NHL Rumor Mill – October 1, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – October 1, 2022

Are the Oilers in the Jakob Chychrun sweepstakes? Is Blues defenseman Torey Krug a trade candidate? Find out in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.

SPORTSNET’s Mark Spector took to Twitter on Friday to report the Edmonton Oilers are “NOT in on any Jakob Chychrun talks at this time.”

Arizona Coyotes defenseman Jakob Chychrun (NHL Images).

Spector indicated that Philip Broberg and Dylan Holloway are non-starters as prospects heading to Arizona as part of any trade return. He also said that a package of Jesse Puljujarvi and a first-round pick was not enough for the Arizona Coyotes.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Chychrun carries a $4.6 million average annual value through 2024-25. The Oilers can’t afford the 24-year-old Coyotes defenseman unless they included a salaried player in the return to Arizona or make a separate cost-cutting deal.

The Oilers are sitting above the $82.5 million salary cap this season by over $7.5 million. They’ll get over $6.3 million in cap relief with Oscar Klefbom and Mike Smith on long-term injury reserve but could face icing a 21-man roster to be cap compliant for the start of the season unless they can clear another contract from their books.

STLTODAY.COM: Jim Thomas reports Blues defenseman Torey Krug was mentioned in trade rumors as this summer’s free-agent period approached. “It’s not certain if there was any substance to this,” writes Thomas. “Was his name just being floated, or was general manager Doug Armstrong actively trying to move him?”

Krug, however, brushed off the rumors. “When you have a full no-trade clause, you don’t worry about it too much,” he said. The 31-year-old blueliner is in the third year of a seven-year contract with an annual cap hit of $6.5 million.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: If Armstrong was looking at moving Krug it doesn’t sound like he approached him about it. The rearguard’s full no-trade gives him complete control over his situation.

It doesn’t necessarily mean Krug can’t be traded. There have been instances where players with such clauses agree to waive them to go to specific teams. We don’t know what he might do if he was asked to waive his clause but it’s evidently not a scenario that’s causing him any sleepless nights.










NHL Rumor Mill – July 8, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – July 8, 2022

The opening day of the 2022 NHL Draft saw several established players change teams. Could there be more on the move during Day 2? Read on to find out in today’s NHL rumor mill.

LATEST ON THE BLUES

THE ATHLETIC: Jeremy Rutherford reported a source said Vladimir Tarasenko hadn’t rescinded his trade request from last summer despite his career-best performance in 2021-22 with the St. Louis Blues. This comes despite Blues general manager Doug Armstrong downplaying the notion of moving the 30-year-old winger earlier this spring.

St. Louis Blues winger Vladimir Tarasenko (NHL Images).

ESPN’s Kevin Weekes reported yesterday he’d heard that Tarasenko has drawn some interest in the trade market. Rutherford listed the Carolina Hurricanes and Florida Panthers as possible trade partners. He believes the Blues will want a defenseman as part of the return.

Rutherford also cited Daily Faceoff’s Frank Seravalli reporting they were gauging Torey Krug’s value in the trade market. He said a source close to Krug said on Wednesday that the club hasn’t approached the 31-year-old defenseman about waiving his no-trade clause.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Tarasenko has an annual cap hit of $7.5 million but his actual salary for 2022-23 is $5.5 million, making him more affordable in that department compared to last summer. However, he has a full no-trade clause giving him control over where he could go. Like last year, Armstrong will set a high asking price and is in no hurry to move Tarasenko until someone meets it. He could retain the winger as an “own rental” for next season if he doesn’t get what he wants.

Krug could be harder to move because of his $6.5 million AAV through 2026-27 along with that full no-trade clause. His actual salary jumps to $8 million which will be another sticking point.

NHL GOALIE MARKET COULD HEAT UP

OTTAWA SUN: Bruce Garrioch reports the Edmonton Oilers could be the most interested in Darcy Kuemper when the 32-year-old Colorado Avalanche goaltender hits the free-agent market on July 13. The Avalanche signaled their intent to cut ties with Kuemper by acquiring Alexandar Georgiev yesterday from the New York Rangers. He could seek a multiyear deal in the range of $6 million annually.

