NHL Rumor Mill – September 13, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – September 13, 2022

The latest on Bo Horvat’s contract negotiations with the Canucks plus speculation about Brendan Gallagher’s future with the Canadiens in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.

LATEST ON HORVAT’S CONTRACT TALKS

VANCOUVER HOCKEY NOW: Rob Simpson reports Canucks captain Bo Horvat said he’s leaving contract negotiations with his agent and team management. He said he loves playing for the Canucks and he and his family love living in Vancouver. However, he acknowledged this is a lengthy process.

Vancouver Canucks center Bo Horvat (NHL Images).

Horvat and his agent, Pat Morris, are declining to discuss details of the contract talks with the media. Nevertheless, Simpson suggests this could lead to speculation and become a potential distraction if no deal is in place before the season opens on Oct. 12.

THE PROVINCE: Patrick Johnston reminds us that Horvat has a year remaining on his current contract. He’s eligible to become an unrestricted free agent next summer. The 27-year-old center offered up no deadline for the completion of his talks.

Horvat also indicated he’s fully recovered from the broken leg he suffered at the end of last season. While he understands there will be plenty of speculation over his future, he said his focus for the coming season is helping the Canucks win.

SPORTSNET: Iain MacIntyre reports Canucks general manager Patrik Allvin wants to sign Horvat to a contract extension. However, he offered neither optimism nor pessimism when questioned about it last week following the club’s signing J.T. Miller to a long-term extension.

MacIntyre speculates Horvat should be more affordable to sign, adding the Canucks have the cap space to retain him. He anticipates he’ll get a raise from $5.5 million to $7 million annually on his next deal.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It could take time for the Canucks and Horvat’s agent to hammer out an agreement. Perhaps those talks will carry over into the coming season.

Nevertheless, we should probably take any speculation over the status of Horvat’s talks or his future in Vancouver with a grain of salt. Miller was a fixture in the rumor mill for months amid reports of little contract discussion throughout this summer yet his new deal ultimately came together pretty quickly. The same thing could happen with Horvat.

ARE THE CANADIENS TRYING TO SHOP GALLAGHER?

MONTREAL GAZETTE: Stu Cowan observed Brendan Gallagher has five seasons left on his six-year, $39-million contract. Should Gallagher rebound from last season’s disappointing, injury-plagued performance, there’s a very good chance Canadiens GM Kent Hughes will trade the 30-year-old winger if he can find a partner.

Cowan speculates Hughes is “probably already trying to trade Gallagher as the Canadiens look to rebuild with youth and gain salary-cap space.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: As Cowan noted, Gallagher’s best seasons are probably behind him now. Injuries have hampered him in recent years and affected his performance.

A healthy, productive Gallagher will still be difficult to trade. He’s carrying an average annual value of $6.5 million through 2026-27 with a no-movement clause that ensures he cannot be demoted and a six-team no-trade list.

Gallagher will be staying in Montreal unless Hughes is willing to retain part of his cap hit, include a sweetener like a quality draft pick or prospect, or take back an expensive contract in return.










Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – May 1, 2022

Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – May 1, 2022

Check out the latest on the Canadiens and Jakob Chychrun’s future with the Coyotes in the Sunday NHL rumor roundup.

BUSY OFFSEASON AHEAD FOR THE CANADIENS

Montreal Canadiens goaltender Carey Price (NHL Images).

MONTREAL GAZETTE: Stu Cowan reports Canadiens general manager Kent Hughes indicated he’ll need clarity on the condition of Carey Price before he can begin to address his roster needs in the offseason. The 34-year-old goaltender indicated the current condition of his knee would prevent him from playing a full season. Price said he’ll be seeking a second opinion and didn’t rule out a second surgical procedure.

Pat Hickey suggests the Canadiens could see a roster teardown in the offseason. He pointed out they’re up against next season’s $82.5 million salary cap with 19 players, including the probably permanently sidelined Shea Weber, under contract. They’ll get some cap relief by trading Weber’s contract or placing him on long-term injury reserve next season, but it won’t allow enough to go on a free-agent spending spree.

