Notable NHL Free Agent Signings and Trades – July 28, 2021

Notable NHL Free Agent Signings and Trades – July 28, 2021

Be sure to check in regularly throughout the day for today’s notable free-agent signings and trades.

SIGNINGS (Updated: 6 pm ET.

New Jersey Devils sign defenseman Dougie Hamilton to a seven-year, $63 million contract ($9 million AAV).

Boston Bruins sign goaltender Linus Ullmark to a four-year, $20 million contract ($5 million AAV).

Montreal Canadiens sign winger Mike Hoffman to a three-year, $13.5 million contract ($4.5 million AAV).

Anaheim Ducks sign center Ryan Getzlaf to a one-year, $4.5 million contract.

Detroit Red Wings sign center Pius Suter to a two-year, $6.5 million contract ($3.25 million AAV).

Boston Bruins sign winger Nick Foligno to a two-year contract. Financial terms weren’t disclosed.

Ottawa Senator sign defenseman Michael Del Zotto to a two-year, $4 million deal ($2 million AAV).

SIGNINGS: (Updated: 4 pm ET)

Tampa Bay Lightning re-sign center Brayden Point to an eight-year, $76 million contract ($9.5 million AAV).

Vegas Golden Knights sign forward Mattias Janmark to a one-year, $2 million contract.

SIGNINGS (Updated: 2:45 pm ET):

Seattle Kraken sign goaltender Philipp Grubauer to a six-year, $35.4 million contract ($5.9 million AAV).

Seattle Kraken sign winger Jaden Schwartz to a five-year, $27.5 million contract ($5.5 million AAV).

Los Angeles Kings sign center Phillip Danault to a six-year, $33 million contract ($5.5 million AAV).

Los Angeles Kings sign defenseman Alex Edler to a one-year, $3.5 million contract.

Boston Bruins sign forward Erik Haula to a two-year, $4.75 million contract ($2.375 million AAV).

Carolina Hurricanes sign defenseman Ian Cole to a one-year, $2.9 million contract.

San Jose Sharks sign center Nick Bonino to a two-year, $4.1 million contract ($2.05 million AAV).

SIGNINGS (UPDATED 1:30 PM ET)

Nashville Predators re-sign forward Mikael Granlund to a four-year, $20 million contract ($5 million AAV).

Minnesota Wild sign defenseman Alex Goligoski to a one-year, $5 million contract.

Calgary Flames sign forward Blake Coleman to a six-year, $29.4 million contract ($4.9 million AAV).

Carolina Hurricanes sign goalie Frederik Andersen to a two-year deal worth $4.5 million AAV.

Columbus Blue Jackets re-sign Boone Jenner to a four-year $15 million contract ($3.75 million).

New Jersey Devils sign goaltender Jonathan Bernier to a two-year, $8.25 million contract ($4.125 million AAV).

Montreal Canadiens sign David Savard to a four-year, $14 million contract ($3.5 million AAV).

Edmonton Oilers sign defenseman Cody Ceci to a four-year, $13 million contract ($3.25 million AAV).

Vancouver Canucks sign defenseman Travis Hamonic to a two-year, $6 million contract ($3 million AAV).

Columbus Blue Jackets sign forward Sean Kuraly to a four-year, $10 million contract ($2.5 million cap hit)

Vancouver Canucks sign defenseman Tucker Poolman to a four-year, $10 million contract ($2.5 million AAV)

Philadelphia Flyers sign goalie Martin Jones to a one-year, $2 million contract.

Dallas Stars sign Braden Holtby to a one-year, $2 million contract.

Philadelphia Flyers sign defenseman Keith Yandle to a one-year, $950K contract.

SIGNINGS AND TRADES PRIOR TO NOON ET. 

Edmonton Oilers sign Zach Hyman to a seven-year, $38.5 million contract ($5.5 million annual average value).

Edmonton Oilers re-sign defenseman Tyson Barrie to a three-year contract worth $4.5 million per season.

Vegas Golden Knights re-sign defenseman Alec Martinez to a three-year deal worth $5.25 million annually.

Seattle Kraken sign forward Alexander Wennberg to a three-yeae contract worth $4.5 million annually.

