NHL Rumor Mill – January 6, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – January 6, 2022

Some suggested goaltending trade targets for the Oilers plus the latest on the Rangers and Kraken in today’s NHL rumor mill.

FLEURY, HOLTBY AMONG SUGGESTED OILERS GOALIE TARGETS

SPORTSNET: Marc-Andre Fleury of the Chicago Blackhawks and the Dallas Stars’ Braden Holtby are two of Rory Boylen’s suggested targets to address the Edmonton Oilers’ struggling goaltending.

Could the Edmonton Oilers target Chicago Blackhawks goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury? (NHL Images)

The others include the Seattle Kraken’s Chris Driedger, the Columbus Blue Jackets’ Joonas Korpisalo, the New York Islanders Semyon Varlamov and the Montreal Canadiens’ Jake Allen.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Boylen goes into detail examining the pros and cons of each option and I recommend giving it a read. I’m just going to offer up my brief take.

I don’t think the Oilers can afford to take on Fleury’s $7 million annual average value given their limited cap space. They’ll have to get the Blackhawks to retain part of it and that’s going to mean tossing a sweetener into the deal. They could try to get another club to act as a third-party broker but it could end up costing the Oilers their first-round pick. That’s assuming the Oilers aren’t on Fleury 10-team no-trade list.

The Stars could peddle Holtby if they’re out of playoff contention by the trade deadline but I think they’d be keen to retain him beyond this season as a mentor for promising Jake Oettinger. Holtby could be willing to stick around as playing in the Lone Star State seems to agree with him. They are willing to part with Anton Khudobin, who’s in the minors after passing unclaimed through waivers last month. Teams are said to be calling about Khudobin but we don’t know if the Oilers are among them. He carries an affordable $3.33 million cap hit but has another year left on his contract.

Driedger could be available but he’s got two more years on his contract and I think the Oilers are more interested in a rental at this stage. Besides, I don’t see him as an upgrade over the current crop of Oilers goaltenders.

The Isles could be willing to move Varlamov if they’re comfortable with Ilya Sorokin as their full-time starter. However, his 16-team no-trade list and $5 million cap hit likely take him out of the equation for the Oilers.

Uncertainty over what the Canadiens’ new management will have in store for their roster at the trade deadline accounts for Allen’s inclusion on this list. He’s got a year left on his contract with an affordable $2.875 million cap hit but the Habs aren’t under any pressure to move him out, especially given Carey Price’s undetermined future. I wouldn’t rule it out but I also wouldn’t be surprised if the Habs hang onto Allen.

Korpisalo seems the more realistic trade target. He’s an unrestricted free agent this summer and isn’t expected to be back after the Blue Jackets committed to Elvis Merzlikins as their starter. Promising Daniil Tarasov could be Merzlikins’ full-time backup next season. Kopisalo has an affordable cap hit ($2.8 million) and lacks no-trade protection.

LATEST ON THE RANGERS AND KRAKEN

THE ATHLETIC: Arthur Staple looked at possible rental defense options for the New York Rangers. The most expensive would be the Canadien’s Ben Chiarot but Staple is skeptical that their newly install hockey ops VP Jeff Gorton would be interested in helping the club that spectacularly dumped him last May.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: He might if they offered up a first-round pick for Chiarot, which some pundits believe is the going rate for a blueliner of his caliber.

Staple also mused about the Chicago Blackhawks’ Calvin de Haan, the Seattle Kraken’s Mark Giordano, and the Blue Jacket’s Vladislav Gavrikov.

NEW YORK POST: Ethan Sears cited ESPN analyst Kevin Weekes suggesting the Rangers could use another top-six winger. He suggested the Canadiens’ Tyler Toffoli as a possibility.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Rangers have plenty of promising young assets to use as trade bait if they wish to seek immediate help, especially for someone with term on their contract carrying an affordable cap hit like Toffoli. Whether there’s a deal to be made with the Canadiens is another matter, especially if Gorton turns out to be as reluctant to help the Rangers as Staple believes.

THE ATHLETIC: Ryan S. Clark believes the Seattle Kraken could be in a good position to use the March 21 trade deadline to their advantage. They have six players on expiring contracts, including Mark Giordano, Calle Jarnkrok and Marcus Johansson. Those three could have value to playoff contenders, allowing the Kraken to acquire some future assets while clearing some cap space.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Giordano will draw considerable attention and would fetch the best return. Jarnkrok’s versatility and two-way play would also generate interest. Johansson’s injury history and declining production could hurt his trade value.










