NHL Rumor Mill – October 20, 2021

NHL Rumor Mill – October 20, 2021

Check out the latest on Evander Kane, Travis Hamonic, Claude Giroux, Ryan Getzlaf and more in today’s NHL rumor mill.

NO CONTRACT TERMINATION FOR EVANDER KANE

TSN: Chris Johnston reports the San Jose Sharks cannot terminate Evander Kane’s contract due to his 21-game suspension for using a fake COVID-19 vaccination card. He cites two sources as saying the collective bargaining agreement (CBA) doesn’t allow them to do so.

SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman reports he doesn’t believe the league sought to terminate the contract and the NHL Players Association would have fought it.

San Jose Sharks winger Evander Kane (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Johnston and Friedman wondered what happens with Kane once his suspension ends in late November. They agree that a trade is pretty much unlikely right now.

Will he be welcomed back by his teammates or has his behavior since last season irreparable damaged their relationship? If so, will management bury him in the minors or tell him to just stay home? That’s something they’ll have to sort out with Kane once he serves his suspension.

UPDATE ON TRAVIS HAMONIC

TSN: Pierre LeBrun noted the void Travis Hamonic’s absence leaves on the Vancouver Canucks blueline. The 31-year-old defenseman is currently on what the club is calling a temporary leave of absence for personal reasons. They currently intend to stick with the rearguards they have while remaining hopeful Hamonic will return at some point this season.

SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman believes the Canucks placed Hamonic on a leave of absence because a suspension is a road no one is willing to travel. He cites sources saying there’s more to this situation than meets the eye, which is why the club is remaining patient

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That could change, however, if there’s no change in Hamonic’s status and his absence becomes an ongoing issue on the ice.

RUMORS FROM FRIEDMAN’S LATEST “32 THOUGHTS”.

Elliotte Friedman cites Al Morganti stirring things up last week by suggesting Philadelphia Flyers captain Claude Giroux would be happy to play for the Ottawa Senators. There were rumors about the two clubs talking this summer but Friedman looked into it and got multiple denials.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Asked about the possibility of Giroux moving this season, Morganti said the only place he could see him willingly go to was Ottawa, where he resides in the offseason. He was only referring to a hypothetical situation where the Flyers shop Giroux if they’re unable to re-sign him before the March 21 trade deadline. As I noted yesterday, that will depend on whether the Flyers are sellers by that point, if Giroux is willing to waive his full no-movement clause to facilitate a trade, and if the Senators are in a position to acquire a big-name player as a playoff rental.

Keep an eye on the Anaheim Ducks over the course of this season. Ryan Getzlaf, Hampus Lindholm, Josh Manson and Rickard Rakell are all unrestricted free agents at season’s end. Friedman doesn’t get the sense contract extensions are close in any case.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Getzlaf has a full no-movement clause in his one-year contract. However, he said last season he’d accept a trade if the return would help the Ducks. The others lack his full no-trade protection.

New York Rangers coach Gerard Gallant personally called winger Vitali Kravtsov hoping to convince him to return. The young winger is back in Russia but several teams say they’ve been told he wants to play somewhere in the NHL where he’ll get a fresh start. He indicated the Rangers seek a high price for the 2018 first-rounder but there’s definite interest.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Friedman didn’t elaborate as to what that high price might be. TSN’s Chris Johnston last week speculated it could be a return comparable to what the Rangers got from the Los Angeles Kings (second-round pick) in the Lias Andersson trade. Andersson was another first-round pick who didn’t pan out for the Blueshirts.

The Ottawa Senators will ask real value for Erik Brannstrom from teams calling about him. The 21-year-old defenseman still hasn’t landed a full-time roster spot but the Senators recognize his talent.

Friedman also touched on the Buffalo Sabres’ unwillingness to retain salary in a Jack Eichel trade and how much Dallas Stars defenseman John Klingberg is seeking on his next contract.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Friedman spoke about those during Saturday’s Hockey Night in Canada telecast and were duly noted in last Sunday’s NHL Rumor Roundup.










NHL Rumor Mill – October 15, 2021

NHL Rumor Mill – October 15, 2021

The latest on Jack Eichel, the Islanders could be in the market for a defenseman this season, the Blackhawks could try to shed salary and an update on Vitali Kravtsov in today’s NHL rumor mill.

ESPN: Emily Kaplan last night reported there was “serious optimism” last Thursday that a Jack Eichel trade was imminent but things fell quiet. She said there are five teams still interested in the Buffalo Sabres center that can fit his $10 million annual average value within their salary-cap payrolls.

Buffalo Sabres center Jack Eichel (NHL Images).

Maybe that means moving some contracts or whatever,” said Kaplan. She also said those teams have agreed to allow Eichel to have the disc replacement surgery he seeks.

