NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 12, 2023

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 12, 2023

Pierre-Luc Dubois believes he’s been misunderstood, Ed Belfour and Ken Hitchcock named to the Dallas Stars Hall of Fame, the Rangers re-sign K’Andre Miller, and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines

NHL.COM: Pierre-Luc Dubois said he’s looking forward to the opportunity to fully be himself with the Los Angeles Kings. He was traded to the Kings on June 27 and signed an eight-year, $68 million contract with the club.

Dubois felt he’s been misunderstood at times stemming from his trade requests from the Jets and the Columbus Blue Jackets. He said he had “three unbelievable years in Columbus” and “three great years in Winnipeg,” the 25-year-old forward felt he was ready to move on and do what was right for him and his career. He believes he’ll get that opportunity with the Kings.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Dubois’ departure from Columbus and Winnipeg stoked the opinion among fans and pundits that he puts himself above his team. Nevertheless, he has the right to do what he believes is best for himself over the remainder of his playing career.

This move to the Kings could work out quite well for Dubois and his new teammates, so his tenures in his last two NHL cities will become footnotes to his career. On the other hand, if things go sideways and he requests a trade it will only feed the perception of Dubois as a selfish player.

THE DALLAS MORNING NEWS: Ed Belfour and Ken Hitchcock will be enshrined this season into the Dallas Stars Hall of Fame. Belfour backstopped the Stars to the 1999 Stanley Cup with Hitchcock as their head coach. Belfour was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2011 while Hitchcock will be inducted as a builder among the Class of 2023 in November.

New York Rangers defenseman K’Andre Miller (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s fair to say that the Stars wouldn’t have won the Stanley Cup without Belfour in goal and Hitchcock behind the bench.

NEW YORK POST: The Rangers signed defenseman K’Andre Miller to a two-year contract with an average annual value of $3.872 million. Miller, 23, is completing his entry-level contract and coming off a career-best 43-point season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Rangers’ limited cap space for 2023-24 combined with Miller’s lack of arbitration rights made this bridge deal possible. It’s an affordable contract for Miller, who is quickly becoming a key part of the Blueshirts’ defense corps.

Miller will be in line for a more substantial raise on his next contract when the salary cap will be significantly higher. By that point, the Rangers should be able to pay him a more lucrative salary.

MONTREAL HOCKEY NOW: The Canadiens signed forward Alex Newhook to a four-contract contract with an AAV of $2.9 million. Newhook, 22, was acquired from the Colorado Avalanche where he tallied 33 points in his rookie season (2021-22) and 30 points last season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: A speedy forward who can play center or wing, Newhook saw checking-line minutes on a deep Avalanche roster. He could be skating on the second line with the rebuilding Canadiens. It’s an equitable contract that could become a real bargain if Newhook exceeds expectations.

THE NEWS & OBSERVER: The Carolina Hurricanes signed Brendan Lemieux to a one-year, $800K contract.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Hurricanes are adding more grit to their lineup after getting swept from the Eastern Conference Finals by the Florida Panthers. They signed winger Michael Bunting on July 1 to a three-year deal.

NASHVILLE HOCKEY NOW: The Predators signed winger Denis Gurianov to a one-year, $850K contract.

DAILY FACEOFF: The Arizona Coyotes signed defenseman Travis Dermott to a one-year, two-way contract worth $800K at the NHL level.

THE ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER: The Anaheim Ducks hired Brent Thompson and David Rook as assistant coaches to head coach Greg Cronin. Thompson is the former head coach of the New York Islanders AHL affiliate in Bridgeport. Rook spent five years as the goaltending development coach with the Nashville Predators.

TSN: The Ottawa Senators have parted ways with assistant general manager Trent Mann. The move comes a day after Anthony LeBlanc resigned as president of business operations. These changes come as the club completes an ownership change led by billionaire Michael Andlauer.

NEW YORK POST: The Philadelphia Flyers have issued an apology after members of their social media team were heard making disparaging remarks about a reporter’s question to new Flyers forward Garnet Hathaway during a live stream on Twitter.

