NHL Rumor Mill – May 13, 2020

NHL Rumor Mill – May 13, 2020

In today’s NHL rumor mill, we’ll review Sportsnet’s list of one off-season trade candidate for each team.

SPORTSNET: Rory Boylen yesterday compiled a list identifying one trade candidate for each team whenever the off-season rolls around. He excluded pending unrestricted free agents, as their rights could be moved after the conclusion of the season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I’m encapsulating each of Boylen’s explanations behind his selections. I recommend you check out the link above for further details.

Anaheim Ducks: Adam Henrique. If Ducks general manager Bob Murray decides to shed salary, Henrique could be a prime candidate. He’s signed through 2023-24 with an annual average value just shy of $6 million.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Henrique’s modified no-trade clause (10-team no-trade list) could complicate things, as could Henrique’s $5.825-million cap hit.

Arizona Coyotes: Derek Stepan. The Coyotes must free up cap space if they hope to re-sign Taylor Hall. Moving Stepan could require picking up part of his salary or packaging him with another asset.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Stepan lacks no-trade protection but his $6.5 million AAV through 2020-21 will be tough to move without following one of Boylen’s suggestions. They can’t take back a toxic contract because they’re trying to shed salary.

Boston Bruins: Nick Ritchie. Though just acquired, Ritchie might not fit into their plans after this season, especially with two goalies due for new deals next season, as well as Ondrej Kase and Brandon Carlo.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Boylen points out the Bruins’ cap situation is manageable for now, even if they re-sign Torey Krug. Ritchie has an affordable cap hit, so the Bruins could hang onto him and see how things unfold next season.

Buffalo Sabres: Rasmus Ristolainen. He’s been a frequent subject of trade speculation. The blueliner could fetch a return that helps the Sabres.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Ristolainen receives lots of criticism for his defensive play. His $5.4 million AAV through 2021-22 could also be a concern under a flat salary cap. Nevertheless, he’s been suggested as a trade option to bring in a depth scorer.

Calgary Flames: Johnny Gaudreau. It’s believed Gaudreau could be shopped if the Flames fail to reach the playoffs or make another early post-season exit.

Calgary Flames winger Johnny Gaudreau (Photo via NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Anything’s possible, but I don’t believe Flames GM Brad Treliving will put the blame for his club’s difficulties on the shoulders of his biggest star, especially when he’s still got two more seasons on his contract at a reasonable $6.75-million AAV.

Carolina Hurricanes: Jake Gardiner. Despite his diminished role and seven-team no-trade list, Boylen feels Gardiner can still be an effective offensive blueliner. He also carries a manageable $4.05 million AAV.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Gardiner also has three more years left on his contract. His declining performance could be tied to last season’s back injury. Those factors hurt his value in the trade market.

Chicago Blackhawks: Brandon Saad. He surfaced in rumors near the trade deadline and could pop up again. He’s a year away from UFA status with a $6 million cap hit for next season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It won’t be surprising if Saad is playing elsewhere next season. The Blackhawks are rebuilding on the fly and must restock their prospect cupboard.

Colorado Avalanche and Dallas Stars: first-round pick. The Avs will have plenty of cap room to target clubs looking to shed salary, while the Stars are built to win now and could peddle their pick for more immediate help.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Avalanche forward Tyson Jost has been mentioned as a trade option. I’ve seen some suggesting the Stars should peddle a defenseman for a scoring forward. That would mean moving Esa Lindell or John Klingberg and I don’t see that happening.

Columbus Blue Jackets: Josh Anderson. A restricted free agent with arbitration rights, Anderson missed all but 26 games to injury this season. A big winger with scoring ability, he frequently appeared in trade chatter this season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I overlooked Anderson in my original post. My apologies. Anyway, his future with the Jackets could depend upon his contract negotiations in the off-season, and how much interest he garners in the trade market. 

Detroit Red Wings: Anthony Mantha. Boylen feels it’s less likely he’ll be moved but doesn’t rule it out. He suggests Mantha could fetch a haul of futures if they decide not to re-sign the restricted free agent to a long-term deal.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Mantha admitted his contract negotiations could get complicated. He also has arbitration rights. I think the Wings want to re-sign him, but he could be shopped if talks bog down.

Edmonton Oilers: Jesse Puljujarvi. He’s requested a trade and spent this season in Finland.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Puljujarvi’s situation has been well-documented here and elsewhere. As Boylen pointed out, he remains the Oilers’ No. 1 trade candidate.

Florida Panthers: Michael Matheson. Changes could be coming for the disappointing Panthers. Matheson’s signed through 2025-26 but lacks no-trade protection.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Matheson appeared in media rumors before the Feb. 24 trade deadline. He has a reasonable $4.875 million AAV and could be tempting for clubs seeking experienced blueline depth.

