NHL Rumor Mill – September 1, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – September 1, 2022

Updates on the notable players remaining in the unrestricted free agent market plus some cost-cutting Bruins trade candidates in today’s NHL Rumor Mill. 

ESPN.COM: Greg Wyshynski took a look at the status of several noteworthy players still available in this summer’s unrestricted free agent market. 

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

P.K. Subban’s agent, Don Meehan, recently told the Montreal Gazette that the 33-year-old defenseman is being selective on where he’ll play next. He said there were “expressions of interest” in his client but those clubs also had other things in play. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Wyshynski believes Subban is ready to be a difference maker if the right fit can be found. He might not be interested in signing with a non-contender. Boston Hockey Now’s Jimmy Murphy believes the Bruins should look into signing Subban to a professional tryout offer. However, it’s still possible he inks an affordable one-year contract with a club before training camp opens.

Evan Rodrigues hasn’t signed a new contract but it appears he’s garnered plenty of interest. His agent, Darren Ferris, told Wyshynski that there are “a good seven or eight teams” he’s having discussions with about his client. 

Some of those clubs have cap constraints, including his former team, the Pittsburgh Penguins. The Calgary Flames have also shown an interest. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Hockey News’ Mike Stephens suggested the Seattle Kraken, Colorado Avalanche and Ottawa Senators as potential destinations for Rodrigues. However, we don’t know if those clubs are among those talking to his agent.

Wyshynski expects Rodrigues will sign a one-year “show-me” contract and then try his luck for a more lucrative deal next summer. 

Many observers felt last season was Keith Yandle’s last but the 35-year-old defenseman isn’t ruling out playing this season. His agent, Jerry Buckley, said he’s still talking to teams but his client wants to find the right fit if he’s to continue his NHL career.  Buckley “highly doubted” Yandle will accept a PTO. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: A PTO might be the only way for Yandle to continue his playing career if that’s what he wants to do. He’s the NHL’s reigning Ironman but his performance has declined in recent years. 

No word on Joe Thornton’s plans. If his playing days are over, the 43-year-old forward reportedly could moving into a managerial role with the Spengler Cup Tournament. 

Speaking of aging veterans, no word yet from 45-year-old defenseman Zdeno Chara regarding his intentions. He hasn’t announced his retirement but it’s assumed he’s played his final NHL game.  

An NHL source claims “a lot of teams” are interested in Sonny Milano. So far, no one’s signed the former Anaheim Ducks winger. 

Former Detroit Red Wings defenseman Danny DeKeyser is healthy and hoping to land with a new NHL club. Agent Matt Federico is confident his 32-year-old client will have a one-year, low-dollar deal in place before training camps open. 

THE BOSTON GLOBE: Matt Porter recently observed the Bruins are above the $82.5 million salary cap by $2.4 million. They can address this at the start of the season by placing sidelined stars Brad Marchand and Charlie McAvoy on long-term injury reserve. However, they must become cap compliant when those players are ready to return to the lineup.

It sounds like Nick Foligno ($3.8 million) will remain part of the main group this season. Defenseman Mike Reilly ($3 million) could be a trade candidate given the Bruins’ depth in left-shot blueliners. Winger Craig Smith ($3.1 million) could be shopped if a youngster such as Fabian Lysell or Jack Studnicka makes a push this season. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It could be Smith who gets moved. There was a rumor last month claiming a team had made an offer for the 32-year-old winger but the two sides couldn’t reach an agreement. 










NHL Rumor Mill – August 27, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – August 27, 2022

In today’s NHL Rumor Mill: The latest on the Senators’ rumored interest in Jakob Chychrun plus three ways the Bruins can get cap compliant later this season.

OTTAWA SUN: Bruce Garrioch reports Senators general manager Pierre Dorion would like to add another defenseman before training camp opens on Sept. 21. If he doesn’t, he’s hopeful that he’s put together a competitive roster for the coming season.

Garrioch writes the Senators have held talks with the Arizona Coyotes regarding Jakob Chychrun but Dorion balked at the asking price for the 24-year-old blueliner.

Arizona Coyotes defenseman Jakob Chychrun (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That’s been the running theme regarding Chychrun since last season. Teams are interested but the Coyotes have set a price too high. Several versions of their asking price have made the rounds including a first-rounder, a top-prospect, and a good young NHL player, a first-rounder, two prospects and two players. The latest is two first-rounders and a top prospect.

Whatever the Coyotes want, nobody wants to pay it at this time. Maybe Dorion or another general manager gets desperate if injuries strike in training camp or during the season. Perhaps Arizona GM Bill Armstrong will lower his price to make it more palatable.

For now, I wouldn’t be surprised if Chychrun’s still with the Coyotes when the regular season begins in October.

As for other blueline targets for the Senators, the best remaining free agent options are P.K. Subban and Anton Stralman. Dorion could target cap-strapped teams in the trade market looking to shed salary before the season begin.

THE ATHLETIC: Fluto Shinzawa recently examined three ways the Boston Bruins can become cap compliant when some of their sidelined players return to action later in the season.

