NHL Rumor Mill – July 20, 2020

NHL Rumor Mill – July 20, 2020

Check out the latest on the Leafs, Coyotes, and Oilers in today’s NHL rumor mill.

LATEST LEAFS SPECULATION

THE ATHLETIC (subscription required): In a recent mailbag segment, James Mirtle was asked if the Toronto Maple Leafs can get a decent return if they trade Kasperi Kapanen, Andreas Johnsson, or Alex Kerfoot or if it’ll be a salary dump because of the flat cap.

Toronto Maple Leafs winger Kasperi Kapanen (Photo via NHL Images).

Mirtle feels they could get a player or prospect for Kapanen, but injuries and so-so-seasons for Johnsson and Kerfoot will affect their value. Still, he feels a depth-depleted club like New Jersey or Ottawa could be interested in one of those players.

He also believes the Leafs could go cheap on defense for next season out of necessity because of their lower cap space, perhaps seeking an affordable UFA veteran like Vancouver’s Chris Tanev. He doesn’t see them moving out a core player for blueline help.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: As per Cap Friendly, the Leafs have over $76.9 million invested in 16 players next season, with Kyle Clifford, Jason Spezza, Tyson Barrie, Cody Ceci, Travis Dermott, and Ilya Mikheyev to be re-signed or replaced. General manager Kyle Dubas did some impressive cap management last summer to free up room to re-sign Mitch Marner, but some of his deals received mixed results this season.

Dubas could pull off some more cap wizardry, perhaps acquiring one or two players on permanent long-term injury reserve status to provide more wiggle room. Nevertheless, there’s an expectation Kapanen, Johnsson, or Kerfoot could be moved in a cost-cutting deal. Such a trade doesn’t mean they won’t get an NHL-ready player back, but it would be one with much less than the $3-million or more cap hit of each of those three, with possibly less talent.

Dubas could surprise us with an interesting trade that brings in a top-four, right-shot defenseman. However, I think Mirtle’s assessment that they’ll stick with more affordable options for 2020-21 is the correct one.

A LOOK AT SOME POSSIBLE COYOTES TRADE OPTIONS

AZ COYOTES INSIDER: Craig Morgan recently examined the short- and long-term effects of a flat cap upon the Arizona Coyotes.

Per Cap Friendly, the Coyotes have almost $80 million invested in 17 players for 2020-21, with star winger Taylor Hall among their notable free agents.

Morgan examined several possible cost-cutting trade candidates for ’20-’21, including center Derek Stepan, winger Michael Grabner, goaltender Antti Raanta, and defensemen Alex Goligoski and Jason Demers.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Morgan listed several others but these five appear the more likely trade options. They lack no-trade protection or have limited no-trade clauses, their contracts expire at the end of next season, and they could draw interest in the trade market.

Stepan’s $6.5 million annual average value is steep, but he’ll only get $2 million in actual salary for next season because the Coyotes recently paid out $3 million in a signing bonus. That could make him enticing for budget-conscious clubs looking for some affordable short-term experience and leadership.

Goligoski carries a $5.475-million AAV but receives $4 million in actual salary and has an eight-team no-trade list. Raanta has an injury history but could be a decent short-term option for clubs seeking goalie depth. Demers and Grabner would be affordable depth additions.

ATHANASIOU STRUGGLING TO FIT ON OILERS LINES

SPORTSNET: Mark Spector reports Andreas Athanasiou isn’t working out as hoped for the Edmonton Oilers. Since his acquisition at the Feb. 24 trade deadline, he failed to click alongside Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl.

Athanasiou is a restricted free agent at season’s end and must be qualified at $3 million. Spector doubts GM Ken Holland will pay the winger that much, speculating he’ll likely re-sign him for less on a one-year deal.

