NHL Rumor Mill – November 23, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – November 23, 2022

A look at the early season trade targets in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.

ANALYSIS OF THE EARLY-SEASON TRADE TARGETS

DAILY FACEOFF: Vancouver Canucks center Bo Horvat top Frank Seravalli’s first list of trade targets for 2022-23. He pointed out there hasn’t been much talk about a contract extension between the pending free agent and Canucks management since prior to training camp. Seravalli suggests “Colorado, Detroit, Boston and Edmonton” among the clubs that could use a top-flight center like Horvat.

Vancouver Canucks captain Bo Horvat (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman reports Canucks president of hockey operations Jim Rutherford is in no hurry to decide what to do with Horvat. That’s understandable since the trade deadline isn’t until March 3 so there’s no reason for Rutherford to rush into a decision regarding his captain at this point.

Nevertheless, the longer Horvat remains unsigned the more speculation over his future will increase as the trade deadline approaches. We’ll find out in due course if those clubs mentioned by Seravalli actually get into the bidding for the Canucks captain.

Chicago Blackhawks forwards Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews sit second and third on Servalli’s list.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Seravalli indicated the Blackhawks are expected to start a conversation with Kane in December to gauge his interest in a trade. He and Toews have complete control over their fates given their no-movement clauses.

Friedman wonders whether the Los Angeles Kings would make a pitch for Kane. He indicates they have the picks and prospects to make this move. Provided Kane is willing to accept a trade to Los Angeles, I question whether the Kings can comfortably afford to pick up the remainder of his $10.5 million cap hit.

Arizona Coyotes defenseman Jakob Chychrun and Anaheim Ducks blueliner John Klingberg sit fourth and fifth on this list.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Friedman reported the Coyotes are still asking for “two first-rounders (upcoming picks or recently-drafted prospects), plus something else.”

TSN’s Pierre LeBrun believes the Coyotes based their high asking price for Chychrun on what the Ducks received from the Boston Bruins last season for Hampus Lindholm. That package included a first-round pick and two second-rounders. He also cited the two first-round picks the Chicago Blackhawks received as part of the return from the Tampa Bay Lightning in the Brandon Hagel deal.

As for Klingberg, Seravalli reminds us that the pending UFA’s no-trade clause is lifted on Jan. 1. We can expect to hear his name more frequently in trade rumors between New Year’s Day and March 3.

San Jose Sharks winger Timo Meier, Florida Panthers winger Anthony Duclair, Columbus Blue Jackets defenseman Vladislav Gavrikov, Los Angeles Kings blueliner Sean Walker and Sharks rearguard Erik Karlsson fill positions six through 10.

Seravalli points out Meier’s expensive qualifying offer ($10 million) will have teams looking at him as a rental player than as a restricted free agent…Duclair is only on the list because the Panthers will have to shed salary when he’s ready to return from his offseason Achilles tear but he might not necessarily be the player who gets traded. He carries a $3 million cap hit.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Meier could be shopped unless he and the Sharks can agree to a new deal with a more affordable cap hit. Given his RFA status next summer, the Sharks can wait until the offseason to shop him if they don’t get any offers they like before the trade deadline.

As for Duclair, I think the Panthers intend to keep him after he rediscovered his game playing for them last season. They’ll have to shed around $3 million to become cap compliant.

Gavrikov is a pending UFA but I’m not convinced the Blue Jackets will move him unless contract talks go south before the trade deadline…Seravalli pointed out the Kings have a glut of defensemen. They don’t want to move Walker but he could be the odd man out given his injury history.

Karlsson would help any NHL club but, as Seravalli notes, his $11.5 million annual cap hit and full no-movement clause significantly limit the number of potential trade destinations. That could be a trade that happens in the offseason provided Karlsson is willing to waive his NMC and the Sharks retain a big chunk of his cap hit.

