NHL Rumor Mill – November 7, 2019

NHL Rumor Mill – November 7, 2019

The latest Maple Leafs speculation plus an update on Josh Ho-Sang in today’s NHL rumor mill.

LATEST ON THE LEAFS

TORONTO STAR: Kevin McGran wonders what’s next on the trade front for the Maple Leafs. If they need to get something, and McGran feels a backup goaltender is a priority, they’ll have to move someone off their roster or from their AHL affiliate. General manager Kyle Dubas could be reluctant to trade any more draft picks after giving up his 2020 first-rounder to Carolina in June’s Patrick Marleau deal.

Is a reunion possible for Jason Spezza and the Ottawa Senators? (Photo via NHL Images)

McGran also points out Dubas will have to move a player or two or three to free up salary-cap space for Zach Hyman’s imminent return. Nic Petan was recalled into the lineup against the Los Angeles Kings. McGran suggests perhaps he was being showcased for a trade. He also wonders if Dubas “can package two or three of his spare parts and get something more meaningful than cap space back.”

 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Dubas could put one or two players (like Jason Spezza) on waivers but one of them could be plucked away for nothing by another club. He could try to peddle Petan for a backup goalie but there might not be many decent options available right now. He could end up waiting until the New Year before the market improves.

Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman yesterday reported teams contacted the Leafs to see if they were willing to move a big contract. However, they want to evaluate their roster when it’s fully healthy before making any decisions on a larger move. I don’t see him moving one of his expensive players. A forward like Alexander Kerfoot, Kaspari Kapanen, and Andreas Johnsson will draw more interest and fetch a better return. They’re all signed beyond this season with reasonable annual average salaries.

Spezza’s been a good solider thus far but he’s been a frequent healthy scratch with the Leafs. The Senators are reportedly seeking another experienced forward. Maybe they’ll consider a reunion with Spezza. His contract (one-year, $700k) is affordable for the budget-conscious Sens.

LATEST ON HO-SANG

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This has been your weekly Ho-Sang update. Tune in again next week for probably more of the same.










NHL Rumor Mill – November 1, 2019

NHL Rumor Mill – November 1, 2019

A review of TSN’s first trade-bait board of the season in today’s NHL rumor mill.

TSN: New York Rangers winger Chris Kreider, Toronto Maple Leafs defenseman Martin Marincin, and Edmonton Oilers winger Jesse Puljujarvi top Frank Seravalli’s first NHL trade-bait board of this season. Dallas Stars defenseman Julius Honka and Calgary Flames blueliner Travis Hamonic fill out the top-five spots.

New York Rangers winger Chris Kreider tops TSN’s first NHL trade-bait board of this season (Photo via NHL Images).

Kreider is slated to become an unrestricted free agent next July. With the Rangers still feeling its rebuilding pains, Seravalli wondered if the speedy winger might be a good fit with the St. Louis Blues now that Vladimir Tarasenko’s sidelined for five months.

Marincin could be moved as the Leafs clear salary-cap space for Zach Hyman’s return. Seravalli said Oilers general manager Ken Holland will be in Finland to check on Puljujarvi’s progress. The winger will be taking part in the Karjala Cup next weekend.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Unless the Rangers get an enticing offer I believe they’ll hang onto Kreider until February. The trade deadline is Feb. 24 and that means more suitors and better offers. Marincin could end up getting waived.

Puljujarvi is a restricted free agent coming off his entry-level contract. Holland can take his time and evaluate offers for the 21-year-old winger. If Puljujarvi isn’t re-signed by Dec. 1, he’ll be ineligible to play the remainder of this NHL season. Nevertheless, Holland could be content to let him play the season in Finland and try again to re-sign or trade him next summer.

Honka’s status is similar to Puljujarvi’s, except there might not be as much interest in the young blueliner. Seravalli wonders if the Flames uneven start might prompt GM Brad Treliving to shake things up. He also suggests Hamonic, an unrestricted free agent next summer, could finish the season in Calgary if the Flames get back on track.

Columbus Blue Jackets defenseman Ryan Murray, Leafs winger Nic Petan, Detroit Red Wings winger Andreas Athanasiou, New York Islanders winger Josh Ho-Sang and Los Angeles Kings goaltender Jonathan Quick fill spots six to 10.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Murray’s currently sidelined three-to-four weeks with a broken hand. The Leafs are reportedly trying to trade Petan. Given their need to make room for Hyman, they could be forced to put him on waivers if not takers are found in the trade market.

