NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 24, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 24, 2022

Patrice Bergeron reportedly returning with the Bruins, the Golden Knights close in on a new contract for Reilly Smith, the Senators win a bid to construct a new arena in downtown Ottawa, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

BOSTON HOCKEY NOW: Patrice Bergeron is returning for another season with the Bruins. Longtime Bruins beat reporter Joe McDonald of the Worcester Telegram and Gazette tweeted last night that the 36-year-old Bruins captain is set to sign a one-year, incentive-laden contract worth a potential total of $6.8 million.

Boston Bruins captain Patrice Bergeron (NHL Images).

Earlier this month, Bergeron won the Frank J. Selke Trophy as the NHL’s top defensive forward for a record-setting fifth time. He’s spent his entire 18-season NHL career with the Bruins.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Bergeron’s re-signing is good news for the Bruins, ensuring they’ll have their best center back for one more season. It also buys management time to find his potential replacement as well as add a second-line center.

We won’t know until Bergeron’s new contract is officially announced what the potential cap hit will be. The estimated $6.8 million would be roughly what he earned as the annual average value of his expiring contract. Whatever the amount, it could force management to make a cost-cutting trade or two. Cap Friendly shows them with just $2.83 million in cap space with 22 players under contract for 2022-23.

Teams are allowed to exceed the cap by 10 percent during the offseason but must be cap compliant when the regular season begins on Oct. 11. The Bruins can remain over the cap ceiling by placing sidelined stars such as Brad Marchand and Charlie McAvoy on long-term injury reserve but they must be under the cap when those players are ready to return to action.

DAILY FACEOFF: Frank Seravalli reports the Vegas Golden Knights are closing in on a three-year contract extension for Reilly Smith. Seravalli said it’s a verbal agreement for now and won’t be officially announced until the Golden Knights address their salary-cap issues.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: No word yet on the annual cap hit of Smith’s new contract. The Golden Knights are currently above the $82.5 million cap by over $2.6 million with 16 players signed for 2022-23.

OTTAWA SUN: The Senators’ hope of building a new arena in downtown Ottawa is closer to becoming a reality. The club and its partners have a memorandum of understanding with the National Capital Commission to construct an arena complex on LeBreton Flats. Construction on the project could begin in late 2024.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This is the culmination of several years of stalled negotiations and lawsuits for the Senators. A downtown arena will make it easier for fans to attend their games, providing a big boost to their hockey-related revenue.

There’s still more work to be done before this becomes a reality. Nevertheless, it’s a big, positive step in the right direction.

NHL.COM: The Tampa Bay Lightning hope to extend the 2022 Stanley Cup Final with a win over the Colorado Avalanche in Game 5 on Friday in Denver. The back-to-back defending champions hope to overcome a 3-1 series deficit and win the Cup.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The odds are against the Lightning. Teams that are down 3-1 in the best-of-seven Stanley Cup Final are 1-35. The 1942 Toronto Maple Leafs are the only team to accomplish that feat and they were down 3-0 in their series with the Detroit Red Wings.

THE DENVER POST: A solid bounce-back performance by goaltender Darcy Kuemper in Game 4 was a crucial factor in the Avalanche winning that contest.

THE DALLAS MORNING NEWS: The Stars are working toward a contract extension with general manager Jim Nill.

PHILLY HOCKEY NOW: The Flyers signed goaltender Felix Sandstrom to a two-year contract with an annual average value of $775K.

NHL.COM: The Columbus Blue Jackets have extended their affiliate agreement with the ECHL’s Kalamazoo Wings.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 21, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 21, 2022

The Lightning defeated the Avalanche in Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Final, the latest details on the Stars’ reported hiring of Pete DeBoer, the Canucks sign KHL star Andrei Kuzmenko, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: The Tampa Bay Lightning avenged their lopsided Game 2 loss to the Colorado Avalanche with a convincing 6-2 win in Game 3 of the 2022 Stanley Cup Final

Tampa Bay Lightning goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy (NHL Images).

A four-goal second period blew the game open for the Lightning, chasing Avalanche goaltender Darcy Kuemper after he gave up five goals on 22 shots. The Bolts also got a 37-save performance from Andrei Vasilevskiy.

