Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – July 10, 2022

Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – July 10, 2022

How will the Leafs, Devils, Oilers and Capitals resolve their goaltending issues? What’s the latest speculation on Patrick Kane, Vincent Trocheck and Samuel Girard. Find out in this edition of the Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup.

SEVERAL TEAMS STILL FACE GOALIE ISSUES AS FREE AGENCY APPROACHES

TORONTO SUN: Lance Hornby reports landing a goaltender is the priority for Maple Leafs general manager Kyle Dubas. He must either re-sign Jack Campbell before the free-agent market opens on July 13, find a suitable replacement such as Darcy Kuemper via free agency, or pursue a trade for someone such as the Anaheim Ducks John Gibson.

Toronto Maple Leafs goaltender Jack Campbell (NHL Images).

Hornby suggests the next several days could determine if Dubas is bold enough to move William Nylander and his palatable $6.96 million annual average value for cap space, defense or prospects. Forward Alex Kerfoot could be another trade candidate.

TORONTO STAR: Dave Feschuk also weighed in on the Leafs’ pressing need for a starting goaltender. Possible trade targets could include the Ottawa Senators’ oft-injured Matt Murray, the Minnesota Wild’s Cam Talbot or Gibson.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It would indeed be a bold move to shop Nylander to free up cap room for a goaltender. However, that could turn disastrous if the goalie acquired becomes a bust while Nylander thrives with his new team.

Some will suggest Nylander for Gibson straight up. The dollars pretty much fit (Gibson’s AAV is $6.4 million) and the Leafs winger would provide the rebuilding Ducks with an established scoring forward to skate alongside rising young star Trevor Zegras.

However, the Leafs could be among the teams on Gibson’s 10-team no-trade list. We also don’t know if Ducks GM Pat Verbeek wants to take on a high-salaried player right now. Nylander is also just two years from UFA eligibility, which would make Verbeek uneasy over his future.

It’s rumored that the Talbot camp was unhappy about the Wild bringing back Marc-Andre Fleury on a two-year deal. GM Bill Guerin downplayed the issue and appears intent on icing a Fleury-Talbot goalie tandem for 2022-23. Maybe he changes his mind if he gets a suitable offer but I don’t think he’s keen to do so given his own salary-cap limitations.

As for Murray, his long history of injuries screams, “buyer beware”. Unless the Senators are picking up half of his $6.25 million cap hit through 2023-24, he’s not a worthwhile option for the Leafs. According to the Ottawa Sun’s Bruce Garrioch, the Senators aren’t interested in retaining any portion of his salary.

NEW YORK POST: Larry Brooks reports it wouldn’t be surprising if the New Jersey Devils were still in the market for Jack Campbell if they can find a taker for Mackenzie Blackwood. He also believes the Edmonton Oilers will be interested in Campbell or Darcy Kuemper, who’s been linked to the Washington Capitals. Brooks also thinks Talbot could be an option if he’s indeed unhappy with Fleury’s return.

EDMONTON JOURNAL: Kurt Leavins believes the Oilers’ biggest puzzle this offseason is resolving their goalie issue. He also mentioned Campbell, Kuemper and Talbot, and included the San Jose Sharks’ James Reimer as an option.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Round and round the goalie carousel goes and where it stops nobody knows. When it does, at least one of those clubs – Toronto, Edmonton, New Jersey or Washington – is going to be left empty-handed.

LATEST ON PATRICK KANE, VINCENT TROCHECK, SAMUEL GIRARD & MORE

NEW YORK POST: Larry Brooks suggests the Rangers should take a run at acquiring Patrick Kane as a one-year rental player instead of the Vancouver Canucks’ J.T. Miller. The 34-year-old Chicago Blackhawks winger has a year remaining on his contract with a $10.5 million cap hit and a full no-movement clause. Brooks suggests he’d be a better fit for the Rangers if he wants out of Chicago and the Blackhawks absorb half of his cap hit.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: With Ryan Strome and Andrew Copp heading to market, the Rangers’ biggest need is a second-line center, not a right winger. Miller lacks no-trade protection and carries an affordable $5.25 million cap so there’s no need to get into haggling over cap retention and risk scuttling a potential trade.

Brooks also speculates the Rangers could be in on Carolina Hurricanes center Vincent Trocheck if they wish to address their second-line center needs through free agency. However, he thinks Trocheck could prove too expensive for the Blueshirts.

