NHL Rumor Mill – May 5, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – May 5, 2022

Do Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews fit into the Blackhawks’ rebuild process? What could be in store this summer for the Islanders and Kraken? Find out in today’s NHL rumor mill.

CHICAGO TRIBUNE: Phil Thompson reported Blackhawks general manager Kyle Davidson cleared up any ambiguity about a fast rebuild for his club. He didn’t put a timeline on it but suggested it could take at least three-to-five years.

Chicago Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews (NHL Images).

Long-time Blackhawks stars Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews recently remarked they saw no reason the club couldn’t turn things around within a year or two. With a year remaining on their respective contracts, they have no choice but to go along with Davidson’s plans unless they agree to waive their no-movement clauses and ask to be traded.

Davidson believes Kane and Toews have a place in the club’s plans and made his expectations clear to both during their exit interviews.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: NBC Sports Chicago’s Charlie Roumeliotis reported Davidson also said those conversations were healthy and productive and he’s pleased with how they went. It’s believed the Blackhawks GM intends to keep his two aging stars in the loop regarding the club’s direction.

Whether that silences the trade speculation about those two (especially Kane) that surfaced in the final weeks of the regular season remains to be seen.

THE ATHLETIC: Kevin Kurz recently examined the New York Islanders’ offseason priorities.

Finding a high-end winger for first-line center Mathew Barzal topped his list. He advocated the cap-strapped Islanders pull off some “salary-cap gymnastics” to pursue Calgary’s Johnny Gaudreau, Nashville’s Filip Forsberg or Florida’s Claude Giroux if they become available in this summer’s unrestricted free agent market.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Cap Friendly shows the Isles with $70.2 million invested in 18 active players for 2022-23 with Noah Dobson as their only notable free agent to re-sign. General manager Lou Lamoriello would have to shed considerable salary to free up space to make a serious offer for Gaudreau, Forsberg or Giroux.

Gaudreau could seek $10 million annually if he hits the open market while Forsberg could come in around $8 million. Giroux is 34 and would be more affordable but a lot could depend on how well the Panthers do in this postseason.

Kurz also suggested the Isles need to sort out their goalie tandem. Semyon Varlamov made it clear he was happy not being moved at the March trade deadline. However, it remains to be seen if he’s willing to take a back seat next season to Ilya Sorokin.

If not, perhaps the Isles should attempt to trade Varlamov and the remaining year on his contract this summer. He carries a $5 million cap hit plus a 16-team no-trade clause.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: There was talk of teams calling the Islanders about Varlamov. Given general manager Lou Lamoriello’s secretive nature, we have no idea if those calls were seriously entertained or even took place.

Moving Varlamov and his cap hit would make it easier for Lamoriello to pursue a top-six winger for Barzal’s line. Sorokin has proven himself as an NHL starter but he and Varlamov work well together as a tandem. Lamoriello could be reluctant to break that up for next season.

THE SEATTLE TIMES: Geoff Baker reports Seattle Kraken general manager Ron Francis intends to see more goal-scoring for his club in the offseason via free agency. He’ll be looking for someone who can play in their top-six or top-nine. Francis also mentioned he could seek a blueline upgrade, especially for someone who is offensively inclined.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Kraken has the cap space to invest in a scoring winger or a puck-moving defenseman this summer if they’re willing to spend toward the cap. They have $59.6 million committed to 14 players next season with no expensive core players to re-sign.

Francis was able to woo Philipp Grubauer and Jaden Schwartz to Seattle in last summer’s UFA market. I wouldn’t discount the possibility of him landing another notable free-agent player.










NHL Rumor Mill – May 2, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – May 2, 2022

Mark Scheifele’s uncertain future with the Jets plus a roundup of recent Blackhawks speculation in today’s NHL rumor mill.

SCHEIFELE FACES AN UNCERTAIN FUTURE WITH THE JETS

WINNIPEG SUN/WINNIPEG FREE PRESS: Scott Billeck and Mike McIntyre reports Mark Scheifele said he needed to know management’s vision for the Jets over the remaining two years of his contract.

Winnipeg Jets center Mark Scheifele (NHL Images).

Scheifele sounded frustrated during yesterday’s season-ending press conference. The 28-year-old center said he’s in the prime of his playing career and believes he’s improving all the time. However, he wants to know the club’s direction and what changes could be in store.

