NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 15, 2020

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 15, 2020

What it might cost the Oilers to re-sign Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Kasperi Kapanen’s role with the Penguins and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NBC SPORTS: Adam Gretz examined how much it might cost the Edmonton Oilers to re-sign Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. The 27-year-old center/winger is slated to become an unrestricted free agent next summer. He’s averaged 29 goals and 69 points per 82 games over the last three seasons. Gretz suggests a $7 million annual average value would be within reason for the Oilers if they spend to the cap in 2021-22.

How much will it cost the Edmonton Oilers to re-sign Ryan Nugent-Hopkins? (NHL Images)

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That would be a $1 million raise over Nugent-Hopkins’ current annual cap hit. The short-term economic uncertainty could make him receptive to that pay bump on a long-term deal.

EDMONTON JOURNAL: Speaking of the Oilers, Kurt Leavins reports there’s nothing new regarding Ethan Bear’s contract talks. That has less to do with the 23-year-old defenseman and more to do with the status of Oscar Klefbom and his LTIR status.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: As per Cap Friendly, the Oilers are over $242K above the $81.5 million cap for 2020-21. Klefbom could require season-ending shoulder surgery, allowing the Oilers to spend over the cap by the equivalent of his $4.167 million AAV if he’s placed on long-term injury reserve. The Oilers will likely sign Bear to an affordable short-term bridge deal.

TRIBLIVE.COM: Pittsburgh Penguins coach Mike Sullivan confirmed Kasperi Kapanen will skate on the club’s top line alongside Sidney Crosby and Jake Guentzel. The Penguins acquired Kapanen from the Toronto Maple Leafs in August. Sullivan cited Kapanen’s speed that would make him complimentary to Crosby and Guentzel.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Sullivan also noted Kapanen tallied 20 goals in 2018-19 as a secondary scorer with the Leafs. He’ll have the opportunity to tally much more if he clicks with his new all-star linemates.

NBC SPORTS BAY AREA: San Jose Sharks defenseman Mario Ferraro said the departure of Joe Thornton hasn’t fully sunk in yet. After 15 seasons with the Sharks, Thornton recently signed a one-year contract with the Maple Leafs. Ferraro believes his teammates are really going to miss the big center when they return for training camp.

THE SCORE: The Tampa Bay Lightning are the first team to have their names engraved on the Stanley Cup when each member of the club gets their day with the trophy.

THE PROVINCE: Two Vancouver Canucks fans are leading a campaign to have Gino Odjick become a member of the club’s Ring of Honour. Odjick, a popular enforcer with the Canucks from 1990-91 to 1997-98, is battling cardiac amyloidosis.










NHL Rumor Mill – November 11, 2020

NHL Rumor Mill – November 11, 2020

A look at next year’s unrestricted free agent class in today’s NHL rumor mill.

THE SCORE: Sean O’Leary recently previewed the NHL’s 2021 unrestricted free agent class.

Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin (NHL Images).

The notable forwards include Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin, Anaheim Ducks captain Ryan Getzlaf, Buffalo Sabres winger Taylor Hall, Edmonton Oilers forward Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Colorado Avalanche captain Gabriel Landeskog, St. Louis Blues winger Jaden Schwartz, Montreal Canadiens winger Tomas Tatar, Boston Bruins center David Krejci, and Avalanche winger Brandon Saad.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Ovechkin’s already signaled his intent to re-sign with the Capitals. Unless Getzlaf feels he’d like one more shot at a Stanley Cup run, I can see him staying with the Ducks on a short-term deal. The Oilers and Nugent-Hopkins are discussing a long-term contract extension. I doubt the Avalanche part ways with Landeskog and I don’t see the Blues letting Schwartz depart after losing Alex Pietrangelo to free agency this year.

Hall could stay with the Sabres if he develops strong chemistry with Jack Eichel and the club significantly improves. Otherwise, he’ll test the market again. Tatar’s inconsistency means the coming season is likely his last in Montreal. The Bruins could let Krejci go unless he accepts a significant pay cut. Saad could be a one-year rental unless the Avs fail to re-sign Landeskog.

