NHL Rumor Mill – January 7, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – January 7, 2022

Analysis of the Daily Faceoff’s updated 20 trade targets in today’s NHL rumor mill.

DAILY FACEOFF: San Jose Sharks center Tomas Hertl, Montreal Canadiens defenseman Ben Chiarot and Arizona Coyotes blueliner Jakob Chychrun top Frank Seravalli’s updated list of 20 NHL trade targets.

San Jose Sharks center Tomas Hertl (NHL Images).

Hertl’s having a strong performance in his contract year and could fetch the Sharks a strong return. Seravalli suggests keeping an eye on the New York Rangers in the Hertl sweepstakes.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Sharks remain in the hunt for a Western Conference wild-card spot but they could move Hertl if they fail to gain ground between now and the March 21 trade deadline. He’ll draw plenty of interest but the Rangers have the cap space and the depth in tradeable assets to perhaps outbid other clubs.

Seravalli said the Florida Panthers and St. Louis Blues have been linked to Chiarot. He believes the 30-year-old Canadiens defenseman could help Stanley Cup contenders like the Vegas Golden Knights, Colorado Avalanche, Washington Capitals or the Rangers.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: And if one of those clubs is willing to part with a first-round pick they might be able to land Chiarot provided they’re not on his 10-team no-trade list.

The Coyotes won’t have much to build around if they trade Chychrun. That explains why their asking price is so high.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s been reported the Coyotes could seek a return comparable to what the Buffalo Sabres got from the Vegas Golden Knights for Jack Eichel. In other words, a good young NHL player, a top prospect close to being NHL-ready, a first-round pick and a second-rounder.

Coyotes forward Lawson Crouse and New York Rangers goaltender Alexander Georgiev are fourth and fifth on Seravalli’s list. He said the Philadelphia Flyers have spoken to the Coyotes about Crouse. Georgiev made what Seravalli considers a “soft trade request” last summer. While it’s important for a team to have two trustworthy goalies, Seravalli considers Georgiev an unnecessary luxury when the Rangers have one of the best goalies in the league in Igor Shesterkin.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: With 16 points in 31 games, the 24-year-old Crouse is well on his way to exceeding his career-high of 25 points on the low-scoring Coyotes. As Seravalli observes, he could become a 20-goal forward on a deeper club.

Shesterkin’s recent injury history and Georgiev’s improvement over the last month suggest the latter isn’t going anywhere this season. Georgiev is a restricted free agent this summer so the Rangers aren’t under any pressure to move him before the trade deadline.

Columbus Blue Jackets goaltender Joonas Korpisalo, Boston Bruins winger Jake DeBrusk, Blue Jackets center Jack Roslovic, Jackets winger Max Domi, and Vegas Golden Knights winger Reilly Smith fill positions six through 10.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Seravalli said several teams have “engaged” with the Jackets regarding Korpisalo. As an unrestricted free agent this summer, he’s more likely to move than Georgiev.

DeBrusk’s trade request has been well-documented but Bruins general manager Don Sweeney hasn’t found a suitable offer yet. Perhaps DeBrusk gets shopped soon to free up some cap space for Tuukka Rask’s imminent return.

I’m not surprised to see Domi on this list given his UFA status this summer but Roslovic was a bit of an eyebrow-raiser. He’s struggled this season but the 24-year-old is an RFA this summer and really likes playing in his hometown. The Jackets don’t have to move him at the trade deadline but it wouldn’t hurt to entertain offers.

The Golden Knights must shed salary to make room for Jack Eichel’s return from neck surgery next month. Smith is considered the likely candidate because of his UFA status in July. Seravalli suggested he could fetch them a solid return, pointing to the Toronto Maple Leafs parting with a first-round pick and two-fourth-round picks at last year’s deadline for Nick Foligno.

Detroit Red Wings defenseman Nick Leddy, Florida Panthers winger Patric Hornqvist, Anaheim Ducks winger Rickard Rakell, Coyotes winger Phil Kessel and New York Rangers winger Vitali Kravtsov are 11 through 15 on this list.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: With the Red Wings jockeying for a wild-card spot they could be reluctant to part with Leddy. Seravalli suggests the Panthers could move Hornqvist as a cost-cutting move but that could take place in the offseason. His gritty style could be invaluable for them in the playoffs.

I also have my doubts about Rakell being available with the Ducks flying high in the Western Conference. That could change if they should tumble down the standings. A playoff club in need of scoring depth could add Kessel as a rental player. He’s a proven postseason performer.

