NHL Rumor Mill – July 28, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – July 28, 2022

A look at several proposed destinations for Nazem Kadri plus the Ducks might not be done making additions to their roster. Check it out in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.

WHERE COULD KADRI LAND?

ESPN.COM: Greg Wyshynski examined seven potential destinations for Nazem Kadri. The 31-year-old center is the top player still available among this summer’s unrestricted free agent class.

Colorado Avalanche center Nazem Kadri (NHL Images).

The New York Islanders, Seattle Kraken and Calgary Flames are among Wyshynski’s proposed destinations based on recent speculation, followed by the Boston Bruins, Ottawa Senators, and Detroit Red Wings. He also doesn’t rule out a possible return to the Colorado Avalanche.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Athletic’s Kevin Kurz recently reported the Islanders could be pursuing Kadri after losing out in the Johnny Gaudreau sweepstakes. They need a boost to their offense and, as Kurz and Wyshynski suggest, Mathew Barzal or Brock Nelson could shift from center to the wing to make way for Kadri.

Colorado Hockey Now’s Adrian Dater reported last week that Kadri has offers on the table. However, some are from non-contenders and he’s apparently not interested in signing with those teams. That would take the Kraken out of the running.

The Senators and Red Wings have improved following their recent offseason moves but Kadri might not see them as contenders. It’s believed the Senators are more focused on adding a top-four, right-side defenseman.

Unless the Bruins’ efforts to bring back Patrice Bergeron and David Krejci have fallen through I don’t see them bidding for Kadri. The Flames could try to sign him but he rejected a trade to Calgary three years ago and could still be averse to playing there.

Kadri was very receptive to staying with the Avalanche and they would’ve reportedly loved to bring him back. However, they’ve got limited cap space for the coming season and must ensure they’ve got sufficient long-term space for the big raise Nathan MacKinnon will be entitled to on his next contract. A return to the Avs isn’t in the cards for Kadri unless they shed a lot of salary or he accepts a low-cost one-year contract and goes to market again next summer.

THE DUCKS ARE STILL LOOKING TO ADD TO THEIR ROSTER

THE ATHLETIC: Eric Stephens recently reported Anaheim Ducks general manager Pat Verbeek isn’t done making additions to his rebuilding roster. Having signed forwards Ryan Strome and Frank Vatrano, Verbeek said he’d like to add another forward and a defenseman.

The Ducks remain under the $61 million salary-cap floor for the coming season. Stephens pointed out that John Klingberg remains available in the free agent market. P.K. Subban, Anton Stralman, Calvin de Haan and Ryan Murray are among more affordable stopgap options.

Blueline trade options could include Colorado’s Samuel Girard or Pittsburgh’s Marcus Pettersson. Others could include Carolina’s Ethan Bear or Sean Walker or Sean Durzi of the Los Angeles Kings.

Verbeek said he’s seeking shorter-term options on defense. He indicated he’ll look to the free agent market before going the trade route.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Girard has surfaced from time to time as a possible trade candidate. However, recent reports by Colorado Hockey Now’s Adrian Dater suggest the Avs don’t want to part with him.

Bear just signed a one-year contract with the Hurricanes but that doesn’t necessarily mean they won’t move him at some point. If Verbeek wants short-term blueline options he could pass on Pettersson and his $4.025 million cap hit through 2024-25.










NHL Rumor Mill – July 26, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – July 26, 2022

Pierre-Luc Dubois addresses the recent offseason speculation swirling around him plus a look at the Penguins blue line in today’s NHL rumor mill.

DUBOIS ADDRESSES OFFSEASON SPECULATION

WINNIPEG SUN: Scott Billeck reports Jets center Pierre-Luc Dubois spoke to reporters yesterday via Zoom conference call to address recent rumors claiming he wanted out of Winnipeg.

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

If I wanted out I would have asked for a trade,” said Dubois. “I didn’t ask for a trade. Not for one second. It didn’t cross my mind for one second to ask for a trade.”

Dubois also explained the reason why he attended the first round of the 2022 Draft in Montreal earlier this month. Rumor had it he was there in anticipation of a trade to the Canadiens. Dubois said he only lives 15 minutes away from the Bell Centre and was there at the invitation of his bank to a reception they were holding at one of the arena’s suites.

Regarding comments his agent, Pat Brisson, made about Dubois one day hoping to play for the Canadiens, he felt those remarks were blown out of proportion and taken out of context. “I just thought it was overblown, the reaction, and I think some people just ran with the two seconds that they liked or didn’t want to hear.”

As for his decision to accept the Jets’ one-year qualifying offer, Dubois said his next NHL contract could be his last before he retires. He wants to take his time to consider all factors before signing a long-term deal.

Dubois understands his non-committal answers about his future won’t quell the speculation. He knows he’ll face the same questions next summer when he’s once again a restricted free agent. Nevertheless, he intends to face them at that time and put his current focus on the Jets’ upcoming season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Some observers remain skeptical about Dubois’ comments, suggesting that he’s in damage-control mode trying to downplay his agent’s remarks about skating for the Canadiens one day.

