NHL Rumor Mill – March 3, 2021

NHL Rumor Mill – March 3, 2021

The latest on Jack Eichel, the Leafs still shopping for a forward, plus updates on Dougie Hamilton, Tony DeAngelo and more in today’s NHL rumor mill.

LATEST EICHEL SPECULATION

SPORTSNET: In his latest “31 Thoughts” column, Elliotte Friedman acknowledged the trade speculation swirling about Buffalo Sabres captain Jack Eichel but doubts the 24-year-old center is moved by the April 12 trade deadline. He points out a number of teams cannot afford to take on his $10 million annual average value right now.

Could the New York Rangers or Los Angeles Kings try to acquire Jack Eichel from the Buffalo Sabres? (NHL Images)

Friedman thinks the Rangers could do it anytime they wanted but called some of the proposals out there “kinda crazy.” If the Sabres decide to trade Eichel it’ll be in the summer when teams have more salary-cap space to work with.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Athletic’s Craig Custance cited an NHL executive who believes Eichel will eventually wind up a Ranger. Another, however, felt the Los Angeles Kings would be a better match because they have the type of promising high-centers (Quinton Byfield, Alex Turcotte) the Rangers lack to offer up as trade bait.

Kings general manager Rob Blake has stuck to the mantra of the patient rebuild and it looks like it’s starting to pay off. He could be tempted to accelerate the process by acquiring Eichel. However, I wonder how keen he’d be to add another $10 million player to his roster with Anze Kopitar and Drew Doughty already on the books.

Speaking of the Rangers, the New York Post’s Larry Brooks believes it would be almost impossible for them to get into the bidding for Eichel and his $10 million AAV without first moving center Mika Zibanejad, who has a no-movement clause. Given Zibanejad’s struggles this season, finding a trade partner willing to gamble on him won’t be easy even if he agreed to waive his NMC.

LEAFS STILL SEEK A FORWARD

TSN: Darren Dreger reports the Toronto Maple Leafs still want to bolster their forward lines before the April 12 trade deadline. Some speculation linked the Leafs to Nashville Predators forward Mikael Granlund. Dreger thinks there could be a fit if the Predators agree to retain some of Granlund’s salary. The Leafs have the prospects and draft picks to make something happen.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Cap Friendly shows the Leafs with just over $130K of trade-deadline cap space. Granlund has over $2.1 million remaining of his $3.75 million salary for this season. No chance of a deal there unless the Preds absorb a considerable chunk of his salary or take back a contract of equal or greater value.

HURRICANES UNLIKELY TO MOVE HAMILTON

TSN: Pierre LeBrun reports contract talks between the Carolina Hurricanes and pending UFA defenseman Dougie Hamilton have gone quiet since last month. The Hamilton camp could prefer a deal comparable to what Alex Pietrangelo received from the Vegas Golden Knights while the Hurricanes prefer something similar to what Torey Krug got with the St. Louis Blues. LeBrun doesn’t believe they’ll trade Hamilton, preferring to deal with this before the UFA market opens on July 28.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: As LeBrun points out, the Hurricanes are all-in this year. Hamilton’s contract discussions will be set aside until the season is over.

UPDATE ON DEANGELO

TSN: Frank Seravalli reports former New York Rangers defenseman Tony DeAngelo has told the club he’s willing to accept being loaned to an American Hockey League team. He’s not welcome with their AHL affiliate in Hartford but the Rangers are willing to facilitate sending him to another club. Servalli believes it’ll take another NHL team stepping up to make that happen.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Several NHL teams were rumored to have an interest in DeAngelo earlier this season. However, that has dried up as his personal baggage made him too toxic. It’ll be interesting to see if one of those interest parties might give him an opportunity to skate below the media radar with their AHL farm team.

OTHER RUMORS OF NOTE

Seravalli reports Arizona Coyotes defenseman Alex Goligoski could be added to the TSN NHL Trade Bait board. He’s a pending UFA playing top-pairing minutes but there hasn’t been any contract extension talks between the two sides.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Goligoski has an eight-team no-trade list and a $5.45 million AAV. The latter could prove the more significant sticking point in any trade discussions.

Friedman reports the Columbus Blue Jackets are in the market for centers…The Boston Bruins and Philadelphia Flyers are eyeing defensemen but both must monitor their expansion draft protection lists…Teams seeking goalie depth might ask the Sabres about Jonas Johansson…The LA Kings hope to re-sign pending UFA forward Alex Iafallo.










NHL Trade Speculation Swirling About Struggling Predators

NHL Trade Speculation Swirling About Struggling Predators

 










NHL Rumor Mill – March 1, 2021

NHL Rumor Mill – March 1, 2021

Could the Bruins acquire Jack Eichel? Is there interest in Canadiens goalie Carey Price? Could the Kings pursue Ryan Graves? What’s the latest on the Ducks? Find out in today’s NHL rumor mill.