Kravtsov is on loan to KHL club Traktor Chelyabinsk. He cannot be recalled by his NHL team until Traktor’s season is over.

Chicago Blackhawks defenseman Calvin de Haan, Seattle Kraken blueliners Mark Giordano, Blackhawks center Dylan Strome and winger Henrik Borgstrom and San Jose Sharks winger Evander Kane round out the list.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The 37-year-old Giordano’s a UFA this summer and his chances of playing for a Stanley Cup contender are dwindling. Maybe he’ll get shopped to a Cup contender by the deadline.

Strome’s been in the rumor mill all season long but there’s doesn’t appear to be much interest in him, de Haan or Borgstrom. However, that could change leading up to deadline day.

Kane’s personal baggage and hefty contract have been well-documented obstacles blocking any chance of a trade. It could take enticing another team to get involved as a third-party broker to get a deal done but even that seems like a long shot.










NHL Rumor Mill – November 22, 2021

NHL Rumor Mill – November 22, 2021

What will the Sharks do with Evander Kane? What are some possible trade destinations for Canadiens defenseman Ben Chiarot? Should the Rangers shop Alexandar Georgiev? Check out the latest in today’s NHL rumor mill.

THE ATHLETIC: Kevin Kurz wondered what the San Jose Sharks will do with Evander Kane when the 30-year-old winger’s 21-game suspension ends in about a week. General manager Doug Wilson has kept his plans for Kane under wraps. It would take some time for the winger to return to game shape as it appears he didn’t spend much time on the ice during his suspension.

San Jose Sharks winger Evander Kane (NHL Images).

Kane was the Sharks leading scorer last season. However, his troublesome personality upset several of his teammates. Bringing him back into the lineup could disrupt team chemistry.

It’s unknown if Kane wants to return to the Sharks. Given his off-ice issues, trying to trade him if he wants out could prove almost impossible. The Sharks could buy him out but that would leave considerable dead cap space on their books for the next six seasons.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It will be interesting to see how Wilson handles this situation. He attempted to trade Kane in the offseason but couldn’t find any takers. Factor in his contract with its $7 million annual average value over the next three years and it’s doubtful Wilson will have better luck moving him during the season.

A contract buyout would have to wait until the offseason. Cap Friendly indicates that will cause some salary-cap headaches over the next six years but it would clear a big chunk of his current cap hit from their books while ridding themselves of a divisive player from their dressing room. However, that doesn’t address the immediate issue of what to do with him once his suspension is over.

MONTREAL HOCKEY NOW: Mitch Gallo listed the New York Islanders, Toronto Maple Leafs, Edmonton Oilers and Colorado Avalanche as potential trade destinations for Ben Chiarot. The 30-year-old Montreal Canadiens defenseman has become a recent subject of trade speculation by several pundits. Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman believes Chiarot could fetch a first-round pick.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Barring a comeback for the ages, the Canadiens will be sellers leading up to the March 21 trade deadline. Pending unrestricted free agents like Chiarot could be dangled in the trade market but I don’t see that happening this early in the season despite the Habs’ current woes. They’ll likely wait until after the February Olympic break to move him in order to maximize the potential return.

The Islanders could use Chiarot right now but I’ll be surprised if general manager Lou Lamoriello parts with a first-rounder to get him. The Avalanche got off to a stumbling start but seem to have righted their ship and don’t appear in any hurry to swing a deal. The Oilers and Leafs are playing well so they’ll likely wait until the second half of the season to consider any significant moves.

NEW YORK POST: Larry Brooks believes the Rangers have a backup goaltending problem after watching Alexandar Georgiev give up four goals on 18 shots in yesterday’s game against the Buffalo Sabres before being relieved by starter Igor Shesterkin. The Rangers would win the game 5-4.

Brooks observed something seems wrong with Georgiev’s performance this season. He indicated the 25-year-old netminder has been unhappy as a backup and has wanted out for a while even if he hasn’t formally requested a trade. He claimed the Rangers made Georgiev available this summer but couldn’t get a nibble.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: As Brooks pointed out, Georgiev’s poor play this season will further diminish his trade value. The Rangers need a more reliable backup for Shesterkin to avoid overworking their starter. If Georgiev wants out he’ll have to perform better in order to entice a rival club into acquiring him.










NHL Rumor Mill – October 11, 2021

NHL Rumor Mill – October 11, 2021

The fallout from the Rangers re-signing Mika Zibanejad plus the latest on the Senators and Blackhawks in today’s NHL rumor mill.

