NHL Rumor Mill – April 17, 2020

NHL Rumor Mill – April 17, 2020

Recent speculation on the Leafs, Senators, and Sharks in today’s NHL rumor mill.

LEAFS MOST LIKELY TO BE ON THE MOVE THIS OFF-SEASON

THE ATHLETIC: Jonas Siegel and James Mirtle consider Tyson Barrie and Cody Ceci as the most likely not to return with the Toronto Maple Leafs. Both defensemen are unrestricted free agents who underwhelmed during their one-season tenures with the Leafs. They also considered forwards Kasperi Kapanen, Andreas Johnsson, and Alex Kerfoot among the Leafs’ likely trade chips as the club seeks to shed salary and bolster their blueline depth.

Don’t expect to see Tyson Barrie with the Toronto Maple Leafs next season (Photo via NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Most of Leafs Nation will agree Barrie and Ceci won’t be back. It just didn’t work out for either guy.

Kapanen, Johnsson, and Kerfoot frequently surfaced as trade candidates through this season. General manager Kyle Dubas didn’t have to move them during this campaign but could have no choice during the off-season.

The Leafs have over $76 million invested in 16 players. They desperately need to bolster their defense. Dubas surprised most observers with his slick moves last summer to free up sufficient cap room to re-sign Mitch Marner. Unless he’s got another trick or two up his sleeve, Kapanen, Johnsson, or Kerfoot could be shopped for a top-four defenseman.

COULD THE SENATORS WEAPONIZE THEIR CAP SPACE?

OTTAWA SUN: Ken Warren believes a flat or reduced salary cap for next season could work in favor of the rebuilding Senators as cap-strapped clubs attempt to shed salary in the off-season. The Sens only have around $41.9 million invested in next season’s cap payroll. They don’t need any more draft picks, but Warren believes they should listen if some promising prospects are packaged into the deal.

NBC SPORTS: Scott Charles believes the Senators should look for short-term players that other clubs no longer have the patience for, such as the New York Islanders’ Joshua Ho-Sang. Charles points out Anthony Duclair turned into a successful reclamation project for the Sens.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Senators also have 13 picks in the 2020 NHL Draft, including three in the first round, four in the second, and two in the third. They also hold three second-rounders in next year’s draft.

Their first-rounders are off the table, but GM Pierre Dorion could offer up a couple of those other picks to take on a toxic short-term contract that’s packaged with prospects or young NHL-ready players, or perhaps a player who could accelerate the rebuild. He can even afford to acquire someone like Ho-Sang on an affordable contract that can be easily buried in the minors if that player doesn’t work out.

WILL THE SHARKS MAKE A BIG MOVE THIS OFF-SEASON?

NBC SPORTS BAY AREA: During a recent interview long-time San Jose Sharks broadcaster Dan Rusanowsky told Brodie Brazil he believes the club needs to make a big change or two, partly for salary-cap reasons.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s easy to see why Rusanowsky feels this way. Despite spending to the cap ceiling to ice a star-studded roster, the Sharks were among this season’s worst clubs.

Making a big cost-cutting change, however, won’t be easy. The Sharks have over $66.6 million tied up in 13 players for 2020-21. Logan Couture, Evander Kane, Brent Burns, and Martin Jones all have three-team trade lists, while Erik Karlsson and Marc-Edouard Vlasic have full no-movement clauses.

Timo Meier ($6 million annually through 2022-23) lacks no-trade protection, but GM Doug Wilson could be reluctant to peddle the 23-year-old winger. Winger Tomas Hertl ($5.625 million AAV through 2021-22) also lacks no-trade protection for this season, but his long injury history could scare off potential suitors.










Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – January 19, 2020

Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – January 19, 2020

The latest on the Canadiens and Sharks plus updates on Jeff Carter and Erik Gustafsson in the Sunday NHL rumor roundup.

COULD THE CANADIENS SHOP KOVALCHUK, DOMI OR TATAR?

SPORTSNET (via KUKLA’S KORNER): Chris Johnston reports the Montreal Canadiens are very pleased with the performance of Ilya Kovalchuk. Earlier this month, they signed the veteran winger to a one-year, prorated $700K contract. He’s got eight points in as many games, including four goals. As the Canadiens get healthier coming out of the upcoming All-Star break and with the Feb. 24 trade deadline getting close, Johnston believes Kovalchuk could become a trade asset that lands the Habs a draft pick.

Will the Montreal Canadiens shop Ilya Kovalchuk for a draft pick at the trade deadline? (Photo via NHL Images)

Earlier in the week, Johnston’s colleague Eric Engels observed Canadiens general manager Marc Bergevin faces some difficult decisions in the coming weeks. If leading scorer Tomas Tatar’s value in the trade market is high, Engels suggests Bergevin should explore the winger’s value in the trade market. He also feels the same about defenseman Jeff Petry, but acknowledged it would take a significant offer to tempt Bergevin as youngers blueliners Cale Fleury and Josh Brooks are at least a couple of years away from becoming top-four blueliners.

If the Canadiens can’t find a suitable return for Kovalchuk, Engels proposes attempting to re-sign the veteran winger.

