NHL Rumor Mill – August 8, 2020

NHL Rumor Mill – August 8, 2020

Check out the latest Penguins, Panthers, Oilers, and Predators speculation as they head into the off-season in today’s NHL rumor mill.

PENGUINS

ESPN.COM: Emily Kaplan and Greg Wyshynski examined some off-season keys for the Pittsburgh Penguins following their qualifying-round exit. The Pens must decide between restricted free agent goaltenders Matt Murray and Tristan Jarry. They also need to shore up their blueline and are expected to re-sign most of their young RFA forwards.

PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE: Matt Vendel wondered if the Penguins will move on from Murray just three years after choosing him over Marc-Andre Fleury. Given their limited salary-cap space, he also speculated over whether general manager Jim Rutherford might dangle veteran defenseman Kris Letang in the trade market to shake up the core or perhaps think even bigger.

Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Kris Letang (Photo via NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Some observers think the decision to start Jarry over Murray in that crucial fourth game against the Canadiens indicates the latter could hit the trade block following the post-season. Murray will be more expensive to re-sign than Jarry. With the cap remaining flat, that could seal Murray’s fate.

Cap Friendly indicates Letang has a list of 18 preferred trade destinations.  Moving a 33-year-old defenseman carrying an annual average value of $7.25 million on a contract with two seasons remaining won’t be easy in this new economic environment.

PANTHERS

ESPN.COM: Kaplan and Wyshynski wondered what will become of Florida Panthers GM Dale Tallon after reports emerged Friday saying the club would soon part ways with him. They need to build up their roster depth but they’re also reportedly planning to cut payroll for next season.

THE HOCKEY NEWS: Matt Larkin speculates winger Mike Hoffman and Evgenii Dadonov could be departing via the unrestricted free agent market as it could cost a combined $15 million to re-sign them. Larkin believes improving the blue line should be the Panthers’ priority. 

FLORIDA HOCKEY NOW: Rob Simpson noted defenseman Mike Matheson was scratched from the Panthers’ lineup following his poor performances in the first two games of their qualifier against the New York Islanders. Matheson could draw some interest in the trade market, where his affordable $4.25-million AAV would be a good selling point. His modified no-trade clause doesn’t kick in until 2021-22.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Tallon attempted to improve the Panthers’ defense corps before the trade deadline but didn’t find any deals to his liking. The decline in Matheson’s performance saw him briefly surface in this season’s rumor mill. Maybe a change of scenery will do him good, depending on how much interest he draws in the trade market.  Dadonov and Hoffman could be moving on If the Panthers are planning to cut payroll.

OILERS

ESPN.COM: Kaplan and Wyshynski believe the Edmonton Oilers must provide more support for superstars Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl. Both carried the bulk of the offensive load in their qualifying series loss to the Chicago Blackhawks. The Oilers need two-way forwards, they must sort out their defense, and upgrade their goaltending.

THE ATHLETIC: Daniel Nugent-Bowman feels adding another offensive forward and a top-four defenseman should be imperative for the Oilers. He also recommends adding a bottom-six forward and a replacement in goal for Smith.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Oilers could stick with the promising young defensemen within their system. They must find a reliable starter. Mike Smith is aging and Mikko Koskinen is inconsistent. Affordable two-way forwards should be available via trades or free agency. With over $71.3 million invested in 17 players, finding sufficient cap space could be an issue.

PREDATORS

ESPN.COM: Kaplan and Wyshynski believe the Nashville Predators must decide if they can afford to re-sign Mikael Granlund and Craig Smith or determine which one to keep. They also wonder if center Kyle Turris will factor into their plans. He’s struggled in Nashville but his $6-million annual salary through 2023-24 makes him difficult to move.

THE HOCKEY NEWS: Ken Campbell wonders if it’s time for the Predators to promote GM David Poile and bring in a new look to their front office. They’ve been on the decline since reaching the 2017 Stanley Cup Final and winning the Presidents’ Trophy in 2018.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: As Campbell points out, scoring depth has long been a problem for the Predators. Cap space will be an issue as they’re carrying over $72.2 million committed to 17 players. Shedding Turris would help but his salary and performance won’t be palatable to other teams this summer. Poile is the only general manager in Predators’ history, but it could be time for a fresh outlook.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 31, 2020

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 31, 2020

Game recaps, Predators GM David Poile reaches a historic milestone, Tomas Hertl out of the season, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: Shootout goals by Filip Forsberg and Matt Duchene gave the Nashville Predators a 6-5 win over the New Jersey Devils. Forsberg also scored twice in regulation, while Devils forward Pavel Zacha scored two goals and collected an assist. The Predators (55 points) are two points behind the Vegas Golden Knights for the final Western Conference wild-card spot. The win was the 1,507th of Predators GM David Poile’s career, moving him past Glen Sather into first place for most victories for an NHL general manager.

