NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 10, 2019

Lyle Richardson

Game recaps, the league is introducing measures to address abusive behavior, the three stars of the week, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: Sean Monahan’s overtime goal lifted the Calgary Flames to a 5-4 victory over the Colorado Avalanche. The Avalanche overcame a 4-2 deficit to force the extra frame. The Flames are 6-0-1 in their last seven games, and 5-0-0 under new coach Geoff Ward. The Avalanche’s winning streak ended at six games. Colorado defenseman Cale Makar missed the game with an upper-body injury and is listed as day-to-day.

Brock Nelson scored twice as the New York Islanders beat the Tampa Bay Lightning 5-1 (Photo via NHL Images).

Two third-period goals by Brock Nelson powered the New York Islanders over the Tampa Bay Lightning 5-1. Semyon Varlamov made 31 saves for the Isles, handing the Lightning their fourth loss in their last five home games. Anders Lee and Josh Bailey each had a goal and an assist for the Islanders, who are the third team to reach 20 wins this season. The Isles played without defenseman Nick Leddy, who’s day-to-day with a lower-body injury. Lightning center Tyler Johnson missed the game with a lower-body injury. The Lightning sit 12th overall in the Eastern Conference.

Cam Atkinson scored two goals and Joonas Korpisalo kicked out 37 shots as the Columbus Blue Jackets upset the league-leading Washington Capitals 5-2. Capitals center Nicklas Backstrom had a goal and an assist in his first game since Nov. 18, while teammate Alex Ovechkin tallied his 21st goal of the season. The Jackets snapped a four-game losing skid.

The Ottawa Senators upset the Boston Bruins by a score of 5-2. Senators goaltender Anders Nilsson turned aside 38 shots while Anthony Duclair scored twice and set up another. Bruins center Patrice Bergeron scored in his first game since Nov. 23. Linemates Brad Marchand and David Pastrnak each had two assists. Earlier in the day, the Senators placed goaltender Craig Anderson (knee injury) on injured reserve.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Looks like Duclair is settling in nicely in his first full season with the Senators. His 15 goals and 22 points are his second-highest single-season totals since his 20-goal, 44-point rookie campaign in 2015-16. At his current pace, the 24-year-old could reach 40 goals and 60 points.

HEADLINES

NHL commissioner Gary Bettman announced the league will implement a four-point action plan to raise awareness among players and coaches following several weeks of accusations of alleged abusive behavior by certain coaches. “Our message is unequivocal,” said Bettman. “We will not tolerate abusive behavior of any kind.”

As per TSN, “The NHL plans to establish an anonymous hotline for players and team personnel to report inappropriate conduct; coaches and management will participate in mandatory annual training on inclusion and harassment; inappropriate conduct will result in discipline from teams, the league or both; and the NHL put all 32 franchises “on notice” that failure to report inappropriate conduct in the future will result in “severe discipline.”

Bettman also said the league with work with the NHL Players Association and the NHL Coaches’ Association in the creation of these plans.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The recent allegations were a black eye for the league, forcing it to take proactive measures to confront and address the issues. It’ll be interesting to see how effective these new programs will be, what kinks will need to be worked out, and the impact upon the relationship between coaches and players going forward.

Washington Capitals defenseman John Carlson, Pittsburgh Penguins goaltender Tristan Jarry, and Buffalo Sabres center Jack Eichel are the NHL’s three stars for the week ending Dec. 8.

PHILLY.COM: Philadelphia Flyers winger Travis Konecny is sidelined indefinitely with a concussion while teammate Philippe Myers left practice yesterday with back spasms.

NBC SPORTS CHICAGO: The Blackhawks placed winger Andrew Shaw (concussion) on injured reserve backdated to Nov. 30.

The NHL department of player safety fined New York Rangers winger Brendan Lemieux $2,000.00 for elbowing Vegas Golden Knights forward Cody Glass.

MLIVE.COM: The Detroit Red Wings placed defenseman Madison Bowey on waivers.










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NHL Rumor Mill – December 9, 2019

Lyle Richardson

The latest on Alex Pietrangelo and Carey Price in today’s NHL rumor mill.

