NHL Rumor Mill – May 11, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – May 11, 2022

Are significant offseason changes in the cards for the Predators? Could the Senators and Islanders shop their 2022 first-round draft picks? Find out in today’s NHL rumor mill.

CHANGES COMING FOR PREDATORS?

THE ATHLETIC: Adam Vingan believes Nashville Predators’ ownership must react after getting eliminated from the opening round of the 2022 playoffs by the Colorado Avalanche. It’s the first time the Predators have been swept from a postseason series in franchise history.

Nashville Predators winger Filip Forsberg (NHL Images).

The subdued atmosphere in Nashville during Games 3 and 4 of that series has to be a concern. So is a club getting outclassed despite carrying two 40-goal scorers in Filip Forsberg and Matt Duchene, a 90-point defenseman in Roman Josi, an All-Star goaltender in Juuse Saros and the rookie goal-scoring leader in Tanner Jeannot.

Vingan believes the blame lies with David Poile, suggesting it might be time to hire someone to work in tandem with Poile but has the final say over personnel decisions. He noted the club faces some critical decisions this off-season, including new contracts for pending free agent Forsberg and head coach John Hynes.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Predators ownership could surprise us by following Vingan’s advice or perhaps even firing Poile. However, he started a “competitive rebuild” last summer with the club exceeding expectations when they weren’t considered a playoff contender to start the season. Those factors probably ensure there won’t be any shakeup in the general manager’s office this summer.

NHL.COM: John Glennon reports Forsberg said he wants to return with the Predators. He said there’s been a progression in contract talks throughout the season, adding there will be ongoing discussions. “We’ll just have to see where we end,” he said. Those talks were paused at the March 21 trade deadline but he said they’ll resume soon.

Forsberg is coming off a career-high 42-goal, 84-point performance. The 27-year-old winger said he likes the direction of the Predators and believes they can be a Stanley Cup champion in the future.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I think Poile wants to keep Forsberg but the latter’s asking price will be an issue. The Predators are already carrying two forwards (Duchene and Ryan Johansen) each carrying annual average values of $8 million. Forsberg will likely seek something comparable if not more.

COULD THE SENATORS OR ISLANDERS SHOP THEIR FIRST-ROUND PICKS?

OTTAWA SUN: Bruce Garrioch noted the Senators will have the opportunity to add another promising talent to their roster with the seventh-overall selection in the 2022 NHL Draft. However, he noted there’s a belief GM Pierre Dorion could be willing to part with that pick if a rival club offers up a player who can help the Senators compete for a playoff spot. It’s unlikely any decision will be reached until the first round of the draft on July 7.

NYI HOCKEY NOW: Stefen Rosner wondered if the New York Islanders might use their pick (13th overall) to address more immediate needs. He pointed out GM Lou Lamoriello has talked about making hockey trades during this offseason.

This year’s draft isn’t considered a deep one. Rosner suggested that the pick could be used to acquire a top-four defenseman or a top-six forward.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: There will be some cap-strapped teams attempting to shed salary or rebuilding clubs looking to stockpile first-round picks in this year’s draft. Perhaps the Senators or Islanders can find some suitable trade partners among those clubs.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 2, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 2, 2022

Recaps of Tuesday’s action, stars and rookie of the month for February, Blackhawks GM Kyle Davidson’s plans, the latest on Filip Forsberg and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: The league-leading Colorado Avalanche became the first club to reach 40 wins this season by downing the New York Islanders 5-3. Devon Toews had a goal and two assists as the Avalanche hold a five-point lead over the second-place Carolina Hurricanes in the overall standings with 84 points. Avs defenseman Jack Johnson also reached a notable milestone by playing his 1,000th NHL game.

Speaking of the Hurricanes, they dropped a 4-3 decision to the Detroit Red Wings on an overtime goal by Lucas Raymond. Wings goaltender Alex Nedeljkovic made 27 saves for the win over his former team. The Hurricanes (79 points) hold a three-point lead over the second-place Tampa Bay Lightning in the Eastern Conference standings.

