NHL Rumor Mill – March 30, 2024

NHL Rumor Mill – March 30, 2024

Will the Canucks re-sign defensemen Filip Hronek and Nikita Zadorov? Could the Blackhawks target defensemen in this summer’s free-agent market? Check out the latest in the NHL Rumor Mill.


SEKERES AND PRICE: Frank Seravalli recently appeared on the podcast where he discussed Vancouver Canucks defensemen Filip Hronek and Nikita Zadorov.

Hronek is a restricted free agent with arbitration rights this summer. Seravalli believes the 26-year-old blueliner has played an important role in the Canucks’ improvement this season. He believes management shouldn’t have any issues paying him an average annual value of $8 million on an eight-year deal.

That would exceed the $7.85 million annually being earned by Quinn Hughes through 2026-27. However, he doubted that the Canucks captain would be upset that Hronek would make $150K more than him per season, pointing out that he’ll likely get $14 million annually on his next contract.

Vancouver Canucks defenseman Filip Hronek (NHL Images).

Seravalli believes paying Hronek $8 million per season for eight years won’t hurt the Canucks cap down the road. By 2028-29, the cap should be around $120 million to $125 million. “$8 million is nothing by that point,” he said.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Hronek is completing a three-year contract with an average annual value of $4.4 million. He’s enjoying a career-best performance with 40 assists and 45 points in 73 games and should exceed the 50-point plateau before the end of the season.

The Canucks will sign Hronek to a long-term deal to avoid arbitration. I don’t think it’s a problem for them if he’s seeking around $8 million annually. They could quibble a bit over the length of the deal but it will likely come in at seven or eight years.

Quinn signed his current contract following his sophomore season. It was a hefty raise coming off his entry-level deal. I doubt he’ll care if Hronek makes a little more than he does over the next two years. By July 2026, the Canucks captain will likely have signed an expensive extension worth far more than what Hronek will be earning.

Zadorov, meanwhile, is finishing up a two-year contract with an AAV of $3.75 million. Seravalli doesn’t think the Canucks will re-sign the 28-year-old defenseman.

Seravalli believes Zadorov’s asking price will be around $5 million annually. He said the Calgary Flames knew his number would start with a five, which made it easier for them to trade him to Vancouver earlier this year.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Canucks had to boost their defense corps in the short term. They were willing to make that short-term move for Zadorov even at the risk of losing him this summer to free agency.

They could try to keep Zadorov following this season. However, they won’t have enough room to meet Zadorov’s asking price if they sign Hronek to a deal worth $8 million annually.


THE ATHLETIC: Scott Powers believed the rebuilding Chicago Blackhawks are expected to add forwards to their roster in the offseason. He also thinks they could make a change or two among their defensemen.

Powers doesn’t expect the Blackhawks to sign a big-name free agent to an expensive long-term contract. They’ll likely be interested in short-term options.

Those who fall into that category include Brenden Dillon of the Winnipeg Jets, Justin Schultz of the Seattle Kraken, Ian Cole of the Vancouver Canucks and Chris Tanev of the Dallas Stars.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Those defensemen are in their mid-thirties. They’re at the stage of their career where they could be receptive to short-term deals. One or two could bring much-needed experience and leadership to the rebuilding Blackhawks blueline.

Tanev might not be available to the Blackhawks. The 34-year-old shutdown defenseman drew plenty of interest at the trade deadline from contenders like the Stars. If he doesn’t stay in Dallas after this season, the clubs that lost out to the Stars could revisit their interest this summer.

NHL Rumor Mill – March 25, 2024

NHL Rumor Mill – March 25, 2024

A look at some of this summer’s notable restricted free agents in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.

SPORTSNET: Luke Fox recently listed the latest rumors and reports regarding this summer’s top-12 restricted free agents.

