NHL Rumor Mill – May 19, 2020

NHL Rumor Mill – May 19, 2020

Check out the latest on the Leafs and Oilers in today’s NHL rumor mill.

SHOULD THE LEAFS PURSUE MURRAY OR HEISKANEN?

SPORTSNET: During a recent mailbag segment, Luke Fox was asked what a contract extension for Toronto Maple Leafs goaltender Frederik Andersen might look like, and if the Leafs should attempt to acquire Matt Murray. He believes they could push Andersen’s extension to 2021 and dismissed the notion of acquiring Murray.

Should the Toronto Maple Leafs dump Frederik Andersen in favor of Pittsburgh’s Matt Murray? (Photo via NHL Images)

Despite Murray’s two Stanley Cup rings, Fox is not convinced that the Pittsburgh Penguins netminder is better than Andersen, pointing out the latter has more wins over the past four seasons and a better career save percentage. Murray is also a restricted free agent with arbitration rights this summer.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Forget about the comparisons of Andersen’s and Murray’s career stats, the Leafs can’t afford the latter even if they wanted to acquire him. As per Cap Friendly, they have almost $77 million invested in 16 players for 2020-21, with $6.65 million going to Andersen and Jack Campbell. Unless they intend on trading Andersen (and I don’t believe they do), there’s no room to take on Murray. 

Fox was asked if the Leafs should trade Mitch Marner to the Dallas Stars for Miro Heiskanen. He doesn’t see the Stars parting with their 20-year-old stud defenseman. He also cites Stars beat reporter Sean Shapiro declaring Heiskanen untouchable but speculates they could be willing to part with blueliner John Klingberg.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: So, Marner for Klingberg, Leafs fans? Discuss! 

LATEST PULJUJARVI SPECULATION

EDMONTON JOURNAL: Kurt Leavins cited a New York source claiming there was “renewed smoke” over the possibility of a trade that would see the Oilers ship winger Jesse Puljujarvi to the New York Rangers for center Lias Andersson. However, word out of New York is Oilers general manager Ken Holland would also demand a first-round pick from the Rangers, with the Oilers including another mid-level prospect in a two-for-two swap. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Under that scenario, I envision it ending with Rangers GM Jeff Gorton rolling his eyes skyward, politely thanking Holland for his offer, and hanging up the phone. 

Jim Matheson doesn’t expect to see the Oilers trading Puljujarvi to the Florida Panthers for center Henrik Borgstrom. The Panthers currently value centers over wingers, especially after trading away Vincent Trocheck. The Panthers also don’t need Puljujarvi when they’ve got Owen Tippett and Grigori Denisenko in their pipeline. Speaking of Tippett, sources consider swapping him for Puljujarvi a non-starter.

Regarding a recent suggestion of the Oilers shopping Puljujarvi to the Ottawa Senators for their third first-round pick in the 2020 draft, Matheson said sources indicate the Senators are lukewarm on the Oilers winger because they’re deep in farm forwards ready to make the jump to the NHL. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Matheson also indicates Holland won’t be talking to other GMs about Puljujarvi’s rights until hockey resumes. In other words, the aforementioned rumors are probably just media spitballing. 










NHL 2019-20 Season Preview: Edmonton Oilers

NHL 2019-20 Season Preview: Edmonton Oilers

 










Oilers Win Neal/Lucic Trade But Still At Risk of Missing the Playoffs

Oilers Win Neal/Lucic Trade But Still At Risk of Missing the Playoffs

 










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – May 29, 2019

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – May 29, 2019

The Oilers hire Dave Tippett as their new head coach, latest on the Bruins and Blues, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines. 

EDMONTON JOURNAL: As expected, the Edmonton Oilers yesterday formally announced Dave Tippett was taking over as their new head coach. He’s their 16th coach in franchise history, but also the ninth in the past 11 years. Tippett formerly coached the Dallas Stars and Arizona Coyotes.

The Edmonton Oilers hire Dave Tippett (right) as their new head coach (Photo via NHL.com).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Tippett has a good reputation as a coach who can quickly improve a team’s performance. However, he faces a daunting task achieving the same results with the Oilers. Their goaltending is suspect, their defense porous, and they lack secondary scoring depth. It’s up to general manager Ken Holland to provide Tippett with a better roster for next season.

