NHL Rumor Mill – September 2, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – September 2, 2022

Some potential trade destinations for Patrick Kane and how the Canadiens can add a defenseman in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.

THE HOCKEY NEWS: Mike Stephens took a look at four possible landing spots for Patrick Kane and what it might cost to acquire him from the Chicago Blackhawks.

The Buffalo Sabres are Kane’s childhood team and already have some quality talent on their rebuilding roster. They also have plenty of salary-cap space and have a stockpile of prospects to tempt the Blackhawks.

Chicago Blackhawks winger Patrick Kane (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: If there is a mutual interest in Kane and the Sabres, I think the latter would prefer waiting until next summer to sign him as an unrestricted free agent. They wouldn’t have to part with any players or prospects to get him and the annual cap hit would be lower than his current $10.5 million.

Stephens also suggested the Toronto Maple Leafs as a destination. He acknowledged it would take some financial wizardry for the cap-strapped Leafs to pull it off. Adding Kane would give the Leafs a formidable top-six formation.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Leafs general manager Kyle Dubas has proven adept at salary-cap wizardry in the past. Adding Kane, however, could prove beyond his powers. It would require shedding considerable salary while requiring the Blackhawks to retain half of his average annual value. A three-team trade would significantly reduce the Leafs’ share of his AAV but finding a team willing to do it is easier said than done.

The Detroit Red Wings are another club with promising prospects that could be attractive trade bait. They would have to free up a bit of cap room but it wouldn’t be a daunting task. Kane alongside Dylan Larkin and Lucas Raymond would be a tantalizing combination.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Red Wings GM Steve Yzerman has avoided pursuing big-ticket talent, preferring to acquire depth veterans to augment his rising young stars. He could surprise us with a major move by acquiring someone like Kane, but I don’t

Stephens thinks the Colorado Avalanche adding Kane would be the kind of move we’d expect them to make. Adding the 33-year-old winger would push the defending Stanley Cup champions back to the top of the heap. It would require the difficult task of trying to shed Erik Johnson’s $6 million cap hit plus the Avs only have four total picks in the next two drafts.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Avalanche management has shown creativity before landing quality talent. However, their lack of draft picks and Johnson’s cap hit could put acquiring Kane out of reach.

THE ATHLETIC: Marc Antoine Godin examined how the Montreal Canadiens could acquire a right-side defenseman. They’ll garner salary-cap flexibility with Carey Price expected to be on long-term injury reserve this season, plus they have depth in forwards to dangle as trade bait.

Godin suggests a trade before the start of the season targeting clubs that could be willing to swap a defenseman for a forward (such as Joel Armia) whose contract runs into 2024-25 when the salary cap is expected to significantly rise. The Edmonton Oilers’ Tyson Barrie or the Winnipeg Jets’ Dylan DeMelo could be options under that scenario.

Another could be using their cap flexibility for a temporary short-term fix. Godin suggested the Toronto Maple Leafs’ Justin Holl or the Ottawa Senators’ Travis Hamonic. He also thinks it would be worthwhile keeping an eye on the Carolina Hurricanes, who have five right-side defensemen.

Godin also suggested they could keep an eye on the waiver wire or sign an unrestricted free agent such as Anton Stralman.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Bear in mind that Godin is merely making suggestions here. He’s not saying the Canadiens are targeting those defensemen. Still, it wouldn’t be surprising if Habs GM Kent Hughes were to land one of those blueliners or another right-shot rearguard. He’s done a good job thus far addressing his rebuilding club’s needs.










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 Morning Coffee Headlines – October 8, 2020

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 8, 2020

The 2020 NHL Draft completes its second and final day, Taylor Hall is heading to free agency, the Blue Jackets re-sign Max Domi, and much more in today’s morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: The 2020 NHL Draft is now history following a marathon second day in which it took over seven hours to complete rounds two through seven.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: You can see the results for each round by clicking the above link to the NHL draft tracker. As for how long it took to go through yesterday’s rounds, the general managers and their staffs were drafting from home instead of at an arena in a host city as is usually done. That gave them a lot more time to evaluate which prospects they intended to select and to move up or down the draft order by swapping picks with other clubs.

ARIZONA SPORTS: Coyotes GM Bill Armstrong said Taylor Hall is heading to tomorrow’s unrestricted free agent market.

Arizona Coyotes winger Taylor Hall is heading to free agency on Friday (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Coyotes gave up three prospects and two draft picks (including a first in this year’s draft) to acquire Hall in a trade with New Jersey last December. Hall played well for the Coyotes, with 10 goals and 27 points in 35 games, but his addition did little to significantly improve his new club. Their limited cap space made it almost impossible to re-sign him. His departure could ease the pressure from Armstrong to move captain Oliver Ekman-Larsson in a cost-cutting trade before the defenseman’s Friday deadline.

