NHL Rumor Mill – September 28, 2023

NHL Rumor Mill – September 28, 2023

How might John Tavares’ contract talks with the Leafs pan out next summer? Are the Sabres interested in Ducks center Trevor Zegras? What’s the latest on Blues defenseman Torey Krug? Find out in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.


TORONTO STAR: Kevin McGran wonders if contract extension talks between the Maple Leafs and captain John Tavares will pan out like Steven Stamkos’ situation with the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Stamkos, 33, raised eyebrows last week when he voiced his disappointment to reporters over the lack of contract extension discussions with Lightning management this summer. Bolts general manager Julien BriseBois said that his captain will have to wait until the end of this season for those negotiations to begin.

Toronto Maple Leafs captain John Tavares (NHL Images).

McGran wonders if Leafs GM Brad Treliving will ask Tavares, who will be 34 next summer, to accept a pay cut like Evgeni Malkin did with the Pittsburgh Penguins last summer. Malkin’s pay dropped from an average annual value of $9.5 million to $6.1 million. He also mused over whether Treliving might have other ideas.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Tavares is earning an AAV of $11 million on his current contract, which expires at the end of the 2024-25 season. He’ll have no choice but to accept a pay cut if he hopes to continue playing for the Leafs, especially if his production declines between now and then. That’s assuming management intends to keep him once this contract is completed. How big a cut will depend on his performance over the next two seasons.


TVA SPORTS: Renaud Lavoie recently weighed in on the lack of progress in contract talks between the Anaheim Ducks and restricted free agent Trevor Zegras. He claimed the Buffalo Sabres have an interest in the 22-year-old center, believing Zegras will help them end their 12-year playoff drought.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I missed this one when it was first reported last week. The Sabres are already set with Tage Thompson and Dylan Cozens centering their top two lines. Zegras can also play wing but they’re loaded at those positions too. Goaltending and blueline depth are the bigger concerns for the Sabres entering this season.

If the Sabres are looking into Zegras’ availability I doubt the Ducks are willing to part with him. If they are, the asking price will be significant plus there’s also the cost to the Sabres of re-signing him to a new contract.

The Sabres have the depth in assets to make a competitive trade offer for Zegras and the cap space to sign him if he’s seeking under $8 million annually starting this season. Long-term cap space, however, could be an issue with Rasmus Dahlin, Owen Power and Casey Mittelstadt due for new contracts (and big raises) next season.


THE HOCKEY NEWS: Lou Korac reports Torey Krug recently addressed the media regarding his unwillingness to waive his no-trade clause in June to facilitate a trade to the Philadelphia Flyers.

The 32-year-old defenseman cited his unwillingness to uproot his young family from St. Louis, his closeness to his Blues teammates, and the fact that he didn’t want to join a rebuilding club in Philadelphia.

Krug acknowledged he was upset that Blues management was looking at trading him. However, he said he took some time to deal with the aftermath of the situation and insists he has a great relationship with general manager Doug Armstrong.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Korac and The Athletic’s Jeremy Rutherford noted that Krug was within his rights to reject the trade. However, Rutherford believes the pressure will be on the blueliner to step up his game in 2023-24 and prove that he wants to be part of the solution after the Blues missed the playoffs last season.

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 25, 2023

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 25, 2023

Attainable milestones for the upcoming season plus the latest on Lightning goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy, Rangers center Mika Zibanejad and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.

NHL.COM: has a complete roundup of Sunday’s preseason action.

THE SCORE: Several NHL players are in line to reach league milestones this season.

Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin is within one goal of becoming the first player in league history to tally 300 career power-play goals. He’s also just 15 points away from reaching 1,500 career points.

Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby (NHL Images).

Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby needs 88 points to tie Phil Esposito for 10th on the all-time points list. Esposito has 1,590 points.

