NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 27, 2023

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 27, 2023

The Bruins and Avalanche suffer their first losses and Senators’ center Shane Pinto is suspended for a gambling violation. Details on these and other stories in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.


NHL.COM: The Anaheim Ducks overcame a 3-1 deficit to upset the Boston Bruins 4-3, snapping the latter’s season-opening win streak at six games (6-0-1). Mason McTavish scored in overtime while Troy Terry and rookie Leo Carlsson each had a goal and an assist for the 3-4-0 Ducks. Charlie McAvoy collected three assists while David Pastrnak had a goal and an assist for the Bruins.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Before the game, Bruins coach Jim Montgomery indicated winger Jakub Lauko (facial injury) will be sidelined for at least a week while winger Milan Lucic (lower body) will be out for at least two weeks.

Pittsburgh Penguins goaltender Tristan Jarry turned in a 31-save shutout in a 4-0 win over the Colorado Avalanche, ending the Avs’ 15-game road win streak and their season-opening six-game win streak. Reilly Smith scored two goals for the Penguins (3-4-0). The Avs (6-1-0) remain in first place in the Central Division with 12 points.

Carolina Hurricanes forward Martin Necas (NHL Images).

An overtime goal by Martin Necas lifted the Carolina Hurricanes over the Seattle Kraken 3-2. Necas finished the game with two goals and an assist as the Hurricanes overcame a 2-0 deficit to lift their record to 4-4-0. Oliver Bjorkstrand had a goal and an assist and Joey Daccord stopped 42 shots as the Kraken blew a 2-0 lead and dropped to 2-4-2.

The Montreal Canadiens got an overtime goal from Cole Caufield in a 4-3 victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets, who led 3-1 at one point before the Habs staged their comeback. Caufield and linemate Nick Suzuki each had a goal and two assists while Sam Montembeault turned aside 33 shots for the 4-2-1 Canadiens. Emil Bemstrom tallied twice while Jack Roslovic had a goal and two assists for the 3-2-2 Blue Jackets.

Winnipeg Jets goalie Connor Hellebuyck stopped 35 shots to backstop his club over the Detroit Red Wings by a score of 4-1. Nino Niederreiter and Mason Appleton each had a goal and an assist for the Jets (4-3-0) as they extended their win streak to three games. Lucas Raymond replied for the 5-2-1 Red Wings.

Tampa Bay Lightning netminder Jonas Johansson turned aside 23 shots for his second straight shutout in a 6-0 defeat of the San Jose Sharks. Steven Stamkos, Victor Hedman, Mikhail Sergachev and Nick Perbix each collected two points for the 4-2-2 Lightning. The Sharks are still seeking their first win of the season as they sank to 0-6-1.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: A lack of scoring punch has hampered the rebuilding Sharks. They’ve managed just eight goals thus far.

The Toronto Maple Leafs got a goal and an assist from Morgan Rielly to defeat the Dallas Stars 4-1. Joseph Woll made 31 saves as the Leafs improved to 5-2-0. Mason Marchment replied for the 4-1-1 Stars.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Leafs defenseman Jake McCabe left the game in the first period with a lower-body injury. He will be re-evaluated on Friday.

New York Islanders defenseman Noah Dobson snapped a 2-2 tie with a third-period goal as his club nipped the Ottawa Senators 3-2. Bo Horvat and Cal Clutterbuck gave the Islanders (3-2-1) a 2-0 first-period lead but the Senators (3-4-0) rallied to tie it on goals by Claude Giroux and Jakob Chychrun.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Senators defenseman Erik Brannstrom was stretchered from the game in the second period when he struck his head on the ice following a hit by Clutterbuck. Following the game, the Senators released a statement indicating the blueliner was alert, had full use of his extremities, and was transported to a hospital for further observation and testing.

The Philadelphia Flyers defeated the Minnesota Wild 6-2. Flyers rookie Bobby Brink scored the first two goals of his NHL career while Cam Atkinson had three assists and Travis Sanheim had a goal and two assists for the 4-2-1 Flyers. Dakota Mermis and Marcus Foligno replied for the Wild as they slipped to 3-3-1.

New York Rangers goaltender Jonathan Quick made 29 saves to blank the Edmonton Oilers 3-0. Adam Fox, Braden Schneider and Artemi Panarin each collected two points as they improved to 5-2-0. The Oilers sank to 1-5-1 on the season.

