NHL Rumor Mill – April 7, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – April 7, 2022

An update on Bruins winger Jake DeBrusk and some Sharks trade candidates in today’s NHL rumor mill.

BOSTON HOCKEY NOW: Joe Haggerty reports Jake DeBrusk’s performance has improved since the trade deadline passed. The Boston Bruins winger has exceeded the 20-goal plateau this season and remains on the top line alongside Brad Marchand and Patrice Bergeron.

Boston Bruins winger Jake DeBrusk (NHL Images).

DeBrusk, 25, has not rescinded the trade request he made earlier this season. It’s difficult to know if his recent improvement will carry over into the playoffs or what the future holds despite signing a two-year contract extension before the March 21 trade deadline.

THE ATHLETIC: Fluto Shinzawa believes DeBrusk has made himself too invaluable for the Bruins to trade in the offseason unless his performance tumbles in the postseason. If other general managers come calling this summer, Bruins GM Don Sweeney would set the price higher than it was before the trade deadline.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s believed DeBrusk and Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy didn’t see eye-to-eye. The winger’s trade request seemed borne out of frustration over his usage on the Bruins’ checking lines rather than as a scorer.

However, DeBrusk’s performance has gotten better since being moved onto the top line with Marchand and Bergeron in mid-February. His production remains streaky as he’ll go on stretches without scoring but he has 14 goals and 19 points in 22 games over that period.

Earlier in his career, DeBrusk showed he could step up in postseason play. If he regains that form in this year’s playoffs, he could indeed make himself too valuable to trade. Then again, he could also improve his value, perhaps to the point where a rival GM is willing to overpay for his services.

THE MERCURY NEWS: Curtis Pashelka recently reported the San Jose Sharks could be forced to make one or two cost-cutting moves to free up salary-cap space to re-sign Alexander Barabanov. The 27-year-old winger has developed solid chemistry this season with linemates Tomas Hertl and Timo Meier. However, he’s slated to become an unrestricted free agent in July.

Pashelka observes the Sharks have $70.1 million invested in 16 players for 2022-23 with restricted free agent Mario Ferraro and Kaapo Kahkonen to re-sign. They must also ensure they have sufficient cap space for 2023-24 to sign Meier to a contract extension.

The Sharks could over $2 million in savings by trading James Reimer or Adin Hill this summer as they won’t need three goaltenders with Kahkonen in the fold. They could try shopping winger Kevin Labanc and his $4.725 million contract or defenseman Radim Simek and his $2.25 million cap hit.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Sharks will have an easier time finding trade partners Reimer or Hill and for Simek than they will for Labanc, who’s signed through 2023-24. The 26-year-old winger’s production has plummeted from his career-high of 56 points in 2018-19. He missed five games with COVID-19 last fall and has been sidelined with a dislocated shoulder since Jan. 2.










NHL Rumor Mill – March 25, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – March 25, 2022

What could the future hold for Patrick Kane, Jonathan Toews and Dylan Strome? Could the Sharks trade a goaltender in the offseason? Read on for the latest in today’s NHL rumor mill.

WHAT NEXT FOR THE BLACKHAWKS?

THE ATHLETIC: Pierre LeBrun recently reported agent Pat Brisson, who represents Patrick Kane, Jonathan Toews and Seth Jones, would meet this week with Chicago Blackhawks general manager Kyle Davidson. It’s felt Brisson will want to discuss his clients’ futures and where they fit into the Blackhawks offseason plans. LeBrun believes a number of teams would be drooling over the possibility of Kane becoming available this summer.

Chicago Blackhawks winger Patrick Kane (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Davidson recently indicated he’ll keep an open dialogue with Kane and Toews regarding his rebuilding plans. Kane didn’t want to discuss his future with the media by saying that’s a topic for discussion in the summer. Toews, meanwhile, admitted he’s mused about the possibility of playing for another club but insisted he still enjoys living and playing in Chicago. I expect Jones remains a big part of the Blackhawks’ plans as his new eight-year contract kicks in next season.

Kane and Toews are both signed through next season with identical $10.5 million cap hits and full no-movement clauses. That gives them full control over their short-term futures while their respective cap hits would be difficult to move even in the offseason.

