NHL Rumor Mill – September 23, 2023

NHL Rumor Mill – September 23, 2023

Flyers defenseman Travis Sanheim talks about being mentioned in summer trade chatter, the Bruins hope to re-sign Jake DeBrusk and the latest on Avalanche blueliner Devon Toews in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.


NBC SPORTS PHILADELPHIA: Jordan Hall reports Flyers defenseman Travis Sanheim was mentioned in a late-June trade rumor that involved discussions between the Flyers and St. Louis Blues regarding Blues rearguard Torey Krug.

The deal never got off the ground as Krug used his no-trade clause to block it. Four days later, Sanheim’s eight-year contract with a full no-trade clause went into effect.

Philadelphia Flyers defenseman Travis Sanheim (NHL Images).

Sanheim revealed it was a stressful time. “It sucks,” he said. “It’s not a position you want to be in, but it’s a business and I understand it, I understand where the team’s at.” He added that he’s happy to be staying in Philadelphia, saying it was the reason he signed an extension for eight years in 2022.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Sanheim’s full no-trade clause ensures he controls his future with the Flyers over the next four seasons. After that, the clause becomes a 12-team no-trade list.

Sanheim could be encouraged by Flyers management to waive the clause if he was willing to go to a club of his choosing. That’s assuming things go sour with the Flyers over the next four seasons and he’s no longer happy playing for them. As long as he wants to stay in Philadelphia, however, I’d say he’s not at risk of getting traded anytime soon.


98.5 THE SPORTS HUB: Ty Anderson reports Boston Bruins general manager Don Sweeney is hopeful of re-signing Jake DeBrusk. The 26-year-old winger is slated to become an unrestricted free agent next July.

We’re going to have communication with Jake and his representative (and) we’d like to know if Jake indeed does want to be here,” said Sweeney. While he’s not going to say anything publicly about the status of contract talks, the Bruins GM made it clear that his club would like to retain DeBrusk.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: DeBrusk was frequently the subject of trade rumors prior to signing his current contract in March 2022. He silenced that conjecture last season with a career-best 50-point performance in 64 games and would’ve scored more had he not been sidelined for four weeks by injuries suffered during the 2023 Winter Classic.

DeBrusk recently told reporters that he hopes to re-sign with the Bruins but added that it takes two to tango in contract talks. It certainly sounds like Sweeney is willing to dance.


THE SCORE: cited Colorado Avalanche defenseman Devon Toews telling Mile High Sports’ Aarif Deen that he wants to remain with the club for the remainder of his career. Toews, 29, is eligible to become an unrestricted free agent next summer.

Toews told Deen that he’d rather not have contract extension talks drag on into the coming season. He’s earning an average annual value of $4.1 million on his current contract but his solid play could make the case for him to double his money on his next deal.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Avalanche only have $10 million in projected cap space with 13 players under contract for next season. If Gabriel Landeskog’s ongoing knee injury ends his career they will keep him on long-term injury reserve. That will give them the cap flexibility to re-sign Toews. Otherwise, they’ll have to shed salary to keep him.

NHL Rumor Mill – September 19, 2023

NHL Rumor Mill – September 19, 2023

What’s the latest on Ducks goalie John Gibson? Do Jake DeBrusk and Matt Grzelcyk have long-term futures with the Bruins? Are the Senators any closer to re-signing Shane Pinto? Find out in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.


THE HOCKEY NEWS: Matt Levine recently noted that John Gibson’s future with the Anaheim Ducks was a hot topic during the offseason. There were conflicting reports about his desire to remain with the rebuilding club.

Anaheim Ducks goaltender John Gibson (NHL Images).

Levine noted that Gibson doesn’t really fit the timeline for the Ducks so it would make sense to cut ties at some point. So far, however, there’s no indication that’s going to happen anytime soon.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Gibson’s contract remains a significant obstacle in the path to a trade. He carries an average annual cap hit of $6.4 million through 2026-27 plus a 10-team no-trade clause.

In a season where a flattened salary cap means most teams lack the room to take on his contract, a Gibson trade might have to wait until next summer. The salary cap is expected to rise by at least $4 million for 2024-25, making it potentially easier to swing a deal with a contender.


THE ATHLETIC: Fluto Shinzawa noted that Jake DeBrusk is slated to become an unrestricted free agent next summer. He believes the 26-year-old winger’s performance this season as a top-six forward will determine if his future remains with the Boston Bruins.

Like DeBrusk, defenseman Matt Grzelcyk is also eligible next summer for UFA status. Shinzawa noted he’s a good defender who uses his feet, stick and hockey sense. He’s also a sheltered five-on-five blueliner who doesn’t kill penalties and is unlikely to see much power-play time. He wondered if Grzelcyk would be re-signed or traded.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I think DeBrusk is more likely to be re-signed than Grzelcyk. Both have frequently been mentioned as trade candidates in recent years. However, the chatter around DeBrusk died down during his solid performance last season.

