NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 31, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 31, 2021

Recaps of a busy Saturday, injury updates and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM:Connor McDavid scored twice, including the winner in overtime, to lead the Edmonton Oilers to a 4-3 victory over the Toronto Maple Leafs. Leon Draisaitl and Tyson Barrie each collected two assists while John Tavares had two assists for the Leafs.

Edmonton Oilers captain Connor McDavid (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: McDavid’s end-to-end power-play goal in the second period is my candidate for goal of the year. I realize it’s very early in the season and lots of great goals are coming but it will be difficult for McDavid – or anyone else – to top that tally.

Jack Eichel tallied the only goal in a shootout as the Buffalo Sabres edged the New Jersey Devils 4-3. Sabres winger Taylor Hall collected two assists. Devils defenseman Ty Smith scored to move into a tie with Minnesota’s Kirill Kaprizov (seven points) for the rookie scoring lead.

Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby’s overtime goal lifted his club to a 5-4 win over the New York Rangers. Rookie defenseman Pierre-Olivier Joseph had three assists for the Penguins, who lost blueliner Kris Letang to a lower-body injury. Rangers center Colin Blackwell left the game in the first period with an upper-body injury.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: An update on Letang’s status could be coming later today. The Penguins already have four regular defensemen on the shelf with injuries.

The Philadelphia Flyers edged the New York Islanders 3-2 on an overtime goal by Scott Laughton. Carter Hart kicked out 26 shots for the win. It’s the Islanders’ fourth consecutive defeat.

Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin scored in overtime to nip the Boston Bruins 4-3. It was Ovechkin’s first game since being placed on COVID-19 protocol list a week ago. Capitals center Nicklas Backstrom had a goal and two assists. This was Zdeno Chara’s first game against the Bruins since signing with the Capitals. Bruins winger David Pastrnak collected an assist in his first game of the season following his recovery from offseason hip surgery.

The Carolina Hurricanes beat the Dallas Stars 4-1 to hand the latter their first loss of the season. Vincent Trochek scored twice for the Hurricanes, who chased Stars goalie Anton Khudobin after he gave up four goals on 16 shots. Hurricanes goalie Petr Mrazek left the game early in the first with an upper-body injury.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Khudobin didn’t get much help from his teammates in this contest. The defense was sloppy, giving up three power-play goals.

A four-goal second-period outburst carried the Tampa Bay Lightning over the Nashville Predators 4-3. Lightning rookie Callan Foote tallied his first NHL goal while Steven Stamkos scored the eventual game-winner. Filip Forsberg had two assists for the Predators.

Aleksander Barkov had a goal and an assist while Aleksi Heponiemi scored his first career NHL goal in overtime to lift the Florida Panthers over the Detroit Red Wings 3-2. The Panthers extended their season-opening points streak to five games (4-0-1).

The Calgary Flames blanked the Montreal Canadiens 2-0 to hand the latter their first regulation loss of the season. Jacob Markstrom kicked out 37 shots for the shutout while Johnny Gaudreau and Mikael Granlund were the goal scorers as the Flames halted their three-game losing skid. Canadiens winger Josh Anderson left the game following the first period with flu-like symptoms. He tested negative for COVID-19 but will be retested today.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Flames winger Dillon Dube got away with a blindside headshot on Canadiens center Jesperi Kotkaniemi. It’s unlikely he’ll receive supplemental discipline. Kotkaniemi was shaken up but returned to action.

Nathan MacKinnon, Mikko Rantanen, Brandon Saad, Andre Burakovsky, and Samuel Girard each collected two points as the Colorado Avalanche downed the Minnesota Wild 5-1, handing the latter their third loss in their last four games. Wild defenseman Matt Dumba left the game with a leg injury in the third period. Earlier in the day, the Wild revealed prospect Marco Rossi returned to Austria to rest due to complications from COVID-19. He’s expected to return to the Wild sometime in March.

The St. Louis Blues scored their fastest three game-opening goals (2:06) in franchise history on route to a 6-1 thrashing of the Anaheim Ducks. Jordan Kyrou scored two of those three goals. Ducks goalie John Gibson was pulled after giving up those three goals on just six shots.

