NHL Rumor Mill (Part Two) – June 21, 2017

NHL Rumor Mill (Part Two) – June 21, 2017

Some late expansion draft chatter plus updates on Jordan Eberle, Alexander Radulov, Chris Tanev and Thomas Vanek in part two of today’s NHL rumor mill. 

STARTRIBUNE.COM: Michael Russo reports Minnesota Wild restricted free agent Erik Haula is expected to sign with the Vegas Golden Knights later today. The Wild are also sending prospect Alex Tuch and a conditional draft pick to Vegas. It’s part of a deal to ensure the Golden Knights will steer clear of such notable unprotected Wild players such as Matt Dumba, Marco Scandella and Eric Staal. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Earlier today I mistakenly said the Wild wouldn’t have to part with any other assets if Haula signs with the Golden Knights. Looks like Vegas GM George McPhee needed much more than Haula to stay away from those aforementioned Wild players. 

TSN: It appears Golden Knights GM George McPhee could acquire Russian prospect Nikita Gusev from the Tampa Bay Lightning. He could be attempting to reunite Gusev with recently signed Vadim Shipachyov and Evgeny Dadonov, who McPhee is reportedly attempting to sign. 

Washington Capitals defenseman Karl Alzner and Philadelphia Flyers forward Jordan Weal, both pending unrestricted free agents, were believed subject of interest for McPhee. The pair are pending unrestricted free agents, but their agent said his clients still intend to test the upcoming free-agent market. 


Could Edmonton Oilers right wing Jordan Eberle end up with the New York Islanders by this weekend?

 EDMONTON JOURNAL: David Staples yesterday cited Oilers Now host Bob Stauffer suggesting it’s not outside the realm of possibility that the New York Islanders end up landing Edmonton right wing Jordan Eberle and Colorado Avalanche center Matt Duchene. By perhaps moving their first round pick and a couple of unproductive players to Vegas, the Isles could clear sufficient cap space. Stauffer speculates something involving Eberle going to the Islanders could happen following the expansion draft. 

FANRAG SPORTS NETWORK: Chris Nichols cites Darren Dreger yesterday telling Vancouver’s TSN 1040 he firmly believes Duchene will be traded, if not at the upcoming draft then before the start of next season. He notes Avs GM Joe Sakic is in the market for  a defenseman.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Eberle and Duchene remain the two biggest names in the trade market coming out of the expansion draft, closely followed by Montreal’s Alex Galchenyuk. All three could belong to new clubs by the end of the upcoming weekend.

The Islanders are expected to make a big move or two, especially if they have in fact shipped Mikhail Grabovski and Nikolay Kulemin (along with their first round pick in this year’s draft) to the Golden Knights as was recently reported by Steve Carp of the Las Vegas Journal-Review. That would clear over $9 million in cap space from the Isles books.

TVA SPORTS: A KHL team could be prepared to pay Montreal Canadiens pending UFA right wing Alexander Radulov $9 million for next season. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: If I were Radulov, I would think twice about accepting that offer. The KHL is in dire financial straits. Most of the teams lose money. Many players go weeks, sometimes months, without getting paid.

Radulov won’t get $9 million for an NHL season, but could get a four-year deal worth between $6 – $7 million annually from the Canadiens or another NHL team. Better to take the long-term security for the opportunity to play in the world’s top professional league. 

THE PROVINCE: Ed Willes recently reported Vancouver Canucks defenseman Chris Tanev remains the focus of trade speculation. He notes the Dallas Stars, who hold the third and twenty-ninth overall picks, are among the clubs most interested in Tanev.

Willes reports one of the rumors “has the Canucks, who pick fifth, flipping picks with the Stars and picking up their late first-rounder and another asset for Tanev.” However, Willes believes Canucks GM Jim Benning won’t move Tanev if he can’t land two prime assets.

With Nikolai Tryamkin returning to Russia and the possibility of losing Luca Sbisa in the expansion draft, it wouldn’t make sense for the Canucks to trade their best defenseman if they hope to remain competitive. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Benning said he’s willing to move up in the draft but won’t shoot himself in the foot just to move up a couple of spots. So unless the Stars or anyone else with interest in Tanev is willing to sweeten the pot, he will stay put. 

DETROIT FREE PRESS: Helene St. James recently reported the Detroit Red Wings will give winger Thomas Vanek another look via this summer’s UFA market. The Wings signed Vanek last summer to a one-year deal and he played well alongside center Frans Nielsen.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: If the 33-year-old Vanek is willing to accept a two-year-deal worth $3.5 million annually from the Wings, he could return to Motown. Of course, that’s just my speculation, but I don’t believe the Wings want to invest too much for too long in aging talent.  


NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 19, 2017

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 19, 2017

Will the recent increase in the salary cap be enough for the Washington Capitals to re-sign T.J. Oshie?

