NHL Rumor Mill – July 20, 2020

NHL Rumor Mill – July 20, 2020

Check out the latest on the Leafs, Coyotes, and Oilers in today’s NHL rumor mill.

LATEST LEAFS SPECULATION

THE ATHLETIC (subscription required): In a recent mailbag segment, James Mirtle was asked if the Toronto Maple Leafs can get a decent return if they trade Kasperi Kapanen, Andreas Johnsson, or Alex Kerfoot or if it’ll be a salary dump because of the flat cap.

Toronto Maple Leafs winger Kasperi Kapanen (Photo via NHL Images).

Mirtle feels they could get a player or prospect for Kapanen, but injuries and so-so-seasons for Johnsson and Kerfoot will affect their value. Still, he feels a depth-depleted club like New Jersey or Ottawa could be interested in one of those players.

He also believes the Leafs could go cheap on defense for next season out of necessity because of their lower cap space, perhaps seeking an affordable UFA veteran like Vancouver’s Chris Tanev. He doesn’t see them moving out a core player for blueline help.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: As per Cap Friendly, the Leafs have over $76.9 million invested in 16 players next season, with Kyle Clifford, Jason Spezza, Tyson Barrie, Cody Ceci, Travis Dermott, and Ilya Mikheyev to be re-signed or replaced. General manager Kyle Dubas did some impressive cap management last summer to free up room to re-sign Mitch Marner, but some of his deals received mixed results this season.

Dubas could pull off some more cap wizardry, perhaps acquiring one or two players on permanent long-term injury reserve status to provide more wiggle room. Nevertheless, there’s an expectation Kapanen, Johnsson, or Kerfoot could be moved in a cost-cutting deal. Such a trade doesn’t mean they won’t get an NHL-ready player back, but it would be one with much less than the $3-million or more cap hit of each of those three, with possibly less talent.

Dubas could surprise us with an interesting trade that brings in a top-four, right-shot defenseman. However, I think Mirtle’s assessment that they’ll stick with more affordable options for 2020-21 is the correct one.

A LOOK AT SOME POSSIBLE COYOTES TRADE OPTIONS

AZ COYOTES INSIDER: Craig Morgan recently examined the short- and long-term effects of a flat cap upon the Arizona Coyotes.

Per Cap Friendly, the Coyotes have almost $80 million invested in 17 players for 2020-21, with star winger Taylor Hall among their notable free agents.

Morgan examined several possible cost-cutting trade candidates for ’20-’21, including center Derek Stepan, winger Michael Grabner, goaltender Antti Raanta, and defensemen Alex Goligoski and Jason Demers.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Morgan listed several others but these five appear the more likely trade options. They lack no-trade protection or have limited no-trade clauses, their contracts expire at the end of next season, and they could draw interest in the trade market.

Stepan’s $6.5 million annual average value is steep, but he’ll only get $2 million in actual salary for next season because the Coyotes recently paid out $3 million in a signing bonus. That could make him enticing for budget-conscious clubs looking for some affordable short-term experience and leadership.

Goligoski carries a $5.475-million AAV but receives $4 million in actual salary and has an eight-team no-trade list. Raanta has an injury history but could be a decent short-term option for clubs seeking goalie depth. Demers and Grabner would be affordable depth additions.

ATHANASIOU STRUGGLING TO FIT ON OILERS LINES

SPORTSNET: Mark Spector reports Andreas Athanasiou isn’t working out as hoped for the Edmonton Oilers. Since his acquisition at the Feb. 24 trade deadline, he failed to click alongside Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl.

Athanasiou is a restricted free agent at season’s end and must be qualified at $3 million. Spector doubts GM Ken Holland will pay the winger that much, speculating he’ll likely re-sign him for less on a one-year deal.

(NOT MARK) SPECTOR’S NOTE: Athanasiou’s stock tumbled this season. His speed was supposed to be an asset alongside McDavid or Draisaitl but his skills are good enough to hang with those superstars. If he spurns less money to stay in Edmonton, Holland could try to trade his rights at the draft. Failing that, he could just cut Athanasiou loose via the UFA market at season’s end.










