Latest on the Lightning, Rangers and Oilers – October 11, 2016

Latest on the Lightning, Rangers and Oilers – October 11, 2016

Nikita Kucherov reportedly on the verge of re-signing with the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Nikita Kucherov reportedly on the verge of re-signing with the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Updates on Nikita Kucherov, potential waiver-wire players of interest for the Edmonton Oilers and the Rangers could shop defenseman Dylan McIlrath.

TAMPA BAY TIMES:  Joe Smith reports Tampa Bay Lightning restricted free agent winger Nikita Kucherov flew from Russia to Tampa Bay yesterday as he nears a deal with the Lightning. It’s speculated Kucherov could sign a short-term bridge deal by as early as today.

The Lightning only have around $5.5 million in salary-cap space. It was expected Kucherov would seek a long-term deal worth over $6 million annually. He could accept a two- or three-year deal for a lesser annual cap hit with the promise of a much more lucrative deal down the road. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’ll be interesting to see what Kucherov’s new deal will be. He could become the third player this year (Steven Stamkos and Victor Hedman being the others) general manager Steve Yzerman convinces to accept less than market value to remain with the Lightning. 

NEW YORK POST: Larry Brooks reports the New York Rangers are believed seeking a trade partner to take defenseman Dylan McIlrath off their hands. McIlrath, 26, had a poor training camp, but the Rangers prefer not to put him on waivers. Even if he remains with the club, he won’t be part of the Blueshirts’ top-six defensemen. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: McIlrath is on a one-year, one-way contract worth $800K. He could be an affordable pickup for a team seeking blueline depth in the upcoming season. The asking price certainly won’t be expensive. 

EDMONTON JOURNAL: Bruce McCurdy lists wingers PA Parenteau, Teemu Pulkkinen and center Mark McNeil as right-shooting forwards on the waiver wire of possible interest for the Edmonton Oilers. He wonders if the club might claim one of them. All are on affordable one-year contracts, with Parenteau’s the most expensive at $1.25 million.

Jim Matheson reports former Oilers defenseman Eric Gryba, who was with the club on a professional tryout offer, left the Oilers after they signed blueliner Kris Russell over the weekend. His agent claims two other NHL teams expressed interest in auditioning Gryba.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Maybe the Calgary Flames are one of those two clubs interested in Gryba. They reportedly wanted to bring back Russell before he signed with the Oilers. 

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 21, 2016

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 21, 2016

Matt Duchene scores one of his two goals against Team USA in Canada's 4-2 victory at the World Cup of Hockey.

Matt Duchene scores one of his two goals against Team USA in Canada’s 4-2 victory at the World Cup of Hockey.

 World Cup of Hockey scores, plus latest contract signings & more in this morning’s NHL headlines.

NHL.COM: Matt Duchene scored twice and Carey Price made 33 saves as Team Canada downed Team USA 4-2. The victory ensure Canada advances to the tournament semifinal. The Americans have one game left in the preliminary round but will not advance to the semifinal. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Team Canada got some lucky bounces in this game. The Americans, however, were unable to cash in on theirs. The second-guessing over Team USA management’s player and coaching selection had already started prior to this game. Excuses are being made that the American squad would’ve been better if youngsters such as Auston Matthews, Johnny Gaudreau and Jack Eichel weren’t playing for Team North America. Perhaps, but American management did themselves no favors by leaving skilled players such as Bobby Ryan, Justin Faulk and Kevin Shattenkirk off the roster. Phil Kessel was also passed over, though a wrist injury would’ve prevented him from playing in the tournament. I think it comes down to depth in skilled talent.. Quite frankly, the Canadians had more of it than the Americans. 

Henrik Lundqvist made 36 saves to backstop Team Sweden to a 2-0 victory over Team Finland. Anton Stralman and Loui Eriksson scored for the Swedes, who will advance to the tournament semifinal. Finland could be eliminated from the tournament depending upon the outcome of tonight’s game between Sweden and Team North America. 

MIAMI HERALD:  Florida Panthers defenseman Aaron Ekblad will miss the start of the club’s training camp due to a minro concussion suffered in the World Cup of Hockey tournament. Ekblad has left Team North America and is returning to the Panthers for evaluation by their team doctors. 