Salary cap for 2017-18 set, plus updates on T.J. Oshie, Petr Mrazek, Valeri Nichushkin & more in your NHL morning coffee headlines. 

TSN: The NHL salary cap for 2017-18 is set at $75 million, a slight increase over this season’s cap ceiling of $73 million. The cap minimum will be $55.4 million.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That’s going to hurt clubs with limited cap space, such as the Chicago Blackhawks, Columbus Blue Jackets and New York Islanders. Expect those clubs to shed salary via trades. They could also free up some cap space if they lose a salaried player via the upcoming expansion draft.

Teams carrying over $50 million in cap payroll with several notable players to re-sign (Washington Capitals, Tampa Bay Lightning, Minnesota Wild) could also find it difficult to re-sign that talent. 

CSN MID-ATLANTIC:  J.J. Regan wonders if the cap increase will be sufficient for the Washington Capitals to re-sign right wing T.J. Oshie, who’s eligible for unrestricted free agency on July 1. 

MLIVE.COM: Performance and attitude were the factors behind the Detroit Red Wings’ surprising decision to leave goaltender Petr Mrazec exposed in the upcoming expansion draft. If unclaimed, the Wings could attempt to move him via trade. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: At the very least, this move is a shot across Mrazec’s bow by Wings management. They’re clearly unhappy with his inconsistent play and cocky manner. 

NBC SPORTS: Amid speculation winger Valeri Nichushkin could return to the Dallas Stars, the club included him on its list of protected players in the upcoming expansion draft. Nichushkin spent last season in the KHL. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s believed Nichushkin didn’t like playing for former Stars head coach Lindy Ruff, who’s since been replaced by Ken Hitchcock. If he does return, however, it’ll be interesting to see how well he and Hitchcock get along. 

CSNPHILLY.COM: The Philadelphia Flyers and pending UFA forward Jordan Weal aren’t far off in contract talks. They’ve agreed on term but still have to hammer out the annual salary. Weal’s agent said he’d like to better gauge his client’s value by testing the free-agent market but Weal’s preference is re-signing with the Flyers. 

THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH: Contract extension talks have begun between the Blue Jackets and head coach John Tortorella, who has a year remaining on his current contract. Tortorella is a finalist for the Jack Adams Award as NHL coach of the year. 

TVA SPORTS: The Arizona Coyotes’ financial situation is so precarious they’ll have to take on another ghost contract (like they did last summer with Pavel Datsyuk) to reach next season’s salary cap minimum. Dealing away the bulk of goaltender Mike Smith’s contract on Saturday to the Calgary Flames “for nothing in return” doesn’t help. “They’re broke. It’s ridiculous,” a source told TVA Sports on Saturday on condition of anonymity. 


NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 13, 2017

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 13, 2017

Pittsburgh Penguins goalie Marc-Andre Fleury agreed to waive his no-movement clause.

Fleury, Phaneuf asked to waive NMCs, Panthers hire Boughner as head coach & more in your NHL morning coffee headlines.

TRIBLIVE.COM: Pittsburgh Penguins goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury agreed to waive his no-movement clause in order to be exposed in the upcoming NHL expansion draft.

TSN: The Ottawa Senators asked defenseman Dion Phaneuf to waive his no-movement clause for the purpose of exposure in the expansion draft. Phaneuf has until 5 pm ET on Friday, June 16 to agree.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Various sources also reported Fleury agreed to waive his clause back in February. It’s not like he wants to leave the Penguins but he understands the situation they’re in regarding the expansion draft and their need to protect Matt Murray. He’s to be commended for his professionalism in this matter.  

If Phaneuf agrees to waive his clause it’ll allow the Senators to protect three defensemen (Erik Karlsson, Cody Ceci and likely Marc Methot) and seven forwards. If Phaneuf agrees he’ll be gambling on the Vegas Golden Knights opting to bypass him because of his age (32) and annual cap hit ($7 million) through 2020-21. 

THE BOSTON GLOBE: The Bruins did not ask David Krejci, Patrice Bergeron, Brad Marchand, David Backes, and Zdeno Chara to waive their NMCs.

THE ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER: The Anaheim Ducks and the agent for defenseman Kevin Bieksa would not confirm if he’d been asked to waive his NMC.






MIAMI HERALD: The Florida Panthers yesterday formally announced the hiring of Bob Boughner as their new head coach.

ARIZONA SPORTS: Coyotes majority owner Andrew Barroway has completed his buyout of the team’s minority owners, making him the sole owner of the franchise.

THE TENNESSEAN: Nashville Predators GM David Poile made it clear he wants to re-sign team captain Mike Fisher to a new contract. Fisher, 37, is eligible for unrestricted free agency in July.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: At Fisher’s age, he should be an affordable re-signing, perhaps to a one-year, bonus-laden deal. 


PHILLY.COM: The Philadelphia Flyers and free agent Jordan Weal are getting closer to a new contract.