It’s no April Fool’s, the Ducks and Flyers could be making some notable trades this summer. Check out the latest in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.
THE PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER: Olivia Reiner and Giana Han looked at whether the Flyers will be looking at moving out some veteran players this summer and which ones are the likeliest to move.
Philadelphia Flyers center Kevin Hayes (NHL Images).
Han believes they’ll take calls on Kevin Hayes based on head coach John Tortorella’s comments before the March 3 trade deadline claiming the 30-year-old’s name came up in trade discussions. She also thinks defenseman Travis Sanheim could be another candidate based on the way Tortorella talks about him.
Reiner agrees with Han regarding Hayes, citing Tortorella’s comments about “addition by subtraction” since the start of the season. She noted how he’s been bumped from top-line center with Sean Couturier sidelined this season to a bottom-six center and sometimes winger earning over $7.142 million per season for the next three years.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: There was speculation linking Hayes to the Columbus Blue Jackets and Colorado Avalanche before the trade deadline. His contract (which also contains a 12-team no-trade list) is the biggest obstacle in the path toward a deal with another club.
The Flyers could end up retaining some salary or taking back a comparable contract in return. There was also chatter about a possible buyout but that would count as two-thirds of the remaining value over twice the remaining term. That’s likely the last option they’ll consider.
THE ATHLETIC: In a recent mailbag segment, Eric Stephens was asked if Anaheim Ducks general manager Pat Verbeek will attempt to upgrade the blueline via free agency by pursuing someone like Matt Dumba, Damon Severson or Ryan Graves.
Stephens is leery about Dumba given his declining performance unless he’s willing to accept a two-year contract at $3 million annually. Severson and Graves are very serviceable but he cautions against investing too much in an established defenseman given the promising depth within their prospect pipeline.
Asked about struggling winger Max Comtois, Stephens doesn’t expect they’ll spend $2.55 million to qualify his rights. He noted that the 24-year-old pending restricted free agent was on the trade block this season but Verbeek couldn’t find any takers.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Verbeek could peddle Comtois again around the draft in late June to see if he can get something for him. Otherwise, as Stephens noted, the Ducks GM could do what he did last summer with Sonny Milano and let him walk.
Is there a way the Oilers could acquire the Sharks’ Erik Karlsson in the offseason? What are the priorities facing Daniel Briere as the Flyers’ general manager? Find out in the Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup.
San Jose Sharks defenseman Erik Karlsson (NHL Images).
While the 32-year-old defenseman is enjoying a career year and was the subject of trade speculation, his $11.5 million average annual value through 2026-27 proved too difficult to move before the March 3 trade deadline. Given Karlsson’s age, Duhatschek doesn’t expect his contract will age well, making him harder to trade and more difficult to get actual value in return.
The Edmonton Oilers were the only club to seriously look into acquiring Karlsson. Duhatschek wondered if trading Jack Campbell and his $5 million AAV to the Sharks might make it possible for the Oilers to accommodate Karlsson’s contract. The Sharks are rebuilding and their goaltending hasn’t been great. Playing in San Jose might give Campbell the opportunity to turn his career around in a relatively stress-free environment.
Duhatschek proposed the Sharks retain around $2 million annually of Karlsson’s cap hit. The Oilers could then part with two or three young assets the Sharks would be looking for, such as Phillip Broberg and Xavier Bourgault.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Bear in mind that Duhatschek is merely spitballing here. On its face, it seems like a sensible proposal.
Karlsson might be willing to join the Oilers and play with Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl, perhaps becoming the missing piece that finally puts them over the top. The Sharks would get most of Karlsson’s salary off their books and receive some long-term assets to help with their rebuild. They would also get a starting goalie in the short term who might regain his form playing for a rebuilding club where the spotlight won’t be as harsh.
However, this deal depends on whether the Sharks will retain some of Karlsson’s cap hit and their willingness to take the struggling Campbell off the Oilers’ hands. If the answer is no, we can forget about seeking Karlsson skating on the Edmonton blueline next season.
WHAT ARE THE PRIORITIES FACING FLYERS GM DANIEL BRIERE?
THE SCORE: John Matisz recently looked at what could be the high-level priorities on the to-do list for Philadelphia Flyers general manager Daniel Briere if he’s named their full-time GM following this season.
Matisz believes Briere must attempt to acquire another 2023 first-round draft pick or an early second-rounder. He suggested shopping defensemen Ivan Provorov and Travis Sanheim but felt peddling Carter Hart and Travis Konecny could be complicated and carry more downside.
