NHL Rumor Mill – May 27, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – May 27, 2022

A look at the Flames’ possible offseason decisions plus the latest roundup of Penguins speculation in today’s NHL rumor mill.

WHAT NEXT FOR THE FLAMES?

ESPN.COM: Greg Wyshynski believes the Calgary Flames’ offseason decisions will be tied to Johnny Gaudreau. The 28-year-old left wing had a career-best 115-point performance this season but he’s also slated to become an unrestricted free agent on July 13.

Calgary Flames left wing Johnny Gaudreau (NHL Images).

The Flames must also sign restricted free agent wingers Matthew Tkachuk and Andrew Mangiapane. Tkachuk tallied 42 goals this season and Mangipane 35 goals.

Wyshynski observes the Flames have 12 players under contract for 2022-23. If general manager Brad Treliving tinkers with the roster it’ll likely be on the defense as the forward lines are deep and talented. He also mentioned center Sean Monahan has a year remaining on his contract with a cap hit of $6.375 million.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Cap Friendly indicates the Flames have over $55 million invested in next season’s roster. Tkachuk is completing a three-year deal with an annual average value of $7 million but his actual salary for this season was $9 million, which will be the cost to the Flames to qualify his rights unless they can agree to a new deal before the July 11 qualifying offer deadline.

Mangiapane earned $2.425 million annually on his current deal and could be seeking a raise between $4.5 and $5 million per season. RFA Defenseman Oliver Kylington will be seeking much more than the $750K he earned this season.

That’s why there’s been speculation suggesting the Flames could trade or buy out Monahan to free up cap space. However, he underwent hip surgery several weeks ago and could be ineligible for a buyout if he’s not fully recovered by then. That would also affect efforts to trade him.

THE PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER: Giana Han wonders if the Flyers might be able to woo Gaudreau if he hits the open market in July. The South Jersey native grew up a Flyers fan and suggested back in 2017 that it would be “sweet” to play for them one day.

Han speculates Gaudreau could command between $9 million and $10 million on his next contract. NBC hockey analyst Keith Jones said adding the gifted winger would provide some real excitement for a fan base that hasn’t had much to cheer about lately. However, it would take a lot of cap maneuvering as well as hoping Gaudreau would accept a hometown discount.

The Flyers have over $77 million invested in 18 players next season with all their core players are under contract. They’ll have to shed a lot of salary to sign Gaudreau even if he accepts a hometown discount, which I doubt he will.

LATEST PENGUINS SPECULATION

TRIBLIVE.COM: Seth Rorabaugh reported earlier this week that Pittsburgh Penguins general manager Ron Hextall’s priority remains re-signing pending UFAs Evgeni Malkin and Kris Letang. He acknowledged his club’s limited salary cap space but remains hopeful of reaching agreements with both players, though there’s no timeline right now. Their statuses will reflect how the rest of the roster takes shape.

THE ATHLETIC: Josh Yohe reported Hextall said he’d focus elsewhere if he can’t sign Malkin but indicated his focus “first and foremost” is on the 35-year-old center. He wouldn’t commit to bringing back RFA forwards Danton Heinen and Kaspari Kapanen. He also indicated he’d be willing to have trade discussions regarding one of his left-handed defensemen to make room for Pierre-Olivier Joseph.

PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE: Paul Zeise believes the Penguins better upgrade their goaltending if they’re bringing Malkin and Letang back. He doesn’t feel this season’s tandem of Tristan Jarry and Casey DeSmith (also a pending UFA) is good enough to carry the Penguins to the Stanley Cup, which should be the purpose of retaining Malkin and Letang.

PITTSBURGH HOCKEY NOW: Dave Molinari believes the list of viable candidates to replace Letang starts and ends with the Dallas Stars’ John Klingberg.

