NHL Rumor Mill – July 28, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – July 28, 2022

A look at several proposed destinations for Nazem Kadri plus the Ducks might not be done making additions to their roster. Check it out in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.

WHERE COULD KADRI LAND?

ESPN.COM: Greg Wyshynski examined seven potential destinations for Nazem Kadri. The 31-year-old center is the top player still available among this summer’s unrestricted free agent class.

Colorado Avalanche center Nazem Kadri (NHL Images).

The New York Islanders, Seattle Kraken and Calgary Flames are among Wyshynski’s proposed destinations based on recent speculation, followed by the Boston Bruins, Ottawa Senators, and Detroit Red Wings. He also doesn’t rule out a possible return to the Colorado Avalanche.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Athletic’s Kevin Kurz recently reported the Islanders could be pursuing Kadri after losing out in the Johnny Gaudreau sweepstakes. They need a boost to their offense and, as Kurz and Wyshynski suggest, Mathew Barzal or Brock Nelson could shift from center to the wing to make way for Kadri.

Colorado Hockey Now’s Adrian Dater reported last week that Kadri has offers on the table. However, some are from non-contenders and he’s apparently not interested in signing with those teams. That would take the Kraken out of the running.

The Senators and Red Wings have improved following their recent offseason moves but Kadri might not see them as contenders. It’s believed the Senators are more focused on adding a top-four, right-side defenseman.

Unless the Bruins’ efforts to bring back Patrice Bergeron and David Krejci have fallen through I don’t see them bidding for Kadri. The Flames could try to sign him but he rejected a trade to Calgary three years ago and could still be averse to playing there.

Kadri was very receptive to staying with the Avalanche and they would’ve reportedly loved to bring him back. However, they’ve got limited cap space for the coming season and must ensure they’ve got sufficient long-term space for the big raise Nathan MacKinnon will be entitled to on his next contract. A return to the Avs isn’t in the cards for Kadri unless they shed a lot of salary or he accepts a low-cost one-year contract and goes to market again next summer.

THE DUCKS ARE STILL LOOKING TO ADD TO THEIR ROSTER

THE ATHLETIC: Eric Stephens recently reported Anaheim Ducks general manager Pat Verbeek isn’t done making additions to his rebuilding roster. Having signed forwards Ryan Strome and Frank Vatrano, Verbeek said he’d like to add another forward and a defenseman.

The Ducks remain under the $61 million salary-cap floor for the coming season. Stephens pointed out that John Klingberg remains available in the free agent market. P.K. Subban, Anton Stralman, Calvin de Haan and Ryan Murray are among more affordable stopgap options.

Blueline trade options could include Colorado’s Samuel Girard or Pittsburgh’s Marcus Pettersson. Others could include Carolina’s Ethan Bear or Sean Walker or Sean Durzi of the Los Angeles Kings.

Verbeek said he’s seeking shorter-term options on defense. He indicated he’ll look to the free agent market before going the trade route.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Girard has surfaced from time to time as a possible trade candidate. However, recent reports by Colorado Hockey Now’s Adrian Dater suggest the Avs don’t want to part with him.

Bear just signed a one-year contract with the Hurricanes but that doesn’t necessarily mean they won’t move him at some point. If Verbeek wants short-term blueline options he could pass on Pettersson and his $4.025 million cap hit through 2024-25.










NHL Rumor Mill – July 21, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – July 21, 2022

What are some possible trade destinations for Matthew Tkachuk? What’s the latest on Patrick Kane, Nazem Kadri and Samuel Girard? Find out in today’s NHL rumor mill.

WHERE WILL THE FLAMES TRADE MATTHEW TKACHUK?

THE ATHLETIC: In the wake of yesterday’s report regarding Matthew Tkachuk’s decision not to sign a long-term extension with the Calgary Flames, Hailey Salvian and Sean Gentille examined several possible trade destinations. It’s based in part on a list of teams with whom he would agree to sign a contract extension.

Calgary Flames winger Matthew Tkachuk (NHL Images).

The St. Louis Blues are often mentioned as the top destination for Tkachuk because he grew up in St. Louis and his family still lives there. Others include the Nashville Predators, Detroit Red Wings, New Jersey Devils, New York Islanders, Vegas Golden Knights and Dallas Stars.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Salvian and Gentille examined the pros and cons of each club. I’m going to offer up my brief take on each.

