NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 28, 2020

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 28, 2020

Check out the latest notable contract signings plus an update on the Penguins in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

THE DENVER POST: The Colorado Avalanche signed Devon Toews to a four-year, $16.4 million contract. The annual average cap hit is $4.1 million. The 26-year-old defenseman will earn $2.35 million in 2020-21, $3.55 million in 2021-22, $4.6 million in 2022-23 and $5.9 million in 2023-24.

Colorado Avalanche sign Devon Toews to a four-year contract (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Avalanche acquired Toews earlier this month from the New York Islanders. Avs general manager Joe Sakic praised him as a “smart, two-way, puck-moving defenseman who is a durable defender and is excellent in transition”.

Toews is getting a significant raise over the $700K per season of his previous contract. Like a number of contracts signed during this offseason, his deal is backloaded to pay him more in actual salary in the latter years as league revenue is expected to increase.

THE DETROIT NEWS: An arbiter has awarded Tyler Bertuzzi a salary of $3.5 million for 2020-21. The 25-year-old Red Wings forward sought $4.25 million while the club offered $3.15 million. He earned $1.4 million last season. He will be a restricted free agent with arbitration rights at the end of next season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Bertuzzi was going to get a substantial raise given his performance over the last two seasons. It’s curious that he and the Wings needed arbitration to sort this out considering how narrow the gap was between them. It’ll be interesting to see if Bertuzzi goes that route again next year.

THE NEWS & OBSERVER: The Carolina Hurricanes avoided arbitration with Haydn Fleury, signing the 24-year-old defenseman to a two-year contract worth an annual average value of $1.3 million.

NEW YORK POST: The Islanders and winger Josh Ho-Sang avoided arbitration by agreeing to a one-year, two-way deal worth $700K at the NHL level.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Ho-Sang requested a trade last year but the Isles couldn’t find any takers. This could be his last chance to stick with the franchise.

WINNIPEG SUN: The Jets signed restricted free agent forward Jansen Harkins to a two-year contract worth $725K per season.

OTTAWA SUN: The Senators signed forward Filip Chlapik to a one-year, two-way contract worth $750K at the NHL level.

THE PROVINCE: Former Vancouver Canucks defenseman Oscar Fantenberg has signed with KHL club SKA St. Petersburg.

THE SCORE: cites The Athletic reporting the Pittsburgh Penguins are exploring the possibility of hiring former Florida Panthers GM Dale Tallon in some capacity.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Penguins could also be considering bringing back Jason Botterill, who was fired as Buffalo Sabres GM earlier this year.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 13, 2020

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 13, 2020

The latest on Marc-Andre Fleury and Robin Lehner, Canucks acquire Nate Schmidt, the Islanders sign Cory Schneider and trade Devon Toews to the Avalanche, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

SPORTSNET: Vegas Golden Knights general manager Kelly McCrimmon said he will be keeping his goaltending tandem intact for next season and won’t be trading Marc-Andre Fleury. He also indicated Robin Lehner will undergo shoulder surgery but will recover in time for training camp.

Marc-Andre Fleury is staying with the Vegas Golden Knights (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Fleury was the subject of trade speculation after Lehner got the bulk of the starts in the playoffs and signed a contract extension earlier this month. There was talk they were trying to move Fleury by getting a third team involved who would absorb part of his $7 million salary-cap hit. It was assumed he’d be moved to clear salary-cap space to sign Alex Pietrangelo, but the Golden Knights made another move (see below) to address that issue.

The coming season could be Fleury’s last in Vegas. He lacks a full no-movement clause and will likely be left unprotected in next year’s expansion draft.

THE PROVINCE: The Golden Knights found another way to shed some cap payroll after signing Pietrangelo yesterday, trading Nate Schmidt to the Vancouver Canucks for a third-round pick in 2022.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Golden Knights shed Schmidt’s $5.95 million cap hit. They’re still above the $81.5 million salary cap by over $974K but that’s within the 10 percent allowable offseason cap overage.

The Canucks, meanwhile, find a suitable replacement for Chris Tanev, who signed with Calgary as a free agent. Schmidt is a good puck-moving defenseman who can log over 21 minutes per game and skate on the left or right side of the blueline. He’s got five years remaining on his contract, which could become a cap headache in the latter years, but he should be a welcome addition to the Canucks defense corps in the short term.

TSN: The New York Islanders signed goaltender Cory Schneider to a one-year, $700K contract.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Isles are expected to go with Semyon Varlamov and promising Ilya Sorokin as their goalie tandem next season. Schneider is an affordable insurance move in case Sorokin struggles to adjust at the NHL level.

