NHL Rumor Mill – September 19, 2020

NHL Rumor Mill – September 19, 2020

A look at TSN’s list of 10 contracts potentially on the move in today’s NHL rumor mill.

TSN: Arizona Coyotes winger Phil Kessel, St. Louis Blues center Tyler Bozak, and Edmonton Oilers winger Andreas Athanasiou top Frank Seravalli’s list of 10 contracts potentially on the move in the offseason, based on the financial or salary-cap implications facing each club.

Kessel is owed just $5.95 million in total real dollars through 2021-22. Despite the drop in his production this season, a re-energized Kessel could be helpful to a Cup contender.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kessel’s $5-million signing bonus for 2020-21 has already been paid out, which explains why his actual salary will be so low. His full cap hit is $8 million but the Coyotes are only carrying $6.8 million because the Toronto Maple Leafs are picking up $1.2 million in retained salary as the condition for trading him to Pittsburgh in 2015.

That might make Kessel enticing for clubs seeking experienced scoring depth on right wing. However, he has a reputation as a high-maintenance player, which could hurt his trade value almost as much as this season’s sudden decline in his production.

Bozak could be a trade candidate in a retained salary transaction if the Blues decide to shed salary to re-sign defenseman Alex Pietrangelo.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Seravalli’s list was published before last night’s report indicating contract talks between the Blues and Pietrangelo had broken off. While they still could attempt to move Bozak to give them some additional wiggle room, there won’t be as much urgency to do so if Pietrangelo departs.

Seravalli reports the Oilers are trying to trade Athanasiou before he’s due a $3 million qualifying offer on Oct. 7. However, teams think GM Ken Holland could let him walk, which would hurt Athanasiou’s trade value.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Edmonton Journal’s David Staples believes Holland is in a bind given he parted with two second-round draft picks to acquire Athanasiou. He’s not worth $3 million, and Staples thinks Holland believes he can find a better winger than Athanasiou at a lower price. If so, he might have to let him walk and try to replace those two draft picks via the trade market.

Vancouver Canucks defenseman Troy Stecher and center Brandon Sutter, Pittsburgh Penguins winger Patric Hornqvist, and Dallas Stars goaltender Ben Bishop fill spots four through seven on Seravalli’s list.

Stecher is a restricted free agent who could become a UFA if the Canucks opt not to qualify his rights. The Canucks would like to keep him but their pipeline of promising blueliners and salary-cap constraints could rule out a long-term commitment. Sutter, meanwhile, could be easier to move than Loui Eriksson if the Canucks are willing to retain a bit of his $4.375-million cap hit.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Canucks could re-sign Stecher if they part ways with pending UFA blueliner Chris Tanev. Given GM Jim Benning’s failed efforts last year to move Eriksson, I agree that Sutter could become a trade candidate. He carries a 15-team no-trade clause, which will hamper those efforts.

Seravalli considers Hornqvist the odd man out for the Penguins as a third-line winger with a $5.3 million AAV, but noted the remaining three years on his contract could be an issue. He feels they might have to retain salary to make that work.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Agreed. I don’t see many clubs interested in picking up that full cap hit for the next three years. Another sticking point is Hornqvist’s full no-trade clause for 2020-21, though perhaps he might waive it for the right team.

Seravalli wonders where Bishop fits into the Stars’ plans, pointing out he seems to be injured when it matters most. He thinks they could find a taker for Bishop as he’s owed just $8 million in real cash over the remaining three years of his contract.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That low actual salary could be enticing, but Bishop’s injury history also screams, “Buyer beware!” He also has a 10-team no-trade list, plus a no-movement clause over the remainder of his contract, meaning he’d have to be protected in next year’s expansion draft unless he agrees to waive it.

Tampa Bay Lightning forward Tyler Johnson, Chicago Blackhawks winger Brandon Saad, and Columbus Blue Jackets forward Brandon Dubinsky round out Seravalli’s list.

Johnson could be shopped in a cost-cutting deal, though he has a full no-trade clause. Saad could also be a cost-cutting casualty as the Blackhawks need to re-sign Dominik Kubalik and Dylan Strome plus find a starting goalie. A chronic wrist injury has likely ended Dubinsky’s career but his $5.85-million cap hit for next season could be attractive for clubs looking to use long-term injury reserve to manipulate their salary cap.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Johnson’s NTC could rule him out as a trade candidate. Most of the speculation surrounding the Lightning suggests it could be Alex Killorn (who has a modified no-trade) who could be on the moves.