Los Angeles Kings: Jeff Carter. Despite the decline in his production, Carter could attract some interest if the Kings picked up part of his salary-cap hit. He lacks no-trade protection.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Carter has two more years left on his contract. He’ll turn 36 in January and his best seasons are behind him. Maybe a contender takes a chance on him, but I doubt it. 

Minnesota Wild: Matt Dumba. He and Jonas Brodin appeared in trade speculation before the Feb. 24 trade deadline. Maybe the Wild’s improved play before the pause might tempt GM Bill Guerin to keep his roster intact.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Dumba would draw plenty of interest in the trade market, but it would be a mistake to move him. Guerin may have listened to offers, but it’ll take a significant pitch to convince him to move Dumba.

Montreal Canadiens: Max Domi. A decline in Domi’s production, his RFA status this summer, and the promising centers (Nick Suzuki, Jesperi Kotkaniemi, Ryan Poehling) on the Habs roster and within their system could make him expendable.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: On the other hand, several Habs players struggled this season, Domi loves playing in Montreal, and much of the chatter about his future seems to originate from some in the Montreal media unhappy over his play. Nevertheless, he could get moved if contract talks become contentious.

Nashville Predators: Kyle Turris. The Predators would love to move his $6 million AAV through 2023-24. However, they could be forced to pick up part of that salary or include another asset.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Agreed. GM David Poile hasn’t retained salary in a trade, but he could be forced to if he intends to move Turris.

New Jersey Devils: Pavel Zacha. “If a trade makes sense to add to their prospect base, and if the team drafts another forward this year, a Zacha move should be explored.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Zacha’s future will depend upon who’s the Devils’ general manager after this season. Tom Fitzgerald holds the role on an interim basis, but the team ownership reportedly interviewed former Vancouver Canucks GM Mike Gillis for the role.

New York Islanders: Johnny Boychuk. He’s lost a step and his role is in decline. His $6 million AAV through 2021-22 is a concern for a club with limited cap space.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Those factors, as well as his eight-team trade list, also make moving him a difficult challenge.

New York Rangers: Henrik Lundqvist. Trading him is a big “if” and would require Lundqvist waiving his no-movement clause. The Rangers can’t go into next season carrying three goalies again.

New York Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist (Photo via NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Most of the speculation out of New York on Lundqvist suggest a buyout is more likely than a trade. Perhaps he’ll surprise everyone and retire.

Ottawa Senators: Anthony Duclair. He’s an RFA with arbitration rights, but this could be an opportunity to sell while his value is high.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Duclair’s streaky production could make the Senators leery about signing him to a long-term deal. If they do shop Duclair, they could seek a promising young NHL-ready player in return. They’re already loaded with picks and prospects.

Philadelphia Flyers: Shayne Gostisbehere. He’s frequently appeared in this season’s rumor mill and could surface in off-season speculation. He’s slipped to third-pairing duty this season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: A club in the market for a puck-moving rearguard could gamble on Gostisbehere regaining his form with a change of scenery.

Pittsburgh Penguins: Matt Murray or Tristan Jarry. Both goaltenders are restricted free agents with arbitration rights. Keeping them both could mean shedding salary elsewhere.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Penguins GM Jim Rutherford could surprise us by re-signing both netminders. However, I think he’ll move one of them and promote Casey DeSmith into the backup role.

San Jose Sharks: Martin Jones. He’s struggled in goal the last two years and the Sharks need to upgrade at that position. They’ll have to retain part of his $5.75-million AAV to make it happen.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Unless Jones broadens his three-team list of preferred trade destinations, the Sharks will have a difficult time moving him. The length of his contract (signed to 2024) is another sticking point.

St. Louis Blues: Tyler Bozak. The Blues must clear cap space if they intend to re-sign captain Alex Pietrangelo. Bozak carries a $5 million AAV through 2020-21 for playing a bottom-six role.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I think goalie Jake Allen is a more likely trade candidate. He’ll have more value and will be easier to move than Bozak.

Tampa Bay Lightning: Alex Killorn. The Lightning must free up cap space to re-sign Mikhail Sergachev and Anthony Cirelli. Killorn’s full no-trade becomes a modified list after this season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Killorn would also have plenty of value around the league, especially for playoff contenders.

Toronto Maple Leafs: Alex Kerfoot. The Leafs face another cap crunch this off-season. Kerfoot could become a trade candidate, as could wingers Kasperi Kapanen and Andreas Johnsson and defenseman Travis Dermott.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kerfoot is off the 40-plus point pace of his first two NHL seasons. The Leafs could prefer hanging onto the other three.

