Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – October 30, 2022

Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – October 30, 2022

Will the Red Wings sign Dylan Larkin or replace him with Bo Horvat? What’s the latest on the Canucks and Penguins? Find out in the Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup.


THE ATHLETIC: In a recent mailbag segment, Max Bultman was asked why the Detroit Red Wings hadn’t signed captain Dylan Larkin to a contract extension. The 26-year-old center is in the final season of his contract and eligible for unrestricted free-agent status next July.

Detroit Red Wings captain Dylan Larkin (NHL Images).

Bultman was surprised that the Wings haven’t re-signed Larkin yet. He speculates that Mathew Barzal’s recent contract extension (with an average annual value of $9.15 million) could be affecting Larkin’s negotiations. Bultman wondered if the Wings captain would accept $9.5 million annually on a seven-year deal or perhaps something between $8.2 million to $8.3 million on an eight-year deal as the total dollars would still be around the same.

TORONTO STAR: Nick Kypreos suggested keeping an eye on the Red Wings should trade rumors start up on Vancouver Canucks captain Bo Horvat later this season. He indicated Larkin was seeking a deal as high as Barzal’s and speculated Wings general manager Steve Yzerman could instead “choose to spend a good portion of that on Horvat.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Larkin is earning an annual cap hit of $6.1 million on his current deal and has a full no-trade clause for this season. The Michigan native has indicated there’s nowhere else he’d rather play that in Detroit. With the Wings finally showing signs of improvement after years of rebuilding, he could stick around and lead this club to the next level.

Bultman is of the opinion that the Wings cannot afford to lose their leader in Larkin, fearing it would set their rebuild back for years. He also noted, however, that Yzerman has a history of taking negotiations with his stars down to the wire, having done so with Steven Stamkos in Tampa Bay back in 2016.

Plenty of time remains for the two sides to work out an agreement. Nevertheless, Larkin could become the subject of growing trade speculation if he’s not re-signed leading up to the March 3 trade deadline, especially if the Wings are out of playoff contention by then.

As for Horvat, he’s also eligible for UFA status next summer and could become a trade candidate if the Canucks fail to improve over the course of this season. His contract talks reportedly stalled when he rejected what Kypreos called a lowball offer from management this summer.

Maybe Yzerman will pursue Horvat at the trade deadline if he can’t get Larkin under contract by then. However, I doubt he’ll waste trade assets on acquiring the Canucks captain unless Horvat is willing to sign a contract extension. He could wait and attempt to sign Horvat via free agency but the 27-year-old center could have other destinations in mind.


SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman reports the Vancouver Canucks made it clear to some of their players that if changes were to be made it wouldn’t potentially be just the head coach. They told those players they’ve had two coaches with this group and it isn’t working so far. If anybody thinks they can sit back and wait for a coaching change, the changes might instead be with the roster.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That’s a point that has been raised by some other pundits as well. Having already done a coaching change last season, at some point you have to start making the players accountable as well.

As Friedman reported, those Canucks seemed to get the message as they won their last two games. It’ll be interesting to see if that message sticks as they attempt to dig themselves out of the current hole they dug for themselves.

THE ATHLETIC: In a recent mailbag segment, Josh Yohe was asked if the Pittsburgh Penguins still intend to trade a defenseman. He doesn’t feel they’re urgently trying to make a move but doesn’t rule it out at some point.

Yohe acknowledged Pierre-Olivier Joseph has played well thus far and the Penguins don’t dislike him. However, he still believes they want to get Ty Smith into the roster at some point sooner rather than later, which would entail shipping out Joseph for perhaps a forward prospect.

NHL Rumor Mill – October 22, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – October 22, 2022

Should the Leafs dangle Nick Robertson as trade bait for Jakob Chychrun? Could the Panthers pursue a replacement for the sidelined Aaron Ekblad in the trade market? Find out in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.


TORONTO SUN: Michael Traikos suggests the Maple Leafs should trade promising Nick Robertson to the Arizona Coyotes for Jakob Chychrun. The 21-year-old forward had an impressive season debut against the Dallas Stars on Thursday night with two goals, the second coming in overtime following his smart defensive play to thwart a Stars’ two-on-one scoring opportunity.

