NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 29, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 29, 2022

Senators owner Eugene Melnyk passes away, the Hurricanes take over first place in the Eastern Conference, Vladimir Tarasenko reaches a scoring milestone, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

SENATORS OWNER EUGENE MELNYK DEAD AT 62

OTTAWA SUN: Senators owner Eugene Melnyk passed away late Monday following a long illness. His enduring legacy was buying the Senators in 2003 and maintaining the franchise in Ottawa. In 2015, Melnyk underwent a life-saving liver transplant. With his help, the Senators Community Foundation invested over $100 million in local charities and community programs.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: My condolences to Melnyk’s family and the Senators’ organization. The hockey world is mourning his passing, with NHL commissioner Gary Bettman and Senators captain Brady Tkachuk among the first to pay tribute.

Ottawa Senators owner Eugene Melnyk dies at age 62 (NHL.com).

The Senators were among the NHL’s top teams during Melnyk’s early years of ownership, reaching the 2007 Stanley Cup Final. After exceeding expectations to reach the 2017 Eastern Conference Final, the club spent the following years rebuilding its roster.

Melnyk often faced criticism from Senators fans over the club’s direction, especially in recent years. He received his share of the blame for the departures of popular stars such as Daniel Alfredsson, Jason Spezza and Erik Karlsson. The outspoken Senators owner also threatened to move the club several years ago if the club’s attendance didn’t improve.

Nevertheless, the Senators would’ve probably relocated to an American city in 2003 if Melnyk hadn’t stepped in to purchase the franchise. It’ll be up to his successor and the club’s current management to ensure the current rebuilding program achieves his dream of turning the Senators into a Stanley Cup contender.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: The Carolina Hurricanes defeated the Washington Capitals 6-1 to take over first place in the Eastern Conference with 95 points, one ahead of the Florida Panthers. Martin Necas scored two goals and added an assist while Frederik Andersen made 25 saves for the win. The Capitals (84 points) remain three points behind the Boston Bruins, who hold the first Eastern wild-card spot.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Hurricanes weren’t happy over a hit on forward Jesperi Kotkaniemi by Capitals center Lars Eller late in the game. Kotkaniemi’s left leg appeared to be injured. Hurricanes coach Rod Brind’Amour didn’t know the extent of the injury following the game but commented it didn’t look good. No word if Eller will face supplemental discipline.

St. Louis Blues winger Vladimir Tarasenko reached his 500th career point in a 4-1 victory over the Vancouver Canucks. Tarasenko scored twice and chipped in an assist while Ville Husso turned in a 35-save performance. With 81 points, the Blues sit in third place in the Central Division. The Canucks (73 points) remain three points behind the Vegas Golden Knights for the final Western Conference wild-card berth.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: David Perron also reached a Blues milestone, joining Brett Hull and Scott Young as the third player in franchise history to score at least 12 goals in a calendar month.

The Edmonton Oilers bounced back from a 9-5 loss to the Calgary Flames on Saturday by thumping the Arizona Coyotes 6-1. Ryan McLeod tallied twice and picked up an assist, Leon Draisaitl had a goal and an assist and Mikko Koskinen got the win by kicking out 31 shots. The Oilers sit in third place in the Pacific Division, two points back of the second-place Los Angeles Kings.

Speaking of the Kings, they fell 6-1 to the Seattle Kraken. Chris Driedger stopped 36 Kings shots while teammate Vince Dunn collected two assists. It was the 1,000th career NHL game for Kings coach Todd McLellan, who became the seventh active coach to reach that milestone.

The Buffalo Sabres rallied from a 4-0 deficit to defeat the Chicago Blackhawks 6-5 with Tage Thompson netting the game-winner in the final seconds of the third period. Sabres winger Victor Olofsson scored twice and picked up an assist.

IN OTHER NEWS…

NHL.COM: Minnesota Wild goaltender Cam Talbot, Calgary Flames winger Johnny Gaudreau and Edmonton Oilers forward Leon Draisaitl are the NHL’s three stars for the week ending March 27, 2022.

