NHL Rumor Mill – November 5, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – November 5, 2022

Could the Flames re-sign Milan Lucic? Will the Oilers trade a forward to make room for Dylan Holloway? What coaches are available if some teams consider making changes behind the bench? Find out in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.

WILL THE FLAMES SIGN LUCIC TO A NEW CONTRACT?

CALGARY HOCKEY NOW: Steve Macfarlane recently mused over whether the Flames will re-sign Milan Lucic. The 34-year-old power forward is slated to become an unrestricted free agent next July. He’s been one of their steadiest players this season and is skating on the second line with Elias Lindholm and Tyler Toffoli.

Calgary Flames winger Milan Lucic (NHL Images).

In addition to Lucic’s improved play, he’s also become a leader in the dressing room. Macfarlane believes there’s little doubt he wants to stay in Calgary and would cost a lot less than the $6 million average annual value he’s earning split between the Flames and the Edmonton Oilers.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Flames have limited cap space ($1.7 million) for 2023-24. Fortunately, all their core players are under contract and Lucic is their most noteworthy pending free agent.

They might have to create some additional cap room even if Lucic’s next contract is a short-term one at a far more affordable rate than his current one. Still, I think the two sides can work something out if he wants to stay and management feels he can still contribute.

WILL THE OILERS MOVE A FORWARD TO MAKE ROOM FOR HOLLOWAY?

THE ATHLETIC: Allan Mitchell examined the Edmonton Oilers’ options to get promising winger Dylan Holloway more playing time this season. The easiest choice would be to send him to their AHL affiliate in Bakersfield and then recall the 21-year-old if he does well there after a few games.

Another would be finding a way to create room on the roster for Holloway to skate among the top-six forwards. That could come down to making a decision on moving Kailer Yamamoto, Jesse Puljujarvi or Warren Foegele.

Mitchell believes Yamamoto will stay put, in part because he’s signed through next season. Puljujarvi has frequently surfaced in media trade rumors but Mitchell believes the big winger helps the team even when he’s not scoring.

That leaves Foegele as potentially vulnerable. He‘s a left-shot winger filling the position Holloway is best suited to play.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Foegele hasn’t popped up as much as Puljujarvi in the rumor mill but he has been mentioned before as a trade candidate. However, general manager Ken Holland has found ways to balance his roster thus far without resorting to a trade. I think Holloway’s destined spend some time in Bakersfield.

AVAILABLE NHL COACHES

DAILY FACEOFF: Matt Larkin looked at the notable former NHL coaches currently available for any team that might be considering a shakeup behind the bench this season.

Topping the list, of course, is Barry Trotz followed by Rick Tocchet. Other familiar names include Alain Vigneault, Dave Tippett, Andrew Brunette, Travis Green and Jeff Blashill.

Larkin also listed “up-and-comers” such as Ryan Warsofsky, Jay Leach and Ian Laperriere. He also noted former NHL coaches Mike Babcock and Joel Quenneville are available but suggests both carry too much baggage to return to the league’s coaching ranks.










NHL Rumor Mill – October 26, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – October 26, 2022

In today’s NHL Rumor Mill: the latest Patrick Kane speculation, updates on the Canucks and Wild, and Barry Trotz hints he might be interested someday in coaching an Original Six franchise.

LATEST PATRICK KANE SPECULATION

SPORTSNET: ESPN’s Greg Wyshynski appeared on the Jeff Marek show last week where the future of Patrick Kane was among the topics of discussion.

Marek speculated the Tampa Bay Lightning, Colorado Avalanche, Vegas Golden Knights, Carolina Hurricanes and Calgary Flames could come calling if the long-time Chicago Blackhawks winger becomes available in this season’s trade market. He and Wyshynski ruled out the Florida Panthers given their lack of draft capital to use as trade bait.

Chicago Blackhawks winger Patrick Kane (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I don’t doubt Kane could attract interest from some or all of those clubs if he’s willing to be moved before the March 3 trade deadline. The problem, of course, is salary-cap space. Leaving aside Kane’s full no-movement clause, his $10.5 million cap hit would be difficult to move even in a year when teams had plenty of salary-cap room.

