NHL Rumor Mill – November 18, 2021

NHL Rumor Mill – November 18, 2021

A look at some options for the Islanders to replace the sidelined Ryan Pulock, possible goalie targets for the Oilers, and the latest on the Canadiens in today’s NHL rumor mill.

THE ATHLETIC: Arthur Staple examined possible options for the New York Islanders to replace sidelined defenseman Ryan Pulock, who’s out four to six weeks with a lower-body injury.

General manager Lou Lamoriello could look to within his system. He could give younger defensemen like Noah Dobson more playing time, turn to a veteran like Thomas Hickey, or call up Robin Salo.

Dallas Stars defenseman John Klingberg (NHL Images).

If Lamoriello decides to go the trade route, Staple suggested inquiring into the availability of Arizona Coyotes defenseman Jakob Chychrun or Dallas Stars blueliner John Klingberg. Less expensive options could include the Seattle Kraken’s Mark Giordano or Vince Dunn, the Montreal Canadiens’ Ben Chiarot or the St. Louis Blues’ Marco Scandella.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I don’t rule out Lamoriello pursuing a deal for a defenseman but I think he’ll look to within for the time being. Staple was merely suggesting possible trade options. There’s no indication any of those defensemen he mentioned are available.

The Coyotes aren’t moving Chychrun unless he requests a trade. They see him as a key piece in their rebuilding process. The Stars are talking contract with Klingberg and I don’t think they’ve reached the point where they’re considering a trade. I doubt the Kraken are planning to move Giordano or Dunn right now. The same goes for the Canadiens with Chiarot and the Blues with Scandella.

Anything’s possible, of course, and if Lamoriello’s willing to overpay maybe he could acquire one of those defensemen. However, I wouldn’t hold my breath waiting for one of them to be suiting up with the Isles over the next six weeks.

THE ATHLETIC: Allan Mitchell recently observed Edmonton Oilers GM Ken Holland doesn’t have a history of swinging trades this early in the season. He usually waits until the trade deadline if his club is in contention and his roster has a need to be filled.

Goaltender Mike Smith’s recent injury has given some cause for concern. Mitchell suggested the Detroit Red Wings’ Thomas Greiss, New Jersey Devils’ Jonathan Bernier, Chicago Blackhawks’ Marc-Andre Fleury and the Dallas Stars’ Anton Khudobin or Braden Holtby if the Oilers should need help between the pipes.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Some folks have already started linking Fleury to the Oilers but I’d keep an eye on the Dallas Stars. Ben Bishop has been practicing with the club for several weeks but they’re taking it slow to ensure he’s 100 percent recovered from last year’s knee surgery. They also can’t activate him off long-term injury reserve without clearing some cap space.

NHL.com’s Mike Heika speculated they could move Khudobin or Holtby though doing so could put the Stars in a bind if Bishop got hurt again. They do have promising Jake Oettinger that they could call up but they could prefer letting him spend this season with the farm team before bringing him up full time.

SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman believes the Montreal Canadiens would consider adding a puck-moving defenseman.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That’s a move that might not happen until the offseason. The Canadiens are sinking like a sunset in the standings and there’s not much available in the trade market to help them right now.










NHL Rumor Mill – October 26, 2021

NHL Rumor Mill – October 26, 2021

The latest Jack Eichel speculation and more on John Klingberg’s contract negotiations in today’s NHL rumor mill.

SPORTSNET: Jeff Marek and Elliotte Friedman once again discussed Jack Eichel’s ongoing standoff with the Buffalo Sabres. Friedman talked about the possibility of Eichel perhaps filing a grievance through the NHL Players Association if there’s not a resolution to this impasse soon. Talk of a grievance suggests the possibility of a trade or a decision on his medical situation isn’t as close as they hoped it would be.

Buffalo Sabres center Jack Eichel (NHL Images).

Friedman mentioned several teams are continuing to engage at times. Marek brought up the Vegas Golden Knights but Friedman pointed out Eichel won’t be able to help them right now though he thinks they’ve been in and out on this for a while.

