NHL Rumor Mill – August 31, 2019

NHL Rumor Mill – August 31, 2019

Should the Leafs part ways with Mitch Marner? Could the Blues shop Brayden Schenn? Should the Flames ship Michael Frolik to Columbus for Riley Nash? Check out the latest in today’s NHL rumor mill.


TORONTO STAR: With the Maple Leafs facing the possibility of a protracted contract standoff with Mitch Marner, Damien Cox suggests it might be best to trade the 22-year-old winger. While acknowledging that’s “a crappy scenario,” Cox feels this might be the way to go if they hope to win the Stanley Cup rather than having Marner sit out part or all of the season.

Should the Toronto Maple Leafs consider trading Mitch Marner? (Photo via NHL Images).

If a rival club is willing to give up “two quality players under the age of 27 that have two or more years left on their contracts”, Cox feels the Leafs should look hard at that deal. One of those players must be “a defenceman capable of playing in Toronto’s top four and the other a forward capable of scoring 30 goals.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Cox isn’t saying the Leafs are exploring a Marner trade. He’s merely suggesting they consider it if they can’t get the winger under contract before this season opens. Based on several comments on this site, some Leafs followers share that view.

If, and that’s a big if right now, another club pitched that offer Cox suggested, the Leafs could seriously consider it. The problem is there aren’t many teams with the cap space to pay Marner’s hefty salary asking price, believed to be around $11 million per season.

Yes, that club could free up sufficient cap space for Marner by trading two assets to the Leafs. Few general managers, however, will part with the type of package proposed by Cox at this point in the offseason.

Yes, a Marner trade is possible, but I won’t hold my breath waiting for it.


STLTODAY.COM: In a recent mailbag segment, Jeff Gordon was asked if St. Louis Blues general manager Doug Armstrong will trade forward Brayden Schenn or let him walk via free agency. Gordon doesn’t believe Schenn hits the trade block this season.

While re-signing Schenn could prove expensive if he has another 70-point campaign, he’s a valuable member of their roster. Gordon thinks Armstrong will let this season play out and assess things before the free-agent market opens next summer.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: As per Cap Friendly, Schenn has an annual average value of $5.125 million on his current contract. Another 70-point season could push him toward $7 million annually.

With captain Alex Pietrangelo also due for a big raise next summer, Armstrong might not be willing to go that high for Schenn. If the Blues are out of playoff contention as the Feb. 24 trade deadline approaches, perhaps he’ll consider shopping Schenn at that point.


SPECTOR’S NOTE: So what say you, Flames and Blue Jackets fans? Yay or nay? Let us know in the comments section below!

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 14, 2019

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 14, 2019

The latest on the Stanley Cup champion Blues plus updates on Connor McDavid, Marc-Andre Fleury, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines. 

NHL.COM: The St. Louis Blues will hold their Stanley Cup parade and celebration on Saturday, June 15. “The parade will start at noon CT at 18th and Market Street and will end at Broadway and Market Street. A rally will follow at the Gateway Arch.” The Blues won the Cup by defeating the Boston Bruins 4-1 in Game 7 of the Final on Wednesday. 

SPORTSNET: Blues goaltender Jordan Binnington can expect to see more money on his next contract. “He’s going to earn a big pay raise this summer and we’re looking forward to paying him,” said Blues general manager Doug Armstrong. Binnington is slated to become a restricted free agent on July 1. 

After backstopping the St. Louis Blues to the Stanley Cup, goalie Jordan Binnington could receive a big pay raise. (Photo via NHL Images)

SPECTOR’S NOTE: A career minor leaguer until called up at midseason, Binnington’s performance helped the Blues rise from the bottom of the standings to Stanley Cup champions. He’s got arbitration rights and is a finalist for the Calder Memorial Trophy as rookie of the year. Those factors will affect his contract negotiations.

NBC SPORTS: Game 7 of the 2019 Stanley Cup Final was the most-watched NHL game on record since 1994. Over 8.9 million viewers watched the Blues defeat the Bruins. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s the most-watched NHL game on record in the United States. In Canada, it’s a different story. With all Canadian teams eliminated after the opening round and the Toronto Raptors on an NBA championship run, the ratings for the Stanley Cup playoffs were down this year.

