NHL Rumor Mill – May 8, 2021

NHL Rumor Mill – May 8, 2021

Check out the latest on the Ducks, Blackhawks and Coyotes in today’s NHL rumor mill.

THE ATHLETIC: Eric Stephens recently wondered if this season will be the last for Ryan Getzlaf. The 35-year-old Anaheim Ducks captain becomes an unrestricted free agent this summer. He and general manager Bob Murray intend to meet following this season to discuss his future.

Anaheim Ducks captain Ryan Getzlaf (NHL Images).

Murray has indicated he’s interested in bringing Getzlaf back but Stephens wonders if that’s a good idea. The Ducks are rebuilding with younger players, Getzlaf’s best seasons are behind him, he was slowed by a bad back this season and no longer skates among their top-six forwards or their top power-play unit.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This season was the worst in Getzlaf’s 16-season career, tallying a career-low 17 points in 47 games. He could face three choices. He returns for a final season with the Ducks, he considers signing elsewhere, or retirement.

THE ATHLETIC: Scott Powers recently examined which forwards are expected to be in the Chicago Blackhawks lineup next season. Dylan Strome fell into the category of “most likely” while Pius Suter’s future was unknown.

Strome faces an uncertain future with the Blackhawks after struggling this season. Powers believes he’ll return next season in part because his trade value is low coming off a down year plus he’ll require a new contract after next season. He could be exposed in this summer’s expansion draft.

The Blackhawks would like to keep Suter but that could depend on his contract negotiations. He’s a restricted free agent with arbitration rights. He played well this season but benefited from a larger role with other key players sidelined. Powers speculates the Blackhawks could trade him or let him walk via free agency if a new contract isn’t worked out early in the offseason.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Hawks could try to trade Strome if they feel they could lose him for nothing to the Seattle Kraken in the expansion draft. A rival club seeking depth at center could make a pitch for him but I agree with Powers’ assessment. The Kraken could pass on him too.

Suter’s contract situation could get dicey if the two sides reach a stalemate that could require an arbiter to sort it out. However, this could end up quickly sorted without much hassle. If negotiations go sideways I expect the Hawks would shop him in the trade market in hope of getting a decent asset in return.

THE HOCKEY NEWS: Ken Campbell pointed out Michael Bunting became an important player for the Arizona Coyotes in recent weeks. The 25-year-old winger is slated to become a Group VI free agent (UFA) this summer unless the Coyotes re-sign him. Head coach Rick Tocchet sang Bunting’s praises, calling him “a guy we sorely need in this organization”.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Bunting has 10 goals and 13 points in 20 games since joining the Coyotes’ roster in late March. He would be an affordable re-signing on a one-year “show-me” contract. Bunting could also become a worthwhile, low-risk signing by another club on the open market.










NHL Rumor Mill – April 27, 2021

NHL Rumor Mill – April 27, 2021

Does Jake DeBrusk still have a future with the Bruins? Could the Penguins attempt to sign Ryan Getzlaf this summer? Check out the latest in today’s NHL rumor mill.

THE ATHLETIC: Fluto Shinzawa believes Jake DeBrusk’s future with the Boston Bruins depends on whether they re-sign winger Taylor Hall. Acquired from Buffalo at the trade deadline, the 29-year-old Hall is slated to become an unrestricted free agent this summer. Bruins winger Nick Ritchie, meanwhile, is a restricted free agent while DeBrusk is signed through next season at $3.675 million annually.

Boston Bruins winger Jake DeBrusk (NHL Images).

Hall has played well thus far with the Bruins and indicated a willingness to stay in Boston after this season. Meanwhile, DeBrusk is showing little sign of snapping out of his season-long slump. If Hall and Ritchie return, the Bruins could keep DeBrusk on right-wing or attempt to trade him in the offseason.

BOSTON HOCKEY NOW (via FLORIDA HOCKEY NOW): Jimmy Murphy cited an NHL source suggesting DeBrusk could be odd-man-out, citing David Krejci’s improved stats with a real top-six winger like Hall skating alongside him. The source also speculated they could try moving Charlie Coyle’s contract but isn’t sure they can.

SPECTOR’S NOTE:

Cap Friendly shows the Bruins with $50.4 million invested in 15 players next season with Hall, Krejci, Tuukka Rask, and Jaroslav Halak as their key UFAs. Ritchie, Brandon Carlo and Ondrej Kase are their notable RFAs.

