NHL Rumor Mill – October 8, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – October 8, 2022

The Oilers enter this season with little cap room, the Flames face a decision with Juuso Valimaki, and a lack of tradeable assets could hurt the Bruins this season. Get the details in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.

OILERS SQUEEZED FOR CAP SPACE

SPORTSNET: Mark Spector reports the Edmonton Oilers will enter this season with just $165.00 in salary-cap space for the upcoming regular season.

They could get $1.25 million in cap relief if center Mattias Janmark is claimed off waivers later today. If he’s not, they’ll have to place Devin Shore and his $850K cap hit on waivers to become cap compliant by Monday.

Edmonton Oilers winger Jesse Puljujarvi (NHL Images).

This will affect the Oilers’ efforts to recall players from their AHL affiliate in Bakersfield this season.

Spector points out Oilers general manager Ken Holland attempted to trade winger Jesse Puljujarvi and his $3 million salary during the offseason but couldn’t find any takers. The same goes for winger Warren Foegele, who carries a $2.75 million cap hit but is harder to move because he’s signed through 2023-24.

Holland hoped to get a second-round pick in exchange for Puljujarvi. Spector wonders if the Oilers GM will accept a lesser return to solve his cap situation.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Cousin Mark believes Holland will let the season play out and see if injuries provide some roster relief.At some point, however, the Oilers GM could find himself having to make a cost-cutting trade.

That could mean accepting less of a return for Puljujarvi or Foegele provided he can find a taker for either guy. It’s something worth keeping an eye on as the season progresses.

Speaking of Janmark, Sportsnet’s Ken Wiebe wonders if the Winnipeg Jets might try to claim him off waivers today.

FLAMES FACE A DECISION WITH VALIMAKI

CALGARY HOCKEY NOW: Steve Macfarlane reports Juuso Valimaki could be the odd man out for one of the last two spots on the Flames blueline. If they try to send the 24-year-old defenseman to their AHL affiliate, he’ll have to clear waivers first. There’s a good chance another club could snap up the former first-round pick.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Macfarlane observes Valimaki has had difficulty nailing down a roster spot since Darryl Sutter returned as head coach. Given their blueline depth, perhaps he’ll become a trade candidate at some point.

BRUINS LACKING QUALITY TRADE BAIT

NBC SPORTS BOSTON: A lack of quality assets to make upgrades via the trade market is among Nick Goss’ list of five huge obstacles preventing the Bruins from winning the Stanley Cup this season.

GM Don Sweeney has shipped out a first-round pick in three of the last five NHL trade deadlines. Doing so again this season would further hinder the Bruins’ ability to draft and develop quality young talent. The Athletic’s February prospect pool ranking had the Bruins 27th out of 32 clubs.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s worse than that. In The Athletic’s August prospect pipeline rankings, the Bruins are dead last in part because they’ve traded away so many first-round picks. If Sweeney’s going to make any deals to upgrade his roster this season he’ll have to draw upon players currently on the team or from his shallow pool of prospects.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 8, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 8, 2022

Recaps of Friday’s games, the Flames sign MacKenzie Weegar to an eight-year contract extension, the Blackhawks and Canucks make a trade and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: The Nashville Predators kicked off their regular season by downing the San Jose Sharks 4-1 at the NHL Global Series in Prague, Czechia. Juuse Saros made 30 saves for the win while Eeli Tolvanen scored what proved to be the game-winner early in the second period. Prague native Tomas Hertl tallied for the Sharks. The two clubs face each other again today.

Edmonton Oilers forward Leon Draisaitl (NHL Images).

In preseason action, the Pittsburgh Penguins crushed the Buffalo Sabres 7-1. Sidney Crosby scored twice and added an assist, Evgeni Malkin had three assists, Jake Guentzel a goal and two assists and Bryan Rust tallied twice for the Penguins.

Leon Draisaitl had a goal and three assists to lead the Edmonton Oilers to a 5-3 victory over the Seattle Kraken. Connor McDavid and Evander Kane each had a goal and an assist.

The Winnipeg Jets got a three-point performance from Kyle Connor and two goals from Pierre-Luc Dubois in a 5-3 win over the Calgary Flames. Jets goalie Connor Hellebuyck kicked out 35 shots.

