NHL Rumor Mill – November 23, 2023

NHL Rumor Mill – November 23, 2023

Check out the latest on the Oilers and Flames in today’s NHL Rumor Roundup.


DAILY FACEOFF: Frank Seravalli suggested five options for the Edmonton Oilers to target in order to upgrade their goaltending.

Topping his list is James Reimer of the Detroit Red Wings. Mackenzie Blackwood of the San Jose Sharks and Jake Allen of the Montreal Canadiens were next, followed by the Arizona Coyotes’ Karel Vejmelka and the Philadelphia Flyers’ Carter Hart.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Blackwood and Allen appear the more likely to be available. The Sharks are going nowhere fast while the Canadiens could opt to move Allen if they decide to go with a tandem of Sam Montembeault and Cayden Primeau (which I think they should).

Speaking of Blackwood, TSN’s Darren Dreger said he’d be looking at the Sharks netminder if he were the Oilers general manager. When Oilers GM Ken Holland is doing so remains to be seen.

Like the Canadiens, the Red Wings are carrying three goalies but they’re also trying to reach the playoffs this year. They could opt to hang onto Reimer.

The same goes with Vejmelka and Hart. Their respective clubs are off to better-than-expected starts this season and they could be reluctant to move their starting goalies right now. Perhaps that changes if they fall out of contention as the season goes along.

A lot would also depend on how much the Oilers are willing to overpay for one of those goalies.

Montreal Canadiens goaltender Sam Montembeault (NHL Images).

Seravalli also dismissed the notion of the Boston Bruins parting with Jeremy Swayman or Linus Ullmark. He also rejected speculation about Nashville Predators’ starter Juuse Saros, pointing to Predators general manager Barry Trotz’s desire to sign Saros to a contract extension next summer.

EDMONTON JOURNAL: David Staples cited TSN’s Darren Dreger speculating over what it might cost the Oilers to acquire Sam Montembeault from the Montreal Canadiens.

Dreger believes the Canadiens would want a “substantial” return for Montembeault, who’s earning $1 million this season and is slated to become an unrestricted free agent in July. He thinks prospect Xavier Bourgault would have to be part of the deal.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I’ve also heard speculation suggesting the only way the Oilers can swing a trade for a goalie is to find someone who’ll take struggling former starter Jack Campbell and his $5 million average annual value through 2026-27 off their hands.

Maybe that’s possible but it would take a hell of an offer with a lot of sweeteners bundled with Campbell to make it happen. Right now, I don’t see that sort of deal happening. Maybe in the offseason leading up to the draft but not during a season where most teams are pressed against the $83.5 million cap.


THE ATHLETIC: In a recent mailbag segment, Julian McKenzie was asked if there was any scenario he could see where the Calgary Flames could shed higher-salaried players such as Jonathan Huberdeau, Nazem Kadri, MacKenzie Weegar and Jacob Markstrom should they decide to rebuild.

Such moves would require some salary retention on the Flames’ part. Given Huberdeau’s hefty contract, they would likely have to include a draft pick or a prospect to tempt another club into taking him off their hands.

McKenzie said he would be very surprised if those four players were shipped out this season. He believes the Flames should focus on bringing in younger, better players (like Conor Zary) to build around the expensive core.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Even with the salary cap projected to rise significantly over the next two or three seasons, Huberdeau, Kadri, Weegar and Markstrom would still be difficult to move. All but Markstrom are in the first year or two of their long-term deals while Markstrom has two more seasons left on his contract.

BOSTON HOCKEY NOW: Jimmy Murphy recently cited NHL analyst Pierre McGuire telling the Eye Test Podcast that he thinks the Flames and Boston Bruins seem like trade “dance partners.” He noted that Bruins GM Don Sweeney has long coveted Flames defenseman Noah Hanifin.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That dance might take place near the March 8 trade deadline if the Flames are out of playoff contention by that point. Given the Bruins’ limited trade deadline cap space ($2.6 million), perhaps Sweeney will wait until the offseason when he could pursue Hanifin via the free-agent market.

NEW JERSEY HOCKEY NOW: James Nichol cited a report from The Fourth Period claiming the New Jersey Devils are among four teams interested in Flames defensemen Chris Tanev and Nikita Zadorov. The others were the Toronto Maple Leafs, Dallas Stars and Vancouver Canucks.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Devils are struggling defensively of late and Devils GM Tom Fitzgerald has shown a willingness to make big moves during the season. We shouldn’t dismiss the possibility of him landing Tanev or Zadorov at some point this season.