NBC SPORTS CHICAGO/THE ATHLETIC: Charlie Roumeliotis and Scott Powers wondered what the future holds for Dylan Strome. The 25-year-old Blackhawks forward was a fixture in the rumor mill but wasn’t moved by the trade deadline. His performance improved over the second half of the season but it remains to be seen if that’ll translate into a new contract for the pending restricted free agent.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: A solid finish on Strome’s part could improve his value in the offseason trade market or it could convince Davidson to sign him to a one-year deal and see how next season unfolds.

SHARKS COULD TRADE A GOALIE THIS SUMMER

THE ATHLETIC: Corey Masisak speculates the San Jose Sharks’ addition of goaltender Kaapo Kahkonen from the Minnesota Wild at the trade deadline could result in James Reimer getting shopped in the offseason. Reimer and Adin Hill are signed through next season while Kahkonen is a restricted free agent. Management doesn’t intend to carry three netminders next season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Vegas Hockey Now’s Sheng Peng cited TSN’s Pierre LeBrun indicating the Sharks were getting some calls about Reimer at the trade deadline. His solid performance this season could draw attention this summer from teams that sought goaltending depth this season. The Edmonton Oilers, New Jersey Devils and Washington Capitals could be among the suitors.

Peng also reported the Sharks were dangling Matt Nieto and Nick Bonino at the trade deadline. Both forwards have one season remaining on their contracts Perhaps management will revisit efforts to move them during the summer.










NHL Rumor Mill – March 21, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – March 21, 2022

The Trade Deadline is 3 pm ET today. Check out the latest in this morning’s NHL rumor mill.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: With so many notable names already moved in recent days, there’s not much in terms of rumors involving noteworthy trade candidates. Here’s a quick roundup of this morning’s speculation.

THE ATHLETIC: Fluto Shinzawa believes the Boston Bruins will look at acquiring a forward before today’s trade deadline. Targets could include the Winnipeg Jets’ Andrew Copp, the Columbus Blue Jackets’ Max Domi, the Vancouver Canucks’ J.T. Miller and the New Jersey Devils’ Pavel Zacha.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s believed the Canucks are unlikely to move Miller today. Anything can happen, of course, but the extra year on his contract means they could keep him and perhaps try to sign him this summer to a contract extension.

NBC SPORTS PHILADELPHIA: Jordan Hall reports the Flyers are getting lots of calls on defenseman Justin Braun. Winger James van Riemsdyk could also be available as he has a year remaining on his contract with an annual average value of $7 million.

Anaheim Ducks winger Rickard Rakell (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Braun seems more likely to move than van Riemsdyk considering the latter’s cap hit. Braun is due to become an unrestricted free agent this summer and carries an affordable $1.8 million annual average value.

NEW YORK POST: Larry Brooks reports the Rangers are believed to be interested in Jets forward Andrew Copp. Meanwhile, talk around Anaheim Ducks winger Rickard Rakell seems to have quieted. Rangers GM Chris Drury could also bring in a defenseman. Options could include the Chicago Blackhawks Calvin de Haan, Montreal Canadiens Brett Kulak, the Flyers’ Justin Braun and the Buffalo Sabres’ Colin Miller.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Ducks general manager Pat Verbeek has made good on his vow to trade his pending UFAs rather than risk losing them for nothing this summer to free agency. He already shipped out Hampus Lindholm and Josh Manson. I expect Rakell will be on the move before today’s deadline.

THE PROVINCE: Ben Kuzma ponders the trade possibilities for several Canucks. They appear willing to remain patient with pending restricted free agent Brock Boeser while Conor Garland’s speed and reasonable contract still make him a good fit in Vancouver. Pending UFAs Tyler Motte and Luke Schenn are more likely to move.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Boeser could be moved today but I think that’s more likely an offseason move if they can’t reach an agreement on a contract. Garland is reportedly drawing lots of interest but I think it’ll take a significant offer (first-round pick?) to pry him away from the Canucks.

MONTREAL HOCKEY NOW: Jimmy Murphy reports the Los Angeles Kings have expressed interest in Canadiens forward Artturi Lehkonen and defensemen Jeff Petry and Brett Kulak. The Edmonton Oilers have also been linked to Kulak.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Petry’s $6.25 million annual cap hit through 2024-25 and his 15-team no-trade clause could make him difficult to move today. That could be an offseason transaction.

EDMONTON JOURNAL: Kurt Leavins believes the Oilers would like to add a defenseman. His suggested options include the Seattle Kraken’s Carson Soucy, the Ottawa Senators’ Nick Holden, and the Canadiens’ Brett Kulak.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Leavins also included the New Jersey Devils’ Ryan Graves on his list but I don’t believe he’s available.

