NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 29, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 29, 2022

A look at some notable news from Wednesday’s preseason games, the Czechia government will allow Russian players on the Sharks and Predators into the country, and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.

NHL.COM: New Calgary Flames Jonathan Huberdeau, Nazem Kadri and MacKenzie Weegar each had points in a 4-0 blanking of the Edmonton Oilers in preseason competition.

Anaheim Ducks forward Trevor Zegras (NHL Images).

Anaheim Ducks young star Trevor Zegras suffered an upper-body injury in a 3-1 preseason win over the Arizona Coyotes. The 21-year-old sophomore center was hit by Coyotes forward Jan Jenik during the second period. New Ducks defenseman John Klingberg also left the game but head coach Dallas Eakin said it wasn’t injury-related.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: No update on Zegras’ condition following the game. Hopefully, there will be more details today.

Matt Murray turned in a 16-save shutout for the Toronto Maple Leafs as they blanked the Montreal Canadiens 3-0. It was a costly win for the Leafs as defensemen Jordie Benn and Carl Dahlstrom left the game with injuries. In a pre-game ceremony, the Leafs and Canadiens honored members of the 1972 Team Canada squad on the 50th anniversary of its thrilling Summit Series win over the Soviet Union.

Goaltender Alexandar Georgiev gave up six goals on 18 shots as the Colorado Avalanche were thumped by the Vegas Golden Knights 7-1. Georgiev was acquired by the Avs during the offseason.

Washington Capitals forward Dylan Strome scored twice in a 3-1 victory over the Philadelphia Flyers. Strome signed with the Capitals as a free agent this summer.

THE ATHLETIC’s Aaron Portzline tweeted that Columbus Blue Jackets center Cole Sillinger skated yesterday in a no-contact jersey during practice. It’s his first time on the ice since suffering an upper-body injury on the first day of training camp. 

BOSTON HOCKEY NOW: Jack Studnicka faces a now-or-never scenario to become a Bruins’ regular. Chosen by the Bruins in the second round of the 2017 draft, the 23-year-old center has spent the past three seasons bouncing between the big club and their AHL affiliate in Providence.

SAN JOSE HOCKEY NOW: The government of Czechia will allow the Sharks and Nashville Predators to bring their Russian players to Prague to participate in the two-game NHL Global Series on Oct. 7 and 8. Czechia has banned Russian athletics in a show of solidarity with Ukraine. The players will be allowed to participate on short-term visas.

EDMONTON JOURNAL: Before going on to a career in hockey, Oilers head coach Jay Woodcroft was a child actor who appeared in the Canadian TV show The Littlest Hobo and had a bit part in the movie Separate Vacations.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Woodcroft was also named the NHL’s most handsome coach. Perhaps Hollywood or a career as a male model beckons if this coaching gig doesn’t pan out…










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 11, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 11, 2022

John Gibson isn’t interested in a trade to Toronto, the Avalanche re-sign Alexandar Georgiev, the Blackhawks won’t qualify Dylan Strome’s rights, and much more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

DAILY FACEOFF: cites Sportsnet’s Nick Kypreos reporting agent Kurt Overhardt claims client John Gibson has no interest in playing for the Toronto Maple Leafs. His comments come amid speculation the 28-year-old goaltender could be a Leafs trade target. “He’s absolutely committed to the Anaheim Ducks,” said Overhardt.

Anaheim Ducks goaltender John Gibson (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Last month, Gibson denied speculation he wanted out of Anaheim as Ducks management focuses on rebuilding the roster. Some will take Overhardt’s comments as meaning his client isn’t interested in playing for Toronto but could accept a trade to an American-based team. Nevertheless, it’s apparent the Leafs will have to look elsewhere for a goaltender. I’ll have more about that in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.

THE DENVER POST: Less than a week after acquiring Alexandar Georgiev from the New York Rangers, the Colorado Avalanche signed the 26-year-old goaltender to a three-year, $10.2 million contract. He was slated to become a restricted free agent on July 13.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The annual average value is an affordable $3.4 million. Georgiev now has an opportunity to finally establish himself as a starting goaltender and to do so with a Stanley Cup champion.

