NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 29, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 29, 2021

The NHL returns to action from its COVID-extended holiday break while Brad Marchand and Vladimir Tarasenko express their unhappiness over the league’s withdrawal from the 2022 Winter Olympics. Details & more in today’s morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: The San Jose Sharks defeated the Arizona Coyotes 8-7 in the highest-scoring game of 2021-22. Logan Couture and Tomas Hertl scored in the shootout to give the Sharks the win. Couture, Timo Meier and Alexander Barbanov each had a goal and an assist for the Sharks while teammate Brent Burns was held scoreless in his 1,200th career NHL game. Phil Kessel and Lawson Crouse each had four points for the Coyotes.

Jonathan Marchessault scored twice and added an assist as the Vegas Golden Knights beat the Los Angeles Kings 6-3. Both clubs combined for four goals in 76 seconds in the first period with the Golden Knights jumping to a 3-1 lead. Adrian Kempe had a goal and an assist for the Kings.

The Tampa Bay Lightning overcame a 4-3 deficit to nip the Montreal Canadiens 5-4 on an overtime goal by Ondrej Palat. Corey Perry scored with 20 seconds remaining in regulation to force the extra frame. Lightning forward Braydon Point finished with two goals and an assist in his first game since being sidelined for 14 games by an upper-body injury. Canadiens defenseman Kale Clague and forward Rafael Harvey-Pinard each tallied their first career NHL goals.

HEADLINES

NBC SPORTS BOSTON: Bruins winger Brad Marchand took to Twitter to once again condemn the NHL’s decision to withdraw from the 2022 Winter Olympics. He noted the recent mutually-agreed change to the collective bargaining agreement allowing NHL teams to use taxi squads to maintain their rosters and not miss any games or lose money due to postponements.

Boston Bruins winger Brad Marchand (NHL Images).

Marchand wondered why taxi squads couldn’t be used to allow players to participate in the Olympics. “please tell me that’s not bullshit,” he tweeted, calling for the league to allow the players to make the choice.

STLTODAY.COM: Blues winger Vladimir Tarasenko also expressed his unhappiness over the league’s decision. “I think every Russian has a dream to play for the national team,” he said. “It’s very bad they took it away from us, I think it’s unfair. They give each player a choice, but we don’t have a choice at the end. So I think it’s very bad from them.”

Tarasenko indicated he read Marchand’s interview on Monday and agreed with the Bruins winger. “So with all the restrictions, all the rules, I don’t really understand the point when people are deciding for you.” He added he would’ve participated in the Beijing Games if given the choice. “I think you’d be surprised how many people would choose to go,” he said.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I understand the frustration felt by Marchand and Tarasenko and sympathize with having this opportunity to participate in the Winter Olympics taken away from them. Given their ages, this was likely the only opportunity for both players to represent their countries on the Olympic stage.

However, the NHL didn’t arbitrarily decide to screw over the players. The CBA allows the league to withdraw from the Winter Olympics before Jan. 10 if participation would jeopardize the completion of the 2021-22 schedule in a timely manner. This was mutually agreed upon by the league and the PA as per the CBA. The players should know this. If they don’t, that’s the fault of their PA leadership, not the league.

It’s well known NHL commissioner Gary Bettman and the league board of governors (team owners) don’t like Olympic participation because there’s no money in it for them. Given their choice, they’d never take part in the Winter Games ever again. Nevertheless, they agreed to send players to the 2022 and 2026 Winter Olympics as part of their concessions to get the players to sign off on the CBA extension last year.

Up until roughly two weeks ago, the NHL was going to leave Olympic participation up to the players. The only reason they took their current action (in conjunction with the PA) was the latest COVID-19 outbreak led to multiple game postponements that threatened to derail the season.

Yes, the league is concerned about hockey-related revenue. So should the players. Another shortened season means the salary cap remains flattened beyond 2024, meaning less money to go around for players in line for new contracts in two years’ time. That also means it will take longer for the players to pay back the debt they owe to the owners because their share of HRR in 2020 exceeded that of the owners’ share.

