NHL Rumor Mill – August 19, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – August 19, 2022

What now for the Islanders and Avalanche after missing out on Nazem Kadri? Where could P.K. Subban end up? Find out in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.

WHAT WILL THE ISLES & AVS DO AFTER LOSING OUT ON KADRI?

NEW YORK POST: Ethan Sears reports the Islanders are left with a lot of maybes after Nazem Kadri signed with the Calgary Flames yesterday. Media gossip linked the 31-year-old former Colorado Avalanche center to the Islanders but general manager Lou Lamoriello had been silent about the rumors and his efforts to bolster his club’s offense.

Maybe things will turn around with the roster as is and a season unimpeded by the long road trip and COVID-19 outbreak that affected the Islanders at the start of last season,” writes Sears. “Maybe Anthony Beauvillier or Oliver Wahlstrom will take the next step forward. Maybe new head coach Lane Lambert will unlock something (former coach Barry Trotz) couldn’t in this team.”.

Sears believes Sonny Milano is the most viable free agent that the Islanders could add but he’d probably end up on their third line. There are no obvious trade candidates at this time that Lamoriello could target.

THE ATHLETIC: Kevin Kurz noted Lamoriello and Lambert have spoken about their belief in the Islanders’ core. However, it was apparent last season that they were going to need a few pieces if they intend to contend this season. Signing someone like Sonny Milano won’t make anyone change their view of the Isles’ lineup the way Kadri would have.

NYI HOCKEY NOW: Stefen Rosner wonders if Lamoriello will revisit his interest in J.T. Miller. The Isles GM was reportedly interested in the 29-year-old Vancouver Canucks center during the 2022 NHL Draft last month. Free agent winger Phil Kessel could be a temporary, last resort option as he does provide offense.

Vancouver Canucks forward J.T. Miller (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I don’t think there was a lack of effort on Lamoriello’s part to bolster his scoring. He was rumored to be pursuing Kadri and apparently attempted to sign Johnny Gaudreau last month before he accept a deal with the Columbus Blue Jackets.

Lamoriello reportedly attempted to acquire Miller before the first round of the draft but for whatever reason, the deal fell through. He could try again but I don’t think the Canucks are keen to move the versatile two-way forward until perhaps close to the 2023 trade deadline if they’re out of playoff contention by then. At that point, the Isles will face plenty of competition for his services, driving up the asking price beyond Lamoriello’s comfort zone.

The bottom line here is Lamoriello struck out in the trade and free agent markets. Kessel or Milano would be affordable short-term options but won’t move the dial much offensively for the Islanders.

I think the Islanders still have a good team. They’ve got a strong goalie tandem in Ilya Sorokin and Semyon Varlamov plus what looks like a solid top-four defense in Ryan Pulock, Adam Pelech, Noah Dobson and Alexander Romanov. Mathew Barzal, Brock Nelson and Anders Lee are proven scoring talents, while Beauvillier and Wahlstrom could step up this season.

Nevertheless, the offense remains an area of concern, one that Lamoriello will have to address at some point this season if the Isles are to be more than a playoff contender.

THE DENVER POST: Sean Keeler reports Nazem Kadri’s departure to Calgary leaves a big gap at their second-line center position that could prove difficult to fill.

Pickings are slim in the free-agent market. They include 36 -year-old former Avalanche center Paul Stastny. They might have to look to within and see if J.T. Compher or Alex Newhook can fill that role.

WHERE COULD SUBBAN LAND VIA FREE AGENCY?

THE HOCKEY NEWS: Mike Stephens recently listed the Seattle Kraken, Washington Capitals and Buffalo Sabres as three possible destinations for P.K. Subban. The 33-year-old defenseman could be an affordable short-term addition for clubs in need of an experienced, puck-moving right-shot blueliner.

