NHL Rumor Mill – October 16, 2023

NHL Rumor Mill – October 16, 2023

Could the Bruins land Steven Stamkos? Which Coyotes’ players might get moved by the March trade deadline? Check out the latest in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.


BOSTON HOCKEY NOW: Jimmy Murphy wondered if “disgruntled” Tampa Bay Lightning captain Steven Stamkos would wind up playing for the Bruins this season or next. He noted that general manager Don Sweeney was among the bidders for Stamkos when the latter was in his unrestricted free-agent negotiating window in 2016.

An NHL executive source told Murphy that Sweeney “pushed hard” for Stamkos in 2016 and John Tavares two years later. The Bruins GM could look into acquiring the long-time Lightning star if he becomes available in this season’s trade market.

Tampa Bay Lightning captain Steven Stamkos (NHL Images).

Murphy noted Stamkos expressing his disappointment last month over a lack of contract extension talks with the Lightning. Tampa Bay general manager Julien BriseBois said he intends to open those discussions at the end of the season after he’s had a chance to evaluate the club’s performance.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Murphy assumes that Stamkos appears set on becoming a UFA next summer. We can’t rule out that possibility given the Lightning’s cap constraints but I don’t consider it a certainty. BriseBois will attempt to sign Stamkos and could get creative as he’s always done to free up the necessary cap space to retain a core player.

Stamkos came close to hitting the open market in 2016 but decided to stay in Tampa Bay. That was a wise move on his part. The Lightning at that time were poised to become a dominant franchise, going on to win the Stanley Cup in 2020 and 2021, reach the Cup Final in 2022 and the Eastern Conference Final in 2018.

Despite Stamkos’ disappointment over a lack of contract talks this summer, his first choice remains to finish his playing career in Tampa Bay. A lot can happen between now and next July but I’m not assuming that he’s heading to market until the two sides have had an opportunity to discuss a new contract.

As for trading him during this season, it’s another possibility I don’t dismiss but also one that I don’t anticipate taking place. BriseBois made it clear that he and Stamkos are focused on winning the Stanley Cup this season. Unless things go awry for the Lightning, I don’t see them shopping their captain at the trade deadline unless he asks to be moved.

Remember, Stamkos has a full no-movement clause. BriseBois could ask him to waive it to join a Stanley Cup contender by the March trade deadline but there’s no guarantee that he’ll do so. Just because other players in the past have done so (like Patrick Kane last season) doesn’t mean Stamkos will.


GOPHNX.COM: In his 10 burning questions that dog the Arizona Coyotes this season, Craig Morgan wondered which players could end up being moved by the March 8 trade deadline.

The Coyotes hope to be playing meaningful games by then so they might not be sellers at the deadline as they’ve been in recent years. However, if they’re once again out of playoff contention, they could peddle some veterans who are eligible for UFA status in July.

Defenseman Matt Dumba and winger Jason Zucker could be among those trade candidates. Morgan noted that they’re both on one-year contracts and there’s a very real possibility that they return with the Coyotes in 2024-25 regardless of how the club performs this season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: We’ve become accustomed to the rebuilding Coyotes trading away pending UFAs or even veterans with years remaining on their contracts for young players, draft picks and prospects. However, the Coyotes hope to make positive strides this season. If they’re in wild-card contention they could stand pat or perhaps become buyers.

NHL Rumor Mill – September 4, 2023

NHL Rumor Mill – September 4, 2023

Some of this summer’s notable short-term free-agent signings could get shopped by this season’s trade deadline. Check out the latest in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.

ESPN.COM: Greg Wyshynski recently listed several notable players on short-term contracts who could become bargaining chips by this season’s NHL trade deadline.

Jason Zucker topped Wyshynski’s list. The 31-year-old winger signed a one-year, $5.3 million contract. If he plays well, he could earn a contract extension with the Coyotes. At worst, he plays well enough to get shipped to a contender if the Coyotes retain a bit of salary.

