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 10, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – August 10, 2022

What’s the latest on rumors linking Nazem Kadri to the Islanders? Could the Canadiens get Jesse Puljujarvi on the cheap? Find out in today’s NHL rumor mill.

UPDATE ON KADRI

DAILY FACEOFF: Frank Seravalli considers recent reports suggesting Nazem Kadri has a deal locked up with the New York Islanders as “premature to say.” He believes the Isles are among the teams that the Kadri camp continues to engage with in contract talks.

Former Colorado Avalanche center Nazem Kadri (NHL Images).

Seravalli thinks the Islanders have put an offer on the table for the 31-year-old free-agent center. He said other teams have told him that they believe that offer to be for seven years at $7 million annually.

While Seravalli feels it’s still possible for Kadri to sign with the Isles, the fact his representatives are still talking to other teams suggests a deal hasn’t been signed. He also pointed out they would have to move money to make it work.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Islanders have over $11 million in cap space for the coming season with restricted free agent defensemen Noah Dobson and Alexander Romanov still to sign. A $7 million annual average value for Kadri wouldn’t leave much for those two.

Both players are coming off entry-level contracts and have little leverage in negotiations with the Isles. However, Dobson’s 51-point breakout performance last season should ensure at least a raise of $3.5 million annually, and that’s paying him well below market value.

I can see Islanders general manager Lou Lamoriello offering Kadri $7 million per season. However, he’s taken leave of his senses if he’s pitching a seven-year deal to a center who turns 32 when the season opens in October.

LATEST CANADIENS RUMORS

MONTREAL HOCKEY NOW: Jimmy Murphy believes the Canadiens would be able to acquire Jesse Puljujarvi on the cheap if they remain patient. He pointed out the Habs were among the teams talking to the Edmonton Oilers about the 24-year-old right winger around the time of the 2022 NHL Draft on July 7-8.

Murphy cited Edmonton Journal columnist David Staples suggesting Puljujarvi could still become a salary-cap casualty for the Oilers despite signing a one-year, $3 million contract last month. Staples included the Canadiens among his list of potential trade destinations depending on what happens with Habs goalie Carey Price.

If the Canadiens remain interested in Puljujarvi, Murphy believes they should wait until the training camp period to pursue a deal. That’s when Oilers management will start feeling the pressure to become cap compliant, forcing them to accept a draft pick in the third to fifth round range.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Canadiens are pressed for cap space unless Price is once again sidelined by his surgically repaired knee. In that case, they could afford to pursue Puljujarvi or another player or two if they wish.

The Oilers’ signing of Puljujarvi suggests they want to give him another season to evaluate his play. That contract could also make him easier to move in the trade market.










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 3, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – August 3, 2022

A look at some more possible trade candidates if the Islanders sign Nazem Kadri plus some recent speculation on the Leafs’ Alex Kerfoot in today’s NHL rumor mill.

POTENTIAL ISLANDERS TRADE CANDIDATES IF THEY SIGN KADRI

NEW YORK POST: Larry Brooks acknowledged recent rumors linking Nazem Kadri to the New York Islanders. While he believes the free-agent center would make them a better club, he pointed out he’ll soon turn 32, is seeking a long-term contract, and plays at a position where the Isles are pretty much set with Mathew Barzal and Brock Nelson.

New York Islanders center Jean-Gabriel Pageau (NHL Images).

Given the Islanders’ limited salary-cap space, Brooks believes they’ll have to make a cost-cutting trade to accommodate Kadri’s contract. He believes center Jean-Gabriel Pageau would make the most sense on paper given his $5 million annual salary-cap hit.

However, Isles general manager Lou Lamoriello gave up a lot to acquire and sign Pageau, who plays a reliable two-way game. The Isles would have to move out a player for pennies on the dollar if the rest of the league believes Lamoriello is in a bind to clear cap space.

Brooks also suggested Josh Bailey or Anthony Beauvillier if the Isles don’t shop Pageau. With Bailey just seven games away from his 1,000th career contest, it’s hard to know whether that’ll factor into any deal. Beauvillier is seven years younger than Kadri and moving him means sacrificing youth from the roster. Dealing either one would also mean sacrificing depth on the wing.

