NHL Rumor Mill – September 2, 2023

NHL Rumor Mill – September 2, 2023

Elias Lindholm is open to staying with the Flames, the latest on Evgeny Kuznetsov and Anthony Mantha, and updates on Max Comtois and Tyler Ennis in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.


CALGARY SUN: Wes Gilbertson reports Elias Lindholm is willing to stick with the Flames. The 28-year-old center told Sweden’s Hockeysverige.se that his agent and the club are handling the contract extension negotiations. He said there is a lot the two sides have to agree on.

Calgary Flames center Elias Lindholm (NHL Images).

After that, it’s up to the agent and Calgary to sort out the rest, “ said Lindholm. “Then, we’ll see if it works out or not.”

Lindholm noted that he has a year remaining on his current contract after which he’s eligible to become an unrestricted free agent. “Nothing strange about that,” he said. “We will see what happens.”

Gilbertson believes the Flames can’t afford to let Lindholm depart next summer as a UFA. He believes the two-way center will be traded before then if they fail to hammer out an extension.

Flames general manager Craig Conroy has made it clear that he wants to get Lindholm under contract. It’s rumored the center could seek an average annual value of $9 million. Comparables could be the New York Islanders’ Bo Horvat and the Los Angeles Kings’ Pierre-Luc Dubois. Both are earning AAVs of $8.5 million but Lindholm was a Selke Finalist in 2021-22.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Lindholm would draw plenty of interest if the Flames shop him before the March trade deadline. The Boston Bruins have been frequently mentioned as a possible suitor. For now, however, it’s a positive sign for the Flames that Lindholm is willing to sign with them provided they can work out a mutually beneficial deal.


THE HOCKEY NEWS: Adam Proteau believes Washington Capitals center Evgeny Kuznetsov will be on the hot seat this season. The 31-year-old center is coming off a disappointing performance in 2022-23, making him the subject of trade chatter following reports he requested a trade last March, something he hasn’t rescinded.

Kuznetsov is signed through 2024-25 with an AAV of $7.8 million and a 10-team no-trade clause. That gives him cost certainty for certain teams. Given his current low value in the trade market, Proteau believes the only way Kuznetsov gets moved this season is if he plays well.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Then again, an improved effort by Kuznetsov could make him more valuable to the Capitals playoff hopes this season. It’ll be interesting to see how his situation unfolds.

Capitals winger Anthony Mantha is also coming off a lousy 2022-23 campaign. He carries an AAV of $5.7 million, lacks no-trade protection and is eligible next summer for UFA status. Proteau suggests he might be an attractive rental option if his performance improves.


EDMONTON JOURNAL: Jim Matheson reports Tyler Ennis might get a professional tryout offer (PTO) from a Western-based club. The former NHL forward is also mulling offers from Switzerland, where he played last season.

BPM SPORTS RADIO: Marc-Olivier Beaudoin reports being told that former Anaheim Ducks winger Maxime Comtois could get a PTO from the Vegas Golden Knights.

NHL Rumor Mill – August 24, 2023

NHL Rumor Mill – August 24, 2023

A look at some of the Metropolitan Division teams plus some PTO options for the Penguins in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.


SPORTSNET: Earlier this week, Ryan Dixon looked at the biggest questions facing each team in the Metropolitan Division. Some of them involve possible trade scenarios.

The Carolina Hurricanes, for example, must decide if they’re willing to go through this season without a contract extension for Brett Pesce. They could flip him for a scoring forward but Dixon thinks they could ride it out with the 28-year-old defenseman given their status as a Stanley Cup contender.

Carolina Hurricanes defenseman Brett Pesce (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: There was speculation earlier this summer that the Hurricanes were willing to consider trading Pesce if they couldn’t get him under contract before the start of this season. Their offseason additions of Dmitry Orlov and Tony DeAngelo served to fuel those rumors. If they don’t find a suitable trade offer, however, they could stick with Pesce for the coming season.

Dixon also wondered whether the New Jersey Devils will take a run at landing a reliable starting goaltender such as the Winnipeg Jets’ Connor Hellebuyck. He also mentioned the possibility of the Boston Bruins moving one of their goalies in pursuit of a center.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Devils were linked to Hellebuyck in the rumor mill through late June and early July. It’s said that they weren’t willing to meet the 30-year-old goalie’s $9 million average annual value on a new contract beyond this season. As for the Bruins, they’re sticking with Linus Ullmark and Jeremy Swayman. They see having a solid goalie tandem as their best bet to reach the playoffs this season.

