NHL Rumor Mill – June 8, 2023

NHL Rumor Mill – June 8, 2023

Jets center Pierre-Luc Dubois seeks a summer trade, Alex DeBrincat submits a list of trade destinations to the Senators, and the latest on Carter Hart in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.


TSN: Pierre LeBrun reports that Pat Brisson, the agent for Pierre-Luc Dubois, has informed the Winnipeg Jets that his client doesn’t intend to sign a contract extension this summer. Brisson would like to work with the Jets to arrange a trade to another team for the 24-year-old center.

The Dubois camp last summer informed Jets management that he didn’t intend to sign a long-term contract with them. He was a restricted free agent last summer and accepted the club’s one-year, $6 million qualifying offer. He’s an RFA this summer but is also a year away from unrestricted free-agent eligibility.

LeBrun said the Jets can decide to keep him for next season, take him to arbitration or attempt to move him before next year’s trade deadline.

Winnipeg Jets center Pierre-Luc Dubois (NHL Images).

Darren Dreger said the Jets prefer not to have to trade their top players and they’re not committed to doing that or extending them. However, he believes there’s potential for them to get a solid return in the trade market for someone like Dubois that would help stabilize the club.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Jets general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff seems to have little room to maneuver with Dubois. It doesn’t do any good to have a player on the roster for one more year that you know is going to walk next summer. Dubois’ situation would overshadow the season and become an unnecessary distraction.

The same goes for goaltender Connor Hellebuyck and center Mark Scheifele. Like Dubois, both are due to become UFAs next July. If they’re also unwilling to re-sign, it’s time to bite the bullet and see what you can get for them before the free-agent market opens on July 1. That’s when teams have more cap space and a willingness to spend on quality talent.

If there aren’t any reasonable offers this summer, Cheveldayoff would be justified to retain them and try his luck at the trade deadline. Dubois’ RFA status could complicate things unless the Jets take him to arbitration.

THE ATHLETIC: LeBrun expounded on his Dubois report, saying the Montreal Canadiens remain an interested party. However, he doesn’t see the Habs paying a fortune in a trade for a player they could bid on in next summer’s free-agent market. LeBrun claims there are a few teams looking into Dubois.

SPORTSNET: Ken Wiebe suggests the Jets allow Brisson to broker a deal with clubs that Dubois would be willing to sign with as it could enhance the return. He thinks a bidding war could take place if the center is open to joining a team like the Los Angeles Kings or Boston Bruins or New York Rangers. However, the Jets won’t have much leverage if it’s Montreal or bust for Dubois.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Colorado Avalanche and Carolina Hurricanes have also come up as possible destinations for Dubois. It’ll be interesting to see how this situation unfolds but it’s clear that we’re going to hear a lot more about Dubois in the rumor mill in the coming weeks.


TSN: Pierre LeBrun reports that Jeff Jackson, the agent for Alex DeBrincat, has submitted a list of preferred trade destinations to the Ottawa Senators. He also believes Senators GM Pierre Dorion would want the 25-year-old winger signed through this trade to get maximum value in return.

THE ATHLETIC: LeBrun said he doesn’t know which teams are on DeBrincat’s list. However, he speculates the likes of Nashville, Vegas and Dallas could be included. He also wondered if the Michigan native would be interested in playing for Detroit.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: LeBrun drew a comparison to Matthew Tkachuk’s situation last summer with the Calgary Flames. Tkachuk provided a list of preferred destinations to the Flames which helped shape the deal sending him to the Florida Panthers for Jonathan Huberdeau and MacKenzie Weegar.

DeBrincat is a restricted free agent on July 1 who lacks no-trade protection. LeBrun points out that Dorion could send him anywhere. However, he believes it’s better for the Senators to send him to one of the teams on the winger’s list. Those clubs could be interested in signing him, thus ensuring the Senators get a better return.

