NHL Rumor Mill – September 4, 2023

NHL Rumor Mill – September 4, 2023

Some of this summer’s notable short-term free-agent signings could get shopped by this season’s trade deadline. Check out the latest in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.

ESPN.COM: Greg Wyshynski recently listed several notable players on short-term contracts who could become bargaining chips by this season’s NHL trade deadline.

Jason Zucker topped Wyshynski’s list. The 31-year-old winger signed a one-year, $5.3 million contract. If he plays well, he could earn a contract extension with the Coyotes. At worst, he plays well enough to get shipped to a contender if the Coyotes retain a bit of salary.

Zucker wasn’t the only Coyote on a short deal this season who could become trade bait. Defenseman Matt Dumba (one-year, $3.9 million) and forward Alex Kerfoot (two years, $3.5 million average annual value) could also interest playoff contenders later this season.

Ottawa Senators winger Vladimir Tarasenko (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: All three could be on the move by the trade deadline if the Coyotes are in their usual spot near the bottom of the Western Conference standings.

Vladimir Tarasenko could be deadline trade bait if the Ottawa Senators season goes sideways. A six-time 30-plus goal scorer, the 31-year-old winger is on a one-year contract with a reasonable $5 million cap hit. He also carries a full no-trade clause.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: A return to form by Tarasenko will make him among the most pursued players in the trade market if the Senators decide to move him by deadline day. His NTC will be a bit of an obstacle.

Corey Perry could also be of interest to playoff-bound clubs. The 38-year-old winger signed a one-year, $4 million contract with the Chicago Blackhawks. His postseason play since 2020 will make him an enticing option for contenders seeking an agitating veteran leader with a decent scoring touch.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: As Wyshynski observed, the rebuilding Blackhawks can also pick up part of Perry’s cap hit. He lacks no-trade protection so he’ll likely draw lots of interest if he shows he still has something left in the tank this season.

Washington Capitals winger Max Pacioretty is another who could be on the move by the trade deadline. He’s recovering from a twice-torn Achilles tendon that limited him to just five games with the Carolina Hurricanes last season.

Because of his injuries, Pacioretty’s on a one-year deal paying $2 million in base salary plus $2 million in performance bonuses. A return to his 30-plus goal form could fetch a nice return for the Capitals if they drop out of contention by the trade deadline.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Pacioretty is expected to miss the start of this season and could be out for at least the first month. He won’t be moved if he helps the Capitals return to playoff contention. However, Wyshynski also observed that he carries a full no-movement clause.

Wyshynski noted the Boston Bruins don’t want to move Jeremy Swayman. The 24-year-old goaltender went through arbitration earlier this summer and was awarded a one-year, $3.475 million contract. He’ll become a restricted free agent with arbitration rights next summer. Maybe the Bruins won’t want to commit to an expensive goalie tandem when they’ll have holes in their roster to address.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: A lot will depend on how well Swayman and fellow Bruins netminder Linus Ullmark perform this season. Ullmark was mentioned as a trade candidate this summer but the Bruins intend to stick with both goalies for this season. If they fall out of playoff contention, however, they might decide to peddle one of them, especially if they can get a solid return. Swayman could prove to have more value in the trade market.

Philadelphia Flyers defenseman Marc Staal is another possible trade option. He’s on a one-year, $1.1 million contract. Detroit Red Wings blueliner Shayne Gostisbehere carries a more expensive $4.125 million on a one-year deal with a 10-team no-trade clause.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Flyers aren’t expected to be a contender this season. It’s a good bet that Staal gets shopped if he plays well for them. Gostisbehere could also be peddled if the Wings fail to make the cut.

The Nashville Predators re-signed defenseman Dante Fabbro to a one-year, $2.5 million contract. His struggles last season generated some trade speculation prior to signing his new deal, including talk of reuniting with college coach Dan Quinn with the San Jose Sharks.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Wyshynski wondered if new head coach Andrew Brunette and new GM Barry Trotz view the 25-year-old Fabbro differently than the previous regime. A bounce-back performance on his part could help the Predators return to playoff contention or turn him into a trade chip.