THE DENVER POST: The Colorado Avalanche acquired defenseman Devon Toews from the Islanders in exchange for a second-round pick in 2021 and a second-rounder in 2022. They also re-signed defenseman Ryan Graves to a three-year, $9.5 million contract.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Avs were looking for a defenseman after shipping Nikita Zadorov to Chicago for Brandon Saad over the weekend. Toews, 26, is a fine replacement. Colorado GM Joe Sakic sang his praises as “a smart, two-way puck-moving defenseman” who logs over 20 minutes per game and is “excellent in transition”.

Graves’ new contract is worth an annual average value of $3.16 million. That’s a considerable raise over the $735K of his previous deal. He earned it with a career-best 26-point performance and a league-leading plus-minus of plus-40.

Speaking of the Avalanche, The Athletic’s Ryan S. Clark took to Twitter reporting preliminary contract talks have begun with captain Gabriel Landeskog. He’s slated to become an unrestricted free agent next summer.

NBC SPORTS PHILADELPHIA: The Flyers signed defenseman Erik Gustafsson to a one-year, $3-million contract.

CHICAGO SUN-TIMES: The Blackhawks signed center Mattias Janmark to a one-year, $2.25-million contract and center Lucas Wallmark to a one-year deal worth $950K.

TWINCITIES.COM: The Minnesota Wild re-signed goaltender Kaapo Kahkonen to a two-year, $1.45-million contract.

NEW YORK POST: Alexis Lafreniere signed a three-year entry-level contract with the New York Rangers. The 19-year-old left-winger was the first-overall pick in this year’s NHL Draft.

THE ATHLETIC: Bill Shea reports talks are ongoing to extend the NHL’s 10-year, $2-billion broadcast rights contract with NBC Sports that expires at the end of next season. While the league’s playoff ratings were down due to the pandemic, it still helped NBCSN have one of its best-ever third quarters. ESPN, Fox Sports and Turner Sports are also interested in the NHL’s TV and streaming business.










NHL Rumor Mill – October 9, 2020

NHL Rumor Mill – October 9, 2020

The NHL’s free-agent market opens at noon ET today. Check out the latest speculation on Alex Pietrangelo, Taylor Hall, Torey Krug and many more in today’s rumor mill.

PIETRANGELO

St. Louis Blues defenseman Alex Pietrangelo could head to market today (NHL Images).

  TSN: Pierre LeBrun reports St. Louis Blues defenseman Alex Pietrangelo was ready to go to market as of yesterday afternoon. He’s up to visiting with interested clubs that are willing to have him travel. It could take a couple of days until he reaches a decision on his destination and next contract. The Vegas Golden Knights, Florida Panthers and Toronto Maple Leafs could be among the interested parties.

TORONTO SUN: Lance Hornby reports it could take moving a high-profile Leaf or two, such as William Nylander or Frederik Andersen, to free up cap space to sign Pietrangelo. He feels general manager Kyle Dubas has hinted that’s not going to happen, giving Andersen a vote of confidence while staying out of the Matt Murray trade market.

PHILLY.COM: Sam Carchidi expects Pietrangelo will be too costly for the Philadelphia Flyers. He suggests more affordable options like Toronto’s Tyson Barrie, Boston’s Torey Krug or Calgary’s T.J. Brodie.

EKMAN-LARSSON

TSN: Darren Dreger said the Arizona Coyotes might not be able to meet the Friday trade deadline set by defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson. He’ll only waive his no-movement clause for the Boston Bruins or Vancouver Canucks.

SPORTSNET: Chris Johnston and Elliotte Friedman report the Canucks appear the more interested buyer for Ekman-Larsson.

THE ATHLETIC: Thomas Drance and Rick Dhaliwal report the parameters of a deal with the Canucks would include “a draft pick of some magnitude, an inefficient contract from their bottom-six and a prospect.”

NBC SPORTS BOSTON: cites TSN’s Darren Dreger reporting the Bruins don’t like Arizona’s asking price. The Coyotes are believed to prefer the Bruins’ prospects over the Canucks.

HALL

SPORTSNET: Chris Johnston and Elliotte Friedman report there’s some talk Coyotes winger Taylor Hall would consider a reunion with the Edmonton Oilers. It would be difficult to achieve that unless the Oilers shed some salary.

THE DENVER POST: Mike Chambers suggests Hall would be a perfect fit for the Colorado Avalanche’s second line. He’s open to a short-term deal, perhaps a one-year contract that could pave the way for a longer contract in free agency after next season.