Before I begin, I believe the Flames aren’t looking to rebuild. They’ll seek a return that helps them remain a playoff contender in the coming season as well as for several seasons afterward. They’ll want at least one good young NHL player as part of a package deal that could also include a first-round pick and/or a top prospect.

Cap space is also important. Tkachuk will command over $9 million annually on his next contract. Some of the aforementioned teams lack the cap room to pull it off unless they’re sending a couple of salaried players to the Flames or making a cost-cutting move with another club to free up sufficient space to re-sign him.

The Blues are bumping against the $82.5 million cap. It could cost them winger Jordan Kyrou as part of the return. And no, I don’t see the Flames accepting Vladimir Tarasenko, who’s slated to become an unrestricted free agent next summer. He’s also older (30) and might not waive his no-trade clause.

After re-signing Filip Forsberg, the Predators have three forwards each earning at least $8 million annually on long-term deals. General manager David Poile could be reluctant to add a fourth. I don’t think they have a suitable young player to tempt the Flames. Sophomore Philip Tomasino has potential but he’s yet to fully display it.

The Red Wings have the cap space and plenty of promising youngsters to entice the Flames. However, I don’t see Wings GM Steve Yzerman parting with Lucas Raymond and he’s definitely not giving up Calder Trophy winner Moritz Seider. I also don’t consider Jakub Vrana or Tyler Bertuzzi (a UFA next summer) as centerpiece players for the Flames.

Islanders GM Lou Lamoriello needs a scoring winger to skate alongside playmaking center Mathew Barzal. However, the Flames could ask for Barzal in return. NYI Hockey Now’s Stefen Rosner points out the Isles lack prospect depth. He also shot down the notion of the Flames having an interest in forwards such as Anthony Beauvillier or Kieffer Bellows.

The Vegas Golden Knights love to make blockbuster moves. However, they’re over the cap already and I don’t see the Flames having any interest in William Karlsson or Jonathan Marchessault as part of the return. They recently had to move Max Pacioretty and Evgenii Dadonov in cost-cutting deals to remain cap compliant.

If the Stars want Tkachuk, they must part with rising star Jason Robertson. They also have $11 million in cap space with restricted free agent goaltender Jake Oettinger to re-sign. They need offense but I think GM Jim Nill will stick with the more affordable Robertson.

I think the Devils are the best fit. Winger Jesper Bratt could be a good return though he recently filed for salary arbitration. If he’s willing to accept a long-term deal from the Flames, there could be a deal there. The Flames would probably have an interest in a prospect such as Luke Hughes, Simon Nemec or Alexander Holtz as part of the return.

UPDATES ON PATRICK KANE, NAZEM KADRI AND SAMUEL GIRARD

TSN’s Darren Dreger tweeted he’s checked into recent trade speculation regarding Chicago Blackhawks star Patrick Kane. He said the winger’s camp remains undecided on his future so everything at this point is speculative.

COLORADO HOCKEY NOW: Adrian Dater reports former Avalanche center Nazem Kadri has offers on the table from several clubs but they’re either teams he doesn’t want to play for due to location, they lack contender status or both. Maybe a team or two that he wouldn’t mind playing for and would like to have him lacks the cap space to sign him.

Dater believes Kadri would love to return with the Avalanche but doesn’t think their offer is what the center hoped for. He puts the odds of Kadri returning to Colorado at 30-70 or maybe 20-80.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I’ve heard that Kadri was waiting for teams that had an interest in him to clear cap space to sign him. Whatever’s behind the holdup in signing him, it appears he might have to accept less than he hoped to get. He’ll still receive more than the $4.5 million AAV of his previous contract, but it probably won’t be anywhere near the $8 million per season that some observers predicted he’d get.

Dater also tweeted he’s not hearing that the Avs are shopping Samuel Girard. “Things can always change but I believe he’s staying.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Girard and his $5 million AAV came up as a trade option if the Avs wanted to shed salary to make room for Kadri.










NHL Rumor Mill – July 19, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – July 19, 2022

The latest speculation linking the Jets’ Pierre-Luc Dubois to the Canadiens plus updates on Blake Wheeler and Samuel Girard in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.

LATEST “DUBOIS-TO-CANADIENS’ SPECULATION

WINNIPEG SUN: Paul Friesen brings us up to speed on the speculation linking Jets center Pierre-Luc Dubois to the Montreal Canadiens.

Winnipeg Jets center Pierre-Luc Dubois (NHL Images).

First, there was word earlier in the off-season that the restricted free agent was only interested in a new contract taking him up to unrestricted free agent status in 2024. That was followed by Dubois’ agent indicating his client would love to play for the Canadiens one day.

