NHL Rumor Mill – July 17, 2021

NHL Rumor Mill – July 17, 2021

An update on Seth Jones, the latest on the Canadiens, possible destinations for Ryan Suter and Zach Parise, and recent Canucks speculation in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.

NOTE: A freeze on trades, waivers and contract signings goes into effect at 3 pm ET today and runs through 1 pm ET on Thursday, July 22. Teams are required to submit their expansion draft protections lists by 5 pm ET today.

COULD THE BLUE JACKETS RETAIN JONES?

THE ATHLETIC: Aaron Portzline reports the Columbus Blue Jackets are letting it be known they don’t have to trade Seth Jones this summer. They’ve set a high asking price, seeking a combination of young NHL players, prospects and draft picks. However, it doesn’t appear they’re getting any offers to their liking for the 26-year-old defenseman.

Columbus Blue Jackets defenseman Seth Jones (NHL Images).

Portzline, however, still believes Jones will be moved this summer, in part to avoid the risk of a season-ending injury before next season’s trade deadline. The Chicago Blackhawks, Colorado Avalanche, Los Angeles Kings and Philadelphia Flyers are said to be interested in the blueliner, who’s a year away from unrestricted free agent eligibility. The Jackets have not yet granted any team permission to speak with Jones about a contract extension.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Barring something significant today, the earliest Jones could get traded is heading into next weekend’s NHL draft following the expansion draft on Wednesday.

LATEST CANADIENS SPECULATION

TVA SPORTS: listed six candidates for the Montreal Canadiens to pursue as a potential replacement for Shea Weber. The 35-year-old defenseman could miss all of next season recovering from various injuries.

Seth Jones topped the list, following by Edmonton’s Tyson Barrie and Carolina’s Dougie Hamilton. Edmonton’s Adam Larsson, Calgary’s Mark Giordano and Buffalo’s Rasmus Ristolainen rounded out the list.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Jones, Giordano and Ristolainen would be available in the trade market. Barrie, Hamilton and Larsson are eligible to become unrestricted free agents on July 28.

Jones would be the best option but Canadiens general manager Marc Bergevin could balk at their asking price. Jones’ apparent unwillingness to ink a contract extension takes him out of the equation.

Giordano would be a worthwhile short-term addition but his status remains uncertain. The Flames could leave him exposed in the expansion draft, where the Seattle Kraken could claim him. That’s assuming he isn’t moved before today’s trade freeze.

Barrie and Hamilton would provide plenty of offense from the blueline but their respective defensive games are average at best. Each will cost a lot to sign. Larsson would be a good fit defensively but the Oilers are said to be working on a new contract for him. Ristolainen could be available but it’s uncertain if he could handle the pressure of playing in Montreal. Like Jones, he’s slated to become a UFA next summer.

TSN 690 reported it could prove expensive for the Canadiens to swing a side deal to ensure the Seattle Kraken don’t select Jake Allen. The asking price is said to be a quality prospect and a second or a third-round pick. The Kraken would also accept a first-round pick and a selection later in the draft.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I’ll be shocked if Bergevin paid either price to keep Allen in the fold. He could also attempt to trade the backup to another club before today’s trade freeze if he’s that concerned about losing him to the Kraken.

TSN: Pierre LeBrun reported Thursday he thinks the Canadiens will let Phillip Danault test the free-agent market. They’re willing to keep the door open to him to come back after he’s heard from other clubs. They made an offer last offseason but it was rejected.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That offer was reportedly a six-year, $30 million contract extension. He might get more than that on the open market after his strong defensive play in the postseason.

POSSIBLE DESTINATIONS FOR SUTER AND PARISE

THE ATHLETIC: Michael Russo suggested the New York Islanders could be a destination for former Minnesota Wild winger Zach Parise. He has a soft spot for the Islanders as his late father, J.P. Parise, played for them in the 1970s. The Vegas Golden Knights may have also reached out to him.

Russo believes former Wild defenseman Ryan Suter will have more options via free agency than Parise. He’s still a capable top-four defenseman who can log big minutes. Suter’s a proud American so it would be surprising if he signed with a Canadian team.

Possible destinations could include the St. Louis Blues, Chicago Blackhawks and Colorado Avalanche. Others could include the Boston Bruins, Washington Capitals, Los Angeles Kings, Dallas Stars, Florida Panthers and New York Islanders.

