NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 26, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 26, 2021

The Blues sign GM Doug Armstrong to a new contract and make a trade with the Senators, the Wild name Matt Dumba and Marcus Foligno alternate captains, and the latest on Sergei Bobrovsky, Anders Lee and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

STLTODAY.COM: The Blues signed general manager Doug Armstrong to a five-year contract extension.

St. Louis Blues general manager Doug Armstrong (NHL.com).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: No surprise here. In announcing the signing, Blues owner Tom Stillman pointed out the club has made nine postseason appearances during Armstrong’s tenure, including three division titles, a conference title and their first-ever Stanley Cup in 2019.

The Blues also made a trade yesterday, shipping forward Zach Sanford to the Ottawa Senators in exchange for center Logan Brown. They’ll also receive a fourth-round pick in 2022 from the Senators if the 26-year-old Brown doesn’t appear in 30 games this season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: A St. Louis native, Brown was the Senators’ first-round pick (11th overall) in the 2016 NHL draft but he struggled to crack their rebuilding roster, appearing in just 30 games over the past four seasons. He’ll get a great opportunity to reset his NHL career with his hometown club.

Sanford, 26, developed into a good defensive winger with the Blues. He should be a solid fit on the Senators’ checking lines.

This was also a much-needed cost-cutting move for the Blues. As per Cap Friendly, by exchanging Sanford’s $2 million cap hit for Brown’s $750K, they’re just under the $81.5 million salary cap.

TWINCITIES.COM: The Minnesota Wild named defenseman Matt Dumba and winger Marcus Foligno as their new alternate captains. They replace Zach Parise and Ryan Suter, who were bought out of their contracts during the offseason.

FLORIDA HOCKEY NOW: Panthers goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky hopes to put last season’s disappointing playoff performance behind him. He’ll be sharing the goaltending duties this season with promising Spencer Knight.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Bobrovsky’s going to face a real challenge hanging onto the starter’s job. Knight is a highly-touted young netminder seen as Bobrovsky’s eventual replacement.

NYI HOCKEY NOW: The Islanders are likely to keep left winger Anders Lee out of their first few postseason games. Their captain is returning from surgery to repair a torn ACL that ended his 2020-21 season last March.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: They want to ensure Lee is fully up to speed before putting him into game action. No sense rushing him in meaningless preseason games and risk a setback.

THE ATHLETIC: Philadelphia Flyers center Kevin Hayes recently expressed his gratitude to the hockey community at large for the support he and his family received following the sudden death of his older brother (and former NHL player) Jimmy Hayes.

Among the notables to reach out with support were Pittsburgh Penguins president of hockey operations Brian Burke and team captain Sidney Crosby, former New York Rangers teammates Ryan McDonagh and Kevin Shattenkirk, as well as New Jersey Devils defenseman P.K. Subban, Colorado Avalanche captain Gabriel Landeskog, and Tampa Bay Lightning forward Pat Maroon.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The past several weeks have been difficult for Hayes. He also recently underwent abdominal surgery that will sideline him for the entirety of training camp.

TSN: Montreal Canadiens winger Mike Hoffman could miss up to four weeks with a lower-body injury suffered during offseason training.

THE DETROIT NEWS: Red Wings forward Jakub Vrana’s first day in training camp didn’t last long. After being delayed joining his teammates by visa issues, he left practice yesterday with a shoulder injury.

SPORTSNET: Vancouver Canucks defenseman Brady Keeper was stretchered from the ice during practice on Saturday with an apparent leg injury. No update was provided on his condition.

TSN: Goaltender Curtis McElhinney took to Instagram yesterday to announce his retirement. During his 13 NHL seasons, the well-traveled McElhinney appeared in 249 career games with the Calgary Flames, Anaheim Ducks, Ottawa Senators, Arizona Coyotes, Columbus Blue Jackets, Toronto Maple Leafs, Carolina Hurricanes and Tampa Bay Lightning.

