NHL Rumor Mill – June 13, 2020

NHL Rumor Mill – June 13, 2020

Check out the latest Oilers and Devils speculation in today’s NHL rumor mill.

UPDATE ON THE OILERS

SPORTSNET: In a recent mailbag segment, Mark Spector was asked if the Edmonton Oilers will talk contract extension anytime soon with Ryan Nugent-Hopkins‘ representatives. The 26-year-old center is due to become an unrestricted free agent next summer.

Edmonton Oilers forward Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (Photo via NHL Images).

Spector doesn’t expect Oilers general manager Ken Holland will make a contract offer until well into the 2020-21 season. He doesn’t see a great deal of pressure on either side right now but expects Nugent-Hopkins will re-sign. He thinks RNH could seek a salary comparable to teammate Leon Draisaitl‘s $8.5 million annual average value.

(NOT MARK) SPECTOR’S NOTE: There was some recent speculation about Nugent-Hopkins’ future in Edmonton. Considering his development into a solid two-way, top-six forward who can play center or wing, I expect they’ll re-sign him. $8.5 million annually is expensive, especially if the salary cap remains flat for 2021-22. Still, he’s an invaluable part of their core. I expect the two sides will work something out next year.

EDMONTON JOURNAL: David Staples cites a report out of Finland indicating Jesse Puljujarvi isn’t ruling out returning to the Oilers after this season. The 22-year-old winger opted to play in Finland this season while waiting for the Oilers to honor his trade request.

Never say never,” Puljujarvi reportedly said, adding that everything is possible and he hasn’t set any timeline for his decision. Staples feels the best way for the Oilers to get full value out of the winger is for him to return to the club in a meaningful role. He thinks he still has a chance to become a second-line winger.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Puljujarvi had by most accounts a decent season in Finland. Maybe it’s the reset he needs to get his NHL career back on track.

Holland was reportedly seeking at least a first-round pick as part of any deal involving Puljujarvi, who was selected fourth overall in the 2016 draft. The Oilers GM obviously didn’t get anything proposals he liked, and I doubt that’ll change after this season. If Puljujarvi wants to resume his NHL career, it looks like it’ll be in Edmonton.

SUGGESTED GOALIE TARGETS FOR THE DEVILS

THE ATHLETIC (subscription required) Corey Masisak recently examined several possible UFA goaltending options for the New Jersey Devils. They’ll need a suitable backup for Mackenzie Blackwood if they buy out Cory Schneider. If they keep Schneider, Masisak thinks they could look for someone to compete with him for the No. 2 spot.

Those that would require a significant investment include Anton Khudobin, Robin Lehner, Cam Talbot, Corey Crawford, and Thomas Greiss. Cheaper short-term options include Aaron Dell, Ryan Miller, Craig Anderson, Mike Smith, Brian Elliott, and Jimmy Howard, while Laurent Brossoit, Michael Hutchinson, and Louis Domingue would be among the low-risk candidates.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Khudobin or Greiss might be their best choices. Lehner will be looking for a long-term contract as a starter so that rules him out if the Devils see Blackwood as their No.1 goalie. Crawford is likely to re-sign with the Blackhawks while Talbot could stay in Calgary.

Miller, Anderson, Smith, Elliott, and Howard are all past their primes. Apart from their contracts, they probably wouldn’t be an improvement over Schneider. Neither would Brossoit, Hutchinson, or Domingue.










NHL Rumor Mill – June 5, 2020

NHL Rumor Mill – June 5, 2020

Should the Oilers re-sign Ryan Nugent-Hopkins? Which notable players should the Sabres retain? Check out the latest in today’s rumor mill.

SHOULD THE OILERS RE-SIGN NUGENT-HOPKINS ASAP?

THE ATHLETIC (subscription required): Allan Mitchell called upon the Edmonton Oilers to re-sign Ryan Nugent-Hopkins once this season is over. The 27-year-old forward is slated to become an unrestricted free agent next July.

Should the Edmonton Oilers attempt to re-sign Ryan Nugent-Hopkins in the off-season (Photo via NHL Images).

Mitchell cited Nugent-Hopkins’ improved offensive game skating on the wing alongside Leon Draisaitl and Kailer Yamamoto. A big offensive performance next season could make re-signing him more difficult. He suggested inking Nugent-Hopkins to a six-year, $45-million extension, which would equate to an annual average value of $7.5 million.

