Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – April 11, 2021

Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – April 11, 2021

With the trade deadline a day away, here’s the latest on Taylor Hall, Nick Foligno, Mike Hoffman, Jaden Schwartz, Ryan Getzlaf and more in the Sunday NHL rumor roundup.

THE LATEST ON TAYLOR HALL

SPORTSNET: Chris Johnston reports the New York Islanders could still be interested in acquiring Taylor Hall. The Isles were close to making a deal for the 29-year-old Buffalo Sabres winger before acquiring Kyle Palmieri and Travis Zajac from the New Jersey Devils on Wednesday.

Buffalo Sabres winger Taylor Hall (NHL Images).

Johnston feels the Islanders could still be interested in getting Hall out of Buffalo but there are other clubs also lurking. Some teams feel if Hall is still on the Sabres as tomorrow’s 3 pm ET deadline draws near perhaps the Sabres’ asking price will come down. He wondered if the Edmonton Oilers could be among the suitors in that circumstance.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: You can’t rule anything out when you’re talking about Islanders general manager Lou Lamoriello. His club still has over $3 million in long-term injury reserve space to draw upon. It’ll take some salary-cap creativity but it’s possible, as we saw in yesterday’s three-team deal that sent David Savard from the Columbus Blue Jackets to the Tampa Bay Lightning through the Detroit Red Wings.

EDMONTON JOURNAL: David Staples cites Sportsnet NHL insiders Mike Futa and Kris Versteeg suggesting Hall should be at the top of the Edmonton Oilers’ wish list. They feel the Sabres winger can provide the Oilers with the scoring depth they need.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I think their biggest need is a skilled checking-line center who can win faceoffs. Regardless, Oilers GM Ken Holland said he’s not parting with assets for rental players, preferring those with term on their contracts. If he maintains that stance, forget about Hall coming to Edmonton at the deadline.

NEW YORK POST: Larry Brooks ponders the possibility of the Pittsburgh Penguins taking a shot at Hall. He wonders if playing for a contender and skating alongside Sidney Crosby might snap the winger out of his scoring funk. Brooks also mused about the Calgary Flames’ Sam Bennett or New Jersey’s Miles Wood being better suited for Pittsburgh.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Penguins are reportedly seeking more toughness up front. That’s not something Hall provides. Bennett would be a good checking-line addition if he goes into his usual beast mode in the postseason.

Brooks mentioned Wood as he suggests this might be the best time to trade him for maximum value if Devils GM Tom Fitzgerald harbors any doubts about re-signing him. Wood has a year remaining on his contract. That, however, might be a move best made in the offseason, when contract discussions can formally begin.

WILD BELIEVED TO BE INTERESTED IN NICK FOLIGNO

SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman reports the Columbus Blue Jackets would want a first-round pick for forward Nick Foligno. The Minnesota Wild are believed among the interested parties. That move would reunite Nick with brother Marcus in Minnesota.

THE ATHLETIC: Michael Russo also weighed in on Friedman’s report, saying he’s long suspected the Wild intend to pursue Nick Foligno in the offseason if he becomes an unrestricted free agent. However, Russo doubts Wild GM Bill Guerin will part with a first-rounder for the Jackets captain.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Unless the Jackets lower their asking price we’ll have to wait until this summer for a possible Foligno family reunion.

WILL THE BLUES MOVE SCHWARTZ OR HOFFMAN?

SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman believes the St. Louis Blues will set a high asking price for pending UFA winger Jaden Schwartz, making it difficult for other clubs to acquire him. He notes the Montreal Canadiens had some interest in winger Mike Hoffman before he signed with St. Louis in the offseason. He wonders if the Habs might consider Hoffman to bolster their sagging offense.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Blues won’t move Schwartz, especially when they’re battling for a playoff spot. Hoffman, however, hasn’t been a good fit with them. Despite scoring two goals last night after being a healthy scratch from the last two games, I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s traded. I still think the Canadiens need to shore up their left-side defense but their scoring has suffered since Brendan Gallagher fractured his thumb.

UPDATE ON THE JETS, OILERS AND FLAMES

SPORTSNET: Chris Johnston believes the Winnipeg Jets intend to acquire a defenseman before tomorrow’s trade deadline. However, he doesn’t see them parting with any of their top prospects.

WINNIPEG SUN: Scott Billeck reports the Jets were believed among the clubs with an interest in David Savard before he was shipped to Tampa Bay yesterday.