COLORADO HOCKEY NOW: Adrian Dater reports Samuel Girard could be a “moving piece” if the Avalanche should decide to shed salary in order to sign pending UFA defenseman Josh Manson. Dater said he hasn’t heard any trade scenarios involving Girard but can’t see how the Avs can retain Manson without clearing the 24-year-old blueliner’s $5 million cap hit from their books.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Girard surfaced earlier this season as a possible trade chip but those rumors were quickly dismissed. The point can be made that he’s expendable because the Avs went on to win the Stanley Cup with him sidelined for most of the postseason. However, they could be unwilling to move him and his affordable contract through 2026-27.

OTTAWA SUN: Bruce Garrioch reports the Senators would like to upgrade their blueline with a right-shot defenseman. Options could include the Florida Panthers’ MacKenzie Weegar, the Arizona Coyotes’ Jakob Chychrun and the Pittsburgh Penguins’ John Marino.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The cap-strapped Panthers could consider moving Weegar if they hope to free up cap space to perhaps re-sign Claude Giroux. The Coyotes set a very high asking price for Chychrun that no one seems willing to pay right now. Marino could be available if the Penguins hope to free up salary to re-sign Evgeni Malkin, though it’s thought Marcus Pettersson is the more likely trade candidate.










NHL Rumor Mill – July 9, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – July 9, 2022

The goalie market is heating up with free agency approaching plus updates on J.T. Miller, Evgeni Malkin and Jeff Petry in today’s NHL rumor mill.

GOALIE MARKET HEATING UP

TSN: Chris Johnston reports Toronto Maple Leafs general manager Kyle Dubas intends to meet with Jack Campbell in the hope of negotiating a new contract with the goaltender before free agency begins on July 13. Dubas also did due diligence on the Ottawa Senators’ Matt Murray and talked with other GMs on possible options if Campbell decides to test the UFA market.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Leafs aren’t the only club looking at Murray. The Ottawa Sun’s Bruce Garrioch reports the Edmonton Oilers and Arizona Coyotes are studying that option.

SPORTSNET: Luke Fox reported the Leafs aren’t the only club searching for goaltenders. Multiple clubs will be bidding for Campbell and Colorado’s Darcy Kuemper. Meanwhile, Murray, Montreal’s Jake Allen and Anaheim’s John Gibson have surfaced in the trade market.

Colorado Avalanche goaltender Darcy Kuemper (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: TSN’s Darren Dreger believes it’ll take a lot to pry Allen away from the Canadiens given the uncertainty over Carey Price’s future as he attempts to recover from last summer’s knee surgery. Gibson recently denied rumors he wanted out of Anaheim. With a $6.4 million cap hit and a 10-team no-trade list, he won’t be an easy acquisition.

TWINCITIES.COM: Dane Mizutani reports Minnesota Wild GM Bill Guerin sought to downplay reports claiming Cam Talbot was upset over the Wild’s signing Marc-Andre Fleury to a two-year contract.

SPORTSNET: Luke Fox reports Talbot’s agent met with Guerin on Friday, telling The Athletic’s Pierre LeBrun that the Wild GM had a lot to think about. Asked about those remarks, Guerin bluntly said the agent could say “whatever the hell he wants.” He went on to point out Talbot’s under contract for 2022-23, he really likes him and the team is set now.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Athletic’s Michael Russo cited a source close to Talbot saying he doesn’t want out of Minnesota but he was hurt by not seeing much playing time in the 2022 postseason. He also indicated Talbot seeks a raise on a contract extension.

Guerin stated he has no intention of trading Talbot. However, that won’t keep his name out of the rumor mill.

THE ATHLETIC: Speaking of Pierre LeBrun, he believes Kuemper could be a fit with the Washington Capitals. That could leave the Leafs and Edmonton Oilers battling over Campbell in the free-agent market.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Signing Kuemper will be expensive. Washington Hockey Now’s Sammi Silber cited TSN’s Darren Dreger reporting the netminder’s seeking a deal similar to Seattle’s Philipp Grubauer ($5.9 million AAV for six seasons).

The Leafs are in a tighter spot cap-wise than the Oilers, who freed up plenty of cap room after trading Zack Kassian to Arizona on Thursday followed by Duncan Keith announcing his retirement. If Kuemper signs with Washington, the Oilers could pursue Campbell if he goes to market on Wednesday, leaving the Leafs scrambling to find at least a suitable starting goalie via the trade market.