Offloading the contracts of Kevin Hayes and Rasmus Ristolainen is another priority. Hayes is not head coach John Tortorella’s favorite player plus he’s a salary-dump candidate given his age and contract. Matisz admits trading Ristolainen and his $5.1 million AAV through 2026-27 would be challenging.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Briere last week indicated he’s committed to a rebuild but that doesn’t mean a roster fire sale. Hayes and Provorov seem the most likely to be moved. Sanheim could be peddled but I think he might fit into Briere’s long-term plans.
I agree with Matisz about the complications of moving Hart or Konecny. One or both could force the issue, especially Hart as he is a restricted free agent next year. However, they would be worth retaining if they want to be part of the solution.
Ristolainen lacks no-trade protection. However, I think there are only three ways Briere could move him and none of them are palatable. He can retain up to half of the blueliner’s cap hit, take back a toxic contract in return, or package him this summer with the Flyers’ first-round pick.
Game recaps, Blue Jackets winger Patrik Laine sidelined, the Flyers re-sign Travis Sanheim, and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.
NHL.COM: Sidney Crosby lead the Pittsburgh Penguins over the Arizona Coyotes 6-2. The Penguins captain had a goal and two assists while Kris Letang, Jake Guentzel, Bryan Rust, Danton Heinen and Jason Zucker each collected two points. Nick Ritchie scored both goals for the Coyotes, who also lost center Nick Schmaltz in the first period with an upper-body injury.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Crosby set the franchise record for most seasons by a Penguins player with 18, one more than Mario Lemieux. He also scored his club’s first goal of the season for the first time in his career.
The New York Rangers thumped the Minnesota Wild 7-3. Rangers winger Artemi Panarin scored a goal and chipped in three assists while teammate Chris Kreider tallied twice. Matt Boldy had two goals for the Wild.
Toronto Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews snapped a 2-2 tie as his third-period goal gave his club a 3-2 win against the Washington Capitals. Leafs goaltender Ilya Samsonov stopped 24 shots to defeat his former club while teammate Morgan Rielly picked up two assists.
John Tortorella picked up his first win as head coach of the Philadelphia Flyers as they downed the New Jersey Devils 5-2. Travis Konecny and Morgan Frost each scored twice while Carter Hart made 35 saves for the win. Alexander Holtz and Damon Severson replied for the Devils.
The Dallas Stars gave Peter DeBoer his first victory as their head coach by dropping the Nashville Predators 4-1. Mason Marchment scored twice, Tyler Seguin collected three assists and rookie Wyatt Johnston netted his first career NHL goal. Ryan Johansen had the Predators’ only goal.
Jonathan Huberdeau and Nazem Kadri each collected an assist in their first game with the Calgary Flames in a 5-3 win over the Colorado Avalanche. MacKenzie Weegar picked up two assists in his first game in Calgary. Flames coach Darryl Sutter earned his 700th career NHL coaching victory. Avalanche center Nathan MacKinnon had a goal and an assist.
Buffalo Sabres goaltender Craig Anderson kicked out 35 shots while Victor Olofsson scored two goals in a 4-1 home-opening win over the Ottawa Senators. Sabres rookie J.J. Peterka netted his first NHL goal. Brady Tkachuk tallied the Senators’ only goal.
Third-period goals by Patric Hornqvist and Matthew Tkachuk lifted the Florida Panthers past the New York Islanders 3-1, handing Paul Maurice his first win as their bench boss. Sergei Bobrovsky made 32 saves for the Panthers.
The Seattle Kraken got second-period goals from Brandon Tanev and Alex Wennberg in a 4-1 victory over the Los Angeles Kings. Martin Jones made 26 saves for the win. Alex Iafallo netted the Kings’ only goal.
A second-period goal by Vegas Golden Knights forward Paul Cotter stood as the game-winner to beat the Chicago Blackhawks 1-0. Logan Thompson stopped 27 shots for the shutout while Blackhawks netminder Alex Stalock made 36 saves.
THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH: Bad news for the Blue Jackets as winger Patrik Laine will be sidelined for three-to-four weeks with a sprained elbow. He suffered the injury during the club’s season-opening loss on Wednesday against the Carolina Hurricanes.
PHILLY HOCKEY NOW: The Philadelphia Flyers yesterday announced they’d reached an agreement with Travis Sanheim on an eight-year, $50 million contract. The 26-year-old defenseman will earn an average annual value of $6.25 million starting in 2023-24.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Sanheim is getting a significant raise over the $4.675 million AAV of his current contract. Cap Friendly indicates he’s also getting a full no-trade clause in the first four seasons followed by a 12-team no-trade clause for the final four seasons.
Sanheim has made steady improvement with the Flyers. He was their best defenseman and among the few bright spots for what was an otherwise miserable 2021-22 season for the club, netting 31 points and a team-leading plus-minus of plus-9 while logging nearly 23 minutes per game.
