NHL Rumor Mill – December 2, 2021

NHL Rumor Mill – December 2, 2021

Check out the latest Flyers and Bruins speculation in today’s NHL rumor mill.

FLYERS COULD SOON FACE SOME TOUGH DECISIONS.

PHILLY.COM: Sam Carchidi believes it could be time for Flyers general manager Chuck Fletcher to make some tough decisions if his club falls out of playoff contention. They’re mired in a lengthy losing skid and losing ground in the postseason race.

Philadelphia Flyers captain Claude Giroux (NHL Images).

One of those decisions could involve shopping captain Claude Giroux. The 34-year-old Flyers forward is their leading scorer and still has something left in the tank. He’s also slated to become an unrestricted free agent next summer. Carchidi believes Giroux could fetch a solid return if shopped before the March 21 trade deadline.

SPORTSNET: Luke Fox also speculated on some of those difficult decisions facing Fletcher. He wondered if Giroux would agree to waive his no-movement clause. Fox noted Elliotte Friedman mentioning Giroux on the Jeff Marek Show. “I’ve wondered about him going to Ottawa before,” said Friedman, who also pondered the possibility of the Flyers perhaps shaking up their core again after having done so in the offseason.

Fox felt any number of options could be on the table for the Flyers, including shopping winger Travis Konecny. While that would be a bold move, he also felt it would be a long shot.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Fletcher recently spoke about being patient with the lineup but I think he’ll soon reach the stage where he’ll have to do something to shake this club out of its doldrums. That could include replacing Alain Vigneault as head coach in hope of saving the season.

If that doesn’t work or if Fletcher doesn’t go that route, trades will be in the offing at some point if the club fails to reverse its fortunes. He could sit down with Giroux to determine where his captain sees his future and if it’s with a rebuilding club.

THE LATEST ON THE BRUINS

THE ATHLETIC: Fluto Shinzawa believes it could take some time before Boston Bruins GM Don Sweeney pulls the trigger on a Jake DeBrusk trade. The Bruins still need him in the lineup with Brad Marchand serving a three-game suspension plus their farm team in Providence is going through a COVID outbreak. He also pointed out Sweeney’s reputation for carefully considering trade offers and playing hardball for as long as he can.

Shinzawa also pointed out one of Sweeney’s preferences is clearing salary-cap space for Tuukka Rask. The play of current goalie tandem Jeremy Swayman and Linus Ullmark has been the club’s other weakness besides its offensive production.

THE PROVINCE: Ben Kuzma took note of recent speculation linking the Vancouver Canucks to DeBrusk. He pointed to the Canucks’ limited cap space as a sticking point, suggesting it might have to be a dollar-in, dollar-out deal to take on DeBrusk’s $3.675 million cap hit.

One option could be shopping Tanner Pearson, who’s in the first season of a three-year, $9.75 million contract. However, he has a no-trade clause for this season.

NBC SPORTS: Sean Leahy believes the Bruins are keeping their crease warm for Tuukka Rask when he’s finally ready to return to action from offseason hip surgery. He’s currently training five days a week and could be ready in early January. Rask is an unrestricted free agent but has made no secret of his wish to sign with the Bruins.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Rask has also indicated he’s willing to accept an affordable one-year deal with the Bruins. Still, it would be worthwhile to clear sufficient cap space to sign him. However, it could also complicate efforts to swap DeBrusk for another middle-six forward.

DeBrusk has been linked to around a dozen teams. Most of those mentioned, like the Canucks, are cap-strapped clubs. Sweeney might have to focus on those with cap space to make a deal happen.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 9, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 9, 2021

The Hurricanes and Islanders move into first place in their respective divisions, Viktor Arvidsson tallies a hat trick for the surging Predators, Alex Ovechkin reaches another scoring milestone, the Blackhawks and Panthers swing a five-player deal, the Canucks re-sign Tanner Pearson, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: The Carolina Hurricanes took over first place in the Discover Central Division by blanking the Florida Panthers 3-0. Alex Nedeljkovic had a 24-save shutout performance, Sebastian Aho collected his 300th career point and Vincent Trocheck and Martin Necas each had a goal and an assist. The Hurricanes (57 points) sit one point up on the Panthers and Tampa Bay Lightning.

