NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 6, 2020

by | Feb 6, 2020 | News, NHL | 39 comments

Game recaps, Leafs acquire Jack Campbell and Kyle Clifford from the Kings, plus the latest on Mark Giordano, Anthony Mantha, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: Charlie McAvoy’s overtime goal gave the Boston Bruins a 2-1 victory over the Chicago Blackhawks. Sean Kuraly also scored for the Bruins (78 points), who picked up their fifth straight victory. They move one point ahead of the Washington Capitals into first place in the Eastern Conference and overall standings. Alex DeBrincat replied for the Blackhawks (58 points), who picked up a point to move within two of the Calgary Flames for the final Western Conference wild-card spot.

Chris Kreider scored and collected an assist in the New York Rangers 5-3 win over the Toronto Maple Leafs (Photo via NHL Images).

Mika Zibanejad and Chris Kreider scored six seconds apart in the first period as the New York Rangers downed the Toronto Maple Leafs 5-3. Rangers winger Pavel Buchnevich had a goal and two assists. Auston Matthews scored twice for the Leafs (63 points), who remains two points out of an Eastern Conference wild-card spot and one back of the Florida Panthers for third in the Atlantic Division.

Following the game, the Leafs traded winger Trevor Moore, a third-round pick (originally from Columbus via Ottawa) in 2020, and a conditional third-rounder in 2021 to the Los Angeles Kings for goaltender Jack Campbell and winger Kyle Clifford. The Kings retain half of Clifford’s $1.6-million annual salary-cap hit. The 2020 third-rounder becomes a second-round pick if the Leafs re-sign Clifford, or Campbell wins six regular-season games and the Leafs reach the playoffs.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Leafs general manager Kyle Dubas had no choice. Starting goalie Frederik Andersen is day-to-day with a neck injury, Michael Hutchinson isn’t getting the job done as the backup, and third-stringer Kasimir Kaskisuo has limited NHL experience. With the Leafs spinning their wheels and in danger of missing the playoffs, Dubas had to shore up his goalie depth.

Campbell’s stats (8-10-2, 2.85 GAA, .900 SP) are better than Hutchinson’s. He’s also signed through 2021-22 at an affordable $1.65-million AAV. Clifford, meanwhile, should bring some welcome grit and veteran leadership to the Leafs’ lineup. Moore, 24, is a Southern California native who can be an immediate fit with the rebuilding Kings’ checking lines.

If this deal doesn’t pan out, it’ll stoke ongoing criticism of Dubas’ inability to suitably address his club’s depth between the pipes. 

CALGARY SUN: No word yet regarding the status of defenseman Mark Giordano. The Flames captain underwent an MRI for a lower-body injury suffered during Tuesday’s 3-1 loss to the San Jose Sharks. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Flames were reportedly in the market for a top-six forward. Their priority could shift if Giordano is out long-term. 

OTTAWA SUN: Bobby Ryan rejoins the Senators for the first time since entering the NHL’s Players’ Assistance program on Nov. 20. While medically cleared to resume skating, there’s no timetable when he’ll return to action. 

DETROIT FREE PRESS: Red Wings forward Anthony Mantha revealed he suffered a punctured lung after being slammed to the ice by Toronto defenseman Jake Muzzin during an altercation on Dec. 21. He also came down with the flu that week. Mantha estimates he could return to the lineup between Feb. 10 – 15. 

NJ.COM: New Jersey Devils center Nico Hischier (laceration, left knee) and defenseman Sami Vatanen (lower-body bruise) will miss tonight’s game against the Philadelphia Flyers. 

THE WASHINGTON POST: Capitals rookie goaltender Ilya Samsonov is listed as day-to-day with a head injury from a high shot taken by Alex Ovechkin during practice on Tuesday. 


  1. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S-wg4OOaB-U

    Kinda makes you wonder just what the extent is of Andersen’s injury. Also, that condition – “The 2020 third-rounder becomes a second-round pick if the Leafs re-sign Clifford, or Campbell wins six regular-season games and the Leafs reach the playoffs” – would mean, if met, that the Leafs won’t have either a 1st round pick or a 2nd round pick in a very deep draft.

    • Whoop. Re-read those conditions – that’s a 3rd picked up in an earlier trade. My bad.

