NHL Rumor Mill – October 9, 2019

NHL Rumor Mill – October 9, 2019

The latest on the Pittsburgh Penguins plus updates on Roman Josi, Alex Pietrangelo, Brian Boyle and more in today’s NHL rumor mill.

COULD INJURIES FORCE THE PENGUINS INTO THE TRADE MARKET?

TSN: Bob McKenzie reports injuries will sideline Pittsburgh Penguins centers Evgeni Malkin and Nick Bjugstad for the next four weeks. While there’s no way they can find a suitable replacement for Malkin, McKenzie wonders if they’ll draw upon their blueline depth to find some short-term help in the trade market.

Jack Johnson was mentioned in recent trade speculation. McKenzie also suggested throwing Erik Gudbranson into the mix. It would have to be a dollar-in, dollar-out move to allow sufficient cap space when Malkin and Bjugstad return.

THE ATHLETIC: Rob Rossi reports Penguins general manager Jim Rutherford said it’s too early to pursue a trade for a center. Rutherford tried to peddle Johnson at the end of training camp. Rossi speculates he could call up a couple of forwards from their AHL affiliate.

Could the Pittsburgh Penguins attempt to shop Jack Johnson for a center? (Photo via NHL Images)

SPECTOR’S NOTE: There’s not much of a market for Johnson and I doubt Rutherford will have much luck floating Gudbranson in the trade market. Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman suggested Juuso Riikola as an option. The Penguins will probably ride it out for the time being while Rutherford keeps an eye on the trade market and the waiver wire.

INTEREST GROWING IN BOYLE

TSN: Bob McKenzie reports there’s significant interest in Brian Boyle. The free-agent center is talking with several teams. McKenzie claims one of those clubs must either clear some salary-cap space or a roster spot to sign Boyle.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Wonder if the Penguins might be among those teams?

HIGHLIGHTS FROM FRIEDMAN’S LATEST “31 THOUGHTS”

SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman reports Roman Josi’s contract negotiations with the Nashville Predators have hit a snag. There was momentum in those talks during the summer but that’s stopped now.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Tennessean’s Paul Skrbina suggests Josi’s asking price could be north of $9 million per season. Josi and Predators GM David Poile have downplayed the situation. I expect he’ll be re-signed but it won’t be for a hometown discount.

The St. Louis Blues could use Oliver Ekman-Larsson’s contract as a baseline in negotiations with Alex Pietrangelo. Ekman-Larsson is in the first season of an eight-year, $66-million deal with the Arizona Coyotes.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Cap Friendly indicates Ekman-Larsson’s annual average value is $8.25 million. The Pietrangelo camp could seek over $9 million per season.

The Florida Panthers will try to move Mark Pysyk. The veteran defenseman is slated to become an unrestricted free agent next summer. Friedman noted the New Jersey Devils and Vancouver Canucks had an interest during the summer. His AAV ($2.73 million) could be difficult for clubs with limited cap space to absorb.










NHL Rumor Mill – April 18, 2019

NHL Rumor Mill – April 18, 2019

More fallout from the Penguins’ first-round elimination and the latest Nazem Kadri speculation in today’s NHL rumor mill. 

PENGUINS POTENTIAL TRADE CANDIDATES

THE ATHLETIC: Rob Rossi wonders if Phil Kessel’s played his final game for the Pittsburgh Penguins. He cites multiple sources claiming the Penguins explored trading the right winger last summer, indicating Kessel was “agreeable” to playing for the Arizona Coyotes. He has a good relationship with Coyotes coach Rick Tocchet, who was an assistant coach with the Penguins during their championships in 2016 and 2017. 

Rossi also cited a Penguins source claiming Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin are the club’s only untouchables and it’s very unlikely they’ll part ways with winger Jake Guentzel and goaltender Matt Murray. 