Other blueline trade targets could include Josh Manson of the Anaheim Ducks, Colin Miller of the Buffalo Sabres, Jamie Oleksiak of the Dallas Stars, Sami Vatanen of the New Jersey Devils, Mike Reilly of the Ottawa Senators, Michael Del Zotto of the Columbus Blue Jackets or Michael Stone of the Calgary Flames.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Manson’s the best of the bunch but he has a year remaining on his contract and the Ducks reportedly seek a first-round pick and a top prospect. The rest are pending UFAs and wouldn’t cost the Jets a top prospect or a first-rounder.

SPORTSNET: Chris Johnston believes the Edmonton Oilers intend to be bargain shoppers rather than big-game hunters at the trade deadline. He feels they’re looking for a defenseman and had an interest in Patrik Nemeth before he was traded to the Colorado Avalanche on Friday. Columbus’ Michael Del Zotto could make sense.

Elliotte Friedman thinks the Calgary Flames will have a quiet trade deadline because they lack notable UFAs. Derek Ryan might draw interest from teams seeking a center while David Rittich could be enticing to teams looking for a backup goalie.

OTHER NEWS AND SPECULATION OF NOTE

SPORTSNET: Chris Johnston reports Anaheim Ducks center Ryan Getzlaf has been linked to the Vegas Golden Knights and Montreal Canadiens in recent rumors. However, there’s no indication he intends to waive his no-movement clause.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Getzlaf could change his mind between now and tomorrow’s deadline but don’t be shocked if he’s still the captain of the Ducks after 3 pm ET on Monday.

Johnston also noted the Chicago Blackhawks held forward Mattias Janmark out of the lineup yesterday. He pointed out Janmark has played well in the past alongside skilled linemates, speculating the Colorado Avalanche and Toronto Maple Leafs could be a fit as he’d be an affordable acquisition.

The Florida Panthers are the front-runner for unrestricted free agent forward Nikita Gusev after he cleared unconditional waivers yesterday.

After trading Devan Dubnyk yesterday to the Avalanche the San Jose Sharks might not be done shopping their UFAs. Marcus Sorensen and Kurtis Gabriel could be moved. Patrick Marleau, however, could finish the season as a Shark.

Elliotte Friedman reports the Sabres have made it a priority to re-sign pending UFA goaltender Linus Ullmark.

Contract talks continue between the Philadelphia Flyers and pending UFA center Scott Laughton. The same goes for the Los Angeles Kings and forward Alex Iafallo.

The San Jose Sharks may be getting some calls on rugged right-winger Kurtis Gabriel.

NEW YORK POST: Larry Brooks speculates the Rangers might listen if a club offers up a third-round pick for winger Colin Blackwell. So far, no such interest has been expressed.










Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – April 4, 2021

Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – April 4, 2021

Check out the latest on the Bruins, Jets, Capitals, Sharks and more in the Sunday NHL rumor roundup.

SUGGESTED BRUINS TRADE TARGETS

THE ATHLETIC: Fluto Shinzawa recently examined how the Boston Bruins could address their need for a left-side defenseman and a scoring right wing.

Vancouver’s Alex Edler, Nashville’s Mattias Ekholm, Arizona’s Alex Goligoski, Detroit’s Jon Merrill and Ottawa’s Mike Reilly were among his recent suggestions for blue-line targets.

Columbus’ Riley Nash, New Jersey’s Kyle Palmieri and Miles Wood, Anaheim’s Rickard Rakell, and Detroit’s Bobby Ryan were his proposed forward trade options.

Could the Boston Bruins target Anaheim Ducks winger Rikard Rakell before the trade deadline? (NHL Images)

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Shinzawa rated each option, including the potential cost of acquisition. His list was published on Friday before news emerged of the COVID-19 variant sidelining a number of Canucks, including Edler. Regardless, Edler enjoys living and playing in Vancouver and has shown no willingness to waive his no-movement clause in the past.

Ekholm’s probably no longer available due to the Predators’ surge into playoff contention in the Discover Central Division. The same goes for Goligoski as the Coyotes jockey with the Blues and Sharks for the final playoff spot in the Honda West.

