NHL Rumor Mill – November 30, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – November 30, 2022

In today’s NHL Rumor Mill: Roope Hintz’s new contract could affect Bo Horvat’s and Dylan Larkin’s contract negotiations, the Stars are in the market for a forward, and the Ducks’ five most tradeable assets.

HINTZ’S NEW CONTRACT COULD AFFECT HORVAT AND LARKIN

TSN: Pierre LeBrun reports Dallas Stars center Roope Hintz’s new eight-year contract ($8.45 million average annual value) and New York Islanders center Mathew Barzal’s eight-year contract extension ($9.15 million AAV) are affecting Bo Horvat’s contract talks with the Vancouver Canucks and Dylan Larkin’s with the Detroit Red Wings.

Detroit Red Wings captain Dylan Larkin (NHL Images).

Horvat and Larkin are both eligible for unrestricted free-agent status next July. LeBrun believes Horvat would’ve signed a deal comparable to Hintz’s during the offseason but he’s not so sure he’d do so now given the shifting marketplace. The expectation of a rising salary cap after three years of a flattened cap could affect next summer’s free-agent market.

VANCOUVER HOCKEY INSIDER: Rob Simpson believes Hintz’s new contract will affect Horvat’s contract negotiations with the Canucks. If they make a similar investment in their captain it could require shedding some salary to fit that new deal under their salary cap.

Simpson pointed out that Brock Boeser lacks no-trade protection in his current deal. Meanwhile, J.T. Miller’s no-movement clause doesn’t go into effect until his contract extension kicks in next July.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: There’s no question that Hintz’s and Barzal’s contract extensions will affect the market value of Horvat and Larkin. Both players could seek between $8.5 million and $9.5 million on their subsequent contracts as Hintz and Barzal have set the market value.

With nearly $40 million in projected cap space for 2023-24 (based on the cap rising by the projected $1 million to $83.5 million), the Red Wings are in a good position to re-sign Larkin to a lucrative long-term deal. The only question is how much general manager Steve Yzerman is willing to invest in his captain, who wants to remain part of the Wings’ rebuilding process.

The Canucks, however, will only have $13.5 million, making it difficult to squeeze Horvat within their limited cap space unless they make a cost-cutting move or two. That could happen if they fail to qualify for the 2023 playoffs. Then again, they could part ways with Horvat and use the savings to invest in stocking up their porous blueline.

STARS SEEK A SCORING FORWARD

TSN: Darren Dreger reports the Stars would like to add another scoring forward to their ranks. They want to find someone to play alongside Tyler Seguin and Mason Marchment on their second line.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Dreger referred to that as a “top-six luxury item”. In other words, it’s something they’d like to add but it’s not a season-breaker. They have a projected $2.7 million in trade deadline cap space. Perhaps they’ll make a move as the trade deadline draws near and more rental options become available.

TOP DUCKS TRADE ASSETS

THE HOCKEY NEWS: Veteran defensemen John Klingberg and Kevin Shattenkirk top Adam Proteau’s list of the Anaheim Ducks’ top-five tradeable assets.

Klingberg is on a one-year deal with a 10-team no-trade list as of Jan. 1. He’s the biggest proven blueline commodity next to the Arizona Coyotes’ Jakob Chychrun and Shayne Gostisbehere in the trade market.

Teams could turn to Shattenkirk if they lose out on Klingberg and Chychrun given his Stanley Cup pedigree. Blueliner Dmitry Kulikov, winger Frank Vatrano and center/winger Adam Henrique round out Proteau’s list.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Ducks are currently at the bottom of the overall standings and could likely still be there by the March 3 trade deadline. General manager Pat Verbeek was a seller leading up to last season’s deadline and will be again in 2023. Any one of those players on Proteau’s list could be playing elsewhere by the end of March 3.










Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – October 30, 2022

Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – October 30, 2022

Will the Red Wings sign Dylan Larkin or replace him with Bo Horvat? What’s the latest on the Canucks and Penguins? Find out in the Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup.

WILL THE RED WINGS SIGN LARKIN?

THE ATHLETIC: In a recent mailbag segment, Max Bultman was asked why the Detroit Red Wings hadn’t signed captain Dylan Larkin to a contract extension. The 26-year-old center is in the final season of his contract and eligible for unrestricted free-agent status next July.

Detroit Red Wings captain Dylan Larkin (NHL Images).

Bultman was surprised that the Wings haven’t re-signed Larkin yet. He speculates that Mathew Barzal’s recent contract extension (with an average annual value of $9.15 million) could be affecting Larkin’s negotiations. Bultman wondered if the Wings captain would accept $9.5 million annually on a seven-year deal or perhaps something between $8.2 million to $8.3 million on an eight-year deal as the total dollars would still be around the same.