THE ATHLETIC: With the Columbus Blue Jackets shedding salary yesterday, Aaron Portzline wonders if they might get into the bidding for Hall. Other options could include Florida’s Mike Hoffman or Evgenii Dadonov or Vancouver’s Tyler Toffoli.

MARKSTROM

THE ATHLETIC: Thomas Drance and Rick Dhaliwal report the Vancouver Canucks remain confident of re-signing Jacob Markstrom despite persistent rumors linking the goaltender to the Calgary Flames and Edmonton Oilers.

TSN: Pierre LeBrun reports the Oilers are among the teams that could be interested in Markstorm if he goes to market today.

SPORTSNET: Chris Johnston and Elliotte Friedman reported the Flames, Detroit Red Wings and Oilers (despite their salary-cap constraints) could pursue Markstrom.

EDMONTON JOURNAL: David Staples doesn’t see how the Oilers could afford Markstrom, who could seek $6 million annually on a long-term deal.

CALGARY SUN: Wes Gilbertson believes Markstrom should be the Flames’ top target in the UFA market. He feels Markstrom could become the high-end goalie they’ve been missing since Miikka Kiprusoff retired.

NEW YORK POST: Larry Brooks listed the Minnesota Wild as a possible destination for Markstrom if he goes to market.

STARTRIBUNE.COM: Sarah McLellan also included Markstrom among possible Wild UFA targets. Other options could include Washington’s Braden Holtby and Chicago Corey Crawford.

FLEURY

TSN: Frank Seravalli reports the Vegas Golden Knights have put trading goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury on the side burner for now. His no-trade clause and $7 million annual average value makes him difficult to move.

HOLTBY

TSN: Pierre LeBrun reports Capitals goaltender Braden Holtby is garnering interest from the Oilers.

NEW YORK POST: Larry Brooks believes the Dallas Stars and Minnesota Wild could be interested in Holtby.

KRUG

SPORTSNET: Chris Johnston and Elliotte Friedman report of increased chatter suggesting the Red Wings could pursue Boston Bruins defenseman Torey Krug. He was raised in a Detroit suburb and seeks long-term security. The Wings have the cap space to make a lucrative offer.

THE DETROIT NEWS: Ted Kulfan reports Red Wings GM Steve Yzerman would like to address his blueline issues with one or two defenseman signings. It remains to be seen if he’ll pursue Krug. Yzerman said he expects to be “relatively conservative” in the free-agent market.

KHUDOBIN

TSN: Goaltender Anton Khudobin is heading to market after talks broke off with the Stars. The Flames could be interested, along with the Canucks if they fail to re-sign Jacob Markstrom or the Golden Knights if they can move Marc-Andre Fleury.

TOFFOLI AND TANEV

THE ATHLETIC: Thomas Drance and Rick Dhaliwal report Canucks winger Tyler Toffoli and defenseman Chris Tanev are heading to market.

NBC SPORTS BAY AREA: Toffoli tops Brian Witt’s list of possible free-agent targets for the San Jose Sharks.

BRODIE AND HAMONIC

TSN: Darren Dreger reports the Flames renewed contract talks with defenseman T.J. Brodie. Dreger also believes Flames blueliner Travis Hamonic would sign with his hometown Winnipeg Jets but there’s not a lot of interest at the moment. The Maple Leafs, Ottawa Senators and Oilers could be among Hamonic’s suitors.

BARRIE

SPORTSNET: Chris Johnston and Elliotte Friedman reported the Oilers could have an interest in Maple Leafs defenseman Tyson Barrie as a short-term replacement for sidelined blueliner Oscar Klefbom.

GREISS

TSN: Pierre LeBrun believes New York Islanders goalie Thomas Greiss could draw interest from the Canucks if they fail to re-sign Markstrom or Vegas if they trade Fleury.

NEW YORK POST: Larry Brooks suggested Greiss or Cam Talbot could be a fit with the New Jersey Devils.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The opening hours of the free-agent period tend to be very busy with the best available players being quickly signed. However, it will be interesting to see how the flattened salary cap affects the market and the pace of the signings.










NHL Rumor Mill – October 7, 2020

NHL Rumor Mill – October 7, 2020

Entering the second day of the 2020 Draft, here’s a look at the latest trade and free agent speculation in the NHL rumor mill.

EKMAN-LARSSON SETS TRADE DEADLINE

THE SCORE: Brandon Maron cites Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman reports the agent for defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson will stick with the Arizona Coyotes if a trade to the Boston Bruins or Vancouver Canucks doesn’t materialize by Friday.

