NHL Rumor Mill – January 15, 2020

NHL Rumor Mill – January 15, 2020

Latest on the Leafs, Canadiens and Red Wings, plus updates on Chris Kreider, Braden Holtby, and P.K. Subban in today’s NHL rumor mill.


TSN: With Morgan Rielly and Jake Muzzin sidelined, Bob McKenzie reports the Toronto Maple Leafs are getting calls from clubs hoping to take advantage of the situation. He also suspects the Leafs are making their inquiries on the front.

Would the Toronto Maple Leafs part with winger Kasperi Kapanen for a defenseman with a comparable contract? (Photo via NHL Images)

McKenzie believes the idea of trading for a defenseman isn’t entirely out of the question. Replacing Rielly and Muzzin on the left side of their blueline is their short-term need, but their long-term need is on the right side. He wonders if the Leafs would be prepared to part with an affordable young forward like Kasperi Kapanen, Andreas Johnsson or Alex Kerfoot for a defenseman with a similar contract.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Leafs must also find a reliable backup goaltender for overworked starter Frederik Andersen. Complicating efforts is their limited salary-cap space. Addressing either issue will take a dollar-for-dollar deal.

There are fans and pundits in Montreal calling upon the struggling Canadiens to trade Carey Price and Shea Weber. However, Pierre LeBrun reports Canadiens general manager Marc Bergevin said he has no intention of moving either guy at the trade deadline. As the roster gets younger, Bergevin feels Price and Weber provide invaluable leadership.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Once upon a time, Bergevin also said he had no plans to trade P.K. Subban and we know how that turned out. He could consider moving Price or Weber if a sweetheart offer were presented to him. Nevertheless, I don’t see him trading Price or Weber anytime soon. If such a move were to take place, it would be in the offseason when teams have more cap space and a willingness to spend.

LeBrun also reports the status of Chris Kreider remains front and center in the rumor mill. The New York Rangers winger is due to become an unrestricted free agent in July. There could still be contract negotiations between the two sides, but it’s believed Kreider will be moved before the Feb. 24 trade deadline, with the Blueshirts perhaps absorbing up to half of his $4.625-million contract. LeBrun speculates the St. Louis Blues or Boston Bruins could come calling.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: If the Rangers pick up that much of Kreider’s cap hit, they could seek an extra draft pick or prospect as part of the return. Kreider also carries an 11-team no-trade list. It’s believed Canadian teams aren’t on his list.

LeBrun also weighed in on how Nicklas Backstrom’s new contract could affect Braden Holtby’s future with the Washington Capitals. The Capitals goalie will become a UFA on July 1. Both sides agreed to wait until the end of the season to discuss a contract. LeBrun feels it’ll either be a short-term contract or Holtby goes to market.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Capitals GM Brian MacLellan said he’d have to get creative to find sufficient salary-cap space to re-sign Holtby. The veteran goalie’s ongoing struggles and the promising play of backup Ilya Samsonov could affect those negotiations.

MacLellan must ensure he has sufficient long-term cap room to re-sign Samsonov, Alex Ovechkin, and Jakub Vrana at the end of 2020-21. Even if Holtby agreed to a short-term hometown discount (and that’s not going to happen), the Capitals GM would have to shed salary to make room for him and leave enough long-term cap space for the others.


NHL.COM: P.K. Subban said he’s not asking the New Jersey Devils to trade him. The 30-year-old defenseman was acquired by the Devils last summer and has two years remaining on his contract. He said he’s never requested a trade and remains focused on helping the Devils.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Even if Subban asked to be traded, the decline in his performance over the past two years and his hefty $9-million annual average value would make him a tough sell. I’m not saying there wouldn’t be a market for him, but the Devils wouldn’t get a significant return and would probably have to pick up a healthy chunk of his annual salary-cap hit.


DETROIT FREE PRESS: Helene St. James recently reports Red Wings GM Steve Yzerman doesn’t intend to be passive as the trade deadline approaches. “I’m looking for ways to build for the future and trying to acquire draft picks or prospects or young players that can come into the organization sooner or later.”

