NHL Rumor Mill – April 11, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – April 11, 2022

In today’s NHL rumor mill, a look at what the offseason might hold for stars such as Patrick Kane, J.T. Miller, Filip Forsberg and Vladimir Tarasenko.

NHL.COM: In a recent mailbag segment, Dan Rosen was asked whether several notable stars would still be with their respective teams when the puck drops next season.

Rosen believes Patrick Kane, Jonathan Toews and Alex DeBrincat will remain with the Chicago Blackhawks. He doesn’t see Kane or Toews being moved unless they ask to be traded. Of the two, Kane could be the easiest to move because he’s still their best player and would fetch the best return. DeBrincat, meanwhile, is a 24-year-old elite scorer worth building around.

Chicago Blackhawks winger Patrick Kane (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Toews and Kane also carry identical $10.5 million cap hits with full no-movement clauses through next season. While there would be interest in Kane if the Blackhawks were to shop him, they’ll have to retain a healthy chunk of his cap hit to facilitate a trade.

I agree that DeBrincat is a player the Blackhawks should retain but I also felt the same thing about Brandon Hagel. Chicago general manager Kyle Davidson would listen if a club make a big pitch for DeBrincat.

The Nashville Predators opted not to trade Filip Forsberg, who’s slated to become an unrestricted free agent this summer. Rosen believes the two sides will work out an agreement on a new contract.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’ll likely cost the Predators around $8.5 million annually to keep Forsberg in the fold. With Ryan Johansen and Matt Duchene each earning $8 million annually, I’m not sure how comfortable Predators general manager David Poile would be in having another $8 million-plus forward on the roster.

Rosen suspects the Vancouver Canucks could trade forwards J.T. Miller and Brock Boeser because of their contract statuses. Miller is a year away from UFA eligibility while Boeser is a restricted free agent with arbitration rights and is two years from UFA status.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Reports out of Vancouver seem to suggest the Canucks will attempt to sign Miller to a contract extension this summer while attempting to shop Boeser. It’s possible, however, that Miller also hits the trade block if he proves too expensive to retain.

It doesn’t appear that Vladimir Tarasenko has rescinded last summer’s trade request from the St. Louis Blues. He’s also a year away from UFA status.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Tarasenko was reportedly unhappy over the treatment he received for his shoulder injuries by the Blues’ medical staff and management’s handling of the situation. To his credit, he hasn’t allowed this to affect his performance or his relationship with his teammates.

Nevertheless, if Tarasenko still wants out, I expect the Blues will have an easier time finding trade partners this summer. He’s been healthy this season, with 65 points in as many games, and has only a year left on his contract. While the cap hit is $7.5 million, his actual salary for next season is $5.5 million.

Rosen also expects Dallas Stars defenseman John Klingberg and New York Rangers center Ryan Strome to test this summer’s free-agent market.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Klingberg is likely a goner from Dallas after he publicly complained about his stalled contract negotiations with Stars management in January. As for Strome, it’ll depend on how much he seeks on his next contract and for how long.

Rosen doesn’t understand why the Arizona Coyotes should move Jakob Chychrun. The 23-year-old defenseman is signed for three more seasons and should be a big part of their rebuild.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It could be because Chychrun could fetch a significant return but I also wonder if the blueliner is growing unhappy with his role or the direction of the Coyotes. If so, that could explain why GM Bill Armstrong will continue to entertain trade offers this summer.

Mackenzie Blackwood has been injured for most of this season. Rosen doesn’t see the New Jersey Devils trading him because his value isn’t that high. He thinks Blackwood could be a 1A or 1B goalie depending on who they bring in during the offseason.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Injuries have hampered Blackwood’s development. Rosen noted he’s signed through next season. I agree with him that Blackwood will be back with the Devils next season.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 28, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 28, 2022

The Penguins score 11 goals to crush the Red Wings, Roman Josi reached a scoring milestone, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: Evgeni Malkin returned from illness to tally a hat trick in a four-point performance as the Pittsburgh Penguins crushed the Detroit Red Wings 11-2. Sidney Crosby, Kris Letang, Bryan Rust, Rickard Rakell and Teddy Blueger each had three points in this contest as the Penguins became the first team in the salary-cap era to score 11 goals in a game. Red Wings goaltender Alex Nedeljkovic was pulled during the second period but returned in the third after Calvin Pickard was injured in a collision with Rust. The Penguins sit in second place in the Metropolitan Division with 90 points.

Pittsburgh Penguins center Evgeni Malkin (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This lopsided loss caps a two-month slide for the Wings, undoing what had been promising improvement by the rebuilding club during the first half of the season. It’s generating speculation suggesting head coach Jeff Blashill could be replaced in the offseason.

Nashville Predators captain Roman Josi collected two assists to reach the 80-point plateau for the first time in a 5-4 victory over the Philadelphia Flyers. Yakov Trenin scored twice and Tanner Jeannot had a goal and two assists for the Predators, who move into third place in the Central Division with 80 points. James van Riemsdyk had a goal and an assist for the Flyers.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Josi has become a solid contender for the Norris Trophy with his play over the second half of this season. He leads all NHL scorers with 81 points and became just the fifth defenseman in NHL history to reach 80 points in fewer than 65 games. The last blueliner to achieve that feat was Al MacInnis in 1990-91.

An overtime goal by Kevin Fiala lifted the Minnesota Wild over the Colorado Avalanche 3-2. Cam Talbot made 40 saves for the win and Mats Zuccarello collected three assists as the Wild have won six straight to sit in second place with 84 points in the Central Division. Nazem Kadri had a goal and an assist for the Avalanche, who remain atop the overall standings with 98 points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kirill Kaprizov (81 points) also scored for the Wild to become the second player in franchise history to reach 80 points. He’s just two behind Marian Gaborik’s franchise record of 83.

