NHL Rumor Mill – May 4, 2018

NHL Rumor Mill – May 4, 2018

A look at this summer’s trade market, possible defense partners for Shea Weber and the latest on the Coyotes in your NHL rumor mill.


FRS NETWORK HOCKEY: Chris Nichols cited Sportnet’s Elliotte Friedman and Jeff Marek discussing possible offseason moves on his latest “31 Thoughts” podcast. Friedman doesn’t see the Buffalo Sabres and Carolina Hurricanes trading their first-round picks (first and second overall) but thinks the Montreal Canadiens (third overall), Ottawa Senators (fourth) and Arizona Coyotes (fifth) could be tempted.

With the New York Islanders holding the 11th and 12th selections, Friedman suggests they could have some trade leverage if center John Tavares decides to re-sign with them. If Tavares moves on, they’ll likely retain those picks.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’ll take a lot to tempt the Canadiens, Senators and Coyotes in parting with those respective draft picks. Those three clubs all need scoring punch, especially at center. 

Could the Calgary Flames consider trading defenseman Dougie Hamilton this summer? (Photo via NHL Images)

Friedman and Jeff Marek were asked about what might be this summer’s biggest trade. They bandied about several names, including Ottawa’s Erik Karlsson and Mike Hoffman, Montreal’s Max Pacioretty, Dallas’ Jason Spezza, Anaheim’s Corey Perry,  Carolina’s Jeff Skinner and Calgary’s Dougie Hamilton.

Marek suggested a new coach in Dallas could changes Spezza’s status, while Friedman noted the Los Angeles Kings are believed to have interest in Skinner. He also thinks Perry gets one more year with the Anaheim Ducks. Marek doesn’t think it’s a good idea for the Flames to move Hamilton. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Some of those names (Karlsson, Hoffman, Pacioretty) were mentioned as trade candidates leading up to the Feb. 26 trade deadline. No certainty any of them will move but you can’t rule out the possibility.

Now that Jim Montgomery has taken over as Dallas’ new head coach, the Stars might retain Spezza for the final season of his contract. Perry has three years left on his contract with an annual cap hit over $8 million and a full no-movement clause. He could be dealt but I think it’s unlikely.

The Flames could get a solid return for Hamilton but I don’t believe they want to move him. The Kings might be interested in Skinner but I don’t think they can address the Hurricanes’ need for a scoring center. 


JOURNAL DE MONTREAL: suggested Columbus’ Jack Johnson or Nashville’s Alexei Emelin as possible defense partners for Montreal Canadiens blueliner Shea Weber. Johnson and Emelin are unrestricted free agents this summer. Other options could be sticking with promising Victor Mete, selecting prospect Quinn Hughes with the third overall pick in this year’s draft or attempting to acquire defense prospect Miro Heiskanen from the Dallas Stars.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’ll be interesting to see what Canadiens GM Marc Bergevin does to bolster his porous blueline this summer. Sticking with Mete is one option, while Johnson or Emelin could be affordable free-agent options.

I doubt Bergervin will use the third overall pick for a defenseman, especially since Rasmus Dahlin, the top prospect in this year’s draft, will be gone by the time he gets up to the podium to make his selection. I also don’t believe the Stars will move Heiskanen, the third-overall pick in the 2017 draft. 


ARIZONA SPORTS: Craig Morgan reports the Arizona Coyotes’ acquisition yesterday of center Marcus Kruger from the Carolina Hurricanes could signal a makeover for their shutdown line. Center Brad Richardson is slated to become an unrestricted free agent on July 1 and might not return. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Coyotes GM John Chayka didn’t rule out bringing back Richardson but I think Kruger will be his replacement. 


NHL Rumor Mill – October 16, 2017

NHL Rumor Mill – October 16, 2017

Latest on John Tavares, Andreas Athanasiou, Alexei Emelin and more in your NHL rumor mill. 

NBC SPORTS BAY AREA: Marcus White believes New York Islanders center John Tavares’ pending status as an unrestricted free agent is “the biggest national storyline this season.” The longer Tavares goes without being re-signed by the Isles, the more speculation will grow about the center as the Feb. 26 trade deadline approaches. If he’s not traded by then and still unsigned, White thinks the situation will reach a fever pitch as the July 1 start of the free agency approaches. 