What say you, Bruins fans? Do you prefer one or the other? Should both be re-signed or traded? Let us know in the comments below.


OTTAWA SUN: Bruce Garrioch reports the clock is ticking for the Senators and restricted free agent Shane Pinto to reach an agreement on a new contract. Training camp opens with team medicals on Wednesday but there’s no sign the two sides have bridged the gap in negotiations.

Garrioch noted that there’s been talk the Senators might trade Pinto. However, he claims that’s not at the forefront of any discussions right now as the two sides continue to try and reach common ground. It’s believed the Boston Bruins and Philadelphia Flyers have inquired about the 22-year-old center’s availability.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: As previously noted, Pinto cannot receive an offer sheet from a rival club because he didn’t accrue a sufficient number of games to become a Group 2 RFA. He already lacks arbitration rights so he has little leverage except to withhold his services until he gets a new contract. Garrioch believes his camp is seeking a two-year deal worth over $2.1 million per season.


THE BOSTON GLOBE: Kevin Paul Dupont recently reported that there’s been buzz around the league that the Columbus Blue Jackets could sign Jaroslav Halak to a professional tryout offer. The 38-year-old goaltender needs just five wins to reach the 300-win milestone for his NHL career.

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 15, 2023

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 15, 2023

The league and the NHLPA will discuss the Mike Babcock photo investigation, the Bruins will name a captain before the season begins, plus the latest on Jake DeBrusk, Pavel Francouz and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.

SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman reports the NHL and NHL Players Association will discuss the next steps in an investigation regarding Columbus Blue Jackets coach Mike Babcock requesting his players share personal photos from their cell phones.

Columbus Blue Jackets head coach Mike Babcock (NHL Images).

The discussion will be taking place as part of a previously scheduled meeting between the two sides.

The league and the PA were initially satisfied with the explanations of Blue Jackets captain Boone Jenner and star winger Johnny Gaudreau regarding Babcock’s request. However, it subsequently came to light that several younger Jackets players were uncomfortable with what took place.

On Thursday, PA executive director Marty Walsh and assistant executive director Ron Hainsey traveled to Columbus to meet with Blue Jackets players. Sources said the meeting was “intense.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Babcock defended his actions in a statement earlier this week by claiming he merely wanted to get to know his players better, saying that he also shared his family photos with them. Jenner and Gaudreau said they had no problem with doing so. Nevertheless, it’s understandable why some players might consider it an invasion of privacy.

BOSTON HOCKEY NOW: Bruins head coach Jim Montgomery confirmed that his club will name a new captain before the start of the upcoming season. Former captain Patrice Bergeron announced his retirement in July, sparking speculation over how the Bruins will choose his potential replacement and which players might be tapped to fill that role.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Montgomery’s remarks dispel recent speculation suggesting the Bruins could have a “captain by committee” consisting of four alternate captains with each taking a turn as captain for a month.

BOSTON HERALD: Speaking of the Bruins, Jake DeBrusk said he’s focusing on the coming season rather than on negotiations for the contract extension. The 26-year-old winger is slated to become an unrestricted free agent next July.

When it comes to contract talks, it’s one of those things where you need two sides to tango and whenever that happens, it’s happens,” said DeBrusk.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It sounds like the Bruins haven’t opened contract extension discussions yet with the DeBrusk camp. They could prefer conducting those talks over the course of the season. DeBrusk signed his current contract in March 2022 following the 2021-22 trade deadline.

COLORADO HOCKEY NOW: cited Daily Faceoff’s Frank Seravalli reporting Avalanche goaltender Pavel Francouz is unlikely to be ready for the start of training camp or the upcoming season. Francouz, 33, is still recovering from offseason adductor surgery.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Seravalli reported the Avalanche are examining the trade market for a potential replacement. I’ll have more in today’s Rumor Mill.

OTTAWA SUN: The Senators have brought in winger Josh Bailey to training camp on a professional tryout offer (PTO).

DAILY FACEOFF: Forward Zach Aston-Reese signed a PTO with the Carolina Hurricanes.

TSN: The St. Louis Blues signed winger Nick Ritchie to a PTO contract.

FLORIDA HOCKEY NOW: The Panthers invited Nick’s brother Brett to a PTO.

DAILY FACEOFF: The Pittsburgh Penguins named Jon Elkin as their new director of goaltending. He’s the former head of goaltending development for the Toronto Maple Leafs.