The Vancouver Canucks recently offered an eight-year, $52-million contract extension ($6.5 million average annual value) to Filip Hronek. However, the 26-year-old defenseman’s camp rejected that proposal. Fox believes the Canucks want to keep Hronek’s salary below Quinn Hughes’ $7.85 million AAV but the blueline could try to push it into the $7 million range.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Hronek is completing a three-year deal with an AAV of $4.4 million. He’s enjoying a career-high performance in his contract year with 45 points in 71 games. Hronek has arbitration rights and is a year away from UFA eligibility. It could cost the Canucks between $7 million and $7.5 million annually to keep him in the fold.

Detroit Red Wings defenseman Moritz Seider (NHL Images).

Detroit Red Wings defenseman Moritz Seider is completing his entry-level contract. Fox doubted that Wings general manager Steve Yzerman would attempt to lowball the 23-year-old blueliner. He speculated Seider could get an eight-year deal worth $8.6 million annually.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Seider is the Wings’ best defenseman and a key piece of their rebuilding roster, winning the Calder Memorial Trophy in 2021-22. He’s yet to reach his playing prime. A long-term deal at $8.6 million AAV could become a bargain over time.

The Buffalo Sabres trading Casey Mittelstadt to the Colorado Avalanche earlier this month was based on the belief they would be unable to re-sign him to a long-term extension. Following the trade, the 25-year-old center pointed out how much the Avalanche wanted him by giving up defenseman Bowen Byram in return.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Mittelstadt seems to be settling in well as the Avalanche’s second-line center. A strong performance over the rest of the regular season and in the 2024 playoffs will ensure he’ll get a lucrative long-term extension.

While Fox thinks Seider will get a long-term deal from the Wings, he believes Lucas Raymond could end up with a short-term contract. Like Seider, he’s completing his entry-level deal. Fox pointed out that Yzerman signed Alex DeBrincat last summer to a four-year contract averaging $7.875 million per season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’ll be interesting to see how Yzerman handles Raymond’s contract situation. The 21-year-old winger leads the Wings in scoring with career highs in goals (24), assists (36) and points (60), but he has had bouts of inconsistency in his short NHL career.

Fox wondered if the Carolina Hurricanes will attempt to sign Seth Jarvis to a bridge deal coming out of his entry-level contract or bet big that the 22-year-old winger will break out and sign him to a long-term deal.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: After struggling at times during his sophomore campaign, Jarvis has played well this season for the Hurricanes, sitting third in scoring with a career-high 57 points. I’d say bet big and lock him up long-term. A bridge deal could make him more expensive to sign down the road.

Despite Thomas Harley’s 40-point performance this season, Fox speculates that Dallas Stars GM Jim Nill could sign the 22-year-old defenseman to a bridge deal coming out of his entry-level contract. He noted that Nill did the same with winger Jason Robertson.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I think Harley will get a bridge deal. This is his first full season after splitting the past two seasons between the Stars and their AHL affiliate.

Boston Bruins goaltender Jeremy Swayman refused to comment on an early March report claiming contract extension talks had begun. However, he didn’t deny the report.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Swayman signed an affordable one-year deal last summer due to the Bruins’ limited cap space for this season. He’s going to get a big raise over his $3.475 million and will likely take over as their full-time starter next season. There’s already speculation that his goalie partner Linus Ullmark could be traded during the offseason.

Fox noted the emergence of Quinton Byfield this season leaves Los Angeles Kings GM Rob Blake facing a big decision. He could sign the 20-year-old forward to a bridge deal or attempt to ink him to a long-term contract. Fox suggested the latter might come in between $6.5 and $7 million annually.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: On the one hand, it’s tough to justify a lucrative long-term deal based on one good year. On the other, it’ll cost a lot more than $7 million to sign Byfield coming off a bridge deal if he continues to improve as projected. He’s steadily improved with each season.

Hurricanes winger Martin Necas is completing a two-year bridge deal worth $3 million annually and has arbitration rights. The 25-year-old forward is in a position to justify a significant raise.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Necas has surfaced in trade rumors over the past two seasons. He might end up getting that raise from another club.

