Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – September 17, 2023

Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – September 17, 2023

Check out the latest on Hurricanes’ Brett Pesce, Brady Skjei and Teuvo Teravainen plus a recent look at some possible Oilers trade assets in the Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup.


THE NEWS & OBSERVER: Luke DeCock observes the Carolina Hurricanes appear to be rolling the dice on the expiring contracts of defensemen Brett Pesce and Brady Skjei and winger Teuvo Teravainen. The trio is slated to become unrestricted free agents next July.

Carolina Hurricanes defenseman Brett Pesce (NHL Images).

DeCock believes the Hurricanes are unlikely to be able to re-sign both Pesce and Skjei if they’re still unsigned by the end of the season. They’ll have also foregone the opportunity to move them for significant returns by the trade deadline.

Teravainen is less of a gamble for the Hurricanes as his trade value has declined due to his recent on-ice struggles. It may make sense to let the 29-year-old winger play out the final season of his contract and let him depart via free agency.

General manager Don Waddell said the club is waiting to see how things go this season and then they’ll deal with it. DeCock believes the potential costs of being trapped in a negotiating corner with those players are outweighed by the competitive benefits.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Pesce regularly surfaced in this summer’s trade rumors while Skjei and Teravainen made occasional appearances.

It’s still possible for at least one of them to be shopped before the start of the season. However, the Hurricanes are among this season’s Stanley Cup contenders. They stand a better chance of winning it with those three in the lineup right now.

Things could change over the course of the season. At least one of them could play so well that the Hurricanes re-sign them. Perhaps one of them becomes a trade chip to address a pressing need elsewhere on the roster. Maybe the Hurricanes struggle under the weight of heightened expectations forcing Waddell to make a bold move. Or possibly all three end up getting shopped at the trade deadline.

DeCock’s colleague Chip Alexander reported Pesce has changed agents. Perhaps that signals the possibility of a contract extension for the 28-year-old defenseman in the coming weeks.


THE ATHLETIC: Allan Mitchell recently listed five Edmonton Oilers assets that could be moved at some point before the March 8 trade deadline to address potential issues in goal, on right defense and at right wing.

Mitchell believes their 2024 first-round pick could be in play if it’ll fetch an effective asset like Mattias Ekholm. If they seek a right-shot defenseman, blueliner Philip Broberg could be the asking price.

Winger Dylan Holloway and prospect center Raphael Lavoie could also become trade bait. So could veteran defenseman Brett Kulak.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Oilers are said to be all-in on pursuing the Stanley Cup this season. That means sacrificing pieces of their future to address their potential weaknesses by the trade deadline. Their first-rounder in the 2024 draft plus youngsters like Broberg and Holloway could become valuable bargaining chips at some point this season.

NHL Rumor Mill – August 26, 2023

NHL Rumor Mill – August 26, 2023

Check out the latest on the Hurricanes and Oilers in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.


THE ATHLETIC: In a recent mailbag segment, Cory Lavalette was asked about Carolina Hurricanes defensemen Brady Skjei and Brett Pesce. The question was whether they could be moved for assets while clearing salary-cap space or as part of a move or multiple moves to bolster the Hurricane’s scoring.

Lavalette suggests both scenarios are possibilities. He believes the Hurricanes don’t need to panic about this as they’re under the salary cap and can afford to wait for the right offer. They can afford to move Skjei and/or Pesce given their solid blueline depth for the coming season.

Carolina Hurricanes defenseman Brett Pesce (NHL Images).

If Pesce is the most likely trade candidate as rumored, Lavalette believes Hurricanes general manager Don Waddell would expect at least a first-round pick in return. They could use that pick as bait leading up to the trade deadline to fill any holes in the roster.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Lavalette doesn’t think that the Hurricanes need to add a scorer. He believes Jesperi Kotkaniemi will eclipse 20 goals and 55 points this season based on his production following his slow start to last season. He also noted that the Hurricanes offense was nearly identical to that of the Stanley Cup champion Vegas Golden Knights last season.

