NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 1, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 1, 2022

The Avalanche stage their Stanley Cup victory parade, the Lightning working on trading Ryan McDonagh and signing Nick Paul, the Red Wings hire Derek Lalonde as head coach, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines

THE DENVER POST/COLORADO HOCKEY NOW: The Colorado Avalanche held their Stanley Cup victory parade on June 30 in Denver. During the parade, defenseman Bowen Byram briefly jumped from the fire truck he was riding to mingle with fans along the route. He was nearly prevented from rejoining his teammates by a policeman who thought he was one of the fans.

In other highlights, head coach Jared Bednar gave an emotional speech thanking the Avalanche organization for giving him the opportunity to prove himself at the NHL level. He also praised his players and fellow coaches and thanked the fans for sticking with the club after his difficult first season in 2016-17.

Cale Makar thanked his “underappreciated” defense partner Devon Toews, Mikko Rantanen apologized for “forgetting” how to speak English following the Cup win and drank from a shoe with Artturi Lehkonen, and Nathan MacKinnon joked about finally winning something in his ninth NHL season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: In short, a good time was had by all.

SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman cites multiple sources claiming the Tampa Bay Lightning are working on a trade with Ryan McDonagh. It’s not a move they want to make but may have to for salary cap reasons. The 33-year-old defenseman is signed through 2025-26 with an annual average value of $6.75 million and a full no-trade clause.

Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Ryan McDonagh (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: McDonagh is still an effective defenseman but won’t be easy to move given his age and contract. The Bolts might have to include a draft pick or prospect to make the deal work.

They’ve also got less than two weeks to pull this off. Free agency begins on July 13 and most teams with available cap space interested in acquiring McDonagh could consider more affordable free-agent options if trade talks fall through.

TSN: Darren Dreger reports that the Lightning are closing in on a multi-year contract with Nick Paul. The 27-year-old forward was acquired from the Ottawa Senators prior to the March 21 trade deadline.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Paul’s new contract could be one reason why the cap-strapped Lightning are trying to trade McDonagh. He fit in well with the Bolts, especially during the postseason. He reportedly rejected a four-year, $10-million contract offer from the Senators before he was traded. It’ll be interesting to see what he gets from the Lightning.

DETROIT HOCKEY NOW: The Red Wings have hired Derek Lalonde as their new head coach. He spent the past four seasons as an associate coach with the Lightning and is a former ECHL coach of the year.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: We shouldn’t be surprised that Wings general manager Steve Yzerman went with a former Lightning coach. He’s the one who hired Lalonde during his tenure as the Bolts GM.

BOSTON HOCKEY NOW: A Bruins source indicated former Dallas Stars head coach Jim Montgomery could become their new bench boss. ESPN.com’s Kevin Weekes reports he’s been offered a three-year contract.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: A formal announcement could come as early as today (July 1). Montgomery spent the past two seasons as an assistant coach with the St. Louis Blues.

WINNIPEG SUN: The Jets are reportedly targeting Rick Tocchet as their new head coach. They’ve made him an offer but a deal had yet to be finalized. Tocchet is a former head coach of the Lightning and the Arizona Coyotes.

SPORTSNET: The Toronto Maple Leafs are open to trading the rights of pending UFA defenseman Ilya Mikheyev.

TSN: The Buffalo Sabres signed goaltender Craig Anderson to a one-year, $1.5 million contract. He was slated to become a UFA on July 13.

THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH: The Blues Jackets acquired gritty forward Mathieu Olivier from the Nashville Predators in exchange for a 2022 fourth-round pick that the Jackets acquired from the Toronto Maple Leafs last year.

THE DALLAS MORNING NEWS: The Stars signed goaltender Scott Wedgewood to a two-year contract extension worth $1 million per season. He’ll serve as Jake Oettinger’s backup.

SPORTSNET: Ottawa Senators defenseman Victor Mete released a statement on social media yesterday indicating he was not present at the Hockey Canada gala in 2018 that is now the focus of sexual assault allegations.

Mete, a member of Canada’s World Junior team in 2017-18, said he was deeply troubled by the allegations. He indicated he was vacationing in Jamaica with his family at the time of the alleged incident and only learned about the situation recently through media reports. He added he’d be willing to fully cooperate if requested by those investigating the matter.

