NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 21, 2020

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 21, 2020

The latest return-to-play news plus updates on Joe Thornton, Braden Holtby, Anton Khudobin and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

TORONTO SUN: Lance Hornby reports Canadian NHL clubs could be affected if provincial borders close for non-essential travel. British Columbia premier John Horgan recently called upon the federal government to follow his provinces’ lead in discouraging inter-provincial travel.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Canadian teams are located in Quebec, Ontario, Manitoba, Alberta and BC. The NHL is considering having an all-Canadian division for this season due to the pandemic as those clubs would have difficulty traveling across the Canada-US border with current restrictions in place. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Friday he won’t force the closure of provincial borders. However, if provinces decide to do it themselves, he would support it.

The NHL hopes to start the 2020-21 season on Jan. 1, but its push for the NHLPA to accept further salary cuts could close the negotiation window. Hornby cites a source telling Boston Hockey Now’s Joe Haggerty a mid-January return was more likely as the players could object to training camp during the Christmas holiday.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: NHL commissioner Gary Bettman and NHLPA executive director Donald Fehr reportedly continue holding daily discussions. The salary issue upset the players and generated plenty of headlines, but both sides have not released public statements on the matter nor have they been sniping at each other through the media.

Toronto Maple Leafs center Joe Thornton (NHL Images).

Perhaps cooler heads are prevailing here or it’s the calm before another labor storm. Nevertheless, there’s a belief the two sides should be able to work through the salary issue. They’ll have to hammer out an agreement by Nov. 30 at the latest to maintain their Jan. 1 season-opening timeline.

An outbreak of COVID-19 among players for Davos of the Swiss League has sidelined Joe Thornton. “The whole team is in quarantine after five players, not known to include Thornton, tested positive the past few days,” writes Hornby. Thornton, who recently signed with the Toronto Maple Leafs, is playing for Davos while awaiting the start of the NHL season.

Speaking of Thornton, SPORTSNET’S Luke Fox reports Davos general manager Raeto Raffainer believes the 41-year-old center’s experience, hockey smarts and leadership will benefit the Leafs in whatever role they choose for him. Thornton has six points in his first six games with Davos.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Skating in a European pro league should give Thornton a competitive edge whenever the NHL starts up this season.

Vancouver Canucks goaltender Braden Holtby had some difficulty getting across the US border into Canada with his family’s two pet tortoises. It’s since been resolved after securing the necessary export papers from the US Fish and Wildlife Service.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Things kind of slowed to a crawl for a while there for Holtby. See, because he has tortoises and they crawl and, okay, I’ll stop now…

NHL.COM: Dallas Stars goaltender Anton Khudobin is expected to be ready for training camp following surgery last month to repair a nerve issue in his right arm.

OTTAWA CITIZEN: Bruce Garrioch recently reported Anders Nilsson is still plagued by concussion symptoms, putting his availability for the coming season into jeopardy. The 30-year-old goaltender’s been sidelined since suffering the injury on Dec. 16.

TRIBLIVE.COM: Former NHL winger Ken Schinkel passed away at age 87. He spent 12 seasons in the NHL from 1959-60 to 1972-73. His first six seasons were with the New York Rangers until selected by the Pittsburgh Penguins in the 1967 NHL expansion draft at age 35. He enjoyed his best NHL seasons with the Penguins, with three 45-plus point campaigns. Schinkel went on to coach the Penguins for parts of four seasons and held a variety of front-office roles with the club before joining the Hartford Whalers in 1989.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: My condolences to Schinkel’s family, friends and former teammates.

 










List of Notable NHL UFA Signings – October 9, 2020

List of Notable NHL UFA Signings – October 9, 2020

8:30 pm ET: St. Louis Blues sign Torey Krug to a seven-year, $45.5 million contract.

7 pm ET: Toronto Maple Leafs sign T.J. Brodie to a four-year contract ($5 million AAV).

4 pm to 5 pm ET: Calgary Flames sign Jacob Markstrom to a six-year, $36-million contract.

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3 pm to 4 pm ET: Anaheim Ducks sign Kevin Shattenkirk to a three-year contract ($3.9 million AAV)

Washington Capitals sign defenseman Justin Schultz to a two-year, $8 million contract.

