NHL Rumor Mill – April 10, 2019

NHL Rumor Mill – April 10, 2019

Latest on the Canadiens, Senators, and Flyers in today’s NHL rumor mill. 

CANADIENS

LA PRESSE: Alexis Belanger-Champagne reports Montreal Canadiens winger Jonathan Drouin doesn’t expect his difficult end to this season will result in a trade this summer. While Drouin acknowledged his late-season offensive struggles, he believes his club has a good group of players and doesn’t anticipate changing sweaters. Drouin said he understood why his playing time was reduced during a crucial game against the Carolina Hurricanes, adding he wants to help the team in any way he could.

Jonathan Drouin expects to be back with the Montreal Canadiens next season (Photo via NHL Images).

Drouin admitted being puzzled by his late-season slump. Teammates like Carey Price supported Drouin, who want to help him improve his consistency. General manager Marc Bergevin praised Drouin’s maturity and expects he’ll take another step forward next season. Drouin finished the season with 53 points. 

MONTREAL GAZETTE: Stu Cowan reports the Canadiens will be looking for a backup goaltender as free agent Antti Niemi won’t be back after struggling through this season. Charlie Lindgren could be an option but he didn’t have a good season with the Habs farm team in Laval. Bergevin could go shopping for a veteran backup if he feels Lindgren isn’t ready. 

Pat Hickey feels it’s unlikely Bergevin can lure free-agent talent to Montreal, citing issues such as “taxes, weather, travel and whether their wives are going to happy.” The Canadiens GM also seems reluctant to go the offer-sheet route as he’s averse to trading away first-round draft picks. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Some Canadiens fans were unhappy with Drouin’s performance down the stretch, and he does seem to sulk on the bench sometimes when things aren’t going his way. However, he’s 24 and still has room to improve his consistency and maturity. It certainly sounds like Bergevin isn’t giving up on Drouin so I wouldn’t expect to see the winger getting traded this summer.

Cap Friendly indicates the Canadiens have over $64.3 million invested in 17 players for 2019-20 with all their core players under contract. Assuming a salary cap of $83 million, Bergevin will have around $19 million to re-sign his restricted free agents and to pursue a top-four left-side defenseman, an established scoring forward and a backup goalie. I expect he’ll look into the free-agent market and could make an affordable signing or two.

To address his bigger needs, however, he’ll likely have to go the trade route, which he did with success last summer by acquiring Max Domi and Tomas Tatar. Bergevin is reluctant to part with his first-round picks but he’s got two selections in the second round and three in the fifth of this year’s draft plus two in the fourth round in 2020 to draw upon for trade bait.

SENATORS

OTTAWA SUN: Bruce Garrioch reports changes will continue this summer for the Senators. They are in the market for a new head coach. It’s expected they’ll attempt to re-sign free agents Anthony Duclair and Brian Gibbons but could part ways with Magnus Paajarvi and Oscar Lindberg.

Garrioch expects they’ll attempt to re-sign restricted free agent defenseman Cody Ceci but could trade him if an agreement on a new contract cannot be reached. He also suggested using Ben Harpur as trade bait to bring in a forward.

Garrioch thinks they could backup goalie Anders Nilsson depart via free agency if he seeks more than a one-year contract. He also tweeted yesterday GM Pierre Dorion said they may add a veteran player on July 1. 

THE ATHLETIC: Chris Stevenson believes the Senators would be wise to retain veteran starting goalie Craig Anderson through the final season of his contract. He notes a couple of teams, including the Calgary Flames, had interest in Anderson at the trade deadline, but the return for aging goaltenders hasn’t been good in the trade market. Stevenson feels Anderson’s experience and affordable cap hit for next season makes him worth retaining for next season. 

Stevenson also reported contract talks between the Senators and Ceci have been positive thus far. While Senators fans pointed to Ceci’s poor advanced stats, management likes how he eats up tough minutes against top opposition. Despite the acrimony of last year’s salary arbitration hearing, Ceci wants to stay and the club wants to keep him. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Anderson asked to be dealt last June but his age and cap hit didn’t attract much interest. If there are clubs looking at him this summer they’ll likely only give up a low draft pick to get him. With the Senators rebuilding and lacking skilled depth between the pipes, I think they’ll keep him around for next season and test his market value leading up to the trade deadline.

