NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 25, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 25, 2022

Claude Giroux collects points in his Panthers debut, David Pastrnak tallies his 12th career hat trick, general managers to discuss closing the “LTIR playoff loophole” and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: Claude Giroux had two assists in his debut with the Florida Panthers as they held off the Montreal Canadiens 4-3. Former Montreal defenseman Ben Chiarot picked up an assist in his first game against his former team. Canadiens blueliner Jeff Petry left the game in the second period with a lower-body injury. The Panthers (92 points) move one point ahead of the Carolina Hurricanes for first place in the Eastern Conference standings.

Speaking of the Hurricanes, they dropped a 4-3 decision to the Dallas Stars on a shootout goal by Tyler Seguin. Scott Wedgewood picked up the win with a 44-save performance while Roope Hintz scored twice in regulation. Nino Niederreiter netted two goals for the Hurricanes. The Stars (74 points) remain one point ahead of the Vegas Golden Knights for the final wild-card spot in the Western Conference.

Boston Bruins winger David Pastrnak (NHL Images).

Boston Bruins winger David Pastrnak tallied his 12th career hat trick in a 3-2 victory over the Tampa Bay Lightning. Erik Haula collected three assists and Hampus Lindholm collected an assist in his first game with Boston. The Bruins (85 points) move into third place in the Atlantic Division, knocking the Lighting into the first Eastern Conference wild-card berth. They’re also tied with the Leafs but the latter holds second place in the Division with a game in hand.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Lightning defenseman Ryan McDonagh left the game after blocking a shot in the third period.

The Vegas Golden Knights got a goal and two assists from Evgenii Dadonov to thump the Nashville Predators 6-1 to avoid falling further behind the Dallas Stars for the final Western wild-card spot. It was Dadonov’s first game since his trade to the Anaheim Ducks was overturned by the league. The Predators, meanwhile, are three points up on the Stars in the first wild-card spot.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Golden Knights center Brett Howden was stretchered from the game following a hit by Predators winger Filip Forsberg. He was reportedly conscious, in stable condition with full movement of his limbs and sent to a hospital for further tests.

Earlier in the day, the Predators announced defenseman Mark Borowiecki is listed as week-to-week with an upper-body injury.

Leon Draisaitl scored twice and Connor McDavid added two assists to lead the Edmonton Oilers to a 5-2 win over the San Jose Sharks. McDavid sits atop the scoring race with 95 points, five ahead of Draisaitl. With 77 points, the Oilers are two points behind the second-place Los Angeles Kings in the Pacific Division. Sharks captain Logan Couture left the game with an upper-body injury.

The Kings, meanwhile, picked up a point in a 4-3 loss to the Chicago Blackhawks. Alex DeBrincat had a goal and an assist in regulation and potted the winning goal in the shootout while Colin Delia made 43 saves for the win. Phillip Danault scored twice for the Kings.

An overtime goal by Joel Eriksson Ek lifted the Minnesota Wild over the Vancouver Canucks 3-2. Kirill Kaprizov had a goal and an assist and Cam Talbot kicked out 26 shots as the Wild (80 points) sit one point ahead of the St. Louis Blues in second place in the Central Division. With 71 points, the Canucks are four points out of a wild-card spot in the Western Conference.

The Blues, while, fell 5-2 to the Philadelphia Flyers. Travis Konecny scored two goals and Martin Jones made 26 saves for the win. Earlier in the day, the Blues announced Tyler Bozak (lower-body) was moved to injured reserve.

A four-goal third period by the Ottawa Senators carried them to a 5-2 win over the Winnipeg Jets, leaving the latter five points out of the final Western wild-card spot. Brady Tkachuk scored twice and Tim Stutzle collected two assists for the Senators. Jets winger Kyle Connor netted his 40th goal of the season.

The New York Islanders picked up their fourth win in their last five games by downing the Detroit Red Wings 5-2. Brock Nelson scored twice and Anders Lee had three assists.

