Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – July 12, 2020

Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – July 12, 2020

Three teams and five pending UFAs hurt the most by a flat cap in the Sunday NHL rumor roundup.

SPORTSNET: Rory Boylen listed the Toronto Maple Leafs, Tampa Bay Lightning, and St. Louis Blues as the three teams hurt the most by the salary cap remaining at $81.5 million for 2020-21.

The Leafs have over $76.9 million invested in next season’s cap payroll, the Lightning $76.1 million, and the Blues $79.425 million.

Notable Leafs due for new contracts include Jason Spezza, Kyle Clifford, Travis Dermott, and Ilya Mikheyev. Defensemen Tyson Barrie and Codi Ceci are all but certain to depart via unrestricted free agency. The limited cap room could also be a problem next year when goaltender Frederik Anderson becomes eligible for UFA status.

Could a flat salary cap force the Toronto Maple Leafs to trade William Nylander? (Photo via NHL Images)

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s widely assumed Leafs general manager Kyle Duba will make a cost-cutting move or two. The Toronto Sun’s Michael Traikos believes a forward like Kasperi Kapanen, Andreas Johnsson, or even William Nylander and his $6.9 million cap hit could be traded in the off-season.

Dubas supposedly promised Nylander he wouldn’t be traded as long as he was the GM, but an unexpected flat cap could provide the perfect excuse. There would be considerable interest in Nylander, but perhaps not that much in his cap hit. 

The Lightning has two good young players in defenseman Mikhail Sergachev and center Anthony Cirelli as restricted free agents in the off-season. A new contract for Cirelli alone could take up all of their cap room. Boylen points out winger Alex Killorn’s full no-trade clause becomes a 16-team no-trade at the end of this season, suggesting the Lightning might have to explore those 14 trade options.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Killorn seems the most likely Lightning trade candidate when this season ends. Some have also suggested Tyler Johnson or Yanni Gourde but they’ve got full no-trade clauses and could be unwilling to waive them.

The Blues will have to make a couple of salary-dumping deals if they hope to re-sign defensemen Alex Pietrangelo and Vince Dunn. Boylen wonders if Colton Parayko, Tyler Bozak, David Perron, or Jake Allen hit the trade block.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Allen seems a likely trade candidate now that Jordan Binnington’s secured his place as the Blues’ No.1 goaltender. Bozak and Perron have modified no-trade clauses. Of the two, the 32-year-old Perron would have more value than the 34-year-old Bozak, but Perron also has two years (at $4 million annually) left on his contract while Bozak has just one year at $5 million.

Lots of clubs would line up to land Parayko but I don’t think Blues GM Doug Armstrong wants to move him. In a recent mailbag segment, Tom Timmermann of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch proposed winger Jaden Schwartz as a possible trade option if the Blues re-sign Pietrangelo.

THE HOCKEY NEWS: Speaking of Pietrangelo, Ryan Kennedy recently lists the Blues’ captain among five free agents who could get hurt by the flattened salary cap. The others include Arizona Coyotes winger Taylor Hall, Vancouver Canucks goaltender Jacob Markstrom, Vegas Golden Knights netminder Robin Lehner, and Carolina Hurricanes blueliner Sami Vatanen.

Kennedy speculates those five won’t enjoy the big-money free-agent bonanza they would otherwise get in a normal off-season. Some, like Pietrangelo or Markstrom, might have to accept a hometown discount on short-term deals if they wish to stay with their current clubs. The others might also end up having to accept a shorter term or less money.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: They won’t be the only unrestricted free agents likely to be disappointed by what they’ll likely get in the open market. A few, like Pietrangelo, could still get top dollar but could find those offers coming from rebuilding clubs with plenty of salary-cap space. Those players could be unwilling to join those clubs and instead accept shorter contracts for less money from contenders. 










NHL Free Agents & Trade Candidates – St. Louis Blues

NHL Free Agents & Trade Candidates – St. Louis Blues

 










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 17, 2019

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 17, 2019

Game recaps, stars of the week, the Kings place Ilya Kovalchuk on unconditional waivers, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: Jonathan Huberdeau collected four assists and Noel Acciari tallied a hat trick as the Florida Panthers crushed the Ottawa Senators 6-1. The Panthers blew the game open with four unanswered second-period goals.

Florida Panthers winger Jonathan Huberdeau collected four assists in a 6-1 victory over the Ottawa Senators (Photo via NHL Images).

David Perron’s hat trick led the St. Louis Blues over the Colorado Avalanche 5-2, snapping the latter’s nine-game points streak. Blues forwards Ryan O’Reilly and Oskar Sundqvist each collected two assists.

The Edmonton Oilers picked up their first win in five games by edging the Dallas Stars 2-1. Mikko Koskinen kicked out 34 shots while teammates Zack Kassian and Leon Draisaitl scored for the Oilers. 

Nashville Predators goaltender Juuse Saros made 39 saves backstopping his club over the New York Rangers 5-2. Predators captain Roman Josi collected three points. Rangers winger Artemi Panarin scored to extend his points streak to five games.

