NHL Rumor Mill – July 16, 2020

NHL Rumor Mill – July 16, 2020

Some potential Red Wings trade targets, the Predators’ cap crunch, and the latest on Ilya Kovalchuk in today’s NHL rumor mill.


THE DETROIT NEWS: Ted Kulfan lists several potential trade options for the Detroit Red Wings. With only $46.2 million invested in 11 players next season, they have enough room to re-sign their key free agents and target cap-strapped clubs looking to shed salary.

Could Tampa Bay Lightning center Tyler Johnson became a trade target for the Detroit Red Wings? (Photo via NHL Images)

Kulfan suggests Tampa Bay Lightning forwards Tyler Johnson, Yanni Gourde, and Alex Killorn could interest the Wings. They could also set their sights on Pittsburgh Penguins goaltenders Matt Murray and Tristan Jarry, St. Louis Blues goalie Jake Allen and winger Jaden Schwartz, and Toronto Maple Leafs winger Kasperi Kapanen and Andreas Johnsson.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Johnson and Gourde each have a full no-trade clause while Killorn carries a modified no-trade. They all know Red Wings general manager Steve Yzerman from his days as Lightning GM. That could sway one of them to approve a move to Detroit, but it’s not a certainty.

Schwartz also has a modified no-trade clause. He could be reluctant to include the rebuilding Wings on his list of preferred destinations.

Murray, Jarry, Allen, Kapanen, and Johnsson would be easier targets because they lack no-trade protection.


THE ATHLETIC (subscription required): Adam Vingan recently explored how the Nashville Predators could fill multiple holes on their roster with limited cap space next season. They have 17 players under contract for next season with roughly $9.3 million in cap room.

Mikael Granlund and Craig Smith are their notable unrestricted free agents. Vingan speculated the 28-year-old Granlund might be receptive to a two-year deal while the 31-year-old Smith could seek term, though the latter might be open to accepting less money.

Buying out center Kyle Turris could also free up some cap room. He has four years left on his contract worth $6 million annually. A buyout would see the Predators carry $2 million in dead-cap space through 2028. Vingan considered it difficult to believe GM David Poile will pull off a big trade to clear cap space, noting he’s never retained salary in a trade.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Unless Poile is willing to retain part of Turris’ salary in a trade, buying him out could be his only option to free up valuable cap space for next season. A rival club could take on Turris if some salary was retained, but Poile could be squeezed to add a draft pick or a quality prospect in the deal. The remaining four years on his contract, however, could be a deal-breaker.


TVA SPORTS: Washington Capitals winger Ilya Kovalchuk said he’s stayed in contact with several of his former Montreal Canadiens teammates. Kovalchuk enjoyed a solid bounce-back performance with the Habs after they acquired him from the Los Angeles Kings. He was shipped to the Capitals before the February trade deadline.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kovalchuk enjoyed his brief time in Montreal. Speculation persists suggesting Kovalchuk could return to the Canadiens next season on a one-year, bonus-laden contract.

NHL Rumor Mill – July 9, 2020

NHL Rumor Mill – July 9, 2020

A look at the five teams affected the most by a flat salary cap in today’s NHL rumor mill.

THE HOCKEY NEWS: Matt Larkin lists the Tampa Bay Lightning, St. Louis Blues, Chicago Blackhawks, Toronto Maple Leafs, and the Arizona Coyotes as the five clubs that will be most affected by a flat salary cap in 2020-21.

The Lightning has 15 players signed for next season with $5.33 million in projected cap space. That won’t be enough to re-sign restricted free agents Anthony Cirelli and Mikhail Sergachev. Larkin suggests Yanni Gourde and Alex Killorn as trade candidates. Gourde has a no-trade clause but Larkin thinks he could waive it for a fresh start elsewhere after seeing a reduced role this season. Larkin’s no-trade clause becomes a partial listing of 16 no-trade destinations.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Athletic’s Joe Smith (subscription required) considers Killorn the top trade candidate, in part because of the flexibility his modified no-trade provides the Lightning. He also suggests Tyler Johnson ($5 million AAV through 2023-24) might be willing to waive his no-trade clause if it’s for a destination where he’d have a top-six center role. Cedric Paquette ($1.65 million through next season) could also be a trade option.