Vancouver Canucks: Olli Juolevi. The Canucks might not be looking to trade Juolevi, but that could change if he can’t crack the roster next season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Injuries hampered Juolevi’s development. They’re being patient with him, but one has to wonder how long that will last.

Vegas Golden Knights: Marc-Andre Fleury. It’s a long shot that Fleury will be moved, but the Golden Knights’ acquisition of Robin Lehner at the trade deadline was an interesting move. Re-signing Lehner would mean shedding salary by moving a top-six forward or Fleury, who’s signed for two more years but whose performance has been in decline.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Lehner’s acquisition appeared to be an insurance move for the playoffs. Nevertheless, it’s generated plenty of speculation about Fleury’s future in Vegas. His contract ($7 million AAV through 2021-22 with a 10-team no-trade list) won’t be easy to move.

Washington Capitals: Nick Jensen. If the Capitals re-sign Braden Holtby, they’ll have to cut some payroll. Jensen could become a cap casualty.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: With over $71 million invested in 16 players and Holtby looking for a lucrative new contract, I don’t think they’ll be shedding salary to re-sign him.

Winnipeg Jets: Jack Roslovic. Boylen suggests Roslovic could be shopped to address the Jets’ greater need for blueline depth. He’s struggled to crack the top-six forward lines and previously aired his frustration over his use in the Jets lineup.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Jets GM Kevin Cheveldayoff could be reluctant to move Roslovic. Having freed up $7.6 million in cap space by terminating Dustin Byfuglien’s contract, he has room to perhaps bolster his blueline through the free-agent market without moving Roslovic.

In today’s NHL rumor mill, we’ll review Sportsnet’s list of one off-season trade candidate for each team.

SPORTSNET: Rory Boylen yesterday compiled a list identifying one trade candidate for each team whenever the off-season rolls around. He excluded pending unrestricted free agents, as their rights could be moved after the conclusion of the season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I’m encapsulating each of Boylen’s explanations behind his selections. I recommend you check out the link above for further details.

Anaheim Ducks: Adam Henrique. If Ducks general manager Bob Murray decides to shed salary, Henrique could be a prime candidate. He’s signed through 2023-24 with an annual average value just shy of $6 million.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Henrique’s modified no-trade clause (10-team no-trade list) could complicate things, as could Henrique’s $5.825-million cap hit.

Arizona Coyotes: Derek Stepan. The Coyotes must free up cap space if they hope to re-sign Taylor Hall. Moving Stepan could require picking up part of his salary or packaging him with another asset.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Stepan lacks no-trade protection but his $6.5 million AAV through 2020-21 will be tough to move without following one of Boylen’s suggestions. They can’t take back a toxic contract because they’re trying to shed salary.

Boston Bruins: Nick Ritchie. Though just acquired, Ritchie might not fit into their plans after this season, especially with two goalies due for new deals next season, as well as Ondrej Kase and Brandon Carlo.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Boylen points out the Bruins’ cap situation is manageable for now, even if they re-sign Torey Krug. Ritchie has an affordable cap hit, so the Bruins could hang onto him and see how things unfold next season.

Buffalo Sabres: Rasmus Ristolainen. He’s been a frequent subject of trade speculation. The blueliner could fetch a return that helps the Sabres.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Ristolainen receives lots of criticism for his defensive play. His $5.4 million AAV through 2021-22 could also be a concern under a flat salary cap. Nevertheless, he’s been suggested as a trade option to bring in a depth scorer.

Calgary Flames: Johnny Gaudreau. It’s believed Gaudreau could be shopped if the Flames fail to reach the playoffs or make another early post-season exit.

Calgary Flames winger Johnny Gaudreau (Photo via NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Anything’s possible, but I don’t believe Flames GM Brad Treliving will put the blame for his club’s difficulties on the shoulders of his biggest star, especially when he’s still got two more seasons on his contract at a reasonable $6.75-million AAV.

Carolina Hurricanes: Jake Gardiner. Despite his diminished role and seven-team no-trade list, Boylen feels Gardiner can still be an effective offensive blueliner. He also carries a manageable $4.05 million AAV.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Gardiner also has three more years left on his contract. His declining performance could be tied to last season’s back injury. Those factors hurt his value in the trade market.

Chicago Blackhawks: Brandon Saad. He surfaced in rumors near the trade deadline and could pop up again. He’s a year away from UFA status with a $6 million cap hit for next season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It won’t be surprising if Saad is playing elsewhere next season. The Blackhawks are rebuilding on the fly and must restock their prospect cupboard.

Colorado Avalanche and Dallas Stars: first-round pick. The Avs will have plenty of cap room to target clubs looking to shed salary, while the Stars are built to win now and could peddle their pick for more immediate help.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Avalanche forward Tyson Jost has been mentioned as a trade option. I’ve seen some suggesting the Stars should peddle a defenseman for a scoring forward. That would mean moving Esa Lindell or John Klingberg and I don’t see that happening.

