NHL Rumor Mill – November 22, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – November 22, 2022

What defensemen could the Leafs target in the trade market? What’s the latest on the Canucks rumored efforts to peddle Tyler Myers? Find out in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.

POTENTIAL LEAFS’ BLUELINE TRADE TARGETS

SPORTSNET: Luke Fox recently looked at several potential trade targets for the Toronto Maple Leafs to upgrade their blueline. The biggest names believed available are the Arizona Coyotes’ Jakob Chychrun, the San Jose Sharks’ Erik Karlsson and the Anaheim Ducks’ John Klingberg.

The Leafs are believed to have some interest in the 24-year-old Chychrun. However, his injury history and the Coyotes’ expensive price tag are areas of concern.

Karlsson’s strong start to this season has bolstered his trade value but his no-movement clause gives him full control. His $11.5 million cap hit through 2026-27 is a stumbling block even if the Sharks retained some of it.

Anaheim Ducks defenseman John Klingberg (NHL Images).

Fox is warming to Klingberg. He’s a right-shot puck-moving defenseman who logs big minutes.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Chychrun finally made his season debut last night following off-season wrist surgery. He’ll need to stay healthy and perform well in the coming weeks to convince interested clubs that he’s worth the Coyotes’ high asking price. The Leafs might be reluctant to get into that bidding war.

Karlsson is far too expensive for the Leafs even if San Jose retained a healthy chunk of his cap hit. The Sharks will also seek a significant return that could prove too rich for the Leafs. That’s assuming he’d waive his NMC for Toronto.

Klingberg could be the better option here. His $7 million salary for this season is expensive but the Ducks will probably retain part of it for a sweetener in the return. How much they’d want as part of the return could be an issue. Anaheim general manager Pat Verbeek could prefer to wait until the trade deadline in hope of drawing more interest in Klingberg.

The Athletic’s Eric Duhatschek isn’t fully sold on Klingberg. While the blueliner had an impressive 17-point performance during the 2020 playoffs with the Dallas Stars, he managed just one point in their seven-game opening-round defeat at the hands of the Calgary Flames. The 30-year-old Klingberg has eight points in 19 games with the offensively anemic Ducks.

Pending UFA options on Fox’s list include the Minnesota Wild’s Matt Dumba, the Columbus Blue Jackets’ Vladislav Gavrikov, the Washington Capitals’ Dmitry Orlov, Ottawa Senators’ Artem Zub, Pittsburgh Penguins’ Brian Dumoulin, New York Islanders’ Scott Mayfield, and the New Jersey Devils’ Damon Severson. He also suggested the Vancouver Canucks’ Luke Schenn and Tyler Myers, who still has a year remaining on his contract.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I don’t see Dumba, Orlov, Dumoulin, Mayfield or Severson being available as long as their respective clubs remain in playoff contention. I think the Blue Jackets will try to re-sign Gavrikov and the Senators will attempt to re-up Zub.

Fox’s colleague Elliotte Friedman reported a couple of sources believe the Leafs are interested in Coyotes defenseman Conor Timmins, who’s currently with their AHL affiliate on a conditioning stint. He also said they were looking at Ducks winger Frank Vatrano but would have difficulty fitting his $3.65 million cap hit within their payroll even if the Ducks retained half of it.

LATEST ON TYLER MYERS

CHEK TV’s Rick Dhaliwal talked about the details of the Vancouver Canucks’ attempt to trade Tyler Myers to the Ottawa Senators for Nikita Zaitsev. He revealed that the 32-year-old defenseman gets a $5 million signing bonus next July 1, which is difficult for most teams to swallow. Dhaliwal believes that’s why the Senators asked for a sweetener in the deal which the Canucks weren’t willing to give up.

THE ATHLETIC: Thomas Drance believes the Canucks would be better off waiting to move Myers after that $5 million is paid next July. He’ll be in the final season of his contract by that point, which could improve his trade value by making him more palatable to interested clubs.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Once the Canucks pay out that $5 million next July, Myers will be owed just $1 million for the remainder of next season. That could make him attractive to teams looking for teams seeking blueline depth hoping to remain close to the cap minimum.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 19, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 19, 2022

The Canucks defeated the Kings plus updates on Auston Matthews, Philipp Grubauer, Scott Wedgewood and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.

NHL.COM: The Vancouver Canucks got two-goal performances from Elias Pettersson and Brock Boeser to defeat the Los Angeles Kings 4-1. Thatcher Demko made 37 saves for the Canucks as their record improves to 6-9-3. Blake Lizotte replied for the Kings as they drop to 11-8-1. Prior to this game, the Canucks activated Curtis Lazar off injured reserve.

