The Latest On The Flames and Red Wings in NHL Rumor Roundup
The latest on Johnny Gaudreau and Mike Hoffman plus an update on the Blackhawks in today’s NHL rumor mill.
NHL.COM: In a recent mailbag segment, Tracey Myers was asked about the trade rumors surrounding Calgary Flames winger Johnny Gaudreau and if a move to the Philadelphia Flyers would help his production.
Myers acknowledged last season’s dip in Gaudreau’s production but believes he’ll bounce back in 2020-21. She noted the winger has two years remaining on his contract and his desire to stay in Calgary. While there might be Philadelphia fans who’d welcome seeing the Salem, NJ native in a Flyers jersey, Myers doubts the Flames are ready to move him.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: There were plenty of calls from many of the Flames faithful demanding Gaudreau be traded following the club’s disappointing performance in the 2020 playoffs. However, Flames general manager Brad Treliving shot down that notion and defending his embattled scorer. I agree with Myers’ take, but that situation could change if Gaudreau has another sub-par performance or the Flames make another early postseason exit.
Myers was also asked if the St. Louis Blues could sign free-agent winger Mike Hoffman to a cheap, one-year contract, and if he’d be a good fit in the tight Blues locker room.
She noted they found sufficient offense when winger Vladimir Tarasenko missed most of last season. With Tarasenko sidelined again with shoulder surgery for five months, she suggested inking Hoffman to replace some of his offense might be worth looking into. Hoffman is willing to accept a one-year contract and Myers feels he’d be a good fit with the Blues.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Blues GM Doug Armstrong didn’t rule out making another addition via free agency but suggested it might not make sense dollar-wise. Cap Friendly indicates the Blues sit above the $81.5 million cap by over $1.175 million with defenseman Vince Dunn still to sign.
Armstrong gets some cap relief by placing Tarasenko ($7.5 million) and Alex Steen ($5.75 million) on long-term injury reserve, but he’ll have to clear cap room when they return to the lineup at some point during the season. Hoffman is also believed seeking $6 million on a one-year deal, which could prove too expensive for the Blues to absorb.
Asked if the Chicago Blackhawks could find a buyer for one of their four big contracts, Myers believes Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane, Duncan Keith and Brent Seabrook will finish their careers in Chicago.
Toews, Kane and Keith are signed through 2022-23, Seabrook through 2023-24. They all have full no-movement clauses. She noted Toews recently said he has no interest in playing anywhere else and would be surprised if Kane and Keith felt differently. The Blackhawks have given no indication they’re trading Seabrook. Given his contract, Myers considers it unlikely.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Maybe one or more of those four will feel differently in a couple of years if the rebuilding Blackhawks haven’t made sufficient progress. For now, I don’t expect either of them to be changing teams. Their contracts remain tough to move and their no-movement clauses give them full control over their futures.
Recent speculation on Noah Hanifin, Eric Haula, Jimmy Howard and Corey Perry in today’s NHL rumor mill.
FLORIDA HOCKEY NOW (subscription required): Jimmy Murphy wondered if the Calgary Flames might shop left-side defenseman Noah Hanifin to bring in a right-side defenseman and to shed some cap space. The sources he spoke with believe Hanifin isn’t been shopped but didn’t rule out Flames general manager Brad Treliving listening to a “hockey trade” offer.
The Flames have over $1 million in cap space, with Hanifin having four years remaining on his contract with an annual average value of $4.95 million. Murphy suggests the Boston Bruins, Detroit Red Wings, Buffalo Sabres and Columbus Blue Jackets as teams that could initiate calls.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Bruins might have to part with Brandon Carlo ($2.5 million), the Red Wings with Filip Hronek ($714K), the Sabres with Brandon Montour ($3.85 million), and the Blue Jackets with David Savard ($4.25 million).
The Bruins would have to find a suitable right-side replacement if they swap Carlo for Hanifin. I don’t see the Wings trading away the promising Hronek. Savard is a UFA next summer and won’t provide much cap savings this season for the Flames. Montour is also slated to become UFA after 2020-21 and the Flames could prefer someone with more term left on their contract.
The Dallas Stars suffered a double-whammy with goaltender Ben Bishop and center Tyler Seguin sidelined for five months following recent surgeries. Murphy cites an NHL source claiming they’ve circled back to free-agent center Erik Haula. He also wondered if they might consider adding free-agent goaltender Jimmy Howard, pointing out Stars GM Jim Nill’s ties to Howard during their time with the Detroit Red Wings.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Nill could put Bishop and Seguin on long-term injury reserve to make an affordable signing or two to offset their absences on a short-term basis. It could depend, however, on when the 2020-21 season begins. Bishop and Seguin could be good to go if the season opens in March.