Turning to the remaining players on Fox’s list, Matty Beniers’ struggles in his sophomore season could see the 2023 Calder Trophy winner getting a short-term bridge deal from the Seattle Kraken.

Arizona Coyotes defenseman Sean Durzi will seek a lucrative offer coming off his bridge contract. He’s on pace for a career-best performance.

The Buffalo Sabres could try to sign Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen to a mid-term deal. He’s performed well this season but it’s a small sample size to justify a long-term contract.

NHL Rumor Mill – March 19, 2024

NHL Rumor Mill – March 19, 2024

An update on the Canucks’ Elias Lindholm and Filip Hronek plus some recent news on Chris Tanev, Jacob Markstrom and Linus Ullmark in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.


THE ATHLETIC: Pierre LeBrun reports Vancouver Canucks general manager Patrik Allvin is noncommittal about re-signing Elias Lindholm, who was acquired from the Calgary Flames in January.

Allvin said he spoke with Lindholm’s representatives following the trade expressing an interest in signing the 29-year-old center to a contract extension. “But obviously it’s got to work for both sides. We’ll see,” he said, pointing out that it’s been an adjustment period for Lindholm since the trade.

Vancouver Canucks center Elias Lindholm (NHL Images).

The Canucks GM told LeBrun that those contract discussions will likely occur following this season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Lindholm is slated to become an unrestricted free agent on July 1. He’s in the final season of a six-year contract with an average annual value of $4.85 million.

The Canucks have $25.5 million in projected salary-cap space for 2024-25 with 13 active roster players under contract. They can afford to re-sign Lindholm, however, that will depend on how long it takes to adjust to their style of play and how much he’s seeking on his next deal.

Lindholm won’t lack suitors if he goes to market on July 1. The Boston Bruins could be among them as they were frequently linked to him in trade rumors leading up to the recent deadline.

CHEK-TV’s Rick Dhaliwal cited Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman suggesting the “sweet spot” in the Canucks’ contract extension talks with Filip Hronek is an AAV of $7.5 million. He believes it could cause problems if the 26-year-old defenseman seeks more.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Hronek is a restricted free agent with arbitration rights and a year away from UFA eligibility. He’s in the final season of a three-year deal worth an AAV of $4.4 million.

Those problems Friedman alluded to could be how much Hronek’s new contract would bite into the Canucks cap space and the potential for an arbitration hearing. The latter could result in a one-year deal that could guarantee his departure as a UFA next July.


TORONTO STAR: In his recent “Kyper’s Korner,” Nick Kypreos wrote that the cost of a contract extension for Chris Tanev also factored into why the Toronto Maple Leafs didn’t trade for him before the deadline. He claimed the Tanev camp sought $5 million per season but it could go lower if the 34-year-old defenseman got a fourth year.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Tanev will be 35 in December. The Leafs were wise not to go for that deal.

Kypreos claimed Calgary Flames goaltender Jacob Markstrom and Boston Bruins netminder Linus Ullmark refused to waive their no-trade clauses to go to the Los Angeles Kings before the recent trade deadline.

He wrote that Markstrom had no interest in being on the West Coast while Ullmark believes the Bruins have a better chance of winning the Stanley Cup than the Kings.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kypreos wondered where Los Angeles’ “Tinseltown magic” to draw players has gone. I’m not sure that has anything specific with the Kings or LA. Pierre-Luc Dubois and Kevin Fiala quickly signed new contracts after being traded to the Kings.

Markstrom’s situation is weird due to conflicting reports regarding a possible move to New Jersey last month. He wasn’t happy with how Flames management handled the situation as he didn’t want that distraction during the season.

It’s worth mentioning that Markstrom spent seven seasons with the Vancouver Canucks. He didn’t seem to mind being on the West Coast then. Maybe Kypreos was referring to the California coast.

Ullmark was rumored to have nixed a deal with the Kings but there are also reports that they weren’t the club he would’ve been sent to had the trade gone through. It’s also believed that 14 of the 16 teams on his no-trade list are Western Conference clubs.

