NHL Rumor Mill – April 7, 2021

NHL Rumor Mill – April 7, 2021

The latest on Taylor Hall, Kyle Palmieri, Mike Hoffman and Josh Manson plus updates on the Leafs, Bruins, Flames, Oilers and more in today’s NHL rumor mill.

SABRES SCRATCH HALL AS TRADE TALKS INTENSIFY

TSN: Darren Dreger believes the Buffalo Sabres deciding to hold Taylor Hall out of last night’s game against the New Jersey Devils indicates trade talks regarding the 29-year-old left winger are picking up. “Thing have intensified with a couple of teams,” said Dreger, adding it’s unlikely Hall will still be a Sabre by Monday’s trade deadline.

SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman said sitting out Hall (and the New Jersey Devils doing the same with Kyle Palmieri) doesn’t mean anything’s imminent but more precautionary to avoid injury leading up to deadline day. He believes Sabres general manager Kevyn Adams is considering a number of scenarios big and small before the deadline, including perhaps listening to pitches for Jack Eichel.

Buffalo Sabres sit Taylor Hall ahead of the April 12 trade deadline (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Hall will be on the move by deadline day, it’s just a question of where and how much the Sabres can get for him. I doubt they’ll get a first-round pick. As for Eichel, that sort of trade happens in the offseason. Friedman feels Adams may be getting the lay of the land regarding what his captain’s trade value will be.

UPDATES ON THE LEAFS, BRUINS, FLAMES AND OILERS

TORONTO STAR: Mark Zwolinski said recent reports have the Maple Leafs linked to Devils winger Kyle Palmieri, Calgary Flames forward Sam Bennett and Nashville Predators defenseman Mattias Ekholm. An industry source told Zwolinski the Leafs have been heavily scouting Los Angeles Kings right-winger Adrian Kempe. They’re also believed eyeing Predators forward Mikael Granlund. Salary cap space is a major consideration as the Leafs are among nine teams with less than $1 million in cap room.

THE ATHLETIC (stick tap to THE SCORE): Leafs GM Kyle Dubas told Pierre LeBrun the play of forward Alex Galchenyuk has somewhat lessened his club’s urgency to add a forward. He cited how well Galchenyuk has fit in on a line with John Tavares and William Nylander. Nevertheless, the Leafs GM is keeping his options open as the deadline approaches.

SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman believes Dallas Stars defenseman Jamie Oleksiak would be a consideration for the Leafs if they pursue a depth blueliner.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kempe, 23, carries a $2 million cap hit and is a year away from becoming a restricted free agent with arbitration rights. He’s second among Kings scorers this season with 12 goals. Dubas has a trade history with the Kings but GM Rob Blake is under no pressure to move Kempe.

BOSTON HOCKEY NOW: Joe Haggerty reports rumors are swirling linking the Bruins to Devils winger Kyle Palmieri and defenseman Dmitry Kulikov to address their needs for a scoring winger and left-side blueline depth. The cost for Palmieri would likely be a first-round pick and a forward prospect.

SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman also hears the Bruins linked to Palmieri and Hall but also heard they don’t think adding a rental player is a good idea for the cost.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Giving up a first-rounder as part of the return for Palmieri makes sense only if the Bruins can re-sign him. Otherwise, they’re better off trying to find a winger with term remaining on his contract.

TSN: Frank Seravalli believes Calgary Flames GM Brad Treliving could be open to doing just about anything as his club slips further out of playoff contention. A couple of teams could be interested in Treliving’s plans for Johnny Gaudreau and Sean Monahan but deals like that typically happen in the offseason. Backup goaltender (and pending UFA) David Rittich is drawing some interest but things are quieter on lower-priced UFAs like Derek Ryan.

CALGARY SUN: Wes Gilbertson doesn’t expect any blockbuster moves by the Flames at the trade deadline. He can see Rittich, Ryan and Sam Bennett getting peddled as potential rentals in exchange for mid-round draft picks. He anticipates a more significant shakeup in the summer.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Big changes are likely coming for the Flames but we’ll have to wait until the offseason for those. Bennett, Rittich and Ryan are the most likely to be moved at the deadline.