Detroit Red Wings: Anthony Mantha. Boylen feels it’s less likely he’ll be moved but doesn’t rule it out. He suggests Mantha could fetch a haul of futures if they decide not to re-sign the restricted free agent to a long-term deal.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Mantha admitted his contract negotiations could get complicated. He also has arbitration rights. I think the Wings want to re-sign him, but he could be shopped if talks bog down.

Edmonton Oilers: Jesse Puljujarvi. He’s requested a trade and spent this season in Finland.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Puljujarvi’s situation has been well-documented here and elsewhere. As Boylen pointed out, he remains the Oilers’ No. 1 trade candidate.

Florida Panthers: Michael Matheson. Changes could be coming for the disappointing Panthers. Matheson’s signed through 2025-26 but lacks no-trade protection.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Matheson appeared in media rumors before the Feb. 24 trade deadline. He has a reasonable $4.875 million AAV and could be tempting for clubs seeking experienced blueline depth.

Los Angeles Kings: Jeff Carter. Despite the decline in his production, Carter could attract some interest if the Kings picked up part of his salary-cap hit. He lacks no-trade protection.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Carter has two more years left on his contract. He’ll turn 36 in January and his best seasons are behind him. Maybe a contender takes a chance on him, but I doubt it. 

Minnesota Wild: Matt Dumba. He and Jonas Brodin appeared in trade speculation before the Feb. 24 trade deadline. Maybe the Wild’s improved play before the pause might tempt GM Bill Guerin to keep his roster intact.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Dumba would draw plenty of interest in the trade market, but it would be a mistake to move him. Guerin may have listened to offers, but it’ll take a significant pitch to convince him to move Dumba.

Montreal Canadiens: Max Domi. A decline in Domi’s production, his RFA status this summer, and the promising centers (Nick Suzuki, Jesperi Kotkaniemi, Ryan Poehling) on the Habs roster and within their system could make him expendable.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: On the other hand, several Habs players struggled this season, Domi loves playing in Montreal, and much of the chatter about his future seems to originate from some in the Montreal media unhappy over his play. Nevertheless, he could get moved if contract talks become contentious.

Nashville Predators: Kyle Turris. The Predators would love to move his $6 million AAV through 2023-24. However, they could be forced to pick up part of that salary or include another asset.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Agreed. GM David Poile hasn’t retained salary in a trade, but he could be forced to if he intends to move Turris.

New Jersey Devils: Pavel Zacha. “If a trade makes sense to add to their prospect base, and if the team drafts another forward this year, a Zacha move should be explored.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Zacha’s future will depend upon who’s the Devils’ general manager after this season. Tom Fitzgerald holds the role on an interim basis, but the team ownership reportedly interviewed former Vancouver Canucks GM Mike Gillis for the role.

New York Islanders: Johnny Boychuk. He’s lost a step and his role is in decline. His $6 million AAV through 2021-22 is a concern for a club with limited cap space.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Those factors, as well as his eight-team trade list, also make moving him a difficult challenge.

New York Rangers: Henrik Lundqvist. Trading him is a big “if” and would require Lundqvist waiving his no-movement clause. The Rangers can’t go into next season carrying three goalies again.

New York Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist (Photo via NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Most of the speculation out of New York on Lundqvist suggest a buyout is more likely than a trade. Perhaps he’ll surprise everyone and retire.

Ottawa Senators: Anthony Duclair. He’s an RFA with arbitration rights, but this could be an opportunity to sell while his value is high.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Duclair’s streaky production could make the Senators leery about signing him to a long-term deal. If they do shop Duclair, they could seek a promising young NHL-ready player in return. They’re already loaded with picks and prospects.

Philadelphia Flyers: Shayne Gostisbehere. He’s frequently appeared in this season’s rumor mill and could surface in off-season speculation. He’s slipped to third-pairing duty this season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: A club in the market for a puck-moving rearguard could gamble on Gostisbehere regaining his form with a change of scenery.

Pittsburgh Penguins: Matt Murray or Tristan Jarry. Both goaltenders are restricted free agents with arbitration rights. Keeping them both could mean shedding salary elsewhere.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Penguins GM Jim Rutherford could surprise us by re-signing both netminders. However, I think he’ll move one of them and promote Casey DeSmith into the backup role.

San Jose Sharks: Martin Jones. He’s struggled in goal the last two years and the Sharks need to upgrade at that position. They’ll have to retain part of his $5.75-million AAV to make it happen.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Unless Jones broadens his three-team list of preferred trade destinations, the Sharks will have a difficult time moving him. The length of his contract (signed to 2024) is another sticking point.

