NHL Rumor Mill – January 25, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – January 25, 2022

The latest Blackhawks speculation includes the Capitals having an interest in Marc-Andre Fleury plus the latest Claude Giroux, Ben Chiarot, Jakub Chychrun and J.T. Miller in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.

LATEST ON THE BLACKHAWKS

THE ATHLETIC: Scott Powers reports a league source told him anyone on the Chicago Blackhawks could be had in the trade market. That doesn’t mean they’re shopping players like Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane or Alex DeBrincat. However, they would do so if Toews or Kane asked to be moved and would at least listen if someone came calling about DeBrincat.

Powers considers Toews, Kane and Seth Jones to be pretty much untouchable. It would take significant offers to pry players such as DeBrincat, Kirby Dach, Lukas Reichel and Brandon Hagel away from the Blackhawks.

The Blackhawks could end up giving a first-round pick in 2022 or 2023 to the Columbus Blue Jackets as part of the conditions for acquiring Jones. However, Powers doesn’t see them giving away a player they covet simply to fill a draft spot.

Chicago Blackhawks goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury (NHL Images)

Powers believes Marc-Andre Fleury will have the best trade value for the Blackhawks, followed by winger Dominik Kubalik and defenseman Calvin de Haan. Fleury and de Haan are unrestricted free agents. Kubalik is a restricted free agent with arbitration rights but the $4 million it’ll take to qualify his rights could dampen his value in the trade market.

DAILY FACEOFF: The Washington Post’s Samantha Pell told Frank Seravalli and Ryan S. Clark that she believes there’s a greater than 50 percent chance the Capitals could have a new goaltender by the trade deadline. She thinks they’re among the teams interested in Fleury.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Any trade involving Toews, Kane or DeBrincat takes place in the offseason. Swinging the kind of deal it would take to move any of those players takes time and assets that interested clubs probably don’t have right now. That’s assuming Toews or Kane are willing to be traded or that a rival club can make an offer substantial enough to convince the Hawks to part with DeBrincat.

Fleury’s been linked to the Capitals several times in recent weeks as concern mounts over the status of their goaltending. They have just over $2 million in projected deadline cap space but that still won’t be enough to take on Fleury without the Blackhawks retaining some of the remainder of his $7 million cap hit or the Capitals freeing up some cap room. That’s assuming they’re not on his 10-team no-trade list.

SUGGESTED TRADE DESTINATIONS FOR GIROUX AND CHIAROT

SPORTSNET: During their recent “32 Thoughts” podcast, Elliotte Friedman and Jeff Marek discussed possible trade destinations for Philadelphia Flyers forward Claude Giroux and Montreal Canadiens defenseman Ben Chiarot.

Friedman considers the Colorado Avalanche a good fit for Giroux if he wants to chase a Stanley Cup provided they can make the cap dollars fit. Marek also suggested the Dallas Stars’ Joe Pavelski as another fit for the Avs.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Avalanche seems to be linked to everybody, don’t they? I don’t rule out the possibility of general manager Joe Sakic making a move by the March 21 trade deadline. However, the Avalanche are pressed for cap space, requiring some creativity on Sakic’s part to take on the remainder of Giroux’s $8.275 million cap hit for this season if he’s willing to waive his no-movement clause to join the Avs.

As for Pavelski, he’s expressed his desire to stay with Dallas. While the Stars could shop unhappy defenseman John Klingberg before the deadline, I wouldn’t be surprised if they retain Pavelski if the two sides feel they can get a deal done before he becomes a UFA in July.

Regarding Chiarot, Friedman believes the St. Louis Blues, Florida Panthers and Calgary Flames have an interest in the Canadiens blueliner. He also wondered if the Toronto Maple Leafs might pursue him, pointing out they were interested in Chiarot before he signed with Montreal but couldn’t make it work.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Like the Avalanche, the Leafs also carry limited cap space, though absorbing the remainder of Chiarot’s $3.5 million cap hit wouldn’t be as challenging as it would for the Avs to take on the more expensive Giroux. GM Kyle Dubas has shown the ability to swing deals with a tight payroll in the past so we shouldn’t reject that possibility out of hand.

The Canadiens’ rumored ask for Chiarot is a first-round pick. Don’t forget that Dubas parted with his 2021 first-rounder last year for Nick Foligno. Will he part with another first-rounder for another rental player this year? Stay tuned…

LATEST ON JAKOB CHYCHRUN AND J.T. MILLER

THE ATHLETIC: Arthur Staple weighed in on a recent report by Sportsnet’s Jeff Marek and Elliotte Friedman reporting the New York Rangers made a trade offer to the Arizona Coyotes for defenseman Jakob Chychrun centered around Vitali Kravtsov. The 23-year-old winger is playing in Russia this season awaiting a trade by the Rangers.