St. Louis Blues netminder Joel Hofer stopped 27 shots for his first NHL shutout in a 3-0 victory over the Calgary Flames. Oskar Sundqvist had a goal and an assist for the Blues as they improved their record to 3-2-1. The Flames, meanwhile, dropped to 2-5-1.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Following the game, Flames defenseman Nikita Zadorov offered a blunt apology for his club’s poor performance this season. “We’re playing like shit now,” he said.

It’s a grim time for Alberta’s NHL franchises. The Oilers entered this season considered among the favorites to win the Stanley Cup while the Flames were hoping to rebound from last season’s disappointing result.


OTTAWA SUN: The NHL yesterday announced a 41-game suspension of Senators center Shane Pinto for activities that violated the league’s gambling rules.

In a statement, the league indicated that Pinto didn’t wager on NHL games but offered no insight into the reasons behind the lengthy suspension. However, league sources stated that Pinto’s online gambling account in the United States was flagged by a company that is a partner with the NHL because of unusual activity. They contacted the league, which launched an investigation into the matter. It’s believed they found evidence connecting Pinto to a third-party bettor.

The 22-year-old Senators center issued an apology in which he took full responsibility for his actions. Meanwhile, the NHL Players Association was aware of the investigation and will not be appealing the suspension.

Pinto remains a restricted free agent as he was in the midst of contract talks with the Senators before the suspension, which is retroactive to the start of the club’s season. The earliest he can return to action is Jan. 21 against the Philadelphia Flyers. However, it’s not expected he’ll be back that soon as he’ll need time with the Senators’ AHL affiliate to get back into game shape.

The Senators said they would welcome Pinto’s return following his suspension. They called him a “valued member of our hockey club” and will provide support for him to “address his issues.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The NHL is criticized for not revealing the details that prompted Pinto’s lengthy suspension. There is also concern that he’s being punished by a league that has almost gone overboard with its recent embrace of legalized gambling. In addition, it raises questions about the NHL’s gambling policy regarding its players.

There are also questions over how Pinto’s suspension will affect his contract talks with the Senators and their efforts to free up cap space to sign him. I’ll have more about that in today’s Rumors update.

MLIVE.COM: Detroit Red Wings forward David Perron is mourning the shooting tragedy in Lewiston, Maine that left 18 people dead and many others wounded. Perron played his final year of junior hockey with the Lewiston MAINEiacs of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League in 2006-07 and still has friends in the area. 

THE SCORE: Zach Kassian announced his retirement after 12 NHL seasons with the Buffalo Sabres, Vancouver Canucks, Edmonton Oilers and Arizona Coyotes. In 661 regular-season games, Kassian had 92 goals and 111 assists for 203 points along with 913 PIMs. He also had nine points in 45 playoff games.

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 1, 2023

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 1, 2023

Patrick Kane provides an update on his status, Phil Kessel hopes to continue his NHL career, Flames defenseman Rasmus Andersson is prepared for the coming season and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.

TSN: Patrick Kane provided an update on his recovery from his hip resurfacing procedure in June. He said he’s been on the ice about 20 times and is well on track in his four-to-six-month recovery timeline.

Free agent winger Patrick Kane (NHL Images).

Kane, 34, said he’s progressing so well that he’s at the point where he could return to action earlier than projected. However, he intends to stick with the six-month rehab schedule to ensure his complete recovery.

Regarding where he’ll play next, Kane said he’ll remain patient as he expects to receive offers when training camp opens later this month. He indicated he’d be willing to listen if a club made an offer and a situation that he would be excited about.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kane probably won’t receive contract offers until later in the fall when clubs have had time to evaluate their rosters and salary-cap situations.

SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman reports Phil Kessel hopes to land with another NHL team for the coming season and isn’t concerned if he isn’t an everyday player. The 35-year-old winger holds the NHL’s Ironman record of 1,064 consecutive regular-season games.

With 14 goals and 36 points last season, Friedman believes Kessel can still be a factor. He’s also just eight points away from 1,000 career points. He’d also be an affordable signing as he’s now eligible to sign a one-year 35-plus contract for the league minimum salary with bonuses that could slide to next season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kessel could land with an NHL club for this season, especially since there wouldn’t be any pressure about whether or not to scratch him because of his Ironman record. He could be a very affordable addition for a club seeking some experienced depth on the wing.

