel plus speculation on the Flames’ next move after losing the Eichel sweepstakes in today’s NHL rumor mill.


LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL: Ben Gotz examines the salary-cap crunch facing the Golden Knights following their acquisition yesterday of Jack Eichel from the Buffalo Sabres. The move gives them the NHL’s second-most expensive quartet in Eichel ($10 million annual cap hit), Mark Stone ($9.5 million), Alex Pietrangelo ($8.8 million) and Max Pacioretty ($7 million).

Vegas Golden Knights winger Reilly Smith (NHL Images).

Eichel, Stone and Pacioretty are on long-term injury reserve, giving the Golden Knights some flexibility for now. However, they’ll have to shed about $10 million in cap space when the trio returns to action later in the season. With $78.395 million invested in 16 players for 2022-23, more cost-cutting moves could take place in the offseason.

LAS VEGAS SUN: Justin Emerson believes the Golden Knights can shed around $3 million by “moving off” Jonas Rondbjerg, Jake Leschyshyn, Michael Amadio and Ben Hutton. A $5 million winger such as Reilly Smith or Evgenii Dadonov could become a cost-cutting casualty. Smith seems the likely candidate as he’s slated to become an unrestricted free agent in July. They could also attempt to shop a defenseman like Brayden McNabb ($2.5 million), who’s also a UFA next summer.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Those players Emerson suggested the Golden Knights “move off” each make under $1.125 million and thus their full salaries can be buried in the minors. The rest, however, will involve a salary-dumping deal. The Golden Knights will likely want only draft picks, prospects, or a player earning less than $1 million in return.

Smith and McNabb could draw interest from playoff contenders as the trade deadline draws closer. We can expect to hear more Golden Knights trade speculation at some point between January and the March 21 trade deadline as those sidelined stars start returning to the lineup.


TSN: Pierre LeBrun reported Buffalo Sabres general manager Kevyn Adams denied rumors the Calgary Flames offered up winger Matthew Tkachuk as part of their offer for Jack Eichel. However, he said the Flames came very close to landing Eichel as one of the few clubs willing to acquire him presurgery.

LeBrun said the Carolina Hurricanes kept tabs on the Eichel trade talk but the Sabres wanted promising forward Seth Jarvis or forward Martin Necas as part of a package return. The Arizona Coyotes were also interested in being a third-party broker to absorb part of Eichel’s cap hit in exchange for a draft pick but the Golden Knights were able to do it on their own.

THE ATHLETIC: Hailey Salvian heard from sources that, at the time of ESPN’s report listing the Flames and Golden Knights as finalists for Eichel, the question wasn’t which team would get him but when he’d go to Vegas. That didn’t stop the Flames from trying to swing a deal including draft picks, prospects and a roster player but they didn’t offer up anyone comparable to Peyton Krebs, the prospect the Sabres eventually received from the Golden Knights.

Salvian also cited multiple sources saying the report about Tkachuk being offered didn’t come from the Flames camp. It appears Flames GM Brad Treliving spoke with Tkachuk on Wednesday regarding the rumor. The winger said he wasn’t concerned about it. Smoothing the situation was important so as not to have it affect contract negotiations next summer when Tkachuk becomes a restricted free agent with arbitration rights.

Salvian believes the Flames’ interest in Eichel confirms they’re in the market for a center. She wondered if they might turn their focus toward San Jose’ Tomas Hertl. He’s slated to become a UFA next summer and wouldn’t cost as much to acquire as Eichel.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Treliving made the right decision to speak with Tkachuk and clarify the situation. However, I wonder if he did the same for Sean Monahan, who also popped up in the Eichel trade chatter. Monahan is signed through 2022-23 and carries a 10-team no-trade list. Perhaps the latter made it unnecessary for Treliving to have a similar discussion with him.

The Flames will have to wait a while if they do turn their sights to Hertl. He’s hopeful of opening contract extension talks with Sharks GM Doug Wilson at some point in the season. The 27-year-old center could become available by the March 21 trade deadline if those contract discussions fail to materialize or an agreement on an extension cannot be reached before then.

Notable NHL Free Agent Signings and Trades – July 28, 2021

Notable NHL Free Agent Signings and Trades – July 28, 2021

Be sure to check in regularly throughout the day for today’s notable free-agent signings and trades.

SIGNINGS (Updated: 6 pm ET.

New Jersey Devils sign defenseman Dougie Hamilton to a seven-year, $63 million contract ($9 million AAV).

Boston Bruins sign goaltender Linus Ullmark to a four-year, $20 million contract ($5 million AAV).

Montreal Canadiens sign winger Mike Hoffman to a three-year, $13.5 million contract ($4.5 million AAV).

Anaheim Ducks sign center Ryan Getzlaf to a one-year, $4.5 million contract.

Detroit Red Wings sign center Pius Suter to a two-year, $6.5 million contract ($3.25 million AAV).

Boston Bruins sign winger Nick Foligno to a two-year contract. Financial terms weren’t disclosed.

