NHL Rumor Mill – June 15, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – June 15, 2022

A look at some potential contract buyout candidates in today’s NHL rumor mill.

KASSIAN, MURRAY TOP DAILY FACEOFF’S BUYOUT CANDIDATES LIST

DAILY FACEOFF: Edmonton Oilers winger Zack Kassian and Ottawa Senators goaltender Matt Murray topped Frank Seravalli’s list of this offseason’s potential contract buyout candidates. The first contract buyout window is from July 1 – 12.

Kassian has two seasons remaining on his contract with an annual average value of $3.2 million. Murray also has two seasons remaining with a $6.25 million AAV.

Ottawa Senators goaltender Matt Murray (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I agree with Seravalli that Kassian could be bought out as he could prove difficult to move this summer via trade. The Senators, however, are reportedly willing to carry three goaltenders (including Murray) into next season.

That’s understandable given Murray’s cap hit. While the Sens have the cap space to absorb the two-thirds’ buyout for four seasons, that’s a long time to carry dead cap space, especially the $2.5 million per season over the final two years.

San Jose Sharks defenseman Marc-Edouard Vlasic, St. Louis Blues rearguard Marco Scandella and Vancouver Canucks winger Jason Dickinson fill spots three, four and five on Seravalli’s list. Vlasic has four more years at $7 million AAV left on his contract, Scandella has two more seasons at $3.275 million annually, and Dickinson has two more with an AAV of $2.65 million.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Vlasic’s buyout will sit on the Sharks’ books for eight years, with years three and four biting deeply into their cap space. Nevertheless, The Athletic’s Corey Masisak said in a recent mailbag segment that he considered a Vlasic buyout more likely than trading a blueliner like Brent Burns or Erik Karlsson. As Seravalli observed, carrying the full $7 million of the fading Vlasic’s contract for four more years would be worse than the buyout cost.

I see Scandella and Dickinson as buyout candidates if their respective teams can’t find anyone to trade their contracts off their hands in the trade market.

Nashville Predators defenseman Philippe Myers, Chicago Blackhawks forward Tyler Johnson and Pittsburgh Penguins winger Jason Zucker are six, seven and eight respectively on the list. Myers has a year remaining on his deal with an AAV of $2.55 million. Johnson has two more seasons at $5 million annually remaining while Zucker has a year left at $5 million.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Myers appears a likely buyout candidate. As Seravalli points out, the blueliner is 25 so his buyout is one-third the remaining value instead of two-thirds. Because his contract is also backloaded, the Predators would get a cap credit of over $616K for this season and be charged only $633K the following season. Seravalli suggests that could make Myers’s contract enticing in the trade market for cap-strapped clubs.

I think the rebuilding Blackhawks can afford to carry Johnson’s contract for at least one more season. The Penguins could also ride out the remaining year of Zucker’s deal if they can fit new contracts for Kris Letang and Evgeni Malkin into their current cap space. They could also retain up to half his cap hit in a trade or attempt to move him for another player with a comparable contract.

New York Rangers defenseman Patrik Nemeth and Boston Bruins winger Nick Foligno round out the top 10. Nemeth has two more years left with an AAV of $2.5 million while Foligno has one season remaining at $3.8 million.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Rangers could attempt to trade Nemeth but the way his contract is structured could make a buyout likely. The cap hit is $1 million for each season except for the second year, where they won’t be charged anything. As for Foligno, Boston Hockey Now’s Joe Haggerty reports the Bruins aren’t leaning that way.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 18, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 18, 2022

The Oilers get their fourth straight win under interim coach Jay Woodcroft, Martin St. Louis gets his first win as Canadiens coach, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: Leon Draisaitl scored twice as the Edmonton Oilers picked up their fourth straight win under interim coach Jay Woodcroft by thumping the Anaheim Ducks 7-3. Draisaitl leads the race for the Rocket Richard Trophy with 35 goals. Connor McDavid, Evander Kane, Warren Foegele and Derek Ryan each had two points for the Oilers, who sit in third place in the Pacific Division with 57 points. The Ducks, meanwhile, dropped their third straight and remain behind the Los Angeles Kings for the final Western Conference wild-card berth with 55 points.

Edmonton Oilers forward Leon Draisaitl (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This was a game of two teams going in different directions. The Oilers are surging since their coaching change while the Ducks have slid out of a playoff spot and are in danger of falling further behind if they don’t reverse their fortunes soon.

Toronto Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews tallied his 33rd goal of the season and Jack Campbell made 45 saves in a 4-1 victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins, handing the latter their first loss in their last seven road games. Matthews also picked up an assist and Mitch Marner collected two helpers. The Leafs (67 points) are three points back of the second-place Tampa Bay Lightning in the Atlantic Division while the Penguins sit atop the Metropolitan Division with 70 points.

