NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 3, 2020

by | Jan 3, 2020 | News, NHL | 18 comments

Three stars and top rookie of the month for December, Canadiens, Sabres, and Flames get busy in the trade market, milestones reached by Zdeno Chara, Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.


NHL.COMNathan MacKinnon’s four-point performance (one goal, three assists) led the Colorado Avalanche to a 7-3 thumping of the St. Louis Blues. Nazem Kadri scored twice and Samuel Girard collected four assists. Robert Thomas scored twice for the Blues.

Nathan MacKinnon’s four-point effort carried the Colorado Avalanche over the St. Louis Blues 7-3 (Photo via NHL Images).

The Vancouver Canucks picked up their sixth straight win by holding off the Chicago Blackhawks 7-5. J.T. Miller had a four-point effort while teammates Elias Pettersson, Bo Horvat, and Tanner Pearson each collected three points. Patrick Kane scored two goals for the Blackhawks while teammate Adam DeBrincat had three helpers.

The San Jose Sharks defeat the Pittsburgh Penguins 3-2 on an overtime tally by Brent Burns. Joe Thornton picked up his 1,080th career NHL assist to move into seventh on the all-time assists leader list. Patric Hornqvist scored both Penguins goals.

The Toronto Maple Leafs are unbeaten in their last nine games (8-0-1) after downing the Winnipeg Jets 6-3. William Nylander scored two goals and set up another while teammate Frederik Andersen kicked out 45 shots. Earlier in the day, the Jets announced defenseman Nathan Beaulieu will miss at least a month with a lower-body injury.

Sean Monahan’s third-period goal gave the Calgary Flames a 4-3 win over the New York Rangers. Johnny Gaudreau had a goal and an assist for the Flames while Rangers defenseman Adam Fox collected three assists.

The Vegas Golden Knights scored four first-period goals and hung on to beat the Philadelphia Flyers 5-4. Max Pacioretty scored twice for the Golden Knights, who killed off a 6-on-3 Flyers power-play in the final 90 seconds of the third period. Vegas winger Jonathan Marchessault missed the game with a lower-body injury.

A four-goal second period carried the Florida Panthers to a 6-3 victory over the Ottawa Senators. Evgenii Dadonov tallied twice and added an assist for the Panthers.

The Columbus Blue Jackets edged the Boston Bruins 2-1 on an overtime goal by Pierre-Luc Dubois. The Jackets’ point streak has reached 12 games (8-0-4). Bruins winger David Pastrnak tallied his league-leading 30th goal of the season.

Jack Eichel’s penalty-shot goal in overtime completed a 3-2 comeback by the Buffalo Sabres over the Edmonton Oilers. The Sabres overcame a 2-0 deficit on regulation goals by Curtis Lazar and Sam Reinhart. Sabres rookie winger Victor Olofsson left the game in the third period with a lower-body injury.

Tampa Bay Lightning goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy’s 38-save performance carried his club over the Montreal Canadiens 2-1. The Habs played without winger Brendan Gallagher, who’s out indefinitely with a concussion.

Nico Hischier tallied the game-winner as the New Jersey Devils nipped the New York Islanders 2-1. The Devils are 4-0-1 in their last five games. New Jersey center Jack Hughes missed the game with an upper-body injury and is listed as day-to-day. Islanders defenseman Adam Pelech (lower-body injury) also missed this contest.

The Arizona Coyotes doubled up the Anaheim Ducks 4-2 following a three-goal third period. Goaltender Antti Raanta made 26 saves for the win.


Florida Panthers winger Jonathan Huberdeau, Pittsburgh Penguins goatender Tristan Jarry, and New York Rangers winger Artemi Panarin are the NHL’s three stars for December 2019. Buffalo Sabres winger Victor Olofsson is rookie of the month for December.

Boston Bruins defenseman Zdeno Chara and San Jose Sharks forwards Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau are the 12th, 13th, and 14th players in NHL history to play at least one game in four or more different decades.

TSN: The Montreal Canadiens yesterday traded defenseman Mike Reilly to the Ottawa Senators for a fifth-round pick in 2021 and minor-leaguer Andrew Sturtz. They also acquired defenseman Marco Scandella from the Buffalo Sabres in exchange for a fourth-round pick in 2020.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: With these moves, the Canadiens add some much-needed veteran experience to their blueline in Scandella while shedding a $1.5-million salary-cap hit for 2020-21 by moving out the frequently-scratched Reilly. Eligible for UFA status this summer, Scandella can be considered a rental to keep the Habs’ flickering playoff hopes alive. The Senators, meanwhile, needed defensive depth with Dylan DeMelo, Nikita Zaitsev and Ron Hainsey sidelined by injuries.

