NHL Rumor Mill – August 13, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – August 13, 2022

Canadiens goalie Jake Allen surfaces in trade gossip, some left wing options for the Jets and possible trade partners for the Penguins in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.


MONTREAL HOCKEY NOW: Jimmy Murphy cites an NHL source claiming the Dallas Stars and Arizona Coyotes had inquired about Canadiens goaltender Jake Allen in the past. The source believes it would make sense for both clubs to revisit their previous interest once Carey Price’s situation becomes clearer.

The source told Murphy that the Stars could use Allen if Jake Oettinger hasn’t been signed by the time the season starts or if he stages a holdout during training camp. The Coyotes, meanwhile, need another goalie to back up Karel Vejmelka.

Montreal Canadiens goaltender Jake Allen (NHL Images).

Murphy’s colleague Marco D’Amico followed up by suggesting managing their salary cap, roster and other assets could explain why it might make sense for the Canadiens to move Allen before the season begins. Testing the trade waters on Allen would be wise, especially if Price is trending in the right direction health-wise.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Oettinger could stage a holdout during training camp or during the start of the season. However, I’ll be surprised if things reach that point. The Stars have the cap room to sign him and fellow rising star Jason Robertson to short-term contracts with the promise of more lucrative deals in the near future.

Allen surfaced as a possible trade option for the Vegas Golden Knights to replace sidelined starting goalie Robin Lehner. The Canadiens have Sam Montembeault also under contract for the coming season and he could be a more affordable backup for Price.

The Habs aren’t under any pressure right now to move Allen. They could be willing to part with him if Price has recovered from the complications arising from last year’s knee surgery that sidelined him for most of last season. On the other hand, they could prefer keeping the reliable Allen to ensure Price isn’t overworked.

If Price remains sidelined, some suggest the Canadiens trade Allen anyway, go with a tandem of Montembeault and Cayden Primeau, and tank the season to improve their odds of winning the draft lottery again. However, that can have a damaging effect on team morale, especially in a rebuilding club. It could also do irreparable harm to Primeau’s development.


SPORTSNET: Ken Wiebe recently reported the Winnipeg Jets could use a third-line left winger. Possible internal options to address that need include Jansen Harkins or Morgan Barron. If they wish to look outside the organization, trade options could include the Arizona Coyotes’ Lawson Crouse or the Edmonton Oilers’ Jesse Puljujarvi.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Wiebe’s article appeared before the Coyotes signed Crouse to a five-year, $21.5 million contract on Aug. 8. Puljujarvi, meanwhile, agreed to a one-year, $3 million deal with the Oilers, fueling speculation that it could improve his trade value. However, there’s no certainty he’ll hit the trade block during the offseason.

THE ATHLETIC: Murat Ates also noted the Jets’ need for a third-line forward who can play top-six minutes in a pinch. Possible free-agent options include Sonny Milano, Evan Rodrigues, and Tyler Motte.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Jets have over $6 million in cap space for the coming season with 19 roster players under contract. General manager Kevin Cheveldayoff can draw upon his glut of defensemen to make a trade for a suitable third-line forward. However, I think he’ll have better luck addressing that need through free agency where some affordable options remain.


PITTSBURGH HOCKEY NOW: With the Penguins sitting over the $82.5 million salary cap by $1.4 million for the coming season, Dan Kingerski listed four teams that could become trade partners that could be willing to take on salary.

The Buffalo Sabres, Arizona Coyotes, Anaheim Ducks and Chicago Blackhawks are all rebuilding clubs with considerable cap space for 2022-23. They could be willing to take on a salaried veteran if he’s packaged with a draft pick or prospect.

Kingerski listed Marcus Pettersson, Brian Dumoulin, Jason Zucker and Teddy Blueger as potential trade candidates. Kasperi Kapanen could be another despite signing a two-year deal worth $3.2 million annually.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Plenty of time remains for the Penguins to become cap compliant. My guess is they’ll draw from their blueline corps for a trade candidate, possibly shopping Pettersson or Dumoulin.