      • I believe it’s actually the 2021 pick which could become a 2nd, not the 2020 pick.

    • Hi George

      Good morning

      I agree with you …as stated yesterday ..Dubas had waited way to long to address the situation and lost all leverage and now was dealing from a point of pure desperation…

      I am furious that the Leafs have given up the Draft picks they have in this years and next years drafts to literally cover up mistakes…

      This is quietly going down a Pat Quinn playbook again in management style …giving up wayyyy to much futures for quick fixes….not only that all the quick fixes are for players and or situations that may not even benefit them after the season …Clifford is a tough greasy player that the Leafs are desperate for but he is literally on the verge of retirement …Campbell is what he is …but what this years draft had to offer was amazing in comparison to what this player will be down the road for the leafs if at all…

      If the deal was there for georgieve for Kappy ..and teh leafs did this instead …DUBAS should be fired !

      Georgieve is the way better Goalie and even long term may have the same value as Kappy in another move if you needed to do so next year or so and recoup the lost asset in the player as he was younger …now they gave up FUTURES and a player when all they needed was a Goalie in the first of any deals …I like Clifford …as I have been preaching for toughness …but an over payment for sure in multiple areas !

      If Leafs make another move Id like to see if they can pry Sam Bennent and Brodie from Calgary for Kerfoot and Barrie

      See you in the Rumors section soon!


      • Georgiev is not a better goalie by a long shot Cambell was a former 11th overall pick. Check his stats for last year. He has a lifetime 916 save percentage. Anyone who gives up Kapanen for Gorgiev should be fired on the spot. Gorgiev has failed at almost every level and although he’s having an ok year on the Rangers he’s not worth Kapanen.

      • Roger, neither has played sufficiently to say one’s better than the other. We just don’t know until both get the acid test.

        But being an 11th overall pick alone is no guarantee of anything. Here are the picks at that position from 2008 to 2016 (way too early for those taken 2017 – 2019)

        2008 – LW Kyle Beach Chicago – never in the NHL
        2009 – D Ryan Ellis Nash – a good one
        2010 – G Jack Campbell L.A. – just 58 NHL games in the 10 years since
        2011 – D Duncan Siemens Col – 20 NHL games
        2012 – LW Filip Forsberg Wash – a good one
        2013 – D Samuel Morin Pha – 9 NHL games
        2014 – LW Kevin Fiala Nash – coming along nicely in Minnesota
        2015 – LW Lawson Crouse Fla – average so far
        2016 – C Logan Brown – still marinating at the NHL level

  2. Not a huge cost. Another nod to a buyers market. And to the newer trend of performance and/or signing conditions

    • Agreed, Chris. Some guys think the sky is falling no matter what Dubas does. He made a move, let’s see how it goes.

      • Yeah, to be furious about giving up a 3rd round pick belonging to another team, when 3rd rounders rarely make the league, let alone as an impact player. If he didn’t make that trade today everyone would be going crazy that he hadn’s traded for a goalie or a gritty winger, he did both for 2 low draft picks and a borderline checking line winger and again the outrage is unbelievable.

      • It’s true, no one can deny Dubas got the best deal he could considering the cap situation and not wanting to relinquish a Johnnson, Kapanen or Kerfoot.

        But to hear Craig Button enthusing over a “fantastic return” you’d think he had just landed Jarry and Tom Wilson!

        Only time will tell if Campbell turns out to be a marked improvement over Hutchinson, and while Clifford does give them a lacking element, his presence on a 4th line isn’t going to suddenly and single-handedly turn their fortunes around.

        There’s a reason Craig Button is no longer an NHL GM.

      • George, agreed it isn’t an elite goaltender, but at the very least a decent goalie that they may play with more confidence in front of, which they weren’t able to do with Hutch. Also gives them flexibility to trade for defense still. A good move under the circumstances and to me it looks like more to come with them not having given up Kapanen or one of the other good young wingers.

  3. When Lyle observes that the Leafs are “spinning their wheels” and in so doing are in danger of missing the playoffs, he’s echoing what Freidman and a lot of others are saying about the optics of that eventuality with that top-heavy salary structure and being the second-highest goal scoring team in the league. That possibility now has to be seriously considered with the 4 teams immediately ahead of them (Carolina, Philadelphia, Islanders, Florida) all holding games in hand and none showing any signs of conveniently rolling over down the stretch.

