NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 16, 2018

by | Feb 16, 2018 | News, NHL | 4 comments

Game recaps, a couple of minor trades plus the latest on Alex Ovechkin, Taylor Hall and more in your NHL morning coffee headlines.

New Jersey Devils winger Taylor Hall extended his points streak to a franchise-record 16 games (Photo via NHL Images).

  NHL.COM: Nico Hischier collected three points, Stefan Noesen scored twice and Taylor Hall extended his points streak to a franchise-record 16 games as the New Jersey Devils defeated the Carolina Hurricanes 5-2. With the win, the Devils opened a three-point lead over the Hurricanes in the Eastern Conference standings, with the Devils holding the first wild-card berth.

A 50-save performance by Jaroslav Halak carried the New York Islanders to their first shutout win of the season, downing the New York Rangers 3-0. Isles rookie Mathew Barzal set up all three goals. Earlier in the day, Islanders forward Anders Lee politely rejected a donation to his cancer fund from a group raising money for a billboard demanding the replacement of general manager Garth Snow.

The Pittsburgh Penguins picked up their 10th consecutive home win by beating the Los Angeles Kings 3-1. Defenseman Dion Phaneuf scored his first goal as a King. Earlier in the week, he was dealt to Los Angeles in a multi-player trade.

Marian Gaborik scored a goal and added an assist in his first game with the Ottawa Senators to help his new team defeat the Buffalo Sabres 3-2. Gaborik was part of the return Ottawa received from Los Angeles earlier this week in the Dion Phaneuf trade. Sens center Matt Duchene assisted on all three Ottawa goals. Earlier in the day, the Senators made their second trade of the week, shipping centre Chris DiDomenico to the Chicago Blackhawks for defenceman Ville Pokka.

The Tampa Bay Lightning snapped a two-game losing skid with a 4-1 win over the Detroit Red Wings. Lightning winger Nikita Kucherov had a four-point night (one goal, three assists) and Steven Stamkos potted two goals.

Nashville Predators goaltender Pekka Rinne saw his 11-game unbeaten streak end with a 4-3 loss to the Calgary Flames. Matthew Tkachuk and Dougie Hamilton each had a goal and an assist for the Flames.

Alex Ovechkin also had a goal and three assists as he led his Washington Capitals to a 5-2 victory over the Minnesota Wild. Ovechkin reached another milestone as he collected his 1,100th career NHL point. Tom Wilson also scored two goals for the Capitals.

The Chicago Blackhawks suffered their eighth straight loss, falling 3-2 to the Anaheim Ducks. Goaltender John Gibson made 42 saves as his club overcame a 2-0 deficit with three unanswered goals.

Arizona Coyotes rookie Clayton Keller had a goal and three assists as the Arizona Coyotes dropped the Montreal Canadiens 5-2. Keller’s teammate Brendan Perlini scored two goals.

The Edmonton Oilers suffered their fifth consecutive defeat in a 4-1 loss to the Vegas Golden Knights (80 points), who extended their Western Conference lead over the Nashville Predators by three points.

Goaltender Martin Jones made 43 saves while Brent Burns scored and set up another to give the San Jose Sharks a 4-1 victory over the Vancouver Canucks.

SPORTSNET: The Toronto Maple Leafs traded forward Nikita Soshnikov to the St. Louis Blues in exchange for a fourth-round pick in 2019.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Some Leafs fans were disappointed with the return for Soshnikov. Goes to show that a player’s actual value in the trade market usually isn’t as high as fans believe. 

TSN: Florida Panthers winger Radim Vrbata last month submitted a 10-team list of acceptable trade destinations as requested by management. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: TSN’s Pierre LeBrun expects a limited market for the 36-year-old Vrbata, who has just 13 points in 36 games with the Panthers this season. 

STLTODAY.COM: The St. Louis Blues activated forward Zach Sanford (shoulder surgery) off injured reserve and sent him to their AHL affiliate for conditioning. 



  1. Edmonton really needs to make some changes in the way they evaluate talent heading into this re-tooling. They made massive mistakes that led their team to getting slower and slower, and have committed significant dollars to mediocre players (Lucic, Russell) in the idea of adding sandpaper and more old school hockey culture. It’s also hurting them significantly that they have gotten so few games out of their highest paid defensemen.

    McDavid and Draistls contracts are not the issue. McDavid was the cost of doing business to retain the best player in the league. He has been very clearly in a class of his own since the beginning of last year, and has one of the highest point disparities between himself and the rest of his team in the entire NHL, meaning he is doing a lot by himself. They don’t need more star players, but they need to start adding in some guys with speed who can help create a consistent game plan and team identity. Edmonton looks like a combination of two different teams. They are fast when McDavid is on the ice, and slow when he isn’t. This is a very similar criticism I had of Ottawa when they were winning last year, as they looked like a different team with Karlsson on the ice than when he was off. That doesn’t bode well.

    I think the Leafs made a mistake in trading Soshnikov, not because of the return, you can’t keep a guy signed out of Russia in the AHL and pressbox all year and expect better than a 4th. I think it may have made more sense to move Komarov or Martin (if possible) instead. If they could have moved Komarov for a 5th-7th rounder, that would likely have made more sense. Soshnikov is younger, cheaper, and could be an asset beyond this season. I think Soshnikov is also likey a better player today that either Komarov or Martin, so it doesn’t weaken the team today, and the difference in value of any pick after the 3rd round is negligible. I guess they like Komarov’s character and viewed the cost as worthwhile to retain that for the playoff run. Since none of these players are true difference makers, chances are the overall impact of this decision will be relatively minimal, but overall, I think it would have made more sense to keep the younger cheaper option who you retain as an asset beyond this season, especially considering Komarov is likely also gone in the offseason anyway.

  2. Yesterday Soshnikov and JVR were going to get the Ducks best 2 prospects today Soshnikov gets a 4th. Toronto needed to get rid of a contract so they couldn’t take a player back but a 4th does seem very low. I wonder who the next casualty will be. They need to get some of their guys that are stuck on the Marlies into the NHL because they are too talented to play in the AHL.

  3. The Blues took advantage of the situation that Toronto was in. The Leafs have maybe 4 or 5 guys competing for the last roster spot. Most of them must go through waivers 2 of their NHL level forwards sit in the press box right now. With the trade deadline near, Lou was hamstrung. He could not add a player for a pick/prospect and put him on the roster without also moving a guy like Soshnikov or Leivo. Leivo is the more versatile player with better health and production. So Soshnikov was bound to move. Now with an open spot, Lou has more trading options. The question is St. Louis…how will they use Soshnikov in their lineup? My guess is that he’ll see third line minutes.

  4. I’ve said that fans on the Leafs blog sites have been overrating the kids all along. They’re always comparing what other teams are paying their star players, then figure the stars on Toronto are better. Which works usually, but then comparing what Chiarelli paid McJesus and Draisaitl is totally wrong.