Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – April 4, 2021

Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – April 4, 2021

Check out the latest on the Bruins, Jets, Capitals, Sharks and more in the Sunday NHL rumor roundup.

SUGGESTED BRUINS TRADE TARGETS

THE ATHLETIC: Fluto Shinzawa recently examined how the Boston Bruins could address their need for a left-side defenseman and a scoring right wing.

Vancouver’s Alex Edler, Nashville’s Mattias Ekholm, Arizona’s Alex Goligoski, Detroit’s Jon Merrill and Ottawa’s Mike Reilly were among his recent suggestions for blue-line targets.

Columbus’ Riley Nash, New Jersey’s Kyle Palmieri and Miles Wood, Anaheim’s Rickard Rakell, and Detroit’s Bobby Ryan were his proposed forward trade options.

Could the Boston Bruins target Anaheim Ducks winger Rikard Rakell before the trade deadline? (NHL Images)

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Shinzawa rated each option, including the potential cost of acquisition. His list was published on Friday before news emerged of the COVID-19 variant sidelining a number of Canucks, including Edler. Regardless, Edler enjoys living and playing in Vancouver and has shown no willingness to waive his no-movement clause in the past.

Ekholm’s probably no longer available due to the Predators’ surge into playoff contention in the Discover Central Division. The same goes for Goligoski as the Coyotes jockey with the Blues and Sharks for the final playoff spot in the Honda West.

Palmieri or Rakell could provide a boost to the Bruins’ offense but the asking price for either guy could get expensive, especially for Rakell with a year remaining on his contract. I don’t see the Devils parting with Wood. The 25-year-old has a year remaining on his contract and probably still fits into the Devils’ plans going forward, whereas Palmieri is slated to become a UFA this summer and could price himself out of New Jersey.

The Bruins options could be going the bargain rental route with Nash, Ryan, Reilly, or Merrill. Neither of those guys, however, will significantly improve Boston’s roster.

RECENT JETS, CAPITALS AND SHARKS SPECULATION

THE ATHLETIC: Pierre LeBrun recently speculated the Winnipeg Jets are worth watching at the upcoming NHL trade deadline. He felt they could make a move to bolster their defense. However, general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff cautions finite resources such as cap space and currency to make trades could make it difficult to find the right fit.

LeBrun believed Mattias Ekholm would be a perfect fit on the Jets blueline. However, a Predators source told him last week the club doesn’t face the same urgency to sell as it did several weeks ago. LeBrun suggested Columbus’ David Savard or Anaheim’s Josh Manson as other options worth considering.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Cheveldayoff already made one significant trade this season, shipping Patrik Laine and Jack Roslovic to the Blue Jackets for Pierre-Luc Dubois and a draft pick. LeBrun feels he could strike again.

Savard could be the best choice. Cheveldayoff has a recent trade history with Jackets GM Jarmo Kekalainen and the asking price won’t be anything close to the reported three assets (including a first-round pick and top prospect) the Predators want for Ekholm. Manson’s been hampered by injuries this season, carries a 12-team no-trade list and could be reluctant to waive it.

Tarik El-Bashir recently examined some potential low-cost rentals for the Washington Capitals to add depth at center. He suggested Detroit’s Luke Glendening, Nashville’s Mikael Granlund and Erik Haula and Columbus’ Riley Nash. El-Bashir also didn’t rule out Calgary’s Sam Bennett.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Granlund and Haula could be unavailable given the Predators’ aforementioned surge in the standings. Bennett seems a more likely trade chip with each passing day but could too expensive for the Capitals. Glendening seems the most affordable option but other cap-strapped contenders seeking depth at center (hello there, Edmonton Oilers) could come calling.

LeBrun also reported the San Jose Sharks have told teams it has cap space to rent for an asset or two. They have around $6 million available and LeBrun suggested they could become the third team in a complicated cap deal to facilitate a trade.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Sharks are also rising in the West Division and fighting for a playoff spot. That could affect GM Doug Wilson’s willingness to rent out some of his cap space.

WHITHER DEANGELO?

NEW YORK POST: Larry Brooks asks, “You’re telling me that Tony DeAngelo wouldn’t be a fit or worthwhile risk for Florida?”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Brooks is referring to the Panthers’ search for blueline help after Aaron Ekblad was sidelined by a fractured leg for the remainder of the season.

Despite his defensive flaws, DeAngelo’s offensive abilities and puck-moving skills would draw attention from clubs seeking blueline depth. However, the young rearguard’s personal baggage, including his clash with a teammate in January that ended his tenure with the Rangers, has also dampened his trade value.