NHL Rumor Mill – November 21, 2023

NHL Rumor Mill – November 21, 2023

Leafs winger William Nylander’s performance is pushing up the cost of his next contract, a look at the goalie market for the Oilers plus an update on the Avalanche in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.


TSN: Travis Yost believes William Nylander’s torrid scoring pace will raise the cost of his next contract if he maintains his production throughout this season. He pointed out that the 27-year-old Toronto Maple Leafs winger had closed the gap with teammates such as Mitch Marner, including outperforming them in the playoffs.

TORONTO SUN: Lance Hornby cited Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman observing that the difference between Leafs management and the Nylander camp over the summer was thought to be around $1 million per season in the $8 million to $9 million range. “I just do not think that’s realistic anymore,” said Friedman. Hornby noted that talks are continuing between the two sides.

TORONTO STAR: Kevin McGran wondered if Nylander has priced himself out of Toronto. “Looks like the supposed $10-million-a-year ask over the summer might have been a bargain,” he writes.

THE ATHLETIC: Pierre LeBrun spoke to team executives in rival front offices across the NHL to get their views on what they felt would be a fair contract extension for Nylander. The numbers came in with an average annual value between $8.5 million to $12.25 million on a seven or eight-year contract.

Toronto Maple Leafs forward William Nylander (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I’ll be very surprised if the AAV is below $10 million on his next contract if he maintains his current level of performance throughout this season.

Nylander is the Leafs’ leading scorer thus far and among this season’s league leaders. He’s on pace to reach 100 points for the first time after two seasons between 80 and 87 points. He’s earned far less than teammates Marner and Auston Matthews. His summer asking price indicates that he wants fair market value.

I think Nylander’s asking price is now between $11 million and $12 million. Maybe he accepts a little less if he wants to stay in Toronto but I doubt that number goes below $10 million. If the Leafs won’t pay up, plenty of other clubs will line up to do so if he hits the open market on July 1.


THE ATHLETIC: Allan Mitchell believes the Edmonton Oilers’ salary-cap constraints mean they must find a way to shed the contract of struggling goalie Jack Campbell to free up cap dollars for an upgrade between the pipes.

Mitchell believes it’ll cost the Oilers at least three good prospects/draft picks being bundled with Campbell as sweeteners. He wondered if they could find a team that would accept their 2024 first-round pick, top prospect Xavier Bourgault and a “more established asset” such as Philip Broberg or the sidelined Dylan Holloway packaged with Campbell.

Mitchell then looked around at possible options in the trade market. They include Montreal’s Sam Montembeault and Jake Allen, St. Louis’ Jordan Binnington, Calgary’s Dan Vladar and Detroit’s James Reimer. He felt Vladar was the right choice.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Oilers are in a very bad state with their goaltending right now. I concur with Mitchell regarding what it would cost them to entice a rival team into taking Campbell off their hands. That club could then buy him out next summer if he doesn’t improve over the remainder of this season.

Nevertheless, I still think moving out Campbell’s contract is very difficult with so many teams pressed for cap space this season. The Oilers have no leverage which other clubs will attempt to exploit.

Mitchell mentioned Montembeault and Allen because of recent reports indicating the Oilers had scouted the Canadiens goalies. Binnington’s come up because of rumored concerns in St. Louis over his performance in recent years (though he’s playing better this season) as well as the difficulty of carrying his $6 million AAV. Like the Canadiens, the Red Wings are carrying three goalies which is why Reimer got mentioned. Meanwhile, the Flames could be willing to move Vladar to bring up promising Dustin Wolf.

Binnington, however, has a full no-trade clause while Allen carries a seven-team no-trade list for this season. Given the Oilers’ struggles this season, the attraction of playing with Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl might not be enough of a selling point to convince either guy to come to Edmonton.

The Red Wings and Canadiens could have the room to take on Campbell’s contract but I don’t think they’re keen to do so even if they got a package of sweeteners in the deal. The Flames, meanwhile, lack the cap space plus I don’t see them and the Oilers making a deal unless a third team gets into the mix. Indeed, it could take a three-team deal to spread Campbell’s cap hit around to make this happen.