OTTAWA SUN: Bruce Garrioch believes the Red Wings, Hurricanes, Washington Capitals, Seattle Kraken, Nashville Predators, and St. Louis Blues could be destinations for DeBrincat. Those clubs are all in the market for scoring this summer.

Garrioch noted the Senators were linked to the Philadelphia Flyers because they’re listening to offers for goaltender Carter Hart, prompting some observers to suggest the Senators swap DeBrincat for Hart. However, DeBrincat might not be willing to commit to a long-term contract with a rebuilding club.

Ken Warren, meanwhile, suggests the Senators might be better off using the money they might’ve invested in re-signing DeBrincat to address their roster needs. They require an upgrade in goal as well as a proven two-way, third-line winger.

SPORTSNET: Wayne Scanlan suggests the Senators could get a good asset plus a draft pick. They lack a pick in the first three rounds of this year’s draft.

As for assets, Scanlan suggested there are lots of options from Winnipeg’s Connor Hellebuyck to New Jersey’s Jesper Bratt, who’s also a restricted free agent this summer and a year away from UFA status. He also suggested perhaps getting creative and swinging a three-team deal for someone like Philadelphia’s Travis Konecny or Carter Hart.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Based on LeBrun’s report, I don’t think Winnipeg’s an option here. New Jersey could be depending on how contract talks go with Bratt, but he might not be willing to sign long-term with the Senators. It would be better to pursue someone with some tenure remaining on their contracts. As for Konecny or Hart, see Garrioch’s comment about DeBrincat’s potential reluctance to sign with a rebuilding club.


SAN JOSE HOCKEY NOW: Sheng Peng yesterday cited Sportsnet’s Jeff Marek speculating that the Sharks could be interested in Carter Hart. However, the Flyers could seek a bigger return for the 24-year-old goaltender than what they got in the Ivan Provorov trade earlier this week.

Peng cited a source saying the Flyers could seek two first-round picks as part of the return. That’s something the rebuilding Sharks can afford.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: You can’t blame Flyers GM Daniel Briere if he’s setting a high asking price for Hart. He’s not under any pressure to move the young netminder, who’s signed through next season and will be a restricted free agent next July. He can afford to shoot for the moon here and see if someone is willing to take him up on it.

DAILY FACEOFF: Frank Seravalli and Colby Cohen discussed the Los Angeles Kings’ goaltending situation. Seravalli thinks Winnipeg’s Connor Hellebuyck would make a lot of sense for the Kings while Cohen mentioned that Hart was also linked to the Kings.

TORONTO SUN: Terry Koshan doesn’t expect the Maple Leafs to get into the bidding for Hart if the Flyers are willing to move him. He thinks they have a bright future in goal with Ilya Samsonov and Joseph Woll.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Samsonov and Woll impressed me with their play for the Leafs this season. Given the club’s limited cap space, I can see them sticking with that tandem for 2023-24.

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 2, 2023

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 2, 2023

The Penguins hire Kyle Dubas as team president, Leafs introduce Brad Treliving as their new GM, Patrick Kane undergoes hip procedure plus the latest on the Stanley Cup Finalists and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.

PITTSBURGH HOCKEY NOW: The Penguins yesterday announced the hiring of former Toronto Maple Leafs general manager Kyle Dubas as their new president of hockey operations.

Pittsburgh Penguins president of hockey operations Kyle Dubas (NHL Images).

There is no word yet on who will become the Penguins’ new general manager. Three current assistant general managers (Tampa Bay’s Mathiew Darche, Dallas’ Steve Greeley and Seattle’s Jason Botterill) are believed in the running.

There’s speculation Jason Spezza could be a candidate. Spezza worked last season with Dubas as a special assistant. He quit that role after Dubas was fired by the Leafs.

During his introductory press conference yesterday, Dubas indicated he’ll be handling the role of Penguins general manager until July while he searches for someone to fill that role permanently.

