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.
An update on the Wild’s GM search, the latest on Joe Thornton, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.
THE ATHLETIC: In a recent mailbag segment, Michael Russo was asked if it’s down to Bill Guerin or Tom Fitzgerald as general manager of the Minnesota Wild. Guerin is an assistant general manager with the Pittsburgh Penguins and Fitzgerald an assistant GM with the New Jersey Devils.
Fitzgerald interviewed for the job last year before the Wild hired Paul Fenton. Since Fenton’s firing, Russo reports Fitzgerald had just a brief conversation with Wild owner Craig Leipold.
Russo considers Guerin the front-runner for the job. However, he doesn’t rule out Montreal Canadiens assistant GM Scott Mellanby and former Philadelphia Flyers GM Ron Hextall as potential contenders.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: There’s no indication as to when the Wild will hire Fenton’s replacement, though I suspect it could come by early September at the latest. They’ll want the new GM in place to fully assess the roster throughout training camp and preseason play.
NBC SPORTS BAY AREA: San Jose Sharks star Logan Couture believes long-time teammate Joe Thornton will return for another season. “I talked to Joe a month ago and asked him what was going on and he said, ‘Oh don’t worry about it,’ so I took that as he’ll be back,” Couture told NHL.com.
San Jose Sharks forward Logan Couture is confident teammate Joe Thornton (pictured) will return this season (Photo via NHL Images).
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Thornton will be back with the Sharks this season, likely on a one-year, bonus-laden contract.
NBC SPORTS: New Jersey Devils center Nico Hischier could face pressure to improve entering the final season of his three-year entry-level contract. After a promising 52-point debut in 82 games in 2017-18, injury limited Hischier to 47 points in 69 games last season. The good news was his points-per-game rose in ’18-’19 compared to his rookie year.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I think Hischier will have his best season yet. Had he not missed 13 games last season he would’ve exceeded his rookie numbers. A healthier campaign will lead to healthier numbers.
THE BUFFALO NEWS: Sabres legends Gilbert Perreault and Rene Robert approve of the club returning to its primary color of royal blue for their 50th anniversary. That was the color the Sabres sported from 1970 to 1996.
EDMONTON JOURNAL: The Boston Bruins signed former Oilers defenseman Alex Petrovic to a professional tryout offer.
Golden Knights defeat the Coyotes, the Oilers make trades with the Blackhawks and Panthers, an update on Dustin Byfuglien, and more in your NHL morning coffee headlines.
NHL.COM: Paul Stastny and Brandon Pirri each had a goal and an assist to lead the Vegas Golden Knights to a 5-1 win over the Arizona Coyotes. Alex Galchenyuk tallied for the Coyotes.
EDMONTON SUN: The Oilers had a busy Sunday, making trades with the Florida Panthers and Chicago Blackhawks. The Oilers first shipped defenseman Chris Wideman to the Panthers for blueliner Alex Petrovic, then traded winger Drake Caggiula and rearguard Jason Garrison to the Blackhawks for defensemen Brandon Manning and Robin Norrell.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: With the Oilers having dropped five in a row and once again in danger of sliding out of the playoff race, general manager Peter Chiarelli opted to make a couple of deals to shore up his injury-depleted blueline. Petrovic and Manning will be expected to bring more grit and shutdown experience to the Oilers’ defense. Both moves were greeted with puzzlement and disdain by the club’s followers, who see them as merely rearranging the deck chairs on a sinking ship.
As for the Panthers and Blackhawks, they’re giving up players who no longer fit into their plans. The Panthers gave up Jonathan Marchessault to protect Petrovic in the 2017 expansion draft, a move that backfired as Marchessault now stars with the Vegas Golden Knights. The Blackhawks signing of Manning this summer turned into a costly mistake for a club with limited salary-cap space, one that management is now happy to have off its books.
Winnipeg Jets defenseman Dustin Byfuglien will be sidelined for a month. (Photo via NHL Images)
WINNIPEG SUN: Jets defenseman Dustin Byfuglien will be sidelined for at least a month with a lower-body injury.
TSN: The NHL Players Association released a statement on Sunday ripping Dallas Stars CEO Jim Lites for his “reckless and insulting remarks” regarding the performance of Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin. “If players directed such comments towards management, how would those be regarded?” the NHLPA said in its statement. “To say that Jim Lites’ conduct is unprofessional would be a gross understatement. In professional sports, all individual players and teams go through highs and lows, but this is not how professionals handle adversity.”