Brock Boeser scored twice to lead the Vancouver Canucks over the Winnipeg Jets 4-1 for their fourth straight win. Canucks goalie Thatcher Demko made 23 saves for the win while Jets netminder Connor Hellebucyk turned aside 35 shots.










NHL Rumor Mill – January 30, 2021

NHL Rumor Mill – January 30, 2021

Check out the latest on the Penguins, Ducks and Coyotes in today’s NHL rumor mill.

LATEST PENGUINS SPECULATION

PITTSBURGH HOCKEY NOW: Dan Kingerski addresses some of the conspiracy theories surround Jim Rutherford’s decision earlier this week to step down as general manager of the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Pittsburgh Penguins center Evgeni Malkin (NHL Images).

Among them was speculation Rutherford was working on trading center Evgeni Malkin or defenseman Kris Letang but team co-owner Mario Lemieux blocked those moves. Kingerski dismissed that conjecture, pointing out the difficulty in keeping such a trade under wraps, especially involving Malkin, who would have to waive his no-movement clause to make it happen. He pointed out not a single legitimate reporter had a whiff that type of deal was being worked on.

The last time a team kicked the tires on Malkin, we knew it,” said Kingerski, referring to 2019 when the Florida Panthers made a pitch. The internal conclusions were that Malkin, Letang and team captain Sidney Crosby should retire as Penguins.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Many trades happen that catch most insiders by surprise. However, in today’s salary cap world where superstars like Malkin a measure of control over where they play because of their no-trade clauses, moving a player of his stature wasn’t something that could be kept quiet.

I agree with Kingerski that Rutherford’s decision to step down had nothing to do with any supposed blocked attempt to trade one of the Penguins’ stars. Rutherford even subsequently dismissed that notion.

Recalling the Malkin chatter during the summer of 2019, it sounded to me like two general managers spit-balling, a “Hey, what would you want in return for Malkin?” kind of discussion. Even then, it still leaked out and was duly noted in the press.

We might someday learn the real reason behind Rutherford’s departure. I doubt it’ll be because of a thwarted attempt to trade a Penguins star.

THE ATHLETIC: Rob Rossi reports the Penguins’ early shortlist of potential replacements for Rutherford includes New York Rangers assistant GM Chris Drury, Boston Bruins director of player personnel John Ferguson Jr, Los Angeles Kings adviser Ron Hextall, Colorado Avalanche assistant GM Chris MacFarland, and Montreal Canadiens assistant GM Scott Mellanby.

Rossi also reports signing Malkin to a new contract will be the next general manager’s top priority. The Penguins ownership wants Malkin, Crosby and Letang to retire as Penguins but also wants the new GM to prioritize retooling around those aging stars.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That shortlist provides a good indication of what the Penguins are looking for in their new general manager. Those candidates seem best suited to implement ownership’s plan of building around their veteran stars.

NO BIG MOVES COMING FOR THE DUCKS?

THE ATHLETIC: During a recent mailbag segment, Eric Stephens was asked if Anaheim Ducks GM Bob Murray would consider moving one or two core players like Rickard Rakell, Jakub Silfverberg, Adam Henrique, Cam Fowler, Josh Manson or Hampus Lindholm for future assets to fit in alongside promising youngsters like Trevor Zegras and Jamie Drysdale.

Stephens doubts Murray wants to move players of importance to his roster. He also notes the Ducks lack the salary-cap space to bring in free-agent help, while making cost-cutting deals for prospects and draft picks opens up more holes in the roster. They could be filled with younger players provided they’re ready to do so and be more productive than the players you’ve traded away.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Murray entered this season believing his club can compete for a playoff spot. He’s not ready to blow up his roster and start rebuilding but wants instead to improve what he’s currently got. That’s why he looked into acquiring Pierre-Luc Dubois and Patrik Laine before they were swapped for each other last Saturday by the Columbus Blue Jackets and Winnipeg Jets.

Maybe he reaches that point this summer if the Ducks fail to qualify for the postseason. For now, he’s going to stick with his core while transitioning younger players into the lineup.

COULD THE COYOTES PURSUE DUNN?

