NHL Rumor Mill – May 26, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – May 26, 2022

Could the Panthers try to trade Sergei Bobrovsky? Can the Canucks afford Brock Boeser? Which LA Kings could become trade candidates? Are the Senators still willing to trade their 2022 first-round pick? Find out in today’s NHL rumor mill.

COULD THE PANTHERS SHOP BOBROVSKY?

NHL WATCHER: On a recent “32 Thoughts” podcast, Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman suspected the Florida Panthers tried hard to trade Sergei Bobrovsky during the season or lay the groundwork to do so. He doesn’t know if it’s possible to move the goaltender but he heard the Panthers really worked on it to see if it was possible.

Florida Panther goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Good luck with that. Bobrovsky, 33, carries a $10 million annual salary-cap hit through 2025-26. He also has a full no-movement clause until 2024-25 when the no-trade portion is modified to a 16-team no-trade list.

The only way I see this happening is for the Panthers to retain between $3 million to $5 million of that annual cap hit. That’s assuming Bobrovsky is willing to accept a trade. If he does, it’ll be to a limited number of clubs.

Anything can happen, of course, but I wouldn’t hold my breath anticipating a Bobrovsky trade this summer.

CANUCKS CAN AFFORD BOESER, SAYS RUTHERFORD

VANCOUVER HOCKEY NOW: Rob Simpson reports Canucks president of hockey operations Jim Rutherford dismissed speculation his club would have to trade Brock Boeser or negotiate off his $7.5 million qualifying offer. Rutherford indicated they can afford to fit the 25-year-old winger’s QO within their budget for 2022-23. “We are definitely not pressured to trade him for financial reasons,” he said.

Simpson said that doesn’t suggest the Canucks will qualify Boeser by the July 11 deadline or that any decisions have been reached about the winger’s future in Vancouver. Rutherford said they’ll see how things work out and see if a fair deal can be reached for Boeser and the team.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Boeser is a restricted free agent with arbitration rights this summer. His performance was below expectations this season in part because of injuries and concern over his father’s battle with dementia. The two sides could require arbitration to resolve the issue but I daresay they’ll try to avoid that possibility.

Cap Friendly indicates the Canucks have $69.4 million invested in just 13 players for 2022-23. If necessary, they can exceed the $82.5 million cap by $3.5 million with all-but-retired Micheal Ferland on long-term injury reserve.

Nevertheless, fitting in Boeser’s $7.5 million qualifying offer could mean Rutherford ends up shipping out a salaried player to free up cap space. Maybe he parts with J.T. Miller ($5.25 million cap hit) if the two sides fail to agree to a contract extension. Perhaps he puts Bo Horvat or Conor Garland on the trade block. Maybe he tries to move defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson.

On the other hand, he and Boeser could agree to a new contract at a lower cap hit than his qualifying offer. Depending on how much of a reduction it is, Rutherford might not have to employ a drastic measure like moving Miller or Horvat.

LATEST ON THE KINGS

THE ATHLETIC: Lisa Dillman included Gabriel Vilardi, Alex Iafallo and Sean Durzi on her list of potential Los Angeles Kings trade candidates. She also didn’t rule out the possibility of general manager Rob Blake listening to trade offers for Quinton Byfield or Arthur Kaliyev but doubted either guy will be moved.

There’s been speculation Blake might consider using his 2022 first-round pick to add an experienced player to the roster. However, Dillman doesn’t see him going that route, pointing out the Kings prefer to hang onto their high draft picks.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Blake was rumored to be interested in Arizona Coyotes blueliner Jakob Chychrun this season. He has the depth in promising young players and prospects to make a decent offer and the cap space to take on his $4.6 million cap hit.

The Coyotes reportedly want a first-round pick as part of the return. Maybe Blake decides to part with his pick (which sits outside the top-16) if it’ll bring Chychrun to Los Angeles.

SENATORS STILL WILLING TO SHOP THEIR FIRST-ROUNDER

OTTAWA SUN: Bruce Garrioch reports Senators GM Pierre Dorion told TSN 1200 is willing to move his 2022 first-round pick if it’ll fetch an impact player to help the club. He’d like to add a top-four defenseman and some depth up front, though the latter could be addressed internally. Dorion also indicated he’s not interested in acquiring a player who could depart via the UFA market in a year or two.










Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – November 21, 2021

Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – November 21, 2021

Will the Rangers go shopping for a forward? Have they started contract talks with Ryan Strome? What moves could be in store for the Sabres after trading Jack Eichel? Check out the latest in the Sunday NHL rumor roundup

LATEST RANGERS SPECULATION

THE ATHLETIC: Arthur Staple took note of TSN’s Darren Dreger’s recent report claiming the New York Rangers are in the market for a middle-six forward to replace Sammy Blais after he suffered a season-ending knee injury. He also felt they could pursue a defenseman but that could be a move made closer to the March 21 trade deadline.

