NHL Rumor Mill – September 19, 2020

NHL Rumor Mill – September 19, 2020

A look at TSN’s list of 10 contracts potentially on the move in today’s NHL rumor mill.

TSN: Arizona Coyotes winger Phil Kessel, St. Louis Blues center Tyler Bozak, and Edmonton Oilers winger Andreas Athanasiou top Frank Seravalli’s list of 10 contracts potentially on the move in the offseason, based on the financial or salary-cap implications facing each club.

Kessel is owed just $5.95 million in total real dollars through 2021-22. Despite the drop in his production this season, a re-energized Kessel could be helpful to a Cup contender.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kessel’s $5-million signing bonus for 2020-21 has already been paid out, which explains why his actual salary will be so low. His full cap hit is $8 million but the Coyotes are only carrying $6.8 million because the Toronto Maple Leafs are picking up $1.2 million in retained salary as the condition for trading him to Pittsburgh in 2015.

That might make Kessel enticing for clubs seeking experienced scoring depth on right wing. However, he has a reputation as a high-maintenance player, which could hurt his trade value almost as much as this season’s sudden decline in his production.

Bozak could be a trade candidate in a retained salary transaction if the Blues decide to shed salary to re-sign defenseman Alex Pietrangelo.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Seravalli’s list was published before last night’s report indicating contract talks between the Blues and Pietrangelo had broken off. While they still could attempt to move Bozak to give them some additional wiggle room, there won’t be as much urgency to do so if Pietrangelo departs.

Seravalli reports the Oilers are trying to trade Athanasiou before he’s due a $3 million qualifying offer on Oct. 7. However, teams think GM Ken Holland could let him walk, which would hurt Athanasiou’s trade value.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Edmonton Journal’s David Staples believes Holland is in a bind given he parted with two second-round draft picks to acquire Athanasiou. He’s not worth $3 million, and Staples thinks Holland believes he can find a better winger than Athanasiou at a lower price. If so, he might have to let him walk and try to replace those two draft picks via the trade market.

Vancouver Canucks defenseman Troy Stecher and center Brandon Sutter, Pittsburgh Penguins winger Patric Hornqvist, and Dallas Stars goaltender Ben Bishop fill spots four through seven on Seravalli’s list.

Stecher is a restricted free agent who could become a UFA if the Canucks opt not to qualify his rights. The Canucks would like to keep him but their pipeline of promising blueliners and salary-cap constraints could rule out a long-term commitment. Sutter, meanwhile, could be easier to move than Loui Eriksson if the Canucks are willing to retain a bit of his $4.375-million cap hit.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Canucks could re-sign Stecher if they part ways with pending UFA blueliner Chris Tanev. Given GM Jim Benning’s failed efforts last year to move Eriksson, I agree that Sutter could become a trade candidate. He carries a 15-team no-trade clause, which will hamper those efforts.

Seravalli considers Hornqvist the odd man out for the Penguins as a third-line winger with a $5.3 million AAV, but noted the remaining three years on his contract could be an issue. He feels they might have to retain salary to make that work.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Agreed. I don’t see many clubs interested in picking up that full cap hit for the next three years. Another sticking point is Hornqvist’s full no-trade clause for 2020-21, though perhaps he might waive it for the right team.

Seravalli wonders where Bishop fits into the Stars’ plans, pointing out he seems to be injured when it matters most. He thinks they could find a taker for Bishop as he’s owed just $8 million in real cash over the remaining three years of his contract.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That low actual salary could be enticing, but Bishop’s injury history also screams, “Buyer beware!” He also has a 10-team no-trade list, plus a no-movement clause over the remainder of his contract, meaning he’d have to be protected in next year’s expansion draft unless he agrees to waive it.

Tampa Bay Lightning forward Tyler Johnson, Chicago Blackhawks winger Brandon Saad, and Columbus Blue Jackets forward Brandon Dubinsky round out Seravalli’s list.

