THE HOCKEY NEWS: In her latest mailbag segment, Sammi Silber provided a recent update on what changes might be in store for the Washington Capitals should they miss the playoffs this season.
General manager Brian MacLellan recently said that acquiring a top-six forward is something the club would like to look into. He added there will be more flexibility for tweaks and offseason changes.
Evgeny Kuznetsov was the subject of recent trade rumors but the 30-year-old center dismissed it, noting that it was based on a misinterpreted report. He said he still sees his future with the Capitals.
Washington Capitals center Evgeny Kuznetsov (NHL Images).
Anthony Mantha’s future in Washington is less certain following a disappointing season in which he was a healthy scratch on multiple occasions. It’s unclear if he’s in the mix with the Capitals for next season, let alone what his trade value would be.
As for head coach Peter Laviolette, contract extension talks have reportedly grown cold. Missing the playoffs could mean a shakeup behind the bench, though Laviolette had to deal with numerous injuries to his roster over the past three seasons.
Silber noted this summer’s free-agent class isn’t that impressive so she’s not sure who the Capitals might target. They could have better luck in the trade market and have some trade chips, including perhaps Kuznetsov.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Cap Friendly indicates the Capitals have $7.3 million in projected cap space for 2023-24 with 17 players under contract. They’ll have to shed some salary if they intend to add a scoring forward.
The Athletic’s Tarik El-Bashir recently reported that Capitals management wasn’t impressed with Kuznetsov’s performance this season, citing his poor defensive play and inability to step up when injuries struck the lineup. However, his $7.8 million annual average value and 10-team no-trade list make the soon-to-be 31-year-old difficult to move. It wouldn’t surprise me if he’s still with the Capitals next season.
Mantha, meanwhile, has been a big disappointment for them this season. The 28-year-old winger is a year away from UFA eligibility and carries a $5.7 million AAV for next season. He lacks no-trade protection but his struggles this season hurts his trade value.
As for Laviolette, this could go either way but it wouldn’t be surprising if they decide to hire a replacement.
LATEST ON THE OILERS
THE ATHLETIC: Allan Mitchell recently looked at the Edmonton Oilers’ options to free up some salary-cap space for 2023-24.
He speculated they could shuffle out wingers like Kailer Yamamoto or Warren Foegele. However, the latter’s performance since Feb. 1 suggests he’ll be back next season.
Regarding their blueline, Mitchell suggested Cody Ceci could become a trade candidate if management needs a cost-cutting deal. Philip Broberg would have to pass through waivers next season which could make Brett Kulak expendable.
The following is the list of players traded on March 21, 2022. The trade deadline is 3 pm ET. Check in regularly as this list will be updated throughout today until the last trades are officially announced.
Vegas Golden Knights trade forward Evgenii Dadonov to the Anaheim Ducks in exchange for the LTIR contract of Ryan Kesler, defenseman John Moore and a conditional second-round pick in 2023 or 2024.
Seattle Kraken acquire forward Victor Rask from the Minnesota Wild in exchange for future consideration.
Columbus Blue Jackets trade forward Max Domi to the Carolina Hurricanes in a three-team trade involving the Florida Panthers. The Hurricanes also received defense prospect Tyler Inamoto, the Blue Jackets received defense prospect Aiden Hreschuk, and the Panthers received forward prospect Egor Korshkov and a sixth-round pick in the 2022 NHL draft.
The New York Rangers acquire forward Andrew Copp and a sixth-rounder in 2023 from the Winnipeg Jets in exchange for minor-league center Morgan Barron, a conditional second-round pick in 2022 (becomes a first-rounder if the Rangers win two rounds in 2022 playoffs), a conditional second-rounder in 2022 or 2023 and a fifth-rounder in 2023.
Tampa Bay Lightning acquire Riley Nash for the Arizona Coyotes in exchange for future considerations.
Edmonton Oilers acquire forward Derick Brassard from the Philadelphia Flyers in exchange for a fourth-round pick in 2023.
Calgary Flames acquire center Ryan Carpenter from the Chicago Blackhawks in exchange for a fifth-round draft pick in 2024.
Ottawa Senators acquire goaltender Michael McNiven from the Calgary Flames for future considerations.
Chicago Blackhawks trade goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury to the Minnesota Wild (NHL Images)
New York Rangers acquire forward Nick Merkley from the San Jose Sharks in exchange for defenseman Anthony Bitetto.