Dubas indicated he’ll try to meet with goaltender Tristan Jarry, who is slated to become an unrestricted free agent on July 1. He said that winning the Metropolitan Division is a top priority and has no plans to replace head coach Mike Sullivan, who’s signed through 2026-27.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Those aren’t the only issues facing Dubas with the Penguins.

He and whoever he hires as GM must build up the roster depth around aging stars Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and Kris Letang. They must also rebuild their depleted prospect pool.

Dubas must also decide whether he’ll keep his club’s 2023 first-round pick (14th overall) and use to to select a promising young player or attempt to trade it for more immediate roster help. While the Penguins have over $20 million in cap space this summer, he should still attempt to create more cap flexibility by finding a way to shed the contracts of Jeff Carter and Mikael Granlund.

THE SCORE: The Toronto Maple Leafs formally introduced Brad Treliving as their new general manager to the Toronto media yesterday.

Among Treliving’s priorities is signing Leafs superstar Auston Matthews to a contract extension. He also intends to meet with Sheldon Keefe to discuss his future as Leafs head coach. Like Matthews, Keefe has a year remaining on this contract.

Treliving also addressed the notion of trading one of the Leafs “core four” forwards of Matthews, Mitch Marner, William Nylander and captain John Tavares. He didn’t rule out a trade but also sounded like he’d be fine with heading into next season with those four in the lineup.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: In other words, Treliving’s going to evaluate everything before making any big decisions. That’s understandable as he’s just taking over and needs time to consider all his options and what might work best for the Maple Leafs.

Whatever Treliving wants to do will require the blessing of team president Brendan Shanahan, who reportedly would prefer to give the core four and Keefe another opportunity to make a run for the Stanley Cup. It’ll be interesting to see how things unfold in the coming weeks.

SPORTSNET: Free agent winger Patrick Kane underwent hip resurfacing surgery on Thursday. His recovery is four-to-six months which could see him miss training camp in September but could see his return to action early in the 2023-24 season.

Kane’s agent, Pat Brisson, said his client is expected to make a full recovery. It’s not immediately clear how that surgery will affect the 34-year-old winger’s value in the free-agent market when it opens on July 1.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Interested clubs could take a wait-and-see approach. Some might attempt to leverage his surgery to sign Kane to an affordable one-year “show me” contract with the promise of a more lucrative extension if he plays well following his return to action.

LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL: Turning to the Stanley Cup Finalists, Vegas Golden Knights captain Mark Stone is held in high regard by GM Kelly McCrimmon, head coach Bruce Cassidy and his teammates. McCrimmon calls him “the straw that stirs the drink.”

DAILY FACEOFF: Golden Knights goaltender Adin Hill’s performance in the 2023 playoffs will earn him a significant pay raise over his current contract. He could get a three or four-year deal worth between $4 million and $5 million annually.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Hill is completing a two-year contract with an average annual value of $2.175 million. He’s due to become a UFA on July 1.

FLORIDA HOCKEY NOW: Meanwhile, Panthers head coach Paul Maurice has maintained a simple motto for his players: “Work your ass off and have fun.” He’s also let his guard down from time to time and allowed his players to see him having fun as well.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Panthers have been a “loosey-goosey” bunch throughout this postseason because they’ve been the underdog against more heavily-favored opponents. When you’re not under as much pressure to succeed as your opponent, it can work in your favor. We’ll find out soon enough if that will help carry the Panthers over the Golden Knights in the upcoming Stanley Cup Final.

THE SCORE: Good news for Vancouver Canucks fans as Elias Pettersson’s agent believes contract extension talks will start this summer. Pettersson is a year away from becoming a restricted free agent with arbitration rights. His current average annual value is $7.35 million.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Pettersson will be due a substantial pay raise on a long-term contract. The 24-year-old center is coming off a career-best 102-point season, becoming the first Canuck to reach the 100-point plateau since Daniel Sedin in 2010-11.

