NHL Rumor Mill – November 10, 2021

NHL Rumor Mill – November 10, 2021

Could the struggling Blackhawks trade Marc-Andre Fleury to the Oilers? What other moves should they make this season? Read on to find out in today’s NHL rumor mill

YARDBARKER: TSN’s Chris Johnston and Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman have speculated over whether Chicago Blackhawks goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury could become a trade candidate at some point during the season.

Chicago Blackhawks goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury (NHL Images).

Fleury was at the top of Friedman’s list of potential Blackhawks trade assets. He hinted Edmonton could be a trade destination during an appearance on Oilers Now with Bob Stauffer.

Johnston, meanwhile, expressed his view that it’s reasonable to link the 36-year-old goaltender to the Oilers during a recent podcast. “I think that they (Oilers) understand what this season means. I see them trading for a (defenseman) before the deadline and I see them getting another goaltender and that goaltender might be the reigning Vezina Trophy winner.”

Acknowledging the Oilers aren’t the only team that could use a goaltender and has a chance to be competitive, Johnston wondered if Fleury would like the idea of playing for a team as good as the Oilers look thus far this season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I can see the Blackhawks looking to move Fleury at some point before the March 21 trade deadline. Whether the Oilers can land him, however, is another matter.

Fleury’s contract will be a problem for the Oilers. Cap Friendly shows them sitting over $5 million above the salary cap with Oscar Klefbom, Josh Archibald and Alex Stalock on long-term injury reserve. He carries a $7 million cap hit this season and a 10-team no-trade clause. They’ll have to shed salary or convince the Blackhawks to retain part of his cap hit to make this work.

The Oilers are already carrying Mike Smith and Mikko Koskinen as their current goalie tandem. One of them will have to go to make room for Fleury. The automatic assumption would be Koskinen but he has a 15-team no-trade and a $4.5 million cap hit. He’s been playing well thus far this season but he still has a history of inconsistent performance.

The possibility of playing for the Oilers could be enticing but there’s no certainty they’re among his choice of preferred trade destinations. If they’re not, there’s no certainty he’ll waive his no-trade clause to go to Edmonton.

ESPN.COM: Greg Wyshynski suggested the Blackhawks should approach Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews to determine if they wish to finish their careers in Chicago if the club goes into a full rebuild. A former NHL general manager told Wyshynski the Blackhawks should attempt to move them to a club with Stanley Cup aspirations in hope of reaping a return that can help the rebuilding process.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Wyshynski duly noted both players are signed through 2022-23 with identical $10.5 million cap hits and full no-movement clauses. Nevertheless, it would be worthwhile to find out whether they’re on board with being part of a full-fledged roster rebuild. If they’re not, then they need to give management a list of preferred trade destinations.

Wyshynski believes the Blackhawks should retain Dominik Kubalik. The 26-year-old forward is a restricted free agent with arbitration rights but could be part of the solution along with young players like Alex DeBrincat and a few others. He recommends trying to move the rest of their pending free agents, including perhaps trying to ship Fleury back to the Pittsburgh Penguins.

The Blackhawks must also make a decision about recently acquired defenseman Seth Jones, whose eight-year, $76 million contract kicks in next season. There’s no chance they’ll recoup what they gave up to the Columbus Blue Jackets (two first-rounders, defenseman Adam Boqvist and a second-rounder). Wyshynski wondered if they could find a taker for Jones if they opt to go into a full rebuild or if he’ll become a pillar for the Blackhawks to rebuild around.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It would be easier to find a trade partner for Jones if he were playing as well as he did prior to last season. The ongoing decline in his performance coupled with that big contract could make him almost impossible to move.

THE ATHLETIC: Mark Lazerus and Scott Powers report the Blackhawks aren’t in any rush to find a full-time replacement for recently fire head coach Jeremy Colliton. Derek King has taken over the role on an interim basis. Interim general manager Kyle Davidson said the club will conduct that search during the offseason.










NHL Rumor Mill – November 7, 2021

NHL Rumor Mill – November 7, 2021

What’s next for the Blackhawks after firing their head coach? Will the Stars make a cost-cutting deal soon? Find out in this edition of the Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup.

WHAT ELSE IS IN STORE FOR THE STRUGGLING BLACKHAWKS?

THE ATHLETIC: Scott Powers wondered what other changes could be in store for the Chicago Blackhawks after interim general manager Kyle Davidson replaced Jeremy Colliton as head coach yesterday with Derek King on an interim basis.

Chicago Blackhawks goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury (NHL Images).