Agents for NHL players Cal Foote and Dante Fabbro recently issued statements saying their clients also weren’t involved in the incident.

TSN: Speaking of the Senators, they’ve informed forward Adam Gaudette that he won’t be receiving a qualifying offer, making him an unrestricted free agent on July 13. The club also announced they’ve hired Trent Mann and Ryan Bowness (son of former Stars coach Rick Bowness) as assistant general managers.

WASHINGTON HOCKEY NOW: The Capitals have promoted Emily Engel-Natzke as their new NHL video coordinator. She becomes the first woman to be hired as part of the full-time coaching staff of an NHL club.










NHL Rumor Mill – June 18, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – June 18, 2022

What’s the latest on Filip Forsberg and Jeff Petry? Could the Devils attempt to move Jesper Bratt? What will the Capitals do about their goaltending? Check out the latest in today’s NHL rumor mill.

WILL FORSBERG RE-SIGN WITH THE PREDATORS?

TSN: Chris Johnston reports the Nashville Predators would like to bring back Filip Forsberg. However, it’s not clear at this point if they’ll be able to do that. He said there hasn’t been much progress in contract extension talks since March and both sides seem entrenched in their current positions.

THE ATHLETIC: Adam Vingan recently examined three options for the Predators to replace Forsberg if he hits the open market on July 13. The bold move could be attempting a major trade to acquire David Pastrnak if he’s reluctant to sign a contract extension with the Boston Bruins.

Nashville Predators winger Filip Forsberg (NHL Images).

They could attempt to sign Valeri Nichushkin if the Colorado Avalanche winger becomes an unrestricted free agent next month. Another option is acquiring Jesse Puljujarvi from the Edmonton Oilers as a reclamation project.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Plenty of time remains for Forsberg and the Predators to work out a deal. However, if there hasn’t been any progress in talks when the calendar flips to July, the more likely it’ll be that the 27-year-old left winger goes to market.

I don’t anticipate the Bruins shopping Pastrnak as both sides seem open to working out a contract extension starting on July 13. Sure, it’s possible talks could stall and the Bruins could start listening to offers but I’d say the odds of that happening are low right now.

Nichushkin won’t replace Forsberg’s offense or star power. Nevertheless, he’d be a more affordable option and his two-way game could be a good fit in the Predators’ system.

Puljujarvi’s trade value is low right now and he could be available given the Oilers’ limited cap space. It shouldn’t cost very much to acquire him if the Predators are interested.

CANADIENS WORKING ON PETRY TRADE

TSN: Pierre LeBrun reports the Montreal Canadiens are working on trading Jeff Petry though there’s no guarantee a deal will take place. Five or six teams have expressed an interest in the 34-year-old defenseman.

The Dallas Stars are among those clubs, especially if they lose blueliner John Klingberg to free agency next month. LeBrun said it appears Klingberg could test the UFA market as there have been no contract talks of late with the Stars. The Detroit Red Wings are another potential destination.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Petry-to-Dallas speculation has been around since March when there was talk the Stars looked into acquiring him before the trade deadline. As for the Wings, they have plenty of salary-cap space to absorb the Michigan native’s $6.25 million annual cap hit through 2024-25 and are in need of experienced blueline depth.

A LOOK AT DAILY FACEOFF’S UPDATED TRADE TARGETS LIST

DAILY FACEOFF: Frank Seravalli added five new names to his NHL offseason trade targets list.

New Jersey Devils winger Jesper Bratt is the notable new name, checking in at No. 10. Seravalli noted Devils general manager Tom Fitzgerald recently said the 23-year-old winger is a big part of the club’s future. However, sources said Bratt was available at the trade deadline and there’s been no contract extension talks to this point. He also noted Fitzgerald’s pursuit of “hard skill” this summer.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Bratt completed a career-best 73-point season and is coming off his second NHL contract. Fitzgerald can take his time negotiating with him though Bratt does have arbitration rights and is in line for a big raise.

I’m skeptical that Bratt will get traded but I don’t rule it out. It will depend on what type of skill player Fitzgerald is pursuing this summer and if Bratt would be a trade chip necessary to acquire that type of player.