Speaking of postponed games, the total number yesterday reached 80 with 10 more games put on hold. Nine of them were upcoming games in Canada due to limits on large gatherings in Canadian NHL cities.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: There was media speculation yesterday suggesting the league could soon announce some Canadian teams could end up playing home games scheduled for January on the road until those restrictions are eased or lifted. That’s because playing those games with limited attendance or no fans in the stands will adversely affect HRR for this season.

SPORTSNET: Anaheim Ducks forward Trevor Zegras, Minnesota Wild defenseman Jonas Brodin and New York Islanders center Brock Nelson were the latest notable NHL players placed on the COVID protocol list yesterday.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Wild were hoping to avoid an outbreak with their Jan. 1 Winter Classic game against the St. Louis Blues at Target Field fast approaching. Brodin is the only member of the wild (thus far) to test positive.

OTTAWA SUN: The Senators have recalled goaltender Matt Murray from a month-long stint with their AHL affiliate in Belleville.

CBS SPORTS: The Vegas Golden Knights placed defenseman Alec Martinez (facial injury) on long-term injury reserve. He’s been sidelined since Nov. 11.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 22, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 22, 2021

The Oilers’ Connor McDavid and the Panthers’ Sergei Bobrovsky reach career milestones, the Hurricanes and Sharks remain undefeated, and much more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: Edmonton Oilers captain Connor McDavid scored two goals, including the 200th of his career, to lead his club over the Arizona Coyotes 5-1. Zach Hyman also tallied twice for the Oilers, who are undefeated at 4-0-0 while the Coyotes are 0-3-1. McDavid is the first player to reach double-digits this season with 11 points.

Florida Panthers goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky (NHL Images).

Sergei Bobrovsky made 30 saves to become the third Russian goaltender to reach 300 career NHL wins as the Florida Panthers beat the Colorado Avalanche 4-1. Panthers rookie Anton Lundell had a goal and an assist. Like the Oilers, the Panthers are off to a 4-0-0 start. The Avalanche, meanwhile, dropped to 1-3-0.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Bobrovsky is the second Russian-born goalie to reach 300 wins. Evgeni Nabokov (353 wins) was born in Kazakhstan while it was part of the Soviet Union.

The Carolina Hurricanes are 3-0-0 after downing the Montreal Canadiens 4-1. Sebastian Aho led the way with two goals and an assist while former Hab Jesperi Kotkaniemi netted the insurance goal in his first game back in Montreal since signing with the Hurricanes in August. The sad-sack Canadiens are 0-5-0.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: History buffs will point to the start of 1995-96 when the Canadiens replaced its general manager and head coach following a similar start. I don’t anticipate history to repeat itself, especially with coach Dominique Ducharme in the first season of a three-year contract. Nevertheless, it’s going to be a long, difficult season for Ducharme, GM Marc Bergevin and the players if they don’t string some wins together soon.

Third-period goals by Logan Couture and Kevin Labanc lifted the San Jose Sharks over the Ottawa Senators 2-1, spoiling the season debut of Senators winger Brady Tkachuk, who picked up an assist on Drake Batherson’s goal. James Reimer kicked out 30 shots as the Sharks are 3-0-0 to start the season. Sharks defenseman Brent Burns played in his 600th consecutive NHL game. Senators center Shane Pinto left the game in the first period favoring his right shoulder.

The Washington Capitals stretched their record to 3-0-1 by beating the New Jersey Devils 4-1. Evgeni Kuznetsov and former Charlottetown Islander Daniel Sprong each had a goal and an assist while Alex Ovechkin collected two helpers. Earlier in the day, the Devils placed center Jack Hughes on injured reserve with a dislocated left shoulder.

Patrik Laine scored in overtime as the Columbus Blue Jackets nipped the New York Islanders 3-2. Oliver Bjorkstrand collected three assists for the Jackets, who are 3-1-0 thus far. Mathew Barzal tallied one of the Islanders’ goals.

The Calgary Flames blanked the Detroit Red Wings 3-0 on a 33-save shutout performance by Jacob Markstrom. Johnny Gaudreau and Erik Gudbranson each had two assists while Elias Lindholm scored in his third straight game.