Phil Kessel, the league’s reigning Ironman record holder, is just eight points away from reaching 1,000 career points. That’s assuming the 35-year-old unrestricted free agent finds a new contract with an NHL club. Toronto Maple Leafs captain John Tavares is 25 points away from 1,000.

Twenty players, including Nashville’s Ryan O’Reilly, Minnesota’s Marc-Andre Fleury, Tampa Bay’s Victor Hedman, Vegas’ Alex Pietrangelo, Boston’s Brad Marchand and Pittsburgh’s Erik Karlsson, could reach 1,000 career games.

TAMPA BAY TIMES: Lightning goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy has yet to suit up for training camp as he deals with an undisclosed injury. Tampa Bay coach Jon Cooper said Vasilevskiy is “wrestling with some things right now physically” and is considered day-to-day.

NEW YORK POST: Rangers center Mika Zibanejad is listed as day-to-day after leaving scrimmage on Sunday with an upper-body injury.

CAP FRIENDLY: The Seattle Kraken have officially removed winger Andre Burakovsky off injured reserved. He’d been on IR since Feb. 9.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Kraken managed to adjust to Burakovsky’s absence as they reached the playoffs for the first time in franchise history. Nevertheless, he helped set the stage for that success with 39 points in 49 games before suffering a torn groin.

WASHINGTON HOCKEY NOW: Capitals defenseman Trevor van Riemsdyk will be evaluated today after leaving Sunday’s preseason game against the Buffalo Sabres. He was struck in the right arm by a shot in the third period, left the game and didn’t return.

TRIBLIVE.COM: Alex Nedeljkovic is hoping a fresh start with the Pittsburgh Penguins will help reset his career after two unsatisfying seasons with the Detroit Red Wings. He was a finalist for the Calder Memorial Trophy in 2020-21 with the Carolina Hurricanes but struggled to replicate that success after getting traded to the Red Wings.

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – August 21, 2023

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – August 21, 2023

A look at players who could reach significant milestones this season, the favorites to win the Selke Trophy following Patrice Bergeron’s retirement, the highest-scoring UFAs still available, and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.

THE HOCKEY NEWS: Ian Kennedy looked at several NHL players who could reach significant career milestones in 2023-24. Among the notables:

Free agent Phil Kessel (992 points) and Toronto Maple Leafs captain John Tavares (975 points) are within reach of 1,000 career regular-season points.

Minnesota Wild goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury (NHL Images).

Boston Bruins winger Brad Marchand could achieve 500 career regular-season assists, 1,000 career regular-season PIMs and 1,000 career regular-season games.

Marc-Andre Fleury of the Minnesota Wild needs just 15 more games to become the fourth goaltender in NHL history to play 1,000 career regular-season contests.

Pittsburgh Penguins center Evgeni Malkin can reach the 500-goal plateau. He currently has 471.

THE SCORE: Kayla Douglas recently sized up the favorites to win the Selke Trophy this season in the wake of Patrice Bergeron’s retirement. Among them are Vegas Golden Knights winger Mark Stone, Los Angeles Kings center Anze Kopitar, Toronto Maple Leafs winger Mitch Marner, Florida Panthers center Aleksander Barkov and New Jersey Devils center Nico Hischier.

DAILY FACEOFF: The pickings are slim for scorers in what’s left of this summer’s unrestricted free-agent class. Nevertheless, a few familiar names remain, including Patrick Kane, Tomas Tatar, Phil Kessel, Zach Parise and Eric Staal.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kane is the biggest name on this list. If he wasn’t rehabbing from a hip resurfacing procedure in early June he would’ve been signed within hours of the free-agent market opening on July 1. The 34-year-old winger is expected to be ready to return to action in December and intends to sign with a team that gives him the best chance to win the Stanley Cup.

Tatar is coming off a respectable 20-goal, 48-point performance with the New Jersey Devils last season. He has been linked to the Penguins in the rumor mill. Parise tallied 21 goals last season at age 38. The New York Islanders are waiting to find out if Parise, who turned 39 on July 28, intends to return or retire.