If center Sean Couturier is fully healthy, Dixon mused over what his future might be and if it would be with the Philadelphia Flyers. The 30-year-old former Selke Trophy winner was sidelined by a back injury since Dec. 2021 but is expected to be in training camp next month. Perhaps the Flyers put Couturier on the trade block if he regains his form though his hefty contract could make that an impossibility.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Couturier’s contract is a major obstacle in the path toward a trade. He carries an AAV of $7.75 million through 2029-30 with a full no-movement clause.

Finally, Dixon pondered the fates of Washington Capitals forwards Evgeny Kuznetsov and Anthony Mantha. He wondered if a trade of one or both forwards was possible given their miserable performances last season. He suggested the prospect of moving Kuznetsov if the Capitals were willing to retain part of his $7.8 million AAV through 2024-25.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: If there were any chance of moving either guy it would’ve happened by now. The Nashville Predators were reportedly interested in Kuznetsov before free agency started on July 1 but that seems to have waned following their signing of center Ryan O’Reilly.


PITTSBURGH HOCKEY NOW: Dan Kingerski recently suggested several players the Penguins should consider as possible targets for professional tryout offers.

One name of note is former Edmonton Oilers and Carolina Hurricanes winger Jesse Puljujarvi, suggesting the opportunity to play with Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin might be a selling point. Other targets include defensemen Mark Pysyk and Slater Koekkoek.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Puljujarvi is recovering from offseason hip surgery and is expected to be unavailable until later this fall. Kingerski noted that Koekkoek stepped away from the game last season to deal with unbearable anxiety. He hasn’t announced if he’s ready to resume his career.

Pysyk might be the best bet on his list. He missed last season recovering from a torn Achilles but could be ready to return to action for 2023-24.

NHL Rumor Mill – August 23, 2023

NHL Rumor Mill – August 23, 2023

Should the Devils pursue Connor Hellebuyck? Are the Capitals any closer to moving Evgeny Kuznetsov and Anthony Mantha? What are the Canadiens’ trade options for Casey DeSmith? Check out the latest in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.


NHL NETWORK: Mike Rupp believes the New Jersey Devils should attempt to acquire Connor Hellebuyck. The 30-year-old Winnipeg Jets goaltender appears reluctant to sign a contract extension and could seek $9 million annually on his next deal given his strong play over the past five years.

Rupp doesn’t know if the Devils would be interested in signing Hellebuyck to an expensive long-term extension. However, he has this season left on his contract and Rupp thinks the Devils would be a good fit if Hellebuyck wants to win the Stanley Cup.

Winnipeg Jets goaltender Connor Hellebuyck (NHL Images).

Rumors have linked Hellebuyck to the Devils. Rupp believes they have the players and pieces to make an offer to the Jets, noting that goaltending is an X factor for New Jersey. Perhaps spending the season with the Devils would make Hellebuyck more receptive to staying on a slightly more affordable contract.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Hellebuyck seems like a perfect fit for the Devils and there was talk earlier this summer claiming they had inquired into his availability. The cost of signing him to an extension was said to be the deal breaker.

The Jets thus far haven’t found a suitable offer for Hellebuyck. It appears they’ll start the season with him in the lineup and see how things go. If they’re out of playoff contention by the trade deadline perhaps a deal with the Devils or another playoff contender can be had.

Meanwhile, the Devils appear willing to enter this season with the tandem of Vitek Vanecek and Akira Schmid between the pipes. Whether they’ll stick with them for the playoffs remains to be seen.


THE HOCKEY NEWS: Sammi Silber reports recent trade speculation regarding Evgeny Kuznetsov and Anthony Mantha suggests both players will remain with the Washington Capitals for the time being.

Silber cited a report earlier this month from Daily Faceoff’s Frank Seravalli indicating Kuznetsov and Mantha remain trade chips for the Capitals. However, it seems unlikely either player will be moved.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Nashville Predators looked into acquiring Kuznetsov before the free-agent market opened on July 1. However, that interest appears to have cooled in part because of their addition of Ryan O’Reilly. There’s been no indication that Mantha has drawn any serious attention in this summer’s trade market.

Kuznetsov and Mantha are coming off down seasons and both carry expensive cap hits in a summer when most teams have limited cap space. The only way their trade value improves is if the Capitals agree to retain half of their respective cap hits. Otherwise, it’ll take improvement in their performance during the coming regular season to make them more enticing in the trade market.


MONTREAL HOCKEY NOW: Marc Dumont recently looked at possible trade destinations for Casey DeSmith. Acquired earlier this month from the Pittsburgh Penguins, the Canadiens could attempt to flip the 32-year-old backup and his $1.8 million cap hit to another club before the start of the season.

