Notable NHL Headlines – September 28, 2022

Notable NHL Headlines – September 28, 2022

Five days after being sidelined by Hurricane Fiona, Spector’s Hockey is back with the latest notable NHL headlines.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Did you miss me? Because I sure missed all of you!

It’s been difficult for everyone here on Prince Edward Island and for others in Atlantic Canada affected by Hurricane Fiona. My family and I emerged unscathed with no damage to our home or property but many of my neighbors and fellow Islanders weren’t so lucky.

Repairs and cleanup are ongoing but in some cases, it could take weeks. Please spare a thought or prayers for those who still have a lot of work ahead of them to get back to normal. If you wish to make donations to aid those affected by Hurricane Fiona you can follow this link.

I’m grateful to two of my friends for providing me with a place to work until my electricity and internet are restored in the (hopefully) new future. A big thank you to the crews at Maritime Electric and everyone else working hard to get everyone back online.

The following is a brief summary of noteworthy NHL news of the last couple of days. I hope to be back with the daily morning coffee headlines starting Thursday, September 29.

THE SCORE: The NHL salary cap could rise by as much as $10 million by 2025-26. According to Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman and Rory Boylen, the cap is projected to increase to $83.5 million for 2023-24, to between $87.5 million and $88 million for 2024-25, and to approximately $92 million by 2025-26.

Toronto Maple Leafs captain John Tavares (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: And I’m sure we’ll see NHL teams (especially the general managers) being far more prudent spenders and show restraint when signing new contracts over that period…Nahhhhh!

TSN: Toronto Maple Leafs center John Tavares recently suffered an oblique strain and will be out for three weeks.

PHILADELPHIA HOCKEY NOW: Flyers center Sean Couturier will not require surgery for an ongoing back injury. However, he remains sidelined week-to-week.

TRIBLIVE.COM: Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Jeff Petry was fined $5,000.00 for roughing Detroit Red Wings forward Jonatan Berggren during preseason play on Tuesday. The Wings won that game 6-2.

VANCOUVER HOCKEY NOW: Canucks winger Brock Boeser is out three-to-four weeks following surgery to repair a hand injury. TSN reports teammate Ilya Mikheyev suffered a lower-body injury during Monday’s preseason game against the Calgary Flames. He’s listed as week-to-week.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Injuries continue to dog Boeser, who inked a three-year deal worth an average annual value of $6.65 million with the Canucks this summer.

THE PROVINCE: Canucks chairman and governor Francesco Aquilini denies allegations of child abuse by his own children. The NHL is monitoring the situation. The allegations arose during an open hearing earlier this week over whether Aquilini is still responsible for paying for his three youngest children’s education. He and his wife divorced in 2013.

FLORIDA HOCKEY NOW: The Panthers signed Spencer Knight to a three-year contract extension worth an average annual value of $4.5 million beginning in 2023-24. Along with Sergei Bobrovsky ($10 million AAV through 2025-26), the Panthers have the highest-paid goalie tandem in the league.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: One of those two will become an expensive backup over that period.

TSN: The Columbus Blue Jackets signed defenseman Andrew Peeke to a three-year, $8.25 million contract extension.

TSN: The Colorado Avalanche released Alexander Galchenyuk from his professional tryout offer.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This could spell the end of Galchenyuk’s NHL career. He was the third overall pick in the 2012 Draft by the Montreal Canadiens. After several seasons in Montreal, he’s bounced from the Habs to the Arizona Coyotes (twice), Pittsburgh Penguins, Ottawa Senators and Toronto Maple Leafs.

TAMPA BAY TIMES: The Lightning moved their training camp to Nashville ahead of Hurricane Ian bearing down on Florida. They postponed two home preseason games earlier this week.

LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL: Despite missing the playoffs last season, the Golden Knights remain among the hottest tickets in the secondary market. They’re fourth in demand among the 32 NHL clubs on the ticket resale marketplace StubHub.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 17, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 17, 2022

The reaction to the Penguins’ acquisitions of Jeff Petry and John Marino, what’s next for the Canadiens after trading Petry, David Pastrnak could get Johnny Gaudreau money, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

MONTREAL GAZETTE: Canadiens general manager Kent Hughes explained why he shipped Jeff Petry and Ryan Poehling to the Pittsburgh Penguins on Saturday in exchange for Mike Matheson and a fourth-round pick in the 2023 draft.