NHL Rumor Mill – March 30, 2021

NHL Rumor Mill – March 30, 2021

Will the Panthers seek a defenseman with Aaron Ekblad sidelined? Could the Blues have an interest in Sabres winger Taylor Hall? What’s the latest on the Avalanche, Lightning, Canadiens and Oilers? Find out in today’s NHL rumor mill. 

WILL THE PANTHERS SHOP FOR A DEFENSEMAN?

NHL.COM: Dan Rosen believes losing top defenseman Aaron Ekblad (fractured leg) for 12 weeks puts the emphasis on the Florida Panthers to acquire a blueliner before the April 12 trade deadline. Options could include the Buffalo Sabres’ Brandon Montour, Columbus Blue Jackets’ David Savard, New Jersey Devils’ Sami Vatanen and New York Rangers Tony DeAngelo.

Like Ekblad, they’re all right-shot rearguards. Montour, Savard and Vatanen are pending unrestricted free agents while DeAngelo is in the first season of a two-year contract with an annual average value of $4.8 million.

FLORIDA HOCKEY NOW: George Richards reports Panthers general manager Bill Zito was already scouting for a top-four defenseman before Ekblad was sidelined.

Could the Florida Panthers look to acquire Nashville Predators defenseman Mattias Ekholm? (NHL Images)

One option could be the Nashville Predators’ Mattias Ekholm but there’s no certainty he’ll be available with the Predators back in the playoff race in the Discover Central Division. Richards believes Savard would be a good fit if he’s available.

Other targets could include Montour, Vatanen, Sabres blueliner Rasmus Ristolainen, or the Arizona Coyotes’ Alex Goligoski.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: There’s no one in the trade market that can replace Ekblad’s role as the Panthers’ top defenseman. If Zito goes shopping it’ll be for a decent depth rearguard capable of playing top-four minutes.

Zito could consider blueliners with term on their contracts such as Ekholm, Ristolainen or DeAngelo but the asking prices for those players could be more expensive than it would be for the UFAs. The Predators asking price for Ekholm is said to be three assets including a first-round pick and a top prospect. I believe Zito will instead look to the rentals.

NOTABLE RUMORS FROM FRIEDMAN’S LATEST “31 THOUGHTS”.

SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman reports Buffalo Sabres GM Kevyn Adams was believed discussing something with the St. Louis Blues. He wondered if it might involve Sabres winger Taylor Hall but said he received “pushback” on that notion. Friedman doubts the Sabres can get a first-round pick for Hall unless there’s a bidding war. He also wondered if Casey Mittelstadt could be moved.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I don’t doubt Hall is attracting interest in the trade market but his value has declined over the course of this season. Rival GMs will try to get him for a bargain if they can. Adams might have to accept a second-rounder and a prospect.

Friedman believes the Colorado Avalanche could have an interest in David Savard if the Blue Jackets become sellers. He also thinks the Tampa Bay Lightning could be a suitor if they can find a way to fit him under their cap.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It seems to me that the Avs should be looking for a reliable backup for starting goalie Philipp Grubauer. As for the Lightning, they don’t have any cap room and expect superstar winger Nikita Kucherov back in the lineup in time for the playoffs. I wouldn’t be surprised if GM Julien Brisebois managed to make an addition before the deadline but it would take considerable salary-cap gymnastics to pull it off.

Friedman doubts Montreal Canadiens GM Marc Bergevin is done dealing after acquiring Eric Staal from the Sabres last Friday. He thinks Bergevin may have had something going with Artturi Lehkonen to create some salary-cap space.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Canadiens need an experienced top-four, left-side defenseman. That should be Bergevin’s target if he can make the dollars fit. Lehkonen has come up in Habs trade chatter in recent weeks. He’s got a $2.4 million cap hit and becomes a restricted free agent this summer with arbitration rights. He could become expendable as the Habs look to promote younger players following this season.

Detroit Red Wings center Luke Glendening could be on the Edmonton Oilers’ radar. Acquiring him could be challenging if a rival club is willing to part with a higher draft pick.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Oilers GM Ken Holland wants to add to his roster before the deadline but he only has four picks in this year’s draft, with the highest being a fourth-rounder. I doubt he’s keen to part with his 2022 picks.










Five Surprises So Far From the NHL East Division

Five Surprises So Far From the NHL East Division

 










NHL Rumor Mill – March 3, 2021

NHL Rumor Mill – March 3, 2021

The latest on Jack Eichel, the Leafs still shopping for a forward, plus updates on Dougie Hamilton, Tony DeAngelo and more in today’s NHL rumor mill.