NBC SPORTS: James O’Brien considers the New York Rangers out of the Jack Eichel trade market with their signing of Mika Zibanejad yesterday to an eight-year extension worth $8.5 million per season.

New York Rangers defenseman Adam Fox (NHL Images).

O’Brien suggests the Rangers do have some salary-cap challenges ahead. 2021 Norris Trophy winner Adam Fox becomes a restricted free agent next summer. In addition to Zibanejad, Artemi Panarin, Jacob Trouba, Chris Kreider, Igor Shesterkin and Barclay Goodrow take up a considerable chunk of their salary-cap payroll for 2022-23.

Fox could be eyeing a deal comparable to the $9 million AAV Cale Makar signed this summer with the Colorado Avalanche. Promising winger Kaapo Kakko is also slated for RFA status next summer.

NEW YORK POST: Before the Zibanejad signing, Larry Brooks was skeptical of the Rangers acquiring Eichel. On Oct. 9, he suggested the only way the Blueshirts could afford Eichel and Zibanejad was if the Buffalo Sabres absorbed 40 to 50 percent of the 24-year-old center’s $10 million annual cap hit.

Brooks dismissed the likelihood of Sabres owner Terry Pegula agreeing to that. He believed Pegula would prefer shipping Eichel anywhere else but the Rangers.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Rangers aren’t acquiring Jack Eichel unless Zibanejad’s new contract is part of some elaborate “sign-and-trade” deal by general manager Chris Drury. Otherwise, they’ll have to shed $10 million in cap space to fit Eichel’s cap hit within their payroll. Doing that would weaken their depth.

Cap Friendly shows the Rangers with over $62 million invested in 16 players for 2022-23 with Fox, Kakko, Alexandar Georgiev and Ryan Strome among their notable free agents. Fox and Kakko are coming off their entry-level contracts and lack arbitration rights. Georgiev has arbitration rights while Strome is a UFA.

I don’t see the Rangers taking the hard-line with Fox. He’ll get at least $9 million, maybe more after winning the Norris Trophy last season. That will push the Rangers’ cap payroll to over $71 million with $11 million remaining for the others. They can likely afford most of them but it could be expensive to find a suitable replacement for Strome if he hits the open market.

OTTAWA SUN: Ken Warren believes Senators GM Pierre Dorion will take a close look at the waiver wire to see if he can add another center with Colin White on injured reserve.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: He could also go the trade route for help, perhaps by targeting a cap-strapped club.

THE ATHLETIC: Scott Powers reports the Chicago Blackhawks don’t have to worry about losing Alex Nylander through waivers. He’d been previously designated as waiver-eligible but Cap Friendly now indicates he’s exempt because he was sidelined throughout last season. He still needs another pro season or 53 NHL games to be waiver-eligible.










NHL Rumor Mill – October 9, 2021

NHL Rumor Mill – October 9, 2021

What are the chances of the Ducks shopping John Gibson in the near future? Does Rangers goalie Alexandar Georgiev want a trade? What’s the latest on the Blackhawks and Canadiens? Find out in today’s NHL rumor mill.

THE ATHLETIC: In his latest mailbag segment, Eric Stephens was asked about the chances of the Anaheim Ducks trading John Gibson in the near future. If this turns into another long season for the rebuilding Ducks (and it very well could be), Stephens suggested they investigate the goaltender’s value on the trade market.

Anaheim Ducks goaltender John Gibson (NHL Images).

At one time, Stephens said he was certain Gibson would be with the Ducks to start the 2022-23 season. “I’m not nearly as sure now.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Gibson, 28, is entering the third season of an eight-year contract with an annual average value of $6.4 million and a 10-team no-trade list. His somewhat lukewarm response to the possibility of a lengthy rebuild sparked the questions to Stephen about the netminder’s long-term future in Anaheim. The Ducks could explore trade options by next summer if Gibson becomes unhappy over the pace of the rebuild.

NEW YORK POST: Larry Brooks reports Alexandar Georgiev hopes to put last season’s disappointing performance behind him. The 25-year-old Ranger goalie was the subject of offseason trade speculation but he denied rumors claiming he asked to be traded. “The rumors were false, I don’t know where they came from,” he said. Georgiev is expected to be Igor Shesterkin’s backup this season.

THE ATHLETIC: Scott Powers expects the Chicago Blackhawks will place forward Alex Nylander on waivers. He cites a league source saying he’s heard the Arizona Coyotes might put in a claim if Nylander hits the waiver wire.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Powers pointed out the Blackhawks’ lack of waiver-exempt players limits how they can get cap compliant to start the season. He suggested they could put sidelined Wyatt Kalynuk and Caleb Jones on offseason long-term injury reserve and then put Andrew Shaw on LTIR to tap into his cap space. Regardless of how they do it, Powers said he still believes Nylander will go on waivers.

SPORTSNET: Eric Engels recently speculated the Montreal Canadiens could turn to waivers or trade to bolster their injury-depleted blueline. With Shea Weber expected to miss the season and Joel Edmundson sidelined to start the season, an injury to Jeff Petry or Ben Chiarot could derail the season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That report was filed before we learned goaltender Carey Price had entered the league’s player assistance program. His absence is the biggest factor that could derail the Canadiens’ season. Perhaps it will also provide further motivation for the Habs to go shopping for another defenseman.










Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – May 16, 2021

Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – May 16, 2021

Is there a path for the Bruins to land Jack Eichel? Should the Rangers consider signing Pekka Rinne? What’s the latest on Seth Jones’ contract talks. Check out the latest in the Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup.

COULD THE BRUINS LAND EICHEL?

THE BOSTON GLOBE: Matt Porter examined possible paths for the Boston Bruins to acquire Jack Eichel. The Buffalo Sabres captain raised eyebrows during his exit interview last week expressing unhappiness over his situation, claiming there was a disconnect between himself and the club regarding treatment for his herniated disk in his neck.

Buffalo Sabres center Jack Eichel (NHL Images).

Porter believes the Bruins could afford Eichel’s $10 million annual salary-cap hit for the next five seasons if they let unrestricted free agents like David Krejci, Tuukka Rask and Sean Kuraly depart this summer. He also pointed out Bruins president Cam Neely admitting his club is a little thin at center. Current top-two centers like Patrice Bergeron and Krejci are in their mid-thirties.

The toughest question is whether the Bruins can afford what would be an expensive asking price by the Sabres. Porter feels it could mean parting with winger David Pastrnak. Eichel’s injury could also complicate matters.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I don’t doubt Bruins general manager Don Sweeney will inquire about Eichel if the 24-year-old center and the Sabres fail to smooth over their differences. Sweeney has a recent trade history with the Sabres, having acquired Taylor Hall from them at the trade deadline.

Sweeney got Hall for a song because the veteran winger used his no-movement clause to ensure he’d go to Boston. The Bruins won’t have that advantage with Eichel because his NMC doesn’t kick in until 2022-23.

Sabres GM Kevyn Adam would seek a significant return, perhaps one too expensive for the Bruins. That could involve Pastrnak or defenseman Charlie McAvoy.

SHOULD THE RANGERS SIGN RINNE THIS SUMMER?

NEW YORK POST: Larry Brooks makes the case for the New York Rangers to sign Pekka Rinne if the Nashville Predators goaltender becomes an unrestricted free agent this summer. He feels the 38-year-old Rinne would bring much-needed leadership to the Rangers’ dressing room and act as a mentor for starting goalie Igor Shesterkin.

Brooks believes Alexandar Georgiev, the Rangers’ current backup, might benefit from a change of scenery if the Blueshirts move him and his $2.425 million cap hit.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Rinne could test the free-agent market this summer. However, I suspect he’ll retire as a player and perhaps take on a front-office role with the Predators. I

If Rinne decides to continue his career I don’t think he’d be the right choice for the Rangers. Yes, he’d bring leadership but performance is another matter. His best seasons are behind him and he saw only one start for the Predators over the final month of the regular season.

LATEST ON SETH JONES

SPORTSNET: Chris Johnston reports the Columbus Blue Jackets have asked Seth Jones if he’ll consider looking at a contract extension at some point during the offseason. The 26-year-old defenseman is slated to become an unrestricted free agent next summer.

Johnston said Jones has spoken with his agent and is taking the weekend to think things through. He expects the blueliner will get back to Jackets management over the next several days about whether he’s willing to discuss an extension now.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: There was speculation the Jackets could attempt to trade Jones this summer if he won’t commit to an extension. However, The Athletic’s Aaron Portzline recently reported the Jackets were willing to keep Jones into next season without an extension. Initial discussions had begun between Jackets GM Jarmo Kekalainen and Jones’ agent, Pat Brisson.

Kekalainen also told Portzline he and his staff have looked at whether the return is greater for trading pending UFAs one year away from the expiration of their contracts versus moving them at the trade deadline. He feels competition tends to be more intense at the trade deadline.

