NHL Rumor Mill – November 5, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – November 5, 2022

Could the Flames re-sign Milan Lucic? Will the Oilers trade a forward to make room for Dylan Holloway? What coaches are available if some teams consider making changes behind the bench? Find out in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.

WILL THE FLAMES SIGN LUCIC TO A NEW CONTRACT?

CALGARY HOCKEY NOW: Steve Macfarlane recently mused over whether the Flames will re-sign Milan Lucic. The 34-year-old power forward is slated to become an unrestricted free agent next July. He’s been one of their steadiest players this season and is skating on the second line with Elias Lindholm and Tyler Toffoli.

Calgary Flames winger Milan Lucic (NHL Images).

In addition to Lucic’s improved play, he’s also become a leader in the dressing room. Macfarlane believes there’s little doubt he wants to stay in Calgary and would cost a lot less than the $6 million average annual value he’s earning split between the Flames and the Edmonton Oilers.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Flames have limited cap space ($1.7 million) for 2023-24. Fortunately, all their core players are under contract and Lucic is their most noteworthy pending free agent.

They might have to create some additional cap room even if Lucic’s next contract is a short-term one at a far more affordable rate than his current one. Still, I think the two sides can work something out if he wants to stay and management feels he can still contribute.

WILL THE OILERS MOVE A FORWARD TO MAKE ROOM FOR HOLLOWAY?

THE ATHLETIC: Allan Mitchell examined the Edmonton Oilers’ options to get promising winger Dylan Holloway more playing time this season. The easiest choice would be to send him to their AHL affiliate in Bakersfield and then recall the 21-year-old if he does well there after a few games.

Another would be finding a way to create room on the roster for Holloway to skate among the top-six forwards. That could come down to making a decision on moving Kailer Yamamoto, Jesse Puljujarvi or Warren Foegele.

Mitchell believes Yamamoto will stay put, in part because he’s signed through next season. Puljujarvi has frequently surfaced in media trade rumors but Mitchell believes the big winger helps the team even when he’s not scoring.

That leaves Foegele as potentially vulnerable. He‘s a left-shot winger filling the position Holloway is best suited to play.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Foegele hasn’t popped up as much as Puljujarvi in the rumor mill but he has been mentioned before as a trade candidate. However, general manager Ken Holland has found ways to balance his roster thus far without resorting to a trade. I think Holloway’s destined spend some time in Bakersfield.

AVAILABLE NHL COACHES

DAILY FACEOFF: Matt Larkin looked at the notable former NHL coaches currently available for any team that might be considering a shakeup behind the bench this season.

Topping the list, of course, is Barry Trotz followed by Rick Tocchet. Other familiar names include Alain Vigneault, Dave Tippett, Andrew Brunette, Travis Green and Jeff Blashill.

Larkin also listed “up-and-comers” such as Ryan Warsofsky, Jay Leach and Ian Laperriere. He also noted former NHL coaches Mike Babcock and Joel Quenneville are available but suggests both carry too much baggage to return to the league’s coaching ranks.










NHL Rumor Mill – October 8, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – October 8, 2022

The Oilers enter this season with little cap room, the Flames face a decision with Juuso Valimaki, and a lack of tradeable assets could hurt the Bruins this season. Get the details in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.

OILERS SQUEEZED FOR CAP SPACE

SPORTSNET: Mark Spector reports the Edmonton Oilers will enter this season with just $165.00 in salary-cap space for the upcoming regular season.

They could get $1.25 million in cap relief if center Mattias Janmark is claimed off waivers later today. If he’s not, they’ll have to place Devin Shore and his $850K cap hit on waivers to become cap compliant by Monday.

Edmonton Oilers winger Jesse Puljujarvi (NHL Images).

This will affect the Oilers’ efforts to recall players from their AHL affiliate in Bakersfield this season.

Spector points out Oilers general manager Ken Holland attempted to trade winger Jesse Puljujarvi and his $3 million salary during the offseason but couldn’t find any takers. The same goes for winger Warren Foegele, who carries a $2.75 million cap hit but is harder to move because he’s signed through 2023-24.

Holland hoped to get a second-round pick in exchange for Puljujarvi. Spector wonders if the Oilers GM will accept a lesser return to solve his cap situation.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Cousin Mark believes Holland will let the season play out and see if injuries provide some roster relief.At some point, however, the Oilers GM could find himself having to make a cost-cutting trade.

That could mean accepting less of a return for Puljujarvi or Foegele provided he can find a taker for either guy. It’s something worth keeping an eye on as the season progresses.

Speaking of Janmark, Sportsnet’s Ken Wiebe wonders if the Winnipeg Jets might try to claim him off waivers today.

