Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – September 5, 2021

Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – September 5, 2021

Could the Rangers pursue Jack Eichel? What roster needs do the Golden Knights and Jets still have to address? Find out in the Sunday NHL rumor roundup.

THE ATHLETIC: In his latest mailbag segment, Rick Carpiniello was asked several questions by his readers about the possibility of the New York Rangers acquiring Buffalo Sabres center Jack Eichel.

Buffalo Sabres center Jack Eichel (NHL Images).

If the Rangers intend to acquire Eichel, Carpiniello believes they’ll have to trade center Mika Zibanejad now or at the March trade deadline. Zibanejad is slated to become an unrestricted free agent next summer and will be ready to cash in on a big payday. Asked if the Rangers could re-sign Zibanejad for $8 million annually, Carpiniello felt that would be a great discount considering what comparable players are earning.

Carpiniello doesn’t believe the Rangers should include promising winger Kaapo Kakko in any deal for Eichel. One of their young defensemen and perhaps center Filip Chytil would have to be part of the return.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Carpiniello doesn’t seem to hold much hope for the Rangers landing Eichel, calling it a “fantasy” at one point.

Cap Friendly shows the Rangers with over $7.9 million in projected cap space for the coming season. They could afford to take on Eichel’s $10 million annual average value if they shipped one or two salaried players to the Sabres as part of the deal. That’s assuming the Sabres would be willing to ship him to a nearby rival. And no, I don’t see them picking up any chunk of his cap hit to help the Blueshirts.

The Rangers have considerable depth in promising prospects and young NHL talent to dangle as trade bait for Eichel. The Sabres will want some decent talent in return, and that could include a couple of players like Kakko, Chytil, Alexis Lafreniere, K’Andre Miller or Vitaly Kravtsov.

Remember, the Sabres’ supposed asking price is said to be four assets comparable to first-round draft picks. That means a first-round pick in 2022, one or two top prospects and one or two promising young NHL players.

As for Zibanejad, they could afford to carry him and Eichel this season. However, it could be a tight squeeze cap-wise depending on which players they send to Buffalo in return or shed in other cost-cutting moves.

It could cost between $9 million and $10 million annually for the Rangers to re-sign Zibanejad. They can’t afford to carry him and Eichel plus the hefty raise Adam Fox will command next summer as a restricted free agent. That won’t leave enough cap room to ice a playoff contender in 2022-23. As Carpiniello suggests, Zibanejad would have to be moved soon after acquiring Eichel or at this season’s trade deadline to avoid losing him for nothing next summer.

NHL.COM: Nicholas J. Cotsonika believes the Vegas Golden Knights still need a first-line center. General manager Kelly McCrimmon said they’re happy with their depth at that position after acquiring Nolan Patrick and Brett Howden during the offseason. Promising Peyton Krebs could also crack their lineup this season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Patrick and Kreb have promise but they’re not ready to fill that first-line center position. That was a significant weakness for the Golden Knights over the last two seasons and could haunt them in 2021-22. They were linked to Eichel but their limited cap space likely takes them out of the bidding unless the Sabres are willing to absorb a healthy chunk of his annual cap hit.

Tim Campbell believes the Jets still need a veteran backup goaltender for starter Connor Hellebuyck. So far it appears they’ll go with Eric Comrie filling that role.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: They’ll have to go the trade route to address that issue if it becomes a pressing need during this season. The free-agent market has been picked clean, with aging Devan Dubnyk and Curtis McElhinney still remaining. Tuukka Rask is also unsigned but everyone knows he’ll be returning to the Boston Bruins once he’s fully recovered from hip surgery in January.










NHL Rumor Mill – August 26, 2021

NHL Rumor Mill – August 26, 2021

Could the Ducks end up moving players like John Gibson and Josh Manson this season? Could the Senators seek another center? Find out in today’s NHL rumor mill.

THE ATHLETIC: In his latest mailbag segment, Eric Stephens was asked about the speculation linking the Anaheim Ducks to Buffalo Sabres center Jack Eichel. He believes Ducks general manager Bob Murray had some level of talks with the Sabres but doubts he would part with Trevor Zegras or Jamie Drysdale as part of the return. The Sabres asking price of four top assets for an injured player is another obstacle. Waiting could drive that price down.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Eichel’s ongoing issues with the Sabres over treatment for a herniated disc in his neck and his hefty contract are also significant sticking points in any trade discussions. Murray would be wise not to part with Zegras or Drysdale if he’s planning to rebuild.

Anaheim Ducks goaltender John Gibson (NHL Images).