Noteworthy defensemen on O’Leary’s list include the Carolina Hurricanes’ Dougie Hamilton, the Columbus Blue Jackets’ David Savard, the Oilers’ Adam Larsson, and the Vegas Golden Knights’ Alec Martinez.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: All four could end up hitting the market next summer. Cap constraints could make it difficult for Hamilton, Larsson and Martinez to remain with their current clubs. Savard will turn 31 next October and the Jackets could be reluctant to invest too much in him for too long.

The Bruins’ Tuukka Rask, Toronto Maple Leafs’ Frederik Andersen, the Blues’ Jordan Binnington, and the Avalanche’s Philipp Grubauer are among next year’s best UFA goaltenders.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I can see the Bruins re-signing Rask to a short-term deal provided he doesn’t opt for retirement at the end of 2020-21. Andersen is likely a goner after next season.

The Blues parted ways with Jake Allen this year by trading him to the Montreal Canadiens. Things will really have to go sideways for them to let Binnington walk next summer. Grubauer’s future in Colorado could depend upon his performance in the coming season, especially during the playoffs.










NHL Rumor Mill – October 20, 2020

NHL Rumor Mill – October 20, 2020

The latest on Kyle Palmieri, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Erik Haula in today’s NHL rumor mill.

THE ATHLETIC: Pierre LeBrun reports the New Jersey Devils haven’t been shopping winger Kyle Palmieri, who’s a year away from unrestricted free agent eligibility. His agent said there have only been preliminary contact discussions.

New Jersey Devils winger Kyle Palmieri (NHL Images).

LeBrun believes Palmieri wants to sign a contract extension. He’s entering the final season of a four-year deal with a $4.65-million cap hit. Brendan Gallagher’s new contract with the Montreal Canadiens (six years, $6.5 million AAV) could be of interest.

If an extension cannot be worked out, LeBrun speculates Palmieri could be moved by next season’s trade deadline.

Corey Masisak speculates Palmieri might’ve expected to receive a deal comparable to Philadelphia’s James van Riemsdyk (five years, $35 million) before the pandemic. That seems less likely now, as Masisak pointed to Evgenii Dadonov getting a three-year, $15 million deal with the Ottawa Senators and Tyler Toffoli inking a four-year, $17 million contract with the Canadiens.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Palmieri wants to stay with the Devils and I believe they want to keep him. They could offer up a four-year deal worth around $5.5 million per season. He might prefer a shorter-term in hopes of a more lucrative deal in a year or two with the market being what it is, or perhaps a long-term term at around $5 million annually.

EDMONTON JOURNAL: Kurt Leavins recently reported there are “lots of indications” the Oilers are pursuing a contract extension for Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. He believes they have plenty of room to do this properly even if the cap doesn’t go up for 2021-22.

Leavins also suggests the Oilers consider signing former Detroit Red Wings defenseman Madison Bowey to add a veteran right-side rearguard to their blue line. He argues the Oilers could find sufficient cap space to sign Bowey and re-sign Ethan Bear by placing Oscar Klefbom on long-term injury reserve.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Cap Friendly indicates the Oilers have $51.9 million invested in 11 players for 2021-22. Re-signing Nugent-Hopkins could cost $7.5 million annually. Given the ongoing economic uncertainty, perhaps they could convince him to accept a slight raise over his current $6 million per season (say, $6.5 million?) for the security of a long-term extension.

THE ATHLETIC: LeBrun reported agent Jay Grossman, who represents free-agent center Erik Haula, said he’s spoken with 10-12 teams that have a legitimate interest in his client. Haula’s coming off a three-year deal worth $2.75 million annually. He also has an injury history but Grossman said he’s fully healthy now.

LeBrun believes it’s probably best for Haula to be patient and see if those interested clubs that currently can’t sign him perhaps make a trade that frees up some cap space. He wondered if the Vegas Golden Knights might be willing to reach out to Haula if they can clear some cap room.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Haula will need to be very patient. It appears most teams now are hoping to out-wait players like him in hope of signing them to bargain contracts.










NHL Rumor Mill – October 3, 2020

NHL Rumor Mill – October 3, 2020

The latest on Patrik Laine, the Sharks and Wild are working on a trade involving Devan Dubnyk, plus the latest on the Oilers and Canadiens in today’s NHL rumor mill.