TORONTO STAR: Nick Kypreos suggested keeping an eye on the Red Wings should trade rumors start up on Vancouver Canucks captain Bo Horvat later this season. He indicated Larkin was seeking a deal as high as Barzal’s and speculated Wings general manager Steve Yzerman could instead “choose to spend a good portion of that on Horvat.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Larkin is earning an annual cap hit of $6.1 million on his current deal and has a full no-trade clause for this season. The Michigan native has indicated there’s nowhere else he’d rather play that in Detroit. With the Wings finally showing signs of improvement after years of rebuilding, he could stick around and lead this club to the next level.

Bultman is of the opinion that the Wings cannot afford to lose their leader in Larkin, fearing it would set their rebuild back for years. He also noted, however, that Yzerman has a history of taking negotiations with his stars down to the wire, having done so with Steven Stamkos in Tampa Bay back in 2016.

Plenty of time remains for the two sides to work out an agreement. Nevertheless, Larkin could become the subject of growing trade speculation if he’s not re-signed leading up to the March 3 trade deadline, especially if the Wings are out of playoff contention by then.

As for Horvat, he’s also eligible for UFA status next summer and could become a trade candidate if the Canucks fail to improve over the course of this season. His contract talks reportedly stalled when he rejected what Kypreos called a lowball offer from management this summer.

Maybe Yzerman will pursue Horvat at the trade deadline if he can’t get Larkin under contract by then. However, I doubt he’ll waste trade assets on acquiring the Canucks captain unless Horvat is willing to sign a contract extension. He could wait and attempt to sign Horvat via free agency but the 27-year-old center could have other destinations in mind.

LATEST ON THE CANUCKS AND PENGUINS

SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman reports the Vancouver Canucks made it clear to some of their players that if changes were to be made it wouldn’t potentially be just the head coach. They told those players they’ve had two coaches with this group and it isn’t working so far. If anybody thinks they can sit back and wait for a coaching change, the changes might instead be with the roster.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That’s a point that has been raised by some other pundits as well. Having already done a coaching change last season, at some point you have to start making the players accountable as well.

As Friedman reported, those Canucks seemed to get the message as they won their last two games. It’ll be interesting to see if that message sticks as they attempt to dig themselves out of the current hole they dug for themselves.

THE ATHLETIC: In a recent mailbag segment, Josh Yohe was asked if the Pittsburgh Penguins still intend to trade a defenseman. He doesn’t feel they’re urgently trying to make a move but doesn’t rule it out at some point.

Yohe acknowledged Pierre-Olivier Joseph has played well thus far and the Penguins don’t dislike him. However, he still believes they want to get Ty Smith into the roster at some point sooner rather than later, which would entail shipping out Joseph for perhaps a forward prospect.










NHL Rumor Mill – October 6, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – October 6, 2022

Some trade predictions for the coming season plus the latest on Penguins defenseman Pierre-Olivier Joseph in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I underwent surgery on Oct. 5 to repair damaged tendons in my left hand. It was similar to the procedure I had in February. As a result, it could take a little longer to post my daily updates over the next few days. Please bear with me. As always, I appreciate your support.

TRADE PREDICTIONS FOR 2022-23

DAILY FACEOFF: Frank Seravalli included some trade forecasts among his 32 bold predictions for the coming NHL season.

Chicago Blackhawks winger Patrick Kane (NHL Images).

Seravalli predicts the Chicago Blackhawks will trade Patrick Kane to the New York Rangers, where he will sign a long-term contract extension. He’ll reunite with former Blackhawks linemate Artemi Panarin to chase a fourth Stanley Cup.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The New York Post’s Larry Brooks has suggested the Rangers should pursue Kane as a playoff rental at the trade deadline. I’m not dismissing that possibility but I doubt they’ll sign him to a long-term extension unless he accepts a massive pay cut from his current $10.5 million annual average value.

The Rangers already have $65.1 million invested in just 11 players for 2023-24. Alexis Lafreniere, K’Andre Miller and Filip Chytil will be due for new contracts as they become restricted free agents next summer.

Another prediction is the Detroit Red Wings moving Dylan Larkin before the March 3 trade deadline. He’s eligible for unrestricted free-agent status next July and carries a no-trade clause for this season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Wings and Larkin were reportedly holding contract extension talks over the summer. The Michigan native hopes to stay put and management probably feels the same. As always, these things will hinge on dollars and term but I can see the two sides reaching an agreement.