The Montreal Canadiens picked up their first win under interim coach Martin St. Louis by beating the St. Louis Blues 3-2 in overtime. Cole Caufield tallied the tying and winning goals as the Habs snapped a 10-game losing skid. The Blues (62 points) are one point behind the second-place Minnesota Wild in the Central Division.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Canadiens have a better chance of winning this year’s draft lottery than they have of reaching the playoffs. Nevertheless, they’ve been more competitive since St. Louis took over as coach. Caufield in particular has thrived under his new bench boss, scoring four goals in his last four games after managing just one in his previous 30.

Blake Wheeler and Kyle Connor each had a goal and an assist as the Winnipeg Jets beat the Seattle Kraken 5-3. Josh Morrissey scored the winning goal by snapping a 3-3 tie in the third period. With 52 points, the Jets moved within three points of the Kings for the final Western wild-card spot.

The Vancouver Canucks also reached 52 points as J.T. Miller’s overtime goal lifted them over the San Jose Sharks 5-4. Miller, Elias Pettersson and Quinn Hughes each had two points for the Canucks. Hughes returned to the lineup following a 10-day stint on the COVID protocol list. Sharks winger Timo Meier scored twice and picked up an assist.

Two third-period goals by Garnet Hathaway rallied the Washington Capitals to a 5-3 win over the Philadelphia Flyers. Hathaway finished the night with three points as the Capitals (65 points) widened their lead over the Boston Bruins for the first wild-card spot in the Western Conference.

Speaking of the Bruins, they dropped a 4-1 decision to the New York Islanders. Ilya Sorokin made 26 saves for the win while Mathew Barzal, Brock Nelson and Noah Dobson each had a goal and an assist. The Bruins (58 points) hold the second Eastern wild-card berth.

The Detroit Red Wings kept their thin playoff hopes alive by defeating the New York Rangers 3-2. Thomas Greiss made 37 saves and Pius Suter scored the winner in the shootout. The Wings are six points behind the Bruins, who have three games in hand.

Patrik Laine tallied his first hat trick with the Columbus Blue Jackets in a 7-4 drubbing of the Chicago Blackhawks. Laine is riding an eight-game points streak.

Goaltender Craig Anderson lost to his former team as the Ottawa Senators defeated the Buffalo Sabres 3-1 on third-period goals by Austin Watson and Brady Tkachuk.

IN OTHER NEWS…

NHL.COM: Nashville Predators head coach John Hynes was fined $25,000.00 by the league for “inappropriate conduct” following Tuesday’s 4-1 loss to the Washington Capitals. Hynes was berating officials from the bench at the end of the game.

Calgary Flames forward Adam Ruzicka was fined $2,004.17 for elbowing Anaheim Ducks defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk on Wednesday.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: In the NHL, a coach telling off officials following a game is considered more egregious than a player attempting to injure an opponent.

NEW YORK POST: Rangers defenseman Patrik Nemeth was placed on injured reserve due to lingering effects of COVID-19.

THE DALLAS MORNING NEWS: Stars defenseman Andrej Sekera was placed on IR with an upper-body injury.

TSN: The NHL and NHL Players Association met Thursday to discuss plans for staging a World Cup of Hockey in 2024.

THE PROVINCE: Former Vancouver Canucks forward Jake Virtanen has elected for a jury trial in his sexual assault case. He is currently playing for KHL team Spartak Moscow.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 27, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 27, 2021

The Panthers re-sign Sam Bennett and trade Anton Stralman to the Coyotes, the Jets re-sign Paul Stastny and acquire Brenden Dillion from the Capitals, the Golden Knights close to re-signing Alec Martinez and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

FLORIDA HOCKEY NOW: The Florida Panthers were busy on Monday. They signed forward Sam Bennett to a four-year deal worth an annual average value of $4.4 million. The club also traded defensemen Anton Stralman and Vladislav Kolyachonok plus a second-round pick in the 2024 NHL Draft in exchange for a seventh-round pick in 2023.

The Florida Panthers re-sign forward Sam Bennett to a four-year deal (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s not surprising the Panthers re-signed Bennett. Slated to become a restricted free agent on July 28, the 25-year-old netted 15 points in his first 10 regular-season games after being acquired at the trade deadline from Calgary. He also had five points in as many playoff games. Bennett should be a key part of their top-two forward lines.

The Stralman trade was a straightforward salary dump by the Panthers. He had a year remaining on his contract worth an annual average value of $5.5 million. The 35-year-old blueliner reportedly had to be convinced to waive his modified no-trade to go to Arizona. He’ll likely become a bargaining chip at next season’s trade deadline if the rebuilding Coyotes are out of playoff contention by then.