THE ATHLETIC: Harman Dayal examined the cost for the Vancouver Canucks to acquire John Marino. He cited speculation from earlier this season suggesting the Penguins’ defenseman could be available for the right price. Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman reported the Canucks kicked tires on Marino before the trade deadline. Dayal observed it’s no secret Canucks hockey ops president (and former Penguins GM) Jim Rutherford is a Marino fan.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Penguins have $59.2 million invested in 16 players. Re-signing Malkin and Letang could eat up around $12 million to $14 million in cap space. The Penguins can afford it but it will hamper efforts to bolster their roster next season.

We could see Hextall shed some salary to make room for a younger defenseman like Joseph or to bring in depth in goal. Marino and his $4.4 million annually through 2026-27 could be an option.

There aren’t many palatable choices for goaltenders via free agency unless they’re bringing back Marc-Andre Fleury. The trade market is also thin on goalies this season.

Heinen played well enough to earn an affordable short-term deal perhaps. Kapanen, however, could end up on the trade block given his disappointing performance this season.










NHL Rumor Mill – April 19, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – April 19, 2022

In today’s NHL rumor mill, an update on Flames winger Johnny Gaudreau’s contract situation plus some off-season goaltender targets for the Sabres.

UPDATE ON GAUDREAU’S CONTRACT TALKS

CALGARY SUN: On Sunday, Wes Gilbertson reported Flames general manager Brad Treliving promised his club’s fans that he will “move heaven and earth and do everything we possibly can” to sign Johnny Gaudreau to a new contract. Gaudreau, 28, becomes eligible for unrestricted free agent status on July 13. He’s in the midst of a career year with 107 points and a key reason why the Flames are sitting atop the Pacific Division as the regular season draws to a close.

Calgary Flames winger Johnny Gaudreau (NHL Images).

We’re going to do everything we humanly possibly can to have him be back here and be a Flame for a long, long time,” said Treliving. The Flames GM praised Gaudreau for how well he’s performed under head coach Darryl Sutter.

TSN: Pierre LeBrun said Treliving had better move heaven and earth because that’s what it’s going to take to sign Gaudreau. He indicated there’s nothing new regarding his contract talks, pointing out the two sides agreed to pick up those conversations following this season.

LeBrun said there’s been “really good dialogue” all season long and there’s still time to sign him after this season. He also praised both sides for the lack of drama regarding this situation. It hasn’t proved to be a distraction.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s going to cost the Flames a lot of money to keep Gaudreau in Calgary. His performance this season (sitting third overall in league scoring) has pushed his value much higher than it would’ve been last summer. At that point, I think the Gaudreau camp would’ve sought between $8 and $9 million annually. Now, it could be closer to $10 million annually on a long-term deal. Maybe the Flames can get it close to $9 million by selling Gaudreau on an eight-year contract, something he can’t get on the open market where the limit is seven years.

Complicating things is the Flames’ cap space for next season. Cap Friendly shows them with $55.4 million invested in 12 active players. That gives them plenty of space to re-sign Gaudreau, but they’ve got Matthew Tkachuk, Andrew Mangiapane and Oliver Kylington due for new deals this summer as restricted free agents with arbitration rights.

That’s why there’s speculation the Flames could attempt to trade Sean Monahan, who has a year remaining on his contract with a cap hit of $6.375 million and a 10-team no-trade clause. Muddling things further, however, is Monahan’s declining performance over the past two years and his recent season-ending hip surgery.

Trading Monahan to shed salary could prove very difficult. Buying him out this summer won’t be an option if he hasn’t fully recovered from his surgery during that period and he doesn’t agree to go along with it.

SUGGESTED SABRES GOALTENDER TARGETS

THE BUFFALO NEWS: Lance Lysowski examined some potential off-season goalie targets for the Sabres if 40-year-old Craig Anderson decides not to return next season.