The New York Rangers got third-period goals by Alexis Lafreniere and Barclay Goodrow to down the Nashville Predators 3-1. Philip Tomasino tallied his first-ever NHL goal for the Predators. The Rangers are 3-1-1 in their last five contests.

Connor Hellebuyck made 38 saves and Kyle Connor scored twice as the Winnipeg Jets picked up their first win of the season (1-2-1)with a 5-1 victory over the Anaheim Ducks. The win comes with Mark Scheifele joining Blake Wheeler on the COVID protocol list following two positive tests. Unlike Wheeler, he’s asymptomatic and not subject to a 10-day quarantine.

The Chicago Blackhawks still seek their first win of the season (0-4-1) after falling 4-1 to the Vancouver Canucks. Thatcher Demko made 29 saves for the win and Conor Garland had a goal and an assist. Before the game, the Blackhawks honored Patrick Kane for playing his 1,000th career NHL game last season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Blackhawks decided to wait until fans were allowed back in the United Center to honor Kane’s achievement.

HEADLINES

THE SCORE: Montreal’s Carey Price, St. Louis’ Jordan Binnington, Colorado’s Darcy Kuemper, New Jersey’s Mackenzie Blackwood, Philadelphia’s Carter Hart and Chicago’s Marc-Andre Fleury are the goaltenders on Canada’s long list for the 2022 Winter Olympics.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Those goalies all come with uncertainties. Price is in the NHL players’ assistance program with no timetable for his return, Binnington’s been inconsistent since backstopping the Blues to the 2019 Stanley Cup, Blackwood remains unvaccinated for COVID-19, Hart struggled throughout last season and Fleury has been shaky behind a porous Blackhawks defense thus far this season.

TRIBLIVE.COM: The Pittsburgh Penguins placed forward Jeff Carter and goaltender Tristan Jarry in the NHL’s COVID-19 protocol. Each player is asymptomatic.

STLTODAY.COM: St. Louis Blues winger Brandon Saad was placed on the COVID protocol yesterday. He will be unavailable for the club’s home opener on Saturday against the Los Angeles Kings.

VEGAS HOCKEY NOW: Golden Knights defenseman Alec Martinez was still being evaluated yesterday after leaving Wednesday’s game against the Blues with a lower-body injury.

TAMPA BAY TIMES: The Lightning received their 2021 Stanley Cup championship rings at a private ceremony on Thursday night.










Notable NHL Free Agent Signings and Trades – July 28, 2021

Notable NHL Free Agent Signings and Trades – July 28, 2021

Be sure to check in regularly throughout the day for today’s notable free-agent signings and trades.

SIGNINGS (Updated: 6 pm ET.

New Jersey Devils sign defenseman Dougie Hamilton to a seven-year, $63 million contract ($9 million AAV).

Boston Bruins sign goaltender Linus Ullmark to a four-year, $20 million contract ($5 million AAV).

Montreal Canadiens sign winger Mike Hoffman to a three-year, $13.5 million contract ($4.5 million AAV).

Anaheim Ducks sign center Ryan Getzlaf to a one-year, $4.5 million contract.

Detroit Red Wings sign center Pius Suter to a two-year, $6.5 million contract ($3.25 million AAV).

Boston Bruins sign winger Nick Foligno to a two-year contract. Financial terms weren’t disclosed.

Ottawa Senator sign defenseman Michael Del Zotto to a two-year, $4 million deal ($2 million AAV).

SIGNINGS: (Updated: 4 pm ET)

Tampa Bay Lightning re-sign center Brayden Point to an eight-year, $76 million contract ($9.5 million AAV).

Vegas Golden Knights sign forward Mattias Janmark to a one-year, $2 million contract.

SIGNINGS (Updated: 2:45 pm ET):

Seattle Kraken sign goaltender Philipp Grubauer to a six-year, $35.4 million contract ($5.9 million AAV).

Seattle Kraken sign winger Jaden Schwartz to a five-year, $27.5 million contract ($5.5 million AAV).

Los Angeles Kings sign center Phillip Danault to a six-year, $33 million contract ($5.5 million AAV).

Los Angeles Kings sign defenseman Alex Edler to a one-year, $3.5 million contract.

