Blue Jackets, Ducks Could Soon Become NHL Sellers
SHOULD THE BRUINS MAKE A MOVE NOW?
BOSTON HOCKEY NOW: Jimmy Murphy took note of colleague Joe Haggerty’s piece over the weekend calling upon Bruins general manager Don Sweeney to shake up the roster. “Not at the NHL Trade Deadline when prices will skyrocket but now.”
Murphy believes the transitional leadership group of Charlie Coyle, Chris Wagner and Sean Kuraly aren’t leading by example. He suggests Massachusetts natives Coyle and Wagner could find themselves playing away from home again but point out the former has a modified no-trade clause and a no-movement clause in his contract.
He suggests Sweeney look deeper into the Arizona Coyotes than defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson, as well as explore possibilities with the Ottawa Senators. In a separate piece (stick tap to Florida Hockey Now), Murphy noted Oliver Ekman-Larsson was close to becoming a Bruin last fall, adding Coyotes GM Bill Armstrong “is listening again on his captain.”
Murphy also cites a source claiming Senators center (and Boston native) Colin White was “out there” at the trade deadline two years ago. With younger players coming through the Senators pipeline, the source wonders if White could be available.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Sweeney might be able to afford Ekman-Larsson’s annual average value of $8.25 million if he could move Coyle’s $5.25 million as part of the return. That’s assuming, of course, Ekman-Larsson is willing to waive his NMC during this season and if the Coyotes aren’t on Coyle’s 10-team no-trade list. I don’t think that’s going to happen.
Coyle’s low production and his annual cap hit through 2025-26 won’t attract many suitors unless Sweeney takes a comparable player and contract in return. That’s not going to improve the Bruins before this year’s playoffs.
As for White, the Senators could entertain offers but they might not be in a hurry to move him. He’s got four more years remaining on his deal. They can afford to wait until the offseason if they feel the need to move him out.
KELLER ON THE BLOCK?
FLORIDA HOCKEY NOW: Jimmy Murphy pondered the possibility of an Arizona Coyotes fire sale at the trade deadline or during the offseason. He wondered if they could consider shopping forward Clayton Keller. A source told Murphy he’d heard Keller’s name “more than you’d expect” before signing his current eight-year contract and is hearing it again, though he stressed GM Bill Armstrong isn’t shopping the 22-year-old forward. The source believes that sort of move would be more likely to happen in the offseason around the NHL Draft.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Given the ongoing uncertainty surrounding the Coyotes we can’t rule out the possibility of Keller getting traded. However, it’s worth pointing out Coyotes Insider Craig Morgan doesn’t see Keller being that high on the trade board.
WHAT WILL THE RANGERS DO WITH BUCHNEVICH?
NEW YORK POST: Larry Brooks believes the Rangers have a big decision to reach with Pavel Buchnevich before the April 12 trade deadline. He wonders if the winger has played well enough to be taken off the trade market or if he’s priced himself off the roster going forward. Buchnevich turns 26 next month, is slated to become a restricted free agent with arbitration rights this summer and will be a year away from unrestricted free agent eligibility.
With 22 points in 26 games, Buchnevich has become one of the Rangers’ most reliable forwards this season. Moving him would create a hole on right wing that could take a couple of years to fill. If they’re going to trade him, Brooks feels they should get a young, no-doubt top-six center or a grinding-oriented winger comparable to Toronto’s Zach Hyman but doesn’t envision either scenario happening.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Brooks believes it could cost $5.5 million annually to lock up Buchenevich long-term. The Rangers could entertain offers for Buchnevich at the trade deadline but they don’t have to move him by April 12. They still hold his rights through 2022 so they can address this issue in the offseason when teams have more cap space and willingness to make significant trades.
UPDATE ON TERRY
THE ATHLETIC: Eric Stephens noted Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman reported Saturday he’d heard Anaheim Ducks forward Troy Terry might be looking for a change of scenery. However, Stephens cites a source indicating that’s not the case.
