NHL Rumor Mill – August 16, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – August 16, 2022

What’s the latest on Jakob Chychrun? Should the Capitals trade Lars Eller? Could the Oilers reunite with Sam Gagner? Check out the latest in the NHL Rumor Mill.

LATEST ON CHYCHRUN

GOPHNX.COM: Craig Morgan reports the recent rumors linking Jakob Chychrun to the Ottawa Senators aren’t coming from the Arizona Coyotes.

Arizona Coyotes defenseman Jakob Chychrun (NHL Images).

He doesn’t doubt the 24-year-old Coyotes defenseman might like to play for the Senators. They’re an up-and-coming team and his family’s summer home is a 30-minute drive from the club’s arena in Kanata. However, Coyotes general manager Bill Armstrong’s asking price for Chychrun remains high and no team has yet stepped up with a suitable offer.

Morgan also dismisses speculation suggesting Armstrong must trade Chychrun before training camp lest the trade rumors become a distraction. It’s not in the defenseman’s nature to force the issue and Armstrong will make it clear that it won’t be a distraction.

It’s still possible that Chychrun gets moved before training camp. Nevertheless, Armstrong’s asking price won’t come down. He’s not going to sell off an undervalued asset.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: As Morgan points out, the best way for Chychrun to get traded is to play to the best of his ability this season to entice a club into meeting Armstrong’s price. It’s believed the Coyotes GM seeks a return heavy in futures including one or two first-round draft picks, a top prospect and/or a good young NHL player.

Armstrong isn’t under pressure to move Chychrun. The blueliner is signed through 2024-25 with an affordable average annual value of $4.6 million so he’s not breaking the bank for the cost-conscious Coyotes. Cap-wise, he’s the fourth-highest paid after Clayton Keller ($7.15 million), Nick Schmaltz ($5.85 million) and Andrew Ladd ($5.5 million).

Speaking of the salary cap, the Coyotes would have to get one or two salaried players in return to ensure they remain above the $61 million cap minimum for 2022-23. They currently carry a projected $62.1 million cap payroll invested in 22 roster players.

SHOULD THE CAPITALS SHOP ELLER?

WASHINGTON HOCKEY NOW: Sammi Silber reports there’s been some speculation and questions regarding a trade of Lars Eller. The 33-year-old center managed just 31 points during a season that saw him face adversity and inconsistency. He could also face a challenge for the third-line center position from promising Connor McMichael.

Eller has a season remaining on his contract with a $3.5 million salary-cap hit. The Capitals will face a cap crunch when Nicklas Backstrom and Tom Wilson come off long-term injury reserve later this season.

Silber, however, believes the Capitals should be patient, cautioning against trading Eller too soon. He remains an experienced defensive forward, especially on the penalty kill, a role McMichael has yet to take on in the NHL.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Capitals have the cap flexibility to start the season with Eller in the lineup. Maybe his role changes over the course of the season if McMichael successfully challenges him for the third-line center role. Otherwise, it would be best to see how things unfold over the course of the coming season.

COULD THE OILERS REUNITE WITH GAGNER

EDMONTON JOURNAL: Kurt Leavins reports the Oilers could be interested in bringing back Sam Gagner for a third tenure. The 33-year-old free agent put up a respectable 31 points with the rebuilding Detroit Red Wings playing as a right win last season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Leavins believes Gagner is among several veteran free agent wingers that Oilers GM Ken Holland could be looking at. He could be a more affordable option plus he’d probably fit in well there. Gagner is coming off a one-year, $850K contract with the Wings.










Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – July 17, 2022

Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – July 17, 2022

Did the Flyers attempt to move James van Riemsdyk in a cost-cutting trade? Will the Rangers have sufficient cap space to get into the playoff rental market at the 2023 trade deadline? Could Lars Eller become the odd man out in Washington? Find out in the Sunday NHL rumor roundup.

WGR 550: cited Daily Faceoff’s Frank Seravalli discussing the Philadelphia Flyers’ attempt to shed salary last week by shopping James van Riemsdyk. The 33-year-old winger has a year remaining on his contract with an annual cap hit of $7 million.

Philadelphia Flyers winger James van Riemsdyk (NHL Images).

Seravalli believes the Flyers were attempting to make some room to take a run at signing Johnny Gaudreau, who subsequently ended up with the Columbus Blue Jackets. He felt there were five or six teams (including the Buffalo Sabres, Arizona Coyotes, Chicago Blackhawks and Detroit Red Wings) asking for a significant piece to be included with van Riemsdyk, such as a first-round pick. In the end, the Flyers decided against it.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: There was talk leading up to the recent NHL draft that the Flyers were trying to move van Riemsdyk. With almost all the top talent now gone from the free agent market, it seems unlikely they’ll be trying to clear the veteran winger to make room for a significant addition this summer.