TVA SPORTS: Montreal Canadiens winger Juraj Slafkovsky, 19, graduated from high school on Wednesday.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The past year-and-a-half has been a whirlwind of achievements for young Slafkovsky. He was named the MVP of the 2022 Men’s Olympic Hockey tournament helping Slovakia win the bronze medal, became the first-overall pick in the 2022 NHL Draft, and made his NHL debut with the Montreal Canadiens in 2022-23 before a knee injury cut short his season.

SPORTSNET: The NHL and NHL Players Association reached an agreement on a one-summer trial arrangement amending the collective bargaining agreement to allow for limited on-ice training from coaching staff in the offseason. The current rule stipulates that clubs are not allowed to have coaches or hockey operations staff participate in on-ice offseason training sessions.

This comes after the Vancouver Canucks were fined $50,000.00 in May for violating the CBA as they hosted on-ice training sessions with Daniel and Henrik Sedin, who also hold player development roles within the organization. This penalty will not be rescinded by this trial agreement.

THE MERCURY NEWS: Long-time San Jose Sharks radio play-by-play man Dan Rusanowsky is the latest recipient of the Foster Hewitt Memorial Award for outstanding contributions as a hockey broadcaster. Sports journalist Mark Mulvoy was also honored with the Elmer Ferguson Memorial Award for excellence in hockey journalism.

NHL Rumor Mill – May 27, 2023

NHL Rumor Mill – May 27, 2023

Are the Rangers waiting for Sheldon Keefe or Mike Sullivan to become available as coaching candidates? Could the Golden Knights buy out Robin Lehner? Will the Sharks attempt to trade Kevin Labanc? Check out the latest in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.


NEW YORK POST: Larry Brooks wondered why the Rangers’ search for a new head coach is on hold.

Toronto Maple Leafs head coach Sheldon Keefe (NHL.com).

One possibility is Rangers general manager Chris Drury is waiting to see what happens to Toronto Maple Leafs coach Sheldon Keefe once that club hires a new GM. Another could be what happens with Pittsburgh Penguins’ bench boss Mike Sullivan if former Leafs GM Kyle Dubas becomes their new general manager.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: If Drury is waiting on Keefe he might not be the only general manager doing so. Other clubs, such as the Calgary Flames, Columbus Blue Jackets and Washington Capitals, are also in the market for a new head coach.

By his own admission, Brooks isn’t letting Sullivan’s possible availability go despite him telling his colleague Mollie Walker that he’s not going anywhere. His initial theory was Dubas would bring Keefe with him if the Penguins hired him but that’s not a certainty. For now, we just wait and see.

Brooks shot down the possibility that they’re waiting for Joel Quenneville to be reinstated by NHL commissioner Gary Bettman. He claimed there’s “no expectation within the industry” that Quenneville (under indefinite suspension since 2021 for his role in the Kyle Beach sexual assault saga) would be reinstated in a timely manner that would make him a candidate for any open head-coaching job “in this current search cycle”.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: In other words, not during this offseason.


VEGAS HOCKEY NOW: Dan Kingerski points out that Adin Hill is making a strong case to stick with the Golden Knights with his strong performance during their current playoff run. He wondered if they might consider buying out Robin Lehner’s contract and use part of the savings to sign Hill to a long-term deal.

The 27-year-old Hill is slated to become an unrestricted free agent. He’s completing a two-year deal with an average annual value of $2.175 million.

Lehner, 31, has missed the entire 2022-23 season recovering from potentially career-threatening hip surgeries. He has two seasons remaining on his contract with an average annual value of $5 million.

Kingerski suggests buying out Lehner would make sense if the Golden Knights can’t keep him on long-term injury reserve for 2023-24. His cap hit would then be reduced to $750K for 2023-24, rising to $2.25 million for 2024-25 and then falling to $1.75 million for the remaining two years of the buyout.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Lehner must be medically cleared to play in order for Vegas to buy out his contract. So far, there’s no indication yet that he will receive that clearance during the buyout period in late June.