Filip Forsberg scored twice as the Nashville Predators downed the New Jersey Devils 6-5 (Photo via NHL Images)

Al Iafallo’s hat trick lifted the Los Angeles Kings to a 3-2 overtime victory over the slumping Arizona Coyotes, who’ve won three of their last 10 games. The Coyotes (58 points) cling to the first wild-card spot in the Western Conference. Arizona captain Oliver Ekman-Larsson left the game in the second period following a knee-on-knee collision with Kings forward Dustin Brown.

The Montreal Canadiens kept their fading playoff hopes alive by downing the Buffalo Sabres 3-1. Winger Brendan Gallagher marked his return to the roster following a six-game absence by tallying the game-winning goal. Sabres captain Jack Eichel netted his 30th of the season. The Habs sit eight points out of a wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference.

SPORTSNET: Speaking of the Coyotes, they acknowledged reports of employing illegal tactics recruiting tactics but declined to comment on any potential investigation. Some CHL teams accused the club of putting draft-eligible players through physical testing, which isn’t allowed before the annual NHL combine in June. They could face fines of $250K or more.

NBC SPORTS BAY AREA: Bad news for the struggling San Jose Sharks, as winger Tomas Hertl is out for the season after suffering torn knee ligaments during Wednesday’s loss to the Vancouver Canucks.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: With the Sharks sinking toward the bottom of the Western standings, Hertl’s injury could be the final nail in the coffin for this season.

NBC SPORTS BOSTON: The Bruins announced winger David Backes won’t be reporting to the AHL affiliate in Providence after recently clearing waivers.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It appears Backes simply won’t be playing for a while as the Bruins consider their options. He won’t be suspended, he’s not retiring, and his contract won’t be terminated. I’ll have more on his situation in the rumors section.

CBS SPORTS: The St. Louis Blues recalled forward Troy Brouwer.

VANCOUVER SUN: Canucks winger Tyler Motte (upper body) was placed on injured reserve.

TSN: The Edmonton Oilers placed Kris Russell and Joakim Nygard on injured reserve.

 










NHL General Managers On The Hot Seat as Trade Deadline Approaches

NHL General Managers On The Hot Seat as Trade Deadline Approaches

 










Has the Nashville Predators NHL Championship Window Slammed Shut?

Has the Nashville Predators NHL Championship Window Slammed Shut?

 










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – August 10, 2018

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – August 10, 2018

Latest on Jack Eichel, Coyotes re-sign Christian Dvorak and more in your NHL morning coffee headlines. 

THE ATHLETIC: John Vogl reports Jack Eichel is ready to lead a locker room of new faces following a summer of change for the Buffalo Sabres. Eichel believes the additions of veterans Patrik Berglund and Vladimir Sobotka will bring a good element to the club, while Jeff Skinner and Conor Sheary will improve the Sabres’ speed and skill. 

Center Jack Eichel could take on more of a leadership role with the Buffalo Sabres. (Photo via NHL Images)

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Sabres played without a captain in 2017-18. Eichel could become the top candidate for the role this season.

ARIZONA SPORTS: The Coyotes yesterday announced they re-signed center Christian Dvorak to a six-year, $26.7-million contract extension. The annual average value is $4.45 million and takes effect in 2019-20. While the big raise and lengthy term for a player with only two years and 70 points on his NHL resume, Coyotes general manager John Chayka believes Dvorak will continue to improve.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Dvorak put up decent numbers in his first two NHL campaigns, averaging 35 points per season. If the 22-year-old blossoms as a two-way center this deal will turn into a long-term bargain for the Coyotes. If he doesn’t, this contract will become fodder for Chayka’s critics.

