NHL Rumor Mill – May 12, 2020

NHL Rumor Mill – May 12, 2020

Some suggestions to help the Sharks regain their playoff contender status and Travis Dermott’s future with the Leafs in today’s NHL rumor mill.


THE ATHLETIC (subscription required): Kevin Kurz last week proposed a nine-step plan for turning the San Jose Sharks back into a playoff contender next season.

Among his suggestions was finding a suitable backup goaltender to pair with starter Martin Jones. Assuming Jones isn’t traded or bought out, Kurz doesn’t believe they should bring back Aaron Dell, who’s slated to become an unrestricted free agent at season’s end. He advocates signing a free-agent goalie on a one- or two-year deal to allow time for Alexei Melnichuk’s development. Former Shark Thomas Greiss could be available.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Greiss has solid numbers as a career backup and could be open to a return to San Jose. He could provide help offset Jones’ inconsistent streaks. 

Should the San Jose Sharks attempt to trade Brent Burns in the off-season? (Photo via NHL Images)

Kurz also recommends Sharks general manager Doug Wilson trade Brent Burns or Marc-Edouard Vlasic. Burns has a three-team trade list while Vlasic has a full no-movement clause. Kurz feels there’s reason to believe Vlasic would accept a trade to his native Montreal or perhaps Toronto, which could be in the market for a left-shot defenseman. Burns, however, could be the more likely trade candidate as his contract provides a little more trade flexibility and he’d have more value than Vlasic.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Trading either guy isn’t impossible, but there remain several major stumbling blocks. Both are in their thirties (Burns is 35, Vlasic 33) and their best seasons are behind them. They also carry long-term contracts with hefty annual salary-cap hits ($8 million for Burns, $7 million for Vlasic) that will be difficult for most clubs (like Toronto) to absorb. As Kurz noted, if they won’t waive their trade clauses, Wilson’s hands will be tied. At this point, I don’t either guy agreeing to a trade.

Kurz also advocated Wilson trade two of Kevin Labanc, Marcus Sorensen, and Dylan Gambrell. With the freed-up salary cap space from this move and moving Burns or Vlasic, he suggested signing a forward who can score, such as Vancouver’s Tyler Toffoli, Nashville’s Craig Smith or Mikael Granlund, or Florida’s Evgenii Dadonov.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Labanc is a restricted free agent with arbitration rights while Sorensen and Gambrell are signed through next season at a combined $2.2 million. Coming off a career-high 56-point performance, Labanc bet on himself and lost last summer by agreeing to a one-year, $1-million contract. With only 33 points in 70 games this season, arbitration still won’t provide him much leverage to land a lucrative long-term deal. He could become a trade candidate if the contract talks bog down.

If Wilson can trade Burns or Vlasic, he’ll free up cap space to sign a scoring forward. Considering the obstacles in trading either blueliner, it will be quite a challenge to pull that off.


SPORTSNET: In a recent mailbag segment, Luke Fox was asked if the Toronto Maple Leafs’ recent signing of defenseman Mikko Lehtonen spells danger for Travis Dermott’s future as a Leaf.

Fox noted Leafs GM Kyle Dubas indicating the club needs to figure out where Lehtonen slots in on the blueline. He’s a left-shot rearguard who can play either side. While he likes playing on the right side, his strengths appear on the left.

While Dubas could trade Dermott, Fox feels the smart move is to re-sign him to a reasonable bridge deal. He’s coming off his entry-level contract and lacks arbitration rights.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Agreed. Dermott will be an affordable re-signing and has a couple of NHL seasons under his belt. If Lehtonen struggles to adjust to the NHL pace, it’ll be worthwhile to have Dermott around.

NHL Most Important Players: San Jose Sharks

NHL Most Important Players: San Jose Sharks


NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 15, 2019

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 15, 2019

Game recaps, stars of the week, bye week schedule released, Ducks trade Andrew Cogliano to the Stars, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines. 

NHL.COM: Goaltender Frederik Andersen’s return from a groin injury couldn’t prevent the Toronto Maple Leafs from dropping a 6-3 decision to the Colorado Avalanche. Carl Soderberg led the way for the Avs with a hat trick. The Leafs have lost four of their last six. Defenseman Jake Gardiner was the target of unhappy Toronto boo-birds, prompting his teammates to come to his defense in post-game interviews.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Gardiner didn’t have a good game but that loss wasn’t solely his fault. The Leafs didn’t play well in this game and haven’t looked good in most of their last six contests. 

