NHL Rumor Mill – November 13, 2021

NHL Rumor Mill – November 13, 2021

More speculation about Samuel Girard’s future with the Avalanche, Eric Staal hopes to continue his NHL career and the latest on the Islanders in today’s NHL rumor mill.

SPORTSNET: Appearing on the Nov. 10 episode of The Jeff Marek Show, Mike Chambers of The Denver Post said he believes Samuel Girard was “the big piece” in the Colorado Avalanche’s efforts to acquire Jack Eichel before the Buffalo Sabres trade him to the Vegas Golden Knights.

Colorado Avalanche defenseman Samuel Girard (NHL Images).

Chambers still thinks Girard could be traded, claiming the Avalanche want to acquire a forward and shed the 24-year-old defenseman’s $5 million annual salary-cap hit. He also indicated management was unhappy with Girard’s performance against the Golden Knights in last spring’s second-round series, singling out his turnovers and lack of production.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Chambers had speculated about Girard’s future with the Avs during his column earlier this week. He also mentioned the emergence of young rearguard Bowen Byram could make Girard expendable.

I didn’t dismiss the possibility of the Avs using Girard as a trade chip for a second-line forward before the March 21 trade deadline. I see no reason to change that opinion if Byram continues playing well over the course of the season.

TSN: Pierre LeBrun reports Eric Staal is hoping to return for an 18th NHL season. The 37-year-old center continues to skate in Minnesota as his agent is in regular contact with three or four clubs. Those teams could decide later this month if signing Staal works for them.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Staal’s best years are now well behind him. That was apparent in his 13 points in 53 games last season with the Buffalo Sabres and Montreal Canadiens. However, Staal did have a decent performance with the Canadiens during their run to the 2021 Stanley Cup Final, collecting eight points in 21 games. He could be an affordable depth option.

THE ATHLETIC: Arthur Staple recently wondered if New York Islanders general manager Lou Lamoriello might jump into the trade market to bolster his blueline. He pointed out Toronto Maple Leafs defenseman Trevor Dermott is available for the right price. Dermott is a “serviceable left-handed defenseman” who would be “cheap enough to fit under the cap right now.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Dermott might not be on Lamoriello’s radar if he’s considering an early-season move for a blueliner. Perhaps he’s considering other options or maybe the Leafs’ asking price is more than he’s willing to part with.










NHL Rumor Mill – November 6, 2021

NHL Rumor Mill – November 6, 2021

The Leafs are shopping a defenseman but have yet to open contract talks with Jack Campbell, while trade chatter grows about Blue Jackets goaltender Joonas Korpisalo. Check it out in today’s NHL rumor mill.

SPORTSNET: Luke Fox cited Elliotte Friedman and Nick Kypreos reporting the Toronto Maple Leafs have let the rest of the league know Travis Dermott or Justin Holl are available for the right price. Fox speculates that price is either “an upper-mid-round draft pick” or “perhaps a rugged d-man with less term on his contract.”

The cap-strapped Leafs have no space to add a salaried player, they hold just three draft picks in the 2022 draft, and management must clear cap space for the short and long term. Holl is signed through next season with a $2 million cap hit and a 10-team no-trade list while Dermott is earning $1.5 million annually through 2022-23.

Toronto Maple Leafs goaltender Jack Campbell (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’ll be interesting to see which one gets moved. Holl, 29, is more expensive and his no-trade complicates efforts to move him. He’s struggled this season but played well over the previous two campaigns. The 24-year-old Dermott is younger, more affordable and he lacks no-trade protection but he’s had consistency issues and been relegated to mostly third-pairing duty.

TORONTO SUN: Michael Traikos reports agent Kurt Overhardt, who represents Leafs goaltender Jack Campbell, denied reports contract extension talks are underway with his client. “Whoever said we’re talking is full of crap,” said Overhardt.

Traikos believes the Leafs have already waited too long to ink Campbell to an extension, believing it should’ve taken place during the summer. As the 29-year-old goaltender’s value rises, Traikos believes he could be playing elsewhere next season the longer it takes the two sides to start contract talks.

Campbell is slated to become an unrestricted free agent next summer. His current annual cap hit is $1.65 million but Traikos believes the Leafs will be lucky to get him for twice that amount if his strong play continues throughout this season. He pointed to Philipp Grubauer getting a long-term deal worth $5.9 million annually from the Seattle Kraken and Cal Petersen earning $5 million annually on a three-year contract.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Leafs have little choice but to sign Campbell for probably between $5.5 million and $6 million annually. They’ve got no one in their system capable of challenging him for the starter’s job, there aren’t better options in the trade market and Cap Friendly shows few suitable long-term alternatives via next summer’s free-agent market.