The Blackhawks GM could spend the next 10-15 games to determine if moves need to be made to help the club improve or nudge it toward getting worse and improve their chances of keeping their 2022 first-round pick. That selection was part of the deal in acquiring Seth Jones from the Columbus Blue Jackets but Powers points out the Blackhawks would retain that pick if they finish low enough in the standings and have the draft lottery balls drop in their favor.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Cap Friendly has the details of the conditions for the Blackhawks’ 2022 first-round pick.

Powers feels the Blackhawks have a handful of players they could move this season, suggesting Marc-Andre Fleury and Dominik Kubalik as trade candidates. Fleury, Calvin de Haan, Ryan Carpenter and Kevin Lankinen are among their notable upcoming unrestricted free agents.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Fleury’s struggling behind the Blackhawks’ porous defense. However, there could be playoff contenders willing to bet the 36-year-old netminder will regain last season’s Vezina Trophy-winning form on a better club. His $7 million cap hit, however, could keep him in Chicago until the weeks leading up to the March 21 trade deadline.

Kubalik carries an affordable $3.7 million cap hit and is just two seasons removed from his 30-goal NHL debut. He’s also a restricted free agent with arbitrations rights next summer, which could make him a more enticing option for teams seeking a scoring winger they can keep beyond this season.

Prior to Colliton’s firing, Mark Lazerus pondered the fate of Dylan Strome. The 24-year-old center has been a healthy scratch in most of the Blackhawks games this season and often sees checking-line duty when he gets into the lineup. Given the club’s struggles, Lazerus wondered why they won’t at least move Strome up in the lineup and put him with some skilled linemates.

Lazerus noted the Blackhawks have tried trading Strome for nearly a year, suggesting the recent management change clouded his situation. Even if they could find a team to ship him to, they’d be selling low right now on one of their best trade chips.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Blackhawks might have to accept a lesser return for Strome. There’s obviously not much of a market for him right now and they’ve done him and themselves no favors by keeping him in the press box for most of this season. Like Kubalik, he’s an RFA with arbitration rights next summer.

THE HOCKEY NEWS: Adam Proteau believes there are players the Blackhawks shouldn’t consider trading, such as Alex DeBrincat and Kirby Dach. However, he suggests Davidson should contemplate shopping long-time stars Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane. While they each carry $10.5 million cap hits, they’ve got just one season left on their contracts following this one. Proteau thinks a team poised for a long Stanley Cup run could be willing to take on one or the other.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It comes down to whether Toews and Kane will agree to be moved. Both carry full no-movement clauses and might not be keen to waive them despite the Blackhawks’ struggles. Perhaps that decision is made next summer. It would be easier if they approached management and requested to be traded but there’s no certainty they’ll do that.

LATEST ON THE STARS

THE DALLAS MORNING NEWS: Matthew DeFranks recently reported Stars goaltender Ben Bishop is now technically eligible to come off long-term injury reserve. However, that decision remains with Bishop and general manager Jim Nill.

Bishop’s been sidelined since undergoing knee surgery last fall. The 34-year-old goalie has been practicing with the Stars but they lack sufficient cap space to take him off LTIR. They can accomplish this by sending players to the minors or via trades.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Stars already have two goaltenders in Braden Holtby and Anton Khudobin. Holtby, 32, has seen the bulk of their starts this season and sports a solid 2.46 goals against average and .924 save percentage. He also carries an affordable one-year, $2 million contract and lacks no-trade protection. Perhaps he becomes a trade candidate when the Stars decide to reactivate Bishop.










Top 10 NHL Sophomores To Watch in 2021 Season

Top 10 NHL Sophomores To Watch in 2021 Season

 










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 10, 2020

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 10, 2020

The Devils sign Corey Crawford, the Flames land Chris Tanev, the Lightning place Tyler Johnson on waivers, and much more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NORTHJERSEY.COM: The New Jersey Devils last night signed goaltender Corey Crawford to a two-year contract worth an annual average value of $3.9 million. The move came a day after the Devils bought out netminder Cory Schneider.

Corey Crawford signs with the New Jersey Devils (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: An affordable move by the Devils to boost their goaltending depth by providing an experienced mentor for Mackenzie Blackwood. I’m surprised that Crawford’s former club, the Chicago Blackhawks, didn’t sign him to a similar deal. Perhaps their offer was less than what he ultimately got on the open market from the Devils.

CALGARY SUN: The Flames signed defenseman Chris Tanev to a four-year, $18-million contract. Cap Friendly indicates the annual average value is $4.5 million. The deal also includes a modified no-trade clause in which Tanev submits a 10-team no-trade list.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s the second former Canuck the Flames added via free agency, having signed goaltender Jacob Markstrom yesterday. This deal is one year less than Tanev’s previous contract and slightly higher than his previous AAV ($4.45 million). He’ll replace T.J. Brodie, who signed yesterday with the Toronto Maple Leafs. However, the decline in Tanev’s performance and his injury history could be cause for concern among Flames fans.