Zucker wasn’t the only Coyote on a short deal this season who could become trade bait. Defenseman Matt Dumba (one-year, $3.9 million) and forward Alex Kerfoot (two years, $3.5 million average annual value) could also interest playoff contenders later this season.

Ottawa Senators winger Vladimir Tarasenko (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: All three could be on the move by the trade deadline if the Coyotes are in their usual spot near the bottom of the Western Conference standings.

Vladimir Tarasenko could be deadline trade bait if the Ottawa Senators season goes sideways. A six-time 30-plus goal scorer, the 31-year-old winger is on a one-year contract with a reasonable $5 million cap hit. He also carries a full no-trade clause.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: A return to form by Tarasenko will make him among the most pursued players in the trade market if the Senators decide to move him by deadline day. His NTC will be a bit of an obstacle.

Corey Perry could also be of interest to playoff-bound clubs. The 38-year-old winger signed a one-year, $4 million contract with the Chicago Blackhawks. His postseason play since 2020 will make him an enticing option for contenders seeking an agitating veteran leader with a decent scoring touch.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: As Wyshynski observed, the rebuilding Blackhawks can also pick up part of Perry’s cap hit. He lacks no-trade protection so he’ll likely draw lots of interest if he shows he still has something left in the tank this season.

Washington Capitals winger Max Pacioretty is another who could be on the move by the trade deadline. He’s recovering from a twice-torn Achilles tendon that limited him to just five games with the Carolina Hurricanes last season.

Because of his injuries, Pacioretty’s on a one-year deal paying $2 million in base salary plus $2 million in performance bonuses. A return to his 30-plus goal form could fetch a nice return for the Capitals if they drop out of contention by the trade deadline.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Pacioretty is expected to miss the start of this season and could be out for at least the first month. He won’t be moved if he helps the Capitals return to playoff contention. However, Wyshynski also observed that he carries a full no-movement clause.

Wyshynski noted the Boston Bruins don’t want to move Jeremy Swayman. The 24-year-old goaltender went through arbitration earlier this summer and was awarded a one-year, $3.475 million contract. He’ll become a restricted free agent with arbitration rights next summer. Maybe the Bruins won’t want to commit to an expensive goalie tandem when they’ll have holes in their roster to address.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: A lot will depend on how well Swayman and fellow Bruins netminder Linus Ullmark perform this season. Ullmark was mentioned as a trade candidate this summer but the Bruins intend to stick with both goalies for this season. If they fall out of playoff contention, however, they might decide to peddle one of them, especially if they can get a solid return. Swayman could prove to have more value in the trade market.

Philadelphia Flyers defenseman Marc Staal is another possible trade option. He’s on a one-year, $1.1 million contract. Detroit Red Wings blueliner Shayne Gostisbehere carries a more expensive $4.125 million on a one-year deal with a 10-team no-trade clause.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Flyers aren’t expected to be a contender this season. It’s a good bet that Staal gets shopped if he plays well for them. Gostisbehere could also be peddled if the Wings fail to make the cut.

The Nashville Predators re-signed defenseman Dante Fabbro to a one-year, $2.5 million contract. His struggles last season generated some trade speculation prior to signing his new deal, including talk of reuniting with college coach Dan Quinn with the San Jose Sharks.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Wyshynski wondered if new head coach Andrew Brunette and new GM Barry Trotz view the 25-year-old Fabbro differently than the previous regime. A bounce-back performance on his part could help the Predators return to playoff contention or turn him into a trade chip.

Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – August 27, 2023

Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – August 27, 2023

A look at some of the teams in the Central Division heading into the 2023-24 season in the Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup.

SPORTSNET: Ryan Dixon recently looked at the biggest unanswered question for each team in the NHL’s Central Division.

Among the notables was whether the Colorado Avalanche could figure out a contract extension for Devon Toews before the start of the season. The 29-year-old defenseman is slated to become an unrestricted free agent next July. Given the Avalanche’s limited salary-cap space, Dixon wondered if Toews and fellow blueliner Samuel Girard would still be with the club in a year’s time.