ARIZONA COYOTES INSIDER: During a recent mailbag segment, Craig Morgan was asked if the Coyotes would have any interest in St. Louis Blues defenseman Vince Dunn. Morgan acknowledged Coyotes general manager Bill Armstrong has a connection with Dunn from his days as Blues assistant GM.

The problem, however, is the Coyotes would have to move out another blueliner to make room. Dunn is also a left-hand shot and the Coyotes need more right-hand rearguards. There are also questions about Dunn’s commitment to training and his attitude.

Asked about possible moves this season by the Coyotes, Morgan believes they could involve players on expiring contracts who could be shopped at the trade deadline. They include Alex Goligoski, Jason Demers, Niklas Hjalmarsson and Antti Raanta.










NHL Rumor Mill – January 29, 2021

NHL Rumor Mill – January 29, 2021

Check out the latest on the Penguins and Canucks in today’s NHL rumor mill.

CHANGES COMING FOR THE PENGUINS?

TSN: Darren Dreger wonders what other changes could be in store for the Pittsburgh Penguins as they search for a new general manager after Jim Rutherford stepped down earlier this week.

Pittsburgh Penguins center Evgeni Malkin (NHL Images)

If the Penguins miss the playoffs or don’t do well in the postseason there could be potential for a seismic shift. Dreger feels the organization owes it to Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and Kris Letang to have a conversation over the direction of the club under new management. He wonders if they will want to chase a Stanley Cup elsewhere or retire as Penguins. “But, imagine if those names were in play at some point in the near future?”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Penguins’ attitude remains “win now” but that could change if things go sideways this season. Of the three, Malkin and Letang could face the more uncertain futures with the organization. Both are slated to become unrestricted free agents in 2022 while Crosby’s under contract until the end of 2024-25.

If there’s a change in direction after this season the new GM will have to discuss it with Crosby, Malkin and Letang to determine where those three fit into the club’s long-term plans. Crosby and Malkin have full no-movement clauses while Letang has an 18-team trade list.

They’re obviously not going anywhere during this season but this situation could be worth watching this summer.

Meanwhile, Pierre LeBrun reports 20 different candidates have reached out to the Penguins to indicate interest in their vacant GM position. They include Jason Botterill, Chris Drury, Ron Hextall, Mark Hunter, Tom Fitzgerald, Peter Chiarelli, Scott Mellanby, Mike Gillis, Laurence Gilman, John Ferguson Jr and Mike Futa. Interim GM Patrik Allvin will also be under consideration.

THE ATHLETIC: Sean Gentille also looked at some possible candidates to replace Rutherford. Among his suggestions are old friends of team owner Mario Lemieux such as agent Pat Brisson, NHL analyst Pierre McGuire and Montreal Canadiens GM Marc Bergevin.

Others could include Dean Lombardi, Colorado Avalanche assistant GM Chris MacFarland, NHL analyst Kevin Weekes, and Canadiens assistant GM Scott Mellanby.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Penguins won’t lack for suitable candidates. I don’t see Bergevin getting hired unless he quits the Canadiens or is fired by team owner Geoff Molson. The New Jersey Devils could be reluctant to part with current GM Tom Fitzgerald.

McGuire always comes up as a GM candidate but seems to get courtesy interviews before being passed over. He hasn’t been in a management position in over a quarter-century. Brisson seems happy in his role as one of the most powerful player agents in hockey.

CANUCKS IN THE MARKET FOR A DEFENSEMAN?

SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman reports he’s sure the Vancouver Canucks are looking around for help on their blueline but there are no guarantees they’re getting it. He indicated defensemen such as the Montreal Canadiens’ Victor Mete, the Toronto Maple Leafs’ Travis Dermott and the St. Louis Blues’ Vince Dunn could be available.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Canucks stumbled out of the gate in part because of their porous defense but recently swept their three-game series with the struggling Ottawa Senators. That could buy management a bit of breathing room while they evaluate their defensive game.

We don’t know what the Canadiens’ asking price for Mete could be. The Leafs are said to be looking for some depth at forward while the Blues’ asking price for Dunn is reportedly a first-round pick or as high a draft pick as they can get for him.










NHL Rumor Mill – January 7, 2021

NHL Rumor Mill – January 7, 2021

Recent speculation on the Penguins, Avalanche and Rangers in today’s NHL rumor mill.