NHL Rumor Mill – July 11, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – July 11, 2022

The Leafs and Senators are discussing a trade regarding Matt Murray. Are there better options available to the Leafs? Find out in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.


YAHOO! SPORTS: cites Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman reported on Sunday that trade talks between the Toronto Maple Leafs and Ottawa Senators over goaltender Matt Murray have intensified.

Ottawa Senators goaltender Matt Murray (NHL Images).

The Leafs could be in need of a starting goalie if Jack Campbell heads to free agency on July 13 while the Senators are trying to clear a logjam in their crease by moving Murray. The 28-year-old netminder struggled through two injury-shortened seasons with the Senators and has been overtaken on their depth chart by Anton Forsberg and Filip Gustavsson.

Leafs general manager Kyle Dubas knows Murray well as the goalie played for him when he was GM of the OHL’s Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds. Leafs coach Sheldon Keefe was also the Greyhounds coach at that time.

Last week, Murray rejected a trade to the Buffalo Sabres. However, TSN’s Darren Dreger reports he’s open to moving to Edmonton or Toronto.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This shows the level of desperation Dubas must be feeling right now. Dreger reported the Leafs GM met with Campbell on Saturday but no progress was made toward a new contract. Having shipped Petr Mrazek to Chicago last Thursday in a cost-cutting move, Dubas is scrambling to find a suitable starting goaltender for the upcoming season.

Dubas’ interest in Murray suggests he can’t afford to pursue Darcy Kuemper, whose tenure with the Stanley Cup champion Colorado Avalanche ended last week with their acquisition of Alexandar Georgiev. It’s believed the 32-year-old Kuemper seeks a long-term deal worth close to $6 million per season.

In his prime, Murray backstopped the Pittsburgh Penguins to the Stanley Cup in 2016 and 2017. Injuries, however, hampered his performance and were part of the reason the Penguins traded him to the Senators in 2020.

Murray’s abysmal stats with the Senators are due in part to having a lousy defense in front of him. Nevertheless, his frequent absences from the lineup haven’t helped his play. Even with a better team in front of him, there’s no certainty the oft-injured Murray can provide that club with the type of goaltending necessary to at least win a playoff round.

He also carries a $6.25 million annual cap hit for two more seasons. The Senators are reportedly reluctant to retain any portion of it, though that could change if they’re determined to trade him.

OTTAWA SUN: Bruce Garrioch reports the Senators have also held discussions about Murray with the Edmonton Oilers, Washington Capitals and Arizona Coyotes.

TORONTO SUN: Lance Hornby reported one rumor making the rounds Sunday had the Leafs contacting the Montreal Canadiens about Jake Allen.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Montreal Hockey Now’s Marco D’Amico reports the Oilers, Capitals and Buffalo Sabres have also expressed interest in Allen. However, Canadiens GM Kent Hughes has stated Allen’s not going anywhere as long as uncertainty remains about Carey Price’s status next season. Until there’s more clarity on Price’s ongoing rehab from last summer’s knee surgery, forget about Allen being on the move this summer.

THE ATHLETIC: Kevin Kurz cites a league source speculating the New York Islanders might not fully close the door on trading Semyon Varlamov given the need for starting goalies in this summer’s trade and free-agent markets. That source thinks Isles GM Lou Lamoriello could be receptive if a rival club becomes desperate enough to overpay for the 32-year-old netminder.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Complicating that scenario is Varlamov’s 16-team no-trade clause. The teams looking for goalies could be on that list.

TORONTO SUN: Steve Simmons points out that Dubas must also find a decent backup goaltender once he lands a starter. “Dubas is kidding himself if he believes that one of Erik Kallgren or Joseph Woll will be his backup this coming season,” writes Simmons.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Dubas should have an easier time finding a backup than a starter. Then again, that’s no certainty given his apparent blind spot in evaluating NHL goaltenders.

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.


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.