Colorado Avalanche defenseman Devon Toews (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Toews skates on the Avalanche’s top defense pairing with superstar Cale Makar. He’s due for a significant raise over the $4.1 million average annual value of his current contract. The Avs, however, have just $10.7 million in cap space for 2024-25 with 13 active roster players under contract.

They could get an additional $7 million in cap relief if captain Gabriel Landeskog remains sidelined in 2024-25 by his ongoing (and potentially career-threatening) knee injury. That could help them clear enough space to re-sign Toews.

If Landeskog returns, however, the Avs will have to shed salary if they hope to re-sign Toews. Girard could become a trade candidate. The 25-year-old rearguard carries an AAV of $5 million through 2026-27.

Dixon noted that the Dallas Stars could use some blue-line help for stud defenseman Miro Heiskanen. If they wanted to go after someone like the Calgary Flames’ Noah Hanifin they have a couple of prospect forwards that could help get a deal done.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Athletic’s Saad Yousuf also recently pointed to the Stars’ need to bolster their defense corps, especially on the right side. However, he suggested the Carolina Hurricanes’ Brett Pesce, the Nashville Predators’ Tyson Barrie, Arizona Coyotes’ Matt Dumba or Hanifin’s teammate Chris Tanev as more likely targets should they become available before the March trade deadline.

Dixon also pondered whether goaltender Connor Hellebuyck and/or center Mark Scheifele would still be with the Winnipeg Jets in a month’s time. Like Toews, both are due to become UFAs next July.

Jets general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff will be patient and won’t rush into trading either guy simply for the sake of closure. Dixon noted that Cheveldayoff held firm on his asking price for Pierre-Luc Dubois and pretty much got what he wanted from the Los Angeles Kings.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Starting the season with Hellebuyck and Scheifele in the lineup runs the risk of injuries or a decline in performance affecting their trade value. Nevertheless, recent reports suggest Cheveldayoff could be comfortable with doing so in the hope of either re-signing one or both or finding better trade offers as the season goes on.

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – August 7, 2023

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – August 7, 2023

Reaction to the Erik Karlsson trade, the Coyotes sign Matt Dumba, Radko Gudas explains why he signed with the Ducks and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.

PITTSBURGH HOCKEY NOW: Dave Molinari believes the Penguins got Erik Karlsson at a bargain price. While some of the assets that were sacrificed (such as a top-10 protected 2024 first-rounder) will sting a bit, it won’t be a crippling blow considering what they got back.

PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE: Mark Madden considers Penguins general manager Kyle Dubas a “miracle worker” for getting a superstar such as Karlsson while shedding a combined $14 million in cap space getting rid of players he didn’t want in Mikael Granlund, Jeff Petry, Jan Rutta and Casey DeSmith.

Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Erik Karlsson (NHL Images).

PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE: Ron Cook also sang Dubas’ praises for landing Karlsson while shedding the dead weight he was saddled with by the Penguins’ previous management.

Meanwhile, Matt Vensel examined how the addition of Karlsson will affect the bottom of the Penguins’ lineup. He points out that the departures of Petry and Rutta leave the Penguins’ blueline corps smaller while raising questions about their penalty-killing ability. Trading away Granlund also removes needed playmaking from their bottom-six forward lines.

NBC SPORTS BAY AREA: Sheng Peng believes the San Jose Sharks didn’t get much back for Karlsson, taking on the unwanted contracts of Granlund and Ruuta from Pittsburgh and of Mike Mike Hoffman from the Montreal Canadiens.

Peng reported that Sharks GM Mike Grier indicated the club didn’t want to retain more of Karlsson’s $11.5 million cap hit than they did ($1.5 million) to facilitate a trade. “Having some cap flexibility and financial flexibility was really important for us going forward, “ said Grier.

Grier added that it was important for the Sharks to have the cap space to acquire players via trades or free agency when the opportunity arises. It also provides them flexibility within the next two years when the contracts of the players acquired in the Karlsson trade to put toward their prospects.

Peng believes we’ll get a better evaluation of this trade from the Sharks’ standpoint within a couple of years depending on what they do with that cap space.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I wrote my take on the trade soon after it went down yesterday. You can read it here.

