NHL Rumor Mill – June 18, 2020

NHL Rumor Mill – June 18, 2020

The latest on Kyle Palmieri, a busy off-season faces Sabres new GM Kevyn Adams and a brief note on Chris Tanev in today’s NHL rumor mill.

PALMIERI HOPES TO REMAIN A DEVIL

New Jersey Devils winger Kyle Palmieri (Photo via NHL Images).

NORTHJERSEY.COM/NJ.COM: Nick Gantaifis and Randy Miller report Kyle Palmieri hopes to remain part of the New Jersey Devils’ rebuilding plans. The 29-year-old winger is a year away from becoming an unrestricted free agent.

Without a doubt,” Palmieri said Tuesday in a media conference call. “I do love being in New Jersey. I love being close to home. And I have a ton of belief in this organization moving forward as to what we’re building, and I hope to be a part of it.”

Gantaifis notes Palmieri and the Devils might ordinarily open contract extension talks on July 1. Given the uncharacteristic and premature start to the off-season, that target date remains uncertain.

It’s a big unknown,” Palmieri said. “Obviously, the calendar and important dates haven’t really been set yet. There’s so much up in the air and so much to figure out as far as the return to play and figuring all that stuff out.”

Miller suggests Chris Kreider would be a good comparable for Palmieri. The New York Rangers winger signed a seven-year, $45.5 million extension in February. Both are the same age and have roughly similar stats. Kreider’s averaged 23 goals and 46 points over the past five seasons, while Palmieri’s averaged 26 goals and 50 points since 2015-16.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kreider is a fair comparison for Palmieri. With over $36 million invested in eight players for 2021-22, the Devils can easily afford to pay Palmieri over $7 million annually.

Of course, that figure will rise this year because of their anticipated re-signings of key free agents such as Mackenzie Blackwood and Jesper Bratt. It could go significantly higher if they bring in talent via trades or free agency in the off-season A flat salary-cap for 2021-22 could also affect the Devils cap room.

Palmieri’s contract talks also remain in limbo because ownership hasn’t decided if interim general manager Tom Fitzgerald will stay in that role on a full-time basis. A new GM could have a different opinion of Palmieri’s value. If so, we could hear his name mentioned a lot as the 2021 trade deadline rolls around.

NEW SABRES GM FACES A BUSY OFF-SEASON

THE SCORE: John Matisz examined a lengthy to-do list for Kevyn Adams, who was named earlier this week as the new general manager of the Buffalo Sabres.

Re-signing winger Sam Reinhart and goaltender Linus Ullmark to fair deals, being cautious with pending UFAs like Wayne Simmonds and Michael Frolik, and sorting out the future of defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen are among the key issues.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Reinhart and Ullmark are restricted free agents with arbitration rights. As one of the Sabres’ leading scorers, Reinhart will likely seek a multi-year deal worth around $6 million annually. Ullmark has less of an established body of NHL work on his resume, giving Adams more leverage in negotiations.

Matisz pointed out Adams has no previous ties to Simmonds and Frolik. He could opt to cut them loose and pursue better UFA options.

Sabres coach Ralph Krueger recently expressed his wish to coach Ristolainen again next season. We’ll find out soon enough how much sway he has with his new boss.

 










NHL Rumor Mill – June 17, 2020

NHL Rumor Mill – June 17, 2020

What next for the Sabres after their management purge? What are the Capitals’ off-season trade targets? Find out in today’s NHL rumor mill.

BIG DECISIONS FACE THE SABRES’ NEW GM

THE HOCKEY NEWS: Matt Larkin wonders if the Buffalo Sabres replacing Jason Botterill as general manager with Kevyn Adams will be enough to fix the struggling club.

Buffalo Sabres defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen (Photo via NHL Images).

He feels Adams will have “lots of runway” to re-sign key restricted free agents Sam Reinhart, Victor Olofsson, and Linus Ullmark. He’ll also have plenty of time to fill out the roster for next season. The Sabres currently have 10 players (four forwards, five defensemen, and a goalie) under contract for 2020-21.