The preferred option is he’s traded, gets the procedure done and returns to action in three-to-four months. The other, which nobody wants, is he files a grievance but he might not have a case because of the CBA.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: No indication from Kaplan as to who those five clubs might be. As per Cap Friendly, teams with lots of cap space and sufficient assets in prospects and promising young talent to acquire Eichel could include the Anaheim Ducks, Columbus Blue Jackets and Ottawa Senators. The Arizona Coyotes could also be a fit if they shed a bit of salary. Those clubs could use an established first-line center but that doesn’t mean they’re all in the hunt for Eichel.

TSN:  Pierre LeBrun believes the Ducks could be one of the destinations for Eichel, as they could make do with his absence from the lineup during his recovery. He also thinks the St. Louis Blues could be lurking though they want to be a contender this year.

The Calgary Flames did their due diligence on Eichel this summer. LeBrun also suggested the San Jose Sharks as he wondered what could happen with winger Evander Kane. If Kane ends up coming off their books they would suddenly have $7 million in cap space.

LeBrun points out pulling off an Eichel trade remains tricky based on the conditions that would be tied to his health following his surgery. His long recovery would also be another complicating factor.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: With over $12.9 million in cap space, the Ducks are best-suited of the clubs mentioned by LeBrun to absorb his full contract. They also have depth in promising young players and prospects to draw upon for trade bait though I doubt they’ll want to part with Trevor Zegras, Jamie Drysdale and Mason McTavish.

The Blues are already in LTIR country and aren’t a fit unless they can move Vladimir Tarasenko and his $7.5 million cap hit. The Flames are pressed against the $81.5 million cap so it’ll have to be dollar-in, dollar-out to pull that off. That might mean moving Johnny Gaudreau, Sean Monahan or Matthew Tkachuk to the Sabres or another club in a separate deal to make the dollars fit.

If Kane ends up suspended by the league as a result of one or both investigations he’s currently under it might be grounds for the Sharks to terminate his contract. I don’t see how they can trade him given his off-ice issues. Otherwise, they’re also not a fit for Eichel.

THE ATHLETIC: Earlier this week, Arthur Staple speculated the New York Islanders’ decision not to sign Erik Gustafsson suggests general manager Lou Lamoriello could prefer waiting until later in the season to invest assets in acquiring a defenseman. He believed Lamoriello looked into the status of Anaheim Ducks blueliner Hampus Lindholm, who’s an unrestricted free agent next summer. He might’ve also inquired about Nashville Predators rearguard Mattias Ekholm.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Staple published this before Ekholm signed his contract extension with the Predators, taking him out of this season’s trade market. He also noted the Isles have their first-round pick in next year’s draft and not much else to offer up as trade bait. However, he felt Lamoriello’s “willing to throw in for help” while the Isles might be best positioned to win the Stanley Cup this season.

DAILY FACEOFF’s Frank Seravalli took to Twitter yesterday reporting the Chicago Blackhawks are trying to move Andrew Shaw’s contract. He’s on permanent LTIR with an annual average value of $3.9 million.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: PuckPedia explained trading Shaw’s contract would allow the Blackhawks to become salary-cap compliant once sidelined Caleb Jones returns to action. It would also allow them to accrue cap space later in the season plus save some cash.

 










Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – October 3, 2021

Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – October 3, 2021

Which notable players in next summer’s UFA class could get shopped at the March trade deadline? Find out in the Sunday NHL rumor roundup.

THE ATHLETIC: Eric Duhatschek recently looked at which notable players among the 2022 unrestricted free agents could become trade candidates later this season.

Those UFAs include the Florida Panthers’ Aleksander Barkov, Toronto Maple Leafs’ Morgan Rielly, Boston Bruins’ Patrice Bergeron, Calgary Flames’ Johnny Gaudreau, Nashville Predators’ Filip Forsberg and Mattias Ekholm, New York Rangers’ Mika Zibanejad and the Pittsburgh Penguins’ Evgeni Malkin and Kris Letang.

San Jose Sharks forward Tomas Hertl (NHL Images).

Duhatschek pointed out those players belong to clubs that see themselves as playoff or even Stanley Cup contenders this season. He believes they’ll be retained as “own rentals” by their current teams.

The prime trade candidates will likely come from clubs that could be out of playoff contention with five weeks remaining in the regular season. Those could comprise the Buffalo Sabres, Arizona Coyotes, Detroit Red Wings, Anaheim Ducks and San Jose Sharks. Trade bait could include Sharks center Tomas Hertl, Ducks winger Rickard Rakell, and perhaps Seattle Kraken defenseman Mark Giordano.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Duhatschek suggested Phil Kessel could fetch something of value for the Coyotes. Ducks defensemen Hampus Lindholm and Josh Manson and Red Wings blueliner Nick Leddy could draw interest from clubs seeking blueline depth.

