NHL Rumor Mill – October 12, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – October 12, 2022

Check out the latest on Patrick Kane, David Pastrnak, Jakob Chychrun, Bo Horvat and more in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.

PATRICK KANE

TSN: Pierre LeBrun believes there’s a “decent chance” the Chicago Blackhawks trade Patrick Kane by the March 3 deadline. He indicated that the 33-year-old winger wasn’t ready to have a conversation about a trade during the offseason. LeBrun believes Kane’s agent and Blackhawks management will circle back to that sometime in December or January and see where things stand.

Chicago Blackhawks winger Patrick Kane (NHL Images).

LeBrun noted Kane’s no-movement clause gives him full control over this situation. He suggested the New York Rangers and New York Islanders as “decent possibilities.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman believes the Rangers could be the most likely destination for Kane.

Assuming Kane accepts a trade to the Rangers or Islanders, both clubs lack sufficient cap space to acquire him. The Blackhawks will have to retain half of his $10.5 million cap hit for this season to make it work, and even then, it might take getting a third team involved to spread the remaining half of that cap hit around to make it palatable to the Blueshirts or Isles.

DAVID PASTRNAK

TSN: Darren Dreger reports there’s a strong appetite by Boston Bruins management and David Pastrnak’s camp to reach an agreement on a contract extension. The 26-year-old winger is slated to become an unrestricted free agent next July.

However, Dreger suggests there’s no guarantee a deal can be made. He thinks the starting point could be something comparable to the eight-year contract ($10.5 million annual average value) that Jonathan Huberdeau signed this summer with the Calgary Flames, pointing out Pastrnak is younger than the 29-year-old Huberdeau.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Pastrnak is probably going to get at least $10 million annually on his next contract. That’s the market value for a player of his skills. It’ll either come from the Bruins or another team next summer via free agency. And no, he won’t accept a hometown discount to stay in Boston.

JAKOB CHYCHRUN

SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman reports Jakob Chychrun still hasn’t received clearance to resume practicing with his Arizona Coyotes teammates as he continues to recover from a wrist injury. He wonders if anyone is willing to trade for the 24-year-old defenseman before he’s fully healed.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Given the high asking price the Coyotes have set for Chychrun in the trade market, the answer appears to be “no.” Otherwise, he’d have been moved by now. Friedman said there’s definitely interest, noting the Ottawa Senators have been closely following this situation. However, I think those interested parties want to see how Chychrun plays once he returns to action before getting serious with trade offers.

BO HORVAT

Elliotte Friedman said a couple of sources used the word “stalemate” to describe Bo Horvat’s contract extension talks with the Vancouver Canucks. However, Friedman isn’t taking that too seriously, pointing out how the Canucks were reportedly unwilling to commit to an expensive long-term extension for J.T. Miller before they ultimately signed him last month.

Friedman used Sean Couturier ($7.75 million AAV) as a comparable for Horvat as well as for Detroit Red Wings captain Dylan Larkin. He thinks anyone who believes the AAV on Horvat’s next contract will start with a six “is in a Wizard-of-Oz-style dreamland.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Agreed. Unless things really go downhill, I expect Horvat will be staying in Vancouver starting at something over $7 million annually.

No two contract negotiations are the same. Nevertheless, I don’t think the Canucks will risk letting their captain walk away next summer, especially if he has another solid performance this season.

TIDBITS FROM FRIEDMAN’S LATEST “32 THOUGHTS”

The Toronto Maple Leafs will continue exploring waiver-exempt or waiver-cleared defensive depth due to three preseason injuries.

Minnesota Wild GM Bill Guerin will keep an eye out for scoring help but will give his talented youth the opportunity to prove themselves.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 11, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 11, 2022

Wayne Simmonds, Nazem Kadri and Akim Aliu take issue with a Toronto Sun columnist, an update on David Pastrnak’s contract talks, the Golden Knights sign Nic Hague while the Senators sign Derick Brassard and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.

