NHL Rumor Mill – May 10, 2019

NHL Rumor Mill – May 10, 2019

Latest on P.K. Subban and Kyle Turris plus a look ahead for the Avalanche in today’s NHL rumor mill. 

LATEST PREDATORS SPECULATION

THE ATHLETIC: If the Nashville Predators were to trade P.K. Subban, Adam Vingan spoke with several of his colleagues to inquire what type of return he might fetch. They examined the Toronto Maple Leafs, Vancouver Canucks, Philadelphia Flyers, Edmonton Oilers, New Jersey Devils, and Pittsburgh Penguins as possible trade partners. 

John Glennon wondered what the Predators will do with center Kyle Turris this summer. Injuries limited him to 23 points in 55 games. His contract ($6 million annually through 2023-24) will be difficult to trade unless the Predators absorb part of it and package him with a promising young player. A contract buyout would mean the Predators would carry an annual cap hit of $2 million per season for the next 10 years. 

THE TENNESSEAN: Paul Skrbina noted Columbus Blue Jackets center Matt Duchene recently traveled to Nashville with several of his teammates. Duchene is slated to become an unrestricted free agent on July 1. The Predators lacked scoring punch this season and could use a top-six forward. Predators general manager David Poile hinted at offseason changes following his club’s first-round playoff elimination. 

Trade speculation continues to swirl around Nashville Predators defenseman P.K. Subban (Photo via NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Vingan and his colleagues were spitballing about what those clubs might offer up for Subban. They don’t believe the Leafs would part with Mitch Marner or the Flyers with Jakub Voracek. They don’t see the Canucks giving up any of their good young forwards. They also feel the Penguins would only go after Subban if they trade Kris Letang, which seems unlikely.

I don’t see Turris drawing much interest in the trade market this summer. Wouldn’t surprise me if Poile stands pat and hopes the center regains his form next season.

Cap Friendly indicates the Predators have over $76 million invested in 22 players. They can’t afford a UFA like Duchene unless they shed a big contract like Subban’s. 

WHAT NEXT FOR THE AVALANCHE?

ESPN: Emily Kaplan and Chris Peters believe re-signing Mikko Rantanen and bolstering their goaltending depth will be among the offseason priorities for the Colorado Avalanche. They have plenty of salary-cap room to re-sign Rantanen, who could become the Avs’ highest-paid player.

It’s possible they could re-sign pending UFA Semyon Varlamov to a short-term deal but he’d have to accept a pay cut and a reduced role. They also advocate the ongoing incorporation of talented youth (such as Cale Makar) into their roster. 

THE HOCKEY NEWS: Steven Ellis believes GM Joe Sakic’s youth movement is paying dividends. With their salary-cap space, Sakic could test the free-agent waters if he wishes to bring in a second-line scorer. Ellis suggested Micheal Ferland or Gustav Nyquist as free-agent options. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Remember when we all chided Sakic as an incompetent general manager two years ago? Joke’s on us as the Avalanche continue to improve with their young talent. He doesn’t have to make any major acquisitions this summer if he doesn’t want to. 

With over $46.8 million invested in 13 players, they have more than enough to re-sign Rantanen to a big raise (I’m guessing $9 million per season). Some might question paying him more than Nathan MacKinnon but that’s just the nature of the market now. The rising cap means good young players get more than a comparable did three years ago. MacKinnon’s $6.3 million salary-cap hit was considered a huge investment in 2016. Now, it looks like a bargain.

After re-signing Rantanen, Sakic will have enough to re-sign or replace UFAs like Varlamov, Colin Wilson, and Derick Brassard, as well as other RFAs like Alex Kerfoot, J.T. Compher, and Nikita Zadorov.

Provided ownership is willing to spend toward the projected salary cap of $83 million, there’s room to add a secondary scorer via free agency. I expect Sakic will explore the trade and UFA markets for an affordable second-line option. 










Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – March 31, 2019

Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – March 31, 2019

Check out the latest on the Canucks and Oilers in the Sunday NHL rumor roundup. 

WHAT NEXT FOR THE CANUCKS?