Staple believes the Rangers can’t afford to take on players with term remaining on their contracts as new deals will be required next summer for Blais and restricted free agent Kaapo Kakko plus they’ll also require a second-line center and a backup goalie.

Arizona Coyotes winger Phil Kessel (NHL Images).

Looking at players on expiring contracts, Staple suggested the Seattle Kraken’s Calle Jarnkrok or Marcus Johansson, the Ottawa Senators’ Chris Tierney, the Carolina Hurricanes’ Nino Niederreiter, the Arizona Coyotes’ Phil Kessel, the Chicago Blackhawks’ Dylan Strome, the Montreal Canadiens’ Artturi Lehkonen and the Los Angeles Kings’ Gabriel Vilardi.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I doubt Niederreiter will be available. The Hurricanes are among the NHL’s best teams and have little reason to ship him out for a draft pick or prospect. If they were to move Niederreiter, it would be to bring in a player to address a different roster need.

The Los Angeles Kings aren’t a struggling club like the others listed here but they could become a seller should fall out of the playoff chase as the season rolls along. Vilardi was recently demoted to the minors and could become a trade chip at some point. Staple’s colleague, Lisa Dillman, speculated the former first-round pick might be at the point in his career where a trade could help get his career back on track. She proposed the Tampa Bay Lightning and the rebuilding Coyotes as possible destinations for Vilardi.

Kessel would be an expensive addition unless the Coyotes retain part of his $6.8 million cap hit. Teams with an interest in the veteran winger could prefer waiting until the trade deadline to pursue him.

The Blackhawks tried shopping Strome since last season but couldn’t find any takers. The interim management probably won’t have any better luck. He’s been skating on their checking line but is best suited on the second line with better wingers.

As for the Kraken, Senators and Canadiens, they’re going to be among this season’s sellers but they don’t have to dump expiring contracts right now. They’ll likely wait until the second half of the season in order to find the best return possible.

BOSTON HOCKEY NOW: Jimmy Murphy wondered if the Boston Bruins might try to entice the Rangers into taking winger Jake DeBrusk off their hands. He had a strong preseason but has been inconsistent thus far this season. DeBrusk remains a mainstay in the rumor mill among NHL scouts and executives but there’s no indication the Bruins and Rangers are talking trade.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: DeBrusk might still be a topic of trade chatter in some NHL circles but there’s doesn’t seem to be much interest in him. The media speculation about the 24-year-old winger’s trade status has died down since the summer.

NEW YORK POST: Speaking of the Rangers, Mollie Walker reported there haven’t been any contract extension talks between management and Ryan Strome. The 28-year-old center is slated to become an unrestricted free agent next summer. Given their recent signings of Mika Zibanejad and Adam Fox plus Kakko due for a new contract, Walker believes the Rangers probably can’t afford to re-sign Strome.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Cap Friendly shows the Rangers with over $70.8 million invested in 16 players for 2022-23. Strome will seek a higher annual average value than his current $4.5 million. He’ll likely hit the open market next summer unless the Rangers shed some salary to re-sign him.

WHAT NEXT FOR THE SABRES?

THE BUFFALO NEWS: In a recent mailbag segment, Lance Lysowski was asked if the Sabres would pursue a starting goaltender via next summer’s free-agent market. He doesn’t see them going that route with promising Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen on the cusp of the NHL.

If Luukkonen is ready for the job next season, the Sabres could bring back Dustin Tokarski or sign a reliable veteran on a short-term deal. Lysowski recommends going the trade route if Luukkonen isn’t ready.

Lysowski was also asked which of the Sabres pending UFAs could be shopped at the trade deadline. He felt Colin Miller’s value as a right-shot defenseman puts him at the top of the list.

Others could include Vinnie Hinostroza, Drake Caggiula, Cody Eakin, Robert Hagg, Craig Anderson and Dustin Tokarski but he doesn’t expect the Sabres will trade them all. He speculated they could attempt to bring back Mark Pysyk.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Sabres have made their big moves after trading Jack Eichel, Taylor Hall, Sam Reinhart and Rasmus Ristolainen since April. Any major moves between now and March 21 will likely be to move out some pending UFAs for draft picks.










NHL Rumor Mill – November 17, 2021

NHL Rumor Mill – November 17, 2021

No changes yet for the Canucks, an update on Samuel Girard, and the latest on the Rangers in today’s NHL rumor mill.

NO CHANGES COMING FOR CANUCKS

TSN: Darren Dreger reported Vancouver Canucks owner Francesco Aquilini met yesterday with general manager Jim Benning to discuss the club’s poor on-ice performance this season. However, there aren’t any changes coming to the Canucks, “at least not yet”, according to Dreger. It’s believed Aquilini will remain patient but the expectation is the results on the ice must change.