YAHOO SPORTS/TSN: Toronto Maple Leafs winger Wayne Simmonds and Calgary Flames center Nazem Kadri took issue with Toronto Sun columnist Steve Simmons regarding an article the latter wrote about former NHLer Akim Aliu. The three players are members of the Hockey Diversity Alliance, formed in 2020 by several current and former players of color to eradicate racism in hockey.

Simmons suggested Aliu, chair of the Hockey Diversity Alliance, was using racism as an excuse for not achieving his potential as a player. “By my count, Aliu played for 23 teams in nine different leagues in 12 professional seasons and rarely finished any season with the same team he started with. If that was color-related, how is it that Wayne Simmonds spent just about the same 12 seasons playing in the NHL?”

Aliu replied on social media saying Simmons had “no clue” what he and his family endured physically and emotionally since he started playing hockey. He recounted several instances of racism he faced throughout his career.

Calgary Flames center Nazem Kadri (NHL Images).

Simmonds replied to the Sun columnist on Twitter, saying he didn’t appreciate what Simmons was trying to do. “Do not ever use my name or any other player of color’s name to try and make your point.”

Kadri, meanwhile, said Simmons is the last person who would know about experiencing racism. “He’s always been a writer that’s kind of been on the line and created a lot of controversy so people can read his articles,” said the Flames center. “He’s just a guy who’s a little dated in his writing.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The number of teams Aliu played for or the number of leagues he played in or his ability as a player doesn’t disqualify him from speaking out against racism in hockey. His story and those of other players who’ve endured racism and bigotry in the sport must be heard and their concerns must be addressed. Remember, hockey is supposed to be for everyone.

NBC SPORTS BOSTON: Bruins general manager Don Sweeney said contract talks with David Pastrnak are ongoing but offered up no timetable to finalize a deal. The 26-year-old winger said he’s comfortable with negotiations carrying on into the season. Meanwhile, Bruins CEO Charlie Jacobs said ownership’s mindset in trying to re-sign Pastrnak was “aggressive.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The fact those discussions are ongoing bodes well for the two sides reaching an agreement before Pastrnak’s eligibility for unrestricted free-agent status next July.

VEGAS HOCKEY NOW: The Golden Knights signed Nicolas Hague to a three-year contract worth an average annual value of $2.294 million. The 23-year-old defenseman was a restricted free agent coming off an entry-level contract.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Golden Knights’ limited cap room factored into why it took so long to get Hague under contract. With Shea Weber, Robin Lehner and Nolan Patrick on LTIR, Owen Krepps of Vegas Hockey Now speculates they’ll squeeze under the $82.5 million cap by $700K depending on which players they demote to their AHL affiliate.

OTTAWA SUN: Derick Brassard earned a one-year, $750K contract with the Senators following a professional tryout offer. It’s the 35-year-old forward’s second tour with the Sens, having skated with them from 2016 to 2018.

CBS SPORTS: The New Jersey Devils placed captain Nico Hischier on injured reserve with a hamstring injury. It’s unclear if the 23-year-old center will be ready for the Devils’ season opener on Thursday against the Philadelphia Flyers.

TSN: Vancouver Canucks placed Ilya Mikheyev, Travis Dermott and Tyler Myers on injured reserve. Meanwhile, Brock Boeser will start the season on their active roster. Boeser had been recovering from hand surgery.

WASHINGTON HOCKEY NOW: The Capitals placed Nicklas Backstrom on long-term injury reserve. The 34-year-old center is recovering from off-season hip surgery. Carl Hagelin (lower-body injury) and Tom Wilson (knee surgery) are listed as non-roster to start the season.

FLORIDA HOCKEY NOW: The Panthers placed Anthony Duclair (torn Achilles tendon) on LTIR. They will start the season with a 20-player roster due to salary-cap constraints. They also released Eric Staal from his professional tryout offer but are hoping to find a way to sign him to a contract.

