NHL Rumor Mill – September 8, 2017

NHL Rumor Mill – September 8, 2017

Former Buffalo Sabres captain Brian Gionta continues to weigh his options.

Latest on Brian Gionta plus updates on the Golden Knights and Stars in your NHL rumor mill.

THE BUFFALO NEWS: With NHL training camps opening next week, former Sabres captain Brian Gionta is weighing his options. The 38-year-old right wing is an unrestricted free agent.

Gionta’s agent, Steve Bartlett, said a number of teams have expressed interest in his client. The winger had hoped to re-sign with the Sabres but their offseason acquisition of Jason Pominville seems to have filled his right-wing spot. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Gionta’s agent didn’t indicate which clubs had interest in his client. At least he’s had some offers but it remains to be seen if he’ll accept any of them. His preference could be clubs in the Eastern Conference, where he’s spent his entire career. 

LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL: David Schoen recently noted five questions facing the expansion Golden Knights entering training camp, with their logjam on defense topping his list. They have 13 defensemen on the roster, with 11 on one-way NHL contracts. Schoen expects general manager George McPhee will attempt to move one or two blueliners before the start of the season. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Some of those d-men could be demoted to the minors. If McPhee shops one or two of them, Clayton Stoner, Luca Sbisa or Jon Merrill could become trade candidates. Don’t expect the younger guys with upside, such as Shea Theodore, Colin Miller or Nate Schmidt, to be dealt. 

DALLAS MORNING NEWS: During a recent live chat with Stars fans, Mike Heika was asked what he thought the trade value might be for blueliners Jamie Oleksiak or Patrik Nemeth. Heika said he wasn’t sure, though he believes both could benefit from a fresh start and could be in the top six on several clubs. However, he notes the Stars like both players and believe they could fit well into the club’s new system under new head coach Ken Hitchcock. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I think the Stars will evaluate their performances this season to determine if they fit into the club’s long-term plans. If both continue to struggle to crack the roster on a full-time basis, one or both could hit the trade block later in the season.


NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 29, 2016

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 29, 2016

St. Louis Blues forward Robby Fabbri scores one of his three goals against the Philadelphia Flyers.

Game recaps, Blackhawks re-sign Panarin and more in your NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.com: Sidney Crosby tallied his league-leading 26th goal and Marc-Andre Fleury made 19 saves in relief of an injured Matt Murray (lower body) as the Pittsburgh Penguins edged the Carolina Hurricanes 3-2.

Murray suffered the injury late in the second period. No word yet as to the severity. Earlier in the day, the Penguins learned defenseman Brian Dumoulin will miss four-to-six weeks with a broken jaw. 

Robby Fabbri’s hat trick carried the St. Louis Blues to a 6-3 victory over the Philadelphia Flyers, spoiling the return of Flyers center Sean Couturier from a knee injury. 

Tyler Johnson’s overtime goal capped a 4-3 comeback victory for the Tampa Bay Lightning over the Montreal Canadiens. The Bolts were down 3-1 but third-period goals from Victor Hedman and Ondrej Palat sparked their rally. The Lightning were playing without center Valtteri Filppula, who was scratched from the game for missing a team meeting

Ryan Miller made 36 saves backstopping the Vancouver Canucks to a 2-1 win over the Los Angeles Kings. Earlier in the day, the Kings placed forward Tyler Toffoli (lower body) on injured reserve

The Toronto Maple Leafs blew a 2-0 lead in the third period against the Florida Panthers, but Mitch Marner’s shootout goal gave them a 3-2 victory.  Panthers center Aleksander Barkov left the game with an undisclosed injury. No update yet as to his status. 

CHICAGO TRIBUNE: The Blackhawks yesterday announced the re-signing of winger Artemi Panarin to a two-year, $12-million contract extension. The new deal, which pays Panarin $6 million per season, goes into effect in 2017-18. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s a compromise deal for both sides. Panarin, the 2016 Calder Memorial Trophy winner and current Blackhawks’ leading scorer, gets a fair and well-deserved raise. The Hawks aren’t locked into a more expensive long-term deal with him just yet, pushing that inevitability ahead by two years. It was assumed Panarin would seek an eight-year deal worth around $7 million annually, but he was obviously willing to accept a shorter deal for less money to stay with the Blackhawks.

However, this new deal creates a significant problem for the ‘Hawks next season. With over $66 million invested in 15 players for 2017-18, the Blackhawks could have at most around $9 million remaining (assuming a $75 million cap ceiling) to re-sign other players and fill out the rest of their roster. I’ll examine how they could handle this later today in the Rumor section. 