Dumont suggested the Boston Bruins if they end up trading Linus Ullmark or Jeremy Swayman for a center. The Anaheim Ducks could be another option if they trade John Gibson. The St. Louis Blues and Tampa Bay Lightning are possibilities if their current backups struggle. Others could be the San Jose Sharks and Columbus Blue Jackets.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Bruins will be sticking with their current goalie tandem for the coming season. There doesn’t appear to be a market for Gibson given his $6.4 million cap hit. Barring injuries, those other clubs are likely to start the season with their current goalies and see how things shake out.

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – August 22, 2023

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – August 22, 2023

Jets defenseman Josh Morrissey will be ready for training camp, Oilers goalie Stuart Skinner hopes to improve in his sophomore season, Jakob Chychrun prepares for his first full season with the Senators, and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.

NHL.COM: Josh Morrissey said he’s fully recovered from his season-ending lower-body injury suffered during the Winnipeg Jets’ first-round playoff series with the Vegas Golden Knights. The 28-year-old defenseman said his recovery timeline was four-to-six weeks.

Winnipeg Jets defenseman Josh Morrissey (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: A healthy Morrissey is good news for the Jets and their playoff hopes for the coming season. He’s coming off a career-best 76-point performance in 2022-23.

Stuart Skinner hopes to take the lessons learned from his 2022-23 rookie campaign to be even better in his approaching sophomore season. Skinner appeared in the 2023 All-Star Game and was a finalist for the Calder Memorial Trophy.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Perhaps the biggest lesson learned for Skinner was handling NHL postseason pressure. He outplayed Jack Campbell for the starting goalie job during the regular season but struggled in the playoffs and at times was spelled off by Campbell. His inconsistent play was among the reasons why the Oilers failed to get past the second round against the Golden Knights.

OTTAWA SUN: Jakob Chychrun is preparing for his first full season with the Senators. The 25-year-old defenseman was traded from the Arizona Coyotes before the March 3 trade deadline.

Frequently sidelined by injuries, Chychrun’s taking a different approach to his offseason training with a group in Toronto to help him stay healthy this season. He’s working on improving his skating as well as incorporating a workout routine that includes pilates and treatment for the hamstring injury that hampered him last season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Having Chychrun healthy and productive will be crucial for the Senators as they hope to finally qualify for the playoffs following several seasons of rebuilding.

WASHINGTON HOCKEY NOW: Anthony Mantha is hoping to improve his speed and performance in his contract year. The 28-year-old Capitals winger has committed to trimming his playing weight from last season’s 242 to 232 in the hope that it will bolster his game.

Mantha is coming off a poor performance last season, tallying just 27 points in 67 games. He understands that he needs to have a successful effort in the final year of his contract.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: A solid season from Mantha will not only improve his free-agent value next summer but also the Capitals’ chance of reaching the playoffs. This is an aging club coming off a season where they missed the playoffs for the first time since 2013-14.

DAILY FACEOFF: The Carolina Hurricanes signed defenseman Nathan Beaulieu to a professional tryout offer.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: As the report points out, the Hurricanes already have a stacked blueline featuring Brent Burns, Dmitry Orlov, Jaccob Slavin, Brett Pesce, Brady Skjei, Tony DeAngelo, Dylan Coghlan and Caleb Jones.

Pesce and Skjei have surfaced as trade candidates this summer due to their UFA eligibility next July. Signing Beaulieu to a PTO could stoke speculation of management’s intent to move one of them for a scoring forward before the season begins in October.

BOSTON HOCKEY NOW: Speaking of PTOs, winger Alex Chiasson signed one with the Bruins.

THE HOCKEY NEWS: Former Arizona Coyotes forward Alex Galchenyuk pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge on Monday for uttering threats at a police offer. He was arrested in July on six charges, including private property hit and run, disorderly conduct, failure to obey, resisting arrest and threatening or intimidating.

Five other charges against Galchenyuk were dismissed. He was ordered to spend 30 days in jail but 27 of those will be suspended if he completes an alcohol recovery program and goes 12 months without consuming or possessing alcohol.

NHL.COM: Jonathan Bernier announced his retirement yesterday after 14 NHL seasons. The 35-year-old goaltender did not play last season due to a hip injury.

Selected 11th overall by the Los Angeles Kings in the 2006 NHL Draft, Bernier compiled a record of 165 wins, 163 losses and 40 overtime losses as well as a 2.77 goals-against average, a .912 save percentage and 18 shutouts. He played 404 regular-season games with the Kings, Toronto Maple Leafs, Anaheim Ducks, Colorado Avalanche, Detroit Red Wings and New Jersey Devils, winning the Stanley Cup in 2012 with the Kings as Jonathan Quick’s backup.

Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – June 25, 2023

Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – June 25, 2023

Are the Kings close to acquiring Pierre-Luc Dubois? Are the Jets getting much interest in Mark Scheifele? Are the Predators trying to move up in the draft? What’s the latest on the Capitals? Find out in the Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup.


THE ATHLETIC: Eric Stephens speculates the Los Angeles Kings trading Sean Durzi to the Arizona Coyotes on Saturday could be positioning themselves toward a big move. He noted that the rumblings linking the Kings to Winnipeg Jets center Pierre-Luc Dubois are heating up.

Winnipeg Jets center Pierre-Luc Dubois (NHL Images).

Stephens pointed out the Kings have around $9 million in salary-cap space for 2023-24. With Dubois reportedly seeking an average annual value (AAV) of $9 million on his next contract, it would be a tight squeeze unless they shed more salary.

Winger Gabriel Vilardi could become a cost-cutting candidate. Like Dubois, he’s a restricted free agent (RFA) with arbitration rights. Promising Quinton Byfield would interest the Jets but Kings general manager Rob Blake has been resistant to cut ties on the 20-year-old center.

THE HOCKEY NEWS: Carter Brooks reports a number of league and front-office sources claim the Jets and Kings are deep in trade talks. One executive believes a deal between the two clubs is “nearly inevitable.”

Brooks pointed out that Dubois and goaltender Connor Hellebuyck are the two Jets most likely to be traded by the upcoming NHL Draft (June 28-29). Byfield, Vilardi and promising defenseman Brandt Clarke could be players of interest for the Jets.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Brooks also cited Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman claiming the Dubois camp has whittled down their list of potential trade destinations from 5-6 teams to just two. The Kings and the Montreal Canadiens have been oft-mentioned as possible landing spots for Dubois. Of late, much of the chatter involves the Kings.

If the Kings acquire Dubois I believe there has to be a salaried player heading to Winnipeg in the deal to free up sufficient cap space. Vilardi is currently a restricted free agent so moving him doesn’t free up any cap space for the Kings. Byfield is entering the final season of his entry-level contract with a cap hit of over $894K.

If not, the Kings will have to make a separate trade with another club to free up cap space for Dubois if they intend to ink him to a deal with an AAV of $9 million.


THE ATHLETIC: Like teammates Hellebuyck, Dubois and Blake Wheeler, Winnipeg Jets center Mark Scheifele is a year away from unrestricted free-agent eligibility.

Like them, Scheifele could also be on the move this summer. However, it appears the Jets aren’t getting as many offers as they anticipated for the 30-year-old center even though he’s coming off a career-high 42-goal performance.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Inconsistency was an issue for Scheifele in recent years which could be dampening his value in the trade market.


THE TENNESSEAN: Paul Skrbina reports incoming Nashville Predators general manager Barry Trotz is “trying like hell to get a, say, top four or top-five pick.” He acknowledged the difficulty of landing one in the trade market. However, he’s said he’s trying to make the teams holding those picks uncomfortable by making a lot of offers.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I applaud Trotz’s willingness to aggressively pursue a top-five pick. However, teams with those selections usually guard them like crown jewels. The Predators, meanwhile, hold the No. 15 selection in this year’s draft. Trotz will have to bundle that with some really enticing trade bait if he hopes to land one of those top-five selections.


THE HOCKEY NEWS: Sammi Silber reports the Washington Capitals might hold off on trading Evgeny Kuznetsov and Anthony Mantha. They reportedly made both forwards available in the trade market.

Silber cited The Athletic’s Pierre LeBrun indicating that Mantha hasn’t drawn much interest in the trade market while Kuznetsov remains a long shot to be dealt.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That’s not surprising given the poor performances of both forwards this season plus their respective contracts. Mantha has a year remaining with an AAV of $5.7 million while Kuznetsov has two years left with an annual cap hit of $7.8 million.

The Capitals are also exploring ways to move up from eighth overall in this year’s first-round draft order. It’s believed they have serious interest in Russian prospect winger Matvei Michkov.

Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – June 11, 2023

Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – June 11, 2023

Check out the latest on Connor Hellebuyck, Pierre-Luc Dubois, Mitch Marner, William Nylander, Brett Pesce, Carter Hart, Evgeny Kuznetsov, Noah Hanifin and many more in the Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup

THE ATHLETIC (subscription required): Insiders Pierre LeBrun, Eric Duhatschek and Michael Russo reported the latest trade rumors on the following:

Connor Hellebuyck will not sign a contract extension with the Winnipeg Jets. “That ship has sailed. His next contract will be with a new team.”

