NHL Rumor Mill – December 2, 2021

NHL Rumor Mill – December 2, 2021

Check out the latest Flyers and Bruins speculation in today’s NHL rumor mill.

FLYERS COULD SOON FACE SOME TOUGH DECISIONS.

PHILLY.COM: Sam Carchidi believes it could be time for Flyers general manager Chuck Fletcher to make some tough decisions if his club falls out of playoff contention. They’re mired in a lengthy losing skid and losing ground in the postseason race.

Philadelphia Flyers captain Claude Giroux (NHL Images).

One of those decisions could involve shopping captain Claude Giroux. The 34-year-old Flyers forward is their leading scorer and still has something left in the tank. He’s also slated to become an unrestricted free agent next summer. Carchidi believes Giroux could fetch a solid return if shopped before the March 21 trade deadline.

SPORTSNET: Luke Fox also speculated on some of those difficult decisions facing Fletcher. He wondered if Giroux would agree to waive his no-movement clause. Fox noted Elliotte Friedman mentioning Giroux on the Jeff Marek Show. “I’ve wondered about him going to Ottawa before,” said Friedman, who also pondered the possibility of the Flyers perhaps shaking up their core again after having done so in the offseason.

Fox felt any number of options could be on the table for the Flyers, including shopping winger Travis Konecny. While that would be a bold move, he also felt it would be a long shot.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Fletcher recently spoke about being patient with the lineup but I think he’ll soon reach the stage where he’ll have to do something to shake this club out of its doldrums. That could include replacing Alain Vigneault as head coach in hope of saving the season.

If that doesn’t work or if Fletcher doesn’t go that route, trades will be in the offing at some point if the club fails to reverse its fortunes. He could sit down with Giroux to determine where his captain sees his future and if it’s with a rebuilding club.

THE LATEST ON THE BRUINS

THE ATHLETIC: Fluto Shinzawa believes it could take some time before Boston Bruins GM Don Sweeney pulls the trigger on a Jake DeBrusk trade. The Bruins still need him in the lineup with Brad Marchand serving a three-game suspension plus their farm team in Providence is going through a COVID outbreak. He also pointed out Sweeney’s reputation for carefully considering trade offers and playing hardball for as long as he can.

Shinzawa also pointed out one of Sweeney’s preferences is clearing salary-cap space for Tuukka Rask. The play of current goalie tandem Jeremy Swayman and Linus Ullmark has been the club’s other weakness besides its offensive production.

THE PROVINCE: Ben Kuzma took note of recent speculation linking the Vancouver Canucks to DeBrusk. He pointed to the Canucks’ limited cap space as a sticking point, suggesting it might have to be a dollar-in, dollar-out deal to take on DeBrusk’s $3.675 million cap hit.

One option could be shopping Tanner Pearson, who’s in the first season of a three-year, $9.75 million contract. However, he has a no-trade clause for this season.

NBC SPORTS: Sean Leahy believes the Bruins are keeping their crease warm for Tuukka Rask when he’s finally ready to return to action from offseason hip surgery. He’s currently training five days a week and could be ready in early January. Rask is an unrestricted free agent but has made no secret of his wish to sign with the Bruins.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Rask has also indicated he’s willing to accept an affordable one-year deal with the Bruins. Still, it would be worthwhile to clear sufficient cap space to sign him. However, it could also complicate efforts to swap DeBrusk for another middle-six forward.

DeBrusk has been linked to around a dozen teams. Most of those mentioned, like the Canucks, are cap-strapped clubs. Sweeney might have to focus on those with cap space to make a deal happen.










NHL Rumor Mill – October 13, 2021

NHL Rumor Mill – October 13, 2021

The latest on Brady Tkachuk, Jack Eichel, Dylan Strome, Vitali Kravtsov and more in today’s NHL rumor mill.

NOTABLE TIDBITS FROM FRIEDMAN’S LATEST “32 THOUGHTS”.

SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman reports no change in the contract impasse between the Ottawa Senators and left winger Brady Tkachuk. They still want a seven- or eight-year contract while Tkachuk wants a bridge deal.

Ottawa Senators winger Brady Tkachuk (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The longer this goes on the more concern will be raised about Tkachuk’s long-term future in Ottawa. He’s already played three seasons and a three-year bridge deal brings him to within one year of his UFA eligibility. I can understand the Senators’ rationale to avoid that scenario. However, a long standoff could cause irreparable harm to his relationship with management and send him out the door much sooner than the Senators prefer.

Friedman believes the New York Rangers’ re-signing Mika Zibanejad takes them out of the Jack Eichel trade market unless the Buffalo Sabres or a third party is willing to retain salary. “New York can’t do it at $10M”, referring to Eichel’s annual average value.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Or the Rangers shed $10 million to make room for Eichel’s full cap hit, which also seems unlikely.

The Philadelphia Flyers informed Travis Konecny at the end of last season they could’ve easily traded him as there was lots of interest in the winger. However, they didn’t want to do it because they felt he’s too important and too good to give up on. Konecny rewarded that faith by showing up fit and ready to go for the coming season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Sounds like Flyers GM Chuck Fletcher fired a shot across Konecny’s bow. He’s a terrific player but was inconsistent and seemed distracted at times during last season. If he’s put those issues behind him the Flyers will be thankful they stayed patient with him.

Friedman wouldn’t be surprised if the Seattle Kraken sign captain Mark Giordano to a contract extension

BLACKHAWKS COULD MOVE DYLAN STROME

TSN: Pierre LeBrun reports the Chicago Blackhawks have a surplus of centers and there’s a good chance Dylan Strome could be traded within the next week or two. He said there are some teams “kicking tires” on the 24-year-old center.

SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman also believes Strome could be a trade candidate. “Head coach Jeremy Colliton is talking about him as a fourth-liner, and that’s not a place he will thrive.”

DAILY FACEOFF: Frank Seravalli said the Blackhawks aren’t facing pressure to move Strome. However, they’re actively listening to offers and considering their options.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Boston Bruins, Buffalo Sabres, Columbus Blue Jackets, Detroit Red Wings, Minnesota Wild, Montreal Canadiens, Ottawa Senators and Seattle Kraken could be among the suitors. Strome’s in the final season of a two-year contract with a $3 million annual average value but that could prove expensive for cap-strapped teams.

RANGERS WILLING TO TRADE VITALI KRAVTSOV

SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman reported the New York Rangers have given Vitali Kravtsov’s agent permission to talk to other clubs about a trade. He claims there’s “definitely interest” in the 21-year-old winger, who was selected ninth overall by the Rangers in 2018.

TSN: Chris Johnston suggested there is precedent for the acquisition cost, pointing out the Rangers shipped former first-rounder Lias Andersson to the Los Angeles Kings last fall for the 60th overall pick (second round) in the 2020 NHL Draft.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 15, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 15, 2021

The Penguins down the Capitals, the Golden Knights edge the Avalanche, plus the latest injury and COVID protocol list updates in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: Bryan Rust scored two goals and collected an assist as the Pittsburgh Penguins defeated the Washington Capitals 6-3. Jake Guentzel also had a three-point performance (one goal, two assists) while Sidney Crosby had a goal and an assist.

PIttsburgh Penguins winger Bryan Rust (NHL Images)

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Crosby also set a new milestone, surpassing Hall of Famer Al MacInnis for the most points (1,275) by a Nova Scotia-born NHL player.

Marc-Andre Fleury turned in a 30-save shutout as the Vegas Golden Knights blanked the Colorado Avalanche 1-0. Max Pacioretty tallied the game’s only goal. It was the Avalanche’s first game since their schedule was postponed on Feb. 4 for COVID-19 protocols.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Fleury now has 473 career victories, sitting just 11 behind Ed Belfour for fourth on the all-time list. His 63 shutouts place him one back of Henrik Lundqvist for 16th all-time.

