NHL Rumor Mill – June 14, 2021

NHL Rumor Mill – June 14, 2021

Could the Avalanche let Gabriel Landeskog walk via free agency? Could they shop Samuel Girard? Check out the latest in today’s NHL rumor mill.

LATEST AVALANCHE SPECULATION

THE DENVER POST: Mike Chambers, Mark Kiszla and Ryan O’Halloron discussed possible offseason moves for the Colorado Avalanche following their second-round elimination by the Vegas Golden Knights.

Could the Colorado Avalanche part ways with Gabriel Landeskog? (NHL Images)

They mused over Gabriel Landeskog’s future with the club following his disappointing performance against the Golden Knights. Chambers speculates the Avs could offer their captain a “take it or leave it” offer of $5 million annually and not at his preferred term. O’Halloran believes a “bad team with salary-cap space” like the Los Angeles Kings and Anaheim Ducks seeking a “heart-and-guts leader like Landeskog” will give him an offer he can’t or won’t refuse.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Avalanche general manager Joe Sakic faces some difficult decisions this summer. Cap Friendly indicates he has $61.7 million invested in 18 players with Landeskog, goaltender Philipp Grubauer and winger Brandon Saad as unrestricted free agents and defenseman Cale Makar a restricted free agent.

The Avs will get some additional cap space when they lose a player to the Seattle Kraken in the expansion draft but it will still be expensive to re-sign those four. They can’t afford to lose Grubauer to free agency and Makar will get a hefty raise as a Norris Trophy finalist.

How much Landeskog wants will determine if he still has a future in Colorado. Chambers’ pitch of $5 million annually would probably ensure his departure.

Samuel Girard also had a difficult series against the Golden Knights. The 23-year-old defenseman is earning $5 million annually through 2025-26. Kiszla suggests Sakic check Girard’s value in the trade market, pointing out they have enough blue-line “wizardry” with Makar. O’Halloran thinks Sakic will listen to offers as the Avs need cap flexibility for Makar’s new contract. If they keep Girard, O’Halloran believes they need to add a defenseman like Jamie Oleksiak to give him the space he needs to use his puck-moving skills.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Moving Girard to free up some cap space makes sense, but it could also deplete their defense corps if they lose an unprotected defenseman (like perhaps Ryan Graves) in the expansion draft. If they trade Girard they could promote from within or perhaps look for an affordable physical defender.

If Sakic decides to make a blockbuster move, Chambers believes he should target a third-line power forward similar to Vegas’ Alex Tuch and “a big, heavy defenseman”. Kiszla proposed offering Girard to the Columbus Blue Jackets for Seth Jones, though he admitted the Jackets could be hesitant to do that deal. O’Halloran proposed pursuing Buffalo’s Jack Eichel but also suggested more realistic options like Montreal’s Phillip Danault or Toronto’s Nick Foligno.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Sakic has shown in the past his willingness to make big moves. We can’t discount he’ll make a big deal or two this summer to address his club’s needs.

Trading for Jones seemed like a bad idea given the Avs’ blueline depth. But if they lose Graves and decide to trade Girard, perhaps pursuing the Jacket defenseman wouldn’t be such a bad idea. Sakic could consider signing Danault or Foligno via free agency but he could seek better options in the trade market.










NHL Rumor Mill – January 19, 2021

NHL Rumor Mill – January 19, 2021

Are the Panthers thinking of pursuing Pierre-Luc Dubois? Should the Sabres target Marc-Andre Fleury? Who could be the odd-man-out on the Avalanche blueline? Find out in today’s NHL rumor mill.

COULD THE PANTHERS PURSUE DUBOIS?

FLORIDA HOCKEY NOW: Jimmy Murphy reports there’s a theory that the reason Florida Panthers general manager Bill Zito efforts to get Keith Yandle to waive his no-movement clause was to set up for a deal to acquire Pierre-Luc Dubois.

Could the Florida Panthers attempt to acquire Pierre-Luc Dubois from the Florida Panthers (NHL Images).

As the former assistant GM of the Columbus Blue Jackets, Zito helped draft Dubois third overall in the 2016 NHL Draft. Murphy also cites an NHL scout suggesting that’s also the reason behind the recent Aleksander Barkov rumors.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: If Zito was trying to move Yandle I don’t believe the Jackets would’ve been interested even if the Panthers absorbed part of his $6.35 million annual average value. The Jackets’ defense corps is pretty much set, which is why they could send Markus Nutivaara to the Panthers in the offseason in a cost-cutting move. Yandle would have to be moved in a separate deal to another club to free up the cap space for Dubois’ $5 million AAV.