According to Cap Friendly, the Lightning will have $3.5 million in trade deadline cap space. The Panthers will have $5.27 million, the Hurricanes $6.8 million, the Avalanche $1.4 million, and the Flames $6.05 million. That’s assuming they don’t have to dip into their respective cap space between now and deadline day to replace key players sidelined by injuries or use it to address other roster needs.

The Golden Knights, meanwhile, have no projected deadline cap space so I don’t them getting involved in any bidding for Kane. Those other teams, meanwhile, must either clear significant cap room (which they can’t afford to do without weakening their roster depth) or convince the Blackhawks to retain up to half of Kane’s cap hit. Even then, that won’t free up enough for some of them to acquire him.

Those clubs can try to include a third team in the deal to spread Kane’s cap hit around and make it more affordable. Doing that, however, means having to sweeten the deal for the Blackhawks and the third team to make it worth their while.

I’m not suggesting it can’t be done. Nevertheless, such a move could seriously deplete a club’s depth in draft picks and prospects to add an expensive playoff rental player.

WHAT WILL THE CANUCKS AND WILD DO?

TSN: Darren Dreger reports that the Vancouver Canucks aren’t about to hit the panic button over their poor start this season. However, he feels they’re getting “dangerously close to having to put everything on the table.”

One option would be a “hefty renovation” involving shipping out key players for draft picks. Another is a short-term fix involving a trade but there’s no guarantee the right player will be available in a timely fashion. The third could be replacing Bruce Boudreau as head coach.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I touched on this subject yesterday. What usually happens this early in the season is the coaching change. It’s the easiest move to make and sometimes it can quickly reverse a struggling team’s fortunes. Canucks management could surprise us and go with the other two options but I think replacing Boudreau is their likely choice.

Pierre LeBrun cited remarks made by Minnesota Wild general manager Bill Guerin in a recent interview with The Athletic’s Michael Russo regarding his club’s slow start. Guerin had said, “We’re not going to trade our way out of this,” putting the onus on his players to improve. The Wild GM stuck by his remarks when LeBrun contacted him.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Wild have since shown signs of improvement by going 2-0-1 after losing their first three games.

TROTZ IS INTRIGUED ABOUT COACHING AN ORIGINAL SIX CLUB

NHL.COM: During an appearance on the “Cam and Strick” podcast on Tuesday, former NHL head coach Barry Trotz said he’d be intrigued by the notion of coaching an Orignal Six franchise if the opportunity presented itself.

For now, Trotz said he’s not quite ready yet to return to the NHL coaching ranks. He was fired by the New York Islanders on May 9. He spent 23 seasons with the Nashville Predators, Washington Capitals and the Islanders, winning the Stanley Cup with the Capitals in 2018 and guiding the Isles to consecutive conference finals appearances in 2020 and 2021.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 25, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 25, 2022

The Lightning stay alive with a Game 5 win in the Stanley Cup Final, Barry Trotz is in no hurry to return to coaching, the Blackhawks will name Luke Richardson as their new coach, Chris Kreider and Joel Farabee undergo surgery, and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.

NHL.COM: Ondrej Palat’s third-period goal lifted the Tampa Bay Lightning to a 3-2 victory over the Colorado Avalanche in Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Final.

Tampa Bay Lightning winger Ondrej Palat (NHL Images).

Andrei Vasilevskiy picked up the win with a 35-save performance, Jan Rutta and Nikita Kucherov also scored while Corey Perry and Mikhail Sergachev each collected two assists for the Lightning.

Valeri Nichushkin and Cale Makar replied for the Avalanche, whose lead in the series has been cut to three games to two. Nichushkin tied a franchise record with his fourth goal in a Stanley Cup Final.

The series returns to Tampa Bay on Sunday for Game 6.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: For the third time in this postseason, the Lightning battled back with a hard-fought victory when facing elimination. Once again, Vasilevskiy was stellar in a must-win game. And once again, it was Palat with a clutch goal, giving him a team-leading three game-winners in this postseason and 12 playoff winners for his career, ranking third in that category among active players.

The breaks went the Lightning’s way in this contest. After the Avalanche got lucky in Game 5 with a missed too-many-men call during Nazem Kadri’s game-winner in overtime, they were tagged this time with 2:43 remaining in regulation, all but snuffing out an opportunity to pull their goalie and push for the equalizing goal. The Bolts also benefited when a tripping call on Makar led to Kucherov’s 4-on-3 power-play goal in the second period.