If Hall and Krejci continue playing well together, especially in the playoffs, the Bruins could try to re-sign them if they feel their championship window remains open. They could also re-sign Rask to a short-term deal with promising Jeremy Swayman as his backup.

The Bruins were reportedly reluctant to part with DeBrusk over concerns he’ll blossom into a scorer elsewhere. However, they could be forced to shop him if they re-sign Hall because, as Shinzawa pointed out, there may not be room for both.

Jimmy Murphy cited colleague Dan Kingerski reporting the Pittsburgh Penguins were among several clubs to inquire into the availability of Anaheim Ducks captain Ryan Getzlaf before the recent trade deadline.

An NHL management source told Murphy he can see Brian Burke, the Penguins’ president of hockey operations, circling back to see what Getzlaf wants to do. The source thinks the Ducks captain wants to win another Stanley Cup but that’s not happening in Anaheim next season. It would require some salary-cap juggling by the Penguins to make it work.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Getzlaf and his family are well settled where they are and he could be unwilling to leave them behind for a season to chase another Cup. Recent reports out of Anaheim indicate Ducks GM Bob Murray wants him to stick around after this season.

I think Getzlaf will either sign a one-year deal with the Ducks or retire. Nevertheless, I don’t dismiss the possibility he’ll a contender for one last shot at the Cup.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 25, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 25, 2021

Sidney Crosby set a franchise scoring record and a points-per-game milestone, Zdeno Chara reached a games-played milestone, the Wild clinch a playoff spot, injury updates and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines

NHL.COM: Sidney Crosby and Bryan Rust each scored their 20th goals of the season as the Pittsburgh Penguins doubled up the New Jersey Devils 4-2. Crosby’s empty-netter late in the game set a franchise record for most 20-goal seasons with 13. He also joined Wayne Gretzky and Gordie Howe as the only NHL players with 16 point-per-game seasons, sitting fifth on the all-time list in that category. The Penguins sit in second place in the MassMutual East Division with 65 points, one behind the Washington Capitals. The Devils have dropped nine straight games.

Pittsburgh Penguins center Sidney Crosby (NHL Images).

Capitals defenseman Zdeno Chara became the fifth defenseman in NHL history to play 1,600 games during his club’s 6-3 victory over the New York Islanders. Daniel Sprong scored twice and Evgeny Kuznetsov had a goal and two assists for the Capitals, who played without captain Alex Ovechkin as he’s day-to-day with a lower-body injury. The Islanders (63 points) sit third behind the Penguins.

Aleksander Barkov’s overtime goal capped a three-goal rally by the Florida Panthers as they nipped the Carolina Hurricanes 4-3. Florida defenseman MacKenzie Weegar had a goal and three assists while Carolina blueliner Dougie Hamilton scored twice. The Panthers (67 points) sit one point behind the first-place Hurricanes in the Discover Central Division.

The Dallas Stars kept their playoff hopes alive on Jamie Benn’s overtime goal to edge the Detroit Red Wings 2-1. Wings goaltender Jonathan Bernier made 50 saves in a losing cause. With 52 points, Dallas sits just two behind the fourth-place Nashville Predators in the Central. Stars defenseman John Klingberg missed the game with an undisclosed injury.

The league-leading Vegas Golden Knights (70 points) picked up their ninth straight victory by dropping the Anaheim Ducks 5-1. Chandler Stephenson scored twice for the Golden Knights, who opened a four-point lead over the second-place Colorado Avalanche in the Honda West Division. Ducks captain Ryan Getzlaf left the game following the second period with an upper-body injury.

A hat trick by Ryan O’Reilly rallied the St. Louis Blues past the Colorado Avalanche 5-3. O’Reilly also collected an assist as the Blues (46 points) are one point behind the fourth-place Arizona Coyotes in the West Division. Nathan MacKinnon and Cale Makar had a goal and two assists for the Avalanche.

The Minnesota Wild became the third team to secure a berth in the 2021 Stanley Cup playoffs in a 6-3 victory over the San Jose Sharks. Kevin Fiala and Jared Spurgeon each had a goal and an assist for the Wild (65 points), who moved one point behind the Avalanche. Before the game, the Sharks honored Patrick Marleau for recently setting the NHL all-time games played record.

Coyotes goaltender Darcy Kuemper had a 26-save shutout to blank the Los Angeles Kings 4-0. Phil Kessel had a goal and an assist.