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 – April 14, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – April 14, 2022

In today’s NHL rumor, a look at this summer’s free-agent goaltending market plus a possible conundrum between the pipes for the Canadiens.


THE ATHLETIC: Pierre LeBrun considers the Minnesota Wild’s Marc-Andre Fleury, Colorado Avalanche’s Darcy Kuemper, St. Louis Blues’ Ville Husso and the Toronto Maple Leafs’ Jack Campbell as the top tier of UFA goalies this summer. All four could improve their value with solid performances in the upcoming playoffs.

Sources indicated the Wild would like to keep Fleury despite their limited salary-cap space for 2022-23 but there’ve been no discussions yet. LeBrun said the Blues aren’t giving up on struggling starter Jordan Binnington and believed Husso will be heading to free agency in July.

There haven’t been many contract discussions between Avalanche management and Kuemper’s camp. The Avs offered a one-year extension last summer but it was rejected by his agent.

Toronto Maple Leafs goaltender Jack Campbell (NHL Images).

Campbell had a strong start to this season but struggled and was sidelined in the second half. His agent said it was status quo on the contract front.

Teams that could be in the market for a starter this summer could include the Edmonton Oilers, Washington Capitals, New Jersey Devils and Buffalo Sabres. The Leafs and Avs could also seek help in goal if their respective starters hit the open market in July.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Fleury, Kuemper, Husso and Campbell will draw considerable interest if they hit the UFA market on July 13. It will be interesting to see how their value is affected by their performances in the 2022 playoffs and whether they stay with their current clubs or test the market.


THE ATHLETIC: LeBrun pondered whether Carey Price wants to continue his playing career and if it would be with the Montreal Canadiens. If he wants to join a Cup contender, the Canadiens would have to absorb part of his $10.5 million cap hit to make it happen.

LeBrun also wondered if clubs come calling for Jake Allen. The Canadiens backup has a year left on his contract with an affordable $2.875 million cap hit. He was playing well until suffering a season-ending groin injury.

MONTREAL HOCKEY NOW: Marco D’Amico also weighed in on the potential offseason goalie conundrum facing the Canadiens. He cited RDS’ Francois Gagnon indicating it’s a complex question given the 34-year-old Price’s contract, injury history and stated intent to play in Montreal for the long term. He also holds a full no-movement clause.

Should Price agree to accept a trade, D’Amico believes they’ll need to find a long-term replacement. UFA options could include Ville Husso or Darcy Kuemper.

LeBrun’s fellow TSN insider, Darren Dreger, said Allen was a much sought-after asset leading up to last month’s trade deadline. D’Amico pointed to the improved play of Samuel Montembeault, suggesting the Canadiens could opt for a more affordable backup and put Allen on the trade block.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Price’s age, hefty contract, NMC and his long list of injuries make him seemingly untradeable but it could be folly to assume it won’t happen. That being said, the Canadiens would have to retain between $4 million and $5.25 million of his cap hit to make his contract palatable to interested parties. His movement clause would also complicate matters by limiting potential trade suitors.

Allen would be much easier for the Canadiens to trade. However, that depends on whether management sees the 25-year-old Montembeault as a reliable backup for Price, who has a good working relationship with Allen.

Montembeault is a restricted free agent this summer with arbitration rights coming off a one-year, $750K contract. He would be an affordable re-signing for the Habs at a cap rate lower than Allen’s.

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 10, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 10, 2022

The Maple Leafs and Rangers clinch playoff berths, Auston Matthews, Chris Kreider and Alex Ovechkin each approach significant scoring milestones, the Avalanche tie a franchise record, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: Auston Matthews scored twice as the Toronto Maple Leafs clinched a playoff berth by holding off the Montreal Canadiens 3-2. Matthews reached 58 goals on the season, becoming the ninth player in league history to score 50 goals in a 50-game period. The Leafs sit in second place in the Atlantic Division with 100 points. Montreal defenseman Jeff Petry returned to action after missing seven games with a lower-body injury. However, Canadiens goaltender Jake Allen left the game in the first period with a lower-body injury.