Vancouver Canucks forward Elias Pettersson (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Canucks need their young stars like Pettersson, Boeser and Demko to step up if they hope to get back on a winning track and rise in the standings. This performance was a good start but they’ll need more of this on a consistent basis.

TORONTO SUN: Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews is okay after limping off the ice during practice yesterday when he took a shot off his foot.

THE SEATTLE TIMES: The Kraken have activated goaltender Philipp Grubauer off injured reserve. He’d been sidelined since Oct. 21 with a lower-body injury.

THE DALLAS MORNING NEWS: Stars goalie Scott Wedgewood is listed as day-to-day and could resume practice today. He was stretchered from the ice during Thursday’s game against the Florida Panthers with a back injury. However, he did not need to go to a hospital and was walking around following the game.

WGR 550: The Buffalo Sabres have called up netminder Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen to replace Eric Comrie, who is expected to be sidelined for weeks with a lower-body injury.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Luukkonen was tabbed as the Sabres’ future starter but he’s had difficulties seizing the role. His recall comes at a time when the club is once again fading from a hot start to the season.

VEGAS HOCKEY NOW: Golden Knights forward Nicolas Roy has a lower-body injury that could keep him out of their next two games against the Edmonton Oilers and Vancouver Canucks.

OTTAWA SUN: Some good news for the Senators blueline as defenseman Artem Zub could return to action on Saturday against the New Jersey Devils. He’s been sidelined since Oct. 27 with an upper-body injury and has gone 2-6-1 without him in the lineup.

CBS SPORTS: Speaking of Senators’ defensemen, Nikita Zaitsev cleared waivers on Nov. 10 and was sent to their AHL affiliate in Belleville on Friday.

OTTAWA SUN: Staying on the topic of Ottawa blueliners, former Senator Wade Redden will be the first player inducted into their Ring of Honour on Dec. 11. Redden, who now works for the club in a development role, played 838 games in 11 seasons with the Sens from 1996-97 to 2007-08. He is fifth all-time among their scorers with 410 points and their all-time leader in plus-minus at plus-159.










NHL Rumor Mill – September 29, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – September 29, 2022

Recent speculation on Jakob Chychrun and Matt Dumba plus the latest on the Senators in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Due to the five days I was sidelined by Hurricane Fiona I’m forced to play catch-up regarding NHL trade and free agent speculation. Please bear with me here as I make note of the recent notable rumors plus some more recent chatter. Cheers!

BLUES, SENATORS BELIEVED INTERESTED IN CHYCHRUN

SPORTSNET: In the latest “32 Thoughts” podcast, Elliotte Friedman reported his belief the St. Louis Blues were interested in defenseman Jakob Chychrun and could continue to monitor the 24-year-old defenseman’s status with the Arizona Coyotes.

Arizona Coyotes defenseman Jakob Chychrun (NHL Images).

Friedman also felt the Ottawa Senators may have had an interest in Chychrun during the summer. However, he doesn’t believe anything was close. The Coyotes liked young center Shane Pinto but the Senators aren’t willing to part with him.

Chychrun’s injury history is a concern. Friedman cited one team telling him Ryan Ellis’ situation with the Philadelphia Flyers has “sent a chill” throughout the league. Teams could be concerned about acquiring Chychrun only to have him face a potentially career-threatening injury.

GOPHNX.COM: In a recent mailbag segment, Craig Morgan said Chychrun is a wild card for the Coyotes as this season approaches. He’s not sure if the sidelined blueliner will be ready in time for the start of the season or if he’ll be traded by that point.

Morgan reiterated that Coyotes general manager Bill Armstrong isn’t going to sell off Chychrun at a bargain rate. If the rearguard wants to be traded he’ll have to play his way off the team.

In other words, Morgan believes teams want to see how well he performs once he returns from his injury. He also dismissed rumors out of Ottawa as he believes they’re not checking the facts in Arizona.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I think there are teams looking at acquiring Chychrun who want to see how he plays this season before making a big commitment to acquire him. That’s certainly understandable given Ellis’ situation with the Flyers.

Nevertheless, I still believe those interested parties will want Armstrong to lower his asking price. I’m not saying he has to accept a pittance for a return but Chychrun’s injury history hurts his trade value.

Even if he stays healthy throughout the remainder of this season and puts up impressive numbers, I can’t see the Coyotes getting a king’s ransom in return. At some point, Armstrong might have to bend a bit to prevent this situation from becoming more of a distraction than it already is.

DUMBA BACK IN THE RUMOR MILL?

THE ATHLETIC: Michael Russo recently reported Matt Dumba’s unrestricted free agent status next summer combined with the Minnesota Wild’s limited salary-cap space for 2023-24 could lead to the 28-year-old defenseman getting traded this season. The club has a growing pool of defense prospects that could make him less enticing to retain.

