NHL Rumor Mill – January 25, 2019

NHL Rumor Mill – January 25, 2019

Latest on the Oilers and Stars plus updates on Sergei Bobrovsky, Brett Pesce, Chris Kunitz, and more in today’s NHL rumor mill. 

TRADE TIDBIT FROM FRIEDMAN’S LATEST “31 THOUGHTS” COLUMN.

SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman reports the Edmonton Oilers “checked in” on Washington Capitals winger Andre Burakovsky but a couple of sources “threw cold water on that.” The Capitals are seeking “a couple of mid-to-high” draft picks for Burakovsky. Friedman also said the Oilers like speedy Detroit Red Wings winger Andreas Athanasiou but there’s no guarantee the Wings will move him, plus the asking price would be expensive.

There’s also speculation they were talking to the Chicago Blackhawks “about something bigger” and could be trying to shed winger Tobias Rieder to free up salary-cap space. A rumor suggesting a team was interested in Oilers prospect Evan Bouchard went nowhere. Friedman also suggests Oilers goaltender Mikko Koskinen’s new contract could be used as a comparable by Calgary Flames netminder David Rittich. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Oilers CEO Bob Nicholson recently said his club won’t peddle the future for quick fixes, which likely means they won’t be making significant moves before the trade deadline. Burakovsky could cost the Oilers one or two of those assets to acquire. Interesting that the Capitals apparently seek a couple of draft picks as earlier speculation suggested they wanted a player who could help their roster right away. 

Athanasiou is poised for a 30-goal, 55-point performance. He would be costly to acquire and I don’t see the Wings moving him now. The time for that was during his contract standoff during the summer of 2017. Seems like he and Wings management are on better terms now. 

Rieder carries a $2-million cap hit on a one-year deal. Maybe a playoff contender will take a chance on him regaining his form.

Columbus Blue Jackets goalie Sergei Bobrovsky won’t comment on his future plans (Photo via NHL Images).

While there’s an understanding Columbus Blue Jackets goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky would “consider other situations”, there’s a theory he and his agent haven’t committed them to paper yet. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: In other words, Bobrovsky might be willing to waive his no-trade clause but he may not have submitted a written list to Jackets’ management. Meanwhile, Bobrovsky isn’t commenting on his future plans.GM Jarmo Kekalainen maintains they’re hoping to convince Bobrovsky and fellow UFA Artemi Panarin to re-sign, though acknowledging they could face difficult decisions if keeping them beyond this season isn’t possible. 

Friedman speculates the Toronto Maple Leafs were watching Brett Pesce, not Dougie Hamilton, during their recent scouting of the Carolina Hurricanes. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s widely assumed the Hurricanes seek a scoring forward in exchange for one of their right-shot rearguards. Friedman said, however, the Leafs aren’t willing to part with Kasperi Kapanen or blueline prospect Rasmus Sandin.

While contract negotiations are ongoing between the Ottawa Senators and pending unrestricted free agents Matt Duchene and Mark Stone, Friedman said there doesn’t seem to be much discussion with winger Ryan Dzingel. He could fetch a decent return if the Senators decide to shop him. 

Friedman believes a few playoff contenders are considering Chicago Blackhawks winger Chris Kunitz. He suggests the Calgary Flames would be a good fit. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kunitz’s performance has steadily declined since 2013-14. The Flames already have one fading veteran on the roster in James Neal. They don’t need another. 

Friedman cited BSN’s Adrian Dater reporting the New York Rangers were scouting the Colorado Avalanche. While it could be tied to Rangers like Kevin Hayes or Vladislav Namestnikov, New York’s interest could be in a top prospect like Shane Bowers or much more. The Avs, however, will “zealously protect” their best draft assets. Friedman also believes the Avs will explore defenseman Nikita Zadorov’s trade value. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: There’s been some speculation out of Colorado suggesting Hayes would be a good fit for the Avalanche, who need secondary scoring. But if the Avs won’t part with a good young asset, the Rangers could look elsewhere for a suitable trade partner. 

Friedman reports the Dallas Stars are dangling Brett Ritchie, Valeri Nichushkin and Mattias Janmark.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Stars are in need of secondary scoring. Perhaps one or two of those guys will be used as trade bait to address that issue. 










Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – January 20, 2019

Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – January 20, 2019

Latest on the Maple Leafs, Senators, Islanders, Blackhawks and more in today’s NHL rumor roundup. 