Stephens believes Ducks goaltender John Gibson has been frustrated by the club’s lack of progress over the past three seasons. It’s impossible to know, however, if Gibson will request a trade.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Gibson would draw plenty of interest in the trade market if he did ask to be moved or if Murray decided to shop him for a return of young assets. The 28-year-old’s contract could be a stumbling block. His annual average salary is $6.4 million through 2026-27 and he now has a 10-team no-trade list.

Stephens believes the Ducks have fielded offers for Rickard Rakell, Hampus Lindholm, Josh Manson, Kevin Shattenkirk and Adam Henrique or attempted to move some of them. A deal that would’ve sent Manson to the Winnipeg Jets was reportedly scuttled by Manson, who has a 12-team no-trade list. It’s believed teams were offering a first-round pick or a top prospect for Manson or Rakell, but the Ducks want both pieces.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Keep an eye on Manson, Lindholm and Rakell this season. They’re slated to become unrestricted free agents next summer. The trio could draw plenty of attention as the trade deadline approaches. Manson is the only one of the three with no-trade protection.

NHL.COM: Mike Zeisberger believes the Ottawa Senators still need some veteran depth at center for the coming season. The departures of Artem Anisimov and Derek Stepan leave the club thin at center. Promising Shane Pinto could help but he’d be another young center on the roster.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Ottawa Sun’s Bruce Garrioch recently reported the Senators are believed to be in the market for a top-six winger or another center in order to move another forward to the wing. He mentioned New York Rangers center Ryan Strome and Chicago Blackhawks forward Dylan Strome as possible trade targets but dismissed internet rumors linking the Sens to San Jose’s Tomas Hertl.










Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – August 15, 2021

Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – August 15, 2021

The Senators are linked to several notable centers, the Hurricanes could be looking for another top-six forward, and the Jets are eyeing a former Red Wing. Details in this edition of the Sunday NHL rumor roundup.

OTTAWA SUN: Bruce Garrioch reports the Senators are still trying to add a center or winger via trade or free agency. Defenseman Erik Brannstrom could be used as a trade chip to add a winger or another center in order to move someone to the wing.

San Jose Sharks forward Tomas Hertl (NHL Images).

The Senators kicked tires on Buffalo Sabres center Jack Eichel but the asking price and contract are expensive. Internet rumors claim they’ve had talks with the San Jose Sharks about Tomas Hertl, who’s a year away from unrestricted free agent eligibility.

New York Rangers center Ryan Strome could be a good fit if they acquire Eichel. The Chicago Blackhawks are trying to move Dylan Strome and the Senators are mildly interested. The Sens would like to move center Logan Brown as it hasn’t worked out for the two sides. They’d prefer to get a player in return rather than a future asset.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Sharks could shop Hertl if he intends to test the market next summer. A rebuilding club like the Senators could seek assurances he’ll re-sign with them. Unless you’re a playoff contender interested in Hertl as a rental player it makes little sense for the Senators to waste assets on a player who could depart as a free agent soon afterward.

A deal for Dylan Strome seems possible. Earlier this month, Ben Pope of the Chicago Sun-Times speculated Strome could be a cost-cutting candidate to free up cap space for new contracts for Brandon Hagel and Alex Nylander. They’re already over the cap by $2.1 million. With Brent Seabrook off their books, they can only draw upon the $3.9 million of Andrew Shaw as long-term injury reserve cap relief.

THE ATHLETIC: In a recent mailbag segment, Sara Civian was asked if the Carolina Hurricanes still need another top-six forward. She believes they do, adding they seem to be looking for one.

They’ve been linked to St. Louis Blues winger Vladimir Tarasenko. Even if they can’t land him, she still thinks they’ll make a trade of some sort, pointing out they’ll still have some cap space left after signing Andrei Svechnikov.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Hurricanes currently have over $12 million remaining. Assuming they spend up to $7 million on Svechnikov, there’s enough wiggle room to add another top-six forward. That depends, of course, on ownership’s willingness to spend toward the ceiling and which forward they target.

Tarasenko’s $7.5 million annual average value is a lot to take on. They’ll have to ship out a salary in that deal, swing a separate cost-cutting move or convince the Blues to pick up part of his cap hit.

 










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – August 13, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – August 13, 2021

The Jets avoid arbitration with Andrew Copp, the NHL won’t pay for players’ COVID insurance at 2022 Beijing Olympics, several Canadian teams prepare for full capacity this season and more in today’s morning coffee headlines.

WINNIPEG SUN: The Jets avoided salary arbitration with Andrew Copp, reaching an agreement on a one-year, $3.64 million contract.