As for Ceci, it certainly sounds as though he could have a long-term future in Ottawa. That isn’t going to please his critics among Sens followers but management values his experience and ability to log big minutes, which will be vital for their rebuilding blueline.

Having shed notable stars like Mark Stone and Matt Duchene, the Senators have over $45 million invested in 14 players for next season. Ceci, Duclair and Colin White are their notable free agents. Assuming it costs around $10 million to re-sign those three, they’ll still have to spend over $5 million to reach what could be a $60 million cap minimum. They won’t be going after any big-name talent but I expect they’ll attempt to bring in one or two quality veterans with leadership experience. 

FLYERS 

NBC SPORTS PHILADELPHIA: John Boruk reports Philadelphia Flyers GM Chuck Fletcher will be in the market for a second-line center, a top-four defenseman, and a backup goaltender. Fletcher considers this summer’s UFA market to be “Ok, not elite”. The top potential UFA include ” defensemen Erik Karlsson, Tyler Myers, and Anton Stralman, and forwards Matt Duchene, Artemi Panarin, Jeff Skinner and Kevin Hayes.” 

Fletcher also said he’s never extended an offer sheet to another club’s restricted free agent and Boruk doubts he’ll do so this summer. Defenseman Andrew MacDonald, who has one year left on his contract with a $5-million cap hit, would appear a likely candidate for a contract buyout. However, Fletcher said he’s not a big fan of contract buyouts. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Flyers have over $47 million tied up in 13 players. Fletcher has more than enough to re-sign restricted free agents Ivan Provorov, Travis Konecny and Travis Sanheim and still have enough to make a big splash in the free agent or trade pools this summer. It’s assumed Cam Talbot will return as a backup and mentor for rookie Carter Hart. Fletcher could eye Karlsson or Duchene in the free-agent market. 










NHL Rumor Mill – March 11, 2019

NHL Rumor Mill – March 11, 2019

Latest on the Flyers and Canucks in today’s NHL rumor mill. 

COULD THE FLYERS TRADE A DEFENSEMAN THIS SUMMER?

COURIER-POST ONLINE: In a recent mailbag segment, Dave Isaac was asked which Flyers fan favorite has the best chance of being traded at the 2019 NHL Draft or in the offseason. He noted defenseman Shayne Gostisbehere was the subject of speculation leading up to the recent trade deadline. Trading him then, when his play wasn’t at peak level, wouldn’t have fetched a quality return. He doesn’t see any sense in moving Gostisbehere “unless they’re in the market for a top-tier defenseman to play with Ivan Provorov, which may be the case.”

Could the Philadelphia Flyers shop defenseman Shayne Gostisbehere this summer? (Photo via NHL Images).

Isaac points out Provorov and Travis Sanheim are due new contracts this summer and Robert Hagg, and Phil Myers are due next summer. Carrying eight defensemen, he believes they can’t keep everyone, suggesting “two of (Andrew) MacDonald, Gostisbehere and Hägg leave for a new acquisition.” He wonders if general manager (and former Minnesota Wild GM) Chuck Fletcher might try to acquire Jared Spurgeon from his former club.

Isaac also speculates the Flyers could be among the bidders for Columbus Blue Jackets winger Artemi Panarin via unrestricted free agency. If they want to go the offer-sheet route, Toronto’s Mitch Marner or Tampa Bay’s Brayden Point would garner interest. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: If the Flyers are going to move Gostisbehere, they must ensure they can replace him with a quality return. Spurgeon may be a better all-around defenseman than the 25-year-old Gostisbehere but he’s older (29), carries a larger cap hit for next season (over $5.18 million) and is slated to become an unrestricted free agent in 2020. He also carries a 10-team no-trade list and the Wild might not be keen to move him.

The Flyers might be able to move MacDonald in a cost-cutting deal if they’re willing to include a decent draft pick or prospect. Otherwise, their best option might be going the buyout route.

With over $46.8 million invested in 13 players, the Flyers have sufficient cap space to re-sign Provorov, Sanheim, and winger Travis Konecny, re-sign or replace Brian Elliott or Cam Talbot and still pursue an impact player like Panarin via free agency. 

