Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – April 11, 2021

Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – April 11, 2021

With the trade deadline a day away, here’s the latest on Taylor Hall, Nick Foligno, Mike Hoffman, Jaden Schwartz, Ryan Getzlaf and more in the Sunday NHL rumor roundup.

THE LATEST ON TAYLOR HALL

SPORTSNET: Chris Johnston reports the New York Islanders could still be interested in acquiring Taylor Hall. The Isles were close to making a deal for the 29-year-old Buffalo Sabres winger before acquiring Kyle Palmieri and Travis Zajac from the New Jersey Devils on Wednesday.

Buffalo Sabres winger Taylor Hall (NHL Images).

Johnston feels the Islanders could still be interested in getting Hall out of Buffalo but there are other clubs also lurking. Some teams feel if Hall is still on the Sabres as tomorrow’s 3 pm ET deadline draws near perhaps the Sabres’ asking price will come down. He wondered if the Edmonton Oilers could be among the suitors in that circumstance.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: You can’t rule anything out when you’re talking about Islanders general manager Lou Lamoriello. His club still has over $3 million in long-term injury reserve space to draw upon. It’ll take some salary-cap creativity but it’s possible, as we saw in yesterday’s three-team deal that sent David Savard from the Columbus Blue Jackets to the Tampa Bay Lightning through the Detroit Red Wings.

EDMONTON JOURNAL: David Staples cites Sportsnet NHL insiders Mike Futa and Kris Versteeg suggesting Hall should be at the top of the Edmonton Oilers’ wish list. They feel the Sabres winger can provide the Oilers with the scoring depth they need.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I think their biggest need is a skilled checking-line center who can win faceoffs. Regardless, Oilers GM Ken Holland said he’s not parting with assets for rental players, preferring those with term on their contracts. If he maintains that stance, forget about Hall coming to Edmonton at the deadline.

NEW YORK POST: Larry Brooks ponders the possibility of the Pittsburgh Penguins taking a shot at Hall. He wonders if playing for a contender and skating alongside Sidney Crosby might snap the winger out of his scoring funk. Brooks also mused about the Calgary Flames’ Sam Bennett or New Jersey’s Miles Wood being better suited for Pittsburgh.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Penguins are reportedly seeking more toughness up front. That’s not something Hall provides. Bennett would be a good checking-line addition if he goes into his usual beast mode in the postseason.

Brooks mentioned Wood as he suggests this might be the best time to trade him for maximum value if Devils GM Tom Fitzgerald harbors any doubts about re-signing him. Wood has a year remaining on his contract. That, however, might be a move best made in the offseason, when contract discussions can formally begin.

WILD BELIEVED TO BE INTERESTED IN NICK FOLIGNO

SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman reports the Columbus Blue Jackets would want a first-round pick for forward Nick Foligno. The Minnesota Wild are believed among the interested parties. That move would reunite Nick with brother Marcus in Minnesota.

THE ATHLETIC: Michael Russo also weighed in on Friedman’s report, saying he’s long suspected the Wild intend to pursue Nick Foligno in the offseason if he becomes an unrestricted free agent. However, Russo doubts Wild GM Bill Guerin will part with a first-rounder for the Jackets captain.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Unless the Jackets lower their asking price we’ll have to wait until this summer for a possible Foligno family reunion.

WILL THE BLUES MOVE SCHWARTZ OR HOFFMAN?

SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman believes the St. Louis Blues will set a high asking price for pending UFA winger Jaden Schwartz, making it difficult for other clubs to acquire him. He notes the Montreal Canadiens had some interest in winger Mike Hoffman before he signed with St. Louis in the offseason. He wonders if the Habs might consider Hoffman to bolster their sagging offense.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Blues won’t move Schwartz, especially when they’re battling for a playoff spot. Hoffman, however, hasn’t been a good fit with them. Despite scoring two goals last night after being a healthy scratch from the last two games, I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s traded. I still think the Canadiens need to shore up their left-side defense but their scoring has suffered since Brendan Gallagher fractured his thumb.

UPDATE ON THE JETS, OILERS AND FLAMES

SPORTSNET: Chris Johnston believes the Winnipeg Jets intend to acquire a defenseman before tomorrow’s trade deadline. However, he doesn’t see them parting with any of their top prospects.

WINNIPEG SUN: Scott Billeck reports the Jets were believed among the clubs with an interest in David Savard before he was shipped to Tampa Bay yesterday.

