NHL Rumor Mill – September 26, 2020

NHL Rumor Mill – September 26, 2020

The latest on Patrik Laine and Marc-Andre Fleury plus an update on the Coyotes and Penguins in today’s NHL rumor mill.

WHAT WOULD IT COST TO ACQUIRE LAINE?

SPORTSNET: In a recent mailbag segment, Ken Wiebe was asked about the trade speculation surrounding Patrik Laine. He isn’t ignoring the possibility of the 22-year-old Winnipeg Jets winger getting traded However, he considers it a long shot unless general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff gets blown away by an offer.

What could the Winnipeg Jets get if they trade Patrick Laine? (NHL Images)

Wiebe said the Jets would like to re-sign Laine, who’s a restricted free agent next summer with arbitration rights. However, the flattened salary cap will affect those negotiations. Laine could command as much (or more) than captain Blake Wheeler’s $8.25 million annual average value if he takes another step forward in his development next season. If common ground can’t be reached, the trade talks could heat up next summer.

THE SCORE: Matt Teague and Brandon Maron listed the Colorado Avalanche, Carolina Hurricanes, Columbus Blue Jackets, New Jersey Devils and Minnesota Wild as five possible trade destinations for Laine.

From the Avs, they suggested a return of defensemen Ryan Graves or Nikita Zadorov, blueline prospect Connor Timmons and center Tyson Jost. From the Hurricanes, Vincent Trocheck and Brett Pesce. From the Blue Jackets, defenseman David Savard, winger Josh Anderson, and a 2021 third-round pick. From the Devils, defenseman Damon Severson, forward Pavel Zacha, and Vancouver’s 2020 first-round pick. From the Wild, defenseman Matt Dumba, center Joel Eriksson Ek, and the conditional 2021 first-round pick from Pittsburgh.

MONTREAL GAZETTE: Pat Hickey believes the Canadiens are in a position to make an attractive pitch. He suggests offering up Max Domi, defenseman Brett Kulak and either Cale Fleury or Noah Juulsen, and the Canadiens’ first-round pick (16th overall).

THE ATHLETIC (subscription required): Eric Duhatschek believes the Jackets would have to part with Seth Jones or Zach Werenski to acquire Laine, which he doesn’t see them going. He feels Hurricanes blueliner Pesce would be more attractive to the Jets than Dougie Hamilton, who’s a year away from UFA eligibility. Laine to Minnesota for Dumba also makes some sense, though the Wild’s biggest need is at center.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That sound you’re hearing is most Jets fans panning those proposed deals. Justifiably so. The return for Laine would have to be significant, which those suggested returns are not. However, those proposals also illustrate the difficulty Cheveldayoff could face getting a quality package for Laine. As talented as the young winger is, and as much upside as he has, getting equal or greater value won’t be easy.

When the Laine rumors first surfaced earlier this month, one Winnipeg sportswriter said the return better be someone of the equivalent of Buffalo’s Jack Eichel. I agree with the sentiment, but the reality is that type of return is rarely received in trades involving stars like Laine.

Hanging over all this, of course, is Laine’s contract status at the end of 2020-21. If Cheveldayoff doesn’t believe he can afford to re-sign the winger, perhaps he’ll feel it’s best to move him now instead of having contract talks become an unnecessary distraction over the course of next season.

FLEURY PREFERS STAYING IN VEGAS

THE SCORE: Sean O’Leary cites The Athletic’s Jesse Granger reporting Marc-Andre Fleury prefers staying with the Vegas Golden Knights. The 36-year-old goaltender said he’s loved the city and the team from the moment he arrived. It’s believed the Golden Knights could re-sign Robin Lehner, making Fleury potentially expendable. He said he gets along fine with Lehner and is open to splitting the goaltending duties with him.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Golden Knights only have $4.94 million in salary-cap space for 2020-21. They’ll need more than that to re-sign Lehner. They’ll have to shed salary and Fleury would be the most likely trade candidate. Moving his $7 million annual average value over the next two seasons won’t be easy, but it could be done by perhaps retaining a portion of it.

