NHL Rumor Mill – September 2, 2020

NHL Rumor Mill – September 2, 2020

A look at the latest TSN “Trade Bait” board in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.
TSN: Winnipeg Jets winger Patrik Laine is No. 5 on Frank Seravalli’s latest NHL ‘Trade Bait’ list. He believes Laine will be in play as the Jets explore options to address their depth on the blueline and at center. The 22-year-old sniper has a year left on his contract and will be due for a hefty raise next year over his $6.75-million annual average value.
Seravalli cautions Laine is not a lock to be traded, as the Jets could look at free agency to address their defensive needs. That could be challenging as few true standout players reach the market. He also suggested winger Nikolaj Ehlers could be a trade chip, listing him at No. 12.
The Carolina Hurricanes could be a trade partner with their depth in blueline talent. Seravalli considers Jaccob Slavin untouchable but placed Dougie Hamilton on the trade board (No. 20) because he’ll be an unrestricted free agent next year.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Winnipeg Sun’s Ted Wyman and Sportsnet’s Ken Wiebe aren’t keen on the notion of the Jets moving Laine or Ehlers. Wyman believes there isn’t a single center on Seravalli’s list worth trading for, suggesting the return for Laine should be massive. “Think Jack Eichel, if he wants out of Buffalo,” though Wyman acknowledged it would take more than Laine to pry Eichel away from the Sabres.
I wouldn’t fault Jets general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff for considering all his options, but you don’t move guys like Laine and Ehlers unless you’re doing a roster tear-down. I don’t believe Cheveldayoff is entertaining that option.
Pittsburgh Penguins goaltender Matt Murray tops Seravalli’s list, followed by Philadelphia Flyers winger James van Riemsdyk, Columbus Blue Jackets winger Josh Anderson, and Arizona Coyotes defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Murray’s status has been well-documented. It’s expected he’ll be traded at some point in the offseason. Same for Anderson, who’s a restricted free agent with arbitration rights.
“JvR” has struggled this season under Flyers coach Alain Vigneault and managed just one goal thus far in the playoffs. He lacks no-trade protection but the 31-year-old winger carries a $7 million annual salary-cap hit for three more years.
Ekman-Larsson recently surfaced in the rumor mill when Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman reported the Coyotes would like to test their captain’s trade value. Arizona Coyotes insider Craig Morgan reports the club’s offseason plans are uncertain at this point because they don’t have a general manager yet. Steve Sullivan is filling in on an interim basis.
Morgan also points out Ekman-Larsson has a full no-movement clause and loves living in Arizona. Perhaps he might change his mind if the club decides on another rebuild. Morgan suggested the Edmonton Oilers and Toronto Maple Leafs as two clubs that need blueline help.
Flyers defenseman Shayne Gostisbehere, New Jersey Devils winger Kyle Palmieri, Montreal Canadiens center Max Domi, Vegas Golden Knights goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury and Penguins defenseman Kris Letang round out the top-10.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Gostisbehere, Domi and Fleury have also recently popped up in the rumor mill. The Ottawa Sun’s Don Brennan suggests the Senators take a run at acquiring Domi and reuniting him with former Coyotes teammate Anthony Duclair. What say you, Senators fans?
In a recent mailbag segment, The Athletic’s Corey Masisak was asked about Palmieri’s future. The 29-year-old winger becomes a UFA after next season. He’s said he wants to stay in New Jersey but Masisak felt dollars and term will determine if he has a long-term future with the Devils.
Letang was briefly mentioned as a trade option following the Penguins’ elimination last month from the playoff qualifying round. GM Jim Rutherford, however, insists he’s keeping his veteran core intact, and that includes Letang.
Hurricanes winger Ryan Dzingel. Blues defenseman Vince Dunn, Lightning winger Alex Killorn and Oilers blueliner Adam Larsson join Ehlers in the 11 to 15 spots. Seravalli suggests Dunn could be moved if the Blues re-sign Alex Pietrangelo, while Killorn could be among the options for the Lightning to clear cap room because of his limited no-trade clause.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Dzingel hasn’t been the same since getting traded by the Senators to the Blue Jackets at last season’s trade deadline. He has only 29 points this season after netting 56 with the Sens and Jackets in 2018-19.
Dunn could get moved if the Blues can’t free up sufficient cap space after re-signing Pietrangelo. The Lightning must re-sign Anthony Cirelli and Mikhail Sergachev so Killorn seems most likely to go. Larsson’s been mentioned as a trade chip to bring in a top-six winger. Sportsnet’s Brian Burke suggested he’d be a good fit with the Leafs.
Penguins center Jared McCann, Leafs forward Andreas Johnsson, Buffalo Sabres defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen, and Leafs goalie Frederik Anderson join Hamilton in spots 16-20.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: McCann, Johnsson, and Andersen have turned up in recent media trade chatter. I don’t see the Leafs moving Andersen unless it’s for an upgrade between the pipes.