White feels the San Jose Sharks could be among the clubs to pursue Tavares, citing Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman reporting of their interest in the Isles captain back in April. The Sharks will have “plenty of cap space” plus a need for a first-line center as Joe Thornton ages. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: White also hopes for more drama regarding Tavares’ status as the season progresses. That’ll depend upon how things go with the Islanders’ bid to build a new arena at Belmont Park. It’s widely assumed Tavares wants to re-sign with the Islanders but he’s waiting to see how that arena deal shakes out. I doubt we’ll hear much more about his possible trade status until February rolls around. If the Isles haven’t learned anything about their bid from the state by then, or if it’s been rejected, that could put the rumor mill into high gear. 

MLIVE.COM: Ansar Khan reports the lines of communication between the Detroit Red Wings and the agent for restricted free agent forward Andreas Athanasiou remain open. General manager Ken Holland spoke briefly with Athanasiou’s agent last Thursday and hopes to continue discussions this week. The Wings are offering up a two-year contract worth $1.9 million per season but the Athanasiou camp seeks $2.5 million annually.

Khan cites a source claiming the Wings aren’t actively shopping the winger but are listening to offers. So far, they haven’t received anything that intrigues them and are prepared to let him sit out the season rather than accept a sub-standard offer. However, the Wings still hope to re-sign him before Dec. 1. If unsigned after that date, he’ll be ineligible to play the remainder of the season. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE:  On Saturday, Sportsnet’s Nick Kypreos suggested things could come to a head this week. I don’t think the Wings intend to trade him. They still feel he has a key role to play with their rebuilding roster. 

THE TENNESSEAN: In a recent mailbag segment, Adam Vingan suggested Nashville Predators defenseman Alexei Emelin could become a trade chip later this season. That will depend upon the recovery of blueliner Ryan Ellis from offseason knee surgery and the development of promising Samuel Girard, who’s making a case to stick with the lineup this season. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Emelin was acquired to bolster the Predators’ blueline depth during Ellis’ absence, as he’s not expected back until late-December or early-January. Girard’s promising early performance, however, could make things interesting. If he stick with the Preds this season, that could make Emelin expendable after Ellis returns to action.

OTTAWA SUN: Bruce Garrioch reports the imminent return to action of Erik Karlsson and Johnny Oduya leaves the Senators overstocked with defensemen. To make room for Karlsson, they demoted Thomas Chabot, though he’s not expected to be there for long. GM Pierre Dorion could use one of his blueliners as a trade chip to land a forward, but the club seem content to let Chabot develop his game in the minors. Garrioch said the word around the league is nobody’s been more aggressively shopping for a trade than Dorion but most of his peers are still evaluating their rosters. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The trade market could improve by the American Thanksgiving weekend in late-November. 


Latest Blues & Predators Speculation – September 25, 2017

Latest Blues & Predators Speculation – September 25, 2017

St. Louis Blues probably won’t get into the bidding for Colorado Avalanche center Matt Duchene.

A look at possible moves by the St. Louis Blues and Nashville Predators in your NHL rumor mill. 

STLTODAY.COM: Replying to questions from his readers, Jeff Gordon believes finding a No.1 center for the St. Louis Blues will be difficult this season. That’s why Blues general manager Doug Armstrong hopes Brayden Schenn can play at that position. If he can’t, Gordon thinks Colorado Avalanche center Matt Duchene would be a great fit but salary-cap space and the Avs asking price are two big obstacles.  Regarding Dmitrij Jaskin, Gordon suggests he could get dealt for a draft pick if he doesn’t find a higher gear soon. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Blues haven’t come up as a possible destination for Duchene, likely for the reasons cited by Gordon. With only $1.55 million in cap space entering this season, the Blues would have to move considerable salary to clear space for Duchene’s $6 million cap hit. If Schenn pans out as hopes and if Paul Stastny can stay healthy, they won’t have any need to pursue Duchene this season.

THE TENNESSEAN: In a recent mailbag segment, Adam Vingan believes defenseman Alexei Emelin will be the odd man out when Ryan Ellis reclaims his top-four spot on the Nashville Predators’ blueline. Ellis is currently sidelined by a knee injury. His return will push Emelin to the third pairing and he could become a trade chip if the Predators need something else. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Emelin is eligible next July for unrestricted free agency. Depending on how this season shakes out, he could get shopped by the Feb. 26 trade deadline if there’s another short-term roster need to be addressed. Otherwise, the Preds will keep him for another shot at reaching the Stanley Cup Final


NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 2, 2017

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 2, 2017

The Florida Panthers part ways with right wing Jaromir Jagr.

