NHL Rumor Mill – January 10, 2024

NHL Rumor Mill – January 10, 2024

Could the Ducks trade Trevor Zegras? Will the Senators shop Jakob Chychrun? Could Penguins winger Jake Guentzel hit the trade block? What’s the latest on Sharks forwards Tomas Hertl and Logan Couture? Find out in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.

DAILY FACEOFF: Frank Seravalli updated his NHL Trade Targets list on Tuesday, adding several notable new names.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: You can see the entire list by following the link. I’m not including everyone as most of the names, such as Calgary’s Elias Lindholm, Chris Tanev and Noah Hanifin, have already frequently appeared in the rumor mill this season and will likely continue to do so leading up to the March 8 trade deadline. Today, I’m more interested in the new players on Seravalli’s list.

Anaheim Ducks forward Trevor Zegras (NHL Images).

In the wake of the Anaheim Ducks shipping Jamie Drysdale to the Philadelphia Flyers on Monday for Cutter Gauthier, Seravalli wondered if Trevor Zegras could be next. He noted that Ducks general manager Pat Verbeek has put together a solid prospect base with Gauthier, Leo Carlsson, Mason McTavish, Pavel Mintyukov and Lukas Dostal.

Seravalli had Zegras sitting at No. 4 on his list. He cited sources claiming Verbeek mentioned Zegras in trade discussions this season though it’s unclear how far those talks went. He thinks the 22-year-old center doesn’t mesh with the style of play Verbeek envisions for the Ducks, citing their tough contract talks that saw Zegras miss training camp.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: TSN’s Darren Dreger last night indicated Zegras isn’t being shopped but there had been some level of interest in the young forward. He believes the Ducks will continue to work on improving Zegras’ overall game but suggested this situation could come to a head in the offseason.

Ottawa Senators defenseman Jakob Chychrun sits at No. 10. Less than a year after being acquired from the Arizona Coyotes, Seravalli reports teams have expressed an interest in the 25-year-old defenseman and the Senators haven’t told them that he’s not available. They have a log jam in left-shot defensemen with Chychrun, Thomas Chabot and Jake Sanderson.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Chychrun was acquired by former Senators general manager Pierre Dorion. New GM Steve Staios isn’t beholden to any players acquired by his predecessor. He may not be shopping Chychrun but, understandably, he’s willing to at least listen to offers. Despite the Senators’ struggles this season, however, there’s no indication that he wants out of Ottawa.

St. Louis Blues center Kevin Hayes checks in at No. 15. Seravalli believes his improved play could make him enticing in the trade market if the Blues would retain half of the $3.57 million of his $7.14 million cap hit that they’re carrying. He could fetch a decent return from a playoff contender.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Blues are still in the chase for a Western Conference wild-card berth. I daresay they’ll hang onto Hayes if they’re in a playoff spot by March 8. He’s still carrying a 12-team no-trade clause which could complicate things.

Toronto Maple Leafs goaltender Ilya Samsonov is at No. 20. If Joseph Woll regains his early-season form on his return from an ankle injury, the Leafs could move Samsonov to another club that thinks he can reboot.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Anything’s possible, I suppose, but the fact Samsonov recently cleared waivers says all we need to know about his potential trade value. No NHL club will touch him unless his performance improves or the Leafs add a lot of sweeteners in the deal.

Sitting at No. 25 is Jake Guentzel of the Pittsburgh Penguins. Seravalli said the 29-year-old pending free-agent left winger isn’t in play yet with the Penguins having clawed their way back into the wild-card race in the Eastern Conference. If they fall out of the chase, however, Guentzel might become available.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Guentzel’s situation could be worth monitoring if the Penguins stumble. As Seravalli pointed out, he could become the most prized rental player in the trade market by March 8.

LATEST ON HERTL AND COUTURE

TSN: Pierre LeBrun reports he’s not sure a whole lot will happen with San Jose Sharks forwards Tomas Hertl and Logan Couture by the March 8 trade deadline.