Keep an eye on van Riemsdyk during the upcoming season. The Flyers could attempt to move him at the trade deadline if they’re out of the playoff chase by then.

NEW YORK POST: Larry Brooks believes the next challenge for Rangers general manager Chris Drury is ensuring he accrues sufficient cap space over the course of 2022-23 to get into the playoff rental market at the 2023 trade deadline.

Anticipating the Rangers’ cap space at just over $2 million when the season opens, Brooks projected they would have around $9 million in accrued cap room at the trade deadline in February. If managed properly, he thinks Drury would have enough for a big-ticket rental such as Chicago Blackhawks’ winger Patrick Kane or Vancouver Canucks center J.T. Miller.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s still a long way between now and the 2023 trade deadline. Something could come up to bite more deeply into the Rangers’ accrued cap space. It will be a challenge for Drury, and every general manager on a potential playoff contender in 2023, to ensure they’ve got enough room to make additions to their rosters by the deadline in the hope of staging a deep playoff run.

WASHINGTON HOCKEY NOW: Sammi Silber reported the Capitals’ addition of Dylan Strome could create a potential logjam at center, particularly if Nicklas Backstrom returns from hip surgery at some point in the coming season.

With the club also looking at giving promising Connor McMichael a larger role, Silber speculated it could make Lars Eller the odd man out. They could try to shift him to left wing but that could also cause congestion there with Alex Ovechkin, Anthony Mantha and Marcus Johansson filling three of those spots.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Eller, 33, is due to become an unrestricted free agent next summer. He carries an affordable $3.5 million cap hit and lacks no-trade protection.










NHL Rumor Mill – April 9, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – April 9, 2022

In today’s NHL rumor mill, more speculation linking Claude Giroux to the Senators, questions about possible offseason moves by the Red Wings and Lars Eller’s future with the Capitals.

THE ATHLETIC: In a recent mailbag segment, Ian Mendes was asked if Kevin Fiala or Claude Giroux would be easier for the Ottawa Senators to obtain in the offseason. He believes it could be Giroux, as the Florida Panthers forward is slated to become an unrestricted free agent whereas the Minnesota Wild winger is a restricted free agent.

Florida Panthers forward Claude Giroux (NHL Images)

Mendes noted Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman recently reported the 34-year-old Giroux is doing some homework on the Senators and their situation in Ottawa. If the former Flyers captain can win a Stanley Cup with the Panthers, it could nudge him toward signing with his hometown club.

Fiala, meanwhile, would prove expensive to acquire via trade and to sign as he also has arbitration rights and is in line for a significant raise.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The uncertainty over the Senators’ ownership situation following the recent death of Eugene Melnyk could affect the club’s efforts to attract free-agent talent. No one knows yet whether Melnyk’s heirs will maintain control of the franchise or sell to another ownership group willing to keep the club in Ottawa.

As for Giroux, I don’t rule out the possibility of him coming home to Ottawa. Nevertheless, it’s not a certainty that’s what he wants to do or that the Senators would be interested in signing him. If the Panthers fail to win the Cup and they’re unable to re-sign Giroux, he could opt to sign with a contender for next season.

THE ATHLETIC: Max Bultman was recently asked by a reader if the entire Detroit Red Wings core had to be remade (except for Moritz Seider). He suggested Filip Hronek could be a good trade candidate if management wanted to shake things up and get a solid return. However, he could prove difficult to replace, making it more worthwhile to keep the 24-year-old defenseman unless someone’s willing to make a big offer for him.

Asked about the future of winger Filip Zadina, Bultman suggested a possible coaching change by the Wings could factor into their decision to keep or trade him. Ultimately, it comes down to their evaluation of the former first-round pick and whether they feel they’ve done all they can to tap into his potential.

Bultman also doesn’t expect Wings general manager Steve Yzerman to pursue a big-ticket UFA such as John Klingberg this summer. A good second-line center option via free agency could be Carolina’s Vincent Trocheck, who wouldn’t break the bank or be a signing that goes over five years.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’ll be interesting to see what Yzerman does this summer. He’s been building patiently with promising youth over the past three years. Nevertheless, the Wings are at a point where he could attempt to accelerate the process via trade or free agency. Then again, he could also decide a coaching change would be more beneficial.