ESPN.COM: Greg Wyshynski and Chris Peters believe the Vancouver Canucks must invest in secondary scoring and bolster the right side of their blueline this summer. There’s talk they could trade for a young right-handed defenseman but it remains to be seen who they’ll pursue and how much it’ll cost. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Canucks’ defense is indeed quite thin on the right side, which is currently filled by Alex Biega, Troy Stecher and Luke Schenn. A skilled young top-four rearguard is desperately needed there but finding one won’t be easy via trade or free agency.

Ottawa Senators defenseman Cody Ceci was a frequent fixture in the rumor mill leading up to the trade deadline but the questions about his play that sparked those rumors won’t help the Canucks. Salary-cap constraints could force the Winnipeg Jets to trade Jacob Trouba or let Tyler Myers depart via free agency but there’s no certainty either guy will want to go to a rebuilding club. Buffalo Sabres blueliner Rasmus Ristolainen has also popped up in recent media trade chatter but it could cost the Canucks one of their good young forwards to get him. 

THE ATHLETIC (subscription required): Harman Dayal examines the performance of Canucks defenseman Ben Hutton, who’s coming off a two-year, $5.6-million contract and will be a restricted free agent with arbitration rights. Dayal notes Hutton’s agent could seek a new deal worth in the range of $4 million per season because he’s been deployed as a top-pairing rearguard. Despite the positive buzz over Hutton’s play this season, Dayal concludes he’s actually struggling as a top-four defenseman and recommends the Canucks try to move Hutton while his trade value is high.

Should the Canucks trade Ben Hutton this summer? (Photo via NHL Images)

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The question is, does Canucks general manager Jim Benning also believe Hutton lacks the stuff to become a reliable top-four defenseman? If it appears the Hutton camp will seek more than the Canucks are willing to pay this summer, perhaps that’ll prompt Benning to shop him. 

VANCOUVER SUN: Patrick Johnston wonders if Thatcher Demko is the Canucks goalie of the future or if he’ll better serve the club as a trade chip. Given Jacob Markstrom‘s emergence as a reliable starting goalie this season and with promising Mike DiPietro waiting in the wings, Demko could fetch a solid return. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Canucks don’t have to rush into a decision regarding their goaltending this summer. Markstrom is signed through 2019-20, Demko will be an affordable re-signing coming out of his entry-level contract and DiPietro could use at least one season in the minors. 

SPORTSNET (via KUKLA’S KORNER): Elliotte Friedman reports it sounds like there’s some discussion between the Canucks and defenseman Luke Schenn regarding a one-year contract extension. Schenn has played well for the Canucks since being acquired from the Anaheim Ducks in mid-January. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Schenn is on a one-year, $800K contract so he won’t be expensive to retain. 

LATEST OILERS SPECULATION

THE ATHLETIC (subscription required): Allen Mitchell recently examined some affordable options for the Edmonton Oilers to bolster their roster this summer. His proposed goalie targets are Carolina’s Petr Mrazek, Ottawa’s Anders Nilsson or Philadelphia’s Brian Elliott. San Jose’s Gustav Nyquist, Carolina’s Micheal Ferland, Vegas’ Brandon Pirri and the Islanders (and former Oiler) Jordan Eberle are among his suggested forward choices. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: With over $71.7 million invested in 16 players for 2019-20, the Oilers won’t have much room if the cap is set for $83 million as projected. Unless they can shed salary they’ll have little choice but to pursue affordable depth via trades or free agency.

Elliott is more consistent than Mrazek and Nilsson but his age (33) and injury history are a concern. Not sure how keen Eberle would be to return to Edmonton. Ferland is a solid physical presence but his spate of injuries this season sends up warning flags plus he reportedly seeks Tom Wilson money. Nyquist will likely cost over $5 million annually to sign plus he could prefer signing with a contender. Ultimately, the Oilers could be going into the bargain bin for guys like Pirri this summer. 