McElhinney finished his career on a high note, winning two straight Stanley Cups with the Lightning in 2020 and 2021. He finishes with a record of 94 wins, 95 losses and 20 overtime losses, with a 2.83 goals-against average, a .907 save percentage and 12 shutouts.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Best wishes to McElhinney and his family in their future endeavors.










NHL Rumor Mill – August 17, 2021

NHL Rumor Mill – August 17, 2021

What’s the latest on Kirill Kaprizov’s contract talks? Do the Blue Jackets still have roster needs to address? Find out in today’s NHL rumor mill.

TWINCITIES.COM: John Shipley reports Minnesota Wild general manager Bill Guerin isn’t concerned about the possibility of Kirill Kaprizov signing with KHL team CSKA Moscow. “It’s not my decision, it doesn’t bother me at all,” he said. Asked of the report of the 24-year-old winger signing a one-year, “eight-figure” deal with the Russian club was true, Guerin said he couldn’t tell if it was true or not.

Minnesota Wild winger Kirill Kaprizov (NHL Images).

While Guerin had nothing new to report on Kaprizov’s contract talks, he believes things are going well. “We still have lots of time. There’s no rush or panic. I’m in constant communication with Kirill’s agent, and we continue to move forward.”

Guerin reached an agreement yesterday with winger Kevin Fiala on a one-year contract. He indicated Kaprizov’s deal will be longer.

THE ATHLETIC: Michael Russo reports the Wild have been rebuffed in his attempts to sign Kaprizov to seven- or eight-year contracts in the range of $9 million per season. They’re now willing to discuss a mid-range deal lasting four, five or six years.

NBC SPORTS: Adam Gretz points out a lucrative deal for Kaprizov could complicate efforts to re-sign Fiala to a long-term deal starting next season when the buyouts of Zach Parise and Ryan Suter start eating up a big chunk of cap space over the following three years.

Gretz suggests embracing a rebuild, perhaps by shopping Kaprizov for a big return. While it wouldn’t be the best PR move, he felt it would be the best long-term option. He also recommended shopping Fiala if they’re not sold on the winger. It might also be too cost-prohibitive to retain defenseman Matt Dumba, who’s earning $6 million annually through 2022-23.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Guerin is calling Kaprizov’s bluff, confident the young forward will return to the Wild. The winger has little leverage except to threaten to return to the KHL. Most observers doubt he’ll follow through. A four-year deal worth between $8 million and $9 million seems likely.

Guerin’s bold decision to buy out Parise and Suter will cost the Wild over $12 million in dead cap space in 2022-23, and over $14 million in each of the following two seasons. Big new contracts for Kaprizov and Fiala will make it difficult to re-sign future free agents like Dumba, Cam Talbot, and Jordan Greenway. It will also be tough to add new players over that period.

A rebuild suggested by Gretz seems unlikely at this stage. A lot will depend upon the club’s performance this season, especially with the younger players already on the roster and those who could crack the lineup this season. Affordable youth stepping up could provide Guerin the room to navigate through his difficult salary-cap situation after this season.

NHL.COM: Tom Gulitti believes the Columbus Blue Jackets need a right-shot defenseman and perhaps a center with Max Domi sidelined until November by offseason shoulder surgery.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The pickings are slim in the free-agent market. Right-hand shot blueliners include Jason Demers, Sami Vatanen and Erik Gudbranson. Centers include Eric Staal, Tyler Bozak, Artem Anisimov, Travis Zajac and Casey Cizikas, though the latter two could already be under contract with the New York Islanders.










Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – June 27, 2021

Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – June 27, 2021

Should the Oilers pursue Oliver Ekman-Larsson, Zach Hyman, Jaden Schwartz or Nolan Patrick? What’s the latest on Evander Kane and Matt Dumba? Find out in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

LATEST OILERS SPECULATION

EDMONTON JOURNAL: David Staples weighed in on a recent discussion between Oilers Now host Bob Stauffer and Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman regarding the possibility of the Oilers inquiring about Oliver Ekman-Larsson. The Arizona Coyotes will attempt to move the 29-year-old defenseman during the course of this offseason.

Arizona Coyotes defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson (NHL Images).

