NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 20, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 20, 2021

Cross-border games are postponed until after the upcoming holiday break as the number of teams shut down by COVID outbreaks reaches seven while Olympic participation is in question. Details and much more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

CROSS-BORDER GAMES POSTPONED, OLYMPIC PARTICIPATION IN JEOPARDY

NHL.COM: The league announced yesterday all cross-border games between Canadian and American clubs have been postponed through the upcoming holiday break period (Dec. 24-26) over COVID-19 concerns.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: 16 teams (Anaheim Ducks, Boston Bruins, Calgary Flames, Carolina Hurricanes, Colorado Avalanche, Detroit Red Wings, Edmonton Oilers, Florida Panthers, Montreal Canadiens, Nashville Predators, Ottawa Senators, San Jose Sharks, St. Louis Blues, Toronto Maple Leafs, Vancouver Canucks and Winnipeg Jets) won’t be playing this week for COVID-related reasons.

Despite the increasing number of positive COVID tests among players, the league and the NHL Players Association agreed to continue the 2021-22 schedule. That decision was based on advice by medical experts on both sides who point to the low number of cases among the players with concerning symptoms or serious illness.

Given the rising number of postponed games and its potential effect upon the schedule, the league and the PA are discussing whether players will participate in the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: TSN’s Pierre LeBrun and Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman last night reported there’s a “real sense” the players won’t be taking part in the Olympics but there’s nothing official yet. A further announcement is expected in the coming days.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: Robin Lehner made 29 saves to backstop the Vegas Golden Knights to their fifth straight win by beating the New York Islanders 4-3. Shea Theodore and Nicolas Roy scored in the shootout to give the Golden Knights the win. Theodore also scored twice in regulation. The Golden Knights have won five straight and taken over first place in the Pacific Division with 40 points. Vegas captain Mark Stone missed the game with an upper-body injury while the Islanders placed Matt Martin and Robin Salo on COVID protocol before this match.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It was Lehner’s first game back on Long Island since he last played for the Islanders in 2018-19. He credits Isles fans for helping him battle bipolar disorder and addiction as he got his career back on track.

Paul Stastny scored twice and collected his 500th career assist and Nikolaj Ehlers had a goal and three assists as the Winnipeg Jets doubled up the St. Louis Blues 4-2. Earlier in the day, the Jets announced captain Blake Wheeler (lower body) was placed on long-term injury reserve.

The Pittsburgh Penguins extended their win streak to seven games with a 3-2 victory over the New Jersey Devils, who’ve now lost six straight.

Three unanswered goals lifted the Los Angeles Kings over the Washington Capitals 3-2. Garret Sparks made 33 saves for his first NHL win since 2019 as the Kings have won four of their last six contests. Capitals forwards T.J. Oshie and Michael Sgarbossa and Kings center Phillip Danault missed this game as they were placed on the COVID protocol list. Earlier in the day, the Capitals placed winger Tom Wilson (upper body) on injured reserve backdated to Dec. 10.

IN OTHER HEADLINES…

MONTREAL GAZETTE: Canadiens winger Brendan Gallagher said he was hit hard by COVID-19 symptoms during the first two days after he tested positive on Dec. 2 and went into the mandatory 10-day quarantine. He’s since recovered and rejoined his teammates during practice on Sunday.

TSN: The Columbus Blue Jackets canceled practice yesterday after Boone Jenner, Jack Roslovic and Gabriel Carlsson were placed on the COVID protocol list.

TAMPA BAY TIMES: Lightning center Brayden Point is expected to make his return to action from a shoulder injury on Dec. 28 against the Canadiens. He’s been sidelined for a month.

NHL.COM: The department of player safety suspended Chicago Blackhawks forward Brett Connolly for four games for interference against Dallas Stars forward Tanner Kero on Saturday.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kero was stretchered from the ice and taken to a hospital for observation following the hit by Connolly. He’s reportedly been released and is resting at home.

THE ARIZONA REPUBLIC: Coyotes senior director of hockey development Matt Shott passed away Sunday following a 10-month bout with liver cancer. He was 34.

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










NHL Rumor Mill – December 17, 2021

NHL Rumor Mill – December 17, 2021

The latest Canadiens speculation and an update on Evander Kane in today’s NHL rumor mill.