Boston Bruins sign forward Erik Haula to a two-year, $4.75 million contract ($2.375 million AAV).

Carolina Hurricanes sign defenseman Ian Cole to a one-year, $2.9 million contract.

San Jose Sharks sign center Nick Bonino to a two-year, $4.1 million contract ($2.05 million AAV).

SIGNINGS (UPDATED 1:30 PM ET)

Nashville Predators re-sign forward Mikael Granlund to a four-year, $20 million contract ($5 million AAV).

Minnesota Wild sign defenseman Alex Goligoski to a one-year, $5 million contract.

Calgary Flames sign forward Blake Coleman to a six-year, $29.4 million contract ($4.9 million AAV).

Carolina Hurricanes sign goalie Frederik Andersen to a two-year deal worth $4.5 million AAV.

Columbus Blue Jackets re-sign Boone Jenner to a four-year $15 million contract ($3.75 million).

New Jersey Devils sign goaltender Jonathan Bernier to a two-year, $8.25 million contract ($4.125 million AAV).

Montreal Canadiens sign David Savard to a four-year, $14 million contract ($3.5 million AAV).

Edmonton Oilers sign defenseman Cody Ceci to a four-year, $13 million contract ($3.25 million AAV).

Vancouver Canucks sign defenseman Travis Hamonic to a two-year, $6 million contract ($3 million AAV).

Columbus Blue Jackets sign forward Sean Kuraly to a four-year, $10 million contract ($2.5 million cap hit)

Vancouver Canucks sign defenseman Tucker Poolman to a four-year, $10 million contract ($2.5 million AAV)

Philadelphia Flyers sign goalie Martin Jones to a one-year, $2 million contract.

Dallas Stars sign Braden Holtby to a one-year, $2 million contract.

Philadelphia Flyers sign defenseman Keith Yandle to a one-year, $950K contract.

SIGNINGS AND TRADES PRIOR TO NOON ET. 

Edmonton Oilers sign Zach Hyman to a seven-year, $38.5 million contract ($5.5 million annual average value).

Edmonton Oilers re-sign defenseman Tyson Barrie to a three-year contract worth $4.5 million per season.

Vegas Golden Knights re-sign defenseman Alec Martinez to a three-year deal worth $5.25 million annually.

Seattle Kraken sign forward Alexander Wennberg to a three-yeae contract worth $4.5 million annually.

Toronto Maple Leafs sign goaltender Petr Mrazek to a three-year contract worth $3.8 million.

Dallas Stars sign defenseman Ryan Suter to a four-year contract worth $3.65 million AAV.

Carolina Hurricanes sign goaltender Antti Raanta to a two-year deal worth $2 million annually.

Vancouver Canucks sign goaltender Jaroslav Halak to a one-year contract worth $1.5 million in base salary.

Carolina Hurricanes sign defenseman Tony DeAngelo to a one-year, $1 million contract.

TRADES

Edmonton Oilers trade defenseman Ethan Bear to the Carolina Hurricanes for winger Warren Foegele.

Ottawa Senators trade winger Evgeni Dadonov to the Vegas Golden Knights in exchange for Nick Holden and a third-round draft pick in 2022.

Chicago Blackhawks trade defenseman Nikita Zadorov to the Calgary Flames in exchange for a third-round pick in 2022. The pick originally belonged to Toronto.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 27, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 27, 2021

The Panthers re-sign Sam Bennett and trade Anton Stralman to the Coyotes, the Jets re-sign Paul Stastny and acquire Brenden Dillion from the Capitals, the Golden Knights close to re-signing Alec Martinez and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

FLORIDA HOCKEY NOW: The Florida Panthers were busy on Monday. They signed forward Sam Bennett to a four-year deal worth an annual average value of $4.4 million. The club also traded defensemen Anton Stralman and Vladislav Kolyachonok plus a second-round pick in the 2024 NHL Draft in exchange for a seventh-round pick in 2023.

The Florida Panthers re-sign forward Sam Bennett to a four-year deal (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s not surprising the Panthers re-signed Bennett. Slated to become a restricted free agent on July 28, the 25-year-old netted 15 points in his first 10 regular-season games after being acquired at the trade deadline from Calgary. He also had five points in as many playoff games. Bennett should be a key part of their top-two forward lines.

