NHL Rumor Mill – December 10, 2020

NHL Rumor Mill – December 10, 2020

Reaction to reports of the Golden Knights shopping Max Pacioretty in today’s NHL rumor mill.

NBC SPORTS: Adam Gretz took note of TSN’s reporting the Vegas Golden Knights could consider trading Max Pacioretty. He points out only seven teams – “Florida, Columbus, Detroit, Ottawa, Nashville, Los Angeles, and New Jersey” – have sufficient salary-cap space to absorb the winger’s $7 million annual cap hit.

Vegas Golden Knights winger Max Pacioretty (NHL Images).

Gretz scratched the Blue Jackets from that list because re-signing Pierre-Luc Dubois will take up most of their $9.2 million cap space. Ottawa, Detroit and Los Angeles are rebuilding and probably unwilling to take on an expensive 32-year-old forward.

The Predators could be the best fit because they need a finisher. The Devils need a scoring winger alongside centers Nico Hischier and Jack Hughes. The Panthers need someone to replace departed winger Mike Hoffman.

BOSTON HOCKEY NOW: Joe Haggerty suggests the Bruins should take a run at Pacioretty. It could cost them winger Jake DeBrusk and perhaps defense prospect Urho Vaakanainen but Haggerty feels it would be a fair price for a big, skilled second-line scorer.

PITTSBURGH HOCKEY NOW: Dan Kingerski reports multiple sources are claiming the Penguins are among the clubs expressing interest in Pacioretty, with one saying general manager Jim Rutherford circled back on Wednesday and is awaiting a response. Kingerski considered the talks exploratory.

THE ATHLETIC: Jesse Granger reports his sources said Golden Knights GM Kelly McCrimmon is simply testing the trade market regarding the value of Pacioretty, goalie Marc-Andre Fleury and winger Jonathan Marchessault following a period without much player movement around the league.

Granger acknowledged the Golden Knights must become cap compliant before the season begins but believes they would be making a mistake trading Pacioretty. The club is built to win now and trading their leading goal scorer wouldn’t put them closer to the Stanley Cup. He also indicates the trade market isn’t strong right now, making it difficult to move high-salaried players like Pacioretty.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: ESPN.com’s Greg Wyshynski tweeted a report out of Las Vegas in which Golden Knights owner claimed his club is “not shopping Patches.” He admits they have cap issues that must be addressed before the season begins but moving Pacioretty isn’t among the options.

Granger believes McCrimmon could be looking at available options if he goes the trade route to shed salary. While they could easily get under the cap by demoting a player, McCrimmon could also be looking at freeing up enough salary to target a UFA forward like Mike Hoffman or former Golden Knights center Erik Haula.

I said yesterday that Pacioretty’s age, $7 million AAV and 10-team no-trade clause makes it difficult to move him given the current economic situation. Fleury ($7 million AAV, 10-team no-trade) and Marchessault ($5 million AAV, eight-team NTC) would also be tough to trade. I’m not saying it’s impossible, but the sticking points are significant.

The Bruins can’t afford Pacioretty’s salary. Cap Friendly indicates they have over $2.9 million in cap space. Moving DeBrusk’s $3.675 million won’t free up enough for the veteran winger. Yes, they could get some short-term cap relief by placing Brad Marchand or David Pastrnak on LTIR, but both could return to the lineup by February, forcing the Bruins to shed salary. Besides, I think their focus is on shoring up the left side of their blueline.

With just $1.3 million in cap space, the Penguins have less money to work with than the Bruins. Pittsburgh GM Jim Rutherford has a well-earned reputation for wheeling-and-dealing but I don’t see how he can pull off acquiring Pacioretty.

If McCrimmon doesn’t shop one of his expensive players, The Score’s Josh Wegman suggested perhaps moving a couple of depth players such as “Tomas Nosek ($1.25 million AAV), William Carrier ($1.4 million), Nick Holden ($1.7 million) and Ryan Reaves ($1.75 million). It could come to that if demoting a lower-salaried player doesn’t free up sufficient wiggle room under the cap.

NHL Rumor Mill – December 9, 2020

NHL Rumor Mill – December 9, 2020

In today’s NHL rumor mill, the Golden Knights are reportedly trying to trade Max Pacioretty plus the anticipation of increased activity in the trade and free-agent markets as the new season approaches.