SPORTSNET: Eric Francis recently reported that Rasmus Andersson is ready to “embrace the chaos” when he returns to Calgary next week to prepare for the start of the Flames training camp later this month. The 26-year-old defenseman is prepared for the barrage of questions he and his teammates will get from the local media over the club’s offseason changes and moves.

You can’t hide from it,” said Andersson. “You’ve just got to embrace it and stick with it, and believe in guys in management.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Andersson’s role as a team leader and his willingness to face the press has some observers calling him a candidate to be the club’s next captain. That role has been vacant since Mark Giordano was chosen by the Seattle Kraken in the 2021 NHL expansion draft.

THE SCORE: Charlie Coyle is looking forward to the challenge of taking on a larger role with the Boston Bruins following the retirements of Patrice Bergeron and David Krejci.

During a recent appearance on WEEI’s “The Gresh & Fauria Show,” Coyle acknowledged that he and his teammates will miss Bergeron and Krejci. “We all wish they could play,” he said. “But those are job opportunities right now, right? That gets me fired up, it only gets our team fired up.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Coyle is saying all the right things as his club faces the daunting task of overcoming the absence of their top two centers. He’s under no illusions that this season will be more difficult for the Bruins, admitting that they will have to work harder this season. We’ll find out in the coming months whether he and his teammates are up to the challenge.

TSN: The Seattle Kraken signed forward Devin Shore to a one-year, two-way contract worth $775K at the NHL level. Shore, 29, spent the past three seasons with the Edmonton Oilers.

Speaking of former Oilers, the Anaheim Ducks signed forward Zack Kassian to a professional tryout offer.

CAROLINA HOCKEY NOW: The Hurricanes announced the addition of Daniel Bochner as a development coach. He spent five seasons in the Kontinental Hockey League (KHL) with SKA St. Petersburg.

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 21, 2023

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 21, 2023

The Hockey Hall of Fame Class of 2023 will be announced today, the Canadiens re-sign Sean Monahan, an update on Carey Price, the Flames allow Milan Lucic to speak with other teams, and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.

NHL.com: The Hockey Hall of Fame will vote on its Class of 2023 inductees today. They will be announced at 3 pm ET.

Former New York Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist (NHL.com)

Goaltender Henrik Lundqvist is expected to be among that group. This is his first year of eligibility.

Other former NHL stars among the candidates include Tom Barrasso, Rod Brind’Amour, Corey Crawford, Patrik Elias, Theo Fleury, Sergei Gonchar, Curtis Joseph, Reggie Leach, Alexander Mogilny, Chris Osgood, Jeremy Roenick, Keith Tkachuk, Pierre Turgeon, Mike Vernon, Justin Williams and Henrik Zetterberg.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I will continue stumping for Butch Goring until he’s inducted or I shuffle off this mortal coil, whichever comes first.

MONTREAL HOCKEY NOW: The Canadiens yesterday re-signed Sean Monahan to a one-year, $1.985 million contract extension. The 28-year-old center was slated to become an unrestricted free agent (UFA) on July 1.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: After several injury-plagued years in Calgary, Monahan was enjoying a bounce-back performance this season until suffering a season-ending lower-body injury in December. He was a good addition to the rebuilding Canadiens, acting as a mentor to their young players while providing experienced depth at center.

This signing allows Monahan to continue playing a prominent role with the Canadiens and perhaps improve his stock in next summer’s free-agent market. He could also become a valuable asset for the Habs at next year’s trade deadline if he has a healthy and productive season.

MONTREAL GAZETTE: Speaking of the Canadiens, long-time goalie Carey Price and his family have put their Montreal-area home up for sale and are moving to Kelowna, BC. Price, 35, has three years remaining on his contract but is unofficially retired because of a knee injury.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Price carries an average annual value of $10.5 million. It’s expected the Canadiens will place him on long-term injury reserve, providing them with additional cap space to spend on other players this summer. There’s also speculation that Price could take up a player development role with the Habs.

CALGARY HOCKEY NOW: The Flames are allowing Milan Lucic to speak with other clubs about a new contract. The 35-year-old winger is slated to become a UFA on July 1.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Lucic is no longer the dominating power forward of his youth but he played a significant leadership for Canada during their gold-medal run at the 2023 IIHF World Championships. That could entice playoff contenders seeking veteran leadership and toughness to sign him to an affordable one-year contract.

