NHL Rumor Mill – August 30, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – August 30, 2022

In today’s NHL Rumor Mill, a look at some of the notable players still available in the unrestricted free agent market and some tryout candidates for the Golden Knights.

THE HOCKEY NEWS: Evan Rodrigues, Sonny Milano and P.K. Subban top Steven Ellis’ list of the top unrestricted free agents entering September.

Rodrigues is a 28-year-old center coming off a career-best 43-point performance with the Pittsburgh Penguins. Milano, a 26-year-old winger, spent last season skating alongside promising Trevor Zegras on the rebuilding Anaheim Ducks. Subban is no longer the player he used to be but the 33-year-old defenseman could bring good value for the right price.

Former New Jersey Devils defenseman P.K. Subban (NHL Images)

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Rodrigues has been linked to the Calgary Flames and Vancouver Canucks. I wouldn’t be surprised if there are some other clubs interested in him. Milano could be a good cost-effective option as a playmaking winger.

Subban is the biggest name on this list. The former Norris Trophy winner could help a club seeking an experienced defenseman for their third defense pairing or a power-play specialist on the blue line. Oddsmakers have linked him to the Edmonton Oilers but there has been no media gossip tying him to the club.

Former Ducks winger Sam Steel, veteran forward Sam Gagner and winger Tyler Motte fill out spots four through six on Ellis’ list.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Steel (24) is the youngest player on this list and could be an affordable reclamation project for a team willing to invest the time in his development. The versatile Gagner, 32, had a respectable 31 points with the rebuilding Red Wings last season and could be a good depth addition. Motte, 27, acquitted himself well as a checking-line winger with the Vancouver Canucks and New York Rangers.

Defenseman Anton Stralman, center Tyler Ennis, winger Daniel Sprong and winger Zach Aston-Reese round out the list.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Stralman could draw interest from teams seeking an experienced and reliable right-shot rearguard. Ennis and Sprong are well-traveled players who could be enticing to cap-strapped or cost-conscious clubs seeking decent depth forwards. The same applies to Aston-Reese.

Feel free to weigh in with your thoughts on where these players could end up in the comments section below. 

VEGAS HOCKEY NOW: Rodrigues, Milano, Sprong, Steel and Aston-Reese also showed up on Owen Krepps’ list of proposed professional tryout offer candidates for the Golden Knights. Joe Thornton and Michael Stone were the other NHL players on his listing.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Some of those players on Ellis’ list could end up accepting tryout offers with the Golden Knights or other NHL clubs next month hoping to earn jobs in training camp or through preseason play.

It will be interesting to find out what Thornton’s plans are. He played with the Florida Panthers last season on a one-year contract but saw action in just 34 regular-season games and one playoff contest. Now 43, Thornton is among the greatest playmakers in league history but his performance has steadily declined in recent years as age and the grind of 24 NHL seasons have caught up with him.










NHL Rumor Mill – August 19, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – August 19, 2022

What now for the Islanders and Avalanche after missing out on Nazem Kadri? Where could P.K. Subban end up? Find out in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.

WHAT WILL THE ISLES & AVS DO AFTER LOSING OUT ON KADRI?

NEW YORK POST: Ethan Sears reports the Islanders are left with a lot of maybes after Nazem Kadri signed with the Calgary Flames yesterday. Media gossip linked the 31-year-old former Colorado Avalanche center to the Islanders but general manager Lou Lamoriello had been silent about the rumors and his efforts to bolster his club’s offense.

Maybe things will turn around with the roster as is and a season unimpeded by the long road trip and COVID-19 outbreak that affected the Islanders at the start of last season,” writes Sears. “Maybe Anthony Beauvillier or Oliver Wahlstrom will take the next step forward. Maybe new head coach Lane Lambert will unlock something (former coach Barry Trotz) couldn’t in this team.”.

Sears believes Sonny Milano is the most viable free agent that the Islanders could add but he’d probably end up on their third line. There are no obvious trade candidates at this time that Lamoriello could target.

THE ATHLETIC: Kevin Kurz noted Lamoriello and Lambert have spoken about their belief in the Islanders’ core. However, it was apparent last season that they were going to need a few pieces if they intend to contend this season. Signing someone like Sonny Milano won’t make anyone change their view of the Isles’ lineup the way Kadri would have.

