NHL Rumor Mill – July 8, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – July 8, 2022

The opening day of the 2022 NHL Draft saw several established players change teams. Could there be more on the move during Day 2? Read on to find out in today’s NHL rumor mill.

LATEST ON THE BLUES

THE ATHLETIC: Jeremy Rutherford reported a source said Vladimir Tarasenko hadn’t rescinded his trade request from last summer despite his career-best performance in 2021-22 with the St. Louis Blues. This comes despite Blues general manager Doug Armstrong downplaying the notion of moving the 30-year-old winger earlier this spring.

St. Louis Blues winger Vladimir Tarasenko (NHL Images).

ESPN’s Kevin Weekes reported yesterday he’d heard that Tarasenko has drawn some interest in the trade market. Rutherford listed the Carolina Hurricanes and Florida Panthers as possible trade partners. He believes the Blues will want a defenseman as part of the return.

Rutherford also cited Daily Faceoff’s Frank Seravalli reporting they were gauging Torey Krug’s value in the trade market. He said a source close to Krug said on Wednesday that the club hasn’t approached the 31-year-old defenseman about waiving his no-trade clause.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Tarasenko has an annual cap hit of $7.5 million but his actual salary for 2022-23 is $5.5 million, making him more affordable in that department compared to last summer. However, he has a full no-trade clause giving him control over where he could go. Like last year, Armstrong will set a high asking price and is in no hurry to move Tarasenko until someone meets it. He could retain the winger as an “own rental” for next season if he doesn’t get what he wants.

Krug could be harder to move because of his $6.5 million AAV through 2026-27 along with that full no-trade clause. His actual salary jumps to $8 million which will be another sticking point.

NHL GOALIE MARKET COULD HEAT UP

OTTAWA SUN: Bruce Garrioch reports the Edmonton Oilers could be the most interested in Darcy Kuemper when the 32-year-old Colorado Avalanche goaltender hits the free-agent market on July 13. The Avalanche signaled their intent to cut ties with Kuemper by acquiring Alexandar Georgiev yesterday from the New York Rangers. He could seek a multiyear deal in the range of $6 million annually.

TORONTO SUN: Lance Hornby reports the Toronto Maple Leafs could also be among Kuemper’s suitors if they fail to sign Jack Campbell before next Wednesday. The Leafs freed up $3.8 million per season for the next two years by shipping Petr Mrazek to the Chicago Blackhawks during the first round of the 2022 NHL Draft on Thursday.

Koshan speculated they could still attempt to re-sign Campbell but he expects the 30-year-old netminder will look to double or triple his $1.6 million annual cap hit from his previous contract on a longer-term. The Ottawa Senators’ Matt Murray would be a long shot unless the Senators retain part of his $6.25 million AAV over the remaining two years of his contract.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: All eyes will be on the Oilers and Leafs regarding how they’ll address their respective goalie situations in the coming days. The Oilers have also been linked to Campbell if he becomes available but could put more of a focus on Kuemper. St. Louis Blues netminder Ville Husso could also be an option for either club.

UPDATES ON THE AVALANCHE, FLYERS, SENATORS AND BLACKHAWKS

THE DENVER POST: With the Colorado Avalanche parting company with Darcy Kuemper, Mark Kiszla believes Nazem Kadri will be next out of town. He believes they would be crazy to pay top dollar for a 31-year-old center coming off an outlier of a career-best performance.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Joe Sakic didn’t become general manager of the year because he’s fond of overpaying for talent. He’s a tough negotiator who has no problem shipping out players who could be expensive to retain or those due for free agency who prove too costly to sign. Kadri’s a goner unless he accepts a hometown discount.

PHILLY HOCKEY NOW: With Alex DeBrincat no longer on the market, Sam Carchidi wonders if the Philadelphia Flyers will set their sights on Johnny Gaudreau if the 28-year-old Calgary Flames winger becomes a UFA on July 13. They’ll need to free up cap space to do so. Carchidi indicated they intend to try and move winger James van Riemsdyk.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It could cost over $9.5 million annually on a seven-year deal for the Flyers to sign Gaudreau, who grew up a Flyers fan. Moving van Riemsdyk would clear $7 million from their books. The 33-year-old winger has a year left on his contract and lacks no-trade protection. His actual salary is $4 million after the Flyers paid his signing bonus on July 1.