TORONTO SUN: Terry Koshan cites a “well-placed source” dismissing rumors of the Maple Leafs buying out defenseman T.J. Brodie. He has one season left on his contract with an AAV of $5 million and a full no-trade clause until July 1 when it becomes a 10-team no-trade clause for 2023-24.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Someone in the media was likely musing over how the Leafs could garner some cap relief and suggested buying out Brodie. It got shared on social media and twisted around into the Leafs buying him out.

OTTAWA SUN: Bruce Garrioch reports it will take until September before the sale of the Senators to incoming owner Michael Andlauer is completed. Until then, he cannot make any changes to the club. That means he will have no say over possible offseason roster moves by general manager Pierre Dorion.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Dorion’s biggest potential move is his anticipated trade of Alex DeBrincat. Garrioch reports the Senators would like a first-round pick as part of the return for the 25-year-old winger, who refuses to ink a long-term extension with the club.

BUFFALO HOCKEY NOW: The Sabres have signed forward Zemgus Girgensons to a one-year contract extension worth $2.5 million. This move was made to preserve the club’s leadership group.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Girgensons is the longest-serving active member on the Sabres roster, having played nine seasons.

ARIZONA SPORTS: The Coyotes yesterday placed forward Zack Kassian and defenseman Patrik Nemeth on waivers for the purpose of buying out their contracts.

TSN: Player agent Ray Petkau confirmed clients James Reimer of the San Jose Sharks and Thomas Greiss of the St. Louis Blues will be hitting the UFA market on July 1.

DETROIT HOCKEY NOW: Red Wings general manager Steve Yzerman doesn’t anticipate trading his two first-round picks in the upcoming 2023 NHL Draft (June 28-29) in Nashville. The Red Wings hold picks No. 9 and No. 17.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Yzerman could change his mind if a rival GM makes a tempting offer but it doesn’t appear as though he’s actively shopping those picks.

NEW YORK POST: The Islanders signed restricted free agent defenseman Samuel Bolduc to a two-year, one-way contract worth an AAV of $800K.

Notable NHL Trades and Free Agent Signings – July 7, 2022

Notable NHL Trades and Free Agent Signings – July 7, 2022

Check out my take on the notable trades and free-agent signings leading up to and including the first round of the 2022 NHL Draft. This list will be updated as new trades and signings occur.

Edmonton Oilers trade winger Zack Kassian, the 29th overall pick in this year’s draft, a second-round pick in 2025 and a third-round pick in 2024 to the Arizona Coyotes for the 32nd overall pick in this year’s draft.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Oilers need to shed salary to acquire a starting goaltender and have enough space to re-sign or replace winger Evander Kane. It cost them two draft picks and dropped them down three places in the remainder of the first round but it sheds Kassian’s $3.2 million annual salary-cap hit through 2023-24.

The Toronto Maple Leafs traded goaltender Petr Mrazek and their first-round pick (25th overall) in this year’s draft to the Chicago Blackhawks in exchange for the 38th overall pick.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Such is the price necessary for the Leafs to ship out Mrazek and free up his $3.8 million annual average value through 2023-24. They’ll put those savings toward finding a suitable replacement for starting goalie Jack Campbell if they fail to re-sign him before the free-agent market opens next week.

As for the Blackhawks, GM Kyle Davidson is once again making moves to garner more first-round picks for his rebuilding club. He started the day without a pick in this round. He finished the night with three. He also takes on a goaltender in Mrazek but will need to find another if he doesn’t re-sign Kevin Lankinen or Colin Delia.

Montreal Canadiens trade defenseman Alexander Romanov and a fourth-round pick in 2022 to the New York Islanders in exchange for the 13th overall pick in the 2022 NHL Draft.

The Canadiens flip that pick and a third-rounder in this year’s draft to the Chicago Blackhawks for center Kirby Dach.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: According to reports, the Canadiens wanted more size up front. After selecting big Slovakian winger Juraj Slafkovsky with the first-overall pick, they acquired the 6’4”, 197-pound Dach, who was chosen third overall in 2019 by the Blackhawks.

To get Dach, however, the Canadiens needed another first-round pick, which is why they sent Romanov to the Islanders. This move leaves a gap on their blueline that they’ll have to fill at some point in the offseason. It could come from within by promoting one of their promising young defenseman like Kaiden Guhle or Justin Barron or from another trade or a free-agent signing if they’re looking for experience.

