NHL Rumor Mill – June 29, 2021

NHL Rumor Mill – June 29, 2021

Check out the latest on Seth Jones, Matthew Tkachuk, Jack Eichel, Viktor Arvidsson, Wayne Simmonds and more in today’s NHL rumor mill.

NOTABLE SPECULATION FROM FRIEDMAN’S LATEST “31 THOUGHTS”

SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman reports he’s still hearing a lot about the Philadelphia Flyers having an interest in Columbus Blue Jackets defenseman Seth Jones.

Columbus Blue Jackets defenseman Seth Jones (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Friedman didn’t elaborate but it’s not surprising the Flyers would look at Jones to fill their glaring need for a top-pairing, right-side blueliner. They have the assets to make a competitive pitch, but they’ll have to shed salary to squeeze in his $5.4 million cap hit for next season. Cap Friendly shows them with $13.08 in projected cap space. Carter Hart and Travis Sanheim are due for new contracts plus they need to find a suitable backup for Hart.

The Flames issued firm denials regarding a recent rumor claiming Matthew Tkachuk wanted out of Calgary. That’s different from when no one denied the leak that Seth Jones would test next summer’s free-agent market or the news the Arizona Coyotes will try to trade Oliver Ekman-Larsson or reports the Carolina Hurricanes allowed Dougie Hamilton to speak with other teams.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: There weren’t any earlier indications Tkachuk was unhappy in Calgary prior to last week’s rumor claiming he wanted out. Flames management could consider all options after missing the playoffs this season. Moving Tkachuk, however, doesn’t sound like one of them.

Things were quieter on the Jack Eichel rumor front last week. Friedman expects things to pick up once they hire a new coach. Interim coach Don Granato and Rick Tocchet are among the contenders.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The New York Post’s Larry Brooks reports several sources said the Rangers have had preliminary talks with the Sabres and would like to look into Eichel’s medical condition. He said it’s uncertain if general manager Chris Drury is performing due diligence or has a serious interest in the Sabres’ captain. The Sabres haven’t granted permission for clubs to examine Eichel’s medical records but it’s expected they would do so if trade talks intensify.

Friedman also heard Nashville Predators winger Viktor Arvidsson could be available. The hard-working winger has three years remaining on his contract with an annual average value of $4.25 million.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: A healthy Arvidsson would attract considerable interest. However, he’s been hampered by injuries the past three seasons, which would explain why the Predators could be willing to move him.

It sounds like Wayne Simmonds could be returning for another season with the Toronto Maple Leafs.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Simmonds completed a one-year, $1.5 million contract with the Leafs. Given their limited cap space, my guess is they’ll try to sign him to a one-year deal worth under $1 million. They’ll also probably wait until after the expansion draft to formally announce it so they don’t have to place him on their protected list.

**UPDATE: TSN reports the Leafs signed Simmonds to a two-year extension with an annual average value of $900K. 

Friedman thinks some trade discussions are stalled over worries about expansion draft protection. There’s also concern the Seattle Kraken could draft exposed players and then flip them elsewhere. For example, they could select someone like Matt Dumba or Mark Giordano and then entertain bids and potentially absorb part of their salary. Friedman feels either player would make sense for the Edmonton Oilers.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kraken GM Ron Francis will try to use the same playbook as the Vegas Golden Knights during their expansion draft. He’s going to look at side deals if it lands a return that provides long-term benefits.

Speculation suggests Carolina Hurricanes forward Jordan Martinook could test the free-agent market. There are also Warren Foegele trade talks.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The potential departures of Martinook and Foegele could be in anticipation of re-signing pending UFA defenseman Dougie Hamilton and restricted free agents Andrei Svechnikov and Alex Nedeljkovic. The Hurricanes have over $29 million in projected cap space but new contracts for those three will eat up a big chunk.

The New Jersey Devils could consider moving their first-round pick (fourth overall) in this year’s draft for a good young defenseman.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 17, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 17, 2021

The Canadiens tied their semifinal series with the Golden Knights, the Leafs re-sign Jason Spezza, the Blue Jackets made some organizational changes, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: Carey Price made 29 saves as the Montreal Canadiens held off the Vegas Golden Knights for a 3-2 victory in Game 2 of their semifinal series. The Canadiens took a 3-0 lead on goals by Joel Armia, Tyler Toffoli and Paul Byron while Alex Pietrangelo tallied both Golden Knights goals. Habs defenseman Jeff Petry returned to the lineup for the first time since being sidelined by a hand injury in Game 3 of their second-round series against the Winnipeg Jets. The series shifts to Montreal for Game 3 on Friday evening tied at a game apiece.

Montreal Canadiens goaltender Carey Price (NHL Images)

SPECTOR’S NOTE: A solid effort by Montreal following their usual template of taking a lead and relying on Carey Price to help them maintain it. The Canadiens enjoyed a strong first period and got to Vegas goalie Marc-Andre Fleury with two first-period goals. Byron gave them breathing room with the eventual game-winner late in the second.

Price was outstanding after the first period as Vegas outshot the Habs 27-11, including robbing Alec Martinez of what looked like a certain goal in the second period. His teammates maintained their physical style, outhitting the Golden Knights 53-45. They also blocked more shots (26-18) and were strong in the faceoff circle, winning 58 percent of the draws.

Kevin Hodgson is the 2021 winner of the Willie O’Ree Community Hero Award. He’s the executive director of HEROS (Hockey Education Reaching Out Society).

TORONTO SUN: The Maple Leafs re-signed Jason Spezza to a one-year, one-way contract worth the league-minimum $750K.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: A good depth signing by the Leafs. The 38-year-old Spezza played well this season with 30 points plus five in the postseason skating mostly in a fourth-line role. He could’ve gotten more on the open market but wanted to stay in Toronto. Spezza indicated he would’ve taken less if he could. Having earned over $88 million in his career, he really doesn’t need the cash at this stage of his career.

Speaking of the Leafs, Martin Marincin’s NHL career appears to be over as he signed a contract with Czech club HC Ocelari Trinec. The 29-year-old defenseman spent most of this season on the Leafs’ taxi squad, appearing in just nine games. He played five seasons with the Leafs and two with the Edmonton Oilers before that, netting 34 points in 227 career games.

CBS SPORTS: Carolina Hurricanes forward Jordan Martinook underwent surgery on his right knee this week. He’s expected to be fully recovered for the start of next season in October.

TSN: The Columbus Blue Jackets promoted former captain Rick Nash to director of player development and hired former Jackets players Derek Dorsett and Mark Letestu as development coaches. Former minor-league goalie Brad Thiessen replaces Jim Corsi as their goaltending development coach.

CHICAGO TRIBUNE: The Blackhawks have filed a motion to dismiss a former player’s lawsuit alleging he was sexually harassed by Bradley Aldrich, the club’s former video coach.