SPORTSNET (via NHL WATCHER): During his latest “32 Thoughts” podcast, Elliotte Friedman said Artturi Lehkonen’s injury is pretty significant. He added the Colorado Avalanche are in the market to add some depth scoring.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: No word on who they might pursue and what they’re willing to offer. Perhaps we’ll learn more in the coming days.

Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – November 19, 2023

Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – November 19, 2023

In the Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup: the latest on the Leafs and Patrick Kane, an update on the Flames pending free agents and the Oilers appear interested in the Canadiens’ goaltenders.


SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman believes the Toronto Maple Leafs have had a conversation with Patrick Kane. The 35-year-old free-agent right winger is fielding offers as he searches for the right team to play with this season.

Free agent winger Patrick Kane (NHL Images).

The Leafs have kept silent on the matter. Friedman considers it unlikely that they’ll sign Kane as he thinks the two parties wanted to talk to each other and conduct due diligence. He anticipates that Kane will decide on where he’ll play in the coming days. The Leafs appear more committed to addressing their defense.

Friedman also believes the Toronto Maple Leafs need to figure out where things are going with John Klingberg. He was unable to play during their Global Series games in Sweden.

Luke Fox wondered if the Leafs might place Klingberg and his $4.15 million cap hit for this season on long-term injury reserve. He’s been absent from the lineup for a week with an undisclosed injury and only lasted 10 minutes before leaving Saturday’s full-team practice.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Putting Klingberg on LTIR could provide additional wiggle room to perhaps sign Kane. However, I agree with Friedman that their focus is on improving their blueline.


SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman reported there’s nothing new to report regarding trade rumors involving the Calgary Flames defensemen. They’re undoubtedly taking a lot of calls from other clubs and there’s been “a lot of conversation” over what they want to do and when. Friedman wonders when the Flames will get to a point where they’ll allow some of these teams to talk to those players.

Meanwhile, Flames captain Mikael Backlund spoke to some of his teammates to “end the noise”. He wants them to concentrate on playing as long as they’re with the Flames.

THE ATHLETIC: Julian McKenzie reports the Flames’ recent 4-1-1 streak has dampened some of the criticism aimed at the club’s performance as well as the spate of trade rumors.

If the Flames remain competitive, McKenzie wonders what effect it will have regarding the futures of Noah Hanifin, Elias Lindholm and Chris Tanev. They’re slated to become unrestricted free agents in July and have been frequent subjects of trade speculation.

TORONTO SUN: Lance Hornby noted that talk of the Maple Leafs’ interest in Nikita Zadorov or Chris Tanev has eased following the Flames’ recent improvement.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Flames general manager Craig Conroy is taking a wait-and-see approach regarding Lindholm, Hanifin, Tanev and Zadorov. If the Flames improve and get back into playoff contention, he could decide to hang onto them even if it means losing them to free agency in July. Should they remain out of contention by midseason, Conroy could start seriously entertaining trade offers from playoff contenders.


SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman reports the Edmonton Oilers continue to look at the goaltending market. He indicated that several teams who were recently in Montreal said the Oilers were looking at all three of the Montreal Canadiens’ goaltenders. However, Friedman doesn’t believe anything is imminent between the two clubs as the Oilers are determined not to make a panic trade that they might regret.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Canadiens are carrying goalies Jake Allen, Sam Montembeault and Cayden Primeau. Allen has the most experience but his $3.85 million annual average value through 2024-25. That’s too expensive for the Oilers unless they ship out a player with an equivalent salary or convince the Canadiens to retain half of Allen’s cap hit. He also has a 10-team no-trade clause.

Montembeault has an affordable $1 million cap hit but it’s believed the Canadiens hope to re-sign the pending UFA goalie. Primeau is the least experienced and probably the least likely option for the Oilers.

Allen and Montembeault have decent stats with the rebuilding Canadiens. Their numbers could improve with a better team. Whether the Oilers will take that chance remains to be seen. They’d prefer a more established option but those don’t seem to be available right now.

NHL Rumor Mill – November 9, 2023

NHL Rumor Mill – November 9, 2023

Possible goalie trade targets for the Oilers plus the latest on Patrick Kane, Noah Hanifin and an update on the Senators in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.


SPORTSNET: In his latest “32 Thoughts” column, Elliotte Friedman speculated the Edmonton Oilers could be contemplating their options for a goaltending upgrade.