Should the Pittsburgh Penguins consider trading Kris Letang this summer? (Photo via NHL Images)

PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE: Joe Starkey believes significant changes could be coming for the Penguins this summer. He believes they must find a way to move plodding defenseman Jack Johnson, who’s got four years remaining on his contract. Starkey also suggests they consider moving veterans like Kessel, defenseman Kris Letang and forward Patric Hornqvist. He points out the Penguins won a Cup without Letang when he was sidelined for the entire 2017 playoffs. 

Jason Mackey considers Kessel, defenseman Olli Maatta, center Matt Cullen, and left wing Garrett Wilson as the most likely to be on the move this summer. Hornqvist, Nick Bjugstad, and Erik Gudbranson fall into the “potentially on the move” category. Letang’s playoff performance raises questions but his injury history makes a trade difficult. He doubts the Penguins can find a taker for Johnson. 

TRIBLIVE.COM: Kevin Gorman considers Letang part of the Penguins untouchables with Crosby and Malkin and doesn’t believe the veteran blueliner should be made the scapegoat for the club’s early playoff exit. He suggests Justin Schultz could be a prime trade candidate because he has only a year remaining on his contract, though he acknowledged Maatta, Johnson or Gudbranson could be shopped in a cost-cutting deal.

While Kessel’s production makes him a valuable trade commodity, Gorman also believes his offense helps the Penguins. He doesn’t think Kessel should be dealt just for the sake of doing so. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: With over $79 million invested in 18 players for 2019-20, the Penguins have little choice but to shed salary this summer if they intend on getting younger and faster for next season. If Kessel is willing to accept a trade to the Coyotes, who have depth in promising and affordable young talent, they should seriously consider it. They’ll miss his offense in the short term but it’ll be worth it if he fetches a return that helps the Penguins now and in the future. 

Letang’s injury history, age (31) and his annual average value ($7.25 million through 2021-22) could be a tough sell. Those factors also apply to Hornqvist, who’s carrying a $5.3 million annual cap hit through 2022-23. Johnson carries an affordable cap hit ($3.25 million) but I doubt the Penguins can find any takers for him at this stage in his career.

If it appears Schultz could be too expensive to re-sign, perhaps he’ll be shopped this summer. He has a 10-team no-trade list. Maatta appears a more likely trade candidate as it seems head coach Mike Sullivan lacks confidence in him.

Cullen is 42 and will likely retire. Having acquired Bjugstad in February, I don’t think GM Jim Rutherford intends to move him. Gudbranson’s physical play could ensure he gets another season in Pittsburgh. 

LATEST KADRI SPECULATION

THE ATHLETIC: Pierre LeBrun recently reported questions about Nazem Kadri’s future with the Toronto Maple Leafs were being asked before his series-long suspension for cross-checking Bruins winger Jake DeBrusk. With the Leafs facing a salary-cap crunch this summer and with Mitch Marner to receive a significant raise, LeBrun said the possibility of moving Kadri as a cost-cutting measure was a possibility before his recent act of recklessness.

Kadri’s second playoff suspension in as many years could force Leafs management to ask themselves if they can trust having him in the lineup beyond this season. He has three years remaining on his contract with an affordable $4.5-million cap hit and a 10-team no-trade list.

LeBrun believes there would be a market for a two-way center like Kadri with a cap-friendly contract. While his suspension history might scare off some GMs, others could consider the edge he brings to his game to be a valuable component. 

THE HOCKEY NEWS: If the Leafs can win their current series with the Bruins without Kadri in the lineup, Matt Larkin suggests they consider trading him this summer for a defenseman. He notes the Leafs still need a “right-shot, two-way, top-four presence”, suggesting they’d have to send salary out to bring in a “Brett Pesce-type” blueliner. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Leafs have over $75 million invested in 19 players for 2019-20. Forwards Marner, Kasperi Kapanen, and Andreas Johnsson are restricted free agents while defensemen Jake Gardiner and Ron Hainsey are unrestricted free agents.

