NHL Rumor Mill – July 26, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – July 26, 2022

Pierre-Luc Dubois addresses the recent offseason speculation swirling around him plus a look at the Penguins blue line in today’s NHL rumor mill.

DUBOIS ADDRESSES OFFSEASON SPECULATION

WINNIPEG SUN: Scott Billeck reports Jets center Pierre-Luc Dubois spoke to reporters yesterday via Zoom conference call to address recent rumors claiming he wanted out of Winnipeg.

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

If I wanted out I would have asked for a trade,” said Dubois. “I didn’t ask for a trade. Not for one second. It didn’t cross my mind for one second to ask for a trade.”

Dubois also explained the reason why he attended the first round of the 2022 Draft in Montreal earlier this month. Rumor had it he was there in anticipation of a trade to the Canadiens. Dubois said he only lives 15 minutes away from the Bell Centre and was there at the invitation of his bank to a reception they were holding at one of the arena’s suites.

Regarding comments his agent, Pat Brisson, made about Dubois one day hoping to play for the Canadiens, he felt those remarks were blown out of proportion and taken out of context. “I just thought it was overblown, the reaction, and I think some people just ran with the two seconds that they liked or didn’t want to hear.”

As for his decision to accept the Jets’ one-year qualifying offer, Dubois said his next NHL contract could be his last before he retires. He wants to take his time to consider all factors before signing a long-term deal.

Dubois understands his non-committal answers about his future won’t quell the speculation. He knows he’ll face the same questions next summer when he’s once again a restricted free agent. Nevertheless, he intends to face them at that time and put his current focus on the Jets’ upcoming season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Some observers remain skeptical about Dubois’ comments, suggesting that he’s in damage-control mode trying to downplay his agent’s remarks about skating for the Canadiens one day.

The Montreal Gazette’s Stu Cowan points out that Dubois’ RFA status next summer and UFA eligibility in 2024 won’t stop the speculation linking him to the Habs. He observed the club is pressed for cap space this summer. However, they could have room next summer if general manager Kent Hughes is interested in pursuing Dubois. He could also attempt to sign Calgary Flames winger Jonathan Huberdeau if he tests the UFA market next summer.

COULD THE PENGUINS MOVE ANOTHER DEFENSEMAN?

PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE: Mike DeFabo recently observed the Penguins still have nine defensemen after swapping John Marino for Ty Smith and Mike Matheson for Jeff Petry. Asked if trading another defenseman was in the cards, GM Ron Hextall replied, “not necessarily.”

Nevertheless, DeFabo speculates on how Hextall could address the issue. Much will depend on how young blueliners like Smith and Pierre-Olivier Joseph perform in the upcoming season. One of them could get traded at some point in the season.

Other options include moving Marcus Pettersson in a cost-cutting move, shopping Brian Dumoulin before his contract expires at the end of the coming season, or giving a depth blueliner such as Chad Ruhwedel or Mark Friedman a chance with another team.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Hextall might not be done tinkering with his defense corps. However, his recent acquisition of Petry and Smith could be the only moves he makes with his blueline for the offseason. He could wait until training camp or preseason or perhaps into the early weeks of the coming season to evaluate his defensemen before deciding if other moves are required.










NHL Rumor Mill – May 20, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – May 20, 2022

John Klingberg’s hope to re-sign with the Stars plus some recent Penguins speculation in today’s NHL rumor roundup.

WILL KLINGBERG & THE STARS REACH AN AGREEMENT ON AN EXTENSION?

THE DALLAS MORNING NEWS: Matthew DeFranks reported John Klingberg and Stars general manager Jim Nill have left the door open for his return with the club. The 29-year-old defenseman is slated to become an unrestricted free agent this summer.

Dallas Stars defenseman John Klingberg (NHL Images).

On Tuesday, Klingberg said he’s always wanted to stay in Dallas and his side is trying to come up with ways to get it done. Nill said both sides know where they sit and he intends to remain in touch.

DeFranks observed both sides have been at an impasse this season, prompting Klingberg to publicly express his frustration in January and sparking trade speculation. The Stars are burdened by expensive, long-term contracts for aging stars Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin. They don’t want to get locked into another deal with a long term and a high cap hit. Klingberg, however, seeks the security of a long-term deal.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Klingberg turns 30 this summer, meaning the Stars probably aren’t interested in anything over four years. Cap Friendly indicates they also have almost $18 million tied up in three defensemen in Miro Heiskanen, Esa Lindell and Ryan Suter.

