NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 11, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 11, 2021

The Rangers sign Mika Zibanejad to a lucrative contract extension, Zdeno Chara and Zach Parise officially sign with the Islanders, a large number of players hit the waiver wire, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NEW YORK POST: The Rangers yesterday announced Mika Zibanejad signed an eight-year contract extension worth $68 million. The annual average value is $8.5 million. This deal will keep Zibanejad with the Rangers until he’s 36. By keeping his AAV under $9 million, it provided the Blueshirts with some cap flexibility to re-sign key players such as Adam Fox in the near future.

New York Rangers center Mika Zibanejad (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Post’s Larry Brooks indicated Zibanejad’s new deal is a little longer than Rangers’ management preferred. However, it was necessary to reach that $8.5 million cap hit as he likely would’ve received up to $10 million annually on the open market. As per Cap Friendly, they now have over $62 million invested in 16 players for 2022-23 with Fox, Ryan Strome, Kaapo Kakko and Alexandar Georgiev among the notables slated for new contracts next summer.

Zibanejad thrived since being traded to the Rangers in 2016, including a career-best 41 goals and 75 points in 57 games in 2019-20. He had a slow start last season following a bout of COVID-19 but finished strong with 50 points in 56 contests.

This signing should also take the Rangers out of the Jack Eichel sweepstakes. I’ll have more on that in today’s Rumor Mill. Brooks believes the only way it happens is if the Sabres retain 40-50 percent of Eichel’s $10 million AAV which isn’t going to happen.

DAILY FACEOFF: The New York Islanders officially announced the signings of Zdeno Chara and Zach Parise. They’re both on one-year, one-way contracts with an annual average value of $1.5 million. They’ll receive a base salary of $750K plus $750K in bonuses.

Frank Seravalli reported Erik Gustafsson has returned to the Chicago Blackhawks. The 29-year-old defenseman signed a one-year deal believed to be worth $800K.

Forty-three players hit the waiver wire yesterday. Vancouver Canucks defenseman Travis Hamonic and Edmonton Oilers forward Kyle Turris are the two notable names on that list.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Hamonic was absent from the Canucks training camp and preseason for reasons related to the NHL’s vaccination protocols. Unvaccinated players face restrictions that could prevent them from participating in road games, which could also result in them being suspended without pay.

There was talk of the Canucks attempting to trade Hamonic. He’s on a two-year, $6 million contract with an eight-team no-trade clause.

THE PROVINCE: Speaking of the Canucks, they traded defenseman Olli Juolevi to the Florida Panthers for defenseman Noah Juulsen and forward Juho Lammiko.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s a trade of young players who failed to pan out with their previous teams. Injuries also hampered the development of Juolevi and Juulsen. The latter is now on his third team in two seasons.

THE SCORE: Vegas Golden Knights president of hockey operations George McPhee accused player agent Allan Walsh of attempting to sabotage efforts to trade Marc-Andre Fleury by telling other clubs his client was considering retirement.

McPhee praised Golden Knights general manager Kelly McCrimmon’s handling of the situation. While acknowledging Fleury learned of his trade to the Chicago Blackhawks on social media, McPhee said they spoke with the goalie’s camp leading up to the deal. They stopped communicating with them when Walsh started telling other clubs Fleury planned to retire.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’ll be interesting to hear Walsh’s side of the story. The agent generated some controversy during the 2020 playoffs by posting an image on Twitter of Fleury with a photoshopped sword running through his back and head coach Pete DeBoer’s name on the blade. The suggestion was DeBoer stabbed his client in the back by giving Robin Lehner more playing time in the postseason. That image was removed at Fleury’s request.

SPORTSNET: New Jersey Devils goaltender Mackenzie Blackwood returned to practice yesterday after clearing all COVID-19 protocols. He’d received an inconclusive COVID test on Thursday. He said he “still has some things to do” before deciding one way or the other on getting vaccinated, “but I’m probably going to be getting the shot in the next couple of weeks.” He’s the only unvaccinated member of the Devils.

TSN: Speaking of the Devils, they signed forward Jimmy Vesey to a one-year, $800K contract.

NBC SPORTS WASHINGTON: Capitals head coach Peter Laviolette indicated captain Alex Ovechkin is day-to-day with a lower-body injury. He doesn’t consider it serious, suggesting the 36-year-old winger could be in the lineup for their season opener on Wednesday against the New York Rangers.