Tampa Bay Lightning forward Brayden Point (NHL Images)

The Lightning, meanwhile, overcame a 2-0 deficit to defeat the Ottawa Senators 5-2. Brayden Point had a goal and three assists while Andrei Vasilevskiy made 25 saves for the win. The Lightning (76 points) hold a one-point lead over the Florida Panthers for first place in the Atlantic Division.

Calgary Flames goaltender Jacob Markstrom kicked out 32 shots to backstop his club to 5-1 victory over the Minnesota Wild. Johnny Gaudreau, Matthew Tkachuk, Elias Lindholm, Tyler Toffoli, Andrew Mangiapane and Mikael Backlund each had two-point performances. The Flames have won 12 of their last 13 games and hold a five-point lead over the second-place Los Angeles Kings in the Pacific Division with 70 points. The Wild remain in third place in the Central Division with 65 points.

The Vegas Golden Knights got two goals by Reilly Smith to beat the San Jose Sharks 3-1. Robin Lehner made 16 saves in his first game since being sidelined for a month with an upper-body injury. It was Vegas head coach Peter DeBoer’s 500th career NHL victory. Sharks goaltender James Reimer left the game with a lower-body injury. With 64 points, the Golden Knights are third in the Pacific Division. The Sharks, however, are nine points out of the final wild-card berth in the Western Conference with 54 points.

Edmonton Oilers goalie Mikko Koskinen picked up his first shutout since 2019 with a 39-save performance in a 3-0 win over the Philadelphia Flyers. Oilers forward Leon Draisaitl scored his 37th goal of the season to tie Toronto’s Auston Matthews for the league lead. With 63 points, the Oilers hold a two-point lead over the Dallas Stars for the final Western wild-card spot.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Oilers defenseman Duncan Keith returned to action after suffering a concussion on Feb.9. However, the club also revealed Ryan Nugent-Hopkins is week-to-week with an upper-body injury suffered last week.

Trevor Zegras scored with 22 seconds remaining in the third period to lift the Anaheim Ducks over the Boston Bruins 4-3, snapping the latter’s five-game win streak. Ducks captain Ryan Getzlaf had three assists as the Ducks (61 points) remain two points behind the Oilers. The Bruins still hold a three-point lead over the Washington Capitals for the first wild-card berth in the Eastern Conference.

The Winnipeg Jets kept their playoff hopes alive with an 8-4 win over the Montreal Canadiens, ending the latter’s five-game win streak. Mark Scheifele, Kyle Connor and Pierre-Luc Dubois each had three points for the Jets. Canadiens winger Josh Anderson tallied a hat trick. With 57 points, the Jets are six behind the Oilers.

Patrik Laine had a goal and an assist as the Columbus Blue Jackets nipped the New Jersey Devils 4-3. Elvis Merzlikins made 30 saves for the win. Devils center Jack Hughes scored to extend his points streak to eight games.

HEADLINES

NHL.COM: Toronto Maple Leafs winger Mitch Marner, Calgary Flames goalie Jacob Markstrom, and Columbus Blue Jackets winger Patrik Laine were the NHL’s three stars for February 2022. Boston Bruins goaltender Jeremy Swayman was named the rookie of the month for February 2022.

NBC SPORTS CHICAGO: New Blackhawks general manager Kyle Davidson said he’s looking more at a rebuild than a retool of his roster. “There are some things that we really need to fix that are going to take time,” he said, adding he’s not going to put a timeline on how long it’ll take to complete the rebuild.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That’s going to provide fodder for speculation over his trade deadline plans and where certain veterans such as Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews fit into the club’s long-term plans. I’ll have more in today’s Rumor Mill.

