NHL Rumor Mill – September 23, 2020

NHL Rumor Mill – September 23, 2020

Some potential destinations for Alex Pietrangelo plus the latest on the Penguins and Capitals in today’s NHL rumor mill.

COULD LEAFS, GOLDEN KNIGHTS OR FLAMES TARGET PIETRANGELO?

TSN: Pierre LeBrun wonders if the St. Louis Blues will consider trading Alex Pietrangelo’s rights if they don’t re-sign the pending free-agent defenseman before Oct. 9. The acquiring team could sign him to an eight-year deal, lowering the annual average value, Pietrangelo would get more money under that scenario, while the Blues could get a good asset in return. LeBrun suggests the Vegas Golden Knights, Toronto Maple Leafs, and Calgary Flames as possible destinations if Pietrangelo hits the open market.

TORONTO STAR: Mark Zwolinski acknowledged the Leafs need for a top-shelf blueliner like Pietrangelo, but finding the cap space to sign him will be challenging for general manager Kyle Dubas. They have over $6 million in cap space and would have to shed salary to make it work.

Zwolinski suggests Alexander Kerfoot and Andreas Johnsson as trade candidates, and also felt William Nylander would have to be considered. The risks of acquiring another high-priced player would be high under a flattened salary cap.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I don’t doubt the Leafs will inquire if Pietrangelo becomes available. As per Cap Friendly, they’ve already handcuffed themselves with over $40.4 million tied up in just four players: Nylander ($6.9 million), Mitch Marner ($10.8 million), John Tavares ($11 million) and Auston Matthews ($11.8 million). Adding Pietrangelo could push that figure to almost $50 million, leaving little room to bolster their depth as needed throughout the rest of the roster. Unless they’re moving out Nylander, they should consider more affordable blueline options.

I don’t see the Golden Knights in the market for Pietrangelo. They have $76.5 million tied up in 18 players. If they re-sign Robin Lehner, they’ll have to shed salary by moving out goalie Marc-Andre Fleury or someone else, leaving little room for a big-ticket defenseman.

With $64.5 million committed to 14 players, the Flames have the cap space to sign Pietrangelo, but that move could push them to $73 million invested in 15 players. That won’t leave much to find a possible replacement for Cam Talbot if he’s not re-signed, let alone fill out the rest of the roster.

LATEST ON THE PENGUINS

THE ATHLETIC (subscription required): Rob Rossi and Josh Yohe report multiple league sources claim Pittsburgh Penguins GM Jim Rutherford has received several inquiries about winger Bryan Rust. Rutherford isn’t shopping Rust and prefers keeping the top-six winger, but wouldn’t rule out trading him if the return was significant, such as at least an NHL-ready player and a top-six prospect.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: In other words, Rust remains a Penguin.

They also cite multiple sources claiming Rutherford is attempting to clear enough salary-cap space to sign Chris Tanev if the Vancouver Canucks defenseman hit the open market on Oct. 9. The Penguins GM isn’t concerned about Tanev’s age (30) and is willing to offer a five-year contract concurrent to the final five years of brother (and Penguins forward) Brandon Tanev. Chris is said to be seeking a raise over the $4.45-million AAV of his current contract. A Penguins source claims they’d prefer keeping the AAV to $5 million.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That’s not a good idea. Tanev’s performance has declined over the last couple of years as the wear-and-tear of his style of play are taking a toll on his body. A short-term deal (two years) might be worth the gamble, but five years at $5 million per is too risky. Meanwhile, TSN’s Rick Dhaliwal reports the Canucks have yet to make Tanev a contract offer.

Rossi and Yohe also report the Penguins and Evgeni Malkin’s camp have expressed interest in a three-year contract extension allowing Malkin to retire as a Penguin.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: But…but…Malkin’s supposed to be unhappy as second fiddle to Crosby. No, wait, he’s getting traded to the Kings. Or was it he’s retiring and returning to Russia at the end of his current contract? Dammit, it’s difficult keeping these Malkin rumors straight!

The Pens aren’t against acquiring a third-line center but are content to keep recently re-signed Jared McCann in that role. It doesn’t appear they’ve approached Patric Hornqvist about waiving his no-trade clause.