The Kings have over $22 million in projected cap space for next season. That’s plenty of room to acquire an expensive goaltender via this summer’s trade market if they need an upgrade at that position. We’ll have to wait until then to see if they are having difficulty attracting players with no-trade clauses in their contracts.

NHL Rumor Mill – March 15, 2024

NHL Rumor Mill – March 15, 2024

Check out the latest on Sidney Crosby, Erik Karlsson, Jacob Markstrom, Linus Ullmark, Jeremy Swayman, Filip Hronek and more in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.


SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman doesn’t see Sidney Crosby walking away from the Pittsburgh Penguins next summer without giving management a chance to turn things around. His guess is the Pens will offer Crosby a two or three-year contract extension this summer worth around $10.5 million annually.

Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Some observers wonder if Crosby might demand a trade to a contender this summer or sign with one next summer as an unrestricted free agent. The Athletic’s Penguins beat writer Rob Rossi maintains that Crosby intends to retire as a Penguin and will sign an extension this summer.

I’m with Rossi on this one. I don’t believe Crosby will demand a trade or sign elsewhere. He’ll finish his NHL career with the Penguins.

PITTSBURGH HOCKEY NOW: Shelly Anderson reports Penguins defenseman Erik Karlsson dismissed rumors suggesting he might make his way back to the Ottawa Senators.

Yeah, that’s Canada for you,” chuckled Karlsson. “I played there for a long time so I kind of know how that game works. They’ve got a lot of things to talk about every day to fill a lot of air time, but they only have a few things to actually discuss.”

Karlsson added, “They like to make up these what-if scenarios. That’s just the way it is, and it’s not something that I really look into or worry about too much.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: In other words, Karlsson isn’t heading back to Ottawa for a reunion with the Senators. Moving on…


SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman believes this summer’s goalie market will be interesting. He noted the Calgary Flames pulled Jacob Markstrom from the market leading up to last week’s trade deadline as did the Nashville Predators with Juuse Saros. The Boston Bruins looked into moving Linus Ullmark but punted that decision to the offseason.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Markstrom, 34, has two years left on his contract with an annual average value of $6 million and a full no-movement clause. The 30-year-old Ullmark has one year remaining with an AAV of $5 million and a 16-team no-trade list that drops to a 15-team list on July 1. Saros, 28, also has a year left on his contract with a $5 million cap hit but he lacks no-trade protection.

All three clubs could be willing to listen to offers but they will set high asking prices. Ullmark seems the most likely to move as the Bruins will want to free up some cap space this summer.

The Bruins reportedly rejected “at least one ask about Jeremy Swayman.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Swayman is expected to take over as the Bruins’ full-time starter after this season. He’s on a one-year deal worth $3.475 million and has arbitration rights this summer. It’s believed they’ll try to move Ullmark to free up cap room for Swayman’s new long-term contract.

The Tampa Bay Lightning were “incredibly disappointed” that they failed to acquire Noah Hanifin from the Flames. Friedman wouldn’t be surprised if he signed a contract extension with the Vegas Golden Knights. He also believes the Dallas Stars will attempt to re-sign Hanifin’s old teammate Chris Tanev.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Cap Friendly indicates the Golden Knights have 15 roster players under contract for 2024-25 with less than $10 million in cap space. They’ll garner another $5 million if Robin Lehner remains on long-term injury reserve. It could cost them half of that cap space to re-sign Hanifin.

Meanwhile, the Stars have a projected $18.3 million in cap space with 12 active roster players under contract. Joe Pavelski and Matt Duchene will be due for new contracts as well as Tanev.

There are “debates” over Filip Hronek’s contract discussions with the Vancouver Canucks. Friedman doesn’t expect those talks to be anywhere near as complicated as Elias Pettersson’s recent negotiations.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The “debates” are over whether Hronek will be paid more than Quinn Hughes. He is pulling in an AAV of $7.85 million through 2026-27. Hronek, 26, is a restricted free agent with arbitration rights earning an AAV of $4.4 million. He’s enjoyed a career-best performance with 45 points in 67 games.

