NHL Rumor Mill – June 26, 2020

NHL Rumor Mill – June 26, 2020

Updates on Jake DeBrusk and Carl Soderberg plus the latest on the Blackhawks free agents in today’s NHL rumor mill.

COULD DEBRUSK BECOME A TRADE CANDIDATE?

NBC SPORTS BOSTON: Joe Haggerty believes Jake DeBrusk is in line for a raise but it likely won’t come from the Bruins. The 23-year-old winger is a restricted free agent after this season.

Could the Boston Bruins trade winger Jake DeBrusk in the off-season? (Photo via NHL Images)

Haggerty suggests DeBrusk could command between $4.5 million and $5.5 million annually on his next contract. The Bruins have over $63 million invested in next season’s payroll with DeBrusk, Torey Krug, Zdeno Chara, and several others to re-sign.

With the salary cap expected to remain at $81.5 million for next season, Haggerty speculated Bruins management might have to consider trading DeBrusk if it came down to a choice between the winger and Krug. He believes this would be the time to move him to get back close to the maximum value for a young, still-developing player.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s too early to tell what Bruins general manager Don Sweeney will do once the off-season begins. Nevertheless, this situation could be worth monitoring.

Those cap constraints cannot be ignored. If they re-sign Krug for between $7-$8 million AAV and DeBrusk to $5 million, it won’t leave much wiggle room for the rest of the roster. Somebody else will have to go if they don’t move DeBrusk.

BLACKHAWKS FREE AGENTS FACE A LONG WAIT

CHICAGO SUN-TIMES: Ben Pope reports Blackhawks general manager Stan Bowman earlier this month said he hadn’t started contract talks with his pending free agents. Bowman said it’s far too early to become those discussions given the uncertainty over the salary cap.

The Blackhawks’ notable free agents include goaltender Corey Crawford and forwards Dylan Strome, Dominik Kubalik, and Drake Caggiula. Pope speculates they could end up waiting four months longer than usual to find out their fates.

Crawford is an unrestricted free agent but hopes to re-sign with the Blackhawks. Strome, Kubalik, and Caggiula are restricted.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Most NHL free agents are in the same boat. The league and NHLPA have an agreement to tentatively extend all expiring contracts to Oct. 31. They can be re-signed by their current clubs before then but most GMs will wait until they know for certain what next season’s salary cap will be. 

COULD SODERBERG INTEREST THE OILERS?

THE ATHLETIC (subscription required): Jonathan Willis recently suggested Carl Soderberg could be a useful and affordable short-term free-agent addition for the Edmonton Oilers. The 34-year-old Arizona Coyotes center could fit comfortably among the Oilers’ middle-six forwards.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Oilers could use a more experienced and skilled third-line center, allowing them to drop Riley Sheahan to the fourth line. Soderberg’s at the age where he’s still an effective player but won’t get any expensive long-term offers. For the right price, he could be a decent fit with the Oilers for a year or two.










NHL Rumor Mill – March 2, 2020

NHL Rumor Mill – March 2, 2020

Some suggested off-season blueline targets for the Leafs, the Rangers’ goalie situation, and the best remaining UFAs in today’s NHL rumor mill.

OFF-SEASON BLUELINE TARGETS FOR THE LEAFS

SPORTSNET: Luke Fox recently looked ahead at this summer’s potential trade and free-agent targets to shore up the Toronto Maple Leafs’ defense corps. He doubts general manager Kyle Dubas can go into next season with Justin Holl, Timothy Liljegren and Joseph Duszak as right-side defensemen. He also expected Tyson Barrie and Cody Ceci will depart via free agency in July.

If Alex Pietrangelo tests the UFA market, can the Toronto Maple Leafs afford him? (Photo via NHL Images)

St. Louis Blues captain Alex Pietrangelo tops this summer’s UFA market for defensemen, following by second-tier options like Sami Vatanen, Travis Hamonic, Mike Green, Dylan DeMelo, Justin Schultz, Chris Tanev and Kevin Shattenkirk. The Leafs had previous interest in Hamonic and Tanev.

