NHL Rumor Mill – September 7, 2017

NHL Rumor Mill – September 7, 2017

Colorado Avalanche center Matt Duchene continues to dominate the NHL rumor mill.

Latest on Matt Duchene, James van Riemsdyk and more in your NHL rumor mill.

 TSN: Colorado Avalanche center Matt Duchene tops Frank Seravalli’s trade board for the upcoming season. He notes Duchene’s absence from a recent voluntary skate involving Avalanche players raised eyebrows, stoking speculation he might not report to training camp next week. Duchene and the club declined to comment and his agent Pat Brisson would only say his client is skating in Toronto.

Seravalli observes the Nashville Predators, Columbus Blue Jackets, Montreal Canadiens, Boston Bruins, Pittsburgh Penguins, Carolina Hurricanes and Calgary Flames have been linked to Duchene throughout this summer. One of the complicating factors is Duchene has just two seasons remaining on his contract before his eligibility for unrestricted free agency in 2019. It’s also too early to sign him to an extension.

THE HOCKEY NEWS: Duchene and teammate Gabriel Landeskog sit atop Matt Larkin’s list of the top-10 NHL trade candidates for the upcoming season. He believes there’s no rush to move Landeskog, who’s signed throught 2021-22 but feels it could cost Colorado dearly if general manager Joe Sakic fails to move Duchene before the starting of the season.

FANRAG SPORTS NETWORK: Chris Nichols cites NHL insider Darren Dreger telling Winnipeg’s TSN 1290 he believes a Duchene trade is going to happen, it’s just a question of when. He lists the Predators, Canadiens and Blue Jackets as possible destinations. He doesn’t know if Sakic has softened his stance regarding his asking price. Dreger said he’s seeking a young left-shot defenseman and notes the Avs blueline needs help.

Nichols also cites Elliotte Friedman telling Sportsnet 590 he thinks there’s been some renewed effort by the Avs to trade Duchene and believes the Columbus Blue Jackets could be in there, noting their attempt to land the center in early July. He said there’s been rumors the Hurricanes talked to the Avs about Justin Faulk. They’re concerned about Duchene’s contract and doesn’t think the Avs were interested in Faulk, preferring younger players like Jaccob Slavin or Noah Hanifin, who the Canes don’t want to part with.

BSN DENVER: Adrian Dater reports Duchene’s agent Pat Brisson doesn’t have anything to say about his client’s status right now. It’s possible the Avs could have an ugly holdout situation on their hands, though Dater cautions we haven’t heard anything yet from Duchene.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Trade talk between the Avs and other clubs interested in Duchene could be heating up. Then again, after a quiet summer in the NHL trade market since June, this could be wishful thinking.

We know Sakic is willing to continue listening to offers and he’s refusing to budge on what he wants in return. We know several teams are interested but are balking at Sakic’s asking price and are concerned over Duchene’s $6 million annual salary, his eligibility for UFA status in 2019 and the decline in his play last season.

Duchene’s absence from that voluntary skate earlier this week has stoked anticipation he could refuse to report to training camp until the Avs trade him but that’s not yet a certainty. If he does, however, that will provide more fodder for the rumor mill and could perhaps push Sakic to make a trade before the start of the season. 

Seravalli also included Vegas Golden Knights winger James Neal, Detroit Red Wings defenseman Mike Green, Golden Knights blueliner Jason Garrison, Vancouver Canucks winger Thomas Vanek, Golden Knights winger David Perron, Philadelphia Flyers center Valtteri Filppula, Avs left wing Landeskog, Los Angeles Kings winger Marian Gaborik and Florida Panthers rearguard Jason Demers on his list of 2017-18 potential trade bait.

Larkin includes every pending UFA on the Golden Knights, Canucks defenseman Erik Gudbranson, Green, New Jersey Devils winger Drew Stafford, Kings forward Michael Cammalleri, Predators prospect Dante Fabbro, Buffalo Sabres left wing Evander Kane, Anaheim Ducks defenseman Sami Vatanen and Hurricanes blueliner Faulk on his list.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Most of the players on these two lists (Neal, Green, Garrison, Vanek, Perron, Gudbranson, Filppula, Stafford, Cammalleri and Kane) are eligible for UFA status next summer. Most could indeed be on the move by the 2018 trade deadline.

Gaborik is signed through 2020-21 at over $4.8 million annually. I doubt there’ll be any interest in the oft-injured 35-year-old winger. The Panthers reportedly tried to trade Demers to the Canucks but the defenseman spiked the deal. He’s also signed through 2020-21 with a $4.5 million annual cap hit and a modified no-trade clause.

Vatanen and Faulk could be shopped but those moves might not take place until next summer, if at all. 