SHOULD THE LEAFS PURSUE PIETRANGELO?

THE ATHLETIC: (subscription required) James Mirtle recently wondered if the Toronto Maple Leafs should pursue St. Louis Blues captain Alex Pietrangelo to fix their blueline now or during the summer. The 29-year-old defenseman is eligible for unrestricted free agent status next July. With limited salary-cap space for next season, the Blues could find it difficult re-signing him.

Should the Toronto Maple Leafs look into acquiring St. Louis Blues defenseman Alex Pietrangelo? (Photo via NHL Images)

Mirtle doubts Pietrangelo is going anywhere this season. He carries a full no-trade clause, loves playing in St. Louis, and the Blues are one of the best teams in the league. However, contract extension talks with the Blues are nonexistent. Mirtle notes Blues management have been sniffing around the Leafs lately.

If the Leafs pursue Pietrangelo next summer, Mirtle suggests they’ll have to subtract dollars from their forward lines to free up sufficient cap space.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I’m encapsulating the main points from Mirtle’s piece, which goes into far greater detail on this subject. Pietrangelo and the Blues could part company in the near future, but it won’t happen during this season. They’re sitting atop the Western Conference and intend to stage a serious defense of their Stanley Cup championship. If the Leafs, or anyone else, want Pietrangelo, they’ll have to wait until next summer.

Cap Friendly indicates the Blues have over $73 million tied up in 15 players for 2020-21. Recent speculation suggests the Pietrangelo camp could seek around $8.5 million annually on a long-term deal. Assuming the cap jumps to $84 million, they won’t have enough to re-sign Pietrangelo and leave enough to re-sign restricted free agents like Vince Dunn and Sammy Blais without making one or two cost-cutting trades.

The Leafs, meanwhile, have over $65 million invested in just 10 players. Except for Morgan Rielly, all their current roster defensemen are due for new contracts next summer. Signing Pietrangelo will take up a big chunk of their cap space, leaving little to suitably restock their blueline unless they trade away a salaried forward. It’ll take considerable creative accounting to pull it off without significantly weakening their depth elsewhere.

PRICE TO COLORADO OR VANCOUVER?

TVA SPORTS: Michel Bergeron recently restated his belief the Montreal Canadiens should consider trading goaltender Carey Price and defenseman Shea Weber. He cites Price’s desire to win the Stanley Cup, pointing out he and Weber aren’t getting any younger. Bergeron suggests it’s time to move on.

Acknowledging Price’s no-movement clause, Bergeron believes he could waive it for the right destinations. One could be the Colorado Avalanche, who could win the Stanley Cup this season. Another is the Vancouver Canucks, which is close to the small North BC town where he was raised.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Price isn’t going anywhere. His no-movement clause is a sticking point, and so is his $10.5 million annual cap hit through 2025-26. In addition to Price agreeing to be moved, the Habs could be forced to pick up a big chunk of his salary-cap hit to get a deal done. 

The Avs seem content with their current goalie tandem of Philipp Graubauer and Pavel Francouz. Maybe that changes if they struggle in the playoffs, but I doubt GM Joe Sakic intends on shaking up his goaltending this season.

As for the Canucks, they’ve given no indication they want to move on from Jacob Markstrom and Thatcher Demko. They could be in the market for a starter next summer if Markstrom departs via free agency, but it’s too early to say that’s going to happen.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 9, 2019

Lyle Richardson

Mark Scheifele reaches a career milestone, injury updates, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: Mark Scheifele scored twice, including the game-winner, to lead the Winnipeg Jets to a 3-2 win over the Anaheim Ducks. Scheifele also reached his 400th career NHL point. Earlier in the day, the Ducks announced winger Nick Ritchie will be sidelined six-to-ten weeks with a sprained knee.

Winnipeg Jets center Mark Scheifele picked up his 400th career points in a 3-2 win over the Anaheim Ducks (Photo via NHL Images).