A four-point performance by Patrick Kane couldn’t prevent the Chicago Blackhawks from falling 8-5 to the New Jersey Devils. Kyle Palmieri and Blake Coleman each scored twice and Travis Zajac collected three points for the Devils, handing the Blackhawks their fourth straight loss. 

James van Riemsdyk’s hat trick carried the Philadelphia Flyers to a 7-4 win over the Minnesota Wild (Photo via NHL Images).

James van Riemsdyk tallied a hat trick as the Philadelphia Flyers beat the Minnesota Wild 7-4. Wayne Simmonds and Nolan Patrick each scored twice for the Flyers. 

The St. Louis Blues got their first three-game win streak of the season by downing the Washington Capitals 4-1. Blues winger David Perron scored a goal to extend his points streak to 11 games. Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin netted his league-leading 33rd goal while teammate Brooks Orpik played his 1,000th career NHL game. 

Jeff Petry potted the game-winner in overtime as the Montreal Canadiens edged the Boston Bruins 3-2. Canadiens goalie Carey Price kicked out 41 shots. 

Edmonton Oilers forwards Zach Kassian and Milan Lucic each scored twice in a 7-2 beatdown of the Buffalo Sabres. Oilers netminder Mikko Koskinen made 41 stops. 

Calgary Flames defenseman Mark Giordano, St. Louis Blues goaltender Jordan Binnington, and Pittsburgh Penguins left wing Jake Guentzel are the NHL’s three stars for the week ending Jan. 13. 

The NHL also released its bye week schedule

THE SCORE: Details have emerged over the incident that resulted in the Columbus Blue Jackets withholding goalie Sergei Bobrovsky from last Thursday’s game against Nashville. After being pulled during Tuesday’s loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning, Bobrovsky went straight to the dressing room, removed his equipment, showered and changed into street clothes rather than return to the bench. Following the game, several players pulled Bobrovsky aside and spoke with him before the team’s flight. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The report indicates Jackets coach John Tortorella was furious with Bobrovsky, as his antics left the club without a backup for Joonas Korpisalo in case he had to exit the game. It’s been a frustrating season for Bobrovsky but that doesn’t excuse his actions. Following a team meeting on Friday, Bobrovsky apologized and claimed he and the team put the incident behind them. 

TSN: The Anaheim Ducks traded winger Andrew Cogliano to the Dallas Stars for center Devin Shore.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: With the Ducks having dropped 11 straight games, general manager Bob Murray has decided to shake up his roster a bit rather than fire head coach Bob Murray. They’ve dealt away experience and durability in Cogliano for a younger, faster and less expensive forward in Shore, who has just 17 points in 42 games. The Stars will look to Cogliano to provide a boost to a leadership core that recently came under criticism from team CEO Jim Lites. 

NBC SPORTS: The San Jose Sharks re-signed winger Marcus Sorensen to a two-year contract worth an annual average value of $1.5 million.

SPORTSNET: The Nashville Predators and New York Rangers made a minor-league swap, with the Predators sending forward Connor Brickley to the Rangers for Cole Schneider. 

MONTREAL GAZETTE: Former NHL defenseman Josh Gorges announced his retirement. He spent 13 seasons with the San Jose Sharks, Montreal Canadiens, and Buffalo Sabres. He had 124 points in 783 regular season games and nine points in 68 postseason contests.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Gorges spent over seven seasons with the Canadiens and became one of the league’s better defensive blueliners during that time. 

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 7, 2018

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 7, 2018

Game recaps, update on the Senators Uber incident and more in your NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: Mark Stone’s five-point performance (two goals, three assists) carried the Ottawa Senators to a 7-3 thumping of the New Jersey Devils. Matt Duchene (three assists), Thomas Chabot (three points) and Colin White (two goals) also factored in the Senators victory.

Matt Duchene publicly apologized to assistant coach Martin Raymond following the Ottawa Senators 7-3 win over the New Jersey Devils. (Photo via NHL Images)

Duchene, Chabot, and White were among the seven Senators secretly filmed by an Uber driver in Phoenix recently mocking assistant coach Martin Raymond. The Senators revealed they knew about the video well before it made the rounds on social media and insist they’ve dealt with it internally.

The seven players involved yesterday issued a statement apologizing to Raymond and their teammates and Duchene profusely apologized to Raymond again during last night’s post-game press conference.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Last night’s game suggests the Senators have put this incident behind them. Still, time will tell if this episode was really much ado about nothing or indicative of ongoing turmoil within the Senators’ dressing room. 