Notable NHL Trades for June 27, 2023

Notable NHL Trades for June 27, 2023

The New Jersey Devils acquire winger Tyler Toffoli from the Calgary Flames in exchange for forward Yegor Sharangovich and a third-round pick in the 2023 NHL Draft.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Devils will be a very scary team to face in 2023-24. Imagine a first line centered by Nico Hischier with Ondrej Palat and Jesper Bratt on the wings with Toffoli skating on right wing on the second line centered by Jack Hughes with Timo Meier on the left wing.

Toffoli had requested a trade from the Flames after indicating he wasn’t interested in a contract extension. He’s coming off a career-best performance with 34 goals and 39 assists for 73 points. If he meshes well with Hughes and Meier, the Devils will possess an even more lethal scoring punch than what they had this season.

This move leaves the Devils with $19 million in cap space with 15 active roster players under contract. Meier remains to be re-signed which could eat up a big chunk of that cap space.

The Flames, meanwhile, get a decent return in Sharangovich. A restricted free agent coming off a two-year contract with an annual cap hit of $2 million, he should be an affordable re-signing.

A versatile forward who can play center or on either wing, the 25-year-old Sharangovich is a year removed from a career-best of 24 goals and 46 points. His production dropped this season to 13 goals and 30 points as he was dropped to the Devils’ third line. He’ll get an opportunity to earn top-six minutes in Calgary.

The Winnipeg Jets trade Pierre-Luc Dubois to the Los Angeles Kings in exchange for forwards Alex Iafallo, Gabriel Vilardi and Rasmus Kupari as well as a 2024 second-round pick. The Kings also signed Dubois to an eight-year contract believed to be worth an average annual value of $8.5 million.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This is a major move by the Kings as they attempt to move from playoff contention status into a Stanley Cup contender.

Dubois, 25, is a top-six forward who can play center or wing. The 6’4”, 214-pounder is coming off a career-best 63 points with the Jets, reaching the 60-point plateau for the third time in five years. He can play a two-way game but does his best work in the offensive zone.

Coming off a one-year, $6 million contract, it was assumed the Dubois camp would seek over $9 million annually for their client. He’s still getting a healthy raise here on a long-term deal.

Winnipeg Jets trade center Pierre-Luc Dubois to the Los Angeles Kings (NHL Images).

Dubois comes with some baggage having forced the Jets (and before them, the Columbus Blue Jackets) into trading him. Nevertheless, Kings general manager Rob Blake believes he’s worth the investment. He’ll likely skate as their second-line left wing alongside Kevin Fiala.

The Jets wanted a return that helps them now and in the future.

Vilardi is the main addition here. The 23-year-old winger shook off early injuries that threatened his career to enjoy a career-best 23 goals and 41 points in 63 games this season. A restricted free agent with arbitration rights, he should be an affordable re-signing for the Jets. If Vilardi can stay healthy, he should a productive forward in Winnipeg.

Iafallo, 29, plays a solid two-way game and should fit in well on the Jets’ checking lines. He’s signed through 2024-25 with an average annual value of $4 million. He had 36 points in 59 games this season, marking the fifth straight season he’s exceeded the 30-point plateau.

The 23-year-old Kupari is completing his entry-level contract. He’s split the past three seasons between the Kings and their AHL affiliate. He has potential as a playmaking forward who can play center or wing.

The Philadelphia Flyers traded center Kevin Hayes to the St. Louis Blues in exchange for a sixth-round pick in 2024. The Flyers also retain 50 percent of Haye’s $7.14 million average annual value through 2025-26.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This is the aftermath of a reportedly attempted trade by the Flyers and Blues that would’ve included defenseman Travis Sanheim going to St. Louis with Hayes and blueliner Torey Krug going to Philadelphia. Krug, however, nixed that deal by refusing to waive his no-trade clause.

The Flyers really wanted Hayes gone after he butted heads at times this season with head coach John Tortorella. They settled for retaining half of his cap hit to move him. It’s the second significant trade by new general manager Daniel Briere, who shipped Ivan Provorov to the Columbus Blue Jackets earlier this month in a deal involving the Los Angeles Kings.

With half of Hayes’ salary off their books, the Flyers have over $10 million in projected cap space for 2023-24 with 15 active roster players under contract. One wonders what other moves Briere might have up his sleeve in the coming days.