Palmieri or Rakell could provide a boost to the Bruins’ offense but the asking price for either guy could get expensive, especially for Rakell with a year remaining on his contract. I don’t see the Devils parting with Wood. The 25-year-old has a year remaining on his contract and probably still fits into the Devils’ plans going forward, whereas Palmieri is slated to become a UFA this summer and could price himself out of New Jersey.

The Bruins options could be going the bargain rental route with Nash, Ryan, Reilly, or Merrill. Neither of those guys, however, will significantly improve Boston’s roster.

RECENT JETS, CAPITALS AND SHARKS SPECULATION

THE ATHLETIC: Pierre LeBrun recently speculated the Winnipeg Jets are worth watching at the upcoming NHL trade deadline. He felt they could make a move to bolster their defense. However, general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff cautions finite resources such as cap space and currency to make trades could make it difficult to find the right fit.

LeBrun believed Mattias Ekholm would be a perfect fit on the Jets blueline. However, a Predators source told him last week the club doesn’t face the same urgency to sell as it did several weeks ago. LeBrun suggested Columbus’ David Savard or Anaheim’s Josh Manson as other options worth considering.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Cheveldayoff already made one significant trade this season, shipping Patrik Laine and Jack Roslovic to the Blue Jackets for Pierre-Luc Dubois and a draft pick. LeBrun feels he could strike again.

Savard could be the best choice. Cheveldayoff has a recent trade history with Jackets GM Jarmo Kekalainen and the asking price won’t be anything close to the reported three assets (including a first-round pick and top prospect) the Predators want for Ekholm. Manson’s been hampered by injuries this season, carries a 12-team no-trade list and could be reluctant to waive it.

Tarik El-Bashir recently examined some potential low-cost rentals for the Washington Capitals to add depth at center. He suggested Detroit’s Luke Glendening, Nashville’s Mikael Granlund and Erik Haula and Columbus’ Riley Nash. El-Bashir also didn’t rule out Calgary’s Sam Bennett.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Granlund and Haula could be unavailable given the Predators’ aforementioned surge in the standings. Bennett seems a more likely trade chip with each passing day but could too expensive for the Capitals. Glendening seems the most affordable option but other cap-strapped contenders seeking depth at center (hello there, Edmonton Oilers) could come calling.

LeBrun also reported the San Jose Sharks have told teams it has cap space to rent for an asset or two. They have around $6 million available and LeBrun suggested they could become the third team in a complicated cap deal to facilitate a trade.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Sharks are also rising in the West Division and fighting for a playoff spot. That could affect GM Doug Wilson’s willingness to rent out some of his cap space.

WHITHER DEANGELO?

NEW YORK POST: Larry Brooks asks, “You’re telling me that Tony DeAngelo wouldn’t be a fit or worthwhile risk for Florida?”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Brooks is referring to the Panthers’ search for blueline help after Aaron Ekblad was sidelined by a fractured leg for the remainder of the season.

Despite his defensive flaws, DeAngelo’s offensive abilities and puck-moving skills would draw attention from clubs seeking blueline depth. However, the young rearguard’s personal baggage, including his clash with a teammate in January that ended his tenure with the Rangers, has also dampened his trade value.










NHL Rumor Mill – January 18, 2020

NHL Rumor Mill – January 18, 2020

Several suggested trade targets for the Bruins, the Leafs are reportedly interested in Rangers goalie Alexandar Georgiev, plus updates on the Sharks, Hurricanes, and Capitals in today’s NHL rumor mill.

FOUR PHYSICAL TRADE TARGETS FOR THE BRUINS

NBC SPORTS BOSTON: Joe Haggerty lists the New York Rangers Chris Kreider, New Jersey Devils winger Miles Wood, Nashville Predators center Craig Smith, and Anaheim Ducks defenseman Josh Manson as four physical players the Bruins could target before the Feb. 24 trade deadline. He feels they need more physicality down the stretch and into the playoffs.

Should the Boston Bruins add more physicality by acquiring Anaheim Ducks defenseman Josh Manson? (Photo via NHL Images)

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kreider’s been linked to the Bruins in the media rumor mill for some time. I suspect he’s their prime target, but the Rangers could seek a good young player or quality prospect in return.