Toronto Maple Leafs forward Nick Robertson (NHL Images).

Traikos acknowledges Robertson’s potential as a top-six forward but believes the Leafs already possess enough depth in that department. They need to bolster their blueline and Chychrun would do that. He’s also 24 and carries an affordable $4.6 million cap hit through 2024-25.

Chychrun has asked to be traded to a contender and Traikos believes the Leafs could be at the top of the list, They have the pieces to get a deal done plus they’re in “win-now” mode.

With Chychrun close to returning from offseason wrist surgery, Traikos suggested the Leafs offer up a package of Robertson and their 2023 first-round pick as part of it. He also proposed including Alex Kerfoot and his $3.5 million cap hit in the deal to free up the necessary salary-cap space if sidelined defenseman Jake Muzzin returns to the lineup later this season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Traikos makes a good point regarding the Leafs’ defense. If they were to pursue Chychrun, the Coyotes could agree to accept Robertson as part of the return. However, I don’t think they’ll want Kerfoot in the deal given his eligibility for unrestricted free-agent status next July.

General manager Bill Armstrong reportedly seeks a return heavy with future assets like first-round picks, top prospects or good young NHL players like Robertson. Kerfoot doesn’t fit into any of those categories. Armstrong could agree to take him in the deal if the Leafs also include prospect Matthew Knies, which would be folly on the Leafs’ part.


DAILY FACEOFF: During Friday’s “Ice Breakers” segment, Mike McKenna asked Frank Seravalli if the Florida Panthers are going to bring in some reinforcements on their blueliner with top defenseman Aaron Ekblad sidelined for several months.

Seravalli thinks the Panthers are shopping around but only for affordable temporary stopgaps. There are not many younger players available who could slide into their lineup.

The Pittsburgh Penguins’ Pierre-Olivier Joseph has come up in the rumor mill. Seravalli said he knows “a number of teams” have made offers for the 23-year-old blueliner but the Penguins weren’t or aren’t willing to move on from him.

Jakob Chychrun requested a trade from the Arizona Coyotes but Seravalli doesn’t see the Panthers pursuing the 24-year-old rearguard. They don’t have a lot of future assets to part with plus the cap-strapped club must ensure they have sufficient cap space when Ekblad returns to the lineup later this season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Panthers could bring in a defenseman like Chychrun on a dollar-in, dollar-out deal where they send a player with a comparable salary the other way. They could also attempt a three-team deal to spread around the cap hit of the incoming player.

Neither option, however, seems likely at this stage of the season. Like other cap-strapped clubs with a core player sidelined for weeks or months (like the Colorado Avalanche with captain Gabriel Landeskog on the shelf), the Panthers will have to gut it out until those players return.

NHL Rumor Mill – October 19, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – October 19, 2022

Some Canadian teams could be in the market for a defenseman. So could the Columbus Blue Jackets. Find out why in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.

TSN: In Tuesday’s “Insider Trading” segment, Darren Dreger said there’s a “growing list of Canadian teams” that are in the market for a defenseman. He singled out the Toronto Maple Leafs, Montreal Canadiens, Ottawa Senators, Edmonton Oilers and Vancouver Canucks.

Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Pierre-Olivier Joseph (NHL Images).

Dreger believes the Leafs and Canadiens are seeking a right-shot defenseman. He noted that Pierre-Olivier Joseph of the Pittsburgh Penguins is believed to be available. Dreger isn’t attaching Joseph to those teams but pointed out the Penguins have nine defensemen. “He’s a young player, a first-round draft pick, so he might be a fit with one of those clubs,” said Dreger.

Chris Johnston noted that Arizona Coyotes defenseman Jakob Chychrun will be joining his teammates during their current road trip in Montreal. The 24-year-old rearguard has frequently surfaced in trade rumors but he’s been recovering from offseason wrist surgery.

Johnston said there are teams interested in Chychrun but they want to see him return to action before agreeing to a deal. Dreger mentioned the blueliner is “high-rent” plus the Coyotes have set a high asking price. He wondered if some of those Canadian teams might “buckle up and pay the price” to acquire Chychrun or look elsewhere toward someone like Joseph.

