NHL Rumor Mill – June 30, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – June 30, 2022

Could the Rangers and Canadiens pursue Pierre-Luc Dubois? What’s the latest on J.T. Miller and Filip Forsberg? Are the Oilers poised to trade Jesse Puljujarvi? Who could the Senators buy out? Check out the latest in today’s NHL rumor mill.

RANGERS OR CANADIENS INTERESTED IN DUBOIS?

SPORTSNET: Ken Wiebe cites a report by Francois Gagnon of RDS linking the New York Rangers to Pierre-Luc Dubois. The 23-year-old restricted free agent center has told the Winnipeg Jets of his intention to test the unrestricted free agent market when he becomes eligible in 2024.

Winnipeg Jets center Pierre-Luc Dubois (NHL Images).

The Rangers and Jets have reportedly held conversations about Dubois. Rangers general manager Chris Drury is said to be very interested in him. They were also believed to have an interest in Jets center Mark Scheifele to give them a solid one-two punch at center with Mika Zibanejad.

Wiebe believes any deal would have to include discussions regarding young Rangers such as Filip Chytil, wingers Alexis Lafreniere and Kaapo Kakko and defenseman Braden Schneider. He also indicated the Montreal Canadiens as also having an interest in Dubois.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: To be clear, Wiebe isn’t saying the Rangers must ship all those players to the Jets for Dubois. He means at least one of them will have to be part of the trade package.

Wiebe isn’t suggesting a deal is imminent, suggesting this could be simply to stoke a bidding war for Dubois. He said the Jets’ primary objective remains signing the center to a one-year contract and then attempting to convince him to rethink his long-term plans. Still, it doesn’t hurt to investigate Dubois’ value in the trade market for future reference if he remains adamant about moving on in 2024.

The New York Post’s Larry Brooks is against the Rangers pursuing Dubois, suggesting it may have been the Jets calling the Rangers to check into their interest given their trade history. He believes Dubois will command a substantial raise (seven years, $50 million) on the open market, casting doubt over how the Blueshirts can squeeze him into their already tight salary-cap payroll. Brooks also doesn’t want to see them part with Chytil following his promising performance in the recent postseason.

As for the Canadiens, maybe they surprise us by offering up a package of draft picks (excluding the first-overall pick), one or two prospects or a prospect and a good young NHL player not named Nick Suzuki or Cole Caufield to the Jets. Dubois is rumored to be eager to join the Canadiens as a free agent in two years’ time. If so, it would be worthwhile for the Habs to simply remain patient and wait for Dubois’ availability in 2024. Then it’s only costing money and not assets as well.

LATEST ON J.T. MILLER

CHEK-TV’s Rick Dhaliwal recently reported a source told him there are reports the Vancouver Canucks are listening to trade offers for J.T. Miller. The 29-year-old center is a year away from UFA eligibility. He also indicated Miller’s representatives aren’t surprised by those reports.

Dhaliwal said the two sides remain far apart in contract talks. He cited one source claiming the Canucks have been entertaining offers for Miller since February.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Dhaliwal suggested a contract comparable for Miller is the Rangers’ Mika Zibanejad, who’s starting an eight-year, $68 million deal ($8.5 million annual average value) in 2022-23. That could prove too expensive for the Canucks, which would explain the growing chatter about Miller in the rumor mill.

SPORTSNET: Luke Fox suggests Miller could be the “optimal big-splash target for the Toronto Maple Leafs” if they’re willing to go for it. He acknowledged it would be a risky move, especially with Leafs GM Kyle Dubas being reluctant to acquire players without term. Still, he thinks the Leafs have the trade assets to tempt the Canucks. Fox believes it would be worthwhile to acquire a forward such as Miller to address their needs right now.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I don’t see them pursuing Miller. The Leafs already have enough depth on the top-two lines. Their biggest need is a reliable starting goaltender if Jack Campbell departs via free agency.

UPDATE ON FILIP FORSBERG

THE TENNESSEAN: Gentry Estes reports Nashville Predators GM David Poile confirmed he’s offered pending UFA winger Filip Forsberg an eight-year contract.

