NHL Rumor Mill – March 25, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – March 25, 2022

What could the future hold for Patrick Kane, Jonathan Toews and Dylan Strome? Could the Sharks trade a goaltender in the offseason? Read on for the latest in today’s NHL rumor mill.

WHAT NEXT FOR THE BLACKHAWKS?

THE ATHLETIC: Pierre LeBrun recently reported agent Pat Brisson, who represents Patrick Kane, Jonathan Toews and Seth Jones, would meet this week with Chicago Blackhawks general manager Kyle Davidson. It’s felt Brisson will want to discuss his clients’ futures and where they fit into the Blackhawks offseason plans. LeBrun believes a number of teams would be drooling over the possibility of Kane becoming available this summer.

Chicago Blackhawks winger Patrick Kane (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Davidson recently indicated he’ll keep an open dialogue with Kane and Toews regarding his rebuilding plans. Kane didn’t want to discuss his future with the media by saying that’s a topic for discussion in the summer. Toews, meanwhile, admitted he’s mused about the possibility of playing for another club but insisted he still enjoys living and playing in Chicago. I expect Jones remains a big part of the Blackhawks’ plans as his new eight-year contract kicks in next season.

Kane and Toews are both signed through next season with identical $10.5 million cap hits and full no-movement clauses. That gives them full control over their short-term futures while their respective cap hits would be difficult to move even in the offseason.

NBC SPORTS CHICAGO/THE ATHLETIC: Charlie Roumeliotis and Scott Powers wondered what the future holds for Dylan Strome. The 25-year-old Blackhawks forward was a fixture in the rumor mill but wasn’t moved by the trade deadline. His performance improved over the second half of the season but it remains to be seen if that’ll translate into a new contract for the pending restricted free agent.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: A solid finish on Strome’s part could improve his value in the offseason trade market or it could convince Davidson to sign him to a one-year deal and see how next season unfolds.

SHARKS COULD TRADE A GOALIE THIS SUMMER

THE ATHLETIC: Corey Masisak speculates the San Jose Sharks’ addition of goaltender Kaapo Kahkonen from the Minnesota Wild at the trade deadline could result in James Reimer getting shopped in the offseason. Reimer and Adin Hill are signed through next season while Kahkonen is a restricted free agent. Management doesn’t intend to carry three netminders next season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Vegas Hockey Now’s Sheng Peng cited TSN’s Pierre LeBrun indicating the Sharks were getting some calls about Reimer at the trade deadline. His solid performance this season could draw attention this summer from teams that sought goaltending depth this season. The Edmonton Oilers, New Jersey Devils and Washington Capitals could be among the suitors.

Peng also reported the Sharks were dangling Matt Nieto and Nick Bonino at the trade deadline. Both forwards have one season remaining on their contracts Perhaps management will revisit efforts to move them during the summer.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 22, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 22, 2021

The Lightning thump the Islanders to take a 3-2 lead in their semifinal series, updates on the Golden Knights and Canadiens, 18 players exempt from the expansion draft, the latest notable contract signings and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: The Tampa Bay Lightning are one game away from returning to the Stanley Cup Final after crushing the New York Islanders 8-0 in Game 5 of their semifinal series. Steven Stamkos and Alex Killorn each scored twice, Nikita Kucherov collected three assists, Brayden Point scored to extend his goals streak to eight games, and Andrei Vasilevskiy turned in a 21-save shutout.

Tampa Bay Lightning captain Steven Stamkos (NHL Images).

Islanders center Mathew Barzal could face supplemental discipline from the NHL department of player safety after receiving a five-minute major and game misconduct for cross-checking Lightning defenseman Jan Rutta, who was shaken up and played just one shift in the third period.

The Lightning holds a 3-2 series lead and can wrap up the series in Game 6 Wednesday on Long Island.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That was the Lightning’s most dominating performance of these playoffs. It was also the Islanders’ worst effort of the postseason. The Bolts jumped from the gate early with three first-period goals, chasing Isles starter Semyon Varlamov from the net. Backup Ilya Sorokin didn’t fare any better, allowing five goals on 26 shots.

This loss isn’t all on the Isles goaltenders. Their teammates seemed caught off guard by the Lightning’s strong start and never really mounted much of a response.

Barzal’s frustration boiled over when he crosschecked Rutta. It could prove more costly to the Isles in Game 6 if his actions result in suspension.

LAS VEGAS SUN: The Vegas Golden Knights’ top forwards are struggling to score in their semifinal series with the Montreal Canadiens. Nicolas Roy has two goals, Mattias Janmark one, and that’s it for their scoring forwards. Their defensemen have accounted for the bulk of their offense.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Canadiens have done a good job thus far bottling up Vegas’ top scorers. They’ll have another opportunity to find a way to thwart the Habs’ tight-checking system in Game 5 tonight in Las Vegas.

TSN: Canadiens winger Brendan Gallagher believes the longer this series goes the more pressure falls on the heavily favored Golden Knights. “As this series goes on, we get more and more comfortable in these situations and we’re looking forward to it. We’ve shortened this series to a best-of-three,” said Gallagher.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Tonight’s game could determine the direction of this series. The winner will have a chance to close it out in Game 6 on Thursday in Montreal.

SPORTSNET: Mark Spector weighs in on the poor quality of officiating in this year’s Stanley Cup playoffs.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Mark (no relation) isn’t the only pundit raising questions about the questionable calls and missed penalties in every series thus far. We can expect this issue to be raised by reporters during NHL commissioner Gary Bettman’s annual postseason press conference prior to Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final.

THE PROVINCE: Ben Kuzma expressed concern over the recent positive COVID-19 tests of Canadiens head coach Dominique Ducharme and Golden Knights general manager Kelly McCrimmon. He suspects they contracted the coronavirus in Las Vegas, where transmission rates are six times higher than in Quebec as health guidelines in Vegas have gone from relaxed to non-existent.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Regardless of where Ducharme and McCrimmon were infected with COVID-19, the league and the two clubs must ensure their health protocols for this series remain strictly enforced. An outbreak among the players could put their health at risk and derail their series.

CAP FRIENDLY: 18 NHL players are exempt from next month’s expansion draft due to injury or career-ending illness. They include Anaheim’s Ryan Kesler, Arizona’s Marian Hossa, Detroit’s Henrik Zetterberg, Tampa Bay’s Marian Gaborik and Washington’s Henrik Lundqvist.

NBC SPORTS BAY AREA: The San Jose Sharks re-signed forward Matt Nieto to a two-year, $1.7 million contract.

THE DALLAS MORNING NEWS: The Stars re-signed forward Blake Comeau to a one-year, $1 million contract.

ESPN.COM: J.T. Brown has retired from professional hockey to join the expansion Seattle Kraken as a television analyst. He played seven NHL seasons with the Tampa Bay Lightning, Anaheim Ducks and Minnesota Wild from 2011-12 to 2018-19, finishing with 72 points in 365 games.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Best wishes to Brown in his broadcasting career.

NHL.COM: Minnesota Wild assistant general manager Tom Kurvers passed away Monday from lung cancer at age 58. He was diagnosed in 2019 despite being a non-smoker.

Kurvers spent 11 NHL seasons as a defenseman with the Montreal Canadiens, Buffalo Sabres, New Jersey Devils, Toronto Maple Leafs, Vancouver Canucks, New York Islanders and Anaheim Ducks from 1984-85 to 1994-95, finishing with 421 points in 659 games.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: My condolences to Kurvers’ family, friends, former teammates and associates, and the Wild organization.