Nick Paul scored what proved to be the game-winning goal in the second period after returning from a first-period injury. Steven Stamkos, Ondrej Palat and Pat Maroon each had a goal and an assist while Nikita Kucherov and Victor Hedman both collected two assists. Gabriel Landeskog scored both Avalanche goals.

Game 4 is on Wednesday in Tampa Bay with the Avalanche holding a 2-1 series lead.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: As we’ve come to expect, the Lightning once again rose to the occasion in a must-win contest. They didn’t panic when the Avalanche opened the scoring for the third straight game, pouncing on defensive miscues and playing a much more physical style to neutralize their opponent’s speed. Vasilevskiy was outstanding, shrugging off his poor performance in Game 2 and making several big saves to pick up the win.

This game got chippy as it went on. Several roughing penalties were handed out and there was a fight late in the third period between the Lightning’s Ross Colton and the Avalanche’s Logan O’Connor.

It was a potentially costly win for the Lightning as Kucherov left the game in the third period following a cross-check by Avalanche defenseman Devon Toews. No update was given on his condition following the game. They were already playing without Brayden Point, who sat out this contest after returning from a lower-body injury to play in the first two games.

The Avalanche were without forwards Nazem Kadri (thumb injury) and Andre Burakovsky (injured hand) for this game. Both are listed as day-to-day.

TSN: Pierre LeBrun reports the Dallas Stars and former Vegas Golden Knights head coach Peter DeBoer are working on a four-year contract expected to be worth over $4 million per season. The deal hasn’t been finalized and signed yet but it’s expected to be done soon.

THE PROVINCE: The Vancouver Canucks have signed KHL star Andrei Kuzmenko to a one-year contract. He’ll earn a base salary of $855K along with bonuses that could take him up to $1.95 million. The contract will be officially filed with the NHL on July 13.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kuzmenko is a 26-year-old left wing who tallied 53 points in 45 games this season with SKA St. Petersburg. He’s considered a smart, gifted playmaker. If he plays up to expectations he’ll provide offensive depth among the Canucks’ top-six scorers.

NBC SPORTS WASHINGTON: The Capitals signed forwards Brett Leason and Beck Malenstyn to two-year contracts. Leason’s is a one-way deal worth $750K in 2022-23 and $800K in 2023-24. Malenstyn’s is a two-way deal next season and a one-way deal worth $775K.

OTTAWA SUN: The Senators will play the Montreal Canadiens in two Kraft Hockeyville training-camp games in Gander, NL on Oct. 6 and Bouctouche, NB on Oct. 8.

FLORIDA HOCKEY NOW: The Panthers are reportedly interested in adding Finland’s national coach Jukka Jalonen to their coaching search.










Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – June 19, 2022

Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – June 19, 2022

What’s the latest on Alex DeBrincat and Patrick Kane? Are the Devils trying to re-sign or trade Jesper Bratt? What are the Senators’ plans heading into the draft next month? Find out in the latest edition of the Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup.

UPDATE ON DEBRINCAT AND KANE

THE ATHLETIC: Pierre LeBrun reported Friday the Chicago Blackhawks are listening to offers for Alex DeBrincat. There’s no guarantee they’ll trade the 24-year-old winger but if they do it’ll be for a “young player/high picks/top prospect type of return.”

Chicago Blackhawks winger Alex DeBrincat (NHL Images).

DeBrincat has a year remaining on his contract with an annual average value of $6.4 million. He becomes a restricted free agent next July with arbitration rights. LeBrun indicated part of what teams are trying to figure out is what his next contract might look like. He added the Los Angeles Kings are among several clubs to express an interest in DeBrincat.

NBC SPORTS CHICAGO: Charlie Roumeliotis wonders if Patrick Kane will want out of Chicago if the Blackhawks trade DeBrincat. The 33-year-old winger has hinted his potential future with the club could be tied to his linemate’s.

Kane is a year away from unrestricted free agent eligibility. He can sign a contract extension starting on July 13 but could be reluctant to do so without more clarity on what the roster and the potential rebuild timeline could look like.

Roumeliotis suggests it might be better for the Blackhawks to trade Kane if he’s hesitant about a long-term extension rather than let him depart via free agency next summer for nothing.