BACKUP GOALIE OPTIONS FOR THE CAPITALS

THE ATHLETIC (subscription required): Tarik El-Bashir lists the New York Islanders Thomas Greiss, Dallas’ Anton Khudobin and Calgary’s Cam Talbot as free-agent backup goalie options for the Washington Capitals.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Given Braden Holtby’s expected departure via free agency, the Capitals will need an experienced backup for promising Ilya Samsonov. Greiss, Khudobin and Talbot would be fine choices, though Khudobin’s playoff heroics could put him outside the Caps’ price range. Cap Friendly indicates they’ve got $72.6 million invested in 17 players.










NHL Rumor Mill – September 16, 2020

NHL Rumor Mill – September 16, 2020

Does the Jonas Brodin signing mean Matt Dumba’s on the trade block? Will Marc-Andre Fleury submit his no-trade list? What the latest on the Canadiens? Find out in today’s NHL rumor mill.

COULD DUMBA BE TRADED?

THE ATHLETIC (subscription required): Michael Russo reports the Minnesota Wild re-signing defenseman Jonas Brodin yesterday to a seven-year, $42-million contract extension could set the stage for other moves.

According to sources, Wild general manager Bill Guerin has not only received a lot of calls about Matt Dumba, he’s actively shopping the blueliner. Russo speculates Guerin could move Dumba for a scoring forward, preferably a center. He indicates the rearguard is the only one lacking no-trade protection before 2021-22 season.

THE PROVINCE: Patrick Johnston believes the Vancouver Canucks will be among the suitors for Dumba. However, he believes it’ll take giving up a forward like Brock Boeser to get him. Johnston feels Boeser’s name could surface in trade rumors if the Canucks re-sign pending free agent winger Tyler Toffoli.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Cap Friendly indicates Brodin, Ryan Suter, and Jared Spurgeon have full no-movement clauses. As a result, those three must be protected in next summer’s expansion draft, leaving Dumba exposed if Guerin decides to protect three defensemen.

Dumba lacks no-trade protection for 2020-21. On his own, however, he might not be enough to land a scoring center. A sweetener of a draft pick or promising prospect might have to be included. His annual salary-cap hit ($6 million AAV through 2022-23) could also be a snag.

Guerin doesn’t have to move Dumba right away. He can be patient and see how next season unfolds if he doesn’t find any suitable offers during this offseason. If he opts to wait, I think he’ll try to move Dumba before next season’s trade deadline (whenever that might be) to avoid any complications of finding a suitable trade partner before the expansion draft.

DID FLEURY SUBMIT HIS NO-TRADE LIST?

THE ATHLETIC (subscription required): Jesse Granger reported Sept. 15 was the deadline Marc-Andre Fleury and his agent to submit their revised no-trade list to Vegas Golden Knights management. That’s in accordance with the NHL CBA and the memorandum of understanding.

It’s uncertain if the Fleury camp did this. Granger speculates they may have as a precautionary measure following reports the Golden Knights intend to re-sign Robin Lehner.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Granger also points out moving an aging goaltender with two years left on his contract with an annual average value of $7 million would be difficult under normal circumstances. Nevertheless, he did play well in his three postseason appearances and there could be a club with sufficient cap space willing to take a chance on him.

LATEST ON THE CANADIENS

TVA SPORTS: Charlie Lajoie believes Montreal Canadiens general manager Marc Bergevin could be preparing for a blockbuster trade following his recent acquisition of defenseman Joel Edmundson. He speculated a blueliner like Ben Chiarot could be part of a package deal to land a scoring winger.

SPORTSNET: Eric Engels believes the Canadiens’ recent acquisition of defenseman Joel Edmundson opens up some trade possibility for Bergevin. He also believes Bergevin can afford to move a blueliner to address that issue. He feels Brett Kulak could have more value on the trade market than Victor Mete.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Habs have a surplus of left-side defensemen. Kulak or Mete could be part of a package for a scoring forward but they obviously won’t be the centerpiece. Maybe center Max Domi would also be part of such a deal.

Bergevin can also draw upon his depth in draft picks. He has 11 picks in this year’s draft, including three in the second round and three in the fourth. He also has two third-rounders and three picks in each of the fourth and fifth rounds of next year’s draft.

We know he won’t be moving promising youngsters like Nick Suzuki, Jesperi Kotkaniemi and Alexander Romanov. He included them among his untouchables.










NHL Playoffs: Golden Knights Let Down By Top Players

NHL Playoffs: Golden Knights Let Down By Top Players










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 15, 2020

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 15, 2020

The Dallas Stars are the Western Conference champions, plus updates on the Lightning, Islanders and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: For the first time in 20 years, the Dallas Stars are Western Conference champions and headed to the Stanley Cup Final. Denis Gurianov tallied an overtime power-play goal as the Stars overcame a 2-0 deficit to defeat the Vegas Golden Knights 3-2 in Game 5 of the Western Conference Final.