Unless there are more pieces to a deal for Chychrun, it won’t address the Rangers’ need for more scoring punch on the wings. Adding Chychrun, who has three years remaining on his contract with an annual cap hit of $4.6 million, could complicate things when left-side defenseman K’Andre Miller becomes a restricted free agent in 2023.

GOPHNX.COM: Craig Morgan believes we should be careful about the rumors regarding what’s being offered to the Coyotes for Chychrun, especially when it gets too specific about the Coyotes’ asking price. He doubts GM Bill Armstrong will get into specifics about what he’s seeking for Chychrun. He’s not going to limit his asking price as that would close off alternatives.

Morgan also dismisses reports that those trade talks are heating up when the trade deadline is two months away, calling it a “media-driven narrative”. He reminds us that agents and league executives love to stir the pot.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: A sensible take by Morgan. One need only look at the trade market where we’ve seen just one trade so far this month compared to four in December and three in November to see just how quiet things are right now. General managers and agents are probably talking, and some could be dropping tidbits to their media pals to drive to generate some activity, but moves involving notable players appear weeks away.

Business should start to pick up as we go through February and intensify once the calendar flips to March. Whether Chychrun gets moved over the next two months remains to be seen. Armstrong doesn’t have to move him by the trade deadline. He can afford to wait until the offseason to get the deal he likes.

SPORTSNET 650: Daily Faceoff’s Frank Seravalli believes the Vancouver Canucks could get more than a first-round pick and a highly-touted prospect if they were to trade J.T. Miller. He felt the New York Rangers has expressed some interest in Miller, as well as the Boston Bruins, Minnesota Wild and Calgary Flames.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I don’t see the Canucks making any significant roster moves until they’ve hired a new general manager, which should take place within the next couple of weeks. I also doubt they’ll move a core player like Miller if they’re still in the playoff hunt by the March 21 trade deadline. They’re also unlikely to be in a big hurry to move him since he’s still got a year left on his contract.










NHL Rumor Mill – July 3, 2021

NHL Rumor Mill – July 3, 2021

Are the Blackhawks and Flames interested in Jack Eichel? Will Duncan Keith be traded to the Oilers? Check out the latest in today’s NHL rumor mill.

COULD EICHEL LAND WITH THE BLACKHAWKS OR FLAMES?

THE ATHLETIC: Scott Powers reports a source said the Chicago Blackhawks aren’t planning to get into the bidding for Jack Eichel. They cited the fact the club already has two $10-million players on the roster (Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews) and don’t see how they can have a third.

Buffalo Sabres center Jack Eichel (NHL Images).

Powers said the Blackhawks are already preparing to pay Alex DeBrincat between $8 million and $9 million on his next contract. He has two years left on his current contract. He also advised not to put much stock into any trade scenario involving DeBrincat or Kirby Dach as they’re among the club’s untouchables.

CALGARY SUN: Wes Gilbertson mused over whether the Flames could pursue a deal for Eichel. He speculates general manager Brad Treliving could be interested in the 24-year-old Sabres captain so long as there aren’t any long-term concerns regarding his neck injury.

The Flames lack a high first-round pick or an obvious stud prospect. Gilbertson thinks the Sabres asking price could start with wingers Matthew Tkachuk and Andrew Mangiapane plus a promising player and more.

SPORTSNET: Eric Francis recently dismissed the notion of the Flames acquiring Eichel, calling it little more than a pipe dream. He doesn’t believe they have sufficient tradeable assets to make a successful bid. He also expressed concern over Eichel’s big contract and the uncertainty regarding his neck injury.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I wouldn’t be surprised if Treliving or Blackhawks GM Stan Bowman contacted their counterpart in Buffalo to inquire about Eichel’s availability and the asking price. Unless Sabres GM Kevyn Adams gets desperate and lowers his asking price, don’t expect to see Eichel in a Blackhawks or Sabres jersey anytime soon.

LATEST ON KEITH AND THE OILERS

THE ATHLETIC: Scott Powers reports Duncan Keith was the one who initiated discussions with the Chicago Blackhawks about a potential trade this summer. A team source said the veteran defenseman wants to be closer to his son in Penticton, BC.

The question is whether a team will take on the 37-year-old’s $5.538 million annual cap hit over the next two seasons. A league source thought the Edmonton Oilers could be a destination, citing their need for a defenseman and their asset to make a deal.