Blue Jackets center Jack Roslovic, Washington Capitals defenseman Nick Jensen, Blackhawks winger Andreas Athanasiou, Coyotes blueliner Shayne Gostisbehere and Sharks goalie James Reimer coming in at spots 11 through 15.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Roslovic’s inconsistency really hurts his trade value…The Capitals could peddle Jensen if they’re out of playoff contention leading up to the trade deadline. The same goes for Athanasiou and Reimer…I would place Gotisbehere higher on this list, perhaps in the bottom half of the top 10. The puck-moving defenseman had 51 points in 82 games last season on the offensively anemic Coyotes and has 10 points in 17 games this season. He should draw plenty of interest near the trade deadline from teams seeking offense from the blueline.

Canucks winger Brock Boeser, Blackhawks center Max Domi, New York Rangers winger Ryan Reaves, Canadiens center Sean Monahan and Pittsburgh Penguins winger Kasperi Kapanen round out the remainder of this list.

If the Canucks continue to spiral they could start unloading expensive contracts like Boeser’s…Reaves has been a healthy scratch in recent games. The Rangers wouldn’t want much in return as they’d prefer the cap flexibility.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Boeser’s a scoring threat when healthy but his injury history could make him difficult to move…Domi would draw interest from contenders seeking a versatile depth rental…Reaves’ toughness should make him an affordable and enticing option for contenders seeking postseason grit…Monahan’s having a solid season (11 points in 17 games) with the Canadiens and would make a good depth center on a playoff contender…Kapanen’s trade value is so low right now that the Penguins probably couldn’t give him away at this point.










Trade Tracker – 2022 NHL Trade Deadline

Trade Tracker – 2022 NHL Trade Deadline

The following is the list of players traded on March 21, 2022. The trade deadline is 3 pm ET. Check in regularly as this list will be updated throughout today until the last trades are officially announced.

Vegas Golden Knights trade forward Evgenii Dadonov to the Anaheim Ducks in exchange for the LTIR contract of Ryan Kesler, defenseman John Moore and a conditional second-round pick in 2023 or 2024.

Seattle Kraken acquire forward Victor Rask from the Minnesota Wild in exchange for future consideration.

Columbus Blue Jackets trade forward Max Domi to the Carolina Hurricanes in a three-team trade involving the Florida Panthers. The Hurricanes also received defense prospect Tyler Inamoto, the Blue Jackets received defense prospect Aiden Hreschuk, and the Panthers received forward prospect Egor Korshkov and a sixth-round pick in the 2022 NHL draft.

The New York Rangers acquire forward Andrew Copp and a sixth-rounder in 2023 from the Winnipeg Jets in exchange for minor-league center Morgan Barron, a conditional second-round pick in 2022 (becomes a first-rounder if the Rangers win two rounds in 2022 playoffs), a conditional second-rounder in 2022 or 2023 and a fifth-rounder in 2023.

Tampa Bay Lightning acquire Riley Nash for the Arizona Coyotes in exchange for future considerations.

Edmonton Oilers acquire forward Derick Brassard from the Philadelphia Flyers in exchange for a fourth-round pick in 2023.

Calgary Flames acquire center Ryan Carpenter from the Chicago Blackhawks in exchange for a fifth-round draft pick in 2024.

Ottawa Senators acquire goaltender Michael McNiven from the Calgary Flames for future considerations.

Chicago Blackhawks trade goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury to the Minnesota Wild (NHL Images)

New York Rangers acquire forward Nick Merkley from the San Jose Sharks in exchange for defenseman Anthony Bitetto.

The Pittsburgh Penguins acquire winger Rickard Rakell from the Anaheim Ducks in exchange for forwards Zach Aston-Reese and Dominik Simon, a 2022 second-round pick and a prospect.

The Rangers also acquire forward Tyler Motte from the Vancouver Canucks in exchange for a 2023 fourth-rounder.

Detroit Red Wings ship forward Vladislav Namestnikov to the Dallas Stars in exchange for a fourth-round pick in 2024.