SAN JOSE HOCKEY NOW: Sharks goaltender James Reimer is garnering some interest.

DETROIT HOCKEY NOW: Nick Leddy could be the next Red Wing to depart before today’s deadline. Vladislav Namestnikov and Marc Staal could also be available.

NBC SPORTS WASHINGTON: It appears the Capitals will continue to make calls for a goaltender and a middle-six forward.

CALGARY HOCKEY NOW: The Flames could add an affordable defenseman. Targets could include the Flyers’ Justin Braun, the Canadiens’ Brett Kulak, the Kraken’s Carson Soucy, the Sabres’ Colin Miller, the Red Wings Marc Staal and the New York Islanders’ Zdeno Chara.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I don’t see Chara going anywhere today. It seems like he’s willing to finish the season with the Isles.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 4, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 4, 2022

Recaps of Thursday’s action, barriers emerging for Russian players, an update on Hall-of-Famer Guy Lafleur, and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: Evgeni Malkin had a goal and two assists to lead the Pittsburgh Penguins to a 5-1 victory over the Tampa Bay Lightning, ending the latter’s five-game win streak. Tristan Jarry made 29 saves while Sidney Crosby and Jake Guentzel each had a goal and an assist. Lightning coach Jon Cooper was ejected from the game near the end of the second period for criticizing referee Wes McCauley. With 76 points, the Penguins move to within three points of the first-place Carolina Hurricanes in the Metropolitan Division while the Lightning (76 points) drop one point behind the first-place Florida Panthers in the Atlantic Division.

Pittsburgh Penguins center Evgeni Malkin (NHL Images).

Speaking of the Panthers, they snapped a three-game losing skid by blanking the Ottawa Senators 3-0. Sergei Bobrovsky had an 18-save shutout while Mason Marchment, Patric Hornqvist and Ryan Lomberg were the goal scorers. Panthers star Jonathan Huberdeau was held scoreless to end his points streak at 10 games.

The Hurricanes, meanwhile, were shut out 4-0 by the Washington Capitals. Vitek Vanecek got the win by kicking out 36 shots while Alex Ovechkin scored his 763rd career goal to move within three of Jaromir Jagr on the all-time list. The Capitals hold the final Eastern Conference wild-card berth with 67 points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Capitals forward Anthony Mantha returned to the lineup for the first time since suffering a shoulder injury on Nov. 4. The club created salary-cap space for his return by placing Carl Hagelin (eye) on long-term injury reserve and Joe Snively (upper body) on injured reserve.

Boston Bruins winger Craig Smith tallied a hat trick and David Pastrnak scored twice to down the Vegas Golden Knights 5-2. Bruins goalie Jeremy Swayman turned aside 34 shots for the win as his club sits three points up on the Capitals in the first Eastern wild-card berth. Jack Eichel netted his first goal with the Golden Knights, who’ve slid into the final Western Conference wild-card spot with 64 points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The absence of sidelined captain Mark Stone has contributed to Vegas’ slide in the standings. Since his last game on Feb. 8, the Golden Knights have just two wins in their last eight games. Robin Lehner returned to the lineup for the first time since Feb. 9 but gave up four goals on 35 shots.

A 42-save performance by Arizona Coyotes netminder Karel Vejmelka carried his club to a 2-1 upset over the league-leading Colorado Avalanche. Nick Schmaltz broke a 1-1 tie in the third period. The Avs remain atop the overall standings with 84 points.

Speaking of upsets, the Montreal Canadiens nipped the Calgary Flames 5-4 on an overtime goal by Ben Chiarot, who finished the game with two goals as the Habs ended the Flames’ 11-game home winning streak. Mike Hoffman had a goal and three assists and Nick Suzuki had three points for the Canadiens. Andrew Mangiapane had a goal and two assists for the Flames, who remain in first place in the Pacific Division with 71 points. Montreal forward Jake Evans left the game with an upper-body injury.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Canadiens remain competitive under interim coach Martin St. Louis. If this keeps up their improvement could hurt their odds of winning the 2022 NHL Draft Lottery but I don’t think the team cares about that. Their players look like they’re enjoying playing the game again.

