Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – August 14, 2022

Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – August 14, 2022

Could the Flames attempt to trade Milan Lucic? Would there be room on the Bruins for his return? What’s the latest on P.K. Subban, Phil Kessel and Josh Bailey? Find out in the Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup

COULD THE FLAMES MAKE ANOTHER BIG MOVE?

CALGARY HOCKEY NOW: Steve Macfarlane recently observed Flames winger Milan Lucic was trending on social media last week after the Boston Bruins signed Patrice Bergeron and David Krejci. He believes the Flames have no urgent need to move the 34-year-old power forward unless they’re planning on making another big trade.

Calgary Flames winger Milan Lucic (NHL Images).

The Flames made headlines last month with a blockbuster trade by shipping Matthew Tkachuk to the Florida Panthers for Jonathan Huberdeau and MacKenzie Weegar. Macfarlane wondered if they might make another impact trade or free-agent signing.

BOSTON HOCKEY NOW: Jimmy Murphy half-jokingly made the suggestion that Bruins general manager Don Sweeney should attempt to bring back Lucic after signing Bergeron and Krejci. He pointed to Lucic’s close friendship with those two as well as Bruins wingers Brad Marchand and David Pastrnak.

Murphy wondered if Sweeney would be interested in acquiring Lucic if the Flames agreed to retain part of his $6 million cap hit. He’s slated to become an unrestricted free agent next summer.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: If the Bruins want a reunion with Lucic (and there’s no indication Sweeney is considering that) they’ll have to wait for next summer. Macfarlane pointed out he remains a key part of the Flames’ leadership core for the coming season as they hope to contend for the Stanley Cup.

Flames GM Brad Treliving could surprise us with another big off-season move. However, I think he’s already made his big splash for this summer.

SUBBAN AND KESSEL TO THE OILERS?

EDMONTON JOURNAL: David Staples reports oddsmakers have the Oilers as the potential destination for free agents P.K. Subban and Phil Kessel.

Staples also noted Oilers Now insider Bob Stauffer said the club could be a choice destination for some aging free agent players. Kessel has been frequently linked to the Oilers this summer in the rumor mill.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I’m no oddsmaker but I’d say Kessel has a better chance of joining the Oilers than Subban. They could use more offensive depth on right wing and he put up a respectable 52 points last season on the offensively anemic Arizona Coyotes. However, we don’t know if the Oilers are interested in him.

LATEST ON JOSH BAILEY

THE ATHLETIC: Kevin Kurz poured cold water on speculation suggesting the New York Islanders could move Josh Bailey to clear cap room to sign Nazem Kadri. He believes if that deal was going to happen it would’ve by now, pointing out most rosters around the league are now set. There are few teams that can afford the 32-year-old winger’s $5 million annual cap hit through 2023-24.

Kurz acknowledged the Isles could retain $1.5 million to $2 million of Bailey’s salary-cap hit to facilitate a trade. However, it wouldn’t make much sense for them to do that.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: If Bailey was in the final season of his contract it might make more sense to retain part of his cap hit. Doing so for two years, however, leaves dead cap space carrying over into 2023-23. Retaining part of his salary could still hamper efforts to sign Kadri, depending on how much they spend to re-sign restricted free agents Noah Dobson, Alexander Romanov and Kieffer Bellows.

Bailey lacks no-trade protection so he could be shopped to rebuilding teams with cap room such as the Arizona Coyotes or Chicago Blackhawks. However, the Isles will be expected to include a decent draft pick or prospect in the deal. There is also the question of whether those clubs want or need a veteran winger at this stage in their rebuilding process.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – August 8, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – August 8, 2022

The latest on Jonathan Huberdeau, John Tavares, Jonathan Drouin and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.

CALGARY HOCKEY NOW: Steve Macfarlane believes the Flames should name a captain for the coming season after playing without one in 2021-22. He suggests Jonathan Huberdeau for the role with Johnny Gaudreau departing via free agency and Matthew Tkachuk traded to Florida last month.

Calgary Flames winger Jonathan Huberdeau (NHL Images).

Acquired from the Panthers in the Tkachuk trade, Macfarlane points out Huberdeau quickly embraced his identity as a Flames. He’s made his intentions clear that he wants to be a leader on and off the ice.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Flames could decide to play without a captain for the coming season before reaching a decision on who should wear the “C”. Then again, they could make that determination after evaluating their players in training camp and preseason play. Though Huberdeau hasn’t yet played a game for the Flames, his experience should make him a front-runner for the job.

NHL.COM: Toronto Maple Leafs captain John Tavares said he’s free of the body aches that plagued him since last summer. The 31-year-old took part in a charity game last week in Barrie, Ontario that helped to raise $155K in conjunction with the John Tavares Foundation.