TAMPA BAY TIMES: Lightning captain Steven Stamkos came off the NHL’s COVID protocol list yesterday after it was determined his first test was a false positive. He remains sidelined with a lower-body injury.

WGR 550: Buffalo Sabres coach Ralph Krueger and defenseman Rasmus Dahlin came off the protocol list yesterday. Krueger, who tested positive for COVID-19 earlier this month, joined the Sabres on the ice for a few minutes during yesterday’s practice. He isn’t sure if he’ll be behind the bench for their game today against the New York Islanders. The Sabres haven’t played since Jan. 31 due to COVID protocols.

NBC SPORTS PHILADELPHIA: The Flyers still have seven players on the protocol list. Travis Sanheim came off the list yesterday but winger Travis Konecny was added to it. The Flyers’ next scheduled game is Thursday against the New York Rangers, after which they’re slated to fly to Lake Tahoe for an outdoor game against the Boston Bruins on Sunday.

TORONTO STAR: Joe Thornton returns to the Maple Leafs lineup tonight against the Ottawa Senators after missing 10 games with a rib injury.

WINNIPEG FREE PRESS: Jets center Pierre-Luc Dubois (lower-body injury) will miss tonight’s game against the Edmonton Oilers.

STLTODAY.COM: Blues winger Jaden Schwartz is listed as day-to-day with a lower-body injury. He joins Vladimir Tarasenko (shoulder surgery), Tyler Bozak (upper body, likely concussion), Robert Thomas (broken hand) and Sammy Blais (undisclosed) on the sidelines.

THE MERCURY NEWS: San Jose Sharks defenseman Radim Simek (upper body) on injured reserve.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 16, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 16, 2021

Recaps of Friday’s five games, updates on Henrik Lundqvist and Jordan Staal, the latest notable contract signings, waiver claims and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: Nathan MacKinnon had a goal and two assists and Gabriel Landeskog scored twice as the Colorado Avalanche crushed the St. Louis Blues 8-0. Philipp Grubauer turned in a 20-save shutout and Cale Makar collected three assists.

Colorado Avalanche center Nathan MacKinnon (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Wednesday’s season-opening 4-1 loss to the Blues seemed to light a fire under the Avs. They were far more energized compared to their rather flat effort in their previous contest. Coach Jared Bednar’s decision to reunite Landeskog with MacKinnon and Mikko Rantanen on the top line for this game paid off.

The Ottawa Senators opened their season with a 5-3 upset of the Toronto Maple Leafs. Winger Brady Tkachuk led the way for Ottawa with a goal and two assists while goalie Matt Murray made 20 saves for his first victory as a Senator. John Tavares had a goal and an assist for the Leafs.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Senators exploited the Leafs’ defensive breakdowns for a well-deserved season-opening win. Toronto blueliners TJ Brodie and Zach Bogosian wore the goat horns in this one. The offseason additions haven’t brought much to the Leafs’ defense thus far but there’s still lots of time for them to adjust to their new team.

Andrei Vasilevskiy kicked out 35 shots to backstop the Tampa Bay Lightning over the Chicago Blackhawks 5-2. Steven Stamkos and Ondrej Palat were among four Lightning forwards with a goal and an assist. Patrick Kane and Alex DeBrincat replied for the Blackhawks

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Blackhawks made it interesting by narrowing the Bolts’ 3-0 lead to 3-2 by the end of the second period but Yanni Gourde and Stamkos put the game out of reach in the third.

The Philadelphia Flyers swept their two-game series against the Pittsburgh Penguins with a 5-2 victory. Travis Konecny tallied a hat trick as the Flyers chased Penguins goalie Tristan Jarry from the game after he gave up three goals on six shots. Sidney Crosby and Brandon Tanev replied for the Penguins. Flyers center Sean Couturier left the game in the first period with a shoulder injury. He’s slated for an MRI today.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Penguins’ defensive play has been sloppy and undisciplined thus far. It’s still very early in this season and they have plenty of time to address the problem but it could become their undoing this season if a solution isn’t found soon.