Marek also talked about the Seattle Kraken, pointing out they’re not in win-now mode like the Golden Knights. However, Friedman said he hasn’t heard much about the Kraken having an interest in the Sabres captain.

Friedman said the teams he’s wondered about regarding Eichel are the Golden Knights, Calgary Flames, Anaheim Ducks, New York Rangers, Colorado Avalanche, Carolina Hurricanes, Columbus Blue Jackets and Boston Bruins. Right now, he doesn’t get the sense that anyone’s close.

He hasn’t heard as much about the Ducks as he had in the past. He doesn’t see the Rangers doing it now that they’ve signed Mika Zibanejad unless somebody retains part of Eichel’s salary. The same goes for the Minnesota Wild. The Avalanche has been around in a minor way. He looks at the Bruins’ situation and the Sabres’ expensive asking price and wonders if they can do it.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The only teams I believe can acquire Eichel at this time are those with plenty of salary-cap space and tradeable assets who can afford to wait for him to return from the disc replacement surgery he seeks.

Only the rebuilding Ducks fit that description right now. The Blues Jackets are another possibility but that could depend upon their performance as this seasons rolls along.

The Sabres aren’t budging from their asking price, which is reportedly a return equal to four first-round draft picks. They’re also refusing to retain any of Eichel’s salary. They can afford to wait for an interested team to meet their asking price.

A trade could be made involving a third team that agrees to retain part of Eichel’s salary. However, they’ll want a significant return from the club they ship him to in order to make carrying that dead cap space worthwhile for the next four seasons.

THE ATHLETIC: Saad Yousef recently followed up on Jeff Marek’s report indicating Dallas Stars defenseman John Klingberg’s camp is seeking an eight-year deal worth between $62 million and $68 million. That would put his annual average value between $7.75 million and $8.25 million.

Yousef, however, cites sources confirming that’s just the starting point for Klingberg’s contract. The belief is the defenseman is a $9 million to $9.5 million player. Yousef speculates Klingberg might have to accept less than $9 million if he wants the full eight-year deal or a shorter-term if he seeks over $9 million.

Klingberg’s camp hasn’t taken a hard line in these negotiations. The defenseman has made it known he wants to stay in Dallas.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Stars have $58.3 million invested in 14 players for 2022-23. With Joe Pavelski and Alexander Radulov coming off their books, they’ll have enough room to re-sign Klingberg.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 25, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 25, 2021

Red Wings rookie Lucas Raymond joins some elite company, the Sharks and Wild are no longer undefeated, the Islanders’ Ilya Sorokin collects his second straight shutout and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: Detroit Red Wings rookie Lucas Raymond tallied his first NHL hat track and collected an assist in a 6-3 victory over the Chicago Blackhawks. The 19-year-old joins Steve Yzerman as the only teenagers in franchise history to tally a hat trick. Raymond, Yzerman and Gordie Howe are also the only teens in Wings history to net four points in a game. Dylan Larkin collected three assists and Tyler Bertuzzi added a goal and two assists in his return to the lineup. The Blackhawks got Erik Gustafsson and Ryan Carpenter back from COVID protocol but Jujhar Khaira and Riley Stillman were added to the protocol before game time.

Detroit Red Wings forward Lucas Raymond (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Now the Red Wings general manager, Yzerman draft Raymond with the fourth-overall pick in the 2020 NHL Draft. The youngster leads all rookies this season with four goals and seven points. Meanwhile, the Blackhawks are winless in six and have yet to hold a lead in a game this season. . Patrick Kane also missed this game as he remained in COVID protocol.

The San Jose Sharks suffered their first defeat of the season as the Boston Bruins held on for a 4-3 win. Brad Marchand, David Pastrnak and Patrice Bergeron each had two points for the Bruins. The Sharks made it close with third-period goals by Tomas Hertl and Timo Meier.

Romas Josi collected four points (1 goal, three assists), Ryan Johansen scored twice and rookie goalie Connor Ingram made 33 saves in his NHL debut as the Nashville Predators downed the Minnesota Wild 5-2, handing the latter their first loss of the season. Predators forwards Matt Duchene and Filip Forsberg each had two points. Nashville winger Eeli Tolvanen left the game with an upper-body injury.

