NHL Rumor Mill – December 19, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – December 19, 2022

Check out the latest on Patrick Kane and Jakob Chychrun in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.

NOTE: The NHL’s annual holiday roster freeze goes into effect at 11:59 PM ET on Dec. 19 and runs through 12:01 AM ET on Dec. 28.

COULD THE RANGERS OR BRUINS LAND PATRICK KANE?

NBC SPORTS CHICAGO: Charlie Roumeliotis reports Patrick Kane hasn’t made a decision yet on what his future will look like beyond the March 3 trade deadline. Nevertheless, he examined what a trade between the Blackhawks and New York Rangers involving Patrick Kane might look like.

Chicago Blackhawks winger Patrick Kane (NHL Images).

Roumeliotis believes the Rangers have the assets the Blackhawks are looking for. They’re loaded with young players, most of whom are underperforming and could use a change of scenery. The Blueshirts also carry two first-round picks in the 2023 draft. They also have $7.1 million in projected trade deadline cap space. The move would reunite Kane with former linemate Artemi Panarin.

As for what the return might look like, Roumeliotis believes a first-round pick would be part of the package. He doesn’t see the Rangers parting with K’Andre Miller and Braden Schneider but thinks Filip Chytil, Kaapo Kakko and Alexis Lafreniere would be part of the discussion. He also doesn’t think the Blackhawks would be interested in winger Vitali Kravtsov.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Rangers would likely still want the Blackhawks to retain a portion of Kane’s salary. However, their cap space means they wouldn’t have to get a third team involved in the deal to make the dollars fit.

One of those two picks is conditional with the Dallas Stars. If it’s a top-10 selection, it instead becomes the Stars’ unprotected first-round pick in 2024. Given the Stars’ high placement in the Western Conference this season, it’s safe to assume their 2023 pick will belong to the Rangers.

Chytil, Kakko or Lafreniere will have to be part of the return. Not all three, of course, and it’s unlikely two of them will be included in the deal. I can see Kravtsov being a toss-in as he doesn’t appear to have a future with the Rangers. There could be another draft pick plus a prospect or two heading Chicago’s way in this hypothetical deal.

BOSTON HOCKEY NOW: Jimmy Murphy recently cited a rumor linking the Bruins to Blackhawks center Jonathan Toews. However, an NHL source claims the Bruins are more interested in Kane. The source told Murphy that any trade talks between the two clubs are merely exploratory at this point.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Bruins are pressed against the $82.5 million salary cap. They could get $3.1 million in cap relief if somebody claims Craig Smith off waivers by noon ET today but that seems unlikely given how much clubs also carry limited cap space right now.

Even if someone claims Smith, it might not give the Bruins sufficient wiggle room to acquire Kane or Toews at the trade deadline. They might have to get a third team involved to spread their cap hit around, which could be complicated to pull off.

They also lack depth in the type of promising young assets to tempt the Blackhawks. Unless clubs like the Rangers aren’t pursuing Kane or Toews, I don’t see the Bruins winning a bidding war for either guy before March 3.

UPDATE ON JAKOB CHYCHRUN

THE JEFF MAREK SHOW (stick tap to NHL Watcher): Guest host Mark Marchese suggested the Buffalo Sabres as a dark horse contender for Arizona Coyotes defenseman Jakob Chychrun. He would complement Owen Power or Rasmus Dahlin plus the Sabres have the assets to entice the Coyotes.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Three weeks ago, The Buffalo News’ Lance Lysowski cited sources confirming the Sabres had an interest in Chychrun. They’ve got plenty of cap space to take on his $4.6 million annual cap hit through 2024-25.

Thanks to their league-leading offense, the Sabres are steadily moving closer to playoff contention. His puck-moving skills would make Chychrun a good fit there. The Coyotes reportedly seek two first-round picks plus a top prospect or good young NHL player in return.

Elliotte Friedman noted the Columbus Blue Jackets have been in and out of the Chychrun sweepstakes for some time but he doesn’t see them trading first-rounders. The Los Angeles Kings, St. Louis Blues and Edmonton Oilers have been around it. He doesn’t see the Toronto Maple Leafs getting involved.

Friedman felt the Florida Panthers are the team that makes the most sense for Chychrun. However, they’re in the least position to do it because they lack the type of assets the Coyotes want.










NHL Rumor Mill – October 29, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – October 29, 2022

It’s Saturday and you know what that means: more speculation about Patrick Kane, Jonathan Toews and Jakob Chychrun. Check it out in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.

WHAT WILL THE BLACKHAWKS DO WITH KANE AND TOEWS?