THE SCORE: One day after being acquired by the Columbus Blue Jackets from the Montreal Canadiens, Max Domi signed a two-year, $10.6 million contract with his new club.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This is a sensible signing by the Jackets. Domi gets a raise over two-year, $6.3-million of his previous deal. The Jackets get a reasonable period of time to evaluate their new center’s performance to determine if he’ll be worth a longer-term deal.

Cap Friendly indicates this signing leaves the Jackets with just $1.725 million in cap space with first-line center Pierre-Luc Dubois to re-sign. However, Dubois’ coming off his entry-level contract and could get an affordable bridge contract. The Jackets could also place Brandon Dubinsky ($5.85 million) on long-term injury reserve as a chronic wrist ailment has likely ended his playing days, providing more cap space for DuBois’ next contract.

THE TENNESSEAN: The Nashville Predators placed center Kyle Turris on unconditional waivers for the purpose of buying out his contract. He had four years and $24 million remaining on his deal. The buyout will count as $2 million annually against the Predators’ salary cap through 2027-28.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Turris’ contract turned into a costly mistake for Predators GM David Poile. Desperate to free up cap space, he had little choice but to buy out that deal following unsuccessful attempts to trade the 31-year-old center.

THE SCORE: The Vegas Golden Knights re-signed forward Chandler Stephenson to a four-year, $11 million contract.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Stephenson fit in well with the Golden Knights after he was acquired from the Washington Capitals last December. However, his new contract pushes Vegas’ cap payroll over the $81.5 million cap by $2.8 million. They are allowed to exceed the cap by 10 percent during the offseason, but that will complicate any plans to be active in the upcoming free-agent market. A cost-cutting trade or two will be necessary before the start of next season.

OTTAWA SUN: The Senators have decided to let winger Anthony Duclair become an unrestricted free agent after the two sides failed to reach an agreement on a new contract. Duclair was a restricted free agent with arbitration rights and wasn’t given a qualifying offer by yesterday’s 5 pm deadline. GM Pierre Dorion declined to go into details but said Duclair chose to represent himself in contract talks. He added the club offered the winger a substantial raise over his previous salary.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: A puzzling development. Duclair made $1.65 million on a one-year deal last season. Dorion didn’t shut the door on the winger possibly returning to Ottawa. Maybe the Senators were concerned Duclair would get more via arbitration.

WINNIPEG SUN: The Jets re-signed defenseman Dylan DeMelo to a four-year, $12 million contract. DeMelo was slated to become a UFA on Friday.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: A good, affordable signing by the Jets. DeMelo joined the Jets before the February trade deadline and quickly adapted to his new team.

EDMONTON JOURNAL: The Oilers’ long contract standoff with Jesse Puljujarvi is over, re-signing the 22-year-old winger to a two-year deal worth an annual average value of $1.175 million. Puljujarvi spent all of last season playing in Finland hoping to force a trade by the Oilers.

NEW YORK POST: The Rangers traded center Lias Andersson to the Los Angeles Kings for the 60th pick in the 2020 NHL draft. Andersson was the seventh-overall pick in the 2017 draft but struggled to crack the Rangers lineup and spent the second half of last season playing in Sweden.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The stock of both young forwards really dropped over the past two years. There was even speculation at one point last season suggesting the two could be swapped for each other in a trade. Both players need a reset if they hope to salvage their NHL careers.

CBC: Montreal Canadiens Hall-of-Famer Guy Lafleur has undergone a second surgery to address a recurrence of lung cancer just two months following quadruple bypass surgery.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Best wishes to Lafleur for a speedy and complete recovery.

 

 










NHL Rumor Mill – July 27, 2020

NHL Rumor Mill – July 27, 2020

Some suggested free-agent targets for the Sharks plus a rumor linking Peter Chiarelli to the Coyotes in today’s NHL rumor mill.

LATEST ON THE SHARKS

THE ATHLETIC (subscription required): Kevin Kurz recently listed several potential free agents that he could see the San Jose Sharks pursuing in the off-season.

Goaltending targets could include the New York Islanders Thomas Greiss, the Dallas Stars’ Anton Khudobin, or the Calgary Flames’ Cam Talbot. Of the three, Talbot could be more affordable.

Could the San Jose Sharks pursue Vancouver Canucks winger Tyler Toffoli in the free-agent market? (Photo via NHL Images)

Forward options include Vancouver Canucks winger Tyler Toffoli, Florida Panthers winger Evgenii Dadonov, and Nashville Predators winger Mikael Granlund. The Washington Capitals’ Radko Gudas and Winnipeg Jets’ Dylan DeMelo were among his defense targets.

Finding the right fit won’t be easy. With the salary cap remaining at $81.5 million, the Sharks have over $66 million invested in their payroll for 2020-21. Nevertheless, Kurz doesn’t expect them to sit idly by in the off-season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Goaltending depth could be the priority given starter Martin Jones’ struggles and backup Aaron Dell’s expected departure via free agency. Talbot might be the cheapest option on Kurz’s list but he could also be looking for a starter’s job. If he can’t find that role, he could be amenable to another short-term backup role.