Last November, Sportsnet’s Jeff Marek reported Klingberg was believed to be seeking between $7.75 million and $8.5 million. Unless he’s willing to accept a four-year deal worth around $6 million per season, he’ll likely hit the open market on July 13.

The Stars also have other contracts to sort out. Goaltender Jake Oettinger and winger Jason Robertson are due for significant raises coming off their entry-level deals. Winger Denis Gurianov is a restricted free agent with arbitration rights. They’ll also need a reliable backup for Oettinger with Braden Holtby and Scott Wedgewood due for UFA status this summer.

LATEST ON THE PENGUINS

TRIBLIVE.COM: Chris Adamski wondered if the Pittsburgh Penguins will bring back Kaspari Kapanen after he struggled throughout this season. The 25-year-old winger is slated to become a restricted free agent this summer with arbitration rights.

Adamski also reports Rickard Rakell would be interested in returning with the Penguins. The 29-year-old winger is due to become a UFA in July. He didn’t wow anyone statistically during his brief period with the Penguins following a late-season trade from the Anaheim Ducks. However, he showed enough to suggest he could be a top-six winger capable of establishing chemistry with Sidney Crosby or Evgeni Malkin.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kapanen was a speedy, promising (if inconsistent) winger during his two full seasons with the Toronto Maple Leafs. He showed some potential in 2020-21 with 30 points in 40 games but managed just 32 points in 79 games this season. The Penguins could try to trade him as he doesn’t seem a good fit in head coach Mike Sullivan’s system.

The Penguins’ management could have an interest in bringing back Rakell. However, that’s going to depend upon what he’s seeking on his next contract and what happens with franchise stars Malkin and Kris Letang, who are also eligible for UFA status this summer.

PITTSBURGH HOCKEY NOW: Dan Kingerski looked at several Penguins who could get shopped this summer if there’s a need to shed salary for other moves or signings. Jason Zucker, Marcus Pettersson and Mike Matheson were among the most notable given their salaries. John Marino, Brian Dumoulin, Teddy Blueger and Brock McGinn were also listed.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Zucker, Pettersson and Matheson have frequently surfaced in the Penguins’ rumor mill as cost-cutting candidates. Zucker’s injury history and $5.5 million cap hit will make him tough to move. Pettersson’s inconsistent play and $4.025 million cap hit are also problematic. Matheson’s play improved this season but the four years at $4.875 million per season could be a sticking point.

Injuries have also become an issue for Dumoulin. Marino was seen as a promising top-four defenseman but his stock seemed to tumble this season. Blueger and McGinn each earn less than $3 million.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – May 6, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – May 6, 2022

The Avalanche take a 2-0 series lead over the Predators while the Panthers, Rangers and Stars even their respective series at a game apiece. Check out the details and other news in the NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: An overtime goal by Cale Makar lifted the Colorado Avalanche over the Nashville Predators 2-1 to give them a 2-0 lead in their best-of-seven opening-round series. Nathan MacKinnon opened the scoring for the Avalanche while Yakov Trenin replied for Nashville. Predators goalie Connor Ingram made 49 saves.

Colorado Avalanche defenseman Cale Makar (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: If not for Ingram this could’ve been another blowout loss for the Predators. They must get their offense going as the series shifts to Nashville for Games 3 and 4 or risk getting swept by the powerful Avalanche.

The Florida Panthers evened their first-round series with the Washington Capitals at a game apiece with a 5-1 victory. They got three unanswered second-period goals by Mason Marchment, Anton Lundell and Carter Verhaeghe while Sergei Bobrovsky made 26 saves for the win. Capitals netminder Vitek Vanecek got the hook after giving up five goals on 19 shots.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The suffocating defense that worked so well for the Capitals in Game 1 vanished in this contest. They also missed rugged winger Tom Wilson as he was sidelined by a lower-body injury. All five Panthers’ goals came at even strength. This series shifts to Washington for the next two games.

New York Rangers forwards Artemi Panarin and Frank Vatrano each had a goal and two assists to beat the Pittsburgh Penguins 5-2, squaring their opening-round series at one game apiece. Igor Shesterkin kicked out 39 shots for the win. Sidney Crosby had a goal and an assist for the Penguins as this series heads to Pittsburgh for the next two contests.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Penguins need more from their secondary scorers. Almost all their goals in this series have come from the Crosby line. Meanwhile, Penguins defenseman Brian Dumoulin missed Game 2 with a lower-body injury. Rangers winger Barclay Goodrow and defenseman Ryan Lindgren were also sidelined by injuries. Goodrow (lower body) is listed as week-to-week.

