Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – May 7, 2023

Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – May 7, 2023

A look at rumored candidates for the Rangers’ head-coaching job plus the latest Penguins speculation in the Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup.


NEW YORK POST: Larry Brooks wondered who would replace Gerard Gallant after he and the Rangers mutually agreed to part ways on Saturday.

Brooks reports Joel Quenneville will not be among the candidates. He remains under an unofficial and open-ended suspension by the NHL for his failure to act responsibly in the Kyle Beach sexual assault issue while coaching the Chicago Blackhawks in 2010. The Rangers will not approach the league to ask commissioner Gary Bettman to lift his suspension.

New York Rangers general manager Chris Drury (

General manager Chris Drury and his staff have begun compiling a list of candidates but there is so far no clear front-runner. It’s uncertain whether candidates such as Patrick Roy who didn’t get an interview two years ago will be in the mix now.

Prior to Gallant and the Rangers parting company, a source suggested former Calgary Flames bench boss Darryl Sutter to Brooks. However, he doubts that a coach who alienated part of his roster this season while failing to reach the playoffs would be a candidate for the Blueshirts’ coaching gig.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This being one of the notable head coaching jobs in the NHL, we’re likely to hear plenty of rumors in the coming weeks over who will be Gallant’s replacement. I agree with Brooks that Sutter probably won’t be a candidate after the season he had with the Flames.

It’ll be interesting to see who the Rangers bring in. Will they go with an experienced NHL coach or look toward someone from the minors, junior or college ranks? We’ll likely know before the NHL Draft (June 28-29) as I daresay they’ll want that position filled before then.


THE HOCKEY NEWS: Nick Horwat recently suggested the Pittsburgh Penguins look toward the Winnipeg Jets as possible offseason trade partners.

The Jets could be looking at shaking things up this summer following their disappointing performance down the stretch and their first-round elimination by the Vegas Golden Knights.

Connor Hellebuyck could be of interest to the Penguins, who need an upgrade in goal. The former Vezina Trophy winner is 30 and has a year left on his contract with a cap hit of $6.1 million.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Horwat believes Hellebuyck would be worth every penny for the Penguins. Cap Friendly shows them with over $20 million in cap space for 2023-24 so they can afford to acquire him.

Hellebuyck also lacks no-trade protection. If the Jets decide to shop him, their asking price could include the Penguins’ 2023 first-round pick.

PITTSBURGH HOCKEY NOW: Dan Kingerski was asked by several readers if Hellebuyck or Anaheim Ducks goalie John Gibson could be in play in the offseason trade market.

Kingerski doubts the Ducks will peddle Gibson if they get a top-two pick in this year’s draft. If they do make him available, he doubts the Penguins can afford to acquire him, suggesting the Ducks could seek two first-round picks and more in return.

Hellebuyck, on the other hand, could be a different story. He believes the Jets might be amenable to a player-for-player trade, though the Penguins convincing one of their players with a no-trade or no-move clause to accept a move to Winnipeg could be a problem.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kingerski also noted the Ottawa Senators are reportedly interested in Gibson but can outbid the Penguins. However, the Senators might not be on his list of acceptable trade destinations.

Recent rumors suggest the Ducks are willing to help Gibson find a suitable trade destination, preferably one that isn’t rebuilding. The Pittsburgh native could accept coming home to play with Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin.

The Penguins will likely have to give up their first-rounder in the deal but the rest of the asking price might not be that expensive. The Ducks already have six picks in the first three rounds of this year’s draft and in next year’s as well. They could be more interested in moving Gibson’s contract, which has four years remaining with an annual cap hit of $6.4 million.

Horwat also suggested center Mark Scheifele and defenseman Neal Pionk as trade targets. He admits the 29-year-old Scheifele might be hard to fit in on a club already deep with centers but felt he’s the kind of talent you find a solution for. Horwat considers Pionk more obtainable, suggesting he’d be a good replacement for Jeff Petry.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Scheifele is talented and could skate on the wing alongside Sidney Crosby or perhaps he could center the second line with Evgeni Malkin shifted to the wing. Like Hellebuyck, he has a year remaining on his contract. Scheifele has also faced criticism in recent years for his inconsistent play.