The Canadiens have added more size to their forward lines but they need to address that gap left by Romanov’s absence. The 22-year-old Russian moves the puck well and doesn’t shy away from making big hits. However, he’s had difficulties adjusting to the NHL game. The Isles gave up quite a bit to get him but it could be worth it if he plays up to his potential with his new club.

Dach showed flashes of promise during his three seasons in Chicago but was plagued by injuries and inconsistency. Still, he had time on his side to find his game. Perhaps a change of scenery will benefit him.

For the Blackhawks, it’s their second significant trade today, having shipped Alex DeBrincat to the Ottawa Senators this afternoon. These moves gave the rebuilding club two picks within the top 15 in this year’s draft, which they used to select defenseman Kevin Korchinski (sixth overall) and center Frank Nazar (13th overall). However, it came at the cost of shipping out their best goal scorer in DeBrincat and a promising center in Dach from their lineup.

Bold moves by the Canadiens and Blackhawks today. Time will tell if they pan out.

Minnesota Wild signed goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury to a two-year contract with an annual average value of $3.5 million.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s quite a pay cut for the 37-year-old Fleury from the $7 million annual average value of his previous contract. At this stage of his career, however, that should be expected. Earlier reports had the Wild trying to sign him to a one-year deal so he managed to squeeze an extra year out of the. With Cam Talbot under contract for $3.6 million next season, the Wild return with their tandem from the 2022 postseason.

The Chicago Blackhawks trade winger Alex DeBrincat to the Ottawa Senators in exchange for the seventh and 39th overall picks in the 2022 NHL draft plus the Senators’ third-round pick in 2024.

Chicago Blackhawks trade winger Alex DeBrincat to the Ottawa Senators (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Senators wanted a top-six winger to skate alongside Tim Stuetzle on the second line. DeBrincat should provide a big boost to their offense, coming off his second 41-goal season within the past five years.

The question now is whether the Senators can sign the 24-year-old DeBrincat to a contract extension. He’s a restricted free agent with arbitration rights next summer with a $6.4 million cap hit but will earn $9 million in actual salary. That’s also how much it’ll cost the Senators to qualify his rights because he signed his current contract in 2019 before the changes to the rate for qualifying offers. He’ll also be a year away from UFA eligibility next summer.

The Blackhawks wanted to get a top-10 pick after former general manager Stan Bowman traded away their pick last summer to Columbus in the Seth Jones trades. Some observers expected they’d get a bigger return than a first and a second in this year’s draft and a third in two years’ time. Nevertheless, if current GM Kyle Davidson can secure at least one future star out of those picks it could prove worthwhile for the rebuilding Hawks over the long term.

Pittsburgh Penguins sign Kris Letang to a six-year, $36.6-million contract extension. The 35-year-old defenseman was slated to become an unrestricted free agent on July 1.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: On the one hand, this isn’t the five-year deal between $8 million and $9 million annually that some sources had speculated. On the other, the Pens are paying an average of $6.1 million per season for a blueliner approaching his late-30s.

It’s a gamble by general manager Ron Hextall. Letang is coming off a career-best 68-point performance and should have around three more good seasons left. It’s those final three years that could make this contract burdensome down the road.

Hextall’s focus will shift toward Evgeni Malkin, who’s slated to become an unrestricted free agent on July 13. Recent speculation had the two sides discussing a three-year contract but they’re apparently far apart on the dollars.

New York Rangers trade goaltender Alexandar Georgiev to the Colorado Avalanche in exchange for a third and a fifth-round pick in the 2022 NHL Draft plus a third-rounder in 2023.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This means Darcy Kuemper will be departing the Avalanche as a free agent on July 13. Georgiev struggled at times during his tenure with the Rangers. However, he did play well filling in for starter Igor Shesterkin this season when he missed 11 games with a lower-body injury and a bout with COVID-19. Maybe he’ll have better luck in Colorado establishing himself as a starter than he did in New York.


NHL Rumor Mill – July 2, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – July 2, 2022

Check out the latest on Kris Letang, Evgeni Malkin, Filip Forsberg, Johnny Gaudreau, Alex DeBrincat, Jack Campbell and more, plus some contract buyout candidates in today’s NHL rumor mill.


SPORTSNET: Jeff Marek and Elliotte Friedman discussed the latest trade and free-agent speculation during their latest “32 Thoughts” podcast.

