NHL Rumor Mill – September 13, 2019

NHL Rumor Mill – September 13, 2019

Kyle Connor could be an offer-sheet target plus updates on Justin Faulk, Mitch Marner, and Michael Frolik in today’s NHL rumor mill.


SPORTSNET: Sean Reynolds reports at least three teams have considered signing Kyle Connor to an offer sheet. The 22-year-old winger is a restricted free agent coming off back-to-back 30-goal seasons. Reynolds said several teams checked into offer-sheeting Connor back in June. Contact with them has been ongoing and at least one club “checked in with interest” following the August long weekend.

Could Winnipeg Jets winger Kyle Connor sign an offer sheet? (Photo via NHL Images)

Reynolds suggests Arizona Coyotes center Clayton Keller’s new contract (eight years, $7.15-million annually) could be a good comparable. Jets general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff has said he intends to match any offer for his unsigned RFAs.  The Jets have over $15 million in cap space but must also re-sign winger Patrik Laine.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: A rival GM could wait until close to the start of the season to sign Connor to an offer sheet. it could complicate Cheveldayoff’s efforts to match and remain salary-cap compliant when the season opens next month. That depends on whether Connor’s still unsigned by then and if he’s willing to agree to an offer sheet.

CapFriendly indicates six teams (Boston Bruins, Tampa Bay Lightning, Anaheim Ducks, Columbus Blue Jackets, Ottawa Senators, and Colorado Avalanche) have sufficient cap space to sign Connor. Half of them – the Bruins, Lightning, and Avalanche – have RFA talent of their own to re-sign.


THE ATHLETIC: Josh Cooper reports there’s nothing new to report since rumors broke earlier this week claiming the Anaheim Ducks and Carolina Hurricanes have a deal in principle that would send defenseman Justin Faulk to the Ducks.

Cooper wonders if this situation was made public by the Faulk camp to drum up interest in the blueliner, who’s slated to become an unrestricted free agent next July. He also wondered if the Hurricanes leaked the news to make it known Faulk’s available.

It’s possible the Ducks can’t afford the Hurricanes’ asking price. If a deal doesn’t happen, Cooper wonders what will happen to Ducks winger Ondrej Kase, who was said to be part of the return to the Hurricanes. If this falls through, he also pondered what defensemen the Ducks could pursue.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Ducks are said to be on Faulk’s 15-team no-trade list. It’s also said Faulk or the Ducks want a contract extension. Ultimately, it’s up to the blueliner to decide if this trade goes through.


TSN: Toronto Maple Leafs GM Kyle Dubas remains optimistic of getting Mitch Marner signed before the season opens on Oct. 2. He told reporters he won’t comment again about this situation until it’s resolved “one way or another.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Folks will zoom in on the “one way or another” remark to mean Dubas could trade Marner if a deal can’t be reached by Oct. 2. While I don’t rule anything out, I believe the Leafs GM doesn’t want to go that route.

If he changes his mind and put Marner on the trade block it could be difficult finding suitors willing to part with what would be a hefty asking price from Dubas and Marner’s rumored demand. It’s said the winger seeks over $11 million annually on a short-term deal.


SPORTSNET: Eric Francis reports Calgary Flames winger Michael Frolik could be a cost-cutting trade candidate. The Flames still have to re-sign RFA forwards Matthew Tkachuk and Andrew Mangiapane and their combined cost could exceed the club’s $7 million in salary-cap space.

Frolik was nearly shipped to the Minnesota Wild last season but the deal fell through by the trade deadline. He carries a $4.3 million cap hit for this season and Francis suggests moving the winger would address the Flames cap quandary. Frolik said he’s never requested a trade and hopes to remain with the Flames this season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Frolik seems an obvious trade candidate but his cap hit and 10-team no-trade list could complicate things.

NHL Rumor Mill – August 31, 2019

NHL Rumor Mill – August 31, 2019

Should the Leafs part ways with Mitch Marner? Could the Blues shop Brayden Schenn? Should the Flames ship Michael Frolik to Columbus for Riley Nash? Check out the latest in today’s NHL rumor mill.