Speaking of the Devils, Seravalli has Mackenzie Blackwood at No. 20. There’s a sense they’re losing faith in the 25-year-old goaltender after two seasons of injury and inconsistent play. He could be a bounce-back candidate in tandem with a veteran on a deeper club with limited cap space.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Improving the goaltending depth is a must for Fitzgerald this summer. He could shop Blackwood but could also keep him as a backup to be mentored by whoever he brings in as a starter.

New York Islanders winger Anthony Beauvillier, Vegas Golden Knights defenseman Alec Martinez and Pittsburgh Penguins winger Kasperi Kapanen were also added to the list. Beauvillier came in at No. 15, Martinez at 14 and Kapanen at 18.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: These three have previously surfaced in trade speculation mostly as cost-cutting candidates.

LATEST CAPITALS SPECULATION

NBC SPORTS WASHINGTON: Andrew Gillis recently examined possible goaltending candidates for the Capitals if they part ways with Ilya Samsonov or Vitek Vanecek this summer. He suggested monitoring the New York Islanders’ Semyon Varlamov and Los Angeles Kings’ Jonathan Quick.

Both have a year remaining on their respective contracts. He also doesn’t anticipate they’ll be among the bidders for the Toronto Maple Leafs’ Jack Campbell if he tests the open market in July.

WASHINGTON HOCKEY NOW: Sammi Silber recently cited Sportsnet’s Nick Kypreos claiming the Florida Panthers are shopping starting goalie Sergei Bobrovsky hard, so much so they’re willing to retain as much as 50 percent of his $10 million annual cap hit.

Silber wondered if the Capitals would be interested. She also suggested the Capitals could prefer keeping their options open with Campbell, Colorado’s Darcy Kuemper and St. Louis’ Ville Husso possibly available via free agency.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Varlamov might approve a trade back to where his career began but I don’t see the Capitals investing in him unless they can get him signed to a contract extension. The Kings could stick with Quick for his final season before passing the full-time goalie duties to Cal Petersen.

Bobrovsky’s contract expires in 2026. Even at $5 million annually, that’s a lengthy investment in a 33-year-old goaltender who struggles at times with consistency. I think the Capitals will test their luck in the UFA market and make a cost-cutting deal if necessary to add a goalie.

WASHINGTON HOCKEY NOW: Sammi Silber cites a report out of Russia claiming Alex Ovechkin called Evander Kane earlier this season to encourage him to sign with the Capitals following his contract termination by the San Jose Sharks. Kane ultimately signed with the Edmonton Oilers.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I’m including this one just for fun. And no, I don’t see Kane signing with the Capitals. They already have a first-line left winger (hello there, Ovechkin) and they’ll likely invest their limited cap space in improving their goaltending and perhaps their blueline depth.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 15, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 15, 2022

The latest on the Avalanche and Lightning ahead of Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final, the Golden Knights hire former Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy as their new bench boss, Ducks goalie John Gibson denies trade rumors, and much more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: Colorado Avalanche coach Jared Bednar hadn’t named his starting goalie for tonight’s Game 1 of the 2022 Stanley Cup Final. Darcy Kuemper has fully recovered from the upper-body injury that sidelined him for most of the Western Conference Finals. Backup Pavel Francouz picked up the wins in all four games in that series as the Avs swept the Edmonton Oilers.

THE DENVER POST: Avalanche center Nazem Kadri’s status for Game 1 remains uncertain. He underwent surgery on his right thumb last week and wasn’t seen skating with his teammates in practice. Kadri wasn’t available to the media because of his injury status.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s been suggested Kadri could return at some point in the Stanley Cup Final. Given the severity of his injury, I’ll believe it when I see it.

TAMPA BAY TIMES: Lightning coach Jon Cooper said all signs indicated Brayden Point (lower-body injury) could return to the lineup for the first time in 31 days in Game 1. However, the final decision will be made on Wednesday.

Tampa Bay Lightning forward Brayden Point (NHL Images)

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s believed Point will definitely be in the line for Game 2 if he doesn’t play in Game 1 tonight.

LAS VEGAS SUN: The Vegas Golden Knights confirmed they’ve hired former Boston Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy as their new bench boss.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Fired by the Bruins on June 6, Cassidy wasn’t unemployed for long. That’s because of his solid resume during his six seasons in Boston, guiding the Bruins to the 2019 Stanley Cup Final and winning the Presidents’ Trophy the following season, earning himself the Jack Adams Award as coach of the year for 2019-20.