Kessel said he has no plans for retirement but there’s no word if he’s any closer to landing with a new team. The same goes for the 38-year-old Staal.

DETROIT HOCKEY NOW: Hall of Fame defenseman Slava Fetisov is auctioning some of his memorabilia with the proceeds going directly to a special fund to assist in the care of former Detroit Red Wings teammate Vladimir Konstantinov’s ongoing non-medical care.

Konstantinov’s career was ended by a debilitating brain injury suffered in 1997. The state of Michigan is still covering his health insurance but he and his family need help with his other therapy costs.

Czech hockey greats of the past and present gathered in Litvinov on Saturday for a charity hockey game honoring the memory of Petr Klima, who passed away in May at age 58. Boston’s David Pastrnak and Carolina’s Martin Necas were among the current NHL players who took part along with former stars such as Patrik Elias, Ziggy Palffy, and Robert Reichel.

SAN JOSE HOCKEY NOW: Former Sharks defenseman Ryan Merkley has signed with KHL club Kunlun Red Star.

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – August 20, 2023

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – August 20, 2023

Former Islanders GM Garth Snow opens up about his tenure with the club, a recent ranking of the top wingers, the Jets re-sign Logan Stanley, and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.

NEW YORK POST: Ethan Sears reports Garth Snow is finally free to speak his mind five years after being replaced as general manager of the New York Islanders. He’d been prevented from doing so or working in the NHL because of the terms of his five-year payout.

Among the topics he discussed was John Tavares’ departure from the Islanders to the Toronto Maple Leafs in 2018, a month after Snow was fired. “He didn’t do anything wrong,” said Snow, who laid the blame at the feet of Isles co-owner Scott Malkin.

Toronto Maple Leafs captain John Tavares (NHL Images).

Islanders fans perceived Tavares was at fault for stringing along the club by leaving open the possibility of re-signing him when they could’ve moved him for assets at the 2018 trade deadline. Snow revealed that Malkin made the decision to keep Tavares even at the risk of losing him to free agency later that year.

Snow said Malkin has taken over contract talks with the Tavares camp. Despite setting aside $10 million annually to re-sign their captain, the club made little progress in negotiations. He said he felt bad for Tavares getting trashed by the fans for something that wasn’t his fault.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Snow also revealed the threat of the Islanders relocating was real prior to their move to Barclays Center in 2015 during their attempts to get a new arena constructed. While that decision prevented relocation, the difficulties involved in playing there hung over the club and made game days difficult.

Snow has been coaching the PAL Junior Islanders but he indicated he’s spoken with several NHL clubs about front-office roles.

NHL.COM: Boston’s David Pastrnak topped the NHL Network’s recent ranking of the league’s top 20 wingers. Florida’s Matthew Tkachuk, Tampa Bay’s Nikita Kucherov, Colorado’s Mikko Rantanen and Dallas’ Jason Robertson rounded out their top five.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Follow the link above for the complete ranking.

TSN.CA: The Jets signed defenseman Logan Stanley on Saturday to a one-year, $1 million contract.

WINNIPEG FREE PRESS: Speaking of the Jets, Cole Perfetti hopes to fill the gap left by center Pierre-Luc Dubois’ departure via a trade to Los Angeles. The promising 21-year-old had 30 points in 51 games before his rookie season was cut short by an upper-body injury.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Selected 10th overall in the 2020 NHL Draft, the Jets have high hopes for Perfetti. He could get his wish with a healthy performance in his sophomore campaign. That might also make it easier for the Jets to part ways with Mark Scheifele if the latter decides to test next summer’s free-agent market.

THE HOCKEY NEWS: KHL club Salavat Yulaev will honor the memory of Rodion Amirov by retiring his No. 27. The 21-year-old Maple Leafs prospect spent three seasons with the club until his career was cut short by a brain tumor. Amirov passed away last Monday in Germany where he was receiving treatment.

