NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 5, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 5, 2022

The Canadiens leave all options open with the first-overall pick as the 2022 draft approaches, the Sharks name Mike Grier as their new GM, Bruins winger Jake DeBrusk rescinds his trade request, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

MONTREAL GAZETTE: Canadiens general manager Kent Hughes is stirring up intrigue over what he’ll do with the first-overall pick in the upcoming 2022 NHL Draft. He claimed he hasn’t decided yet if he’ll choose center Shane Wright of the OHL’s Kingston Frontenacs, winger Juraj Slavkovsky of Liiga club TPS in Finland, or center Logan Cooley of the U.S. National Team Development Program.

We’re trying to evaluate how a player projects,” said Hughes. He adds they’re being open-minded and flexible over which is the right situation for those players. The Canadiens GM also didn’t rule out trading the pick or swinging a deal with the New Jersey Devils to end up with the first- and second-overall picks.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Hughes is doing what any GM worth his salt would do with the first-overall pick in a draft where there is no generational player like Connor McDavid available. He’ll get a very good player with that pick if he keeps it regardless of whether he chooses Wright, Slavkovsky or Cooley.

Hughes could surprise us by trading that pick, and if he can land the Devils’ pick without giving up a young core player such as Nick Suzuki or Cole Caufield it’ll be an impressive move. However, I doubt he’ll be able to pull that off. I anticipate he’ll retain the first-overall pick and use it to select Wright given the Habs’ ongoing need for quality depth at center.

SAN JOSE HOCKEY NOW: cited ESPN NHL insider Kevin Weekes reporting the Sharks will name Mike Grier as their new general manager on Tuesday. He’ll become the first black person in NHL history to become the GM of a team.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Weekes has a solid record for breaking NHL news. Grier spent 14 seasons from 1996-97 to 2010-11 as an NHL player with the Sharks, Edmonton Oilers, Washington Capitals and Buffalo Sabres. He went on to serve as an assistant coach with the Chicago Blackhawks, New Jersey Devils and New York Rangers and in 2021 was named the Rangers’ hockey operations advisor.

BOSTON HOCKEY NOW: cited TSN’s Ryan Rishaug reporting Jake DeBrusk’s agent claiming his client has rescinded his trade request. The Bruins signed the 25-year-old winger in March to a two-year contract extension.

Boston Bruins winger Jake DeBrusk (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Interesting to note that DeBrusk withdrew his trade request after the Bruins fired head coach Bruce Cassidy. Make of that what you will.

TSN: Pierre LeBrun reports Evander Kane’s grievance hearing with the San Jose Sharks over the January termination of his contract isn’t likely to be scheduled before free agency begins on July 13.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: LeBrun wonders if the two sides might reach an agreement on a settlement before then. That might be possible now that the Sharks finally have a new general manager in place.

TSN’s Darren Dreger reports Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Mikhail Sergachev has changed agents and is now represented by Dan Milstein. Dreger’s colleague Chris Johnston reports Sergachev is expected to sign a contract extension in the coming weeks.

Pierre LeBrun reports pending UFA winger Ilya Mikheyev’s agent (Dan Milstein) may seek a multi-year deal worth between $4.75 million to $5.5 million annually. The 27-year-old Mikheyev spent the past three seasons with the Toronto Maple Leafs, tallying a career-high 21 goals and 32 points in 53 games in 2021-22.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Mikheyev is a good depth forward but he’s not worth that much. Nevertheless, we shouldn’t underestimate the ability of NHL general managers to succumb to action fever and overpay for second-tier talent in the opening days of free agency.

NHL.COM: The Winnipeg Jets have appointed Scott Arniel as an associate coach under new bench boss Rick Bowness.

PHILLY HOCKEY NOW: Flyers goaltender Ivan Fedotov is apparently going to be serving in the Russian Navy. After being detained in St. Petersburg last Friday for allegedly dodging the draft, he was reportedly hospitalized with what his attorney called stress-induced gastritis. He was then sent to a Russian naval base near the Arctic Circle.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Fedotov, 25, played for CSKA Moscow last season but signed a one-year entry-level contract in May with the Flyers. There are rumors his gastritis was in fact poisoning but there’s no confirmation of this.