Toronto Maple Leafs sign goaltender Petr Mrazek to a three-year contract worth $3.8 million.

Dallas Stars sign defenseman Ryan Suter to a four-year contract worth $3.65 million AAV.

Carolina Hurricanes sign goaltender Antti Raanta to a two-year deal worth $2 million annually.

Vancouver Canucks sign goaltender Jaroslav Halak to a one-year contract worth $1.5 million in base salary.

Carolina Hurricanes sign defenseman Tony DeAngelo to a one-year, $1 million contract.

TRADES

Edmonton Oilers trade defenseman Ethan Bear to the Carolina Hurricanes for winger Warren Foegele.

Ottawa Senators trade winger Evgeni Dadonov to the Vegas Golden Knights in exchange for Nick Holden and a third-round draft pick in 2022.

Chicago Blackhawks trade defenseman Nikita Zadorov to the Calgary Flames in exchange for a third-round pick in 2022. The pick originally belonged to Toronto.










NHL Rumor Mill – July 28, 2021

NHL Rumor Mill – July 28, 2021

The free-agent market opens at noon ET today. Check out the latest on Marc-Andre Fleury, Dougie Hamilton, Ryan Getzlaf, Darcy Kuemper and many more in today’s NHL rumor mill.

NO FLEURY FLIP TO PENGUINS

TSN: Pierre LeBrun reports Chicago Blackhawks general manager Stan Bowman didn’t acquire goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury for the Vegas Golden Knights to flip him to another club. There was speculation he could end up in Pittsburgh as that’s where his career began.

PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE: Matt Vensel reports a source said the Penguins aren’t looking to acquire Fleury. They’re still interested in upgrading their goaltending but Fleury’s age (36) and cap hit ($7 million) makes no sense for the Penguins given their limited cap space ($7.4 million).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The hockey world still awaits Fleury’s decision on his future. There’s talk he could retire rather than head to Chicago. If he retires, there is no cap recapture penalty because that applies only to exceedingly long contracts signed before 2012-13 and Fleury’s doesn’t fall into that category. The Blackhawks would not be charge his $7 million cap hit.

LATEST ON HAMILTON

THE NEWS & OBSERVER: Chip Alexander cites Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman reporting the Carolina Hurricanes are believed to have offered defenseman Dougie Hamilton a deal comparable to that of St. Louis’ Torey Krug: seven years with an annual average value of $6.5 million. If Hamilton departs, Friedman expects the New Jersey Devils will make a big pitch for him.

Is Dougie Hamilton heading to market today? (NHL Images)

RUMORED DESTINATIONS FOR GETZLAF

TSN: Pierre LeBrun reports it’s possible Anaheim Ducks captain Ryan Getzlaf could sign with another club. The Edmonton Oilers could top his list of potential destinations. The Montreal Canadiens, Boston Bruins and Dallas Stars could also be in there.

UPDATE ON THE NHL GOALIE MARKET

TSN: Pierre LeBrun reports the Colorado Avalanche, Edmonton Oilers, Toronto Maple Leafs, Carolina Hurricanes and Philadelphia Flyers have been in touch with the Arizona Coyotes regarding goaltender Darcy Kuemper.

Frederik Andersen hasn’t received a contract offer from the Leafs and appears headed to market. The Avalanche could be interested depending on what happens with Philipp Grubauer. So are the Hurricanes. Petr Mrazek and Martin Jones could be two options for the Leafs.

The Canucks could be interested in Jaroslav Halak after buying out Braden Holtby yesterday. Jonathan Bernier hasn’t worked out a deal yet with the Hurricanes and could head to market. The Devils could be interested in him.

PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER’s Sam Carchidi speculates the Flyers could sign Holtby, citing his friendship with Carter Hart.

IN OTHER FREE-AGENT RUMORS…

SPORTSNET: Rory Boylen wondered what’s next for the Golden Knights after shipping Marc-Andre Fleury to Chicago yesterday in a cost-cutting move. Speculation links them to Buffalo Sabres center Jack Eichel.