The Pittsburgh Penguins acquire winger Rickard Rakell from the Anaheim Ducks in exchange for forwards Zach Aston-Reese and Dominik Simon, a 2022 second-round pick and a prospect.
The Rangers also acquire forward Tyler Motte from the Vancouver Canucks in exchange for a 2023 fourth-rounder.
Detroit Red Wings ship forward Vladislav Namestnikov to the Dallas Stars in exchange for a fourth-round pick in 2024.
Montreal Canadiens trade goaltender Andrew Hammond to the New Jersey Devils in exchange for minor-league center Nate Schnarr.
Colorado Avalanche acquires forward Andrew Cogliano from the San Jose Sharks in exchange for a 2024 fifth-rounder.
The Washington Capitals acquire Johan Larsson from the Arizona Coyotes in exchange for a 2023 third-round pick.
Ottawa Senators trade Zach Sanford to the Winnipeg Jets for a 2022 fifth-round pick.
St. Louis Blues acquire defenseman Nick Leddy and minor-league blueliner Luke Witkowski from the Detroit Red Wings for winger Oskar Sundqvist, defenseman Jake Walman and a 2023 second-round pick.
Montreal Canadiens trade forward Artturi Lehkonen to the Colorado Avalanche in exchange for defense prospect Justin Barron and a 2024 second-round pick.
Edmonton Oilers acquire defenseman Brett Kulak from the Montreal Canadiens in exchange for defenseman William Lagesson and a conditional second-round pick in 2022 or 2023.
Boston Bruins trade winger Zach Senyshyn and a fifth-rounder in the 2022 draft to the Ottawa Senators for defenseman Josh Brown and a seventh-rounder in 2022.
The New York Rangers acquire defenseman Justin Braun from the Philadelphia Flyers for a third-round pick in 2023.
Chicago Blackhawks trade goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury to the Minnesota Wild in exchange for a conditional 2022 second-round draft pick that becomes a first-rounder if the Wild reach the Western Conference Final.
Minnesota Wild trade goaltender Kaapo Kahkonen and a fifth-round pick to the San Jose Sharks for defenseman Jacob Middleton.
The Seattle Kraken trade forward Marcus Johansson to the Washington Capitals in exchange for forward Daniel Sprong, a 2022-fourth-round pick and a 2023 sixth-rounder.
The Winnipeg Jets trade center Nathan Smith and Bryan Little’s LTIR contract to the Arizona Coyotes in exchange for a 2022 fourth-round pick.
Winnipeg Jets trade defenseman Nathan Beaulieu to the Pittsburgh Penguins for a conditional 2022 seventh-round pick.
The Trade Deadline is 3 pm ET today. Check out the latest in this morning’s NHL rumor mill.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: With so many notable names already moved in recent days, there’s not much in terms of rumors involving noteworthy trade candidates. Here’s a quick roundup of this morning’s speculation.
THE ATHLETIC: Fluto Shinzawa believes the Boston Bruins will look at acquiring a forward before today’s trade deadline. Targets could include the Winnipeg Jets’ Andrew Copp, the Columbus Blue Jackets’ Max Domi, the Vancouver Canucks’ J.T. Miller and the New Jersey Devils’ Pavel Zacha.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s believed the Canucks are unlikely to move Miller today. Anything can happen, of course, but the extra year on his contract means they could keep him and perhaps try to sign him this summer to a contract extension.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Braun seems more likely to move than van Riemsdyk considering the latter’s cap hit. Braun is due to become an unrestricted free agent this summer and carries an affordable $1.8 million annual average value.
NEW YORK POST: Larry Brooks reports the Rangers are believed to be interested in Jets forward Andrew Copp. Meanwhile, talk around Anaheim Ducks winger Rickard Rakell seems to have quieted. Rangers GM Chris Drury could also bring in a defenseman. Options could include the Chicago Blackhawks Calvin de Haan, Montreal Canadiens Brett Kulak, the Flyers’ Justin Braun and the Buffalo Sabres’ Colin Miller.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Ducks general manager Pat Verbeek has made good on his vow to trade his pending UFAs rather than risk losing them for nothing this summer to free agency. He already shipped out Hampus Lindholm and Josh Manson. I expect Rakell will be on the move before today’s deadline.