NYI HOCKEY NOW: Stefen Rosner wonders if Lamoriello will revisit his interest in J.T. Miller. The Isles GM was reportedly interested in the 29-year-old Vancouver Canucks center during the 2022 NHL Draft last month. Free agent winger Phil Kessel could be a temporary, last resort option as he does provide offense.

Vancouver Canucks forward J.T. Miller (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I don’t think there was a lack of effort on Lamoriello’s part to bolster his scoring. He was rumored to be pursuing Kadri and apparently attempted to sign Johnny Gaudreau last month before he accept a deal with the Columbus Blue Jackets.

Lamoriello reportedly attempted to acquire Miller before the first round of the draft but for whatever reason, the deal fell through. He could try again but I don’t think the Canucks are keen to move the versatile two-way forward until perhaps close to the 2023 trade deadline if they’re out of playoff contention by then. At that point, the Isles will face plenty of competition for his services, driving up the asking price beyond Lamoriello’s comfort zone.

The bottom line here is Lamoriello struck out in the trade and free agent markets. Kessel or Milano would be affordable short-term options but won’t move the dial much offensively for the Islanders.

I think the Islanders still have a good team. They’ve got a strong goalie tandem in Ilya Sorokin and Semyon Varlamov plus what looks like a solid top-four defense in Ryan Pulock, Adam Pelech, Noah Dobson and Alexander Romanov. Mathew Barzal, Brock Nelson and Anders Lee are proven scoring talents, while Beauvillier and Wahlstrom could step up this season.

Nevertheless, the offense remains an area of concern, one that Lamoriello will have to address at some point this season if the Isles are to be more than a playoff contender.

THE DENVER POST: Sean Keeler reports Nazem Kadri’s departure to Calgary leaves a big gap at their second-line center position that could prove difficult to fill.

Pickings are slim in the free-agent market. They include 36 -year-old former Avalanche center Paul Stastny. They might have to look to within and see if J.T. Compher or Alex Newhook can fill that role.

WHERE COULD SUBBAN LAND VIA FREE AGENCY?

THE HOCKEY NEWS: Mike Stephens recently listed the Seattle Kraken, Washington Capitals and Buffalo Sabres as three possible destinations for P.K. Subban. The 33-year-old defenseman could be an affordable short-term addition for clubs in need of an experienced, puck-moving right-shot blueliner.

SAN JOSE HOCKEY NOW: Sheng Peng examines the pros and cons of whether Subban would be a good fit with the Sharks. While he’s no longer an effective top-four rearguard, he could have a role on the third pairing and would provide them with a right-handed shot from the point.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Subban had a decent performance last season with the New Jersey Devils. He should end up with an NHL club on an affordable one-year deal before training camps open in mid-September.










NHL Rumor Mill – August 15, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – August 15, 2022

In today’s NHL Rumor Mill: The best bargains remaining in the free-agent market, possible trade destinations for the Sharks’ James Reimer, and the Canucks need for another defenseman.

BEST FREE-AGENT BARGAINS STILL AVAILABLE

THE HOCKEY NEWS: Paul Stastny, Phil Kessel and P.K. Subban top Mike Stephens’ list of the top 5 best bargain players in this summer’s unrestricted free agent market.

Stastny remains a reliable presence at both ends of the rink. Stephens observed there are rumors linking him to the Colorado Avalanche, suggesting the 36-year-old center could fit seamlessly in their lineup on a one-year contract for around $3 million.

Free agent defenseman P.K. Subban (NHL Images)

Kessel still has plenty left in the tank. While he managed a career-low eight goals, he also had 44 assists with the low-scoring Arizona Coyotes last season. A low-money, one-year deal could make him a worthwhile addition to a contender.

Subban isn’t the Norris Trophy contender of the past. However, he could be a good depth addition for a club seeking a veteran presence and puck movement for its blueline.

Forwards Evan Rodrigues and Sonny Milano round out Stephens’ list. Stephens expects Rodrigues gets snapped up once fellow center Nazem Kadri is finally signed. He doesn’t rule out Milano perhaps returning with the Anaheim Ducks after a solid performance with them last season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Rumors linked Kessel and Subban to the Edmonton Oilers though we don’t know if the club is interested in either player. Of the two, Kessel seems the best fit given their need for more offensive depth on right wing.