Other blueline trade targets could include Josh Manson of the Anaheim Ducks, Colin Miller of the Buffalo Sabres, Jamie Oleksiak of the Dallas Stars, Sami Vatanen of the New Jersey Devils, Mike Reilly of the Ottawa Senators, Michael Del Zotto of the Columbus Blue Jackets or Michael Stone of the Calgary Flames.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Manson’s the best of the bunch but he has a year remaining on his contract and the Ducks reportedly seek a first-round pick and a top prospect. The rest are pending UFAs and wouldn’t cost the Jets a top prospect or a first-rounder.

SPORTSNET: Chris Johnston believes the Edmonton Oilers intend to be bargain shoppers rather than big-game hunters at the trade deadline. He feels they’re looking for a defenseman and had an interest in Patrik Nemeth before he was traded to the Colorado Avalanche on Friday. Columbus’ Michael Del Zotto could make sense.

Elliotte Friedman thinks the Calgary Flames will have a quiet trade deadline because they lack notable UFAs. Derek Ryan might draw interest from teams seeking a center while David Rittich could be enticing to teams looking for a backup goalie.

OTHER NEWS AND SPECULATION OF NOTE

SPORTSNET: Chris Johnston reports Anaheim Ducks center Ryan Getzlaf has been linked to the Vegas Golden Knights and Montreal Canadiens in recent rumors. However, there’s no indication he intends to waive his no-movement clause.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Getzlaf could change his mind between now and tomorrow’s deadline but don’t be shocked if he’s still the captain of the Ducks after 3 pm ET on Monday.

Johnston also noted the Chicago Blackhawks held forward Mattias Janmark out of the lineup yesterday. He pointed out Janmark has played well in the past alongside skilled linemates, speculating the Colorado Avalanche and Toronto Maple Leafs could be a fit as he’d be an affordable acquisition.

The Florida Panthers are the front-runner for unrestricted free agent forward Nikita Gusev after he cleared unconditional waivers yesterday.

After trading Devan Dubnyk yesterday to the Avalanche the San Jose Sharks might not be done shopping their UFAs. Marcus Sorensen and Kurtis Gabriel could be moved. Patrick Marleau, however, could finish the season as a Shark.

Elliotte Friedman reports the Sabres have made it a priority to re-sign pending UFA goaltender Linus Ullmark.

Contract talks continue between the Philadelphia Flyers and pending UFA center Scott Laughton. The same goes for the Los Angeles Kings and forward Alex Iafallo.

The San Jose Sharks may be getting some calls on rugged right-winger Kurtis Gabriel.

NEW YORK POST: Larry Brooks speculates the Rangers might listen if a club offers up a third-round pick for winger Colin Blackwell. So far, no such interest has been expressed.










NHL Rumor Mill – April 8, 2021

NHL Rumor Mill – April 8, 2021

Last night’s Kyle Palmieri trade shakes up TSN’s trade bait list. Check out the latest on Mike Hoffman, Taylor Hall, Nick Foligno and more in today’s NHL rumor mill.

TSN: St. Louis Blues winger Mike Hoffman moves into third on the NHL trade-bait list after the New Jersey Devils traded Kyle Palmieri last night to the New York Islanders.

St. Louis Blues winger Mike Hoffman (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Hoffman was a healthy scratch from last night’s game against the Vegas Golden Knights. Blues coach Craig Berube said that move was made to insert Sammy Blais into the lineup. Trade speculation about the winger will ramp up if he’s scratched from the Blues’ next two games before Monday’s trade deadline.

Buffalo Sabres left wing Taylor Hall remains the top forward on the trade-bait list.

EDMONTON JOURNAL: David Staples cites NHL insider Doug MacLean telling CHED radio host Reid Wilkins he’s heard the Oilers are interested in Hall, who spent his first six NHL seasons in Edmonton until traded to the Devils in 2016.

MacLean said his “reasonable source” indicated the Oilers were looking at a deal that has Hall and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins under contract for next season for a combined $12 million.

Staples believes the Oilers would have to trade a forward such as Zack Kassian or James Neal to free up the salary-cap dollars necessary to acquire Hall or move out a goalie like Mikko Koskinen. The Oilers’ first-round pick would also have to be included in the deal.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: What MacLean’s source seems to be suggesting is the Oilers are looking at getting ahead of the free-agent market by acquiring and signing Hall, who (like Nugent-Hopkins) is due to become an unrestricted free agent this summer.

