NHL Rumor Mill – August 22, 2020

NHL Rumor Mill – August 22, 2020

What next for the Canadiens and Blues now that their seasons are over? Is Jesse Puljujarvi close to re-signing with the Oilers? Check out the latest in today’s NHL rumor mill.

CANADIENS

MONTREAL GAZETTE: Julian McKenzie believes the Montreal Canadiens have good reason to be optimistic over their future following their surprising performance in the 2020 postseason. Nevertheless, they have some issues to address. They must land a proven scoring forward and a reliable backup goaltender for Carey Price.

ESPN.COM: Greg Wyshynski believes the Canadiens must reevaluate core forwards Jonathan Drouin, Tomas Tatar, Brendan Gallagher, Max Domi, and Phillip Danault. He wonders if they’ll move any of them to make room for promising youngsters like Nick Suzuki and Jesperi Kotkaniemi. He feels they need more size on the wing and must sort out the left side of their blueline.

Has Max Domi played his final game with the Montreal Canadiens? (NHL Images)

SPECTOR’S NOTE: All those forwards Wyshynski mentioned lack no-trade protection. I don’t see the Canadiens moving away from Drouin after he developed some chemistry with Suzuki during the postseason. Gallagher is a heart-and-soul guy so he’s not going anywhere. Neither is Danault, who could move down into a third-line center role with Suzuki and Kotkaniemi on the rise. Tatar is an unrestricted free agent next summer and I expect the Habs will keep him for next season and see what unfolds.

That leaves Domi, a restricted free agent with arbitration rights who was a fixture in the Montreal trade rumor mill throughout this season. That speculation grew louder given his lackluster playoff performance. Granted, he was a late arrival to training camp over COVID-19 concerns given his health conditions. He may have been nursing an injury. Nevertheless, he could become the odd man out.

TVA Sports recently cited The Athletic’s Michael Russo including Domi on his list of possible trade targets for the Minnesota Wild. There’s also some chatter linking Domi to the Pittsburgh Penguins. It remains to be seen if those clubs have any interest in him or if Canadiens general manager Marc Bergevin intends to shop him. Still, I expect this isn’t the last time Domi’s name surfaces in the rumor mill.

BLUES

ESPN.COM: Emily Kaplan wonders what the future holds for Alex Pietrangelo now that the St. Louis Blues are out of the playoffs. The Blues captain becomes an unrestricted free agent at season’s end. He wants to stay in St. Louis and the Blues want to keep him, but he’s in line for a lucrative new contract. Because of the flat salary cap, Kaplan expects a compromise could be worked out between the two sides.

The cap-strapped Blues will have to move out some contracts to make it work. Kaplan suggested goaltender Jake Allen’s trade value has never been higher. Other veterans could be on the move, such as Tyler Bozak, Jaden Schwartz, Alexander Steen, or Carl Gunnarsson.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Cap Friendly indicates the Blues have over $79.4 million invested in 21 players, with Pietrangelo and restricted free agent Vince Dunn to re-sign. Keeping both means shedding some salary even if they’re willing to accept hometown discounts.

Steen has a full no-trade until next February and there probably wouldn’t be much interest in a 36-year-old forward with a $5.75-million cap hit. Schwartz has a modified no-trade but he’s also a valuable part of their core forwards. Bozak is 34 and carries a $5-million cap hit through next season with a 10-team no-trade clause.

Allen’s solid performance this season, his cost-effective $4.35-million cap hit for next season and lack of no-trade protection makes him the most likely trade option. Gunnarsson has a five-team no-trade but the 33-year-old carries an affordable $1.75 million cap hit through next season. Moving those two, however, won’t free up enough room for Pietrangelo and Dunn. GM Doug Armstrong will have to get creative.

