NHL Rumor Mill – January 20, 2018

NHL Rumor Mill – January 20, 2018

Latest on Erik Karlsson, John Tavares, Evander Kane and more in your NHL rumor mill.

Are the Ottawa Senators laying the groundwork to trade Erik Karlsson (Photo via NHL Images).


SPORTSNET: Comments on Thursday by Ottawa Senators general manager Pierre Dorion suggesting he could listen to a good offer for Erik Karlsson prompted Elliotte Friedman to suggest the Sens could be laying the groundwork to trade their captain. Dorion said his club’s first priority is to re-sign Karlsson, who’s eligible in 2019 to become an unrestricted free agent. However, he added, “He’s a special player, but Wayne Gretzky got traded, so, if a team offers you an offer you can’t turn down, you listen.”

Friedman feels Karlsson’s wants to be a Senator for the remainder of his career. “But I think there’s a lot of players there who doubt they can win under current ownership — I think he’s one of them,” he said.

Taking note of Dorion’s comments, Eric Francis ponders what it might cost the Calgary Flames to make a pitch for Karlsson. “(What)  if the Flames offered up a package that included (Harvard defenseman Adam) Fox, a top goalie prospect (former NCAA champ Jon Gillies or former Memorial Cup/world junior champ Tyler Parsons) and another stud defensive prospect in either Rasmus Andersson or Oliver Kylington?” He also wonders if the Flames might have to add a roster play as well, and if it would be too high a price for a blueliner who’ll be a UFA next year.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Before everyone starts salivating over a Karlsson trade, let’s remember that Dorion said his first priority is re-signing the blueliner. He’s not ruling out a trade but he’s not saying he’s shopping him. Unless Karlsson is asking to be dealt, Dorion isn’t under pressure to move him before the Feb. 26 trade deadline.

Is it possible the Sens could get an offer too good to pass up for Karlsson? Sure. Will they get it before the trade deadline? Probably not. Players of that magnitude tend to get dealt in the offseason, not in the weeks leading up to the trade deadline. That’s because there are more teams flush with salary-cap space in the summer willing to make trades. If the Sens and Karlsson can’t agree to a contract extension this summer, I wouldn’t be surprised if Dorion tries to trade him.


TSN: Darren Dreger believes it’s unlikely center John Tavares will leave the New York Islanders via free agency in July. Given the Montreal Canadiens’ lack of depth at center, however, he feels they have no choice but to be ready just in case Tavares hits the open market. If the Isles captain becomes a UFA, Dreger said an NHL executive suggested someone could offer him a seven-year deal worth $15-million per season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I share Dreger’s belief that Tavares will re-sign with the Islanders. Assuming he doesn’t, however, I expect the Canadiens will be among the numerous suitors who’ll line up to sign him. Some folks might scoff at Tavares getting $15 million annually and I agree that’s too much, but never dismiss the ability of some general managers to succumb to auction fever on July 1. 

Meanwhile, Dreger also reported Canadiens GM Marc Bergevin has assets, such as forwards Max Pacioretty, Andrew Shaw and Alex Galchenyuk, he could consider moving out at the trade deadline. He said there are suitors interested in those players.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: At least one of those forwards will be playing for a new club by Feb. 26. Pacioretty will attract the most interest but Bergevin might prefer waiting for the offseason trade market in hopes of getting a better return. Shaw’s $3.9 million cap hit isn’t too bad but the length of his deal (he’s signed through 2021-22) could be a deal breaker. Galchenyuk’s younger (23), still has upside and, while earning $4.9 million AAV, has only two more seasons remaining on his contract. That could make him the most likely to be dealt. 


THE ATHLETIC: Michael Russo recently fielded questions from his readers over possible moves by the Minnesota Wild. If GM Chuck Fletcher makes moves at the deadline, he thinks he’d attempt to shed salary by moving out players such as Marcus Foligno or Tyler Ennis, rather than trading draft picks for rental players. He wouldn’t be shocked if Fletcher tried to move Chris Stewart. He could also see him move Matt Cullen if the Wild fall out of the playoff race. 

Asked if the Wild might consider moving a player from their “young” core, Russo thinks they’ll have to consider it. He could see forward Charlie Coyle being moved, unless they feel the cost of re-signing Matt Dumba or Jason Zucker is getting out of whack. While noting Coyle’s had a disappointing season since returning from a broken tibia, trading him would be a significant step and they’d have to get a solid return. Such a move would likely have to happen in the offseason. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Much will depend, of course, on where the Wild are in the standings leading up to the deadline next month. As of today, they’re sitting just outside of a wild-card berth in the Western Conference. If they’re still in the hunt they could become buyers. If not, they’ll look to shed salary and perhaps rethink the makeup of their current roster. 



NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 16, 2016

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 16, 2016

The Toronto Maple Leafs officially retired the numbers of 17 players.

The Toronto Maple Leafs officially retired the numbers of 17 players.

Leafs retire 17 player numbers. Details & more in this morning’s collection of NHL headlines. 

NHL.COMMitch Marner tallied his first NHL goal in the Toronto Maple Leafs 4-1 win over the Boston Bruins. Prior to the game, the Leafs announced in a pregame ceremony they were retiring the numbers of 17 players, including Wendel Clark, Doug Gilmour, Dave Keon, Darryl Sittler, Mats Sundin, Borje Salming, Turk Broda, Syl Apps, Frank Mahovlich and Johnny Bower. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This was an honor long overdue for those Leafs legends. Nice to see the current management and ownership finally do the right thing and retire those numbers. 

Richard Panik’s hat trick lifted the Chicago Blackhawks to a 5-3 win over the Nashville Predators. 

Joe Colborne’s hat trick helped the Colorado Avalanche nip the Dallas Stars 6-5. 

Daniel Winnik two goals lifted gave the Washington Capitals a 2-1 victory over the New York Islanders

Phil Kessel tallied his second straight game-winning goal to give the Pittsburgh Penguins a 3-2 victory over the Anaheim Ducks.

Chris Stewart had a Gordie Howe hat trick (goal, assist, fight) as the Minnesota Wild edged the Winnipeg Jets 4-3.

NBC SPORTS: The Columbus Blue Jackets have suspended forward Gregory Campbell for failing to report to their AHL affiliate 

OTTAWA SUN: John Horan wonders why NHL Hall of Famer Phil Esposito’s legacy hasn’t received proper recognition in Canada. Esposito set several scoring records (many eventually broken by Wayne Gretzky) and led Team Canada to victory over the Soviet Union in the 1972 Summit Series. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I believe part of the reason why Esposito doesn’t get his just due is he was overshadowed by teammate Bobby Orr, who was the NHL’s dominant, game-changing star during Espo’s glory years in the late-’60s and early-’70s. Some also considered Esposito a one-dimensional scorer who merely parked himself near the crease and swatted in rebounds. A better appreciation of his game didn’t occur until the Summit Series.