FLAMES FACE A DECISION WITH VALIMAKI

CALGARY HOCKEY NOW: Steve Macfarlane reports Juuso Valimaki could be the odd man out for one of the last two spots on the Flames blueline. If they try to send the 24-year-old defenseman to their AHL affiliate, he’ll have to clear waivers first. There’s a good chance another club could snap up the former first-round pick.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Macfarlane observes Valimaki has had difficulty nailing down a roster spot since Darryl Sutter returned as head coach. Given their blueline depth, perhaps he’ll become a trade candidate at some point.

BRUINS LACKING QUALITY TRADE BAIT

NBC SPORTS BOSTON: A lack of quality assets to make upgrades via the trade market is among Nick Goss’ list of five huge obstacles preventing the Bruins from winning the Stanley Cup this season.

GM Don Sweeney has shipped out a first-round pick in three of the last five NHL trade deadlines. Doing so again this season would further hinder the Bruins’ ability to draft and develop quality young talent. The Athletic’s February prospect pool ranking had the Bruins 27th out of 32 clubs.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s worse than that. In The Athletic’s August prospect pipeline rankings, the Bruins are dead last in part because they’ve traded away so many first-round picks. If Sweeney’s going to make any deals to upgrade his roster this season he’ll have to draw upon players currently on the team or from his shallow pool of prospects.










NHL Rumor Mill – August 26, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – August 26, 2022

Speculation suggests the Flames might not be done in the trade market and a couple of predictions for the Oilers in today’s NHL rumor mill.

ARE THE FLAMES NOT DONE DEALING?

CALGARY HOCKEY NOW: Steve Macfarlane reports a “growing feeling” that Flames general manager Brad Treliving could make another move in the trade market. He points to preseason projections that have prospect Jakob Pelletier among the Flames’ top-six forwards plus their plethora of defensemen.

Juuso Valimaki is a popular name for trade bait while Oliver Kylington would be the kind of young defenseman who might be of greater interest to rival clubs. Noah Hanifin has only two seasons left on his contract but the Flames likely aren’t concerned about that given their “win-now” attitude.

Calgary Flames defenseman Oliver Kylington (NHL Images).

Macfarlane rattled off the names of several forwards (St. Louis’ Vladimir Tarasenko, Chicago’s Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews, Detroit’s Tyler Bertuzzi) who are among the bigger names believed on the trade block this summer. Other notables include Washington’s Lars Eller, Philadelphia’s James van Riemsdyk, the New York Islanders Anthony Beauvillier and Montreal’s Christian Dvorak.

Other trade options could be Philadelphia’s Cam Atkinson, Buffalo’s Victor Olofsson or Montreal’s Paul Byron.

Macfarlane also noted some free-agent options such as Evan Rodrigues and Sonny Milano. He pointed out that Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman recently suggested the Flames had some interest in the 29-year-old Rodrigues.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Treliving’s made some bold moves this summer such as shipping Matthew Tkachuk to Florida for Jonathan Huberdeau and MacKenzie Weegar and signing Nazem Kadri. He could have another one up his sleeve, perhaps by drawing on his blueline depth.

Cap space, however, will be a factor. With $2.1 million remaining, Treliving could be forced to make another cost-cutting trade to free up cap space as he did when he traded Sean Monahan to Montreal to make room for Kadri. The other option is a dollar-for-dollar swap. Failing that, an affordable free-agent option such as Rodrigues or Milano seems the more likely route.

TRADE PREDICTIONS FOR THE OILERS

THE ATHLETIC: Allan Mitchell made some bold Edmonton Oilers predictions for the coming season.

One of them is the expectation that the Oilers will become salary-cap compliant by placing Mike Smith and Oscar Klefbom on long-term injury reserve and making a trade. Mitchell suggested shipping out Warren Foegele for a draft pick or a non-roster player.

Mitchell also expects Oilers GM Ken Holland will make a big addition at the 2023 trade deadline. He took note of the recent speculation tying Chicago Blackhawks winger Patrick Kane to the Oilers. However, he believes they would be better off waiting until the trade deadline so as to avoid any potential cap complications that could arise over the course of the season. He also doesn’t rule out pursuing Arizona Coyotes defenseman Jakob Chychrun.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Unless the Oilers are the only team with a genuine interest in Kane, I don’t think they can win a bidding war for his services at the trade deadline. That’s assuming the Blackhawks star will be willing to waive his no-movement clause to come to Edmonton.

Given their lack of cap space, they’ll have to pull off a three-team trade to spread Kane’s $10.5 million cap hit around. Even then, they’ll have to move a salaried player to ensure sufficient wiggle room. They’ve got some decent prospects within their system but other clubs might be able to offer better quality.

As for Chychrun, I don’t see Holland giving up two first-round picks plus a top prospect or a promising NHL player if that remains the Coyotes’ asking price on deadline day.