Nevertheless, Lavalette conceded that they have the ability to add to their offense if the need arises once they declutter their defense. In other words, Pesce and/or Skjei could be used as trade bait to land a scorer.

I believe they could use more scoring punch. With all due respect to Lavalette, it was painfully apparent in the Eastern Conference Final that a lack of offense was a key reason why they were swept by the underdog Florida Panthers.

The Hurricanes dominated the play throughout that series. Yes, the Panthers got strong goaltending from Sergei Bobrovsky and timely scoring led by Matthew Tkachuk. However, I think the Canes could’ve prevailed had they had a healthy Andrei Svechnikov and Max Pacioretty in the lineup. Svechnikov will be back but they could look at landing a scorer by the trade deadline.

CAROLINA HOCKEY NOW: Bryant Baucom believes Teuvo Teravainen, Jack Drury and Andrei Svechnikov are the three players on the Hurricanes with the most to prove this season.

Teravainen’s production suffered last season in part due to injuries and the loss of a family member. He’s slated to become an unrestricted free agent next summer and surfaced in trade rumors earlier this offseason.

Drury, 23, finds himself in a logjam of centers that are much more valuable to the Hurricanes’ success. A restricted free agent next summer coming off his entry-level contract, he could become a possible rental player leading up to this season’s trade deadline.

Svechnikov is coming off a season-ending knee injury. If he takes longer to regain his form, the Hurricanes could be forced into the trade market to find a scorer.

SPECTOR’S NOTE Svechnikov obviously isn’t going anywhere given his value to the Hurricanes. It could take him some time to get back into the scoring groove again but he faces no danger of getting traded. Nevertheless, Baucom is correct in his assessment that how quickly Svechnikov’s returns to form could create an urgency to bolster their offensive attack.

Teravainen could have a bounce-back performance. If he does, I expect the Hurricanes will hang onto him for the playoffs and worry about his contract after this season. Drury, on the other hand, could become expendable if he fails to improve this season.


THE ATHLETIC: Allan Mitchell wondered if the Edmonton Oilers might consider trading Philip Broberg this season. He is listed as the Oilers’ top prospect by colleague Corey Pronman.

Mitchell observed that the Oilers are in “win-now” mode. While Broberg has tremendous potential, they need their entire roster to play at a championship level. His size and speed could make him an enticing trade target for clubs more focused on the future.

If the Oilers did move Broberg, Mitchell speculated that they could seek a right-handed, big-minute defenseman to skate on the top pairing.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The pressure will be on the Oilers this season to finally get over the championship hump. They could move Broberg before the trade deadline for a rental asset if they feel the player they’re receiving can help them win that elusive Stanley Cup.

Of course, that could change if Broberg makes significant strides in his performance this season. Nevertheless, I wouldn’t rule out the possibility that he gets traded at some point this season for the type of defenseman envisioned by Mitchell.

NHL Rumor Mill – August 21, 2023

NHL Rumor Mill – August 21, 2023

A look at some of this season’s notable trade targets in the NHL Rumor Mill.

THE ATHLETIC: Toronto Maple Leafs winger William Nylander and Winnipeg Jets goaltender Connor Hellebuyck are the biggest names atop Shayna Goldman’s recent list of this season’s biggest NHL trade targets.

Goldman noted the Leafs probably don’t want to trade Nylander but that could change if they’re unable to reach an agreement on a contract extension. That would create the risk of losing the 27-year-old winger to free agency next summer.

Toronto Maple Leafs winger William Nylander (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: There was an assumption in the Toronto media earlier this summer that the Leafs could trade Nylander rather than risk losing him for nothing next summer. However, the consensus now seems to be they’ll keep him this season as they pursue that elusive Stanley Cup and deal with the contract situation after that.