Dubois reportedly attended the 2022 NHL Draft in Montreal anticipating a trade but Jets general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff sought a hefty return. The latest twist saw the 24-year-old center opting against salary arbitration, leaving him open to offer sheets from rival clubs. The Jets, meanwhile, didn’t file for club-elected arbitration.

It’s possible Dubois accepts his one-year, $6 million qualifying offer from the Jets by Friday’s deadline. He could reject it and attempt to negotiate a better deal.

MONTREAL HOCKEY NOW: Jimmy Murphy speculates Dubois could stage a contract holdout. It could put more pressure on Cheveldayoff to work out a trade with Canadiens GM Kent Hughes.

Murphy’s colleague Marco D’Amico assumed the Jets asked the Canadiens for Nick Suzuki or Cole Caufield as part of the return for Dubois. That would be a no-go for the Canadiens, but he wondered if recently-acquired center Kirby Dach might be a trade chip that entices the Jets.

MONTREAL GAZETTE: Jack Todd doesn’t see the Canadiens parting with Suzuki, Caufield or a promising prospect such as Kaiden Guhle. He believes if Hughes was really interested in Dubois he wouldn’t have gone through so much trouble to acquire Dach from the Chicago Blackhawks.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Friesen recommends that Cheveldayoff put his best offer on the table and let Dubois accept it by the December deadline or sit out the season. The only leverage Dubois has now is to withhold his services but that’s not going to help his trade value or reputation.

Cheveldayoff doesn’t seem interested in trading Dubois this summer unless he gets an irresistible offer. It’s assumed he’ll sign the center to a one-year contract and spend the coming season trying to convince him to ink a long-term deal next summer.

Dubois will once again become an RFA with arbitration rights at season’s end but will also be a year away from UFA eligibility. If he remains uninterested in staying with the Jets, that’s when Cheveldayoff will likely put more emphasis on moving him.

It’s possible Dubois gets an offer sheet from another club but don’t look for one from the Canadiens. They’re bumping against the $82.5 million cap ceiling and face ongoing uncertainty over the status of Carey Price for the coming season.

UPDATES ON WHEELER AND GIRARD

WINNIPEG SUN: Speaking of the Jets, Friesen’s colleague Scott Billeck reports their best opportunity to trade captain Blake Wheeler’s contract was prior to free agency opening last Wednesday.

Management, however, was stubborn and insisted on interested parties picking up Wheeler’s full $8.25 million cap hit over the two years remaining on his contract. As a result, the market for the 35-year-old winger has cooled.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: In other words, Wheeler’s not going anywhere unless Cheveldayoff can find someone to take that full cap hit off the Jets’ hands. Good luck with that now that most teams have used up their cap space in the free-agent market.

NYI HOCKEY NOW: Stefen Rosner took note of the Colorado Avalanche’s efforts to bring back free-agent center Nazem Kadri. Because of their limited salary-cap space, Colorado Hockey Now’s Adrian Dater suggested Samuel Girard could be a cost-cutting trade candidate. The 24-year-old defenseman is signed through 2026-27 with an average annual value of $5 million.

Rosner suggested the Islanders attempt to acquire Girard. Dater believes the Avs’ asking price would be a first-round pick but Rosner believes they’re not in a position to get too picky.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Dater has since tweeted that he doubted Girard gets traded pointing to his value to the Avs. After subsequently speaking with three sources, he now believes there’s a lesser chance of Kadri returning to Colorado.










NHL Rumor Mill – July 15, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – July 15, 2022

An update on Nazem Kadri and an option on how the Avs might replace him, the effect of Johnny Gaudreau’s signing with Columbus on the Flames and Blue Jackets, and the latest on the Canadiens’ efforts to trade Jeff Petry in today’s NHL rumor mill.

WHERE WILL KADRI LAND?

COLORADO HOCKEY NOW: Adrian Dater believes Nazem Kadri will return with the Colorado Avalanche. He believes both sides want to get a new contract done but there’s no indication of how close or far apart they are in reaching an agreement.

Dater thinks the Calgary Flames are a strong suitor for Kadri. They recently lost top-line forward Johnny Gaudreau to the Columbus Blue Jackets on the opening day of free agency.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kadri rejected a trade to the Flames three years ago when the Toronto Maple Leafs were shopping him, eventually landing in Colorado. Maybe things have changed and enough money could woo the 31-year-old winger to the Stampede City.