TORONTO SUN: Lance Hornby reports the Toronto Maple Leafs could also be among Kuemper’s suitors if they fail to sign Jack Campbell before next Wednesday. The Leafs freed up $3.8 million per season for the next two years by shipping Petr Mrazek to the Chicago Blackhawks during the first round of the 2022 NHL Draft on Thursday.

Koshan speculated they could still attempt to re-sign Campbell but he expects the 30-year-old netminder will look to double or triple his $1.6 million annual cap hit from his previous contract on a longer-term. The Ottawa Senators’ Matt Murray would be a long shot unless the Senators retain part of his $6.25 million AAV over the remaining two years of his contract.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: All eyes will be on the Oilers and Leafs regarding how they’ll address their respective goalie situations in the coming days. The Oilers have also been linked to Campbell if he becomes available but could put more of a focus on Kuemper. St. Louis Blues netminder Ville Husso could also be an option for either club.

UPDATES ON THE AVALANCHE, FLYERS, SENATORS AND BLACKHAWKS

THE DENVER POST: With the Colorado Avalanche parting company with Darcy Kuemper, Mark Kiszla believes Nazem Kadri will be next out of town. He believes they would be crazy to pay top dollar for a 31-year-old center coming off an outlier of a career-best performance.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Joe Sakic didn’t become general manager of the year because he’s fond of overpaying for talent. He’s a tough negotiator who has no problem shipping out players who could be expensive to retain or those due for free agency who prove too costly to sign. Kadri’s a goner unless he accepts a hometown discount.

PHILLY HOCKEY NOW: With Alex DeBrincat no longer on the market, Sam Carchidi wonders if the Philadelphia Flyers will set their sights on Johnny Gaudreau if the 28-year-old Calgary Flames winger becomes a UFA on July 13. They’ll need to free up cap space to do so. Carchidi indicated they intend to try and move winger James van Riemsdyk.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It could cost over $9.5 million annually on a seven-year deal for the Flyers to sign Gaudreau, who grew up a Flyers fan. Moving van Riemsdyk would clear $7 million from their books. The 33-year-old winger has a year left on his contract and lacks no-trade protection. His actual salary is $4 million after the Flyers paid his signing bonus on July 1.

OTTAWA SUN: Bruce Garrioch reports the Senators have kicked tires on Florida Panthers defenseman (and Ottawa native) MacKenzie Weegar. They also haven’t ruled out pursuing Panthers forward Claude Giroux if he becomes available via free agency.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Careful there, Senators GM Pierre Dorion. If the Panthers are entertaining offers for Weegar and his $3.25 million cap hit for next season, it’s probably because they’re trying to shed salary to re-sign Giroux.

 










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – May 27, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – May 27, 2022

The Oilers eliminate the Flames, the Hurricanes push the Rangers to the brink of elimination, updates on the Avalanche and Blues and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: The Edmonton Oilers are heading to the Western Conference Finals for the first time in 16 years. Connor McDavid’s overtime goal gave the Oilers a 5-4 victory over the Calgary Flames in Game 5 to take their best-of-seven second-round series four games to one.

Edmonton Oilers captain Connor McDavid (NHL Images).

Edmonton overcame a 2-0 deficit and held a 3-2 lead before Calgary battled back to regain the lead 4-3. Oilers defenseman Evan Bouchard tied the game 4-4 late in the second period. Flames forward Blake Coleman appeared to score the go-ahead goal late in the third but it was overruled on a controversial video review claiming he kicked the puck into the net.

Leon Drasaitl collected four assists while Zach Hyman had a goal and two assists for the Oilers. Coleman had two assists, Mikael Backlund had a goal and an assist and Johnny Gaudreau scored for the Flames.