I don’t see how the Oilers can afford to acquire Hall at the trade deadline. They’re maxed out at the cap and have $2.3 million in long-term injury reserve money remaining. They also don’t have any picks in the second, third- and fifth rounds of this year’s draft so I don’t believe general manager Ken Holland will part with this year’s first, or next year’s for that matter. I also don’t see a trade market for Kassian or Neal.

Anything’s possible, of course, and if Holland could pull this off without giving up a first-round pick it’ll be an impressive feat. I just don’t believe we’ll see Hall coming to Edmonton at the trade deadline.

Columbus Blue Jackets forward Nick Foligno sits at No. 4 on the list.

THE ATHLETIC: Aaron Portzline reports Blue Jackets GM Jarmo Kekalainen won’t trade Foligno without the captain’s approval. The 32-year-old forward has a 10-team no-trade list and it sounds like he’d be open to a move but only for the right situation. The Colorado Avalanche, Toronto Maple Leafs and Minnesota Wild could be among his suitors.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I had my doubts that Foligno would be traded but this report changed my mind. He could be moved by the deadline if Kekalainen first receives a suitable offer and Foligno is willing to accept it, especially if it comes from one of the teams on his no-trade list.

Philadelphia Flyers center Scott Laughton remains at No. 9.

NBC SPORTS PHILADELPHIA: Jordan Hall isn’t putting much stock into Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman saying he can see the Pittsburgh Penguins having an interest in Laughton. While Penguins general manager (and former Flyers GM) Ron Hextall knows Laughton’s value and could be interested, Hall believes the Flyers’ asking price could be quite high.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette’s Mike DeFabo reports Hextall is in the market for a big, physical forward, preferably an experienced center. Laughton could fit the bill but, as Hall pointed out, the Flyers will set an expensive price for him.

DeFabo notes the Penguins have few tradeable assets plus there’s also the salary crunch to contend with. He anticipates Hextall could instead acquire a bottom-six forward if he makes a move at all.

Anaheim Ducks defenseman Josh Manson moves up into tenth on the list.

BOSTON HOCKEY NOW: Jimmy Murphy wonders if the Bruins and Anaheim Ducks are talking trade again. The two clubs have a recent history of deals before the trade deadline.

Boston assistant GM John Ferguson Jr has been scouting the California-based teams. Murphy isn’t sure the Bruins are looking at Manson but they have had inquired about the blueliner in the past. The Ducks’ asking price, however, could be high.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Murphy also reported the Bruins were among the clubs interested in Kyle Palmieri before he was shipped last night to the New York Islanders, with one of the trade scenarios involving Bruins winger Jake DeBrusk. The source couldn’t confirm if the Bruins said no to that.

The Bruins do need blueline help. If a suitable deal for a scoring winger isn’t available perhaps GM Don Sweeney shifts his focus to a defenseman like Manson. The asking price, however, is reportedly a first-round pick and a top prospect.

Blues defenseman Vince Dunn and center Tyler Bozak sit 13th and 18th respectively on the list.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: TVA Sports’ Renaud Lavoie wonders if the Montreal Canadiens could pursue Dunn or Bozak. With Brendan Gallagher going on LTIR, they have sufficient salary-cap wiggle room to make another addition before the trade deadline. Adding a top-four defenseman is a bigger need for the Habs than a bottom-six center.

Others who’ve moved up or debuted on the list include Calgary Flames goaltender David Rittich (15), Chicago Blackhawks defenseman Nikita Zadorov (17), Dallas Stars blueliner Jamie Oleksiak, Blue Jackets rearguard Michael Del Zotto (30) and Jackets goaltender Elvis Merzlikins (38).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I don’t think the Blackhawks will trade Zadorov while they’re still jockeying for a playoff spot in the Discover Central Division. The Jackets aren’t facing pressure to trade Merzlikins. He has another season left on his contract and is exempt from this summer’s expansion draft.

Dropping on the list is Florida Panthers goaltender Chris Driedger (22) and Flames center Derek Ryan (33).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Driedger’s played very well backing up erratic Panthers starter Sergei Bobrovsky. Trading him while they battling the Tampa Bay Lightning and Carolina Hurricanes for first place in the Central wouldn’t be a wise decision.










NHL Rumor Mill – April 7, 2021

NHL Rumor Mill – April 7, 2021

The latest on Taylor Hall, Kyle Palmieri, Mike Hoffman and Josh Manson plus updates on the Leafs, Bruins, Flames, Oilers and more in today’s NHL rumor mill.

