NHL Rumor Mill – November 27, 2020

NHL Rumor Mill – November 27, 2020

More speculation over which Lightning player could be moved in a cost-cutting trade plus the latest on the Ducks in today’s NHL rumor mill.

SPORTSNET: Rory Boylen examined which players the Tampa Bay Lightning could shop in a cost-cutting move. They’re above the $81.5 million salary cap by $1.904 million after re-signing defenseman Mikhail Sergachev earlier in the week, with restricted free agents Anthony Cirelli and Erik Cernak in need of new contracts.

The Lightning put winger Tyler Johnson and his $5 million salary-cap hit on waivers last month but he went unclaimed. His no-trade clause gives him some say over where he could go but there might not be a market for a 30-year-old winger with declining stats and a high cap hit for the next four years.

Tampa Bay Lightning winger Alex Killorn could become a cost-cutting trade candidate (NHL Images).

Alex Killorn is another candidate because of his modified no-trade clause whereas other Bolts with annual average values exceeding $4 million have full no-trades. Ondrej Palat and captain Steven Stamkos have also come up in speculation but both have full no-trade protection.

Whoever the Lightning trade they won’t get back a favorable return. However, the point is to free up cap room to keep as much of their roster intact as possible.

THE ATHLETIC: In a recent mailbag segment, Eric Stephens was asked if Tyler Johnson was a legitimate trade target for the Anaheim Ducks. While acknowledging Johnson’s had a solid NHL career, he wonders how well the 30-year-old will perform away from a deep roster like the Lightning. Given the Ducks’ own salary-cap constraints, the Bolts would have to absorb half of Johnson’s cap hit while the Ducks made a separate cost-cutting move to balance out the $2.5 million.

Stephens also suggested moving Ryan Kesler’s contract and perhaps another cap-related asset for Johnson if the center stays on long-term injury reserve during 2020-21. However, Ducks general manager Bob Murray could prefer retaining Kesler’s contract for his own LTIR purposes.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Johnson would be a tough sell that could end up costing the Lightning more than they’d like to part with in terms of a sweetener since they can’t afford to take back salary. It’ll be a tricky bit of juggling for Lightning GM Julien BriseBois.

Perhaps BriseBois could attempt to move Johnson for a permanent LTIR contract from another club thus providing sufficient wiggle room to re-sign Cirelli and Cernak and remain cap compliant. Some readers have suggested swinging a deal with the Detroit Red Wings to acquire the contract of all-but-retired center Henrik Zetterberg and his $6.083 million cap hit.

Wings general manager Steve Yzerman is the Lightning’s former GM and BriseBois’ mentor so there could be a fit there. However, Yzerman might not be keen to take on Johnson’s contract when he’s still got Frans Nielsen on his books for two more years at $5.25 million per season.

NBC SPORTS: James O’Brien believes the Anaheim Ducks should embrace a rebuild rather than attempting to become a playoff contender in 2020-21. If David Backes ($4.5 million) ends up on LTIR it would provide the Ducks with more salary-cap wiggle room. That could allow them to take on another team’s problem contract along with some valuable pieces for their future.

Should they go the rebuild route, team captain Ryan Getzlaf could become a valuable trade chip if the 35-year-old center is willing to waive his no-movement clause to join a contender. Getzlaf is in the final season of his contract with an $8.25 million cap hit but earning only $3 million in actual salary.

O’Brien also suggested winger Rickard Rakell and defensemen Hampus Lindholm and Josh Manson as trade options. They’re in the late-20s and their contracts will expire at the end of 2021-22.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: GM Bob Murray is convinced his club can compete for a playoff berth this season. His opinion could change if the Ducks are wallowing near the basement again by the trade deadline.

Getzlaf, Rakell, Lindholm and Manson would all have considerable trade value if Murray opts to tear things down and stage a full rebuild. Backes on LTIR for the season might also be enticing to cap-strapped contenders looking to free up space for other moves.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 4, 2020

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 4, 2020

Tyler Seguin and Ben Bishop undergo surgeries, the latest on Mark Scheifele and Elias Lindholm, the Red Wings re-sign Anthony Mantha, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

THE DALLAS MORNING NEWS: Stars forward Tyler Seguin and goaltender Ben Bishop recently underwent surgeries that could sidelined them for up to five months. Seguin underwent surgery on his right hip on Monday while Bishop had right knee surgery on Oct. 21. If the timelines hold, Seguin would return to action on April 2 while Bishop should return on March 21.

Dallas Stars center Tyler Seguin underwent hip surgery (Photo via NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Seguin and Bishop might not miss that much playing time should the tentative Jan. 1 start date for next season be pushed into February or March.

SPORTSNET: Winnipeg Jets center Mark Scheifele said he’s fully recovered from the Achilles injury suffered three months ago during the qualifying round series against the Calgary Flames. “I’m 100 percent, no question, said Scheifele, adding he’s now skating every day.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Losing Scheifele was a devastating blow that contributed to the Jets’ demise in that series against the Flames. Having their first-line center healthy will be crucial to their playoff hopes next year.