St. James expects the rebuilding Wings to be active at the trade deadline. However, the players they’d like to move (Jimmy Howard, Trevor Daley, Mike Green, and Frans Nielsen) have struggled this season and likely won’t yield much on the trade market.

Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – January 12, 2020

Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – January 12, 2020

More speculation on the Canadiens, Rangers, Leafs, Golden Knights, Sharks, and Ducks in the Sunday NHL rumor roundup.


LE JOURNAL DE MONTREAL: Michel Bergeron believes it’s time for the Montreal Canadiens to consider trading goaltender Carey Price and defenseman Shea Weber. Bergeron points to Price’s obvious frustration as the club continues to struggle on the ice. He points out Price and Weber aren’t getting any younger, suggesting management sit down with both players to find places where they’ll each have a chance to win the Stanley Cup. Price has a full no-movement clause, but Bergeron believes he could waive it to join a contender.

NEW YORK POST: Larry Brooks suggests the Carolina Hurricanes should at least look into acquiring Price or New York Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist, though he doesn’t see any scenario where Lundqvist leaves New York. He doesn’t see the Hurricanes winning the Stanley Cup with the tandem of Petr Mrazek and James Reimer.

SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman reports Canadiens general manager Marc Bergevin is expected to wait until the club’s pre-All Star break before meeting with his staff to determine their plans.

Should the Montreal Canadiens consider shopping Shea Weber? (Photo via NHL Images)

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I don’t see the Canadiens putting Price or Weber on the trade block unless they ask to be moved. Given their expensive contracts, however, I don’t believe those are moves that can be made during the season. Those types of deals tend to take place in the offseason when teams have more salary-cap room and more willingness to spend.

Even then, it won’t be easy to move either player. The Habs would probably have to absorb a portion of their annual average salary to facilitate a deal or take back an expensive contract in return. 


SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman reports teams have been told the New York Rangers are willing to take calls on goaltender Alexandar Georgiev if what’s being offered impresses them. He believes the asking price could be a young NHL-ready forward or one who’s close to it.

NEW YORK POST: Larry Brooks wonders if the Tampa Bay Lightning might be interested in a package of Georgiev and Chris Kreider. The problem for the Rangers, however, is the Bolts would be reluctant to part with a meaningful player to add another. The Blueshirts could load up on draft picks, but that return isn’t likely to help them push for the playoffs over the next couple of years.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Until promising Igor Shesterkin made his recent impressive NHL debut, I didn’t see the Rangers moving Georgiev while they were in the chase for a wild-card spot. It appears their position has changed. If they get a return they like, Georgiev could be moved before the Feb. 24 trade deadline.


THE ATHLETIC: Jesse Granger reports league sources are claiming the Vegas Golden Knights are shopping around for a top-four defenseman to take some pressure off Nate Schmidt and Shea Theodore. Given their limited salary-cap space, Granger believes it’ll have to be a dollar-for-dollar swap. He feels a deal could happen at any time between now and the Feb. 24 trade deadline.

Granger suggested the New York Rangers’ Anthony DeAngelo as one of the most attractive defensemen potentially available in the trade market. His puck-moving skills and low salary for this season ($925K) would make him a perfect fit. Another would be the New Jersey Devils’ Sami Vatanen, though his $4.875 million salary-cap hit and pending UFA status could rule him out.

Other sugessted options are Los Angeles’ Alex Martinez, San Jose’s Brenden Dillon, Chicago Erik Gustafsson, and Carolina’s Jake Gardiner.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Vegas’ cap limitations will force GM Kelly McCrimmon to get creative. He could be forced to ship out a decent salaried forward to bring in that top-four rearguard.

I’m surprised to see DeAngelo mentioned as a trade candidate. Granger believes his defensive play is why he could be available in the first place. His restricted free agent status with salary-arbitration rights could be another. The Rangers aren’t under any pressure to move DeAngelo now, but his situation could be worth monitoring in the coming weeks.


SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman reports the San Jose Sharks hope to contend next season if they fail to reach the playoffs this year. They don’t intend on moving any of their core players. They’re willing to talk about pending UFAs like defenseman Brenden Dillon and forward Melker Karlsson. Friedman said the Toronto Maple Leafs could be kicking the tires on Dillon.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Dillon’s annual average value is $3.27 million. The Leafs have over $1.3 million in projected trade-deadline cap space.

The Anaheim Ducks, meanwhile, have let it known they’re willing to use their salary-cap space to help other clubs with limited cap room. However, they’ll also want good, young assets as part of the return.

NHL Rumor Mill – November 28, 2019

NHL Rumor Mill – November 28, 2019

Latest on the Canadiens, Bruins, and Sabres in today’s NHL rumor mill


MONTREAL GAZETTE: Stu Cowan believes the Canadiens could soon reach an important crossroad that could affect them now and in the future. Mired in a five-game winless streak, there are troubling signs they might not bounce back as they did from a similar losing skid last November. They blew 4-0 and 5-3 leads to fall 6-5 to the New York Rangers on Saturday and seemed to give up during an 8-1 loss to the Boston Bruins.

Is it time for the Montreal Canadiens to consider shopping Carey Price? (Photo via NHL Images)

With the possibility of the Canadiens missing the playoffs for the fourth time in five years, Cowan wonders if general manager Marc Bergevin might use his salary-cap space and prospect depth to make a big season-saving trade. He also mused about whether it’s time to consider shopping veteran stars Carey Price and Shea Weber for younger players and begin rebuilding for the future.

LE JOURNAL DE MONTREAL: cites a report by NBC Sports’ Charlie Roumeliotis claiming Bergevin took in Tuesday’s game between the Chicago Blackhawks and Dallas Stars. He’s also attended several games involving the Blackhawks’ AHL affiliate in Rockford.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I don’t see Bergevin making any major moves right now. As long as the Habs stay in playoff contention, he’ll give his players time to work their way out of their current funk.

With over $8 million in salary cap room, Bergevin has plenty of wiggle room to swing a major deal. However, he was in a similar position last season but only made a couple of minor moves. Expectations are higher this year, which could put pressure on him to swing a deal.

Bergevin isn’t trading Price or Weber, but if he decides to go that route he’ll do it in the off-season. Price would have to waive his no-movement clause. Weber lacks no-trade protection but carries a hefty contract (over $7.8 million annually through 2025-16). He could be tough to move unless it’s a one-for-one swap for another expensive player or the Habs pick up part of his cap hit.

The Canadiens don’t play the Blackhawks until Jan. 15. Bergevin has a trade history with the Hawks so we can’t dismiss the possibility he’ll do another deal with them. Chicago defenseman Erik Gustafsson has surfaced in trade rumors earlier this season. He’s slated to become an unrestricted free agent next summer.

The Habs need help on the left side of their blueline but I don’t think Gustafsson would be the answer. He’s coming off a 60-point performance last season but has only eight points in 23 contests this season.


NBC SPORTS BOSTON: With the Bruins re-signing Charlie Coyle and Chris Wagner yesterday, Joe Haggerty wonders where this leaves Torey Krug. The new contracts for Coyle and Wagner mean there’s a little less in the Bruins’ payroll to re-sign the 28-year-old defenseman. They also have Zdeno Chara, Matt Grzelcyk, Jake DeBrusk, Kevan Miller and Jaroslav Halak to re-sign. Haggerty observers the Bruins have lots of talented defensemen who could fill in for Krug if he departs next summer, but none have his offensive impact.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Cap Friendly indicates the Bruins have over $65 million invested in 15 players for next season. Krug said he’s willing to accept a hometown discount to re-sign with the Bruins, but it will probably be well over his current $5.25-million AAV. With three consecutive 50-plus point campaigns already under his belt, he could get over $8 million annually on the open market.