LATEST ON MILLER, MALKIN AND PETRY

TSN: Darren Dreger reports there remains tremendous interest in J.T. Miller but that failed to materialize into a deal that suited the Vancouver Canucks. Their intent now is to wait and see if teams that fail to address their need for a top-six two-way forward in the upcoming free-agent market will circle back to Miller. If not, the Canucks are happy to have him back for the final season of his contract.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The New York Rangers could be one of those clubs. They’re believed in the market for a second-line center with Ryan Strome and Andrew Copp heading to market on Wednesday.

Chris Johnston reported Evgeni Malkin might be staying with the Pittsburgh Penguins. He believes it comes down to contract term, suggesting a four-year deal worth $7 million annually might get it done.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Penguins GM Ron Hextall remains hopeful of getting Malkin signed, saying they’ll continue chipping away at it.

Darren Dreger reports there’s still some interest in the trade market in Jeff Petry. However, there wasn’t enough for the Montreal Canadiens to trade the 34-year-old defenseman during the draft week.

MONTREAL HOCKEY NOW: Jimmy Murphy cites an NHL executive suggesting a Petry trade could take place within the next two weeks. He pointed out that the blueliner has been linked to the Dalla Stars. Murphy also said sources confirm that the Detroit Red Wings, Los Angeles Kings and Carolina Hurricanes had some interest in Petry.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: If the Canadiens hope to shed Petry’s $6.25 million annual average value their best opportunity is between now and the start of free agency on July 13. After that, most teams will have used up much of their cap space, leaving fewer potential trade partners.










NHL Rumor Mill – July 8, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – July 8, 2022

The opening day of the 2022 NHL Draft saw several established players change teams. Could there be more on the move during Day 2? Read on to find out in today’s NHL rumor mill.

LATEST ON THE BLUES

THE ATHLETIC: Jeremy Rutherford reported a source said Vladimir Tarasenko hadn’t rescinded his trade request from last summer despite his career-best performance in 2021-22 with the St. Louis Blues. This comes despite Blues general manager Doug Armstrong downplaying the notion of moving the 30-year-old winger earlier this spring.

St. Louis Blues winger Vladimir Tarasenko (NHL Images).

ESPN’s Kevin Weekes reported yesterday he’d heard that Tarasenko has drawn some interest in the trade market. Rutherford listed the Carolina Hurricanes and Florida Panthers as possible trade partners. He believes the Blues will want a defenseman as part of the return.

Rutherford also cited Daily Faceoff’s Frank Seravalli reporting they were gauging Torey Krug’s value in the trade market. He said a source close to Krug said on Wednesday that the club hasn’t approached the 31-year-old defenseman about waiving his no-trade clause.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Tarasenko has an annual cap hit of $7.5 million but his actual salary for 2022-23 is $5.5 million, making him more affordable in that department compared to last summer. However, he has a full no-trade clause giving him control over where he could go. Like last year, Armstrong will set a high asking price and is in no hurry to move Tarasenko until someone meets it. He could retain the winger as an “own rental” for next season if he doesn’t get what he wants.

Krug could be harder to move because of his $6.5 million AAV through 2026-27 along with that full no-trade clause. His actual salary jumps to $8 million which will be another sticking point.

NHL GOALIE MARKET COULD HEAT UP

OTTAWA SUN: Bruce Garrioch reports the Edmonton Oilers could be the most interested in Darcy Kuemper when the 32-year-old Colorado Avalanche goaltender hits the free-agent market on July 13. The Avalanche signaled their intent to cut ties with Kuemper by acquiring Alexandar Georgiev yesterday from the New York Rangers. He could seek a multiyear deal in the range of $6 million annually.

TORONTO SUN: Lance Hornby reports the Toronto Maple Leafs could also be among Kuemper’s suitors if they fail to sign Jack Campbell before next Wednesday. The Leafs freed up $3.8 million per season for the next two years by shipping Petr Mrazek to the Chicago Blackhawks during the first round of the 2022 NHL Draft on Thursday.

Koshan speculated they could still attempt to re-sign Campbell but he expects the 30-year-old netminder will look to double or triple his $1.6 million annual cap hit from his previous contract on a longer-term. The Ottawa Senators’ Matt Murray would be a long shot unless the Senators retain part of his $6.25 million AAV over the remaining two years of his contract.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: All eyes will be on the Oilers and Leafs regarding how they’ll address their respective goalie situations in the coming days. The Oilers have also been linked to Campbell if he becomes available but could put more of a focus on Kuemper. St. Louis Blues netminder Ville Husso could also be an option for either club.

