Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – November 15, 2020

Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – November 15, 2020

The latest on the Jets and Lightning in the Sunday NHL rumor roundup.

WINNIPEG SUN: Ted Wyman reports a recent poll of Jets fans reveals they don’t want their club to move Patrik Laine, they would prefer if Jack Roslovic was traded, and management should have another season to get things right.

The majority of Winnipeg Jets fans don’t want Patrik Laine to be traded (NHL Images).

Laine, 22, is rumored to be on the trade block as he enters the final season of his contract. It could prove difficult re-signing him, but almost 80 percent of Jets fans surveyed believe he shouldn’t be traded. 75 percent want the Jets to re-sign him though most wouldn’t want to overspend to do so.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Jets will have to overspend if they want to keep Laine. He’ll be a restricted free agent next summer with arbitration rights who’ll demand a big raise, especially if he regains his 40-goal form. The current economic uncertainty facing the NHL might work in the Jets’ favor. Nevertheless, there could be a club willing to pay Laine whatever he wants that could be willing to meet the Jets’ asking price in the trade market.

Almost 60 percent of Jets fans believe the club should trade Roslovic. He’s reportedly been shopped in recent weeks in an attempt to land a top-four defenseman. Just over 50 percent would like to see Sami Niku traded.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Roslovic is believed to be unhappy with his current role and prefers regular top-six minutes. The 23-year-old is a versatile two-way forward who can play center or on right wing.

He’s currently a restricted free agent without arbitration rights who’s likely to get an affordable short-term bridge contract. The Jets aren’t in any hurry to move him. That could change if they get a suitable offer from a team with depth in defenseman seeking an affordable young forward with upside.

THE ATHLETIC: In a recent mailbag segment, Joe Smith was asked about the possibility of the Tampa Bay Lightning trading a bad contract, like Tyler Johnson’s $5 million annual average value, for a bad contract with a lower AAV. He doubts that happens as the Lightning must clear around $10 million in cap space.

Smith can’t confirm if it would cost the Bolts a first-round pick to move Johnson but he feels they’ll have to add a sweetener. He also doesn’t get the sense Johnson has expanded his list of trade destinations beyond 8 – 9 clubs.

Smith said Lightning general manager Julien BriseBois is working the phones seeking cost-cutting deals. However, the market is quiet right now because of the flattened cap and uncertainty over the start of the season.

While they could start the season with one of their restricted free agents (Anthony Cirelli, Mikhail Sergachev and Erik Cernak) still unsigned, Smith feels they’ll get them signed before then. He also hasn’t heard anything suggesting a rival club could attempt to sign one of them to an offer sheet.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Lightning’s efforts to clear cap space by moving someone like Johnson to re-sign those RFAs will likely increase once the start of the season has been confirmed. For now, there’s no reason to rush into anything. If the season begins sometime in January, expect business to pick up in December.










No Movement But Plenty of Buzz in NHL Trade Market

No Movement But Plenty of Buzz in NHL Trade Market

 










NHL Rumor Mill – October 24, 2020

NHL Rumor Mill – October 24, 2020

Another look at the top remaining UFAs, including suggested destinations for Mike Hoffman, plus the latest on the Islanders and Jets in today’s NHL rumor mill.

TOP REMAINING UFAs

THE SCORE: listed a roundup of the best available players by position. The top wingers include Mike Hoffman, Anthony Duclair, Mikael Granlund, and Andreas Athanasiou. Sami Vatanen, Travis Hamonic, Zdeno Chara and Andy Greene top the listing of defensemen, while Erik Haula and Carl Soderberg are among the best remaining centers. Goaltenders include Craig Anderson, Jimmy Howard, and Ryan Miller.

Unrestricted free agent winger Mike Hoffman (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Some decent depth remains among the wingers and defensemen, but not so much among the centers. All the goaltenders are past their best-before dates.

SPORTSNET: listed the Nashville Predators, Columbus Blue Jackets, New Jersey Devils, Boston Bruins and Carolina Hurricanes as potential destinations for Mike Hoffman. Those clubs are in need of scoring depth.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: With Hoffman the best player remaining in the market and activity in the free-agent market slowed to a crawl by the flattened salary cap, the latest guessing game among fans and pundits is figuring out where the 30-year-old winger could go. He reportedly seeks a one-year deal worth $6 million.

Hoffman’s agent recently said up to 13 teams have expressed an interest in his client, with five or six of those serious. The Edmonton Oilers and Los Angeles Kings have also been suggested, plus there’s been the odd speculation about Hoffman rejoining the Florida Panthers or Ottawa Senators.

