NHL Morning Headlines and Rumors – November 8, 2020

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.

HEADLINES

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.

RUMOR MILL

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.










NHL Rumor Mill – September 16, 2020

NHL Rumor Mill – September 16, 2020

Does the Jonas Brodin signing mean Matt Dumba’s on the trade block? Will Marc-Andre Fleury submit his no-trade list? What the latest on the Canadiens? Find out in today’s NHL rumor mill.

COULD DUMBA BE TRADED?

THE ATHLETIC (subscription required): Michael Russo reports the Minnesota Wild re-signing defenseman Jonas Brodin yesterday to a seven-year, $42-million contract extension could set the stage for other moves.

According to sources, Wild general manager Bill Guerin has not only received a lot of calls about Matt Dumba, he’s actively shopping the blueliner. Russo speculates Guerin could move Dumba for a scoring forward, preferably a center. He indicates the rearguard is the only one lacking no-trade protection before 2021-22 season.

THE PROVINCE: Patrick Johnston believes the Vancouver Canucks will be among the suitors for Dumba. However, he believes it’ll take giving up a forward like Brock Boeser to get him. Johnston feels Boeser’s name could surface in trade rumors if the Canucks re-sign pending free agent winger Tyler Toffoli.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Cap Friendly indicates Brodin, Ryan Suter, and Jared Spurgeon have full no-movement clauses. As a result, those three must be protected in next summer’s expansion draft, leaving Dumba exposed if Guerin decides to protect three defensemen.

Dumba lacks no-trade protection for 2020-21. On his own, however, he might not be enough to land a scoring center. A sweetener of a draft pick or promising prospect might have to be included. His annual salary-cap hit ($6 million AAV through 2022-23) could also be a snag.

Guerin doesn’t have to move Dumba right away. He can be patient and see how next season unfolds if he doesn’t find any suitable offers during this offseason. If he opts to wait, I think he’ll try to move Dumba before next season’s trade deadline (whenever that might be) to avoid any complications of finding a suitable trade partner before the expansion draft.

DID FLEURY SUBMIT HIS NO-TRADE LIST?

THE ATHLETIC (subscription required): Jesse Granger reported Sept. 15 was the deadline Marc-Andre Fleury and his agent to submit their revised no-trade list to Vegas Golden Knights management. That’s in accordance with the NHL CBA and the memorandum of understanding.

It’s uncertain if the Fleury camp did this. Granger speculates they may have as a precautionary measure following reports the Golden Knights intend to re-sign Robin Lehner.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Granger also points out moving an aging goaltender with two years left on his contract with an annual average value of $7 million would be difficult under normal circumstances. Nevertheless, he did play well in his three postseason appearances and there could be a club with sufficient cap space willing to take a chance on him.

LATEST ON THE CANADIENS

TVA SPORTS: Charlie Lajoie believes Montreal Canadiens general manager Marc Bergevin could be preparing for a blockbuster trade following his recent acquisition of defenseman Joel Edmundson. He speculated a blueliner like Ben Chiarot could be part of a package deal to land a scoring winger.

SPORTSNET: Eric Engels believes the Canadiens’ recent acquisition of defenseman Joel Edmundson opens up some trade possibility for Bergevin. He also believes Bergevin can afford to move a blueliner to address that issue. He feels Brett Kulak could have more value on the trade market than Victor Mete.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Habs have a surplus of left-side defensemen. Kulak or Mete could be part of a package for a scoring forward but they obviously won’t be the centerpiece. Maybe center Max Domi would also be part of such a deal.

Bergevin can also draw upon his depth in draft picks. He has 11 picks in this year’s draft, including three in the second round and three in the fourth. He also has two third-rounders and three picks in each of the fourth and fifth rounds of next year’s draft.

We know he won’t be moving promising youngsters like Nick Suzuki, Jesperi Kotkaniemi and Alexander Romanov. He included them among his untouchables.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 25, 2020

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 25, 2020

Uncertainty over the status of Coyotes GM John Chayka, plus updates on Sidney Crosby, Brent Seabrook, Corey Crawford, Torey Krug, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

IS CHAYKA OUT AS COYOTES GM?

SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman reports there’s a growing sense John Chayka and the Arizona Coyotes are headed for a divorce. The Coyotes general manager was not present during a meeting last week between several key members of the club’s ownership group and pending free agent winger Taylor Hall. It has yet to be determined if Chayka will be traveling with the club to Edmonton for the upcoming playoff tournament. One source claims his office has been cleaned out.