UPDATES ON THE AVALANCHE, FLYERS, SENATORS AND BLACKHAWKS

THE DENVER POST: With the Colorado Avalanche parting company with Darcy Kuemper, Mark Kiszla believes Nazem Kadri will be next out of town. He believes they would be crazy to pay top dollar for a 31-year-old center coming off an outlier of a career-best performance.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Joe Sakic didn’t become general manager of the year because he’s fond of overpaying for talent. He’s a tough negotiator who has no problem shipping out players who could be expensive to retain or those due for free agency who prove too costly to sign. Kadri’s a goner unless he accepts a hometown discount.

PHILLY HOCKEY NOW: With Alex DeBrincat no longer on the market, Sam Carchidi wonders if the Philadelphia Flyers will set their sights on Johnny Gaudreau if the 28-year-old Calgary Flames winger becomes a UFA on July 13. They’ll need to free up cap space to do so. Carchidi indicated they intend to try and move winger James van Riemsdyk.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It could cost over $9.5 million annually on a seven-year deal for the Flyers to sign Gaudreau, who grew up a Flyers fan. Moving van Riemsdyk would clear $7 million from their books. The 33-year-old winger has a year left on his contract and lacks no-trade protection. His actual salary is $4 million after the Flyers paid his signing bonus on July 1.

OTTAWA SUN: Bruce Garrioch reports the Senators have kicked tires on Florida Panthers defenseman (and Ottawa native) MacKenzie Weegar. They also haven’t ruled out pursuing Panthers forward Claude Giroux if he becomes available via free agency.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Careful there, Senators GM Pierre Dorion. If the Panthers are entertaining offers for Weegar and his $3.25 million cap hit for next season, it’s probably because they’re trying to shed salary to re-sign Giroux.

 










NHL Rumor Mill – July 7, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – July 7, 2022

The rumor mill is abuzz leading up to the first round of the 2022 NHL Draft. Check out the latest on J.T. Miller, Matthew Tkachuk, Alex DeBrincat, Blake Wheeler, Claude Giroux, the Senator’s first-round pick and much more in today’s NHL rumor mill.

J.T. MILLER

THE ATHLETIC: Pierre LeBrun reports the New York Rangers are among the suitors for Vancouver Canucks center J.T. Miller.

SPECTOR’ S NOTE: I wonder if the Capitals are still interested with Nicklas Backstrom determined to return to action in 2022-23 following hip surgery? They were linked to Miller in recent rumors because of uncertainty over Backstrom’s status.

MATTHEW TKACHUK

THE ATHLETIC: Pierre LeBrun reports teams are “delicately approaching” the Calgary Flames about Matthew Tkachuk. The representatives for the restricted free agent winger want to see how things play out with his teammate (and pending UFA) Johnny Gaudreau before formalizing a game plan for their client.

Calgary Flames winger Matthew Tkachuk (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Ottawa Sun’s Bruce Garrioch cited St. Louis broadcaster Andy Strickland suggesting the Blues would be interested if Tkachuk becomes available in the trade market. If the Flames lose Gaudreau I expect they’ll put all their focus on signing Tkachuk to a big raise on a long-term deal.

ALEX DEBRINCAT

Pierre LeBrun said teams are starting to put their best offers forward to the Chicago Blackhawks for winger Alex DeBrincat. A first-round pick would have to be part of the return.

CHICAGO SUN-TIMES: Ben Pope believes the New Jersey Devils (second overall pick), Philadelphia Flyers (fifth overall) and Ottawa Senators (seventh overall) are the most likely suitors for DeBrincat. He reports rumors involving the Flyers and DeBrincat have cooled of late.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Blackhawks traded away their first-round pick in this year’s draft to the Columbus Blue Jackets for Seth Jones.

BLAKE WHEELER

THE SCORE: cited Daily Faceoff’s Frank Seravalli reporting the Winnipeg Jets have started exploring the trade market for captain Blake Wheeler. The 35-year-old winger’s no-movement clause has now become a modified no-trade in which he submits five preferred trade destinations. He has two seasons left on his contract with an annual average value of $8.25 million.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Wheeler’s age, cap hit and limited trade destinations make him difficult to move in an offseason where the salary cap has only risen by $1 million.