OILERS

EDMONTON JOURNAL: Bruce McCurdy cites Sportsnet’s Mark Spector reporting there have been quiet discussions between Oilers GM Ken Holland and the agent for unsigned winger Jesse Puljujarvi. After contacting both sides, Spector expects Puljujarvi will sign a new contract with the Oilers and join them in training camp in the fall.

(NOT MARK) SPECTOR’S NOTE: A restricted free agent coming off his entry-level contract, Puljujarvi spent last season in Finland awaiting what he hoped would be a trade from the Oilers. Holland, however, reportedly didn’t find any offers to his liking. Looks like Puljujarvi realizes if he wants to continue his NHL career, it’ll have to be with the Oilers.

SPORTSNET: Spector also recently reported Holland isn’t sure yet whether he’ll re-sign Mike Smith for another season or find another goaltender to share the crease with Mikko Koskinen. The Oilers GM has only so many assets and cap space to improve his roster for next season.

Pittsburgh’s Matt Murray or Tristan Jarry could be available in the trade market. The Blues could look at moving one of their goaltenders to free up the cap room for Alex Pietrangelo.

Spector doesn’t see Holland pursuing Washington’s Braden Holtby via free agency and doesn’t expect the Vancouver Canucks will part ways with Jacob Markstrom. That leaves Vegas’ Robin Lehner as the best under-30 UFA option. 

(AGAIN, NOT MARK) SPECTOR’S NOTE: I think the Oilers should prioritize improving their goaltending depth. Landing Lehner seems unlikely as he’ll want a big raise on a long-term contract. Trading for Allen is one possibility, though his inconsistency throughout his career is a concern. Murray could be peddled by the Penguins but his injury history and consistency issues are red flags. Holtby is far too expensive and Markstrom’s probably not going anywhere.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 18, 2020

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 18, 2020

Game recaps, Dougie Hamilton sidelined by a fractured fibula, Dave Backes on waivers, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: Tampa Bay Lightning center Anthony Cirelli tallied his first career NHL hat trick as his club crushed the Winnipeg Jets 7-1. Nikita Kucherov scored twice, Ondrej Palat collected three assists, and Andrei Vasilevskiy picked up his 10th straight win.

Anthony Cirelli’s first NHL hat trick carried the Tampa Bay Lightning over the Winnipeg Jets 7-1 (Photo via NHL Images).

Sidney Crosby scored in overtime as the Pittsburgh Penguins edged the Detroit Red Wings 2-1. He has six points in three games since returning from core muscle surgery. Bryan Rust’s 20th goal of the season tied the game and forced the extra period.

Anaheim Ducks center Sam Steel’s overtime goal lifted his club over the Carolina Hurricanes 2-1. It was the Hurricanes’ first game since losing defenseman Dougie Hamilton to a fractured left fibula. Teammate Jaccob Slavin will replace Hamilton at the upcoming 2020 NHL All-Star Game in St. Louis.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Hamilton’s injury leaves a gaping hole in the Hurricanes’ blue line. With 40 points in 47 games, he’s the Canes’ highest-scoring defenseman and was well on his way to a career year. I’ll have more on the Hurricanes in the Rumors section.

HEADLINES

SPORTSNET: The Edmonton Oilers are reportedly nearing a contract extension with Zack Kassian. The 28-year-old winger is completing a three-year contract worth $1.95-million annually and is due to become an unrestricted free agent in July. It’s assumed the deal will be announced before the trade deadline on Feb. 24. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kassian’s a big-bodied forward with 20-goal potential who plays a physical style and is popular among his teammates. It’ll be interesting to see how much of a raise he receives. It could be a five-year deal worth $4 million annually.

Nashville Predators winger Viktor Arvidsson was fined $2,000.00 by the league’s department of player safety under the league’s rules regarding diving and embellishment.

NBC SPORTS BOSTON: The Bruins placed veteran winger David Backes on waivers for the purpose of assigning him to their AHL affiliate in Providence.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Backes played infrequently this season due to his injury history and declining performance. His demotion will clear $1 million of his $6-million salary-cap hit from the Bruins’ books for the rest of the season. Backes could be bought out of the final season of his contract in June.