TORONTO STAR: With the Maple Leafs facing the possibility of a protracted contract standoff with Mitch Marner, Damien Cox suggests it might be best to trade the 22-year-old winger. While acknowledging that’s “a crappy scenario,” Cox feels this might be the way to go if they hope to win the Stanley Cup rather than having Marner sit out part or all of the season.

Should the Toronto Maple Leafs consider trading Mitch Marner? (Photo via NHL Images).

If a rival club is willing to give up “two quality players under the age of 27 that have two or more years left on their contracts”, Cox feels the Leafs should look hard at that deal. One of those players must be “a defenceman capable of playing in Toronto’s top four and the other a forward capable of scoring 30 goals.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Cox isn’t saying the Leafs are exploring a Marner trade. He’s merely suggesting they consider it if they can’t get the winger under contract before this season opens. Based on several comments on this site, some Leafs followers share that view.

If, and that’s a big if right now, another club pitched that offer Cox suggested, the Leafs could seriously consider it. The problem is there aren’t many teams with the cap space to pay Marner’s hefty salary asking price, believed to be around $11 million per season.

Yes, that club could free up sufficient cap space for Marner by trading two assets to the Leafs. Few general managers, however, will part with the type of package proposed by Cox at this point in the offseason.

Yes, a Marner trade is possible, but I won’t hold my breath waiting for it.


STLTODAY.COM: In a recent mailbag segment, Jeff Gordon was asked if St. Louis Blues general manager Doug Armstrong will trade forward Brayden Schenn or let him walk via free agency. Gordon doesn’t believe Schenn hits the trade block this season.

While re-signing Schenn could prove expensive if he has another 70-point campaign, he’s a valuable member of their roster. Gordon thinks Armstrong will let this season play out and assess things before the free-agent market opens next summer.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: As per Cap Friendly, Schenn has an annual average value of $5.125 million on his current contract. Another 70-point season could push him toward $7 million annually.

With captain Alex Pietrangelo also due for a big raise next summer, Armstrong might not be willing to go that high for Schenn. If the Blues are out of playoff contention as the Feb. 24 trade deadline approaches, perhaps he’ll consider shopping Schenn at that point.


SPECTOR’S NOTE: So what say you, Flames and Blue Jackets fans? Yay or nay? Let us know in the comments section below!

NHL Rumor Mill – August 13, 2019

NHL Rumor Mill – August 13, 2019

The latest on Mikko Rantanen plus an update on the Flames in today’s NHL rumor mill.


TSN: cited Colorado Avalanche general manager Joe Sakic recently telling NHL.com he’d prefer re-signing Mikko Rantanen to a long-term contract. Sakic is also willing to accept a short-term deal. He wants to get the restricted free agent winger re-signed before training camp opens next month.

Contract talks between the Colorado Avalanche and Mikko Rantanen reportedly haven’t started yet (Photo via NHL Images).

“There’s a lot of players (in the NHL) in that same situation, a lot of great hockey players that are coming up,” said Sakic. “We’ll just see how all the players and agents handle that. There are comparable numbers that are starting to come in. We’re open to different possibilities.”

COLORADO HOCKEY NOW: (Stick tap to Shawn Lamba) Adrian Dater cites sources “close to the situations” claiming there’s been no contact between Sakic and Rantanen’s agent, Mike Liut, since the NHL Draft in June. He also said the Avalanche haven’t made an offer yet.

Dater dismissed the notion of a rival club signing the 21-year-old winger to an offer sheet, citing the Avs’ $16.5 million in salary-cap space. He believes Rantanen will “almost certainly” command at least $8.5 million per season on his next contract.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: No contract talks between Sakic and the Rantanen camp in nearly two months is unusual. Then again, if Liut wants to see what other comparable RFAs like Toronto’s Mitch Marner and Calgary’s Matthew Tkachuk receive, it makes little sense for Sakic to attempt discussions throughout the summer.

Talks between the two sides will pick up once September rolls around. Sakic wants to get him re-signed before training camp opens and I daresay Rantanen doesn’t want to miss camp. Be it a long- or short-term contract, the winger will get a hefty raise.

And no, I don’t see Sakic trading Rantanen if he’s not signed when training camp opens. Unless Rantanen demands a trade (and that’s not happening), there’s no reason to go to that extreme.