The Sabres have the cap space to overpay for an experienced netminder on a short-term deal. However, there are few options in this summer’s UFA market. That list includes Darcy Kuemper, Mikko Koskinen, Jaroslav Halak, Braden Holtby, Ville Husso, Joonas Korpisalo, Casey DeSmith, Tomas Greiss and David Rittich. Most have endured recent struggles while the others might not want to sign with the Sabres.

Lysowski believes they might have better luck in this summer’s trade market. Options could include the Los Angeles Kings’ Jonathan Quick, New York Islanders’ Semyon Varlamov, Anaheim Ducks’ John Gibson or the New York Rangers’ Alexandar Georgiev.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: As per Cap Friendly, the Sabres have a projected $40 million in cap space for 2022-23. They’ll have to spend to reach a cap floor that could be close to $61 million. Their ongoing struggles and perpetual rebuild could make them a difficult sell to potential free agents or as preferred trade destinations for the others.

Quick lacks no-trade protection but he only has a year remaining on his contract and it wouldn’t surprise me if Kings management lets him finish it in Los Angeles. Varlamov has a 16-team no-trade list and Gibson a 10-team no-trade list. Lysowski suggested Georgiev’s inconsistent play this season might not make him enticing for the Sabres.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 11, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 11, 2021

Bob Murray resigns as Ducks general manager, recaps of Wednesday’s games, plus updates on Nathan MacKinnon, Andrew Mangiapane, Leo Komarov and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

MURRAY RESIGNS AS DUCKS GM

SPORTSNET: Bob Murray resigned last night as general manager of the Anaheim Ducks and intends to enter a treatment program for alcohol abuse. This news comes a day after Murray, 66, was placed on administrative leave by the club amid an independent investigation into his workplace conduct.

Former Anaheim Ducks general manager Bob Murray (NHL.com).

Murray had been with the Ducks since 2005 and had been their general manager since 2008. He was the NHL GM of the Year in 2015.

The club hasn’t released details of the investigation but an anonymous source said it was prompted by complaints of verbal abuse by Murray toward team employees. Team owners Henry and Susan Samueli will pay for his treatment program.

Jeff Solomon, who recently joined the Ducks front office, replaces Murray on an interim basis. He will be in charge of finding a full-time replacement.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Give credit to the Ducks organization for taking swift action when complaints about Murray were made via the league’s hotline to report abusive behavior. It’s indicative of the culture change underway in the NHL in the wake of the Chicago Blackhawks’ sexual assault scandal.

It appears Murray’s behavior was exacerbated by alcohol but that doesn’t excuse his alleged treatment of his subordinates. His NHL career is probably over but he’ll hopefully learn from this experience, get the proper treatment he needs for his alcohol abuse and becomes a better person going forward.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: Jack Campbell made 36 saves and William Nylander scored twice as the Toronto Maple Leafs blanked the Philadelphia Flyers 3-0. It’s the first time a Leafs goalie has shut out the Flyers since Ed Belfour did it on Nov. 29, 2002. Toronto captain John Tavares was a late scratch with a lower-body injury and is listed as day-to-day.

The Nashville Predators are 6-1-1 in their last eight games after a 4-2 victory over the Dallas Stars. Predators goalie Juuse Saros kicked out 25 shots while teammate Tanner Jeannot had a goal and an assist. Stars forward Roope Hintz picked up his first goal of the season.

Minnesota Wild winger Kevin Fiala had a goal and two assists as his club dropped the Arizona Coyotes 5-2. The Wild have won four straight to improve their record to 9-3-0. Shayne Gostisbehere had a goal and an assist for the sad-sack Coyotes, who sit 1-11-1 on the season.

IN OTHER NEWS…

OTTAWA SUN: The Senators are battling a COVID-19 outbreak that has sidelined six players and led to the second day of canceled practice as Canadian Tire Centre was closed to the public. The league is monitoring the situation and hopes to avoid rescheduling games if at all possible but maintains its top concern is the health of everyone in the dressing room.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The league might not have much choice but to reschedule some of the Senators games if the case numbers keep growing. The Sens are scheduled to face the Los Angeles Kings tonight at the CTC.