Cap Friendly shows the Flames with $18.5 million in cap space while the Avalanche has just $3.9 million. That means the Avs must make a salary-shedding trade to free up sufficient cap space to sign him.

The Denver Post’s Mark Kiszla suggests trading defenseman Samuel Girard and his $5 million annual salary-cap hit to free up the necessary space to sign Kadri or a suitable replacement as their second-line center. There would certainly be a market for the 24-year-old puck-moving blueliner, especially if the return is a low-cost one involving draft picks and prospects. Whether the Avs will go that route, however, is another matter.

Calgary Flames winger Matthew Tkachuk (NHL Images).

THE EFFECT OF GAUDREAU’S CONTRACT UPON THE FLAMES AND BLUE JACKETS

TSN: Salim Valji believes the Calgary Flames must learn lessons from Johnny Gaudreau’s departure if they hope to avoid a similar fate with Matthew Tkachuk. He suggests general manager Brad Treliving meet with the 24-year-old winger to determine if his long-term future is with the Flames or elsewhere.

If there’s any hint Tkachuk is reluctant to stay in Calgary, Valji believes Treliving should trade him rather than risk losing another talented player for nothing to free agency. That’s what happened with Gaudreau as well as T.J. Brodie and Travis Hamonic before him.

Trading Tkachuk, a restricted free agent this summer who is a year away from UFA eligibility, would net the Flames assets that could be put toward a roster reset. However, that would also mean the club wouldn’t be competitive for a couple of seasons. It would also cast doubt on the futures of Elias Lindholm, Jacob Markstrom, Rasmus Andersson and Noah Hanifin in Calgary.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Flames must trade Tkachuk as soon as possible if he won’t commit to a long-term extension. Better to get the best possible return to put toward a retool that could lead to a quick turnaround in their fortunes (with players who want to be there) than a slow, steady decline of talent that ends with a long, painful rebuild.

THE ATHLETIC: Aaron Portzline reports the Blue Jackets’ signing Gaudreau has left them with insufficient salary-cap space to re-sign restricted free agent winger Patrik Laine. They are roughly $3.5 million under the cap, meaning they must trade someone to free up space for Laine.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Portzline suggested shopping Gustav Nyquist, who carries a $5.5 million cap hit and is eligible for UFA status next summer. The 32-year-old winger lacks no-trade protection and had 53 points last season. Perhaps the Jackets can find a playoff contender with cap space seeking a second-line forward to take him off their hands.

CANADIENS WAITING FOR THE RIGHT OFFER FOR PETRY

MONTREAL GAZETTE: Stu Cowan reports Canadiens GM Kent Hughes intends to bring back Jeff Petry for the coming season if he cannot find a suitable trade offer for the 34-year-old defenseman. He indicated he had trades available but none that made sense for his club.

Hughes said he’s not in a position to retain any part of Petry’s $6.25 million cap hit. He’s also not interested in taking back another salary problem or parting with draft picks or prospects. The Habs GM felt his club would be better off with Petry as he can fill an important role on an inexperienced blueline.

THE ATHLETIC: Arpon Basu speculates the availability of John Klingberg in the free-agent market suggests there’s a depressed market for defensemen like Petry who play a similar style. He also believes Hughes wants a tangible return that will make the Canadiens a better team. Basu suggested the Nashville Predators as a trade partner given their cap space and need to balance their top-four defense.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Petry was also linked to the Dallas Stars but that deal isn’t happening if Hughes won’t retain his salary. The Predators could be an option but that doesn’t mean they’re in the market for a blueliner like Petry. Unless another club jumps into the mix, Petry will likely be with the Canadiens for their season-opener in October.










Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – July 10, 2022

Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – July 10, 2022

How will the Leafs, Devils, Oilers and Capitals resolve their goaltending issues? What’s the latest speculation on Patrick Kane, Vincent Trocheck and Samuel Girard. Find out in this edition of the Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup.

SEVERAL TEAMS STILL FACE GOALIE ISSUES AS FREE AGENCY APPROACHES

TORONTO SUN: Lance Hornby reports landing a goaltender is the priority for Maple Leafs general manager Kyle Dubas. He must either re-sign Jack Campbell before the free-agent market opens on July 13, find a suitable replacement such as Darcy Kuemper via free agency, or pursue a trade for someone such as the Anaheim Ducks John Gibson.

Toronto Maple Leafs goaltender Jack Campbell (NHL Images).

