NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 22, 2023

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 22, 2023

The Kraken avoid arbitration with Vince Dunn while the Leafs and Ilya Samsonov await an arbiter’s decision. Details and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.

THE SEATTLE TIMES: The Kraken avoided arbitration with Vince Dunn by signing the defenseman to a four-year contract with an average annual value of $7.35 million.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Dunn was coming off a two-year contract with an AAV of $4 million. He earned that pay raise by becoming the Kraken’s best puck-moving defenseman, tallying 35 points during their inaugural season in 2021-22 and a career-best 64 points in 81 games.

Seattle Kraken defenseman Vince Dunn (NHL Images).

The term is reasonable for both sides. It’s not overly long for the Kraken while Dunn gets an opportunity at unrestricted free agency at age 30 when he’s still in his prime.

TORONTO SUN: The Maple Leafs and Ilya Samsonov failed to reach an agreement on a contract and went into arbitration yesterday. The mediator has until Sunday to decide between Samsonov’s ask of $4.9 million on a one-year deal or the Leafs’ $2.6 million. Whatever the outcome, Samsonov will only get a one-year contract.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Going into this process could lead to Samsonov’s departure as an unrestricted free agent next summer regardless of whether the 26-year-old goaltender gets what he wants for a salary. Arbitration is a bruising process for a player’s ego. It’s rare that a player who went through it ends up signing a long-term deal with his club.

CAP FRIENDLY: Only eight players have arbitration hearings upcoming. The most notable are Boston Bruins goalie Jeremy Swayman (July 30), Anaheim Ducks winger Troy Terry (Aug. 2) and Minnesota Wild netminder Filip Gustavsson (Aug. 4).

Samsonov and Chicago’s Philipp Kurashev have gone before an arbiter with the latter’s result expected on Saturday. Most of the others (such as Dunn) have settled before their hearings.

NYI HOCKEY NOW: Despite a difficult transition last season from the Vancouver Canucks to the Islanders (especially after linemate Mathew Barzal was sidelined), Bo Horvat is looking forward to his first full season on Long Island.

Horvat said he likes the pressure and intensity of playing for passionate fans on Long Island. “You want to be in a market where they care about the game, and they care about the team, and that’s where I am right now.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The piece also noted that Horvat will face considerable pressure in the first season of his eight-year, $68 million contract. A full season playing alongside a healthy Barzal should result in a productive performance for the 28-year-old center in 2023-24. That could prove crucial for the Isles’ playoff hopes this season.

NHL.COM: Long-time league executive Brian O’Neill passed away at age 94. Hired in 1966-67 as director of administration. O’Neill oversaw the NHL’s expansion from six to 12 teams in 1967. He was named executive director four years later, overseeing the NHL draft, several expansions and regular season and playoff schedules before retiring from that position in 1992.

O’Neill was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame as a builder in 1994 and served as an advisor, including helping with the operation of the NHL’s Player Emergency Assistance Fund.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: My condolences to O’Neill’s family, friends and colleagues.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 6, 2023

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 6, 2023

Jeremy Swayman, Troy Terry and Vince Dunn are among 22 players filing for arbitration, Vladimir Tarasenko changes agents, Alain Vigneault, Patric Hornqvist, Darren Helm and Michael Stone retire, and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.

NHLPA.COM: Boston Bruins goaltender Jeremy Swayman, Anaheim Ducks winger Troy Terry and Seattle Kraken defenseman Vince Dunn are among 22 players who filed for salary arbitration by the 5 pm ET deadline on July 5.

The deadline for club-elected salary arbitration notification is 5 pm ET on July 6.

The salary arbitration period begins on July 20 and ends on Aug. 4. A schedule for those hearings will be released shortly.

