NHL Rumor Mill – June 25, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – June 25, 2022

Speculation is growing suggesting the Canucks could trade J.T. Miller. Could the Capitals or Penguins be among the suitors? Find out in today’s NHL rumor mill.

THE PROVINCE: Patrick Johnston cited CHEK TV’s Rick Dhaliwal reporting the Vancouver Canucks are once again listening to trade offers. He added he checked with the 29-year-old center’s representatives, who weren’t surprised by the news.

Vancouver Canucks forward J.T. Miller (NHL Images).

Miller is a year away from unrestricted free agent eligibility. He’s coming off a career-best 99-point performance this season. He carries a $5.25 million cap hit on his current contract and is in line for a big pay raise.

Johnston spoke with Canucks president of hockey operations Jim Rutherford, who indicated the club would like to keep Miller, However, he warned that it might not make sense for both sides. “We’d like to do it but we’ve got to be careful,” said Rutherford.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Miller was a fixture in this season’s rumor mill leading up to the March trade deadline. The Canucks retained him in part because they were still jockeying for a playoff berth.

It doesn’t hurt to gauge Miller’s value in the trade market but it doesn’t mean he’s certain to be moved. Nevertheless, if the cost of re-signing him proves too high or if he’d prefer to test next summer’s trade market, it’s best to move him this summer (preferably before free agency opens on July 13) when teams have the cap space and the willingness to make deals for players like him.

Better to move Miller for the best possible return now than have his eventual departure hang over the Canucks next season. It would be an unnecessary and unwelcome distraction for him and the team.

There’s no guarantee hanging onto Miller for the trade deadline will result in a better return. If he gets injured, his value plummets. If it’s a season-ending injury, they’ll at worst lose him for nothing to free agency next July or at best get a conditional draft pick if they shop his rights before the free-agent market opens.

WASHINGTON HOCKEY NOW: Sammi Silber cites Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman telling Dhaliwal that the Washington Capitals have been linked to Miller and Colorado Avalanche center Nazem Kadri. The Capitals are searching for a suitable replacement for Nicklas Backstrom, whose future is in doubt after undergoing potential career-ending hip resurfacing surgery.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Miller would be the better choice for the Capitals. He’s locked in for one more season at $5.25 million. Kadri is slated to become an unrestricted free agent on July 13 and in line for a big raise over his current $4.5 million annual average value.

Whether the Capitals can afford the Canucks’ asking price is another matter. I suspect they’ll want a first-round pick or a top prospect plus a young, promising NHL player in return.

Replacing Backstrom isn’t the only issue facing the Capitals this summer. Silber points out they need a proven starting goaltender, a scoring winger and blueline depth.

VANCOUVER HOCKEY NOW: Rob Simpson reports the New Jersey Devils have been mentioned as a suitor for Miller. They’re willing to part with their 2022 first-round pick (second overall) for the right price. He also mentioned the Pittsburgh Penguins could be interested if Evgeni Malkin departs via free agency next month.

Simpson suggested Capitals winger Conor Sheary might be enticing to the Canucks brass, as they remember him well from their days with the Penguins. The Caps also have a right-shot prospect defenseman in Coquitlam native Vincent Iorio who could interest them.

Penguins defenseman John Marino could be an attractive option for the Canucks. Winger Kasperi Kapanen could be another option.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Miller can play wing or center, which could work for the Devils in their quest for an impact player to play alongside their young forwards. However, they might prefer assurances they can re-sign Miller before parting with that second-overall pick. Otherwise, they risk losing him for nothing next summer.

As I mentioned earlier, I’m skeptical that the Capitals have enough to offer up to the Canucks for Miller. Rutherford and GM Patrik Allvin know the Penguins’ depth pretty well from their tenures there. Whether a deal can be made there, however, is another matter.










NHL Rumor Mill – June 18, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – June 18, 2022

What’s the latest on Filip Forsberg and Jeff Petry? Could the Devils attempt to move Jesper Bratt? What will the Capitals do about their goaltending? Check out the latest in today’s NHL rumor mill.

WILL FORSBERG RE-SIGN WITH THE PREDATORS?

TSN: Chris Johnston reports the Nashville Predators would like to bring back Filip Forsberg. However, it’s not clear at this point if they’ll be able to do that. He said there hasn’t been much progress in contract extension talks since March and both sides seem entrenched in their current positions.