THE HOCKEY NEWS: Arizona Coyotes forward Jan Jenik has requested a trade. The 22-year-old restricted free agent has played 17 games over three seasons with the Coyotes, spending most of that time with their AHL affiliate in Tucson.

NHL Rumor Mill – June 30, 2023

NHL Rumor Mill – June 30, 2023

Check out the latest on Erik Karlsson, John Tavares, Noah Hanifin, Jeff Petry, Tyler Myers and more in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.


THE ATHLETIC: Pierre LeBrun reports the trade talks regarding Erik Karlsson appear to be calming down. He believes teams are taking some time now to ponder their next moves after learning what the San Jose Sharks will seek in return for the 33-year-old defenseman.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: How much of Karlsson’s $11.5 million cap hit the Sharks are willing to retain will also affect how much interest they get in the 2023 Norris Trophy winner.


TORONTO STAR: Nick Kypreos wonders if Maple Leafs general manager Brad Treliving should approach team captain John Tavares about waiving his no-movement clause. He believes Tavares could draw a bidding war involving a dozen teams if the Leafs were willing to retain part of his $11 million average annual value.

Toronto Maple Leafs captain John Tavares (NHL Images).

Kypreos acknowledged Tavares’ comments at the end of the Leafs’ playoff run regarding his intent to finish the final two years of his contract in Toronto. However, he also mentioned Treliving’s recent words describing his Core Four players: “Oh, I don’t think there’s ever any assurances in this business.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Anything’s possible but if Treliving was going to go that route he would’ve done so by now.


THE ATHLETIC: Pierre LeBrun reports several teams, including the Florida Panthers and Boston Bruins, have contacted the Calgary Flames to express an interest in Noah Hanifin. However, the Flames have not yet received any offers they consider to be fair market value for the 26-year-old defenseman. General manager Craig Conroy told teams that he’s not selling low on Hanifin and is willing to wait for the right offer even if he doesn’t get it this summer.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Hanifin becomes an unrestricted free agent next July. If Conroy doesn’t get a suitable offer this offseason, he can try again leading up to next season’s trade deadline.


THE ATHLETIC: Josh Yohe reports the Pittsburgh Penguins are heavily shopping Jeff Petry. They’re not averse to retaining the 35-year-old defenseman but don’t think he’s a $6.25 million player. There isn’t much interest in Petry but that might change if the Penguins retained part of his cap hit.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Petry’s signed through 2024-25 with a 15-team no-trade list and a no-movement clause that ensures he cannot be demoted to the minors without his approval.


SAN JOSE HOCKEY NOW: Sheng Peng cited Daily Faceoff’s Frank Seravalli reporting the Vancouver Canucks could attempt to ship defenseman Tyler Myers to the San Jose Sharks. He believes the Canucks have had that deal on the table for weeks but doesn’t know what the holdup is.

Peng speculates that it might not happen until after Sept. 1. That’s when Myers is due a $5 million signing bonus. After Sept. 1, they would only owe him $1 million of his $6 million salary, though that entire AAV would still count against the cap.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Peng also noted that Seravalli linked the Penguins’ Jeff Petry to the Sharks. Perhaps Petry or Myers becomes a short-term replacement for Erik Karlsson if he’s traded this summer.


SPORTSNET: Eric Engels looked at which players the Montreal Canadiens could attempt to move in the trade market this summer.

He believes winger Mike Hoffman is a player Canadiens GM Kent Hughes could look at moving before training camp opens in September. He’s entering the final year of his contract with a cap hit of $4.5 million.

Hughes would hope not to retain salary and give up an asset in order to get defenseman Joel Edmundson off his books. He has a year left at $3.5 million. Hughes could hold on to Christian Dvorak if he can’t get an asset in return. He’s under contract for next season at $4.45 million.