THE HOCKEY NEWS: Max Miller noted that trade rumors are starting to swirl about Kevin Labanc. The San Jose Sharks winger is a year away from unrestricted free-agent eligibility. With the club carrying so many high-salaried players with no-trade/no-movement clauses (Erik Karlsson, Logan Couture, Tomas Hertl), the 27-year-old Labanc could become a prime cost-cutting trade candidate.

Given Labanc’s offensive struggles since his career-best 56-point performance in 2018-19, Miller doesn’t expect the Sharks would get much in return for him. Maybe a team seeking some offensive depth such as the New York Islanders might take a chance on him.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Speculation over whether the Sharks will trade Karlsson has dominated the Sharks rumor mill. Nevertheless, we can’t rule out the possibility that GM Mike Grier can find a taker for Labanc. Given his salary and with just a year left on Labanc’s contract, Grier might be more receptive to retaining part of his cap hit to facilitate a trade than he would for Karlsson.

NHL Rumor Mill – May 22, 2023

NHL Rumor Mill – May 22, 2023

In today’s NHL Rumor Mill, we look at the latest on Erik Karlsson, a look at the Avalanche’s potential trade assets, and the Devils might swing a trade for a first-rounder in this year’s draft.


DAILY FACEOFF: Tyler Yaremchuk and Mike McKenna discussed whether the San Jose Sharks will trade Erik Karlsson this summer.

San Jose Sharks defenseman Erik Karlsson (NHL Images).

Yaremchuk thinks Sharks management might be kicking themselves for not taking whatever the Edmonton Oilers were offering for Karlsson before the March 3 trade deadline. They’ve since acquired Mattias Ekholm to skate alongside Evan Bouchard and are likely out of the market.

McKenna believes the Sharks must retain part of Karlsson’s $11.5 million average annual value through 2025-26 if they hope to get three first-round picks for him. If they’re to move him, he believes it has to happen this summer. He wonders if Karlsson is willing to waive his no-movement clause for a team in the top half of the league or only those among the top 10.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Karlsson’s value will never be higher than it is right now. He’s the favorite to win the Norris Trophy as this season’s top defenseman coming off a career-best 101-point performance.

There will be some teams interested in acquiring him but they won’t want to take on his full cap hit for the next four years. It’s believed the Sharks were willing to retain less than 20 percent of Karlsson’s cap hit before the trade deadline. They’ll likely have to retain between 30-50 percent to swing a deal this summer.

It’s unlikely the Oilers will be among them after acquiring Ehkholm and given their cap constraints.


COLORADO HOCKEY NOW: Evan Rawal examined the Avalanche’s potential trade chips to put toward acquiring a second-line center this summer.

Defenseman Samuel Girard keeps coming up among the pundits with Daily Faceoff listing him at No. 3 on their recent list of off-season trade targets. However, trading Girard could be a risky option until the Avs know what’s happening with Devon Toews, who’s a year away from unrestricted free-agent status.

Rawal thinks the odds of the Avs trading Toews are low. Even if they don’t agree to a contract extension, he thinks the club considers him too important to trade and will retain him for another run at the Stanley Cup next season.

Trading someone like Alex Newhook would require getting another forward back. They only have five forwards under contract for 2023-24. There’s also still a chance that the 22-year-old Newhook could become a top-six forward.

Other potential trade chips include their 2023 first-round pick, their 2024 first-rounder, as well as Denis Malgin or prospect Oskar Olausson.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Avalanche have $13.35 million in projected cap space for 2023-24 with just 12 roster players under contract. However, they’ll get $7 million in cap relief by placing captain Gabriel Landeskog on long-term injury reserve as he’s sidelined for next season due to knee surgery.

Newhook and Bowen Byram are restricted free agents who’ll be seeking raises coming off their entry-level contracts. Even if they’re signed to affordable short-term bridges deals, the Avs still must free up cap space to re-sign or replace UFA J.T. Compher as their second-line center and perhaps find a left winger as a short-term replacement for Landeskog.