LEAFS SHOPPING FOR A DEFENSEMAN

SPORTSNET: Nick Kypreos reports the Toronto Maple Leafs are searching for a right-shot defenseman. He brought up Alex Pietrangelo of the St. Louis Blues, who was first mentioned in trade speculation a couple of months ago.

While it’s debatable if Pietrangelo’s still available, Kypreos speculated they could be a few losing streaks away from making him available. Pursuing a top-four rearguard will be expensive.

Possible trade chips could include their 2019 first-round pick or prospects such as Timothy Liljegren or Calle Rosen. The Leafs aren’t willing to part with winger Kasperi Kapanen or 2018 first-round pick Rasmus Sandin. 

Elliotte Friedman suggested the Leafs consider such options as Jake Muzzin of the Los Angeles Kings or Radko Gudas of the Philadelphia Flyers. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: If Pietrangelo becomes available (and that might not happen until June at the earliest), Kapanen and Sandin would probably be the Blues’ asking price. Muzzin is a left-shot defenseman so he can’t address that right-shot need. Gudas shoots right and would provide some grit to their blueline but he’s skating on the Flyers’ third defense pairing. The Leafs could be seeking someone with a better right-side presence than Gudas. 

Ottawa Senators reportedly make an eight-year contract offer to center Matt Duchene (Photo via NHL Images)

SENATORS MAKE OFFER TO DUCHENE

SPORTSNET: Nick Kypreos reports the Ottawa Senators made an offer to center Matt Duchene believed to be in the vicinity of $64 million over eight years. The annual average value would be $8 million, which Kypreos deems a fair offer for Duchene. He also speculated there could be a soft deadline to this. If the two sides fail to reach an agreement soon, Kypreos believes Senators general manager Pierre Dorion will need at least two weeks to shop Duchene before the Feb. 25 trade deadline to get the best return possible. 

Elliotte Friedman believes the Senators also made an offer to pending UFA winger Mark Stone. He’s not certain of the salary numbers but assumed they could be higher than Duchene’s. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Eight years and $64 million may seem like a fair offer for Duchene but does his camp feel the same way? They could decide he might get more via free agency. 

ISLANDERS COULD BE DEADLINE BUYERS

NEW YORK POST: Larry Brooks wouldn’t be shocked if New York Islanders GM Lou Lamoriello became a buyer as the Feb. 25 trade deadline approaches. While no one knows what the famously tight-lipped Lamoriello has in store, Brooks noted he has a history of making moves near the deadline when he believes his team is close.

Lamoriello has a collection of young assets he could peddle near the trade deadline. Brooks speculates his rental targets might include Matt Duchene or Mark Stone of the Senators, or maybe a defenseman such as Jake Muzzin or Alec Martinez of the Kings. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Islanders are the biggest surprise of this season. After losing John Tavares to Toronto via free agency, they were expected to finish near the bottom of the standings. Instead, they begin this week sitting atop the Metropolitan Division.

As Brooks points out, we don’t know what Lamoriello’s plans are or who he might target if he does decide to be active in the trade market. But I think he’ll do what he can to improve his club’s playoff odds. 

COULD AVALANCHE PURSUE HAYES?

DENVER POST: Mark Kiszla believes the Colorado Avalanche should pursue New York Rangers center Kevin Hayes, suggesting it can be done without mortgaging the future. GM Joe Sakic holds two first-round picks in this year’s draft, one of them a lottery-protected selection from the Ottawa Senators. Kiszla suggests Sakic offer up the Avs first-rounder to the Rangers. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It would certainly be a bold move by Sakic to pursue Hayes. He has to do something, however, to bolster his club’s secondary scoring depth. Already guaranteed of a high pick in this year’s draft, perhaps even the first-overall selection, Sakic can afford to dangle his own first-rounder to bring in a reliable second-line scorer. 

BLACKHAWKS SELLING?

THE ATHLETIC (subscription required): Scott Powers reports a league source claims the Chicago Blackhawks are shopping forwards Marcus Kruger, Chris Kunitz, and Andreas Martinsen. Kruger could attract interest from clubs seeking checking-line depth.  Powers also recently examined the pros and cons of trading defenseman Erik Gustafsson. If they move Gustafsson, he could fetch a third-round pick. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kruger, Kunitz, and Martinson are all due for UFA status this summer. Kruger has a seven-team no-trade list while Kunitz has a full no-movement clause. Each could fetch a draft pick but probably nothing higher than a third. 










