NHL Rumor Mill – May 21, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – May 21, 2022

What teams could the Canadiens ship Jeff Petry to this summer? Should they pursue Kris Letang, Kevin Fiala or Jakob Chychrun this summer? Check out the latest collection of Habs speculation in today’s NHL rumor mill.

THE ATHLETIC: Marc Antoine Godin recently looked at possible trade destinations for Jeff Petry if the Montreal Canadiens intend to shop the 34-year-old defenseman this summer.

Montreal Canadiens defenseman Jeff Petry (NHL Images).

He suggested the Pittsburgh Penguins as a salary-dump destination if they lose Evgeni Malkin, Kris Letang and Bryan Rust to free agency. The Seattle Kraken could be an option for a return of futures if the Habs retain some of Petry’s $6.25 million cap hit. The Nashville Predators were also among his proposed destinations if the Habs agree to take on Philippe Myers’ $2.25 million contract.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Canadiens general manager Kent Hughes is expected to gauge Petry’s value in this summer’s trade market. However, he’s made it clear he’s not moving him unless he can find a deal that’s fair for both sides. We already saw examples of that this season with his trades of Tyler Toffoli, Ben Chiarot, Artturi Lehkonen and Brett Kulak.

The Habs need to clear some cap space if they’re going ahead with a rebuild and Petry would be a prime cost-cutting candidate. Whether he ends up with the aforementioned teams or is peddled elsewhere remains to be determined. His 15-team no-trade list and his cap hit will limit where the Canadiens can send him.

MONTREAL HOCKEY NOW: Marco D’Amico believes the Canadiens should steer clear of Kris Letang if the 35-year-old Penguins defenseman hits the open market. He doesn’t believe it’s worthwhile to invest over $7 million annually for multiple years given the uncertainty over Carey Price’s future, the glut of young defensemen in the system and management’s intent to build for the long-term future.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Letang’s been linked to the Canadiens because he’s from Montreal and Hughes is his former agent. None of those factors, however, means he wants to become a Hab or that Hughes sees him as a piece for the future. The Canadiens’ limited cap space should put the kibosh on the notion of them signing a big-ticket UFA like Letang.

Jimmy Murphy wondered if the Canadiens will make a pitch for Minnesota Wild winger Kevin Fiala if he hits this summer’s trade block. He also pondered if they might pursue defenseman Jakob Chychrun if the Arizona Coyotes lower their asking price.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Fiala and Chychrun will draw plenty of attention if they’re available in this summer’s trade market. The Canadiens possess considerable depth in draft picks and prospects to offer up as trade bait. Of the two, Chychrun would address their more pressing need for skilled blueliners.

Hughes could conduct his due diligence here. However, I’ll be surprised if either guy ends up in Montreal.

Fiala is a restricted free agent with arbitration rights this summer coming off a career-best 85-point performance. He’ll seek a big raise over his $5.1 million salary for this season on a long-term deal. I don’t think he’s a fit with the Canadiens’ rebuilding plans.

Coyotes general manager Bill Armstrong isn’t likely to reduce his high asking price for Chychrun. He’s got the blueliner under contract for three more seasons so he can take his time and wait for the right offer. If he doesn’t get it during this summer, he’ll try again around next season’s trade deadline or next summer.

Murphy also listed Washington’s Ilya Samsonov, St. Louis’ Ville Husso and the New York Rangers’ Alexandar Georgiev as possible trade targets if Carey Price isn’t able to return next season. Meanwhile, D’Amico listed Arizona’s Anton Stralman, Tampa Bay’s Jan Rutta and the Rangers’ Justin Braun as possible blueline free-agent targets.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Samsonov and Georgiev are restricted free agents with arbitration rights while Husso is slated to become an unrestricted free agent this summer. Stralman, Rutta and Braun are all UFAs.

The Canadiens were linked to Samsonov before the trade deadline so perhaps Hughes revisits his rumored interest in the Capitals netminder. Georgiev is a year away from UFA eligibility and could be a decent short-term fit while the Habs await word on Price. Husso played well with a strong Blues team but we don’t know how he’d fare with a rebuilding club like the Canadiens.