The Columbus Blue Jackets blanked the Washington Capitals 3-0. Joonas Korpisalo turned aside 30 shots for the shutout while Oliver Bjorkstrand tallied twice for the Jackets.

HEADLINES

Vegas Golden Knights winger Max Pacioretty, Ottawa Senators winger Anthony Duclair, and Buffalo Sabres center Jack Eichel are the NHL’s three stars for the week ending December 15.

LOS ANGELES TIMES: The Kings yesterday placed winger Ilya Kovalchuk on unconditional waivers to terminate his contract.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The contract termination won’t provide the Kings any salary-cap relief because it’s a 35-plus contract. It just means they’re no longer paying Kovalchuk’s actual salary.

Kovalchuk will become an unrestricted free agent. He could sign with another NHL club or return to the KHL.

The 36-year-old winger is no longer an offensive force. If he wants to stay in the NHL, he won’t get a lucrative offer like the three-year, $6.25-million per season contract he had with the Kings.

I’ll have more on Kovalchuk in the Rumors section.

CBS SPORTS: Tampa Bay Lightning winger Nikita Kucherov is listed as day-to-day with a lower-body injury.

NBC SPORTS PHILADELPHIA: Flyers winger Joel Farabee received a three-game suspension for interference on Winnipeg Jets center Mathieu Perreault.

TORONTO SUN: Sidelined Maple Leafs Tyson Barrie and Trevor Moore could return to action tonight against the Buffalo Sabres.

TWINCITIES.COM: The Minnesota Wild sent goaltender Kaapo Kahkonen to their AHL affiliate in Iowa and placed forward Joel Eriksson Ek (upper body) on injured reserve.

CHICAGO SUN-TIMES: Blackhawks assistant coach Marc Crawford issues an apology for his unacceptable language and actions toward several former players earlier in this coaching career. He will resume his normal coaching duties with the club on Jan. 2.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 11, 2019

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 11, 2019

Game recaps and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: Patrik Laine scored twice and collected two assists as the Winnipeg Jets tamed the Minnesota Wild 5-2. Jets captain Blake Wheeler tallied two points, including his 700th career point. The Wild have dropped three straights games.

Winnipeg Jets winger Patrik Laine is tied for the NHL scoring lead (Photo via NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Laine is off to a sizzling start to this season, tied with Edmonton’s Connor McDavid (10 points) for the league scoring lead. After his messy contract standoff, the young Jets winger is playing like he’s got something to prove.

Patrick Marleau scored two goals in his return with the San Jose Sharks as they beat the Chicago Blackhawks 5-4. Teammate Brent Burns notched his 200th career NHL goal. The win snapped the Sharks four-game losing skid. Andrew Shaw tallied twice for the Blackhawks.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Sharks’ defense is still struggling. They must improve in their own end to build a winning record.

Brayden Point scored twice and set up another in his season debut as the Tampa Bay Lightning struck for a 7-3 victory over the Toronto Maple Leafs. Bolts forwards Nikita Kucherov and Steven Stamkos each had four points. Auston Matthews tallied two points for the Leafs while Frederik Andersen was pulled after giving up seven goals on 28 shots.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Lightning led 4-3 after the first period and pulled away as the game went on. Toronto’s defense is already an early cause for concern this season.

Connor McDavid’s game-tying goal late in the third period set the stage for Leon Draisaitl’s shootout winner as the Edmonton Oilers nipped the New Jersey Devils 4-3. The Oilers are unbeaten in their first four games of the season while the Devils remain winless through four. Devils defenseman Andy Green missed the game with an upper-body injury.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Devils poor start is among this season’s early surprises. The off-season additions of P.K. Subban, Wayne Simmonds, Nikita Gusev, and Jack Hughes plus a healthy Taylor Hall were supposed to turn them into playoff contenders. There’s still plenty of time to turn things around but their fans will get restless if it doesn’t happen soon.

Sidney Crosby scored and set up another as the Pittsburgh Penguins edged the Anaheim Ducks 2-1. Penguins goalie Matt Murray kicked out 31 shots. Patric Hornqvist rejoined the lineup for this game after leaving the previous one with an unspecified injury.

Colorado Avalanche netminder Philipp Grubauer made 39 saves backstopping his club to a 4-2 victory over the Boston Bruins. Nathan MacKinnon and Gabriel Landeskog each had a goal and an assist as the Avs rallied from a 2-0 first-period deficit. The Avs are unbeaten in their first three games.

David Perron scored twice, including the game-winner, as the St. Louis Blues beat the Ottawa Senators 6-4, handing the latter their third straight defeat. Ryan O’Reilly scored and set up three others for the Blues.

The Nashville Predators overcame 4-2 and 5-4 deficits to squeak past the Washington Capitals 6-5. Nick Bonino and Mattias Ekholm scored within 28 seconds of each other with the game-tying and winning goals. Alex Ovechkin scored two goals for the Capitals.