Montreal Canadiens trade goaltender Andrew Hammond to the New Jersey Devils in exchange for minor-league center Nate Schnarr.

Colorado Avalanche acquires forward Andrew Cogliano from the San Jose Sharks in exchange for a 2024 fifth-rounder.

The Washington Capitals acquire Johan Larsson from the Arizona Coyotes in exchange for a 2023 third-round pick.

Ottawa Senators trade Zach Sanford to the Winnipeg Jets for a 2022 fifth-round pick.

St. Louis Blues acquire defenseman Nick Leddy and minor-league blueliner Luke Witkowski from the Detroit Red Wings for winger Oskar Sundqvist, defenseman Jake Walman and a 2023 second-round pick.

Montreal Canadiens trade forward Artturi Lehkonen to the Colorado Avalanche in exchange for defense prospect Justin Barron and a 2024 second-round pick.

Edmonton Oilers acquire defenseman Brett Kulak from the Montreal Canadiens in exchange for defenseman William Lagesson and a conditional second-round pick in 2022 or 2023.

Boston Bruins trade winger Zach Senyshyn and a fifth-rounder in the 2022 draft to the Ottawa Senators for defenseman Josh Brown and a seventh-rounder in 2022.

The New York Rangers acquire defenseman Justin Braun from the Philadelphia Flyers for a third-round pick in 2023.

Chicago Blackhawks trade goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury to the Minnesota Wild in exchange for a conditional 2022 second-round draft pick that becomes a first-rounder if the Wild reach the Western Conference Final. 

Minnesota Wild trade goaltender Kaapo Kahkonen and a fifth-round pick to the San Jose Sharks for defenseman Jacob Middleton.

The Seattle Kraken trade forward Marcus Johansson to the Washington Capitals in exchange for forward Daniel Sprong, a 2022-fourth-round pick and a 2023 sixth-rounder.

The Winnipeg Jets trade center Nathan Smith and Bryan Little’s LTIR contract to the Arizona Coyotes in exchange for a 2022 fourth-round pick.

Winnipeg Jets trade defenseman Nathan Beaulieu to the Pittsburgh Penguins for a conditional 2022 seventh-round pick.










NHL Rumor Mill (Part Two) – March 19, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill (Part Two) – March 19, 2022

Check out the latest on the Golden Knights, Rangers, Blackhawks, Canadiens, Wild and Capitals in Part Two of today’s NHL Rumor Mill.

ARE THE GOLDEN KNIGHTS INTERESTED IN VARLAMOV?

NYI HOCKEY NOW/VEGAS HOCKEY NOW: Stefen Rosner and Owen Krepps cite sources claiming Vegas Golden Knights general manager Kelly McCrimmon is “pushing hard” to acquire goaltender Semyon Varlamov from the New York Islanders. Vegas starter Robin Lehner’s been hampered by injuries while backup Laurent Brossoit has struggled of late.

The Isles’ asking price is reportedly a first-round pick. Vegas traded their 2022 first-rounder to the Buffalo Sabres in last November’s deal for Jack Eichel but have their first-round picks for 2023 and 2024.

New York Islanders goaltender Semyon Varlamov (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Varlamov carries a $5 million cap hit through 2022-23 so he wouldn’t be a rental player. However, he also has a 16-team no-trade list, though Vegas might not be on it. With Ilya Sorokin playing well as the Isles starter and GM Lou Lamoriello needing to shed some salary for next season, perhaps a Varalmov deal is possible. Whether it’s with the Golden Knights remains to be seen.

IS ANOTHER TRADE COMING FOR THE RANGERS?

NEW YORK POST: Larry Brooks speculates Anaheim Ducks winger Rickard Rakell could be a good fit alongside Chris Kreider and Mika Zibanejad on the Rangers’ top line if the price is right. A first-round pick could be asking too much though Brooks believes Rangers GM Chris Drury is keeping an open mind about that. The better of the Rangers’ two second-rounders should be on the table but more would probably be needed to acquire Rakell.