The Dallas Stars got a 29-save shutout from Jake Oettinger to blank the Calgary Flames 2-0, tying their first-round series 1-1. Joe Pavelski and Michael Raffl were the goal scorers. Flames netminder Jacob Markstrom stopped 21 shots.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: A big win for the Stars thanks to young Oettinger’s goaltending. He’s tied with Markstrom for the best goals-against average (0.50) thus far among postseason netminders.

HEADLINES

TSN: Boston Bruins forward Brad Marchand was fined $5,000.00 for slashing Carolina Hurricanes goalie Pyotr Kochetkov in Game 2 of the first-round series on Wednesday. Marchand’s teammate Derek Forbort also received a $5,000.00 fine for high-sticking Hurricanes winger Teuvo Teravainen.

SPORTSNET: Speaking of the Bruins, defenseman Hampus Lindholm has been ruled out of Game 3 on Friday. The club also confirmed Jeremy Swayman will get the start in that game.

THE NEWS & OBSERVER: Speaking of the Hurricanes, goaltender Antti Raanta skated with his teammates today but his status for Game 3 is uncertain. He left Game 2 after being shaken up in a collision with Bruins winger David Pastrnak.

THE SCORE: Hurricanes head coach Rod Brind’Amour believes the Bruins are deliberately targeting his goaltenders. “It can’t get any more obvious,” he told reporters following Game 2.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: NHL headquarters could issue a warning to both clubs about running goalies. Brind’Amour could also get a call about his comments.

NHL.COM: Center Shane Wright of the OHL’s Kingston Frontenacs is the No. 1 prospect among North American skaters according to NHL Central Scouting’s final rankings of this year’s top prospects. Left winger Jural Slafkovsky of TPS in Finland is the top European skater.

NORTHJERSEY.COM: The New Jersey Devils confirmed Lindy Ruff will return next season as head coach. The announcement comes a day after they announced they were parting ways with assistant coaches Mark Recchi and Alain Nasreddine.

PHILLY.COM: The Flyers have added Sami Kapanen and Kyle Shero to their scouting department.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 28, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 28, 2021

The Canucks beat the Senators, the Predators edge the Blackhawks, Jim Rutherford steps down as Penguins GM, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: The Vancouver Canucks defeated the Ottawa Senators 5-1 thanks to a 42-save performance by goaltender Thatcher Demko. J.T. Miller and Tyler Motte each scored twice as the Canucks broke a 1-1 tie with a three-goal outburst in the second period. The Senators also lost defenseman Christian Wolanin to a lower-body injury.

Vancouver Canucks goaltender Thatcher Demko (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Canucks were outshot 23-7 in the first period. The outcome of this game would’ve been very different if not for Demko.

Matt Duchene scored the deciding goal in a shootout as the Nashville Predators nipped the Chicago Blackhawks 2-1. Blackhawks goaltender Kevin Lankinen kicked out 41 shots. Earlier in the day, Lucas Wallmark became the third Hawks player added to their COVID-19 list this week.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Blackhawk are without Jonathan Toews, Alex DeBrincat, Kirby Dach and Adam Boqvist yet they’ve managed to pick up at least one point in their last five games. Lankinen’s been a major factor in that streak, going 2-0-2 with a 2.18 goals-against average and .931 save percentage.

TRIBLIVE.COM: Jim Rutherford stunned the hockey world yesterday by announcing he was stepping down as general manager of the Pittsburgh Penguins. Assistant GM Patrik Allvin has taken over from Rutherford on an interim basis as the club begins its search for a permanent replacement.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Under Rutherford, the Penguins became the first team to win consecutive Stanley Cups (2016 and 2017) since the 1998 Detroit Red Wings. A savvy wheeler-dealer, he was never afraid to make bold moves to bolster his roster as he saw fit.

Rutherford and the Penguins denied his decision was health-related or that he was retiring from the game. Nevertheless, some pundits found the timing of this move surprising and curious. It comes just seven games into this season when he has just months remaining on his contract, sparking some speculation perhaps it was less amicable than we’re being led to believe.

Shortly before Rutherford’s announcement, the Penguins revealed they signed free-agent defenseman Yannick Weber to a one-year, $700K contract.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: A rash of injuries has walloped the Penguins defense corps, with Brian Dumoulin the latest to be sidelined. That made them the subject of recent trade chatter. The Weber signing is an inexpensive short-term move to add some veteran depth.

LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL: The Golden Knights placed defenseman Brayden McNabb on injured reserve with an undisclosed injury.