    At the half-way mark (41 games) the Leafs sat 10th in the league with a 22 14 5 49 pts record, scoring 146 while giving up 132. In their 13 gp since then they’ve gone 6 5 2 14 pts, scoring 48 while giving up 49. Overall, they’ve dropped to 14th place since the 41-game mark.

    • I think I can make the argument that the Hurricanes are strongly considering ‘rolling over’. Or at least their play in the last few weeks indicates that. They were run out of their own building by Vegas (don’t let the final score fool you), and were never even in the game with STL. They did manage 2 pts in a 50/50 game with VAN, though, so all is not lost.

      • Granted … and losing Hamilton’s offense from the back end certainly hasn’t helped. But they’re just 1 of the 4 teams and, leading up to the trade deadline, at least have projected cap space of $1,195,000 to do something to shore up that area, whereas the Leafs have $0.

    • Lyle: I just attempted my first post for today and got a message:

      “Your posts are coming too fast, slow down.”

      Did the system mistake me for George – LOL?

      • Or maybe Pengy? 🙂

  4. Dubas beat Rutherford but he had no choice. Much lower cost than I think Georgiev will get

  5. Investing 40 million in four players makes it impossible to retain a skilled third line (Johnsson, Kerfoot, Kapanen) each making between 3.2-3.5.

    No offense to any of those three but if they aren’t scoring, they don’t hit, they don’t back check, they don’t forecheck, they avoid the boards and corners, what exactly are they good for?

    It’s time to be realistic. None of the millennials committed to taking a lower salary to help the team so now it’s time to right the ship. Two skilled fast scoring lines and two grit lines. That means adding someone else like Ryan Reaves, and two hard nosed blueliners.

    What’s the cost?

    2 of the three figure skaters mentioned above and possibly some UFAs they have no intention of resigning like Cody Ceci. Although good luck trying to find a sucker to take him.

    • On one of the ubiquitous panel shows yesterday someone observed that Ceci may have found his niche as a 5/6 pairing D and that, in such a role, his play hasn’t been all that bad. Perhaps not – but $4.5 mil is an awful lot to be forking over to a 5/6 D-man who experiences defensive brain farts and who has also pretty much lost any offensive capabilities.

      He won’t be back with the Leafs for certain – unless he’s willing to sign for something closer to what he’s actually worth – around $1 mil. That’s the reality he and his agent will have to face in the off season as UFAs are signed and he continues to sit there without a contract.

    • Well, Frank, they just picked up a guy that will hit and has two Stanley Cup rings. Some have suggested that this move means another one involving a forward for a defence man. You may get to say “so long” to one of the guys you don’t like.
      It’s all good, right?

    • No team fears the Leafs in the playoffs. minus their powerplay.

    • Isn’t 90% of the NHL considered a millenial? Like those narcissistic millenial Bruins – Bergeron, Pastrnak, Marchand.

      • Millennials are a split generation, almost down the middle. The first half is closer to Gen-X in terms of character. Those born on the back end are much more likely to be the prototypical “entitled” millennial.

      • Excellent description.

      • Well I have 2 kids; one 32 one 30.
        One is/was more “entitled” than the other.
        Kind of like me an my friends when I was young.
        All part of growing up.

      • Hi Ray

        I have 4 in their late mid to late 20’s… they certainly are more “entitled” that I was, or at least how I perceived any entitlement I may (NOT) have had

        My late father (whom I miss dearly) felt that I was entitled to a good cuff behind the head…. for no reason

        he’d say

        “that’s for nothing…. just try something”

        the point was taken and caution heeded — a lesson my brother just didn’t get… LOL

        I wasn’t a rule by the hand and kind of father. I have a great relationship with all 4 of my kids.

        I don’t think they believe they are entitled; and don’t walk around with that “air”

        They certainly aren’t “entitled” to purchasing a home at proportions relative to incomes that I enjoyed in my mid 20’s

        I think I was earning only 50K in the mid 80s and bought my first home for about thrice that

        Kids in their mid 20’s now are looking at starter homes (at least in the GTA) that are about 15 fold on their income

        I’m a late boomer… so what do I know?