Brooks also cites sources reporting the Rangers have Seattle Kraken defenseman Mark Giordano on their radar. However, the price for rental players is high this year. It’s unclear if the Rangers could get Giordano and Rakell without dipping into their pool of prime assets.

THE ATHLETIC: Arthur Staple also indicated the Rangers are kicking tires on the Winnipeg Jets’ Andrew Copp, the Columbus Blue Jackets’ Max Domi and the Arizona Coyotes’ Phil Kessel, though the latter two are low on their list. GM Chris Drury also called the Montreal Canadiens about Artturi Lehkonen but his improved play under coach Martin St. Louis could see him staying put. Drury could also see if a team is willing to take a flier on the Rangers struggling backup goalie Alexandar Georgiev.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Drury is sitting on nearly $32 million in trade deadline cap space and has plenty of tradeable assets to swing a deal for one or two of those aforementioned players I’ll be surprised if his recent acquisition of Frank Vatrano is his biggest deadline move.

WILL THE BLACKHAWKS MOVE KUBALIK AND DE HAAN?

CHICAGO SUN-TIMES: Ben Pope recently reported the Blackhawks were making progress on a trade involving winger Dominik Kubalik, whose production has significantly declined this season. The Edmonton Oilers and Anaheim Ducks appear the front-runners.

Pope also anticipates Blackhawks defenseman Calvin de Haan will be on the move by deadline day. Sources suggest the club could get the second- or third-round pick they’ve set as their asking price.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kubalik is a restricted free agent this summer with arbitration rights. His annual cap hit is $3.7 million but he’s earning $4 million in actual salary. I didn’t post this rumor earlier because it appeared a trade was imminent. So far, however, there’s no indication yet that the Blackhawks are any closer to moving Kubalik.

Meanwhile, de Haan is an experienced stay-at-home blueliner slated to become an unrestricted free agent in July. He should be an affordable acquisition for a playoff contender.

COULD THE CANADIENS MOVE LEHKONEN OR KULAK?

TSN: Darren Dreger yesterday reported there is “high interest” in Montreal Canadiens forward Artturi Lehkonen leading up to Monday’s trade deadline. He could continue to produce for the Habs for the next four-five seasons, which is being measured against his trade value.

MONTREAL GAZETTE: Stu Cowan recently reported Canadiens GM Kent Hughes isn’t looking to stage a fire sale leading up to deadline day. He indicated he’s not trying to move defenseman Brett Kulak, who became the subject of recent media trade chatter.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Hughes also said he wasn’t looking at trading Tyler Toffoli until he got a deal too good to pass up from the Calgary Flames. He could do the same with Lehkonen or Kulak but only if it meets his price. Hughes won’t trade them just for the sake of it.

Lehkonen is a restricted free agent this summer with arbitration rights. If he’s only willing to commit to a one-year deal to take him up to UFA status they should trade him for the best possible return.

LATEST ON THE WILD AND CAPITALS

TWINCITIES.COM: Dane Mizutani reports Minnesota Wild GM Bill Guerin recently indicated he’s not trying to trade his way out of his club’s roster problems but is instead trying to make the team better. Though it seems like the Wild were in the market for a star player a few weeks ago, that market seems to have dried up with Joe Pavelski re-signing with the Dallas Stars, Tomas Hertl staying with the San Jose Sharks, and Claude Giroux linked to the Florida Panthers.

THE ATHLETIC: Michael Russo recently reported the Montreal Canadiens, Winnipeg Jets and Arizona Coyotes are showing interest in Jack McBain. The prospect center has indicated he’s not going to sign with the Wild because he doesn’t see a center position opening for himself on their roster.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Guerin sending Nico Sturm to Colorado for Tyson Jost earlier this week indicates he’s willing to make a move to bolster his roster if the right deal can be found. I wouldn’t dismiss the possibility of him adding another player, perhaps one who’ll have more impact than Jost, by deadline day.