HEADLINES

DAILY FACEOFF: Closing the LTIR playoff loophole in the salary cap will be among the items up for discussion in next week’s meetings of NHL general managers. Some general managers aren’t happy that some teams exceed the salary cap in the regular season with players on long-term injury reserve only to see those players return to the lineup for the playoffs when the salary cap no longer counts.

One proposed solution is to have 20 players iced by a team in a playoff game to count against the salary cap. Any attempted changes to the salary cap or to roster requirements, however, would constitute a material change of the collective bargaining agreement and would have to be negotiated with the NHL Players Association.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Some would consider this the “Nikita Kucherov rule”, which arose because the Tampa Bay Lightning winger returned to action at the start of the 2021 playoffs after spending last season on LTIR recovering from offseason hip surgery. That allowed the Lightning the salary-cap flexibility to exceed the cap by the equivalent of Kucherov’s $9.5 million annual cap hit and add players before the trade deadline.

This loophole has existed since the implementation of the salary cap in 2005 and was used before, specifically by the Chicago Blackhawks in 2015 when Patrick Kane went on LTIR several weeks before the trade deadline with a broken collarbone. It’s taken this long, however, for some general managers to have an issue with it.

Bear in mind that medical substantiation must be provided to the league to justify placing a player on LTIR. The league looked into Kucherov’s status late last season and concluded the Lightning did nothing wrong.

Assuming the majority of general managers support this proposal, I don’t expect the PA to be onboard with it. This could be an issue that gets revisited during the next round of collective bargaining.

NBC SPORTS: The International Ice Hockey Federation has asked an independent ethics council board to investigate the Russian Hockey Federation and former IIHF president Rene Fasel regarding issues related to the war in Ukraine. Fasel was critical of the IIHF’s decisions to ban Russia and Belarus from upcoming international competitions. He’s serving as an advisor to Russia’s Kontinental Hockey League.

NHL.COM: St. Louis Blues defenseman Torey Krug is listed as week-to-week with an upper-body injury.

Columbus Blue Jackets goaltender Joonas Korpisalo will undergo season-ending hip surgery. He’s expected to make a full recovery in six months.

TSN: New York Islanders forward Cal Clutterbuck will undergo season-ending shoulder surgery while defenseman Scott Mayfield is done for the season with a lower-body injury.

Washington Capitals forward Garnet Hathaway was fined $2,000.00 for diving/embellishment by the NHL department of player safety.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 24, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 24, 2022

Corey Perry reaches a goal milestone in the Lightning’s win over the Oilers, the Avalanche extends their lead atop the overall standings, the Leafs place Jake Muzzin on LTIR, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: Corey Perry tallied his 400th career goal as he helped the Tampa Bay Lightning hold off the Edmonton Oilers 5-3. The Lightning surged to a 4-1 lead and sealed the win with Nikita Kucherov’s empty-netter after the Oilers rallied to within one goal. Perry, Kucherov and Pat Maroon each finished the night with a goal and an assist. Oilers captain Connor McDavid scored twice and teammate Leon Draisaitl collected three assists as both are tied for the points lead with 73. With 72 points, the Lightning sits three back of the Atlantic Division-leading Florida Panthers. The loss dropped the Oilers (59 points) into the second Western Conference wild-card berth.

Tampa Bay Lightning winger Corey Perry (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The loss has some pundits wondering what Oilers general manager Ken Holland will do to address his club’s leaky goaltending. It’s been a problem all season, renewing speculation over whether Holland will make a move to address this issue before the March 21 trade deadline.

The Colorado Avalanche (78 points) opened a three-point lead over the Panthers for first place in the overall standings with a 5-2 victory over the Detroit Red Wings. Pavel Francouz made 32 saves for the win while Gabriel Landeskog scored two goals and Cale Makar picked up two assists. Red Wings captain Dylan Larkin and defenseman Moritz Seider each collected two assists. Avs center Nathan MacKinnon missed this contest with a lower-body injury but is expected to play against the Winnipeg Jets on Friday.

Los Angeles Kings winger Viktor Arvidsson tallied two goals (including the game-winner) as his club nipped the Arizona Coyotes 3-2. The win vaults the Kings (61 points) over the Oilers into third place in the Pacific Division.