The Golden Knights will be counting on Cassidy to get them back on the winning track after missing the playoffs this season for the first time in franchise history.

THE ATHLETIC: John Gibson denied a recent rumor claiming he would welcome a trade from the Anaheim Ducks. The 28-year-old goaltender said he first learned of the speculation in a call with his agent, Kurt Overhardt.

All of the rumors that I got in a call from Kurt yesterday are false because I haven’t had a conversation with anybody there, “ said Gibson. “None of that is true.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Athletic’s Eric Stephens suggested Gibson, who has a 10-team no-trade clause, could be traded if Ducks general manager Pat Verbeek gets a “blow-me-away” offer. That appears unlikely if the goalie wants to stay put.

NHL.COM: The Vancouver Canucks intend to qualify Brock Boeser’s rights, according to president of hockey operations Jim Rutherford. “No, we’re not going to let him walk,” said Rutherford. “We recognize he’s a good player. We can figure out a way to fit him in next season with him taking his qualifying offer. Everything gets tricky and difficult, but we can figure it out.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It will cost the Canucks $7.5 million to qualify Boeser’s rights. With limited cap space, they’ll like have to make a cost-cutting trade or two to work it out.

NBC SPORTS PHILADELPHIA: cited ESPN’s Kevin Weeks reporting the Flyers are in “late-stage negotiations” with John Tortorella regarding their head-coaching job.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: As of early this morning a deal has not yet been reached. There could be an announcement coming soon. Stay tuned…

DETROIT HOCKEY NOW: The Red Wings signed Juho “Jussi” Olkinuora to a one-year, two-way contract. The 31-year-old goaltender helped Finland win gold at the 2022 Beijing Olympics. He also backstopped them to gold at the 2022 World Championship, earning MVP honors.

TRIBLIVE.COM: The Pittsburgh Penguins promoted Chris Pryor to assistant general manager.

THE DALLAS MORNING NEWS: The Stars signed forward Fredrik Karlstrom to a one-year, two-way contract extension. He appeared in three games with the Stars this season.

NHL.COM: Al Morganti and Bill Clement will be honored this year by the Hockey Hall of Fame. Morganti will receive the Elmer Ferguson Memorial Award for excellence in hockey journalism while Clement will receive the Foster Hewitt Memorial Award for outstanding contributions as a hockey broadcaster.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Congratulations to Morganti and Clement on winning these prestigious awards honoring their many years in their respective fields.

ARIZONA SPORTS: The Coyotes are hopeful of reaching an agreement on a new arena with the city of Tempe by the end of this year.

IDNES.CZ: Czech goaltender Patrik Bartosak is under investigation by police after his father accused him of assault. He’s a former prospect of the Los Angeles Kings, selected in the fifth round of the 2013 NHL Draft.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Stick tap to Alexander Wirdzek for the link.

TSN: Carter Hutton announced his retirement on Tuesday. The 36-year-old goaltender spent 10 seasons in the NHL with the Chicago Blackhawks, Nashville Predators, St. Louis Blues, Buffalo Sabres and Arizona Coyotes. In 235 games, he had a record of 94 wins, 90 losses and 27 overtime losses, with a career goals-against average of 2.76, a save percentage of .908 and 13 shutouts.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Best wishes to Hutton and his family in their future endeavors.

CALGARY SUN: Jim “Bearcat” Murray passed away Tuesday at age 89. He was the trainer for Flames from 1980 until 1996, transitioning into retirement in a community ambassador role. Murray became one of the most popular and colorful characters in Flames’ history.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I saw Murray’s popularity in Calgary during the four years I lived there in the mid-1990s. He took part in many community and charity activities and was among the city’s most recognizable local celebrities. My condolences to his family, friends, and the Flames’ organization.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – May 28, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – May 28, 2022

The Avalanche advance over the Blues to the Western Conference Finals, the latest on the Hurricanes and Rangers, Brad Marchand is sidelined by hip surgery and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines

NHL.COM: The Colorado Avalanche advanced to the Western Conference Finals for the first time in 20 years with a 3-2 victory over the St. Louis Blues in Game 6 of their second-round series. J.T. Compher scored twice and Darren Helm snapped a 2-2 tie with 5.6 seconds remaining in regulation time. Justin Faulk and Jordan Kyrou scored for the Blues.