NEWSOBSERVER.COM: Limited salary-cap space is also delaying the Carolina Hurricanes from signing Derek Stepan. They demoted Jordan Martinook after he cleared waivers but it’s considered merely a paper transaction until Jake Gardiner is officially placed on LTIR to start the season. Martinook will remain with the club and Stepan is expected to be signed shortly.

TORONTO SUN: The Maple Leafs demoted Wayne Simmonds and Kyle Clifford after they cleared waivers on Monday.

98.5 THE SPORTS HUB: The Boston Bruins demoted Nick Foligno, Mike Reilly and Chris Wagner after they cleared waivers. It’s expected they’ll be recalled with Brad Marchand (hip surgery) and Charlie McAvoy (shoulder) going on LTIR to start the season.

ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH: The Blues assigned Jake Neighbours and Josh Leivo to the minors but in reality, they’re not going anywhere. The move is a paper transaction until sidelined defenseman Marco Scandella is placed on LTIR today.

MONTREAL HOCKEY NOW: The Canadiens did the same thing with defenseman Arber Xhekaj. He made the roster due to a strong performance in training camp but the Canadiens must first place forward Paul Byron on LTIR.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Clubs can be over the cap during the off-season by 10 percent but must be compliant when the regular season officially opens. Lots of teams with limited cap space were forced to do some creative accounting until they can officially place players on long-term injury reserve to start the season.

MONTREAL GAZETTE: Juraj Slafkovsky also made the Canadiens’ roster to start the season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The 2022 first-overall pick faced considerable scrutiny and criticism from pundits and fans for his play during training camp and preseason games. His improvement over the course of that period garnered him at least a nine-game regular-season tryout.

After that, the Canadiens must decide if they’ll keep Slafkovsky on the roster for the season or send him to their AHL affiliate in Laval. If he’s sent down before his 10th game, the first year of his entry-level contract won’t count against this season and will slide to 2023-24.










Sunday NHL Rumor Mill – October 2, 2022

Sunday NHL Rumor Mill – October 2, 2022

In today’s Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup: a projected big increase in the salary cap could affect some current contract talks, Travis Sanheim could draw some interest in the trade market, and the latest on the Coyotes’ goaltending.

A RISING SALARY CAP COULD AFFECT CURRENT CONTRACT NEGOTIATIONS

THE BOSTON GLOBE: Matt Porter noted that a recent NHL memo projected the salary cap could rise by $10 million over the next four seasons. The cap could rise by $1 million next season to $83.5 million, rising to between $87.5 million and $88 million in 2024-25 and reaching $92 million by 2025-26.

He suggested that the anticipated increase could affect current contracts negotiations such as those involving the Bruins’ David Pastrnak and the Dallas Stars’ Jason Robertson.

Boston Bruins winger David Pastrnak (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Porter wondered if Pastrnak’s representatives could seek an eight-year contract extension worth $11.1 million or if Robertson’s camp might ask for an eight-year deal based on a projected cap of $92 million or even $100 million.

It’s not far-fetched to assume the prospect of a big rise in the salary cap will affect contract talks. It will definitely factor into next summer’s unrestricted free agent market.

Superstars slated to become UFAs within the next three years are going to see big raises. Colorado Avalanche star Nathan MacKinnon will become the NHL’s highest-paid player starting next season at $12.6 million annually after signing an eight-year contract extension last month. I doubt he’ll be holding that honor for long.

COULD SANHEIM BECOME A TRADE CANDIDATE?

SPORTSNET: In a recent episode of their “32 Thoughts” podcast, Jeff Marek and Elliotte Friedman discussed the possibility of Philadelphia Flyers defenseman Travis Sanheim becoming available in the trade market.

Marek observed that Sanheim is in the final year of his contract. He suggested the 26-year-old rearguard might look good alongside Quinn Hughes on the Vancouver Canucks blueline. Friedman speculated there will be plenty of rumors regarding the Flyers if they get off to a rough start to this season. He believes Sanheim would draw plenty of interest.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Sanheim carries a $4.675 million cap hit for this season but will earn $5.3 million in actual salary. He lacks no-trade protection and is slated to become an unrestricted free agent next summer.