CLAUDE GIROUX

Pierre LeBrun adds the Carolina Hurricanes to the list of possible suitors for Florida Panthers forward Claude Giroux. They’re prioritizing offense this season and could lose forwards Nino Niederreiter and Vincent Trocheck to free agency next Wednesday.

WILL THE SENATORS SHOP THE SEVENTH-OVERALL PICK?

TSN: Darren Dreger reports Ottawa Senators general manager Pierre Dorion has said there was a 50-50 chance he might trade it. Dreger believes he’s now leaning toward trading that selection.

OTTAWA SUN: Bruce Garrioch reports there’s some “serious interest” in that seventh-overall pick. The offers have increased dramatically since Dorion and his staff arrived in Montreal for the upcoming draft. It’s believed the Montreal Canadiens, Chicago Blackhawks and Arizona Coyotes have been the most aggressive teams pursuing a top-10 pick.

Dorion was asked by a reporter if the Canadiens had offered up winger Josh Anderson for that pick. He declined to say anything about that but added that he’d seriously consider an offer from the Habs if it allowed both clubs to improve.

MONTREAL HOCKEY NOW: Marco D’Amico reports sources say the Senators are interested in Anderson and teammate Christian Dvorak.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: There’s also talk the Canadiens are interested in the Devils’ pick and could offer up Anderson in a package deal for that. I’d say they’ll have better luck landing the Senators’ pick with that package but I’m not holding my breath they’ll get either pick.

JESSE PULJUJARVI

EDMONTON JOURNAL’s Jim Matheson believes Oilers GM Ken Holland could seek a first-round pick who hasn’t panned on other clubs in return for Jesse Pujujarvi. He listed Detroit’s Filip Zadina, Nashville’s Eeli Tolvanen and Carolina’s Martin Necas as options.

LATEST ON THE LEAFS GOALTENDING SITUATION

TSN: Chris Johnston reports Toronto Maple Leafs general manager Kyle Dubas said his club is still talking to Jack Campbell’s camp. However, there doesn’t appear to be much progress toward a deal. He felt the Leafs will look to add at least one goaltender, mentioning the Minnesota Wild’s Marc-Andre Fleury as an option. Dubas also indicated Petr Mrazek could be sticking around next season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The whole point of trading Mrazek is to free up cap space for Campbell. If they can’t afford him with Mrazek still on the books, how can they afford Fleury?

Darren Dreger believes Campbell is headed to the open market. He listed the Edmonton Oilers and New Jersey Devils as possible destinations for the 30-year-old netminder with the Washington Capitals and Detroit Red Wings as honorable mentions. Dreger believes Campbell could seek a five-year deal worth $5 million per season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: My guess is it’s Edmonton or New Jersey for Campbell.

OTTAWA SUN: Bruce Garrioch reports the word is the Leafs have kicked tires on Senators goaltender Matt Murray as one of their options if Campbell departs next week via free agency.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Unless the Senators are retaining half of Murray’s $6.25 million cap hit, I don’t see how the Leafs can afford him. I also think they should seek better options rather than a goalie with a long injury history or it’s Mrazek time again next season.

GOLDEN KNIGHTS COULD SEEK A GOALTENDER

LAS VEGAS SUN: Danny Webster reports the Vegas Golden Knights could be in the market for a goaltender if Robin Lehner and Laurent Brossoit haven’t recovered from their offseason surgeries in time for training camp.

Webster suggested the Montreal Canadiens’ Jake Allen and the Tampa Bay Lightning’s Brian Elliott as possibilities. He rules out any hope of a Marc-Andre Fleury reunion. Webster also indicated the Golden Knights could shop defenseman Alec Martinez. Center William Karlsson has come up as a trade candidate but the sense is things have cooled on that front.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: One option could be the Rangers’ Alexandar Georgiev. The New York Post’s Larry Brooks reports the Blueshirts could move the 26-year-old restricted free agent if they don’t intend to file a qualifying offer by Monday’s deadline.

The Canadiens aren’t moving Allen until they’ve had more clarity on Carey Price’s health and that won’t be known until later in the summer. The Lightning re-sign Elliott in April to a one-year, $900K contract so he’s not going anywhere.

RUMORS FROM THE OTTAWA SUN

Bruce Garrioch reports a couple of teams have contacted the St. Louis Blues about Vladimir Tarasenko but the club isn’t shopping him. He wouldn’t mind staying in St. Louis.

The Florida Panthers are expected to let defenseman Ben Chiarot depart as a free agent next week.