A four-goal first period powered the Lighting to a 6-4 victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets. Ryan McDonagh scored twice and Yanni Gourde collected four assists for the Lightning, who lost captain Steven Stamkos in the third period with an undisclosed injury. No update was provided on his condition. The Jackets made defenseman David Savard a healthy scratch as a precautionary measure ahead of Monday’s trade deadline. The Lightning and Panthers are tied with 56 points but the Lightning hold second place in the Central with a game in hand.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Savard sits atop TSN’s Trade Bait list. This move means the blueliner could be playing elsewhere by Monday’s 3 pm ET deadline. Jackets captain Nick Foligno is also on TSN’s list but he played in this game, which suggests he could be finishing the season with the Jackets barring a significant trade offer before Monday.

Nashville Predators winger Viktor Arvidsson (NHL Images).

Viktor Arvidsson tallied a hat trick as the Nashville Predators crushed the Detroit Red Wings 7-1. The Predators (45 points) have won nine of their 10 games and hold a four-point lead over the Chicago Blackhawks for fourth place in the Central.

Meanwhile, Chicago fell to the Dallas Stars 5-1 as Roope Hintz had a goal and three assists. The Stars sit three points back of the Blackhawks.

The New York Islanders took over first place in the MassMutual East Division by edging the Philadelphia Flyers 3-2 on a shootout goal by Brock Nelson. Kyle Palmieri and Travis Zajac were held scoreless in their first game with the Isles since being acquired from the New Jersey Devils on Wednesday. With 56 points, the Islanders are two points ahead of the second-place Washington Capitals.

Speaking of the Capitals, they dropped a 4-2 decision to the Boston Bruins. Brad Marchand and Craig Smith each had a goal and an assist while rookie goalie Jeremy Swayman kicked out 31 shots for his second straight win. Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin tallied his 266th career power-play goal to move into second place on the all-time list. The Bruins (48 points) opened a six-point lead over the Flyers for fourth place in the East Division.

Kris Letang and Jason Zucker each had a goal and an assist as the Pittsburgh Penguins romped to a 5-2 win over the New York Rangers. The Penguins (52 points) moved to within two points of the second-place Capitals.

Third-period goals by Devin Shore and Jesse Puljujarvi gave the Edmonton Oilers a 3-1 victory over the Ottawa Senators. Mike Smith turned aside 39 shots for the win as the Oilers (52 points) hold a one-point lead over the Winnipeg Jets for second place in the Scotia North Division. Oilers center Ryan Nugent-Hopkins missed the game with an undisclosed injury.

Winnipeg, meanwhile, doubled up the Montreal Canadiens 4-2. Jets goalie Connor Hellebuyck made 38 stops and Kyle Connor collected two assists. With 43 points, the fourth-place Canadiens are eight back of the third-place Jets.

Two power-play goals by Pavel Zacha carried the New Jersey Devils over the Buffalo Sabres 6-3. Jack Hughes and Yegor Sharangovich each had a goal and two assists.

HEADLINES

NBC SPORTS CHICAGO: The Blackhawks acquired forward Brett Connolly, defenseman Riley Stillman, prospect forward Henrik Borgstrom and a 2021 seventh-round pick from the Florida Panthers in exchange for forward Lucas Wallmark and defenseman Lucas Carlsson.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This move is in line with Blackhawks general manager Stan Bowman’s stated willingness to use his cap space to absorb a bad contract if the return comes with a promising young player. Connolly’s contract isn’t onerous for the Hawks ($3.5 million annual average value through 2022-23) but it was for the Panthers as the veteran winger fell out of favor in Florida.

The prize for the Blackhawks is Borgstrom, a promising young forward who struggled to crack the Panthers’ lineup. He could have a better chance to establish himself as an NHL regular with the retooling Blackhawks as they transition toward younger players.

Meanwhile, the Panthers have cleared cap space for perhaps another move or two before Monday’s trade deadline. Cap Friendly indicates they have $16.4 million in trade deadline cap space. I’ll have more about the Panthers in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.

TSN: Canadiens goaltender Carey Price is unavailable until next week because of a lower-body injury.

BOSTON HOCKEY NOW: Bruins defenseman Charlie McAvoy is recovering from an upper-body injury. However, he’s expected to miss the club’s next two games.