It’s expected Canadiens defenseman Jeff Petry and his $6.25 million cap hit. However, that won’t put them further ahead if they were to pay $7 million per season to sign a pending free agent like Pittsburgh’s Kris Letang. They also must free up cap room to sign restricted free agents Alexander Romanov and Rem Pitlick.

SPORTSNET: Eric Engels reported Hughes said he’ll evaluate all options to navigate his tricky salary-cap situation. He also said he wouldn’t be trading futures for short-term gains that would adversely affect the club’s long-term success.

Hughes said he has no plans to trade winger Brendan Gallagher, who has five seasons left on his contract with an annual average value of $6.5 million. He’s hoping the 29-year-old winger will have a solid bounce-back performance next season.

The Habs GM made no comment about the futures of winger Jonathan Drouin and Joel Armia. Drouin, meanwhile, hopes to make a full recovery from wrist surgery and prove himself to Hughes and head coach Martin St. Louis.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The sooner Hughes gets more clarity on Price’s condition the easier it’ll be to conduct his offseason roster plans. If the long-time Canadiens’ starter looks to be sidelined again for a lengthy period or if his playing career is over, Hughes will place his $10.5 million cap hit on LTIR for next season. If he can return to action next season, the Habs GM will have to make some deep cost-cutting moves.

Hughes will try to shed some salary even if Price can return next season. We already know he attempted to trade Weber’s contract ($7.857 million through 2025-26) before the March trade deadline and will try again this summer. He’ll likely target budget teams looking to reach the cap floor. Clearing the full amount of Weber’s contract, however, could mean bundling him with a draft pick or a prospect.

Petry made a trade request earlier this season that Hughes attempted to fulfill. The 34-year-old defenseman yesterday said he didn’t want to close the door on his tenure with the Canadiens, saying he’ll be discussing it with his family this summer. Nevertheless, I think Hughes will quietly shop around for the right deal. It also wouldn’t be surprising if he explores Drouin’s value in the trade market.

There’s speculation suggesting Letang could come home to Montreal or that Hughes could target his former client if the 35-year-old blueliner hits the open market. Given the Canadiens’ cap issues and their other roster needs, I don’t see Letang suiting up for the Habs next season.

UPDATE ON CHYCHRUN

GOPHNX.COM: Craig Morgan reports Jakob Chychrun doesn’t sound like he’s keen to be part of another rebuild with the Arizona Coyotes. The 24-year-old defenseman said he loves playing in Arizona but the recent roster teardown has been difficult for him, saying he badly wants to play for a winner.

Chychrun is under contract for three more seasons with an affordable $4.6 million annual salary-cap hit. He also recalled advice he once received from former teammate Mike Smith about only having so many chances and not letting them go by every year. “You really have to take advantage of the short time you have in this league because it flies by,” said Chychrun.

Morgan indicated Chychrun hasn’t approached Coyotes GM Bill Armstrong about a trade. However, his comments suggest he’s open to the possibility. Armstrong said he will explore the trade market this summer and admitted that moving Chychrun could be one of his options.

As for the Coyotes’ pending free agents, Morgan reports contract talks have started with RFA forward Lawson Crouse. He also anticipates they’ll bring back RFAs Barrett Hayton and Christian Fischer, as well as explore signing pending UFA defenseman Anton Stralman, who’s indicated a willingness to return next season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Morgan believes there’s a good chance Chychrun could be traded this summer. However, that depends on whether a club is willing to pay what’s believed to be a high asking price by Armstrong. He also felt the Coyotes GM will try to repair the relationship with his defenseman if a trade doesn’t materialize.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 26, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 26, 2022

Cale Makar sets an Avalanche record, Johnny Gaudreau reaches a goal-scoring milestone, the ongoing fallout from the overturned Dadonov trade, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: Cale Makar set a Colorado Avalanche record in his club’s 6-3 victory over the Philadelphia Flyers. Makar scored twice to set the club’s single-season record for most goals by a defenseman with 24. Nazem Kadri had a goal and two assists for the Avalanche, who’ve won five of their last six games and sit atop the overall standings with 97 points. Flyers winger Travis Konecny missed this game with a lower-body injury and is listed as day-to-day.