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2 pm to 3 pm ET: Florida Panthers sign Alexander Wennberg to a one-year $2.25 million contract.

New York Rangers sign Jack Johnson to a one-year, $1-million contract.

Nashville Predators sign Mark Borowiecki to a two-year, $4-million contract.

In other contract news, the Ottawa Senators sign Matt Murray to a four-year contract with an annual average value of $6.25 million. The Senators acquired Murray, a restricted free agent, on Wednesday from the Pittsburgh Penguins.

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1 pm to 2 pm ET: Vancouver Canucks sign Braden Holtby to a two-year deal ($4.3 million AAV)

Minnesota Wild sign goaltender Cam Talbot to a three-year, $11-million contract.

Dallas Stars sign Anton Khudobin to a three-year contract ($3.5 million AAV)

Edmonton Oilers sign center Kyle Turris to a two-year contract ($1.65 million AAV)

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12 pm to 1 pm ET:  Washington Capitals sign goaltender Henrik Lundqvist to a one-year, $1.5 million contract.

Toronto Maple Leafs sign winger Wayne Simmonds to a one-year, $1.5-million contract with a full no-movement clause.

Detroit Red Wings sign winger Bobby Ryan to a one-year, $1-million contract.

Winger Pat Maroon (two years, $900K AAV) and defenseman Luke Schenn (one year, $800K) are returning with the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Florida Panthers sign defenseman Radko Gudas to a three-year contract ($2.5 million AAV).

In other news, the Tampa Bay Lightning placed winger Tyler Johnson on waivers. He has four years remaining on his contract with a $5 million annual cap hit and a full no-trade clause.

Oliver Ekman-Larsson will remain with the Arizona Coyotes. His deadline to be traded to either Boston or Vancouver came and went without a deal.










NHL Rumor Mill – October 9, 2020

NHL Rumor Mill – October 9, 2020

The NHL’s free-agent market opens at noon ET today. Check out the latest speculation on Alex Pietrangelo, Taylor Hall, Torey Krug and many more in today’s rumor mill.

PIETRANGELO

St. Louis Blues defenseman Alex Pietrangelo could head to market today (NHL Images).

  TSN: Pierre LeBrun reports St. Louis Blues defenseman Alex Pietrangelo was ready to go to market as of yesterday afternoon. He’s up to visiting with interested clubs that are willing to have him travel. It could take a couple of days until he reaches a decision on his destination and next contract. The Vegas Golden Knights, Florida Panthers and Toronto Maple Leafs could be among the interested parties.

TORONTO SUN: Lance Hornby reports it could take moving a high-profile Leaf or two, such as William Nylander or Frederik Andersen, to free up cap space to sign Pietrangelo. He feels general manager Kyle Dubas has hinted that’s not going to happen, giving Andersen a vote of confidence while staying out of the Matt Murray trade market.

PHILLY.COM: Sam Carchidi expects Pietrangelo will be too costly for the Philadelphia Flyers. He suggests more affordable options like Toronto’s Tyson Barrie, Boston’s Torey Krug or Calgary’s T.J. Brodie.

EKMAN-LARSSON

TSN: Darren Dreger said the Arizona Coyotes might not be able to meet the Friday trade deadline set by defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson. He’ll only waive his no-movement clause for the Boston Bruins or Vancouver Canucks.

SPORTSNET: Chris Johnston and Elliotte Friedman report the Canucks appear the more interested buyer for Ekman-Larsson.

THE ATHLETIC: Thomas Drance and Rick Dhaliwal report the parameters of a deal with the Canucks would include “a draft pick of some magnitude, an inefficient contract from their bottom-six and a prospect.”

NBC SPORTS BOSTON: cites TSN’s Darren Dreger reporting the Bruins don’t like Arizona’s asking price. The Coyotes are believed to prefer the Bruins’ prospects over the Canucks.

HALL

SPORTSNET: Chris Johnston and Elliotte Friedman report there’s some talk Coyotes winger Taylor Hall would consider a reunion with the Edmonton Oilers. It would be difficult to achieve that unless the Oilers shed some salary.