Assuming the salary cap reaches $83 million as projected and all-but-retired winger Nathan Horton ($5.3 million) is placed on long-term injury reserve at the start of next season, the Leafs will only have around $13 million to re-sign those forwards and re-sign or replace those blueliners. The cost of re-signing Marner alone could exceed $10 million. 

The Leafs have no choice but to shed salary. Kadri’s latest antics could grease the skids for his departure this summer, especially if the Leafs play well without him. 










Reviewing The Notable Deals of the 2019 NHL Trade Deadline

Reviewing The Notable Deals of the 2019 NHL Trade Deadline

The 2019 NHL Trade Deadline is now history. Here’s my take on some of today’s noteworthy deals

Mark Stone to the Vegas Golden Knights – Vegas GM George McPhee failed to land pry Erik Karlsson away from the Ottawa Senators at last year’s deadline but had better luck with another Sens star. Stone, 26, is among the league’s best two-way forwards and should be a fine addition to the Golden Knights lineup. He’s no rental player, as he’s reportedly signing an eight-year contract extension worth $9.5-million annually. 

Minnesota Wild trade Mikael Granlund to the Nashville Predators for Kevin Fiala. Player-for-player swaps tend to be rare on deadline day but this one between the Wild and Predators ranked among this year’s notable moves. The Preds get themselves a skilled playmaking winger in the 26-year-old Granlund, who’s on pace to reach 60 points for the third straight year and is signed through 2019-20 with a $5.75-million annual salary-cap hit. He’ll be an upgrade over the 22-year-old Fiala, who has plenty of offensive ability but has struggled to reach his full potential. 

Wayne Simmonds to the Nashville Predators. Simmonds, 30, hasn’t been the same since undergoing offseason pelvic surgery, but he remains a well-respected physical two-way winger. Unlike Granlund, he’s likely a rental player as he’s slated to become an unrestricted free agent in July. Despite the decline in his production this season, he should give the Predators some much-needed skill and grit on the right side. By acquiring Simmonds and Granlund, Predators GM David Poile is indicating he’s all-in for another Stanley Cup Final run. As for the Philadelphia Flyers, Simmonds’ former team, they get a young checking-line forward in Ryan Hartman along with a draft pick. In time, perhaps Hartman can blossom into a reliable two-way winger 

Kevin Hayes to the Winnipeg Jets – For the second straight year, the Jets bring in a center. Hayes isn’t as skilled as Paul Stastny (last season’s addition) but he’s got good size (6’5″, 217 pounds), solid offensive abilities and can play all three forward positions. That gives the Jets some flexibility should they need to shift second- or third-line players around. The Rangers, in addition to getting two draft picks for Hayes, also received Brendan Lemieux, who should develop into a steady third-line forward. 

Gustav Nyquist to the San Jose Sharks – The Sharks’ powerful offense just got more bite with Nyquist. He’s on pace for a career-best 60-point season. Given his ability to play center or wing, he can slot in on the Sharks’ second or third line. A solid rental addition who could bolster the Sharks’ Cup hopes. 

Marcus Johansson to the Boston Bruins GM Don Sweeney was said to be kicking tires on Mark Stone and Wayne Simmonds but found the asking prices too steep. Johansson, acquired at the cost of a 2019 second-rounder and a fourth in 2020, was more palatable. His recent concussion history makes him a bit of a gamble but when he’s healthy he’s a crafty offensive forward who can play center or on the wing. Johansson should provide a boost to the Bruins’ secondary scoring over the remainder of the season. 

Vancouver Canucks trade Erik Gudbranson to the Pittsburgh Penguins for Tanner Pearson. Desperate times call for desperate measures, or at least, that’s how this move by Penguins GM Jim Rutherford seems to be. With blueline stalwarts Kris Letang and Brian Dumoulin sidelined by injuries, Rutherford needed some experienced depth and toughness to counter anyone attempting to take liberties with his best players. Gudbranson will bring the grit but he’s had trouble adjusting to the increasingly faster pace of the NHL game. Still, he should bring more to the Penguins than Pearson, an early-season addition who quickly flamed out. Maybe he’ll have better luck with the rebuilding Canucks. 