That explains in part why they’re looking to move one of their defensemen. They must free up cap space before next season to absorb Campbell’s new contract.

THE ATHLETIC: Aaron Portzline recently reported trade chatter was increasing about Columbus Blue Jackets goalie Joonas Korpisalo. He said there were whispers around the league claiming Columbus general manager Jarmo Kekalainen was fielding calls for the 27-year-old netminder.

Portzline spoke with three NHL front-office sources about potential destinations for Korpisalo. They suggested the Arizona Coyotes, Buffalo Sabres and Montreal Canadiens as likely possibilities.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Korpisalo is a UFA relegated to backup duty behind Elvis Merzlikins. He could be on the move at some point before the March 21 trade deadline.

The Coyotes seem like a prime landing spot given their struggles this season but they could be reluctant to acquire someone who could bolt via free agency next summer. . The Sabres are getting surprisingly good goaltending from 40-year-old Craig Anderson and backup Dustin Tokarski but that could change as the season goes along.

Sloppy defensive play and inconsistent offense are the Canadiens’ biggest problems this season. I doubt they’ll pursue Korpisalo with Carey Price set to return to the lineup in the coming weeks and Jake Allen doing a decent job between the pipes in his absence.










NHL Rumor Mill – November 4, 2021

NHL Rumor Mill – November 4, 2021

With the Jack Eichel trade watch finally over, here’s the latest on the Maple Leafs in today’s NHL rumor mill.

SPORTSNET: Luke Fox cites Nick Kypreos reporting Toronto Maple Leafs general manager Kyle Dubas is now focused on signing Jack Campbell to a new contract after getting Morgan Rielly signed to a long-term extension. Asked about Kypreos’ report, Campbell neither confirmed nor denied it but indicated he’d love to stay in Toronto.

Toronto Maple Leafs goaltender Jack Campbell (NHL Images).

Fox pointed out Campbell’s made $4.2 million in career earnings so he’ll be seeking a significant pay raise on his next contract. With just $7.2 million in cap space for 2022-23, the Leafs could try to keep the cap hit on his next deal as low as possible. He speculates Campbell’s agent could use the three-year, $15 million deal signed by Calvin Petersen with the Los Angeles Kings as a comparable.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Leafs also have 15 players under contract for ’22-’23. Whatever it costs to re-sign or replace Campbell, they’ll have to get creative to free up sufficient cap room. Perhaps it’ll be a cost-cutting trade or maybe they acquire the contract of a player permanently on long-term injury reserve.

THE JEFF MAREK SHOW: Elliotte Friedman reported the Leafs are shopping a right-side defenseman. He speculated it could be Travis Dermott, who is listed as day-to-day with a foot injury.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Dermott has slipped down the Leafs’ depth chart under head coach Sheldon Keefe. The 24-year-old might benefit from a change of scenery. He carries an annual average value of $1.5 million through 2022-23.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 4, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 4, 2021

The Hurricanes reach their season-opening ninth straight win, Leon Draisaitl overtakes Connor McDavid in the points race, more fallout from the Blackhawks scandal and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: The Carolina Hurricanes extended their season-opening win streak to nine games by rallying to beat the Chicago Blackhawks 4-3. Jesper Fast and Martin Necas scored in the third period to give the Hurricanes the victory while goaltender Frederik Andersen (27 saves) remains undefeated (8-0-0) this season. Alex DeBrincat scored twice for the Blackhawks (1-8-2).

Carolina Hurricanes goaltender Frederik Andersen (NHL Images).

Leon Draisaitl (20 points) scored twice to overtake teammate Connor McDavid in the NHL scoring race in a 5-2 victory over the Nashville Predators, ending the latter’s four-game win streak. McDavid (19 points) collected two assists to extend his points streak to nine games. Draisaitl is the first player to reach 20 points in less than nine games to start a season since Mario Lemieux in 2002-03.

The Columbus Blue Jackets overcame a 2-0 deficit and blew a 4-2 lead before nipping the Colorado Avalanche in overtime 5-4. Cole Sillinger and Jake Bean scored twice with the latter tallying the game-winner. Bowen Byram tallied two goals and Nazem Kadri collected three assists for the Avalanche.

A shootout goal by Arthur Kaliyev lifted the Los Angles Kings to a 3-2 win over the St. Louis Blues. Torey Krug had a goal and an assist for the Blues (6-1-1). The Kings (4-5-1) have won three straight games.

HEADLINES

CHICAGO TRIBUNE: Former Blackhawks video coach Bradley Aldrich’s name has been stamped out in the club’s 2009-10 section of the Stanley Cup. The Blackhawks requested Aldrich’s name be removed from the Cup following an independent investigation confirming a 2010 sexual assault allegation against him by former Blackhawks prospect Kyle Beach was covered up by senior team executives.