NHL Rumor Mill – August 22, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – August 22, 2022

What would it take for the Oilers to acquire Patrick Kane? Will Paul Stastny return to the Jets or sign elsewhere? Find out in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.

WHAT WOULD IT COST THE OILERS TO LAND PATRICK KANE?

EDMONTON JOURNAL: Kurt Leavins speculates Patrick Kane could consider playing alongside Connor McDavid and Leon Drasaitl with the Oilers to be more enticing than his present situation with the rebuilding Chicago Blackhawks.

Chicago Blackhawks winger Patrick Kane (NHL Images).

Leavins suggests it will cost “a player, a #1 pick and a good prospect, plus-plus” to acquire Kane as a rental player no matter where he goes. Sorting out the salary-cap dollars would also be an issue. The 34-year-old Blackhawks winger carries a $10.5 million cap hit for the coming season and is slated to become an unrestricted free agent next summer.

The real question for Leavins is whether Kane (an American) would be willing to come to Edmonton for even just one season. He pointed out the Blackhawks star has the same agent as Oilers’ Kailer Yamamoto and Cody Ceci.

OILERS NATION: Jason Gregor considers Kane’s contract “very easy” to trade, pointing out he’s only earning $2.9 million in actual salary for the coming season. The Blackhawks would have to retain 50 percent of his $10.5 million cap hit in a trade.

Gregor believes the Oilers can’t afford to acquire the remaining 50 percent. He believes they’d have to get a third team involved, pointing out the Arizona Coyotes are “always willing to take on money for draft picks”.

Under that scenario, the Oilers would only take on $2.65 million of his cap hit and $725K in actual salary. Gregor speculates it would cost the Oilers a late-round pick and a second-tier prospect to the Coyotes to make it work.

As for what the Blackhawks would want from the Oilers, he suggests Jesse Puljujarvi or Warren Foegele would have to head to Chicago to make the cap work for Edmonton. He wonders if a first-round pick, a second-rounder and Puljujarvi would be enough, assuming Kane would accept a trade to the Oilers.

THE BOSTON GLOBE: Matt Porter wondered if a first-round pick, a prospect, winger Kailer Yamamoto and “overpaid defenseman Tyson Barrie” would get it done.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kane alongside McDavid or Draisaitl would give the Oilers two devastating forward lines that could power them to the Stanley Cup. Acquiring him, however, won’t be easy.

Reports out of Chicago claim Kane has not requested a trade and isn’t in any rush to leave the Blackhawks. He and Jonathan Toews could see how this season shakes out before deciding if they want to be traded to a potential Stanley Cup contender.

A Kane trade could happen before the start of this season. However, I think it’s more likely to occur closer to the trade deadline. That will ramp up the bidding and also give Kane and the Blackhawks a clearer picture of the potential markets for his services

The Oilers wouldn’t be the only team interested in Kane if he becomes available in the trade market. The New York Rangers, for example, need an experienced right wing among their top-six scorers. If Alexis Lafreniere and Kaapo Kakko fail to break out this season, the Blueshirts could be in a good position to win a bidding war for Kane.

WHERE WILL STASTNY GO?

SPORTSNET: In a recent mailbag segment, Ken Wiebe was asked by a reader if Paul Stastny was coming back to the Jets and if not, why?

Wiebe thinks the door is not officially closed for a return to the Jets but feels it’s increasingly likely the 36-year-old center will move on. He believes Stastny wants to get his name on the Stanley Cup, suggesting a return to the Colorado Avalanche (where his NHL career began) makes a lot of sense given Stastny’s hockey sense and versatility.










NHL Rumor Mill – August 4, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – August 4, 2022

A look at some cost-cutting trade candidates for the Oilers plus the latest on the Kings in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.

HOW WILL THE OILERS SHED SALARY FOR 2022-23?

EDMONTON JOURNAL: David Staples wonders how the Oilers will become cap compliant for the coming season after signing Kailer Yamamoto to a two-year contract with an annual cap hit of $3.1 million.

Edmonton Oilers winger Jesse Puljujarvi (NHL Images).

Staples points out Puck Pedia indicates the Yamamoto signing puts the Oilers over the $82.5 million salary cap by $6.8 million. By putting the combined salaries ($6.38 million) of sidelined players Oscar Klefbom and Mike Smith on long-term injury reserve, they’ll still exceed the cap by over $400K with restricted free agent Ryan McLeod to re-sign.

That could involve making a cost-cutting trade before the season begins. Staples suggested forwards Jesse Puljujarvi and Warren Foegele as the top-two candidates with defenseman Tyson Barrie a distant third.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Speculation over which player the Oilers could shop to shed salary was kicking around the rumor mill before the Yamamoto signing.