THE PROVINCE: Ben Kuzma ponders the trade possibilities for several Canucks. They appear willing to remain patient with pending restricted free agent Brock Boeser while Conor Garland’s speed and reasonable contract still make him a good fit in Vancouver. Pending UFAs Tyler Motte and Luke Schenn are more likely to move.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Boeser could be moved today but I think that’s more likely an offseason move if they can’t reach an agreement on a contract. Garland is reportedly drawing lots of interest but I think it’ll take a significant offer (first-round pick?) to pry him away from the Canucks.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Petry’s $6.25 million annual cap hit through 2024-25 and his 15-team no-trade clause could make him difficult to move today. That could be an offseason transaction.
EDMONTON JOURNAL: Kurt Leavins believes the Oilers would like to add a defenseman. His suggested options include the Seattle Kraken’s Carson Soucy, the Ottawa Senators’ Nick Holden, and the Canadiens’ Brett Kulak.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Leavins also included the New Jersey Devils’ Ryan Graves on his list but I don’t believe he’s available.
MONTREAL GAZETTE: Earlier this week, Pat Hickey reported the Canadiens defense corps is in line for a major overhaul. No one expects sidelined captain Shea Weber to play again, the club is getting offers for pending UFA Ben Chiarot, Jeff Petry could be moved if the right deal can be found while pending UFA Brett Kulak could also be shopped at the March 21 trade deadline.
Montreal Canadiens defenseman Ben Chiarot (NHL Images).
LeBrun also believes the Canadiens covet some of the New York Rangers prospects while the Habs have some players to fill the Rangers’ needs. With 12 picks already in this year’s draft, the Canadiens could prefer returns of prospects over draft picks.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Canadiens VP of hockey operations Jeff Gorton was the Rangers general manager until last May. Most of their current prospects were chosen by him so it’s not surprising he wouldn’t mind landing one or two of them. Whether or not he’ll be successful and which ones he might get remains to be seen.
THE HOCKEY NEWS: Mike Stephens notes recent reports linking the Toronto Maple Leafs to Chiarot. However, his near-league-worst overlying numbers plus the Canadiens asking price of a first-round pick should send the Leafs looking elsewhere to bolster their blueline. Stephens suggested the New Jersey Devils’ Damon Severson, Philadelphia Flyers’ Justin Braun and Winnipeg Jets’ Dylan DeMelo could be better options.
WASHINGTON HOCKEY NOW: Sammi Silber cites a report by RDS claiming the Canadiens reached out to the Capitals regarding goaltender Ilya Samsonov. The 24-year-old Samsonov has struggled at times with consistency but has played better of late. The Capitals are believed in the market to upgrade their goaltending and their forward lines as well. They’ve been linked to the Vancouver Canucks and Seattle Kraken.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Canadiens are expected to be among the prime sellers leading up to the March 21 trade deadline. UFAs such as Chiarot and Kulak are the most likely to go as they’ll be the easiest to move. The same goes for Lehkonen, who’s a restricted free agent with arbitration rights and a year away from UFA eligibility. Struggling players with term on their contracts (Petry, Hoffman, Drouin, Dvorak) could be tougher to ship out during the season.
The Habs’ interest in Samsonov could be a desire to bring in a younger NHL goalie who has the potential to perhaps take over for Carey Price if he’s traded or ends up on permanent LTIR. I think the Capitals prefer hanging onto Samsonov given his youth and potential.
TSN: Pierre LeBrun reported Thursday the Vancouver Canucks might not be in any hurry to move J.T. Miller, who’s signed through 2022-23. Canucks management doesn’t buy into the notion that the 28-year-old center’s trade value would be higher now than in the offseason. They could also sign him to a contract extension this summer so all options are all the table. Clubs interested in Miller, such as the New York Rangers, must step up if they hope to pry him away from the Canucks.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: All due respect to Haggs but I think it’ll take more than what the Canadiens got for Toffoli to land Miller, specifically the type of NHL player and prospect. I also doubt his suggested return would bring the Canucks center to the Bruins, especially considering the Rangers have the cap space and the depth in prospects and young players to outbid them.
Yes, the Canucks could trade Miller by the March 21 trade deadline if a club makes an impressive bid. However, that might not be out there during this season. While there are exceptions, the overwhelming majority of deadline moves tend to involve pending free agents on non-playoff clubs shipped to contenders as rentals.
UPDATE ON ALEXANDAR GEORGIEV
NEW YORK POST: Larry Brooks believes Rangers goaltender Alexandar Georgiev’s career has stalled as Igor Shesterkin took over as their full-time starter. The 26-year-old struggled last season and got off to a poor start to this one, though he played well filling in for Shesterkin when he was sidelined by a groin injury in December.