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – August 2, 2023

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – August 2, 2023

The latest contract signings and arbitration updates, Vladimir Tarasenko happy to join the Senators, the Kraken removes BookTok content over comments made toward Alex Wennberg and his wife, and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.

BOSTON HOCKEY NOW: Bruins goaltender Jeremy Swayman was awarded a one-year contract worth $3.47 million following his arbitration hearing on Sunday. Swayman had sought $4.8 million while the Bruins countered with $2 million.

The Bruins avoided arbitration with forward Trent Frederic as the two sides agreed to a two-year, $4.6 million contract with an average annual value of $2.3 million. Frederic was scheduled to have an arbitration hearing on Tuesday.

Boston Bruins goaltender Jeremy Swayman (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The new contracts for Swayman and Frederic leave the Bruins with less than $430K of salary cap space for 2023-24 with 22 players under contract. That will likely continue to stoke speculation of the Bruins perhaps making a cost-cutting trade to bolster their depth at center for the coming season.

EDMONTON JOURNAL: The Oilers avoided an arbitration hearing on Tuesday with Ryan McLeod by signing the center to a two-year contract with an AAV of $2.1 million.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Oilers now have $3.5 million in cap space with restricted free-agent defenseman Evan Bouchard to sign. It could leave them with sufficient wiggle room to get him under contract on a short-term deal for around $3 million per season.

Bouchard, 23, is coming off his entry-level contract and lacks arbitration rights. He could receive an offer sheet from another club but that seems a remote possibility at this stage given how many clubs lack sufficient cap space to go that route this summer.

DAILY FACEOFF: The Rangers avoided arbitration with minor-league defenseman Brandon Scanlin as the two sides agreed to a one-year, two-way contract worth $775K at the NHL level.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: As per Cap Friendly, only two players remain on the arbitration schedule. Anaheim Ducks winger Troy Terry’s hearing is slated for today (Aug. 2) while Pittsburgh Penguins forward Drew O’Connor’s is on Aug. 4.

OTTAWA SUN: Vladimir Tarasenko said he is looking forward to playing with the Senators this season. He signed a one-year, $5 million contract with the club last Thursday.

Speaking from his Florida home, the 31-year-old winger said he had several signing options in free agency. He was convinced the Senators were the right choice after speaking with general manager Pierre Dorion, head coach D.J. Smith and several Senators players.

It’s an exciting young group of players,” said Tarasenko. “I spoke to guys before we signed and it sounds like guys want to win. We just decided that it was the best deal for one year for us.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The report also indicated Tarasenko’s new agents called the club saying it would be a done deal if they included a full no-movement clause in his contract, which they did. That clause ensures Tarasenko cannot be demoted to the minors without his approval. He’ll also have total control over potential destinations if the Senators decide to move him before the March trade deadline.

ESPN.COM: The Seattle Kraken removed TikTok videos marketed to the hockey BookTok community. The move comes following statements by forward Alex Wennberg and his wife Felicia speaking out against what they called “vile comments” that sexualized and harassed him and his family for months.

COLORADO HOCKEY NOW: The Avalanche announced that Steve Konowalchuk has been named the Associate Head Coach of the Colorado Eagles, their AHL affiliate.

Former Avalanche forward Carl Soderberg announced his retirement at age 37. He played 597 games over nine NHL seasons (2012-13 to 2020-21) with the Avalanche, Boston Bruins, Arizona Coyotes and Chicago Blackhawks, netting 110 goals and 297 points along with 14 points in 45 career NHL playoff games.

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines and Rumors – July 30, 2023

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines and Rumors – July 30, 2023

Highlights from a recent interview with NHLPA director Marty Walsh plus the latest on Erik Karlsson, Vladimir Tarasenko and the Jets in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines and Rumors.