Completing his 11th season with the Jets, Scheifele said he’d love to be in Winnipeg. Nevertheless, he has to think about his career and what’s best for him and his family. He anticipates a “tough talk” with general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff during his end-of-season interview today.

Billeck and McIntyre believe Scheifele’s comments are the start of what could be a turbulent offseason for the Jets. While Cheveldayoff received a three-year contract extension yesterday, he will have a lot on his plate.

In addition to Scheifele’s future, there were reports of a divided dressing room and a lack of accountability throughout this season. A decision must be made whether to make interim head coach Dave Lowry the full-time bench boss or find a replacement. Center Pierre-Luc Dubois is a restricted free agent who’s in line for a lucrative new contract. Their defense corps also needs to be improved.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Scheifele’s inconsistent performance this season and seeming indifference toward his defensive play sparked speculation he could become an offseason trade candidate. He didn’t come out and demand a trade yesterday but that could be in the cards if his meeting with Cheveldayoff goes sour or he disapproves of the GM’s offseason moves.

Expect speculation over Scheifele’s future to be a hot topic following the playoffs in the lead-up to the 2022 NHL Draft on July 7 and 8. That’s usually the period when notable players like himself get traded as teams have more cap room and a willingness to make big moves in the trade market.

Trading Scheifele would be a significant shakeup of the roster core. It could also set the table for a big raise for Dubois.

RECENT BLACKHAWKS SPECULATION

NBC SPORTS CHICAGO: Charlie Roumeliotis recently reported long-time Blackhawks star Patrick Kane said he’d had multiple conversations with general manager Kyle Davidson and expects to learn more about the club’s offseason plans following the end of the regular season.

Kane acknowledged his leadership role with the club could speed up its rebuild. He also enjoys the chemistry and relationship he’s built with winger Alex DeBrincat. The 33-year-old winger hopes the Blackhawks can follow the blueprint of the Los Angeles Kings and New York Rangers as they rebuilt on the fly and are playoff clubs this season.

Roumeliotis also wondered what the future holds for Kane and teammate Jonathan Toews as they both had one season remaining on their identical contracts. He pointed out the Blackhawks don’t have many tradeable assets to start a true rebuilding. Alex DeBrincat would fetch the best return but it would take a significant offer to convince Davidson to move the 24-year-old winger.

It remains to be seen if restricted free agent forward Dylan Strome will be back. Davidson must also address his goaltending after trading away Marc-Andre Fleury at the trade deadline. Kevin Lankinen and Collin Delia are pending UFAs this summer.

CHICAGO SUN-TIMES: Ben Pope reported that DeBrincat acknowledged this was a frustrating season for him. Nevertheless, he’s open to signing a contract extension with the Blackhawks. DeBrincat has a year remaining on his contract with an annual average value of $6.4 million.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The futures of Kane and Toews have already sparked plenty of conjecture that will continue to grow between now and into July when business picks up in the trade market. Kane’s still-impressive offensive stats would draw considerable interest if Davidson tries to shop him.

However, moving Kane and/or Toews won’t be easy. Kane and Toews each carry hefty $10.5 million cap hits and full no-movement clauses.

DeBrincat hit 41 goals and 78 points this season. He’s a player the Blackhawks should be building around, especially if he’s interested in a contract extension. Then again, I said the same thing about Brandon Hagel before the trade deadline and he got shipped to Tampa Bay. Davidson could listen if someone makes a substantial offer for DeBrincat.

Davidson could keep Strome if he envisions rebuilding on the fly with the aim of reaching the playoffs in two or three years’ time. Otherwise, it wouldn’t be surprising if he becomes a trade candidate.










NHL Rumor Mill – April 25, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – April 25, 2022

An update on Jakob Chychrun plus the latest on the Blackhawks plus in today’s NHL rumor mill.

GOPHNX.COM: In a recent mailbag segment, Craig Morgan was asked about Jakob Chychrun’s future with the Arizona Coyotes. He believes once rumors got out that teams were calling about the 24-year-old defenseman that his camp became open to the idea of a trade.

Arizona Coyotes defenseman Jakob Chychrun (NHL Images).