Hellebuyck, meanwhile, doesn’t want to be part of a rebuild if that’s the direction the Jets are going. Like Nylander and most on this list, the 30-year-old netminder is slated to become a UFA next summer. He will likely seek a significant raise. Hellebuyck could be moved before the start of the season but most likely it will happen closer to the trade deadline if a deal materializes.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Word out of Winnipeg is the summer goalie market has dried up which explains why Hellebuyck hasn’t been moved. The Jets could hang onto him for the season if they’re in the thick of the playoff standings but could likely peddle him if not for the right offer.

The Jets also face a similar situation with Mark Scheifele. A handful of clubs in need of depth at center, like the Boston Bruins and Minnesota Wild, could be suitors if the 30-year-old center ends up on the trade block.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Wild have more projected trade deadline cap space ($7.6 million) than the Bruins ($1.99 million) as well as more promising young players in their system. They would be better positioned to pursue Scheifele if they choose.

Goldman believes whatever happens with Hellebucyk could affect Anaheim Ducks goaltender John Gibson. He comes with cost certainty as he’s signed through 2026-27 with an annual cap hit of $6.4 million. Gibson’s stats have suffered in recent years but that could be due to backstopping the rebuilding Ducks.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: There’s been nothing new about Gibson’s status since his agent denied an early July report claiming the 30-year-old goalie demanded a trade.

The Carolina Hurricanes could trade Brett Pesce or Brady Skjei if contract extensions aren’t in place for either player by the start of the season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Hurricanes still need more scoring depth, preferably at center. Perhaps Pesce or Skjei become trade bait to address that need.

Teams that couldn’t afford Erik Karlsson could turn to Calgary Flames defenseman Noah Hanifin. He’s only 26 and carries a $4.95 million cap hit for this season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: If those teams are turning to Hanifin they apparently aren’t making any suitable offers yet to the Flames. It’s believed they’ve set their price for the blueliner and will stick with it even if it means starting the season with him in the lineup.

Speaking of the Flames, Elias Lindholm would probably become their best trade chip if he decides not to sign a contract extension.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Lindholm and the Flames have reportedly discussed a contract extension. No word on whether they’re close to a deal. Perhaps we’ll learn more once the calendar flips to September and training camp approaches.

Goldman also anticipates the budget-conscious Arizona Coyotes could move Nick Schmaltz and his backloaded contract. He’s got three years left on his deal so there’s no rush in moving him.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Recent word out of Arizona suggests the Coyotes have changed their focus from shedding expensive contracts to improving year by year. They’re also reluctant to move Schmaltz because of his chemistry with leading scorer Clayton Keller.

Other possible trade targets include Coyotes winger Jason Zucker, Nashville Predators defenseman Tyson Barrie, San Jose Sharks forward Alexander Barabanov, Philadelphia Flyers forwards Travis Konecny and Scott Laughton, Florida Panthers forwards Sam Bennett and Sam Reinhart, and a St. Louis Blues defenseman.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Zucker, Barrie and Reinhart are pending UFAs. If their clubs are out of playoff contention they could hit the trade block.

Goldman noted the difficulty in moving one of the Blues’ top-four defensemen given they’ve all got full no-trade clauses. Torey Krug reportedly declined to waive his clause earlier this summer to go to the Flyers.

Konecny and Laughton seem like a wait-and-see scenario. Flyers management could prefer observing how this season pans out to determine if those two have a place in the club’s future plans. Those players could also need time to see if they want to be part of a rebuild and how long it might take.

Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – August 13, 2023

Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – August 13, 2023

Check out the recent speculation on Patrick Kane and Evgeny Kuznetsov as well as the latest on the Flames, Hurricanes and Jets in today’s NHL Rumor Mill

ASSOCIATED PRESS: Stephen Whyno recently listed some notable storylines to watch during the final weeks of the 2023 NHL offseason.