Colorado Avalanche defenseman Cale Makar (NHL Images).

Calgary Flames winger Johnny Gaudreau scored his 200th career goal in a 4-2 victory over the Arizona Coyotes. Gaudreau also had two assists while Matthew Tkachuk had two points for Calgary (86 points), who hold a seven-point lead over the Los Angeles Kings for first place in the Pacific Division. Flames center Sean Monahan was a healthy scratch.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Monahan hasn’t been the same since struggling through a hip injury last season which ultimately required surgery last May. It generated speculation the Flames could attempt to trade him before the recent trade deadline.

The New York Rangers downed the Pittsburgh Penguins 5-1. Chris Kreider scored twice to tie the Edmonton Oilers’ Leon Draisaitl for second place in the goal-scoring race with 44. Andrew Copp tallied his first goal since the Rangers acquired him at the trade deadline from the Winnipeg Jets. Pittsburgh (88 points) hold a one-point lead over the Rangers for second place in the Metropolitan Division. Penguins center Evgeni Malkin missed the game with an undisclosed illness.

Speaking of the Jets, they kept their playoff hopes alive with a 4-3 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets, spoiling Patrik Laine’s return to Winnipeg for the first time since being traded to the Jackets last year. Nikolaj Ehlers scored the winner in overtime while teammate Kyle Connor netted his 41st goal of the season. Laine was held scoreless. With 72 points, the Jets are three points behind the Dallas Stars for the final wild-card berth in the Western Conference.

Shootout goals by Evgeny Kuznetsov and Alex Ovechkin lifted the Washington Capitals over the Buffalo Sabres 4-3. Ovechkin also scored in regulation and has 41 on the season while Jeff Skinner scored twice for the Sabres. The Capitals (82 points) sit two points back of the Tampa Bay Lightning for the first wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference.

HEADLINES

TSN: Pierre LeBrun believes the NHL is going to push for changes to the submission process of a player’s no-trade list. This comes after the league overturned a trade that would’ve sent winger Evgenii Dadonov from the Vegas Golden Knights to the Anaheim Ducks following confusion about whether Dadonov filed his no-trade list on time last summer.

Under the current system, the list is submitted solely between the player’s agent and the club. The NHL and the NHLPA don’t keep track of no-trade lists. LeBrun believes the league seeks a change whereby the NHL Central Registry and the PA each get copies of the lists.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I find the current setup unusual given how a modified no-trade clause gives a player a measure of control over possible trade destinations. It’s surprising it took this long before a screw-up (like what happened to Dadonov) took place.

THE SCORE: Speaking of Dadonov, he admitted having “a stressful couple of days” awaiting a decision by the league. The Ducks were on his no-trade list that the Golden Knights and the league mistakenly believed hadn’t been filed on time. He had felt “upset” at the time but “wasn’t really mad” about the situation.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Following the league’s decision, Dadonov received a big cheer from Golden Knights fans on Thursday after being named the second star in their 6-1 win over the Nashville Predators.

CAP FRIENDLY: The Golden Knights placed winger Reilly Smith on long-term injury reserve yesterday. His annual cap hit is $5 million.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Golden Knights attempted to trade Dadonov to free up salary-cap space in order to eventually take Alec Martinez or Mark Stone off LTIR before the end of this season. It was assumed they might have to make a cost-cutting trade with a non-playoff club. Putting Smith on LTIR could address that problem provided he’s out for the remainder of the regular season.

DAILY FACEOFF: More bad news for the Golden Knights as winger Max Pacioretty suffered a setback in his recovery from an undisclosed injury and isn’t available in the near future.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Pacioretty could become another LTIR candidate if the setback was serious.

SPORTSNET: Montreal Canadiens winger Jonathan Drouin is out indefinitely with an upper-body injury while teammate Brendan Gallagher is out one week with a lower-body injury.