Adams could dramatically reshape the Sabres for next season. Larkin, however, wonders how much agency he’ll have to do so.

NBC SPORTS: James O’Brien also weighed in on the key decisions facing Adams. Defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen could be their most notable trade candidate. He’s frequently come up in trade rumors for some time, leading O’Brien to wonder if Botterill sought too much for the blueliner or was his market value really that cold. He suggests the Sabres might be better off cutting their losses with Ristolainen even at a discount rate.

O’Brien also wondered if Adams will stick with the goalie tandem of Ullmark and Carter Hutton or plunge into a pretty promising UFA market. He could then attempt to trade Hutton or send him to the minors.

The Sabres have lots of salary-cap room next season. Adams could attempt to go big in the UFA market by targeting St. Louis Blues defenseman Alex Pietrangelo or Arizona Coyotes winger Taylor Hall. However, O’Brien notes the Sabres have been burned before with expensive UFA signings. He also suggested perhaps targeting a cap-strapped team, like the Tampa Bay Lightning, in the trade market.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Pegulas apparently slashed their management and scouting staffs in part to cut costs. Perhaps that mindset also extends to next season’s salary-cap payroll.

Cap Friendly indicates they have over $47 million invested in next season’s roster. That will obviously rise as they re-sign RFAs like Reinhart, Olofsson, and Ullmark, and perhaps Brandon Montour or a UFA like Wayne Simmonds. Nevertheless, they must still spend to get over the $60 million cap floor and ice a competitive roster.

Adams could surprise us by chasing one or two big-name UFAs, but I think he’ll make modest dips into that pool. I can see him trying to pry away a decent player or two from clubs looking to shed salary. Perhaps he dangles Ristolainen to a team that’s deep in scoring forwards but in need of blueline depth.

CAPITALS OFF-SEASON NEEDS

THE ATHLETIC (subscription required): In a recent mailbag segment, Tarik El-Bashir was asked about any possible off-season trade candidates or targets for the Washington Capitals.

El-Bashir said he doesn’t get the sense that Capitals management is eager to move anyone under contract for next season. As for possible options to address next season, he believes they’ll need a veteran top-four defenseman and doesn’t rule out re-signing Brenden Dillon. They’ll also need a third-line left wing to replace Ilya Kovalchuk and a proven goalie to back up Ilya Samsonov.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: There are several quality backups potentially available in this summer’s free-agent market. The notables include Anton Khudobin, Thomas Greiss, and Cam Talbot.










Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – May 31, 2020

Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – May 31, 2020

Another look at this year’s non-playoff clubs in the Sunday NHL rumor mill.

THE SCORE: John Matisz recently examined the most important business facing the NHL’s seven non-playoff clubs. Here’s a look at some of his notable observations.

Anaheim Ducks captain Ryan Getzlaf (Photo via NHL Images).

Anaheim Ducks general manager Bob Murray could face some soul-searching over whether to open contract extension talks with long-time captain Ryan Getzlaf, who becomes an unrestricted free agent next July. He would attract considerable interest among playoff contenders before the 2021 NHL trade deadline.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Getzlaf has an annual average value of $8.25 million with a full no-movement clause for next season. If he and the Ducks fail to reach agreement on a new contract, it’ll be interesting to see if he’ll agree to waive that movement clause.

With several veterans carrying expensive contracts, Buffalo Sabres GM Jason Botterill needs to sign RFA winger Sam Reinhart and goalie Linus Ullmark to reasonable contracts.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That could be easier said than done. Both players have arbitration rights. Coming off a bridge contract, Reinhart could be seeking a lucrative long-term deal.

