Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – November 21, 2021

Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – November 21, 2021

Will the Rangers go shopping for a forward? Have they started contract talks with Ryan Strome? What moves could be in store for the Sabres after trading Jack Eichel? Check out the latest in the Sunday NHL rumor roundup

LATEST RANGERS SPECULATION

THE ATHLETIC: Arthur Staple took note of TSN’s Darren Dreger’s recent report claiming the New York Rangers are in the market for a middle-six forward to replace Sammy Blais after he suffered a season-ending knee injury. He also felt they could pursue a defenseman but that could be a move made closer to the March 21 trade deadline.

Staple believes the Rangers can’t afford to take on players with term remaining on their contracts as new deals will be required next summer for Blais and restricted free agent Kaapo Kakko plus they’ll also require a second-line center and a backup goalie.

Arizona Coyotes winger Phil Kessel (NHL Images).

Looking at players on expiring contracts, Staple suggested the Seattle Kraken’s Calle Jarnkrok or Marcus Johansson, the Ottawa Senators’ Chris Tierney, the Carolina Hurricanes’ Nino Niederreiter, the Arizona Coyotes’ Phil Kessel, the Chicago Blackhawks’ Dylan Strome, the Montreal Canadiens’ Artturi Lehkonen and the Los Angeles Kings’ Gabriel Vilardi.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I doubt Niederreiter will be available. The Hurricanes are among the NHL’s best teams and have little reason to ship him out for a draft pick or prospect. If they were to move Niederreiter, it would be to bring in a player to address a different roster need.

The Los Angeles Kings aren’t a struggling club like the others listed here but they could become a seller should fall out of the playoff chase as the season rolls along. Vilardi was recently demoted to the minors and could become a trade chip at some point. Staple’s colleague, Lisa Dillman, speculated the former first-round pick might be at the point in his career where a trade could help get his career back on track. She proposed the Tampa Bay Lightning and the rebuilding Coyotes as possible destinations for Vilardi.

Kessel would be an expensive addition unless the Coyotes retain part of his $6.8 million cap hit. Teams with an interest in the veteran winger could prefer waiting until the trade deadline to pursue him.

The Blackhawks tried shopping Strome since last season but couldn’t find any takers. The interim management probably won’t have any better luck. He’s been skating on their checking line but is best suited on the second line with better wingers.

As for the Kraken, Senators and Canadiens, they’re going to be among this season’s sellers but they don’t have to dump expiring contracts right now. They’ll likely wait until the second half of the season in order to find the best return possible.

BOSTON HOCKEY NOW: Jimmy Murphy wondered if the Boston Bruins might try to entice the Rangers into taking winger Jake DeBrusk off their hands. He had a strong preseason but has been inconsistent thus far this season. DeBrusk remains a mainstay in the rumor mill among NHL scouts and executives but there’s no indication the Bruins and Rangers are talking trade.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: DeBrusk might still be a topic of trade chatter in some NHL circles but there’s doesn’t seem to be much interest in him. The media speculation about the 24-year-old winger’s trade status has died down since the summer.

NEW YORK POST: Speaking of the Rangers, Mollie Walker reported there haven’t been any contract extension talks between management and Ryan Strome. The 28-year-old center is slated to become an unrestricted free agent next summer. Given their recent signings of Mika Zibanejad and Adam Fox plus Kakko due for a new contract, Walker believes the Rangers probably can’t afford to re-sign Strome.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Cap Friendly shows the Rangers with over $70.8 million invested in 16 players for 2022-23. Strome will seek a higher annual average value than his current $4.5 million. He’ll likely hit the open market next summer unless the Rangers shed some salary to re-sign him.

WHAT NEXT FOR THE SABRES?

THE BUFFALO NEWS: In a recent mailbag segment, Lance Lysowski was asked if the Sabres would pursue a starting goaltender via next summer’s free-agent market. He doesn’t see them going that route with promising Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen on the cusp of the NHL.

If Luukkonen is ready for the job next season, the Sabres could bring back Dustin Tokarski or sign a reliable veteran on a short-term deal. Lysowski recommends going the trade route if Luukkonen isn’t ready.

Lysowski was also asked which of the Sabres pending UFAs could be shopped at the trade deadline. He felt Colin Miller’s value as a right-shot defenseman puts him at the top of the list.