While Patrick Kane continues to rehab from his June 1 hip resurfacing procedure, there are rumors linking the 34-year-old free-agent winger to his hometown Buffalo Sabres. They’re a young club on the rise that could use a player with his Stanley Cup experience.

Free agent winger Patrick Kane (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It was reported last month that Kane’s agent indicated his client should be ready to return to action in December. By that point, the future Hall of Famer will evaluate the clubs that are interested in him and pick the one he believes has the best chance of winning the Stanley Cup this season.

The Sabres could be one of those teams if they finally achieve their long-anticipated breakthrough as a playoff club. However, much will depend on what their needs will be by that point. Goaltending remains a big question mark as is their blueline depth despite the offseason additions of Erik Johnson and Connor Clifton.

Whyno also believes the Calgary Flames, Carolina Hurricanes and Winnipeg Jets will be worth monitoring in the weeks leading up to training camp.

Flames center Elias Lindholm is entering the final year of his contract. GM Craig Conroy has already traded Tyler Toffoli and could do the same with Lindholm if unable to re-sign the 28-year-old center.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s been reported that Conroy has been in discussions with the Lindholm camp about a multi-year contract worth between $8 million and $9 million annually. Depending on the source, those talks are ongoing or they’ve gone quiet for now.

Carolina Hurricanes GM Don Waddell cited that his club’s limited cap space has made it difficult to improve his roster. He’ll continue talking to different teams and free agents. Whyno speculated he could look to move Brett Pesce or Brady Skjei to clear his blueline logjam. Both have a year remaining on their respective contracts.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Pesce has featured more prominently in trade rumors than Skjei this summer. Back in June, TSN’s Pierre LeBrun reported the Hurricanes could move the 28-year-old Pesce if they’re unable to hammer out a new contract with him. Perhaps he becomes trade bait to add another scoring forward.

The Winnipeg Jets have yet to move goaltender Connor Hellebuyck and center Mark Scheifele. Both players are slated to become unrestricted free agents next summer. Whyno doesn’t expect either player will be in Winnipeg for much longer.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: A report out of Winnipeg last month explained that the reason why Hellebuyck is still with the Jets is because the trade market for goaltenders had dried up. Meanwhile, there’s been no word about Scheifele’s status in recent weeks. Both players could start the season with the Jets and end up getting traded at some point before the March trade deadline.

Evgeny Kuznetsov is the subject of trade rumors for the second time in three years. He saw a 23-point drop in his production last season to 55 points. The 31-year-old winger is signed through 2024-25 with an average annual value of $7.8 million.

Capitals general manager Brian MacLellan indicated he had a few discussions during the draft, suggesting they might or might not carry forward into this season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: MacLellan was reportedly in talks with the Nashville Predators regarding Kuznetsov earlier this summer but nothing came of it Predators GM Barry Trotz coached the Capitals to the Stanley Cup in 2018, during which Kuznetsov had a career-best 83 points and led the Caps in playoff scoring with 32 points.

As I’ve frequently noted, the combination of Kuznetsov’s inconsistent play in recent years and his hefty cap hit makes him difficult to move in this summer’s trade market, especially with a flattened salary cap.

It could take a dollar-for-dollar swap, the Capitals retaining up to half of his cap hit, or a three-team swap that spreads his AAV around to move Kuznetsov this season. They might have better luck next summer if his performance improves. That’s when the cap is projected to rise by at least $4 million for 2024-25.

NHL Rumor Mill – August 11, 2023

NHL Rumor Mill – August 11, 2023

What are the Hurricanes’ plans going forward this season? What’s the latest on the Bruins’ goaltending? Are any more big moves coming for the Penguins? Find out in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.


CAROLINA HOCKEY NOW: Bryant Baucom believes the Hurricanes front office still has some questions to address regarding their roster.

Carolina Hurricanes defenseman Brett Pesce (NHL Images).