THE ATHLETIC: Adam Vingan recently examined three options for the Predators to replace Forsberg if he hits the open market on July 13. The bold move could be attempting a major trade to acquire David Pastrnak if he’s reluctant to sign a contract extension with the Boston Bruins.

Nashville Predators winger Filip Forsberg (NHL Images).

They could attempt to sign Valeri Nichushkin if the Colorado Avalanche winger becomes an unrestricted free agent next month. Another option is acquiring Jesse Puljujarvi from the Edmonton Oilers as a reclamation project.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Plenty of time remains for Forsberg and the Predators to work out a deal. However, if there hasn’t been any progress in talks when the calendar flips to July, the more likely it’ll be that the 27-year-old left winger goes to market.

I don’t anticipate the Bruins shopping Pastrnak as both sides seem open to working out a contract extension starting on July 13. Sure, it’s possible talks could stall and the Bruins could start listening to offers but I’d say the odds of that happening are low right now.

Nichushkin won’t replace Forsberg’s offense or star power. Nevertheless, he’d be a more affordable option and his two-way game could be a good fit in the Predators’ system.

Puljujarvi’s trade value is low right now and he could be available given the Oilers’ limited cap space. It shouldn’t cost very much to acquire him if the Predators are interested.

CANADIENS WORKING ON PETRY TRADE

TSN: Pierre LeBrun reports the Montreal Canadiens are working on trading Jeff Petry though there’s no guarantee a deal will take place. Five or six teams have expressed an interest in the 34-year-old defenseman.

The Dallas Stars are among those clubs, especially if they lose blueliner John Klingberg to free agency next month. LeBrun said it appears Klingberg could test the UFA market as there have been no contract talks of late with the Stars. The Detroit Red Wings are another potential destination.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Petry-to-Dallas speculation has been around since March when there was talk the Stars looked into acquiring him before the trade deadline. As for the Wings, they have plenty of salary-cap space to absorb the Michigan native’s $6.25 million annual cap hit through 2024-25 and are in need of experienced blueline depth.

A LOOK AT DAILY FACEOFF’S UPDATED TRADE TARGETS LIST

DAILY FACEOFF: Frank Seravalli added five new names to his NHL offseason trade targets list.

New Jersey Devils winger Jesper Bratt is the notable new name, checking in at No. 10. Seravalli noted Devils general manager Tom Fitzgerald recently said the 23-year-old winger is a big part of the club’s future. However, sources said Bratt was available at the trade deadline and there’s been no contract extension talks to this point. He also noted Fitzgerald’s pursuit of “hard skill” this summer.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Bratt completed a career-best 73-point season and is coming off his second NHL contract. Fitzgerald can take his time negotiating with him though Bratt does have arbitration rights and is in line for a big raise.

I’m skeptical that Bratt will get traded but I don’t rule it out. It will depend on what type of skill player Fitzgerald is pursuing this summer and if Bratt would be a trade chip necessary to acquire that type of player.

Speaking of the Devils, Seravalli has Mackenzie Blackwood at No. 20. There’s a sense they’re losing faith in the 25-year-old goaltender after two seasons of injury and inconsistent play. He could be a bounce-back candidate in tandem with a veteran on a deeper club with limited cap space.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Improving the goaltending depth is a must for Fitzgerald this summer. He could shop Blackwood but could also keep him as a backup to be mentored by whoever he brings in as a starter.

New York Islanders winger Anthony Beauvillier, Vegas Golden Knights defenseman Alec Martinez and Pittsburgh Penguins winger Kasperi Kapanen were also added to the list. Beauvillier came in at No. 15, Martinez at 14 and Kapanen at 18.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: These three have previously surfaced in trade speculation mostly as cost-cutting candidates.

LATEST CAPITALS SPECULATION

NBC SPORTS WASHINGTON: Andrew Gillis recently examined possible goaltending candidates for the Capitals if they part ways with Ilya Samsonov or Vitek Vanecek this summer. He suggested monitoring the New York Islanders’ Semyon Varlamov and Los Angeles Kings’ Jonathan Quick.

Both have a year remaining on their respective contracts. He also doesn’t anticipate they’ll be among the bidders for the Toronto Maple Leafs’ Jack Campbell if he tests the open market in July.

WASHINGTON HOCKEY NOW: Sammi Silber recently cited Sportsnet’s Nick Kypreos claiming the Florida Panthers are shopping starting goalie Sergei Bobrovsky hard, so much so they’re willing to retain as much as 50 percent of his $10 million annual cap hit.