SPORTSNET: Mark Spector doesn’t see the Chicago Blackhawks’ surprisingly good start to this season will deviate management from its rebuilding plans. That includes what to do with longtime franchise superstars Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews, who are both slated to become unrestricted free agents next July.

Chicago Blackhawks winger Patrick Kane (NHL Images).

Some observers feel Kane will decide to sign a cheaper contract extension with the Blackhawks to help shepherd the rebuild and perhaps attempt to become the franchise’s all-time leader in goals, assists, points and games played. Others, however, see him finishing this season with the New York Rangers or Colorado Avalanche, with Kaapo Kakko or Samuel Girard heading to Chicago as part of the return.

As for Toews, Spector believes teams will line up for his services at the trade deadline. He suggested the Edmonton Oilers as a suitor as Toews would provide depth at center among their middle-six plus former teammate Duncan Keith works in their front office.

Spector also sees the Blackhawks peddling other UFAs such as Max Domi and Andreas Athanasiou at the trade deadline.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’ll be interesting to see if Cousin Mark’s suggested destinations for Kane and Toews pan out by the trade deadline. The Blackhawks won’t just give those two away but it could prove difficult to get a king’s ransom for either guy.

The Rangers, Avalanche and Oilers would have to accrue sufficient cap space to take on what remains of their respective $10.5 million salary-cap hits. That’s assuming they’re willing to waive their no-movement clauses.

We already know Kane and his agent Pat Brisson intend to meet with Blackhawks management in December or January to discuss the situation. As Brisson also represents Toews, I daresay he’ll be in there as well. Until then, it’s all a guessing game as to whether they’ll stay or go.

COULD THE BLUE JACKETS HAVE INTEREST IN CHYCHRUN?

THE JEFF MAREK SHOW: The Athletic’s Aaron Portzline recently joined Jeff Marek to discuss the Columbus Blue Jackets’ rough start to this season. During the conversation, Marek mentioned the trade rumors linking the Jackets to Arizona Coyotes defenseman Jakob Chychrun.

Portzline noted the rumors this summer claiming the Jackets attempted to acquire Chychrun during the first round of this year’s draft in Montreal. The Jackets denied it but some in the defenseman’s camp said it was true.

There were also differing reports claiming Chychrun didn’t want to come to Columbus. He lacks no-trade protection but teams take into consideration whether a player wants to join them or not.

Portzline noted the Jackets have the assets to acquire Chychrun but believes they soured on him. He’s also more of a left-side defenseman whereas the Jackets require right-side depth. Nevertheless, he wouldn’t be surprised if they tried again. The Coyotes might want one of the Jackets’ young defensemen as part of the return. He doesn’t see the Jackets parting with David Jiricek or Denton Mateychuk.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This interview took place before the report later in the week claiming Chychrun suffered a setback in his recovery from offseason wrist surgery and could be sidelined longer than expected.

It’s believed interested clubs will want to see how well the talented but oft-injured Chychrun performs when he finally returns to action. Perhaps the Jackets will be among the suitors if the blueliner has had a change of heart about coming to Columbus. Stay tuned…










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – August 15, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – August 15, 2022

The Rangers need their young forwards to step up in 2022-23, Marc Staal looking forward to playing for a contender in Florida, Avalanche season tickets are popular again, and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.

NEW YORK POST: The Rangers’ success in the coming season could depend upon young forwards such as Kaapo Kakko, Alexis Lafreniere and Filip Chytil to build upon their promising performance in the 2022 Stanley Cup playoffs. They’ll also need Vitali Kravtsov to prove he’s worthy of top-six/top-nine minutes in the NHL.

New York Rangers winger Alexis Lafreniere (NHL Images)

Those youngsters will be expected to fill the gaps in their forward lines after Andrew Copp, Frank Vatrano and Tyler Motte departed via free agency this summer. The current roster accounted for 223 of the club’s 250 goals last season. That would’ve ranked 26th among last season’s teams.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Of those 223 goals, 103 came from Chris Kreider (52), Mika Zibanejad (29) and Artemi Panarin (22). The Rangers definitely need more production from those youngsters going forward.

Lafreniere seems the best bet for a breakout season. He had 19 goals in 2021-22, showing promising signs of blossoming into the scorer he was projected to become when the Rangers chose him first overall in the 2020 draft.

Injuries limited Kakko to just seven goals in 43 games last season. Chytil had eight in 67 contests, missing 12 games to injury and being scratched from six others. They could improve if they can stay healthy this season. Kravtsov played in the KHL last season so we don’t know if he’s truly ready to become an NHL regular.