Montreal Canadiens traded defenseman Jeff Petry to the Pittsburgh Penguins (NHL Images).

Hughes was acting on a trade request Petry made for family reasons during the season. He said the 34-year-old defenseman was appreciative that he was going to an American-based team that would be easier on his family, as well as one that’s going all in to try and win the Stanley Cup.

Matheson was a former client of Hughes’ from his days as a player agent. The Canadiens GM praised the Montreal native’s skating ability and character, adding that he’ll fit in well into head coach Martin St. Louis’ system.

The addition of Poehling in the deal was due to the Penguins’ belief that they’ll need a little more depth at center. With the Canadiens’ addition of Kirby Dach, Hughes felt they were solid enough at that position that they could afford to part with Poehling.

The move also freed up sufficient salary-cap space for the Canadiens to bring back Rem Pitlick on a two-year, $2.2 million contract. Hughes explained they had decided earlier this month not to qualify the 25-year-old center’s rights because their limited cap space would’ve made it difficult to meet what he might’ve received through arbitration.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Those moves leave the Canadiens with over $1.2 million in salary cap space and 21 roster players under contract for 2022-23.

Shipping out Petry also leaves them short of a right-shot defenseman. Hughes indicated he’s open to adding that type of blueliner. He’s also still willing to make another cost-cutting trade.

PITTSBURGH HOCKEY NOW: Prior to acquiring Petry, the Penguins traded defenseman John Marino to the New Jersey Devils in exchange for blueliner Ty Smith and a third-round pick in 2023.

Dan Kingerski reports the move freed up the cap space the Penguins needed to add Petry, who is a bigger, more accomplished rearguard than Marino. He also cited Hextall expressing confidence in Poehling as a big-bodied forward who will have an opportunity to improve in Pittsburgh.

Hextall also thinks Smith has plenty of upside and the ability to regain the form from his promising rookie season after struggling through his sophomore campaign of 2021-22.

While the addition of Petry improves the Penguins’ right-side blueline depth, trading away Matheson to Montreal weakens them on the left side.

NHL.COM: Devils GM Tom Fitzgerald explained his addition of Marino by singling out his competitive nature and puck-handling abilities.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Like Hughes, Hextall might not be done making moves this summer. He could be in the market for an affordable left-side defenseman via free agency or the trade market as insurance in case Smith struggles to adjust with the Penguins.

THE BOSTON GLOBE: Kevin Paul Dupont believes Bruins winger David Pastrnak is in line to receive a contract similar to (or perhaps exceeding) Johnny Gaudreau’s $9.75 million average annual value with the Columbus Blue Jackets. Only five players have scored more goals than Pastrnak over the past six seasons.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Bruins GM Don Sweeney and the Pastrnak camp are currently in contract extension talks. Dupont believes he could get an eight-year, $80 million deal with the Bruins. If the two sides fail to reach an agreement, the 26-year-old winger will probably land a seven-year deal exceeding $10 million annually on the open market.

TWINCITIES.COM: Minnesota Wild owner Craig Leipold admitted he’s feeling some nervousness over unconfirmed reports claiming winger Kirill Kaprizov is being detained in Russia while authorities investigate an alleged attempt to evade military service.

Leipold said Kaprizov is laying low and doing the right things, adding he just wants to be in his home country during the NHL offseason and visiting his family. The Wild owner doesn’t expect any problems with Kaprizov returning to his club in the coming season and remains hopeful there won’t be.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: There have been no new developments regarding Kaprizov’s situation since it was reported over a week ago. Perhaps no news is good news in this case.

DAILY FACEOFF: The Panthers signed forward Chris Tierney to a one-year, two-way contract.










Canadiens Trade Jeff Petry to the Penguins

Canadiens Trade Jeff Petry to the Penguins

The Montreal Canadiens traded defenseman Jeff Petry and center Ryan Poehling to the Pittsburgh Penguins in exchange for defenseman Mike Matheson and a fourth-round pick in the 2023 NHL Draft.

Montreal Canadiens defenseman Jeff Petry (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Canadiens general manager Kent Hughes had been patiently seeking a suitable trade partner for Petry since the 34-year-old blueliner requested a trade last season. He finally found one with the Penguins, but it’s not going down well with Habs fans on social media.