SABRES SCRATCH HALL AS TRADE TALKS INTENSIFY

TSN: Darren Dreger believes the Buffalo Sabres deciding to hold Taylor Hall out of last night’s game against the New Jersey Devils indicates trade talks regarding the 29-year-old left winger are picking up. “Thing have intensified with a couple of teams,” said Dreger, adding it’s unlikely Hall will still be a Sabre by Monday’s trade deadline.

SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman said sitting out Hall (and the New Jersey Devils doing the same with Kyle Palmieri) doesn’t mean anything’s imminent but more precautionary to avoid injury leading up to deadline day. He believes Sabres general manager Kevyn Adams is considering a number of scenarios big and small before the deadline, including perhaps listening to pitches for Jack Eichel.

Buffalo Sabres sit Taylor Hall ahead of the April 12 trade deadline (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Hall will be on the move by deadline day, it’s just a question of where and how much the Sabres can get for him. I doubt they’ll get a first-round pick. As for Eichel, that sort of trade happens in the offseason. Friedman feels Adams may be getting the lay of the land regarding what his captain’s trade value will be.

UPDATES ON THE LEAFS, BRUINS, FLAMES AND OILERS

TORONTO STAR: Mark Zwolinski said recent reports have the Maple Leafs linked to Devils winger Kyle Palmieri, Calgary Flames forward Sam Bennett and Nashville Predators defenseman Mattias Ekholm. An industry source told Zwolinski the Leafs have been heavily scouting Los Angeles Kings right-winger Adrian Kempe. They’re also believed eyeing Predators forward Mikael Granlund. Salary cap space is a major consideration as the Leafs are among nine teams with less than $1 million in cap room.

THE ATHLETIC (stick tap to THE SCORE): Leafs GM Kyle Dubas told Pierre LeBrun the play of forward Alex Galchenyuk has somewhat lessened his club’s urgency to add a forward. He cited how well Galchenyuk has fit in on a line with John Tavares and William Nylander. Nevertheless, the Leafs GM is keeping his options open as the deadline approaches.

SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman believes Dallas Stars defenseman Jamie Oleksiak would be a consideration for the Leafs if they pursue a depth blueliner.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kempe, 23, carries a $2 million cap hit and is a year away from becoming a restricted free agent with arbitration rights. He’s second among Kings scorers this season with 12 goals. Dubas has a trade history with the Kings but GM Rob Blake is under no pressure to move Kempe.

BOSTON HOCKEY NOW: Joe Haggerty reports rumors are swirling linking the Bruins to Devils winger Kyle Palmieri and defenseman Dmitry Kulikov to address their needs for a scoring winger and left-side blueline depth. The cost for Palmieri would likely be a first-round pick and a forward prospect.

SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman also hears the Bruins linked to Palmieri and Hall but also heard they don’t think adding a rental player is a good idea for the cost.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Giving up a first-rounder as part of the return for Palmieri makes sense only if the Bruins can re-sign him. Otherwise, they’re better off trying to find a winger with term remaining on his contract.

TSN: Frank Seravalli believes Calgary Flames GM Brad Treliving could be open to doing just about anything as his club slips further out of playoff contention. A couple of teams could be interested in Treliving’s plans for Johnny Gaudreau and Sean Monahan but deals like that typically happen in the offseason. Backup goaltender (and pending UFA) David Rittich is drawing some interest but things are quieter on lower-priced UFAs like Derek Ryan.

CALGARY SUN: Wes Gilbertson doesn’t expect any blockbuster moves by the Flames at the trade deadline. He can see Rittich, Ryan and Sam Bennett getting peddled as potential rentals in exchange for mid-round draft picks. He anticipates a more significant shakeup in the summer.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Big changes are likely coming for the Flames but we’ll have to wait until the offseason for those. Bennett, Rittich and Ryan are the most likely to be moved at the deadline.

SPORTSNET: Mark Spector doesn’t expect any movement by the Edmonton Oilers before the trade deadline. The Oilers are capped out and deep into their long-term injury reserve. GM Ken Holland made most of his significant moves during the offseason.

Elliotte Friedman isn’t convinced about the Oilers being among the suitors for Detroit Red Wings center Luke Glendening.

LATEST ON THE BLUES, DUCKS AND KINGS

TSN: Pierre LeBrun believes St. Louis Blues forwards Mike Hoffman and Tyler Bozak could be on the move before the deadline. GM Doug Armstong isn’t shy about trading underachieving UFAs when his club is in playoff contention.

