NHL Rumor Mill – October 1, 2019

NHL Rumor Mill – October 1, 2019

Updates on Jonathan Drouin, Julius Honka, Daniel Sprong, and Luke Schenn in today’s NHL rumor mill.


THE HOCKEY NEWS: Matt Larkin recently weighed in on the trade rumors swirling around Montreal Canadiens winger Jonathan Drouin. A poor performance in a preseason game sparked the speculation, prompting Canadiens general manager Marc Bergevin to deny Drouin was on the block. 

All quiet on the Jonathan Drouin rumor front (Photo via NHL Images).

Larkin noted a report about Drouin’s name being “out there” (on the trade block) but his sources claim otherwise. Larkin acknowledged the Canadiens could use a mobile top-four defenseman and suggested Nick Leddy of the New York Islanders as one option. However, the Habs don’t have a surplus of wingers to spare.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: As I noted last week, it wouldn’t surprise me if Bergevin is willing entertain trade offers but I doubt he’s trying to move the 24-year-old winger. A player’s preseason performance usually isn’t indicative of what to expect in the regular season. Consistency remains an issue for Drouin but he still has the potential to become a reliable scorer. I believe Bergevin will remain patient. 


THE BUFFALO NEWS: Mike Harrington suggests Anaheim Ducks winger Daniel Sprong could be enticing to the Sabres. The 22-year-old tallied 14 goals in 47 games with the Ducks last season but was placed on waivers yesterday. He was a second-round pick (2015) of the Pittsburgh Penguins “and thus has a relationship with both Sabres General Manager Jason Botterill and assistant GM Randy Sexton from their days in Pittsburgh.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Sprong has solid scoring abilities but his defensive play leaves much to be desired. He wore out his welcome in Pittsburgh and now with the Ducks. Sprong can play either wing and the Sabres reportedly seek depth on the right wing. He could be an affordable waiver gamble.


TSN’s Bob McKenzie (stick tap to Account4hockey) reports the Dallas Stars seek “a 2nd round pick or 3rd round pick or young player for Julius Honka.” The 23-year-old restricted free agent defenseman is skating in Finland awaiting a trade.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Media trade chatter linked Honka to the Canadiens and Winnipeg Jets. The Habs were reportedly willing to do a player-for-player swap but there’s no indication who they could offer up in return. Given the decline in Honka’s value, I doubt the Stars will find a club willing to meet their asking price.


NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 1, 2019

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 1, 2019

A look at several notable names on the waiver wire plus updates on Evander Kane, Brock Boeser, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines. 

NBC SPORTS: New York Islanders winger Joshua Ho-Sang, Pittsburgh Penguins goaltender Casey DeSmith, and Anaheim Ducks winger Daniel Sprong are among several notable name to hit the NHL waiver wire yesterday.

Others include veterans like Edmonton Oilers center Sam Gagner, Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Luke Schenn, and Vancouver Canucks winger Sven Baertschi. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Click the above link for the complete list. These players will be demoted to their teams’ respective AHL farm clubs if unclaimed by noon ET today. A few, however, could be plucked off the waiver wire before then. I’ll have more this morning in the Rumors section.

San Jose Sharks winger Evander Kane could face a lengthy suspension for shoving an on-ice official during a preseason game (Photo via NHL Images)

TSN’s Darren Dreger reports Evander Kane’s abuse of an official penalty carries an automatic 10-game suspension. “NHL commissioner Gary Bettman will have to confirm and officially enforce the suspension,” write Dreger. The incident took place during a pre-season game between Kane’s San Jose Sharks and the Vegas Golden Knights. 

SPORTSNET: Brock Boeser has been cleared to return to action after suffering a concussion last week. The Vancouver Canucks winger was injured after being hit from behind by Ottawa Senators forward Chris Tierney during a pre-season game. 

NBC SPORTS: The St. Louis Blues received their 2019 Stanley Cup championship rings.

THE TENNESSEAN:  The Nashville Predators and Bridgestone announced the naming rights extension for Bridgestone Arena to 2030. 

NHL.COM: The NHL announced a two-year marketing and promotional platform with the rock group Green Day. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Looks like the league is taking the longview in this partnership. 

Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – September 29, 2019

Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – September 29, 2019

Updates on the Blues, Islanders, Rangers, and Avalanche in today’s Sunday NHL rumor roundup.


STLTODAY.COM: In a recent live chat with his readers, Jim Thomas weighed in on the Blues’ salary-cap space for next season and how it could affect efforts to re-sign Alex Pietrangelo and Brayden Schenn. Assuming the salary cap reaches $85 million, it’ll leave the Blues with over $19 million to re-sign seven players. It could cost at least $14 million to retain Pietrangelo and Schenn. General manager Doug Armstrong has said the Blues must get creative to re-sign those two.

Can the St. Louis Blues afford to re-sign Alex Pietrangelo (Photo via NHL Images).

Thomas doesn’t know how much Pietrangelo wants but it’s safe to say it’ll be more than his current annual average value of $6.5 million.

If the Blues decide they can’t keep both and try to trade Schenn, Thomas indicates the New Jersey Devils, Columbus Blue Jackets, Anaheim Ducks, Ottawa Senators, and Colorado Avalanche have the salary-cap space to take him on.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: As long as the Blues are a playoff contender they won’t trade Pietrangelo and Schenn. Barring a salary-dumping deal next summer, I don’t think they can afford both of them. I can see them re-signing Pietrangelo to a five-year deal worth $9 million annually. If his asking price is higher, they can turn their focus to Schenn.


THE ATHLETIC: Arthur Staple recently pondered what could happen with the New York Islanders’ defense. If promising Noah Dobson cracks the roster, a veteran like Thomas Hickey, Nick Leddy, or Johnny Boychuk could be sitting out the Isles’ opening night. A trade might make sense, with Leddy and his $2.5 million AAV the easiest to move.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Dobson was scratched from the Isles’ final preseason game. Head coach Barry Trotz hasn’t tipped his hand if the youngster has made the team. If he does, they’ll have eight defensemen on the roster. Somebody will have to move via trade or waivers. 


NEW YORK POST: Brett Cyrgalis reports veteran forward Ryan Strome hopes to establish himself as part of the Rangers’ core. However, he’s an unrestricted free agent next summer. The Rangers have shipped out pending UFA talent over the last two seasons.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Acquired from Edmonton early last season, Strome put up a respectable 18 goals and 33 points in 63 games with the Rangers. If he can build on that it could improve his chances of securing another contract with the Blueshirts. It could also improve his value at next February’s trade deadline.


NHL Rumor Mill – September 18, 2019

NHL Rumor Mill – September 18, 2019

The latest on Patrik Laine, Alex Pietrangelo, Brayden Schenn, and Tristan Jarry in today’s NHL rumor mill.


TSN: Darren Dreger downplayed comments by Patrik Laine to a Finnish reporter in which he appeared to complain about not getting playing time on the Winnipeg Jets’ top line. He doesn’t think there’s much to read into the comments, adding it’s taking his remarks out of context to suggest they’re a slight against linemates Bryan Little and Nikolaj Ehlers.

Recent comments by Patrik Laine about his playing time could raise questions over his future with the Winnipeg Jets (Photo via NHL Images).

Dreger thinks Laine could return to the top line if he adds a little more power to his game. The young winger is currently mired in a contract impasse with the Jets and is now practicing with Swiss club SC Bern.

WINNIPEG FREE PRESS: Mike McIntyre wonders if Laine’s remarks might make his lukewarm relationship with the Jets more complicated. “Words were said. Feelings were likely hurt. And you wonder just how many episodes of this soap opera are left before what is starting to seem like an inevitable breakup occurs,” said McIntyre.

McIntyre cited Jets coach Paul Maurice defending his decision to deploy Laine on the second line last season. Captain Blake Wheeler also praised Laine’s skills. While not taking Laine to task for his comments, he noted the 21-year-old winger is still growing on and off the ice. Center Adam Lowry thinks the remarks were tied to the ongoing contract negotiations and could blow over once the winger is re-signed.

McIntyre notes he’s long maintained trading Laine would be a big mistake. He’s hopeful the winger and Jets management can quickly get on the same page to avoid another “Jacob Trouba “get me out of here” situation on their hands” in four years when Laine is eligible for unrestricted free agent status.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Laine’s recent remarks follows those he made to Sportsnet’s Chris Johnston last month when he indicated he was prepared for anything. He claimed contract talks at that point with the Jets were non-existent and expressed uncertainty over his future with the club.

