Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – November 27, 2022

Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – November 27, 2022

Could the Sabres be a suitor for Jakob Chychrun? Which defensemen should the Leafs target to shore up their injury-ravaged blueline? Are the Oilers shopping for a forward? Find out in the Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup.

COULD THE SABRES OR LEAFS PURSUE CHYCHRUN?

SPORTSNET: With Jakob Chychrun returning to action last week for the first time this season, Jeff Marek wondered if the Buffalo Sabres might be a dark-horse candidate to acquire the 24-year-old Arizona Coyotes defenseman.

Arizona Coyotes defenseman Jakob Chychrun (NHL Images).

Sabres general manager Kevyn Adams has maintained he’s sticking with youth. However, Marek noted that “there is a feeling out there” that they’re running their young blueliners (Rasmus Dahlin, Owen Power and Mattias Samuelsson) hard this season. He believes they’ve got their young core locked in that doesn’t need any more prospects and need to start putting together their team.

Marek also expects the New York Islanders, Los Angeles Kings and Columbus Blue Jackets will be linked to Chychrun.

TORONTO STAR: Nick Kypreos believes Chychrun would be the best answer to address the Maple Leafs’ banged-up blueline corps. He claims Leafs GM Kyle Dubas had a great interest in the Coyotes’ rearguard from the start and that hasn’t wavered.

Kypreos claims the Leafs will have competition, saying there are believed to be six clubs sniffing around for a deal. Four of the more serious contenders have a wider range of prospects than the Leafs.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Chyrchrun rumor mill will grind away now that he’s returned to action from off-season wrist surgery. So far, he’s looked good in the three games he’s played, collecting three points with a plus-minus of plus-four. The longer he plays, the more interest he’ll draw and perhaps the sooner this year-long saga will come to an end.

The Kings have long been linked to Chychrun and possess considerable depth in prospects and young players to tempt the Coyotes. So do the Blue Jackets, who were rumored to have looked into acquiring him leading up to this year’s draft.

I don’t see where Chychrun’s a fit with the Islanders. They’ve already got two solid left-side defensemen in Adam Pelech and Alexander Romanov plus right-shot Noah Dobson has emerged as their blueline point producer. Their focus over the summer was finding a scoring forward.

The Sabres’ biggest need thus far seems to be reliable goaltending. If they want to bolster their blueline perhaps they’ll consider more affordable, healthier options than Chychrun.

As for the Leafs, I can’t see them outbidding other clubs for Chychrun, especially if the Coyotes insist on getting a couple of first-rounders and a high-end prospect or good young NHL player in return.

MORE PROPOSED LEAFS TRADE TARGETS

Nick Kypreos also suggested several other defensemen that could address their blueline woes if Chychrun wasn’t feasible. One was the Nashville Predators’ Dante Fabbro, who’s a restricted free agent next summer. Word is the Predators are willing to move the right-shot defenseman for the right price. Kypreos believes it could cost the Leafs prospect Matthew Knies.

The other is Vladislav Gavrikov of the Columbus Blue Jackets. He’s slated to become an unrestricted free agent in July and could cost a first-round pick and more to acquire.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I must confess this is the first I’ve heard that Fabbro might be available. Perhaps the right price would be a scoring forward. The Predators, however, won’t be under any significant pressure to move him by the March 3 trade deadline given his RFA status.

I still believe the Blue Jackets will try to retain Gavrikov. Nevertheless, he will draw plenty of interest if he hits the trade market before March 3.

Other options include the Seattle Kraken’s Carson Soucy, the Vancouver Canucks’ Luke Schenn, the Anaheim Ducks’ John Klingberg and the Minnesota Wild’s Matt Dumba.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Soucy and Dumba won’t be going anywhere as long as their clubs remain in playoff contention by the trade deadline. Klingberg, on the other hand, will become available when his no-trade clause expires on Jan. 1. Expect the Ducks to start peddling him between then and deadline day.

OILERS SEEK A FORWARD

SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman believes the Edmonton Oilers are in the market for “edgy”, grinding depth forwards. There’s a feeling since Evander Kane was sidelined that they’re easier to play against. He points out that they’re close to the salary cap and wonders if they can find a budget player to address their needs.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 21, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 21, 2022

Matthew Tkachuk expected to be traded after telling the Flames he won’t sign a long-term extension. Check out the latest plus updates on J.T. Miller, Alex Ovechkin, Carey Price and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.

