NHL Rumor Mill – November 28, 2020

NHL Rumor Mill – November 28, 2020

Will the Blue Jackets shop for a scoring forward? Who could become trade bait if the Sharks become a lottery team again? Find out in today’s NHL rumor mill.

NHL.COM: Tom Gulitti wondered if the Columbus Blue Jackets will add a scoring forward before the start of 2020-21. It will depend upon the cost of re-signing Pierre-Luc Dubois because they’d prefer to know how much salary-cap space they’ll have once the 22-year-old center is under contract.

Could the Columbus Blue Jackets attempt to sign Mike Hoffman? (NHL Images)

The Jackets have an opening on their second line with winger Gustav Nyquist out 5-6 months recovering from shoulder surgery. They’ll explore internal options but general manager Jarmo Kekalainen didn’t rule out signing a forward if the right opportunity presents itself and they have the flexibility to do so. Wingers Mike Hoffman and Mikael Granlund remain available in the unrestricted free-agent market.

NBC SPORTS: Adam Gretz cited NHL insider Elliotte Friedman recently saying the Jackets tried to move forward Brandon Dubinsky’s contract. Friedman also speculated they could be among the clubs that looked at Hoffman and/or Granlund.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: As per Cap Friendly, the Jackets have over $9.2 million in cap space. That’s more than enough to re-sign Dubois. Kekalainen has downplayed how long it’s taking to get the center signed, pointing out many notable RFAs usually aren’t signed until close to training camp.

Assuming it costs $6 million annually to sign Dubois, the Jackets would have around $3 million to add an affordable forward. They could get additional wiggle room to exceed the cap by placing Nyquist and his $5.5 million annual average value on long-term injury reserve, though they’d have to shed salary to become cap compliant if he returns during the season.

Kekalainen also hinted earlier in the offseason that Dubinsky ($5.85 million) could also end up on LTIR owing to a nagging wrist injury. Perhaps he’ll try to trade Dubinsky’s contract to a cap-strapped club in hopes of landing something worthwhile in return.

Hoffman reportedly seeks a one-year contract between $5.5 million and $6.5 million. His agent claimed 13 teams expressed various degrees of interest in his client. Most could be playing the waiting game hoping he’ll drop his asking price. The Jackets could be among them. Granlund might be a more affordable option.

THE ATHLETIC: In a recent mailbag segment, Kevin Kurz was asked which member of the San Jose Sharks could be traded (apart from Brent Burns or Marc-Edouard Vlasic) if they’re a lottery club in 2020-21.

He doesn’t see any circumstance under which the Sharks would trade Tomas Hertl. Burns has a three-team trade list and Vlasic a full no-movement clause, making it very difficult to attempt to move either player. Kurz, however, speculates Burns might be open to moving if he believes the Sharks will struggle for the next couple of seasons, “especially with his beard buddy (Joe Thornton) now in Toronto.”

If the Sharks become sellers, Kurz feels the most likely trade candidates are pending UFAs like Devan Dubnyk, Stefan Noesen, Matt Nieto, Marcus Sorensen or maybe Patrick Marleau again.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Sharks GM Doug Wilson is counting on his club to stage a bounce-back performance and be a playoff contender this season. If they’re not, the UFA selloff will begin as the deadline approaches. I agree with Kurz that they won’t move Hertl. I also doubt Burns and Vlasic will be going anywhere.

If Burns agreed to be moved his contract and age work against him. He turns 36 in March, his production dropped sharply last season (from 83 points in 2018-19 to just 45 in 70 games) and he’s carrying an $8 million AAV for five more years. Unless the Sharks agreed to pick up a healthy chunk of his cap hit, I don’t see many clubs agreeing to take on that contract. The same goes for the 33-year-old Vlasic and his $7 million AAV for six more years.