EDMONTON JOURNAL: David Staples believes the Oilers should resist trading or buying out defenseman Andrej Sekera. He points out Sekera’s improvement since returning to action from injury this season and also notes the Oilers need his puck-moving skills. Sekera also has two years left on his deal with a $5.5 million AAV, a modified no-trade clause starting July 1, and has suffered two serious injuries in as many seasons, which would hamper the Oilers efforts to trade him and would also hurt his value in the trade market.  

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I agree with Staples. Moving Sekera would free up invaluable cap room but their defense is better when he’s healthy and in the lineup. Giving the hindrance of his contract and injury history, the Oilers probably won’t find many takers in the trade market. 










Reviewing The Notable Deals of the 2019 NHL Trade Deadline

Reviewing The Notable Deals of the 2019 NHL Trade Deadline

The 2019 NHL Trade Deadline is now history. Here’s my take on some of today’s noteworthy deals

Mark Stone to the Vegas Golden Knights – Vegas GM George McPhee failed to land pry Erik Karlsson away from the Ottawa Senators at last year’s deadline but had better luck with another Sens star. Stone, 26, is among the league’s best two-way forwards and should be a fine addition to the Golden Knights lineup. He’s no rental player, as he’s reportedly signing an eight-year contract extension worth $9.5-million annually. 

Minnesota Wild trade Mikael Granlund to the Nashville Predators for Kevin Fiala. Player-for-player swaps tend to be rare on deadline day but this one between the Wild and Predators ranked among this year’s notable moves. The Preds get themselves a skilled playmaking winger in the 26-year-old Granlund, who’s on pace to reach 60 points for the third straight year and is signed through 2019-20 with a $5.75-million annual salary-cap hit. He’ll be an upgrade over the 22-year-old Fiala, who has plenty of offensive ability but has struggled to reach his full potential. 

Wayne Simmonds to the Nashville Predators. Simmonds, 30, hasn’t been the same since undergoing offseason pelvic surgery, but he remains a well-respected physical two-way winger. Unlike Granlund, he’s likely a rental player as he’s slated to become an unrestricted free agent in July. Despite the decline in his production this season, he should give the Predators some much-needed skill and grit on the right side. By acquiring Simmonds and Granlund, Predators GM David Poile is indicating he’s all-in for another Stanley Cup Final run. As for the Philadelphia Flyers, Simmonds’ former team, they get a young checking-line forward in Ryan Hartman along with a draft pick. In time, perhaps Hartman can blossom into a reliable two-way winger 

Kevin Hayes to the Winnipeg Jets – For the second straight year, the Jets bring in a center. Hayes isn’t as skilled as Paul Stastny (last season’s addition) but he’s got good size (6’5″, 217 pounds), solid offensive abilities and can play all three forward positions. That gives the Jets some flexibility should they need to shift second- or third-line players around. The Rangers, in addition to getting two draft picks for Hayes, also received Brendan Lemieux, who should develop into a steady third-line forward. 

Gustav Nyquist to the San Jose Sharks – The Sharks’ powerful offense just got more bite with Nyquist. He’s on pace for a career-best 60-point season. Given his ability to play center or wing, he can slot in on the Sharks’ second or third line. A solid rental addition who could bolster the Sharks’ Cup hopes. 

Marcus Johansson to the Boston Bruins GM Don Sweeney was said to be kicking tires on Mark Stone and Wayne Simmonds but found the asking prices too steep. Johansson, acquired at the cost of a 2019 second-rounder and a fourth in 2020, was more palatable. His recent concussion history makes him a bit of a gamble but when he’s healthy he’s a crafty offensive forward who can play center or on the wing. Johansson should provide a boost to the Bruins’ secondary scoring over the remainder of the season. 

Vancouver Canucks trade Erik Gudbranson to the Pittsburgh Penguins for Tanner Pearson. Desperate times call for desperate measures, or at least, that’s how this move by Penguins GM Jim Rutherford seems to be. With blueline stalwarts Kris Letang and Brian Dumoulin sidelined by injuries, Rutherford needed some experienced depth and toughness to counter anyone attempting to take liberties with his best players. Gudbranson will bring the grit but he’s had trouble adjusting to the increasingly faster pace of the NHL game. Still, he should bring more to the Penguins than Pearson, an early-season addition who quickly flamed out. Maybe he’ll have better luck with the rebuilding Canucks. 