Saad has a year remaining on his contract and a 10-team no-trade list. He’d be attractive to rival clubs seeking a top-six winger, but The Athletic’s Mark Lazerus said in a recent mailbag segment he’s not convinced the Blackhawks could trade him. He felt they could find extra cap room by trading or buying out Olli Maatta and Zack Smith.

The Jackets could indeed attempt to move Dubinsky’s contract to a club either looking to use LTIR to go over the cap to add another player or by a budget club looking to reach the cap floor. He’s got a 10-team no-trade list but that shouldn’t be an issue if his playing days are over.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – August 22, 2020

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – August 22, 2020

The Canucks eliminate the Blues while the Flyers send the Canadiens packing. Recaps and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: There will be new Stanley Cup champs in 2020 as the Vancouver Canucks eliminated the defending champion St. Louis Blues with a 6-2 victory in Game 6 of their first-round series. Jacob Markstrom got the win with a 34-save performance while Tyler Motte scored twice and Brandon Sutter collected three assists. Jaden Schwartz tallied twice for the Blues.

Vancouver Canucks goaltender Jacob Markstrom (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Blues couldn’t contain the speedy young Canucks, who chased goaltender Jordan Binnington from the game after leaping to a 4-0 lead. It’s the first time the Canucks have won a playoff series since their run to the Stanley Cup Final in 2011. It also provides a considerable confidence boost to their young core led by Elias Pettersson, Bo Horvat, Quinn Hughes, and Brock Boeser.

St. Louis coach Craig Berube cited a lack of energy among his players for their demise. Perhaps it was challenging for the Blues to regain their championship mojo after such a long layoff due to COVID-19. Whatever the reason, the Canucks were the better team throughout most of this series and deserve to march on.

The Philadelphia Flyers also advanced to the second round as they hung on for a 3-2 win over the Montreal Canadiens in Game 6 of their first-round series. Michael Raffl’s goal early in the third period held up as the winner as Carter Hart kicked out 31 shots for the Flyers. Nick Suzuki tallied twice for the Canadiens.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Hart made the difference for the Flyers in this series, sporting back-to-back shutouts and bouncing back well from two lopsided losses. He’s looking more and more like the true starting goaltender they’ve lacked since Ron Hextall was in his prime 30 years ago. While many of the Flyers’ leading scorers were shut down in this series, Jakub Voracek proved to be a Hab killer with seven points.

The lowest seed in the Eastern Conference when return-to-play began, the Canadiens exceeded expectations by upsetting the Pittsburgh Penguins in the qualifier and pushing the favored Flyers to six games in this series. Goaltender Carey Price was outstanding, captain Shea Weber was a force on the blueline and youngsters Nick Suzuki and Jesperi Kotkaniemi gave a tantalizing glimpse of their potential. They have nothing to hang their heads over.

The second-round match-ups and schedule have been released. In the Western Conference, the Canucks will face the Vegas Golden Knights while the Dallas Stars tangle with the Colorado Avalanche. Over in the Eastern Conference, the Flyers face off against the New York Islanders while the Tampa Bay Lightning meet the Boston Bruins in a rematch of their 2018 second-round series.

ESPN.COM: The NHL issued a statement Friday condemning what it called an “insensitive and insulting” comment by NBC hockey analyst Mike Milbury during Thursday’s game between the New York Islanders and Washington Capitals. As Milbury and fellow analyst Brian Boucher was discussing the merits of the NHL playoff bubble, Milbury said, “Not even any woman here to disrupt your concentration.” The league communicated its concern to NBC. Milbury issued an apology on Twitter. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: As ESPN’s Emily Kaplan noted, this isn’t the first time Milbury’s made insensitive comments about women during telecasts. Forbes.com’s Kim Elsesser pointed out his remarks have no basis in fact. She called them “reductive, diminishing the role of all women to a distraction. It implies there are only drawbacks of having women around.” 

Milbury’s comments were the latest in a long list of stupid things he’s said over the years. This one might be the last straw. He was removed from Friday’s telecast and it remains to be seen if he’ll be back. 

 










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 26, 2019

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 26, 2019

Fallout from Auston Matthews’ disorderly conduct charge, Guy Lafleur to undergo heart surgery, Cammi Granato makes NHL history, plus the latest on Brandon Dubinsky, Alex Galchenyuk, and more in today’s morning coffee headlines. 

TORONTO SUN/TORONTO STAR: The Toronto Maple Leafs knew nothing about Auston Matthews’ alleged disorderly conduct incident in May until the report emerged earlier this week. General manager Kyle Dubas claimed he discovered it on Twitter and was upset and disappointed when he learned of the 22-year-old center’s actions. Dubas declined to comment about how this incident would affect the club’s decision to name a new captain.