One complaint is that Hughes didn’t clear that much cap space swapping Petry’s $6.25 million average annual value through 2024-25 for the 28-year-old Matheson’s $4.875 million through 2025-26. That’s true over the long term given the extra year on the latter’s contract, but it does free up $1.375 million for the coming season. Poehling’s $750K for 2022-23 also comes off the Canadiens’ books.

While Petry has better offensive stats than Matheson, the latter also skates well, putting up a career-best 31 points last season with the Penguins. He’s a local boy who plays a solid all-around game and could maintain a reliable veteran presence on the rebuilding Canadiens’ defense.

Penguins management still has faith in their aging core and remains in “win-now” mode. Petry’s smooth-skating style, puckhandling skills and postseason experience should fit well within their system. He’ll take some of the offensive burdens from blueline stalwart Kris Letang.

Poehling, meanwhile, was hampered by injuries earlier in his career and struggled at times to establish himself as a roster regular with the Canadiens. He’ll get a fresh start in Pittsburgh and an opportunity to become part of their long-term plan.










NHL Rumor Mill – July 15, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – July 15, 2022

An update on Nazem Kadri and an option on how the Avs might replace him, the effect of Johnny Gaudreau’s signing with Columbus on the Flames and Blue Jackets, and the latest on the Canadiens’ efforts to trade Jeff Petry in today’s NHL rumor mill.

WHERE WILL KADRI LAND?

COLORADO HOCKEY NOW: Adrian Dater believes Nazem Kadri will return with the Colorado Avalanche. He believes both sides want to get a new contract done but there’s no indication of how close or far apart they are in reaching an agreement.

Dater thinks the Calgary Flames are a strong suitor for Kadri. They recently lost top-line forward Johnny Gaudreau to the Columbus Blue Jackets on the opening day of free agency.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kadri rejected a trade to the Flames three years ago when the Toronto Maple Leafs were shopping him, eventually landing in Colorado. Maybe things have changed and enough money could woo the 31-year-old winger to the Stampede City.

Cap Friendly shows the Flames with $18.5 million in cap space while the Avalanche has just $3.9 million. That means the Avs must make a salary-shedding trade to free up sufficient cap space to sign him.

The Denver Post’s Mark Kiszla suggests trading defenseman Samuel Girard and his $5 million annual salary-cap hit to free up the necessary space to sign Kadri or a suitable replacement as their second-line center. There would certainly be a market for the 24-year-old puck-moving blueliner, especially if the return is a low-cost one involving draft picks and prospects. Whether the Avs will go that route, however, is another matter.

Calgary Flames winger Matthew Tkachuk (NHL Images).

THE EFFECT OF GAUDREAU’S CONTRACT UPON THE FLAMES AND BLUE JACKETS

TSN: Salim Valji believes the Calgary Flames must learn lessons from Johnny Gaudreau’s departure if they hope to avoid a similar fate with Matthew Tkachuk. He suggests general manager Brad Treliving meet with the 24-year-old winger to determine if his long-term future is with the Flames or elsewhere.

If there’s any hint Tkachuk is reluctant to stay in Calgary, Valji believes Treliving should trade him rather than risk losing another talented player for nothing to free agency. That’s what happened with Gaudreau as well as T.J. Brodie and Travis Hamonic before him.

Trading Tkachuk, a restricted free agent this summer who is a year away from UFA eligibility, would net the Flames assets that could be put toward a roster reset. However, that would also mean the club wouldn’t be competitive for a couple of seasons. It would also cast doubt on the futures of Elias Lindholm, Jacob Markstrom, Rasmus Andersson and Noah Hanifin in Calgary.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Flames must trade Tkachuk as soon as possible if he won’t commit to a long-term extension. Better to get the best possible return to put toward a retool that could lead to a quick turnaround in their fortunes (with players who want to be there) than a slow, steady decline of talent that ends with a long, painful rebuild.

THE ATHLETIC: Aaron Portzline reports the Blue Jackets’ signing Gaudreau has left them with insufficient salary-cap space to re-sign restricted free agent winger Patrik Laine. They are roughly $3.5 million under the cap, meaning they must trade someone to free up space for Laine.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Portzline suggested shopping Gustav Nyquist, who carries a $5.5 million cap hit and is eligible for UFA status next summer. The 32-year-old winger lacks no-trade protection and had 53 points last season. Perhaps the Jackets can find a playoff contender with cap space seeking a second-line forward to take him off their hands.

