NHL Rumor Mill – August 14, 2020

NHL Rumor Mill – August 14, 2020

Is it time for the Jets to rebuild? Should the Oilers trade a top-four defenseman? Are changes coming for the Predators? Find out in today’s NHL rumor mill.

SHOULD THE JETS REBUILD?

WINNIPEG SUN: Paul Friesen believes Jets general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff has spun his wheels since his club reached the Western Conference Final two years ago, suggesting the club is heading in the wrong direction.

Friesen acknowledged Dustin Byfuglien’s unexpected departure and an injury-ravaged roster contributed to the club’s struggles this season. Nevertheless, the Jets lack depth on defense and the forward lines. He feels it’s time for Cheveldayoff to make a big move for a second-line center and a top-four defenseman.

With several teams affected by the flat salary cap and the Jets carrying additional cap room after Byfuglien’s contract termination, Friesen believes Cheveldayoff has the cap flexibility to address his roster issues.

WINNIPEG FREE PRESS: Mike McIntyre believes Cheveldayoff will feel the pressure during the off-season to reverse the Jets’ fortunes. He wonders how much rope the club’s ownership is willing to give their GM before deciding they need to go in a different direction. McIntyre feels Cheveldayoff will have to make a big move via the off-season trade or free-agent markets.

Could the Winnipeg Jets pursue Alex Pietrangelo in the free-agent market? (NHL Images)

If sidelined center Bryan Little (eardrum surgery, post-concussion symptoms) cannot play next season, they can place him on long-term injury reserve, potentially freeing up his $5.29-million cap hit for next season. Trading or buying out Mathieu Perreault could clear some more salary from their books. McIntyre considers fixing the blueline to be Cheveldayoff’s priority.

SPORTSNET: Ken Wiebe suggests Andrew Copp could be the internal solution to replace Little if the latter remains sidelined. External options could include Montreal’s Max Domi or Philadelphia’s Nolan Patrick as both could use a change of scenery. Wiebe also pondered the possibility of Cheveldayoff pursuing a big-ticket player like St. Louis Blues defenseman Alex Pietrangelo.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Cap Friendly indicates the Jets have over $65.9 million invested in 13 players. All their core players are under contract, so Cheveldayoff could re-sign his RFAs to affordable, short-term deals. Still, he might need a little more cap space if he intends to land a big-ticket player, especially via the UFA market. He can send some salary the other way if he’s acquiring a player via trade.

Domi’s status has been a hot topic in the Montreal media throughout this season. That chatter recently intensified with Domi currently seeing fourth-line minutes in the postseason. Patrick, however, has been sidelined this season by a migraine disorder, which (as Wiebe also noted) would make him a risky acquisition.

Pietrangelo would be a big catch for the Jets, but that’s assuming the Blues captain wants to play in Winnipeg if he tests the UFA market. If he doesn’t, Cheveldayoff would have to look elsewhere, and the pickings for top defensemen are slim beyond Pietrangelo and Boston’s Torey Krug.

SHOULD THE OILERS SHOP A TOP-FOUR DEFENSEMAN?

EDMONTON JOURNAL: David Staples cites Bob Stauffer’s recent interview with Brian Burke in which the Sportsnet analyst suggested the Oilers trade a defenseman like Adam Larsson, Darnell Nurse, or Oscar Klefbom.

Burke felt the Oilers defense didn’t play well enough, believing one or two of their blueliners might need a change of scenery. He acknowledged such moves might be difficult given the Oilers’ limited cap space for next season.

The former NHL GM agreed with Stauffer’s suggestion the Toronto Maple Leafs might be a trading partner, proposing a swap of Larsson for a winger like Kasperi Kapanen or Andreas Johnsson.

Former NHL GM turned analyst Brian Lawton agreed there could be some changes to the top four. He expressed concern over Klefbom’s injury history. Sportsnet’s Mark Spector, meanwhile, believes Larsson could be the likely trade candidate.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Of those three Oilers defenseman, Nurse could fetch the best return. The 25-year-old is two years younger than Klefbom and Larsson and his style would make him attractive for clubs seeking a mobile, physical rearguard. Klefbom’s injury history could hurt his trade value, while Larsson’s UFA eligibility next summer could be a deal-breaker for some clubs.

Staples feels the Oilers should try and move out Kris Russell. He’s also a year away from UFA eligibility, but his 15-team no-trade clause could make that difficult.

LATEST ON THE PREDATORS

THE TENNESSEAN: Paul Skrbina reports Nashville Predators GM David Poile pulled no punches assessing his club’s performance this season. “This is unacceptable”, he said. “This is how we have to view this result is that we have to be better and it’s not acceptable.”

Poile indicated the club’s direction in the last two years made it “clear to me that we need to make some changes.” While the Preds GM said “everything is on the table,” Skrbina doesn’t expect a complete roster overhaul.