The rebuilding Detroit Red Wings need depth throughout their roster. Acquiring a decent goaltender should be the priority for GM Steve Yzerman.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This year’s UFA goalie market includes Washington’s Braden Holtby and Vegas’ Robin Lehner. Both, however, could prefer signing with contenders. Other options could include Calgary’s Cam Talbot, Dallas’ Anton Khudobin, or the New York Islanders’ Thomas Greiss. The Wings, however, could be forced to overpay.

The Los Angeles Kings have 21 picks in the next two drafts, including five second-rounders. Matisz wondered if packaging one or two picks with Jeff Carter at the 2020 draft might net the Kings a young, established NHL player.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That could depend on how much of a market there is for Carter. He’s a proven performer but age seems to have caught up with the 35-year-old center. He’s also got two more seasons with an annual average value of $5.275 million, though in actual salary he’s earning $2 million annually. The Kings might have to absorb part of that cap hit.

The New Jersey Devils’ biggest decisions are deciding whether they’ll remove the interim labels from GM Tom Fitzgerald and head coach Alain Nasreddine or hire full-time replacements. They’ve interviewed former Vancouver Canucks GM Mike Gillis and former NHL coaches Gerard Gallant, Peter Laviolette, and John Stevens.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Once they’ve sorted their management and coaching positions, the Devils can focus on addressing their roster issues.

Ottawa Senators GM Pierre Dorion could be busy in the off-season. Among his 13 players on expiring contracts are Craig Anderson and Anthony Duclair.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The 39-year-old Anderson could be brought back cheaply on a one-year deal, but it remains to be seen if he’s keen to spend another season with the rebuilding Senators or if Dorion wants him back. Duclair is a streaky scorer with arbitration rights, but he could end up having to accept a one-year “show-me” deal.

San Jose Sharks GM Doug Wilson will have to get creative to shore up his goaltending. Martin Jones is no longer an effective starting goalie but he’s got four more years left on his contract with an AAV of $5.275 million.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: With over $66 million invested in 13 players for 2020-21, Wilson could try to move one of his high-salaried veterans for younger talent. However, they also carry various no-trade/no-movement clauses. He could look for a short-term free-agent bargain like Khudobin or former Shark Greiss.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 30, 2020

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 30, 2020

Alex Ovechkin reaches another goal-scoring milestone, the Leafs set a team scoring record, the Oilers re-sign Zack Kassian, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin tallied his 693rd career goal, but it wasn’t enough to prevent his club falling 5-4 to the Nashville Predators. The Capitals capitalized on three Predators’ blunders to take a 4-3 lead into the third period, but goals by Ryan Johansen and Yannick Weber sealed the deal for the Preds. Ovechkin moved past Steve Yzerman for ninth on the all-time goals list, one goal behind Mark Messier.

Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin is ninth on the NHL’s all-time goal-scoring list (Photo via NHL Images).

Fists were flying as the Calgary Flames picked up a 4-3 shootout victory over the Edmonton Oilers in the latest round of the Battle of Alberta. Oilers winger Zack Kassian and Flames winger Matthew Tkachuk squared off for the second time in as many games, while the most surprising bout featured Calgary center Sean Monahan and Oilers center Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. Andrew Mangiapane scored twice in regulation for the Flames while Monahan potted the only shootout goal. Speaking of Kassian, he signed a four-year, $12.8-million contract extension.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kassian’s critics will claim his new deal is too much for too long. It’s actually right around where a winger of his skills would be. The $3.2 million salary-cap hit isn’t that bad, nor is a four-year deal for a 29-year-old physical forward with decent offensive ability.

The Toronto Maple Leafs defeated the Dallas Stars 5-3, setting a club record with four-or-more goals (discounting shootouts) in eight straight road games. Auston Matthews and Tyson Barrie each had a goal and an assist for the Leafs. Alexander Radulov tallied twice for the Stars, who learned earlier in the day that winger Roope Hintz is day-to-day with an upper-body injury.

Quinn Hughes and Tanner Pearson had a goal and an assist as the Vancouver Canucks picked up their fourth straight win by downing the San Jose Sharks 5-2. The Canucks (62 points) maintain a three-point lead over the Flames for first place in the Pacific Division.