      • Ya, there are some differences for sure from ours to their generations, just like there was between me an my folks. Different challenges too.
        I thought I knew everything by the time I turned 15, didn’t listen to anybody and did what I wanted consequences be damned. Feel bad for my parents in hind sight.
        Eventually caught on but perhaps a thick skull.
        Gotta say that some of those traits have served me well once harnessed, some not so much. Fighting for what you want in the work place and not accepting the status quo can be good, but not aligned with a salary cap and team success in today’s NHL. Need to make it about more than just the $$ to be successful in retention IMO. And walk the talk.

      • Every generation feels the ones following them are entitled, lazy, morally corrupt etc. just like their parents felt about them and their parents before them.

  6. Been some pretty good players picked in later rounds Brett Hull Datsyuk Zetterberg Doug Gilmour Jamie Benn come to mind Point is if you don’t have a pick you will never know. Leafs gave up a pick and a pretty good young forward for a big red dog and a let’s see what he can do goalie.

  7. Hey, whats hockey without a little fan outrage!
    I agree that this was a trade Dubas had to make. There’s no way I’d trade Kapanen for a backup goalie. Two third rounders is not a huge price to pay. Third rounders are like lottery tickets – referring to the original lottery not the draft lottery. Once in a while you get a great payoff. Most of the time they turn out to be worthless.

  8. The Steal

    I am not one of those who either laud or dump on GMKD

    Transparency, I’m not convinced that he has done the greatest of jobs. Some moves (caving to WW) are very disconcerting. He has however at times magically shuffled the cards to fit inside the Cap (yes, the Cap crunch for the Leafs is his making; but he did somehow fit things in when many [including me] had great skepticism).

    This trade is a complete steal. No ifs ands or buts

    I don’t know how he caught Blake sleeping, but he did.

    Completely hose Blake. That is for danged sure

    Trading a player that will be a career combination AHLer/depth 13th/14th NHL winger (if lucky) and 2 thirds for

    Big strapping, hard hitting, depth forward (NOTE: and got Blake to retain)– this is a player type that they have needed for a while– push back in the playoffs.

    and most importantly a back-up goalie, under contract at reasonable rate for 2 years beyond this. Relatively young. Most importantly, LAST year was at a save percentage of 930. This year he suffered just as the whole LA team did

    Blake, retained $’s, gave up a rugged and big UFA, gave up a goalie that had good numbers in past and at a great rate

    to get 2 thirds (very low odds of becoming an NHL player and if so…. 3 and 4 years down the road) and a (at the absolute best) 13th/14th small forward with low production numbers

    So, in this case— GMKD—you won. Thanks for catching Blake with his pants down near his ankles.


    I have been posting all along that Leafs under no circumstances should be trading any assets or futures for any UFAs

    Clifford is a UFA, yes…. but this is a package deal. Call his return just one of the 3rds…. I am OK with UFA for a third (especially with the retained Sal)… was hoping for only UFAs (if coming) for late rounders—- but because of the rest of the deal… good to go

    So — GMKD basically got a back-up goalie (who last year was 930) , 28, under contract for two more years after this

    for absolutely no hit to Leafs true roster (Moore would not have played in the playoffs) and a third—- Leafs got tougher, and seriously improved at Back-up goalie

    Good on ya Kyle

    • I don’t get your hatred of the Nylander deal. His number this season would make him the leading scorer on 21 teams.

      • Hi TB

        Sorry I have mis-conveyed my true thoughts

        The contract to current Cap value is not the issue

        What I’m looking at (and oddly enough so …. also publicly stated almost word for word by Brian Burke; who I rarely see eye to eye with) is that WW should have sat the year. That would have benefited Leafs in the long-term tremendously

        Battle of wits and WW camp backed GMKD into a corner

        GMKD capitulated and agreed to deal at last minute

        My belief (I posted this over a year ago) and Burke said the same (literally almost word for word) on HNIC was and is

