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.










NHL Rumor Mill – July 13, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – July 13, 2022

The annual free-agent market opens at noon ET today. Check out the latest on Johnny Gaudreau, Nazem Kadri, Claude Giroux, Brent Burns, Darcy Kuemper, Jack Campbell and many more in today’s NHL rumor mill.

SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman believes the Philadelphia Flyers must clear cap space if they’re to pursue a top free agent such as Johnny Gaudreau. They could attempt to move winger James van Riemsdyk in a cost-cutting trade. He’s been linked to the Arizona Coyotes, Buffalo Sabres and Seattle Kraken.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: van Riemsdyk has a year left on his contract with an annual average value of $7 million, though in actual base salary he’ll earn $4 million. He also lacks no-trade protection.

NEW YORK POST: Ethan Sears believes the New York Islanders need a winger like Johnny Gaudreau to maximize center Mathew Barzal’s talent. Limited salary-cap space, however, could hamper their efforts to sign the 28-year-old left winger.

TSN: Chris Johnston reports Claude Giroux appears to be in the crosshairs of the Ottawa Senators. Pierre LeBrun reports this morning the Senators appear to be the front-runners for the versatile 34-year-old forward.

Florida Panthers forward Claude Giroux (NHL Images).

SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman reports the Senators could also target Giroux’s Florida Panthers teammate (and Ottawa native) MacKenzie Weegar. The Panthers are looking to shed some salary. They’d like to re-sign Giroux, who could also draw interest from the Carolina Hurricanes.

LeBrun believes the Edmonton Oilers are the front-runners for goaltender Jack Campbell while netminder Darcy Kuemper appears headed to the Washington Capitals

San Jose Sharks defenseman Brent Burns could be traded by the end of this week. TSN’s Pierre LeBrun reports the Dallas Stars and Carolina Hurricanes are believed to be on his three-team trade list. He also claimed the Hurricanes have “kicked tires” on the 37-year-old blueliner as well as Montreal Canadiens defenseman Jeff Petry.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Sharks will likely have to retain part of Burns’ $8 million annual cap hit through 2024-25 as the Stars and Hurricanes can’t afford to take on his full contract. Otherwise, they will have to take back a contract of equal value or perhaps attempt a three-team trade to spread Burns’ cap hit around.

MONTREAL HOCKEY NOW: Jimmy Murphy cites a rumor from Radio-Canada columnist Martin Leclerc claiming the Montreal Canadiens almost acquire Pierre-Luc Dubois from the Winnipeg Jets at last week’s NHL draft in Montreal. Leclerc claims those trade discussions between the two clubs about the 25-year-old restricted free agent are ongoing.

Murphy also cited RDS’s Renaud Lavoie claiming the Canadiens were very active in trade talks and a deal could come before free agency begins today.

Pierre LeBrun reports the Canadiens are interested in bringing back pending UFA Brett Kulak. They traded the 28-year-old defenseman to the Edmonton Oilers before the March trade deadline.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Canadiens general manager Kent Hughes has quickly established a reputation as a wheeler-dealer. Dubois is rumored to be interested in joining the Canadiens when he becomes eligible for UFA status in 2024.

The Canadiens, however, have limited cap space for 2022-23 so they’ll have to ship out some salary to take on Dubois, Kulak or whoever else Hughes might have his eye on. TSN’s Pierre LeBrun claimed the Carolina Hurricanes have been linked to Habs defenseman Jeff Petry, who’s earning $6.25 million per season through 2024-25.

NEW YORK POST: Larry Brooks reports the Rangers remain linked to Nazem Kadri but it could prove difficult to sign him. The 31-year-old center could command $7 million per season on a six-year contract on the open market. Brooks suggests the Rangers attempt a sign-and-trade scenario involving a third club like the Arizona Coyotes or Chicago Blackhawks to spread the cost of Kadri’s new contract around.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Creative, but unlikely to happen, though it would be quite the accomplishment by Rangers GM Chris Drury if he could pull that off.