STLTODAY.COM: Jeff Gordon believes Armstrong could become a seller if the Blues don’t reverse their fortunes soon. Hoffman could draw interest from teams seeking scoring depth such as the Boston Bruins, New York Islanders and Toronto Maple Leafs. Defenseman Vince Dunn could become a trade chip to restock their depth chart.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Hoffman turned into a big disappointment this season for the Blues. They might get a second-round pick for him at the trade deadline but his inconsistent play could make him a tough sell. Dunn would draw more interest but I don’t see him fetching a first-round pick. Maybe a prospect and/or a promising NHL-ready player.

TSN: Pierre LeBrun reports the Anaheim Ducks have had a few calls on Josh Manson. They still like the 28-year-old defenseman but given where they are in the standings and youth movement they have to listen. The Carolina Hurricanes and Winnipeg Jets are among the clubs with interest in Manson but the Ducks’ asking price is a first-round pick and a top prospect.

SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman reports the Ducks are seeking players between ages 19 and 23 who are ready to play but they’re really hard to find. He wondered if the Vegas Golden Knights might kick tires on Ducks captain Ryan Getzlaf.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Manson won’t be moving at the deadline if the Ducks maintain that asking price. GM Bob Murray said he won’t move Getzlaf unless the Ducks captain asks to be traded. So far, there’s no indication that’s happening.

If Getzlaf waives his no-movement clause the Golden Knights are unlikely to land him. The Las Vegas Sun’s Justin Emerson reports the flattened cap and a number of long-term contracts handed out in recent years limits what they could do at this year’s deadline.

Friedman also reported what the Los Angeles Kings do at the deadline could come down to whether they re-sign pending UFA forward Alex Iafallo. “They’ve been grinding away at it”, he said.

NOTABLE RUMORS FROM FRIEDMAN’S LATEST “31 THOUGHTS”.

SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman believes the Philadelphia Flyers are listening to offers for Scott Laughton. There hasn’t been much contract extension talk regarding the UFA center. He can see the Pittsburgh Penguins with interest in the Flyers forward.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Anything’s possible but I think Flyers GM Chuck Fletcher could look at moving Laughton to anyone except the Penguins.

The Colorado Avalanche have looked into adding a forward with an edge, a defenseman to replace what they lost in Ian Cole and sidelined Erik Johnson and a goaltender. They could be lurking on Kyle Palmieri.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Goaltending depth is their priority. They’d also like to add some muscle to their blueline. They’re already loaded with offensive depth up front.

Goaltenders to watch include San Jose’s Devan Dubnyk, Arizona’s Antti Raanta, Ottawa’s Anton Forsberg and perhaps some of the Carolina Hurricanes’ depth now that Petr Mrazek has returned from a fractured them. A wild rumor about the Hurricanes having an interest in Anaheim’s John Gibson was shot down by multiple sources.

The Florida Panthers have some decisions to make before the deadline. Do they carry goalies Chris Driedger and Spencer Knight? Add a scorer like Hall or Palmieri or add a defenseman. Sources say they want this season’s performance to be a multiple-year thing so they’re not going to rush into anything.

Tampa Bay Lightning could be a stealth team on Columbus Blue Jackets defenseman David Savard.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’ll have to be dollar-in, dollar-out. The Lightning are capped out this season.

Nashville Predators called the Winnipeg Jets about defense prospect Ville Heinola but the Jets don’t want to move him.










NHL Rumor Mill – April 6, 2021

NHL Rumor Mill – April 6, 2021

Analysis of the latest update to the TSN trade-bait board in today’s NHL rumor mill.

TSN: Frank Seravalli considers the Toronto Maple Leafs, Winnipeg Jets, New York Islanders, Carolina Hurricanes, Colorado Avalanche and Florida Panthers among his shrinking list of firm buyers as the NHL’s April 12 trade deadline approaches.

Seravalli believes the Leafs seek a versatile left winger who can play throughout the lineup. He suggested the Nashville Predators’ Mikael Granlund, the New Jersey Devils Kyle Palmieri, the Columbus Blue Jackets Nick Foligno and the Vancouver Canucks Tanner Pearson as trade targets.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Predators’ surge into playoff contention could take Granlund out of the trade market. I still don’t believe the Blue Jackets will part ways with Foligno but you never know. Pearson’s been sidelined since March 17 with an ankle injury. With COVID-19 cutting a swath through the Canucks roster he’s probably unavailable.

Palmieri was held out of the Devils’ game on Sunday with the Washington Capitals as a precautionary measure. It’s believed he’ll be moved by the end of the week. Trade rumors link the 30-year-old winger to the Leafs, Boston Bruins, New York Islanders, Colorado Avalanche and the Predators.