Teams might want to reach out to the Minnesota Wild about defenseman Matt Dumba. He was being shopped before the Wild shipped Kevin Fiala last week to the Los Angeles Kings.










Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup (Part One) – July 3, 2022

Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup (Part One) – July 3, 2022

Are the Flyers pursuing Alex DeBrincat? Could the Islanders pursue Johnny Gaudreau? Check out the latest in Part 1 of the Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup

TRADE & FREE-AGENT RUMORS FROM FRIEDMAN’S LATEST “32 THOUGHTS” COLUMN

SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman reports the Montreal Canadiens will continue testing the trade market on veterans such as Christian Dvorak, Jeff Petry and possibly Josh Anderson. Teams believe they’re not interested in moving goaltender Jake Allen. It will be interesting to see if they’ll revisit their interest in Ottawa Senators forward Colin White.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Petry remains the more likely to be moved given his age (34), his trade request last season and his $6.25 million cap hit through 2024-25. It could take a significant offer to pry Anderson away from them.

The New Jersey Devils have made it known they’re willing to shop the No. 2 overall pick in the upcoming draft but there’s no certainty that will happen. There have been some trade rumors regarding restricted free agent winger Jesper Bratt. Kevin Fiala’s new contract with the Los Angeles Kings could have an effect on Bratt’s contract negotiations. The Devils could also pursue St. Louis Blues goaltender Ville Husso if he tests the unrestricted free agent market on July 13.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Fiala signed a seven-year deal with the Kings worth an annual average value of $7.875 million. There was speculation the Bratt camp was seeking over $7 million per season before the Fiala deal was signed. If the Devils trade him, they could seek a good player in return who’s carrying an affordable cap hit beyond 2022-23.

The trade status of Arizona Coyotes defenseman Jakob Chychrun continues to blow hot and cold. This could be one of the times when it heats up.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I’ll believe it when I see it. The Coyotes have set a high asking price. With Chychrun signed through 2024-25, they will remain patient in their quest for the right offer.

A lack of draft capital could make the Seattle Kraken turn to the UFA market rather than pursue talent via trades. Friedman believes they’ll be aggressive, suggesting they could target such notables as Johnny Gaudreau, Nazem Kadri, John Klingberg, etc.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Kraken made two significant signings last summer in Philipp Grubauer and Jaden Schwartz. They have plenty of cap space and a willingness to make another splash or two in the UFA pool.

Chicago Blackhawks winger Alex DeBrincat (NHL Images).

The Philadelphia Flyers made a legitimate pitch for Chicago Blackhawks winger Alex DeBrincat. They’ve also tested the trade market on most of their players.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Sounds like Flyers GM Chuck Fletcher intends to swing for the fences again. Last summer, he acquired Ryan Ellis and Rasmus Ristolainen, shipped out Shayne Gostisbehere to the Arizona Coyotes, and swapped Jakub Voracek for Cam Atkinson.

Friedman thinks the Columbus Blue Jackets will consider upgrading their blueline.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Jackets have over $19 million in cap space with 20 players signed for 2022-23. A big chunk of that could be eaten up re-signing Patrik Laine but there should still be sufficient room to bolster their defense corps.

The Ottawa Senators are willing to move the seventh overall pick for the right offer. They’re seeking a right wing and a right-side defenseman. They’ve had calls on Connor Brown after he indicated he intends to test next summer’s free-agent market. Friedman wondered if they’ll move Matt Murray and land Claude Giroux.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Murray’s injury history and $6.25 million cap hit through 2023-24 scream, “Buyer beware!” I think Giroux’s preference is signing with a Cup contender but maybe he’ll consider joining his hometown club for the right offer.

The Detroit Red Wings are believed working on a contract extension for captain Dylan Larkin. Friedman doesn’t see them among the favorites to land Jack Campbell if the Toronto Maple Leafs goalie hits the open market.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Expect the Red Wings to bring in a reliable backup for starting goaltender Alex Nedeljkovic. Campbell wouldn’t be a fit there unless he’s the starter.

It’s believed the Buffalo Sabres are working on a new contract for winger Victor Olofsson. They’re also expected to examine the goalie market to find someone to share the goalie duties with Craig Anderson, who recently signed a one-year deal.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It would be wild if Campbell signed with the Sabres. It probably won’t happen but it would add some spice to their rivalry with the Leafs.