The Edmonton Oilers are suing four of their insurance companies over unreimbursed losses suffered during the COVID-19 pandemic.










NHL Rumor Mill – January 31, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – January 31, 2022

Could the Canadiens trade Jeff Petry or Brendan Gallagher? What are some possible trade targets for the Bruins? Find out in today’s NHL rumor mill.

LATEST ON THE CANADIENS

LA PRESSE: Guillaume Lefrancois reports Montreal Canadiens general manager Kent Hughes said he was willing to trade Jeff Petry if it works out for both sides. The 34-year-old defenseman has not requested a trade but he’s struggling through his worst season on the ice while his family has returned to the United States due to the COVID measures in place in the province of Quebec.

Montreal Canadiens defenseman Jeff Petry (NHL Images).

Hughes met with Petry during the club’s recent road trip. He told the blueliner he was aware of what was happening in his life, saying if there’s a chance it will work out on both sides to trade him they would do so. Until then, he expects Petry to play his best for the Canadiens.

Lafrancois suggested Hughes might want to do Petry a favor by trading him to an American club. However, his $6.25 million annual cap hit through 2024-25 combined with the flattened NHL cap makes that contract difficult for some teams to absorb.

Hughes also mentioned he’d like to add more leadership to his roster. Ideally, he’d like to add another center to provide support for Nick Suzuki. Francois suggested it would be interesting if the Habs GM pursued former client Patrice Bergeron during the offseason. The Boston Bruins captain is an unrestricted free agent this summer.

MONTREAL GAZETTE: Stu Cowan suggests Brendan Gallagher faces an uncertain future with the Canadiens. Though he’s in the first season of a six-year, $39 million contract, Cowan believes it would be understandable if the 29-year-old winger didn’t want to stick around for a rebuild at this stage in his career.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Petry certainly seems unhappy this season. There’s also conjecture he hates playing for Canadiens coach Dominique Ducharme. It was telling that he no longer had the assistant captain’s “A” on his jersey when the Habs played the Columbus Blue Jackets last night. The blueliner was also singled out by the press and on social media for not coming to the defense of Sam Montembeault when the Canadiens goalie was run by Edmonton Oilers winger Zack Kassian on Saturday.

The decline in Petry’s performance would hurt his trade value but I daresay there would be teams willing to gamble on a change of scenery helping him regain his usual 40-point production. However, his contract is a serious sticking point. In addition to his cap hit, he has a 15-team no-trade clause and a no-movement clause to prevent any demotion to the minors. The Canadiens will either have to retain some salary, take on a toxic contract, or try to spread around that cap hit with a three-team deal.

Gallagher is in the same boat contract-wise, though his no-trade list consists of six teams. His feisty style would be enticing for some clubs but not his $6.5 million cap hit through 2026-27.

The bottom line is it will require considerable management skills by Hughes and hockey ops VP Jeff Gorton to swing deals that move one or both players without leaving the Canadiens carrying too much dead cap space.

SUGGESTED BRUINS TRADE TARGETS

NBC SPORTS BOSTON: Nick Goss listed five forwards he believes the Bruins should target before the March 21 trade deadline.

Topping his list is the Vancouver Canucks J.T. Miller as he’d be a great fit as the Bruins’ second-line center. The cost would be high, leading Goss to wonder if they would consider parting with Jeremy Swayman or Mason Lohrei as part of the deal for Miller.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Bear in mind Miller is signed through next season. The Canucks could listen to offers but they’re under no pressure to move him now. The Bruins lack sufficient asset depth to win a bidding war for his services against clubs like the New York Rangers, who have more cap space and promising young talent to draw upon for trade bait.

Goss also listed the Arizona Coyotes Lawson Crouse and Phil Kessel, the Vegas Golden Knights’ Reilly Smith and the Columbus Blue Jackets’ Max Domi.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Those players could be more realistic trade options for the Bruins. Kessel, however, has an eight-team no-trade clause and might not prefer returning to Boston. Crouse would certainly be more affordable as a depth addition plus he’s a restricted free agent this summer.