I think there will be more interest in Killorn, who’s more affordable ($4.45 million annual average value through 2022-23) than Gourde ($5.16 million AAV through 2024-25) and has a better reputation as a two-way forward. There’s no certainty Johnson would agree to be moved and his lengthy contract could be a deal-breaker for some clubs during these uncertain times.

St. Louis Blues goaltender Jake Allen could become an off-season trade candidate (Photo via NHL Images).

The Blues have 20 players under contract for next season with a little over $2 million in cap space and defenseman Alex Pietrangelo and Vince Dunn to re-sign. Larkin speculates they’ll attempt to move out goaltender Jake Allen ($4.35 million AAV through 2020-21) and suggests keeping an eye on winger Jaden Schwartz ($5.35 million AAV through ’20-’21, 15-team no-trade list).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The St. Louis Post-Dispatch’s Jeff Gordon wonders how other teams will view Allen’s cap hit. Center Tyler Bozak has come up in recent trade speculation, but Gordon considers Bozak’s $5 million AAV a luxury few teams can afford.

Meanwhile, The Athletic’s Jeremy Rutherford considers moving Schwartz far-fetched while the Blues’ championship window remains open. They could buy out the final season of Alexander Steen’s contract ($5.75 million AAV) but they’ll only get $2.4 million in cap relief for next season.

If the Blues intend to re-sign Pietrangelo and Dunn, significant cost-cutting is in order. Any way you slice it, however, it means parting with a couple of meaningful players.

The Blackhawks have 18 players inked for next season with $7.35 million in projected cap space. Larkin believes they could get much-needed cap relief if Brent Seabrook ($6.875 million AAV through 2023-24) and Andrew Shaw ($3.9 million AAV through 2021-22) go on long-term injury reserve for next season. Seabrook however, is attempting to return for the upcoming playoff tournament.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Larkin and The Athletic’s Scott Powers point out the Blackhawks lack sufficient cap space to re-sign goalie Corey Crawford and forwards Dominik Kubalik and Dylan Strome. Powers suggests they could buy out defenseman Olli Maatta ($4.083 million AAV through 2021-22) and center Zack Smith ($3.25 million through 2020-21). The combined savings (over $5.5 million) along with Shaw potentially remaining on LTIR would free up valuable cap room to re-sign those key players.

The Toronto Maple Leafs have 16 players signed for next season with $4.59 million in projected cap room. With Tyson Barrie expected to depart via free agency, Larkin believes they won’t have enough space to bring in one or two impactful right-shot defensemen. GM Kyle Dubas could attempt to shop a mid-tier forward like Kasperi Kapanen, Andreas Johnsson, or Alexander Kerfoot for a blueliner. He also wonders if Dubas might attempt to acquire more LTIR contracts with David Clarkson and Nathan Horton coming off the books in the off-season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Toronto Star’s Kevin McGran points out the cost of re-signing Travis Dermott and Ilya Mikheyev could eat up most or all of that cap space. He also anticipates one of those mid-tier forwards could be shopped, including Zach Hyman among them. Unless the CBA extension prohibits clubs from acquiring the contracts of players on permanent LTIR, it wouldn’t be surprising if Dubas goes to that well again to gain some wiggle room.

The Arizona Coyotes have 16 players signed with just $1.51 million available, though they’ll gain some cap relief with Marian Hossa ($5.75 million) on permanent LTIR. They need more than that if they hope to re-sign pending UFA winger Taylor Hall. Larkin suggests packaging center Derek Stepan ($6.5 million through next season) with a sweetener to free up more room.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It could take one helluva sweetener to tempt a rival club with more cap space into taking Stepan’s contract.

NHL Free Agents & Trade Candidates – Tampa Bay Lightning

NHL Free Agents & Trade Candidates – Tampa Bay Lightning


NHL Rumor Mill – May 8, 2020

NHL Rumor Mill – May 8, 2020

Possible Lightning trade candidates, Jeff Carter’s future with the Kings, and the latest Predators speculation in today’s NHL rumor mill.


THE ATHLETIC (subscription required): Joe Smith believes the Tampa Bay Lightning’s salary-cap crunch for 2020-21 will see Alex Killorn, Tyler Johnson, and Yanni Gourde surface in trade rumors. The Bolts must free up salary-cap space to re-sign restricted free agents Anthony Cirelli and Mikhail Sergachev.