Don’t expect the Bruins to trade Krug this season. He’s still a crucial part of their push for a Stanley Cup this season. They could get him re-signed before July. Nevertheless, the longer he goes unsigned, the more questions will arise about his future with the Bruins.



NHL Rumor Mill – July 25, 2019

NHL Rumor Mill – July 25, 2019

A look at 10 supposedly untradeable contracts in today’s NHL rumor mill.

THE HOCKEY NEWS: Noting the recent Milan Lucic trade, Ken Campbell feels no NHL contract is truly “untradeable” anymore. Nevertheless, he provides a list of 10 players with seemingly unmoveable deals. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Remember, Campbell isn’t saying the following contracts can’t be traded. It would be difficult to move them, but a bit of creativity and a willing trade partner could make it happen. He also looked at contracts with four-or-more seasons remaining. That’s why Loui Eriksson isn’t on this list. 

Is Nashville Predators center Kyle Turris’ contract really untradeable? (Photo via NHL Images)

Nashville’s Kyle Turris, Detroit’s Justin Abdelkader, and Buffalo’s Kyle Okposo come in at 10 through eight on Campbell’s list. Turris has five years remaining on his contract worth $6-million annually. He lacks no-trade protection. Abdelkader, 32, has four years left with an annual average value of $4.25-million. Okposo has four years remaining ($6 million AAV) and has battled injuries and concussion-related illness in recent years.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Turris could be the easiest to move if the Predators picked up part of his cap hit or took back a toxic contract in return. The 29-year-old center had a rough 2018-19 but played well for Canada at this year’s World Championships. He could be poised for a bounce-back performance, which could also make him enticing if the Preds want to move him. Abdelkader’s declining play and Okposo’s injury history are significant sticking points.

Arizona Coyotes center Nick Schmaltz and Minnesota’s Zach Parise and Ryan Suter fill positions seven through five. Schmaltz is starting a seven-year deal worth an AAV of $5.85 million and suffered a season-ending knee injury in 2018-19. Parise and Suter are aging veterans with six seasons remaining on their identical $98-million contracts with full no-movement clauses.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Including Schmaltz on this list could be premature. While Campbell notes he’s had only one good NHL season thus far, he did tally 14 points in 17 games with Arizona before his injury. With a strong recovery, he could quickly regain his offensive form and become a solid addition for the Coyotes. Parise and Suter, on the other hand, are now past their prime and age and injuries could take their toll. Parise turns 35 on July 28, Suter on Jan. 21.

The New York Islanders’ Andrew Ladd, Philadelphia’s Kevin Hayes, and Chicago’s Brent Seabrook fill spots four through two. Ladd was frequently sidelined by injuries, has a full no-trade clause this season and four years remaining on his deal with an AAV of $5.5 million. Hayes inked a seven-year, $49-million contract that Campbell doesn’t believe will age well. Seabrook has five years left ($6.875 million AAV) with a full no-movement clause to 2021-22.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Ladd’s injury history could be a killer here unless he becomes a permanent long-term injury reserve candidate. As we’ve seen, those contracts can be desirable for cap-strapped clubs. I agree with Campbell that Hayes’ deal could become burdensome during its latter years. Seabrook’s name surfaced in trade speculation last season but came to nothing. Moving his contract remains a daunting challenge.

Montreal Canadiens defenseman Shea Weber topped Campbell’s list. The 34-year-old has seven years left on his deal worth over $7.9 million annually.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Weber’s contract was traded once before. It could be moved again. He’s still an effective top-pairing defenseman, making him valuable in the trade market. He also lacks no-trade protection.

The threat of salary-cap recapture is there if he retires, but it’s the Nashville Predators on the hook for the bulk of it, especially the latter years. If you’re a Predators fan, pray he doesn’t call it quits before 2025-26.

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 4, 2020

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 4, 2020

​​A growing number of NHL stars are speaking out against racial justice, the latest updates on the league’s return-to-play format, and Anaheim Ducks GM Bob Murray talks about his club’s future in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.