NHL Free Agents & Trade Candidates – Arizona Coyotes

NHL Free Agents & Trade Candidates – Arizona Coyotes

 










NHL Rumor Mill – October 7, 2019

NHL Rumor Mill – October 7, 2019

Updates on several 2020 RFAs, some Coyotes speculation, and the latest on Joshua Ho-Sang in today’s NHL rumor mill.

2020 RFA CHATTER

THE ATHLETIC: The recent re-signings of Chicago’s Alex DeBrincat, Ottawa’s Thomas Chabot, Arizona’s Clayton Keller, and Colorado’s Samuel Girard left Pierre LeBrun wondering if those moves were a reaction to this summer’s RFA signings. Negotiations to re-sign notable youngsters coming off entry-level contracts dragged on throughout the off-season. Some, such as Colorado’s Mikko Rantanen and Winnipeg’s Patrik Laine and Kyle Connor, weren’t resolved until the final week of the preseason.

Will the New York Islanders re-sign Mathew Barzal before next summer? (Photo via NHL Images)

LeBrun believes there have been preliminary talks between the New York Islanders and center Mathew Barzal, the Columbus Blue Jackets and center Pierre-Luc Dubois, the New Jersey Devils and center Nico Hischier, and the Montreal Canadiens and defenseman Victor Mete.

It could only be a matter of time until the Blackhawks open talks with Dylan Strome. Meanwhile, it could take until season’s end before discussions open between the Tampa Bay Lightning and defenseman Mikhail Sergachev, the St. Louis Blues and rearguard Vince Dunn, and the Boston Bruins and winger Jake DeBrusk.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Those RFA talks could be determined by how much salary-cap space those teams carry for next season. As per Cap Friendly, the Blue Jackets, Canadiens, Devils, and Islanders have more cap space to work with for 2020-21. They can afford to pursue new deals during the season for their notable free agents.

The value of the player is another factor. Barzal, Dubois, and Hischier are all first-line centers. That makes them more valuable to their respective clubs and a priority to re-sign.

COULD THE COYOTES SHOP GOLIGOSKI?

THE ATHLETIC: In a recent mailbag segment, Craig Morgan was asked if the Arizona Coyotes might trade Alex Goligoski this season. The 34-year-old defenseman’s no-movement clause has now become a modified no-trade.

Morgan doesn’t think they Coyotes have any desire to trade Goligoski. That might change if they’re out of playoff contention by the February trade deadline.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Cap Friendly indicates Goligoski has an eight-team no-trade list. That give the Coyotes some room to maneuver if they wish to shop him later this season. He’s signed through 2020-21 but his $5.45 million annual salary-cap hit could be a sticking point.

WHY DID THE OILERS PASS ON HO-SANG?

EDMONTON JOURNAL: Kurt Leavins weighed in on why the Oilers didn’t pluck Joshua Ho-Sang off waivers from the New York Islanders last week. He feels the only way Ho-Sang could help the Oilers is if he played as a top-six forward, something the winger hasn’t been able to do at the NHL or AHL levels.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I daresay that’s the reason why Ho-Sang passed unclaimed through waivers last week. I’ve read some comments suggesting he’s an affordable gamble but that’s a view that doesn’t seem to be shared by NHL general managers. The fact he’s almost begging for a club to take a chance on him says all we need to know about his value in the trade market. 










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 21, 2019

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 21, 2019

Taylor Hall returns to the ice, Dan Girardi hangs up his skates, plus updates on Dustin Byfuglien, Alex Goligoski, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: New Jersey Devils winger Taylor Hall scored a goal and collected an assist in a 4-2 victory over the New York Rangers in preseason play on Friday. It was Hall’s first game since suffering a knee injury last December. “I felt pretty good,” said Hall, who played just over 18 minutes. “There wasn’t a whole lot of flow to the game at certain points, but it was a lot of fun to be out there and (to) have some success right off the bat was a good feeling. It’s kind of the way you’d want to draw it up if you were coming back.”

New Jersey Devils winger Taylor Hall returned to action in his first game since last December (Photo via NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s a promising start for Hall. He’ll be crucial to the Devils’ playoff hopes this season.

TSN: Defenseman Dan Girardi yesterday announced his retirement. He spent 13 seasons in the NHL, 11 with the New York Rangers and two with the Tampa Bay Lightning.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: A solid, big-minute defensive blueliner, Girardi’s best seasons came during his long tenure with the Rangers, helping them reach the Stanley Cup Final in 2014. In recent years, however, his performance declined as he struggled to adjust to the increasingly faster pace of the game. Best wishes to Girardi and his family in their future endeavors.