Arthur Staple thinks Suter would be a good fit with the Islanders following their Friday trade of Nick Leddy to the Detroit Red Wings. He played for Isles coach Barry Trotz during their days with the Nashville Predators. However, he could prove more expensive to sign him compared to Parise.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Russo also speculated over the possibility of the Pittsburgh Penguins reuniting Parise and Suter with Brian Burke in their front office. However, I don’t think that’s something GM Ron Hextall will pursue.

The Islanders attempted to acquire Parise at the 2020 trade deadline but the deal fell through because they couldn’t get the dollars to work with the Wild. I can see him inking an affordable one-year deal with the Isles provided there’s enough cap space after re-signing Anthony Beauvillier, Adam Pelech, Ilya Sorokin and perhaps Casey Cizikas.

Suter won’t lack suitors. He’ll want to sign with a Stanley Cup contender and could be a fit for those with limited cap space. I’ll be surprised if he hasn’t signed with someone by the end of the opening day of free agency on July 28.

UPDATE ON THE CANUCKS

THE ATHLETIC: Thomas Drance and Rick Dhaliwal report Vancouver Canucks goaltender Braden Holtby is drawing interest from the Seattle Kraken and other teams around the league. At least one team from the Eastern Conference and one from the Western Conference are believed among the suitors.

Holtby’s salary for next season could be a stumbling block. He carries an annual average value of $4.3 million but he’ll earn $5.7 million in actual salary in 2021-22. The Kraken are said to have inquired if the Canucks will retain some salary in a side deal.

The Canucks are said to have a real interest in Zach Hyman. The Toronto Maple Leafs left winger is slated to become a UFA on July 28 and has been granted permission to speak with other clubs. Contract term, however, is said to be an issue.

THE PROVINCE: Patrick Johnston reports Canucks GM Jim Benning said he’s looking to make a trade to “move some money.” It’s understood the Canucks are trying to find a new home for defenseman Nate Schmidt, who was acquired last fall from the Vegas Golden Knights. Holtby and perhaps Loui Eriksson could be trade options.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Holtby’s performance has declined in recent years but some clubs could see him as an experienced backup option. The Canucks might have to absorb some salary or take back a bad contract to move him. Maybe they can swing a three-team deal where they bundle a draft pick with Holtby to another team to pick up part of his cap hit.

Hyman, 29, could seek a maximum seven-year contract. That’s a risky signing for any team given his age. Schmidt should have some value among clubs seeking blueline depth but his contract ($5.95 million annual cap hit through 2024-25 and 10-team no-trade list) could be a tough sell.










NHL Rumor Mill – July 16, 2021

NHL Rumor Mill – July 16, 2021

The latest on Ryan Suter, Darcy Kuemper, Zach Hyman and Tyler Bertuzzi in today’s NHL rumor mill.

INTEREST GROWING IN SUTER

DAILY FACEOFF: Frank Seravalli reports of growing interest in Ryan Suter after the 36-year-old defenseman was bought out earlier this week by the Minnesota Wild. He could be an affordable option for cap-strapped contenders such as the Vegas Golden Knights, Tampa Bay Lightning, and New York Islanders. Seravalli also thinks the Boston Bruins could be a landing spot.

WASHINGTON HOCKEY NOW: Sammi Silber reports sources suggested the Capitals and the Los Angeles Kings are two clubs that could pursue Suter on July 28, when he can officially sign with a new team.

Former Minnesota Wild defenseman Ryan Suter could draw lots of interest in the free-agent market (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Suter could be a reliable second-pairing left-side defenseman for a contender on an affordable short-term contract. NBC Sports Boston’s Nick Goss believes the veteran rearguard would be a good addition to the Bruins.

NBC Sports Washington’s J.J. Regan points out the Capitals have three left-side defensemen in Michal Kempny, Dmitry Orlov and Brenden Dillon plus two promising left siders in Martin Fehervary and Alex Alexeyev. He feels adding Suter would make sense only if they shed a left-side defenseman via trade or the expansion draft.

THE ATHLETIC: Michael Russo speculated over which players the Minnesota Wild could pursue to replace Suter and Zach Parise, who was also bought out earlier this week. Defense options could include Alec Martinez and Alex Goligoski. Forwards could include Nick Foligno and Paul Stastny.

AVALANCHE, LEAFS, KRAKEN TARGET KUEMPER

DAILY FACEOFF: Frank Seravalli reports the Colorado Avalanche and Toronto Maple Leafs have contacted the Arizona Coyotes regarding goaltender Darcy Kuemper. Both clubs are considering the goalie market at large. The Avalanche’s Philipp Grubauer and the Leafs’ Frederik Andersen are slated to become unrestricted free agents on July 28.

