NHL Rumor Mill – February 25, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – February 25, 2022

Updates on the Filip Forsberg trade speculation plus the latest on the Canadiens, Kraken, Devils, Leafs and more in today’s NHL rumor mill.

UPDATES ON FORSBERG

TSN: Darren Dreger reports the position of the Nashville Predators is to sign leading goal scorer Filip Forsberg to a long-term contract extension. The 27-year-old left winger is slated to become an unrestricted free agent this summer.

Nashville Predators winger Filip Forsberg (NHL Images).

Talks between the Predators and the Forsberg camp remain in the preliminary stage, sparking speculation with the March 21 trade deadline less than a month away. Considering teammates Ryan Johansen and Matt Duchene are each earning $8 million annually, Dreger believes Forsberg’s cap hit on a new deal would be north of $8 million.

SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman believes if Forsberg wants to stay in Nashville he’ll have to accept an annual average value below captain Roman Josi’s $9.059 million. He feels there’s enough time and will on both sides to get a deal done but doesn’t discount general manager David Poile trade Forsberg if a deal isn’t reached by March 21.

THE ATHLETIC: Joe Rexrode reports Poile told him he’s not looking to trade Forsberg and doesn’t personally know Bally Sports Midwest’s Andy Strickland, who tweeted out that the Predators were “actively shopping” the winger. Poile said the goal is to re-sign Forsberg and negotiations will continue.

Strickland said he stands by his sources but admits the wording of his text might not have been the best choice, suggesting “due diligence” would be a better phrase.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: As Rexrode pointed out, Strickland has a good record of credible reporting. I don’t doubt Poile is keeping his options open by gauging the market for Forsberg if a deal cannot be reached on a contract extension by March 21. I also believe both sides sincerely want to get this sorted out in the coming weeks.

We must remember that Poile reportedly tested last season’s trade market on defenseman Mattias Ekholm, prompting considerable speculation the long-time Predators blueliner would be moved by the trade deadline. Instead, Ekholm was retained and eventually signed to a new deal.

The difference between Ekholm and Forsberg is the former still had a year remaining on his contract. There’s more urgency to sort out the latter’s contract situation given his UFA status this summer.

I don’t expect Forsberg to be traded today, this weekend or within the next couple of weeks. However, we can’t dismiss the possibility of a trade in the days leading up to March 21.

LATEST ON THE CANADIENS, KRAKEN AND DEVILS

SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman can see the Philadelphia Flyers getting in on Montreal Canadiens defenseman Jeff Petry. “It makes a lot of sense for them.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I disagree. While Petry would provide experienced right-side depth, he’s 34 and carries a $6.25 million annual cap hit through 2024-25. They’re already paying sidelined right-side blueliner Ryan Ellis, 31, the same amount through 2026-27.

The Flyers also have over $67 million invested in 10 players for 2022-23. Unless they’re clearing an equivalent salary, Petry is a luxury they cannot afford.

TSN: Pierre LeBrun reports the Montreal Canadiens’ new management intends to be “pretty aggressive” in this summer’s free-agent market, which opens on July 13. They still intend to get younger in some parts of their roster but hope to lure a star or two to Montreal as part of their roster transformation. The Canadiens have had difficulty signing UFA stars, but LeBrun suggests that could change if Martin St. Louis stays on as head coach.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Salary-cap space will be an issue for the Canadiens. Cap Friendly shows them with over $79 million invested in 10 players for 2022-23.

They’ll be able to exceed the cap by the equivalent of all-but-retired Shea Weber’s $7.857 million by placing him on long-term injury reserve again next season. Nevertheless, they’ll have to shed a lot more to free up room to add a free agent star or two this summer. Forgive my skepticism, but I’ll believe it when I see it.

LeBrun also reports Seattle Kraken captain Mark Giordano looks like he’ll definitely be changing addresses by the trade deadline. The 38-year-old defenseman has already spoken with Kraken GM Ron Francis and both agreed the club should test the trade market for their captain.

