Five NHL Storylines To Watch This Season
8:30 pm ET: St. Louis Blues sign Torey Krug to a seven-year, $45.5 million contract.
7 pm ET: Toronto Maple Leafs sign T.J. Brodie to a four-year contract ($5 million AAV).
4 pm to 5 pm ET: Calgary Flames sign Jacob Markstrom to a six-year, $36-million contract.
3 pm to 4 pm ET: Anaheim Ducks sign Kevin Shattenkirk to a three-year contract ($3.9 million AAV)
Washington Capitals sign defenseman Justin Schultz to a two-year, $8 million contract.
2 pm to 3 pm ET: Florida Panthers sign Alexander Wennberg to a one-year $2.25 million contract.
New York Rangers sign Jack Johnson to a one-year, $1-million contract.
Nashville Predators sign Mark Borowiecki to a two-year, $4-million contract.
In other contract news, the Ottawa Senators sign Matt Murray to a four-year contract with an annual average value of $6.25 million. The Senators acquired Murray, a restricted free agent, on Wednesday from the Pittsburgh Penguins.
1 pm to 2 pm ET: Vancouver Canucks sign Braden Holtby to a two-year deal ($4.3 million AAV)
Minnesota Wild sign goaltender Cam Talbot to a three-year, $11-million contract.
Dallas Stars sign Anton Khudobin to a three-year contract ($3.5 million AAV)
Edmonton Oilers sign center Kyle Turris to a two-year contract ($1.65 million AAV)
12 pm to 1 pm ET: Washington Capitals sign goaltender Henrik Lundqvist to a one-year, $1.5 million contract.
Toronto Maple Leafs sign winger Wayne Simmonds to a one-year, $1.5-million contract with a full no-movement clause.
Detroit Red Wings sign winger Bobby Ryan to a one-year, $1-million contract.
Winger Pat Maroon (two years, $900K AAV) and defenseman Luke Schenn (one year, $800K) are returning with the Tampa Bay Lightning.
Florida Panthers sign defenseman Radko Gudas to a three-year contract ($2.5 million AAV).
In other news, the Tampa Bay Lightning placed winger Tyler Johnson on waivers. He has four years remaining on his contract with a $5 million annual cap hit and a full no-trade clause.
Oliver Ekman-Larsson will remain with the Arizona Coyotes. His deadline to be traded to either Boston or Vancouver came and went without a deal.
The NHL’s free-agent market opens at noon ET today. Check out the latest speculation on Alex Pietrangelo, Taylor Hall, Torey Krug and many more in today’s rumor mill.
TSN: Pierre LeBrun reports St. Louis Blues defenseman Alex Pietrangelo was ready to go to market as of yesterday afternoon. He’s up to visiting with interested clubs that are willing to have him travel. It could take a couple of days until he reaches a decision on his destination and next contract. The Vegas Golden Knights, Florida Panthers and Toronto Maple Leafs could be among the interested parties.
TORONTO SUN: Lance Hornby reports it could take moving a high-profile Leaf or two, such as William Nylander or Frederik Andersen, to free up cap space to sign Pietrangelo. He feels general manager Kyle Dubas has hinted that’s not going to happen, giving Andersen a vote of confidence while staying out of the Matt Murray trade market.
PHILLY.COM: Sam Carchidi expects Pietrangelo will be too costly for the Philadelphia Flyers. He suggests more affordable options like Toronto’s Tyson Barrie, Boston’s Torey Krug or Calgary’s T.J. Brodie.
TSN: Darren Dreger said the Arizona Coyotes might not be able to meet the Friday trade deadline set by defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson. He’ll only waive his no-movement clause for the Boston Bruins or Vancouver Canucks.
SPORTSNET: Chris Johnston and Elliotte Friedman report the Canucks appear the more interested buyer for Ekman-Larsson.
THE ATHLETIC: Thomas Drance and Rick Dhaliwal report the parameters of a deal with the Canucks would include “a draft pick of some magnitude, an inefficient contract from their bottom-six and a prospect.”
NBC SPORTS BOSTON: cites TSN’s Darren Dreger reporting the Bruins don’t like Arizona’s asking price. The Coyotes are believed to prefer the Bruins’ prospects over the Canucks.