THE ATHLETIC: The Chicago Blackhawks won’t be qualifying the rights of RFA Dylan Strome before today’s 5 pm ET deadline. The 25-year-old center will become an unrestricted free agent on July 13.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That’s not sitting well with Blackhawks fans who felt Strome earned at least a qualifying offer. Some wonder why they’re just letting him go rather than trying to shop him for some sort of return. He’s been a fixture in the trade rumor mill for the past two seasons. Strome has had his ups-and-downs with the Blackhawks but he could be an affordable second-line center option on a more stable roster.

YARDBARKER: Strome isn’t the only Blackhawk not getting a qualifying offer. Winger Dominik Kubalik will also be heading to market on Wednesday. The 26-year-old led all rookies in 2019-20 with 30 goals in 68 games but his production dropped to 17 goals in 56 games in 2020-21 and 15 goals in 78 games this season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kubalik will likely get less on the open market than the $4 million it would’ve cost the Blackhawks to qualify his rights. Still, he could be an affordable option for teams on a budget that are seeking scoring depth.

THE SCORE: Seattle Kraken center Shane Wright denies he glared from the draft stage at the Montreal Canadiens table for not selecting him with the first overall pick. “I was just looking at the cameras in front of me,” said Wright. “To be honest, I don’t really remember too much of going up on stage. It was just kind of a whirlwind for me.”

NYI HOCKEY NOW: Vancouver Canucks general manager Patrik Allvin strongly denied there were any trade talks regarding a possible trade of J.T. Miller to the New York Islanders leading up to the first round of the 2022 NHL Draft. When asked, Isles GM Lou Lamoriello simply shrugged and said, “Talk to Vancouver”.

Nevertheless, Stefen Rosner reports a league source claims Allvin asked for an additional piece in the Islanders’ rumored package offer for Miller. Lamoriello was said to be unwilling to do that and nixed the deal.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The speculation suggests the Isles were in the market for a scorer at the draft. Whether Lamoriello continues his rumored attempt to land Miller or looks elsewhere via trade or free agency remains to be seen.

Speaking of the Islanders, The Athletic’s Kevin Kurz tweeted it’s his understanding winger Josh Bailey isn’t being shopped, nor is he believed to be available.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Bailey was rumored to be a cost-cutting trade candidate in Lamoriello’s search for a scorer. Cap Friendly shows the 32-year-old winger is signed through 2023-24 with an annual cap hit of $5 million and lacking no-trade protection.

DAILY FACEOFF: Qualifying offers for restricted free agents are due at 5 pm ET Monday (July 11). RFAs are eligible to begin receiving offer sheets on July 12. By midnight on Tuesday, pending UFAs won’t be eligible to receive eight-year contract offers from their current clubs. The free-agent market opens Wednesday at noon ET.

BROAD STREET HOCKEY: Philadelphia Flyers winger Bobby Brink is dealing with a hip injury suffered during offseason training and will miss the club’s ongoing development camp.

TSN: The Buffalo Sabres re-signed defenseman Jacob Bryson to a two-year contract with an annual average value of $1.85 million.

Former NHL center Rod Zaine passed away from undisclosed causes on July 7. He was 76. Zaine made his NHL debut with the Pittsburgh Penguins in 1970-71 and played for the Buffalo Sabres in 1971-72. He spent the final three seasons of his professional career in the World Hockey Association.

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










Notable NHL Trades and Free Agent Signings – July 7, 2022

Notable NHL Trades and Free Agent Signings – July 7, 2022

Check out my take on the notable trades and free-agent signings leading up to and including the first round of the 2022 NHL Draft. This list will be updated as new trades and signings occur.

Edmonton Oilers trade winger Zack Kassian, the 29th overall pick in this year’s draft, a second-round pick in 2025 and a third-round pick in 2024 to the Arizona Coyotes for the 32nd overall pick in this year’s draft.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Oilers need to shed salary to acquire a starting goaltender and have enough space to re-sign or replace winger Evander Kane. It cost them two draft picks and dropped them down three places in the remainder of the first round but it sheds Kassian’s $3.2 million annual salary-cap hit through 2023-24.

The Toronto Maple Leafs traded goaltender Petr Mrazek and their first-round pick (25th overall) in this year’s draft to the Chicago Blackhawks in exchange for the 38th overall pick.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Such is the price necessary for the Leafs to ship out Mrazek and free up his $3.8 million annual average value through 2023-24. They’ll put those savings toward finding a suitable replacement for starting goalie Jack Campbell if they fail to re-sign him before the free-agent market opens next week.