NHL Rumor Mill – June 18, 2020

NHL Rumor Mill – June 18, 2020

The latest on Kyle Palmieri, a busy off-season faces Sabres new GM Kevyn Adams and a brief note on Chris Tanev in today’s NHL rumor mill.


New Jersey Devils winger Kyle Palmieri (Photo via NHL Images).

NORTHJERSEY.COM/NJ.COM: Nick Gantaifis and Randy Miller report Kyle Palmieri hopes to remain part of the New Jersey Devils’ rebuilding plans. The 29-year-old winger is a year away from becoming an unrestricted free agent.

Without a doubt,” Palmieri said Tuesday in a media conference call. “I do love being in New Jersey. I love being close to home. And I have a ton of belief in this organization moving forward as to what we’re building, and I hope to be a part of it.”

Gantaifis notes Palmieri and the Devils might ordinarily open contract extension talks on July 1. Given the uncharacteristic and premature start to the off-season, that target date remains uncertain.

It’s a big unknown,” Palmieri said. “Obviously, the calendar and important dates haven’t really been set yet. There’s so much up in the air and so much to figure out as far as the return to play and figuring all that stuff out.”

Miller suggests Chris Kreider would be a good comparable for Palmieri. The New York Rangers winger signed a seven-year, $45.5 million extension in February. Both are the same age and have roughly similar stats. Kreider’s averaged 23 goals and 46 points over the past five seasons, while Palmieri’s averaged 26 goals and 50 points since 2015-16.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kreider is a fair comparison for Palmieri. With over $36 million invested in eight players for 2021-22, the Devils can easily afford to pay Palmieri over $7 million annually.

Of course, that figure will rise this year because of their anticipated re-signings of key free agents such as Mackenzie Blackwood and Jesper Bratt. It could go significantly higher if they bring in talent via trades or free agency in the off-season A flat salary-cap for 2021-22 could also affect the Devils cap room.

Palmieri’s contract talks also remain in limbo because ownership hasn’t decided if interim general manager Tom Fitzgerald will stay in that role on a full-time basis. A new GM could have a different opinion of Palmieri’s value. If so, we could hear his name mentioned a lot as the 2021 trade deadline rolls around.


THE SCORE: John Matisz examined a lengthy to-do list for Kevyn Adams, who was named earlier this week as the new general manager of the Buffalo Sabres.

Re-signing winger Sam Reinhart and goaltender Linus Ullmark to fair deals, being cautious with pending UFAs like Wayne Simmonds and Michael Frolik, and sorting out the future of defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen are among the key issues.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Reinhart and Ullmark are restricted free agents with arbitration rights. As one of the Sabres’ leading scorers, Reinhart will likely seek a multi-year deal worth around $6 million annually. Ullmark has less of an established body of NHL work on his resume, giving Adams more leverage in negotiations.

Matisz pointed out Adams has no previous ties to Simmonds and Frolik. He could opt to cut them loose and pursue better UFA options.

Sabres coach Ralph Krueger recently expressed his wish to coach Ristolainen again next season. We’ll find out soon enough how much sway he has with his new boss.


NHL Free Agents & Trade Candidates – New Jersey Devils

NHL Free Agents & Trade Candidates – New Jersey Devils


NHL Rumor Mill – April 14, 2020

NHL Rumor Mill – April 14, 2020

Several Eastern Conference clubs could face some serious off-season questions. Check them out in today’s NHL rumor mill.

SPORTSNET: Ryan Dixon raises some burning off-season questions for each of the NHL’s Eastern Conference clubs. Some were speculation involving off-season plans for several teams:

Dixon suggested the Buffalo Sabres should boost their goaltending depth via the unrestricted free agent market.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Assuming the Sabres are looking for an experienced backup for promising Linus Ullmark, options could include Dallas’ Anton Khudobin, Calgary’s Cam Talbot, Boston’s Jaroslav Halak, and the New York Islanders’ Thomas Greiss.