Pionk would be a good replacement for the aging Petry provided the Penguins can find a taker for him to clear his $6.25 million annual cap hit from their books. That’s assuming the Jets are willing to move Pionk.

Horwat also looked at possible buyout candidates. The first choice would be Jeff Carter but he’s on a 35-plus contract, meaning his annual cap hit would still count in full against the Penguins’ salary cap.

Jeff Petry and forward Mikael Granlund are other possibilities. However, there’s also the concern that those buyouts could become anchors if the rest of the roster is built incorrectly.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Penguins appear stuck with Carter for the final season of his contract. They can’t buy him out and he’s got a full no-movement clause.

I suspect the Penguins would prefer trading Petry and/or Granlund even if they have to retain a portion of their salary rather than buy them out. Whether they go either route remains to be seen. New management could see how both perform next season.

NHL Rumor Mill – April 13, 2023

NHL Rumor Mill – April 13, 2023

What next for the Penguins after being eliminated from playoff contention? Could this season’s playoffs affect Auston Matthews’ future with the Maple Leafs? Check out the latest in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.


PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE/THE ATHLETIC: Matt Vensel and Rob Rossi looked at the offseason issues facing the Penguins after their streak of 16 consecutive playoff appearances came to an end this week.

Pittsburgh Penguins general manager Ron Hextall (

The new ownership group will have to decide if they’ll bring back general manager Ron Hextall and president of hockey operations Brian Burke or replace one or both men. Rossi observed that Hextall and Burke were hired by the previous ownership.

Vensel noted that Hextall made several savvy trades and signings. However, there were also crippling mistakes, including the blueline being worse than last season and trade deadline acquisition Markus Granlund failing to pan out.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I’ll be very surprised if Hextall and Burke are back for 2023-24. They seemed like deer in headlights this season when it came to addressing their team’s on-ice woes.

Head coach Mike Sullivan is signed through 2026-27. Rossi doesn’t see them paying Sullivan for the next five seasons not to coach. Vensel observed that ownership thinks highly of him.

Both writers believe Sullivan will return. If so, Vensel believes he must make changes to adapt to his personnel and figure out why a veteran-laden club lacked composure this season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Sullivan’s contract pretty much ensures he’ll be behind the Penguins’ bench next season. I agree that he must evaluate what he can do to remedy his club’s on-ice issues but management must provide him with a better roster than the one he had to work with this season.

Venzel doesn’t expect the Penguins will trade Evgeni Malkin and Kris Letang after re-signing them last summer. He believes pending free-agent goaltender Tristan Jarry should not be re-signed, though the other goalie options in this summer’s unrestricted free-agent market are a bit underwhelming. He suggested the Boston Bruins’ restricted free agent Jeremy Swayman could be worth considering.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Vensel didn’t indicate if the Penguins should attempt to acquire Swayman via trade or offer sheet. The Bruins face more of a cap pinch than the Pens so perhaps an offer sheet might work provided Swayman is willing to sign one.

Along with Jarry, Rossi pointed out that their other notable UFAs included Brian Dumoulin and Jason Zucker. Rossi observed the Penguins have over $63.2 million invested in 15 players for 2023-24. Vensel doesn’t expect Dumoulin and Zucker will be back unless the Penguins can free up some cap space to re-sign the latter.

Vensel speculated the Penguins could attempt to trade away a high-salaried player. It could cost them a draft pick to move Granlund and his $5 million average annual value. Jeff Petry has a partial no-trade clause and the Penguins would have to find a suitable replacement.

Jeff Carter has a full no-trade clause. He’s on a 35-plus contract meaning the Penguins get no cap relief if he retires or is bought out. Short of somehow sending his contract to a team like the Arizona Coyotes, Carter will likely remain on their books next season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: They don’t have many good options here that won’t cost them a draft pick or a prospect as a sweetener in the deal. Teams could prefer they retain some salary.


TORONTO STAR: Nick Kypreos observed that the Maple Leafs can open contract extension talks with Auston Matthews on July 1. However, he wondered what impact the coming playoffs will have on Matthews’ future with the Leafs.