Morgan doesn’t think Chychrun, who’s signed through 2024-25, wants to sacrifice three seasons of his playing prime in a rebuild. He doesn’t see Coyotes general manager Bill Armstrong budging from his high asking price. If teams aren’t willing to pay it this summer (and Chychrun’s subpar season didn’t help), Armstrong won’t trade him.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The passing of last month’s NHL trade deadline brought an end to the seemingly endless Chychrun trade speculation that had been ongoing since last fall. Things are quiet now but we can expect the rumors to ramp up again as teams are eliminated from the playoffs, reaching another fever pitch approaching the 2022 NHL Draft on July 7 and 8.

Despite the decline in Chychrun’s production this season, his age, puck-moving skills and affordable $4.6 million contract will ensure he remains an attractive trade candidate this summer. A number of the clubs that were linked to him before the trade deadline, such as the Anaheim Ducks, Columbus Blue Jackets, Los Angeles Kings and St. Louis Blues could revisit their interest when the offseason begins.

THE ATHLETIC: Scott Powers recently speculated over the potential rebuilding plans of Chicago Blackhawks general manager Kyle Davidson in the upcoming offseason. If they end up with one of the top two picks in this year’s draft following next month’s draft lottery and send their 2023 first-round to Columbus as part of the Seth Jones trade, perhaps Davidson will have some incentive to improve the club next season. He won’t want that pick to turn into a generational talent for the Jackets if he tanked next season.

On the other hand, if the Blackhawks don’t get that top-two placement and send their 2022 pick to the Blue Jackets, Davidson could commence a major teardown to improve his club’s chances of winning next year’s draft lottery. That could mean letting restricted free agents Dominik Kubalik and Dylan Strome walk this summer without bringing in top-six forwards to replace them.

A league source told Powers they wouldn’t be shocked if Davidson shopped Patrick Kane and Alex DeBrincat this summer. However, there’s no indication the Blackhawks GM has any plans to do that. Davidson is expected to meet with Pat Brisson, the agent for Kane and team captain Jonathan Toews, to discuss his offseason plans.

Meanwhile, Mark Lazerus recently reported Tyler Johnson is willing to embrace a role in the Blackhawks’ rebuild. However, it’s uncertain where he fits in Davidson’s plans.

Johnson is signed through 2023-24 with an annual average value of $5 million. He could fill a veteran leader role if Toews and/or Kane decide to move on from the Blackhawks. Otherwise, Davidson could attempt to move Johnson via trade or buy out the remainder of his contract.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Blackhawks will be one of the clubs worth watching during this offseason. Big changes could be in the works that might involve a core player like Toews, Kane or DeBrincat moving on. Davidson won’t shop those guys just for the sake of making changes. However, as we saw with the Brandon Hagel trade, he’ll be willing to move those players for the right offer.

Toews and Kane are in the final seasons of their respective contracts with $10.5-million annual cap hits and full no-movement clauses. DeBrincat is a year away from becoming a restricted free agent with arbitration rights. He has a $6.4-million annual cap hit and lacks no-trade protection but is slated to earn $9 million in actual salary next season.

Johnson’s decline in production and injury history could make him a tough sell in this summer’s trade market. He also has a 20-team list of preferred trade destinations. Cap Friendly shows a buyout will count as over $2.6 million next season, $1.66 million in 2023-24, followed by over $1.46 million for each of the final two years.










NHL Rumor Mill – April 18, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – April 18, 2022

Check out the latest on the Blackhawks and Rangers in today’s NHL rumor mill.

LATEST ON THE BLACKHAWKS

CHICAGO SUN-TIMES: Ben Pope recently wondered if Jonathan Toews can stomach another season of losing as the Blackhawks rebuild their roster. He hasn’t hidden his feelings about his poor performance and that of the club this season.

Chicago Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews (NHL Images).

Head coach Derek King sympathizes with Toews and Patrick Kane. He acknowledged it can’t be easy at this stage of their careers for two players accustomed to winning. The Blackhawks captain has one season remaining on his contract. As far as anyone knows, he hasn’t made a decision on whether to request a trade.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: If Toews wants out it won’t be easy for the Blackhawks to move him. He carries a $10.5 million cap hit and a full no-movement clause that gives him complete control over potential trade destinations.