THE SCORE: Josh Wegman cites Sportsnet’s Pat Steinberg reporting Calgary Flames GM Brad Treliving will consider all options to find a replacement for sidelined defenseman Juuso Valimaki. Oliver Kylington is a natural internal option but Treliving also intends to explore trade possibilities.

Wegman also notes there are some notable veterans (including former Flame Dion Phaneuf) available in the unrestricted free-agent market. He points out the Flames have under $8 million in salary-cap space and must re-sign restricted free agent winger Matthew Tkachuk. They’ll have to shed some salary if they add a player with a significant cap hit.

THE ATHLETIC: Scott Cruickshank reports the Flames’ top-six defense from last season remains intact. He also considers Kylington as a likely candidate to replace Valimaki. He suggests winger Michael Frolik ($4.3 million) as a cost-cutting trade option.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Valimaki’s injury should put to rest the trade speculation dogging Flames defenseman T.J. Brodie this summer. Treliving will conduct due diligence to see what affordable options are available in the trade and perhaps the free-agent markets. Nevertheless, it sounds like Kylington (over $730K cap hit) will be Valimaki’s replacement.

NHL Rumor Mill – August 2, 2019

NHL Rumor Mill – August 2, 2019

Potential destinations for Kevin Shattenkirk and how Michael Stone’s buyout could affect the Flames’ salary cap in today’s NHL rumor mill.


THE HOCKEY NEWS: With the New York Rangers buying out Kevin Shattenkirk’s contract, Steven Ellis examined the top five destinations for the 30-year-old defenseman. 

Having been bought out by the New York Rangers, defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk could draw some interest in the UFA market (Photo via NHL Images).

If the Buffalo Sabres trade Rasmus Ristolainen, they’ll be in need for an affordable right-handed shot on their second power-play unit. The Columbus Blue Jackets have plenty of salary-cap space to “throw a couple of million at Shattenkirk for a season or two” to solidify their blueline corps.

Ellis also suggested the Edmonton Oilers as a destination. The Los Angeles Kings could use experienced, affordable blueline depth. The Winnipeg Jets could use Shattenkirk on their second defense pairing

NJ.COM:  Chris Ryan examines whether the Devils should look into signing Shattenkirk. While a “buy-low opportunity” is possible, the Devils right-side blueline depth (P.K. Subban, Damon Seversen, Sami Vatanen) makes Shattenkirk a gamble they don’t have to take. 

MLIVE.COM: Ansar Khan wonders if Shattenkirk would be a fit with the Detroit Red Wings. He notes the Wings plugged a hole on the blueline by signing Patrick Nemeth earlier this summer while Oliwer Kaski and Dennis Cholowski will be competing for a full-time spot in training camp. Wings general manager Steve Yzerman intends to sign veteran Niklas Kronwall if the 38-year-old decides to return for another season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Despite the decline in Shattenkirk’s production and foot speed, several clubs could be willing to sign him to a reasonable short-term deal. He might prefer joining a playoff contender like the Blue Jackets or Jets or staying close to New York. I agree with Ryan’s assessment regarding the Devils. If Kronwall decides to retire, perhaps Yzerman will look at Shattenkirk as a replacement. 


THE ATHLETIC: Kent Wilson examined what Michael Stone’s buyout means for the Calgary Flames’ salary-cap situation. The move frees up $2.33 million, giving the Flames $7.75 million in salary-cap space. That won’t leave enough to re-sign RFAs Matthew Tkachuk and Andrew Mangiapane.

Assuming an affordable bridge contract for Tkachuk isn’t possible, Wilson believes they’ll have to make a cost-cutting trade. Stone’s buyout could make trading a defenseman like T.J. Brodie or Travis Hamonic less likely. Wilson suggests right winger Michael Frolik could be aggressively shopped to free up sufficient room for Tkachuk’s new contract. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Cap Friendly indicates Frolik, 31, is in the final year of his contract with a $4.3-million cap hit ($3 million in actual salary) with a 10-team no-trade list. The Flames were reportedly close to shipping him to the Minnesota Wild at last season’s trade deadline but ran out of time to complete it. Since then, there’s no indication the two teams will revisit that deal.

While the Flames might be keen to move Frolik, rival clubs could be interested in Brodie. Like Frolik, he’s in the final year of his contract and carries an eight-team no-trade list. A top-four defenseman, his cap hit is an affordable $4.65 million.