TSN: New Jersey Devils defenseman P.K. Subban pledged $50,000 to George Floyd’s daughter Gianna’s GoFundMe page.

“Change the game means change the narrative. The narrative has been the same: no justice. There needs to be justice. Justice has to happen, change needs to come. But we need everyone. We need all people to look at our lives and see where we can help that change and do our part.”

BOSTON, MA – SEPTEMBER 13: Patrice Bergeron #37 of the Boston Bruins poses for his official headshot for the 2019-2020 season on September 13, 2019 at WGBH in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Steve Babineau/NHLI via Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Patrice Bergeron

Boston Bruins center Patrice Bergeron pledged $25,000 to the Boston branch of the NAACP and $25,000 to Centre Multiethnique de Quebec.

 “Let’s take real actions, with an open heart and compassion, I am determined to be an ally, continue to grow myself, and raise my children to be anti-racist.”

Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby and teammate Jason Zucker, Edmonton Oilers captain Connor McDavid, Montreal Canadiens captain Shea Weber and teammate Brendan Gallagher, Washington Capitals goalie Braden Holtby and winger Tom Wilson, Colorado Avalanche captain Gabriel Landeskog, and San Jose Sharks defenseman Erik Karlsson joined a growing list of NHL stars issuing statements speaking out against racial injustice.

THE SCORE: Toronto Maple Leafs general manager Kyle Dubas believes his club can and should do more to combat systemic racism.

“I think what we’ve learned, especially in the last number of days, is that with the Maple Leafs and with our players and with our staff … we need to be doing more on the anti-racism side of things. Not only with our statements and our words and our tweets and what we put out there but with our actions, and we know that people will be watching us and holding us accountable in that regard.”

ESPN.COM: NHL analyst and former goaltender Kevin Weekes described his experiences as a black player in a predominantly white sport.

“The higher up I got in hockey, the more race started to become a factor,” Weekes said. “And I started realizing that, for me, I was walking over Niagara Falls on a tightrope with no safety net.”

Weekes called upon the NHL to implement harsher punishments for racially motivated incidents or slurs and to evaluate its relationship with local police departments.

For an example, an NHL club should be very selective, just as they are with their players, to do hyperscreening of the law enforcement officials they use to work their venues or protect their players and their families. We’ll be a lot more diligent in the people we select to work with us.”

THE HOCKEY NEWS: Ken Campbell notes the growing number of NHL players speaking out against the murder of George Floyd and racism toward black people have galvanized the sport. He wonders if this will bring about necessary change within hockey.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s heartening to see more NHL stars adding their voices against racial injustice, bigotry, and intolerance. However, they must back up their comments by actively working against racism within the sport and in society

Subban and Bergeron accompanied their words with deeds. Hopefully, other players will follow their example.

I’m not doubting the players’ sincerity, but if they don’t back up their comments with positive action, their words will ring hollow.


THE ATHLETIC (subscription required): Pierre LeBrun yesterday reported an NHL source said the league hasn’t yet whittled down its list of 10 potential hub cities down to two for its return-to-play tournament. Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Toronto, Vancouver, Edmonton, St. Paul/Minneapolis, Columbus, Pittsburgh, Dallas, and Chicago are believed in the running. The league could narrow down that list and finding suitable locations within the next two weeks.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The recent protests against racial injustice in many US cities could affect the league’s decision. The potential Canadian locations depend upon whether the Canadian government eases its current COVID-19 border restrictions or deems NHL employees as essential works.

NBC SPORTS BOSTON: Joe Haggerty reports the NHL won’t begin Phase 2 of its return-to-play plan until all 31 teams can safely and legally reopen their training facilities. There are also complications involving foreign-born players being allowed to return to their Canadian NHL cities because of the country’s border restrictions. July 10 is the earliest date training camps could open, with the 24-team tournament beginning in late July or early August.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Phase 2 allows the players to return to their respective NHL cities to engage in voluntary small-group training in their practice facilities. The league is believed to be aiming for mid-June to formally introduce that phase.