THE SCORE: Edmonton Oilers GM Ken Holland said he expects team captain Connor McDavid to be ready for training camp in September. McDavid continues to rehab from a knee injury suffered during the Oilers’ final game of the season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: McDavid was spotted limping at a recent charity event, generating concern over the status of his recovery. The injury didn’t require surgery and isn’t expected to affect his off-season training.

LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL: Vegas Golden Knight goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury sold his Las Vegas home for $2.3 million. Records indicate the buyer is a strip club owner.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Some might seize on this sale to raise concern over Fleury’s future with the Golden Knights. However, he’s about to begin a new three-year deal. As the Golden Knights’ starting goalie and franchise player, he’s not going anywhere. 

TSN: Former NHL player Rick Nash was named a special assistant to Columbus Blue Jackets GM Jarmo Kekalainen. Nash announced his retirement as a player in January. 

NBC SPORTS: Hall-of-Famer Eric Lindros hopes a new campaign in Ontario will help amateur athletes, parents and coaches better identify the signs and symptoms of a concussion.  Lindros’ career was cut short by repeated concussions. 

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 14, 2019

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 14, 2019

Game recaps and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines. 

NHL.COM: Sebastian Aho’s hat trick powered the Carolina Hurricanes to a 6-3 victory over the Nashville Predators. The Hurricanes have won seven of their last 10 and sit four points out of an Eastern Conference wild-card berth. Filip Forsberg scored twice for the Predators. 

Anaheim Ducks general manager Bob Murray doesn’t plan to make a coaching change (Photo via NHL.com)

The Anaheim Ducks dropped their 11th straight game as they were edged by the Winnipeg Jets 4-3 on an overtime goal by Bryan Little. Following the game, Ducks general manager Bob Murray issued a statement saying he has no plans “at this time” to replace beleaguered head coach Randy Carlyle. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: If Murray doesn’t intend to make a coaching change he’ll have to consider shaking up his roster to get his club back on track. Despite their lengthy losing skid, the Ducks sit just outside of a wild-card spot in the Western Conference

Columbus Blue Jackets goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky returned to action and made 22 saves in a 7-5 win over the New York Rangers, who’ve dropped six of their last season games. Nick Foligno scored twice while Artemi Panarin, Cam Atkinson, and Ryan Murray each had two points for the Jackets. Mats Zuccarello tallied two goals for the Rangers, who were criticized for their poor performance by head coach David Quinn. The Jackets were playing without center Brandon Dubinsky (hamstring) and winger Markus Hannikainen (elbow), who could be on injured reserve longer than anticipated

Before the game, former Blue Jacket and Ranger Rick Nash was honored by the Jackets and made the ceremonial puck drop with his family. Nash recently announced his retirement for health reasons after 15 NHL seasons.

Loui Erikson had a three-point performance and Jacob Markstrom turned aside 23 shots as the Vancouver Canucks defeated the Florida Panthers 5-1. The Canucks are tied with the Minnesota Wild and Anaheim Ducks (47 points) but sit just outside of the final wild-card spot in the Western Conference. 

A three-goal outburst in the opening five minutes of the first period powered the New York Islanders to a 5-1 win over the Tampa Bay Lightning. Cal Clutterbuck, Matt Martin, and Casey Cizikas each had two points and Thomas Greiss kicked out 38 shots. Earlier in the day, the NHL Department of Player Safety fined Lightning defenseman Mikhail Sergachev over $2,400.00 for cross-checking Buffalo Sabres forward Johan Larsson. 

Calgary Flames captain Mark Giordano commemorated his 800th career NHL contest with two goals and an assist in a 7-1 drubbing over the Arizona Coyotes. Matthew Tkachuk also scored twice for the Flames.  

NBC SPORTS: Washington Capitals goaltender Braden Holtby avoided serious injury after being struck in his left eye by a stick during Saturday’s loss to the Columbus Blue Jackets. Holtby said he suffered a scratch to the eye but took part in practice Sunday and expects to be fully recovered within 24 hours. The Capitals have no plans to call up a goalie. 

TSN: The Toronto Maple Leafs re-signed winger Trevor Moore to a two-year, $1.575-million contract extension. 