SPORTSNET: The Calgary Flames are expected to trade Matthew Tkachuk “imminently” after he informed management that he doesn’t intend to sign a long-term extension. On Monday, the Flames filed for club-elected salary arbitration to make the 24-year-old winger ineligible to receive an offer sheet from a rival club.

Calgary Flames winger Matthew Tkachuk (NHL Images).

The move buys the Flames some time to work out either a sign-and-trade deal or trading Tkachuk’s rights to another club. Arbitration hearings begin July 27 and run through Aug. 11 but a date for his hearing has not yet been set.

Tkachuk will become the second major star to leave the Flames this summer. Johnny Gaudreau last week stunned the hockey world by signing with the Columbus Blue Jackets.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: As a restricted free agent, Tkachuk lacks no-trade protection. However, The Athletic reported he has provided the Flames with a list of preferred trade destinations with whom he would agree to a long-term extension.

A source told The Athletic those teams included the St. Louis Blues, Vegas Golden Knights, Nashville Predators, Dallas Stars, New Jersey Devils and New York Rangers. However, Sportsnet’s Eric Francis reports the “alleged list” is not accurate.

The Calgary Sun’s Wes Gilbertson believes would-be suitors will seek permission from the Flames to speak with Tkachuk’s agent about a new contract before any trade is finalized. I’ll have more on possible trade destinations for Tkachuk in the Rumor Mill.

TSN: The agent for J.T. Miller believes there’s a realistic path toward a contract extension for his client with the Vancouver Canucks. The 29-year-old center earns an average annual value of $5.2 million on his current deal. He’s slated to become a UFA next summer.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Miller’s free-agent status in 2023 and the Canucks rebuilding process made him the frequent subject of ongoing trade speculation. I daresay that path is a pay raise worth between $8 million and $9 million per season due to his career-best 99-point performance last season. Whether that’s a path the Canucks wish to go down remains to be seen.

WASHINGTON HOCKEY NOW: The Capitals have no concerns about Alex Ovechkin and Dmitry Orlov being allowed to return from Russia to rejoin the club in the coming season. Russian law dictates men between the ages of 18-27 must serve one year in the military. Ovechkin is 37 and Orlov 31.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Those concerns arose due to Philadelphia Flyers prospect Ivan Fedotov being detained and deployed to a Russian naval base while Minnesota Wild star Kirill Kaprizov faces allegations of draft dodging. However, other Russian players of military age, such as the New York Islanders’ Alexander Romanov and the Vancouver Canucks’ Ilya Mikheyev, are back in North America to begin training for the upcoming season.

MONTREAL GAZETTE: Former Canadiens goaltending coach Stephane Waite expects Carey Price will be ready to return to the net for 2022-23. The 34-year-old netminder continues to receive treatment to address complications arising from last summer’s knee surgery.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I’ll believe it when I see Price suited up for the Canadiens’ season-opener on Oct. 12.

SPORTSNET: Hockey Canada said in a statement that its National Equity Fund will “no longer be used to settle sexual assault claims,” effectively immediately. An investigation by The Globe & Mail revealed those funds came from revenue from hockey registration fees.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Well, that’s a relief…yes, I’m being sarcastic. The fact that the people running Hockey Canada thought it was a good idea to settle sexual assault claims by using funds drawn from money that parents paid to put their kids in hockey says all we need to know about their character and competence.

Speaking of Hockey Canada, their executives along with the president of the Canadian Hockey League will be back in Ottawa next week to answer questions from members of parliament over the organization’s handling of a sexual assault allegation involving eight members of Canada’s 2018 world junior team and the out-of-court settlement earlier this year. Public outrage over the investigation and settlement prompted the investigation to be reopened.

TSN: Anaheim Ducks forward Maxime Comtois is the latest member of Canada’s 2018 world junior team to issue a statement denying involvement in that alleged sexual assault of a young woman in 2018.

THE TENNESSEAN: The agent for Nashville Predators defenseman Dante Fabbro said his client was not involved in that incident and knew nothing about it. He added that Fabbro fully complied with the initial investigation and will continue doing so in any forthcoming investigations.

CBC EDMONTON: Oilers owner Daryl Katz has been accused in a civil suit of paying $75,000 to a teenage ballet dancer for her “sexual favors.” The unproven allegations are in response to a sexual abuse lawsuit filed against a dance teacher and his wife.