Stauffer believes the decline in Ekman-Larsson’s trade value could force the Coyotes to retain part of the blueliner’s $8.25 million annual cap hit in return for picks and prospects. Friedman thinks there are teams that feel Ekman-Larsson could regain his form on a new club. He speculated the Oilers kicked tires on OEL but Stauffer felt that could complicate the Oilers’ efforts to re-sign Darnell Nurse. Friedman wondered if they’d be interested if he wasn’t making $8.25 million per season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Staples sees little chance of the Oilers acquiring Ekman-Larsson and I agree with him. He pointed out that the blueliner would have to approve the deal and the Coyotes would have to absorb a big chunk of his cap hit.

Staples also took note of a recent discussion on The Leafs Report podcast between Athletic writers James Mirtle and Jonas Siegel regarding Leafs pending UFA winger Zach Hyman.

Siegel feels the 29-year-old Hyman could get a six-year deal worth $6 million annually from a club like Edmonton or Ottawa. Mirtle suggested Hyman could have four more years left at his current level of player. Siegel believes he’s got two or three years left, adding that type of contract could be risky.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: If the Oilers could get Hyman on a four-year deal for less than $5 million per season it might be worthwhile. Six years at $6 million annually is too much and too long given the eventual toll his physical style of play will take on his body.

Staples points out it’s uncertain how well Hyman would fit alongside Connor McDavid. He also reminded everyone of how quickly Milan Lucic declined after he joined the Oilers.

If the Oilers fail to re-sign Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Jim Matheson suggested they take a run at signing winger Jaden Schwartz should the 29-year-old winger becomes available in the UFA market. He felt Schwartz would be more affordable than Hyman or Colorado Avalanche winger Brandon Saad.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Matheson said it’s believed Schwartz would be looking for between $5 million and $5.5 million depending on the term. He felt Oilers GM Ken Holland would give him a four-year deal.

Schwartz could be a good option for the Oilers if Nugent-Hopkins departs. However, other clubs could be willing to go another year or two longer or bump up the cap hit closer to $6 million annually.

Matheson also wondered if the Oilers would attempt to acquire center Nolan Patrick from the Philadelphia Flyers. They need a right-hand center on their bottom-six and the 22-year-old Patrick could use a change of scenery after spinning his wheels in Philadelphia.

UPDATES ON KANE AND DUMBA

SJHOCKEYNOW.COM: Sheng Peng cited Daily Faceoff’s Frank Seravalli’s inclusion of Evander Kane on his list of offseason trade candidates. Seravalli reported friction between the 29-year-old Sharks winger and several teammates this season.

An NHL executive told Peng he doubted the Sharks would get much of a return for Kane. Despite his consistent production, he’s difficult to move because of the locker-room drama that’s dogged his career, his ongoing bankruptcy proceedings and hefty contract.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I concur with that assessment. Despite Kane’s obvious talent, he’s carrying too much baggage. I’ll be surprised if he’s playing for another club when the curtain rises for next season.

NBC SPORTS: James O’Brien suggests teams interested in a trade for Columbus Blue Jackets defenseman Seth Jones should instead consider Minnesota Wild blueliner Matt Dumba. He pointed out Dumba has better underlying numbers at even strength over the last three seasons plus he’d cost considerably less to acquire in a trade.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Recent reports claiming interest in Jones is off the charts indicate no one’s taking O’Brien’s advice. Nevertheless, he makes some valid points about Jones’ performance compared to Dumba’s.

Dumba could be available if the Wild believe they cannot protect him in next month’s expansion draft. He would become a suitable “Plan B” for clubs that lose out in the Jones sweepstakes.










NHL Rumor Mill – June 23, 2021

NHL Rumor Mill – June 23, 2021

Does Matthew Tkachuk want out of Calgary to go home to St. Louis? Could he be swapped for Vladimir Tarasenko? What players are on the Flyers’ offseason shopping list. Find out in today’s NHL rumor mill.

DOES TKACHUK WANT OUT OF CALGARY?

