NHL Rumor Mill – August 16, 2018

NHL Rumor Mill – August 16, 2018

Possible options for the Oilers to replace Andrej Sekera plus the latest on the Leafs in your NHL rumor mill.

HOW WILL THE OILERS REPLACE SEKERA?

EDMONTON SUN: With Edmonton Oilers defenseman Andrej Sekera sidelined indefinitely with a potentially career-threatening torn Achilles tendon, Jim Matheson examined possible options to replace him.

A promising youngster such as Evan Bouchard or Ethan Bear could get an opportunity. Free-agent possibilities include former Oiler Brandon Davidson, along with Toby Enstrom, ” Luca Sbisa, Paul Martin, Jason Garrison, Alexei Emelin, Kevin Bieksa, Kyle Quincey, Cody Franson and Johnny Oduya.”

Matheson feels Sbisa is the best of that group but could be expensive to sign. The Oilers have around $4.9 million in cap space with restricted free agent Darnell Nurse still to be signed.

Could Boston’s Torey Krug be a possible replacement for sidelined Edmonton Oilers defenseman Andrej Sekera? (Photo via NHL Images)

Matheson took to Twitter to bet $100.00 the Oilers bring back Davidson on a professional tryout offer. 

EDMONTON JOURNAL: David Staples also weighed in on the Oilers’ option to replace the sidelined Sekera. In addition to suggesting many of the same players as Matheson, Staples wonders if they might pursue Carolina Hurricanes rearguard Justin Faulk.  He carries a $4.8-million annual average value and is a right-shot defenseman with great offensive skills.

With Sekera out, it frees up cap space to absorb Faulk’s contract. He also might not cost much, as the Hurricanes recently shipped winger Jeff Skinner to the Buffalo Sabres for a prospect forward and three draft picks.

NBC SPORTS BOSTON: Joe Haggerty wonders if Sekera’s injury might renew the Oilers’ interest in Bruins defenseman Torey Krug. While the Bruins don’t want to trade Krug, they still need a top-six sniper. He wonders if a strong enough package featuring Krug might be enough to pry away Ryan Nugent-Hopkins.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Oilers GM Peter Chiarelli will likely keep his ears open for reasonable trade proposals. I suspect he’ll try the PTO/free-agent route before considering a trade.

While the Hurricanes didn’t get much back for Skinner, his status next summer as an unrestricted free agent and his no-movement clause was the main factor behind the swiftness of that deal. They didn’t want questions over Skinner’s future hanging over the club this season. The Sabres were among the few destinations he was willing to accept.

Faulk, on the other hand, is signed through 2019-20 with a limited no-trade clause so they’re not under pressure to move him at this time. Given their blueline depth, they can afford to be patient and wait for a good offer for Faulk, be it from the Oilers or another club in need of a top-four defenseman. They’ll also have more trade options with him than they did with Skinner. 

As for Krug, there was speculation earlier in the offseason linking him to the Oilers and several other clubs. Since then, it’s gone quiet. Doesn’t mean he won’t be traded but the Bruins aren’t in any rush to make that move. They’ll likely evaluate their roster during training camp and the early part of the season before deciding if they need to swing a big deal for a scoring winger. That move might not come until the trade deadline and could be a rental player.

And no, Krug as the centerpiece of a trade pitch isn’t enough to land Nugent-Hopkins. The Oilers love the chemistry he has with superstar center Connor McDavid and they don’t want to tamper with it. 

RECENT LEAFS SPECULATION

TSN 1050: Earlier this week, The Athletic’s James Mirtle discussed possible moves by the Toronto Maple Leafs prior to the start of this season. He said he wouldn’t be surprised if management kicked the tires on some potential moves for a defenseman. He leans toward them landing a depth blueliner as a top-pairing guy would be expensive and there aren’t many available. He also felt they might bring in a fourth-line center.

Regarding a new contract for RFA forward William Nylander, Mirtle believes that could get done before training camp opens next month. He thinks bridge deal or term is what’s being discussed, suggesting a seven- or eight-year deal could be too expensive for the Leafs right now. He also feels Detroit Red Wings center Dylan Larkin’s five-year deal ($6.1 million per season) could have an effect upon the discussions.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The performance of the Leafs defense during training camp and preseason play will be a factor in determining whether the Leafs try to add a top-four guy or perhaps go the PTO/free-agent route for a more affordable addition. Carolina’s Justin Faulk was linked to the Leafs earlier in the offseason. As Mirtle noted, however, he could prove too expensive to land at this time.

As for Nylander, the Larkin contract is likely to have an effect upon his negotiations with the Leafs. Term might not be as much an issue as the annual average value. With hefty new deals on the horizon for Auston Matthews and Mitch Marner, Nylander’s new salary could effect the Leafs’ cap space (and how much they can afford to invest in Matthews and Marner) well beyond the coming season. 