Elliotte Friedman, meanwhile, wonders what the future holds for forward Jared McCann. The Kraken forward is the club’s leading scorer and a year away from UFA eligibility. He also suggested the Kraken’s versatile forward Calle Jarnkrok could be a good fit with the Washington Capitals

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Francis’ priority will be on finding a suitable destination and return for Giordano. Still, I can see him keeping his ears open for any decent offers on McCann and Jarnkrok.

LeBrun reports the New Jersey Devils are aggressively shopping for a goaltender for the remainder of the season. It’s uncertain when Devils starter Mackenzie Blackwood will return from a heel injury that’s sidelined him since late January. LeBrun suggests that might interest the Edmonton Oilers, who are exploring goalie options.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The reason why the Oilers would be interested is they could try to peddle Mikko Koskinen or Mike Smith to the Devils to free up room to pursue a more reliable goalie in the trade market. The best options could be Chicago’s Marc-Andre Fleury or the New York Islanders’ Semyon Varlamov, but both carried limited no-trade clauses that could include the Oilers on their no-go lists.

RUMOR TIDBITS FROM FRIEDMAN’S LATEST “32 THOUGHTS”.

SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman reports the Toronto Maple Leafs have talked to the Vancouver Canucks about J.T. Miller. However, he thinks they’re not done tinkering with their blueline and could be considering goalie options. They had conversations with the Dallas Stars about defenseman John Klingberg and could revisit those talks.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Leafs can exceed the salary cap by the equivalent of sidelined blueliner Jake Muzzin’s $5.625 million cap hit after placing him on long-term injury reserve. However, they must become cap compliant if he returns to action before the end of the regular season. Leafs GM Kyle Dubas has a history of salary-cap acrobatics to bolster his roster so it’ll be interesting to see what he does here.

Friedman doesn’t get the sense that anything’s imminent regarding a trade of Flyers captain Claude Giroux. He does expect Giroux’s teammate, Rasmus Ristolainen, could be moved.

The Los Angeles Kings contacted the Canucks in search of scoring. GM Rob Blake would prefer paying less than the second and third-rounder he parted with for Viktor Arvidsson.

Friedman believes the New York Rangers looked at Buffalo’s Victor Olofsson. However, he’s a restricted free agent and Friedman doubts they can afford to re-sign him.










NHL Rumor Mill – February 22, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – February 22, 2022

The latest on Conor Garland and Cal Clutterbuck plus my analysis of Daily Faceoff’s updated trade targets list in today’s NHL rumor mill.

LATEST ON GARLAND AND CLUTTERBUCK

NESN.COM: Mike Cole suggests the Boston Bruins should consider acquiring local boy Conor Garland from the Vancouver Canucks. The Bruins attempted to land the energetic 25-year-old winger from the Arizona Coyotes before they shipped him last summer to the Canucks, who inked the two-way forward to a five-year extension worth an annual average value of just under $5 million.

Vancouver Canucks winger Conor Garland (NHL Images).

Cole feels Garland could improve the Bruins’ five-on-five scoring (23rd overall) and points out some pundits believe the winger could garner lots of interest in the trade market. Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman mentioned the New York Rangers, Calgary Flames and New Jersey Devils in a report three weeks ago.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: As always with the Bruins, it comes down to whether they have sufficient assets to outbid other clubs for Garland if he’s available before the March 21 trade deadline. The Flames’ acquisition last week of Tyler Toffoli takes them out of the market. However, the Rangers and Devils have plenty of cap space and depth in promising young players and prospects to make competitive offers. The Bruins could offer up Jake DeBrusk but I don’t think the Canucks would be interested having shown none thus far since his trade request in late November.

NYI HOCKEY NOW: Stefen Rosner noted Colorado Avalanche general manager Joe Sakic took in Sunday’s game between the Islanders and Montreal Canadiens. A league source believes he was scouting Isles forward Cal Clutterbuck.