Colorado Avalanche forward J.T. Compher (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This was a nail-biting, tight-checking contest that seemed headed to overtime until Helm’s goal in the dying seconds of the third period. The Avalanche are 5-0 on the road in this postseason and will face the Edmonton Oilers in the Conference Finals.

This was a disappointing end to a better-than-anticipated season for the Blues. They finished third overall in the Central Division with 109 points and defeated the Minnesota Wild in the opening round. Their potential offseason moves will be examined in today’s Rumor Mill update.

NEW YORK POST: Rangers head coach Gerard Gallant expressed confidence in his struggling stars Artemi Panarin and Chris Kreider heading into Game 6 tonight against the Carolina Hurricanes. “They’re character players, they’ll do it for us. They’ve done it for us all year,” said Gallant.

THE NEWS & OBSERVER: Speaking of the Hurricanes, they’ll need more from sniper Andrei Svechnikov. He was scoreless in six games until tallying a crucial goal during Game 5 against the Rangers on Thursday.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Rangers need Panarin and Kreider at their best to avoid elimination on home ice tonight in Game 6. Meanwhile, Svechnikov’s goal-scoring skills will be vital for the Hurricanes to pick up their first road win of the postseason and advance to the Eastern Conference Finals.

NHL.COM: The Western Conference Finals between the Avalanche and Oilers begin Tuesday, May 31 at 8 pm ET. The Eastern Conference Finals start on Wednesday, June 1 at 8 pm ET between the Tampa Bay Lightning and the winner of the Hurricanes-Rangers series.

BOSTON HOCKEY NOW: Bruins winger Brad Marchand underwent surgery to repair labral tears in both hips and will require six months to recover.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That means the Bruins will be without Marchand for the first two months of 2022-23. They’ll also be without defenseman Matt Grzelcyk to start the season as he recently underwent shoulder surgery.

THE PROVINCE: Duke Boeser, father of Vancouver Canucks star Brock Boeser, passed away Friday at age 61 following a long battle with cancer and dementia.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: My condolences to Boeser and his family.

CHEK-TV’s Rick Dhaliwal reports Calgary Flames defenseman Chris Tanev played with a torn labrum, a separated shoulder and a sprained neck in the final two games of his club’s playoff series with the Oilers. He’s slated to undergo surgery next week.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The lengths NHL players will go to play through pain in the postseason never ceases to amaze me. Here’s hoping Tanev makes a full recovery.

MLIVE.COM: Check out the trailer for ESPN’s upcoming documentary on the Avalanche-Red Wings rivalry from 1996 to 2002.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That was one of the greatest rivalries in NHL history and certainly among the best I’ve witnessed. The intensity of the games and the hatred between the two teams were off the charts.

SPORTSNET: A change to a Michigan insurance law means Vladimir Konstantinov and thousand of others who suffered serious traffic-related injuries could lose their round-the-clock medical care.

Konstantinov suffered career-ending and life-changing brain injuries from a limousine crash in 1997 and requires constant care at home. The change to the law and the high costs of his home care could force him to be put into an institution where restraints or medication would be required to keep him safe.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Red Wings and the NHLPA are reportedly looking into ways to maintain Konstantinov’s home care. Here’s hoping they can work something out for him. At least he has a wealthy hockey club and a players’ union to help him. The other Michigan residents facing the same predicament won’t have that option.










NHL Rumor Mill – May 14, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – May 14, 2022

What will the Capitals do with their goaltending this summer? Are the Sharks open to trading Erik Karlsson or Brent Burns? Will the Blackhawks seek improvement between the pipes? Who could the Red Wings target via free agency? Find out in today’s NHL rumor mill.

WILL THE CAPITALS LOOK TO IMPROVE THEIR GOALTENDING?

ESPN.COM: Greg Wyshynski considers the Washington Capitals goaltending an interesting situation worth monitoring during the offseason. Vitek Vanecek and Ilya Samsonov are both restricted free agents. Vanecek had a solid regular season but fared poorly in the playoffs while Samsonov was the opposite.