An overtime goal by Tyler Seguin lifted the Dallas Stars to a 3-2 win over the Winnipeg Jets. Seguin finished the night with two points while teammate Jamie Benn had a goal and two assists. Jets goaltender Connor Hellebuyck turned aside 36 shots. The Stars (58 points) are one point behind the Oilers and Anaheim Ducks while the Jets (53 points) are six points out of that final Western wild-card berth.

Montreal Canadiens goaltender Sam Montembeault kicked out 32 shots for his first NHL shutout to blank the Buffalo Sabres 4-0. Nick Suzuki scored twice and collected an assist while Cole Caufield had a goal and an assist. Canadiens forwards Josh Anderson (head injury) and Paul Byron (upper-body injury) left the game and will be re-evaluated later today. The Habs have won four straight.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Caufield remains on a torrid scoring pace under the tutelage of interim coach Martin St. Louis. The rookie winger has six goals and 10 points in his last seven games.

HEADLINES

TORONTO SUN: The Maple Leafs placed defenseman Jake Muzzin on long-term injury reserve as he recovers from a head injury (concussion) suffered during Monday’s 5-2 loss to the Canadiens. He’ll be sidelined for at least 10 games and 24 days. The move would allow the Leafs to exceed the salary cap by roughly the equivalent of Muzzin’s $5.625 million annual cap hit if they choose to add a player or two before the March 21 trade deadline.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Bear in mind the Leafs would have to become cap compliant if they use that LTIR space to acquire a player should Muzzin return to action before the end of the season. It’ll be interesting to see how general manager Kyle Dubas addresses this situation.

The Leafs also announced yesterday prospect forward Rodion Amirov has a brain tumor. The 20-year-old is receiving treatment and remains upbeat that he’ll overcome this condition and resume his playing career.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Best wishes to Amirov for a swift and complete recovery.

TSN: The Montreal Canadiens will provide a medical update on Friday on the condition of Carey Price. The 34-year-old goaltender has been recovering from off-season knee surgery. He also spent the first month of this season in the NHL/NHLPA player assistance program for substance abuse and mental health reasons.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Price’s on-ice workouts stopped on Feb. 15 but he’s continuing off-ice workouts. It remains to be seen if he’ll return at all this season. At this stage, it might be best if he puts his focus on working toward returning next season.

MONTREAL GAZETTE: Speaking of the Canadiens, they promoted John Sedgwick to assistant general manager. He’d been their vice-president of hockey operations and legal affairs since 2017.

NBC SPORTS CHICAGO: Blackhawks forward Jujhar Khaira underwent surgery on his lower back on Tuesday. He’s expected to be sidelined 10-12 weeks, effectively ending his season.

ABC 6: Columbus Blue Jackets goaltender Joonas Korpisalo has been placed on injured reserve retroactive to Feb. 15 with a lower-body injury. NHL.com reports Jackets netminder Daniil Tarasov’s season is over after undergoing surgery on his right hip. His recovery period is six months.

SAN JOSE HOCKEY NOW: Sharks president Jonathan Becher declared it’s “highly unlikely” his club will undergo a “proactive rebuild” of its roster. He felt it would be difficult selling season tickets for the next three to five years if the club wasn’t going to be very good over that period.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: What also hurts season ticket sales is a club in need of a rebuild refusing to do so and icing a product that fails to improve. If you do a rebuild correctly you can sell your fans on hope for the future. Of course, there could be other factors at play here. The pandemic hit all teams hard, some more than others. Perhaps the Sharks could have a more pressing need for revenue compared to other clubs.

TSN: Former NHL forward Sean Avery, 41, has signed a standard player contract with the ECHL’s Orlando Solar Bears. He last played professional hockey 10 years ago.










NHL Rumor Mill – February 18, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – February 18, 2022

Check out my analysis of Daily Faceoff’s Trade Targets list in today’s NHL rumor mill.

