Could the Canucks attempt to move J.T. Miller or Tanner Pearson this season? Will the Bruins trade Mike Reilly? Are the Devils in the market for a goaltender? Find out in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.
COULD THE CANUCKS SHOP MILLER OR PEARSON?
VANCOUVER CANUCKS INSIDER: Rob Simpson mused over the possibility of the Canucks shopping J.T. Miller if this season continues to go south and the franchise opts to shake up its core.
Vancouver Canucks center J.T. Miller (NHL Images).
Miller signed a seven-year contract extension in September that begins next season and carries a full no-movement clause until 2026-27. However, he’s in the final season of his current deal which lacks no-trade protection.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Simpson acknowledged the notion of trading Miller is hypothetical and unlikely to happen. Nevertheless, we can’t dismiss the possibility. Miller’s contract extension could make him more enticing for contenders looking for more than a playoff rental at the March 3 trade deadline.
Simpson believes Canucks winger Tanner Pearson is the most likely to be moved depending on his health. He suggested teams might be interested in Pearson’s Stanley Cup experience.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The 30-year-old Pearson is signed through 2023-25 with an average annual value of $3.25 million. He’s currently sidelined for four-to-six weeks recovering from hand surgery. Pearson is an inconsistent scorer but he could draw interest from contenders seeking an affordable and experienced depth winger.
ARE THE BRUINS SHOPPING MIKE REILLY?
NHL.com contributor Mark Divver reportedBoston Bruins defenseman Mike Reilly didn’t play for their AHL affiliate in Providence last night and isn’t expected to do so on Sunday. “Word is he’s hoping for a trade,” writes Divver. “No idea whether there is something in the works or not.”
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Reilly cleared waivers and was sent down to Providence due to Charlie McAvoy’s return to the Bruins lineup on Thursday. It’s unusual that he’s not playing if he isn’t injured or sick. Perhaps they’re holding him out of the lineup as the parent club works on a trade.
DEVILS CONSIDERING THEIR OPTIONS IN NET.
NJ.COM’s Ryan Novozinsky reportedNew Jersey Devils general manager Tom Fitzgerald is willing to explore all his options regarding his injury-plagued goaltenders. “We’ll explore anything and everything,” said Fitzgerald. “If it makes sense for us to keep from overworking certain goalies or if we prefer to keep our (young goalies) in the AHL.”
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Perhaps Fitzgerald is in talks with the Dallas Stars? They had to keep Anton Khudobinburied in the AHL while Jake Oettinger was sidelined because they couldn’t afford to call him up. He’s in the final season of his contract and carries a $3.33 million cap hit but lacks no-trade protection. The Devils, however, have limited cap space ($1.2 million) so they might have to consider a more affordable option.
Then again, perhaps they’ll go with Jonathan Bernier if he is ready to return to action. He’s been recovering from hip surgery but has been recently spotted practicing with the Devils.
A look at the biggest concerns facing the Blues, Senators, Bruins and Canadiens in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.
THE ATHLETIC: Limited scoring and defensive lapses are threatening to sink the St. Louis Blues’ season. If things don’t improve soon, GM Doug Armstrong could face deciding whether to attempt a season-saving trade or commence a rebuild.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Jeremy Rutherford followed up by exploring Armstrong’s options. He could replace head coach Craig Berube, trade pending UFAs Vladimir Tarasenko and Ryan O’Reilly, or start a rebuild.
St. Louis Blues center Ryan O’Reilly (NHL Images).
Rutherford believes Tarasenko and O’Reilly would draw plenty of interest in the trade market. However, it’s probably too early in the season to move them. If Armstrong decides to shop one or both, it’ll like be near the March 3 trade deadline.
A lack of consistency among the Ottawa Senators’ defensemen remains an issue. The recent injury to Artem Zub magnified the problem. They’ll have to do something soon lest it threatens to derail their season.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Senators have some cap space (less than $4 million) plus plenty of promising young assets to use as trade bait. They could also dangle unsigned winger Alex Formenton if they can’t get him under contract before the Dec. 1 deadline.
They’ve been linked to Jakob Chychrun but the Arizona Coyotes defenseman remains week-to-week and won’t provide any immediate help. The Coyotes also set a high asking price that no one currently wants to pay.
This is supposed to be the season the Senators finally turn things around. With just four wins in their first 12 games, however, they’re at the bottom of the Atlantic Division and in danger of falling too far behind the pack to catch up. I suspect a trade could be coming sooner rather than later.