Baucom thinks their biggest need remains a scoring forward but those are virtually non-existent in the free-agent market. They also have limited cap room to make a significant UFA addition.

General manager Don Waddell must decide if he’s shopping Brett Pesce and/or Brady Skjei. Both defensemen are slated to become UFAs next July. Young forward Jack Drury requested a trade prior to last season and put in a lackluster performance with the Hurricanes and their AHL affiliate in Chicago.

Baucom also wondered how big the list of Hurricanes untouchables is and how much urgency management has to add another scorer.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Much will depend on the Hurricanes’ performance over the course of the upcoming season. They could become more active in the trade market if their scoring fails to improve.

After adding Dmitry Orlov this summer as well as affordable depth defensemen Tony DeAngelo and Caleb Jones, the Hurricanes could peddle Pesce or Skjei before the start of the season. They could also retain them until the trade deadline nears in order to land a scoring forward. Perhaps they’ll hang onto both as “own rentals” for the season.

Drury would be a tempting trade chip for clubs that become sellers this season. On his own, he probably won’t fetch the scoring forward the Hurricanes seek. Bundled with Pesce or Skjei or with a first-round pick, however, it could be a different story.


NBC SPORTS BOSTON: Nick Goss recently explained why the Bruins are keeping their goalie tandem of Linus Ullmark and Jeremy Swayman intact. He pointed out that they’ll need strong goaltending this season to reach the playoffs after losing several key players elsewhere from the lineup to free agency and retirement.

Beyond this season is another story. The combined cap hits of Ullmark and Swayman for 2023-24 is $8.475 million. However, a strong performance by Swayman could vault him into the $5 million average annual value range. That could mean trading Ullmark to free up his $5 million cap hit next summer when he has only a year left on his contract.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Winner of the 2023 Vezina Trophy, Ullmark will also have a 15-team no-trade list for 2024-25. It could hamper efforts to move him but wouldn’t make it impossible. Whether he or Swayman get moved next summer will depend on their respective performances this season.


THE HOCKEY NEWS: Following the Pittsburgh Penguins’ acquisition of Erik Karlsson, Nick Horwat cited general manager Kyle Dubas telling reporters that he’s likely done making big moves this summer. Dubas mentioned he could bring in some players on professional tryout offers.

Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman speculated the Penguins GM might look into signing free-agent winger Tomas Tatar but Horwat considers that to be unlikely. While Tatar could be seen as an obvious replacement for sidelined winger Jake Guentzel, he’s only expected to miss the first five games of the regular season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I guess that also spikes that silly rumor flying around on social media claiming Dubas was going to sign 51-year-old Jaromir Jagr to a one-year, $1 million contract to return to the Penguins.

Jagr will be playing hockey this season but not in the NHL. He’s reportedly committed to spending another season in Czechia with the Kladno Knights, the club that he also owns.

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 23, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 23, 2021

The Avalanche clinch a playoff berth, a big night for Jakub Vrana, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.


NHL.COM: The Colorado Avalanche are the second team to secure a playoff spot by doubling up the St. Louis Blue 4-2. Andre Burakovsky scored twice and Nathan MacKinnon collected three assists for the Avalanche, who were playing their first game since their schedule was postponed by a COVID-19 outbreak last week. They sit two points behind the first-place Vegas Golden Knights in the Honda West Division. Jaden Schwartz scored both goals for the Blues (44 points), who remain one point behind the fourth-place Arizona Coyotes.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Jared Bednar surpassed Bob Hartley as the Avalanche’s longest-tenured head coach with his 360th game. He’s now in his fifth season in that role and has done a magnificent job coaching this former bottom-feeding club into a Stanley Cup contender.

Two shorthanded goals by Sebastian Aho carried the Carolina Hurricanes to a 4-2 win over the Florida Panthers. Carolina’s Martin Necas picked up three assists while Florida captain Aleksander Barkov scored twice. The Hurricanes sit in first place in the Discover Central Division with 67 points, two up on the second-place Panthers. They also played without defenseman Brady Skjei as he remains sidelined indefinitely by a concussion.

