NHL Rumor Mill – June 25, 2021

NHL Rumor Mill – June 25, 2021

In today’s NHL rumor mill: Looking ahead at possible offseason moves by the Golden Knights and the Blue Jackets appear to be out of the Jack Eichel sweepstakes.


ESPN.COM: Greg Wyshynski believes the Vegas Golden Knights need to open up some salary-cap flexibility during the offseason. They’ve only got $3 million in cap room for 2021-22 with Alec Martinez and Tomas Nosek hitting free agency. Reilly Smith, Ryan Reaves, Brayden McNabb and Nick Holden will be UFAs next summer.

Could the Vegas Golden Knights attempt to trade Marc-Andre Fleury later this summer? (NHL Images).

They have over $12 million tied up in goaltenders Marc-Andre Fleury and Robin Lehner. Wyshynski wonders if Fleury might be easier to move with a year remaining on his contract as a Vezina Trophy finalist.

Wyshynski believes they need to find a star center. With players like Jack Eichel, Evgeni Malkin, Aleksander Barkov and Evgeny Kuznetsov potentially available and the Golden Knights considered high-stakes gamblers, it wouldn’t be surprising if they made a major move this summer.

The Golden Knights are exempt from the expansion draft. However, that doesn’t mean they can’t swing a cost-cutting deal with the Seattle Kraken.

LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL: Ed Graney believes offseason changes are needed for the Golden Knights after failing to advance to the Stanley Cup Final for the second straight season. Pointing to a power-play that went scoreless in 15 attempts against the Montreal Canadiens in the semifinal, he feels it needs a “massive overhaul, be it schematically or personnel.”

Graney also thinks the Golden Knights must move on from one of their two goaltenders. “You figure it would be Fleury,” he said.

He also pointed out the need for high-end talent up front. The lack of depth at center, including Cody Glass’ inability to develop as hoped, also needs to be addressed. He recommended putting together a package offer for Buffalo Sabres center Jack Eichel or contacting the Columbus Blue Jackets about winger Patrik Laine.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Golden Knights aren’t likely to just stand pat this summer. They’re unafraid to make bold moves and could so again this summer, perhaps with one or two cost-cutting trades to free up room for an impact center.

Fleury carries a $7 million cap hit for next season ($6 million in actual salary) and a 10-team no-trade list. Still, the Golden Knights could gauge his value in the trade market, especially if he ends up winning the Vezina Trophy.

Landing an expensive talent like Eichel or Kuznetsov would be a complex move. The Sabres reportedly want between four-to-six assets for Eichel. Kuznetsov will cost less but the Capitals will still want to get back something decent. Laine could be available but the Golden Knights lack the quality center the Blue Jackets would probably want in return.

Forget about Malkin or Barkov, they’re not going anywhere. The former reportedly will only waive his no-movement clause to go to Florida, while the Panthers intend to sign the latter to a contract extension.


THE ATHLETIC: Aaron Portzline reports of rumors the Columbus Blue Jackets are heavily involved in trade discussions with the Buffalo Sabres for Jack Eichel. However, his sources claim it doesn’t appear they’re in hot pursuit of the 24-year-old center.

Eichel’s health (herniated disc), the Sabres’ asking price, and the Blue Jackets’ position as a rebuilding club are the main issues here. Portzline speculates it could cost them their first-round pick (fifth overall) in this year’s draft, goaltender Elvis Merzlkins, forward Alexandre Texier or defenseman Andrew Peeke, and a top prospect. Even that probably wouldn’t be enough to get a deal done.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I assumed the Blue Jackets’ depth in first-round picks in this year’s draft and in tradeable goaltenders (Merzlikins or Joonas Korpisalo) could give them an edge in the potential Eichel bidding war. Portzline’s report took the air out of that balloon.

Maybe the Jackets’ interest changes if the Sabres can’t find a suitable trade partner for Eichel and lower their rumored asking price. As Portzline pointed out, however, giving up a lot of promising young players for a superstar with injury concerns would be a risky move for a rebuilding club.

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 2, 2020

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 2, 2020

The Dallas Stars defeat the Nashville Predators in the 2020 Winter Classic, John Tortorella fined again, injury updates, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: The Dallas Stars overcame a 2-0 deficit to double up the Nashville Predators 4-2 in the 2020 Winter Classic before over 85,000 fans at the sold-out Cotton Bowl in Dallas, Texas. Alexander Radulov tallied the game-winner over five minutes into the third period, teammate Mattias Janmark had a goal and an assist, and Stars goaltender Ben Bishop made 31 saves. Matt Duchene had a goal and an assist for the Predators.

Alexander Radulov tallied the game-winner as the Dallas Stars defeated the Nashville Predators in the 2020 NHL Winter Classic (Photo via NHL Images)

Stars winger Corey Perry was ejected early in the first period for elbowing Predators defenseman Ryan Ellis in the head. Ellis left the game and didn’t return. Perry faces a disciplinary hearing from the league’s department of player safety. He insists the incident was unintentional, and hopes Ellis will be ok.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The 2020 Winter Classic was among the most entertaining games since the league began staging outdoor contests. The Perry incident aside, the game had a good pace and the crowd was definitely into it. No word on Ellis’ status, but we should learn more later today.