As for the Blackhawks, GM Kyle Davidson is once again making moves to garner more first-round picks for his rebuilding club. He started the day without a pick in this round. He finished the night with three. He also takes on a goaltender in Mrazek but will need to find another if he doesn’t re-sign Kevin Lankinen or Colin Delia.

Montreal Canadiens trade defenseman Alexander Romanov and a fourth-round pick in 2022 to the New York Islanders in exchange for the 13th overall pick in the 2022 NHL Draft.

The Canadiens flip that pick and a third-rounder in this year’s draft to the Chicago Blackhawks for center Kirby Dach.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: According to reports, the Canadiens wanted more size up front. After selecting big Slovakian winger Juraj Slafkovsky with the first-overall pick, they acquired the 6’4”, 197-pound Dach, who was chosen third overall in 2019 by the Blackhawks.

To get Dach, however, the Canadiens needed another first-round pick, which is why they sent Romanov to the Islanders. This move leaves a gap on their blueline that they’ll have to fill at some point in the offseason. It could come from within by promoting one of their promising young defenseman like Kaiden Guhle or Justin Barron or from another trade or a free-agent signing if they’re looking for experience.

The Canadiens have added more size to their forward lines but they need to address that gap left by Romanov’s absence. The 22-year-old Russian moves the puck well and doesn’t shy away from making big hits. However, he’s had difficulties adjusting to the NHL game. The Isles gave up quite a bit to get him but it could be worth it if he plays up to his potential with his new club.

Dach showed flashes of promise during his three seasons in Chicago but was plagued by injuries and inconsistency. Still, he had time on his side to find his game. Perhaps a change of scenery will benefit him.

For the Blackhawks, it’s their second significant trade today, having shipped Alex DeBrincat to the Ottawa Senators this afternoon. These moves gave the rebuilding club two picks within the top 15 in this year’s draft, which they used to select defenseman Kevin Korchinski (sixth overall) and center Frank Nazar (13th overall). However, it came at the cost of shipping out their best goal scorer in DeBrincat and a promising center in Dach from their lineup.

Bold moves by the Canadiens and Blackhawks today. Time will tell if they pan out.

Minnesota Wild signed goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury to a two-year contract with an annual average value of $3.5 million.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s quite a pay cut for the 37-year-old Fleury from the $7 million annual average value of his previous contract. At this stage of his career, however, that should be expected. Earlier reports had the Wild trying to sign him to a one-year deal so he managed to squeeze an extra year out of the. With Cam Talbot under contract for $3.6 million next season, the Wild return with their tandem from the 2022 postseason.

The Chicago Blackhawks trade winger Alex DeBrincat to the Ottawa Senators in exchange for the seventh and 39th overall picks in the 2022 NHL draft plus the Senators’ third-round pick in 2024.

Chicago Blackhawks trade winger Alex DeBrincat to the Ottawa Senators (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Senators wanted a top-six winger to skate alongside Tim Stuetzle on the second line. DeBrincat should provide a big boost to their offense, coming off his second 41-goal season within the past five years.

The question now is whether the Senators can sign the 24-year-old DeBrincat to a contract extension. He’s a restricted free agent with arbitration rights next summer with a $6.4 million cap hit but will earn $9 million in actual salary. That’s also how much it’ll cost the Senators to qualify his rights because he signed his current contract in 2019 before the changes to the rate for qualifying offers. He’ll also be a year away from UFA eligibility next summer.

The Blackhawks wanted to get a top-10 pick after former general manager Stan Bowman traded away their pick last summer to Columbus in the Seth Jones trades. Some observers expected they’d get a bigger return than a first and a second in this year’s draft and a third in two years’ time. Nevertheless, if current GM Kyle Davidson can secure at least one future star out of those picks it could prove worthwhile for the rebuilding Hawks over the long term.

Pittsburgh Penguins sign Kris Letang to a six-year, $36.6-million contract extension. The 35-year-old defenseman was slated to become an unrestricted free agent on July 1.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: On the one hand, this isn’t the five-year deal between $8 million and $9 million annually that some sources had speculated. On the other, the Pens are paying an average of $6.1 million per season for a blueliner approaching his late-30s.