Johnson could be shopped in a cost-cutting deal, though he has a full no-trade clause. Saad could also be a cost-cutting casualty as the Blackhawks need to re-sign Dominik Kubalik and Dylan Strome plus find a starting goalie. A chronic wrist injury has likely ended Dubinsky’s career but his $5.85-million cap hit for next season could be attractive for clubs looking to use long-term injury reserve to manipulate their salary cap.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Johnson’s NTC could rule him out as a trade candidate. Most of the speculation surrounding the Lightning suggests it could be Alex Killorn (who has a modified no-trade) who could be on the moves.

Saad has a year remaining on his contract and a 10-team no-trade list. He’d be attractive to rival clubs seeking a top-six winger, but The Athletic’s Mark Lazerus said in a recent mailbag segment he’s not convinced the Blackhawks could trade him. He felt they could find extra cap room by trading or buying out Olli Maatta and Zack Smith.

The Jackets could indeed attempt to move Dubinsky’s contract to a club either looking to use LTIR to go over the cap to add another player or by a budget club looking to reach the cap floor. He’s got a 10-team no-trade list but that shouldn’t be an issue if his playing days are over.

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.


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.


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.


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.

NHL Rumor Mill – October 24, 2019

NHL Rumor Mill – October 24, 2019

Latest on the Sabres, Senators, Islanders, and Canucks in today’s NHL rumor mill.


Could the Buffalo Sabres trade defenseman Marco Scandella? (Photo via NHL Images)

  SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman reports Marco Scandella has become the subject of trade speculation. The Buffalo Sabres are tight against the salary cap. Rasmus Ristolainen, the subject of offseason trade chatter, seems very happy playing under Sabres coach Ralph Krueger. Scandella is in the final season of his contract with an annual average value of $4 million.

THE BUFFALO NEWS: Lance Lysowski reports Sabres general manager Jason Botterill doesn’t seem interested in moving a defenseman right now. He views his blueline surplus as a strategical advantage, pointing out their depth has helped them cope with a chaotic early schedule and injuries.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Sabres will have to become salary-cap compliant when Zach Bogosian and Brandon Montour return from injury. With Ristolainen seemingly changing his tune about wanting a trade, moving Scandella seems a logical choice. Finding a trade partner willing to take on that cap hit won’t be easy but clubs seeking left-side blueline depth could come calling.


SPORTSNET: With Colin White and Artem Anisimov sidelined, Elliotte Friedman reports the Ottawa Senators are trying hard to find a forward.

THE ATHLETIC: In a recent mailbag segment, Hailey Salvian was asked which pending unrestricted free agents the Senators could move before the February trade deadline. She believes forward Vladislav Namestnikov and Mikkel Boedker could be trade candidates. Defenseman Dylan DeMelo and center Jean-Gabriel Pageau could also hit the trade block if the Senators feel they don’t fit into their plans.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: For now, the Senators have called up Logan Brown. They were believed to be in the market for another experienced forward before White and Anisimov went down.  I can see them retaining DeMelo or Pageau for the right price.


TSN: Darren Dreger reported the New York Islanders are working on trading Josh Ho-Sang. The 23-year-old winger is training and skating in Toronto after clearing waivers and requesting a trade earlier this month.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The fact no one has acquired Ho-Sang yet speaks volumes for how much his value has tumbled in the trade market. I doubt the Islanders seek a big return for him. Maybe a struggling club or one riddled with injuries will take a chance on him at some point.


NHL Rumor Mill – October 23, 2019

NHL Rumor Mill – October 23, 2019

Updates on the Predators, Senators, and Canucks, plus a look at possible trade destinations for Taylor Hall in today’s NHL rumor mill.


TSN: Pierre LeBrun reports contract extension talks between the Nashville Predators and Roman Josi hit a snag before the start of training camp. There was a meeting last week between the defenseman’s agent and Predators general manager David Poile. LeBrun believes Josi’s camp wants him to become the third-highest paid defenseman in the league but the Predators aren’t there.

Nashville Predators defenseman Roman Josi could seek a substantial raise on his next contract (Photo via NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: LeBrun pointed out San Jose’s Erik Karlsson ($11.5 million annual average value) and Los Angeles’ Drew Doughty ($11 million) are the highest-paid blueliners. The Josi camp could seek something between $10.5 – $10.9 million. With over $58.9 million invested in 13 players, the Predators’ cap payroll would be pushed to nearly $70 million, leaving little room to fill out the rest of the roster.