Athanasiou’s slow start and restricted free agent status next summer are behind the chatter about his future with the Wings. However, reports out of Detroit indicate they’re optimistic he’ll snap out of his scoring funk soon. The Islanders are trying to move Ho-Sang but so far there are no takers.

Quick’s poor start has prompted trade conjecture. His hefty contract, declining performance and injury history makes him a tough sell.

Flames rearguard T.J. Brodie, Nashville Predators center Kyle Turris, Philadelphia Flyers blueliner Samuel Morin, Winnipeg Jets forward Jack Roslovic, and New Jersey Devils winger Taylor Hall round out the bottom five.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Like Hamonic, Brodie’s a UFA next summer. Despite the Flames’ recent struggles, I doubt either blueliner hits the trade block this fall. That could change, however, if they’re still struggling in the New Year.

The Predators reportedly tried moving Turris during the summer. Signed through 2023-24 with a $6-million annual salary, he’s not going anywhere anytime soon.

Morin’s struggled to crack the Flyers lineup. He might benefit from a change of scenery.

Roslovic frequently surfaces in the rumor mill as trade bait for a defenseman. GM Kevin Cheveldayoff’s shown no interest so far in making that move.

Hall is the biggest name potentially available in next summer’s UFA market. With the Devils stumbling from the gate there are growing questions over his future in New Jersey. As long as he remains unsigned he’ll be a fixture in this season’s rumor mill.










NHL Rumor Mill – October 29, 2019

NHL Rumor Mill – October 29, 2019

The latest on the Senators, Oilers, and more in today’s NHL rumor mill.

COULD THE SENATORS SHOP BOBBY RYAN?

Ottawa Senators winger Bobby Ryan has struggled to produce through the early going (Photo via NHL Images).

OTTAWA SUN: Bruce Garrioch wonders what’s next for Senators winger Bobby Ryan after he was a healthy scratch on Sunday. He’s their highest-paid player but he isn’t producing. His contract would make him difficult to trade. Garrioch doubts there’s much of a market for the 32-year-old winger.

THE ATHLETIC: Hailey Salvian also considers Ryan’s contract too expensive to move. He’s signed through 2021-22 with an annual average value of $7.25 million. Salvian feels it would take packaging Ryan with a first-round pick to make him palatable in the trade market. With the Senators in the throes of a rebuild, that’s something they shouldn’t do.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Cap Friendly indicates Ryan has a modified no-trade clause listing 10 preferred trade destinations. Given his cap hit, age, and declining production, I doubt the Senators would find many takers.

LATEST OILERS SPECULATION

EDMONTON JOURNAL: David Staples wonders if the Oilers should “go nuclear” to address their lack of scoring depth beyond Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl. That option would include shopping Jesse Puljujarvi for help on the right wing. Staples is against moving Puljujarvi, preferring to let him play out the season in Finland before a decision is made. Nevertheless, he feels that move could land a second-line winger or a third-line center.

THE ATHLETIC: Jonathan Willis wonders if the Oilers should trade for a veteran NHL defenseman. He pointed out Florida Panthers’ defenseman Mark Pysyk has frequently surfaced in recent trade rumors and could be a fit on the Oilers’ second pairing. However, the Oilers have weathered the absence of sidelined blueliner Adam Larsson. Young Ethan Bear has emerged and sidelined rearguard Joel Persson is close to returning.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I think the Oilers’ secondary scoring is their main concern. If Puljujarvi would fetch a second-line winger or third-line center I believe general manager Ken Holland would pull the trigger. However, that option probably isn’t available now. I don’t doubt there are clubs interested in Puljujarvi but they won’t part with the type of player suggested by Staples.

 










NHL Rumor Mill – October 26, 2019

NHL Rumor Mill – October 26, 2019

The latest on the Penguins and Blackhawks plus some suggested destinations for Josh Ho-Sang in today’s NHL rumor mill.

WHAT WILL THE PENGUINS DO WITH THEIR EXTRA SALARY-CAP ROOM?

THE ATHLETIC: Rob Rossi examines what the Pittsburgh Penguins could do with their extra cap room beyond this season after trading Erik Gudbranson and his $4-million annual salary-cap hit to Anaheim yesterday. They could attempt to re-sign goaltender Matt Murray or defenseman Marcus Petterson to a contract extension. He also suggests packaging goaltender Tristan Jarry with a forward like Nick Bjugstad, Zach Aston-Reese or Dominik Kahun for a rental scorer.