Stralman has indicated he’d like to return with the Coyotes next season. They’re also rebuilding but could keep an affordable veteran like him. Rutta or Braun could be reasonable short-term options for the Habs but they could be looking at signing with playoff contenders if they hit the open market in July.










NHL Rumor Mill – April 16, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – April 16, 2022

In today’s NHL rumor mill, a look at the Ducks’ potential offseason plans and what the future could hold for Coyotes defenseman Anton Stralman and Canucks winger Alex Chiasson.

WHAT’S IN STORE FOR THE DUCKS THIS SUMMER?

THE ATHLETIC: In a recent mailbag segment, Eric Stephens was asked about Anaheim Ducks general manager Pat Verbeek’s plans for the offseason. He observed Verbeek has the assets to make some moves this summer with 14 picks in the first three rounds of the next three NHL drafts. His club also carries $41 million in salary-cap space for next season and must spend to reach the projected $60.8 million cap minimum.

Anaheim Ducks general manager Pat Verbeek (NHL Images).

Some of that money will go toward re-signing restricted free agents such as Sonny Milano, Isac Lundestrom and Urho Vaakanainen. Verbeek must also ensure he has sufficient long-term cap room to sign Trevor Zegras, Jamie Drysdale and Troy Terry after next season.

Stephens suggested the Calgary Flames’ Matthew Tkachuk, Columbus Blue Jackets’ Patrik Laine and Winnipeg Jets’ Pierre-Luc Dubois as trade targets. However, he pointed out the high cost of signing those restricted free agents, who could seek short-term deals to take them up to their unrestricted free agent eligibility. Possible UFA targets could include the Tampa Bay Lightning’s Ondrej Palat, Vegas Golden Knights’ Reilly Smith and the Colorado Avalanche’s Andre Burakovsky.

Verbeek subsequently acknowledged his salary-cap space and bushel of draft picks heading into this offseason. However, he told Stephens he intends to invest his assets wisely. “I’m not going to do silly deals, if that’s what you’re asking, even though I’ve got lots of cap space.” If he does pursue some UFA talent, he’ll have to sell them on playing for a club rebuilding around a young core.

The Ducks GM might also have to sell John Gibson on his future plans. Having signed an eight-year deal in 2018, the 28-year-old goaltender will have to decide if he wants to remain with a club in transition.

The decision to pick up the option year in head coach Dallas Eakins contract indicates the direction Verbeek is taking the club. Eakins has bought into management’s rebuilding efforts. Bringing him back also provides some stability after two months of changes since Verbeek took over as general manager.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Verbeek was among the busiest general managers leading up to last month’s trade deadline, shipping out pending UFAs Hampus Lindholm, Rickard Rakell and Josh Manson to playoff contenders for draft picks and prospects. More changes will be coming to the Ducks this summer with some additions via trades and/or free agency and perhaps another notable player being shipped out if Gibson should request a trade to a contender.

Verbeek could surprise us by pursuing a big-name player such as Tkachuk in the trade market or his Flames teammate Johnny Gaudreau via free agency. However, I think he’s going to adhere to a more patient approach this summer by adding more experienced depth to the supporting cast to take some of the burdens off his promising young players.

LATEST ON STRALMAN AND CHIASSON

GOPHNX.COM: Craig Morgan recently reported Anton Stralman’s tenure with the Arizona Coyotes might not end after this season. Sources tell Morgan the club is interested in signing the 35-year-old defenseman, who’s in the final season of a three-year deal with an annual salary-cap hit of $5.5 million.

Management values the experience and leadership skills Stralman brings to their rebuilding roster. The blueliner is in no rush to decide his future but admitted he and his family enjoy living in the Phoenix area.