THE DENVER POST: Mike Chambers suggests Hall would be a perfect fit for the Colorado Avalanche’s second line. He’s open to a short-term deal, perhaps a one-year contract that could pave the way for a longer contract in free agency after next season.

THE ATHLETIC: With the Columbus Blue Jackets shedding salary yesterday, Aaron Portzline wonders if they might get into the bidding for Hall. Other options could include Florida’s Mike Hoffman or Evgenii Dadonov or Vancouver’s Tyler Toffoli.

MARKSTROM

THE ATHLETIC: Thomas Drance and Rick Dhaliwal report the Vancouver Canucks remain confident of re-signing Jacob Markstrom despite persistent rumors linking the goaltender to the Calgary Flames and Edmonton Oilers.

TSN: Pierre LeBrun reports the Oilers are among the teams that could be interested in Markstorm if he goes to market today.

SPORTSNET: Chris Johnston and Elliotte Friedman reported the Flames, Detroit Red Wings and Oilers (despite their salary-cap constraints) could pursue Markstrom.

EDMONTON JOURNAL: David Staples doesn’t see how the Oilers could afford Markstrom, who could seek $6 million annually on a long-term deal.

CALGARY SUN: Wes Gilbertson believes Markstrom should be the Flames’ top target in the UFA market. He feels Markstrom could become the high-end goalie they’ve been missing since Miikka Kiprusoff retired.

NEW YORK POST: Larry Brooks listed the Minnesota Wild as a possible destination for Markstrom if he goes to market.

STARTRIBUNE.COM: Sarah McLellan also included Markstrom among possible Wild UFA targets. Other options could include Washington’s Braden Holtby and Chicago Corey Crawford.

FLEURY

TSN: Frank Seravalli reports the Vegas Golden Knights have put trading goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury on the side burner for now. His no-trade clause and $7 million annual average value makes him difficult to move.

HOLTBY

TSN: Pierre LeBrun reports Capitals goaltender Braden Holtby is garnering interest from the Oilers.

NEW YORK POST: Larry Brooks believes the Dallas Stars and Minnesota Wild could be interested in Holtby.

KRUG

SPORTSNET: Chris Johnston and Elliotte Friedman report of increased chatter suggesting the Red Wings could pursue Boston Bruins defenseman Torey Krug. He was raised in a Detroit suburb and seeks long-term security. The Wings have the cap space to make a lucrative offer.

THE DETROIT NEWS: Ted Kulfan reports Red Wings GM Steve Yzerman would like to address his blueline issues with one or two defenseman signings. It remains to be seen if he’ll pursue Krug. Yzerman said he expects to be “relatively conservative” in the free-agent market.

KHUDOBIN

TSN: Goaltender Anton Khudobin is heading to market after talks broke off with the Stars. The Flames could be interested, along with the Canucks if they fail to re-sign Jacob Markstrom or the Golden Knights if they can move Marc-Andre Fleury.

TOFFOLI AND TANEV

THE ATHLETIC: Thomas Drance and Rick Dhaliwal report Canucks winger Tyler Toffoli and defenseman Chris Tanev are heading to market.

NBC SPORTS BAY AREA: Toffoli tops Brian Witt’s list of possible free-agent targets for the San Jose Sharks.

BRODIE AND HAMONIC

TSN: Darren Dreger reports the Flames renewed contract talks with defenseman T.J. Brodie. Dreger also believes Flames blueliner Travis Hamonic would sign with his hometown Winnipeg Jets but there’s not a lot of interest at the moment. The Maple Leafs, Ottawa Senators and Oilers could be among Hamonic’s suitors.

BARRIE

SPORTSNET: Chris Johnston and Elliotte Friedman reported the Oilers could have an interest in Maple Leafs defenseman Tyson Barrie as a short-term replacement for sidelined blueliner Oscar Klefbom.

GREISS

TSN: Pierre LeBrun believes New York Islanders goalie Thomas Greiss could draw interest from the Canucks if they fail to re-sign Markstrom or Vegas if they trade Fleury.