SPORTSNET: Mark Spector doesn’t expect any movement by the Edmonton Oilers before the trade deadline. The Oilers are capped out and deep into their long-term injury reserve. GM Ken Holland made most of his significant moves during the offseason.

Elliotte Friedman isn’t convinced about the Oilers being among the suitors for Detroit Red Wings center Luke Glendening.

LATEST ON THE BLUES, DUCKS AND KINGS

TSN: Pierre LeBrun believes St. Louis Blues forwards Mike Hoffman and Tyler Bozak could be on the move before the deadline. GM Doug Armstong isn’t shy about trading underachieving UFAs when his club is in playoff contention.

STLTODAY.COM: Jeff Gordon believes Armstrong could become a seller if the Blues don’t reverse their fortunes soon. Hoffman could draw interest from teams seeking scoring depth such as the Boston Bruins, New York Islanders and Toronto Maple Leafs. Defenseman Vince Dunn could become a trade chip to restock their depth chart.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Hoffman turned into a big disappointment this season for the Blues. They might get a second-round pick for him at the trade deadline but his inconsistent play could make him a tough sell. Dunn would draw more interest but I don’t see him fetching a first-round pick. Maybe a prospect and/or a promising NHL-ready player.

TSN: Pierre LeBrun reports the Anaheim Ducks have had a few calls on Josh Manson. They still like the 28-year-old defenseman but given where they are in the standings and youth movement they have to listen. The Carolina Hurricanes and Winnipeg Jets are among the clubs with interest in Manson but the Ducks’ asking price is a first-round pick and a top prospect.

SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman reports the Ducks are seeking players between ages 19 and 23 who are ready to play but they’re really hard to find. He wondered if the Vegas Golden Knights might kick tires on Ducks captain Ryan Getzlaf.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Manson won’t be moving at the deadline if the Ducks maintain that asking price. GM Bob Murray said he won’t move Getzlaf unless the Ducks captain asks to be traded. So far, there’s no indication that’s happening.

If Getzlaf waives his no-movement clause the Golden Knights are unlikely to land him. The Las Vegas Sun’s Justin Emerson reports the flattened cap and a number of long-term contracts handed out in recent years limits what they could do at this year’s deadline.

Friedman also reported what the Los Angeles Kings do at the deadline could come down to whether they re-sign pending UFA forward Alex Iafallo. “They’ve been grinding away at it”, he said.

NOTABLE RUMORS FROM FRIEDMAN’S LATEST “31 THOUGHTS”.

SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman believes the Philadelphia Flyers are listening to offers for Scott Laughton. There hasn’t been much contract extension talk regarding the UFA center. He can see the Pittsburgh Penguins with interest in the Flyers forward.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Anything’s possible but I think Flyers GM Chuck Fletcher could look at moving Laughton to anyone except the Penguins.

The Colorado Avalanche have looked into adding a forward with an edge, a defenseman to replace what they lost in Ian Cole and sidelined Erik Johnson and a goaltender. They could be lurking on Kyle Palmieri.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Goaltending depth is their priority. They’d also like to add some muscle to their blueline. They’re already loaded with offensive depth up front.

Goaltenders to watch include San Jose’s Devan Dubnyk, Arizona’s Antti Raanta, Ottawa’s Anton Forsberg and perhaps some of the Carolina Hurricanes’ depth now that Petr Mrazek has returned from a fractured them. A wild rumor about the Hurricanes having an interest in Anaheim’s John Gibson was shot down by multiple sources.

The Florida Panthers have some decisions to make before the deadline. Do they carry goalies Chris Driedger and Spencer Knight? Add a scorer like Hall or Palmieri or add a defenseman. Sources say they want this season’s performance to be a multiple-year thing so they’re not going to rush into anything.

Tampa Bay Lightning could be a stealth team on Columbus Blue Jackets defenseman David Savard.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’ll have to be dollar-in, dollar-out. The Lightning are capped out this season.

