NHL Rumor Mill – May 20, 2021

NHL Rumor Mill – May 20, 2021

Are big offseason moves in store for the Flames and Kings? Find out in today’s NHL rumor mill.

WHAT NEXT FOR THE FLAMES?

SPORTSNET: Eric Francis recently looked at some key offseason questions facing the Calgary Flames following a disappointing season. He wondered if Brad Treliving will return as general manager. While Treliving isn’t afraid to make big decisions, the Flames under his watch have proven incapable of winning when it matters most.

Calgary Flames winger Johnny Gaudreau (NHL Images).

Francis feels they need an overhaul more than a roster teardown. That could involve winger Johnny Gaudreau, who is a year away from unrestricted free agent eligibility. They cannot afford to lose him for next to nothing the way they did when they gave away Jarome Iginla.

The Flames won’t have any limitations on trading Gaudreau until July 28, when his modified no-trade clause kicks in. It won’t be easy trading him in a flat-cap era when his stock has declined.

Francis wondered if the Flames will leave defenseman Mark Giordano exposed in the expansion draft. He also downplayed the possibility of acquiring Jack Eichel from the Buffalo Sabres, pointing out the Flames lack sufficient depth in star players and top prospects to make a competitive pitch.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Changes are coming for the Flames. They have to. They cannot return with the same roster and expect better results.

They could replace Treliving though I suspect if they were thinking of doing so it would’ve happened by now. He’s got two more years left on his contract. They could give him at least one more year to dig his way out of this mess.

Whoever sits in the GM’s chair this summer will have to make one or two moves to shake things up. Moving Gaudreau seems the most obvious move but only if there’s a decent return to be had this summer. Otherwise, it might be best to keep him for next season and see if his trade value improves.

I’d love to hear your thoughts, Flames fans, feel free to offer up your views in the comments section below.

LATEST ON THE KINGS

LOS ANGELES TIMES: Helene Elliott believes Kings GM Rob Blake is on the clock to transform his club into a playoff team. He’s under pressure to use his $20 million in salary-cap space and the young talent he’s accumulated and turn the Kings into a Stanley Cup contender.

Team captain Anze Kopitar and defenseman Drew Doughty last week expressed their hope that Blake will add impact players this summer. Elliott feels he has several paths toward doing so, either via free agency, leveraging assets in trades, or targeting cap-strapped clubs looking to shed salary.

Blake acknowledged Doughty’s comments, adding that making the playoffs next season is a must. He also said this season provided a better understanding of where certain holes in the roster may be and the progression of some of their younger players.

THE ATHLETIC: Lisa Dillman believes adding one or two top-six wingers for Kopitar’s line should be among the Kings’ priorities this summer. They should target clubs that risk losing a quality player to the Seattle Kraken in the expansion draft. Given their prospect depth, Dillman proposed they consider shopping their first-round pick if it remains at eighth overall following the draft lottery.

They could also use some help on the left side of their defense. She suggested checking into the availability of Nashville Predators blueliner Mattias Ekholm or the Carolina Hurricanes’ Jake Bean. Perhaps Vegas Golden Knights pending UFA Alec Martinez might be willing to return to the Kings.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Blake is sitting in a good position to make a couple of significant additions. The Kings GM has five picks in the first three rounds in this year’s draft plus plenty of promising prospects to draw upon for trade bait. He can also put his cap space to good use in the trade and/or free-agent market.

The trade market could include forwards like Buffalo’s Jack Eichel and Sam Reinhart, Calgary’s Johnny Gaudreau, and Washington’s Evgeny Kuznetsov and defensemen such as Ekholm, Bean or St. Louis’ Vince Dunn. Free agency could feature Edmonton’s Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Boston’s Taylor Hall, Colorado’s Brandon Saad and Tampa Bay’s Blake Coleman.

Finding the right players, however, will be the challenge. The nightmare is wasting assets and valuable long-term cap space on players who fail to move the needle.










Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – May 2, 2021

Is an offseason shakeup in store for the Rangers?  Is Alec Martinez any closer to re-signing with the Golden Knights? What’s the latest on Rod Brind’Amour’s contract talks with the Hurricanes? Find out in the Sunday NHL rumor roundup.

NEW YORK POST: Larry Brooks recently suggested the Rangers could face an offseason shakeup following Thursday’s season-crushing 4-0 loss to the New York Islanders. He singled out marquee players such as Artemi Panarin and Mika Zibanejad as well as the leadership group and head coach David Quinn.

New York Rangers center Mika Zibanejad (NHL Images).