It will be interesting to see how things unfold for the Penguins and Sharks over the next three or four years.

In the short term, the Penguins are the clear winners of this trade. They got the best player in this deal without giving up much to land him. This could work out well for the Pens over the next two or three years if Karlsson remains a reliable 70-80 point producer. It could also go south if his production declines and/or his injury woes resurface.

The Sharks didn’t get very much back because of their unwillingness to retain more of Karlsson’s hefty AAV. The flattened salary cap also worked against them. Had the cap risen by a significant amount this summer (like the projected $4 million increase for 2024-25), they might’ve found more suitors willing to offer up more than the Penguins.

Nevertheless, this could work out for the Sharks over the long run. They managed to get all almost all of Karlsson’s cap hit off their books plus they got a conditional 2024 first-round pick in the deal. As Peng explained, it depends on what they do with their cap flexibility and those promising players within their system.

The addition of Granlund, Hoffman and Rutta helps the Sharks buy a year or two to allow their prospects more time to develop. They could also flip those three at the trade deadline for draft picks or prospects.

As for the third team in the trade, the Canadiens also did a tidy bit of business in this deal which I noted in my analysis yesterday. They shed themselves of Hoffman’s $4.5 million cap hit, got Petry back at a reduced salary, bolstered their goalie depth by adding DeSmith and moved out a player who no longer fit into their roster in Rem Pitlick.

The Canadiens might not be done dealing. I’ll have more about that in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.

ARIZONA SPORTS: Reports indicate the Coyotes signed defenseman Matt Dumba to a one-year contract worth $3.9 million.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Dumba is coming off a five-year contract with an AAV of $6 million. The recent decline in his offensive game ensured he wouldn’t get anything close to that in this year’s free-agent market.

Dumba remains an experienced top-four defenseman who can log big minutes. Those attributes should provide a boost to the rebuilding Coyotes blueline.

A solid performance in Arizona could turn Dumba into a valuable asset for the Coyotes at the March trade deadline. It will also improve his chances of landing a richer deal in next summer’s free-agent market.

THE HOCKEY NEWS: Radko Gudas recently explained why he opted to sign with the rebuilding Anaheim Ducks after leaving the Stanley Cup finalist Florida Panthers as a free agent. He indicated that it had to do with the role he’d play with the Ducks as well as the financial aspect.

Gudas said he received interest from some Canadian teams, including the Toronto Maple Leafs. However, he didn’t know if he’d feel comfortable dealing with the constant media attention. He also noted the taxes were higher in Canada.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Gudas isn’t the only player who has spurned signing with Canadian teams because of higher taxes in some provinces as well as media scrutiny. It’s gone on for decades now. Those clubs have still managed to sign notable free agents over the years but it does make it harder for them to attract high-quality talent.

DETROIT HOCKEY NOW: Former Detroit Red Wings forward Evgeny Svechnikov is reportedly signing a contract with KHL club AK Bars Kazan. He spent four seasons bouncing between the Red Wings and their AHL affiliate in Grand Rapids from 2016-17 to 2020-21. He also played for the Winnipeg Jets in 2021-22 and the San Jose Sharks last season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Svechnikov is the older brother of Carolina Hurricanes star Andrei Svechnikov. Chosen 19th overall by the Red Wings in the 2015 NHL Draft, he never reached the same heights as Andrei did.

NHL.COM: Former NHL goaltender Gilles Gilbert passed away on Saturday at age 74. Gilbert spent 14 seasons with the Minnesota North Stars, Boston Bruins and Detroit Red Wings from 1969-70 to 1982-83. In 416 games, he had a record of 192-143-60 with 18 shutouts, a 3.27 goals-against average and a .883 save percentage.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Gilbert’s best seasons were with the Bruins from 1973-74 (when he backstopped them to the Stanley Cup Final) to 1979-80. He almost denied the Montreal Canadiens of a fourth straight Stanley Cup with an outstanding performance in Game 7 of the 1979 semifinal. He was named the game’s first star despite the Bruins losing 5-4 in overtime.