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 3, 2018

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 3, 2018

Game recaps, Ryan Miller reaches a notable wins milestone, Ilya Kovalchuk sidelined, and more in your NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: Anaheim Ducks goaltender Ryan Miller made 19 saves to tie John Vanbiesbrouck for the most wins (374) by an American-born goalie in NHL history as the Ducks overcame a 5-1 to defeat the Washington Capitals 6-5. Pontus Aberg scored twice, including the game-winner, while Ryan Getzlaf had a three-point performance.

Anaheim Ducks goaltender Ryan Miller collected a record-tying win. (Photo via NHL Images)

Los Angeles Kings netminder Jonathan Quick kicked out 34 shots to collect his 50th career shutout in a 2-0 blanking of the Carolina Hurricanes. Alec Martinez and Kyle Clifford tallied for the Kings, who learned earlier in the day that winger Ilya Kovalchuk will miss four weeks following ankle surgery on Sunday. Center Adrian Kempe also missed the game as he’s day-to-day with an upper-body injury. The Kings claimed winger Nikita Scherbak off waivers from the Montreal Canadiens.

The Winnipeg Jets overcame a 3-1 deficit to earn a 4-3 shootout win over the New York Rangers. Mark Scheifele tallied the winning goal. Before the game, the Rangers honored former Blueshirt Vic Hadfield by retiring his No. 11 to the rafters of Madison Square Garden. Hadfield spent 13 seasons with the Rangers from 1961-62 to 1973-74.  Earlier in the day, they also recalled winger Matt Beleskey from their AHL affiliate.

Calgary Flames center Sean Monahan tallied his 15th goal of the season in a 3-2 win over the Chicago Blackhawks, handing the latter their fourth straight loss. With the win, the Flames sit one point ahead of the Ducks for first place in the Pacific Division. Blackhawks winger Chris Kunitz was ejected from the game for a high hit on Flames defenseman Travis Hamonic.

The San Jose Sharks snapped a four-game losing skid by downing the Montreal Canadiens 3-1. Sharks goalie Martin Jones made 40 saves while teammates Joe Pavelski and Brent Burns each had a goal and an assist.

Colorado Avalanche goalie Semyon Varlamov turned in a 24-save shutout in a 2-0 victory over the Detroit Red Wings. Nathan MacKinnon and Gabriel Landeskog were the goal scorers.

ARIZONA SPORTS: Coyotes winger Michael Grabner is sidelined indefinitely with an eye injury after being struck in the face by the stick of St. Louis Blues forward Sammy Blais on Saturday, 

THE PROVINCE: The Vancouver Canucks placed left wing Brendan Leipsic on waivers. 

TSN: The AHL’s Laval Rocket signed former NHL defenseman Simon Despres to a PTO contract. 

 










Notable NHL Free-Agent Signings – July 1, 2018

Notable NHL Free-Agent Signings – July 1, 2018

The NHL free-agent market opens today at noon ET. Here’s a list of today’s notable signings, which will be updated throughout the day. 

Toronto Maple Leafs signed center John Tavares to a seven-year, $77-million contract

Toronto Maple Leafs sign John Tavares to a seven-year contract (Photo via NHL Images)

Philadelphia Flyers reportedly signed left wing James van Riemsdyk to a five-year, $35-million contract. 

Tampa Bay Lightning re-signed defenseman Ryan McDonagh to a seven-year contract extension worth $6.75 million per season.

Arizona Coyotes officially announced the signing of defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson to an eight-year contract extension worth $8.25 million AAV. They also re-signed defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson to a two-year contract extension worth $5 million AAV, and signed free-agent winger Michael Grabner to a three-year deal worth $3.35 million per season. 

Vegas Golden Knights will sign center Paul Stastny to a three-year contract. The annual average value is $6.5 million. They’ve also signed defenseman Nick Holden to a two-year deal worth $2.2 million annually. 

Pittsburgh Penguins will reportedly sign defenseman Jack Johnson to a five-year, $16.25-million contract. They’ve also signed Matt Cullen to a one-year, $650K contract

St. Louis Blues expected to sign winger David Perron to a four-year deal worth $4 million per season. The Blues have also signed center Tyler Bozak to a three-year contract with an AAV of $5 million and goaltender Chad Johnson to a one-year, $1.75-million deal. 

Colorado Avalanche reportedly close to signing defenseman Ian Cole to a three-year contact worth an annual cap hit of $4.25 million.

Chicago Blackhawks sign goaltender Cam Ward to a one-year, $3-million contract with a full no-movement clause. They’ve also signed winger Chris Kunitz to a one-year, $1-million contract and defenseman Brandon Manning to a two-year deal. 