THE ATHLETIC: Aaron Portzline reported on Oct. 16 that defensive woes were among the reasons for the Columbus Blue Jackets’ early-season struggles. He felt general manager Jarmo Kekalainen might have to trade for a right-shot defenseman to “change the makeup on the blue line.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Cap space will also be a factor for most of those Canadian teams mentioned by Dreger as well as for the Blue Jackets. The Senators are the only club that could have enough room to absorb Chychrun’s $4.6 million average annual value.

I don’t believe the Coyotes will retain any portion of that. He’s signed through 2024-25 and they probably don’t want to carry any dead cap space for that long.

Joseph isn’t an established defenseman like Chychrun but he has potential plus he also carries a very affordable $825K AAV through 2023-24. He was rumored to be available earlier this month as the Penguins sought to become cap compliant before the start of the season. They achieved that goal by demoting Ty Smith and Mark Friedman to their AHL affiliate.

The Penguins could move Joseph if they get a tantalizing offer. For now, I think they’re willing to stick with him and see how his game develops. He has two assists in three games thus far this season.

It’s worth noting that Chychrun and Joseph both shoot left so they won’t address the needs of those clubs looking for a right-shot rearguard.

NHL Rumor Mill – October 6, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – October 6, 2022

Some trade predictions for the coming season plus the latest on Penguins defenseman Pierre-Olivier Joseph in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I underwent surgery on Oct. 5 to repair damaged tendons in my left hand. It was similar to the procedure I had in February. As a result, it could take a little longer to post my daily updates over the next few days. Please bear with me. As always, I appreciate your support.


DAILY FACEOFF: Frank Seravalli included some trade forecasts among his 32 bold predictions for the coming NHL season.

Chicago Blackhawks winger Patrick Kane (NHL Images).

Seravalli predicts the Chicago Blackhawks will trade Patrick Kane to the New York Rangers, where he will sign a long-term contract extension. He’ll reunite with former Blackhawks linemate Artemi Panarin to chase a fourth Stanley Cup.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The New York Post’s Larry Brooks has suggested the Rangers should pursue Kane as a playoff rental at the trade deadline. I’m not dismissing that possibility but I doubt they’ll sign him to a long-term extension unless he accepts a massive pay cut from his current $10.5 million annual average value.

The Rangers already have $65.1 million invested in just 11 players for 2023-24. Alexis Lafreniere, K’Andre Miller and Filip Chytil will be due for new contracts as they become restricted free agents next summer.

Another prediction is the Detroit Red Wings moving Dylan Larkin before the March 3 trade deadline. He’s eligible for unrestricted free-agent status next July and carries a no-trade clause for this season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Wings and Larkin were reportedly holding contract extension talks over the summer. The Michigan native hopes to stay put and management probably feels the same. As always, these things will hinge on dollars and term but I can see the two sides reaching an agreement.

Seravalli also expects the Ottawa Senators will acquire Jakob Chychrun before the New Year. They’ve shown the most interest with the Los Angeles Kings also in the mix.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The sticking point has been the Coyotes’ rumored asking price. It’s believed they seek at least a first-round pick and a good young NHL player or a top prospect as part of the return. Unless they come down from that, Chychrun won’t be going anywhere.

In other predictions, Seravalli foresees Vancouver Canucks bench boss Bruce Boudreau becoming the first head coach to be fired, Kyle Dubas parting ways with the Toronto Maple Leafs as general manager after his contract expires, and the Vegas Golden Knights making Kelly McCrimmon the first GM to be fired this season.


PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE: Matt Vensel reports the Penguins to have nine NHL defensemen and can’t afford to keep them all. Pierre-Olivier Joseph appears the most likely to be moved as he’s reportedly being shopped. He’s now waiver eligible meaning a rival club could snap him up if the Penguins attempt to send him to their AHL affiliate in Wilkes-Barre/Scranton.