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Stars GM Jim Nill said he agreed with the hockey aspect of Lites’ criticism but not the tone. Publicly calling out your best players for underperforming is one thing. Calling them “fucking horseshit” in a long expletive-filled published rant was unnecessary and could do more harm than good.
TAMPA BAY TIMES: The Lightning’s high-scoring ways have overcome their defensive struggles of late.
THE ATHLETIC: Vancouver Canucks goaltender Jakob Markstrom had his best December performance ever, sporting a record of 8-1-0 with a 1.66 goals-against average and a save percentage of .943.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Markstrom’s performance is a key reason why the Canucks vaulted up the standing this month and sit just outside of a wild-card spot in the Western Conference.
THE BUFFALO NEWS: Struggling winger Kyle Okposo could be skating on the Sabres fourth line after failing to score in 21 straight games.
A review of TSN’s updated trade-bait board (which includes such notables as Colton Parayko, Jeff Carter, Kevin Hayes, and Jimmy Howard) in today’s NHL rumor mill.
TSN: St. Louis Blues defenseman Colton Parayko, Los Angeles Kings blueliner Jake Muzzin, New York Rangers center Kevin Hayes, Carolina Hurricanes rearguard Brett Pesce, and Kings center Jeff Carter top Frank Seravalli’s updated trade-bait board.
St. Louis Blues defenseman Colton Parayko tops TSN’s recently updated NHL trade-bait board. (Photo via NHL Images)
While there’s a lot of attention lately on the futures of Vladimir Tarasenko and Alex Pietrangelo, Seravalli claims there are teams willing to line up to land Parayko, who could fetch the Blues a significant return. He suggests the Edmonton Oilers consider pursuing the 25-year-old d-man.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Seravalli’s colleague Bob McKenzie made the observation that if Blues general manager Doug Armstrong could be listening to offers for “just about everybody” (including Tarasenko), it doesn’t mean he’s trading he’s trading everybody. Still, that hasn’t stopped the growing speculation over the futures of some of the Blues best players, including Pietrangelo.
Sportsnet’s Josh Beneteau listed the Buffalo Sabres, Colorado Avalanche, New York Islanders, Toronto Maple Leafs, and Vegas Golden Knights as five clubs that could make a trade for Pietrangelo.
The Athletic’s Jeremy Rutherford, meanwhile, reports the Blues aren’t believed actively shopping anyone and echoes McKenzie’s opinion that just because they’re willing to consider a big move doesn’t mean they’re going to do it. While there’s a belief the Leafs and Blues had a casual chat about Pietrangelo, Rutherford cites another source saying that speculation probably generated from the Leafs need for a top defenseman and Pietrangelo would make a lot of sense if available.
What’s interesting is that Parayko hasn’t generated nearly as much chatter in the rumor mill as Pietrangelo and Tarasenko, even though he’d probably be the most likely of that trio to move if the Blues opt to swing a major deal. He’s a little younger (25) than the other two, lack no-trade protection and carries a reasonable annual average value ($5.5 million) through 2021-22.
Maybe Parayko’s struggles this season have dampened his trade value, or maybe it’s a case where a guy who doesn’t garner as much media attention ends up being the one who gets traded. If the Oilers take Seravalli’s advice, I expect the asking price could be Darnell Nurse or a package including winger Jesse Puljujarvi.
Turning to the Kings, Seravalli suggests Muzzin and perhaps currently sidelined defenseman Alec Martinez are prime candidates to become part of a shake-up trade. So could Carter, who lacks a no-trade clause but could use the threat of retirement as a means of picking his next destination. If he were to retire, the Kings would be hit with a salary-cap recapture penalty.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Kings need younger talent so I can certainly see any one of those three being shopped if the return includes a promising young NHL player. The Athletic’s Craig Custance also suggested Tyler Toffoli and Jonathan Quick as possible trade options if they were to follow the blueprint the Boston Bruins used in trading Milan Lucic, a move that allowed to Bruins to quickly restock with young talent.