THE DENVER POST: The Avalanche signed defenseman Jack Johnson to a one-year, $750K contract.

SPORTSNET: Ottawa Senators forward Austin Watson is expected to be sidelined roughly four weeks with an injured ankle.

TRIBLIVE.COM: Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Mark Friedman was fined $1,812.50 for spearing Columbus Blue Jackets forward Sean Kuraly during Saturday’s preseason game.

Former NHL forward Frans Nielsen signed with DEL club Eisbaren Berlin. The 37-year-old center tallied 473 points in 925 career NHL games with the New York Islanders and Detroit Red Wings.










Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – October 10, 2021

Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – October 10, 2021

An early look at this season’s pending unrestricted free agents, Islanders GM Lou Lamoriello is working the phones and the Canucks are shopping Olli Juolevi. Check it out in the Sunday NHL rumor roundup.

THE ATHLETIC: Pierre LeBrun recently looked at which of this season’s high-profile unrestricted free agents could sign contract extensions within the next month or two. He wouldn’t be surprised Dallas Stars defenseman John Klingberg is signed by midseason though there’s work to be done. The Boston Bruins signing Patrice Bergeron is a no-brainer if the 36-year-old center wants to return for another season.

Boston Bruins captain Patrice Bergeron (NHL Images).

There haven’t been any real contract discussions between the Pittsburgh Penguins and Evgeni Malkin as he focuses on recovering from offseason knee surgery. LeBrun expects those talks could begin later in the season. He also believes the Penguins want to avoid lengthy deals they could regret for Malkin and defenseman Kris Letang. The latter could be willing to see how the season plays out.

LeBrun believes the San Jose Sharks haven’t given up hope of signing Tomas Hertl but thinks the 27-year-old center is unlikely to do so. He could become a big name potentially available at the March 21 trade deadline.

The Toronto Maple Leafs have had preliminary talks with Morgan Rielly and lines of communication remain open. This could be decided in June depending on the Leafs freeing up sufficient cap space to sign him or Rielly going to market because they can’t afford him. LeBrun expects he’ll be in the $8 million per season club.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I concur with LeBrun’s take on all but Klingberg. He’s in the final season of a seven-year deal worth an annual average value of $4.25 million and could seek something comparable to Dougie Hamilton’s $9 million AAV with the New Jersey Devils.

As The Dallas Morning News’ Matthew DeFranks observed, the Stars already have $8.45 million annually invested in Miro Heiskanen, $5.8 million annually in Esa Lindell and $3.65 million in Ryan Suter. Assuming Klingberg accepts something in the $8 million range, the Stars will have one of the NHL’s most expensive bluelines.

Unless the Stars shed salary or decide not to re-sign other pending UFAs like Joe Pavelski and Alexander Radulov, they could be unwilling to ink Klingberg to an expensive long-term extension.

THE ATHLETIC’s Arthur Staple reports New York Islanders head coach Barry Trotz said general manager Lou Lamoriello isn’t quite finished assembling the roster. He may be looking to trade some of their extra players. NEWSDAY’s Andrew Gross reports Trotz said the Isles GM is still working the phones.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Those “extra guys” likely include defenseman Thomas Hickey and winger Richard Panik as they were placed on waivers yesterday. If they clear, Lamoriello could attempt to peddle them elsewhere.

THE PROVINCE: Patrick Johnston confirms a report in The Athletic that the Vancouver Canucks are shopping defenseman Olli Juolevi. The former 2016 first-round pick has tumbled down the Canucks blueline depth chart.

If they can’t find a trade and they decide to send Juolevi to their AHL affiliate, he’ll have to be placed on waivers today. Given his pedigree, Johnston anticipated he’d be claimed by another club.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – August 10, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – August 10, 2021

New deals for Igor Shesterkin and Carter Hart top yesterday’s notable contract signings and the contract standoff between Kirill Kaprizov and the Wild intensifies. Details on these and other stories in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NEW YORK POST: The Rangers signed goaltender Igor Shesterkin to a four-year contract worth just over $5.66 million annually. It’s the largest second NHL contract signed by a goaltender.