(NOT MARK) SPECTOR’S NOTE: Athanasiou’s stock tumbled this season. His speed was supposed to be an asset alongside McDavid or Draisaitl but his skills are good enough to hang with those superstars. If he spurns less money to stay in Edmonton, Holland could try to trade his rights at the draft. Failing that, he could just cut Athanasiou loose via the UFA market at season’s end.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 11, 2019

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 11, 2019

The Stars fire head coach Jim Montgomery, the latest from the Board of Governors meetings, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: The Dallas Stars 2-0 victory over the New Jersey Devils was overshadowed by the news earlier in the day that the Stars had fired head coach Jim Montgomery for “unprofessional conduct”. Assistant coach Rick Bowness has taken over on an interim basis. Ben Bishop made 26 saves for the shutout.

The Dallas Stars yesterday fired head coach Jim Montgomery (Photo via NHL.com).

General manager Jim Nill didn’t shed light on Montgomery’s alleged infraction. He said there was no criminal investigation and no former or current players were connected to the incident. There was no comment from Montgomery or the Stars’ ownership. The Stars players were shocked and confused by the decision.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Montgomery’s firing wasn’t related to the recent allegations leveled at several former NHL coaches for abusive or racist behavior. Nevertheless, there’s a puzzling lack of information behind his dismissal. It’ll be interesting to see if any further details are revealed directly or via leaks to the media.

After blowing a 3-0 lead, the Carolina Hurricanes tallied three unanswered goals to down the Edmonton Oilers 6-3. Sebastian Aho scored twice while Dougie Hamilton, Teuvo Teravainen, and Andrei Svechnikov each collected two points. Connor McDavid had three assists and Zack Kassian tallied twice for the Oilers.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: After looking dominant through their first 23 games, the Oilers are wobbling a bit of late, winning just four of their last 10 contests. Some Oilers fans are worried their club could be poised for another collapse as defensive and goaltending issues become a concern.

The Calgary Flames picked up their sixth straight victory by downing the Arizona Coyotes 5-2. Flames goalie Cam Talbot kicked out 46 shots for the win. Michael Frolik and Zac Rinaldo each had a goal and an assist. Earlier in the day, the Flames announced winger Matthew Tkachuk was listed as day-to-day with an upper-body injury. The Coyotes also announced defenseman Jason Demers is week-to-week with a lower-body injury.

John Tavares scored twice and set up another as the Toronto Maple Leafs rolled to a 4-1 victory over the Vancouver Canucks. Mitch Marner collected two assists. Former Leaf Josh Leivo tallied for the Canucks.

Marc-Andre Fleury made 28 saves to backstop the Vegas Golden Knights to a 5-1 win over the Chicago Blackhawks. It was Fleury’s first game since Nov. 23 after taking a leave of absence to be with his dying father. Blackhawks defenseman Calvin de Haan left the game in the first period with an injured right shoulder.

Alex Killorn scored and set up another as the Tampa Bay Lightning edged the Florida Panthers 2-1. Panthers goalie Sergei Bobrovsky made 46 saves in a losing cause.

The Montreal Canadiens scored four unanswered goals to down the Pittsburgh Penguins 4-1. Shea Weber, Brendan Gallagher, Tomas Tatar, and Joel Armia each had a goal and an assist. Penguins goalie Tristan Jarry had his franchise-record shutout streak end at 177:14.

Buffalo Sabres captain Jack Eichel extended his points streak to 14 games in a 5-2 victory over the St. Louis Blues. Eichel scored twice while teammates Sam Reinhart and Johan Larsson each tallied a goal and an assist. The Blues have lost three straight games.

Nashville Predators goalie Juuse Saros turned aside 24 shots to beat the San Jose Sharks 3-1. Filip Forsberg and Calle Jarnkrok each collected two points. The Sharks are winless in their last five games (0-4-1).

Shootout goals by Rickard Rakell and Max Comtois gave the Anaheim Ducks a 3-2 win over the Minnesota Wild. Before the game, the Wild honored captain Mikko Koivu for reaching 1,000 career NHL games.

A three-goal outburst late in the second period carried the Winnipeg Jets over the Detroit Red Wings 5-1. Blake Wheeler and Andrew Copp each had a goal and an assist. The Wings are winless in their last 12 contests (0-10-2).