CANADIENS WAITING FOR THE RIGHT OFFER FOR PETRY

MONTREAL GAZETTE: Stu Cowan reports Canadiens GM Kent Hughes intends to bring back Jeff Petry for the coming season if he cannot find a suitable trade offer for the 34-year-old defenseman. He indicated he had trades available but none that made sense for his club.

Hughes said he’s not in a position to retain any part of Petry’s $6.25 million cap hit. He’s also not interested in taking back another salary problem or parting with draft picks or prospects. The Habs GM felt his club would be better off with Petry as he can fill an important role on an inexperienced blueline.

THE ATHLETIC: Arpon Basu speculates the availability of John Klingberg in the free-agent market suggests there’s a depressed market for defensemen like Petry who play a similar style. He also believes Hughes wants a tangible return that will make the Canadiens a better team. Basu suggested the Nashville Predators as a trade partner given their cap space and need to balance their top-four defense.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Petry was also linked to the Dallas Stars but that deal isn’t happening if Hughes won’t retain his salary. The Predators could be an option but that doesn’t mean they’re in the market for a blueliner like Petry. Unless another club jumps into the mix, Petry will likely be with the Canadiens for their season-opener in October.










NHL Rumor Mill – July 14, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – July 14, 2022

Will the Flames search for a replacement for Johnny Gaudreau? Are the Sharks done dealing? What’s the latest on Patrik Laine, Jeff Petry and Jakob Chychrun? What’s next for the Jets, Islanders, Penguins and Leafs? Find out in today’s NHL rumor mill.

WILL THE FLAMES FIND A REPLACEMENT FOR GAUDREAU?

CALGARY SUN: In the aftermath of Johnny Gaudreau departing the Flames to sign with the Columbus Blue Jackets, Wes Gilbertson speculated they could be in the bidding for center Nazem Kadri.

CALGARY HOCKEY NOW: Steve Macfarlane also included Kadri on his list of possible “Plan B” options for the Flames. Others include Chicago Blackhawks winger Patrick Kane, Dylan Strome and Nino Niederreiter.

Could the Calgary Flames pursue Nazem Kadri via free agency? (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: As per Cap Friendly, the Flames have $19.7 million in cap space. It will probably cost them $10 million annually to re-sign Matthew Tkachuk. However, with Sean Monahan (hip surgery, $6.25 million cap hit) likely to go on long-term injury reserve in 2022-23, they should still have room to find a replacement for Gaudreau.

I don’t see Kane waiving his no-movement clause to go to Calgary. Kadri would be their best bet via free agency but he rejected a trade that would’ve sent him from the Toronto Maple Leafs to the Flames three years ago. Strome or Niederreiter would be affordable options but won’t replace the offense Gaudreau brought to the club.

POTENTIAL SHARKS TRADE CANDIDATES

SAN JOSE HOCKEY NOW: Sheng Peng wondered which Sharks players will be trade candidates after the club shipped defenseman Brent Burns to the Carolina Hurricanes on Wednesday. “Need a ride to the airport, Erik Karlsson, Logan Couture, Tomas Hertl, or Timo Meier?”

Peng considers Karlsson almost untradeable given his expensive contract. He suggested Couture could draw a taker now if the Sharks retained part of his $8 million average annual value.

Hertl recently re-signed a long-term contract with the Sharks but Peng wonders if he’s having second thoughts following the Burns trade. Meier is slated to become a restricted free agent next summer so his future is wide open.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Mike Grier is wasting no time charting a different course for the Sharks since taking over as general manager. I don’t see him peddling Karlsson, Couture or Hertl unless they ask to be moved.

Meier, however, could get shopped this summer if he appears reluctant to sign a long-term extension. He’ll draw plenty of attention if Grier starts gauging his value in the trade market.

LATEST ON LAINE, PETRY AND CHYCHRUN

THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH: Brian Hedger reports Blue Jackets general manager Jarmo Kekalainen continues working on re-signing left winger Patrik Laine. Having signed winger Johnny Gaudreau on Wednesday, Kekalainen will have to shed salary to make room for Laine’s presumed $8 million-$9 million annual cap hit on his next contract.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Gaudreau and Laine on the same line could give the Blue Jackets a potent scoring punch. With just $3.1 million in cap space, they must dump a contract or two in the trade market to keep Laine in the fold. If not, he could become a trade candidate.