Florida Panthers goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky made 30 saves backstopping his club to a 5-1 victory over the San Jose Sharks, handing the latter their fourth straight loss. Aleksander Barkov, Jonathan Huberdeau, Keith Yandle, Aaron Ekblad, and Frank Vatrano each collected two points. Before the game, the Sharks announced defenseman Radim Simek will miss the next two weeks as he undergoes a minor knee procedure.

Alexandar Georgiev turned in a 38-save shutout as the New York Rangers downed the Vegas Golden Knights 5-0. Artemi Panarin, Jacob Trouba, and Ryan Strome each picked up two points. Golden Knights rookie Cody Glass left the game in the second period with an upper-body injury.

The Arizona Coyotes overcame 2-0 and 3-1 deficits to edge the Chicago Blackhawks 4-3. Conor Garland tallied the winner in a shootout. Blackhawks goalie Robin Lehner made 44 saves while Jonathan Toews had three points in a losing cause.

Colin Miller scored in overtime as the Buffalo Sabres nipped the Edmonton Oilers 3-2. The Oilers overcame a 2-0 deficit to force the extra frame. Oilers stars Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl were held scoreless.

HEADLINES

THE SCORE: Washington Capitals center Nicklas Backstrom will return to the lineup after missing eight games to an upper-body ailment.

LOS ANGELES TIMES: The Kings placed defenseman Derek Forbort on injury reserve following a setback in his recovery from an offseason back injury.

TRIBLIVE.COM: The Pittsburgh Penguins assigned forward Joseph Blandisi to their AHL affiliate in Wilkes-Barre/Scranton.

NBC SPORTS BOSTON: The Bruins placed defenseman Steven Kampfer on waivers.

 

 










Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – December 8, 2019

Lyle Richardson

Still more Taylor Hall speculation, plus the latest on Alex Galchenyuk and Andreas Athanasiou in the Sunday NHL rumor roundup.

THE LATEST HALL SPECULATION

SPORTSNET: Chris Johnston reports some teams believe it might take four pieces to acquire Taylor Hall from the New Jersey Devils. He adds the Devils’ conversations with other teams have been one-sided thus far. They’re encouraging clubs to make their best offers, but there’s not much back-and-forth discussion.

The Colorado Avalanche, Arizona Coyotes, and Edmonton Oilers are believed to have interest in Taylor Hall (Photo via NHL Images).

Johnston said there’s a lot of teams sniffing around, but the feeling in the industry is the Colorado Avalanche are the favorites right now. He adds they’re pushing to try to get Hall, perhaps as soon as the Dec. 19 Christmas break.

DENVER POST: Mike Chambers believes Hall would make the Avalanche a Stanley Cup contender. He believes they have the salary-cap space, as well as the depth in prospects and draft picks to make it happen. He feels the left-winger would be a near-perfect addition, either on the top line with Nathan MacKinnon and Mikko Rantanen or on the second line alongside Nazem Kadri and Joonas Donskoi.

Chambers feels the Avalanche are in the Hall sweepstakes regardless of whether they can re-sign him. If the winger is to be a playoff rental, Chambers suggests offering up Tyson Jost, their 2020 first-round pick, and a B-level prospect like Martin Kaut or Shane Bowers. If it’s a trade-and-sign scenario, he proposes a package of Jost, A-level prospect Conor Timmins, and a second-round pick.

COLORADO HOCKEY NOW: Adrian Dater list several reasons why he’s against the Avalanche acquiring Hall. He feels their offense is deep enough, and it could cost them a top prospect like Timmins, Bo Byram or Alex Newhook. The cost of re-signing Hall would complicate efforts to re-sign Nathan MacKinnon, Gabriel Landeskog, and Cale Makar within the next two years.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Interesting perspectives from two Avalanche beat writers. Both raise good points for and against acquiring Hall. It will come down to the Devils’ asking price and the willingness of Avs general manager Joe Sakic to pay it.

Sakic recently told The Athletic’s Pierre LeBrun he wants to evaluate his injury-riddled roster once it is healthy before deciding on which roster needs must be addressed. Depending on how long Makar and Philipp Grubauer are sidelined, he could be forced to wait beyond the Christmas deadline.

