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.


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.


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.


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 Rumor Mill – April 27, 2020

NHL Rumor Mill – April 27, 2020

Recent speculation on the Leafs and Coyotes in today’s NHL rumor mill.


NBC SPORTS: James O’Brien recently examined the long-term needs of the Toronto Maple Leafs. Goaltender Frederik Andersen will be due for a new contract after 2020-21 and defenseman Morgan Rielly following 2021-22. The Leafs’ defense needs improvement but limited salary-cap space means they’ll need to get the most out of entry-level blueliners like Rasmus Sandin and Timothy Liljegren. Cap constraints could force them to part with players they like but don’t need, like winger Kyle Clifford.

Should the Toronto Maple Leafs consider replacing Frederik Andersen after this season? (Photo via NHL Images)

 THE ATHLETIC (subscription required): James Mirtle and Jonas Siegel recently debated whether the Leafs should find an upgrade on Andersen between the pipes. Mirtle feels they should at least explore that option, especially if Andersen seeks a raise on his next contract. He pointed out Robin Lehner could be available in this summer’s UFA market. Siegel still thinks the Leafs can win the Stanley Cup with Andersen, but suggested trading for Pittsburgh’s Matt Murray as an option.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Andersen’s future in Toronto will be determined by his performance this season (assuming it resumes this summer) and next, as well as the Leafs’ cap payroll. According to Cap Friendly, they have over $68 million tied up in just 12 players for 2021-22. That won’t leave much wiggle room to sign Andersen to a larger deal. And if the Leafs fail to advance beyond the first round this year and next, they could consider other goaltending options.

As for adding Lehner or Murray this off-season, the Leafs have nearly $77 million invested in 16 players for next season. With the salary cap expected to remain around $81.5 million, they can’t afford to add another netminder unless they intend to trade Andersen. I think they’ll hang onto him for another season and focus instead on improving the blueline.


THE ATHLETIC: Craig Morgan speculates Taylor Hall, Michael Grabner, and Brad Richardson stand a good chance of leaving the Arizona Coyotes in the off-season. Hall and Richardson are unrestricted free agents following this season. Hall and his agent want to sign with a playoff contender, and the Coyotes’ second-half swoon could hurt their chances of retaining him. They also have to shed some salary to re-sign him.

Grabner has a year left on his contract worth an annual average value of $3.35 million. However, he was a frequent healthy scratch late in this season,  making him a potential cost-cutting candidate.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Coyotes GM John Chayka remains hopeful of having productive discussions with the Hall camp. Nevertheless, the Coyotes’ limited cap space will make it difficult to come up with suitable cap space to keep the former Hart Trophy winner in Arizona.

NHL Rumor Mill – February 17, 2020

NHL Rumor Mill – February 17, 2020

Should the Rangers ship Chris Kreider to the Blue Jackets? Will the Sharks weaponize their salary-cap space to restock their prospect pipeline? What moves could the Coyotes make at the trade deadline? Check out the latest in today’s NHL rumor mill.


NEW YORK POST: Larry Brooks suggests the Rangers should ship Chris Kreider to the Columbus Blue Jackets if unable to re-sign him before the Feb. 24 trade deadline. He feels the low-scoring Jackets could use the 28-year-old winger on their top line.

Should the NY Rangers attempt to ship Chris Kreider to the Columbus Blue Jackets? (Photo via NHL Images).

Brooks proposed swapping Kreider for Jackets winger Josh Anderson. The 25-year-old power winger’s been sidelined by a shoulder injury this season and is a year away from UFA status. Brooks thinks he’d be a reasonable replacement for Kreider. He also observed Jackets special assistant (and former Rangers winger) Rick Nash scouted yesterday’s game against the Boston Bruins.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Bear in mind that Brooks is only proposing a Kreider-for-Anderson swap. He’s not saying that’s what’s being discussed between the two clubs. For that matter, we don’t know if those two teams are having any type of trade talks.

Nevertheless, the Jackets need scoring. Only Detroit, Los Angeles, Anaheim, and San Jose have scored fewer goals. They also have plenty of deadline cap space to take on a scoring forward. Kreider could certainlty help them.

The only sticking point for the Rangers is Anderson’s RFA status with arbitration rights next summer. They’ve got several others in that boat, though it could be easier to re-sign them if Kreider’s not coming back.