Hornby suggests the next several days could determine if Dubas is bold enough to move William Nylander and his palatable $6.96 million annual average value for cap space, defense or prospects. Forward Alex Kerfoot could be another trade candidate.

TORONTO STAR: Dave Feschuk also weighed in on the Leafs’ pressing need for a starting goaltender. Possible trade targets could include the Ottawa Senators’ oft-injured Matt Murray, the Minnesota Wild’s Cam Talbot or Gibson.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It would indeed be a bold move to shop Nylander to free up cap room for a goaltender. However, that could turn disastrous if the goalie acquired becomes a bust while Nylander thrives with his new team.

Some will suggest Nylander for Gibson straight up. The dollars pretty much fit (Gibson’s AAV is $6.4 million) and the Leafs winger would provide the rebuilding Ducks with an established scoring forward to skate alongside rising young star Trevor Zegras.

However, the Leafs could be among the teams on Gibson’s 10-team no-trade list. We also don’t know if Ducks GM Pat Verbeek wants to take on a high-salaried player right now. Nylander is also just two years from UFA eligibility, which would make Verbeek uneasy over his future.

It’s rumored that the Talbot camp was unhappy about the Wild bringing back Marc-Andre Fleury on a two-year deal. GM Bill Guerin downplayed the issue and appears intent on icing a Fleury-Talbot goalie tandem for 2022-23. Maybe he changes his mind if he gets a suitable offer but I don’t think he’s keen to do so given his own salary-cap limitations.

As for Murray, his long history of injuries screams, “buyer beware”. Unless the Senators are picking up half of his $6.25 million cap hit through 2023-24, he’s not a worthwhile option for the Leafs. According to the Ottawa Sun’s Bruce Garrioch, the Senators aren’t interested in retaining any portion of his salary.

NEW YORK POST: Larry Brooks reports it wouldn’t be surprising if the New Jersey Devils were still in the market for Jack Campbell if they can find a taker for Mackenzie Blackwood. He also believes the Edmonton Oilers will be interested in Campbell or Darcy Kuemper, who’s been linked to the Washington Capitals. Brooks also thinks Talbot could be an option if he’s indeed unhappy with Fleury’s return.

EDMONTON JOURNAL: Kurt Leavins believes the Oilers’ biggest puzzle this offseason is resolving their goalie issue. He also mentioned Campbell, Kuemper and Talbot, and included the San Jose Sharks’ James Reimer as an option.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Round and round the goalie carousel goes and where it stops nobody knows. When it does, at least one of those clubs – Toronto, Edmonton, New Jersey or Washington – is going to be left empty-handed.

LATEST ON PATRICK KANE, VINCENT TROCHECK, SAMUEL GIRARD & MORE

NEW YORK POST: Larry Brooks suggests the Rangers should take a run at acquiring Patrick Kane as a one-year rental player instead of the Vancouver Canucks’ J.T. Miller. The 34-year-old Chicago Blackhawks winger has a year remaining on his contract with a $10.5 million cap hit and a full no-movement clause. Brooks suggests he’d be a better fit for the Rangers if he wants out of Chicago and the Blackhawks absorb half of his cap hit.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: With Ryan Strome and Andrew Copp heading to market, the Rangers’ biggest need is a second-line center, not a right winger. Miller lacks no-trade protection and carries an affordable $5.25 million cap so there’s no need to get into haggling over cap retention and risk scuttling a potential trade.

Brooks also speculates the Rangers could be in on Carolina Hurricanes center Vincent Trocheck if they wish to address their second-line center needs through free agency. However, he thinks Trocheck could prove too expensive for the Blueshirts.

COLORADO HOCKEY NOW: Adrian Dater reports Samuel Girard could be a “moving piece” if the Avalanche should decide to shed salary in order to sign pending UFA defenseman Josh Manson. Dater said he hasn’t heard any trade scenarios involving Girard but can’t see how the Avs can retain Manson without clearing the 24-year-old blueliner’s $5 million cap hit from their books.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Girard surfaced earlier this season as a possible trade chip but those rumors were quickly dismissed. The point can be made that he’s expendable because the Avs went on to win the Stanley Cup with him sidelined for most of the postseason. However, they could be unwilling to move him and his affordable contract through 2026-27.