One way could be trading Mike Reilly once defenseman Matt Grzelcyk is good to go. The 29-year-old is among five left-handed rearguards with one-way contracts on the Bruins blueline. He carries an average annual value of $3 million.

Trading Craig Smith is another. He turns 33 next month and is in the final season of his contract with a $3.1 million AAV. He could be replaced from within by Fabian Lysell or Oskar Steen.

Shinzawa’s third option is demoting Nick Foligno or attempting to trade him if he’ll waive his partial no-trade clause. However, it would require packaging an asset with him.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: There was a report earlier this month that the Bruins had held trade talks regarding Smith. Nothing has come of them but that doesn’t mean a deal won’t happen at some point.

Reilly could draw interest if the Bruins put him on the block. Foligno carries a $3.8 million cap hit and is slated to become a UFA next summer. His performance, however, has really declined over the past couple of years. Unless he has a bounce-back effort this season, the Bruins’ best option could be sending him to the minors, though it will only trim $1.125 million from their payroll going that route.










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.










Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – May 29, 2022

Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – May 29, 2022

The latest on the Flames and Bruins plus the market value of Andrew Copp in the Sunday NHL rumor roundup.

FLAMES EXPECTED TO START TALKS WITH GAUDREAU AND TKACHUK SOON

SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman believes the Calgary Flames won’t waste time starting contract talks with Johnny Gaudreau and Matthew Tkachuk. Gaudreau, 28, is slated to become an unrestricted free agent this summer while the 24-year-old Tkachuk is a restricted free agent with arbitration rights who is a year away from UFA eligibility.

Friedman believes the team will approach negotiations quickly and aggressively to find out where things stand with both players. That will determine whether they can re-sign them or what their next course of action will be.

CALGARY HOCKEY NOW: Steve Mcfarlane reports Gaudreau sounded like he’d very much like to remain with the Flames during his end-of-season press conference on Saturday. He spoke of how much he and his wife enjoy living in Calgary and admitted he could have a considerable legacy if he remains with the Flames. The winger indicated he’ll sit down with his agent sometime this week to discuss what’s best for himself and his family.

Calgary Flames winger Matthew Tkachuk (NHL Images).

Flames general manager Brad Treliving said earlier this season he’d move heaven and earth to retain his club’s best offensive player. During Saturday’s presser, he reiterated his intent to sign Gaudreau.

CALGARY SUN: Wes Gilbertson and Daniel Austin report Tkachuk is open to a long-term deal with the Flames. “Absolutely,” he said. “I’ve loved it here. I’ve grown up here.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The cost of re-signing Gaudreau and Tkachuk will take a big chunk out of their salary-cap payroll for years. It could end up costing a combined $20 million to keep them in the fold.

Cap Friendly shows the Flames with $55.575 million invested in 12 players for 2022-23. They can afford to sign Gaudreau and Tkachuk but won’t have much left for Mangiapane or to fill out the rest of the roster and address their roster weaknesses, such as bolstering the blueline depth.

As I’ve said before, Treliving will have to shed salary to make this work. Sean Monahan is frequently mentioned as a trade candidate but his $6.35 million cap hit, 10-team no-trade list and the ongoing decline in his performance due to nagging hip injuries make him difficult to move.

Mikael Backlund has been suggested as a trade option. He’s signed through 2023-24 with an annual average value of $5.35 million and a 10-team no-trade list. The 33-year-old’s age could be a concern but he’d still have value as a middle-six center.

LATEST ON THE BRUINS

NBC SPORTS BOSTON: Nick Goss believes the Bruins’ top-three offseason priorities are finding a top-six center, adding a scoring winger and bringing more young players into their lineup.

The Bruins will desperately need a center if captain Patrice Bergeron retires. If he returns, it’ll still be a pressing issue for their second line. Neither Erik Haula or Charlie Coyle are legitimate top-six centers. Free-agent options include Claude Giroux, Evgeni Malkin and Nazem Kadri but the Bruins would have to clear cap space to add one of them.

What happens with Jake DeBrusk could affect efforts to add a scoring winger. DeBrusk intends to take some time to determine if he’ll withdraw last November’s trade request. The Bruins can’t afford to move him unless they get a similar player in return.

THE ATHLETIC: Fluto Shinzawa points out the Bruins need to clear salary-cap space if they intend to add a center. He proposed trading Mike Reilly ($3 million through 2023-24) or Craig Smith ($3 million through 2022-23) or buying out Nick Foligno ($3.8 million through 2022-23).

BOSTON HOCKEY NOW: Jimmy Murphy wondered if the Bruins will consider moving blueliner Brandon Carlo in a deal for a top-six center. He also noted Bruins fans clamoring for the club to shop Matt Grzelcyk. Murphy indicated Connor Clifton was “out there in the trade market” at various points this season so it wouldn’t be surprising if he is again.