Matthews is slated to become an unrestricted free agent next July. He’s earning an average annual value of $11.6 million on his current contract.

Kypreos suggests a successful first round by the Leafs could go a long way in convincing Matthews to remain in Toronto for the long term. Another early postseason exit, however, had Kypreos wondering if that will decrease Matthews’ odds of signing a lengthy extension, especially if the Leafs end up replacing general manager Kyle Dubas.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kypreos believes the Leafs will triumph this time over the Tampa Bay Lightning in the rematch of last year’s first-round series. If Matthews isn’t convinced to sign long-term, he envisions the Leafs star inking a three- or four-year deal to take advantage of the salary cap rising over that period.

The Leafs and Matthews have plenty of time to negotiate a new deal regardless of length. Nevertheless, his contract status could dominate this summer’s rumor mill if the Leafs make another first-round departure. The longer Matthews goes without a new deal, the more questions will be asked about his future.

NHL Rumor Mill – March 31, 2023

NHL Rumor Mill – March 31, 2023

Is it time for the Penguins to clean house? Will the Red Wings pursue scorers in the offseason? Check out the latest in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.


PITTSBURGH HOCKEY NOW: That’s what Dan Kingerski believes despite the fact the Penguins could make their 17th consecutive playoff appearance. While he doesn’t rule out a possible playoff upset, he felt that they must shake things up after this season’s uneven performance.

Pittsburgh Penguins winger Jake Guentzel (NHL Images)

Kingerski believes head coach Mike Sullivan’s job is safe but the Penguins need a retooling of the veteran players surrounding Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and Kris Letang. “No one should be safe, including Jake Guentzel, Bryan Rust and Jeff Petry.” However, he acknowledged Jeff Carter and his $3.125 million cap hit will be back next season

General manager Ron Hextall and his staff should be questioned by their bosses over the rebuilding side of Hextall’s plan. Kingerski noted he hasn’t had the same success signing NCAA free agents as his predecessor, wondered if they’ll land any European free agents, and why their AHL affiliate in Wilkes-Barre/Scranton is worse now than they were.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This isn’t a trade rumor but I think the Penguins will be worth watching in the offseason. There’s no doubt that they have not improved compared to last season. They’re the oldest team in the league and have played like it on too many nights this season.

Making the playoffs should save Hextall’s job but that’s not a certainty with the Florida Panthers nipping at the Penguins’ heels. He’s been feeling the heat from fans and pundits (like Kingerski) over the course of this season. That should be concerning to the club’s owners.

I agree with Kingerski that Sullivan should be back and that the supporting cast around Crosby, Malkin and Letang must improve, especially the goaltending and their blueline depth.

Whether Guentzel is part of those changes remains to be seen. Carter only has a year left on his contract but the 38-year-old center is coming to the end of his playing days. However, his full no-movement clause should ensure he plays out that season in Pittsburgh.


THE ATHLETIC: Max Bultman recently suggested the Detroit Red Wings should bolster their offense after trading away Jakub Vrana and Tyler Bertuzzi.

Finding it won’t be easy in this summer’s free-agent market. Patrick Kane and Vladimir Tarasenko are both on the wrong side of 30, as are second-tier scorers like Alex Killorn and Jason Zucker. Michael Bunting, 27, will be seeking a big-money, long-term contract.

Another immediate fix would be an offseason trade similar to the Ottawa Senators acquiring Alex DeBrincat last summer. However, it’s too early right now to determine which players could be available.

Bultman also believes they must add a more reliable No. 2 goaltender. Possible short-term UFA options could include Semyon Varlamov or Alex Stalock.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Wings have plenty of projected salary cap space (over $30 million) with all their core players under contract for next season. They also have five picks in the first two rounds of this year’s draft plus a deep pool of promising players within their system to draw upon as trade bait during the offseason.

Whether general manager Steve Yzerman will make a significant signing or a bold trade to help his club remains to be seen. Nevertheless, like the Penguins, they could be worth monitoring this summer.

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 29, 2023

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 29, 2023

A five-point performance for the Oilers’ Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, the Flames and Predators gain ground for the final Western Conference wild-card berth, Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews weighs in on his future, and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.

