NHL Rumor Mill – November 10, 2020

NHL Rumor Mill – November 10, 2020

Recent speculation on Noah Hanifin, Eric Haula, Jimmy Howard and Corey Perry in today’s NHL rumor mill.

FLORIDA HOCKEY NOW (subscription required): Jimmy Murphy wondered if the Calgary Flames might shop left-side defenseman Noah Hanifin to bring in a right-side defenseman and to shed some cap space. The sources he spoke with believe Hanifin isn’t been shopped but didn’t rule out Flames general manager Brad Treliving listening to a “hockey trade” offer.

Calgary Flames defenseman Noah Hanifin (NHL Images).

The Flames have over $1 million in cap space, with Hanifin having four years remaining on his contract with an annual average value of $4.95 million. Murphy suggests the Boston Bruins, Detroit Red Wings, Buffalo Sabres and Columbus Blue Jackets as teams that could initiate calls.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Bruins might have to part with Brandon Carlo ($2.5 million), the Red Wings with Filip Hronek ($714K), the Sabres with Brandon Montour ($3.85 million), and the Blue Jackets with David Savard ($4.25 million).

The Bruins would have to find a suitable right-side replacement if they swap Carlo for Hanifin. I don’t see the Wings trading away the promising Hronek. Savard is a UFA next summer and won’t provide much cap savings this season for the Flames. Montour is also slated to become UFA after 2020-21 and the Flames could prefer someone with more term left on their contract.

The Dallas Stars suffered a double-whammy with goaltender Ben Bishop and center Tyler Seguin sidelined for five months following recent surgeries. Murphy cites an NHL source claiming they’ve circled back to free-agent center Erik Haula. He also wondered if they might consider adding free-agent goaltender Jimmy Howard, pointing out Stars GM Jim Nill’s ties to Howard during their time with the Detroit Red Wings.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Nill could put Bishop and Seguin on long-term injury reserve to make an affordable signing or two to offset their absences on a short-term basis. It could depend, however, on when the 2020-21 season begins. Bishop and Seguin could be good to go if the season opens in March.

THE DALLAS MORNING NEWS: In a recent mailbag segment, Matthew DeFranks was asked about the possibility of Corey Perry returning with the Stars. He believes the 35-year-old winger would have to take a pay cut on the $1.5 million in base salary and $1.75 million in bonuses that he was paid last season. He cited recent rumors linking Perry to the Ottawa Senators and noted the Stars want to inject some youth into their forward lines.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I’ve believed Perry could return to the Stars for another season. I’m not so sure now after reading DeFranks’ take. They have the cap space to sign him but he might be reluctant to accept a pay cut. We’ll see.










NHL Rumor Mill – October 17, 2020

NHL Rumor Mill – October 17, 2020

The latest on Patrik Laine and Mike Hoffman plus updates on the Bruins and Ducks in today’s NHL rumor mill.

LATEST ON LAINE

WINNIPEG SUN: Scott Billeck notes TSN’s reporting Patrik Laine’s agents suggesting a trade for their client might be mutually beneficial for Laine and the Jets, comparing it to Jacob Trouba’s agent requesting a trade back in 2016. He was traded in 2019 to the New York Rangers.

Winnipeg Jets left wing Patrik Laine (NHL Images).

Billeck wonders how it reached this point with Laine, pointing out the Jets’ difficulty of retaining some of their stars. He suggests the blame lies not with the city or other issues but within the organization. He also wondered how that could affect the morale of Laine’s teammates if he’s the latest star to head out the door.

Billeck feels the club has failed to provide Laine with a center to play with. He feels there’s no reason Laine can’t be the top-line left wing while Kyle Connor plays with Nikolaj Ehlers on the second line.

SPORTSNET: Ken Wiebe also cites Laine’s probable disappointment in not getting first-line minutes. He wouldn’t be surprised if general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff was dangling the winger in the trade pond to see what offers he might attract to address the Jets’ roster needs.

He doubts any public attempt by Laine’s agents to force the issue will work with Cheveldayoff, pointing out it years before Trouba and Evander Kane were dealt after making trade requests.