Silber wondered if the Capitals would be interested. She also suggested the Capitals could prefer keeping their options open with Campbell, Colorado’s Darcy Kuemper and St. Louis’ Ville Husso possibly available via free agency.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Varlamov might approve a trade back to where his career began but I don’t see the Capitals investing in him unless they can get him signed to a contract extension. The Kings could stick with Quick for his final season before passing the full-time goalie duties to Cal Petersen.

Bobrovsky’s contract expires in 2026. Even at $5 million annually, that’s a lengthy investment in a 33-year-old goaltender who struggles at times with consistency. I think the Capitals will test their luck in the UFA market and make a cost-cutting deal if necessary to add a goalie.

WASHINGTON HOCKEY NOW: Sammi Silber cites a report out of Russia claiming Alex Ovechkin called Evander Kane earlier this season to encourage him to sign with the Capitals following his contract termination by the San Jose Sharks. Kane ultimately signed with the Edmonton Oilers.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I’m including this one just for fun. And no, I don’t see Kane signing with the Capitals. They already have a first-line left winger (hello there, Ovechkin) and they’ll likely invest their limited cap space in improving their goaltending and perhaps their blueline depth.










NHL Rumor Mill – June 3, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – June 3, 2022

The Hurricanes hope to retain some key free agents, the possibility of some RFAs not receiving qualifying offers, plus updates on Jack Campbell and David Perron in today’s NHL rumor mill.

HURRICANES HOPE TO RETAIN TROCHECK, NIEDERREITER & DEANGELO

NHL.COM: Kurt Dusterberg reports Carolina Hurricanes general manager Don Waddell hopes to re-sign pending unrestricted free agent forwards Vincent Trocheck and Nino Niederreiter. Meanwhile, head coach Rod Brind’Amour hopes restricted free agent defenseman Tony DeAngelo also returns.

Hurricanes captain Jordan Staal indicated he’s not thinking about a contract extension this summer, preferring to play out the final season of his contract before determining his future. Waddell indicated they want Staal to play as long as he feels like doing so.

THE NEWS & OBSERVER: Chip Alexander reports DeAngelo would love to stay with the Hurricanes. He said he believes everyone in the organization knows that and believes they want him back, expressing appreciation for the trust they put in him following his troubled final season with the New York Rangers.

Carolina Hurricanes defenseman Tony DeAngelo (NHL Images).

DeAngelo, 26, has arbitration rights and is a year away from becoming eligible for unrestricted free agent status. Waddell indicated there’s interest in signing him to a multi-year contract.

Alexander’s colleague Luck DeCock believes the Hurricanes need an upgrade in pure scoring skill. He suggested parting ways with forward Martin Necas, who regressed during this season and bringing in a scoring winger to replace him via trade or free agency.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Waddell called signing Trocheck a priority. That increases the likelihood he won’t become available in this summer’s UFA market. It will depend on whether the two sides can reach an agreement before free agency begins on July 13.

Trocheck tends to be a streaky scorer but he would draw plenty of interest if he tests the market. Vancouver Hockey Now’s Rob Simpson daydreamed about Vancouver signing him but there’s no indication that’s the direction Canucks management intends to take.

DeAngelo made the most of his opportunity with the Hurricanes. While both sides are pleased with how this season turned out, arriving at a suitable deal could be a challenge.

Cap Friendly indicates the Hurricanes have $19.4 million in cap space with 14 players under contract next season. Parting ways with Necas won’t free up additional cap space as he’s a restricted free agent coming off his entry-level contract.

Trocheck earned an annual average value of $4.725 million while Niederreiter’s was $5.25 million. It could cost a combined $12 million to retain them. DeAngelo, meanwhile, could seek a return to the $4.8 million annually he was earning with the Rangers before agreeing to a one-year, $1 million contract with the Hurricanes for this season. Re-signing that trio won’t leave much room to add a scoring forward.

TIDBITS FROM FRIEDMAN’S LATEST “32 THOUGHTS”

SPORTSNET: In his latest “32 Thoughts” column, Elliotte Friedman suggested limited salary-cap space among NHL teams could lead to some of them not bothering to qualify the rights of some arbitration-eligible RFAs.