NHL.COM: A five-point performance by Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (one goal, four assists) powered the Edmonton Oilers to a 7-4 romp over the Vegas Golden Knights. Connor McDavid collected three assists while Leon Draisaitl had two points for the 43-23-9 Oilers (95 points) as they moved to within one point of the second-place Los Angeles Kings in the Pacific Division. Jonathan Marchessault tallied twice for the Golden Knights (46-22-6) as they hold first place in the Pacific with 98 points.

Edmonton Oilers center Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Nugent-Hopkins is enjoying a career-best 96-point performance this season. He’s four points away from joining McDavid and Draisaitl in the 100-point club, which would be the first time an NHL team had at least three 100-point players in a season since the 1995-96 Pittsburgh Penguins.

Speaking of the Kings, their 12-game points streak ended with a 2-1 loss to the Calgary Flames. Jacob Markstrom made 33 saves while Andrew Mangiapane and Walker Duehr scored for the 34-26-15 Flames (83 points) as they moved within two points of the Winnipeg Jets for the final Western Conference wild-card berth. Sean Durzi replied for the Kings (43-21-10) as they remain two points back of the Golden Knights with 96 points.

The Nashville Predators also kept pace in the race for the final Western wild-card spot by nipping the Boston Bruins 2-1, preventing the latter from clinching the Presidents’ Trophy for 2022-23. Juuse Saros kicked out 35 shots while Cody Glass and Cole Smith tallied for the Predators (37-28-6) as they sit one point behind the Flames. David Pastrnak tallied his 52nd goal of the season for the 57-12-5 Bruins, who sit atop the overall standings with 119 points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Predators and Bruins wore Covenant School stickers on their helmets in support of the Nashville school that was attacked by a shooter on Monday.

Sidelined Bruins winger Taylor Hall is reportedly close to returning to the lineup. That could create a salary-cap headache for the Bruins as they lack the cap space to add him to the lineup.

Speaking of the Jets, they were blanked 3-0 by the San Jose Sharks. James Reimer picked up the shutout with a 41-save effort while Noah Gregor, Kevin Labanc and Martin Kaut scored for the 20-39-15 Sharks. Connor Hellebuyck stopped 27 shots for the Jets as they slipped to 41-31-3 and cling to that final Western wild-card berth with 85 points.

Tampa Bay Lightning goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy stopped 31 shots to blank the Carolina Hurricanes 4-0. Brayden Point scored two goals and collected an assist while Steven Stamkos had a goal and two helpers for the Lightning, who improved to 43-26-6 and hold third place in the Atlantic Division with 92 points. The Hurricanes (47-17-9) remain in first place in the Metropolitan Division with 103 points.

The New York Rangers picked up their ninth win in their last 11 games with a 6-2 victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets. Patrick Kane and Vladimir Tarasenko each scored for the 44-20-10 Rangers (98 points) as they sit two points back of the second-place New Jersey Devils in the Metro Division. Johnny Gaudreau had a goal and an assist for the 23-43-7 Blue Jackets.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Speaking of Tarasenko, the Rangers clinching a playoff berth on Monday means the 2024 fourth-round pick they sent to the St. Louis Blues as part of the return for the winger upgrades to a third-rounder in 2024.

Turning to the Eastern Conference wild-card race, the Pittsburgh Penguins failed to widen their lead for the final spot by falling 7-4 to the Detroit Red Wings. David Perron tallied a hat trick while Dylan Larkin had a goal and two assists for the 32-32-9 Red Wings. Evgeni Malkin and Rickard Rakell each collected two assists as the Penguins (36-28-10) had dropped six of their last eight games as they cling to that wild card berth with 82 points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Red Wings coach Derek Lalonde was ejected from this game in the second period for arguing with an on-ice official after the Penguins tied the game 3-3 on a controversial power-play goal by Jeff Carter, who Lalonde believed interfered with goaltender Alex Nedeljkovic.

Before the game, the Penguins assigned defenseman Taylor Fedun to their AHL affiliate to make room for Jeff Petry, who returned to action after being sidelined for five games with an upper-body injury.