Boston Bruins expected to sign goaltender Jaroslav Halak to a two-year contract worth $2.75 million annually. They also signed winger Joakim Nordstrom to a two-year, $2 million deal and defenseman John Moore to a five-year contract worth an AAV of $2.75 million.

Columbus Blue Jackets sign center Riley Nash to a three-year contract worth $2.75-million per season. 

Buffalo Sabres will reportedly sign goaltender Carter Hutton to a three-year, $8.25-million contract.

New York Islanders have an agreement in place to bring back defenseman Thomas Hickey on a four-year deal worth an AAV of $2.5 million. They also signed forward Leo Komarov to a four-year, $12-million contract.

Detroit Red Wings expected to sign goaltender Jonathan Bernier to a three-year deal worth around $3 million annually and forward Thomas Vanek to a one-year, $3-million contract. 

Edmonton Oilers will sign forward Kyle Brodziak to a two-year deal with an AAV of around $1 million and forward Tobias Rieder to a one-year, $2-million contract.  

Dallas Stars expected to sign forward Blake Comeau to a three-year deal worth $2.4 million per season. They’ve also re-signed winger Valeri Nichushkin to a two-year deal worth $2.95-million annually. Roman Polak is reportedly heading to the Stars on a one-year contract worth $1.3 million.

Vancouver Canucks are expected to sign center Jay Beagle to a four-year contract worth $3 million annually and forward Antoine Roussel to a four-year deal worth $3.25 million per season. 

Calgary Flames expected to sign center Derek Ryan to a three-year deal worth an AAV of $3.125 million and center Austin Czarnik to a two-year deal worth $1.25-million annually. 

Carolina Hurricanes sign goaltender Petr Mrazek to a one-year deal worth $1.5 million. 

Montreal Canadiens are expected to announced the signing of center Tomas Plekanec to a one-year deal worth a base salary of $2.25 million plus bonuses. 

Minnesota Wild will reportedly sign defenseman Greg Pateryn to a three-year contract and signed goaltender Andrew Hammond. 

 











NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 23, 2018

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 23, 2018

Results of the opening round of the 2018 NHL Draft, plus the latest on John Carlson, Paul Martin, Phil Kessel and much more in your morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: The Buffalo Sabres selected Swedish defenseman Rasmus Dahlin with the first-overall pick in the 2018 NHL Draft. The Carolina Hurricanes took right wing Andrei Svechnikov second overall, the Montreal Canadiens selected center Jesperi Kotkaniemi third overall, the Ottawa Senators took left wing Brady Tkachuk with the fourth selection and the Arizona Coyotes used the fifth overall selection to take Barrett Hayton. You can see the full list of the 31 selections by following this link. Rounds 2 through 7 will be held today starting at 11 pm ET.

Buffalo Sabres selected defenseman Rasmus Dahlin with the first-overall pick in the 2018 NHL Draft (Photo via NHL.com).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: There were a few surprises among the top-10 selections. Hayton went much higher than expected while forward Filip Zadina dropped to the sixth overall selection and the Chicago Blackhawks surprised by selecting defenseman Adam Boqvist. Those moves saw a reshuffling of the projected order, resulting in the Edmonton Oilers landing defenseman Evan Bouchard (10th overall) and the New York Islanders getting blueliner Noah Dobson 12th overall.

There was also a notable lack of trades involving established NHL players in the opening round. Just prior to the start of the draft, the Washington Capitals dealt goaltender Philipp Grubauer and defenseman Brooks Orpik to the Colorado Avalanche for a second-round pick (47th overall). I’ll have more on the absence of deals later this morning in the Rumors section. I’ll have analysis on any notable moves later today in my Soapbox section. 

NBC SPORTS WASHINGTON: Capitals general manager Brian MacLellan said his club is really close to re-signing defenseman John Carlson, who’s eligible to become an unrestricted free agent on July 1. Dealing defenseman Brooks Orpik to Colorado yesterday freed up $5.5-million of salary cap space, providing much-needed room to sign Carlson, who could get an eight-year deal worth around $8 million annually.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The interview period for potential UFAs to speak with other clubs begins on Monday, June 25. MacLellan obviously wants to ensure Carlson is signed before then. 

THE MERCURY NEWS:  The San Jose Sharks placed defenseman Paul Martin on unconditional waivers Friday for the purpose of buying out the final season of his contract. The move will free up $3.2 million of salary cap space to put toward re-signing other players or to pursue a free-agent talent such as the New York Islanders’ John Tavares or former KHL winger Ilya Kovalchuk. The Sharks will now have around $19.2 million in cap room.