NYI HOCKEY NOW: Stefen Rosner reports some Islanders fans were worried about Oliver Wahlstrom being a trade candidate after he made a minor change to his Instagram bio. However, sources tell him the 22-year-old winger isn’t a player the Islanders want to move.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Lamoriello or Kadri could bring this situation to an end by simply issuing a statement denying the speculation. Their silence stokes rumors that they’ve already got an agreement in place and will officially announce it once the Isles clear sufficient salary-cap space.

This isn’t the first time Lamoriello’s done this sort of thing. He held off announcing the signings of Zach Parise, Kyle Palmieri, Ilya Sorokin, Casey Cizikas and Anthony Beauvillier until days before training camp opened last September. Parise and Palmieri were both unrestricted free agents at the time but they also kept quiet.

I daresay there would be lots of interest in Wahlstrom. Trading him, however, wouldn’t resolve the Islanders’ need to clear salary-cap space for Kadri unless they’re peddling more than one player to do so. Even then, it wouldn’t make much sense to give up on a promising winger after just two seasons just to dump some salary. My guess is Bailey or Beauvillier get shopped.

LATEST ON KERFOOT

THE ATHLETIC: James Mirtle recently wondered if the Toronto Maple Leafs addition of free agent Calle Jarnkrok might make Alex Kerfoot expendable. Jarnkrok signed a four-year contract with an average annual value of $2.1 million. Kerfoot, meanwhile, earns $3.5 million this season and is slated to become a UFA next summer.

Mirtle feels Jarnkrok would be a downgrade from Kerfoot. He’s three years older and his stats suffered following stints last season with the Seattle Kraken and Calgary Flames. Kerfoot may be the better player but he could have value in the trade market.

The Leafs could prefer moving defenseman Justin Holl instead. However, they might not want to do that until they’ve got more clarity on Rasmus Sandin’s contract situation.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: As Mirtle points out, something’s got to give for the Leafs given their salary cap limitations. Jarnkrok’s addition could make Kerfoot the odd man out. Then again, it could be Holl once they get Sandin signed.










NHL Rumor Mill – August 2, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – August 2, 2022

A look at how the Islanders could clear cap space to sign Nazem Kadri and a potential cost-cutting trade candidate for the Bruins in today’s NHL rumor mill.

HOW WOULD THE ISLANDERS CLEAR CAP SPACE FOR KADRI?

NYI HOCKEY NOW: Stefen Rosner cited a source who told him over the weekend that Nazem Kadri could be joining the New York Islanders. However, the hold-up is the Isles need to clear out some salary-cap space.

New York Islanders winger Josh Bailey (NHL Images).

Rosner had no details about Kadri’s rumored deal with the Islanders. However, he believes it could be worth around $7 million annually. With the club currently carrying around $11 million in cap space, Kadri’s anticipated cap hit wouldn’t leave much to re-sign restricted free agent defensemen Noah Dobson and Alexander Romanov.

Under the collective bargaining agreement, teams are allowed to exceed the salary cap by 10 percent during the offseason but must be cap compliant when the regular season begins. Islanders general manager Lou Lamoriello could find it difficult to dump salary with teams knowing it’s to make room for Kadri.

Rosner reports the Islanders are shopping Josh Bailey. The 32-year-old winger carries a $5 million annual cap hit through 2023-24. Rosner suggests his veteran presence could do wonders for rebuilding clubs with cap space such as the Arizona Coyotes or Chicago Blackhawks.

However, Lamoriello would have to add a couple of draft picks or a prospect in the deal to move Bailey. Winger Anthony Beauvillier and goaltender Semyon Varlamov have also appeared in trade rumors but Rosner believes they’re staying put.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Rosner isn’t the only person to tie Kadri to the Islanders in recent days. There’s speculation the two sides already have an agreement in place but are waiting to announce it once Lamoriello frees up sufficient salary-cap space. Until then, however, it’s still just speculation at this point.

Bailey’s age and contract are sticking points but he did put up a respectable 44 points with the Islanders last season. He also lacks no-trade protection, giving Lamoriello plenty of potential trade partners. I agree with Rosner that the Isles GM will have to include a sweetener or two in the deal as an enticement.

Potential trade partners could also squeeze Lamoriello to part with Beauvillier or Varlamov rather than Bailey.