Dixon wondered if the Carolina Hurricanes will go big-game hunting. He’d love to see them sign a UFA goaltender like Robin Lehner or Jacob Markstrom. If someone like Calgary Flames winger Johnny Gaudreau were to hit the trade block, acquiring him would be the type of move the Hurricanes could pull off.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: With over $72 million invested in 15 players for 2020-21, including goaltenders Petr Mrazek and James Reimer, the Hurricanes lack sufficient room and dollars to add Lehner or Markstrom. Of course, they could attempt to move Mrazek or Reimer to create room for a UFA goalie signing. Gaudreau isn’t going anywhere this off-season, but yes, if he were available, the Hurricanes have the depth in young roster talent, prospects, and draft picks to pull off such a move. Whether they’d do it, however, is another matter.

The Columbus Blue Jackets have the base for a good-to-great team if they got an injection of pure talent such as Gaudreau or Taylor Hall. Dixon acknowledged they have some in-house business to sort out, such as re-signing Pierre-Luc Dubois and what to do with winger Josh Anderson, who has arbitration rights.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Jackets general manager Jarmo Kekalainen has made bold moves before, so we shouldn’t dismiss the possibility he’ll do it again. Adding Hall, however, will be too expensive for a club carrying over $68 million tied up in 17 players next season. As I mentioned earlier, Gaudreau’s not going anywhere, but the cost of adding someone like him could be too burdensome to pull off this year.

If the Detroit Red Wings don’t believe winger Anthony Mantha is worth a long-term deal, Dixon suggested shopping him while he has trade value for another piece or two that helps their long-term rebuild.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Mantha has 30-goal ability but his injury history is a red flag. They possess plenty of salary-cap space to re-sign him, so it’ll be interesting to how GM Steve Yzerman handles this.

Dixon doubted Aleksander Barkov and Jonathan Huberdeau are in play, but feels everything else is on the table for the Florida Panthers.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That’ll depend on Panthers owner Vinnie Viola. It’s been suggested his unhappiness with the club’s performance could lead to a cost-cutting shakeup. A bold move would be moving Barkov or Huberdeau, but the latter has a full no-movement clause while the former’s kicks in after this season. Defenseman Aaron Ekblad lacks no-trade protection until 2021-22, but a more likely trade candidate could be Mike Matheson, who surfaced in the rumor mill before the Feb. 24 trade deadline.

Could the Montreal Canadiens shop a forward like Max Domi to bring in a defenseman? (Photo via NHL Images)

Dixon wondered if the Montreal Canadiens might swap a forward, such as pending RFA Max Domi, for a defenseman if the right fit can be found.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I expect GM Marc Bergevin will explore every option. With depth in draft picks and prospects plus plenty of salary-cap space, Bergevin might not have to part with a roster forward to bring in a blueliner. He could instead target cap-strapped clubs in need of shedding salary.

Once the New Jersey Devils sort out who their general manager will be, Dixon proposed shopping winger Kyle Palmieri could fetch a good return. He’s a year away from UFA eligibility.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That decision could tkae place before next season’s trade deadline, whenever that might be.

If Henrik Lundqvist wants to continue playing, Dixon suggested the New York Rangers buy out the final season of his contract and let him test the UFA water.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It wouldn’t surprise me if the Blueshirts go that route. With Lundqvist losing playing time to young goalies Igor Shesterkin and Alexandar Georgiev, it may be time to part ways with King Henrik.

With the Ottawa Senators carrying seven second-round picks in the next two drafts, Dixon wondered if they might shop some of them for an under-25 player or two in need of a change of scenery.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That’s a good suggestion, one Senators GM Pierre Dorion could explore when the off-season finally arrives.

Dixon mused over the possibility of the Pittsburgh Penguins re-signing RFA goalies Matt Murray and Tristan Jarry.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: it can’t be ruled out, but it will be a tight squeeze within the Penguins’ limited cap space.

The Tampa Bay Lightning could be forced to sacrifice a second-tier forward to make room to re-sign RFAs Anthony Cirelli and Mikhail Sergechev.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That forward could be Alex Killorn, whose full no-trade clause becomes a 16-team no-trade list following this season.

The Toronto Maple Leafs will have to look outside the organization to boost their blueline. A lack of cap space and depth in the UFA market could force them into the trade market.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: And if they do go that route, a second-tier forward like Kasperi Kapanen, Andreas Johnsson, or Alexander Kerfoot could become a trade candidate.