2019 NHL Trade Deadline Tracker

2019 NHL Trade Deadline Tracker

Here’s the list of today’s notable deals heading toward the 3 pm ET deadline. This list will be updated frequently throughout the day.  Following the deadline, I’ll examine the day’s biggest moves in the Soapbox section. 

Florida Panthers trade defenseman Chris Wideman to the Pittsburgh Penguins for forward Sebastian Dea.

Winnipeg Jets trade left wing Nic Petan to the Toronto Maple Leafs in exchange for center Par Lindholm.

Florida Panthers trade defenseman Bogdan Kiselevich to the Winnipeg Jets in exchange for a seventh-round draft pick.

Buffalo Sabres trade defenseman Nathan Beaulieu to the Winnipeg Jets in exchange for a sixth-round pick. 

Vancouver Canucks trade defenseman Erik Gudbranson to the Pittsburgh Penguins for winger Tanner Pearson.

Minnesota Wild trade center Matt Hendricks to the Winnipeg Jets in exchange for a seventh-round pick. 

Anaheim Ducks traded defenseman Michael Del Zotto to the St. Louis Blues in exchange for a sixth-round pick.

New Jersey Devils trade winger Marcus Johansson to the Boston Bruins in exchange for a 2019 second-round pick and a fourth-round pick in 2020. 

Philadelphia Flyers trade winger Wayne Simmonds to the Nashville Predators in exchange for winger Ryan Hartman and a conditional 2020 fourth-round draft pick.

Ottawa Senators trade Matt Stone to the Vegas Golden Knights (Photo via NHL Images)

Ottawa Senators trade right wing Mark Stone to the Vegas Golden Knights for prospect defenseman Erik Brannstrom, center Oscar Lindberg, and a second-round pick in 2020. 

Minnesota Wild trade forward Mikael Granlund to the Nashville Predators in exchange for winger Kevin Fiala. 

Los Angeles Kings trade defenseman Oscar Fantenberg to the Calgary Flames for a conditional fourth-round pick in 2020.

New York Rangers trade defenseman Adam McQuaid to the Columbus Blue Jackets for a fourth- and a seventh-round draft pick in the 2019 NHL Draft. 

Florida Panthers trade center Derick Brassard and a conditional sixth-round pick in 2020 to the Colorado Avalanche in exchange for a third-round pick in 2020

Florida Panthers trade forward Tomas Jurco to the Carolina Hurricanes for future considerations. The Hurricanes trade prospect Cliff Pu to the Panthers for future considerations.

Arizona Coyotes trade center Jordan Weal to the Montreal Canadiens for center Michael Chaput

TSN’s Bob McKenzie reports the New York Rangers trade center Kevin Hayes to the Winnipeg Jets for Brendan Lemieux, the Jets’ 2019 first-round pick and a conditional pick. 

New Jersey Devils trade goaltender Keith Kinkaid to the Columbus Blue Jackets in return for a fifth-round pick in 2022.

Detroit Red Wings trade forward Gustav Nyquist to the San Jose Sharks for a second-round pick in the 2019 NHL draft and a conditional third-round pick in 2020. 










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 29, 2018

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 29, 2018

Game recaps, injury and waiver updates, and more in your NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: Auston Matthews made a big splash in his return to the Toronto Maple Leafs lineup with two goals and an assist in a 5-3 win over the San Jose Sharks. It was Matthew’s first game since suffering a shoulder injury on Oct. 27. John Tavares also scored twice for the Leafs.

Toronto Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews scored twice in a 5-3 victory over the San Jose Sharks. (Photo via NHL Images)

Sidney Crosby’s natural hat trick couldn’t prevent the Pittsburgh Penguins from dropping a 6-3 decision to the Colorado Avalanche. Nathan MacKinnon scored a goal and collected three assists for the Avalanche.