Regarding Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Kris Letang, Friedman said teams have told him there’s a path toward a deal between the club and the pending unrestricted free agent. He also indicated the same for the Nashville Predators and pending UFA winger Filip Forsberg.

Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Kris Letang (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Penguins were reportedly offering Letang a three-year contract while he sought a five-year deal said to be between $8 million and $9 million annually. Perhaps that path is a three-year contract at around $8.25 million? We’ll see.

Friedman suggested an eight-year deal at $8.5 million annually for Forsberg. There’s speculation the holdup could be the winger seeking a no-trade clause, which the Predators as a rule tend to avoid.

Friedman doesn’t think the Penguins are getting close to a deal with Evgeni Malkin.

SPECTOR’ S NOTE: Recent reports out of Pittsburgh say the same thing, though there’s talk the Penguins will shift their focus to Malkin once they sort out how much it’ll cost to retain Letang. It will also depend on how much of a pay cut Malkin is willing to accept to stay in Pittsburgh.

Turning to Johnny Gaudreau, Friedman said he wouldn’t be surprised if the Calgary Flames offered him an eight-year contract worth around $9.5 million. He believes the Flames are willing to be flexible.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: TSN’s Pierre LeBrun reported Thursday that Gaudreau hasn’t reached a decision yet. He suspects the winger will keep the Flames in the loop but wants to see what offers he’ll get on the open market.

Friedman also elaborated on a recent rumor he’d heard about an offer the Chicago Blackhawks received for Alex DeBrincat. He said it was a reasonably high first-round pick plus another first-round pick and a prospect. However, it wasn’t enough to get the deal done.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Montreal Canadiens, Columbus Blue Jackets, Buffalo Sabres, Anaheim Ducks, Winnipeg Jets and Arizona Coyotes have multiple picks in the first round of this year’s draft. Maybe one of those teams made that pitch for DeBrincat. Discuss!

Regarding his report of the Tampa Bay Lightning looking into shopping Ryan McDonagh, Friedman believes the St. Louis Blues could be among the suitors. He thinks the 32-year-old defenseman would be a good addition to their blueline.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Yes, he would, but his $6.75 million cap hit wouldn’t be when Cap Friendly shows them with just over $9 million in cap space and 18 players under contract for 2022-23. They must re-sign or replace pending UFA goaltender Ville Husso plus they’re keen to retain UFA winger David Perron. Unless Blues GM Doug Armstrong intends on shedding salary, he’ll have to pass on an opportunity to acquire McDonagh.

Friedman mused over the possibility of the Edmonton Oilers signing Toronto Maple Leafs goaltender Jack Campbell on July 13.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Edmonton pundits believe Oilers GM Ken Holland intends to go goalie-shopping after speaking with Mike Smith in the near future. He’ll need a starter if Smith retires or spends next season on their long-term injury reserve list.

Recent speculation out of Toronto claims the Leafs and Campbell aren’t close to a deal. He could see a multi-year deal worth over $5 million per season, which the Leafs currently can’t afford unless they dump some salary. I expect the Oilers will be among those lining up to speak with Campbell’s agent if the netminder is available on July 13.

Speaking of the Leafs, Friedman doesn’t see them acquiring goalie John Gibson from the Anaheim Ducks. They had previous talks with former Ducks GM Bob Murray without success. Friedman doesn’t see that changing with Pat Verbeek now in charge in Anaheim.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Gibson recently denied rumors claiming he would welcome a trade. He carries a $6.4 million cap hit through 2026-27 and a 10-team no-trade list. The Leafs could be on that list.

Finally, Friedman wonders if the New Jersey Devils will attempt to sign Blues goalie Ville Husso if he hits the open market on July 13.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Landing a reliable starting goalie is among the priorities for Devils GM Tom Fitzgerald. I wouldn’t be surprised at all if he’s among the general managers putting in calls to Husso’s agent on July 13.


THE HOCKEY NEWS: San Jose Sharks defenseman Marc-Edouard Vlasic topped Mike Stephens’ recent list of potential contract buyout candidates. The buyout window opened on July 1 and runs until 5 pm ET on July 12.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Sharks are still without a full-time replacement for general manager Doug Wilson. Still, it didn’t stop them from axing Bob Boughner as head coach on July 1.