Nashville Predators called the Winnipeg Jets about defense prospect Ville Heinola but the Jets don’t want to move him.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 20, 2019

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 20, 2019

Marc-Andre Fleury picks up his 450th career win, the Islanders tie a franchise-record points streak, and more in your NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: Vegas Golden Knights goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury picked up his 450th career win backstopping his club over the Toronto Maple Leafs 4-2. Fleury made a spectacular glove save on the Leafs’ Nic Petan in the third period. He sits just three wins behind New York Rangers netminder Henrik Lundqvist for sixth on the all-time list. The Leafs are winless in their last six games.

Vegas Golden Knights goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury picked up his 450th career victory in a 4-2 win over the Toronto Maple Leafs (Photo via NHL Images).

The New York Islanders tied a franchise record as their point streak reached 15 games in a 5-4 overtime win over the Pittsburgh Penguins. The Isles overcame a 4-2 deficit to force the extra frame. Brock Nelson scored twice, including the game-winning goal. Earlier in the day, the Penguins revealed center Nick Bjugstad will be sidelined longer than expected with an undisclosed ailment. Bjugstad was hurt during Friday’s loss to New Jersey.

Connor McDavid had his third-straight multi-point game as his Edmonton Oilers beat the San Jose Sharks 5-2. McDavid scored and set up two others while Leon Draisaitl picked up an assist to extend his points streak to 13 games.

The Colorado Avalanche held off the Calgary Flames 3-2, leaving the latter winless in their last five. Goaltender Philipp Grubauer made 30 saves in his first game since a five-game absence with a lower-body injury. Andre Burakovsky scored twice and Nathan MacKinnon collected two assists. Earlier in the day, the Flames revealed Sam Bennett is week-to-week with an upper-body injury. They also played without defenseman Travis Hamonic (lower body).

Florida Panthers goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky kicked out 35 shots in a 5-2 victory over the Philadelphia Flyers. Aleksander Barkov, Evgenii Dadonov, and Brett Connolly each collected two points for the Panthers, who picked up their fourth win in their last five games.

The Boston Bruins extended their points streak to five games by downing the New Jersey Devils 5-1. David Pastrnak and Matt Grzelcyk each scored twice for the Bruins, who were playing without center Patrice Bergeron (lower-body injury) for the second straight game. Devils goaltender Cory Schneider cleared waivers earlier in the day and was assigned to their AHL affiliate in Binghamton.

Pierre-Luc Dubois scored twice and set up another to give the Columbus Blue Jackets a 5-2 win over the Montreal Canadiens. The Jackets broke the game open with three third-period goals.

The St. Louis Blues snapped a three-game winless skid by defeating the Tampa Bay Lightning 3-1. Lightning winger Nikita Kucherov left the game with an upper-body injury in the second period following a hit from Brayden Schenn and didn’t return.

Connor Hellebuyck turned aside 38 shots as the Winnipeg Jets nipped the Nashville Predators 2-1. Patrik Laine and Nikolaj Ehlers were the goal scorers for the Jets as teammate Mathieu Perreault played in his 600th career NHL game. The Predators raised eyebrows by making Kyle Turris a healthy scratch.

The Carolina Hurricanes collected their fourth straight victory by doubling up the Chicago Blackhawks 4-2. Petr Mrazek made 30 saves while Nino Niederreiter had a goal and an assist for the Hurricanes.

Jamie Benn scored twice to lead the Dallas Stars over the Vancouver Canucks 6-1. Tyler Seguin, Corey Perry, and Miro Heiskanen each collected two points for the Stars, who’ve won four straight.

Zach Parise scored twice to lead the Minnesota Wild over the Buffalo Sabres 4-1. Alex Stalock made 30 saves for the Wild. The Sabres have just one win in their last nine contests.

Anthony Duclair tallied two goals and added an assist as the Ottawa Senators edged the Detroit Red Wings 4-3. Senators goalie Anders Nilsson made 35 stops.