THE ATHLETIC: Tarik El-Bashir was asked if the Washington Capitals might part with center Lars Eller in the offseason. He doesn’t consider it a slam dunk but didn’t rule it out if the Capitals decide to shed some salary and free up a roster spot for promising Connor McMichael. Eller, 32, has a year remaining on his contract with an annual cap hit of $3.5 million.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 15, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 15, 2022

The Coyotes down the Senators, Auston Matthews suspended, the Ducks trade Josh Manson to the Avalanche, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines

NHL.COM: Arizona Coyotes forward Lawson Crouse tallied his first career hat trick in a 5-3 victory over the Ottawa Senators. Nick Schmaltz and Clayton Keller extended their points streak to six games with two points each while Scott Wedgewood made 40 saves for the win. Josh Norris scored two goals for the Senators.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Coyotes defenseman Jakob Chychrun missed this game and will be sidelined two-to-four weeks with a lower-body injury. He’s been the subject of frequent trade speculation over the past couple of months but this injury could dampen his value in this season’s trade market.

TORONTO SUN: The NHL department of player safety handed a two-game suspension to Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews for cross-checking Buffalo Sabres defenseman Rasmus Dahlin during Sunday’s Heritage Classic game in Hamilton.

Anaheim Ducks trade Josh Manson to the Colorado Avalanche (NHL Images).

 NHL.COM: The Anaheim Ducks traded defenseman Josh Manson to the Colorado Avalanche in exchange for prospect defenseman Drew Helleson and a second-round pick in the 2023 NHL Draft.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This is the first major trade of this calendar year since the Calgary Flames acquired Tyler Toffoli last month from the Montreal Canadiens.

Cap Friendly indicates the Ducks also retained 50 percent of Manson’s $4.1 million cap hit. That gives the Avs’ some flexibility to make another deadline addition, especially if they place captain Gabriel Landeskog on long-term injury reserve following his knee surgery on Monday.

Manson, 30, will help to shore up the Avalanche’s blueline depth. Samuel Girard is out for four weeks plus there’s ongoing uncertainty over Bowen Byram’s status as he remains sidelined by concussion symptoms.

It’s not a bad return for the Ducks. Helleson is a well-regarded prospect who could blossom into a full-time member of their blueline.

Ducks general manager Pat Verbeek recently indicated he would trade his pending unrestricted free agents if he can’t re-sign them before the trade deadline. Manson’s departure casts a brighter spotlight on UFAs Hampus Lindholm and Rickard Rakell, who will have greater value than Manson in the trade market.

NHL.COM: Chicago Blackhawks right wing Patrick Kane, Calgary Flames goaltender Jacob Markstrom and New York Islanders captain Anders Lee are the NHL’s three stars for the week ending March 13, 2022.

THE DALLAS MORNING NEWS: Stars goaltender Braden Holtby remains sidelined by a nagging lower-body injury.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Holtby’s been mentioned as a possible trade candidate but I don’t think they intend to trade him while they’re jockeying for a wild-card spot in the Western Conference. It’s even less likely with Anton Khudobin reportedly undergoing hip surgery on Monday. They will probably want to keep Holtby as Jake Oettinger’s backup for the remainder of the season.

NBC SPORTS WASHINGTON: Capitals center Lars Eller was placed on COVID protocol after a positive test yesterday. It’s his second positive test this season and it’s uncertain when he’ll be back.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 29, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 29, 2021

The Capitals take over the top spot in the overall standings, the Leafs tie their franchise record for consecutive road wins, speculation over the next Canadiens’ general manager, Matt Murray demoted, Evander Kane on waivers, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: John Carlson scored and set up two others as the Washington Capitals doubled up the Carolina Hurricanes 4-2, vaulting over the Hurricanes into first place in the overall standings. The Hurricanes overcame a 2-0 deficit to tie the game but Washington defenseman Dmitry Orlov potted the game-winner with a power-play goal late in the third period. Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin tallied his 19th goal of the season. Lars Eller returned to Washington’s lineup after missing six games due to COVID-19.

Washington Capitals defenseman John Carlson (NHL Images).

The Toronto Maple Leafs tied a franchise record with their seventh straight road victory by downing the Anaheim Ducks 5-1. Jack Campbell made 39 saves, Auston Matthews tallied his 10th goal of the season and John Tavares (22 points) maintained his place as the Leafs’ leading scorer with two assists. Leafs forward Ondrej Kase missed the game with an upper-body injury. Toronto (16-6-1) has won nine of their last 10 games. They’re tied in points with Washington (33) but the latter holds first overall by having a game in hand.