SAN JOSE HOCKEY NOW: Sheng Peng examines the pros and cons of whether Subban would be a good fit with the Sharks. While he’s no longer an effective top-four rearguard, he could have a role on the third pairing and would provide them with a right-handed shot from the point.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Subban had a decent performance last season with the New Jersey Devils. He should end up with an NHL club on an affordable one-year deal before training camps open in mid-September.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 20, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 20, 2022

More players from Canada’s 2018 world junior team issued statements denying involvement in alleged sexual assault and Johnny Gaudreau was close to signing with the Devils before joining the Blue Jackets. Check out the latest in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.

TSN: St. Louis Blues forwards Robert Thomas and Jordan Kyrou and Chicago Blackhawks forward Taylor Raddysh released statements on Tuesday denying involvement in an alleged sexual assault involving members of Canada’s 2018 world junior team.

The agent for free agent forward Sam Steel also released a statement yesterday on his client’s behalf denying involvement, indicating he had fully cooperated in every investigation into the matter and will continue to do so.

These statements followed a similar one issued earlier Monday by Arizona Coyotes defenseman Conor Timmins as well as those recently released by Colorado Avalanche blueliner Cale Makar and Toronto Maple Leafs rearguard Victor Mete.

Rick Westhead reports lawyers for the eight players allegedly involved in the 2018 sexual assault plan to turn over to the NHL cellphone footage of the incident and 35 text messages between the victim and one of the players.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The league is pursuing its own investigation into the incident while Hockey Canada has reopened its investigation. A number of players on the 2018 WJC team are now NHL players.

SPORTSNET: An affidavit filed in an Ontario court suggests Hockey Canada has maintained a fund to pay for uninsured liabilities, including sexual assault. The organization has had its federal funding cut off while a number of corporations paused their sponsorship over its handling of the case and recent settlement.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Globe & Mail reports Hockey Canada used player registration fees to cover the cost of those “uninsured liabilities.” In other words, it appears they used money that parents paid to register their kids in hockey as a slush fund.

The eight players involved in the 2018 incident have not been publicly identified. However, the recently released statements by several former members of that team has fans and pundits musing about their identities on social media. It seems only a matter of time until those players are eventually identified.

Last month, NHL commissioner Gary Bettman promised the league would be transparent in its investigation into this matter. The league intends to interview all members of the 2018 team with the cooperation of the NHLPA.

Whatever the outcome of these investigations, Hockey Canada’s reputation has been severely tarnished. A reckoning is hopefully coming soon that will bring about much-needed changes throughout the organization to address the rot that permeates its culture.

THE SCORE: Johnny Gaudreau said he was close to signing with the New Jersey Devils last week before joining the Columbus Blue Jackets. He wanted to be close enough to his family and friends in New Jersey but maintain enough distance to ensure privacy as he and his wife start their own family. He signed a seven-year, $68.25 million contract with the Blue Jackets a week ago.

NJ.COM: Speaking of the Devils, they signed restricted free agent Vitek Vanecek to a three-year contract worth an average annual value of $3.4 million. The Devils acquired the 26-year-old goaltender from the Washington Capitals earlier this month.

TSN: Dallas Stars owner Tom Gaglardi said he’s looking for more offense from high-paid stars Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin in the coming season. “We have far too many players who are underperforming offensively,” said Gaglardi. “We need something to change.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Age and injuries could be contributing factors behind the declining production of Benn and Seguin. Benn is now 33 and his physical style of play could also be taking its toll on him. The 30-year-old Seguin, meanwhile, played through a hip injury in the 2020 playoffs requiring surgery that sidelined him for most of the following season.

THE DALLAS MORNING NEWS: Former Stars captain Derian Hatcher and former coach and general manager Bob Gainey are the inaugural inductees into the club’s new Hall of Fame.

FLAMES NATION: The agent for Calgary Flames winger Andrew Mangiapane said the restricted free agent is willing to discuss a long-term contract with the club.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Flames may be interested in that but their priority right now is determining the future of RFA winger Matthew Tkachuk. I’ll have more about that in today’s Rumor Mill.