NHL Trade Roundup: Lots of Big Names Moving After Busy Week of Dealing

NHL Trade Roundup: Lots of Big Names Moving After Busy Week of Dealing

 










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 6, 2020

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 6, 2020

Connor McDavid tests positive for COVID-19, the Wild trade Devan Dubnyk and Ryan Donato to the Sharks, Matt Niskanen retires, Penguins buy out Jack Johnson, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

EDMONTON JOURNAL: Oilers captain Connor McDavid has been diagnosed with COVID-19. The club reports McDavid, 23, is experiencing minor symptoms but otherwise feeling well and self-quarantining at his Ontario home.

Edmonton Oilers captain Connor McDavid tests positive for COVID-19 (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Best wishes to McDavid for a swift and full recovery. He’s the biggest NHL star to be diagnosed with the coronavirus since a report emerged in June revealing Toronto Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews also tested positive. Matthews recovered and played for the Leafs in the NHL’s return-to-play tournament in August.

NBC SPORTS BAY AREA/TWINCITIES.COM: The Minnesota Wild made two trades yesterday with the San Jose Sharks, shipping goaltender Devan Dubnyk (along with a seventh-round pick in 2022) and winger Ryan Donato to the Sharks for a fifth-round pick in 2022 and a third-round pick in 2021. The Wild also retained half of Dubnyk’s $4.33 million cap hit for 2020-21, which is the final season of his contract. The Wild also re-signed defenseman Carson Soucy to a three-year, $8.25-million contract.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Dubnyk will share the Sharks’ goaltending duties with Martin Jones. General manager Doug Wilson is confident the 34-year-old netminder can regain his form after dealing with his wife’s health issues last season. Wilson also feels Donato, who was stuck on the Wild’s fourth line, could flourish given more playing time.

These moves were straightforward salary dumps by the Wild, giving them $12.5 million in salary-cap space. GM Bill Guerin has made no secret he wants to improve his goaltending plus he still needs a proven scoring center after trading Eric Staal to Buffalo last month. Perhaps he’ll put some of that cap space to addressing those needs.

NBC SPORTS PHILADELPHIA: Flyers defenseman Matt Niskanen has retired after 13 NHL seasons. The 33-year-old blueliner had a year remaining on his contract with a cap hit of $5.75 million. Niskanen had 72 goals and 356 points in 949 games with the Flyers, Dallas Stars, Pittsburgh Penguins and Washington Capitals, winning the Stanley Cup with the latter in 2018.

The Flyers also re-signed defenseman Justin Braun to a two-year, $3.6-million contract worth annual average value of $1.8 million.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Best wishes to Niskanen in his future endeavors. His decision was reportedly based on being away from his family during the recent playoffs and uncertainty over what next season could be like. His retirement clears his cap hit from the Flyers’ books.

With the Braun signing, the Flyers have $2.9 million in cap space for 2020-21. Niskanen’s retirement could send them into the trade or free-agent market for a replacement, or it could make them reluctant to trade blueliner Shayne Gostisbehere.

TRIBLIVE.COM: The Pittsburgh Penguins yesterday placed defenseman Jack Johnson on waivers for the purpose of buying out his contract.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This isn’t a surprising move. The writing was on the wall for Johnson when the Penguins acquired Mike Matheson last month from the Florida Panthers. The move leaves the Penguins with $1.16 million in dead cap space for the next two seasons, $1.9 million in 2022-23, dropping to $916K for the following three seasons.

TORONTO SUN: The Maple Leafs re-signed Jason Spezza to a one-year, $700K contract.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Spezza, 37, was a worthwhile depth addition playing a variety of roles for the Leafs last season. His signing scarcely dents their cap room, leaving them with $4.7 million.

THE BUFFALO NEWS: The Sabres re-signed forward Tage Thompson to a three-year contract worth $1.4 million per season.

OTTAWA SUN: The Senators re-signed defenseman Josh Brown to a two-year, $2.4-million deal.