WINNIPEG SUN: Former New York Islanders coach Barry Trotz turned down the opportunity to coach the Jets, basing his decision on spending more time with his family.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The report indicated Trotz was impressed by the Jets’ approach in both their patience as he considered their offer and willingness to accommodate his needs if he accepted the job.

Sources told the Sun that Trotz was reluctant to face the grind of another NHL season after 23 straight years of coaching. The Islanders also owe him another season of salary ($4 million), allowing him time to step back, spend more time with his family and ponder his future.

DAILY FACEOFF: Frank Seravalli reported the Chicago Blackhawks are expected to name Luke Richardson as their new head coach next week. Richardson has spent the past four seasons as an assistant coach with the Montreal Canadiens.

NEW YORK POST: Rangers winger Chris Kreider underwent surgery to remove a small bone fragment from his wrist. His expected timeline of recovery is two-to-four weeks.

PHILLY HOCKEY NOW: Flyers forward Joel Farabee could miss the start of the 2022-23 season after undergoing disc-replacement surgery in his cervical area on Friday. He’s expected to make a full recovery in three-to-four months.

VANCOUVER HOCKEY NOW: The Canucks have hired former Florida Panthers general manager Dale Tallon as a senior advisor.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Tallon’s NHL career has now come full circle. He began his playing career with the Canucks in 1970-71.

TRIBLIVE.COM: The Pittsburgh Penguins named Tom Kostopoulos as director of player development. He replaces Scott Young, who was named the Canucks director of player personnel on Friday.

NHL.COM: The Nashville Predators signed forward Cody Glass to a one-year, two-way contract worth over $874K at the NHL level.

TSN: Minnesota Wild prospect Pavel Novak is taking time away from hockey to deal with an oncological disease.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Best wishes to Novak in his treatments. Here’s hoping he makes a full recovery and resumes his playing career.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 17, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 17, 2022

The Flyers reportedly hire John Tortorella as head coach, the Predators are on the verge of being sold, the salary cap range for 2022-23 is set, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

PHILLY HOCKEY NOW: Sam Carchidi reports a source claims the Flyers have hired John Tortorella as their new head coach with the official announcement expected Friday.

Philadelphia Flyers reportedly hire John Tortorella as their new head coach (NHL.com).

ESPN’s Kevin Weekes reports Tortorella’s new contract is expected to be in the range of four years at $4 million per season. That means the Flyers will be paying $9 million on coaches for next season as they still owe former coach Alain Vigneault $5 million for ’22-’23.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Tortorella has a reputation as a demanding coach who preaches an aggressive defensive style. He also has a long history of success in almost every NHL city he’s coached in.

Tortorella guided the Tampa Bay Lightning to their first-ever Stanley Cup in 2003-04, winning his first Jack Adams Award this season. He coached the New York Rangers to the 2012 Eastern Conference Finals and the Columbus Blue Jackets to their first-ever playoff series win in 2019 by sweeping the Lighting in the opening round. Tortorella won his second Adams Award with the Blue Jackets in 2016-17.

The Flyers, however, will be a challenge for Tortorella. While his hiring fits into management’s goal of “aggressive retooling” of its roster, there are questions about their scoring punch and their blueline depth. Signing him a four-year deal suggests they’re willing to give him the time he needs to reverse the Flyers’ on-ice fortunes.

THE TENNESSEAN: The Nashville Predators are nearing an agreement to sell the franchise to former Tennessee governor Bill Haslam. He’s expected to become the majority owner for an unspecified period of time.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’ll be interesting to see what changes, if any, Haslam could have in store for the Predators. One thing is certain: he won’t be moving the club out of Nashville.

NHL.COM: The NHL and NHLPA confirmed the salary cap limits for 2022-23. The upper limit will rise by $1 million to $82.5 million while the lower limit is set at $61 million.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: League commissioner Gary Bettman announced earlier this week that the upper limit will continue to rise by $1 million increments for at least the next two seasons. If hockey-related revenue continues to improve over that period, the increases will become more robust by 2024-25.

DAILY FACEOFF: Frank Seravalli believes it’s likely the San Jose Sharks and Evander Kane will reach some sort of settlement regarding the latter’s grievance over his contract termination. NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly suggested an arbitrator might not be available to hear the case until after the NHL free-agency period begins on July 13.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kane would still be allowed to sign with another NHL team if his case hasn’t been heard by July 13. However, the arbiter’s subsequent ruling could complicate things for both sides.