Dallas Stars netminder Jake Oettinger made 17 saves to backstop his club over the Chicago Blackhawks 4-1. Joe Pavelski netted his 22nd goal of the season as the Stars (40-20-14) are tied with the Colorado Avalanche with 94 points, though the latter holds second place in the Central Division with a game in hand and four more wins. The Blackhawks fell to 24-44-6 on the season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews has resumed practicing with his teammates after recovering from the effects of long COVID and chronic immune response syndrome that sidelined him since Jan. 28. He’s hoping to return to action at some point before the end of the season.

Toews acknowledged those could be his final games with the Blackhawks as he faces an uncertain future. The 34-year-old center is an unrestricted free agent this summer but he acknowledged his illness could prevent him from continuing his playing career.

The St. Louis Blues blew a 5-2 lead to the Vancouver Canucks before winning the game 6-5 on an overtime goal by Jakub Vrana, who finished the game with two goals for the Blues. Quinn Hughes and Andrei Kuzmenko each tallied twice and Brock Boeser collected three points for the Canucks. Both clubs have records of 34-34-6.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: After struggling the last two seasons with the Red Wings, Vrana appears reborn in St. Louis. He has eight goals and 10 points in 12 games with the Blues since joining them via trade at the March 3 deadline.

Philadelphia Flyers forward Morgan Frost scored two goals as his club held off the Montreal Canadiens 3-2. Felix Sandstrom stopped 32 shots for the 29-32-12 Flyers, who eliminated the 30-39-6 Canadiens from playoff contention.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Canadiens forward Kirby Dach missed this game with an upper-body injury while a lower-body injury sidelined Flyers goalie Carter Hart. Both are believed to be day-to-day.

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 19, 2023

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 19, 2023

The Oilers’ Connor McDavid reaches another scoring milestone, the Blackhawks’ Jonathan Toews reportedly considering retirement, the Capitals’ John Carlson talks about his gruesome head injury and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.

NHL.COM: Edmonton Oilers captain Connor McDavid had his fourth straight multi-point game (1 goal, two assists) in a 6-4 victory over the Seattle Kraken. Evander Kane tallied a hat trick while Leon Draisaitl and Mattias Ekholm each collected three assists for the 39-23-8 Oilers as they hold third place in the Pacific Division with 86 points. Jamie Oleksiak collected two assists for the Kraken (38-24-7) as they hold the first wild-card berth in the Western Conference with 83 points.

Edmonton Oilers center Connor McDavid (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It was McDavid’s 40th multi-point game, making him the sixth player in NHL history to reach that plateau. Meanwhile, Kraken goaltender Philipp Grubauer left the game with a non-COVID illness.

The Boston Bruins defeated the Minnesota Wild 5-2 to snap the latter’s 14-game points streak. Brad Marchand collected three assists, David Pastrnak scored his 47th goal of the season and Linus Ullmark stopped 29 shots for the Bruins (52-11-5) as they sit atop the overall standings with 109 points. Marcus Johansson has a goal and an assist for the 39-22-8 Wild as they slipped to third place in the Central Division with 86 points.

Colorado Avalanche center Nathan MacKinnon had a goal and two assists and defenseman Cale Makar collected three points in a 5-1 victory over the Detroit Red Wings. Mikko Rantanen tallied his 46th goal of the season for the Avalanche (40-22-6) as they won their fifth straight game to move ahead of the Wild into second place in the Central with 86 points. Pius Suter replied for the 30-29-9 Red Wings.

The New York Rangers got a 33-save shutout by Igor Shesterkin as they thumped the Pittsburgh Penguins 6-0. Mika Zibanejad had a goal and two assists while Artemi Panarin tallied twice for the 40-19-10 Rangers as they sit third in the Metropolitan Division with 90 points. The Penguins (34-25-10) dropped their third straight game and slipped into the final Eastern Conference wild-card spot with 78 points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Penguins defensemen Jeff Petry and Jan Rutta missed this game with injuries.

