Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – August 4, 2019

Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – August 4, 2019

Updates on the Oilers, Penguins, and Flyers in today’s Sunday NHL rumor roundup. 

OILERS

THE ATHLETIC: Allan Mitchell explored what could be in store for Edmonton Oilers general manager Ken Holland over the next seven months. If Holland decides to add a forward via free agency, Mitchell listed Derick Brassard and Thomas Vanek among the affordable remaining UFA options. 

Could Derick Brassard be a good fit with the Edmonton Oilers? (Photo via NHL Images)

Holland will have to figure out what to do with Jesse Puljujarvi, who’s threatened to stay in Europe if he’s not traded before the start of the season. Mitchell notes Holland has a history of extreme patience in such matters, as he outwaited Jiri Hudler nearly a decade ago during his tenure as GM of the Detroit Red Wings. 

If the Oilers become sellers at next year’s trade deadline, Mitchell speculated Holland could gauge the trade value of Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Adam Larson, who are slated to become UFAs in 2021. If Holland becomes a buyer, perhaps he’ll pursue a forward like Florida’s Mike Hoffman or Ottawa’s Jean-Gabriel Pageau. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Holland’s had a busy, largely productive offseason, including shipping Milan Lucic to Calgary for James Neal. It’ll be interesting to see what else he could have in store over the coming season. Of course, much will depend upon the Oilers’ on-ice performance. 

EDMONTON JOURNAL: Kurt Leavins notes the Oilers could still use some help at center. He reports they have some interest in UFA Derick Brassard but his camp is “far in excess ($4m) of what the Oilers are willing to pay.” He’s also heard the Montreal Canadiens could have some interest. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Brassard’s not getting $4 million from the Oilers or anyone else this summer. 

PENGUINS

THE ATHLETIC: Josh Yohe recently reported of mutual interest between the Pittsburgh Penguins and defenseman Marcus Pettersson regarding a long-term contract. General manager Jim Rutherford said a deal will be completed soon but acknowledged he’ll have to do something to free up sufficient salary-cap space. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Cap Friendly indicates the Penguins sit just over $157K above the $81.5-million salary cap. PIttsburgh fans would love to see defenseman Jack Johnson traded but that seems unlikely. Forwards Nick Bjugstad ($4.1-million annual average value) and Bryan Rust ($3.5 million AAV) frequently surfaced in this summer’s rumor mill. 

FLYERS

THE ATHLETIC: Charlie O’Connor recently observed the Philadelphia Flyers will have eight NHL-caliber defensemen on their blueline once restricted free agent Ivan Provorov is re-signed. They could end up moving one of them before the start of the season, leaving Samuel Morin or Robert Hagg expendable. 










NHL Rumor Mill – July 3, 2019

NHL Rumor Mill – July 3, 2019

The best remaining UFAs, the latest on the Canadiens and Penguins, plus updates on Chris Kreider and Rasmus Ristolainen in today’s NHL rumor mill. 

TOP REMAINING NHL UFAS

THE HOCKEY NEWS: Defenseman Jake Gardiner and winger Michael Ferland top Matt Larkin’s list of the top available NHL unrestricted free agents. Forward Marcus Johansson, center Joe Thornton, and right winger Justin Williams round out the top five. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: As usual, the pickings get slim following the opening day of the free-agent market. I expect Thornton will return with the San Jose Sharks for one last hurrah. Williams could retire or return for one more season with the Hurricanes. 

WHAT NEXT FOR THE CANADIENS

SPORTSNET: Eric Engels considers the Montreal Canadiens options after the Carolina Hurricanes announced they’ll match the offer sheet for Sebastian Aho. He doubts Canadiens general manager Marc Bergevin will go the offer sheet route again.

Engels wondered if Bergevin might consider trading for Nashville Predators center Kyle Turris. He suggested seeing if the Predators will add another asset in the deal or convince them to pick up part of Turris’ $6 million annual salary-cap hit. Engels also proposed pursuing a free-agent defenseman like Jake Gardiner. 

THE ATHLETIC: Sean Gordon believes Bergevin must address the Canadiens’ need for a top-four, left-side defenseman. Free-agent options could include Gardiner, Ben Chiarot, and Ben Hutton. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: With over $11 million in cap room and 12 picks in next year’s draft, the Canadiens have assets to use in the trade market. Bergevin could target clubs looking to shed salary-cap space. As per Cap Friendly, those could include the Vegas Golden Knights, Pittsburgh Penguins, and Calgary Flames. Unless the Predators are willing to pick up a significant chunk of Turris’ cap hit, I don’t think he’s worth pursuing. 