Could the Pittsburgh Penguins used their recently freed-up salary-cap space to re-sign goaltender Matt Murray? (Photo via NHL Images)

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I believe that extra $4 million will go toward Murray, who’s a restricted free agent with arbitration rights next summer. It wouldn’t be surprising if Rutherford swings another trade later this season. He could bring in a rental player or perhaps something that provides some long-term help. For now, I think he’ll wait for his roster to get healthier to gauge their performance before making another move.

FIVE SUGGESTED TRADE DESTINATIONS FOR HO-SANG

THE HOCKEY NEWS: The Edmonton Oilers, Boston Bruins, and Arizona Coyotes top Steven Ellis’ list of suggested trade destinations for Josh Ho-Sang. The winger is currently in Toronto awaiting a trade by the New York Islanders.

Ellis believes the Oilers should swap Jesse Puljujarvi for Ho-Sang. Puljujarvi is playing in Finland awaiting a trade. Ellis suggests a reunion with midget hockey linemate Connor McDavid might spark Ho-Sang.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: As I explained in a recent Rumor Roundup for The Hockey News, Puljujarvi is believed to have more upside than Ho-Sang. There’s a belief the young Finn can still blossom into a top-six winger, something Ho-Sang hasn’t done at the NHL and AHL levels.

Ellis felt Ho-Sang could be an affordable fix for the Bruins’ lack of right-wing depth. He also suggests the Coyotes flip disappointing Christian Fischer or struggling Lawson Crouse for Ho-Sang.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: If the Bruins though Ho-Sang would help they would’ve acquired him by now. I’m not sure the Coyotes are willing to give up on Fletcher but could part with Crouse. As Ellis points out, he and Ho-Sang are once-promising prospects who haven’t played up to potential.

Ellis also suggests the Carolina Hurricanes and Ottawa Senators as possible destinations.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Hurricanes are believed in the market for a top-nine forward. They were angling for winger Ondrej Kase in trade talks regarding defenseman Justin Faulk with the Anaheim Ducks before shipping the blueliner to St. Louis. Ho-Sang isn’t in Kase’s class. The rebuilding Senators, meanwhile, don’t appear to be interested in the Islanders’ winger.

LATEST ON THE BLACKHAWKS

CHICAGO SUN-TIMES: Madeline Kenney reports Blackhawks forward Brendan Perlini confirmed TSN’s recent report claiming he has requested a trade. He’s discouraged by his lack of playing time after being a healthy scratch in seven of their eight games this season. Kenney said Perlini doesn’t want his situation to become a distraction for his teammates.

OTTAWA SUN: Bruce Garrioch reports Blackhawks center Zack Smith has popped up in the rumor mill. He’s been hampered by a back issue and only suited up for five games. Smith carries an annual average value of $3.25 million through next season. Garrioch believes he’ll have limited value in the trade market.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Perlini, 23, has power-forward potential, netting 17 goals with the Arizona Coyotes in 2017-18. He’ll have more value than Smith.










NHL Rumor Mill – October 24, 2019

NHL Rumor Mill – October 24, 2019

Latest on the Sabres, Senators, Islanders, and Canucks in today’s NHL rumor mill.

COULD THE SABRES SHOP SCANDELLA?

Could the Buffalo Sabres trade defenseman Marco Scandella? (Photo via NHL Images)

  SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman reports Marco Scandella has become the subject of trade speculation. The Buffalo Sabres are tight against the salary cap. Rasmus Ristolainen, the subject of offseason trade chatter, seems very happy playing under Sabres coach Ralph Krueger. Scandella is in the final season of his contract with an annual average value of $4 million.

THE BUFFALO NEWS: Lance Lysowski reports Sabres general manager Jason Botterill doesn’t seem interested in moving a defenseman right now. He views his blueline surplus as a strategical advantage, pointing out their depth has helped them cope with a chaotic early schedule and injuries.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Sabres will have to become salary-cap compliant when Zach Bogosian and Brandon Montour return from injury. With Ristolainen seemingly changing his tune about wanting a trade, moving Scandella seems a logical choice. Finding a trade partner willing to take on that cap hit won’t be easy but clubs seeking left-side blueline depth could come calling.

LATEST SENATORS SPECULATION

SPORTSNET: With Colin White and Artem Anisimov sidelined, Elliotte Friedman reports the Ottawa Senators are trying hard to find a forward.