Since then, Georgiev’s numbers have declined, prompting Brooks to suggest any of his upcoming starts could be his last with the Rangers. With Georgiev a restricted free agent this summer who could become unrestricted if the Blueshirts don’t qualify his rights, the upcoming trade deadline could be their last chance to get something in return.
Moving Georgiev would mean finding a suitable backup. Brooks suggested Detroit’s Thomas Greiss or Vancouver’s Jaroslav Halak, though the latter is on injured reserve.
VEGAS HOCKEY NOW: Owen Krepps cited Daily Faceoff’s Frank Seravalli reporting Georgiev could be an option for the Golden Knights if starter Robin Lehner remains sidelined by a suspected shoulder injury.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I don’t rule out the possibility of Georgiev getting traded provided the Rangers ensure they have a suitable replacement in hand in case Shesterkin gets injured again. Greiss could be a better option than Halak, who has a no-movement clause while Greiss lacks no-trade protection. Columbus’ Joonas Korpisalo could also be an option. If Rangers GM Chris Drury doesn’t believe they’ll do a better job, he’ll hang onto Georgiev.
The Flames expand their lead in the Western Conference, Connor McDavid’s point streak comes to an end, Steven Stamkos reaches a milestone and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.
NHL.COM: The Calgary Flames (29 points) opened a three-point lead over the Edmonton Oilers atop the Western Conference by defeating the Chicago Blackhawks 5-2. Matthew Tkachuk broke a 2-2 tie in the third period while Trevor Lewis and Johnny Gaudreau put the game out of reach. The Flames have won four straight.
Tampa Bay Lightning center Steven Stamkos (NHL Images).
Speaking of the Oilers, they were beaten 4-1 by the Dallas Stars, snapping Connor McDavid’s point streak at 17 games. Stars defenseman John Klingberg collected three assists while teammate Roope Hintz had a goal and an assist. Oilers defenseman Duncan Keith left the game midway through the second period with an upper-body injury.
Andrei Vasilevskiy had a 34-save shutout and Steven Stamkos scored a goal and set up two others as the Tampa Bay Lightning blanked the Philadelphia Flyers 4-0. Stamkos became the seventh active player to tally at least three points in a game 80 times in their career.
TAMPA BAY TIMES: Lightning center Brayden Point will be sidelined for four to six weeks with an upper-body injury.
NEW YORK POST: The Islanders have seven players in COVID protocol as Zdeno Chara became the latest to receive a positive test. Chara joins Josh Bailey, Anders Lee, Ross Johnston, Adam Pelech, Andy Greene and Kieffer Bellows.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: This is the third team to suffer a COVID-19 outbreak since late October. The San Jose Sharks also had seven players and a coach sidelined while the Ottawa Senators had three games postponed last week with 10 players and a coach waylaid by the coronavirus. All the players were fully vaccinated.
The Sharks didn’t have any games postponed and there’s no indication yet if the Isles’ schedule will require any changes. This will also stoke concern over the possibility of the NHL pulling out of participating in the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics. The league has until Jan. 10, 2022, to make that decision.
The Islanders got additional bad news yesterday when they announced leading scorer Brock Nelson will be out two to four weeks with an undisclosed lower-body injury.
TWINCITIES.COM: Minnesota Wild defenseman Jared Spurgeon is listed as week-to-week following a lower-body injury suffered during a recent game against the Florida Panthers.
MONTREAL GAZETTE: Canadiens defenseman Brett Kulak will miss the club’s upcoming three-game road trip with a lower-body injury.
DETROIT HOCKEY NOW: Injuries will keep Red Wings defenseman Troy Stecher (wrist) and center Mitchell Stephens (lower body) on the shelf until after the February Olympic break.
NORTHJERSEY.COM: The New Jersey Devils officially unveiled their third jersey yesterday. Designed by former Devils great Martin Brodeur, it is a black jersey with the “Jersey” on the front.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The unveiling was spoiled when photos of the third jersey were leaked the day prior. The reaction seemed mixed on social media with some folks liking it, some hating it and some amused by the name on the front, sparking a good-natured reply from the Devils.
HOCKEY HALL OF FAME: Mike Gartner takes over as chair of the Hockey Hall of Fame selection committee while Cammi Granato joins the 18-member committee. Gartner replaces John Davidson, who is retiring from the position on Dec. 31.
NHL Morning Headlines and Rumors – November 8, 2020
The Bruins’ Stanley Cup odds, the Ducks sign another first-rounder and the latest Red Wings, Canadiens and Capitals speculation in today’s NHL morning headlines and rumors.