Questions persist over Chris Kreider’s future with the New York Rangers (Photo via NHL Images).

WILL THE RANGERS RE-SIGN KREIDER?

NEW YORK POST: Larry Brooks believes the Rangers need the grit winger Chris Kreider brings to the lineup. He’s a year away from UFA eligibility.

The Rangers cap space for 2020-21 will be reduced after they re-sign Jacob Trouba, Tony DeAngelo, Pavel Buchnevich and Brendan Lemieux. If they decide to re-sign Kreider, they’ll have to free up some cap room. Brooks suggests Buchnevich or Vladislav Namestnikov could become trade options.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That’s going to depend on Kreider. Brooks doubts they’ll want to go through a season of uncertainty over the winger’s contract status. If Kreider’s unwilling to sign a contract extension this summer, the Rangers could trade him before training camp opens in September. 

LATEST PENGUINS SPECULATION

PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE: Matt Vensel believes the Penguins will make another cost-cutting trade. After signing Brandon Tanev on Monday, they have around $1.6 million in salary-cap space. They also have restricted free agents Marcus Pettersson, Zach Aston-Reese, and Teddy Blueger to re-sign. Vensel speculates Nick Bjugstad or Bryan Rust could become trade candidates.

RISTOLAINEN TRADE RUMORS PERSIST

THE ATHLETIC: John Vogl notes the Buffalo Sabres could use a center to take the pressure off Casey Mittlestadt or a proven right wing. He suggests defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen would be a good trade chip to address either need. The Winnipeg Jets, Anaheim Ducks, and Tampa Bay Lightning could use a right-side defenseman. 










NHL Rumor Mill – July 2, 2019

NHL Rumor Mill – July 2, 2019

A look at the top remaining UFAs plus updates on the Penguins, Golden Knights, Predators, Oilers, and more in today’s NHL rumor mill. 

WHAT’S LEFT IN THE UFA MARKET?

SPORTSNET: Joe Thornton and Jake Gardiner are the notables among Luke Fox’s list of the notable remaining unrestricted free agents. Others include wingers Michael Ferland and Ryan Dzingel and defenseman Ben Lovejoy.

Jake Gardiner remains among the few notable players still available in the NHL UFA market (Photo via NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I’m expecting Thornton will sign a one-year, bonus-laden contract with the Sharks. Fox noted the Montreal Canadiens had interest in Gardiner. However, they’re in a holding pattern awaiting the Carolina Hurricanes’ response to their signing Sebastian Aho to an offer sheet.

Fox also said there’s some buzz suggesting the Calgary Flames would like to bring back Ferland. Flames general manager Brad Treliving said he’s still seeking improvement on the right side of his forward lines. We’ll see if there’s a fit there.

COULD THE PREDATORS SHOP TURRIS?

OTTAWA SUN: After the Nashville Predators signed Matt Duchene yesterday, Bruce Garrioch speculates the Nashville Predators could try again to trade Kyle Turris. He said they attempted to move the 29-year-old center during the draft. Garrioch acknowledges moving Turris’ $6-million annual salary-cap hit won’t be easy. However, he believes there are teams in the Eastern Conference that might need help at center.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Not at $6 million per season. If the Predators want to trade Turris they could be forced to absorb part of his cap hit or include a good young player, a high draft pick, or a top prospect in the deal. 

PENGUINS MUST SHED MORE SALARY

TRIBLIVE.COM: After the Pittsburgh Penguins signed Branden Tanev to a six-year, $21-million contract, Jonathan Bombulie believes they must shed more salary. They have only $2.3 million in salary-cap space with restricted free agents Marcus Pettersson, Zach Aston-Reese and Teddy Blueger to re-sign. Bombulie speculates a forward like Nick Bjugstad or Bryan Rust could become a cap casualty. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Rust’s name recently surfaced in Penguins’ trade rumors. The Penguins acquired Bjugstad last season and could be reluctant to part with him. 

GOLDEN KNIGHTS SHOPPING GUSEV

THE ATHLETIC: Jesse Granger reports sources claiming the Vegas Golden Knights are shopping the rights of winger Nikita Gusev. The Golden Knights hoped to sign the KHL winger to a contract but the two sides remain far apart. With limited salary cap space, they could be forced to move him. 

LAS VEGAS SUN: Justin Emerson believes this will come down to how the Golden Knights view Gusev. If they feel he’ll become a top-six forward, they’ll sign him and clear cap space by moving another player like Cody Eakin, Ryan Reaves or Nick Holden. Otherwise, they might be better off shopping him for high draft picks. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Gusev is a highly skilled forward in his playing prime who could quickly become an NHL scorer. If his asking price is too high (Granger said they’re about $2 million apart) for Vegas, trading him appears their only suitable option. 