YAHOO! SPORTS: Steven Psihogias cited Sportsnet 650’s Shane O’Brien floating a rumor about Calgary Flames winger Matthew Tkachuk during a recent appearance on SiriusXM NHL Network’s “The Power Play with Steve Kouleas”.

Calgary Flames winger Matthew Tkachuk (NHL Images).

O’Brien claimed he heard the 23-year-old Tkachuk wants out of Calgary to play in his hometown of St. Louis. “I got (Vladimir) Tarasenko going to Calgary for Tkachuk,” he said. “I heard Tkachuk wants out of Calgary, Tarasenko’s time’s up there, I think that’s a trade that could happen.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I’m not going to disparage O’Brien or question his sources, but this move makes no sense for the Flames. Why trade Tkachuk for a winger who’s six years older and has a recent history of shoulder surgeries? For that matter, why would Tarasenko waive his full no-trade clause to join the Flames?

Sportsnet 960’s Ryan Pinder weighed in on that rumor. “In reaching out to some folks around the (Calgary) organization, they described this rumor in two words. The first one being bull. The second one sounding a lot like shirt.”

True or not, this will only stoke speculation about Tkachuk’s future in Calgary. GM Brad Treliving indicated he’d evaluate all his options after the Flames missed this year’s playoffs. Maybe Tkachuk will be part of any significant changes Treliving has in store. If he does want to return to St. Louis, the Flames will want a good young forward like Jordan Kyrou as part of the return, not a banged-up veteran.

Tarasenko’s name popped up in the rumor mill as some observers pondered the possibility of the Blues leaving him exposed in the expansion draft. There’s been no indication they’re going to approach him about waiving his no-trade clause, but that’s usually not the type of thing a team or player makes public. It will be interesting to see if he appears again in this summer’s offseason trade talk.

FLYERS EYEING DEFENSEMEN AND GOALIES

THE PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER: Sam Carchidi reports defensemen and goaltenders are on the offseason shopping list of Flyers GM Chuck Fletcher. He points out they gave up a league-leading 3.52 goals-against per game this season.

Carchidi believes Fletcher has “a long list of defensemen” on his radar. They include Columbus’ Seth Jones, Carolina’s Dougie Hamilton, Nashville’s Ryan Ellis, Minnesota’s Matt Dumba and Edmonton’s Adam Larsson.

He could also be looking at pending free-agent goaltenders such as Buffalo’s Linus Ullmark, Toronto’s Frederik Andersen, Colorado’s Philipp Grubauer, Detroit’s Jonathan Bernier and Tampa Bay’s Anders Nilsson for a potential 1B goalie to 1A Carter Hart.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Flyers have been frequently linked to Jones, Hamilton and Dumba in the rumor mill. I don’t see the Predators trading Ellis unless they get a significant player in return. The Oilers, meanwhile, appear intent on re-signing Larsson.

Grubauer’s a Vezina Trophy Finalist this season. He’s no “1B” and I doubt the Avalanche will let him depart via free agency. Ullmark, Andersen and Bernier would be good options. Nilsson’s been sidelined by concussion issues since last season.










NHL Rumor Mill – June 16, 2021

NHL Rumor Mill – June 16, 2021

The latest on Jack Eichel, Dougie Hamilton, Patrik Laine, Rasmus Ristolainen and more in today’s NHL rumor mill.

LATEST EICHEL SPECULATION

SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman said he’s asked around to see if the Buffalo Sabres gave other clubs permission to speak with Jack Eichel but that doesn’t seem to be the case. He added the club and its captain are negotiating the next step in his recovery from a herniated disk in his neck. Sources indicate if the Sabres shop Eichel or Sam Reinhart that we shouldn’t be surprised if they end up with another high pick in the first round of this year’s draft.

THE BUFFALO NEWS: In a recent mailbag segment, Lance Lysowski predicted the Sabres will grant permission for interested clubs to speak to Eichel. That will be necessary because of the treatment Eichel requires to treat his injury. If a rival club is willing to allow him to undergo the surgery he seeks and offers the right trade package, Lysowki believes the Sabres will make the deal sooner rather than later.