THE ATHLETIC (subscription required): Marc Antoine Godin spoke with several NHL scouts regarding the potential trade value of several notable Montreal Canadiens players.

Montreal Canadiens goaltender Carey Price (NHL Images).

Several clubs could have an interest in goaltender Carey Price but his hefty contract and no-movement clause make him difficult to trade. It could be worthwhile testing Jake Allen’s trade value if Price returns from offseason knee surgery later this season as they already have Sam Montembault and Cayden Primeau as backups. Allen could fetch a first-round pick.

Jeff Petry could draw some interest from clubs seeking a second-pairing defenseman and could bring in perhaps a couple of draft picks. His $6.25 million annual salary cap hit and no-trade clause are stumbling blocks.

Ben Chiarot is slated to become an unrestricted free agent next summer. The 30-year-old defenseman could be worth a first-round pick if he remains healthy.

Left winger Brendan Gallagher is another who would draw interest but whose expensive contract and no-trade clause could make him difficult to move.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Godin touched on several other Canadiens (including Jonathan Drouin and Tyler Toffoli) but I’m focusing on those who’ve surfaced most frequently in the rumor mill. The piece is also behind a paywall so you’ll need a subscription to read the entire thing. I’ve also encapsulated the takes on the aforementioned as Godin and the scouts he spoke with go into great detail over each player’s potential value.

Changes will be coming for the Canadiens, most likely starting around the time of the March 21 trade deadline. Pending UFAs like Chiarot, Brett Kulak, Mathieu Perreault, Cedric Paquette and Chris Wideman will be shopped. I wouldn’t be surprised if a restricted free agent with arbitration rights like Artturi Lehkonen ends up on the trade block if they’re unwilling to sign a long-term deal.

The biggest changes could occur in the offseason. One or two could involve an expensive core player such as Price, Petry or Gallagher. Maybe one or two players with a year or two left on their contracts, such as Drouin or Toffoli, get peddled this summer. We’ll just have to wait and see what executive VP of hockey ops Jeff Gorten and his new general manager have in store.

DETROIT HOCKEY NOW: Kevin Allen observed several NHL clubs sent scouts to follow scandal-plagued San Jose Sharks winger Evander Kane as he works on his conditioning and timing with their AHL affiliate.

A Red Wings scout was in attendance at one of Kane’s AHL games but there’s no confirmation he was there to follow the 30-year-old winger. Allan doesn’t believe Kane is the type of player the Wings need given his age and expensive contract.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kane’s well-documented off-ice issues and reputation for being a dressing-room hasn’t dissuaded some clubs from considering the possibility of adding him to their roster. He’s a reliable scorer who plays with a physical edge.

The Sharks are said to be willing to retain part of his salary to facilitate a trade. I’m with the camp that believes it could take a three-team deal to spread his $7 million cap hit around to get it done. We’ll see if there’s any serious interest in him in the coming weeks.










NHL Rumor Mill – December 13, 2021

NHL Rumor Mill – December 13, 2021

Analysis of a list of suggested Canadiens trade candidates in today’s NHL rumor mill.

TVA SPORTS: asked their NHL analysts for their picks of which players the Montreal Canadiens could move before the March 21 trade deadline and those they keep.

Renaud Lavoie believes the Canadiens should shop goaltender Jake Allen and retain Brendan Gallagher.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Allen is among the few bright spots in an otherwise dismal season for the Canadiens. He’s signed through 2022-23 with an affordable $2.875 million cap hit. Clubs seeking experienced depth between the pipes could have an interest in Allen. However, I doubt the Habs would consider moving him until Carey Price returns to action. Even then, his affordable contract and reliability as Price’s backup make it likely that they’ll hang onto him.

Montreal Canadiens winger Brendan Gallagher (NHL Images).

Teams love Gallagher’s work ethic and feisty style but they won’t be enamored of his $6.5 million cap hit through 2026-27. The Habs would have to pick up a healthy chunk of his annual average value to move him. His six-team no-trade list could also be a bit of a sticking point. Moving Gallagher seems like something that would occur in the offseason than at the trade deadline when teams have more salary-cap space to work with.

Patrick Lalime suggests shopping Jonathan Drouin and retaining Nick Suzuki.

