NHL Rumor Mill – April 23, 2020

NHL Rumor Mill – April 23, 2020

Recent speculation on the Oilers, Flames, and Red Wings in today’s NHL rumor mill.


SPORTSNET: In a recent mailbag segment, Mark Spector was asked if the Edmonton Oilers might bring back Taylor Hall if they can shed some salary. He felt there’s zero chance of the 28-year-old winger returning to Edmonton, pointing out the Oilers already carry several players with expensive contracts. “I think it’s a dream Oilers fans should wake up from. Hall’s not coming back,” wrote Spector.

(NOT MARK) SPECTOR’S NOTE: I agree with “Cousin Mark”. Hall returning to the Oilers is a pipe dream. Stop pining about what could’ve been and look forward.

Jesse Puljujarvi’s future remains an off-season question for the Edmonton Oilers (Photo via NHL Images).

Asked out the most likely scenario for Jesse Puljujarvi, Spector said the Oilers prefer he returns and plays for them. If he doesn’t, they could let him spend another season in Finland (where he’ll make less money), or trade him at the draft for perhaps two second-round picks, or a second and a prospect (the Oilers lack a second-rounder in this year’s draft). Spector thinks Puljujarvi should return to the Oilers on a one-year deal and prove he can still play.

(STILL NOT MARK) SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’ll be interesting to see how the Oilers handle this situation. Puljujarvi’s done well in Finland (53 points in 56 games), but that’s not much of an indicator whether he can be an effective NHL player.

Asked if Sam Gagner might sign with the Oilers as an unrestricted free agent, Spector believes he will. He’d be an affordable signing, his home is in Edmonton, and Oilers general manager Ken Holland could see Gagner as a future member of the front office.

(THE OTHER ) SPECTOR’S NOTE: Gagner is completing a three-year deal worth an annual average value of $3.15 million. He’s not getting that much ever again, but he could be a decent fourth-line pickup for the Oilers (or somebody else) on a one-year, $900K contract.


SPORTSNET: Eric Francis recently opened up the mailbag to address questions from Calgary Flames fans. Asked if the Flames might shake up their core, Francis doesn’t believe they will. Acknowledging the production of stars like Johnny Gaudreau is down this season, he feels the early end to this season ensures Gaudreau will return next season. He thinks players like Gaudreau and Monahan shouldn’t be shopped until they’ve had a shot at redemption.

(THE BETTER-LOOKING) SPECTOR’S NOTE: I didn’t put any stock into the trade rumors involving Gaudreau and Sean Monahan this season. Yes, their production was down this season, but they’re only a year removed from their respective career-high point totals. They’re still in the mid-twenties and very much in their playing prime. Unless they asked to be moved, they’re not going anywhere.

Francis thinks the Flames will kick tires on Taylor Hall if he tests the UFA market but believes they’ll use their cap space to plug holes in their defense corps than overspending on Hall. He also doesn’t see both T.J. Brodie and Travis Hamonic returning next season but Brodie could stay.

Francis also sees the Flames attempting to re-sign UFA goalie Cam Talbot or taking a stab at Vancouver’s Jacob Markstrom or Vegas’ Robin Lehner. He doesn’t think they’ll try to buy out Milan Lucic’s contract, pointing out he fills an effective physical role, as well as his popularity with his teammates and among Calgary fans.

Asked if interim coach Geoff Ward will remain as their bench boss after this season, Francis believes he will, citing GM Brad Treliving saying he’s seen enough to make his decision. Following a shaky start, the Flames turned things around under Ward, who has a year remaining on his contract.


THE DETROIT NEWS: Ted Kulfan recently weighed in with his thoughts on what Red Wings GM Steve Yzerman will do with his 12 restricted free agents.

Tyler Bertuzzi will likely get a long-term deal. Anthony Mantha’s situation could be more complicated. He could sign a one-year deal to post up big numbers before his UFA eligibility in two years, or the Wings could ink him to a four- or five-year deal believing he’ll keep progressing.

Kulfan believes Robby Fabbri has shown enough this season to be part of the Wings’ short-term future. He expects Adam Erne to be re-signed but feels he must take a bigger step forward.

He wouldn’t be surprised if the Wings cut ties with Madison Bowey and Brendan Perlini.

NHL After 20: Edmonton Oilers

NHL After 20: Edmonton Oilers


NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 17, 2019

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 17, 2019

Game recaps, Canucks trade Sam Gagner back to the Oilers, injury updates and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines. 

NHL.COM: The Philadelphia Flyers blew a four-goal lead but Travis Konecny’s overtime goal (his second goal of the games) gave them a 6-5 win over the Detroit Red Wings. Nolan Patrick had a three-point effort for the Flyers while Wings forward Anthony Mantha scored twice, including the game-tying goal. With 61 points, the Flyers are seven points out of a wild-card berth in the Eastern Conference. 