Wiebe doesn’t believe the Jets would trade Laine for just pennies on the dollar. He listed seven teams (Florida Panthers, Buffalo Sabres, Carolina Hurricanes, Philadelphia Flyers, Anaheim Ducks, New York Islanders and Columbus Blue Jackets) that could have the assets to acquire the young sniper.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Wiebe’s proposals include such notables as Florida’s Aaron Ekblad and Jonathan Huberdeau, Buffalo’s Sam Reinhart, Carolina’s Brett Pesce and Martin Necas, Philadelphia’s Travis Konecny and Travis Sanheim, Anaheim’s Hampus Lindholm, the Islanders Brock Nelson and Ryan Pulock, and Columbus’ Zach Werenski. Some of those, like Huberdeau, could be part of a one-for-one swap. The rest would have to be the centerpiece of a larger package.

Laine’s agents can suggest a trade but that doesn’t mean Cheveldayoff will do it. The return has to make sense for the Jets. Hanging over this, of course, is Laine’s contract. He’s a restricted free agent with arbitration rights who’ll demand a significant raise over his $6.75-million annual average value.

Perhaps this situation gets resolved by moving Laine to the first line and dropping Connor down to the second line with Ehlers and Paul Stastny. He lights it up next season, the Jets reward him with a lucrative long-term deal and everyone’s happy. Another option is Laine goes to arbitration next summer, ensuring he’ll be leaving Winnipeg when he reaches UFA eligibility at 25. Or Cheveldayoff gets a trade offer too good to pass up in the coming weeks.

What’s certain is we haven’t heard the last of Laine in offseason trade chatter.

POTENTIAL DESTINATIONS FOR HOFFMAN

THE SCORE: Matt Teague and Brandon Maron list the Nashville Predators, Boston Bruins, Los Angeles Kings, Columbus Blue Jackets and the Florida Panthers as possible destinations for Mike Hoffman. The 30-year-old winger remains the best available player in this year’s UFA market. He’s reportedly willing to accept a one-year contract worth around $6 million.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Predators, Bruins and Blue Jackets have been linked to him in recent trade speculation. The Preds have the cap space to meet his salary demand. The Bruins have over $12 million available but must also re-sign Jake DeBrusk, Matt Grzelcyk and Zdeno Chara. The Jackets must re-sign first-line center Pierre-Luc Dubois before they commit dollars to another forward.

The Kings have over $13 million in cap space and recently acquired Olli Maatta from the Chicago Blackhawks. GM Rob Blake, however, seems intent on maintaining his rebuilding program. Adding an expensive, short-term veteran doesn’t seem to fit into that plan. As for the Panthers, they could circle back to Hoffman now that Evgenii Dadonov has departed for Ottawa.

THE ATHLETIC: Eric Stephens look at six possible replacements for Ryan Miller if he doesn’t return as the Anaheim Ducks backup. He suggested Craig Anderson, Jimmy Howard, Michael Hutchinson, Garret Sparks, Adin Hill and Pheonix Copley.

BOSTON HOCKEY NOW: Joe Haggerty cites a couple of sources saying the Bruins could consider former Montreal Canadiens defenseman Karl Alzner as a cheap insurance option in case youngsters like Urho Vaakanainen and Jakub Zboril show they aren’t ready for prime time










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 2, 2020

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 2, 2020

The latest on Steven Stamkos, Brendan Gallagher, Andrei Svechnikov and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

Tampa Bay Lightning captain Steven Stamkos (NHL Images).

  SPORTSNET: Tampa Bay Lightning general manager Julien BriseBois said team captain Steven Stamkos was dealing with a compensation injury triggered by his rehab from sports hernia surgery in March. Stamkos is expected to be fully recovered in time for the start of next season.

TORONTO SUN: Speaking of the Lightning, they’re facing criticism for holding a public parade in downtown Tampa where fans were packed shoulder-to-shoulder cheering for their champions. Some of the players allowed several fans to drink from the Stanley Cup. Winger Alex Killorn also slapped the hands of fans as he walked along a barricade.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: TSN reports the NHL reached out to the Lightning questioning some of that behavior. We don’t know if the league intends to discipline the club or any individual players. Here’s hoping no one contracted or spread COVID-19 during the celebrations.

