Rumor Roundup: Staal, Stewart still highly sought after

Eric Staal

Carolina Hurricanes captain Eric Staal reportedly has no intention of waiving his no-trade clause, but that hasn’t kept his name out of the rumor mill.

TSN’s Darren Dreger reports there’s no change in Staal’s commitment to the struggling Hurricanes, who enter this week as the NHL’s only winless team. Dreger claims the Toronto Maple Leafs, who inquired about the Hurricanes’ captain in the offseason, remain interested in him. Read more

Soothsayer Tyson Nash foresees Justin Hodgman’s first NHL goal

Jared Clinton
Justin Hodgman (Photo by Norm Hall/NHLI via Getty Images)

At 39 years old, Tyson Nash has done a bit of everything. He suited up for nearly 400 games in the NHL, played a handful of contests in Japan, and has made the transition to broadcasting rather successfully, working alongside Matt McConnell to call Arizona Coyotes action for Fox Sports.

On Saturday night, Nash tried his hand at a new talent: fortune-telling. That’s right, the former St. Louis Blues and Coyotes bruiser may have found an eerie new calling.

In the Coyotes matchup on Saturday, a game against the visiting Florida Panthers, Nash said he had a feeling rookie Justin Hodgman would tally his first NHL marker at some point during the third period. Nash didn’t have to wait long for his prediction to come true: Read more

Rumor Roundup: Will the Oilers shop Eberle or Yakupov?

Jordan Eberle (Getty Images)

Though the Edmonton Oilers finally won their first game of the season, their early-season struggles continue to generate trade speculation.

Hockey Night in Canada’s Don Cherry told Sportsnet 590 he thinks the Oilers must trade one of their good young players if they’re to improve in the near future. Cherry expressed concern about the Oilers goaltending, but when asked if they should contact free agent Martin Brodeur, Cherry doubted Brodeur would go there.

Cherry also believes right wing Jordan Eberle would fetch the best return, as he doesn’t feel anyone could be interested in struggling winger Nail Yakupov. However, TVASports’ Renaud Lavoie claims there are teams interested in the 21-year-old right wing. Read more

Could potential Coyotes sale be a precursor to a move to Las Vegas?

(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images Sport)

So let’s say you’re in the market to buy a new car. You walk into a dealership and talk to the sales guy, take one for a spin and agree on the price. You seal the deal with a handshake. When you come in a few days later to complete the paper work, the salesman tells you that not only has the price of the car has gone up dramatically, it’s being sold to someone else. You sue the sales guy for breach of contract.

Would you then be inclined to walk into the same dealership less than two months later to begin the process of buying a car from another salesman there? Read more

10 RFAs who missed training camp and how their disputes were resolved

Jamie Benn (Richard Wolowicz/Getty Images)

Ryan Johansen’s contract negotiations with the Columbus Blue Jackets are…contentious. Yesterday started with Blue Jackets GM Jarmo Kekalainen drawing a line in the sand by insinuating the start of training camp as a cut off point. Later on, team president John Davidson took aim at Johansen’s agent Kurt Overhardt by saying the numbers he was throwing out made no sense and were embarrassing.

This sounds like it could be one of the bigger RFA battles the NHL has had in recent years, but there’s still a little time before training camps open. And it’s not like it would be the first time a player has missed the start of training camp with a contract dispute.

It actually used to happen a lot more in the NHL. In the 1990s, it was a regular, yearly thing most teams would have to deal with at one point or another. The only great leverage an RFA without arbitration rights has is to stay home and make the team sweat. It maybe doesn’t happen as often as it used to, but the Johansen situation is hardly unique to the NHL today. Heck, Torey Krug, Jaden Schwartz, Reilly Smith, Darcy Kuemper and Cody Eakin are going through their own, less-publicized negotiations right now too.

We take a look at some of the more recent RFAs who missed all or a portion of training camp over a contract dispute and what the outcome was. We didn’t want to look too far back at every situation because market conditions have changed, especially when looking back past the 2004-05 lockout. Anything before then is basically no influence on Johansen’s situation. Just don’t call these guys holdouts.

Derek Stepan, New York Rangers
Prior to last season, Stepan missed 16 days of training camp before settling on a bridge deal with the Rangers. Stepan ended up signing a two-year deal that has a $3.075 million salary cap charge. Read more

Five non-playoff NHL teams that could make it this season

Pekka Rinne (Richard Wolowicz/Getty Images)

Five of the the 14 teams that missed the NHL playoffs in 2012-13 (Colorado, Dallas, Columbus, Philadelphia and Tampa Bay) qualified for a playoff berth last season. Here are five teams on the outside looking in during the 2014 playoffs that – in this writer’s opinion – have the best chance at making the post-season this year:

5. Arizona Coyotes. The Yotes missed the playoffs for the second consecutive year last season – the first time that’s happened since 2007-09 – and that organization is famous for making the most out of a budget-conscious blueprint for success. They finished only two points behind the eighth-place Stars, and with new No. 1 center Sam Gagner in town, captain Shane Doan fully healthy and stellar young blueliner Oliver Ekman-Larsson continuing to blossom, they could have just enough in the tank to make it back into the post-season. Read more

THN’s 2014-15 NHL season preview: Arizona Coyotes

The Hockey News
Arizona Coyotes. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

2013-14 record: 37-30-15

Acquisitions: Devan Dubnyk, Alexandre Bolduc, Mike McKenna, Joe Vitale, B.J. Crombeen, Sam Gagner

Departures: Mike Ribeiro, Tim Kennedy, Radim Vrbata, Andy Miele, Thomas Greiss

Top five fantasy players: Keith Yandle, Sam Gagner, Shane Doan, Oliver Ekman-Larsson, Mikkel Boedker

Boom, Bust and Bottom Line: The best, worst and most likely scenario
Boom: The Coyotes officially divorced themselves from their checkered past when they rebranded themselves as the Arizona Coyotes for this season. No longer are they an orphan ward of the state with a perilous future. Read more

Rumor Roundup: Sharks & Coyotes trade buzz

Patrick Marleau (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

As the San Jose Sharks prepare for the start of training camp next week, questions hang over the future of several players.

Though Sharks GM Doug Wilson backtracked somewhat from talk of making significant changes to his roster, CSN Bay Area’s Kevin Kurz still believes Wilson is open to moving Patrick Marleau for a deal agreeable to all sides.

Marleau and Joe Thornton are both starting three-year contracts containing full no-movement clauses. So far neither player has shown any indication they want out of San Jose, but the Sharks recently stripped Marleau of his alternate captaincy and Thornton of the captaincy, which generated speculation it was done to force the pair out of San Jose. Coach Todd McLellan, however, insisted it was done merely to start this season with a clean slate.

Kurz also believes Antti Niemi’s stint as the Sharks’ undisputed starting goaltender is over. Kurz expects the 31-year-old netminder will be challenged by backup Alex Stalock. With Niemi eligible for unrestricted free agency next summer, Kurz feels it’s time for the Sharks to “start phasing out” Niemi by shopping him once Stalock proves capable of handling the starter’s job.
Read more