As for the Blues, GM Doug Armstrong appears committed to making a quick turnaround for next season after missing the 2023 playoffs. They’re getting a 31-year-old center who put up 54 points with this season’s floundering Flyers. He’ll likely slot in as their second-line center, which likely means they won’t be bringing back former captain Ryan O’Reilly, who was dealt to Toronto before the March trade deadline.

The Colorado Avalanche traded center Alex Newhook to the Montreal Canadien in exchange for the 31st overall pick in the 2023 NHL Draft, the 37th overall pick and prospect Gianni Fairbrother

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This is an affordable gamble by the Canadiens, who already possess a promising prospect pool along with several talented youngsters already on their roster.

Kent Hughes made one notable reclamation project last season by acquiring Kirby Dach from Chicago. Newhook looks like the latest one. He’s coming off his entry-level contract.

The 22-year-old is a former first-round pick by the Avalanche who has two 30-plus point seasons under his belt. Capable of playing center or wing, the 5’10”, 190-pounder he has good speed and playmaking abilities. He’s also of the right age to fit into the Canadiens’ rebuilding program.

Colorado, meanwhile, now holds two picks in the first round and one in the second of this year’s draft. They had no selections from rounds two through four before this trade so this move puts them in a much better position. They can retain those new acquisitions to restock their prospect pipeline or perhaps use them as trade bait to add to their current roster.

The New Jersey Devils traded goaltender Mackenzie Blackwood to the San Jose Sharks in exchange for a sixth-round pick in 2023.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Once considered a future starting goalie for the Devils, Blackwood has been hampered by frequent injuries. The 26-year-old was limited to 47 games over the past two seasons.

A restricted free agent who’s a year away from unrestricted free-agent eligibility, Blackwood was no longer a fit with the Devils with Vitek Vanecek and Akira Schmid as their current tandem. They might not be done making trades involving a goaltender as they’ve been linked to Winnipeg’s Connor Hellebuyck.

Blackwood will now get a chance at a fresh start with the rebuilding Sharks. He could get a one-year “show-me” contract with the opportunity to earn a longer-term deal based on performance. Failing that, they could ship him to a playoff contender at next year’s trade deadline.

NHL Rumor Mill – June 27, 2023

NHL Rumor Mill – June 27, 2023

What next for the Bruins following the Taylor Hall trade? What’s the latest on Pierre-Luc Dubois, Mark Scheifele, Erik Karlsson, Alex DeBrincat and Tom Wilson? Find out in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.


NBC SPORTS BOSTON: Nick Goss explained the motivation behind the Bruins trading Taylor Hall to the Chicago Blackhawks was to free up salary-cap space. The move clears Hall’s $6 million average annual value from the Bruins’ books for the next two seasons. They now have over $10 million in cap room for 2023-24.

Goss believes the Bruins’ priority now is re-signing Tyler Bertuzzi, who is slated to become an unrestricted free agent on July 1. The 28-year-old winger could command between $5.5 million and $7.5 million annually on his next contract.

BOSTON HOCKEY NOW: Jimmy Murphy cites an NHL source claiming the Bruins aren’t done shedding salary. The source believes general manager Don Sweeney is going to move a defenseman. He also claims the trade rumors surrounding goaltender Linus Ullmark are true. Murphy speculates Matt Grzelcyk could be the defenseman on the move.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Winner of the 2022-23 Vezina Trophy, Ullmark earns an AAV of $5 million through 2024-25. He has a full no-movement clause until July 1, when it drops to a 16-team no-trade list.

Unless Ullmark agrees to waive his clause before then, the Bruins will have to wait until Saturday to trade him, assuming he’s the goalie they intend to move. They could decide to peddle restricted free agent netminder Jeremy Swayman.


TSN: Darren Dreger reports the Montreal Canadiens appeared to be out of the bidding in trade talks for Winnipeg Jets center Pierre-Luc Dubois. The Jets don’t want to go into rebuild mode while the Canadiens don’t want to give up good playing assets off their existing roster.

Winnipeg Jets center Pierre-Luc Dubois (NHL Images).

The Canadiens have re-engaged discussions with the Jets. However, Dreger believes the Los Angeles Kings remain the front-runners for Dubois.

Dreger also indicated things were “simmering” regarding trade talks on Jets goalie Connor Hellebuyck and center Mark Scheifele.

SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman reported that rumors claiming the Kings had permission to discuss a contract extension with Dubois weren’t true. Nevertheless, Friedman wondered if Dubois would sign an eight-year extension or a one-year deal to bring him up to UFA eligibility next summer.

WINNIPEG SUN: Scott Billeck reported the Kings were willing to offer up forwards Gabe Vilardi and Alex Iafallo for Dubois. He believes the Canadiens won’t have much else to sway Jets GM Kevin Cheveldayoff if they’re not willing to part with young center Kirby Dach.

Speaking of Scheifele, Billeck wondered if he might be on the Bruins’ radar following their cost-cutting move of Taylor Hall to Chicago.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Unless the Kings drop out I think they’re the most likely destination for Dubois. The rebuilding Canadiens are understandably intrigued about Dubois. However, the cost of giving up a good young player such as Dach as well as paying over $9 million annually to sign Dubois to a long-term deal is probably something they’re not comfortable doing right now.

As for Scheifele going to Boston, most of that freed-up cap space could go to re-signing Tyler Bertuzzi. Unless the Bruins shed more salary, I don’t see the Jets center landing in Beantown this summer.


OTTAWA SUN: Bruce Garrioch acknowledged San Jose Sharks defenseman Erik Karlsson’s recent comments about his willingness to accept a trade back to the Senators. However, such a move would mean clearing Thomas Chabot’s $8 million AAV through 2027-28 to create sufficient cap space for Karlsson’s contract even if the Sharks retained part of his $11.5 million AAV.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It would be a nice story, Karlsson returning to a rising young Senators club five years after he was traded away. As Garrioch pointed out, however, this is a different team than the one he left, built around a good young core of talent. While anything’s possible, I don’t see Karlsson returning to the Senators as a player.

Turning to Alex DeBrincat, Garrioch cited league executives expressing their belief that the Detroit Red Wings are high on the 25-year-old RFA winger’s list of preferred trade destinations. However, dealing with Red Wings GM Steve Yzerman isn’t easy.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman also cited Yzerman’s reputation as a tough negotiator as well as his reluctance to sign players to long-term contracts with Dylan Larkin as the sole exception.

Garrioch also noted that DeBrincat has been linked to the Nashville Predators. That’s prompted speculation whether Nashville goalie Juuse Saros would head the other way but there’s mixed feelings over whether the Predators want to part with Saros.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Stranger things have happened but I’m still not convinced that Predators GM Barry Trotz will part with Saros. He’s been talking as though he’s retooling rather than rebuilding his roster. In that case, it makes sense to hang onto Saros.

The Senators could also have some interest in Calgary Flames winger Tyler Toffoli, who would make sense on a short-term contract. Toffoli has indicated he would be open to a trade. He has a year remaining on his current deal.

There was a rumor claiming the Washington Capitals would like to make a deal to send Tom Wilson to the Senators. Capitals GM Brian MacLellan told TSN there was no truth to the rumor and he’s not trading the power forward.

NHL Rumor Mill – June 26, 2023

NHL Rumor Mill – June 26, 2023

The latest on a proposed deal shipping the Jets’ Pierre-Luc Dubois to the Kings plus updates on Connor Hellebuyck, Alex DeBrincat, Noah Hanifin and J.T. Compher in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.


SPORTSNET: Ken Wiebe believes the Los Angeles Kings are pursuing a trade for Pierre-Luc Dubois. He wonders if the two clubs can find a deal that includes a long-term contract extension for the 25-year-old Winnipeg Jets center.

It’s believed the Jets are focused on a return that would likely have forward Gabriel Vilardi or center Quinton Byfield as the centerpiece. The Kings, meanwhile, could also look at moving some salary by perhaps peddling winger Alex Iafallo (two seasons with an average annual value of $4 million) or winger Viktor Arvidsson (one season, $4.5 million).

WINNIPEG FREE PRESS: Mike McIntyre reports the proposed return for the Jets is Vilardi and Iafallo. He indicated that sources claim there could be more involved in the deal from both clubs, including players, prospects or draft picks.

Winnipeg Jets center Pierre-Luc Dubois (NHL Images).

THE ATHLETIC’s Murat Ates tweeted he’s heard the Kings and the Dubois camp are talking about a contract extension. While there’s plenty to work out regarding the contract and the potential pieces of the trade, Ates believes things are well on their way.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Dubois saga that’s been a fixture in the rumor mill for a year could be coming to an end. Perhaps the deal is finalized today or maybe it gets announced during the upcoming NHL draft.