NHL Rumor Mill – January 3, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – January 3, 2022

Should the Islanders trade Semyon Varlamov? Is there any help in the trade market for the Oilers? How can the Golden Knights shed salary for Jack Eichel’s return next month? Check out the details in today’s NHL rumor mill.

NYI HOCKEY NOW: Stefen Rosner ponders the possibility of the New York Islanders putting Semyon Varlamov on the trade block. It hasn’t been the season the Isles or Varlamov envisioned. The club is well out of a wild-card berth in the Eastern Conference while the 33-year-old goaltender is struggling to regain his form being sidelined through training camp and the opening month of the season.

New York Islanders goaltender Semyon Varlamov (NHL Images).

Varlamov has a year remaining on his contract with an annual cap hit and a 16-team no-trade clause. Despite his struggles this season, he was among the league’s best goalies in 2020-21 with a 2.04 goals-against average, a .929 save percentage and a league-leading seven shutouts.

Moving Varlamov could free up some much-needed cap space for next season. They could then seek a more cost-effective backup for starter Ilya Sorokin.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Islanders general manager Lou Lamoriello could start quietly gauging Varlamov’s value in the trade market if his club hasn’t gained ground in the standings by March. It will also depend on whether Varlamov’s performance has improved by then.

Lamoriello could wait until the offseason to make that move. Then again, he could keep his tandem intact for next season provided Varlamov has no issue backing up Sorokin.

EDMONTON JOURNAL: With the Oilers winning just three of their last 12 games, Jim Matheson explored the trade market for help if replacing head coach Dave Tippett isn’t an option.

Matheson feels the Oilers need another top-six forward but there currently aren’t many available. Most teams have little cap space or they’re offering struggling players like Chicago’s Dylan Strome or San Jose’s Evander Kane, who has a myriad of issues. Bruins winger Jake DeBrusk could help but it would cost $4.85 million to qualify his rights this summer.

The Oilers also don’t have many tradeable assets. Matheson suggested maybe winger Kailer Yamamoto, prospect Xavier Bourgault or their 2022 first-round pick. He considers Dylan Holloway a non-starter because they don’t have many blue-chip prospects in their farm system.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Oilers also need a reliable starting goaltender and perhaps a physical shutdown defenseman. Nevertheless, Matheson’s right about their limited possible trade assets. It also doesn’t help that obvious sellers (hello there, Arizona Coyotes and Montreal Canadiens) aren’t in any hurry to swing deals.

THE ATHLETIC: Jesse Granger is the latest to examine options for the Vegas Golden Knights to shed salary ahead of Jack Eichel’s return from neck surgery next month.

One is trading a $5 million forward like Jonathan Marchessault, Reilly Smith or Evgenii Dadonov plus backup goalie Laurent Brossoit. Others include shopping Shea Theodore, William Karlsson or Alec Martinez.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I don’t see Marchessault, Theodore, Karlsson or Martinez going anywhere. Granger considers moving Theodore highly unlikely but an option nonetheless because he’d fetch the best return. It could come down to Dadonov or Smith with the latter the more likely trade candidate given his UFA status this summer.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 29, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 29, 2021

Joel Quenneville resigns as Panthers head coach while Jets GM Kevin Cheveldayoff has a meeting today with league commissioner Gary Bettman as fallout from the Blackhawks scandal continues. Details plus game recaps and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

QUENNEVILLE RESIGNS AS PANTHERS COACH, CHEVELDAYOFF HAS A MEETING TODAY WITH BETTMAN

FLORIDA HOCKEY NOW: Joel Quenneville resigned yesterday as head coach of the Florida Panthers in the wake of the Chicago Blackhawks sexual assault scandal. His resignation came following a meeting yesterday with NHL commissioner Gary Bettman. Assistant coach Andrew Brunette takes over as the interim head coach.

Former Florida Panthers coach Joel Quenneville (NHL Images).

This move is a result of an independent investigation into sexual assault allegations made by former Blackhawk Kyle Beach against the club’s former video coach Bradley Aldrich during the 2010 Stanley Cup playoffs. Quenneville told investigators he first heard of the allegations through the media but it was determined he was part of the meeting of front office executives to discuss the matter.

The Panthers released a statement that the conduct described in the report on the investigation was “troubling and inexcusable”, adding it stood in direct contrast to their values as an organization and what the club stood for.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: But not so much to keep Quenneville from being behind the Panthers’ bench against the Boston Bruins on Wednesday, just one day after the report’s findings were released. It’s puzzling why they didn’t at least do that until Quenneville had his meeting with Bettman. It was a bad look for the Panthers.

According to the report’s findings, Quenneville recommended the Blackhawks wait to take action against Aldrich until after the playoffs so as to avoid any unnecessary distractions for their players as they pursued the Stanley Cup.