TSN: Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews offered clearer support of Beach. “I can’t undo what happened, I’d just like to know more and more about what Kyle feels and what he wants and what he envisions for the future,” said Toews.

TRIBLIVE.COM: Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby and defenseman Brian Dumoulin were placed in COVID protocol after testing positive for the coronavirus. Head coach Mike Sullivan said Crosby displayed mild symptoms while Dumoulin is asymptomatic. This news comes less than 48 hours after Marcus Pettersson and Chad Ruhwedel tested positive. Kris Letang, Jake Guentzel, Jeff Carter and Zach Aston-Reese also tested positive and were placed in isolation at times since preseason.

THE ATHLETIC: The Nashville Predators will retire Pekka Rinne’s No. 35 on Feb. 24. Rinne retired in July following 15 NHL seasons all spent with the Predators.

SPORTSNET: Speaking of the Predators, winger Filip Forsberg is listed as week-to-week with an upper-body injury.

TSN: Montreal Canadiens forward Jonathan Drouin is listed as day-to-day after being struck in the head by a shot from teammate Brett Kulak during Tuesday’s 3-0 win over the Detroit Red Wings. He is not believed to have suffered a concussion.

New Jersey Devils defenseman P.K. Subban was fined $15,000.00 by the department of player safety for a dangerous trip of Anaheim Ducks center Trevor Zegras on Tuesday.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This is how much Subban’s stock has fallen. He only appears in headlines now when he’s being fined for dangerous trips (also known as slew footing).

TORONTO SUN: Maple Leafs defenseman Travis Dermott is listed as day-to-day with an injured foot.

TSN: Arizona Coyotes defenseman Conor Timmins will miss the remainder of the season with a knee injury.

SPORTSNET: The New York Rangers have loaned winger Vitali Kravtsov to the KHL’s Traktor Chelyabinsk. He can be recalled by the Rangers once the KHL season is over. The 21-year-old winger refused assignment to the NHL and returned to Russia awaiting a trade.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 9, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 9, 2021

The latest on Nikita Kucherov and Brendan Gallagher, the 2021 draft order is complete, the Leafs sign Travis Dermott, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

SPORTSNET: cited The Athletic’s Joe Smith reporting Tampa Bay Lightning winger Nikita Kucherov played through the 2021 Stanley Cup Final with a fractured rib that required multiple injections. He still managed to put up five points in the five-game series against the Montreal Canadiens.

Tampa Bay Lightning winger Nikita Kucherov (NHL Images)

Kucherov had originally denied playing hurt after taking a cross-check from New York Islanders defenseman Scott Mayfield in Game 6 of their semifinal series. He left that game but returned to play in Game 7.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kucherov did seem off his game somewhat during the Cup Final. He tallied 27 points through the first three rounds.

CTV MONTREAL: Hours after losing in the Stanley Cup Final, Canadiens winger Brendan Gallagher discovered he’d been robbed after returning to his home.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: At least Gallagher was able to make light of the incident in a Tik Tok video. Still, that incident was insult to injury.

DAILY FACEOFF: According to numbers released by Sportsnet, this year’s Stanley Cup Final was the most-watched in the company’s history since taking over the NHL’s national broadcasting rights in 2014-15. Over 70 percent of Canadian viewers tuned in to that series.

NHL.COM: The order for the 2021 NHL Draft has been finalized. The Canadiens hold the 30th overall pick and the Lightning the 31st pick. The first round is scheduled for Friday, July 23, and rounds 2-7 on Saturday, July 24.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The reason there are 31 picks in the first round instead of 32 is that the Arizona Coyotes forfeited their pick as punishment for violating last year’s draft combine rules.

TORONTO STAR: The Toronto Maple Leafs signed defenseman Travis Dermott to a two-year, $3 million contract extension. The annual average value is $1.5 million.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Dermott may be under contract with the Leafs but he could end up with the Seattle Kraken if left unprotected in the July 21 expansion draft. Perhaps general manager Kyle Dubas swung a side deal with the Kraken to ensure they select someone else. Teams must submit their protection lists to the league by 5 pm EST on July 17.

THE ATHLETIC’S Scott Powers reports the Chicago Blackhawks don’t intend to buy out any players. The buyout period began at 11 pm EST last night and runs to July 27.

ASSOCIATED PRESS: The Florida Panthers are the first NHL team, and perhaps the first U.S. Major sports team, to establish an opportunity for college athletes to align with them as part of recent rules changes allowing those athletes to profit off their name and celebrity.