Some worth watching include Carolina’s Ethan Bear, Dallas’ Denis Gurianov, Pittsburgh’s Kasperi Kapanen, Chicago’s Dylan Strome and New Jersey’s Miles Wood and Pavel Zacha. He also noted there was speculation that Ondrej Kase could depart Toronto but believes talks are underway between the winger and the Maple Leafs.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Those players could bolster the depth of talent in this summer’s unrestricted free agent market. There’s no certainty, of course, that most or all of them will hit the open market. Still, it could be worthwhile as Friedman suggested to keep an eye on their respective contract negotiations.

Speaking of RFAs, Friedman believes the Leafs will qualify defenseman Rasmus Sandin’s rights. However, they have a logjam on the left side of their blueline. He pointed out that their cap situation doesn’t afford Sandin contract room.

Meanwhile, there haven’t been any contract talks between the Leafs and goaltender Jack Campbell for months and anything previously discussed is no longer relevant. His agent said there’s been no material contract conversation since the end of the season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I expect the Leafs will get something done with Campbell because there aren’t many suitable replacement options in this summer’s trade and UFA markets. The best free-agent options are Colorado’s Darcy Kuemper and Minnesota’s Marc-Andre Fleury and there’s no certainty either guy can be wooed to Toronto.

As for Sandin, he’ll obviously be more affordable to sign than Campbell. Given the priority given to the latter, however, they could end up shopping Sandin if they can’t free up sufficient cap dollars to re-sign him. However, I think Leafs management will try to free up cap room by trying to move out veterans like Petr Mrazek and Wayne Simmonds, though peddling either guy won’t be easy.

Friedman believes the New Jersey Devils and Ottawa Senators will be worth watching as they have their first-round picks in play for talent with a lot of team control.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: In other words, a player with more than a year remaining on their contract.

He also doesn’t expect St. Louis Blues winger David Perron will hit the open market on July 13.










NHL Rumor Mill – May 27, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – May 27, 2022

A look at the Flames’ possible offseason decisions plus the latest roundup of Penguins speculation in today’s NHL rumor mill.

WHAT NEXT FOR THE FLAMES?

ESPN.COM: Greg Wyshynski believes the Calgary Flames’ offseason decisions will be tied to Johnny Gaudreau. The 28-year-old left wing had a career-best 115-point performance this season but he’s also slated to become an unrestricted free agent on July 13.

Calgary Flames left wing Johnny Gaudreau (NHL Images).

The Flames must also sign restricted free agent wingers Matthew Tkachuk and Andrew Mangiapane. Tkachuk tallied 42 goals this season and Mangipane 35 goals.

Wyshynski observes the Flames have 12 players under contract for 2022-23. If general manager Brad Treliving tinkers with the roster it’ll likely be on the defense as the forward lines are deep and talented. He also mentioned center Sean Monahan has a year remaining on his contract with a cap hit of $6.375 million.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Cap Friendly indicates the Flames have over $55 million invested in next season’s roster. Tkachuk is completing a three-year deal with an annual average value of $7 million but his actual salary for this season was $9 million, which will be the cost to the Flames to qualify his rights unless they can agree to a new deal before the July 11 qualifying offer deadline.

Mangiapane earned $2.425 million annually on his current deal and could be seeking a raise between $4.5 and $5 million per season. RFA Defenseman Oliver Kylington will be seeking much more than the $750K he earned this season.

That’s why there’s been speculation suggesting the Flames could trade or buy out Monahan to free up cap space. However, he underwent hip surgery several weeks ago and could be ineligible for a buyout if he’s not fully recovered by then. That would also affect efforts to trade him.

THE PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER: Giana Han wonders if the Flyers might be able to woo Gaudreau if he hits the open market in July. The South Jersey native grew up a Flyers fan and suggested back in 2017 that it would be “sweet” to play for them one day.

Han speculates Gaudreau could command between $9 million and $10 million on his next contract. NBC hockey analyst Keith Jones said adding the gifted winger would provide some real excitement for a fan base that hasn’t had much to cheer about lately. However, it would take a lot of cap maneuvering as well as hoping Gaudreau would accept a hometown discount.

The Flyers have over $77 million invested in 18 players next season with all their core players are under contract. They’ll have to shed a lot of salary to sign Gaudreau even if he accepts a hometown discount, which I doubt he will.