NEW YORK POST: Larry Brooks reports Rangers general manager Chris Drury could be pondering the possibility of shipping out center Ryan Strome and replacing him via free agency with Phillip Danault.

EDMONTON JOURNAL: Bruce McCurdy cites TSN’s Bob McKenzie reporting the Oilers are getting closer to a multi-year contract with Tyson Barrie. Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman adds they could be in the mix for Cody Ceci. Meanwhile, Jim Matheson speculates they could target goaltender Linus Ullmark.

THE DALLAS MORNING NEWS: Matthew DeFranks reports the Stars have zeroed in on Ryan Suter as a potential replacement for Jamie Oleksiak, who was chosen by the Seattle Kraken in last week’s expansion draft.

TORONTO STAR: Mark Zwolinski suggests the availability of affordable young forwards such as Nick Ritchie, Ryan Donato and Pius Suter could change the Maple Leafs’ plans to acquire depth via trades. Twitter was also buzzing yesterday over a rumor suggesting Joshua Ho-Sang could be headed to Toronto on a two-way contract.

TWINCITIES.COM: Dane Muzitani expects the Minnesota Wild will target Alex Goligoski, Nick Foligno, Jake McCabe and Derek Stepan in the UFA market. They could also bring back Ian Cole if he doesn’t find any suitable offers via free agency.

OTTAWA SUN: Bruce Garrioch reports the Senators will seek a center and a defenseman when the UFA market opens today. Options could include Alex Wennberg, Andrew Copp or Casey Cizikas. They’ve also shown an interest in Rangers center Ryan Strome.

THE ATHLETIC: Aaron Portzline reports the Columbus Blue Jackets are expected to pursue Ohio native Sean Kuraly, who’s expected to hit the open market after four years with the Boston Bruins.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 19, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 19, 2021

A look at the notable players available in the upcoming 2021 expansion draft and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: The NHL released the player protection lists for the 30 teams participating in the upcoming NHL expansion draft. The Seattle Kraken will choose one player from each team on Wednesday, July 21 starting at 8 pm ET. The Vegas Golden Knights are exempt from this draft.

Montreal Canadiens goaltender Carey Price (NHL Images).

Montreal Canadiens goaltender Carey Price, Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin, St. Lous Blues winger Vladimir Tarasenko, Colorado Avalanche left wing Gabriel Landeskog and Carolina Hurricanes defenseman Dougie Hamilton are among the notable names available in the draft.

Others include former Stanley Cup-winning goaltenders Jonathan Quick of the Los Angeles Kings, Matt Murray of the Ottawa Senators and Braden Holtby of the Vancouver Canucks.

Among the notable defensemen are Canadiens captain Shea Weber, the New Jersey Devils’ P.K. Subban, the Calgary Flames’ Mark Giordano and the Anaheim Ducks’ Kevin Shattenkirk.

Other noteworthy forwards include Nashville Predators centers Ryan Johansen and Matt Duchene, Philadelphia Flyers wingers Jakub Voracek and James van Riemsdyk, New York Islanders forwards Jordan Eberle and Josh Bailey and Tampa Bay Lightning forwards Alex Killorn, Ondrej Palat and Yanni Gourde.

Some of the pending unrestricted free agents available are Boston Bruins forwards Taylor Hall and David Krejci, St. Louis Blues winger Jaden Schwartz, Avalanche winger Brandon Saad, Canadiens center Phillip Danault and Toronto Maple Leafs winger Zach Hyman.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: An interesting collection of talent for the Kraken to draw upon in the expansion draft. There’s a roster freeze in place until Thursday at 1 pm ET, allowing Kraken management exclusive negotiating rights with the free agents left exposed in the draft.

Signing those free agents, however, isn’t a certainty. Some clubs left them exposed in order to protect other players with the intention of signing those players before free agency begins on July 28. That’s why there’s little concern among Washington fans over Ovechkin’s exposure in the draft. Some NHL insiders believe Ovechkin and the Capitals already have a deal in place and are waiting until after the expansion draft to announce it.

DAILY FACEOFF: Frank Seravalli reports sources said there are concerns about Price’s health that could deter the Kraken from selecting him. His availability for next season could be in question.