THE ATHLETIC: Josh Yohe wouldn’t be surprised if Joseph is traded. He claims general manager Ron Hextall and president of hockey operations Brian Burke isn’t enamored with the 23-year-old blueliner.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: So far there’s no indication the Penguins are close to trading Joseph. Unless they package him with a draft pick, an interested team could be merely waiting until he goes on waivers and then gets him for nothing.

NHL Rumor Mill – October 4, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – October 4, 2022

Could the Stars trade Jason Robertson or lose him to an offer sheet? What’s the latest on Jakob Chychrun and Jesse Puljujarvi? Are the Canucks and Penguins considering moves? Find out in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.


THE ATHLETIC: While the contract standoff continues between the Dallas Stars and Jason Robertson, Saad Yousef doesn’t believe the 23-year-old winger will receive an offer sheet or be traded.

The Stars can afford to sign him to an average annual value of between $7 million and $8 million. Robertson’s camp could be seeking something comparable to the $9 million AAV being earned by Minnesota Wild winger Kirill Kaprizov.

Dallas Stars forward Jason Robertson (NHL Images)

Yousef points out that only three teams (Anaheim Ducks, Arizona Coyotes and Buffalo Sabres) have sufficient salary-cap space to sign Robertson to a lucrative offer sheet. The compensation of two first-round picks, a second and a third would be sacrificing a lot for those rebuilding teams.

The Sabres would have to offer up over $10.5 million AAV because they lack the required compensation as the Vegas Golden Knights own their 2023 third-round pick. The Stars would also have the opportunity to match any offer sheet.

Yousef acknowledged the Stars could trade Robertson but there are few NHL clubs right now that can afford to pay him a better contract. There’s also no indication that contract talks between the two sides have gone that sour.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The longer this drags on and the more playing time Robertson misses, the worse it’ll be for his performance this season. In turn, it could hamper the Stars’ playoff hopes. Yousef also points out that the two sides have until Dec. 1 to hammer out a new contract or he’ll become ineligible to play the remainder of this season.


DAILY FACEOFF: Frank Seravalli reports Arizona Coyotes defenseman Jakob Chychrun and Edmonton Oilers winger Jesse Puljujarvi remain in the trade market. However, he doesn’t see anything on the front burner for either player right now.

The Los Angeles Kings and Ottawa Senators stand out for Seravalli in the Chychrun saga. While the Edmonton Oilers and Toronto Maple Leafs have been linked to the Coyotes blueliner, it doesn’t appear either club has their sights set on acquiring him.

As for Puljujarvi, Seravalli doesn’t know if teams are going to get a lot of value out of a player earning $3 million on a one-year contract.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: In other words, no real change for either player. Chychrun will stay in Arizona until a rival club like the Kings or Senators step up to meet the Coyotes’ asking price. Puljujarvi will have to improve this season to bolster his trade value but that could also make him more valuable to the Oilers.


DAILY FACEOFF: Seravalli also reported the Vancouver Canucks have been attempting to trade the contract of Micheal Ferland to a team that has already had injuries or is already using long-term injury reserve and could use a boost.

Ferland has a $3.5 million AAV but is earning $2.75 million in actual cash. A potential problem, however, is his contract isn’t insured, meaning whoever picks it up would have to pay the full $2.75 million.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Ferland, 30, is permanently sidelined due to concussion issues. His contract will expire at the end of this season.

Seravalli also reports the Pittsburgh Penguins have informed the other 31 NHL teams that Pierre-Olivier Joseph is available via trade. They have nine defensemen under NHL contracts and risk losing one of them to waivers. Seravalli wonders if they’ll keep Joseph or risk losing Chad Ruhwedel or Mark Friedman to waivers.

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 13, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 13, 2022

Johnny Gaudreau heads to the free-agent market, Evgeni Malkin re-signs with the Penguins, Evander Kane stays with the Oilers, Patrice Bergeron to return with the Bruins, the Wild trade Cam Talbot to the Senators, and much more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

CALGARY HOCKEY NOW: Johnny Gaudreau has played his final game with the Flames. He reportedly rejected an offer worth over $10 million annually on an eight-year deal. Flames general manager Brad Treliving indicated the 28-year-old winger’s decision was based on family reasons and not money.