PHILLY HOCKEY NOW: The Flyers will induct Mark Recchi into their Hall of Fame during a pregame ceremony on Jan. 27 against the Boston Bruins. Recchi played for both clubs during his 22-year NHL career.

NHL Rumor Mill – August 31, 2023

NHL Rumor Mill – August 31, 2023

How much could it cost the Bruins to re-sign Jake DeBrusk? Could Jake Guentzel get $10 million annually from the Penguins? Can the Pens bring in Tomas Tatar on a tryout basis? Check out the latest in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.


NHL.COM: Derek Van Diest reports Jake DeBrusk isn’t looking toward testing next summer’s unrestricted free-agent market. The 26-year-old winger hopes to sign a new contract with the Boston Bruins.

Boston Bruins winger Jake DeBrusk (NHL Images).

Entering his seventh season with the Bruins, DeBrusk is in the final season of a two-year, $8 million contract with an average annual value of $4 million. He tied a career-best in goals last season with 27 and had a career-best 50 points but those stats would’ve been higher had he not been sidelined for 18 games.

BOSTON HOCKEY NOW: Jimmy Murphy observed that Bruins general manager Don Sweeney will have around $28.5 million in salary-cap space for 2024-25 thanks in part to the projected rise of the salary cap by $4 million.

Part of that cap room could be taken up with shoring up his top-two center depth if Pavel Zacha and Charlie Coyle don’t pan out in those roles this season. Murphy believes DeBrusk could seek a deal similar to the eight-year, $52 million contract ($6.5 million AAV) recently signed by Brandon Hagel with the Tampa Bay Lightning.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Bruins also have just 11 active roster players under contract for 2024-25. If they have to find suitable top-two centers it might not leave enough to re-sign DeBrusk and fill out the rest of the roster.


THE HOCKEY NEWS: Jacob Punturi recently pondered how much it could cost the Pittsburgh Penguins to re-sign Jake Guentzel. The 29-year-old left winger has been their top goal scorer over the past five seasons.

Slated to become a UFA next July, Guentzel will be due for a healthy raise after earning a team-friendly $6 million annually on his current contract. While he could easily justify seeking an AAV of $10 million, Punturi doubted he’ll get more from the Penguins than the $8.7 million AAV currently earned by team captain Sidney Crosby.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Penguins are in “win-now” mode trying to win one more championship with Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and Kris Letang. Ultimately, I think they’ll pay up to keep Guentzel in the fold.

Penguins GM Kyle Dubas could hold the line for Guentzel at between $8 million and $8.5 million. However, I don’t think Crosby’s AAV will be that much of a barrier.

Unless Guentzel is willing to accept as much or slightly less than Crosby, he could get between $9 million and $10 million from the Penguins. And I don’t think the Penguins captain would have an issue with that. After all, Malkin’s last contract had a higher AAV ($9.5 million) and that wasn’t a problem for Crosby.

Punturi’s colleague Nicholas Brlansky believes the Penguins still have a shot at signing Tomas Tatar. With some free agents starting to sign professional tryout option (PTO) contracts, Tatar is starting to run out of time to find a deal.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Tatar could have a couple of contract offers on the table. One of them could be with the Penguins.

The 32-year-old winger could be waiting to see if he gets any better proposals before training camp. If he doesn’t, he could end up accepting the best existing offer.

NHL Rumor Mill – August 25, 2023

NHL Rumor Mill – August 25, 2023

Could the Bruins still pursue the Flames’ Elias Lindholm or could they instead set their sights on the Canucks’ Elias Pettersson? Alexis Lafreniere has a two-year deal with the Rangers but will he finish it with them? Check out the latest in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.


BOSTON HOCKEY NOW: Jimmy Murphy cited an NHL source who claims the Bruins could be in on Elias Lindholm if he’s still available in the trade market next month.

Murphy noted there have been numerous reports in recent weeks indicating the contract talks between the Flames and the Lindholm camp have picked up. He also mentioned a source telling him a month ago that the Bruins would have to include winger Jake DeBrusk in the deal if they make a pitch to the Flames for the 28-year-old center.

Vancouver Canucks center Elias Pettersson (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Unless the Bruins are the only team pursuing Lindholm I doubt they have sufficient trade capital to outbid other clubs that will also have an interest in the Flames’ center. Like Lindholm, DeBrusk is slated to become an unrestricted free agent next summer. The Flames could prefer a good young player with more cost certainty as part of the return.

Murphy also wondered if the Bruins should shift their focus in the trade market toward Elias Pettersson. The 24-year-old center is the subject of trade rumors after telling Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman this week that he’s in no hurry to sign a contract extension with the Vancouver Canucks.