TSN: Frank Seravalli reports the Vegas Golden Knights have “doubled down” in recent days and weeks in their efforts to trade Max Pacioretty. The 32-year-old winger has three years remaining on his contract with an annual average value of $7 million. He led the Golden Knights last season with 32 goals.

Vegas Golden Knights reportedly shopping winger Max Pacioretty (NHL Images)

The Golden Knights are over the salary cap and attempted earlier in the offseason to shed some salary. Seravalli suggests moving Pacioretty would clear sufficient salary to become cap compliant and perhaps take a run at unrestricted free agents such as Mike Hoffman and former Golden Knight Erik Haula.

KUKLA’S KORNER: The Athletic’s Jesse Granger reports winger Jonathan Marchessault ($5 million AAV) and goalie Marc-Andre Fleury ($7 million) have also come up in Golden Knights’ trade chatter.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: For the first time in weeks we’ve finally got a juicy NHL trade rumor. The last trade was made on Oct. 12, when the Golden Knight shipped defenseman Nate Schmidt to the Vancouver Canucks in a cost-cutting deal.

The Golden Knights are above the $81.5 million salary cap by over $974K according to Cap Friendly. Moving Pacioretty would indeed free up sufficient space for the Golden Knights to perhaps add a more affordable scorer like Hoffman or a cost-effective center by bringing back Haula.

Pacioretty’s cap hit, age and his 10-team no-trade clause, however, could make finding a suitable trade partner difficult. So will the limited number of clubs with sufficient cap room to comfortably absorb his full $7 million AAV.

Fleury was thought to be a goner when the Golden Knights signed goalie Robin Lehner to a contract extension. GM Kelly McCrimmon denied that speculation but Granger said the Golden Knights are looking into the trade values of Fleury, Pacioretty and Marchessault. Fleury also has a 10-team no-trade list while Marchessault has an eight-team list.

Whether it’s Pacioretty, Fleury or Marchessault on the trade block, the Golden Knights won’t want much (if any) salary in return. Only a handful of teams (New Jersey, Los Angeles, Nashville, Detroit and Ottawa) can comfortably afford any of them. Those clubs might not be on the trio’s lists of preferred trade destinations.

SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman reports action is starting to pick up in the free-agent market. UFA winger Mikael Granlund hopes to situate his family and could make a decision in the next few days. So could other notables such as Mike Hoffman and Andreas Athanasiou.

He believes some teams could start talking with the Seattle Kraken to see what they can do about future salary-cap space if the cap remains flattened.

Chris Johnston suggests keeping an eye on the restricted free agent market following the Philadelphia Flyers yesterday signing defenseman Philippe Myers to a three-year contract. He cites Ethan Bear in Edmonton, Oliver Kylington in Calgary and Erik Cernak in Tampa Bay among the blueliners who could be affected by the Myers signing.


NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – August 27, 2020

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – August 27, 2020

The Lightning crushed the Bruins, the Flyers edge the Islanders in overtime, and the Avalanche get a big win over the Stars. Meanwhile, the NHL faces criticism over its response to protests over the Jacob Blake shooting. The latest in today’s morning coffee headlines.


NHL.COM: The Tampa Bay Lightning thumped the Boston Bruins 7-1 to take a 2-1 lead in their second-round series. Nikita Kucherov scored a goal and set up three others while Alex Killorn tallied twice and added an assist. The Bolts chased Bruins goalie Jaroslav Halak from the game after he gave up four goals on 16 shots. His replacement, rookie Dan Vladar, didn’t fare any better, allowing three goals on 15 shots.

Tampa Bay Lightning winger Nikita Kucherov (NHL Images)

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This game was over in the second period as the Lightning scored four goals to take a 6-1 lead by period’s end. The Bruins were undisciplined and the Bolts made them pay with three power-play goals. 

Philippe Myers scored in overtime as the Philadelphia Flyers edged the New York Islanders 4-3 to tie their series at a game apiece. Kevin Hayes scored twice for the Flyers, who blew a 3-0 lead as the Isles battled back to tie the game after replacing goalie Semyon Varlamov with backup Thomas Greiss.



SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Flyers’ top forwards played significant roles in this game, with Hayes scoring twice, Sean Couturier potting his first of the playoffs and assisting on Myers’ game-winner, while Claude Giroux and Travis Konecny each collected an assist. Nevertheless, the Flyers also learned a three-goal lead isn’t safe against the determined Islanders.

The Colorado Avalanche scored three unanswered third-period goals to defeat the Dallas Stars 6-4 in Game 3 of their second-round series. The Stars lead the series two games to one and were on the verge of taking a 3-0 series lead after rallying from a 3-1 deficit to take a 4-3 lead before the Avs’ staged their comeback. Nazem Kadri netted the winning goal, Cale Makar collected three assists, and Nathan MacKinnon added two helpers. Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin tallied for the Stars.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This was an entertaining contest that see-sawed back and forth before the Avs rallied for the win. It wasn’t a shining moment for the goalies, as Colorado’s Pavel Francouz and Dallas’ Anton Khudobin looked shaky in this match.


SPORTSNET: The NHL opted not to postpone Wednesday’s games in the wake of the NBA’s decision to delay its games after players from several of its teams boycotted games in protest over the recent police shooting of Jacob Blake, an unarmed black man in Kenosha, Wisconsin. The NHL instead staged a moment of reflection before the Tampa/Boston and Colorado/Dallas games.

The NHL’s decision prompted criticism from Minnesota Wild defenseman Matt Dumba and San Jose Sharks winger Evander Kane, who are among the members of the Hockey Diversity Alliance fighting racial injustice. Dumba called the move “disheartening” while Kane felt it was disappointing. Both men felt the NHL should do more to acknowledge the situation. 

CBC SPORTS: Hockey analyst Kelly Hrudey shared those sentiments, saying he felt the NHL should’ve postponed those games to show support for their NBA peers and the Black Lives Matter movement. He felt the league was missing out on important discussions about racial injustice.

ESPN.COM: Boston Bruins and Tampa Bay Lightning players said they learned about the NBA players boycott just before their game and didn’t have sufficient time to discuss the matter.

Bruins captain Zdeno Chara voiced his support for his peers in other sports who sat out yesterday’s games. Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy said he would’ve supported his players had they opted not to play. Tyler Seguin and Jason Dickinson of the Dallas Stars and Nazem Kadri of the Colorado Avalanche also voiced support, adding boycotting games isn’t the only way to back the cause.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’ll be interesting to see what transpires for today’s NHL games between the Philadelphia Flyers and New York Islanders and the Vegas Golden Knights and Vancouver Canucks. The league could be forced to postpone those games if players from those teams opt not to participate in support of their NBA peers.

THE SCORE: Sharks captain Logan Couture issued an apology after a tweet he made regarding American politics went viral. Couture claimed he was sucker-punched in Toronto after talking about voting for the Republican Party and mentioning US President Donald Trump. He added he didn’t explicitly say he’d vote for Trump but would vote Republican if he was an American citizen. Couture subsequently deleted those tweets after facing considerable criticism. The Sharks issued a statement condemning the use of violence toward Couture.

Vegas Golden Knights winger Jonathan Marchessault issued an apology for lashing out at several fans on Instagram who criticized his play during his club’s 5-2 loss to Vancouver. 

STLTODAY.COM: St. Louis Blues winger Vladimir Tarasenko will undergo a third surgery on his left shoulder and will be sidelined for five months. Meanwhile, Blues general manager Doug Armstrong indicated one-fifth of his squad tested positive for COVID-19 at some point before they departed for Edmonton on July 19. None of those players were asymptomatic, but their fitness levels were affected because they couldn’t train while under quarantine.

ARIZONA SPORTS: The Arizona Coyotes will forfeit its second-round pick in 2020 and its first-round pick in 2021 as punishment for violating the NHL’s combine scouting policy. The league prohibits teams from testing prospects’ fitness before its’ annual draft combine.

MONTREAL GAZETTE: Claude Julien expects to return behind the Canadiens bench whenever next season begins. The Habs coach had to leave his club during their first-round series against Philadelphia after experiencing chest pains. He had a stent implanted in one of his arteries and is expected to make a full recovery.

