Latest on the Stars and Penguins – March 11, 2017

Latest on the Stars and Penguins – March 11, 2017

Will the Dallas Stars replace their current goalie tandem of Antti Niemi and Kari Lehtonen this summer?

A look at the Dallas Stars goaltending options in the offseason and where Mark Streit and Ron Hainsey fit into the Pittsburgh Penguins’ potential plans beyond this season in your NHL rumor mill. 

THE DALLAS MORNING NEWS: In a recent live chat, Mike Heika examined the Stars’ potential offseason goaltending options. He doubts the club will stick with its current tandem of Kari Lehtonen and Antti Niemi.

Both have a year remaining on their respective contracts. Heika wonders if they’ll bail on both goalies. Buyouts ($1.9 million per season for Lehtonen, $1.5 million annually for Niemi) would be in effect for the next two seasons.

If the Stars shed one or both, Heika wonders if they’ll pursue Antti Raanta of the New York Rangers or Philipp Grubauer of the Washington Capitals via trade or Chicago Blackhawks netminder Scott Darling via unrestricted free agency. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Goaltending was the Stars biggest weakness over the last two seasons. They simply cannot return next season with the current tandem. Perhaps they’ll be able to trade Lehtonen or Niemi to clubs in need of reaching the salary-cap minimum next season, or to a club seeking a goaltender to expose in the expansion draft. I suggested a swap of Marc-Andre Fleury from the Pens to the Stars for Niemi before the trade deadline, but obviously that deal wasn’t there.

The Rangers and Capitals could lose Raanta or Grubauer in the expansion draft. Both are likely trade candidates before the expansion draft. Given the respective cap payrolls and the offseason roster plans of both clubs, they might not have the room to take on Lehtonen or Niemi unless the Stars are willing to pick up half the salary. 

PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE: Dave Molinari recently reported veteran defensemen and pending UFAs Mark Streit and Ron Hainsey aren’t thinking about their plans for next season. Acquired by the Penguins before the trade deadline, he speculated the Penguins’ interest in re-signing either player will be determined by their performances over the remainder of the regular season and the playoffs.

Molinari also noted  that “Trevor Daley and Chad Ruhwedel will be unrestricted free agents after this season, while Justin Schultz, Brian Dumoulin and Derrick Pouliot will be restricted.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The cost of re-signing Streit and/or Hainsey will also be a factor. The Penguins have over $59 million invested in 15 players for next season. Assuming the cap rises to $76 million as recently suggested by NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly, the Pens will have roughly $17 million to work with. Schultz and Dumoulin are the priorities and will be due a significant raise on a long-term deal. They must also re-sign or replace pending free agent forwards Conor Sheary, Nick Bonino, Chris Kunitz and Matt Cullen. Streit ($5.25 million cap hit) and Hainsey ($2.83 million) will have to accept significant pay cuts to remain with the Penguins. 












Analysis of Notable NHL Trade Deadline Day Deals

Analysis of Notable NHL Trade Deadline Day Deals

A three-way trade involving defenseman Mark Streit was the highlight of a rather dull 2017 NHL trade deadline.

The NHL’s 2017 Trade Deadline is history and boy, was it ever a dud. Notables stars such as Kevin Shattenkirk and Ben Bishop were dealt before deadline day, leaving little available talent in the trade market.  Anyway, here’s my take on the day’s few noteworthy deals.

The Philadelphia Flyers trade defenseman Mark Streit to the Tampa Bay Lightning for center Valtteri Filppula and two picks in the 2017 NHL draft. The Lightning then flip Streit to the Pittsburgh Penguins in exchange for a fourth rounder in 2018.

Analysis: A rare three-way deal that sees Streit go from the Flyers to their long-time rival in Pittsburgh via Tampa Bay. Lightning GM Steve Yzerman deserves a round of applause for his creativity. He cleared Filppula’s $5 million cap hit  from his books for next season, giving his club more cap space to re-sign young forwards such as Jonathan Drouin, Tyler Johnson and Ondrej Palat. They also rid themselves of Filppula’s no-movement clause, allowing them to protect a younger player in the expansion draft. 

