NHL Rumor Mill – March 3, 2021

NHL Rumor Mill – March 3, 2021

The latest on Jack Eichel, the Leafs still shopping for a forward, plus updates on Dougie Hamilton, Tony DeAngelo and more in today’s NHL rumor mill.

LATEST EICHEL SPECULATION

SPORTSNET: In his latest “31 Thoughts” column, Elliotte Friedman acknowledged the trade speculation swirling about Buffalo Sabres captain Jack Eichel but doubts the 24-year-old center is moved by the April 12 trade deadline. He points out a number of teams cannot afford to take on his $10 million annual average value right now.

Could the New York Rangers or Los Angeles Kings try to acquire Jack Eichel from the Buffalo Sabres? (NHL Images)

Friedman thinks the Rangers could do it anytime they wanted but called some of the proposals out there “kinda crazy.” If the Sabres decide to trade Eichel it’ll be in the summer when teams have more salary-cap space to work with.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Athletic’s Craig Custance cited an NHL executive who believes Eichel will eventually wind up a Ranger. Another, however, felt the Los Angeles Kings would be a better match because they have the type of promising high-centers (Quinton Byfield, Alex Turcotte) the Rangers lack to offer up as trade bait.

Kings general manager Rob Blake has stuck to the mantra of the patient rebuild and it looks like it’s starting to pay off. He could be tempted to accelerate the process by acquiring Eichel. However, I wonder how keen he’d be to add another $10 million player to his roster with Anze Kopitar and Drew Doughty already on the books.

Speaking of the Rangers, the New York Post’s Larry Brooks believes it would be almost impossible for them to get into the bidding for Eichel and his $10 million AAV without first moving center Mika Zibanejad, who has a no-movement clause. Given Zibanejad’s struggles this season, finding a trade partner willing to gamble on him won’t be easy even if he agreed to waive his NMC.

LEAFS STILL SEEK A FORWARD

TSN: Darren Dreger reports the Toronto Maple Leafs still want to bolster their forward lines before the April 12 trade deadline. Some speculation linked the Leafs to Nashville Predators forward Mikael Granlund. Dreger thinks there could be a fit if the Predators agree to retain some of Granlund’s salary. The Leafs have the prospects and draft picks to make something happen.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Cap Friendly shows the Leafs with just over $130K of trade-deadline cap space. Granlund has over $2.1 million remaining of his $3.75 million salary for this season. No chance of a deal there unless the Preds absorb a considerable chunk of his salary or take back a contract of equal or greater value.

HURRICANES UNLIKELY TO MOVE HAMILTON

TSN: Pierre LeBrun reports contract talks between the Carolina Hurricanes and pending UFA defenseman Dougie Hamilton have gone quiet since last month. The Hamilton camp could prefer a deal comparable to what Alex Pietrangelo received from the Vegas Golden Knights while the Hurricanes prefer something similar to what Torey Krug got with the St. Louis Blues. LeBrun doesn’t believe they’ll trade Hamilton, preferring to deal with this before the UFA market opens on July 28.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: As LeBrun points out, the Hurricanes are all-in this year. Hamilton’s contract discussions will be set aside until the season is over.

UPDATE ON DEANGELO

TSN: Frank Seravalli reports former New York Rangers defenseman Tony DeAngelo has told the club he’s willing to accept being loaned to an American Hockey League team. He’s not welcome with their AHL affiliate in Hartford but the Rangers are willing to facilitate sending him to another club. Servalli believes it’ll take another NHL team stepping up to make that happen.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Several NHL teams were rumored to have an interest in DeAngelo earlier this season. However, that has dried up as his personal baggage made him too toxic. It’ll be interesting to see if one of those interest parties might give him an opportunity to skate below the media radar with their AHL farm team.