The Stralman trade was a straightforward salary dump by the Panthers. He had a year remaining on his contract worth an annual average value of $5.5 million. The 35-year-old blueliner reportedly had to be convinced to waive his modified no-trade to go to Arizona. He’ll likely become a bargaining chip at next season’s trade deadline if the rebuilding Coyotes are out of playoff contention by then.

WINNIPEG SUN: The Jets also had a busy day, re-signing center Paul Stastny to a one-year, $3.75 million contract and acquiring defenseman Brenden Dillon from the Washington Capitals in exchange for a second-round pick in 2022 and a second-rounder in 2023.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Stastny isn’t the offensive talent he once was. Nevertheless, the 35-year-old should be an affordable short-term answer to their need for a second-line center while management seeks a long-term solution. Dillon will help address a glaring need for reliable stay-at-home depth on their blueline, though the cost of two second-rounders seems a little high.

The Capitals, meanwhile, freed up $3.9 million in annual cap space for the next three seasons. They now have over $12 million in cap room if they call up Martin Fehervary as expected for next season. That gives them some additional wiggle room to re-sign Alex Ovechkin and goaltender Ilya Samsonov.

LAS VEGAS SUN: The Vegas Golden Knights are reportedly close to signing Alec Martinez to a three-year contract extension. The 35-year-old defenseman would receive an annual cap hit close to $5 million.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Martinez proved his worth to the Golden Knights this season, especially in the playoffs where he was their best all-around blueliner. The contract is a bit long for a shot-blocking rearguard of his age but that seems the price the Golden Knights are willing to pay to remain in Stanley Cup contention.

That signing could push them over the $81.5 million salary cap. They could make a cost-cutting trade before the start of next season involving Marc-Andre Fleury or Robin Lehner.

ARIZONA SPORTS: The Coyotes expected to sign forward Dmitrij Jaskin to a one-year, $3.2 million contract. The 29-year-old spent seven seasons with the St. Louis Blues and Washington Capitals before spending the past two seasons playing for the KHL’s Moscow Dynamo.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Coyotes have been everyone’s favorite dumping ground for unwanted contracts this summer. General manager Bill Armstrong has been clearing up long-term cap space while restocking with draft picks and prospects.

Most of the contracts he’s taken on have only a year or two remaining, with most belonging to still-serviceable players who could become trade bait to playoff contenders later next season. He also did a great job shedding Oliver Ekman-Larsson’s hefty contract by shipping that off to Vancouver during the recent NHL draft.

THE SCORE: Several notable restricted free agents didn’t receive qualifying offers at yesterday’s deadline. Among them were Boston’s Nick Ritchie, Chicago’s Pius Suter, Edmonton’s Dominik Kahun and Anaheim’s Danton Heinen. They are eligible to become unrestricted free agents on July 28.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Just because they didn’t get qualifying offers doesn’t mean they can’t re-sign with their now-former teams. Sometimes teams don’t offer a QO because they want to sign those players to a more affordable contract. That’s what the Blackhawks did with Adam Gaudette, inking him to a one-year deal worth just over $997K.

TORONTO STAR: Defenseman Zach Bogosian won’t be back with the Maple Leafs. He’s likely headed to an American market via free agency on July 28.

NEW YORK POST: The Rangers are expected to sign Patrik Nemeth when free agency opens tomorrow. The Colorado Avalanche allowed the pending UFA defenseman to speak with other teams.

TSN: The New Jersey Devils traded forward Nick Merkley to the San Jose Sharks in exchange for defenseman Christian Jaros. The Devils signed Jaros to a one-year, two-way contract.

NBC SPORTS PHILADELPHIA: The Flyers re-signed defenseman Sam Morin to a one-year, $750K contract.

TRIBLIVE.COM: Pittsburgh Penguins head coach Mike Sullivan is expected to be named head coach of the United States’ Men’s hockey team for the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics.










