NHL Rumor Mill – March 30, 2021

NHL Rumor Mill – March 30, 2021

Will the Panthers seek a defenseman with Aaron Ekblad sidelined? Could the Blues have an interest in Sabres winger Taylor Hall? What’s the latest on the Avalanche, Lightning, Canadiens and Oilers? Find out in today’s NHL rumor mill. 

WILL THE PANTHERS SHOP FOR A DEFENSEMAN?

NHL.COM: Dan Rosen believes losing top defenseman Aaron Ekblad (fractured leg) for 12 weeks puts the emphasis on the Florida Panthers to acquire a blueliner before the April 12 trade deadline. Options could include the Buffalo Sabres’ Brandon Montour, Columbus Blue Jackets’ David Savard, New Jersey Devils’ Sami Vatanen and New York Rangers Tony DeAngelo.

Like Ekblad, they’re all right-shot rearguards. Montour, Savard and Vatanen are pending unrestricted free agents while DeAngelo is in the first season of a two-year contract with an annual average value of $4.8 million.

FLORIDA HOCKEY NOW: George Richards reports Panthers general manager Bill Zito was already scouting for a top-four defenseman before Ekblad was sidelined.

Could the Florida Panthers look to acquire Nashville Predators defenseman Mattias Ekholm? (NHL Images)

One option could be the Nashville Predators’ Mattias Ekholm but there’s no certainty he’ll be available with the Predators back in the playoff race in the Discover Central Division. Richards believes Savard would be a good fit if he’s available.

Other targets could include Montour, Vatanen, Sabres blueliner Rasmus Ristolainen, or the Arizona Coyotes’ Alex Goligoski.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: There’s no one in the trade market that can replace Ekblad’s role as the Panthers’ top defenseman. If Zito goes shopping it’ll be for a decent depth rearguard capable of playing top-four minutes.

Zito could consider blueliners with term on their contracts such as Ekholm, Ristolainen or DeAngelo but the asking prices for those players could be more expensive than it would be for the UFAs. The Predators asking price for Ekholm is said to be three assets including a first-round pick and a top prospect. I believe Zito will instead look to the rentals.

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

SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman reports Buffalo Sabres GM Kevyn Adams was believed discussing something with the St. Louis Blues. He wondered if it might involve Sabres winger Taylor Hall but said he received “pushback” on that notion. Friedman doubts the Sabres can get a first-round pick for Hall unless there’s a bidding war. He also wondered if Casey Mittelstadt could be moved.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I don’t doubt Hall is attracting interest in the trade market but his value has declined over the course of this season. Rival GMs will try to get him for a bargain if they can. Adams might have to accept a second-rounder and a prospect.

Friedman believes the Colorado Avalanche could have an interest in David Savard if the Blue Jackets become sellers. He also thinks the Tampa Bay Lightning could be a suitor if they can find a way to fit him under their cap.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It seems to me that the Avs should be looking for a reliable backup for starting goalie Philipp Grubauer. As for the Lightning, they don’t have any cap room and expect superstar winger Nikita Kucherov back in the lineup in time for the playoffs. I wouldn’t be surprised if GM Julien Brisebois managed to make an addition before the deadline but it would take considerable salary-cap gymnastics to pull it off.

Friedman doubts Montreal Canadiens GM Marc Bergevin is done dealing after acquiring Eric Staal from the Sabres last Friday. He thinks Bergevin may have had something going with Artturi Lehkonen to create some salary-cap space.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Canadiens need an experienced top-four, left-side defenseman. That should be Bergevin’s target if he can make the dollars fit. Lehkonen has come up in Habs trade chatter in recent weeks. He’s got a $2.4 million cap hit and becomes a restricted free agent this summer with arbitration rights. He could become expendable as the Habs look to promote younger players following this season.

Detroit Red Wings center Luke Glendening could be on the Edmonton Oilers’ radar. Acquiring him could be challenging if a rival club is willing to part with a higher draft pick.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Oilers GM Ken Holland wants to add to his roster before the deadline but he only has four picks in this year’s draft, with the highest being a fourth-rounder. I doubt he’s keen to part with his 2022 picks.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 12, 2019

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 12, 2019

Phil Kessel sparks a surge in Coyotes ticket sales, the latest contract signings, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines. 