THE ATHLETIC: Pierre LeBrun on Friday suggested some trade fits for six playoff contenders. Among his proposals were Nashville Predators defenseman Mattia Ekholm to the Boston Bruins or Winnipeg Jets, Anaheim Ducks winger Rickard Rakell to the Toronto Maple Leafs and Calgary Flames backup David Rittich to the Washington Capitals if the Flames fall out of playoff contention by the April 12 trade deadline.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Ekholm would be a good fit with the Bruins as they need an experienced left-side defenseman but their anemic secondary scoring is their priority. LeBrun’s colleague Murat Ates believes Columbus’ David Savard would be the ideal addition in Winnipeg but Ekholm would do if Savard isn’t obtainable.
Rakell has a year left on his contract with a $3.79 million cap hit. LeBrun suggests he’d be a worthwhile replacement for Zach Hyman if the Leafs fail to re-sign him. I agree with LeBrun that he’d be a step up talent-wise over the Predators Mikael Granlund, who’s been linked to Toronto for some time. Granlund wouldn’t cost as many assets as Rakell but the latter would be a better option if the Leafs are all-in this year.
Rittich is due to become an unrestricted free agent this summer. If the Flames falter then he could become expendable at the deadline.
THE ATHLETIC: Arthur Staple believes the New York Islanders could seek a top-six forward such as Buffalo’s Taylor Hall or New Jersey’s Kyle Palmieri if captain Anders Lee remains sidelined indefinitely with a lower-body injury. Placing Lee ($7 million annual average value) on long-term injury reserve would provide some salary-cap relief to make a significant addition if they wish. More affordable rental options could include Mikael Granlund, Columbus’ Nick Foligno or Vancouver’s Tanner Pearson.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: We don’t know how long Lee will be out or which players the notoriously secretive Lou Lamoriello might pursue. Nevertheless, the Isles GM could be active in the trade market if Lee is out until the playoffs.
THE DALLAS MORNING NEWS: In a recent mailbag segment, Matthew DeFranks speculated the Stars would become sellers if they don’t improve over the next two-to-three weeks. The most obvious trade candidates are players on expiring contracts such as Andrew Cogliano, Blake Comeau and Jamie Oleksiak. He doubts they’ll fetch much, “maybe a mid-round pick”.
DeFranks also wondered if the Stars would trade Anton Khudobin rather than risk losing the goaltender to the Seattle Kraken in this summer’s expansion draft. He also mused about trading John Klingberg. While the defenseman would fetch “a sizeable package of picks and prospects,” it would also significantly hurt the Stars’ chances of chasing the Stanley Cup in the final (somewhat) productive years of Jamie Benn, Tyler Seguin, Alexander Radulov, Joe Pavelski and Ben Bishop.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I doubt the Stars moving Klingberg at the trade deadline but I wouldn’t rule out the possibility of a Khudobin trade for the right offer. However, they could wait until the offseason and shop him before the expansion draft.
THE ATHLETIC: Allan Mitchell took note of colleagues Craig Custance and Eric Duhatschek recently adding Elvis Merzlikins to their trade deadline board. He pondered the possibility of the Edmonton Oilers pursuing the Columbus Blue Jackets goaltender, suggesting a package involving Mikko Koskinen and defenseman Caleb Jones.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Jackets could consider moving Merzlikins for the right price but I don’t think they’re in any rush to do so. He won’t become eligible for UFA status until next summer so they’ve got plenty of time to field offers if they want to go that route.
Ted Lindsay Award nominees announced, exhibition and Stanley Cup qualifying round schedules revealed, plus the latest on Johnny Gaudreau, Shea Weber, Pierre-Luc Dubois, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.
NHLPA.COM: Edmonton Oilers forward Leon Draisaitl, Colorado Avalanche center Nathan MacKinnon, and New York Rangers winger Artemi Panarin are the 2020 finalists for the Ted Lindsay Award, presented annually to the NHL’s most outstanding player as voted by the NHL Players Association membership.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: All are worthy finalists. They could also be in the running for the Hart Memorial Trophy. The finalists for that award will be announced on July 21.
NHL.COM: The league released its schedule of exhibition games and the Stanley Cup qualifiers schedule for Phase 4 of its return-to-play plan. All Western Conference games will be played at Rogers Place in Edmonton and all Eastern Conference games at Scotiabank Arena in Toronto.