THE ATHLETIC: Tarik El-Bashir expects the Washington Capitals to get in on the action if Chicago Blackhawks goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury becomes available in the trade market provided the asking price is palatable. They’re also not interested in goalies who are in the “good-but-not-great” tier.

GM Brian MacLellan isn’t willing to part with his first-round pick or a top prospect for a rental player. Rumors have linked the Capitals to Blue Jackets forward Max Domi. MacLellan is working the phones and we shouldn’t rule anything in or out at this point. He’s in the market for a middle-six forward.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It would be a great story if Fleury joined the Capitals given his history playing against them during his years with the Pittsburgh Penguins. At this stage, however, it’s hard to say if Fleury’s going anywhere.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 19, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 19, 2021

Lopsided wins by the Blues and Flyers, the three stars of the week, Evander Kane receives a lengthy suspension, Nikita Kucherov could be sidelined longer than expected, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: A five-goal outburst in the second period powered the St. Louis Blues over the Arizona Coyotes 7-4. Jordan Kyrou had two goals and two assists and Klim Kostin also scored twice for the Blues. Shayne Gostisbehere collected three assists for the Coyotes. Blues winger Pavel Buchnevich could face supplemental discipline after receiving a match penalty in the first period for headbutting Coyotes forward Lawson Crouse.

Eleven Philadelphia Flyers collected points in their 6-1 victory over the Seattle Kraken. Derick Brassard led the way with a goal and two assists while Travis Konecny, Joel Farabee and Justin Braun each had a goal and an assist. Carter Hart picked up the win with a 23-save performance.

New York Rangers left wing Artemi Panarin (NHL Images).

Artemi Panarin’s overtime goal lifted the New York Rangers to a 2-1 win over the Toronto Maple Leafs. Ilya Shesterkin made 40 saves while Mika Zibanejad also scored for the Rangers. Michael Bunting replied for the Leafs while teammate Auston Matthews was shut out in his season debut as he returned to action from offseason wrist surgery.

The Anaheim Ducks picked up their second win of the season by nipping the Calgary Flames 3-2 in overtime. Jamie Drysdale tallied his first NHL game-winning goal. Johnny Gaudreau had two assists for the Flames.

HEADLINES

Los Angeles Kings center Anze Kopitar, Washington Capitals left wing Alex Ovechkin and Tampa Bay Lightning winger Steven Stamkos are the NHL’s three stars for the week ending Oct. 17, 2021.

NBC SPORTS BAY AREA: The NHL has suspended San Jose Sharks winger Evander Kane without pay for 21 games for violating the league’s COVID protocols by using a fake COVID vaccination card. His salary will not count against the Sharks’ cap payroll during his suspension. The league also announced its concurrent investigation into allegations of domestic abuse by his wife could not be substantiated.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kane’s ongoing off-ice issues are raising questions about his future with the Sharks. He hasn’t skated with the team since the end of last season after mutually agreeing with the club not to participate in training camp while those investigations were ongoing.

TAMPA BAY TIMES: Lightning winger Nikita Kucherov could be sidelined for an extended period by a lower-body injury suffered during Saturday’s game against the Washington Capitals. The club is trying to determine the severity of the injury and whether surgery is required.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kucherov missed the entirety of the 2020-21 regular season after undergoing hip surgery last December. It’s unclear if his latest injury is tied to that procedure.

COLORADO HOCKEY NOW: Nathan MacKinnon will be joining his Avalanche teammates in Washington following a negative COVID-19 test yesterday. He’s been sidelined nearly a week after testing positive twice. MacKinnon, who is reportedly asymptomatic and feeling fine, could play in tonight’s game against the Capitals if he has another negative test today.