The Canucks have already tabled a contract extension to the Hronek camp. Some observers believe he could seek an AAV of over $8 million. Maybe the Canucks try to tempt him with an eight-year deal worth just under Hughes’ annual cap hit in the hope that he’ll prefer the long-term security.

The Edmonton Oilers showed interest in signing recently acquired forwards Adam Henrique and Sam Carrick to contract extensions.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Oilers have $14.2 million in projected cap space with 13 players under contract. As Friedman said, we’ll see how things shake out during the postseason.

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 1, 2023

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 1, 2023

Sabres rookie Devon Levi backstops his club to a crucial win in his debut game, Stars winger Jason Robertson breaks a single-season franchise scoring record, plus the latest on Jonathan Toews, Ryan O’Reilly and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines


NHL.COM: Buffalo Sabres goaltender Devon Levi made 31 saves in his NHL debut in a 3-2 overtime win over the New York Rangers. Jeff Skinner scored the game-winning goal as the Sabres improved to 36-31-7 to move within five points of the final Eastern Conference wild-card berth with 79 points. Kaapo Kakko and Adam Fox scored for the Rangers (44-21-11) to force the extra frame. With 99 points, the playoff-bound Rangers sit three points back of the second-place New Jersey Devils in the Metropolitan Division.

Dallas Stars winger Jason Robertson (NHL Images)

The Dallas Stars got a four-point performance by Jason Robertson (one goal, three assists) to defeat the Arizona Coyotes 5-2. With 42 goals and 95 points, Robertson broke Mike Modano’s single-season franchise record as the 41-20-14 Stars (96 points) moved within one point of first place in the Central Division. The Coyotes fell to 27-36-13 on the season.

Winnipeg Jets forwards Mark Scheifele, Kyle Connor, Blake Wheeler and Nikolaj Ehlers each had a goal and an assist in a 6-2 victory over the Detroit Red Wings. With the win, the Jets (42-31-3) maintained their two-point lead over the Calgary Flames for the final Western Conference wild-card spot with 87 points. The Red Wings dropped to 33-33-9.

Speaking of the Flames, they kept pace with the Jets thanks to an overtime goal by Tyler Toffoli to nip the Vancouver Canucks 5-4. Toffoli scored twice in this game to reach a personal best of 33 goals on the season for the 35-26-15 Flames. The Canucks sit at 34-34-7.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Before this game, Canucks coach Rick Tocchet said defenseman Filip Hronek’s season is likely over as he continues to recuperate from a shoulder injury suffered earlier this season. The Canucks want Hronek to spend the next four months regaining his full strength to be ready for 2023-24.


NBC SPORTS CHICAGO: Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews will return to the lineup Saturday against the New Jersey Devils. He’s been sidelined since Jan. 28 dealing with the effects of long COVID and chronic immune response syndrome.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Toews’ motivation for returning this late in the season with the Blackhawks eliminated from playoff contention is the realization that these could be his final games with the club. He becomes an unrestricted free agent in July.

Toews said he’s not near deciding on retirement. Given his health issues, however, he must decide if he can physically withstand the rigors of an NHL season.

TORONTO SUN: Ryan O’Reilly returned to practice with his Maple Leafs teammates on Friday for the first time since suffering a broken finger on March 4. His goal is to be 100 percent before the playoffs open on April 17.

SPORTSNET: Speaking of the Leafs, winger Noel Acciari remains sidelined by a neck injury while Wayne Simmonds missed practice on Friday due to illness.

THE SEATTLE TIMES: Kraken winger Andre Burakovsky suffered a setback in his recovery from a lower-body injury that has delayed his return to the lineup. It’s hoped he’ll be ready in time for the playoffs.