St. Louis Blues: Tyler Bozak. The Blues must clear cap space if they intend to re-sign captain Alex Pietrangelo. Bozak carries a $5 million AAV through 2020-21 for playing a bottom-six role.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I think goalie Jake Allen is a more likely trade candidate. He’ll have more value and will be easier to move than Bozak.

Tampa Bay Lightning: Alex Killorn. The Lightning must free up cap space to re-sign Mikhail Sergachev and Anthony Cirelli. Killorn’s full no-trade becomes a modified list after this season. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Killorn would also have plenty of value around the league, especially for playoff contenders.

Toronto Maple Leafs: Alex Kerfoot. The Leafs face another cap crunch this off-season. Kerfoot could become a trade candidate, as could wingers Kasperi Kapanen and Andreas Johnsson and defenseman Travis Dermott.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kerfoot is off the 40-plus point pace of his first two NHL seasons. The Leafs could prefer hanging onto the other three.

Vancouver Canucks: Olli Juolevi. The Canucks might not be looking to trade Juolevi, but that could change if he can’t crack the roster next season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Injuries hampered Juolevi’s development. They’re being patient with him, but one has to wonder how long that will last.

Vegas Golden Knights: Marc-Andre Fleury. It’s a long shot that Fleury will be moved, but the Golden Knights’ acquisition of Robin Lehner at the trade deadline was an interesting move. Re-signing Lehner would mean shedding salary by moving a top-six forward or Fleury, who’s signed for two more years but whose performance has been in decline.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Lehner’s acquisition appeared to be an insurance move for the playoffs. Nevertheless, it’s generated plenty of speculation about Fleury’s future in Vegas. His contract ($7 million AAV through 2021-22 with a 10-team no-trade list) won’t be easy to move.

Washington Capitals: Nick Jensen. If the Capitals re-sign Braden Holtby, they’ll have to cut some payroll. Jensen could become a cap casualty.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: With over $71 million invested in 16 players and Holtby looking for a lucrative new contract, I don’t think they’ll be shedding salary to re-sign him.

Winnipeg Jets: Jack Roslovic. Boylen suggests Roslovic could be shopped to address the Jets’ greater need for blueline depth. He’s struggled to crack the top-six forward lines and previously aired his frustration over his use in the Jets lineup.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Jets GM Kevin Cheveldayoff could be reluctant to move Roslovic. Having freed up $7.6 million in cap space by terminating Dustin Byfuglien’s contract, he has room to perhaps bolster his blueline through the free-agent market without moving Roslovic.










The NHL Buyout Barometer – Metropolitan Division (Part II)

The NHL Buyout Barometer – Metropolitan Division (Part II)

 










Capitals Acquire and Sign Nick Jensen

Capitals Acquire and Sign Nick Jensen

The Washington Capitals acquired defenseman Nick Jensen and a fifth-round pick in the 2019 NHL Draft from the Detroit Red Wings in exchange for defenseman Madison Bowey and a second-round pick in 2020. The Capitals signed Jensen to a four-year, $10-million contract extension. 

Washington Capitals acquire and sign defenseman Nick Jensen (Photo via NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Some are comparing to the Capitals acquisition of Michal Kempny from the Blackhawks at last year’s deadline. Other than Kempny and Jensen being defensemen, I don’t see the similarity.

While Jensen isn’t a well-known blueliner, he drew plenty of attention during this season as a highly-touted trade candidate. Kempny, meanwhile, blossomed with the Capitals and played a crucial role in last season’s Cup run.

This is still a solid acquisition by the Capitals, who were expected to boost their blueline depth on the right side before the deadline. Jensen is used to skating over 20 minutes per game this season, giving the Capitals flexibility to move him up or down their blueline depth chart as required. They obviously see him as a long-term part of their lineup, quickly re-signing him to a deal worth an annual average value of $2.5 million. It’s an affordable deal that fits well within their salary-cap payroll but could also prove easy to move if necessary.

The Wings were reportedly interested in re-signing Jensen but evidently weren’t willing to invest as much as the Capitals to retain him. Bowey, 23, struggled to crack the Capitals’ lineup on a full-time basis but should have a better chance of sticking with the rebuilding Red Wings.

To summarize, the Capitals boost their right-side blueline depth with a long-term acquisition while the rebuilding Wings get a decent return with a young blueliner and a second-round pick. 










NHL Rumor Mill (Part Two) – February 22, 2019

NHL Rumor Mill (Part Two) – February 22, 2019

Latest on Matt Duchene, Chris Kreider, and Nick Jensen plus updates on the Oilers in Part Two of today’s NHL rumor mill. 

PREDATORS OUT, CANADIENS IN ON DUCHENE?