Los Angeles Kings netminder Jonathan Quick made 29 saves to hold off the New York Rangers 3-1. Tyler Toffoli had a goal and an assist.

IN OTHER NEWS…

SPORTSNET: The NHL won’t be staging a World Cup of Hockey tournament in 2021. The league and the NHLPA are instead focused on staging tournaments in 2024 and 2028. Discussions remain open on Olympic participation, depending on what the International Olympic Committee brings to the table.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: If the IOC agrees to cover the cost for the players’ travel, insurance, and accommodation expenses, as well as agree to share broadcasting and licensing revenue, I believe the NHL would agree to return to the Olympics.

TSN: Pierre LeBrun reports NHL commissioner Gary Bettman still hasn’t revealed his projected figure for next season’s salary cap. One league governor told LeBrun several different ranges were discussed, including a low range of $82.5 million, a modest increase over the current $81.5 million. Another governor suggested $83.5 million.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: After years of lofty projections that fell short, it appears the league could be more conservative in their estimates for 2020-21.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 5, 2019

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 5, 2019

Game recaps, hockey world lauds the late Ted Lindsay, stars of the week,  and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines. 

NHL.COM: The Edmonton Oilers scored three unanswered second-period goal to overcome a 3-1 deficit and defeat the Buffalo Sabres 4-3. The Oilers (65 points), who’ve won three straight games, are six points out of a Western Conference wild-card berth while the Sabres (68 points) have dropped eight of their last 10 and sit nine points out of a wild-card berth in the Eastern Conference.

Toronto Maple Leafs winger Tyler Ennis tallied his first NHL hat trick in a 6-2 win over the Calgary Flames (Photo via NHL Images)

Speaking of the Oilers, winger Jesse Puljujarvi yesterday underwent successful hip surgery and is expected to be fully recovered in time for training camp in September. Meanwhile, Sabres defenseman Jake McCabe is expected to miss five-to-six weeks with an upper-body injury. 

Tyler Ennis tallied his first career NHL hat trick and Mitch Marner reached the 80-point plateau for the first time as the Toronto Maple Leafs snuffed out the Calgary Flames 6-2. Marner also had a three-point performance while teammate Zach Hyman scored twice. With 86 points, the Leafs sit one behind the Boston Bruins for second in the Atlantic Division. The Flames (89 points) remain atop the Western Conference standings. 

Tributes poured in yesterday celebrating the life and career of NHL Hall-of-Famer Ted Lindsay, who passed away yesterday at age 93. Lindsay was lauded by former players, coaches and executives for his remarkable career and his pioneering role in establishing a players’ union. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Lindsay was also a generous man away from the arena. Among my favorite stories was having the Red Wings pay for forward Jim Korn’s law school tuition, and his refusal to attend his own Hall of Fame induction in 1966 because wives and families weren’t invited, a policy that changed the following year. 

Vegas Golden Knights goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury, Winnipeg Jets winger Blake Wheeler, and Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby are the NHL’s three stars for the week ending March 3. 

JOURNAL DE MONTREAL: Canadiens defenseman Noah Juulsen will not return this season as he continues to recover from a medical condition related to his vision. 

CBS BOSTON: Bruins defenseman Kevan Miller is listed as week-to-week with an upper-body injury. 

NJ.COM: New Jersey Devils center Nico Hischier (upper body) is considered day-to-day. 

ARIZONA SPORTS: The Coyotes have recalled defenseman Jason Demers from his AHL conditioning stint. 

TSN: Several potential rule tweaks are being discussed at this week’s NHL general managers meetings in Florida. Among them could be addressing outdated fines, allowing a team on the power-play to decide which side of the ice to take the faceoff and whether players should wear their helmets during pre-game warmups. 










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 3, 2019

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 3, 2019

Game recaps, Flames retire Jarome Iginla’s No. 12, Ducks officially re-sign Jakob Silfverberg, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines. 