The Sabres, meanwhile, flipped that draft pick they received from the Canadiens to the Calgary Flames for winger Michael Frolik.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Sabres needed help up front. That they only had to part with a fourth-rounder speaks to the decline in Frolik’s stock. The Flames were reportedly close to moving Frolik at last year’s trade deadline to the Minnesota Wild in a deal for winger Jason Zucker but it fell through at the last minutes. Frolik might not be the only move the Sabres have in store, while the Flames could also be active in the trade market leading up to this year’s deadline. I’ll have more later this morning in my daily Rumors update.

THE ATHLETIC: Los Angeles Kings captain Dustin Brown returned to practice yesterday following a stint in hospital recovering from pneumonia.

USA TODAY: Carolina Hurricanes center Erik Haula and his wife, Kristen, released a statement yesterday mourning the passing of their unborn daughter.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: My sincere condolences to the Haulas.


  1. I lost a son that way. As a man it is very surreal. You end up mourning someone you never met and the potential they offered. Much more substantive for the mom.

    • Chrisms

      I’m very sorry to hear of your loss.

      To you , your family and to the Haula family, my deepest sympathies.


      • Hear, hear, Pengy.

    • I lost a sibling the same way when I was older (19). Devastating for my step-mom, in particular. I am really very sorry for your loss, Chrisms. I can’t imagine how Haula is back playing already.

    • I’m sorry about your loss, man.

  2. Re yesterday’s trades

    If we consider the 5th in ’21 and Sturtz (who will likely never play in the NHL) equivalent to the 4th in ’20

    Then Montreal effectively traded Reilly for Scands (they had the extra cap space); thus slightly strengthening their D; and

    Buff traded one of their “extra” D’s for a depth forward (which has been reported several times as one of their likely moves); and

    Senators pick up a reasonably priced (and under contract for one more year) durable/depth D for two assets that may never make the NHL; and

    Flames unloaded a depth winger; freed up $4.3 M (annual rate) in Cap; and rec’d a 4th

    These were all reasonable and prudent moves . The only thing that I thought was a bit disproportionate was Scands only going for a 4th???

    biggest losers in this….. Pens

    They could have had Scands for a 4th !!!!!! Very very very upsetting. He would have moved JJ (who individually cost the team another game point last night) to 7th D…. that hurt huge.

    For those of you that didn’t see the Pens game last night; after JJ was already on the mistake end of another GA for Pens; in OT , JJ felt that instead of moving Kane out in front of the net as is his job; that it was necessary to stand shoulder to shoulder with him, effectively creating a full eclipse for Jarry. I was almost surprised that they didn’t hold hands and shout “Red Rover Red Rover, we call Burnsy’s 100 MPH slapshot over”

    🙁 🙁 🙁

    • It’s interesting pengy. The majority of the local sports talking heads and journalists have mentioned how Jj’s play has improved this year. Now they universally agree the t was a bad signing but arnt really up in arms no more.

      • Hi Chrisms

        All i can go by is my own observations …. and in the last 5 years I may have missed only maybe 5 games…. JJ remains brutal

        I can only speculate that those writers are looking at stats and the skewed +/- (where JJ has rec’d a bonus of +5 for EN goals that he’s not a part of and I’ve seen at least twice this year him stepping on the ice on a change when Pens score 2-3 seconds later (JJ not part of the play) and of course +/- is only counted at even strength …. he’s been very costly on the PK (cite last night)

        By leaps and bounds he is no Dumo.

        Pettersson; Riikola and Marino are farfar far better Dmen than JJ ; combined Cap hit for the 3 is less than JJ alone

        All 3 are faster; have more dexterity; younger; smarter; much better offensively ; cover their men properly and don’t chase down opposing forwards (that are already covered by D-partner) into D partner’s corner ; leaving a man out front uncovered; don’t have 2-3 unforced icings per game; don’t consistently blow outbreak passes; don’t have 2 or 3 times a game where they fail to keep the puck in the offensive zone (either by missing keeping it in in an easy shot around the boards; or blowing a cross ice pass to D partner); when in front of their net they are moving Fwds out and not creating full eclipses…. yet Sully continues with JJ

        JJ’s advantage ; he hits harder than 2 of them ; and is

        50 lbs heavier than two of them and 40 lbs heavier than the third one …. however that extra 40 and 50 lbs is all north of his jaw; south if his hairline and between his two ears

        If the writers are basing it on weight and the ability to plough guys through the boards …. he’s always had that

        If they are basing it in blocked shots …. he’s slightly down from last year

        All else …. there is no player in the entire NHL that I can think of that is more detrimental to a teams success than JJ

        I cant think of any player from the past either

        I posted yesterday about a text I rec’d from a friend of mine a couple if days ago where he cut and pasted a quote from Shug McSween :

        “According to sources connected to Pens’ GM, Jim Rutherford, the Penguins were in contact with the Chicago Blackhawks before the Christmas break regarding a deal centered around Brandon Saad for Alex Galchenyuk, Jack Johnson and a draft pick.”