The Golden Knights held a 2-0 lead until Jamie Benn scored at 9:54 of the third period. Joel Kiviranta scored the tying goal on the power play at 16:13, setting the stage for Gurianov’s series winner.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This series looked like it was heading to Game 6 when Reilly Smith made it 2-0 early in the third for the Golden Knights. Benn’s goal, however, shifted the game’s momentum. He finished this series with three goals and five points. This was the second straight series where Gurianov scored the series winner. He leads the Stars with nine goals in this postseason.

Penalties proved costly for the Golden Knights as the Stars tallied the tying and winning goals with the man advantage. The second one was a heartbreaker as rookie defenseman Zach Whitecloud was called for delay of game after he inadvertently clearing the puck over the boards.

The Golden Knights head into the offseason with some issues to address. You can read about them in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.

TAMPA BAY TIMES: Lightning captain Steven Stamkos was on the ice with half of his teammates for yesterday’s optional practice. He’s still not ready to play or participate in full practices but the club still hasn’t ruled out a possible return in the playoffs.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Perhaps Stamkos might return if the Lightning advance to the Stanley Cup Final against Dallas. The Bolts hold a 3-1 series lead over the New York Islanders in the Eastern Conference Final with Game 5 tonight.

NEW YORK POST: Islanders head coach Barry Trotz could shake up his top line for Game 5 by making Brock Nelson the first-line center and moving Mathew Barzal into the second-line spot. He could also elevate winger Derick Brassard or center Jean-Gabriel Pageau to a top-six role.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: We’ll find out tonight what changes, if any, Trotz has in store for his roster. He must do something to counter the Lightning’s top line of Brayden Point, Nikita Kucherov and Ondrej Palat.

THE SCORE: The NHL has recorded no positive COVID-19 tests for the eighth straight week.

CALGARY SUN: The Flames have made interim coach Geoff Ward their full-time head coach.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: No surprise there given the support Flames general manager Brad Treliving gave Ward throughout this season.

TSN’s Pierre LeBrun reports NHL teams have until 5 pm ET on Oct. 7 to submit qualifying offers to their respective restricted free agents. The RFAs can begin signing them at noon ET on Oct. 9. Those offers expire at 5 pm ET on Oct. 18.

US HOCKEY HALL OF FAME: Former NHL star and current University of Wisconsin head coach Tony Granato has been inducted into the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame. He joins Dean Blais, Jenny Potter and Jerry York among the class of 2020.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Congratulations to all of this year’s inductees.










NHL Rumor Mill – September 15, 2020

NHL Rumor Mill – September 15, 2020

What next for the Golden Knights following their playoff elimination? How are Alex Pietrangelo’s contract talks going? What’s the latest on the Sabres? Find out in today’s NHL rumor mill.

WHAT NEXT FOR THE GOLDEN KNIGHTS?

ESPN.COM: Greg Wyshynski believes the Vegas Golden Knights must sort out their goaltending drama. Marc-Andre Fleury was supplanted in the starting goaltender role by Robin Lehner. Wyshynski reported a source claimed Lehner and the Golden Knights have a handshake agreement on a five-year contract extension. He wondered if the Golden Knights are prepared to invest a lot of money in Fleury and Lehner, or if Fleury even wants to stay.

Wyshynski also believes they should reexamine the center position, pointing out Paul Stastny is no longer a reliable second-line center. Unless Chandler Stephenson or Cody Glass can develop into that role, Wyshynski feels they should consider addressing that issue, potentially by moving out Stastny and his $6.5-million cap hit.

THE ATHLETIC: Jesse Granger speculates a new contract for Lehner could be a five-year, $25-million deal. With over $76.5 million invested in next year’s payroll, they’ll have to shed some salary to make room for Lehner and restricted free agents like Stephenson and Nick Cousins. He also suggests Fleury as a trade candidate.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Cap Friendly indicates the 35-year-old Fleury is signed through 2021-22 with an annual average value of $7 million and a 10-team no-trade list. Even if he agrees to narrow that list, his cap hit and age could make him difficult to move given the current economic conditions and the flooded market for goaltenders.

I’m not saying Fleury can’t be traded. However, the Golden Knights might have to pick up part of that cap hit or perhaps bundle him with a quality draft pick or prospect to facilitate a deal.