Brooks pointed out the lack of production from the Rangers’ core players (Panarin, Zibanejad, Pavel Buchnevich, Chris Kreider and Ryan Strome) against the Isles throughout this season, combining for just one goal against their rival. He feels the Rangers lack the mentality and personnel to adjust against a tight-checking opponent.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Brooks wasn’t as harsh in his assessment of the Rangers’ 3-0 loss to the Islanders on Saturday, perhaps because, as he pointed out, that loss felt inevitable. He did, however, suggest the Rangers lacked the physical presence to deal with rugged Islanders winger Matt Martin. He noted the Blueshirts attempted to sign Martin during the offseason before he returned to the Isles on a four-year deal.

The Rangers could make some offseason changes, perhaps behind the bench as well as in the lineup. There’s no shortage of former NHL coaches who’d relish the opportunity of coaching the promising Blueshirts. Gerard Gallant, Claude Julien and Bruce Boudreau could be among the potential candidates.

As for the roster, Cap Friendly shows the Rangers have $55.6 million invested in 17 players for 2021-22. Buchnevich and goaltender Igor Shesterkin are their notable free agents, with both being RFAs holding arbitration rights. Filip Chytil, Brett Howden, Ryan Lindgren and Libor Hajek are coming off their entry-level contracts.

The Blueshirts have sufficient cap space to re-sign their key free agents and perhaps have some space to tap into the UFA market to add some toughness to their lineup. They could, however, forego an expensive signing by going the trade route.

Zibanejad and Strome are one year away from unrestricted free agent eligibility. Their names popped up in trade speculation in the recent past and could surface in the offseason if management decides core changes are needed.

LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL: David Schoen recently reported there haven’t been any contract talks between the Vegas Golden Knights and Alec Martinez. The 33-year-old defenseman is slated to become an unrestricted free agent this summer.

Martinez is hopeful this season won’t be his last with the Golden Knights. He has 27 points on the season and averages over 22 minutes per game. General manager Kelly McCrimmon acknowledged the blueliner’s value to the lineup, adding talks will happen when appropriate and declined to comment further.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Martinez is completing a six-year, $24 million contract and turns 34 in July. His age will work against him getting a significant raise. So will the Golden Knights’ limited cap space. They have $75.4 million invested in 17 players next season. He’ll have to accept at least the same annual cap hit on a short-term deal to stay in Vegas, and only if they can free up some cap room.

SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman reports one of the biggest issues in the Carolina Hurricanes contract negotiations with head coach Rod Brind’Amour is he wants contract extensions for his coaching, training and equipment staffs. Like Brind’Amour, their respective contracts expire at the end of this season.

Friedman believed Brind’Amour will re-sign with the Hurricanes. However, he’s made it clear the future of his staff is as important as his own.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Brind’Amour was a team guy during his playing days. That attitude has carried over into his coaching career. Given the success he’s had turning the Hurricanes within three years from an also-ran to a Stanley Cup contender, he’s justified in wanting to keep his staff intact.

NHL Rumor Mill – April 28, 2021

NHL Rumor Mill – April 28, 2021

Could the Rangers pursue a veteran defenseman this summer? Which pending free agents will the Red Wings keep? Check out the latest in today’s NHL rumor mill.

NEW YORK POST: Larry Brooks recently reported the Rangers were a finalist in the offseason Zdeno Chara sweepstakes before the 44-year-old defenseman signed with the Washington Capitals. Brooks feels they need to add a veteran presence to their blue line. Someone in their mid-to-late 20s or even in their thirties from a winning program, preferably with a Stanley Cup on his resume, would be ideal.

Vegas Golden Knights defenseman Alec Martinez (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Rangers could look into this year’s unrestricted free agent market to address that need. The one who best fits that description is Vegas’ Alec Martinez (33), who won two Stanley Cups with the Los Angeles Kings. Chara could also be available again but he might still prefer playing for Cup contenders if he decides to return for another season. Minnesota’s Ian Cole and Toronto’s Zach Bogosian also have Stanley Cups on their resume but aren’t as skilled as Martinez or as respected as Chara.

The top defenseman potentially available is Carolina’s Dougie Hamilton but he’ll be expensive to sign. The Blueshirts could prefer more affordable options given their depth in young players and the cost of re-signing some of them over the next couple of years.

DETROIT FREE PRESS: In a recent mailbag segment, Helene St. James was asked which pending UFAs the Red Wings could bring back. They include center Luke Glendening, goaltender Jonathan Bernier, defenseman Marc Staal and forwards Bobby Ryan, Sam Gagner, Darren Helm and Valtteri Filppula.