NEW YORK POST: Larry Brooks wonders about Kane’s worth to the Rangers as a rental player after they were eliminated from the Eastern Conference Finals by the Tampa Bay Lightning.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Blackhawks general manager Kyle Davidson has indicated his intent to rebuild the roster. He’s also said he’ll keep Kane and team captain Jonathan Toews informed about his plans.

Davidson showed a willingness to trade a young player for the right return when he shipped Brandon Hagel to the Lightning for two players and two draft picks. He could move DeBrincat for the type of return outlined by LeBrun. Time will tell if there’s a team willing to meet that expensive asking price.

Bear in mind that Davidson doesn’t have to move DeBrincat before next summer. The winger is two years away from UFA eligibility so Davidson can be patient in evaluating trade offers. He won’t just move DeBrincat for the sake of doing so.

Kane could decide it’s time to move on if DeBrincat is traded. He’s still an elite forward who can contribute to a playoff club. If Kane is looking ahead at next summer’s free-agent market, Davidson could attempt to move him this summer or at some point before next season’s trade deadline.

ARE THE DEVILS TRYING TO SIGN OR TRADE BRATT?

ESPN.COM’s Kevin Weekes tweeted yesterday that he’s been told there have been no significant contract extension talks between the New Jersey Devils and winger Jesper Bratt. He confirms there are several teams interested in trading for the 23-year-old restricted free agent.

NJ.COM’s Ryan Novozinsky reports Bratt’s agent called him a week ago and said the two sides have had multiple discussions regarding a contract extension. He followed up by reporting Devils officials confirmed the contract talks are ongoing, noting these things take time.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I don’t doubt that there are teams calling Devils general manager Tom Fitzgerald to express their interest in Bratt if contract negotiations fall through and he heads to arbitration. Nevertheless, it appears Devils management and Bratt’s camp are continuing to work toward a deal. Just because teams are calling doesn’t mean he’s going to be traded.

LATEST ON THE SENATORS

OTTAWA SUN: Bruce Garrioch recently reported Senators general manager Pierre Dorion confirmed he’s received calls regarding what it might take for the club to trade the seventh-overall pick in this year’s draft.

Dorion confirmed he’s spoken candidly to those interested parties that his club might move the pick in return for a player who can help them get to the next level. Garrioch speculates the Senators GM might not get his best offer until draft day. Dorion didn’t rule out retaining the pick.

Garrioch also reported Dorion has been public about his search for a top-end winger and a top-four defenseman. He speculated the Sens GM could target a cap-strapped club like the Tampa Bay Lightning, Vegas Golden Knights, Montreal Canadiens, Boston Bruins, Florida Panthers, Chicago Blackhawks, San Jose Sharks, Edmonton Oilers and Minnesota Wild.

The Senators have been linked to Wild winger Kevin Fiala as he could be a good fit alongside Tim Stuetzle. Garrioch suggested Claude Giroux could be a good fit if the Panthers fail to re-sign the pending UFA forward.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: You can read my take on this story in my column for The Hockey News.

SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman reports Senators winger Connor Brown might test next summer’s UFA market. They’ll have to decide if they’ll let him play out the season or make a move.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Trading Brown would free up $3.6 million for the Senators. That cap space could be put to good use by acquiring a right winger via trade or free agency.










NHL Rumor Mill – June 16, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – June 16, 2022

Is it worthwhile for the Blackhawks to trade Alex DeBrincat? Are there any potential trade partners for the Sharks’ Brent Burns? Check out the latest in today’s NHL rumor mill.

THE PROS AND CONS OF TRADING DEBRINCAT

THE ATHLETIC: Scott Powers explains why the Chicago Blackhawks are likely to trade Alex DeBrincat this summer.

Chicago Blackhawks winger Alex DeBrincat (NHL Images).

One reason is it would be pointless carrying the 24-year-old winger on an expensive long-term contract when their rebuild process could take four or five years to complete. DeBrincat is a restricted free agent with arbitration rights next summer who will cost $9 million just to qualify his rights. Powers believes Blackhawks management would prefer to have cap and roster flexibility at this point.