Vancouver Canucks general manager Jim Benning (NHL.com).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That isn’t going to stop speculation that Benning and head coach Travis Green are on thin ice. After reaching the playoffs in 2019-20, they got a mulligan for missing the postseason last season because of the shortened schedule, the outbreak of COVID-19 that decimated the roster in April and Elias Pettersson’s season-ending injury in March.

After a 3-2-1 start, the Canucks are 2-7-1 in their last 10 games. They’re six points out of a wild-card berth in the Western Conference and in danger of falling so far behind that they’ll be unable to make up the lost ground over the remainder of the season.

Aquilini’s patience will be tested if the Canucks fail to make significant improvement over the next two or three weeks. Another stretch like the last 10 games could spell the end for Benning and Green.

THE ATHLETIC: Pierre LeBrun reports the Colorado Avalanche isn’t interested in shopping Samuel Girard. The 23-year-old defenseman is in the second season of a seven-year contract with an affordable $5 million annual average value.

LeBrun suspects the Girard trade chatter was a result of the Jack Eichel trade talk over the past few months. He said the Avalanche did inquire about Eichel but he doesn’t believe the talks got very far.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Girard trade speculation originated with The Denver Post’s Mark Chambers, who speculated the blueliner could become expendable with young Bowen Byram stepping up as a top-four rearguard. LeBrun doesn’t rule out the possibility of Girard getting moved if the Avalanche received an offer too good to refuse but said the club isn’t interested in moving him.

NEW YORK POST: Larry Brooks examined what the Rangers could do to address the loss of forward Sammy Blais to a season-ending knee injury. They were already thin up front, especially after winger Vitali Kravtsov’s departure to Russia to await a trade.

Brooks wondered if they could interest the Los Angeles Kings in a swap of Kravtsov’s rights for recently demoted center Gabriel Vilardi. For now, he thinks general manager Chris Drury will look within his system to address the issue before turning to the trade market.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Most general managers tend to look to within for replacements before seeing what’s available in the trade market. If there was interest in Kravtsov’s rights he would’ve been moved by now. The Kings don’t seem to be in any hurry to dangle Vilardi in the trade market.










NHL Rumor Mill – November 11, 2021

NHL Rumor Mill – November 11, 2021

The Canadiens and Senators are reportedly eyeing Rangers winger Vitali Kravtsov plus the latest Kings speculation in today’s NHL rumor mill.

DAILY FACEOFF: Frank Seravalli recently reported league sources claim the Montreal Canadiens and Ottawa Senators were the two teams that expressed the most interest in Vitali Kravtsov.

New York Rangers right wing Vitali Kravtsov (NHL Images).

The 21-year-old right wing is in Russia awaiting a trade after refusing to report to the New York Rangers AHL affiliate in Hartford last month. The Rangers loaned him to KHL club Traktor Chelyabinsk.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: There were conflicting reports out of New York regarding Kravtsov’s decision. Some claimed he’s had a difficult relationship with Rangers general manager Chris Drury stretching back to their tenures in Hartford in 2019-20. Others said the former first-round pick (ninth overall, 2018) felt he’d never get an opportunity to crack the Blueshirts’ top six given their depth on the wings.

Whatever the reason, Kravtsov apparently made up his mind he doesn’t want to play for the Rangers but recent reports suggest he hasn’t ruled out returning to the Blueshirts. Loaning him to Chelyabinsk gives him the opportunity to remain in game shape. It also enables teams interested in the youngster to evaluate his performance.

No surprise the Canadiens and Senators are interested. Both teams are struggling and could use some scoring depth. The Habs have the league’s second-lowest goals-per-game average (2.00) while the Senators (2.50) are 28th overall.

THE ATHLETIC: In her latest mailbag segment, Los Angeles Kings beat writer Lisa Dillman if there’s a player the club could target to acquire before placing Drew Doughty on long-term injury reserve. She believes the Kings aren’t targeting players for trades right now because Doughty is expected to return around Christmas. November tends to be a quiet time in the NHL trade market as teams still sort out what they have.

With the Kings in the thick of the playoff race and sidelined players like Doughty and Viktor Arvidsson due back soon, she doesn’t expect they’ll be involved in much trade activity right now.

Asked where Gabe Vilardi fits into the Kings lineup, Dillman said she isn’t sure given the Kings depth at center. She suggested he might benefit from playing with a team that lacks depth at that position.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kings GM Rob Blake wants to see improvement out of his roster this season. They had a wobbly start but have won six straight and are jockeying with San Jose and Nashville for a wild-card berth.

Blake could become a buyer in the new year if the Kings remain a playoff contender by the February Olympic break. If so, maybe he uses draft picks and/or prospects to bring in a rental player or two. He could also use Vilardi as trade bait to add a more established player. The 22-year-old center is in the final season of his entry-level deal and could interest a club seeking depth at center or a team looking to rebuild.










What Next For the Los Angeles Kings?

What Next For the Los Angeles Kings?

 










10 NHL Rookies To Watch This Month

10 NHL Rookies To Watch This Month