THE DENVER POST: Colorado Avalanche center Nathan MacKinnon is expected to miss around three weeks with a lower-body injury. Injuries have depleted the Avs roster this season, contributing to their 4-5-1 start.

CALGARY SUN: Flames winger Andrew Mangiapane was surprised to learn he’s on Team Canada’s 50-player long list of players who could make up their 25-man roster for the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics. The list won’t be publicly revealed but Mangiapane confirmed he’s on it.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Mangiapane is worthy of consideration. He’s steadily developed into a reliable top-six forward for the Flames and played a crucial role in Canada winning gold at the 2021 World Championships. He currently has eight goals and 10 points in 12 games this season.

DAILY FACEOFF: Leo Komarov’s nine-season NHL career is coming to a close. The New York Islanders are expected to place him on unconditional waivers today to terminate his contract. He will then join KHL club SKA St. Petersburg. In 491 games, Komarov had 63 goals and 170 points but saw action in just one game this season with the Isles.

TAMPA BAY TIMES: Lightning defenseman Erik Cernak is out indefinitely with an apparent injury to his left arm suffered during their overtime loss to the Carolina Hurricanes on Tuesday.

NBC SPORTS CHICAGO: Blackhawks forward Brandon Hagel will miss approximately two weeks with a shoulder injury.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 17, 2020

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 17, 2020

Joe Thornton signs with the Maple Leafs, the Flames avoid arbitration with Andrew Mangiapane, the Kings sign Quinton Byfield to an entry-level contract, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

TORONTO SUN: Joe Thornton is joining the Maple Leafs following 15 seasons with the San Jose Sharks. The unrestricted free agent center signed a one-year, $700K contract with the Leafs.

Long-time San Jose Sharks center Joe Thornton signed a one-year deal with the Toronto Maple Leafs (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s an affordable move by the Leafs bringing years of experience to their third-line center position and considerable leadership to the lineup. However, I remain skeptical that adding a past-his-prime Thornton moves the Leafs significantly closer toward Stanley Cup contention. I remain concerned about their blueline depth and the speed on their checking lines.

NBC SPORTS BAY AREA: Many Sharks players, including Brent Burns, Logan Couture, Erik Karlsson and Evander Kane, reacted with sadness over Thornton’s departure while praising his leadership and expressing their best wishes to their former teammate.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Many Sharks fans shared similar sentiments following the news of Thornton signing with the Leafs. He and Patrick Marleau are the two greatest players in Sharks’ history. Thornton spent the bulk of his playing prime in San Jose and was instrumental in turning them into a long-time Western Conference powerhouse. He was beloved by Sharks fans and his contributions won’t be forgotten by them or the franchise.

CALGARY SUN: The Flames avoided salary arbitration with Andrew Mangiapane as the winger signed a two-year contract worth $2.425 million per season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: A fair deal for Mangiapane following a 17-goal, 32-point performance in 68 games as an NHL sophomore in 2019-20. He’ll be in line for a significant raise if he can build last season’s effort.

LOS ANGELES TIMES: The King signed Quinton Byfield to a three-year entry-level contract. The 18-year-old Sudbury Wolves center became the highest-selected black player in NHL history as the Kings picked him second overall in this year’s NHL draft.

TSN: cites a report by The Athletic’s Arthur Staple indicating the New York Islanders are working toward a new contract with Matt Martin. The 31-year-old winger became an unrestricted free agent on Oct. 9. While several teams have contacted Martin, he prefers returning to the Isles.

NBC SPORTS PHILADELPHIA: Center Nolan Patrick has accepted the Flyers’ qualifying offer. He missed all of last season with a migraine disorder.

THE PROVINCE: Former Vancouver Canucks enforcer Gino Odjick is once again battling a rare heart condition called amyloidosis which nearly killed him six years ago. He’s confident that early detection this time around improves his chances of overcoming the ailment.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Best wishes to Odjick for a speedy and full recovery.