Katz’s lawyer said his client never engaged in a sexual relationship with the young woman and intends to vigorously defend his reputation against the “baseless and scurrilous” claims in the lawsuit. He said the money Katz arranged to be sent to her was funding for a film project, calling the allegation “a distraction and a shakedown.”

BOSTON HOCKEY NOW: Former Bruins defenseman John Gruden has been named as their new assistant coach. He spent the past four seasons as an assistant coach with the New York Islanders.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – August 6, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – August 6, 2021

Salary arbitration schedule set, the latest notable contract signings and an update on the salary cap in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHLPA.COM: The hearing dates have been set for players who selected salary arbitrations last week:

August 11
Adam Pelech (New York Islanders)
Michael McNiven (Montreal Canadiens)
Jakub Vrana (Detroit Red Wings)

August 12
Victor Mete (Ottawa Senators)*

August 13
Neal Pionk (Winnipeg Jets)

August 14
Vince Dunn (Seattle Kraken)
Zach Sanford (St. Louis Blues)*

August 16
Adin Hill (San Jose Sharks)*
Ross Colton (Tampa Bay Lightning)

August 17
Kevin Fiala (Minnesota Wild)

August 18
Juuse Saros (Nashville Predators)

August 20
Dante Fabbro (Nashville Predators)*
Jason Dickinson (Vancouver Canucks)

August 21
Adam Erne (Detroit Red Wings)
Dennis Gilbert (Colorado Avalanche)

August 23
Zach Aston-Reese (Pittsburgh Penguins)*

August 26
Andrew Copp (Winnipeg Jets)
Nikita Zadorov (Calgary Flames)
Travis Sanheim (Philadelphia Flyers)

*indicates player had settled.

New Jersey Devils sign Tomas Tatar (NHL Images).

  NORTHJERSEY.COM: The New Jersey Devils signed Tomas Tatar to a two-year, $9 million contract. The 30-year-old winger spent the past three seasons with the Montreal Canadiens.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Bang goes my theory of the Devils acquiring St. Louis Blues winger Vladimir Tarasenko via trade. Tatar reached or exceeded 20 goals six times between 2014-15 and 2019-20 and 45-plus points five times. He’ll likely slot in alongside Nico Hischier or Jack Hughes on the Devils’ top-two lines. Tatar is the third significant UFA signing by the Devils this summer, joining Dougie Hamilton and Jonathan Bernier.

THE SCORE: Speaking of the Devils, they signed winger Yegor Sharangovich to a two-year, $4 million contract.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: According to Cap Friendly, these moves leave the Devils with $14.7 million in projected cap space with restricted free agent Janne Kuokkanen to sign. They still have plenty of room to make another significant addition if they so choose.

THE TENNESSEAN: The Nashville Predators avoided salary arbitration with Dante Fabbro, signing the 23-year-old defenseman to a two-year, $4.8 million contract.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Predators have over $17.6 million in projected cap space with Juuse Saros and Eeli Tolvanen to re-sign. 

TRIBLIVE.COM: The Pittsburgh Penguins avoided arbitration with Zach Aston-Reese, inking the 26-year-old winger to a one-year, $1.725 million deal.

DAILY FACEOFF: Frank Seravalli reports the NHL is projecting an increase in the salary cap by $1 million for 2022-23. It will be the first raise in the cap since COVID-19 affected the league’s business operations, delinking the salary cap from revenue and creating a $1 billion debt that players are still working to pay back to the owners.

Seravalli believes the anticipated increase in revenue when the NHL resumes a normal 82-game season in 2021-22 could trigger a “lag formula” agreed upon by the owners and players in the CBA extension. Starting in 2022-23, the cap will increase by $1 million each season until 2025-26, when the players’ debt is expected to be repaid should revenue rebound strongly over that period.

Should the debt be repaid by the end of 2025-26, Seravalli indicates the CBA would automatically extend by one season to 2026-27. The cap would revert back to the usual formula where it is tied to actual revenue projections.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The debt Seravalli refers to stems from the artificially set cap of $81.5 million for last season and this season. League revenue was far less than projected because of the pandemic. The cap would’ve been significantly lowered had it remained tied to revenue, forcing teams to shed salary. That would’ve been almost impossible because most teams would’ve lacked sufficient cap space to acquire those contracts. It also would’ve left a large number of free agents unsigned.

Instead, it was agreed the cap would be decoupled from revenue and artificially set at $81.5 million. That created an imbalance as the players were receiving most of the revenue. Because the CBA mandates a 50-50 split, the players have to pay back the excess via escrow to make the owners whole.