Mitchell believes the idea of moving Nugent-Hopkins at next season’s trade deadline is noxious to Oilers’ fans. He feels the Oilers will never get full value back by moving him as a playoff rental. He thinks there’s no one in the Oilers’ system to adequately replace the versatile forward.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Nugent-Hopkins frequently surfaced in trade rumors over the previous two seasons. His solid play this season and the Oilers’ improvement in the standings silenced that chatter for the most part. However, he could resurface in next season’s rumor mill he’s still unsigned as the trade deadline approaches.

As Mitchell observes, the salary cap will determine what the Oilers can afford to re-sign Nugent-Hopkins. Cap Friendly indicates they have over $48 million invested in nine players for 2021-22.

Some of that cap room will be taken up this year by re-signing or replacing such notables as Mike Smith, Ethan Bear, Andreas Athanasiou, Tyler Ennis, and Riley Sheahan. Yamamoto, Alex Chiasson, Adam Larsson, and Kris Russell will be among those due for new contracts in 2021.

Assuming the salary cap remains at $81.5 million for 2021-22, there should be enough to accommodate a $7.5 million AAV for Nugent-Hopkins. His performance next season will also be a determining factor.

LATEST ON THE SABRES

THE BUFFALO NEWS: Lance Lysowski and Mike Harrington weighed in on which notable players the Sabres should retain.

They were split on Rasmus Ristolainen, as Lysowski pointed to the regression in the blueliner’s play. Moving him could fetch some scoring help and free up cap room to sign a free-agent rearguard like Winnipeg’s Dylan DeMelo.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Ristolainen often comes up as a Sabres’ trade candidate. However, general manager Jason Botterill and head coach Ralph Krueger indicated last week they still consider the 25-year-old defenseman among their core players. If so, that suggests Ristolainen won’t be shopped.

Both believe Brandon Montour should be traded. The 26-year-old defenseman is a restricted free agent and they feel there’s no room for his style of play in Krueger’s system. He could bring the Sabres a second- or third-line forward.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Sabres have depth on the blueline but need more on their forward lines. If Ristolainen isn’t shopped, Montour could become the likely candidate. He’s a year away from UFA eligibility and has arbitration rights this year. Ristolainen, on the other hand, is under contract through 2021-22.

They also split on Jimmy Vesey, with Harrington believing he’s not the scoring winger he was projected to become.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I’m with Harrington on this one. A highly-touted college player, Vesey’s struggled in the NHL.

Both believe the Sabres should re-sign UFA winger Wayne Simmonds to a one-year deal, part ways with UFAs Zemgus Girgensons, Michael Frolik, and Vladimir Sobotka, and attempt to trade goalie Carter Hutton.










NHL Rumor Mill – April 3, 2020

NHL Rumor Mill – April 3, 2020

Could the Rangers pursue Ryan Nugent-Hopkins? What will the Blue Jackets do with their goalie tandem? Find out in today’s NHL rumor mill.

NUGENT-HOPKINS TO THE RANGERS?

NEW YORK POST: In a recent mailbag segment, a reader told Larry Brooks he’d heard lots of rumors about the Rangers trading for Edmonton Oilers center Ryan Nugent-Hopkins.

Brooks acknowledged the Rangers will attempt to bulk up at center for next season. They could be in the market for a second-line center depending on Ryan Strome’s contract status and Filip Chytil’s readiness. He feels they could defenseman Tony DeAngelo as trade bait.

Could the New York Rangers trade for Edmonton Oilers center Ryan Nugent-Hopkins? (Photo via NHL Images)

While Nugent-Hopkins would be a good fit, Brooks doesn’t believe the Rangers will pursue him. He pointed out RNH is only a year away from unrestricted free agency.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Rangers could do it if they get permission from the Oilers to speak to the Nugent-Hopkins camp about a contract extension. However, I think the Oilers prefer to retain RNH. If they were to shop him in the off-season (whenever that might be), it’ll be for a second-line winger, not a puck-moving defenseman.

COULD THE BLUE JACKETS TRADE KORPISALO OR MERZLIKINS?