The Detroit Red Wings blew a 3-0 lead but Tyler Bertuzzi’s third-period goal allowed them to squeak past the St. Louis Blues 4-3. Bertuzzi had two goals on the night, as did Blues winger David Perron.

Nick Ritchie tallied the game-tying and game-winning goals as the Anaheim Ducks edged the Florida Panthers 3-2.

Tyler Seguin’s overtime goal gave the Dallas Stars a 4-3 victory over the Calgary Flames.

BOSTON HERALD: Bruins defenseman Kevan Miller will miss the next five weeks due to a larynx injury. Meanwhile, winger Jake DeBrusk returned to practice yesterday, showing no ill-effects from taking a shot to the head on Monday. The Bruins will also honor former winger Rick Middleton tonight by raising his No. 16 to the rafters in a pre-game ceremony. 

CBS SPORTS: Vancouver Canucks defenseman Erik Gudbranson is listed as day-to-day with a neck injury. 

NORTHJERSEY.COM: The New Jersey Devils placed Jean-Sebastien Dea on waivers on Wednesday.

SPORTSNET: The front-office purge continues for the Philadelphia Flyers as Chris Pryor and Gord Murphy were fired yesterday. They also placed goaltender Calvin Pickard on waivers. Former Minnesota Wild general manager Chuck Fletcher is reportedly the front-runner for the vacant Flyers GM role. 

TSN.CA: Ottawa Senators chief operating officer Nicolas Ruszkowski disputed Ottawa mayor Jim Watson’s claim the club wants the city to pay for a new downtown arena, calling the mayor’s remarks “disappointing and inaccurate.”

WINNIPEG SUN: A recent five-goal performance by Jets winger Patrik Laine earned a Winnipeg pastor over $1 million in Safeway Sobeys $1,000,000 Score & Win. 

 










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – August 19, 2018

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – August 19, 2018

Latest on Alex Ovechkin, Erik Gudbranson, Jamie Oleksiak, Kris Versteeg and more in your NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.

NBC SPORTS WASHINGTON: Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin and wife Nastya welcomed their first child – a boy – into the world yesterday. The child was named Sergei in honor of Ovechkin’s late brother.

Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin is the father of a baby boy. (Photo via NHL Images)

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Congratulations to the Ovechkins on the birth of their son. 

SPORTSNET’s Rick Dhaliwal recently reported Vancouver Canucks defenseman Erik Gudbranson suffered no setback in his recovery from the shoulder surgery he underwent in March. He expects to be ready for the start of the season.

PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE: Penguins defenseman Jamie Oleksiak recently spent four days in Ecuador helping to build homes as part of a charitable mission through ME to WE.

THE ATHLETIC: The Montreal Canadiens’ recent past and future came together on Friday as former Habs captain Saku Koivu and Jasperi Kotkaniemi (the third overall pick in the 2018 NHL Draft) met in Finland. They were taking part in an all-star game involving the greatest Finnish players past and present. Kotkaniemi hopes to emulate Koivu, who gave the youngster advice about what to expect playing and living in Montreal.

SPORT-EXPRESS’ Igor Eronko recently reported former NHL forward Kris Versteeg is expected to sign a contract with Avangard of the KHL.

NEWSDAY: New York Islanders general manager remains upbeat over the possibility his club’s new arena at Belmont Park could be completed earlier than expected. Construction is expected to being next spring. 

WINNIPEG SUN: Former Toronto Maple Leafs enforcer Kurt Walker passed away Friday night following a brief illness. He was 64. Walker played for three seasons with the Leafs from 1975-76 to 1977-78. He spent the past decade helping players in need through his website “Dignity After Hockey.” 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: My condolences to Walker’s family, friends and former teammates. In January 2016, I did a profile of Walker and his organization’s efforts to assist former NHL players who’d fallen on hard time. Follow this link to check it out.