The Tampa Bay Lightning defeated the Columbus Blue Jackets 3-1 to sit one point back of the Panthers. Blake Coleman scored twice and Ondrej Palat netted the game-winner.

Detroit Red Wings forward Jakub Vrana (NHL Images).

Detroit Red Wings forward Jakub Vrana scored four goals to lead his club over the Dallas Stars 7-3. Thomas Greiss made 43 saves for the win. The Stars (50 points) remain two points behind the fourth-place Nashville Predators in the Central. The Wings played without captain Dylan Larkin (upper-body injury) and announced Tyler Bertuzzi is done for the season with an upper-body injury.

Auston Matthews tallied his 34th goal of the season as the Toronto Maple Leafs downed the Winnipeg Jets 5-3. Mitch Marner scored twice and Nick Foligno collected an assist in his debut with the Leafs. Mark Scheifele had two points for the Jets, who lost center Adam Lowry following a headshot from Leafs winger Alex Galchenyuk. The Leafs played without defenseman Zach Bogosian, who’s sidelined for more than a week with an undisclosed injury.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: With 63 points, the Leafs now hold a six-point lead over the Jets for first place in the Scotia North Division.

Shootout goals by Nicklas Backstrom and Evgeny Kuznetsov gave the Washington Capitals a 1-0 victory over the New York Islanders. Ilya Samsonov made 26 saves for his second shutout of the season. The Capitals (64 points) hold a one-point lead over the Islanders and Pittsburgh Penguins for the top spot in the MassMutual East Division.

Speaking of the Penguins, Sidney Crosby, Bryan Rust, Kasperi Kapanen and Teddy Blueger each had a goal and an assist in a 5-1 win over the New Jersey Devils, Kapanen returned to action after missing 13 games with a lower-body injury. The Penguins hold second place over the Islanders with 30 wins.

The Boston Bruins picked up their sixth straight win by beating the Buffalo Sabres 5-1. David Pastrnak and Brad Marchand each had a goal and an assist and Jeremy Swayman kicked out 29 shots. The Bruins sit in fourth place in the East Division with 60 points, three behind the Islanders and eight up on the New York Rangers.

Two power-play goals by James van Riemsdyk powered the Philadelphia Flyers to a 3-2 victory over the Rangers. Brian Elliott made 33 saves for the Flyers (49 points), who sit three points back of the fifth-place Rangers in the East Division.

Matt Murray had a 31-save shutout as the Ottawa Senators blanked the Vancouver Canucks 3-0. Drake Batherson had a goal and an assist as the Senators have won four of their last five games.


SPORTSNET: Arizona Coyotes winger Conor Garland is listed as week-to-week with a lower-body injury.

STAR-TRIBUNE.COM: The Minnesota Wild re-signed forward Ryan Hartman to a three-year, $5.1 million contract extension. The annual average value is $1.7 million.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Hartman accepted a slight pay cut from his currently $1.9 million AAV for the security of an extra year. Cap Friendly indicates the signing leaves the Wild with $59.6 million invested in 13 players for 2021-22.

TSN: Only four players were on the NHL’s COVID-19 list yesterday. Three of them were the Avalanche’s Joonas Donskoi, Philipp Grubauer and Mikko Rantanen. The fourth was the Devils’ P.K. Subban.

Frank Seravalli reports the NHL and NHLPA have given the International Olympic Committee until the end of May for a financial commitment for the 2022 Winter Olympics because they need to set their schedule for next season.

THE SEATTLE TIMES: The Seattle Kraken are being sued by Seattle’s Kraken Lounge for $3.5 million. The lawsuit alleges the risk of irreparable harm to their brand name due to the team’s name choice and plans to open the Kraken Bar & Grill at their planned training facility.