He spoke with Hertl yesterday following the Sharks’ morning skate and he’s focused on helping his team and being a good leader rather than on the trade deadline. Couture, meanwhile, is centered more on returning from an injury than the trade deadline.

LeBrun noted that Hertl has a full no-movement clause. Couture has three more years left on his contract but LeBrun believes he’s the type of leadership player that could have a few teams calling about.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: LeBrun also addressed Hertl and Couture in his column with The Athletic, suggesting any conversation about their futures is more likely to occur in the summer. They’re both carrying term on expensive contracts with no-trade protection. Moving those types of players rarely takes place leading up to the trade deadline.

UPDATES ON THE FLYERS

TSN: Darren Dreger reports the Philadelphia Flyers are hoping to get more interest in defensemen Sean Walker and Nick Seeler. They’re still willing to retain 50 percent of their average annual values.

PHILLY HOCKEY NOW: Jonathan Bailey believes more moves are coming for the Flyers following their acquisition of Jamie Drysdale from the Anaheim Ducks. They now have eight defensemen on their roster.

Bailey noted that Walker has been the subject of trade speculation for some time. He pointed out that Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman indicated Rasmus Ristolainen is a target of the Toronto Maple Leafs. He also cited a recent report by Friedman indicating that at least one team attempted to acquire Walker and Seeler.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Flyers GM Daniel Briere remains focused on his rebuilding plans despite his club being in the thick of the playoff chase. Adding Drysdale could make it easier for him to part with Walker or Seeler. Both carry affordable cap hits and if the Flyers are willing to retain half it could make them easier to peddle.

As for Ristolainen, the only way I see him moving is if the Flyers retain half of his $5.1 million AAV through 2027 or they get a player with an equivalent cap hit in return. Otherwise, that’s a move they try to make in the offseason.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 7, 2023

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 7, 2023

Recaps of Friday’s preseason action, injury updates on the Oilers’ Mattias Ekholm, the Wild’s Jared Spurgeon and the Jets’ Ville Heinola, the latest players on the waiver wire and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.

PRESEASON GAMES RECAPS

NHL.COM: New Jersey Devils goaltender Akira Schmid made 30 saves to shut out the New York Islanders 3-0. Max Willman, Kevin Bahl and Simon Nemec were the goal scorers as the Devils went undefeated (7-0-0) in all their preseason games.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Islanders winger Kyle Palmieri made his preseason debut in this contest. He’d been sidelined by an undisclosed offseason injury.

Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby (NHL Images).

The Pittsburgh Penguins got two goals by Drew O’Connor and two assists from team captain Sidney Crosby in a 7-4 victory over the Buffalo Sabres. Casey Mittelstadt had a goal and two assists and Devon Levi stopped 28 shots for the Sabres.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Crosby also got into a brief tussle with Sabres forward Peyton Krebs over the latter’s hit on Penguins defenseman Kris Letang, who was unhurt on the play.

Carolina Hurricanes forwards Martin Necas and Teuvo Teravainen each had a goal and an assist as their club beat the Nashville Predators 4-1. Kevin Lankinen made 30 saves for the Predators.

The Edmonton Oilers got a 35-save performance by Jack Campbell in a 3-1 victory over the Seattle Kraken. Evander Kane, Connor McDavid and Zach Hyman scored for the Oilers while Jared McCann replied for the Kraken.

Vancouver Canucks forward Phillip Di Giuseppe had a goal and an assist to lead his club over the Calgary Flames by a score of 3-1. Nazem Kadri replied for the Flames.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: A moment of silence was held before the game to honor the memory of Flames assistant general manager Chris Snow, who died on Sept. 30 from ALS at age 42.