Dubois had long been linked to the Montreal Canadiens after his agent hinted last summer that his client would like to one day play for the Habs. It’s rumored they reached out to the Jets this spring about his availability.

It’s likely that the Jets’ asking price may have been more than what the rebuilding Canadiens were willing to part with or perhaps the cost of signing Dubois to an extension was too expensive.


WINNIPEG SUN: Scott Billeck wondered if the swelling trade market for goaltenders could put a cap on the price a team is willing to pay to acquire Connor Hellebuyck from the Jets.

Billeck pointed out that Anaheim Ducks goalie John Gibson has asked for a trade. Others who could be available include Arizona’s Karel Vejmelka, Philadelphia’s Carter Hart, Boston’s Linus Ullmark or Jeremy Swayman, Calgary’s Dan Vladar, New Jersey’s Mackenzie Blackwood, Vitek Vanecek or Akira Schmid and Toronto’s Matt Murray.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The difference is Hellebuyck is a Vezina Trophy winner who’s a finalist for the award this season. Murray won two Stanley Cups but his injury history has damaged his trade value. Ullmark is a Vezina finalist this season but lacks Hellebuyck’s consistency.

The Jets could put off suitors for Hellebuyck if their asking price is too high. Nevertheless, I think they’ll get a solid return. He’s clearly the best goaltender in this year’s trade market.


OTTAWA SUN: Bruce Garrioch reports some of the teams on Alex DeBrincat’s list of trade destinations can be dismissed immediately. The Florida Panthers and Vegas Golden Knights were said to be on the 25-year-old winger’s list but they lack the cap space to sign him.

Garrioch claims that DeBrincat doesn’t want to commit to playing in Canada for the next eight seasons. The restricted free agent will have to be open-minded on possible trade destinations or he’ll be back with the Senators next season on a discounted contract after the club filed for salary arbitration. He cites the New York Rangers, Los Angeles Kings, St. Louis Blues and Washington Capitals all need scoring.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Like the Panthers and Golden Knights, all four clubs lack the cap space to take on DeBrincat unless they send some salary back to the Senators in the deal or make a separate cost-cutting move with another club.

As noted earlier, the Kings appear to be closing in on a deal for the Jets’ Pierre-Luc Dubois.

The Blues had a multi-player deal in place with the Flyers that would’ve sent them Kevin Hayes (with 50 percent of his salary retained by the Flyers) and defenseman Travis Sanheim with blueliner Torey Krug heading to Philly. However, that deal appears to be dead after Krug reportedly refused to waive his no-trade clause.


THE ATHLETIC: reports the Buffalo Sabres and Florida Panthers appear to be the prime suitors for Noah Hanifin. The 26-year-old Calgary Flames defenseman is a year away from unrestricted free-agent eligibility. He’s informed the Flames that he’s not interested in signing a contract extension with them.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Sabres would have the advantage over the Panthers in the bidding for Hanifin. They’ve got plenty of salary-cap space as well as depth in promising young players and prospects to put together an enticing trade package.


COLORADO HOCKEY NOW: Evan Rawal cited TSN’s Pierre LeBrun tweeting that the Avalanche haven’t fully closed the door on re-signing J.T. Compher. However, it’ll have to make cap sense for them.

Compher, 28, is coming off a career-best 52-point performance. Rawal speculates he could get offers of around $5 million annually in this year’s weak free-agent market. He also cited CHGO Sports’ Jay Zawaski claiming there’s mutual interest between Compher and the Chicago Blackhawks.

Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – June 25, 2023

Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – June 25, 2023

Are the Kings close to acquiring Pierre-Luc Dubois? Are the Jets getting much interest in Mark Scheifele? Are the Predators trying to move up in the draft? What’s the latest on the Capitals? Find out in the Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup.


THE ATHLETIC: Eric Stephens speculates the Los Angeles Kings trading Sean Durzi to the Arizona Coyotes on Saturday could be positioning themselves toward a big move. He noted that the rumblings linking the Kings to Winnipeg Jets center Pierre-Luc Dubois are heating up.

Winnipeg Jets center Pierre-Luc Dubois (NHL Images).