Powers also suggested that there’s no certainty DeBrincat will sign a long-term extension if the Blackhawks are rebuilding. Moving him now while he still has a year left on his contract could help them fetch the best return.

Mark Lazerus, on the other hand, believes it would be short-sighted madness by the Blackhawks to trade DeBrincat. While acknowledging Powers’ points, he believes it’s worthwhile to retain a player to build around who wants to be in Chicago. Lacking a star like DeBrincat during the rebuilding phase could also hurt the Blackhawks at the gate.

CHICAGO SUN-TIMES: Ben Pope reports the New Jersey Devils have been linked to DeBrincat. They hold the second-overall selection in this year’s draft. So have the Philadelphia Flyers (fifth-overall pick), Ottawa Senators (seventh overall), New York Islanders (13th overall) and Los Angeles Kings (19th overall).

Trading away DeBrincat could also lead to long-time Blackhawks stars Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews to depart either by requesting a trade or via next summer’s free-agent market. Both have one season remaining on their contracts.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Blackhawks general manager Kyle Davidson has already indicated the club is undergoing a rebuild. However, that process could take place with DeBrincat as a foundation player.

I don’t think Davidson is actively shopping DeBrincat but could listen to offers. It’ll take a significant one to convince him to part with the two-time 40-goal scorer. If he moves DeBrincat, it’ll likely be in the days or hours leading up to the opening round of this year’s draft on July 7.

POTENTIAL TRADE DESTINATIONS FOR BRENT BURNS

NBC SPORTS BAY AREA: Sheng Peng recently examined potential trade destinations for Brent Burns if the 37-year-old defenseman and the San Jose Sharks decided to part ways. Peng observed Burns didn’t exactly quash the notion of chasing a Stanley Cup elsewhere during his end-of-season interview last month.

Peng listed the Dallas Stars, Nashville Predators, and New York Islanders as three possible destinations, speaking with reporters and bloggers who cover those clubs if Burns would be a suitable fit.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Despite his age and the three years remaining on his contract, Burns would still be a terrific fit for a team with Stanley Cup aspirations seeking a big puck-moving defenseman.

However, his $8 million annual cap hit and three-team trade list are significant sticking points. Unless the Sharks retain salary or take back a contract of roughly the same value, I don’t see Burns changing teams this summer.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 16, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 16, 2022

The Avalanche take Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final, highlights of Commissioner Gary Bettman’s annual state of the league press conference, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: Andre Burakovsky’s overtime goal gave the Colorado Avalanche a 4-3 victory over the Tampa Bay Lightning in Game 1 of the 2022 Stanley Cup Final.

Colorado Avalanche forward Andre Burakovsky (NHL Images).

Gabriel Landeskog and Valeri Nichushkin each had a goal and an assist while Mikko Rantanen collected two assists for the Avalanche, who took a 3-1 lead into the second period. Nick Paul, Ondrej Palat and Mikhail Sergachev replied for the Lightning, who rallied to tie the game and force overtime.

Game 2 will be on Saturday, June 19, at 8 pm ET in Denver.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: We’re in store for a very entertaining, fast-paced series if Game 1 is any indication. The Avalanche dominated the play in the first period and much of the third, while the Lightning once again showed their poise and experience by overcoming that early deficit in the second period. Penalty killing was crucial for the Avs as they successfully killed off three shorthanded situations.

The Lightning’s Brayden Point made his long-expected return to the lineup from a lower-body injury suffered in the first round. Avalanche center Nazem Kadri remains sidelined with a thumb injury with no timetable for his return.

NHL.COM: Commissioner Gary Bettman announced the league generated record revenues projected to exceed $5.2 billion as it continues to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic. He anticipates more significant increases to the salary cap within the next two-three years.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: As per the NHL-NHLPA Memorandum of Understanding from 2020, the salary cap will increase by $1 million annually until the players have paid back their overage of hockey-related revenue still owed to the owners for 2019-20 and 2020-21.

THE ATHLETIC: Bettman indicated the 2022-23 season will return to a normal calendar schedule beginning on Oct. 11.