WINNIPEG SUN: Jets head coach Paul Maurice said he recently had a “wonderful conversation” with defenseman Dustin Byfuglien, who’s taken a leave of absence from the club. Maurice offered up no timetable for the big blueliner’s return. He also downplayed a chance encounter at a restaurant between a couple of fans and Byfuglien, with one of the fans claiming the defenseman told her he will be playing this season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Jets’ official line is they’re giving Byfuglien all the time and space he needs during this leave of absence. A report earlier this week claiming the rearguard was pondering his future has Jets fans understandably concerned he might retire.

THE ATHLETIC: Arizona Coyotes defenseman Alex Goligoski admitted he lost his passion for the game around mid-December last season. However, he was re-energized following the club’s mandatory off-week in late-January.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Critics believe the off-week for teams is a waste of time, hurting momentum and roster cohesiveness. Goligoski’s case proves it can be beneficial for players experiencing burnout.

NEW YORK POST: The Rangers re-signed defenseman Tony DeAngelo to a one-year, $925K contract.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: DeAngelo was the Rangers’ only remaining unsigned restricted free agent. While he was holding out for more, the Rangers lacked sufficient cap space to give him a more substantial raise. If he matches or exceeds last season’s promising 30-point performance, the Blueshirts will reward him for it next summer.

TAMPA BAY TIMES: The Lightning placed goaltenders Louis Domingue and Mike Condon on waivers yesterday for assignment to their AHL affiliate in Syracuse.

MONTREAL GAZETTE: Canadiens rookie Ryan Poehling is sidelined indefinitely with a concussion while veteran Paul Byron is nursing an upper-body injury.

NHL.COM: The Washington Capitals named Jim Slater to their player development department.

 










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 5, 2019

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 5, 2019

Game recaps, Flyers reach a notable milestone, stars of the week, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines. 

NHL.COM: The Philadelphia Flyers became the second-fastest team in NHL history to reach 2,000 wins by downing the Vancouver Canucks 2-1. Flyers goalie Carter Hart made 41 saves to give his club their eighth straight win, moving them within five points of a wild-card berth in the Eastern Conference.

Vancouver Canucks defenseman Alexander Edler suffered a head injury during a 2-1 loss to the Philadelphia Flyers (Photo via NHL Images).

Canucks defenseman Alex Edler left the game after falling awkwardly and striking his face on the ice. Edler was sent to a hospital for a CT scan on his face and head. Goalie Thatcher Demko also suffered a leg injury during pregame warmups, while Sven Baertschi was sent back to Vancouver earlier in the day for tests potentially related to a concussion suffered five weeks ago.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Losing Edler for a significant period would be a devastating blow to the Canucks’ playoff hopes. Meanwhile, the Flyers are clawing their way back into the playoff chase after being given up for dead a month ago. 

Jake Muzzin collected his first points (one goal, two assists) with the Toronto Maple Leafs in a 6-1 drubbing of the Anaheim Ducks, handing the latter their fourth straight loss. Leafs forward Andreas Johnsson scored twice and set up two others. Ryan Kesler returned to the Ducks lineup after being sidelined for five games. 

Tyler Toffoli scored in overtime as the Los Angeles Kings edged the New York Rangers 4-3. Adrian Kempe scored two goals for the Kings while Mike Zibanejad set a Rangers’ record with a point in 10 straight team goals. 

A four-goal third-period enabled the Dallas Stars to squeak by the Arizona Coyotes 5-4 and pick up their fifth straight win. Tyler Seguin tallied the game-winner. Oliver Ekman-Larsson set a franchise record for Coyotes defenseman by scoring his 109th career goal. Stars forward Brett Ritchie was ejected from the game for a dangerous hit on Coyotes blueliner Alex Goligoski, forcing the latter from the game. 

Winnipeg Jets forward Jack Roslovic, Philadelphia Flyers goaltender Carter Hart, and New York Rangers center Mika Zibanejad are the NHL’s three stars for the week ending Feb. 3.

MONTREAL GAZETTE: Canadiens forward Paul Byron could be sidelined for weeks with an injured left forearm. 