Arizona Coyotes general manager John Chayka (NHL.com).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Interesting bit of intrigue as the Coyotes prepare for the upcoming qualifying round. Chayka has yet to speak with the media about this situation. We’ll likely learn more about his fate in the coming days. 

Friedman wondered if this might be tied to accusations the Coyotes violated draft-eligible workout rules earlier this year, but he added the NHL denied that was the case. He also mused over whether assistant GM Steve Sullivan might become Chayka’s replacement.

TSN’s Pierre LeBrun pointed out Chayka has three years remaining on his contract following the tournament, but Coyotes insider Craig Morgan indicates the extension runs through 2023-24. He also noted the two sides seem headed for a split. 

NOTABLE TRAINING CAMP NEWS

TRIBLIVE.COM: Sidney Crosby got a round of applause from teammates as the Pittsburgh Penguins captain returned to full practice for the first time in nearly a week. League protocols prevented the club from elaborating on Crosby’s absence, but a team source explained he’d been withheld from practice as a precautionary measure as he dealt with a minor ailment.

CHICAGO TRIBUNE/CHICAGO SUN-TIMES: Defenseman Brent Seabrook won’t be joining his teammates in Edmonton for the Blackhawks’ upcoming qualifying-round series against the Oilers. He attempted to return from two hip surgeries and a shoulder surgery earlier this season but felt he wasn’t fully up to speed. Seabrook intends to spend more time building up his strength for next season’s training camp in the fall.

Goaltender Corey Crawford, however, could be traveling with the team to Edmonton. While he missed the Blackhawks’ entire training camp, he’s reportedly on their roster list. It’s unclear if he’ll be in the lineup for Game 1.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Can’t blame Seabrook for attempting to return to the lineup. As for Crawford, his addition speaks to the Blackhawks’ lack of skilled depth between the pipes. I doubt he’ll be that effective after missing their training camp following a four-month layoff. 

NBC SPORTS BOSTON: Defenseman Torey Krug admitted the upcoming playoff tournament could be his final Stanley Cup run with the Boston Bruins. He’s an unrestricted free agent at season’s end and the flat salary cap for next season could make it difficult for the Bruins to re-sign him.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’ll be interesting to see how the Bruins handle this. Cap Friendly indicates they have over $63.5 million invested in 18 players, with Krug, Jake DeBrusk, Zdeno Chara, Matt Grzelcyk, and Anders Bjork among their noteworthy free agents. It could prove a tight squeeze fitting them within their cap constraints.

FLORIDA HOCKEY NOW: Defenseman Aaron Ekblad missed his second consecutive Panthers’ practice yesterday. Coach Joel Quenneville couldn’t elaborate as per league protocols but indicated Ekblad had been at their training facility in recent days. He expects the blueliner will be ready for the upcoming playoff tournament.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: In other words, Ekblad’s dealing with an issue that is not related to COVID-19. Probably a minor injury.

NEW YORK POST: Young Rangers winger K’Andre Miller won’t be joining his teammate for the playoff tournament despite a solid training camp. He’s ineligible because his entry-level contract doesn’t begin until next season. Meanwhile, the Rangers loaned center Lias Andersson to Swedish Hockey League team HV-71 for 2020-21.

MONTREAL GAZETTE: Canadiens defenseman Brett Kulak admitted he’d tested positive for COVID-19 earlier this month after self-isolating from his teammates when he first experienced symptoms. He’s fully recovered and rejoined the club in practice this week.

EDMONTON JOURNAL: The Oilers will honor former teammate Colby Cave before their final scrimmage today by wearing his No. 12 on their jerseys. Cave passed away unexpectedly in April.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: A nice tribute by the Oilers to Cave and his family. The club will auction off the jerseys at a later date with the proceeds going toward the Colby Cave Memorial fund.

IN OTHER NEWS…

THE SEATTLE TIMES: National sales of Seattle Kraken merchandise is already 50 percent higher than what the Vegas Golden Knights sold in their first 24 hours of making their merchandise available in 2017. The Kraken unveiled their nickname, logo, and jerseys on Thursday.

 










NHL Rumor Mill – April 28, 2020

NHL Rumor Mill – April 28, 2020

Check out recent speculation on the Canadiens, Rangers, and Sharks in today’s NHL rumor mill.

CANADIENS

SPORTSNET: In a recent mailbag segment, Eric Engels was asked about backup goaltender options for the Montreal Canadiens. The Dallas Stars’ Anton Khudobin a prime target but would the Canadiens pay more than the $2.5 million AAV he currently earns when they’re paying Carey Price $10.5 million annually? Engels thinks they have the cap flexibility to do it.