SPECTORS’ NOTE: Hellebuyck, 30, has a year remaining on his contract with a cap hit of $6.166 million and lacks no-trade protection. The Jets could retain him for more shot at a playoff run but it seems more likely that he’ll be moved, perhaps by the upcoming NHL draft on June 28-29 in Nashville.

Speaking of the Jets, agent Pat Brisson reportedly informed management that his client, Pierre-Luc Dubois, isn’t interested in a contract extension. Brisson is willing to work with management to find a suitable trade partner. The Montreal Canadiens have engaged with the Jets but aren’t likely to overpay in return or contract.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Canadiens general manager Kent Hughes last week said that Habs captain Nick Suzuki’s $7.875 million cap hit was not the club’s cap ceiling for adding players via trade or free agency.

There was some speculation linking Dubois to the Boston Bruins. However, Boston Hockey Now’s Jimmy Murphy cited an NHL executive saying the Bruins lack the cap space and the tradeable assets to acquire him.

Toronto Maple Leafs winger Mitch Marner (NHL Images).

Brad Treliving, the new general manager of the Toronto Maple Leafs, prefers to keep the club’s “core four” (Auston Matthews, Mitch Marner, William Nylander and captain John Tavares) intact. Signing Matthews to a contract extension this summer remains his priority. He also hasn’t mentioned Marner’s name when talking with other clubs.

Treliving also wants to sign Nylander, whose agent also represents Johnny Gaudreau. Given that history when Treliving was Flames GM last year, he won’t allow Nylander’s situation to play out all year as he did with Gaudreau.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The trade chatter regarding Matthews, Marner and Nylander has cooled significantly in recent weeks. If Treliving plans to move any of those three, he’ll have to do it before July 1. That’s when the no-movement clauses for Matthews and Marner kick in along with Nylander’s 10-team no-trade clause.

The Carolina Hurricanes hope to re-sign Brady Skjei and Brett Pesce to extensions this summer. It’s possible the Hurricanes trade Pesce (who recently changed agents) if his contract demands aren’t what management has in mind.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Pesce’s AAV on his current deal is $4.025 million. The 28-year-old is slated to become a UFA next summer. He could seek between $6 million and $6.5 million annually on his next deal.

Flyers GM Daniel Briere is listening to trade offers for goaltender Carter Hart and forwards Travis Konecny and Scott Laughton.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That doesn’t mean those three are certain to be traded. However, Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman also reported many teams spoke with Briere at the draft combine in Buffalo last week about Laughton and Hart.

Friedman also mentioned last week that the Flyers are aggressively shopping defenseman Tony DeAngelo.

Briere showed a willingness last week to make bold moves with that three-team deal that sent Ivan Provorov to Columbus. We can’t rule out the possibility that he’ll move at least one of those guys for the right offer, one heavy with draft picks and quality prospects or young players that accelerates his rebuilding program.

The New Jersey Devils traded the rights of pending UFA defenseman Damon Severson last week to the Columbus Blue Jackets, who promptly signed him to an eight-year contract. The Devils could also peddle the rights of UFAs Ryan Graves and Miles Wood.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: As with the Severson deal, the asking price will likely be a draft pick.

SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman reported Calgary Flames GM Craig Conroy is fielding offers for Noah Hanifin. The 26-year-old defenseman is earning an AAV of $4.95 million and is slated to become a UFA next July.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Flames have shaken up their front office and coaching staff this spring so it’s no surprise the focus is shifting to the roster. It’ll be interesting to see what Conroy has in store this summer. Forwards Elias Lindholm, Mikael Backlund and Tyler Toffoli are also eligible to become UFAs next summer.

THE HOCKEY NEWS: Sammi Silber reports the Washington Capitals have let teams know that forwards Evgeny Kuznetsov and Anthony Mantha are on the trade block. Both players are coming off disappointing performances this season. The Capitals hope to shake up their roster and create some salary-cap flexibility.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Moving either guy won’t be easy. Kuznetsov is signed through 2024-25 with an AAV of $7.8 million and a 10-team no-trade clause. Mantha has a year left on his contract and lacks no-trade protection but carries a $5.7 million cap hit.

THE HOCKEY NEWS: Nick Horwat recently cited Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman claiming Tristan Jarry is looking for a six-or seven-year contract. The 28-year-old Pittsburgh Penguins goaltender is eligible for UFA status on July 1 after coming off a three-year deal with an AAV of $3.5 million.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: With Hellebucyk, Hart and the Anaheim Ducks’ John Gibson surfacing in the rumor mill of late, the Penguins could pursue one of those as a replacement for Jarry.