LATEST EICHEL SPECULATION

SPORTSNET: In his latest “31 Thoughts” column, Elliotte Friedman acknowledged the trade speculation swirling about Buffalo Sabres captain Jack Eichel but doubts the 24-year-old center is moved by the April 12 trade deadline. He points out a number of teams cannot afford to take on his $10 million annual average value right now.

Could the New York Rangers or Los Angeles Kings try to acquire Jack Eichel from the Buffalo Sabres? (NHL Images)

Friedman thinks the Rangers could do it anytime they wanted but called some of the proposals out there “kinda crazy.” If the Sabres decide to trade Eichel it’ll be in the summer when teams have more salary-cap space to work with.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Athletic’s Craig Custance cited an NHL executive who believes Eichel will eventually wind up a Ranger. Another, however, felt the Los Angeles Kings would be a better match because they have the type of promising high-centers (Quinton Byfield, Alex Turcotte) the Rangers lack to offer up as trade bait.

Kings general manager Rob Blake has stuck to the mantra of the patient rebuild and it looks like it’s starting to pay off. He could be tempted to accelerate the process by acquiring Eichel. However, I wonder how keen he’d be to add another $10 million player to his roster with Anze Kopitar and Drew Doughty already on the books.

Speaking of the Rangers, the New York Post’s Larry Brooks believes it would be almost impossible for them to get into the bidding for Eichel and his $10 million AAV without first moving center Mika Zibanejad, who has a no-movement clause. Given Zibanejad’s struggles this season, finding a trade partner willing to gamble on him won’t be easy even if he agreed to waive his NMC.

LEAFS STILL SEEK A FORWARD

TSN: Darren Dreger reports the Toronto Maple Leafs still want to bolster their forward lines before the April 12 trade deadline. Some speculation linked the Leafs to Nashville Predators forward Mikael Granlund. Dreger thinks there could be a fit if the Predators agree to retain some of Granlund’s salary. The Leafs have the prospects and draft picks to make something happen.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Cap Friendly shows the Leafs with just over $130K of trade-deadline cap space. Granlund has over $2.1 million remaining of his $3.75 million salary for this season. No chance of a deal there unless the Preds absorb a considerable chunk of his salary or take back a contract of equal or greater value.

HURRICANES UNLIKELY TO MOVE HAMILTON

TSN: Pierre LeBrun reports contract talks between the Carolina Hurricanes and pending UFA defenseman Dougie Hamilton have gone quiet since last month. The Hamilton camp could prefer a deal comparable to what Alex Pietrangelo received from the Vegas Golden Knights while the Hurricanes prefer something similar to what Torey Krug got with the St. Louis Blues. LeBrun doesn’t believe they’ll trade Hamilton, preferring to deal with this before the UFA market opens on July 28.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: As LeBrun points out, the Hurricanes are all-in this year. Hamilton’s contract discussions will be set aside until the season is over.

UPDATE ON DEANGELO

TSN: Frank Seravalli reports former New York Rangers defenseman Tony DeAngelo has told the club he’s willing to accept being loaned to an American Hockey League team. He’s not welcome with their AHL affiliate in Hartford but the Rangers are willing to facilitate sending him to another club. Servalli believes it’ll take another NHL team stepping up to make that happen.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Several NHL teams were rumored to have an interest in DeAngelo earlier this season. However, that has dried up as his personal baggage made him too toxic. It’ll be interesting to see if one of those interest parties might give him an opportunity to skate below the media radar with their AHL farm team.

OTHER RUMORS OF NOTE

Seravalli reports Arizona Coyotes defenseman Alex Goligoski could be added to the TSN NHL Trade Bait board. He’s a pending UFA playing top-pairing minutes but there hasn’t been any contract extension talks between the two sides.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Goligoski has an eight-team no-trade list and a $5.45 million AAV. The latter could prove the more significant sticking point in any trade discussions.

Friedman reports the Columbus Blue Jackets are in the market for centers…The Boston Bruins and Philadelphia Flyers are eyeing defensemen but both must monitor their expansion draft protection lists…Teams seeking goalie depth might ask the Sabres about Jonas Johansson…The LA Kings hope to re-sign pending UFA forward Alex Iafallo.










NHL Rumor Mill – March 2, 2021

NHL Rumor Mill – March 2, 2021

A look at TSN’s latest trade-bait board in today’s NHL rumor mill.