The Calgary Flames held off the Pittsburgh Penguins 5-4 to snap a four-game losing skid. Derek Ryan collected three assists for the Flames while Evgeni Malkin and Sidney Crosby each had three-point performances for the Penguins. With the loss, the Pens (67 points) fall one point out of the final wild-card spot in the East. 

Vladimir Tarasenko scored the game-winner as the St. Louis Blues won their ninth straight by blanking the Colorado Avalanche 3-0 (Photo via NHL Images)

Jake Allen’s 32-save shutout carried the St. Louis Blues to their ninth straight victory as they defeated the Colorado Avalanche 3-0. Blues winger Vladimir Tarasenko tallied a goal and set up another to extend his points streak to 11 games. The Blues (65 points) sit third in the Central Division. 

Arizona Coyotes goalie Darcy Kuemper kicked out 22 shots to blank the Toronto Maple Leafs 2-0. Alex Galchenyuk and Josh Archibald were the goal scorers. The win moved the Coyotes (57 points) three points out of a wild-card spot in the Western Conference. 

Ryan Dzingel’s overtime goal gave the Ottawa Senators a 4-3 victory over the Winnipeg Jets. Tyler Myers scored twice for the Jets while defenseman Dustin Byfuglien missed the game with an unspecified injury. 

Tampa Bay Lightning goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy had a 20-save shutout and Nikita Kucherov scored the winner in a 3-0 win over the Montreal Canadiens. Kucherov (94 points) extended his lead in the scoring race to seven over Chicago’s Patrick Kane. 

The New York Islanders (76 points) widened their lead in the Metropolitan Division to five points by beating the Edmonton Oilers 5-2. Robin Lehner made 34 saves for the Islanders, who’ve now matched last season’s wins total (35). The Oilers also reacquired center Sam Gagner by shipping Ryan Spooner to the Vancouver Canucks and placed defenseman Matt Benning (upper body) on injured reserve

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Both teams are swapping players they had little use for. Gagner returns to the team where he began his NHL career and had his best seasons. He’s spent the bulk of 2018-19 buried in the minors and is signed through next season with a $3.25 million annual average value. Spooner ($3.1 million) was skating in the minors for the Oilers, who hope Gagner can step into a regular roster spot on the right wing and provide a boost to their power play. 

Petr Mrazek’s 33-save shutout carried the Carolina Hurricanes (68 points) to a 3-0 victory over the Dallas Stars and over the Penguins into the final wild-card berth in the Eastern Conference. The Stars (63 points) have now dropped four of their last five games and hold the first wild-card spot in the Western Conference. 

Columbus Blue Jackets winger Artemi Panarin reached his 300th career point by scoring twice and setting up another in a 5-2 win over the Chicago Blackhawks. Ryan Murray collected three assists for the Jackets while Blackhawks winger Patrick Kane (2 points) extended his points streak to 17 games. The loss keeps the Blackhawks three points out of a wild-card spot. 

Max Pacioretty scored twice as the Vegas Golden Knights downed the Nashville Predators 5-1, handing the latter their fourth loss in their last five contests. 

Joe Pavelski, Logan Couture, and Timo Meier each had a goal and an assist as the San Jose Sharks edged the Vancouver Canucks 3-2. Erik Karlsson returned to action for the Sharks and picked up an assist. The Canucks (59 points) remain one back of the Minnesota Wild for the last wild-card berth in the West. With Jake Virtanen going on injured reserve, the Canucks will give Ryan Spooner an opportunity. 

Charlie McAvoy netted the game-winner as the Boston Bruins doubled up the Los Angeles Kings 4-2. The Bruins (76 points) move one point up on the Maple Leafs for second in the Atlantic Division. 

NHL Rumor Mill – December 6, 2018

NHL Rumor Mill – December 6, 2018

Latest on Phil Kessel and Wayne Simmonds plus an update on the Blackhawks in your NHL rumor mill.


SPORTSNET: In his latest “31 Thoughts” column, Elliotte Friedman cited “multiple sources” claiming the Pittsburgh Penguins “tested the market” on winger Phil Kessel. He adds the Penguins “appear to have decided to hold off on anything involving him for the time being, but that doesn’t mean it can’t or won’t be revisited.” He points out the Penguins were last in the Eastern Conference three weeks ago but have since risen to within range of a playoff berth.

Pittsburgh Penguins winger Phil Kessel is once again popping up in the NHL trade-rumor mill. (Photo via NHL Images)

Friedman also noted Penguins general manager Jim Rutherford’s already made two notable trades (Carl Hagelin to Los Angeles for Tanner Pearson and Daniel Sprong to Anaheim for Marcus Pettersson) and is eyeing more. However, the Penguins don’t have much to trade without significantly altering their roster. Kessel still has a partial no-trade clause in his contract and Toronto still pays $1.8 million of his $8-million salary.

PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE: Joe Starkey reports a number of reporters he respects “have put forth the idea that Rutherford has at least been open to a Kessel deal.” Nevertheless, he believes the Penguins would be nuts to trade Kessel. He points to the winger’s offensive consistency, including a 92-point performance last season and having the same number of points this season (29) as Sidney Crosby.

Unless Kessel wants out, Starkey believes trading him would be a bad move. “If the idea is that Kessel is the one tradable piece that could net a big return, what’s your point? Would the return be better than Phil Kessel? Surely, we’re not looking at a rebuild just yet.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Whether the Penguins are winning Stanley Cups with Kessel or struggling in the standings despite his offensive contributions, there’s always a report or two each year suggesting they’re looking at trading him. Given the Penguins’ current struggles, there could be more creditability to the Kessel speculation this season.

Still, unless Rutherford is giving up on this season and tearing down his roster, it’s doubtful he’ll find a return for Kessel that’ll provide the Penguins with immediate improvement. If that move ever takes place, I’m guessing it’s an offseason deal that signals the Penguins are in rebuild mode. 


SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman wonders if the Philadelphia Flyers’ recent management change might affect Wayne Simmonds’ future. The winger is slated to become an unrestricted free agent next summer. Friedman said former Flyers GM Ron Hextall was fond of Simmonds but was “unwilling to commit term to the 30-year-old.”  There were also differing opinions on whether Hextall was shopping Simmonds. “Now we’ll find out what Chuck Fletcher thinks.”

NBC SPORTS: John Boruk notes Fletcher recently said he believes culture “is very important in any organization to be successful.” If so, that might work in Simmonds’ favor. Boruk believes the winger’s future will be “thoroughly discussed” to either reward him with a new contract or trade him for a return that could make the Flyers ” a more well-rounded team defensively.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I believe Fletcher intends to take some time to fully evaluate his roster before deciding what his first roster moves will be. Simmonds’ performance between now and next February will determine if he has a future in Philadelphia. If Fletcher believes Simmonds is too expensive to retain, he’ll be shopped before the Feb. 25, 2019 trade deadline. 


SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman reports Chicago Blackhawks GM Stan Bowman was at the Arizona Coyotes/Los Angeles Kings game on Tuesday. Capologist Kyle Davidson made a rare road-trip appearance, plus the Hawks had “two scouts at Los Angeles/Vancouver last Tuesday, three at Dallas/Calgary on Wednesday and two more the following night for Los Angeles/Edmonton.”  Friedman also notes the Blackhawks were interested in Sam Gagner in 2017 and might be thinking about him again. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Blackhawks scouting the Dallas/Calgary game could be because they’re playing the Stars on Dec. 20 and the Flames on Jan. 7. However, they don’t face Edmonton until February and Vancouver, Arizona, and Los Angeles until March. So, maybe they are taking a close look at the Kings for a possible trade.

As for Gagner,  The Province’s Patrick Johnston notes he was recently recalled from the AHL for a stint but was recently returned to the Toronto Marlies. Canucks GM Jim Benning declined to comment about the recent speculation linking the Blackhawks to Gagner. He did say he told Gagner he’d keep looking for an NHL club interested in acquiring him. We’ll find out soon enough if the Blackhawks have revisited their interest in Gagner. 


NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 19, 2018

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 19, 2018

Game recaps, injury updates, and more in your NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: The Dallas Stars top line of Jamie Benn, Tyler Seguin, and Alexander Radulov powered their club to a 6-2 win over the New York Islanders. The trio combined for three goals and nine points, with Radulov scoring twice.

Alexander Radulov scored twice as the Dallas Stars defeated the New York Islanders 6-2. (Photo via NHL Images)

Mikko Rantanen scored with two seconds remaining in overtime as the Colorado Avalanche edged the Anaheim Ducks 4-3. The Avs rallied from a 3-1 deficit to force the extra frame. Rantanen and linemate Nathan MacKinnon each had a goal and two assists. The Ducks were playing without defenseman Hampus Lindholm, who was placed on injured reserve earlier in the day. 

Two goals in the opening 30 seconds of the first period by Justin Williams and Micheal Ferland gave the Carolina Hurricanes a 2-1 victory over the New Jersey Devils.

Corey Crawford made 39 saves and Jonathan Toews had a goal and an assist as the Chicago Blackhawks tamed the Minnesota Wild 3-1. The Blackhawks have points (2-0-2) in their last four contests.