The Oilers await the winner of the Colorado Avalanche-St. Louis Blues series. Game 6 of that series is tonight with the Avalanche up three games to two.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I don’t have a dog in this fight but that didn’t look like a kicking motion on Coleman’s part. His skate made contact with the pick but there was incidental contact by an Oilers defenseman as Coleman was heading toward the net. Just my two cents. The league’s video review folks believed differently.

While that disallowed goal cost the Flames this game, their sloppy defensive play and uncharacteristic shaky goaltending from Jacob Markstrom throughout this series led to their postseason demise. They struggled to contain Edmonton’s offense, especially McDavid and Draisaitl. Had they won this game, I doubt they would’ve gone on to take the series.

The Carolina Hurricanes have the New York Rangers on the brink of elimination following a 3-1 victory in Game 5 of their second-round series. Teuvo Teravainen snapped a 1-1 tie in the second period while Andrei Svechnikov’s third-period goal put the game out of reach. The Hurricanes can advance to the Eastern Conference Finals with a win in Game 6 on Saturday in New York.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Hurricanes have yet to win a road game in this postseason but they’ve been dominating on home ice. They outshot the Rangers 34-17, controlled this game at even strength, scored on the power play and shorthanded, and apart from Mika Zibanejad’s goal overwhelmed the Rangers’ top line. If they can carry over that effort into Game 6, they’ll have a date with the Tampa Bay Lightning starting next week.

HEADLINE

THE DENVER POST: The Colorado Avalanche hope to avoid a Game 7 when they face off against the St. Louis Blues in Game 6 of their second-round series tonight. Head coach Jared Bednar believes his club will put their blown lead in Game 5 behind them and play with confidence in tonight’s contest.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Avalanche dominated the first 40 minutes of Game 5 but took their foot off the gas and tried to protect their lead in the third period. That enabled the Blues to rally back twice, setting the stage for their dramatic overtime victory.

TSN: Don’t expect St. Louis Blues defenseman Torey Krug to return to action in tonight’s game. He’s been sidelined by a lower-body injury since Game 3 of their first-round series with the Minnesota Wild. Blues coach Craig Berube indicated Krug would also be out for Game 7 if this series goes that far.

DETROIT HOCKEY NOW: Red Wings captain Dylan Larkin has changed agents, hiring Pat Brisson to negotiate his next contract. Larkin is slated to become an unrestricted free agent in 2023. The Wings can sign him to a contract extension on July 13.

SPORTSNET: Los Angeles Kings defenseman Sean Durzi underwent successful shoulder surgery. He’s expected to be ready for the start of the 2022-23 season.

The Geneve-Servette Hockey Club signed former NHL defenseman Sami Vatanen to a two-year contract and former NHL forward Valtteri Filppula to a one-year contract.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: In other words, don’t expect either guy to be signing with NHL teams this summer as free agents.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – May 7, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – May 7, 2022

The Bruins bounce back against the Hurricanes while the Leafs, Oilers and Wild take 2-1 leads in their respective first-round series. Details and much more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: The Boston Bruins doubled up the Carolina Hurricanes 4-2 in Game 3 to pick up their first win of the series. The Hurricanes now hold a 2-1 lead in their best-of-seven first-round series. Brad Marchand had a goal and two assists, David Pastrnak and Charlie Coyle each had two points while rookie goaltender Jeremy Swayman made 25 saves for his first-ever NHL playoff victory. Game 4 will be on Sunday, May 8.

Boston Bruins winger Brad Marchand (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The reunited “Perfection Line” of Marchand, Pastrnak and Patrice Bergeron made their presence felt in this contest. Swayman showed no sign of nerves stepping into this contest after being the backup in the first two games.

There was a scary moment for NHL off-ice official Joe Foley as a pane of glass was accidentally knocked loose by Bruins fans and fell on him while he was working in the penalty box. He was taken off on a stretcher and sent to a local hospital for observation, where he is reportedly all right and is expected to recover.