Dixon mused over the possibility of Braden Holtby returning to the Washington Capitals for another year or two at a salary similar to his current $6.1 million AAV.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Holtby has indicated his intent to get the best deal he can as he enters the UFA market for the first time. Assuming he can’t find one this year if the salary cap remains flat, perhaps he and the Capitals might circle back and discuss a short-term deal. Even then, bringing back Holtby would push their cap payroll to over $77 million invested in 17 players, leaving little room under a flat cap to fill the rest of the roster.

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 25, 2020

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 25, 2020

NHL extends self-quarantine period, asks its teams to provide available arena dates in August, and temporarily cuts employee salaries. Details and much more, including the latest on Kyle Palmieri and Kyle Clifford, in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.


SPORTSNET: Chris Johnston reports the NHL instructed its players and team staff to extend their period of self-quarantine to April 6. Two players to date, both Ottawa Senators, have tested positive for COVID-19.

TSN: Bob McKenzie reports the league yesterday requested its 31 clubs to provide available home dates for August. That suggests the playoffs could be as late as August. McKenzie also believes the league must address the legal technicality of extending contracts that expire at the end of June and the effect on work visas for European players.

The NHL extends its self-quarantine period for its players.

Pierre LeBrun indicates the cost of maintaining ice in those buildings during the summer will be costly in terms of refrigeration and air conditioning in the arenas. He also reported the league had a conference call with general managers. Lots of questions about the “draft, combine, lottery, schedule/playoffs, free agency,” but the league has few answers at this stage.

Frank Seravalli reports the league doesn’t anticipate any meaningful insurance bailout. Facing potential revenue losses of $1 billion, the league will do whatever it takes to get back on the ice.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I think it’ll be another month before we get clarity over when the schedule will resume and when the playoffs will be staged, as well as determining what the off-season schedule will look like. The longer this pandemic goes on in North America, the less likely the league can return to the ice and salvage the season and the playoffs, especially when they consider it a priority to stage 2020-21 in its entirety.

SPORTSNET: Chris Johnston also reports the league told its teams Monday that the postponement of the 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympics will extend the potential window for staging the Stanley Cup playoffs this summer. “The league shares a U.S. broadcast partner with the Olympics in NBC and had previously believed the playoffs had to be wrapped up before the cauldron was lit during the Opening Ceremonies.”

THE SCORE: The league is reported to have temporarily reduced the pay of its office staff by 25 percent because of the coronavirus epidemic. It’s also hoping to avoid layoffs.

SPORTSNET: The Montreal Canadiens is making temporary job cuts of its staff affecting up to 60 percent of its personnel. It has established a $6 million assistance fund to help its employees. TVA Sports reports Canadiens general manager Marc Bergevin and head coach Claude Julien have agreed to give up 20 percent of their salaries in support of the club’s laid-off employees.

NORTHJERSEY.COM: The company that owns the New Jersey Devils has reversed its decision to levy a 20 percent pay cut on its employees.

NBC SPORTS BOSTON: TD Garden part-time workers have been laid off.

KHL.RU: The Kontinental Hockey League has cancelled the remainder of its’ 2019-20 season over coronavirus concerns.


NJ.COM: Despite the New Jersey Devils’ disappointing season, winger Kyle Palmieri remains optimistic over the club’s future. He cites promising prospects such as Ty Smith, Kevin Bahl, Daniil Misyul and recently-acquired Nolan Foote, as well as rookie center Jack Hughes. “We’re building and we’re young, and guys are going to keep getting better year by year,” Palmieri said.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It remains to be seen whether Palmieri will be part of the Devils’ rebuild. He’s eligible for unrestricted free agent status next summer.

THE SCORE: There’s mutual interest between the Toronto Maple Leafs and UFA forward Kyle Clifford in working on a contract extension. No deal is imminent as this time owing to uncertainty raised by the current pause in the league’s schedule.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: With over $76 million invested in 16 players, the Leafs will be awaiting next season’s salary cap numbers before getting down to contract talks with free agents like Clifford.

TSN: The Columbus Blue Jackets have started contract extension talks with restricted free agent Vladislav Gavrikov.

What’s In Store This NHL Offseason For The New Jersey Devils?

What’s In Store This NHL Offseason For The New Jersey Devils?