MONTREAL GAZETTE: Stu Cowan reports the Canadiens haven’t found a trade partner to take Jeff Petry and his $6.25 million AAV off their hands. GM Kent Hughes said he won’t move the 34-year-old defenseman unless he finds a deal that advances the Canadiens’ interest. The Habs are pressed against the $82.5 million cap.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Montreal Hockey Now’s Jimmy Murphy cited reports indicating the Canadiens had discussed Petry with the Dallas Stars. However, a deal has yet to materialize and remains unlikely as long as the Habs are reluctant to retain a portion of Petry’s annual cap hit. Murphy speculated the Seattle Kraken could jump into the bidding as they still have sufficient cap space ($15 million) to acquire him.

GOPHNX.COM: Prior to the start of the free-agent market, Craig Morgan reported he didn’t put much stock into recent buzz linking Jakob Chychrun to the Ottawa Senators. He anticipates the 24-year-old defenseman will start the season with the Arizona Coyotes and could be shopped leading up to the 2023 trade deadline.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Ottawa Sun’s Bruce Garrioch reports the Senators are done making additions this summer as they still have an eye on adding to the top end of their defense chart. However, Chychrun might not be in their sights given the Coyotes’ high asking price.

WHAT NEXT FOR THE JETS, ISLANDERS, PENGUINS AND LEAFS?

THE ATHLETIC: Murat Ates reports Pierre-Luc Dubois’ agent Pat Brisson told TVA Sports on Wednesday that Montreal is a place his client would like to play but added the interest in the Canadiens was theoretical.

The Winnipeg Jets center is a restricted free agent who has indicated his desire to test the 2024 UFA market. Ates said he was told the Canadiens had reached out to the Jets about Dubois but their trade proposals were inadequate.

Ates also reports Jets captain Blake Wheeler remains a trade candidate and there’s interest in defenseman Brenden Dillon. However, GM Kevin Cheveldayoff maintains he likes his current roster.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Cheveldayoff could move Dubois, Wheeler or Dillon if a rival club makes an irresistible offer. However, that doesn’t seem to be in the cards for now. It appears the Jets GM wants to gauge how his club performs in 2022-23 under new head coach Rick Bowness.

THE ATHLETIC: Kevin Kurz wondered what the New York Islanders’ “Plan B” is to address their need for a scoring winger after missing out on the Johnny Gaudreau sweepstakes. Trade options could include St. Louis’ Vladimir Tarasenko or Vancouver’s J.T. Miller while Nazem Kadri remains available (for now) in the free-agent market.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Isles reportedly discussed Miller with the Canucks at the draft last week. Maybe GM Lou Lamoriello will revisit that option.

PITTSBURGH HOCKEY NOW: Dan Kingerski wondered if Penguins GM Ron Hextall could use the trade market to free up his blueline logjam. He’s got nine defensemen under contract for 2022-23 and needs to free up some cap space as well as pursue a forward.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Penguins blueliners John Marino, Marcus Pettersson and Brian Dumoulin have surfaced in the rumor mill in recent weeks. As Kingerski pointed out, however, their contracts might not be easy to move.

TORONTO SUN: Terry Koshan reports Maple Leafs GM Kyle Dubas will turn to the trade market to add depth to their defense corps and forward lines. Alex Kerfoot and Justin Holl could be trade candidates.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Dubas remains handcuffed by his limited salary-cap space. I don’t expect he’ll get much of a return for Kerfoot or Holl but maybe a deal will appear following the frenzy of signings from the opening day of free agency.










NHL Rumor Mill – July 13, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – July 13, 2022

The annual free-agent market opens at noon ET today. Check out the latest on Johnny Gaudreau, Nazem Kadri, Claude Giroux, Brent Burns, Darcy Kuemper, Jack Campbell and many more in today’s NHL rumor mill.

SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman believes the Philadelphia Flyers must clear cap space if they’re to pursue a top free agent such as Johnny Gaudreau. They could attempt to move winger James van Riemsdyk in a cost-cutting trade. He’s been linked to the Arizona Coyotes, Buffalo Sabres and Seattle Kraken.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: van Riemsdyk has a year left on his contract with an annual average value of $7 million, though in actual base salary he’ll earn $4 million. He also lacks no-trade protection.