The Seattle Kraken is also believed interested in the 31-year-old Kuemper, who has a year remaining on his contract with an annual average value of $4.5 million. His camp has informed the Coyotes they’re not interested in a contract extension.

AZ COYOTES INSIDER: Craig Morgan also reported the Avalanche has an interest in Kuemper. The netminder’s performance for Canada in this year’s World Championships improved his trade value after being sidelined by a knee injury in March. Morgan suggests shopping him to a contender for a late first-round draft pick, proposing Colorado, Carolina and Edmonton as possible trade partners.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Picking up Kuemper would be a good short-term option for the Avalanche if they lose Grubauer. I guess Jack Campbell didn’t do enough this year to establish trust among Leafs brass that he’s ready to be a starter if they’re looking at Kuemper or bringing back Andersen. That’s not a knock on Campbell, by the way. I felt he played well enough this season to be their starter going forward.

The Hurricanes have a promising starter in Calder Trophy finalist Alex Nedeljkovic but could use a reliable backup. Kuemper would be an expensive option and would give the Hurricanes a 1A and 1B goalie tandem. The Oilers are reportedly talking to Mike Smith about returning for another season. Unless they shed Mikko Koskinen, there’s no room for Kuemper. The Edmonton Journal’s Jim Matheson reported they’re trying to do just that.

LEAFS LET HYMAN SPEAK TO OTHER CLUBS

TORONTO SUN: Lance Hornby reports the Maple Leafs gave permission to Zach Hyman’s agent to speak with other clubs to explore trade possibilities for the 29-year-old pending UFA winger.

Suitors are believed lining up for Hyman. If a suitable deal can be found, the Leafs would trade his rights to another club before July 28 in exchange for a player or something to improve their depleted draft stockpile.

The Detroit Red Wings have been speculated as a destination. It’s believed the Leafs would prefer shipping Hyman out of the Atlantic Division, preferably to a Western team.

THE PROVINCE: Patrick Johnston cites a report in the Toronto Star indicating the Edmonton Oilers, Calgary Flames and Vancouver Canucks are front-runners for Hyman while the Pittsburgh Penguins, Boston Bruins, Florida Panthers and Red Wings also have an interest.

Hyman would reportedly stay with the Toronto Maple Leafs on an eight-year deal worth $5 million annually with a no-movement clause. He’s already received offers higher than that. The Canucks are also believed to be interested in signing St. Louis Blues winger Jaden Schwartz.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: If those reports are true, I must question the sanity of the general managers making those offers. Hyman’s a good player and deserves a raise over the $2.25 million AAV of his recent contract. Something like $4 million annually on a four-year deal is reasonable. I also don’t fault him and his agent for trying to get the best deal they can.

However, Hyman’s not worth over $5 million annually on a long-term deal. He’s just not. To offer well over that when the salary cap is flattened for the next several seasons is irresponsible management.

UPDATE ON TYLER BERTUZZI

THE ATHLETIC: Max Bultman cited colleague Craig Custance reporting teams believes Detroit Red Wings general manager Steve Yzerman is open to trading Tyler Bertuzzi. However, he’s not in a hurry to move the 26-year-old winger. Bertuzzi is a restricted free agent with arbitration rights. So far, there have been no contract discussions but that’s not uncommon among their notable RFAs right now.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: There was speculation the Maple Leafs had an interest in Bertuzzi as a possible replacement for Hyman. Detroit Hockey Now’s Kevin Allen doubted he’ll be traded unless the Wings get an offer too good to refuse. He’s expecting the Wings will re-sign him.










Wild To Buy Out Parise and Suter

Wild To Buy Out Parise and Suter

Minnesota Wild general manager Bill Guerin announced today his club will buy out the final four years of the contracts of winger Zach Parise and defenseman Ryan Suter.

Ryan Suter (left) and Zach Parise bought out by the Minnesota Wild (NHL.com).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Former Wild general manager Chuck Fletcher signed Parise and Suter to identical 13-year, $98 million contracts on July 4, 2012. Those deals were heralded at the time as the start of the Wild’s push to become Stanley Cup contenders.

The duo played well for much of their tenures in Minnesota. Parise had 199 goals and 400 points in 558 games during the past nine seasons while Suter had 55 goals and 369 points in 656 contests. The Wild reached the playoffs during their first six seasons but failed to advance past the second round.

