NHL Rumor Mill – September 23, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – September 23, 2022

The latest on Patrick Kane, Jonathan Toews, Alex DeBrincat and Bo Horvat plus some Bruins speculation in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.

KANE AND TOEWS

CHICAGO SUN-TIMES: Ben Pope reports Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews remain committed to the Blackhawks for the coming season.

Chicago Blackhawks winger Patrick Kane (NHL Images).

Kane, 33, told reporters he was disappointed that the club traded winger Alex DeBrincat in July. However, he dismissed the rumors that swirled about him during the offseason, saying a trade wasn’t something he’d thought about this summer.

The 34-year-old Toews, meanwhile, admitted he’d had some discussion with his family and his agent about a trade. However, those talks were not serious.

It’s apparent Kane and Toews will start the season with the Blackhawks. However, the focus could shift toward the March 3 trade deadline as the next opportunity when they could be moved. Pope reminds us that both players carry full no-movement clauses for the coming season, giving them complete control over this situation.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kane and Toews are both eligible to become unrestricted free agents next summer, hence the offseason media trade chatter. General manager Kyle Davidson has said he will leave it up to them to decide if they’ll request a trade.

I don’t doubt that some teams have contacted the Blackhawks about either guy but it sounds like Davidson won’t be approaching Kane and/or Toews with trade offers. He could instead tell the interested clubs that he’ll get back to them if one or both players ask to be moved.

DEBRINCAT

THE ATHLETIC: Whether Alex DeBrincat will sign a contract extension was among Ian Mendes’ burning questions for the Ottawa Senators going into training camp. The 24-year-old winger is due to become a restricted free agent next summer and will be a year away by that point from UFA eligibility.

DeBrincat carries an average annual value of $6.4 million but will earn $9 million in actual salary for this season. That will have to be the Senators’ minimum qualifying offer if they want to keep him on a one-year deal.

Mendes believes DeBrincat’s situation could be among the interesting storylines for the Senators this season. His camp will want him to be the highest-paid player on the Senators if he fits in well and reaches the 40-goal plateau again.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Another 40-goal performance could see DeBrincat’s representatives seek $10 million annually on an eight-year contract, especially if he helps the Senators reach the playoffs for the first time since 2017.

HORVAT

TSN: Pierre LeBrun reports contract talks between the Vancouver Canucks and captain Bo Horvat have been quiet of late but those discussions stretch back several months. Lots of time remains to get a deal done and it’s the club’s priority to get the 27-year-old center under contract.

LeBrun feels the Canucks feel a little less pressure to get Horvat signed after recently re-signing J.T. Miller. However, they have a delicate cap situation into which to fit his new contract. If he’s not signed by the March 3 trade deadline, there’s a possibility he could be traded.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Horvat is slated to become a UFA next summer and carries a $5.5 million AAV for this season. He could seek over $7 million annually on his next deal.

Miller was the subject of considerable trade speculation before signing his new contract. While Horvat could get shopped at the trade deadline, I think negotiations would have to go downhill pretty fast to reach that point. We’ll see how the season plays out.

BRUINS

THE ATHLETIC: How the Boston Bruins will become cap compliant once sidelined stars like Brad Marchand and Charlie McAvoy return to the lineup was among Fluto Shinzawa’s burning questions as the club enters training camp.

General manager Don Sweeney could trade or waive players at the start of the season but that would leave the Bruins shorthanded. Shinzawa speculated he could wait until November or December to address that issue.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Shinzawa seemed to hint that defenseman Mike Reilly or winger Craig Smith could be trade candidates.










NHL Rumor Mill – August 11, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – August 11, 2022

Updates on Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews, the latest on the Islanders, and the contract statuses of Red Wings forwards Dylan Larkin and Tyler Bertuzzi in today’s NHL rumor mill.

LATEST ON KANE AND TOEWS

THE ATHLETIC: Scott Powers reports neither Patrick Kane nor Jonathan Toews has approached Chicago Blackhawks general manager Kyle Davidson about a trade. Davidson also hasn’t asked them to waive their no-movement clauses.

Chicago Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews (NHL Images).

With the 2022 draft and the start of the 2022 free-agency period now history, Powers believes the 2023 trade deadline will be the next time frame when Kane and/or Toews could be moved. He anticipates the Blackhawks will be more willing by that time to retain part of their salaries to facilitate a trade, expecting the club will keep around $10 million in cap space open this season to prepare for that.