SAN JOSE HOCKEY NOW: Sharks rookie winger William Eklund underwent successful season-ending shoulder surgery on Friday. He’s expected to be ready for training camp in September.

OTTAWA SUN: Senators forward Derick Brassard and defenseman Travis Hamonic (lower-body injuries) will miss Saturday’s game against the Maple Leafs.

THE TENNESSEAN: The Predators will honor the Covenant School shooting victims and their families on Saturday and for the remainder of this season.

Notable NHL Trades – March 1, 2023

Notable NHL Trades – March 1, 2023

The NHL Trade Deadline is March 3 at 3 pm ET but several NHL clubs aren’t waiting until Friday to make significant moves. Here’s a roundup of today’s notable deals.

The Ottawa Senators trade a conditional first-round pick in 2023, a conditional second-round pick in 2024 and a 2026 second-round pick to the Arizona Coyotes in exchange for defenseman Jakob Chychrun.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: A fixture in the NHL rumor mill stretching back to last season, Chychrun is finally on the move. The Senators were frequently linked to the 24-year-old blueliner but recent reports out of Ottawa claimed they were put off by the Coyotes’ rumored high asking price of two first-round picks and a high-end prospect.

Arizona Coyotes trade defenseman Jakob Chychrun to the Ottawa Senators (NHL Images).

Coyotes general manager Bill Armstrong appears to have been a little more flexible with his asking price. As per Cap Friendly, the 2023 first-rounder is top-five protected. If the condition is met, it becomes a 2024 unprotected first-round pick.

The second-rounder in 2024 is the one the Senators received from the Washington Capitals last July in the Connor Brown trade. It becomes a first-round selection (top-10 protected) if the Senators reach the 2023 Eastern Conference Finals. If the pick is in the top 10, the Coyotes will receive the Senators’ 2025 first-round pick (unprotected).

A skilled puck-moving blueliner who can play big minutes, Chychrun is signed through 2024-25 with an average annual value of $4.6 million. He will provide a significant boost to the Senators’ defense corps. Chychrun usually plays left defense but Thomas Chabot and Jake Sanderson skate in those roles among their top four. He will likely start on the right side on their top pairing.

The Coyotes weren’t done trading defensemen, shipping Shayne Gostisbehere to the Carolina Hurricanes in exchange for a 2026 third-round pick.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Gostisbehere will provide an additional measure of experienced offensive depth on the blueline for the Hurricanes. He tallied 51 points in 82 games last season with the offensively anemic Coyotes and has 31 points in 52 games this season.

Another defenseman changing teams is Filip Hronek as he’s shipped by the Detroit Red Wings along with a 2023 fourth-round pick to the Vancouver Canucks in exchange for a conditional first-round pick in 2023 and a second-round pick in 2023.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Red Wings general manager Steve Yzerman has become a seller after his club’s current three-game losing skid stalled their efforts to move into a wild-card berth in the Eastern Conference. The conditional first is the pick the Canucks received from the New York Islanders in the Bo Horvat trade. If that pick ends up in the top-12 it becomes an unprotected 2024 first-rounder.

The Canucks paid a lot for Hronek but they’ve been in dire need of a top-four right-side defenseman for some time. The 25-year-old Czech rearguard is enjoying his best season to date, having already matched last season’s career-high points total. Hronek’s offensive abilities will help to take some pressure off Quinn Hughes on Vancouver’s blueline.

The Washington Capitals made their fourth trade in less than a week by dealing center Lars Eller to the Colorado Avalanche in exchange for a second-round pick in 2025. The Capitals also retained $1.085 million of Eller’s $3.5 million cap hit.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Eller, 33, is slated to become an unrestricted free agent this summer. With the Capitals retooling their roster for next season, he no longer had a future in Washington.

The Avalanche were in the market for a second-line center this season. However, they appear comfortable with J.T. Compher in that role. Eller will instead slot into the third or fourth-line center position for the Avs. His two-way skills and Stanley Cup experience should make him a worthwhile addition as the Avalanche prepare to defend their Cup title.