Staples colleague Kurt Leavins suggested Puljujarvi’s new one-year, $3 million contract could be advantageous if the Oilers decide to peddle him. He said there were “rumblings” that the Montreal Canadiens were interested in the 24-year-old winger during the draft last month.

However, the Canadiens are pressed against the cap with center Kirby Dach to re-sign. However, they can’t afford Puljujarvi’s contract unless Carey Price and his $10.5 million cap hit return to LTIR for the coming season or the Habs dump some salary via trade or waivers.

The Athletic’s Allan Mitchell raised the possibility of the Oilers trading Puljujarvi and then signing someone like Phil Kessel to a bargain contract. He thinks that’s risky given Puljujarvi’s youth, higher shooting percentage and two-way play.

Mitchell doesn’t see Foegele or Barrie being moved, especially the latter after Duncan Keith’s retirement. Staples shared that view, with both suggesting Puljujarvi as the more likely trade candidate.

THE KINGS COULD SHOP A DEFENSEMAN

THE ATHLETIC: Eric Stephens reports the Los Angeles Kings have nine defensemen, not including promising Brandt Clarke and Helge Grans. Two of them (Mikey Anderson and Sean Durzi) are restricted free agents.

The Kings have just $1.5 million in cap space. Stephens suggested Durzi, Sean Walker and Tobias Bjornfot as trade candidates.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Walker seems the most likely candidate given his $2.65 million cap hit for the coming season. However, his trade value could be diminished by the knee injury that ended his 2021-22 season. Another could be Matt Roy, who carries a $3.15 million cap hit through 2023-24.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – August 1, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – August 1, 2021

Evander Kane to be investigated that he bet on games, why Jack Eichel wants a disc replacement, plus a roundup of Saturday’s notable free-agent signings in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NBC SPORTS BAY AREA: The NHL intends to launch an investigation into an allegation claiming San Jose Sharks winger Evander Kane gambled on NHL games. The Sharks also released a statement indicating its support for a full and transparent investigation.

San Jose Sharks winger Evander Kane (NHL Images).

The allegation was raised on an unverified Instagram account attributed to Kane’s wife, Anna, claiming the winger abandoned her and their two children to go on a European vacation while their home was being repossessed. She then accused Kane of betting on his own games.

Kane, 29, was sued by a Las Vegas casino in 2019 over $500K in unpaid gambling debts but the suit was dropped the following year. In January, he filed for bankruptcy claiming nearly $27 million in debts, including $1.5 million in gambling losses. He’s also facing six active lawsuits from lenders.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kane’s bankruptcy and previous gambling issues are well-documented but his wife’s allegations raise that issue to an entirely different level. Sharks management stood by him during his bankruptcy. He recently claimed in an interview that fatherhood had changed and matured him. His wife’s comments, however, paint a very different picture.

Kane’s personal issues didn’t affect his on-ice performance as he led the Sharks in scoring this season with 49 points in 56 games. However, reports emerged indicating significant friction between the winger and his teammates this season, with several expressing frustration to management in their season-ending exit interviews.

Kane has four years remaining on his contract with an annual average value of $7 million. The outcome of this investigation, however, could determine whether he’ll get the opportunity to complete that contract.

SPORTSNET: Jeff Marek and Elliotte Friedman interviewed Colorado neurosurgeon Dr. Chad Prusmack, who provided Jack Eichel with a recommendation to correct a herniated disc in his neck with artificial disc replacement surgery. Prusmack explained the procedure, the risk and recovery and why it would be more beneficial than neck fusion surgery.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Eichel and Sabres’ management are in disagreement over whether he can undergo this procedure. Under the CBA, the Sabres have the final say but that’s become an area of contention between the two sides, prompting considerable speculation over his future.

EDMONTON JOURNAL: The Oilers signed winger Warren Foegele to a three-year contract worth $2.75 million per season. Foegele was acquired last week from the Carolina Hurricanes

THE DETROIT NEWS: The Red Wings re-signed winger Tyler Bertuzzi to a two-year contract worth $9.5 million. Bertuzzi has resumed off-ice training following back surgery in April and is expected to be ready for training camp next month.

TORONTO SUN: The Maple Leafs signed Nick Ritchie to a two-year contract worth $2.5 million per season.

MONTREAL GAZETTE: The Canadiens signed winger Artturi Lehkonen to a one-year, $2.3 million contract.

THE DALLAS MORNING NEWS: The Stars signed forward Joel Kiviranta to a two-year, $2.1 million contract.

THE NEWS & OBSERVER: The Carolina Hurricanes signed Derek Stepan to a one-year, $1.35 million contract.

WINNIPEG SUN: The Jets signed forward Riley Nash to a one-year deal worth $750K.