THE ATHLETIC: (subscription required) Aaron Portzline reports the Columbus Blue Jackets believe they have two No.1 goaltenders in Joonas Korpisalo and Elvis Merzlikins. There’s an assumption they could trade one of them this summer. Both are restricted free agents with arbitration rights sitting a year away from unrestricted free agent status.

Portzline expects the Jackets won’t accept anything less than two years. It’s unlikely either goalie will accept anything longer than three or four years.

A free-agent goalie market featuring Washington’s Braden Holtby, Vegas’ Robin Lehner, and Chicago’s Corey Crawford could also affect efforts to trade Korpisalo or Merzlikins. Finding the right team and the right deal could also complicate matters.

The Jackets can afford to wait to move either goalie. They also won’t be under pressure to move one before next summer’s expansion draft, as Merzlikins is exempt.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Cap Friendly indicates the Jackets have over $68.2 million invested in 17 players, with Korpisalo, Merzlikins, and forwards Pierre-Luc Dubois and Josh Anderson as their notable free agents. They’re in a good position with their goaltenders.

If a club offered up a good young NHL center, they’ll probably act on it. Nevertheless, I think they’ll sign both netminders to two-year deals and see how things shake out.

 










What’s Next For The Edmonton Oilers?

What’s Next For The Edmonton Oilers?

 










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 8, 2019

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 8, 2019

Sebastian Aho has a five-point game, Sergei Bobrovsky picks up his first win over his former club, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines

NHL.COM: Carolina Hurricanes center Sebastian Aho had a five-point game (including a hat trick) to lead his club over the Minnesota Wild 6-2, snapping the latter’s 11-game points streak. Teuvo Teravainen collected three assists for the Hurricanes, who hold the final wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference.

Carolina Hurricanes center Sebastian Aho’s five-point performance powered his club to a 6-2 win over the Minnesota Wild (Photo via NHL Images).

Florida Panthers goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky made 33 saves in a 4-1 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets. It was Bobrovsky’s first game against his former club since signing with the Panthers last summer. Mike Hoffman, Aleksander Barkov, and Keith Yandle each had two points. With the win, the Panthers move into second place in the Atlantic Division.

The Predators spoiled P.K. Subban’s return to Nashville by defeating his New Jersey Devils 6-4. Subban, who was dealt to the Devils last summer, finished the game without a point and a plus-minus of minus-3. Nick Bonino, Rocco Grimaldi, and Dante Fabbro each had a goal and an assist for the Predators. Taylor Hall had a goal and an assist for the Devils.

The Colorado Avalanche picked up their sixth straight win by downing the Boston Bruins 4-1, snapping the latter’s points streak at 13 games. It was a costly victory for the Avs as defenseman Cale Makar and goaltender Philipp Grubauer left the game with injuries. Updates on their conditions won’t be revealed until Monday or Tuesday.

Steven Stamkos and Tyler Johnson each tallied two goals as the Tampa Bay Lightning crushed the San Jose Sharks 7-1. Alex Killorn had four points while Victor Hedman had three. Sharks goalie Martin Jones was pulled after giving up four goals on 21 shots.

Scott Laughton’s tie-breaking goal held up as the winner as the Philadelphia Flyers edged the Ottawa Senators 4-3. Senators winger Brady Tkachuk was fined over $2,400.00 for cross-checking Laughton, who threw a big hit on Senators center Jean-Gabriel Pageau, who subsequently dropped the gloves with Joel Farabee. Flyers winger Jakub Voracek fought Nick Paul after Travis Konecny left the game following a big hit by Senators defenseman Mark Borowiecki. Anthony Duclair scored twice for the Senators, who lost goaltender Craig Anderson to a lower-body injury in the first period.

The Vancouver Canucks blew a 5-3 lead but defeated the Buffalo Sabres 6-5 on an overtime goal by J.T. Miller. Josh Leivo and Antoine Roussel each tallied twice for the Canucks, who wore their vintage “Flying Skate” jerseys in this contest. Jack Eichel, Rasmus Risolainen, and Sam Reinhart each collected two points for the Sabres, who move into third in the Atlantic Division.

A four-goal first period powered the Toronto Maple Leafs to a 5-2 win over the St. Louis Blues. Auston Matthews and Zach Hyman each scored two goals as the Leafs chased Blues goalie Jordan Binnington after he gave up four goals on 11 shots.