Toews remains a respected player around the league but the 33-year-old is no longer playing at the same level as he was during the Blackhawks’ glory years. Kane, also 33, has an identical contract but his productivity would make him more valuable in the trade market.

With the salary cap rising by only $1 million to $82.5 million for 2022-23, there won’t be a lot of teams with the room to take on Toew’s full cap hit. The Blackhawks would have to retain 50 percent of it to facilitate a trade. The same goes for Kane despite his offensive output.

THE ATHLETIC: Mark Lazerus recently wondered if Kevin Lankinen will lose his job as the Blackhawks starting goaltender. The 26-year-old is an unrestricted free agent this summer. He was relegated to backup duty when the Blackhawks acquired Marc-Andre Fleury last summer and he’s struggled since taking for Fleury following the latter’s trade to Minnesota.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Lazerus suggests the rebuilding Blackhawks could bring Lankinen back for another season to give him an opportunity to regain his form. Nevertheless, management could let him walk this summer if they feel they can find better goaltending options through trades or free agency.

Lazerus also wondered if Tyler Johnson still has a future with the rebuilding Blackhawks. The 32-year-old is signed for two more seasons with an annual salary-cap hit of $5 million. They have the cap flexibility to retain part of his cap hit if they can find a team that can better utilize him. A buyout is also possible but a trade would be preferable.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Johnson would be of better value to a playoff contender seeking a versatile forward with championship experience. Retaining part of his salary, however, would likely be needed to make a deal happen.

UPDATE ON THE RANGERS

NEW YORK POST: Larry Brooks believes the Rangers will try to sign Andrew Copp to a contract extension given how well he’s adjusted since joining the club in a trade deadline deal from the Winnipeg Jets. He’s fit in well on the second line alongside Artemi Panarin and Ryan Strome.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Copp is due to become a UFA in July and is completing a one-year deal worth $3.64 million. The versatile 27-year-old forward will get much more than that on a long-term deal if his solid chemistry with Panarin and Strome carries over into the postseason.

Whether it’s with the Rangers or another club remains to be seen. The Blueshirts must also re-sign or replace Strome this summer. They have over $70 million invested in 16 active players for 2022-23.

Alexandar Georgiev’s solid late-season improvement could allow the Rangers to get something in return for him in this summer’s trade market. A club seeking a potential starting goalie could be willing to take on the $2.65 million qualifier he’s due rather than take their chances in this summer’s free-agent market.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Georgiev’s inconsistency is a sticking point. Nevertheless, a club could take a chance on him on a one-year deal this summer.










NHL Rumor Mill – April 11, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – April 11, 2022

In today’s NHL rumor mill, a look at what the offseason might hold for stars such as Patrick Kane, J.T. Miller, Filip Forsberg and Vladimir Tarasenko.

NHL.COM: In a recent mailbag segment, Dan Rosen was asked whether several notable stars would still be with their respective teams when the puck drops next season.

Rosen believes Patrick Kane, Jonathan Toews and Alex DeBrincat will remain with the Chicago Blackhawks. He doesn’t see Kane or Toews being moved unless they ask to be traded. Of the two, Kane could be the easiest to move because he’s still their best player and would fetch the best return. DeBrincat, meanwhile, is a 24-year-old elite scorer worth building around.

Chicago Blackhawks winger Patrick Kane (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Toews and Kane also carry identical $10.5 million cap hits with full no-movement clauses through next season. While there would be interest in Kane if the Blackhawks were to shop him, they’ll have to retain a healthy chunk of his cap hit to facilitate a trade.

I agree that DeBrincat is a player the Blackhawks should retain but I also felt the same thing about Brandon Hagel. Chicago general manager Kyle Davidson would listen if a club make a big pitch for DeBrincat.

The Nashville Predators opted not to trade Filip Forsberg, who’s slated to become an unrestricted free agent this summer. Rosen believes the two sides will work out an agreement on a new contract.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’ll likely cost the Predators around $8.5 million annually to keep Forsberg in the fold. With Ryan Johansen and Matt Duchene each earning $8 million annually, I’m not sure how comfortable Predators general manager David Poile would be in having another $8 million-plus forward on the roster.