TSN: With the NHL’s Apr. 12 trade deadline six weeks away, Frank Seravalli lists Nashville Predators defenseman Mattias Ekholm, Columbus Blue Jackets blueliner David Savard, New York Rangers rearguard Tony DeAngelo, Buffalo Sabres defender Brandon Montour and Sabres winger Taylor Hall among the top-five players on his trade-bait board.

Ekholm has a year remaining on his contract and could fetch more than Savard, who’s an unrestricted free agent this summer. However, Seravalli believes the latter’s playoff experience and right-hand shot will draw interest from postseason contenders. It remains to be seen, however, if Jackets general manager Jarmo Kekalainen will move him.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: NBC Sports Philly’s Jordan Hall observed recent trade speculation linked Ekholm to the Philadelphia Flyers. However, he believes the club’s performance over the next month will determine if they need external help on their blue line.

Seravalli notes Kekalainen tends to let pending UFAs play out their contracts but that might change if the Jackets fall further out of playoff contention. DeAngelo remains available but his banishment from the Rangers over his personal issues makes rival general managers reluctant to take a chance on him right now.

Buffalo Sabres winger Taylor Hall (NHL Images)

It’s only a matter of time until the Sabres become sellers. Montour and Hall are both pending UFAs but the latter has a full no-movement clause. His camp was reportedly interested in talking contract extension with the Sabres but that might have changed given the club’s ongoing poor play. His $8 million cap hit could be difficult for most contenders to absorb. 

Predators winger Mikael Granlund, Detroit Red Wings forward Bobby Ryan, Vancouver Canucks winger Jake Virtanen, Calgary Flames forward Sam Bennett and Canucks winger Tanner Pearson round out the top ten.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Granlund, Ryan and Pearson are pending UFAs on teams with fading playoff hopes. Granlund was linked to the Toronto Maple Leafs while Ryan acknowledged the possibility he could be traded but hopes to return to the Wings this summer as a free agent.

Virtanen and Bennett are fixtures in this year’s rumor mill. The Canucks reportedly attempted to ship him to the Anaheim Ducks over the weekend for Danton Heinen but his $3.75 million in actual salary for next season was a rumored sticking point. The Athletic’s Thomas Drance believes this shows the Canucks still hope to get something decent back in return.

The Bennett trade chatter picked up a month ago when his agent went public with a trade request. Flames GM Brad Treliving recently stated his club will decide the versatile forward’s fate and not his agent. Treliving may be reluctant to move Bennett this season because he ramps up his game in the playoffs. However, he could change his mind at the trade deadline if the struggling Flames fail to improve.

Red Wings forward Luke Glendening, St. Louis Blues defenseman Vince Dunn, Sabres center Eric Staal, Wings blueliner Marc Staal and Senators winger Ryan Dzingel fill the final five spots on the list.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Like Ryan, Glendening and Marc Staal are both pending UFAs who could be shopped at the deadline for draft picks. The latter still has a no-movement clause but could waive it for a contender.  Detroit Sports Nation cited a report in The Athletic quoting an NHL executive’s belief that Wings GM Steve Yzerman could shop a young forward like Tyler Bertuzzi or Anthony Mantha if the right deal came along. Bertuzzi could draw more interest but Yzerman could prefer moving the talented-but-inconsistent Mantha, who also has a bit of an injury history. He’ll likely seek a good young player in return.

Dunn was the hot topic of trade chatter a month ago but that has died out as the Blues deal with an injury-ravaged roster. Eric Staal still has a 10-team no-trade list but his experience could make him an invaluable addition to a playoff club. Dzingel was recently acquired by the Senators from the Carolina Hurricanes but could also be moved by the trade deadline for a draft pick.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 14, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 14, 2021

Recaps from Saturday’s action, the Senators send Paquette and Galchenyuk to the Hurricanes for Dzingel, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: Brady Tkachuk scored in the dying seconds of the third period to lift the Ottawa Senators over the Winnipeg Jets 2-1. Evgenii Dadonov scored the game-tying in the second period. Mark Scheifele tallied for the Jets. The Senators snapped a four-game losing skid.

Ottawa Senators winger Brady Tkachuk (NHL Images).

Earlier in the day, the Senators traded forwards Cedric Paquette and Alex Galchenyuk to the Carolina Hurricanes in exchange for winger Ryan Dzingel.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Paquette was the prize for the Hurricanes as they sought to add more grit and playoff experience to their forward lines. He’d won a Stanley Cup last season with the Tampa Bay Lightning before they shipped him to the Senators in an offseason cost-cutting move.