NHL.COM: The Minnesota Wild picked up their fifth straight victory by doubling up the Calgary Flames 4-2, snapping the latter’s seven-game winning streak. The Wild’s Ryan Donato scored to extend his points streak to five games. With 70 points, the Wild hold the final wild-card berth in the Western Conference. Wild winger Zach Parise missed the game with an undisclosed injury. 

Before the game, the Flames honored former captain and future Hall-of-Famer Jarome Iginla by raising his No. 12 to the rafters of the Scotiabank Saddledome. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: In my opinion, and with all due respect to Lanny McDonald, Iginla was the greatest player in Flames history. He was also among the elite power forwards of the “Dead Puck Era”, tallying 20-or-more goals 17 times in his 20-season career. He’s going to be a first-ballot Hall-of-Famer.  

Sidney Crosby’s four-point performance carried the Pittsburgh Penguins to a 5-1 win over the Montreal Canadiens (Photo via NHL Images)

Sidney Crosby had a four-point performance to lead the Pittsburgh Penguins to a 5-1 drubbing of the Montreal Canadiens. Crosby moved into sole possession of second place on the all-time Penguins goal-scoring list with his 495th career goal. Jakes Guentzel also scored twice for the Penguins (77 points), who moved ahead of the Canadiens (77 points) for the first Eastern wild-card berth on the basis of games in hand. 

The Tampa Bay Lightning tied an NHL record by collecting their 50th win in their 66th game by thumping the hapless Ottawa Senators 5-1. The Lightning matched the record set by the 1995-96 Detroit Red Wings. They sit atop the NHL’s overall standings with 104 points. 

Leon Draisaitl tallied his 40th goal of the season and Mikko Koskinen made 30 saves as the Edmonton Oilers blanked the Columbus Blue Jackets 4-0. Draisaitl and Connor McDavid each collected three points. The loss leaves the Jackets (75 points) two points outside of the Eastern Conference playoff standings while the Oilers (63 points) sit seven points out of a Western Conference wild-card spot.

The Los Angeles Kings dealt a blow to the Chicago Blackhawks’ playoff hopes with a 6-3 victory. Dustin Brown scored twice and Jonathan Quick turned aside 29 shots. The Kings snapped a 10-game losing skid. Brendan Perlini also scored two goals for the Blackhawks (63 points) who sit seven points out of a postseason berth. 

Tuukka Rask made 20 saves and Brad Marchand scored the only goal as the Boston Bruins shut out the New Jersey Devils 1-0. With 87 points, the Bruins remain three up on the Toronto Maple Leafs for second place in the Atlantic Division. The Devils were playing without forward Kurtis Gabriel, who received a one-game suspension for boarding Philadelphia Flyers center Nolan Patrick. 

The Leafs, meanwhile, defeated the Buffalo Sabres 5-2. John Tavares and Mitch Marner each had a goal and two assists. The Sabres (68 points) playoff hopes are fading as they sit nine points out of a wild-card in the East. 

Sebastian Aho scored in overtime as the Carolina Hurricanes edged the Florida Panthers 4-3. It was the fifth straight win for the Hurricanes (78 points), who sit one up on the Penguins for third place in the Metropolitan Division. 

The Arizona Coyotes picked up their sixth consecutive victory by downing the Detroit Red Wings 3-1. Oliver Ekman-Larsson had a goal and an assist for the Coyotes (69 points), who sit one point out of a Western Conference playoff spot. Earlier in the day, the Coyotes announced defenseman Jason Demers is being sent to their AHL affiliate in Tucson on a two-week conditioning stint. Demers has been sidelined since November with a lower-body injury. 

Jamie Benn’s hat trick powered the Dallas Stars to a 4-1 win over the St. Louis Blues. The Stars (71 points) moved into the first wild-card spot in the West and sit just three points back of the Blues for third in the Central Division. Blues winger Jaden Schwartz received a $5,000.00 fine for cross-checking Carolina Hurricanes defenseman Dougie Hamilton. 