HEADLINES AND OTHER NEWS

STARTRIBUNE.COM: Minnesota Wild captain Jared Spurgeon is sidelined week-to-week with an upper-body injury suffered during Thursday’s game against the Chicago Blackhawks.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Wild are turning to veteran blueliner Alex Goligoski as Spurgeon’s replacement.

DAILY FACEOFF: Speaking of the Wild, they’re reportedly closing in on a contract extension for Ryan Hartman. The 29-year-old forward’s new deal is expected to be for three years with an average annual value of $4.1 million.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That’s a nice raise in pay over the $1.7 million AAV that Hartman is earning on his current contract.

EDMONTON JOURNAL: With Mattias Ekholm questionable to be ready to play in the Oilers’ season opener, some observers are wondering about the seriousness of his lingering hip injury that sidelined him throughout training camp and preseason play.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Ekholm downplayed those concerns, saying he and the club are being extra cautious. Still, the worries are understandable given his value to the Oilers blueline since his acquisition from the Nashville Predators before last season’s trade deadline.

WINNIPEG SUN: Jets defenseman Ville Heinola suffered a fractured ankle in his club’s 3-0 loss to the Ottawa Senators on Thursday. He will be sidelined for between eight to 12 weeks.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Heinola had a terrific training camp and played well in preseason action until his injury. It’s a setback not just for his development as an NHL regular but also for the Jets defense corps.

DAILY FACEOFF: Anaheim Ducks forward Leo Carlsson was helped from the ice during practice on Friday as he was unable to put any weight on his right foot. The full extent of the injury has not been revealed. The 18-year-old center was the Ducks first-round pick (second overall) in this year’s draft and was expected to play for them this season.

NHL.COM: Toronto Maple Leafs defenseman John Klingberg is expected to be ready for the club’s season-opener next week after spending the past week sidelined with an upper-body injury.

TORONTO SUN: Speaking of the Leafs, goaltender Ilya Samsonov avoided serious injury in practice on Friday after taking a Calle Jarnkrok slap shot around his shoulder/collarbone area. He left practice but head coach Sheldon Keefe later said that Samsonov was fine.

DAILY FACEOFF: San Jose Sharks forward Oskar Lindblom, Carolina Hurricanes defenseman Caleb Jones and Philadelphia Flyers forward Wade Allison are among the notable names to hit the waiver wire on Friday.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Allison being placed on waivers caught Flyers followers by surprise. Despite his injury history, the 25-year-old winger could draw some interest from clubs seeking depth on their forward lines.

TSN: The Florida Panthers loaned goaltender Spencer Knight to their AHL affiliate in Charlotte. He’s entering the first season of a three-year contract with an AAV of $4.15 million.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Knight is trying to get his NHL career back on track after spending time last season in the NHL-NHLPA player assistance program seeking treatment for obsessive-compulsive disorder. Panthers coach Paul Maurice said sending Knight to the AHL was being done to give him more playing time in a starter’s role as they hope to build on his strong preseason play.










NHL Rumor Mill – May 21, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – May 21, 2022

What teams could the Canadiens ship Jeff Petry to this summer? Should they pursue Kris Letang, Kevin Fiala or Jakob Chychrun this summer? Check out the latest collection of Habs speculation in today’s NHL rumor mill.

THE ATHLETIC: Marc Antoine Godin recently looked at possible trade destinations for Jeff Petry if the Montreal Canadiens intend to shop the 34-year-old defenseman this summer.

Montreal Canadiens defenseman Jeff Petry (NHL Images).

He suggested the Pittsburgh Penguins as a salary-dump destination if they lose Evgeni Malkin, Kris Letang and Bryan Rust to free agency. The Seattle Kraken could be an option for a return of futures if the Habs retain some of Petry’s $6.25 million cap hit. The Nashville Predators were also among his proposed destinations if the Habs agree to take on Philippe Myers’ $2.25 million contract.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Canadiens general manager Kent Hughes is expected to gauge Petry’s value in this summer’s trade market. However, he’s made it clear he’s not moving him unless he can find a deal that’s fair for both sides. We already saw examples of that this season with his trades of Tyler Toffoli, Ben Chiarot, Artturi Lehkonen and Brett Kulak.