NEW YORK POST: Larry Brooks suggested Greiss or Cam Talbot could be a fit with the New Jersey Devils.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The opening hours of the free-agent period tend to be very busy with the best available players being quickly signed. However, it will be interesting to see how the flattened salary cap affects the market and the pace of the signings.










NHL Rumor Mill – October 8, 2020

NHL Rumor Mill – October 8, 2020

A flooded goalie market plus the latest on Taylor Hall, Tyson Barrie and more in today’s NHL rumor mill.

FLOODED MARKET FOR NHL GOALIES

Lots of interest in Vancouver Canucks goalie Jacob Markstrom as free agency nears (NHL Images).

  NHL.COM: Dan Rosen reports a number of goaltenders could be on the move when the 2020 NHL free-agent market opens on Friday at noon ET. Washington’s Braden Holtby, Vancouver’s Jacob Markstrom, former New York Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist, Chicago’s Corey Crawford, the New York Islanders’ Thomas Greiss, Dallas’ Anton Khudobin, Calgary’s Cam Talbot and Edmonton’s Mike Smith are among the notables. In addition, the Vegas Golden Knights are attempting to trade Marc-Andre Fleury after re-signing Robin Lehner last weekend.

THE ATHLETIC: Pierre LeBrun reports the Canucks are still trying to re-sign Markstrom. The Flames and Oilers could have interest if he hits the open market. LeBrun didn’t rule out the Flames circling back to Talbot.

EDMONTON JOURNAL: Jim Matheson believes Markstrom’s been at the top of Oilers’ general manager Ken Holland’s wish list for some time. It could cost six years at $6 million annually to get it done. Matheson believes Holland will have to find a trade partner for Mikko Koskinen and his $4.5 million annually over the next two years.

CALGARY SUN: Wes Gilbertson has Markstrom at the top of his list of potential Flames’ free-agent targets.

NEW YORK POST: Larry Brooks cites sources claiming Lundqvist will sign with the Washington Capitals on Friday.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Golden Knights’ efforts to move Fleury are likely affected by the glut of goalies in the upcoming free-agent market. They could be forced to wait until the bigger names (Markstrom, Holtby, Lundqvist, Crawford) are off the market before finding any potential suitors. They’re reportedly attempting a three-way trade in which a third team picks up a chunk of Fleury’s cap hit, but they were only offering a second-round pick as a sweetener before the draft.

I can’t see the Oilers signing Markstrom unless they can move Koskinen. While his cap hit might be more affordable to clubs with cap space seeking goalie depth, teams will likely want something worthwhile packaged with him. The Flames, on the other hand, could get it done, though the cost to their cap space could make it difficult to re-sign or replace UFA blueliners like TJ Brodie and Travis Hamonic.

It’s believed Lundqvist has a one-year agreement with the Capitals. The reason it hasn’t been announced yet is he cannot officially sign with another NHL club until the UFA market opens tomorrow. We’ll find out tomorrow if he’s heading to Washington for next season.

There’s been little word about possible suitors for Holtby. The decline in his performance over the last two years likely has something to do with that. It doesn’t mean Holtby won’t be signed but it is interesting to note that a former Vezina Trophy winner with a Stanley Cup championship on his resume hasn’t garnered much chatter in the rumor mill.

LATEST ON HALL, BARRIE, SHATTENKIRK AND SAAD

THE ATHLETIC: Pierre LeBrun expects the Nashville Predators to be among the clubs to pursue Taylor Hall via free agency tomorrow. The 28-year-old winger is heading to market after he and the Coyotes failed to reach an agreement on a new contract. LeBrun also believes the Columbus Blue Jackets could be interested.

CALGARY SUN: Wes Gilbertson has Hall among his list of potential Flames free-agent targets.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Hall is reportedly willing to sign a one- or two-year deal and is expected to take his time evaluating offers before reaching a decision. Cap Friendly indicates the Predators now have $17.6 million in cap space after trading Nick Bonino yesterday to Minnesota and buying out Kyle Turris and Steven Santini.

They could face competition from a Cup contender with lots of cap space like the Colorado Avalanche, who could be willing to ink Hall to a one-year deal. If the Flames sign Markstrom, they won’t have enough cap room to chase Hall.