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 12, 2019

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 12, 2019

Game recaps, Rick Nash retires, an update on Sergei Bobrovsky, the latest trades and contract signings, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.


NHL.com: Buffalo Sabres winger Jeff Skinner scored his 30th of the season in his first game against the Carolina Hurricanes since they trade him last summer, but it was the Hurricanes that emerged with a 4-3 win. Sebastian Aho scored twice, Micheal Ferland had a three-point night and Curtis McElhinney made 30 saves as the Hurricanes held on for the victory.

Buffalo Sabres winger Jeff Skinner scored his 30th goal of the season on Friday and was also voted into the NHL All-Star Game by the fans. (Photo via NHL Images)

Speaking of Skinner, he joined Colorado Avalanche captain Gabriel Landeskog, Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Kris Letang, and Edmonton Oilers forward Leon Draisaitl as the “Last Men In” to skate for their respective divisions in the upcoming NHL All-Star Game in San Jose.  

Jake Guentzel tallied a hat trick as the Pittsburgh Penguins rallied from a 3-0 deficit to thump the Anaheim Ducks 7-4, handing the latter their 10th consecutive defeat. Evgeni Malkin had a four-point performance, Phil Kessel had three points and Tanner Pearson scored twice for the Penguins.  Earlier in the day, the Penguins announced the re-signing of backup goaltender Casey DeSmith to a three-year extension worth an annual average value of $1.25 million. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Ducks have slipped out of a wild-card berth and are in danger of tumbling out of playoff contention altogether if they don’t snap out of this tailspin soon. Getting Cam Fowler and Rickard Rakell back from injury should help but general manager Bob Murray could be under pressure to do something, be it a trade or a coaching change, to reverse this season-threatening skid.

As for the DeSmith signing, it’s an affordable move by the Penguins to ensure a measure of stability behind oft-injured starter Matt Murray. It could turn into an incredible bargain if DeSmith goes on to outplay Murray and take over the starter’s role, or easily moveable if Tristan Jarry should supplant him from the backup job. 

Winnipeg Jets goaltender Laurent Brossoit kicked out 33 shots and teammate Kyle Connor collected three points to lead their club to a 4-2 victory over the Detroit Red Wings. 

The Calgary Flames overcame a 2-0 deficit to edge the Florida Panthers 4-3. Michael Frolik led the way with a goal and two assists. 

SPORTSNET: After 15 NHL seasons, multiple concussions have forced Rick Nash to announce his retirement. A six-time all-star, Nash tallied 437 goals, 368 assists, and 805 points in 1,068 games with the Columbus Blue Jackets, New York Rangers and Boston Bruins. He won the Maurice Richard Trophy in 2003-04 as the league’s leading goal scorer. He captained the Blue Jackets for over four seasons (2007-08 to 2011-12. He also won two gold medals (2010, 2014) playing for Canada’s Men’s Olympic Hockey teams.

SPECTOR’S NOTE:  A dazzling goal scorer, Nash remains the Blue Jackets’ all-time offensive leader. Those who ran the Blue Jackets during his tenure with them did an insufficient job building around his scoring talent. His playoff scoring stats weren’t as impressive as his regular-season numbers, at times making him a target for criticism. Those concussion injuries often took a lengthy toll upon his performance. With better health, he would’ve been a more dominant scorer. 

THE ATHLETIC (SUBSCRIPTION REQUIRED): Following a meeting with Blue Jackets management, coaches and players, Sergei Bobrovsky has returned to the lineup. The club had disciplined him following an incident during a loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning on Tuesday. He spoke to the media following the meetings, acknowledged he allowed his emotions to get the better of him, apologized to his teammates, said the air has been cleared and they’re all moving on from the incident. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I’m guessing Bobrovsky snapped after he was pulled from the game and verbally lashed out at his teammates. Whatever the reason, the proof of whether he and the club have put this situation behind them will be determined by their play. 

DENVER POST: Colorado Avalanche center Nathan MacKinnon apologized for getting into a spat on the bench with head coach Jared Bednar during a 5-3 loss to the Calgary Flames on Wednesday. He said he felt embarrassed after seeing the footage and took responsibility for handling the situation poorly. He defended Bednar and said he and his teammates enjoy playing for him. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Good on MacKinnon for owning up to his mistake. 

