NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 31, 2018

by | Dec 31, 2018 | News, NHL | 8 comments

Golden Knights defeat the Coyotes, the Oilers make trades with the Blackhawks and Panthers, an update on Dustin Byfuglien, and more in your NHL morning coffee headlines. 

NHL.COM: Paul Stastny and Brandon Pirri each had a goal and an assist to lead the Vegas Golden Knights to a 5-1 win over the Arizona Coyotes. Alex Galchenyuk tallied for the Coyotes. 

EDMONTON SUN: The Oilers had a busy Sunday, making trades with the Florida Panthers and Chicago Blackhawks. The Oilers first shipped defenseman Chris Wideman to the Panthers for blueliner Alex Petrovic, then traded winger Drake Caggiula and rearguard Jason Garrison to the Blackhawks for defensemen Brandon Manning and Robin Norrell. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: With the Oilers having dropped five in a row and once again in danger of sliding out of the playoff race, general manager Peter Chiarelli opted to make a couple of deals to shore up his injury-depleted blueline. Petrovic and Manning will be expected to bring more grit and shutdown experience to the Oilers’ defense. Both moves were greeted with puzzlement and disdain by the club’s followers, who see them as merely rearranging the deck chairs on a sinking ship.

As for the Panthers and Blackhawks, they’re giving up players who no longer fit into their plans. The Panthers gave up Jonathan Marchessault to protect Petrovic in the 2017 expansion draft, a move that backfired as Marchessault now stars with the Vegas Golden Knights. The Blackhawks signing of Manning this summer turned into a costly mistake for a club with limited salary-cap space, one that management is now happy to have off its books. 

Winnipeg Jets defenseman Dustin Byfuglien will be sidelined for a month. (Photo via NHL Images)

  WINNIPEG SUN: Jets defenseman Dustin Byfuglien will be sidelined for at least a month with a lower-body injury.

TSN: The NHL Players Association released a statement on Sunday ripping Dallas Stars CEO Jim Lites for his “reckless and insulting remarks” regarding the performance of Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin. “If players directed such comments towards management, how would those be regarded?” the NHLPA said in its statement. “To say that Jim Lites’ conduct is unprofessional would be a gross understatement. In professional sports, all individual players and teams go through highs and lows, but this is not how professionals handle adversity.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE:  Stars GM Jim Nill said he agreed with the hockey aspect of Lites’ criticism but not the tone. Publicly calling out your best players for underperforming is one thing. Calling them “fucking horseshit” in a long expletive-filled published rant was unnecessary and could do more harm than good.

TAMPA BAY TIMES: The Lightning’s high-scoring ways have overcome their defensive struggles of late. 

THE ATHLETIC: Vancouver Canucks goaltender Jakob Markstrom had his best December performance ever, sporting a record of 8-1-0 with a 1.66 goals-against average and a save percentage of .943.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Markstrom’s performance is a key reason why the Canucks vaulted up the standing this month and sit just outside of a wild-card spot in the Western Conference. 

THE BUFFALO NEWS: Struggling winger Kyle Okposo could be skating on the Sabres fourth line after failing to score in 21 straight games. 


  1. Oilers have made 3 pointless trades thus far. I do like Petrovic but Manning+Spooner are players other teams do not want

  2. Chiarelli must be trying to see what it would take to get himself fired. Manning was the guy whose dirty hit cost his best player most of his rookie season. And then Manning mocked MCD the next time they played. What an absolute goof that is running that team.

  3. Happy New Year one and all

    Like the Petrovic move;but hold judgement on the Manning move.

    If Manning does turn things around and performs at levels he has the ability to AND most importantly can mend personal situation with McD— then I’m good to go on that. Those two things happening are, IMO, much less likely of an improvement to Oil D, than the Petrovic move.

    If downward slide continues with Oil and Manning and/or Petrovic don’t show stability…. Pink slip coming for GMPC.

    To me — 50% chance of that happening; which I would have put at 70% chance of firing had he done nothing at all.

    January will be interesting.

    • Mcdavid instantly reached out to manning and said he’s happy to have him . That story only lives in the media . These trades arent earth shattering by any means but they will help . moving out a very streaky winger with issues in his own end , 1 of 2 3rd round picks , garrison moving on a bonus and adding 2 d men who can help right away , especially until Russell returns and eventually klefbom is not a loss . I think another bigger deal is on the horizon , jones is here to stay imo , not part of the problem .
      Now Later
      Larsson nurse Klef larsson
      Jones Russell Nurse Russell
      Manning Petrovic Jones petrovic

      • Larrson and nurse can cut back the minutes , Russell can be the veteran presence for jones and third pair can play more minutes than the 10 garrison or wideman were being trusted with , which will help the top 4 . Has to be another trade coming , d out – forward in . But these moves help the entire d for relatively cheap . Pete will always be criticized , but smart moves until klefbom returns , and beyond

  4. Re: Pirri

    I posted a few times before— I can’t believe no one else offered him a contract?!?!?!

    He gets league minimum. There are many many fourth liners in the league that will get League min Sal; play a few minutes a game for 75 + games and not get 5 goals (7 points). He’s got that in 6 GP this year. Including the two from last year ….8 G, 2 A- 10 points in 8 games.

    There is no way that he will keep up even close to that pace…. but he is certainly worth more than one team bidding on him for a one year contract at League Minimum. I desperately wanted him as a Penguin instead of Cullen.

    He is worth $650K as a 4th liner and more than that as a 3rd liner; can (as proven already with Vegas) fill in fine on the 2nd line.

    People claiming that he must have issues with his full game … I don’t see it and never have… he certainly is not a defensive forward by any stretch and his 200′ game is not great; but he is not a defensive let down and certainly NOT a detriment to any team.

    As I’ve posted before, it has to be something else —- dressing room???? Has he been frolicking with team-mates’, coaching staffs’ , excectutives’ wives???? I don’t know

    On HNIC they stated some of different teams needs and stated that Vegas may be in market for depth move on D….. so …. I will say it here and now….

    JJ (Pens hold back $1M) for Pirri ….. winner winner Chicken dinner…. LMAO

  5. Big Buff is out long term, curiuos to see how the Jets play without the big man in their lineup.

    PC grasping at straws, we’ll see if it works. Show you need more then the best player in the NHL to make the playoffs.

  6. When, or I wonder if the Leafs will ever be active up to the trade deadline …
    As we all know .. Defense and a back up goaltender , are imperative for s playoff run ..