The Habs need to clear some cap space if they’re going ahead with a rebuild and Petry would be a prime cost-cutting candidate. Whether he ends up with the aforementioned teams or is peddled elsewhere remains to be determined. His 15-team no-trade list and his cap hit will limit where the Canadiens can send him.

MONTREAL HOCKEY NOW: Marco D’Amico believes the Canadiens should steer clear of Kris Letang if the 35-year-old Penguins defenseman hits the open market. He doesn’t believe it’s worthwhile to invest over $7 million annually for multiple years given the uncertainty over Carey Price’s future, the glut of young defensemen in the system and management’s intent to build for the long-term future.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Letang’s been linked to the Canadiens because he’s from Montreal and Hughes is his former agent. None of those factors, however, means he wants to become a Hab or that Hughes sees him as a piece for the future. The Canadiens’ limited cap space should put the kibosh on the notion of them signing a big-ticket UFA like Letang.

Jimmy Murphy wondered if the Canadiens will make a pitch for Minnesota Wild winger Kevin Fiala if he hits this summer’s trade block. He also pondered if they might pursue defenseman Jakob Chychrun if the Arizona Coyotes lower their asking price.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Fiala and Chychrun will draw plenty of attention if they’re available in this summer’s trade market. The Canadiens possess considerable depth in draft picks and prospects to offer up as trade bait. Of the two, Chychrun would address their more pressing need for skilled blueliners.

Hughes could conduct his due diligence here. However, I’ll be surprised if either guy ends up in Montreal.

Fiala is a restricted free agent with arbitration rights this summer coming off a career-best 85-point performance. He’ll seek a big raise over his $5.1 million salary for this season on a long-term deal. I don’t think he’s a fit with the Canadiens’ rebuilding plans.

Coyotes general manager Bill Armstrong isn’t likely to reduce his high asking price for Chychrun. He’s got the blueliner under contract for three more seasons so he can take his time and wait for the right offer. If he doesn’t get it during this summer, he’ll try again around next season’s trade deadline or next summer.

Murphy also listed Washington’s Ilya Samsonov, St. Louis’ Ville Husso and the New York Rangers’ Alexandar Georgiev as possible trade targets if Carey Price isn’t able to return next season. Meanwhile, D’Amico listed Arizona’s Anton Stralman, Tampa Bay’s Jan Rutta and the Rangers’ Justin Braun as possible blueline free-agent targets.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Samsonov and Georgiev are restricted free agents with arbitration rights while Husso is slated to become an unrestricted free agent this summer. Stralman, Rutta and Braun are all UFAs.

The Canadiens were linked to Samsonov before the trade deadline so perhaps Hughes revisits his rumored interest in the Capitals netminder. Georgiev is a year away from UFA eligibility and could be a decent short-term fit while the Habs await word on Price. Husso played well with a strong Blues team but we don’t know how he’d fare with a rebuilding club like the Canadiens.

Stralman has indicated he’d like to return with the Coyotes next season. They’re also rebuilding but could keep an affordable veteran like him. Rutta or Braun could be reasonable short-term options for the Habs but they could be looking at signing with playoff contenders if they hit the open market in July.










NHL Rumor Mill – May 14, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – May 14, 2022

What will the Capitals do with their goaltending this summer? Are the Sharks open to trading Erik Karlsson or Brent Burns? Will the Blackhawks seek improvement between the pipes? Who could the Red Wings target via free agency? Find out in today’s NHL rumor mill.

WILL THE CAPITALS LOOK TO IMPROVE THEIR GOALTENDING?

ESPN.COM: Greg Wyshynski considers the Washington Capitals goaltending an interesting situation worth monitoring during the offseason. Vitek Vanecek and Ilya Samsonov are both restricted free agents. Vanecek had a solid regular season but fared poorly in the playoffs while Samsonov was the opposite.