Could Tampa Bay Lightning forward Tyler Johnson become an off-season cost-cutting candidate? (Photo via NHL Images)

Killorn will have a modified no-trade clause starting in 2020-21, while Johnson and Gourde have full no-trade clauses. If teams are granted compliance buyouts this summer and the Lightning get desperate, Smith could see Johnson and Gourde among the candidates.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I’ve read some pundits suggesting teams with lots of picks, prospects or affordable young players should make trade proposals for Cirelli or Sergachev. Some have also suggested signing one or both to offer sheets.

We can’t dismiss these options, but I don’t see either one happening. The Bolts don’t appear interested in trading Cirelli and Sergachev, and those two might not be receptive to offer sheets.

Smith isn’t saying Killorn, Johnson, or Gourde will be traded. He’s merely suggesting they’ll pop up in off-season speculation. Nevertheless, something’s gotta give for the Lightning to re-sign Sergachev and Cirelli.

Killorn would be the easiest to move, freeing up $4.45 million in cap space. Johnson or Gourde might be willing to accept a trade, but I daresay they’ll have only a handful of preferred destinations. Compliance buyouts are possible, but they’re not a certainty at this point.


NBC SPORTS: James O’Brien recently reported a core muscle injury will keep Jeff Carter out of the Los Angeles Kings’ lineup if the regular season resumes this summer. He wondered if the constant losing of the last three seasons is wearing on the 35-year-old center as much as the physical wear-and-tear, suggesting perhaps a “soft retirement” via long-term injury reserve.

Carter’s annual cap hit for the next two seasons is $5.275 million, but his actual salary is $2 million per season. Trading his contract to a budget team would be a logical way for the Kings to free up additional salary-cap space.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That will be up to Carter. If he wants to keep playing beyond this season, the LTIR option is out. He lacks no-trade protection but could be reluctant to uproot himself and his family, hence last season’s speculation suggesting he might retire if traded. 


THE ATHLETIC (subscription required): In a recent mailbag segment, Adam Vingan was asked about the chances of the Nashville Predators moving on with Mikael Granlund and Craig Smith next season. Both forwards are unrestricted free agents at season’s end.

Should the salary cap remain at $81.5 million, Vingan believes the Predators probably won’t have enough cap room to re-sign both. He feels it would be easier to re-sign Smith as he won’t cost as much as Granlund.

The NHL Buyout Barometer – Atlantic Division (Part II)

The NHL Buyout Barometer – Atlantic Division (Part II)


NHL Rumor Mill – February 18, 2020

NHL Rumor Mill – February 18, 2020

Bruins linked to Kyle Palmieri and Josh Anderson, the Canadiens were scouting the Avalanche and Lightning, plus the latest on the Rangers, Devils, Islanders and Red Wings in today’s NHL rumor mill.


NJ.COM: Mike Rosenstein cited a report from Boston’s WEEI Radio claiming the Boston Bruins could be interested in New Jersey Devils winger Kyle Palmieri. He’s signed through next season, and it would make more sense to give up assets to land a player who can help them through two playoff runs. Palmieri leads the Devils with 22 goals and 41 points.

NBC SPORTS BOSTON: Joe Haggerty reports sources are claiming the Bruins are very much interested in Josh Anderson. The 25-year-old winger has been sidelined by a shoulder injury since December, but he recently resumed practicing. Haggerty believes Anderson will have to return to the lineup before the Bruins move on him. If healthy, the big, physical forward could be the next player on their priority list behind New York Rangers winger Chris Kreider.

Could the Boston Bruins pursue New Jersey Devils winger Kyle Palmieri? (Photo via NHL Images)

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Bruins were linked to Tyler Toffoli and Blake Coleman before they were recently traded to the Canucks and Lightning respectively. There’s growing pressure on Bruins general manager Don Sweeney to address his club’s need for secondary scoring depth. As more players come off the market, the higher the asking prices for those available.