JETS GM ACKNOWLEDGED LAINE COULD BE TRADED

NHL.COM: Tim Campbell reports Winnipeg Jets general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff acknowledged Patrik Laine could be traded when asked about the recent trade rumors swirling about the 22-year-old winger. “So we’re looking at all our options, including potentially trading different players,” said Cheveldayoff.

Winnipeg Jets winger Patrik Laine (NHL Images).

The Jets GM added there are some holes to fill in his roster, due in part to the uncertainty over center Bryan Little’s injury status and defenseman Dustin Byfuglien’s departure. Their defense corps was further depleted last summer when Jacob Trouba was traded to the New York Rangers and Tyler Myers and Ben Chiarot departed via free agency.

OTTAWA SUN: Bruce Garrioch reports there will be no shortage of suitors for Laine if the Jets decide to trade him. The Columbus Blue Jackets and Montreal Canadiens are two clubs in need of a scoring forward, but Garrioch speculates the asking price could be a top defenseman or a second-line center plus a prospect and a pick. Other interested clubs could include the Boston Bruins, Buffalo Sabres, Detroit Red Wings, New York Rangers, Minnesota Wild and Florida Panthers.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Laine would be a very attractive trade chip for the Jets, but just because they could trade him doesn’t mean they will. Their asking price could be more than most are willing to pay.

For example, I don’t see the Blue Jackets giving up Seth Jones or Zach Werenski, while the Canadiens could be reluctant to part with promising Nick Suzuki. The Habs could offer up Max Domi but the Jets will probably want a lot more in the package.

WILD COULD SHIP DUBNYK TO THE SHARKS

NBC SPORTS BAY AREA: Ali Thanawalla cites TSN’s Darren Dreger reporting of trade discussions between the San Jose Sharks and Minnesota Wild regarding Wild goaltender Devan Dubnyk. Dreger called the talks “promising” but not done. Pierre LeBrun added it could take a few days before a deal is done.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Athletic’s Michael Russo tweeted Wild winger Ryan Donato could also be part of this proposed deal. No indication yet what would be heading the Wild’s way.

It’ll be interesting to see how this deal could shake out. Dubnyk and Donato carry a combined annual average value of $6.23 million for 2020-21. With the Sharks already having $67.3 million invested in 14 players, they could insist on the Wild taking a player in return or retaining some of that cap hit.

LATEST OILERS SPECULATION

EDMONTON JOURNAL: Jim Matheson wondered about what it would cost the Oilers to re-sign Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. The 26-year-old forward is a year away from unrestricted free-agent eligibility and is earning $6 million per season on his current contract. Matheson speculates it could be a five- or six-year contract. The Oilers could offer up $6.5 million annually using St. Louis Blues forward Brayden Schenn as a comparable, but Nugent-Hopkins’ agent could seek something similar to the $8 million annually being earned by Matt Duchene of the Nashville Predators.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I’m guessing $7 million per season on a six-year deal for Nugent-Hopkins. What say you, Oilers fans? Too much? Not enough? Just right?

Matheson notes the Oilers will have too many right-wingers if Jesse Puljujarvi returns. He’ll join Kailer Yamamoto and Josh Archibald, who Matheson believes aren’t going anywhere. The others include Zach Kassian, Alex Chiasson and James Neal. “Something’s got to give there,” he said.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: And it could be Kassian, Chiasson or Neal, though the latter’s $5.75-million cap hit is tough to move.

David Staples, meanwhile, notes there’s plenty of talk linking the Oilers to Toronto Maple Leafs defenseman Tyson Barrie. Slated to become a UFA on Oct. 9, the puck-moving Barrie struggled last season with the Leafs. Staples feels he would be a more affordable acquisition than trying to trade for Arizona Coyotes blueliner Oliver Ekman-Larsson.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Agreed. Ekman-Larsson carries an $8.25-million annual average value for seven more years. The Oilers would also have to give up some assets, including a good young player or two, to pry him away from the Coyotes if he’s willing to waive his no-movement clause.