Ottawa Senator sign defenseman Michael Del Zotto to a two-year, $4 million deal ($2 million AAV).

SIGNINGS: (Updated: 4 pm ET)

Tampa Bay Lightning re-sign center Brayden Point to an eight-year, $76 million contract ($9.5 million AAV).

Vegas Golden Knights sign forward Mattias Janmark to a one-year, $2 million contract.

SIGNINGS (Updated: 2:45 pm ET):

Seattle Kraken sign goaltender Philipp Grubauer to a six-year, $35.4 million contract ($5.9 million AAV).

Seattle Kraken sign winger Jaden Schwartz to a five-year, $27.5 million contract ($5.5 million AAV).

Los Angeles Kings sign center Phillip Danault to a six-year, $33 million contract ($5.5 million AAV).

Los Angeles Kings sign defenseman Alex Edler to a one-year, $3.5 million contract.

Boston Bruins sign forward Erik Haula to a two-year, $4.75 million contract ($2.375 million AAV).

Carolina Hurricanes sign defenseman Ian Cole to a one-year, $2.9 million contract.

San Jose Sharks sign center Nick Bonino to a two-year, $4.1 million contract ($2.05 million AAV).


Nashville Predators re-sign forward Mikael Granlund to a four-year, $20 million contract ($5 million AAV).

Minnesota Wild sign defenseman Alex Goligoski to a one-year, $5 million contract.

Calgary Flames sign forward Blake Coleman to a six-year, $29.4 million contract ($4.9 million AAV).

Carolina Hurricanes sign goalie Frederik Andersen to a two-year deal worth $4.5 million AAV.

Columbus Blue Jackets re-sign Boone Jenner to a four-year $15 million contract ($3.75 million).

New Jersey Devils sign goaltender Jonathan Bernier to a two-year, $8.25 million contract ($4.125 million AAV).

Montreal Canadiens sign David Savard to a four-year, $14 million contract ($3.5 million AAV).

Edmonton Oilers sign defenseman Cody Ceci to a four-year, $13 million contract ($3.25 million AAV).

Vancouver Canucks sign defenseman Travis Hamonic to a two-year, $6 million contract ($3 million AAV).

Columbus Blue Jackets sign forward Sean Kuraly to a four-year, $10 million contract ($2.5 million cap hit)

Vancouver Canucks sign defenseman Tucker Poolman to a four-year, $10 million contract ($2.5 million AAV)

Philadelphia Flyers sign goalie Martin Jones to a one-year, $2 million contract.

Dallas Stars sign Braden Holtby to a one-year, $2 million contract.

Philadelphia Flyers sign defenseman Keith Yandle to a one-year, $950K contract.


Edmonton Oilers sign Zach Hyman to a seven-year, $38.5 million contract ($5.5 million annual average value).

Edmonton Oilers re-sign defenseman Tyson Barrie to a three-year contract worth $4.5 million per season.

Vegas Golden Knights re-sign defenseman Alec Martinez to a three-year deal worth $5.25 million annually.

Seattle Kraken sign forward Alexander Wennberg to a three-yeae contract worth $4.5 million annually.

Toronto Maple Leafs sign goaltender Petr Mrazek to a three-year contract worth $3.8 million.

Dallas Stars sign defenseman Ryan Suter to a four-year contract worth $3.65 million AAV.

Carolina Hurricanes sign goaltender Antti Raanta to a two-year deal worth $2 million annually.

Vancouver Canucks sign goaltender Jaroslav Halak to a one-year contract worth $1.5 million in base salary.

Carolina Hurricanes sign defenseman Tony DeAngelo to a one-year, $1 million contract.


Edmonton Oilers trade defenseman Ethan Bear to the Carolina Hurricanes for winger Warren Foegele.

Ottawa Senators trade winger Evgeni Dadonov to the Vegas Golden Knights in exchange for Nick Holden and a third-round draft pick in 2022.

Chicago Blackhawks trade defenseman Nikita Zadorov to the Calgary Flames in exchange for a third-round pick in 2022. The pick originally belonged to Toronto.

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 16, 2020

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 16, 2020

The Senators sign Evgenii Dadonov, the Rangers avoid arbitration with Tony DeAngelo and Alexandar Georgiev, Joe Thornton will play in Switzerland during the NHL offseason and more in today’s morning coffee headlines.

OTTAWA SUN: The Senators yesterday signed Evgenii Dadonov to a three-year, $15 million contract. The annual average value is $5 million. The 31-year-old winger is coming off his third straight 20-goal season.

Ottawa Senators sign winger Evgenii Dadonov (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: A significant signing by the rebuilding Senators. Dadonov should bolster their anemic offense.

While it was surprising that the Sens landed one of the notable remaining unrestricted free agents, the signing also raised eyebrows over Dadonov getting less than market value. The Hockey News’ Matt Larkin observed it’s an indication of how much the flat salary cap is affecting mid-tier free-agent talent.