THE PROVINCE: Ben Kuzma recently reported Alex Chiasson’s resurgent performance this season is showing value to the Vancouver Canucks. He could also draw interest in this summer’s UFA market. The 31-year-old winger is making the most out of this season after earning a one-year deal following a training-camp tryout last fall.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 27, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 27, 2021

The Panthers re-sign Sam Bennett and trade Anton Stralman to the Coyotes, the Jets re-sign Paul Stastny and acquire Brenden Dillion from the Capitals, the Golden Knights close to re-signing Alec Martinez and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

FLORIDA HOCKEY NOW: The Florida Panthers were busy on Monday. They signed forward Sam Bennett to a four-year deal worth an annual average value of $4.4 million. The club also traded defensemen Anton Stralman and Vladislav Kolyachonok plus a second-round pick in the 2024 NHL Draft in exchange for a seventh-round pick in 2023.

The Florida Panthers re-sign forward Sam Bennett to a four-year deal (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s not surprising the Panthers re-signed Bennett. Slated to become a restricted free agent on July 28, the 25-year-old netted 15 points in his first 10 regular-season games after being acquired at the trade deadline from Calgary. He also had five points in as many playoff games. Bennett should be a key part of their top-two forward lines.

The Stralman trade was a straightforward salary dump by the Panthers. He had a year remaining on his contract worth an annual average value of $5.5 million. The 35-year-old blueliner reportedly had to be convinced to waive his modified no-trade to go to Arizona. He’ll likely become a bargaining chip at next season’s trade deadline if the rebuilding Coyotes are out of playoff contention by then.

WINNIPEG SUN: The Jets also had a busy day, re-signing center Paul Stastny to a one-year, $3.75 million contract and acquiring defenseman Brenden Dillon from the Washington Capitals in exchange for a second-round pick in 2022 and a second-rounder in 2023.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Stastny isn’t the offensive talent he once was. Nevertheless, the 35-year-old should be an affordable short-term answer to their need for a second-line center while management seeks a long-term solution. Dillon will help address a glaring need for reliable stay-at-home depth on their blueline, though the cost of two second-rounders seems a little high.

The Capitals, meanwhile, freed up $3.9 million in annual cap space for the next three seasons. They now have over $12 million in cap room if they call up Martin Fehervary as expected for next season. That gives them some additional wiggle room to re-sign Alex Ovechkin and goaltender Ilya Samsonov.

LAS VEGAS SUN: The Vegas Golden Knights are reportedly close to signing Alec Martinez to a three-year contract extension. The 35-year-old defenseman would receive an annual cap hit close to $5 million.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Martinez proved his worth to the Golden Knights this season, especially in the playoffs where he was their best all-around blueliner. The contract is a bit long for a shot-blocking rearguard of his age but that seems the price the Golden Knights are willing to pay to remain in Stanley Cup contention.

That signing could push them over the $81.5 million salary cap. They could make a cost-cutting trade before the start of next season involving Marc-Andre Fleury or Robin Lehner.

ARIZONA SPORTS: The Coyotes expected to sign forward Dmitrij Jaskin to a one-year, $3.2 million contract. The 29-year-old spent seven seasons with the St. Louis Blues and Washington Capitals before spending the past two seasons playing for the KHL’s Moscow Dynamo.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Coyotes have been everyone’s favorite dumping ground for unwanted contracts this summer. General manager Bill Armstrong has been clearing up long-term cap space while restocking with draft picks and prospects.

Most of the contracts he’s taken on have only a year or two remaining, with most belonging to still-serviceable players who could become trade bait to playoff contenders later next season. He also did a great job shedding Oliver Ekman-Larsson’s hefty contract by shipping that off to Vancouver during the recent NHL draft.

THE SCORE: Several notable restricted free agents didn’t receive qualifying offers at yesterday’s deadline. Among them were Boston’s Nick Ritchie, Chicago’s Pius Suter, Edmonton’s Dominik Kahun and Anaheim’s Danton Heinen. They are eligible to become unrestricted free agents on July 28.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Just because they didn’t get qualifying offers doesn’t mean they can’t re-sign with their now-former teams. Sometimes teams don’t offer a QO because they want to sign those players to a more affordable contract. That’s what the Blackhawks did with Adam Gaudette, inking him to a one-year deal worth just over $997K.