Seravalli also expects the Ottawa Senators will acquire Jakob Chychrun before the New Year. They’ve shown the most interest with the Los Angeles Kings also in the mix.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The sticking point has been the Coyotes’ rumored asking price. It’s believed they seek at least a first-round pick and a good young NHL player or a top prospect as part of the return. Unless they come down from that, Chychrun won’t be going anywhere.

In other predictions, Seravalli foresees Vancouver Canucks bench boss Bruce Boudreau becoming the first head coach to be fired, Kyle Dubas parting ways with the Toronto Maple Leafs as general manager after his contract expires, and the Vegas Golden Knights making Kelly McCrimmon the first GM to be fired this season.

LATEST ON PIERRE-OLIVIER JOSEPH

PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE: Matt Vensel reports the Penguins to have nine NHL defensemen and can’t afford to keep them all. Pierre-Olivier Joseph appears the most likely to be moved as he’s reportedly being shopped. He’s now waiver eligible meaning a rival club could snap him up if the Penguins attempt to send him to their AHL affiliate in Wilkes-Barre/Scranton.

THE ATHLETIC: Josh Yohe wouldn’t be surprised if Joseph is traded. He claims general manager Ron Hextall and president of hockey operations Brian Burke isn’t enamored with the 23-year-old blueliner.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: So far there’s no indication the Penguins are close to trading Joseph. Unless they package him with a draft pick, an interested team could be merely waiting until he goes on waivers and then gets him for nothing.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 20, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 20, 2022

Sean Couturier is sidelined again, Keith Yandle announces his retirement, updates on Dylan Larkin, Claude Giroux and Mark Stone, the Rangers trade Nils Lundkvist to the Stars, and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.

NBC SPORTS PHILADELPHIA: A week after declaring himself good to go following back surgery, Sean Couturier suffered what the Philadelphia Flyers call an “upper-body injury.” The 29-year-old center will be reevaluated during training camp and is considered week-to-week.

CROSSING BROAD: Anthony SanFilippo cited “multiple team sources” claiming Couturier suffered a herniated disc in his back during strength and conditioning drills last week. It’s believed he could miss at least 12 weeks but that’s considered an optimistic assessment.

Philadelphia Flyers center Sean Couturier (NHL Images).

SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman tweeted the Flyers and Couturier are seeking a second opinion to determine the exact nature of the injury.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This will be a serious blow to the Flyers’ hopes of rebounding from an awful 2021-22 campaign. Couturier is their top center, their best two-way forward and one of their leaders. His back injury and subsequent absence from the lineup last season contributed to their poor performance.

NBC SPORTS PHILADELPHIA: Forwards Antoine Roussel and Artem Anisimov will be attending Flyers training camp on professional tryout offers.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Roussel recently confirmed his PTO with the Flyers. Anisimov is a 34-year-old center with 13 NHL seasons under his belt with the New York Rangers, Columbus Blue Jackets, Chicago Blackhawks and Ottawa Senators. Anisimov played in the KHL last season. He also spent four seasons playing for Flyers head coach John Tortorella during their days with the Rangers.

SPORTSNET: Keith Yandle announced his retirement on the Spittin’ Chiclets podcast. The 36-year-old defenseman spent 16 seasons in the NHL with the Arizona Coyotes, New York Rangers, Florida Panthers and Philadelphia Flyers, amassing 619 points in 1,109 regular-season games. Yandle also holds the league’s “Ironman” record of 989 consecutive games played.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Best wishes to Yandle in his future endeavors.

SPORTSNET: Dylan Larkin recently told Elliotte Friedman on the “32 Thoughts” podcast that he’s discussing a contract extension with the Detroit Red Wings. The 26-year-old center is in the final season of his current deal with an average annual value of $6.1 million.

I don’t really see myself playing for another team,” said the Red Wings captain. “It’s moving along. I can’t really tell you when or how (the deal gets resolved), but that’s where I want to be.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The rebuilding Wings consider Larkin a crucial member of their roster core. A Michigan native, he could seek a maximum eight-year contract with an AAV of $8 million.

OTTAWA SUN: The Senators named Claude Giroux as one of their alternate captains. The 34-year-old is the former captain of the Philadelphia Flyers.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: A logical decision by the Senators. Giroux’s experience as Flyers captain ensured he’d be part of their leadership group before he even stepped on the ice with them this season.

THE ATHLETIC: Jesse Granger reports Vegas Golden Knights head coach Bruce Cassidy said team captain Mark Stone is feeling good and is expected to be on the ice for their opening day of training camp. The medical team could put limits on his efforts but for now, he said he’s feeling great.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Stone, 30, underwent a successful lumbar discectomy in May and was expected to make a full recovery. The Golden Knights captain was limited to just 37 games last season.