SPORTSNET: Paul Coffey won’t be returning as the Oilers’ skills development coach. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The dismantling of the Oilers’ “old boys network” in the front office continues. Craig MacTavish recently departed for a coaching gig in the KHL. Last week, the Oilers announced they were parting ways with VP of player personnel Duane Sutter. 

NBC SPORTS: Boston Bruins defenseman Torey Krug’s hit on St. Louis Blues forward Robert Thomas during Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final was the talk of yesterday’s player interviews. Blues goaltender Jordan Binnington joked about Krug’s intensity. “His pupils were pretty big. I don’t know if he’s on something, but he was pretty fired up.” Game 2 of the series is tonight in Boston at 8 pm ET. 

STLTODAY.COM: Blues coach Craig Berube said there’s a chance Vince Dunn (concussion symptoms) could play in Game 2. He’s been sidelined since Game 3 of the Western Conference Final.

TORONTO SUN: The Maple Leafs re-signed Toronto Marlies head coach Sheldon Keefe to a two-year contract. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Several NHL teams expressed interest in hiring Keefe. Some observers believe the Marlies coach could one day take over behind the Leafs bench.

NEW YORK POST: Following a dazzling performance at the 2019 IIHF World Championships, prospect winger Kaapo Kakko said he’ll skip the upcoming NHL Draft Combine. The 18-year-old winger helped Finland win the gold medal at this year’s tournament. Kakko is the sixth player in IIHF history to win gold at the Worlds, the under-18 and under-20 tournaments. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: A bold decision by Kakko. Nevertheless, his performance at the Worlds is perhaps the best audition he needs to prove himself as this year’s top prospect. The New Jersey Devils hold the first-overall selection in next month’s NHL Draft. American center Jack Hughes was ranked as No.1 by Central Scouting but Kakko’s play at the Worlds could change that. 

NHL.COM: The Hockey Hall of Fame has awarded long-time hockey writer Frank Brown the Elmer Ferguson Memorial Award. Hockey Night in Canada broadcaster Jim Hughson will receive the Foster Hewitt Memorial Award. 










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – May 25, 2019

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – May 25, 2019

Updates on Erik Karlsson, Roman Josi, the Coyotes ownership situation, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NBC SPORTS: Erik Karlsson’s brief tenure with the San Jose Sharks may be over. On Friday, Karlsson tweeted his thanks to the Sharks’ organization, fans, and his teammates. The 28-year-old defenseman is slated to become an unrestricted free agent on July 1. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Karlsson hasn’t ruled out returning to the Sharks, but he sounds like he’s going to test the market. Unless general manager Doug Wilson passes on re-signing long-time Sharks Joe Pavelski and Joe Thornton, he probably can’t afford Karlsson. 

THE SCORE: Nashville Predators general manager David Poile considers re-signing captain Roman Josi his “No. 1 priority.”  The 28-year-old blueliner is a year away from UFA eligibility. The Predators can sign him to an extension beginning on July 1. 

Re-signing Roman Josi is the Nashville Predators’ priority this summer (Photo via NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Re-signing Josi won’t affect the Predators’ salary cap for 2019-20. However, Poile must ensure he’s got sufficient cap space after next season to absorb that new contract. Cap Friendly indicates the Preds have over $56 million invested in 12 players for 2020-21. Josi’s earning $4 million annually on his current contract. He could double his salary on his next deal. 

AZCENTRAL.COM: An NHL source denied a change of ownership of the Arizona Coyotes is imminent. A recent report from Sportsnet’s John Shannon cited a source claiming current owner Andrew Barroway will assume a minority role. However, a deal is far from being finalized and there are other options under consideration. 

NBC SPORTS: Boston Bruins winger Jake DeBrusk hopes to regain his scoring touch in the upcoming Stanley Cup Final. In two rounds last season, he tallied six goals and eight points. Entering this year’s Final, he’s managed three goals and seven points. 

STLTODAY.COM: St. Louis Blues defenseman Vince Dunn (concussion symptoms) didn’t join his teammates in practice yesterday. That casts doubt upon the possibility he’ll rejoin the lineup in time for Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final. 

 

 










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – May 24, 2019

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – May 24, 2019

Updates on the Stanley Cup Finalists, Islanders re-sign Brock Nelson, Oilers reportedly to hire Dave Tippett as head coach, and the Senators hire D.J. Smith as head coach. Details and much more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines. 

NBC SPORTS BOSTON: Over 16,000 fans turned out for a Bruins intra-scrimmage game last night at Boston’s TD Garden. Bruins winger Brad Marchand left the game after jamming his left hand in a collision with Connor Clifton but returned to finish the contest. 