THE MERCURY NEWS: San Jose Sharks captain Logan Couture (lower body) remains questionable for tonight’s game against the Los Angeles Kings.

THE PROVINCE: The Vancouver Canucks signed winger Tanner Pearson to a three-year contract extension worth an annual average value of $3.25 million.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This signing received mixed reviews among pundits and fans on social media. It’s not because Pearson’s a bad player or that the contract is an overpayment. He’s become a dressing room leader and a good second-line winger.

Critics, however, point to other depth signings by Canucks GM Jim Benning (Sven Baertschi, Sam Gagner, Jay Beagle, Antoine Roussel, Jake Virtanen) as cap dollars poorly invested when young stars like Elias Pettersson and Quinn Hughes will soon be in need of significant raises. They fear the Pearson signing will further squeeze the Canucks cap space, leaving little room for other moves once Pettersson and Hughes receive their new contracts.

NHL.COM: Colorado Avalanche defenseman Jacob MacDonald received a two-game suspension by the department of player safety for an illegal check to the head of Minnesota Wild forward Ryan Hartman on Wednesday.










NHL Trade Deadline: Top Five North Division Targets

NHL Trade Deadline: Top Five North Division Targets

 










Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – March 28, 2021

Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – March 28, 2021

The latest on Taylor Hall, Tanner Pearson and Travis Hamonic plus updates on the Leafs, Canadiens and Capitals in the Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup.

SPORTSNET (via KUKLA’S KORNER): Elliotte Friedman believes there’s a lot of teams checking in with the Buffalo Sabres regarding Taylor Hall. He wonders if the St. Louis Blues might be a fit if they can find suitable salary-cap space. The Blues are having trouble scoring of late.

Could the St. Louis Blues afford to acquire Buffalo Sabres winger Taylor Hall? (NHL Images)

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Cap Friendly indicates the Blues have over $5.4 million in LTIR salary available. However, they’ll lose that buffer when Colton Parayko and Ivan Barbashev come off LTIR later in the season. It’ll have to be a dollar-for-dollar swap for Hall. Even then, the Sabres will probably have to pick up half of his $8 million cap hit.

Friedman also reports Toronto Maple Leafs coach Sheldon Keefe said sideline goaltender Frederik Andersen is undergoing some different evaluations. He said the Leafs don’t feel Andersen’s season is in jeopardy and they’re not actively looking for a goalie. They don’t have much salary-cap room and don’t want to add a netminder unless they absolutely have to.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: In other words, unless Andersen’s season is over so they can put him on LTIR they cannot afford to pursue a goaltender.

UPDATE ON THE CANADIENS

TSN: Montreal Canadiens general manager Marc Bergevin said he’s not trying to free up salary-cap space to make more moves before the April 12 trade deadline. However, he didn’t rule it out. “Anything’s possible,” said Bergevin.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Sportsnet’s Eric Engels believes Bergevin isn’t done dealing because of his depth in draft picks and a prospect pool that won’t suffer much damage if one or two were used as trade bait. He also believes the Habs GM could move a marginal player to free up cap space.

The Canadiens are in a good position to make another trade akin to their Friday acquisition of Eric Staal. The question, however, is whether Staal and whoever else Bergevin might bring in will ensure a playoff berth and a chance at a deep postseason run.

LATEST ON PEARSON AND HAMONIC

SPORTSNET: Chris Johnston reports contract talks haven’t taken place yet between Vancouver Canucks management and Tanner Pearson. The 28-year-old winger is a pending unrestricted free agent. He’s sidelined with a lower-body injury but could return to action before the trade deadline. Johnston believes he could become a trade candidate if the two sides don’t get a deal done before the deadline.

Speaking of the Canucks, Friedman believes the Carolina Hurricanes had an interest in Travis Hamonic. Like Pearson, the 30-year-old Hamonic is eligible for UFA status this summer. The Hurricanes are interested in acquiring a right-hand shot defenseman. However, Hamonic prefers to remain in Western Canada and isn’t waiving his no-trade clause.

THE PROVINCE: Patrick Johnston included Pearson among his five potential Canucks trade candidates. The others include winger Jake Virtanen, defenseman Alex Edler, center Brandon Sutter and blueliner Jordie Benn.