NHL Offseason Lookahead: Calgary Flames

NHL Offseason Lookahead: Calgary Flames










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 18, 2020

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 18, 2020

Avalanche lose Mikko Rantanen to injury, Canadiens’ Shea Weber close to returning to action, the three stars of the week, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: The Tampa Bay Lightning won a franchise-record 11th straight game with a 4-3 victory over the Colorado Avalanche. Nikita Kucherov tallied the winner in overtime as the Bolts (85 points) sit one back of the Boston Bruins for first overall in the league standings. It was a costly defeat for the Avs, as winger Mikko Rantanen suffered an upper-body injury (shoulder) that could sideline him for weeks. Earlier in the day, the Avs revealed goaltender Philipp Grubauer remains sidelined indefinitely with a lower-body injury.

Colorado Avalanche winger Mikko Rantanen could miss weeks with a shoulder injury (Photo via NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: There’s growing sparking speculation over what moves the Avs will make to bolster their injury-depleted roster. I’ll have more details this morning in the Rumors section.

Calgary Flames winger Andrew Mangiapane tallied his first career NHL hat trick to down the Anaheim Ducks 6-4. With the win, the Flames (68 points) hold the first wild-card berth in the Pacific Division. Jakob Silfverberg had a goal and an assist for the Ducks.

The Arizona Coyotes (68 points) hold the second Western Conference wild-card spot after edging the New York Islanders 2-1. Conor Garland tallied his 20th goal of the season for the Coyotes. Andy Greene collected an assist in his first game with the Isles since being acquired from the New Jersey Devils on Sunday. The Islanders have dropped three straight games.

Vegas Golden Knights goalie Marc-Andre Fleury kicked out 25 shots in a 3-2 win over the Washington Capitals. The Golden Knights (70 points) move into a tie with the Edmonton Oilers for first place in the Pacific Division, but the Oilers hold two games in hand. The Capitals (79 points) cling to a one-point lead over the Pittsburgh Penguins for the top spot in the Metropolitan Division. Washington captain Alex Ovechkin was held scoreless for the fifth straight game and remains stuck at 698 career goals.

Sergei Bobrovsky made 29 saves and Aaron Ekblad collected two assists to give the Florida Panthers a 5-3 victory over the San Jose Sharks. The Panthers (68 points) move within two points of the Toronto Maple Leafs for third place in the Atlantic Division. Following the game, Sharks defenseman Brenden Dillon got emotional when asked if he thought that was his last home game with the Sharks. Dillon is a free agent this summer and considered a trade candidate.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Fans and pundits love to bandy about the names of possible trade candidates. We shouldn’t forget that these are human beings. While the players acknowledge getting traded is part of the business of hockey, it can still be difficult facing the prospect of leaving a team.

HEADLINES

Edmonton Oilers center Leon Draisaitl, Tampa Bay Lightning goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy, and former LA Kings winger Tyler Toffoli (now with the Vancouver Canucks) are the NHL’s three stars for the week ending Feb. 16.

THE SCORE: Canucks winger Brock Boeser will be sidelined three weeks with a rib injury, while winger Micheal Ferland (concussion) is done for the season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This news explains why the Canucks acquired Toffoli from the Kings last night.

MONTREAL GAZETTE: Canadiens captain Shea Weber has returned to practice with his teammates and could play tonight against the Detroit Red Wings. Weber had suffered an ankle injury that supposedly had him sidelined for six weeks amid speculation it was career-threatening.

THE BUFFALO NEWS: The Sabres have suspended defenseman Zach Bogosian for failing to report to their AHL affiliate after he recently cleared waivers. The suspension removes Bogosian’s $5.14 million salary-cap hit from the Sabres’ books, providing them flexibility as the Feb. 24 trade deadline approaches. The club could negotiate a mutual contract termination with Bogosian.