NHL.COM: Nashville Predators GM David Poile maintains his intent is to re-sign Filip Forsberg before the March 21 trade deadline. He added he’s not trying to trade the pending free-agent winger. Poile also indicated a deal isn’t done yet but they’re working on it.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Forsberg became fodder for trade speculation following a report last week claiming Poile was shopping the winger. He quickly denied it but there’s conjecture he’s conducting “due diligence” in case he decides a contract extension won’t be reached by the trade deadline.

TSN: CCM Hockey announced it will stop using Washington Capitals star Alex Ovechkin and other Russian NHL stars in any of its global marketing. The move comes in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.










NHL Rumor Mill – July 5, 2021

NHL Rumor Mill – July 5, 2021

The Predators look to make an expansion draft deal with the Kraken plus the latest on Duncan Keith in today’s NHL rumor mill.

DAILY FACEOFF: Cam Lewis cited Nashville Predators general manager David Poile appearance on ESPN 102.5 The Game last Thursday saying he’d like to make a side deal with the Seattle Kraken to have a certain player selected. He didn’t indicate which player it would be.

Could the Nashville Predators try to move Matt Duchene to the Seattle Kraken? (NHL Images)

Given their depth in defensemen, Lewis speculates the Predators could go with the eight-skater protection. Trading Vikor Arvidsson last week to the Los Angeles Kings for draft picks gives them one less player to worry about protecting.

One move Poile could have in mind is offering up draft picks to the Kraken to select center Matt Duchene in the expansion draft. Duchene has five more seasons remaining on his contract with an annual average value of $8 million. He’s amassed just 55 points in 100 games with the Predators thus far.

THE TENNESSEAN: Gentry Estes also took note of Poile’s appearance on ESPN 102.5 last week. He focused on the GM’s comment suggesting Arvidsson was ok with being traded to the Kings because he was unhappy with where he was on the Predators.

Estes wondered who else on the Predators might be feeling the same way as Arvidsson did. While the infusion of promising young players replacing sidelined veterans helped to save the Predators’ season, the question was never asked as to why the veterans lacked intensity in the first place. He also wondered if the traits that head coach John Hynes values most in his players (effort, physical play, toughness) might not have meshed with the roster he inherited when he took over midway last season as head coach.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Predators featured prominently in this season’s rumor mill through February and March. Mattias Ekholm, Ryan Ellis and Filip Forsberg were among the players floated as possible trade candidates by the media. That talk faded away as the Predators staged their impressive second-half turnaround and died out when Poile didn’t become a seller at the trade deadline.

Poile, however, doesn’t intend to stand pat this summer. The Arvidson trade signaled he plans to shake things up. The rise of those young players, such as Eeli Tolvanen and Alexandre Carrier, seems to have emboldened him.

Ekholm and Forsberg are a year away from UFA eligibility. Poile prefers re-signing them but that will depend on what they’re seeking on their next contracts and if they still believe their futures lie in Nashville. If those extension talks get difficult, maybe one of them gets shopped this summer.

Poile will have to come up with some tasty sweeteners to convince the Kraken to take Duchene and his big contract. He might have to absorb some of that $8 million cap hit to get it done.

EDMONTON JOURNAL: Kurt Leavins reports there are two northwestern NHL cities (Edmonton and Seattle) that Duncan Keith would waive his no-movement clause for. The 37-year-old defenseman has asked the Chicago Blackhawks to look into a trade that would move him closer to his son in Penticton, B.C.

Leavins believes the Oilers are the front-runners for Keith because they’re far closer to winning than the Kraken and have a stronger supporting cast. He also doubts the Blackhawks want to absorb half of the blueline’s $5.538 million annual cap hit for the next two seasons, suggesting they could be comfortable picking up around 25 percent. However, he feels they’d be more comfortable taking back a contract and buying it out.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Oilers could welcome a respected veteran like Keith in their dressing room. He wouldn’t be a top-two defenseman but could work on their second pairing.

Getting the dollars to fit appears the sticking point. That could involve the Blackhawks absorbing part of his cap hit, taking back a contract to buy out, or both. Maybe there’s a third team with cap space willing to get involved and pick up part of the cap hit in return for a draft pick or prospect.