Sutter is already of interest to the Edmonton Oilers. Edler could draw some interest if he can be convinced to waive his no-movement clause.

Johnston believes the Canucks should attempt to stockpile draft picks with their tradeable assets to put toward future acquisitions. He recommends targeting teams in the offseason who risk losing players in the expansion draft, suggesting a defenseman like Devon Toews could be left exposed by the Colorado Avalanche. The Carolina Hurricanes could be another option given their depth in blueliners.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Canucks should be sellers by the deadline and look at coming back stronger next season. Peddle as many of those pending UFAs as possible and see if you can find a taker for Virtanen and the final year of his contract (with that $3.4 million in actual salary).

As Johnston suggests, follow the Canadiens example and stockpile draft picks that can be used in the offseason to pry away quality players (preferably defensemen) from cap-strapped clubs or teams that risk losing a good player in the expansion draft.

Edler might not be interested in waiving his no-movement clause. If Hamonic’s not waiving his no-trade that means he’s not heading to the Winnipeg Jets as some have suggested. Then again, maybe the Jets haven’t expressed an interest in the Manitoba native.

COULD THE CAPITALS SHOP FOR A GOALIE?

THE ATHLETIC: Tarik El-Bashir suggested Detroit’s Jonathan Bernier and San Jose’s Devan Dubnyk among his shortlist of potential goaltending trade targets for the Washington Capitals. Calgary’s David Rittich and Nashville’s Pekka Rinne are the other two, though he considers it unlikely Rinne will waive his no-movement clause to leave the Predators.

El-Bashir acknowledged the Capitals’ limited salary-cap space would make pursuing a rental goalie difficult for general manager Brian MacLellan. Further complicating things is the recent improvement of young goalies Ilya Samsonov and Vitek Vanecek.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: NBC Sports Washington’s J.J. Bean suggests Samsonov’s recent play is taking some pressure off MacLellan to bring in an experienced rental goaltender. Given their salary-cap situation, the Capitals GM could be content to stand pat by the deadline.










Early Odds On Wingers Being Dealt At The NHL Trade Deadline

Early Odds On Wingers Being Dealt At The NHL Trade Deadline

 










NHL Rumor Mill – March 24, 2021

NHL Rumor Mill – March 24, 2021

Check out the latest on Ryan Ellis, Mattias Ekholm, Jonathan Quick, Dustin Brown, Conor Garland, Nick Foligno and more in today’s NHL rumor mill.

LATEST PREDATORS SPECULATION

SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman reports the Nashville Predators could face a decision between trading Mattias Ekholm or Ryan Ellis, who is currently sidelined. The latter was considered among their untouchables but there could be considerable value in the highly-regarded defenseman.

Nashville Predators defenseman Ryan Ellis (NHL Images).

Players with Ellis’ contract (six years remaining with an annual average value of $6.25 million) are difficult to move now but Friedman suggests the Preds blueliner could be an exception. He believes Ellis could be a good long-term fit with the Philadelphia Flyers.

Friedman is also curious about what the Predators might do with Calle Jarnkrok. He has one season remaining on his contract worth $2 million and was last week’s NHL player of the week.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I don’t doubt Ellis would attract plenty of interest if Predators general manager David Poile is willing to listen to offers. However, I don’t believe they can move him during the trade deadline with so many capped-out clubs seeking affordable rentals. If Ellis is to be traded that move probably happens in the offseason when interested clubs have more cap space.

TSN: Pierre LeBrun reports Mattias Ekholm remains the big name on the trade bait list. Sources tell LeBrun the Predators are seeking three assets in return: a first-round pick, an elite prospect and a third asset that could take on different forms.

Part of the reason behind that asking price is Ekholm’s under contract for another year. They must determine if the best offer they’ll get is at this trade deadline or after this summer’s expansion draft when interested clubs no longer have to worry about protection lists.

Frank Seravalli believes Predators winger Mikael Granlund is the Toronto Maple Leafs’ primary target in their search for a top-six forward. However, there are some complicating factors.

The Leafs are awaiting clarity on whether the current 14-day quarantine period for players from American teams joining Canadian clubs will be reduced to seven games. There could also be some hesitation by the Predators to sell as they’re gaining ground on the fourth-place Chicago Blackhawks in the Discover Central Division.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Poile isn’t under pressure to move Ekholm at this trade deadline. Interested clubs could be more willing to pursue him in the offseason following the expansion draft.