Tavares remains determined to lead the Leafs in overcoming their recent playoff disappointments. He also praised management for keeping most of the club’s core intact while finding ways to fill the holes.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I don’t doubt Tavares’ resolution to helping his club finally stage a deep playoff run. Whether they’ve got the goaltending this coming season to pull it off remains to be seen.

MONTREAL HOCKEY NOW: Jonathan Drouin is looking forward to playing a full season under Canadiens head coach Martin St. Louis. The 27-year-old winger played only two games with St. Louis behind the bench last season before a wrist injury sidelined him for the remainder of the 2021-22 schedule.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This season will be a crucial one for Drouin. He’s slated to become an unrestricted free agent next summer. He’ll need a healthy and productive performance if he hopes to garner a new deal with the Canadiens or to boost his free-agent stock.

WINNIPEG SUN: The Jets avoided salary arbitration with winger Mason Appleton as the two sides agreed to a three-year deal with an average annual value of $2.166 million. Appleton was scheduled for an arbitration hearing on Aug. 11.










NHL Rumor Mill – August 6, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – August 6, 2022

MacKenzie Weegar could start contract talks soon with the Flames plus updates on the Penguins and Sharks in today’s NHL rumor roundup.

LATEST ON WEEGAR AND THE FLAMES

TSN’s Salim Valji took to Twitter to report a source said MacKenzie Weegar has a “strong, genuine desire” to re-sign with the Calgary Flames. He believes the two sides could start contract talks next week.

Calgary Flames defenseman MacKenzie Weegar (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Flames acquired Weegar last month as part of the return from the Florida Panthers in the Matthew Tkachuk trade. He and Jonathan Huberdeau both indicated a willingness to discuss contract extensions with their new club.

With Huberdeau now signed to an eight-year extension, the focus shifts to the 28-year-old defenseman. He’s slated to become an unrestricted free agent next summer.

After signing his new contract, Huberdeau told the media that he wanted to sign with the team that wanted him. Weegar could feel the same way. Following the trade, there was a report out of Florida indicating both players weren’t pleased with their contract discussions with the Panthers.

UPDATE ON THE PENGUINS AND SHARKS

THE ATHLETIC: In a recent mailbag segment, Rob Rossi was asked if the Pittsburgh Penguins could afford to trade one of their left-side defensemen. He doesn’t believe they can.

Rossi felt the Penguins need left-side blueliners such as Brian Dumoulin and Marcus Pettersson to perform at as close to peak level as possible if they hope to contend for the Stanley Cup.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Penguins are sitting nearly $1.5 million above the $82.5 million cap for the coming season. There was speculation they might shop Dumoulin or Pettersson to free up cap space and clear a path for a more affordable young rearguard such as Pierre-Olivier Joseph or the recently-acquired Ty Smith.

However, they’re also sitting one player over their 23-man roster limit and could clear some of that cap space by placing a player or two on waivers. And to those readers advocating a trade of Jason Zucker, no, they’re not going that route. There’s not much of a market for an oft-injured 30-year-old winger with a $5.5 million cap hit and a 10-team no-trade clause.

THE ATHLETIC: In an Aug. 1 mailbag segment, Corey Masisak was asked how the San Jose Sharks intend to address their glut of goaltenders. They currently have seven under NHL contracts, including James Reimer, Kaapo Kahkonen and Adin Hill.

Masisak suggested one of them could be traded during training camp or preseason if another team has a goalie sidelined. They could also put Hill on waivers and if he clears keep him in the minors until Reimer or Kahkonen gets hurt.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – August 5, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – August 5, 2022

The Flames sign Jonathan Huberdeau to the richest contract in franchise history, the Sharks re-sign Mario Ferraro, and the Devils avoid arbitration with Miles Wood. Details and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.

CALGARY HOCKEY NOW: The Flames signed Jonathan Huberdeau to an eight-year, $84 million contract extension. The average annual value is $10.5 million and comes with a full no-movement clause in the first six seasons of the deal, followed by a modified no-trade in the final two years.

Calgary Flames winger Jonathan Huberdeau (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Flames have given Huberdeau the exact same contract that they offered Johnny Gaudreau before his departure to Columbus as a free agent. Both are talented playmaking wingers coming off career-best 115-point performances.

Since 2017-18, Huberdeau’s been among the league’s highest-scoring left wingers. His 415 points during that period are just six behind league leader Brad Marchand of the Boston Bruins, three back of the New York Rangers’ Artemi Panarin and 10 up on Gaudreau.

