Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – April 8, 2018

Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – April 8, 2018

Latest on the Senators, Panthers and Rangers in your Sunday NHL rumor roundup.

SENATORS FACE BUSY OFFSEASON

OTTAWA SUN: Bruce Garrioch examines what is expected to be a busy offseason for the Ottawa Senators. Topping the list, of course, is determining the future of captain Erik Karlsson, who has one year remaining on his contract. The two sides can open contract discussions on July 1 and word is the Karlsson camp could seek an eight-year deal worth between $80 million to $100 million. There was interest in Karlsson from other clubs leading up to the trade deadline and it could persist through the offseason.

The Ottawa Senators will have to determine if center Matt Duchene fits into their long-term plans (Photo via NHL Images.

Like Karlsson, center Matt Duchene is also slated next year to become an unrestricted free agent. The Sens must discuss a contract extension with Duchene, whose decision could be based upon the direction the club intends to take. Restricted free agents Mark Stone and Cody Ceci will have to be re-

signed.

A decision will also have to be reached regarding the future of head coach Guy Boucher. The Sens could be reluctant to make another coaching change over cycling through six coaches in 10 years. The Senators must hope struggling goaltenders Craig Anderson and Mike Condon can bounce back.

Garrioch doubts the Senators will attempt to buy out the remaining four years of Bobby Ryan’s contract. He feels there’s a chance Marian Gaborik could be a buyout candidate, as could winger Alex Burrows. 

BOSTON GLOBE: Fluto Shinzawa believes Karlsson is destined to leave the Senators, as he doubts the small-market club can afford to invest 20 percent of their cap payroll into one player, no matter how dynamic he may be. With the Sens facing a major rebuild, Shinzawa believes the picks and prospects they could get from a Karlsson trade will help their reconstruction.

Shinzawa suggests the New York Rangers as a suitable trade partner as they have the ability to re-sign Karlsson and depth in futures to part with in a trade. He believes Karlsson could help the Rangers’ rebuild gain traction.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Karlsson and the Senators could surprise us by announcing an agreement on an expensive long-term extension for the superstar. However, I’m in the camp that believes he’s played his final game with the Sens. Given the Rangers’ depth in draft picks this year (10 altogether, including three in the first round, two in the second and two in the third), they could be an enticing trade target. However, they could consider Karlsson too pricey and, at 28, too old to fit into their long-term plans.

Cap Friendly indicates the Vegas Golden Knights have also stockpiled a fair number of picks over the next three drafts. They attempted to acquire Karlsson at the trade deadline and could revisit their interest this summer.

Duchene’s situation could also get interesting. He’s spent most of his career with rebuilding clubs and might lack the patience to stick with the Senators if they go for an all-out rebuild.

As for possible buyouts, I agree they probably won’t attempt to buy out Ryan’s hefty contract. In fact, I expect they’ll try to shop him to a club with extra cap space this summer. If Gaborik hasn’t fully recovered from his recent back surgery before the end of June they won’t be allowed to buy him out. As for Burrows, he’s on a plus-35 contract so they won’t get any cap relief from a buyout. 

WHO COULD BECOME THE NEXT RANGERS’ HEAD COACH?

NEW YORK POST: In the wake of the New York Rangers firing head coach Alain Vigneault, Larry Brooks looked at several possible replacements. He lists the University of Denver’s Jim Montgomery, Boston University’s David Quinn, Union College’s Rick Bennett, the AHL’s Toronto Marlies’ Sheldon Keefe and former NHL coaches Dan Bylsma, Darryl Sutter, Dave Tippett and Patrick Roy.

Another option could be Bill Peters of the Carolina Hurricanes, who has an out-clause in his contract and could seek other positions. Brooks also includes Columbus Blue Jackets bench boss John Tortorella. “Unlikely to become available, but if somehow he does if Columbus goes down early, Rangers could become interested in reunion.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: If the Rangers insist on a full rebuild putting most of the focus on youth, they could target a coach who works well with developing young players. If not, perhaps bringing in a veteran coach with some championship experience will be an option. 