FLORIDA HOCKEY NOW: Marc Staal is excited to be joining a Stanley Cup contender after signing with the Panthers last month. The 35-year-old defenseman spent the past five seasons with rebuilding clubs like the Rangers and Detroit Red Wings.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Staal saw just three games of postseason action over that period as the Rangers fell to the Carolina Hurricanes in the qualifying round of the 2020 playoffs. He inked a one-year, $750K contract on July 13 with the Panthers.

COLORADO HOCKEY NOW: The Avalanche’s Stanley Cup run has had a positive effect on their season ticket sales. They’ve already reached their cutoff/capacity limit for the coming season which is thought to be around 13,500. There’s now a waiting list for season tickets.

LAS VEGAS SUN: Nolan Patrick is expected to begin the coming season on long-term injury reserve. The 23-year-old Golden Knights forward is still dealing with an upper-body injury that limited him to just 25 games last season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The second-overall pick by the Philadelphia Flyers in 2017, Patrick battled migraine issues earlier in his career that cost him the entire 2019-20 season. It’s uncertain if his current injury is related to that.

THE HOCKEY NEWS: Detroit Red Wings prospect Simon Edvinsson is enjoying a solid performance for Sweden at the ongoing 2022 World Junior Championship. Chosen sixth overall by the Wings in 2021, the 6-foot-six, 203-pound defenseman signed his entry-level contract in April. He’s expected to make his NHL debut this season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: If Edvinsson plays up to his potential, he and current Calder Memorial Trophy winner Moritz Seider will give the Wings two of the best young defensemen in the league. They could become the foundation of a future Stanley Cup champion in Detroit.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 29, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 29, 2022

The Sharks will retire Patrick Marleau’s number, an update on Kirill Kaprizov and Jake Gardiner is ready to return to action after injuries sidelined him last season. Details and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.

SAN JOSE HOCKEY NOW: Patrick Marleau will become the first player in San Jose Sharks history to have his number retire. His No. 12 will be raised to the rafters of the SAP Center in San Jose in a ceremony before the Sharks’ game against the Chicago Blackhawks on Feb. 25, 2023.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: A well-deserved honor for Marleau. Selected second-overall by the Sharks in the 1997 NHL Draft, he holds the franchise records with 1,607 games played, 522 goals and 1,111 points during his 21 years with the club. He also holds the NHL record for most career games with 1,779.

THE ATHLETIC’s Michael Russo reports via Twitter that Minnesota Wild general manager Bill Guerin remains confident that Kirill Kaprizov will return with the club before the coming season. He indicated it’s a delicate situation and he’d rather not comment on it.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Reports earlier this month claimed Kaprizov was under investigation in his native Russia over accusations that he purchased a fake military ID several years ago.

NHL.COM: Jake Gardiner is ready to return to action after missing all of last season recovering from hip and back surgeries. The 32-year-old defenseman has one year remaining on his contract. Hurricanes GM Don Waddell expects Gardiner will report to training camp in September.

NEW YORK POST: The Rangers signed winger Kaapo Kakko to a two-year, $4.2 million contract.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Some Rangers followers were worried that Kakko might receive an offer sheet from a rival club that the cap-strapped Blueshirts couldn’t match. That he didn’t suggest the 21-year winger wasn’t interested in offers from other clubs or perhaps they didn’t think he was worth it.

OTTAWA SUN: The Senators avoided salary arbitration with Mathieu Joseph, signing the forward to a four-year, $11.8 million contract.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Senators have $75.6 million invested in their salary-cap payroll for 2022-23 with winger Alex Formenton and defenseman Erik Brannstrom to sign.

MONTREAL GAZETTE: The Canadiens hired Stephane Robidas as an assistant coach.

NYI HOCKEY NOW: John MacLean is joining the New York Islanders as an assistant coach.

DAILY FACEOFF: Adidas will not return as the NHL’s jersey manufacturer after 2023-24.










NHL Rumor Mill – July 25, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – July 25, 2022

Check out the latest on Pierre-Luc Dubois and Kaapo Kakko in today’s NHL rumor mill.

THE LATEST ON DUBOIS

THE ATHLETIC: Aaron Portzline reports Pierre-Luc Dubois’ desire to one day play for the Montreal Canadiens is hardly new. “Twice now he’s gone into a summer wanting (expecting?) an offer sheet from the Canadiens to help expedite his path to his preferred city,” he writes.

Winnipeg Jets center Pierre-Luc Dubois (NHL Images).

Portzline pointed out Columbus Blue Jackets general manager Jarmo Kekalainen traded defensemen Ryan Murray and Markus Nutivaara the night before free agency two summers ago. He suggests Kekalainen made those moves to clear cap space to thwart any attempt by the Canadiens to sign Dubois to an offer sheet.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: So Dubois’ desire to join the Canadiens apparently goes back to his days with the Blue Jackets. It was rumored in January 2021 that former Habs GM Marc Bergevin attempted to acquire Dubois before the Jackets shipped him to the Winnipeg Jets.