 











NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – August 15, 2018

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – August 15, 2018

Predators re-sign Ryan Ellis, Oilers’ Andrej Sekera sidelined indefinitely plus the latest on Duncan Keith, Jake Allen, Zach Werenski and more in your NHL morning coffee headlines.

THE TENNESSEAN: The Nashville Predators yesterday announced they re-signed defenseman Ryan Ellis to an eight-year, $50-million contract extension. Ellis was slated to become an unrestricted free agent next summer.

Nashville Predators re-signed defenseman Ryan Ellis to an eight-year contract extension. (Photo via NHL Images)

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Ellis is in the final year of a five-year, $12.5-million deal with an annual average value of $2.5 million. His new cap hit is a hefty $6.25 million.  Ellis probably would’ve received over $7 million annually on the open market next summer but it appears he’s left some money on the table to get that extra year with the Predators.

A skilled two-way defenseman, Ellis is a key part of the Predators’ blueline corps, which also consists of P.K. Subban, Roman Josi and Mattias Ekholm. Predators general manager David Poile has invested considerable time, money and assets building up his defense and obviously wants to keep that top-four together as long as possible. They’ll be vital for the Predators’ ongoing pursuit of the Stanley Cup.

The Ellis deal also means captain Josi will also be in line for a substantial raise from the Preds as early as next summer, when he’ll also be a year away from UFA eligibility. 

EDMONTON JOURNAL: Oilers defenseman Andrej Sekera is sidelined indefinitely following surgery to repair a torn Achilles tendon suffered during a recent training session. Sekera played only 36 games last season following a serious knee injury during the 2017 playoffs. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Losing Sekera again for another lengthy period to start the season is a serious setback for their blueline. Prior to his knee injury he filled a top-pairing role but  struggled after returning to action last season. At his age (32), there’s concern this could end his career. It could provide an opportunity for a promising prospect such as Evan Bouchard to crack the roster. It could also send them into the trade or free-agent market for help. 

THE ATHLETIC: Chris Kuc believes it’s not time to write off Chicago Blackhawks defenseman Duncan Keith after one disappointing season. Though the 35-year-old’s offensive numbers were down, his Corsi-For (51.8 percent), shot attempts (347), hits (41) and blocked shots (165) numbers were better than the previous season’s. Former Blackhawks defenseman Sean O’Donnell believes Keith will do whatever it takes this summer to remain an elite player.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: A bounce-back performance by Keith could be among the key factors that helps the Blackhawks return to playoff contender status in 2018-19. 

THE HOCKEY NEWS: Despite a busy offseason for the St. Louis Blues, their success next season could rest upon the play of goaltender Jake Allen. Since taking over the starter’s role in 2016-17, the 28-year-old has struggled with consistency.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Another shaky effort by Allen could force GM Doug Armstrong into the trade market for help between the pipes before the Feb. 25, 2019 trade deadline. This could be a make-or-break campaign for the Fredericton NB native.

NHL.COM: Columbus Blue Jackets defenseman Zach Werenski has returned to skating following shoulder surgery on May 3. He’s hoping to be in the lineup for the Jackets’ season-opener on Oct. 4 in Detroit against the Red Wings but won’t rush the recovery timeframe of five-to-six months. 

NJ.COM: The New Jersey Devils re-signed defenseman Steven Santini to a three-year, $4.25-million contract. 

THE SCORE: Free-agent forward Mark Letestu has accepted a professional tryout offer with the Florida Panthers. 

 











NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 15, 2018

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 15, 2018

Game recaps, three players fined, injury updates and more in your NHL morning coffee headlines.

Toronto Maple Leafs goalie Frederik Andersen made 54 saves in a 6-3 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets (Photo via NHL Images).

  NHL.COM: Frederik Andersen made a career-high 54 saves while Nazem Kadri had a five-point performance (three goals, two assists) as the Toronto Maple Leafs downed the Columbus Blue Jackets 6-3. Nick Foligno had a goal and two assists for the Jackets (62 points), who remain one point out of a wild-card berth in the Eastern Conference. The Leafs, meanwhile, moved within four points of the Tampa Bay Lightning for first place in the conference. Toronto defenseman Jake Gardiner left the game with some sort of lower-body spasm.

Colorado Avalanche goaltender Semyon Varlamov turned in a 44-save shutout performance as his club blanked the Montreal Canadiens 2-0. Carl Soderberg and Alexander Kerfoot were the goal scorers.

Nick Bjugstad had a goal and an assist and James Reimer turned aside 34 shots as the Florida Panthers edged the Vancouver Canucks 4-3. Canucks center Bo Horvat factored in all of his club’s goals, scoring one and setting up the other two. Earlier in the day, the Panthers activated goaltender Roberto Luongo off injured reserve.

