NHL Rumor Mill – March 8, 2021

NHL Rumor Mill – March 8, 2021

Could the Maple Leafs pursue Nick Foligno? What’s the latest on the Jets, Capitals and Penguins? Find out in today’s NHL rumor mill.

COULD THE LEAFS AFFORD NICK FOLIGNO?

TORONTO SUN: Steve Simmons took note of recent speculation claiming the Maple Leafs are seeking a forward, preferably one who can play among their top six. He said Nick Foligno of the Columbus Blue Jackets has popped up of late, but the Leafs have next to no salary-cap space.

Columbus Blue Jackets captain Nick Foligno (NHL Images).

Simmons believes it would take moving “other assets and money” like Alex Kerfoot, maybe a young defenseman such as Rasmus Sandin or Timothy Liljegren or a young sniper like Nick Robertson or maybe an early draft pick to get it done.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Cap Friendly shows the Leafs with just over $130K in projected trade-deadline cap space. Foligno, the Blue Jackets’ captain, carries a $5.5 million annual average value with $2.9 million remaining to be paid out as of today. An unrestricted free agent this summer, he also carries a 10-team no-trade list.

The Blue Jackets could consider trading Foligno if they fall further out of playoff contention leading up to the April 12 trade deadline but they’ll want a decent return. As Simmons points out, it would have to be a dollar-in, dollar-out move by the Leafs to get it done and they’ll have to include a promising player or a decent draft pick. They might have to consider more affordable options.

LATEST ON THE CAPITALS AND PENGUINS

NBC SPORTS WASHINGTON: In a recent mailbag segment, J.J. Regan was asked if he anticipated the Capitals making any moves at the trade deadline. He thinks they’ll look but their usage of long-term injury reserve to exceed the cap means they cannot bank cap space to put toward trade-deadline acquisitions.

Regan felt the Capitals must boost their depth at center and in goal. He suggested Darcy Kuemper or Antti Raanta of the Arizona Coyotes would be good targets, especially Raanta as he’s a free agent this summer. However, the Coyotes would have to absorb a fair bit of his $4.25 million annual average value.

He was also asked if the Capitals could package Evgeny Kuznetsov and something to the Buffalo Sabres for Jack Eichel but dismissed that idea. The only scenario he sees the Capitals trading Kuznetsov is if they’re engaging in a roster rebuild.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: NHL insider Bob McKenzie last week indicated the Capitals might like to add an experienced goaltender. It’ll have to be someone affordable.

As for Kuemper and Raanta, they’re not available unless the Coyotes fall out of playoff contention. Of the two, Raanta is more likely to be traded given his contract status.

THE ATHLETIC: Josh Yohe recently examined which members of the Pittsburgh Penguins are most likely to move at the trade deadline. He listed defenseman Marcus Pettersson and forward Colton Sceviour in his “I Smell A Trade” Division.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Yohe acknowledged big changes could be coming for the Penguins under new general manager Ron Hextall and president of hockey ops Brian Burke. They could involve long-time core veterans Evgeni Malkin and Kris Letang but Yohe doubts either guy will be moved at the trade deadline.

Hextall and Burke both recently indicated they’d like to add more toughness to their lineup. Pettersson and Sceviour could be the trade chips used to bring in more muscle by deadline day.

UPDATE ON THE JETS

SPORTSNET: Ken Wiebe was asked by a reader if Winnipeg Jets GM Kevin Cheveldayoff would entertain moving Paul Stastny before the trade deadline while his stock is high. He doesn’t believe Cheveldayoff will consider doing that, citing Stastny’s value to the Jets in terms of leadership and ability to connect with his teammates. He wouldn’t be surprised if Stastny signed a one-year contract extension.