Dollars might be the holdup as the Forsberg camp is reportedly seeking an annual average value somewhere in the low $8 million range as reported by Daily Faceoff’s Frank Seravalli. Estes also speculates another snag could be a no-trade clause as Poile as a rule doesn’t hand those out.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: CHEK-TV’s Rick Dhaliwal cited Forsberg’s agent acknowledging they’re not there yet on the money but both sides continue to grind away at it. There’s a reasonable chance Forsberg remains with the Predators as long as those negotiations continue over the next two weeks.

OILERS CLOSE TO TRADING PULJUJARVI?

EDMONTON JOURNAL: David Staples cited Oilers insider Tom Gazzola reporting he’s been told Oilers winger Jesse Puljujarvi is on his way out of Edmonton. It appears both sides are comfortable with the idea that it’s time to move on.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Puljujarvi is a restricted free agent with arbitration rights this summer. He has shown flashes of offensive talent over the past couple of seasons but it just seems that things aren’t getting better after five seasons with the Oilers.

Maybe Puljujarvi can reach his offensive potential with another club. If there’s a decent return to be had, the Oilers should consider it.

POTENTIAL SENATORS BUYOUT CANDIDATES

OTTAWA SUN: Bruce Garrioch observed the first buyout window opens on July 1 until 5 pm ET on July 12. It’s believed Senators management is considering going that route. He believes forward Colin White is their top buyout candidate. Defenseman Michael Del Zotto is another. Goaltender Matt Murray has been mentioned but Garrioch doesn’t think that’s going to happen.

The Senators are still listening to offers regarding their first-round pick (seventh overall) in this year’s draft. GM Pierre Dorion is in the market for a top-four defenseman and a high-end winger.

Garrioch said the Montreal Canadiens have been calling teams with picks in the top-10 to see what it would take to nab one. There’s also talk the Arizona Coyotes, San Jose Sharks and Chicago Blackhawks are willing to take on contracts if a draft pick is added as a sweetener. He thinks it wouldn’t be surprising if Senators defenseman Nikita Zaitsev was moved that way.










NHL Rumor Mill – June 24, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – June 24, 2022

Could the Rangers shop Artemi Panarin? What’s the latest on Filip Forsberg, Blake Wheeler and Pierre-Luc Dubois? Find out in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.

RIFT DEVELOPING BETWEEN PANARIN AND RANGERS GM DRURY?

THE ATHLETIC: Arthur Staple raised some eyebrows in his roundup of offseason decisions facing the New York Rangers. What drew considerable attention was his report citing two league sources claiming general manager Chris Drury was “vocally unhappy” with Artemi Panarin’s performance in the 2022 playoffs.

New York Rangers left wing Artemi Panarin (NHL Images).

Panarin had 16 points in 20 playoff games but wasn’t as consistent as hoped for. Despite the 30-year-old winger’s hefty contract Staple speculated he could request a trade if there’s a rift developing with Drury.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’ll be interesting to see what the reaction will be to this report. Panarin and/or Drury could ignore the story or issue public denials. I’m curious as to what other Rangers and NHL insiders have to say about this story.

A number of NHL clubs would be interested in Panarin if he became available in the trade market. As Staple pointed out, his contract is near impossible to move. He’s signed through 2025-26 with an annual average value of over $11.6 million and a full no-movement clause.

It was Drury’s predecessor who signed Panarin. He doesn’t have to feel any loyalty toward players that were brought in before he took over as general manager.

Drury also clashed last fall with Vitali Kravtsov after the winger declined demotion to the minors. He spent this season in the KHL and become the subject of trade speculation. The two sides seemed to bury the hatchet when Kravtsov agreed to a one-year, $875K contract but that hasn’t kept him out of the rumor mill.

PREDATORS OFFER FORSBERG AN EIGHT-YEAR CONTRACT

NHL.COM: John Glennon reports Nashville Predators GM David Poile confirmed his club offered an eight-year contract to Filip Forsberg. The 27-year-old left winger is slated to become an unrestricted free agent on July 13.

Poile indicated Forsberg won’t be signing with the Predators for anything less than eight years. He said the two sides are speaking regularly to bridge the gap and he intends to keep working to get a deal done.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It seems like the dollars are the issue here. Forsberg will be seeking a substantial raise over the $6 million annual cap hit of his current contract after tallying a career-best 84 points in 69 games this season.