DAILY FACEOFF: Philadelphia Flyers captain Claude Giroux, Montreal Canadiens defenseman Ben Chiarot, and San Jose Sharks center Tomas Hertl top Frank Seravalli’s top-25 NHL trade targets list.

Philadelphia Flyers captain Claude Giroux (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Lot of speculation over where Giroux could go with the Colorado Avalanche believed the front-runner. As Seravalli points out, the 34-year-old Flyers captain’s no-movement clause gives him full control over this situation.

Chiarot is expected to return to action next week from a minor injury, sparking conjecture the Canadiens could trade him soon. The Florida Panthers, New York Rangers and St. Louis Blues are said to be among his suitors.

Hertl and the Sharks have reportedly started contract extension talks. As Seravalli observes, there’s no certainty they’ll reach an agreement before the March 21 trade deadline.

Chicago Blackhawks winger Brandon Hagel and Arizona Coyotes blueliner Jakob Chychrun sit fourth and fifth. Seravalli reports the Florida Panthers, Toronto Maple Leafs, New Jersey Devils and Calgary Flames were known to have talks with the Blackhawks about Hagel, though the Flames moved on to Tyler Toffoli.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I noted yesterday the report by Ben Pope of the Chicago Sun-Times citing a source saying Hagel was virtually off the table. The Blackhawks could be listening to offers for just about everyone but Hagel probably won’t be moved unless they get a terrific offer.

As for Chychrun, lots of teams are believed to be interested. However, the Coyotes’ hefty asking price of a high first-round pick, a top prospect and a good young NHL player explains why he’s still in Arizona.

Vancouver Canucks winger Brock Boeser, Dallas Stars defenseman John Klingberg, Blackhawks goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury, Canadiens blueliner Jeff Petry, and Seattle Kraken rearguard Mark Giordano fill spots six through 10.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Seravalli notes the Boeser trade chatter increased soon after the Canucks new management team was in place. He’s a restricted free agent with arbitration rights who’ll cost $7.5 million to qualify his rights.

However, the Canucks are still chasing a playoff berth in the Western Conference. Hockey ops president Jim Rutherford and general manager Patrik Allvin both said there’s no urgency to make trades. They could wait until the offseason to shop Boeser if they can’t reach an agreement on a new contract or receive a suitable trade offer before the March 21 deadline.

The Stars are also in the playoff hunt in the Western Conference. They might not shop pending UFA Klingberg unless they fall out of contention over the next four weeks. Fleury’s contract and modified no-trade clause make shipping him to a Stanley Cup contender a difficult move. The same goes for Petry. Giordano, on the other hand, could end up on the move before March 21 if the Kraken can find him a suitable destination.

Ottawa Senators forward Nick Paul, Canucks forward J.T. Miller, Stars winger Joe Pavelski, New York Rangers goalie Alexandar Georgiev, and Columbus Blue Jackets netminder Joonas Korpisalo fill spots 11 to 15.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Paul, Pavelski and Korpisalo are UFAs this summer while Georgiev is a restricted free agent. The Senators hope to retain Paul but they could shop him if they can’t reach an agreement on an extension.

What I said about Klingberg applies to Pavelski. I continue to have my doubts the Rangers will move Georgiev as that will send them into a thin goalie market for an experienced, reliable backup.

New Jersey Devils forward Pavel Zacha, Winnipeg Jets forward Andrew Copp, Blue Jackets winger Max Domi, Boston Bruins winger Jake DeBrusk and Vegas Golden Knights winger Reilly Smith are in spots 16 to 20.

Zacha and DeBrusk are RFAs with arbitration rights while the others are UFAs. The Devils could entertain offers for Zacha but they can also afford to wait until the offseason. It’s been three months since DeBrusk requested a trade.

Copp will draw interest in the trade market if the Jets become sellers but that’s not yet a certainty. The well-traveled Domi could be on the move again. The Golden Knights won’t have to trade Smith to clear cap space if Mark Stone and Alec Martinez remain on LTIR for the remainder of the regular season.