Deputy commissioner Bill Daly said the league doesn’t believe at this point that there need to be changes made to the long-term injury reserve system. It had been discussed during the general managers’ meeting in March with an idea of a playoff salary cap.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That came about over complaints of teams garnering a salary-cap advantage by placing a player on long-term injury reserve, using the cap relief to add players for the postseason, only to see the LTIR player return to action in the playoffs.

The insinuation was that some teams may be attempting to circumvent the cap by leaving players on LTIR when they may be healthy enough to return to action. However, the league hasn’t found any instance where this was the case.

Daly also said the league has begun its investigation of a sexual assault lawsuit filed against Hockey Canada and the Canadian Hockey League (CHL). The suit alleges eight players, including some members of Canada’s 2018 World Junior team, sexually assaulted a young woman in 2018.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Some of the players on that team are now in the NHL. It has yet to be determined whether any of them were among those who assaulted the woman.

NHL.COM: Daly said the league is “very optimistic” that it will be able to stage a World Cup of Hockey tournament in February 2024. Discussions between the NHL, NHL Players’ Association and the International Ice Hockey Federation are ongoing.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I like the idea of a World Cup of Hockey in February rather than September as in previous years. After all, if the league was prepared to shuttered the season for two weeks to accommodate Olympic participation, they can do it for a World Cup.

Unlike the Olympics, the league and the players would reap the financial benefits from a World Cup. The players would be in midseason game shape, making for a better tournament and drawing more potential fans to the game.

DAILY FACEOFF: Daly indicated the players on the Colorado Avalanche and Tampa Bay Lightning have been informed that the winner of this year’s Stanley Cup Final will not be allowed to take the Cup to Russia or Belarus in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Three Lightning players – Nikita Kucherov, Mikhail Sergachev and Andrei Vasilevskiy – are from Russia while Valeri Nichushkin is the only Russian-born Avalanche player. There are no Belarussians on either club.

SAN JOSE HOCKEY NOW: Daly also said the arbitration on Evander Kane’s contract termination grievance with the San Jose Sharks may not be resolved until July 13, which is the start of the NHL’s free agent period. The arbitrator assigned to the case isn’t available to conduct the hearing until next month.

Kane is slated to become an unrestricted free agent on July 13. If his case remains unresolved by then, it’s not expected to prevent him from signing another contract.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That will have significant implications for the Sharks. They will have $7 million in salary-cap limbo until such time as Kane’s case is resolved.

It could also affect Kane’s efforts to sign with another club. Interested parties could prefer to await the outcome of his hearing before making offers to him.

THE HOCKEY NEWS: There won’t be any changes in how NHL teams report injuries. It was assumed the league’s partnership with gambling outlets would lead to more specific information being released on player injuries other than “upper-body” or “lower-body.”

OTTAWA SUN: It’s expected the NHL Board of Governors will be informed today that it is business as usual for the Senators since the passing of team owner Eugene Melnyk in March. The club continues to be run by a board of directors and a professional management group while Melnyk’s daughters do their due diligence on the franchise.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: In other words, the club isn’t being sold and it won’t be relocated to another city.

Speaking of the Senators, they signed center Dylan Gambrell to a one-year, $950K contract extension.

TSN: The agent for Johnny Gaudreau denied a report claiming his client had reached an agreement on a long-term extension with the Calgary Flames. “There is no truth to it,” said Lewis Gross.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s believed negotiations are ongoing between the Flames and the Gaudreau camp. Both sides agreed at the start of this season that they would keep those discussions out of the media.

THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH: The Blue Jackets signed goaltender Daniil Tarasov to a three-year contract extension worth a total of $3.15 million.










NHL Rumor Mill – June 3, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – June 3, 2022

The Hurricanes hope to retain some key free agents, the possibility of some RFAs not receiving qualifying offers, plus updates on Jack Campbell and David Perron in today’s NHL rumor mill.

HURRICANES HOPE TO RETAIN TROCHECK, NIEDERREITER & DEANGELO

NHL.COM: Kurt Dusterberg reports Carolina Hurricanes general manager Don Waddell hopes to re-sign pending unrestricted free agent forwards Vincent Trocheck and Nino Niederreiter. Meanwhile, head coach Rod Brind’Amour hopes restricted free agent defenseman Tony DeAngelo also returns.