EDMONTON JOURNAL: Kurt Leavins reports sources have confirmed the Avalanche, Arizona Coyotes, and Edmonton Oilers have already had extensive conversations with the Devils. He points out the Avalanche have a self-imposed salary-cap ceiling, the Oilers are tight against the salary cap, while the Coyotes lack the depth in blueline assets the Devils covet. Leavins acknowledges the asking price for Hall could be too expensive for Oilers general manager Ken Holland, but he wouldn’t be doing his job if he didn’t look into it.

THE ATHLETIC: Craig Morgan recently reported sources confirmed the Coyotes have interest in Hall. GM John Chayka declined to comment about Hall, though he said he always has to explore opportunities to improve his club. Morgan said Chayka is happy with his roster and would prefer keeping it intact.

Morgan doubts the Coyotes are a top-of-the-list trade partner. He speculates the Devils’ starting point would be a first-round pick and a high-end prospect, with a conditional pick and a roster player or another prospect thrown in. Morgan said Chayka’s shown no willingness to move goaltender Antti Raanta. He also noted the Coyotes’ limited salary-cap space and the high cost of re-signing Hall could work against acquiring him. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Oilers don’t need Hall. They need a reliable third-line center and to shore up their defense. Jim Matheson recently observed the Oilers have given up too many goals over their last 10 games, which saw them go 5-4-1 over that stretch. Hall won’t address that problem.

The Avalanche have lots of cap space, but we’ve overlooked the possibility that could be by design. They could insist on the Devils picking up a healthy chunk of Hall’s $6-million salary-cap hit. A self-imposed cap could also make it difficult to re-sign him. If the Coyotes want Hall, the Devils will have to absorb part of his cap hit or take back one or two salaried players to make the dollars fit.

NEW YORK POST: Larry Brooks believes the Islanders should get into the bidding for Hall or New York Rangers’ winger Chris Kreider. He points out GM Lou Lamoriello’s history of making big acquisitions when he believes his club has a shot at contending for the Stanley Cup, as well as his attempt to sign Artemi Panarin last summer. If Hall or Kreider prove too expensive, Brooks wonders if Lamoriello would consider a reunion with Devils center Travis Zajac.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Unless Lamoriello is willing to overpay, I don’t see the Devils sending Hall or Zajac or the Rangers sending Kreider to the Islanders, even as a rental.

LATEST ON GALCHENYUK AND ATHANASIOU

SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman reports Pittsburgh Penguins winger Alex Galchenyuk has surfaced in the rumor mill. He cited comments by Penguins GM Jim Rutherford to The Athletic’s Josh Yohe suggesting there might not be room for Galchenyuk on their forward lines once their sidelined players return to action. Friedman said the Pens are looking around to find the right fit. He thinks the Buffalo Sabres looked into it.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Galchenyuk’s stock has plummeted since he was dealt by the Montreal Canadiens to the Coyotes last year in a one-for-one swap for Max Domi. He had a respectable 19 goals and 41 points last season before being included in last summer’s package deal for Phil Kessel. He’s struggled through injuries and adjusting to his new teammates, managing 10 points in 21 games. Given the Penguins’ limited cap space, they could flip him for a draft pick or a prospect.

A club in need of scoring depth, like the Sabres, could be willing to take a chance on Galchenyuk. He’s slated to become an unrestricted free agent next summer. If he doesn’t work out, his new club can just let him walk away.

MLIVE.COM: In a recent mailbag segment, Ansar Khan was asked if Detroit Red Wings forward Andreas Athanasiou might benefit from a change of scenery. He thinks so, pointing to his struggles this season, including a league-worst plus-minus of minus-33.

Khan doubts Athanasiou has a future with the Wings, as GM Steve Yzerman will focus on locking up young forwards Anthony Mantha and Tyler Bertuzzi to long-term contracts. He believes the winger could be shopped by the Feb. 24 trade deadline or before the 2020 NHL Draft next June.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Athanasiou is also a restricted free agent with arbitration rights. Given his previously contentious contract negotiations and his struggles this season, it wouldn’t be surprising if he hits the trade block before Feb. 24. I agree with Khan that Athanasiou could regain his scoring touch on another team.