New York Rangers goaltender Igor Shesterkin (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This is a reasonable deal for both sides. The Rangers kept Shesterkin’s annual cap hit under $6 million and the 25-year-old goaltender qualifies for UFA status in four years times. He’s shown considerable promise as an elite netminder in his brief NHL career. This contract will look quite affordable if he reaches his full potential.

NBC SPORTS PHILADELPHIA: The Flyers signed goalie Carter Hart to a three-year contract worth an annual average value of $3.95 million.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Hart might’ve earned himself a deal comparable to Shesterkin’s had it not been for his struggles last season. That worked in favor of the Flyers, inking the 23-year-old to a cost-effective bridge contract. He’ll be in line for a considerable raise in three years’ time if he regains his promising form from 2019-20.

WASHINGTON HOCKEY NOW: The Capitals re-signed netminder Ilya Samsonov to a one-year, $2 million contract.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Like Hart, Samsonov’s inconsistent performance last season hurt his efforts for a more lucrative deal. The 24-year-old also displayed some immaturity by testing positive twice for COVID-19 and getting scratched for disciplinary reasons late in the season for missing a team function.

DAILY FACEOFF: Frank Seravalli reports Kirill Kaprizov has a tentative agreement with KHL club CSKA Moscow for a one-year deal worth 8 figures in US dollars if a new deal with the Minnesota Wild doesn’t materialize.

The Wild initially sought a seven- or eight-year deal for the Calder Trophy winner. They’re willing to discuss a medium-range deal but the Kaprizov camp claims no offer has been made since April.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: An interesting development in the contract standoff between Kaprizov and the Wild. I’ll have more in today’s Rumor Mill update.

MLIVE.COM: The Detroit Red Wings and Jakub Vrana are reportedly far apart in contract negotiations as his Wednesday arbitration hearing approaches. Acquired from the Capitals at last season’s trade deadline, the 25-year-old winger seeks $5.7 million annually while the Red Wings are offering $3.65 million. He’s completing a two-year contract valued at $3.35 million per season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The two sides could agree to something around $4.4 million before tomorrow’s arbitration hearing.

THE ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER: The Anaheim Ducks signed Max Comtois, Max Jones and Joshua Mahura to new contracts. Comtois got a two-year, $4.075 million deal, Jones agreed to a three-year, $3.885 million contract, and Mahura a two-year, $1.5 million deal.

SPORTSNET: The New Jersey Devils re-signed winger Janne Kuokkanen to a two-year, $3.65 million contract.

TSN: The Tampa Bay Lightning inked forward Ross Colton to a two-year deal worth $1.125 million annually.

THE PROVINCE: The Vancouver Canucks signed defenseman Olli Juolevi to a one-year, $750K extension.

CALGARY SUN: The Flames signed blueliner Oliver Kylington to a one-year, two-way deal worth $750K at the NHL level.

TAMPA BAY TIMES: Tampa Bay Lightning bench boss Jon Cooper was named head coach of Canada’s Men’s Olympic hockey team for the 2022 Beijing Games in February. His assistant coaches will be the New York Islanders’ Barry Trotz, the Vegas Golden Knights’ Peter DeBoer and the Boston Bruins’ Bruce Cassidy.

NBC SPORTS CHICAGO: Former Blackhawks center and current radio analyst Troy Murray has been diagnosed with cancer. He intends to continue calling games while battling this disease.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Best wishes to Murray for a speedy and full recovery.

TRIBLIVE.COM: After 46 seasons in the broadcast booth, Mike Lange has called his last game for the Pittsburgh Penguins. The 73-year-old is stepping down from play-by-play duties, though he’ll continue to provide commentary and voiceover work for the club’s radio network.

Famous for his colorful style and signature catchphrases, Lange has been scaling back his broadcasting duties since 2017. In 2001, he received the Foster Hewitt Award for broadcasting from the Hockey Hall of Fame.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Listening to Penguins’ games will never be the same. Best wishes to Lange in his retirement.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 19, 2020

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 19, 2020

The players aren’t receptive to changing salary deferral or escrow rates, plus the latest on Pierre-Luc Dubois, Olli Juolevi and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

LATEST RETURN-TO-PLAY NEWS

TSN: Pierre LeBrun reports the NHL Players Association isn’t keen on changing salary deferral and escrow rates agreed upon in the extension to the collective bargaining agreement. This emerged from yesterday’s PA board meeting. No vote was taken on the subject as part of the discussion.