Drouin has had consistency issues but he could flourish on a deeper club. He’s got a $5.5 million cap hit but only one season left on his deal plus a three-team no-trade list. It could be worth exploring the trade market to gauge his value.

Suzuki’s not going anywhere unless he demands a trade. The Canadiens signed the 22-year-old to an eight-year deal that kicks in next season at an annual cap hit of $7.875 million. He remains a key part of the Canadiens’ future despite the recent management change.

Felix Seguin proposed peddling Joel Armia and retaining Artturi Lehkonen.

Armia has three more seasons at $3.5 million annually on his contract. He’s affordable but his streaky play could hurt his trade value. .

Lehkonen is a restricted free agent with arbitration rights next summer who will also be a year away from UFA eligibility. The Canadiens could try to move him at the trade deadline if he’s only seeking a one-year deal. However, they can afford to wait until the summer or next season’s trade deadline.

Louis Jean recommended trading Carey Price and retaining head coach Dominique Ducharme.

Price won’t be going anywhere at the trade deadline. He’s still rehabbing his way back from offseason knee surgery. His $10.5 million cap hit through 2025-26 and full no-movement clause makes it very difficult to move him during the season.

Trading Price might have to wait until the offseason and could require the Habs retaining half of his cap hit. They might also need to get a third team involved willing to pick up half of the remainder for a sweetener like a draft pick to facilitate shipping him to any interested club.

Jean believes Ducharme deserves another chance after having little time to prepare last season and a shortened offseason heading into 2021-22. Canadien executive VP of hockey ops Jeff Gorton said Ducharme would remain as head coach for the rest of the season. Whether he’s still behind the bench next season isn’t a certainty.

Guillaume Latendresse believes Jeff Petry should be moved and Ryan Poehling retained.

Petry has had a horrible season but the 34-year-old defenseman reached 40 points last season for the fourth straight year. He carries a $6.25 million annual cap hit through 2024-25 and a 15-team no-trade clause. Still, there could be a playoff contender willing to bet on Petry regaining his form on a better blueline.

Poehling had difficulty cracking the Canadiens roster in the past but the 22-year-old has shown potential this season. He’s signed through 2022-23 at a very affordable $750K. He’ll be staying put.

Maxime Lapierre felt they should trade Ben Chiarot and hang onto Alexander Romanov.

Chiarot is slated to become a UFA next summer. There’s talk he could fetch a first-round pick. That makes him their most likely trade candidate.

Romanov is only 21 and still has plenty of potential as a top-four defenseman. His future remains in Montreal.










NHL Rumor Mill – December 11, 2021

NHL Rumor Mill – December 11, 2021

Analysis of Sportsnet’s Jeff Marek’s list of potential trade candidates in today’s NHL rumor mill.

SPORTSNET: Jeff Marek recently listed 25 potential trade candidates of interest to watch this season.

Seattle Kraken defenseman Mark Giordano (NHL Images).

He starts by wondering if Mark Giordano might be thinking of a shot at the Stanley Cup and if the Seattle Kraken might consider shopping him.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Can’t rule it out. That move could happen near the March 21 trade deadline. On the other hand, I wouldn’t dismiss the possibility of the Kraken re-signing him.

The Montreal Canadiens could get a first-round pick for defenseman Ben Chiarot from a team seeking a deep playoff run.

That seems to be the growing consensus among the pundits. We’ll find out at some point this season if that’s the case.

Marek also wondered if Brendan Gallagher and Tyler Toffoli would want to be part of a potential rebuilding in Montreal.

If the Canadiens decide to move Gallagher and/or Toffoli it’ll likely happen in the offseason. It’s difficult to move older players with several years on their contracts during the season, especially with 22 teams carrying less than $3.6 million in cap space. Some will have more cap room by the trade deadline but they must also keep an eye on next season’s payrolls with the cap only rising by $1 million.

The direction of the Nashville Predators depends on what they do with pending UFA winger Filip Forsberg.

Predators GM David Poile said in July he was engaging in a “competitive rebuild”. That could continue with Forsberg’s departure. If they’re still in playoff contention by the deadline they’ll keep him as an “own rental” and let him walk this summer if they can’t reach an agreement on an extension.