NHL.COM: The New York Rangers traded defenseman Nils Lundkvist to the Dallas Stars in exchange for a conditional first-round pick in the 2023 NHL Draft and a conditional fourth-rounder in 2025.

If the Stars’ own first-round pick in 2023 is among the top 10, the Rangers will instead receive Dallas’ 2024 first-rounder. That pick will be unprotected.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Not a bad return for the Rangers for an unhappy blueliner chosen 28th overall in the 2018 draft with just 25 NHL games on his resume.

It’s not immediate help to the Blueshirts roster but that extra first-rounder could prove useful trade bait at the trade deadline if they pursue a quality rental player at the March trade deadline. Otherwise, it’ll provide them with an extra first-rounder next year or in 2024.

Lundkvist, 22, should provide additional right-side depth to the Stars blueline. He won’t replace the departed John Klingberg’s offense but could grow into the role of a top-four puck-moving rearguard.

CALGARY SUN: The Flames signed former Anaheim Ducks winger Sonny Milano to a professional tryout offer.

EDMONTON JOURNAL: The Oilers signed winger Jake Virtanen to a PTO.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That move has drawn criticism among some pundits, bloggers and Oilers fans. There are those who raised the point of Virtanen facing a civil suit after being found not guilty of sexual assault in a B.C. Court in July. Others point to his poor on-ice performance in recent years.

VEGAS HOCKEY NOW: cited Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman recently reporting that oft-injured Golden Knights forward Nolan Patrick might not play this season with some wondering about his future as a player.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The second overall pick in the 2017 draft by the Flyers, Patrick has played just 25 NHL games because of nagging upper-body injuries, including migraines related to a possible concussion.

DAILY FACEOFF: Forward Kurtis Gabriel has retired after nine seasons in the NHL and AHL. He saw 51 games of NHL action with the Minnesota Wild, New Jersey Devils, San Jose Sharks and Chicago Blackhawks with five points and 153 PIMs.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Best wishes to Gabriel in his future endeavors.










Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – August 28, 2022

Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – August 28, 2022

In the Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup: speculation over Dylan Larkin’s next contract and future with the Red Wings plus a look at the contract talks of Stars youngsters Jason Robertson and Jake Oettinger.

MLIVE.COM: Ansar Khan mused over what center Dylan Larkin’s next contract with the Detroit Red Wings could look like. The 26-year-old Wings captain is slated to become an unrestricted free agent next July.

Detroit Red Wings center Dylan Larkin (NHL Images)

Khan reports the two sides have been discussing a contract extension since mid-July. No deal is done, suggesting Larkin’s agent and Red Wings general manager Steve Yzerman remain far apart.

Larkin is coming off a 31-goal, 69-point performance in 71 games last season, putting him in line for a substantial raise over the $6.1 million average annual value of his current contract. That could put him in the $8 million AAV range though Khan wouldn’t be surprised if the Larkin camp was seeking $9 million.

If talks extend into the coming season, Larkin’s performance could become a factor in determining his next contract, likely an eight-year deal. However, his name could surface in the rumor mill if there’s no contract in place leading up to the 2023 NHL trade deadline.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It could take time for Larkin’s representatives and Yzerman to hammer out an agreement. I’ll be surprised if a deal isn’t in place before the trade deadline.

Larkin is seen as a key member of the rebuilding Red Wings’ core. I think Yzerman wants to maintain some continuity within his roster, especially with homegrown talent to provide leadership to the youngsters already in the lineup and coming up from their system.

I’m not suggesting talks won’t fall apart or Larkin won’t be traded, though his full no-trade clause gives him plenty of leverage. However, I believe the two sides will get a deal done that keeps him in Detroit for the long term.

THE ATHLETIC: In his latest mailbag segment, Saad Yousuf was asked how nervous Dallas Stars fans should be about Jason Robertson and Jake Oettinger not being signed right now. The two 23-year-olds are restricted free agents coming off their entry-level contracts.

Yousuf isn’t too concerned right now though he acknowledged the snail’s pace of negotiations given the lack of urgency at this time. “There was no arbitration hearing to contend with, there’s no imminent threat of an offer sheet and there has been no requirement for players to report anywhere,” he said.

Robertson and Oettinger are team-oriented players who don’t want to miss the start of training camp. However, that becomes a possibility if negotiations remain unsolved by that point. Yousuf suggests a bridge deal for both players might be best for both sides right now, speculating Robertson could get a $7 million AAV and Oettinger coming in at $4 million.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The threat of an offer sheet remains but I doubt Robertson or Oettinger are going to get one. That’s a rarely used tactic that has only succeeded twice in the salary-cap era. If they were to receive offer sheets it likely would’ve happened after the free-agent market opened on July 13 when most teams still had sufficient cap room.