Here is the complete list of players who filed for arbitration:

Morgan Barron (Winnipeg Jets)
Will Borgen (Seattle Kraken)
Noah Cates (Philadelphia Flyers)
Ross Colton (Colorado Avalanche)
Brandon Duhaime (Minnesota Wild)
Vince Dunn (Seattle Kraken)
Cale Fleury (Seattle Kraken)
Trent Frederic (Boston Bruins)
Filip Gustavsson (Minnesota Wild)
Brett Howden (Vegas Golden Knights)
Tanner Jeannot (Tampa Bay Lightning)
Philipp Kurashev (Chicago Blackhawks)
Jack McBain (Arizona Coyotes)
Ryan McLeod (Edmonton Oilers)
Ian Mitchell (Boston Bruins)
Drew O’Connor (Pittsburgh Penguins)
Ilya Samsonov (Toronto Maple Leafs)
Brandon Scanlin (New York Rangers)
Jeremy Swayman (Boston Bruins)
Troy Terry (Anaheim Ducks)
Alexei Toropchenko (St. Louis Blues)
Gabriel Vilardi (Winnipeg Jets)

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’ll be surprising if any of these filings end up going to arbitration. Players and teams usually file to use their dates with an arbiter as a deadline to complete their contract negotiations. It’s expected that all of them will agree to new contracts before their scheduled hearings.

SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman yesterday reported that Vladimir Tarasenko has replaced agent Paul Theofanus with agents Pat Brisson and J.P. Barry. This means the unrestricted free-agent winger has no deal yet with any team and his process of negotiation begins anew.

Vladimir Tarasenko (NHL Images).

NEW YORK POST’s Larry Brooks tweeted that Tarasenko had multiple offers of varying lengths with average annual values between $5.5 million and $6 million from teams ranging from contenders to rebuilding clubs. The Carolina Hurricanes were among those bidders. However, the 31-year-old winger rejected those offers and changed agents.

Brooks also indicated that Tarasenko had wanted to remain with the New York Rangers. However, the club lacks the cap space to make it happen.

THE ATHLETIC: Jeremy Rutherford also reports that it’s back to square one for Tarasenko as his new representatives attempt to find the right fit for the UFA winger. They’ve been reaching out to clubs, including those that previously made offers to Tarasenko.

There were reports Tarasenko was close to signing a deal with the Carolina Hurricanes before changing agents. The Hurricanes declined to comment but Rutherford indicates his new representatives have reached out to the club and are waiting for a reply.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Tarasenko remains the best player available in this summer’s thin UFA market. He’s coming off an eight-year contract with an AAV of $7.5 million.

Tarasenko will still generate plenty of interest. However, the high number of clubs with limited salary-cap space could make it difficult for him to find better offers than those he reportedly received before changing agents.

RDS: Former NHL coach Alain Vigneault has no interest in pursuing another head-coaching job. The 62-year-old remains under contract with the Philadelphia Flyers but was fired as their head coach in Dec. 2021. He now considers himself a retiree and wants to move on and enjoy his life.

Vigneault ranks 15th in NHL history for games coached (1,363) and is tenth in wins with 722. He spent 19 seasons as a head coach with the Montreal Canadiens, Vancouver Canucks, New York Rangers and the Flyers.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Vigneault won the Jack Adams Award as coach of the year in 2006-07 and guided the Canucks to the 2011 Stanley Cup Final and the Rangers to the 2014 Cup Final. He leads all Canucks coaches with 313 wins. Best wishes to Vigneault in his retirement.

FLORIDA HOCKEY NOW: Panthers winger Patric Hornqvist has announced his retirement, citing the concussions he suffered in December that ended his 2022-23 season. He spent 15 seasons in the NHL with the Nashville Predators, Pittsburgh Penguins and Florida Panthers.

In 901 games, Hornqvist tallied 264 goals and 543 points, winning back-to-back Stanley Cups with the Penguins in 2016 and 2017. He scored the Cup-clinching goal for the Penguins against the Predators in the 2017 Final.

COLORADO HOCKEY NOW: Avalanche forward Darren Helm is calling it a career after 16 NHL seasons with the Detroit Red Wings and the Avalanche. In 823 games, Helm tallied 119 goals and 266 points as a checking-line center, winning a Stanley Cup with Detroit in 2018 and with the Avs in 2022.

CALGARY SUN: Defenseman Michael Stone has announced his retirement and is joining the Flames as part of their player development team. He played 552 games and netted 145 points skating with the Arizona Coyotes and the Flames.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Best wishes to Hornqvist, Helm and Stone in their future endeavors.

WINNIPEG SUN: The Jets signed restricted free-agent defenseman Dylan Samberg to a two-year, $2.8 million contract.