UNITED STATES HOCKEY HALL OF FAME: Nashville Predators general manager David Poile, former NHL player and coach Gordon “Red” Berenson and former NHL referee Paul Stewart are among the 2018 class of inductees into the US Hockey Hall of Fame. Natalie Darwitz and Leland “Hago” Harrington round out this year’s class. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Congratulations to this year’s inductees. The ceremony will take place in Nashville on Dec. 12. 

TSN: Travis Yost explored salary-cap allocation among the 31 NHL teams for 2018-19. On average, each clubs allots “$42 million for forwards, $22 million for defencemen, $7 million for goaltenders, and about $9 million in unallocated cap space.”

LE JOURNAL DE MONTREAL: Former NHL defenseman Enrico Ciccone will be a candidate for the Quebec Liberal Party in the next provincial election. In recent years, Ciccone was a sports columnist on radio and television. 

 











NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 2, 2018

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 2, 2018

Game recaps, stars of the month, a wildly successful ticket drive in Seattle and more in your NHL morning coffee headlines. 

Florida Panthers forward Aleksander Barkov reached the 60-point plateau for the first time. (Photo via NHL Images)

  NHL.COM: New Jersey Devils winger Taylor Hall extended his points streak to 16 games in a 3-2 loss to the Florida Panthers. This game saw Panthers forward Aleksander Barkov reach a career-high single-season total of 61 points with a two-goal performance. Florida moved to within three points of a wild-card berth in the Eastern Conference. 

David Krejci tallied a hat trick as the Boston Bruins thumped the Pittsburgh Penguins 8-4. The two clubs combined for eight goals in the first period. David Pastrnak scored twice and Rick Nash collected two points for the Bruins, while Olli Maatta tallied two goals for the Penguins.

The Nashville Predators moved into first overall in the Western Conference by doubling up the Edmonton Oilers 4-2. Viktor Arvdsson scored twice for the Predators. With the win, David Poile became the all-time league leader among general managers with 1,320 victories. 

The Carolina Hurricanes snapped a six-game losing skid with a 4-1 victory over the Philadelphia Flyers. Justin Williams led the way for the Hurricanes with two goals and an assist.

An overtime goal by Cory Conacher lifted the Tampa Bay Lightning to a 5-4 win over the Dallas Stars, who overcame a two-goal deficit to force the extra frame. Tyler Seguin scored twice for the Stars, while J.T. Miller collected two assists for the Lightning.

Max Domi collected three assists as the Arizona Coyotes upset the Minnesota Wild 5-3. snapping the Wild’s five-game winning streak. The Coyotes, meanwhile, have won seven of their last 10 contests. 

The San Jose Sharks netted seven straight goals to crush the Chicago Blackhawks 7-2. Joe Pavelski scored twice and Dylan DeMelo had three helpers. 

Alex Iafallo tallied twice and Christian Folin added three assists as the Los Angeles Kings beat the Columbus Blue Jackets 5-2. 

Minnesota Wild center Eric Staal, Pittsburgh Penguins center Evgeni Malkin and Vegas Golden Knights winger Reilly Smith are the NHL’s three stars for February 2018. Tampa Bay Lightning forward Yanni Gourde was named rookie of the month. 

VANCOUVER SUN: Canucks winger Loui Eriksson is out for the remainder of the season with a rib fracture.

CBS SPORTS: Vegas Golden Knight defenseman Luca Sbisa will be sidelined for an extended period with an undisclosed injury. 

OTTAWA SUN: Senators owner Eugene Melnyk sent out an open letter to the club’s fans expressing his disappointment over the team’s performance this season and vowing they’ll become Stanley Cup contenders again.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Melnyk is part of the reason why Senators fans have grown disgruntled in recent years. It’ll take more than a letter to win them back. Management also has a lot of work to do to turn this club back into a Cup contender. 

SEATTLE TIMES: A season-ticket drive by the group hoping to bring an NHL expansion team to Seattle was a great success. Oak View Group said it acquired 10,000 season-ticket deposits within 12 minutes yesterday and surpassed 25,000 in just over an hour.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Nah, there’s no interest in NHL hockey in Seattle at all. This is a significant step toward landing an expansion franchise. 

NEWSDAY: Stan Fischler, known for decades as “The Hockey Maven”, will retire at the end of this season from covering NHL games on television. While he’ll continue to cover hockey in print, the 86-year-old intends to spend more time with his family. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Best wishes to Fischler in his future endeavors. His many books on hockey kindled my love of the game and its history during my childhood.