THE ATHLETIC: Murat Ates recently examined several potential trade targets for the Jets. He considers Columbus Blue Jackets defenseman David Savard as the best fit in terms of age, skill set and a right-handed shot.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Stastny was a perfect fit with the Jets during his previous short tenure with them. That chemistry hasn’t worn off despite his age and the decline in his skills. His versatility and leadership have given them a boost this season.

Mattias Ekholm has been linked to the Jets in recent trade speculation but I agree with Ates that Savard would be a better fit on their blueline. Whether Cheveldayoff pursues him remains to be seen.










NHL Rumor Mill – January 26, 2021

NHL Rumor Mill – January 26, 2021

Are the Flyers in the market for a defenseman? What does the Jets’ acquisition of Pierre-Luc Dubois mean for Paul Stastny? What’s the latest on the Ducks? Find out in today’s NHL rumor mill.

THE ATHLETIC: Charlie O’Connor believes the Philadelphia Flyers aren’t going to rush into the trade market to address their recent struggles. Two-way center Sean Couturier is sidelined while the defense is bereft of puck-moving blueliners beyond Ivan Provorv and Travis Sanheim.

O’Connor points out it is only two weeks into the season and the only players on the trade market are those demanding to be moved or those who’ve been available for months because of bad contracts or poor fits with their current teams.

Winnipeg Jets center Paul Stastny (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That last blurb is probably aimed at recent speculation tying the Flyers to Florida Panthers defenseman Keith Yandle and Detroit Red Wings blueliner Danny DeKeyser. Philadelphia rearguard and South Florida native Shayne Gostisbehere were linked to Yandle but O’Connor indicates the Flyers intend to use him in the lineup once he’s off the COVID-19 protocol list.

SPORTSNET: In the wake of the Winnipeg Jets shipping Patrik Laine and Jack Roslovic to Columbus for center Pierre-Luc Dubois last Saturday, Luke Fox is curious about where the Jets and current second-line center Paul Stastny go from here.

The Jets brought back Stastny last fall in a trade with the Vegas Golden Knights. He’s beloved by teammates and the coaching staff but the 35-year-old center becomes an unrestricted free agent this summer. Fox wonders if Stastny will take a pay cut to stay with the Jets as a No. 3 center or try to find a second-line center role elsewhere via free agency.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Stastny’s had a long and production NHL career but he’s also at the age when skills and speed inevitably erode. If he has a decent performance this season he might be wise to consider sticking with the Jets. I doubt many teams will be in the market for a center turning 36 in December seeking second-line work.

THE ATHLETIC: Eric Stephens points out Anaheim Ducks GM Bob Murray attempted to acquire Justin Faulk, Kasperi Kapanen and Pierre-Luc Dubois over the past 18 months. He was also linked to Patrik Laine before the winger was shipped to Columbus. Fairly or not, it could reflect poorly on Murray’s ability to close a big trade.

Stephens wonders if the asking price for Dubois was top prospect Trevor Zegras. If so, Murray might be proven right not to part with Zegras or promising defenseman Jamie Drysdale. He doubts the Ducks GM could’ve put together a sufficient package to land Laine.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Ducks are at a point right now where they’ll have to gut it out with what they’ve got this season and hope for the best.

Stephens also pointed out the Ducks lack sufficient cap space to part with inexpensive assets to land expensive, established young talent. Trading away Zegras and/or Drysdale would’ve been gutting the pieces necessary for their long-overdue rebuild. They also lack suitable talent to do a dollar-for-dollar swap that could improve their roster.










NHL Trade Roundup: Reviewing the Deals Last Week

NHL Trade Roundup: Reviewing the Deals Last Week

 










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 9, 2020

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 9, 2020

The Jets are reportedly close to acquiring Paul Stastny, Justin Williams retires, the Canadiens re-sign Josh Anderson, the Devils buy out Cory Schneider, and much more in the NHL morning coffee headlines.