LeBrun reports the Flames, Oilers and Anaheim Ducks could have interest in Toronto defenseman Tyson Barrie. The Ducks could also pursue Kevin Shattenkirk but he’d like to remain with the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Gilbertson has Barrie at No. 4 on his list of potential Flames free-agent options.

EDMONTON JOURNAL: Jim Matheson thinks Barrie would be atop the Oilers’ list of free-agent defensemen because he could run their powerplay if Oscar Klefbom is out for the season with a shoulder injury. However, he believes they’d only offer him a one-year contract.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Despite Barrie’s struggles last season with the Maple Leafs, some feel he can regain his form as a puck-moving defenseman away from the harsh Toronto spotlight. We’ll find out soon enough how much interest he’ll draw as a free agent.

The Lightning would probably love to re-sign Shattenkirk. However, they’ve got limited cap space and must re-sign Anthony Cirelli and Mikhail Sergachev.

LeBrun reports several clubs have contacted the Chicago Blackhawks about winger Brandon Saad. The Boston Bruins and Colorado Avalanche are believed among those expressing an interest.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Saad might be available if the Blackhawks need to free up some cap space to re-sign or replace Corey Crawford. He has a year remaining on his contract worth an annual average value of $6 million but also carries a 10-team trade list.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines and Rumor Mill – September 28, 2020

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines and Rumor Mill – September 28, 2020

The latest on the Lightning and Stars in the NHL morning coffee headlines plus updates on Alex Pietrangelo and Braden Holtby and the latest Penguins and Senators speculation in the NHL rumor mill.

MORNING COFFEE HEADLINES

TSN: Tampa Bay Lightning head coach Jon Cooper said team captain Steven Stamkos will not return for the remainder of the Stanley Cup Final. Stamkos returned to the Lightning lineup in Game 3 for the first time since February, scoring a goal but playing only five shifts in the first period.

Tampa Bay Lightning captain Steven Stamkos (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: No surprise there. Stamkos was in obvious discomfort following his final shift in Game 3. It’s believed he’s still dealing with an issue tied to the core muscle surgery he underwent in March.

THE DALLAS MORNING NEWS: Stars coach Rick Bowness yesterday said forwards Roope Hintz, Blake Comeau and Radek Faksa, defenseman Stephen Johns and goaltender Ben Bishop remain unfit to play.

MLIVE.COM’s Ansar Khan reported Detroit Red Wings general manager Steve Yzerman confirmed unrestricted free agent defensemen Jonathan Ericsson and Trevor Daley won’t be re-signed.

THE SCORE: Forward Chris Stewart announced his retirement after 11 NHL seasons. He played 668 career games with the Colorado Avalanche, St. Louis Blues, Buffalo Sabres, Minnesota Wild, Anaheim Ducks, Calgary Flames, and Philadelphia Flyers, finishing with 160 goals and 322 points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Best wishes to Stewart in his future endeavors.

RUMOR MILL

LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL: David Schoen cites multiple reports claiming the Golden Knights will aggressively pursue Alex Pietrangelo if the St. Louis Blues defenseman becomes an unrestricted free agent on Oct. 9. The Blues are reportedly offering an eight-year deal worth $8-million annually but Pietrangelo is said to be seeking an annual average value of over $9 million.

The Golden Knights have limited salary-cap space but Schoen believes they would “perform the necessary salary-cap gymnastics” to fit in Pietrangelo’s new contract. He said team owner Bill Foley’s financial clout and dogged pursuit of the Stanley Cup makes the Golden Knights among the few clubs willing to spend to the $81.5 million salary cap.

Schoen said the Golden Knights aren’t expected to be active in free agency outside of Pietrangelo. However, he suggested several other blueline targets, such as Toronto’s Tyson Barrie, Winnipeg’s Dylan DeMelo, Washington’s Brenden Dillon, Calgary’s Travis Hamonic and Carolina’s Sami Vatanen. If they seek depth elsewhere in the roster, New York Rangers winger Jesper Fast and Calgary’s Cam Talbot are among his proposed options.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Cap Friendly indicates the Golden Knights have $76.5 million tied up in 18 players, with goaltender Robin Lehner their most notable free agent. Those “gymnastics” to free up cap space for Pietrangelo could include trading away players under contract for next season, contract buyouts, or acquiring a player on permanent long-term injury reserve. The Golden Knights are also allowed to spend over the cap by 10 percent in the offseason but must become cap compliant when the regular season begins.