Tom Wilson had a goal and an assist as the Washington Capitals nipped the Buffalo Sabres 2-1. Capitals goalie Vitek Vanecek turned aside 30 shots to pick up the win in his first NHL contest. Rasmus Ristolainen replied for the Sabres.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Tough loss for the Sabres. They outplayed the Capitals but couldn’t get more than one goal past Vanecek. They didn’t help their cause by going 0-5 on the power play.

HEADLINES

TSN: Henrik Lundqvist announced yesterday he left hospital after having open-heart surgery last week. He’ll remain in Cleveland for a few more days before returning to New York City.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Best wishes in your ongoing journey to a full recovery, King Henrik.

THE NEWS & OBSERVER: Carolina Hurricanes captain Jordan Staal was placed on the NHL’s COVID-19 protocol list on Friday. Staal played in the Hurricanes’ season-opener on Thursday. There’s no indication how long he could be sidelined.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Sometimes players are placed on this list because of an initial positive test and then come off it if the follow-up test is negative. That could be the case with Staal.

SPORTSNET: The Edmonton Oilers placed goaltender Mike Smith on long-term injury reserve. He’ll miss at least 24 days or 10 games.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That’s a concern given the Oilers’ lack of goaltending depth, especially after losing Anton Forsberg to Carolina on waivers earlier this week. I’ll have more in the Rumors section.

WINNIPEG FREE PRESS: Speaking of Forsberg, he was claimed off waivers from the Hurricanes by the Jets.

THE SCORE: The Anaheim Ducks signed defenseman Ben Hutton to a one-year, $950K contract. He recently joined the Ducks on a professional tryout offer.

PITTSBURGH HOCKEY NOW: Penguins defenseman Zach Trotman underwent surgery on his right knee and will be sidelined for four-to-six weeks.

THE DALLAS MORNING NEWS: The Stars will start their season on Jan. 22 after having their first four games postponed and rescheduled following a recent COVID-19 outbreak during training camp.

CBS SPORTS: The New York Islanders loaned forward Joshua Ho-Sang to Orebro of the Swedish Hockey League for the remainder of this season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That could officially signal the end of Ho-Sang’s NHL career. The former first-round pick (28th overall, 2014) last played in the NHL in 2018-19 and spent last season in the AHL. The Isles reportedly tried to trade him but couldn’t find any takers.










NHL Rumor Mill – October 28, 2020

NHL Rumor Mill – October 28, 2020

The latest on Frederik Andersen plus an update on the Lightning and Ducks in today’s NHL rumor mill.

TORONTO SUN: Terry Koshan believes a strong regular season and playoffs in 2020-21 by Frederik Andersen will make him one of the highest-paid goaltenders in next year’s unrestricted free agent market despite the possibility of a flat cap for 2021-22. He wonders if that might serve as motivation for the 31-year-old Maple Leafs netminder.

Toronto Maple Leafs goaltender Frederik Andersen (NHL Images).

Koshan also mused about the recent trade chatter surrounding Andersen might put a chip on the goalie’s shoulder in his contract year. He feels the Leafs would be loath to lose the netminder to free agency next year for nothing. Trading him, however, wouldn’t be prudent, as Koshan doubts a tandem of Jack Campbell and Aaron Dell could carry the Leafs on a deep playoff run.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I didn’t put much stock into the Andersen trade rumors. The Leafs couldn’t afford to land a suitable replacement via this year’s free-agent market and the pickings were slim in the trade market.

Andersen could be moved by the 2021 trade deadline if the Leafs are out of playoff contention by then. However, I doubt that will be the case. If Andersen carries them on a long playoff run, they’ll do all they can to retain him. If not, he’ll hit the open market and the Leafs will look to the trade and free-agent markets for a new starter.