WINNIPEG SUN: Scott Billeck cites sources claiming the Jets are working on a trade that would bring Paul Stastny back to Winnipeg. Stastny was briefly part of the Jets in 2017-18, helping them reach the Western Conference Final before signing with the Vegas Golden Knights as a free agent. It’s believed the Jets will take on his full $6.5 million salary-cap hit on the final year of his three-year contract, with the two clubs also swapping draft picks.

**UPDATE** TSN’s Darren Dreger reports Stastny to Winnipeg for a 2022 fourth rounder and defenseman Carl Dahlstrom

Vegas Golden Knights center Paul Stastny could return to the Winnipeg Jets (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Bringing back Stastny could address the Jets’ need for a second-line center. That suggests sidelined center Bryan Little’s status for next season remains in doubt while putting to rest the trade speculation swirling about winger Patrik Laine.

It will also signal the Golden Knights are shedding salary to be busy in the free-agent market, which opens at noon ET today. The move could also be an indicator of the difficulty the Golden Knights are having trying to move goalie Marc-Andre Fleury in a cost-cutting deal.

THE NEWS & OBSERVER: Carolina Hurricanes winger Justin Williams announced his retirement yesterday.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Best wishes to Williams and his family in his future endeavors. He spent 19 seasons in the NHL with the Hurricanes, Philadelphia Flyers, Los Angeles Kings and Washington Capitals, winning the Stanley Cup with the Canes in 2006 and two Cups with the Kings in 2012 and 2014. He won the Conn Smythe Trophy during the latter run, earning the nickname “Mr. Game 7” by holding the record for most points (15) in Game 7 situations. In 1,264 games, Williams tallied 320 goals and 797 points. He also had 41 goals and 102 points in 162 playoff games.

MONTREAL GAZETTE: Two days after acquiring winger Josh Anderson, the Canadiens re-signed him to a seven-year, $38.5-million contract. The annual average value is $5.5 million.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That’s a hefty new contract for a 26-year-old winger who’s yet to suit up for the Canadiens,  has one good season (27 goals, 47 points in 2018-19) and missed most of last season to a shoulder injury that required surgery to repair.

General manager Marc Bergevin envisions the 6’3”, 222-pounder as a power forward. This will be seen as a worthwhile investment if Anderson has fully recovered from his surgery and plays up to expectation. Otherwise, it’ll provide additional fodder for Bergevin critics and turn up the pressure on Habs ownership to fire their GM.

NORTHJERSEY.COM: The New Jersey Devils placed goaltender Cory Schneider on unconditional waivers yesterday for the purpose of buying out his contract. Schneider, 34, lost the starter’s job to Mackenzie Blackwood. He has two years left on his contract worth $6 million annually.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Schneider was among the NHL’s top goalies from 2013-14 to 2015-16. Injuries, however, hampered his performance in recent years. His buyout will count as $2 million annually against the Devils’ cap through 2023-24.

NJ.COM: The Devils also acquired defenseman Ryan Murray from the Columbus Blue Jackets in exchange for a 2021 fifth-round pick.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Murray is a skilled defenseman plagued by injuries for most of his career. He has a year remaining on his contract worth $4.6 million. If he stays healthy he could be a worthwhile addition to the Devils’ blueline. They still have over $25 million in salary-cap space and could use some of it in the upcoming free-agent market.

THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH: The Blue Jackets also traded defenseman Markus Nutivaara to the Florida Panthers for minor-league forward Cliff Pu. Nutivaara, 26, has two years remaining on his contract worth an annual average value of $2.7 million.

THE SCORE: The Jackets also placed center Alexander Wennberg on unconditional waivers for the purpose of a contract buyout. The 26-year-old has three years left on his contract worth $4.9 million AAV. For buyout purposes, however, he’ll be considered 25 as that’s what his age would’ve been during a normal regular season when the buyout period would be in June. That means his buyout will be calculated at one-third the remaining value, rather than two-thirds.