Wyshynski wondered if the Capitals will seek an upgrade between the pipes. If they decide to keep their tandem intact, for how much and for how long? He also believes their blueline needs improvement.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Capitals need a reliable starter. There are only four suitable options via this summer’s unrestricted free agent market and one of them (Marc-Andre Fleury) apparently isn’t interested in playing for them. Colorado’s Darcy Kuemper, Toronto’s Jack Campbell and St. Louis’ Ville Husso could be available but will be expensive to sign. The Capitals would face competition from other clubs for those goaltenders should they test the open market on July 13.

General manager Brian MacLellan could try the trade market by looking at netminders such as Anaheim’s John Gibson, Los Angeles’ Jonathan Quick, Vegas’ Robin Lehner and the New York Islanders’ Semyon Varlamov. Acquiring either of them, however, won’t be easy and will cost assets as well as salary.

Limited salary-cap space will also impede the pursuit of a goalie upgrade or the addition of a quality defenseman. Cap Friendly shows the Capitals with $73.5 million invested in 17 active players for 2022-23 with Vanecek and Samsonov as their key free agents. MacLellan might have to shed a contract or two to find sufficient cap space to address those needs.

THE SHARKS COULD BE OPEN TO TRADING KARLSSON OR BURNS THIS SUMMER

THE MERCURY NEWS: Curtis Pashelka reports San Jose Sharks interim general manager Joe Will indicated he has no problem talking to other clubs about trading Erik Karlsson or Brent Burns this summer. Both players recently surfaced in the rumor mill after the Sharks missed the playoffs last month.

San Jose Sharks defenseman Erik Karlsson (NHL Images).

Will said nothing was off-limits in terms of looking at ways to improve the roster wherever they could. However, he added that would be a decision left to whoever becomes the club’s general manager. He stated no changes are imminent but they’re open to discussion.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: In other words, Will is talking about a hypothetical trade scenario involving Karlsson or Burns rather than something that will actually take place. He or his successor are making it known they’re open to offers for their high-end talent but that doesn’t mean they’re actively shopping those players.

That being said, I wouldn’t be surprised if Sharks management quietly gauged the market for Karlsson or Burns. However, Karlsson’s injury history, the 37-year-old Burns’ age, and their respective hefty contracts and no-trade clauses make moving either defenseman a difficult task in an offseason where the salary cap is rising by only $1 million for 2022-23.

LATEST ON THE BLACKHAWKS

THE ATHLETIC: Scott Powers and Mark Lazerus recently reported goaltending is the biggest issue facing the Chicago Blackhawks this summer. Current netminders Kevin Lankinen and Collin Delia are slated to become UFAs this summer.

GM Kyle Davidson said Lankinen and Delia are part of the conversation but there are players in this summer’s free-agent market the Blackhawks will be looking at. He also didn’t rule out a foray into the trade market. A source claims the club hasn’t started contract discussions yet with Lankinen.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I expect the Blackhawks could keep Lankinen or Delia as a backup as they pursue a reliable starter via free agency or a trade. Many of the options I listed for the Capitals could also apply here.

Davidson has $61.4 million committed to 14 players with Dominik Kubalik, Dylan Strome, Kirby Dach, Caleb Jones and Philipp Kurashev slated to become restricted free agents. There is sufficient room to add a decent starter provided those RFAs can be inked to affordable deals. Strome or Kubalik could be traded or allowed to depart as UFAs.

WHO COULD THE RED WINGS TARGET VIA FREE AGENCY?

DETROIT HOCKEY NOW: Kevin Allen recently published a list of forwards who might interest Detroit Red Wings GM Steve Yzerman in this summer’s UFA market.

Carolina Hurricanes center Vincent Trocheck, New York Rangers forward Andrew Copp and Tampa Bay Lightning forward Nick Paul were Allen’s top three candidates

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Trocheck and Paul should be available this summer but it remains to be seen if they want to sign with a rebuilding club. Copp, however, could be off the market as the Rangers are quite keen to re-sign him.

Nashville Predators winger Filip Forsberg, Rangers center Ryan Strome and Lightning winger Ondrej Palat were also among Allen’s choices.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Red Wings’ plentiful cap space means they could afford to pay Forsberg a big raise. Like Trocheck and Paul, he might not prefer joining a rebuilding team.