NHL.COM: The Los Angeles Kings named Jim Hiller as an assistant coach.

DETROIT HOCKEY NOW: Former NHL winger Larry Jeffrey passed away on Tuesday at age 81. He netted 181 points in 368 career regular-season games over eight seasons with the Detroit Red Wings, Toronto Maple Leafs and New York Rangers from 1961-62 to 1968-69, winning a Stanley Cup with the Leafs in 1967.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: My condolences to Jeffrey’s family, friends and former teammates.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 16, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 16, 2022

The Devils believed they were a destination for Johnny Gaudreau, plus the latest on Ondrej Palat, Mitch Marner, Vladimir Tarasenko, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

SPORTSNET: New Jersey Devils general manager Tom Fitzgerald believed Johnny Gaudreau was going to sign with his club before shocking the hockey world by joining the Columbus Blue Jackets. Gaudreau, who grew up in Carney’s Point, N.J., was reportedly looking to sign with a club closer to home.

Fitzgerald said he thought he’d really connected with Gaudreau and his wife during his conversation with them. He also cited a personal connection as his son played with Gaudreau at Boston College.

We put our best foot forward,” said Fitzgerald. “He chose to go to Columbus for the reasons he chose. He could have gone anywhere. We wish him all the best.” The Devils GM subsequently signed former Tampa Bay Lightning winger to a five-year, $30 million contract.

THE ATHLETIC: Speaking of Palat, he admitted to feeling sad over leaving the Lightning after 10 seasons. “I was kind of preparing myself there was a chance I was leaving Tampa,” he said. “But it’s a business and now when I signed with New Jersey, I’m not as sad.”

Tampa Bay Lightning winger Ondrej Palat (NHL Images).

Palat admitted the past several weeks had been an emotional roller coaster, going from losing in the Stanley Cup Final to the Colorado Avalanche to free agency. However, he’s excited about bringing his experience to a promising team with younger talent.

TSN: Speaking of the Devils, they hired former Florida Panthers interim coach Andrew Brunette as an associate coach for Lindy Ruff.

SPORTSNET: Toronto Maple Leafs winger Mitch Marner admitted he endured flashbacks of being carjacked in May. He and his fiancee were unhurt in the incident but he said there were a couple of weeks where it came back to him whenever he was driving.

We were lucky enough to have people around that we can talk to and have these stories to tell and get feedback,” said Marner. “So, definitely mental health is something important to me and my family – and something that we really take serious.”

TORONTO SUN: Speaking of the Leafs, they signed forward Calle Jarnkrok to a four-year contract worth an average annual value of $2.1 million.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Some Leafs fans see Jarnkrok as a replacement for Alex Kerfoot should GM Kyle Dubas trade him during this summer or in the regular season. Kerfoot has been rumored as a cost-cutting trade candidate for some time.

STLTODAY.COM: Blues GM Doug Armstrong isn’t going down the trade-rumor rabbit hole with Vladimir Tarasenko like last summer. Despite Armstrong’s recent claim that the winger’s “trade demand” was no longer an issue, a report emerged during the 2022 NHL Draft indicating that Tarasenko hadn’t rescinded the request. “He’s under contract and I expect (to have) him,” said Armstrong.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Tarasenko becomes an unrestricted free agent next summer. He carries a $7.5 million average annual value but will earn $5.5 million in actual salary. He also carries a full no-trade clause.

THE PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER: Mike Sielski doesn’t buy into the theory among Flyers fans that their club went downhill after team owner Ed Snider passed away and Ron Hextall became general manager followed by Chuck Fletcher. He believes the rot within the front office extends back to 2006, long before Snider’s death and before Hextall and Fletcher came along.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Whatever the reason, there’s no denying the Flyers are a mess. Another poor performance by this club will mean the end of Fletcher’s tenure as general manager. However, the on-ice product won’t change much unless ownership charts a new, clearer direction and hires the right people to make it happen.