THE ATHLETIC: Josh Yohe recently reported Pittsburgh Penguins general manager Jim Rutherford believes spending money in free agency will be pivotal to keeping his club competitive two years from now.

Pittsburgh Penguins center Evgeni Malkin (NHL Images).

Yohe believes the summer of 2022 could be crucial for the Penguins, as Evgeni Malkin and Kris Letang will become eligible for unrestricted free agency. Malkin will be 36 by then, Letang 35. Rutherford feels it will be key to plug in one or two impact players in their mid-20s into the roster.

For now, Rutherford isn’t expected to make any immediate deals. He wants to evaluate the current roster to see what they have to offer.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’ll be interesting to see if the Penguins move on from aging core players like Malkin and Letang next year or retain them on more affordable, short-term contracts. If Rutherford’s intent is to make a big splash or two in the 2022 free-agent market for younger impact players, there might not be enough cap space to retain those veteran stars.

COLORADO HOCKEY NOW: Adrian Dater recently reported Bowen Byram’s solid performance for Canada during the 2021 World Junior Championship have the Colorado Avalanche considering a trade to free up a roster spot for the young defenseman.

Dater doubts this move would happen before February. Nevertheless, he considers Ian Cole a likely trade candidate. The veteran blueliner is eligible for UFA status this summer with a salary cap hit of $4.25 million for this season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Byram has considerable potential and could crack the Avs’ lineup soon. However, there’s no need to rush him. They can take their time and see how things unfold.

Cole lacks no-trade protection but moving him won’t be easy. It could involve packaging him with a sweetener to a team with sufficient cap space to take on his contract.

NEW YORK POST: Larry Brooks reports the Rangers have checked in with free agent Brian Boyle. They need help in the faceoff circle plus there are questions about a vacuum of veteran leadership as well as the makeup and role of the fourth line.

Brooks feels the former Ranger could address those issues but the club informed Boyle they’re taking a wait-and-see approach with their young players. Meanwhile, several other clubs have also reached out to the veteran center.










NHL Rumor Mill – September 25, 2020

NHL Rumor Mill – September 25, 2020

A look at TSN’s updated trade-bait board in today’s NHL rumor mill.

TSN: Pittsburgh Penguins goaltender Matt Murray remains on top of Frank Seravalli’s trade-bait board, followed by Minnesota Wild defenseman Matt Dumba, Columbus Blue Jackets winger Josh Anderson, Arizona Coyotes blueliner Oliver Ekman-Larsson and Winnipeg Jets left wing Patrik Laine.

Winnipeg Jets winger Patrik Laine (NHL Images).

Seravalli reports the Penguins are looking at an internal salary cap of $75 million. GM Jim Rutherford is looking to free up cap space to “dip a toe” into the free-agent market.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Cap Friendly indicates the Penguins have $75.3 million invested in 20 players following yesterday’s trade of Patric Hornqvist to Florida for Mike Matheson and Colton Sceviour. If they trade Murray it could be for draft picks or prospects. They also have eight blueliners under NHL contracts. One of them could be moved in a cost-cutting deal.

Penguins defenseman Kris Letang is No. 10 on Seravalli’s list, but everything I’ve read and heard out of Pittsburgh suggests he’s staying put. He’s got an 18-team trade list but also carries a no-movement clause, meaning he’d have to be protected in next year’s expansion draft. That could be a sticking point if the Penguins shop him.

Regarding Dumba, Seravalli’s colleague Darren Dreger believes the Wild could set a high asking price. GM Bill Guerin would love to land a first- or second-line center but could be willing to accept a “softer deal” of a high first-round pick and a good young NHL roster player. He points out they can hold onto Dumba until their price is met.

Seravalli suggested the Blue Jackets could also attempt to move out Alex Wennberg or Markus Nutivaara to clear space to re-sign Anderson and Pierre-Luc Dubois. The latter, of course, is the priority. The Jackets could shop Anderson if contract talks stall.