LATEST BRUINS SPECULATION

THE ATHLETIC: Fluto Shinzawa suggests the Boston Bruins should look into acquiring Jack Eichel should the Buffalo Sabres center become available in the trade market. They can only count on aging centers Patrice Bergeron and David Krejci for only so long.

Could the Boston Bruins pursue Buffalo Sabres center Jack Eichel if he becomes available in the trade market? (NHL Images).

Eichel’s no-trade protection doesn’t kick in until 2022-23, giving the Sabres a wide selection of possible trade partners before then. The Bruins could fit his $10 million annual average value within their salary cap payroll if they don’t re-sign Krejci and fellow UFA Tuukka Rask this summer.

The Sabres’ asking price, however, will be expensive, with a source suggesting it could cost the Bruins at least Charlie McAvoy and Trent Frederic. Multiple bidders with a deeper pool of promising players and prospects could drive that price even higher.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Eichel would be a great fit between Brad Marchand and David Pastrnak. I don’t doubt the Bruins would inquire if the Sabres put him on the trade block but they lack sufficient available young players to outbid other clubs. They certainly won’t part with McAvoy. They’ll also re-sign Rask because they lack a viable replacement. They’d still have sufficient cap space to acquire Eichel after signing Rask but it would leave very little room to flesh out the rest of the roster for next season.

BOSTON HOCKEY NOW (via FLORIDA HOCKEY NOW): Jimmy Murphy cites an NHL source telling him Bruins general manager Don Sweeney would still like to add a top-four left side defenseman. The source suggests Sweeney will keep tabs on blueliners like St. Louis’ Vince Dunn or Nashville’s Mattias Ekholm but wonders if ownership might limit how much money he can add to the payroll.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Dunn would be more affordable than Ekholm if Sweeney is interested in either guy. The Blues defenseman is on a one-year, $1.85 million contract while the Predator rearguard is signed through 2021-22 with an annual average value of $3.75 million.

TEAMS INTERESTED IN PRICE?

Murphy cited numerous NHL sources claiming several teams contacted the Montreal Canadiens last October about Carey Price’s availability. The Edmonton Oilers and Colorado Avalanche were believed among the interested clubs.

The Canadiens are standing by Price, who played well in last year’s postseason but is struggling this season. Murphy wondered if there would still be a market for the veteran netminder if the Habs decided a change of scenery might be best for all concerned.

One source told Murphy he feels Price still has value and could turn things around but his contract would be a sticking point. The best-case scenario would be trading Price in the offseason if he regains his form and plays well the rest of the season and into the playoffs.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Price has five years remaining on his contract. He also has a full no-movement clause so he controls his situation. If (and that’s a big IF) he agreed to be traded the Canadiens will have to pick up at least 20 percent (probably more) of his $10.5 million annual average value or take back a toxic contract in return to make the deal palatable to the acquiring club.

KINGS EYEING GRAVES?

Murphy noted TSN’s Darren Dreger last week reporting the Los Angeles Kings sought a young, dynamic left-shot defenseman. A source confirmed they looked into Vince Dunn and suggested Ryan Graves of the Colorado Avalanche could be a viable trade target. There’s a good chance the Avs could lose Graves to the Seattle Kraken in this summer’s expansion draft.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Graves could be a good fit with the Kings but I don’t think the Avs are in any hurry to move him this season. As Murphy’s source suggested, that could be a deal that takes place in the offseason before the expansion draft.

UPDATE ON THE DUCKS

THE ATHLETIC: Eric Stephens cites a high-ranking NHL executive saying there would be interest in Anaheim Ducks veterans such as Adam Henrique, Jakob Silfverberg, Cam Fowler and even Ryan Getzlaf. However, the Ducks would have to retain some of their salaries if they hoped to move them.

Stephens believes that would mean the Ducks absorb 50 percent of Henrique’s $5.8 million AAV over the remaining three years of his contract. Getzlaf is a UFA this summer but carries a full no-movement clause and few teams can afford his $8.25 million cap hit.

Players that would be easier to move based on age, contract lengths and past performance include Hampus Lindholm and Rickard Rakell. Josh Manson’s been mentioned in trade rumors but he’s been hurt this season and struggled during the last two years.

Stephens said Ducks GM Bob Murray is open to making a deal, pointing to recent reports suggesting shipping forward Danton Heinen to the Vancouver Canucks for Jake Virtanen. The sticking point is Virtanen will make $3.4 million in actual salary next season. As of Saturday night, that deal appeared dead or dormant.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Ducks simply have too many expensive veterans on contracts far too long for teams to absorb under a flattened salary cap. If they don’t pick up part of those salary-cap hits they won’t be able to move them unless they take back toxic contracts as part of the return.