Wood or Smith would be more affordable options but lack Kreider’s scoring punch. Like Kreider, Smith’s eligible for unrestricted free agency in July. Manson and Wood have multiple years remaining on their respective contracts and might not be available. Manson’s 12-team no-trade list could also complicate things

LEAFS REPORTEDLY INTERESTED IN GEORGIEV

THE ATHLETIC: James Mirtle reports the Toronto Maple Leafs inquired multiple times this season into the availability of New York Rangers goaltender Alexandar Georgiev. Given veteran Henrik Lundqvist’s status with the Rangers and promising Igor Shesterkin’s potential as a future starter, Georgiev’s appears the odd-man-out.

The Rangers seek a quality young NHL-ready player. The Leafs are willing to part with futures, but the Blueshirts seek someone like Kasperi Kapanen, Andreas Johnsson, or Alexander Kerfoot in return.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Leafs are desperate to find a reliable backup for Frederik Andersen. I can’t blame Rangers management for attempting to squeeze the Leafs for one of their good, young, affordable forwards. Nevertheless, that’s too high a price for Georgiev. As Mirtle points out, we don’t know what the 23-year-old netminder’s ceiling might be. He’ll be more enticing to the Leafs if the Blueshirts lower their asking price.

LATEST SHARKS SPECULATION

THE MERCURY NEWS: Curtis Pashelka recently opined San Jose Sharks GM Doug Wilson has little choice but to wave the white flag on this season and ship out a few parts of his roster before the trade deadline. He suggests pending UFAs Brenden Dillon and Melker Karlsson could be trade candidates.

THE ATHLETIC: In a recent mailbag segment, Kevin Kurz was asked about the trade statuses of Sharks such as goalie Aaron Dell, defenseman Richard Simek, and forwards Marcus Sorensen and Kevin Labanc. He doubts there’s much of a market for a struggling goalie like Dell. He doesn’t think they’ll move Simek as they’ll need his physical style should they ship out Dillon at the deadline. Sorensen probably doesn’t have much trade value, but there could be some for Labanc despite the drop in his production.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Wilson reportedly isn’t interested in moving core players like Logan Couture, Evander Kane, Timo Meier, Tomas Hertl, Erik Karlsson, Brent Burns, and Marc-Edouard Vlasic. It seems Dillon and Melker Karlsson could draw the most interest, though they won’t fetch significant returns. Labanc would draw interest, but his RFA status this summer means Wilson isn’t under pressure to move him during the season, assuming he wants to trade the winger.

UPDATES ON THE HURRICANES AND CAPITALS

THE NEWS & OBSERVER: Luke DeCock believes there’s no replacing sidelined Carolina Hurricanes defenseman Dougie Hamilton. The Hurricanes were in the market for a top-four blueliner before Hamilton suffered a fractured left fibula. DeCock believes the injury increases the urgency to find one.

Unfortunately, rival clubs know this and will set higher prices for their available rearguards. In the meantime, Jake Gardiner will get an opportunity to step up and fill some of that gap left by Hamilton’s absence.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: New Jersey’s Sami Vatanen, Los Angeles’ Alec Martinez, Chicago’s Erik Gustafsson and San Jose’s Brenden Dillon are the best playoff rental options if the Hurricanes wish to go that route.

NBC SPORTS WASHINGTON: In a recent mailbag segment, J.J. Regan dismissed the notion of the Washington Capitals trading Braden Holtby at the deadline for another goaltender or a top-four defenseman. He points to Holtby’s experience, including backstopping the Capitals to the 2018 Stanley Cup.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Capitals’ recent re-signing of center Nicklas Backstrom plus the rise of promising goalie Ilya Samsonov likely means this is Holtby’s last season in Washington. He’s a UFA at season’s end, doesn’t want to accept a hometown discount, and will be too expensive for the Caps to retain. Nevertheless, they’re still all-in for another Cup run this season. Given Samsonov’s playoff inexperience, they’ll need Holtby as insurance.










Surveying The NHL Sellers – New Jersey Devils

Surveying The NHL Sellers – New Jersey Devils

 










NHL Rumor Mill – December 5, 2019

NHL Rumor Mill – December 5, 2019

An update on the Devils, the Canadiens are linked to Alec Martinez and Shayne Gostisbehere, and more in today’s NHL rumor mill.

HIGHLIGHTS FROM FRIEDMAN’S LATEST “31 THOUGHTS”

SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman reports the Taylor Hall trade talks have intensified, but that doesn’t mean it’s going to happen soon. New Jersey Devils general manager Ray Shero seeks first-round picks, including conditional options. Shero also wants high-level NHL-ready prospects.