THE ATHLETIC (subscription required): The Dallas Stars salary-cap space shrunk for next season, incurring over $3 million in performance bonuses last season that will count against their 2020-21 salary cap payroll.

CALGARY SUN: The Flames will be adopting their classic 1980s jerseys and color combinations for the entire 2020-21 season.










Jets’ Laine tops latest NHL Rumor Roundup

Jets’ Laine tops latest NHL Rumor Roundup

 










NHL Rumor Mill – October 3, 2020

NHL Rumor Mill – October 3, 2020

The latest on Patrik Laine, the Sharks and Wild are working on a trade involving Devan Dubnyk, plus the latest on the Oilers and Canadiens in today’s NHL rumor mill.

JETS GM ACKNOWLEDGED LAINE COULD BE TRADED

NHL.COM: Tim Campbell reports Winnipeg Jets general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff acknowledged Patrik Laine could be traded when asked about the recent trade rumors swirling about the 22-year-old winger. “So we’re looking at all our options, including potentially trading different players,” said Cheveldayoff.

Winnipeg Jets winger Patrik Laine (NHL Images).

The Jets GM added there are some holes to fill in his roster, due in part to the uncertainty over center Bryan Little’s injury status and defenseman Dustin Byfuglien’s departure. Their defense corps was further depleted last summer when Jacob Trouba was traded to the New York Rangers and Tyler Myers and Ben Chiarot departed via free agency.

OTTAWA SUN: Bruce Garrioch reports there will be no shortage of suitors for Laine if the Jets decide to trade him. The Columbus Blue Jackets and Montreal Canadiens are two clubs in need of a scoring forward, but Garrioch speculates the asking price could be a top defenseman or a second-line center plus a prospect and a pick. Other interested clubs could include the Boston Bruins, Buffalo Sabres, Detroit Red Wings, New York Rangers, Minnesota Wild and Florida Panthers.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Laine would be a very attractive trade chip for the Jets, but just because they could trade him doesn’t mean they will. Their asking price could be more than most are willing to pay.

For example, I don’t see the Blue Jackets giving up Seth Jones or Zach Werenski, while the Canadiens could be reluctant to part with promising Nick Suzuki. The Habs could offer up Max Domi but the Jets will probably want a lot more in the package.

WILD COULD SHIP DUBNYK TO THE SHARKS

NBC SPORTS BAY AREA: Ali Thanawalla cites TSN’s Darren Dreger reporting of trade discussions between the San Jose Sharks and Minnesota Wild regarding Wild goaltender Devan Dubnyk. Dreger called the talks “promising” but not done. Pierre LeBrun added it could take a few days before a deal is done.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Athletic’s Michael Russo tweeted Wild winger Ryan Donato could also be part of this proposed deal. No indication yet what would be heading the Wild’s way.

It’ll be interesting to see how this deal could shake out. Dubnyk and Donato carry a combined annual average value of $6.23 million for 2020-21. With the Sharks already having $67.3 million invested in 14 players, they could insist on the Wild taking a player in return or retaining some of that cap hit.

LATEST OILERS SPECULATION

EDMONTON JOURNAL: Jim Matheson wondered about what it would cost the Oilers to re-sign Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. The 26-year-old forward is a year away from unrestricted free-agent eligibility and is earning $6 million per season on his current contract. Matheson speculates it could be a five- or six-year contract. The Oilers could offer up $6.5 million annually using St. Louis Blues forward Brayden Schenn as a comparable, but Nugent-Hopkins’ agent could seek something similar to the $8 million annually being earned by Matt Duchene of the Nashville Predators.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I’m guessing $7 million per season on a six-year deal for Nugent-Hopkins. What say you, Oilers fans? Too much? Not enough? Just right?

Matheson notes the Oilers will have too many right-wingers if Jesse Puljujarvi returns. He’ll join Kailer Yamamoto and Josh Archibald, who Matheson believes aren’t going anywhere. The others include Zach Kassian, Alex Chiasson and James Neal. “Something’s got to give there,” he said.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: And it could be Kassian, Chiasson or Neal, though the latter’s $5.75-million cap hit is tough to move.