Some fans and pundits wonder if the Canadiens might bring back Subban to bring his career full circle. Anything’s possible but that doesn’t seem like the direction the rebuilding Habs are willing to take.

WHERE MIGHT REIMER LAND?

NBC SPORTS BAY AREA: Sheng Peng reports the San Jose Sharks have one goaltender too many. With Kaapo Kahkonen expected to become their starter in the coming season, James Reimer or Adin Hill could be the odd man out.

Reimer. 34, could have the most value in the trade market. He had a strong campaign last season with the Sharks and is signed for the coming season with a $2.25 million cap hit and a five-team no-trade list.

Peng reported a source said the Sharks sought a second-round pick for Reimer. The Vegas Golden Knights and Arizona Coyotes could be among the suitors.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Dallas Stars were also included as a possible destination should Jake Oettinger end up staging a contract holdout. However, I think those two sides will get an agreement in place before training camp opens in mid-September.

The Golden Knights could be in the market for a replacement for the sidelined Robin Lehner. Meanwhile, the Coyotes need a reliable backup for Karel Vejmelka.

CANUCKS NEED ANOTHER EXPERIENCED DEFENSEMAN

THE PROVINCE: Patrick Johnston believes the Vancouver Canucks could benefit from the addition of an experienced depth defenseman. He noted The Fourth Period’s Irfaan Gaffar recently suggested UFA Calvin de Haan as an affordable option.










NHL Rumor Mill – July 29, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – July 29, 2022

A look at the best remaining talent in the unrestricted free agent market in today’s NHL rumor mill.

SPORTSNET: Luke Fox did a quick rundown of the best players still available in this summer’s unrestricted free agent market.

Fox doubts Nazem Kadri will be returning to the Colorado Avalanche unless the 31-year-old center accepts another discount. Paying him $7 million into his mid-30s is a luxury they can’t afford.

Colorado Avalanche center Nazem Kadri (NHL Images).

Kadri is reportedly waiting for some interested teams to clear cap space for him. There are rumblings the New York Islanders could make a push to sign him. Fox pointed out the Calgary Flames have money to spend now and the Columbus Blue Jackets could use a playmaker for Johnny Gaudreau.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Jackets had to ship Oliver Bjorkstand to the Seattle Kraken for next to nothing in a cost-cutting deal after signing winger Patrik Laine to his new contract. No room for Kadri in Columbus unless they can shed more salary.

Kadri rejected a trade to the Flames three years ago. Maybe he had a change of heart if they’re willing to meet his asking price but I wouldn’t hold my breath. The Islanders would also have to move out some salary. Perhaps they’d do that by shopping Anthony Beauvillier, who’s been a fixture in the rumor mill since last season.

Fox noted the Carolina Hurricanes, Seattle Kraken, Detroit Red Wings and Ottawa Senators were linked earlier this month to John Klingberg. The Dallas Stars attempted to bring back the 29-year-old defenseman but those talks fell through. The Hurricanes, meanwhile, acquired Brent Burns from the San Jose Sharks.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: As Fox suggests, it appears Klingberg overplayed his hand, leading to his change of agents earlier this week. With the Stars having to re-sign rising stars Jason Robertson and Jake Oettinger, I don’t think there’s sufficient room for him to return to Dallas now.

Fox said the Red Wings speculation persists. The Senators, meanwhile, are rumored to be in the market for a top-four defenseman.

A report last month claimed Patrice Bergeron was returning to the Boston Bruins on a one-year contract. So far, however, there’s no confirmation from either side that this has happened. The Bruins are also in talks with David Krejci about a possible comeback.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Bruins general manager Don Sweeney could be taking a page from the Lou Lamoriello playbook by waiting until the start of the season before officially announcing the deal for salary-cap reasons. Perhaps that decision is tied to getting a deal done for Krejci. Or maybe Bergeron just hasn’t made up his mind yet if he’ll return. Your guess is as good as mine but I think he’s coming back to the Bruins for one more season.