Joe Thornton became the oldest player (41 years, 296 days) in Toronto Maple Leafs’ history to score a goal as his club beat the Winnipeg Jets 4-1. Toronto sits atop the Scotia North Division with 65 points, eight up on second-place Winnipeg. The Jets played without forward Adam Lowry, who remains sidelined with an upper-body injury.

The Calgary Flames moved closer to the fourth-place Montreal Canadiens in the Scotia North Division by downing the sputtering Habs 5-2. Johnny Gaudreau scored twice as Calgary sits just four points (45 points) sit just four behind Montreal. Flames defenseman Noah Hanifin left the game in the first period with an upper-body injury. Canadiens forwards Tomas Tatar and Paul Byron missed the game with lower-body injuries while goaltender Carey Price returned to Montreal for further treatment for a concussion suffered earlier in the week.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Flames season seemed over three weeks ago after winning just once in nine games. They’ve since won five of their last seven to keep their playoff hopes alive while the floundering Canadiens have won just three of their last 11.

Third-period goals by Tanner Pearson and J.T. Miller lifted the Vancouver Canucks to a 4-2 win over the Ottawa Senators. Ottawa goaltender Matt Murray left the game in the second period with a lower-body injury. Meanwhile, Canucks center Elias Pettersson is reportedly doubtful to return this season as he remains sidelined by an upper-body injury suffered on March 2.










What Next For The Anaheim Ducks?

What Next For The Anaheim Ducks?

 










Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – April 18, 2021

Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – April 18, 2021

In today’s NHL rumor roundup: a look at what might be in store for Ryan Getzlaf, Josh Manson and Rickard Rakell this summer plus some speculation over Jonathan Bernier’s future with the Red Wings.

THE ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER: The day following the April 12 trade deadline, Elliott Teaford reported Anaheim Ducks captain Ryan Getzlaf acknowledged having had trade discussions with general manager Bob Murray. However, the talks never advanced far enough for the 35-year-old Getzlaf to consider waiving his no-movement clause.

Anaheim Ducks captain Ryan Getzlaf (NHL Images).

Getzlaf said he wanted to help Murray’s rebuilding project, even if that meant accepting a trade as a playoff rental player if the return helped the Ducks. The pending unrestricted free agent intends to wait until this season is over before considering his future plans.

He could re-sign with the Ducks or sign elsewhere and accept a considerable pay cut from the $8.25 million salary-cap hit of his current contract. Retirement is also a possibility. Family concerns and his own play could also factor into his decision.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It wouldn’t be surprising if Getzlaf agrees to play another season with the Ducks. Perhaps they’ll work out a one-year, bonus-laden deal.

THE ATHLETIC: Eric Stephens reported Murray set high asking prices for defenseman Josh Manson and winger Rickard Rakell before the trade deadline. The Ducks GM said his goal was to add players already drafted who had a bit of NHL experience already if possible. Stephens wondered if the Ducks will make a significant move with either player at the 2021 NHL Draft in July.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Manson and Rakell are due to become unrestricted free agents next summer. They’re worth keeping around if the Ducks were just retooling with an eye on reaching the playoffs next season. That’s no longer the case.

Perhaps Murray can find a suitable return for one or both players during the draft weekend. Failing that, both will likely be shopped as rental players at next year’s trade deadline.

THE ATHLETIC: Max Bultman wondered what the future holds for Jonathan Bernier. The Detroit Red Wings goaltender was the subject of trade rumors leading up to the April 12 deadline. He’s due to become an unrestricted free agent this summer. GM Steve Yzerman intends to wait until the end of the season to talk contract with his free agents.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Bultman pointed out this summer’s expansion draft could complicate things. If they re-sign Bernier before the draft he’ll have to be protected. Waiting to sign him until after the draft could alleviate that problem.










NHL Rumor Mill – April 14, 2021

NHL Rumor Mill – April 14, 2021

The ongoing fallout from the trade deadline features Taylor Hall’s future with the Bruins, the Canadiens making a pitch for Tony DeAngelo and musing over the availability of Red Wings captain Dylan Larkin. Check out the latest in today’s NHL rumor mill.

NOTABLE HIGHLIGHTS FROM FRIEDMAN’S LATEST “31 THOUGHTS”

SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman reports the hope between the Boston Bruins and Taylor Hall is for a long-lasting relationship beyond this season. The Bruins acquired the 29-year-old left-winger from the Buffalo Sabres before Monday’s trade deadline. He’s due to become an unrestricted free agent this summer. The Bruins are betting his two percent shooting percentage this season is an aberration.