ESPN.COM: Greg Wyshynski interviewed the NHL Player Association’s new executive director Marty Walsh regarding a variety of topics facing PA and the league. Among the highlights:

Walsh is concerned over whether the NHL’s revenue growth is commensurate with the revenues the league is generating. He also wonders if that growth will put the league’s top stars closer to the salaries of comparable stars in other sports leagues or if it will “unsqueeze” the salaries of veterans whose earnings suffer as a result of salary-cap constraints.

I’m not being critical, but team franchise wealth is certainly growing at a disproportionate rate compared to what the players are making,” Walsh told Wyshynski. He pointed out there will be more teams that will be worth $1 billion USD within a couple of years, and soon there will be teams worth $2 billion USD.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Walsh acknowledged the flattened salary cap since 2020-21 brought about by COVID-19 has affected player contracts. That’s because of the memorandum of understanding extending the CBA to 2026 where the players agreed to a fixed escrow rate. However, that created an imbalance in the 50-50 revenue split leaving an escrow debt to the owners that the players had to repay.

That debt will be fully repaid at the end of 2023-24 when the salary cap is projected to significantly rise by at least $4 million over the current rate of $83.5 million. It could exceed $92 million by 2025-26.

Walsh is also focusing on creating opportunities for players within the current salary-cap system. He would like them to do more “domestically and internationally” to create more relationships and partnerships to grow the game.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: In other words, do more to generate more revenue and that will translate into a higher salary cap and thus more money for the players.

There are concerns on the players’ side that the owners will attempt to put the current 50-50 split in league revenue on the table in the next round of collective bargaining when the current agreement expires in 2026. Walsh, however, doesn’t see the benefit for the owners to attempt to change it, believing it’s better for the league to maintain stability.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Some team owners could entertain the notion of tipping more of the revenue share in their favor. However, it will be NHL commissioner Gary Bettman who’ll decide if that’s something the owners’ side will fight for in negotiations. He could agree with Walsh that the current split is working fine for both sides.

Walsh also said he’s working with Bettman and the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) regarding NHL participation in the 2026 Milano Cortina Winter Olympics in Italy. He also indicated that the players are keen to participate in the next World Cup of Hockey, which he said is a priority for the PA and the NHL. They would also like to find a way to have the league’s Russian players participate in the World Cup “in some credible way.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The COVID-19 pandemic prevent NHL players from participating in the 2022 Winter Olympics and pushed the World Cup ahead to a potential tournament in February 2025. Nevertheless, it’s been seven years since the 2016 World Cup of Hockey, which was the last international tournament with NHL participation.

San Jose Sharks defenseman Erik Karlsson (NHL Images).

Walsh said he hasn’t had conversations yet with the NHL regarding a possible expansion of the regular-season schedule and the playoffs. He also believes there soon needs to be clarity regarding the Arizona Coyotes’ arena situation. Despite the recent ban on specialty warm-up jerseys, Walsh believes there’s an opportunity to revisit this issue down the road.


THE ATHLETIC: Rob Rossi recently noted that the Pittsburgh Penguins is the only club among those reportedly interested in San Jose Sharks defenseman Erik Karlsson that hasn’t made a major roster move over the past two weeks.

The Carolina Hurricanes added defenseman Tony DeAngelo and re-signed Sebastian Aho to the largest contract in franchise history. The Toronto Maple Leafs placed oft-injured goaltender Matt Murray on long-term injury reserve, perhaps for the entirety of the 2023-24 season. The Seattle Kraken signed blueliner Vince Dunn to a four-year deal.

Rossi acknowledged those moves might not eliminate those clubs from the Karlsson sweepstakes. However, he also thinks the Penguins’ recent lack of activity hints they could know something about the three-time Norris Trophy winner’s situation that nobody else does.

Noting the upcoming arbitration hearing for Penguins forward Drew O’Connor, Rossi indicated that the club will have a 48-hour window to buy out a contract beginning 72 hours after a ruling or a settlement with O’Connor.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: My theory is Penguins hockey ops president (and acting general manager) Kyle Dubas will buy out a contract, perhaps that of winger Mikael Granlund. Cap Friendly indicates it will provide the Penguins with over $4.1 million in cap space for the coming season, which could prove invaluable in pulling off what is expected to be a complicated trade to acquire Karlsson.