OILERS SEEKING A 20-GOAL WINGER

EDMONTON JOURNAL: David Staples reports Oilers GM Ken Holland remains in the market for a 20-goal winger for his second line. He wasn’t keen to pay what many of the UFA wingers received yesterday during the opening day of the free-agent market. Holland also said he spoke with teams regarding winger Jesse Puljujarvi, who recently requested a trade. However, he hasn’t seen anything yet that makes sense for the Oilers. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Cap Friendly indicates the Oilers have around $3.9 million in salary-cap space. Unless Holland swings a hockey trade that sees some salary heading out, he’ll be limited to bargain hunting in the UFA market. 

LIGHTNING TO MOVE DOMINGUE

THE ATHLETIC: Joe Smith reports the Tampa Bay Lightning’s signing Curtis McElhinney means backup Louis Domingue is on his way out. GM Julien BriseBois said they’re working on trading Domingue sooner rather than later. Domingue has a year left on his contract with a $1.1 million cap hit. 










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 21, 2018

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 21, 2018

Game recaps, Coyotes ownership change “imminent”, and more in your NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: Montreal Canadiens goaltender Carey Price made 36 saves to pick up his 300th career NHL victory by defeating the Arizona Coyotes 2-1. Price is the 35th goalie in NHL history to reach 300 wins and only the second Canadiens netminder to reach that milestone. Paul Byron scored the winning goal in the third period.

Montreal Canadiens goaltender Carey Price picked up his 300th career victory in a 2-1 win over the Arizona Coyotes (Photo via NHL Images).

Speaking of the Coyotes, a report out of Phoenix cites sources claiming a change in ownership “is pending and imminent”. Current owner Andrew Barroway has been exploring potential ownership partners. There’s been speculation he could sell part or all of his shares to one or more possible owners.  

Vegas Golden Knights goalie Marc-Andre Fleury picked up his 424th career win as his club doubled up the New York Islanders 4-2. Fleury moved into sole possession of ninth place on the NHL’s all-time wins list. Teammate Nate Schmidt had a goal and two assists.

Auston Matthews and Morgan Reilly each collected four points as the Toronto Maple Leafs crushed the Florida Panthers 6-1. Matthews had two goals and two assists while Reilly had four assists. Teammates John Tavares scored twice and Mitch Marner had three points.

Winnipeg Jets winger Nikolaj Ehlers tallied a hat trick and teammate Connor Hellebuyck made 41 saves in a 5-3 win over the San Jose Sharks, ending the latter’s five-game win streak. Jets captain Blake Wheeler collected three assists.

Tampa Bay Lightning forward J.T. Miller tallied the game-winning goal in the seventh round of a shootout to give his club a 5-4 win over the Calgary Flames, extending their points streak to 11 games. Flames forwards Johnny Gaudreau and Sam Bennett each had a goal and an assist.

Boston Bruins winger David Pastrnak had a hand in all his club’s goals in a 3-1 win over the Anaheim Ducks. Pastrnak had a goal and two assists while Torey Krug had a goal and an assist.

Philadelphia Flyers rookie goaltender Carter Hart picked up his second win in as many games as his teammates killed off six penalties, including two five-on-three situations, to edge the Nashville Predators 2-1.

Bryan Rust scored twice and Casey DeSmith made 40 saves as the Pittsburgh Penguins tamed the Minnesota Wild 2-1. The Penguins played without defenseman Jamie Oleksiak, who suffered a concussion during his fight with Washington Capitals winger Tom Wilson on Wednesday.

The Detroit Red Wings snapped a four-game losing skid with a 4-1 win over the Carolina Hurricanes. Wings goaltender Jonathan Bernier kicked out 38 shots while Niklas Kronwall had a goal and an assist. Earlier in the day, the Hurricanes activated center Jordan Staal (concussion) off injured reserve. 

Cam Atkinson’s second-period penalty shot goal proved the game-winner as the Columbus Blue Jackets held on for a 2-1 win over the New Jersey Devils. It was Atkinson’s 20th goal of the year.

Chicago Blackhawks forwards Patrick Kane and Alex DeBrincat each had three-point performances to lead their club to a 5-2 victory over the Dallas Stars. The Blackhawks have won consecutive games for the first time since late-October.

Jacob Markstrom made 29 saves while Bo Horvat and Jake Virtanen each had a goal and an assist to give the Vancouver Canucks a 5-1 win over the St. Louis Blues.

THE BUFFALO NEWS: After the Sabres terminated the contract of Patrik Berglund, Swedish club Vasteras IK expressed interest in a reunion with him. Berglund played three seasons with them from 2005 to 2008 and also skated with them during the 2012 lockout. 