As time went on and Parise and Suter aged, those contracts became more burdensome against the Wild’s cap payroll as their performances inevitably began to decline. With younger players garnering more playing time and responsibilities, Guerin needed to ensure he wouldn’t lose one of them in the upcoming expansion draft. He also wanted to free up salary-cap space to re-sign such notables as Kirill Kaprizov and Kevin Fiala and perhaps make additions via trades or free agency.

The Wild will garner over $10 million in cap savings next season, but they will see substantial dead cap space in 2022-23 ($12.7 million combined) and 2023-24 and 2024-24 ($14.7 million for each season) before dropping to a combined $1.66 million for the remaining four years of the buyouts.

Parise and Suter will become unrestricted free agents. Each could become affordable short-term options for playoff contenders looking to add experience and leadership to their lineups.










Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – May 30, 2021

Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – May 30, 2021

In the Sunday NHL rumor roundup: Seth Jones will reportedly test next summer’s free-agent market, the Wild face some big offseason decisions, plus some more Penguins speculation.

JONES TO TEST UFA MARKET PUTS JACKETS IN A TOUGH SPOT

SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman reported Seth Jones recently informed the Columbus Blue Jackets of his intention to test next summer’s unrestricted free agent market. The 26-year-old defenseman has an annual average value of $5.4 million on his contract with a modified no-trade clause.

Columbus Blue Jackets defenseman Seth Jones (NHL Images).

Friedman said he doesn’t want to deal in absolutes but it appears Jones will test free agency “and we’ll see how Columbus decides to handle this over the next little while.”

THE ATHLETIC: Aaron Portzline reports Jones and his agent declined to comment. Nevertheless, this is a devasting blow for the Jackets. The blueliner would be the latest among several notable players to depart the organization in recent years via free agency or trades.

Blue Jackets general manager Jarmo Kekalainen indicated earlier this month he intended to keep Jones into next season without a contract extension in the hope the blueliner would change his mind. With John Davidson returning as team president, Portzline wonders if Kekalainen will attempt to trade Jones this summer.

Trading Jones could lead to a roster rebuild. It would also raise questions over the future of Jones’ defense partner Zach Werenski (a restricted free agent next summer) and Cam Atkinson, who turns 32 next month and might not wish to be part of a rebuild.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Portzline believes the Jackets would’ve made Jones their highest-paid player, as well as offering him the captaincy if he agreed to stay. His decision to go to market next year could signal the beginning of the end of the Jackets’ current roster.

The Jackets can’t afford to let him walk next summer for nothing. Kekalainen could wait until the trade deadline to move him but that comes with the risk of an injury to Jones or being forced to accept a lesser deal. It would also create an unnecessary distraction overshadowing their efforts to contend for a playoff spot.

Despite a decline in his performance this season, Jones remains among the NHL’s top defensemen. The Jackets won’t lack for trade partners if they decide to move him this summer, though those suitors will want assurances Jones will sign a contract extension.

If they trade Jones, they must determine Werenski’s future this summer. He has arbitration rights next summer and will be a year away from UFA eligibility. He could end up getting shopped by next summer if he doesn’t want to stick around.

Atkinson, meanwhile, is signed through 2024-25 with an annual average value of $5.875 million and a 10-team no-trade list. Moving him if he wants out would be a little more complicated but not impossible if it comes to that.

WHAT NEXT FOR THE WILD?

ESPN.COM: Greg Wyshynski examined the potential offseason plans for the Minnesota Wild following their recent first-round elimination by the Vegas Golden Knights.

Wild GM Bill Guerin faces difficult decisions in July’s expansion draft. Five players (Zach Parise, Ryan Suter, Jared Spurgeon, Jonas Brodin and Mats Zuccarello) have no-movement clauses and must be protected.

If Guerin protects seven forwards he risks losing defenseman Matt Dumba to the Seattle Kraken. Protect eight skaters to protect Dumba and they could lose a forward like Jordan Greenway. He must also decide between exposing veteran goalie Cam Talbot or promising Kaapo Kahkonen. Perhaps Guerin swings a side deal with the Kraken to protect a player.

TWINCITIES.COM: Dane Mizutani also weighed in on Guerin’s expansion draft plans. If the Wild GM could convince one of his players with NMCs (such as Suter) to waive their clause, it would allow him to protect Dumba.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Kraken could pass on Suter or Parise if they waive their movement clauses. Both are aging veterans with each carrying annual cap hits of over $7.5 million for four more years. It’s no certainty, however, either guy will agree to it.

