NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 21, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 21, 2021

The Seattle Kraken expansion draft is tonight at 8 pm ET plus the latest on Vladimir Tarasenko, Phillip Danault, Ryan Ellis, Patrik Laine and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: The Seattle Kraken will finally have a full roster of players as they reveal their selections this evening in the 2021 NHL expansion draft. The names will be announced at Seattle’s Gas Works Park starting at 8 pm ET. Among the notable names available is Montreal Canadiens goaltender Carey Price, Washington Capitals left wing Alex Ovechkin, St. Louis Blues winger Vladimir Tarasenko and Calgary Flames defenseman Mark Giordano.

Seattle Kraken expansion draft is July 21. (NHL.com)

SPECTOR’S NOTE: There’s speculation Price, Tarasenko and Giordano could be selected by the Kraken. I’ll have more on that in today’s Rumor Mill update. Ovechkin, however, is expected to re-sign with the Capitals following the expansion draft.

THE ATHLETIC: Speaking of Tarasenko, Jeremy Rutherford reports the surgeon who conducted the winger’s third shoulder surgery claims his patient’s left shoulder is “rock solid.”

Dr. Peter Millett said Tarasenko’s shoulder is “very stable and strong”, adding the winger told him it feels better now than it has for months. Millett is confident that Tarasenko is “100 percent ready for the upcoming season.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Blues spent several weeks attempting to trade Tarasenko before exposing him in the expansion draft. This news could make him more enticing to the Kraken or to clubs that expressed interest in the 29-year-old winger.

SPORTSNET: Eric Engels cited sources claiming it’s highly unlikely Phillip Danault returns with the Montreal Canadiens. The 28-year-old center is due to become an unrestricted free agent on July 28. Engels also indicated there’s no truth to a reported deal between Danault and the Kraken.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Danault has put his Montreal-area home up for sale. His solid defensive play during the 2021 Stanley Cup playoffs should help him land a lucrative long-term deal elsewhere on July 28.

MONTREAL GAZETTE: Speaking of the Canadiens, they named Jean-Francois Houle as head coach of their AHL affiliate in Laval. The son of former Canadien Rejean Houle, he has several years of coaching experience at the university, Junior-A and minor-league levels. In 2011-12, he won the Ron Lapointe Trophy as the QMJHL’s top coach.

TSN: Philadelphia Flyers defenseman Ryan Ellis denied suffering a shoulder injury that required surgery this season. He said it was an injured knuckle that sidelined him for 20 games with the Nashville Predators. Ellis was traded to the Flyers on Saturday before the expansion draft roster freeze. He said he’s good to go for next season.

THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH: Patrik Laine is mulling the $7.5 million qualifying offer he received from the Blue Jackets. If he signs the one-year deal he’ll be a restricted free agent with arbitration rights next summer. The move could allow time for the Jackets to negotiate a long-term extension with the 23-year-old winger.

TSN: Prospect Logan Mailloux has renounced himself from this weekend’s NHL Draft. He’s asking teams not to select him following a criminal charge while playing in Sweden last year. He was investigated after distributing a photo of himself and a woman engaged in a sexual act. The photo was taken without her consent.

Mailloux received a summary punishment by fine. The NHL responded that he remains draft-eligible.

NHL.COM: Defenseman Yannick Weber has retired from the NHL after 13 seasons. He intends to continue his playing career in Switzerland. Weber amassed 94 points in 499 games with the Canadiens, Vancouver Canucks, Nashville Predators and Pittsburgh Penguins.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Best wishes to Weber in his future endeavors.










Flyers Acquire Ellis From Predators in Three-Team Trade

Flyers Acquire Ellis From Predators in Three-Team Trade

The Philadelphia Flyers acquired defenseman Ryan Ellis from the Nashville Predators in exchange for defenseman Philippe Myers and forward Nolan Patrick. The Predators then traded Patrick to the Vegas Golden Knights for forward Cody Glass.

Philadelphia Flyers acquire Ryan Ellis from Nashville Predators (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: A major move right before the 3 pm ET expansion-draft roster freeze. This signals a shakeup among the Predators’ core, a big move by the Flyers to improve their defense, and the possibility of a change of scenery helping two former first-round draft picks get their once-promising careers back on track.

The Flyers see the 30-year-old Ellis as the solution to their need for a top-pairing, right-side defenseman. A skillful two-way blueliner, the 5’10”, 180-pounder exceeded 30 points in five straight seasons from 2015-16 to 2019-20.

Ellis has also been hampered by injuries in recent years. He played just one full season (2018-19) in the last four. When healthy, he should provide that veteran experience, skill and leadership the Flyers were lacking on their blueline this season. However, his health could be a concern going forward, especially carrying a $6.25 million annual cap hit for the next six seasons.

Myers, 24, struggled in his sophomore campaign with the Flyers. The 6-foot-5, 210-pounder has potential as a shutdown rearguard and could realize his full potential with the Predators. He’s signed through 2022-23 at an affordable $2.25 million per season.