TSN: Dallas Stars winger Valeri Nichushkin has signed a two-year contract with KHL team CSKA Moscow, while the New York Islanders re-signed winger Ryan Strome to a two-year, $5 million contract. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: There was talk Nichushkin was unhappy playing under Stars coach Lindy Ruff, who said the young winger was given plenty of chances but other younger players out-performed him last season. The Stars still hold Nichushkin’s NHL rights if he decides to return once his KHL contract has expired.

As for Strome’s new deal with the Islanders, $2.5 million per season is pretty much the standard raise for a player of his caliber coming off an entry-level contract. Had Strome’s play not declined sharply last season (28 points) after a 50-point rookie campaign, he probably would’ve received a more lucrative deal. 

TRIBLIVE.COM:  Phil Kessel (wrist surgery) and Trevor Daley (ankle) both expect to be ready for the Pittsburgh Penguins season opener next month. 

CHICAGO TRIBUNE: Winger Artemi Panarin is in contract extension talks with the Chicago Blackhawks. Panarin won the Calder Memorial Trophy as last season’s NHL rookie of the year and is entering the second year of his two-year entry-level contract. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: If he exceeds 70 points again this season, he could earn an expensive long-term extension. However, that could mean the Blackhawks will be forced to shed salary to create cap space to re-sign him. 

ESPN.COM:  Buffalo Sabres winger Evander Kane is filing a counterclaim against a woman who filed a civil suit against him earlier this year claiming he attacked her in his hotel room last December. Kane calls her allegations a sham. 

ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER: The Anaheim Ducks have invited forwards David Booth and Sean Bergenheim and goalie Yann Danis to training camp on a tryout basis. 

EDMONTON SUN:  The Oilers have added defenseman Eric Gryba to their training camp for a tryout. 

THE DENVER POST: The Colorado Avalanche signed forward Jiri Tlusty to a professional tryout offer. 

BOSTON HERALD:  The Boston Bruins give forward Peter Mueller a tryout offer. 

SPORTNET:  NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said future Olympic participation by the league will be up to the team owners. A decision is expected in the near future. 

OTTAWA SUN:  Former Senators star turned team executive Daniel Alfredsson has become a Canadian citizen. 

THE MERCURY NEWS: The San Jose Sharks released their training camp roster and schedule. 


NHL Rumor Mill – August 25, 2016

NHL Rumor Mill – August 25, 2016

Could Buffalo Sabres winger Tyler Ennis become a trade candidate this season?

Could Buffalo Sabres winger Tyler Ennis become a trade candidate this season?

 Latest on Buffalo Sabres winger Tyler Ennis, unrestricted free agent defenseman Eric Gryba and the Ottawa Senators in your NHL rumor mill. 

EDMONTON JOURNAL: Jim Matheson reports Buffalo Sabres winger and Edmonton native Tyler Ennis hopes to put his concussion-shortened 2015-16 campaign behind him. Matheson notes Ennis’ name came up in trade speculation at this year’s NHL Draft because of his talent level and the Sabres pursuit of a defenseman. His injury history, however, was a red flag to other clubs.

Ennis acknowledged his name came up at the draft, claiming it’s the first time he’s heard trade talk. He pointed out he lacks a no-trade clause, but hopes remain part of the Sabres future. Matheson speculates Ennis could play on their second line this coming season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: When healthy, Ennis is a very effective top-six forward, with three seasons of over 20 goals and 40-plus points. If his recent concussion injuries are in the past, he should regain his offensive form. However, that doesn’t ensure he won’t be traded in the upcoming season.

The Sabres were linked to Anaheim Ducks defenseman Cam Fowler in this summer’s rumor mill, and the Ducks need scoring depth at left wing. If Ennis has a good performance in 2016-17, perhaps there’s a fit there. Then again, the Ducks could balk at his $4.6 million cap hit through 2018-19. 

EDMONTON SUN:  Jim Matheson also reported former Oiler and current unrestricted free agent defenseman Eric Gryba continues to search for an NHL contract. Matheson claims three teams have offered Gryba training camp tryouts, but his first choice is to return to the Oilers. 

OTTAWA SUN: Bruce Garrioch reported via Twitter the Senators could sign another defenseman. “Pierre Dorion (Senators GM) told me last week may also invite a guy on a PTO.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Gryba spent parts of three seasons with the Senators before being acquired last summer by the Oilers. Maybe the Senators are one of those three clubs offering him a PTO.