Rakell’s AAV is $3.789 million through 2021-22 while Lindholm’s is $5.205 million over the same period. If Getzlaf is willing to move the Ducks will have to pick up part of his cap hit but could be willing to do so since it’s just for the remainder of this season.










The Best NHL Teams To Bet…And Bet Against

The Best NHL Teams To Bet…And Bet Against

 










NHL Rumor Mill – February 26, 2021

NHL Rumor Mill – February 26, 2021

The latest on Filip Forsberg plus the latest on the Canucks and Kings in today’s NHL rumor mill.

SHOULD THE PREDATORS ENTERTAIN OFFERS FOR FORBERG?

THE ATHLETIC: Adam Vingan cited Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman’s recent reports indicating there are only three untouchables (Roman Josi, Ryan Ellis and Pekka Rinne) on the Nashville Predators. While he didn’t say they’re dangling Filip Forsberg the wording of his report suggests they wouldn’t immediately dismiss offers for the 26-year-old winger

Nashville Predators winger Filip Forsberg (NHL Images).

Forsberg is a scorer in his prime who’s a year away from unrestricted free agent eligibility. If they shop him, Vingan speculated he could fetch something comparable to what the Ottawa Senators received from the Vegas Golden Knights at the March 2019 trade deadline for Mark Stone. As part of the return, the Sens got highly-touted defense prospect Erik Brannstrom and a second-round pick.

Vingan speculates it could cost the Predators between $7.5 million and $8 million annually to sign Forsberg to a contract extension. They could attempt to clear cap space by trading Ryan Johansen or Matt Duchene but moving their respective $8 million annual salary-cap hits will be difficult.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Predators could listen to offers for Forsberg but I doubt they’ll get anything to their liking at this year’s trade deadline, especially with so many teams capped out because of the effects of COVID-19 upon this season’s salary cap. They could get better offers in the offseason when teams have more cap space to work with and a willingness to make a big move for someone like Forsberg.

I think the Predators prefer keeping Forsberg. He’s their best forward and the only one who consistently produces. If he’s willing to stick around as the Predators rebuild they should try to free up sufficient cap space to keep him. Ditching Johansen or Duchene would go a long way toward that goal but their poor performance and high cap hits hurt their trade value.

LATEST ON THE CANUCKS AND KINGS

TSN: Pierre LeBrun reports Vancouver Canucks general manager Jim Benning has been working the phones of late seeking a top-nine under-25 forward who can fit with his young core.

THE ATHLETIC: Harman Dayal and Thomas Drance cited Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman saying he’d heard Vancouver Canucks winger Jake Virtanen was linked to the Anaheim Ducks but the second year of his deal is a bit of an issue. The Canucks have little to lose at this point by occasionally giving Virtanen top-six minutes to try to bolster his trade value.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Benning could be dangling Virtanen or Adam Gaudette in hopes of bringing in that young forward but I doubt either guy can fetch that return. He could try bundling them into a package deal but that probably won’t draw much interest. Virtanen’s annual average value is $2.55 million while Gaudette ($950K) is a restricted free agent this summer.

Darren Dreger reports Los Angeles King GM Rob Blake seeks a dynamic left-shot defenseman who is 25-or-younger. The Kings have an abundance of forwards. Dreger believes if a deal could be found similar to the Seth Jones for Ryan Johansen swap a few years ago between the Columbus Blue Jackets and Nashville Predators that Blake would be all over it.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Finding that type of deal could be difficult during this unusual season but not impossible. We already saw a notable trade last month where the Jackets shipped Pierre-Luc Dubois to the Winnipeg Jets for Patrik Laine and Jack Roslovic.

Still, I don’t think Blake is in a rush to make that move during this season. If he can’t find what he seeks now he can wait until the offseason to do it.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 25, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 25, 2021

Recaps of Wednesday’s games plus updates on Artemi Panarin, Tomas Hertl, Jason Zucker and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: Tampa Bay Lightning goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy turned in a 25-save shutout in a 3-0 blanking of the Carolina Hurricanes. Alex Killorn collected two assists and rookie Ross Colton tallied his first NHL goal as the Lightning (25 points) move to within one point of the first-place Florida Panthers in the Discover Central Division.

Speaking of the Panthers, they fell 3-0 to the Dallas Stars. Anton Khudobin kicked out 43 shots for the shutout and Joe Pavelski picked up two assists as the Stars snapped a six-game winless skid.

Philadelphia Flyers captain Claude Giroux (NHL Images)

Philadelphia Flyers captain Claude Giroux picked up three assists after coming off the COVID-19 protocol list as his club held off the New York Rangers 4-3. Rangers winger Chris Kreider tallied a hat trick and Mika Zibanejad has two assists.