I don’t doubt Zito would love to acquire Dubois but I don’t see him moving Barkov to do so. If anything, I think he would envision Barkov remaining as the Panthers’ first-line center with Dubois centering the second line.

SHOULD THE SABRES TARGET FLEURY?

Murphy also cites an NHL scout suggesting the Buffalo Sabres should target Marc-Andre Fleury. “What the BLEEP are the Sabres waiting for? Get Fleury!”, the scout said. Murphy believes the Vegas Golden Knights are ready to move the 36-year-old goaltender. The Sabres could use an upgrade between the pipes but an NHL management source isn’t sure Sabres GM Kevyn Adams has looked into it.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: There are seven million reasons why the Sabres haven’t acquired Fleury. That’s his annual average value for this season and next. He also has a modified no-trade clause and could be unwilling to accept a trade to Buffalo. Cap Friendly, meanwhile, shows the Sabres only have a projected $1.2 million in cap room right now. Fleury is an expense they can’t afford. 

COULD THE AVALANCHE MOVE A DEFENSEMAN?

THE DENVER POST: Mike Chambers and Mark Kiszla discussed what the Colorado Avalanche could do to address their blue-line logjam. The Avs already possess considerable depth in talented young defensemen in Cale Makar, Devon Toews, Samuel Girard, Ryan Graves, Conor Timmins and Bowen Byram, plus they have veterans Erik Johnson and Ian Cole.

Chambers suspects Cole could sit if the young blueliners continue to impress. Kiszla wonders if GM Joe Sakic could use one of those rearguards as trade bait. Johnson’s contract ($6 million AAV, no-movement and modified no-trade clause) would be difficult to move. Chambers suggests Girard would be the most tradeable. Losing his $5 million AAV over the next seven seasons would free up cap room to add a forward or a goaltender.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Avalanche GM Joe Sakic might at some point consider using one of his defensemen as trade bait to address a roster issue before the Apr. 12 trade deadline. Johnson’s contract all but ensures he won’t be going anywhere. Cale Makar is untouchable and I don’t think Sakic will move Byram or Timmins. Toews is also likely to stay put after signing a four-year deal following his acquisition from the New York Islanders last fall.

Girard, Cole and Graves could become trade candidates. However, there’s no certainty Sakic will shop any of the defensemen this season. We’ll just have to see how things unfold.

Johnson’s no-movement clause means they can’t put him on their taxi squad this season without his permission. I can see them shuttling Byram and Timmins in and out of the taxi squad in the short term. Cole is a UFA this summer but the Avs could prefer hanging onto him for this season.










NHL Rumor Mill – May 21, 2020

NHL Rumor Mill – May 21, 2020

The latest on the Canadiens and an update on Tyson Barrie in today’s NHL rumor mill.

LATEST CANADIENS SPECULATION

SPORTSNET: In his latest mailbag segment, Eric Engels was asked what he thought Montreal Canadiens general manager Marc Bergevin was doing in Colorado before the Feb. 24 trade deadline. Avalanche GM Joe Sakic dismissed the speculation at the time, pointing out Bergevin’s daughter attends Colorado University, but Engels indicated that didn’t explain why Canadiens’ assistant GM Scott Mellanby accompanied him on that trip.

Montreal Canadiens center Max Domi (Photo via NHL Images).

Engels believes something was brewing between the two clubs before the deadline, though he’s not certain what might’ve been discussed. “What I would say, however, is that some seeds were likely planted and we could see something materialize between these teams at some point this off-season,” he said. “There are multiple scenarios that make them good trading partners.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Bergevin’s visit to Colorado sparked plenty of wild speculation before the trade deadline. Canadiens like Tomas Tatar, Phillip Danault, Jeff Petry, Max Domi, Jonathan Drouin, and even Carey Price were bandied about in the rumor mill, while Philipp Grubauer, Tyson Jost, Samuel Girard, Ryan Graves, and Nikita Zadorov were mentioned as potential Avs trade candidates.

Maybe the Canadiens and Avalanche will hammer out a major deal before next season, or maybe their rumored trade talks in February will come to nothing. We’ll just have to wait and see.

