NHL Rumor Mill – April 26, 2021

NHL Rumor Mill – April 26, 2021

A look at several teams that could make side deals this summer with the Kraken in today’s NHL rumor mill.

THE ATHLETIC: Pierre LeBrun and Ryan S. Clark recently listed the Carolina Hurricanes, Colorado Avalanche, Edmonton Oilers, Florida Panthers, Minnesota Wild and Tampa Bay Lightning as six clubs that could be in play to make side deals with the Seattle Kraken.

Carolina Hurricanes defenseman Dougie Hamilton (NHL Images)

LeBrun doesn’t expect much to happen with the Hurricanes if defenseman Dougie Hamilton, a pending unrestricted free agent, isn’t signed before the July 21 expansion draft. The Hurricanes would then have a week before the free-agent market opens on July 28 to re-sign Hamilton. However, it’s possible the Kraken could sign Hamilton during their exclusive free-agent interview window (July 18-21), making the blueliner part of their expansion draft selections.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: LeBrun thinks they’ll hold off on signing Hamilton until after the expansion draft in order to protect Jake Bean as well as Jaccob Slavin and Brett Pesce. He also speculated the Kraken could take Brady Skjei in that scenario but could balk at his $5.25 million cap hit.

Clark pointed out the Avalanche could lose Ryan Graves to the Kraken if they protect just three defensemen or blueliner Jacob MacDonald if they protect eight skaters. It’s expected veteran Erik Johnson will be asked to waive his no-movement clause to be exposed in the draft. The Avs could explore trading one of their forwards if they can get something substantial in return and are open to discussing their needs with the Kraken.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Johnson waiving his NMC would give the Avs some flexibility over which defensemen to protect. If they opt to protect eight skaters to hand onto four defensemen, however, they’ll lose a decent forward to the Kraken. Avs general manager Joe Sakic will probably be talking trade with Kraken GM Ron Francis in the days leading up to July 21.

Clark indicated the Oilers’ plans will depend upon the health of sidelined defenseman Oscar Klefbom. A recovering Klefbom could be exposed in the draft because the Kraken won’t select an injured player with a $4.167 million cap hit. However, the Oilers could make a side deal if Klefbom is healthy and they re-sign pending UFAs Tyson Barrie and Adam Larsson.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Recent reports have Klefbom facing an uncertain future following his shoulder surgery. The Oilers could wait until after the expansion draft to sign Barrie and Larsson or they could sign one and take their chances with the other if Klefbom isn’t healthy by then.

LeBrun explored several scenarios if the Kraken were to covet Florida Panthers goaltender Chris Driedger. They could have the Panthers re-sign the pending UFA goalie before the draft and select him as an exposed player, sign him during their free-agent interview period or attempt to sign him in the free-agent market on July 28.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: LeBrun thinks Panthers GM Bill Zito will approach Francis about the sign-and-select option, perhaps offering up an enticement like defenseman Markus Nutivaara in a side deal.

The Wild could have discussions with Jonas Brodin, Zach Parise, Jared Spurgeon, Ryan Suter and Mats Zuccarello about waiving their no-movement clauses. Getting at least two of them to waive their NMCs would make it possible to protect Matt Dumba and Jordan Greenway. Failing that, they risk losing Dumba if they protect three defensemen or Greenway if they protect eight skaters. Protecting Dumba and Greenway could also create a situation where the Kraken could select defenseman Carson Soucy or goaltender Cam Talbot, raising the possibility of a side deal.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Parise and Suter could provide the most flexibility for the Wild if they can be convinced to waive their NMCs. I doubt Francis would want an aging veteran carrying a $7.538 million cap hit on his books for the next four years.

The cap-strapped Lightning could try to sell the Kraken on selecting Spokane native Tyler Johnson but they’ll have to add a sweetener to convince them to take his $5 million cap hit off the Lightning’s books. LeBrun suggested the cost could be trading their 2022 first-round pick to the Kraken or shipping them winger Alex Killorn, Ondrej Palat (if he waives his no-trade clause) defenseman Erik Cernak.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’ll be interesting to see what the Lightning do in this situation. Bolts GM Julien BriseBois tried to waive and trade Johnson before the start of the season but couldn’t find any takers. He’ll have to package him with a good player or that first-round pick to convince Francis to take him.

Top 5 Goaltenders Who Could Be Dealt By the NHL Trade Deadline

Top 5 Goaltenders Who Could Be Dealt By the NHL Trade Deadline


Trade Candidates Unlikely To Move At 2021 NHL Trade Deadline

Trade Candidates Unlikely To Move At 2021 NHL Trade Deadline


NHL Rumor Mill – April 6, 2021

NHL Rumor Mill – April 6, 2021

Analysis of the latest update to the TSN trade-bait board in today’s NHL rumor mill.