PHILLY HOCKEY NOW: On the topic of the Flyers, they signed former first-round pick Morgan Frost to a one-year, $800K contract.

TSN: The Nashville Predators signed forward Zach Sanford to a one-year, $850K contract.

THE DENVER POST: The Colorado Avalanche signed defenseman Brad Hunt to a one-year, $800K contract.










NHL Rumor Mill – July 15, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – July 15, 2022

An update on Nazem Kadri and an option on how the Avs might replace him, the effect of Johnny Gaudreau’s signing with Columbus on the Flames and Blue Jackets, and the latest on the Canadiens’ efforts to trade Jeff Petry in today’s NHL rumor mill.

WHERE WILL KADRI LAND?

COLORADO HOCKEY NOW: Adrian Dater believes Nazem Kadri will return with the Colorado Avalanche. He believes both sides want to get a new contract done but there’s no indication of how close or far apart they are in reaching an agreement.

Dater thinks the Calgary Flames are a strong suitor for Kadri. They recently lost top-line forward Johnny Gaudreau to the Columbus Blue Jackets on the opening day of free agency.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kadri rejected a trade to the Flames three years ago when the Toronto Maple Leafs were shopping him, eventually landing in Colorado. Maybe things have changed and enough money could woo the 31-year-old winger to the Stampede City.

Cap Friendly shows the Flames with $18.5 million in cap space while the Avalanche has just $3.9 million. That means the Avs must make a salary-shedding trade to free up sufficient cap space to sign him.

The Denver Post’s Mark Kiszla suggests trading defenseman Samuel Girard and his $5 million annual salary-cap hit to free up the necessary space to sign Kadri or a suitable replacement as their second-line center. There would certainly be a market for the 24-year-old puck-moving blueliner, especially if the return is a low-cost one involving draft picks and prospects. Whether the Avs will go that route, however, is another matter.

Calgary Flames winger Matthew Tkachuk (NHL Images).

THE EFFECT OF GAUDREAU’S CONTRACT UPON THE FLAMES AND BLUE JACKETS

TSN: Salim Valji believes the Calgary Flames must learn lessons from Johnny Gaudreau’s departure if they hope to avoid a similar fate with Matthew Tkachuk. He suggests general manager Brad Treliving meet with the 24-year-old winger to determine if his long-term future is with the Flames or elsewhere.

If there’s any hint Tkachuk is reluctant to stay in Calgary, Valji believes Treliving should trade him rather than risk losing another talented player for nothing to free agency. That’s what happened with Gaudreau as well as T.J. Brodie and Travis Hamonic before him.

Trading Tkachuk, a restricted free agent this summer who is a year away from UFA eligibility, would net the Flames assets that could be put toward a roster reset. However, that would also mean the club wouldn’t be competitive for a couple of seasons. It would also cast doubt on the futures of Elias Lindholm, Jacob Markstrom, Rasmus Andersson and Noah Hanifin in Calgary.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Flames must trade Tkachuk as soon as possible if he won’t commit to a long-term extension. Better to get the best possible return to put toward a retool that could lead to a quick turnaround in their fortunes (with players who want to be there) than a slow, steady decline of talent that ends with a long, painful rebuild.

THE ATHLETIC: Aaron Portzline reports the Blue Jackets’ signing Gaudreau has left them with insufficient salary-cap space to re-sign restricted free agent winger Patrik Laine. They are roughly $3.5 million under the cap, meaning they must trade someone to free up space for Laine.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Portzline suggested shopping Gustav Nyquist, who carries a $5.5 million cap hit and is eligible for UFA status next summer. The 32-year-old winger lacks no-trade protection and had 53 points last season. Perhaps the Jackets can find a playoff contender with cap space seeking a second-line forward to take him off their hands.