THE ATHLETIC/BOSTON HOCKEY NOW: Fluto Shinzawa believes the Boston Bruins will pass on Eichel because of his neck injury. “A $10 million player has to be a sure thing,” he wrote. Joe Haggerty dismissed any talk of the Bruins acquiring Eichel as “fantasy stuff.”

FLORIDA HOCKEY NOW: Jimmy Murphy wondered if the Seattle Kraken could use the prospect they select with the second-overall pick in this year’s draft as part of a package offer for Eichel. One NHL executive said he was told Kraken general manager Ron Francis checked in on the Sabres captain.

THE ATHLETIC: Rick Carpiniello reports hearing the New York Rangers are not likely, or much less likely now, to get into the bidding for Eichel.

Buffalo Sabres captain Jack Eichel (NHL Images)

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Eichel’s neck injury will determine the number of teams with interest in the Sabres captain. Some could be willing to take a chance on him having surgery on his herniated disk, a procedure that’s never been performed before on an NHL player. However, I think most general managers share Shinzawa’s opinion. If you’re going to invest assets and cap space acquiring an expensive talent like Eichel, you better be sure he’ll be 100 percent healthy.

UPDATE ON HAMILTON

SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman reports the Philadelphia Flyers might not aggressively pursue Dougie Hamilton. The 27-year-old Carolina Hurricanes defenseman is due to become an unrestricted free agent on July 28. The Hurricanes are allowing Hamilton to speak with other teams.

Friedman indicated the Flyers’ interests in addressing their blueline needs appear to be elsewhere, speculating they could target Columbus’ Seth Jones or Minnesota’s Matt Dumba. He also suggested the Seattle Kraken and New Jersey Devils could make sense for Hamilton.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Philadelphia Inquirer’s Sam Carchidi believes it would cost the Flyers “multiple high draft picks and either Travis Sanheim or Phil Myers for starters” to acquire Hamilton, and only if they can get him to sign a long-term contract extension. He feels the Flyers would have difficulty fitting him under the cap unless Jakub Voracek headed the other way.

NBC Sports Philadelphia’s Jordan Hall speculates the Flyers could consider more affordable options if they can’t land Hamilton or Jones. He pointed out they had an interest in Dallas’ Jamie Oleksiak before tumbling out of playoff contention by the trade deadline. Hall also mentioned Vegas’ Alec Martinez and Pittsburgh’s Cody Ceci as other UFA options.

MORE RUMOR TIDBITS FROM FRIEDMAN’S LATEST “31 THOUGHTS”

SPORTSNET: Friedman said the Florida Panthers are expected to be aggressively pursuing improvement this offseason. He’s curious if they ask the Columbus Blue Jackets about Patrik Laine. He and Panthers captain Aleksander Barkov have a good relationship.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That will depend on whether the Jackets are going for a full-scale rebuild. A shake-up is probably coming after Seth Jones indicated his intent to test next summer’s free-agent market but it could be a retooling rather than a teardown.

I don’t see the Panthers being keen to take on the potential headache of Laine’s contract negotiations. It will cost $7.5 million to qualify his rights.

The Jackets could decide not to qualify him and let him depart as an unrestricted free agent. However, that would leave them with little to show for shipping Pierre-Luc Dubois to Winnipeg.

He cited Lance Lysowski of The Buffalo News reporting the New Jersey Devils had an interest in Sabres defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen. He wonders if they might also consider Philadelphia’s Shayne Gostisbehere if the Flyers included a sweetener in the deal.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Lysowski pointed out the Devils have the assets in picks and prospects to make a bid for Ristolainen, who indicated last month he’d be open to a trade. The issue here is he becomes an unrestricted free agent next summer. The Devils could acquire him and see how next season plays out or they could insist on him signing a contract extension first.

A scout suggested to Friedman that interest in Anaheim Ducks center Adam Henrique could pick up following his solid play for Canada at this year’s World Championships.

Friedman doesn’t put much stock into recent rumors suggesting Jared Bednar could lose his job as Colorado Avalanche head coach. Despite the club’s disappointing playoff exit, the team still believes in Bednar.