NHL.COM: The Jackets also re-signed goaltender Matiss Kivlenieks to a two-year, two-way contract.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The moves leave the Jackets with $14.2 million in cap space, more than enough to re-sign Pierre-Luc Dubois and perhaps leave enough for an addition or two via trade or free agency.

NBC SPORTS CHICAGO: Long time Blackhawks goaltender Corey Crawford is heading to the free-agent market.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Crawford spent 13 seasons with the Blackhawks, 10 of those as their starting goalie. He backstopped them to two Stanley Cups (2013, 2015) but has been plagued by injuries over the past three seasons. Expect the Blackhawks to seek his replacement via trade or free agency.

SPORTSNET: The Ottawa Senators acquired defenseman Erik Gudbranson from the Anaheim Ducks in exchange for a 2021 fifth-round pick. He has a year remaining on his contract with an AAV of $4 million.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Another short-term pickup by the Senators to take some pressure off their developing young defensemen. The Ducks, meanwhile, have $4.47 million in cap space and will get an additional $6.875 million in wiggle room should Ryan Kesler remain on long-term injury reserve.

NBC SPORTS BOSTON: Goaltender Tuukka Rask said he doesn’t want to play for anyone but the Bruins. Rask’s name recently surfaced in trade rumors, prompting GM Don Sweeney to claim the goalie is a “big part of the roster going forward.” Rask is a year away from unrestricted free agent eligibility.

TSN: The Dallas Stars lifted the interim tag from head coach Rick Bowness, who is expected to sign a new contract with the club.

SPORTSNET: The Stars also released a lengthy list of their injured players following the Stanley Cup playoffs. Among the notables was Jamie Benn (shoulder surgery before the schedule was paused), Tyler Seguin (knee, torn labrum), Ben Bishop (knee surgery in May), Roope Hintz (fractured ankle) and Anton Khudobin (arm surgery).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Seguin received criticism for his offensive struggles during the postseason. This is yet another reminder that an NHL player failing to play up to expectations in playoff action is usually nursing an injury that would sideline athletes in other sports.

WGR 550: The Buffalo Sabres are close to re-signing forward Zemgus Girgensons to a three-year contract worth around $2 million per season.

TRIBLIVE.COM: The Pittsburgh Penguins re-signed forward Sam Lafferty to a two-year contract with an AAV of $750K.

MONTREAL GAZETTE: The Canadiens re-signed defenseman Noah Juulsen to a one-year, two-way contract.

 

 










NHL Rumor Mill – October 7, 2020

NHL Rumor Mill – October 7, 2020

Entering the second day of the 2020 Draft, here’s a look at the latest trade and free agent speculation in the NHL rumor mill.

EKMAN-LARSSON SETS TRADE DEADLINE

THE SCORE: Brandon Maron cites Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman reports the agent for defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson will stick with the Arizona Coyotes if a trade to the Boston Bruins or Vancouver Canucks doesn’t materialize by Friday.

Arizona Coyotes defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That doesn’t give Coyotes GM Bill Armstrong much time to hammer out a deal with the Bruins or Canucks. It could also affect what type of return he could get. Depending on how much pressure Armstrong’s getting from Coyotes ownership to move Ekman-Larsson’s contract, he could end up getting a lot less than he hoped.

Coyotes insider Craig Morgan believes Armstrong seeks a combination of draft picks and prospects for Ekman-Larsson. He cites two sources claiming Armstrong sought goalie Thatcher Demko as part of the return from the Canucks but that’s a non-starter. Morgan also noted the Bruins have two good young players in winger Jake DeBrusk and defenseman Brandon Carlo that could interest the Coyotes if they’re looking to do more than just shed salary and look for a brighter future down the road.