THE TENNESSEAN: Nashville Predators forward Austin Watson publicly shared his struggles with alcoholism and mental illness on Friday. Last summer, he pleaded no contest to misdemeanor domestic abuse and received an 18-game suspension by the league. He said he and his girlfriend, who also struggled with alcohol, are now in a better place, have put the incident behind them, and remain committed to their sobriety. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Best wishes to Watson and his family as they work to improve their lives with the help of the resources available to them from the league, the NHLPA and the Predators, as well as the support of their families. 

TSN: The St. Louis Blues placed forwards Tyler Bozak (concussion) and Robert Thomas (shoulder) on injured reserve.

CHICAGO SUN-TIMES: The Blackhawks acquired defenseman Slater Koekkoek from the Tampa Bay Lightning in exchange for defenseman Jan Rutta.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Koekkoek struggled to crack a very deep Lightning blueline. He’ll have a better opportunity becoming an NHL regular with the Blackhawks, whose blueline depth has steadily eroded in recent years. 

NBC SPORTS: The Philadelphia Flyers traded center Jordan Weal to the Arizona Coyotes in exchange for minor-league defenseman Jacob Graves and a sixth-round pick in the 2019 NHL Draft. 

NHL Rumor Mill – October 10, 2018

NHL Rumor Mill – October 10, 2018

Latest on the Penguins goaltending plus updates on Rick Nash and Jordan Schmaltz in your NHL rumor mill.


TSN: Bob McKenzie reports the Pittsburgh Penguins won’t seek external help in goal with starter Matt Murray sidelined by a concussion. The Penguins are optimistic Murray won’t be sidelined for long. Backup Casey DeSmith is expected to start against the Vegas Golden Knights on Thursday while Tristan Jarry is returning from injury.

THE HOCKEY NEWS: Jared Clinton also noted the Penguins intend to use DeSmith and Jarry while Murray’s recovering from his concussion. Both could be stop-gaps rather than long-term solutions. Clinton wonders if the Penguins seeks help if Murray’s sidelined longer than expected or “the seemingly inevitable happens and Murray falls injured once again?”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’ll be interesting to see what the Penguins do if the oft-injured Murray ends up sidelined for a lengthy period of time. Perhaps DeSmith or Jarry can step up to replace him. There are not many long-term solutions currently available to them. This could be worth keeping an eye on over the course of the season.

Free agent Rick Nash denies social media rumors claiming he’s filed his retirement papers (Photo via NHL Images)


TSN: Rick Nash’s agent Joe Resnick denied rumors on social media yesterday claiming his client had filed retirement papers with the NHL.  Nash is an unrestricted free agent but has yet to decide if he’ll continue his playing career citing medical concerns.

THE ATHLETIC: Aaron Portzline reports Nash remains keen to resume his playing career but he’s waiting for concussion symptoms to clear before deciding if he’ll return. Citing his family, Nash said it was important for him to “get my health in the right spot before I figure out what my plans are, and I don’t know when that will be.”

Portzline said if Nash returns it will “almost certainly be with the (Columbus)Blue Jackets or one of five or six other teams he’s identified as Stanley Cup contenders.” The winger said he had a good meeting with Jackets president John Davidson and general manager Jarmo Kekalainen this summer in Columbus.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: No indication who those other clubs might be. There was some speculation earlier this year suggesting he was interested in returning to the Boston Bruins. He also didn’t rule out signing with a Canadian team. For now, what’s important is Nash makes a full recovery. 


THE ATHLETIC: Jeremy Rutherford reports defenseman Jordan Schmaltz is struggling to crack the St. Louis Blues defense corps on a full-time basis. The Blues don’t want to assign him to their AHL affiliate for fear of losing him on waivers. He’s currently on a two-year, $1.4 million contract, with this season being a two-way deal.

Schmaltz’s agent Kevin Overhardt declined to say if he’s asked the Blues for a trade but “it’s clear that Overhardt wishes his client had more of a chance to play in St. Louis, and if not here, then somewhere.” Rutherford reports a pair of NHL scouts, one from each conference, said Schmaltz’s mobility and puck-moving skills are attractive to other clubs.