The Jets could seek a defenseman, preferably a rental. If the Predators’ Mattias Ekholm isn’t available, Seravalli suggested the Blue Jackets’ David Savard, the Dallas Stars’ Jamie Oleksiak, the Anaheim Ducks’ Josh Manson, the Buffalo Sabres’ Brandon Montour or the Chicago Blackhawks’ Nikita Zadorov.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I believe Ekholm’s off the market. The Predators are playoff contenders, their reported asking price of three assets (including a first-round pick and a top prospect) is very expensive, and the extra year on his contract means he’ll have to be protected by the acquiring team in this summer’s expansion draft.

Savard and Montour seem the more likely options here. The Stars are still chasing a playoff berth so I don’t see them moving Oleksiak. The same goes for the Blackhawks and Zadorov.

Sportnet’s Ken Wiebe also included Montour among five under-the-radar targets for the Jets. The others include the Ottawa Senators Mike Reilly, the Detroit Red Wings Patrik Nemeth, the Ducks’ Ben Hutton and the Devils’ Dmitry Kulikov.

Trade talks involving Buffalo Sabres winger Taylor Hall could be heating up (NHL Images).

The Islanders are expected to use their long-term injury reserve to find a replacement for sidelined winger Anders Lee. They’ve been linked to the Sabres’ Taylor Hall, as well as Palmieri and Foligno.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Seravalli’s colleague Darren Dreger reported there’s a sense trade talk involving Hall have escalated though not to the point where a deal could be imminent. Maybe the Isles are part of those talks.

Hurricanes general manager Don Waddell has admitted he’d like to add a right-handed defenseman with term on his contract and a depth forward.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Manson, Buffalo’s Colin Miller and the New York Rangers Tony DeAngelo are the right-shot blueliners on Seravalli’s list with term on their contracts.

It’s believed the Colorado Avalanche could seek a backup goalie and a little more muscle on defense.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The rumor mill linked the Avalanche to Detroit’s Jonathan Bernier and the San Jose Sharks’ Devan Dubnyk. The Sharks could be reluctant to part with Dubnyk while they’re fighting to get back into the Honda West playoff chase.

Chris Driedger of the Florida Panthers and Darcy Kuemper of the Arizona Coyotes are also on Seravalli’s list. I don’t see Kuemper moving when the Coyotes are holding down a playoff spot in the Honda West Division.

Florida Hockey Now’s George Richards believes Driedger’s availability depends on the deal. It’ll also depend on whether they have confidence in promising but inexperienced Spencer Knight filling the backup role as well as Driedger.

Seravalli also listed the clubs he considers secondary, or “soft”, buyers seeking specific needs:

Edmonton Oilers (right-shot depth center), Montreal Canadiens (defensive depth), Pittsburgh Penguins (depth center), Washington Capitals (experience goaltender), Tampa Bay Lightning (defensive depth), Boston Bruins (top-six winger and/or defensive muscle) and Vegas Golden Knights (center depth).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Limited salary-cap space explains why they’re “soft” buyers. In the Canadiens case, however, I wonder how Brendan Gallagher’s fractured thumb could provide some wiggle room to pursue another trade. If he’s out until the playoffs they’ll get $3.75 million in cap relief by placing him on long-term injury reserve.

Seravalli also pointed out the Blackhawks, Red Wings and Sharks are willing to offer up their cap space in return for assets to help facilitate trades.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: In other words, those three clubs are willing to take a bad contract off the hands of one of those soft buyers provided it’s packaged with futures like draft picks and/or prospects.

Seravalli also made a few significant changes to his list of players considered trade bait:

The Ducks’ Josh Manson debuts at No. 11,

Red Wings center Luke Glendening rose to sixth while Nashville’s Mattia Ekholm dropped to 10th. Ekholm’s teammate Granlund remains at No.7,

Philadelphia Flyers center Scott Laughton rose from 16 to ninth.

Devils defenseman Ryan Murray debuts at No. 17,

Ottawa Senators winger Ryan Dzingel drops from 11th to 20th,

Calgary Flames center Derek Ryan debuts at No.22,

Vancouver’s Tanner Pearson drops from 19th to 25th, and

Coyotes goaltender Darcy Kuemper debuts at 34.










NHL Rumor Mill – April 1, 2021

NHL Rumor Mill – April 1, 2021

No April Fool’s pranks here as we examine the latest notable changes to TSN’s trade-bait list in the NHL rumor mill.