SPORTSNET: Johnny Gaudreau’s separation from his linemates and the main group during the opening two days of the Calgary Flames’ training camp is raising eyebrows. Flames coach Geoff Ward claimed the move was due to “circumstances that became apparent last week.” He declined to elaborate.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The first-line winger continues to participate in the Flames’ practices with a smaller group, and Ward suggested he could be reunited with his linemates at some point. The NHL’s tight controls over the players’ medical status could cause imaginations to run wild over Gaudreau’s situation. If he were suffering COVID-19 symptoms, he wouldn’t be at practice. Perhaps he’s nursing a recent injury.
TSN: Montreal Canadiens captain Shea Weber was “unable to practice” yesterday but took to the ice afterward with assistant coach Luke Richardson for some individual work. Canadiens coach Claude Julien anticipates Weber will return to practice on Wednesday.
THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH: Blue Jackets center Pierre-Luc Dubois missed practice yesterday with what is believed to be a minor issue. Because of the league’s return-to-play rules, the team didn’t provide details.
STLTODAY.COM: Blues defenseman Colton Parayko returned to the ice yesterday with his teammates after missing the first day of training camp. Teammate Robert Bortuzzo remained absent. Both are believed to have recently tested positive for COVID-19. Blues coach Craig Berube expects Bortuzzo will return soon.
THE WASHINGTON POST: Capitals forwards Lars Eller and Carl Hagelin intend to leave the protective bubble during the playoffs to be with their expectant wives. Eller’s wife is due to give birth on Aug. 8 while Hagelin’s spouse is due in September. Both players must isolate and test negative for four consecutive days before returning to the lineup.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Players are allowed to leave and return to the host cities for family reasons.
CHICAGO SUN-TIMES: Blackhawks defenseman Calvin de Haan missed practice yesterday for a family emergency. Teammate Corey Crawford remains “unfit to play” for the second straight day.
WGR550.COM: Buffalo Sabres winger Michael Frolik has reportedly received a contract offer from KHL team Avangard Omsk. The 32-year-old is an unrestricted free agent at season’s end.
THE ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER: The Anaheim Ducks re-signed winger Troy Terry to a three-year, $4.35-million contract extension. Terry, 22, is completing his entry-level contract.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Terry is among several promising youngsters the Ducks hope to rebuild around over the next several years. He’s tallied eight goals and 28 points in 81 games over the past three seasons.
NHL.COM: The Vancouver Canucks signed prospect defenseman Jack Rathbone to an entry-level contract.
SPORTSLOGO.NET: cites The Athletic reporting the Ottawa Senators will be switching to a slightly modified version of the 2d Senator Head logo they wore from 1997 to 2007.
The NHL community mourns the death of former NBA star Kobe Bryant, plus the latest on Jeff Skinner, Anthony Duclair and more in today’s morning coffee headlines.
THE SCORE: The NHL community took to social media yesterday mourning the death of former NBA star Kobe Bryant and his daughter, Gianna, in a helicopter crash in California. Wayne Gretzky, Alex Ovechkin, Henrik Lundqvist, Martin Brodeur, P.K. Subban, and Mitch Marner were among those expressing their condolences to Bryant’s family on Twitter yesterday.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: My sympathies to Bryant’s family, friends, and former teammates.
Marner and Toronto Maple Leafs teammate Frederik Andersen voiced their support for the establishment of a viable professional women’s hockey league. “A lot of those players are great players, and to see them not in a league right now is disappointing,” Marner said. “I really hope they get a league back up and running.”
Ottawa Senators winger and All-Star representative Anthony Duclair hopes to stay in Ottawa and help the rebuilding club. “When the change is gonna happen, when Ottawa’s gonna become a contender, I want to be part of that,” Duclair added. “So I’m working as hard as I can.” Duclair is a restricted free agent this summer with arbitration rights, but there have been no contract talks thus far with Senators management.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Duclair rejuvenated his sagging NHL career with the Senators. General manager Pierre Dorion’s focus is on his unrestricted free agents, like center Jean-Gabriel Pageau. I daresay contract talks with Duclair will commence at some point following the end of the regular season. Given how well he’s played since coming to Ottawa last season, I expect they’ll try to keep him.