Asked about the possibility of the Canadiens bringing back Mikhail Sergachev by signing the Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman to an offer sheet, Engels thinks it would be too expensive, perhaps costing around $8 million annually plus the loss of a first, a second, and a third-round pick as compensation if the Bolts didn’t match. Instead, the Habs could keep an eye on which players the Lightning might shop in a cost-cutting deal to free up the cap room to re-sign Sergachev.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Sergachev would have to be receptive to signing an offer sheet in the first place. If he isn’t, it’s a waste of time pursuing that plan. As Engels points out, the Habs could instead look at acquiring someone like Ondrej Palat, Alex Killorn, Yanni Gourde, or Tyler Johnson if the Bolts put one of them on the trade block. Those four, however, have no-trade protection, meaning one of them would have to agree to be traded to Montreal.

Engels was asked about the long-term futures of Domi and Tatar in Montreal. He feels if Domi, a restricted free agent, was trending toward a one-year deal before the season was paused, it’s difficult to imagine he’ll get a longer-term offer now. Tatar, a UFA next summer, may have been on his way to pricing himself out of Montreal, but a flat cap beyond next season could make it difficult for him to get that type of deal. Engels likes the chances of both staying in Montreal next season.

BARRIE FACES UNCERTAIN FUTURE

THE SCORE: Matt Teague reports Tyson Barrie admitted he’s facing uncertainty following this season. The Toronto Maple Leafs defenseman is slated to become an unrestricted free agent, but the current pause of the schedule means it’s yet to be determined when he’ll be heading to market. “It’s a weird time to be heading into free agency,” Barrie said, adding his current focus is on helping the Leafs make a playoff run whenever this season resumes.

Regarding possible destinations as a free agent, Barrie indicated he’ll be seeking a team looking for a defenseman with his skills. “A good team headed in the right direction and a good organization,” he said. “I think there’s a lot of right organizations that tick those boxes.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Vancouver Canucks could be one of those clubs. Barrie was born in Victoria, BC, and makes his off-season home there. He was linked to the Canucks before the trade deadline.  He could be a fit as a right-side defenseman if they part ways with Chris Tanev or Troy Stecher in the off-season.

 

 










NHL Rumor Mill – March 3, 2020

NHL Rumor Mill – March 3, 2020

What does the future hold for Henrik Lundqvist? Could the Canadiens attempt to trade Jonathan Drouin this summer? What the latest on the Devils? Find out in today’s NHL rumor mill.

COULD THE RANGERS TRADE LUNDQVIST THIS SUMMER?

TSN: Travis Yost wondered what the future holds for Henrik Lundqvist. The long-time New York Rangers starter is now the third wheel in their goaltending tandem behind youngsters Igor Shesterkin and Alexandar Georgiev. The 38-year-old Lundqvist isn’t the dominant goalie he was once, but Yost believes he’s still capable.

Will this season be Henrik Lundqvist’s last with the New York Rangers? (Photo via NHL Images)

Lundqvist carries a full no-movement clause, but he only has a year left on his contract with an $8.5 million salary-cap hit. Yost feels that makes him a tradeable asset, but it’s uncertain if he’s willing to accept a trade or if the Rangers want to move him. Yost doesn’t believe they’ll move Shesterkin, but Georgiev could be an intriguing trade asset.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Until Shesterkin’s recent injury, he and Georgiev were seeing the bulk of the games since early-January. I think that says all we need to know about Lundqvist’s future in New York.

If Lundqvist is open to getting traded this summer, the Rangers could explore it. They’ll probably have to absorb part of his contract or take back a salaried player in return. Failing that, they could buy out that final season before the end of the two-week buyout period on June 30.

COULD THE CANADIENS PUT DROUIN ON THE TRADE BLOCK?

TVA SPORTS: Jean-Charles Lajoie recently speculated over the possibility of the Montreal Canadiens shopping Jonathan Drouin this summer. He wondered if the 24-year-old winger might be shopped for a left-side defenseman. He mentioned the Colorado Avalanche’s Samuel Girard as a potential trade target, noting they have promising rearguards like Bowen Byram, Connor Timmins and Drew Helleson in their system. Canadiens general manager Marc Bergevin scouted two Avalanche games in Colorado before last Monday’s trade deadline.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I wouldn’t rule out the Canadiens moving Drouin this summer for a defenseman, but I don’t see him as a fit in Colorado. While he skated alongside Nathan MacKinnon during their junior days in Halifax, MacKinnon already has solid chemistry with wingers Mikko Rantanen and captain Gabriel Landeskog.