WINNIPEG SUN: Jets captain Blake Wheeler entered the league’s COVID protocol yesterday. His status for tonight’s game against the Minnesota Wild is uncertain.

TRIBLIVE.COM: Pittsburgh Penguins winger Bryan Rust is listed as week-to-week with a lower-body injury.

MONTREAL GAZETTE: Mike Hoffman is expected to make his debut with the Canadiens tonight when they face off against the Sharks at the Bell Centre. Hoffman was recovering from an injury suffered during offseason training.

THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH: Blue Jackets forward Max Domi will be sidelined two-to-four weeks with a fractured rib.

THE PROVINCE: The Vancouver Canucks announced defenseman Travis Hamonic has been granted a temporary leave of absence for personal reasons. His salary won’t count against their salary-cap payroll during his absence.

TSN: Dallas Stars forward Radek Faksa was fined $5,000.00 by the department of player safety for slashing Ottawa Senators winger Tim Stutzle on Sunday. Stutzle left the game immediately but return to action in the third period.

NEW YORK POST: Islanders forward Matt Martin will make his season debut after recovering from an ankle injury. The Isles also place forward Leo Komarov on waivers.

TSN: Former NHL winger Ilya Kovalchuk was named the general manager for the Russian Olympic Committee’s men’s hockey team at the 2022 Winter Olympics. Former NHLers Sergei Gonchar, Sergei Fedorov and Evgeni Nabokov will serve as assistant coaches.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 9, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 9, 2021

The Panthers signed Aleksander Barkov to a lucrative extension, more nations name their first players to their respective Olympic teams, plus the latest on Alex Ovechkin, Mackenzie Blackwood & more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

FLORIDA HOCKEY NOW: The Panthers yesterday signed Aleksander Barkov to an eight-year, $80 million contract extension. The 26-year-old center will earn an annual average value of $10 million.

Florida Panthers captain Aleksander Barkov (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Cap Friendly indicates the deal is heavy with signing bonuses, starting at $11 million annually in the first three seasons, dropping to $10.6 million, $9 million, $7 million and finally $6.2 million in the final two seasons. Barkov also gets a full no-movement clause in the first eight seasons, becoming a modified no-trade for the final two seasons.

Barkov earned this contract as the Panthers’ captain and franchise player. He’s one of the NHL’s elite two-way forwards, earning the Selke Trophy last season. He’s crucial to their hopes of becoming a Stanley Cup contender.

TSN: More countries yesterday named their first players to their respective 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics mens’ hockey teams.

Russia (also known as the “Russian Olympic Committee” since they’re barred from competing under their country’s name and flag due to a doping scandal that has “banned” their athletes from international competition) named Washington Capitals left wing Alex Ovechkin, Tampa Bay Lightning right wing Nikita Kucherov and Lightning goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy.

Edmonton Oilers forward Leon Draisaitl, Seattle Kraken goaltender Philipp Grubauer and Detroit Red Wings defenseman Moritz Seider joins Germany’s team.

Denmark named Winnipeg Jets winger Nikolaj Ehlers, Columbus Blue Jackets winger Oliver Bjorkstrand and Seattle Kraken center Alexander True.

Nashville Predators defenseman Roman Josi, San Jose Sharks forward Timo Meier, and New Jersey Devils center Nico Hischier were named to Switzerland’s squad.

Slovakia named Dallas Stars defenseman Andrej Sekera, Tampa Bay Lightning blueliner Erik Cernak and Vancouver Canucks goalie Jaroslav Halak to their roster.

Latvia added San Jose Sharks winger Rudolfs Balcers, Buffalo Sabres forward Zemgus Girgensons and Toronto Maple Leafs prospect Kristians Rubins.

NBC SPORTS WASHINGTON: Speaking of Ovechkin, the Capitals captain will be re-evaluated for a lower-body injury suffered during Friday’s preseason contest with the Philadelphia Flyers.