It’s expected the two long-time Blackhawks stars want to see how this season plays out as Davidson presses ahead with rebuilding the roster. Powers claims neither player really wants to leave Chicago. “Kane and Toews are going to be allowed to determine their future,” he writes.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kane has featured prominently in this summer’s trade rumors, Toews less so. Nevertheless, we can expect these two will continue to surface in the coming season’s rumor mill, especially when the trade deadline approaches in February.

Both players carry $10.5 million salary-cap hits and full no-movement clauses so they have complete control over their fates for the coming season. The Blackhawks will be expected to retain up to half of those cap hits in a trade, which is why they’ll be more inclined to do so at the trade deadline when most of the season has been played.

UPDATE ON THE ISLANDERS

NYI HOCKEY NOW: Stefen Rosner cites ESPN’s Kevin Weekes’ cryptic tweet anticipating “at least 4 transactions with the NY Islanders coming down the line”.

Three of them are expected to be restricted free agents Noah Dobson, Alexander Romanov and Kieffer Bellows. The fourth is expected to be unrestricted free agent center Nazem Kadri.

Rosner recently cited sources indicating the 31-year-old Kadri would be joining the Islanders but they first have to move out a contract to make room for him. They’ve reportedly attempted to shop winger Josh Bailey but are now looking at another avenue in winger Anthony Beauvillier.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I’ve noted in the past the silence from the Islanders and from the Kadri camp. One or the other could bring this speculation to an end by issuing a statement denying the “Kadri to the Isles” talk.

Bailey is 32 and carries a $5 million cap hit through 2023-24. Beauvillier, on the other hand, is younger (24) and has a more affordable $4.15 million cap hit.

WHAT’S UP WITH LARKIN AND BERTUZZI?

THE ATHLETIC: In a recent mailbag segment, Max Bultman was asked at what point should fans become concerned that Dylan Larkin and Tyler Bertuzzi haven’t signed contract extensions with the Detroit Red Wings. Both players are eligible for UFA status next summer.

Bultman anticipates Red Wings GM Steve Yzerman will tell us that his club doesn’t need to get both players under contract before the coming season. He’s got plenty of time between now and next July to sign both. Nevertheless, Bultman expects there could be some concern if neither player is signed by opening night.

If the Red Wings aren’t in the playoff race before the trade decision, Yzerman could face some tough decisions if one or both remain unsigned. Larkin has a no-trade clause which gives him some leverage and could lead to a new contract this summer. Bertuzzi lacks no-trade protection.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Of the two, I think Larkin is the more likely to be re-signed given his status as the Wings’ captain. This is a young team with plenty of promise and Larkin’s been a big part of that.










NHL Rumor Mill – August 8, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – August 8, 2022

Looking ahead at the 2023 free-agent class in your NHL Rumor Mill.

SPORTSNET: Chicago Blackhawks winger Patrick Kane, Colorado Avalanche center Nathan MacKinnon, and Boston Bruins winger David Pastrnak top Ryan Dixon’s recent listing of the top unrestricted free agents of 2023.

Vancouver Canucks center J.T. Miller, Minnesota Wild defenseman Matt Dumba, and St. Louis Blues winger Vladimir Tarasenko are next on Dixon’s list. The Pittsburgh Penguins’ Tristan Jarry is the notable goaltender in the group.

Colorado Avalanche center Nathan MacKinnon (NHL Images).

Blues center Ryan O’Reilly, New Jersey Devils blueliner Damon Severson, Calgary Flames center Sean Monahan, Detroit Red Wings center Dylan Larkin and Blackhawks center Jonathan Toews round out Dixon’s list.

THE SCORE: Sean O’Leary also put out a listing of his notable 2023 UFAs with most of the same names as Dixon’s. This was published before Jonathan Huberdeau’s signing with the Flames, which explains why he’s on that list.

Several notables on O’Leary’s list include Canucks center Bo Horvat and forwards Joe Pavelski of the Dallas Stars, Tyler Bertuzzi of the Detroit Red Wings, James van Riemsdyk of the Philadelphia Flyers and Max Pacioretty of the Carolina Hurricanes.

O’Leary’s defensemen include the Anaheim Ducks’ John Klingberg, the Penguins’ Brian Dumoulin, the New York Islanders Scott Mayfield, Florida Panthers’ Radko Gudas, Washington Capitals Dmitry Orlov and the Flames’ MacKenzie Weegar.

The noteworthy goaltenders include the Islanders’ Semyon Varlamov, the Los Angeles Kings Jonathan Quick, the Red Wings’ Alex Nedeljkovic, the Ottawa Senators’ Cam Talbot and the Montreal Canadiens’ Jake Allen.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s a slow day for trade and free-agent rumors as we endure the dog days of the NHL offseason. So it’s a good time to review these lists and offer up my two cents on which players will hit the open market next summer and which ones won’t.