NBC SPORTS BAY AREA: Marcus White explores the possibility of the San Jose Sharks using their salary-cap space to target clubs in need of cap room. With Erik Karlsson and Tomas Hertl suffering season-ending injuries, the Sharks would have over $17 million in cap room to take on expiring contracts from other clubs as long as additional assets are part of the return.

White points out the Sharks lack a first-round pick in this year’s draft and their prospect pool is among the league’s weakest. Playoff contenders like the Arizona Coyotes, Vancouver Canucks, Edmonton Oilers, Vegas Golden Knights, and Calgary Flames could use cap room, but trading with a Pacific Division rival could prove difficult. Instead, they might target the cap-strapped Florida Panthers, Philadelphia Flyers, Washington Capitals, Dallas Stars, Boston Bruins, and Pittsburgh Penguins.

Finding a suitable contract could be a problem. The Bruins, for example, would love to move David Backes, but he’s signed through 2021-22. White suggests retaining salary might be a better option. Defenseman Brenden Dillion could be a more attractive trade chip if the Sharks absorb part of his $3.275-million salary-cap hit.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Sharks GM Doug Wilson has a unique opportunity to start rebuilding his prospect pipeline. He has a well-earned reputation as a skilled wheeler-dealer, especially around the trade deadline. It’ll be interesting to see how he plays this.


THE ATHLETIC: In a recent mailbag segment, Craig Morgan was asked if the Arizona Coyotes might add some muscle at their defense and forward positions before the trade deadline. He felt that adding a “thumper with mobility for the third pair and a net-front guy for the power play would be nice additions.”

Asked which players the Coyotes could move, Morgan cited Michael Grabner as a trade candidate. The winger hasn’t played much and is signed through 2020-21 with an affordable $3.35-million AAV. Vinnie Hinostroza could be another.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: With the Coyotes very much in the thick of the Western Conference playoff race, I expect they’ll be buyers at the trade deadline. They also made the biggest splash of the regular season by acquiring Taylor Hall, but still need more offensive punch.

Finding some will mean a dollar-for-dollar deal, as they have just over $300K in deadline cap space. Given those limitations, they could be forced to bargain hunt.

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 3, 2018

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 3, 2018

Game recaps, Ryan Miller reaches a notable wins milestone, Ilya Kovalchuk sidelined, and more in your NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: Anaheim Ducks goaltender Ryan Miller made 19 saves to tie John Vanbiesbrouck for the most wins (374) by an American-born goalie in NHL history as the Ducks overcame a 5-1 to defeat the Washington Capitals 6-5. Pontus Aberg scored twice, including the game-winner, while Ryan Getzlaf had a three-point performance.

Anaheim Ducks goaltender Ryan Miller collected a record-tying win. (Photo via NHL Images)

Los Angeles Kings netminder Jonathan Quick kicked out 34 shots to collect his 50th career shutout in a 2-0 blanking of the Carolina Hurricanes. Alec Martinez and Kyle Clifford tallied for the Kings, who learned earlier in the day that winger Ilya Kovalchuk will miss four weeks following ankle surgery on Sunday. Center Adrian Kempe also missed the game as he’s day-to-day with an upper-body injury. The Kings claimed winger Nikita Scherbak off waivers from the Montreal Canadiens.

The Winnipeg Jets overcame a 3-1 deficit to earn a 4-3 shootout win over the New York Rangers. Mark Scheifele tallied the winning goal. Before the game, the Rangers honored former Blueshirt Vic Hadfield by retiring his No. 11 to the rafters of Madison Square Garden. Hadfield spent 13 seasons with the Rangers from 1961-62 to 1973-74.  Earlier in the day, they also recalled winger Matt Beleskey from their AHL affiliate.

Calgary Flames center Sean Monahan tallied his 15th goal of the season in a 3-2 win over the Chicago Blackhawks, handing the latter their fourth straight loss. With the win, the Flames sit one point ahead of the Ducks for first place in the Pacific Division. Blackhawks winger Chris Kunitz was ejected from the game for a high hit on Flames defenseman Travis Hamonic.

The San Jose Sharks snapped a four-game losing skid by downing the Montreal Canadiens 3-1. Sharks goalie Martin Jones made 40 saves while teammates Joe Pavelski and Brent Burns each had a goal and an assist.