LeBrun also believes defenseman Troy Stecher’s situation is worth monitoring. He’s dropped out of the Vancouver Canucks’ top-four blueline pairings. Stecher’s in his contract year and LeBrun speculates teams could reach out to the Canucks at some point. For now, however, they are finally happy to have blueline depth.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Cap Friendly indicates Stecher’s a restricted free agent with arbitration rights next summer. If he remains out of their top four they might test his trade value. That could depend upon his performance and where the Canucks are in the standings later in the season. If they’re in playoff contention they’ll likely hang onto him.

Darren Dreger reports Ottawa Senators GM Pierre Dorion is shopping for help for his rebuilding roster. He’d like to make an affordable addition to his forward lines similar to his recent acquisition of Vladislav Namestnikov. Dreger said the Senators’ front office know they have to be patient with their young players but would like to be a little more competitive.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Senators landed Namestnikov because the New York Rangers wanted to shed salary. I daresay Dorion will be contacting cap-strapped clubs looking to move out a player or two.


SPORTSNET: Luke Fox recently proposed the Colorado Avalanche, Montreal Canadiens, and Anaheim Ducks as possible trade destinations for Taylor Hall if the New Jersey Devils move him before the trade deadline. The three clubs have the salary-cap space to pick up Hall’s $6 million salary-cap hit.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Fox isn’t ruling the Devils out of the playoff race despite their slow start and he’s not saying Hall won’t re-sign. He’s just spitballing over the winger’s future. If Hall becomes available, the Avs, Canadiens, and Ducks have the cap space and depth in prospects and young players to entice the Devils. Much will depend, however, on whether Hall wants to re-sign with the team that acquires him.

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 21, 2018

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 21, 2018

Wild avoid arbitration with Matt Dumba, updates on Jacob Trouba and Dylan Larkin plus the latest notable contract signings in your NHL morning coffee headlines.

Minnesota Wild re-sign defenseman Matt Dumba to a five-year contract (Photo via NHL Images).

THE ATHLETIC’s Michael Russo cites Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman reporting the Minnesota Wild have avoided salary arbitration with defenseman Matt Dumba, signing him to a five-year, $30-million contract. The annual average value is $6 million.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: As per Cap Friendly, Dumba is completing a two-year contract worth $5.1 million. His new deal is worth more in its first season that the entirety of his previous one. 

This was Wild general manager Paul Fenton’s first major contract signing since taking over the job in May. Based on Dumba’s breakout performance last season (50 points in 82 games), Fenton apparently believes the 23-year-old has arrived as a productive offensive blueliner.

Despite Dumba’s obvious offensive skills, his defensive play has raised concern in the past. That explains the early criticism of this deal. If he improves over time in his own zone, however, those critics could find his new contract worthwhile. 

Dumba’s new contract will push the Wild’s projected cap payroll to over $75.5 million  for 2018-19. That won’t leave much for free-agent winger Jason Zucker, whose arbitration hearing is July 28. 

WINNIPEG FREE PRESS: The arbitration hearing for Jets defenseman Jacob Trouba was held on Friday. He and the club now await the arbiter’s decision on a one-year contract, which is expected on Sunday. The Jets reportedly sought $4 million while the Trouba camp wanted $7 million. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s still possible for the two sides to reach an agreement on a contract before the arbiter’s ruling. In this case, however, that might not happen. I’ll have more on Trouba’s status later this morning in the Rumors section. 

MLIVE.COM: The Detroit Red Wings are working toward a new, long-term contract with forward Dylan Larkin. The Wings reportedly seek a five-year deal while Larkin wants six years. It’s expected the annual average value will be in the $6-million range.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Doesn’t sound like the two sides are very apart here. Larkin’s new contract could be announced within the next several weeks. 

TSN: The Vancouver Canucks avoided arbitration with defenseman Troy Stecher, inking him to a two-year contract worth an annual average value of $2.325 million. 

CALGARY SUN: The Flames appear headed to arbitration Monday with defenseman Brett Kulak after he passed unclaimed through waivers on Friday. 


NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 25, 2017

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 25, 2017

Game recaps plus injury and waiver updates in your NHL morning coffee headlines. 

NHL.COM : Shea Weber scored twice, Alex Galcheyuk, Brendan Gallagher and Max Pacioretty ended their goalless droughts and Carey Price made 26 saves as the Montreal Canadiens snapped a seven-game losing skid with a 5-1 victory over the Florida Panthers. Earlier in the day, the Panthers claimed goaltender Antti Niemi off waivers from the Pittsburgh Penguins. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: For the first time this season, all the Canadiens top players were at their best at the same time. The Habs looked a little shaky in the first period and fell behind 1-0 early in the second but three goals late in the second period (two on the power play) shifted momentum in their favor. As for the Panthers claiming Niemi, that move suggests starting goalie Roberto Luongo could be sidelined longer than expected. 

In his first-ever NHL star, goaltender Oscar Dansk made 29 saves as the Vegas Golden Knights doubled up the Chicago Blackhawks 4-2. Tomas Nosek had a goal and an assist for the Knights, who’ve won seven of their first eight games. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Golden Knights fairy-tale start continues. No one expected them to play this well. This was their second straight win against one of the top teams in the Western Conference, having defeated the St. Louis Blues in their previous game. 

John Tavares tallied a hat trick to lead the New York Islanders to a 5-3 victory over the Arizona Coyotes, leaving the latter winless through their first nine games of this season. Coyotes rookie Clayton Keller collected two assists.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Keller’s performance is among the few bright spots for the floundering Coyotes thus far this season. He leads all NHL rookies in goals (six) and points (10). 

Steven Stamkos had two assists and Nikita Kucherov scored a goal to lead the Tampa Bay Lightning to a 5-1 win over the Carolina Hurricanes. Both players now have 10-game point streaks. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s only early in the season but the Lightning are serving notice they’re back as serious Stanley Cup contenders. 

Phil Kessel scored in overtime and Matt Murray made 29 saves as the Pittsburgh Penguins nipped the Edmonton Oilers 2-1. Connor McDavid scored for the Oilers. Penguins defenseman Justin Schultz left the game in the first period with a concussion. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: If not for Murray’s heroics, this game never would’ve reached overtime and the Penguins wouldn’t have won. He made several big saves in this one. The Oilers didn’t help themselves, missing some opportunities to score with an open net. 

Ryan Getzlaf netted a goal and an assist in his return from injury as the Anaheim Ducks downed the Philadelphia Flyers 6-2. Flyers rookie Nolan Patrick, the second-overall selection in the 2017 NHL Draft, left the game with a possible concussion

Matthew Tkachuk scored in regulation and netted the winner in a shootout as the Calgary Flames rallied to defeat the Nashville Predators 3-2. Dougie Hamilton had two assists for the Flames. 

Matt Nieto’s first career NHL hat trick carried the Colorado Avalanche to a 5-3 victory over the Dallas Stars.

Adrian Kempe scored the game-tying goal and the winner in a shootout as the Los Angeles Kings edged the Ottawa Senators 3-2. Earlier in the day, the Kings placed Jeff Carter (leg injury) on injured reserve

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The 21-year-old Kempe’s off to a terrific start for the Kings. With five goals and seven points in nine games, he’s already exceeded the two goals and six points he netted in 25 games last season. 

Robin Lehner turned in a 32-save shutout performance and Benoit Pouliot scored the only goal to give the Buffalo Sabres a 1-0 victory over the Detroit Red Wings, handing the latter their fifth straight defeat. 

Anders Nilson kicked out 29 shots as the Vancouver Canucks blanked the injury-ravaged Minnesota Wild 1-0. Jake Virtanen potted the game’s only goal. Earlier in the day, the Canucks announced defenseman Troy Stecher will be sidelined four-to-six weeks with a knee injury. 

NBC SPORTS WASHINGTON: Capitals winger Andre Burakovsky will be out six-to-eight weeks following surgery to repair his fractured left thumb. 

NEW YORK DAILY NEWS: The Rangers placed forward Adam Cracknell on waivers and recalled Cristoval “Boo” Nieves.