Toronto Maple Leafs goaltender Jack Campbell made 32 saves to help his club hold off the Tampa Bay Lightning 5-2 in Game 3 of their opening round series. They led Tampa Bay two games to one. Pierre Engvall collected three assists while Ilya Mikheyev tallied twice for the Leafs. Ondrej Palat had a goal and an assist for the Lightning. The two clubs square off in Game 4 on Sunday.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Lightning cut Toronto’s 3-0 lead to 3-2 early in the third period but Campbell’s goaltending and Mikheyev’s two late goals sealed the win. The Leafs’ depth players stepped one as their big guns (Auston Matthews, Mitch Marner, William Nylander and John Tavares) were held to just one assist in this contest.

The Edmonton Oilers got a hat trick from Evander Kane in their 8-2 drubbing of the Los Angeles Kings in Game 3 to go up 2-1 in their first-round series. Zach Hyman and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins each scored two goals and an assist while Mike Smith turned in a 44-save performance for the win. Kings goalie Jonathan Quick got the hook after giving up four goals on 17 shots.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: After a narrow 4-3 loss in Game 1, the Oilers have outscored Los Angeles 14-2 over the next two games. This series will be over quickly at this rate if the Kings fail to neutralize the Oilers’ offense. They’ll get the opportunity in Game 4 on Sunday.

Minnesota Wild netminder Mark-Andre Fleury made 29 saves to backstop his club to a 5-1 victory over the St. Louis Blues in Game 3 to go up two games to one in their first-round series. Jordan Greenway opened the scoring just 39 seconds into the first period. Kirill Kaprizov and Joel Eriksson Ek each had a goal and an assist for the Wild.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Blues’ banged-up blueline suffered another blow as defenseman Torey Krug left the game with a lower-body injury. They were already playing without Robert Bortuzzo and Nick Leddy as both are sidelined by upper-body injuries.

HEADLINES

PITTSBURGH HOCKEY NOW: Penguins backup goaltender Casey DeSmith underwent core-muscle surgery on Friday and is out for the remainder of the playoffs. With starter Tristan Jarry still rehabbing an injured foot, the Penguins will turn to Louis Domingue in Game 3. Domingue replaced DeSmith during their series-opening 4-3 triple overtime win over the New York Rangers. The series is tied at a game apiece with Game 3 on Saturday in Pittsburgh.

TRIBLIVE.COM: In other Penguins news, winger Jason Zucker (lower-body injury) will be a game-time decision for Game 3. Winger Rickard Rakell (upper-body injury) and defenseman Brian Dumoulin (lower body) are listed as day-to-day.

ESPN.COM: Nashville Predators starter Juuse Saros has been ruled out for Saturday’s Game 3 against the Colorado Avalanche. Connor Ingram is expected to get the start for the Predators, who are down 2-0 to the Avalanche in their first-round series.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Ingram made 49 saves in a 2-1 overtime loss in Game 2. He must maintain that level of performance and hope his teammates’ popgun offense can improve if the Predators are to get back into this series.

NBC SPORTS WASHINGTON: Capitals winger Tom Wilson remains day-to-day with a lower-body injury. It’s uncertain if they’ll start Vitek Vanecek or Ilya Samsonov in goal tonight for Game 3 against the Florida Panthers.

THE ATHLETIC: Vegas Golden Knights captain Mark Stone will undergo further tests and research to attempt to address a nagging back injury that hampered his performance this season.

DAILY FACEOFF: cited Cap Friendly indicating only six teams (Bruins, Lightning, Golden Knights, Calgary Flames, Seattle Kraken, and Winnipeg Jets) will have the full $82.5 million salary-cap payrolls to spend in 2022-23. Fourteen clubs will be affected by performance bonuses exceeding this season’s $81.5 million cap and being applied to next season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Click on the link above for the full list. It ranges from as low as $25K (Avalanche) to as high as $1.25 million (Vancouver Canucks).