The Flyers will have over $23 million invested in Sanheim and fellow defensemen Ivan Provorov, Rasmus Ristolainen and Tony DeAngelo for next season. That’s not counting the $6.25 million of sidelined rearguard Ryan Ellis.
TSN: The Winnipeg Jets named Mark Scheifele, Josh Morrissey and Adam Lowry as their alternate captains for 2022-23.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Jets head coach Rick Bowness stripped Blake Wheeler of the captaincy last month and will leave that position vacant this season.
NHL.COM: The department of player safety fined Edmonton Oilers defenseman Darnell Nurse $5,000.00 for interference against Vancouver Canucks defenseman Kyle Burroughs on Wednesday.
MONTREAL GAZETTE: Canadiens defenseman Mike Matheson is expected to miss at least eight weeks with an abdominal sprain.
THE PROVINCE: Kevin Bieksa is going to officially retire from the NHL and will do so as a member of the Vancouver Canucks. He will sign a one-day contract next month and will be honored by the team in a pregame ceremony on Nov. 3.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Bieksa’s last NHL game was in 2017-18 but he hadn’t officially hung up his skates until now. The retirement ceremony was two years in the making as COVID-19 affected NHL scheduling.
Bieksa spent 10 of his 13 seasons with the Canucks, playing a key role in the club’s march to the 2011 Stanley Cup Final. He had 278 points in 808 career NHL games and now works as an in-studio NHL analyst for Sportsnet.
Which Flyers could become trade candidates this season? Is Jonathan Drouin on the outs in Montreal? What’s the latest on the Avalanche, Kings and Flames? Find out in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.
WHICH FLYERS COULD BECOME TRADE CANDIDATES?
THE PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER: Who becomes trade bait is among the 15 things Gustav Elvin will watch regarding the Flyers this season. There’s a real chance this turns into a rebuilding year for the club which could lead to a roster shakeup.
Philadelphia Flyers winger James van Riemsdyk (NHL Images).
Winger James van Riemsdyk is likely to be moved by the March 3 trade deadline. Winger Travis Konecny and defensemen Ivan Provorov and Travis Sanheim have also surfaced in trade speculation. Trading Sanheim seems far more unlikely but (like van Riemsdyk) he’s in the final year of his contract.
PHILLY HOCKEY NOW: San Carchidi also believed van Riemsdyk will be shopped by the deadline. He also believes defenseman Justin Braun will be a trade candidate by then.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: This is shaping up to be a difficult year for the Flyers unless they surprise the experts and thrive under new head coach John Tortorella. Pending UFAs like van Riemsdyk, Braun and perhaps Sanheim could hit the trade block if they’re out of playoff contention heading into next March.
Provorov and Konecny are both signed through 2024-25 so they could have roles to play in a potential rebuild. However, that could change if general manager Chuck Fletcher (or his successor) decides to tear it all down in a full-fledged roster rebuild. They could also be useful as trade chips as teams could prefer acquiring good players in their mid-twenties with term still remaining on their contracts.
IS DROUIN ON THE OUTS IN MONTREAL?
MONTREAL GAZETTE: Stu Cowan took note of Jonathan Drouin being a healthy scratch for the Canadiens’ home-opening win over the Toronto Maple Leafs last night. The 27-year-old forward is slated to become an unrestricted free agent next summer and carries a $5.5 million cap hit this season.
Drouin has struggled in Montreal and dealt with numerous injuries. Cowan believes it’s obvious he doesn’t have a future with the Canadiens beyond this season and expects GM Kent Hughes will likely look to trade him if he can.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I don’t see Drouin as part of the Canadiens after this season. However, they’ll have to play him if they hope to boost his stock in this season’s trade market. His cap hit and three-team no-trade list will also be sticking points in any attempt to move him.
LATEST ON THE AVALANCHE, KINGS AND FLAMES
THE ATHLETIC: Pierre LeBrun believes the Colorado Avalanche will be the most aggressive team at the March 3 trade deadline. He thinks they’ll leave no stone unturned in trying to repeat as Stanley Cup champions.
LeBrun also believes the Los Angeles Kings will trade one of their right-handed defensemen but not anytime soon. They’re stacked with right-shot blueliners but management could prefer to be patient and see how the season unfolds before moving one of them.
CALGARY HOCKEY NOW: Steve Macfarlane reports the Flames are still seeking a forward for their third line. Sonny Milano and Cody Eakin weren’t successful in their training camp tryouts so it’s unlikely the Flames will circle back to them.
In today’s Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup: a projected big increase in the salary cap could affect some current contract talks, Travis Sanheim could draw some interest in the trade market, and the latest on the Coyotes’ goaltending.