Wyshynski wondered if the Capitals will seek an upgrade between the pipes. If they decide to keep their tandem intact, for how much and for how long? He also believes their blueline needs improvement.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Capitals need a reliable starter. There are only four suitable options via this summer’s unrestricted free agent market and one of them (Marc-Andre Fleury) apparently isn’t interested in playing for them. Colorado’s Darcy Kuemper, Toronto’s Jack Campbell and St. Louis’ Ville Husso could be available but will be expensive to sign. The Capitals would face competition from other clubs for those goaltenders should they test the open market on July 13.

General manager Brian MacLellan could try the trade market by looking at netminders such as Anaheim’s John Gibson, Los Angeles’ Jonathan Quick, Vegas’ Robin Lehner and the New York Islanders’ Semyon Varlamov. Acquiring either of them, however, won’t be easy and will cost assets as well as salary.

Limited salary-cap space will also impede the pursuit of a goalie upgrade or the addition of a quality defenseman. Cap Friendly shows the Capitals with $73.5 million invested in 17 active players for 2022-23 with Vanecek and Samsonov as their key free agents. MacLellan might have to shed a contract or two to find sufficient cap space to address those needs.

THE SHARKS COULD BE OPEN TO TRADING KARLSSON OR BURNS THIS SUMMER

THE MERCURY NEWS: Curtis Pashelka reports San Jose Sharks interim general manager Joe Will indicated he has no problem talking to other clubs about trading Erik Karlsson or Brent Burns this summer. Both players recently surfaced in the rumor mill after the Sharks missed the playoffs last month.

San Jose Sharks defenseman Erik Karlsson (NHL Images).

Will said nothing was off-limits in terms of looking at ways to improve the roster wherever they could. However, he added that would be a decision left to whoever becomes the club’s general manager. He stated no changes are imminent but they’re open to discussion.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: In other words, Will is talking about a hypothetical trade scenario involving Karlsson or Burns rather than something that will actually take place. He or his successor are making it known they’re open to offers for their high-end talent but that doesn’t mean they’re actively shopping those players.

That being said, I wouldn’t be surprised if Sharks management quietly gauged the market for Karlsson or Burns. However, Karlsson’s injury history, the 37-year-old Burns’ age, and their respective hefty contracts and no-trade clauses make moving either defenseman a difficult task in an offseason where the salary cap is rising by only $1 million for 2022-23.

LATEST ON THE BLACKHAWKS

THE ATHLETIC: Scott Powers and Mark Lazerus recently reported goaltending is the biggest issue facing the Chicago Blackhawks this summer. Current netminders Kevin Lankinen and Collin Delia are slated to become UFAs this summer.

GM Kyle Davidson said Lankinen and Delia are part of the conversation but there are players in this summer’s free-agent market the Blackhawks will be looking at. He also didn’t rule out a foray into the trade market. A source claims the club hasn’t started contract discussions yet with Lankinen.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I expect the Blackhawks could keep Lankinen or Delia as a backup as they pursue a reliable starter via free agency or a trade. Many of the options I listed for the Capitals could also apply here.

Davidson has $61.4 million committed to 14 players with Dominik Kubalik, Dylan Strome, Kirby Dach, Caleb Jones and Philipp Kurashev slated to become restricted free agents. There is sufficient room to add a decent starter provided those RFAs can be inked to affordable deals. Strome or Kubalik could be traded or allowed to depart as UFAs.

WHO COULD THE RED WINGS TARGET VIA FREE AGENCY?

DETROIT HOCKEY NOW: Kevin Allen recently published a list of forwards who might interest Detroit Red Wings GM Steve Yzerman in this summer’s UFA market.