THE ATHLETIC (subscription required): Tarik El-Bashir lists the Calgary Flames, Carolina Hurricanes, Edmonton Oilers and San Jose Sharks among possible destinations for free-agent goalie Braden Holtby. He also included returning with the Washington Capitals if Holtby can’t find better offers in the free-agent market but acknowledged the math doesn’t appear to work there. El-Bashir reports the Capitals asked Holtby’s camp if there was interest in a one-year contract but there wasn’t.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Flames, Hurricanes, Oilers and Sharks all need a reliable starting goalie. The question is, how much are they willing to pay to get one via free agency. Holtby is coming off a five-year contract worth an annual average value of $6.1 million and likely unwilling to accept a similar or lesser cap hit on his next deal. The Flames, Oilers and Sharks have the most cap space but could be reluctant to invest too much in a goalie during the current economic situation.

THE ATHLETIC (subscription required): Josh Yohe believes the Pittsburgh Penguins recent blueline addition of Mike Matheson could mean veteran Jack Johnson won’t be in the lineup and might not be back at all. With three left-side defensemen, Johnson will either have to play on the right side, become a healthy scratch or get traded. Yohe feels the Penguins will try to move Johnson to a team trying to reach the salary-cap floor, or perhaps package him in a deal involving goalie Matt Murray.

Regarding recent rumors tying the Penguins to Vancouver Canucks rearguard Chris Tanev, Yohe points out they lack the cap space to sign him now. He also said the front office is looking forward to seeing Kris Letang’s performance under his second stint playing for defense coach Todd Reirden.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Trading Johnson won’t be easy because of the steady deterioration of his play, but we cannot outright dismiss the possibility, slim as it may seem. He lacks no-trade protection and carries a reasonable cap hit ($3.25 million) through 2022-23. Those two years beyond next season, however, are a sticking point.

Perhaps a budget club would acquire him and buy him out if he’s part of Yohe’s suggested package deal. Cap Friendly indicates the cap hit would be $1.16 million for the next two seasons, rising to over $1.9 million in 2022-23, then falling to over $916K for the final three years.

OTTAWA SUN: Bruce Garrioch expects more changes for the Senators after they bought out winger Bobby Ryan’s contract last week. Approaching next week’s NHL draft with three first-round picks, GM Pierre Dorion is reportedly listening to all offers as he looks to bolster his roster.

Anders Nilsson’s concussion could push the Senators into the market for a goaltender. Garrioch claims Carolina’s Petr Mrazek or James Reimer, Toronto’s Frederik Andersen, Pittsburgh’s Matt Murray and Arizona’s Darcy Kuemper are available. He said they’re not seeking a long-term solution because they’ve got six goalies in their system.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Hurricanes won’t move one of their goalies unless they pursue an upgrade. The same goes for the Leafs with Andersen. Murray is on the block and the Penguins could try to pry away one of the Sens’ first-round picks for him. A first-rounder could also be part of the asking price for Kuemper.










NHL Rumor Mill – August 29, 2020

NHL Rumor Mill – August 29, 2020

A look at this year’s noteworthy UFAs in today’s NHL rumor mill.

SI.COM/THE HOCKEY NEWS: Matt Larkin recently updated his listing of this year’s top NHL unrestricted free agents. St. Louis Blues defenseman Alex Pietrangelo tops the list, followed by Arizona Coyotes left wing Taylor Hall, Boston Bruins blueliner Torey Krug, Florida Panthers winger Mike Hoffman, and Vegas Golden Knights goaltender Robin Lehner.

TSN: Frank Seravalli also has Pietrangelo, Hall and Krug among his top-three and Lehner at No. 5 on his top-10 list, with Vancouver Canucks goalie Jacob Markstrom in the fourth spot.

St. Louis Blues defenseman Alex Pietrangelo (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: No argument from me regarding Pietrangelo’s placement. He’ll be heavily courted if he and the Blues fail to reach agreement on a contract extension. Despite the flattened salary cap for next season, he could command over $9 million annually on the open market.