Seravalli suggests the arbiter could rule that the Sharks terminated Kane’s contract without cause. That would mean the winger would be reinstated with the Sharks and any contract he signed with another club would be voided. Kane would get the remainder of his original contract back but he’d have to return to the Sharks, which neither side wants at this stage.

THE DENVER POST: Valeri Nichushkin turned into the best bargain signing ever made by Colorado Avalanche general manager Joe Sakic. Inked to a one-year, $850K contract in 2019-20 after being bought out by the Dallas Stars, the two-way winger has gone on to become an invaluable member of the Avalanche’s march to the 2022 Stanley Cup Final.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Nichushkin’s performance in 2019-20 earned him a two-year extension worth $2.5 million annually. This season has been a career year for the 27-year-old winger, tallying 25 goals and 52 points in 62 games during the regular season and six goals and 11 points in 15 postseason games thus far.

TAMPA BAY TIMES: The Lightning aren’t panicking over their overtime loss to the Avalanche in the opening game of the 2022 Stanley Cup Final. They’re 1-3 in Game 1 in this postseason and 11-3 in every other game.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’ll be important for the Lightning to win Game 2 on Saturday and return home for Games 3 and 4 with this series tied. While they overcame being down 2-0 against the New York Rangers in the Eastern Conference Finals, they could find it more difficult surmounting a similar deficit against the talented, swift-skatingAvalanche.

WINNIPEG SUN: Barry Trotz is set to meet again with the Jets for more discussions regarding the club’s vacant head coaching position.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That doesn’t mean it’s a certainty Trotz will sign with the Jets but it is a promising step in that direction.

NEW YORK POST: The Rangers have signed Sammy Blais to a one-year, $1.525 million contract extension. The 26-year-old winger was slated to become a restricted free agent on July 13. He missed most of this season following a knee injury suffered in November.

Speaking of the Rangers, former Blueshirt Sean Avery was found guilty of using his scooter to hit a car that was blocking a bike lane in Manhattan in 2019. He was sentenced to time served.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 14, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 14, 2022

Mikko Rantanen hopes to maintain his scoring streak entering the Stanley Cup Final, an update on Brayden Point, the latest Rangers news, Mikko Koskinen heads to Switzerland and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

Colorado Avalanche winger Mikko Rantanen (NHL Images).

 THE DENVER POST: Colorado Avalanche winger Mikko Rantanen hopes to extend his four-game goal-scoring streak when the Stanley Cup Final begins on Wednesday.

TAMPA BAY TIMES: Lighting center Brayden Point (lower-body injury) was a full participant in practice on Monday for the first time since the first round of the playoffs. He’s hoping to play in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final.

NEW YORK POST: Rangers head coach Gerard Gallant explained his decision to make winger Kaapo Kakko a healthy scratch in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Finals. “He’s a good young player, but we just thought that was the best lineup for trying to win that game,” said Gallant, who replaced Kakko with Dryden Hunt.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: There was speculation Gallant’s decision to sit Kakko might spur the 21-year-old winger to sign an offer sheet with a rival club as a restricted free agent this summer. However, he doesn’t believe that will affect his contract negotiations with the Rangers. “I don’t think so,” he said. “I like to play here, so I don’t think so.”

Gallant also dressed Ryan Strome for Game 6 but he played less than nine minutes before leaving the game with a pelvis injury. The 28-year-old center is slated to become an unrestricted free agent on July 13 but prefers to remain a Ranger. “My heart is here,” he said. However, he’s rumored to have rejected an initial offer from the Blueshirts worth between $5.25 million and $5.5 million.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Rangers have limited cap space for next season. Strome seems interested in the length of his next contract, pointing out that his three-year deal with the New York Islanders earlier in his career was the longest to date.

Strome also indicated he could require surgery for the pelvis injury that hampered him during the postseason. Meanwhile, Barclay Goodrow confirmed he fractured his ankle during Game 1 of the opening-round series with the Pittsburgh Penguins. Defenseman Ryan Lindgren suffered an ankle injury during the Rangers’ final regular-season game.