YAHOO SPORTS: (stick tap to GJ Berg):  Long-time San Jose Sharks stars Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau aren’t sweating questions about their futures. Both are eligible for unrestricted free agency in July. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Given Thornton’s still playing well for someone who’s 37, I expect the Sharks will re-sign him to a two-year deal for perhaps around $6 million annually. Marleau, also 37, is in obvious decline. I think this season will not only be his last with the Sharks, but also the final one of his long NHL career. 

OTTAWA SUN: Senators goaltender Craig Anderson isn’t expected to return for a while. Anderson’s on a personal leave of absence to be with his wife Nicholle, who is undergoing cancer treatments. 

CSNNE.COM: Joe Haggerty believes the struggling Boston Bruins are in need of a shakeup and advocates replacing head coach Claude Julien. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Remains to be seen if the Bruins follow Haggerty’s advice. They could be reluctant to make that move while they’re still clinging to a postseason berth. If the losses start piling up and knock them out of playoff contention, Julien could be in jeopardy of losing his job. 

NORTHJERSEY.COM/NJ.COM: The New Jersey Devils placed center Vernon Fiddler (lower body) on injured reserve, while listing left wing Taylor Hall (lower body) as day-to-day. 

CALGARY SUN: Flames winger Troy Brouwer (broken finger) is listed as week-to-week. 

ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER: Anaheim Ducks defenseman Clayton Stoner (abdominal surgery) will miss the next four-to-six weeks. 

WINNIPEG SUN: The Jets demoted Andrew Copp and Brandon Tanev to the minors. 

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 8, 2016

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 8, 2016

The Edmonton Oilers traded Nail Yakupov to the St. Louis Blues.

The Edmonton Oilers traded Nail Yakupov to the St. Louis Blues.

Oilers trade Nail Yakupov to St. Louis and sign Kris Russell. Details and more in your NHL morning headlines. 

EDMONTON JOURNAL/STLTODAY.COM: The Edmonton Oilers traded right wing Nail Yakupov to the St. Louis Blues in exchange for minor-league winger Zach Pochiro and a conditional draft pick in 2007. It’s a third-round pick but could turn into a second rounder if Yakupov nets 15 or more goals this season with the Blues.

The Oilers also signed unrestricted free agent defenseman Kris Russell to a one-year, $3.1 million contract. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This move could be a good opportunity for the 23-year-old to get his NHL career back on track. Selected first overall in the 2012 NHL Draft, Yakupov struggled to play up to lofty expectations. 

The Oilers had reportedly spoken to other clubs about Yakupov, but the Blues were willing to take on his full $2.5 million cap hit for this season. The return isn’t much, but at this stage in Yakupov’s career, his trade value wasn’t high. Getting him off the roster and his salary off the books was of more importance for the Oilers.

Acquiring Yakupov is an affordable short-term gamble for the Blues. If he doesn’t pan out, they can expose him in the expansion draft or let him walk as a UFA in July. 

Russell has his critics, but he will bring experienced depth to an Oilers blueline lacking those qualities. Like Yakupov with the Blues, Russell is an affordable short-term gamble the Oilers can simply cut loose next summer if he doesn’t work out. 

CSN BAY AREA:  Contract extension talks have reportedly started between the San Jose Sharks and top defenseman Brent Burns, who’s eligible next summer for unrestricted free agency. 

THE DETROIT NEWS: The Red Wings could start the season without top defenseman Niklas Kronwall, who has lingering pain in his left knee. 

ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER’s Eric Stephens reports Anaheim Ducks defenseman Clayton Stoner cleared waivers yesterday and remains with the team. 

NEWSDAY:  The New York Rangers placed forwards Tanner Glass and Nathan Gerbe on waivers Friday. 

PHILLY.COM:  Philadelphia Flyers defenseman Michael Del Zotto is sidelined four-five weeks with a knee injury. 

THE MERCURY NEWS: San Jose Sharks winger Joel Ward will miss the club’s final two preseason games with a lower-body injury. He’s expected to return to the lineup in time for their regular-season opener. 

CSNNE.COM:  Boston Bruins defenseman Adam McQuaid is listed as day-to-day with a “middle-body injury”. 

THE NEWS & OBSERVER:  Carolina Hurricanes defenseman Ryan Murphy will miss the next three-four weeks with a lower-body injury.

NBC SPORTS: The St. Louis Blues released defenseman Mike Weber from his professional tryout contract. 

STARTRIBUNE.COM:  Minnesota Wild coach Bruce Boudreau and his wife wound up with damaged belongings and stolen valuables during their move to Minnesota this summer. 

YAHOO SPORTS:  The NHL must decide by Jan. 15, 2017 if they’ll participate in the 2018 Winter Olympics.