TSN: Edmonton Oilers defenseman Andrei Sekera has been assigned to the AHL’s Bakersfield Condors on a two-week conditioning stint. 

NBC SPORTS WASHINGTON: The Capitals yesterday announced the re-signing of backup goalie Pheonix Copley to a three-year, $3.3-million contract extension. 










NHL Rumor Mill – January 21, 2019

NHL Rumor Mill – January 21, 2019

Updates on the Penguins, Stars, and Coyotes in today’s NHL rumor mill. 

LATEST DERICK BRASSARD SPECULATION

PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE: Jason Mackey reports Penguins GM Jim Rutherford said his acquisition of center Joseph Blandisi from the Anaheim Ducks wasn’t tied to a possible move of Derick Brassard. He claimed he swapped Derek Grant for Blandisi because of concern he’d lose Grant for nothing via waivers if he attempted to demote him. 

Pittsburgh Penguins center Derick Brassard continues to pop up in media trade chatter (Photo via NHL Images).

Mackey noted there’s growing speculation suggesting the Penguins will trade Brassard but Rutherford said he doesn’t know where it’s coming from.  “Media people keep asking about him. We haven’t taken any position one way or the other. I guess it’s a fun topic of the time right now.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Blandisi has since been sent to the Penguins AHL affiliate. For whatever reason, Brassard hasn’t been a good fit as the Penguins third-line center. It wouldn’t be surprising if he’s shipped out before the trade deadline to make room for a replacement. 

Rutherford won’t publicly admit if he’s trading him. Nevertheless, there was a recent report claiming the Columbus Blue Jackets had asked about the veteran center.

MORE MOVES IN STORE FOR STARS?

DALLAS MORNING NEWS: In the wake of the Dallas Stars shipping Devin Shore to Anaheim last week for Andrew Cogliano, Joey Hayden wondered if general manager Jim Nill has more moves up his sleeve before the Feb. 25 trade deadline. He noted ESPN.com’s Emily Kaplan and Greg Wyshynski recently suggested Detroit Red Wings forward Gustav Nyquist or New York Rangers winger Mats Zuccarello as possible rentals to bolster the Stars’ offense.

Both possess salary-cap hits between $4.5 to $4.75 million, meaning the Stars would have to free up some dollars to take on one of them. “Should the Stars want to add another piece before next month’s trade deadline, they’ll likely have to shut down Marc Methot (knee), Martin Hanzal (back) or Stephen Johns (post-traumatic headaches) for the season,” said Hayden. Doing so would free up the necessary cap space.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Hayden observes Methot’s cap hit is $4.9 million, Hanzal’s is $4.75 million and Johns is $2.35 million. Cap Friendly indicates the Stars’ current cap space is $2.53 million and $4.8 million at the deadline. Putting one of those guys on LTIR would provide additional breathing room, especially if they don’t move a salaried player to acquire a scorer.

The asking price for Nyquist could be a first-rounder but the Wings could part with him for a second-rounder. Zuccarello’s recent improvement could also push up his trade value into the second-round pick range. 

POSSIBLE COYOTES TRADE CANDIDATES

AZCENTRAL.COM: Richard Morin listed Richard Panik, Alex Goligoski, Niklas Hjalmarsson, Jordan Weal, and Jordan Oesterle as Arizona Coyotes who could come up in trade discussions. Morin considers Panik, a pending UFA winger, the most likely to be moved, suggesting the Boston Bruins, Colorado Avalanche, Nashville Predators and Minnesota Wild as potential suitors

Goligoski and Hjalmarsson are both signed beyond this season and could attract interest. Goligoski, however, has a full no-movement and Hjalmarsson a 10-team trade list.

Weal, recently acquired from Philadelphia, could have value if he puts up points if he continues skating on the Coyotes’ first line. Oesterle could interest teams seeking an affordable puck-moving defenseman. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Panik tallied 22 goals in 2016-17 with the Chicago Blackhawks. With 10 goals in 45 games, he could hit the 20-goal mark this season. That could make him a cost-effective option for clubs that miss out on landing some of the biggest fish leading up to the trade deadline. I doubt Goligoski and Hjalmarsson, who signed a two-year contract extension last summer, are going anywhere.