Pending UFAs Mikael Granlund and Craig Smith might not be back. The Predators could look in-house to address some of their needs, perhaps promoting Eeli Tolvanen and Philip Tomasino. Skrbina also speculates Poile could try again to trade center Kyle Turris or buy him out.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: With over $72.2 million invested in 17 players, Poile will have to cut some salary if he intends to look to the trade or free-agent markets for help. Trading Turris could mean absorbing part of his $6 million annual salary or packaging him with a top draft pick or prospect. A contract buyout will leave them with $2 million annually in dead cap space to 2028.










NHL Free Agents & Trade Candidates – Philadelphia Flyers

NHL Free Agents & Trade Candidates – Philadelphia Flyers

 










Ayres is Just the Latest in a Long Line of NHL Emergency Backup Goaltenders

Ayres is Just the Latest in a Long Line of NHL Emergency Backup Goaltenders

 










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 27, 2019

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 27, 2019

The latest on  Antti Raanta, Nolan Patrick, Alex Galchenyuk,and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

ARIZONA SPORTS: Oft-injured Coyotes goaltender Antti Raanta is day-to-day with a lower-body injury. An injured knee sidelined Raanta for 59 games last season.

Arizona Coyotes starting goalie Antti Raanta is day-to-day with a lower-body injury (Photo via NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Raanta’s health was cause for concern entering this season. Fortunately for the Coyotes, they can rely on backup Darcy Kuemper. He was solid last season, winning a career-high 27 games for the offense-challenged Desert Dawgs, sporting a 2.33 goals-against average and .925 save percentage.

NBC SPORTS PHILADELPHIA: Flyers center Nolan Patrick was diagnosed with a migraine disorder and is listed as week-to-week. He’ll miss the club’s season opener next week. General manager Chuck Fletcher said the club’s doctors don’t believe the disorder is linked to any previous hits.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Tough break for Patrick, who struggled through a sophomore slump last season. Here’s hoping he makes a swift recovery.

TRIBLIVE.COM: Pittsburgh Penguins winger Alex Galchenyuk missed practice yesterday with an undisclosed injury that kept him out of the lineup for Wednesday’s preseason game. He’s listed as day-to-day.

LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL: Vegas Golden Knights winger Ryan Reaves expects to play in the club’s season opener next week. He’s been dealing with an undisclosed injury during the preseason.

THE DENVER POST: The Colorado Avalanche sent highly touted prospect Bo Byram back to his junior team, the Vancouver Giants of the Western Hockey League. Byram was the Avs first-round pick (fourth overall) in this year’s NHL Draft.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Some observers expected Byram to crack the Avs lineup this season. Best to give him another season in junior rather than rush him into NHL action.

CBS SPORTS: The Boston Bruins signed defenseman Alex Petrovic to a one-year, two-way contract and placed him on waivers for the purpose of sending him to their AHL affiliate.

CALGARY SUN: The Flames promoted Chris Snow to assistant general manager.

MONTREAL GAZETTE: Hall-of-Famer Guy Lafleur underwent successful quadruple-bypass surgery yesterday. He’s expected to make a full recovery.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Get well soon, Flower!










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 22, 2019

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 22, 2019

The Jets suspend Dustin Byfuglien, Martin St. Louis leaves the Blue Jackets, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

TSN: The Winnipeg Jets suspended defenseman Dustin Byfuglien for failing to report to training camp. The move was made to protect their roster and provide salary-cap flexibility. If Byfuglien doesn’t report by the opening day of the regular season next month, his salary-cap hit won’t count against their payroll for as long as he’s not on the roster.

The Winnipeg Jets suspend defenseman Dustin Byfuglien for failing to report to training camp (Photo via NHL Images).

Byfuglien is on a leave of absence and is believed to be mulling his future. Bob McKenzie reports this isn’t as ominous as it sounds as the Jets still want the blueliner back back. He said the decision can be reversed at any time and doubts this comes as a surprise to Byfuglien.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I daresay Jets general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff informed Byfuglien of this decision and the reasons behind it before it was officially announced. It’s a business decision and not intended to punish him.

THE ATHLETIC: Martin St. Louis won’t be returning to the Columbus Blue Jackets this season. The Hall-of-Famer spent half of last season with the club in an advisory role. He cited family reasons behind the decision.

STARTRIBUNE.COM: Winger Kevin Fiala finally joined the Minnesota Wild after missing the first nine days of training camp while waiting for a work visa.

TAMPA BAY TIMES: The Lightning demoted goaltenders Louis Domingue and Mike Condon to their AHL affiliate in Syracuse.

SPORTSNET: The Vegas Golden Knights placed goaltenders Garret Sparks and Oscar Dansk on waivers.

 

 










NHL Preseason Injury Roundup

NHL Preseason Injury Roundup