RDS.CA: Brendan Gallagher could soon become the Montreal Canadiens’ highest-paid forward. General manager Marc Bergevin said preliminary contract talks have started and he’s confident a new deal can be worked out soon. He said he’d like to keep Gallagher with the Habs for the rest of his NHL playing career and intends to make him the club’s best-paid forward.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: According to Cap Friendly, Gallagher’s current annual average salary if $3.75 million. Jonathan Drouin’s $5.5 million AAV is the highest among the Canadiens’ forwards. Gallagher has a year remaining on his current contract. Depending on the length of his next deal, his annual cap hit could be over $6 million.

THE SCORE: cites TSN’s Frank Seravalli reporting the Edmonton Oilers are making progress on a long-term contract extension with forward Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. He’s entering the final season of a seven-year, $42-million contract. A deal isn’t imminent but is reportedly heading in the right direction.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’ll be interesting to see what Nugent-Hopkins’ next contract looks like. It could cost the Oilers over $7 million annually to keep him in the fold.

SPORTSNET: Carolina Hurricanes GM Don Waddell said his club is in contract talks with winger Andrei Svechnikov, who has a year remaining on his entry-level deal.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Svechnikov and linemate Sebastian Aho provide the Hurricanes with one of the NHL’s best one-two scoring punches. Aho is earning over $8.45 million annually and Svechnikov could seek around $7 million per season on his next contract.

DETROIT FREE PRESS: Red Wings GM Steve Yzerman confirmed veteran goaltender Jimmy Howard won’t be back. He intends to sign a replacement via free agency.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: No surprise about Howard. Yzerman will find plenty of options in this year’s UFA market. The possibilities could include Vegas’ Robin Lehner, Washington’s Braden Holtby, Vancouver’s Jacob Markstrom, now-former Ranger Henrik Lundqvist, Chicago’s Corey Crawford, Dallas’ Anton Khudobin, and Calgary’s Cam Talbot. He might have to overpay for one of them, given the Wings’ status as a rebuilding team.

STARTRIBUNE.COM: The Minnesota Wild named Michael Murray as the assistant to general manager Bill Guerin.

AZCENTRAL.COM: The Arizona Coyotes named Darryl Plandowski as their new director of amateur scouting.

 










NHL Morning Headlines & Rumor Mill – September 21, 2020

NHL Morning Headlines & Rumor Mill – September 21, 2020

The latest on Steven Stamkos and Jimmy Howard in this morning’s NHL headlines, plus updates on the Devils, Flyers, Senators, and Hurricanes in the NHL rumor mill.

NHL MORNING COFFEE HEADLINES

TAMPA BAY TIMES: Lightning head coach Jon Cooper said Steven Stamkos is inching closer to returning to action, but he doesn’t expect his captain to suit up for Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Final tonight against the Dallas Stars. Stamkos has been sidelined since July with a core-muscle issue.

THE DETROIT NEWS: Goaltender Jimmy Howard wants to continue his NHL playing career but acknowledged it probably won’t be with the Red Wings. Howard, 36, is an unrestricted free agent on Oct. 9.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Wings are likely in the market for a starting goaltender, something Howard is no longer capable of being. He could land elsewhere on a one-year deal as a backup and mentor to a younger starter.

TSN: Former Montreal Canadiens defenseman Albert (Junior) Langlois passed away over the weekend at age 85. He spent four seasons with the Canadiens from 1957 to 1961, winning three Stanley Cups. He also spent three seasons with the New York Rangers, two with the Boston Bruins, and one with the Detroit Red Wings, followed by one season with the WHL before retiring in 1967.

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

NHL RUMOR MILL

TSN RADIO VANCOUVER: TSN analyst Ray Ferraro speculated Devils defenseman Damon Severson may have “soured” in New Jersey. Ferraro noted Severson is a right-hand shot, praising his skating and shot. He believes the 26-year-old blueliner would be more affordable than Minnesota’s Matt Dumba if the Devils are willing to move him.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Devils have been quiet since hiring Lindy Ruff as head coach and removing the interim tag from Tom Fitzgerald’s title as general manager in early July. Their most notable move since then was hiring Mark Recchi earlier this month as an assistant coach.

We don’t know if Fitzgerald has any intention of shopping Severson, who has three years remaining on his contract with an annual cap hit of $4.166 million and lacking no-trade protection. The Devils have $55.2 million invested in 13 players. Unless they have an internal cap lower than the league’s $81.5 million, Fitzgerald won’t be under pressure to shed salary. Nevertheless, it could be worth keeping an eye on Severson and the Devils in the coming weeks as activity builds up in the trade market.