WHAT NEXT FOR THE PANTHERS?

ESPN.COM: Greg Wyshynski suggests the Florida Panthers should look into adding a top-six winger this summer. One option via free agency this summer could be New Jersey Devils winger Michael Grabner. He also thinks they must make a decision about physical third-pairing defenseman Alex Petrovic, who’s a restricted free agent this summer. While the Panthers like the intangibles he brings, Wyshynski feels they should look into trading him if their interest is in improving the overall team. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: If the Panthers don’t like what they see in this summer’s crop of free-agent wingers, perhaps they might consider bundling Petrovic with a draft pick or prospect to a team with limited salary-cap space in hopes of landing a winger? Just musing out loud. 

 











NHL Rumor Mill – November 22, 2017

NHL Rumor Mill – November 22, 2017

Latest on the Canadiens, Oilers, Sabres, Rangers and more in your NHL rumor mill.

CANADIENS, OILERS &  SABRES SPECULATION

TSN: During Tuesday’s “Insider Trading” segment, Pierre LeBrun said he doesn’t foresee any drastic moves by the struggling Montreal Canadiens in the imminent future. He said Canadiens owner Geoff Molson still believes in general manager Marc Bergevin and his front-office staff. LeBrun notes the Canadiens will have three second-round selections in the 2018 NHL Draft. While they could be used as trade chips, Bergevin apparently isn’t inclined to move his high draft picks.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Maybe Molson’s confidence in Bergevin changes if the Habs miss the playoffs. Then again, he could give his embattled GM an opportunity next summer to improve the roster. If they decide to start rebuilding before the Feb. 26 trade deadline, they could retain those second-round picks. 

LeBrun also reports Edmonton Oilers GM Peter Chiarelli is looking around for a defenseman. He was in Buffalo scouting the Sabres and Columbus Blue Jackets. Bob McKenzie observes the Blue Jackets are in the market for a center and blueliner Ryan Murray might be available. McKenzie adds Florida Panthers rearguard Alex Petrovic isn’t playing very much and his name has surfaced in trade talks. He hasn’t requested a trade but is getting frustrated with being a healthy scratch.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Oilers center Ryan Nugent-Hopkins has been linked to the Blue Jackets but there’s no certainty Chiarelli will part with him. Murray isn’t the only defenseman the Jackets could trade. Jack Johnson is eligible next summer for unrestricted free agency. David Savard, meanwhile, was a healthy scratch in a recent game.

Petrovic recently said he thinks the Panthers’ coaching staff doesn’t have any confidence in him. Sounds like a blueliner who needs a change of scenery.  It could bolster his trade value if the Panthers get him into some games so rival clubs in need of defensive help can evaluate him. 

Darren Dreger reports Buffalo Sabres GM Jason Botterill isn’t in any hurry to move left wing Evander Kane or young forward Sam Reinhart. Kane’s a UFA next summer but Dreger claims nothing to date would encourage Botterill to deal him. The Sabres also want to continue evaluating Reinhart’s performance over the remainder of this season and see how he fits with Jack Eichel and their other young players.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: If Kane is traded I believe it’ll happen closer to the Feb. 26 deadline. Dreger suggests Reinhart might be in play in the offseason. That, of course, will depend upon his performance over the remainder of this season and the club’s ongoing needs heading into next summer. 

NEW YORK POST: Larry Brooks reports Rangers GM Jeff Gorton faces a tough call leading up to this season’s trade deadline between taking “a rather far-fetched run at a title with many of the same guys who have come close before or to divest and kick the can down the road by investing in a future that is always more uncertain in practice than presented in theory.”

If they decide to move some of their pending UFAs, Brooks wonders if they could get a first-round pick as part of a return for Rick Nash or if they could wheedle a first-rounder or a high second-rounder for winger Michael Grabner. He suggests defenseman Ryan McDonagh, a UFA in 2019 who’ll be in line for a big raise, could fetch a better return, perhaps Mitch Marner from the Toronto Maple Leafs or Mikhail Sergachev from the Tampa Bay Lightning.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Where the Rangers are in the standings by February will determine what course Gorton takes. If they remain a bubble club, perhaps he’ll shop some of those UFAs for the best return he can get.