Edmonton Oilers general manager Ken Holland said he didn’t make a push to acquire Hall at the deadline. Friedman doubts the Toronto Maple Leafs made a pitch. The New York Islanders, Vegas Golden Knights and St. Louis Blues seemed the strongest pursuers beside the Bruins. The Golden Knights made an offer the Sabres would’ve preferred but Hall exercised his no-movement clause to go to Boston.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Hall had every right to use his no-movement clause to dictate where he could go. Sabres management agreed to give him that clause to bring him to Buffalo for one season and had to live with the consequences. We’ll find out soon enough if Hall is a good fit with the Bruins.

New York Rangers defenseman Tony DeAngelo (NHL Images).

The Montreal Canadiens made a proposal to Tony DeAngelo that would’ve been comparable for this season and next to what he’d lose if he terminated his contract with the New York Rangers. The 25-year-old defenseman rejected the offer.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The New York Post’s Larry Brooks reports more than one team was interested in signing DeAngelo as a free agent prior to Monday’s deadline if he’d been placed on, and cleared, unconditional waivers for the purpose of terminating his contract. However, sources say there wasn’t enough time for the blueliner to find the right fit and deal.

DeAngelo will remain on the Rangers payroll until he’s either selected by the Seattle Kraken in this summer’s expansion draft or is thereafter bought out of the remaining year of his contract. Brooks doubts the Kraken will take him.

The Rangers could try to trade DeAngelo before the expansion draft or afterward but that remaining year at $4.8 million ($5.3 million in actual salary) will be difficult to move if teams believe the Blueshirts will buy him out.

The Canadiens also asked about Anaheim Ducks center Ryan Getzlaf but Friedman doubts it was a serious possibility. He also believes they had an interest in St. Louis Blues winger Mike Hoffman but weren’t willing to meet the Blues’ price. The Ducks had a discussion with the Vegas Golden Knights (with Getzlaf in the loop) but it doesn’t appear they were close.

The big trade on Monday that sent Anthony Mantha from the Detroit Red Wings to the Washington Capitals prompted Friedman to wonder if anyone asked Wings GM Steve Yzerman about team captain Dylan Larkin. One of the factors behind moving Mantha is the Wings feel their rebuild will take longer than expected. Perhaps the Mantha deal will elicit other clubs to inquire about Larkin.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This could be worth monitoring during the offseason unless Yzerman tells his peers around the league not to waste their time.

Nashville Predators GM David Poile intends to speak with Mattias Ekholm following this season about a contract extension, “not whether we want to trade him.” He indicated he would not lose Ekholm in the expansion draft. Friedman also wondered if Poile will re-sign pending UFA winger Mikael Granlund.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Poile either intends to protect four defensemen (Ekholm, Roman Josi, Ryan Ellis and Dante Fabbro) in the expansion draft, leave Fabbro unprotected, or swing a side deal with the Seattle Kraken to get them to select another player.

The Winnipeg Jets asked about Columbus Blue Jackets defenseman Vladislav Gavrikov before the deadline. The Jets and Philadelphia Flyers kicked the tires on Arizona Coyotes defenseman Alex Goligoski.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Jackets aren’t likely to part with Gavrikov, especially given the fact there’s some uncertainty over blueliner Seth Jones’ future in Columbus. He’s a year away from UFA eligibility. They’ll need Gavrikov if Jones departs via free agency or if the Jackets trade him before then.

The Leafs considered Coyotes winger Conor Garland before acquiring Nick Foligno from the Blue Jackets. Friedman doesn’t think they were ever close.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: And I don’t think Coyotes general manager Bill Armstrong wanted to trade one of his leading scorer with his club battling for a playoff spot in the Honda West Division.

In other tidbits, the Pittsburgh Penguins looked at Travis Zajac before he was shipped to the New York Islanders. Friedman believes the Dallas Stars’ unwillingness to trade Jamie Oleksiak suggests they could try to re-sign the pending UFA defenseman.

The Oilers had an interest in defenseman Patrik Nemeth before he was traded to the Colorado Avalanche. Speaking of the Avalanche, they considered goaltender David Rittich before acquiring Devan Dubnyk from the San Jose Sharks.