LATEST COYOTES RUMORS

ARIZONA COYOTES INSIDER: Craig Morgan reports it’s not a certainty the Coyotes will trade goaltender Darcy Kuemper. Before the hiring of general manager Bill Armstrong, it was believed the asking price for Kuemper was a first-round pick. However, it appears they now want more than that. If the Coyotes cannot maximize the return on an asset like Kuemper, Morgan feels they should hang onto him.

Morgan also noted Niklas Hjalmarsson won’t waive his no-movement clause. While we have to wait-and-see on Oliver Ekman-Larsson, Morgan senses the blueliner’s camp is open to a change of scenery.

Center Derek Stepan and defensemen Jason Demers could be attractive to rival clubs. In addition to goalie Antti Raanta, Morgan suggests keeping an eye on forward Michael Grabner and defenseman Alex Goligoski. He cites sources indicating Calgary, Edmonton, Montreal, Ottawa, Winnipeg, Buffalo, Detroit and Los Angeles are among his eight-team no-trade list.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Ekman-Larsson has a full no-movement clause and reportedly loves living in Arizona. Nevertheless, it’s noteworthy that he could be open to a trade, though I daresay it’ll be a short list made up of playoff or Stanley Cup contenders.

UPDATE ON THE PENGUINS

TRIBLIVE.COM: Jonathan Bombulie reports Pittsburgh Penguins GM Jim Rutherford said he’s not interested in trading Brian Dumoulin or Marcus Pettersson. He expects recently acquired defenseman Mike Matheson will play on the left side. Rutherford also said Jack Johnson will have to compete for the sixth defenseman’s role, and he doesn’t plan to be active in the free-agent market.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: If Johnson doesn’t nail down that role he could be shopped or demoted, with the latter the most likely option.










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 – September 13, 2020

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 13, 2020

In today’s NHL morning coffee headlines, the Stars are within a game of reaching the Stanley Cup Final, Lou Lamoriello is GM of the Year, an update on Brayden Point, and the Canadiens acquire Joel Edmundson from the Hurricanes.

NHL.COM: The Dallas Stars are one game away from the Stanley Cup Final after edging the Vegas Golden Knights 2-1 to take a 3-1 lead in the Western Conference Final. Anton Khudobin made 32 saves for the win while teammates Joe Pavelski and Jamie Benn were the goal scorers. Alec Martinez tallied for the Golden Knights.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Khudobin flat out stole this game for the Stars, who were outshot 33-20 in this contest and outplayed for long stretches by the Golden Knights. He’s been Dallas’ most valuable player throughout this postseason and has to be considered among the leading candidates for the Conn Smythe Trophy.

New York Islanders general manager Lou Lamoriello is this season’s winner of the Jim Gregory General Manager of the Year Award. The off-season signings of Semyon Varlamov and Derrick Brassard, re-signings of Anders Lee, Anthony Beauvillier, Jordan Eberle and Brock Nelson, and acquisitions of Andy Greene and Jean-Gabriel Pageau were cited as factors in Lamoriello receiving the award.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Lamoriello has his critics but there’s no question his moves ensured the Islanders remained a playoff club this season. His wheeling and dealing also got the Isles to the Eastern Conference Final for the first time since 1993.

The Tampa Bay Lightning could be without first-line center Brayden Point for Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Final against the Islander. Point left Game 2 with an undisclosed injury and missed Game 3. He participated in practice yesterday.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Don’t be surprised if Point is a game-day decision.

MONTREAL GAZETTE: The Canadiens yesterday acquired defenseman Joel Edmundson from the Carolina Hurricanes in exchange for a fifth-round pick in 2020. Edmundson, 27, is slated to become an unrestricted free agent on Oct. 9.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I expect the Habs will re-sign Edmundson, who earned $3.1 million on a one-year contract this season. They like his size and physical play on the left side of their blueline. This move leaves the Canadiens with 11 picks in this year’s draft.

If Edmundson is re-signed, it could set the stage for another move or two by the Habs. I have more on that in the rumors sections.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 11, 2020

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 11, 2020

The Stars regain the lead in the Western Conference Final, Sean Couturier wins the Selke Trophy, and updates on Alex Killorn, Brayden Point and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: Alexander Radulov scored 31 seconds into overtime as the Dallas Stars edged the Vegas Golden Knights 3-2 in Game 3 of the Western Conference Final. The Stars hold a 2-1 lead in the best-of-seven series.