TORONTO STAR: Defenseman Zach Bogosian won’t be back with the Maple Leafs. He’s likely headed to an American market via free agency on July 28.

NEW YORK POST: The Rangers are expected to sign Patrik Nemeth when free agency opens tomorrow. The Colorado Avalanche allowed the pending UFA defenseman to speak with other teams.

TSN: The New Jersey Devils traded forward Nick Merkley to the San Jose Sharks in exchange for defenseman Christian Jaros. The Devils signed Jaros to a one-year, two-way contract.

NBC SPORTS PHILADELPHIA: The Flyers re-signed defenseman Sam Morin to a one-year, $750K contract.

TRIBLIVE.COM: Pittsburgh Penguins head coach Mike Sullivan is expected to be named head coach of the United States’ Men’s hockey team for the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics.










NHL Rumor Mill – June 24, 2021

NHL Rumor Mill – June 24, 2021

A look at some of this summer’s notable trade candidates in today’s NHL rumor mill.

DAILY FACEOFF: Buffalo Sabres captain Jack Eichel and Columbus Blue Jackets defenseman Seth Jones top Frank Seravalli’s list of 20 names in play in this summer’s trade market.

Seravalli encapsulates the previous reports explaining the broken relationship between Eichel and the Sabres. He also reports concerns have been voiced by multiple teams about Jones’ two seasons of declining production.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Jones has 30 and 28 points respectively in 56 games each. That could be due to playing fewer games in two pandemic-shortened seasons. It could also be attributed to playing for one of the NHL’s lowest-scoring teams during that period. His two best offensive seasons (2017-18 and 2018-19) occurred when winger Artemi Panarin was his teammate.

The Athletic’s Pierre LeBrun cited sources claiming the Philadelphia Flyers are among the clubs with an interest in the Jackets blueliner. Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman expects a Jones trade to take place around next month’s NHL Draft.

The Washington Capitals are tired of Evgeny Kuznetsov’s off-ice antics. A talented but inconsistent player, his contract could be difficult to move but maybe less so after the Capitals pay his $5 million signing bonus in July.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: He’ll still carrying a $7.8 million annual average value through 2024-25 with a 15-team no-trade clause. The Capitals will either have to pick up part of that cap hit or take back an expensive contract.

There’s been no contract discussions between the Arizona Coyotes and restricted free agent winger Conor Garland since his agent submitted two contract proposals on May 20. Seravalli points out the Coyotes nearly moved Garland leading up to this season’s trade deadline.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Garland has arbitration rights and is completing a two-year, $1.55 million contract. He’ll attract plenty of attention if the Coyotes decide to move him.

Seravalli cites sources claiming there was friction this season between Evander Kane and some of his San Jose Sharks teammates. He’s also coming off his best season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kane was the Sharks’ leading scorer this season with 22 goals and 49 points in 56 games. He’s also signed through 2024-25 with a $7 million cap hit and a three-team trade list. As Seravalli suggests, general manager Doug Wilson could face choppy waters here.

It’s believed the Arizona Coyotes seek a draft pick, prospect, roster player and perhaps a smaller, less desirable contract in exchange for defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I doubt the Coyotes get that much for OEL. Their goal is to shed the remaining six years (at $8.25 million annually) of his contract so they’ll probably have to settle for much less because of the flattened salary cap. Heck, it’ll be a win if they can move him without absorbing part of his cap hit.

Others appearing on Seravalli’s list include Carolina Hurricanes winger Warren Foegele, Philadelphia Flyers winger Jakub Voracek and Florida Panthers defenseman Anton Stralman.

He speculated the Hurricanes might be unable to give Foegele the extra playing time he seeks. Clearing out Voracek’s contract could give the Flyers the cap flexibility they need, perhaps by enticing the Seattle Kraken with a draft pick. Cap flexibility for the Panthers would also be behind moving Stralman.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Foegele’s stuck behind Andrei Svechnikov and Nino Niederreiter on the Hurricanes depth chart at left wing. It will be interesting to see how they handle this situation.

Voracek lacks no-trade protection but carries an $8.25 million annual cap hit through 2023-24. Maybe the Kraken would be interested but it could take a significant pick to tempt them.