Friedman wondered if the Anaheim Ducks might bring Josh Manson back via free agency. He also mused over the possibility of the Los Angeles Kings signing him. GM Pat Verbeek will want something tempting to part with goaltender John Gibson.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Gibson has denied rumors he’ll welcome a trade out of Anaheim. He’s got a 10-team no trade clause plus a $6.4 million cap hit through 2026-27 that some teams will find too expensive to take on.

The San Jose Sharks are still going through the process of hiring a new general manager. They could prefer retaining goalie James Reimer but it’s not a certainty. They must also decide if it is worthwhile keeping both Brent Burns and Erik Karlsson.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Karlsson is younger than Burns but carries more term on a more expensive contract plus he has a long history of injuries. Burns has a three-team trade list but perhaps he’d widen it for a chance to play for a contender.

It doesn’t sound like the New York Islanders intend to move goalie Semyon Varlamov. Winger Anthony Beauvillier could be a trade candidate. Friedman sees them as a stealth candidate for Johnny Gaudreau.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Cap Friendly shows the Islanders with $12 million in salary-cap space with 18 players under contract for 2022-23 and defenseman Noah Dobson due for a raise coming off his entry-level contract. They’ll have to shed a lot of salary if they hope to sign Gaudreau and have enough left to sign Dobson and fill out the rest of the roster.

Friedman believes the Jets won’t trade Mark Scheifele. There’s interest in Pierre-Luc Dubois but they still hold his rights for two more years. They will work with Blake Wheeler to look into a trade. There’s also interest in defenseman Brenden Dillon.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The 35-year-old Wheeler’s age, his $8.25 million cap hit and five-team trade list make it difficult to find a suitable trade partner. Teams will have more interest in the younger Dubois, who intends to test the UFA market in two years’ time.

There’s a path for the Vancouver Canucks to sign captain Bo Horvat to a contract extension. With Brock Boeser signed, Friedman doesn’t see him getting traded. The Canucks will set a high asking price for J.T. Miller and should get it whether it’s from the New York Rangers, Washington Capitals or another club.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It seems more likely the Canucks will trade Miller, preferably before the free-agent market opens on July 13. Much of the talk from management seems to suggest a contract extension is a long shot.

Friedman expects Filip Forsberg and the Nashville Predators will reach an agreement on a new contract. He believes it’ll be eight years at $8.5 million annually. He also wondered if Phil Kessel might sign with the Predators, mentioning they nearly acquired him at the trade deadline.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kessel could be an affordable depth option for the Predators. As for Forsberg, there’s speculation the holdup in his contract talks is the inclusion of a no-trade clause, something the Preds don’t usually hand out.

Friedman pondered whether the Dallas Stars can afford long-term contract extensions for young RFAs Jake Oettinger and Jason Robertson. They can’t afford to re-sign Michael Raffl, who wants to continue playing in the NHL.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Stars have over $18 million in cap space with 18 players under contract for next season. Oettinger and Robertson could get affordable bridge deals but it would be best if the Stars can lock them up for long-term contracts now. They would be much more expensive to sign coming off short-term deals.










NHL Rumor Mill – July 2, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – July 2, 2022

Check out the latest on Kris Letang, Evgeni Malkin, Filip Forsberg, Johnny Gaudreau, Alex DeBrincat, Jack Campbell and more, plus some contract buyout candidates in today’s NHL rumor mill.

RUMORS FROM THE LATEST “32 THOUGHTS” PODCAST

SPORTSNET: Jeff Marek and Elliotte Friedman discussed the latest trade and free-agent speculation during their latest “32 Thoughts” podcast.

Regarding Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Kris Letang, Friedman said teams have told him there’s a path toward a deal between the club and the pending unrestricted free agent. He also indicated the same for the Nashville Predators and pending UFA winger Filip Forsberg.

Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Kris Letang (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Penguins were reportedly offering Letang a three-year contract while he sought a five-year deal said to be between $8 million and $9 million annually. Perhaps that path is a three-year contract at around $8.25 million? We’ll see.

Friedman suggested an eight-year deal at $8.5 million annually for Forsberg. There’s speculation the holdup could be the winger seeking a no-trade clause, which the Predators as a rule tend to avoid.

Friedman doesn’t think the Penguins are getting close to a deal with Evgeni Malkin.

SPECTOR’ S NOTE: Recent reports out of Pittsburgh say the same thing, though there’s talk the Penguins will shift their focus to Malkin once they sort out how much it’ll cost to retain Letang. It will also depend on how much of a pay cut Malkin is willing to accept to stay in Pittsburgh.

