NHL Rumor Mill – January 12, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – January 12, 2022

Check out the latest on Evander Kane, John Klingberg, Jakob Chychrun, Tomas Hertl, Max Domi and more in today’s NHL rumor mill.

OILERS AMONG THREE TEAMS INTERESTED IN EVANDER KANE

TSN: Darren Dreger reports the Edmonton Oilers, Florida Panthers and Tampa Bay Lightning are believed to be the top-three clubs interested in signing Evander Kane. Oilers captain Connor McDavid is said to be on board with adding the former San Jose Sharks winger.

Kane and his agent continue to conduct due diligence here holding Zoom calls with general managers and coaches. Meanwhile, Chris Johnston said it could take several weeks for Kane’s grievance hearing with the Sharks to take place. The league and the NHLPA are comfortable with the winger signing with another club and resuming his NHL career while this process is ongoing.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman also wondered if the Carolina Hurricanes could also get into the bidding. Meanwhile, there are reports suggesting Kane could sign with the Oilers before the end of this week.

Dallas Stars defenseman John Klingberg (NHL Images).

Earlier this week, there was speculation suggesting the Oilers had an interest in Montreal Canadiens winger Brendan Gallagher. We can put that to rest if the Oilers sign Kane.

KLINGBERG, GIORDANO AMONG NOTABLE DEFENSEMEN IN TRADE MARKET

TSN: Darren Dreger reports several pending unrestricted free agent defensemen could draw interest in the trade market. Right-side blueliners include the Dallas Stars John Klingberg, Buffalo Sabres’ Colin Miller and (potentially) the Anaheim Ducks’ Josh Manson, while the Montreal Canadiens Ben Chiarot and (potentially) the Seattle Kraken’s Mark Giordano.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Miller and Chiarot are the most likely to be shopped given their clubs’ low position in the standings. I initially had doubts about the Kraken shopping Giordano but recent reports suggest it could happen before the March 21 trade deadline. I don’t see Klingberg or Manson getting moved as long as their clubs remain in playoff contention by deadline day.

RUMORS TIDBITS FROM FRIEDMAN’S LATEST “32 THOUGHTS”

SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman reported there was some speculation that the Sharks could use the money freed up from terminating Kane’s contract to re-sign pending UFA center Tomas Hertl. However, that currently seems to be a premature assumption.

Friedman believes the Carolina Hurricanes and Colorado Avalanche are going to appear in almost every trade rumor.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That’s because both clubs are considered Stanley Cup contenders in “go-for-it” mode. I would also include the Florida Panthers, who are linked to Evander Kane and are said to be shopping around for blue-line depth.

Friedman includes the Hurricanes with the Anaheim Ducks, Los Angeles Kings and St. Louis Blues with interest in Jakob Chychrun. He believes the contract of the 23-year-old Arizona Coyotes defenseman ($4.6 million through 2024-25) is right in the Hurricanes’ wheelhouse.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Cap Friendly shows the Ducks and Kings in better shape cap-wise to take on Chychrun’s contract at the trade deadline than the Hurricanes and Blues. They also have more tradeable assets in terms of promising prospects.

Friedman said some teams believe the Coyotes could prefer shipping the blueliner to an Eastern club. However, I don’t think that’s set in stone, especially if a Western club is willing to meet their asking price.

Speaking of Chychrun, the Ottawa Sun’s Bruce Garrioch reports the Senators may have kicked tires but he doubts they’ll acquire him. Garrioch believes he “likely doesn’t fit the bill for what the Senators are trying to accomplish here.”

With the Bruins finally signing Tuukka Rask, Friedman wondered if Columbus Blue Jackets forward Max Domi would be a good fit in Boston.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: They could prefer finding a new home for Jake DeBrusk first. Hey, maybe a DeBrusk-for-Domi swap? If not, maybe DeBrusk for Lawson Crouse? Friedman’s colleague Jeff Marek recently noted the Bruins had been linked to the Arizona Coyotes forward.

Oilers GM Ken Holland all but confirmed he’s not interested in trading his 2022 first-round pick. He’d floated that notion earlier this season if this club was in a strong contender position but that’s not the case now.










NHL Rumor Mill – December 21, 2021

NHL Rumor Mill – December 21, 2021

Could the Oilers or Bruins have an interest in Coyotes defenseman Jakob Chychrun? What moves could be in store for the Ducks by the trade deadline? Find out in today’s NHL rumor mill.

SPORTSNET: Jeff Marek and Elliotte Friedman discussed the potential availability of Jakob Chychrun during Monday’s “32 Thoughts” podcast. Friedman said he’s spoken with a couple of people who don’t believe the Edmonton Oilers aren’t in it for the 23-year-old Arizona Coyotes defenseman. Marek and Friedman agreed he’d be a great fit with the Oilers but the latter said not to put money on the Oilers acquiring Chychrun.