Ekman-Larsson is among several Coyotes (Phil Kessel at No 6 and Darcy Kuemper at No. 12) on Seravalli’s list who could become cost-cutting candidates, along with Derek Stepan, Michael Grabner and Niklas Hjalmarsson. Ekman-Larsson, however, has a full no-movement clause and controls his fate. Arizona Coyotes insider Craig Morgan recently reported Hjalmarsson currently doesn’t intend to waive his NMC.

Laine’s appearance on the trade-bait list prompted criticism suggesting TSN put him there as clickbait. Seravalli’s colleagues Dreger and Pierre LeBrun dispute this, with Dreger claiming Jets GM Kevin Cheveldayoff is listening on Laine. However, he indicated there hasn’t been a lot of action, perhaps in part over economics going forward or the cost of re-signing him before he becomes arbitration-eligible next summer.

LeBrun believes the Columbus Blue Jackets has some interest in Laine while the Carolina Hurricanes had a brief conversation with the Jets that didn’t go far. The Montreal Canadiens could use a scorer like Laine but LeBrun said they currently don’t intend to get into the Laine sweepstakes.

New Jersey Devils winger Kyle Palmieri, the Ottawa Senators two first-round picks, and Vegas Golden Knights goalie Marc-Andre Fleury are also among the top-10.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Seravalli has Palmieri on that list because he’s a year away from UFA eligibility. So far, there’s no indication of what the Devils intend to do with him.

Senators GM Pierre Dorion could listen to offers on those picks. If he moves a first-rounder it’ll likely be the one he got from the Islanders (28th overall) in the Jean-Gabriel Pageau trade. Fleury’s a goner if the Golden Knights re-sign Robin Lehner.

Wild winger Ryan Donato, New York Islanders defenseman Johnny Boychuk, St. Louis Blues rearguard Alex Pietrangelo and New York Rangers Tony DeAngelo and Ryan Strome also make the cut between spots 11 and 16.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Donato ($1.9 million for one season) would be a cost-cutting candidate. So would Boychuk for the cap-strapped Isles, who has an eight-team trade list as well as an annual average value of $6 million.

LeBrun believes a club could be interested in acquiring Pietrangelo’s rights because re-signing him for eight years would give them a favorable annual average value. DeAngelo and Strome are both RFAs with arbitration rights. One of them could be traded if the Rangers can’t find a way to shed Henrik Lundqvist’s $8.5 million cap hit for next season.

Hurricanes defenseman Brady Skjei, Tampa Bay Lightning forwards Tyler Johnson and Alex Killorn, and Canadiens center Max Domi fill spots 17 through 20.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Hurricanes acquired Skjei at the trade deadline and recently shipped out Joel Edmundson. They could use a scorer or an experienced starting goalie, but I suspect they’d find other options than moving Skjei.

The Lightning must free up cap room to re-sign Anthony Cirelli and Mikhail Sergachev. With Johnson carrying a full no-trade clause, Killorn and his 16-team no-trade list seem the most likely to go.

Domi is an RFA with arbitration rights who spent time on the fourth line during the playoffs. He could be moved for a scoring winger if the Habs are comfortable with young centers Nick Suzuki and Jesperi Kotkaniemi.

Toronto Maple Leafs forward Andreas Johnsson, Canadiens center Phillip Danault, Leafs goalie Frederik Andersen, Buffalo Sabres defenseman Brandon Montour and Edmonton Oilers blueliner Adam Larsson are in spots 21 through 25.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Leafs could move Johnsson in a package deal for a defenseman or in a cost-cutting move to clear cap room to sign a blueliner in free agency. The rise of Suzuki and Kotkaniemi has some pundits wondering about Danault’s future, but I don’t believe the Habs intend to move him. He’s a UFA next summer but it’s best to keep him around in case Suzuki or Kotkaniemi struggle next season.

Montour is an RFA with arbitration rights and he could be moved for a forward. There was talk of the Oilers shopping Larsson for a top-six right winger but that’s died down of late.

Philadephia Flyers defenseman Shayne Gostisbehere, St. Louis Blues center Tyler Bozak and Hurricanes blueliner Dougie Hamilton round out the list. Patric Hornqvist and Mike Matheson are also there but this listing was published before they were traded for each other yesterday.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Gostisbehere’s struggles this season made him a frequent subject of trade chatter. Bozak could be shopped if the Blues re-sign Pietrangelo. Hamilton is a UFA next summer but the Hurricanes could be reluctant to part with him.