An MRI following the playoffs revealed a hip injury that might require surgery. Price is traveling to the United States for further examination and the results aren’t expected until Friday, two days following the expansion draft. He’s also dealing with a lingering knee injury.

TSN: Pierre LeBrun reports Price is scheduled to see a doctor in New York regarding his knee. “The hope is that it’s not too serious,” said LeBrun. He noted the Habs goalie is getting his hip checked out but it’s the knee that could require surgery.

SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman reports the Kraken are seriously considering selecting Price. However, because they are supposed to get the full medical records of all exposed players, Price’s medical appointments following the expansion draft aren’t going over well. Other teams are upset, believing the Canadiens are using Price and Weber to make a mockery of the process.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The complaints about the health of Price and Weber are being raised because both played well during the 2021 Stanley Cup playoffs. Both players, however, have a long history of playing through injuries, as most NHL players do during the postseason.

Weber’s injury concerns were reportedly raised following his postseason exit medical. I daresay the same thing happened with Price.

I’m not saying critics aren’t justified in their concerns over the timing. I’m suggesting there simply wasn’t sufficient time between the end of the Stanley Cup Final and the due date for submission of the player protection lists for Price to receive a full evaluation of his hip and knee.

Price waived his no-movement clause to allow the Canadiens to protect backup goalie Jake Allen. He has five years remaining on his contract with an annual salary-cap hit of $10.5 million, a full no-movement clause that would follow him to Seattle, and an $11 million signing bonus due in September.

The Kraken could still select Price despite the injury concerns and his contract. It would be a big loss for the Canadiens but it would free up $10.5 million to pursue a younger, affordable replacement via trade or free agency. It would also provide additional cap space to find a potential replacement for Danault if he hits the open market next week.

TAMPA BAY TIMES: The Lightning opted to protect their blueline corps while making forwards such as Alex Killorn, Ondrej Palat, and Yanni Gourde available.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Lightning will lose a good forward to the Kraken. My guess is they choose Gourde. He’s a solid, versatile two-way player who can play all three forward positions.

THE TENNESSEAN: The Predators were the only club to protect five defenseman: Roman Josi, Mattias Ekholm, Dante Fabbro, Philippe Myers and Alexandre Carrier.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That’s one reason why centers Ryan Johansen and Matt Duchene are available. The other is Predators general manager David Poile hopes the Kraken selects one of them to get their $8 million annual cap hit off his books.

BOSTON HOCKEY NOW: Bruins goaltender Jaroslav Halak intends to test the free-agent market on July 28.

CBC SPORTS: Dolores Claman, who wrote the Hockey Night in Canada theme music in 1968, recently passed away at age 94.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: For decades, that tune was like Canada’s second national anthem. My condolences to Claman’s family and friends.










NHL Rumor Mill – May 10, 2021

NHL Rumor Mill – May 10, 2021

Speculation over Taylor Hall and Jaroslav Halak’s futures with the Bruins, the Blue Jackets face a busy offseason, plus a look at some possible coaching candidates for the Coyotes in today’s NHL rumor mill.

BRUINS

THE ATHLETIC: Eric Duhatschek recently examined how the Boston Bruins could keep Taylor Hall after this season if he remains a good fit on their roster. He’s not going to get more than Patrice Bergeron, David Pastrnak or Brad Marchand, with Bergeron the top earner of the trio at $6.875 million annually.

Could Taylor Hall re-sign with the Boston Bruins? (NHL Images)

If they do keep Hall it could come at the expense of another forward such as Jake DeBrusk, who’s signed beyond this season at $3.675 million. That’s assuming Hall would accept playing on their second line.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: In other words, the Bruins could re-sign Hall if he’s willing to accept a pay cut to play the same role he’s currently filling as their second-line left wing. That could also mean re-signing linemate David Krejci on an affordable, short-term deal, which he could accept to stay with the only NHL team he’s ever played for. Doing so, however, will mean shipping out DeBrusk in a cost-cutting move.

BOSTON HOCKEY NOW: Jimmy Murphy reports this season could be Jaroslav Halak’s last with the Bruins. There were exploratory contract talks with Halak and Tuukka Rask two months ago but a source said the play of Jeremy Swayman changes everything.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Swayman’s emergence this season likely spells the end of Halak’s tenure in Boston. Like Krejci, Rask could return on a cost-effective, short-term contract.