CANADIENS WAITING FOR THE RIGHT OFFER FOR PETRY

MONTREAL GAZETTE: Stu Cowan reports Canadiens GM Kent Hughes intends to bring back Jeff Petry for the coming season if he cannot find a suitable trade offer for the 34-year-old defenseman. He indicated he had trades available but none that made sense for his club.

Hughes said he’s not in a position to retain any part of Petry’s $6.25 million cap hit. He’s also not interested in taking back another salary problem or parting with draft picks or prospects. The Habs GM felt his club would be better off with Petry as he can fill an important role on an inexperienced blueline.

THE ATHLETIC: Arpon Basu speculates the availability of John Klingberg in the free-agent market suggests there’s a depressed market for defensemen like Petry who play a similar style. He also believes Hughes wants a tangible return that will make the Canadiens a better team. Basu suggested the Nashville Predators as a trade partner given their cap space and need to balance their top-four defense.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Petry was also linked to the Dallas Stars but that deal isn’t happening if Hughes won’t retain his salary. The Predators could be an option but that doesn’t mean they’re in the market for a blueliner like Petry. Unless another club jumps into the mix, Petry will likely be with the Canadiens for their season-opener in October.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 15, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 15, 2022

The notable players still available in the unrestricted free agent market, the latest on Johnny Gaudreau and Carey Price, the Senators sign Josh Norris to an eight-year deal, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

DAILY FACEOFF: Center Nazem Kadri and defenseman John Klingberg top Matt Larkin’s list of the best players still available in the unrestricted free agent market. Other notables include winger Nino Niederreiter, center Paul Stastny, and winger Phil Kessel.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kadri and Klingberg could come off the market as early as Friday or perhaps by the end of this weekend. It could take a little longer for the other to find new contracts.

In the case of aging players such as Stastny and Kessel, they could be waiting weeks for new contracts as younger talent gets snapped up in the opening days of free agency. As the dust settles, teams will take time to evaluate their remaining needs and salary-cap space.

SPORTSNET: Calgary fans and pundits remain in shock over winger Johnny Gaudreau rejecting a more lucrative offer from the Flames to sign with the Columbus Blue Jackets. In his introductory press conference with the Jackets, the 28-year-old Gaudreau said Columbus made the most sense for him and his wife.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It sucks when a star player departs via free agency. Usually, it’s because of money. In Gaudreau’s case, he and his wife wanted to move back East to be closer to family.

It was assumed Gaudreau would sign with the Philadelphia Flyers, New Jersey Devils or New York Islanders to be closer to his family home in New Jersey. However, the Flyers couldn’t afford him, the Isles couldn’t free up sufficient cap room, and the Devils made a contract pitch that apparently wasn’t as good as what the Jackets were offering.

Montreal Canadiens goaltender Carey Price (NHL Images).

The Flames faithful are understandably puzzled and perhaps upset over Gaudreau’s decision. Regardless of the reason, it’s clear that he wanted to move on. That’s what the Flames, their fans, and the Calgary media also need to do now. It’s the business of NHL hockey and sometimes it hurts.

MONTREAL GAZETTE: The future of Canadiens goaltender Carey Price remains uncertain as the club still awaits clarity over his ongoing recovery from last summer’s knee surgery. The 34-year-old Price was limited to just five games last season.

Canadiens general manager Kent Hughes said yesterday Price didn’t encounter swelling in his knee when working out but it would occur when he was doing goalie movements on the ice. He’s slated to meet with a Montreal doctor in August.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Price hopes to return to action next season. If he can’t play, the Canadiens can place him and his $10.5 million salary-cap hit on long-term injury reserve.

With the Habs pressed against the $82.5 million cap, putting Price on LTIR would enable them to exceed the cap by the total amount of his average annual value. Until there’s more certainty over his status, Hughes’ has limited ability to make offseason additions unless he makes a cost-cutting move elsewhere.