Turning to Johnny Gaudreau, Friedman said he wouldn’t be surprised if the Calgary Flames offered him an eight-year contract worth around $9.5 million. He believes the Flames are willing to be flexible.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: TSN’s Pierre LeBrun reported Thursday that Gaudreau hasn’t reached a decision yet. He suspects the winger will keep the Flames in the loop but wants to see what offers he’ll get on the open market.

Friedman also elaborated on a recent rumor he’d heard about an offer the Chicago Blackhawks received for Alex DeBrincat. He said it was a reasonably high first-round pick plus another first-round pick and a prospect. However, it wasn’t enough to get the deal done.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Montreal Canadiens, Columbus Blue Jackets, Buffalo Sabres, Anaheim Ducks, Winnipeg Jets and Arizona Coyotes have multiple picks in the first round of this year’s draft. Maybe one of those teams made that pitch for DeBrincat. Discuss!

Regarding his report of the Tampa Bay Lightning looking into shopping Ryan McDonagh, Friedman believes the St. Louis Blues could be among the suitors. He thinks the 32-year-old defenseman would be a good addition to their blueline.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Yes, he would, but his $6.75 million cap hit wouldn’t be when Cap Friendly shows them with just over $9 million in cap space and 18 players under contract for 2022-23. They must re-sign or replace pending UFA goaltender Ville Husso plus they’re keen to retain UFA winger David Perron. Unless Blues GM Doug Armstrong intends on shedding salary, he’ll have to pass on an opportunity to acquire McDonagh.

Friedman mused over the possibility of the Edmonton Oilers signing Toronto Maple Leafs goaltender Jack Campbell on July 13.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Edmonton pundits believe Oilers GM Ken Holland intends to go goalie-shopping after speaking with Mike Smith in the near future. He’ll need a starter if Smith retires or spends next season on their long-term injury reserve list.

Recent speculation out of Toronto claims the Leafs and Campbell aren’t close to a deal. He could see a multi-year deal worth over $5 million per season, which the Leafs currently can’t afford unless they dump some salary. I expect the Oilers will be among those lining up to speak with Campbell’s agent if the netminder is available on July 13.

Speaking of the Leafs, Friedman doesn’t see them acquiring goalie John Gibson from the Anaheim Ducks. They had previous talks with former Ducks GM Bob Murray without success. Friedman doesn’t see that changing with Pat Verbeek now in charge in Anaheim.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Gibson recently denied rumors claiming he would welcome a trade. He carries a $6.4 million cap hit through 2026-27 and a 10-team no-trade list. The Leafs could be on that list.

Finally, Friedman wonders if the New Jersey Devils will attempt to sign Blues goalie Ville Husso if he hits the open market on July 13.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Landing a reliable starting goalie is among the priorities for Devils GM Tom Fitzgerald. I wouldn’t be surprised at all if he’s among the general managers putting in calls to Husso’s agent on July 13.

POTENTIAL CONTRACT BUYOUT CANDIDATES

THE HOCKEY NEWS: San Jose Sharks defenseman Marc-Edouard Vlasic topped Mike Stephens’ recent list of potential contract buyout candidates. The buyout window opened on July 1 and runs until 5 pm ET on July 12.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Sharks are still without a full-time replacement for general manager Doug Wilson. Still, it didn’t stop them from axing Bob Boughner as head coach on July 1.

I doubt they’ll find any takers for Vlasic in the trade market given his hefty contract and the decline in his play. We can’t rule out a buyout before July 12.

Edmonton Oilers defenseman Duncan Keith and winger Zack Kassian are also on Stephens’ list, as well as Toronto Maple Leafs goaltender Petr Mrazek and Ottawa Senators netminder Matt Murray.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Recent reports out of Edmonton suggest Kassian is a more likely buyout candidate than Keith, whose experience and leadership are still prized by Oilers management. They need to shed some salary to bolster their goaltending.

The Leafs could buy out Mrazek if they can’t find a trade partner for him before July 12. As for Murray, the Ottawa Sun’s Bruce Garrioch reported this week that the Sens aren’t likely to go that route.

SPORTSNET: Rory Boylen had Senators forward Colin White and Florida Panthers winger Patric Hornqvist on his list of buyout candidates.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Garrioch indicated White could indeed be bought out by the Senators. The Panthers could do the same if they can’t find a club to take him off their hands in the trade market.