Speaking of the Canucks, they announced yesterday general manager Jim Benning was re-signed to a three-year contract extension.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That news didn’t sit well with some Canucks fans, as Benning’s rebuilding efforts have yet to yield positive results. What’s clear, however, is his bosses intend to remain patient, especially considering the promising talent he’s acquired in recent years. Benning struck gold by drafting rising star Brock Boeser in 2015, traded for forwards Sven Baertschi and Markus Granlund and has a prospect pool headlined by Elias Pettersson and Thatcher Demko. If those players blossom as expected over the next three years, the Canucks’ future will be bright. 

FANRAG SPORTS NETWORK: Winnipeg Jets defenseman Dustin Byfuglien was fined $5,000.00 by the NHL’s department of player safety for slashing Washington’s Jay Beagle. Capitals defenseman Madison Bowey was fined over $1,890.00 for interference on Jets forward Matt Hendricks. Vegas Golden Knights defenseman Deryk Engelland was fined over $2,688.00 for cross-checking Chicago’s Brandon Saad.

EDMONTON JOURNAL: Oilers defenseman Andrej Sekera (facial injury) was placed on injured reserve. He suffered the injury last week against the Anaheim Ducks after being struck in the face by a puck. 

CHICAGO TRIBUNE: Blackhawks goaltender Jeff Glass was placed on waivers yesterday. 

NBC SPORTS: Several New York Islanders fans have started a GoFundMe page to raise money to voice their displeasure about Isles general manager Garth Snow. Their intent is to install a “Snow Must Go” billboard within a half mile of Barclays Center. 

PUCK DADDY: Seattle’s NHL expansion bid has Quebec City hockey fans wondering if their city will ever get a franchise. 

LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL: Vegas Golden Knights scout Mark Workman died yesterday from liver cancer. He was 47. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: My condolences to Workman’s family and friends, as well as to the Golden Knights organization. 

 











NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 21, 2017

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 21, 2017

Game recaps plus updates on John Tavares, Dustin Brown, Justin Faulk and more in your NHL morning coffee headlines. 

NHL.COM:Claude Giroux collected three assists and Sean Couturier tallied the winning goal as the Philadelphia Flyers edged the Detroit Red Wings 4-3, giving the Flyers their seventh win in their last eight games. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: On the brink of falling completely out of the playoff race a month ago, the Flyers (37 points) now sit just two points out of a wild-card berth in the Eastern Conference. 

Seth Jones had a two-point game and backup Joonas Korpisalo made 39 saves as the Columbus Blue Jackets doubled up the Toronto Maple Leafs 4-2. Leafs blueliner Jake Gardiner also picked up two points. 

Dougie Hamilton’s third-period goal gave the Calgary Flames a 2-1 victory over the St. Louis Blues. 

SPORTSNET: During yesterday’s press conference announcing the New York Islanders winning bid to build an arena at Belmont Park, team captain John Tavares said a new arena wouldn’t be a deciding factor regarding his contract status. Tavares is eligible for unrestricted free agency in July. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It may not be the deciding factor but it certainly improves the Isles chances of re-signing Tavares. Not only does it provides the Isles with an better venue to play in, it will also generate more revenue that can be used to invest in attracting and retaining quality talent. 

ESPN.COM: Greg Wyshynski examines the reasons why the expansion Vegas Golden Knights enjoy the best home record in the Western Conference this season.

LOS ANGELES TIMES: On the eve of playing his 1,000th NHL game, Kings winger Dustin Brown is enjoying a renaissance season. With 12 goals and 26 points, he’s well within range of exceeding last season’s meager 14 goals and 36 points. Part of the credit belongs to the faith shown in Brown by new head coach John Stevens and new general manager Rob Blake. 

THE NEWS & OBSERVER: Carolina Hurricanes defenseman Justin Faulk is trying to find a way to break out of his scoring slump. After scoring a franchise-record 17 goals last season, Faulk’s found the back of the net just once so far in 2017-18. 

EDMONTON JOURNAL: Oilers defenseman Andrej Sekera is slated to return to the lineup tonight against the St. Louis Blues. He’s been sidelined since the summer due to knee surgery. 

NBC SPORTS WASHINGTON: The Capitals claimed forward Nathan Walker off waivers from the Edmonton Oilers, who had plucked him off the waiver wire at the end of November. 

 











NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – May 17, 2017

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – May 17, 2017

The Nashville Predators celebrated Roman Josi’s game-winning goal over the Anaheim Ducks in Game 3 of the 2017 Western Conference Final.