Frederik Andersen made 36 saves and Connor Brown had a goal and an assist as the Toronto Maple Leafs downed the Vegas Golden Knights 3-1. Vegas also lost forward Erik Haula, who was stretchered from the game in the third period after falling awkwardly following a clean hit by Leafs forward Patrick Marleau.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: More information on Haula’s condition is expected later today but it appears he suffered a serious injury to his right knee. 

The Los Angeles Kings defeated the Anaheim Ducks 4-1, handing Willie Desjardins his first victory as their new head coach. Ilya Kovalchuk scored a goal and set up two others. It’s the Ducks’ eighth loss in their last nine games.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Ducks head coach Randy Carlyle could be among the NHL coaches currently on the hot seat. 

Ryan O’Reilly had a hat trick as the St. Louis Blues beat the Carolina Hurricanes 4-1, handing the latter their fifth straight defeat.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: After a good start to this season the Hurricanes are struggling of late. This could provide more fuel to the speculation they’re interested in acquiring William Nylander from the Toronto Maple Leafs. 

Nikita Kucherov scored twice and set up another while Andrei Vasilevskiy turned aside 33 shots in the Tampa Bay Lightning’s 5-2 victory over the Edmonton Oilers.

Neal Pionk’s end-to-end goal late in the third period proved to be the game winner as the New York Rangers overcame a 3-1 deficit to defeat the Montreal Canadiens 5-3 in a penalty-filled contest. Rangers center Kevin Hayes collected three assists while Canadiens winger Tomas Tatar scored twice.

The San Jose Sharks blew a two-goal lead but a third-period goal by Barclay Goodrow gave them a 4-3 win. Sharks forward Marcus Sorensen had a three-point night.

Jimmy Howard made 40 saves and Dylan Larkin scored the only goal in a shootout as the Detroit Red Wings edged the Vancouver Canucks 3-2. Vancouver rookie center Elias Pettersson tallied his 10th goal of the season.

Sergei Bobrovsky made 26 saves backstopping the Columbus Blue Jackets to a 4-1 win over the Dallas Stars.

SUN-SENTINEL.COM: Florida Panthers forward Derek Mackenzie is sidelined indefinitely following shoulder surgery.

SPORTSNET: Adam Oates has joined the Los Angeles Kings as a consultant.


NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 19, 2017

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 19, 2017

New York Rangers defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk displays his new jersey.

Updates on Kevin Shattenkirk, Tomas Tatar & more in your NHL morning coffee headlines. 

NEW YORK POST: The chance to play at home for a team, especially one that could win a Stanley Cup over the course of his new contract, factored into why defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk signed with the New York Rangers on July 1. He said the Rangers priority is to win every year and are willing to make moves to make their team a championship club.

While acknowledging their chances rest upon the performance of aging goaltender Henrik Lundqvist, Shattenkirk said he knows the netminder is an extremely competitive person. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Shattenkirk’s hopes of winning the Stanley Cup with the Rangers could very well depend upon Lundqvist rebounding from last season’s inconsistent performance. He turns 36 next March and his best seasons are likely behind him now. 

DETROIT FREE PRESS: The Red Wings and restricted free agent Tomas Tatar remain far apart in contract negotiations with his July 20th arbitration hearing fast approaching. The Wings offered $4.1 million while the Tatar camp seeks $5.3 million. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This could still be settled before his hearing tomorrow. If this goes to arbitration, the two sides could agree to a new contract before the arbiter reaches a decision. 

MLIVE.COM: Speaking of the Red Wings, they re-signed forward Martin Frk to a one-year, two-way contract worth $650K at the NHL level.

NBC SPORTS: A significant gap remains between the Ottawa Senators and forward Ryan Dzingel. His arbitration hearing is set for Friday (July 21) but negotiations are ongoing  between the two sides. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I’ll be surprised if this one goes to a hearing. I expect Dzingel will re-sign with the Sens before Friday. He completed a one-year, two-way contract worth $750K at the NHL level.. He could get a two-year, one-way deal worth perhaps $1.5 million per season. 

THE TENNESSEAN: The Nashville Predators re-signed forward Pontus Aberg to a two-year, $1.3 million contract.

CSN BAY AREA: The San Jose Sharks signed Marcus Sorensen to a two-year, two-way deal worth $700K annually at the NHL level.

BOSTON HERALD: The Bruins re-signed forward Austin Czarnik to a one-year, two-way deal worth $675K at the NHL level. 

DENVER POST: The Colorado Avalanche re-signed forwards Gabriel Bourque and Felix Girard and defenseman Duncan Siemens agreed to one-year, two-way contracts.