New Jersey Devils forward Andreas Johnson enjoyed a four-point performance (two goals, two assists) in a 5-2 victory over the Philadelphia Flyers, who’ve dropped six straight games. Devils defenseman Dougie Hamilton also scored using a custom stick in honor of Thea, a young girl Hamilton grew close with in Calgary who passed away from cancer. He put her name on his stick as part of the NHL’s Hockey Fights Cancer Night. “It’s great to score for her and her family,” said Hamilton. The Flyers, meanwhile, have lost six straight games.

Brad Marchand and David Pastrnak scored in the third period as the Boston Bruins nipped the Vancouver Canucks 3-2, handing the latter their ninth loss in the last 10 games. Linus Ullmark got the win with 36 saves.

Third-period goals by Ryan Hartman and Marcus Foligno lifted the Minnesota Wild over the Tampa Bay Lightning 4-2. Wild winger Mats Zuccarello missed this contest with an undisclosed injury. Lightning forward Mathieu Joseph left the game in the second period with an undisclosed injury.

San Jose Sharks goaltender James Reimer made 29 saves for his first shutout of the season by blanking the Chicago Blackhawks 2-0. Timo Meier scored both goals for the Sharks.

HEADLINES

MONTREAL GAZETTE: Canadiens owner and president Geoff Molson will hold a press conference today to address the firings on Sunday of general manager Marc Bergevin and head scout Trevor Timmins, the resignation of assistant GM Scott Mellanby on Saturday, and the hiring yesterday of former New York Rangers GM Jeff Gorton as executive vice-president of hockey operations.

TVA SPORTS: Tampa Bay Lightning director of hockey operations Mathieu Darche and Anaheim Ducks assistant general manager Martin Madden Jr are among two of the rumored candidates to become the next Canadiens general manager.

Others included Quebec Remparts GM Patrick Roy, Florida Panthers advisor Roberto Luongo, former senior VP of NHL player safety Stephane Quintal and ECHL Maine Mariners president Daniel Briere.

RDS.CA: Hockey analyst Vincent Damphousse and San Diego Gulls head coach Joel Bouchard are also among the rumored candidates.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Briere indicated he’d listen carefully to a proposal from the Canadiens but he hasn’t been contacted yet. Neither has Roy, whose name inevitably pops up whenever there’s talk of the Canadiens getting a new GM.

The reason why none of them have been called thus far is that Gorton will be the one who’ll do the hiring. Some pundits believe he will be running the show regardless of who becomes the next general manager.

That doesn’t mean the next GM will be a figurehead or puppet for Gorton. Whoever gets the job will work closely with the new hockey ops VP. However, Gorton will likely have the final say on all significant management decisions while Molson takes a step back from the day-to-day operations.

The next Canadiens general manager must be bilingual, a policy that for years limited the depth of talent the club could draw upon for available experienced management. The current list of available candidates with NHL management experience is rather thin. Having the unilingual Gorton in charge of overall hockey operations is a clever workaround, enabling the Habs to bring in a respected, well-seasoned NHL executive.

NBC SPORTS BAY AREA: The San Jose Sharks yesterday placed winger Evander Kane on waivers in anticipation of the completion of his 21-games suspension on Nov. 30. If he clears waivers later today, he’s expected to report to their AHL.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: If Kane doesn’t report he will be suspended without pay. Sharks assistant GM Joe Will didn’t dismiss the possibility of the troubled winger getting traded. I’ll have more on that in today’s rumor mill.

OTTAWA SUN: Senators goaltender Matt Murray cleared waivers yesterday and has been assigned to their AHL affiliate in Belleville.

Los Angeles Kings winger Brendan Lemieux faces an in-person hearing via Zoom on Tuesday with NHL VP of player safety George Parros for biting Senators captain Brady Tkachuk on the hand on Saturday.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Lemieux could face a suspension of over five games, which would take a bite out of his salary. Sorry, couldn’t resist the pun.

TRIBLIVE.COM: Fenway Sports Group has signed a purchase agreement to assume a controlling stake in the Pittsburgh Penguins. Senior management is expected to remain in place following the sale of the club. Current co-owner Mario Lemieux is also supposed to stay with the club in some capacity.

POST-GAZETTE: Speaking of the Penguins, winger Bryan Rust (lower body) was placed on injured reserve.

WGR 550: The Buffalo Sabres signed center Mark Jankowski to a one-year, $750K contract.










NHL Rumor Mill – June 10, 2021

NHL Rumor Mill – June 10, 2021

The Bruins face some free-agent decisions, some recent speculation linking the Flyers to Seth Jones, and the latest on the Sharks in today’s NHL rumor mill.

WHAT NEXT FOR THE BRUINS?