SPORTSNET: Chris Johnston and Elliotte Friedman report there’s some talk Coyotes winger Taylor Hall would consider a reunion with the Edmonton Oilers. It would be difficult to achieve that unless the Oilers shed some salary.
THE DENVER POST: Mike Chambers suggests Hall would be a perfect fit for the Colorado Avalanche’s second line. He’s open to a short-term deal, perhaps a one-year contract that could pave the way for a longer contract in free agency after next season.
THE ATHLETIC: With the Columbus Blue Jackets shedding salary yesterday, Aaron Portzline wonders if they might get into the bidding for Hall. Other options could include Florida’s Mike Hoffman or Evgenii Dadonov or Vancouver’s Tyler Toffoli.
THE ATHLETIC: Thomas Drance and Rick Dhaliwal report the Vancouver Canucks remain confident of re-signing Jacob Markstrom despite persistent rumors linking the goaltender to the Calgary Flames and Edmonton Oilers.
TSN: Pierre LeBrun reports the Oilers are among the teams that could be interested in Markstorm if he goes to market today.
SPORTSNET: Chris Johnston and Elliotte Friedman reported the Flames, Detroit Red Wings and Oilers (despite their salary-cap constraints) could pursue Markstrom.
EDMONTON JOURNAL: David Staples doesn’t see how the Oilers could afford Markstrom, who could seek $6 million annually on a long-term deal.
CALGARY SUN: Wes Gilbertson believes Markstrom should be the Flames’ top target in the UFA market. He feels Markstrom could become the high-end goalie they’ve been missing since Miikka Kiprusoff retired.
NEW YORK POST: Larry Brooks listed the Minnesota Wild as a possible destination for Markstrom if he goes to market.
STARTRIBUNE.COM: Sarah McLellan also included Markstrom among possible Wild UFA targets. Other options could include Washington’s Braden Holtby and Chicago Corey Crawford.
TSN: Frank Seravalli reports the Vegas Golden Knights have put trading goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury on the side burner for now. His no-trade clause and $7 million annual average value makes him difficult to move.
TSN: Pierre LeBrun reports Capitals goaltender Braden Holtby is garnering interest from the Oilers.
NEW YORK POST: Larry Brooks believes the Dallas Stars and Minnesota Wild could be interested in Holtby.
SPORTSNET: Chris Johnston and Elliotte Friedman report of increased chatter suggesting the Red Wings could pursue Boston Bruins defenseman Torey Krug. He was raised in a Detroit suburb and seeks long-term security. The Wings have the cap space to make a lucrative offer.
THE DETROIT NEWS: Ted Kulfan reports Red Wings GM Steve Yzerman would like to address his blueline issues with one or two defenseman signings. It remains to be seen if he’ll pursue Krug. Yzerman said he expects to be “relatively conservative” in the free-agent market.
TSN: Goaltender Anton Khudobin is heading to market after talks broke off with the Stars. The Flames could be interested, along with the Canucks if they fail to re-sign Jacob Markstrom or the Golden Knights if they can move Marc-Andre Fleury.
TOFFOLI AND TANEV
THE ATHLETIC: Thomas Drance and Rick Dhaliwal report Canucks winger Tyler Toffoli and defenseman Chris Tanev are heading to market.
NBC SPORTS BAY AREA: Toffoli tops Brian Witt’s list of possible free-agent targets for the San Jose Sharks.
BRODIE AND HAMONIC
TSN: Darren Dreger reports the Flames renewed contract talks with defenseman T.J. Brodie. Dreger also believes Flames blueliner Travis Hamonic would sign with his hometown Winnipeg Jets but there’s not a lot of interest at the moment. The Maple Leafs, Ottawa Senators and Oilers could be among Hamonic’s suitors.
SPORTSNET: Chris Johnston and Elliotte Friedman reported the Oilers could have an interest in Maple Leafs defenseman Tyson Barrie as a short-term replacement for sidelined blueliner Oscar Klefbom.
TSN: Pierre LeBrun believes New York Islanders goalie Thomas Greiss could draw interest from the Canucks if they fail to re-sign Markstrom or Vegas if they trade Fleury.
NEW YORK POST: Larry Brooks suggested Greiss or Cam Talbot could be a fit with the New Jersey Devils.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The opening hours of the free-agent period tend to be very busy with the best available players being quickly signed. However, it will be interesting to see how the flattened salary cap affects the market and the pace of the signings.