My condolences to Gilbert’s family, friends and former teammates.

NHL Rumor Mill – August 1, 2023

NHL Rumor Mill – August 1, 2023

The top remaining unrestricted free agents, Sharks speculation that has nothing to do with Erik Karlsson, and the latest on the Oilers in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.


DAILY FACEOFF: Patrick Kane and Matt Dumba sit first and second on Frank Seravalli’s list of the top remaining NHL unrestricted free agents.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kane won’t be entertaining contract offers until he’s recovered from his recent hip surgery. That’s expected to be sometime in early December. Dumba, meanwhile, is the top defenseman in the market and has been linked to the Arizona Coyotes and San Jose Sharks.

Forwards Max Comtois, Tomas Tatar and Jonathan Toews sit in positions three through five on the listing.

Former Minnesota Wild defenseman Matt Dumba (NHL Images)

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Comtois recently said that he’s received calls from interested clubs but no contract offers yet. He indicated that the Montreal Canadiens have not contacted him. There’s been no rumors of late linking Tatar to any NHL club but that doesn’t mean he hasn’t received any calls.

Toews, meanwhile, has been silent except for releasing a statement in response to the recent death of Chicago Blackhawks owner Rocky Wirtz. The agency that represents him did not have his name on their list of clients who are free agents this summer, fuelling speculation that he’s mulling retirement.

Forward Pius Suter, winger Noah Gregor, goaltender Jaroslav Halak, center Paul Stastny and winger Phil Kessel rounded out the top 10.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Suter said he doesn’t intend on returning to his native Switzerland and hopes to sign an NHL contract. Kessel, 35, has indicated he wants to continue his NHL career. So does the 38-year-old Halak. No word on Stastny or Gregor.


SPECTOR’S NOTE: For those of you who are weary of all the speculation about Erik Karlsson, here’s the latest on the San Jose Sharks that has nothing to do with the 33-year-old defenseman. Enjoy!

SAN JOSE HOCKEY NOW: Sheng Peng observed that Sharks general manager Mike Grier has been pursuing devalued assets this summer that still appear to possess real upside. He’s acquired goaltender Mackenzie Blackwood and wingers Anthony Duclair and Filip Zadina and made a failed attempt at signing Vladimir Tarasenko.

Peng listed defenseman Matt Dumba, winger Tomas Tatar and winger Max Comtois as three free agents that he believes Grier should target.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Sharks have over $5 million in projected cap space for 2023-24. They will have more if they somehow manage to trade a certain expensive Norris Trophy-winning defenseman this summer. That will give Grier more room to perhaps add a free agent or two such as those listed by Peng.

THE HOCKEY NEWS: Max Miller wondered if the Sharks might consider trading Alexander Barabanov. The 29-year-old winger has been a good player, netting 93 points in 147 games. However, he could become the odd man out among their top-six forwards with the additions of Duclair and Zadina and with promising William Eklund expected to crack the lineup this season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Miller suggested that Barabanov, who is slated to become a UFA next July, could be an enticing target for playoff contenders at the March trade deadline. He carries an affordable $2.5 million cap hit but his 10-team no-trade clause could affect the number of possible trade partners for the Sharks.


EDMONTON JOURNAL: Kurt Leavins reported on Sunday that he’d heard the Oilers were closing in on new contracts with defenseman Evan Bouchard and center Ryan McLeod. The latter has an arbitration hearing on Aug. 4.

Leavins believes the goalposts have been slightly moved in terms of what it might cost to sign them. That leads him to conclude that the Oilers might have to go the professional tryout offer (PTO) route to add a center or two rather than signing UFAs. He also doesn’t rule out an in-season trade, suggesting Washington’s Nic Dowd and Montreal’s Jake Evans as possible trade options.

Robert Tychowski, meanwhile, believes the Oilers have dodged a “potential grenade” of an offer sheet for Bouchard. If it was going to happen, he thinks it would’ve by now.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Agreed regarding the Bouchard offer sheet. There aren’t many teams with the cap space to pull it off. It also remains a rarely-used tactic that most general managers tend to avoid.