Stastny has one year left on his contract. Like Fleury, he has a 10-team no-trade list. At 34, he’s no longer as effective as he once was. His age and cap hit could also be a sticking point but having just one year left on his contract might make him a little easier to move.

PIETRANGELO DISAPPOINTED IN PROGRESS OF CONTRACT TALKS

THE SCORE: Brandon Maron cited The Athletic’s Pierre LeBrun reporting Alex Pietrangelo has found it “a little disappointing” that he and the St. Louis Blues haven’t reached an agreement yet on a new contract. The 30-year-old defenseman is slated to become an unrestricted free agent on Oct. 9.

Pietrangelo indicated there hasn’t been much progress in contract discussions. While he wants to stay in St. Louis, he understands the difficulty the Blues face re-signing him with just $5 million in salary-cap space. “I think you have to be willing to accept the fact that there may be a change one day,” said Pietrangelo. “Whether it happens or not, it certainly changes your mindset and makes things a little easier if you ever get to that point.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Pietrangelo would prefer staying in St. Louis because his wife is from there and they’ve raised a family there. However, he also noted a number of players have moved on after spending most of their careers in one city. It sounds like he and his wife are preparing for that possibility. There’s still enough time for Pietrangelo and the Blues to hammer out a deal, but that’ll depend upon his asking price and how much cap space they can free up.

LeBrun listed the Toronto Maple Leafs, Vegas Golden Knights and Florida Panthers as possible destinations for Pietrangelo if he hits the open market. He acknowledged those three clubs have salary-cap issues but didn’t rule out one of them trying to find a way to sign the Blues captain.

LATEST ON THE SABRES

THE ATHLETIC (subscription required): John Vogl noted a recent report by TSN indicating the Buffalo Sabres could have an internal salary cap in the $70-million range. He suggested selling low on defenseman Brandon Montour, find a taker for blueliner Rasmus Ristolainen, and perhaps re-sign some of their restricted free agents to cost-effective one-year deals with the promise of raises next summer.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Cap Friendly indicates the Sabres currently have over $48.2 million committed to 10 players. Vogl points out re-signing key RFAs like Montour, goalie Linus Ullmark, and forwards Sam Reinhart, Victor Olofsson and Dominik Kahun could cost a combined $24.5 million, pushing them over $70 million and leaving little room for additions.

Moving Montour for a draft pick and perhaps a prospect will help. Vogl noted they couldn’t find an acceptable for Ristolainen and his $5.4-million cap hit plus head coach Ralph Krueger likes the blueliner’s game.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 14, 2020

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 14, 2020

The Lightning are within a game of advancing to the Stanley Cup Final. Details and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: The Tampa Bay Lightning moved within a game of reaching the Stanley Cup Final with a 4-1 victory over the New York Islanders in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Final. The Bolts quickly erased a 1-0 Isles lead in the second period on goals by Blake Coleman and Ondrej Palat 12 seconds apart. Brayden Point and Patrick Maroon expanded the lead in the third period.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Those two quick goals changed the course of the game, leaving the Islanders stunned and trying to play catch-up. Point’s goals early in the third sealed the deal. Tampa Bay’s top line of Point, Palat and Nikita Kucherov were involved in two of their club’s four goals.

The Lightning also benefited from Point and Alex Killorn returning to the lineup. Point missed Game 3 with an undisclosed injury while Killorn served a one-game suspension. The Bolts can wrap things up with a win in Game 5 on Tuesday.

The Islanders announced forwards Casey Cizikas and Tom Kuhnhackl are sidelined for the remainder of the Stanley Cup playoffs and have left the quarantine bubble in Edmonton.

Calgary Flames captain Mark Giordano is this year’s winner of the Mark Messier NHL Leadership Award.

The Dallas Stars could be without centers Radek Faksa and Roope Hintz for Game 5 of the Western Conference Final. Faksa remains unfit to play while Hintz’s status will be updated today.

Meanwhile, Vegas Golden Knights coach Peter DeBoer declined to provide updates on forwards Mark Stone and Tomas Nosek. Stone appeared to injure a foot when he blocked a shot during Game 4 but returned to action. Nosek was unfit to play in Game 4 after being injured in the previous game.

THE SCORE: Montreal Canadiens owner Geoff Molson helped rescue the pilot of an amphibious plane that crashed on Lake Massawippi in Quebec on Saturday. He helped the pilot out of the water into his boat before taking him to paramedics on the scene.