NHL Rumor Mill – July 27, 2018

NHL Rumor Mill – July 27, 2018

An update on Erik Karlsson plus the latest Canucks speculation in today’s NHL rumor mill.

While Erik Karlsson’s made progress improving his surgically repaired ankle, recent trade chatter about him has died down (Photo via NHL Images).


THE ATHLETIC: Chris Stevenson reports Ottawa Senators defenseman Erik Karlsson is pleased with the progress he’s made on his surgically-repaired left ankle which hampered his performance last season. He said he expects it will be much better for next season.

While Karlsson was willing to discuss the condition of his ankle, he didn’t want to talk about the trade rumors that swirled about him earlier this month. Stevenson noted talk of an imminent trade have grown quiet. He said Karlsson rejected an eight-year contract extension from the Senators that was competitive with the $88-million deal recently signed by Drew Doughty with the Los Angeles Kings, but the Sens offer didn’t come with signing bonuses like that of Toronto’s John Tavares.

Stevenson believes Sens GM Pierre Dorion doesn’t intend to lose Karlsson to free agency for nothing next summer. If the Senators don’t come up with a better offer, Stevenson believes Karlsson will be dealt before the 2019 trade deadline.

The Tampa Bay Lightning and Dallas Stars had talks with the Senators about Karlsson earlier this month and the Vegas Golden Knights attempted to acquire him at last February’s trade deadline. Stevenson believes it’s possible Karlsson could decide to play out the final year of his contract and test next summer’s UFA market, which could affect the type of return the Senators get.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: As I recently observed on Featurd.io, the high cost of acquiring and re-signing Karlsson (and others like him) likely accounts for why he hasn’t been moved yet. General managers could also be taking some time to re-evaluate after a recent hectic period that included the 2018 NHL Draft and the start of this year’s free-agent market. Some of them could also be focused on re-signing players who filed for salary arbitration.

A Karlsson trade could come at any time, but things might not pick up again until late-August or early-September as the start of training camp approaches. Interested parties could also be hoping Dorion lowers his asking price, of which the centerpiece could be a good young defenseman. It’s believed he asked for promising defense prospect Miro Heiskanen from the Stars and young blueliner Mikhail Sergachev from the Lightning.  If the Golden Knights are still in the mix, Shea Theodore might have to be part of the return.


TSN: Vancouver Canucks general manager Jim Benning will take over the role of president of hockey operations from Trevor Linden, who surprised the hockey world by announcing his departure on Wednesday. Benning said Canucks owner Francesco Aquilini told him he’s not looking to hire a replacement.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Prior to Benning’s remarks, Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman reported hearing Dean Lombardi was a “serious contender” to replace Linden. Lombardi is the former general manager of the San Jose Sharks and Los Angeles Kings. Either the Canucks fully intend to carry on with Benning in the president of hockey ops role or they’re trying to tamp down speculation while they consider their options. 

THE PROVINCE: Jason Botchford recently reports the Canucks’ attempts to help winger Loui Eriksson regain his scoring touch remains one of their most-challenging projects. In his first two seasons with the Canucks he’s managed a total of 21 goals. Botchford notes people consider Eriksson’s contract ($6 million annual cap hit through 2021-22) as untradeable, but he points out the winger received a $6-million signing bonus for this season, leaving his actual salary at $1 million.

In actual salary, Eriksson is due to be paid $14 million over the next four years, which could make his contract movable if the winger shows he’s bouncing back offensively. However, the cap hit remains $6 million annually. Botchford said the Montreal Canadiens are the only team that’s expressed interest in Eriksson thus far. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: While it’s possible Eriksson could be traded this season, it seems more like wishful thinking. In addition to that cap hit, Cap Friendly indicates he also has a full no-trade clause through 2019-20, after which he submits a 15-team no-trade list. Eriksson is also 33 and coming off two injury-shortened campaigns. It appears his best seasons are behind him. If the Canadiens had any interest in him, they may have moved on to younger and more affordable options. 


NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 26, 2018

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 26, 2018

Jarome Iginla to announce retirement, Trevor Linden leaves Canucks, an update on Henrik Zetterberg, the latest notable contract signings and more in your NHL morning coffee headlines.

CALGARY SUN: Former Flames captain Jarome Iginla will return to the Saddledome on July 30 to officially announced his retirement as an NHL player after 20 years. Iginla, 41, was an unrestricted free agent last season but couldn’t find any takers among the 31 NHL teams.

Iginla totaled “625 goals and 675 assists in 1,554 regular-season outings between 1996-2017”, with 525 goals and 1,095 points coming with the Flames, making him the franchise leader in both categories. He’s a former two-time winner of the Richard Trophy as the league’s leading goalscorer. He also won the Art Ross Trophy as the top scorer and the Pearson Award (now the Ted Lindsay Award) as the MVP as voted by the players.

Jarome Iginla is returning to Calgary to officially announced his NHL retirement.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Iginla was the greatest player in Flames history, no small feat considering their ranks over the years included Lanny McDonald, Al MacInnis, Mikka Kiprusoff, Joe Nieuwendyk, Theo Fleury and Mike Vernon. It’s only fitting that he retires in Calgary where he had his greatest seasons.