EDMONTON JOURNAL: Oilers goaltender Mikko Koskinen is leaving the NHL for Switzerland, signing a two-year contract with HC Lugano. He spent four seasons with the Oilers, sporting a record of 83-59-13 with a .907 save percentage and a 2.98 goals-against average.

TSN: The Oilers re-signed depth forward Brad Malone to a two-year, two-way contract paying him $762,500 at the NHL level.

THE TENNESSEAN: The Nashville Predators signed Jeremy Lauzon to a four-year, $8 million contract. Acquired from the Seattle Kraken at the trade deadline, the 25-year-old defenseman was slated to become a restricted free agent.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Cap Friendly indicates the Predators have $21.5 million in cap space with 19 players under contract for 2022-23. Left winger Filip Forsberg is the biggest name among their notable free agents.

SPORTSNET: A Winnipeg brewery is offering Barry Trotz free beer for life if he signs with the Jets. Little Brown Jug Brewing Company and a local sports show launched the campaign on Monday.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I can’t speak for Trotz but I know what my reaction would be to that offer.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 12, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 12, 2022

The Lightning defeats the Rangers to advance to the Stanley Cup Final, the latest on the Flyers and Golden Knights’ search for new head coaches and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: For the third straight year, the Tampa Bay Lightning are heading to the Stanley Cup Final. Steven Stamkos scored twice and Andrei Vasilevskiy made 20 saves as the Bolts defeated the New York Rangers 2-1 in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Finals to take the series 4 games to 2. Frank Vatrano replied for the Rangers while Igor Shesterkin made 29 stops.

Tampa Bay Lightning center Steven Stamkos (NHL Images).

The Lightning will face off against the Colorado Avalanche in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final on Wednesday, June 15, in Denver.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Experience, a commitment to defensive play and their best players stepping up were keys to the Lightning winning back-to-back Stanley Cups. Those factors also enabled them to overcome a 2-0 series deficit against the Rangers.

The Bolts didn’t get rattled after dropping the first two games in New York. They effectively neutralized the Rangers’ top offensive players as the series went on, holding the Blueshirts scoreless in the final two games and limiting them to one goal in each of the final three games and just one five-on-five goal in the final four.

Stamkos, Nikita Kucherov, Victor Hedman and Ondrej Palat rose to the occasion over the final four games. Shesterkin was outstanding for the Rangers, but Vasilevskiy won the goaltending duel.

The Lightning will also get a boost to their roster for Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final. Center Brayden Point is expected to be ready to rejoin the lineup after being sidelined by a lower-body injury since Game 7 of their first-round series with the Toronto Maple Leafs.

THE DENVER POST: Speaking of the Avalanche, Mike Chambers agrees with Wayne Gretzky’s opinion of Cale Makar as the best defenseman since Bobby Orr. “The closest player we’ve ever seen offensively and defensively that can make an impact on the game that much – probably Bobby Orr,” Gretzky recently said on TNT. He considered Makar to be the Avalanche’s best player on the ice during the Western Conference Finals.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Makar has been an impact player since his arrival with the Avalanche in the 2019 playoffs. He’s the favorite to win the Norris Trophy this season and should be a perennial candidate for that award for at least the next 10 years.

Makar is a big reason why the Avs reached this year’s Stanley Cup Final and have a legitimate shot at dethroning the Lightning. He has to be considered among the leading candidates for the Conn Smythe Trophy.

DAILY FACEOFF: Sources tell Frank Seravalli that the Philadelphia Flyers have narrowed down their list of head coaching candidates. Former bench bosses Barry Trotz and John Tortorella are believed to be among the finalists.

YARDBARKER: cited Seravalli reported the Vegas Golden Knights have zeroed in on Bruce Cassidy in their search for a new head coach. Cassidy was recently relieved of his duties as coach of the Boston Bruins.

THE SCORE: cited NJ.com’s Ryan Novozinsky reporting New Jersey Devils GM Tom Fitzgerald met recently with winger Jesper Bratt and the two sides are trying to get a deal done this summer. The 23-year-old Bratt is coming off a career-high 73-point performance. He’s slated to become a restricted free agent with arbitration rights on July 13.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Fitzgerald indicated his intent to pursue a long-term deal with Bratt during his end-of-season interview last month. The Devils GM could seek an eight-year deal while the winger’s camp could be looking for a raise of over $7 million annually.

TSN: The NHL Board of Governors is set to meet this Thursday in New York City.