OTTAWA SUN: Bruce Garrioch reports the Senators have kicked tires on Florida Panthers defenseman (and Ottawa native) MacKenzie Weegar. They also haven’t ruled out pursuing Panthers forward Claude Giroux if he becomes available via free agency.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Careful there, Senators GM Pierre Dorion. If the Panthers are entertaining offers for Weegar and his $3.25 million cap hit for next season, it’s probably because they’re trying to shed salary to re-sign Giroux.

 










NHL Rumor Mill – June 21, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – June 21, 2022

Could Devils winger Jesper Bratt become an offer-sheet target? Could the Canucks sign P.K. Subban? What’s the latest on James van Riemsdyk and Ethan Bear? Find out in today’s NHL rumor mill.

UPDATES ON BRATT AND SUBBAN

NHL WATCHER: recently cited Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman and Jeff Marek discussing the contract negotiations between the New Jersey Devils and restricted free agent winger Jesper Bratt. His talks on his last contract were “really tough” and both sides are gearing up for another difficult round of negotiations.

New Jersey Devils winger Jesper Bratt (NHL Images).

Marek raised the possibility of Bratt being targeted by a rival club with an offer sheet. Friedman doubted that will happen, pointing to the Devils carrying $25 million in cap space.

SPECTOR’S NOTE:  NJ.com’s Ryan Novozinsky has reported both sides are engaged in ongoing contract talks. Bratt has arbitration rights this summer giving him the leverage he didn’t have in his previous negotiations.

The Devils could listen to trade offers for Bratt if those talks stall or appear headed to arbitration to resolve. I don’t doubt recent reports claiming there are several teams interested in the 23-year-old winger following his career-high 73 points this season. Nevertheless, I think both sides want to get a deal done here.

Friedman’s right when he said an offer sheet wouldn’t make any sense here. The Devils can easily match, making it a pointless exercise. Since the salary-cap era began in 2005, only 10 players have signed offer sheets. Of those, only two (Dustin Penner and Jesperi Kotkaniemi) were successfully signed away.

VANCOUVER HOCKEY NOW: Rob Simpson addressed the notion raised by some Canucks fans of New Jersey Devils defenseman P.K. Subban signing with the club as an unrestricted free agent next month.

Simpson noted Subban is a skilled right-handed shot who could be motivated with a new club and could be had at an extreme discount. However, he doubted the Canucks will be interested, pointing out the decline in the 33-year-old’s performance. His acquisition would also go against management’s intention of building up a youthful core of talent.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’ll be interesting to see how free agency unfolds for Subban. He’s not expected to be re-signed by the Devils and could find his market options limited because of his declining skills. I think a team in need of some experienced blueline depth will sign him to an affordable one-year contract.

WILL THE FLYERS MOVE VAN RIEMSDYK?

NHL WATCHER: recently cited Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman and Jeff Marek discussing potential moves by the Philadelphia Flyers. Friedman believes they could shop winger James van Riemsdyk to free up salary-cap space.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: van Riemsdyk has a year left on his contract with an annual average value of $7 million but an actual salary of $5 million. The 6’3”, 217-pound winger also lacks no-trade protection, giving the Flyers a wide range of potential trade partners.

Now 33, van Riemsdyk is in decline. Nevertheless, he still managed to score 24 goals on the offensively anemic Flyers, marking the seventh time in his 13 NHL seasons he’s reached or exceeded the 20-goal plateau.

A playoff contender could be interested in a big veteran scorer such as van Riemsdyk. However, that contract could be difficult to move given his age and cap hit. The Flyers might have to retain salary, include a sweetener like a draft pick or prospect, or take back a comparable contract.