I don’t see MacKinnon, Pastrnak, O’Reilly, Severson, Larkin, Horvat, Pavelski, Orlov and Weegar being available by next July. They’ll likely sign contract extensions with their current teams.

Jarry, Pacioretty, Bertuzzi, Dumoulin, Mayfield, Nedeljkovic, Talbot and Allen fall into the “maybe” category for me. Much will depend on their respective performances in the coming season, what they’ll seek on their next contracts, and whether their current clubs can afford to sign them.

I anticipate the remainder will become UFAs. There will still be enticing talent available such as Kane, Miller, Dumba, Tarasenko, Klingberg, and Quick for teams to pursue. Toews could sign with another club but I wouldn’t be surprised if he retires. Monahan’s hip surgeries could bring a premature end to his playing career.

O’Leary also published a list of next summer’s notable restricted free agents. His top forwards include the Senators’ Alex DeBrincat and Tim Stutzle, the Islanders’ Mathew Barzal, the Winnipeg Jets’ Pierre-Luc Dubois, the Canadiens’ Cole Caufield, the Stars’ Roope Hintz, the Ducks’ Trevor Zegras, the New York Rangers’ Alexis Lafreniere and the San Jose Sharks’ Timo Meier.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: All but DeBrincat, Dubois and Meier will be re-signed. The trio will be a year away from UFA status next summer. They could hit the trade block if they’re unwilling to make a long-term commitment with their current clubs.

Notable RFA defensemen include the Rangers’ K’Andre Miller, the Edmonton Oilers’ Evan Bouchard, the Seattle Kraken’s Vince Dunn, the Hurricanes’ Ethan Bear, and the Ducks’ Jamie Drysdale.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: All but Bear seem certain to be re-signed by their current teams. He struggled last season with the Hurricanes partly because of the effects of COVID-19. However, a healthy bounce-back performance this season could ensure a longer term for him in Carolina.

The Toronto Maple Leafs’ Ilya Samsonov, the Bruins’ Jeremy Swayman and the Panthers’ Spencer Knight are the top RFA goalies.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Samsonov has to make a good impression with the Leafs this season or he could be traded or cut loose next summer. Another solid performance by Swayman this season should ensure he receives a contract extension.

Knight’s situation, however, could be tricky. On the one hand, I expect the Panthers want to re-sign him. On the other, they’ve got Sergei Bobrovsky eating up valuable cap space and playing time. The Panthers can afford to re-sign Knight but maybe he’ll be open to an offer sheet. His situation will be worth monitoring.










Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – August 7, 2022

Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – August 7, 2022

Should the Avalanche forget about bringing back Nazem Kadri? What are their options if they do? Should the Islanders trade Mathew Barzal to make room for Kadri? What’s the latest on Patrice Bergeron and David Krejci? Find out in the Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup.

SHOULD THE AVS SIGN KADRI OR CONSIDER OTHER OPTIONS?

THE DENVER POST: Mark Kiszla doesn’t blame Nazem Kadri for wanting top dollar on the open market. However, he points out that Colorado Avalanche president of hockey operations Joe Sakic doesn’t have a reputation for overpaying talent.

Former Colorado Avalanche center Nazem Kadri (NHL Images).

Kiszla suggests Kadri should fit in somewhere between Valeri Nichushkin’s $6.125 million annual cap hit and Gabriel Landeskog’s $7 million. He believes it would be foolish for the Avalanche to pay more than $26 million over four years for him. The Avs would also have to make a cost-cutting trade to fit him into their cap payroll for the coming season.

Sakic could opt instead to look outside the organization to replace Kadri. Former Avalanche center Paul Stastny remains available via free agency. Kiszla also suggested attempting to acquire Jonathan Toews from the Chicago Blackhawks sometime before next year’s trade deadline.

THE ATHLETIC: Peter Baugh also looked at possible options if the Avalanche can’t afford to bring back Kadri. Stastny, Sonny Milano and Evan Rodrigues remain on the open market plus he didn’t rule out going the rental player route at next year’s trade deadline.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Avalanche would love to bring back Kadri and he’d love to return but the cost of doing so is simply too much. They can’t afford him unless they ship out someone like Samuel Girard to free up the cap space and that’s apparently not something they want to do. So, they’ll either have to go with a more affordable option via free agency or the trade market or look within the organization.

The New York Post’s Larry Brooks reports that “the usual suspects” claim Kadri still seeks a long-term deal starting around $9 million annually. He believes that explains why he remains unsigned. Meanwhile, there’s been ongoing speculation linking Kadri to the Islanders. Speaking of which…

SHOULD THE ISLANDERS TRADE BARZAL TO MAKE ROOM FOR KADRI?