NHL’s coffers should receive a boost from its new broadcasting deals with ESPN and Turner plus the addition of the Seattle Kraken. Nevertheless, it remains largely a gate-driven league. The number of fans returning to the arenas post-pandemic will determine how much revenue increases. As Seravalli points out, short of a revenue bonanza, the cap will only slowly rise over the next five seasons.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 11, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 11, 2021

Recaps of Wednesday’s action, the NHL and ESPN officially announce their new seven-year partnership, plus the latest on Artemi Panarin, Alex Pietrangelo, Evander Kane and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: Leon Draisaitl had a hat trick and collected two assists as the Edmonton Oilers thumped the Ottawa Senators 7-1. Connor McDavid had a goal and two assists and Tyson Barrie had three helpers as the Oilers went 6-0-0 over the Senators this season. Senators forwards Colin White and Ryan Dzingel both left the game with injuries.

Edmonton Oilers forward Leon Draisaitl (NHL Images).

A two-goal performance by Joel Eriksson Ek enabled the Minnesota Wild to hold off the Vegas Golden Knights by a score of 4-3. Vegas rookie Dylan Coghlan tallied his first career NHL hat trick. The Golden Knights played without defenseman Alex Pietrangelo, who coach Pete DeBoer said is sidelined “for the foreseeable future” with an upper-body injury. Meanwhile, goaltender Robin Lehner (upper-body) has been loaned to the Golden Knights AHL affiliate for a conditioning stint as he moves closer to returning to the lineup.

Montreal Canadiens forwards Jesperi Kotkaniemi and Tyler Toffoli each had two points in a 5-1 drubbing of the Vancouver Canucks. Jeff Petry scored his 10th goal of the season to lead all NHL defensemen in goals. He’s also the Canadiens leading scorer with 24 points. Habs blueliner Ben Chiarot left the game after injuring his hand in a fight with Canucks forward J.T. Miller.

The Colorado Avalanche edged the Arizona Coyotes 2-1 on an overtime goal by captain Gabriel Landeskog. Coyotes goaltender Antti Raanta kicked out 44 shots in a losing cause. The Avalanche (30 points) sit in fourth place in the Honda West Division, two points up on the Los Angeles Kings.

Speaking of the Kings, goalie Troy Grosenick made 33 saves to win his first start in six years as he backstopped his club over the Anaheim Ducks 5-1.

HEADLINES

The NHL, ESPN and the Walt Disney Company officially announced their new seven-year media rights partnership beginning in 2021-22. The deal will be a combination of television and “cutting-edge streaming” that should “help Disney grow its audience, help the NHL grow the game and give fans more options.”

The remainder of the league’s media rights is still being negotiated. NBC, which carried the NHL’s broadcasting rights for the past decade, is among the bidders.

Among the highlights:

The Stanley Cup Final will be on ABC four of the seven years of this deal. ABC and ESPN will carry one conference final series and half of the first- and second-round games in the Stanley Cup playoffs each season, plus 25 regular-season games.

ESPN will also produce 75 national games each season and stream them on ESPN+ and Hulu. It will also stream more than 1,000 out-of-market games each regular season on ESPN+, replacing NHL TV.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Sportsnet’s Chris Johnston reports the ESPN package is worth around $2.8 billion, paying out over $400 million per season to the NHL. That’s a considerable increase over the $200 million per season from the current deal with NBC, with more to come when the second broadcast/streaming deal is finalized.

SPORTSNET: NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said the salary cap will likely remain stagnant as part of the four-year extension of the collective bargaining agreement with the NHL Players Association. He indicated it will remain flat until the league recovers overpayments through the escrow that built up in the return-to-play last season and the lack of attendance this season due to COVID-19.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That means less money for the foreseeable future for restricted and unrestricted free agent players. The league approached the PA last fall about a short-term increase in escrow payments or deferred salary to address the potential overpayments. However, that was rejected by the players as they didn’t want to make changes to a CBA extension agreement made just several months earlier. The players were within their rights, of course, but this is going to make it increasingly difficult for free agents to land lucrative new contracts.

NEW YORK POST: Artemi Panarin returned to Rangers practice for the first time in over two weeks. He took time off to deal with unsubstantiated accusations from a former KHL coach claiming he assaulted a young Latvian woman in 2011. Panarin is listed as day-to-day and won’t be in the lineup for tonight’s game against the Boston Bruins.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Panarin could be back in action perhaps on Saturday or Monday against the Philadelphia Flyers.