That’s why Girard’s name remains so high on most lists of this summer’s trade candidates.


THE HOCKEY NEWS: Kristy Flannery reports the New Jersey Devils lack a first-round pick in the 2023 draft. It’s the first time that’s happened in a decade. However, general manager Tom Fitzgerald isn’t ruling out making a trade to get one.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Devils have their second-rounder but traded away their third-round pick. Perhaps he’ll bundle that second-rounder along with another pick or two (or maybe with a prospect) to move up into the first round.

NHL Rumor Mill – April 24, 2023

NHL Rumor Mill – April 24, 2023

More Erik Karlsson speculation plus an update on Pierre-Luc Dubois in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.


THE ATHLETIC: Corey Masisak examined what next season could look like for Erik Karlsson if the San Jose Sharks retain him or trade him.

Karlsson has indicated he wants to win and enjoys living and playing in San Jose. Sharks general manager Mike Grier enjoyed having the 32-year-old defenseman on the roster and will be happy to have him back next season. However, he’s also indicated he’s open to offers and if he gets a suitable one would take it to Karlsson, who has a full no-movement clause but would waive it for the right opportunity.

San Jose Sharks defenseman Erik Karlsson (NHL Images).

Keeping Karlsson would help the Sharks improve next season. It would also leave them a little shy of $15 million in cap space meaning they won’t be making expensive forays into the unrestricted free-agent market. They have several affordable restricted free agents to re-sign plus a need for a goalie to share the duties with Kaapo Kahkonen.

Grier could open more cap space by shopping Kevin Labanc or Radim Simek rather than buying out contracts. Both players are in the final year of their respective deals.

Trading Karlsson would leave a big hole in their blueline and leave them worse off than they were this season. Finding an eventual replacement will be a priority. They could look toward the 2023 NHL draft for a future potential No. 1 defenseman.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Sharks will obviously be a better club with Karlsson in the lineup next season than without. However, it’s clear that they’re starting to rebuild under Grier. If he gets a suitable offer that Karlsson will accept, he won’t hesitate to pull the trigger.

Karlsson’s $11.5 million average annual value through 2026-27 remains as big an obstacle as his no-movement clause. Assuming the salary cap for next season rises higher than projected, it’s still going to be difficult for Grier to find a trade partner willing to take on that full cap hit. He’ll have to retain a significant chunk or take back a bad contract in return.

I wouldn’t be surprised if Karlsson is traded this summer. It will be interesting to see how Grier pulls it off.


TVA SPORTS: Appearing on The Sick Podcast with Tony Marinaro, The Athletic’s Aaron Portzline said Winnipeg Jets center Pierre-Luc Dubois always wanted to play for the Montreal Canadiens during his tenure with the Columbus Blue Jackets.

Portzline delved into the real reason behind Dubois’ departure from the Blue Jackets, pointing out that he was their top center and had bought a new apartment in Columbus. While the assumption was that Dubois was clashing with then-Jackets coach John Tortorella, Portzline believes that the center was expecting an offer sheet from the Canadiens.

He noted that Jackets GM Jarmo Kekalainen made two trades in the final hours before the free-agent market opened that year (“two defensemen out the door”) to ensure sufficient cap space to match any potential offer. Portzline thinks that’s what changed the relationship between Dubois and the Jackets’ management.

SPECTOR’ S NOTE: The two trades Portzline is referring to occurred on Oct. 8, the day before the 2020 NHL free-agent market opened.

Cap Friendly shows the Jackets sending Ryan Murray ($4.6 million) to the New Jersey Devils and Markus Nutivaara ($2.7 million) to the Florida Panthers. That move freed up a combined $7.3 million in cap space to match an offer sheet for Dubois by the Canadiens or another club.

Dubois signed a two-year, $10 million contract with the Jackets on Dec. 31 before training camps opened for the COVID-shortened 2020-21 season. Over three weeks later, on Jan. 23, 2021, he was traded to the Jets.

