NHL Rumor Mill – February 7, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – February 7, 2022

Leafs GM Kyle Dubas and Hurricanes GM Don Waddell outline their plans for the trade deadline plus some suggested trade destinations for Claude Giroux in today’s NHL rumor mill.

LATEST ON THE LEAFS AND HURRICANES

TORONTO SUN: Terry Koshan reports Maple Leafs general manager Kyle Dubas wants to see what a healthy and complete roster can do in the coming weeks before reaching any decisions regarding potential moves before the March 21 trade deadline.

Toronto Maple Leafs general manager Kyle Dubas (NHL.com)

Dubas hopes to see how young defensemen Rasmus Sandin and Timothy Liljegren fare over the next several weeks. The Leafs GM would prefer adding players with term remaining on their contracts. However, he pointed out salary cap limitations will have an effect upon whatever decisions he makes before the deadline. Dubas would prefer retaining his draft picks but they could be in play if necessary.

THE ATHLETIC: Jonas Siegel believes Dubas will be aggressive at the trade deadline to address an apparent need on the blueline or to shore up other roster weaknesses that could crop up before the trade deadline.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Leafs are in “win-now” mode this season, perhaps more so than in previous years given their inability to get past the first round. Another early postseason exit could spell the end of Dubas’ tenure as general manager. He’s proven adept at salary-cap gymnastics in the past and I don’t doubt he’ll find some cap flexibility to make a deal that helps his club.

We can expect to hear the Leafs being linked to a number of notable trade candidates in the coming weeks. They’ve already been tied to Anaheim Ducks defenseman Josh Manson despite being on his “no-trade” list.

THE ATHLETIC: Pierre LeBrun reports Carolina Hurricanes GM Don Waddell isn’t feeling any urgency to make a deal right now simply for the sake of doing so. The Hurricanes are on pace for a franchise record of 124 points this season. He’s also not feeling any pressure to react to whatever his division or conference rivals do.

LeBrun points out the Hurricanes are deep in young prospects to draw upon for trade bait to address any need that could arise. He speculates their priority could be adding a left-side defenseman though it remains to be seen if it’s a 4/5 blueliner or a 6/7 rearguard.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It wouldn’t be surprising if Waddell swings a deal or two before the trade deadline. Still, he can afford to take his time with his club playing as well as it is. If his roster remains healthy he could stand pat or make an affordable minor depth addition.

SUGGESTED TRADE DESTINATIONS FOR GIROUX

THE SCORE: John Matisz listed the Calgary Flames, Minnesota Wild, Boston Bruins and Colorado Avalanche as his suggested trade destinations for Claude Giroux. The versatile 34-year-old Philadelphia Flyers forward is an unrestricted free agent this summer.

Speculation over Giroux’s future in Philadelphia has been growing with the Flyers near the bottom of the Eastern Conference standings. General manager Chuck Fletcher has left it up to Giroux to decide if he’ll waive his no-movement clause.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Flames need secondary scoring, the Wild and Bruins need reliable second-line centers while the Avalanche could use Giroux’s two-way skills on their second line. Whether any of those clubs are on his no-trade list and if they can afford the Flyers’ asking price (which could be a first-round pick and a top prospect) remains to be seen.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 6, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 6, 2021

The fallout from the Carolina Hurricanes signing away Jesperi Kotkaniemi from the Montreal Canadiens, an update on Jake Gardiner, player milestones to watch this season and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

THE NEWS & OBSERVER: Carolina Hurricanes general manager Don Waddell spoke to the media yesterday about his club successfully signing away Jesperi Kotkaniemi from the Montreal Canadiens on Saturday.

Carolina Hurricanes general manager Don Waddell (NHL Images).

Waddell said the Hurricanes weren’t surprised that the Canadiens opted not to match the one-year, $6.1 million offer sheet. He denied revenge for the Habs’ unsuccessful attempt to sign Sebastian Aho in 2019 was the motivation behind the Kotkaniemi offer. Waddell also dismissed the club’s PR staff trolling the Canadiens over the signing as merely a marketing ploy to keep their fans engaged.

The Hurricanes GM said he initially attempted to acquire Kotkaniemi via trade and decided several days later to tender an offer sheet. Waddell indicated he hasn’t had contract extension discussions with the 21-year-old forward and his agent. The earliest they can re-sign him is in January.

Asked where Kotkaniemi would play this season, Waddell indicated the 21-year-old will probably start at left wing. Although the Hurricanes now sit above the $81.5 million salary cap by over $1.5 million, they intend to place defenseman Jake Gardiner ($4.05 million cap hit) on long-term injury reserve. Waddell indicated Gardiner will undergo hip and back surgery and won’t be ready for the start of the season.