NBC SPORTS BAY AREA: The San Jose Sharks yesterday announced they’ll be returning to SAP Center in San Jose on Feb. 13 for their scheduled home game against the Anaheim Ducks. The Sharks have been playing home games in Arizona this season because of restrictions against team sports in Santa Clara County. That restriction was recently amended after the state of California lifted its’ stay-at-home order.

The Sharks also pulled off a rare three-team trade yesterday. They shipped defenseman Trevor Carrick to the Anaheim Ducks for forward Jack Kopacka, then sent Kopacka and a seventh-round pick in 2022 to the Ottawa Senators for defenseman Christian Jaros.

THE SCORE: cites a report in Sports Business Journal indicating the NHL has borrowed $1 billion US to divide among its 31 teams to address revenue shortfalls occurring from COVID-19 restrictions.










NHL Rumor Mill – September 26, 2020

NHL Rumor Mill – September 26, 2020

The latest on Patrik Laine and Marc-Andre Fleury plus an update on the Coyotes and Penguins in today’s NHL rumor mill.

WHAT WOULD IT COST TO ACQUIRE LAINE?

SPORTSNET: In a recent mailbag segment, Ken Wiebe was asked about the trade speculation surrounding Patrik Laine. He isn’t ignoring the possibility of the 22-year-old Winnipeg Jets winger getting traded However, he considers it a long shot unless general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff gets blown away by an offer.

What could the Winnipeg Jets get if they trade Patrick Laine? (NHL Images)

Wiebe said the Jets would like to re-sign Laine, who’s a restricted free agent next summer with arbitration rights. However, the flattened salary cap will affect those negotiations. Laine could command as much (or more) than captain Blake Wheeler’s $8.25 million annual average value if he takes another step forward in his development next season. If common ground can’t be reached, the trade talks could heat up next summer.

THE SCORE: Matt Teague and Brandon Maron listed the Colorado Avalanche, Carolina Hurricanes, Columbus Blue Jackets, New Jersey Devils and Minnesota Wild as five possible trade destinations for Laine.

From the Avs, they suggested a return of defensemen Ryan Graves or Nikita Zadorov, blueline prospect Connor Timmons and center Tyson Jost. From the Hurricanes, Vincent Trocheck and Brett Pesce. From the Blue Jackets, defenseman David Savard, winger Josh Anderson, and a 2021 third-round pick. From the Devils, defenseman Damon Severson, forward Pavel Zacha, and Vancouver’s 2020 first-round pick. From the Wild, defenseman Matt Dumba, center Joel Eriksson Ek, and the conditional 2021 first-round pick from Pittsburgh.

MONTREAL GAZETTE: Pat Hickey believes the Canadiens are in a position to make an attractive pitch. He suggests offering up Max Domi, defenseman Brett Kulak and either Cale Fleury or Noah Juulsen, and the Canadiens’ first-round pick (16th overall).

THE ATHLETIC (subscription required): Eric Duhatschek believes the Jackets would have to part with Seth Jones or Zach Werenski to acquire Laine, which he doesn’t see them going. He feels Hurricanes blueliner Pesce would be more attractive to the Jets than Dougie Hamilton, who’s a year away from UFA eligibility. Laine to Minnesota for Dumba also makes some sense, though the Wild’s biggest need is at center.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That sound you’re hearing is most Jets fans panning those proposed deals. Justifiably so. The return for Laine would have to be significant, which those suggested returns are not. However, those proposals also illustrate the difficulty Cheveldayoff could face getting a quality package for Laine. As talented as the young winger is, and as much upside as he has, getting equal or greater value won’t be easy.

When the Laine rumors first surfaced earlier this month, one Winnipeg sportswriter said the return better be someone of the equivalent of Buffalo’s Jack Eichel. I agree with the sentiment, but the reality is that type of return is rarely received in trades involving stars like Laine.

Hanging over all this, of course, is Laine’s contract status at the end of 2020-21. If Cheveldayoff doesn’t believe he can afford to re-sign the winger, perhaps he’ll feel it’s best to move him now instead of having contract talks become an unnecessary distraction over the course of next season.

FLEURY PREFERS STAYING IN VEGAS

THE SCORE: Sean O’Leary cites The Athletic’s Jesse Granger reporting Marc-Andre Fleury prefers staying with the Vegas Golden Knights. The 36-year-old goaltender said he’s loved the city and the team from the moment he arrived. It’s believed the Golden Knights could re-sign Robin Lehner, making Fleury potentially expendable. He said he gets along fine with Lehner and is open to splitting the goaltending duties with him.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Golden Knights only have $4.94 million in salary-cap space for 2020-21. They’ll need more than that to re-sign Lehner. They’ll have to shed salary and Fleury would be the most likely trade candidate. Moving his $7 million annual average value over the next two seasons won’t be easy, but it could be done by perhaps retaining a portion of it.