The Avs possess promising young rearguards, but I don’t believe GM Joe Sakic is keen to move Girard. Most of the speculation concerning the Avs this season suggested one of those prospects being packaged for a second-line winger. Should the Avs stage a deep playoff run, Sakic might become less inclined to tinker with his lineup.

LATEST ON THE DEVILS

THE ATHLETIC: In a recent mailbag segment, Corey Masisak said he doesn’t expect the New Jersey Devils to pursue this summer’s top UFAs if acting GM Tom Fitzgerald takes over the role full-time. He’ll likely seek younger players to skate alongside Nico Hischier and Jack Hughes. He could also add some veterans to work with his younger players.

Defense UFA options could include Calgary’s T.J. Brodie and Erik Gustafsson. Goalie targets could include Jaroslav Halak, Thomas Greiss, Anton Khudobin or Cam Talbot. UFA forwards options include Florida’s Evgenii Dadonov or Vancouver’s Tyler Toffoli. Masisak speculated they could buy out the final two years of Cory Schneider’s contract.

Masisak also suggested potential trade targets like the New York Islanders’ Devon Toews or Ryan Pulock, or the Toronto Maple Leafs’ Rasmus Sandin, Travis Dermott or Timothy Liljegren.

NJ.COM: Chris Ryan recently reported Devils winger Kyle Palmieri hasn’t give much thought yet to signing a contract extension, but he’s willing to keep an ear open. He’s slated to become a UFA next July.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Devils have over $56 million invested in 14 players for 2020-21. They’ll have sufficient room to re-sign RFAs like Mackenzie Blackwood and Jesper Bratt and to bring in some much-needed depth in the off-season.

They also have three picks in the first round of this year’s draft, though two of those are conditional. I don’t see them moving their own first-rounder, but they could shop the other two if it fetches a return that provides immediate help. As for Palmieri, he could wait and see what management does this summer before committing to an extension.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 20, 2019

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 20, 2019

Patrick Kane has a four-point performance, Jack Eichel’s points streak comes to an end, the holiday roster freeze is now in effect, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: Chicago Blackhawks winger Patrick Kane scored a goal and set up three others in a 4-1 victory over the Winnipeg Jets. Blackhawks winger Brandon Saad left the game with an injured right ankle. Earlier in the day, the Hawks revealed defenseman Brent Seabrook remained in Chicago for medical evaluation. Meanwhile, the Jets reclaimed goaltender Eric Comrie off waivers from the Detroit Red Wings.

Chicago Blackhawks winger Patrick Kane led his club to a 4-1 victory over the Winnipeg Jets (Photo via NHL Images).

James van Riemsdyk scored twice and Travis Konecny collected three assists as the Philadelphia Flyers thumped the Buffalo Sabres 6-1. The Sabres played without captain Jack Eichel, who was scratched following an upper-body injury believed suffered during pre-game warmups. His 17-game points streak has come to an end.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Eichel’s absence highlights his value to the Sabres. He’s put this club on his back this season, determined not to miss the playoffs again. If he’s out for a lengthy period, it could spell doom to their postseason hopes.

Mathew Barzal scored in regulation and the game-winner in a shootout as the New York Islanders edged the Boston Bruins 3-2. Islanders winger Cal Clutterbuck left the game to get stitches on his wrist after getting cut by a skate blade. Earlier in the day, the Isles activated Tom Kuhnhackl from injured reserve. The Bruins are 1-4-3 in their last eight games.

Ottawa Senators winger Anthony Duclair’s 20th goal of the season was also the overtime winner as his club beat the Nashville Predators 5-4. Senators center Jean-Gabriel Pageau collected three assists. The Predators overcame a 4-1 deficit to force the extra frame.

Minnesota Wild forwards Eric Staal, Mats Zuccarello and Marcus Foligno each had a goal and two assists in an 8-5 win over the Arizona Coyotes. Wild defenseman Jared Spurgeon returned to the lineup for the first time since Dec. 3. Jakob Chychrun scored twice and Nick Schmaltz picked up three assists for the Coyotes, who lost goalie Darcy Kuemper to an injured right leg.