Latest on Jaromir Jagr, Alexei Emelin, Ilya Kovalchuk, Daniel Alfredsson & more in your NHL morning coffee headlines. 

MIAMI HERALD: The Florida Panthers yesterday confirmed they were parting ways with right wing Jaromir Jagr, who became an unrestricted free agent at noon ET on July 1. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Panthers GM Dale Tallon yesterday thanked Jagr for his contributions to the club over the past two seasons. Tthe 45-year-old will land likely with another NHL team at some point this summer on a one-year, bonus-laden contract. 

THE TENNESSEAN: The Nashville Predators yesterday acquired defenseman Alexei Emelin from the Vegas Golden Knights in exchanged for a 2009 third-round pick. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Some observers wondered if this trade meant the Preds were preparing to ship a top-four defenseman to acquire center Matt Duchene from the Colorado Avalanche. It appears, however, this move was made simply to load up on the blueline for another run at the Stanley Cup next season. 

THE DENVER POST: The Colorado Avalanche yesterday acquired forward Colin Wilson from the Nashville Predators in exchange for a 2019 fourth-round pick. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Avs fans were likely expecting a more significant move from GM Joe Sakic yesterday involving Matt Duchene. There’s speculation the Predators and Columbus Blue Jackets are interested in the 26-year-old center. Sakic declined to comment on the rumors. Most pundits still expect Duchene will be dealt at some point soon. 

OTTAWA SUN: Former Senators captain Daniel Alfredsson stepped down as the club’s senior adviser of hockey operations, a role he held for the past two seasons. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: No explanation was offered by Alfredsson or the club for his decision.

Russian sports writer Slava Malumud reports Ilya Kovalchuk’s Russian agent claims his client won’t make a decision about his plans for 2017-18 until Monday at the earliest. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kovalchuk spent the past four seasons with the KHL’s SKA St. Petersburg. It’s expected he’ll return to the NHL if the New Jersey Devils (who still own his NHL rights) can arrange a sign-and-trade deal.

Here’s a collection of several NHL free-agent signings that weren’t included among yesterday’s collection of notable free-agent moves.

Ottawa Senators signed center Nate Thompson to a two-year, $3.3 million contract.

Washington Capitals signed winger Brett Connolly to a two-year contract ($1.5 million annual average value).

Minnesota Wild signed defenseman Kyle Quincey to a one-year, $1.25 million contract. 

Toronto Maple Leafs inked center Dominic Moore to a one-year, $1 million deal.  

Chicago Blackhawks signed forwards Tommy Wingels and Lance Bouwma to one-year contracts. 

Carolina Hurricanes signed forward Josh Jooris to a one-year, $775K contract. 

Boston Bruins signed defenseman Paul Postma to a one-year, $725K contract. 

Los Angeles Kings signed goaltender Darcy Kuemper to a one-year, $650K deal. 

Arizona Coyotes signed defenseman Adam Clendening to a one-year, $650K contract. 

Montreal Canadiens signed defenseman Joe Morrow to a one-year, $575K contract. 


Potential Vegas Golden Knights Roster

Potential Vegas Golden Knights Roster

Here’s a list of the players reportedly joining the Vegas Golden Knights,. The roster will be officially unveiled later tonight at the NHL Awards in Las Vegas.


Marc-Andre Fleury (Pittsburgh Penguins)

The Golden Knights could also receive goaltender Jean-Francois Berube (New York Islanders).


Alexei Emelin (Montreal Canadiens)

Derek Engelland (Calgary Flames)

Jason Garrison (Tampa Bay Lightning)

Brayden McNabb (Los Angeles Kings)

Jon Merrill (New Jersey Devils)

Marc Methot (Ottawa Senators)

Colin Miller (Boston Bruins)

Griffin Reinhart (Edmonton Oilers)

David Schlemko (San Jose Sharks)

Nate Schmidt (Washington Capitals)

Clayton Stoner (Anaheim Ducks)

The Golden Knights could also receive blueliners Shea Theodore from the Anaheim Ducks and Trevor van Riemsdyk from the Chicago Blackhawks.