New York Islanders goaltender Ilya Sorokin collected his second straight shutout to blank the Vegas Golden Knights 2-0. Sorokin kicked out 42 shots while teammates Josh Bailey and Mathew Barzal scored the only goals. The Golden Knights’ record stands at 1-4-0 to start the season.

HEADLINES

OTTAWA SUN: Senators goaltender Matt Murray was placed on injured reserve with a head/neck injury following a collision with New York Rangers winger Chris Kreider on Saturday. There is no timetable for his return.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Injuries continue to dog Murray, who missed 16 games last season with lower-body injuries.

NBC SPORTS BAY AREA: Speaking of the Senators, they sent a seventh-round pick in the 2022 draft to the San Jose Sharks for center Dylan Gambrell.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Trade rumors linked the Senators to a center named Dylan. Many assumed it was the Blackhawks’ Dylan Strome. Injuries to Colin White and Shane Pinto made this move necessary for the Senators to shore up their depth at center.

THE DALLAS MORNING NEWS: John Klingberg is expected to return to the lineup tonight against the Columbus Blue Jackets. The defenseman has been sidelined by a lower-body injury since their season opener on Oct. 14.

SPORTSNET: Anaheim Ducks captain Ryan Getzlaf was fined $1,000.00 for a dangerous trip of Minnesota Wild center Joel Eriksson Ek on Oct. 23.

NHL: The department of player safety also fined Philadelphia Flyers winger Nicolas Aube-Kubel $2,687.50 for kneeing Florida Panthers winger Mason Marchment on Oct. 23.










NHL Rumor Mill – October 20, 2021

NHL Rumor Mill – October 20, 2021

Check out the latest on Evander Kane, Travis Hamonic, Claude Giroux, Ryan Getzlaf and more in today’s NHL rumor mill.

NO CONTRACT TERMINATION FOR EVANDER KANE

TSN: Chris Johnston reports the San Jose Sharks cannot terminate Evander Kane’s contract due to his 21-game suspension for using a fake COVID-19 vaccination card. He cites two sources as saying the collective bargaining agreement (CBA) doesn’t allow them to do so.

SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman reports he doesn’t believe the league sought to terminate the contract and the NHL Players Association would have fought it.

San Jose Sharks winger Evander Kane (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Johnston and Friedman wondered what happens with Kane once his suspension ends in late November. They agree that a trade is pretty much unlikely right now.

Will he be welcomed back by his teammates or has his behavior since last season irreparable damaged their relationship? If so, will management bury him in the minors or tell him to just stay home? That’s something they’ll have to sort out with Kane once he serves his suspension.

UPDATE ON TRAVIS HAMONIC

TSN: Pierre LeBrun noted the void Travis Hamonic’s absence leaves on the Vancouver Canucks blueline. The 31-year-old defenseman is currently on what the club is calling a temporary leave of absence for personal reasons. They currently intend to stick with the rearguards they have while remaining hopeful Hamonic will return at some point this season.

SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman believes the Canucks placed Hamonic on a leave of absence because a suspension is a road no one is willing to travel. He cites sources saying there’s more to this situation than meets the eye, which is why the club is remaining patient

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That could change, however, if there’s no change in Hamonic’s status and his absence becomes an ongoing issue on the ice.

RUMORS FROM FRIEDMAN’S LATEST “32 THOUGHTS”.

Elliotte Friedman cites Al Morganti stirring things up last week by suggesting Philadelphia Flyers captain Claude Giroux would be happy to play for the Ottawa Senators. There were rumors about the two clubs talking this summer but Friedman looked into it and got multiple denials.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Asked about the possibility of Giroux moving this season, Morganti said the only place he could see him willingly go to was Ottawa, where he resides in the offseason. He was only referring to a hypothetical situation where the Flyers shop Giroux if they’re unable to re-sign him before the March 21 trade deadline. As I noted yesterday, that will depend on whether the Flyers are sellers by that point, if Giroux is willing to waive his full no-movement clause to facilitate a trade, and if the Senators are in a position to acquire a big-name player as a playoff rental.