The Senators hope to boost their anemic scoring punch by reacquiring Dzingel, whose best seasons were in Ottawa before he was traded in 2019 to the Columbus Blue Jackets. He signed later that year with the Hurricanes but struggled to regain his scoring touch. The 28-year-old winger is in the final year of his contract so the Sens won’t be on the hook for long if he doesn’t pan out.

Galchenyuk is now on his sixth team since 2017-18. His production has steadily deteriorated and was a frequent healthy scratch with the Sens this season.

Speaking of the Hurricanes, they downed the Dallas Stars 4-3 on a shootout goal by Vincent Trocheck. The Stars have dropped their last five games.

The San Jose Sharks dropped their belated home opener 3-1 to the Vegas Golden Knights. Chandler Stephenson tallied a goal and collected an assist for the Golden Knights. The Sharks also lost defensemen Erik Karlsson (lower body) and Radim Simek (upper body) to injuries.

Third-period goals by Mathew Barzal and Jean-Gabriel Pageau carried the New York Islanders to a 4-2 win over the Boston Bruins, snapping the latter’s 10-game points streak. Pageau had two goals for the Isles, including a short-handed tally.

Tyler Johnson scored twice as the Tampa Bay Lightning netted four first-period goals on route to a 6-1 drubbing of the Florida Panthers. Andrei Vasilevskiy made 33 saves for the Lightning, who also announced Anthony Cirelli was listed as week-to-week with an upper-body injury suffered during Thursday’s game against the Panthers.

Montreal Canadiens winger Brendan Gallagher tallied the tie-breaker as his club edged the Toronto Maple Leafs 2-1 to end the latter’s four-game win streak. Habs goaltender Carey Price made 21 saves. Leafs center Auston Matthews picked up an assist to extend his points streak to 12 games.

The St. Louis Blues nipped the Arizona Coyotes 5-4 on an overtime goal by Mike Hoffman. The Coyotes played without forward Johan Larsson as he’s serving a two-game suspension for an illegal hit to the head of Blues forward Zach Sanford in their previous match.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This was the sixth straight game between the two clubs due to schedule changes brought on by COVID-19. They’ve each won three games with the final contest in this unexpected best-of-seven slated for Monday.

Alex DeBrincat’s overtime goal gave the Chicago Blackhawks a 3-2 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets. Patrick Kane collected two assists including one on the game-winner. Patrik Laine and Cam Atkinson replied for the Jackets.

The Detroit Red Wings doubled up the Nashville Predators 4-2. Wings forward Luke Glendening had a goal and two assists. The Predators pulled goalie Pekka Rinne after he gave up three goals on 21 shots.

Third-period goals by Tyler Myers and Brandon Sutter gave the Vancouver Canucks a 3-1 victory over the Calgary Flames. The win ended a six-game losing skid by the Canucks. Jacob Markstrom made 43 saves for the Flames. Before the games, Canucks owner Francesco Aquilini tweeted his “full confidence” in general manager Jim Benning and head coach Travis Green. “Progression is not always a straight line,” tweeted Aquilini. “There is no easy fix, only patience, commitment and hard work.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That will buy some time for Benning and Green but we’ll see if they still have Aquilini’s confidence by season’s end if the Canucks miss the playoffs.

IN OTHER NEWS…

THE DENVER POST: Nathan MacKinnon has fully recovered from his lower-body injury and will be ready to suit up when the Colorado Avalanche face the Vegas Golden Knights today. It’ll be the Avs’ first game since their schedule was postponed by COVID-19 nearly two weeks ago.

NEW YORK POST: Former Rangers defenseman Tony DeAngelo took responsibility for the mistakes in his on-ice play during an interview with Larry Brooks on Friday. He also claimed he’s been misportrayed in the media. “I’m not a racist, I’m not an extremist and I’m not an insurrectionist”, said DeAngelo.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: DeAngelo remains sidelined by the Rangers as they attempt to trade him to another NHL club.

TRIBLIVE.COM: The Pittsburgh Penguins have made requests to the governor and the state of Pennsylvania seeking permission to open their arena to spectators at 25 percent capacity.

TORONTO STAR: Long-time hockey writer Frank Orr passed away Saturday at age 84. Winner of numerous sportswriting honors, Orr was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1989. He rose to fame during the 1960s and 1970s with his NHL coverage, particularly the Toronto Maple Leafs. He also mentored countless sportswriters, many of whom still cover the NHL today.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: My condolences to Orr’s family, friends and colleagues.