Evgeni Malkin and Jake Guentzel each had a goal and two assists to lead the Pittsburgh Penguins to a 5-3 win over the Detroit Red Wings. Dylan Larkin and Robby Fabbri both had two points for the Wings, who are winless in 11 contests.

Ben Bishop kicked out 34 shots backstopping the Dallas Stars over the New York Islanders 3-1. Alex Radulov, a healthy scratch in the Stars’ previous game, tallied a goal and an assist.

Milan Lucic and Dillon Dube each had a goal and an assist as the Calgary Flames held off the Los Angeles Kings 4-3. The Flames are 5-0-1 in their last six games while the Kings’ winless skid on the road is now at 11 games. Anze Kopitar and Drew Doughty each had a goal and an assist for the Kings.

 










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 29, 2019

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 29, 2019

The Devils extended the Canadiens winless skid, Akim Aliu responds to Bill Peters’ letter of apology, Devan Dubnyk reveals his wife is dealing with medical issues, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: The New Jersey Devils defeated the Montreal Canadiens 6-4 to extend the latter’s winless skid to six games (0-4-2). Devils center Blake Coleman celebrated his birthday with two goals and two assists while teammate Mackenzie Blackwood made 44 saves.

New Jersey Devils center Blake Coleman netted four points in a 6-4 win over the slumping Montreal Canadiens (Photo via NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Canadiens’ defensive woes continue to be their undoing. Too many costly turnovers, too many odd-man rushes, too many defensive breakdowns. Habs goaltender Carey Price usually offsets those issues when he’s on his game, something he hasn’t been throughout this slump. I’ll have more on the Canadiens this morning in the Rumors section.

TSN.CA: Former NHL player Akim Aliu responded to Calgary Flames head coach Bill Peters letter of apology to the organization, calling it “misleading, insincere, and concerning.” Peters was responding to Aliu’s allegation claiming the Flames coach hurled racial slurs at him during their time with the AHL’s Rockford IceHogs in 2009-10.

Aliu and his lawyer have met with the NHL Players Association and he has accepted an invitation to meet with the league regarding the situation. Until then, he’s declined further comment on the issue.

CALGARY SUN: A growing number of hockey fans are wondering what’s taking so long for the Flames to determine Peters’ future. According to sports legal expert Eric Macramalla, the club is sticking to the proper game-plan for handling this issue. “An investigation is absolutely part of the employment law playbook,” said Macramalla.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Flames must conduct due diligence before deciding this matter. A hasty conclusion could prove costly. As Macramalla points out, if they fire Peters based on an allegation and it turns out to be false, he could file a multi-million dollar defamation lawsuit against the team.

TWINCITIES.COM: Minnesota Wild goaltender Devan Dubnyk returned to practice yesterday after spending a week away with his ailing wife, Jennifer. Dubnyk didn’t elaborate on her condition, saying she was dealing with serious medical issues. Doctors hope to provide clarity on her condition after Thanksgiving. She is currently resting at home.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Here’s hoping the doctors quickly find a solution and she makes a speedy recovery.

SPORTSNET: Edmonton Oilers center Ryan Nugent-Hopkins is sidelined for this weekend following a procedure on his hand. Teammate Alex Chiasson is in concussion protocol following a clean hit by Colorado Avalanche defenseman Ryan Graves during Wednesday’s game between the two clubs.

CBS SPORTS: Ottawa Senators goaltender Craig Anderson is on injured reserve with an upper-body injury. The earliest he could return to the lineup is Tuesday.

CBC NEWS: NHL free-agent defenseman Adam McQuaid is still recovering from head and neck injuries. He’s uncertain if he’s coming to the end of his playing career, noting he’s been in chronic pain for some time. McQuaid attributed his injuries to his style of play but he has no regrets. “You could say that it shortened my career or you could say that my career wouldn’t even have been as long as it was if I didn’t play the way I did,” he said.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: McQuaid’s doing the right thing putting his health first. Once he’s fully recovered, he’ll have to decide if he’ll continue his playing career. It’s easy for observers to advocate retirement, but it’s a difficult decision for a player to leave the only career they’ve known.