A RISING SALARY CAP COULD AFFECT CURRENT CONTRACT NEGOTIATIONS
THE BOSTON GLOBE: Matt Porter noted that a recent NHL memo projected the salary cap could rise by $10 million over the next four seasons. The cap could rise by $1 million next season to $83.5 million, rising to between $87.5 million and $88 million in 2024-25 and reaching $92 million by 2025-26.
He suggested that the anticipated increase could affect current contracts negotiations such as those involving the Bruins’ David Pastrnak and the Dallas Stars’ Jason Robertson.
Boston Bruins winger David Pastrnak (NHL Images).
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Porter wondered if Pastrnak’s representatives could seek an eight-year contract extension worth $11.1 million or if Robertson’s camp might ask for an eight-year deal based on a projected cap of $92 million or even $100 million.
It’s not far-fetched to assume the prospect of a big rise in the salary cap will affect contract talks. It will definitely factor into next summer’s unrestricted free agent market.
Superstars slated to become UFAs within the next three years are going to see big raises. Colorado Avalanche star Nathan MacKinnon will become the NHL’s highest-paid player starting next season at $12.6 million annually after signing an eight-year contract extension last month. I doubt he’ll be holding that honor for long.
Marek observed that Sanheim is in the final year of his contract. He suggested the 26-year-old rearguard might look good alongside Quinn Hughes on the Vancouver Canucks blueline. Friedman speculated there will be plenty of rumors regarding the Flyers if they get off to a rough start to this season. He believes Sanheim would draw plenty of interest.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Sanheim carries a $4.675 million cap hit for this season but will earn $5.3 million in actual salary. He lacks no-trade protection and is slated to become an unrestricted free agent next summer.
The Canucks are above the cap for this season by $2.75 million. However, they will become cap compliant once they place permanently sidelined winger Micheal Ferland and his $3.5 million cap hit on long-term injury reserve.
That won’t leave enough space to acquire Sanheim. The Canucks would have to ship out some additional salary in the deal, make a separate cost-cutting deal, or ask the Flyers to retain up to half of his cap hit.
LATEST ON THE COYOTES:
GOPHNX.COM’s Craig Morgan tweeted that the Arizona Coyotes intend to get newly-acquired goaltender Jonas Johansson a good look in the club’s final preseason games. General manager Bill Armstrong will continue to watch the goalie trade market and waivers.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Coyotes claimed Johansson off waivers last week from the Colorado Avalanche. They are still seeking a reliable backup for starter Karel Vejmelka.
In today’s NHL Rumor Mill, a look at some potential offseason trade candidates for the Flyers plus the latest on Phil Kessel and Craig Anderson.
THE ATHLETIC: In a recent mailbag segment, Charlie O’Connor was asked if the Philadelphia Flyers could attempt to offload James van Riemsdyk in order to shed some salary this summer. He noted the club needs to free up cap space to make additions in the offseason, pointing out the 32-year-old winger is a $7 million player whose production has regressed.
Philadelphia Flyers winger James van Riemsdyk (NHL Images).
Finding takers for van Riemsdyk won’t be easy. The Flyers could be forced to add a sweetener to make him more enticing in the trade market. It might be easier if they retain half of his salary though it means only saving $3.5 million. A contract buyout won’t clear the full $7 million from their books next season.
Cam Atkinson could be a sell-high trade option given his bounce-back performance this season. However, O’Connor senses the Flyers could prefer retaining him. Travis Konecny, Ivan Provorov or Travis Sanheim could also be cost-cutting options.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: van Riemsdyk has one year left on his contract. So does the 26-year-old Sanheim at $4.675 million. Konecny, 25, is signed through 2024-25 with an annual average value of $5.5 million while the 25-year-old Provorov carries a $6.75 million AAV for three more seasons.
As O’Connor observed, those younger players would have more trade value than van Riemsdyk. Depending on this summer’s trade market, those guys probably won’t have to be packaged with someone else or have salary retained to move them.
That’s not to suggest van Riemsdyk can’t be moved this summer. He lacks no-trade protection and will carry an actual salary of $4 million next season after the Flyers pay his $1 million signing bonus. A club seeking to reach the cap floor next season could have an interest in him, provided the Flyers include a draft pick or a prospect in the deal.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Perhaps the Predators will revisit their interest in Kessel this summer when he becomes an unrestricted free agent? The 34-year-old winger should prove to be an affordable signing at this stage in his career.
Friedman also reported the Buffalo Sabres would like to bring back 40-year-old goaltender Craig Anderson for 2022-23. The club is willing to wait on his timetable and see how he feels after this season.