LATEST COYOTES RUMORS

ARIZONA COYOTES INSIDER: Craig Morgan reports it’s not a certainty the Coyotes will trade goaltender Darcy Kuemper. Before the hiring of general manager Bill Armstrong, it was believed the asking price for Kuemper was a first-round pick. However, it appears they now want more than that. If the Coyotes cannot maximize the return on an asset like Kuemper, Morgan feels they should hang onto him.

Morgan also noted Niklas Hjalmarsson won’t waive his no-movement clause. While we have to wait-and-see on Oliver Ekman-Larsson, Morgan senses the blueliner’s camp is open to a change of scenery.

Center Derek Stepan and defensemen Jason Demers could be attractive to rival clubs. In addition to goalie Antti Raanta, Morgan suggests keeping an eye on forward Michael Grabner and defenseman Alex Goligoski. He cites sources indicating Calgary, Edmonton, Montreal, Ottawa, Winnipeg, Buffalo, Detroit and Los Angeles are among his eight-team no-trade list.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Ekman-Larsson has a full no-movement clause and reportedly loves living in Arizona. Nevertheless, it’s noteworthy that he could be open to a trade, though I daresay it’ll be a short list made up of playoff or Stanley Cup contenders.

UPDATE ON THE PENGUINS

TRIBLIVE.COM: Jonathan Bombulie reports Pittsburgh Penguins GM Jim Rutherford said he’s not interested in trading Brian Dumoulin or Marcus Pettersson. He expects recently acquired defenseman Mike Matheson will play on the left side. Rutherford also said Jack Johnson will have to compete for the sixth defenseman’s role, and he doesn’t plan to be active in the free-agent market.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: If Johnson doesn’t nail down that role he could be shopped or demoted, with the latter the most likely option.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 2, 2020

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 2, 2020

Four more members of the Senators test positive for COVID-19, plus the latest on Jack Eichel, Jeff Skinner and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

OTTAWA SUN: Three more Senators’ players and one staff member tested positive for COVID-19, bringing the total to seven people aboard the club’s charter flight that returned from their California road trip on March 12. The club indicated the five players and the staff member have all recovered. Broadcaster Gord Wilson confirmed a positive test on Friday.

League deputy commissioner Bill Daly said there aren’t any plans to test the entire Senators team. “Everyone who had symptoms was tested,” Daly said.”There really is no reason to test anyone else. No one is symptomatic and no one is sick and they all have been in self-quarantine for three weeks.”

Buffalo Sabres captain Jack Eichel (Photo via NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Senators have been hardest hit among the 31 NHL teams by this pandemic. Fortunately, it seems they suffered mild symptoms and most recovered quickly.

THE BUFFALO NEWS: Sabres captain Jack Eichel is partnering with hockey manufacturing company Bauer to donate 5,000 protective shields to Buffalo area hospitals. Teammate Jeff Skinner, meanwhile, is donating $53,000 to a fund created by Pegula Sports and Entertainment to help frontline health care workers and others affected by the coronavirus in Western New York.

TRIBLIVE.COM: Pittsburgh Penguins defensemen Brian Dumoulin and John Marino will be ready to go if the NHL season resumes. Dumoulin underwent surgery in December to repair lacerated ankle tendons. Marino missed five games in March before the schedule was paused recovered from broken facial bones.

THE SCORE: Minnesota Wild general manager Bill Guerin said he won’t be interviewing coaching candidates during the NHL’s schedule hiatus. He’s happy thus far with the work of Dean Evason, who took over as head coach in mid-February on an interim basis after Bruce Boudreau was fired. The Wild are 8-4-0 under Evason.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Wild are one point out of a wild-card berth in the Western Conference. Guerin sounds like he wants to continue evaluating Evason before deciding if he’ll keep him on the job or seek a full-time replacement.

THE DETROIT NEWS: The play of Jonathan Bernier, Tyler Bertuzzi, and Robby Fabbri was among the pleasant surprises in an otherwise disappointing season for the Red Wings.

THE HOCKEY NEWS: The ECHL and Professional Hockey Players’ Association announced a relief fund to help the league’s players and their families left without salaries following the cancellation of the season.