Anaheim Ducks winger Rickard Rakell, Blue Jackets center Jack Roslovic, Detroit Red Wings defenseman Nick Leddy, Coyotes winger Phil Kessel and Calvin de Haan round out the list.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Rakell could be on the move if the Ducks continue to slide out of playoff contention. Roslovic has really struggled following the Jackets coaching change last summer. Leddy and de Haan should be affordable pickups for playoff contenders seeking defensive depth. Kessel could also interest clubs looking for a winger with playoff experience.










NHL Rumor Mill – February 9, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – February 9, 2022

Latest speculation over Golden Knights trade candidates as Jack Eichel’s debut gets closer, more talk of the Avalanche as a destination for Claude Giroux, plus updates on the Flames, Canucks and Blue Jackets in today’s NHL rumor mill.

LATEST ON THE GOLDEN KNIGHTS

TSN: Pierre LeBrun reports a source suggesting Jack Eichel could make his debut with the Vegas Golden Knights within the next couple of weeks. The 25-year-old center has been recovering from neck surgery since his acquisition from the Buffalo Sabres in November. He believes they’ll have to make a trade or two to clear sufficient salary-cap space when Eichel comes off long-term injury reserve.

LAS VEGAS SUN: Danny Webster lists forwards Reilly Smith and Evgenii Dadonov and goaltender Laurent Brossoit as possible trade candidates. If defenseman Alec Martinez remains on LTIR they would have to move $4.3 million in cap space. Smith and Dadonov each carry annual cap hits of $5 million. Moving one of them could do the trick.

VEGAS HOCKEY NOW: Owen Krepps cites Sportsnet’s Jeff Marek and Elliotte Friedman discussing possible Vegas trade options. Friedman suggested Smith and Mattias Janmark while Marek proposed William Karlsson.

Vegas Golden Knights winger Reilly Smith (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s not the first time we’ve heard Smith, Dadonov or Brossoit bandied about as trade options. Janmark is a pending UFA carrying a $2 million cap hit while Karlsson carries a $5.9 million cap hit through 2026-27 with a 10-team no-trade clause. Dadonov also has no-trade protection.

Of these, Smith would be the easiest to trade. He’s got a $5 million cap hit but lacks no-trade protection and would have considerable value in the trade market among playoff contenders looking for scoring. The Golden Knights could be reluctant to part with him but might not have much choice if they can’t find takers for the other candidates.

GIROUX TO THE AVALANCHE?

THE DENVER POST: Mike Chambers cites Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman telling NHL Network that he considers the Colorado Avalanche as a perfect fit for Claude Giroux. The 34-year-old Philadelphia Flyers captain is an unrestricted free agent this summer and there’s growing conjecture over whether he’ll waive his no-movement clause at the trade deadline.

Given Giroux’s $8.25 million cap hit, Friedman suggested a possible three-way trade involving a club with salary-cap space willing to absorb part of the Flyers forward’s cap hit. He pointed to teams like the Ottawa Senators, Buffalo Sabres, Detroit Red Wings and New Jersey Devils. The Arizona Coyotes have two retained salaries but can only have three.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Friedman’s been hammering the “Giroux to the Avalanche” drum for a while now. Whether that three-way deal materializes remains to be seen but we shouldn’t dismiss the possibility.

Any club picking up part of Giroux’s cap hit will only be doing so for the remainder of this season. The Coyotes could do it seeing how it’s only short term. It’ll depend, of course, on what they get as a sweetener to make the deal happen.

UPDATES ON THE FLAMES, CANUCKS AND BLUE JACKETS

TSN: Pierre LeBrun believes Calgary Flames general manager Brad Treliving could be in the market for secondary scoring before the March 21 trade deadline. He also thinks the Ottawa Senators and Montreal Canadiens could be trade partners to address that need. A lot of the top contenders are seeking defensemen, which could give the Flames an edge in the trade market.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Maybe they’ll have an interest in Reilly Smith if the Golden Knights attempt to move him to clear cap space for Jack Eichel? Stay tuned…

THE ATHLETIC: Thomas Drance reports Jaroslav Halak’s next game with the Vancouver Canucks will trigger a $1.25 million performance bonus in his contract. He also has a $250K performance bonus if he maintains a save percentage of .905 or higher this season. Those bonuses would count against the Canucks 2022-23 payroll because they’re using long-term injury reserve to exceed this season’s $81.5 million salary cap.