Colorado Avalanche goalie Semyon Varlamov turned in a 24-save shutout in a 2-0 victory over the Detroit Red Wings. Nathan MacKinnon and Gabriel Landeskog were the goal scorers.

ARIZONA SPORTS: Coyotes winger Michael Grabner is sidelined indefinitely with an eye injury after being struck in the face by the stick of St. Louis Blues forward Sammy Blais on Saturday, 

THE PROVINCE: The Vancouver Canucks placed left wing Brendan Leipsic on waivers. 

TSN: The AHL’s Laval Rocket signed former NHL defenseman Simon Despres to a PTO contract. 


NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 2, 2018

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 2, 2018

Game recaps, the three stars and the top rookie for November, and more in your NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: The Ottawa Senators welcomed former captain Erik Karlsson back to Ottawa by drubbing the San Jose Sharks 6-2. Former Sharks winger Mikkel Boedker lit up his old team with four points while Karlsson was held off the score-sheet. The Senators honored Karlsson during a break in the action in the first period with a video tribute.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: For a club possessing an enviable blueline with Karlsson, Brent Burns, Marc-Edouard Vlasic, and Justin Braun, the Sharks are playing crappy defense of late. Their goaltending also hasn’t looked good. 

Toronto Maple Leafs winger Mitch Marner is tied for this season’s league lead in assists. (Photo via NHL Images)

Hours after finally ending their contract stalemate with William Nylander, the Toronto Maple Leafs tamed the Minnesota Wild 5-3. Leafs winger Mitch Marner collected two assists and is tied with Colorado Avalanche winger Mikko Rantanen for first place among this season’s assists leaders with 32. Zach Hyman also scored twice for the Leafs.

Montreal Canadiens captain Shea Weber tallied his first two goals of the season to lead his club to a 5-2 win over the New York Rangers. Artturi Lehkonen also scored twice for the Canadiens, who snapped a five-game winless skid. Earlier in the day, the Canadiens placed winger Nikita Scherbak on waivers.

Nashville Predators forward Eeli Tovanen scored his first NHL goal and added an assist as his club downed the Chicago Blackhawks 5-2. Earlier in the day, Filip Forsberg joined the growing list of Predators sidelined by injury as he slated to miss four-to-six weeks with an upper-body injury. P.K. Subban, Viktor Arvidsson, and Kyle Turris are also on the IR list.

Four unanswered goals by the Tampa Bay Lightning carried them to a 5-4 overtime victory over the Florida Panthers. Nikita Kucherov had a three-point game and Brayden Point netted the winning goal.

Mark Scheifele’s overtime goal gave the Winnipeg Jets a 4-3 victory over the New Jersey Devils, who had rallied with two late goals in the third period to force the extra frame. Earlier in the day, the Jets placed defenseman Joe Morrow (lower body) on injured reserve.

The New York Islanders made a winning return to Nassau Coliseum by edging the Columbus Blue Jackets 3-2. It was the Islanders first game back at their old arena since moving to Barclay Center in 2015. They will split their home games between the two arenas until their new venue is constructed at Belmont Park.

The Arizona Coyotes collected their third consecutive victory by crushing the St. Louis Blues 6-1. Clayton Keller led the way with a goal and two assists. Coyotes forward Michael Grabner left the game in the first period after being struck in the face by the stick of Blues forward Sammy Blais, who received a double minor.

Detroit Red Wings goaltender Jimmy Howard made 38 saves and Gustav Nyquist collected three points to lead their club to a 4-2 victory over the Boston Bruins, ending a nine-game losing skid in Boston’s TD Garden.

Goaltender Anthony Stolarz made 30 saves for his first NHL win since 2016 as the Philadelphia Flyers doubled up the Pittsburgh Penguins 4-2.

Ryan Spooner scored the game-winning goal to give the Edmonton Oilers a 2-1 win over the Vegas Golden Knights, snapping the latter’s winning streak at five games.

Third-period goals by Jamie Benn and Alexander Radulov lifted the Dallas Stars past the Vancouver Canucks 2-1.

Winnipeg Jets winger Patrik Laine, Colorado Avalanche center Nathan MacKinnon, and Vegas Golden Knights goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury are the NHL’s three stars for November 2018. Buffalo Sabres defenseman Rasmus Dalin was named NHL rookie of the month for November 2018.