The Flames also re-signed center Mark Jankowski to a two-year deal worth an annual average value of $1.675-million, while an arbiter awarded Flames defenseman Brett Kulak a one-year, one-way contract worth $900K.

CTV NEWS: The Vancouver Canucks last night announced Trevor Linden was stepping down as their president of hockey operations. Linden said in a statement he wanted to spend more time with his family while the club called the decision an amicable one.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: There’s already speculation suggesting disagreements between Linden and others in the front office and ownership over the rebuilding club’s direction is the real reason behind his decision. 

Speaking of the Canucks, they re-signed forward Jake Virtanen to a two-year contract worth $1.25-million per season.

THE DETROIT NEWS: Player agent Gunnar Svensson, who represents Detroit Red Wings captain Henrik Zetterberg, told Swedish publication Hockeybladet his client remains undecided if he’ll return to action in 2018-19. 

“There have been some injury problems with his back. It is impossible to answer how it will be, for it one cannot know what it is now. He simply has not decided,” said Svensson. Wings GM Ken Holland has said he expects Zetterberg will report to training camp in September but he’s also uncertain about his status for the upcoming season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: We won’t know Zetterberg’s status for certain until training camp opens. He’ll have to pass the club medical before he can take to the ice with his teammates, which should provide the earliest indication as to whether he’ll be playing in 2018-19.

TWINCITIES.COM: The Minnesota Wild avoided salary arbitration with winger Jason Zucker as the two sides agreed to a five-year, $27.5-million contract with an annual average value of $5.5 million. “He will be paid $5 million in the 2018-19 season, $6.25 million in 2019-20, $4.8 million in 2020-21, $6.25 million in 2021-22 and $5.2 million in 2022-23.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Zucker was the subject of trade speculation following a disappointing playoff performance this spring but it’s obvious now that he’s not going anywhere. The 26-year-old reached career highs with 33 goals and 31 assists for 64 points last season. His re-signing leaves the Wild with around $1.7-million in projected salary-cap space (stick tap to Cap Friendly), suggesting new GM Paul Fenton is probably done making any significant additions to the roster. 

THE TENNESSEAN: Defenseman Dan Hamhuis is returning to the team where his NHL career began, inking a two-year contract with the Nashville Predators worth $2.5 million.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: A good, affordable veteran addition by the Predators. Hamhuis, 35, won’t be logging the big minutes he did earlier in his career but he’s still capable of skating 20 minutes per game if necessary. He’ll make a solid third-pairing addition who can move up if necessary should injuries strike the top-four blueliners. 

DALLAS MORNING NEWS: The Stars re-signed forward Mattias Janmark to a one-year, $2.3-million contract.

SUN-SENTINEL.COM: The Florida Panthers re-signed defenseman MacKenzie Weegar to a one-year deal. Cap Friendly indicates it’s a one-way agreement worth $900K

NEWSDAY: The New York Islanders named Piero Greco as their new goaltending coach, replacing Fred Brathwaite.

SPORTSNET: Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby will be honored as the top Nova Scotia athlete of all time at a gala dinner in Halifax on Thursday. 


NHL Rumor Mill – November 13, 2016

NHL Rumor Mill – November 13, 2016

Trade speculation dogs Calgary Flames defenseman Dougie Hamilton.

Trade speculation dogs Calgary Flames defenseman Dougie Hamilton.

Updates on Dougie Hamilton, Martin Hanzal and the Vancouver Canucks in your NHL rumor mill. 

SPORTSNET: Nick Kypreos reports Calgary Flames defenseman Dougie Hamilton continues to pop up in trade talk. While Kypreos isn’t suggesting the Flames are shopping Hamilton, he said there are teams in need of blueline help making inquiries. He claims Arizona and Pittsburgh are kicking the tires. However, Hamilton’s stock isn’t high right now. 

Elliotte Friedman believes the Arizona Coyotes are getting calls about pending unrestricted free agent center Martin Hanzal. He said the Coyotes aren’t interested in moving Hanzal unless they get a young player, preferably a center, who can help them right now. 

Friedman reports Vancouver Canucks president Trevor Linden denied speculation he might step down. Linden said he knew there was a chance the club could go through a tough time and understands the scrutiny and criticism, but he intends to remain in his current role. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Bit of a quiet weekend for trade rumors. Regarding Hamilton, he’s off to another slow start with the Flames. Coming off a career-best 43 point performance last season, he’s been held off the score sheet for the last seven games. He’s in the second season of a six-year, $34.5 million contract worth $5.75 million annually.

The Coyotes and Penguins are both pressed for cap space, so if they’re going to pursue a deal for Hamilton, it’ll have to be a dollar-for-dollar swap, or they’ll have to shed salary in another deal, to clear room for Hamilton. The Flames are also up against the cap ceiling so they can’t afford to retain salary in the deal.

 TSN’S Pierre LeBrun recently speculated on Hanzal’s status and also believes the Coyotes will want a young player who can step into their lineup right away if they put Hanzal on the block. If he is shopped, I believe that moves happens closer to the March 1 trade deadline, especially if the Coyotes are out of playoff contention by then.