Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – November 22, 2020

Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – November 22, 2020

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

BOSTON HOCKEY NOW: Joe Haggerty reports Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy intends to take a firmer hand in coaching more offense from his defense. Some of his attention is due to the younger blueliners in the lineup, but also upon how to replace the production lost by Torey Krug’s recent departure to St. Louis.

Could the Boston Bruins revisit efforts to acquire Arizona Coyotes defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson? (NHL Images)

No one among the Bruins’ current defense corps has tallied more than 32 points in a season. Cassidy suggests Charlie McAvoy and Matt Grzelcyk could be candidates to replace Krug’s offense, especially on the power play. He also didn’t rule out another move by the Bruins to address that issue.

Haggerty noted the Bruins’ attempt to acquire Arizona Coyotes captain Oliver Ekman-Larsson last month. It sounds like Cassidy is advocating for the Bruins to pursue an Ekman-Larsson type of defenseman, but that won’t be easy given their limited salary-cap space.

Haggerty also wondered if the door was fully shut on acquiring Ekman-Larsson later in the season. The Coyotes’ efforts to move the 29-year-old blueliner ended when a deal couldn’t be reached before his deadline of Oct. 9.

In a recent interview, Ekman-Larsson expressed his desire to remain with the Coyotes. However, the club is currently facing difficult fiscal times. Ekman-Larsson explained why he chose the Bruins as one of the two clubs he’d accept being traded to, indicating they showed interest in him before he signed his current contract plus he spent time in Boston during the 2012-13 lockout.

Ekman-Larsson said he’d leave further trade situations up to Coyotes general manager Bill Armstrong. Haggerty speculates that could create an opportunity to revisit a trade to the Bruins at some point during the 2020-21 season. He acknowledged the Bruins would have to shed salary and perhaps convince the Coyotes to absorb part of Ekman-Larsson’s $8.25 million annual average value.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Anything’s possible but I doubt an Ekman-Larsson trade could be done during the regular season. Teams have limited cap room in-season during the best of times. There won’t be much space for the Bruins to swing this deal during a shortened campaign. Such a move would probably happen during the offseason when teams have more cap space to work as some contracts come off their books through free agency or trades.

Ekman-Larsson’s cap hit through 2026-27 is a huge sticking point now. The Coyotes would want a team to take on the entire $8.25 million, which would be a tough sell in better economic times. They’ll be reluctant to have part of it counting against their cap for the next seven seasons.

Everything hinges, of course, on Ekman-Larsson waiving his no-movement clause. He could agree if Coyotes management presses the issue but they’ll likely want him to expand his list of preferred destinations. His trade status could remain a topic of conjecture throughout the upcoming season.

NBC SPORTS: Adam Gretz recently pondered David Krejci’s future with the Bruins. The 34-year-old center is slated to become an unrestricted free agent next summer and has no intention of retiring.

Krejci’s age could be a concern as his production and level of play will inevitably decline. The Bruins, meanwhile, have $45 million invested in 12 players for 2021-22 with restricted free agent winger Jake DeBrusk still to sign plus Brandon Carlo, Ondrej Kase and Nick Ritchie slated for RFA status next summer. Goaltenders Tuukka Rask and Jaroslav Halak become unrestricted at the end of this season.

Gretz speculates a two- or three-year deal worth around $5.5 million annually seems reasonable for the Bruins given their circumstances. If Krejci wants more, however, he’ll have to test the market.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: After being the highest-paid Bruin for several years, Krejci probably anticipates having to accept a pay cut to stay in Boston. He could be receptive to a deal like the one suggested by Gretz. We’ll have to wait until next summer to find out if Bruins management is willing to offer up that much.

NHL Rumor Mill – November 11, 2020

NHL Rumor Mill – November 11, 2020

A look at next year’s unrestricted free agent class in today’s NHL rumor mill.

THE SCORE: Sean O’Leary recently previewed the NHL’s 2021 unrestricted free agent class.

Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin (NHL Images).

The notable forwards include Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin, Anaheim Ducks captain Ryan Getzlaf, Buffalo Sabres winger Taylor Hall, Edmonton Oilers forward Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Colorado Avalanche captain Gabriel Landeskog, St. Louis Blues winger Jaden Schwartz, Montreal Canadiens winger Tomas Tatar, Boston Bruins center David Krejci, and Avalanche winger Brandon Saad.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Ovechkin’s already signaled his intent to re-sign with the Capitals. Unless Getzlaf feels he’d like one more shot at a Stanley Cup run, I can see him staying with the Ducks on a short-term deal. The Oilers and Nugent-Hopkins are discussing a long-term contract extension. I doubt the Avalanche part ways with Landeskog and I don’t see the Blues letting Schwartz depart after losing Alex Pietrangelo to free agency this year.

Hall could stay with the Sabres if he develops strong chemistry with Jack Eichel and the club significantly improves. Otherwise, he’ll test the market again. Tatar’s inconsistency means the coming season is likely his last in Montreal. The Bruins could let Krejci go unless he accepts a significant pay cut. Saad could be a one-year rental unless the Avs fail to re-sign Landeskog.