The Boston Bruins must clear salary-cap space when sidelined defenseman Charlie McAvoy returns to action. With Mike Reilly and Nick Foligno having cleared waivers, they’ll have to include some assets if they hope to part with either guy. Winger Craig Smith is an unrestricted free agent next summer but he’s been injured and his playing time has been reduced.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Reilly seems like the odd man out. He hasn’t requested a trade but already spent a bit of time in the minors to make room for the return of Brad Marchand.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: TSN’s Pierre LeBrun yesterday reported Dadonov’s been held pointless thus far and hasn’t seen much time on the power play this season. That’s because head coach Martin St. Louis is going with the guys he trusts (Nick Suzuki, Cole Caufield, Kirby Dach) to produce.
LeBrun indicated teams he’s spoken with about Dadonov said they want to see how he plays in the coming weeks to see if the Canadiens can create a trade market for him. He got back into the lineup for last night’s win against the Detroit Red Wings but did little to improve his trade value. Perhaps Dadonov will get more chances for playing time as the season goes on.
Is there a deal to be had between the Coyotes and Senators for Jakob Chychrun? Could the Bruins shop one of their left-side defensemen? Find out in the Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup.
SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman reports sidelined defenseman Jakob Chychrun is scheduled to join the club later this week to at least skate with his teammates. However, there remains no firm timeline for his return to action.
Arizona Coyotes defenseman Jakob Chychrun (NHL Images).
The Ottawa Senators have been linked to Chychrun in the rumor mill. However, Friedman cites multiple sources claiming there currently isn’t a path for a deal between the two clubs, though that might change once he resumes skating.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Chychrun has requested a trade and Coyotes general manager Bill Armstrong is willing to accommodate him. However, until he’s back playing and remains healthy and productive, he’ll likely remain with the Coyotes for a while.
As always, the combination of the Coyotes’ high asking price and Chychrun’s injury history makes it difficult for the club to ship him to the Senators or any other interested team.
BOSTON HOCKEY NOW: Jimmy Murphy reports the Bruins will have five left-side defensemen once Matt Grzelcyk returns from injury in the near future. He noted that Bruins GM Don Sweeney intends to keep an open mind regarding moving one of those blueliners to clear some salary-cap space or to provide depth should injuries occur.
Mike Reilly appears the likely trade candidate. He cleared waivers last week and sources claimed the Bruins were shopping him prior to putting him on waivers. The fact he went unclaimed was due to so many teams possessing insufficient cap space to take on his $3 million cap hit.
Murphy also mentioned some speculation suggesting the Bruins might shop right-side rearguard Brandon Carlo if he doesn’t round into everything they’ve envisioned. One scout said to Murphy he wouldn’t be surprised if Sweeney shopped Carlo for “a big going-for-it move” at the March 3 trade deadline.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Sweeney could attempt to move Reilly in a cost-cutting deal once Brad Marchand or Charlie McAvoy come off long-term injured reserve later this season. Perhaps by that point, there will be interested clubs that have accrued sufficient cap space to take him on.
Carlo suffered what looked like another head/concussion injury during last night’s game against the Arizona Coyotes. Given his concussion history, that could adversely affect his trade value if he’s sidelined again for any length of time.
Toronto Maple Leafs winger Wayne Simmonds (NHL Images).
Stephens and Fox both cited rumors that have Simmonds returning to the Philadelphia Flyers, where he spent nearly eight seasons and enjoyed the most productive period of his career. Fox also cited Nick Kypreos claiming the Ottawa Senators could have some interest.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Leafs management said they’re not concerned about return but want to do right by Simmonds. His best seasons are well behind him but he’s still well-regarded for his toughness, experience and leadership. He also carries an affordable $900K cap hit for this season which could be enticing to clubs with limited cap space.
The fact Simmonds cleared waivers makes it easier to move him in the trade market. He can be demoted to the minors within the next 30 days without having to pass through waivers.
He cited rumors suggesting the Philadelphia Flyers as a destination for Foligno, who played for Flyers coach John Tortorella when the two were with the Columbus Blue Jackets. They’re said to be seeking some veteran leadership.
Meanwhile, Reilly’s skills as a mobile defenseman could make him attractive to a club like his hometown Chicago Blackhawks, who could later flip him at the trade deadline for future assets.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Bruins won’t want much in return for Foligno or Reilly as they can’t afford to take back too much salary. They’ll need the space for when Brad Marchand and Charlie McAvoy come off the long-term injury reserve list later this season. Having cleared waivers, they too can be demoted within the next 30 days without having to pass through them again.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: With the Penguins carrying nine defensemen under NHL contracts, Pettersson was frequently mentioned during the off-season as a trade candidate. However, they found other ways to become cap compliant to start this season, assigningTy Smith and Mark Friedman to their AHL affiliate in Wilkes-Barre/Scranton.
32 THOUGHTS PODCAST (stick tap to “NHL Watcher”): Elliotte Friedman still believes the Ottawa Senators intend to add a defenseman. “I believe they’ve talked internally about it, and my expectations is they’re still going to do it.”