Hurricanes captain Jordan Staal indicated he’s not thinking about a contract extension this summer, preferring to play out the final season of his contract before determining his future. Waddell indicated they want Staal to play as long as he feels like doing so.

THE NEWS & OBSERVER: Chip Alexander reports DeAngelo would love to stay with the Hurricanes. He said he believes everyone in the organization knows that and believes they want him back, expressing appreciation for the trust they put in him following his troubled final season with the New York Rangers.

Carolina Hurricanes defenseman Tony DeAngelo (NHL Images).

DeAngelo, 26, has arbitration rights and is a year away from becoming eligible for unrestricted free agent status. Waddell indicated there’s interest in signing him to a multi-year contract.

Alexander’s colleague Luck DeCock believes the Hurricanes need an upgrade in pure scoring skill. He suggested parting ways with forward Martin Necas, who regressed during this season and bringing in a scoring winger to replace him via trade or free agency.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Waddell called signing Trocheck a priority. That increases the likelihood he won’t become available in this summer’s UFA market. It will depend on whether the two sides can reach an agreement before free agency begins on July 13.

Trocheck tends to be a streaky scorer but he would draw plenty of interest if he tests the market. Vancouver Hockey Now’s Rob Simpson daydreamed about Vancouver signing him but there’s no indication that’s the direction Canucks management intends to take.

DeAngelo made the most of his opportunity with the Hurricanes. While both sides are pleased with how this season turned out, arriving at a suitable deal could be a challenge.

Cap Friendly indicates the Hurricanes have $19.4 million in cap space with 14 players under contract next season. Parting ways with Necas won’t free up additional cap space as he’s a restricted free agent coming off his entry-level contract.

Trocheck earned an annual average value of $4.725 million while Niederreiter’s was $5.25 million. It could cost a combined $12 million to retain them. DeAngelo, meanwhile, could seek a return to the $4.8 million annually he was earning with the Rangers before agreeing to a one-year, $1 million contract with the Hurricanes for this season. Re-signing that trio won’t leave much room to add a scoring forward.

TIDBITS FROM FRIEDMAN’S LATEST “32 THOUGHTS”

SPORTSNET: In his latest “32 Thoughts” column, Elliotte Friedman suggested limited salary-cap space among NHL teams could lead to some of them not bothering to qualify the rights of some arbitration-eligible RFAs.

Some worth watching include Carolina’s Ethan Bear, Dallas’ Denis Gurianov, Pittsburgh’s Kasperi Kapanen, Chicago’s Dylan Strome and New Jersey’s Miles Wood and Pavel Zacha. He also noted there was speculation that Ondrej Kase could depart Toronto but believes talks are underway between the winger and the Maple Leafs.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Those players could bolster the depth of talent in this summer’s unrestricted free agent market. There’s no certainty, of course, that most or all of them will hit the open market. Still, it could be worthwhile as Friedman suggested to keep an eye on their respective contract negotiations.

Speaking of RFAs, Friedman believes the Leafs will qualify defenseman Rasmus Sandin’s rights. However, they have a logjam on the left side of their blueline. He pointed out that their cap situation doesn’t afford Sandin contract room.

Meanwhile, there haven’t been any contract talks between the Leafs and goaltender Jack Campbell for months and anything previously discussed is no longer relevant. His agent said there’s been no material contract conversation since the end of the season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I expect the Leafs will get something done with Campbell because there aren’t many suitable replacement options in this summer’s trade and UFA markets. The best free-agent options are Colorado’s Darcy Kuemper and Minnesota’s Marc-Andre Fleury and there’s no certainty either guy can be wooed to Toronto.

As for Sandin, he’ll obviously be more affordable to sign than Campbell. Given the priority given to the latter, however, they could end up shopping Sandin if they can’t free up sufficient cap dollars to re-sign him. However, I think Leafs management will try to free up cap room by trying to move out veterans like Petr Mrazek and Wayne Simmonds, though peddling either guy won’t be easy.

Friedman believes the New Jersey Devils and Ottawa Senators will be worth watching as they have their first-round picks in play for talent with a lot of team control.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: In other words, a player with more than a year remaining on their contract.

He also doesn’t expect St. Louis Blues winger David Perron will hit the open market on July 13.