THE ATHLETIC: In a recent mailbag segment, Hailey Salvian was asked which pending unrestricted free agents the Senators could move before the February trade deadline. She believes forward Vladislav Namestnikov and Mikkel Boedker could be trade candidates. Defenseman Dylan DeMelo and center Jean-Gabriel Pageau could also hit the trade block if the Senators feel they don’t fit into their plans.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: For now, the Senators have called up Logan Brown. They were believed to be in the market for another experienced forward before White and Anisimov went down.  I can see them retaining DeMelo or Pageau for the right price.

ISLANDERS TRYING TO MOVE HO-SANG

TSN: Darren Dreger reported the New York Islanders are working on trading Josh Ho-Sang. The 23-year-old winger is training and skating in Toronto after clearing waivers and requesting a trade earlier this month.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The fact no one has acquired Ho-Sang yet speaks volumes for how much his value has tumbled in the trade market. I doubt the Islanders seek a big return for him. Maybe a struggling club or one riddled with injuries will take a chance on him at some point.

 










Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – October 20, 2019

Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – October 20, 2019

More Taylor Hall to Edmonton speculation, two suggested forward options for the Bruins and more in the Sunday NHL rumor roundup.

LATEST MUSINGS OVER A HALL-OILERS REUNION

EDMONTON JOURNAL: Kurt Leavins believes the Oilers should try to bring back Taylor Hall if the opportunity arises. The 27-year-old New Jersey Devils left winger is slated to become an unrestricted free agent next July. Leavins points out the people who traded Hall to the Devils are gone now. He also reminds us Hall never asked to be traded and enjoyed playing in Edmonton.

Can the Oilers afford to bring Taylor Hall back to Edmonton? (Photo via NHL Images)

Leavins acknowledged it’s up to Hall and his group of advisors to determine where he wants to play beyond this season. However, the Oilers have a core of comparable young talent, led by Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl, that could make them an enticing destination.

THE ATHLETIC: Jonathan Willis suggests the Oilers’ limited salary cap space makes it difficult to bring Hall back to Edmonton. Assuming an $83.5-million salary cap for 2020-21, the Oilers would have $26 million to fill 13 roster spots. Hall could command $11 million annually, leaving just $15 million to re-sign defenseman Darnell Nurse and fill in the rest of the roster.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Assuming Hall would be open to rejoining the Oilers, I don’t see how they can afford him. If they shed salary to make room for Hall’s expensive new deal they risk gutting their overall depth. The Oilers still have questions regarding their goaltending, defense corps, and checking-line depth. Better to invest their cap space addressing those issues than handcuffing themselves to another high-salaried scorer. 

SHOULD THE BRUINS PURSUE HO-SANG OR PULJUJARVI?

NBC SPORTS: Joe Haggerty points out the Boston Bruins lack depth on the right wing beyond first-liner David Pastrnak. He suggests kicking the tires on New York Islanders winger Josh Ho-Sang or Edmonton Oilers winger Jesse Puljujarvi. Both players have requested trades. Ho-Sang already cleared waivers earlier this month so it wouldn’t cost much to acquire him.

Puljujarvi struggled in Edmonton but Haggerty feels it’s difficult to judge those numbers based on the “dumpster fire” the Oilers were before cleaning house earlier this year. They reportedly seek a top-nine player and a draft pick, which Haggerty believes the Bruins have in abundance. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: With the Bruins off to a 5-1-2 start, GM Don Sweeney probably isn’t feeling much pressure to swing a trade right now. That doesn’t mean he’s ignoring his club’s need for secondary scoring. If he is monitoring the trade market it’s unlikely he sees anything worth pursuing right now. 

HIGHLIGHTS FROM HOCKEY NIGHT IN CANADA’S “HEADLINES” SEGMENT

SPORTSNET: Chris Johnston believes the New York Islanders hope to re-sign Mathew Barzal before next summer. The 22-year-old center is in the final season of his entry-level contract. Johnston doesn’t think contract talks have started yet. He points out Barzal has more points in his first two seasons than Toronto’s Mitch Marner had over the same period.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: After seeing contract talks drag on into preseason for this year’s crop of talented youngsters coming off their ELCs, the Isles understandably want to avoid that fate with Barzal. Other clubs aren’t wasting time getting similar players under contract. Since July 31, Arizona Coyotes center Clayton Keller, New Jersey Devils center Nico Hischier, Chicago Blackhawks winger Alex DeBrincat, Ottawa Senators defenseman Thomas Chabot, and Colorado Avalanche blueliner Samuel Girard all signed new contracts.

Elliotte Friedman reports Minnesota Wild general manager Bill Guerin has received calls from rival GMs wondering if he’s looking to shake things up. Guerin said he’s not making an emotional move or a deal simply for the sake of doing so. 