Jonathan Marchessault scored twice to lead the Vegas Golden Knights to a 6-3 victory over the slumping Edmonton Oilers, who’ve dropped six of their last seven games. Golden Knights defenseman Nathan Schmidt made his season debut after serving a 20-game suspension for violating the NHL’s performance-enhancing drugs policy.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Oilers’ current funk is fueling speculation Todd McLellan could become the next NHL coach to lose his job. 

TSN: Some promising news for the Toronto Maple Leafs, as sidelined center Auston Matthews (shoulder injury) practiced with his teammates for the first time since suffering the injury on Oct. 27. Matthews is uncertain when he’ll return to action. The original timeline suggests he could be back by Nov. 26.  

THE PROVINCE: The Vancouver Canucks have recalled forward Sam Gagner from the Toronto Marlies. Gagner was loaned to the Marlies, the AHL affiliate of the Toronto Maple Leafs, at the start of the season. 

SPORTSNET: An Uber driver who posted a video of several Ottawa Senators players disparaging one of their coaches and the club’s overall performance has destroyed a second, unpublished clip. He regrets his actions, which cost him his job. “I never made a single penny off this video. Not one cent,” he said. “I lost a lot — my income, driving Uber, my reputation. It has brought great shame to my family.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Actions have consequences. 


NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 3, 2018

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 3, 2018

The 2018-19 NHL regular season opens tonight. Check out the latest contract signings, waiver news and more in your NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: The Washington Capitals will raise their 2018 Stanley Cup banner before their season-opener against the Boston Bruins as the curtain rises tonight on the NHL’s 2018-19 regular season.

TSN.CA: The city of Seattle is one vote away from getting an NHL expansion franchise after the league’s executive committee unanimously recommended to proceed with the city’s bid. It will be put toward a full Board of Governors vote on Dec. 3.

San Jose Sharks center Joe Thornton’s lengthy beard is history (Photo via NHL Images)

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The BoG vote is merely a formality. For all intent and purpose, Seattle will become the NHL’s 32nd franchise. 

NBC SPORTS BAY AREA: San Jose Sharks center Joe Thornton had his lengthy beard shaved off by teammate Brent Burns during a season-opening party. Thornton had been growing the beard since 2015-16. 

THE SCORE: Detroit Red Wings defenseman Mike Green could be sidelined at least a month as he continues to recover from a liver virus.

LOS ANGELES TIMES: Anaheim Ducks forward Ondrej Kase is out indefinitely due to a concussion suffered during a preseason game last Saturday.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Another blow for the injury-ravaged Ducks. Kase joins Corey Perry (knee surgery) and Ryan Kesler (offseason hip surgery) among their regulars currently on injured reserve. 

LAS VEGAS SUN: The Golden Knights placed winger Alex Tuch (ankle) on injured reserve. He’s not expected to be sidelined for long.

MONTREAL GAZETTE: Canadiens forward Jacob de la Rose suffered a cardiac incident during a recent preseason game and hasn’t been cleared by team doctors to travel with the club to Toronto for tonight’s game against the Leafs. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Coach Claude Julien said the move was a precautionary one as de la Rose’s condition isn’t considered to be serious. 

SPORTSDAY: Dallas Stars defenseman Stephen Johns is coping with post-concussion symptoms. 

EDMONTON JOURNAL: The Oilers yesterday signed defenseman Jason Garrison and forward Alex Chiasson to one-year contracts.

SPECTOR’S NOTE:Cap Friendly indicates both players are each worth $650K.

SPORTSNET: The Toronto Maple Leafs lost two goaltenders via waivers yesterday. The Philadelphia Flyers claimed Calvin Pickard while the Carolina Hurricanes picked up Curtis McElhinney.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Both clubs have goalies currently on the sidelines. The Flyers have Michal Neuvirth (undisclosed) and Alex Lyon (lower body) are on injured reserve while Hurricanes starter Scott Darling is out two weeks with a lower-body injury. 

NBC SPORTS WASHINGTON: Anticipating a lengthy suspension for right wing Tom Wilson, the Capitals claimed forward Dmitrij Jaskin off waivers from the St. Louis Blues.

THE PROVINCE:  The Vancouver Canucks have loaned forward Sam Gagner to the AHL’s Toronto Marlies. The move was made to put Gagner closer to his family. The Canucks retain the right to recall him at any time.

COURIER-POST: The Flyers placed Dale Weise and Taylor Leier on waivers.

STARTRIBUNE.COM: The Minnesota Wild put defenseman Gustav Olofsson on waivers.

NBC SPORTS BOSTON’s Joe Haggerty reports the Bruins will keep forward Lee Stempniak on tryout basis for the time being. He’ll continue practicing with the club as he hopes a roster spot will open up for him soon.