Fedotov’s plight is raising concerns that he’s being used as an example to other young Russian players thinking of leaving their KHL clubs to play in the NHL while Russia is at war with Ukraine. It could affect whether Russian prospects are chosen in the upcoming NHL Draft.

CALGARY SUN: The city of Calgary is continuing to work with the Flames in hope of finding a resolution toward the construction of a new arena to replace the aging Saddledome. A third-party intermediary called the Event Centre Visioning Group is continuing talks with both sides with the intention of getting them back to the negotiating table.










Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup (Part One) – July 3, 2022

Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup (Part One) – July 3, 2022

Are the Flyers pursuing Alex DeBrincat? Could the Islanders pursue Johnny Gaudreau? Check out the latest in Part 1 of the Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup

TRADE & FREE-AGENT RUMORS FROM FRIEDMAN’S LATEST “32 THOUGHTS” COLUMN

SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman reports the Montreal Canadiens will continue testing the trade market on veterans such as Christian Dvorak, Jeff Petry and possibly Josh Anderson. Teams believe they’re not interested in moving goaltender Jake Allen. It will be interesting to see if they’ll revisit their interest in Ottawa Senators forward Colin White.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Petry remains the more likely to be moved given his age (34), his trade request last season and his $6.25 million cap hit through 2024-25. It could take a significant offer to pry Anderson away from them.

The New Jersey Devils have made it known they’re willing to shop the No. 2 overall pick in the upcoming draft but there’s no certainty that will happen. There have been some trade rumors regarding restricted free agent winger Jesper Bratt. Kevin Fiala’s new contract with the Los Angeles Kings could have an effect on Bratt’s contract negotiations. The Devils could also pursue St. Louis Blues goaltender Ville Husso if he tests the unrestricted free agent market on July 13.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Fiala signed a seven-year deal with the Kings worth an annual average value of $7.875 million. There was speculation the Bratt camp was seeking over $7 million per season before the Fiala deal was signed. If the Devils trade him, they could seek a good player in return who’s carrying an affordable cap hit beyond 2022-23.

The trade status of Arizona Coyotes defenseman Jakob Chychrun continues to blow hot and cold. This could be one of the times when it heats up.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I’ll believe it when I see it. The Coyotes have set a high asking price. With Chychrun signed through 2024-25, they will remain patient in their quest for the right offer.

A lack of draft capital could make the Seattle Kraken turn to the UFA market rather than pursue talent via trades. Friedman believes they’ll be aggressive, suggesting they could target such notables as Johnny Gaudreau, Nazem Kadri, John Klingberg, etc.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Kraken made two significant signings last summer in Philipp Grubauer and Jaden Schwartz. They have plenty of cap space and a willingness to make another splash or two in the UFA pool.

Chicago Blackhawks winger Alex DeBrincat (NHL Images).

The Philadelphia Flyers made a legitimate pitch for Chicago Blackhawks winger Alex DeBrincat. They’ve also tested the trade market on most of their players.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Sounds like Flyers GM Chuck Fletcher intends to swing for the fences again. Last summer, he acquired Ryan Ellis and Rasmus Ristolainen, shipped out Shayne Gostisbehere to the Arizona Coyotes, and swapped Jakub Voracek for Cam Atkinson.

Friedman thinks the Columbus Blue Jackets will consider upgrading their blueline.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Jackets have over $19 million in cap space with 20 players signed for 2022-23. A big chunk of that could be eaten up re-signing Patrik Laine but there should still be sufficient room to bolster their defense corps.

The Ottawa Senators are willing to move the seventh overall pick for the right offer. They’re seeking a right wing and a right-side defenseman. They’ve had calls on Connor Brown after he indicated he intends to test next summer’s free-agent market. Friedman wondered if they’ll move Matt Murray and land Claude Giroux.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Murray’s injury history and $6.25 million cap hit through 2023-24 scream, “Buyer beware!” I think Giroux’s preference is signing with a Cup contender but maybe he’ll consider joining his hometown club for the right offer.

The Detroit Red Wings are believed working on a contract extension for captain Dylan Larkin. Friedman doesn’t see them among the favorites to land Jack Campbell if the Toronto Maple Leafs goalie hits the open market.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Expect the Red Wings to bring in a reliable backup for starting goaltender Alex Nedeljkovic. Campbell wouldn’t be a fit there unless he’s the starter.