OTTAWA SUN: NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said there isn’t a “for sale” sign in front of the Senators. There was speculation the club could be sold following the death of owner Eugene Melnyk in March. Bettman said it will be up to Melnyk’s daughters what they wish to do but indicated the club isn’t on the market and there are “no problems”.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Senators are being by a three-man group that has had a hand in running the club for several years. They will continue to do so for the foreseeable future.

TSN: Speaking of Bettman, he said former NHL coach Joel Quenneville hasn’t approached him about returning behind the bench. Quenneville resigned as coach of the Florida Panthers last fall for his role in the Chicago Blackhawks’ mishandling of Kyle Beach’s sexual assault allegations against a former video coach in 2010. Part of the conditions surrounding any plan for his return to the NHL coaching ranks is approval from the league commissioner.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: There were recent rumors Quenneville was either contemplating a return or that a club was interested in hiring him.

NHL.COM: The dates for the announcements of the NHL Award finalists have been released, starting with the James Norris Memorial Trophy on Monday, May 9. Click the link for the complete list. The winners will be revealed during the Conference Finals and the Stanley Cup Final.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 12, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 12, 2022

The Jets keep their playoff hopes alive, Evgeni Malkin is suspended, Drew Doughty is done for the season, the three stars of the week and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: The Winnipeg Jets got third-period goals from Evgeny Svechnikov and Adam Lowry to double up the Montreal Canadiens 4-2 in the only game on Monday’s schedule. Jets forward Paul Stastny reached the 20-goal plateau for the first time since 2013-14. With the win, the Jets (81 points) move to within five points of the Dallas Stars for the final Western Conference playoff berth.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Rookie Morgan Barron collected his first two points since joining the Jets at last month’s trade deadline from the New York Rangers in the Andrew Copp deal. Meanwhile, his younger brother Justin missed his third straight game with the Montreal Canadiens with a suspected broken right ankle that could finish his season. Like his older brother, the younger Barron was also traded on deadline day. The Canadiens acquired him from the Colorado Avalanche in the Artturi Lehkonen trade.

Pittsburgh Penguins center Evgeni Malkin (NHL Images).

  PITTSBURGH HOCKEY NOW: The NHL department of player safety handed down a four-game suspension to Penguins center Evgeni Malkin for his “retaliatory and aggressive” crosscheck on Nashville Predators defenseman Mark Borowiecki on Sunday. It’s the second time in Malkin’s NHL career that he’s been suspended for a stick infraction.

LOS ANGELES TIMES: Kings defenseman Drew Doughty will miss the remainder of the season after undergoing wrist surgery on Monday. He’s expected to be fully recovered in time for training camp in September.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Doughty is the Kings’ top defenseman. His absence could cripple their efforts to secure their first playoff berth since 2017-18. The Kings are clinging to third place in the Pacific Division with 86 points, two points ahead of the surging Vegas Golden Knights.

NHL.COM: Toronto Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews, Washington Capitals defenseman John Carlson, and Florida Panthers winger Jonathan Huberdeau are the NHL’s three stars for the week ending April 10.

THE DENVER POST: Colorado Avalanche captain Gabriel Landeskog has not yet returned to on-ice activities in his recovery from knee surgery. However, he’s still expected to return to action when the playoffs begin in early May.

TORONTO SUN: Maple Leafs defenseman Rasmus Sandin (knee injury) has resumed solo skating but there’s still no timetable for his return to the lineup. Leafs winger Ondrej Kase remains sidelined with a concussion.

STLTODAY.COM: Blues defenseman Torey Krug could return to the lineup tonight against his former club, the Boston Bruins. He’s missed the last 10 games with an upper-body injury.

MLIVE.COM: Sam Gagner is slated to become an unrestricted free agent this summer but hopes to return with the Detroit Red Wings next season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Wings reportedly appreciate the 32-year-old Gagner’s experience, leadership and two-way skills. He’s on a one-year, $850K contract and should be an affordable re-signing if they wish to bring him back next season.

THE ATHLETIC: Eric Stephens reports sources indicate Dallas Eakins will return next season as head coach of the Anaheim Ducks.










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.