NBC SPORTS: Adam Gretz recently examined the Tampa Bay Lightning’s current salary-cap crunch and its effect upon their efforts to re-sign restricted free agents Anthony Cirelli and Mikhail Sergachev. They have $2.895 million in cap space with only 18 players under contract. They must also re-sign defenseman Erik Cernak and add another depth defenseman and forward.

The current economic climate makes Cirelli and Sergachev tempting offer-sheet targets. However, Gretz points out how rare offer sheet signings are and the difficulty in successfully signing away either player.

Gretz noted it’s tempting to wonder what the Lightning could get for Steven Stamkos after they won the Stanley Cup while he was sidelined for all but one game. However, he doesn’t expect they’ll try to move him. He listed Tyler Johnson, Alex Killorn, Ondrej Palat and possibly Yanni Gourde as trade candidates with Johnson the obvious after the Lightning’s efforts to move him via waivers earlier this month.

The Lightning’s current cap woes mean they’ll likely have to absorb part of Johnson’s salary or throw in a sweetener to move him. Gretz dismisses the idea of trading Cirelli or Sergachev.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Johnson has a full no-trade clause but has apparently provided an eight-team list of preferred destinations. Killorn has a 16-team no-trade list. Palat and Gourde would have to agree to waive their no-trades. It’s down to Johnson and Killorn and it’s possible both could be traded to free up sufficient cap space to address the Lightning’s needs.

While an offer sheet for Cirelli or Sergachev is still possible, I don’t believe we’ll see it. If either guy was going to sign an offer sheet it would’ve happened by now. Both players could be reluctant to go that route.

THE ATHLETIC: In a recent mailbag segment, Eric Stephens was asked who he saw as potential trade targets for the Anaheim Ducks. He feels they need an affordable young forward with scoring ability but those are tough to find.

The Ducks had an interest in Kasperi Kapanen before the Toronto Maple Leafs traded him to the Pittsburgh Penguins. Stephens thinks they have a real interest in Tampa Bay’s Tyler Johnson but not at his full $5 million annual cap hit.

Stephens thought they might have been interested in Vancouver’s Jake Virtanen before the Canucks re-sign him. He noted Philadelphia’s Travis Konecny is on TSN’s trade-bait list but doubts the Flyers will part with him unless it’s for a player who can lead a franchise.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Maybe the Ducks will look to free agency for an affordable short-term option. Possibilities include Mikael Granlund, Erik Haula, Anthony Duclair or Andreas Athanasiou.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – August 15, 2020

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – August 15, 2020

Recaps of Friday’s action, Bruins goalie Tuukka Rask opts out of return-to-play, the King Clancy Memorial Trophy finalists are announced, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

Vancouver Canucks captain Bo Horvat (Photo via NHL Images)

  NHL.COM: Vancouver Canucks captain Bo Horvat opened and finished the scoring as he led his club to a 4-3 overtime victory over the St. Louis Blues, taking a 2-0 lead in their best-of-seven opening-round series. Horvat’s game-winner came after the Blues’ Jaden Schwartz tied the game in the dying seconds of regulation. Canucks forwards Elias Pettersson and Brock Boeser each had two points, as did the Blues’ Alex Pietrangelo and David Perron.

 

 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Blues outhit the Canucks 41-27 but struggled at times to keep up with their speedy young opponents. They’re also getting no production from sniper Vladimir Tarasenko. The Canucks have an opportunity to take a stranglehold on this series in Game 3 on Sunday.

Tomas Tatar and Jesperi Kotkaniemi each scored twice as the Montreal Canadiens thumped the Philadelphia Flyers 5-0 to square their first-round series at one game apiece. Carey Price kicked out 30 shots for his second shutout of the postseason. Flyers winger Travis Konecny left the game in the third period after injuring his left foot blocking a shot.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Determined to win this game for sidelined coach Claude Julien, the Canadiens came out flying with a rare dominating performance. Flyers coach Alain Vigneault expressed his displeasure following the game over Habs interim coach Kirk Muller putting his top power-play unit on the ice late in the game. Muller said it was merely to give a little more work to his club’s erratic play with the man advantage.