LATEST ON THE ISLANDERS AND JETS

THE ATHLETIC: Arthur Staple listed Johnny Boychuk, Andrew Ladd, Thomas Hickey and perhaps Leo Komarov as potential cost-cutting trade candidates for the New York Islanders. A sticking point is teams could be asking for the Isles 2021 first-round pick. Staple wondered if general manager Lou Lamoriello could be comfortable including that pick. He has an extra second-round pick in 2022, or he could use his second-round picks to trade for a first-round pick.

Trade partners would be clubs with plenty of salary-cap space such as the Detroit Red Wings, Ottawa Senators, or New Jersey Devils. What complicates things is there are a half-dozen clubs over the cap that must shed salary, plus four others (including the Islanders) that are close to the ceiling.

Staple isn’t concerned about Isles center Mathew Barzal becoming an offer-sheet target as there aren’t many clubs with sufficient cap space to blow him away with a big offer. He considers it unlikely Barzal would sign with Detroit or New Jersey. Nashville would be squeezed for cap space in 2021-22 with two goalies to sign while joining the New York Rangers would “ignite a true war”. Staple also points out it’s difficult to see teams making big offer sheets when they’re furloughing or laying off employees.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Lamoriello’s biggest concern is freeing up cap space to re-sign Barzal and Ryan Pulock. Barzal could sign an offer sheet but I have my doubts. Lamoriello has indicated he’d match any offer. With Cap Friendly indicating the Isles have $8.9 million in cap space plus they can exceed the cap by 10 percent during the offseason, it’s unlikely Barzal will be signed away.

A rival club could do it just to complicate matters for the Isles by matching but that doesn’t seem likely, especially given the tight economic situation everyone is facing right now.

SPORTSNET: Ken Wiebe speculates it’s still possible Winnipeg Jets GM Kevin Cheveldayoff could package restricted free agents like Sami Niku and Jack Roslovic that brings in someone like the Florida Panthers’ MacKenzie Weegar or one of the left-shot defensemen the Carolina Hurricanes have in abundance. They could also circle back on a UFA like Ben Hutton to see if their asking price is more reasonable.

With 21 players already under contract for next season, the Jets will have limited salary cap space even after they place Bryan Little on LTIR. Wiebe doesn’t expect a big-name move by the Jets to address their defense unless they make a blockbuster trade involving winger Patrik Laine.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’ll have to be one helluva defenseman coming to the Jets to make Cheveldayoff part with Laine. The Jets GM could be comfortable starting the season with his current blueline and see how things develop leading up to the trade deadline.










NHL Rumor Mill – October 15, 2020

NHL Rumor Mill – October 15, 2020

The latest on Mike Hoffman, Joe Thornton, Steven Stamkos, Patrik Laine, Jake Gardiner, Anthony Duclair and more in today’s NHL rumor mill. 

SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman reports teams in the market for a scorer like Mike Hoffman include Boston, Carolina and Columbus.

Free-agent winger Mike Hoffman (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: NBC Sports Boston’s Nick Goss believes Hoffman would make sense for the Bruins on a one-year, $6 million contract. However, that would bite deeply into their $11 million in cap space and could mean trading winger Jake DeBrusk or a defenseman.

Meanwhile, the Ottawa Sun’s Bruce Garrioch believes Hoffman will make his decision within the next couple of days. He includes Edmonton and Nashville among the potential suitors.

The Toronto Maple Leafs are courting Joe Thornton but Friedman says not to underestimate the center’s loyalty to the San Jose Sharks.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I respect Thornton and his Hall of Fame-worthy career, but he’s 41 years old and coming off his worst performance (31 points) since his rookie season in 1997-98. That’s right, he made his NHL debut 23 years ago. Thornton is not who the Leafs need to center their third line.

Friedman believes the Tampa Bay Lightning asked captain Steven Stamkos to consider waiving his no-movement clause. “There’s a wall of secrecy around it”. Stamkos is recovering from abdominal surgery.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I’ll be very surprised if Stamkos waives his clause.

Friedman also wondered if the Columbus Blue Jackets made a pitch for Alex Pietrangelo before he signed with the Vegas Golden Knights. Defenseman David Savard was available for a while but that appears to have changed with Pietrangelo going to Vegas.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Cap Friendly indicates the Blue Jackets have over $13 million in cap space. That’s enough to re-sign center Pierre-Luc Dubois and add another player via trade or free agency.