NYI HOCKEY NOW: Stefan Rosner believes the Islanders must soon decide if Mathew Barzal remains part of their future before it’s too late. The 25-year-old center becomes a restricted free agent with arbitration rights next summer and will also be a year away from UFA eligibility.

Barzal has said he views his long-term future with the Islanders but Rosner reminds us that John Tavares said the same thing before he signed with the Toronto Maple Leafs. He cited colleague Jimmy Murphy tweeting a hypothetical trade in which Barzal is traded to the Detroit Red Wings to clear cap space to sign Kadri.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Islanders general manager Lou Lamoriello could surprise us by trading Barzal to the Wings or another club and use the $7 million savings for 2022-23 to sign Kadri. However, I don’t see that scenario happening. Lamoriello can find other ways to shed sufficient salary for Kadri such as shopping Anthony Beauvillier or packaging Josh Bailey with a draft pick or prospect.

Trading Barzal would be a rather extreme measure on Lamoriello’s part. Since he wouldn’t want to take back much salary in return, he’d be getting pennies on the dollar for a gifted playmaking center in his playing prime just to make room for a soon-to-be 32-year-old center seeking big bucks on a long-term deal.

UPDATE ON BERGERON AND KREJCI

THE BOSTON GLOBE: Kevin Paul Dupont reports Patrice Bergeron and David Krejci technically remain unsigned. However, the word around town is Bruins general manager Don Sweeney remains confident they’re done deals with the veteran centers to sign on for one year.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Speculation since June has Bergeron and/or Krejci already having agreed to one-year contracts while Sweeney takes the time to determine how to fit the duo within his limited cap space. If so, the Bruins GM is taking a page from the Lamoriello playbook as the Isles GM has done the same thing in the recent past.










NHL Rumor Mill – August 1, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – August 1, 2022

Could the Avalanche consider Jonathan Toews as a potential replacement for Nazem Kadri? Are the Wild in the market for a forward? Find out in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.

COULD TOEWS MAKE A GOOD REPLACEMENT FOR KADRI ON AVS SECOND LINE?

COLORADO HOCKEY NOW: Adrian Dater recently mused over whether the Colorado Avalanche might consider Chicago Blackhawks center Jonathan Toews as a potential replacement for Nazem Kadri.

Chicago Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews (NHL Images).

Dater noted Toews’ comments last week about how he doesn’t consider the prospect of a lengthy rebuild with the Blackhawks to be very appealing. He also lamented the turnover of players on their roster over the past few years.

Toews’s contract would be a sticking point. He carries a $10.5 million cap hit for the coming season with a full no-movement clause. The Blackhawks would have to retain half of that cap hit, perhaps in a three-team deal.

The long-time Blackhawks captain is now 34 and his best seasons are behind him. However, Dater suggested that he could have a fine year playing on a good team, citing his faceoff skills, playoff experience and leadership.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Dater said he’s heard nothing that would indicate this could or will happen. Still, it’s an interesting suggestion. It’s anticipated Toews and long-time teammate Patrick Kane could be moved before the 2023 trade deadline. Both would likely prefer moving to a playoff contender.

Toews could be interested if the defending Stanley Cup champions came calling. Whether they will, however, is another matter. Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman last month said the Avs had looked into Kane’s availability leading up to last season’s trade deadline. He wondered if they might revisit their interest this season.

WILD SHOPPING FOR A FORWARD

THE ATHLETIC’s Michael Russo recently tweeted that Minnesota Wild general manager Bill Guerin continues to explore the trade market for a forward. If that doesn’t work out, he could turn to free agency. He’s also open to keeping that spot open for internal competition in training camp but doesn’t want a young forward being the 12th or 13th forward.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Wild have $4.3 million in cap space with 20 players under contract for the coming season. Free-agent options that might fit within their limited room include Sonny Milano, Evan Rodrigues, Tyler Motte or Zach Aston-Reese.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 27, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 27, 2022

Jonathan Toews doesn’t seem keen on being part of a Blackhawks rebuild, the Kings intend to honor Dustin Brown and the Sharks hire David Quinn as head coach. Details and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

THE ATHLETIC: Mark Lazerus reports Jonathan Toews said a lengthy rebuild of the Chicago Blackhawks roster “doesn’t sound appealing to me at all.” The 34-year-old center and Blackhawks captain describe the turnover of players on the roster over the past three-four years as “really, really draining” and “exhausting.”

Chicago Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews (NHL Images).