Quenneville was once a highly-respected NHL head coach with three Stanley Cups and a Jack Adams Award on his resume. He’s second all-time in wins (969) among the league’s bench bosses. All of that is meaningless now. I doubt he’ll ever coach another game in the NHL again.

TSN: Winnipeg Jets general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff will meet with Bettman in NHL headquarters today. The meeting was moved up from Monday. Cheveldayoff was the Blackhawks assistant GM and took part in that fateful meeting about Beach’s allegations against Aldrich.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: There are numerous calls on social media for Cheveldayoff’s firing but a recent report indicated he had the support of Jets ownership. Where he stands following his meeting today with Bettman remains to be seen.

Kyle Beach released a statement on Twitter yesterday expressing gratitude for “the outpouring of endless love and support” he’s received since stepping forward to identify himself as the player allegedly sexually assaulted by Aldrich. He expressed the hope his story would bring about change “to promote safety, as well as the health and well-being of society as a whole.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I cannot even imagine what Beach endured as a sexual assault survivor over the past decade. I hope his story brings about the change he seeks and the peace he deserves.

The league is reportedly going to implement “enhanced training measures” specific to dealing with sexual abuse and allegations of abuse. A third party will be employed to handle this with league oversight. Any report or hint of sexual abuse or assault will be immediately reported to the commissioner’s office.

Aldrich still has his name on the Stanley Cup. TSN reports it’s up to the Blackhawks to file a petition to the league to have his name removed. So far, that has not yet taken place.

THE SCORE: Boston Bruins winger Taylor Hall called for a change in hockey culture. “This is a game that’s, I guess, what you would call an old boys’ club, and there’s definitely some secrecy and things that need to change. Hopefully, they can.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Amen to that, Taylor. Here’s hoping that change happens soon.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: The Carolina Hurricanes set a franchise record for their longest season-opening win streak by blanking the Boston Bruins 3-0. The Hurricanes have won six in a row as Frederik Andersen turned in a 33-save shutout. Tony DeAngelo, Nino Niederreiter and Andrei Svechnikov were the goal scorers.

Cale Makar had a goal and an assist to collect his 100th career point in the Colorado Avalanche’s 4-3 victory over the St. Louis Blues. He’s reached that mark in the sixth-fewest games (108) by NHL defensemen. J.T. Compher scored twice for the Avalanche. Blues goaltender Jordan Binnington received a 10-minute misconduct for swinging his stick at Avs center Nazem Kadri.

The Calgary Flames completed the sweep of their five-game road trip by downing the Pittsburgh Penguins 4-0. Jacob Markstrom kicked out 45 shots for the shutout while Johnny Gaudreau tallied his first goal of the season.

Jake Allen also had a 45-save shutout in the Montreal Canadiens’ 4-0 win over the San Jose Sharks. Josh Anderson had a goal and an assist for the Habs as they picked up their first win in San Jose since 1999.

Tampa Bay Lightning winger Alex Killorn netted two goals in his club’s 5-1 victory over the Arizona Coyotes. It was the Lightning’s first home win of the season. Steven Stamkos had a goal and an assist.

The Buffalo Sabres blew a 3-0 lead but an overtime goal by Rasmus Asplund gave them a 4-3 victory over the Anaheim Ducks. The Sabres’ record stands at 5-1-1 while the Ducks are winless (0-3-2) in their last five. Ducks center Adam Henrique picked up his 200th career goal.

Winnipeg Jets center Pierre-Luc Dubois scored two goals to beat the Los Angeles Kings 3-2. Kyle Connor assisted on all three Jets goals. The Kings have dropped six in a row.

Sean Couturier and Claude Giroux each collected two points as the Philadelphia Flyers nipped the Vancouver Canucks 2-1. Martin Jones got the win with 27 saves. Quinn Hughes replied for the Canucks.

The Seattle Kraken got two goals by Haydn Fleury to defeat the Minnesota Wild 4-1. Philipp Grubauer turned aside 30 shots for the win. The expansion Kraken has won two straight on home ice. The Wild played without Mats Zuccarello and Rem Pitlick as both entered COVID protocol yesterday.

IN OTHER NEWS…

NBC SPORTS WASHINGTON: Capitals winger T.J. Oshie is listed as week-to-week with a lower-body injury.

NEW YORK POST: Islanders goaltender Semyon Varlamov said he’s fully recovered from his undisclosed injury and is ready to return to action. He missed all of training camp and the Isles’ regular-season games to date.

THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH: Blue Jackets forward Max Domi has recovered faster than anticipated from a fractured rib. The club took him off injured reserve yesterday and he could be in the lineup tonight against the New York Rangers.

LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL: The Golden Knights signed defenseman Zach Whitecloud to a six-year contract extension with an annual average value of $2.75 million.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That could turn into quite the bargain for the Golden Knights if he should turn into a top-four shutdown defenseman.

YARDBARKER: The Golden Knights also signed blueliner Ben Hutton to a one-year, $750K contract.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 7, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 7, 2021

The Islanders’ Semyon Varlamov expected to miss the start of the season, Wild owner discusses his club’s buyouts of Zach Parise and Ryan Suter, the Sharks prepare to start the season without Evander Kane, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

THE ATHLETIC: Arthur Staple reports an undisclosed injury could sideline New York Islanders starting goaltender Semyon Varlamov for the upcoming start of the season. It’s uncertain if Varlamov’s condition is tied to a nagging knee injury that hampered him during the 2021 playoffs. His absence would mean Ilya Sorokin becomes the Isles’ start with Cory Schneider as his backup. 

New York Islanders goaltender Semyon Varlamov (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Varlamov wouldn’t be the only noteworthy starter expected to miss the start of this season. Montreal’s Carey Price will also reportedly remain sidelined when the schedule begins next week. Speaking of the Canadiens…

TSN: Habs defenseman Joel Edmundson will be sidelined two-to-three weeks with an undisclosed injury. He’s been day-to-day since training camp opened.

NHL.COM: Bad news for Los Angeles Kings’ Quinton Byfield as the 19-year-old center was diagnosed with a fractured left ankle suffered during Tuesday’s preseason loss to the Arizona Coyotes. He’s been placed on injured reserve and sidelined indefinitely.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: An unfortunate setback for Byfield. Selected second overall in the 2020 NHL Draft, he was hoping to garner a full-time roster spot with the Kings this season.

EDMONTON JOURNAL: Oilers winger Kailer Yamamoto will miss tonight’s game against the Vancouver Canucks. He could have a concussion after suffering the injury during Monday’s game against the Calgary Flames.

THE SCORE: New York Rangers enforcer Ryan Reaves is day-to-day with an injured left leg after his skate was clipped by New Jersey Devils defenseman P.K. Subban as they went into the corner chasing a loose puck. Reaves had to be helped off the ice.

DETROIT HOCKEY NOW: Red Wings forward Michael Rasmussen is day-to-day with an undisclosed injury.

THE ATHLETIC: Minnesota Wild owner Craig Leipold told Michael Russo he supported general manager Bill Guerin’s decision to buy out winger Zach Parise and defenseman Ryan Suter this summer. However, he expressed no regrets about signing the duo to their 13-year contracts back in 2012.

It totally changed our franchise,” said Leipold. “We went from not selling any tickets and having a future that looked bleak to overnight being a sellout team for the next five, six years.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The additions of Parise and Suter didn’t translate into a Stanley Cup for the Wild but Leipold’s right about how much they improved the franchise. Before they joined the Wild, the club reached the playoffs just four times in 11 seasons. With Parise and Suter in the lineup, they qualified for the postseason eight times in nine seasons.

THE MERCURY NEWS: San Jose Sharks head coach Bob Boughner said his club is preparing to start the season without Evander Kane in the lineup. The 30-year-old winger has been out of the lineup while under investigation by the league regarding allegations of spousal abuse and using a fake COVID-19 vaccination card.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 27, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 27, 2021

The Kraken win their first-ever preseason game plus the latest on Mark Stone, Jonathan Drouin, Semyon Varlamov, Jakub Vrana and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

THE SEATTLE TIMES: The Seattle Kraken tasted victory in their first-ever preseason game on Sunday, overcoming a 2-0 deficit to defeat the Vancouver Canucks 5-3 in front of 10, 208 raucous fans at Spokane Arena. Morgan Geekie snapped a 3-3 tie early in the third period and added an insurance goal midway through the frame to seal the win.

THE ATHLETIC: Vegas Golden Knights captain Mark Stone and defenseman Shea Theodore and Brayden McNabb were injured in a 4-2 preseason loss to the San Jose Sharks on Sunday. Stone left the game after being struck by the puck on the right ear. He received stitches but didn’t return. There were no post-game updates on Theodore and McNabb.

Vegas Golden Knights captain Mark Stone (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Vegas coach Pete DeBoer said the decision to keep Stone out of the game was precautionary. He doesn’t think the injury to his captain is serious.

MONTREAL GAZETTE: Jonathan Drouin received a warm welcome from Canadiens fans during their annual Red vs White scrimmage yesterday. It marked the first time Drouin played in front of Canadiens fans since 2019-20. He left the team late last season for personal reasons that were later revealed to be anxiety and insomnia issues.