WINNIPEG SUN: Scott Billeck reports the Jets are still trying to move team captain Blake Wheeler. He anticipates they’ll have to retain a portion of the 35-year-old winger’s $8.25 million cap hit through 2023-24. It seems doubtful they’ll move Nate Schmidt given the defenseman’s contract.

TORONTO SUN: Terry Koshan reports Maple Leafs GM Kyle Dubas has limited free-agent options to add a backup goaltender with just $6.3 million in cap space and RFAs Rasmus Sandin and Pierre Engvall to re-sign. “Perhaps Ilya Samsonov or Eric Comrie will be a fit.” Koshan believes Dubas’ options could improve if he shed a contract such as Justin Woll ($2 million) or Alex Kerfoot ($3.5 million).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Weakening depth at one position to improve depth at another isn’t going to improve the Leafs’ chance of winning a playoff round next season or bring their 55-year Stanley Cup drought to an end.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 13, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 13, 2022

Johnny Gaudreau heads to the free-agent market, Evgeni Malkin re-signs with the Penguins, Evander Kane stays with the Oilers, Patrice Bergeron to return with the Bruins, the Wild trade Cam Talbot to the Senators, and much more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

CALGARY HOCKEY NOW: Johnny Gaudreau has played his final game with the Flames. He reportedly rejected an offer worth over $10 million annually on an eight-year deal. Flames general manager Brad Treliving indicated the 28-year-old winger’s decision was based on family reasons and not money.

Calgary Flames winger Johnny Gaudreau (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s a disappointing outcome for the Flames. Gaudreau’s decision could also affect the club’s efforts to re-sign restricted winger Matthew Tkachuk to a long-term deal. Gaudreau is now the top player available in the unrestricted free-agent market when it opens at noon ET today. He’s been linked to the Philadelphia Flyers, New Jersey Devils and New York Islanders.

PITTSBURGH HOCKEY NOW: Evgeni Malkin has agreed to a four-year, $24.4 million contract with the Penguins. The annual average value is $6.1 million and comes with a full no-movement clause.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Malkin was reportedly planning to test the market due to his frustration over negotiations with the Penguins. It appears his desire to stick with the only NHL team he’s ever played for led to his change of heart. The cap hit is identical to teammate Kris Letang’s but for two years less than Letang’s contract.

Speaking of the Penguins, they signed pending restricted free agent defenseman Pierre-Olivier Joseph to a two-year, one-way contract worth an annual average value of $825K.

SPORTSNET: Evander Kane is staying with the Edmonton Oilers after agreeing to a four-year, $20.5 million contract. The annual average value is $5.125 million.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Oilers agreed to let Kane’s agent speak to other clubs but it appears whatever those teams were offering didn’t measure up to this deal. The 30-year-old winger had terrific chemistry with Edmonton superstar Connor McDavid last season. It’s a good bargain for the Oilers if Kane and McDavid continue playing well together.

Meanwhile, Kane is still waiting for his grievance to be heard over his contract termination last January by the San Jose Sharks. There’s no indication he and the Sharks are going to work out a settlement before then.

RDS.CA: Francois Gagnon reports Patrice Bergeron will be returning with the Boston Bruins. Details of the agreement are expected to be revealed later today.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: There was concern among Bruins followers that Bergeron would retire, leaving the club without an established first-line center. It’ll be interesting to see what this new contract looks like.

OTTAWA SUN: The Senators have acquired goaltender Cam Talbot from the Minnesota Wild in exchange for backup goalie Filip Gustavsson. Talbot, 35, has a year remaining on his contract.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Talbot was reportedly unhappy over the Wild bringing back Marc-Andre Fleury on a two-year contract. Wild general manager Bill Guerin said he respected the veteran netminder but didn’t want this situation to become a distraction.

In the short term, Talbot should provide a much-needed boost to the Senators’ goaltending. Gustavsson, meanwhile, will serve in a backup role to Fleury.