NEW YORK POST: The Rangers avoided arbitration with defenseman Tony DeAngelo and goaltender Alexandar Georgiev. DeAngelo signed a two-year contract with an AAV of $4.8 million while Georgiev inked a two-year deal worth $2.425 million annually.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Cap Friendly indicates the Rangers have $70.6 million committed to 21 players with Ryan Strome and Brendan Lemieux to re-sign. Both have arbitration hearings coming up but the Blueshirts have enough cap space to avoid that route.

TSN: Free-agent center Joe Thornton will play for Switzerland’s HC Davos during the NHL offseason. He previously played for Davos during the 2004-05 and 2012-13 NHL lockouts.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The last time Thornton played an NHL game was on March 11 before the regular season was derailed by COVID-19. It’s a good way for him to get into game shape for whenever the NHL returns to action in the new year.

THE ATHLETIC: Aaron Portzline reported Columbus Blue Jackets head coach John Tortorella hopes the recent additions of centers Max Domi and Mikko Koivu will allow him to open up his offense.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: A lack of depth at center last season forced the Jackets to play a more defensive-oriented system. Koivu will likely see fourth-line duty while Domi is expected to fill the second-line center role.

TORONTO STAR: Damien Cox reports the effects of COVID-19 upon NHL revenue could be generating concern among the team owners. He points to Vegas Golden Knights’ owner Bill Foley’s recent remarks contradicting the league’s official position of returning next season on Jan. 1 with a full 82-games schedule. Foley noted his peers are getting nervous. “We all thought we’d be out of COVID by now”, he told an interviewer.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Foley believes the NHL will return on Feb. 1 at the earliest and play a reduced schedule to be completed by the end of June because NBC (which holds the league’s US broadcasting rights) will be televising the Summer Olympics in July. No reaction yet from Commissioner Gary Bettman regarding Foley’s remarks, but the Golden Knights’ owner seems to be saying out loud what’s been discussed quietly behind the scenes.

NHL Rumor Mill – October 13, 2020

NHL Rumor Mill – October 13, 2020

A look at the top remaining unrestricted free agents, three potential Canadiens’ trade candidates, and more in today’s NHL rumor mill.


SPORTSNET: Winger Mike Hoffman, Evgenii Dadonov, Mikael Granlund and Ilya Kovalchuk, along with defenseman Travis Hamonic top Emily Sadler’s list of the best remaining players in this year’s NHL unrestricted free agent market.

Winger Mike Hoffman is among the best remaining players in this year’s NHL UFA market (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Hoffman and Dadonov are the best of the bunch but they could end up signing for considerably less than they hoped given the current economic climate. I wouldn’t be surprised if interested clubs are using the market against both wingers to drive down their asking prices.

The Columbus Dispatch’s Brian Hedger reported yesterday Granlund was in discussions with multiple teams and is whittling down his list to find the best fit. He doesn’t know if the Blue Jackets are among them.

Centers Erik Haula and Carl Soderberg, left-wingers Anthony Duclair and Andreas Athanasiou, and defenseman Sami Vatanen fill out the top-10.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: All four are on my recent listing of possible bargain signings.

The rest include centers Alex Galchenyuk, Derick Brassard and Joe Thornton, wingers Corey Perry, Colin Wilson, Matt Martin, Patrick Marleau and Conor Sheary and defenseman Zdeno Chara.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I can see the Stars bringing back Perry on another affordable one-year deal. A recent report claimed the San Jose Sharks could bring back Marleau. Thornton could also be back with the Sharks while Chara is expected to return with the Boston Bruins.


TVA SPORTS: The Montreal Canadiens’ signing of winger Tyler Toffoli yesterday leaves the club sitting above the $81.5 million salary cap by over $353K. They’ll have to offload over $1 million to become cap compliant before the start of next season. Trade options could include Jordan Weal ($1.4 million), Paul Byron ($3.4 million) and Joel Armia ($2.6 million).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Byron has three seasons left on his contract. TVA Sports noted he has two 20-goal seasons on his resume but his production declined due to injuries over the last two seasons. His cap hit could make him the most difficult to move.

Armia or Weal are more affordable but they probably won’t have as much value as Byron in the trade market. The Canadiens have 14 picks in next year’s draft so perhaps one of those selections could be packaged with one of those players as a sweetener.

The Canadiens also have eight defensemen under NHL contract for next season. Brett Kulak surfaced in recent trade chatter so perhaps there might be a market for him. Kukak is signed through 2021-22 with an annual average value of $1.85 million.


BOSTON HOCKEY NOW: Jimmy Murphy cites three sources claiming the Bruins have shown interest in MacKenzie Weegar. The rugged 26-year-old defenseman recently filed for salary arbitration. Word around the league is the Panthers have been shopping Weegar for some time.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Murphy points out Weegar’s a right-hand shot while the Bruins’ biggest need is a left-shot defenseman. He also wonders how the Bruins will address the departure of Torey Krug.