IN OTHER NEWS…

SPORTSNET: Washington Capitals forward Garnet Hathaway will have a hearing today with the NHL’s department of player discipline for spitting at Anaheim Ducks defenseman Erik Gudbranson.

CBS SPORTS: The Los Angeles Kings placed Mario Kempe on unconditional waivers.

TSN: The NHL has renamed the NHL General Manager of the Year Award to the Jim Gregory General Manager of the Year Award. Gregory spent 10 seasons as the Toronto Maple Leafs GM and another 40 years as an NHL executive. He recently passed away at age 83.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 5, 2019

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 5, 2019

An update on NHL CBA talks, the latest on Connor McDavid, the Kings re-sign Adrian Kempe, the latest PTOs, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

TSN: NHL Player Association executive director Donald Fehr said the players haven’t decided if they’ll exercise their early opt-out of the collective bargaining agreement by the Sept. 15 deadline. The PA executive board and other players met in Chicago yesterday for an update on current negotiations with the NHL. No decisions were reached regarding the CBA. Talks with the league continue on Friday.

Fehr said discussions remain pleasant and cordial. “It doesn’t mean there haven’t been disagreements and significant disagreements, but it’s so far at least free from rancor,” he said. “That’s a big improvement.” The PA and the league haven’t discussed a possible extension of the Sept. 15 deadline.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Fehr’s statement was essentially status quo. He’s not going to tip the PA’s hand while negotiations with the league are ongoing but also won’t say anything that could put those talks in jeopardy.

Escrow payments likely remain among the “significant disagreements” Fehr was alluding to. Indeed, it’s the biggest, perhaps the only, impediment toward a new agreement or an extension of the current one.

As for extending the PA’s opt-out deadline, TSN’s Pierre LeBrun believes that won’t fly with the league as both sides would have to agree. If so, Sept. 15 remains the next significant milestone.

No certainly Edmonton Oilers captain Connor McDavid will be ready for the start of the season (Photo via NHL Images).

 THE SCORE: Player agent Jeff Jackson can’t say if client Connor McDavid will be fully recovered from a knee injury by the start of the Edmonton Oilers’ season on Oct. 2. The Oilers captain suffered the injury during the final game of the 2018-19 season. Jackson said McDavid hasn’t had any setbacks and is working toward getting ready for the start of training camp next week.

WINNIPEG SUN:Josh Morrissey confirmed contract-extension talks have begun with the Jets. The defenseman is slated to become a restricted free agent next summer. “I’d love to get something done. I’d love to play here throughout my career,” he said.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: After the recent departure of Jacob Trouba, Morrissey’s remarks will be music to the ears of Jets fans. 

LOS ANGELES TIMES: The Kings re-signed center Adrian Kempe to a three-year contract with an annual average value of $2 million.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: No surprise Kempe got a bridge deal. After a promising 37-point rookie campaign in 2017-18, Kempe managed just 28 points last season. Cap Friendly indicates the Kings now have over $74.7 million invested in 23 players for 2019-20.

VANCOUVER SUN: The Canucks inked restricted free agent winger Nikolay Goldobin to a one-year, $900K contract.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This is probably Goldobin’s last chance to prove himself as a reliable NHL regular with the Canucks. Another inconsistent effort could turn him into a waiver or trade candidate.

TSN: The Calgary Flames signed forwards Devante Smith-Pelly, Tobias Rieder, Zac Rinaldo, and Alexandre Grenier to professional tryout offers. Meanwhile, the Florida Panthers have brought back forward Troy Brouwer on a PTO.

STAR-TRIBUNE.COM: Winger Drew Stafford will attend Minnesota Wild training camp on a professional tryout offer.

COLUMBUS DISPATCH: Blue Jackets forward Sonny Milano and Colorado Avalanche forward A.J. Greer pleaded not guilty in a Manhattan court to an assault charge stemming from an incident in New York on July 7. Both will be permitted to skip their next court date next month because of their respective travel schedules.