NHL commissioner Gary Bettman upheld a one-game suspension to Hurricanes winger Nino Niederreiter for a slashing infraction on March 18.

THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH: Blue Jackets defenseman Zach Werenski is listed as day-to-day with an upper-body injury suffered from a high hit by the Minnesota Wild’s Marcus Foligno during the Jackets’ 3-2 loss to the Wild on Saturday.

SAN JOSE HOCKEY NOW: San Jose Sharks captain Logan Couture suffered a bruised lung when he was struck by a shot by teammate Brent Burns during last Thursday’s game against the Edmonton Oilers. He missed Saturday’s game against the Anaheim Ducks but will return to the lineup on Wednesday to face the Arizona Coyotes.

COLORADO HOCKEY NOW: Over a week after being traded from the Montreal Canadiens to the Colorado Avalanche, Artturi Lehkonen’s immigration paperwork has been processed and he can finally join his new teammates.










Trade Tracker – 2022 NHL Trade Deadline

Trade Tracker – 2022 NHL Trade Deadline

The following is the list of players traded on March 21, 2022. The trade deadline is 3 pm ET. Check in regularly as this list will be updated throughout today until the last trades are officially announced.

Vegas Golden Knights trade forward Evgenii Dadonov to the Anaheim Ducks in exchange for the LTIR contract of Ryan Kesler, defenseman John Moore and a conditional second-round pick in 2023 or 2024.

Seattle Kraken acquire forward Victor Rask from the Minnesota Wild in exchange for future consideration.

Columbus Blue Jackets trade forward Max Domi to the Carolina Hurricanes in a three-team trade involving the Florida Panthers. The Hurricanes also received defense prospect Tyler Inamoto, the Blue Jackets received defense prospect Aiden Hreschuk, and the Panthers received forward prospect Egor Korshkov and a sixth-round pick in the 2022 NHL draft.

The New York Rangers acquire forward Andrew Copp and a sixth-rounder in 2023 from the Winnipeg Jets in exchange for minor-league center Morgan Barron, a conditional second-round pick in 2022 (becomes a first-rounder if the Rangers win two rounds in 2022 playoffs), a conditional second-rounder in 2022 or 2023 and a fifth-rounder in 2023.

Tampa Bay Lightning acquire Riley Nash for the Arizona Coyotes in exchange for future considerations.

Edmonton Oilers acquire forward Derick Brassard from the Philadelphia Flyers in exchange for a fourth-round pick in 2023.

Calgary Flames acquire center Ryan Carpenter from the Chicago Blackhawks in exchange for a fifth-round draft pick in 2024.

Ottawa Senators acquire goaltender Michael McNiven from the Calgary Flames for future considerations.

Chicago Blackhawks trade goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury to the Minnesota Wild (NHL Images)

New York Rangers acquire forward Nick Merkley from the San Jose Sharks in exchange for defenseman Anthony Bitetto.

The Pittsburgh Penguins acquire winger Rickard Rakell from the Anaheim Ducks in exchange for forwards Zach Aston-Reese and Dominik Simon, a 2022 second-round pick and a prospect.

The Rangers also acquire forward Tyler Motte from the Vancouver Canucks in exchange for a 2023 fourth-rounder.

Detroit Red Wings ship forward Vladislav Namestnikov to the Dallas Stars in exchange for a fourth-round pick in 2024.

Montreal Canadiens trade goaltender Andrew Hammond to the New Jersey Devils in exchange for minor-league center Nate Schnarr.

Colorado Avalanche acquires forward Andrew Cogliano from the San Jose Sharks in exchange for a 2024 fifth-rounder.

The Washington Capitals acquire Johan Larsson from the Arizona Coyotes in exchange for a 2023 third-round pick.

Ottawa Senators trade Zach Sanford to the Winnipeg Jets for a 2022 fifth-round pick.

St. Louis Blues acquire defenseman Nick Leddy and minor-league blueliner Luke Witkowski from the Detroit Red Wings for winger Oskar Sundqvist, defenseman Jake Walman and a 2023 second-round pick.