There’s a rumor linking Phil Kessel to the Edmonton Oilers. He’s coming off a 52-point performance last season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kessel could be a worthwhile short-term addition to a playoff contender seeking an affordable depth scorer.

The Winnipeg Jets haven’t closed the door on bringing back Paul Stastny. There was also speculation linking him to the Flames.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Stastny would be a more affordable option for the Flames than Kadri but he won’t produce at the same level as the former Avalanche center.

Fox wondered if veteran defenseman Anton Stralman might be a fit with the Montreal Canadiens.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Stralman would be a cost-effective signing for teams with limited cap space. However, the Canadiens are pressed against the $82.5 million cap. Stralman isn’t a fit there unless they dump some salary via trade or Carey Price and Paul Byron start the season on long-term injury reserve.

Sonny Milano has plenty of potential as a middle-six forward despite being cast off by the Columbus Blue Jackets and being cut loose by the Anaheim Ducks. Meanwhile, former Pittsburgh Penguins middle-six forward Evan Rodrigues drew some interest from the Vancouver Canucks, Flames, Red Wings and New Jersey Devils.

Veteran defenseman Calvin de Haan could be an economic second or third-pairing guy. He’ll have to be prepared to take a pay cut.










NHL Rumor Mill – July 7, 2021

NHL Rumor Mill – July 7, 2021

A look at some of this summer’s potential buyout candidates in today’s NHL rumor mill

DAILY FACEOFF: Frank Seravalli listed 10 buyout candidates who could enter this summer’s free-agent market. The first window for contract buyouts opens 24 hours following the completion of the Stanley Cup Final and closes at 5 PM EST on July 27.

Tony DeAngelo is expected to be bought out of his contract later this month (NHL Images).

Topping his list is New York Rangers defenseman Tony DeAngelo. The Blueshirts have reportedly finalized plans to buy out the final season ($4.8 million annual average value) of his contract.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: DeAngelo has played his final game with the Rangers. While his defensive game needs work he’s a skillful puck-moving blueliner. Given his personal baggage, however, the question is whether another NHL club will take a chance on him. Rumors linked him to the Calgary Flames and Montreal Canadiens before the April 12 trade deadline.

Edmonton Oilers winger James Neal, Colorado Avalanche defenseman Erik Johnson, Florida Panthers blueliner Keith Yandle and San Jose Sharks goaltender Martin Jones were among the top-five candidates.

Seravalli pointed out Oilers general manager Ken Holland has hinted at buying out one or two contracts this summer. The 33-year-old Neal has two years with an annual average value of $5.75 million.

Johnson missed all but four games this season to injury but Seravalli observed he wasn’t on the list of players exempted from the upcoming expansion draft due to injury. He suggested placing Johnson on long-term injury reserve might be the better way to go for the Avs. Johnson has two years left at $6 million annually.

Yandle was a healthy scratch during the Panthers’ playoff series against the Tampa Bay Lightning. The 34-year-old has two years remaining on his deal with an AAV of $6.35 million.

Seravalli suggests the Sharks buy out Jones and use the cap savings to put toward his replacement. The 31-year-old netminder has three years remaining at $5.75 million AAV.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Holland could buy out Neal but there’s also talk of shipping him to the Chicago Blackhawks in exchange for Duncan Keith, whereby the Blackhawks would buy him out.

Putting Johnson on LTIR sounds like a better option. However, a buyout might be the only choice if it appears he’ll be healthy to return next season. The Avs need cap space to re-sign Cale Makar, Philipp Grubauer and Gabriel Landeskog.

Yandle surfaced in the rumor mill back in January when it appeared he would become a healthy scratch to start the season, putting his Ironman streak in jeopardy. That talk died down when the 34-year-old blueliner never missed a game during the regular season.

There might be a trade market for Yandle if he agrees to waive his no-movement clause. However, the Panthers would either have to absorb part of his cap hit, take back a bad contract, or try to work a three-way deal.

Jones has really struggled over the last three seasons. The Sharks need more consistency between the pipes. Buying him out, however, would result in six years of dead cap space (stick tap to Cap Friendly) totaling over $12 million.