LATEST PENGUINS SPECULATION

TRIBLIVE.COM: Seth Rorabaugh reported earlier this week that Pittsburgh Penguins general manager Ron Hextall’s priority remains re-signing pending UFAs Evgeni Malkin and Kris Letang. He acknowledged his club’s limited salary cap space but remains hopeful of reaching agreements with both players, though there’s no timeline right now. Their statuses will reflect how the rest of the roster takes shape.

THE ATHLETIC: Josh Yohe reported Hextall said he’d focus elsewhere if he can’t sign Malkin but indicated his focus “first and foremost” is on the 35-year-old center. He wouldn’t commit to bringing back RFA forwards Danton Heinen and Kaspari Kapanen. He also indicated he’d be willing to have trade discussions regarding one of his left-handed defensemen to make room for Pierre-Olivier Joseph.

PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE: Paul Zeise believes the Penguins better upgrade their goaltending if they’re bringing Malkin and Letang back. He doesn’t feel this season’s tandem of Tristan Jarry and Casey DeSmith (also a pending UFA) is good enough to carry the Penguins to the Stanley Cup, which should be the purpose of retaining Malkin and Letang.

PITTSBURGH HOCKEY NOW: Dave Molinari believes the list of viable candidates to replace Letang starts and ends with the Dallas Stars’ John Klingberg.

THE ATHLETIC: Harman Dayal examined the cost for the Vancouver Canucks to acquire John Marino. He cited speculation from earlier this season suggesting the Penguins’ defenseman could be available for the right price. Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman reported the Canucks kicked tires on Marino before the trade deadline. Dayal observed it’s no secret Canucks hockey ops president (and former Penguins GM) Jim Rutherford is a Marino fan.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Penguins have $59.2 million invested in 16 players. Re-signing Malkin and Letang could eat up around $12 million to $14 million in cap space. The Penguins can afford it but it will hamper efforts to bolster their roster next season.

We could see Hextall shed some salary to make room for a younger defenseman like Joseph or to bring in depth in goal. Marino and his $4.4 million annually through 2026-27 could be an option.

There aren’t many palatable choices for goaltenders via free agency unless they’re bringing back Marc-Andre Fleury. The trade market is also thin on goalies this season.

Heinen played well enough to earn an affordable short-term deal perhaps. Kapanen, however, could end up on the trade block given his disappointing performance this season.










NHL Rumor Mill – May 23, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – May 23, 2022

How could the Penguins’ re-signing Bryan Rust affect efforts to retain Evgeni Malkin and Kris Letang? Could they bring back Marc-Andre Fleury? Check out the latest in today’s NHL rumor mill.

PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE: Matt Vensel believes the Penguins’ recent signing of Bryan Rust to a contract extension is confirmation the club isn’t going into a rebuild under their new owners. It’s also an indication they don’t intend to replace Ron Hextall as general manager.

Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Kris Letang (NHL Images).

The Rust signing leaves the Penguins with 15 players under contract and $24 million in salary-cap space for 2022-23. Vensel suggests there’s room to bring back Evgeni Malkin and Kris Letang if the pending unrestricted free agents are willing to compromise with management.

However, it could close the door on Rickard Rakell’s return and also make it difficult to sign Evan Rodrigues. Restricted free agent Kaspari Kapanen should receive his modest qualifying offer but things could get dicey if arbitration is required to settle his contract situation.

NBC SPORTS: James O’Brien also wondered if the Penguins can afford to sign Malkin, Letang or both. He felt the possibility of what happens if they lose both to free agency is a debate worth having.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: If it comes down to a choice between Malkin and Letang I believe they’ll keep the latter because they’ll need his puck-moving skills on the blueline.

That’ll depend, of course, on how much Letang wants on his next contract and for how long. There’s talk he seeks a four-year deal for slightly less than his current $7.5 million cap hit, which is a hefty investment for a 35-year-old player even if he’s playing well at an age when most players’ skills deteriorate.

Malkin, meanwhile, reportedly sought a three-year deal but he and management are said to be far apart on salary. His current cap hit is $9.5 million and while he obviously knows he won’t get that much again from anyone he could seek something in the $7 million neighborhood.

NHL WATCHER: recently cited Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman on his “32 Thoughts” podcast talking about a possible reunion between the Penguins and Marc-Andre Fleury.