The respective playoff performances of Hall and Krug didn’t do much to improve their free-agent value, but they still remain near the top of this year’s UFA crop. Hall’s current annual average value is $6 million and Krug’s is $5.25 million. Under normal circumstances, they’d get long-term contracts with big raises. Now, they might have to accept short-term deals for more modest raises in hopes of scoring more lucrative deals once league revenue improves.

Hoffman played well for the Panthers during the qualifying round. He’s a reliable scorer but his age (31) could limit him to a three-year deal with an AAV of around $6 million.

I’d put Lehner slightly ahead of Markstrom but both are the best pending UFA netminders. Lehner will want a long-term deal after spending the past two years on one-year contracts and for more than his current $5 million. Markstrom is rumored to be seeking over $6 million annually on a long-term contract, but maybe he’ll accept that much on a three-year deal.

Larkin has Markstrom ninth on his listing, with Panthers winger Evgenii Dadonov, Toronto Maple Leafs defenseman Tyson Barrie, Vancouver Canucks winger Tyler Toffoli, and Calgary Flames rearguard T.J. Brodie coming in sixth through 10.

Seravalli has Hoffman and Dadonov sixth and seventh on his listing, followed by Toffoli, Panthers center Erik Haula, and Barrie completing his top-10 list.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I believe Toffoli’s two-way skills should put him higher on those lists. Dadonov has tallied 25-play goals in each of the last three seasons and probably would’ve reached 60 points again this season had the schedule not been derailed by COVID-19, but I wonder how productive he’ll be with another club. 

Barrie’s stock really took a hit this season with the Leafs. However, he’s a right-handed shot with good puck-moving skills. As Seravalli suggests, he could regain his form away from Toronto’s harsh spotlight. I’m puzzled by Seravalli’s ranking Haula so high. While I agree this year’s market isn’t a good one for centers, Haula’s injury history could hurt his UFA value.

Washington Capitals goaltender Braden Holtby and former Winnipeg Jets defenseman Dustin Byfuglien are 13th and 14th on Larkin’s rankings. Carolina Hurricanes defenseman Sami Vatanen, Nashville Predators winger Mikael Granlund, and Tampa Bay Lightning blueliner Kevin Shattenkirk fill in the rest of spots 11 through 15.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Holtby’s playoff performance didn’t help his UFA stock. His play has been in decline since 2018. The flat cap will also work against his chances of securing a hefty raise on a long-term deal. Granlund also didn’t help his case with his postseason play. I’d put Byfuglien at the bottom of this list because we don’t know if he intends to resume his career after sitting out this season and if the 35-year-old blueliner will be as effective as he once way.

Chicago Blackhawks goaltender Corey Crawford lands at No. 20 on Larkin’s list, preceded by Calgary Flames defenseman Erik Gustafsson, Washington Capitals blueliner Brenden Dillon, Haula, and Flames rearguard Travis Hamonic.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: As Larkin pointed out, Crawford played well despite the horrible blueline in front of him this season. He wonders if the long-time Blackhawks goalie will take less money to stay in Chicago. I think he will. At 35, he could sign a one-year, bonus-laden deal with a low base salary that could take him up to $5 million.

Dallas Stars netminder Anton Khudobin, Calgary Flames goalie Cam Talbot, and Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Justin Schultz are among Larkin’s bottom 10.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Khudobin’s play throughout this season and in the playoffs could send his value rising for clubs pursuing an experienced, reliable backup. Talbot could seek a starter’s job elsewhere if he doesn’t re-sign with the Flames. Schultz’s value plummeted this season, in part because he was returning from a serious leg injury suffered last season. He could prove a worthwhile, affordable gamble on a one-year, “show-me” deal.

New York Rangers winger Jesper Fast, Winnipeg Jets defenseman Dylan DeMelo, Predators forward Craig Smith, Canucks blueliner Chris Tanev, Colorado Avalanche winger Vladislav Namestnikov, Carolina Hurricanes’ defenseman Joel Edmundson, and Arizona Coyotes center Carl Soderberg complete the listing.