Calgary Flames winger Johnny Gaudreau (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s a disappointing outcome for the Flames. Gaudreau’s decision could also affect the club’s efforts to re-sign restricted winger Matthew Tkachuk to a long-term deal. Gaudreau is now the top player available in the unrestricted free-agent market when it opens at noon ET today. He’s been linked to the Philadelphia Flyers, New Jersey Devils and New York Islanders.

PITTSBURGH HOCKEY NOW: Evgeni Malkin has agreed to a four-year, $24.4 million contract with the Penguins. The annual average value is $6.1 million and comes with a full no-movement clause.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Malkin was reportedly planning to test the market due to his frustration over negotiations with the Penguins. It appears his desire to stick with the only NHL team he’s ever played for led to his change of heart. The cap hit is identical to teammate Kris Letang’s but for two years less than Letang’s contract.

Speaking of the Penguins, they signed pending restricted free agent defenseman Pierre-Olivier Joseph to a two-year, one-way contract worth an annual average value of $825K.

SPORTSNET: Evander Kane is staying with the Edmonton Oilers after agreeing to a four-year, $20.5 million contract. The annual average value is $5.125 million.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Oilers agreed to let Kane’s agent speak to other clubs but it appears whatever those teams were offering didn’t measure up to this deal. The 30-year-old winger had terrific chemistry with Edmonton superstar Connor McDavid last season. It’s a good bargain for the Oilers if Kane and McDavid continue playing well together.

Meanwhile, Kane is still waiting for his grievance to be heard over his contract termination last January by the San Jose Sharks. There’s no indication he and the Sharks are going to work out a settlement before then.

RDS.CA: Francois Gagnon reports Patrice Bergeron will be returning with the Boston Bruins. Details of the agreement are expected to be revealed later today.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: There was concern among Bruins followers that Bergeron would retire, leaving the club without an established first-line center. It’ll be interesting to see what this new contract looks like.

OTTAWA SUN: The Senators have acquired goaltender Cam Talbot from the Minnesota Wild in exchange for backup goalie Filip Gustavsson. Talbot, 35, has a year remaining on his contract.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Talbot was reportedly unhappy over the Wild bringing back Marc-Andre Fleury on a two-year contract. Wild general manager Bill Guerin said he respected the veteran netminder but didn’t want this situation to become a distraction.

In the short term, Talbot should provide a much-needed boost to the Senators’ goaltending. Gustavsson, meanwhile, will serve in a backup role to Fleury.

TSN: Speaking of the Senators, they placed defenseman Michael Del Zotto on unconditional waivers yesterday for the purpose of buying out his contract. Del Zotto joined Philadelphia Flyers forward Oskar Lindblom, San Jose Sharks forward Rudolfs Balcers and New Jersey Devils forward Janne Kuokkanen on the contract buyout list.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Lindblom’s buyout isn’t going down well with Flyers followers. The 25-year-old winger became a fan favorite after overcoming a rare bone cancer in 2020. The move is seen as GM Chuck Fletcher’s attempt to clear cap space to pursue a big-ticket free agent such as Johnny Gaudreau.

THE ATHLETIC: Tampa Bay Lightning winger Ondrej Palat intends to test the market today. Speaking of the Lightning, TSN reports they’ve hired former Detroit Red Wings head coach Jeff Blashill as an assistant coach.

TSN: The Los Angeles Kings signed defenseman Alexander Edler to a one-year contract worth $750K.

WGR550: The Buffalo Sabres are bringing back goaltender Malcolm Subban on a one-year, $850K contract.

NHL.COM: The Kraken re-signed forward Alexander True on a one-year, two-way contract.

TSN: Scotty Bowman is stepping down as senior hockey operations advisor for the Chicago Blackhawks.

NHL.COM: Duncan Keith officially announced his retirement yesterday as an NHL player after 17 seasons with the Blackhawks and Oilers.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I summarize the future Hall-of-Famer’s career on Saturday when news first broke of his impending retirement. Best wishes to Keith and his family in their future endeavors.