John Tavares scored twice and Auston Matthews netted his 48th goal of the season as the Toronto Maple Leafs rolled to a 5-2 victory over the Florida Panthers. Mitch Marner and Morgan Rielly each collected three points and Petr Mrazek made 34 saves as the Leafs (87 points) sit one point behind the second-place Tampa Bay Lightning in the Atlantic Division. The Panthers, meanwhile, hold a one-point lead over the Carolina Hurricanes for first overall in the Eastern Conference with 94 points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: A solid bounce-back win by the Leafs following Saturday’s disappointing 4-2 loss to the Montreal Canadiens.

Speaking of the Lightning, they dropped the New York Islanders 4-1. Steven Stamkos picked up an assist to collect his 70th point of the season while Mikhail Sergachev had a goal and an assist. Islanders goalie Ilya Sorokin left the game in the third period with an upper-body injury.

New York Rangers defenseman K’Andre Miller scored in overtime in a 5-4 win over the Buffalo Sabres. Frank Vatrano scored two goals for the Rangers, who remain one point behind the second-place Penguins in the Metropolitan Division. It was a costly win for the Rangers as center Ryan Strome left the game with a lower-body injury in the first period. Sabres defenseman Colin Miller missed the game as he was placed in COVID protocol.

The Winnipeg Jets squeaked past the Arizona Coyotes 2-1 on an overtime goal by Mark Scheifele, who also opened the scoring. With 74 points, the Jets are two points behind the Vegas Golden Knights for the final Western Conference wild-card spot.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Coyotes winger Phil Kessel extended his NHL Ironman streak to 965 games, sitting second to the Flyers’ Keith Yandle and his 988 games.

New Jersey Devils center Jack Hughes scored twice as his club blew a 2-0 lead before downing the Montreal Canadiens on a shootout goal by Yegor Sherangovich. Rem Pitlick scored for the Canadiens with 46 seconds remaining in regulation.










NHL Rumor Mill – January 4, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – January 4, 2022

The latest Oilers and Canadiens speculation plus updates on Jakob Chychrun and Ryan Strome in today’s NHL rumor mill.

LASTEST OILERS AND CANADIENS SPECULATION

SPORTSNET: The Edmonton Oilers’ recent struggles prompted Jeff Marek and Elliotte Friedman to muse about whether it’s time for the club to make a trade to avoid falling out of postseason contention. Friedman believes missing the playoffs isn’t an option for them this season.

Goaltending is a concern with aging Mike Smith frequently sidelined. Their left-side defense and forward depth are also concerns. Friedman believes there will be sensible moves out there for the Oilers involving teams that aren’t that good looking to make moves that don’t have to involve parting with a first-round pick for a rental player.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Athletic’s Daniel Nugent-Bowman believes Oilers general manager Ken Holland must move on from backup goalie Mikko Koskinen, either by recalling Stuart Skinner and giving him more starts or making a trade.

Finding a suitable option in the current trade market, however, is easier said than done. The pickings are very slim right now as clubs that could become sellers aren’t in any hurry to make moves right now.

The Dallas Stars attempted to move struggling Anton Khudobin last month but couldn’t find any takers and would up demoting him to the minors. There’s also no certainty the 35-year-old goalie will waive his no-trade clause to come to Edmonton.

Montreal Canadiens winger Brendan Gallagher (NHL Images).

Speaking of sellers, Marek and Friedman also pondered what moves could be in store for the Montreal Canadiens before the March 21 trade deadline. Defenseman Ben Chiarot is an unrestricted free agent this summer and could fetch a late first-round pick.

They wondered if management will approach Carey Price and Brendan Gallagher to determine if a parting of the ways is best for both sides if a rebuild is a plan.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I wouldn’t dismiss the possibility of Canadiens executive VP of hockey ops Jeff Gorton and whoever he hires as the new general manager meeting with Price and Gallagher to discuss their futures. Trading either guy, however, probably won’t happen until the offseason.

Both players carry hefty contracts with several years remaining on them. Price has a full no-movement clause while Gallagher carries a six-team no-trade list.

Price has yet to play this season as he continues to recover from offseason knee surgery and mental health issues that saw him spend a month in the NHL-NHLPA player assistance program at the start of the season. Gallagher, meanwhile, has had his own injury woes as he struggles through the worst season of his career.

UPDATES ON CHYCHRUN AND STROME

Friedman believes the first big trade of 2022 will involve Jakob Chychrun. The 23-year-old Arizona Coyotes defenseman carries an affordable $4.6 million annual average value for three more seasons. He is usually the type of player a rebuilding club prefers to retain but he could fetch the Coyotes a significant return.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Rumors before Christmas suggested the Coyotes could seek four assets for Chychrun but interested parties weren’t put off by that high asking price. We’ll find out in the coming weeks if Friedman’s prediction comes true.

EDMONTON JOURNAL: Jim Matheson will be interested to see what the New York Rangers do with Ryan Strome. The 27-year-old second-line center skates alongside winger Artemi Panarin but is slated to become an unrestricted free agent in July.

Matheson notes Strome currently makes $4.5 million annually, which is low for a second-line center. He draws a comparison to former Rangers center Kevin Hayes, who signed a seven-year deal for $7.1 million annually with the Philadelphia Flyers.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Rangers have reportedly held preliminary contract talks with Strome. If he uses Hayes as a comparable the Blueshirts could balk but that will leave them shopping around for a replacement in the offseason.










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.