TSN: Speaking of the Senators, they placed defenseman Michael Del Zotto on unconditional waivers yesterday for the purpose of buying out his contract. Del Zotto joined Philadelphia Flyers forward Oskar Lindblom, San Jose Sharks forward Rudolfs Balcers and New Jersey Devils forward Janne Kuokkanen on the contract buyout list.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Lindblom’s buyout isn’t going down well with Flyers followers. The 25-year-old winger became a fan favorite after overcoming a rare bone cancer in 2020. The move is seen as GM Chuck Fletcher’s attempt to clear cap space to pursue a big-ticket free agent such as Johnny Gaudreau.

THE ATHLETIC: Tampa Bay Lightning winger Ondrej Palat intends to test the market today. Speaking of the Lightning, TSN reports they’ve hired former Detroit Red Wings head coach Jeff Blashill as an assistant coach.

TSN: The Los Angeles Kings signed defenseman Alexander Edler to a one-year contract worth $750K.

WGR550: The Buffalo Sabres are bringing back goaltender Malcolm Subban on a one-year, $850K contract.

NHL.COM: The Kraken re-signed forward Alexander True on a one-year, two-way contract.

TSN: Scotty Bowman is stepping down as senior hockey operations advisor for the Chicago Blackhawks.

NHL.COM: Duncan Keith officially announced his retirement yesterday as an NHL player after 17 seasons with the Blackhawks and Oilers.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I summarize the future Hall-of-Famer’s career on Saturday when news first broke of his impending retirement. Best wishes to Keith and his family in their future endeavors.










NHL Rumor Mill – July 12, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – July 12, 2022

Suggested destinations for Evgeni Malkin plus the latest on Patrick Kane, Johnny Gaudreau, Brent Burns, Jack Campbell and more in today’s NHL rumor mill.

POSSIBLE FREE-AGENT DESTINATIONS FOR MALKIN

SPORTSNET: Josh Beneteau lists the New York Rangers, Los Angeles Kings and Vancouver Canucks among six potential destinations for Evgeni Malkin when he goes to market on July 13 as a free agent. The Tampa Bay Lightning, Philadelphia Flyers and Washington Capitals could be other options.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Unless Malkin wants to accept less than what the Pittsburgh Penguins are reportedly offering (three years, $6 million annually), I don’t see most of those clubs as realistic options. As per Cap Friendly, the Lightning and Flyers are maxed out, the Canucks have around $2 million in cap room and the Kings $4 million. They’re not a fit unless they shed salary to accommodate him.

The Capitals have $8.9 million available but they must also acquire two new goaltenders after trading away Vitek Vanecek and not qualifying Ilya Samsonov’s rights. They could get some wiggle room if Nicklas Backstrom ($9.2 million) go on LTIR to start the season as he recovers from hip surgery but they must be cap compliant if he returns to action.

With over $10 million in cap space, the Rangers could afford Malkin as a second-line center. As I said earlier, however, unless Malkin agrees to less than what the Penguins were offering, he may not be a fit on Broadway.

A club with plentiful cap space, such as the rebuilding Detroit Red Wings, can afford to pitch a deal that might be enticing to Malkin. I also wouldn’t rule out the Carolina Hurricanes if they part ways with Vincent Trocheck.

COULD THE AVALANCHE COME CALLING FOR PATRICK KANE?

SPORTSNET: In his latest “32 Thoughts” podcast, Elliotte Friedman speculated the Colorado Avalanche could become a suitor for Patrick Kane if the Chicago Blackhawks winger were to request a trade this summer. Friedman said the Avs were among the teams that inquired into the availability of the 33-year-old Kane prior to the March trade deadline.

Chicago Blackhawks winger Patrick Kane (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Athletic’s Scott Powers doesn’t think Kane or teammate Jonathan Toews have spoken to Blackhawks general manager Kyle Davidson about their futures yet. If either one requests a trade, Powers believes they’ve got about a week to let Davidson know if they want to be moved before the start of the season.