The most Forsberg will get on the open market is seven years. The Predators could be offering up a raise that’s less than market value in the hope that he’ll be tempted by the extra year of contract security if he signs with them before July 13.

LATEST ON WHEELER AND DUBOIS

WINNIPEG SUN/SPORTSNET: Scott Billeck and Ken Wiebe weighed in on recent reports indicating the Jets are gauging Blake Wheeler’s value in the trade market and Pierre-Luc Dubois’ intent to test the 2024 UFA market.

Both believe it will be difficult to move Wheeler’s contract, which carries an $8.25 million annual average value through 2023-24. Though his no-movement clause becomes a five-team trade list on July 1, the number of teams that can afford to take on the full remaining value of his contract could be less than his list of preferred trade destinations.

They believe the Jets will have to retain up to half of Wheeler’s cap hit to facilitate a deal. If they don’t want to do that, they’ll have to offer up significant sweeteners or take back a sizeable contract from one of Wheeler’s suitors.

Wiebe also suggested a three-team deal to spread the cap hit around. A contract buyout is another option though a rarely-used one by the Jets.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I made the same suggestions a couple of days ago. There will be playoff contenders interested in Wheeler. I don’t see many of them taking on his full cap hit. I wouldn’t be surprised if the 35-year-old winger is back with the Jets next season.

Dubois’ revelation was more troubling for Billeck and Wiebe. He’s a restricted free agent this summer with arbitration rights. The Jets have two years to convince the 23-year-old center to remain in Winnipeg beyond 2024 and intend to work on doing so.

Billeck suggested dangling the captaincy if Wheeler is traded. He also speculated perhaps the Dubois camp is merely angling for a better deal in their current negotiations.

Wiebe speculated the Jets could trade Dubois before 2024. He also wondered if hiring Barry Trotz as head coach might change his mind. GM Kevin Cheveldayoff met with Trotz this weekend and is awaiting his decision.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Landing Trotz as their new head coach could go a long way toward providing some stability and improvement to the Jets roster going forward. As Billeck suggested, he could help to convince Dubois to stick around beyond 2024 if he enjoyed playing for the well-respected bench boss.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 17, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 17, 2022

The Flyers reportedly hire John Tortorella as head coach, the Predators are on the verge of being sold, the salary cap range for 2022-23 is set, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

PHILLY HOCKEY NOW: Sam Carchidi reports a source claims the Flyers have hired John Tortorella as their new head coach with the official announcement expected Friday.

Philadelphia Flyers reportedly hire John Tortorella as their new head coach (NHL.com).

ESPN’s Kevin Weekes reports Tortorella’s new contract is expected to be in the range of four years at $4 million per season. That means the Flyers will be paying $9 million on coaches for next season as they still owe former coach Alain Vigneault $5 million for ’22-’23.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Tortorella has a reputation as a demanding coach who preaches an aggressive defensive style. He also has a long history of success in almost every NHL city he’s coached in.

Tortorella guided the Tampa Bay Lightning to their first-ever Stanley Cup in 2003-04, winning his first Jack Adams Award this season. He coached the New York Rangers to the 2012 Eastern Conference Finals and the Columbus Blue Jackets to their first-ever playoff series win in 2019 by sweeping the Lighting in the opening round. Tortorella won his second Adams Award with the Blue Jackets in 2016-17.

The Flyers, however, will be a challenge for Tortorella. While his hiring fits into management’s goal of “aggressive retooling” of its roster, there are questions about their scoring punch and their blueline depth. Signing him a four-year deal suggests they’re willing to give him the time he needs to reverse the Flyers’ on-ice fortunes.

THE TENNESSEAN: The Nashville Predators are nearing an agreement to sell the franchise to former Tennessee governor Bill Haslam. He’s expected to become the majority owner for an unspecified period of time.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’ll be interesting to see what changes, if any, Haslam could have in store for the Predators. One thing is certain: he won’t be moving the club out of Nashville.