William Nylander scored the tying and winning goals as the Toronto Maple Leafs edged the Calgary Flames 2-1 in overtime. Flame goalie David Rittich made 37 saves as he was denied his second straight shutout of the Leafs.

Minnesota Wild winger Zach Parise tallied his 800th career point and teammate Mats Zuccarello got his 400th in a 6-2 victory over the Colorado Avalanche. Nico Sturm also scored twice as the Wild (20 points) have won four straight games to sit one point behind the fourth-place Arizona Coyotes in the Honda West Division.

Speaking of the Coyotes, they overcame a 3-0 deficit to defeat the Anaheim Ducks for the second straight game. Phil Kessel had a goal and an assist for Arizona as they took the game on a shootout goal by Christian Dvorak. Coyotes backup Adin Hill made 14 saves in relief of Darcy Kuemper after the latter left the game with a lower-body injury.

The Los Angeles Kings picked up their sixth straight victory by hanging on for a 2-1 win over the St. Louis Blues. Cal Petersen turned aside 35 shots for the win on second-period goals by Alex Iafallo and Andreas Athanasiou.

HEADLINES

ESPN.COM: Emily Kaplan reports the Kontinental Hockey League said it had not been made aware of or received any complaint in relation to any incident involving Artemi Panarin back in December 2011.

Panarin’s former KHL coach Andrei Nazarov alleged the Rangers winger assaulted a young woman in a bar following a game in Riga, Latvia. The KHL said it would’ve investigated any such complaint as they take allegations of misconduct “incredibly seriously”.

To date, there’s been no corroborating evidence to support Nazarov’s allegation. No victim has come forward nor has there been any police record of the alleged incident. Kip Brennan and Jon Mirasty, two of Panarin’s former Vityaz teammates, both said they never knew or heard of the incident taking place.

Another former teammate, Mikhail Anisin, told Russian outlet Sport-Express the incident didn’t play out as Nazarov described, recalling Panarin “didn’t beat anyone, maybe pushed one girl a little bit, nothing more” in a karaoke bar. Anisin said police did come to the team hotel but left after determining the situation didn’t warrant charges. He also rejected the notion of the police being paid off as the players at the time didn’t have that type of money.

Panarin remains on a leave of absence from the Rangers as he deals with this situation. NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly said the league is looking into the allegations. Kaplan said it would be uncharacteristic of the league to punish Panarin without corroborating evidence.

NEW YORK POST: Mollie Walker also cited Anisin’s comments. She also spoke with Maxim Sitnikov, who briefly played with Panarin during that season. Sitnikov also denied the alleged incident took place, praising the winger’s character and rejecting what he called “villains” saying “all sorts of nonsense.” Walker cited two more former Vityaz players who requested to remain anonymous agreeing with Brennan’s and Mirasty’s version of events.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The allegation against Panarin is quickly falling apart. Unless Nazarov can produce evidence to corroborate his story he should withdraw his comments and issue an apology to the Rangers’ star.

SPORTSNET: The NHL postponed Thursday’s game between the San Jose Sharks and Vegas Golden Knights after a Sharks player tested positive for COVID-19. Sharks center Tomas Hertl was placed on the league’s COVID-19 list yesterday. New York Rangers defenseman K’Andre Miller was also added to the list, which is now down to eight players, four of them members of the Flyers.

PITTSBURGH HOCKEY NOW: Penguins winger Jason Zucker has returned to Pittsburgh for further evaluation for what appeared to be an injured knee or ankle suffered during their recent game against the Washington Capitals.

NBC SPORTS BOSTON: Bruins defenseman Jeremy Lauzon is sidelined at least a month with a fractured hand.

TSN: The Penguins yesterday claimed defenseman Mark Friedman off waivers from the Philadelphia Flyers.

CBC SPORTS: Vancouver Canucks forward Antoine Roussel was fined $5,000.00 by the NHL for roughing Edmonton Oilers winger Jesse Pulujarvi on Tuesday.

THE NEWS & OBSERVER: The Carolina Hurricanes will soon be allowed to admit some fans to their games following North Carolina governor Roy Cooper’s announcement yesterday that indoor arenas can open to 15 percent capacity.

NHL.COM: Former NHL goaltender Gary Inness passed away on Feb. 23 from dementia at age 71. Inness played 162 NHL games with the Pittsburgh Penguins, Philadelphia Flyers and Washington Capitals from 1973-74 to 1980-81. He also coached the AHL’s Hershey Bears from 1981-82 to 1984-85. Following his hockey career, he became a teacher and guidance counselor at Barrie North Collegiate Institute until his retirement in 2010.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: My condolences to Inness’ family, friends and former teammates.