2019 NHL Trade Deadline Tracker

2019 NHL Trade Deadline Tracker

Here’s the list of today’s notable deals heading toward the 3 pm ET deadline. This list will be updated frequently throughout the day.  Following the deadline, I’ll examine the day’s biggest moves in the Soapbox section. 

Florida Panthers trade defenseman Chris Wideman to the Pittsburgh Penguins for forward Sebastian Dea.

Winnipeg Jets trade left wing Nic Petan to the Toronto Maple Leafs in exchange for center Par Lindholm.

Florida Panthers trade defenseman Bogdan Kiselevich to the Winnipeg Jets in exchange for a seventh-round draft pick.

Buffalo Sabres trade defenseman Nathan Beaulieu to the Winnipeg Jets in exchange for a sixth-round pick. 

Vancouver Canucks trade defenseman Erik Gudbranson to the Pittsburgh Penguins for winger Tanner Pearson.

Minnesota Wild trade center Matt Hendricks to the Winnipeg Jets in exchange for a seventh-round pick. 

Anaheim Ducks traded defenseman Michael Del Zotto to the St. Louis Blues in exchange for a sixth-round pick.

New Jersey Devils trade winger Marcus Johansson to the Boston Bruins in exchange for a 2019 second-round pick and a fourth-round pick in 2020. 

Philadelphia Flyers trade winger Wayne Simmonds to the Nashville Predators in exchange for winger Ryan Hartman and a conditional 2020 fourth-round draft pick.

Ottawa Senators trade Matt Stone to the Vegas Golden Knights (Photo via NHL Images)

Ottawa Senators trade right wing Mark Stone to the Vegas Golden Knights for prospect defenseman Erik Brannstrom, center Oscar Lindberg, and a second-round pick in 2020. 

Minnesota Wild trade forward Mikael Granlund to the Nashville Predators in exchange for winger Kevin Fiala. 

Los Angeles Kings trade defenseman Oscar Fantenberg to the Calgary Flames for a conditional fourth-round pick in 2020.

New York Rangers trade defenseman Adam McQuaid to the Columbus Blue Jackets for a fourth- and a seventh-round draft pick in the 2019 NHL Draft. 

Florida Panthers trade center Derick Brassard and a conditional sixth-round pick in 2020 to the Colorado Avalanche in exchange for a third-round pick in 2020

Florida Panthers trade forward Tomas Jurco to the Carolina Hurricanes for future considerations. The Hurricanes trade prospect Cliff Pu to the Panthers for future considerations.

Arizona Coyotes trade center Jordan Weal to the Montreal Canadiens for center Michael Chaput

TSN’s Bob McKenzie reports the New York Rangers trade center Kevin Hayes to the Winnipeg Jets for Brendan Lemieux, the Jets’ 2019 first-round pick and a conditional pick. 

New Jersey Devils trade goaltender Keith Kinkaid to the Columbus Blue Jackets in return for a fifth-round pick in 2022.

Detroit Red Wings trade forward Gustav Nyquist to the San Jose Sharks for a second-round pick in the 2019 NHL draft and a conditional third-round pick in 2020. 










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 25, 2019

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 25, 2019

Game recaps, Red Wings trade Gustav Nyquist to the Sharks, Mats Zuccarello injured in his first game with the Stars, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: Evgeny Kuznetsov scored in overtime as the Washington Capitals edged the New York Rangers 6-5 in a wild and physical contest. Nicklas Backstrom tallied twice for the Capitals while Rangers defenseman Brady Skjei also netted two goals. Following the game, Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist cut short his interview after becoming emotional responding to a question about the trade of Mats Zuccarello, his friend and long-time teammate, to the Dallas Stars on Saturday.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Yes, NHL hockey is a business and yes, players know getting trading is always a possibility. Nevertheless, they’re still human like the rest of us and it can be difficult to part ways with a good friend. 