Dumba carries an average annual value of $6 million but will earn $5.2 million in actual value this season. He claims to be unconcerned about the speculation over his future, pointing out he’s frequently surfaced in media trade rumors in recent years. Nevertheless, Russo suggests the defenseman could be shopped by the March 3 trade deadline if the Wild are out of the playoff race by then.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Then again, Wild GM Bill Guerin could retain Dumba as an “own rental” if he’s playing well and the Wild look poised for a deep playoff run. It will be interesting to see how his situation pans out. Unless Guerin sheds a lot of salary before July 1 to re-sign Dumba, this could be the latter’s final season in Minnesota.

WILL THE SENATORS MOVE ZAITSEV?

OTTAWA SUN: Ken Warren wonders if there will be spots for Nikita Zaitsev and Erik Brannstrom on the Senators’ blueline. Zaitsev, 30, struggled last season with multiple defense partners and management attempted to trade him during the summer.

Zaitsev’s remaining contract is an issue. After receiving his $2 million signing bonus this summer, he’s earning $2.5 million in actual salary. He’s due the same bonus and actual salary for 2023-24.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Warren also suggested Zaitsev could end up on waivers but I doubt a club will claim him unless it’s a team desperate to reach the cap minimum. Even then, that’s not a certainty. The combination of his struggles and salary make him difficult to move.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 17, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 17, 2021

COVID cases keep rising among NHL teams, Steven Stamkos reaches a scoring milestone, and more in today’s morning coffee headlines

COVID NUMBERS STILL RISING AMONG NHL CLUBS

CALGARY SUN: Forward Dillon Dube and defenseman Oliver Kylington are the latest Flames players to be placed on the NHL’s COVID-19 protocol list, bringing the total number to 18 players and five staff members, including head coach Darryl Sutter. Test results also showed several players appear to have the Omicron variant.

MIAMI HERALD: The Florida Panthers now have seven players in COVID protocol. They are forwards Sam Bennett, Carter Verhaeghe, Frank Vatrano and Ryan Lomberg and defensemen Aaron Ekblad, Radko Gudas and Brandon Montour.

NBC SPORTS BOSTON: The Bruins have three more players in COVID protocol as goaltender Jeremy Swayman and forwards Trent Frederic and Anton Blidh were added to the list. Patrice Bergeron, Brad Marchand and Craig Smith were placed on the list earlier this week.

THE DENVER POST: The Colorado Avalanche’s COVID protocol list grew to five with forwards Andrew Burakovsky and J.T. Compher, defenseman Cale Makar and goaltender Darcy Kuemper joining defenseman Devon Toews. Toews is the only player with symptoms and those were described as mild.

THE ARIZONA REPUBLIC: Coyotes forwards Lawson Crouse and Jay Beagle were placed on the COVID list yesterday.

TSN: Edmonton Oilers forward Devin Shore joined teammate Ryan McLeod and head coach Dave Tippett in COVID protocol.

The Nashville Predators placed forward Nick Cousins and assistant coach Dan Hinote on the COVID protocol list. They joined head coach John Hynes, forwards Mikael Granlund, Ryan Johansen, Matt Luff, Michael McCarron and Philip Tamasino and defenseman Ben Harpur.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: TSN reported Cousins took to Twitter wondering why the NHL doesn’t pause the schedule until after Christmas to get this situation under control. “This is ridiculous!”, he said. They added that Cousins fully supports advanced protocols but doesn’t think it’s fair to have the threat of COVID hanging over the players and their families in this way.

There’s no indication thus far the league intends to pause the schedule. However, there might not be many choices if the number of infected players keeps rising. The good news is those who have tested positive were asymptomatic or felt mild symptoms thanks to 99.9 percent of the players being fully vaccinated.

The league could be hoping to make it as far as their scheduled three-day break next week. That could slow the spread while allowing time for those who’ve already tested positive to be cleared to resume play following the holiday break. Let’s hope we’ll get some clarification soon because so far there’s little indication of what the league’s intentions are at this point other than soldiering on as cases mount.

NHL participation in the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics in February could soon be out of the question if more teams have games postponed by the league due to rising COVID numbers. Commissioner Gary Bettman said he’d leave it up to the players but the league can opt-out by Jan. 10 if it believes mounting COVID cases will adversely affect the remainder of this season’s schedule.

Tampa Bay Lightning center Steven Stamkos (NHL Images).

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: Tampa Bay Lightning captain Steven Stamkos collected an assist to reach his 900th career point in a 2-1 win over the Ottawa Senators. Lightning defenseman Victor Hedman had a goal and an assist. Senators defenseman Nikita Zaitsev left the game in the first period with a lower-body injury. With 42 points, the Lightning now sits first in the overall standings.