WGR 550: Buffalo Sabres winger Jeff Skinner returned to practice yesterday for the first time since suffering an upper-body injury on Dec. 27. He could be in the lineup when the Sabres face the Senators on Tuesday.
STLTODAY.COM: Blues defenseman Colton Parayko will return to action tonight after missing seven games with an upper-body injury. Winger Sammy Blais (wrist injury) could also be back. The Blues also placed winger Troy Brouwer on waivers yesterday.
THE ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER: The Anaheim Ducks recalled forward Troy Terry from his AHL conditioning stint.
NEW YORK POST: The Rangers have loaned forward Lias Andersson to Swedish club HV71. Andersson had left the Rangers’ AHL affiliate last month and requested a trade, but there appears to be a thaw in the relationship between the 21-year-old forward and Rangers’ management.
Game recaps, injury updates, latest additions to the 2020 NHL All-Star Game, and more in today’s morning coffee headlines.
NHL.COM: An overtime goal by Jared McCann lifted the Pittsburgh Penguins to a 3-2 decision over the Colorado Avalanche. Evgeni Malkin had a goal and an assist, tying Jaromir Jagr for the third-most assists (640) in franchise history. Teammate Dominik Kahun collected three assists.
Carolina Hurricanes goaltender Petr Mrazek kicked out 32 shots to shut out the Arizona Coyotes 3-0. Warren Foegele, Lucas Wallmark, and Martin Necas were the goal scorers. Hurricanes goalie Antti Raanta left the game with a lower-body injury and didn’t return. He recently returned from a lower-body injury suffered on Jan. 4 against Philadelphia.
Dylan Larkin tallied the only goal in the shootout as the Detroit Red Wings edged the Ottawa Senators 3-2. Winger forward Tyler Bertuzzi scored and collected an assist, as did Senators forward Colin White. The Sens are winless in their last six games (0-4-2).
TSN: Arizona Coyotes winger Taylor Hall avoided supplemental discipline for his knee-on-knee hit on Tampa Bay Lightning winger Ondrej Palat on Thursday. Palat is listed as day-to-day with a lower-body injury.
SPORTSNET: San Jose Sharks winger Tomas Hertl and Vegas Golden Knights winger Max Pacioretty will replace Logan Couture and Jakub Silfverberg at the 2020 NHL All-Star Game in St. Louis. Couture recently fractured an ankle while Silfverberg is anticipating the birth of his first child during the All-Star break.
MONTREAL GAZETTE: Canadiens winger Brendan Gallagher is consulting a physician after experiencing headaches following Thursday’s 4-2 loss to the Edmonton Oilers. He recently returned after missing four games with a concussion. Canadiens defenseman Ben Chiarot will miss tonight’s game against the Senators with a lower-body injury.
TORONTO SUN: Friday’s AHL game between the Toronto Marlies and Texas Stars was forfeited to the Stars after Marlies assistant coach Rob Davison experienced a medical emergency in the dressing room before game time. Davison was immediately transported to a local hospital and was evaluated while remaining under medical supervision. The episode left the Marlies’ players in such a state of shock that they couldn’t participate in the game. The Marlies are the primary farm club of the Maple Leafs.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Here’s hoping Davison will be all right and make a swift recovery. No word yet as to what the medical emergency was.
SPORTSNET: Speaking of the Maple Leafs, they re-signed defenseman Martin Marincin to a one-year contract extension worth $700K.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Chris Johnston first reported Marincin’s re-signing on Twitter. The reactions of some Leafs followers in Johnston’s Twitter thread were, shall we say, less than enthusiastic.
CBS SPORTS: The Anaheim Ducks sent forward Troy Tery to their AHL affliliate in San Diego for a conditioning stint.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The good folks at Cap Friendly did a fine job replacing the seminal CapGeek.com after that site’s founder, the late Matthew Wuest, was forced to suspend operations in early 2015 due to health reasons. Since then, they’ve been my go-to site for all things related to the NHL’s salary cap, providing invaluable insight on individual player contract details, team salary-cap information, and much more.