THE SCORE: Speaking of the Flames, Josh Wegman cites head coach Geoff Ward told Sportsnet’s Eric Francis his club could explore whether they’ll have a better lineup with Elias Lindholm moving back to his natural position at center on a full-time basis. Lindholm has a career faceoff win percentage of 52.4 and has received down-ballot votes for the Selke Trophy for his two-way play.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Wegman looked at what the Flames’ top-two forward lines could look like with Lindholm at center, pointing to the solid five-on-five production he had with Matthew Tkachuk and Andrew Mangiapane.

THE DETROIT NEWS: The Red Wings re-signed forward Anthony Mantha to a four-year, $22.8 million contract. The annual average value is $5.7 million and is the longest and most expensive contract Steve Yzerman has extended to any Wings’ player since taking over as their general manager.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Mantha, 26, has been hampered by injuries but the 6’5, 234-pounder has 30-goal potential. The rebuilding Wings can afford to make that investment in the hope he’ll be a key part of their ongoing development.

Mantha’s signing leaves the Wings with over $71.9 million invested in 22 players with Dmytro Timashov still to sign. There’s enough cap space for Yzerman to target a cap-strapped rival to acquire a quality player under contract for next season, but it appears his roster is set for next season after bringing in Bobby Ryan, Marc Staal, Thomas Greiss and Vladislav Namestnikov.

NEW YORK POST: Rangers center Ryan Strome is seeking a one-year, $5.7 million contract through arbitration while the club countered with $3.6 million. His hearing is slated for Nov. 5. The Rangers can walk away from an arbiter award over $4, 538, 958.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Only one player (Detroit’s Tyler Bertuzzi) needed arbitration thus far to settle their contract for next season. Strome’s is one that could be worth watching, especially if he gets an award over $4.539 million.

CAP FRIENDLY: reports the Ottawa Senators avoided arbitration with Christian Jaros, signing the 24-year-old defenseman to a one-year, two-way contract worth $750K at the NHL level.

NHLPA: Four players remain scheduled for arbitration hearings. Ryan Strome is slated for Nov. 5, Rangers winger Brendan Lemieux and New York Islanders defenseman Ryan Pulock on Nov. 6 and Florida Panthers defenseman MacKenzie Weegar on Nov. 8.










NHL Rumor Mill – August 27, 2020

NHL Rumor Mill – August 27, 2020

The latest on Frederik Andersen and Corey Crawford plus updates on the Rangers in today’s NHL rumor mill.

ANDERSEN AND CRAWFORD

TORONTO SUN: Terry Koshan reports Claude Lemieux, the agent for Maple Leafs goaltender Frederik Andersen, understands the recent trade speculation about his client is part of the territory when a team with high expectations like the Leafs suffers an early playoff exit. Lemieux also indicated Andersen has not requested a trade.

There’s media chatter suggesting Andersen is being shopped by the Leafs. Lemieux said the club hasn’t spoken to him about a trade. He also stated he hasn’t had contract extension talks for his client, whose contract expires at the end of next season. Rumors have linked the Leafs to Pittsburgh Penguins goalie Matt Murray, a restricted free agent with arbitration rights.

Corey Crawford hopes to return with the Chicago Blackhawks (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Leafs need a better goalie than Murray if they’re thinking about moving Andersen. While Murray has two Stanley Cups (2016 and 2017) on his resume, Andersen has had better health and better stats since 2017 with a heavier workload.

CHICAGO SUN-TIMES: Ben Pope recently reported Corey Crawford wants to stay with the Blackhawks. The 35-year-old goalie will become an unrestricted free agent on Nov. 1. He’d consider a three- or four-year deal if the Blackhawks prefer, but would also accept a short-term deal.

Crawford also indicated playing time matters more than his next salary. “I don’t want to play half the games and sit on the bench for stretches at a time,” he said. “I’m way more valuable playing games and playing consistently.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Despite his age (35) and injury history, Crawford proved his value as a starting goalie this season to the Blackhawks. His next deal won’t be worth $6 million annually like his current contract. I’ll be surprised if the Hawks commit to anything over two years.

Crawford’s age would allow him to sign a one-year, bonus-laden deal with a low base salary that could take him up to $5 million if he meets all bonus requirements. It would provide him with an opportunity to finish the season with a significant salary while giving the Blackhawks some cap flexibility. That depends, of course, on whether he would accept a one-year deal.

RANGERS

LOHUD.COM: Vincent Z. Mercogliano recently looked at several possible off-season trade targets for the New York Rangers. He believes they need a center and a left-handed defenseman.

Centers include Calgary’s Sam Bennett, Ottawa’s Logan Brown, Tampa Bay’s Anthony Cirelli, Montreal’s Phillip Danault, San Jose’s Tomas Hertl, and Toronto’s William Nylander. His defense options include Minnesota’s Jonas Brodin, Vancouver’s Olli Juolevi, and Anaheim’s Hampus Lindholm.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Mercogliano lists his targets in descending order and explores the pros and cons of each player and the potential cost to acquire them. Follow the link above to get the details. I’m just going to briefly add my two cents.