The Penguins win as well, adding an experienced puck-mover blueliner to their banged-up defense corps. As for the Flyers, Filppula could help take some pressure off center and team captain Claude Giroux in Philadelphia. He’s got another year remaining on his contract, but it remains to be seen if he’ll still be with the Flyers after this season. They could leave him exposed in the expansion draft if his no-movement clause is voided by accepting a trade to Philadelphia.

The Detroit Red Wings trade left wing Thomas Vanek to the Florida Panthers for defenseman Dylan McIlrath and a conditional third-round pick in 2017. The Wings also pick up half of Vanek’s $2.6 million cap hit.

Analysis: Panthers GM Dale Tallon sought a scoring forward to bolster his club’s sagging power play. Vanek, 33, enjoyed a bounce-back performance with the Wings this season, netting 38 points in 48 games, with 11 of those coming with the man advantage. Despite Vanek’s improvement, he still has a reputation for inconsistency and soft play in tough games. If he can help the Panthers clinch a playoff berth, anything after that is gravy. 

The Colorado Avalanche trade right winger Jarome Iginla to the Los Angeles Kings in exchange for a conditional draft pick in 2018.

Analysis: The Kings are among the league’s lowest-scoring clubs and could’ve used a scorer with more speed. Had this move taken place a year or two ago, when Iginla was still an effective scoring winger, it would’ve garnered more hype. Instead, this is seen almost as a pity move, as a once-great star gets his last chance to chase that elusive Stanley Cup championship. Kings coach Darryl Sutter coached Iginla during his glory years with the Calgary Flames. Maybe Sutter can help Iggy regain some of his offensive spark. Otherwise, this deal does nothing to help the Kings reach the postseason. 

The New Jersey Devils trade P-A Parenteau to the Nashville Predators for a sixth-round pick in 2017.

Analysis: The Predators were in the market for a top-nine forward. Parenteau put up decent numbers this season with the Devils (13 goals, 27 points in 59 games). If he adjusts quickly with his new club, he could provide a nice offensive boost for the Preds down the stretch and into the playoffs.

The Los Angeles Kings trade forward Dwight King to the Montreal Canadiens in exchange for a conditional fourth-round pick in 2018.

Analysis: The Habs need a scoring center but such commodities are rare and costly. GM Marc Bergevin opted instead to give his struggling roster more size, grit and character. Leading up to the deadline, Bergevin also acquired defenseman Brandon Davidson from the Edmonton Oilers, blueliner Jordie Benn from the Dallas Stars and forwards Steve Ott from the Detroit Red Wings and Andreas Martinsen from the Colorado Avalanche.  While the Habs will be bigger and tougher down the stretch, it remains to be seen if they’ll be any better.

Ottawa Senators trade Curtis Lazar and minor league defenseman Mike Kostka to the Calgary Flames in exchange for defenseman Jyrki Jokipakka and a second-round draft pick.

Analysis: Lazar, a former first-round pick (17th overall in 2013), struggled through three seasons with the Senators. He gets a chance at a fresh start with the rebuilding Flames, where he could be a good fit among young forwards such as Johnny Gaudreau, Sean Monahan, Matthew Tkachuk and Sam Bennett.












List of NHL Trade Deadline Deals – March 1, 2017

List of NHL Trade Deadline Deals – March 1, 2017

Detroit Red Wings ship winger Thomas Vanek to the Florida Panthers.

The list of notable deals made leading up to today’s NHL trade deadline at 3 pm Eastern Time. I’ll have analysis of the day’s most notable trades tonight in my Soapbox

Winnipeg Jets trade winger Drew Stafford to the Boston Bruins in exchange for a conditional sixth round pick in 2017. 

Dallas Stars acquire minor-league defenseman Dillon Heatherington from the Columbus Blue Jackets in exchange for left wing Lauri Korpikoski.

Philadelphia Flyers trade defenseman Mark Streit to the Tampa Bay Lightning in exchange for center Valtteri Filppula, a fourth-round pick in the 2017 NHL draft and a conditional seventh-round pick in 2017.

The Lightning flip Streit to the Pittsburgh Penguins for a fourth-round draft pick in 2018. 

Pittsburgh Penguins trade forward Eric Fehr, minor-league defenseman Steve Oleksy and a 2017 fourth-round pick to the Toronto Maple Leafs in exchange for defenseman Frank Corrado, 

Ottawa Senators trade forward Curtis Lazar and minor-league defenseman Mike Kostka to the Calgary Flames in exchange for defenseman Jyrki Jokipakka and a second-round pick.