WINNIPEG SUN: The Jets also had a busy day, re-signing center Paul Stastny to a one-year, $3.75 million contract and acquiring defenseman Brenden Dillon from the Washington Capitals in exchange for a second-round pick in 2022 and a second-rounder in 2023.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Stastny isn’t the offensive talent he once was. Nevertheless, the 35-year-old should be an affordable short-term answer to their need for a second-line center while management seeks a long-term solution. Dillon will help address a glaring need for reliable stay-at-home depth on their blueline, though the cost of two second-rounders seems a little high.

The Capitals, meanwhile, freed up $3.9 million in annual cap space for the next three seasons. They now have over $12 million in cap room if they call up Martin Fehervary as expected for next season. That gives them some additional wiggle room to re-sign Alex Ovechkin and goaltender Ilya Samsonov.

LAS VEGAS SUN: The Vegas Golden Knights are reportedly close to signing Alec Martinez to a three-year contract extension. The 35-year-old defenseman would receive an annual cap hit close to $5 million.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Martinez proved his worth to the Golden Knights this season, especially in the playoffs where he was their best all-around blueliner. The contract is a bit long for a shot-blocking rearguard of his age but that seems the price the Golden Knights are willing to pay to remain in Stanley Cup contention.

That signing could push them over the $81.5 million salary cap. They could make a cost-cutting trade before the start of next season involving Marc-Andre Fleury or Robin Lehner.

ARIZONA SPORTS: The Coyotes expected to sign forward Dmitrij Jaskin to a one-year, $3.2 million contract. The 29-year-old spent seven seasons with the St. Louis Blues and Washington Capitals before spending the past two seasons playing for the KHL’s Moscow Dynamo.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Coyotes have been everyone’s favorite dumping ground for unwanted contracts this summer. General manager Bill Armstrong has been clearing up long-term cap space while restocking with draft picks and prospects.

Most of the contracts he’s taken on have only a year or two remaining, with most belonging to still-serviceable players who could become trade bait to playoff contenders later next season. He also did a great job shedding Oliver Ekman-Larsson’s hefty contract by shipping that off to Vancouver during the recent NHL draft.

THE SCORE: Several notable restricted free agents didn’t receive qualifying offers at yesterday’s deadline. Among them were Boston’s Nick Ritchie, Chicago’s Pius Suter, Edmonton’s Dominik Kahun and Anaheim’s Danton Heinen. They are eligible to become unrestricted free agents on July 28.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Just because they didn’t get qualifying offers doesn’t mean they can’t re-sign with their now-former teams. Sometimes teams don’t offer a QO because they want to sign those players to a more affordable contract. That’s what the Blackhawks did with Adam Gaudette, inking him to a one-year deal worth just over $997K.

TORONTO STAR: Defenseman Zach Bogosian won’t be back with the Maple Leafs. He’s likely headed to an American market via free agency on July 28.

NEW YORK POST: The Rangers are expected to sign Patrik Nemeth when free agency opens tomorrow. The Colorado Avalanche allowed the pending UFA defenseman to speak with other teams.

TSN: The New Jersey Devils traded forward Nick Merkley to the San Jose Sharks in exchange for defenseman Christian Jaros. The Devils signed Jaros to a one-year, two-way contract.

NBC SPORTS PHILADELPHIA: The Flyers re-signed defenseman Sam Morin to a one-year, $750K contract.

TRIBLIVE.COM: Pittsburgh Penguins head coach Mike Sullivan is expected to be named head coach of the United States’ Men’s hockey team for the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 10, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 10, 2021

Game recaps, the latest on Zach Werenski, Bobby Ryan and William Nylander, the Avalanche reacquire Patrik Nemeth, the Leafs deal for Riley Nash, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin tallied career goal 727 in a 4-3 win over the Buffalo Sabres. Capitals defenseman Justin Schultz had a goal and two assists. Ovechkin is four goals shy of Hall of Famer Marcel Dionne for fifth on the NHL’s all-time goals list. The Capitals are tied with the New York Islanders with 56 points but hold first place in the MassMutual East Division on the basis of regulation wins (21).

The Islanders, meanwhile, dropped a 4-1 decision to the New York Rangers. Alexandar Georgiev made 31 saves for the win in his first start in 11 games while teammate Adam Fox’s point streak ended at 12 games. Blueshirts winger Artemi Panarin collected two assists.

PIttsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby (NHL Images).

Sidney Crosby scored and added two helpers to lead the Pittsburgh Penguins over the New Jersey Devils 6-4. Pittsburgh winger Bryan Rust scored two goals and chipped in an assist while Devils winger Miles Wood tallied twice. The Penguins have won seven of their last nine contests and sit two points behind the second-place Islanders.

Colorado Avalanche goaltender Jonas Johansson made 28 saves for his first career NHL shutout in a 2-0 blanking of the Anaheim Ducks. Valeri Nichushkin and Mikko Rantanen were the goal scorers as Colorado won their sixth game in their last seven outings. They canceled their practice earlier in the day after Bo Byram was placed on the NHL COVID-19 protocol list. The Avs sit atop the Honda West Division with 58 points.