TORONTO STAR: Kevin McGran reports Maple Leafs left wing James van Riemsyk is said to be seeking around $6 million annually on a contract extension before his UFA eligibility next summer. If the Leafs truly want to acquire a defenseman, McGran considers the winger their best trade chip. While van Riemsdyk could be mentioned in trade rumors this season, he’s focused on being a productive player for the Leafs. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The better van Riemsdyk plays this season the more his trade value will rise. However, so will his value to the Leafs, especially if they’re jockeying for a playoff spot this season.

There’s also the concern that re-signing van Riemsdyk to a big raise could complicate efforts to re-sign rising stars Auston Matthews, Mitch Marner and William Nylander to the big raises they’re bound to command. The Leafs won’t move van Riemsdyk now but could consider that possibility later in the season, depending on where they are in the standings by February. 


NHL Rumor Mill – August 23, 2017

NHL Rumor Mill – August 23, 2017

Calgary Flames might have some interest in free agent winger Jaromir Jagr.

Updates on Jaromir Jagr, Drew Stafford, Jason Demers and more in your NHL rumor mill.

FANRAG SPORTS NETWORK: Chris Nichols cites Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman’s appearance on the NHL Network on Monday discussing various topics. Among them was the status of unrestricted free agents Jaromir Jagr and Drew Stafford.

Friedman believes the Calgary Flames are among the clubs that “kind of looked at” the possibility of signing Jagr, noting Flames head coach Glen Gulutzan is one of Jagr’s former coaches. He also said he checked into speculation the Anaheim Ducks also had interest in the 45-year-old winger but found that’s not the case.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: If the Flames are looking at Jagr, perhaps it’ll be in a second or third line role at right wing. I expect Michael Frolik will skate on the first line at that position, which would leave Jagr jockeying with Troy Brouwer for the second-line spot. Of course, for now we don’t know for sure if the Flames intend on signing him. 

Friedman said he’d heard a couple of teams had interest in Stafford around July 1. He notes there’s been some conversations with the Stafford camp over the past week and they’re hopeful of getting something done. Friedman added he’s surprised the winger hasn’t been signed at this point.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: As Friedman points out, Stafford is never going to be a big scorer but he has the skills to chip in as a depth forward. The 31-year-old has reached the 20-goal, 40-point plateau four times in his 11 NHL seasons. With the right club, perhaps he could hit those numbers again in 2017-18.

SPORTSNET: Luke Fox reports Florida Panthers defenseman Jason Demers declined to comment on rumors earlier this summer he spiked a trade to the Vancouver Canucks. He carries an eight-team no-trade clause and was left unprotected by the Panthers in June’s expansion draft.  “That’s between my agent and me and Dale, but I’m going to camp right now a Panther,” Demers said, adding he’s going to be with the club for four more years. He also acknowledged he and the team have to improve.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It doesn’t sound as though Demers will be going anywhere for the time being. If he and the Panthers have better performances this season, it’ll further dampen any trade speculation about the 29-year-old blueliner. But if he or the club struggle again, his name could resurface in the rumor mill. 

WGR 550: Agent Brian Bartlett, who represents free-agent defenseman Will Butcher, said it could take another week for his client to reach a decision over where he’ll sign.




Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – July 2, 2017

Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – July 2, 2017

Colorado Avalanche still holding firm on their asking price for Matt Duchene.

Latest on Matt Duchene, Marcus Kruger, Sami Vatanen and Jason Demers in your Sunday NHL rumor roundup.

BSN DENVER: Adrian Dater reports Colorado Avalanche general manager Joe Sakic declined to comment on the trade rumors swirling about center Matt Duchene. Current speculation has the Columbus Blue Jackets pursuing a deal for the 26-year-old Duchene. Sakic, however, is standing firm on his asking price, which includes a young, established top-four defenseman. 

NEW YORK POST: Brett Cyrgalis speculates New York Islanders GM Garth Snow has a bevy of draft picks to use when the proper trade arises. “That very well could be the Avalanche’s Matt Duchene, if Colorado comes down on the asking price after the free-agency dust settles.”

PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE: Jason Mackey reports Penguins GM Jim Rutherford continues to shop around for a third-line center to replace Nick Bonino, who signed with the Nashville Predators yesterday as a free agent. He remains confident of landing a replacement through a trade.

Mackey suggested it was possible Rutherford was playing a game of chicken with the Avs over Matt Duchene. He also wondered if perhaps Rutherford might be trying to bring Carolina Hurricanes center Jordan Staal back to Pittsburgh. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: As the free-agent pool drains of notable talent in the coming days, the focus on Duchene will escalate in the rumor mill. This could drag on throughout the summer.

The Penguins currently have over $11 million in salary cap space and still must re-sign restricted free agents Brian Dumoulin and Conor Sheary, who are in line for significant raises and have arbitration rights this summer. If Rutherford is targeting a $6 million player such as Duchene or Staal, he’ll either have to get the Avs or Hurricanes to absorb part of the salary cap hit or shed some cap space to make room for that expensive contract. 

LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL: Vegas Golden Knights GM George McPhee said he has nothing to report on a potential trade in which he acquired center Marcus Kruger from the Chicago Blackhawks. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Sportsnet’s Chris Johnston yesterday reported Kruger was due a $2 million signing bonus from the Blackhawks yesterday. The center was expected to be dealt after that bonus was paid. Perhaps that anticipated deal goes down later today. 

THE PROVINCE: Jason Botchford reports Florida Panthers defenseman Jason Demers reportedly nixed a deal that would’ve sent him and his $4.5 million annual cap hit to the Vancouver Canucks. It was believed the Canucks were offering up Erik Gudbranson in return. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Canucks re-signed Gudbranson earlier this spring to a one-year, $3.5-million contract. Botchford reports the Panthers are quite keen to move Demers, who also carries an eight-team no-trade list. Perhaps the Panthers will find a different destination for him later this summer. 

TORONTO SUN: Steve Simmons reports word around the league is the Anaheim Ducks have taken defenseman Sami Vatanen off the trade block. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Vatanen was originally believed available because of salary cap constraints and the need to protect other defensemen in the expansion draft. But after cutting a deal with Vegas and shedding some salary, the Ducks now have over $69 million invested in 21 players. So, there’s no urgency now to dump salary. 


NHL Draft Day Rumor Mill (Part Two) – June 23, 2017

NHL Draft Day Rumor Mill (Part Two) – June 23, 2017

Could Buffalo Sabres winger Evander Kane be traded this weekend?

Updates on Evander Kane, Travis Hamonic, Alex Galchenyuk, Marc Methot and Jason Demers in Part Two of your NHL Draft Day rumor mill. 

Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman and TSN’s Darren Dreger commented on the latest trade speculation regarding Buffalo Sabres left wing Evander Kane. Both believe Kane could be moved.

Friedman noted the Los Angeles Kings had interest in Kane but only on a “one-year thing” so he doesn’t know what that stands now.

Dreger said he hasn’t been able to nail down the specific clubs with interest in Kane but said they’re believed in “win-now mode”. He noted the San Jose Sharks, Anaheim Ducks and New York Rangers are among the teams in that mode, though he doesn’t know if they’re targeting Kane. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Kane rumors simply won’t die, but it doesn’t necessarily mean he’s on the move. I think Sabres GM Jason Botterill is doing the right thing by listening to offers but I don’t think he’s under pressure to move Kane, who carries a $5.25 million cap hit next season and is eligible next July for UFA status.

Friedman may have been referring to Kane’s current contract when he spoke of that “one-year thing” the Kings were interested in. Perhaps he was talking about a one-year extension. 

Friedman also wouldn’t be surprised if teams were asking the Sabres about forward Sam Reinhart and suggested Buffalo could be a destination for Washington Capitals pending UFA defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Reinhart struggled at times last season but still finished with a respectable 47 points in his sophomore campaign. Botterill could listen but I don’t think he’s that keen to move this kid.

As for Shattenkirk, if he prefers to sign close to New York City, Buffalo would be a good option. However, are they prepared to pony up over $6 million per season for him? And does he want to join a rebuilding team? Not sure he could be a fit there. 

Dreger notes the New Jersey Devils remain a contender for Montreal Canadiens forward Alex Galchenyuk.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s rumored the Habs seek a top-four defenseman as part of the return. The Devils don’t have any to spare. 

If you’re a Canadian team with interest in Vegas Golden Knights defenseman Marc Methot, forget about pursuing him via trade. Dreger reports all but the Ottawa Senators are on his 10-team “no-trade” list. The Senators (if interested) can’t get him back until after January 1. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Sure, Methot could waive it to join another Canadian team, but I don’t think that’s gonna happen. 

Friedman also considers the rumor of the Calgary Flames with interest in New York Islanders defenseman Travis Hamonic to be 100 percent accurate. He thinks the Toronto Maple Leafs are in the mix but isn’t sure about the Dallas Stars. He’s also heard rumors the Isles seek two first-round picks for Hamonic and speculates they want to keep sufficient cap space clear for John Tavares. Friedman reports Florida Panthers defenseman Jason Demers is “definitely available” and wouldn’t be surprised if the Flames were checking him out. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Two first round picks is a very high price for Hamonic. Still, he could be worth it for the Flames if they hope to strengthen their top-four defense as they attempt to rise toward Stanley Cup contention. The Leafs have plenty of youth to draw upon in their pipeline and hold two second-round picks this year and next. The Stars have that third overall selection this year and are in the market for an established top-four blueliner.  Demers, meanwhile, could be a more affordable option for clubs that lose out on Hamonic. 

Stick tap to FanRag Sports Network’s Chris Nichols for the links.