Anaheim, Boston, Colorado, Toronto and Winnipeg are among the clubs to check into the availability of Florida Panthers defenseman MacKenzie Weegar. It’s believed the Leafs rejected a request for Travis Dermott/Andreas Johnsson. Tyson Jost of the Avalanche and Jack Roslovic of the Jets were also discussed.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Weegar recently filed for salary arbitration. Speaking of Roslovic, the Jets are reportedly gauging his value in the trade market. They’d like another established NHL defenseman before next season begins.

Speaking of the Jets, Friedman believes their re-acquisition of Paul Stastny means things remain “status quo” regarding winger Patrik Laine.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Laine isn’t going anywhere unless a team offers up a top-two defenseman similar to Columbus’ Seth Jones in return.

The Vancouver Canucks had an interest in free-agent defenseman Travis Hamonic before their acquisition of Nate Schmidt. They are looking for another defenseman, prompting Friedman to suggest Slater Koekkoek or Sami Vatanen. Hamonic had some interest from Eastern clubs like Philadelphia but prefers staying in the West.

The Flyers had talks with Arizona regarding Coyotes defenseman Jason Demers. Meanwhile, the Carolina Hurricanes are examining trade options with blueliner Jake Gardiner.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Coyotes could make Demers their cap-cutting trade candidate after failing to move Oliver Ekman-Larsson last week. The 32-year-old’s modified no-trade clause expired at the end of last season. He has a year remaining on his contract worth an annual cap hit of $4.5 million but his actual salary is $2.6 million after being paid his signing bonus for this season.

An interesting bit about Gardiner, who has three years left on his contract worth an AAV of $4.050 million with a seven-team no-trade list. I’m not sure how much interest he’ll garner in the trade market given how his performance declined over the last two years.

The Panthers are among the clubs that have talked to free-agent winger Anthony Duclair.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Ottawa Sun’s Bruce Garrioch reports five or six clubs have heard from Duclair, who’s representing himself in the free-agent market. The Senators haven’t shut the door on the winger, who rejected their two-year extension offer that would’ve doubled the $1.65 million he made last season.










Latest On The Jets, Coyotes, Avalanche and Canucks in Today’s NHL Rumor Roundup

Latest On The Jets, Coyotes, Avalanche and Canucks in Today’s NHL Rumor Roundup

 










NHL Rumor Mill – October 12, 2020

NHL Rumor Mill – October 12, 2020

In today’s NHL rumor mill: The Golden Knights could trade Nate Schmidt to the Panthers, the Jets are reportedly working on trading Jack Roslovic, plus the latest on Mike Hoffman and Sami Vatanen

GOLDEN KNIGHTS SHOPPING SCHMIDT TO PANTHERS?

Vegas Golden Knights defenseman Nate Schmidt (NHL Images).

  FLORIDA HOCKEY NOW: George Richards cites Fox Sports’ Andy Strickland reporting the Vegas Golden Knights are in talks to trade defenseman Nate Schmidt to the Florida Panthers. The Golden Knights must shed cap space to make room for Alex Pietrangelo. He carries an annual cap hit of $5.95 million for the next four seasons.

The Fourth Period’s Dave Pagnotta claimed the Panthers weren’t the potential destination for Schmidt. Richards believes acquiring Schmidt would add more heat to the MacKenzie Weegar trade speculation.

THE BOSTON GLOBE: Kevin Paul Dupont also took note of the Schmidt trade speculation. He suggested the left-hand shot would be the top candidate to pair with Bruins defenseman Charlie McAvoy on the Boston blue line.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Golden Knights are also believed to be trying to trade goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury but his $7 million annual cap hit through 2021-22 is proving difficult to move. Schmidt’s is more affordable but the length of that deal could be a sticking point. We’ll find out soon enough if he’s heading to Florida, Boston or another destination.

JETS SHOPPING ROSLOVIC?

WINNIPEG FREE PRESS: Mike McIntyre cited two sources claiming the Jets are actively in trade discussions looking to move Jack Roslovic for a high-end defenseman, preferably a left-hand shot. Roslovic, 23, is a restricted free agent center who’s been stuck on the Jets’ bottom-six as a winger.

McIntyre said Roslovic, who’s completing his entry-level contract, has been quietly seeking a change of scenery. He noted the availability of Vegas’ Nate Schmidt but also the speculation linking the blueliner to the Panthers. McIntyre also listed the Panthers’ Weegar and the New York Islanders Nick Leddy as two players of interest to watch.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Roslovic has top-six potential and could interest a number of clubs looking for a young center with upside. The Golden Knights could be reluctant to take back a player for Schmidt as they’re trying to dump salary to sign Pietrangelo. They might not be interested in Roslovic unless it’s to flip him to another club.