Wyshynski and Mizutani also wondered what the future holds for Parise, a frequent healthy scratch this season who saw mostly fourth-line duty. A buyout is unlikely because it would put the club in salary-cap hell for the rest of the decade. It could be difficult to find a team willing to acquire the remainder of his contract.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Mizutani’s colleague John Shipley believes Parise showed he could still be a contributor for the Wild with two goals and an assist when he finally got back into the roster against the Golden Knights. Finding a suitable role for him on the roster for next season will be challenging if a trade cannot be worked out.

If the Buffalo Sabres and Jack Eichel decide to part ways this summer, Wyshynski suggests the Wild has the depth in promising prospects and young players to make a competitive bid. They have a longstanding need for a top center.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Yes, they do, and as long as they don’t sell the whole farm to get Eichel, he could prove a worthwhile addition to their lineup. That’s assuming, of course, he’ll be put on the trade block this summer.

MORE PENGUINS SPECULATION

TRIBLIVE.COM: Mark Madden recently envisioned the Pittsburgh Penguins trading Jake Guentzel for a different type of forward after watching the skillful winger getting battered and bullied in the playoffs. He pointed to when the Penguins traded James Neal for rugged Patric Hornqvist in 2014.

Seth Rorabaugh speculated the Penguins could free up some cap space if they can entice the Seattle Kraken to select someone like Marcus Pettersson ($4.025 million annually) or Jason Zucker ($5.5 million) by offering up a draft pick. They did something similar with Marc-Andre Fleury during the Golden Knights’ expansion draft in 2017.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Moving Guentzel for a power forward would be a significant move by the Penguins. It would address Brian Burke’s desire to add some skilled toughness and size to their lineup. However, it could also backfire by robbing the Penguins of a significant part of their scoring punch.










NHL Rumor Mill – May 8, 2021

NHL Rumor Mill – May 8, 2021

Check out the latest on the Ducks, Blackhawks and Coyotes in today’s NHL rumor mill.

THE ATHLETIC: Eric Stephens recently wondered if this season will be the last for Ryan Getzlaf. The 35-year-old Anaheim Ducks captain becomes an unrestricted free agent this summer. He and general manager Bob Murray intend to meet following this season to discuss his future.

Anaheim Ducks captain Ryan Getzlaf (NHL Images).

Murray has indicated he’s interested in bringing Getzlaf back but Stephens wonders if that’s a good idea. The Ducks are rebuilding with younger players, Getzlaf’s best seasons are behind him, he was slowed by a bad back this season and no longer skates among their top-six forwards or their top power-play unit.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This season was the worst in Getzlaf’s 16-season career, tallying a career-low 17 points in 47 games. He could face three choices. He returns for a final season with the Ducks, he considers signing elsewhere, or retirement.

THE ATHLETIC: Scott Powers recently examined which forwards are expected to be in the Chicago Blackhawks lineup next season. Dylan Strome fell into the category of “most likely” while Pius Suter’s future was unknown.

Strome faces an uncertain future with the Blackhawks after struggling this season. Powers believes he’ll return next season in part because his trade value is low coming off a down year plus he’ll require a new contract after next season. He could be exposed in this summer’s expansion draft.

The Blackhawks would like to keep Suter but that could depend on his contract negotiations. He’s a restricted free agent with arbitration rights. He played well this season but benefited from a larger role with other key players sidelined. Powers speculates the Blackhawks could trade him or let him walk via free agency if a new contract isn’t worked out early in the offseason.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Hawks could try to trade Strome if they feel they could lose him for nothing to the Seattle Kraken in the expansion draft. A rival club seeking depth at center could make a pitch for him but I agree with Powers’ assessment. The Kraken could pass on him too.

Suter’s contract situation could get dicey if the two sides reach a stalemate that could require an arbiter to sort it out. However, this could end up quickly sorted without much hassle. If negotiations go sideways I expect the Hawks would shop him in the trade market in hope of getting a decent asset in return.

THE HOCKEY NEWS: Ken Campbell pointed out Michael Bunting became an important player for the Arizona Coyotes in recent weeks. The 25-year-old winger is slated to become a Group VI free agent (UFA) this summer unless the Coyotes re-sign him. Head coach Rick Tocchet sang Bunting’s praises, calling him “a guy we sorely need in this organization”.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Bunting has 10 goals and 13 points in 20 games since joining the Coyotes’ roster in late March. He would be an affordable re-signing on a one-year “show-me” contract. Bunting could also become a worthwhile, low-risk signing by another club on the open market.










What Next For the Chicago Blackhawks?

What Next For the Chicago Blackhawks?