Speaking of Zuccarello, he was having a strong debut with the Stars (one goal, one assist) during their 4-3 win over the Chicago Blackhawks but suffered an arm injury that likely requires surgery after blocking a shot and is expected to be sidelined for four weeks.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Zuccarello could return to the Stars before the end of the season, but his absence still leaves them in need of scoring depth if they’re to avoid slipping out of a playoff spot in the Western Conference. Stars captain Jamie Benn also left the game with an upper-body injury and is expected to be re-evaluated today. 

The Detroit Red Wings trade forward Gustav Nyquist to the San Jose Sharks (Photo via NHL Images)

San Jose Sharks captain Joe Pavelski tallied a natural hat trick to lead his club to a 5-3 victory over the Detroit Red Wings. Following the game, the Red Wings traded winger Gustav Nyquist to the Sharks for a second-round pick in the 2019 NHL Draft and a conditional third in 2020.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Red Wings also retained $1.425 million of Nyquist’s $4.7-million salary-cap hit. A versatile forward who can skate at center or on the wing, he’s tallied 49 points in 62 games and is on pace to exceed 60 points this season. He could slot in as a second- or third-line winger, providing even more bite to an already potent Sharks offense.

An overtime goal by Ryan Donato enabled the Minnesota Wild to beat the St. Louis Blues 2-1. Donato now has four points in three games with the Wild since being traded to Minnesota from Boston. The Wild (66 points) have now won three straight and still cling to the final Western Conference wild-card spot.

Ottawa Senators forward Brady Tkachuk scored a goal but brother Matthew Tkachuk’s Calgary Flames won their first-ever face-to-face matchup 2-1 on a late goal by Austin Czarnik. The Flames (85 points) opened a three-point lead over the Sharks for top spot in the Pacific Division and the Western Conference. Following the game, the Senators shipped minor-league defenseman Patrick Sieloff to the Anaheim Ducks in exchange for left wing Brian Gibbons.

The Arizona Coyotes (63 points) moved to within three points of a playoff spot by downing the Winnipeg Jets 4-1. Before the game, the Coyotes honored former long-time captain Shane Doan by retiring his No. 19 jersey. Doan began his career with the original Jets and moved with that club when it relocated to Arizona.

TSN: The Boston Bruins signed forward Lee Stempniak to a one-year contract and placed him on waivers for the purpose of assigning him to their AHL affiliate in Providence.

 










Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – February 17, 2019

Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – February 17, 2019

Latest on Mark Stone, Matt Duchene, Artemi Panarin, and Jesse Puljujarvi plus updates on the Flames, Islanders, and Stars in the Sunday NHL rumor roundup. 

UPDATE ON STONE AND DUCHENE

The Ottawa Senators are believed to be quietly shopping center Matt Duchene (Photo via NHL Images)

SPORTSNET (via Kukla’s Korner): Elliotte Friedman reports the Ottawa Senators have re-engaged with right wing Mark Stone’s representatives in hopes of working out a contract extension. Nick Kypreos said the structure of the contract and signing bonuses appear to be the issue. Chris Johnston said rumors had the Vegas Golden Knights interested in Stone but he gets the sense they’re not interested in the rental market at all. They might pursue Stone if he becomes a UFA this summer. 

Friedman also said the Senators are quietly testing the trade market for center Matt Duchene. He expects trade talks could heat up over the next several days. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I’ve felt the Senators were prepared to lose one or the other but not both. Not surprised that there’s a push on getting Stone re-signed as he came up through their system and seemed keenest to stay in Ottawa. I’m not disparaging Duchene but I’ve gotten the impression Stone is more interested in remaining a Senator. A lot can happen between now and the Feb. 25 trade deadline but my best guess is they re-sign Stone and move Duchene before the deadline for the best available offer. 

SHOULD THE BRUINS PURSUE PANARIN?