There’s a lot of focus on the Colorado Avalanche as a trade partner. They think they can win now and have lots of defensive prospects to tempt the Devils. Several teams believe the Arizona Coyotes could make a serious attempt, while the Dallas Stars and St. Louis Blues could also be among the pursuers. Friedman feels the Edmonton Oilers might be interested, but they could be unwilling to meet the Devils’ asking price.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: As I pointed out yesterday, recent reports indicate the Hall camp could be advising their client not to sign anything until the off-season. That’s when Hall will receive more lucrative offers from multiple teams. If so, that will have an effect upon his trade value and possible suitors.

I don’t think the Coyotes will go after Hall as a rental player. They’ll want to keep him beyond this season, but there’s no certainty he’d agree to that. Arizona Sports’ Matt Layman reports the Coyotes have limited salary-cap space this season. He believes the Coyotes would have to send one or two salaried players to the Devils as part of the return.

The Avalanche could be a good fit for Hall, but that depends on whether GM Joe Sakic is willing to gamble valuable assets on a rental. Sakic could be swayed if Hall is willing to re-sign. 

The Stars and Blues could be checking into Hall’s availability but I’m not convinced they can land him. Cap Friendly indicates the Stars are pressed for cap space this season, while the Blues must ensure they have sufficient cap room later in the season when sniper Vladislav Tarasenko returns from shoulder surgery. I concur with Friedman’s take on the Oilers. Besides, their biggest need is for a quality third-line center, not another top-line scoring winger.

Friedman also reports the Devils have put winger Miles Wood on the trade block. He’s signed through 2021-22 with an annual average value of $2.75 million but isn’t as aggressive or edgy as he was in the past.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: A club seeking a speedy winger with power-forward potential could make a pitch for the 24-year-old Wood. No word on the Devils’ possible asking price, but it could be an NHL-ready player.

Are the Montreal Canadiens attempting to acquire Philadelphia Flyers defenseman Shayne Gostisbehere? (Photo via NHL Images)

The Montreal Canadiens took a long look at Los Angeles Kings defenseman Alec Martinez before his wrist injury. The Shayne Gostisbehere rumors were denied.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Martinez is signed through next season with an affordable $4 million annual salary-cap hit. Maybe the Canadiens revisit that interest once he returns to action.

As for those Gostisbehere rumors, Friedman could be referring to this one (stick tap to Habsterix.com) from Martin McGuire of Montreal’s 98.5 FM. He claims the Habs and Flyers are in discussions regarding the puck-moving defenseman.

Before the coaching drama that recently went down in Calgary, rival clubs were trying to see if they could steal Sam Bennett from the Flames. The club has laughed off lowball offers. In the past, the Anaheim Ducks, Montreal Canadiens, and Nashville Predators attempted to acquire him.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Bennett has frequently surfaced in the rumor mill in recent years. The Flames, however, show no interest in moving the versatile forward.

Friedman suggests keeping an eye on the Kings with most of their veterans except for Anze Kopitar and Drew Doughty. The Buffalo Sabres have surplus defensemen, while the Carolina Hurricanes remain in the market for a top-nine forward. A rival GM predicts the Blues still think they can win again and could go for it. Meanwhile, things have calmed down in Minnesota as the Wild have surged in recent weeks.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Martinez and Tyler Toffoli could draw the most interest among the Kings’ veterans. Jonathan Quick, Jeff Carter, and Dustin Brown carry expensive contracts that are difficult to move.

The Blues could “go for it”, but they’ve also got to ensure they don’t gut their future. Right now, they’re riding high in the standings and are in a good place. I can see them making one or two affordable moves but I will be surprised if they pursue someone like Taylor Hall.

The Edmonton Oilers are believed to have spoken to clubs that had interest in winger Jesse Puljujarvi before the Dec. 1 RFA signing deadline. That includes the New York Rangers, St. Louis Blues, and Tampa Bay Lightning. Friedman believes they discussed Lias Andersson with the Rangers, but couldn’t agree on a deal.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Perhaps those discussions will resume in the off-season. I expect the Oilers will move Puljujarvi sometime in June, likely around the 2020 NHL Draft weekend.










NHL Week That Was – September 16-22, 2018

NHL Week That Was – September 16-22, 2018

A brief review and analysis of some of the past week’s notable NHL news.