BLUE JACKETS

THE ATHLETIC: Prior to the Columbus Jackets parting ways yesterday with John Tortorella, Aaron Portzline wondered who they could hire as a replacement. He speculated they could go with a “player’s coach”, though general manager Jarmo Kekalainen never had an issue with Tortorella’s firm stance. He doubts the Jackets will pay top dollar for one of the bigger names available in the coaching market.

Turning to the roster, signing Seth Jones to a contract extension will be the offseason priority. The 26-year-old defenseman is a year away from unrestricted free agent status. If Jones doesn’t re-sign, Kekalainen could attempt to trade him for the best possible return. Then again, perhaps Jones will wait and see what roster moves the Jackets GM makes before signing an extension.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Jones’ contract status will be among this offseason’s closely-watched stories. He’ll draw considerable attention in the trade market if a new deal cannot be reached with the Jackets.

Kekalainen must also decide if winger Patrik Laine’s game will improve under a new head coach and if they can find a suitable center for him. Portzline cites sources saying he isn’t averse to trading Laine for the right deal.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kekalainen’s proven he’s willing to make bold moves. That’s how he got Laine in the first place. He could trade the winger this summer but that doesn’t mean he will. The right deal would probably be the offer of a good, young first-line center. A lot will also depend on how Laine’s contract talks shake out. He’s a restricted free agent with arbitration rights costing $7.5 million just to qualify his rights.

The Jackets GM must also attempt to acquire one or two centers. He has three first-round picks in this year’s draft and plenty of salary-cap space to pursue a deal with a cap-strapped rival.

He’ll also have to decide between goaltenders Joonas Korpisalo or Elvis Merzlikins. Portzline doesn’t see them returning as a tandem for next season. Both are UFAs next summer and Kekalainen can’t afford to lose one of them for nothing.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Korpisalo or Merzlikins could be part of a package deal to acquire a center or one of them could be used to address other roster needs.

COYOTES

AZ COYOTES INSIDER: Craig Morgan listed several potential coaching candidates for the Arizona Coyotes after the club parted ways yesterday with bench boss Rick Tocchet. A source told Morgan they’d like to have Tocchet’s replacement hired before this year’s draft on July 23-24.

Morgan doesn’t expect veteran coaches such as John Tortorella, Claude Julien, Bruce Boudreau or Gerard Gallant will be under consideration. He speculated options include St. Louis Blues assistant coach Mike Van Ryn, San Jose Sharks associate coach Rocky Thompson, New York Islanders associate coach Lane Lambert or Blue Jackets assistant coach Brad Larsen.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Like the Jackets, the Coyotes seem to prefer affordable coaches over more well-known ones who’ll be expensive to hire.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 6, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 6, 2021

Recaps of Monday’s action, stars of the week, concern over growing COVID numbers on Canucks, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: Auston Matthews scored twice and John Tavares picked up his 800th career points as the Toronto Maple Leafs beat the Calgary Flames 5-3. Matthews has a league-leading 27 goals on the season as the Leafs sit atop the Scotia North Division with 55 points. Leafs goalie Jack Campbell extended his record to 9-0-0. Mikael Backlund scored two goals for the sputtering Flames, who’ve dropped eight of their last nine and sit sixth in the division with 35 points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Stick a fork in the Flames, folks, they’re done. They’re eight points out of a playoff spot in the North and show no sign of reversing their death spiral in the standings.

Montreal Canadiens center Eric Staal (NHL Images).

Eric Staal’s first goal with the Montreal Canadiens was an overtime winner in a 3-2 victory over the Edmonton Oilers. Staal made his debut over a week after being acquired from the Buffalo Sabres. It was a costly win for the Habs as winger Brendan Gallagher could be sidelined for weeks with a fractured thumb. With 43 points, the Canadiens sit five points behind the third-place Oilers in the North.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The feisty Gallagher will be difficult to replace. The Habs are pressed against the salary cap. If Gallagher’s out until the playoffs perhaps GM Marc Bergevin will place him on long-term injury reserve. It would free up $3.75 million to put toward pursuing a forward or defenseman before the April 12 trade deadline.