NHL Rumor Mill – July 23, 2021

NHL Rumor Mill – July 23, 2021

The 2021 NHL Draft begins tonight at 8 pm ET. Check out all the latest speculation leading up to the start of round one in today’s NHL rumor mill.

BLACKHAWKS STILL TRYING TO LAND SETH JONES

SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman reports the Chicago Blackhawks are taking another run at acquiring defenseman Seth Jones from the Columbus Blue Jackets without parting with Alex DeBrincat or Kirby Dach in return. It’s believed the Blackhawks are one of the teams that could secure a long-term contract extension from Jones.

Columbus Blue Jackets defenseman Seth Jones (NHL Images).

RECENT RANGERS SPECULATION

DAILY FACEOFF: Frank Seravalli wonders if the New York Rangers are trying to put together an offer for Buffalo Sabres center Jack Eichel. They’ve been calling teams that hold a pick in the top-10 in this year’s draft.

In other Rangers speculation, they’ve been trying to move Pavel Buchnevich for some time. Ryan Strome has been linked to the Seattle Kraken. Seravalli wondered if the Vegas Golden Knights might be interested given their need for centers.

The Rangers have sought suitors for backup goalie Alexandar Georgiev with a first-round pick as the asking price. He pondered the possibility of the Rangers attempting to acquire Jonathan Marchessault or Reilly Smith from the Vegas Golden Knights.

NEW YORK POST: Larry Brooks also reported the Rangers are shopping Buchnevich, in part to ensure sufficient long-term cap space. He believes they must find suitable linemates for third-line forward Barclay Goodrow after signing him yesterday to a six-year contract.

TARASENKO COULD STAY IN ST. LOUIS

STLTODAY.COM: Jim Thomas reports Blues GM Doug Armstrong said he can envision a scenario whereby Vladimir Tarasenko returns with the club next season. Armstrong is attempting to fulfill Tarasenko’s trade request but this could be his way of signaling to the Tarasenko camp and the rest of the league that he’s not giving the winger away.

SABRES SET ASKING PRICE FOR REINHART

WGR 550: Elliotte Friedman reports the Buffalo Sabres are receiving plenty of interest in center Sam Reinhart. Their asking price is said to be a first-round pick and a prospect. Reinhart, 25, is a restricted free agent with arbitration rights.

LATEST ON THE OILERS

TSN: Darren Dreger reports contract discussions are ongoing between the Edmonton Oilers and winger Zach Hyman but some believe the Toronto Maple Leafs aren’t out of it yet. If the Oilers want that eighth year in Hyman’s contract it will have to be a sign-and-trade with the Leafs.

Dreger also reports they’re continuing to discuss a possible re-signing with defenseman Tyson Barrie. The Oilers, Calgary Flames and Vancouver Canucks all have interest in Buffalo Sabres blueliner Rasmus Ristolainen.

DAILY FACEOFF: Frank Seravalli wonders if the Oilers could be a dark horse candidate for Carolina Hurricanes free-agent defenseman Dougie Hamilton. They’re expected to clear cap space by buying out James Neal and there’s talk of moving winger Zack Kassian. He’s also not sold on Ethan Bear being in Edmonton for the long haul.

IN OTHER RUMORS…

TSN: Pierre LeBrun reports the Tampa Bay Lightning are once again trying to trade winger Tyler Johnson. He has three years left on his contract with an annual average value of $5 million and 22 teams on his partial no-trade list.

The Montreal Canadiens have spoken to the Sabres about Rasmus Ristolainen. They could also have some interest in the Lightning’s pending UFA defenseman David Savard if his asking price isn’t too costly. The Habs are looking to plug a hole in their blueline with Shea Weber expected to be sidelined for all of next season and possibly longer.

Vegas Golden Knights defenseman Alec Martinez is mulling a contract offer from the club. He’s slated to become a UFA on July 28.

SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman reports free agent Ryan Suter could decide as early as Monday over which team he’ll sign with. The former Minnesota Wild defenseman has drawn interest from the Boston Bruins, Colorado Avalanche, Dallas Stars, Florida Panthers and New York Islanders.

It’s believed the Vancouver Canucks have given Braden Holtby’s representatives permission to speak with other teams about a possible trade.