DENVER POST: Colorado Avalanche defenseman Nikita Zadorov will miss the next two games with a lower-body injury. 

OTTAWA SUN: Former Senators executive Randy Lee pleaded guilty yesterday in Buffalo to harassing a 19-year-old male hotel shuttle driver.

 










NHL Rumor Mill – November 23, 2018

NHL Rumor Mill – November 23, 2018

Latest on the Canucks, Canadiens, Penguins, and Bruins in your NHL rumor mill.

COULD THE CANUCKS TARGET BOBROVSKY NEXT SUMMER?

THE ATHLETIC: Citing the Vancouver Canucks efforts under general manager Jim Benning to pursue big-name talent, JD Burke believes they could target Columbus Blue Jackets goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky if he becomes an unrestricted free agent next July. He doesn’t consider Jacob Markstrom as the Canucks starting goalie when they turn the corner and there’s some concern over the development of promising Thatcher Demko.

Could the Vancouver Canucks target Sergei Bobrovsky via free agency next July? (Photo via NHL Images)

Burke acknowledged Bobrovsky will be expensive to sign, as rumors suggest he could seek over $10 million per season. Nevertheless, the Canucks could afford to sign him. “The Canucks will also be a more attractive option for Bobrovsky than many of their competitors, given that they currently employ the same goalie coach, Ian Clarke, that guided Bobrovsky to his two Vezinas. It’s also likely that Clarke will push for Bobrovsky, too.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Canucks need stability between the pipes so it’ll be understandable if Benning and company decide to chase the NHL’s only active multiple Vezina Trophy winner via free agency. However, we’re still a long way from knowing for sure if Bobrovsky and the Blue Jackets will part ways, let alone if he’ll consider the Canucks an attractive option should he hit the open market on July 1.  

CANADIENS OPTIONS ONCE WEBER RETURNS

SPORTSNET: Eric Engels looks at how the Montreal Canadiens could make room on their crowded blueline for captain Shea Weber, who’s expected to return to action next week. One could be placing Karl Alzner on waivers and sending him to their AHL affiliate. His hefty contract means he’ll pass unclaimed, though ownership might balk at having a player on a $23.1-million contract riding the buses in the minors.

Trading Jordie Benn is another, though he might thrive playing lesser minutes with the Habs once Weber returns. Oft-injured David Schlemko is another trade possibility but the Canadiens won’t get much in return. They also likely won’t get much for Xavier Ouellet and he might not pass unclaimed through waivers. They could send down Victor Mete for a few games as he’s waiver-exempt.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: With Noah Juulsen currently sidelined the Canadiens can afford to carry eight defensemen once Weber returns to the lineup. Once Juulsen is ready to return, Engels speculates Alzner could be placed on waivers and demoted. Trading Benn doesn’t appear a palatable option and they’ll likely want to keep Mete on the roster. 

UPDATE ON THE PENGUINS

POST-GAZETTE.COM: Jason Mackey recently reported Pittsburgh Penguins general manager Jim Rutherford isn’t ruling out any trade that could help his club but for now it’s up to the players on the current roster to find a way out of their recent slump. Rutherford said finding a good deal is difficult at this time of year. Mackey noted young forward Daniel Sprong has surfaced in trade speculation but feels if there was a decent deal to be had involving Sprong it would’ve happened by now.

Mackey lists Olli Maatta, Bryan Rust, Phil Kessel, Derick Brassard, and Jamie Oleksiak as those who could potentially go via trade. Of those, Maatta and Rust would be the most likely to go. Moving Kessel would send the wrong message, the Penguins still believe Brassard can help them, and Oleksiak is among their few sources of physicality.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Rutherford will keep a close eye on the trade market but he won’t make a deal just for the sake of doing so. I don’t see Kessel, Brassard or Oleksiak going anywhere. Maatta or Rust seems the more likely trade options but there probably isn’t much of a market for either guy right now. 

POTENTIAL BRUINS TRADE BAIT

THE ATHLETIC: Joe McDonald recently compiled a list of possible Boston Bruins’ trade candidates. The possibilities include Anders Bjork, Ryan Donato, Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson, Sean Kuraly, Jeremy Lauzon, and Jakub Zboril. Those under his “conceivable trades, but be careful” category include Danton Heinen, Noel Acciari, Joakim Nordstrom, and Matt Grzelcyk. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Most of those names will likely fetch at best a playoff rental player. Promising youngsters Jake DeBrusk and Brandon Carlo have at times surfaced in recent Bruins trade speculation but McDonald feels they’re almost untouchable, pointing out the Bruins won’t part with those guys unless they’re getting a significant return.