NHL Rumor Mill – July 2, 2021

NHL Rumor Mill – July 2, 2021

Are the Oilers interested in Duncan Keith? What’s the status of Oilers’ blueliners Adam Larsson, Tyson Barrie and Oscar Klefbom? Could July become a busy month for Leafs GM Kyle Dubas? Find out in today’s NHL rumor mill.

LATEST ON THE OILERS

EDMONTON JOURNAL: Kurt Leavins believes the Oilers are front-runners for Duncan Keith after reports emerged indicated the Chicago Blackhawks were exploring a trade for the 37-year-old defenseman.

Are the Edmonton Oilers interested in Chicago Blackhawks defenseman Duncan Keith? (NHL Images)

Leavins suggests they need a solid, reliable blueliner in case sidelined Oscar Klefbom misses next season. He thinks there’s mutual interest between the Oilers and Keith’s camp. The longtime Blackhawks rearguard apparently wants to be traded to a club close to his offseason home in Penticton, BC to be near his son.

Despite the decline in Keith’s performance in recent years, Leavins feels he has enough left to slot in behind Darnell Nurse on the right side. He also carries a reasonable $5.538 million annual average value for two more seasons.

The Blackhawks’ asking price, however, could be a sticking point. If they won’t retain part of Keith’s cap hit, he wondered if they’d take back a contract they can buy out.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Leavins colleague David Staples believes Keith’s cap hit is a steep price for the Oilers to pay for an aging defenseman on his last NHL legs unless the Blackhawks take a contract like James Neal or Mikko Koskinen in return.

Neal has two years left on his deal at $5.75 million per season. Koskinen might be preferable with one year at $4.5 million remaining on his deal, provided Chicago’s on his list of agreeable trade destinations.

That’s assuming, of course, the Blackhawks would buy out that contract. As Leavins observed, they’re shopping for a top-level defenseman. While they’ll have nearly $11 million in long-term injury reserve cap space to draw upon if necessary, they still must manage their dollars carefully.

THE ATHLETIC: Daniel Nugent-Bowman expects the Oilers could reach an agreement on a new contract with Adam Larsson perhaps as soon as next week. He cited Larsson’s agent J.P. Barry saying they’re making progress toward a deal. Talks are expected to resume next week.

A new contract for Larsson means Tyson Barrie’s tenure in Edmonton will end after just one season despite the uncertainty over Klefbom’s status.

Klefbom missed all of last season to a shoulder injury that eventually required surgery. His agent doesn’t expect clarity as to the status of his recovery until the fall. He could be left exposed in the upcoming expansion draft.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Oilers were happy with Barrie’s performance but GM Ken Holland has made re-signing Larsson the priority. Barrie seeks a long-term deal and that’s something the Oilers can’t afford.

Recent speculation suggested the Philadelphia Flyers were closely watching Larsson’s contract negotiations. They’ll have to shift their focus elsewhere if the Oilers get the 29-year-old shutdown defenseman under contract before July 28.

BUSY MONTH AHEAD FOR LEAFS GM DUBAS

TORONTO SUN: Terry Koshan expected Maple Leafs general manager Kyle Dubas faces the busiest month for shaping next season’s roster. If Dubas won’t part with an expensive forward like Auston Matthews, Mitch Marner, John Tavares or William Nylander, he’ll have to follow the same plan as last offseason to address his roster depth issues.

Koshan expects pending UFA winger Zach Hyman will be too expensive to re-sign unless Dubas can clear some cap space. There’s interest in re-signing defenseman Zach Bogosian and goalie Frederik Andersen. Koshan also advocated bringing back a healthy Nick Foligno for the right price.

The Leafs will lose a player to the Seattle Kraken in the upcoming expansion draft. Center Alex Kerfoot or a defenseman like Travis Dermott or Justin Holl could be joining the Kraken.

Given the Leafs’ limited cap space, Dubas could end up signing some veterans to one-year contracts as he did in last year’s UFA market. He could make a big splash in the trade market, perhaps for a winger like Arizona’s Conor Garland. Koshan doesn’t think it makes sense to peddle blueliner Morgan Rielly a year out from his UFA eligibility.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Dubas has been creative over the past couple of years in attempting to address his roster needs with limited cap room. He could, as Koshan suggested, sign some veterans to affordable one-year contracts again. Perhaps he’ll acquire a player on permanent LTIR to get some extra wiggle room for other additions. Maybe he swings a side deal with the Kraken. He could pull off a one-for-one swap of players with comparable contracts.

Whether those moves pan out remains to be seen. They won’t make the Leafs a club that can go deep into the playoffs if the past two offseasons are any indication. As long as Dubas keeps his “Big Four” forwards and doesn’t shop Rielly, the limited cap room will hinder his efforts.