Toronto Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Matthews is two goals away from becoming the NHL’s first 60-goal scorer since the Tampa Bay Lightning’s Steven Stamkos reached that mark in 2011-12. Meanwhile, Allen’s injury is not expected to hasten the timeline for Carey Price’s return to the Canadiens’ net. Earlier in the day, the club announced winger Jonathan Drouin underwent season-ending wrist surgery on Friday.

The New York Rangers also clinched a postseason berth with a 5-1 victory over the Ottawa Senators. Chris Kreider tallied two goals to reach 49 on the season while Artemi Panarin had a goal and two assists. With 100 points, the Rangers are tied with the Carolina Hurricanes but the latter holds first place in the Metropolitan Division with a game in hand.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kreider sits third in the goal-scoring race and is poised to become the third player to reach the 50-goal plateau this season. He’s also five away from tying Jaromir Jagr for the single-season franchise record of 54 goals.

Three unanswered third-period goals lifted the Washington Capitals over the Pittsburgh Penguins 6-3, handing the latter their fourth straight loss. Alex Ovechkin scored his 44th goal of the season while Tom Wilson and John Carlson each collected two points for the Capitals, who hold the final Eastern Conference wild-card spot with 88 points. Pittsburgh, meanwhile, sits just four points ahead of the Capitals for third place in the Metro Division. Penguins winger Jason Zucker returned to the lineup after missing three games with a core-muscle injury.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Ovechkin is tied with Gordie Howe for the second-most goals scored in a season by a player 36-or-old. He’s four behind record-holder Teemu Selanne. The Capitals captain also needs six more goals to tie Wayne Gretzky and Mike Bossy for the most 50-goal seasons (nine) in a career.

Colorado Avalanche center Nathan MacKinnon scored the tying goal and the only goal in the shootout in a 2-1 victory over the Edmonton Oilers. Darcy Kuemper turned in a 49-save performance as Colorado tied a franchise single-season record with 52 wins. The Avalanche sits two points ahead of the Florida Panthers for first in the overall standings with 110 points. With 90 points, the Oilers hold a four-point lead over the Los Angeles Kings for second place in the Pacific Division.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Avalanche defenseman Samuel Girard returned to action after missing 13 games with a lower-body injury.

Speaking of the Panthers, they picked up their seventh straight victory by dropping the Nashville Predators 4-1. Jonathan Huberdeau scored to extend his points streak to 11 games while Spencer Knight got the win by stopping 24 shots. The Predators hold the first wild-card spot in the Western Conference with 86 points.

Calgary Flames defenseman Noah Hanifin collected assists on each of his club’s goals on route to a 4-1 victory over the Seattle Kraken. With 97 points, the Flames are seven points up on the Oilers for first place in the Pacific Division.

The St. Louis Blues took over sole possession of second place in the Central Division with 94 points as they thumped the New York Islanders 6-1. Justin Faulk scored two goals and collected an assist as his club extended its points streak to eight games. Vladimir Tarasenko and Robert Thomas each had a goal and an assist. The Islanders were playing without Casey Cizikas, who served a one-game suspension for boarding Carolina Hurricanes defenseman Brendan Smith on Friday.

New Jersey Devils captain Nico Hischier had a goal and an assist to lead his club to a 3-1 win over the Dallas Stars. The loss leaves the Stars two points behind the Predators and clinging to the final Western Conference wild-card berth with 84 points.

Max Pacioretty scored in his return to the Vegas Golden Knights lineup as they crushed the Arizona Coyotes 6-1. Pacioretty had missed 12 games with an undisclosed ailment. Brayden McNabb had a goal and two assists while Robin Lehner turned aside 29 shots. The Golden Knights are tied with the Stars but the latter has two games in hand.