Pierre-Edouard Bellemare, left wing/center. (Philadelphia Flyers)

William Carrier (Buffalo Sabres)

Cody Eakins, center (Dallas Stars)

Mikhail Grabovski, center (New York Islanders)

Erik Haula, center/left wing (Minnesota Wild)

William Karlsson, center (Columbus Blue Jackets)

Marcus Kruger, center (Chicago Blackhawks)

Brendan Leipsic, center (minors) (Toronto Maple Leafs)

Oscar Lindberg, center (New York Rangers)

Jonathan Marchessault, right wing (Florida Panthers)

James Neal, right wing (Nashville Predators)

Tomas Nosek, left wing (minors) (Detroit Red Wings)

David Perron, winger (St. Louis Blues)

The Golden Knights could end up with winger Reilly Smith from the Panthers. They also received right wing Alex Tuch from the Wild. They are also expected to acquire the contract of winger David Clarkson from the Blue Jackets.

Note: This list will be updated periodically leading up to tonight’s NHL Awards at 8 pm ET.  Bear in mind this list is based on the latest reports from various media sources around the league. The official roster could be different than what is listed above.


NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 27, 2017

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 27, 2017

Nashville Predators defenseman P.K. Subban celebrates his goal against the St. Louis Blues in Game 1 of their second-round playoff series.

Game recaps, latest coaching hires, Adams Award finalists revealed & more in your NHL morning coffee headlines. 

NHL.COM: P.K. Subban had a goal and two assists and Vernon Fiddler tallied the winner as the Nashville Predators edged the St. Louis Blues 4-3 in Game 1 of their best-of-seven second-round series.

It was a costly victory for the Preds, as winger Kevin Fiala was stretchered off the ice early in the second period and taken to hospital with an apparent leg injury after crashing into the end boards. An update on his status could come later today. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That was a gruesome-looking injury suffered by Fiala. I hope he’s okay but I think he’s gone for the remainder of the playoffs. 

Leon Draisaitl had a four-point game and Adam Larsson scored twice to lead the Edmonton Oilers to a 5-3 victory over the Anaheim Ducks in Game 1 of their second-round series. Ducks defenseman Kevin Bieksa was forced to leave the game in the third period with an apparent knee injury. 

Mike Babcock of the Toronto Maple Leafs, Todd McLellan of the Edmonton Oilers and John Tortorella of the Columbus Blue Jackets are the finalists for the Jack Adams Award honoring the NHL coach of the year. 

VANCOUVER SUN: The Canucks officially hired Travis Green as their new head coach. 

NHL.COM: The Boston Bruins have confirmed interim head coach Bruce Cassidy is now their full-time bench boss.

TAMPA BAY TIMES: In an interview with the Russian publication Sovietsky Sport, Tampa Bay Lightning winger Nikita Kucherov accused some of his teammates of getting their money and not working. He also questioned why the line changes were made “like a kaleidoscope.” His agent said Kucherov’s comments came out of frustration but added his client respects GM Steve Yzerman and head coach Jon Cooper. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Well, at least Kucherov isn’t claiming he was misquoted or poorly translated. 

DALLAS MORNING NEWS: Stars center Tyler Seguin underwent shoulder surgery Monday to repair a labral tear. He’s expected to be ready for training camp in September. 

LA PRESSE: Montreal Canadiens defenseman Alexei Emelin underwent arthroscopic surgery on his right knee. He’s expected to be fully recovered in time for training camp. 

LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL:  The Vegas Golden Knights preseason schedule has been finalized subject to league approval. “The Knights’ first game will be Sept. 17 in Vancouver against the Canucks. On Sept. 19, they’ll travel to Colorado to face the Avalanche, followed by a trip to San Jose on Sept. 21 to face the Sharks. The road portion of the preseason concludes Sept. 24 at Anaheim against the Ducks. 

The first of the three home games will be Sept. 26 against the Los Angeles Kings. The other home games are Sept. 28 against Colorado and Oct. 1 vs. San Jose.”

TSN: The NHL and NHLPA have agreed to screen the urine samples of all drug-tested players to check for recreational drugs such as marijuana and cocaine. The move comes “because of concerns over a rise in players testing positive for cocaine”