Powers colleague Daniel Nugent-Bowman reports the Oilers are thought to be among Keith’s preferred destinations. A team source indicated the interest is mutual but only at the right price and circumstances.

The Oilers want the Blackhawks to absorb part of Keith’s cap hit or take back a bad contract (such as James Neal, Zack Kassian or Mikko Koskinen) in the deal. They also don’t expect the Hawks to just give him away because he’s a legacy player. The Oilers don’t view Keith as a top-pairing defenseman but that’s not an issue because they have Darnell Nurse as their top left-hand blueliner.

Hanging over this is uncertainty over Oscar Klefbom’s status following shoulder surgery in March. Nugent-Bowman feels the writing’s on the wall here because Klefbom’s agent said they probably couldn’t provide any clarity until the fall.

EDMONTON JOURNAL: David Staples cited Oilers insider Bob Stauffer saying he’s heard the Blackhawks don’t want to take salary back on Keith as they’re hoping to use the savings to put toward acquiring Columbus’ Seth Jones or Carolina’s Dougie Hamilton.

Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman said the Oilers want to maintain cap flexibility in any trade for Keith. He also said there are whispers the Blackhawks would like to acquire Oilers blueliner Caleb Jones in hopes of reuniting him with Seth. He wondered if it would make sense for the Blackhawks to acquire a player from the Oilers in a Keith trade that they can buy out.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Oilers may be interested in Keith but they’re not under any pressure to make this move. If they can’t make a deal work they can just walk away and seek more affordable blueline options elsewhere.

The Blackhawks will have to retain part of Keith’s contract or take back a contract they can buy out to make the dollars fit here. Maybe they can acquire a contract from the Oilers and flip it to another team for a draft pick or prospect.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – May 10, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – May 10, 2021

The Flames stay alive in the North Division playoff chase, John Tortorella parts ways with the Blue Jackets, Rick Tocchet leaves the Coyotes, plus the latest suspensions and fines in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: The Calgary Flames kept their playoff hopes alive by thumping the Ottawa Senators 6-1. Johnny Gaudreau and Matthew Tkachuk each had a goal and two assists as the Flames (49 points) moved to within eight points of the fourth-place Montreal Canadiens in the Scotia North Division.

Calgary Flames winger Johnny Gaudreau (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Calgary holds two games in hand over Montreal, who have two games remaining in their schedule. However, the Canadiens need just one point to clinch.

A two-goal performance by Alex DeBrincat gave the Chicago Blackhawks a 4-2 win over the Dallas Stars. DeBrincat has 31 goals and 54 points in 51 games.

TSN: Columbus Blue Jackets general manager Jarmo Kekalainen released a statement yesterday indicating John Tortorella won’t be returning as head coach. The decision was a mutual one. Tortorella’s contract expires after this season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Athletic’s Aaron Portzline leaked this story yesterday hours before Kekalainen made it official. Tortorella departs the Jackets as the most successful coach in franchise history, winning the second of his Jack Adams Awards for his efforts in turning the Jackets into a playoff club in 2016-17. They reached the playoffs four times during his six seasons behind their bench, winning their first-ever playoff series in 2019. I’ll have more about the Jackets in the Rumors section.

ARIZONA SPORTS: The Coyotes and Rick Tocchet mutually agreed to part ways. Tocchet was their head coach for four seasons, during which the club underwent a change of ownership in 2019 and a change in management last when GM John Chayka suddenly departed on the eve of the postseason.  His contract was expiring after this season. The Coyotes reached the playoffs last season, upsetting the Nashville Predators in the qualifying round before falling in the first round to the Colorado Avalanche.

SPORTSNET: Tampa Bay Lightning forward Pat Maroon received a one-game suspension for unsportsmanlike conduct during Saturday’s game against the Florida Panthers. Brandon Montour of the Panthers was fined $5,000.00 for spearing Maroon while teammate MacKenzie Weegar was fined $5,000.00 for high-sticking Maroon’s teammate Mathieu Joseph.

The NHL’s department of player safety fined Montreal Canadiens defenseman Joel Edmundson $1,000.00 for a dangerous trip on Toronto Maple Leafs center John Tavares on Saturday.










What Next For the Chicago Blackhawks?

What Next For the Chicago Blackhawks?

 










NHL Betting: Matthews Still A Rocket Richard Favorite But Others Lurk

NHL Betting: Matthews Still A Rocket Richard Favorite But Others Lurk

 










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 8, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 8, 2021

Recaps of Sunday’s action plus the latest injury and COVID-19 updates and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: Scott Laughton tallied his first career NHL hat trick while a returning Sean Couturier scored twice and added an assist as the Philadelphia Flyers beat the Washington Capitals 7-4. Joel Farabee collected three assists for the Flyers. Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin scored twice and set up two others while Tom Wilson had a four-point game.