Pettersson is slated to become a restricted free agent next July with arbitration rights. Murphy points out that the Vancouver center is four years younger than Lindholm and in his playing prime during the duration of his next contract. There’s no telling what the Canucks would set as an asking price if they put Pettersson on the trade block.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Canucks are in no rush to peddle Pettersson, who is undecided if he’ll sign a short or long-term contract with the Canucks. Unlike the Flames with Lindholm, they still control Pettersson’s rights after next season.

The Canucks’ performance this season will be the determining factor regarding the length of Pettersson’s next contract. He probably doesn’t want to tie himself too long to a club stuck in a perpetual rebuild.

If the Canucks shop Pettersson, the Bruins will face the same issue as they would if they were pursuing Lindholm. They lack tradeable assets to win a bidding war in the trade market. If you think the Flames will set a high price for Lindholm, the Canucks’ will seek more for Pettersson.


SPORTSNET (via NHL Watcher): During his latest “32 Thoughts” podcast, Elliotte Friedman touched on what the future might hold for Alexis Lafreniere, who signed a two-year bridge contract with the New York Rangers earlier this week.

Friedman thinks the Rangers could consider moving Lafreniere if the 21-year-old winger fails to improve under new head coach Peter Laviolette. He believes his current contract with its current average annual value ($2.325 million) is a number suitable enough for other clubs to handle.

To me, it’s a two-year deal, but it’s a one-year deal in New York and then we will see,” said Friedman.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s been a struggle for Lafreniere to play up to the expectations that come with being a first-overall draft pick. His situation hasn’t been helped by the instability behind the Rangers bench since his rookie season in 2020-21. Laviolette will be his third head coach.

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – August 25, 2023

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – August 25, 2023

Brandon Hagel’s contract with the Lightning could lead to a big raise for the Bruins’ Jake DeBrusk, the Oilers officially announce Evan Bouchard’s new contract and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.

PUCKS WITH HAGGS: Joe Haggerty believes Bradon Hagel’s eight-year, $52 million contract extension with the Tampa Bay Lightning could have ramifications for the Boston Bruins and their negotiations with winger Jake DeBrusk.

Boston Bruins winger Jake DeBrusk (NHL Images).

Eligible next July for unrestricted free-agent status, the 26-year-old DeBrusk is in the second season of a two-year, $8 million contract. He’s endured inconsistency earlier in his career but reached a career-high 50 points (including 27 goals) in 64 games last season.

NBC SPORTS BOSTON: Nick Goss believes the Bruins should sign DeBrusk to a comparable extension as soon as possible. He opines that the $6.25 million (or close to it) average annual cap hit will be more team-friendly in 2026 than it is right now.

Goss noted the depletion of the Bruins’ veteran core in recent years. He points out that Brad Marchand can’t keep playing forever and there’s not a lot of depth on the Bruins’ left wing. He warns that waiting to evaluate his performance this season could make DeBrusk more expensive to sign if he scores at the same pace as he did last season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The good news for the Bruins is they’ve got a projected $23.8 million in cap space with 12 active roster players under contract. That’s plenty of room to sign DeBrusk to a contract comparable to Hagel’s.

The bad news is they must also shell out big bucks if they hope to acquire or sign a first-line center next summer. Goaltender Jeremy Swayman could be in line for a big raise provided they don’t trade him. That could force them to make a cost-cutting trade or two that could deplete their depth elsewhere in the lineup.

EDMONTON JOURNAL: The Oilers officially confirmed they’ve signed Evan Bouchard to a two-year contract. The 23-year-old defenseman will earn an average annual value of $3.9 million.

NEW YORK POST: The Rangers hired Hockey Hall of Famer Angela Ruggiero as a hockey operations advisor. One of the most decorated women’s hockey players of all time, Ruggiero trained with Rangers general manager Chris Drury during their playing days. Both were inducted into the United States Hockey Hall of Fame in 2015.

DAILY FACEOFF: Former NHL player Sven Baertschi officially announced his retirement. In a statement, the 30-year-old forward cited a number of injuries that have taken a toll. He played 10 seasons in the NHL with the Calgary Flames, Vancouver Canucks and Vegas Golden Knights, scoring 66 goals and 138 points in 292 games.

THE DENVER POST: Former NHL player Kyle Quincey is building a psychedelic retreat center for former athletes and military members.

Quincey, 34, experienced emotional instability following his retirement in 2019, citing 20 concussions and massive mood swings. In 2020, his youngest son was diagnosed with brain cancer. The youngster is now in remission following a year of treatment but that ordeal also took its toll on Quincey’s mental health.

Introduced to “magic mushrooms” by former NHL enforcer and psychedelics advocate Daniel Carcillo, Quincey found they had a profound effect on him. He’s building the retreat where he hopes to provide psilocybin therapy for individuals suffering from traumatic brain injury, addictions, anxiety and depression.