OTHER RUMORS OF NOTE

Seravalli reports Arizona Coyotes defenseman Alex Goligoski could be added to the TSN NHL Trade Bait board. He’s a pending UFA playing top-pairing minutes but there hasn’t been any contract extension talks between the two sides.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Goligoski has an eight-team no-trade list and a $5.45 million AAV. The latter could prove the more significant sticking point in any trade discussions.

Friedman reports the Columbus Blue Jackets are in the market for centers…The Boston Bruins and Philadelphia Flyers are eyeing defensemen but both must monitor their expansion draft protection lists…Teams seeking goalie depth might ask the Sabres about Jonas Johansson…The LA Kings hope to re-sign pending UFA forward Alex Iafallo.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 17, 2020

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 17, 2020

The Wild trade Eric Staal to the Sabres for Marcus Johansson, Canadiens re-sign Joel Edmundson, and the latest on Brayden Point, Johnny Boychuk, Kyle Clifford and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: The Minnesota Wild traded center Eric Staal last evening to the Buffalo Sabres for center Marcus Johansson.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It was a straightforward one-for-one swap with no salary retention by either club. Cap Friendly indicates Staal, 35, has one year remaining on his contract with an annual average value of $3.25 million. He has a 10-team no-trade list but the Sabres reportedly weren’t on it. The Athletic’s Michael Russo reported Staal was stunned by the news.

Johansson, 29, also has a year remaining on his contract worth $4.5 million AAV. He’s a versatile forward (when healthy) who can play center or on the wing. However, he managed just 30 points in 60 games last season as a center with the Sabres. Staal netted 47 in 66 contests.

Wild general manager Bill Guerin made no secret of his intentions to shore up his depth at center. Last week, he acquired center Nick Bjugstad from the Pittsburgh Penguins. However, I don’t see the trading away Staal for Johansson as an improvement.

Staal may be older but he was more productive than Johansson, who seems better suited for the wing. Guerin’s recent re-signing of Jonas Brodin has sparked speculation he’s shopping defenseman Matt Dumba for a scoring forward, preferably a center.

The Sabres, meanwhile, are reportedly going to set an internal cap of $70 million for 2020-21. Shedding Johansson for Staal shaves $1.25 million off their payroll. He’ll play a second-line role behind Jack Eichel and perhaps help out in a leadership role.

Speaking of the Wild, StarTribune.com’s Sarah McLellan reported Guerin said it’s unlikely pending free agent center Alex Galchenyuk returns. He also declined to comment on the future of captain Mikko Koivu, who’s also a pending UFA.

MONTREAL GAZETTE: The Montreal Canadiens re-signed Joel Edmundson to a four-year, $14-million contract extension. The Habs acquired the 27-year-old defenseman last week from the Carolina Hurricanes in exchange for a fifth-round pick in 2020.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The annual average value is $3.5 million, making Edmundson an affordable, physical addition to the Canadiens’ defense corps. The deal also comes with a 10-team no-trade list for all four seasons.

Adding Edmundson provides experienced depth on the left side of the Habs’ blue line. It’s also sparked suggestions Brett Kulak or Victor Mete could be packaged in a deal for a scoring forward. The Habs now have over $10.2 million in cap space invested in 19 players for 2020-21.

NHL.COM: Tampa Bay Lightning center Brayden Point’s status for Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Final remains uncertain. Point missed the previous game with an undisclosed injury and didn’t practice yesterday. Lightning coach Jon Cooper said he didn’t know if Point will be available but remains hopeful he’ll be in the lineup.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Lightning lost both games Point missed due to injury.

NEW YORK POST: The return of veteran defenseman Johnny Boychuk provided a big lift for the New York Islanders in their Game 5 victory over the Lightning on Tuesday. Boychuk returned to action for the first time since being sidelined in the opening game of the qualifying round against the Florida Panthers.

TORONTO SUN: Agent Todd Reynolds said client Kyle Clifford will be testing the unrestricted free agent market. The 29-year-old left wing was acquired by the Maple Leafs in a trade with the Los Angeles Kings last February. If Clifford doesn’t re-sign with Toronto, the Kings will receive a third-round pick from the Leafs.