Detroit Red Wings forward Tyler Bertuzzi scored twice as his club doubled up the Toronto Maple Leafs 4-2.

Vancouver Canucks goalie Thatcher Demko faced just seven shots to shut out the Arizona Coyotes 4-0.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That’s not a typo. The Coyotes only mustered seven shots on Demko.

HEADLINES

CALGARY HOCKEY NOW: The Flames signed defenseman MacKenzie Weegar to an eight-year, $50 million contract extension yesterday. Weegar, 28, is in the final season of a three-year deal worth an average annual value of $3.25 million.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Weegar was acquired by the Flames from the Florida Panthers in the trade that also sent Jonathan Huberdeau to Calgary in July. The $6.25 million AAV on his new contract is a significant raise for the late-blooming defenseman, who tallied a career-high 44 points last season. The deal also comes with full no-trade protection for the first four seasons.

Weegar’s contract leaves the Flames with $80.3 million invested in 18 players for 2023-24. There’s no question they’re in “go-for-it” mode for the foreseeable future. Time will tell if they get good value for their expensive investments in Weegar, Huberdeau and free-agent addition Nazem Kadri.

THE PROVINCE/NBC SPORTS CHICAGO: The Vancouver Canucks trade forward Jason Dickerson and a second-round pick in the 2024 NHL Draft to the Chicago Blackhawks in exchange for defenseman Riley Stillman.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Canucks needed to add a defenseman as well as free up salary-cap space. Swapping Dickinson and his $2.65 million cap hit through 2023-24 for Stillman and his $1.35 AAV through ’23-’24 addressed both needs. The rebuilding Blackhawks, meanwhile, were able to add a second-round pick to give them six selections in the first three rounds of the 2024 draft.

TSN: Speaking of the Canucks, blueliner Tyler Myers is out two-to-four weeks with a lower-body injury.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Canucks are also missing rearguard Travis Dermott, who is recuperating from a concussion.

THE PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER: Some good news for the Flyers as winger Joel Farabee has been cleared for contact and could play in the club’s season-opener. He underwent disk replacement surgery in June.

DETROIT HOCKEY NOW: Red Wings defenseman Robert Hagg has been cleared to return to play. He’s been sidelined by a concussion.

DAILY FACEOFF: Carolina Hurricanes forward Jordan Martinook, Edmonton Oilers center Mattias Janmark and Dallas Stars goaltender Anton Khudobin are among the players to hit the waiver wire on Friday. Teams have until noon ET today to claim them.

NHL.COM: The St. Louis Blues released Tyler Pitlick from his professional tryout offer.

THE HOCKEY NEWS: Hockey New Brunswick joins three other regional hockey organizations in withholding a portion of their player registration fees from Hockey Canada. Meanwhile, Nike joined a growing list of sponsors withholding support over a lack of confidence in the national governing body’s leadership stemming from its mishandling of sexual assault allegations levied against players from the 2003 and 2018 World Junior teams.

NHL.COM: Former goaltender Dave Dryden passed away on Tuesday at age 81. The older brother of Hall-of-Fame netminder Ken Dryden, Dave played in 203 NHL games with the New York Rangers, Chicago Blackhawks, Buffalo Sabres and Edmonton Oilers, as well as 242 games in the WHA from 1961-62 to 1979-80.

Dryden left his mark on the game by pioneering the first cage combination goalie mask. He continued working on improving and refining equipment following his retirement.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: My condolences to Dryden’s family, friends and former teammates. Today’s goaltenders owe him a debt of gratitude for his efforts to improve their equipment.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 18, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 18, 2022

24 players apply for salary arbitration plus the latest on Matthew Tkachuk, Patrik Laine, Pierre-Luc Dubois, Nazem Kadri and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHLPA.COM: 24 NHL players filed for salary arbitration by the 5 pm ET deadline on July 17:

Mason Appleton (Winnipeg Jets)

Ethan Bear (Carolina Hurricanes)

Jesper Bratt (New Jersey Devils)

Lawson Crouse (Arizona Coyotes)

Morgan Geekie (Seattle Kraken)

Mathieu Joseph (Ottawa Senators)

Kaapo Kahkonen (San Jose Sharks)