HURRICANES GIVE BEAR PERMISSION TO SPEAK TO OTHER CLUBS

SPORTSNET’s Elliotte Friedman tweeted on Monday that the Carolina Hurricanes have given Ethan Bear permission to speak to other clubs. They still wish to sign the restricted free agent defenseman but they’re not close to an agreement. Friedman also noted nothing can take place before July 13 with the Hurricanes’ permission.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Bear struggled this season with the Hurricanes and seemed to fall out of favor with head coach Rod Brind’Amour. He was a healthy scratch during the Canes’ playoff run. The 24-year-old is completing a two-year, $4 million contract and has arbitration rights.










NHL Rumor Mill – May 19, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – May 19, 2022

More conjecture on the Bruins’ offseason plans, the latest speculation linking the Senators to Kevin Fiala, and which troublesome contracts the Coyotes could target in today’s NHL rumor mill.

LATEST ON THE BRUINS

THE ATHLETIC: Fluto Shinzawa believes finding a center and holding firm on Jake DeBrusk could be among the priorities of Boston Bruins general manager Don Sweeney, assuming he’s signed to a contract extension.

Boston Bruins winger David Pastrnak (NHL Images).

The need for a center will become more urgent if captain Patrice Bergeron retires when his contract expires in July. There’s no one within their system who can step up and adequately replace him, plus they still haven’t fully addressed David Krejci’s departure last summer.

DeBrusk signed a two-year contract extension in March. While his play improved down the stretch and in the playoffs, he hasn’t withdrawn the trade request made in November. Shinzawa believes Sweeney won’t be quick to move DeBrusk if he still wants out.

Shinzawa includes Bergeron among his list of Bruins he believes will depart this summer. He thinks the 36-year-old center is confirming to himself that it’s time to retire.

Nick Foligno, Matt Grzelcyk, Mike Reilly and Craig Smith are among Shinzawa’s list of trade candidates, though he acknowledged a buyout seems more likely for Foligno. He also recommended trading star winger David Pastrnak if there’s any sense of uncertainty over whether he’ll sign a contract extension.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Bergeron could retire and go out while still among the league’s elite players (especially if he wins the Selke Trophy this year) would cap a fine Hall-of-Fame career. Still, it wouldn’t be surprising if he returns for another season to buy the Bruins some time to find a suitable replacement or at least bolster their depth at center.

Pastrnak becomes eligible for unrestricted free agency next July. He loves playing in Boston and the Bruins obviously hope to retain him past 2023. However, Bergeron’s possible retirement and the club’s direction could leave him thinking carefully over his future. He’d be among the top players in the 2023 UFA market and would land a lucrative long-term deal. It’ll be interesting to see how his situation plays out.

There’s speculation the Bruins would welcome back Krejci if he felt like returning to the NHL next season. So far, however, there’s no indication he’s planning a comeback in Boston or anywhere else. As for DeBrusk, he said he hasn’t given much thought to his request but will spend some time considering it over the offseason before making a decision.

COULD THE SENATORS PURSUE FIALA?

THE ATHLETIC: Ian Mendes examined the pros and cons of the Ottawa Senators pursuing Kevin Fiala if the Minnesota Wild put the 25-year-old wing on the trade block.

The asking price could be the Senators’ first-round pick (seventh overall) in this year’s draft plus an affordable center or backup goaltender. A downside would be Fiala’s next contract as he could come in between $7.5 million and $8 million annually.

SPORTSNET: Wayne Scanlan recently suggested Fiala would check a lot of boxes as a fit with the Senators, though he also pointed out his next contract will be expensive. He also suggested Philadelphia Flyers winger Travis Konecny as another option, carrying three more years on his contract with a $5.5 million annual average value. He’s also familiar with Ottawa having played his junior hockey with the OHL’s 67s.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Despite the expense of Fiala’s next contract, he will draw lots of interest if the Wild decide to peddle him. However, Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman recently reported several teams believe Minnesota general manager Bill Guerin will find a way to keep Fiala. If he can’t, Friedman mentioned the Senators, New Jersey Devils and Los Angeles Kings as potential trade destinations.