THE SCORE: The St. Louis Blues announced former Dallas Stars head coach Jim Montgomery will be joining them as an assistant coach on a two-year deal. He’ll replace Marc Savard, who stepped down earlier this month.

NBC SPORTS BAY AREA: The San Jose Sharks are expected to make interim head coach Bob Boughner their full-time bench boss.

TSN: A proposed class-action lawsuit has been filed against North America’s most powerful hockey leagues (including the NHL, AHL, and the Canadian junior leagues) alleging conspiracy to limit opportunities for young players. The suit was filed by Kobe Mohr, who played in the WHL from 2015 to 2020.

TRIBLIVE.COM: Former Pittsburgh Penguins president Jack Kelley died Tuesday at age 93. Kelley was the Penguins president from 1993 to 1998. He was also inducted in the US Hockey Hall of Fame in 1993 and the WHA Hall of Fame in 2010.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: My condolences to Kelley’s family and friends.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 15, 2019

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 15, 2019

Connor McDavid has a career night plus the latest on T.J. Brodie, Sidney Crosby, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: Connor McDavid collected a career-high six points in one game to lead the Edmonton Oilers over the Colorado Avalanche 6-2. McDavid also tallied his second hat trick in three games while linemate Leon Draisaitl had five assists. It was the Oilers’ third win in their last four games. The Avalanche received some good news earlier in the day, as defenseman Nikita Zadorov (broken jaw) will rejoin them in Vancouver for Saturday’s game against the Canucks.

Edmonton Oilers captain Connor McDavid netted six points in a 6-2 win over the Colorado Avalanche (Photo via NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Oilers’ dynamic duo feasted on the Avalanche’s inexperienced goaltending, chasing Adam Werner after he gave up five goals on 18 shots. That doesn’t detract from their remarkable performance in this game. McDavid and Draisaitl are the best one-two offensive punch in the NHL today. Draisaitl sits atop the league scoring race with 41 points while McDavid is second with 37. Draisaitl is on pace for 160 points, McDavid 145.

Tampa Bay Lightning winger Nikita Kucherov scored a goal and added three assists in a 9-3 thumping of the New York Rangers. Five of the Lightning’s goals came on the power play. Steven Stamkos, Victor Hedman, and Alex Killorn each had three-point performances. Rangers rookie Kaapo Kakko missed the game with the flu.

The Carolina Hurricanes blew 3-1 and 4-3 leads before downing the Buffalo Sabres 5-4 on an overtime goal by Dougie Hamilton. Hurricanes wingers Andrei Svechnikov and Teuvo Teravainen each had a goal and two assists. The Sabres are winless in six games (0-4-2). Earlier in the day, they learned winger Marcus Johansson will miss three games with an upper-body injury,.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Sabres’ recent performance is drawing comparisons to the same time last season when they started strong in October and faltered in November. They would eventually collapse and tumble out of playoff contention. Avoiding a repeat will be Ralph Krueger’s first big test since taking over as Sabres’ head coach earlier this year.

The Dallas Stars extended their points streak to seven by doubling up the Vancouver Canucks 4-2. Tyler Seguin, Joe Pavelski, and Miro Heiskanen led the way with two points each. The Canucks have dropped five of their last six games.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Like the Sabres, the Canucks also face trying to avoid a repeat of last November’s season-killing slump following a hot October.

Tomas Hertl’s two-goal performance in the San Jose Sharks 5-3 win over the Anaheim Ducks was overshadowed by his departure in the third period with a suspected leg injury. The Sharks extended their win streak to a season-high five games.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Losing Hertl for a significant period would be a big loss for the Sharks’ offense. He’s their leading scorer with 21 points in 20 games.