THE ATHLETIC: Mackenzie Blackwood underwent two inconclusive COVID-19 tests on Thursday and Friday. The New Jersey Devils expected to know by Sunday whether their unvaccinated goaltender has contracted COVID for the second time.

If he tests positive on Sunday, he’ll be unavailable to the Devils for 14 days and ineligible to play or practice until Oct. 21. The Devils could also suspend him without pay during that period.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Blackwood’s about to learn the consequences of being an unvaccinated player in the NHL. The league has implemented strict protocols to protect its players and staff and to avoid a repeat of the outbreaks last season that wreaked havoc on its schedule.

THE SEATTLE TIMES: Kraken forward Calle Jarnkrok has entered the NHL’s COVID-19 protocol. It doesn’t necessarily mean he has the coronavirus but could instead be a close contact of someone who is infected. The Kraken recently announced all their players were fully vaccinated.

THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH: Max Domi could be returning to the Blue Jackets roster much sooner than expected. Told he’d require five months to recover from shoulder surgery in June, he could be in the lineup for their season-opener next week against the Arizona Coyotes.

NBC SPORTS CHICAGO: Blackhawks defenseman Caleb Jones is expected to miss six weeks with a left wrist strain.

TSN: Edmonton Oilers winger Zack Kassian will be in concussion protocol for the next several days after striking his head on the ice during a fight with Vancouver Canucks forward Zack MacEwen on Thursday night.

BOSTON HOCKEY NOW: Bruins forward Curtis Lazar is listed as week-to-week with an upper-body injury.

OTTAWA SUN: Senators forward Auston Watson suffered an ankle injury during Thursday’s game against the Montreal Canadiens. There’s no timetable for his return.

THE TENNESSEAN: Nashville Predators assistant coach Todd Richards could be back behind the bench for the club’s season-opener against the Seattle Kraken on Oct. 14. Richards suffered a heart attack on Oct. 1 and has been resting at home.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That’s great news for Richards. Here’s hoping he continues making a full recovery.

NHL.COM: The Devils signed center Frederik Gauthier to a one-year, two-way contract.

TSN: The Colorado Avalanche released forward Artem Anisimov from his professional tryout offer.

SPORTSNET: The Toronto Maple Leafs and Ottawa Senators have approval from the Ontario government to host full capacity in their respective arenas for their home games this season.

THE NEWS & OBSERVER: The Carolina Hurricanes played only four preseason games instead of the mandatory six as per the CBA. However, they were among several teams granted an exemption this year due to the pandemic.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: A supposedly juicy aspect of this is the Montreal Canadiens apparently brought the number of Hurricanes’ preseason games to the attention of league officials. It’s something else that some observers believe could stoke the recent rivalry between the two clubs.










Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – August 29, 2021

Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – August 29, 2021

Could the Canadiens target the Sabres Jack Eichel or the Coyotes’ Christian Dvorak if they don’t match Jesperi Kotkaniemi’s offer sheet? Which centers could the Penguins target if the need arises this season? Find out in the Sunday NHL rumor roundup.

COULD THE CANADIENS BE SHOPPING FOR KOTKANIEMI’S REPLACEMENT?

SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman and Jeff Marek discussed the Carolina Hurricanes signing Montreal Canadiens center Jesperi Kotkaniemi to an offer sheet on Saturday. Friedman said the Hurricanes had discussed the possibility of a trade for Kotkaniemi with the Canadiens but couldn’t work out a deal. He thinks the Hurricanes informed the Canadiens of their intention to sign Kotkaniemi to an offer sheet, probably within 24 hours of doing so.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The initial reports of Kotkaniemi’s offer sheet took most observers by surprise. Some suggested Canadiens general manager Marc Bergevin was caught off-guard, chiding him for not signing Kotkaniemi when he had the chance to avoid this situation.

Based on Friedman’s reporting, that doesn’t appear to be the case. The Habs GM still didn’t seem fully convinced Kotkaniemi was fully prepared for second-line center duty. He was using his leverage to attempt to sign the youngster to a two-year bridge deal worth around $2.5 million annually.