The Minnesota Wild will host the 2021 Winter Classic at Target Field in Minneapolis. Their opponent has yet to be determined, but reports suggest the Colorado Avalanche, Chicago Blackhawks, St. Louis Blues, and Winnipeg Jets have been discussed.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Wild have a natural local rivalry with the Jets, but the other three clubs could draw bigger ratings in the U.S. TV market. The defending Stanley Cup champion Blues and the upward-trending Avalanche would be better opponents than the declining Blackhawks, who’ve been in more Winter Classics than any other NHL club.

SPORTSNET: Columbus Blue Jackets head coach John Tortorella was fined $20,000 by the league for his post-game comments about the officiating following his club’s 3-2 shootout loss to the Blackhawks. He’s also been assessed a conditional $25,000 fine which will be collected in the event of what the league calls “similar inappropriate behavior” through Dec. 29, 2020.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Former Sportsnet analyst John Shannon reports this is the ninth time Tortorella has been fined by the NHL. He’s also been suspended three times.

Minnesota Wild goaltender Alex Stalock was fined $2,000.00 for diving/embellishment during his club’s 6-0 loss to the Winnipeg Jets on Dec. 21.

THE DETROIT NEWS: Red Wings forward Andreas Athanasiou will be sidelined two-three weeks with a lower-body injury.

WBNS: Blue Jackets forward Alexandre Texier is on injured reserve with a lumbar stress fracture.

TSN: Los Angeles Kings defenseman Kurtis MacDermid will have a hearing with the department of player safety regarding an illegal hit to the head on Philadelphia Flyers blueliner Ivan Provorov.

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 27, 2019

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 27, 2019

The Jets edged the Flames in the Heritage Classic, the Bruins blank the Blues in their Stanley Cup Final rematch, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: Josh Morrissey’s third-period goal set the stage for Bryan Little’s overtime winner as the Winnipeg Jets edged the Calgary Flames 2-1 in the 2019 Tim Horton’s NHL Heritage Classic at Mosaic Stadium in Regina, Saskatchewan. Elias Lindholm scored for the Flames. It was the 28th outdoor game in NHL history and the first neutral-site game of the seven played in Canada.

Bryan Little’s overtime goal gave the Winnipeg Jets a 2-1 win over the Calgary Flames in the 2019 Heritage Classic (Photo via NHL Images).

The Boston Bruins gained a measure of revenge over the St. Louis Blues with a 3-0 shutout in their first game since the 2019 Stanley Cup Final. Tuukka Rask kicked out 26 shots and David Pastrnak tallied his league-leading 11th goal.

Jonathan Drouin scored two breakaway goals to lead the Montreal Canadiens to a 5-2 victory over the Toronto Maple Leafs. Joel Armia scored a goal and collected an assist while Carey Price made 29 saves. Earlier in the day, TSN’s Pierre LeBrun reported the Canadiens have opened contract extension talks with defenseman Victor Mete. 

The Nashville Predators nipped the Tampa Bay Lightning 3-2 on an overtime goal by Ryan Ellis. Predators captain Roman Josi scored the game-tying goal and added two assists.

A five-goal third-period outburst lifted the Philadelphia Flyers from a 4-2 deficit to a 7-4 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets. James van Riemsdyk scored twice and added an assist while Jakub Voracek and Kevin Hayes each had a goal and two assists. Boone Jenner scored twice for the Blue Jackets, who also lost winger Alexandre Texier to a leg injury

The Pittsburgh Penguins ended a three-game losing skid by downing the Dallas Stars 3-0. Matt Murray turned in a 25-save shutout while Bryan Rust scored in his season debut. Earlier in the day, the Penguins activated Rust and Nick Bjugstad off injured reserve and assigned Zach Trotman to their AHL affiliate in Wilkes-Barre/Scranton.

Carolina Hurricanes goaltender Petr Mrazek had a 32-save performance as his club blanked the Chicago Blackhawks 4-0. Andrei Svechnikov scored two goals as the Hurricanes snapped a three-game losing skid while the Blackhawks have dropped four straight.

The Anaheim Ducks ended a three-game losing streak by beating the Colorado Avalanche 5-2. Ryan Miller made 35 saves for the win while teammate Hampus Lindholm collected three assists. Avalanche center Nathan MacKinnon scored to extend his points streak to 11 games. 

Alex Stalock turned aside 30 shots to give the Minnesota Wild a 5-1 victory over the Los Angeles Kings. Matt Dumba had two assists for the Wild, who’ve won three of their last four contests. 

SPORTSNET:  NHL commissioner Gary Bettman, IIHF president René Fasel and NHLPA executive director Donald Fehr will all be in Stockholm, Sweden next month for the NHL’s Global Series between the Buffalo Sabres and Tampa Bay Lightning. They’re expected to discuss the Olympics and other international play. 

Elliotte Friedman reports the NHL could start up a women’s league when the time is right. Bettman has consistently said he won’t get involved as long as the NWHL continues to operate. The players have pushed for a unified league, with over 200 of them staging a boycott to get the league they want.