WILL THE CANUCKS RE-SIGN EDLER OR SIGN AN IMPACT PLAYER?

THE PROVINCE: Ed Willes believes a contract extension between the Vancouver Canucks and defenseman Alexander Edler seems inevitable, but he wonders what the terms could be. Canucks general manager Jim Benning remains confident an agreement can be reached with the veteran blueliner, who remains fiercely loyal to the only NHL team he’s ever played for. Edler turns 33 in April and has an injury history that could raise concerns. 

VANCOUVER SUN: Willes also believes the Canucks are still about five or six players away from being taken seriously as a playoff contender. They still lack scoring punch beyond their top line and their blueline remains porous. While some of the solutions could come from within their system, Willes believes the Canucks need to add an impact player on defense and at least one at forward. They haven’t had much luck via unrestricted free agency but he feels they have little choice after four straight seasons near the bottom of the standings. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Cap Friendly indicates the Canucks have over $50.5 million invested in 15 players. Edler is their noteworthy UFA while Brock Boeser, Ben Hutton, Josh Leivo, Nikolay Goldobin, and Markus Granlund are their notable restricted free agents.

Edler might be receptive to a two- or three-year contract worth between $5 million to $5.5 million per season. Boeser is coming off his entry-level contract and could seek a lucrative long-term deal. The others should be affordable re-signings unless the Canucks intend to use the money they would’ve used to re-up those players to put toward adding talent via the UFA market.

Efforts to add via unrestricted free agency could also depend upon how much Canucks ownership is willing to spend for 2019-20. The Canucks currently have a payroll of $70.7 million, well below the $79.5 million. If they hold the line around $70 million, they’ll have around $20 million to re-sign their key free agents and to invest in one or two UFA additions. The cost of re-signing Edler and Boeser will take a big bite out of that cap space. 










NHL Rumor Mill – September 10, 2018

NHL Rumor Mill – September 10, 2018

What will the Sharks do to counter the Golden Knights’ acquisition of Max Pacioretty? How will the Flyers address the absence of Andrew MacDonald? Read on for the latest in your NHL rumor mill.

Could the Vegas Golden Knights addition of Max Pacioretty force San Jose Sharks GM Doug Wilson to make a countermove? (Photo via NHL.com)

HOW WILL THE SHARKS ADDRESS PACIORETTY TRADE?

NBC SPORTS BAY AREA: Marcus White observes the Vegas Golden Knights’ acquisition of left wing Max Pacioretty last night from the Montreal Canadiens is bad news for the San Jose Sharks.

While the Sharks mostly stood pat after losing out to the Toronto Maple Leafs in the John Tavares free-agent sweepstakes, division rivals such as the Golden Knights (Pacioretty and Paul Stastny), Los Angeles Kings (Ilya Kovalchuk) and Arizona Coyotes (Alex Galchenyuk) made significant additions.

White wonders if the Sharks can keep up in the Pacific Division arms race without making a significant addition.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I wouldn’t be surprised if Sharks general manager Doug Wilson makes a major move at some point this season. My guess is he waits to see how this season unfolds before pulling the trigger, probably near the trade deadline.

Rumors linked the Sharks to Pacioretty earlier this year while Wilson attempted to sign Tavares and Kovalchuk earlier this summer. He’s also reportedly inquired into the availability of Ottawa Senators defenseman Erik Karlsson.

HOW WILL THE FLYERS REPLACE MACDONALD?

NBC SPORTS PHILADELPHIA: Tom Dougherty reports the six-week absence of defenseman Andrew MacDonald (lower-body injury) opens the door for a promising young blueliner to crack the roster for the start of the season. Philippe Myers seems the likely candidate, though Dougherty points out Flyers development coach Kjell Samuelsson expressed doubt back in July that Myers would be ready for the NHL this season.

With Samuel Morin out until February with a knee injury, other options include T.J. Brennan, Reece Willcox and Mark Friedman. Dougherty also doesn’t rule out the possibility of the Flyers bringing in a veteran rearguard on a one-year contract. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: For now, expect Flyers GM Ron Hextall to evaluate his current roster over the course of training camp and preseason before deciding if he needs to make any outside additions.