Montreal Canadiens trade forward Artturi Lehkonen to the Colorado Avalanche in exchange for defense prospect Justin Barron and a 2024 second-round pick.

Edmonton Oilers acquire defenseman Brett Kulak from the Montreal Canadiens in exchange for defenseman William Lagesson and a conditional second-round pick in 2022 or 2023.

Boston Bruins trade winger Zach Senyshyn and a fifth-rounder in the 2022 draft to the Ottawa Senators for defenseman Josh Brown and a seventh-rounder in 2022.

The New York Rangers acquire defenseman Justin Braun from the Philadelphia Flyers for a third-round pick in 2023.

Chicago Blackhawks trade goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury to the Minnesota Wild in exchange for a conditional 2022 second-round draft pick that becomes a first-rounder if the Wild reach the Western Conference Final. 

Minnesota Wild trade goaltender Kaapo Kahkonen and a fifth-round pick to the San Jose Sharks for defenseman Jacob Middleton.

The Seattle Kraken trade forward Marcus Johansson to the Washington Capitals in exchange for forward Daniel Sprong, a 2022-fourth-round pick and a 2023 sixth-rounder.

The Winnipeg Jets trade center Nathan Smith and Bryan Little’s LTIR contract to the Arizona Coyotes in exchange for a 2022 fourth-round pick.

Winnipeg Jets trade defenseman Nathan Beaulieu to the Pittsburgh Penguins for a conditional 2022 seventh-round pick.










NHL Rumor Mill (Part Two) – March 19, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill (Part Two) – March 19, 2022

Check out the latest on the Golden Knights, Rangers, Blackhawks, Canadiens, Wild and Capitals in Part Two of today’s NHL Rumor Mill.

ARE THE GOLDEN KNIGHTS INTERESTED IN VARLAMOV?

NYI HOCKEY NOW/VEGAS HOCKEY NOW: Stefen Rosner and Owen Krepps cite sources claiming Vegas Golden Knights general manager Kelly McCrimmon is “pushing hard” to acquire goaltender Semyon Varlamov from the New York Islanders. Vegas starter Robin Lehner’s been hampered by injuries while backup Laurent Brossoit has struggled of late.

The Isles’ asking price is reportedly a first-round pick. Vegas traded their 2022 first-rounder to the Buffalo Sabres in last November’s deal for Jack Eichel but have their first-round picks for 2023 and 2024.

New York Islanders goaltender Semyon Varlamov (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Varlamov carries a $5 million cap hit through 2022-23 so he wouldn’t be a rental player. However, he also has a 16-team no-trade list, though Vegas might not be on it. With Ilya Sorokin playing well as the Isles starter and GM Lou Lamoriello needing to shed some salary for next season, perhaps a Varalmov deal is possible. Whether it’s with the Golden Knights remains to be seen.

IS ANOTHER TRADE COMING FOR THE RANGERS?

NEW YORK POST: Larry Brooks speculates Anaheim Ducks winger Rickard Rakell could be a good fit alongside Chris Kreider and Mika Zibanejad on the Rangers’ top line if the price is right. A first-round pick could be asking too much though Brooks believes Rangers GM Chris Drury is keeping an open mind about that. The better of the Rangers’ two second-rounders should be on the table but more would probably be needed to acquire Rakell.

Brooks also cites sources reporting the Rangers have Seattle Kraken defenseman Mark Giordano on their radar. However, the price for rental players is high this year. It’s unclear if the Rangers could get Giordano and Rakell without dipping into their pool of prime assets.

THE ATHLETIC: Arthur Staple also indicated the Rangers are kicking tires on the Winnipeg Jets’ Andrew Copp, the Columbus Blue Jackets’ Max Domi and the Arizona Coyotes’ Phil Kessel, though the latter two are low on their list. GM Chris Drury also called the Montreal Canadiens about Artturi Lehkonen but his improved play under coach Martin St. Louis could see him staying put. Drury could also see if a team is willing to take a flier on the Rangers struggling backup goalie Alexandar Georgiev.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Drury is sitting on nearly $32 million in trade deadline cap space and has plenty of tradeable assets to swing a deal for one or two of those aforementioned players I’ll be surprised if his recent acquisition of Frank Vatrano is his biggest deadline move.