BOSTON HOCKEY NOW: The Bruins aren’t as good as they were last season but they remain a Stanley Cup contender. They lost defenseman Torey Krug to free agency, Zdeno Chara has yet to sign, and forwards Brad Marchand and David Pastrnak could miss the start of the season recovering from offseason surgeries. Nevertheless, oddsmakers in Las Vegas give them 14-1 odds to win the Cup. Only the Colorado Avalanche, the defending champion Tampa Bay Lightning, and the Vegas Golden Knights have better odds.
The Boston Bruins remain a Stanley Cup favorite in 2021 thanks to stars like David Pastrnak (NHL Images).
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Bruins still have a solid goalie tandem in Tuukka Rask and Jaroslav Halak, one of the top offensive lines in Marchand, Pastrnak and Patrice Bergeron, two very good young defensemen in Charlie McAvoy and Brandon Carlo, and a solid supporting cast featuring David Krejci, Jake DeBrusk, and Charlie Coyle. They’re not an overwhelming Cup favorite anymore but we shouldn’t underestimate them.
THE ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER: The Anaheim Ducks signed defenseman Jamie Drysdale to a three-year entry-level contract. They selected Drysdale with the sixth overall pick in the 2020 NHL Draft.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s the second signing of a top prospect by the Ducks in recent days. On Thursday, they signed winger Jacob Perreault (26th overall in this year’s draft) to an ELC.
CHICAGO SUN-TIMES: Defenseman Ian Mitchell, winger Lukas Reichel, and center Philipp Kurashev sit atop Ben Pope’s ranking of the Blackhawks’ top-10 prospects.
TORONTO SUN: Steve Simmons wonders why the Detroit Red Wings haven’t attempted to sign Tampa Bay Lightning center Anthony Cirelli to an offer sheet. He suspects Red Wings general manager (and former Lightning GM) Steve Yzerman has too much respect for his former employer, Lightning owner Jeff Vinik.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: That could be one reason. Another could be Cirelli might not be interested in an offer sheet. If he was, perhaps he’s not keen to join a rebuilding team when he’s currently a member of a Stanley Cup champion that has a good chance of winning again over the next two or three years. Maybe Yzerman isn’t keen to invest most of his remaining cap space into one player and give up the compensatory draft picks if the Bolts fail to match the offer.
SPORTSNET: In a recent mailbag segment, Eric Engels was asked what he thought Montreal Canadiens GM Marc Bergevin intends to do with Paul Byron. He was also asked if the Habs might pursue a gritty veteran winger like Corey Perry.
While Byron has dropped down the Canadiens’ depth chart, Engels doesn’t see him getting traded. He feels the veteran forward has more value to the Habs as a player than what he might fetch in a trade. However, Bergevin could attempt to package him with a draft pick to the Seattle Kraken to ensure another player on the Habs roster isn’t selected in the expansion draft.
As for Perry, Engels thinks he’s the type of player who could help the Canadiens. He’d be an affordable addition who could be a fringe player in the regular season to save him for the playoffs when they’d need him the most.
Engels was also asked if the Canadiens might bring back Ilya Kovalchuk. Unless one or two of their forwards are sidelined during training camp, he’d be shocked if Kovalchuk returned to Montreal. He also doesn’t expect the Habs will try to trade defenseman Brett Kulak given Bergevin’s preference for as much NHL-quality depth on the blueline as possible.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I concur with Engels on most of his assessments here. My only quibble (and it’s not much of one) is regarding Perry, as I suspect he’ll be back with the Dallas Stars next season.
THE ATHLETIC: In a recent mailbag segment, Tarik El-Bashir was asked which member of the Washington Capitals was most likely to be traded. He feels the Caps don’t have to make a trade but if forced to weigh salary versus role, Nick Jensen could be the likely candidate, though he stressed he’s not saying Jensen will be shopped.
Asked about any news on trading Jensen or Richard Panik, El-Bashir notes it won’t be easy to move their contracts. Jensen ($2.5 million annual average value) and Panik ($2.75 million AAV) each have three years remaining on their deals. He also doesn’t see the Capitals signing a free-agent forward like Anthony Duclair without freeing up some cap space first.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Cap Friendly indicates the Capitals are above the $81.5 million salary cap by $1.024 million. However, there’s no reason to make a salary-dumping deal because Michal Kempny ($2.5 million cap hit) is sidelined six-to-eight months following Achilles tendon surgery. They’ll simply place him on long-term injury reserve to become cap compliant for 2020-21.