Toews and fellow franchise player Patrick Kane are slated to become unrestricted free agents next summer. They each carry an average annual value of $10.5 million and full no-movement clauses on their respective contracts.

Blackhawks general manager Kyle Davidson told Toews and Kane of his commitment to rebuilding the roster and has expressed his hope that both players will be part of it. Toews said he’s learned to be more patient but still finds the potential five-plus year rebuild timeline as “pretty daunting” and “pretty exhausting” to think about. He indicated that he’s uncertain about what he’s going to do or what his future holds.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Toews said he wasn’t speaking for Kane but it wouldn’t be surprising if his long-time teammate feels the same way. Kane has frequently surfaced in trade rumors this offseason as there’s anticipation he’ll seek a trade to a playoff contender at some point in the coming season.

Toews struggled last season after missing the COVID-shortened 2020-21 campaign with chronic immune response syndrome. Nevertheless, he could draw interest in the trade market if his performance improves in 2022-23.

NHL.COM: The Los Angeles Kings will honor Dustin Brown by retiring his No. 23 on Feb. 11, 2023, before their game with the Pittsburgh Penguins at Crypto.com Arena. The club will also unveil a statue in his honor.

Brown, 37, retired last season after spending his entire 18-season career with the Kings, tallying 712 points in 1, 296 career games. He captained the Kings to their two Stanley Cups in 2012 and 2014.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: A well-deserved honor for Brown, who is also the club’s all-time leader in games played. However, it’s curious that the Kings haven’t honored Marcel Dionne with a statue. The Hall-of-Famer remains their all-time leader with 757 assists and 1,307 points.

TSN: The San Jose Sharks officially announced their hiring of David Quinn as their new head coach. Quinn coached the New York Rangers from 2018 to 2021. Before that, he spent five seasons as Boston University’s head coach.

PEI SPORTS HALL OF FAME: Former NHL star Brad Richards will be inducted into the PEI Sports Hall of Fame. A native of Murray Harbour, Richards was the most successful hockey player in Prince Edward Island history, going on to win two Stanley Cups plus the Conn Smythe Trophy and Lady Byng Memorial Trophy while netting 932 points in 1,126 career NHL games.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Congratulations to Richards, who will be inducted in a special ceremony at his hometown rink (Northumberland Arena) on Aug. 8.

DETROIT HOCKEY NOW: Former NHL forward Bobby Ryan was arrested for public intoxication on Monday at Nashville Airport after taking several items from an airport store without paying. The store opted not to press charges and Ryan was released following an eight-hour public intoxication hold.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Ryan, 35, won the Bill Masterton Trophy in 2020 for perseverance after receiving treatment for alcohol abuse in the NHL/NHLPA player assistance program. He last played in the NHL in 2020-21. Hopefully, he will receive treatment for his relapse and the help he needs to adjust to life after hockey.

THE PROVINCE: Former Vancouver Canucks forward Brandon Sutter continues to feel the effects of long COVID over a year after he first contracted the virus. Now an unrestricted free agent, he missed the entirety of last season due to COVID-related symptoms that affect his breathing.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Here’s hoping Sutter can eventually recover to where his quality of life improves if he’s unable to continue his playing career. One wonders how many other NHL players are affected by long COVID symptoms.

TSN: The New Jersey Devils signed Jonas Siegenthaler to a five-year, $17 million contract extension. The 25-year-old defenseman will earn an average annual value is $3.4 million.

EDMONTON JOURNAL: The Oilers avoided arbitration with Jesse Puljujarvi as they reached an agreement on a one-year, $3 million contract.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Puljujarvi’s new contract prompted some observers to suggest this could be a “sign-and-trade” situation. I believe the Oilers intend to keep him in the hope that he achieves his long-awaited breakout. If he doesn’t, they could peddle him at some point during the coming season.

PHILLY HOCKEY NOW: Promising Flyers forward Bobby Brink will miss about five months recovering from recent hip surgery. The 21-year-old winger suffered a torn labrum in his left hip.

THE HOCKEY NEWS: A jury in the British Columbia Supreme Court found former NHL player Jake Virtanen not guilty of sexual assault on Tuesday.

ARIZONA SPORTS: The Coyotes have hired John Madden as an assistant coach. A former NHL player and three-time Stanley Cup champion, Madden’s last NHL coaching role was as an assistant with the Florida Panthers from 2013 to 2016. He also spent three seasons as head coach of the Columbus Blue Jackets AHL affiliate in Cleveland until 2019.

TSN: Former NHL defenseman Mark Stuart was named to the Edmonton Oilers coaching staff.