Keep an eye on the Anaheim Ducks over the course of this season. Ryan Getzlaf, Hampus Lindholm, Josh Manson and Rickard Rakell are all unrestricted free agents at season’s end. Friedman doesn’t get the sense contract extensions are close in any case.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Getzlaf has a full no-movement clause in his one-year contract. However, he said last season he’d accept a trade if the return would help the Ducks. The others lack his full no-trade protection.

New York Rangers coach Gerard Gallant personally called winger Vitali Kravtsov hoping to convince him to return. The young winger is back in Russia but several teams say they’ve been told he wants to play somewhere in the NHL where he’ll get a fresh start. He indicated the Rangers seek a high price for the 2018 first-rounder but there’s definite interest.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Friedman didn’t elaborate as to what that high price might be. TSN’s Chris Johnston last week speculated it could be a return comparable to what the Rangers got from the Los Angeles Kings (second-round pick) in the Lias Andersson trade. Andersson was another first-round pick who didn’t pan out for the Blueshirts.

The Ottawa Senators will ask real value for Erik Brannstrom from teams calling about him. The 21-year-old defenseman still hasn’t landed a full-time roster spot but the Senators recognize his talent.

Friedman also touched on the Buffalo Sabres’ unwillingness to retain salary in a Jack Eichel trade and how much Dallas Stars defenseman John Klingberg is seeking on his next contract.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Friedman spoke about those during Saturday’s Hockey Night in Canada telecast and were duly noted in last Sunday’s NHL Rumor Roundup.










Sunday NHL Rumor Mill – October 17, 2021

Sunday NHL Rumor Mill – October 17, 2021

Check out the latest on Jack Eichel, the potential cost for the Rangers to re-sign Adam Fox and the Stars’ contract talks with John Klingberg in the Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup.

SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman reports one of the biggest hurdles to getting a Jack Eichel trade done is the Buffalo Sabres’ unwillingness to retain any portion of his salary. They’re willing to take back some contracts in return but it’s still difficult with the 24-year-old center having four more years with an annual average value of $10 million remaining on his contract.

Friedman believes the Colorado Avalanche made a call to see if they could make it work but the Sabres’ unwillingness to take salary stopped discussions. Jeff Marek said the Vegas Golden Knights were in conversation with the Sabres but were unwilling to part with young center Peyton Krebs.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I don’t blame the Sabres for not wanting to retain salary. They don’t want to carry what would likely be a significant chunk of dead cap space for the next four seasons. Maybe they might budge a bit if this issue becomes the only sticking point but I think owner Terry Pegula wants Eichel completely off his books.

I’m not sure how much salary the Avalanche would want the Sabres to absorb but it would have to be a healthy chunk given their limited cap space. They’re already using LTIR right now and have over $55.7 million invested in 12 players for 2022-23 with the cap expected to rise by just $1 million to $82.5 million.

New York Rangers defenseman Adam Fox (NHL Images).

As for the Golden Knights, Eichel would be an ideal fit there but they too don’t have much cap room and would need the Sabres to retain some salary in the deal to make it work. Their unwillingness to move Krebs also seems a deal-breaker.

NEW YORK POST: Mollie Walker believes 2021 Norris Trophy winner Adam Fox is inching closer to a massive contract extension with the New York Rangers. The current price-point for talented young defensemen when Cale Makar inked a six-year extension this summer with the Avalanche worth $9 million annually. The Boston Bruins signing Charlie McAvoy last week to an eight-year extension worth an AAV of $9.5 million will also be duly noted by the Fox camp.

After signing Mika Zibanejad to an eight-year deal, Walker believes the Rangers face some salary-cap challenges for next season. While it’s possible Fox could accept a hometown discount to ensure the club can build around him, he would also be within his rights to seek between $9.5 million and $10 million.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Even a hometown discount of, say, $8 million will still take a big bite out of the Rangers cap payroll. I’ll be shocked if he accepted that.