NHL.COM: Defenseman Mike Green announced his retirement after 15 seasons with the Washington Capitals, Detroit Red Wings, and Edmonton Oilers. He netted 501 points in 880 career NHL games, as well as 37 points in 76 playoff contests.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Green’s best years were with the Capitals, including back-to-back 70-plus point campaigns in 2008-09 and 2009-10. He was a First Team All-Star and a finalist for the Norris Trophy in both those seasons. Injuries, however, would hamper his performance over the remainder of his career. Best wishes to Green and his family in their future endeavors.

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 15, 2020

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 15, 2020

Sidney Crosby picks up four points in his return to action, Connor Hellebuyck sets a Jets record, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.


NHL.COM: Sidney Crosby scored and set up three others to lead the Pittsburgh Penguins over the Minnesota Wild 7-3. It was Crosby’s first game since undergoing core muscle surgery two months ago. Evgeni Malkin tallied twice for the Penguins. Wild winger Zach Parise potted two goals as his club dropped its fourth straight game.

Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby had a four-point performance in his first game since Nov. 9 (Photo via NHL Images).

After being blown out 8-4 in their previous game, the Toronto Maple Leafs thumped the New Jersey Devils 7-4. Austin Matthews tallied a hat trick, John Tavares had three points, and call-up defenseman Rasmus Sandin had two assists. Blake Coleman netted a hat trick for the Devils.

Connor Hellebuyck set a franchise record for shutouts as the Winnipeg Jets beat the Vancouver Canucks 4-0. Hellebuyck made 41 saves for his 18th career shutout, setting the club record. Kyle Connor scored twice and picked up an assist.

Columbus Blue Jackets goaltender Elvis Merzlikins made 34 saves for his second straight shutout in a 3-0 blanking of the Boston Bruins. The Jackets are tied with the Philadelphia Flyers (47 points) but the latter holds the final Eastern Conference wild-card spot with a game in hand. Bruins goalie Tuukka Rask left the game in the first period with a concussion after getting elbowed in the head by Columbus forward Emil Bemstrom. There was no penalty on the play.

The Dallas Stars overcame a 2-0 deficit to nip the Colorado Avalanche 3-2 on an overtime goal by Esa Lindell. Nathan MacKinnon had two assists for the Avalanche, who’ve dropped nine of their last 12 contests.

A lacrosse-style goal by Filip Forsberg couldn’t prevent his Nashville Predators from dropping a 4-2 decision to the Edmonton Oilers. Connor McDavid and Leon Draisailt each had three points for the Oilers, as the duo remain atop the NHL scoring race.

Phil Kessel and Taylor Hall each scored twice to lead the Arizona Coyotes over the San Jose Sharks 6-3. Derek Stepan and Conor Garland each collected three points for the Coyotes.

The Tampa Bay Lightning overcame 2-0 and 3-2 deficits to edge the Los Angeles Kings 4-3 on a shootout goal by Steven Stamkos. Andrei Vasilevskiy made 38 saves to pick up his ninth consecutive victory. Jeff Carter had two points for the Kings.

A four-goal first period carried the New York Islanders to an 8-2 drubbing of the Detroit Red Wings. Brock Nelson scored twice and Jordan Eberle netted his 500th career NHL point. The Isles snapped a three-game losing skid.

Buffalo Sabres captain Jack Eichel scored the game-winner as his club doubled up the Vegas Golden Kights 4-2. Sabres winger Sam Reinhart also scored and picked up two assists. Vegas winger Jonathan Marchessault returned to action following a four-game absence with a lower-body injury. The Golden Knights have dropped four in a row.

Jonathan Toews’ overtime goal gave the Chicago Blackhawks a 3-2 win over the slumping Ottawa Senators. Dominik Kubalik tallied twice for the Blackhawks, who rallied from a 2-0 deficit to force the extra frame. The Senators are winless in their last eight games (0-4-4).


NORTHJERSEY.COM: Devils center Nico Hischier will replace sidelined teammate Kyle Palmieri in the 2020 NHL All-Star Game in St. Louis on Jan. 25.

THE ATHLETIC: A lower-body injury will prevent Arizona Coyotes netminder Darcy Kuemper from participating in the upcoming All-Star Game.