The Canucks are above the cap for this season by $2.75 million. However, they will become cap compliant once they place permanently sidelined winger Micheal Ferland and his $3.5 million cap hit on long-term injury reserve.

That won’t leave enough space to acquire Sanheim. The Canucks would have to ship out some additional salary in the deal, make a separate cost-cutting deal, or ask the Flyers to retain up to half of his cap hit.

LATEST ON THE COYOTES:

GOPHNX.COM’s Craig Morgan tweeted that the Arizona Coyotes intend to get newly-acquired goaltender Jonas Johansson a good look in the club’s final preseason games. General manager Bill Armstrong will continue to watch the goalie trade market and waivers.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Coyotes claimed Johansson off waivers last week from the Colorado Avalanche. They are still seeking a reliable backup for starter Karel Vejmelka.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 22, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 22, 2022

Kyle Dubas faces an uncertain future as Leafs GM plus the latest on Auston Matthews David Pastrnak, Jason Robertson and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.

TORONTO SUN: Maple Leafs general manager Kyle Dubas will not be receiving a contract extension this season. Michael Traikos speculates the decision could be a wait-and-see approach by his bosses after the Leafs failed to advance beyond the first round of the playoffs. He also suggested it could be because Dubas didn’t bring in a true No.1 goaltender or upgrade the defense during the offseason.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Dubas downplayed the notion that this could be a make-or-break season for him, but there’s really no other way to look at it. For most of the past four seasons, the Leafs were among the top teams during the regular season but never staged a deep playoff run. Another early playoff exit (or worse) probably spells the end of Dubas’ tenure as Leafs general manager.

Toronto Maple Leafs general manager Kyle Dubas (NHL.com)

Speaking of the Leafs, Auston Matthews has two years remaining on his contract but that’s already sparking concern that he might depart Toronto as a free agent. Matthews told reporters he loves the city and considers it like home but won’t be entertaining any further questions about his contract. “There’s nothing that can be done for two more years,” he said.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: His critics will likely take him to task for not saying he would look forward to opening contract talks as soon as possible. However, he’s absolutely right that they can’t do anything about it now. The earliest Matthews and the Leafs can start contract extension discussions is July 1, 2023, so it’s pointless to badger him or Dubas about it during this season.

BOSTON HOCKEY NOW: Bruins GM Don Sweeney said he will continue to hold discussions with David Pastrnak’s representatives in hope of reaching an agreement on a contract extension. The 26-year-old right winger is eligible to become an unrestricted free agent next summer. Pastrnak could start the coming season without an extension in place.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Sweeney was asked if Pastrnak might sign a team-friendly deal as some claim Patrice Bergeron and David Krejci did at Pastrnak’s age. He indicated that those players signed for what was market value at the time. Rising salaries during the course of their contracts made them seem like bargains over time.

In other words, Pastrnak’s camp will seek market value that could exceed $9.5 million annually based on his performance in the upcoming season. That could explain why the two sides haven’t reached an agreement on an extension yet.

THE DALLAS MORNING NEWS: Jason Robertson is expected to miss the start of the Stars’ training camp today. The 23-year-old winger was their leading goal scorer last season but remains an unsigned restricted free agent. GM Jim Nill said negotiations have been ongoing and he’s hoping an agreement can be reached as soon as possible.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Cap Friendly indicates the Stars have $6.3 million in cap space and could reportedly have $7-$8 million in salary-cap space for this season depending on their roster makeup. The Robertson camp could be angling for an expensive new deal but their client is coming off his entry-level contract.

Robertson’s only leverage is to refuse to report to training camp (and perhaps miss the start of the season) but that won’t do either side any good. The sooner Robertson’s in camp, the more effective he’ll be to their roster. The longer he holds out, the longer it’ll take for him to regain his form and that could hurt their production this season.