        Since it lists “a draft pick” it won’t mean a first (or it would have been listed); so the worst being given up is 2nd (‘21; as they don’t have a 2nd this year) or 3rd (‘20)

        That trade would massively improve Pens

        I cant believe Jimbo didnt go for Scands for a 4th!!!!!!


  3. I’m really liking the recent output of WW

    His production has surprised me. I stand corrected on my previous statements of his likely numbers for this year.

    Things could change but the numbers recently are coming and in bunches. Let’s hope he keeps it up.

    That said, I still stick with my stance that the window for Leafs is ’21 to ’24 and they can’t win a cup (under the current Cap situation) with the top loaded roster that they have.

    Mathews, JT and Marner aren’t going anywhere and I still stick with my projection of the best move for Leafs would be after July 1st (when SB is paid); to flip WW for an early mid 20’s top 3 D; with term and lesser Cap hit.

    Until his recent spurt of production I was thinking that the return was possible but the D might be in the 4D realm.

    With this recent production, if it continues; and after his SB paid; his next year’s sal is only $2.5 M and effective Cash outlay for balance of the contract is an AAV of about $5M…. so trading him for a young and up and coming top 3D AND still saving Cap space ; is much much much more likely.

    With the Holl signing; setting a $2M precedent for his likely positioning at 5th D (4th if we stretch it) would mean right now they’d need to spend likely $9M or more on 2D and 3D combined; leaving $5M to cover 9 more players…. impossible

    Fingers crossed


    • You dont trade top end offensive talent. Never deplete your game charger talent. WW is going nowhere. Lots of other options to fill RD like kerfoot ceci liligren or picks for Adam Larsson etc. Jonsson liligren picks, ceci for Manson. Etc

      • I agree, they have lots of offensive talent. Dubas is smart , now he will work on his defense.
        The SHANAPLAN is working.

      • Hi Wendell17Higgins

        Like the moniker BTW

        Agree that there are other options

        However I firmly believe that Leafs can’t put a Cup winning roster together by spending nigh 50 % of Cap on 4 forwards

        Leafs have no challenge filling the opposing net with or without WW…. GS is not nor will not be the issue

        They have only 2 D under contract for next year and less than $15 M to fill 11 spots including a back-up and 2nd D and 3rd D and 3 other depth D positions

        Im just suggesting flipping WW for a young top 3D AND at the same time freeing up another couple of million (at least) in space

        So instead of what I listed above (current situation) Leafs would have about $17 M to fill a 2D; plus back up ; plus 3 more depth Ds and 6 depth forwards…. that’s doable and could create a cup contender starting in 20/21

        Keeping 1/2 the Cap spent on 4 fwds just can’t work IMHO

        Add to that …. they will be certainly giving Freddy a hefty raise to start the ‘21-‘22 season

        Last year’s SCF had only 4 total players (between the two teams) each having a Cap hit of $7M or more; maxing at $7.5M (Teresenko and O’reilly)

        IMO this years WC Rep at the SC will be one of Blues OR Knights OR Avs each spend considerably less on forwards and spend at least $10 M less on their top 4 players ; and out of all 3 teams ; only 2 players (Rats and Stone) make more than $7.5 M:

        Knights top 4: $30 M (3 Fwds 1G)

        Blues $27 M ( 2F 2 D)

        Avs $27.3 M (3F 1D)

        A more rounded/balanced (Cap wise) team IMHO has a far better chance at a Cup

        In addition ; successful champs tend to have very strong D corps and for sure have a reliable back-up

        I really think a WW trade on/after 2/7/20 for an up and coming early mid 20’s top 3 D under contract and at $5 M Cap or less; IS the way to go


    • Hey Brock, who won?

      • Fd & Brock. Fenwick and Corsi do tell a story, but the most important stat on the link is scoring chances for and against.
        Leafs had a slim advantage. Basically a draw.
        Either the Leafs finished better or their goaltender played better, up to you to decide.

      • FD, the answer to your question almost every night is “the team that had the best goaltending.”

  4. Pengy, that’s alot of typing to say the sky is falling next year.

    • LoL

      Idle time between meetings

      Certainly not “the sky is falling” but IMHO …. extremely low chance of cup in their window (‘21-‘24) if they maintain 1/2 their cap on 4 Fwds