If the Bruins aren’t going to go all-in building up their depth at center, Murphy suggested bolstering their top-four defense. Dallas Stars rearguard John Klingberg could be worth looking into in the UFA market.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This summer will be challenging for Bruins general manager Don Sweeney. He faces the potential retirement of first-line center Patrice Bergeron, first-line left winger Brad Marchand will miss the opening two months of the season recovering from hip surgery, and he must free up cap room to address the roster weaknesses.

The Bruins are screwed at center if Bergeron retires. That’s why I wouldn’t be surprised if he returns for one more season to buy the club time to shore up their depth at that position.

DeBrusk or Carlo could be used as trade bait to add a center or a winger. However, interested clubs could insist the Bruins included a decent draft pick or prospect in the deal.

Trading Reilly or Smith or buying out Foligno will help clear cap space. Those savings, however, are no certainty that Bruins management can find the right players to address their roster needs in this summer’s trade and free-agent market.

A LOOK AT CONTRACT COMPARABLES FOR COPP

SPORTSNET: Jeff Marek examined the possible contract comparables for Andrew Copp. The 27-year-old forward was a great trade acquisition by the New York Rangers. He’s slated to become a UFA in July.

Marek speculates Copp’s next deal could be somewhere between what Phillip Danault got from the Los Angeles Kings last summer and what Zach Hyman received from the Edmonton Oilers. Danault got six years and $33 million while Hyman’s was seven years and $38.5 million.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Danault and Hyman are each earning $5.5 million annually. Copp’s current contract pays him $3.64 million this season.

The Rangers are believed to be interested in re-signing him but he could price himself out of their market. They’ve got $12 million in cap space with Ryan Strome also slated to become a UFA while winger Kaapo Kakko is coming off his entry-level contract and backup goalie Alexandar Georgiev is an RFA with arbitration rights.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 21, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 21, 2021

The Flyers down the Bruins, the Blues defeat the Golden Knights plus the Jets brace for more COVID-19 cases, an update on the Oilers’ Mike Smith and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: Third-period goals by Cam Atkinson, Travis Konecny and Sean Couturier powered the Philadelphia Flyers over the Boston Bruins 6-3. Atkinson scored twice, Couturier and Joel Farabee each had a goal and an assist and Martin Jones made 37 saves for the win. Boston made it interesting by overcoming a 3-1 deficit to tie the game in the second period on goals by Taylor Hall and Brad Marchand. Bruins forward Nick Foligno left the game in the second period with a lower-body injury.

Philadelphia Flyers winger Cam Atkinson (NHL Images).

Jordan Binnington made 42 saves and Vladimir Tarasenko tallied the go-ahead goal to give the St. Louis Blues a 3-1 victory over the Vegas Golden Knights. Brandon Saad and Ivan Barbashev also tallied for the Blues while William Karlsson scored Vegas’ only goal.

WINNIPEG SUN: The Jets are reportedly bracing for more positive COVID-19 tests after captain Blake Wheeler tested positive and went into self-isolation on Tuesday. The club didn’t comment on the report but is expected to provide an update on Thursday.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Daily Faceoff’s Frank Seravalli broke this story. He followed up on Twitter saying some tests that were initially positive have since been confirmed negative. Seravalli said it’s possible most of the roster will be cleared to play tonight against the Anaheim Ducks but the Jets are awaiting clarity on this changing situation.

TSN: Speaking of the Jets, they assigned prospect forward Cole Perfetti to the AHL’s Manitoba Moose.

EDMONTON JOURNAL: Oilers goaltender Mike Smith has been placed on injured reserve with a lower-body injury. He’ll be sidelined for at least one week.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Oilers’ playoff hopes rest on a healthy Smith unless backup Mikko Koskinen can step up in his absence, something he’s had difficulty doing in the past.

THE NEWS & OBSERVER: Carolina Hurricanes forward Jesperi Kotkaniemi is looking forward to facing the Canadiens in Montreal tonight. It will be his first game against his former team since signing a one-year, $6.1 million offer sheet in August. Kotkaniemi said he has no hard feelings and nothing but “real good memories” of his time with the Habs.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Given how poorly the Canadiens have started the season, Kotkaniemi could rub more salt in the wound by scoring during a Hurricanes victory tonight.

TSN: Speaking of the Canadiens, defenseman Joel Edmundson has taken a leave of absence to be with his father, who’s suffering from cancer. Edmundson has been sidelined thus far by an undisclosed injury.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Edmundson’s absence is part of the reason the Canadiens are 0-4-0 to start this season. He was a strong physical presence on their blueline last season, especially in the playoffs. Factor in the absence of starting goalie Carey Price (NHL player assistance program)and team captain Shea Weber (injuries) plus the departure of two-way center Phillip Danault (free agency) and it’s unsurprising the Canadiens look terrible thus far.

TSN: Florida Panthers forward Joe Thornton was fined $1,875.00 for slashing Tampa Bay Lightning forward Boris Katchouk on Tuesday.

Calgary Flames placed forward Glenn Gawdin on waivers yesterday.

Former NHL forward Artem Anisimov signed a one-year contract with KHL club Lokomotiv Yaroslavl.