The Montreal Gazette’s Stu Cowan points out that Dubois’ RFA status next summer and UFA eligibility in 2024 won’t stop the speculation linking him to the Habs. He observed the club is pressed for cap space this summer. However, they could have room next summer if general manager Kent Hughes is interested in pursuing Dubois. He could also attempt to sign Calgary Flames winger Jonathan Huberdeau if he tests the UFA market next summer.

COULD THE PENGUINS MOVE ANOTHER DEFENSEMAN?

PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE: Mike DeFabo recently observed the Penguins still have nine defensemen after swapping John Marino for Ty Smith and Mike Matheson for Jeff Petry. Asked if trading another defenseman was in the cards, GM Ron Hextall replied, “not necessarily.”

Nevertheless, DeFabo speculates on how Hextall could address the issue. Much will depend on how young blueliners like Smith and Pierre-Olivier Joseph perform in the upcoming season. One of them could get traded at some point in the season.

Other options include moving Marcus Pettersson in a cost-cutting move, shopping Brian Dumoulin before his contract expires at the end of the coming season, or giving a depth blueliner such as Chad Ruhwedel or Mark Friedman a chance with another team.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Hextall might not be done tinkering with his defense corps. However, his recent acquisition of Petry and Smith could be the only moves he makes with his blueline for the offseason. He could wait until training camp or preseason or perhaps into the early weeks of the coming season to evaluate his defensemen before deciding if other moves are required.










NHL Rumor Mill – May 30, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – May 30, 2022

More speculation over the Blues’ offseason plan, the Canadiens’ Christian Dvorak could be a trade candidate and the latest on the Penguins in today’s NHL rumor mill.

MORE SPECULATION OVER POTENTIAL BLUES MOVES

STLTODAY.COM: Ben Frederickson reports it’s been whispered Vladimir Tarasenko has decided he wants to remain with the St. Louis Blues after last summer’s drama following his trade request led to a solid bounce-back season for the 30-year-old winger. He believes Tarasenko and the Blues belong together and hopes the winger and general manager Doug Armstrong agree.

St. Louis Blues winger Vladimir Tarasenko (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Armstrong had difficulty finding a suitable trade partner last summer for Tarasenko, who’d been hampered by shoulder injuries the previous two years. His team-leading, career-best 82-point performance this season should considerably improve his trade value if he still wants out.

Tarasenko has one season remaining on his contract with an annual average value of $7.5 million but with an actual salary of $5.5 million, which could also make him enticing in the trade market. He also carries a full no-trade clause, giving him control over potential destinations.

Armstrong could hang onto Tarasenko for another run at the Stanley Cup next season. Given the winger’s UFA status next summer, however, he could quietly revisit his trade conversations from last summer if Tarasenko’s future in St. Louis remains uncertain.

Frederickson suggests the Blues thank goaltender Ville Husso for his service during the regular season and allow him to depart via free agency. With limited salary-cap space and Jordan Binnington having salvaged his season with a strong playoff performance, it may be time for Charlie Lindgren to sink or swim as his backup.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Frederickson’s colleague Jim Thomas disagrees, believing the Blues should prioritize re-signing Husso given their lack of a clear-cut replacement within their organization. He noted the 27-year-old saved the Blues season when Binnington was floundering. The club has also invested a lot of time in his development. We’ll find out by July 13 which way Armstrong goes with his goaltending.

Regarding pending UFA David Perron, Frederickson believes the Blues should do all they can to keep him in the fold. He also recommended shopping forward Ivan Barbashev while the 60-point winger’s value is high if it’ll free up cap room given their depth up front.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Cap Friendly shows the Blues with $9.775 million in projected cap space. Perron and Husso are their main UFAs while Scott Perunovich and Niko Mikkola are restricted free agents.

Shipping out Tarasenko would clear considerable cap room to retain most of their key free agents and perhaps bolster their defense corps. Moving Barbashev would help if they keep Tarasenko but there won’t be much for other additions unless it’s a dollar-for-dollar swap for another player.

LATEST ON THE CANADIENS

MONTREAL HOCKEY NOW: Jimmy Murphy recently cited a source saying Christian Dvorak’s name is out there in the trade market. He isn’t saying the Canadiens will trade the 26-year-old center but it sounds like teams are making inquiries.

It’s also no secret Canadiens defenseman Jeff Petry is also being shopped and has been since requesting a trade during the regular season. If Petry and his $6.25 million annual cap hit gets moved this summer, Murphy wonders if GM Ken Hughes will attempt to do the same with Dvorak and his $4.4 million AAV.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: A lot will depend upon whether the Canadiens can divest themselves of the remainder of the permanently-sidelined Shea Weber’s contract. There were reports claiming they were close to moving it to the Arizona Coyotes at the trade deadline but it fell through because of the delay in sorting out the insurance issues.