NBC SPORTS BOSTON: Joe Haggerty recently opined the Bruins should make a run at acquiring Columbus Blue Jackets left wing Artemi Panarin. He notes Bruins winger David Pastrnak is out for an indeterminate period with an injured thumb, heightening their need for a scoring winger. Haggerty acknowledged landing Panarin will be expensive and the risk he’ll bolt via free agency in July, suggesting it could cost a good young player like Jake DeBrusk and a first-round pick. He wondered if the Blue Jackets might bite on Trent Frederic or Danton Heinen. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Bruins paid a big price last season for Rick Nash and it didn’t pan out. GM Don Sweeney might prefer a more affordable rental winger or perhaps someone signed beyond this season. 

LATEST ON THE FLAMES

SPORTSNET: Nick Kypreos thinks the Calgary Flames’ priority heading toward the trade deadline was finding a veteran defenseman as they’ve used four blueliners 22-and-younger this season. He also said rumors have linked them to forwards like Ottawa’s Mark Stone and the New York Rangers’ Mats Zuccarello. If veteran winger James Neal (lower-body injury) is out longer than expected, Kypreos wonders if they might be more aggressive in pursuing a forward. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I’m expecting the Flames to swing a deal for a rental before the deadline. They’re among the top teams in the Western Conference and I think GM Brad Treliving sees his club as a legitimate Stanley Cup contender. If he’s looking for a winger Zuccarello would be more affordable than Stone. 

UPDATE ON PULJUJARVI

SPORTSNET: While there’s talk the Edmonton Oilers might be willing to trade struggling young winger Jesse Puljujarvi, Nick Kypreos considers that highly unlikely. He feels the 20-year-old’s trade value to be at an all-time low and expects he’ll be sent back to their AHL affiliate in Bakersfield to get him into a more positive environment. Elliotte Friedman speculates Puljujarvi might want out of Edmonton but Kypreos insists they won’t give him away. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Ordinarily I’d agree with this assessment but who the hell knows what’s going on with the Oilers anymore? Yes, interim GM Keith Gretzky made a couple of decent minor moves this weekend  (Cam Talbot to Philadelphia for Anthony Stolarz in a cost-cutting deal, reacquiring Sam Gagner by sending little-used Ryan Spooner to Vancouver) but who’s to say he won’t move Puljujarvi if someone pitches what he considers a tempting offer? 

COULD THE PENGUINS GO AFTER ZUCCARELLO?

NEW YORK POST: Larry Brooks still expects the Rangers will trade pending UFA forwards Kevin Hayes and Mats Zuccarello before the trade deadline. Both players want longer-term deals while management wants shorter terms. Brooks speculates the Pittsburgh Penguins could be in on Zuccarello. The Pens don’t have a lot to give up but Brooks feels the Rangers would covet their first-round pick.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I also expect Hayes and Zuccarello will be moved before the deadline. I doubt the Penguins will part with their first rounder for Zuccarello. Consensus suggests he’ll fetch at most a second-rounder, something the Pens lack in this year’s and next year’s drafts. 

WILL THE ISLANDERS BECOME BUYERS?

NEW YORK POST: Larry Brooks wouldn’t be surprised if the New York Islanders are in on Columbus’ Artemi Panarin, Ottawa’s Mark Stone, or Florida’s Mike Hoffman. He also wondered if Isles GM Lou Lamoriello would be interested in a reunion with LA Kings winger Ilya Kovalchuk, who played for Lamoriello with the New Jersey Devils. He also suggested Rangers defenseman Adam McQuaid, who’s been linked to the Tampa Bay Lightning, might be a good fit with the Isles. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: We never know what the always-secretive Lamoriello has in store heading toward the trade deadline, but we know he has a history of swinging deadline deals to bolster his rosters when they’re in a good position for a possible playoff run. The Isles have exceeded expectations this season and Lamoriello could shop around for a player or two.

STARS

SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman believes the Dallas Stars could be among the suitors for Columbus Blue Jackets left wing Artemi Panarin or Rangers’ winger Mats Zuccarello. 

NYQUIST

SPORTSNET: Chris Johnston reports Detroit Red Wings forward Gustav Nyquist is drawing interest in the trade market. However, it’s unclear if he’s willing to waive his no-trade clause or where he’ll waive it to.