TSN: Frank Seravalli considers the Toronto Maple Leafs, Winnipeg Jets, New York Islanders, Carolina Hurricanes, Colorado Avalanche and Florida Panthers among his shrinking list of firm buyers as the NHL’s April 12 trade deadline approaches.

Seravalli believes the Leafs seek a versatile left winger who can play throughout the lineup. He suggested the Nashville Predators’ Mikael Granlund, the New Jersey Devils Kyle Palmieri, the Columbus Blue Jackets Nick Foligno and the Vancouver Canucks Tanner Pearson as trade targets.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Predators’ surge into playoff contention could take Granlund out of the trade market. I still don’t believe the Blue Jackets will part ways with Foligno but you never know. Pearson’s been sidelined since March 17 with an ankle injury. With COVID-19 cutting a swath through the Canucks roster he’s probably unavailable.

Palmieri was held out of the Devils’ game on Sunday with the Washington Capitals as a precautionary measure. It’s believed he’ll be moved by the end of the week. Trade rumors link the 30-year-old winger to the Leafs, Boston Bruins, New York Islanders, Colorado Avalanche and the Predators.

The Jets could seek a defenseman, preferably a rental. If the Predators’ Mattias Ekholm isn’t available, Seravalli suggested the Blue Jackets’ David Savard, the Dallas Stars’ Jamie Oleksiak, the Anaheim Ducks’ Josh Manson, the Buffalo Sabres’ Brandon Montour or the Chicago Blackhawks’ Nikita Zadorov.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I believe Ekholm’s off the market. The Predators are playoff contenders, their reported asking price of three assets (including a first-round pick and a top prospect) is very expensive, and the extra year on his contract means he’ll have to be protected by the acquiring team in this summer’s expansion draft.

Savard and Montour seem the more likely options here. The Stars are still chasing a playoff berth so I don’t see them moving Oleksiak. The same goes for the Blackhawks and Zadorov.

Sportnet’s Ken Wiebe also included Montour among five under-the-radar targets for the Jets. The others include the Ottawa Senators Mike Reilly, the Detroit Red Wings Patrik Nemeth, the Ducks’ Ben Hutton and the Devils’ Dmitry Kulikov.

Trade talks involving Buffalo Sabres winger Taylor Hall could be heating up (NHL Images).

The Islanders are expected to use their long-term injury reserve to find a replacement for sidelined winger Anders Lee. They’ve been linked to the Sabres’ Taylor Hall, as well as Palmieri and Foligno.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Seravalli’s colleague Darren Dreger reported there’s a sense trade talk involving Hall have escalated though not to the point where a deal could be imminent. Maybe the Isles are part of those talks.

Hurricanes general manager Don Waddell has admitted he’d like to add a right-handed defenseman with term on his contract and a depth forward.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Manson, Buffalo’s Colin Miller and the New York Rangers Tony DeAngelo are the right-shot blueliners on Seravalli’s list with term on their contracts.

It’s believed the Colorado Avalanche could seek a backup goalie and a little more muscle on defense.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The rumor mill linked the Avalanche to Detroit’s Jonathan Bernier and the San Jose Sharks’ Devan Dubnyk. The Sharks could be reluctant to part with Dubnyk while they’re fighting to get back into the Honda West playoff chase.

Chris Driedger of the Florida Panthers and Darcy Kuemper of the Arizona Coyotes are also on Seravalli’s list. I don’t see Kuemper moving when the Coyotes are holding down a playoff spot in the Honda West Division.

Florida Hockey Now’s George Richards believes Driedger’s availability depends on the deal. It’ll also depend on whether they have confidence in promising but inexperienced Spencer Knight filling the backup role as well as Driedger.

Seravalli also listed the clubs he considers secondary, or “soft”, buyers seeking specific needs:

Edmonton Oilers (right-shot depth center), Montreal Canadiens (defensive depth), Pittsburgh Penguins (depth center), Washington Capitals (experience goaltender), Tampa Bay Lightning (defensive depth), Boston Bruins (top-six winger and/or defensive muscle) and Vegas Golden Knights (center depth).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Limited salary-cap space explains why they’re “soft” buyers. In the Canadiens case, however, I wonder how Brendan Gallagher’s fractured thumb could provide some wiggle room to pursue another trade. If he’s out until the playoffs they’ll get $3.75 million in cap relief by placing him on long-term injury reserve.

Seravalli also pointed out the Blackhawks, Red Wings and Sharks are willing to offer up their cap space in return for assets to help facilitate trades.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: In other words, those three clubs are willing to take a bad contract off the hands of one of those soft buyers provided it’s packaged with futures like draft picks and/or prospects.

Seravalli also made a few significant changes to his list of players considered trade bait:

The Ducks’ Josh Manson debuts at No. 11,

Red Wings center Luke Glendening rose to sixth while Nashville’s Mattia Ekholm dropped to 10th. Ekholm’s teammate Granlund remains at No.7,

Philadelphia Flyers center Scott Laughton rose from 16 to ninth.