Engels felt the Canadiens should consider trading Brett Kulak because they’ve got Alexander Romanov coming next season. Kulak’s affordable contract ($1.85 million AAV through 2021-22) could net the Habs some help elsewhere on the roster. He also feels it’s all but assured winger Ilya Kovalchuk rejoins the Canadiens in the off-season as an unrestricted free agent.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I also believe the Canadiens should make a serious effort to sign Khudobin. They need a skilled, experienced backup to spell off Price over the next couple of seasons under promising Cayden Primeau is fully ready for prime time.

Kulak might not fetch much, but with some teams potentially looking to shed salary under a possible flat cap next season, maybe he could fetch a decent depth player. Kovalchuk should be an affordable, short-term signing on a one-year, bonus-laded deal.

TVA SPORTS: Jean-Charles Lajoie still believes the Canadiens should bring back former Hab Mikhail Sergachev by signing the young Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman to an offer sheet.

Should the Rangers buy out Henrik Lundqvist if the NHL allows for amnesty buyouts in the off-season? (Photo via NHL Images)

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Lightning has over $76 million invested in 16 players for next season, which explains why Sergachev could be a tempting offer-sheet target. However, that’s assuming he’s willing to listen to offers from rival clubs. If he’s not, it’ll be a waste of time. Besides, it’s assumed the Lightning could move a veteran like Alex Killorn in the off-season to make room to re-sign Sergachev.

RANGERS

NEW YORK POST: In a recent mailbag segment, Larry Brooks was asked If Henrik Lundqvist or Marc Staal would be the target of an amnesty buyout if the league allows such buyouts before next season. Buying out Lundqvist would free up $8.5 million for next season, compared to $5.7 million for Staal. “Sentiment aside, I do not think this would be a difficult choice,” replied Brooks.

Brooks admitted the possibility Lias Andersson could be in the Rangers’ 2020 training camp, but it would require a lot of work to breach the differences between the unhappy young winger and the organization, particularly with head coach David Quinn. He felt Andersson could be traded in the off-season as part of a bigger deal.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: If amnesty buyouts are permitted this off-season, shedding Lundqvist’s cap hit makes the most sense. It would be a sad way for his career with the Blueshirts to end, but this is a business decision that would allow them salary-cap flexibility for 2020-21. As for Andersson, I’ll be surprised if he’s still with the Rangers’ organization next season.

SHARKS

THE MERCURY NEWS: In a recent mailbag segment, Curtis Pashelka was asked if Martin Jones would keep his job as the San Jose Sharks’ starting goalie next season. His guess is Jones will be back, but he also felt the Sharks must seek a goalie with NHL experience who can play 35-40 games. Braden Holtby could be out of their price range, but perhaps Robin Lehner or Cam Talbot fits the bill. Pashelka also doesn’t rule out Aaron Dell returning if Lehner or Talbot proves too expensive.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Holtby will be in the market for a lucrative long-term deal. Lehner could be more affordable, but he’ll also want some long-term security. Talbot might be the best option, but I wouldn’t be surprised if he remains with the Flames.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – May 26, 2019

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – May 26, 2019

Updates on David Krejci and Vince Dunn, Don Waddell returning as Hurricanes GM and President, and the latest contract signings in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines. 

Boston Bruins center David Krejci (illness) skipped practice yesterday (Photo via NHL Images).

  NBC SPORTS BOSTON: An illness sidelined Bruins center David Krejci from practice yesterday. Head coach Bruce Cassidy expects Krejci will be on the ice for today’s practice. The illness isn’t expected to keep him out of Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final against the St. Louis Blues on Monday.

STLTODAY.COM:  Blues defenseman Vince Dunn (concussion symptoms) skated with his teammates yesterday in practice. It’s the first time he’s done so since taking a puck to the face in Game 3 of the Western Conference Final. No word if he’ll play in Game 1 against the Bruins tomorrow but he was traveling with the Blues to Boston. 

THE SCORE: Despite being without a contract for next season, Don Waddell confirms he’s returning as general manager and president of the Carolina Hurricanes. He’s working out terms for a new deal with team owner Tom Dundon. In his first season as Hurricanes GM, the club reached the playoffs for the first time since 2009 and advanced to the Eastern Conference Final. 

MONTREAL GAZETTE: The Canadiens re-signed defenseman Brett Kulak to a three-year contract extension worth $1.85-million per season. He was slated to become a restricted free agent on July 1. 