Speaking of the Stars, Ben Bishop’s front-office role will have to wait until next season. His career was ended by chronic knee injuries but he didn’t retire as he had a year remaining on his contract. The Stars traded that contract to the Buffalo Sabres in June to remove it from their books for this season. However, the league has informed the Stars it wouldn’t be appropriate for him to work for them while he’s still being paid by Buffalo.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Some observers raised the point that the NHL had no issue with permanently sidelined Chris Pronger working for their department of player safety while he was still under contract with the Arizona Coyotes.

Maybe the league realized its mistake with Pronger and didn’t want the Stars to repeat it with Bishop. Perhaps it’s a different story if a player is working for the department of player safety while still under contract with another club despite the potential for a conflict of interest.

WGR 550: The Buffalo Sabres announced general manager Kevyn Adams has agreed to a multi-year contract extension. In a statement, team owner Terry Pegula praised Adams’ work over the past two seasons and believes the club is heading in the right direction.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Adams’ lack of management experience raised questions over his suitability for the job when he was hired two years ago. Over that time, however, he’s made some good selections in the draft (including promising defenseman Owen Power) and got a solid return from the Vegas Golden Knights (including Alex Tuch and Peyton Krebs) in the Jack Eichel trade. The Sabres also showed promising signs of improvement last season.

TAMPA BAY TIMES: Lightning center Brayden Point is “fully healthy” after recovering from a torn quad muscle suffered during the opening round of the 2022 Stanley Cup playoffs.

DETROIT HOCKEY NOW: Andrew Copp is still recovering from off-season abdominal surgery and won’t be available until the start of the regular season. The versatile 28-year-old forward signed a five-year contract with the Red Wings in July.

THE ATHLETIC: Nicolas Hague isn’t expected to join his Vegas Golden Knights teammates when training camp opens for them today. The 23-year-old defenseman is a restricted free agent coming off his entry-level contract. His agent, Murray Koontz, remains hopeful of getting a deal done with the Golden Knights but they’re not at that point yet.

CALGARY SUN: Flames defenseman Oliver Kylington (personal matter) and winger Andrew Mangiapane (undisclosed injury) will miss the start of training camp today.

CALGARY HOCKEY NOW: The Flames signed Adam Ruzicka to a two-year contract with an average annual value of $762K. It’s a two-way deal for this season and a one-way for 2023-24. Meanwhile, Brett Ritchie inked a one-year, $750K deal.

EDMONTON JOURNAL: Oilers restricted free agent Ryan McLeod remains without a contract but is expected to join his teammates for the start of training camp today. Management hopes to trade away some salary to clear up cap space to sign McLeod to a new deal.

The Oilers also announced defenseman Slater Koekkoek remains at home as he continues to work on improving his mental health.

DAILY FACEOFF: The New York Islanders signed UFAs Cory Schneider and Nikita Soshnikov and RFA Parker Wotherspoon to one-year contracts.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 17, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 17, 2022

The Jets strip Blake Wheeler of his captaincy, the Sharks reach a settlement with Evander Kane regarding his contract termination, the latest on David Pastrnak’s contract status, the date for the 2023 trade deadline is revealed, and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.

WINNIPEG SUN: The Jets announced Friday they have stripped the captaincy from Blake Wheeler. Several players will instead wear the “A” as alternate captains for 2022-23, though they have yet to be determined. The club called the move “leadership restructuring”.

Winnipeg Jets captain Blake Wheeler (NHL Images)

Wheeler said he knew the move was coming as he had been informed beforehand during his first conversation with new head coach Rick Bowness. According to Bowness, this was in line with the new coaching staff taking over and the intention to change the way the Jets play the game.

Bowness also denied that Wheeler was standing in the way of younger Jets growing into leadership roles. He insisted that he wants to have everyone working together as a team toward the same goal.