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines and Rumors – July 23, 2023

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines and Rumors – July 23, 2023

Evgeny Kuznetsov eligible to return to international competition, Bruins reportedly cut ties with Mitchell Miller in February, plus the latest on Erik Karlsson, Matt Dumba, and Tony DeAngelo in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines and Rumors.


THE HOCKEY NEWS: Evgeny Kuznetsov is now eligible to return to participate in international hockey events. The 31-year-old Washington Capitals center received a four-year ban for cocaine use in June 2019 which officially ended on June 12 of this year.

Washington Capitals center Evgeny Kuznetsov (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kuznetsov won’t be participating in international competition with his native Russia anytime soon. That country is currently not allowed to take part in such events due to its ongoing war with Ukraine.

NEW YORK POST: Larry Brooks reports the Boston Bruins have parted ways with defenseman Mitchell Miller.

The Bruins signed Miller on Nov. 4 but soon disassociated themselves from the 21-year-old defenseman following backlash over the signing. At age 14, Miller pled guilty to one count of assault and one count of violating the Ohio Safe Schools Act for a series of racially-motivated acts against a developmentally challenged classmate over a series of months.

The Bruins terminated Miller’s contract and the NHL Players Association filed a grievance on his behalf. A source tells Brooks that a settlement was reached back in February in lieu of a hearing releasing the Bruins from their obligation while paying Miller an undisclosed amount of money and granting him free agency. He’s expected to seek employment in Europe.


PITTSBURGH HOCKEY NOW: Dan Kingerski cited Erik Karlsson telling the Swedish publication Expressen that he’s not okay with returning to the San Jose Sharks. While he likes living and playing in San Jose, he’s at the stage in his career where he risks running out of chances to win the Stanley Cup.

Karlsson said Sharks general manager Mike Grier knows his position and is trying to accommodate him. Still, Kingerski believes this will put additional pressure on Grier to get a deal done this summer.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Based on recent reports it appears that the Karlsson sweepstakes is down to the Pittsburgh Penguins and Carolina Hurricanes with the Penguins considered the front-runners. The offers and counter-offers have been made and now everyone waits to see if the Penguins, Hurricanes or Sharks blink first.

TORONTO SUN: Lance Hornby took note of Karlsson’s admission in the same interview that he’s spoken with the Maple Leafs as well as several other clubs regarding a trade.

Hornby, however, isn’t getting too excited about this. He pointed out that the Pittsburgh Penguins seem much closer to landing Karlsson. He also noted that Leafs general manager Brad Treliving likes to get into trade discussions involving elite players, “if only to wave his team’s flag.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: In other words, Treliving looked into it but it’s doubtful he has a legitimate show at landing Karlsson.

THE HOCKEY NEWS: Remy Mastey recently cited Sportsnet’s Luke Fox reporting the Arizona Coyotes have emerged as the leading candidates to sign Matt Dumba. The Maple Leafs, Buffalo Sabres and Dallas Stars also reportedly had interest along with the Sharks. Dumba, 28, is the top defenseman remaining in this summer’s unrestricted free-agent market.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’ll be interesting to see what type of contract Dumba signed regardless of which team gets him. He could bet on himself with a one-year deal in the hope of landing a more lucrative deal next summer when the salary cap is projected to rise by $4 million for 2024-25.

PHILLY HOCKEY NOW: Chuck Bausman wondered if the Carolina Hurricanes might consider bringing back Tony DeAngelo as “Plan B” if their efforts to acquire Erik Karlsson fall through.

The Hurricanes had a deal in place with the Flyers to bring back DeAngelo earlier this month. However, the deal was held up on a CBA technicality and eventually fell through. The Flyers subsequently bought out the final year of his contract, making the 27-year-old defenseman an unrestricted free agent.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I daresay Karlsson’s availability changed things for the Hurricanes. We can’t rule out the possibility of them circling back to DeAngelo but recent reports indicate they haven’t spoken with his camp since he was bought out earlier this month.