COULD THE BRUINS SHOP CRAIG SMITH?

THE BOSTON GLOBE: Kevin Paul Dupont recently pondered how the Bruins will free up salary-cap space for their efforts to sign Patrice Bergeron, David Krejci and Pavel Zacha. They have around $4.8 million in salary-cap space.

Dupont points out the Bruins will get some early-season wiggle room by placing Brad Marchand and Charlie McAvoy on long-term injury reserve until they return from offseason surgeries around Dec. 1. However, he’ll have to shed some salary once those players return to the lineup.

Craig Smith could be the likeliest to go. He carries a $3.1 million cap hit for the coming season and becomes a UFA next summer.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Smith, 32, is a former four-time 20-plus goal scorer who had 16 goals and 36 points last season. He lacks no-trade protection and could interest clubs seeking an experienced middle-six winger. However, the Bruins might have to include a draft pick or prospect as a sweetener in the deal.

Speculation earlier in the offseason suggested Matt Grzelcyk could become a trade candidate. He’s signed through 2023-24 with a $3.67 million AAV.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – August 1, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – August 1, 2022

A former NHL scout claims Nazem Kadri is heading to the Islanders, a list of the coming season’s cap-crunched teams, and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.

COLORADO HOCKEY NOW: Adrian Dater cited a tweet by the Barrie Colts director of player personnel claiming free agent center Nazem Kadri is heading to the New York Islanders.

Former Colorado Avalanche center Nazem Kadri (NHL Images).

Mark Seidel, a former NHL scout with the Minnesota Wild, tweeted Sunday that he believes Kadri has a deal done with the Islanders. “They have to clear out some cap room & then it’ll be announced,” wrote Seidel. “I’m FAR from an Insider but I’m very confident it’s done.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: No confirmation yet of this anywhere else. As Dater observes, Seidel’s an experienced hockey man so I doubt he’s posting this up just for laughs. Islanders general manager Lou Lamoriello has reportedly been in the market for a scoring forward this summer. Nevertheless, this remains speculation until the Isles announce that a deal with Kadri is done.

Cap Friendly shows the Islanders with $11.1 million in cap room with restricted free agents Noah Dobson and Alexander Romanov to re-sign. Adding Kadri will drive them over the cap even if Dobson and Romanov get affordable short-term bridge contracts. Lamoriello will have to make a cost-cutting trade to ensure he’s cap compliant when the regular season begins in October.

THE HOCKEY NEWS: Ian Kennedy recently listed several NHL teams that are already facing a salary-cap crunch before the season begins in October.

The Vegas Golden Knights are already over the cap with just two-thirds of their roster signed. The Philadelphia Flyers could be forced to move a player such as James van Riemsdyk to get under the cap. Meanwhile, the Los Angeles Kings could bury some of their promising waiver-exempt players in the minors to free up room to sign their remaining restricted free agents.

Other clubs that could face shedding some salary include the Toronto Maple Leafs, Tampa Bay Lightning and the Islanders if they add a scorer like Kadri.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kennedy observed that some of the clubs on his list, such as the Edmonton Oilers, could put players on long-term injury reserve to be under the cap when the season begins. Still, we could see some of them attempt to dump some salaries through the trade market by the time October rolls around.

SI.COM: Speaking of the Leafs, David Alter believes they don’t have to make a trade to become cap compliant for 2022-23.

They could decide to carry 20 players on their roster to start the season. A player put on waivers for the purpose of sending him to the minors could be claimed by another club. A player injured in training camp or preseason could be placed on long-term injury reserve if the injury is serious enough to sideline him for a lengthy period of time.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Leafs GM Kyle Dubas doesn’t have to rush into anything right now. Teams are allowed to sit above the cap by 10 percent during the offseason but must be under it when the regular season begins in October. That provides him with sufficient time to evaluate his options.

SPORTSNET’s Elliotte Friedman took to Twitter on Sunday to report on the arbitration filings for Nashville Predators forward Yakov Trenin. The team is seeking a two-year deal at $1.35 million annually while the Trenin camp seeks $2.4 million on a one-year deal.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Trenin’s arbitration hearing is slated for Tuesday, Aug. 2.