The San Jose Sharks have given pending UFA forward Kurtis Gabriel permission to speak with other teams.










NHL Rumor Mill – June 5, 2021

NHL Rumor Mill – June 5, 2021

Could the Oilers target a Lightning winger in this summer’s trade market? Is this season the last for Matt Dumba and Zach Parise with the Wild? Check out the latest in today’s NHL rumor mill.

COULD THE OILERS TARGET A LIGHTNING WINGER?

EDMONTON JOURNAL: David Staples believes the Oilers’ priority should be landing a veteran winger who’ll mesh well with center Connor McDavid. That’ll take on greater importance if Ryan Nugent-Hopkins departs via free agency next month.

The Tampa Bay Lightning would be an obvious place to start because of their limited cap space and forwards Blake Coleman and Barclay Goodrow are among their pending unrestricted free agents.

Could the Edmonton Oilers have interest in a Tampa Bay Lightning winger such as Alex Killorn? (NHL Images)

They could attempt to shed salary by trading a veteran forward at a bargain price. Alex Killorn, Ondrej Palat or Yanni Gourde could become a trade candidate. Staples doubts Killorn will be available given his strong performance in this year’s playoffs.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: With over $22 million in cap space (as per Cap Friendly), Oilers general manager Ken Holland should have sufficient cap room to acquire a top-six winger via trade or free agency even if he re-signs Nugent-Hopkins, Mike Smith and Adam Larsson. He could have more if he buys out James Neal and/or Mikko Koskinen and finds a trade partner to take Zack Kassian off his hands. Holland could be willing to talk trade with the Lightning depending on who they’re trying to offload this summer.

Something’s gotta give in Tampa Bay this summer. They could, as Staples suggested, buy out Tyler Johnson or hope the Seattle Kraken select him in the expansion draft. Even then, they could still trade another forward to get some additional wiggle room under the cap. That could force them to part with Palat, Gourde or Killorn.

Gourde’s full no-trade makes him the least likely of that trio to be moved. Killorn has a 16-team no-trade clause. Palat’s full no-trade becomes a modified no-trade next season in which he submits a 20-team list of preferred destinations.

Staples recently noted Oilers insider Bob Stauffer speculating the Pittsburgh Penguins or New York Rangers could have interest in Kassian. Some Oilers followers could be against trading Kassian because of his physical presence. However, he’s carrying a $3.2 million annual cap hit through 2023-24. Given the decline in his offensive production, the Oilers would be better off trading him and finding a more affordable option.

LATEST ON DUMBA AND PARISE

STARTRIBUNE.COM: Sarah McLellan recently reported questions about Matt Dumba’s future with the Minnesota Wild have increased of late with the expansion draft on the horizon. With most teams tending to protect three defensemen and three Wild blueliners (Ryan Suter, Jared Spurgeon and Jonas Brodin) carrying no-movement clauses, Dumba could be left exposed in the expansion draft or traded beforehand.

Dumba, however, said he hopes to remain with the Wild. He said he grew accustomed to his name surfacing in the rumor mill near the trade deadline.

TWINCITIES.COM: Dane Muzitani recently reported Zach Parise told reporters he wants to return with the Wild next season. Because of his hefty contract, finding a trade partner seems unlikely while the front office doesn’t seem interested in going the buyout route.

Parise’s future came into question as he was dropped to the fourth line this season and was a healthy scratch late in the season and during the first three games of their seven-game series against the Vegas Golden Knights. However, Parise played well when inserted into the lineup for the final four games of that series.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Wild could make Dumba unavailable in the expansion draft by opting to protect eight skaters. However, that puts them at risk of losing one of their good young forwards. Wild GM Bill Guerin will probably try to swing a side deal with the Seattle Kraken to ensure they don’t take Dumba if they leave him exposed. They could also try to convince Suter to waive his no-movement clause. The Kraken could be scared off by his expensive contract.

The Wild and Parise are stuck with each other until his contract expires in 2025. He’ll have to accept a lesser role with the club. As Muzitani observed, that’s something that will have to be worked out between Parise and head coach Dean Evason in the coming months.