The Tampa Bay Lightning overcame a 2-0 deficit to double up the Los Angeles Kings 4-2. Steven Stamkos led the way with two goals and an assist. Kings defenseman Drew Doughty’s ironman streak ended at 460 games as he sat out this contest with an undisclosed injury.

Adam Henrique scored twice to give the Anaheim Ducks a 4-2 victory over the Arizona Coyotes, who are 1-5-1 in their last seven contests.

WGR 550: Buffalo Sabres goaltender Linus Ullmark will miss three-to-four weeks with a lower-body injury.

STLTODAY.COM: St. Louis Blues forward Oskar Sundqvist is on injured reserve with a lower-body injury.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 29, 2020

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 29, 2020

Game recaps, the Penguins re-sign Marcus Pettersson, Hall-of-Famer Ed Belfour arrested in Kentucky, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines

NHL.COM: David Perron scored in regulation and the deciding goal in the shootout as the St. Louis Blues edged the Calgary Flames 5-4. Alex Pietrangelo and Zach Sanford each had two points. Blues forward Sammy Blais returned to action for the first time since suffering a wrist injury on Nov. 19, but winger Oskar Sundqvist left the game in the second period with a lower-body injury. Sean Monahan scored twice for the Flames.

David Perron’s shootout goal gave the St. Louis Blues a 5-4 win over the Calgary Flames (Photo via NHL Images).

Three goals in the third period lifted the Ottawa Senators to a 5-2 win over the Buffalo Sabres. Tyler Ennis and Mike Reilly each had a goal and an assist. Sabres goaltender Linus Ullmark left the game in the third period with an apparent knee injury. Sabres captain Jack Eichel tallied his career-best 29th goal of the season.

TRIBLIVE.COM: The Pittsburgh Penguins re-signed defenseman Marcus Pettersson to a five-year contract extension worth an annual average value of $4.025 million.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Acquired from the Anaheim Ducks in 2018, the 23-year-old Pettersson has established himself among the Penguins’ top-four defensemen. Should he continue to improve, this contract will be a most economical signing by Pittsburgh general manager Jim Rutherford.

Pettersson’s contract means the Penguins have over $62.7 million invested in 12 players for 2020-21. Their notable remaining free agents include goalies Matt Murray and Tristan Jarry, defenseman Justin Schultz, and forwards Alex Galchenyuk, Dominik Kahun and Jared McCann.

TSN: Hall-of-Fame goaltender Ed Belfour was arrested on Tuesday morning in Bowling Green, Kentucky, on mischief and intoxication charges.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This is Belfour’s third brush with the law related to alcohol-fueled incidents. He pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge in October 2000 and was charged with disorderly intoxication in April 2007.

WINNIPEG SUN: True North Sports and Entertainment, owners of the Winnipeg Jets and the MTS Centre, announced they’ll be implementing a plan to reduce prices on popular concession items such as beer, soda, bottled water, pizza, and popcorn. Over $9 million in venue improvements have been planned for this summer. Ticket prices will rise by 2.1 percent for 2020-21, the lowest increase in six years.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The bloom seems to be off the rose a little for the Jets in Winnipeg. Mike McIntyre of the Winnipeg Free Press pointed out the club’s eight-year sellout streak ended in October. There have been several games announced as sellouts where there were empty seats.

McIntyre also indicated ticket-sharing partnerships have fallen apart due to rising costs and lack of interest, while the waiting list for tickets has shrunk. He acknowledged part of the problem is the Jets are on pace for their worst home record since the franchise moved to Winnipeg in 2011.

LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL: The Golden Knights hired Steve Spott as an assistant coach.

 










Has The Buffalo Sabres Long-Awaited Breakout Season Finally Arrived?

Has The Buffalo Sabres Long-Awaited Breakout Season Finally Arrived?