New Jersey Devils trade winger P-A Parenteau to the Nashville Predators in exchange for a sixth-round draft pick in 2017. 

New Jersey Devils trade defenseman Kyle Quincey to the Columbus Blue Jackets for blueliner Dalton Prout. 

Montreal Canadiens trade winger Sven Andrighetto to the Colorado Avalanche in exchange for left wing Andreas Martinsen.

Colorado Avalanche trade right wing Jarome Iginla to the Los Angeles Kings in exchange for a conditional fourth-round pick in 2018. The Avalanche also retained half of Iginla’s $5.33 million cap hit. 

Los Angeles Kings trade forward Dwight King to the Montreal Canadiens in exchange for a conditional fourth-round pick in 2018. 

Detroit Red Wings trade left wing Thomas Vanek to the Florida Panthers for defenseman Dylan McIlrath and a third-round pick in the 2017 NHL draft. The Wings also pick up half of Vanek’s $2.6 million cap hit. 

Vancouver Canucks trade winger Jannik Hansen to the San Jose Sharks in exchange for minor-league forward Nikolay Goldobin and a conditional fourth-round pick in the  2017 NHL Draft.

Detroit Red Wings trade forward Steve Ott to the Montreal Canadiens for a sixth-round pick in the 2018 draft. 












NHL Rumor Mill (Part Two) – February 25, 2017

NHL Rumor Mill (Part Two) – February 25, 2017

The Ottawa Senators are reportedly among the suitors for Arizona Coyotes center Martin Hanzal.

Updates on the Senators, Flyers and Ducks in your NHL rumor mill. 

OTTAWA SUN: Bruce Garrioch reports Senators general manager Pierre Dorion is still working the phones in search of a forward for the right price. While reports suggest the Sens are interested in Colorado Avalanche center Matt Duchene, the high asking price (believed to be defenseman Cody Ceci, a top prospect such as Thomas Chabot or Colin White plus another piece) is too steep for Dorion.

Garrioch cites sources saying the Senators are among five or six clubs with interest in Arizona Coyotes center Martin Hanzal. He also speculates Dorion could be looking at a rental forward such as Detroit’s Thomas Vanek, Dallas’ Jiri Hudler and Winnipeg’s Drew Stafford. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I don’t see Dorion pursuing Duchene at that current asking price. Maybe he’ll revisit this in June. As for rentals, Vanek is the best bet if Dorion wants to bolster his offense, as he’s on pace for 20 goals and 50 points. He could be more affordable that Hanzal, as the Coyotes seek a first-rounder and a prospect for him. Hudler and Stafford are likely very affordable but won’t provide much of a boost to the Sens offense. 

PHILLY.COM: Sam Carchidi reports Philadelphia Flyers GM Ron Hextall won’t be a buyer at the trade deadline. The club’s performance leading up to deadline day could determine how many players Hextall attempts to move. UFA defensemen Mark Streit, Michael Del Zotto and Nick Schultz and goaltenders Steve Mason and Michal Neuvirth are believed available for draft picks or prospects. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Flyers are five points out of a wild-card berth in the Eastern Conference and have only three victories in their last 10 games. I think we can assume Hextall’s now in sell mode. Streit’s put up some decent offensive numbers (20 points in 47 games) but he’s 39, carries a full no-movement clause and has a $5.25 million cap hit. The Flyers will have to retain part of that to move him. There’s not much of a market for goalies right now, but perhaps someone will take a look at Mason or Neuvirth in a backup role. 

THE ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER: Eric Stephens reports Anaheim Ducks GM Bob Murray doesn’t feel he has to make another deal before the trade deadline after acquiring winger Patrick Eaves yesterday from the Dallas Stars. However, Murray doesn’t rule out making a “hockey deal” to improve his club. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Despite Murray’s depth on defense, he’s made it clear he doesn’t want to ship out a blueliner to address another roster need. I think he’s done for the deadline. 












NHL Rumor Mill – February 22, 2017

NHL Rumor Mill – February 22, 2017

Edmonton Oilers right wing Jordan Eberle isn’t attracting much interest in the trade market.

Updates on Claude Giroux and Jordan Eberle, blueline trade targets, latest on the Predators and more in your NHL rumor mill.

