NHL Rumor Mill – May 12, 2021

NHL Rumor Mill – May 12, 2021

More Jack Eichel trade speculation plus the latest on the Coyotes in today’s NHL rumor mill.

EICHEL

SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman reports multiple sources said Buffalo Sabres captain Jack Eichel had a contentious exit interview with the organization. It’s believed he’s exploring an artificial disk replacement in his neck on the advice of his medical team. The Sabres, however, aren’t thrilled with that option because of the lack of evidence of its effectiveness on elite-level athletes.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That resulted in Eichel’s surprising comments about his future during his season-ending media conference call on Monday.

Buffalo Sabres captain Jack Eichel (NHL Images)

Eichel may have played his final game for the Sabres. He will attract plenty of interest in the trade market despite his medical treatment.

The Rangers are the obvious suitor given their interest in Eichel last year. They weren’t willing to part with their 2020 first-round pick because it was first overall but that could be an option this time around unless they win the draft lottery again. Friedman wonders if the Sabres would ship Eichel to New York but also mused over whether they would say no if the Rangers made the best offer.

Boston Bruins and Columbus Blue Jackets could try but Friedman wonders if they have the pieces. He thinks the Philadelphia Flyers, Anaheim Ducks and Los Angeles Kings could do it. The Ottawa Senators could too but it doesn’t make sense for them. So could the Montreal Canadiens.

TSN: Pierre LeBrun also believes the Rangers could be a suitor for Eichel, as well as the Minnesota Wild. The latter have to re-sign Kirill Kaprizov and Joel Eriksson Ek so they have to make the money work.

Frank Seravalli doubts the Sabres would want to trade Eichel to a division rival and risk facing him six to eight times a season. He thinks California teams like Anaheim and Los Angeles would be better destinations. Ducks general manager Bob Murray wants to make a splash while the Kings reportedly had a cursory conversation with the Sabres about Eichel before last month’s trade deadline.

THE ATHLETIC: Pierre LeBrun asked several NHL team executives about a potential Eichel trade sweepstakes and received a wide range of views. Despite some concerns about Eichel’s injury history and character, LeBrun has no doubt that the center will be too tempting for teams to pass up.

Michael Russo believes the Minnesota Wild would have to shed salary to fit Eichel’s $10 million annual average value within their salary cap. He wondered if the Sabres would be interested in an offer of Kevin Fiala and Matt Dumba. However, they could prefer a first-line center or blue-chip center prospect as part of any return for Eichel.

Hailey Salvian thinks Calgary Flames GM Brad Treliving could look into acquiring Eichel. She speculates Matthew Tkachuk would have to be part of a package offer.

NBC SPORTS BAY AREA: Marcus White doesn’t see the San Jose Sharks winning a bidding war for Eichel. The Kings and Ducks can outbid them and they have more cap space to work with.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I still believe the Rangers and Kings would be the front-runners in the Eichel sweepstakes if they choose to pursue a trade. They have the depth in assets to make a strong pitch.

Ducks GM Bob Murray did attempt to acquire Pierre-Luc Dubois in January before he was traded to Winnipeg. However, the Sabres will ask for promising Trevor Zegras and perhaps defenseman Jamie Drysdale as well. Murray didn’t want to part with either guy for Dubois and could be reluctant to do so for Eichel.

The Blue Jackets have the cap room but I don’t see them outbidding the Rangers or Kings. Cap Friendly shows the Flyers with over $69 million invested in 17 players for next season. They must shed cap space to make room for Eichel’s $10 million cap hit and I doubt they can tempt the Sabres into helping them.

The Senators have the depth in promising assets and plenty of cap space. However, they seem happy with how their current roster is developing and could be reluctant to mess that up with a big splash in the trade pool. The Canadiens have the assets but, like the Flyers, lack the cap space to pull it off.

Wild GM Bill Guerin could kick tires on Eichel. While Joel Eriksson Ek has blossomed into a solid two-way center but they still lack a genuine first-liner. However, I think Guerin will consider more affordable options to address that need.

Treliving of the Flames could also inquire but I don’t believe he can meet the Sabres asking price or outbid other clubs He could, however, look at Eichel’s teammate Sam Reinhart. Friedman suggested Reinhart, a West Vancouver native, could attract interest from the Western Canadian NHL teams.