TRIBLIVE.COM: Pittsburgh Penguins head coach Mike Sullivan denied reports claiming he has a rocky relationship with winger Phil Kessel.  He said their relationship is one of mutual respect and that hasn’t changed in the last three seasons. Rumors claiming otherwise emerged following the Penguins second-round elimination from the 2018 playoffs, sparking speculation Kessel could be traded.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Sullivan needed to make those remarks about a month ago when those Kessel trade rumors first surfaced. I daresay his comments will be treated with skepticism now. 

NHL.COM: The Dallas Stars re-signed defenseman Stephen Johns to a three-year contract extension worth an annual average value of $2.35 million.

VANCOUVER SUN: The Vancouver Canucks re-signed forward Markus Granlund to a one-year, $1.475-million contract. 

TAMPA BAY TIMES: The Tampa Bay Lightning won’t be re-signing pending UFA winger Chris Kunitz. They re-signed backup goaltender Louis Domingue to a two-year deal worth $2.3 million and hired Jeff Halpern as an assistant coach. 

NBC SPORTS PHILADELPHIA: The Flyers have agreed to a three-year contract with defenseman Samuel Morin. Financial terms weren’t disclosed.

MLIVE.COM: The Detroit Red Wings hired Dan Bylsma as an assistant coach. Bylsma was formerly head coach of the Pittsburgh Penguins and Buffalo Sabres. 

THE ATHLETIC: The Anaheim Ducks have parted ways with assistant coach Steve Konowolchuk. 

TSN: Former NHL players Nick Boynton and Dan Carcillo are suing the NHL, “alleging it failed to warn players about the long-term risk of brain damage from fighting.”

 











NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – May 19, 2018

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – May 19, 2018

Golden Knights push Jets to the brink of elimination from the Western Conference Final, plus updates on Cory Schneider, Jaden Schwartz and more in your NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: The Vegas Golden Knights are one victory away from reaching the 2018 Stanley Cup Final after edging the Winnipeg Jets 3-2 in Game 4 of the Western Conference Final. Reilly Smith tallied the winner with a third-period goal while teammate Marc-Andre Fleury made 35 saves. With a 3-1 series lead, the Golden Knights could wrap things up on Monday in Winnipeg.

Reilly Smith’s game-winning goal over the Winnipeg Jets in Game 4 of the Western Conference Final has his team on the verge of reaching the Stanley Cup Final (Photo via NHL Images)

SPECTOR’S NOTE: For the third straight game, the Jets gave up the first goal and spent the rest of the contest playing catch-up. For the second straight game, they dominated the third period but came out on the short end. The Jets seem to have no answer for Fleury’s goaltending and his teammates swift, aggressive checking. If they can’t resolve these issues in Game 5, they’ll be hitting the links on Tuesday. 

WASHINGTON POST: After blowing a 2-0 lead to the Tampa Bay Lightning in the Eastern Conference Final, the ghosts of previous postseason collapses by the Washington Capitals have returned.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Capitals already put two playoff ghosts to rest this spring by defeating the Pittsburgh Penguins in a playoff series for the first time in 24 years and reaching the Conference Final for the first time in two decades. Now comes the challenge of regaining their confidence after blowing a series that seemed to be theirs for the taking. That test comes tonight in Game 5. 

TAMPA BAY TIMES: Lightning winger Chris Kunitz is the only active NHL player to win four Stanley Cups. He could have an opportunity to win his fifth if his club can advance past the Capitals to reach the Cup Final.

NJ.COM: New Jersey Devils goaltender Cory Schneider isn’t selling his home because of an impending trade. He and his family are simply moving to another home in the area.

STLTODAY.COM: St. Louis Blues forward Jaden Schwartz suffered a shoulder injury in Canada’s 5-4 victory over Russia on Thursday at the World Championships. Blues general manager Doug Armstrong said the injury wasn’t serious and doesn’t require surgery.

DALLAS MORNING NEWS: After 30 seasons with six NHL teams in a variety of coaching roles, Dallas Stars assistant coach Rick Wilson has decided to retire. He’d been with the Stars from 1993 to 2009 and returned with the club this season after stops with Tampa Bay, Minnesota and St. Louis.

THE TENNESSEAN: Now-retired Nashville Predators center Mike Fisher isn’t ruling out returning to the club in a different role. He’s ruled out taking up coaching for now.