        1) If contract not signed and WW sits the year; absolutely no change whatsoever in where Leafs finish in 18/19 ; reg season or playoffs;

        and more importantly

        2) If he sat; eventual contract for him (but ALSO subsequently for MM and AM) for less Cap hit (to the tune of cumulatively between the 3 ; * $3M – $5M in Cap) EACH year …. which could have and should have been ; more logically spent on D upgrades

        * I had posted “about $4 M” and Burke actually said “between $3M and $5 M annually”

        Burke also said that Dubas was very wrong in signing and “the kid should have sat out the year”

        So … in answer to your Q…. no hatred to Cap value in relative terms …., for this year; but the domino effect of the capitulation signing and resulting cap crunch hell leading to GMKD spending 1/2 Cap on 4 forwards instead of having $3M – $5 M in spare Cap for a much needed D upgrade; is what I (and my seldom agreeing Hockey fan , Burke) take issue with

        Sorry again for inferring otherwise


      • guess it’s easy in hindsight. Of course he had a bad year, but look at it the other way, they let him sit the year. Toronto takes Boston to 7 ngames in the playoffs and loses, as you said no difference except every fan and brian burke are talking about how KD screwed up the Nylander situation, let him sit and it cost them the first round against Boston. My point is it doesn’t matter what he does KD will be criticized, like he is now for a player who is turning out to be an elite scorer and arguably underpaid at $6.9 or whatever it is he gets…but hey, if you want to tie your wagon to Burkey who really was a total failure in Toronto, then so be it.

      • Hi TB

        I guess I’m shooting myself in the foot mentioning Burke and I in synch on something

        I’d say I see eye-to-eye with him about every couple of hundred viewpoints; maybe even less often…. LOL

        I am actually not a fan of BB not at all; didn’t like him as GM ; don’t really like him as panelist

        I only quoted him because when he said it live; my son and I looked at each other because it was almost verbatim to my post and to the sentiments I had shared for a year with my friends

        Burke was the only one who had publicly price tagged the estimated savings had Dubas not signed him then; but he was only just one of many so called “media experts” who had touted that the best move (after late October that year) for Leafs (Dubas) would have been for letting WW sit the year

        Again, no challenge on Cap to performance this year; just to the contract make up/design (very skewed to front loaded SB) that was signed when it should not have been…..

        leaving Dubas in a very scary situation with two pending RFAs (MM AM) who then were effectively given (them and their agents) the edge/upper hand in negotiating their contract

        If WW had sat…. and then not signed until the following spring; for sure his deal is less SB; is less Cap; and the AM and MM camps don’t have as much leverage in negotiating; and therefore with logic; final deals come with less of a Cap hit and possibly better/more team favourable term (than current)

        The beauty now of WW’s contract and his current play is the tremendous value he has come 2/7

        He’s paid his SB 1/7 and after that only owed $2.5 M cash next year and effectively a cash AAV for balance of contract of about $5M per

        That cash outlay for his current numbers will be very attractive and can very well return to Leafs (in trade) an up and coming early/mid 20’s top 3 Dman with term ; and at a Cap much less than $7M

        Leafs have no problem putting the puck into the opposing net; WW on team or off team

        Leafs biggest issue (and it’s big) is D while fitting in very crimped cap space

  9. Just to say, Chicago got robbed last night, it wasn’t a hand pass. Close call, but goal should’ve counted. Bruins will take the 2pts.

  10. I watched Bruin game agree that it probably hit Matta,s stick but was hard to pick up even in super slow mo hard to blame refs. Chicago goalie was unbelievable Bruins should have been up 4 zip Boston was better team by far. Easy to see why Chara considered best captain in league he stayed on ice while Charlie did interview and after it was over he congratulated him on scoring the winner.

    • True that Obe. McAvoy has been snake bitten on the goal front. Great to see him get a big one.
      Hope Chara stays on with the team in some capacity when he stops playing. Has had a huge impact on the entire organization and I hope it continues through guys like McAvoy.

    • Hi Obe

      Agree …. hard to tell; and again we see it super slow-mo; refs real-time

      Even in super-slow-mo I didn’t see it hit the stick but there is also no way that I could say for sure that it did miss the stick

      Correct …. looking at over-all game …. that play ;although disappointing for one side…. may have resulted in an undeserved game result

      Proper end result IMHO

      Was a good game