The Vancouver Canucks remain alive in the chase for the final Western wild-card berth by doubling up the San Jose Sharks 4-2. Thatcher Demko stopped 35 shots while Alex Chiasson had a goal and an assist for the Canucks, who are four points behind the Stars and Golden Knights.

A hat trick by Jack Roslovic, including the winner in overtime, powered the Columbus Blue Jackets to a 5-4 win over the Detroit Red Wings, handing the latter their eighth defeat in their last nine contests. Jakub Vrana tallied twice for the Wings.

Anaheim Ducks center Trevor Zegras scored two goals to beat the Philadelphia Flyers 5-3. Flyers forward Joel Farabee missed this game as he’s suffering from the flu.

NHL Rumor Mill – March 22, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – March 22, 2022

The 2022 trade deadline is history but that doesn’t mean the trade and free-agent rumors have stopped. Check out the latest on the Canadiens’ Jeff Petry and Jake Allen, the Bruins’ Jake DeBrusk and the Islanders’ Semyon Varlamov in today’s NHL rumor mill.


MONTREAL GAZETTE: Stu Cowan reports Jeff Petry will be staying with the Canadiens for the remainder of the regular season as general manager Kent Hughes could find a suitable deal for the 34-year-old defenseman that worked for both sides.

Montreal Canadiens defenseman Jeff Petry (NHL Images).

Petry made it clear he wanted to be traded after struggling on the ice this season while his family opted to remain in Michigan. He’s in the first season of a four-year contract with an annual average value of $6.25 million.

Hughes said he tried to move Petry before yesterday’s trade deadline but could find a suitable deal. He said he’ll try again in the offseason but it will have to make sense for both clubs.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: There was speculation suggesting some teams had an interest in Petry prior to the trade deadline. Hughes might have better luck finding a suitable trade partner this summer when teams will have more cap space.

TVA SPORTS: Canadiens goaltender Jake Allen was happy he didn’t get traded yesterday. “I was confident that I would stay here until the end of the season. This is where I wanted to be. I didn’t want to be traded,” he said.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: There was a rumor before yesterday’s trade deadline linking Allen to the Edmonton Oilers. Maybe he’ll be moved in the offseason if Hughes gets a suitable offer. Otherwise, he’ll return for the second season of his two-year contract as Carey Price’s backup.


BOSTON HOCKEY NOW: Prior to yesterday’s trade deadline, Joe Haggerty weighed in with his thoughts on the Bruins signing Jake DeBrusk to a two-year contract extension despite his standing request since November for a trade.

Haggerty suggested the new contract could make DeBrusk “a more tradeable asset with cost certainty,” a view shared by TSN’s Pierre LeBrun ahead of yesterday’s deadline. LeBrun also noted the 25-year-old winger had not rescinded his trade request.

NBC SPORTS BOSTON: Nick Goss also mentioned DeBrusk’s new contract in his review of the Bruins’ failed efforts to land a notable forward before the trade deadline. He suggested the streaky winger’s new contract could make it easier to move him in the offseason, “but is anyone confident his performance will improve come playoff time?”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: There was a recent report suggesting some teams were leery of taking on DeBrusk because it would’ve cost $4.85 million to qualify his rights this summer. The annual average value of his new contract ($4 million) is a little more affordable. However, teams could be reluctant to take that on if, as Goss observes, his performance doesn’t improve down the stretch and into the postseason.


NEW YORK POST: Ethan Sears reports Islanders general manager Lou Lamoriello decided not to move Semyon Varlamov at the trade deadline based on the goaltender’s play and the growth of young starter Ilya Sorokin. The two netminders get along well together. He indicated he didn’t want to give up a goalie to make another position better only to create a bigger hole in net.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The 32-year-old Varlamov was the subject of considerable trade speculation involving teams (like the Edmonton Oilers, Toronto Maple Leafs and Vegas Golden Knights) reportedly seeking help between the pipes. His $5.2 million cap hit through next season and his 16-team no-trade clause, however, was also noteworthy sticking points in any attempt to discuss a trade with Lamoriello.