Devils defenseman Ryan Murray debuts at No. 17,

Ottawa Senators winger Ryan Dzingel drops from 11th to 20th,

Calgary Flames center Derek Ryan debuts at No.22,

Vancouver’s Tanner Pearson drops from 19th to 25th, and

Coyotes goaltender Darcy Kuemper debuts at 34.

Predators No Longer Sellers In NHL Trade Market?

Predators No Longer Sellers In NHL Trade Market?


NHL Rumor Mill – April 2, 2021

NHL Rumor Mill – April 2, 2021

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


TSN: Frank Seravalli reported there’s been no meaningful progress in contract talks between the Edmonton Oilers and pending unrestricted free agent Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. The Oilers apparently made a five-year offer but it isn’t one the 27-year-old center is rushing to sign. Both sides intend to continue negotiations and there’s no belief the Oilers will move Nugent-Hopkins if he’s unsigned before the April 12 trade deadline.

Edmonton Oilers forward Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Nugent-Hopkins wants to stay in Edmonton and the Oilers want to keep him. The term could be the issue here as management could be reluctant to re-sign him to the maximum eight years given the uncertainty over the salary cap over the next several years.

The Oilers hope to unseat the Toronto Maple Leafs for the top spot in the Scotia North Division. They’re not about to peddle away one of their core players regardless of the status of his contract talks.


TSN: Pierre LeBrun doesn’t think the Toronto Maple Leafs are panicked about their goaltending situation and doesn’t believe they’re even calling around for a netminder. They expect sidelined starter Frederik Andersen will return fully healthy and won’t rush back as he did earlier in the season when Jack Campbell was injured. They could reconsider if Andersen suffers another setback. Campbell, meanwhile, is 7-0 on the season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Leafs might not be panicked about their goaltending but the same cannot be said about a number of denizens of Leafs Nation. They are practically begging GM Kyle Dubas to acquire a goalie.

Meanwhile, the Toronto Star’s Dave Feschuk believes the Leafs’ current goaltending isn’t good enough, citing Andersen’s recent injuries and shaky confidence, Campbell’s injury history and Michael Hutchinson’s inconsistency.

The pleas from Leafs fans and observations of Toronto pundits seem likely to fall on deaf ears in the front office. Dubas seems intent on sticking with his current goalies for better or worse.


TSN: Pierre LeBrun reports teams are calling the Florida Panthers about pending UFA goaltender Chris Driedger following their signing of prospect netminder Spencer Knight to an entry-level deal. Panthers general manager Bill Zito was coy about what Knight’s signing meant for Driedger’s future. LeBrun feels there’s a possibility Driedger gets moved by the trade deadline given the market for goaltenders and his cheap cap hit.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Based on LeBrun’s earlier report, the Leafs aren’t among the clubs calling the Panthers about Driedger. He’s played well, offsetting Sergei Bobrovsky’s early-season inconsistency. Shipping him out before the trade deadline could be a risky move. Knight has considerable potential but lacks NHL experience.


STLTODAY.COM: Jeff Gordon said it’s not hard to imagine some NHL general managers contacted St. Louis Blues GM Doug Armstrong asking about Mike Hoffman after the struggling winger was made a healthy scratch earlier this week. While Hoffman could entice contenders looking for scoring they won’t offer anything in return that will bolster the Blues’ sagging offense.

Gordon also noted Blues defenseman Vince Dunn has frequently surfaced in trade rumors this season given his long-term earning power clashing with the club’s long-term salary-cap concerns. He could be enticing to teams seeking a defenseman like the Florida Panthers and Montreal Canadiens. However, trading Dunn means the Blues could risk losing a valuable forward to the Seattle Kraken in this summer’s NHL expansion draft.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Gordon’s colleague Jim Thomas believes the Blues’ next six games before the deadline will determine if Armstrong becomes a buyer, seller or spectator at the deadline.

As Gordon points out, Armstrong isn’t afraid to make bold moves in the trade market. If he gets a pitch for Hoffman or Dunn that improves the Blues’ scoring punch he’ll be all over it. Finding such an offer, however, might not be easy given most of the teams have limited cap space, just like the Blues.


NHL.COM: Tom Gulitti cites Brian Burke, the Pittsburgh Penguins director of hockey operations, recently telling Pittsburgh Post-Gazette his club is in the market for a center with Evgeni Malkin and Teddy Blueger sidelined.

Burke also said the Penguins would like to add some toughness to their lineup. He indicated the club’s second-round pick in this year’s draft is off-limits in the trade market as they lack a first-round pick. They have depth in defensemen to use as trade bait but Burke isn’t sure he’s willing to use that depth for help in other areas of his roster.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Penguins have played well despite the absence of Malkin and Blueger. That doesn’t mean they won’t be active in the trade market but it could take away some of the urgency to find a center.