WINNIPEG SUN: The Jets re-signed goaltender Laurent Brossoit to a one-year, $1.225-million contract. 










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 26, 2018

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 26, 2018

Jarome Iginla to announce retirement, Trevor Linden leaves Canucks, an update on Henrik Zetterberg, the latest notable contract signings and more in your NHL morning coffee headlines.

CALGARY SUN: Former Flames captain Jarome Iginla will return to the Saddledome on July 30 to officially announced his retirement as an NHL player after 20 years. Iginla, 41, was an unrestricted free agent last season but couldn’t find any takers among the 31 NHL teams.

Iginla totaled “625 goals and 675 assists in 1,554 regular-season outings between 1996-2017”, with 525 goals and 1,095 points coming with the Flames, making him the franchise leader in both categories. He’s a former two-time winner of the Richard Trophy as the league’s leading goalscorer. He also won the Art Ross Trophy as the top scorer and the Pearson Award (now the Ted Lindsay Award) as the MVP as voted by the players.

Jarome Iginla is returning to Calgary to officially announced his NHL retirement.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Iginla was the greatest player in Flames history, no small feat considering their ranks over the years included Lanny McDonald, Al MacInnis, Mikka Kiprusoff, Joe Nieuwendyk, Theo Fleury and Mike Vernon. It’s only fitting that he retires in Calgary where he had his greatest seasons.

The Flames also re-signed center Mark Jankowski to a two-year deal worth an annual average value of $1.675-million, while an arbiter awarded Flames defenseman Brett Kulak a one-year, one-way contract worth $900K.

CTV NEWS: The Vancouver Canucks last night announced Trevor Linden was stepping down as their president of hockey operations. Linden said in a statement he wanted to spend more time with his family while the club called the decision an amicable one.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: There’s already speculation suggesting disagreements between Linden and others in the front office and ownership over the rebuilding club’s direction is the real reason behind his decision. 

Speaking of the Canucks, they re-signed forward Jake Virtanen to a two-year contract worth $1.25-million per season.

THE DETROIT NEWS: Player agent Gunnar Svensson, who represents Detroit Red Wings captain Henrik Zetterberg, told Swedish publication Hockeybladet his client remains undecided if he’ll return to action in 2018-19. 

“There have been some injury problems with his back. It is impossible to answer how it will be, for it one cannot know what it is now. He simply has not decided,” said Svensson. Wings GM Ken Holland has said he expects Zetterberg will report to training camp in September but he’s also uncertain about his status for the upcoming season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: We won’t know Zetterberg’s status for certain until training camp opens. He’ll have to pass the club medical before he can take to the ice with his teammates, which should provide the earliest indication as to whether he’ll be playing in 2018-19.

TWINCITIES.COM: The Minnesota Wild avoided salary arbitration with winger Jason Zucker as the two sides agreed to a five-year, $27.5-million contract with an annual average value of $5.5 million. “He will be paid $5 million in the 2018-19 season, $6.25 million in 2019-20, $4.8 million in 2020-21, $6.25 million in 2021-22 and $5.2 million in 2022-23.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Zucker was the subject of trade speculation following a disappointing playoff performance this spring but it’s obvious now that he’s not going anywhere. The 26-year-old reached career highs with 33 goals and 31 assists for 64 points last season. His re-signing leaves the Wild with around $1.7-million in projected salary-cap space (stick tap to Cap Friendly), suggesting new GM Paul Fenton is probably done making any significant additions to the roster. 

THE TENNESSEAN: Defenseman Dan Hamhuis is returning to the team where his NHL career began, inking a two-year contract with the Nashville Predators worth $2.5 million.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: A good, affordable veteran addition by the Predators. Hamhuis, 35, won’t be logging the big minutes he did earlier in his career but he’s still capable of skating 20 minutes per game if necessary. He’ll make a solid third-pairing addition who can move up if necessary should injuries strike the top-four blueliners. 

DALLAS MORNING NEWS: The Stars re-signed forward Mattias Janmark to a one-year, $2.3-million contract.

SUN-SENTINEL.COM: The Florida Panthers re-signed defenseman MacKenzie Weegar to a one-year deal. Cap Friendly indicates it’s a one-way agreement worth $900K

NEWSDAY: The New York Islanders named Piero Greco as their new goaltending coach, replacing Fred Brathwaite.

SPORTSNET: Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby will be honored as the top Nova Scotia athlete of all time at a gala dinner in Halifax on Thursday.