The thin free-agent market combined with the Leafs’ limited salary-cap space could push Dubas into the trade market. Options could include Minnesota’s Matt Dumba, Anaheim’s Josh Manson, Vancouver’s Troy Stecher, and Buffalo’s Brandon Montour and Rasmus Ristolainen.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: With over $77 million tied up in 16 players for 2020-21, the Leafs won’t have much room to bid for the best UFA rearguards unless Dubas sheds salary before the start of next season. Even then, he doubt they could afford Pietrangelo, who could seek over $9 million annually if he hits the open market. Hamonic ($3.857 million) and Tanev ($4.45 million) could be more affordable, especially if they go unsigned beyond the opening weeks of free agency.

Forwards Kasperi Kapanen, Andreas Johnsson, and Alexander Kerfoot was often suggested as trade candidates for a defenseman this season. I daresay we’ll see their names floated in the off-season rumor mill.

Dumba, Manson and Ristolainen carry annual average salaries of $4 million or more. Montour ($3.387 million) and Stecher (2.325 million) are more affordable trade options. The Sabres could be reluctant to trade Montour to a division rival like Toronto. Stecher was linked to the Leafs before the trade deadline, so perhaps there’s a possibility there.

Fox rules out the possibility of the Leafs pursuing Winnipeg Jets defenseman Dustin Byfuglien, who could be traded or have his contract terminated this summer.

WHAT WILL THE RANGERS DO ABOUT THEIR GOALTENDING?

Fox also believes New York Rangers GM Jeff Gorton must sort out his goaltending situation in the off-season. The Rangers have carried three netminders – Henrik Lundqvist, Igor Shesterkin and Alexandar Georgiev – since January.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: With long-time Rangers starter Lundqvist relegated behind Shesterkin and Georgiev, some in the New York media (hello there, Larry Brooks) believe “King Henrik” could be bought out of the final season of his contract in June.

They could attempt to trade him first, provide Lundqvist is willing to waive his no-movement clause. Even then, the Rangers could be asked to absorb part of his $8.5-million annual cap hit.

TOP 2019 NHL UFAS

Fox also listed his ” All Impending UFA Starting Lineup in 2020″ following last week’s trade deadline.

Taylor Hall–Carl Soderberg–Mike Hoffman

Torey Krug–Alex Pietrangelo

Jacob Markstrom

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Hall, Soderberg, and Hoffman could be the only ones still available when July 1 dawns. I expect Pietrangelo, Krug, and Markstrom will be re-signed by their respective teams.










After Adding Kessel & Soderberg, Coyotes Should Contend for Playoff Spot

After Adding Kessel & Soderberg, Coyotes Should Contend for Playoff Spot

 










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 26, 2019

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 26, 2019

2019 HHOF class revealed, the Avalanche trade Soderberg to the Coyotes, Craig Berube made full-time Blues coach, Brooks Orpik retires, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

TSN: Canadian women’s star Hayley Wickenheiser, former NHL defenseman Sergei Zubov and former NHL center Guy Carbonneau are among those to be inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in November. Joining them are former Czechoslovakian star Vaclav Nedomansky, Pittsburgh Penguins general manager Jim Rutherford, and longtime Boston College coach Jerry York.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Congratulations to all the member of the Class of 2019. 

The Colorado Avalanche trade center Carl Soderberg to the Arizona Coyotes (Photo via NHL Images).

The Colorado Avalanche yesterday traded center Carl Soderberg to the Arizona Coyotes for defenseman Kevin Connauton and a 2020 third-round pick.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Coyotes add some experienced depth at center while clearing a bit of a logjam on the blueline. The Avalanche, meanwhile, freed up more salary-cap space. Cap Friendly indicates they have over $38 million in cap room.

A big chunk of that will go toward re-signing restricted free agents like Mikko Rantanen, Alexander Kerfoot, Nikita Zadorov, and J.T. Compher. However, they’ll still have plenty of room to be aggressive in this summer’s UFA market. 

STLTODAY.COM: The St. Louis Blues made Craig Berube their full-time head coach, signing him to a three-year contract. He served this season on an interim basis and guided the Blues to their first-ever Stanley Cup championship.

Blues winger Vladimir Tarasenko underwent arthroscopic surgery on his left knee. He’s expected to be ready for training camp in September.

NHLPA: Defenseman Brooks Orpik yesterday announced his retirement. He played 15 seasons with the Pittsburgh Penguins and Washington Capitals, winning the Stanley Cup with both clubs.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Orpik cited a knee injury for ending his career, saying he played in pain throughout last season. Best wishes to him and his family in their future endeavors. 