Cap Friendly shows 13 teams already over the $82.5 million cap for the coming season with another 11 having less than $5 million in cap room. Only three teams – Anaheim Ducks, Buffalo Sabres and Arizona Coyotes – have sufficient cap space to make the type of competitive bids to successfully pry away Robertson or Oettinger. If either of those three clubs were going to make that move they would’ve done so by now.

I also don’t see any team making a robust trade offer for Robertson or Oettinger. I’m sure some general managers have called Stars GM Jim Nill to see if either guy is available but he’s probably not interested in their trade pitches. Both youngsters are already part of the Stars’ core and will take on bigger roles over the next couple of years.

The Stars have $10.3 million in cap space for 2022-23 and only Robertson and Oettinger to re-sign. They have the leverage to get those two youngsters under bridge contracts with the promise of more lucrative deals down the road, especially when aging Stars such as Jamie Benn ($9.5 million AAV) and Ryan Suter ($3.65 million) come off their books at the end of 2024-25.










NHL Rumor Mill – August 11, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – August 11, 2022

Updates on Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews, the latest on the Islanders, and the contract statuses of Red Wings forwards Dylan Larkin and Tyler Bertuzzi in today’s NHL rumor mill.

LATEST ON KANE AND TOEWS

THE ATHLETIC: Scott Powers reports neither Patrick Kane nor Jonathan Toews has approached Chicago Blackhawks general manager Kyle Davidson about a trade. Davidson also hasn’t asked them to waive their no-movement clauses.

Chicago Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews (NHL Images).

With the 2022 draft and the start of the 2022 free-agency period now history, Powers believes the 2023 trade deadline will be the next time frame when Kane and/or Toews could be moved. He anticipates the Blackhawks will be more willing by that time to retain part of their salaries to facilitate a trade, expecting the club will keep around $10 million in cap space open this season to prepare for that.

It’s expected the two long-time Blackhawks stars want to see how this season plays out as Davidson presses ahead with rebuilding the roster. Powers claims neither player really wants to leave Chicago. “Kane and Toews are going to be allowed to determine their future,” he writes.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kane has featured prominently in this summer’s trade rumors, Toews less so. Nevertheless, we can expect these two will continue to surface in the coming season’s rumor mill, especially when the trade deadline approaches in February.

Both players carry $10.5 million salary-cap hits and full no-movement clauses so they have complete control over their fates for the coming season. The Blackhawks will be expected to retain up to half of those cap hits in a trade, which is why they’ll be more inclined to do so at the trade deadline when most of the season has been played.

UPDATE ON THE ISLANDERS

NYI HOCKEY NOW: Stefen Rosner cites ESPN’s Kevin Weekes’ cryptic tweet anticipating “at least 4 transactions with the NY Islanders coming down the line”.

Three of them are expected to be restricted free agents Noah Dobson, Alexander Romanov and Kieffer Bellows. The fourth is expected to be unrestricted free agent center Nazem Kadri.

Rosner recently cited sources indicating the 31-year-old Kadri would be joining the Islanders but they first have to move out a contract to make room for him. They’ve reportedly attempted to shop winger Josh Bailey but are now looking at another avenue in winger Anthony Beauvillier.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I’ve noted in the past the silence from the Islanders and from the Kadri camp. One or the other could bring this speculation to an end by issuing a statement denying the “Kadri to the Isles” talk.

Bailey is 32 and carries a $5 million cap hit through 2023-24. Beauvillier, on the other hand, is younger (24) and has a more affordable $4.15 million cap hit.

WHAT’S UP WITH LARKIN AND BERTUZZI?

THE ATHLETIC: In a recent mailbag segment, Max Bultman was asked at what point should fans become concerned that Dylan Larkin and Tyler Bertuzzi haven’t signed contract extensions with the Detroit Red Wings. Both players are eligible for UFA status next summer.

Bultman anticipates Red Wings GM Steve Yzerman will tell us that his club doesn’t need to get both players under contract before the coming season. He’s got plenty of time between now and next July to sign both. Nevertheless, Bultman expects there could be some concern if neither player is signed by opening night.

If the Red Wings aren’t in the playoff race before the trade decision, Yzerman could face some tough decisions if one or both remain unsigned. Larkin has a no-trade clause which gives him some leverage and could lead to a new contract this summer. Bertuzzi lacks no-trade protection.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Of the two, I think Larkin is the more likely to be re-signed given his status as the Wings’ captain. This is a young team with plenty of promise and Larkin’s been a big part of that.