NHL Rumor Mill – November 19, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – November 19, 2022

Could the Capitals be interested in Canucks captain Bo Horvat or Sharks defenseman Erik Karlsson? Should the Penguins make a move for a third-line forward? What’s the latest on the Flames? Find out in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.

LATEST CAPITALS SPECULATION

WASHINGTON HOCKEY NOW: Sammi Silber cited Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman wondering if the Capitals might pursue Bo Horvat if sidelined center Nicklas Backstrom’s playing career is over.

Vancouver Canucks captain Bo Horvat (NHL Images).

Friedman noted that the Vancouver Canucks center is a shooter rather than a passer like Backstrom. The Capitals already have a shooter in captain Alex Ovechkin.

SPORTSNET (via NHL WATCHER): During the latest “32 Thoughts” podcast, Elliotte Friedman suggested the Capitals as a possible destination for Erik Karlsson if the San Jose Sharks defenseman would agree to a trade.

Friedman observed the Capitals only have one defenseman under contract for 2023-24. He also suggested the Florida Panthers as a destination as they’ll have money coming off their salary-cap payroll next season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Earlier in the week, Silber speculated Capitals general manager Brian MacLellan might want to consider making a trade to bolster his struggling lineup while they’re still in playoff contention with the season still young. She noted recent rumors linking the Capitals to the Montreal Canadiens and Ottawa Senators.

Acquiring someone like Horvat or Karlsson will be costly. Silber recently wondered at what point the Capitals would consider trading struggling sophomore center Connor McMichael. I think he’d almost certainly have to be part of a package for an impact player such as Horvat or Karlsson.

Whether such a deal can be made, however, is another story. The Capitals could lack sufficient tradeable assets to pry either guy away from their current teams.

SHOULD THE PENGUINS MAKE A MOVE OR TWO?

THE ATHLETIC: Rob Rossi suggested two moves the Pittsburgh Penguins could make to snap them out of their current rut.

One is placing Kasperi Kapanen on waivers due to his disappointing performance. Rossi doubted anyone would claim the underachieving winger’s contract and believes he should be sent to their AHL affiliate in Wilkes-Barre/Scranton once he clears waivers.

Rossi also believes the Penguins must find a role player with an edge for their third line. He suggested making a move for Nashville Predators winger Tanner Jeannot.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I agree with Rossi’s take on Kapanen. He’s been in and out of the lineup of late and hasn’t contributed when he is playing. He could become a distraction for their farm team if he’s unhappy with demotion but, as Rossi suggests, the Penguins must be confident enough in their AHL coaching staff to handle the situation.

Adding a gritty role player like Jeannot is a good idea but I don’t believe the Predators are keen to part with him, at least not yet. The positives he could bring to the Penguins could also make him valuable to their current club. Perhaps that might change if the Preds fail to rise in the standings. For now, if the Penguins are in the market for such a forward they might have to consider other options.

UPDATE ON THE FLAMES

CALGARY HOCKEY NOW: Steve Macfarlane wonders if Adam Ruzicka’s recent promotion to the Flames’ top line might take them out of the trade market for a scoring forward. The 23-year-old winger has played well in that role thus far after being a healthy scratch in 10 of the Flames’ first 11 games.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Macfarlane admits we’ve only seen a small sample size of Ruzicka’s play on the top line thus far. In the five games since his promotion, however, he has two goals and five points. If Ruzicka can maintain that chemistry with Elias Lindholm and Tyler Toffoli, it would take the pressure off management to shop around for another scorer.










Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – September 11, 2022

Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – September 11, 2022

A recent look at the notable remaining restricted free agents in the Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup.

SPORTSNET: Luke Fox recently examined the status of the remaining notable restricted free agents.

Dallas Stars forward Jason Robertson (NHL Images)

Topping his list is the Dallas Stars’ Jason Robertson. The 23-year-old winger has blossomed into a first-line scorer who was the Calder Trophy runner-up in 2021. Fox wonders if the Stars will attempt to sign Robertson to a long-term deal that could look like a bargain down the road or ink him to a bridge deal that hands the winger more leverage for his next contract.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman believes it’ll be a bridge deal, pointing out the Stars couldn’t do a long-term deal for Jake Oettinger, who recently signed a three-year, $12 million contract.

Cap Friendly shows the Stars carrying $6.3 million in cap space with 22 players under contract. My guess is Robertson agrees to a two-year deal worth $5 million annually to put himself in line for a major pay raise in 2024. That’s when the salary cap is expected to significantly increase.

Los Angeles Kings defenseman Sean Durzi and Ottawa Senators winger Alex Formenton are second and third on Fox’s list. He reported Kings general manager Rob Blake continues to negotiate with the Durzi camp. Meanwhile, Senators GM Pierre Dorion said his discussions with Formenton’s agent were positive and he expects the 22-year-old will be under contract prior to training camp.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: On Saturday, the Kings re-signed blueliner Mikey Anderson to a one-year, $1 million contract. With $1.3 million remaining in cap space, I wouldn’t be surprised if Durzi gets a similar deal. Both rearguards completed their entry-level contracts last season.

NHL training camps will start by Sep. 21 so look for the Senators to have Formenton’s new contract sorted by then.

Fox cited Arizona Coyotes insider Craig Morgan recently reporting center Barrett Hayton should have a new deal before training camp. He doesn’t see the two sides being far apart. Fox pointed out the Coyotes have plenty of salary-cap room. He recommended a bridge deal but observed the club has a tendency of signing their promising young players to long-term contracts.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Mikey Anderson was also on Fox’s list but he was re-signed on Saturday by the Kings.