Winnipeg Jets forward Andrew Copp (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Cap Friendly shows the Jets sitting $5.797 million over the $81.5 million salary cap. Teams are allowed to sit above the cap by 10 percent during the offseason but must be compliant when the season opens in October.

One way could be putting sidelined center Bryan Little ($5.291 million) on long-term injury reserve but that still leaves him over the cap. They could also attempt to trade someone like Nathan Beaulieu, trade or demote Sami Niku and demote Ville Heinola and/or Dylan Samberg.

NEW YORK POST’s Larry Brooks tweeted the NHL Players Association has alerted its members the NHL won’t pay for COVID insurance at the 2022 Winter Olympics or Olympic qualifiers. “League position is that players will not be paid for games they miss because of COVID if contracted at Olympic events.”

Brooks also indicated the PA has presented the International Ice Hockey Federation the cost of insurance but was told international federations wouldn’t pay. He said the PA “strongly advises players not to participate in Olympic qualifying events.” He said talks are ongoing.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Don’t expect this to drag on for long. A decision on NHL participation in the 2022 Games is supposedly expected by the end of August.

SPORTSNET: The Winnipeg Jets will require all fans to be fully vaccinated to attend games at Canada Life Centre this season. The club’s parent company said season ticket holders made it clear that this was their preference. They intend to fill the arena for the Jets’ home games. Fans will also be required to wear masks in the arena.

THE PROVINCE: The Vancouver Canucks are considering measures similar to those of the Jets for access to their home games at Rogers Arena this season.

OTTAWA SUN: The Senators and Toronto Maple Leafs expect to have full capacity for this season. They’re awaiting the green light from Ontario’s health minister.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Access to arenas of Canadian NHL clubs will depend upon provincial health guidelines. The piece indicates the Calgary Flames and Edmonton Oilers have no restrictions on attendance in their arenas. The Montreal Canadiens are expected to be close to capacity to start the season. Their plans could be affected by the rising number of COVID-19 Delta variant cases.

TSN: Former Chicago Blackhawks skills coach Paul Vincent gave investigators his account of abuse allegations leveled by two players against former video coach Bradley Aldrich. Vincent said he first heard of the allegations from Blackhawks defenseman Nick Boynton when the club was in San Jose for the 2010 Western Conference Final.

After speaking with Boynton, Vincent said he spoke with the two alleged victims for 10 minutes and shared the allegations with the club’s sports psychologist, James Gary, and security officer Brian Higgins. Higgins’ lawyer told TSN his client did work at the United Center during the 2009-10 season but didn’t officially start working for the Blackhawks until October 2010. The lawyer said Vincent’s statement that he informed his client of the allegations was false but Vincent is sticking to his story.

Vincent also said he was subsequently called into a meeting with team officials including Gary, team president John McDonough, general manager Stan Bowman, and vice-president of hockey operations Al MacIsaac. He said he was informed by MacIsaac the team was looking into the matter and he didn’t have to worry about it anymore.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: You can read the full story at the link above. It comes with a caution that it contains references to sexual assault. The internal investigation by the Blackhawks is ongoing and details will be publicly shared upon its completion.

THE ATHLETIC: The lawsuits and the investigation into the Blackhawks’ handling of the sexual assault allegations have some of their fans evaluating their loyalty to the club.

EDMONTON JOURNAL: The Oilers signed defenseman Slater Koekkoek to a two-year contract with an annual average value of $925K.

THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER: The Walt Disney Company will pay the NHL $350 million to buy its 10 percent stake in Disney Streaming Services.

OTTAWA SUN: Charges have been withdrawn against an Ontario Provincial Police officer accused of fraud in the sale of a hockey stick once used by Wayne Gretzky.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – August 12, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – August 12, 2021

Elias Pettersson wants to play for a winner, Sam Reinhart re-signs with the Panthers and the Jets avoid arbitration with Neal Pionk. Details and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

THE PROVINCE: In an interview with a Swedish hockey publication, Elias Pettersson said he wants to stay in Vancouver but also wants to play for a winning team that has a chance to go deep in the playoffs every year.

VANCOUVER, CANADA – Vancouver Canucks center Elias Pettersson (NHL Images).

I feel like we’ve got a chance to do that next year,” said Pettersson. “If we have that chance when my next deal expires…I don’t know. I just want a chance to play where there’s a chance of winning.”

A restricted free agent, Pettersson’s contract negotiations with the Canucks are ongoing. The two sides are reportedly still not close to a deal.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Pettersson’s remarks raised concerns on social media among Canucks fans concerned over the club’s direction under general manager Jim Benning. It’s even sparked some fear he’ll get an offer sheet from a rival club. That appears unlikely given the Canucks have sufficient cap space to match any offer plus the high rate of compensation they would receive if they opted not to match.