FANRAG SPORTS NETWORK: Chris Nichols cites NHL insider Darren Dreger telling Montreal’s TSN 690 he believes there was some interest in Edmonton Oilers right wing Jordan Eberle about a month or so ago. He said he knew of three teams – one of them he believes was the New York Islanders – inquired about Eberle but weren’t willing to take the bait.

Dreger said Oilers GM Peter Chiarelli told him about a week ago that things had cooled. While Dreger suggests that doesn’t mean there isn’t interest in Eberle or that he’s off the market, it maybe just a dull time for deals. He acknowledged Eberle’s contract could be a problem. The winger has two year left on a six-year deal worth $6 million annually.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Unless the Oilers are willing to pick up part of Eberle’s cap hit or take back a toxic contract as part of the return, I doubt he’ll be moved by the March 1 trade deadline. Interest in Eberle could increase this summer if he plays well down the stretch and into the playoffs, but that cap hit could still prove difficult to move if the cap ceiling doesn’t significantly increase for 2017-18.

Dreger also said he’s seen the trade rumors regarding Philadelphia Flyers center Claude Giroux, but cannot find any evidence the Flyers are shopping their captain.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The only media source I saw on the subject was a suggestion from Philly.com’s Sam Carchidi that Flyers management look into moving a core player like Giroux. He didn’t say Giroux was on the block. 

TSN: Pierre LeBrun reports Dallas Stars winger Patrick Eave’s career-best performance this season (21 goals, 37 points in 59 games) and affordable $1 million cap hit makes him an attractive commodity leading up to the March 1 trade deadline. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Playoff contenders seeking scoring depth on the wing, such as the Anaheim Ducks, LA Kings and Nashville Predators, could be among the suitors.

Bob McKenzie reports the Detroit Red Wings are getting lots of calls on defenseman Brendan Smith, who has a $2.75 million cap hit on an expiring contract. The Wings will talk to Smith about a contract extension. They’re also getting calls on forwards Thomas Vanek and Steve Ott. 

LeBrun reports Vancouver Canucks goalie Ryan Miller has a five-team list of preferred trade destinations, three of them in California where he spends the off-season. He suggests the LA Kings could be a fit if starter Jonathan Quick’s recovery from a groin injury becomes uncertain. The Canucks, however, are open to bringing back Miller on a reduced salary. 

McKenzie notes the early departure of defenseman Radko Gudas from Philadelphia Flyers practice yesterday sparked trade speculation, but he merely had a medical appointment. 

CSNNE.COM: Joe Haggerty has Colorado Avalanche left wing Gabriel Landeskog and St. Louis Blues defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk among his list of trade possibilities for the Boston Bruins. He considers the chances of the Bruins landing either guy to be slim or nonexistent unless the asking price is lowered. Other options include Buffalo Sabres defenseman Dmitry Kulikov, NY Islanders goalie Jaroslav Halak, Blues center Patrik Berglund, Stars winger Patrick Eaves, Oilers winger Jordan Eberle.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Haggerty is merely spitballing here and isn’t saying the Bruins are definitely pursuing any of these players. Of the rentals, he feels the Bruins stand a chance with Eaves or Kulikov. He doesn’t see them landing Berglund or Eberle. 

THE TENNESSEAN: Adam Vingan wonders if Nashville Predators GM David Poile intends to add a top-six winger before the trade deadline. He observers Poile has expressed interest in adding a forward and there’s a need for depth at right wing. He notes many of the right wings available in the trade market, such as Dallas’ Patrick Sharp and Arizona’s Radim Vrbata, are on expiring contracts.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Poile pulled off two blockbuster moves last year, shopping defenseman Seth Jones to Columbus for center Ryan Johansen and dealing blueliner Shea Weber to Montreal for rearguard P.K. Subban. While he could swing a big move by the deadline, I think he’ll look at an affordable rental forward for the playoffs and perhaps seek longer-term options following the expansion draft in June. 