New York Islanders goaltender Ilya Sorokin stopped 29 shots in a 4-1 victory over the San Jose Sharks. Jean-Gabriel Pageau had a goal and an assist for the 36-27-8 Islanders as they hold the first Eastern wild-card berth with 80 points. The Sharks fell to 19-37-14.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: San Jose goalie James Reimer became the latest NHL player to refuse to wear a Pride jersey during pregame warmups for his club’s Pride Night event. The Sharks also sent rookie winger William Eklund back to their AHL affiliate.

An overtime goal by Neal Pionk lifted the Winnipeg Jets over the Nashville Predators 3-2. Nikolaj Ehlers and Josh Morrissey each had two points as the Jets improved to 39-28-3 (81 points) to hold the final Western Conference wild-card spot, sitting two points behind the Kraken. Juuse Saros made 31 saves for the Predators (34-25-8) as they sit five points back of the Jets.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Predators captain Roman Josi left the game in the first period with an undisclosed injury. There was no post-game update regarding his condition.

A four-goal third period rallied the Florida Panthers to a 4-2 victory over the New Jersey Devils. Sam Reinhart scored twice while Aleksander Barkov, Carter Verhaeghe and Brandon Montour each collected two points as the 35-27-7 Panthers (77 points) moved within one point of the Penguins. Akira Schmid made 37 saves for the Devils (44-18-7) as they sit second in the Metropolitan Division with 95 points.

Carolina Hurricanes center Sebastian Aho scored in overtime to complete his hat trick and nip the Philadelphia Flyers 5-4. Martin Necas had two points as the Hurricanes moved to 45-15-8 and widen their lead over the Devils atop the Metropolitan Division with 98 points. Noah Cates, Tyson Foerster and Brendan Lemieux each had a goal and an assist for the 25-32-12 Flyers.

The Toronto Maple Leafs defeated the Ottawa Senators 5-4 on a shootout goal by Alex Kerfoot. Matt Murray kicked out 48 shots, Calle Jarnkrok tallied twice while Mitch Marner and John Tavares each had two points for the 42-18-9 Maple Leafs as they sit second in the Atlantic Division with 93 points. Brady Tkachuk scored two goals for the 33-31-5 Senators as they sit seven points out of the final Eastern wild-card spot.

Tampa Bay Lightning forward Brandon Hagel had a hat trick in a 5-3 win over the Montreal Canadiens. Nikita Kucherov and Mikhail Sergachev each had two assists for the Lightning (42-22-6) as they remain three points back of the Leafs with 90 points. Nick Suzuki had two assists for the 27-37-6 Canadiens, who played without defenseman Kaiden Guhle (lower-body injury) for this game.

Dallas Stars forward Jason Robertson scored twice (including the winning goal) and collected an assist in a 6-5 overtime victory over the Calgary Flames. Jamie Benn had two assists for the 38-19-13 Stars as they sit in first place in the Central Division with 89 points. Rasmus Andersson had a goal and two assists for the Flames (31-24-15) as they sit four points behind the Jets for the final Western wild-card spot with 77 points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Flames made Milan Lucic a healthy scratch for this game.

Shootout goals by Andrei Kuzmenko and J.T. Miller gave the Vancouver Canucks a 3-2 win over the Los Angeles Kings. Elias Pettersson scored in the third period to tie the game for the 30-33-5 Canucks as they extend their points streak to nine games. The Kings (40-20-10) sit in second place in the Pacific Division with 90 points.

The Arizona Coyotes doubled up the Chicago Blackhawks 4-2. Clayton Keller and Juuso Valimaki each had three points for the 27-31-11 Coyotes as they extended their points streak to eight games. The Blackhawks fell to 24-39-6.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: A report out of Chicago cited sources claiming Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews is seriously considering retirement after dealing with long-COVID symptoms and chronic immune response syndrome. He’s been out of the lineup dealing with those ailments since Jan. 28. The club still publicly remains hopeful that he’ll return to the lineup before the end of the season.

WASHINGTON HOCKEY NOW: Sidelined Capitals defenseman John Carlson revealed that he suffered a fractured skull and a severed temporal artery when he was struck in the head by a slapshot during a Dec. 23 game against the Winnipeg Jets. The 33-year-old defenseman has only recently returned to skating with his teammates with a non-contact jersey. There is no exact date yet for his return.