NHL Rumor Mill – August 1, 2019

NHL Rumor Mill – August 1, 2019

The latest on the Rangers and Flames in today’s NHL rumor mill.


NEW YORK POST: While the Rangers intend to shed salary by buying out defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk, Brett Cyrgalis believes there’s still some trade possibilities on the table. Winger Chris Kreider ($4.65-million annual average value) is a year away from unrestricted free agency and could cost around $7 million annually on a seven-year deal to re-sign. Forwards Vladislav Namestnikov ($4 million) and Ryan Strome ($3.1 million) could be smaller cost-cutting options.

The Rangers plans to buy out Kevin Shattenkirk might not quell the Chris Kreider trade speculation (Photo via NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: As per Cap Friendly, the Rangers currently sit around $4.156 million above the $81.5 million salary cap with Brendan Lemieux and Anthony DeAngelo to re-sign. Buying out Shattenkirk will free up over $5.16 million for 2019-20.

Assuming Lemieux and DeAngelo are each signed for under $900K for next season, the Blueshirts will have to bury one or two contracts in the minors to stay under the cap. That won’t leave much wiggle room. Trading Kreider, Namestnikov or Strome isn’t a certainty but we can’t rule out the possibility one of them will be moved before the start of the season.

Kreider’s pending UFA status ensures he’ll be a fixture in this season’s rumor mill, especially if the Rangers sit outside the playoff picture by the trade deadline.


THE ATHLETIC: Kent Wilson observes the Calgary Flames need to clear about $5 million in salary-cap space to re-sign Matthew Tkachuk and Andrew Mangiapane. He speculates Flames winger Michael Frolik could attract interest as the depth in available wingers in the unrestricted free agent market has dwindled. He has a year remaining on his contract with a $4.3-million salary-cap hit.

Wilson suggests the Ottawa Senators, New Jersey Devils, Philadelphia Flyers, and Columbus Blue Jackets as possible trade destinations. All have plenty of salary-cap space to absorb Frolik’s contract and could use a good utility winger. The Devils, Flyers, and Blue Jackets are poised to be competitive this season. Frolik’s 10-team no-trade clause could complicate things.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Bear in mind the Flames nearly had a deal in place at the trade deadline that would’ve sent Frolik to the Minnesota Wild for Jason Zucker. Given the management change in Minnesota and the Flames’ shipping James Neal to Edmonton for Milan Lucic, I don’t believe that potential deal will be revisited.

Nevertheless, it suggests Frolik could waive his modified no-trade for the right team. We don’t know if any of those on Wilson’s list might come calling for Frolik. The veteran winger might prefer joining one of the more competitive clubs.

NHL Rumor Mill – June 27, 2019

NHL Rumor Mill – June 27, 2019

Updates on Artemi Panarin, Matt Duchene, Joe Pavelski, Corey Perry, and more in today’s NHL rumor mill. 


SPORTSNET: Despite the Colorado Avalanche’s salary-cap space, Elliotte Friedman doesn’t see them as a destination for unrestricted free agent winger Artemi Panarin. He believes they’re also concerned about signing UFAs to long-term deals. That could affect efforts to re-sign key players like Nathan MacKinnon and Gabriel Landeskog down the road. He said they were looking at winger Mats Zuccarello but contract term could be an issue. Friedman thinks Joe Pavelski “makes a lot of sense here”, but the contract term makes it unlikely. 

Friedman also said the Avs unwillingness to part with their first-round pick (16th overall) in this year’s draft scuttled a proposed deal for Chris Kreider of the New York Rangers. He doubts they’ll revisit their interest in Kreider. He also shot down rumors linking the Avs to Montreal Canadiens winger Jonathan Drouin. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Avalanche general manager Joe Sakic has lots of salary-cap space ($38.9 million, according to Cap Friendly) and is looking for more scoring punch. Shipping out Carl Soderberg earlier this week to Arizona stokes speculation he’s got bigger moves in store.

Like Friedman, I don’t see Panarin heading to Colorado but it didn’t hurt to inquire. Pavelski hasn’t met with the Avalanche but visited the Dallas Stars and Tampa Bay Lightning on Wednesday.