Konecny could be a viable alternative for the Senators if they’re in the market for a scoring winger and lose out on Fiala. He lacks no-trade protection and the Senators have promising young prospects that could tempt Flyers GM Chuck Fletcher. That will depend on how much tinkering Fletcher intends to do with his roster this summer and whether he sees Konecny as a trade chip or part of the club’s long-term plans.

WHICH TOXIC CONTRACTS COULD THE COYOTES TARGET?

GOPHNX.COM: Craig Morgan recently looked at 31 NHL teams’ troublesome contracts the Arizona Coyotes could target in their quest to add more draft picks and prospects this summer. His suggested options include the Montreal Canadiens’ Shea Weber, Toronto Maple Leafs’ Petr Mrazek, San Jose Sharks’ Kevin Labanc, New York Islanders’ Josh Bailey and the Philadelphia Flyers’ James van Riemsdyk.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Morgan listed many other notables, including the Chicago Blackhawks’ Jonathan Toews, Boston Bruins’ Nick Foligno, Calgary Flames’ Sean Monahan, the Florida Panthers’ Sergei Bobrovsky and the San Jose Sharks’ Marc-Edouard Vlasic. Those players, however, have full or partial no-trade clauses and probably won’t waive them to go to the Coyotes.

Weber, Labanc, Bailey and van Riemsdyk, however, lack no-trade protection and would be prime cost-cutting candidates. Mrazek has a partial no-trade clause but might accept a trade to the Coyotes if he knows he doesn’t have a future with the Leafs.










NHL Rumor Mill – April 1, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – April 1, 2022

In today’s NHL Rumor Mill, a look at some potential offseason trade candidates for the Flyers plus the latest on Phil Kessel and Craig Anderson.

THE ATHLETIC: In a recent mailbag segment, Charlie O’Connor was asked if the Philadelphia Flyers could attempt to offload James van Riemsdyk in order to shed some salary this summer. He noted the club needs to free up cap space to make additions in the offseason, pointing out the 32-year-old winger is a $7 million player whose production has regressed.

Philadelphia Flyers winger James van Riemsdyk (NHL Images).

Finding takers for van Riemsdyk won’t be easy. The Flyers could be forced to add a sweetener to make him more enticing in the trade market. It might be easier if they retain half of his salary though it means only saving $3.5 million. A contract buyout won’t clear the full $7 million from their books next season.

Cam Atkinson could be a sell-high trade option given his bounce-back performance this season. However, O’Connor senses the Flyers could prefer retaining him. Travis Konecny, Ivan Provorov or Travis Sanheim could also be cost-cutting options.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: van Riemsdyk has one year left on his contract. So does the 26-year-old Sanheim at $4.675 million. Konecny, 25, is signed through 2024-25 with an annual average value of $5.5 million while the 25-year-old Provorov carries a $6.75 million AAV for three more seasons.

As O’Connor observed, those younger players would have more trade value than van Riemsdyk. Depending on this summer’s trade market, those guys probably won’t have to be packaged with someone else or have salary retained to move them.

That’s not to suggest van Riemsdyk can’t be moved this summer. He lacks no-trade protection and will carry an actual salary of $4 million next season after the Flyers pay his $1 million signing bonus. A club seeking to reach the cap floor next season could have an interest in him, provided the Flyers include a draft pick or a prospect in the deal.

SPORTSNET: In his recent “32 Thoughts” column, Elliotte Friedman reported the Nashville Predators were among the teams interested in Arizona Coyotes winger Phil Kessel at the trade deadline.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Perhaps the Predators will revisit their interest in Kessel this summer when he becomes an unrestricted free agent? The 34-year-old winger should prove to be an affordable signing at this stage in his career.

Friedman also reported the Buffalo Sabres would like to bring back 40-year-old goaltender Craig Anderson for 2022-23. The club is willing to wait on his timetable and see how he feels after this season.










NHL Rumor Mill – March 21, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – March 21, 2022

The Trade Deadline is 3 pm ET today. Check out the latest in this morning’s NHL rumor mill.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: With so many notable names already moved in recent days, there’s not much in terms of rumors involving noteworthy trade candidates. Here’s a quick roundup of this morning’s speculation.