If Kane wants out he’d probably prefer getting dealt to a contender as a rental player rather than go to a rebuilding team. However, his $10.5 million cap hit for 2022-23 and full no-movement clause are serious impediments. Powers believes the Blackhawks could prefer to wait until the trade deadline to retain half of his cap hit before moving him. That’s likely when it would be more comfortable to contenders as well.

WHERE WILL GAUDREAU GO?

CALGARY SUN: Wes Gilbertson reports the Flames could be trying to figure out how to reshape their roster if superstar left winger Johnny Gaudreau departs via free agency. If he leaves, it could also affect the club’s efforts to sign restricted free agent winger Matthew Tkachuk to a long-term contract. Gilbertson wonders if the Philadelphia Flyers, New Jersey Devils or Seattle Kraken could come calling if Gaudreau hits the market.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Philly Hockey Now’s Sam Carchidi cites a source close to the Gaudreau camp raising doubt over whether the Flyers can afford him. They could gain some cap relief if Ryan Ellis goes on LTIR but that could get tricky if Ellis returns at some point. The Flyers were also rumored looking into trading winger James van Riemsdyk ($7 million) but there doesn’t seem to be much interest.

The Athletic’s Kevin Kurz wondered if Gaudreau could be a fit with the New York Islanders. With over $11 million in cap space, they could free up more by trying to trade Anthony Beauvillier and/or goaltender Semyon Varlamov. However, they also must re-sign defenseman Noah Dobson and Alexander Romanov, and I doubt they can clear sufficient room to pay Gaudreau over $10 million annually on a seven-year deal.

Meanwhile, the Kraken are flush with cap space and could make a big splash in the UFA market. Whether Gaudreau wants to play for a club that is probably another two or three years away from becoming playoff contenders is another matter.

LATEST ON BURNS AND CAMPBELL

SAN JOSE HOCKEY NOW: Sheng Peng reports new Sharks GM Mike Grier didn’t shut down speculation his club could look into trading Brent Burns. Peng cites Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman saying several clubs have called Grier to inquire about the status of the 37-year-old defenseman. The Sharks GM indicated he would understand if Burns wanted to join a Stanley Cup contender.

Friedman speculated the Dallas Stars could be a destination as they’re about to lose blueliner John Klingberg to free agency. Peng suggested the Carolina Hurricanes as an option after they traded away Tony DeAngelo. He believes the Sharks would have to retain part of Burns’ $8 million cap hit to make a deal work.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Burns is signed through 2024-25 so Grier could be reluctant to retain part of his cap hit over that period. Still, he might not have much choice if the hirsute blueliner wants out. It could also be worthwhile if the Sharks can get a solid return. Burns also has a three-team trade list but might expand it to join a contender.

EDMONTON JOURNAL: David Staples wonders if the Toronto Maple Leafs’ inability to sign Jack Campbell could lead to the pending UFA goaltender signing with the Oilers. He cited Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman suggesting the Oilers as the front-runners for Campbell’s services.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I would’ve considered Darcy Kuemper as a better option for the Oilers but he would prove more expensive to sign than Campbell due to his Stanley Cup win this season. If the Oilers aren’t interested in Campbell the Washington Capitals certainly will be. So could the New Jersey Devils.

UPDATES ON THE STARS AND RANGERS

THE DALLAS MORNING NEWS: Matthew DeFranks recently examined what’s on the offseason “to-do list” for Stars GM Jim Mill. Find a top-four defenseman to replace the departing John Klingberg and adding a scoring forward are among his priorities, along with fending off possible offer sheets for goalie Jake Oettinger and re-signing scoring star Jason Robertson.

NEW YORK POST: Mollie Walker reports the Rangers could be in the market for a backup goaltender for Igor Shesterkin. They’re also trying to find a trade partner for defenseman Patrik Nemeth ahead of a possible buyout.