NHL.COM: The NHL and NHLPA confirmed the salary cap limits for 2022-23. The upper limit will rise by $1 million to $82.5 million while the lower limit is set at $61 million.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: League commissioner Gary Bettman announced earlier this week that the upper limit will continue to rise by $1 million increments for at least the next two seasons. If hockey-related revenue continues to improve over that period, the increases will become more robust by 2024-25.

DAILY FACEOFF: Frank Seravalli believes it’s likely the San Jose Sharks and Evander Kane will reach some sort of settlement regarding the latter’s grievance over his contract termination. NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly suggested an arbitrator might not be available to hear the case until after the NHL free-agency period begins on July 13.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kane would still be allowed to sign with another NHL team if his case hasn’t been heard by July 13. However, the arbiter’s subsequent ruling could complicate things for both sides.

Seravalli suggests the arbiter could rule that the Sharks terminated Kane’s contract without cause. That would mean the winger would be reinstated with the Sharks and any contract he signed with another club would be voided. Kane would get the remainder of his original contract back but he’d have to return to the Sharks, which neither side wants at this stage.

THE DENVER POST: Valeri Nichushkin turned into the best bargain signing ever made by Colorado Avalanche general manager Joe Sakic. Inked to a one-year, $850K contract in 2019-20 after being bought out by the Dallas Stars, the two-way winger has gone on to become an invaluable member of the Avalanche’s march to the 2022 Stanley Cup Final.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Nichushkin’s performance in 2019-20 earned him a two-year extension worth $2.5 million annually. This season has been a career year for the 27-year-old winger, tallying 25 goals and 52 points in 62 games during the regular season and six goals and 11 points in 15 postseason games thus far.

TAMPA BAY TIMES: The Lightning aren’t panicking over their overtime loss to the Avalanche in the opening game of the 2022 Stanley Cup Final. They’re 1-3 in Game 1 in this postseason and 11-3 in every other game.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’ll be important for the Lightning to win Game 2 on Saturday and return home for Games 3 and 4 with this series tied. While they overcame being down 2-0 against the New York Rangers in the Eastern Conference Finals, they could find it more difficult surmounting a similar deficit against the talented, swift-skatingAvalanche.

WINNIPEG SUN: Barry Trotz is set to meet again with the Jets for more discussions regarding the club’s vacant head coaching position.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That doesn’t mean it’s a certainty Trotz will sign with the Jets but it is a promising step in that direction.

NEW YORK POST: The Rangers have signed Sammy Blais to a one-year, $1.525 million contract extension. The 26-year-old winger was slated to become a restricted free agent on July 13. He missed most of this season following a knee injury suffered in November.

Speaking of the Rangers, former Blueshirt Sean Avery was found guilty of using his scooter to hit a car that was blocking a bike lane in Manhattan in 2019. He was sentenced to time served.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 14, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 14, 2022

Mikko Rantanen hopes to maintain his scoring streak entering the Stanley Cup Final, an update on Brayden Point, the latest Rangers news, Mikko Koskinen heads to Switzerland and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

Colorado Avalanche winger Mikko Rantanen (NHL Images).

 THE DENVER POST: Colorado Avalanche winger Mikko Rantanen hopes to extend his four-game goal-scoring streak when the Stanley Cup Final begins on Wednesday.

TAMPA BAY TIMES: Lighting center Brayden Point (lower-body injury) was a full participant in practice on Monday for the first time since the first round of the playoffs. He’s hoping to play in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final.

NEW YORK POST: Rangers head coach Gerard Gallant explained his decision to make winger Kaapo Kakko a healthy scratch in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Finals. “He’s a good young player, but we just thought that was the best lineup for trying to win that game,” said Gallant, who replaced Kakko with Dryden Hunt.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: There was speculation Gallant’s decision to sit Kakko might spur the 21-year-old winger to sign an offer sheet with a rival club as a restricted free agent this summer. However, he doesn’t believe that will affect his contract negotiations with the Rangers. “I don’t think so,” he said. “I like to play here, so I don’t think so.”