Stars captain Jamie Benn had a goal and an assist while Anton Khudobin made 38 saves for the win. Mark Stone had two points for the Golden Knights, including the game-tying goal that forced overtime. Game 4 of the series is Saturday at 8 pm ET.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: All of the scoring came in the third period, with the Golden Knights out-shooting the Stars 18-4 thanks to three power-play opportunities. Khudobin was outstanding for Dallas while Stars coach Rick Bowness’ decision to reunite Benn, Radulov and Tyler Seguin on the top line provided a much-needed boost to their offense.

Philadelphia Flyers center Sean Couturier is this year’s winner of the Frank J. Selke Trophy as the NHL’s top defensive forward.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Congratulations to Couturier for a long-overdue recognition of his place among the league’s best defensive forwards. He’s the first Flyer to win the Selke since Dave Poulin in 1986-87.

The NHL Department of Player Safety suspended Tampa Bay Lightning winger Alex Killorn for one game for boarding New York Islanders center Brock Nelson in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Final.

The Lightning could also be without their leading scorer for Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Final. Center Brayden Point left Game 2 with an undisclosed injury and might not dress for tonight’s contest with the Isles.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Lightning coped without Killorn and Point for most of Game 2. It will be a bigger challenge offsetting their absences for the entirety of Game 3.

TSN: Frank Seravalli reports 17 NHL teams have slashed expenditures and reduced payroll amid a COVID-19 crunch. That includes Original Six teams like the Boston Bruins and Chicago Blackhawks.

Of the seven Canadian teams, only the Toronto Maple Leafs haven’t yet reduced the pay of staff members, including team presidents, coaches and general managers. The Ottawa Senators’ coaching staff received relief from the league after having their pay cut by 50 percent.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: As Seravalli points out, the teams are doing this because there’s been no meaningful revenue coming in since mid-March and none on the immediate horizon. He also anticipates those cuts will affect free agency and salary-cap payrolls.

OTTAWA SUN: Senators defenseman Mark Borowiecki will test the free-agent market.

STLTODAY.COM: The St. Louis Blues re-signed forward Jacob de la Rose to a one-year, one-way contract worth $700K.

TSN: The Edmonton Oilers signed forward Adam Cracknell to a one-year, two-way contract.

THE NEWS & OBSERVER: The Carolina Hurricanes signed a three-year agreement with the Chicago Wolves to be their new AHL affiliate.

NHL.COM: The Charlotte Checkers (the Hurricanes’ former AHL farm club) signed a multi-year affiliation deal with the Florida Panthers.

CBS SPORTS: Former Colorado Avalanche defenseman Mark Barberio signed a three-year contract with Lausanne HC of Switzerland’s National League.










NHL Offseason Lookahead – Carolina Hurricanes

NHL Offseason Lookahead – Carolina Hurricanes

 










NHL Rumor Mill – August 31, 2020

NHL Rumor Mill – August 31, 2020

Could the Coyotes make some big changes? Are the Hurricanes interested in Frederik Andersen? What’s the latest on Alex Pietrangelo, Jonas Brodin, and Phillip Danault? Check out the latest in today’s NHL rumor mill

HIGHLIGHTS FROM FRIEDMAN’S LATEST “31 THOUGHTS”

SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman reports the Arizona Coyotes’ goal will be to cut payroll and rebuild. They face a tight salary cap for 2020-21 but then it eases. With no picks in the first three rounds of the 2020 NHL Draft and no first- or third-rounder for 2021, they could try to restock that.

Arizona Coyotes captain Oliver Ekman-Larsson (NHL Images)

Friedman suggests there could be a market for goaltender Darcy Kuemper and they would like to test defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson‘s trade value. Ekman-Larsson has seven years left on his contract with an annual average value of $8.25 million and a full no-movement clause, but he could be open to waiving it depending on the destination. They also have four defensemen (Jason Demers, Alex Goligoski, Jordan Oesterle and Niklas Hjalmarsson) with a year remaining on their contracts. Friedman claims Hjalmarsson remains much-loved around the league.