Kasperi Kapanen (Pittsburgh Penguins)

Keegan Kolesar (Vegas Golden Knights)

Oliver Kylington (Calgary Flames)

Maxime Lajoie (Carolina Hurricanes)

Steven Lorentz (San Jose Sharks)

Isac Lundestrom (Anaheim Ducks)

Zack MacEwen (Philadelphia Flyers)

Niko Mikkola (St. Louis Blues)*

Andrew Mangiapane (Calgary Flames)

Matthew Phillips (Calgary Flames)

Jesse Puljujarvi (Edmonton Oilers)

Tyce Thompson (New Jersey Devils)

Yakov Trenin (Nashville Predators)

Vitek Vanecek (New Jersey Devils)

Jake Walman (Detroit Red Wings)

Kailer Yamamoto (Edmonton Oilers)

Pavel Zacha (Boston Bruins)

*Signed after filing

New Jersey Devils winger Jesper Bratt (NHL Images).

The deadline for club-elected arbitration filing is July 18 at 5 pm ET. Arbitration hearings begin on July 27 through August 11.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Bear in mind that this is usually a tactic designed to set a deadline to complete contract negotiations. In most cases, the player and his team reach an agreement on a new contract before the date of his arbitration hearing. Mikkola agreed to a one-year, $1.9 million contract with the Blues shortly after filing. The notables on this list include Bratt, Mangiapane, Kapanen, Puljujarvi and Yamamoto. 

TSN: Calgary Flames winger Matthew Tkachuk and Winnipeg Jets center Pierre-Luc Dubois were among the notable restricted free agents who didn’t file for salary arbitration. Another is Columbus Blue Jackets left winger Patrik Laine.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Athletic’s Aaron Portzline believes Laine’s decision not to file for arbitration suggests contract discussions with the Blue Jackets remain amicable. The same could apply to Tkachuk and Dubois with their respective clubs. It also leaves the door open for those players to accept their one-year qualifying offers before the July 22 deadline for doing so.

THE ATHLETIC’s Peter Baugh recently tweeted that a league source told him multiple teams are trying to clear salary-cap space in an attempt to sign Nazem Kadri. The 31-year-old free-agent center wants to play for a contender and has ruled out those who are not.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That explains why Kadri remains available nearly a week into this season’s free-agent period. Perhaps he’ll sign a new contract at some point this week.

BOSTON HOCKEY NOW: A source tells Jimmy Murphy that the Bruins’ contract extension talks with David Pastrnak could take longer than expected. The feeling is both sides are in wait-and-see mode. The Bruins are still dealing with Patrice Bergeron and David Krejci and could need to make a cost-cutting trade to make it all work. Meanwhile, the Pastrnak camp could be watching to see where things are headed with the Bruins.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: There’s also how much Pastrnak’s new contract will cost the Bruins. The 26-year-old winger is a year away from unrestricted free agent eligibility and is earning $6.6 million on his current contract. It could cost them $10 million annually on an eight-year deal to keep him in the fold.

TORONTO SUN: The Maple Leafs signed restricted free agent winger Pierre Engvall to a one-year, $2.25 million contract.

TSN: The Edmonton Oilers signed UFA forward Mattias Janmark to a one-year, $1.25 million contract.

The Florida Panthers inked UFA defenseman Michael Del Zotto to a one-year, two-way contract.

CHEK TV’s Rick Dhaliwal reports the Vancouver Canucks have granted permission to goaltender Michael DiPietro’s agent to speak with other teams regarding a trade.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Cap Friendly indicates DiPietro is signed for 2022-23 with a cap hit of $840K.










NHL Rumor Mill – November 24, 2021

NHL Rumor Mill – November 24, 2021

The Sharks are reportedly willing to retain salary to move Evander Kane, Golden Knights forward Mattias Janmark could become a trade candidate plus the latest Coyotes speculation in today’s NHL rumor mill.

SAN JOSE HOCKEY NOW: Sheng Peng cited Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman the San Jose Sharks could be willing to retain part of Evander Kane’s salary to facilitate a trade.

San Jose Sharks winger Evander Kane (NHL Images).