It’s a gamble by general manager Ron Hextall. Letang is coming off a career-best 68-point performance and should have around three more good seasons left. It’s those final three years that could make this contract burdensome down the road.

Hextall’s focus will shift toward Evgeni Malkin, who’s slated to become an unrestricted free agent on July 13. Recent speculation had the two sides discussing a three-year contract but they’re apparently far apart on the dollars.

New York Rangers trade goaltender Alexandar Georgiev to the Colorado Avalanche in exchange for a third and a fifth-round pick in the 2022 NHL Draft plus a third-rounder in 2023.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This means Darcy Kuemper will be departing the Avalanche as a free agent on July 13. Georgiev struggled at times during his tenure with the Rangers. However, he did play well filling in for starter Igor Shesterkin this season when he missed 11 games with a lower-body injury and a bout with COVID-19. Maybe he’ll have better luck in Colorado establishing himself as a starter than he did in New York.

 










NHL Rumor Mill – May 21, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – May 21, 2022

What teams could the Canadiens ship Jeff Petry to this summer? Should they pursue Kris Letang, Kevin Fiala or Jakob Chychrun this summer? Check out the latest collection of Habs speculation in today’s NHL rumor mill.

THE ATHLETIC: Marc Antoine Godin recently looked at possible trade destinations for Jeff Petry if the Montreal Canadiens intend to shop the 34-year-old defenseman this summer.

Montreal Canadiens defenseman Jeff Petry (NHL Images).

He suggested the Pittsburgh Penguins as a salary-dump destination if they lose Evgeni Malkin, Kris Letang and Bryan Rust to free agency. The Seattle Kraken could be an option for a return of futures if the Habs retain some of Petry’s $6.25 million cap hit. The Nashville Predators were also among his proposed destinations if the Habs agree to take on Philippe Myers’ $2.25 million contract.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Canadiens general manager Kent Hughes is expected to gauge Petry’s value in this summer’s trade market. However, he’s made it clear he’s not moving him unless he can find a deal that’s fair for both sides. We already saw examples of that this season with his trades of Tyler Toffoli, Ben Chiarot, Artturi Lehkonen and Brett Kulak.

The Habs need to clear some cap space if they’re going ahead with a rebuild and Petry would be a prime cost-cutting candidate. Whether he ends up with the aforementioned teams or is peddled elsewhere remains to be determined. His 15-team no-trade list and his cap hit will limit where the Canadiens can send him.

MONTREAL HOCKEY NOW: Marco D’Amico believes the Canadiens should steer clear of Kris Letang if the 35-year-old Penguins defenseman hits the open market. He doesn’t believe it’s worthwhile to invest over $7 million annually for multiple years given the uncertainty over Carey Price’s future, the glut of young defensemen in the system and management’s intent to build for the long-term future.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Letang’s been linked to the Canadiens because he’s from Montreal and Hughes is his former agent. None of those factors, however, means he wants to become a Hab or that Hughes sees him as a piece for the future. The Canadiens’ limited cap space should put the kibosh on the notion of them signing a big-ticket UFA like Letang.

Jimmy Murphy wondered if the Canadiens will make a pitch for Minnesota Wild winger Kevin Fiala if he hits this summer’s trade block. He also pondered if they might pursue defenseman Jakob Chychrun if the Arizona Coyotes lower their asking price.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Fiala and Chychrun will draw plenty of attention if they’re available in this summer’s trade market. The Canadiens possess considerable depth in draft picks and prospects to offer up as trade bait. Of the two, Chychrun would address their more pressing need for skilled blueliners.

Hughes could conduct his due diligence here. However, I’ll be surprised if either guy ends up in Montreal.

Fiala is a restricted free agent with arbitration rights this summer coming off a career-best 85-point performance. He’ll seek a big raise over his $5.1 million salary for this season on a long-term deal. I don’t think he’s a fit with the Canadiens’ rebuilding plans.

Coyotes general manager Bill Armstrong isn’t likely to reduce his high asking price for Chychrun. He’s got the blueliner under contract for three more seasons so he can take his time and wait for the right offer. If he doesn’t get it during this summer, he’ll try again around next season’s trade deadline or next summer.