WILL THE BLACKHAWKS MOVE KUBALIK AND DE HAAN?

CHICAGO SUN-TIMES: Ben Pope recently reported the Blackhawks were making progress on a trade involving winger Dominik Kubalik, whose production has significantly declined this season. The Edmonton Oilers and Anaheim Ducks appear the front-runners.

Pope also anticipates Blackhawks defenseman Calvin de Haan will be on the move by deadline day. Sources suggest the club could get the second- or third-round pick they’ve set as their asking price.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kubalik is a restricted free agent this summer with arbitration rights. His annual cap hit is $3.7 million but he’s earning $4 million in actual salary. I didn’t post this rumor earlier because it appeared a trade was imminent. So far, however, there’s no indication yet that the Blackhawks are any closer to moving Kubalik.

Meanwhile, de Haan is an experienced stay-at-home blueliner slated to become an unrestricted free agent in July. He should be an affordable acquisition for a playoff contender.

COULD THE CANADIENS MOVE LEHKONEN OR KULAK?

TSN: Darren Dreger yesterday reported there is “high interest” in Montreal Canadiens forward Artturi Lehkonen leading up to Monday’s trade deadline. He could continue to produce for the Habs for the next four-five seasons, which is being measured against his trade value.

MONTREAL GAZETTE: Stu Cowan recently reported Canadiens GM Kent Hughes isn’t looking to stage a fire sale leading up to deadline day. He indicated he’s not trying to move defenseman Brett Kulak, who became the subject of recent media trade chatter.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Hughes also said he wasn’t looking at trading Tyler Toffoli until he got a deal too good to pass up from the Calgary Flames. He could do the same with Lehkonen or Kulak but only if it meets his price. Hughes won’t trade them just for the sake of it.

Lehkonen is a restricted free agent this summer with arbitration rights. If he’s only willing to commit to a one-year deal to take him up to UFA status they should trade him for the best possible return.

LATEST ON THE WILD AND CAPITALS

TWINCITIES.COM: Dane Mizutani reports Minnesota Wild GM Bill Guerin recently indicated he’s not trying to trade his way out of his club’s roster problems but is instead trying to make the team better. Though it seems like the Wild were in the market for a star player a few weeks ago, that market seems to have dried up with Joe Pavelski re-signing with the Dallas Stars, Tomas Hertl staying with the San Jose Sharks, and Claude Giroux linked to the Florida Panthers.

THE ATHLETIC: Michael Russo recently reported the Montreal Canadiens, Winnipeg Jets and Arizona Coyotes are showing interest in Jack McBain. The prospect center has indicated he’s not going to sign with the Wild because he doesn’t see a center position opening for himself on their roster.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Guerin sending Nico Sturm to Colorado for Tyson Jost earlier this week indicates he’s willing to make a move to bolster his roster if the right deal can be found. I wouldn’t dismiss the possibility of him adding another player, perhaps one who’ll have more impact than Jost, by deadline day.

THE ATHLETIC: Tarik El-Bashir expects the Washington Capitals to get in on the action if Chicago Blackhawks goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury becomes available in the trade market provided the asking price is palatable. They’re also not interested in goalies who are in the “good-but-not-great” tier.

GM Brian MacLellan isn’t willing to part with his first-round pick or a top prospect for a rental player. Rumors have linked the Capitals to Blue Jackets forward Max Domi. MacLellan is working the phones and we shouldn’t rule anything in or out at this point. He’s in the market for a middle-six forward.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It would be a great story if Fleury joined the Capitals given his history playing against them during his years with the Pittsburgh Penguins. At this stage, however, it’s hard to say if Fleury’s going anywhere.