THE SCORE: The San Jose Sharks denied a report claiming they could void Evander Kane’s contract as the winger navigates through bankruptcy proceedings. “The Sharks are 100 percent committed to honoring Evander Kane’s contract and have no intention of having it terminated,” said a team spokesperson.

Kane filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in January, citing $26.8 million in debt and $10.2 million in assets. There is $29 million remaining on his contract with the Sharks. His creditors have requested to convert the bankruptcy to Chapter 11, which would make that remaining money available to them. A hearing to determine the designation is slated for later in March.

TSN: Nashville Predators defenseman Dante Fabbro received a two-game suspension for elbowing Carolina Hurricanes forward Brock McGinn on Tuesday.

SPORTSNET: Winnipeg Jets defenseman Nathan Beaulieu will be sidelined for weeks after blocking a shot with his right hand during a recent game against the Toronto Maple Leafs.










NHL Rumor Mill – February 24, 2021

NHL Rumor Mill – February 24, 2021

The latest on Marc-Andre Fleury and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins plus updates on the Predators, Sabres, Coyotes, Kings, Red Wings and Flames in today’s NHL rumor mill.

HIGHLIGHTS FROM FRIEDMAN’S LATEST “31 THOUGHTS”.

SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman cited Vegas Golden Knights owner Bill Foley appearing on Andy Strickland and Cam Janssen’s podcast where he said he doesn’t want goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury to be traded. “He never came close to be part of a deal,” said Foley. “I would’ve had a big problem with it if that had been presented to me.” Friedman believes the Pittsburgh Penguins tried to reacquire Fleury through another team and they thought they were close to a deal.

Vegas Golden Knights goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury (NHL Images)

SPECTOR’S NOTE: As Friedman indicated if Foley doesn’t want Fleury traded then that’s the end of it. The 36-year-old goaltender becomes an unrestricted free agent next summer.

Friedman believes Ryan Nugent-Hopkins wants to stay with the Edmonton Oilers and management wants to keep him. The biggest challenge is the economic landscape is recovering more slowly than expected.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: In other words, the salary cap is likely to remain at $81.5 million for next season, affecting how much the Oilers can comfortably afford to invest in a long-term extension for Nugent-Hopkins.

Following up on his Saturday report regarding the Nashville Predators’ trade speculation, Friedman said their deep respect for aging goaltender Pekka Rinne means they want him to retire in their uniform. They have no desire to move defensemen Roman Josi and Ryan Ellis. They’re willing to listen to trade offers but it will be difficult to pry away Filip Forsberg and Dante Fabbro.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Predators most likely to be traded are pending unrestricted free agents like Mikael Granlund and Erik Haula or those on affordable contracts (Mattias Ekholm, Calle Jarnkrok) that expire at the end of 2021-22. They’ll entertain offers for expensive underachievers such as Matt Duchene and Ryan Johansen but I doubt there will be much interest in either guy.

The Buffalo Sabres are making Brandon Montour available. The 26-year-old defenseman is eligible for unrestricted free agent status this summer.

The Arizona Coyotes are looking for a center. They could also be interested in a rental player like Montour or a winger like the Vancouver Canucks’ Tanner Pearson if he becomes available.

Don’t expect the Los Angeles Kings to become buyers if they remain in playoff contention by the trade deadline. General manager Rob Blake intends to stick with his rebuilding plan.

UPDATES ON THE RED WINGS AND FLAMES

TSN: Frank Seravalli believes three Detroit Red Wings – Bobby Ryan, Luke Glendening and Marc Staal – could draw attention from rival clubs as the Apr. 12 trade deadline approaches. Pierre LeBrun, meanwhile, said the Calgary Flames’ recent slump sparked speculation whether GM Brad Treliving was up to something. However, it seems all’s quiet on the Flames front.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I expect Ryan, Staal and Glendening could be playing elsewhere by Apr. 12. As for the Flames, Treliving is remaining patient with his roster but his hand could be forced if they don’t show significant improvement. Complicating things, of course, are the COVID protocols and travel restrictions for any players acquired from American teams.










Jack Eichel’s Future A Hot Topic In The NHL Rumor Roundup

Jack Eichel’s Future A Hot Topic In The NHL Rumor Roundup