David Staples, meanwhile, notes there’s plenty of talk linking the Oilers to Toronto Maple Leafs defenseman Tyson Barrie. Slated to become a UFA on Oct. 9, the puck-moving Barrie struggled last season with the Leafs. Staples feels he would be a more affordable acquisition than trying to trade for Arizona Coyotes blueliner Oliver Ekman-Larsson.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Agreed. Ekman-Larsson carries an $8.25-million annual average value for seven more years. The Oilers would also have to give up some assets, including a good young player or two, to pry him away from the Coyotes if he’s willing to waive his no-movement clause.

Barrie, on the other hand, will be more affordable as a UFA signing and could regain his offensive form with the Oilers. We’ll find out by the end of next week if he ends up in Edmonton or elsewhere.

UPDATE ON THE CANADIENS

THE SCORE: Brandon Maron cited The Athletic recently reporting Montreal Canadiens GM Marc Bergevin is willing to make his first-round pick (16th overall) in the upcoming draft available for the right price. He indicated he’d be interested in a player who can help the Canadiens right away with more than a year remaining on his contract. TSN’s Pierre LeBrun reports Bergevin seeks a top-six forward.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Don’t expect Bergevin to get into the bidding for Winnipeg’s Patrik Laine. In a recent interview, TVA Sports reported the Habs GM said it would take emptying his team to acquire a player of that caliber, sending them sideways or backward. He also doesn’t intend to overpay for a big-ticket free agent like Taylor Hall. It sounds like he could target clubs looking to shed salary before next season.










NHL Rumor Mill – October 1, 2020

NHL Rumor Mill – October 1, 2020

Possible destinations for Henrik Lundqvist and Bobby Ryan plus the latest on Patrik Laine, Darcy Kuemper, Oliver Ekman-Larsson and many more in today’s NHL rumor mill.

WHERE COULD LUNDQVIST AND RYAN LAND AS FREE AGENTS?

NEW YORK POST: Larry Brooks looked at potential landing spots for Henrik Lundqvist. The 38-year-old goaltender was bought out of the final year of his contract yesterday by the New York Rangers. Brooks suggests the St. Louis Blues, Vegas Golden Knights (if they trade Marc-Andre Fleury), Carolina Hurricanes, Edmonton Oilers and Vancouver Canucks (if Jacob Markstrom departs via free agency) as options.

SPORTSNET: The Canucks make Mike Johnston’s list, which includes the Colorado Avalanche, Washington Capitals, Dallas Stars (if they fail to re-sign Anton Khudubin), and Chicago Blackhawks if they move on from Corey Crawford.

NBC SPORTS: James O’Brien suggests Lundqvist could provide affordable goaltending insurance to contenders like the Capitals, Stars, Blues and Golden Knights, as well as the Pittsburgh Penguins, Philadelphia Flyers, Toronto Maple Leafs, and Winnipeg Jets. He also suggested some playoff hopefuls that could provide him more playing time like the Oilers and Canucks, along with the Calgary Flames, Minnesota Wild, Arizona Coyotes and San Jose Sharks.

Where could former New York Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist land following his contract buyout? (NHL Images)

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It appears there are a number of clubs that could be destinations for Lundqvist but this is all mere media speculation right now. But how many of those clubs will be serious suitors and how many of them is he willing to consider as acceptable destinations? His affordability, experience and leadership would be invaluable, but finding the right fit and the right role will be crucial factors.

NBC SPORTS PHILADELPHIA: Joe Fordyce reports Bobby Ryan said the Philadelphia Flyers would be high on his list of destinations if they made him a contract offer or extended an invitation to training camp. The 33-year-old winger was recently bought out by the Ottawa Senators.