The Jackets could take their chances going into next season with Jones if he remains unsigned and try to change his mind. If he doesn’t, they’ll shop him to the highest bidder at the trade deadline.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 1, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 1, 2021

Recaps of Sunday’s games feature Patrick Kane and Alain Vigneault reaching career milestones plus updates on Jack Eichel, Auston Matthews, Gabriel Landeskog and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: Patrick Kane scored his 400th career goal as the Chicago Blackhawks thumped the Detroit Red Wings 7-2. He had a three-point performance while Alex DeBrincat collected four points and Kevin Lankinen made 44 saves for the Blackhawks. They’ve won six of their last eight games and sit third in the Discover Central Division.

Chicago Blackhawks winger Patrick Kane tallied career goal 400 in a 7-2 win over the Detroit Red Wings (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Some observers wondered how the Blackhawks would fill the leadership void when team captain Jonathan Toews was sidelined by a mysterious illness. Kane has certainly risen to the occasion. He’s also tied for second with Edmonton’s Leon Draisaitl (34 points) in the NHL scoring race.

Philadelphia Flyers head coach Alain Vigneault picked up career win 700 as his club blanked the Buffalo Sabres 3-0. Goalie Carter Hart made 28 saves for the shutout while James van Riemsdyk had a goal and an assist.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Vigneault is tied with Mike Babcock for eighth on the all-time list.

The Boston Bruins got two goals from Charlie Coyle and two assists from David Pastrnak as they defeated the New York Rangers 4-1. Rangers goalie Alexandar Georgiev played most of the game with a scratched left eye suffered in the first period. He went to the bench for repairs and returned to the game.

A 28-save performance by Juuse Saros helped the Nashville Predators down the Columbus Blue Jackets 3-1, sweeping their two-game series and handing the Jackets their fifth straight loss. Columbus coach John Tortorella said he wasn’t concerned about his job security in a post-game press conference.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Changes could be coming to the Jackets if they don’t snap out of this tailspin soon. They’re now six points behind the fourth-place Carolina Hurricanes in the Central.

Alex Ovechkin scored the game-winning goal as the Washington Capitals edged the New Jersey Devils 3-2. Capitals goaltender Ilya Samsonov made 19 saves in his first game since coming off the COVID-19 protocol list. Jakub Vrana had a goal and an assist for the Caps. Devils captain Nico Hischier missed the game and is listed as day-to-day after taking a puck to the face on Saturday.

New York Islanders goalie Ilya Sorokin made 20 saves for his second straight shutout in a 2-0 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins. Oliver Wahlstrom and Jean-Gabriel Pageau were the goal scorers.

HEADLINES

THE SCORE: Buffalo Sabres captain Jack Eichel claimed he didn’t get hurt during pregame warmup before Thursday’s loss to the New Jersey Devils, contradicting what coach Ralph Krueger told reporters that night. Eichel said he got hurt in New Jersey on Tuesday, which also forced him to miss Thursday’s game. Krueger said Sunday he wasn’t trying to mislead anyone with his statement on Thursday.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This would be at best a minor issue for a normal team. For the floundering Sabres, however, it’s seen by their critics as yet another example of the dysfunction within the club.

TORONTO STAR: The Maple Leafs could face the Edmonton Oilers tonight without center Auston Matthews and goalies Frederik Andersen and Jack Campbell. They’re nursing injuries and listed as day-to-day. Michael Hutchinson will get the call if Andersen and Campbell can’t play.

THE DENVER POST: Colorado Avalanche captain Gabriel Landeskog tied Peter Forsberg for the third-most goals (202) in franchise history during Saturday’s 6-2 win over the Arizona Coyotes.

NBC SPORTS: Florida Panthers winger Brett Connolly and Minnesota Wild goaltender Alex Stalock were placed on waivers yesterday.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I’m interested to see if a team in need of goalie depth plucks Stalock off the waiver wire. He had decent numbers last season but has been relegated to third-stringer behind Cam Talbot and Kaapo Kahkonen this season.

STLTODAY.COM: Jacob de la Rose became the sixth player on the St. Louis Blues to be placed on injured reserve.

TSN: Four players – Arizona’s John Hayden, Detroit’s Patrik Nemeth, the New York Rangers’ Kaapo Kakko and San Jose’s Tomas Hertl – remain on the NHL’s COVID-19 protocol list.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: There were calls from some in the media in mid-February for the NHL to pause or reduce the schedule over the growing number of players on the protocol list and the postponement of games as a result. Those numbers have significantly dropped over the last two weeks, suggesting the league’s updated protocols are working.