NHL.COM: The league released its full schedule for 2019-20.

The league also released the complete list of restricted free agent players who received qualifying offers before yesterday’s 5 pm ET deadline.

TSN: The Ottawa Senators re-signed defenseman Cody Goloubef to a one-year, two-way contract.

NHL.COM: The Columbus Blue Jackets re-signed defenseman Adam Clendening to a two-year contract extension. Cap Friendly indicates it’s worth $700K per season.

TWINCITIES.COM: Center Matt Hendricks has retired after 607 NHL games. He played for the Colorado Avalanche, Washington Capitals, Edmonton Oilers, Minnesota Wild, and Winnipeg Jets. He’s joining the Wild in their department of player development.

 










NHL Rumor Mill – December 18, 2017

NHL Rumor Mill – December 18, 2017

Speculation over Tyler Seguin’s future plus updates on the Penguins in your NHL rumor mill.

SEGUIN FACING UNCERTAIN FUTURE IN DALLAS?

DALLAS MORNING NEWS: In a recent mailbag segment, Mike Heika was asked if Dallas Stars forward Tyler Seguin has proven worthy of a contract extension, or if that depends on the club’s record before the trade deadline. 

Heika doesn’t believe the Stars will trade Seguin this season, but wonders if the club extends him next summer or let it run into his UFA season of 2018-19. If he has a healthy and successful playoff, Heika bets the Stars re-sign him. If he doesn’t, “the question about trading him before or during next season is very relevant.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Seguin’s earning an average salary-cap hit of $5.75 million on his current contract, though in actual salary he’s making $6 million this season and will earn $6.5 million in 2018-19. Since joining the Stars he has four consecutive 70-point campaigns. With 29 points in 34 games, he is on pace for another one.

It could cost the Stars between $8-$9 million annually on a long-term deal to re-sign him. Seguin’s performance over the remainder of this season and in the playoffs will play a significant role in determining his future with the Stars. 

SUGGESTED TRADE PARTNERS FOR THE PENGUINS

SPORTSNET: Sonny Sachdeva lists the Vegas Golden Knights, Toronto Maple Leafs, Ottawa Senators, Colorado Avalanche and Minnesota Wild as five potential trade partners for the struggling Pittsburgh Penguins. The Penguins haven’t suitably addressed last summer’s departure via free agency of third-line center Nick Bonino. GM Jim Rutherford is aware of the problem and seems to be inching closer toward a midseason deal. 

Sachdeva notes the Golden Knights were among three teams to recently express interest in Penguins defenseman Ian Cole. If they’re still keen, he suggests swapping Cole for Erik Haula or Cody Eakin. The Leafs were also reportedly interested in Cole and center Tyler Bozak is often mentioned by the Pittsburgh media as a player the Pens brass “hold in high regard.” 

Derick Brassard could be an option if the Senators decide to shake up their struggling roster. While his $5 million cap hit could be difficult to absorb, Sachdeva reminds us of the Pens’ earlier interest in Matt Duchene ($6 million cap hit) prior to the Colorado Avalanche shipping him to Ottawa. Center Jean-Gabriel Pageau could be another player of interest for the Pens. The Senators could seek defensive help, prompting Sachdeva to suggest Cole or Olli Maatta as possibilities.

The Avalanche were also among the clubs with interest in Cole. Sachdeva suggests Carl Soderberg, whose offensive skills could be a good fit with the Pens. There’s also a chance the Penguins could try to bring back Matt Cullen, who departed last summer to sign with the Minnesota Wild. Cullen seems like an odd man out with the Wild and Sachdeva doubts it’ll cost the Penguins much to acquire him. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Given the Golden Knights impressive play, perhaps their interest in Cole has cooled in the last couple of weeks. With the Leafs near the top of the Eastern Conference standings, I don’t think they want to move Bozak or any of their other pending UFAs.

Considering the recent trade speculation about the Senators they could be a trade partner for the Pens. I doubt Rutherford parts with Maatta for Brassard or Pageau. Quite frankly, I don’t see Maatta hitting the trade block at all.

Soderberg’s been inconsistent in Colorado but he did have a 51-point performance there in 2015-16 and is a versatile two-way forward. Perhaps playing for the defending Cup champions could improve his play. Bringing back Cullen is much more affordable and could be  tempting. However, he’s best suited in a fourth-line role.