The Flames won’t part with Bennett as he’s a versatile forward who always elevates his game in the playoffs. He’s among the few Flames who could hold his head high over his performance in this year’s postseason. I don’t believe the Senators will give up on Brown. The Bolts intend to re-sign Cirelli. Danault is the Habs’ best two-way center so he’s not going anywhere.

Hertl is very talented but his injury history makes him a risky acquisition. Nylander’s cap hit ($6.9 million) makes him too expensive for the Blueshirts under a flattened salary cap.

I believe the Canucks will remain patient with Juolevi. Brodin and Lindholm might be available but the asking price for Brodin could be a center (which the Rangers need) while the Ducks will likely want a top-six winger for Lindholm.

FOREVER BLUESHIRTS: Anthony Scultore cited Swedish reporter Johan Rylander wondering why Frolunda is one of only two Swedish league teams still holding closed-door practices. “Is it because (Henrik) Lundqvist is training for return? Or is it simply due to fear of covid-19 from two journalists 40 meters from the ice?”

Rylander confirmed Lundqvist is in town and practicing somewhere to stay in shape. Frolunda, meanwhile, issued a statement indicating their closed-door sessions are to protect their players as much as possible from the virus. The team stated it had no information on Lundqvist other than he is not a member of their roster or their team.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The report indicates Lundqvist is allowed to practice with the club as per IIHF rules. He spent several seasons with Frolunda before joining the Rangers in 2005-06. Perhaps he’s considering NHL retirement and finishing his career with his old team. Or he could simply be staying in shape before training camp opens later this fall.










NHL Rumor Mill – June 22, 2020

NHL Rumor Mill – June 22, 2020

Check out the latest Sabres speculation and updates on Torey Krug in today’s NHL rumor mill.

SOME QUESTIONS FOR THE SABRES

SPORTSNET: Luke Fox has some questions for the Buffalo Sabres in the wake of their mass firings among their management, scouting, and minor-league coaching departments last week.

Noting former Sabres general manager Jason Botterill considered Rasmus Ristolainen a core player, he wonders if Kevyn Adams (Botterill’s replacement) feels the same.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Ristolainen recently suggested he could be among the first players moved if then-GM Botterill opted to shake up the roster. However, he also indicated he enjoyed playing for head coach Ralph Krueger, whose opinion could determine whether Ristolainen has a future in Buffalo.

He’s also curious how Adams will handle the different negotiations for restricted free agents Sam Reinhart and Victor Olofsson, and how much patience there is for Casey Mittelstadt or Dylan Cozens to develop into a second-line NHL center.

Buffalo Sabres captain Jack Eichel (Photo via NHL Images).

Reinhart and Olofsson both have arbitration rights. The former, however, has several NHL seasons under his belt while the latter completed his rookie campaign. Reinhart could get a lucrative long-term deal while Olofsson could get a one- or two-year “show me” bridge contract.

Lastly, Fox wonders where captain Jack Eichel‘s “fed-up rating” will be a year from now.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Another lost season will certainly generate speculation over Eichel’s future in Buffalo. And speaking of the Sabres franchise player…

THE ATHLETIC: Eric Stephens and Lisa Dillman acknowledged there’s no indication Eichel wants out of Buffalo. If he ever does, however, they examined what it would cost the Anaheim Ducks to pursue him.

Finding a way to absorb Eichel’s $10 million annual average value would be difficult. It could also cost the Ducks defenseman Hampus Lindholm, a top prospect like Trevor Zengras, and the Ducks 2021 first-round pick as part of a potential five-piece package.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: If COVID-19 ends up scuttling the league’s return-to-play plan, we could see a lot of Eichel trade scenarios floated by bored pundits over a long off-season. If the day should come within the next couple of years when Eichel decides he wants a trade, I think we can all agree the asking price will be massive.

UPDATE ON KRUG

NBC SPORTS BOSTON: Joe Haggerty reports there’s some real uncertainty over whether Torey Krug will remain with the Bruins following this season. The 29-year-old defenseman is an unrestricted free agent in the off-season. Uncertainty over the salary cap for next season and the need to re-sign other Bruins such as Zdeno Chara and Jake DeBrusk could complicate efforts to keep him in Boston. Haggerty believes Krug could command around $8 million annually on the open market.

DJ Bean acknowledged Krug would have to take a discount to stay in Boston. Nevertheless, he explored ways the Bruins could free up further cap room to re-sign Krug, suggesting trading defenseman John Moore ($1.8 million) or forward Nick Ritchie ($1.5 million).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Bruins, like most NHL clubs right now, won’t re-sign key players until they know what next season’s salary cap will be. There’s talk it will remain at $81.5 million, but that’s not a certainty.

Krug could command big bucks on the open market, but a flat cap could mean fewer teams bidding for his services in the off-season. That could work in the Bruins’ favor.










Off-Season NHL Trade & Free Agent Candidates: Anaheim Ducks

Off-Season NHL Trade & Free Agent Candidates: Anaheim Ducks

 










What Are Bob Murray’s NHL Off-Season Plans For The Anaheim Ducks?

What Are Bob Murray’s NHL Off-Season Plans For The Anaheim Ducks?