Centers Patrick (second overall, 2017 draft) and Glass (sixth overall, 2017) both had difficulties playing up to expectations as high first-round picks. Patrick also battled migraines that sidelined him for the entire 2019-20 season. He could fill a checking-line role in Vegas. Glass struggled to earn a regular roster spot with the Golden Knights but could get more playing time on the retooling Predators.










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 – May 19, 2021

NHL Rumor Mill – May 19, 2021

Could the Coyotes trade Phil Kessel or Oliver Ekman-Larsson this summer? Could the Flyers pursue Jack Eichel? What’s the latest on the Stars and Oilers? Find out in today’s NHL rumor mill.

COULD KESSEL OR EKMAN-LARSSON BE ON THE MOVE THIS SUMMER?

NHL.COM: In a recent mailbag segment, Dan Rosen was asked if the Arizona Coyotes could trade Phil Kessel now that Rick Tocchet is no longer their head coach. He believes the Coyotes would’ve done that whether Tocchet remained behind the bench or not. The fact he isn’t their coach anymore suggests they want to build around their younger players and could seek a younger coach to grow with them.

Arizona Coyotes winger Phil Kessel (NHL Images).

Kessel is 33 and is a year away from unrestricted free agent status. If he stays, he could become a rental option for a contending team at the 2022 trade deadline. Trading him could fetch the Coyotes some much-needed draft picks, though he won’t bring in a first-rounder.

AZ COYOTES INSIDER: Craig Morgan also believes Coyotes general manager Bill Armstrong could shop Kessel, speculating the winger could be open to that option. He’s due a $5 million signing bonus on July 1, after which he’s only due $1 million for the remainder of the season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Coyotes could try moving Kessel before July 1 but interested parties will prefer waiting until after then. He’s coming off a solid bounce-back performance and could be a good fit with a contender seeking experienced scoring depth on the wing.

Kessel still carries an eight-team no-trade list. He has a no-movement clause but that’s to ensure he cannot be demoted to the minors or left exposed in the expansion draft.

Morgan was also asked if the Coyotes could attempt to shop Oliver Ekman-Larsson. He’s not sure yet if their captain will expand his no-trade list but knowing the front office wants to move him can’t be a comforting thought. They would have to take back a big salary as Ekman-Larsson is due to earn $10.5 million annually in real salary over the next three years.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Never say never, but moving Ekman-Larsson could be more difficult than it was last fall when the Boston Bruins and Vancouver Canucks explored that possibility. His performance has declined over the past three seasons. If a swap of expensive contracts isn’t possible, the Coyotes could be forced to absorb part of his cap hit or attempt to get a third team involved in order to find a creative way to make it work.

COULD THE FLYERS PURSUE EICHEL?

THE ATHLETIC: Pierre LeBrun believes the Philadelphia Flyers could be busy during the offseason following their disappointing performance this season. He thinks GM Chuck Fletcher is determined to make this offseason count.

LeBrun can see the Flyers looking into Jack Eichel’s situation with the Buffalo Sabres. He also thinks they could reach out to the Nashville Predators to inquire again about Mattias Ekholm or Ryan Ellis. They could also have interest in Seth Jones if the Columbus Blue Jackets aren’t able to sign the blueliner to a contract extension.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: LeBrun believes the Flyers have the young pieces necessary to make a big trade. For me, the sticking point is their cap space.

Cap Friendly shows them with over $69 million invested in 17 players. That’s not much room to take on a high-salaried star such as Eichel unless they’re willing to offer up a young player like Travis Konecny ($5.5 million AAV) or Ivan Provorov ($6.75 million) as part of the package. The other option is finding someone to take an expensive veteran such as Jakub Voracek ($8.25 million AAV) or James van Riemsdyk ($7.14 million) off their hands.

I’m not suggesting such moves are impossible. As we’ve seen in recent years, general managers can find creative ways to move players with hefty contracts. Finding a trade partner will to do so, however, is the hard part.

Predators GM David Poile would probably prefer someone taking expensive underachievers like Ryan Johansen or Matt Duchene off his hands rather than move Ekholm or Ellis. Jones will attract plenty of interest if he doesn’t sign an extension this summer but Jackets GM Jarmo Kekalainen indicated he’ll still keep him for next season.

UPDATES ON THE STARS AND OILERS

THE DALLAS MORNING NEWS: Matthew DeFranks recently reported Stars GM Jim Nill didn’t dismiss the idea of adding another scoring forward. He feels his club has the cap space to make that move if the right player can be found.

DeFranks estimates the Stars could have between $4 million and $5 million to work with after re-signing key players such as Miro Heiskanen. They could also have more room if the Seattle Kraken select goalie Anton Khudobin in the expansion draft. He wondered if that would be enough to bring in someone like Mike Hoffman, Blake Coleman or Alex Wennberg.

THE ATHLETIC: Allan Mitchell believes the recent rumors suggesting the Oilers could be close to signing Adam Larsson to a new contract could signal the end of Tyson Barrie’s tenure in Edmonton.