Johnston believes the Toronto Maple Leafs must move at least four players to become salary-cap compliant when defenseman Travis Dermott returns to the lineup. Nic Petan and Kevin Gravel already cleared waivers and can be sent directly to their AHL affiliate. Others who could move include Jason Spezza, Dmytro Timashov, Martin Marincin, Justin Holl, and Nick Shore. Friedman adds the Leafs are looking to trade him.

More speculation about Taylor Hall returning to the Oilers, two suggested forward options for the Bruins and more in the Sunday NHL rumor roundup.

LATEST MUSINGS OVER A HALL-OILERS REUNION

EDMONTON JOURNAL: Kurt Leavins believes the Oilers should try to bring back Taylor Hall if the opportunity arises. The 27-year-old New Jersey Devils left winger is slated to become an unrestricted free agent next July. Leavins points out the people who traded Hall to the Devils are gone now. He also reminds us Hall never asked to be traded and enjoyed playing in Edmonton.

Can the Oilers afford to bring Taylor Hall back to Edmonton? (Photo via NHL Images)

Leavins acknowledged it’s up to Hall and his group of advisors to determine where he wants to play beyond this season. However, the Oilers have a core of comparable young talent, led by Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl, that could make them an enticing destination.

THE ATHLETIC: Jonathan Willis suggests the Oilers’ limited salary cap space makes it difficult to bring Hall back to Edmonton. Assuming an $83.5-million salary cap for 2020-21, the Oilers would have $26 million to fill 13 roster spots. Hall could command $11 million annually, leaving just $15 million to re-sign defenseman Darnell Nurse and fill in the rest of the roster.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Assuming Hall would be open to rejoining the Oilers, I don’t see how they can afford him. If they shed salary to make room for Hall’s expensive new deal they risk gutting their overall depth. The Oilers still have questions regarding their goaltending, defense corps, and checking-line depth. Better to invest their cap space addressing those issues than handcuffing themselves to another high-salaried scorer. 

SHOULD THE BRUINS PURSUE HO-SANG OR PULJUJARVI?

NBC SPORTS: Joe Haggerty points out the Boston Bruins lack depth on the right wing beyond first-liner David Pastrnak. He suggests kicking the tires on New York Islanders winger Josh Ho-Sang or Edmonton Oilers winger Jesse Puljujarvi. Both players have requested trades. Ho-Sang already cleared waivers earlier this month so it wouldn’t cost much to acquire him.

Puljujarvi struggled in Edmonton but Haggerty feels it’s difficult to judge those numbers based on the “dumpster fire” the Oilers were before cleaning house earlier this year. They reportedly seek a top-nine player and a draft pick, which Haggerty believes the Bruins have in abundance. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: With the Bruins off to a 5-1-2 start, GM Don Sweeney probably isn’t feeling much pressure to swing a trade right now. That doesn’t mean he’s ignoring his club’s need for secondary scoring. If he is monitoring the trade market it’s unlikely he sees anything worth pursuing right now. 

HIGHLIGHTS FROM HOCKEY NIGHT IN CANADA’S “HEADLINES” SEGMENT

SPORTSNET: Chris Johnston believes the New York Islanders hope to re-sign Mathew Barzal before next summer. The 22-year-old center is in the final season of his entry-level contract. Johnston doesn’t think contract talks have started yet. He points out Barzal has more points in his first two seasons than Toronto’s Mitch Marner had over the same period.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: After seeing contract talks drag on into preseason for this year’s crop of talented youngsters coming off their ELCs, the Isles understandably want to avoid that fate with Barzal. Other clubs aren’t wasting time getting similar players under contract. Since July 31, Arizona Coyotes center Clayton Keller, New Jersey Devils center Nico Hischier, Chicago Blackhawks winger Alex DeBrincat, Ottawa Senators defenseman Thomas Chabot, and Colorado Avalanche blueliner Samuel Girard all signed new contracts.

Elliotte Friedman reports Minnesota Wild general manager Bill Guerin has received calls from rival GMs wondering if he’s looking to shake things up. Guerin said he’s not making an emotional move or a deal simply for the sake of doing so. 

Johnston believes the Toronto Maple Leafs must move at least four players to become salary-cap compliant when defenseman Travis Dermott returns to the lineup. Nic Petan and Kevin Gravel already cleared waivers and can be sent directly to their AHL affiliate. Others who could move include Jason Spezza, Dmytro Timashov, Martin Marincin, Justin Holl, and Nick Shore. Friedman adds the Leafs are looking to trade him.