This revelation by Portzline will only stoke speculation that he could be traded to the Canadiens this summer. It’s been rumored since last year that Dubois hopes to join the Canadiens by next summer as an unrestricted free agent. There was conjecture that his appearance at last year’s draft in Montreal was in anticipation of a trade to the Canadiens, though he subsequently denied that was the case.

NHL Rumor Mill – April 20, 2023

NHL Rumor Mill – April 20, 2023

What’s in store this offseason for some Flyers veterans? Could the Canadiens target free agents Alex Killorn or Damon Severson this summer? Does Kevin Labanc have a future in San Jose? Find out in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.


THE PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER: Olivia Reiner reports Flyers general manager Daniel Briere believes Kevin Hayes still has a lot of value as a productive 6-foot-5 center. While he thinks plenty of teams would be interested in the soon-to-be 31-year-old Hayes, Briere suggested it was too early to jump to conclusions over his future.

Philadelphia Flyers center Kevin Hayes (NHL Images).

The Flyers GM acknowledged defenseman Tony DeAngelo had an up-and-down year that ended with him being a healthy scratch at the end of the season. He declined to go into the reasons behind DeAngelo’s benching but added this offseason will be a big one for the blueliner as he works his way back into the good graces of head coach John Tortorella.

Briere felt winger Travis Konecny will be an important part of the roster going forward. The 26-year-old winger has two years left on his contract. Briere was impressed with how he took over as a team leader from departed veterans like Claude Giroux and Jakub Voracek.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Briere seems to be kind of lowering expectations a bit with his comments about moving Hayes. I think he will try to move Hayes this summer if he can get an acceptable offer, preferably one where he’s not having to retain any part of his $7.14 million average annual value. However, finding such an offer won’t be easy, especially if the salary cap only rises by $1 million for next season.

DeAngelo only has a year remaining on his contract. An improved performance next season could boost the Flyers but also bolster his value in next season’s trade market as a playoff rental.

Konecny occasionally surfaced in the rumor mill this season. He thrived under Tortorella’s coaching this season so I doubt we’ll see him moved this summer.


TVA SPORTS: Tony Marinaro and Jean-Charles Lajoie discussed the possibility of the Montreal Canadiens pursuing Alex Killorn via this summer’s free-agent market. The 33-year-old Tampa Bay Lightning winger is finishing a seven-year, $31.5 million contract ($4.45 million average annual value).

Lajoie believes Killorn (a Quebec native) would be the type of physical winger who would appeal to Canadiens general manager Kent Hughes and head coach Martin St. Louis. While the Lightning winger is coming off a career-best season, Marinaro cautioned that he’s on the downside of his career.

MONTREAL HOCKEY NOW: In a recent mailbag segment, Marc Dumont was asked which UFAs he sees the Canadiens pursuing. He thinks they might sign a right-shot defenseman who can be a mainstay on the top pairing alongside Mike Matheson while their younger blueliners develop. Dumont suggested New Jersey Devils rearguard Damon Severson, though he’s heard that he’d prefer to avoid playing in a market like Montreal.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Killorn would be ideal if he were five years younger as he could fit in well in the Canadiens’ long-term plans. However, he turns 34 in September and would probably prefer skating with a playoff contender rather than a rebuilding club. I daresay Severson would feel the same way.


THE MERCURY NEWS’ Curtis Pashelka tweeted Monday that Sharks winger Kevin Labanc faces an uncertain future in San Jose. General manager Mike Grier said he “can’t say whether he’ll be here,” adding he’ll see what happens and what presents itself.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Labanc, 27, has a year remaining on his contract with an AAV of $4.725 million. He also lacks no-trade protection. He’s struggled since tallying a career-best 56 points in 2018-19. With the Sharks rebuilding, it sounds like Grier could dangle Labanc as a trade chip this summer.