LAINE LINKED TO FLYERS

NBC SPORTS PHILADELPHIA: Jordan Hall notes the latest trade speculation linking the Flyers to Winnipeg Jets winger Patrik Laine but he thinks we should pump the brakes on that speculation. He believes it could cost the Flyers a good young defenseman such as Travis Sanheim or Philippe Myers or possibly a good young center off their roster or in their system. The economic uncertainty facing the league going forward could also make it difficult for the Flyers to re-sign Laine, who’s a restricted free agent next summer with arbitration rights.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Flyers GM Chuck Fletcher probably inquired into Laine’s availability but he could face paying a steep price. The Jets need a second-line center and a top-four defenseman and the asking price for Laine could include one or both of those pieces. The young sniper could also seek a significant raise over his current $6.75 million cap hit.

LATEST ON STAMKOS AND JOHNSON

TSN: Pierre LeBrun acknowledged the speculation that Steven Stamkos isn’t listed among the Tampa Bay Lightning’s untouchables. However, he considers it unlikely Stamkos will be moved, citing his expensive contract (with a full no-movement clause) and his value to the Lightning as their captain.

However, the Lightning are pressing on with other possible moves. LeBrun reports Tyler Johnson’s agent has presented general manager Julien BriseBois with five or six teams he’d waive his no-trade clause for, though nothing is currently imminent.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I’ll be very surprised if Stamkos is traded. Johnson, on the other hand, sounds more of a trade possibility now that he’s provided Bolts management with a list of preferred trade destinations. Now BriseBois has to determine if any of those teams are interested in Johnson, who has four years left on his contract with an annual average value of $5 million. The Lightning are looking to shed salary to re-sign restricted free agents Anthony Cirelli and Mikhail Sergachev.

UPDATES ON THE GOLDEN KNIGHTS

Frank Seravalli reports moving goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury is the No.1 priority for the Vegas Golden Knights. GM Kelly McCrimmon is trying to shed salary and he’s been engaged with a number of teams (including the Carolina Hurricanes) to act as a third party to take on some of Fleury’s salary to facilitate a trade to another club. The Golden Knights are willing to offer up a second-round pick to that third team if they’ll eat up to half of Fleury’s salary, but Seravalli believes that price would have to be a first- and a second-round pick.

Seravalli also reported the Golden Knights had had trade talks regarding defenseman Nate Schmidt over the weekend. They could also consider moving Paul Stastny or Jonathan Marchessault.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: They could have an easier time moving Schmidt, Stastny or Marchessault than they would shipping out Fleury if it takes a three-way trade to do so. Trying to put together that deal would be a complicated endeavor at the best of times. It’s more difficult now under a flattened salary cap. The Golden Knights will either have to add more sweeteners or pick up part of Fleury’s salary themselves and then make another cost-cutting move involving a different player.

IN OTHER RUMORS…

LeBrun said he’s keeping an eye on Buffalo Sabres winger Wayne Simmonds, who’s slated to become an unrestricted free agent on Friday and is likely headed to market. The Toronto Maple Leafs and Montreal Canadiens are said to be interested in Simmonds for the right price.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: LeBrun claimed the Canadiens were still interested in Simmonds despite the acquisition yesterday of Josh Anderson. The right price could be a one-year contract worth around $1.5 million.

Seravalli also wondered if the Columbus Blue Jackets will buy out center Alexander Wennberg before the contract buyout window closes at 5 pm ET on Thursday. A buyout would save the Blue Jackets $10.7 million in actual cash and $4.46 million in cap savings over the next three years.

THE SCORE: Sean O’Leary cites The Athletic’s Craig Custance reporting Vancouver Canucks winger Tyler Toffoli is likely headed to the UFA market on Friday.

 










NHL Rumor Mill – September 15, 2020

NHL Rumor Mill – September 15, 2020

What next for the Golden Knights following their playoff elimination? How are Alex Pietrangelo’s contract talks going? What’s the latest on the Sabres? Find out in today’s NHL rumor mill.

WHAT NEXT FOR THE GOLDEN KNIGHTS?