Others could include Vinnie Hinostroza, Drake Caggiula, Cody Eakin, Robert Hagg, Craig Anderson and Dustin Tokarski but he doesn’t expect the Sabres will trade them all. He speculated they could attempt to bring back Mark Pysyk.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Sabres have made their big moves after trading Jack Eichel, Taylor Hall, Sam Reinhart and Rasmus Ristolainen since April. Any major moves between now and March 21 will likely be to move out some pending UFAs for draft picks.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 16, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 16, 2021

Recaps of Friday’s action, a look at Charlie McAvoy’s contract extension with the Bruins, plus the latest on Nathan MacKinnon, Dylan Larkin, Brady Tkachuk and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: Jack Hughes scored twice, including the game-winner, as the New Jersey Devils kicked off their season with a 4-3 overtime victory over the Chicago Blackhawks. Dougie Hamilton opened the scoring with his first goal as a Devil. The Blackhawks overcame a 3-1 deficit to force the extra frame on third-period goals by Kirby Dach and Dominik Kubalik.

New Jersey Devils center Jack Hughes (NHL Images).

The Vancouver Canucks blew a 4-2 lead in the third period but went on to defeat the Philadelphia Flyers 5-4 on a shootout goal by J.T. Miller, who also had a goal and two assists in regulation. Elias Pettersson and Alex Chiasson each had a goal and an assist for the Canucks. Travis Konecny and Claude Giroux scored for the Flyers to tie the game.

Marcus Foligno snapped a 1-1 tie with eight seconds remaining in the third period to lift the Minnesota Wild to a season-opening 2-1 win over the Anaheim Ducks. Jakob Silfverberg opened the scoring for the Ducks early in the second but Kevin Fiala tied it late in the period. Ducks backup Anthony Stolarz made 46 saves filling in for John Gibson, who’s listed as day-to-day with a lower-body injury suffered when he was run by the Winnipeg Jets’ Anthony Copp on Wednesday.

HEADLINES

BOSTON HOCKEY NOW: The Bruins yesterday signed Charlie McAvoy to an eight-year, $76 million contract extension. It’s the richest deal in franchise history as the 23-year-old defenseman will earn an annual average value of $9.5 million.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This contract ensures McAvoy will spend his prime playing years in Boston. He’s being paid in line with other talented young defensemen who recently signed new contracts such as Colorado’s Cale Makar ($9 million) and Columbus’ Zach Werenski ($9.58 million). McAvoy’s a better all-around defenseman than those two and will be worth every penny for the Bruins going forward.

THE DENVER POST: Colorado Avalanche head coach Jared Bednar returns behind the bench for tonight’s game against the St. Louis Blues after emerging from COVID protocol. Center Nathan MacKinnon remains asymptomatic and sidelined for tonight’s game. Winger Valeri Nichushkin is week-to-week with an upper-body injury.

DETROIT HOCKEY NOW: Red Wings captain Dylan Larkin received a one-game suspension for throwing a punch with a gloved hand at Tampa Bay Lightning forward Mathieu Joseph after the latter hit him from behind. Larkin was injured on the play and could be sidelined longer as he missed practice on Friday to see a specialist. He missed the end of last season with a neck injury that require weeks of physical therapy.

WINNIPEG SUN: Jets center Mark Scheifele makes his season debut tonight against the San Jose Sharks. He was serving a four-game suspension for charging Montreal Canadiens center Jake Evans during Game 1 of their 2021 second-round playoff series.

OTTAWA SUN: Brady Tkachuk took part in his first practice with the Senators on Friday after signing his new seven-year contract on Thursday. He won’t be playing in tonight’s game against the Toronto Maple Leafs but could make his season debut on Sunday against the Dallas Stars or Thursday against the San Jose Sharks.

Speaking of the Senators, goaltender Matt Murray has been placed on injured reserve retroactive to Oct. 12 due to a non-COVID-related illness.

TSN: Winger Mike Hoffman could make his season debut with the Montreal Canadiens on Tuesday against the Sharks or Thursday against the Carolina Hurricanes. He signed a three-year contract with the Habs during the summer but suffered a lower-body injury during offseason training.

NEW YORK POST: Rangers center Ryan Strome will be sidelined for two games due to COVID-19 protocol.

THE PROVINCE: Travis Hamonic has not reported to the Vancouver Canucks’ AHL affiliate in Abbotsford but has not been suspended. He has been absent since the start of training camp to what is believed related to the league’s COVID-19 vaccination protocol. Hamonic passed unclaimed through waivers last week.

WGR 550: Buffalo Sabres forward Casey Mittelstadt (upper-body injury) and defenseman Henri Jokiharju (lower-body) are expected to miss at least two weeks.

TSN: The Los Angeles Kings placed defenseman Christian Wolanin on waivers.