As for Carter, Custance’s colleague Fluto Shinzawa suggested Carter could be a good short-term fit for the Bruins to bolster their depth at center. Young Bruins such as Ryan Donato and Anders Bjork could be part of the Kings’ asking price.
It seems to be only speculation at this point that Carter would use the retirement threat as a measure of no-trade protection. If he were to retire, Cap Friendly yesterday informed me that the Kings would get tagged with a $2.75- million cap hit per season for the remaining three seasons of his contract, with the Columbus Blue Jackets (Carter’s former team) getting tagged for over $180K over the same period.
The Philadelphia Flyers, the team that signed Carter to his current contract, traded him before the deal went into effect. I’m guessing that’s why they won’t also get hit with a cap recapture penalty.
Turning to Hayes, Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman suggests the Boston Bruins, Colorado Avalanche, and Winnipeg Jets could target him as a depth option at center. He also thinks the Nashville Predators could pursue Hayes’ teammate Mats Zuccarello, who (like Hayes) is due to become an unrestricted free agent in July.
Seravalli also feels Pesce or Justin Faulk could be peddled by the Hurricanes for a scoring forward, suggesting Leafs winger Kaspari Kapanen could be among their trade targets.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Leafs could be reluctant to move Kapanen, preferring to retain their embarrassment of riches up front for the remainder of this season.
Minnesota Wild center Charlie Coyle, Detroit Red Wings winger Gustav Nyquist, Hurricanes winger Micheal Ferland, Wings goaltender Jimmy Howard, and Ottawa Senators center Matt Duchene round out the top 10.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Recent reports claim Coyle could be available, linking him to the Bruins, Senators and Montreal Canadiens. Trade speculation over the futures of Nyquist and Howard has died down with the Wings staying in playoff contention, though they might pick up if they fall out of the postseason chase before the Feb. 25, 2019 trade deadline.
Seravalli believes Ferland could be dealt because he’s on a pace this season that could put him in line for a Tom Wilson-type contract (six years, $31 million) and that’s rich for the Hurricanes. However, there’s no certainty he will remain on that pace. Let’s see how things shake out with him between now and the trade deadline.
As for Duchene, there’s been some optimistic talk of late suggesting he and the Senators could be working toward a contract extension. Those discussions are expected to resume in January.
Zuccarello, Blues forward Alex Steen, Anaheim Ducks winger Jakob Silfverberg, Faulk, Philadephia Flyers winger Wayne Simmonds, Martinez, Blues defenseman Jay Bouwmeester, Wild winger Nino Niederreiter, Rangers forward Vladislav Namestnikov, and Columbus Blue Jackets goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky fill positions 11 to 20 on Seravalli’s list.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Steen has a full no-trade clause and could be unwilling to leave St. Louis. Silfverberg is due for UFA status in July but the Ducks could hang onto him if they remain in the playoff race. Simmonds is also a pending UFA and has frequently surfaced in the rumor mill. If the Flyers fail to gain ground in the standings, he could be a goner by the trade deadline.
I don’t see any market for the aging, banged-up Bouwmeester. Niederreiter, like Coyle, is thought to be someone Wild GM Paul Fenton might be willing to move but Fenton appears to be staying patient with both players.
Namestnikov surfaced earlier this season as a trade candidate but his improved play since then has largely quieted that talk. The 25-year-old is under contract through 2019-20 at $4 million annually. As long as the Blue Jackets remain in playoff contention, Bobrovsky’s not going anywhere this season.
Kapanen and fellow Leaf forward Andreas Johnsson, Edmonton Oilers goalie Cam Talbot, Senators defenseman Cody Ceci, Blue Jackets winger Artemi Panarin, Vancouver Canucks blueliner Michael Del Zotto, Florida Panthers rearguard Alex Petrovic, Chicago Blackhawks defender Brandon Manning, Canucks center Sam Gagner, and Pittsburgh Penguins winger Phil Kessel fill positions 21-30.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: If the Leafs seek a top-pairing defenseman, Kapanen and Johnsson could be part of the asking price. The recent improvement of Talbot and the Oilers quieted any suggestions that he could become available. Ceci’s a restricted free agent with arbitration rights next summer, which likely explains his placement on his list. Like Bobrovsky, Panarin’s going nowhere this season as long as the Jackets are a playoff club.