Chris Tanev’s overtime goal gave the Vancouver Canucks a 5-4 win over the Vegas Golden Knights. The Canucks had blown 2-0, 3-1, and 4-3 leads before Tanev’s heroics in the extra frame. Elias Pettersson scored twice for the Canucks, who scratched Brandon Sutter and Loui Eriksson from this contest.

Three unanswered goals late in the third period lifted the Carolina Hurricanes over the Colorado Avalanche 3-1. Andrei Svechnikov, Jaccob Slavin and Sebastian Aho were the goal scorers. Earlier in the day, Avalanche defenseman Samuel Girard was fined over $1,900.00 for boarding Blackhawks winger Alex DeBrincat on Wednesday.

The Montreal Canadiens overcame a 2-0 deficit to down the Calgary Flames 4-3 on an overtime goal by Max Domi. It was the Habs’ sixth win in their last eight contests. Johnny Gaudreau, Matthew Tkachuk, and Elias Lindholm each had two points for the Flames.

The Dallas Stars overcame a 3-1 deficit to defeat the Tampa Bay Lightning 4-3. Tyler Seguin had two points, including the game-winning goal, while teammates Alexander Radulov and John Klingberg also picked up two points.

The Columbus Blue Jackets nipped the Los Angeles Kings 3-2 on an overtime goal by Pierre-Luc Dubois. Jackets winger Cam Atkinson left the game with a lower-body injury. Earlier in the day, they placed defenseman Andrew Peeke (broken finger) on injured reserve.

IN OTHER NEWS…

The NHL holiday trade freeze is now in effect until 12:01 am ET on Saturday, Dec. 28.

TRIBLIVE.COM: Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Justin Schultz is listed as week-to-week with an undisclosed injury.

THE MERCURY NEWS: San Jose Sharks winger Kevin Labanc could miss the club’s weekend games with an upper-body injury. They also claimed forward Stefan Noesen off waivers yesterday from the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Long-time hockey reporter Kevin Allen’s 34-year tenure with USA Today has come to an end.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Allen’s one of the best hockey scribes in the business. Here’s hoping he’s not out of the game for long.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – August 1, 2019

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – August 1, 2019

Rangers to buy out Kevin Shattenkirk, Avalanche re-signs Samuel Girard, and the Devils re-up Will Butcher. Details and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

The New York Rangers reportedly intend to buy out Kevin Shattenkirk’s contract (Photo via NHL Images).

SPORTSNET: Multiple reports indicate the New York Rangers intend to buy out the contract of Kevin Shattenkirk.

CAP FRIENDLY: The 30-year-old defenseman has two years remaining on his contract with an annual average value of $6.65 million.

 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: There was confusion over when the Rangers would buy out Shattenkirk. Because they settled with Pavel Buchnevich before his arbitration hearing, the Rangers were allowed to buy out a player during a 48-hour window three days after Buchnevich’s contract was filed.

While the agreement with Buchnevich was signed on Friday, the deal wasn’t registered with the league until Saturday. Thus, the three-day period didn’t begin until Monday.

TSN: The Colorodo Avalanche re-signed defenseman Samuel Girard to a seven-year contract extension. The deal is worth $35 million with an annual salary-cap hit of $5 million.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Girard joined the Avs in November 2017 as part of the three-team deal with the Ottawa Senators and Nashville Predators that sent Matt Duchene to Ottawa. The 21-year-old rearguard has become an invaluable part of Colorado’s blueline. Given his youth he still has plenty of upside, potentially turning his new contract into a considerable bargain down the road.

NORTHJERSEY.COM: The New Jersey Devils avoided salary arbitration with defenseman Will Butcher, re-signing him to a three-year, $11.2-million deal. The AAV is $3.73 million.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: A reasonable deal for both sides. Butcher had a 44-point rookie season in 2017-18 and netted 30 last season. He was a key part of the Devils power play during that time. The 24-year-old is a skilled puck-moving blueliner.

THE SCORE: The Buffalo Sabres and goaltender Linus Ullmark are about $2 million apart heading into salary arbitration on Aug. 2. Ullmark seeks an annual average value of $2.65 million while the Sabres countered with $800K per season.

AZCENTRAL.COM: Arizona Coyotes captain Oliver Ekman-Larsson required four stitches and a tetanus shot after being bitten by the family dog in May. Ekman-Larsson confirmed the incident yesterday, indicating he’s recovered from the bite.