Strome’s situation with the Rangers could go either way. Yzerman drafted Palat when he was GM of the Lightning so the latter might be willing to consider a reunion.

Colorado Avalanche winger Valeri Nichushkin, Avs winger Andre Burakovsky, Toronto Maple Leafs forward Ilya Mikheyev and KHL forward Andrei Kuzmenko round out Allen’s listing.










NHL Rumor Mill – May 10, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – May 10, 2022

Where could Barry Trotz end up after being fired as Islanders head coach? Who could the Isles hire as his replacement? Check out the latest in today’s NHL rumor mill.

THE ATHLETIC: Kevin Kurz reported on the New York Islanders’ surprising decision to fire head coach Barry Trotz on Monday. He speculates Trotz’s handling of young forward Oliver Wahlstrom and the reduction in Mathew Barzal’s role and ice time may have factored into general manager Lou Lamoriello’s decision to part ways with Trotz.

Former New York Islanders head coach Barry Trotz (NHL.com).

A source with knowledge of the Islanders’ dressing room pushed back against Lamoriello’s claim the decision was made without input from the players. The source said making that move after conducting the players’ exit interviews indicated the Isles GM was listening to their comments.

Kurz speculates Trotz’s physically demanding style of play in a season that started with a 13-game road trip followed by a COVID outbreak might have contributed to the club’s disappointing performance. The coach himself also pondered that possibility.

As for Trotz’s potential replacements, Kurz’s list included former NHL coaches such as Mike Babcock, Joel Quenneville, and Claude Julien, as well as current Isles assistant coach Lane Lambert.

NYI HOCKEY NOW: Stefen Rosner also weighed in on the next Islanders head coach, claiming he’s been told Lamoriello has looked into Paul Maurice and John Tortorella. He also speculated Peter DeBoer could be an option if he’s fired by the Vegas Golden Knights.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Lamoriello gave no timetable for naming Trotz’s replacement. Nevertheless, it wouldn’t be surprising if he reaches a decision before the 2022 NHL Draft in early July.

It’ll be interesting to see whether Lamoriell opts for someone with plenty of NHL experience and success, promotes Lambert, or considers an option outside the box for many observers. We probably won’t get any indication of which way the always-secretive Isles GM will go before he announces his choice.

Speaking of DeBoer, Vegas Hockey Now’s Owen Krepps wondered if he’ll join Trotz among the ranks of unemployed NHL head coaches. If so, he suggested the Golden Knights might look at Trotz as a replacement.

THE HOCKEY NEWS: Mike Stephens suggested the Philadelphia Flyers, Seattle Kraken and Winnipeg Jets as three landing spots for Trotz.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Flyers replaced Alain Vigneault last December with Mike Yeo on an interim basis and are in the hunt for a new full-time head coach after announcing Yeo won’t return in the role next season.

Paul Maurice stepped down as Jets head coach in December. Assistant coach Dave Lowry was named interim bench boss but, like Yeo, won’t be returning in that role next season.

Stephens feels the Kraken lacks structure under current head coach Dave Hakstol. So far, there’s no indication Seattle GM Ron Francis intends to make a coaching change but someone as well-respected as Trotz becoming available could prove tempting.

WINNIPEG SUN: Paul Friesen believes the Jets should be in pursuit of Winnipeg native Trotz. He cited his impressive record of success with the Islanders, as well as with the Washington Capitals and Nashville Predators.

PHILLY HOCKEY NOW: Sam Carchidi believes Trotz would be a perfect fit to revitalize the sorry-looking Flyers if he’s interested in the challenge.

DETROIT HOCKEY NOW: Kevin Allen suggested the Red Wings could be a landing spot for Trotz. He also indicated the Chicago Blackhawks are among the NHL teams seeking a new head coach.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Trotz won’t be out of a job for long. He’s reportedly taking a couple of weeks to rest and ponder his next move. I won’t be surprised if he’s got a new coach gig before the end of June.

It could come down to whether he’d prefer to join a retooling team (or one that needs to retool) like the Jets or looks for the challenge of joining a rebuilding squad like the Wings.