LOS ANGELES TIMES: The Anaheim Ducks officially re-signed winger Jakob Silfverberg to a five-year contract extension worth $5.25-million per season. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Cap Friendly indicates the deal also comes with a modified no-trade clause in which he submits a 12-team no-trade list. He’s a good two-way winger and a streaky scorer, who reached the 40-point plateau in each of the last two seasons. The raise seems a tad high but he provides the Ducks with much-needed experience and skill on the wing. 

NHL.COM: Winnipeg Jets forward Adam Lowry received a two-game suspension for high-sticking Nashville Predators winger Filip Forsberg. 

CBS SPORTS: The San Jose Sharks could be without two key players for today’s game against the Chicago Blackhawks. Defenseman Brent Burns is battling illness while Evander Kane has a mid-body injury

CBS SPORTS: New York Islanders winger Matt Martin is day-to-day with an upper-body injury. 










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 18, 2017

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 18, 2017

Florida Panthers ship Jason Demers to the Arizona Coyotes for Jamie McGinn.

Panthers trade Demers to Coyotes plus updates on Joffrey Lupul, Nail Yakupov & more in your NHL morning coffee headlines.

ARIZONA SPORTS/SUN-SENTINEL.COM: The Florida Panthers traded defenseman Jason Demers to the Arizona Coyotes in exchange for winger Jamie McGinn. The Panthers also retain over $562K of his $4.5 million annual salary-cap hit over the remaining four seasons of his contract.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Demers was the subject of offseason trade speculation following reports he nixed a trade to the Vancouver Canucks for Erik Gudbranson. The Coyotes obviously weren’t on his eight-team no-trade list.

It’s a good move by the Coyotes, bolstering their veteran depth for the long term while addressing the short-term absence of promising Jakob Chychrun to a knee injury. McGinn, meanwhile, is expected to bring more gritty size and skill to the Panthers’ forward lines. A 22-goal scorer with the Buffalo Sabres and Anaheim Ducks in 2015-16, he hopes to rebound from a disappointing nine-goal effort last season with the Coyotes. 

Speaking of the Coyotes, they canceled their preseason opener because of poor ice conditions at the Gila River Arena.

TORONTO STAR: Sidelined Maple Leafs forward Joffrey Lupul took to social media recently to suggest he didn’t fail his training camp physical. Responding to a comment on the subject on his Instagram account, Lupul said, ““Haha failed physical. They cheat, everyone lets them.” He later deleted the remark.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This will only stoke suspicions the Leafs are playing fast and loose with LTIR rules to free up cap space for other players. However, it appears to a murky issue, one the league apparently cannot prevent under the terms of the current collective bargaining agreement. 

TAMPA BAY TIMES: Lightning defenseman Anton Stralman remains day-to-day with an undisclosed injury.

BSN DENVER: Having signed a one-year contract with the Colorado Avalanche, winger Nail Yakupov knows this is his last chance at redemption in the NHL. The first-overall selection in the 2012 NHL Draft, Yakupov has so far failed to play up to expectations as a scoring forward.

THE BUFFALO NEWS: Sabres forward Zemgus Girgensons is looking forward to a fresh start under new head coach Phil Housley.

LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL: Tyler Wong tallied a hat trick as the Vegas Golden Knights downed the Vancouver Canucks 9-4, picking up their first preseason win in franchise history. 

THE PROVINCE: Ed Willes has an in-depth report on the rise of hockey in China.

 











Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – September 10, 2017

Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – September 10, 2017

A look at Sportsnet’s nine trade candidates to watch this season in your Sunday NHL rumor roundup.

SPORTSNET; Rory Boylen lists his nine NHL trade candidates to watch this season, including potential destinations for each. Topping the list, of course, is Colorado Avalanche center Matt Duchene, with Columbus, NY Islanders, Montreal, Boston, Nashville, Pittsburgh as possible landing spots.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Boylen also notes Duchene’s topped most trade candidate lists, citing the high asking price by Avalanche general manager Joe Sakic as the main sticking point in efforts to trade the center. He also notes the recent rumblings suggesting Duchene might not report to training camp.