Appearing on the Jeff Marek Show on Tuesday, Friedman said the Sharks have let it be known they’re willing to retain some salary if a deal for Kane could be worked out. “I don’t know who’s going to trade for him right now,” he said. “I just don’t know where that is at this particular point in time or even if that’s realistic.”

Peng pointed out Kane has four years and $28 million remaining on his contract. He’s currently serving a 21-game suspension for unspecified COVID-19 protocol violations.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kane has a well-documented recent history of financial and domestic problems this year as well as clashing with several teammates. The Sharks tried shopping him during the offseason but found no takers.

Kane was the Sharks leading scorer last season. Nevertheless, his personal baggage and reportedly toxic dressing-room presence make him pretty much untradeable even if the Sharks were willing to retain up to half of his $7 million annual average value.

VEGAS HOCKEY NOW: Owen Krepps recently mused over Mattias Janmark’s future with the Vegas Golden Knights. Signed to a one-year, $2-million contract by Vegas, he’s had a slow start to the season in part because of injury.

Krepps speculated Janmark could become a trade candidate later in the season even if his play improves. The Golden Knights are projected to be over the salary cap by $7 million when Jack Eichel returns from neck surgery later this season. They could be willing to part with Janmark to clear some cap room before Eichel joins the lineup.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Janmark isn’t in any danger of moving at this point in the season but his status could be worth monitoring following the February Olympic break. That’s when Eichel could be ready to make his Vegas debut.

Janmark could surface in the rumor mill leading up to the March 21 trade deadline. His affordable cap hit, versatility and postseason experience would make him enticing for playoff contenders.

GOPHNX.COM: In a recent mailbag segment, Craig Morgan was asked if the Arizona Coyotes were looking into acquiring Los Angeles Kings center Gabriel Vilardi or New York Rangers winger Vitali Kravtsov. He said he hasn’t heard of any interest in either player on the Coyotes’ part, adding a source in Los Angeles said Vilardi’s trade value is too low right now.

Asked to rank the Coyotes trade deadline assets, Morgan listed Shayne Gostisbehere, Johan Larsson, Phil Kessel and Lawson Crouse as having the most value. Regarding Gostisbehere, Morgan believes he could be attractive to other clubs if he continues producing at his current pace.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Coyotes will be sellers at the trade deadline as general manager Bill Armstrong looks to stock up further on draft picks and prospects for his rebuilding club. Kessel, Larsson and Crouse are unrestricted free agents while Gostisbehere has a year remaining on his contract with an annual average value of $4.5 million.

Kessel’s playoff experience will draw interest from playoff clubs seeking to bolster their scoring punch up front. Gostisbehere, meanwhile, is the Coyotes’ leading scorer with 14 points in 19 games. That extra year on his contract could make him enticing for clubs seeking a puck-moving blueliner they can retain beyond this season.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – May 31, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – May 31, 2021

The Avalanche and Lightning win the opening games of their respective second-round series, an update on Jake Muzzin, the Islanders consider a goalie change, commemorating a notable anniversary in Jets history, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: Nathan MacKinnon and Gabriel Landeskog each had two goals and an assist while Cale Makar collected four points as the Colorado Avalanche thumped the Vegas Golden Knights 7-1 in the opening game of their second-round series. Game 2 goes Wednesday in Denver.

Colorado Avalanche center Nathan MacKinnon (NHL Images).

Tempers flared after Vegas forward Mattias Janmark left the game in the second period with an apparent head injury following a hit by Avalanche defenseman Ryan Graves. Golden Knights forward Ryan Reaves received a match penalty in the third period for punching Graves in the back of the head, throwing him to the ice and attacking him while he was down. The Avs defenseman was down for several minutes before skating to the dressing room.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Avalanche took control of this game in the opening minutes and never let up. Vegas goaltender Robin Lehner looked a little rusty in his first appearance of this postseason. I daresay we’ll see Marc-Andre Fleury return to the Vegas net for Game 2. Lehner wasn’t solely to blame for this lopsided loss. His teammates were outclassed in this contest.

Reaves’ match penalty means he could receive a suspension by the NHL department of player discipline. Graves received a minor penalty for interference on the Janmark hit. No word on whether he’ll face supplemental discipline.