NHL Rumor Mill – February 24, 2023

NHL Rumor Mill – February 24, 2023

Could Patrick Kane end up with the Rangers? Are the Penguins interested in Jakob Chychrun or peddling Jeff Petry? What’s the latest on Vladislav Gavrikov and Brock Boeser? What about the Senators, Flyers and Capitals? Find out in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.


TSN: Chris Johnston reports the hockey world is still waiting for Chicago Blackhawks winger Patrick Kane to decide whether he’ll waive his no-movement clause before the March 3 trade deadline. Johnston believes the New York Rangers, Edmonton Oilers and Dallas Stars could be keeping tabs on the 34-year-old Kane.

NEW YORK POST: Mollie Walker reports the Rangers’ decision to sit Vitali Kravtsov and Jake Leschyshyn for “roster management reasons” prompted speculation they were getting closer to acquiring Kane. It would require a three-team trade to pull this off with the Blackhawks retaining 50 percent of Kane’s $10.5 million salary-cap hit and the Rangers and another club splitting the remainder.

Chicago Blackhawks winger Patrick Kane (NHL Images).

Walker also believes the Rangers would have to waive another player even if Kravtsov and Leschyshyn went to the Blackhawks. Another option would be waiving Kravtsov and Leschyshyn on Saturday and then waiting until March 3 to acquire Kane as the Rangers will have accrued sufficient cap space by that time to squeeze in the remainder of his cap hit in a three-team deal.

NYI HOCKEY NOW: Stefen Rosner cited a source claiming the Rangers and Blackhawks are hammering out the framework of a deal that would send Kane to New York. Kravtsov and Zachary Jones are named as part of the return to Chicago with a third team involved to spread Kane’s cap hit around.

ESPN’s Kevin Weekes reports Kane’s agent, Pat Brisson, said there are “plenty of contenders” interested in his client.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kane to New York won’t be easy to pull off but it’s not impossible. I don’t rule it out if Rangers general manager Chris Drury doesn’t have to give up a first-round pick, a top prospect or a young roster player like Alexis Lafreniere or Kaapo Kakko. Drury could end up with considerable leverage if the Rangers are Kane’s only preferred destination. In that case, the Blackhawks will have to accept whatever the Blueshirts are willing to offer as it’s expected that they’re going to honor Kane’s wishes.


THE ATHLETIC: Rob Rossi reports sources are claiming that Pittsburgh Penguins head coach Mike Sullivan wants GM Ron Hextall to trade for Jakob Chychrun. However, Hextall is unwilling to do this because the Arizona Coyotes want him to include the Penguins’ 2025 and 2026 first-round picks as part of the return for the 24-year-old defenseman.

Rossi also noted the Penguins would have difficulty fitting Chychrun’s $4.6 million annual average value within their limited salary-cap payroll for this season. It would require the Coyotes retaining half of his cap hit or the Penguins sending a salaried player to Arizona. Hextall has informed the other NHL general managers that Kasperi Kapanen is available.

TSN: Pierre LeBrun noted a recent rumor flying around claiming the Penguins might be willing to part with defenseman Jeff Petry, who carries an AAV of $6.25 million through 2024-25. LeBrun indicated they’re not expected to make the 35-year-old blueliner available at the deadline.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Hextall’s in a difficult position here. His club is sinking in the standings and could fall completely out of playoff contention without a big move to improve the roster. Chychrun could help but the Penguins GM would be sacrificing two major pieces that will be necessary to rebuild the roster once Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and Kris Letang reach the end of their careers.

As for Petry, his cap hit, age, 15-team no-trade clause and the decline in his production would make him a tough sell with so many teams carrying little or no cap space this season.


TSN: Pierre LeBrun reports the Ottawa Senators are in the market for a defenseman as well as a center leading up to the trade deadline. However, they’re not among the suitors for Coyotes defenseman Jakob Chychrun. They’ve been linked to him for some time but Senators management considers the Coyotes’ asking price to be too high.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Ottawa Sun’s Bruce Garrioch has reported the same thing for weeks now. The Senators were interested in Chychrun but not at the cost of two first-rounders and a high-end prospect.