ARIZONA REPUBLIC: The Coyotes’ recent acquisition of Phil Kessel sparked a 600 percent surge in tickets sales for the week following the trade compared to the same week a year ago. That included a 550 percent spike in season-ticket sale. 

After acquiring Phil Kessel, the Arizona Coyotes saw a spike in ticket sales (Photo via NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s been years since the Coyotes had an established sniper like Kessel. They’re hoping he’ll provide a much-needed scoring boost that propels them into the playoffs for the first time since 2012. If he does, the Coyotes can expect a healthier surge in season-ticket sales next summer. 

MONTREAL GAZETTE: The Canadiens yesterday avoided salary arbitration with forwards Joel Armia and Artturi Lehkonen, signing each to two-year contracts. Armia’s deal is worth $5.2 million ($2.6-million annual average value) while Lehkonen’s is worth $4.8 million ($2.4 million AAV). The Habs now have over $4.84 million in cap space. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Habs still have plenty of wiggle room if they want to bolster their left-side defense or bring in another scoring forward via trade. They could also make another depth signing via free agency. 

SPORTSDAY: The Dallas Stars re-signed center Jason Dickinson to a two-year, $3-million contract. 

NBC SPORTS: The San Jose Sharks re-signed centers Dylan Gambrell and Antti Suomela. Gambrell got a two-year deal and Suomela one year. Each have an annual average value of $700K. Gambrell’s deal is a two-way in the first year and one-way in the second. 

ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER: The Anaheim Ducks signed defenseman Michael Del Zotto to a one-year, $750K contract. 

VANCOUVER SUN: Alex Burrows will join the Canucks’ Ring of Honour on December 3. He spent 12 seasons in Vancouver. 

NBC SPORTS: Paul Holmgren is no longer the team president of the Philadelphia Flyers. He’s now a senior advisor to Comcast Spectacor chairman and CEO Dave Scott. General manager Chuck Fletcher takes over from Holmgren as president. 

EDMONTON JOURNAL: The Oilers hired Tyler Wright as their new director of amateur scouting. Wright held the same position with the Detroit Red Wings. Archie Henderson was also hired to be their new director of pro scouting. 










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 5, 2018

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 5, 2018

Game recaps, Filip Forsberg receives three-game suspension plus updates on Bobby Ryan, Zdeno Chara and more in your NHL morning coffee headlines.

Vegas Golden Knights goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury picked up his 390th career victory (Photo via NHL Images).

 NHL.COM: Third-period goals by Reilly Smith and Alex Tuch lifted the Vegas Golden Knights to a 4-3 victory over the Washington Capitals. Vegas goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury collected his 390th career victory, moving past Dominik Hasek into 13th overall on the NHL all-time wins lists. 

The Montreal Canadiens won consecutive games for the first time since mid-January by defeating the Ottawa Senators 4-1. Artturi Lehkonen scored twice while Tomas Plekanec picked up his 600th career NHL points. The Senators were playing without winger Bobby Ryan, who’s sidelined indefinitely with a hand injury. 

Brent Burns scored a goal and set up another as the San Jose Sharks downed the Carolina Hurricanes 3-1. 

THE TENNESSEAN: Nashville Predators forward Filip Forsberg received a three-game suspension for interference on New York Rangers forward Jimmy Vesey during Saturday’s game. Forsberg was not penalized on the play as Vesey suffered an upper-body injury.

NBC SPORTS BOSTON: Bruins captain Zdeno Chara played in his 1,400th NHL game during Boston’s 4-1 victory on Saturday over the Toronto Maple Leafs. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: By the sound of things, Chara will have an opportunity to add to that total with Boston after this season. It’s believed the 40-year-old blueliner, who’s due to become an unrestricted free agent in July, could re-sign with the Bruins. 

CHICAGO SUN-TIMES: As most of the Blackhawks’ veteran core withers this season, younger players such as Nick Schmaltz, Vinnie Hinostroza and Alex DeBrincat are carrying more of the load. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: With the Blackhawks sitting five points out of a wild-card spot in the Western Conference, there’s no season-saving deal coming at the trade deadline. Management should put its focus on building up with the young players already on the roster and adding more if possible during the offseason.