Vigneault indicated he’d try to use that as motivation for his players in Game 3. If that’s his intended rallying point, the Flyers could be in worse shape than we thought. They’re a better team than what we’ve seen thus far in this series, but most of their scoring forwards have fired blanks thus far in this postseason. If those players don’t start scoring soon, the Flyers could be in big trouble against the underdog Habs.

Calgary Flames goaltender Cam Talbot made 35 saves to shut out the Dallas Stars 2-0 in Game 3 of their series, putting his club up two games to one. Mikael Backlund and T.J. Brodie were the goalscorers for the Flames, who hope to have sidelined winger Matthew Tkachuk back in their lineup for Game 3 on Sunday. Earlier in the day, the Flames announced forward Austin Czarnik has returned home to attend to a personal matter.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Talbot stole this one for the Flames, as the Stars dominated the play for most of this contest. They were also their own worst enemies, missing several quality scoring chances.

Three unanswered goals by Brock Nelson, Cal Clutterbuck, and Anders Lee powered the New York Islanders over the Washington Capitals 5-2, giving the Isles a 2-0 series lead. Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin tallied both goals for his club.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Islanders were the better-disciplined team in this contest, as the Capitals were sloppy defensively and took too many unnecessary penalties. Without a better effort in Game 3, the Caps could fall into a hole too deep to climb out of against the determined Isles.

The Colorado Avalanche took a 2-0 series lead over the Arizona Coyotes with a 3-2 victory. Andre Burakovsky snapped a 2-2 tie with 2:53 remaining in regulation.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This was a disappointing defeat for the Coyotes, who had a strong bounce-back effort after being dominated by the Avs in Game 1. Game 3 now becomes a must-win for the Desert Dogs.

HEADLINES

NBC SPORTS BOSTON: Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask has opted out of participating further in the return-to-play plan. In a statement released by the team, Rask indicated he’s making the decision for family reasons. “I want to be with my teammates competing, but at this moment there are things more important than hockey in my life, and that is being with my family.”  Bruins general manager Don Sweeney said Rask’s priorities are in the right order, noting the goalie had a newborn baby daughter born just months ahead of the return-to-play in Toronto. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Losing their starting goaltender is a significant blow for the Bruins in the midst of their opening-round series with the Carolina Hurricanes. Backup Jaroslav Halak will take over the starter’s role, and NBC Sports suggests Daniel Vladar will be Halak’s understudy.

Some will rush to criticize Rask’s actions, but we don’t know the full story other than it’s for family reasons. He may have found being isolated from his family for weeks simply too difficult to bear. The Bruins and the league are respecting his decision. We should too. 

Minnesota Wild defenseman Matt Dumba, New York Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist, and New Jersey Devils blueliner P.K. Subban are the finalists for the King Clancy Memorial Trophy, presented annually to the player “who best exemplifies leadership qualities on and off the ice and has made a noteworthy humanitarian contribution in his community.”

THE BOSTON GLOBE: Bruins winger David Pastrnak didn’t practice yesterday and remains uncertain for Game 3 today against the Carolina Hurricanes. The 48-goal scorer was unfit to play in Game 2 following an apparent left injury in the previous game.

TSN: The Florida Panthers plan to interview former Los Angeles Kings assistant GM Mike Futa as they search for a replacement for former general manager Dale Tallon.

TORONTO SUN: The Maple Leafs have let go of assistant coaches Paul McFarland and Andrew Brewer.

WGR550: The Buffalo Sabres are reportedly hiring Seth Appert as head coach of their AHL affiliate in Rochester.

LOS ANGELES TIMES: The Kings have suspended the mascot actor who performs as team mascot Bailey. He is being investigated for alleged sexual misconduct.