A four-goal first period powered the Vegas Golden Knights to a 7-4 victory over the Arizona Coyotes. Reilly Smith scored two goals for the Golden Knights, who remain four points back of the Avalanche in second place. Phil Kessel collected three assists for Arizona and took over sole possession of fifth place on the NHL’s Ironman list by skating in his 885th consecutive game. The Coyotes are in fourth place with 43 points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kessel is quite durable for someone who is sometimes mocked because his physical appearance isn’t that of a prototypical NHL player. As the old saying goes, don’t judge a book by its cover.

St. Louis Blues center Ryan O’Reilly tallied a hat trick in a 9-1 thumping of the Minnesota Wild. Jaden Schwartz scored twice while Justin Faulk and Sammy Blais each had a goal and two assists. The Blues moved within one point of the Coyotes while the Wild remain in third place with 50 points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Blues made winger Mike Hoffman a healthy scratch for the second straight game. He’s among the top names being bandied about the NHL rumor mill and could be on the move before Monday’s trade deadline.

Brent Burns collected three assists and Martin Jones made 32 saves as the San Jose Sharks downed the Los Angeles Kings 5-2. The surging Sharks sit three back of the Coyotes.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The race for that final playoff berth in the West is getting interesting. The Coyotes are trying to hang on, the Blues are battling to overcome a recent season-threatening losing skid while the Sharks are trying to keep their postseason hopes alive.

HEADLINES

THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH: Blue Jackets defenseman Zach Werenski will undergo season-ending sports hernia surgery next week.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: A difficult season for the Blue Jackets just got a lot worse with their best puck-moving defenseman on the shelf. This could be the last nail in the coffin for their playoff hopes.

THE DETROIT NEWS: Red Wings forward Bobby Ryan appears to be done for the season after suffering an upper-body injury.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Ryan was expected to draw some interest in the trade market leading up to Monday’s deadline. Nagging injuries have plagued the 34-year-old winger throughout this season.

ESPN: The Nashville Predators placed winger Filip Forsberg on injured reserve and announced winger Eeli Tolvanen (lower body) and defenseman Dante Fabbro (upper body) are week-to-week. Right wing Mathieu Olivier will be sidelined for four-to-six weeks with a lower-body injury.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Predators surged into playoff contention in recent weeks in the Discover Central Division. This latest rash of injuries could threaten their efforts to clinch a postseason berth.

TSN: Vancouver Canucks general manager Jim Benning said many of his 21 players who tested positive for COVID-19 are feeling better. He expects his club will be able to complete its 56-game schedule, adding none of his players want to opt-out of the remainder of the season. Benning anticipates most of his players will be back on the ice once the team receives clearance to reopen its practice facility.

MONTREAL GAZETTE: Canadiens prospect Cole Caufield is the 2021 winner of the Hobey Baker Award as the top player in US college hockey.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Caufield celebrated by scoring two goals in his pro debut as the Laval Rocket downed the Toronto Marlies 5-3 in AHL action on Friday.

TORONTO SUN: The Maple Leafs acquired center Riley Nash from the Columbus Blue Jackets in exchange for a conditional seventh-round pick in 2022.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Nash is sidelined for four-to-six weeks with a sprained knee. However, Leafs general manager Kyle Dubas can place him and his $2.75 million cap hit on long-term injury reserve, giving them the flexibility to perhaps make another move before Monday’s trade deadline. A clever move by Dubas, who’s done this sort of thing in the past to provide himself some much-needed cap relief. Nash will also join the Leafs for the playoffs.

TORONTO STAR: Speaking of the Leafs, winger William Nylander will be sidelined for a week on the NHL’s COVID-19 protocol list after coming in contact with someone who tested positive for the coronavirus.

THE DENVER POST: The Colorado Avalanche reacquired defenseman Patrik Nemeth from the Detroit Red Wings in exchange for a 2022 fourth-round pick. Nemeth spent two seasons with the Avalanche (2017 to 2019). The Wings are also retaining half of his $3 million salary-cap hit.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Avalanche also have $5.4 million in cap wiggle room with Erik Johnson and Pavel Francouz on LTIR. GM Joe Sakic might not be done dealing as concern remains over the Avs’ goaltending depth.

NJ.COM: The New Jersey Devils placed winger Nikita Gusev on unconditional waivers for the purpose of terminating his contract. He’ll become an unrestricted free agent if he clears at noon ET today.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Gusev had a promising NHL debut with 44 points in 66 games last season but struggled under head coach Lindy Ruff this season and has just five points in 20 games. The 27-year-old winger might regain his scoring touch with another club.

WGR 550: The Buffalo Sabres claimed forward Drake Caggiula off waivers from the Arizona Coyotes.