Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – February 20, 2022

Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – February 20, 2022

Check out the latest on Ben Chiarot, Brandon Hagel and Artem Zub plus a look at the Islanders’ trade options in the Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup.

LATEST ON CHIAROT, HAGEL AND ZUB

SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman reports hearing there’s “a lot going on” regarding Ben Chiarot. He believes the St. Louis Blues are among the clubs interested in the 31-year-old Montreal Canadiens defenseman.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Chiarot is sidelined until later this week with a minor injury. It’s believed the Canadiens want to move him as soon as possible rather than risk him suffering a more serious injury in the weeks leading up to the trade deadline.

The Blues are among several teams he’s been linked to in the rumor mill, including the Boston Bruins, Florida Panthers and New York Rangers. Most insiders believe he could fetch a first-round pick for the Canadiens. Perhaps we’ll learn later this week where he’ll be going and what the Habs will actually get for him.

THE ATHLETIC: Mark Lazerus acknowledged recent trade rumors claiming the Chicago Blackhawks are getting calls about Brandon Hagel. However, he cites a team source saying the 23-year-old winger isn’t going anywhere. Blackhawks management understands what they have in Hagel, who’s constantly improving and carries an affordable $1.5 million annual cap hit over the next two seasons.

Chicago Blackhawks forward Brandon Hagel (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: As I’ve said before about Hagel, I don’t doubt the Blackhawks are getting calls about him but that doesn’t mean they’re going to move him. It would take a significant offer to pry him out of Chicago. Hagel should play a key role in their long-term plans.

OTTAWA SUN: Bruce Garrioch shoots down a rumor claiming the Senators will move Artem Zub before the March 21 trade deadline. “There hasn’t even been any discussion. I’m not sure where that social media rumor circulated from Saturday, but it’s not happening,” said Garrioch.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Zub is a bargain for the Senators, signed through 2022-23 with a $2.5 million annual cap hit. He has 14 points in 48 games with a plus-minus of plus-five with the Senators, logging first-pairing minutes (21:37) and sitting fifth among their skaters in shorthanded ice time per game (2:12) while leading them with 88 blocked shots.

UPDATE ON THE ISLANDERS

THE ATHLETIC: Kevin Kurz recently examined which players could become trade candidates should the New York Islanders become sellers by the March 21 deadline. Goaltender Semyon Varlamov could potentially net them a decent asset or two. However, he’s signed through 2022-23 and moving him out could have an adverse effect upon starter Ilya Sorokin.

Attention will be paid to pending unrestricted free agents such as Cal Clutterbuck, Zach Parise, Andy Greene and Zdeno Chara. Of the four, the 34-year-old Clutterbuck could draw the most interest in the trade market. Despite Chara’s age (45), he could appeal to more teams than the 39-year-old Greene as a bottom-pairing defenseman.

The Islanders could also listen to offers for Kyle Palmieri and Josh Bailey. However, they’re both signed beyond this season and carry $5 million cap hits. One source doubts there’s much of a market for Palmieri, who was on the decline when the Isles acquired him.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Islanders GM Lou Lamoriello saddled himself with Palmieri’s contract, which could prove very difficult to move. The 32-year-old Bailey’s production has been steadily declining since his career-high 71-point campaign in 2017-18. Yes, the reduced number of games brought about by COVID -19 over the past two years contributed to that but that decline will still affect his trade value.

Clutterbuck should draw some interest from clubs seeking a gritty checking-line energy forward. Chara, Parise and Greene have had fine NHL careers but they’re now well past their primes and probably won’t be that enticing to playoff contenders.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – May 15, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – May 15, 2021

The Jets down the Leafs in their final regular-season game, Conference championship trophies won’t be awarded this season, plus the latest on Alex Ovechkin, Ondrej Kase and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: The Winnipeg Jets ended their regular season on a high note by doubling up the Toronto Maple Leafs 4-2. Kyle Connor scored twice to finish the season with a team-leading 26 goals. The Leafs’ Auston Matthews was held pointless, finishing the season with a league-leading 41 goals.

Winnipeg Jets winger Kyle Connor (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Both clubs will have several days off before they begin their respective first-round series. The Jets face off against the Edmonton Oilers on Wednesday while the Leafs meet the Montreal Canadiens on Thursday.

ESPN.COM: Greg Wyshynski reports the NHL won’t be handing out the Prince of Wales Trophy or the Clarence S. Campbell Bowl to the conference champions this season. The Prince of Wales Trophy is usually awarded to the Eastern Conference champion while the Campbell Bowl is awarded to the Western Conference champion.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The bright side is we won’t have to listen to any of the superstitious nonsense over whether the winning teams will touch those respective trophies. Because, of course, everyone knows touching those awards could determine the outcome of the Stanley Cup Final (end sarcasm mode).

NBC SPORTS WASHINGTON: The lack of a new contract for Alex Ovechkin isn’t bothering Capitals owner Ted Leonsis. He said he and Ovechkin are focused on the upcoming playoffs.

Alex knows that if he plays five more years, 10 more years, whatever it is, we’ve got his back,” Leonsis said, adding the team’s commitment to his captain is to continue to have great teams. “We’ll spend to the cap, we’ll try to win championships. And that’s what he’s focused on because that’ll be his legacy.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Ovechkin is completing a 13-year, $124 million contract. He and Leonsis agreed at the start of this season to put aside contract discussions until after the playoffs are over. Based on Leonsis’ comments, it sounds like Ovechkin won’t be going anywhere.

BOSTON HOCKEY NOW: Bruins winger Ondrej Kase won’t be playing in Game 1 of his club’s opening-round series against the Washington Capitals tonight. Kase suffered an upper-body injury unrelated to the suspected concussion that sidelined him for all but three games this season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Whatever the issue, it sounds like Kase could miss more than just Game 1.

PITTSBURGH HOCKEY NOW: Penguins backup goaltender Casey DeSmith left Friday’s practice early to receive medical treatment after making a routine save. It’s suspected to be a lower-body injury. The Penguins open their first-round series against the New York Islanders on Sunday.

TSN: Minnesota Wild forward Ryan Hartman was fined $5,000.00 for a dangerous trip on St. Louis Blues forward Sammy Blais on Thursday.

OTTAWA SUN: The Senators signed defenseman Artem Zub to a two-year, $5 million contract.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Zub, 25, joined the Senators as a free agent from the KHL and played well in his first NHL season. He finished with 14 points in 47 games and a plus-minus of plus-4 while logging over 18 minutes of ice time per game.

SPORTSNET: Speaking of the Senators, team owner Eugene Melnyk declined to comment about lawsuits filed against five defendants by his traveling companions related to his Caribbean vacation last Christmas.

THE SCORE: cites a report by The Athletic’s Pierre LeBrun indicating Alain Vigneault will return as head coach of the Philadelphia Flyers next season.

THE DALLAS MORNING NEWS: Speaking of returning coaches, Stars general manager Jim Nill confirmed Rick Bowness will be back behind the bench with his club next season. Nill also said forward Roope Hintz will undergo surgery next week in New York to repair a groin injury.