ESPN.COM: Greg Wyshynski believes the Vegas Golden Knights must sort out their goaltending drama. Marc-Andre Fleury was supplanted in the starting goaltender role by Robin Lehner. Wyshynski reported a source claimed Lehner and the Golden Knights have a handshake agreement on a five-year contract extension. He wondered if the Golden Knights are prepared to invest a lot of money in Fleury and Lehner, or if Fleury even wants to stay.

Wyshynski also believes they should reexamine the center position, pointing out Paul Stastny is no longer a reliable second-line center. Unless Chandler Stephenson or Cody Glass can develop into that role, Wyshynski feels they should consider addressing that issue, potentially by moving out Stastny and his $6.5-million cap hit.

THE ATHLETIC: Jesse Granger speculates a new contract for Lehner could be a five-year, $25-million deal. With over $76.5 million invested in next year’s payroll, they’ll have to shed some salary to make room for Lehner and restricted free agents like Stephenson and Nick Cousins. He also suggests Fleury as a trade candidate.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Cap Friendly indicates the 35-year-old Fleury is signed through 2021-22 with an annual average value of $7 million and a 10-team no-trade list. Even if he agrees to narrow that list, his cap hit and age could make him difficult to move given the current economic conditions and the flooded market for goaltenders.

I’m not saying Fleury can’t be traded. However, the Golden Knights might have to pick up part of that cap hit or perhaps bundle him with a quality draft pick or prospect to facilitate a deal.

Stastny has one year left on his contract. Like Fleury, he has a 10-team no-trade list. At 34, he’s no longer as effective as he once was. His age and cap hit could also be a sticking point but having just one year left on his contract might make him a little easier to move.

PIETRANGELO DISAPPOINTED IN PROGRESS OF CONTRACT TALKS

THE SCORE: Brandon Maron cited The Athletic’s Pierre LeBrun reporting Alex Pietrangelo has found it “a little disappointing” that he and the St. Louis Blues haven’t reached an agreement yet on a new contract. The 30-year-old defenseman is slated to become an unrestricted free agent on Oct. 9.

Pietrangelo indicated there hasn’t been much progress in contract discussions. While he wants to stay in St. Louis, he understands the difficulty the Blues face re-signing him with just $5 million in salary-cap space. “I think you have to be willing to accept the fact that there may be a change one day,” said Pietrangelo. “Whether it happens or not, it certainly changes your mindset and makes things a little easier if you ever get to that point.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Pietrangelo would prefer staying in St. Louis because his wife is from there and they’ve raised a family there. However, he also noted a number of players have moved on after spending most of their careers in one city. It sounds like he and his wife are preparing for that possibility. There’s still enough time for Pietrangelo and the Blues to hammer out a deal, but that’ll depend upon his asking price and how much cap space they can free up.

LeBrun listed the Toronto Maple Leafs, Vegas Golden Knights and Florida Panthers as possible destinations for Pietrangelo if he hits the open market. He acknowledged those three clubs have salary-cap issues but didn’t rule out one of them trying to find a way to sign the Blues captain.

LATEST ON THE SABRES

THE ATHLETIC (subscription required): John Vogl noted a recent report by TSN indicating the Buffalo Sabres could have an internal salary cap in the $70-million range. He suggested selling low on defenseman Brandon Montour, find a taker for blueliner Rasmus Ristolainen, and perhaps re-sign some of their restricted free agents to cost-effective one-year deals with the promise of raises next summer.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Cap Friendly indicates the Sabres currently have over $48.2 million committed to 10 players. Vogl points out re-signing key RFAs like Montour, goalie Linus Ullmark, and forwards Sam Reinhart, Victor Olofsson and Dominik Kahun could cost a combined $24.5 million, pushing them over $70 million and leaving little room for additions.

Moving Montour for a draft pick and perhaps a prospect will help. Vogl noted they couldn’t find an acceptable for Ristolainen and his $5.4-million cap hit plus head coach Ralph Krueger likes the blueliner’s game.