NHL Rumor Mill – March 10, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – March 10, 2022

Check out the latest on players such as Marc-Andre Fleury, Claude Giroux, Hampus Lindholm and Reilly Smith plus updates on the Canadiens and Penguins in today’s NHL rumor mill.

LATEST ON FLEURY, GIROUX, LINDHOLM AND REILLY SMITH

WASHINGTON HOCKEY NOW: Sammi Silber cites Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman saying he believes the Capitals remain interested in Marc-Andre Fleury. He doesn’t consider it impossible that they pursue the 37-year-old Chicago Blackhawks goaltender,

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Whether Fleury wants to go to Washington is another matter. Friedman also said yesterday they’re among four-or-five clubs really interested in the veteran netminder but he’s not convinced Fleury is mentally in the right spot to join the Capitals. That’s based on his many years playing with the Pittsburgh Penguins.

PHILLY HOCKEY NOW: Sam Carchidi recently mused over whether Flyers captain Claude Giroux might reunite with former Flyers head coach Peter Laviolette with the Capitals. Carchidi observed the Flyers have been scouting the Capitals and their AHL affiliate in Hershey, starting speculation linking Giroux to the Caps. He also suggested the Capitals could be scouting Flyers defensemen Justin Braun and Rasmus Ristolainen, forwards James van Riemsdyk and Derick Brassard or goalie Martin Jones.

Philadelphia Flyers captain Claude Giroux (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Given the Capitals’ limited cap space, they could’ve been checking out the more affordable options on the Flyers roster. Giroux’s been linked mostly with the Colorado Avalanche, Florida Panthers and St. Louis Blues.

SPORTSNET: Mike Johnston listed the Toronto Maple Leafs, St. Louis Blues, Florida Panthers and New York Rangers as possible trade destinations for Anaheim Ducks defenseman Hampus Lindholm.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Leafs, Blues and Panthers have a need for a top-four left-side defenseman. The Rangers’ focus seems to be more on adding a top-six right wing. The Ducks are reportedly attempting to sign the 28-year-old Lindholm to a contract extension but are expected to shop him if an agreement on a new deal isn’t reached by the March 21 trade deadline.

NEW YORK POST: Larry Brooks still believes Vegas Golden Knights winger Reilly Smith makes the most sense as a playoff rental option for the Rangers. The Golden Knights might still have to shop him before the trade deadline if there’s a chance winger Mark Stone and his $9.5 million cap hit come off long-term injury reserve before the end of the regular season.

UPDATES ON THE CANADIENS AND PENGUINS

MONTREAL GAZETTE: Stu Cowan reports Artturi Lehkonen could be drawing lots of interest in the trade market as his stock keeps rising. The 26-year-old Canadiens winger is a restricted free agent this summer. Habs general manager Kent Hughes said he’s not trying to trade Lehkonen but Cowan reminds us he said the same thing last month about Tyler Toffoli, who was eventually traded to the Calgary Flames.

MONTREAL HOCKEY NOW: Jimmy Murphy cites a trusted NHL source claiming the Canadiens are being scouted by the Carolina Hurricanes, prompting speculation they could be looking at a blueliner such as Jeff Petry or Ben Chiarot. Hurricanes GM Don Waddell recently noted he’s down a couple of defensemen due to injury, hinting that would be the area of his roster he might address if the deadline were today. He also cautioned a lot can happen between now and March 21.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Lehkonen is only a year away from unrestricted free agent eligibility. I think the Canadiens will trade him if he’s only interested in a one- or two-year deal.

The 34-year-old Petry’s age and $6.25 million annual cap hit over the next three seasons could be stumbling blocks in the path toward a trade. Chiarot is younger (30), carries a more affordable $3.5 million cap hit and is slated to become a UFA this summer.

If the Hurricanes are scouting those two I think Chiarot’s the more likely to move. They aren’t the only club interested in his services as the Blues have also been linked to him.

PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE: Mike DeFabo recently reported Brian Burke, the Penguins’ president of hockey operations, doesn’t expect his club to make a splash at this year’s trade deadline. “We’re capped out,” he said. “I can’t imagine we’re going to do some big or noisy at the deadline.”

Burke ruled out moving out a high-priced player such as Jason Zucker, Mike Matheson or Marcus Pettersson in a cost-cutting move, stressing the importance of those players to their lineup.

Matt Vensel, however, wondered what the future holds for Penguins winger Kasperi Kapanen after he was benched during Tuesday’s 4-3 loss to the Florida Panthers. He’s been struggling to score this season despite getting opportunities alongside Evgeni Malkin when the latter returned from injury.

Vensel suggests Kapanen could be the one to watch if the Penguins attempt a player-for-player deal at the deadline to add a middle-six forward. He carries a $3.2 million cap hit this season and is slated to become a restricted free agent this summer.

PITTSBURGH HOCKEY NOW: Dan Kingerski reports the Penguins broached the idea of acquiring winger Brock Boeser from the Vancouver Canucks. However, there haven’t been any serious discussions and none are expected before the trade deadline.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: A player-for-player swap is a possibility. However, I don’t think Kapanen will bring in a player who’ll help improve the Penguins’ middle-six depth. It could be a case of swapping him out for a guy struggling with another club and hoping for the best.

As for Boeser, Sportsnet’s Jeff Marek believes he’ll likely go to a team that can afford his $7.5 million qualifying offer. He suggested the Capitals (??) and Los Angeles Kings as possible suitors.










NHL Rumor Mill – February 28, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – February 28, 2022

Should the Leafs make a pitch for Marc-Andre Fleury? Which depth players could be the missing piece for Stanley Cup contenders? Could the Rangers add a Sabres defenseman by the trade deadline? Check out the latest in today’s NHL rumor mill.

COULD FLEURY RESOLVE LEAFS GOALIE WOES?

TORONTO SUN: Steve Simmons believes the Maple Leafs could be among several clubs (Edmonton, Boston, Washington, Colorado) lining up looking to acquire Marc-Andre Fleury from the Chicago Blackhawks. The 37-year-old goaltender wouldn’t mind getting traded to a contending team.

Chicago Blackhawks goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury (NHL Images)

Simmons expressed concern over Leafs starter Jack Campbell’s recent struggles between the pipes. He’s also dismissive of Petr Mrazek being ready to go if Campbell cannot regain his dominant first-half form, calling him a “bottom-half NHL goalie” who the Carolina Hurricanes let walk for nothing last summer.

Fleury carries an expensive $7 million cap hit this season. The Leafs placed defenseman Jake Muzzin on long-term injury reserve but they’d have to do some maneuvering to bring in the Blackhawks goalie. Nevertheless, Simmons doesn’t see any better alternatives.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Fleury would bring stability and plenty of playoff experience to the Leafs; crease. However, he has a 10-team no-trade clause and it’s possible the Leafs are on it.

If they’re not, it’ll take considerable salary-cap gymnastics by Leafs general manager Kyle Dubas to land Fleury. Dubas reportedly won’t hold Muzzin out of the lineup if he’s healthy enough to return to the Leafs’ lineup before the end of the season.

WHO COULD BE THE MISSING PIECE FOR STANLEY CUP CONTENDERS

DAILY FACEOFF: Frank Seravalli recently listed five depth players who could help a club win the Stanley Cup as Blake Coleman and Barclay Goodrow did for the Tampa Bay Lightning.

The Montreal Canadiens’ Artturi Lehkonen topped the list, followed by Chicago’s Brandon Hagel, Columbus’ Alexandre Texier, Arizona’s Lawson Crouse and San Jose’s Noah Gregor.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Canadiens don’t have to move Lehkonen by the March 21 trade deadline as he’s a restricted free agent this summer. However, he has arbitration rights and is a year away from becoming eligible for unrestricted free agent status. If he’s only seeking a one-year extension, the Canadiens could ship him out for the right offer by the deadline.