DAILY FACEOFF: The Philadelphia Flyers signed defenseman Victor Mete to a one-year, two-way contract worth $775K at the NHL level.

NHL.COM: David Reinbacher signed a three-year entry-level contract with the Montreal Canadiens. The 18-year-old Austrian defenseman was chosen fifth overall by the Canadiens in the 2023 NHL Draft.

DETROIT HOCKEY NOW: The Red Wings promoted Kris Draper to assistant general manager. He will still retain his title of director of amateur scouting.










NHL Rumor Mill – May 16, 2023

NHL Rumor Mill – May 16, 2023

The latest on the Leafs and Oilers plus what’s next for the Kraken in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.

COULD THE LEAFS TRADE A CORE FORWARD?

TORONTO SUN: Terry Koshan reports Kyle Dubas said he’s open to moving one of his core players if he remains general manager of the Maple Leafs. “I would take nothing off the table at all, and I think everything would have to be considered with regard to anything to do with the Leafs,” he said.

Captain John Tavares and defenseman Morgan Rielly have full no-movement clauses. Auston Matthews and Mitch Marner have NMCs that kick in on July 1 while William Nylander has a 10-team no-trade clause that also goes into effect on July 1.

Toronto Maple Leafs winger Mitch Marner (NHL Images).

Matthews and Nylander are slated to become unrestricted free agents next summer. Matthews indicated his intent to sign a contract extension with the Leafs while Nylander is hopeful of doing so as well.

TORONTO STAR: Rosie DiManno suggested Marner as a trade candidate pointing to his postseason struggles. However, he’s coming off a 99-point performance this season and could fetch a power forward or a stalwart defenseman.

COLORADO HOCKEY NOW: cited Sportsnet’s Jeff Marek wondering if Nylander would be available. He thinks there would be a huge market for the 27-year-old winger, suggesting the Colorado Avalanche could be a fit with Gabriel Landeskog sidelined next season and uncertainty over Valeri Nichushkin’s future with the club.

THE HOCKEY NEWS: Ann Kimmel wondered if the Nashville Predators would make a deal for Nylander.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Matthews’ intent to re-sign with the Leafs and his status as their top player likely rules out any thought of trading him. That could change if Dubas is replaced as GM by someone whose vision for the Leafs doesn’t include the 25-year-old superstar but I consider that a remote possibility.

Marner could be a trade candidate but the Leafs would have to act fast to move him before July 1. I don’t rule it out but I also don’t see this as a certainty.

That leaves Nylander as the most likely trade candidate of their core forwards. Marek’s not wrong when he says there will be plenty of interest in him. He’s coming off a career-best 40-goal, 87-point performance while his career postseason points (40) are just behind Matthews (44) and Marner (47).

Nylanders’ $6.9 million cap hit for next season is affordable and his next contract will be more cost-effective compared to what Matthews and Marner currently make. His 10-team NTC for 2023-24 is an obstacle but it’s not insurmountable.

MORE SPECULATION ABOUT POSSIBLE OILERS OFFSEASON MOVES

EDMONTON JOURNAL: Jim Matheson looked at some possible offseason moves for the Oilers following their second-round exit from the 2023 postseason. He anticipates changes but they won’t be blowing things up.

Matheson noted one rumor has Ken Holland giving up the general manager’s role to let assistant GM Steve Staios take over that job. He considers that to be “debatable” given that Holland has a year left on his contract and will probably want to see this through.

Player changes could involve winger Kailer Yamamoto and maybe a defenseman like Cody Ceci or Brett Kulak.

They’ll also have to determine how much to pay puck-moving blueliner Evan Bouchard and for how long. They could ink him to a bridge deal comparable to the $4 million annually being earned by the New York Islanders’ Noah Dobson or go all-in with a seven- or eight-year deal worth $6 million annually.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Oilers only have around $5.9 million in projected cap space next season with 17 players under contract. They’ll have to shed one or two contracts to free up sufficient space for Bouchard and to fill out the rest of the roster. Yamamoto, Ceci and Kulak could become cost-cutting trade candidates.

WHAT NEXT FOR THE KRAKEN?

ESPN.COM: Ryan S. Clark looked at what the offseason could hold for the Seattle Kraken following their second-round elimination by the Dallas Stars.