He noted reports linking the Oilers to St. Louis Blues starter Jordan Binnington but doubts that happens unless they’re giving up on the season. The Blues would have to replace Binnington and his $6 million average annual value and they won’t accept Jack Campbell in return.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I don’t see the Blues giving up on the season. Binnington, meanwhile, has a full no-trade clause. Unless he agrees to waive it, he’s not going anywhere.

The Oilers have talked to the Montreal Canadiens (who don’t need a goalie) about Jake Allen but Friedman doesn’t sense anything imminent there.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Canadiens are currently carrying three goalies in Allen, Sam Montembeault and Cayden Primeau. While they could attempt to move one of them, they won’t want a goalie in return.

The Habs would also likely have to retain half of Allen’s $3.85 million cap hit. However, they only have one salary retention spot left for this season and might prefer to keep that open for later in the season. Allen also has a seven-team no-trade list.

Nashville Predators goaltender Juuse Saros (NHL Images).

Friedman mentioned Nashville Predators starter Juuse Saros but believes the asking price would put him out of reach for the Oilers.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Saros is signed through 2024-25 and lacks no-trade protection. Back in October, Predators general manager Barry Trotz told The Athletic’s Pierre LeBrun that he’s already reached out to Saros’ agent to gauge their thoughts about discussing a contract extension.

Unless Saros intends on testing the 2025 free-agent market, I don’t expect Trotz will move him this season.

NHL WATCHER: Speaking of the Predators, TSN’s Ryan Rishaug on the “Got Yer Back” podcast yesterday suggested the Oilers pursue promising Yaroslav Askarov, who has great numbers with their AHL affiliate in Milwaukee. LeBrun, however, considered that to be too risky for the Oilers as Askarov hasn’t proven anything yet at the NHL level.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Trotz acknowledged he considered moving Askarov before the first round of the 2023 NHL Draft in the hope of landing one of the top five selections. However, he’s since said that he intends to hang onto the promising netminder.

NBC SPORTS BOSTON: Nick Goss acknowledged Oilers fans are looking longingly at Bruins goalie (and 2023 Vezina Trophy winner) Linus Ullmark now that Jeremy Swayman is off to a red-hot start in Boston. However, Goss doesn’t think it’s a good idea to move Ullmark unless the return is a top-tier player like Connor McDavid or Leon Draisaitl.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Oilers are reportedly on Ullmark’s 16-team no-trade list. Besides, the Bruins are off to a great start and have no reason to break up their dominating goalie tandem at this time.


SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman reports it sounds like eight teams are “somewhat seriously” looking at free agent Patrick Kane. It’s believed the 34-year-old winger will be looking at where he can win this season.

THE ATHLETIC: Chris Johnston listed the New York Rangers (Kane’s previous team), Florida Panthers, Detroit Red Wings, Buffalo Sabres and Toronto Maple Leafs as the destinations that league sources believe are where he’s most likely to land.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Nothing new here that I (and others) haven’t already gone over in recent weeks. Kane will reportedly start fielding offers from interested teams this month and is expected to make his choice before his anticipated return to action in December.

Of those clubs listed by Johnston, I think the Rangers are Kane’s best bet if he wants to play for a Stanley Cup contender. Whether they want to bring him back or can afford to do so remains to be seen.


SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman believes the San Jose Sharks contacted the Calgary Flames about Noah Hanifin but he doesn’t see them as a fit for the 26-year-old defenseman.

He also wondered about the improving Arizona Coyotes, who have the second-best goal differential in the Central Division and are pushing to make the playoffs. A contract extension from the Coyotes would benefit Hanifin and the Flames in terms of return.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Sharks made a move for a defenseman yesterday by acquiring Calen Addison from the Minnesota Wild.

The Coyotes have been a laughingstock for years but their rebuilding process is starting to bear fruit this season. They have a projected $43 million in cap space for next season with 11 active roster players under contract.

The Desert Dawgs can afford Hanifin under Friedman’s scenario. Whether they’d pursue and sign him is a completely different matter.


SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman reported the Ottawa Senators have looked at depth defensive options to shore up their battered blueline but their limited cap space makes that difficult. They still intend to bring back center Shane Pinto once his 41-game suspension ends in the New Year and have no intention of trading him.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Speaking of the Senators, there is no truth to a rumor that former NHL coach and Hockey Hall-of-Famer Patrick Roy was spotted in Kanata recently. 