Re-signing Larsson, the presence of Ethan Bear and the potential elevation of Evan Bouchard next season would give the Oilers a shutdown defenseman and two right-side puck-passers for under $7 million combined.










Predators No Longer Sellers In NHL Trade Market?

Predators No Longer Sellers In NHL Trade Market?

 










NHL Rumor Mill – March 25, 2021

NHL Rumor Mill – March 25, 2021

A look at several noteworthy names on TSN’s updated trade bait list plus updates on the Penguins and Flyers in today’s NHL rumor mill.

ANALYSIS OF TSN’S UPDATED TRADE-BAIT LIST

TSN: Mattias Ekholm remains atop the updated trade-bait list. Pierre LeBrun recently reported the Nashville Predators seek three assets (including a first-round pick and a top prospect) for the 30-year-old defenseman.

Meanwhile, winger Mikael Granlund rises to No. 3 as Frank Seravalli reported he’s the Toronto Maple Leafs’ primary target ahead of the April 12 trade deadline. Seravalli also pointed out the Predators’ recent surge in the standings have them in wait-and-see mode.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: No mention of Nashville blueliner Ryan Ellis on TSN’s list. The Athletic’s Adam Vingan observed Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman wondering if Ellis might be available. Vingan weighed the pros and cons of trading either defenseman. He also pointed out the Preds are under no obligation to do so given their recent improvement in the standings and the term remaining on both rearguard’s contracts.

Arizona Coyotes defenseman Alex Goligoski rose to No. 8 on the list as Darren Dreger reported Coyotes general manager Bill Armstrong could look at making changes at the deadline or in the offseason.

Arizona Coyotes winger Conor Garland (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: No mention of Coyotes winger Conor Garland on this list. A recent report by Elliotte Freidman speculating over Garland’s availability has BostonHockeyNow’s Joe Haggerty and NBC Sports Boston’s Nick Goss suggesting the winger would be a good trade target for the Bruins.

Columbus Blue Jackets defenseman David Savard sits No. 2 on the list with teammate Nick Foligno at No. 6. New Jersey Devils winger Kyle Palmieri remains at No. 10.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Pierre LeBrun, in his column for The Athletic, suggested Foligno or Palmieri could be targeted by New York Islanders GM Lou Lamoriello if they become available. He and Elliotte Friedman both reported the Bue Jackets could be reluctant to part with Foligno. With the Jackets back in the playoff race they could also retain Savard. It remains to be seen, meanwhile, whether the Devils will trade or re-sign Palmieri.

Detroit Red Wings goaltender Jonathan Bernier remains No. 5 and San Jose Sharks netminder Devan Dubnyk sits at No. 16.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: NBC Sports Washington listed Bernier and Dubnyk among possible goalie trade targets for the Washington Capitals. Others include Buffalo’s Carter Hutton, Arizona’s Antti Raanta, Nashville’s Pekka Rinne and Calgary’s David Rittich.

Given the Capitals’ limited cap space, any deal they make will be dollar-in, dollar-out. I rule out Rinne because of his no-movement clause and desire to finish his career with the Predators. I don’t see the Flames moving Rittich as long as they have a shot at a playoff spot.

Ottawa Senators winger Ryan Dzingel rose to No. 11.

SPECTOR’ S NOTE: The Ottawa Sun’s Bruce Garrioch considers it doubtful Dzingel will get traded. He feels teams will be more interested in getting blueline help before the deadline, suggesting Braydon Coburn, Mike Reilly and Erik Gudbranson could be targeted by playoff clubs.

Buffalo Sabres center Eric Staal remains at No. 18.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Staal carries a 10-team no-trade list but it’s believed he could be willing to waive it to go to a contender. However, The Buffalo News’ Lance Lysowski recently reported Sabres GM Kevyn Adams hasn’t asked Staal about it. Maybe Adams is waiting until the deadline draws closer. Then again, maybe no one’s called the Sabres about the 36-year-old center.

UPDATES ON THE PENGUINS AND FLYERS

THE ATHLETIC: Josh Yohe reports Brian Burke, the Pittsburgh Penguins president of hockey operations, dismisses speculation this year’s trade deadline could be a quiet one around the league, suggesting business could soon pick up. He said general manager Ron Hextall is working the phones as they’ll try to add at the trade deadline if they can. Burke indicated he and Hextall would like to bring some size to their roster.

NBC SPORTS PHILADELPHIA: Jordan Hall reports Flyers GM Chuck Fletcher took accountability for his club’s struggles this season. He cited his inability to replace retired defenseman Matt Niskanen as a significant factor. Fletcher said he’s not looking at selling right now, adding the trade market is very quiet. He indicated he’s willing to upgrade his team if a deal makes sense.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Penguins are rising in the standings, emboldening their front office to try to augment their lineup at the trade deadline. The Flyers, meanwhile, could go either way, which explains Fletcher’s position. They’re still in the playoff chase but must gain ground over the next couple of weeks for their GM to consider investing futures for immediate help.