TVA SPORTS: Jean-Charles Lajoie believes the Canadiens will be sellers leading up to the trade deadline. He feels they should move Kovalchuk if he can fetch a second-round selection. He also thinks a team willing to do a “problem swap” could come calling about Max Domi. Lajoie lists Nick Cousins, Dale Weise, Jordan Weal, and Brett Kulak as other trade candidates.

LE JOURNAL DE MONTREAL: Jonathan Bernier also ponders what the Habs could get for Kovalchuk in the trade market. He reminds us that the New Jersey Devils traded Brian Boyle last season to the Nashville Predators for a second-round pick. In 2017, the Detroit Red Wings sent winger Thomas Vanek to the Florida Panthers for a third-round and Dylan McIlrath, while the Colorado Avalanche got a conditional fourth from the LA Kings for Jarome Iginla.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kovalchuk’s thriving thus far in Montreal. If the Canadiens somehow surge back into the playoff chase in a month, they could hang onto him for the remainder of the season. If not, I don’t think it’s far-fetched to suggest they could get a second- or a third-round in return if he maintains his point-per-game pace.

Domi’s name has surfaced a couple of times in recent speculation. While there’s been some grumbling in the Montreal media over his temper, consistency, and supposedly selfish play, the 24-year-old reached a career-high 72 points last season and is on pace for a respectable 55 points. I’m not convinced that he’s in any danger of getting traded.

Tatar, meanwhile, has another year remaining on his contract. Bergevin doesn’t have to shop the 29-year-old winger this season, but it might not hurt to gauge his value in the trade market.

COULD CARTER HIT THE TRADE BLOCK?

NBC SPORTS PHILADELPHIA: Jordan Hall wonders if LA Kings center and former Flyer Jeff Carter might be available at the trade deadline. The 35-year-old Carter is under contract through 2021-22 with an annual average salary of over $5.2 million. He’s a two-time Stanley Cup champion and a four-time 30-goal scorer who’s on pace for 23 goals this season.

Hall’s colleague John Clark said the Flyers discussed the possibility of trading for Carter. While he has fond memories of his years in Philadelphia, Carter said he doesn’t want to leave Los Angeles. “I love playing in L.A. and being a part of this team,” he said. “We’ll see where it goes.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Carter surfaced in the rumor mill midway through last season. A report claimed he could retire if traded, but he denied it. Carter lacks no-trade protection, and I wouldn’t be surprised if the rebuilding Kings looked into moving him.

Nevertheless, his age and annual average value are significant stumbling blocks. An interested club might insist on the Kings picking up a healthy portion of his salary-cap hit. Given the Flyers’ limited cap space, they can’t afford his full AAV.

BLACKHAWKS LISTENING ON GUSTAFSSON?

THE ATHLETIC: Scott Powers recently reported the Chicago Blackhawks have spoken with other clubs about Erik Gustafsson. The 27-year-old defenseman is slated to become an unrestricted free agent in July. He and Hawks GM Stan Bowman declined to comment regarding a possible contract extension.

A league source believes they’re checking the market value and could circle back before the trade deadline. They were asking mostly about prospects.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I agree with Powers that how the Blackhawks fare in the coming weeks will also determine what happens with Gustafsson. If they climb back into the playoff picture, they could hang onto the blueliner for a run at the postseason.

UPDATE ON THE SHARKS

OTTAWA SUN: Bruce Garrioch reports there’s word San Jose Sharks GM Doug Wilson is embarrassed the first-round pick he gave up as part of the deal for Erik Karlsson could turn into a lottery selection. As a result, he’ll try to get a first-rounder back before the trade deadline. He’ll have to sweeten the pot because none of his pending UFAs (including Brenden Dillon and Melker Karlsson) will fetch a first-rounder.

Garrioch speculates teams could call about Timo Meier, Tomas Hertl, and Brent Burns. He also claims New York Islanders GM Lou Lamoriello is sniffing around for a defenseman and should give Wilson a call.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Wilson’s reportedly let it be known he’s not interested in moving a core player. Of course, that could change if someone were to make a significant offer, but I doubt that type of deal takes place before the deadline.










The San Jose Sharks Are Winning, But How Long Will It Last?

The San Jose Sharks Are Winning, But How Long Will It Last?

 










High Qualifying Offers A New Twist In NHL RFA Contracts

High Qualifying Offers A New Twist In NHL RFA Contracts

 










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 2, 2019

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 2, 2019

Some of the fallout from a busy opening day of the 2019 NHL free-agent market in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: Artemi Panarin signing a seven-year deal with the New York Rangers and Sergei Bobrovsky inking a seven-year contract with the Florida Panthers were just some of the notable moves that took place yesterday during the opening hours of the NHL free-agent period. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Follow this link for yesterday’s noteworthy unrestricted free agent signings. TSN has a complete list of the day’s UFA and restricted free agent signings. 

NEWSOBSERVER.COM: Carolina Hurricanes general manager Don Waddell said he was taken by surprise by center Sebastian Aho signing an offer sheet with the Montreal Canadiens. During a press conference yesterday, he said he hadn’t had an opportunity yet to discuss the signing with team owner Tom Dundon. The terms of the deal would pay Aho over $21 million in signing bonuses in the first 12 months. 