MONTREAL GAZETTE: Kotkaniemi also talked about his new contract with the Hurricanes. He considers it a great opportunity and felt confident his new club has trust in him. He noted the presence of fellow Finns Aho and Teuvo Teravainen and considers it an honor to play for a potential Stanley Cup contender.

Asked about his time with the Canadiens, Kotkaniemi acknowledged there were “ups and downs” but overall felt he had a good run in Montreal. However, he did say he thought his development with the Habs could’ve gone better.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The revenge angle keeps getting played up in the media but I think that’s just a small factor here. The Hurricanes were seeking a young forward who could play center or wing. They had an interest in Kotkaniemi, tried to trade for him and when that didn’t work not only went the offer-sheet route but gave the Habs a heads-up as to their intentions.

PuckPedia speculates the Hurricanes could maximize their long-term injury reserve space to the full $4.05 million of Gardiner’s cap hit by demoting two players to put them just under the cap ceiling before the start of the season. They’ll then put Gardiner on LTIR. No word yet on how long he’ll be sidelined but the 31-year-old blueliner could be sidelined for the season.

A contract extension for Kotkaniemi will be decided by his performance this season. It would cost them $6.1 million to qualify his rights but the two sides could agree to a long-term deal for a lower annual average value.

Kotkaniemi’s comments about his development in Montreal and his willingness to accept the Hurricanes offer had some observers suggesting the Canadiens must ensure that issue doesn’t recur with their other younger players. Whether the current management shares that view remains to be seen.

SI.COM: Jason Chen looks at several player milestones to watch in 2021-22. Joe Thornton has an opportunity to move into third place overall for games played, Ryan Getzlaf, Nicklas Backstrom and Jason Spezza could reach 1,000 points while Alex Ovechkin is 36 goals away from tying Jaromir Jagr for third place (766) on the all-time goal-scoring list.

THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH: Former Blue Jackets defenseman James Wisniewski sold his Muirfield, Ohio home for $3.75 million.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 18, 2020

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 18, 2020

The Jets and Dustin Byfuglien agree to mutual contract termination, the Blue Jackets re-sign Joonas Korpisalo, neutral-site speculation and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

WINNIPEG SUN: The Jets and Dustin Byfuglien agreed to a mutual termination of his contract. The move brings an end to the dispute between Jets management and the veteran defenseman over his injury status. It resulted in his suspension without pay for missing training camp and his subsequent season-ending ankle surgery that took place without informing management. Jets general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff maintains the situation remains largely a private matter between the two sides but acknowledged it was emotional.

Dustin Byfuglien’s days with the Winnipeg Jets are over (Photo via NHL Images).

Byfuglien has forfeited the $14 million in actual salary remaining on his contract. He was slated to earn $8 million this season and $6 million in 2020-21. He’s not spoken publicly about the situation or his future plans.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: You can read the entire timeline of this saga here. With Byfuglien’s contract off the books for next season, Cap Friendly indicates the Jets have over $65.9 million invested in 13 players for next season, with all of their core players signed. That should provide Cheveldayoff with some wiggle room to bolster his blueline.

As for Byfuglien, there’s already speculation over potential destinations if he continues his NHL career. I’ll have more in the Rumors section.

THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH: The Blue Jackets re-signed Joonas Korpisalo to a two-year contract extension worth an annual average value of $2.8 million. The 25-year-old goaltender will earn $2.2 million in actual salary next season and $3.4 million in 2021-22.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s a reasonable contract for Korpisalo, who’s coming off a one-year, $1.125-million deal. Given the uncertainty over next season’s salary cap, it’s probably a wise decision on his part to take that deal now, rather than risk a lower payday. He’s eligible to become an unrestricted free agent in 2022.

Fellow Jackets goalie Elvis Merzlikins is also a restricted free agent at season’s end, but The Athletic’s Aaron Portzline believes he’ll get a similar deal. Portzline noted there was speculation suggesting the Jackets made Merzlikins a three-year offer, but the netminder denied that report last month.

STLTODAY.COM: The Blues re-signed MacKenzie MacEachern to a two-year, one-way contract worth $900K per season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Blues GM Doug Armstrong isn’t wasting time getting some business done during the pandemic shutdown. The MacEachern contract is the third deal he’s signed in as many days, inking Sammy Blais on Wednesday and Marco Scandella on Thursday. The Blues now have over $79.4 million tied up in 20 players, with defensemen Alex Pietrangelo and Vince Dunn to re-sign.

SPORTSNET: New Hampshire governor Chris Sununu admitted he’s had discussions with the NHL about staging neutral-site games in Manchester if the league returns to action in a reduced capacity this summer. “There is truth to that,” he said. “I have had discussions about that. Don’t know whether it’s going to happen, but we are talking about it.”

THE NEWS & OBSERVER: Carolina Hurricanes GM Don Waddell and his wife bought approximately 500 lunches for local sanitation workers in recognition of their efforts during this pandemic.