If the Flyers go the UFA route the pickings are slim, with Kevin Bieksa, Johnny Oduya, Luca Sbisa and Paul Martin the most notable still available. They could also sign a blueliner currently on a PTO with another clubs, such as Jason Garrison, Brandon Davidson or Dennis Seidenberg.

A trade is also possible but with MacDonald likely to return by late-October that move might not be necessary. 

 











NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 10, 2018

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 10, 2018

Canadiens trade Max Pacioretty to the Golden Knights plus latest on Andrew MacDonald, Sean Couturier and more in your NHL morning coffee headlines.

TSN: The Montreal Canadiens traded left wing Max Pacioretty to the Vegas Golden Knight in exchange for winger Tomas Tatar, prospect center Nick Suzuki and a second-round pick in the 2019 NHL Draft. The draft pick originally belonged to the Columbus Blue Jackets.

Montreal Canadiens trade Max Pacioretty to the Vegas Golden Knights. (Photo via NHL Images)

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This isn’t a great return for the Canadiens but it isn’t bad. It’s a clear indication they’re rebuilding, even if management can’t bring themselves to publicly say it. 

While Tatar isn’t on the same level as Pacioretty, he’s reached 20 goals in each of the last four seasons. Cap Friendly indicates he’s under contract through 2020-21 with a $5.3-million annual average value. He’s also listed as having a full no-trade clause for this season but perhaps he waived it to go to Montreal.

Tatar was hampered last season by shoulder surgery from the previous summer. If he’s now fully recovered he should be good for 25 goals per season. Listed as a left wing, he can also play the right side, giving the Habs some flexibility there. He could also be used as a future trade option.

Getting a second-round pick in 2019 is also worthwhile as the Habs can use it themselves or as a bargaining chip in a trade. The real key here is Suzuki, who was selected in the opening round (13th overall) of the 2017 NHL Draft. He has the potential to blossom into a first-line center, something the Canadiens have been lacking for years.

With training camp just days away, the Canadiens wanted to move Pacioretty as soon as possible rather than have questions over his future becoming an unnecessary distraction. Pacioretty forced the issue by saying he wouldn’t discuss a contract extension once the season opened next month. He’s slated to become an unrestricted free agent next summer.

The addition of Pacioretty gives the Golden Knights some additional experienced scoring punch and leadership this season. He’s expected to skate on the second line along center Paul Stastny and right wing Alex Tuch. Golden Knights general manager George McPhee wants to give his club every opportunity to prove last season’s unexpected success was no fluke. 

Pacioretty’s time in Vegas could stretch beyond this season. According to Sportsnet’s John Shannon, the Golden Knights and the left winger’s camp are hopeful of getting an extension done. 

 

 

NHL.COM: Philadelphia Flyers defenseman Andrew MacDonald suffered a lower-body injury during off-season training and is expected to be sidelined for six weeks. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: MacDonald’s absence raises some questions over what the Flyers might do for a short-term replacement. I’ll have more later this morning in the Rumors section. 

PHILLY.COM: Speaking of the Flyers, GM Ron Hextall said sidelined center Sean Couturier will be ready for action when the season opens next month. Couturier is sidelined by a knee injury but has already resumed skating. 

MLIVE.COM: Winger Matt Puempel agreed to a two-year contract with the Detroit Red Wings.

 











NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 28, 2017

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 28, 2017

Games recaps, Luongo makes history, Landeskog suspended and more in your NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: Roberto Luongo became only the second goaltender in NHL history to win 200 games with two different franchises by backstopping the Florida Panthers to a 3-2 victory over the New Jersey Devils. Jared McCann netted the game-winning goal in the third period. 

Sidney Crosby’s overtime goal gave the Pittsburgh Penguins a 5-4 win over the Philadelphia Flyers, who blew leads of 3-1 and 4-3 as their losing skid is now eight in a row. It was a costly win for the Penguins, as starting goalie Matt Murray left the game in the second period favoring his right leg following a collision with Flyers forward Jakub Voracek.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: An update on Murray’s status is expected later today. As for the Flyers, their ongoing slump could turn up the heat under head coach Dave Hakstol. 