Torey Krug is also in that category. McDonald notes the Bruins are a better club with Krug in the lineup but acknowledged he’s a young, valuable asset who would attract interest.

For now, Bruins GM Don Sweeney is staying patient with his roster, which has been banged up by injuries in the early going but remains in the thick of the playoff chase. He likely wants to see how they do once they get healthier before deciding if a trade or two is necessary.

 










NHL Rumor Mill – November 14, 2018

NHL Rumor Mill – November 14, 2018

Latest William Nylander speculation plus an update on the Penguins in your NHL rumor mill.

NYLANDER 

TSN: Bob McKenzie reports the Toronto Maple Leafs’ priority is to re-sign restricted free agent winger William Nylander, but they’re considering their trade options in case they cannot get a deal done before the Dec. 1 deadline. He said Carolina Hurricanes general manager Don Waddel remains interested in Nylander and will likely continue dialogue with Leafs GM Kyle Dubas over the course of this week. It’s believed the Hurricanes are willing to part with defenseman Brett Pesce but not Jaccob Slavin.

With the Dec. 1 deadline to sign William Nylander fast approaching, the Toronto Maple Leafs are believed listening to trade offers for the restricted free agent. (Photo via NHL Images)

McKenzie also said the Minnesota Wild are interested but aren’t willing to part with a young defenseman. The Los Angeles Kings are another potential suitor but McKenzie doubts they have the salary-cap space and the trade pieces to land Nylander. He also speculates the Florida Panthers could “kick tires.”

Darren Dreger believes the Leafs’ asking price will be expensive, citing sources claiming it could be a top-four defenseman and a top-nine forward. McKenzie also points out most teams can’t afford the accelerated salary-cap hit in the first season of Nylander’s new contract if he’s signed before Dec. 1.

NICHOLS ON HOCKEY: During an appearance Tuesday on Calgary’s Sportsnet 960, Elliotte Friedman also speculated over possible trade destinations for Nylander. Like McKenzie, he believes the Hurricanes, Wild, and Kings have been involved. He also suggests the Philadelphia Flyers could be another, “though I can’t prove it.” He also said he wouldn’t be surprised if a struggling club such as the Pittsburgh Penguins looked into Nylander’s availability.

TORONTO SUN: Terry Koshan reports Anaheim Ducks defenseman Brandon Montour has popped up in the Nylander trade-rumor chatter.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: With the Leafs willing to at least listen to trade offers, it’s not surprising we’re starting to hear of more teams getting linked to Nylander, especially with that Dec. 1 deadline drawing ever closer. If the Leafs are indeed seeking a top-four defenseman and a top-nine forward, most interested clubs could play the waiting game in hopes Dubas will grow desperate by late-November and more open to lesser offers. Unless someone makes a significant pitch now, I think the Leafs GM will use as much time as possible trying to get Nylander under contract before considering the trade option.

Of the teams mentioned, the Hurricanes still seem the most likely destination. They have the cap space and depth in defensemen to make a Nylander deal happen. If the Wild won’t part with a young defenseman (hello there, Matt Dumba), I don’t think they can win a possible bidding war. Cap Friendly indicates the Kings are handcuffed by limited cap space and few viable trade options.

The Panthers have limited cap room this season to take on a new contract for Nylander, so they’ll have to shed significant salary heading to Toronto to make this deal work. Same goes for the Ducks.  As for the Flyers, the local media is skeptical, pointing out the cost of acquiring Nylander and the difficulty finding a suitable spot for him among their top-six forwards.

PENGUINS

SPORTSNET: Rory Boylen lists Daniel Sprong, Carl Hagelin, Jake Guentzel and Bryan Rust as four players the Pittsburgh Penguins to shake up their struggling roster.

A healthy scratch of late, Sprong has just four points in 12 games. Hagelin has considerable speed and works well on the penalty kill but he’s not scoring.

After being taken off the Crosby line, Guentzel went goalless from Oct 25 until last night’s loss against the Devils. Rust has only one goal and four points in 15 games. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Recent reports out of Pittsburgh indicate Sprong is attracting interest but it remains to be seen if the Penguins received any firm offers. While there’s a risk Sprong could blossom elsewhere, GM Jim Rutherford could take that chance if he gets a return that provides immediate help.

Despite Guentzel’s recent scoring woes, he would still attract lots of interest in the trade market. I doubt Rutherford is willing to part with the 24-year-old winger, who appears to be snapping out of his funk with three points in his last two games. Hagelin or Rust could hit the trade block but they probably won’t fetch a return that helps the Penguins right away.