NHL Rumor Mill – May 20, 2017

NHL Rumor Mill – May 20, 2017

Pittsburgh Penguins goalie Marc-Andre Fleury faces an uncertain future after this season.

Latest on Marc-Andre Fleury and Jimmy Howard plus updates on the St. Louis Blues and New York Islanders in your NHL rumor mill.

TSN: James Duthie and Bob McKenzie recently examined what the future holds for Pittsburgh Penguins goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury.

Despite his solid performance in the 2017 playoffs, this is likely his last season with the Penguins, as it’s expected they’ll try to move him in order to protect Matt Murray from the expansion draft. However, McKenzie wondered if Penguins GM Jim Rutherford might reconsider if Fleury helps the club win the Stanley Cup or if he’s name playoff MVP.

Still, McKenzie believes the more logical decision will be Fleury’s playing elsewhere next season. Perhaps he’ll agree to waive his no-movement clause and accept getting drafted by the Vegas Golden Knights. Otherwise, the Penguins can try to trade him before the expansion draft, but his modified no-trade gives him control over where he goes.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: With Murray having taken over since early in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Final against the Ottawa Senators, most pundits suggest Fleury may have played his final game with the Penguins. Even if he returns to action and carries the Pens to championship glory, I believe Rutherford will trade or buy out Fleury before the expansion draft. There’s some speculation the Penguins could have a deal worked out with Vegas. 

THE DETROIT NEWS: Ted Kulfan recently reports the approaching expansion draft casts goaltender Jimmy Howard’s future with the Detroit Red Wings into doubt. He wonders if the Wings could lose Howard to the expansion draft, if the Wings could attempt to trade him or if the veteran returns with Petr Mrazek as Detroit’s goalie tandem next season.

MLIVE.COM: In a recent mailbag, Ansar Khan wondered if former Wings forward Thomas Vanek might have to accept another one-year contract via free agency. If the Wings can get him for one year at $3 million, he’d be fine with it.

Khan lists the Minnesota Wild, Nashville Predators, Anaheim Ducks, Winnipeg Jets and New York Islanders as clubs with potential issues protecting defensemen in the upcoming expansion draft. He points out that Wild blueliner Matt Dumba frequently pops up in trade rumors. If the Predators and Jets decide not to protect four defensemen they could be forced to move one. The Isles could be forced to move Calvin de Haan, who’s rumored to be on the Wings’ radar, while the Ducks could be forced to expose Josh Manson.

A reader asked if the Wings might buy out someone this summer, such as Jonathan Ericsson or Jimmy Howard. Khan doubts they’ll buy out anyone.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’ll be interesting to see what the Wings do with Howard. Now that Ben Bishop and Scott Darling are out of the free-agent market, Howard could be an enticing trade target for clubs seeking a veteran starting goalie. While he’s only got two years left on his contract, it’s at nearly $5.2 million annually, which could prove unpalatable for some clubs. His injury history and recent consistency issues could dampen his trade value.

Vanek enjoyed his brief tenure with the Wings and I think he’d be willing to return, but they won’t overpay to bring him back. A year at $3 million sounds reasonable.

I expect the Wings will target those clubs at risk of losing a defenseman in the expansion draft in hopes of landing one via trade. It could cost them a top prospect or a promising young player. 

STLTODAY.COM: Addressing 10 offseason questions from readers regarding the St. Louis Blues, Jeremy Rutherford believes they’ll try to tinker with their roster. He wouldn’t be surprised if they look at Tampa Bay’s Jonathan Drouin or Edmonton’s Jordan Eberle, but would be a little surprised if they chase Colorado’s Matt Duchene. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Blues salary-cap space is also a factor. With over $68 million invested in 20 players for 2017-18 and restricted free agent defenseman Colton Parayko due for a significant raise, they don’t have a lot of room to take on a high-salaried player. They’ll either have to make a salary-dumping move, get a trade partner to retain some salary or attempt to make a dollar-for-dollar swap. 

NEWSDAY: Arthur Staple recently speculated the New York Islanders could retool their defense corps for next season. He notes GM Garth Snow fielded offers last season for Travis Hamonic and wondered if Snow might revisit some of them. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: You can’t rule anything out, but I think Hamonic’s trade value isn’t as strong as it was a year ago. Snow could prefer retaining him and instead try moving Calvin de Haan before the expansion draft. 


NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 14, 2016

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 14, 2016

Jonathan Quick made 30 saves to backstop Team USA to a 3-2 win over Team Finland.

Jonathan Quick made 30 saves to backstop Team USA to a 3-2 win over Team Finland.

 World Cup of Hockey updates, latest PTO signings and more in your NHL morning headlines. 

NHL.COM:  Ryan Kesler collect a goal and an assist while Jonathan Quick made 30 saves as Team USA opened a 3-0 lead over Team Finland and held on for a 3-2 victory in World Cup of Hockey pre-tournament play.  Patrik Laine and Jussi Jokinen scored in the final half of the third period to make the game interesting. 

THE BUFFALO NEWS:  Sabres forward Ryan O’Reilly will replace Tyler Seguin for Team Canada in the World Cup of Hockey. Seguin suffered a minor knee injury and has been ordered to stay off his skates for seven to 10 days, effectively sidelining him from the tournament. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: A tough break for Seguin, who’s been hampered by injuries over the last two seasons. O’Reilly is a strong two-way player who can play center or wing. He won’t fully replace Seguin’s offense but his overall skills and versatility makes him a good replacement. 

NJ.COM: New Jersey Devils GM Ray Shero says long-time Devils forward Patrik Elias has no timetable for a possible return to action this season. 

TAMPA BAY TIMES:  Lightning center Tyler Johnson reveals he was hampered through the first half of last season by an right-wrist injury suffered during the 2015 Stanley Cup Final. He says he’s now fully recovered and feeling much stronger. 

DETROIT FREE PRESS:  Red Wings defenseman Jonathan Ericsson admits he’s battled a chronic hip ailment and an occasional lack of confidence in recent seasons. The hip ailment is bad enough to require regular treatment but not quite bad enough to require surgery.

VANCOUVER SUN: The Canucks have invited unrestricted free agent forwards James Sheppard and Tuomo Ruutu to training camp on a tryout basis. 

NBC SPORTS: The Columbus Blue Jackets have invited Mike Brown to training camp on a professional tryout offer.

LAS VEGAS JOURNAL-REVIEW:  The NHL’s Las Vegas franchise will have the name “Knights” in it. Silver, Gold or Desert will be prefix.

ARIZONA REPUBLIC/MONTREAL GAZETTE/DENVER POST/ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER: The Arizona Coyotes have released their training camp schedule, while the Montreal Canadiens, Colorado Avalanche and Anaheim Ducks released their rookie camp rosters and schedules.