While the changing economic landscape could affect this year’s free-agent market, I doubt the Sharks could afford Toffoli or Dadonov. Granlund is a possibility as his stock declined following his trade to the Predators last year, though his play improved when John Hynes took over as head coach in January. Gudas or DeMelo could be more affordable options to shore up the blueline depth.

Sharks general manager Doug Wilson has a well-earned reputation for making bold moves. He could surprise us this summer, though it’ll mean shedding some salary if he intends to make a splash in the UFA market.

CHIARELLI TO THE COYOTES?

EDMONTON JOURNAL: David Staples cites colleague Jim Matheson and The Athletic’s Scott Burnside reporting speculation linking former Oilers GM Peter Chiarelli to the Arizona Coyotes as a possible replacement for now-former GM John Chayka.

Staples points out such a move would reunite Chiarelli with winger Taylor Hall, who was traded by Chiarelli to the New Jersey Devils in 2016. The only way he sees the Coyotes bringing in Chiarelli is if they have no chance of keeping Hall off the free-agent market in the off-season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: On the one hand, Chiarelli won a Stanley Cup in 2011 as GM of the Bruins. On the other hand, his tenure with the Oilers was considered disastrous.

The Coyotes must choose Chayka’s replacement very carefully. This is a team dogged for years by ownership instability and mismanagement. They’ve been building in recent years toward playoff contention with promising young talent. Putting the wrong person in the GM’s chair could send them spiraling again, raising questions about their long-term future in Arizona at risk.










NHL Rumor Mill – July 22, 2020

NHL Rumor Mill – July 22, 2020

The latest Lightning and Jets speculation in today’s NHL rumor mill.

THE ATHLETIC (subscription required): In a recent mailbag segment, Joe Smith was asked several questions about how the Tampa Bay Lightning could address their salary-cap crunch for next season.

Tampa Bay Lightning center Anthony Cirelli (Photo via NHL Images).

Smith feels many teams, including the Buffalo Sabres and Minnesota Wild, would be interested in center Anthony Cirelli. He also believes there will be plenty of interest in young defenseman Mikhail Sergachev. Both are restricted free agents at season’s end.

Smith suggests the asking price for either player could be at least a strong prospect and one or more high picks. Asked if the Bolts could get a player in return like Wild defenseman Matt Dumba for Cirelli, he doesn’t see how that player’s contract  ($6 million annual average value) would fit within their limited cap space.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Cirelli or Sergachev could be shopped if Lightning general manager Julien BriseBois feels he can’t afford to keep both players. However, I believe his priority is to re-sign them and move out one or two other players to free up sufficient cap room for their new contracts.

Both are coming off entry-level contracts and lack arbitration rights. BriseBois could use that leverage to sign both to affordable short-term contracts, but one of them could sign an offer sheet with another club.

Smith feels Alex Killorn is the most likely to be shopped in the off-season. His value is high, he’s got only a few years left on his contract with an affordable $4.5 million AAV, and his limited no-trade clause provides some flexibility.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Moving Killorn will help but the Bolts could be forced to shed another salary. Speculation suggests Tyler Johnson, Ondrej Palat, or Yanni Gourde, but they carry full no-movement clauses. Smith suggested they could deal away one of the RFAs. He felt contract buyouts would be the last resort.

Asked about what the Lightning’s threshold would be if Sergachev signed an offer sheet, Smith feels $7 million is their cutoff.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Many clubs lack sufficient cap space to go the offer-sheet route this summer, but some have the cap space to make that pitch. However, that depends on Sergachev’s willingness to sign one. He could stick with the Lightning on a short-term bridge deal with the promise of greater riches down the road. The same goes for Cirelli.

SPORTSNET: In a recent mailbag segment, Ken Wiebe was asked if there was any word on the Winnipeg Jets re-signing Dylan DeMelo. The Jets acquired the 27-year-old defenseman in February. He’s due to become an unrestricted free agent in the off-season.

Re-signing DeMelo is likely a priority for Jets GM Kevin Cheveldayoff. Despite the flat salary cap, he’s got more short-term flexibility to make a move or two this summer. While DeMelo could seek long-term stability, Wiebe speculates he might take a short-term deal in hope league economics improve in a few years.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Wiebe reported DeMelo indicated there hasn’t been much conversation regarding a new contract, but he feels he’s fit in well with the Jets and would welcome a chance to re-sign.

Most contract talks are on hold for now as teams prepare for the upcoming playoff tournament. If Cheveldayoff is interested in re-signing DeMelo, and I think he could be, those discussions will likely begin once the playoffs are over.

DeMelo’s earned $900K annually on his current contract and will be seeking a significant raise. Provided his asking price is reasonable – around $3 million annually – he could remain with the Jets.










NHL Free Agents & Trade Candidates – Winnipeg Jets

NHL Free Agents & Trade Candidates – Winnipeg Jets