Time For The Predators To Part Ways With GM Poile

Time For The Predators To Part Ways With GM Poile

 










NHL Rumor Mill – December 7, 2020

NHL Rumor Mill – December 7, 2020

Could the Predators have another move in store before the season begins? Will the Senators be buyers or sellers this season? Check out the latest in the NHL rumor mill.

THE ATHLETIC: In a recent mailbag segment, Adam Vingan was asked if Nashville Predators general manager David Poile was done wheeling and dealing. He believes there’s no sense of urgency among NHL GMs to make moves until we know when the season will begin.

Back in October, Poile didn’t rule out making more moves. Vingan points out the Predators have nearly $13 million in cap space, though some of that will be used to sign restricted free agent Luke Kunin. He feels it would make sense to target cap-strapped clubs for a return that could address the Predators’ second-line needs.

Could the Nashville Predators attempt to acquire Alex Killorn from the Tampa Bay Lightning? (NHL Images)

Vingan and colleague Joe Smith bandied about the notion of the Predators acquiring winger Alex Killorn from the Tampa Bay Lightning, who must shed salary to re-sign Anthony Cirelli and Erik Cernak. Vingan believes Killorn would be a good fit on the Predators’ second line.

Smith feels getting back a package of futures (draft picks and/or prospects) would be crucial for the Lightning. That would include a 2021 second-round pick to replace the one traded away and something to bolster their defense prospects.

The Lightning might have to consider moving someone like Ondrej Palat if they can’t find any takers for Killorn or Tyler Johnson. Vingan believes the Predators would be very interested if Palat became available.

Vingan also acknowledged the Predators’ rumored interest in UFA winger Mike Hoffman. He’s willing to sign a one-year deal which is better than Killorn’s three-year contract. However, Vingan is uncertain if Hoffman fits into the Predators’ plans.

NBC SPORTS: Adam Getz recommends Poile go the offer sheet route by targeting Lightning center Anthony Cirelli. He points out the Preds have the cap space and the assets for compensatory draft picks to make a competitive offer.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Some observers believe Poile has made his offseason moves and could bank his cap space to put toward trades if necessary during the regular season. However, the need to bolster their secondary scoring could see the Preds GM make a move or two before the season opens sometime in January or February.

Poile could be playing the waiting game with Hoffman hoping to sign the UFA winger to an affordable one-year deal. Failing that, he could look at cost-effective short-term help like Andreas Athanasiou or Anthony Duclair.

Killorn or Palat are possibilities if Poile goes the trade route. It’ll depend on what the Lightning want in return. He could also look at other clubs that are trying to dump salary before the season begins.

Cirelli could get an offer sheet from a club like the Predators but if that was going to happen it would’ve been made by now. Remember, the player must be interested in signing an offer sheet. It doesn’t seem like the Cirelli camp is entertaining that notion.

OTTAWA SUN: Bruce Garrioch reports Senators owner Eugene Melnyk believes his rebuilding club has turned the corner and the pieces are now in place to contend. He indicates the Senators’ days as trade deadline sellers are over.

We’ll be a team that’s active at the trade deadline and not as sellers, but as buyers, just like we used to be”, said Melnyk. “If you look at my track record on spending on players, we were already right up there. We were never at the top, but we were always right up there or around the center. Now, we’re going to stay somewhere in the center, depending on where it’s at. Our budgets are always somewhere around $70 million, which is in the center.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I don’t expect the Senators to be buyers if they’re not in playoff contention. If Melnyk’s comments are anything to go by, however, they won’t be selling off veterans as they have over the past three years.

If they are contenders, they must invest wisely if they’re going to be buyers. Don’t just go for rentals but try to add players who can help them beyond just one season.










Updates on the Lightning and Predators in NHL Rumor Roundup

Updates on the Lightning and Predators in NHL Rumor Roundup