Sakic recently told BSN Denver’s Adrian Dater he expects the 26-year-old center to be there when camp opens on Sept. 14. Of these possible destinations, Columbus and Nashville seem the most likely, as those clubs have the right combination of tradable assets and salary-cap space to acquire him. 

Toronto Maple Leafs winger James van Riemsdyk could be among this season’s notable trade candidates.

Toronto Maple Leafs left wing James van Riemsdyk is eligible for unrestricted free agency next summer. If the Leafs aren’t able to re-sing him, perhaps he could be shopped for blueline depth. Carolina, Calgary, Florida, Columbus and Anaheim are possible destinations.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Carolina’s biggest need is for a playmaking center so van Riemsdyk might not be a fit there. Calgary already has Johnny Gaudreau and promising Matthew Tkachuk as their top-two left wingers, while Artemi Panarin and Nick Foligno patrol the left side for Columbus. Florida and Anaheim could be more promising options. 

Vegas Golden Knights wingers Jonathan Marchessault and James Neal are UFAs next summer and could be shopped near the trade deadline. Boylen doesn’t expect either player to be re-signed by Vegas. Pittsburgh, Calgary, Carolina, Montreal, NY Islanders and Boston are possible options.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Those destinations will obviously depend upon where those teams are in the playoff chase by the trade deadline. 

Vancouver Canucks winger Thomas Vanek could also be moved by the trade deadline as a rental player. Destinations could include the “NY Islanders, Ottawa, Montreal, Buffalo — as long as they’re in the playoff race.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: While anything’s possible, I don’t see the current managements of the Islanders and Canadiens bringing back Vanek. Buffalo did reacquire winger Jason Pominville in June so maybe they will look at a Vanek redux if they’re in the postseason hunt by February. Vanek could be a fit with the Senators, who seem a little thin at left wing. 

Florida Panthers defenseman Jason Demers surfaced in this summer’s trade rumor mill. He carries an eight-team no-trade clause and there were reports he nixed a trade to the Vancouver Canucks. Boylen lists Colorado, Detroit, Montreal, New Jersey and Dallas as possible options.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: If Demers wants to play on a postseason contender I doubt Colorado, Detroit and New Jersey will be on his list. 

Winnipeg Jets defenseman Jacob Trouba’s contract expires after this season and speculation could arise over his future. He requested a trade last summer but eventually rescinded it and signed a two-year deal with the Jets. If he becomes available, Boylen lists Toronto, Montreal, Detroit, New Jersey, Dallas, Vancouver as potential suitors.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: One reason Trouba wasn’t dealt last year was the big return sought by the Jets. I doubt their asking price will be lower next summer, especially if he continues to improve. Trouba will be a restricted free agent with arbitration rights in line for a big raise so things could again get interesting in his negotiations with the Jets. 

Boylen expects the Hurricanes will eventually have to move a defenseman for a big forward. He considers Justin Faulk as an underrated, big-minute blueliner carrying an affordable ($4.8 million per season) contract for the next three seasons. He thinks Jaccob Slavin and Brett Pesce are less likely to be moved while promising Noah Hanifin has flown under the radar. Boylen suggests “Toronto, Colorado, Winnipeg, Dallas, Boston, Montreal” as destinations. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Faulk tends to get mentioned most in Hurricanes trade speculation.

If the New York Islanders decide to trade pending UFA center John Tavares, Boylen lists  “Montreal, St. Louis, San Jose, Calgary… let’s be honest: anywhere” as possible landing spots. He also points out there’s no certainty Tavares gets traded but the longer he goes unsigned, “the greater chances the team decides to recoup whatever assets it can get.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Much will depend upon the Islanders performance this season and their efforts to find a place to build a new arena. Tavares is loyal to the Isles but he also wants to play for a stable Stanley Cup contender. If they’re not heading in the right direction this season, he could decide on continuing his career elsewhere.