TSN: Washington Capitals winger Tom Wilson will not face supplemental discipline regarding his hit to the head of New Jersey Devils forward Brett Seney. Wilson received a five-minute major and a game misconduct for the hit, which actually struck Seney on the shoulder from behind.


Notable NHL Free-Agent Signings – July 1, 2018

Notable NHL Free-Agent Signings – July 1, 2018

The NHL free-agent market opens today at noon ET. Here’s a list of today’s notable signings, which will be updated throughout the day. 

Toronto Maple Leafs signed center John Tavares to a seven-year, $77-million contract

Toronto Maple Leafs sign John Tavares to a seven-year contract (Photo via NHL Images)

Philadelphia Flyers reportedly signed left wing James van Riemsdyk to a five-year, $35-million contract. 

Tampa Bay Lightning re-signed defenseman Ryan McDonagh to a seven-year contract extension worth $6.75 million per season.

Arizona Coyotes officially announced the signing of defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson to an eight-year contract extension worth $8.25 million AAV. They also re-signed defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson to a two-year contract extension worth $5 million AAV, and signed free-agent winger Michael Grabner to a three-year deal worth $3.35 million per season. 

Vegas Golden Knights will sign center Paul Stastny to a three-year contract. The annual average value is $6.5 million. They’ve also signed defenseman Nick Holden to a two-year deal worth $2.2 million annually. 

Pittsburgh Penguins will reportedly sign defenseman Jack Johnson to a five-year, $16.25-million contract. They’ve also signed Matt Cullen to a one-year, $650K contract

St. Louis Blues expected to sign winger David Perron to a four-year deal worth $4 million per season. The Blues have also signed center Tyler Bozak to a three-year contract with an AAV of $5 million and goaltender Chad Johnson to a one-year, $1.75-million deal. 

Colorado Avalanche reportedly close to signing defenseman Ian Cole to a three-year contact worth an annual cap hit of $4.25 million.

Chicago Blackhawks sign goaltender Cam Ward to a one-year, $3-million contract with a full no-movement clause. They’ve also signed winger Chris Kunitz to a one-year, $1-million contract and defenseman Brandon Manning to a two-year deal. 

Boston Bruins expected to sign goaltender Jaroslav Halak to a two-year contract worth $2.75 million annually. They also signed winger Joakim Nordstrom to a two-year, $2 million deal and defenseman John Moore to a five-year contract worth an AAV of $2.75 million.

Columbus Blue Jackets sign center Riley Nash to a three-year contract worth $2.75-million per season. 

Buffalo Sabres will reportedly sign goaltender Carter Hutton to a three-year, $8.25-million contract.

New York Islanders have an agreement in place to bring back defenseman Thomas Hickey on a four-year deal worth an AAV of $2.5 million. They also signed forward Leo Komarov to a four-year, $12-million contract.

Detroit Red Wings expected to sign goaltender Jonathan Bernier to a three-year deal worth around $3 million annually and forward Thomas Vanek to a one-year, $3-million contract. 

Edmonton Oilers will sign forward Kyle Brodziak to a two-year deal with an AAV of around $1 million and forward Tobias Rieder to a one-year, $2-million contract.  

Dallas Stars expected to sign forward Blake Comeau to a three-year deal worth $2.4 million per season. They’ve also re-signed winger Valeri Nichushkin to a two-year deal worth $2.95-million annually. Roman Polak is reportedly heading to the Stars on a one-year contract worth $1.3 million.

Vancouver Canucks are expected to sign center Jay Beagle to a four-year contract worth $3 million annually and forward Antoine Roussel to a four-year deal worth $3.25 million per season. 

Calgary Flames expected to sign center Derek Ryan to a three-year deal worth an AAV of $3.125 million and center Austin Czarnik to a two-year deal worth $1.25-million annually. 

Carolina Hurricanes sign goaltender Petr Mrazek to a one-year deal worth $1.5 million. 

Montreal Canadiens are expected to announced the signing of center Tomas Plekanec to a one-year deal worth a base salary of $2.25 million plus bonuses. 

Minnesota Wild will reportedly sign defenseman Greg Pateryn to a three-year contract and signed goaltender Andrew Hammond.