NHL Rumor Mill – May 31, 2023

NHL Rumor Mill – May 31, 2023

The latest on Auston Matthews and the Leafs, an update on Flyers goalie Carter Hart and more speculation about the Stars in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.


TSN: Chris Johnston reports the recent change in Toronto Maple Leafs management hasn’t adversely affected contract extension talks between the club and superstar Auston Matthews.

Johnston reports the line of communication between the two sides has remained open despite the departure of former general manager Kyle Dubas. While there haven’t been any progress or firm discussions about an extension on July 1, Johnston doubts bringing in a new GM will derail things. He pointed out that Matthews has consistently expressed his desire to stay in Toronto and expects those contract talks will pick up once a new GM is in place.

Toronto Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: In other words, both sides are willing to do a contract extension but they’re going to wait until a new general manager is hired. That makes sense but of course, gives rise to conjecture over Matthews’ future.

Unless those negotiations go off the rails during this summer I anticipate Matthews will sign an extension at some point in this offseason. Expect the length of that new contract and the average annual value to be grist for the rumor mill.

Nevertheless, I anticipate that Matthews will end up earning the highest AAV of any NHL player starting in 2024-25. Colorado’s Nathan MacKinnon is currently the leader at $12.6 million. Don’t be surprised if Matthews comes in between $13 million and $14 million. And yes, the Leafs will be able to afford it because the salary cap is projected to jump by at least $4 million for 2024-25.

THE TORONTO STAR: Nick Kypreos recently suggested that whoever becomes the Leafs new general manager will have to have what would be a difficult discussion with captain John Tavares.

Kypreos was no fan of Dubas signing Tavares to his seven-year contract at $11 million annually back in 2018. The Leafs captain said he has no intention of waiving his no-movement clause as he wants to honor the remaining tenure with the club Nevertheless, the Leafs must shed salary and moving Tavares’ contract should be an option.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I understand that a player carrying a no-movement clause can opt to waive it for a certain team if pressured or requested to do so by management. However, I doubt Tavares is going to do that. For better or worse, the Leafs are stuck with his contract until it expires in 2025.


THE HOCKEY NEWS: Ryan Quigley reports Philadelphia Flyers GM Daniel Briere is throwing cold water on trade rumors about Carter Hart. In an interview on Saturday, Briere indicated he’d be willing to entertain trade offers for any player, including the 24-year-old goaltender.

Talking to Broad Street Hockey’s Bill Matz and Kelly Hinkle on Tuesday, however, Briere clarified that while no player is immovable, it’s not a foregone conclusion that he’s trading Hart. Briere indicated that he still sees the young netminder as a part of what they’re trying to build in Philadelphia. “It would have to be a crazy load of a haul to even consider trading him,” said the Flyers GM.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Hart’s future could also be determined by his willingness to agree to a contract extension. He signed through next season and becomes a restricted free agent with arbitration rights next summer. If he and the Flyers don’t reach an agreement on a new contract, he can become an unrestricted free agent in 2025.

Briere’s remarks suggest that he wants to keep Hart in the fold for the long term. Of course, there’s plenty of time for the two sides to work out an agreement. Nevertheless, it’ll be interesting to see if they open extension talks this summer or wait until next year to work this out.


THE DALLAS MORNING NEWS: Joseph Hoyt looked at some key questions facing the Stars as they head into the offseason.

With limited salary-cap space, he wondered if Stars management can find sufficient cap space to re-sign Max Domi or Evgenii Dadonov, who played well after joining the Stars at the trade deadline.

Their estimated $7.3 million in cap space could allow a promising young forward such as 21-year-old center Mavrik Bourque an opportunity to crack the lineup next season.

DAILY FACEOFF: Mike McKenna believes the Stars must bolster their depth if they hope to be a Stanley Cup contender next season.

Unless they can find a way to shed forward Radek Faksa and his $3.25 million cap hit, they’ll have to find some serious value via free agency or trade for a player with a lesser cap hit who’s under contract for several seasons.