Arizona Coyotes defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That doesn’t give Coyotes GM Bill Armstrong much time to hammer out a deal with the Bruins or Canucks. It could also affect what type of return he could get. Depending on how much pressure Armstrong’s getting from Coyotes ownership to move Ekman-Larsson’s contract, he could end up getting a lot less than he hoped.

Coyotes insider Craig Morgan believes Armstrong seeks a combination of draft picks and prospects for Ekman-Larsson. He cites two sources claiming Armstrong sought goalie Thatcher Demko as part of the return from the Canucks but that’s a non-starter. Morgan also noted the Bruins have two good young players in winger Jake DeBrusk and defenseman Brandon Carlo that could interest the Coyotes if they’re looking to do more than just shed salary and look for a brighter future down the road.

LAINE LINKED TO FLYERS

NBC SPORTS PHILADELPHIA: Jordan Hall notes the latest trade speculation linking the Flyers to Winnipeg Jets winger Patrik Laine but he thinks we should pump the brakes on that speculation. He believes it could cost the Flyers a good young defenseman such as Travis Sanheim or Philippe Myers or possibly a good young center off their roster or in their system. The economic uncertainty facing the league going forward could also make it difficult for the Flyers to re-sign Laine, who’s a restricted free agent next summer with arbitration rights.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Flyers GM Chuck Fletcher probably inquired into Laine’s availability but he could face paying a steep price. The Jets need a second-line center and a top-four defenseman and the asking price for Laine could include one or both of those pieces. The young sniper could also seek a significant raise over his current $6.75 million cap hit.

LATEST ON STAMKOS AND JOHNSON

TSN: Pierre LeBrun acknowledged the speculation that Steven Stamkos isn’t listed among the Tampa Bay Lightning’s untouchables. However, he considers it unlikely Stamkos will be moved, citing his expensive contract (with a full no-movement clause) and his value to the Lightning as their captain.

However, the Lightning are pressing on with other possible moves. LeBrun reports Tyler Johnson’s agent has presented general manager Julien BriseBois with five or six teams he’d waive his no-trade clause for, though nothing is currently imminent.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I’ll be very surprised if Stamkos is traded. Johnson, on the other hand, sounds more of a trade possibility now that he’s provided Bolts management with a list of preferred trade destinations. Now BriseBois has to determine if any of those teams are interested in Johnson, who has four years left on his contract with an annual average value of $5 million. The Lightning are looking to shed salary to re-sign restricted free agents Anthony Cirelli and Mikhail Sergachev.

UPDATES ON THE GOLDEN KNIGHTS

Frank Seravalli reports moving goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury is the No.1 priority for the Vegas Golden Knights. GM Kelly McCrimmon is trying to shed salary and he’s been engaged with a number of teams (including the Carolina Hurricanes) to act as a third party to take on some of Fleury’s salary to facilitate a trade to another club. The Golden Knights are willing to offer up a second-round pick to that third team if they’ll eat up to half of Fleury’s salary, but Seravalli believes that price would have to be a first- and a second-round pick.

Seravalli also reported the Golden Knights had had trade talks regarding defenseman Nate Schmidt over the weekend. They could also consider moving Paul Stastny or Jonathan Marchessault.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: They could have an easier time moving Schmidt, Stastny or Marchessault than they would shipping out Fleury if it takes a three-way trade to do so. Trying to put together that deal would be a complicated endeavor at the best of times. It’s more difficult now under a flattened salary cap. The Golden Knights will either have to add more sweeteners or pick up part of Fleury’s salary themselves and then make another cost-cutting move involving a different player.

IN OTHER RUMORS…

LeBrun said he’s keeping an eye on Buffalo Sabres winger Wayne Simmonds, who’s slated to become an unrestricted free agent on Friday and is likely headed to market. The Toronto Maple Leafs and Montreal Canadiens are said to be interested in Simmonds for the right price.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: LeBrun claimed the Canadiens were still interested in Simmonds despite the acquisition yesterday of Josh Anderson. The right price could be a one-year contract worth around $1.5 million.

Seravalli also wondered if the Columbus Blue Jackets will buy out center Alexander Wennberg before the contract buyout window closes at 5 pm ET on Thursday. A buyout would save the Blue Jackets $10.7 million in actual cash and $4.46 million in cap savings over the next three years.

THE SCORE: Sean O’Leary cites The Athletic’s Craig Custance reporting Vancouver Canucks winger Tyler Toffoli is likely headed to the UFA market on Friday.