COYOTES

AZ COYOTES INSIDER: Craig Morgan believes the Arizona Coyotes’ biggest need is a No. 1 center but believes they’ll have to draft and develop one as rival clubs are reluctant to trade such commodities. If GM Bill Armstrong pursues a center it’ll likely be a middle-six option.

Morgan also believes the Coyotes need a physical top-four defenseman with a right-hand shot. Addressing that need is a priority for Armstrong.

Of the Coyotes’ pending unrestricted free agents, Morgan believes Alex Goligoski is the only one who might be brought back. He feels Goligoski would get a one- or two-year deal.

SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman speculates the Coyotes could trade winger Phil Kessel for draft picks and prospects. He was among the top-30 in goals this season and is due for a $5 million bonus for next season followed by $1 million in base salary. Friedman also shot down a rumor suggesting the Coyotes would buy out Nick Schmaltz.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Eichel would certainly fill that first-line center need for the Coyotes. They have the cap space but I don’t see them getting into the bidding given the reports earlier this season of ownership’s financial woes.

Kessel still has his 8-team no-trade list but that still gives the Coyotes a decent number of possible destinations if they wish to move him. Any interested parties, however, will wait until he’s received that bonus payment.










What Next For the Arizona Coyotes?

What Next For the Arizona Coyotes?

 










Trade Candidates Unlikely To Move At 2021 NHL Trade Deadline

Trade Candidates Unlikely To Move At 2021 NHL Trade Deadline

 










NHL Rumor Mill – April 5, 2021

NHL Rumor Mill – April 5, 2021

The Devils hold Kyle Palmieri out of Sunday’s game as a precautionary measure, speculation over Johnny Gaudreau’s future with the Flames and some suggested trade targets for the Bruins in today’s NHL rumor mill. 

PALMIERI TRADE COMING SOON?

NJ.COM: Chris Ryan reports the New Jersey Devils held winger Kyle Palmieri out of Sunday’s game against the Washington Capitals as a precautionary measure with the NHL’s April 12 trade deadline a week away. This isn’t an indication a trade is imminent but his agent expects his client could be moved before the deadline.

New Jersey Devils winger Kyle Palmieri (NHL Images).

Palmieri is slated to become an unrestricted free agent this summer. He hasn’t signed a contract extension with the Devils and there’s a risk they could lose him for nothing to the UFA market in July.

This isn’t the first time the Devils have held a player out of the lineup prior to trading him. Taylor Hall was kept out for two games in December 2019 before being shipped to the Arizona Coyotes. Ben Lovejoy and Marcus Johansson were both healthy scratches prior to being moved before the 2019 trade deadline.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Palmieri is among the top trade targets ahead of this year’s deadline. He’s been linked to the Boston Bruins, New York Islanders and Toronto Maple Leafs in the rumor mill. It wouldn’t be a surprise if he’s moved before the end of this week.

Ryan pointed out the Devils’ other pending UFAs (Ryan Murray, Sami Vatanen, Dmitry Kulikov and Travis Zajac) were in the lineup against the Capitals. That probably tells us all we need to know about their trade statuses.

COULD GAUDREAU BE MOVED?

BOSTON HOCKEY NOW: Jimmy Murphy speculates some big changes could be coming for the fading Calgary Flames at the trade deadline or at the 2021 NHL Draft in July. Johnny Gaudreau could be worth watching as an NHL source claimed the winger is in head coach Darryl Sutter’s doghouse.

The source suggested the Philadelphia Flyers could be a good fit for the Salem, New Jersey native. Gaudreau grew up cheering for the Flyers.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Calgary general manager Brad Treliving was feeling the heat from Flames fans following last year’s early playoff exit. Gaudreau was frequently singled out last fall by some Calgary pundits as a trade candidate.

The 27-year-old winger’s eligibility next summer for unrestricted free agent status combined with his declining stats suggest he won’t be a Flame for much longer.

Such a move, however, likely happens in the offseason when teams have more cap space and willingness to make big moves. Whether he gets moved to the Flyers (assuming they’re interested) is another matter. They could be more in the market for goaltending and blue-line depth.