Stephens pointed out the Kings have around $9 million in salary-cap space for 2023-24. With Dubois reportedly seeking an average annual value (AAV) of $9 million on his next contract, it would be a tight squeeze unless they shed more salary.

Winger Gabriel Vilardi could become a cost-cutting candidate. Like Dubois, he’s a restricted free agent (RFA) with arbitration rights. Promising Quinton Byfield would interest the Jets but Kings general manager Rob Blake has been resistant to cut ties on the 20-year-old center.

THE HOCKEY NEWS: Carter Brooks reports a number of league and front-office sources claim the Jets and Kings are deep in trade talks. One executive believes a deal between the two clubs is “nearly inevitable.”

Brooks pointed out that Dubois and goaltender Connor Hellebuyck are the two Jets most likely to be traded by the upcoming NHL Draft (June 28-29). Byfield, Vilardi and promising defenseman Brandt Clarke could be players of interest for the Jets.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Brooks also cited Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman claiming the Dubois camp has whittled down their list of potential trade destinations from 5-6 teams to just two. The Kings and the Montreal Canadiens have been oft-mentioned as possible landing spots for Dubois. Of late, much of the chatter involves the Kings.

If the Kings acquire Dubois I believe there has to be a salaried player heading to Winnipeg in the deal to free up sufficient cap space. Vilardi is currently a restricted free agent so moving him doesn’t free up any cap space for the Kings. Byfield is entering the final season of his entry-level contract with a cap hit of over $894K.

If not, the Kings will have to make a separate trade with another club to free up cap space for Dubois if they intend to ink him to a deal with an AAV of $9 million.


THE ATHLETIC: Like teammates Hellebuyck, Dubois and Blake Wheeler, Winnipeg Jets center Mark Scheifele is a year away from unrestricted free-agent eligibility.

Like them, Scheifele could also be on the move this summer. However, it appears the Jets aren’t getting as many offers as they anticipated for the 30-year-old center even though he’s coming off a career-high 42-goal performance.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Inconsistency was an issue for Scheifele in recent years which could be dampening his value in the trade market.


THE TENNESSEAN: Paul Skrbina reports incoming Nashville Predators general manager Barry Trotz is “trying like hell to get a, say, top four or top-five pick.” He acknowledged the difficulty of landing one in the trade market. However, he’s said he’s trying to make the teams holding those picks uncomfortable by making a lot of offers.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I applaud Trotz’s willingness to aggressively pursue a top-five pick. However, teams with those selections usually guard them like crown jewels. The Predators, meanwhile, hold the No. 15 selection in this year’s draft. Trotz will have to bundle that with some really enticing trade bait if he hopes to land one of those top-five selections.


THE HOCKEY NEWS: Sammi Silber reports the Washington Capitals might hold off on trading Evgeny Kuznetsov and Anthony Mantha. They reportedly made both forwards available in the trade market.

Silber cited The Athletic’s Pierre LeBrun indicating that Mantha hasn’t drawn much interest in the trade market while Kuznetsov remains a long shot to be dealt.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That’s not surprising given the poor performances of both forwards this season plus their respective contracts. Mantha has a year remaining with an AAV of $5.7 million while Kuznetsov has two years left with an annual cap hit of $7.8 million.

The Capitals are also exploring ways to move up from eighth overall in this year’s first-round draft order. It’s believed they have serious interest in Russian prospect winger Matvei Michkov.

NHL Rumor Mill – June 22, 2023

NHL Rumor Mill – June 22, 2023

Check out the latest on Kevin Hayes, Elias Lindholm, Juuse Saros, Pierre-Luc Dubois, Blake Wheeler and more in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.


SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman and Jeff Marek discussed the latest NHL trade and free-agent speculation.


Friedman believes the Philadelphia Flyers are prepared to do a lot of things. He said a couple of teams told him they believe the Flyers will have one more first-round pick than they already have. They currently hold the No. 7 and No. 22 picks. Kevin Hayes, Travis Konecny, Travis Sanheim and Scott Laughton are out there as trade candidates.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Athletic’s Charlie O’Connor also weighed in on the Flyers, indicating that general manager Daniel Briere is listening on “pretty much every single one of their players”. Daily Faceoff’s Frank Seravalli claims prospect Cutter Gauthier is their only untouchable.