The Dubois-to-Montreal trade chatter has been ongoing for weeks during this offseason. There were reports the Canadiens and Jets discussed a trade that was rumored to go down at the draft in Montreal earlier this month. However, that deal failed to materialize.

The New York Post’s Larry Brooks recently joked about the possibility of Dubois and Jonathan Huberdeau being on the Canadiens’ first line in 2024-25. Huberdeau is a year away from UFA and was recently traded by the Florida Panthers to the Calgary Flames.

We’ll learn by next summer whether Huberdeau will remain with the Flames. As for Dubois, he might have to wait until his UFA eligibility in 2024 to sign with the Canadiens. The Jets have justifiably set a high asking price in the trade market. His desire to go to Montreal will also dampen interest from other clubs.

WHY NO OFFER SHEET FOR KAKKO?

NEW YORK POST: Larry Brooks reports there is no indication Kaapo Kakko and his agent have solicited interest from other clubs to tender the New York Rangers winger an offer sheet.

That’s good news for the Rangers that no one is trying to take advantage of their cap limitations by attempting to sign away Kakko. However, Brooks wonders why no other club believes the 21-year-old winger is worth the approximately $4 million a year it could take to sign him away from the Blueshirts.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Brooks suggests the reasons could be rival general managers could be sticking to business as usual with their unwillingness to go the offer sheet route, or perhaps Kakko’s intent to stay in New York. Perhaps the simple answer is other general managers looked at Kakko’s limited body of work and decided he’s not worth it.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 14, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 14, 2022

Mikko Rantanen hopes to maintain his scoring streak entering the Stanley Cup Final, an update on Brayden Point, the latest Rangers news, Mikko Koskinen heads to Switzerland and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

Colorado Avalanche winger Mikko Rantanen (NHL Images).

 THE DENVER POST: Colorado Avalanche winger Mikko Rantanen hopes to extend his four-game goal-scoring streak when the Stanley Cup Final begins on Wednesday.

TAMPA BAY TIMES: Lighting center Brayden Point (lower-body injury) was a full participant in practice on Monday for the first time since the first round of the playoffs. He’s hoping to play in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final.

NEW YORK POST: Rangers head coach Gerard Gallant explained his decision to make winger Kaapo Kakko a healthy scratch in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Finals. “He’s a good young player, but we just thought that was the best lineup for trying to win that game,” said Gallant, who replaced Kakko with Dryden Hunt.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: There was speculation Gallant’s decision to sit Kakko might spur the 21-year-old winger to sign an offer sheet with a rival club as a restricted free agent this summer. However, he doesn’t believe that will affect his contract negotiations with the Rangers. “I don’t think so,” he said. “I like to play here, so I don’t think so.”

Gallant also dressed Ryan Strome for Game 6 but he played less than nine minutes before leaving the game with a pelvis injury. The 28-year-old center is slated to become an unrestricted free agent on July 13 but prefers to remain a Ranger. “My heart is here,” he said. However, he’s rumored to have rejected an initial offer from the Blueshirts worth between $5.25 million and $5.5 million.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Rangers have limited cap space for next season. Strome seems interested in the length of his next contract, pointing out that his three-year deal with the New York Islanders earlier in his career was the longest to date.

Strome also indicated he could require surgery for the pelvis injury that hampered him during the postseason. Meanwhile, Barclay Goodrow confirmed he fractured his ankle during Game 1 of the opening-round series with the Pittsburgh Penguins. Defenseman Ryan Lindgren suffered an ankle injury during the Rangers’ final regular-season game.

EDMONTON JOURNAL: Oilers goaltender Mikko Koskinen is leaving the NHL for Switzerland, signing a two-year contract with HC Lugano. He spent four seasons with the Oilers, sporting a record of 83-59-13 with a .907 save percentage and a 2.98 goals-against average.

TSN: The Oilers re-signed depth forward Brad Malone to a two-year, two-way contract paying him $762,500 at the NHL level.

THE TENNESSEAN: The Nashville Predators signed Jeremy Lauzon to a four-year, $8 million contract. Acquired from the Seattle Kraken at the trade deadline, the 25-year-old defenseman was slated to become a restricted free agent.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Cap Friendly indicates the Predators have $21.5 million in cap space with 19 players under contract for 2022-23. Left winger Filip Forsberg is the biggest name among their notable free agents.

SPORTSNET: A Winnipeg brewery is offering Barry Trotz free beer for life if he signs with the Jets. Little Brown Jug Brewing Company and a local sports show launched the campaign on Monday.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I can’t speak for Trotz but I know what my reaction would be to that offer.