Earlier in the day, the Flyers activated defenseman Andrew MacDonald off injured reserve and sent Samuel Morin back to the minors. 

Blake Wheeler, Mark Scheifele and Kyle Connor each had a goal and two assists as the Winnipeg Jets overcame a 2-0 deficit to crush the Minnesota Wild 7-2. Earlier in the day, the Jets called up Eric Comrie to replace sidelined goalie Steve Mason, who suffered a concussion during Saturday’s game against New Jersey. The Wild, meanwhile, were missing defenseman Jared Spurgeon, who’s out with a groin strain. 

Rookie Alex DeBrincat tallied his first career hat trick and Patrick Kane collected three assists as the Chicago Blackhawks thumped the Anaheim Ducks 7-3. 

Carey Price made 37 saves to carry the Montreal Canadiens to their second straight win as they defeated the Columbus Blue Jackets 3-1. Habs defenseman Shea Weber missed his fourth straight game with a lower-body injury. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Price looks like he’s regained his Vezina-worthy form since returning from a 10-game absence with a lower-body injury. That’s good news for the Habs playoff hopes, which could  further improve once Weber returns to action.

Vegas Golden Knights winger Jonathan Marchessault, Columbus Blue Jackets goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky and Washington Capitals left wing Alex Ovechkin are the NHL’s three stars for the week ending Nov. 26. 

DENVER POST: Colorado Avalanche left wing Gabriel Landeskog received a four-game suspension for crosschecking Calgary Flames winger Matthew Tkachuk in the head. during Saturday’s game in Denver. 

THE MERCURY NEWS: San Jose Sharks goaltender Martin Jones is listed as day-to-day with an undisclosed injury but has traveled with the club to Philadelphia. 

VANCOUVER SUN: Canucks defenseman Erik Gudbranson could miss the next two weeks with a shoulder injury. 

THE BUFFALO NEWS: An ankle injury has sidelined Sabres center Jacob Josefson for four-to-six weeks. 

NEWSDAY: New York Islanders forward Casey Cizikas is day-to-day with an undisclosed injury. 

TAMPA BAY TIMES: Lightning defenseman Jake Dotchin will be out until at least Saturday with an undisclosed injury. 

 











NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 23, 2017

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 23, 2017

Canucks beat the Red Wings, Leafs sign Polak and notable injury updates in your NHL morning coffee headlines. 

NHL.COM: In the only NHL game on the Sunday schedule, Sven Baertschi scored his first two goals of the season as the Vancouver Canucks defeated the Detroit Red Wings 4-1. Bo Horvat collected two assists. Canucks defenseman Troy Stecher left the game following a knee-on-knee collision with Wings forward Tomas Tatar in the second period.

TORONTO STAR: Defenseman Roman Polak is officially back with the Maple Leafs, signing a one-year, $1.1 million contract. The 31-year-old Polak has been working out with the Leafs since training camp. 

SPORTSNET: Anaheim Ducks defenseman Cam Fowler is expected to miss four-to-six weeks with a knee injury. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Fowler joins Ducks blueliners Hampus Lindholm and Sami Vatanen on the sidelines, although those two are expected to return to action by the end of this month. Still, the absence of their best puck-moving defenseman is a significant loss for Anaheim’s defense corps. 

LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL: Vegas Golden Knights goaltender Malcolm Subban is expected to miss the next four weeks with an injured right leg. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Starter Marc-Andre Fleury remains sidelined with a concussion, meaning third-stringer Oscar Dansk is being pressed into service while Maxime Legace was recalled from their AHL affiliate. If Fleury remains on the shelf longer than expected, the expansion Golden Knights will get their first real taste of adversity. 

PHILLY.COM: Philadelphia Flyers defenseman Andrew MacDonald will be out four-to-six weeks with a knee injury. That could open up a roster spot for Samuel Morin or Brandon Manning. 

NORTHJERSEY.COM: New Jersey Devils center Brian Boyle has returned to practice with his teammates for the first time since being diagnosed last month with chronic myeloid leukemia. There’s still no timetable for his return to action. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The fact Boyle is skating again in practice is a promising sign. Here’s hoping he makes a full recovery and returns to the lineup soon.