NHL Rumor Mill – November 2, 2021

NHL Rumor Mill – November 2, 2021

Are the Golden Knights any closer to a deal with the Sabres for Jack Eichel? What could it cost the Flames to acquire him? Read on the latest in today’s NHL rumor mill.

THE JEFF MAREK SHOW: Elliotte Friedman spoke to Marek on Monday about the latest developments in trade talks between the Vegas Golden Knights and Buffalo Sabres regarding a possible deal for Jack Eichel.

Talks got “pretty hot” last week but then cooled. Friedman believes both sides know where they stand and what the issues are. If the Sabres aren’t going to retain any portion of Eichel’s salary, they’ll need to find a third team to help facilitate the deal. That might not be easy as you’d be asking that third team to absorb part of Eichel’s cap hit for the next five years. He wondered what that’s worth to that club.

Friedman also said the talk of Eichel filing a grievance got pushed off last week. However, he’s not sure where that stands right now.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: A deal involving a third team perhaps would’ve been done by now if Eichel only had a year or two left on his contract. Asking a club to pick up part of his $10 million annual cap hit for five years is another matter. That’s going to require more than just a first-round pick or a top prospect. It could cost a good young NHL player to be a sufficient sweetener.

Calgary Flames center Sean Monahan (NHL Images).

 THE BUFFALO NEWS: Mike Harrington also noted the Sabres’ unwillingness to retain part of Eichel’s cap hit. Pointing out the growing number of Golden Knights players sidelined by injury (Max Pacioretty, Mark Stone, Alex Tuch and William Karlsson), they could use long-term injury reserve to free up cap space for Eichel this season. However, they’ll have to become cap compliant when those players and Eichel return to the lineup later in the season.

Harrington speculates Sabres general manager Kevyn Adams could be contemplating multiple deals. He pointed to NHL Network analyst Kevin Weekes saying not to sleep on the Calgary Flames as a suitor. The Flames lack depth in prospects compared to the Golden Knights, Anaheim Ducks and Los Angeles Kings but the Sabres’ strong start to this season could have Adams seeking more immediate help for his roster.

Flames winger Matthew Tkachuk is probably not in play. Harrington wonders if Elias Lindholm or Sean Monahan might be available. He also noted Flames VP of hockey operations Don Maloney was spotted at the Sabres’ recent games against the Ducks and Kings.

Harrington observes Adams isn’t under any pressure to move Eichel during the season until the center’s no-movement clause kicks in next July. Eichel could file a grievance but it’s not certain he’d win that with the Sabres’ position on his medical treatment supported by the NHL’s collective bargaining agreement.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Time is on the Sabres side for now. That won’t be the case if we get to July and no deal has been found for Eichel. The 25-year-old center will then have more leverage over where he could be traded, though by that point he might not be too picky over where he goes.

THE ATHLETIC: In a recent mailbag segment, Hailey Salvian was asked what assets she would give up if she were the Flames general manager. She considers Tkachuk and Andrew Mangiapane as untouchable. Johnny Gaudreau, Noah Hanifin and Rasmus Andersson are likely “aged out” for the Sabres plus Gaudreau’s a pending UFA.

Salvian suggested Matthew Coronato, Connor Zary, Jakob Pelletier, Dillon Dube, Juuso Valimaki and future first-round selections as potential tradeable assets for Eichel. Finding sufficient cap space for Eichel means shedding salary. She wondered if the Sabres would take Monahan as part of the return. Her proposed offer would be Monahan, Zary, Pelletier, a 2022 first-round pick and perhaps a prospect as a sweetener for accepting Monahan in the deal.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Complicating all this, of course, is how to shed sufficient salary to make this work. Cap Friendly shows the Flames just over $1 million in cap space for this season. Putting Monahan and his $6.375 million AAV in the deal certainly helps but they’ll need to include another salaried player or two or conduct a separate cost-cutting swap with another club. They could try packaging Monahan, Dube and Valimaki (combined $10.225 million) for Eichel but that risks depleting their roster depth.

Monahan, by the way, has a 10-team no-trade clause and might not be keen to join the Sabres. Lindholm ($4.85 million) lacks no-trade protection but the Flames would have to move even more salary in that scenario to make room for Eichel.

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 24, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 24, 2021

Check out the recaps from a busy Saturday night in the NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: David Perron tallied a hat trick to lead the St. Louis Blues to a 7-3 win over the Los Angeles Kings. Torey Krug collected three assists for the Blues. Kings captain Anze Kopitar was held scoreless for the first time in five games.

St. Louis Blues winger David Perron (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Kings were without defenseman Drew Doughty, who was sidelined by a knee injury following a collision with Dallas Stars blueline Janne Hakanpaa on Friday. Doughty avoided ligament damage but he’s not expected to return to the lineup anytime soon.