Assuming Halak agrees to waive his no-movement clause before March 21, the Canucks could negotiate with an acquiring club to have them pay his games-played bonus as part of the deal since it has to be paid within 30 days of the conclusion of the season. The other option is to clear enough cap space so that Halak’s bonuses count against this year’s cap payroll.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It might be easier to make a cost-cutting deal or two (J.T. Miller? Brock Boeser? Tanner Pearson? Conor Garland?) to free up cap space than to find a club willing to take on Halak’s bonus. Not playing Halak isn’t an option as team president Jim Rutherford said his contract has no bearing on whether he plays or not. Injuries could also force him into the lineup.

Aaron Portzline reports Columbus Blue Jackets GM Jarmo Kekalainen could be busy at this year’s trade deadline. Pending UFA forward Max Domi is expected to be shopped and it seems center Jack Roslovic could be had for the right price.

The Jackets have been shopping goaltender Joonas Korpisalo for some time but his play hasn’t done much to boost his trade value. They could listen to offers for forward Gustav Nyquist but might have to retain part of his $5.5 million cap hit through 2022-23.










NHL Rumor Mill – January 21, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – January 21, 2022

Could the Oilers target a Stars goalie? Will the Blackhawks shop Marc-Andre Fleury? How many teams could have an interest in Jakob Chychrun and John Klingberg? Could the Canucks shop J.T. Miller soon? Find out in today’s NHL rumor mill.

WILL THE OILERS GO SHOPPING FOR A GOALTENDER?

TSN: Pierre LeBrun reports the Edmonton Oilers are looking at all options around the NHL to address their goaltending issues. They’ve kicked tires on Columbus Blue Jackets netminder Joonas Korpisalo, who’s an unrestricted free agent this summer.

The Oilers also internally discussed the Dallas Stars’ Anton Khudobin but the extra year on this contract at $3.33 million makes him less appealing. Stars goalie Braden Holtby could be more interesting as he’s a UFA at the season’s end. However, the real question is whether any of these options are better than Mikko Koskinen for the Oilers.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: No. No, they’re not. That doesn’t mean the Oilers might not acquire one of them in the hope they’ll provide some sort of upgrade. Khudobin did carry the Stars to the 2020 Stanley Cup Final but really struggled this season and wound up demoted to the minors. Holtby’s play has improved this season but his best days remain well behind him. Korpisalo failed to seize the starter’s job after Sergei Bobrovsky left town which is why the Jackets signed Elvis Merzlikins to a five-year extension.

Darren Dreger noted Chicago Blackhawks netminder Marc-Andre Fleury has also come up in the rumor mill but he’s not a fit in Edmonton for salary-cap reasons. When asked about trade possibilities, Fleury said he’s not thinking about that now as he’s trying to help the Blackhawks reach the playoffs.

Dreger expects there will be contract extension talks between the two sides. He also points out there’s an agreement with the Hawks that Fleury isn’t going anywhere unless he asks for a trade.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Fleury might consider a trade if the Blackhawks fail to gain ground in the standings over the next six weeks. His $7 million cap hit and 10-team no-trade clause probably keep him away from Edmonton. Some have linked him to the Colorado Avalanche and Washington Capitals. There’s even talk of a reunion with the Pittsburgh Penguins despite Tristan Jarry’s solid play this season. Whether he ends up with one of those clubs or heads elsewhere remains to be determined.

Arizona Coyotes defenseman Jakob Chychrun (NHL Images).

THE LATEST ON CHYCHRUN AND KLINGBERG

SPORTSNET: Jeff Marek and Elliotte Friedman discussed potential landing spots for Arizona Coyotes defenseman Jakob Chychrun. They suggested the Anaheim Ducks, Boston Bruins, Calgary Flames, Columbus Blue Jackets, Los Angeles Kings, New York Islanders, New York Rangers and St. Louis Blues as possibilities.