Hagel’s drawn lots of interest because of his age (23), two-way play and affordable $1.5 million annual cap hit over the next two seasons. It’s those factors, however, that could keep him with the Blackhawks, especially if they intend to rebuild after this season. I don’t doubt they’re getting offers for Hagel but it could take a significant one to tempt them into moving him.

Texier’s trade value could be hampered by a recent report indicating he’s still several weeks away from returning from an injured finger. Meanwhile, GOPHNX.com’s Craig Morgan has Crouse on his “no-trade list”, citing his size, two-way play, strong skating and he’s on career highs in almost every statistical category.

Gregor could be available though he hasn’t surfaced in many trade rumors regarding the Sharks. The 23-year-old winger is on a one-year, $750K contract and becomes a restricted free agent this summer.

COULD COLIN MILLER BECOME A RANGER?

NEW YORK POST: Larry Brooks suggested Colin Miller as a possible blueline depth acquisition for the Rangers. The 29-year-old played two seasons under Rangers coach Gerard Gallant with the Vegas Golden Knights.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Those were also Miller’s best NHL seasons. He lacks no-trade protection and carries a $3.875 million cap hit for this season.










NHL Rumor Mill – February 24, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – February 24, 2022

Check out the latest on Filip Forsberg, Johnny Gaudreau and Joe Pavelski plus updates on the Canadiens and Penguins in today’s NHL rumor mill.

LATEST ON FORSBERG, GAUDREAU AND PAVELSKI

BALLY SPORTS MIDWEST’s Andy Strickland tweeted yesterday the Nashville Predators “are actively shopping superstar Filip Forsberg.”

Nashville Predators winger Filip Forsberg (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I’m sure we’ll see other pundits and insiders later today weighing in on this. As of this morning, there’s no indication as to which teams the Predators are talking to regarding the 27-year-old winger, who’s slated to become an unrestricted free agent this summer.

Forsberg’s popped up at times this season in the rumor mill. With the Predators in a playoff spot, the assumption was they’d stick with him as an “own rental”. He leads them with 26 goals in 38 games and sits third in points with 44.

This seems to be an unusual move for a club in postseason contention. It would signal contract extension talks have completely broken down. Forsberg would draw considerable interest from postseason contenders seeking additional scoring punch and could fetch a significant return for the Predators.

CALGARY HOCKEY NOW: Steve Macfarlane cites Flames assistant general manager Craig Conroy yesterday telling Sportsnet 960 saying a contract extension for Johnny Gaudreau is “a done deal”. The 28-year-old left winger is a UFA this summer and leads the Flames with 64 points in 49 games.

That’s a done deal. We’re going to get that done. We’ll get that done,” said Conroy. He added he doesn’t know when that will happen, adding he has to talk with Gaudreau’s agent.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: As Macfarlane observed, Conroy’s remark was off-the-cuff and doesn’t appear to be confirmation that a deal has indeed been negotiated for Gaudreau. The winger and Flames GM Brad Treliving both said they wouldn’t discuss the contract talks with the media.

Prior to this season, Gaudreau frequently indicated his willingness to remain with the Flames. Doing so, however, will be expensive. His current annual average value is $6.75 million. On pace to exceed 100 points this season, he could command between $9 million and $10 million on a seven- or eight-year extension.

Cap Friendly indicates the Flames have $54.45 million invested in 12 players for next season. They must also re-sign Matthew Tkachuk, Andrew Mangiapane and Oliver Kylington. Tkachuk could also be in line for over $9 million annually. They’ll have to shed some salary in the offseason to accommodate those signings.

SPORTSNET: Appearing on The Jeff Marek Show (stick tap to NHL Watcher), Elliotte Friedman believes the Dallas Stars will attempt to sign Joe Pavelski to a contract extension. The 37-year-old forward is a UFA this summer.

Friedman said Pavelski is receptive to staying in Dallas. He plays alongside young forwards Jason Robertson and Roope Hintz, who are a key part of the Stars’ future.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Depending on Pavelski’s asking price and what the Stars do with John Klingberg, I can see him spending another two seasons in Dallas. He’s still an effective and productive player whose leadership is valued by the Stars.