Laine’s latest comments will only stoke the internet trade speculation that flared up following his August comments. The longer his contract standoff drags on, the more likely he’ll become a trade-rumor fixture.


NHL.COM: Louie Korac recently reported St. Louis Blues general manager Doug Armstrong remains hopeful of re-signing defenseman Alex Pietrangelo and center Brayden Schenn. Slated to become unrestricted free agents next summer. the pair were instrumental in the Blues’ Stanley Cup run last season.

Armstrong said contract talks would be ongoing. Both players are pleased to hear the organization hopes to retain them. They also said they’re focused on the upcoming season and won’t let their contract statuses become a distraction.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This report isn’t a trade or a free-agent rumor but it’ll be worthwhile keeping an eye on Pietrangelo and Schenn during this season. If contract negotiations stall for one or both, or if the Blues struggle to shake off the dreaded “Stanley Cup hangover,” perhaps their names will surface in the rumor mill. Both popped up as trade candidates during the Blues’ awful first half of last season.

Salary-cap space will also be a factor. As per Cap Friendly, the Blues have over $59 million invested in 15 players for 2020-21. New contracts for Pietrangelo and Schenn could push that payroll to over $72 million.


TRIBLIVE.COM: Seth Rorabaugh recently reported the Pittsburgh Penguins are believed to have shopped goaltender Tristan Jarry this summer but couldn’t find a satisfactory return. He speculates Penguins GM Jim Rutherford could consider trading Jarry rather than risk losing him for nothing through waivers.

NHL Rumor Mill – August 31, 2019

NHL Rumor Mill – August 31, 2019

Should the Leafs part ways with Mitch Marner? Could the Blues shop Brayden Schenn? Should the Flames ship Michael Frolik to Columbus for Riley Nash? Check out the latest in today’s NHL rumor mill.


TORONTO STAR: With the Maple Leafs facing the possibility of a protracted contract standoff with Mitch Marner, Damien Cox suggests it might be best to trade the 22-year-old winger. While acknowledging that’s “a crappy scenario,” Cox feels this might be the way to go if they hope to win the Stanley Cup rather than having Marner sit out part or all of the season.

Should the Toronto Maple Leafs consider trading Mitch Marner? (Photo via NHL Images).

If a rival club is willing to give up “two quality players under the age of 27 that have two or more years left on their contracts”, Cox feels the Leafs should look hard at that deal. One of those players must be “a defenceman capable of playing in Toronto’s top four and the other a forward capable of scoring 30 goals.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Cox isn’t saying the Leafs are exploring a Marner trade. He’s merely suggesting they consider it if they can’t get the winger under contract before this season opens. Based on several comments on this site, some Leafs followers share that view.

If, and that’s a big if right now, another club pitched that offer Cox suggested, the Leafs could seriously consider it. The problem is there aren’t many teams with the cap space to pay Marner’s hefty salary asking price, believed to be around $11 million per season.

Yes, that club could free up sufficient cap space for Marner by trading two assets to the Leafs. Few general managers, however, will part with the type of package proposed by Cox at this point in the offseason.

Yes, a Marner trade is possible, but I won’t hold my breath waiting for it.


STLTODAY.COM: In a recent mailbag segment, Jeff Gordon was asked if St. Louis Blues general manager Doug Armstrong will trade forward Brayden Schenn or let him walk via free agency. Gordon doesn’t believe Schenn hits the trade block this season.

While re-signing Schenn could prove expensive if he has another 70-point campaign, he’s a valuable member of their roster. Gordon thinks Armstrong will let this season play out and assess things before the free-agent market opens next summer.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: As per Cap Friendly, Schenn has an annual average value of $5.125 million on his current contract. Another 70-point season could push him toward $7 million annually.

With captain Alex Pietrangelo also due for a big raise next summer, Armstrong might not be willing to go that high for Schenn. If the Blues are out of playoff contention as the Feb. 24 trade deadline approaches, perhaps he’ll consider shopping Schenn at that point.