The Vancouver Canucks’ 4-2 victory over the Seattle Kraken spoiled the latter’s first home-opener in franchise history. Conor Garland snapped a 2-2 tie with the game-winner late in the third period. Canucks captain Bo Horvat tallied twice and Thatcher Demko made 29 saves for the win. Defensemen Vince Dunn and Mark Giordano tallied for the Kraken, who’ve won just once (1-4-1) in six games.

A four-goal second period carried the Pittsburgh Penguins to a 7-1 drubbing of the Toronto Maple Leafs. Defenseman Marcus Pettersson had a goal and two assists, forward Drew O’Connor tallied twice and goalie Tristan Jarry kicked out 28 shots. Earlier in the day, the Penguins announced defenseman Kris Letang was placed in COVID protocol.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Penguins were without Letang, Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, Bryan Rust and Jeff Carter. That didn’t unnoticed in restless Leafs Nation as their club put up a feeble effort against their depleted opponent.

Calgary Flames forward Elias Lindholm’s game-winner completed his hat trick in his club’s 4-3 overtime victory over the Washington Capitals, who overcame a 3-0 deficit with three unanswered third-period goals to force the extra frame. Alex Ovechkin’s game-tying goal was the 735th of his career, putting him within six of Brett Hull (741) for fourth place on the all-time list.

The Montreal Canadiens picked up their first win of the season (1-5-0) by thumping the Detroit Red Wings 6-1. Mathieu Perreault had a hat trick, Jake Allen made 26 saves and Jonathan Drouin, Christian Dvorak, Ben Chiarot and Sami Niku each collected two points. Filip Hronek, the Wings’ top defenseman last season, was a healthy scratch from this contest.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Wings were playing without leading scorer Tyler Bertuzzi, whose decision not to be vaccinated for COVID-19 prevents him from traveling to Canada for road games. They missed his production against Montreal and in their 3-0 shutout loss to Calgary on Thursday. Bertuzzi is now reportedly the only unvaccinated player in the league.

Jonathan Huberdeau scored twice and added an assist as the Florida Panthers doubled up the Philadelphia Flyers 4-2. The Panthers are 5-0-0 to start this season and are jockeying with the Edmonton Oilers (5-0-0) for first place in the overall standings. Flyers defenseman Ryan Ellis missed this game with an undisclosed injury and is listed as day-to-day.

The Minnesota Wild remains unbeaten (4-0-0) following a 4-3 overtime victory over the Anaheim Ducks. Ryan Hartman netted the game-winner for the Wild. Rickard Rakell scored twice for the Ducks.

A two-goal performance by Vincent Trocheck helped the Carolina Hurricanes defeat the Columbus Blue Jackets 5-1. Andrei Svechnikov and Jordan Staal each had two points for the Hurricanes, extending their record to 4-0-0.

The Colorado Avalanche snapped a three-game skid by nipping the Tampa Bay Lightning 4-3 on shootout goals by Gabriel Landeskog and Cale Makar. Nathan MacKinnon had a goal and two assists for the Avs.

A 26-save shutout performance by Ilya Sorokin backstopped the New York Islanders to a 3-0 blanking of the Arizona Coyotes. Brock Nelson had a goal and an assist. The Coyotes are still seeking their first win of the season (0-4-1).

Paul Stastny scored twice and Nate Schmidt collected three assists as the Winnipeg Jets held off the Nashville Predators 6-4. Nick Cousins and Thomas Novak each had three points for the Predators, who drop to 1-4-0 to start the season. The Jets, meanwhile, move to 2-2-1.

Third-period goals by Chris Kreider, Ryan Lindgren and Barclay Goodrow rallied the New York Rangers over the Ottawa Senators 3-2. Matt Murray left the game following Kreider’s goal after the Rangers’ winger accidentally collided with the Senators goaltender. Ottawa also played without center Shane Pinto, who will miss at least two weeks with a shoulder injury.

An overtime goal by Pavel Zacha lifted the New Jersey Devils over the Buffalo Sabres 2-1. Devils rookie goalie Nico Daws won his NHL debut with a 24-save performance. Nico Hischier also scored for the Devils. New Jersey netminder Mackenzie Blackwood is now reportedly vaccinated for COVID-19, allowing him to travel to Canada with his teammates for their first Canadian road trip in December.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Being fully vaccinated would also allow Blackwood to play for Team Canada in the 2022 Winter Olympics if he is chosen as one of their three goaltenders. He’s reportedly among their long list of six potential candidates.

NBC SPORTS CHICAGO: The Blackhawks placed Patrick Kane, Ryan Carpenter and Erik Gustafsson in COVID protocol on Saturday morning.

NHL.COM: Vegas Golden Knights defenseman Zach Whitecloud is week-to-week with an upper-body injury suffered during a 5-3 loss to the Edmonton Oilers on Friday.