NEW YORK POST: Ethan Sears believes the New York Islanders need a winger like Johnny Gaudreau to maximize center Mathew Barzal’s talent. Limited salary-cap space, however, could hamper their efforts to sign the 28-year-old left winger.

TSN: Chris Johnston reports Claude Giroux appears to be in the crosshairs of the Ottawa Senators. Pierre LeBrun reports this morning the Senators appear to be the front-runners for the versatile 34-year-old forward.

Florida Panthers forward Claude Giroux (NHL Images).

SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman reports the Senators could also target Giroux’s Florida Panthers teammate (and Ottawa native) MacKenzie Weegar. The Panthers are looking to shed some salary. They’d like to re-sign Giroux, who could also draw interest from the Carolina Hurricanes.

LeBrun believes the Edmonton Oilers are the front-runners for goaltender Jack Campbell while netminder Darcy Kuemper appears headed to the Washington Capitals

San Jose Sharks defenseman Brent Burns could be traded by the end of this week. TSN’s Pierre LeBrun reports the Dallas Stars and Carolina Hurricanes are believed to be on his three-team trade list. He also claimed the Hurricanes have “kicked tires” on the 37-year-old blueliner as well as Montreal Canadiens defenseman Jeff Petry.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Sharks will likely have to retain part of Burns’ $8 million annual cap hit through 2024-25 as the Stars and Hurricanes can’t afford to take on his full contract. Otherwise, they will have to take back a contract of equal value or perhaps attempt a three-team trade to spread Burns’ cap hit around.

MONTREAL HOCKEY NOW: Jimmy Murphy cites a rumor from Radio-Canada columnist Martin Leclerc claiming the Montreal Canadiens almost acquire Pierre-Luc Dubois from the Winnipeg Jets at last week’s NHL draft in Montreal. Leclerc claims those trade discussions between the two clubs about the 25-year-old restricted free agent are ongoing.

Murphy also cited RDS’s Renaud Lavoie claiming the Canadiens were very active in trade talks and a deal could come before free agency begins today.

Pierre LeBrun reports the Canadiens are interested in bringing back pending UFA Brett Kulak. They traded the 28-year-old defenseman to the Edmonton Oilers before the March trade deadline.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Canadiens general manager Kent Hughes has quickly established a reputation as a wheeler-dealer. Dubois is rumored to be interested in joining the Canadiens when he becomes eligible for UFA status in 2024.

The Canadiens, however, have limited cap space for 2022-23 so they’ll have to ship out some salary to take on Dubois, Kulak or whoever else Hughes might have his eye on. TSN’s Pierre LeBrun claimed the Carolina Hurricanes have been linked to Habs defenseman Jeff Petry, who’s earning $6.25 million per season through 2024-25.

NEW YORK POST: Larry Brooks reports the Rangers remain linked to Nazem Kadri but it could prove difficult to sign him. The 31-year-old center could command $7 million per season on a six-year contract on the open market. Brooks suggests the Rangers attempt a sign-and-trade scenario involving a third club like the Arizona Coyotes or Chicago Blackhawks to spread the cost of Kadri’s new contract around.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Creative, but unlikely to happen, though it would be quite the accomplishment by Rangers GM Chris Drury if he could pull that off.

WINNIPEG SUN: Scott Billeck reports the Jets are still trying to move team captain Blake Wheeler. He anticipates they’ll have to retain a portion of the 35-year-old winger’s $8.25 million cap hit through 2023-24. It seems doubtful they’ll move Nate Schmidt given the defenseman’s contract.

TORONTO SUN: Terry Koshan reports Maple Leafs GM Kyle Dubas has limited free-agent options to add a backup goaltender with just $6.3 million in cap space and RFAs Rasmus Sandin and Pierre Engvall to re-sign. “Perhaps Ilya Samsonov or Eric Comrie will be a fit.” Koshan believes Dubas’ options could improve if he shed a contract such as Justin Woll ($2 million) or Alex Kerfoot ($3.5 million).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Weakening depth at one position to improve depth at another isn’t going to improve the Leafs’ chance of winning a playoff round next season or bring their 55-year Stanley Cup drought to an end.