Keep an eye on the Flames’ Gaudreau and the Predators’ Forsberg. Those clubs aren’t a sure thing to reach the 2022 playoffs. Trade speculation has dogged Gaudreau for the past two years. Ekholm seems more likely to be re-signed by the Predators than Forsberg, who could get around $8 million annually on the open market.

THE TENNESSEAN: Gentry Estes believes Filip Forsberg’s contract negotiations could determine the Nashville Predators’ true intentions. Trading him for draft picks and prospects will signal the rebuild is on rather than a soft reset, marking the end of an era for the club.

Estes believes Forsberg will be traded unless this year’s team turns out to be better on the ice than anyone expects. Re-signing him will cost considerably more than his current $6 million annual average value. It isn’t something a rebuilding club would do.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Estes also noted Forsberg’s seemingly indifferent comments about his contract talks, which suggest a lack of progression. If this persists, Forsberg will be a goner by the March 21 trade deadline if the Predators are out of the playoff race.










NHL Rumor Mill – August 26, 2021

NHL Rumor Mill – August 26, 2021

Could the Ducks end up moving players like John Gibson and Josh Manson this season? Could the Senators seek another center? Find out in today’s NHL rumor mill.

THE ATHLETIC: In his latest mailbag segment, Eric Stephens was asked about the speculation linking the Anaheim Ducks to Buffalo Sabres center Jack Eichel. He believes Ducks general manager Bob Murray had some level of talks with the Sabres but doubts he would part with Trevor Zegras or Jamie Drysdale as part of the return. The Sabres asking price of four top assets for an injured player is another obstacle. Waiting could drive that price down.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Eichel’s ongoing issues with the Sabres over treatment for a herniated disc in his neck and his hefty contract are also significant sticking points in any trade discussions. Murray would be wise not to part with Zegras or Drysdale if he’s planning to rebuild.

Anaheim Ducks goaltender John Gibson (NHL Images).

Stephens believes Ducks goaltender John Gibson has been frustrated by the club’s lack of progress over the past three seasons. It’s impossible to know, however, if Gibson will request a trade.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Gibson would draw plenty of interest in the trade market if he did ask to be moved or if Murray decided to shop him for a return of young assets. The 28-year-old’s contract could be a stumbling block. His annual average salary is $6.4 million through 2026-27 and he now has a 10-team no-trade list.

Stephens believes the Ducks have fielded offers for Rickard Rakell, Hampus Lindholm, Josh Manson, Kevin Shattenkirk and Adam Henrique or attempted to move some of them. A deal that would’ve sent Manson to the Winnipeg Jets was reportedly scuttled by Manson, who has a 12-team no-trade list. It’s believed teams were offering a first-round pick or a top prospect for Manson or Rakell, but the Ducks want both pieces.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Keep an eye on Manson, Lindholm and Rakell this season. They’re slated to become unrestricted free agents next summer. The trio could draw plenty of attention as the trade deadline approaches. Manson is the only one of the three with no-trade protection.

NHL.COM: Mike Zeisberger believes the Ottawa Senators still need some veteran depth at center for the coming season. The departures of Artem Anisimov and Derek Stepan leave the club thin at center. Promising Shane Pinto could help but he’d be another young center on the roster.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Ottawa Sun’s Bruce Garrioch recently reported the Senators are believed to be in the market for a top-six winger or another center in order to move another forward to the wing. He mentioned New York Rangers center Ryan Strome and Chicago Blackhawks forward Dylan Strome as possible trade targets but dismissed internet rumors linking the Sens to San Jose’s Tomas Hertl.










NHL Rumor Mill – August 25, 2021

NHL Rumor Mill – August 25, 2021

The latest on Vladimir Tarasenko plus recent speculation on possible Oilers trade targets in today’s NHL rumor mill.

NHL.COM: Amalie Benjamin reports the St. Louis Blues still need to find a trade partner for Vladimir Tarasenko. The 29-year-old winger requested a trade through his agent on May 25 but the Blues have yet to find a suitable destination.

St. Louis Blues winger Vladimir Tarasenko (NHL Images).

Benjamin speculates that could result in Tarasenko playing this season with the Blues. The optimal solution would be finding a new home for the unhappy winger. He has two years remaining on his contract and has had three surgeries on his right shoulder since the end of 2017-18.

STLTODAY.COM: Benjamin Hochman also reported on the ongoing uncertainty over Tarasenko’s status. The Blues have $3.5 million in cap space but they still must re-sign restricted free agent Robert Thomas.

Trading Tarasenko would provide additional cap flexibility but finding teams willing to take on that burden won’t be easy. His shoulder surgeries also raise questions about his performance that could adversely affect his trade value.