SPORTSNET: Ontario premier Doug Ford said the NHL told him it would use private labs to process COVID-19 tests of players and staff should the league resume plan this summer. Toronto is among the teams on the proposed list of hub cities for the return-to-play tournament.


THE ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER: Elliott Teaford reports Anaheim Ducks GM Bob Murray voiced his displeasure over his club’s poor performance this season. He expects improvement and more accountability from his players in 2020-21.

Murray singled out his core players. “No excuses,” he said. “All of our core guys have to pick up their games.” He also intends to meet next week with head coach Dallas Eakins and his staff in person if possible.

The Ducks GM spoke about his club’s free agents. We’ve talked to them all,” Murray said. “In some cases, we have the hammer. In some cases, they have the hammer. There’s not going to be a lot of money out there (because of the coronavirus pause in play). The (salary) cap could be flat for a couple of years. Revenues could be tight.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Ducks were a mess last season. Teaford cited their anemic offense, underachieving special teams, and inconsistent play.

Part of it had to do with their rebuilding roster, as several promising youngsters failed to play up to expectations. Some of it was Eakin readjusting to the NHL game after coaching in the minors. Some of it was core players like Rickard Rakell failing to step up. Murray can demand accountability but it remains to be seen if the Ducks can elevate their play.

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 8, 2019

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 8, 2019

The game recaps feature three shutouts, plus the three stars of the week, Carey Price drops out of the 2019 All-Star Game, and more in today’s NHL morning headlines.

NHL.COMCalgary Flames winger Johnny Gaudreau scored twice as his club edged the Chicago Blackhawks 4-3. Gaudreau has collected 13 points in his last five games. 

Calgary Flames winger Johnny Gaudreau is the NHL’s first star for the week ending Jan. 6, 2019. (Photo via NHL Images)

Speaking of Gaudreau, he led the NHL’s three stars for the week ending January 6, 2019. San Jose Sharks defenseman Brent Burns and New York Islanders goaltender Robin Lehner were the second and third stars. 

The Minnesota Wild shut out the Montreal Canadiens 1-0 as a brutal turnover by Canadiens defenseman Jeff Petry set the stage for Wild center Mikael Granlund’s winning goal. Canadiens captain Shea Weber left the game after taking a puck to the face but is expected to return to the lineup for tonight’s game against the Detroit Red Wings. 

Speaking of the Canadiens, goaltender Carey Price will skip the 2019 All-Star Game as he deals with a nagging lower-body injury. As a result, he’ll receive an automatic one-game suspension by the league. The Habs also placed defenseman David Schlemko on waivers. 

The Nashville Predators blanked the Toronto Maple Leafs 4-0, handing the latter their third defeat in their last four games. Predators goaltender Pekka Rinne made 18 saves for the shutout while teammates Mattias Ekholm, Kevin Fiala, and Colton Sissons each had a goal and an assist.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Leafs are one of the NHL’s highest-scoring clubs but the Predators schooled them in the art of shutdown hockey. 

St. Louis Blues goaltender Jordan Binnington’s NHL debut was a memorable one as he kicked out 25 shots for a 3-0 shutout of the Philadelphia Flyers, who’ve lost seven straight games. Blues center Ryan O’Reilly collected two assists.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The only good thing about the Flyers this season is Gritty

San Jose Sharks defenseman Erik Karlsson extended his personal points streak to 13 games with three assists in a 3-1 victory over the Los Angeles Kings.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: After a slow start to this season Karlsson has now adjusted to his new club, becoming an invaluable addition to their blueline.  

SPORTSNET: Former NHL forward Dominic Moore signed with Switzerland’s ZSC Lions. 

TSN: NHL defenseman Jason Garrison signed with Djurgardens IF in Sweden. Garrison’s NHL contract was terminated last week for declining to report to the Chicago Blackhawks AHL affiliate.