In another upset, the Chicago Blackhawks beat the Edmonton Oiler 4-3 on an overtime goal by Alex DeBrincat. Patrick Kane had a goal and an assist for the Blackhawks, who honored former defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson with a pregame ceremony and a video tribute for Oilers blueliner Duncan Keith, who spent 16 seasons with the Blackhawks before being traded to Edmonton last summer. Evander Kane tallied twice for the Oilers (64 points), who moved into third place in the Pacific Division. Oilers defenseman Tyson Barrie left the game in the second period with an upper-body injury.

The Minnesota Wild snapped their four-game losing skid by downing the Philadelphia Flyers 5-4. Matt Boldy and Jonas Brodin scored 25 seconds apart in the third period as the Wild overcame a 4-3 deficit. Ryan Hartman scored twice while teammate Jared Spurgeon broke the club record for most games by a defenseman with 744. The Wild sit in third place in the Central Division with 67 points.

Third-period goals by Nils Hoglander and Vasily Podkolzin lifted the Vancouver Canucks to a 4-3 win over the New York Islanders. With 60 points, the Canucks are four points out of a wild-card spot in the Western Conference.

HEADLINES

THE HOCKEY NEWS: Increasing international sanctions and bans imposed on Russia over its invasion of Ukraine could bring up barriers for its hockey players hoping to reach the NHL or other elite leagues.

SPORTSNET: Guy Lafleur’s family issued a statement yesterday thanking fans for their support as the Hall-of-Famer battles lung cancer.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Hope you get well soon, Flower!

NBC SPORTS: The Carolina Hurricanes will host the Washington Capitals in the 2023 Stadium Series at Carter-Finley Stadium in Raleigh, NC on Feb. 18, 2023.

SAN JOSE HOCKEY NOW: Sharks goaltender James Reimer is sidelined week-to-week with a lower-body injury.

NEW YORK POST: Rangers center Kevin Rooney will be out for at least a week with an upper-body injury.










NHL Rumor Mill – March 27, 2021

NHL Rumor Mill – March 27, 2021

In today’s NHL Rumor Mill: more moves could be in store for the Sabres, the Canadiens might not be done dealing plus the latest on the Hurricanes and Blue Jackets.

ARE MORE MOVES IN STORE FOR SABRES?

THE ATHLETIC: John Vogl reports the Buffalo Sabres are open for business after shipping Eric Staal to the Montreal Canadiens yesterday for two draft picks. The Sabres also retained part of Staal’s salary and are allowed to retain salary on two more players this season to facilitate trading pending unrestricted free agents such as Taylor Hall and Brandon Montour.

Will Taylor Hall become the next player traded by the Buffalo Sabres? (NHL Images)

Hall has a full no-movement clause. However, he has indicated his willingness to discuss trade options with general manager Kevyn Adams.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: TSN’s Darren Dreger reports Adams has spoken with multiple teams about Hall. His colleague Pierre LeBrun said he’s heard a first-round pick is part of the asking price for Hall but it could be difficult for the Sabres to find that in this buyer’s market.

Hall will draw plenty of interest if the Sabres agree to pick up half of his $8 million annual average value for this season. The same goes for Montour and his $3.85 million AAV. The asking prices for those two will be draft picks and prospects.

It’ll be interesting to see if Adams attempts to move any players carrying term on their contracts or one of his restricted free agents. Defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen fits into the former category and Sam Reinhart the latter. Both have surfaced in recent trade speculation. Those moves could be made in the offseason if Adams doesn’t receive any decent offers by the April 12 trade deadline.

CANADIENS NOT DONE DEALING?

SPORTSNET: Eric Engels believes Montreal Canadiens GM Marc Bergevin isn’t done dealing after parting with two draft picks for Eric Staal yesterday. Bergevin didn’t meet with the press following the announcement of Staal’s acquisition, sparking speculation he could be trying to free up more salary-cap space.

The Habs don’t have much cap space ($486,095) to add another player, including promising prospect Cole Caufield whose college season ended yesterday. Engels speculates the Habs can wait and accrue more cap space to sign him because he’s on their reserve list and there’s no deadline to put pen to paper.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Habs could use another skilled left-side defenseman. Cap Friendly indicates he’s got $2.33 million in trade deadline cap space and 12 picks in the 2021 NHL Draft to draw upon as trade bait, including 10 between rounds two and five.