Auston Matthews did not inform the Toronto Maple Leafs that he was facing a domestic conduct charge in Arizona (Photo via NHL Images).

Matthews is alleged to have attempted to enter a security guard’s vehicle outside his Scottsdale, Arizona condo while she was doing paperwork. After she exited the vehicle, he is alleged to have dropped his trousers and grabbed his buttocks through his underwear as he walked away. He and several friends were reportedly intoxicated at the time.

Matthews made a statement yesterday expressing regret for his actions. He admitted it was a big mistake on his part to try and deal with the issue privately. 

THE SCORE: Body cam footage of the police interview with Matthews’ accuser has been released. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: By not informing the Leafs of what happened and trying to keep it quiet, Matthews made this situation much worse. TSN’s Rick Westhead reports Matthews could face several months of jail time and a fine if convicted, though it’s doubtful he’ll see any time behind bars. 

LE JOURNAL DE MONTREAL: Hall-of-Famer Guy Lafleur will undergo quadruple heart bypass surgery today. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Here’s hoping the operation is successful and Lafleur makes a full, speedy recovery. 

NBC SPORTS: The NHL’s Seattle expansion franchise named Cammi Granato as the league’s first female scout. Granato captained the U.S. Women’s Hockey Team to gold in the 1998 Winter Olympics and was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2010. She joins Ulf Samuelsson, Stu Barnes, Dave Hunter, and John Goodwin on Seattle’s scouting staff. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Congratulations to Granato on this history-making appointment. 

TSN: Columbus Blue Jackets center Brandon Dubinsky is sidelined indefinitely with a wrist injury and will likely to miss the start of the season. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Dubinsky missed 21 games last season with various injuries and 18 games in 2017-18 with a fractured orbital bone. 

TRIBLIVE.COM: The Pittsburgh Penguins held winger Alex Galchenyuk out of last night’s preseason game against Detroit as a precautionary measure. He’s dealing with a nagging undisclosed injury. 

CBS SPORTS: The Florida Panthers released Troy Brouwer from his professional tryout offer. 

Carolina Hurricanes winger Saku Maenalanen has signed a one-year contract with the KHL’s Helsinki Jokerit.

WGR 550: Buffalo Sabres defenseman Jake McCabe will miss the rest of the preseason with an upper-body injury. 

LOS ANGELES TIMES: Former NHL player Tom Laidlaw as part of the cast of “Survivor: Island of the Idols”. 










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 18, 2019

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 18, 2019

Game recaps, Wild trade Nino Niederreiter to Carolina, plus updates on Evgeni Malkin, Brandon Dubinsky, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines. 

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: Boston Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask made 28 saves and tied a franchise record with his 252nd career victory in a 5-2 win over the St. Louis Blues. After being a healthy scratch in the Bruins previous game, David Backes returned to the lineup and tallied the game-tying goal that set the stage for his club’s victory. Blues defenseman Carl Gunnarsson returned to action after missing three games with an illness.

First-period goals by Anders Lee, Michael Dal Colle, and Jordan Eberle powered the New York Islanders to a 4-1 victory over the New Jersey Devils. For Dal Colle, it was his first NHL goal. 

New York Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist picked up his 445th career victory in a 4-3 win over the Chicago Blackhawks (Photo via NHL Images)

New York Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist moved into a tie with Terry Sawchuk for sixth on the NHL’s all-time wins list (445) as his club edged the Chicago Blackhawks 4-3. Teammate Chris Kreider had a goal and an assist. The loss dropped the Blackhawks into the bottom of the Western Conference standings.  

Frederik Andersen kicked out 36 shots as the Toronto Maple Leafs doubled up the Tampa Bay Lightning 4-2. Patrick Marleau and Nazem Kadri each had a goal and an assist while Mitch Marner scored in his fourth straight game. 

The Winnipeg Jets extended their winning streak to four games by defeating the Nashville Predators 5-1. Jets goalie Connor Hellebuyck turned aside 37 shots and Brendan Lemieux tallied two goals. 

The Anaheim Ducks snapped a 12-game losing skid by blanking the Minnesota Wild 3-0. John Gibson turned in a 37-save shutout while Brandon Montour collected two assists. 

Jack Campbell made 29 saves as the Los Angeles Kings nipped the Dallas Stars 2-1. Carl Hagelin scored his first goal since joining the Kings in a trade from Pittsburgh on Nov. 14. 