Minnesota Wild winger Zach Parise is No. 6 on Seravalli’s list. He suggests they “bite the bullet” and use the savings for next season to re-sign Kirill Kaprizov and Kevin Fiala.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: A Parise buyout seems unlikely. It’s eight years of dead cap space. They’d get a $2.3 million cap hit for next season, but it jumps to over $6.3 million in 2022-23 and over $7.3 million annually for the following two seasons. The only real cap relief would come in the final four years at over $833k per season.

Vancouver Canucks winger Jake Virtanen, Dallas Stars goaltender Ben Bishop, Montreal Canadiens forward Paul Byron, and Anaheim Ducks winger Sonny Milano round out the top-10.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Canucks tried to trade Virtanen but couldn’t find any takers. A buyout seems likely given his on-ice struggles and off-ice issues.

Bishop missed all of the 2021-22 schedule recovering from knee surgery but Seravalli indicated he worked out with the club toward the end of the season. He could be bought out if healthy but they might not go that route if Anton Khudobin is selected in the expansion draft. Seravalli suggests a buyout of Bishop would enable them to protect Khudobin as Jake Oettinger is exempt but that might not be in their plans.

Seravalli pointed out the Canadiens put Byron on waivers three times during the regular season. However, his performance in this year’s playoffs probably means he’ll be back next season. The Habs could consider other options to free up some cap space.

Milano only played six games last season with the Ducks. With a year left on his contract at $1.7 million, he could become a buyout candidate, though the savings ($500K) are minimal.

Seravalli also suggested keeping an eye on Oilers goalie Mikko Koskinen, Panthers defenseman Anton Stralman, Detroit Red Wings blueliner Danny DeKeyser and Los Angeles Kings rearguard Olli Maatta.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 29, 2020

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 29, 2020

Results from the first exhibition games of return-to-play, an update on David Pastrnak, the Ducks re-sign Sonny Milano, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: Connor McDavid scored twice to lead the Edmonton Oilers over the Calgary Flames 4-1 as exhibition games began yesterday leading up to the upcoming playoff tournament beginning Aug. 1. Elias Lindholm netted the sole goal for the Flames, who outshot the Oilers 37-30.

Edmonton Oilers captain Connor McDavid scored twice in a 4-1 win over the Calgary Flames in exhibition play yesterday (NHL Images).

Scott Laughton scored in overtime as the Philadelphia Flyers edged the Pittsburgh Penguins 3-2. Penguins captain Sidney Crosby played over 19 minutes and said he had no issues after missing five of six practices last week to an undisclosed ailment.

The Toronto Maple Leafs tallied two shorthanded goals to double up the Montreal Canadiens 4-2. Leafs defenseman Morgan Rielly scored and set up two others while Alexander Kerfoot potted two goals. The Canadiens went zero-for-six on the power play.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The overall play in those three games wasn’t bad. Granted, these were exhibition games following a nearly five-month layoff for the teams involved, lacking the intensity and crisp play one expects to see when the tournament begins on Aug.1. The players were still working out the kinks.

Nevertheless, the quality of play was better than I expected. Not great, but not horrible. The games also felt a little weird with piped-in noise and no fans, but I didn’t find it detracted from the on-ice action. I’ll get used to this as Phase 4 (hopefully) rolls on.

NBC SPORTS BOSTON: Bruins winger David Pastrnak took responsibility for his actions that resulted in missing almost all of the Phase 3 training camp with his teammates. He confirmed returning to quarantine after skating with some amateur players at a rink north of Boston at the start of Phase 3. He traveled with the Bruins to Toronto for Phase 4 and has resumed practicing with his teammates.

THE PROVINCE: Canucks winger Micheal Ferland continues to impress his teammates with his play in practice. Ferland was questionable to participate in the playoff tournament after missing most of this season dealing with head-trauma symptoms. He’s expected to be in the lineup for today’s exhibition game against the Winnipeg Jets.

THE ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER: The Anaheim Ducks yesterday re-signed Sonny Milano to a two-year, $3.4 million contract. The 24-year-old winger was acquired from the Columbus Blue Jackets at the February trade deadline, collecting five points in nine games with the Ducks.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: As per Cap Friendly, Milano’s annual average value ($1.7 million) leaves the Ducks with over $77.3 million invested in 17 players for 2020-21.