THE DALLAS MORNING NEWS: In a recent mailbag segment, Matthew DeFranks was asked about the possibility of Corey Perry returning with the Stars. He believes the 35-year-old winger would have to take a pay cut on the $1.5 million in base salary and $1.75 million in bonuses that he was paid last season. He cited recent rumors linking Perry to the Ottawa Senators and noted the Stars want to inject some youth into their forward lines.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I’ve believed Perry could return to the Stars for another season. I’m not so sure now after reading DeFranks’ take. They have the cap space to sign him but he might be reluctant to accept a pay cut. We’ll see.
The latest update on the notable unrestricted free agents in today’s NHL rumor mill.
SPORTSNET: Emily Sadler provided an updated list of the best remaining NHL unrestricted free agents.
Mike Hoffman remains atop the list, with Sadler reporting his agent recently indicated 13 clubs expressed an interest in his client since the market opened a month ago. The winger also isn’t opposed to accepting a one-year contract. The Boston Bruins, Carolina Hurricanes, Columbus Blue Jackets and Nashville Predators are seeking scoring.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Not really much new here on Hoffman or the others on this list. Nevertheless, I’ll point out some of the more noteworthy tidbits.
Nothing new to report on winger Mikael Granlund. He could be another candidate for a short-term deal.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Granlund struggled during his brief tenure with the Nashville Predators but he had five seasons with 41-or-more points in six seasons with the Minnesota Wild. The 28-year-old could be a good addition for a club seeking an affordable playmaker.
Defenseman Travis Hamonic would prefer to remain in the Western Conference. Talks with the Vancouver Canucks broke off once they acquired Nate Schmidt. Sadler suggests Hamonic’s former team, the Calgary Flames, could really use a right-side stay-at-home blueliner.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Cap Friendly indicates the Flames have just over $1 million in cap space. I doubt Hamonic returns to Calgary unless he accepts a substantial pay cut.
Sadler believes it’s still possible Ilya Kovalchuk could return with the Montreal Canadiens.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Never say never but the Canadiens’ recent acquisitions of wingers Josh Anderson and Tyler Toffolli makes Kovalchuk’s return to Montreal unlikely.
Early speculation had center Erik Haula reuniting with the Vegas Golden Knights, but they’re now above the cap ceiling after signing Alex Pietrangelo.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Haula won’t be returning to Vegas unless the Golden Knights make a cost-cutting trade.
Clubs that lost out on signing T.J. Brodie and Tyson Barrie could have an interest in blueliner Sami Vatanen. Sadler suggested the Vancouver Canucks as a destination.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Canucks are above the $81.5 million salary cap by over $1.5 million. They could get some wiggle room if winger Micheal Ferland ($3.5 million annual average value) goes on long-term injury reserve next season. That would give them room for Vatanen if he’s willing to accept a cost-effective one-year deal.
Gritty winger Matt Martin is still available but there are reports he and the New York Islanders were working on a new contract.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s believed Martin and the Isles have an agreement in place but the club is waiting until they’ve signed Mathew Barzal and shed another salary or two to officially announce the deal. The same goes for blueliner Andy Greene and goaltender Cory Schneider.
Tyler Seguin and Ben Bishop undergo surgeries, the latest on Mark Scheifele and Elias Lindholm, the Red Wings re-sign Anthony Mantha, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.
THE DALLAS MORNING NEWS: Stars forward Tyler Seguin and goaltender Ben Bishop recently underwent surgeries that could sidelined them for up to five months. Seguin underwent surgery on his right hip on Monday while Bishop had right knee surgery on Oct. 21. If the timelines hold, Seguin would return to action on April 2 while Bishop should return on March 21.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Seguin and Bishop might not miss that much playing time should the tentative Jan. 1 start date for next season be pushed into February or March.
SPORTSNET: Winnipeg Jets center Mark Scheifele said he’s fully recovered from the Achilles injury suffered three months ago during the qualifying round series against the Calgary Flames. “I’m 100 percent, no question, said Scheifele, adding he’s now skating every day.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Losing Scheifele was a devastating blow that contributed to the Jets’ demise in that series against the Flames. Having their first-line center healthy will be crucial to their playoff hopes next year.