STLTODAY.COM: Blues defenseman Vince Dunn has resumed skating after missing the last three games of the Western Conference Final. Dunn was sidelined after taking a puck to the face during Game 3. He’s believed to be dealing with concussion symptoms. There’s no timetable for his return. 

NEWSDAY: The New York Islanders re-signed center Brock Nelson to a six-year, $36-million contract. Nelson was slated to become an unrestricted free agent this summer. He’s completing a one-year, $4.25-million deal. 

New York Islanders re-sign center Brock Nelson (Photo via NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That’s a considerable pay raise for Nelson, who’s coming off a career-high 53-point performance.  Cap Friendly indicates the deal ($6 million annual average value) comes with a full no-trade clause in the first two years and a modified no-trade for the remaining term.

Such is the market value for a second-line center under a constantly rising salary cap. I anticipated Nelson would get at most $5.5 million on a five-year contract. 

Newsday’s Arthur Staple anticipated Islanders captain Anders Lee can expect a deal (from the Isles or someone else) worth $7 million annually. 

EDMONTON JOURNAL: Kurt Leavins reports Dave Tippett is the new head coach of the Oilers. The hiring could be formally announced as early as today. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Tippett has 14 seasons of NHL head-coaching experience under his belt. However, there’s some concern over whether he can coach the new up-tempo style prevalent around the league. If he can’t, there won’t be much change in the Oilers’ fortunes. 

OTTAWA SUN: The Senators introduced D.J. Smith as their new head coach. Smith was an assistant coach with the Toronto Maple Leafs. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I like this hire by the Senators. Smith spent four seasons with the Leafs. Before that, he spent three seasons as head coach of the OHL’s Oshawa Generals. In 2014-15, he guided the Generals to the OHL championship and the Memorial Cup. He has lots of experience with young players, which should prove invaluable for the rebuilding Senators. 

Speaking of the Leafs, they hired former Florida Panthers assistant coach Paul McFarland as Smith’s replacement. 

NBC SPORTS BAY AREA: Two members of the San Jose Sharks dealt with multiple injuries during the playoffs. Captain Joe Pavelski suffered a head injury in the opening round. He also aggravated a knee injury in Game 5 of the Conference Final and had surgery on his left hand. Tomas Hertl suffered a head injury in Game 5 of the Final and broke his left pinkie finger in the opening round.

Erik Karlsson confirmed he reaggravated a lower-body injury and hopes to avoid off-season surgery. Joe Thornton suffered a groin injury in the conference final.

Thornton also said he hasn’t reached a decision yet on his future. If he does return for one more season, he said it’ll only be with the Sharks. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I think Thornton has another year left in him. I also expect the Sharks will re-sign captain Pavelski. I don’t believe they can afford to re-sign Karlsson. 

MLIVE.COM:  Detroit Red Wings center Dylan Larkin will be fine after being struck in the groin by a shot during a game against Canada in the IIHF World Championships. Larkin missed the remaining games for Team USA, who were eliminated yesterday by Russia. 

TWINCITIES.COM: The Minnesota Wild have hired Mike Modano as an executive advisor to Craig Leipold, the club owner. 

LOS ANGELES TIMES: The Kings cut ties with defenseman Slava Voynov after his season-long suspension was cut in half by an independent arbitrator. Voynov pleaded no contest to a charge of misdemeanor corporal injury to his spouse in 2015. He was suspended indefinitely by the NHL and spent two months in jail before returning to Russia. The conviction was expunged last summer, but the league levied a one-year suspension.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Voynov can sign with an NHL club after 41 games this coming season. Given the reason behind his suspension, I doubt any NHL team will risk the public backlash. 

SPORTSNET: Jacques Martin will be staying with the Pittsburgh Penguins as an assistant coach. He was interviewed by the Buffalo Sabres and Ottawa Senators for their head-coaching positions. 

TRIBLIVE.COM: Speaking of the Penguins, they re-signed defenseman Chad Ruhwedel to a two-year deal worth $700K per season.

CHICAGO SUN-TIMES: The Blackhawks hired Tomas Mitell as an assistant coach. 

ESPN.COM: On a non-NHL note, the National Women’s Hockey League “is increasing salaries, offering a 50-50 split of sponsor-related revenues and improved benefits in an agreement reached with its players’ association.”