Carolina Hurricanes center Vincent Trocheck, New York Rangers forward Andrew Copp and Tampa Bay Lightning forward Nick Paul were Allen’s top three candidates

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Trocheck and Paul should be available this summer but it remains to be seen if they want to sign with a rebuilding club. Copp, however, could be off the market as the Rangers are quite keen to re-sign him.

Nashville Predators winger Filip Forsberg, Rangers center Ryan Strome and Lightning winger Ondrej Palat were also among Allen’s choices.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Red Wings’ plentiful cap space means they could afford to pay Forsberg a big raise. Like Trocheck and Paul, he might not prefer joining a rebuilding team.

Strome’s situation with the Rangers could go either way. Yzerman drafted Palat when he was GM of the Lightning so the latter might be willing to consider a reunion.

Colorado Avalanche winger Valeri Nichushkin, Avs winger Andre Burakovsky, Toronto Maple Leafs forward Ilya Mikheyev and KHL forward Andrei Kuzmenko round out Allen’s listing.










NHL Rumor Mill – April 6, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – April 6, 2022

In today’s NHL rumor mill, a look at some potential offseason goalie targets for the Oilers while Ilya Samsonov faces an uncertain future with the Capitals.

EDMONTON JOURNAL: Jim Matheson recently suggested the Oilers could be among the teams interested in Ville Husso if the St. Louis Blues goaltender tests this summer’s free-agent market. Husso, 27, has outplayed Jordan Binnington this season for the Blues’ starting goalie job.

THE ATHLETIC: Husso was also on Allan Mitchell’s recent list of possible UFA goaltending targets for the Oilers this summer. Other options could include the Colorado Avalanche’s Darcy Kuemper and the Toronto Maple Leafs’ Jack Campbell.

St. Louis Blues goaltender Ville Husso (NHL Images).

Mitchell believes all three will be expensive. He wondered if Oilers general manager would be able to sign Husso for less than $4.5 million annually over three years.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Oilers are expected to let Mikko Koskinen walk via free agency this summer. Aging veteran Mike Smith is signed through next season with a $2.2 million cap hit.

Husso would be the most affordable of the three UFA goalies listed by Mitchell. However, his value in the free-agent market could rise significantly if a growing number of clubs were to consider him a more cost-effective option than Kuemper and Campbell. He’s also only been in the NHL for two seasons and that could make some suitors leery of investing in him.

The Blues could try to re-sign Husso and part ways with Binnington, whose performance has been in decline since backstopping the club to the Stanley Cup three years ago. However, he’s signed through 2026-27 with an annual cap hit of $6 million and a full no-trade clause. A buyout would stretch through 2031-32.

THE ATHLETIC: In a recent mailbag segment, Tarik El-Bashir wrote he doesn’t see the Washington Capitals going into next season with their current tandem of Vitek Vanecek and Ilya Samsonov. The former is fumbling his opportunity to seize the starter’s job while the latter has inspired much confidence.

He believes the Capitals will have to settle on one of them and bring in a veteran capable of being a starter to pair with Vanecek. Samsonov could be shipped to a club that might see the 6-foot 3, 200-pound former first-round pick as an enticing reclamation project. He’d heard rumors before the trade deadline linking Samsonov to the Montreal Canadiens but couldn’t confirm them.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Samsonov’s promising rookie performance in 2019-20 emboldened the Capitals to part ways with long-time starter Braden Holtby. However, he struggled to make the starter’s job his own and wound up sharing time with Vanecek, who has looked the better of the two since last season.

I also heard those rumors tying Samsonov to the Canadiens but they didn’t last long. Maybe the Canadiens were considering shopping Jake Allen before the trade deadline and saw Samsonov as a possible short-term backup replacement. Maybe there was nothing to this rumor at all. It’ll be interesting to see if it resurfaces in the offseason.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 4, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 4, 2021

Canada’s 2022 Olympic men’s hockey team names its first three players, the league reaches out to Robin Lehner over his social media accusations, Jake Guentzel tests positive for COVID-19, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

TSN: Team Canada general manager Doug Armstrong has notified Sidney Crosby, Connor McDavid and Alex Pietrangelo they will be part of the 2022 Olympic team. The move was made at the request of the International Ice Hockey Federation, the NHL, and the NHL Players Association.

Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby (NHL Images).

This will be Crosby’s third Olympics, the second for Pietrangelo and the first for McDavid.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s no surprise seeing Crosby, McDavid and Pietrangelo being named to Canada’s squad. I daresay Crosby will be named team captain as he was in 2014. It remains to be seen when the rest of the roster will be named.

No word on which three players will be named to the other men’s Olympic ice hockey clubs. Perhaps those will be revealed in the coming days.

LAS VEGAS SUN: The NHL has reached out to Robin Lehner to set up an interview after the Vegas Golden Knights goaltender took to social media accusing several teams of giving players drugs without a doctor’s prescription.

Lehner claimed he knew several teams that gave players sedatives and anxiety pills with a doctor’s consent, singling out the Philadelphia Flyers and head coach Alain Vigneault. Flyers GM Chuck Fletcher issued a statement yesterday denying the allegation.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Lehner claimed he had proof to back up his allegation against the Flyers though he never played for the club or Vigneault. As I said yesterday, he could end up in hot water if he cannot substantiate his claims. If he can, however, it could force the league to launch an investigation.

TRIBLIVE.COM: Pittsburgh Penguins winger Jake Guentzel tested positive for COVID-19 and has been placed in the NHL’s protocol for the coronavirus. He’s the second Penguin to test positive, joining forward Zach Aston-Reese.

Guentzel must remain in isolation for 10 days following his positive test. If he’s asymptomatic and fully vaccinated, he can be released from isolation if he receives two negative tests during that period.

EDMONTON JOURNAL: Oilers forward Josh Archibald has been diagnosed with COVID-related myocarditis. It’s the same heart ailment that sidelined Oilers goalie Alex Stalock.

Archibald had contracted COVID during the summer. The unvaccinated forward was in the midst of his 14-day quarantine after traveling to Edmonton from the United States for training camp when he began to not feel well.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Like Stalock, Archibald’s career is now in jeopardy. Myocarditis causes inflammation of the heart muscle which can prove fatal under physical exertion. Stalock is out for the upcoming season and Archibald could suffer the same fate.

TSN: The Vancouver Canucks officially signed Elias Pettersson and Quinn Hughes to their new contracts yesterday.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Cap Friendly has the full details. It’s going to be expensive for the Canucks to re-sign Pettersson at the end of his three-year contract. He’ll earn $10.25 million in actual salary in the final season (2023-24) of that deal, meaning it’ll cost them that much to qualify his rights. Hughes, on the other hand, can become an unrestricted free agent at the end of his new six-year contract.

**UPDATE**: I’ve been reminded that rule for contracts signed after July 10, 2020, is now 120 percent of the contract’s annual average value. That means it’ll cost the Canucks $8.82 million to qualify Pettersson’s rights. Still expensive but not as much as $10.25 million. 

THE SCORE: The Tampa Bay Lightning have reportedly opened contract extension talks with head coach Jon Cooper. The club recently re-signed general manager Julien BriseBois.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Cooper could become the NHL’s highest-paid coach after guiding the Lightning to consecutive Stanley Cup titles.

NBC SPORTS WASHINGTON: Capitals goaltender Ilya Samsonov missed yesterday’s practice with a lower-body injury. He’ll be re-evaluated today.

MONTREAL GAZETTE: The Canadiens signed checking-line forward Jake Evans to a three-year, $5.1 million contract extension. The annual average value is $1.7 million.

SAN JOSE HOCKEY NOW: Sharks goalie Adin Hill left practice yesterday favoring his left wrist. His participation in today’s preseason game against the Anaheim Ducks is in doubt.