Rasmus Sandin’s contract talks with the Toronto Maple Leafs reportedly remain at a standstill. Meanwhile, Vegas Golden Knights GM Kelly McCrimmon recently said re-signing defenseman Nicolas Hague before training camp was his top priority.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I covered Sandin’s situation in yesterday’s Rumor Mill. As for Hague, McCrimmon reportedly has had little dialogue with Hague’s representatives since early July.

Both defensemen are coming off ELCs and have no leverage other than refusing to report to training camp. We’ll find out within the next 10 days if they’ll end up signing bridge deals before camps open on Sep. 21.

Edmonton Oilers center Ryan McLeod and Calgary Flames forward Adam Ruzicka complete Fox’s list. He reported there’s little concern in Edmonton over getting McLeod signed before training camp. Meanwhile, Fox believes Flames GM Brad Treliving must decide if Ruzicka is ready to be a full-time NHLer or if he will sign him to a two-way contract.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 18, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 18, 2022

The Oilers get their fourth straight win under interim coach Jay Woodcroft, Martin St. Louis gets his first win as Canadiens coach, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: Leon Draisaitl scored twice as the Edmonton Oilers picked up their fourth straight win under interim coach Jay Woodcroft by thumping the Anaheim Ducks 7-3. Draisaitl leads the race for the Rocket Richard Trophy with 35 goals. Connor McDavid, Evander Kane, Warren Foegele and Derek Ryan each had two points for the Oilers, who sit in third place in the Pacific Division with 57 points. The Ducks, meanwhile, dropped their third straight and remain behind the Los Angeles Kings for the final Western Conference wild-card berth with 55 points.

Edmonton Oilers forward Leon Draisaitl (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This was a game of two teams going in different directions. The Oilers are surging since their coaching change while the Ducks have slid out of a playoff spot and are in danger of falling further behind if they don’t reverse their fortunes soon.

Toronto Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews tallied his 33rd goal of the season and Jack Campbell made 45 saves in a 4-1 victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins, handing the latter their first loss in their last seven road games. Matthews also picked up an assist and Mitch Marner collected two helpers. The Leafs (67 points) are three points back of the second-place Tampa Bay Lightning in the Atlantic Division while the Penguins sit atop the Metropolitan Division with 70 points.

The Montreal Canadiens picked up their first win under interim coach Martin St. Louis by beating the St. Louis Blues 3-2 in overtime. Cole Caufield tallied the tying and winning goals as the Habs snapped a 10-game losing skid. The Blues (62 points) are one point behind the second-place Minnesota Wild in the Central Division.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Canadiens have a better chance of winning this year’s draft lottery than they have of reaching the playoffs. Nevertheless, they’ve been more competitive since St. Louis took over as coach. Caufield in particular has thrived under his new bench boss, scoring four goals in his last four games after managing just one in his previous 30.

Blake Wheeler and Kyle Connor each had a goal and an assist as the Winnipeg Jets beat the Seattle Kraken 5-3. Josh Morrissey scored the winning goal by snapping a 3-3 tie in the third period. With 52 points, the Jets moved within three points of the Kings for the final Western wild-card spot.

The Vancouver Canucks also reached 52 points as J.T. Miller’s overtime goal lifted them over the San Jose Sharks 5-4. Miller, Elias Pettersson and Quinn Hughes each had two points for the Canucks. Hughes returned to the lineup following a 10-day stint on the COVID protocol list. Sharks winger Timo Meier scored twice and picked up an assist.

Two third-period goals by Garnet Hathaway rallied the Washington Capitals to a 5-3 win over the Philadelphia Flyers. Hathaway finished the night with three points as the Capitals (65 points) widened their lead over the Boston Bruins for the first wild-card spot in the Western Conference.

Speaking of the Bruins, they dropped a 4-1 decision to the New York Islanders. Ilya Sorokin made 26 saves for the win while Mathew Barzal, Brock Nelson and Noah Dobson each had a goal and an assist. The Bruins (58 points) hold the second Eastern wild-card berth.

The Detroit Red Wings kept their thin playoff hopes alive by defeating the New York Rangers 3-2. Thomas Greiss made 37 saves and Pius Suter scored the winner in the shootout. The Wings are six points behind the Bruins, who have three games in hand.

Patrik Laine tallied his first hat trick with the Columbus Blue Jackets in a 7-4 drubbing of the Chicago Blackhawks. Laine is riding an eight-game points streak.

Goaltender Craig Anderson lost to his former team as the Ottawa Senators defeated the Buffalo Sabres 3-1 on third-period goals by Austin Watson and Brady Tkachuk.

IN OTHER NEWS…

NHL.COM: Nashville Predators head coach John Hynes was fined $25,000.00 by the league for “inappropriate conduct” following Tuesday’s 4-1 loss to the Washington Capitals. Hynes was berating officials from the bench at the end of the game.

Calgary Flames forward Adam Ruzicka was fined $2,004.17 for elbowing Anaheim Ducks defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk on Wednesday.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: In the NHL, a coach telling off officials following a game is considered more egregious than a player attempting to injure an opponent.

NEW YORK POST: Rangers defenseman Patrik Nemeth was placed on injured reserve due to lingering effects of COVID-19.

THE DALLAS MORNING NEWS: Stars defenseman Andrej Sekera was placed on IR with an upper-body injury.

TSN: The NHL and NHL Players Association met Thursday to discuss plans for staging a World Cup of Hockey in 2024.

THE PROVINCE: Former Vancouver Canucks forward Jake Virtanen has elected for a jury trial in his sexual assault case. He is currently playing for KHL team Spartak Moscow.