Noteworthy defensemen on O’Leary’s list include the Carolina Hurricanes’ Dougie Hamilton, the Columbus Blue Jackets’ David Savard, the Oilers’ Adam Larsson, and the Vegas Golden Knights’ Alec Martinez.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: All four could end up hitting the market next summer. Cap constraints could make it difficult for Hamilton, Larsson and Martinez to remain with their current clubs. Savard will turn 31 next October and the Jackets could be reluctant to invest too much in him for too long.

The Bruins’ Tuukka Rask, Toronto Maple Leafs’ Frederik Andersen, the Blues’ Jordan Binnington, and the Avalanche’s Philipp Grubauer are among next year’s best UFA goaltenders.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I can see the Bruins re-signing Rask to a short-term deal provided he doesn’t opt for retirement at the end of 2020-21. Andersen is likely a goner after next season.

The Blues parted ways with Jake Allen this year by trading him to the Montreal Canadiens. Things will really have to go sideways for them to let Binnington walk next summer. Grubauer’s future in Colorado could depend upon his performance in the coming season, especially during the playoffs.

NHL Playoffs: Expect Fireworks in Bruins-Lightning Series

NHL Playoffs: Expect Fireworks in Bruins-Lightning Series


Would The Real Boston Bruins Please Step Forward?

Would The Real Boston Bruins Please Step Forward?


Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – February 2, 2020

Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – February 2, 2020

Is Dustin Byfuglien done for the season? Should the Bruins trade David Krejci? What’s the latest on Kaspari Kapanen, Mikael Granlund, Ilya Kovalchuk, and Andreas Athanasiou? Find out in the Sunday NHL rumor roundup.


SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman reports Dustin Byfuglien could be out for the remainder of the season. The Winnipeg Jets defenseman has missed the entire campaign to date, first after being suspended for failing to report to training camp and then following ankle surgery. Friedman said he’s yet to resume skating.

Winnipeg Jets defenseman Dustin Byfuglien could be done for the season (Photo via NHL Images).

If the 34-year-old Byfuglien doesn’t return, it could provide the Jets with much-needed salary-cap flexibility. They’ve had to hold his $7.6-million annual average salary until his situation was sorted out. Friedman also said Byfuglien’s future could be revisited during the summer.

WINNIPEG SUN: Scott Billeck weighed in on Friedman’s report, pointing out the Jets were said to be in the market for a top-four defenseman. If Byfuglien’s out of the season, that will free up cap room before the Feb. 24 trade deadline.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: As Friedman and Billeck indicate, the Jets have been handcuffed cap-wise by uncertainty over Byfuglien’s status. If he’s done for the season, GM Kevin Cheveldayoff can either keep him suspended without pay or place him on LTIR. That would give Cheveldayoff considerably more room to work with before the trade deadline.


BOSTON GLOBE: Kevin Paul Dupont suggests the Bruins should consider trading center David Krejci. He points out Krejci’s line has been inconsistent this season. The veteran center is 33 and has a year left on his contract with an annual average salary of $7.25 million. Nevertheless, Dupont thinks Krejci could be one of the Bruins’ most tradeable assets. He has a 15-team trade list, which could put him in play if GM Don Sweeney wants him there.

Moving Krejci would also free up salary-cap space to re-sign defenseman Torey Krug. Dupont believes Charlie Coyle could take over the second-line center role, with either Par Lindholm or Jack Studnicka taking over the third-line center position.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Trading Krejci before the deadline would be a bold move by Sweeney, but I doubt he’ll do it. Krejci’s playoff experience will be invaluable to their pursuit of the Stanley Cup this spring. Perhaps that move happens in the off-season.


SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman reported Toronto Maple Leafs coach Sheldon Keefe said winger Kaspari Kapanen was a healthy scratch from Saturday’s 2-1 win over the Ottawa Senators for “internal accountability.” Keefe said it was a one-time issue and the winger would address it on Monday. Kapanen has surfaced in recent trade rumors.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’ll be interesting to find out what this “internal accountability” stems from. Perhaps Keefe is unhappy over Kapanen’s overall performance. The 23-year-old winger is on pace for a 45-point performance but was held pointless in his last five contests.

There’s speculation Kapanen could be used as trade bait to add a top-four defenseman. This incident could dampen his trade value a little.


THE ATHLETIC: Adam Vingan reported winger Mikael Granlund’s offense has improved since John Hynes took over last month as head coach of the Nashville Predators. Granlund will become an unrestricted free agent this summer. Vingan wondered if the Predators will retain him to push for a playoff spot, or shop him before the trade deadline if they know they can’t re-sign him.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: With the deadline just over three weeks away, Predators GM David Poile could take the next couple of weeks to evaluate Granlund’s performance and that of his club before reaching a decision. If he keeps playing well and the Predators get back into the playoff chase, he could keep the winger as an own rental. Otherwise, Granlund could be playing for another club by Feb. 24.


NHL Injury Outlook – The First Bye Week

NHL Injury Outlook – The First Bye Week