NBC SPORTS BAY AREA: Brian Witt cites The Athletic’s Kevin Kurz recently reporting the San Jose Sharks are one of “many teams” believed interested in Ryan. “They could certainly use a right wing,” said Kurz.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It remains to be seen if the Flyers are among the clubs interested in Ryan. Whoever signs him will likely do a short-term deal (one-to-two years) for probably between $2 -$3 million per season. Some clubs could try him in a second-line role while others could see him as a third liner.

Speaking of the Sharks, they also reportedly talked to the Minnesota Wild about goaltender Devan Dubnyk and winger Ryan Donato. Kurz suggests this could have some legs as a possible package deal.

HIGHLIGHTS FROM FRIEDMAN’S LATEST 31 THOUGHTS

SPORTSNET: In his latest 31 Thoughts column, Elliotte Friedman expects Tampa Bay Lightning general manager Julien BriseBois to “think unconventionally” in the offseason. He believes teams will ask if defenseman Mikhail Sergachev wants a bigger role.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Sergachev should get an opportunity for a bigger role with the Lightning. Kevin Shattenkirk, Zach Bogosian, Luke Schenn and Jan Rutta are unrestricted free agents. All of them could depart on Oct 9. Granted, they’re also right-side defensemen and Sergachev plays the left side, but I can see the Bolts trying to convert him to the right side.

Friedman expects the Dallas Stars will try to move a big salary, although trade protection is a concern. He expects Anton Khudobin has priced himself out of Dallas. Ben Bishop’s full no-trade becomes a partial, but his actual salary drops to three years at $3.5 million, which is manageable for the Stars.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Cap Friendly lists Jamie Benn, Tyler Seguin, and Joe Pavelski as the three highest-paid players with each carrying full no-movement clauses, followed by Alexander Radulov with a 15-team no-trade list. Trying to move any one of them will be difficult.

Friedman thinks the Vancouver Canucks and Arizona Coyotes had a discussion about Coyotes blueliner Oliver Ekman-Larsson, but he doesn’t see if a deal is possible.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It isn’t unless the Canucks move some salary to take on Ekman-Larsson’s $8.25 million AAV and he agrees to be traded to Vancouver.

If the Jets decide to trade Laine, Friedman wonders if there’s a match with the Columbus Blue Jackets or Carolina Hurricanes. He believes the Los Angeles Kings and Philadelphia Flyers could do it but isn’t sure they would. He also wondered about the New York Islanders but mentioned their salary-cap issues.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Jets will set a big asking price if they put Laine on the trade block. They need a second-line center and a top-four, right-shot defenseman. There’s also the fact he’s a restricted free agent next summer with arbitration rights and will be in the market for a big raise over his current $6.75-million AAV.

The high volume of goalies available in the UFA market could affect the trade market, making it difficult for a club like Pittsburgh to trade a netminder. Friedman suggests that’s why the Arizona Coyotes’ preference is to retain goalie Darcy Kuemper. He believes the Calgary Flames talking with the Columbus Blue Jackets about one of their goalies but that talk has cooled.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Teams that fail to address their goalie needs via free agency could return to the trade market, but their numbers will be depleted after the best UFA goalies are signed. The Ottawa Sun’s Bruce Garrioch also cited sources claiming the Coyotes could retain Kuemper, but he thinks that could change if GM Bill Armstrong gets a first-round pick and another piece he’s seeking in the deal.

Speaking of the Flames, Friedman thinks they could revamp their blueline depending on who’s available. Noah Hanifin’s name was mentioned when the Flames were talking with the New Jersey Devils about Taylor Hall last month.

Speaking of the Coyotes, Friedman wonders if they’ll test the market on forward Clayton Keller.

The Washington Capitals are trying to shed some salary to re-sign defenseman Brenden Dillon.

The New Jersey Devils are willing to move the 18th and 20th picks in this year’s draft but Friedman doesn’t see them shopping the seventh-overall selection. The Anaheim Ducks aren’t averse to moving down a few spots from sixth overall.