In other trade-rumor nuggets, Seravalli believes it’s a poorly-kept secret the Vegas Golden Knights could pursue Pietrangelo via free agency but he wonders how they can afford him.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: They can’t unless they forget about re-signing Robin Lehner or find a way to shed a lot of salary. They have $76.5 million tied up in 18 players. Even moving Fleury’s $7-million AAV won’t leave enough for Pietrangelo and Lehner, who could cost a combined $15 million to sign.

Seravalli also reports many are wondering if Boston Bruins GM Don Sweeney is quietly checking the trade value of goaltender Tuukka Rask, who has a year remaining on his contract at $7 million AAV.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Sweeney must find a suitable replacement for Rask if he’s going down that road, especially if he still feels the Bruins championship window remains open. Rask has a 15-team trade list.










NHL Rumor Mill – September 22, 2020

NHL Rumor Mill – September 22, 2020

The latest on the Penguins, Coyotes, and Predators in today’s NHL rumor mill.

PENGUINS

THE ATHLETIC (subscription required): Josh Yohe believes Pittsburgh Penguins general manager Jim Rutherford is going to make significant moves in the coming weeks, though the pressure from team executives may have relented a bit since their qualifying-round elimination over a month ago.

Pittsburgh Penguins goaltender Matt Murray (NHL Images).

It’s only a matter of time until goaltender Matt Murray is moved. They’d love to get a first-round pick in return but so far there are no takers. Given their cap issues, they could be fine with a return of draft picks and prospects for Murray. Yohe also expects another salaried player could be moved.

Yohe would be surprised if defenseman Kris Letang is traded. He doesn’t rule out recently re-signed Jared McCann getting traded but feels they’d like to keep him as a third-line center. He also said adding a right-hand defenseman is high on the Penguins’ wish list.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Yohe recently suggested Vancouver’s Chris Tanev, Tampa Bay’s Kevin Shattenkirk, Ottawa’s Ron Hainsey and Philadelphia’s Justin Braun as possible right-shot free-agent defense targets for the Penguins. Depending on how much cap space Rutherford frees up, Hainsey or Braun would be his most affordable options.

The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review’s Mark Madden wouldn’t be surprised if McCann gets traded. He points out the center’s new two-year contract ($2.94 million AAV) could make him easier to move.

COYOTES

TSN: Travis Yost believes teams interested in acquiring Oliver Ekman-Larsson should be aware of the decline in his production since 2015-16. While he feels the Arizona Coyotes captain is still a good player who could be very good in the right situation, the 29-year-old defenseman is on the wrong side of the aging curve carrying a big contract ($8.25 million AAV) through 2026-27.

AZCOYOTESINSIDER.COM: Craig Morgan cites league sources say Arizona Coyotes blueliner Niklas Hjalmarsson will not waive his no-movement clause for the final year of his contract. He wants to spend the season in Arizona for family reasons that likely center around his two sons. Morgan doubts the Coyotes will buy him out because the savings would be nominal and he’s already received half of his $4 million in actual salary in signing bonus money.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Ekman-Larsson trade chatter emerged weeks before their recent hiring of Bill Armstrong as their new general manager. He could prefer hanging onto Ekman-Larsson in hopes his performance improves as the roster does. If ownership insists on dumping salary, Armstrong could see what the trade market is like for his captain. The decline in his stats plus his hefty contract (with a full no-movement clause) could dampen his trade value.

PREDATORS

THE ATHLETIC (subscription required): Adam Vingan recently listed Winnipeg Jets defenseman Dylan DeMelo, New York Rangers winger Jesper Fast, Tampa Bay Lightning winger Pat Maroon and defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk as bargain free-agent options for the Nashville Predators. He also suggested they could re-sign winger Craig Smith.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Cap Friendly indicates the Predators have $73.3 million invested in 18 players for 2020-21. Unless GM David Poile sheds some salary, they won’t be major players in the UFA market. The best they’ll get is bargain signings like those suggested by Vingan. I wouldn’t be surprised if they bring back Smith.