NICHOLS ON HOCKEY: Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman reports the Nashville Predators’ interest in Ottawa Senators center Matt Duchene may have cooled, citing a well-connected source claiming the Predators were starting to look elsewhere. However, he doesn’t rule out the possibility that their interest in the Sens center could be resuscitated. Friedman also believes the Columbus Blue Jackets and New York Islanders could be among the suitors and speculates the Montreal Canadiens could have interest if they can re-sign the pending free agent.

TSN’s Bob McKenzie said he’s getting mixed signals on the Canadiens’ rumored interest in Duchene. Some sources tell him the Habs are 100 percent in on Duchene while others are dismissing the notion. 

Are the Montreal Canadiens interested in acquiring Ottawa Senators center Matt Duchene? (Photo via NHL Images)

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Predators general manager David Poile doesn’t have to pursue a big ticket like Duchene if he doesn’t want to. Sure, he’d like to bolster his roster and improve his club’s chances of winning the Stanley Cup this season, but he’s not desperate. If Duchene is too expensive, he could look at more affordable options like the New York Rangers’ Kevin Hayes or Mats Zuccarello or Philadelphia’s Wayne Simmonds.

As for the Canadiens’ supposed interest in Duchene, perhaps GM Marc Bergevin kicked the tires. However, the Senators’ asking price is said to be a first-round pick, a high-end prospect, and a good young player. That might mean parting with Jesperi Kotkaniemi and either Nick Suzuki or Ryan Poehling.

Bergevin’s said he’s not parting with his first-round pick or young players for rentals. Unless he can re-sign Duchene, I don’t think he makes this move. Even if he can sign Duchene, that asking price is probably still too high.

In his column for The Athletic, TSN’s Pierre LeBrun speculates Bergevin could be more interested in “a Joel Armia-esque opportunity to add a player in exchange for renting out his cap space.” That seems more likely than acquiring Duchene. 

**UPDATE** The Senators trade Duchene to the Columbus Blue Jackets. Follow this link for details and analysis 

HIGH ASKING PRICE FOR KREIDER

NICHOLS ON HOCKEY: Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman believes the Toronto Maple Leafs have been in contact with the New York Rangers. He thinks Chris Kreider would be a great fit with the Leafs.  Friedman said he knows teams have been asking about winger Chris Kreider but the Blueshirts have set a high asking price. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Chris Kreider would be a great fit on any team. The Rangers, however, won’t move him unless someone is willing to overpay. My guess is the Rangers would want Kasperi Kapanen as part of the return. 

UPDATES ON THE OILERS AND RED WINGS

NICHOLS ON HOCKEY: TSN’s Darren Dreger believes the Edmonton Oilers could get a second-round draft pick, a pretty decent prospect or maybe both if they decide to shop pending UFA winger Alex Chiasson. However, he doesn’t believe the Oilers have written off the idea of re-signing Chiasson. Dreger also thinks there’s a market for Zack Kassian, citing his speed and grit. He feels Kassian could be a highly motivated playoff performer. 

MLIVE.COM: Ansar Khan reports Detroit Red Wings defenseman Nick Jensen is garnering attention in the trade market. The Wings want to re-sign him but could move him for a second- or third-round pick if he’s not under contract before Monday’s trade deadline. 

**UPDATE** The Red Wings trade Jensen to the Washington Capitals in exchange for defenseman Madison Bowey and a second-round pick in 2020. 










NHL Rumor Mill – January 22, 2019

NHL Rumor Mill – January 22, 2019

The Oilers’ re-signing Mikko Koskinen could see Cam Talbot hit the trade block, plus updates on the Maple Leafs and Red Wings in today’s NHL rumor mill. 

CHANGES COMING FOR THE OILERS?

EDMONTON SUN: Jim Matheson believes the Oilers re-signing goaltender Mikko Koskinen leaves fellow netminder Cam Talbot’s future in limbo. Talbot’s performance slipped following a stellar 2016-17 campaign leading to the Oilers signing Koskinen last summer. If the Oilers fall out of playoff contention leading up to the Feb. 25 trade deadline, Matheson believes they’ll shop Talbot, who has a 10-team trade list. Possible destinations include 

Goalie Cam Talbot’s days appear numbered with the Edmonton Oilers (Photo via NHL Images).

Talbot is an unrestricted free agent this summer and there could be openings in Florida, New Jersey, St. Louis, Columbus, and Ottawa. His potential departure will mean the Oilers will have to pursue a backup via trade or free agency. Pittsburgh Penguins’ Tristan Jarry could become a trade target while Brian Elliott and Cam Ward could be available in the UFA market. 