PHILLY.com‘s Sam Carchidi believes the Philadelphia Flyers will try to move defenseman Shayne Gostisbehere and winger James van Riemsdyk. He believes Gostisbehere will draw more interest.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Both players are signed through 2022-23 and lack no-trade protection. Gostisbehere, however, carries an annual average value of $4.5 million while van Riemsdyk’s is $7 million. So yeah, there will probably be more interest in Ghost Bear than JVR in this economic climate.

OTTAWA SUN: Bruce Garrioch expects the Senators will receive plenty of calls from clubs looking to shed contracts in exchange for draft picks. The Sens have nine picks in the first three rounds and 13 in total.

Garrioch doesn’t expect them to take on bad contracts but maybe they can use this situation to their advantage to bolster their roster. It’s believed they’ve been in talks for a veteran goalie, including Pittsburgh’s Matt Murray. The Columbus Blue Jackets and Arizona Coyotes could also be shopping goaltenders.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Sens have three first-round picks, including the third and fifth overall, in this year’s draft. I don’t see them moving either of those (or both) unless they’re getting a terrific player in return. They could, however, entertain offers for the first-rounder they acquired from the New York Islanders in the Jean-Gabriel Pageau trade at the February trade deadline.

The Blue Jackets could move either Joonas Korpisalo or Elvis Merzlikins. The Coyotes, meanwhile, could shop Darcy Kuemper or Antti Raanta.

THE ATHLETIC (subscription required): With the Carolina Hurricanes carrying limited salary-cap space next season, Sara Civian wondered if they’ll go the free-agent or trade route to upgrade their goaltending.

Free-agent options could include Vegas’ Robin Lehner, Vancouver’s Jacob Markstrom or Dallas’ Anton Khudobin, though Civian doesn’t expect an encore with the Hurricanes for the latter. If the Golden Knights re-sign Lehner, she suggests the Hurricanes look into acquiring Marc-Andre Fleury.

Civian wondered what they’d be willing to trade for a goalie. Jaccob Slavin is off-limits, they don’t want to trade Brett Pesce or Martin Necas, and she doesn’t believe they’d move Dougie Hamilton even though he’s a year away from UFA eligibility.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I don’t believe the Hurricanes can become a Cup contender next season with their current goaltending tandem of Petr Mrazek and James Reimer. Maybe they ride it out for another season with those two until their contracts expire next summer, but if the front office is serious about building a contender, they must look to the trade or free-agent market for an upgrade.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 7, 2020

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 7, 2020

Could the NHL schedule permanently change to run through the summer? Check out the latest in today’s Morning Coffee Headlines.

THE DENVER POST: Mike Chambers reports hearing the NHL is looking into permanently beginning its regular-season schedule in late November, early December or possibly January. He said the league likes the idea of growing the game after the NFL and NBA seasons are over when baseball is the only major in-season sport.

THE BOSTON GLOBE: Kevin Paul Dupont wonders if we’ll ever see regular-season games played in October and November again.

Could NHL summer hockey become a permanent thing? (Photo via NHL.com)

Dupont believes this year’s Stanley Cup could be awarded in early-October if the Return-To-Play Plan begins in early August, assuming there are no delays because of COVID-19. He envisions an off-season that would stretch from October into December, with the draft in late October, free agency perhaps starting on Nov. 1, and training camp opening in December.

Given the league’s intent to stage a full 82-game schedule for 2020-21, Dupont suggests the regular season could kick off on New Year’s Day. That would mean the playoffs would begin in July and finish in September. “Unless the virus has other things in mind.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Athletic’s James Mirtle (subscription required) also reported of talk in some NHL circles about a permanent change to the NHL schedule. I don’t believe the league brain trust is seriously considering this option right now, but I daresay some executives will take a wait-and-see approach. If staging the Stanley Cup Playoffs this summer and next summer proves popular among sports fans, it certainly could become a permanent thing. It’s all just speculation at this point.

TORONTO SUN: Steve Simmons reports it’s not official yet, “but it appears as though Toronto, Edmonton, and Vancouver are out as hub cities for the upcoming NHL games.” He claims Las Vegas is almost certain to be one of the two hub cities, with Chicago or Los Angeles as the other. He also reports hearing there will be no media, including game announcers, onsite.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: If the league wants to see what summer playoff hockey will look like, staging it in Las Vegas and Los Angeles will provide an interesting spotlight. Maintaining proper ice conditions in those warm-weather climates will be a significant challenge.