Rosen suspects the Vancouver Canucks could trade forwards J.T. Miller and Brock Boeser because of their contract statuses. Miller is a year away from UFA eligibility while Boeser is a restricted free agent with arbitration rights and is two years from UFA status.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Reports out of Vancouver seem to suggest the Canucks will attempt to sign Miller to a contract extension this summer while attempting to shop Boeser. It’s possible, however, that Miller also hits the trade block if he proves too expensive to retain.

It doesn’t appear that Vladimir Tarasenko has rescinded last summer’s trade request from the St. Louis Blues. He’s also a year away from UFA status.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Tarasenko was reportedly unhappy over the treatment he received for his shoulder injuries by the Blues’ medical staff and management’s handling of the situation. To his credit, he hasn’t allowed this to affect his performance or his relationship with his teammates.

Nevertheless, if Tarasenko still wants out, I expect the Blues will have an easier time finding trade partners this summer. He’s been healthy this season, with 65 points in as many games, and has only a year left on his contract. While the cap hit is $7.5 million, his actual salary for next season is $5.5 million.

Rosen also expects Dallas Stars defenseman John Klingberg and New York Rangers center Ryan Strome to test this summer’s free-agent market.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Klingberg is likely a goner from Dallas after he publicly complained about his stalled contract negotiations with Stars management in January. As for Strome, it’ll depend on how much he seeks on his next contract and for how long.

Rosen doesn’t understand why the Arizona Coyotes should move Jakob Chychrun. The 23-year-old defenseman is signed for three more seasons and should be a big part of their rebuild.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It could be because Chychrun could fetch a significant return but I also wonder if the blueliner is growing unhappy with his role or the direction of the Coyotes. If so, that could explain why GM Bill Armstrong will continue to entertain trade offers this summer.

Mackenzie Blackwood has been injured for most of this season. Rosen doesn’t see the New Jersey Devils trading him because his value isn’t that high. He thinks Blackwood could be a 1A or 1B goalie depending on who they bring in during the offseason.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Injuries have hampered Blackwood’s development. Rosen noted he’s signed through next season. I agree with him that Blackwood will be back with the Devils next season.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 1, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 1, 2022

Jonathan Huberdeau sets a league record in Jonathan Toews’ 1,000th game, Auston Matthews is the first player this season to score 50 goals, potential investors are circling the Senators in the wake of Eugene Melnyk’s death, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: Jonathan Huberdeau set a single-season assist record for left wingers (71) as his Florida Panthers blanked the Chicago Blackhawks 4-0, spoiling the 1,000th career NHL game of Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews. Sergei Bobrovsky made 37 saves for the shutout while Aleksander Barkov scored twice. With 98 points, the Panthers are tied with the Carolina Hurricanes but sit in first place in the Eastern Conference with a game in hand.

Florida Panthers winger Jonathan Huberdeau (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Huberdeau really doesn’t get the attention he deserves for his playmaking skills. He’s fourth overall in total assists (271) since 2017-18, four behind the Blackhawks’ Patrick Kane and nine behind the New York Rangers’ Artemi Panarin. Edmonton Oilers captain Connor McDavid is the overall leader during that period with 340.

Toews would’ve reached the 1,000 game mark much sooner had he not missed all of last season to illness. It’s been a difficult campaign for the Blackhawks captain, with 29 points in 57 games.

Toronto Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews became the first player to reach the 50-goal plateau this season in a 7-3 victory over the Winnipeg Jets. William Nylander scored twice while Mitch Marner and Ilya Mikheyev each collected three points as the Leafs (91 points) move one point ahead of the Tampa Bay Lightning into second place in the Atlantic Division. With 76 points, the Jets are three points behind the Dallas Stars for the final Western Conference wild-card berth.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Matthews is the fourth player in Leafs history to score 50 goals in a season, joining Rick Vaive, Gary Leeman and Dave Andreychuk. With 15 games remaining in the season, he’s poised to overtake Vaive for the Leafs’ single-season record (54) and has a realistic shot of becoming the first NHL player to reach the 60-goal mark since Lightning captain Steven Stamkos did it in 2011-12.