SUGGESTED BRUINS TRADE TARGETS

NBC SPORTS BOSTON: Nick Goss believes the Bruins desperately need experienced defensive help with blueliners Brandon Carlo and Kevan Miller sidelined by injuries. He suggested they target the Nashville Predators’ Mattias Ekholm, the Columbus Blue Jackets David Savard, the Devils’ Dmitry Kulikov, the Arizona Coyotes’ Alex Goligoski, or the Anaheim Ducks’ Josh Manson.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Predators reportedly seek three assets (including a first-round pick and a top prospect) for Ekholm. He’s probably unavailable now given their recent surge into playoff contention in the Discover Central Division. The same goes for Goligoski as the Coyotes hold the fourth and final playoff berth in the Honda West Division

Manson has another year left on his contract plus a 12-team no-trade list. Injuries have also limited him to just 13 games this season. Savard and Kulikov seem more realistic options given their respective clubs’ position in the standings.










Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – April 4, 2021

Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – April 4, 2021

Check out the latest on the Bruins, Jets, Capitals, Sharks and more in the Sunday NHL rumor roundup.

SUGGESTED BRUINS TRADE TARGETS

THE ATHLETIC: Fluto Shinzawa recently examined how the Boston Bruins could address their need for a left-side defenseman and a scoring right wing.

Vancouver’s Alex Edler, Nashville’s Mattias Ekholm, Arizona’s Alex Goligoski, Detroit’s Jon Merrill and Ottawa’s Mike Reilly were among his recent suggestions for blue-line targets.

Columbus’ Riley Nash, New Jersey’s Kyle Palmieri and Miles Wood, Anaheim’s Rickard Rakell, and Detroit’s Bobby Ryan were his proposed forward trade options.

Could the Boston Bruins target Anaheim Ducks winger Rikard Rakell before the trade deadline? (NHL Images)

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Shinzawa rated each option, including the potential cost of acquisition. His list was published on Friday before news emerged of the COVID-19 variant sidelining a number of Canucks, including Edler. Regardless, Edler enjoys living and playing in Vancouver and has shown no willingness to waive his no-movement clause in the past.

Ekholm’s probably no longer available due to the Predators’ surge into playoff contention in the Discover Central Division. The same goes for Goligoski as the Coyotes jockey with the Blues and Sharks for the final playoff spot in the Honda West.

Palmieri or Rakell could provide a boost to the Bruins’ offense but the asking price for either guy could get expensive, especially for Rakell with a year remaining on his contract. I don’t see the Devils parting with Wood. The 25-year-old has a year remaining on his contract and probably still fits into the Devils’ plans going forward, whereas Palmieri is slated to become a UFA this summer and could price himself out of New Jersey.

The Bruins options could be going the bargain rental route with Nash, Ryan, Reilly, or Merrill. Neither of those guys, however, will significantly improve Boston’s roster.

RECENT JETS, CAPITALS AND SHARKS SPECULATION

THE ATHLETIC: Pierre LeBrun recently speculated the Winnipeg Jets are worth watching at the upcoming NHL trade deadline. He felt they could make a move to bolster their defense. However, general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff cautions finite resources such as cap space and currency to make trades could make it difficult to find the right fit.

LeBrun believed Mattias Ekholm would be a perfect fit on the Jets blueline. However, a Predators source told him last week the club doesn’t face the same urgency to sell as it did several weeks ago. LeBrun suggested Columbus’ David Savard or Anaheim’s Josh Manson as other options worth considering.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Cheveldayoff already made one significant trade this season, shipping Patrik Laine and Jack Roslovic to the Blue Jackets for Pierre-Luc Dubois and a draft pick. LeBrun feels he could strike again.

Savard could be the best choice. Cheveldayoff has a recent trade history with Jackets GM Jarmo Kekalainen and the asking price won’t be anything close to the reported three assets (including a first-round pick and top prospect) the Predators want for Ekholm. Manson’s been hampered by injuries this season, carries a 12-team no-trade list and could be reluctant to waive it.

Tarik El-Bashir recently examined some potential low-cost rentals for the Washington Capitals to add depth at center. He suggested Detroit’s Luke Glendening, Nashville’s Mikael Granlund and Erik Haula and Columbus’ Riley Nash. El-Bashir also didn’t rule out Calgary’s Sam Bennett.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Granlund and Haula could be unavailable given the Predators’ aforementioned surge in the standings. Bennett seems a more likely trade chip with each passing day but could too expensive for the Capitals. Glendening seems the most affordable option but other cap-strapped contenders seeking depth at center (hello there, Edmonton Oilers) could come calling.