TAMPA BAY TIMES: The Lightning placed defenseman Luke Schenn on waivers.

STLTODAY.COM: St. Louis Blues defenseman Carl Gunnarsson will return to the roster tonight after a 15-game absence in part because of an upper-body injury.

NBC SPORTS: Some good-natured billboard trolling between Calgary Flames and Edmonton Oilers fans has raised over $50K for various charities.

WINNIPEG SUN: Jets TSN analyst Kevin Sawyer will address criticism regarding comments he made two weeks ago about an apparent hazing incident involving Jared Spurgeon during the Minnesota Wild defenseman’s junior hockey days. “Favourite story of Jared Spurgeon,” Sawyer began. “He was a 15-year-old. Two months into the season we saran-wrapped him to a pillar in the arena, about six feet up in the air … he was tiny. He looked like he was 12.”










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 14, 2019

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 14, 2019

Taylor Hall a healthy scratch from Devils-Avalanche game, Flyers’ Oskar Lindblom diagnosed with rare bone cancer, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: The Colorado Avalanche’s 3-1 victory over the flailing New Jersey Devils was overshadowed by the Devils making star winger Taylor Hall a healthy scratch for precautionary reasons. That move prompted speculation Hall could be traded soon.

Nathan MacKinnon scored and set up another as the Avalanche are unbeaten in their nine games (8-0-1). Devils goaltender Louis Domingue left the game in the second period with an apparent lower-body injury.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I’ll have more on the Hall trade chatter later this morning in the Rumors section. Looks like there’s a good chance Hall will be moved before the start of the Dec. 19-26 holiday trade freeze.

Max Pacioretty scored in overtime as the Vegas Golden Knights edged the Dallas Stars 3-2. Stars captain Jamie Benn tallied in the third period to force the extra frame. Mark Stone collected two assists for the Golden Knights.

Philadelphia Flyers winger Oskar Lindblom diagnosed with bone cancer (Photo via NHL Images).

HEADLINES

NBC SPORTS PHILADELPHIA: Flyers winger Oskar Lindblom was diagnosed with Ewing’s sarcoma, a rare form of bone cancer. General manager Chuck Fletcher released a statement indicating Lindblom will miss the rest of the season as he undergoes further testing and treatment.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Best wishes to the 23-year-old Lindblom for a speedy recovery and resumption of his NHL career.

SPORTNET: Los Angeles Kings defenseman Drew Doughty believes fighting is necessary in hockey. “We need fighting. I know people don’t like it, some of you, but then you’re just going to have all those meatheads running around, little guys being rats out there, and that’s just the way it’s going to go.” He believes players must protect their teammates and themselves.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The rules are supposed to protect the players. Unfortunately, the league is doing a poor job enforcing them and setting a good example.

Doughty’s view is shared by many people within the game and those who follow it. I’ve enjoyed a good hockey fight as much as the next fan. However, the growing concern over the short- and long-term effects of head trauma among players is the main reason fighting is trending out of the game.

STLTODAY.COM: Blues defenseman Carl Gunnarsson (upper body) was placed on injured reserve.

OTTAWA SUN: A broken finger has sidelined Senators defenseman Dylan DeMelo for a month.










NHL Injury Outlook Week 10: Penguins Wobbling, Jack Hughes is Bruised

NHL Injury Outlook Week 10: Penguins Wobbling, Jack Hughes is Bruised

 










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 28, 2019

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 28, 2019

The Hurricanes buy out Patrick Marleau, the Blues re-sign Carl Gunnarsson, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

THE NEWS & OBSERVER: The Carolina Hurricanes yesterday bought out the final season of left wing Patrick Marleau’s contract. They acquired Marleau last weekend from the Toronto Maple Leafs but were unable to convince him to play out his contract with them.