A flooded goalie market plus the latest on Taylor Hall, Tyson Barrie and more in today’s NHL rumor mill.
FLOODED MARKET FOR NHL GOALIES
NHL.COM: Dan Rosen reports a number of goaltenders could be on the move when the 2020 NHL free-agent market opens on Friday at noon ET. Washington’s Braden Holtby, Vancouver’s Jacob Markstrom, former New York Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist, Chicago’s Corey Crawford, the New York Islanders’ Thomas Greiss, Dallas’ Anton Khudobin, Calgary’s Cam Talbot and Edmonton’s Mike Smith are among the notables. In addition, the Vegas Golden Knights are attempting to trade Marc-Andre Fleury after re-signing Robin Lehner last weekend.
THE ATHLETIC: Pierre LeBrun reports the Canucks are still trying to re-sign Markstrom. The Flames and Oilers could have interest if he hits the open market. LeBrun didn’t rule out the Flames circling back to Talbot.
EDMONTON JOURNAL: Jim Matheson believes Markstrom’s been at the top of Oilers’ general manager Ken Holland’s wish list for some time. It could cost six years at $6 million annually to get it done. Matheson believes Holland will have to find a trade partner for Mikko Koskinen and his $4.5 million annually over the next two years.
CALGARY SUN: Wes Gilbertson has Markstrom at the top of his list of potential Flames’ free-agent targets.
NEW YORK POST: Larry Brooks cites sources claiming Lundqvist will sign with the Washington Capitals on Friday.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Golden Knights’ efforts to move Fleury are likely affected by the glut of goalies in the upcoming free-agent market. They could be forced to wait until the bigger names (Markstrom, Holtby, Lundqvist, Crawford) are off the market before finding any potential suitors. They’re reportedly attempting a three-way trade in which a third team picks up a chunk of Fleury’s cap hit, but they were only offering a second-round pick as a sweetener before the draft.
I can’t see the Oilers signing Markstrom unless they can move Koskinen. While his cap hit might be more affordable to clubs with cap space seeking goalie depth, teams will likely want something worthwhile packaged with him. The Flames, on the other hand, could get it done, though the cost to their cap space could make it difficult to re-sign or replace UFA blueliners like TJ Brodie and Travis Hamonic.
It’s believed Lundqvist has a one-year agreement with the Capitals. The reason it hasn’t been announced yet is he cannot officially sign with another NHL club until the UFA market opens tomorrow. We’ll find out tomorrow if he’s heading to Washington for next season.
There’s been little word about possible suitors for Holtby. The decline in his performance over the last two years likely has something to do with that. It doesn’t mean Holtby won’t be signed but it is interesting to note that a former Vezina Trophy winner with a Stanley Cup championship on his resume hasn’t garnered much chatter in the rumor mill.
LATEST ON HALL, BARRIE, SHATTENKIRK AND SAAD
THE ATHLETIC: Pierre LeBrun expects the Nashville Predators to be among the clubs to pursue Taylor Hall via free agency tomorrow. The 28-year-old winger is heading to market after he and the Coyotes failed to reach an agreement on a new contract. LeBrun also believes the Columbus Blue Jackets could be interested.
CALGARY SUN: Wes Gilbertson has Hall among his list of potential Flames free-agent targets.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Hall is reportedly willing to sign a one- or two-year deal and is expected to take his time evaluating offers before reaching a decision. Cap Friendly indicates the Predators now have $17.6 million in cap space after trading Nick Bonino yesterday to Minnesota and buying out Kyle Turris and Steven Santini.
They could face competition from a Cup contender with lots of cap space like the Colorado Avalanche, who could be willing to ink Hall to a one-year deal. If the Flames sign Markstrom, they won’t have enough cap room to chase Hall.
LeBrun reports the Flames, Oilers and Anaheim Ducks could have interest in Toronto defenseman Tyson Barrie. The Ducks could also pursue Kevin Shattenkirk but he’d like to remain with the Tampa Bay Lightning.
Gilbertson has Barrie at No. 4 on his list of potential Flames free-agent options.