It’s believed Pettersson and the Canucks are currently discussing a long-term deal. Nevertheless, it’s fair to speculate whether the Canucks would have difficulty convincing Pettersson to re-sign before his next deal expires if the club is still spinning its wheels.

FLORIDA HOCKEY NOW: The Panthers reached an agreement on a new contract with forward Sam Reinhart. It’s a three-year deal worth an annual average value of $6.5 million.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: A decent raise for Reinhart, who was recently acquired in a trade from the Buffalo Sabres. He earned $5.2 million last season on a one-year deal. Playing in a no-tax state like Florida likely contributed to his acceptance of that annual cap hit.

Reinhart, 25, is expected to skate at right wing on the Panthers’ top line alongside center Aleksander Barkov. He could provide a significant boost to their offensive depth as they look to take the next step toward Stanley Cup contention this season.

WINNIPEG SUN: The Jets avoided salary arbitration with Neal Pionk, reaching an agreement with the 26-year-old defenseman on a four-year contract worth an annual salary-cap hit of $5.875 million. He earned $3.15 million annually on his previous deal.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Pionk has become an invaluable top-four blueliner for the Jets since being acquired from the New York Rangers two years ago. He’ll either play alongside Josh Morrisey on the first pairing or with recently acquired Brenden Dillon on the second pairing.

The Jets still have an upcoming arbitration hearing with forward Andrew Copp. He earned $2.28 million annually on his previous contract. Cap Friendly indicates the club is already over $2.1 million above the salary cap, though they’ll get some relief by placing Bryan Little ($5.29 million) on long-term injury reserve this season.

NEW YORK POST: Henrik Lundqvist could attempt an NHL comeback once he receives full medical clearance. The 39-year-old unrestricted free agent goaltender missed all of last season recovering from heart surgery.

THE HOCKEY NEWS: Former NHL star Jaromir Jagr appears poised for another season with his hometown club of Kladno in the Czech Republic. The 49-year-old helped his hometown team become champion of the second division in 2020-21 and return to the Extraliga for this season.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – August 5, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – August 5, 2021

The latest on Marc-Andre Fleury and Pierre-Luc Dubois plus the latest notable contract signings in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NBC SPORTS CHICAGO: Marc-Andre Fleury admitted he was caught off guard by the recent trade that sent him from the Vegas Golden Knights to the Blackhawks. He needed time to process what was happening, including how this move would affect his family.

Marc-Andre Fleury will report to the Chicago Blackhawks (NHL Images).

Fleury said he had nothing against Chicago or the Blackhawks. Speaking with current and former Blackhawks helped him with his decision to report to the club, including former Pittsburgh Penguins teammate Chris Kunitz, who’s part of the Blackhawks coaching staff. He’s also excited about playing alongside Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Fleury, 36, has a year remaining on his contract worth an annual average value of $7 million. If things work out in Chicago perhaps he’ll sign a short-term contract extension. If not, he could be shopped at the February trade deadline, sign elsewhere next summer as a free agent or retire.

WINNIPEG SUN: Jets center Pierre-Luc Dubois intends to wear No. 80 to honor the memory of friend and former Columbus Blue Jackets teammate Matiss Kivlinieks. The 24-year-old goaltender was killed in a fireworks accident last month in Michigan.

Speaking of the Jets, they signed defenseman Logan Stanley to a two-year contract worth an annual average value of $900K.

NBC SPORTS BAY AREA: The San Jose Sharks avoided arbitration with Adin Hill, signing the 25-year-old goaltender to a two-year, $4.35 million contract.

STLTODAY.COM: The Blues avoided arbitration with forward Zach Sanford by inking him to a one-year, $2 million contract.

OTTAWA SUN: The Senators avoided arbitration with Victor Mete by signing the 23-year-old defenseman to a one-year, $1.2 million contract.

SPORTSNET: The Seattle Kraken signed unrestricted free agent defenseman Connor Carrick to a one-year, $800K deal. They also signed forward Alexander True to a one-year, two-way contract worth $700K at the NHL level.

TVA SPORTS: The Montreal Canadiens signed assistant coach Alex Burrows to a three-year contract extension.

TRIBLIVE.COM: The Pittsburgh Penguins fired goaltending coach Mike Buckley and will replace him with Andy Chiodo.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: There was speculation the Penguins could attempt to replace starting goaltender Tristan Jarry via trade or free agency. This move likely signals their intention to work with Jarry to improve his game.