It’s believed the Buffalo Sabres are working on a new contract for winger Victor Olofsson. They’re also expected to examine the goalie market to find someone to share the goalie duties with Craig Anderson, who recently signed a one-year deal.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It would be wild if Campbell signed with the Sabres. It probably won’t happen but it would add some spice to their rivalry with the Leafs.

Friedman wondered if the Anaheim Ducks might bring Josh Manson back via free agency. He also mused over the possibility of the Los Angeles Kings signing him. GM Pat Verbeek will want something tempting to part with goaltender John Gibson.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Gibson has denied rumors he’ll welcome a trade out of Anaheim. He’s got a 10-team no trade clause plus a $6.4 million cap hit through 2026-27 that some teams will find too expensive to take on.

The San Jose Sharks are still going through the process of hiring a new general manager. They could prefer retaining goalie James Reimer but it’s not a certainty. They must also decide if it is worthwhile keeping both Brent Burns and Erik Karlsson.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Karlsson is younger than Burns but carries more term on a more expensive contract plus he has a long history of injuries. Burns has a three-team trade list but perhaps he’d widen it for a chance to play for a contender.

It doesn’t sound like the New York Islanders intend to move goalie Semyon Varlamov. Winger Anthony Beauvillier could be a trade candidate. Friedman sees them as a stealth candidate for Johnny Gaudreau.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Cap Friendly shows the Islanders with $12 million in salary-cap space with 18 players under contract for 2022-23 and defenseman Noah Dobson due for a raise coming off his entry-level contract. They’ll have to shed a lot of salary if they hope to sign Gaudreau and have enough left to sign Dobson and fill out the rest of the roster.

Friedman believes the Jets won’t trade Mark Scheifele. There’s interest in Pierre-Luc Dubois but they still hold his rights for two more years. They will work with Blake Wheeler to look into a trade. There’s also interest in defenseman Brenden Dillon.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The 35-year-old Wheeler’s age, his $8.25 million cap hit and five-team trade list make it difficult to find a suitable trade partner. Teams will have more interest in the younger Dubois, who intends to test the UFA market in two years’ time.

There’s a path for the Vancouver Canucks to sign captain Bo Horvat to a contract extension. With Brock Boeser signed, Friedman doesn’t see him getting traded. The Canucks will set a high asking price for J.T. Miller and should get it whether it’s from the New York Rangers, Washington Capitals or another club.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It seems more likely the Canucks will trade Miller, preferably before the free-agent market opens on July 13. Much of the talk from management seems to suggest a contract extension is a long shot.

Friedman expects Filip Forsberg and the Nashville Predators will reach an agreement on a new contract. He believes it’ll be eight years at $8.5 million annually. He also wondered if Phil Kessel might sign with the Predators, mentioning they nearly acquired him at the trade deadline.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kessel could be an affordable depth option for the Predators. As for Forsberg, there’s speculation the holdup in his contract talks is the inclusion of a no-trade clause, something the Preds don’t usually hand out.

Friedman pondered whether the Dallas Stars can afford long-term contract extensions for young RFAs Jake Oettinger and Jason Robertson. They can’t afford to re-sign Michael Raffl, who wants to continue playing in the NHL.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Stars have over $18 million in cap space with 18 players under contract for next season. Oettinger and Robertson could get affordable bridge deals but it would be best if the Stars can lock them up for long-term contracts now. They would be much more expensive to sign coming off short-term deals.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 2, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 2, 2022

The Canucks sign Brock Boeser, the Sharks fire head coach Bob Boughner, the Jets hire Rick Bowness as their new bench boss, the Lightning sign Nick Paul, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

VANCOUVER HOCKEY NOW: The Canucks signed Brock Boeser to a new three-year contract worth an annual average value of $6.65 million. The 25-year-old winger was slated to become a restricted free agent with arbitration rights on July 13. It would’ve cost the Canucks $7.5 million to qualify his rights before then.

Vancouver Canucks winger Brock Boeser (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Cap Friendly shows that $6.65 million is a flat rate per season. The deal takes him up to unrestricted free agent eligibility and comes with a 10-team no-trade clause in the final season.

It’s a reasonable contract for the Canucks and Boeser. It also shows that management was understanding of the personal difficulties the winger faced this season coping with the knowledge that his father was dying. This deal could pay off for the Canucks if Boeser can reach his 30-goal potential. It would also bolster his stock when he becomes eligible for UFA status.