Note: My list of yesterday’s notable unrestricted free agent signings can be found here.

TSN: The Tampa Bay Lightning yesterday placed winger Tyler Johnson on waivers.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: A surprising move by the Lightning that suggests a whiff of desperation to shed salary. We’ll learn at noon ET today if any club claims him.

Johnson has a full no-trade clause but it doesn’t prevent him from being placed on waivers. He has four years remaining on his contract worth an annual average value of $5 million. TSN’s Frank Seravalli wondered if the Detroit Red Wings might claim him, given general manager Steve Yzerman’s ties to Johnson when he was GM of the Lightning.

CHICAGO SUN-TIMES: The Blackhawks re-signed restricted free agent winger Dominik Kubalik to a two-year contract with a $3.7 million AAV and goaltender Malcolm Subban to a two-year extension with an $850K cap hit.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kubalik, a Calder Trophy finalist, was coming off his entry-level contract, giving Blackhawks GM Stan Bowman leverage to ink him to an affordable bridge contract. The Blackhawks still need a reliable starting goaltender as Subban is strictly a backup. I expect they’ll address that need via free agency or trade.

WINNIPEG SUN: Jets center Bryan Little won’t play next season on the recommendation of the team’s doctors. He suffered serious head trauma after being struck in the head by a puck during a game last November and hasn’t played since.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Jets are expected to place Little on long-term injury reserve for 2020-21. That will provide them some wiggle room to exceed the salary cap if necessary by the equivalent of his $5.291 million cap hit. However, the greater concern is for Little’s future as an NHL player. This injury could cut short his playing career.

NBC SPORTS BAY AREA: Joe Thornton confirmed he’ll return for his 23rd NHL season. However, he’s in no rush to sign with the San Jose Sharks or another club at the moment. He also indicated he might play in the Swiss League prior to the scheduled Jan. 1 start of the 2020-21 season.

THE DALLAS MORNING NEWS: The Stars are uncertain about the future of defenseman Stephen Johns, who missed the final 23 games of the club’s playoff run. Johns was sidelined for nearly two years by post-traumatic headaches before returning to action for 17 games last season.

NEWSDAY: New York Islanders prospect Kieffer Bellows violated terms of the AHL/Professional Hockey Players’ Association performance-enhancing substances program. The matter has been dealt with and he will be allowed to play whenever the NHL or AHL are able to start their seasons.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 23, 2020

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 23, 2020

The latest on Nikita Kucherov, Tyler Seguin, Ryan Kesler and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

TAMPA BAY TIMES: Lightning winger Nikita Kucherov isn’t allowing the Dallas Stars to frustrate him and knock him off his game during the Stanley Cup Final. In the past, opponents would target Kucherov and get under his skin.

Tampa Bay Lightning winger Nikita Kucherov (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kucherov’s taken his lumps from the Stars during the first two games of the series. He was held off the score sheet in Game 1 but the Lightning as a team played poorly for most of that contest. In Game 2, Kucherov got the primary assists on the Lightning’s first two goals and leads all NHL scorers with 28 points.

NATIONAL POST: The Stars need more from Tyler Seguin if they hope to win the Stanley Cup. The first-line center has just two goals and eight points in 22 games, with one assist in the last 12. His last goal was on Aug. 26 against Colorado.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The decline in Seguin’s production is troubling but could attributable to an undisclosed injury. He missed an exhibition game against Nashville and a round-robin game against St. Louis. It was a topic of concern in early August but hasn’t been mentioned much as the Stars rolled to the Cup Final.

ESPN.COM: Anaheim Ducks center Ryan Kesler said the lack of education among NHL players regarding the painkiller toradol led to his chronic digestive problems. Kesler and other former NHL players talked about the overuse of pain medication in the TSN documentary, “The Problem of Pain”.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The NHL must do a better job educating its teams, medical staff, and players regarding pain management and the use of pain medication. Failure to do so can lead to addiction or serious medical side effects.

NHL.COM: The Ottawa Senators won’t have a captain for 2020-21. They’ll go with three alternate captains on a game-by-game basis. Head coach D.J. Smith said the plan is to transition younger players like Thomas Chabot and Brady Tkachuk into leadership roles.

OTTAWA SUN: Speaking of the Senators, they and the other teams that didn’t qualify for the return-to-play program could be granted a longer training camp leading up to next season if the NHLPA agrees to it.

TSN: The San Jose Sharks named Bob Boughner their full-time head coach. Boughner took over on an interim basis on Dec. 29 after the club fired Peter DeBoer.

ARIZONA SPORTS: The Coyotes fired assistant general manager Lindsay Hofford.

 










NHL Offseason Lookahead – Chicago Blackhawks

NHL Offseason Lookahead – Chicago Blackhawks