THE SCORE: Speaking of the Flames, Josh Wegman cites head coach Geoff Ward told Sportsnet’s Eric Francis his club could explore whether they’ll have a better lineup with Elias Lindholm moving back to his natural position at center on a full-time basis. Lindholm has a career faceoff win percentage of 52.4 and has received down-ballot votes for the Selke Trophy for his two-way play.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Wegman looked at what the Flames’ top-two forward lines could look like with Lindholm at center, pointing to the solid five-on-five production he had with Matthew Tkachuk and Andrew Mangiapane.
THE DETROIT NEWS: The Red Wings re-signed forward Anthony Mantha to a four-year, $22.8 million contract. The annual average value is $5.7 million and is the longest and most expensive contract Steve Yzerman has extended to any Wings’ player since taking over as their general manager.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Mantha, 26, has been hampered by injuries but the 6’5, 234-pounder has 30-goal potential. The rebuilding Wings can afford to make that investment in the hope he’ll be a key part of their ongoing development.
Mantha’s signing leaves the Wings with over $71.9 million invested in 22 players with Dmytro Timashov still to sign. There’s enough cap space for Yzerman to target a cap-strapped rival to acquire a quality player under contract for next season, but it appears his roster is set for next season after bringing in Bobby Ryan, Marc Staal, Thomas Greiss and Vladislav Namestnikov.
NEW YORK POST: Rangers center Ryan Strome is seeking a one-year, $5.7 million contract through arbitration while the club countered with $3.6 million. His hearing is slated for Nov. 5. The Rangers can walk away from an arbiter award over $4, 538, 958.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Only one player (Detroit’s Tyler Bertuzzi) needed arbitration thus far to settle their contract for next season. Strome’s is one that could be worth watching, especially if he gets an award over $4.539 million.
CAP FRIENDLY: reports the Ottawa Senators avoided arbitration with Christian Jaros, signing the 24-year-old defenseman to a one-year, two-way contract worth $750K at the NHL level.
NHLPA: Four players remain scheduled for arbitration hearings. Ryan Strome is slated for Nov. 5, Rangers winger Brendan Lemieux and New York Islanders defenseman Ryan Pulock on Nov. 6 and Florida Panthers defenseman MacKenzie Weegar on Nov. 8.
Updates on Mike Hoffman and Ilya Kovalchuk plus the latest on the Flames in today’s NHL rumor mill.
TSN: Pierre LeBrun reports free-agent winger Mike Hoffman and his camp intend to remain patient in search of a suitable deal. They could be keeping an eye on several clubs, such as the Boston Bruins, Edmonton Oilers and St. Louis Blues that could have long-term injury situations freeing up potential cap space. If a team like his former club, the Florida Panthers, or the Nashville Predators step up and make better offers then perhaps a deal can be made.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Hoffman is reportedly willing to accept a one-year deal worth $6 million. The Bruins could have Brad Marchand and/or David Pastrnak on LTIR to start the season. Oilers defenseman Oscar Klefbom could be gone for the season with a shoulder injury, while the Blues’ Vladimir Taransenko could be out for months following yet another shoulder surgery.
LeBrun noted the Predators have “called a bunch” about Hoffman. They have $12.9 million in cap space if they’re willing to spend toward the ceiling with Luke Kunin left to re-sign. Maybe they circle back with an offer to Hoffman’s liking.
THE SCORE: cited LeBrun reporting earlier this week Ilya Kovalchuk is also staying patient as he searches for a new NHL home. With his career winding down, the 37-year-old winger is hoping to join a contender.
NBC SPORTS: James O’Brien listed the Montreal Canadiens, Nashville Predators, Dallas Stars, New York Islanders, Florida Panthers and Carolina Hurricanes as possible free-agent destinations for Kovalchuk.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: There was talk earlier this year of the Canadiens bringing back Kovalchuk but their recent acquisitions of Josh Anderson and Tyler Toffoli suggest otherwise. The Predators might consider it if they lose out on Mike Hoffman but they probably prefer younger options.
I think the Stars intend to bring back Corey Perry. The Islanders’ limited cap space will be used to re-sign Mathew Barzal and Ryan Pulock.
The Panthers or Hurricanes could consider Kovalchuk as a cost-effective option if they feel the need to add depth on the wing. Like the Predators, however, I suspect their priority would be on finding younger alternatives.
TSN: Darren Dreger reports Calgary Flames general manager Brad Treliving is in the market for an experienced right-side defenseman. He expects Treliving will address that need via trade but doesn’t rule out another dip into the free-agent market.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Flames have just over $1 million remaining in cap space with defenseman Oliver Kylington to re-sign. Dreger didn’t indicate what Treliving would offer up as trade bait. Unless Kylington is getting moved, dipping into the UFA market again seems unlikely.