THE PROVINCE/TSN: The Canucks also signed promising defenseman Jack Rathbone to a two-year, one-way contract worth $850K per season. They also hired former Philadelphia Flyers interim coach Mike Yeo as an assistant coach.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Boeser and Rathbone signings leave the Canucks with $2.15 million in cap space with 19 players under contract for 2022-23. However, they will get $3.5 million in cap relief if necessary with winger Micheal Ferland on their permanent long-term injury reserve list. Still, I wouldn’t rule out a contract buyout before the July 12 deadline or a cost-cutting trade.

NBC SPORTS BAY AREA: The San Jose Sharks fired head coach Bob Boughner and his assistant coaches on Friday after three losing seasons. Interim general manager Joe Will said the move was made in part to allow whoever becomes their new GM to have full autonomy in choosing their coaching staff.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I understand the logic behind that but I would’ve thought they would’ve made that decision at the end of the regular season. This could an indicator of the difficulty the Sharks are encountering in finding a replacement for former general manager Doug Wilson. Allowing the new GM to hire his own staff might be a means of enticement for suitable candidates.

WINNIPEG FREE PRESS: The Winnipeg Jets are hiring former Dallas Stars head coach Rick Bowness as their new bench boss.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Bowness’ hiring should help reduce starting goaltender Connor Hellebuyck’s workload given his adherence to a disciplined defensive system. It’ll be interesting to see if he can heal what’s considered a fractured dressing room in Winnipeg.

TAMPA BAY TIMES: The Lightning signed forward Nick Paul to a seven-year contract worth an annual average value of $3.15 million. The deal also comes with a full no-trade clause in the first four seasons and a 16-team no-trade list in the final three years.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Acquired from the Ottawa Senators before the trade deadline, Paul quickly established himself as a key member of the Lightning roster, especially during the postseason. The length of this deal reflects how highly they think of him.

The move leaves the Lightning sitting above the $82.5-million salary cap by $5.13 million. They’re allowed to spend over the cap ceiling by 10 percent during the offseason. When the season begins, they can use the $6.875 million of the permanently sidelined Brent Seabrook as cap relief by placing him on their LTIR list.

However, that doesn’t leave sufficient wiggle room to re-sign or replace pending UFAs Ondrej Palat, Jan Rutta and Riley Nash. That’s why Lightning management is reportedly looking at trading defenseman Ryan McDonagh and his $6.75-million annual cap hit through 2025-26.

NHL.COM: The St. Louis Blues have hired Craig MacTavish as an assistant coach.

NEW YORK POST: The Rangers signed Julien Gauthier to a one-year contract extension worth $800K. The 24-year-old winger was slated to become a restricted free agent on July 13.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Post noted Gauthier had requested a trade and wondered what impact this signing will have on a potential deal. Perhaps this is part of a “sign-and-trade” move by the Rangers. We’ll find out soon enough.

PHILLY HOCKEY NOW: Flyers goaltender Ivan Fedotov was reportedly arrested in St. Petersburg on suspicion of “dodging the Russian Army”. He was taken to the Russian military registration and enlistment office in St. Petersburg. Chosen by the Flyers in the 2015 draft. The 25-year-old Fedotov spent the past six seasons in the KHL.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Fedotov signed an entry-level contract with the Flyers on May 7. This is an ominous turn for Russian players hoping to skate in the NHL next season. It could also have an effect on the upcoming NHL draft. Teams could be leery of choosing Russian players over concerns they could be prevented from skating in North America.

NBC SPORTS PHILADELPHIA: Speaking of the Flyers, they’ve hired Brad Shaw as an assistant coach.

THE DALLAS MORNING NEWS: The Stars have added Alain Nasreddine and Steve Spott as assistant coaches.

DETROIT HOCKEY NOW: Former Red Wings great Pavel Datsyuk expects to officially announce his retirement from professional hockey.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Best wishes to Datsyuk in his retirement. The 43-year-old forward spent the past five seasons playing in the KHL. Before that, Datsyuk spent 14 seasons in the NHL with the Wings, becoming one of the greatest two-way players in the league by winning three Selke Trophies and four Lady Byng Trophies. He also helped the Wings win two Stanley Cups.