Murphy also listed Washington’s Ilya Samsonov, St. Louis’ Ville Husso and the New York Rangers’ Alexandar Georgiev as possible trade targets if Carey Price isn’t able to return next season. Meanwhile, D’Amico listed Arizona’s Anton Stralman, Tampa Bay’s Jan Rutta and the Rangers’ Justin Braun as possible blueline free-agent targets.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Samsonov and Georgiev are restricted free agents with arbitration rights while Husso is slated to become an unrestricted free agent this summer. Stralman, Rutta and Braun are all UFAs.

The Canadiens were linked to Samsonov before the trade deadline so perhaps Hughes revisits his rumored interest in the Capitals netminder. Georgiev is a year away from UFA eligibility and could be a decent short-term fit while the Habs await word on Price. Husso played well with a strong Blues team but we don’t know how he’d fare with a rebuilding club like the Canadiens.

Stralman has indicated he’d like to return with the Coyotes next season. They’re also rebuilding but could keep an affordable veteran like him. Rutta or Braun could be reasonable short-term options for the Habs but they could be looking at signing with playoff contenders if they hit the open market in July.










NHL Rumor Mill – April 19, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – April 19, 2022

In today’s NHL rumor mill, an update on Flames winger Johnny Gaudreau’s contract situation plus some off-season goaltender targets for the Sabres.

UPDATE ON GAUDREAU’S CONTRACT TALKS

CALGARY SUN: On Sunday, Wes Gilbertson reported Flames general manager Brad Treliving promised his club’s fans that he will “move heaven and earth and do everything we possibly can” to sign Johnny Gaudreau to a new contract. Gaudreau, 28, becomes eligible for unrestricted free agent status on July 13. He’s in the midst of a career year with 107 points and a key reason why the Flames are sitting atop the Pacific Division as the regular season draws to a close.

Calgary Flames winger Johnny Gaudreau (NHL Images).

We’re going to do everything we humanly possibly can to have him be back here and be a Flame for a long, long time,” said Treliving. The Flames GM praised Gaudreau for how well he’s performed under head coach Darryl Sutter.

TSN: Pierre LeBrun said Treliving had better move heaven and earth because that’s what it’s going to take to sign Gaudreau. He indicated there’s nothing new regarding his contract talks, pointing out the two sides agreed to pick up those conversations following this season.

LeBrun said there’s been “really good dialogue” all season long and there’s still time to sign him after this season. He also praised both sides for the lack of drama regarding this situation. It hasn’t proved to be a distraction.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s going to cost the Flames a lot of money to keep Gaudreau in Calgary. His performance this season (sitting third overall in league scoring) has pushed his value much higher than it would’ve been last summer. At that point, I think the Gaudreau camp would’ve sought between $8 and $9 million annually. Now, it could be closer to $10 million annually on a long-term deal. Maybe the Flames can get it close to $9 million by selling Gaudreau on an eight-year contract, something he can’t get on the open market where the limit is seven years.

Complicating things is the Flames’ cap space for next season. Cap Friendly shows them with $55.4 million invested in 12 active players. That gives them plenty of space to re-sign Gaudreau, but they’ve got Matthew Tkachuk, Andrew Mangiapane and Oliver Kylington due for new deals this summer as restricted free agents with arbitration rights.

That’s why there’s speculation the Flames could attempt to trade Sean Monahan, who has a year remaining on his contract with a cap hit of $6.375 million and a 10-team no-trade clause. Muddling things further, however, is Monahan’s declining performance over the past two years and his recent season-ending hip surgery.

Trading Monahan to shed salary could prove very difficult. Buying him out this summer won’t be an option if he hasn’t fully recovered from his surgery during that period and he doesn’t agree to go along with it.

SUGGESTED SABRES GOALTENDER TARGETS

THE BUFFALO NEWS: Lance Lysowski examined some potential off-season goalie targets for the Sabres if 40-year-old Craig Anderson decides not to return next season.

The Sabres have the cap space to overpay for an experienced netminder on a short-term deal. However, there are few options in this summer’s UFA market. That list includes Darcy Kuemper, Mikko Koskinen, Jaroslav Halak, Braden Holtby, Ville Husso, Joonas Korpisalo, Casey DeSmith, Tomas Greiss and David Rittich. Most have endured recent struggles while the others might not want to sign with the Sabres.