The Dallas Stars are shopping Anton Khudobin. Marek suspects they’re after a forward. Teams like the Carolina Hurricanes have called about John Klingberg but the Stars could keep him for the playoffs if unable to re-sign the pending UFA defenseman.

Concur on both counts.

The Boston Bruins will remain patient in their efforts to move winger Jake DeBrusk until they get the best possible player or players in return.

Interested clubs could also be unwilling to meet the Bruins’ asking price. Marek’s colleague Elliotte Friedman reported GM Don Sweeney was seeking a defenseman or forward of equal value.

The Vegas Golden Knights could move Reilly Smith to free up cap space when Jack Eichel is ready to return to action.

Smith seems the most likely trade candidate. He carries a $5 million cap hit, lacks no-trade protection and is slated to become a UFA this summer.

The Vancouver Canucks are looking to change direction and could surprise us by moving J.T. Miller.

Not if they manage to climb back into playoff contention. Otherwise, I wouldn’t rule out the Canucks testing the trade market for Miller.

Marek doesn’t envision any scenario where Evander Kane returns to the San Jose Sharks lineup. He believes they’ll have to absorb some of his salary to move him.

He’s not the only pundit who believes that.  Kane’s off-ice woes, his reputation as a divisive player in the dressing room and his $7 million annual salary cap hit make him difficult to move.

Perhaps a team in Alberta would have an interest in Chicago Blackhawks goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury.

Marek is referring to the Edmonton Oilers. However, that depends on the health of Oiler goalie Mike Smith, whether Fleury would accept a trade to Edmonton and if the Blackhawks are willing to pick up part of his cap hit.

Marek suggested Detroit Red Wings forward Vladislav Namestnikov and defenseman Nick Leddy could become trade candidates.

Only if the Wings drop out of playoff contention again. Otherwise, they’ll keep both in hope of securing their first postseason berth since 2016.

Ditto Ottawa Senators center Chris Tierney and blueliners Erik Brannstrom and Nick Holden.

I agree regarding Tierney and Holden but I can see them giving Brannstrom another season to crack their roster.

The Columbus Blue Jackets could trade Joonas Korpisalo by the trade deadline. Elvis Merzlikins is their starter and Daniil Tarasov shows promise.

Concur.

Marek wonders if the St. Louis Blues might try to trade Vladimir Tarasenko. It’s clear things are frosty between Taraseno and Blues coach Craig Berube.

Tarasenko hasn’t rescinded his trade request and is fully recovered from his shoulder surgeries. However, his $7.5 million annual average value through 2022-23 remains a sticking point as it was this past summer. The fact he’s owed $9.5 million in actual salary this season and I believe the earliest he gets moved is next summer.

New York Rangers GM Chris Drury won’t budge on honoring Vitali Kravtsov’s trade request unless he gets something of quality in return. Backup goalie Alexandar Georgiev’s name has also been in the rumor mill.

Kravtsov is on loan to KHL club Chelyabinsk and can’t return to the NHL until the KHL season is over. Georgiev’s solid effort filling in for sidelined starter Igor Shesterkin could improve his trade value but the Blueshirts could be reluctant to move him unless they’ve got a reliable backup to replace him.

Arizona Coyotes winger Phil Kessel is available and so is pretty much anyone not named Jakub Chychrun.

I anticipate Kessel gets moved by deadline day. It’ll be interesting to see how many other Coyotes veterans hit the trade block by then.

Marek also wonders what the Pittsburgh Penguins will do with pending UFAs Evgeni Malkin, Kris Letang and Bryan Rust. What happens with Malkin will depend on his health.

I doubt the Penguins shop any of those three if they’re holding a playoff berth by deadline day. Rust is the only one lacking any kind of no-trade protection and carries the most affordable cap hit ($3.5 million).

Marek wondered if Oilers GM Ken Holland will use his first-round pick as trade bait to bring in immediate help for his roster. He also mused over whether the Buffalo Sabres would use one of their three 2022 first-round picks to address an organizational need.










NHL Rumor Mill – December 7, 2021

NHL Rumor Mill – December 7, 2021

Which players could the Canadiens trade? Will the Canucks make big roster changes? Should the Bruins sign Tuukka Rask? Read on for the latest in today’s NHL rumor mill.

WHO STAYS OR GOES FOR THE CANADIENS?