BALLY SPORTS MIDWEST’s Andy Strickland reported Vladimir Tarasenko had a four-year offer from the Ottawa Senators worth $5.5 million annually earlier in free agency. The 31-year-old winger also received one-year offers worth $5.25 million from the Hurricanes and Sharks.

THE ATHLETIC’s Jeremy Rutherford tweeted that the Florida Panthers also made an offer for Tarasenko.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Tarasenko signed a one-year, $5 million deal with the Senators last Thursday.

WINNIPEG SUN: Scott Billeck recently weighed in on the Jets’ logjam on defense. He doesn’t expect the club to move out a veteran such as Nate Schmidt or Neal Pionk to make room for younger defensemen such as Logan Stanley, Ville Heinola, Kyle Capobianco and Declan Chisholm. That won’t help the club develop those blueliners but it won’t help the Jets in their current “win-now” mode to trade a veteran rearguard.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That could change if the Jets are out of playoff contention by midseason.

NHL Rumor Mill – July 28, 2023

NHL Rumor Mill – July 28, 2023

Should the Bruins and Capitals keep an eye on Flames center Elias Lindholm? What’s the latest on Leafs winger William Nylander? How will the Senators free up cap space after signing Vladimir Tarasenko? Check it out in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.


THE HOCKEY NEWS: Randy Sportak considers the Boston Bruins as a strong potential trade partner for the Calgary Flames, who must unload several of their 2024 potential unrestricted free agents.

He considers Noah Hanifin as the most obvious player to depart the Stampede City for Beantown but believes it makes more sense for the two clubs to discuss a swap of Elias Lindholm. The Bruins need a replacement for now-retired center Patrice Bergeron and the 28-year-old Lindholm could fit the bill with his two-way play.

Calgary Flames center Elias Lindholm (NHL Images).

As for the potential return to the Flames, Sportak believes it would have to include more than just one player, draft pick or prospect. He suggested defenseman Mason Lohrei should be at the top of the list. Other prospect options include winger Fabian Lysell and center Matthew Poitras

Meanwhile, Sportak’s colleague Sammi Silber suggested the Washington Capitals should keep an eye on Lindholm. She cited his two-way play and leadership as enticing traits for a club seeking a reliable top-six center.

However, Silber noted that it would be difficult for the Capitals to land Lindholm. They have Evgeny Kuznetsov and Anthony Mantha as trade chips but they’re unlikely to be enough to pry Lindholm away from the Flames. The cost of his next contract and the Capitals’ future after the Alex Ovechkin era is over could make it tough to convince him to sign a long-term deal.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Of the two teams the Bruins might have the best chance to land Lindholm, Nevertheless, it won’t be easy for either club to get him.

Unless they’re the only two clubs in the bidding, the Bruins and Capitals lack depth in sufficient trade bait to tempt the Flames. Other clubs with more tradeable assets could outbid them once the Flames put Lindholm on the trade block.


TORONTO STAR: Damien Cox believes William Nylander is going to get between $10 million and $11 million annually on his next contract. It might be with the Leafs or with another club as an unrestricted free agent next summer.

Cox considers it a fantasy to think that the 27-year-old winger is going to accept less money to stay in Toronto. He’s got all the leverage he needs with UFA eligibility approaching next summer.

The Leafs could try to trade Nylander but Cox doubts they’ll get value in any return given the state of the trade market under a flattened salary cap. Most teams can’t afford his current contract right now ($6.962 million cap hit) and none will want to acquire him without an agreement on a long-term extension.

Cox thinks the best course of action for the Leafs is to let Nylander play out his final season with them. They can use the money they would’ve invested in him on pursuing a top-flight goaltender or a top defenseman.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: More pundits are realizing that the Leafs won’t get anything close to equal value for Nylander if they trade him. That could change if another club gets desperate but it doesn’t appear as though anyone’s beating down the Leafs door willing to make that deal.