The buyout was a condition of Marleau agreeing to waive his no-movement clause. The Hurricanes paid his $3-million signing bonus and the annual cap hit of the buyout will be $833,333 divided over the next two years. 

Less than a week after acquiring Patrick Marleau, the Carolina Hurricanes bought out his contract (Photo via NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s expected Marleau will return to the San Jose Sharks, where he spent all but two of his 21 NHL seasons.

The Sharks have other free-agent issues to resolve first. Joe Pavelski, Gustav Nyquist, and Joonas Donskoi are unrestricted free agents. Restricted free agents Timo Meier and Kevin Labanc are due for significant pay raises. Nevertheless, if there’s enough cap space remaining after resolving those free-agent issues, Marleau could return with the Sharks for next season. 

STLTODAY.COM: The St. Louis Blues re-signed defenseman Carl Gunnarsson to a two-year contract extension worth $1.75-million per season. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Gunnarsson agreed to a pay cut to stay with the Stanley Cup champions. Cap Friendly indicates he earned $2.9 million annually on his previous contract. 

TSN:  Speaking of the Blues, they have no intention of trading goaltender Jake Allen, who lost his starter’s job this season to rookie Jordan Binnington. 

CBS SPORTS: The Toronto Maple Leafs re-signed goaltender Michael Hutchinson to a one-year, one-way contract. 

SPORTSDAY: The Dallas Stars re-signed defenseman Taylor Fedun to a two-year, two-way contract.

OTTAWA SUN: The Senators re-signed forward Jack Rodewald to a one-year, two-way deal. 










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – May 30, 2019

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – May 30, 2019

The Blues even the Stanley Cup Final at a game apiece. Check out the game recap and other notable news in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: Carl Gunnarsson’s overtime goal on a delayed penalty gave the St. Louis Blues a 3-2 victory over the Boston Bruins in Game 2 of the 2019 Stanley Cup Final. It’s the first win in the Cup Final for the Blues in franchise history and ties this series at a game apiece. 

St. Louis Blues defenseman Carl Gunnarsson was the overtime hero in Game 2 of the 2019 Stanley Cup Final (Photo via NHL Images)

Gunnarsson had an opportunity to win the game in the third period but his shot clanged off the goalpost. Running into head coach Craig Berube in the bathroom before overtime, he told his bench boss he needed just one more chance to score.

The Bruins played most of this game without defenseman Matt Grzelcyk. He left the game in the first period after being boarded by Blues winger Oskar Sundqvist in the first period.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Game 2 saw a better effort from the Blues. They out-played and out-hit their opponent in this contest. Grzelcyk’s absence left the Bruins short a defenseman for most of Game 2 and that took on a toll on their blueline as the game went on.

The Bruins’ top line struggled in Game 2, prompting speculation Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand could be nursing injuries. Game 3 of this series goes Saturday night in St. Louis.

OTTAWA SUN: The Senators re-signed backup goaltender Anders Nilsson to a two-year contract extension worth $2.6-million per season.

NBC SPORTS: The San Jose Sharks are welcoming back Bob Boughner as an assistant coach. Boughner was previously on their coaching staff from 2015 to 2017 before becoming head coach of the Florida Panthers for two seasons. In April, the Panthers relieved him of his duties.

LOS ANGELES DAILY NEWS: The Anaheim Ducks are looking at three potential candidates for their vacant head-coaching position. “Dallas Stars assistant coaches Rick Bowness and Todd Nelson and New York Islanders assistant Lane Lambert are set to be interviewed for the job.”

NHL.COM: John Madden is stepping down as head coach of the Cleveland Monsters, the AHL affiliate of the Columbus Blue Jackets.

SUN-SENTINEL.COM: The Florida Panthers have inked a three-year broadcasting contract extension with 560 WQAM Sports Radio.

SPORTSNET: has the complete list of the 108 players attending the NHL Scouting Combine in Buffalo, NY this week.