Hochman suggests Tarasenko could start this season with the Blues to prove his worth. More clubs could become interested if he’s healthy and can still score.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: As Hochman pointed out, Tarasenko isn’t happy over how the club handled his first two surgeries. The Blues could attempt to move him before training camp but a deal could be tough to find unless they’re willing to absorb part of his $7.5 million annual average value or include additional enticement in the deal.

It could come down to Tarasenko starting the season with the Blues and hope a strong start improves his value in the trade market. Still, finding a club with sufficient cap space to take on his contract won’t be easy early in the season.

THE ATHLETIC: Allan Mitchell recently examined the Edmonton Oilers’ remaining roster needs and possible trade targets to address them. Goaltending depth and a shutdown defenseman are the priorities.

The Dallas Stars could move Anton Khudobin to clear up their logjam in the crease. Jaroslav Halak could be another option if the Vancouver Canucks fall out of the playoff chase. Mitchell suggested they could also pursue defenseman Colton Parayko if the Blues falter this season.

A left-handed defenseman and a right winger could also be on their wish list. Anaheim Ducks blueliner Hampus Lindholm could be a suitable playoff rental. Blues winger Vladimir Tarasenko’s contract would be difficult to fit into the Oilers’ payroll. Arizona Coyotes winger Phil Kessel is also expensive at $6.8 million but he’s in the final year of his contract.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The goaltending could become an urgent issue if aging Mike Smith declines and Mikko Koskinen fails to pick up the slack. That could make them very interested in Khudobin if he’s available and if they’re not on his modified no-trade list. The Blues could be keen to re-sign Parayko unless he’s intent on testing the market next season. Even then, the Oilers could be hard-pressed to out-bid clubs carrying more tradeable assets.

Lindholm could be available this season if he doesn’t fit into the Ducks’ long-term plans. However, their asking price could be young assets that the Oilers can’t afford to part with. They’re unlikely to pursue Taransenko or Kessel given their limited cap space.










Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – August 8, 2021

Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – August 8, 2021

Could the Boston Bruins go shopping for a center? Which defenseman could the Islanders pursue in a trade? Check out the latest in the Sunday NHL rumor roundup.

BOSTON HOCKEY NOW: Jimmy Murphy recently reported NHL sources confirmed Bruins general manager Don Sweeney remains open to acquiring a center but the trade market has gone stale in recent days. For now, the club intends to use Charlie Coyle as their second-line center after David Krejci announced he’s returning to the Czech Republic to finish his playing career.

Are the Boston Bruins targeting Arizona Coyotes center Christian Dvorak in the trade market? (NHL Images)

Recent speculation suggests Sweeney could use winger Jake DeBrusk and defenseman Jakub Zboril as trade bait to land a center. The Bruins had serious trade discussions with the Arizona Coyotes regarding Christian Dvorak over two weeks ago but those talks hit a stalemate. There’s no indication if DeBrusk and/or Zboril were mentioned in those talks.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Murphy also noted Sweeney hinted David Krejci could return to the Bruins later this season. However, he’d have to sign before Dec. 15 to avoid passing through waivers. After that, he’d had to sign before the trade deadline but there’s no guarantee he won’t get snapped up by a rival club on the waive wire.

The Bruins are among several clubs linked to Dvorak but Coyotes GM Bill Armstrong could be reluctant to part with the 25-year-old two-way center. He might accept DeBrusk or Zboril but could want a first-round pick as part of the return. Other clubs could also out-bid the Bruins.

THE ATHLETIC: Arthur Staple recently speculated the New York Islanders could turn to the trade market to fill the gap on the left side of their defense corps after trading Nick Leddy to Detroit.

He listed Seattle’s Vince Dunn, Anaheim’s Hampus Lindholm, Chicago’s Calvin de Haan, Columbus’ Vladislav Gavrikov, Carolina’s Jake Gardiner, Nashville’s Mattias Ekholm, Anaheim’s Cam Fowler, Winnipeg’s Nathan Beaulieu and New Jersey’s Damon Severson as possible trade targets.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Dunn avoided salary arbitration with the Kraken by signing a two-year, $8 million contract soon after Staple’s piece was published. It doesn’t appear they intend to part with him. Lindholm could be available but the rebuilding Ducks could seek a couple of quality futures in return.

I don’t see the Blue Jackets parting with Gavrikov as he’s expected to fill the left-side position on their second pairing. Staple indicated Gardiner’s awaiting surgery that could sideline him for several weeks past the start of this season.

Predators GM David Poile is said to be intent on re-signing Ekholm so he’s probably not available. As Staple observed, Fowler would be expensive in both contract and assets. He also has a four-team trade list and the Islanders might not be on it. Staple also acknowledged Severson’s a right-side defenseman, which doesn’t really make him a viable solution.

Beaulieu and de Haan could be available. However, I don’t think either guy can suitably fill that second-pairing role. The Isles might have to be patient and see what develops in the trade market over the course of the season.