Granlund is probably the most affordable forward linked to the Leafs in terms of return and salary. If that quarantine period isn’t reduced they’ll have to acquire him before the end of this month if he’s to be effective for them over the remainder of the season.

TRADE RUMORS FROM FRIEDMAN’S LATEST “31 THOUGHTS”.

SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman believes the Leafs have checked around on goalies (“Arizona makes sense”) but doesn’t see a long list of potential healthy options to acquire in a sensible trade. He also dismissed the rumors linking the Leafs to Los Angeles Kings netminder Jonathan Quick.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Darcy Kuemper is a terrific starter but the Coyotes netminder remains week-to-week with a lower-body injury. TSN’s Frank Seravalli reports Kuemper’s certain to be back before the trade deadline but there’s no certainty he’ll be moved before the trade deadline. He’s under contract for another season and Coyotes GM Bill Armstrong could be reluctant to move him. Oft-injured backup Antti Raanta was recently placed on injured reserve.

The speculation about the Leafs acquiring Quick sounds like a desperate fever dream from the more deranged of Frederik Andersen’s critics. The 35-year-old Kings goalie is past his prime, carries a $5.8 million annual salary-cap hit for the next two years and has a long injury history.

Acquiring Quick would make the Leafs older, eat up valuable cap space for next season that could be better invested in a younger player, and wouldn’t resolve their goaltending concerns.

Following on his report from last Saturday that the Coyotes could consider moving winger Conor Garland, Friedman said they’re not interested in multiple late-round picks. The Boston Bruins need scoring depth and he speculates they could have interest in the former junior Bruin.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Garland is a restricted free agent with arbitration rights who’s a year away from UFA eligibility. Coyotes GM Bill Armstrong could wait until the offseason if he doesn’t find any suitable offers before the trade deadline.

Friedman wonders if New York Islanders GM Lou Lamoriello will consider acquiring Kings winger Dustin Brown to replace sidelined captain Anders Lee.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The 36-year-old Brown is having a good bounce-back performance from last season’s disappointing effort. He’s got a year remaining on his contract ($5.875 million cap hit) but I don’t think he’s a fit with the Islanders from a contract standpoint.

Cap Friendly indicates they’ve got $75.9 million invested in 15 players next season. Anthony Beauvillier, Adam Pelech and Ilya Sorokin are restricted free agents seeking raises on their next contracts.

The Columbus Blue Jackets must decide if they’ll shop pending UFA defenseman David Savard at the trade deadline or hold onto him for the playoffs. The Jackets have risen back into the postseason chase in the Discover Central Division. Friedman also isn’t sure the Jackets want to trade captain (and pending UFA) Nick Foligno.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Jackets GM Jarmo Kekalainen could move Savard for the right price if his club slides further out of playoff contention. I’ll be surprised if he shops Foligno, who is believed keen to re-sign with the Jackets. Trading their captain at the deadline would be a gut punch to their playoff hopes.

The Vancouver Canucks playoff math isn’t good but they want to compete as long as they can before becoming deadline sellers. They’ve taken calls on pending unrestricted free agent defenders Alex Edler and Travis Hamonic (both have no-move clauses) and Jordie Benn, who has a five-team no-trade clause. There’s been some action on Benn and at least one Eastern American club asked about Hamonic.

They also have pending UFA forwards Tanner Pearson and Brandon Sutter to deal with as well as winger Jake Virtanen’s situation to sort out.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s assumed Edler could be unwilling to leave Vancouver. The Jets have been linked to Hamonic, who might entertain the opportunity to play in his home province. TSN’s Darren Dreger reported the Canucks could soon start contract extension talks with Pearson.

Friedman thinks the Flyers could consider someone like Detroit Red Wings defenseman Marc Staal if they don’t go the Ryan Ellis route.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That’s assuming the Flyers are buyers. The Athletic’s Charlie O’Connor makes the case that the slumping club hasn’t done much to warrant being aggressive shoppers before the trade deadline. Flyers GM Chuck Fletcher might even become a seller if his club doesn’t reverse its fortunes soon.