AZCOYOTESINSIDER: Craig Morgan considers Kuemper, Ekman-Larsson and Jakob Chychrun as the Coyotes’ most marketable assets if they decide to rebuild. Kuemper has two years left on his contract ($4.5 million AAV) and lacks no-trade protection. Chychrun has five years left ($4.6 million AAV) with a modified no-trade in the final two years. He also considered those other blueliners on one-year deals as tradeable assets, though he thinks they could retain Oesterle.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Just because those names are being bandied about doesn’t necessarily mean they’ll be moved in the off-season. The Coyotes still haven’t decided on a full-time general manager and it remains to be seen if they’ll make any drastic moves. Nevertheless, their situation will be worth monitoring.

Friedman said team owner Alex Muerelo’s casino business is getting hammered by COVID-19, resulting in business layoffs and players complaining of late per diem payments. If the goal is to cut payroll and rebuild with affordable players, veterans like Kuemper, Ekman-Larsson and Hjalmarsson could be on the move. It will also mean they won’t be re-signing Taylor Hall, who becomes an unrestricted free agent on Nov. 1.

Friedman reports the Carolina Hurricanes have an interest in Toronto Maple Leafs goaltender Frederik Andersen. However, the Leafs aren’t keen to make a change just for the sake of doing so. Friedman feels if they make that move it’ll be for an upgrade, suggesting they could wait to see how this year’s goaltending free-agent market shakes out.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Perhaps the Leafs could pursue someone like Vegas’ Robin Lehner if he hits the open market. Or maybe they make a trade for someone like Darcy Kuemper and then peddle Andersen to the Hurricanes. If they go the UFA route they’ll be paying more than Andersen’s $5 million AAV. The Canes would also have to dump either Petr Mrazek or James Reimer as both have a year left on their contracts.

Speaking of the Leafs, Friedman doesn’t think William Nylander is going anywhere without a legitimate top-four right-hand shot defenseman coming in return.

SPECTOR’ S NOTE: I think they’d prefer that defenseman to be a top-two right-side guy. It would take someone like Nylander to fetch that type of return, especially with John Tavares, Auston Matthews, and Mitch Marner considered untouchable.

Friedman also mentioned Alex Pietrangelo met last week with St. Louis Blues management to discuss a new contract. He feels the Blues captain wants to stay in St. Louis but cited a couple of sources suggesting it hasn’t been easy for Pietrangelo to see teammates like Justin Faulk, Marco Scandella and Brayden Schenn get contract extensions while his talks stalled.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Cap Friendly indicates the Blues have $79.4 million invested in 21 players, with defenseman Vince Dunn also to be re-signed. The additions of Faulk and Scandella were likely insurance in case Pietrangelo departs via free agency. If the Blues hope to re-sign him, they must shed two or three contracts to make it work. There’s plenty of time for both sides to get a deal done. The tip-off will be how quickly Blues GM Doug Armstrong sheds salary once the playoffs are over.

The Montreal Canadiens are getting asked about their plans for Phillip Danault, who’s a year away from UFA status. His comments following the Habs’ playoff elimination about his future being a bit unclear drew attention.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Danault’s role as solely a defensive center against the Penguins and Flyers and the rise of promising centers Nick Suzuki and Jesperi Kotkaniemi is stoking speculation about his future in Montreal.

As for his comments, Danault said he wasn’t ready to be solely a defensive forward, adding he enjoyed producing offensively and his role as a two-way forward. He acknowledged his role for next season would determine if he re-signs with Montreal. However, he also indicated that by what he’s proven in the last few years, his role shouldn’t change in Montreal.

The Canadiens could move him if they feel Suzuki and Kotkaniemi are now ready as full-time centers on the top two lines. However, I think they prefer keeping Danault around in case one or both struggle to adjust over the course of a long season. 

One of the Minnesota Wild’s priorities is figuring out the cost of extending Jonas Brodin. The 27-year-old defenseman will become an unrestricted free agent next year.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Athletic’s Michael Russo suggested the blueliner could also be used to acquire a starting goaltender like Pittsburgh’s Matt Murray or to acquire a center. 

The Columbus Blue Jackets could consider moving a goalie for some scoring. Friedman notes Joonas Korpisalo and Matiss Kivlenieks aren’t exempt from next year’s expansion draft. Meanwhile, he reports the Pittsburgh Penguins is testing the trade market on third-line center Jared McCann.