THE ATHLETIC: Aaron Portzline reports that multiple team and league sources confirmed that the Columbus Blue Jackets believed they had a deal in place that would’ve shipped defenseman Vladislav Gavrikov to the Boston Bruins. Instead, the Bruins acquired blueliner Dmitry Orlov from the Washington Capitals.

The Jackets have held Gavrikov out of the lineup for over a week now for “trade-related reasons”. It’s unclear if he’ll return to the lineup for Saturday’s game against the Edmonton Oilers. Portzline indicates the Edmonton Oilers, Los Angeles Kings and Toronto Maple Leafs are in the market for a left-side blueliner.

Portzline also noted there is speculation linking the Blue Jackets to Arizona Coyotes defenseman Jakob Chychrun. The Coyotes seek at least a first-round pick as part of the return but there’s no way the Blue Jackets are parting with their 2023 first-rounder as it could become the first-overall selection.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I believe Gavrikov will still get traded but the Blue Jackets might not get the type of return similar to what they had lined up with the Bruins. Still, they could use the following week to see if they can stoke a bidding war between the interested clubs.

SPORTSNET: Iain MacIntyre reports Brock Boeser’s agent, Ben Hankinson, has been working with Vancouver Canucks management trying to find a trade for the 25-year-old winger. However, his $6.65 million salary cap hit through 2024-25 is a major obstacle. Canucks GM Patrik Allvin said he still values Boeser and doesn’t want to force anything.

Hankinson said Boeser would fit in well with the Minnesota Wild. However, the Canucks would have to retain a significant portion of the Minnesota native’s cap hit.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Canucks were believed unwilling to retain any portion of Boeser’s salary. However, MacIntyre noted that Allvin didn’t rule it out in a recent interview, saying it depended on the deal and what’s included.

Boeser to Minnesota is possible if the Canucks are willing to retain half of his cap hit. That would also mean the Wild having to give up a significant asset in return. Allvin could seek a top prospect like Jesper Wallstedt, Marco Rossi, Liam Ohgren or Brock Faber.


TSN: Chris Johnston believes Philadelphia Flyers winger James van Riemsdyk could be a “Plan B” option for teams that lose out in the bidding for San Jose Sharks winger Timo Meier. Those could include the Carolina Hurricanes, Winnipeg Jets or Vegas Golden Knights. He also thinks teams that aren’t in on Meier, like the Colorado Avalanche and Minnesota Wild, could be keeping tabs on van Riemsdyk.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: van Riemsdyk isn’t a 70-plus point performer like Meier but he’s an experienced, big-bodied winger with playoff experience who has reached or exceeded 20 goals seven times in his career, including 24 last season. He’s on an expiring contract with a $7 million cap hit but the Flyers will likely retain half of it for the right offer.

NBC SPORTS PHILADELPHIA: Jordan Hall cited Daily Faceoff’s Frank Seravalli reporting Joel Farabee’s camp has expressed their displeasure to Flyers management over how this season has unfolded under head coach John Tortorella.

Farabee has struggled this season in part because of neck surgery last summer throwing off his offseason training program. He’s managed just nine goals and 17 assists in 59 games this season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Seravalli listed Farabee at No. 20 on his updated trade targets list. He’s in the first year of a six-year, $30 million contract so I don’t see him getting moved at the deadline. Still, it’ll be worthwhile to keep an eye on this situation.

Farabee isn’t the only player who’s had some difficulty with Tortorella. Kevin Hayes has surfaced occasionally in the rumor mill after he was scratched from a couple of games earlier in the season.


THE ATHLETIC: Tarik El-Bashir looked at who else could be on the trade block for the Washington Capitals after they dealt Dmitry Orlov and Garnet Hathaway to the Boston Bruins on Thursday. Anthony Mantha, Lars Eller, Conor Sheary and Marcus Johansson are among those who could be available.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: All but Mantha are slated to become unrestricted free agents this summer. Mantha has another year remaining on his contract. With a dozen players eligible for UFA status this summer, it’s probably a safe bet that Capitals management will be listening to offers for them.