Recent speculation suggests Hughes and the Coyotes could revisit that deal. If so, there might not be as much pressure to shed Dvorak’s contract, especially if Petry gets moved.

SHOULD THE PENGUINS BLOW UP THEIR BLUELINE TO RE-SIGN LETANG?

PITTSBURGH HOCKEY NOW: Dan Kingerski believes the Penguins’ objective shouldn’t be finding a way to replace Kris Letang. Instead, they should re-sign the pending UFA defenseman but replace others on the blueline corps.

Kingerski believes the Penguins can’t afford to lose Letang’s offense considering the lack of production among their other defensemen. He recommended retaining Mike Matheson following his bounce-back performance this season and the affordable Mark Friedman. He called on management to shop blueliners such as Marcus Pettersson and John Marino and use the cap savings to improve the defense.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: An interesting suggestion but Penguins management might not see it that way. Then again, there has been speculation linking Marino to the Vancouver Canucks, so maybe they can shed him and perhaps Pettersson and find suitable replacements via trade or free agency.










NHL Rumor Mill – May 20, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – May 20, 2022

John Klingberg’s hope to re-sign with the Stars plus some recent Penguins speculation in today’s NHL rumor roundup.

WILL KLINGBERG & THE STARS REACH AN AGREEMENT ON AN EXTENSION?

THE DALLAS MORNING NEWS: Matthew DeFranks reported John Klingberg and Stars general manager Jim Nill have left the door open for his return with the club. The 29-year-old defenseman is slated to become an unrestricted free agent this summer.

Dallas Stars defenseman John Klingberg (NHL Images).

On Tuesday, Klingberg said he’s always wanted to stay in Dallas and his side is trying to come up with ways to get it done. Nill said both sides know where they sit and he intends to remain in touch.

DeFranks observed both sides have been at an impasse this season, prompting Klingberg to publicly express his frustration in January and sparking trade speculation. The Stars are burdened by expensive, long-term contracts for aging stars Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin. They don’t want to get locked into another deal with a long term and a high cap hit. Klingberg, however, seeks the security of a long-term deal.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Klingberg turns 30 this summer, meaning the Stars probably aren’t interested in anything over four years. Cap Friendly indicates they also have almost $18 million tied up in three defensemen in Miro Heiskanen, Esa Lindell and Ryan Suter.

Last November, Sportsnet’s Jeff Marek reported Klingberg was believed to be seeking between $7.75 million and $8.5 million. Unless he’s willing to accept a four-year deal worth around $6 million per season, he’ll likely hit the open market on July 13.

The Stars also have other contracts to sort out. Goaltender Jake Oettinger and winger Jason Robertson are due for significant raises coming off their entry-level deals. Winger Denis Gurianov is a restricted free agent with arbitration rights. They’ll also need a reliable backup for Oettinger with Braden Holtby and Scott Wedgewood due for UFA status this summer.

LATEST ON THE PENGUINS

TRIBLIVE.COM: Chris Adamski wondered if the Pittsburgh Penguins will bring back Kaspari Kapanen after he struggled throughout this season. The 25-year-old winger is slated to become a restricted free agent this summer with arbitration rights.

Adamski also reports Rickard Rakell would be interested in returning with the Penguins. The 29-year-old winger is due to become a UFA in July. He didn’t wow anyone statistically during his brief period with the Penguins following a late-season trade from the Anaheim Ducks. However, he showed enough to suggest he could be a top-six winger capable of establishing chemistry with Sidney Crosby or Evgeni Malkin.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kapanen was a speedy, promising (if inconsistent) winger during his two full seasons with the Toronto Maple Leafs. He showed some potential in 2020-21 with 30 points in 40 games but managed just 32 points in 79 games this season. The Penguins could try to trade him as he doesn’t seem a good fit in head coach Mike Sullivan’s system.

The Penguins’ management could have an interest in bringing back Rakell. However, that’s going to depend upon what he’s seeking on his next contract and what happens with franchise stars Malkin and Kris Letang, who are also eligible for UFA status this summer.

PITTSBURGH HOCKEY NOW: Dan Kingerski looked at several Penguins who could get shopped this summer if there’s a need to shed salary for other moves or signings. Jason Zucker, Marcus Pettersson and Mike Matheson were among the most notable given their salaries. John Marino, Brian Dumoulin, Teddy Blueger and Brock McGinn were also listed.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Zucker, Pettersson and Matheson have frequently surfaced in the Penguins’ rumor mill as cost-cutting candidates. Zucker’s injury history and $5.5 million cap hit will make him tough to move. Pettersson’s inconsistent play and $4.025 million cap hit are also problematic. Matheson’s play improved this season but the four years at $4.875 million per season could be a sticking point.

Injuries have also become an issue for Dumoulin. Marino was seen as a promising top-four defenseman but his stock seemed to tumble this season. Blueger and McGinn each earn less than $3 million.