OTTAWA SUN: Bruce Garrioch reports the Senators would like to upgrade their blueline with a right-shot defenseman. Options could include the Florida Panthers’ MacKenzie Weegar, the Arizona Coyotes’ Jakob Chychrun and the Pittsburgh Penguins’ John Marino.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The cap-strapped Panthers could consider moving Weegar if they hope to free up cap space to perhaps re-sign Claude Giroux. The Coyotes set a very high asking price for Chychrun that no one seems willing to pay right now. Marino could be available if the Penguins hope to free up salary to re-sign Evgeni Malkin, though it’s thought Marcus Pettersson is the more likely trade candidate.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – May 22, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – May 22, 2022

The Avalanche take a 2-1 series lead over the Blues but each club loses a key player to injuries, the Penguins sign Bryan Rust to a contract extension, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: The Colorado Avalanche regained the lead in their second-round series with the St. Louis Blues with a 5-2 victory in Game 3. Artturi Lehkonen scored twice, including what proved to be the game-winning goal in the second period. Nazem Kadri and Mikko Rantanen each collected two points while Ryan O’Reilly had a goal and an assist for the Blues.

Each team lost a key player to injuries during this contest.

Avalanche defenseman Samuel Girard is out for the playoffs after suffering a broken sternum early in the first period when he was checked into the boards behind his own net by Ivan Barbashev.

Colorado Avalanche center Nazem Kadri (NHL Images).

Later in the period, Blues goaltender Jordan Binnington left the game with a suspected knee sprain following a collision with Kadri. Ville Husso replaced him and made 19 saves on 23 shots. During a post-game interview, Kadri accused Binnington of throwing a water bottle at him.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kadri has earned suspensions for undisciplined play in recent postseasons. In this instance, however, there was no intent to injure or to run Binnington and no penalty call on the play. He was driving for the net and reaching for the puck when he inadvertently collided with Binnington and Blues defenseman Calle Rosen.

Losing Binnington could be a big blow for the Blues. He won four of his last five starts and played a key role in his club’s first-round elimination of the Minnesota Wild and their bounce-back win in Game 2 of this series.

The Avalanche will feel Girard’s absence. He had three points in seven games this postseason while playing on their second defense pairing.

TRIBLIVE.COM: Bryan Rust won’t be testing this summer’s unrestricted free agent market. On Saturday, the Pittsburgh Penguin announced they’d signed the 30-year-old winger to a six-year contract extension worth an annual average value of $5.125 million.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Rust has flourished skating alongside Sidney Crosby and Jake Guentzel on the Penguins’ top line. He’s reached or exceeded 22 goals in the last three seasons and netted over 50 points in two of the last three.

Rust was earning $3.5 million annually on a four-year deal. His raise is a reasonable rate that reflects market value, though the six years is a little long for a 30-year-old forward with an injury history. Cap Friendly indicates this signing leaves the Penguins with $58.5 million invested in 15 players for 2022-23 with Evgeni Malkin and Kris Letang as their notable remaining unrestricted free agents.

FLORIDA HOCKEY NOW: The Panthers need more from their best players, especially on the power play, if they hope to overcome their 2-0 series deficit to the Tampa Bay Lightning.

TAMPA BAY TIMES: The rivalry between the Panthers and Lightning hasn’t generated much passion or heat between the fan bases of both clubs.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I chalk that up in part to what’s been a disappointing series thus far in terms of excitement compared to when these two clubs tangled in the opening round of last year’s playoffs. The Lightning has successfully shut down the Panthers’ vaunted offense with a grinding defensive style that has also sucked much of the life out of this series.

THE ATHLETIC’s Joe Smith reports Lightning coach Jon Cooper said center Brayden Point (lower body) will remain sidelined for Game 3 today against the Panthers. He’s uncertain if Point will return for this series. He suffered the injury in Game 7 of their first-round series against the Toronto Maple Leafs.

CALGARY SUN: Flames goaltender Jacob Markstrom promises to improve his performance as his club’s second-round series against the Oilers shifted to Edmonton for Game 3 on Sunday. The Vezina Trophy finalist allowed 11 goals in the first two games, compared to allowing that many during the entire seven-game opening-round series against the Dallas Stars.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s not just Markstrom who must be better. The Flames’ usually solid defensive game vanished during those two games against the Oilers.

NEWSOBSERVER.COM: The Carolina Hurricanes’ third defense pairing of Brendan Smith and Ian Cole have made their presence felt in their club’s second-round series against the New York Rangers.

NEW YORK POST: The Rangers hope to open up their offense more in Game 3 to avoid falling behind 3-0 in the series against the Hurricanes. They’ve been limited to just one goal thus far.