TSN: The NHL has suggested roster sizes of 28 skaters plus goaltenders for the 24-team Return-To-Play tournament. That number could change depending on negotiations with the NHL Players’ Association.

NBC SPORTS BOSTON: Bruins captain Zdeno Chara wrote a heartfelt statement on Instagram after attending a Black Lives Matter protest in Boston on Friday.

“First thing is first and let me be clear: I stand with the Black community. Black Lives Matter,” Chara wrote. “There is no room in this world for racism. Period.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Chara is the latest in a growing number of NHL stars to speak out against racial injustice over the past week. NHL executive Kim Davis believes it’s a “huge moment” for the league, suggesting it could take them “to yet another level of opportunity and change.”

THE SCORE: Despite the worst season of his career, Jimmy Howard isn’t considering retirement. The 36-year-old goaltender is slated to become an unrestricted free agent at the end of this season. While he’d love to stay with the Wings, he realizes that he probably won’t be re-signed. Nevertheless, he believes he can still play in the NHL.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Howard might have to accept a professional tryout offer. If he does well in training camp for next season (whenever that might be), he could earn a one-year deal from a club seeking experienced goaltending depth.










NHL Rumor Mill – June 6, 2020

NHL Rumor Mill – June 6, 2020

Recent updates on the Red Wings and the latest on Chris Tanev in today’s NHL rumor mill.

RECENT RED WINGS SPECULATION

DETROIT FREE PRESS: In a recent evaluation of the Red Wings’ roster, Helene St. James doesn’t expect Jimmy Howard, Trevor Daley, Jonathan Ericsson will be back. They’re unrestricted free agents at the end of this season.

St. James believes restricted free agents Tyler Bertuzzi, Anthony Mantha, Robby Fabbri, and Adam Erne will be re-signed. Defenseman Madison Bowey was placed on waivers during the regular season, but there’s little risk in re-signing him for another year. RFA winger Brendan Perlini isn’t expected back.

Could the Detroit Red Wings pursue Torey Krug in this year’s UFA market? (Photo via NHL Images)

Winger Justin Abdelkader could face waivers next season if his performance doesn’t improve.

THE HOCKEY NEWS: Matt Larkin observed the Wings will have about $35 million in salary-cap space for 2020-21. With only 11 players under contract, general manager Steve Yzerman will still have to spend even after re-signing key players like Bertuzzi and Fabbri.

Larkin wondered if the stage was set for Michigan native Torey Krug to join his boyhood club. The 29-year-old Boston Bruins defenseman is an unrestricted free agent after this season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Larkin joins several pundits wondering if Yzerman might woo Krug home to the Wings. If the blueliner tests the UFA market and is keen to join the Wings, Yzerman could make a pitch.

Nevertheless, Yzerman recently said he’s looking at making sensible signings to provide his young core with some short-term experienced depth. If that’s the plan, he won’t be pursuing big-ticket UFA talent like Krug.

Even if Yzerman was willing to go that route, there’s no guarantee Krug or the other top UFA players will want to sign long-term deals with the rebuilding Wings.

LATEST ON CHRIS TANEV

SPORTSNET: Iain MacIntyre reports Chris Tanev feels at home with the Vancouver Canucks and hopes to stay. The 30-year-old defenseman has spent his entire NHL career with the Canucks, but he’s an unrestricted free agent at season’s end.

Before the pandemic struck and cast everything in doubt, including next season’s salary cap, Tanev was considered a second priority for the Canucks to re-sign following goalie Jacob Markstrom and winger Tyler Toffoli. The blueliner said he can see players sign one-year deals in the hope the league’s finances improve next season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Cap Friendly indicates the Canucks have over $63.4 million invested in 14 players. Along with Tanev, Markstrom and Toffoli, Jake Virtanen, Josh Leivo, Adam Gaudette, Troy Stecher, and Tyler Motte must be re-signed or replaced.

Unless the Canucks shed a salary or two, they won’t have room for everybody, especially if they re-sign Markstrom and Toffoli. However, uncertainty over the league’s revenue could work in their favor if some of those free agents are willing to accept one-year deals at affordable prices.