If Sakic’s unwilling to invest too much for too long in older UFAs, he could return to the trade market. Some believe he’s preparing to sign Toronto’s Mitch Marner to an offer sheet. However, I’ve read he’s not a fan of offer sheets. I don’t think Sakic’s done making moves. 

Speaking of Panarin, Friedman said it looks like the Florida Panthers, New York Islanders, and New York Rangers are the front-runners for his services. The Panthers are also linked to UFA goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky. Friedman speculates Bobrovsky’s new contract could affect Tampa Bay’s Andrei Vasilevskiy. The Lightning netminder is a restricted free agent next summer. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The New York Post’s Larry Brooks acknowledged the Rangers are on Panarin’s radar but the Panthers are considered the favorites to sign him. He feels the potential cost of signing Panarin ($11-$12 million per season for seven years) would be too high for the Blueshirts. 

Pending UFA center Matt Duchene met with the Montreal Canadiens on Wednesday (Photo via NHL Images).

Having shipped P.K. Subban and his $9-million annual average value to New Jersey, Friedman wonders if the Nashville Predators will pursue Matt Duchene. The Columbus Blue Jackets center is slated to become a UFA on July 1. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: TSN’s Pierre LeBrun reports Duchene is slated to meet with the Predators today. Darren Dreger reported the 28-year-old center met with the Montreal Canadiens yesterday. While Habs fans are excited over the notion of Duchene signing with the Habs, I think the Preds are going to get him. They’re still a Stanley Cup contender, Duchene loves Nashville, and Tennessee doesn’t have a state tax.

After trading Subban, the Predators might not be done dealing. The Tennessean’s Paul Skrbina wonders if Kyle Turris, Ryan Ellis, or Nick Bonino might become trade candidates. 

The Montreal Canadiens and Pittsburgh Penguins are on Corey Perry’s radar. Friedman also wonders if the Dallas Stars and Nashville Predators will pursue him. Friedman also wonders if the Canadiens might take a run at New York Islanders winger Anders Lee. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: But is Perry on the Habs and Penguins radar? His declining speed and production are significant concerns. If the Canadiens are looking at Lee they’re going to have competition. Recent speculation suggests the Minnesota Wild and Chicago Blackhawks could also pursue him. 

Friedman thinks forward Gustav Nyquist could be a fit with the Columbus Blue Jackets. He also reports the Calgary Flames could try to move winger Michael Frolik before July 1, with the New Jersey Devils a possibility. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Athletic’s Pierre LeBrun reports the San Jose Sharks haven’t ruled out bringing back Nyquist. He also cites sources saying the Edmonton Oilers and Detroit Red Wings (Nyquist’s former team) could also have interest in him. 

Speaking of the Devils, Friedman said they’re not moving blueliner Damon Severson. The Minnesota Wild could make a pitch for winger Wayne Simmonds. 

The San Jose Sharks would like to move backup goalie Aaron Dell. Mike Smith’s been tied to Calgary, as is former Flyers goalie Cam Talbot. Edmonton and Carolina are also possible destinations for Smith. The Oilers are linked to Petr Mrazek and Semyon Varlamov. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Oilers have reportedly connected with Smith. If he heads up the road to Edmonton, the Flames could go after Talbot as an affordable short-term replacement. 

Despite not qualifying Ben Hutton, the Vancouver Canucks will try to sign him to a more palatable contract. They could still be the favorite to sign Tyler Myers. In need of another left-hand defenseman, perhaps they’ll consider Jordie Benn. The salary-cap recapture penalty ($3.03 million) for Roberto Luongo’s contract will dent their salary-cap space. Friedman also said the rumored “Tyson Barrie-to-Vancouver” deal was never as close as it seemed. 


THE ATHLETIC: Pierre LeBrun reports teams have contacted representatives of Carolina’s Sebastian Aho and Winnipeg’s Kyle Connor. The two are restricted free agents and eligible to receive offer sheets from rival clubs. 

The Edmonton Oilers, Colorado Avalanche, and Buffalo Sabres are among the clubs interested in San Jose Sharks UFA winger Joonas Donskoi.

The Florida Panthers are among six clubs who’ve reached out to UFA defenseman Anton Stralman.