NICHOLS ON HOCKEY: Appearing on Calgary’s Sportsnet 960 yesterday, Elliotte Freidman speculated over what other moves Oilers general manager Peter Chiarelli might have up his sleeve. Besides re-signing Koskinen yesterday, Chiarelli also placed forwards Ty Rattie and Ryan Spooner on waivers.

Friedman wondered if Chiarelli is trying to clear some salary-cap room to make a move. Rattie’s entire salary ($800K) won’t count against the Oilers’ cap if he heads to the minors, while they would save $1.05 million if Spooner ($4 million) is demoted.

Friedman said he’d heard some rumors they might be interested in Washington Capitals winger Andre Burakovsky but “somebody threw cold water on that to me today.” He also doesn’t see them parting with young assets for a rental player. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Oilers’ moves yesterday stoked criticism of general manager Peter Chiarelli and calls for his firing by unhappy fans. However, re-signing Koskinen to a three-year deal and placing Rattie and Spooner on waivers suggests he’s not in danger of losing his job…yet. That could change if the Oilers collapse in the standings in the coming weeks.

Talbot’s days are numbered now in Edmonton. The Koskinen contract indicates he won’t be re-signed this summer.  Chiarelli could see if there’s a market for him before the trade deadline and call up veteran backup Al Montoya from the Oilers’ AHL affiliate. 

I agree with Friedman that the Rattie and Spooner moves could indicate Chiarelli is trying to free up cap space to perhaps acquire a player, one who is either signed through next season or a potential restricted free agent this summer. Burakovsky would fit that profile but reports out of Washington claim the Capitals aren’t ready to give up on him. 

LATEST ON THE LEAFS

TSN: Darren Dreger said he doesn’t believe the Toronto Maple Leafs’ recent losses are increasing the sense of urgency for general manager Kyle Dubas to make a trade. Citing the William Nylander signing, he pointed out Dubas is a patient GM.

Noting the calls for the Leafs to add a right-side defenseman, Dreger pointed out the market for a top blueliner is very expensive right now. While St. Louis Blues rearguards Alex Pietrangelo and Colton Parayko surfaced in trade speculation earlier this season, the Blues’ recent improvement suggests they might want to add, not subtract. 

Last week, Dreger’s colleague Bob McKenzie said the Leafs’ 2019 first-round pick could be in play. He also suggested a young forward like Kaspari Kapanen or Andreas Johnsson would have to be part of the deal for a good defenseman. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Leafs aren’t in danger of falling out of a playoff spot, though that could change in the coming weeks if the losses keep mounting. Still, Dubas has time to examine the market and try to find the right fit. With the All-Star break coming up, he could use that period for some face-to-face discussions with some rival GMs. 

UPDATES ON THE RED WINGS

DETROIT NEWS: Gregg Krupa recently reported Red Wings captain Niklas Kronwall would feel duty bound to listen if GM Ken Holland approached him about a trade. The 38-year-old has a modified no-trade clause, giving him some control. He expressed his surprise about a couple of recent reports suggesting the Toronto Maple Leafs could be interested in him. 

Krupa’s colleague Ted Kulfan reported on defenseman Nick Jensen’s improvement this season following a shaky training camp and being scratched from the season opener. The 28-year-old is slated to become an unrestricted free agent and could be moved by the Feb. 25 trade deadline. With Kronwall likely to retire at season’s end, Kulfan feels Jensen would be a low-cost, dependable option for the Wings. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kronwall has hinted this season could be his last and his preference to retire as a Red Wing. Still, if a rival club made a reasonable pitch, Holland could ask him to waive his no-trade. Still, I wouldn’t be surprised if Kronwall finishes this season in Detroit. Jensen has surfaced as a possible trade option but Holland could consider him worth retaining on a reasonable contract. 










NHL Rumor Mill – June 9, 2018

NHL Rumor Mill – June 9, 2018

Another NHL summer trade-candidate list, including the latest on Erik Karlsson, Mike Hoffman and more in your NHL rumor mill.

REVIEWING THE ATHLETIC’S “NHL TRADE BIG BOARD”.

Ottawa Senators defenseman Erik Karlsson, Arizona Coyotes blueliner Oliver Ekman-Larsson, Pittsburgh Penguins right wing Phil Kessel, Montreal Canadiens left wing Max Pacioretty and Carolina Hurricanes Jeff Skinner, Noah Hanifin and Justin Faulk top Craig Custance’s recent listing of 20 NHL players who could be on the move this summer.