Vince Dunn, Will Borgen and Morgan Geekie are restricted free agents this summer. Dunn will be the most expensive to re-sign following his career-best 64-point performance this season. Fortunately for the Kraken, they have a projected $18.5 million in cap space for 2023-24.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Dunn is coming off a two-year deal worth $4 million annually and is a year away from unrestricted free-agent eligibility. It could cost around $6.5 million per season on a long-term deal to re-sign him. Borgen and Geekie are coming off short-term deals worth under $1.5 million annually but should be affordable re-signings.

The Kraken must also decide what to do with Ryan Donato and Carson Soucy. Both are slated to become unrestricted free agents this summer.










NHL Rumor Mill – November 18, 2021

NHL Rumor Mill – November 18, 2021

A look at some options for the Islanders to replace the sidelined Ryan Pulock, possible goalie targets for the Oilers, and the latest on the Canadiens in today’s NHL rumor mill.

THE ATHLETIC: Arthur Staple examined possible options for the New York Islanders to replace sidelined defenseman Ryan Pulock, who’s out four to six weeks with a lower-body injury.

General manager Lou Lamoriello could look to within his system. He could give younger defensemen like Noah Dobson more playing time, turn to a veteran like Thomas Hickey, or call up Robin Salo.

Dallas Stars defenseman John Klingberg (NHL Images).

If Lamoriello decides to go the trade route, Staple suggested inquiring into the availability of Arizona Coyotes defenseman Jakob Chychrun or Dallas Stars blueliner John Klingberg. Less expensive options could include the Seattle Kraken’s Mark Giordano or Vince Dunn, the Montreal Canadiens’ Ben Chiarot or the St. Louis Blues’ Marco Scandella.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I don’t rule out Lamoriello pursuing a deal for a defenseman but I think he’ll look to within for the time being. Staple was merely suggesting possible trade options. There’s no indication any of those defensemen he mentioned are available.

The Coyotes aren’t moving Chychrun unless he requests a trade. They see him as a key piece in their rebuilding process. The Stars are talking contract with Klingberg and I don’t think they’ve reached the point where they’re considering a trade. I doubt the Kraken are planning to move Giordano or Dunn right now. The same goes for the Canadiens with Chiarot and the Blues with Scandella.

Anything’s possible, of course, and if Lamoriello’s willing to overpay maybe he could acquire one of those defensemen. However, I wouldn’t hold my breath waiting for one of them to be suiting up with the Isles over the next six weeks.

THE ATHLETIC: Allan Mitchell recently observed Edmonton Oilers GM Ken Holland doesn’t have a history of swinging trades this early in the season. He usually waits until the trade deadline if his club is in contention and his roster has a need to be filled.

Goaltender Mike Smith’s recent injury has given some cause for concern. Mitchell suggested the Detroit Red Wings’ Thomas Greiss, New Jersey Devils’ Jonathan Bernier, Chicago Blackhawks’ Marc-Andre Fleury and the Dallas Stars’ Anton Khudobin or Braden Holtby if the Oilers should need help between the pipes.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Some folks have already started linking Fleury to the Oilers but I’d keep an eye on the Dallas Stars. Ben Bishop has been practicing with the club for several weeks but they’re taking it slow to ensure he’s 100 percent recovered from last year’s knee surgery. They also can’t activate him off long-term injury reserve without clearing some cap space.

NHL.com’s Mike Heika speculated they could move Khudobin or Holtby though doing so could put the Stars in a bind if Bishop got hurt again. They do have promising Jake Oettinger that they could call up but they could prefer letting him spend this season with the farm team before bringing him up full time.

SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman believes the Montreal Canadiens would consider adding a puck-moving defenseman.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That’s a move that might not happen until the offseason. The Canadiens are sinking like a sunset in the standings and there’s not much available in the trade market to help them right now.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 17, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 17, 2021

Game recaps include hat tricks by Connor McDavid and Sam Bennett, a record-setting night for Penguins coach Mike Sullivan and much more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: Connor McDavid tallied his 10th career hat trick to lead the Edmonton Oilers over the Calgary Flames by a score of 5-2. Three of those hat tricks have come against the Flames. Leon Draisaitl collected three assists while Jesse Puljujarvi had a goal and two assists. The Oilers also welcomed back Zack Kassian from concussion protocol. The Flames set a dubious NHL record by losing 12 straight season-opening games.