Stralman turns 35 in August, carries a $5.5 million cap hit for next season with a 16-team no-trade list. Two words to Panthers GM Bill Zito: good luck.

Seravalli also listed the rights to Hurricanes defenseman Dougie Hamilton, Buffalo Sabres center Sam Reinhart, Calgary Flames winger Johnny Gaudreau, Boston Bruins winger Jake DeBrusk, Anaheim Ducks winger Rickard Rakell, Buffalo Sabres blueliner Rasmus Ristolainen, St. Louis Blues rearguard Vince Dunn, the rights to Panthers goaltender Chris Driedger, Toronto Maple Leafs rearguard Travis Dermott and Winnipeg Jets defender Sami Niku.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: As with Eichel, Seravalli summarizes why those players could be shopped this summer. Those factors have been previously documented here in the Rumor Mill based on various media sources, including Seravalli during his TSN tenure.










NHL Rumor Mill – September 24, 2020

NHL Rumor Mill – September 24, 2020

A look at Sportnet’s list of possible contract buyout candidates in today’s NHL rumor mill.

BUYOUT CANDIDATES

SPORTSNET: Montreal Canadiens defenseman Karl Alzner, Edmonton Oilers winger James Neal and New York Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist top Luke Fox’s list of 14 players who might be considered for contract buyouts.

Will the New York Rangers buy out Henrik Lundqvist? (NHL Images)

Buying out Neal would free up $3.83 million if the Oilers need room to go shopping in the trade or free-agent markets. The Rangers, meanwhile, don’t intend to carry three goalies as they did this season, making Lundqvist a possible buyout candidate.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Alzner has two years left on his contract with an annual average value of $4.625 million. The Habs have kept him buried in the minors and could afford to do so again for 2020-21. Cap Friendly indicates buying him out would only give them over $666K in cap savings next season, though that increases to $2.66 million in 2021-22.

The first buyout period runs from Sept. 25 to Oct. 8. The New York Post’s Larry Brooks suggests the Rangers could wait until the 24-hour second buyout window following the settlement or award on filings by any one of their arbitration-eligible restricted free agents. That would allow some additional time to determine if there’s a trade partner for Lundqvist once the goalie market carousel slows down.

Chicago Blackhawks defenseman Olli Maatta, Vegas Golden Knights goalie Marc-Andre Fleury, and Vancouver Canucks forwards Loui Eriksson and Sven Baertschi are also on Fox’s list.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Blackhawks would see substantial savings buying out Maatta, as the annual cap hit over the next four years would be over $680K. I believe the Golden Knights will attempt to trade Fleury if they re-sign Robin Lehner. A buyout could be the option of last resort.

Fox points out an Eriksson buyout wouldn’t provide much cap relief for the Canucks, but they would get $1.7 million in relief by buying out Baertschi. Canucks GM Jim Benning could prefer the trade route for one or both, even if it meant absorbing some salary.

Nashville Predators center Kyle Turris, New York Islanders winger Andrew Ladd, Detroit Red Wings forward Justin Abdelkader and Florida Panthers defenseman Anton Stralman are other possible buyout candidates.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Fox points out Turris has four years at $6 million annually on his contract, Ladd has three years with an AAV of $5.5 million, while Abdelkader has three years at $4.25 million annually remaining on his deal.

Because buyouts are at twice the remaining tenure, their respective teams could be reluctant to go that route. The Isles won’t get much immediate cap relief buying out Ladd. Stralman has two years at $5.5 million annually left. A buyout would provide $3 million in cap savings for next season.

Buffalo Sabres winger Kyle Okposo, Anaheim Ducks winger David Backes, and Boston Bruins defenseman John Moore round out Fox’s list. It was subsequently noted the Ducks informed Backes they’ll keep him for next season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Okposo and Moore each have three years remaining on their contracts. The Sabres have gone the buyout route in the past so we can’t dismiss the possibility they’ll do it again. However, an Okposo buyout would count as $4 million against their cap for next season and $5 million in 2021-22.