OTTAWA SUN: The Senators yesterday signed Josh Norris to an eight-year, $63.5 million contract. The average annual value is $7.95 million, making the 23-year-old center the third highest-paid player on the club.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: In just two NHL seasons, Norris rose to become the Senators’ first-line center. He had a respectable 35 points in 56 games as a rookie during the COVID-shortened 2020-21 season followed by 55 points in 66 games during his injury-shortened sophomore campaign.

That new contract will put Norris under additional pressure to meet the expectations of his new contract. His ongoing development suggests he’ll have little difficulty rising to that challenge.

THE ATHLETIC: Fluto Shinzawa suggests the Boston Bruins’ acquisition of Pavel Zacha gives winger David Pastrnak another reason to re-sign with the club. The two were linemates for the Czech Republic in the 2014 and 2015 World Junior Championships and got along well.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It couldn’t hurt, I suppose. Perhaps the long-term plan here is for Zacha to one day center Pastrnak once Patrice Bergeron finally retires. The former first-round draft pick struggled with the New Jersey Devils but perhaps he can regain his once-promising form with the Bruins.

WASHINGTON HOCKEY NOW: The Capitals signed center Dylan Strome to a one-year, $3.5 million contract.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This is an affordable short-term insurance move in case second-line center Nicklas Backstrom misses the first half of the 2022-23 season (or more) recovering from offseason hip surgery.

EDMONTON JOURNAL: The Oilers’ run to the 2022 Western Conference Finals made it easier for general manager Ken Holland to attract talent to his club via free agency. He brought back winger Evander Kane and inked former Toronto Maple Leafs goaltender Jack Campbell.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It helped that Kane had already spent a half-season with the Oilers and clearly enjoyed the experience. Oilers winger and former Leaf Zach Hyman also played a part in convincing Campbell to come to Edmonton.

TORONTO SUN: Speaking of the Leafs, they signed free-agent defensemen Victor Mete and Jordie Benn to one-year contracts worth $750K each.

DAILY FACEOFF: The Nashville Predators signed goaltender Kevin Lankinen and defenseman Mark Jankowski to one-year contracts.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 14, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 14, 2022

Analysis of some of the biggest signings and trades from the opening day of free agency, a look at two of the notable free agents still available and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

THE ATHLETIC: Johnny Gaudreau explained why he signed a seven-year, $68.25 million contract with the Columbus Blue Jackets. He said the experience of playing at Nationwide Arena and speaking with current and former Columbus Blue Jackets players were motivating factors behind his decision.

Former Calgary Flames winger Johnny Gaudreau signed with the Columbus Blue Jackets on July 13. (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I analyzed Gaudreau’s new contract and those of the other noteworthy signings for Bleacher Report yesterday. His decision to go to Columbus generated considerable surprise on social media. It also left Calgary fans bewildered and upset after he rejected a more lucrative offer from the Flames to join the Jackets. Whatever the reason behind his decision, he makes the Blue Jackets a better team and should accelerate their rebuilding process.

THE PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER: Gaudreau was reportedly interested in signing with the Flyers but their limited salary-cap space meant they weren’t able to make room for him.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Flyers’ offseason moves haven’t sat well with their fans who’ve been quite critical on social media. It’ll be interesting to see what general manager Chuck Fletcher intends to do to improve his roster for next season.

NBC SPORTS BAY AREA/VEGAS HOCKEY NOW: The San Jose Sharks and Vegas Golden Knights each made significant cost-cutting trades with the Carolina Hurricanes. The Sharks shipped defenseman Brent Burns to the Hurricanes while the Golden Knights sent them winger Max Pacioretty.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Mike Grier, the Sharks’ new general manager, is wasting little time addressing his club’s need for an overhaul following several seasons of decline. The Golden Knights, meanwhile, got nothing in return for Pacioretty. They are paying the price for their pursuit of big-ticket talent over the past couple of years in pursuit of the Stanley Cup.