Domi’s suspension

Montreal Canadiens center Max Domi was suspended for the remainder of the 2018 preseason. (Photo via NHL Images)

Max Domi’s debut with the Montreal Canadiens last Wednesday was memorable for all the wrong reasons. After sucker-punching the Florida Panthers’ Aaron Ekblad in the face and bloodying the defenseman’s nose, the league suspended Domi for the remainder of the preseason.

Ekblad had to leave the game for mandatory concussion protocol, which he passed. His nose wasn’t broken but he was left with two black eyes.

Domi’s actions prompted plenty of criticism but he also had defenders claiming Ekblad goaded the Habs forward with two slashes to the legs. Sportsnet’s Nick Kypreos questioned if it could be considered a sucker punch since the two were facing each other and Ekblad, despite his unwillingness to fight, had to know the punch was coming.

Despite Domi’s suspension, critics of the NHL Department of Player Safety questioned the severity of the punishment because he won’t miss any regular-season play or lose any salary. They cited Ekblad’s remarks about settling scores the next time the teams meet as an example of a broken disciplinary system where players have to sort things out for themselves.

Domi deserved a suspension for his actions. Losing his temper and punching an opponent doesn’t help his club if it results in a match penalty and keeps him out of other games. While Domi still gets to practice with his teammates, his suspension means the Canadiens can’t properly evaluate his performance under game situations before the start of the regular season.

Being league disciplinarian can be a thankless job. They’ll never fully please everyone with their rulings. However, the Department of Player Safety brought much of the criticism upon themselves with years of questionable rulings involving often mild punishments for egregious infractions. Until that improves, their decisions will continue to be second-guessed by fans and pundits.

Four More RFAs Re-signed

Winnipeg Jets defenseman Josh Morrissey, Edmonton Oilers defenseman Darnell Nurse, Buffalo Sabres forward Sam Reinhart and New Jersey Devils forward Miles Wood finally re-signed with their respective clubs.

Three of them accepted received two-year “bridge contracts”, with Morrissey getting $6.3 million ($3.15 annual average value), Nurse $6.4 million ($3.2 million AAV) and Reinhart $7.3 million ($3.65 million AAV). Wood received a lower annual salary ($2.75 million) but accepted a longer term with his four-year deal.

Makes one wonder why they waited so long to get those contracts hammered out, rather than costing those players a week of training camp. The players’ stance would be understandable if their teams were playing hardball for lesser money. However, that doesn’t appear to be the case.

The Nurse camp, for example, reportedly valued their client at, or slightly above, $4 million annually. Given Oilers general manager Peter Chiarelli’s penchant for handing out big raises, Nurse might’ve gotten it if the Oilers had more salary-cap room this summer. Once Morrissey signed his deal, however, Nurse’s market value was pretty much set.

Each of these players were coming off entry-level contracts and lacked salary arbitration. The only leverage they had was withholding their services. As we’ve seen in the salary-cap world, that tactic rarely works.

Three unsigned RFAs remain: Toronto Maple Leafs forward William Nylander, Vegas Golden Knights defenseman Shea Theodore and Anaheim Ducks winger Nick Ritchie. Like the others, they’ve also completed entry-level deals.

As the regular season draws near, all could soon be under contract terms dictated by their clubs at the cost of missing most of training camp.

Dotchin’s Conditioning

Eyebrows were raised around the league when the Tampa Bay Lightning recently placed defenseman Jake Dotchin on unconditional waivers for the purpose of terminating his contract.

Dotchin, 24, is a depth defenseman who saw 83 games with the Lightning over the last two seasons. After he cleared waivers last Saturday, reports emerged claiming the club cited his physical conditioning as a material breach of his contract.

On Wednesday, TSN’s Bob McKenzie revealed Dotchin reported to camp over 30 pounds over his playing weight of 210 lbs. Rather that simply suspend him, the Lightning opted to end his contract.

The NHL Players Association is reportedly filing a grievance and this could be headed before an arbiter. The concern is this could set a precedent allowing teams to use conditioning as an excuse to terminate contracts, perhaps as a way of getting out from under a bad deal.

In the Lightning’s case, they’re not getting a significant cap break by shedding Dotchin’s contract. He only had a year remaining on his deal worth $812K.

Should the arbiter decide in favor of Dotchin he’ll return to the Lightning. However, McKenzie observes that could create an awkward situation between the blueliner and management. The two sides could end up reaching a settlement in which the Lightning buy out the remainder of his contract.