NEW YORK POST: Larry Brooks believes Clutterbuck would be a good addition to the Rangers’ bottom-six forwards. However, he doubts Islanders GM Lou Lamoriello would make a deal with his club’s long-time rival, pointing out he never made a trade with the Blueshirts during his 28 years as GM of the Devils nor has he made one with them since joining the Isles four years ago.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Clutterbuck has value among playoff contenders seeking a gritty checking-line forward. It remains to be seen if he ends up with the Avalanche given their supposed interest in Philadelphia Flyers captain Claude Giroux. I agree with Brooks that Lamoriello shipping Clutterbuck to the Rangers is probably fantasy.

ANALYSIS OF DAILY FACEOFF’S UPDATED TRADE TARGETS LIST

DAILY FACEOFF: Frank Seravalli added Buffalo Sabres winger Victor Olofsson, Dallas Stars goaltender Braden Holtby, Ottawa Senators goalie Anton Forsberg and Chicago Blackhawks center Ryan Carpenter to his trade targets list.

Olofsson, 26, debuts at No. 12. He’s a restricted free agent with arbitration rights this summer, which could prompt the Sabres to move him. Holtby (No. 15) is an unrestricted free agent this summer carrying an affordable $2 million cap hit. With Jake Oettinger getting more starts, Seravalli suggests the Stars could shop Holtby and recalled Anton Khudobin.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Olofsson’s production has declined since his 20-goal, 42-point debut in 52 games in 2019-20. It wouldn’t be surprising if the rebuilding Sabres shipped him to a playoff contender willing to gamble on him regaining his form with a deeper roster.

The Athletic’s Pierre LeBrun believes Stars general manager Jim Nill could wait until the final couple of games leading up to the March 21 trade deadline to decide if he’s a buyer or seller. I believe he’ll be the latter if the Stars fall out of contention by then, which could see them peddle their pending UFAs like Holtby, John Klingberg and perhaps Joe Pavelski.

Seravalli speculates the Senators could shop Forsberg (No. 17 on the list) if they feel comfortable with Matt Murray as their starter going forward. The 29-year-old Forsberg is slated to become a UFA this summer. Carpenter (No. 20) is a 31-year-old hardworking defensive forward who’s also UFA-eligible this summer. Seravalli wonders if he might be a fit with the New York Rangers.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Ottawa Sun’s Bruce Garrioch speculates teams could inquire about Forsberg. He mentioned the Edmonton Oilers’ well-documented goaltending issues but suggests they might want a netminder with more of a pedigree.

As for Carpenter and the Rangers, their need seems to be for a scoring right winger. Still, they have considerable cap space if they wish to make a depth addition to their checking lines.










Top 10 NHL Sophomores To Watch in 2021 Season

Top 10 NHL Sophomores To Watch in 2021 Season

 










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 7, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 7, 2021

The latest on Tuukka Rask, Mika Zibanejad, and Jack Eichel, plus the latest signings, injury updates and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NBC SPORTS BOSTON: Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask opened up about his decision to leave the 2020 playoff bubble in August to attend to a family emergency.

Boston Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask (NHL Images).

He based the decision on a phone call from his family indicating his young daughter was ill and an ambulance was called. “So obviously at that point, my mind is spinning and I’m like, ‘I need to get out of here’”, said Rask, adding he had no regrets about returning home.

Rask also said his preference is to stay with the Bruins beyond this season. He’s due to become an unrestricted free agent in July and was the subject of offseason trade rumors. The 33-year-old goalie appeared open to talking contract during the season. “If they don’t, we’ll just wait it out and see what happens.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Rask caught flak from some Bruins fans upset over his decision to leave the club but he had the full support of the club, including his teammates. In my opinion, he did the right thing by putting his family first as any decent parent would.

NEW YORK POST: Rangers center Mika Zibanejad missed his third straight day of practice but the club remains optimistic he’ll be ready in time for their season-opener against the New York Islanders on Jan. 14. Zibanejad, 27, has been sidelined for undisclosed reasons.

WGR550: Jack Eichel and Victor Olofsson joined their Buffalo Sabres teammates on the ice yesterday after each was recently sidelined by upper-body injuries. Meanwhile, Sabres winger Zemgus Girgensons’ season is over before it began, undergoing surgery to repair a hamstring injury. His recovery period is expected to last six months.