Parting ways with McDonagh would be a huge move, attracting a number of suitors leading up to the deadline. The Leafs would certainly be among them but they might not be keen to part with Marner. If the Lightning continue to dominate the Eastern Conference, they’ll have no reason to move Sergachev for McDonagh, especially with Nikita Kucherov,  Braydon Point  and Vladislav Namestnikov due for substantial raises themselves by 2019. 

 

 











NHL Rumor Mill – November 3, 2017

NHL Rumor Mill – November 3, 2017

Updates on the Colorado Avalanche, Detroit Red Wings, Ottawa Senators, Vancouver Canucks and Philadelphia Flyers in your NHL rumor mill. 

BSN DENVER: Adrian Dater reports if there’s been any trade talk between the Colorado Avalanche and any other NHL team regarding Avs center Matt Duchene, none of the offers were good enough to get a deal done. With Duchene eligible in 2019 for unrestricted free agency, Dater doesn’t expect the Avs to let him walk away for nothing. He believes general manager Joe Sakic wants either a young established defenseman or  “a really strong, blue-chip caliber prospect defenseman.”

Dater also notes Avs blueliner Nikita Zadorov, 22, was a healthy scratch in recent games. He wonders if packaging Zadorov with Duchene might land the type of defenseman they covet. Zadorov went through a summer-long contract impasse with the Avs before signing a two-year, $4.3 million deal. Dater said he’s not advocating this move and admits dealing away Zadorov, who still has plenty of potential, could be a risk. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Despite Zadorov’s recent scratches from the Avalanche lineup there’s no indication Sakic intends to trade him. With the Avs off to a better-than-expected start to this season, Sakic isn’t in any rush to move Duchene right now. I think he’ll remain patient in hopes a rival club gets desperate enough to meet his asking price before the Feb. 26 trade deadline. 

OTTAWA SUN: Bruce Garrioch reports scouts from 20 NHL teams took in last night’s game between the Detroit Red Wings and Ottawa Senators in Ottawa. The Senators would like to add a forward and Garrioch claims Wings GM Ken Holland is working the phones in search of help for his struggling club. 

DETROIT FREE PRESS: In a recent mailbag segment, Helene St. James was asked about the chances of the Detroit Red Wings trading goaltender Petr Mrazek for a top scorer or defenseman. She notes Mrazek’s low trade value, pointing out he went unclaimed in the expansion draft.  Perhaps a scenario could open up where a team gets desperate enough for goaltending help to dangle an above-average player or prospect but doesn’t believe he’ll fetch a top scorer or defenseman. 

St. James was also asked about the possibility of Andreas Athanasiou getting moved by the Feb. 26 trade deadline. While she acknowledges his “high-end skill” makes the Wings better, she can see a scenario whereby an underachieving contender might offer up a blue-chip prospect or a first-round pick.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Once considered the Wings’ future starter, Mrazek is now entrenched in the backup role behind Jimmy Howard. He’s a restricted free agent with arbitration rights next July and I wouldn’t be surprised if the Wings part ways with him in the offseason. The Wings really want to keep Athanasiou, who’s also an RFA with arbitration rights next summer. Unless they get a irresistible offer, I don’t see him going anywhere this season. 

THE ATHLETIC: Pierre LeBrun reports Senators GM Pierre Dorion was scouting the Vegas Golden Knights during their recent games against the New York Rangers and New York Islanders. LeBrun believes Dorion offered up goaltender Andrew Hammond to the Golden Knights, whose goaltending depth has been hollowed out by injuries. The Knights, however, probably took a pass for now. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Knights assistant GM Kelly McCrimmon said his club is likely to wait for their injured goalies to return rather than swing a quick-fix trade. 

