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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 13, 2018

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 13, 2018

The latest on Barry Trotz, Mike Hoffman, Slava Voynov, Samuel Girard and more in your NHL morning coffee headlines.

NBC SPORTS WASHINGTON: Tens of thousands of people turned out for the Washington Capitals’ Stanley Cup parade and rally yesterday. Meanwhile, Capitals head coach Barry Trotz strongly hinted he could be returning next season. Trotz’s contract expires at the end of this month. “We’ll talk,” Trotz said. “We’re going to enjoy this with the players. I love the players, I love D.C., my family loves it here. We’ll get something done.”

OTTAWA CITIZEN: Melinda Karlsson, wife of Senators captain Erik Karlsson, has filed an application for an order of protection against Monika Caryk, girlfriend of Karlsson’s teammate Mike Hoffman. Mrs. Karlsson alleges Caryk has harassed the couple since November 2017, much of it involving their still-born son. Hoffman and his representatives have denied the allegations.

The girlfriend of Ottawa Senators winger Mike Hoffman is accused of harassing teammate Erik Karlsson and his wife. (Photo via NHL Images)

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That might explain why the Senators have reportedly attempted to trade Hoffman since midseason. 

TSN: Speaking of the Senators, assistant general manager Randy Lee is due in a Buffalo court on July 6 to face a harassment allegation.

SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman reports several teams have interest in former Los Angeles Kings defenseman Slava Voynov, who’s hoping to return to the NHL after spending the past three seasons in the KHL. Voynov departed for Russia in September 2015 rather than face deportation after spending two months in jail following his “no-contest” plea on a misdemeanor charge of corporal injury to a spouse. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Friedman notes Voynov will have to overcome several hurdles to return to the NHL, including getting a U.S. work visa and applying to the league for reinstatement. Any club interested in Voynov must first make a deal with the Kings, who still hold his NHL rights. 

NBC SPORTS: Colorado Avalanche defenseman Samuel Girard escaped serious injury in a single-car accident after falling asleep behind the wheel on route to Montreal for offseason workouts. 

ARIZONA SPORTS: The Arizona Coyotes will not exercise any contract buyouts this summer. Pending UFAs Brad Richardson, Luke Schenn, Kevin Connauton and Zac Rinaldo appear headed to free agency. 

NEWSDAY: The New York Islanders have hired former New Jersey Devils executive Steve Pellegrini as an assistant GM. Pellegrini had previously worked with Isles general manager Lou Lamoriello during the latter’s tenure as Devils GM.