Edmonton Oilers captain Connor McDavid (NHL Images).

A hat trick by Sam Bennett powered the Florida Panthers to a 5-1 victory over the New York Islanders. Aleksander Barkov and Anthony Duclair also tallied for the Panthers while Sergei Bobrovsky made 29 saves for the win.

Mike Sullivan became the all-time wins leader among Pittsburgh Penguins head coaches with 253 as his club rolled over the Chicago Blackhawks 5-2. Chicago goalie Marc-Andre Fleury got the hook in the first period after giving up four goals on 10 shots. Drew O’Connor and Brock McGinn each had a goal and an assist. Earlier in the day, the Penguins activated Zach Aston-Reese from COVID protocol and placed winger Bryan Rust (upper body) on injured reserve.

Steven Stamkos’ overtime goal lifted the Tampa Bay Lightning over the Washington Capitals 2-1. Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin opened the scoring in the second period with his 733rd career goal while Mikhail Sergachev tied it in the third. The Lightning’s win was overshadowed by the departure of first-line winger Nikita Kucherov midway through the third period with an apparent lower-body injury.

Boston Bruins winger Brad Marchand joined Mats Sundin and Chris Kelly as the third player in NHL history to record a team’s season-opening goal on a penalty shot in a 3-1 victory over the Dallas Stars. He also scored the insurance goal late in the third period. Stars goalie Braden Holtby made 37 saves in a losing effort.

Chris Kreider scored in his third straight game as the New York Rangers defeated the Montreal Canadiens 3-1. Alexis Lafreniere picked up the game-winner by snapping a 1-1 tie in the third period. Rangers winger Kaapo Kakko left the game in the first period with an upper-body injury. The Canadiens have dropped three straight and scored just three goals with Jonathan Drouin accounting for two of them.

St. Louis Blues winger David Perron scored twice as his club held off a late rally by the Colorado Avalanche for a 5-3 victory. The Avalanche came back from 4-1 to within a goal before Ryan O’Reilly put the game out of reach. Colorado defenseman Jack Johnson missed this contest as he was placed in COVID protocol. Before the game, the Avs honored former general manager Pierre Lacroix, who passed away in December from a COVID-related illness at age 72.

The San Jose Sharks overcame a 2-0 deficit with a shorthanded goal and two power-play markers to beat the Winnipeg Jets 4-3. Tomas Hertl and rookie Jasper Weatherby led the way for the Sharks as they each had a goal and an assist.

A 40-save effort by Thomas Greiss carried the Detroit Red Wings over the Vancouver Canucks by a score of 3-1. Greiss made 23 saves in the third period. Robby Fabbri, Filip Zadina and Sam Gagner scored for the Wings.

Frederik Andersen kicked out 38 shots as the Carolina Hurricanes held off the Nashville Predators 3-2. Andrei Svechnikov and Teuvo Teravainen scored in the third period to give the Hurricanes the win.

The Toronto Maple Leafs got a 20-save performance from Jack Campbell to beat the Ottawa Senators 3-1. Alex Kerfoot led the way with a goal and an assist. With Petr Mrazek sidelined for two weeks with a groin injury, the Leafs had to sign University of Toronto goalie Alex Bishop to a one-day contract as an emergency backup for Campbell due to salary-cap constraints. They’ll be able to call up Michael Hutchinson on Monday.

Cam Talbot made 29 saves as the Minnesota Wild held on for a 3-2 win over the Los Angeles Kings. The Wild got second-period goals from Frederick Gaudreau, Victor Rask and Ryan Hartman. Anze Kopitar got the Kings within one in the third period.

An overtime goal by Patrik Laine gave the Columbus Blue Jackets a 2-1 victory over the Seattle Kraken. Branden Tanev opened the scoring for the Kraken but Eric Robinson’s goal midway through the third period set the stage for Laine’s game-winner. The Kraken played without Vince Dunn as the defenseman was listed as day-to-day with an undisclosed ailment.