THE PROVINCE: Jason Botchford wonders what the future holds for Vancouver Canucks defenseman Erik Gudbranson, who’s in a contract year and hasn’t delivered as expected. He notes Florida Panthers GM Dale Tallon expressed interest in bringing back Gudbranson in September but thinks the blueliner’s struggles could affect his value. Botchford also notes Panthers defenseman Alex Petrovic is in coach Bob Boughner’s doghouse and wonders if he could be a fit with the Canucks. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Tallon may have wanted Gudbranson back before but he might not be feeling the same way after watching the blueliner’s performance this season. But if the Panthers GM still wants him and if he’s willing to part with Petrovic, maybe that’s something the Canucks should consider. 

PHILLY.COM: Sam Carchidi reports Philadelphia Flyers GM Ron Hextall isn’t in panic mode despite the injuries decimating his defense corps. Andrew MacDonald, Shayne Gostisbehere, and Radko Gudas are currently sidelined, as Sam Morin and T.J. Brennan. Hextall said he has no plans to make a trade. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Gostisbehere could return to the lineup this weekend. In the meantime, the Flyers have 15 points and sit only three points out of first in the Metropolitan Division. Hextall can afford to be patient for now. 

 











NHL Rumor Mill – November 2, 2017

NHL Rumor Mill – November 2, 2017

Latest on the New York Rangers, Edmonton Oilers and more in your NHL rumor mill. 

SPORTSNET: In his latest “31 Thoughts” column, Elliotte Friedman notes the New York Rangers began restocking their roster this summer and speculates the struggling club will continue that trend. Moving out pending unrestricted free agents such as Rick Nash and Michael Grabner would be the obvious, “simple play, very easy to do.”

He doesn’t see them shopping Pavel Buchnevich, Brady Skjei or Mika Zibanejad, but thinks they could consider testing other options, such as gauging the value of Ryan McDonagh, Mats Zuccarello, Chris Kreider or J.T. Miller. Friedman doesn’t see them moving everybody and suggests it’s possible none of those four could move, but feels they will look. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Much was made of several members of the Rangers’ front office scouting Monday’s Montreal Canadiens-Ottawa Senators game in Ottawa. The speculation suggested they were scouting Habs forwards Alex Galchenyuk and Andrew Shaw.

However, TSN’s Bob McKenzie cautions not to assume a deal is imminent between the two clubs.  “Last I heard, and again it’s always subject to change with one phone call, but it wasn’t front-burner, pot-boiling, ready to make a transaction as much as it was two teams that are on really hard times talking to each other about some possibilities.” McKenzie’s colleague Pierre LeBrun also said that trip was more of a  ‘file away the game for perhaps something down the road’.

Friedman suggests the Edmonton Oilers could be affected by whatever decisions the Rangers make. He said general manager Peter Chiarelli “has a lot of balls in the air”, as Jussi Jokinen is reportedly available and at least one team has interest in defenseman Matt Benning.

However, the Oilers could be in the same position as the Montreal Canadiens, forced to look to within for improvement. Friedman also suggests 2016 first-round pick Jesse Puljujarvi could be a valuable trade chip if (and that’s a big “if”) management determines he’s not a fit in Edmonton.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I don’t see Jokinen or Benning fetching the type of return that immediately improves the Oilers. Packaging one of them with Puljujarvi might do the trick, but is it really worthwhile shipping out a promising young right winger who could address their long-term needs for a quick fix now? 

It could be worthwhile keeping an eye on Florida Panthers defenseman Alex Petrovic. He’s had his ice time cut this season and was a healthy scratch three times. He’s a year away from UFA status. Given how difficult blueliners are to find via trade, other clubs will be watching. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The 6’4″, 216-pound Petrovic is considered a physical shutdown blueliner. If he’s not a fit with the Panthers, he will attract some interest in the trade market. 

The Winnipeg Jets are getting calls about third-string goaltender Michael Hutchinson. Ottawa Senators third stringer Andrew Hammond could also pop up soon in the rumor mill. He’s has a .929 save percentage with the Sens farm team this season. 

Pittsburgh Penguins GM Jim Rutherford wants to ease the workload of defenseman Kris Letang but a healthier roster should address that issue. Rutherford said he’s not feeling any pressure to make trades.