Both of them felt the Florida Panthers could be in on Chychrun, citing management’s ongoing efforts to build up their blueline. They felt the Panthers need one more big piece on their defense corps. Marek believes the Coyotes would want Spencer Knight, Anton Lundell and a first-round pick in return but Friedman felt that’s the price to be paid if they’re going all-in this season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Panthers GM Bill Zito has to consider if it’s worthwhile giving up that much of his club’s future to pursue the Stanley Cup this season. Granted, this move wouldn’t be for a rental player. The 23-year-old Chychrun is under contract for three more seasons who led all defensemen in goals last season.

The first-round pick is easy to part with given the Panthers’ depth and position in the standings. Giving up Knight would be tough but perhaps necessary with Sergei Bobrovsky carrying an almost untradable contract for four more seasons. Moving Lundell, who’s enjoying a solid rookie campaign, could be a bridge too far for Zito.

THE ATHLETIC: Shayna Goldman and Saad Yousef recently examined potential trade destinations for Dallas Stars pending UFA defenseman John Klingberg. Their three contenders are the Anaheim Ducks, Los Angeles Kings and Carolina Hurricanes, with the Pittsburgh Penguins, Nashville Predators and Toronto Maple Leafs as dark horses.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Ducks, Kings and Predators have the cap space and depth in promising young players to dangle for Klingberg if they wish to go that route. The Hurricanes showed a willingness to make big deadline deals, acquiring Vincent Trocheck and Brady Skjei two years ago. Their lack of cap space, however, would require some creativity to make the dollars fit.

The Penguins and Leafs are pressed for cap space. Both could stand pat or opt for more cost-effective options by the deadline. I’m not ruling out the possibility one of them swings a three-team deal to land someone like Klingberg. However, there’s no certainty they or the Hurricanes can find a third club to broker the deal given how many clubs have limited cap space this season.

WILL THE CANUCKS TRADE J.T. MILLER?

THE ATHLETIC: Thomas Drance cited Daily Faceoff’s Frank Seravalli saying he could see a scenario where the Vancouver Canucks trade J.T. Miller soon, perhaps before they officially hire a new general manager.

Drance, however, is skeptical of that scenario becoming reality. While sources told him there are teams interested in Miller, the Canucks can afford to wait because he’s under contract through next season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Drance also acknowledged the Canucks will have to make a decision about Miller’s future in Vancouver. Unless a rival club is willing to make an offer too good to refuse by the trade deadline, Canucks management could wait until the offseason to move Miller when teams have more cap room and willingness to pursue players of his caliber.

That should also be a decision that should involve the new general manager. Otherwise, team president Jim Rutherford shouldn’t waste everyone’s time hiring a GM if he’s going to make all the decisions himself.










NHL Rumor Mill – January 7, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – January 7, 2022

Analysis of the Daily Faceoff’s updated 20 trade targets in today’s NHL rumor mill.

DAILY FACEOFF: San Jose Sharks center Tomas Hertl, Montreal Canadiens defenseman Ben Chiarot and Arizona Coyotes blueliner Jakob Chychrun top Frank Seravalli’s updated list of 20 NHL trade targets.

San Jose Sharks center Tomas Hertl (NHL Images).

Hertl’s having a strong performance in his contract year and could fetch the Sharks a strong return. Seravalli suggests keeping an eye on the New York Rangers in the Hertl sweepstakes.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Sharks remain in the hunt for a Western Conference wild-card spot but they could move Hertl if they fail to gain ground between now and the March 21 trade deadline. He’ll draw plenty of interest but the Rangers have the cap space and the depth in tradeable assets to perhaps outbid other clubs.

Seravalli said the Florida Panthers and St. Louis Blues have been linked to Chiarot. He believes the 30-year-old Canadiens defenseman could help Stanley Cup contenders like the Vegas Golden Knights, Colorado Avalanche, Washington Capitals or the Rangers.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: And if one of those clubs is willing to part with a first-round pick they might be able to land Chiarot provided they’re not on his 10-team no-trade list.