ESPN.COM: Pierre Lebrun lists Philadelphia’s Mark Streit and Michael Del Zotto, Buffalo’s Dmitry Kulikov, New Jersey’s Kyle Quincey, Detroit’s Brendan Smith and Carolina’s Ron Hainsey as defensemen who could attract interest leading up to the trade deadline. He suggests the Montreal Canadiens bring back Streit, considers Kulikov as an option for the Winnipeg Jets, feels the Pittsburgh Penguins look at Quincey, the Boston Bruins consider Del Zotto and  the St. Louis Blues look at Smith. He things a young contender should take a chance on Hainsey.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Bear in mind LeBrun is only proposing those teams as fits for those respective blueliners. He’s not saying that those clubs will pursue them. 

SPORTSNET: The Montreal Canadiens yesterday sent out a league-wide memo indicating defenseman Greg Pateryn is available. 












Latest on the Lightning, Flyers and Sabres – February 21, 2017

Latest on the Lightning, Flyers and Sabres – February 21, 2017

Will the Tampa Bay Lightning move Ben Bishop at the trade deadline?

A look at possible moves by the Tampa Bay Lightning, Philadelphia Flyers and Buffalo Sabres in your NHL rumor mill. 

TAMPA BAY TIMES:  Joe Smith reports the Tampa Bay Lightning’s recent improvement could complicate things for general manager Steve Yzerman leading up to the March 1 trade deadline, particularly involving pending free agents such as goalie Ben Bishop and center Brian Boyle. The Bolts are now only five points out of a wild-card spot. Yzerman said he’s not staging a fire sale and will make moves only if it makes sense for his club.

Smith assumes Yzerman seeks help for his blueline, noting the Bolts and defense-rich Nashville Predators recently scouted each other. However, Yzerman isn’t seeking a rental player. If the Lightning can move a contract like Valtteri Filppula’s or Jason Garrison’s, it would free up additional cap space to re-sign key forwards Tyler Johnson, Ondrej Palat and Jonathan Drouin.  A high number of teams with limited salary-cap room makes trades difficult, as does concern over the expansion draft in June. 

The Toronto Maple Leafs, Edmonton Oilers and Columbus Blue Jackets reportedly have interest in Boyle. Smith recently said things are quiet on the Bishop trade front. of late he’s been playing his best hockey of the season. That should boost Bishop’s trade value, but could also make him invaluable to the Bolts’ playoff hopes. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Tough situation for Yzerman. Does he become a buyer and go for a playoff spot, hoping the eventual return of sidelined captain Steven Stamkos puts them over the top? Or does he look to get the best return he can for Bishop and Boyle? Their performance in their remaining games leading up to the March 1 trade deadline could determine which direction Yzerman takes. 

COURIER POST: David Isaac believes the Philadelphia Flyers need a scoring winger or a second-line center. Colorado Avalanche forward Matt Duchene could fill both roles but the Avs asking price is expensive. While Flyers GM Ron Hextall could afford to part with a young defense or goalie prospect, Isaac speculates he’s unwilling to move his first-round pick, though this year’s draft isn’t that strong. As for pending UFA defensemen Mark Streit, Nick Schultz and Michael Del Zotto, Isaac thinks Hextall will keep one at most. One of their goalies (Steven Mason and Michal Neuvirth) could fetch something in return at the deadline. 

CSNPHILLY.COM: Tim Panaccio believes there’s no moves Hextall can make to improve his club without mortgaging the future. He believes the Flyers GM has to be a seller at the trade deadline. Panaccio suggests Streit and Del Zotto could help other clubs. Given the Avalanche’s high asking prices for Duchene and Gabriel Landeskog, he’s not surprised that Hextall won’t get into the bidding. Panaccio also dismisses calls from some Flyers followers for captain Claude Giroux to be dealt, saying there’s no indication from Flyers management that this is even being contemplated. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Flyers are only three points out of a wild-card spot. I think Hextall waits to see how his club perform leading up to the deadline. If they lose more ground in the standings, I expect he’ll be a seller. Streit, Del Zotto, Schultz, Mason or Neuvirth could hit the block. 

THE BUFFALO NEWS: In a recent mailbag segment, John Vogl observes that Buffalo Sabres winger Evander Kane’s trade value has never been higher, thanks to his run of 21 goals in his last 36 games. He feels Sabres GM Tim Murray should trade Kane only if he’s unwilling to re-sign a contract extension. Kane is signed through next season and eligible for UFA status in 2018. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Sabres need skilled top-four depth on their blueline. If Murray gets an offer of a good young defenseman for Kane, he could seriously consider it.