Philadelphia Flyers forward Scott Laughton (NHL Images).

Before the game, Flyers defenseman Travis Sanheim entered the league’s COVID-19 protocol list, resulting in rapid testing of both clubs. Once those tests returned negative the game was allowed to proceed.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The NHL and NHLPA are reportedly looking into implementing more rapid testing league-wide in hope of flattening the rising COVID-19 curve among the teams. The Buffalo Sabres, Colorado Avalanche, Minnesota Wild and New Jersey Devils are currently sidelined because a number of their players are on the COVID protocol list.

A third-period goal by Chandler Stephenson lifted the Vegas Golden Knights to a 4-3 win over the Los Angeles Kings. Stephenson scored twice while teammate Zach Whitecloud tallied his first NHL regulation goal. Kings’ rookie Jaret Anderson-Dolan netted his first career NHL goal. The Kings played without forward Martin Frk as he was unavailable due to a lower-body injury.

Alex DeBrincat scored twice, including the winner in overtime, as the Chicago Blackhawks edged the Dallas Stars 2-1. Patrick Kane had two assists and Malcolm Subban kicked out 31 shots for the win.

The Detroit Red Wings upset the Florida Panthers 4-1, handing the latter their first regulation loss of the season. Wings forward Givani Smith had a Gordie Howe hat trick with a goal, an assist and a fight with Panthers defenseman Aaron Ekblad following Smith’s hit to the head of Panthers’ blueliner MacKenzie Weegar. No word if Smith will face supplemental discipline. Wings forward Anthony Mantha was a healthy scratch from this contest.

A controversial offside call in the second period overshadowed the Carolina Hurricanes 6-5 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets. Officials overruled an offside challenge by the Jackets on a goal by Hurricanes center Vincent Trocheck and assessed the Jackets a bench penalty. The officials subsequently decided the play was offside after all and waved off the final 45 seconds of the Hurricanes power-play but still allowed Trocheck’s goal to stand.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Usually outspoken Jackets coach John Tortorella declined to offer his opinion following the game. “You know what? I’m gonna let the league explain it,” said Tortorella. Jackets winger Patrick Laine, who scored twice in the game, didn’t shy away from expressing his view. “I think that’s the biggest joke I’ve ever seen,” said Laine.

HEADLINES

WGR 550: Buffalo Sabres forwards Dylan Cozens, Curtis Lazar and Casey Mittelstadt joined teammates Taylor Hall, Rasmus Ristolainen, Brandon Montour, Tobias Rieder and Jake McCabe on the NHL’s COVID-19 protocol list.

STARTRIBUNE.COM: Minnesota Wild defenseman Brad Hunt joined teammates Nick Bjugstad, Nick Bonino, Ian Cole, Joel Eriksson Ek, Marcus Foligno, Marcus Johansson, Jared Spurgeon and Nico Sturm on the COVID protocol list.

TORONTO SUN: Maple Leafs winger Wayne Simmonds could be sidelined up to six weeks after getting hit in the hand with a shot during Saturday’s game against the Vancouver Canucks.

SPORTSNET: The Leafs signed forward Scott Sabourin to a one-year, two-way contract.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Sabourin signing is a further indication Simmonds could miss significant time.

SPORTSNET: The Edmonton Oilers activated goaltender Mike Smith off long-term injury reserve.

TSN: San Jose Sharks defenseman Radim Simek was fined $5,000.00 for spearing Anaheim Ducks forward Adam Henrique during Saturday’s game between the two clubs.

FOX SPORTS MIDWEST: The St. Louis Blues activated defenseman Robert Bortuzzo off injured reserved, placed winger Robert Thomas (broken thumb) on IR and recalled winger Jacob de la Rose.

NHL.COM: Former NHL forward Ralph Backstrom died Sunday at age 83 following a lengthy illness. Backstrom won the Calder Memorial Trophy as rookie of the year in 1959 and won six Stanley Cups with the Montreal Canadiens. He tallied 278 goals and 639 points in 1, 032 NHL games with the Canadiens, Los Angeles Kings and Chicago Blackhawks, as well as 214 points in 234 games in the WHA.

Backstrom went on to coach the University of Denver, scouted for the St. Louis Blues and founded the Colorado Eagles, now the AHL farm club of the Colorado Avalanche.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Backstrom lived a full, productive life in hockey and the game is better for it. My condolences to his family, friends, teammates and associates.