NHL Rumor Mill – July 22, 2019

NHL Rumor Mill – July 22, 2019

Updates on the Rangers and Avalanche, plus six young players who could benefit from a change of scenery, in today’s NHL rumor mill.


NBC SPORTS: With the New York Rangers pressed for salary-cap space, Adam Gretz makes the case for the club to consider trading Chris Kreider as soon as possible. The 27-year-old winger is slated to become an unrestricted free agent next summer and his performance could decline this season. Gretz acknowledged Kreider still has value to the Rangers roster but feels the winger would be more valuable as a trade chip.

Should the New York Rangers trade Chris Kreider now? (Photo via NHL Images)

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Cap Friendly indicates the Rangers are over $900K above the $81.5-million salary cap, with Pavel Buchnevich, Brendan Lemieux, and Anthony DeAngelo to re-sign. They can exceed the cap by 10 percent during the offseason but must be cap compliant when the season opens in October. It’s apparent they’ll have to do something to get under the ceiling before then.

Trading Kreider could be the easiest way to address that problem. He’s carrying an annual cap hit of $4.625 million with an 11-team no-trade list and will draw interest from clubs seeking scoring depth. Rangers management could prefer trading him rather than have questions over his future in New York dogging the team throughout the season. His trade value could be at its highest right now.

It’s also possible the Rangers retain Kreider and look toward other options to free up salary. They could try to trade or buy out Kevin Shattenkirk or Brendan Smith, or shop center Vladislav Namestnikov.


THE DENVER POST: In a recent mailbag segment, Mike Chambers said he doesn’t expect the Colorado Avalanche to present an offer sheet to Toronto’s Mitch Marner or Tampa Bay’s Brayden Point. He believes they’re focused on re-signing their restricted free agents like Mikko Rantanen and others.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: With over $16 million in cap space, the Avalanche are perfectly positioned to sign another club’s restricted free agent star to a big offer sheet. But as Chambers points out, Rantanen will likely cost between $8 to $10-million annually to re-sign. That will take a big bite out of that cap space.

I daresay general manager Joe Sakic wants to keep as much long-term space available as possible. Over the next two seasons, Gabe Landeskog, Cale Makar, Philipp Grubauer, and Samuel Girard will be due for new contracts.


THE HOCKEY NEWS: Calgary’s Sam Bennett, Edmonton’s Jesse Puljujarvi, and the New York Islanders’ Joshua Ho-Sang are among Jared Clinton’s list of six young players who could use a change of scenery. Dallas’ Julius Honka, Columbus’ Sonny Milano, and Carolina’s Julien Gauthier round out the listing of promising youngsters struggling to play up to expectations.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: At least one of those players could end up with new teams this season. The Winnipeg Sun’s Scott Billeck believes Honka could be a good fit with the Jets as a cheap right-shot defenseman. Puljujarvi’s agent requested a trade but Oilers GM Ken Holland said he’ll move the winger only if he finds a return that benefits his club.

Ho-Sang’s struggled to crack the Islanders roster. Clinton suggests they should move him if they don’t intend to use the young winger. Milano, meanwhile, is sliding down the Jackets’ depth chart and doesn’t seem to fit into their long-term plans. Gauthier also risks the same fate with the Hurricanes.

Bennett’s been a fixture in the trade rumor mill over the last two years. Flames GM Brad Treliving has been reluctant to trade the versatile forward. However, the cost of re-signing Matthew Tkachuk and David Rittich could make Bennett a cost-cutting candidate.

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 16, 2019

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 16, 2019

William Nylander changes his jersey number, the Avalanche re-sign Andre Burakovsky, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines. 

SPORTSNET: Toronto Maple Leafs winger William Nylander announced he’ll be changing his jersey number to 88. He wore that number when he played in Sweden. He’s hoping for a bounce-back season after a sub-par performance in 2018-19. 

William Nylander caused a stir among Toronto Maple Leafs fans by changing his number to 88 (Photo via NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Nylander’s decision caused a bit of a stir yesterday among some denizens of Leafs Nation. Hall of Famer and former Leafs Eric Lindros wore No. 88 and some Leafs fans felt Nylander was either being disrespectful of Lindros’ legacy or should’ve asked his permission. That’s just ridiculous. Patrick Kane, Brent Burns, David Pastrnak and Andrei Vasilevskiy didn’t need anyone’s permission to wear 88.  Besides, Lindros only played 33 games for the Leafs and he probably doesn’t give a crap who wears that number. 

THE DENVER POST: The Colorado Avalanche re-signed winger Andre Burakovsky to a one-year, $3.25-million contract. He’ll be a restricted free agent next summer with arbitration rights. He was acquired in a trade with the Washington Capitals on June 28. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This is a “show-me” contract. Burakovsky has size, speed and offensive skills but he struggled to put forth a consistent performance during his years with the Capitals. Perhaps skating with new teammates will help him reach his full potential.

THE SCORE: Forward Sonny Milano has accepted the Columbus Blue Jackets’ qualifying offer. It’s a one-year contract worth over $874K. 