Wheeler said he was grateful for the opportunity to be the Jets captain but insisted he’ll still be a leader on this team. As for trade talk that surfaced about him during the offseason, he said he couldn’t give a straight answer about it because he doesn’t make those decisions. “I’m here and I’m committed to this team and motivated to have a great season.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The move shocked Jets center Mark Scheifele, who questioned the timing of the announcement while claiming Wheeler has the full support of his teammates. It’ll be interesting to see if Scheifele will be among the alternate captains for the coming season considering he was part of the leadership core of last season’s squad.

Jets beat writer Murat Ates of The Athletic believes it would’ve been better for Wheeler had they traded him during the summer. However, he admitted moving a 36-year-old winger carrying an annual average value of $8.25 million through 2023-24 was a tough sell.

This isn’t the first time a team has removed the captaincy from a popular star. In 2009, the San Jose Sharks did the same thing to Patrick Marleau and again in 2014 with Joe Thornton.

Both instances gave rise to trade speculation and talk of undermining the club’s performance. Instead, both players stayed put and the Sharks’ play didn’t suffer other than missing the playoffs in 2014-15 only to rebound and reach the Stanley Cup Final the following year.

Critics blamed the Jets’ leadership for the team’s inconsistent effort in 2021-22, claiming the dressing room was divided. This decision will motivate this club into a bounce-back performance following last season’s disappointing effort or it will make matters worse.

SAN JOSE HOCKEY NOW: Speaking of the Sharks, they reached an agreement with Evander Kane on a settlement related to his contract termination in January.

Daily Faceoff’s Frank Seravalli reported Kane will receive a one-time payment from the Sharks and the cap penalty will be applied to last season’s salary cap. They finished last season just under $5 million beneath the cap. Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman indicated Kane’s original contract was worth $19 million over the next three seasons. His current deal with the Edmonton Oilers is worth $16.5 million over the same period. The settlement would offset the difference.

In other words, the Sharks will pay Kane $2.5-million annually from 2022-23 to 2024-25 without incurring any salary-cap penalties going forward.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That will give the Sharks the cap relief they were counting on when they terminated Kane’s contract without having to go through an arbiter to settle the issue. That procedure might not have gone in their favor and could’ve created a big cap headache for them.

BOSTON HOCKEY NOW: David Pastrnak remains hopeful that he and the Bruins can reach an agreement on a contract extension at some point during the upcoming season. The 26-year-old winger is in the final season of a six-year, $40 million deal and is eligible to become an unrestricted free agent next July.

Pastrnak indicated his priority is staying in Boston. He cited how happy he and his family were living there and is putting his focus on helping the team win this season. TSN’s Darren Dreger reported Pastrnak’s agent and Bruins management are in discussions but there’s nothing close yet.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Pastrnak is among the NHL’s elite scorers. He could receive over $10 million annually on a long-term deal in next summer’s free-agent market. Perhaps he’ll accept a little less than that ($9.5 million) if the Bruins offer up an eight-year deal as the most he’ll get on the open market is seven years. Either way, he’s going to make big money on his next contract.

THE ATHLETIC: Pierre LeBrun reports the 2022-23 NHL Trade Deadline will be Friday, March 3, 2023, at 3 pm ET. The 2023 NHL Draft will be held on June 28-29 in Nashville while the annual free agent market returns to July 1.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I can’t recall the last time the NHL Trade Deadline was on a Friday. It’s usually held on a Monday or Tuesday.

I didn’t miss the annual free-agent frenzy on Canada Day. It was nice to spend the past couple of years quietly enjoying that day with my family in my backyard.

LeBrun also reported the Carolina Hurricanes quietly signed general manager Don Waddell to a new contract over the summer.

SPORTSNET: Duncan Keith has joined the Edmonton Oilers in a player development role. The former NHL defenseman (and future Hall-of-Famer) retired at the end of 2021-22 after 17 seasons.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – August 23, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – August 23, 2022

Ryan Ellis could miss the start of the Flyers’ season, the Islanders re-sign Noah Dobson, Alexander Romanov and Kieffer Bellows, an update on David Pastrnak and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.