St. James considers Glendening a lock to be re-signed given his presence in the dressing room and his work ethic and professionalism. Bernier is a close second because he gives the Wings a chance to win every game he plays plus they lack an NHL-ready netminder in their farm system.

Ryan and/or Gagner could be re-signed depending on the circumstances. Perhaps one-year deals can be worked out for Helm and Staal. Filppula isn’t expected back as he was a healthy scratch until injuries forced otherwise.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Cap Friendly shows the Red Wings with just $33.4 million invested in only nine players for 2021-22. They can easily afford to re-sign most or all of those aforementioned UFAs to cost-effective one-year contracts if they wish. How many of them want to return with the rebuilding Wings remains to be seen. Guys like Glendening and Bernier could draw interest from playoff contenders if they test the open market.










Ovechkin Tops NHL’s 2021 UFA Class

Ovechkin Tops NHL’s 2021 UFA Class

 










Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – May 2, 2021

Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – May 2, 2021

Is an offseason shakeup in store for the Rangers?  Is Alec Martinez any closer to re-signing with the Golden Knights? What’s the latest on Rod Brind’Amour’s contract talks with the Hurricanes? Find out in the Sunday NHL rumor roundup.

NEW YORK POST: Larry Brooks recently suggested the Rangers could face an offseason shakeup following Thursday’s season-crushing 4-0 loss to the New York Islanders. He singled out marquee players such as Artemi Panarin and Mika Zibanejad for criticism as well as the leadership group and head coach David Quinn.

New York Rangers center Mika Zibanejad (NHL Images).

Brooks pointed out the lack of production from the Rangers’ core players (Panarin, Zibanejad, Pavel Buchnevich, Chris Kreider and Ryan Strome) against the Isles throughout this season, combining for just one goal against their rival. He feels the Rangers lack the mentality and personnel to adjust against a tight-checking opponent.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Brooks wasn’t as harsh in his assessment of the Rangers’ 3-0 loss to the Islanders on Saturday, perhaps because, as he pointed out, that loss felt inevitable. He did, however, suggest the Rangers lacked the physical presence to deal with rugged Islanders winger Matt Martin. He noted the Blueshirts attempted to sign Martin during the offseason before he returned to the Isles on a four-year deal.

The Rangers could make some offseason changes, perhaps behind the bench as well as in the lineup. There’s no shortage of former NHL coaches who’d relish the opportunity of coaching the promising Blueshirts. Gerard Gallant, Claude Julien and Bruce Boudreau could be among the potential candidates.

As for the roster, Cap Friendly shows the Rangers have $55.6 million invested in 17 players for 2021-22. Buchnevich and goaltender Igor Shesterkin are their notable free agents, with both being RFAs holding arbitration rights. Filip Chytil, Brett Howden, Ryan Lindgren and Libor Hajek are coming off their entry-level contracts.

The Blueshirts have sufficient cap space to re-sign their key free agents and perhaps have some space to tap into the UFA market to add some toughness to their lineup. They could, however, forego an expensive signing by going the trade route.

Zibanejad and Strome are one year away from unrestricted free agent eligibility. Their names popped up in trade speculation in the recent past and could surface in the offseason if management decides core changes are needed.

LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL: David Schoen recently reported there haven’t been any contract talks between the Vegas Golden Knights and Alec Martinez. The 33-year-old defenseman is slated to become an unrestricted free agent this summer.

Martinez is hopeful this season won’t be his last with the Golden Knights. He has 27 points on the season and averages over 22 minutes per game. General manager Kelly McCrimmon acknowledged the blueliner’s value to the lineup, adding talks will happen when appropriate and declined to comment further.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Martinez is completing a six-year, $24 million contract and turns 34 in July. His age will work against him getting a significant raise. So will the Golden Knights’ limited cap space. They have $75.4 million invested in 17 players next season. He’ll have to accept at least the same annual cap hit on a short-term deal to stay in Vegas, and only if they can free up some cap room.

SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman reports one of the biggest issues in the Carolina Hurricanes contract negotiations with head coach Rod Brind’Amour is he wants contract extensions for his coaching, training and equipment staffs. Like Brind’Amour, their respective contracts expire at the end of this season.

Friedman believed Brind’Amour will re-sign with the Hurricanes. However, he’s made it clear the future of his staff is as important as his own.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Brind’Amour was a team guy during his playing days. That attitude has carried over into his coaching career. Given the success he’s had turning the Hurricanes within three years from an also-ran to a Stanley Cup contender, he’s justified in wanting to keep his staff intact.

 










Evaluating The Latest Notable Trades Before the 2020 NHL Trade Deadline

Evaluating The Latest Notable Trades Before the 2020 NHL Trade Deadline