CALGARY SUN: Long-time Flames organist Willy Joosen passed away at age 66. He held that role at Scotiabank Saddledome since 1988.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: My condolences to Joosen’s family, friends and the Flames organization.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 30, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 30, 2022

Nazem Kadri hoping to remain with the Avalanche, the aftermath of the Kevin Fiala trade, Anthony Duclair suffers a major Achilles injury, an update on Ryan Ellis, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

SPORTSNET: Nazem Kadri said he’d love to return with the Colorado Avalanche. The 31-year-old center is slated to become an unrestricted free agent on July 13 and is coming off a career-best 87-point regular season. He was also a key contributor to the Avs’ march to the 2022 Stanley Cup.

Colorado Avalanche center Nazem Kadri (NHL Images).

Kadri indicated his first choice is signing with the Avalanche. He called the club’s ownership “great supporters of mine”, going on to say both sides will try to work together toward a new contract. However, he intends to make the most of his free-agent opportunity. “I’ve shown what my worth is and I’m just looking forward to watching this all develop,” he said.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kadri is completing a six-year contract worth an annual average value of $4.5 million. He’s set to cash in next month either with the Avalanche or another club, perhaps landing a five-year deal worth over $7 million per season on the open market.

Kadri could price himself out of Colorado. Cap Friendly shows the Avalanche with over $25 million in cap space and 14 players under contract for 2022-23. Darcy Kuemper, Valeri Nichushkin and Josh Manson are also slated to become UFAs while Artturi Lehkonen is a restricted free agent who’s also a year away from UFA status. The Avs must also ensure long-term cap space to pay Nathan MacKinnon the massive raise it’ll take to keep him out of next summer’s UFA market.

TWINCITIES.COM: Minnesota Wild general manager Bill Guerin explained why he traded Kevin Fiala yesterday to the Los Angeles Kings for a 2022 first-round pick and University of Minnesota defenseman Brock Faber.

Guerin admitted a lack of salary-cap space made it impossible for the Wild to sign Fiala to the big raise he would seek coming off a career-best 85-point season. While other clubs were also interested in the 25-year-old winger, the Wild GM said only the Kings were willing to meet his asking price.

We need younger guys,” said Guerin. “We need guys that don’t make millions and millions of dollars. We just have to do it that way.”

THE ATHLETIC: Michael Russo reported the New Jersey Devils, Ottawa Senators and New York Islanders also showed interest in Fiala. With only $7.8 million in cap space, they need to add two forwards (one could be promising Marco Rossi), sign defenseman Jake Middleton and either bring back Marc-Andre Fleury or find another goaltender to share the duties with Cam Talbot.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That limited cap space is due to the $12 million in dead cap space from buying out Zach Parise and Ryan Suter last summer. It jumps to $14 million for 2023-24 and again for 2024-25. That means Guerin might not be done trading some key players over the next two years.

TSN: Florida Panthers winger Anthony Duclair faces potential surgery for an Achilles tendon injury suffered during his offseason training. The recovery would require several months.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Duclair could end up missing the opening weeks of the 2022-23 season. That might force the Panthers to find a short-term replacement via trade or free agency.

THE PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER: Flyers GM Chuck Fletcher provided an update on Ryan Ellis’ lengthy rehab from a “multilayered” core injury. While the 31-year-old defenseman is progressing with his recovery, there’s still no timeline as to when he’ll return to action next season.

Fletcher also indicated Sean Couturier (back injury) and Kevin Hayes (groin) are doing well and are expected to be ready for training camp in September.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Fletcher is hoping for a clearer picture of Ellis’ return before the start of next season. I anticipate he’ll miss the opening weeks of the 2022-23 campaign if he hasn’t recovered by the time training camp opens.

THE NEWS & OBSERVER: Carolina Hurricanes GM Don Waddell is pleased with what he’s heard regarding upgrades to his club’s home arena. The team would like to add a sportsbook into the arena plans but an online gambling bill failed to pass last week in the state’s general assembly.

Waddell indicated the Hurricanes definitely want to bring back restricted free agent defenseman Tony DeAngelo. He sounded less certain over whether UFA forwards Vincent Trocheck and Nino Niederreiter will return.