NEWSOBSERVER.COM: The Carolina Hurricanes re-signed forward Clark Bishop to a one-year, two-way contract. 

SPORTSDAY: Former Dallas Stars captain Brenden Morrow returns to the club as the director of business and hockey development. He spent 13 of his 15 NHL seasons with the Stars. 

ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER: The Anaheim Ducks hired Kevin Dineen as their new head coach of their AHL affiliate in San Diego. 

NEW YORK POST: Former NHL player Sean Avery “rejected a plea deal Monday in Manhattan Criminal Court for hitting a car with his scooter after it blocked a bike lane in Greenwich Village.”

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 8, 2019

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 8, 2019

The Hurricanes officially match Sebastian Aho’s offer sheet, an update on Don Cherry, the Sharks thank Joe Pavelski, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines. 

NEWSOBSERVER.COM: As expected, the Carolina Hurricanes officially matched the Montreal Canadiens’ offer sheet to Sebastian Aho. The 21-year-old thanked the Canadiens for the offer but professed his happiness over staying with the Hurricanes. His new contract is a five-year, bonus-laden deal worth over $8.4 million annually

The Carolina Hurricanes yesterday matched Sebastian Aho’s offer sheet (Photo via NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: There some dispute on social media over Aho’s true intentions while questioning the Habs rationale for making that offer.

The Canadiens took a calculated gamble that failed but cost them nothing. Their roster didn’t improve but it also wasn’t depleted. The Hurricanes waiting until the last day to match was seen as screwing over the Habs but it didn’t prevent them from making four UFA signings last week

The Canes keep their franchise player but for a shorter term and more money up front. The Aho camp was the only side that pretty much got what it wanted. Time will tell if this situation affects Aho’s future in Carolina beyond the tenure of his new contract. 

NBC SPORTS: The San Jose Sharks took out a full-page ad to thank former captain Joe Pavelski. After spending 13 seasons with the Sharks, Pavelski signed a three-year deal with the Dallas Stars. 

THE SCORE: Hockey Night in Canada pundit Don Cherry took to Twitter yesterday to quell speculation over his future. The brouhaha arose after Toronto Sun columnist Steve Simmons claimed Cherry’s return hadn’t been confirmed. Cherry said he was told a week after the 2019 playoffs he would be back for 2019-20. 

NEW YORK POST: Sonny Milano and A.J. Greer were arrested by New York police yesterday morning after a fight with an acquaintance. Milano plays for the Columbus Blue Jackets while Greer is a member of the Colorado Avalanche. 

The scrap was said to be either a disagreement over the payment of a restaurant tab or the victim becoming rowdy and refusing to leave the players’ apartment when asked. The pair were charged with misdemeanor assault and released. They have a court appearance scheduled for September. 

CAP FRIENDLY: The Tampa Bay Lightning signed center Gemel Smith to a one-year, two-way contract worth $700K at the NHL level. 

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 18, 2018

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 18, 2018

Brad Marchand was among three Boston Bruins to tally two points in their 4-1 victory over the Montreal Canadiens (Photo via NHL Images).

Game recaps, Willie O’Ree honored plus updates on Corey Crawford, Bobby Ryan and more in your NHL morning coffee headlines. 

NHL.COM: The Boston Bruins spoiled the return of former head coach and Montreal Canadiens bench boss Claude Julien by defeating his Habs 4-1. Brad Marchand, David Krejci and Patrice Bergeron each collected two points as the Bruins extended their points streak to 14 games. 

Boston fans gave Julien, who coached the Bruins to a Stanley Cup in 2011 during his nearly 10-year tenure with the club, a standing ovation during a video tribute. Before the game, the Bruins honored Willie O’Ree on the 60th anniversary of his NHL debut with the Bruins as the league’s first black player. 

Long-time Bruins anthem singer Rene Rancourt also announced he will retire at the end of this season. The 78-year-old Rancourt began singing the anthems at Bruins games in 1975-76. 

A four-goal second period powered the Anaheim Ducks to a 5-3 victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins. Before the game, the Penguins announced starting goaltender Matt Murray is on an indefinite leave of absence following the death of his father, James. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: My condolences to Murray and his family. 

SPORTSNET: Chicago Blackhawks senior adviser Scotty Bowman dismissed reports claiming Hawks starting goaltender Corey Crawford is suffering from vertigo, saying it’s likely post-concussion symptoms. Crawford’s been on injured reserve since Dec. 27 and there’s no timetable for his return. Prior to Bowman’s comments, there were some reports suggesting Crawford could miss the remainder of the season.

OTTAWA SUN: The Senators received some good news as winger Bobby Ryan (hand injury) declared himself good to go as the club prepares to emerge from its bye week in the schedule. There were concerns Ryan could miss a significant amount of time. 

THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH: The Blue Jackets claimed veteran forward Jussi Jokinen off waivers from the Los Angeles Kings. The move was made to offset the absence of winger Sonny Milano, who could miss four-to-six weeks with an torn oblique muscle. 

NBC SPORTS WASHINGTON: The Capitals unveiled its Stadium Series jersey for their game against the Toronto Maple Leafs on March 3 at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium.