NHL Rumor Mill – April 12, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – April 12, 2022

More speculation about possible offseason moves by the Jets and the Sharks in today’s NHL rumor mill.

WINNIPEG FREE PRESS: Mark McIntyre believes the Jets’ offseason priority must be repairing a defense that is “comically painful to watch.” Part of the solution could come from promising young blueliners such as Dylan Samberg, Ville Heinola, Johnathan Kovacevic, Declan Chisholm and Leon Gawanke.

Making room for those players, however, should force general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff to seriously consider moving one or two of his veteran core players. McIntyre believes Josh Morrissey should be the only full-time Jets defender considered untouchable. He recommends Cheveldayoff explore peddling any one of Brenden Dillon, Nate Schmidt, Dylan DeMelo and Neal Pionk.

NBC SPORTS: Sean Leahy also recommends the Jets repair their blueline corps. He believes that will require trades as Cheveldayoff isn’t the type of GM to toss around money in the free-agent market.

Winnipeg Jets center Mark Scheifele (NHL Images).

Leahy feels the Jets cannot afford to waste the prime years of Morrissey, goaltender Connor Hellebuyck and forwards Pierre-Luc Dubois, Kyle Connor, Nikolaj Ehlers and Mark Scheifele. “Maybe someone in that group is moved this summer in order to facilitate improvement elsewhere”, he writes.

WINNIPEG SUN: Scott Billeck believes it seems clear that Scheifele isn’t buying into the system of Jets interim coach Dave Lowry. He wondered if a new head coach could help the center improve his performance after an inconsistent effort this season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Jets have reached a critical crossroads. They were expected to be much better after a solid performance during last season’s COVID-shortened schedule. Cheveldayoff cannot make marginal changes and expect things to get better next season. A shakeup to the roster core seems likely.

That could involve trading Scheifele but he has two more seasons remaining on his contract with a $6.125 million annual cap hit and a 10-team no-trade clause. Perhaps hiring a coach that Scheifele would respect might get him back on track but it won’t create the cap space needed to make room for younger blueliners.

Schmidt, 30, also has a 10-team no-trade clause and a $5.95 million annual cap hit through 2024-25. Dillon would be easier to move given his lack of no-trade protection and $3.9 million cap hit for two more seasons. However, the 31-year-old could be at the stage in his career where his best seasons are now behind him.

Pionk is younger at 26 and still has some prime years left in him. He also lacks a no-trade clause but his $5.875 million cap hit through 2024-25 might not be easy to move with the salary cap rising marginally for next season. DeMelo, 28, has a six-team no-trade clause but a cost-effective $3 million annual cap hit for two more seasons.

THE ATHLETIC: Corey Masisak was asked which of the San Jose Sharks goaltenders could be traded this season. He doesn’t see them shopping recently-acquired Kaapo Kahkonen. Veteran James Reimer would have the most trade value but wondered if the Sharks would want to ship out their best goaltender. Adin Hill would have the least trade value given his injury history.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kahkonen’s not going anywhere so it’s down to Reimer or Hill. They could move Reimer if, as Masisak suggests, they get a solid offer for him, such as a middle-six forward. However, if the goal for next season is reaching the playoffs, I suspect it’ll be Hill getting shipped out for whatever they can get for him.

Asked about Evander Kane’s contract situation, Masisak indicates multiple sources suggest a resolution could be reached before teams start reshaping their rosters in the offseason. He speculates there could be negotiations regarding a settlement between the Sharks and Kane between now and a yet-to-be-determined date for his grievance over his contract termination. That would mean the Sharks would still be on the hook for part of Kane’s salary but not the full $7 million annually for the next three seasons.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kane could be receptive to a settlement. He’s slated to become an unrestricted free agent but I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s keen to stay with the Edmonton Oilers. A settlement of, say, $4.5 million annually could make it easier for the Oilers to re-sign him to an affordable deal.

SAN JOSE HOCKEY NOW: Sheng Peng reports the agent for forward Jonathan Dahlen confirmed his client wants to re-sign with the Sharks. The struggling winger is a restricted free agent this summer and there was speculation he wants to return to Sweden.










NHL Rumor Mill – September 11, 2021

NHL Rumor Mill – September 11, 2021

Updates on the notable remaining restricted free agents in today’s NHL rumor mill.

SPORTSNET: Luke Fox recently examined where things stand with the NHL’s notable restricted free agents.

Term could be a sticking point between the Vancouver Canucks and defenseman Quinn Hughes. His camp sought a deal beyond five years, perhaps comparable to contracts signed this summer by Dallas’ Miro Heiskanen and Colorado’s Cale Makar. Pat Brisson, one of Hughes’ agents, said there was no animosity as discussions continue.

Vancouver Canucks center Elias Pettersson (NHL Images).

Teammate Elias Pettersson shares the same representatives as Hughes. They were considering a shorter team for the 22-year-old center. Pettersson wants assurances the Canucks are as committed to winning as he is. It could cost a combined $14 million to get both youngsters under contract.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Canucks were said to be nervous about Pettersson getting an offer sheet after the Carolina Hurricanes successfully signed away Jesperi Kotkaniemi from the Montreal Canadiens. That’s a remote possibility given the high cost of compensation to the Canucks and salary for Pettersson.

Talks between the Minnesota Wild and winger Kirill Kaprizov continue. Speculation the 24-year-old winger could sign a one-year deal with KHL club CSKA Moscow came to nothing. The Wild hoped to sign Kaprizov to a seven or eight-year deal but the winger’s camp wanted a three-year contract to bring him up to his eligibility age for unrestricted free agent status. Wild general manager Bill Guerin is reportedly willing to consider a five-year deal.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Recent conjecture suggests the two sides could agree to a five-year contract worth around $9 million per season. Yes, that annual average value is high for a player with just one NHL season under his belt, but he won the Calder Memorial Trophy during that campaign, becoming the first Wild player to receive that honor.

Kaprizov’s also the most exciting offensive player the Wild have had since Marian Gaborik’s heyday from 2000 to 2008. They hope to build around this kid for at least the next five years. That’s why it could cost $9 million per season.

Ottawa Senators GM Pierre Dorion described contract discussions with winger Brady Tkachuk’s representatives as positive and productive. The two sides are trying to work out a long-term deal. Tkachuk reportedly won’t travel to Ottawa for training camp until the paperwork is sorted out.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Tkachuk’s contract talks have garnered increased attention over the last couple of weeks. There have also been conflicting stories with Dorion saying things are going smoothly while other reports claim Tkachuk is growing frustrated it’s taking so long to get a deal done.

The Buffalo Sabres and defenseman Rasmus Dahlin began contract talks on July 21. A three-year bridge deal is possible but Fox wonders if they’ll work toward a long-term agreement.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Jack Eichel saga continues to overshadow Dahlin’s contract situation. There’s been no drama thus far but interest in his negotiations could increase as training camp approaches.

Fox also believes Nolan Patrick could get a bridge deal with the Vegas Golden Knights following his unhappy tenure with the Philadelphia Flyers. He was traded to the Golden Knights from the Nashville Predators as part of a three-way deal. Meanwhile, the Edmonton Oilers and representatives for winger Kailer Yamamoto are said to be grinding away toward a bridge deal.

St. Louis Blues forward Robert Thomas seeks more than the $2.8 million AAV signed by teammate Jordan Kyrou. He could miss the start of training camp if he’s not offered a suitable deal. The Blues have limited cap space and haven’t been able to unload Vladimir Tarasenko’s $7.5 million annual cap hit.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: NBC Sports’ Adam Gretz recently suggested Yamamoto as an offer sheet possibility. He considers the 22-year-old winger a good young forward on a team whose cap situation would make it difficult to match a modest $4.1 million offer sheet. Thomas could also be another target, though his struggles last season hurt his chances of getting one.