NHL.COM: Philadelphia Flyers defenseman Ryan Ellis could miss the start of the coming season. A “multilayered issue” involving the “complex of the whole pelvic region” limited him to just four games last season.

If you’re asking me right now, I doubt it,” said Flyers head coach John Tortorella when asked if Ellis will be ready to play. They start their season on Oct. 13 against the New Jersey Devils but Tortorella didn’t think the 31-year-old defenseman will be ready when they open training camp on Sept. 21.

Philadelphia Flyers defenseman Ryan Ellis (NHL Images).

Tortorella indicated he’s had several conversations with Ellis. He said it’s been an “up and down process” for the blueliner.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Ellis was acquired from the Nashville Predators last summer and was expected to skate on the right side of the Flyers’ first defense pairing alongside Ivan Provorov. His absence last season was a key factor in the club missing the 2022 playoffs.

Cap Friendly shows Ellis is signed through 2026-27 with an average annual value of $6.25 million. They’re above the $82.5 million cap by $2.53 million but will get cap relief by placing Ellis on long-term injury reserve to start the season.

This also explains why the Flyers signed Tony DeAngelo to a two-year contract last month. We’ll have to wait and see if general manager Chuck Fletcher has any other moves planned before the coming season. That could depend on how long Ellis is sidelined.

NYI HOCKEY NOW: The New York Islanders announced new contracts for restricted free agents Noah Dobson, Alexander Romanov and Kieffer Bellows.

Dobson, 22, got a three-year deal with an AAV of $4 million. The 22-year-old Romanov also got a three-year deal. His annual cap hit is $2.5 million. Bellows, 24, got a one-year, $1.2 million contract.

The trio will be restricted free agents at the end of their respective contracts. These deals leave the Islanders with $3.485 million in cap space for the upcoming season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I wasn’t surprised by what Romanov and Bellows got. Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman recently suggested that Dobson’s new contract would be a high dollar amount but it’s actually quite reasonable for a young defenseman coming off a 51-point performance.

Islanders general manager Lou Lamoriello explained that he wanted to see a bit more from Dobson before committing to a long-term deal. In other words, a more lucrative contract awaits the young rearguard at the end of his current deal if he builds on last season’s breakout effort.

SPORTSNET: Lamoriello also defended what was considered to be a quiet offseason on his part. Earlier this summer, he had promised to be as active as possible to bolster the Islanders’ offense. They were linked to free agents Johnny Gaudreau and Nazem Kadri but both forwards were signed elsewhere. Lamoriello was rumored to be interested in acquiring J.T. Miller but the Vancouver Canucks aren’t in a rush to move the 29-year-old center.

Regarding trades, Lamoriello explained he wouldn’t have received in return what he would’ve had to give up to make his club a better team. He’ll continue to explore the late-summer trade market.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s doubtful Lamoriello will find a return that will significantly improve his club’s offense heading into this season. He’s going to bet on new head coach Lane Lambert finding a way to improve the Isles’ production with the current core players. I expect young wingers Anthony Beauvillier and Oliver Wahlstrom will be placed in roles where they’ll get more opportunities to score.

The Islanders have a projected $16 million in trade deadline cap space for the coming season. Barring any other moves, Lamoriello could have sufficient cap room to add a rental scorer by late February if his club is in playoff contention.

NEWSDAY’s Andrew Gross reported Lamoriello said he’s had no contract talks with UFA defensemen Zdeno Chara and Andy Greene. They are not currently under consideration for defense roles with the Isles.

BOSTON HOCKEY NOW: David Pastrnak’s contract extension talks with the Bruins are currently on hold but the 26-year-old winger isn’t concerned.

In an interview with Czechia media outlet Blesk, Pastrnak acknowledged Bruins GM Don Sweeney had a lot on his plate this summer negotiating new one-year contracts for Patrice Bergeron and David Krejci. Pastrnak has a year remaining on his contract and is focused now on physically preparing for the upcoming season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Sweeney will probably sit down with Pastrnak and/or his agent at some point during training camp to continue their negotiations.