TVA SPORTS: Jonathan Bernier examined which Montreal Canadiens players with long-term contracts could be traded if executive VP of hockey operations Jeff Gorton decides a rebuild is in order. Gorten recently told Bernier’s colleague Renaud Lavoie he and the club’s next general manager will initiate discussions with several players to take stock of their careers.

Montreal Canadiens goaltender Carey Price (NHL Images).

Bernier believes Carey Price should be traded. While he has a no-movement clause, he might lift it for an opportunity to join a Stanley Cup contender. Given his $10.5 million contract over the next four seasons, the Canadiens will have to absorb part of it to facilitate a trade or take back a bad contract.

Shea Weber’s career is likely over. His $7.857 million annual cap hit could be placed on long-term injury reserve again if the club remains near the cap ceiling should they attempt to sign an unrestricted free agent or re-sign one of their promising players next summer.

Defenseman Jeff Petry likely won’t want to be part of a rebuild. He has three seasons remaining on his contract with an annual cap hit of $6.25 million and a 15-team no-trade clause. His struggles this season could also make him difficult to move.

Bernier also suggests shopping wingers Brendan Gallagher and Joel Armia and defenseman David Savard. Gallagher has five years remaining on his deal at $6.5 million annually with a six-team no-trade clause. Armia could be easier to shop with three years left on his contract at an AAV of $3.4 million. Savard has three years at $3.5 million and Bernier believes his fate could be tied to Petry and pending UFA blueliner Ben Chiarot.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’ll be interesting to see how Gorton and his GM handle this situation. If it’s to be a rebuild, it has to start with moving Price. That means picking up half of his cap hit and perhaps getting a third team involved that’s willing to pick up another portion of his salary in exchange for a decent draft pick or prospect.

Gallagher would also involve some salary retention or taking back a comparable contract. Petry’s age and struggles this season could affect his trade value but there could be a general manager out there willing to bet he’ll regain his 40-point form on a better club. Armia could be the easiest to move of the bunch. Bernier said there’s speculation the Boston Bruins are interested in him.

Renaud Lavoie, meanwhile, spoke with player agent Kent Hughes, who was mentioned by Sportsnet’s Elliott Friedman as a possible GM candidate for the Canadiens. “I don’t control speculations,” said Hughes. “I had no discussions regarding the GM job.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Friedman also said the Canadiens hadn’t held any talks yet with Hughes but he was believed high on their list of potential candidates. That could still be the case even though they haven’t had any discussions yet. Hughes also didn’t say he had no interest in the job.

LATEST ON THE CANUCKS

THE HOCKEY NEWS: Ryan Kennedy reports former Canadiens general manager Marc Bergevin is said to be high on the Vancouver Canucks’ list of candidates to replace Jim Benning as general manager. Bergevin was fired as Canadiens GM over a week ago.

SPORTSNET: Iain MacIntyre reports Canucks chairman Francesco Aquilini said he hasn’t yet spoken to Bergevin. He also hasn’t ruled out bringing back a former employee such as former GM Mike Gillis.

Aquilini indicated the club will conduct a thorough and exhaustive search for the club’s next general manager. He also suggested the possibility of hiring a president of hockey operations.

MacIntyre doubts the Canucks will embark on a rebuild and sell off assets even if the new general manager decides a rebuild is necessary. He pointed to the club’s handful of core players 26-and-younger including Bo Horvat, Thatcher Demko, Conor Garland, Brock Boeser, Elias Pettersson and Quinn Hughes. They also have promising youngsters such as Vasily Podkolzin and Nils Hoglander.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: A lot will depend upon the club’s performance over the remainder of this season under new head coach Bruce Boudreau. I don’t see there being many changes if they show significant improvement and claw their way back into playoff contention. As MacIntyre points out, their young core gives them plenty for the next GM to work with going forward.

SHOULD THE BRUINS PASS ON RASK?

NBC SPORTS BOSTON: D.J. Bean observes it’s becoming increasingly likely the Bruins will sign goaltender Tuukka Rask once he’s ready to return to action next month. Doing so, however, would mean demoting Jeremy Swayman to the minors as Linus Ullmark has a no-movement clause.