THE ATHLETIC: Fluto Shinzawa believes the Boston Bruins will look at acquiring a forward before today’s trade deadline. Targets could include the Winnipeg Jets’ Andrew Copp, the Columbus Blue Jackets’ Max Domi, the Vancouver Canucks’ J.T. Miller and the New Jersey Devils’ Pavel Zacha.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s believed the Canucks are unlikely to move Miller today. Anything can happen, of course, but the extra year on his contract means they could keep him and perhaps try to sign him this summer to a contract extension.

NBC SPORTS PHILADELPHIA: Jordan Hall reports the Flyers are getting lots of calls on defenseman Justin Braun. Winger James van Riemsdyk could also be available as he has a year remaining on his contract with an annual average value of $7 million.

Anaheim Ducks winger Rickard Rakell (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Braun seems more likely to move than van Riemsdyk considering the latter’s cap hit. Braun is due to become an unrestricted free agent this summer and carries an affordable $1.8 million annual average value.

NEW YORK POST: Larry Brooks reports the Rangers are believed to be interested in Jets forward Andrew Copp. Meanwhile, talk around Anaheim Ducks winger Rickard Rakell seems to have quieted. Rangers GM Chris Drury could also bring in a defenseman. Options could include the Chicago Blackhawks Calvin de Haan, Montreal Canadiens Brett Kulak, the Flyers’ Justin Braun and the Buffalo Sabres’ Colin Miller.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Ducks general manager Pat Verbeek has made good on his vow to trade his pending UFAs rather than risk losing them for nothing this summer to free agency. He already shipped out Hampus Lindholm and Josh Manson. I expect Rakell will be on the move before today’s deadline.

THE PROVINCE: Ben Kuzma ponders the trade possibilities for several Canucks. They appear willing to remain patient with pending restricted free agent Brock Boeser while Conor Garland’s speed and reasonable contract still make him a good fit in Vancouver. Pending UFAs Tyler Motte and Luke Schenn are more likely to move.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Boeser could be moved today but I think that’s more likely an offseason move if they can’t reach an agreement on a contract. Garland is reportedly drawing lots of interest but I think it’ll take a significant offer (first-round pick?) to pry him away from the Canucks.

MONTREAL HOCKEY NOW: Jimmy Murphy reports the Los Angeles Kings have expressed interest in Canadiens forward Artturi Lehkonen and defensemen Jeff Petry and Brett Kulak. The Edmonton Oilers have also been linked to Kulak.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Petry’s $6.25 million annual cap hit through 2024-25 and his 15-team no-trade clause could make him difficult to move today. That could be an offseason transaction.

EDMONTON JOURNAL: Kurt Leavins believes the Oilers would like to add a defenseman. His suggested options include the Seattle Kraken’s Carson Soucy, the Ottawa Senators’ Nick Holden, and the Canadiens’ Brett Kulak.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Leavins also included the New Jersey Devils’ Ryan Graves on his list but I don’t believe he’s available.

SAN JOSE HOCKEY NOW: Sharks goaltender James Reimer is garnering some interest.

DETROIT HOCKEY NOW: Nick Leddy could be the next Red Wing to depart before today’s deadline. Vladislav Namestnikov and Marc Staal could also be available.

NBC SPORTS WASHINGTON: It appears the Capitals will continue to make calls for a goaltender and a middle-six forward.

CALGARY HOCKEY NOW: The Flames could add an affordable defenseman. Targets could include the Flyers’ Justin Braun, the Canadiens’ Brett Kulak, the Kraken’s Carson Soucy, the Sabres’ Colin Miller, the Red Wings Marc Staal and the New York Islanders’ Zdeno Chara.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I don’t see Chara going anywhere today. It seems like he’s willing to finish the season with the Isles.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 5, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 5, 2021

Alex Ovechkin reaches more scoring milestones, the Wild and Rangers extend their points streaks, plus updates on Igor Shesterkin, Mitch Marner, Charlie McAvoy and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: Alex Ovechkin scored his 750th career goal and his 118th game-winner as the Washington Capitals downed the Columbus Blue Jackets 3-1. He’s now 16 goals behind Jaromir Jagr for third place on the all-time goal-scoring list, tied for third with Phil Esposito for the most game-winning goals, and tied with Jagr, Marcel Dionne, Brett Hull and Mats Sundin for the third-most consecutive 20-goal seasons. The Capitals played without Trevor van Riemsdyk, joining teammate Nic Dowd in COVID protocol.

Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin (NHL Images).

Kirill Kaprizov’s shootout goal lifted the Minnesota Wild over the Toronto Maple Leafs 4-3, extending their winning streak to six games while snapping the Leafs’ five-game streak. The Wild (35 points) hold a seven-point lead over the St. Louis Blues for first place in the Central Division. Jason Spezza scored twice and added an assist as the Leafs overcame a 3-0 deficit. Leafs winger Mitch Marner missed this game following a collision in practice with teammate Jake Muzzin. He’s also expected to miss Sunday’s contest with the Winnipeg Jets.

The New York Rangers picked up their sixth straight victory by holding off the Chicago Blackhawks 3-2. Artemi Panarin and Ryan Strome each had a goal and two assists while Alexandar Georgiev picked up the win with a 25-save performance. Earlier in the day, the Rangers placed goaltender Igor Shesterkin (lower body) on injured reserve. Blackhawks’ Patrick Kane and Seth Jones each had two points.

Florida Panthers forward Sam Reinhart’s shootout goal gave his club a 4-3 win over the St. Louis Blues, marking the third straight game the Panthers overcame a deficit to claim victory. Maxim Mamin tallied twice for the Panthers while Blues goalie Ville Husso made 48 saves. With 37 points, the Panthers return to first place in the overall standings.

Jake Guentzel extended his points streak to 12 games with a hat trick and an assist as the Pittsburgh Penguins beat the Vancouver Canucks 4-1. Sidney Crosby had a goal and two assists and Kris Letang chipped in three helpers. The Canucks sit at the bottom of the Pacific Division with 18 points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Canucks fans expressed their displeasure late in the game by calling for general manager Jim Benning to be fired. Whether the club’s ownership takes them up on their suggestion remains to be seen.

The Tampa Bay Lightning nipped the Boston Bruins 3-2 on an overtime goal by Steven Stamkos. Lightning goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy kicked out 37 shots for the win. The Bruins forced the extra frame on goals by Charlie Coyle and Curtis Lazar. Boston defenseman Charlie McAvoy missed the game with a non-COVID-related illness.

An overtime goal by Moritz Seider lifted the Detroit Red Wings over the New York Islanders 4-3, leaving the latter winless in 10 straight games. Oliver Wahlstrom tallied twice for the Isles while the Wings have won five straight.

The Ottawa Senators blew a 5-2 lead but an overtime goal by Brady Tkachuk gave them a 6-5 victory over the Colorado Avalanche. Tkachuk and Tim Stutzle each scored twice and added an assist.

Carolina Hurricanes winger Teuvo Teravainen scored twice and Vincent Trocheck had a goal and two assists in a 6-2 drubbing of the Buffalo Sabres. Sebastian Aho collected three assists for the Hurricanes as they snapped a three-game losing skid. Carolina winger Andrei Svechnikov was a late scratch with an injured finger.

Filip Forsberg’s overtime goal gave the Nashville Predators a 4-3 win over the Montreal Canadiens. Predator forward Luke Kunin had a goal and an assist. Canadiens goalie Jake Allen stopped 40 shots while teammate Cole Caufield had two assists. Earlier in the day, the Canadiens claimed defenseman Kale Clague off waivers from the Los Angeles Kings. They’re also rumored to have player agent Kent Hughes on their radar as a potential general manager candidate though they haven’t yet contacted him about the job.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Hughes is a bilingual Montreal native whose clients include Bruins captain Patrice Bergeron and Penguins defenseman Kris Letang.