The Buffalo Sabres picked up their second-straight win by downing the Arizona Coyotes 2-1 on a shootout goal by Arttu Ruotsalainen. Andrew Ladd opened the scoring for the Coyotes in the first period while Cody Eakin replied in the second for the Sabres. Earlier in the day, the Sabres placed defenseman Henri Jokiharju (lower body) on injured reserve and claimed blueliner Christian Wolanin off waivers from the Los Angeles Kings.

SPORTSNET: The Vegas Golden Knights got some bad news as first-line left winger Max Pacioretty could be sidelined up to six weeks with a lower-body injury. Linemate Mark Stone remains day-to-day with a lower-body injury.

The Anaheim Ducks placed center Derek Grant and defenseman Greg Pateryn on waivers.

NHL.COM: Former Boston Bruins defenseman Leo Boivin passed away Saturday at age 89. He spent 19 seasons (1952-1970) in the NHL, starting his career with the Toronto Maple Leafs. Traded to the Bruins early in 1954-55, he spent nearly 12 seasons in Boston and served as their captain from 1963 to 1966. He also played for the Detroit Red Wings, Pittsburgh Penguins and Minnesota North Stars, collecting 322 points in 1,150 games. A three-time All-Star, Boivin was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1986.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: My condolences to Boivin’s family, friends and former teammates.










Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – August 8, 2021

Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – August 8, 2021

Could the Boston Bruins go shopping for a center? Which defenseman could the Islanders pursue in a trade? Check out the latest in the Sunday NHL rumor roundup.

BOSTON HOCKEY NOW: Jimmy Murphy recently reported NHL sources confirmed Bruins general manager Don Sweeney remains open to acquiring a center but the trade market has gone stale in recent days. For now, the club intends to use Charlie Coyle as their second-line center after David Krejci announced he’s returning to the Czech Republic to finish his playing career.

Are the Boston Bruins targeting Arizona Coyotes center Christian Dvorak in the trade market? (NHL Images)

Recent speculation suggests Sweeney could use winger Jake DeBrusk and defenseman Jakub Zboril as trade bait to land a center. The Bruins had serious trade discussions with the Arizona Coyotes regarding Christian Dvorak over two weeks ago but those talks hit a stalemate. There’s no indication if DeBrusk and/or Zboril were mentioned in those talks.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Murphy also noted Sweeney hinted David Krejci could return to the Bruins later this season. However, he’d have to sign before Dec. 15 to avoid passing through waivers. After that, he’d had to sign before the trade deadline but there’s no guarantee he won’t get snapped up by a rival club on the waive wire.

The Bruins are among several clubs linked to Dvorak but Coyotes GM Bill Armstrong could be reluctant to part with the 25-year-old two-way center. He might accept DeBrusk or Zboril but could want a first-round pick as part of the return. Other clubs could also out-bid the Bruins.

THE ATHLETIC: Arthur Staple recently speculated the New York Islanders could turn to the trade market to fill the gap on the left side of their defense corps after trading Nick Leddy to Detroit.

He listed Seattle’s Vince Dunn, Anaheim’s Hampus Lindholm, Chicago’s Calvin de Haan, Columbus’ Vladislav Gavrikov, Carolina’s Jake Gardiner, Nashville’s Mattias Ekholm, Anaheim’s Cam Fowler, Winnipeg’s Nathan Beaulieu and New Jersey’s Damon Severson as possible trade targets.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Dunn avoided salary arbitration with the Kraken by signing a two-year, $8 million contract soon after Staple’s piece was published. It doesn’t appear they intend to part with him. Lindholm could be available but the rebuilding Ducks could seek a couple of quality futures in return.

I don’t see the Blue Jackets parting with Gavrikov as he’s expected to fill the left-side position on their second pairing. Staple indicated Gardiner’s awaiting surgery that could sideline him for several weeks past the start of this season.

Predators GM David Poile is said to be intent on re-signing Ekholm so he’s probably not available. As Staple observed, Fowler would be expensive in both contract and assets. He also has a four-team trade list and the Islanders might not be on it. Staple also acknowledged Severson’s a right-side defenseman, which doesn’t really make him a viable solution.

Beaulieu and de Haan could be available. However, I don’t think either guy can suitably fill that second-pairing role. The Isles might have to be patient and see what develops in the trade market over the course of the season.