THE ATHLETIC: Kevin Kurz reports hearing San Jose Sharks winger Timo Meier could be in play. He wondered if the New Jersey Devils might be interested in uniting Meier with countryman Nico Hischier.

THE PROVINCE: Canucks GM Jim Benning admitted he’s had teams calling to inquire about defenseman Nate Schmidt. He said he didn’t put Schmidt out there in the trade market nor has the blueliner requested to be dealt.

DAILY FACEOFF: The Carolina Hurricanes are working to find a new home for defenseman Jake Bean. There’s also interest in Hurricanes winger Warren Foegele.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Quick and dirty rumor list today as I prepare for the opening round of the draft this evening. As always, feel free to weigh in with your thoughts on today’s speculation.










NHL Rumor Mill – June 28, 2021

NHL Rumor Mill – June 28, 2021

Could the Golden Knights pursue Jack Eichel? Can they find a way to re-sign Alec Martinez? Should the Penguins try to bring back Marc-Andre Fleury? Check out the latest in today’s NHL rumor mill.

WGR 550: During his recent appearance on “The Instigators,” TSN’s Darren Dreger discussed the possibility of the Vegas Golden Knights pursuing Buffalo Sabres center Jack Eichel with the hosts. Dreger said he’d be surprised if the Golden Knights hadn’t had that discussion with the Sabres. He also said he’s not buying reports suggesting the Columbus Blue Jackets are out of the bidding for the 24-year-old Eichel.

VEGAS HOCKEY NOW: Tom Callahan believes the Golden Knights need a first-line center and have the assets to put together a deal for Eichel. He pointed out they have their first-round pick plus the New Jersey Devils’ second-rounder (36th overall). They also have pieces that can help the Sabres now (Reilly Smith and Chandler Stephenson) and later (Cody Glass). Callahan acknowledged their limited cap space and believes there would have to be further whittling of the roster to make the dollars fit.

Can the Vegas Golden Knights afford to acquire Buffalo Sabres center Jack Eichel? (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Golden Knights have a history of making big moves, acquiring core players such as Mark Stone, Max Pacioretty and Alex Pietrangelo via trades and free agency. They could look into the cost of an Eichel trade. However, I don’t think the package proposed by Callahan is sufficient to outbid other teams unless those clubs chicken out and the Sabres get desperate.

TRIBLIVE.COM: Mark Madden suggests the Pittsburgh Penguins attempt to bring back Marc-Andre Fleury. He said the Penguins came close to getting him before this season but the Golden Knights reneged on the deal because ownership got “dewy-eyed” over Fleury’s value to the franchise since its inception in 2017.

Madden believes the Golden Knights would have to absorb part of Fleury’s $7 million cap hit. “The Penguins shouldn’t give more than a third-round pick for a 36-year-old goalie.” He also suggested they try to add a few bigger, older players like Wayne Simmonds, Zdeno Chara, Corey Perry or Eric Staal to affordable short-term contracts.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Fleury said he wants to finish his career with the Golden Knights. He’s got a year left on his contract with a 10-team no-trade clause. That doesn’t mean he wouldn’t welcome a return to Pittsburgh but Penguins GM Ron Hextall could have other plans in goal.

THE ATHLETIC: Jesse Granger believes the Golden Knights want to keep Alec Martinez. The 33-year-old defenseman is slated to become an unrestricted free agent on July 28. It could come down to how much term Martinez seeks on his next contract. Offers of three or more years from rival clubs could be difficult to match.

Granger pointed out Fleury wants to finish his career in Vegas and team owner Bill Foley doesn’t want him traded. The Golden Knights also have to make decisions regarding pending UFAs such as Mattias Janmark and Patrick Brown, as well as Cody Glass’ future following his disappointing performance this season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: As per Cap Friendly, the Golden Knights have a projected $6.09 million in cap space for next season. Martinez is coming off a six-year deal with an annual cap hit of $4 million. His solid performance throughout this season will draw plenty of interest in the free-agent market. Even if he agreed to accept the same cap hit it would eat up most of their cap room. If they pursue Jack Eichel they won’t have enough to keep Martinez.