The Winnipeg Jets survived a late push by the Ottawa Senators for a 4-3 victory. Pierre-Luc Dubois tallied twice for the Jets (49 points), who sit one point up on the Oilers for second place in the North Division.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This game wasn’t as close as the score suggests. The Jets dominated the Senators, outshooting them 46-23.

A four-goal second period enabled the Colorado Avalanche to hold off the Minnesota Wild by a score of 5-4. Nathan MacKinnon and Andre Burakovsky each had a goal and an assist for the Avalanche, extending their points streak to 15 games and sitting in first place in the Honda West Division with 56 points. Ryan Hartman had a goal and two assists for the Wild. With 48 points, they are third in the West.

The Vegas Golden Knights picked up their first win in four games by downing the St. Louis Blues 6-1. Alec Martinez scored twice and Alex Pietrangelo picked up an assist in his first game in St. Louis since the former Blues captain signed with Vegas in the offseason. The Golden Knights are second in the West with 52 points while the struggling Blues are sixth with 38 points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Two years after winning the Stanley Cup and a year after finishing with the best record in the Western Conference, the Blues are in serious danger of missing the playoffs. They’re winless in their last seven (0-6-1), tallying just eight goals in that stretch.

Michael Bunting’s first career NHL hat trick powered the Arizona Coyotes over the Los Angeles Kings 5-2. Adin Hill kicked out 36 shots for his third straight win as the surging Coyotes (43 points) hold a five-point lead over the Blues and San Jose Sharks for fourth in the West.

The Philadelphia Flyers edged the Boston Bruins 3-2 on an overtime goal by Travis Sanheim. The Flyers moved to within three points of the fourth-place Bruins (44 points) in the MassMutual East Division. Bruins goalie Jaroslav Halak missed the game after testing positive for COVID-19.

HEADLINES

NHL.COM: New York Islanders center Mathew Barzal, San Jose Sharks goaltender Martin Jones, and Boston Bruins winger Brad Marchand are the NHL’s three stars for the week ending April 4, 2021.

The list of Vancouver Canucks on the NHL’s COVID protocol list grew to 17 players as Nils Hoglander tested positive. The league has extended the postponement of Canucks games to April 10.

TSN: NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly expressed concern over the Canucks’ COVID numbers but remains confident the team will be able to complete its 56-game schedule.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That will depend upon how many more Canucks test positive, the severity of their symptoms, how long they’ll be sidelined, and if this outbreak remains contained to the team. The league has a buffer week of May 10-14 to allow for rescheduled games to be completed.

DALLAS MORNING NEWS: Stars head coach Rick Bowness remains hopeful his COVID test result on Sunday turns out to be a false positive. He’s fully vaccinated and said he feels fine despite the positive test. If his follow-up test is negative he’ll be unable to rejoin the Stars in time for tonight’s game against the Chicago Blackhawks due to the NHL’s COVID protocols.

TRIBLIVE.COM: Pittsburgh Penguins forward Brandon Tanev is listed as week-to-week with an upper-body injury.

ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER: The Anaheim Ducks have sent rookie forward Trevor Zegras to their AHL affiliate in San Diego. The Ducks were pleased with the promising youngster’s play as a winger but want to give him more experience at center. It’s expected he’ll return to the Ducks before the end of the season.

NEW YORK POST: A Minnesota medical examiner ruled the March 3 death of Mark Pavelich a suicide. The former Team USA and NHL forward was receiving treatment at the Eagle’s Healing Nest in Minnesota as part of his civil commitment for assaulting his neighbor in August 2019. He was diagnosed with a mild neurocognitive disorder due to traumatic brain injury, likely related to repeated head injuries.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Once again, my condolences to Pavelich’s friends, family and former teammates.










NHL Rumor Mill – March 5, 2021

NHL Rumor Mill – March 5, 2021

Updates on Taylor Hall, Alex Ovechkin and Tuukka Rask plus the latest on the Canucks and Flames in today’s NHL rumor mill.