The Hurricanes, meanwhile, are going for it. Burns has three years left on his contract with the Sharks retaining 33 percent of his $8 million cap hit. Pacioretty is a year away from unrestricted free agent eligibility. Both should provide a welcome boost of experience and offense to their lineup as they attempt to stage a run for the Stanley Cup in 2022-23.

THE DENVER POST: The Colorado Avalanche haven’t given up trying to bring back Nazem Kadri as their second-line center. The 31-year-old Kadri is the biggest name remaining among this year’s crop of unrestricted free agent talent.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Cap Friendly shows the Avs with $3.9 million in cap space. They’ll have to shed some salary if they intend to bring back Kadri.

THE ATHLETIC: The Dallas Stars attempted to re-sign John Klingberg before the defenseman became an unrestricted free agent but weren’t able to reach an agreement. The door appears closed on a return after the club signed blueliner Colin Miller and added winger Mason Marchment.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Klingberg is the top defenseman still available in the UFA market. Speculation linked him to the Seattle Kraken but other clubs could get into the bidding.

OTTAWA SUN: Claude Giroux was all smiles as he met with local media after signing a three-year, $19.5 million contract with the Senators. Giroux makes his offseason home in Ottawa and said he was excited to be joining his hometown club. “They’ve got a lot of talented guys who like to work hard and compete,” said Giroux. “I just like the character of the team, and I’ll fit right in with them.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This is the Senators’ most significant UFA signing in years. Giroux was linked to the Sens for months but there was speculation the 34-year-old forward would prefer signing with a Cup contender. He should bring a welcome boost of experience and leadership to their roster.

TSN: The New Jersey Devils have reportedly signed former Tampa Bay Lightning winger Ondrej Palat to a five-year contract with an average annual value of $6 million.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Devils were in the market for a top-six winger. Palat is a solid two-way forward with considerable playoff experience. He’ll be a solid addition to the rebuilding Devils in their quest to become a playoff contender next season.

BOSTON HOCKEY NOW: The Bruins made a noteworthy addition by acquiring Pavel Zacha from the Devils in exchange for Erik Haula. They’re also still in talks with Patrice Bergeron and David Krejci on one-year, bonus-laden contracts.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: A former first-round pick, Zacha struggled to play up to expectations in New Jersey. Perhaps the move to Boston will help the 25-year-old forward improve his game. As for Bergeron, there have been conflicting reports saying he’s going to return while others claim he’s still pondering his future.

DAILY FACEOFF: The Lightning wasted little time locking up three players eligible for restricted free agent status next summer. Defensemen Mikhail Sergachev and Erik Cernak and center Anthony Cirelli were all signed to lucrative long-term contract extensions.

SPORTSNET: The Anaheim Ducks signed former New York Rangers center Ryan Strome to a five-year, $25 million contract on Wednesday evening.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The 29-year-old Strome will fill the Ducks’ second-line center position. This is a good move by the rebuilding club, bringing in some experienced depth to take some of the burden from rising star Trevor Zegas.

DETROIT HOCKEY NOW: Red Wings general manager Steve Yzerman spent just under $20 million via free agency yesterday to make his club more competitive next season. He added forwards David Perron, Andrew Copp and Dominik Kubalik and defensemen Ben Chiarot and Olli Maatta.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Red Wings have patiently rebuilt over the past three seasons. These veteran additions should help them take the next step toward playoff contention next season. Perron, Copp and Chiarot will bring veteran skill and leadership to the Wings roster.

DAILY FACEOFF: The New York Rangers traded defenseman Patrik Nemeth and two draft picks to the Arizona Coyotes in exchange for defense prospect Ty Emberson.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This was a straightforward salary dump by the Rangers, freeing up cap space to put toward re-signing RFA winger Kaapo Kakko.

SPORTSNET: The Calgary Flames brought back defenseman Nikita Zadorov on a two-year contract with an average annual value of $3.75 million.