Predators take 2-1 lead in Western Conference Final, GM of the Year Finalist revealed & more in your NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: Third-period goals by Filip Forsberg and Roman Josi lifted the Nashville Predators to a 2-1 victory over the Anaheim Ducks in Game 3 of the 2017 Western Conference Final. The Preds hold a 2-1 lead in the best-of-seven series and remain undefeated on home ice in this year’s playoffs. The Predators had two goals waved off for goaltender interference. Corey Perry tallied the Ducks’ only goal. 

David Poile of the Nashville Predators, Pierre Dorion of the Ottawa Senators and Peter Chiarelli of the Edmonton Oilers are this year’s finalists for the NHL General Manager of the Year Award.

PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE: Sidelined Penguins Patric Hornqvist, Bryan Rust, Justin Schultz and Trevor Daley traveled with their teammates as their Eastern Conference Final with the Senators shifts to Ottawa for Games 3 and 4. The injuries to Hornqvist, Rust and Schultz aren’t considered serious while Daley continues to practice on his own. 

EDMONTON SUN: Oilers defenseman Andrej Sekera is expected to have surgery on Thursday to repair a torn ACL in his left knee and could be sidelined between six-to-nine months. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Sekera’s surgery could affect the Oilers’ offseason moves. They could look to within to address Sekera’s absence or perhaps dip into the trade or free-agent markets for a short-term replacement. 

STLTODAY.COM: The Blues overhauled their coaching staff yesterday as assistant coaches Rick Wilson, Steve Thomas, Ray Bennett and Ty Conklin were let go. 

THE PLAYERS TRIBUNE: Former NHL forward Marc Savard talks about his struggles with post-concussion symptoms. 

LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL: The Vegas Golden Knights named the Chicago Wolves as their AHL affiliate, sharing the club with the St. Louis Blues. 

TAMPA BAY TIMES: The Lightning could host the 2018 NHL All-Star Game. 

 











NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – May 8, 2017

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – May 8, 2017

The Nashville Predators are heading to the Western Conference Finals for the first time in franchise history.

Predators eliminate Blues, Oilers stay alive against Ducks & more in your NHL morning coffee headlines. 

NHL.COM: For the first time in franchise history, the Nashville Predators are going to the Western Conference Finals. The Predators defeated the St. Louis Blue 3-1 to win their second-round series in six games. Ryan Johansen netted the winning goal while defenseman Roman Josi scored the game-tying tally and assisted on Calle Jarnkrok’s insurance goal. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Predators’ fan base is among the most enthusiastic in the league and they rocked the Bridgestone Arena in this historic game for their franchise. The Preds and their fans now await the winner of the Anaheim Ducks-Edmonton Oilers series.

As for the Blues, they simply couldn’t generate enough offense (especially on the power play) in this series. One reason was Blues forward Alex Steen played with a broken foot suffered during the opening game of their first-round series against the Minnesota Wild. 

Leon Draisaitl scored his first career NHL hat trick and added two assists to lead the Edmonton Oilers to a 7-1 beatdown of the Anaheim Ducks in Game 6 of their second-round series. The seventh and deciding game will be played in Anaheim on Wednesday. Mark Letestu also scored two goals and collected two assists for the Oilers, who played without sidelined blueliners Oscar Klefbom and Andrej Sekera

SPECTOR’S NOTE: About the only thing the Ducks did right in this game was keeping Oilers captain Connor McDavid off the score sheet. Not that it matter, as the Oilers bolted from the gate and had a 5-0 lead by the end of the first period. Klefbom might return for Game 7 but Sekera is out for the remainder of this series. 

THE WASHINGTON POST/PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE: Capitals forward Evgeny Kuznetsov has emerged as his club’s brightest star in this year’s postseason. Meanwhile, a possible undisclosed injury could knock Penguins defenseman Trevor Daley out of the lineup for Game 6 tonight in Pittsburgh. Mark Streit or Chad Ruhwedel could be Daley’s replacement if he’s unable to play. The Penguins lead the series 3-2. 

OTTAWA SUN/NEW YORK DAILY NEWS: The Ottawa Senators need a better effort at Madison Square Garden tonight in Game 6 if they hope to eliminate the New York Rangers. The Senators lost their last two outings there by identical 4-1 scores. As for the Rangers, they’ll need a better effort from their veterans in Game 6 than the average one they had in their previous game if they’re to extend this series to a seventh and deciding game. 

PHILLY.COM: Flyers forward Pierre-Edouard Bellemare helped France to an upset win over Finland yesterday at the IIHF World Championships, then declined to accept the player of the game award. He instead handed it to his teammate, goaltender Florian Hardy.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: A truly selfless and classy move by Bellemare. 

NBC SPORTS: Speaking of the IIHF, president Rene Fasel is keeping the door open on NHL participation in the 2018 Winter Olympics.