The Coyotes won’t have much to build around if they trade Chychrun. That explains why their asking price is so high.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s been reported the Coyotes could seek a return comparable to what the Buffalo Sabres got from the Vegas Golden Knights for Jack Eichel. In other words, a good young NHL player, a top prospect close to being NHL-ready, a first-round pick and a second-rounder.

Coyotes forward Lawson Crouse and New York Rangers goaltender Alexander Georgiev are fourth and fifth on Seravalli’s list. He said the Philadelphia Flyers have spoken to the Coyotes about Crouse. Georgiev made what Seravalli considers a “soft trade request” last summer. While it’s important for a team to have two trustworthy goalies, Seravalli considers Georgiev an unnecessary luxury when the Rangers have one of the best goalies in the league in Igor Shesterkin.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: With 16 points in 31 games, the 24-year-old Crouse is well on his way to exceeding his career-high of 25 points on the low-scoring Coyotes. As Seravalli observes, he could become a 20-goal forward on a deeper club.

Shesterkin’s recent injury history and Georgiev’s improvement over the last month suggest the latter isn’t going anywhere this season. Georgiev is a restricted free agent this summer so the Rangers aren’t under any pressure to move him before the trade deadline.

Columbus Blue Jackets goaltender Joonas Korpisalo, Boston Bruins winger Jake DeBrusk, Blue Jackets center Jack Roslovic, Jackets winger Max Domi, and Vegas Golden Knights winger Reilly Smith fill positions six through 10.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Seravalli said several teams have “engaged” with the Jackets regarding Korpisalo. As an unrestricted free agent this summer, he’s more likely to move than Georgiev.

DeBrusk’s trade request has been well-documented but Bruins general manager Don Sweeney hasn’t found a suitable offer yet. Perhaps DeBrusk gets shopped soon to free up some cap space for Tuukka Rask’s imminent return.

I’m not surprised to see Domi on this list given his UFA status this summer but Roslovic was a bit of an eyebrow-raiser. He’s struggled this season but the 24-year-old is an RFA this summer and really likes playing in his hometown. The Jackets don’t have to move him at the trade deadline but it wouldn’t hurt to entertain offers.

The Golden Knights must shed salary to make room for Jack Eichel’s return from neck surgery next month. Smith is considered the likely candidate because of his UFA status in July. Seravalli suggested he could fetch them a solid return, pointing to the Toronto Maple Leafs parting with a first-round pick and two-fourth-round picks at last year’s deadline for Nick Foligno.

Detroit Red Wings defenseman Nick Leddy, Florida Panthers winger Patric Hornqvist, Anaheim Ducks winger Rickard Rakell, Coyotes winger Phil Kessel and New York Rangers winger Vitali Kravtsov are 11 through 15 on this list.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: With the Red Wings jockeying for a wild-card spot they could be reluctant to part with Leddy. Seravalli suggests the Panthers could move Hornqvist as a cost-cutting move but that could take place in the offseason. His gritty style could be invaluable for them in the playoffs.

I also have my doubts about Rakell being available with the Ducks flying high in the Western Conference. That could change if they should tumble down the standings. A playoff club in need of scoring depth could add Kessel as a rental player. He’s a proven postseason performer.

Kravtsov is on loan to KHL club Traktor Chelyabinsk. He cannot be recalled by his NHL team until Traktor’s season is over.

Chicago Blackhawks defenseman Calvin de Haan, Seattle Kraken blueliners Mark Giordano, Blackhawks center Dylan Strome and winger Henrik Borgstrom and San Jose Sharks winger Evander Kane round out the list.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The 37-year-old Giordano’s a UFA this summer and his chances of playing for a Stanley Cup contender are dwindling. Maybe he’ll get shopped to a Cup contender by the deadline.

Strome’s been in the rumor mill all season long but there’s doesn’t appear to be much interest in him, de Haan or Borgstrom. However, that could change leading up to deadline day.

Kane’s personal baggage and hefty contract have been well-documented obstacles blocking any chance of a trade. It could take enticing another team to get involved as a third-party broker to get a deal done but even that seems like a long shot.