Smith lacks no-trade protection and could be a good fit. Like Miller, however, there could be other clubs who could outbid the Bruins. Domi’s inconsistency has been an issue throughout his career.










NHL Rumor Mill – January 4, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – January 4, 2022

The latest Oilers and Canadiens speculation plus updates on Jakob Chychrun and Ryan Strome in today’s NHL rumor mill.

LASTEST OILERS AND CANADIENS SPECULATION

SPORTSNET: The Edmonton Oilers’ recent struggles prompted Jeff Marek and Elliotte Friedman to muse about whether it’s time for the club to make a trade to avoid falling out of postseason contention. Friedman believes missing the playoffs isn’t an option for them this season.

Goaltending is a concern with aging Mike Smith frequently sidelined. Their left-side defense and forward depth are also concerns. Friedman believes there will be sensible moves out there for the Oilers involving teams that aren’t that good looking to make moves that don’t have to involve parting with a first-round pick for a rental player.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Athletic’s Daniel Nugent-Bowman believes Oilers general manager Ken Holland must move on from backup goalie Mikko Koskinen, either by recalling Stuart Skinner and giving him more starts or making a trade.

Finding a suitable option in the current trade market, however, is easier said than done. The pickings are very slim right now as clubs that could become sellers aren’t in any hurry to make moves right now.

The Dallas Stars attempted to move struggling Anton Khudobin last month but couldn’t find any takers and would up demoting him to the minors. There’s also no certainty the 35-year-old goalie will waive his no-trade clause to come to Edmonton.

Montreal Canadiens winger Brendan Gallagher (NHL Images).

Speaking of sellers, Marek and Friedman also pondered what moves could be in store for the Montreal Canadiens before the March 21 trade deadline. Defenseman Ben Chiarot is an unrestricted free agent this summer and could fetch a late first-round pick.

They wondered if management will approach Carey Price and Brendan Gallagher to determine if a parting of the ways is best for both sides if a rebuild is a plan.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I wouldn’t dismiss the possibility of Canadiens executive VP of hockey ops Jeff Gorton and whoever he hires as the new general manager meeting with Price and Gallagher to discuss their futures. Trading either guy, however, probably won’t happen until the offseason.

Both players carry hefty contracts with several years remaining on them. Price has a full no-movement clause while Gallagher carries a six-team no-trade list.

Price has yet to play this season as he continues to recover from offseason knee surgery and mental health issues that saw him spend a month in the NHL-NHLPA player assistance program at the start of the season. Gallagher, meanwhile, has had his own injury woes as he struggles through the worst season of his career.

UPDATES ON CHYCHRUN AND STROME

Friedman believes the first big trade of 2022 will involve Jakob Chychrun. The 23-year-old Arizona Coyotes defenseman carries an affordable $4.6 million annual average value for three more seasons. He is usually the type of player a rebuilding club prefers to retain but he could fetch the Coyotes a significant return.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Rumors before Christmas suggested the Coyotes could seek four assets for Chychrun but interested parties weren’t put off by that high asking price. We’ll find out in the coming weeks if Friedman’s prediction comes true.

EDMONTON JOURNAL: Jim Matheson will be interested to see what the New York Rangers do with Ryan Strome. The 27-year-old second-line center skates alongside winger Artemi Panarin but is slated to become an unrestricted free agent in July.

Matheson notes Strome currently makes $4.5 million annually, which is low for a second-line center. He draws a comparison to former Rangers center Kevin Hayes, who signed a seven-year deal for $7.1 million annually with the Philadelphia Flyers.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Rangers have reportedly held preliminary contract talks with Strome. If he uses Hayes as a comparable the Blueshirts could balk but that will leave them shopping around for a replacement in the offseason.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 1, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 1, 2022

Alex Ovechkin becomes the all-time power-play goal leader, the Blues and Wild prepare to meet in the 2022 Winter Classic, plus the latest COVID updates and more in the first NHL morning coffee headlines of the New Year.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: Alex Ovechkin became the NHL’s all-time power-play goal leader as his Washington Capitals defeated the Detroit Red Wings 3-1. The Capitals captain tallied his 275 career power-play goal to pass Dave Andreychuk in what also proved to be the game-winner. Ovechkin added an empty netter to seal the win for the Capitals (47 points), who moved into first place in the overall standings.

Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: With 754 career goals, Ovechkin is now just 12 behind Jaromir Jagr for third place on the all-time goal list.

New Jersey Devils center Jack Hughes scored twice, including the winner in overtime, in a 6-5 win over the Edmonton Oilers. Hughes finished with three points for the second straight game. Connor McDavid and Kailer Yamamoto each tallied twice for the Oilers (37 points), who moved one point ahead of the Colorado Avalanche into the first wild-card spot in the Western Conference.

Mika Zibanejad’s shootout goal lifted the New York Rangers to a 4-3 victory over the Tampa Bay Lightning. Former Lightning forward Barclay Goodrow scored twice against his former club. Tampa Bay captain Steven Stamkos had a goal and an assist.

The Vegas Golden Knights picked up their 10th win in their last 12 games by dropping the Anaheim Ducks 3-1. The Golden Knights sit atop the Western Conference with 44 points and three ahead of the Ducks in the Pacific Division. Ducks goaltender John Gibson made 42 saves in a losing cause.

HEADLINES

NHL.COM: The St. Louis Blues and Minnesota Wild are preparing to meet in the 2022 Winter Classic at Target Field commencing at 7 pm ET today. It’s the first Winter Classic to be staged in Minnesota and could be the coldest outdoor game in league history as temperatures could reach between minus-3 and minus-9 Fahrenheit. The Blues and Wild enter this game jockeying for first place in the Central Division.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This could prove to be a more competitive game compared to some of the previous Winter Classics. The extreme cold, however, will affect the players’ performance and test the hardiness of the anticipated 40,000 fans in attendance.

COVID-19, meanwhile, continues to affect the regular-season schedule as the league postponed nine more games yesterday, bringing the total of deferred games to 90. Eight of those games were postponed due to current attendance restrictions in some Canadian cities.

SPORTSNET: NHL senior vice president Colin Campbell said the league will try to preserve as many full-capacity home games for Canadian teams as possible. All seven Canadian teams currently have reduced capacity due to recent provincial restrictions introduced to reduce the spread of the COVID Omicron variant.

A number of Canadian home games have been postponed. The league hopes to reschedule those contests as restrictions are eased or lifted over time.

Alberta and British Columbia joined Ontario in reducing its isolation requirements from 10 days to five for fully vaccinated people who test positive for COVID-19.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That means the Edmonton Oilers, Calgary Flames, Vancouver Canucks, Toronto Maple Leafs and Ottawa Senators will get players who test positive back sooner than the Winnipeg Jets and Montreal Canadiens, whose home provinces of Manitoba and Quebec still have mandatory 10-day self-isolation periods.

United States-based teams are also now under the five-day rule after the US Centers for Disease Control reduced their isolation requirements earlier in the week.

Pittsburgh Penguins center Jeff Carter, New Jersey Devils head coach Lindy Ruff and St. Louis Blues assistant coach Mike Van Ryn were among the latest to enter COVID protocol.

TSN: Montreal Canadiens winger Brendan Gallagher (lower-body injury) is questionable for today’s game against the Florida Panthers.

COLORADO HOCKEY NOW: Avalanche winger Valeri Nichushkin has been sidelined with an upper-body injury.

CBS SPORTS: Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Zach Bogosian missed yesterday’s game against the Rangers with a lower-body injury.

SAN JOSE HOCKEY NOW: Patrick Marleau’s wife Christina said the second of the couple’s four sons was nearly kidnapped during a family trip earlier this week. An unnamed couple attempted to coax 11-year-old Brody into coming with them after he returned to the hotel pool to collect the sunglasses he’d left behind. A good samaritan family intervened and alerted hotel security.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Thank goodness for the other family stepping in when they did. Christina also said she saw the woman who attempted to lure away Brody and informed him the police had been called, hotel security was watching her and she had to leave. The report didn’t indicate if that woman and her partner were detained.