Friedman believes there’s been an understanding it could happen. He said one of the reasons Fleury didn’t accept a trade to the Washington Capitals before the trade deadline was that he wanted to return to Pittsburgh. The veteran goalie felt that wouldn’t happen if he agreed to a move to Washington.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Never say never, I guess. Fleury, 37, earned an annual average value of $7 million on his current contract and won’t get that much on the open market. He’ll have to accept a significant pay cut and perhaps a backup role behind Tristan Jarry, who silenced his doubters with a solid performance as the Penguins’ starter this season.

That decision, however, will also depend on the outcome of the Penguins’ negotiations with Malkin and Letang. If both return, there might not be enough cap space for a possible Fleury reunion.










NHL Rumor Mill – May 20, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – May 20, 2022

John Klingberg’s hope to re-sign with the Stars plus some recent Penguins speculation in today’s NHL rumor roundup.

WILL KLINGBERG & THE STARS REACH AN AGREEMENT ON AN EXTENSION?

THE DALLAS MORNING NEWS: Matthew DeFranks reported John Klingberg and Stars general manager Jim Nill have left the door open for his return with the club. The 29-year-old defenseman is slated to become an unrestricted free agent this summer.

Dallas Stars defenseman John Klingberg (NHL Images).

On Tuesday, Klingberg said he’s always wanted to stay in Dallas and his side is trying to come up with ways to get it done. Nill said both sides know where they sit and he intends to remain in touch.

DeFranks observed both sides have been at an impasse this season, prompting Klingberg to publicly express his frustration in January and sparking trade speculation. The Stars are burdened by expensive, long-term contracts for aging stars Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin. They don’t want to get locked into another deal with a long term and a high cap hit. Klingberg, however, seeks the security of a long-term deal.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Klingberg turns 30 this summer, meaning the Stars probably aren’t interested in anything over four years. Cap Friendly indicates they also have almost $18 million tied up in three defensemen in Miro Heiskanen, Esa Lindell and Ryan Suter.

Last November, Sportsnet’s Jeff Marek reported Klingberg was believed to be seeking between $7.75 million and $8.5 million. Unless he’s willing to accept a four-year deal worth around $6 million per season, he’ll likely hit the open market on July 13.

The Stars also have other contracts to sort out. Goaltender Jake Oettinger and winger Jason Robertson are due for significant raises coming off their entry-level deals. Winger Denis Gurianov is a restricted free agent with arbitration rights. They’ll also need a reliable backup for Oettinger with Braden Holtby and Scott Wedgewood due for UFA status this summer.

LATEST ON THE PENGUINS

TRIBLIVE.COM: Chris Adamski wondered if the Pittsburgh Penguins will bring back Kaspari Kapanen after he struggled throughout this season. The 25-year-old winger is slated to become a restricted free agent this summer with arbitration rights.

Adamski also reports Rickard Rakell would be interested in returning with the Penguins. The 29-year-old winger is due to become a UFA in July. He didn’t wow anyone statistically during his brief period with the Penguins following a late-season trade from the Anaheim Ducks. However, he showed enough to suggest he could be a top-six winger capable of establishing chemistry with Sidney Crosby or Evgeni Malkin.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kapanen was a speedy, promising (if inconsistent) winger during his two full seasons with the Toronto Maple Leafs. He showed some potential in 2020-21 with 30 points in 40 games but managed just 32 points in 79 games this season. The Penguins could try to trade him as he doesn’t seem a good fit in head coach Mike Sullivan’s system.

The Penguins’ management could have an interest in bringing back Rakell. However, that’s going to depend upon what he’s seeking on his next contract and what happens with franchise stars Malkin and Kris Letang, who are also eligible for UFA status this summer.

PITTSBURGH HOCKEY NOW: Dan Kingerski looked at several Penguins who could get shopped this summer if there’s a need to shed salary for other moves or signings. Jason Zucker, Marcus Pettersson and Mike Matheson were among the most notable given their salaries. John Marino, Brian Dumoulin, Teddy Blueger and Brock McGinn were also listed.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Zucker, Pettersson and Matheson have frequently surfaced in the Penguins’ rumor mill as cost-cutting candidates. Zucker’s injury history and $5.5 million cap hit will make him tough to move. Pettersson’s inconsistent play and $4.025 million cap hit are also problematic. Matheson’s play improved this season but the four years at $4.875 million per season could be a sticking point.

Injuries have also become an issue for Dumoulin. Marino was seen as a promising top-four defenseman but his stock seemed to tumble this season. Blueger and McGinn each earn less than $3 million.