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Senators were linked to Arizona Coyotes blueliner Jakob Chychrun throughout the latter half of the off-season. The Coyotes’ expensive asking price, however, could have them considering more affordable options. We’ll see what transpires. Maybe they’ll make a trade for a Penguins defenseman?
Wayne Simmonds, Nazem Kadri and Akim Aliu take issue with a Toronto Sun columnist, an update on David Pastrnak’s contract talks, the Golden Knights sign Nic Hague while the Senators sign Derick Brassard and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.
YAHOO SPORTS/TSN: Toronto Maple Leafs winger Wayne Simmonds and Calgary Flames center Nazem Kadri took issue with Toronto Sun columnist Steve Simmons regarding an article the latter wrote about former NHLer Akim Aliu. The three players are members of the Hockey Diversity Alliance, formed in 2020 by several current and former players of color to eradicate racism in hockey.
Simmons suggested Aliu, chair of the Hockey Diversity Alliance, was using racism as an excuse for not achieving his potential as a player. “By my count, Aliu played for 23 teams in nine different leagues in 12 professional seasons and rarely finished any season with the same team he started with. If that was color-related, how is it that Wayne Simmonds spent just about the same 12 seasons playing in the NHL?”
Aliu replied on social media saying Simmons had “no clue” what he and his family endured physically and emotionally since he started playing hockey. He recounted several instances of racism he faced throughout his career.
Calgary Flames center Nazem Kadri (NHL Images).
Simmonds replied to the Sun columnist on Twitter, saying he didn’t appreciate what Simmons was trying to do. “Do not ever use my name or any other player of color’s name to try and make your point.”
Kadri, meanwhile, said Simmons is the last person who would know about experiencing racism. “He’s always been a writer that’s kind of been on the line and created a lot of controversy so people can read his articles,” said the Flames center. “He’s just a guy who’s a little dated in his writing.”
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The number of teams Aliu played for or the number of leagues he played in or his ability as a player doesn’t disqualify him from speaking out against racism in hockey. His story and those of other players who’ve endured racism and bigotry in the sport must be heard and their concerns must be addressed. Remember, hockey is supposed to be for everyone.
NBC SPORTS BOSTON: Bruins general manager Don Sweeney said contract talks with David Pastrnak are ongoing but offered up no timetable to finalize a deal. The 26-year-old winger said he’s comfortable with negotiations carrying on into the season. Meanwhile, Bruins CEO Charlie Jacobs said ownership’s mindset in trying to re-sign Pastrnak was “aggressive.”
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The fact those discussions are ongoing bodes well for the two sides reaching an agreement before Pastrnak’s eligibility for unrestricted free-agent status next July.
VEGAS HOCKEY NOW: The Golden Knights signed Nicolas Hague to a three-year contract worth an average annual value of $2.294 million. The 23-year-old defenseman was a restricted free agent coming off an entry-level contract.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Golden Knights’ limited cap room factored into why it took so long to get Hague under contract. With Shea Weber, Robin Lehner and Nolan Patrick on LTIR, Owen Krepps of Vegas Hockey Now speculates they’ll squeeze under the $82.5 million cap by $700K depending on which players they demote to their AHL affiliate.
OTTAWA SUN: Derick Brassard earned a one-year, $750K contract with the Senators following a professional tryout offer. It’s the 35-year-old forward’s second tour with the Sens, having skated with them from 2016 to 2018.
CBS SPORTS: The New Jersey Devils placed captain Nico Hischier on injured reserve with a hamstring injury. It’s unclear if the 23-year-old center will be ready for the Devils’ season opener on Thursday against the Philadelphia Flyers.
TSN: Vancouver Canucks placed Ilya Mikheyev, Travis Dermott and Tyler Myers on injured reserve. Meanwhile, Brock Boeser will start the season on their active roster. Boeser had been recovering from hand surgery.
WASHINGTON HOCKEY NOW: The Capitals placed Nicklas Backstrom on long-term injury reserve. The 34-year-old center is recovering from off-season hip surgery. Carl Hagelin (lower-body injury) and Tom Wilson (knee surgery) are listed as non-roster to start the season.
FLORIDA HOCKEY NOW: The Panthers placed Anthony Duclair (torn Achilles tendon) on LTIR. They will start the season with a 20-player roster due to salary-cap constraints. They also released Eric Staal from his professional tryout offer but are hoping to find a way to sign him to a contract.
NEWSOBSERVER.COM: Limited salary-cap space is also delaying the Carolina Hurricanes from signing Derek Stepan. They demoted Jordan Martinook after he cleared waivers but it’s considered merely a paper transaction until Jake Gardiner is officially placed on LTIR to start the season. Martinook will remain with the club and Stepan is expected to be signed shortly.