Will the Carolina Hurricanes match Sebastian Aho’s offer sheet from the Montreal Canadiens (Photo via NHL Images).

The Hurricanes have seven days from the date of Aho’s signing to match the deal. Waddell said the club would make an announcement soon. He appeared unconcerned over the move, saying the signing means he won’t have to spend the entire summer negotiating with the Aho camp. 

THE ATHLETIC: Aho’s agent, Gerry Johannson, believes it won’t be easy for the Hurricanes to match the Canadiens’ front-loaded offer. He also believes his client wants to play in Montreal.  

MONTREAL GAZETTE: Stu Cowan wonders what “Plan B” will be for the Canadiens if the Hurricanes match the Aho offer sheet. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: While most observers approved of the audacity of the Canadiens’ front-loaded offer, they expect the Hurricanes will match it. Waddell and Dundon could let the Habs twist in the wind until the last minute before matching. Because the Canadiens will be waiting for the Hurricanes’ decision, they’ll be reluctant to invest much more in other potential moves. That’ll hamper their efforts to make other roster moves as the free-agent market becomes depleted. 

THE SCORE: Goaltender Robin Lehner claims his departure from the New York Islanders had nothing to do with him. After signing a one-year, $5-million contract with the Chicago Blackhawks, Lehner denied rumors claiming he walked away from any contract offers from the Isles. “I took a couple of days to think about it, and when I came back and wanted to make something work, they already went for another goalie.”

CHICAGO SUN-TIMES: Lehner’s signing raises questions over the future of Blackhawks starter Corey Crawford. The 34-year-old Crawford was hampered by injuries over the past two seasons. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Crawford is now in the final season of his contract. He could become an unrestricted free agent next summer if Lehner outplays him. 

NBC SPORTS BAY AREA: In restricted free agent news, the San Jose Sharks re-signed winger Timo Meier to a four-year, $24-million contract. The annual average value is $6 million.

CBS SPORTS: The Columbus Blue Jackets re-signed defenseman Ryan Murray to a two-year. $9.2 million contract and goaltender Joonas Korpisalo to a one-year deal

NBC SPORTS BOSTON: The Bruins re-signed defenseman Connor Clifton to a three-year, $3-million deal. 










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – May 16, 2019

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – May 16, 2019

Sharks get controversial OT win over the Blues in Game 3 of the Western Conference Final. Check out the recap plus updates on the Bruins, Hurricanes, Patrick Kane, Jeff Skinner, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: An overtime goal by Erik Karlsson gave the San Jose Sharks a 5-4 victory over the St. Louis Blues in Game 3 of the Western Conference Final. Karlsson’s tally was controversial as it was the result of an uncalled hand pass by teammate Timo Meier deemed unreviewable by the officials. The Sharks hold a 2-1 lead in this best-of-seven series.

Timo Meier’s hand pass led to teammate Erik Karlsson’s OT goal as the San Jose Sharks edged the St. Louis blues 5-4 in Game 3 of the Western Conference Final (Photo via NHL Images)

Karlsson and Joe Thornton each scored twice for the Sharks, who overcame a 4-3 deficit after blowing a 3-1 lead. Blues winger David Perron scored twice. St. Louis defenseman Vince Dunn took a puck to the face in the first period and didn’t return. An update on his condition could be coming later today.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This game will stand as yet another example of the poor quality of the officiating in this year’s playoffs. The salt in the wound was Meier getting credited with an assist for a hand pass the officials apparently didn’t see. The argument was also made that Meier’s hand pass glanced off Blues defenseman Jay Bouwmeester and thus no infraction should be called. 

This wasn’t the only call the officials missed in this game. St. Louis winger David Perron flipped the puck over the glass in the second period but no delay of game penalty was whistled. In the third period, Blues forward Sammy Blais got away with a hit to the head of Sharks defenseman Justin Braun. 

Carolina Hurricanes head coach Rod Brind’Amour said there’s a good chance goaltender Curtis McElhinney will start Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Final. The Boston Bruins hold a 3-0 lead and can close out the series tonight.

NBC SPORTS: Boston Bruins right winger Chris Wagner has returned to Boston for further evaluation of his injured right arm. He won’t play in Game 4 tonight and is sidelined indefinitely.

CHICAGO TRIBUNE: Blackhawks winger Patrick Kane set a US career scoring record at the World Hockey Championships. With 36 points, he surpassed Mark Johnson’s previous record of 33.

TSN: The Columbus Blue Jackets signed goaltender Elvis Merzlikins to a one-year contract.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Prior to this signing, Cap Friendly indicated the Blue Jackets only had two goaltenders under contract for 2019-20. “The CBA requires that all clubs have at least 3 goalies under contract at any given moment during a league year. Meaning the club needed to sign a third goalie prior to July 1st.” 

MONTREAL GAZETTE: Former Canadiens team doctor Douglas Kinnear passed away at age 92. He worked with the Canadiens from 1962 to 1999.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Condolences to Kinnear’s family, friends, and the Canadiens organization.