Lysowski believes they might have better luck in this summer’s trade market. Options could include the Los Angeles Kings’ Jonathan Quick, New York Islanders’ Semyon Varlamov, Anaheim Ducks’ John Gibson or the New York Rangers’ Alexandar Georgiev.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: As per Cap Friendly, the Sabres have a projected $40 million in cap space for 2022-23. They’ll have to spend to reach a cap floor that could be close to $61 million. Their ongoing struggles and perpetual rebuild could make them a difficult sell to potential free agents or as preferred trade destinations for the others.

Quick lacks no-trade protection but he only has a year remaining on his contract and it wouldn’t surprise me if Kings management lets him finish it in Los Angeles. Varlamov has a 16-team no-trade list and Gibson a 10-team no-trade list. Lysowski suggested Georgiev’s inconsistent play this season might not make him enticing for the Sabres.










NHL Rumor Mill – April 18, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – April 18, 2022

Check out the latest on the Blackhawks and Rangers in today’s NHL rumor mill.

LATEST ON THE BLACKHAWKS

CHICAGO SUN-TIMES: Ben Pope recently wondered if Jonathan Toews can stomach another season of losing as the Blackhawks rebuild their roster. He hasn’t hidden his feelings about his poor performance and that of the club this season.

Chicago Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews (NHL Images).

Head coach Derek King sympathizes with Toews and Patrick Kane. He acknowledged it can’t be easy at this stage of their careers for two players accustomed to winning. The Blackhawks captain has one season remaining on his contract. As far as anyone knows, he hasn’t made a decision on whether to request a trade.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: If Toews wants out it won’t be easy for the Blackhawks to move him. He carries a $10.5 million cap hit and a full no-movement clause that gives him complete control over potential trade destinations.

Toews remains a respected player around the league but the 33-year-old is no longer playing at the same level as he was during the Blackhawks’ glory years. Kane, also 33, has an identical contract but his productivity would make him more valuable in the trade market.

With the salary cap rising by only $1 million to $82.5 million for 2022-23, there won’t be a lot of teams with the room to take on Toew’s full cap hit. The Blackhawks would have to retain 50 percent of it to facilitate a trade. The same goes for Kane despite his offensive output.

THE ATHLETIC: Mark Lazerus recently wondered if Kevin Lankinen will lose his job as the Blackhawks starting goaltender. The 26-year-old is an unrestricted free agent this summer. He was relegated to backup duty when the Blackhawks acquired Marc-Andre Fleury last summer and he’s struggled since taking for Fleury following the latter’s trade to Minnesota.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Lazerus suggests the rebuilding Blackhawks could bring Lankinen back for another season to give him an opportunity to regain his form. Nevertheless, management could let him walk this summer if they feel they can find better goaltending options through trades or free agency.

Lazerus also wondered if Tyler Johnson still has a future with the rebuilding Blackhawks. The 32-year-old is signed for two more seasons with an annual salary-cap hit of $5 million. They have the cap flexibility to retain part of his cap hit if they can find a team that can better utilize him. A buyout is also possible but a trade would be preferable.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Johnson would be of better value to a playoff contender seeking a versatile forward with championship experience. Retaining part of his salary, however, would likely be needed to make a deal happen.

UPDATE ON THE RANGERS

NEW YORK POST: Larry Brooks believes the Rangers will try to sign Andrew Copp to a contract extension given how well he’s adjusted since joining the club in a trade deadline deal from the Winnipeg Jets. He’s fit in well on the second line alongside Artemi Panarin and Ryan Strome.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Copp is due to become a UFA in July and is completing a one-year deal worth $3.64 million. The versatile 27-year-old forward will get much more than that on a long-term deal if his solid chemistry with Panarin and Strome carries over into the postseason.

Whether it’s with the Rangers or another club remains to be seen. The Blueshirts must also re-sign or replace Strome this summer. They have over $70 million invested in 16 active players for 2022-23.

Alexandar Georgiev’s solid late-season improvement could allow the Rangers to get something in return for him in this summer’s trade market. A club seeking a potential starting goalie could be willing to take on the $2.65 million qualifier he’s due rather than take their chances in this summer’s free-agent market.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Georgiev’s inconsistency is a sticking point. Nevertheless, a club could take a chance on him on a one-year deal this summer.