The Athletic’s George Richards recently reported Petrovic felt like he’s been pushed aside in Florida. He could be on the move before the trade deadline. He’s a UFA at season’s end. Kessel’s name recently popped up in the rumor mill. Unless an interested club is willing to part with a hefty return, don’t expect to see him moving this season.
Alex Burrows retires, latest player signings and more in your NHL morning coffee headlines.
SPORTSNET: After 13 NHL seasons, winger Alex Burrows announced his retirement to become an assistant coach with the AHL’s Laval Rocket. He finished his NHL playing career with 205 goals, 409 points and 1,134 PIMs in 913 games. He spent over 11 seasons with the Vancouver Canucks and less that two with the Ottawa Senators.
Former Vancouver Canucks and Ottawa Senators forward Alex Burrows retires (Photo via NHL.com).
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Burrows’ best seasons were with the Canucks. Skating on the same line with the Sedin twins, Burrows tallied 26-plus goals and 48-or-more points four times between 2008-09 to 2011-12. His most memorable goal was the overtime winner in Game 7 of the 2011 Western Conference Quarterfinals. Burrows’ agitating style was hated by opposing players and fans but he was beloved by the Canucks and their supporters.
WGR 550: Buffalo Sabres center Jack Eichel has changed his number from 15 to 9, the same number he wore in college hockey.
EDMONTON JOURNAL: The Oilers re-signed forward Ryan Strome to a two-year deal worth an annual average value of $3.1 million.
DENVER POST: The Colorado Avalanche agreed to a two-year, $3.95-million contract with forward Matt Nieto.
SUN-SENTINEL: The Florida Panthers re-upped defenseman Alexander Petrovic to a one-year, $1.95-million deal.
TORONTO STAR: The Toronto Maple Leafs signed unrestricted free agent forward Tyler Ennis to a one-year, $650K contract. Ennis was recently bought out by the Minnesota Wild.
LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL: The Vegas Golden Knights re-signed goaltender Oscar Dansk to a two-year, two-way deal worth $675K at the NHL level.
SPORTSDAY: The Dallas Stars agreed to a one-year contract with center Jason Dickinson worth $875k.
TRIBLIVE.COM: Former Pittsburgh Penguins first-round pick Beau Bennett signed with KHL club Dinamo Minsk.
TSN: Ottawa Senators assistant general manager pleaded not guilty to a second charge of sexual harassment.
SPORTSNET: In notable non-NHL news, the RCMP has charged the driver of a transport truck with ” 29 criminal charges in a fatal collision that killed 16 people, including 10 players, with the Humboldt Broncos junior hockey team” in April.
Reviewing TSN’s offseason trade-bait board in your NHL rumor mill.
TSN: Ottawa Senators defenseman Erik Karlsson, Buffalo Sabres center Ryan O’Reilly, Senators winger Mike Hoffman, Carolina Hurricanes left wing Jeff Skinner and Montreal Canadiens left winger Max Pacioretty top Frank Seravalli’s listing of this summer’s top trade-bait board.
Ottawa Senators defenseman Erik Karlsson tops TSN’s top-25 offseason trade-bait board (Photo via NHL Images).
Senators general manager Pierre Dorion has said he wants to re-sign Karlsson, who’s a year away from unrestricted free agent status, and doesn’t intend to trade him at the upcoming 2018 NHL draft. However, the fact the Senators were apparently close to shipping Karlsson to the Vegas Golden Knights at the trade deadline in February accounts for the blueline topping this list.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Senators will certainly try to re-sign Karlsson, but if the two sides can’t reach an agreement, I wouldn’t dismiss the possibility of the Sens shopping him in July. Seravalli’s colleague Darren Dreger considers Hoffman more likely to be dealt than Karlsson.
In his latest column for The Athletic, TSN’s Pierre LeBrun reports the Montreal Canadiens are among the teams to express interest in O’Reilly, who could fetch the Sabres a handsome return. However, his market value could depend upon what happens with New York Islanders’ pending free-agent center John Tavares.
The recent changes in Hurricanes ownership, management and coaching staff has prompted anticipation of a roster shakeup this summer. Pierre LeBrun reports a dozen teams have reached out to the Hurricanes, who’ve set the asking price for Skinner at a first-round pick and a prospect. Skinner has a full no-movement clause, giving him control of this situation.