Meanwhile, rookie winger Cole Caufield was scratched after feeling uncomfortable during the warmup. He’s listed as day-to-day but head coach Dominique Ducharme doesn’t feel it’s anything serious.

THE ATHLETIC’s Arthur Staple tweeted New York Islanders goaltender Semyon Varlamov still isn’t skating as he remains sidelined with an undisclosed injury.

MLIVE.COM: Detroit Red Wings forward Jakub Vrana will see a specialist today to determine the severity of the shoulder injury suffered on Saturday.

CBS SPORTS: Calgary Flames center Tyler Pitlick left Sunday’s 4-0 preseason loss to the Edmonton Oilers in the first period with a lower-body injury.

THE DENVER POST: Colorado Avalanche head coach Jared Bednar realizes he’s on the hot seat this season. His club failed to advance past the second round of the playoffs in the last three years. Another disappointing finish could spell the end of his job.

Bednar spoke at length over the summer with Tampa Bay Lightning coach Jon Cooper. Like Bednar, Cooper felt similar pressure after his own Presidents’ Trophy-winning team was swept in 2019 from the opening round by the Columbus Blue Jackets. He went on to guide the Lightning to back-to-back Stanley Cup titles.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 16, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 16, 2021

The Lightning tie their semifinal series with the Islanders, Oskar Lindblom win the Masterton Trophy, plus the latest on Jeff Petry, Taylor Hall and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: Nikita Kucherov collected three assists as the Tampa Bay Lightning doubled up the New York Islanders 4-2 to tie their semifinal series at a game apiece. Brayden Point tallied his playoff-leading 10th goal and Victor Hedman had a goal and an assist.

Tampa Bay Lightning winger Nikita Kucherov (NHL Images).

Mathew Barzal and Brock Nelson replied for the Islanders. Semyon Varlamov was briefly replaced by Ilya Sorokin in the Isles net after being shaken up in a collision with Point but returned to finish the final two periods.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This was a rough game culminating in a scrum at the end of the third period that saw Anthony Cirelli head directly to the Lightning bench following an altercation with Isles forward Travis Zajac. Bolts coach Jon Cooper said Cirelli should be okay.

The officiating was terrible in this contest. The Isles scored a power-play goal in the first period after Brayden Point was tagged for goaltender interference after being pushed into Varlamov by Isles blueliner Adam Pelech. The Lightning scored their second goal with seven men on the ice that somehow went unnoticed by the officials.

Philadelphia Flyers forward Oskar Lindblom is this year’s winner of the Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy for perseverance. He overcame a rare form of bone cancer last year to play 50 games this season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Congratulations to Lindblom, who was declared cancer-free during a scan in March. Here’s hoping he has a long, productive and happy life on and off the ice.

TSN: Montreal Canadiens defenseman Jeff Petry will be a game-day decision for Game 2 tonight against the Vegas Golden Knights. Petry is recovering from a hand injury suffered in the previous series against the Winnipeg Jets. Center Jake Evans (concussion) and defenseman Jon Merrill (undisclosed) are also game-day decisions for the Habs.

MONTREAL GAZETTE: The province of Quebec will allow up to 3,500 fans at the Bell Centre for the Canadiens upcoming home games against the Golden Knights. The same ruling also applied to venues hosting shows and other sporting events as pandemic restrictions continue to ease in the province.

THE SCORE: Boston Bruins general manager Don Sweeney indicated there is mutual interest with Taylor Hall regarding a new contract. The 29-year-old winger is slated to become an unrestricted free agent on July 28.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Hall proved to be a good fit with the Bruins following his acquisition from the Buffalo Sabres at the trade deadline. It’s believed the winger is interested in term over dollars.

THE DALLAS MORNING NEWS: Stars defenseman Joel Hanley underwent core-muscle surgery on Tuesday. He’s expected to be fully recovered in time for the 2021-22 season.

TSN: Forward Linus Wallmark has signed with the KHL’s CSKA Moscow. Wallmark split this season between the Chicago Blackhawks and Florida Panthers.

THE ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER: The Anaheim Ducks added former Calgary Flames bench boss Geoff Ward to their coaching staff.

CBS SPORTS: Drew Shore announced his retirement yesterday. The center played 98 NHL games with the Florida Panthers, Calgary Flames, Vancouver Canucks and Carolina Hurricanes from 2012-13 to 2020-21.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Best wishes to Shore in his future endeavors.

WINNIPEG SUN: The Jets arena is changing its name from Bell MTS Place to the Canada Life Centre.