O’Connor includes Hayes among a group of players (along with defenseman Tony DeAngelo) that the Flyers would like to move but lack value in the trade market.

They don’t want to buy out Hayes, who has three years at $7.14 million annually left on his contract. However, they’re having trouble drumming up interest in him. The Flyers are willing to retain some of his average annual value.

O’Connor believes Konecny, Sanheim and Laughton are among the players the Flyers aren’t necessarily trying to trade but they could if they receive a dazzling offer. Carter Hart is also among that group.


Friedman thinks the Calgary Flames and Elias Lindholm are discussing a contract extension comparable to what Bo Horvat signed with the New York Islanders. Horvat’s new deal is for eight years with an AAV of $8.5 million starting in 2023-24.

Calgary Flames center Elias Lindholm (NHL Images).

Lindholm, 28, is a year away from unrestricted free-agent eligibility. He reportedly wants to know that the Flames are still trying to compete and won’t stage a full roster rebuild before he commits. He speculates the club is awaiting Lindholm’s decision before turning to their other 2024 free agents.

Friedman also said he’s heard that Jacob Markstrom wants to return with the Flames so that should quell the trade rumors about the 33-year-old goaltender.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Lindholm’s decision could have a domino effect on the other Flames who are a year away from UFA status like Mikael Backlund, Tyler Toffoli and Noah Hanifin. There’s already talk that the Flames are entertaining trade offers for Hanifin.


NASHVILLE HOCKEY NOW: Nick Kieser cited Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman expressing his views on recent trade rumors dogging Predators goaltender Juuse Saros.

Friedman believes the Saros rumors weren’t started by the Predators but by other teams interested in the 28-year-old netminder. He thinks those teams saw the bold moves the Preds made at the trade deadline and wondered if they would be willing to trade their starting goaltender.

SPECTOR’S: Predators general manager Barry Trotz has indicated he’s open to offers for his players. However, it’ll take a significant deal to pry Saros out of Nashville. Unless Trotz is going to rebuild, I think he sticks with his starting goalie.

Michael Gallagher, meanwhile, focused on whether Pierre-Luc Dubois might be on the Predators’ radar. The 24-year-old Winnipeg Jets center is a restricted free agent and multiple reports suggest he’s on the trade block.

Gallagher cited Friedman questioning the feasibility of acquiring Dubois, pointing out that the center reportedly seeks an eight-year deal worth an AAV of $9 million. While the Predators have $15 million in cap space, Gallagher points out a new contract for Dubois would eat up 70 percent of it.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Unless the Predators are moving out a high-salaried player like Ryan Johansen, Matt Duchene or Filip Forsberg to clear the cap space for Dubois, I don’t see them getting into the bidding.


TSN: Darren Dreger reports the Winnipeg Jets are getting some trade interest in Blake Wheeler. The 36-year-old winger and former Jets captain has a year left on his contract with an AAV of $8.25 million.

Dreger also indicates they could buy him before the end of the current buyout period on June 30 if unable to trade him before then. It would clear $5.5 million of cap space from their 2023-24 salary-cap payroll, leaving a cap charge of $2.75 million for next season and for 2024-25.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Dreger didn’t indicate which teams had an interest in Wheeler. The Jets would probably have to retain some salary in the deal. How much could make the difference between a trade and a buyout


BOSTON HOCKEY NOW: Jimmy Murphy cited Eliotte Friedman saying the Bruins are still talking with pending UFA forwards Tyler Bertuzzi and Garnet Hathaway in hopes of re-signing both players. Murphy points out the Bruins have just over $4.16 million in salary-cap space next season.

Friedman said Bruins GM Don Sweeney is burning up the phone lines trying to make a cost-cutting move to free up enough cap space for Bertuzzi and Hathaway. Bruins such as Linus Ullmark, Taylor Hall, Matt Grzelcyk and Derek Forbort are being bandied about in the rumor mill.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Bruins’ recent signing of goalie Brandon Bussi to a one-year, $775K contract has fueled speculation that they’ll trade Ullmark and go with a tandem of Bussi and Jeremy Swayman once they get the latter re-signed. Swayman’s a restricted free agent with arbitration rights.

Moving Ullmark would clear $5 million in cap space but the Vezina Trophy finalist has a full no-movement clause that he’d have to waive to make a trade happen.