Barrie, on the other hand, will be more affordable as a UFA signing and could regain his offensive form with the Oilers. We’ll find out by the end of next week if he ends up in Edmonton or elsewhere.

UPDATE ON THE CANADIENS

THE SCORE: Brandon Maron cited The Athletic recently reporting Montreal Canadiens GM Marc Bergevin is willing to make his first-round pick (16th overall) in the upcoming draft available for the right price. He indicated he’d be interested in a player who can help the Canadiens right away with more than a year remaining on his contract. TSN’s Pierre LeBrun reports Bergevin seeks a top-six forward.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Don’t expect Bergevin to get into the bidding for Winnipeg’s Patrik Laine. In a recent interview, TVA Sports reported the Habs GM said it would take emptying his team to acquire a player of that caliber, sending them sideways or backward. He also doesn’t intend to overpay for a big-ticket free agent like Taylor Hall. It sounds like he could target clubs looking to shed salary before next season.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 2, 2020

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 2, 2020

The latest on Steven Stamkos, Brendan Gallagher, Andrei Svechnikov and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

Tampa Bay Lightning captain Steven Stamkos (NHL Images).

  SPORTSNET: Tampa Bay Lightning general manager Julien BriseBois said team captain Steven Stamkos was dealing with a compensation injury triggered by his rehab from sports hernia surgery in March. Stamkos is expected to be fully recovered in time for the start of next season.

TORONTO SUN: Speaking of the Lightning, they’re facing criticism for holding a public parade in downtown Tampa where fans were packed shoulder-to-shoulder cheering for their champions. Some of the players allowed several fans to drink from the Stanley Cup. Winger Alex Killorn also slapped the hands of fans as he walked along a barricade.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: TSN reports the NHL reached out to the Lightning questioning some of that behavior. We don’t know if the league intends to discipline the club or any individual players. Here’s hoping no one contracted or spread COVID-19 during the celebrations.

RDS.CA: Brendan Gallagher could soon become the Montreal Canadiens’ highest-paid forward. General manager Marc Bergevin said preliminary contract talks have started and he’s confident a new deal can be worked out soon. He said he’d like to keep Gallagher with the Habs for the rest of his NHL playing career and intends to make him the club’s best-paid forward.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: According to Cap Friendly, Gallagher’s current annual average salary if $3.75 million. Jonathan Drouin’s $5.5 million AAV is the highest among the Canadiens’ forwards. Gallagher has a year remaining on his current contract. Depending on the length of his next deal, his annual cap hit could be over $6 million.

THE SCORE: cites TSN’s Frank Seravalli reporting the Edmonton Oilers are making progress on a long-term contract extension with forward Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. He’s entering the final season of a seven-year, $42-million contract. A deal isn’t imminent but is reportedly heading in the right direction.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’ll be interesting to see what Nugent-Hopkins’ next contract looks like. It could cost the Oilers over $7 million annually to keep him in the fold.

SPORTSNET: Carolina Hurricanes GM Don Waddell said his club is in contract talks with winger Andrei Svechnikov, who has a year remaining on his entry-level deal.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Svechnikov and linemate Sebastian Aho provide the Hurricanes with one of the NHL’s best one-two scoring punches. Aho is earning over $8.45 million annually and Svechnikov could seek around $7 million per season on his next contract.

DETROIT FREE PRESS: Red Wings GM Steve Yzerman confirmed veteran goaltender Jimmy Howard won’t be back. He intends to sign a replacement via free agency.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: No surprise about Howard. Yzerman will find plenty of options in this year’s UFA market. The possibilities could include Vegas’ Robin Lehner, Washington’s Braden Holtby, Vancouver’s Jacob Markstrom, now-former Ranger Henrik Lundqvist, Chicago’s Corey Crawford, Dallas’ Anton Khudobin, and Calgary’s Cam Talbot. He might have to overpay for one of them, given the Wings’ status as a rebuilding team.

STARTRIBUNE.COM: The Minnesota Wild named Michael Murray as the assistant to general manager Bill Guerin.

AZCENTRAL.COM: The Arizona Coyotes named Darryl Plandowski as their new director of amateur scouting.

 










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.