EDMONTON JOURNAL: Jim Matheson thinks Barrie would be atop the Oilers’ list of free-agent defensemen because he could run their powerplay if Oscar Klefbom is out for the season with a shoulder injury. However, he believes they’d only offer him a one-year contract.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Despite Barrie’s struggles last season with the Maple Leafs, some feel he can regain his form as a puck-moving defenseman away from the harsh Toronto spotlight. We’ll find out soon enough how much interest he’ll draw as a free agent.
The Lightning would probably love to re-sign Shattenkirk. However, they’ve got limited cap space and must re-sign Anthony Cirelli and Mikhail Sergachev.
LeBrun reports several clubs have contacted the Chicago Blackhawks about winger Brandon Saad. The Boston Bruins and Colorado Avalanche are believed among those expressing an interest.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Saad might be available if the Blackhawks need to free up some cap space to re-sign or replace Corey Crawford. He has a year remaining on his contract worth an annual average value of $6 million but also carries a 10-team trade list.
Check out the latest speculation on the notable unrestricted free agents in Part 2 of today’s NHL Rumor Mill.
TSN: Darren Dreger reports it doesn’t sound as though there’s a lot of interest in Taylor Hall’s rights in the trade market. That doesn’t mean there won’t be plenty of interest in the 28-year-old left-winger when the free-agent market opens on Friday. Dreger indicates Hall intends to take his time with the free-agent process and may not make his decision on where he’ll sign until Saturday or even Sunday.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I don’t blame Hall for taking his time. I think he wants to play for a contender and will carefully weigh his potential destinations, even if it’s just on a one- or two-year deal.
Pierre LeBrun reports it appears Florida Panthers winger Mike Hoffman is heading to market on Friday. However, if the Panthers can free up some cap space before then, they would circle back and make another offer to Hoffman. LeBrun believes the 30-year-old winger could interest clubs that fail to sign Taylor Hall.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Hoffman led all of this year’s UFA class with 29 goals and 59 points in 69 games. He’s averaged 20-or-more goals and 48-plus points in each of the last six seasons.
NESN.COM: Ricky Doyle reported Monday that Boston Bruins general manager Don Sweeney acknowledged he hasn’t had any progress in contract talks with Torey Krug. The 29-year-old defenseman is slated to become an unrestricted free agent on Friday.
Sweeney, however, hasn’t ruled out signing Krug if the blueliner doesn’t find any worthwhile offers on the open market. “Several free agents have gone and tested the market and come back to the same place that they were at, and it’s something we would also considered,” he said, adding there was no animosity with Krug.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Krug’s departure is being treated as a foregone conclusion. Given the flattened salary cap for next season, however, we can’t rule out the possibility that he might not find better offers than the six-years (at $6.5 million annually) by the Bruins.
THE PROVINCE: Patrick Johnston reports re-signing Jacob Markstrom remains high on Vancouver Canucks’ GM Jim Benning’s to-do list. “We’re going to keep working with his agent and see if we can find common ground,” said Benning. Markstrom, Chris Tanev and Tyler Toffoli are unrestricted free agents. The Canucks GM admitted it would be difficult to re-sign all three if he can’t reshape the club’s cap situation.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: In other words, if he can’t find someone to take Loui Eriksson ($6 million annual average value through 2021-22) or Brandon Sutter ($4.35 million for 2020-21) off his hands, one of those three UFA will be playing elsewhere next season.
NBC SPORTS CHICAGO: Charlie Roumeliotis lists the New York Islanders’ Thomas Greiss, Dallas’ Anton Khudobin, Arizona’s Darcy Kuemper, former Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist and Pittsburgh’s Matt Murray as possible replacements for Corey Crawford if the Blackhawks fail to re-sign him by Friday.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Greiss, Khudobin and Lundqvist would be free-agents signings and likely affordable short-term ones. Kuemper and Murray would have to be acquired via trade. Of this group, Kuemper would be the best target. The 30-year-old goalie had solid stats over the last two seasons and carries an affordable $4.5 million AAV for the next two seasons. Recent reports, however, suggest the Coyotes aren’t as keen to move him as originally believed.
EDMONTON JOURNAL: Jim Matheson reports Oilers GM Ken Holland will seek a short-term replacement for sidelined defenseman Oscar Klefbom via the UFA market. Klefbom could require surgery on his injured left shoulder that could force him to miss most or all of 2020-21.