Gallant also dressed Ryan Strome for Game 6 but he played less than nine minutes before leaving the game with a pelvis injury. The 28-year-old center is slated to become an unrestricted free agent on July 13 but prefers to remain a Ranger. “My heart is here,” he said. However, he’s rumored to have rejected an initial offer from the Blueshirts worth between $5.25 million and $5.5 million.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Rangers have limited cap space for next season. Strome seems interested in the length of his next contract, pointing out that his three-year deal with the New York Islanders earlier in his career was the longest to date.

Strome also indicated he could require surgery for the pelvis injury that hampered him during the postseason. Meanwhile, Barclay Goodrow confirmed he fractured his ankle during Game 1 of the opening-round series with the Pittsburgh Penguins. Defenseman Ryan Lindgren suffered an ankle injury during the Rangers’ final regular-season game.

EDMONTON JOURNAL: Oilers goaltender Mikko Koskinen is leaving the NHL for Switzerland, signing a two-year contract with HC Lugano. He spent four seasons with the Oilers, sporting a record of 83-59-13 with a .907 save percentage and a 2.98 goals-against average.

TSN: The Oilers re-signed depth forward Brad Malone to a two-year, two-way contract paying him $762,500 at the NHL level.

THE TENNESSEAN: The Nashville Predators signed Jeremy Lauzon to a four-year, $8 million contract. Acquired from the Seattle Kraken at the trade deadline, the 25-year-old defenseman was slated to become a restricted free agent.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Cap Friendly indicates the Predators have $21.5 million in cap space with 19 players under contract for 2022-23. Left winger Filip Forsberg is the biggest name among their notable free agents.

SPORTSNET: A Winnipeg brewery is offering Barry Trotz free beer for life if he signs with the Jets. Little Brown Jug Brewing Company and a local sports show launched the campaign on Monday.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I can’t speak for Trotz but I know what my reaction would be to that offer.










NHL Rumor Mill – June 13, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – June 13, 2022

More speculation over the Rangers’ free-agent situation plus the latest on the Penguins in today’s NHL rumor mill.

WHICH RANGERS FREE AGENTS WILL BE BACK NEXT SEASON?

NEW YORK POST: Mollie Walker looked at which Rangers’ free agents will be back next season and which ones could be playing elsewhere.

New York Rangers winger Kaapo Kakko (NHL Images).

Kaapo Kakko’s surprising scratch from Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Finals raises questions about his future with the Rangers. He’s a restricted free agent who would be an affordable fit with a two-year bridge deal between $2 million and $2.5 million. Should the 21-year-old winger entertain offer sheets between $4.2 million and $6.1 million, however, the Rangers wouldn’t be able to match.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Offer sheets are rare but there’s a chance Kakko could sign one. Walker’s colleague Larry Brooks pointed to the Carolina Hurricanes’ successfully signing away Jesperi Kotkaniemi from the Montreal Canadiens last summer. He acknowledged the Hurricanes’ move was based on a certain amount of payback because of the Canadiens’ failed attempt in 2019 to sign away Sebastian Aho.

Kakko could be upset enough over being scratched from Game 6 to perhaps entertain offer sheets from other clubs. However, it’s not a preferred tactic by most general managers. With limited salary-cap space for next season, they’re likely to invest their dollars this summer on more established talent.

Ryan Strome’s lack of production in this year’s postseason combined with the Rangers’ cap situation could see him depart as an unrestricted free agent.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Walker also noted Strome is among the Rangers’ alternate captains and one of his best friends is linemate Artemi Panarin. Those are good reasons for the Blueshirts to retain him, perhaps by freeing up cap space by making a cost-cutting move. If that’s not possible, Strome may have played his final season as a Ranger.

Walker considers Andrew Copp as the priority signing among their trade-deadline acquisitions. He could get more on the open market than the Rangers can afford to pay but perhaps he’ll accept less to remain in New York if he believes they’re close to winning the Stanley Cup.

Fourth-line forward Tyler Motte’s willingness to sign a team-friendly deal could come down to contract term. RFA Sammy Blais played well before suffering a season-ending injury in November. He’ll likely re-sign a deal that works for the Rangers.

UFA winger Frank Vatrano might not be the team’s answer to filling out their top-six. Depth forward Greg McKegg could also return on an affordable contract. Walker wonders if the Rangers can afford to bring back fourth-line Kevin Rooney.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Walker anticipates UFA defenseman Justin Braun and RFAs Alexandar Georgiev and Julien Gauthier will likely be playing elsewhere next season.