Bergevin also had plenty of advance warning of Carolina’s interest in Kotkaniemi. While the Hurricanes’ PR team played up the revenge angle on Twitter to great amusement on social media, that seems to be merely a secondary factor. Why engage in trade talks if they intended to do the offer sheet all along? And why inform the Habs of their plan and provide Bergevin an opportunity to get Kotkaniemi under contract?

SPORTSNET: Eric Engels speculates Bergevin could target Arizona Coyotes center Christian Dvorak. The Habs GM will have some extra draft capital with the first- and third-round picks he’d get from the Hurricanes as compensation. The Coyotes showed a willingness over the past month to collect as many high-end picks as possible.

Arizona Coyotes center Christian Dvorak (NHL Images).

Dvorak, 25, would be a good fit. The 6-foot, 200-pound two-way center has averaged a half-point per game and carries a cost-effect annual cap hit of $4.45 million over the next four seasons.

Engels also wonders if Bergevin could use those picks as part of a package deal for Jack Eichel. They’d have to live with the risk of the 24-year-old center becoming the first player to have an artificial disc-replacement procedure before he played his first game with them. Bergevin could also attempt the offer-sheet route with Elias Pettersson but doubts he’ll target the Vancouver Canucks center.

TVA SPORTS: Yvon Pedneault also thinks Canadiens general manager Marc Bergevin will be working the phones to find a suitable, affordable replacement. He speculates he’ll target teams that have to reduce payroll before the start of the season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Bergevin has seven days to match the Hurricanes offer for Kotkaniemi. If he has no intention of matching he’s already calling around looking to package those compensatory picks for a replacement or an upgrade.

Dvorak reportedly drew considerable interest around the league but Coyotes GM Bill Armstrong could be reluctant to move him. Maybe he’d be swayed if Bergevin offered up a first and a third. PuckPedia shows the Habs currently have two picks in the third, fourth and seventh rounds of next year’s draft. Bergevin could include one or two of those along with the compensation from the Hurricanes or add a prospect or two to sweeten the pot.

Much has been made of Bergevin’s cozy relationship with Eichel’s new agent, Pat Brisson. However, the Sabres are still reportedly seeking four assets comparable to first-round picks. Unless that asking price is lowered, I don’t see the Habs getting into the bidding for the Sabres captain.

Bergevin could attempt to sign Pettersson to an offer sheet but I don’t think the young Canuck is interested. As Engels points out, the expensive price to do so would be difficult to squeeze within the Canadiens’ salary-cap limits.

COULD THE PENGUINS TARGET A RENTAL CENTER?

PITTSBURGH HOCKEY NOW: Dan Kingerski recently examined four possible rental centers for the Penguins if Evgeni Malkin should be sidelined by knee surgery longer than expected. That could create a problem with the Penguins lacking depth at center beyond their top four. The club was also wracked with injuries last season plus Malkin and Jeff Carter are unrestricted free agents next summer.

The first is San Jose Sharks center Tomas Hertl. Kingerski speculates he could be had for a similar cost the Carolina Hurricanes paid for Vincent Trocheck, which was two bottom-six forwards and a promising prospect.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That’s assuming the Sharks intend to move Hertl or he intends to test the market. There could be mutual interest in working out an extension. If the Sharks do shop him I suspect they’ll seek a better return than what the Florida Panthers got for Trocheck.

Other options include Columbus’ Max Domi, Dallas’ Joe Pavelski if the Stars are out of playoff contention by the trade deadline, or swapping defenseman Marcus Pettersson’s bad contract for the Minnesota Wild’s Victor Rask.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kingerski acknowledged Domi is sidelined by shoulder surgery until December. He also pointed out the Blue Jackets’ own lack of depth at center. Pavelski has a three-team trade list and could prefer staying out west.