The difference here is the Flames knew what they had in Gaudreau. He’d been with them for the past eight seasons. They understood his strengths and weaknesses. Huberdeau, on the other hand, is something of an unknown to them and that could make this contract more of a risk.

Huberdeau will be 30 when the deal kicks in for 2023-24 and turning 38 when it expires. That’s typically a period when a player’s production declines as age and the wear and tear of a long career begin to take its’ toll. There’s also the question of how his performance will be affected by skating with a new team after spending the past 10 seasons with the Panthers.

It will be money well spent for the Flames as long as Huberdeau adjusts well to his new teammates and maintains his high level of production throughout most of his contract. Otherwise, it’ll increasingly become a salary-cap nightmare that hampers their efforts to become a contender.

SAN JOSE HOCKEY NOW: The Sharks signed Mario Ferraro to a four-year contract. The 23-year-old defenseman will earn an annual average value of $3.25 million.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: In just three years, Ferraro has become an invaluable member of the Sharks defense corps. He averaged 23 minutes of ice time per game in 2021-22 while his shorthanded ice time (2:38) ranked second on the club. Ferraro was also their leader in blocked shots (151) and among their leaders in hits.

Ferraro skated alongside Brent Burns on the Sharks’ top pairing last season. With Burns’ trade to Carolina, he’ll likely remain on the top pairing with Erik Karlsson as his defense partner.

DAILY FACEOFF: The New Jersey Devils avoided arbitration with winger Miles Wood as the two sides agreed to a one-year, $3.2 million contract.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Wood missed all but three games last season due to hip surgery. He had 17 goals and 25 points in 55 games during the COVID-shortened 2020-21 campaign.

THE NEWS & OBSERVER: Carolina Hurricanes GM Don Waddell expects to have forward Martin Necas under contract before training camp opens next month. The two sides are believed closing in on a deal. Waddell didn’t elaborate but it could be a two-year bridge deal worth about $3 million per season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Necas, 23, is coming off his entry-level contract and lacks arbitration rights. He had a promising sophomore campaign in 2020-21 with 41 points in 53 games but managed 40 points in 78 games last season.

Rumors that he and head coach Rod Brind’Amour wasn’t on the same page prompted trade speculation. It appears the Hurricanes intend to retain him for the coming season.

THE SCORE: Michael Raffl has signed a two-year contract with Lausanne Hockey Club in Switzerland’s National League. The 33-year-old winger spent nine seasons in the NHL from 2013-14 to 2021-22 with the Philadelphia Flyers, Washington Capitals and Dallas Stars.

TORONTO SUN: Rich Clune has retired after 16 professional seasons to join the Maple Leafs’ training department. Clune spent most of his career in the AHL but played five NHL seasons with the Leafs, Los Angeles Kings and Nashville Predators. He spent the past six seasons exclusively with the AHL’s Toronto Marlies.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Best wishes to Clune in his new job.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – August 4, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – August 4, 2022

The 2022-23 preseason schedule is released, the Devils avoid arbitration with Jesper Bratt, the Oilers re-sign Kailer Yamamoto, and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.

NHL.COM: The league released its 2022-23 preseason schedule. It begins on Saturday, Sept. 24 featuring the Ottawa Senators and Toronto Maple Leafs facing off in a split-squad doubleheader in Toronto.

On Oct. 3, the Nashville Predators will face SC Bern in Bern, Switzerland on Oct. 3 while the San Jose Sharks take on Eisbaren Berlin in Berlin, Germany, on Oct. 4 as part of the 2022 NHL Global Series. The Predators and Sharks will meet to play their regular-season openers on Oct. 7-8 in Prague, Czechia.

Twillingate, NL and Elsipogtog First Nation in New Brunswick will be hosting Kraft Hockeyville games between the Senators and Montreal Canadiens on Oct. 6 and 8 respectively.

New Jersey Devils winger Jesper Bratt (NHL Images).

The regular season opens in North America on Oct. 11.

NORTHJERSEY.COM: The New Jersey Devils and Jesper Bratt avoided arbitration at the last minute by agreeing to a one-year, $5.45 million contract. Bratt, 24, was asking for $6.5 million while the Devils sought $4.15 million.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Bratt will be a restricted free agent with arbitration rights again next summer. He tallied a career-high 73 points in 76 games last season. Another season with comparable numbers will put him in line for a more lucrative deal.

EDMONTON JOURNAL: The Oilers re-signed winger Kailer Yamamoto to a two-year contract worth an average annual value of $3.1 million. Yamamoto was scheduled for arbitration on Aug. 7.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Yamamoto’s getting a significant raise over the $1.175 million he earned last season. The 23-year-old two-way winger netted career highs with 20 goals, 21 assists and 41 points last season.