LATEST ON THE PENGUINS

THE ATHLETIC: Rob Rossi reports multiple sources said the Pittsburgh Penguins’ priority is getting Kris Letang signed to a new multi-year contract. The 34-year-old defenseman is due to become a UFA on July 13.

Discussions between the team and the representatives of Letang and UFA center Evgeni Malkin are ongoing. However, the club wants to determine the cost of signing Letang before turning their attention more seriously to Malkin.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Letang is coming off a career-best 68-point season. Recent reports suggest he could seek a new deal close to his current annual average value of $7.25 million. Malkin is reportedly willing to accept a pay cut from his current $9.5 million AAV. Whatever Letang wants could determine how much cap room they’ve got left for Malkin.

PITTSBURGH HOCKEY NOW: Dan Kingerski recently reported some teams have contacted the Penguins to express interest in Pierre-Olivier Joseph. Sources said the New York Islanders and Montreal Canadiens were among the clubs that looked into the promising 22-year-old defenseman before the trade deadline.

Kingerski suggested Canadiens defenseman Jeff Petry as a potential replacement for Kris Letang if the latter departs via free agency. Petry requested a trade earlier this season but reportedly reconsidered after Martin St. Louis took over a head coach.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Canadiens could ask for Joseph as part of the return for Petry if they were to peddle the latter to the Penguins. Whether that happens remains to be seen. The Dallas Stars were also thought to have some interest in Petry.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 13, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 13, 2022

The latest on the Colorado Avalanche and Tampa Bay Lightning as they prepared for the Stanley Cup Final, the Rangers sign Vitali Kravtsov, the Panthers fire two assistant coaches, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

SPORTSNET: Colorado Avalanche forwards Nazem Kadri and Andrew Cogliano could return to action at some point in the upcoming 2022 Stanley Cup Final. Both were sidelined by hand injuries during the Western Conference Finals against the Edmonton Oilers.

Colorado Avalanche center Nazem Kadri (NHL Images).

  THE SCORE: cited Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman saying Tampa Bay Lightning center Brayden Point is “extremely probable” to play in the Stanley Cup Final. Point has been sidelined by a lower-body injury suffered during Game 7 of the Lightning’s first-round series with the Toronto Maple Leafs.

COLORADO HOCKEY NOW: The Avalanche are considered the favorites to win the Stanley Cup according to most sportsbooks. They’ve been the favorite for most of this season.

THE DENVER POST: The Avalanche are preparing for the challenge of facing the defending back-to-back Stanley Cup champion Lightning. “To be the best you’ve got to beat the best,” said Avs captain Gabriel Landeskog.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Ric Flair couldn’t have said it better. The oddsmakers may have the Avs as the favorites but the Lightning are still the defending champions. Take them lightly at your peril.

TAMPA BAY TIMES: The Lightning’s smothering defense was key to their elimination of two of this year’s highest-scoring teams in the Florida Panthers and Toronto Maple Leafs.

TSN: Vitali Kravtsov is reportedly returning to the New York Rangers after spending this season in the KHL. The 22-year-old right winger’s agent said his client signed a one-year, one-way contract with the Rangers.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Cap Friendly indicates he’ll earn a base salary of $800K with a $75K signing bonus. Kravtsov was the subject of trade speculation earlier this season for refusing to report to the Rangers’ AHL affiliate in Hartford. It’ll be interesting to see if he’s with the Blueshirts next season or ends up getting traded now that he’s signed an affordable one-year NHL contract.

FLORIDA HOCKEY NOW: cites a report by ESPN’s Kevin Weekes indicating the Panthers have relieved assistant coaches Ulf Samuelsson and Derek MacKenzie of their duties. Sportsnet’s Jeff Marek has also reported the Panthers will likely bring back Andrew Brunette as head coach with a coaching staff of his own.

BOSTON HOCKEY NOW: A source claims the Bruins have been in contract with former Providence Bruins head coach Jay Leach and former NHL coach Jim Montgomery about their vacant head coaching job.