NHL Rumor Mill – October 30, 2023

NHL Rumor Mill – October 30, 2023

How long will the Blues continue to carry eight defensemen? Can the Canadiens capitalize in the goalie trade market? Check out the latest in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.

THE ATHLETIC: Jeremy Rutherford pondered how long the St. Louis Blues will continue to carry eight defensemen this season. They’re currently doing so because they don’t want to risk losing Tyler Tucker or Scott Perunovich on waivers trying to send them to their AHL affiliate in Springfield.

St. Louis Blues defenseman Torey Krug (NHL Images).

If this season continues going the way it has for the Blues, Rutherford wondered if they might revisit the trade market for Torey Krug or other defensemen such as Robert Bortuzzo or Marco Scandella. The latter two are slated to become unrestricted free agents next July.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Rutherford isn’t sure how much interest those three might draw in the trade market. The Blues attempted to move Krug to the Philadelphia Flyers in June but he invoked his no-trade clause and could do so again.

Scandella carries a $3.275 million cap hit plus a seven-team no-trade clause. Bortuzzo carries a more affordable $900K cap hit and lacks no-trade protection but he might not draw much interest and won’t fetch much of a return.

MONTREAL HOCKEY NOW: Marc Dumont noted the Canadiens continue to carry three goaltenders in Jake Allen, Sam Montembeault and Cayden Primeau. Goalies tend to carry little value in the trade market but a rival club in need of depth between the pipes could pony up assets to acquire one.

Dumont noted that the Buffalo Sabres might fall into that category, pointing out that Eric Comrie will be sidelined for several weeks with a lower-body injury. They briefly called up Devin Cooley following Comrie’s injury but returned him to their AHL affiliate as Devon Levi is expected to return to action this week.

There’s no indication that the Sabres and Canadiens have engaged in talks with teams like the Sabres. However, it wouldn’t be surprising if they did given that Habs general manager Kent Hughes is keen to move a netminder.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s possible the Canadiens will move one of their three goaltenders at some point this season. For now, however, it doesn’t appear as though the Sabres will be a trade partner. They appear content for now to stick with their current goalies. If not the Sabres, perhaps another team will come calling if injuries or inconsistent play becomes an issue.

NHL Rumor Mill – September 1, 2023

NHL Rumor Mill – September 1, 2023

Canucks wingers Brock Boeser and Anthony Beauvillier are on the hot seat this season plus an update on Canadiens goaltender Jake Allen in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.


THE HOCKEY NEWS: Adam Proteau believes it’s within the realm of possibility that the Vancouver Canucks move on from winger Brock Boeser and Anthony Beauvillier this season. The former is signed through 2024-25 with an average annual value of $6.65 million while Beauvillier is entering the final season of his contract with an AAV of $4.15 million.

Vancouver Canucks winger Brock Boeser (NHL Images).

Proteau thinks Boeser and Beauvillier could hit the trade block if the Canucks get off to another struggling start. Their contract numbers are reasonable for teams in the market for experienced, above-average help on the wing. They also lack no-trade/no-move protection.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: We can’t dismiss the possibility of Boeser and/or Beauvillier getting shopped if the Canucks stumble through another season. Moving either guy, however, won’t be easy even if they play well this season.

With just six teams carrying $5 million or more in projected cap space, there aren’t many potential destinations for Boeser or Beauvillier during the first couple of months into the regular season. The market could improve by the trade deadline as teams that aren’t using LTIR can accrue cap space over the course of the season.

Tyler Myers is in the final year of his contract. The Canucks aren’t expected to re-sign the 33-year-old defenseman. His size, physicality and ability to log around 20 minutes of ice time per game could prove worthwhile to a true contender.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It was rumored that the Canucks had a deal in place to send Myers to the San Jose Sharks after his $5 million signing bonus was paid in September. We’ll find out in due course if that’s the case.


TVA SPORTS: Raphael Doucet cited a well-placed source claiming that Jake Allen has received confirmation from Montreal Canadiens management that he will not be traded.

The 33-year-old goaltender was the subject of some trade speculation after the Canadiens acquired Casey DeSmith last month from the Pittsburgh Penguins.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Allen’s goalie partner Sam Montembeault recently told reporters that he’d also received assurances from Canadiens GM Kent Hughes that he wouldn’t be traded.

Hughes has said he would look into trading DeSmith. Perhaps he has something lined up to flip the former Penguins netminder to another club before training camps open later this month.