 










The Top NHL Early Offseason Trade Bait

The Top NHL Early Offseason Trade Bait

 










Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – October 4, 2020

Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – October 4, 2020

The latest on Oliver Ekman-Larsson, Taylor Hall, Marc-Andre Fleury, Matt Murray, Henrik Lundqvist, Alex Pietrangelo and more in today’s Sunday NHL rumor roundup.

EKMAN-LARSSON, HALL, FLEURY, MURRAY & LUNDQVIST

SPORTSNET (via KUKLA’S KORNER): Elliotte Friedman reports Arizona Coyotes defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson isn’t willing to expand his list of preferred trade destinations beyond the Boston Bruins and Vancouver Canucks. It’s believed the Coyotes like the prospects in Boston better than those in Vancouver, but the Canucks are more eager to get a deal done than the Bruins, who can always try to re-sign Torey Krug. However, the Canucks have salary-cap issues.

Arizona Coyotes defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson (NHL Images).

Friedman believes the Coyotes would like to get a deal done similar to the one in which the Buffalo Sabres trade Ryan O’Reilly to the St. Louis Blues two years ago. Some salary was exchanged along with the Blues getting a prospect plus a first and a second-round pick.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Ekman-Larsson’s $8.25 million annual average value for seven more seasons is the sticking point. The Coyotes must retain part of that cap hit or take back some salary in return to make it work for the Canucks.

Chris Johnston believes Coyotes winger Taylor Hall will be open to one- or two-year deals from suitors in the upcoming unrestricted free agent market.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Hall camp would likely prefer a lucrative long-term contract but that might not be available in the current economic climate. Accepting a short-term deal with a contender would give Hall the opportunity to test the market again in a year or two when it could improve while he’s still in his playing prime.

The Denver Post’s Mike Chambers noted the Colorado Avalanche had an interest in Hall before he was traded to the Coyotes by the New Jersey Devils. He wondered if Avs GM Joe Sakic might be among the suitors if Hall is willing to accept a one-year contract.

Johnston believed Marc-Andre Fleury has played his final game with the Vegas Golden Knights following their re-signing of Robin Lehner on Saturday. One of the Golden Knights’ options could be to attempt a three-way trade in which an intermediary third team retains part of Fleury’s $7 million annual cap hit to facilitate moving him to another club.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It could be difficult pulling off a three-way trade but not impossible. How much of Fleury’s salary would be retained by a third party could depend on the sweetener the Golden Knights or the other team sends their way.

Friedman believes the Chicago Blackhawks have an interest in Pittsburgh Penguins goaltender Matt Murray. He also suggested the Washington Capitals as a destination for former New York Rangers netminder Henrik Lundqvist.

THE HOCKEY NEWS: Ken Campbell suggests Vegas could be a good destination for Lundqvist. He points out the Golden Knights will need a backup if Fleury is traded or bought out. With the Minnesota Wild reportedly attempting to trade Devan Dubnyk to the San Jose Sharks, Campbell wonders if Murray or Fleury could be targeted by Wild GM Bill Guerin.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Blackhawks GM Stan Bowman last week expressed optimism about getting long-time starter Corey Crawford re-signed before Oct. 9. Murray could be his Plan B if Crawford walks.

I wouldn’t be surprised Murray or Fleury headed to Minnesota. Guerin knows both goalies well from his years with the Penguins.

Lundqvist to Washington would be an interesting move. He could be a good mentor to young starter Ilya Samsonov, but we don’t know if the Capitals are interested.

Speaking of the Sharks and Devan Dubnyk, GM Doug Wilson doesn’t want to part with any of his picks in the upcoming draft in the reported deal.

LATEST ON PIETRANGELO

NEW YORK POST: Larry Brooks reports there’s been a lot of talk suggesting St. Louis Blues defenseman Alex Pietrangelo could be heading to the Golden Knights as a free agent on Oct. 9. So much so, Brooks claims he’s heard “substantial talk” the Blues might be prepared to file tampering charges if that’s the way it shakes out.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Proving it would be challenging. We’ll just have to wait and see how things go by the end of this week.

UPDATE ON THE SENATORS

OTTAWA SUN: Bruce Garrioch reports there’s significant interest around the league in the Senators’ 28th overall pick in the upcoming draft. He speculates they might be able to use it as trade bait to bring in a forward or defenseman who can provide immediate help to their roster.

Garrioch also believes the Senators could be in the market for a goaltender. They could be among the talks that have held talks with the Columbus Blue Jackets regarding Elvis Merzlikins or Joonas Korpisalo.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Blue Jackets could be trying to use one of those goalies as bait to land a scoring forward. Maybe they could swap one of them for that 28th overall pick and use that in a package deal to acquire a scorer from another club.