Consistency and assertiveness appear to be the issues holding the blueliner back. Both scouts feel a trade is possible and there’s believed to be legitimate interest in Schmaltz. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Some might wonder if Schmaltz’s inconsistency could affect his trade value. Rutherford suggests this situation is comparable to that of Ian Cole, who was traded by the Blues to the Pittsburgh Penguins in 2015 for Roberto Bortuzzo and a seventh-round pick. Cole went on to win two Stanley Cups with the Penguins while the Blues got a blueline regular in Bortuzzo.

If Schmaltz still can’t crack the Blues defense, other clubs could be willing to take a chance on him as a reclamation project for a reasonable return. Perhaps Blues general manager Doug Armstrong can use him as a trade chip to bring in a decent player or a promising prospect. 


NHL Rumor Mill – September 15, 2018

NHL Rumor Mill – September 15, 2018

Latest on Bobby Ryan, William Nylander, Rick Nash, Cory Schneider and more in your NHL rumor mill.

The Ottawa Senators weren’t willing to do discounts during Bobby Ryan trade discussions. (Photo via NHL Images)


SPORTSNET: In his latest “31 Thoughts” column, Elliotte Friedman reports the closest Erik Karlsson came to being traded prior to getting dealt to the San Jose Sharks on Thursday was to the Vegas Golden Knights at last season’s trade deadline. He was told it would’ve been “a better business deal, but not a great hockey deal”. That means Senators winger Bobby Ryan was included but the Golden Knights would not send their best in the return.

TSN: Darren Dreger reported Thursday the Senators weren’t willing to give teams a discount for taking on Ryan while they were negotiating a Karlsson trade. “Vegas sources indicating that Ottawa wouldn’t put a value on taking the Ryan contract,” Dreger said. “Ottawa’s perspective was, ‘No, you’re getting a decent NHL player here who happens to have an ugly contract. But it’s a hockey trade.'”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Cap Friendly indicates Ryan is signed through 2021-22 with an annual average value of $7.25 million. Unless the Senators are willing to absorb part of that cap hit or take back a toxic contract in return, they’re going to have a tough time finding any takers for him. 


Friedman reports there’s no clarity on the future of unrestricted free agent winger Rick Nash. His wife recently gave birth to their third child and Nash’s injury history has him considering retirement.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: My guess is Nash will retire. If he’s still uncertain about his future as training camps open, I don’t think he’s really ready to keep playing. 

It’s rumored Toronto Maple Leafs forward William Nylander seeks a contract comparable to Edmonton Oilers’ forward Leon Draisaitl’s $8.5 million AAV.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: He’s not getting that much. The Leafs are rumored offering around $6 million annually and I don’t see them going much higher. Nylander is coming off an entry-level deal and has no leverage other than refusing to play and that’s not going to do him any favors. 


WINNIPEG SUN: Ken Wiebe notes how long defenseman Jacob Trouba remains with the Jets is a storyline that just won’t go away. He’s under an arbiter-awarded one-year, $5.5-million contract, making him eligible next summer to once again become a restricted free agent with arbitration rights. He’ll also be only a year away from unrestricted free agency.

Some feel the Jets would be better off moving Trouba, but “unless the Jets get blown away by a trade offer that includes a young, controllable top-pairing blue-liner, having Trouba in the fold for a Stanley Cup run makes the most sense.” If they can’t re-sign him before next summer, Wiebe feels the likely outcome is the Jets move the blueliner by the 2019 NHL Draft.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Unless the Jets suffer a massive collapse that knocks them out of playoff contention by the Feb. 25, 2019 trade deadline, Trouba won’t be going anywhere this season. I concur with Wiebe’s take. 

NEW YORK POST: Brett Cyrgalis recently suggested the New Jersey Devils could explore the trade market for 32-year-old goaltender Cory Schneider if he can’t be the bedrock between the pipes. Schneider has four years remaining on his contract with an annual average value of $6 million.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Devils GM Ray Shero could explore Schneider’s trade value if he’s no longer a capable starting goalie. That cap hit and no-trade clause, however, will make moving him a difficult task. 

Regarding the New York Rangers, Cyrgalis wondered if GM Jeff Gorton would consider moving pending UFA forwards Kevin Hayes and Mats Zuccarello for future assets.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: If there’s decent offers for those guys they could be gone by the trade deadline.