NHL Rumor Mill – March 29, 2017

NHL Rumor Mill – March 29, 2017

Could the Florida Panthers face a shakeup this summer?

Latest on the Florida Panthers and Colorado Avalanche in your NHL rumor mill. 

SUN-SENTINEL.COM: Harvey Fialkov reports Florida Panthers coach Tom Rowe said under-performing players on his club with long-term contracts could be traded in the offseason. Rowe made his remarks following the Panthers’ disappointing 4-2 loss to the Buffalo Sabres on Monday. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE:  Rowe didn’t single anyone out, but his comments could spark considerable season-ending speculation over which players could hit the trade block come June.

Panthers on long-term deals include forwards Aleksander Barkov, Vincent Trochek, Nick Bjugstad, Reilly Smith and Jonathan Huberdeau, defensemen Aaron Ekblad, Jason Demers and Keith Yandle and goaltenders Roberto Luongo and James Reimer.

Of these Barkov, Huberdeau, Bjugstad, Ekblad and Luongo were all hampered/sidelined by injuries this season. Trochek’s their leading scorer and among their more consistent players.

Smith is having a disappointing season and could be among those Rowe was referring to as a possible trade candidate. Demers and Yandle were brought in to bolster the Panthers defense. However, Florida remains among the league’s worst defensive teams. Perhaps one of them could hit the trade block.

Reimer is seen as Luongo’s successor. He’s been decent (2.60 GAA, .917 SP) but I don’t think he’s performing to the level the Panthers expected of him. 

THE DENVER POST: Terry Frei recently cast doubt over the possibility of the Colorado Avalanche finding any takers for oft-injured goaltender Semyon Valamov, especially with him carrying two more years on his contract at $5.9 million per season. He also doubts the Vegas Golden Knights will take him off the Avs hands in the draft, noting Knights GM George McPhee was skeptical of Varlamov’s health during their tenure with the Washington Capitals. McPhee dealt Varlamov to the Avs in 2011. 

Frei also expected Avs general manager Joe Sakic will explore trade options for Matt Duchene and Gabriel Landeskog. He also called upon Sakic to upgrade the Avalanche’s woeful defense and to avoid overpaying a veteran or two via unrestricted free agency. 

FANRAG SPORTS NETWORK: Chris Nichols cited NHL insider Elliotte Friedman’s appearance on the NHL Network on Friday, in which he wondered if Duchene might ask to be dealt this summer. He speculated Duchene might be growing weary of hearing his name so often in the rumor mill. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I’ll be very surprised if Sakic can find any takers for Varlamov. I think they’ll bring him back next season and if he struggles, they could look at buying out the final season of his contract next June. They could look at buying him out in June. However, if he’s still recovering from hip surgery by then, he’ll be ineligible for a buyout. As for Duchene, he’ll remain a fixture in the rumor mill, especially once the playoffs end in June. 

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 24, 2016

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 24, 2016

Edmonton Oilers goalie Cam Talbot made 31 saves in his club's 3-0 victory over the Winnipeg Jets at the 2016 Heritage Classic.

Edmonton Oilers goalie Cam Talbot made 31 saves in his club’s 3-0 victory over the Winnipeg Jets at the 2016 Heritage Classic.

Game recaps, injury updates, latest on Jacques Demers and more in your NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: Cam Talbot made 31 saves to backstop the Edmonton Oilers to a 3-0 win over the Winnipeg Jets at the Heritage Classic in Winnipeg’s Investors Group Field. Zack Kassian tallied a goal and set up another for the Oilers.

John Tavares enjoyed a three-point night (two goals, one assist) to lead the New York Islanders to a 6-3 victory over the Minnesota Wild. Zach Parise tallied his 300th career goal in a losing cause for the Wild. 

Ryan Getzlaf collected three assists to lead the Anaheim Ducks to a 4-2 win over the Vancouver Canucks. 

Dan Girardi potted the game winner and Henrik Lundqvist made 27 saves as the New York Rangers edged the Arizona Coyotes 3-2. The Coyotes also learned starting goalie Mike Smith (lower body) avoided serious injury, but is listed as week-to-week

TSN’s Bob McKenzie reports the Anaheim Ducks placed defenseman Simon Despres (concussion) on long-term injured reserve Saturday. The move gives the Ducks financial flexibility.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Despres’ annual cap hit is $3.75 million. This move allows the Ducks to go over the $73 million cap ceiling in order to re-sign restricted free agent blueliner Hampus Lindholm. I’ll have more on this in the Rumors section.

OTTAWA SUN: The Senators placed winger Phil Varone on waivers.

STLTODAY.COM:  The NHL’s new concussion evaluation system is drawing positive early reviews from some players and coaches. 

TSN:  Former Montreal Canadiens coach Jacques Demers was released from hospital yesterday. It was initially reported he suffered a stroke, but his wife said he had an infection.