TORONTO SUN: The Maple Leafs demoted Wayne Simmonds and Kyle Clifford after they cleared waivers on Monday.
98.5 THE SPORTS HUB: The Boston Bruins demoted Nick Foligno, Mike Reilly and Chris Wagner after they cleared waivers. It’s expected they’ll be recalled with Brad Marchand (hip surgery) and Charlie McAvoy (shoulder) going on LTIR to start the season.
ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH: The Blues assigned Jake Neighbours and Josh Leivo to the minors but in reality, they’re not going anywhere. The move is a paper transaction until sidelined defenseman Marco Scandella is placed on LTIR today.
MONTREAL HOCKEY NOW: The Canadiens did the same thing with defenseman Arber Xhekaj. He made the roster due to a strong performance in training camp but the Canadiens must first place forward Paul Byron on LTIR.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Clubs can be over the cap during the off-season by 10 percent but must be compliant when the regular season officially opens. Lots of teams with limited cap space were forced to do some creative accounting until they can officially place players on long-term injury reserve to start the season.
MONTREAL GAZETTE: Juraj Slafkovsky also made the Canadiens’ roster to start the season.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The 2022 first-overall pick faced considerable scrutiny and criticism from pundits and fans for his play during training camp and preseason games. His improvement over the course of that period garnered him at least a nine-game regular-season tryout.
After that, the Canadiens must decide if they’ll keep Slafkovsky on the roster for the season or send him to their AHL affiliate in Laval. If he’s sent down before his 10th game, the first year of his entry-level contract won’t count against this season and will slide to 2023-24.
Lightning suspends Ian Cole pending an investigation into sexual abuse allegations, Wayne Simmonds and Mike Reilly are among those on the waiver wire, the Blues trade Klim Kostin to the Oilers, and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.
TAMPA BAY TIMES: The Lightning suspended Ian Cole pending the result of a league investigation into allegations against him of sexual abuse.
Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Ian Cole (NHL Images).
A woman using the alias “Emily Smith” recently took to social media accusing the 33-year-old defenseman of engaging in a sexual relationship with her that started when she was a minor. She claimed Cole had manipulated her over a four-year period.
Cole denied the allegations in a statement on Sunday. He and the Lightning indicated they would fully cooperate with the league’s investigation.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: No timetable has been given by the league as to when it will complete its investigation. As the report indicates, this is the latest black eye for the sport as it reels from numerous reports of sexual abuse claims.
Former Chicago Blackhawks forward Kyle Beach came forward last year as the player suing the club for mishandling his allegations he’d been sexually assaulted by their former video coach in 2010.
Hockey Canada is being grilled by a Canadian parliamentary committee over its handling of sexual assault allegations against members of Canada’s 2003 and 2018 World Junior teams. Some of those players may have gone on to NHL careers.
Meanwhile, the AHL’s Bakersfield Condors fired head athletic trainer Chad Drown after he was charged with “contacting a minor to commit a sexual offense”. The Condors are the affiliate of the Edmonton Oilers, who released a statement supporting the decision to fire Drown.
DAILY FACEOFF: Toronto Maple Leafs winger Wayne Simmonds, Boston Bruins forward Nick Foligno and defenseman Mike Reilly are among the notable players placed on waivers Sunday.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Leafs also let it be known that Simmonds was available for a trade. I’ll have more about that in today’s Rumor Mill update. Foligno isn’t likely to be claimed given his declining performance and $3.8 million cap hit for this season.
Reilly’s puck-moving skills could see him end up with a different team later today. He hits the waiver wire because sidelined defenseman Matt Grzelcyk is expected to return to action much sooner than expected.
ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH: The Blues traded forward Klim Kostin to the Edmonton Oilers in exchange for defenseman Dmitri Samorukov.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: A former first-round pick (2017), Kostin struggled to crack the Blues lineup. Perhaps he’ll have better luck with the Oilers as they’re in need of depth on right wing. They also made this move because Kostin carries a slightly more affordable contract. The Blues, meanwhile, are expected to send Samorukov to their AHL affiliate in Springfield.
TORONTO SUN: The Maple Leafs yesterday signed winger Zach Aston-Reese to a one-year deal worth over $840K.
NEW YORK POST: The Rangers signed winger Jimmy Vesey to a one-year, $750K contract. It’s his second tenure with the Blueshirts as he spent the first three seasons of his NHL career with them.
TSN: The NHL department of player safety fined New York Islanders defenseman Alexander Romanov $5,000.00 for charging Rangers center Vincent Trocheck during a preseason game on Saturday.
ARIZONA SPORTS: The Coyotes claimed defenseman Juuso Valimaki off waivers yesterday from the Calgary Flames.
GOPHNX.COM‘s Craig Morgan reports the Coyotes are expected to release forward Alex Chiasson from his professional tryout offer.