TSN: Frank Seravalli moved Columbus Blue Jackets defenseman David Savard into the top spot on his NHL Trade Bait List. Savard’s teammate, Nick Foligno, also moved up two spots into fourth on the list as the Blue Jackets struggled to remain in playoff contention in the Discover Central Division.

Columbus Blue Jackets defenseman David Savard (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The next week or so should determine if the Jackets become sellers by the April 12 trade deadline. Savard seems more likely to move than Foligno as it’s believed the Jackets hope to sign their captain to an extension before free agency opens in July.

Mattias Ekholm, who sat for weeks atop the board, slid to sixth while teammate Mikael Granlund dropped from third to seventh as the Nashville Predators surge into a playoff spot in the Central.

Seravalli doesn’t believe Predators general manager David Poile has pulled his players from the board but he could prefer giving his club the opportunity to prove they’re playoff-worthy before the trade deadline. Granlund was believed to be a primary target for the Toronto Maple Leafs, who could be forced to consider other forward options.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Predators’ recent improvement is also bad news for teams like the Boston Bruins who may have had an eye on Ekholm or Granlund. Like the Leafs, they could end up having to find other trade targets.

Granlund’s status as a pending UFA makes him a more likely trade candidate than Ekholm, who has a year remaining on his contract. The Predators’ rumored asking price of three assets for Ekholm (including a first-round pick and a top prospect) would’ve also turned off some potential suitors.

New Jersey Devils winger Kyle Palmieri moved up into the second spot on the board ahead of Buffalo Sabres left wing Taylor Hall. Palmieri’s $4.65 million cap hit would be easier to move than Hall’s $8 million.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Sabres could agree to absorb up to half of Hall’s cap hit if it would facilitate a trade that fetches a healthy return including a first-round pick.

NBC Sports Boston’s Nick Goss recently made the case for the Bruins to pursue Palmieri, citing his five 20-plus goal seasons and his improved production in recent games. The winger is a pending UFA and it’s been reported contract talks have stalled between his reps and Devils management.

The Athletic’s Corey Masisak observed Palmieri’s been linked to the Bruins, New York Islanders and Toronto Maple Leafs.

Detroit Red Wings goaltender Jonathan Bernier remains at No. 5. Increased interest in Bernier’s teammate Luke Glendening moved the Wings center into the ninth spot on the list.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Contenders seeking checking line depth are drawn to Glendening’s faceoff skills and penalty-killing experience. It’s believed Edmonton Oilers GM Ken Holland could have an eye on the pending UFA center.

Seravalli added Florida Panthers goaltender Chris Driedger at No. 12 and Philadelphia Flyers forward Scott Laughton at No. 16. The Panthers signing top prospect Spencer Knight could give them the flexibility to move Driedger as he’s is a potential expansion draft target. The Flyers, meanwhile, face a decision with pending UFA Laughton, who’s a versatile two-way forward.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I don’t believe the Panthers will trade Driedger while they’re jockeying with Tampa Bay and Carolina for the top spot in the Discover Central Division. They can always wait and trade him in the offseason before the expansion draft. As promising as Knight is, he has no NHL experience right now. Laughton’s future in Philadelphia could depend upon where the Flyers are in the standing by the trade deadline.

St. Louis Blues defenseman Vince Dunn, Calgary Flames forward Sam Bennett and Vancouver Canucks winger Jake Virtanen rejoined the board after sliding off it a week ago.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The struggling Blues could turn into sellers if they drop out of contention by the deadline but I still think GM Doug Armstrong sees himself as a buyer.

Armstrong could attempt to use Dunn as a trade chip to add a scoring forward. A restricted free agent with arbitration rights this summer. He carries a $1.875 million cap hit and surfaced in trade rumors earlier this season following a stretch of poor play.

Bennett could hit the block if the Flames fail to gain ground in the Scotia North Standings. His agent raised eyebrows around the league in late January by claiming his client wouldn’t object to a change of scenery. He could soon get his wish.

The Canucks would probably love to move Virtanen but his poor performance combined hurts his trade value. So does his contract, for while he carries a $2.55 million cap hit next season he’ll earn $3.4 million in actual salary.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 8, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 8, 2021

Recaps of Sunday’s action plus the latest injury and COVID-19 updates and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: Scott Laughton tallied his first career NHL hat trick while a returning Sean Couturier scored twice and added an assist as the Philadelphia Flyers beat the Washington Capitals 7-4. Joel Farabee collected three assists for the Flyers. Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin scored twice and set up two others while Tom Wilson had a four-point game.