TSN: The Columbus Blue Jackets signed forward Oliver Bjorkstrand to a five-year, $27 million contract extension yesterday. The annual average value is $5.4 million.

THE TENNESSEAN: The Nashville Predators inked forward Luke Kunin to a two-year, $4.6 million deal. The AAV is $2.3 million.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: You can read my take on both signings here.

NBC SPORTS CHICAGO: Blackhawks forward Andrew Shaw admitted he considered retirement during his 14-month recovery from post-concussion symptoms. Shaw says he’s now fully recovered and excited about resuming his playing career.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Shaw’s gritty style of play contributed to his injuries. It’ll be interesting to see if he changes his game.

ARIZONA SPORTS: The Coyotes received approval from the City of Glendale allowing 25 percent capacity (3,450 fans) during their six home games in January.

FLORIDA HOCKEY NOW: The Panthers are also allowed 25 percent capacity (around 5,000 fans) at the BB&T Center to start the upcoming season.

TAMPA BAY TIMES: The Lightning are permitted to allow 23 percent capacity (3,900 to 4,000 fans) at the Amelie Arena to start the season.

Meanwhile, the Lightning reached an agreement with the Panthers to share their AHL affiliate (Syracuse Crunch) for the 2020-21 season. The Panthers affiliate (Charlotte Checkers) opted out of playing this season because of the pandemic.

 










Jackets Re-Sign Bjorkstrand, Predators Sign Kunin In Latest NHL Moves

Jackets Re-Sign Bjorkstrand, Predators Sign Kunin In Latest NHL Moves

 










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 3, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 3, 2021

Mika Zibanejad and Victor Olofsson start training camp on the sidelines, Travis Hamonic signs PTO with the Canucks and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

THE SCORE: cites the New York Post’s Larry Brooks reporting Mika Zibanejad is listed as day-to-day and won’t be taking to the ice for the Rangers’ first practice session on Monday. No word as to what’s ailing the 27-year-old center.

New York Rangers center Mika Zibanejad listed as day-to-day (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Zibanejad is the Rangers’ first-line center. He tallied a career-high 41 goals and 75 points in 57 games last season.

CBS SPORTS: Buffalo Sabres winger Victor Olofsson exited practice yesterday with an apparent arm injury after crashing into the net during a one-on-one drill. No details this morning as to the 25-year-old Swede’s condition but he’s considered day-to-day.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Sabres are also without captain Jack Eichel, who’s day-to-day with an upper-body injury.

TSN’S Rick Dhaliwal this morning tweeted former Calgary Flames defenseman Travis Hamonic will join the Vancouver Canucks in training camp on a professional tryout offer. Dhaliwal wonders how the Canucks will fit him in under their limited cap space if he makes the club. He also indicated they stopped calling the agent for free-agent defenseman Sami Vatanen two days ago.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Hamonic would be a welcome addition to the Canucks’ blueline. Cap Friendly shows the Canucks sitting above the $81.5 million salary cap by just over $1.5 million. However, they could get some cap relief if winger Micheal Ferland’s ongoing post-concussion symptoms keep him on the sidelines to start the season.

Placing Ferland on long-term injury reserve to start the season would give the Canucks about $2 million in wiggle room, enough to ink Hamonic to a cost-effective one-year deal. They could also free up additional space if necessary by placing a player on waivers and putting him on their taxi squad.

OTTAWA SUN: Following Germany’s elimination Saturday from the 2021 World Junior Championships, winger Tim Stuetzle headed to Ottawa to join the Senators. He’ll join his new teammates following a week of quarantine and four negative COVID-19 tests.

The Senators will be playing without a captain again this season, but they named Thomas Chabot, Erik Gudbranson and Brady Tkachuk as their three alternates.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Stuetzle was dazzling at the WJC, showing the world why he was such a coveted prospect in this year’s draft. If he adjusts well to the NHL game, the Senators will have a potential superstar in their midst.

THE TENNESSEAN: The Nashville Predators brought back defenseman Yannick Weber on a professional tryout offer. Weber played with the Predators from 2016-17 to 2019-20 before becoming an unrestricted free agent.