ESPN.COM: Emily Kaplan reports the Boston Bruins must decide on the futures of goaltender Tuukka Rask and center David Krejci. Rask is a polarizing figure among Bruins fans but remains among the NHL’s best goaltenders. It’s unclear what the 34-year-old Rask intends to do but the emergence of Jeremy Swayman makes the club feel better about its’ future plans.

Has Tuukka Rask played his final game with the Boston Bruins? (NHL Images)

Krejci remains a reliable center at age 35 but not at his current $7.25 million cap hit. The chemistry he developed with Taylor Hall and Craig Smith could lead management to try and bring him back at a reduced rate.

Kaplan also believes the Bruins should attempt to re-sign trade-deadline acquisitions Taylor Hall and Mike Reilly. Hall’s been campaigning to remain a Bruins since his arrival in Boston.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Bruins could bring back Rask if he’ll accept a short-term deal for perhaps a little less than his current $7 million cap hit. He’ll also have to share more of the goalie duties with Swayman. If not, they’ll go with Swayman and perhaps add an experienced backup as his mentor.

I can see Krejci returning at a reduced rate on a two-year deal, or perhaps a one-year, bonus-laden contract. He doesn’t seem keen to leave the only NHL team he’s played for. The club’s performance this season suggests they could have enough left for another shot at a Cup run next season, depending of course on their offseason moves. Krejci will probably want to be part of that.

The Bruins were pleased with the play of Hall and Reilly. The latter, however, will be easier to re-sign than the former. Kaplan said Hall would prefer long-term stability. If he wants that from the Bruins, he’ll likely have to accept less than market value.

Hall salvaged his reputation with a strong performance in Boston after his disastrous turn earlier this season with the Buffalo Sabres. That will make him an intriguing option for playoff contenders if he heads to free agency this summer.

COULD THE FLYERS LAND SETH JONES?

NBC SPORTS PHILADELPHIA: Jordan Hall recently cited Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman suggesting the Philadelphia Flyers as a viable trade destination for Seth Jones. The 26-year-old defenseman last month informed the Columbus Blue Jackets of his intention to test next summer’s UFA market.

Appearing last week on SiriusXM NHL Network Radio, Friedman said he felt the Flyers could make that trade. He wondered how Jones would feel about that but wouldn’t be shocked if the blueliner ends up in Philadelphia.

THE PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER: Sam Carchidi was asked by a reader if the Flyers could acquire Jones, or Carolina Hurricanes defenseman Dougie Hamilton, or Calgary Flames winger Johnny Gaudreau.

Carchidi believes Gaudreau would help the Flyers’ offensive attack. However, he believes their top priority should be acquiring a right-shot defenseman such as Jones or Hamilton.

While Hamilton would be a perfect fit, Carchidi believes he’ll re-sign with the Hurricanes. Jones would be a great consolation prize, but the Flyers will need assurances he’ll re-sign with them before acquiring him.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Every team interested in Jones will want to know if he’ll sign a contract extension with them. If he won’t, Flyers general manager Chuck Fletcher could look elsewhere to address his right-side defense needs.

If Jones is willing to talk contract extension, Fletcher must decide how much he’s willing to spend in return and salary. Others clubs, such as the Los Angeles Kings and Chicago Blackhawks, have the cap space and tradeable assets to outbid the Flyers. We also can’t rule out teams like the Colorado Avalanche or Dallas Stars finding a creative way to acquire him.

LATEST ON THE SHARKS

NBC SPORTS BAY AREA: Marcus White suggested five players from teams eliminated from the opening round of the playoffs as target targets for the San Jose Sharks. They are Toronto’s Mitch Marner or William Nylander, Washington’s Lars Eller, Minnesota’s Cam Talbot, and Edmonton’s Ryan Nugent-Hopkins.

White suggested offering up a package including a winger such as Timo Meier ($6 million cap hit) and Kevin Labanc ($4.725 million) for Marner or Nylander. The Capitals’ limited cap space could make them receptive to an offer of draft picks for Eller.

Talbot could be an option if the Wild risk losing him to the Seattle Kraken in the expansion draft or of giving up assets to the Kraken to retain him. With $11 million in salary-cap space, the Sharks could be positioned to offer Nugent-Hopkins more money on a short-term deal via free agency.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Sharks GM Doug Wilson has a well-earned reputation for making bold moves and could do so this summer. I don’t see him prying Marner or Nylander away from the Leafs or winning a bidding war in free agency for Nugent-Hopkins. Pursuing Talbot or Eller are more reasonable options, though we don’t know if either guy will be on Wilson’s radar this summer.