I was of the opinion that the Leafs should trade him. I felt that general manager Brad Treliving doesn’t want to go through another scenario watching a star depart as a free agent as he did in Calgary last summer with Johnny Gaudreau. Nylander’s uncertain future could also become an unnecessary distraction for the club.

Nevertheless, the Leafs are still a playoff contender hoping to compete for the Stanley Cup this season. Their chances of doing so are better with Nylander in the lineup unless a club steps up with an offer that would make them a better club. So far, that offer doesn’t seem to be out there.


THE ATHLETIC: Ian Mendes wondered what the Ottawa Senators will do to free up salary-cap space after signing Vladimir Tarasenko to a one-year, $5 million contract. They’re bumping up against the $83.5 million salary cap with restricted free agent Shane Pinto to re-sign.

Mendes expects Pinto’s salary request will exceed the $900K that the Senators have to play with. He anticipates they’ll have to ship someone out. There aren’t many logical trade candidates and they won’t want to move a core player.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Perhaps they attempt to move winger Mathieu Joseph ($2.95 million through 2024-25) or defenseman Erik Brannstrom ($2 million). They could also shop Dominik Kubalik but they recently acquired him from the Red Wings. 

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 28, 2023

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 28, 2023

The Senators sign Vladimir Tarasenko, the Bruins intend to retire Patrice Bergeron’s number, the Coyotes sign top prospect Logan Cooley and the Panthers prepare to celebrate their 30th anniversary season in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.

OTTAWA SUN: The Senators signed free agent Vladimir Tarasenko to a one-year, $5 million contract. It’s expected the 31-year-old scoring winger will skate among the Senators’ top-six forwards.

Ottawa Senators sign Vladimir Tarasenko (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Tarasenko was the biggest name remaining in this summer’s unrestricted free-agent market. He’s a six-time 30-goal scorer who should provide a boost to the Senators’ offense this season.

Tarasenko reportedly rejected an earlier bid from the Senators along with others from several other clubs before replacing his agent with new representation in early July. This season’s flattened salary cap hampered his chances of landing a lucrative long-term deal after coming off an eight-year contract worth an average annual value of $7.5 million.

Forced to accept a shorter term for less money, Tarasenko is betting that he’ll have a productive season with the Senators. Another 30-goal campaign could help him land a better contract via next summer’s free-agent market when the salary cap is projected to rise by at least $4 million.

As for the Senators, this move leaves them with around $784K in cap space with restricted free agents Shane Pinto, Egor Sokolov and Alex Formenton to re-sign. A cost-cutting trade could be in the works.

BOSTON HOCKEY NOW: Bruins team president Cam Neely confirmed the club will retire Patrice Bergeron’s No. 37 at some point in the near future. Bergeron announced his retirement earlier this week after 19 NHL seasons, all of them with the Bruins.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Proper thing. Bergeron is one of the greatest players in Bruins history. Whether that happens this season or perhaps when he’s officially inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in three years’ time remains to be seen.

ARIZONA SPORTS: The Coyotes signed top prospect Logan Cooley on Thursday to a three-year entry-level contract. Cooley, 19, was chosen third overall in the 2022 NHL Draft.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Cooley had originally planned to return to the University of Minnesota this season. However, the lure of playing in the NHL proved too strong.

Cooley is perhaps the most highly-touted prospect in Coyotes’ history. He’ll face considerable pressure to play up to lofty expectations. How well he does will affect the rebuilding Coyotes’ plans of becoming a playoff contender in the near future.

FLORIDA HOCKEY NOW: The Panthers will be celebrating their 30th anniversary in 2023-24. The club unveiled its anniversary logo and there are plans to bring back former players, coaches and personalities who were part of the franchise during those three decades.

NHL Rumor Mill – July 24, 2023

NHL Rumor Mill – July 24, 2023

Are the Jets any closer to trading Connor Hellebuyck and Mark Scheifele? Could the Panthers sign Vladimir Tarasenko? Could Casey DeSmith become the odd goalie out with the Penguins? Find out in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.