Custance cites an NHL source saying he’d be shocked if Karlsson re-signs with the Senators, citing the bleak relationship between the blueliner and the front office. Ekman-Larsson is sitting on an eight-year, $8.25-million per season offer from the Coyotes, prompting one Western Conference executive to suggest the blueliner could stay put. Custance notes there’s debate over whether the Penguins will trade Kessel or not. If Pacioretty gets dealt at the trade deadline the Habs will want a significant return, while there’s an expectation the Hurricanes are going to shake things up.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Ottawa Sun’s Don Brennan also believes the Senators could trade Karlsson this summer. He feels GM Pierre Dorion will make Karlsson an offer on July 1, the blueliner will reject it and Dorion will be forced to move him. The Vegas Golden Knights tried to acquire Karlsson at the trade deadline and could perhaps revisit their interest. 

However, Brennan also believes winger Mike Hoffman will be gone before then, saying multiple sources confirm Dorion’s been shopping the winger for weeks. He speculates the return could be disappointing, citing a league executive saying it’s difficult to get value for players with big contracts. Brennan also wonders how moving both players could affect Matt Duchene, who has a year remaining on his contract.

I agree with Brennan that Hoffman’s likely to move before Karlsson. It wouldn’t surprise me if both players are dealt in the coming weeks. I know Dorion wants to keep Karlsson but if the latter won’t commit it makes no sense to keep him for one more year. Yes, they might get a better return at the trade deadline but having the uncertainty over his status drag throughout next season would an unnecessary distraction for the team and their fans. Best to move him out this summer for the best deal you can get and rebuild in earnest. 

Buffalo Sabres center Ryan O’Reilly is popping up on several summer trade-candidate lists (Photo via NHL Images).

Buffalo Sabres center Ryan O’Reilly and defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen come in at 8th and 9th on Custance’s list, followed by LA Kings defenseman Jake Muzzin rounding out the top 10.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: There’s growing speculation O’Reilly will be dealt, perhaps by the NHL Draft in two weeks time. I think it’s more likely O’Reilly gets moved than Ristolainen, as the Sabres could be unwilling to give up on the young defenseman. If the Kings are looking at a scoring winger, Muzzin could be used as trade bait. 

Minnesota Wild winger Nino Niederreiter and defenseman Matt Dumba, Washington Capitals backup Philipp Grubauer, New York Rangers forward Vladislav Namestnikov, Montreal Canadiens forward Alex Galchenyuk, Detroit Red Wings forward Andreas Athanasiou, Chicago Blackhawks winger Artemi Anisimov, Dallas Stars defenseman Julius Honka, Red Wings blueliner Nick Jensen and Boston Bruins rearguard Torey Krug complete the remainder of the list.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Under new management, the Wild could shake things up this summer. While I can see them moving a forward such as Niederreiter or Charlie Coyle, I’ll be surprised if they also part ways with Dumba. With Braden Holtby entrenched as the Capitals starter and promising Ilya Samsonov in the system, Grubauer (a restricted free agent with arbitration rights) could be dealt in the coming weeks.

Namestnikov is also an RFA with arbitration rights who’s completing a two-year deal worth $1.97 million annually. If his contract talks get sticky, perhaps the Rangers will put him on the block. If the Canadiens opt to re-sign Pacioretty they could instead move Galchenyuk. I think the Wings will try to be patient with Athanasiou, whose contract negotiations got contentious last summer. He’s got arbitration rights this year, which could make thing dicey. I wouldn’t be surprised if they tried to move Jensen.

Custance said there’s some debate over whether the Blackhawks will move Anisimov. His colleague, Scott Powers, recently reported hearing they could have interest in New York Islanders pending UFA John Tavares, though he admits that move would take considerably financial gymnastics to pull off.  

Powers also heard the Blackhawks have interest in Hurricanes blueliner Justin Faulk and in bringing back goaltender Scott Darling. They could also look at pendings UFAs such as St. Louis Blues goalie Carter Hutton, Toronto Maple Leafs left wing James van Riemsdyk or Columbus Blue Jackets blueliner Ian Cole.

If the Blackhawks are looking at upgrading elsewhere in the lineup, maybe they’ll consider moving Anisimov, but I think they’ll consider other options.

Cap Friendly indicates the Blackhawks have over $68 million invested in 17 players with all their core players under contract next season. Assuming an $80-million cap ceiling next season, they have sufficient room to re-sign RFAs such as Vinnie Hinostroza, Tomas Jurco and Anthony Duclair, though their combined new salaries could push their cap payroll to around $74 million. However, if they can find a taker for all-but-retired winger Marian Hossa’s $5.275 million cap hit or place him on LTIR at the start of next season, they could have enough room to make a splash via trade or free agency.  

With Valeri Nichushkin expected to return next season, perhaps the Stars won’t need to shop Honka for a top-six forward as Custance proposes. Krug’s been linked to the Edmonton Oilers in recent trade speculation. The Bruins are apparently looking for a bigger, more defensively responsible defenseman. Krug could be dangled as trade bait, though dealing him could affect their blueline production.