LeBrun said this is a timing issue for the NHL. Players are entitled to 50 percent of hockey-related revenue. The more they take this year, the more they’ll owe in debt payments in later years. However, the PA took that into account when it agreed to the CBA extension.

SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman reports the league asked for an additional salary deferment and for the players to consider raising the escrow rate. Under the memorandum of understanding, escrow is capped at 20 percent for 2020-21, with the rate dropping to six percent for each of the final three years of the agreement. The league reportedly requested to increase that rate to 8 or 9 percent. The players believe the league now seeks an additional $300 million in savings.

The requests indicate the league has concerns over revenue shortfalls exceeding previous projections. Without fan attendance, the 50/50 revenue split tilts in the players’ favor. He wonders how the shortfall will be made up and under what mechanism if the escrow rate is too low.

Friedman doesn’t believe this will derail the return-to-play plans as both sides are keen to return to the ice. Nevertheless, the league’s request didn’t sit well with the players.

NEW YORK POST: Larry Brooks reports the league sought an additional 13 to 16 percent in salary deferral on top of the 10 percent already agreed to under the MOU, as well as raising the escrow rate on those final three years to as much as 9.5 percent. Brooks claimed the league’s requests “annoyed, if not angered, the union membership participating in the call.”

The NHL’s requests, however, weren’t delivered in the form of an ultimatum. Brooks said the PA will likely identify issues, “perhaps systemic issues,” that it would like reopening in a renegotiation.

Brooks also reported a preliminary 60-game schedule was delivered to the NHL and NHLPA within the last 48 hours. He also cited sources claiming the CBA discussions aren’t expected to derail ongoing discussions for the tentative Jan. 1 start date.

TORONTO SUN: Lance Hornby reported more than 100 members of the PA took part in yesterday’s call, including its executive, return-to-play committee, team reps and some rank-and-file members. They feel they made significant long-range financial sacrifices and consenting to spend weeks in the 2020 playoff bubble away from their families.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The players are within their right to reject those requests after making substantial concessions in the recent CBA extension. Still, the league is also justified in its concern over higher-than-expected revenue shortfalls.

The MOU was agreed to at a time when it was hoped the pandemic would recede, allowing the NHL to stage its 2020-21 schedule with a full schedule and fans in the stands. However, that’s not going to happen while the second wave of the pandemic rages across the United States while COVID rates rise at alarming levels in the provinces where the Canadian teams reside.

PuckPedia indicates one problem with salary deferral is there are 26 players whose salaries cannot be deferred because of the large signing bonuses in their contracts. They include Toronto Maple Leafs forwards Auston Matthews, Mitch Marner and John Tavares, Edmonton Oilers center Connor McDavid, New York Rangers winger Artemi Panarin and Montreal Canadiens goaltender Carey Price.

The hockey-related revenue issue remains a significant sticking point even if it isn’t currently jeopardizing the return-to-play discussions. The two sides don’t have much time to work this out if they hope to meet their timeline to open the season on New Year’s Day. It’ll be interesting to see what transpires between now and the end of November.

IN OTHER NHL NEWS…

NHL.COM: Columbus Blue Jackets general manager Jarmo Kekalainen remains confident his club will re-sign Pierre-Luc Dubois before training camp opens for the 2020-21 season. The 22-year-old center is a restricted free agent completing his entry-level contract.

SPORTSNET: Olli Juolevi is finally healthy after several injuries delayed his transition to the Vancouver Canucks. The 22-year-old defenseman was the sixth-overall pick in the 2016 NHL Draft.

OTTAWA SUN: Senators prospect Tim Stuetzle was named to Team Germany for the 2021 World Junior Championships.

TSN: Senators prospect Ridly Greig tested positive for COVID-19 on Nov. 8. He’s asymptomatic and self-isolating at home. He hopes to join Canada’s world junior selection training camp on Nov. 22 when his 14-day quarantine period is over.

THE SCORE: Speaking of the 2020 WJC, Canada’s deputy chief of public health is optimistic about the proposed health and safety protocols for staging the tournament in Edmonton. “I think the proposals and what’s been put forward to us at the present time look very promising. It looks very good,” said Dr. Howard Njoo. The WJC will be held under quarantine bubble conditions similar to those of the NHL during its 2020 Stanley Cup playoffs.