The move puts the Oilers above the $82.5 million salary cap by just over $6 million. They can exceed the cap by 10 percent during the offseason and are expected to place sidelined players Mike Smith and Oscar Klefbom ($6.3 million combined salary) on long-term injury reserve to be cap compliant to start the season. However, they still have Ryan McLeod to re-sign and that could force them to shed a salary via trade or waivers.

THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH: The Blue Jackets re-signed forward Emil Bemstrom to a two-year, $1.8 million contract.

COLORADO HOCKEY NOW: The Avalanche signed former Boston Bruins forward Anton Blidh to a one-year, two-way contract worth $750K at the NHL level.

DAILY FACEOFF: The Calgary Wranglers have been unveiled as the Flames’ new AHL affiliate. They were the Stockton Heat from 2015 to 2022.

NHL.COM: The Seattle Kraken hired Jeff Tambellini as their director of player development.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – August 3, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – August 3, 2022

Max Pacioretty criticizes a lack of accountability on the Golden Knights while the Flames avoid arbitration with Andrew Mangiapane and Oliver Kylington. Details and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

VEGAS HOCKEY NOW: Former Vegas Golden Knights winger Max Pacioretty criticized what he considered the club’s laid-back approach toward losing. The 33-year-old left winger was traded last month by the Golden Knights to the Carolina Hurricanes in a cost-cutting move.

Former Vegas Golden Knights winger Max Pacioretty (NHL Images).

Speaking on the Raw Knuckles podcast with Chris Nilan and Tim Stapleton, Pacioretty talked about how there was no accountability with losing throughout the club when he joined the Golden Knights following a trade from the Montreal Canadiens in 2018. He indicated that was quite a change from what he was used to in Montreal where there was pressure to win.

Pacioretty pointed out that there were players on the Golden Knights who don’t know what it’s like because they haven’t played anywhere else. He felt that demands for accountability by a coach or management or elsewhere helped bring out the best in him, adding he thought that was missing for the Golden Knights last season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Pacioretty said he didn’t want to say there was a country club attitude on the Golden Knights. However, the perks the players seem to enjoy there (Pacioretty mentioned having their cars washed, organic food deliveries and going to play golf) combined with Las Vegas being a new NHL market in the Sun Belt could also be detrimental if they’re not answerable for poor performance.

Other factors, such as injuries to key players like Pacioretty, contributed to the Golden Knights missing the playoffs last season for the first time in their short history. Nevertheless, his comments about the club’s relaxed atmosphere could also explain the under-performance of some players last season. Making the playoffs in their first four seasons, including reaching the Stanley Cup Final in their inaugural campaign, could also be a contributing factor, a case of too much too soon.

The Golden Knights hired former Boston Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy in June. Perhaps he can bring the accountability that Pacioretty believes was lacking in Vegas.

CALGARY HOCKEY NOW: The Flames avoided salary arbitration with Andrew Mangiapane as the two sides agreed to a three-year, $17.4 million contract. The annual average value is $5.8 million.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That’s a significant raise from the $2.425 million AAV that Mangiapane was earning on his previous contract. A career-best 35-goal season in a contract year will do that.

The 26-year-old winger has been trending toward that level of production over the previous two seasons. He had 17 goals in 68 games in 2019-20 and 18 goals in 56 games in 2020-21. If not for COVID-19 shortening those seasons, he would’ve probably reached 25 goals or more in each.

The Flames also avoided arbitration with defenseman Oliver Kylington as they agreed to a two-year, $5 million contract. The AAV is $2.5 million.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kylington is betting on himself after a career-best 31-point effort. He also gets a nice pay bump over the $750K he earned last season. The 25-year-old blueliner will be eligible for unrestricted free agent status in two years’ time. He could put himself in a good position for a much better payday by then if he reaches or exceeds the 30-point plateau again.

TSN: Nashville Predators forward Yakov Trenin had his arbitration hearing yesterday. He’s coming off a one-year, $725K contract, scoring a career-best 17 goals and 24 points. The two sides now await the ruling from the arbitrator.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Prior to 2020, a team and a player could still reach an agreement on a new contract prior to the arbiter’s decision. That’s no longer the case.

NBC SPORTS PHILADELPHIA: The Flyers avoided arbitration with rugged winger Zack MacEwen, agreeing to a one-year, $925K deal.

EDMONTON JOURNAL: After 40 years with the Oilers as a player, general manager, president of hockey operations and alternate governor, Kevin Lowe announced his retirement.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Best wishes to Lowe and his family as they embark on the next stage of their lives outside the NHL spotlight.