Filip Forsberg scored twice and collected an assist as the Nashville Predators topped the Colorado Avalanche 5-2. Colton Sissons picked up three assists as the Predators extended their win streak to six games. Mikko Rantanen had a goal and an assist for the Avalanche.

The Vancouver Canucks picked up their sixth straight win in as many games under new coach Bruce Boudreau in a 5-2 victory over the San Jose Sharks. Brock Boeser scored twice and J.T. Miller had a goal and two assists for the Canucks. Earlier in the day, the Canucks announced Stan Smyl was promoted to vice-president of hockey operations.

Edmonton Oilers winger Jesse Puljujarvi scored twice and assisted on another as his club dropped the Columbus Blue Jackets 5-2 to snap a six-game losing skid. Connor McDavid chipped in two helpers while goaltender Stuart Skinner picked up the win with a 36-save effort.

The Montreal Canadiens got their first win in eight games by beating the Philadelphia Flyers 3-2 on Jonathan Drouin’s shootout goal. The Habs played without fans in the Bell Centre at the request of Quebec public health officials concerned over the rising cases in the region. They received assurances they will be able to return to a partial capacity scenario in January.

Jonathan Quick kicked out 41 shots to lead the Los Angeles Kings over the Florida Panthers 4-1. The King extended their points streak to four games while handing the Panthers their third straight loss. Anze Kopitar was among the Kings’ goal scorers.

The Vegas Golden Knights got goals 33 seconds apart by William Karlsson and Nicolas Roy in the third period to hold off the New Jersey Devils 5-3. Reilly Smith and Jonathan Marchessault had two points apiece for Vegas. The Devils have lost 10 of their last 12 contests.

Carolina Hurricanes winger Nino Niederreiter tallied two goals in a 5-3 victory over the Detroit Red Wings. The COVID-depleted Hurricanes iced a roster of just 16 players. One of them was rookie Jack Drury, who scored his first NHL goal. Drury is the son of former NHLer Ted Drury.

Semyon Varlamov turned aside 40 shots for his first win of the season as the New York Islanders downed the Boston Bruins 3-1. Cal Clutterbuck tallied twice for the Isles.

A shootout goal by Tage Thompson lifted the Buffalo Sabres over the Minnesota Wild 3-2, handing the latter their third straight loss. The Sabres played without defenseman Robert Hagg as he’s month-to-month with a lower-body injury.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 26, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 26, 2021

Patrick Roy’s agent dismisses rumors linking him to the Canadiens, Max Domi, Josh Morrissey and Nikita Zaitsev fined, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

TVA SPORTS: Patrick Roy’s agent, Neil Glasberg, dismissed speculation linking his client to the Montreal Canadiens. He shot down a rumor claiming Roy met with Canadiens owner Geoff Molson at a hotel in Quebec City last spring.

Quebec Remparts head coach and general manager Patrick Roy (NHL.com).

Glasberg tied the rumors linking Roy to the Canadiens on the club’s poor play this season. He called them “nonsense, falsehoods,” adding he has never spoken to Molson about his client. He said Roy has given him the mandate to monitor opportunities around the league, not just in Montreal, but also indicated Roy is doing very well in his current positions as head coach and general manager of the QMJHL’s Quebec Remparts.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The speculation about Roy joining the Canadiens has it basis in the growing concern among Quebec hockey pundits over the club’s current plight. The Habs are rudderless with Molson seemingly in hiding, Marc Bergevin looking like a lame-duck GM, the players confused by Dominique Ducharme’s coaching, and the club’s puzzling unwillingness to name a new captain with Shea Weber sidelined with potentially career-ending injuries.

Glasberg didn’t rule out the possibility of speaking with the Canadiens on Roy’s behalf if the club contacted him. Time will tell if that call gets made.

NHL.COM: Columbus Blue Jackets forward Max Domi was fined $5,000.00 by the NHL’s department of player safety for unsportsmanlike conduct during Wednesday’s game against the Winnipeg Jets.

Defenseman Josh Morrissey of the Jets was also fined $5,000.00 for slashing Jets forward Alexandre Texier.

Ottawa Senators blueliner Nikita Zaitsev received a $5,000.00 fine for cross-checking San Jose Sharks forward Timo Meier on Wednesday.

The New Jersey Devils claimed forward Nathan Bastian off waivers from the Seattle Kraken on Thursday. The Kraken chose Bastian in this summer’s expansion draft after the Devils left him unprotected.










NHL Buyout Barometer – Atlantic Division (Part 1)

NHL Buyout Barometer – Atlantic Division (Part 1)