LeBrun also reported the San Jose Sharks have told teams it has cap space to rent for an asset or two. They have around $6 million available and LeBrun suggested they could become the third team in a complicated cap deal to facilitate a trade.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Sharks are also rising in the West Division and fighting for a playoff spot. That could affect GM Doug Wilson’s willingness to rent out some of his cap space.

WHITHER DEANGELO?

NEW YORK POST: Larry Brooks asks, “You’re telling me that Tony DeAngelo wouldn’t be a fit or worthwhile risk for Florida?”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Brooks is referring to the Panthers’ search for blueline help after Aaron Ekblad was sidelined by a fractured leg for the remainder of the season.

Despite his defensive flaws, DeAngelo’s offensive abilities and puck-moving skills would draw attention from clubs seeking blueline depth. However, the young rearguard’s personal baggage, including his clash with a teammate in January that ended his tenure with the Rangers, has also dampened his trade value.










NHL Rumor Mill – March 29, 2021

NHL Rumor Mill – March 29, 2021

With the April 12 trade deadline two weeks away, here’s a look at the latest on the Bruins, Blue Jackets and Jets in the NHL Rumor Mill.

BRUINS NEED A SCORING WINGER

THE ATHLETIC: Fluto Shinzawa reports Boston Bruins GM Don Sweeney is once again in pursuit of a top-nine right-winger. “They need a forward,” one NHL source told Shinzawa. “For now and for the future. What’s your second line look like if you don’t?”

Could the Boston Bruins attempt to acquire New Jersey Devils winger Kyle Palmieri? (NHL Images)

Shinzawa suggested New Jersey Devils winger Kyle Palmieri would be a leading candidate. He has no-trade protection but lives in Massachusetts during the offseason. He’s an unrestricted free agent this summer, meaning the Bruins don’t have to worry about protecting him in the expansion draft. They could also sign him to a new contract if he’s interested following the expansion draft.

NEW YORK POST: Larry Brooks believes Palmieri would make sense for the Bruins. However, he feels it won’t make sense for the Devils if the return is another prospect or a draft pick or two. He believes the Devils need to move past rebuilding and add an established scorer or two.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Landing Palmieri might not be easy for the Bruins if the Devils want more than draft picks or prospects. It could cost them struggling (but still promising) winger Jake DeBrusk, who they’re reportedly reluctant to move because they fear he could blossom into a scorer elsewhere.

LATEST BLUE JACKETS SPECULATION

NEW YORK POST: Larry Brooks thinks Columbus Blue Jackets general manager Jarmo Kekalainen owes it to Nick Foligno to move him if the two sides fail to reach an agreement on a contract extension before the trade deadline rather than keep him for a playoff drive. He suggested the Jackets captain could be a good fit on the New York Islanders.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Brooks seems to be assuming Foligno would welcome a trade to a playoff contender. That might not be the case. Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman thinks trading their captain isn’t something the Jackets want to do. Foligno’s 10-team no-trade clause would also complicate things.

NHL.COM: In a recent mailbag segment, Tim Campbell was asked about the probability of the Columbus Blue Jackets trading struggling winger Patrik Laine at the trade deadline. He dismissed that idea, pointing out the Jackets gave up a lot to acquire the winger and won’t give up on him that quickly.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Laine won’t be traded but the Jackets have to get to the root of his (and Max Domi’s) offensive struggles. Part of it is the lack of skilled centers. Part of it could be John Tortorella’s coaching. Complicating matters is Laine’s status as a restricted free agent with arbitration rights this summer.

WOULD GOLIGOSKI MAKE SENSE FOR THE JETS?

THE ATHLETIC: Murat Ates suggests Arizona Coyotes defenseman Alex Goligoski could give the Winnipeg Jets an opportunity to add an experienced blueliner without giving up high-end futures in return. While Golisgoski’s offensive production is in decline he’s still a capable, big-minute rearguard with a left-handed shot who could serve in a variety of defensive roles.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Ates points out Goligoski would be a more affordable acquisition for the Jets than Nashville’s Mattias Ekholm or Columbus’ David Savard. He’s due to become a UFA this summer but his $5.475 million cap hit could be a sticking point.

Cap Friendly indicates the Jets do have over $3.5 million in LTIR space remaining and Goligoski has over $1.9 million in salary still to be paid. They can fit him in but could seek more cap flexibility by asking the Coyotes to pick up part of his cap hit.