Philadelphia Flyers forward Scott Laughton (NHL Images).

Before the game, Flyers defenseman Travis Sanheim entered the league’s COVID-19 protocol list, resulting in rapid testing of both clubs. Once those tests returned negative the game was allowed to proceed.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The NHL and NHLPA are reportedly looking into implementing more rapid testing league-wide in hope of flattening the rising COVID-19 curve among the teams. The Buffalo Sabres, Colorado Avalanche, Minnesota Wild and New Jersey Devils are currently sidelined because a number of their players are on the COVID protocol list.

A third-period goal by Chandler Stephenson lifted the Vegas Golden Knights to a 4-3 win over the Los Angeles Kings. Stephenson scored twice while teammate Zach Whitecloud tallied his first NHL regulation goal. Kings’ rookie Jaret Anderson-Dolan netted his first career NHL goal. The Kings played without forward Martin Frk as he was unavailable due to a lower-body injury.

Alex DeBrincat scored twice, including the winner in overtime, as the Chicago Blackhawks edged the Dallas Stars 2-1. Patrick Kane had two assists and Malcolm Subban kicked out 31 shots for the win.

The Detroit Red Wings upset the Florida Panthers 4-1, handing the latter their first regulation loss of the season. Wings forward Givani Smith had a Gordie Howe hat trick with a goal, an assist and a fight with Panthers defenseman Aaron Ekblad following Smith’s hit to the head of Panthers’ blueliner MacKenzie Weegar. No word if Smith will face supplemental discipline. Wings forward Anthony Mantha was a healthy scratch from this contest.

A controversial offside call in the second period overshadowed the Carolina Hurricanes 6-5 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets. Officials overruled an offside challenge by the Jackets on a goal by Hurricanes center Vincent Trocheck and assessed the Jackets a bench penalty. The officials subsequently decided the play was offside after all and waved off the final 45 seconds of the Hurricanes power-play but still allowed Trocheck’s goal to stand.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Usually outspoken Jackets coach John Tortorella declined to offer his opinion following the game. “You know what? I’m gonna let the league explain it,” said Tortorella. Jackets winger Patrick Laine, who scored twice in the game, didn’t shy away from expressing his view. “I think that’s the biggest joke I’ve ever seen,” said Laine.

HEADLINES

WGR 550: Buffalo Sabres forwards Dylan Cozens, Curtis Lazar and Casey Mittelstadt joined teammates Taylor Hall, Rasmus Ristolainen, Brandon Montour, Tobias Rieder and Jake McCabe on the NHL’s COVID-19 protocol list.

STARTRIBUNE.COM: Minnesota Wild defenseman Brad Hunt joined teammates Nick Bjugstad, Nick Bonino, Ian Cole, Joel Eriksson Ek, Marcus Foligno, Marcus Johansson, Jared Spurgeon and Nico Sturm on the COVID protocol list.

TORONTO SUN: Maple Leafs winger Wayne Simmonds could be sidelined up to six weeks after getting hit in the hand with a shot during Saturday’s game against the Vancouver Canucks.

SPORTSNET: The Leafs signed forward Scott Sabourin to a one-year, two-way contract.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Sabourin signing is a further indication Simmonds could miss significant time.

SPORTSNET: The Edmonton Oilers activated goaltender Mike Smith off long-term injury reserve.

TSN: San Jose Sharks defenseman Radim Simek was fined $5,000.00 for spearing Anaheim Ducks forward Adam Henrique during Saturday’s game between the two clubs.

FOX SPORTS MIDWEST: The St. Louis Blues activated defenseman Robert Bortuzzo off injured reserved, placed winger Robert Thomas (broken thumb) on IR and recalled winger Jacob de la Rose.

NHL.COM: Former NHL forward Ralph Backstrom died Sunday at age 83 following a lengthy illness. Backstrom won the Calder Memorial Trophy as rookie of the year in 1959 and won six Stanley Cups with the Montreal Canadiens. He tallied 278 goals and 639 points in 1, 032 NHL games with the Canadiens, Los Angeles Kings and Chicago Blackhawks, as well as 214 points in 234 games in the WHA.

Backstrom went on to coach the University of Denver, scouted for the St. Louis Blues and founded the Colorado Eagles, now the AHL farm club of the Colorado Avalanche.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Backstrom lived a full, productive life in hockey and the game is better for it. My condolences to his family, friends, teammates and associates.