Third-period goals by Mikko Rantanen and Andre Burakovsky lifted the Colorado Avalanche over the San Jose Sharks 4-2. Nazem Kadri and Erik Johnson each had two assists for Colorado while teammate Nathan MacKinnon returned to the lineup after missing one game with an injured hand. With 102 points, the Avs hold a four-point lead over the Panthers and Hurricanes atop the overall standings.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It was originally reported that MacKinnon suffered a fractured bone in his hand following a recent fight with Minnesota Wild defenseman Matt Dumba. While he was declared “good to go” by the Avalanche, it’ll be interesting to see if that injury has any effect on his performance.

Carolina Hurricanes goaltender Frederik Andersen made 32 saves to shut out the Montreal Canadiens 4-0. Andrei Svechnikov tallied twice while Sebastian Aho and Teuvo Teravainen each had a goal and an assist. Canadiens netminder Jake Allen stopped 40 shots in a losing cause.

Jamie Benn’s overtime goal gave the Dallas Stars a 3-2 victory over the Anaheim Ducks, extending the latter’s winless streak to 11 games. Jake Oettinger kicked out 21 shots for the win as the Stars (79 points) hold a one-point lead over the Vegas Golden Knights for the final Western wild-card spot.

A shootout goal by Lias Andersson lifted the Los Angeles Kings to a 3-2 win over the Calgary Flames. Viktor Arvidsson tied the game with 4:22 remaining in the third period while Cal Petersen picked up the win with a 26-save effort. Jacob Markstrom stopped 30 shots for the Flames, who hold a five-point lead over the Kings for first place in the Pacific Division with 89 points.

Evgeni Malkin’s overtime goal lifted the Pittsburgh Penguins past the Minnesota Wild 4-3, ending the latter’s seven-game winning streak. Rickard Rakell scored two goals for the Penguins (92 points), who sit one point behind the second-place New York Rangers in the Metropolitan Division.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Jason Zucker’s return to the Penguins lineup after missing the last 30 games to core-muscle surgery didn’t last long. He was helped from the ice in the second period after suffering what looked like a serious leg injury from crashing awkwardly into the boards. No update was provided on his status.

A six-goal second period powered the Boston Bruins to an 8-1 romp over the New Jersey Devils. Brad Marchand tallied twice while Patrice Bergeron and David Pastrnak each collected three points as the Bruins (89 points) hold a five-point lead over the Washington Capitals for the first Eastern Conference wild-card berth.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Bruins honored recently-retired goalie Tuukka Rask in a ceremonial pre-game puck drop.

The New York Islanders defeated the Columbus Blue Jackets 5-2. Semyon Varlamov made 30 saves while Mathew Barzal had a goal and an assist for the Isles.

HEADLINES

OTTAWA SUN/THE ATHLETIC: Michael Traikos and Ian Mendes report that potential investors are already looking into purchasing the Senators only days after owner Eugene Melnyk passed away on Monday. Ownership of the team is expected to pass to Melnyk’s college-age daughters Anne and Olivia. Mendes confirmed there are “multiple groups” who’ve expressed interest in purchasing the Senators with the plan of keeping them in the Ottawa market.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Melnyk isn’t even in the ground yet and already the vultures are circling hoping to pick up the Senators. One would think they’d at least allow his family time to grieve before making inquiries about buying the franchise. That’s the cold-blooded business world for you.

Nothing will happen until after Melnyk’s estate has been settled, which could take weeks. That’s when we’ll learn if his daughters will retain or sell the franchise. Based on the reports by Traikos and Mendes, they won’t lack potential bidders keen on keeping the club in Ottawa.

AZCENTRAL.COM: Arizona Coyotes forward Clayton Keller’s season is over after undergoing surgery for a broken leg suffered during Wednesday’s 5-2 win over the San Jose Sharks. His recovery period is expected to be between four to six months.

TSN: Toronto Maple Leafs goaltender Petr Mrazek will be sidelined for at least six weeks with a groin injury.

Carolina Hurricanes forward Jesperi Kotkaniemi is expected to miss two weeks with a lower-body injury.

THE ATHLETIC: The Buffalo Sabres will honor long-time broadcaster Rick Jeanneret with a banner prior to tonight’s game against the Nashville Predators. The Hall-of-Fame play-by-play man has covered the Sabres since 1971 and will retire at the end of this season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: A well-deserved honor for the long-time voice of the Sabres.