THE SEATTLE TIMES: The Kraken intend to lower their entry-level ticket pricing following “listening sessions” with their fans. They intend to make more single-game seats available at $40 and lower to broaden the team’s appeal.

DAILY FACEOFF: The Saint John Sea Dogs are the 2002 Memorial Cup champions. The tournament hosts defeated the OHL champion Hamilton Bulldogs 6-3 in the championship game. Eight NHL prospects make up the Sea Dogs, including tournament MVP (and New York Islanders prospect) William Dufour.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Congratulations to the Sea Dogs on winning the Memorial Cup for the second time in franchise history.

SPORTSNET: Former NHL forward Jim Pappin died Wednesday at age 82. He spent 14 seasons with the Toronto Maple Leafs, Chicago Blackhawks, California Golden Seals and Cleveland Barons from 1963-64 to 1976-77.

Pappin won two Stanley Cups with the Leafs in 1964 and 1967. His best seasons were with the Blackhawks on a line with Pit Martin and Dennis Hull. He reached or exceeded 70 points three times with the Hawks, including a career-best 92 points in 1972-73. In 767 career regular-season games, Pappin scored 278 goals and 573 points, as well as 33 goals and 67 points in 92 playoff contests.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: My condolences to Pappin’s family, friends and former teammates.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 24, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 24, 2022

Patrice Bergeron reportedly returning with the Bruins, the Golden Knights close in on a new contract for Reilly Smith, the Senators win a bid to construct a new arena in downtown Ottawa, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

BOSTON HOCKEY NOW: Patrice Bergeron is returning for another season with the Bruins. Longtime Bruins beat reporter Joe McDonald of the Worcester Telegram and Gazette tweeted last night that the 36-year-old Bruins captain is set to sign a one-year, incentive-laden contract worth a potential total of $6.8 million.

Boston Bruins captain Patrice Bergeron (NHL Images).

Earlier this month, Bergeron won the Frank J. Selke Trophy as the NHL’s top defensive forward for a record-setting fifth time. He’s spent his entire 18-season NHL career with the Bruins.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Bergeron’s re-signing is good news for the Bruins, ensuring they’ll have their best center back for one more season. It also buys management time to find his potential replacement as well as add a second-line center.

We won’t know until Bergeron’s new contract is officially announced what the potential cap hit will be. The estimated $6.8 million would be roughly what he earned as the annual average value of his expiring contract. Whatever the amount, it could force management to make a cost-cutting trade or two. Cap Friendly shows them with just $2.83 million in cap space with 22 players under contract for 2022-23.

Teams are allowed to exceed the cap by 10 percent during the offseason but must be cap compliant when the regular season begins on Oct. 11. The Bruins can remain over the cap ceiling by placing sidelined stars such as Brad Marchand and Charlie McAvoy on long-term injury reserve but they must be under the cap when those players are ready to return to action.

DAILY FACEOFF: Frank Seravalli reports the Vegas Golden Knights are closing in on a three-year contract extension for Reilly Smith. Seravalli said it’s a verbal agreement for now and won’t be officially announced until the Golden Knights address their salary-cap issues.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: No word yet on the annual cap hit of Smith’s new contract. The Golden Knights are currently above the $82.5 million cap by over $2.6 million with 16 players signed for 2022-23.

OTTAWA SUN: The Senators’ hope of building a new arena in downtown Ottawa is closer to becoming a reality. The club and its partners have a memorandum of understanding with the National Capital Commission to construct an arena complex on LeBreton Flats. Construction on the project could begin in late 2024.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This is the culmination of several years of stalled negotiations and lawsuits for the Senators. A downtown arena will make it easier for fans to attend their games, providing a big boost to their hockey-related revenue.

There’s still more work to be done before this becomes a reality. Nevertheless, it’s a big, positive step in the right direction.

NHL.COM: The Tampa Bay Lightning hope to extend the 2022 Stanley Cup Final with a win over the Colorado Avalanche in Game 5 on Friday in Denver. The back-to-back defending champions hope to overcome a 3-1 series deficit and win the Cup.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The odds are against the Lightning. Teams that are down 3-1 in the best-of-seven Stanley Cup Final are 1-35. The 1942 Toronto Maple Leafs are the only team to accomplish that feat and they were down 3-0 in their series with the Detroit Red Wings.