Bean suggests the Bruins should pass on Rask and stick with their current tandem of Swayman and Ullmark. They’re a fringe playoff team and not a Cup contender. Swayman has a solid .918 save percentage and sending him back to the minors could be a step backward for him. If they still want to sign Rask, they should find another way to make room for him.

There’s a slim possibility the Bruins could trade Swayman for help at forward or defense but Bean doesn’t expect they’ll go that route. He believes it would be a stupid move that would be harmful to the team.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I’ve encapsulated Bean’s article and I suggest folks read the entire thing before piling on him for daring to suggest the Bruins pass on Rask. He makes a good point given Swayman’s development and where the Bruins are this season as a playoff contender. However, even he acknowledges they’re probably going to bring Rask back and Swayman will likely be demoted to make room for him.










NHL Rumor Mill – November 30, 2021

NHL Rumor Mill – November 30, 2021

Brendan Gallagher isn’t sure if he’d want to be part of a Canadiens rebuild, Bruins winger Jake DeBrusk requests a trade and the latest Evander Kane speculation in today’s NHL rumor mill.

MONTREAL GAZETTE: Stu Cowan reports Canadiens president and co-owner Geoff Molson didn’t rule out the possibility of a rebuild if that’s what is recommended by the new executive VP of hockey operations Jeff Gorton and whoever the club’s next GM might be.

Montreal Canadiens winger Brendan Gallagher (NHL Images).

Long-time Canadiens winger Brendan Gallagher doesn’t seem certain he’d want to stick around if a rebuild is in the cards. “This is my 10th season now, and I’ve always come in with the expectation to win,” said Gallagher. He said he loves the team and the city and hadn’t thought about what he’d do if the club undergoes a roster teardown. Gallagher felt that was a conversation that will have to be had down the road.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Gallagher signed his long-term contract with the Canadiens based in part on former GM Marc Bergevin’s belief that the club was in a position to win. The Athletic’s Pierre LeBrun suggests a rebuild could complicate things for Gallagher and other Habs veterans on long-term deals like Jeff Petry, Josh Anderson, Tyler Toffoli, Joel Edmundson and Mike Hoffman.

It’s easy for fans and pundits to speculate a rebuild is coming but we don’t know what plans Gorton and the Habs next general manager will have in store. Nevertheless, it will be worth keeping an eye on this situation and how it’ll affect players like Gallagher.

NBC SPORTS BOSTON: Nick Goss cited a report by TSN’s Ryan Rishaug indicating Bruins winger Jake DeBrusk has requested a trade. The 25-year-old winger has struggled with his offensive consistency in recent seasons.

DeBrusk’s agent, Rick Valette, said it’s felt a change of scenery would be beneficial. Rishaug said the winger will remain with the Bruins while the club tries to facilitate a trade.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: DeBrusk frequently surfaced in the rumor mill over the last two years but this is the first time he’s asked to be moved. Management seemed reluctant to trade him over concerns he might blossom elsewhere. They remained patient but it’s apparent he’s not getting any better. Perhaps a move to another club with a different system and teammates might help him improve his play.

DeBrusk will likely have low value in the trade market. He might fetch a third-rounder at this point, though the Bruins might try to swap him for another player who’s also in need of a change.

THE ATHLETIC: Pierre LeBrun reported Evander Kane’s agent, Dan Milstein, has been given permission by the San Jose Sharks to speak with other NHL clubs about a possible trade. He added several teams have expressed a certain level of interest in the 30-year-old winger.

LeBrun said one proposed idea could be a three-team deal in which Kane’s $7 million annual average value is divided three ways. Under that scenario, the Shark would absorb $3.5 million, then a middle team absorbs $1.75 million, leaving the third club only having to take on $1.75 million.

However, LeBrun believes whatever club becomes Kane’s next destination has to have a strong dressing room culture and structure in place and be confident in helping him get his career back on track.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kane’s off-ice issues are well-documented and his $7 million annual salary-cap hit through 2024-25 are major stumbling blocks in an attempt to trade him. Nevertheless, he remains a talented scoring winger. A club that fits LeBrun’s criteria could be willing to take a chance if they’re only paying him $1.75 million annually. Whoever the middle team would be in this deal will need a suitable sweetener to take part in this deal and carry $1.75 million in dead cap space for four seasons.