HEADLINES

NBC SPORTS: The Minnesota Wild traded winger Nino Niederreiter to the Carolina Hurricanes for center Victor Rask.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This was two teams swapping players who could need a fresh start. Niederreiter is a three-time 20-plus goal scorer who saw his production decline (nine goals in 46 games) and his playing time reduced this season. Rask has two 40-plus point seasons on his resume but he’s struggled since returning from hand surgery in late-November.

Both are in their mid-20s with three years left on their contracts. This was the second trade made this week by the Wild, having acquired winger Pontus Aberg from the Anaheim Ducks on Jan. 16.

PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE: Penguins center Evgeni Malkin blames a lack of confidence for his recent struggles. Though he’s been tinkering with new equipment, Malkin feels the problem “is in my head.” He’s unhappy with his play of late, losing pucks that result in turnovers. The issue appears to be that he’s trying too hard to do too much and the coaching staff wants him to simplify his play. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Just goes to show that even a future Hall-of-Famer like Malkin can sometimes lose their poise. By the way, Malkin also has 10 points in seven games this month. 

CBS SPORTS: Columbus Blue Jackets center Brandon Dubinsky (hamstring) is expected to return to action tonight against the Montreal Canadiens. 

OTTAWA SUN: The Senators have removed goaltender Craig Anderson from injured reserve. 

CBS SPORTS: The Colorado Avalanche reassigned center Tyson Jost to the AHL’s Colorado Eagles. 

THE BUFFALO NEWS: The Sabres traded forward Justin Bailey to the Philadelphia Flyers for forward Taylor Leier. Both have spent this season in the minors. 










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 9, 2018

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 9, 2018

Game recaps, stars of the week plus injury updates on James van Riemsdyk, Roberto Luongo, Joe Thornton and more in your NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: Patrice Bergeron tallied a hat trick, David Pastrnak scored twice and Brad Marchand collected three assists as the Boston Bruins doubled up the Ottawa Senators 6-3. Ryan Dzingel scored twice in a losing cause for the Senators.

Boston Bruins center Patrice Bergeron tallied a hat trick in a 6-3 win over the Ottawa Senators. (Photo via NHL Images)

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Bruins’ top line has wasted little time picking up where they left off last season. However, the club’s production drops sharply beyond Bergeron, Marchand and Pastrnak. 

In his season debut with the New York Islanders, goaltender Robin Lehner turned in a 35-save shutout performance backstopping his club to a 4-0 victory over the San Jose Sharks. The Isles got the win in front of just 8,790 fans at Barclays Center.

Earlier in the day, the Sharks revealed the swelling in the surgically repaired right knee of center Joe Thornton was due to an infection and not to any structural damage to the knee.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Thornton’s condition is being treated with antibiotics and he’s not expected to be sidelined for long. 

The Anaheim Ducks won their third straight game with a 3-2 shootout victory over the Detroit Red Wings. Troy Terry tallied the winning goal. The Wings were playing without Trevor Daley, who suffered an upper-body injury during Sunday’s game against the LA Kings.

Jack Eichel scored twice and Carter Hutton kicked out 35 shots to give the Buffalo Sabres a 4-2 win over the Vegas Golden Knights.

Toronto Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews, Chicago Blackhawks center Jonathan Toews and Dallas Stars goaltender Ben Bishop are the NHL’s three stars for the week ending Oct. 7.

NBC SPORTS PHILADELPHIA: Flyers winger James van Riemsdyk will be sidelined five-to-six weeks with a lower-body injury.

SUN-SENTINEL.COM: A knee injury has put Florida Panthers goalie Roberto Luongo on the shelf for two-to-four weeks. The Panthers will turn to backup James Reimer and call-up Michael Hutchinson between the pipes.

TSN: Columbus Blue Jackets forward Brandon Dubinsky was placed on injured reserve and is expected to miss four-to-six weeks with a strained oblique.

THE DENVER POST: Colorado Avalanche captain Gabriel Landeskog (lower body) could miss tonight’s game against the Blue Jackets.

THE SCORE: Boston Bruins owner Jeremy Jacobs believes Houston would be a great market for an NHL franchise. Jacobs is the chairman of the league’s executive committee.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The NHL hasn’t indicated if it intends to expand beyond 32 franchises once Seattle’s expansion bid is formally approved in December. Perhaps Houston will become a destination for a relocated franchise, though there’s no indication any current club could be on the move anytime soon.