THE DENVER POST: A solid bounce-back performance by goaltender Darcy Kuemper in Game 4 was a crucial factor in the Avalanche winning that contest.

THE DALLAS MORNING NEWS: The Stars are working toward a contract extension with general manager Jim Nill.

PHILLY HOCKEY NOW: The Flyers signed goaltender Felix Sandstrom to a two-year contract with an annual average value of $775K.

NHL.COM: The Columbus Blue Jackets have extended their affiliate agreement with the ECHL’s Kalamazoo Wings.










NHL Rumor Mill – June 21, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – June 21, 2022

Could Devils winger Jesper Bratt become an offer-sheet target? Could the Canucks sign P.K. Subban? What’s the latest on James van Riemsdyk and Ethan Bear? Find out in today’s NHL rumor mill.

UPDATES ON BRATT AND SUBBAN

NHL WATCHER: recently cited Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman and Jeff Marek discussing the contract negotiations between the New Jersey Devils and restricted free agent winger Jesper Bratt. His talks on his last contract were “really tough” and both sides are gearing up for another difficult round of negotiations.

New Jersey Devils winger Jesper Bratt (NHL Images).

Marek raised the possibility of Bratt being targeted by a rival club with an offer sheet. Friedman doubted that will happen, pointing to the Devils carrying $25 million in cap space.

SPECTOR’S NOTE:  NJ.com’s Ryan Novozinsky has reported both sides are engaged in ongoing contract talks. Bratt has arbitration rights this summer giving him the leverage he didn’t have in his previous negotiations.

The Devils could listen to trade offers for Bratt if those talks stall or appear headed to arbitration to resolve. I don’t doubt recent reports claiming there are several teams interested in the 23-year-old winger following his career-high 73 points this season. Nevertheless, I think both sides want to get a deal done here.

Friedman’s right when he said an offer sheet wouldn’t make any sense here. The Devils can easily match, making it a pointless exercise. Since the salary-cap era began in 2005, only 10 players have signed offer sheets. Of those, only two (Dustin Penner and Jesperi Kotkaniemi) were successfully signed away.

VANCOUVER HOCKEY NOW: Rob Simpson addressed the notion raised by some Canucks fans of New Jersey Devils defenseman P.K. Subban signing with the club as an unrestricted free agent next month.

Simpson noted Subban is a skilled right-handed shot who could be motivated with a new club and could be had at an extreme discount. However, he doubted the Canucks will be interested, pointing out the decline in the 33-year-old’s performance. His acquisition would also go against management’s intention of building up a youthful core of talent.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’ll be interesting to see how free agency unfolds for Subban. He’s not expected to be re-signed by the Devils and could find his market options limited because of his declining skills. I think a team in need of some experienced blueline depth will sign him to an affordable one-year contract.

WILL THE FLYERS MOVE VAN RIEMSDYK?

NHL WATCHER: recently cited Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman and Jeff Marek discussing potential moves by the Philadelphia Flyers. Friedman believes they could shop winger James van Riemsdyk to free up salary-cap space.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: van Riemsdyk has a year left on his contract with an annual average value of $7 million but an actual salary of $5 million. The 6’3”, 217-pound winger also lacks no-trade protection, giving the Flyers a wide range of potential trade partners.

Now 33, van Riemsdyk is in decline. Nevertheless, he still managed to score 24 goals on the offensively anemic Flyers, marking the seventh time in his 13 NHL seasons he’s reached or exceeded the 20-goal plateau.

A playoff contender could be interested in a big veteran scorer such as van Riemsdyk. However, that contract could be difficult to move given his age and cap hit. The Flyers might have to retain salary, include a sweetener like a draft pick or prospect, or take back a comparable contract.

HURRICANES GIVE BEAR PERMISSION TO SPEAK TO OTHER CLUBS

SPORTSNET’s Elliotte Friedman tweeted on Monday that the Carolina Hurricanes have given Ethan Bear permission to speak to other clubs. They still wish to sign the restricted free agent defenseman but they’re not close to an agreement. Friedman also noted nothing can take place before July 13 with the Hurricanes’ permission.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Bear struggled this season with the Hurricanes and seemed to fall out of favor with head coach Rod Brind’Amour. He was a healthy scratch during the Canes’ playoff run. The 24-year-old is completing a two-year, $4 million contract and has arbitration rights.