Mark Scheifee and Patrik Laine each had three points as the Winnipeg Jets edged the Florida Panthers 4-3. Vincent Trocheck scored twice for the Panthers.

Minnesota Wild winger Jordan Greenway snapped a 2-2 third-period tie to give his club a 3-2 victory over the Arizona Coyotes. Zach Parise had a goal and an assist for the Wild.

Alex Iafallo’s overtime goal lifted the Los Angeles Kings to a 3-2 win over the Detroit Red Wings. Tyler Bertuzzi scored both Wings’ goals.

HEADLINES

CALGARY SUN: Flames defenseman TJ Brodie was discharged from hospital last night after being stretched off the ice from practice earlier in the day. Brodie suddenly collapsed and went into convulsions during a routine drill. He was immediately treated by the team medical staff and rushed to a hospital, where he was described as alert and responsive. The club will provide a further update later today.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Here’s hoping this wasn’t anything serious and he makes a full recovery.

TRIBLIVE.COM: Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby is sidelined for six weeks following successful sports-hernia surgery. Alternate captain Evgeni Malkin acknowledged his readiness to step up in Crosby’s absence.

TORONTO SUN: The charge of disorderly conduct against Auston Matthews was dismissed after the Maple Leafs center settled with the female security guard who filed a complaint against him in Arizona.

VANCOUVER SUN: The Canucks won’t receive salary-cap recapture relief with Roberto Luongo joing the Florida Panthers as a special advisor. Luongo retired this summer, leaving the Canucks carrying over $3 million annually in cap recapture penalties through 2021-22.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: There’s nothing in the current collective bargaining agreement to address this issue. Don’t be surprised if it becomes a topic of interest in the ongoing CBA talks.

NEWSDAY: The New York Islanders placed winger Andrew Ladd on waivers to assign him to their AHL affiliate. If he clears as expected on Friday, Ladd will be re-assigned to the AHL affiliate and remain on LTIR following a voluntary five-game conditioning stint. The club feels he needs more time strengthening his surgically repaired knee in the minors before he’s NHL-ready.

NBC SPORTS BOSTON: Bobby Orr came to the defense of friend and former coach Don Cherry, calling his firing from Hockey Night in Canada disgraceful. “I have known him a long time and I know he is not a bigot or a racist. He is the most honest and generous guy there is. He’s very good to the veterans, the police, the firefighters, minor hockey players, and fans.”










Has The Buffalo Sabres Long-Awaited Breakout Season Finally Arrived?

Has The Buffalo Sabres Long-Awaited Breakout Season Finally Arrived?

 










NHL Most Important Players: Buffalo Sabres

NHL Most Important Players: Buffalo Sabres

 










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 7, 2019

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 7, 2019

The Sabres sign Marcus Johansson, Rasmus Ristolainen gets a speeding ticket, and the Bruins sign Peter Cehlarik. Details in the NHL morning coffee headlines.

WGR 550: The Buffalo Sabres yesterday signed unrestricted free agent winger Marcus Johansson to a two-year, $9.5-million contract.

Buffalo Sabres sign Marcus Johansson to a two-year contract (Photo via NHL.com).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This is a reasonable short-term deal with an annual average value is $4.5 million. For a club in need of secondary scoring, Johansson should provide a much-needed boost.

The 28-year-old is a skilled playmaker who can play all three forward positions. He’s exceeded 45 points in five of his nine NHL seasons.

Injuries are a concern, including two concussions in concussions in 2017 and 2018. When healthy, Johansson should be a solid addition to the Sabres offense. 

THE BUFFALO NEWS: recently reported Sabres defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen was “fined $135,000 and faces a three-month suspended license for speeding in Finland.” The incident occurred on May 3, when Ristolainen was doing 50 mph in a 25 mph zone during a period of heavy traffic. It’s reportedly the most expensive speeding ticket ever in Finland,

SPECTOR’S NOTE: They don’t mess around with traffic fines in Finland.