Arizona Coyotes defenseman Jakob Chychrun (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Limited cap space could be one reason. Cap Friendly shows the Oilers sitting over $7 million above the $81.5 million ceiling because of several players on long-term injury reserve. Another could be the Coyotes’ steep asking price. There could also be a concern over Chychrun’s knee injuries earlier in his career.

BOSTON HOCKEY NOW: Joe Haggerty believes the Bruins also need a top-four left-side rearguard capable of playing big minutes. He thinks Chychrun would address that need plus he’s cost-controlled carrying an affordable $4.6 million annual salary-cap hit for the next three seasons. The Coyotes’ asking price, however, could prove too expensive for the Bruins in terms of draft picks and cheap young talent.

Nevertheless, Haggerty took a stab at a couple of proposals. One was Matt Grzelcyk or Brandon Carlo and Jack Studnicka plus a first-round pick and a second-rounder as a “starting-off point” in trade conversations. Another was Jake DeBrusk, Urho Vaakanainen and a pair of draft picks.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I don’t think the Bruins have sufficient depth in tempting trade assets to outbid other clubs for Chychrun. It doesn’t mean they shouldn’t try if they have an interest, but I wouldn’t expect to see him pulling on a Bruins jersey anytime soon.

THE ATHLETIC: In a recent mailbag segment, Eric Stephens was asked if the Anaheim Ducks will be buyers or sellers by the March 21 trade deadline. He felt the longer the Ducks keep playing as well as they have thus far, the less likely they’ll want to break up a winning hand.

Stephens believes pending unrestricted free agents like defensemen Hampus Lindholm and Josh Manson and winger Rikard Rakell will have value in the trade market given their current play. However, it would be difficult to ship them out when the Ducks have put themselves in position for a playoff run.

If the Ducks intend to re-sign those players, Stephens suggested Lindholm would have the most value, followed by Manson and Rakell.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Ducks could become sellers if they collapse during the second half of the schedule leading up to the trade deadline. If they’re still in the thick of the playoff race, however, I think they’ll hang onto Lindholm, Manson and Rakell as “own rentals” and push for a playoff spot. They can attempt to re-sign them in the offseason before the free-agent market opens on July 13.










Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – November 14, 2021

Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – November 14, 2021

The latest on Tomas Hertl, a suggestion for the Ducks to embrace a full rebuild, and speculation over whether the Penguins should shop for a backup in the Sunday NHL rumor roundup.

THE ATHLETIC: Kevin Kurz still believes there is a 50-50 chance Tomas Hertl signs a contract extension with the San Jose Sharks. While the 28-year-old center seems happier this season, that doesn’t necessarily mean he wants to finish his career in San Jose or the Sharks want to sign him to a long, expensive contract.

San Jose Sharks center Tomas Hertl (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Hertl has said he hopes to speak with Sharks general manager Doug Wilson later this season about a contract extension. However, it won’t be easy to fit a new deal for him under their cap hit for next season.

Cap Friendly shows them with almost $62 million invested in 15 players for 2022-23. Assuming Hertl and Wilson agree to a $7 million annual average value, that won’t leave much room to bolster their roster unless they can shed some salary. Some will suggest buying out Evander Kane’s contract but that would leave a lot of dead cap space over the next six seasons.

NBC SPORTS: James O’Brien believes the Anaheim Ducks should embrace a true roster rebuild following Bob Murray’s resignation as general manager. He suggested attempting to move John Gibson in a well-timed, sell-high trade.

The 28-year-old goaltender carries a $6.4 million annual cap hit through 2026-27. Otherwise, they risk his performance declining by the time they’re truly ready to contend. O’Brien acknowledged trades involving prominent goalies with term on their contracts traded during the season but felt they should be aggressive and creative in pushing their rebuild.

With Ryan Getzlaf, Rickard Rakell, Hampus Lindholm and Josh Manson on expiring contracts, O’Brien proposed shopping them (along with Gibson) at the March trade deadline. They could also weaponize their cap space by moving those players out to create enough room to target teams willing to pay a premium to unload some contracts.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: We’ll likely get a better grasp of what the Ducks interim management intends to do by the second half of the season. They could start shopping those pending free agents and veterans like Gibson who might not fit into their long-term plans if they’ve tumbled out of playoff contention by March. However, they could also retain those players if they’re in the thick of the postseason race.

PITTSBURGH HOCKEY NOW: Dan Kingerski wondered if the Penguins will be shopping for a reliable backup as Casey DeSmith has allowed four or more goals in seven of his last 10 starts dating back to last March.

Kingerski noted sources said Penguins management was interested in finding an experienced backup over the summer. Brian Burke (president of hockey operations) downplayed those rumors last month but Kingerski speculates that might be more the result of a bad trade market than a lack of interest.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Athletic’s Josh Yohe doesn’t think it’s time yet for the Penguins to start searching for a better backup. However, he feels DeSmith needs to pick up his play and soon. A few more shaky performances and the Penguins won’t have much choice but to find a suitable understudy for starter Tristan Jarry.










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.










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.