WINNIPEG SUN: Scott Billeck wondered if goaltender Connor Hellebuyck and center Mark Scheifele will be in the Jets lineup when the 2023-24 regular season opens in October. Both are slated to become unrestricted free agents next summer with Hellebuyck reportedly unwilling to sign a contract extension and Scheifele uncertain to do the same.

Hellebucyk and Scheifele have been fixtures in this summer’s trade rumor mill. However, the market has dried up, especially for Hellebuyck. The flattened salary cap for 2023-24 hasn’t helped matters. Hellebuyck also reportedly seeks $9.5 million annually on his next contract.

Winnipeg Jets center Mark Scheifele (NHL Images).

Billeck reports the Jets have spoken with Hellebuyck and Scheifele to see if the club’s offseason moves have changed their minds. For now, it appears both will be starting the season with the Jets unless a trade offer surfaces that makes sense.

According to Billeck, it’s possible the Boston Bruins could enter the picture regarding Scheifele at some point. However, they could have their eyes on Calgary Flames center Elias Lindholm, who’s also a year away from UFA eligibility and reluctant to ink an extension.

A team or two could be in need of a goaltending upgrade by December. Scheifele could also be a solid trade deadline addition, perhaps sooner if injuries start piling up.

THE ATHLETIC: Murat Ates wouldn’t be surprised if Hellebuyck and Scheifele are in the Jets lineup for opening night. He also wouldn’t be shocked if the Jets were working on ways to keep both players beyond this season.

If Scheifele gets traded he could fetch a first-round pick, a second-rounder and a young roster player with top-six upside. Fixing a price for Hellebuyck is harder because there aren’t any realistic comparable trades plus the lack of contract extensions muddies the waters in both cases.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s been a while since we’ve heard or read anything about Hellebuyck and Scheifele in the rumor mill. It was expected one or both would be traded by now. However, the reasons cited by Billeck and Ates suggest there isn’t much of a market for either player right now.

Few teams have the cap space to take on Hellebuyck’s $6.166 cap hit or Scheifele’s $6.125 million for 2023-24. The Jets don’t seem keen to retain any portion of their salaries.

The Jets, however, have time on their side. They can hang onto Hellebuyck and Scheifele to start the season and wait for the trade market to pick up, especially in the latter half of the season when teams jockeying for playoff berths are looking to boost their rosters.


FLORIDA HOCKEY NOW: George Richards wonders if the Panthers might take a run at signing UFA winger Vladimir Tarasenko.

To make it work, the 31-year-old Tarasenko would have to join the Panthers at a bargain price. The Panthers are bumping up against the $83.5 million cap. They’ll get some relief with defensemen Brandon Montour and Aaron Ekblad expected to start the season on LTIR but must be cap compliant when they’re ready to return to action.

Richards noted that recent reports indicate Tarasenko rejected offers worth between $5.5 million and $6 million which would put the Panthers out of the running. However, he wondered if Tarasenko would accept a $4 million contract for this season with the knowledge that he could get more money when the cap goes up next season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Things have also gone quiet regarding Tarasenko since he fired his agent earlier this month. He might have to consider a scenario like Richards’ if he doesn’t find any better offers or if those that he rejected are off the table.

It seems unlikely the Panthers would be in the bidding under that scenario given their limited cap space. Still, we can’t fully dismiss the possibility.


PITTSBURGH HOCKEY NOW: Dan Kingerski wondered if the Penguins’ recent goaltending additions throughout their system might make backup Casey DeSmith the odd man out between the pipes.

Tristan Jarry is back as their starter having signed a five-year deal earlier this month. They’ve also added Alex Nedeljkovic and Magnus Hellberg on NHL deals as well as Garret Sparks to their AHL affiliate.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Penguins could use their second buyout window to ditch one of their goalie contracts once Drew O’Connor’s arbitration has been settled. They could also include one of those netminders as part of a package to acquire Erik Karlsson from the San Jose Sharks. Failing that, perhaps they could trade one of them to another club.