LATEST ON THE HURRICANES AND BLUE JACKETS

NHL.COM: cites Carolina Hurricanes GM Don Waddell telling The Athletic he could consider trading one of his goaltenders. Alex Nedeljkovic and James Reimer have split the goalies duties since Petr Mrazek was sidelined earlier this season with a broken thumb. Mrazek is now close to returning to the lineup.

Waddell pointed out his club has limited salary-cap space, suggesting he could use one of his goalies as a trade chip if he decides to add to his roster before the trade deadline. He also didn’t rule out retaining all three netminders for the playoffs. Waddell suggested he’d like to add a right-shot defenseman to his blueline corps.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Teams in need of goalie depth with pending UFA right-shot defensemen include the Sabres (Brandon Montour) and Ottawa Senators (Erik Gudbranson). Reimer and Mrazek, however, are also UFAs and could be unwilling to sign with either club.

The Colorado Avalanche could still be in the market for a reliable backup for Philipp Grubauer. Greg Pateryn is a pending UFA right-shot rearguard but might not be what Waddell is looking for. I don’t see the Avs parting with any of their top-six plus they don’t have many right-shot defensemen to spare.

THE ATHLETIC: In a recent mailbag segment, Aaron Portzline said he could see Columbus Blue Jackets GM Jarmo Kekalainen attempting to acquire a center if his club remains in the playoff race. He anticipates it would be a depth center with at most a year left on his contract for a mid-to-late-round draft pick.

Portzline rules out Kekalainen being a big-game hunter at the deadline as he was two years ago. He doubts the Jackets GM will mortgage too much of the future.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Any efforts to acquire a first- or second-line center will likely take place in the offseason. That could involve shopping one of his goalies.










Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – December 13, 2020

Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – December 13, 2020

Check out the latest on the Hurricanes, Predators, and Blues in the Sunday NHL rumor roundup.

NBC SPORTS: James O’Brien recently observed the Carolina Hurricanes opted to stand pat with goaltenders Petr Mrazek and James Reimer rather than pursue an upgrade between the pipes. Nevertheless, he wondered if they could pursue an experienced starter at this season’s trade deadline. O’Brien proposed perhaps moving one of them in exchange for a goalie with an expiring contract like Arizona’s Antti Raanta, Boston’s Tuukka Rask, or Vega’s Marc-Andre Fleury.

Could the Carolina Hurricanes attempt to replace a goalie like James Reimer during the coming season? (NHL Images)

  THE ATHLETIC: In a recent mailbag segment, Sara Civian was also asked about the possibility of the Hurricanes swinging an in-season trade to improve their goaltending. She wondered if Fleury could become available if it’s determined Robin Lehner is completely healthy. Civian also advocated pursuing Arizona Coyotes netminder Darcy Kuemper.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Most observers (including myself) believe the Hurricanes need to upgrade their goaltending to become Stanley Cup contenders. Mrazek and Reimer are unrestricted free agents at the end of this season. One or both could hit next summer’s open market.

Hurricanes general manager Don Waddell decided to stick with the Mrazek-Reimer tandem. Perhaps there simply wasn’t anything to his liking in the offseason trade and free-agent markets to address that need at a reasonable price. Waddell could keep his options open if his club needs help between the pipes before the trade deadline.

THE ATHLETIC: Adam Vingan suggests the Nashville Predators should target Anthony Cirelli with an offer sheet. The 23-year-old Tampa Bay Lightning center is a restricted free agent and his club has to clear salary-cap space to sign him to a new contract. Cirelli has the making of a future Selke Trophy candidate with his two-way skills.

Vingan believes the Predators have the necessary ammunition to make a serious offer for Cirelli. They have nearly $13 million in salary-cap space and sufficient draft picks required as compensation for a successful signing.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Just because the Predators have that cap space doesn’t mean they intend to use up a hefty portion with an offer sheet. GM David Poile could also be reluctant to part with his draft picks.

Don’t forget that it takes two to tango. Cirelli likely prefers staying in Tampa Bay with a Stanley Cup champion and could be unwilling to entertain an offer sheet.

STLTODAY.COM: In a recent mailbag segment, Jim Thomas was asked if there was any chance of the Blues trading Vince Dunn. While admitting one should never say never, Thomas doubts the 24-year-old defenseman will be moved, pointing out the club already lost blueliner Alex Pietrangelo plus he’s young and affordable.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Dunn’s not going anywhere. The Blues will get the restricted free agent signed to an affordable short-term deal before training camp opens next month.