HALL INTERESTED IN RE-SIGNING WITH SABRES

NHL.COM: cited a report in The Buffalo News in which Taylor Hall said he’s willing to sign another contract with the Sabres despite a disappointing performance by himself and the team this season. Hall said he’s enjoying his time in Buffalo, praising his teammates and coaching staff, adding he and his agent are “open to anything.”

Buffalo Sabres winger Taylor Hall (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I’m not doubting Hall’s sincerity and perhaps Sabres management would be interested. Given the club’s current plight, however, I don’t think there’s a deal to be had unless the Sabres are willing to pony up a hefty long-term contract.

The Sabres have already been soaked with the Jeff Skinner deal. Unlike Hall, Skinner had a solid performance in his contract year. Team owners Terry and Kim Pegula could be reluctant to risk a similar investment on Hall.

LATEST ON THE CAPITALS AND BRUINS

NBC SPORTS: Adam Gretz cited NHL insider Bob McKenzie reporting Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin could resume contract talks with management in April. Ovechkin (who represents himself in contract talks) met with Capitals general manager Brian MacLellan earlier this season but the two sides agreed to table talks until later in the season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: As Gretz points out, both sides want to get a contract extension done but how much and for how long could make it challenging. Ovechkin will be 36 when his new contract begins next season and at some point won’t be a $9.5 million player anymore.

MacKenzie also reported the Capitals could be in the market for an experienced goaltender given the lack of experience of their current tandem of Ilya Samsonov and Vitek Vanecek. Their limited salary-cap space could hamper those efforts.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Capitals added Craig Anderson as a third goalie. However, the 39-year-old is past his prime and only appeared in two games this season.

McKenzie also reports the Boston Bruins could explore new contracts for pending free-agent goaltenders Tuukka Rask and Jaroslav Halak. The Bruins also have sufficient salary-cap flexibility to add a significant player before the April 12 trade deadline.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Bruins have limited options available to replace Rask and Halak via this summer’s UFA market. It would also be difficult to find suitable replacements via the trade market. Re-signing both to reasonable short-term contracts could be their best option.

The Bruins need an experienced top-four, left-side defenseman and a reliable second-line scorer. They’ve been linked to Nashville Predators blueliner Mattias Ekholm and forward Mikael Granlund.

LATEST ON THE CANUCKS AND FLAMES

TSN: Darren Dreger speculates the Vancouver Canucks could shop pending UFA winger Tanner Pearson if unable to re-sign him before the April 12 trade deadline.

THE PROVINCE: Patrick Johnston reported the Arizona Coyotes have had a longstanding interest in Pearson stretching back to last October’s trade talks with the Canucks regarding Coyotes defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson. He suggests it’s best the Canucks move Pearson for something handy as they face re-signing young stars such as Elias Pettersson and Quinn Hughes in the near future.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: In other words, Pearson could be traded if the cost of retaining him could affect the cap space necessary to re-sign the Canucks’ top young players. Maybe the Coyotes could revisit their interest if they become buyers at the trade deadline.

Ben Kuzma recently reported there’s been some trade buzz surrounding Canucks center Brandon Sutter. A pending UFA like Pearson, Sutter wants to stay in Vancouver but Kuzma points out he could also be a good rental solution for the Edmonton Oilers as a replacement for the disappointing Kyle Turris on their third line.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Sutter has a 15-team no-trade list but the Oilers might not be on it. They have limited cap space so the Canucks would have to pick up a healthy chunk of Sutter’s remaining salary. They could try to swap Turris for Sutter but I doubt the Canucks would do it as Turris has another year remaining on his contract with a $1.65 million cap hit.

TSN’s Frank Seravalli reports the Calgary Flames are in the market for a right-winger. They’d like to move Elias Lindholm from the top line to center the second line, which would create a need to replace him on the right side. They’ve tried several players in that role this season but haven’t found the right fit.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Seravalli recently listed Detroit’s Bobby Ryan and Vancouver’s Jake Virtanen on his updated trade-bait list. Both are affordable but Ryan would be the better option if the Flames seek a rental player. Kyle Palmieri could be a better one if the New Jersey Devils become sellers at the trade deadline.