David Rittich kicked out 34 shots and Johnny Gaudreau scored the shootout winner as the Calgary Flames overcame a 2-0 deficit to down the Dallas Stars 3-2. Rittich also stopped Stars winger Alexander Radulov’s penalty shot in overtime.

The Detroit Red Wings spoiled the Montreal Canadiens’ home opener by doubling up the Habs 4-2. Anthony Mantha tallied his sixth goal of the season while goaltender Jonathan Bernier made 33 saves.

The Arizona Coyotes picked up their first win of the season by dropping the Vegas Golden Knights 4-1. Conor Garland scored two goals and Darcy Kuemper made 36 saves. Golden Knights goalie Malcolm Subban left the game following the first period with an undisclosed injury.

IN OTHER NEWS…

NEWSOBSERVER.COM: Carolina Hurricanes forward Jordan Martinook will undergo surgery today to repair a core muscle injury. He’s expected to be sidelined for six to eight weeks.

DALLAS MORNING NEWS: Stars restricted free agent Julius Honka signed with JYP in Finland’s Liiga. The deal comes with an out-clause should he sign an NHL contract before Dec. 1. The Stars still retain Honka’s NHL rights.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Honka has requested a trade but the Stars haven’t yet found a deal to their liking. If he’s not re-signed by Dec. 1 he’ll be ineligible to play in the NHL for the rest of the season.










Revisiting the Top NHL UFA Signings of 2018

Revisiting the Top NHL UFA Signings of 2018

 










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 23, 2019

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 23, 2019

The 2019-20 salary cap limits finally revealed, Leafs close to re-signing Kapanen and Johnsson, plus updates on Sergei Bobrovsky, Artemi Panarin, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: The league finally released the salary-cap limits for 2019-20. The upper level will be $81.5 million and the minimum is $60.2 million. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: As rumored, the upper level is $1.5 million less than the projected $83 million. Cap-strapped teams like the Vegas Golden Knights, Pittsburgh Penguins, and Edmonton Oilers (stick tap to Cap Friendly) could be forced to make cost-cutting trades this summer. 

The 2019 NHL draft was completed yesterday. USA Hockey National Team Development Program Under-18 team made history with a record 17 players selected. 

TSN: The Toronto Maple Leafs are reportedly close to re-signing winger Kasperi Kapanen and Andreas Johnsson. Kapanen is expected to get a three-year deal worth $3.2 million per season while Johnsson will receive four years at $3.4 million per. The deals, however, won’t be finalized until their salary-cap situation is clarified.

The Toronto Maple Leafs reportedly have new contracts in place for wingers Kasperi Kapanen (above, photo via NHL Images) and Andreas Johnsson.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: In other words, once the Leafs sort out Mitch Marner’s contract situation, they’ll formally announce those new contracts.

Not surprising those two are getting affordable deals. Each reached the 20-goal plateau for the first time but they’re coming out of their entry-level deals and had almost no leverage. The odds were low of one of them receiving an offer sheet. If necessary, those contracts would also be easy to move. 

Columbus Blue Jackets winger Artemi Panarin and goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky will meet with the Florida Panthers tomorrow. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I agree with TSN’s Bob McKenzie that Bobrovsky could be the Panthers’ priority. They desperately need a reliable starting goaltender. They’ve already got a proven top-line left wing in Jonathan Huberdeau. Panarin a luxury they don’t need, especially when they also need another top-four defenseman. 

NEW YORK POST: Islanders captain Anders Lee isn’t happy that he doesn’t have a new contract yet. “I didn’t think we’d get to this point,” Lee told NHL.com. “The process hasn’t … I haven’t enjoyed it, but it is what it is. We want to make sure that everything is done right and it’s right for both of us, for both sides. I hope it works out. They’re working on it right now.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Term, not dollars, is the sticking point. The Isles are reportedly willing to go to five years but Lee wants six or seven. The UFA interview period begins today and Lee and his agent can speak with other clubs if they wish. It’s rumored the Chicago Blackhawks and Minnesota Wild could be interested in talking to him.

NHL.COM:  Dallas Stars general manager Jim Nill confirms winger Mats Zuccarello intends to test the UFA market on July 1. However, he could still sign with the Stars. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Sounds like Zuccarello will fish for the best offer on the open market and see if the Stars will match it. 

THE TENNESSEAN’s Paul Skrbina took to Twitter reporting the Nashville Predators won’t be re-signing pending UFAs Wayne Simmonds, Zac Rinaldo, and Cody McLeod. It also doesn’t sound like Brian Boyle will be back but GM David Poile has met with his agent. 

NHL.COM: The Chicago Blackhawks acquired forward John Quenneville from the New Jersey Devils in exchange for forward John Hayden. 

SPORTSNET: The Vancouver Canucks traded forward Tom Pyatt and a sixth-round pick to the San Jose Sharks for Francis Perron and a seventh-round selection.