The Tampa Bay Lightning downed the Carolina Hurricanes 2-1 in Game 1 of their second-round series. Barclay Goodrow snapped a 1-1 tie in the third period while Lightning goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy made 37 saves for the win. Brayden Point was the other Lightning scorer while Jake Bean replied for the Hurricanes. Game 2 goes Tuesday night in Carolina.

Carolina winger Nino Niederreiter missed the game with an undisclosed injury suffered during practice on Saturday. Hurricanes coach Rod Brind’Amour said Niederreiter is “very, very doubtful” to play in this series.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This series will be closely contested between two talented clubs if Game 1 was any indication. Vasilevskiy made the difference in this contest. Hurricanes goalie Alex Nedeljkovic played well for most of this contest but looked off-balance on the Goodrow goal.

HEADLINES

TORONTO SUN: The Maple Leafs aren’t ruling out defenseman Jake Muzzin from Game 7 tonight against the Montreal Canadiens. He left Game 6 with a lower-body injury and was receiving further tests yesterday. If Muzzin can’t play, Rasmus Sandin is expected to replace him.

NEW YORK POST: Islanders coach Barry Trotz is mulling whether to replace rookie Ilya Sorokin with veteran Semyon Varlamov for Game 2 against the Boston Bruins tonight. Sorokin gave up four goals on 39 shots in a 5-2 loss to the Bruins.

BOSTON HOCKEY NOW: Bruins winger Craig Smith status for Game 2 is uncertain following a lower-body injury suffered in the first game.

NEW YORK POST: The Rangers’ front-office purge continues as director of European scout Nick Bobrov was dismissed by new general manager Chris Drury.

WINNIPEG FREE PRESS: On this date in 2011, the Atlanta Thrashers relocated to Winnipeg and become the second edition of the Jets.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: After struggling in Atlanta, moving to the NHL’s smallest market improved the franchise’s fortunes. They’ve become a perennial playoff contender and are well-supported by Winnipeg fans. The Jets upset the Edmonton Oilers last week to advance to the second round of the 2021 playoffs. They currently await the winner of the Toronto-Montreal series.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – May 29, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – May 29, 2021

The Golden Knights advance to the second round, updates on the Leafs and Canadiens, the Ducks seek an assistant coach, a Gretzky rookie card fetches a record price at auction, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: The Vegas Golden Knights advanced to the second round of the 2021 Stanley Cup playoffs following a 6-2 victory over the Minnesota Wild in Game 7 of their first-round series. Mattias Janmark tallied a hat trick for the Golden Knights, who faced the Colorado Avalanche in round two. Wild defenseman Jonas Brodin left the game in the first period with an apparent upper-body injury.

Vegas Golden Knights forward Mattias Janmark (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This was a close game early in the second period tied at two. However, the Golden Knights scored twice before the period was out and Janmark put it away with two goals in the third. It was a hard-fought series and the only one thus far in the first round to go the full seven games. This was a tough loss for the Wild but they have a promising future thanks to their budding core of young talent.

TSN: Toronto Maple Leafs center Nick Foligno remains day-to-day with a lower-body injury and questionable for Game 6 tonight against the Montreal Canadiens. Defenseman Travis Dermott could replace Rasmus Sandin for tonight’s game.

Montreal Canadiens center Jake Evans could return to the lineup tonight after being sidelined since Game 1 with an undisclosed injury. Artturi Lehkonen (upper-body) remains doubtful.

NHL.COM: Game 1 of the second-round series between the Carolina Hurricanes – Tampa Bay Lightning goes Sunday in Carolina at 5 pm ET.

FLORIDA HOCKEY NOW: Speaking of the Lightning, they’ve ended their policy that restricted fans from wearing gear supporting other NHL clubs in their premium seating areas. This move came after a video went viral showing Florida Panthers fans being asked to remove their jerseys jersey by team staffers during a recent playoff game between the two clubs.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This was a bush-league rule that never should’ve been implemented in the first place.

LOS ANGELES TIMES: Anaheim Ducks general manager Bob Murray said head coach Dallas Eakin will return next season. He’s also looking for an assistant coach who can run their power play.

NBC SPORTS: A Wayne Gretzky rookie card recently sold for a record $3.75 million at auction.