TVA SPORTS: The presence of Montreal Canadiens GM Marc Bergevin and assistant Scott Mellanby in Colorado last night watching the Avalanche and Tampa Bay Lightning sparked speculation over what moves he could make with either club. The Avs are said to be dissatisfied with young center Tyson Jost, while the Lightning has limited salary-cap space for next season. The Habs are expected to move Ilya Kovalchuk and Nate Thompson, while goalie Charlie Lindgren could be in play.

Jean-Charles Lajoie sees Canadiens center Max Domi as a replacement for sidelined Avs center Nazem Kadri. Yvon Pedneault believes the Lightning could be forced to part ways with forward Yanni Gourde.

THE DENVER POST: Mark Kiszla wonders what Avalanche GM Joe Sakic will do to boost his injury-ravaged roster, especially with top-line winger Mikko Rantanen now sidelined by a shoulder injury. Sakic could be forced to mortgage part of his club’s future if he were to pursue someone like Montreal’s Tomas Tatar.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Canadiens play the Lightning on March 5, so that probably explains Bergevin was watching the Bolts in Colorado. They also face the Avs on March 21. Nevertheless, we shouldn’t fully dismiss the possibility of Bergevin scouting either club for a possible deal before the trade deadline.


NEW YORK POST: Larry Brooks believes the Rangers face an impossible situation with veteran goaltender Henrik Lundqvist, who’s dropped behind Igor Shesterkin and Alexandar Georgiev among their three netminders. He’s only received two starts since Jan.11 and Brooks considers a trade unlikely. A buyout in June of the final year of his contract seems possible.

Brooks doesn’t expect the Rangers to move Georgiev unless they get a “sure-shot top-six or a top-end first-rounder.” Unless blown away by offers, they’re not in a rush to move defenseman Tony DeAngelo. If they don’t re-sign Chris Kreider, it’ll give them the salary-cap space to re-sign DeAngelo. He’s a restricted free agent with arbitration rights.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: TSN’s Pierre LeBrun reports of little progress in Kreider’s contract talks and he remains very much in play in the trade market. If Kreider gets traded by the deadline, the Rangers will have sufficient cap room for DeAngelo and Georgiev.

As for Lundqvist, some consider it disrespectful that he’s now their third stringer, but the Blueshirts must give playing time to their young netminders. His expensive $8.5 million annual average value through 2020-21 and no-movement clause makes him almost impossible to move. 


NORTHJERSEY.COM: Abbey Mastracco reports Devils GM Tom Fitzgerald said Travis Zajac won’t be going anywhere by the Feb. 24 trade deadline. The 34-year-old center insists he wants to stay and help his club on and off the ice. Zajac has refused to waive his full no-movement clause.

Mastracco also reported the Devils have not had a conversation with the agent for Sami Vatanen, but Fitzgerald said that could change. The 28-year-old defenseman is an unrestricted free agent this summer.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: So much for all the recent musings about Zajac reuniting with former Devils GM Lou Lamoriello with the New York Islanders. And speaking of the Isles…


THE ATHLETIC: Arthur Staple examined what other moves could be in store for the New York Islanders after acquiring defenseman Andy Greene on Sunday. With Casey Cizikas three weeks away from returning to action and no firm deadline for Cal Clutterbuck’s return, Staple suggests adding a third-line center.

Anaheim’s Derek Grant, San Jose’s Melker Karlsson, Los Angeles’ Trevor Lewis, Buffalo’s Conor Sheary, or Ottawa’s Tyler Ennis could fit that role. If they want to go big, Ottawa’s Jean-Gabriel Pageau could be in play.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Islanders GM Lou Lamoriello always plays his cards close to the vest. Nevertheless, he’s got over $18 million in deadline cap room to make another move if he wishes.


MLIVE.COM: Ansar Khan lists center Andreas Athanasiou and goaltender Jonathan Bernier as possible trade options for the rebuilding Detroit Red Wings. Young defenseman Dennis Cholowski has struggled to stick with the Wings. If he’s moved, Khan believes it would be as part of a larger deal in which the Wings get a young blueliner in return. Oft-injured rearguard Trevor Daley could be difficult to move.

DETROIT FREE PRESS: Helene St. James also listed Luke Glendening, Mike Green, and Darren Helm among the Wings’ trade candidates. Poor seasons by veterans Frans Nielsen, Justin Abdelkader, and Valtteri Filppula will adversely affect their trade value.