SPORTSNET: Edmonton Oilers winger Zack Kassian vows to repay Matthew Tkachuk in kind after taking what he considered to be two blindside hits from the Calgary Flames winger in a recent game. Kassian is serving a two-game suspension from the league following an altercation with Tkachuk after the second hit. The league determined Tkachuk’s hit didn’t break the rules. Kassian’s first game following his suspension will be against the Flames on Jan. 29.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I have a feeling league officials will let both players know they’ll be closely watched in their upcoming games against each other.

CBS SPORTS: Buffalo Sabres forward Tage Thompson will be sidelined five-to-six months following shoulder surgery yesterday.

KSDK.COM: The St. Louis Blues placed defenseman Colton Parayko (upper-body) on injured reserve and activated blueliner Carl Gunnarsson.

NHL Injury Outlook Week 15: The Start of 2020

NHL Injury Outlook Week 15: The Start of 2020


NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 24, 2019

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 24, 2019

Bruins and Sharks advance to the second round, King Clancy Trophy finalists revealed, second-round schedule scenarios, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines. 

NHL.COM: Barclay Goodrow’s overtime goal lifted the San Jose Sharks to a 5-4 victory over the Vegas Golden Knights in Game 7 of their opening-round series, propelling the Sharks into the second round against the Colorado Avalanche.

Barclay Goodrow’s overtime goal gave the San Jose Sharks a 5-4 victory over the Vegas Golden Knights in Game 7 of their opening-round series. (Photo via NHL Images)

The Sharks overcame a 3-0 deficit with four power-play goals in the third period after Golden Knights center Cody Eakin received a five-minute major and game misconduct for cross-checking Sharks center Joe Pavelski, who was forced to lead the game with a head injury. Vegas winger Jonathan Marchessault scored the game-tying goal in the final minute of the third to force the extra frame. Logan Couture scored twice and Kevin Labanc had a four-point performance for the Sharks. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Sharks deserve full marks for overcoming a 3-1 series deficit and a 3-goal deficit in this game to defeat the Golden Knights. It was an impressive comeback for a club that appeared poised for a quick first-round elimination.

Marchessault and his Vegas teammates weren’t happy with the severity of the penalty to Eakin, which turned the tide of the game as the Golden Knights appeared to have the game in hand up to that moment. I don’t believe Eakin intended to injure Pavelski, who was knocked off balance and struck his head on the ice, but the blood pouring out of the latter’s helmet pretty much sealed Eakin’s fate. 

For the second straight year and the third time since 2013, the Boston Bruins defeated the Toronto Maple Leafs in Game 7 of an opening-round series, this time with a 5-1 victory. The Bruins move on to face the Columbus Blue Jackets in the second round. Joakim Norstrom and Sean Kuraly each had a goal and an assist while Tuukka Rask made 32 saves. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It was the Bruins’ supporting cast who got the job done in this one, with Nordstrom, Kuraly, Charlie Coyle and Marcus Johansson tallying four of Boston’s five’ goals. The Bruins series victory, however, is being overshadowed by the blizzard of press coverage over the Leafs failure yet again to advance to the second round. I’ll have more on that later this morning in the Rumors section.

The Carolina Hurricanes hope to have sidelined forwards Andrei Svechnikov (concussion) and Micheal Ferland (upper-body injury) back in the lineup for tonight’s Game 7 against the Washington Capitals. 

The NHL released its second-round schedule scenarios, with the next round kicking off on Thursday with the Columbus Blue Jackets facing off against the Boston Bruins and the Dallas Stars meeting the St. Louis Blues. 

Arizona Coyotes defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson, New York Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist, and Minnesota Wild winger Jason Zucker are this year’s finalists for the King Clancy Memorial Trophy, awarded “to the player who best exemplifies leadership qualities on and off the ice and has made a noteworthy humanitarian contribution in his community.”

WGR 550: Buffalo Sabres defenseman Zach Bogosian underwent his second hip surgery in 14 months and could miss the start of next season. 

MONTREAL GAZETTE: Canadiens center Jesperi Kotkaniemi underwent arthroscopic surgery on his left knee to correct a chronic minor ailment. The procedure isn’t expected to affect his offseason training. 

STARTRIBUNE.COM: Former NHL forward Neal Broten “has been cited in western Wisconsin for what is now his third drunken-driving arrest.”