SPECTOR’S NOTE: So what say you, Flames and Blue Jackets fans? Yay or nay? Let us know in the comments section below!

NHL Rumor Mill – July 1, 2019

NHL Rumor Mill – July 1, 2019

The NHL free-agent market opens today at 12:01 pm ET. Check out the latest on Artemi Panarin, Sergei Bobrovsky, Tyler Myers and more in today’s rumor mill. 


NEW YORK POST: Brett Cyrgalis believes Artemi Panarin is believed to be deciding between the Rangers, Islanders and Florida Panthers. It’s expected he’ll receive a seven-year deal north of $11 million annually. If the Isles fail to land Panarin, they could fall back on bringing back captain Anders Lee. The Isles could also be in need of a goaltender if they fail to land Sergei Bobrovsky as contract talks with Robin Lehner stalled. 

SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman cites The Athletic’s Aaron Portzline reports the Columbus Blue Jackets made a monstrous, last-minute pitch to Panarin. The offer was said to be eight years at between $96 – $100 million. Friedman is skeptical, however, that Panarin will accept it, knowing that money was there from the Jackets all along. 

Artemi Panarin poised to receive a lucrative long-term contract today. (Photo via NHL Images)

Friedman also cited Colorado Hockey Now’s Adrian Dater saying the Colorado Avalanche pitched a six-year, $70-million offer to Panarin. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The only reason Panarin might consider staying with the Jackets is they’re the only club that could offer him an eight-year deal. He apparently had until midnight ET to agree to it. Otherwise, they can only offer seven years if the agreement came today. We’ll find out soon enough what his decision was.


SPECTOR’S NOTE: Follow this link to check out last night’s list of notable leaked contract signings. 

FOX SPORTS MIDWEST’s Andy Strickland expects the Florida Panthers will sign Sergei Bobrovsky to a seven-year deal worth “around $10 million” annually. 

TSN’s Frank Seravalli reports the Vancouver Canucks and defenseman Tyler Myers are closing in on a six-year, $30-million contract. Sportsnet’s Rick Dhaliwal expects the Canucks will also sign blueliner Jordie Benn and another defenseman today. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That’s an annual average value of $6 million for Myers, well below the rumored range of $7-$8 million per season. 


After trading away Andrew Shaw and Nicolas Deslauriers yesterday, the Montreal Canadiens now have over $13 million in salary-cap space. Elliotte Friedman speculates on possible targets for the Habs. He believes they’re in on Anders Lee, and noted they also had interest in Wayne Simmonds and Jake Gardiner. He also wondered if they had an interest in Nashville Predators center Kyle Turris. It’s believed they’ll sign Keith Kinkaid as a backup for Carey Price.

Friedman also wondered if they’ll go the offer sheet route. He pointed out player agent Gerry Johansson, who represents Brendan Gallagher and Carey Price, also represents Carolina’s Sebastian Aho. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Habs fans won’t mind if they sign Lee. They probably won’t be upset if they ink Gardiner. Given Simmonds injury history, that might not go down so well. If they offer-sheet Aho, the Hurricanes will match it. 


TRIBLIVE.COM: Jonathan Bombulie reports the Pittsburgh Penguins could dip a toe into the UFA pool. “By the time they re-sign restricted free agents Marcus Pettersson, Zach Aston-Reese and Teddy Blueger, they probably will have a little more than $2 million to work with.” That could leave them pursuing more affordable options like Valtteri Filppula or Pierre-Edouard Bellemare. If they pursue someone like Micheal Ferland or Patrick Maroon, they’ll have to shed salary. 

THE ATHLETIC: Scott Powers reports the Chicago Blackhawks now have about $5-$6 million of salary-cap space after reacquiring Andrew Shaw yesterday. They could also consider a cost-effective depth move like signing Ryan Carpenter or Pierre-Edouard Bellemare.


THE ATHLETIC: Jeremy Rutherford cites a source claiming winger Patrick Maroon is unlikely to return with the St. Louis Blues. He took a hometown discount last season and could make more on multiple years on the open market. 

NEWS OBSERVER.COM: Despite the Carolina Hurricanes acquiring James Reimer yesterday, Chip Alexander reports they’re still trying to sign Petr Mrazek.