THE SCORE: NBC Sports has removed Pierre McGuire from its No. 1 broadcast team, relegating him to the second game of their doubleheaders. McGuire will be replaced by Brian Boucher.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: McGuire has attracted criticism for his coverage in recent years. The Score observed he was “essentially forced to apologize for a series of awkward on-air exchanges with fellow analyst Kendall Coyne Schofield in January.”

THE HOCKEY NEWS: NHL commissioner Gary Bettman and former NHLers Tim Thomas and Brian Gionta are among this year’s inductees into the United States Hockey Hall of Fame.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The taciturn Thomas was part of the conference call with reporters following the announcement, marking his first public statement since his retirement in 2014. He alluded to a “state of nervousness” since his retirement, adding he doesn’t like traveling and prefers to keep his personal life to himself.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 4, 2019

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 4, 2019

Niklas Kronwall retires, Coyotes officially introduce Phil Kessel, the latest NHL CBA speculation, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

THE DETROIT NEWS: After 15 NHL seasons, all of them with the Red Wings, defenseman Niklas Kronwall announced his retirement yesterday. He’ll stay with the team as a special advisor to general manager Steve Yzerman, who praised Kronwall as one of the best two-way blueliners of his era.

Detroit Red Wings defenseman Niklas Kronwall retired after 15 NHL seasons (Photo via NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kronwall joined the Wings during their years as a league powerhouse, helping them reach two Stanley Cup Finals and winning the Cup in 2008. Known for his physical style of play, any player on the receiving end of his big hits were said to be “Kronwalled.” Yzerman already prepared for the possibility of Kronwall’s retirement, signing Patrik Nemeth this summer.

ARIZONA SPORTS: The Coyotes yesterday formally introduced winger Phil Kessel to the Arizona media. Acquired earlier this summer in a trade with the Pittsburgh Penguins, Kessel hopes to improve the Coyotes and grow their fan base.

THE HOCKEY NEWS: Ken Campbell believes escrow is the key to securing an extension to the current NHL collective bargaining agreement. It could be attained if the league figures out a way to reduce escrow payments by the players by four-to-six percent.

One way would be freezing or limiting the rise of the salary cap. If revenue keeps rising (especially under a new U.S. TV deal and player tracking technology that would increase revenue from legalized gambling), that would reduce the escrow claw-backs from players’ salaries.

Campbell points out that would mean less spendable money in the system. It would affect players seeking new contracts and lead to more contract buyouts, cost-cutting trades, and demotions to the minors.

Campbell also cites a league source claiming the NHLPA’s five-percent escalator could be abolished. “And now it’s a matter of needing your revenues to grow at a greater rate than the growth in the upper limit. So you either freeze the upper limit, which would bring a more dramatic reduction in escrow, or you fix the upper limit for a number of years.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’ll be interesting to see how the league and the PA address the escrow issue. The PA executive and other players will be meeting today in Chicago to review their current negotiations with the league and plan their next move. They have until Sept. 15 to exercise their early opt-out clause. However, there’s speculation that date could be extended up to Jan. 1 to allow more time to work out a three-year CBA extension to 2024-25.

YARDBARKER: The Los Angeles Kings are reportedly making progress with restricted free agent center Adrian Kempe. It’s expected he’ll sign a short-term bridge deal.

CBS SPORTS: Winger Stefan Noesen signed a professional tryout agreement with the Dallas Stars. Meanwhile, former 2013 first-round pick Kerby Rychel signed a one-year contract with KHL club Neftekhimik.

FOXSPORTS OHIO: Former Columbus Blue Jacket Jean-Luc Grand-Pierre has joined the club’s broadcast team as an in-studio analyst.

THE SCORE: Barrie Colts head coach and Hockey Hall-of-Famer Dale Hawerchuk is stepping aside for health reasons.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The club didn’t reveal any further details regarding Hawerchuk’s condition. Here’s hoping he gets well soon.

TSN: Rick Olcyzk joined the NHL’s Seattle expansion franchise. A former Toronto Maple Leafs scout, he also spent four seasons with the Carolina Hurricanes as an assistant general manager alongside Seattle GM Ron Francis.