CBC.CA: Former NHL star Rick Vaive recently released his biography titled “Catch 22: My Battles in Life and Hockey.” He details his feuds with former Toronto Maple Leafs owner Harold Ballard and former Hockey Night in Canada commentator Don Cherry, as well as his struggles with alcohol addiction.










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.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 19, 2018

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 19, 2018

Game recaps, injury updates, Senators owner sued, and more in your NHL morning coffee headlines.

NOTE: The NHL holiday “trade freeze” period begins at 11:59 PM ET on Dec. 19 and expires at 11:59 PM ET on Dec. 27.

NHL.COM: Philadelphia Flyers rookie goaltender Carter Hart got the win in his first career NHL game and was named the game star as he backstopped his club to a 3-2 victory over the Detroit Red Wings. The Wings played without starting goalie Jimmy Howard as he hurt his back during the pre-game warm-up. No word as to how long he could be sidelined.

Philadelphia Flyers rookie goaltender Carter Hart got his first NHL win in a 3-2 victory over the Detroit Red Wings (Photo via NHL Images)

Meanwhile, Flyers center Jori Lehtera will reportedly face criminal prosecution in his native Finland regarding his alleged connection to a cocaine ring. Lehtera’s summer cottage was raided during the summer while he was away and seven people arrested. He has denied any involvement with the ring and isn’t considered among the main suspects in the case.

Center Nazem Kadri collected three assists while teammates Auston Matthews and John Tavares each had a goal and an assist as the Toronto Maple Leafs crushed the New Jersey Devils 7-2. Tyler Ennis also tallied twice for the Leafs.

The Tampa Bay Lightning extended their points streak to 10 games with a 5-2 win over the Vancouver Canucks. Lightning goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy turned aside 36 shots. The Canucks also announced prospect defenseman Olli Juolevi will miss the remainder of the season following knee surgery.

The Chicago Blackhawks picked up their second win in 12 games by edging the Nashville Predators 2-1. Gustav Forsling and Erik Gustafsson scored while goaltender Cam Ward made 30 saves. Blackhawks center Marcus Kruger suffered a concussion following an inadvertent elbow to the head from Predators forward Ryan Hartman and is expected to miss their next two games. The Hawks also loaned defenseman Henri Jokiharju to Finland for the upcoming World Junior Hockey Championships.

The Florida Panthers scored four unanswered third-period goals to defeat the Buffalo Sabres 5-2. Panthers winger Evgenii Dadonov scored twice and set up another.

Three unanswered third-period goals powered the New York Rangers to a 3-1 victory over the Anaheim Ducks. Kevin Hayes picked up the game-winner with a shorthanded breakaway.

Goaltender Martin Jones made 26 saves as the San Jose Sharks blanked the Minnesota Wild 4-0. Logan Couture scored twice as the Sharks picked up their fifth consecutive victory.

Dallas Stars netminders Ben Bishop and Anton Khudobin combined for a 24-save 2-0 shutout over the Calgary Flames. Bishop briefly left the game in the second period following a collision with Flames forward Garnet Hathaway but returned for the third period. Flames winger James Neal missed the game with an upper-body injury.

Jaden Schwartz scored and set up another as the St. Louis Blues tallied three unanswered third-period goals to down the Edmonton Oilers 4-1. Oilers captain Connor McDavid had his points streak end at nine games. Oilers forward Jujhar Khaira received a match penalty for hitting Blues defenseman Vince Dunn in the head midway through the third period.

New York Islanders goalie Thomas Greiss kicked out 36 shots in a 3-1 win over the Arizona Coyotes. Isles winger Joshua Ho-Sang netted his first goal of the season.

The Los Angeles Kings snapped a four-game losing skid by beating the Winnipeg Jets 4-1, ending the latter’s five-game win streak. Austin Wagner scored twice for the Kings.

OTTAWA SUN: Senators owner Eugene Melnyk has been hit with a $1 billion countersuit from business partner John Ruddy regarding a failed bid to construct a new downtown arena. Melnyk has already filed a $700 million suit against Ruddy.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: As Melnyk fiddles, the Senators burn. Attendance is reportedly down by 1,000 fans compared to this time a year ago, averaging 14, 335 fans through 18 home games this season.