 











Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – June 10, 2018

Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – June 10, 2018

Contract buyout candidates plus updates on Milan Lucic, Ilya Kovalchuk and Ian Cole in your Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup.

Could Dallas Stars center Jason Spezza become a buyout candidate? (Photo via NHL Images)

THIS SUMMER’S CONTRACT BUYOUT CANDIDATES

SPORTSNET: Rory Boylen recently listed Ottawa Senators winger Marian Gaborik, Philadelphia Flyers forward Jori Lehtera, Carolina Hurricanes goaltender Scott Darling, Dallas Stars center Jason Spezza, Minnesota Wild winger Tyler Ennis, San Jose Sharks defenseman Paul Martin, Calgary Flames right wing Troy Brouwer, and Columbus Blue Jackets center Brandon Dubinsky as this year’s top-eight buyout candidates.

NBC SPORTS: Adam Gretz lists Brouwer, PIttsburgh Penguins defenseman Matt Hunwick and Buffalo Sabres left wing Matt Moulson as “costly, but might be worth it” buyout candidates. He feels Lehtera and Ennis are definitely worth buying out but suggests Spezza might be worth retaining for the final year of his contract.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The contract buyout period runs from June 15-30. Check out Cap Friendly for their buyout calculator.

Players with one year remaining on their contracts, such as Spezza, Lehtera, Ennis and Martin, are more likely to be bought out than those with two or more years remaining on their deals. For example, The Athletic’s Kevin Kurz reports being told there’s a “strong possibility” the Sharks buy out Martin later this month. 

Even then, that’s not a certainty. In April, Flyers general manager Ron Hextall said he doesn’t plan to buy out Lehtera though he doesn’t rule out changing his mind.  Boylen also reminds us players must be medically cleared before being eligible for buyouts. If Gaborik hasn’t fully recovered from recent back surgery, he’ll be ineligible for a buyout this month. 

I don’t expect the Hurricanes will buy out Darling this summer, as they’re likely to give him another shot at proving himself as a reliable starting goaltender. Dubinsky battled with injuries and personal issues this season, but given the Blue Jackets’ depth issues at center, I believe he’ll return with them in 2018-19. If the Penguins need more cap room to bring in depth elsewhere in the lineup, I can see them buying out the final two years of Hunwick’s contract. 

LATEST ON LUCIC

EDMONTON JOURNAL: David Staples is “somewhat optimistic” another NHL team will want to trade for Edmonton Oilers left wing Milan Lucic and his $6-million annual average value through 2022-23. Despite the troubling decline in Lucic’s offensive stats last season, Staples suggests we shouldn’t underestimate how some NHL GMs value size, toughness and past reputation. Lucic also has a full no-movement clause but there’s a belief he could be open to being dealt.

Staples colleague Jim Matheson believes there isn’t a rush on the Oilers part to move Lucic. “The only conceivable way the Oilers could trade Lucic today would be to take on somebody’s onerous long-term contract back, and maybe toss in a draft pick or prospect to sweeten the pot,” said Matheson, who feels there’s no real upside to trading him. He noted the Montreal Canadiens and Vancouver Canucks tried hard to sign Lucic in 2016 and wondered if they might still be interested in him.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Anything’s possible, of course, but I share Matheson’s doubts about the Oilers finding a trade partner to take on those remaining five years of Lucic’s contract. There was some speculation of a Lucic for Andrew Shaw swap with Montreal, but I think the Oilers would have to absorb part of Lucic’s cap hit to make it palatable for the Canadiens. Even then, the remaining years of his contract could be a deal breaker.

UPDATE ON COLE

THE ATHLETIC: Aaron Portzline recently reported Columbus Blue Jackets pending UFA defenseman Ian Cole is open to re-signing if he gets “the right offer” from the Jackets. Cole was acquired in February from the Pittsburgh Penguins in a three-way deal involving the Ottawa Senators and is completing a three-year deal worth an annual average value of $2.1 million. “He quickly became a stalwart for the Blue Jackets, joining David Savard on the No. 2 pair and the top penalty-kill unit,” writes Porzline.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Cap Friendly indicates the Blue Jackets have over $61.6 million invested in 19 players. Boone Jenner, Oliver Bjorkstrand and Ryan Murray are their restricted free agents and will all seek raises this summer. The Jackets aren’t expected to re-sign Jack Johnson and Thomas Vanek but could bring back Cole and Mark Letestu if their salary demands are realistic. They must also keep sufficient long-term cap space open for Artemi Panarin, Zach Werenski and Sergei Bobrovsky, who will become free agents next summer.