I doubt they’ll find any takers for Vlasic in the trade market given his hefty contract and the decline in his play. We can’t rule out a buyout before July 12.

Edmonton Oilers defenseman Duncan Keith and winger Zack Kassian are also on Stephens’ list, as well as Toronto Maple Leafs goaltender Petr Mrazek and Ottawa Senators netminder Matt Murray.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Recent reports out of Edmonton suggest Kassian is a more likely buyout candidate than Keith, whose experience and leadership are still prized by Oilers management. They need to shed some salary to bolster their goaltending.

The Leafs could buy out Mrazek if they can’t find a trade partner for him before July 12. As for Murray, the Ottawa Sun’s Bruce Garrioch reported this week that the Sens aren’t likely to go that route.

SPORTSNET: Rory Boylen had Senators forward Colin White and Florida Panthers winger Patric Hornqvist on his list of buyout candidates.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Garrioch indicated White could indeed be bought out by the Senators. The Panthers could do the same if they can’t find a club to take him off their hands in the trade market.

NHL Rumor Mill – June 15, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – June 15, 2022

A look at some potential contract buyout candidates in today’s NHL rumor mill.


DAILY FACEOFF: Edmonton Oilers winger Zack Kassian and Ottawa Senators goaltender Matt Murray topped Frank Seravalli’s list of this offseason’s potential contract buyout candidates. The first contract buyout window is from July 1 – 12.

Kassian has two seasons remaining on his contract with an annual average value of $3.2 million. Murray also has two seasons remaining with a $6.25 million AAV.

Ottawa Senators goaltender Matt Murray (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I agree with Seravalli that Kassian could be bought out as he could prove difficult to move this summer via trade. The Senators, however, are reportedly willing to carry three goaltenders (including Murray) into next season.

That’s understandable given Murray’s cap hit. While the Sens have the cap space to absorb the two-thirds’ buyout for four seasons, that’s a long time to carry dead cap space, especially the $2.5 million per season over the final two years.

San Jose Sharks defenseman Marc-Edouard Vlasic, St. Louis Blues rearguard Marco Scandella and Vancouver Canucks winger Jason Dickinson fill spots three, four and five on Seravalli’s list. Vlasic has four more years at $7 million AAV left on his contract, Scandella has two more seasons at $3.275 million annually, and Dickinson has two more with an AAV of $2.65 million.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Vlasic’s buyout will sit on the Sharks’ books for eight years, with years three and four biting deeply into their cap space. Nevertheless, The Athletic’s Corey Masisak said in a recent mailbag segment that he considered a Vlasic buyout more likely than trading a blueliner like Brent Burns or Erik Karlsson. As Seravalli observed, carrying the full $7 million of the fading Vlasic’s contract for four more years would be worse than the buyout cost.

I see Scandella and Dickinson as buyout candidates if their respective teams can’t find anyone to trade their contracts off their hands in the trade market.

Nashville Predators defenseman Philippe Myers, Chicago Blackhawks forward Tyler Johnson and Pittsburgh Penguins winger Jason Zucker are six, seven and eight respectively on the list. Myers has a year remaining on his deal with an AAV of $2.55 million. Johnson has two more seasons at $5 million annually remaining while Zucker has a year left at $5 million.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Myers appears a likely buyout candidate. As Seravalli points out, the blueliner is 25 so his buyout is one-third the remaining value instead of two-thirds. Because his contract is also backloaded, the Predators would get a cap credit of over $616K for this season and be charged only $633K the following season. Seravalli suggests that could make Myers’s contract enticing in the trade market for cap-strapped clubs.

I think the rebuilding Blackhawks can afford to carry Johnson’s contract for at least one more season. The Penguins could also ride out the remaining year of Zucker’s deal if they can fit new contracts for Kris Letang and Evgeni Malkin into their current cap space. They could also retain up to half his cap hit in a trade or attempt to move him for another player with a comparable contract.

New York Rangers defenseman Patrik Nemeth and Boston Bruins winger Nick Foligno round out the top 10. Nemeth has two more years left with an AAV of $2.5 million while Foligno has one season remaining at $3.8 million.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Rangers could attempt to trade Nemeth but the way his contract is structured could make a buyout likely. The cap hit is $1 million for each season except for the second year, where they won’t be charged anything. As for Foligno, Boston Hockey Now’s Joe Haggerty reports the Bruins aren’t leaning that way.