Like Karlsson, Pacioretty is a year away from UFA eligibility. There’s speculation suggesting a possible “sign-and-trade” scenario for him.
Washington Capitals backup goaltender Philipp Grubauer, the Vancouver Canucks first-round pick (seventh overall), Arizona Coyotes blueliner Oliver Ekman-Larsson, Pittsburgh Penguins right wing Phil Kessel and Nashville Predators rearguard P.K. Subban round out the top ten.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: LeBrun believes the Hurricanes and Islanders have shown interest in Grubauer, who’s due to become a restricted free agent this summer. Seravalli said there’s a belief the Canucks offered up their first-round pick to the Hurricanes for defenseman Noah Hanifin, but it’s thought Carolina GM Don Waddell prefers moving veteran Justin Faulk over Hanifin. I still believe Faulk is the more likely trade option.
The Coyotes have reportedly offered Ekman-Larsson an eight-year, $66-million contract. Based on his previous remarks suggesting money alone won’t determine his future plans, it wouldn’t surprise me if he stays put.
Penguins GM Jim Rutherford recently said he doesn’t feel that he has to trade Kessel but there’s a persistent belief the winger could be dealt for the right offer. Such a move, however, would adversely affect the Penguins’ offensive production. As for Subban, Seravalli claims there’s “lots of chatter” he’ll be dealt again. However, I believe GM David Poile wants to keep his core intact for another run next season at the Stanley Cup.
Positions 11-15 are filled by Hurricanes defensemen Justin Faulk and Noah Hanifin, Florida Panthers blueliner Alex Petrovic, Calgary Flames defender Dougie Hamilton and Winnipeg Jets rearguard Jacob Trouba.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: As I noted earlier, I believe Faulk is more likely to be moved than Hanifin, who still has plenty of upside and has yet to reach his playing prime. There hasn’t been much Panthers’ trade talk in the media. Petrovic’s been mentioned as a possible trade chip to bring in a forward.
Seravalli said teams are calling about Hamilton but Flames GM Brad Treliving said he’s not interested in moving him. That might change for the right price but it’s probably much more than other clubs are willing to part with right now.
Trouba requested a trade two years ago but he’s since changed his tune. If his contract negotiations get contentious again the Jets could shop him but I think things will go smoothly this time.
Sabres defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen, Penguins winger Conor Sheary, Edmonton Oilers left wing Milan Lucic, Coyotes left winger Max Domi and Canadiens forward Alex Galchenyuk hold spots 16 through 20.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: LeBrun said teams are calling about Ristolainen but he believes the Sabres are reluctant to move him. I expect they’ll retain him. There’s been conjecture suggesting Sheary or Carl Hagelin could be dangled for a defenseman.
The decline in Lucic’s performance, as well as his hefty annual average value ($6-million) through 2022-23 and no-movement clause, should ensure he remains with the Oilers.
Domi’s name surfaced during regular-season trade chatter. Seravalli claims he’s on the block but teams might not be willing to pay the asking price. No word on what that might be.
Galchenyuk’s been a fixture in the rumor mill for some time. He could be moved if the Canadiens re-sign Pacioretty.
Capitals winger Andre Buravosky, Canucks defenseman Chris Tanev, New York Rangers forward Vladislav Namestnikov, Sabres forward Sam Reinhart and Anaheim Ducks right wing Corey Perry complete the listing.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Cap Friendly indicates the Capitals have over $66 million invested in 19 players for 2018-19. Re-signing John Carlson could push that total to $74 million, leaving little room to re-sign RFAs like Burakovsky even if the cap ceiling jumps to $80 million. However, a buyout of Brooks Orpik could free up sufficient room to keep him.
Canucks GM Jim Benning insists he’s not interested in trading Tanev and I take him at his word. Namestnikov is a restricted free agent with arbitration rights. Perhaps the Rangers might shop him if he seeks more than they’re willing to pay. Reinhart’s name has come up as a possible trade option but I think the Sabres will be patient with him for another season.
Seravalli said it’s believed the Ducks asked Perry, who has a full no-movement clause, for a list of preferred trade destination. He notes, however, the winger also has three years and $24 million left on his contract and that will be tough to move. If the Ducks are serious about shopping Perry, they might have to pick up part of his $8.625-million AAV.