LATEST ON THE CANADIENS, PENGUINS AND COYOTES

WASHINGTON HOCKEY NOW: Sammi Silber wondered if the Capitals could have Montreal Canadiens forward Artturi Lehkonen on their radar. She cited Daily Faceoff’s Frank Seravalli recently reporting the Capitals seek a “jack of all trades” forward to take pressure off young forwards such as Connor McMichael, suggesting the Canadiens forward as an option.

Silber also noted an RDS report last week claiming the Canadiens had an interest in Capitals goaltender Ilya Samsonov. Moving him, however, would leave the Caps seeking an experienced netminder who can play with consistency.

TSN: Chris Johnston (stick tap to NHL Watcher) reports Canadiens defenseman Ben Chiarot is someone the Toronto Maple Leafs have made at least some calls to Montreal.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Chiarot is expected to be the next player traded by the Canadiens because of his UFA status. With the Leafs allowed to exceed the salary cap by roughly the equivalent of Jake Muzzin’s $5.625 million cap hit when the blueliner was placed on LTIR, that gives them the wiggle room to acquire someone like the Habs blueliner.

Lehkonen is a restricted free agent with arbitration rights who’s also a year away from UFA eligibility. The Canadiens could ship him out before the March 21 trade deadline if the two sides fail to agree on a long-term extension.

PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE: Mike DeFabo examined the Penguins’ roster needs and the possible trade targets and assets they could move.

The Penguins could use a reliable backup goaltender. Possible rental goalies could include Vancouver’s Jaroslav Halak, Dallas’ Braden Holtby, Detroit’s Thomas Greiss and Columbus’ Joonas Korpisalo.

DeFabo also feels they could use a bigger, stronger body on defense, suggesting Philadelphia’s Justin Braun or Detroit’s Marc Staal as trade options. Given the Penguins’ limited trade assets and cap space, he doesn’t see them pursuing big-ticket blueliners like Dallas’ John Klingberg, Anaheim’s Hampus Lindholm or Seattle’s Mark Giordano. He also suggested the Ducks’ Rickard Rakell as a trade target to add a big-bodied scoring forward.

Trade assets could include wingers Kasperi Kapanen and Jason Zucker. Their production with the Penguins has been mixed. DeFabo suggested trying to move expensive left-handed defensemen Mike Matheson and Marcus Pettersson. They could also attempt to move Pierre-Oliver Joseph.

PITTSBURGH HOCKEY NOW: Dan Kingerski believes the Penguins could use some help among their middle-six forwards. His suggested trade targets include Columbus’ Max Domi, Philadelphia’s James van Riemsdyk, Vancouver’s Brock Boeser, Montreal’s Artturi Lehkonen and Seattle’s Jared McCann.

Of these, Kingerski believes former Penguin McCann to be the most likely candidate. If not for the Seattle expansion draft last summer, he’d still be in Pittsburgh.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Zucker’s on LTIR and even if he returns before the trade deadline I doubt he’ll draw much interest if he’s put on the trade block. His declining production makes him a tough sell.

Kapanen could be enticing but his inconsistency hurts his trade value. Joseph could be a worthwhile trade chip but they’ll probably have to package him with a decent draft pick to get a quality return.

The contracts of Matheson and Pettersson could be difficult to move this season. Those moves would probably have to be made in the offseason. Even then, they won’t be easy to move because of the length of those deals. Both earn over $4 million annually but Matheson has four years left on his deal while Pettersson has three.

Forget about seeing van Riemsdyk or Boeser suiting up for the Penguins. However, I think McCann, Lehkonen or Domi are doable, though the Blue Jackets would have to retain a healthy chunk of the remainder of Domi’s $5.3 million cap hit.

I also wouldn’t rule out the Penguins pursuing an affordable and experienced backup goalie. Landing former Capital Holtby would certainly be intriguing but I don’t think the Stars will part with him. Greiss or Korpisalo could be more likely options.