Some readers here speculate he might accept a one-year contract for considerably less but I doubt he’ll go that route considering he’s coming off a season that saw him join Bobby Orr as the only sophomores in NHL history to win the Norris. He may have grown up as a big Rangers fan but they’re still going to have to pay a lot for the privilege of having him on their roster.

SPORTSNET: Jeff Marek said the Dallas Stars want John Klingberg to stay and the 27-year-old defenseman wants to remain with the Stars. However, his asking price could make it difficult to re-sign him. Marek reports Klingberg seeks an eight-year contract between $62 million and $66 million.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That’s an annual average value between $7.75 million and $8.25 million. It’s less than what teammate Miro Heiskanen got on his contract ($8.45 million AAV) and well below the $9 million Dougie Hamilton got as a UFA this summer from the New Jersey Devils.

Nevertheless, that could be a difficult number for the Stars to absorb. With Heiskanen, Esa Lindell and Ryan Suter already earning a combined $17.9 million annually, Klingberg’s asking price would push that to around $25 million invested in just four defensemen.










Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – October 10, 2021

Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – October 10, 2021

An early look at this season’s pending unrestricted free agents, Islanders GM Lou Lamoriello is working the phones and the Canucks are shopping Olli Juolevi. Check it out in the Sunday NHL rumor roundup.

THE ATHLETIC: Pierre LeBrun recently looked at which of this season’s high-profile unrestricted free agents could sign contract extensions within the next month or two. He wouldn’t be surprised Dallas Stars defenseman John Klingberg is signed by midseason though there’s work to be done. The Boston Bruins signing Patrice Bergeron is a no-brainer if the 36-year-old center wants to return for another season.

Boston Bruins captain Patrice Bergeron (NHL Images).

There haven’t been any real contract discussions between the Pittsburgh Penguins and Evgeni Malkin as he focuses on recovering from offseason knee surgery. LeBrun expects those talks could begin later in the season. He also believes the Penguins want to avoid lengthy deals they could regret for Malkin and defenseman Kris Letang. The latter could be willing to see how the season plays out.

LeBrun believes the San Jose Sharks haven’t given up hope of signing Tomas Hertl but thinks the 27-year-old center is unlikely to do so. He could become a big name potentially available at the March 21 trade deadline.

The Toronto Maple Leafs have had preliminary talks with Morgan Rielly and lines of communication remain open. This could be decided in June depending on the Leafs freeing up sufficient cap space to sign him or Rielly going to market because they can’t afford him. LeBrun expects he’ll be in the $8 million per season club.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I concur with LeBrun’s take on all but Klingberg. He’s in the final season of a seven-year deal worth an annual average value of $4.25 million and could seek something comparable to Dougie Hamilton’s $9 million AAV with the New Jersey Devils.

As The Dallas Morning News’ Matthew DeFranks observed, the Stars already have $8.45 million annually invested in Miro Heiskanen, $5.8 million annually in Esa Lindell and $3.65 million in Ryan Suter. Assuming Klingberg accepts something in the $8 million range, the Stars will have one of the NHL’s most expensive bluelines.

Unless the Stars shed salary or decide not to re-sign other pending UFAs like Joe Pavelski and Alexander Radulov, they could be unwilling to ink Klingberg to an expensive long-term extension.

THE ATHLETIC’s Arthur Staple reports New York Islanders head coach Barry Trotz said general manager Lou Lamoriello isn’t quite finished assembling the roster. He may be looking to trade some of their extra players. NEWSDAY’s Andrew Gross reports Trotz said the Isles GM is still working the phones.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Those “extra guys” likely include defenseman Thomas Hickey and winger Richard Panik as they were placed on waivers yesterday. If they clear, Lamoriello could attempt to peddle them elsewhere.

THE PROVINCE: Patrick Johnston confirms a report in The Athletic that the Vancouver Canucks are shopping defenseman Olli Juolevi. The former 2016 first-round pick has tumbled down the Canucks blueline depth chart.

If they can’t find a trade and they decide to send Juolevi to their AHL affiliate, he’ll have to be placed on waivers today. Given his pedigree, Johnston anticipated he’d be claimed by another club.