NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 10, 2021

by | Apr 10, 2021 | News, NHL | 18 comments

Game recaps, the latest on Zach Werenski, Bobby Ryan and William Nylander, the Avalanche reacquire Patrik Nemeth, the Leafs deal for Riley Nash, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.


NHL.COM: Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin tallied career goal 727 in a 4-3 win over the Buffalo Sabres. Capitals defenseman Justin Schultz had a goal and two assists. Ovechkin is four goals shy of Hall of Famer Marcel Dionne for fifth on the NHL’s all-time goals list. The Capitals are tied with the New York Islanders with 56 points but hold first place in the MassMutual East Division on the basis of regulation wins (21).

The Islanders, meanwhile, dropped a 4-1 decision to the New York Rangers. Alexandar Georgiev made 31 saves for the win in his first start in 11 games while teammate Adam Fox’s point streak ended at 12 games. Blueshirts winger Artemi Panarin collected two assists.

PIttsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby (NHL Images).

Sidney Crosby scored and added two helpers to lead the Pittsburgh Penguins over the New Jersey Devils 6-4. Pittsburgh winger Bryan Rust scored two goals and chipped in an assist while Devils winger Miles Wood tallied twice. The Penguins have won seven of their last nine contests and sit two points behind the second-place Islanders.

Colorado Avalanche goaltender Jonas Johansson made 28 saves for his first career NHL shutout in a 2-0 blanking of the Anaheim Ducks. Valeri Nichushkin and Mikko Rantanen were the goal scorers as Colorado won their sixth game in their last seven outings. They canceled their practice earlier in the day after Bo Byram was placed on the NHL COVID-19 protocol list. The Avs sit atop the Honda West Division with 58 points.

A four-goal first period powered the Vegas Golden Knights to a 7-4 victory over the Arizona Coyotes. Reilly Smith scored two goals for the Golden Knights, who remain four points back of the Avalanche in second place. Phil Kessel collected three assists for Arizona and took over sole possession of fifth place on the NHL’s Ironman list by skating in his 885th consecutive game. The Coyotes are in fourth place with 43 points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kessel is quite durable for someone who is sometimes mocked because his physical appearance isn’t that of a prototypical NHL player. As the old saying goes, don’t judge a book by its cover.

St. Louis Blues center Ryan O’Reilly tallied a hat trick in a 9-1 thumping of the Minnesota Wild. Jaden Schwartz scored twice while Justin Faulk and Sammy Blais each had a goal and two assists. The Blues moved within one point of the Coyotes while the Wild remain in third place with 50 points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Blues made winger Mike Hoffman a healthy scratch for the second straight game. He’s among the top names being bandied about the NHL rumor mill and could be on the move before Monday’s trade deadline.

Brent Burns collected three assists and Martin Jones made 32 saves as the San Jose Sharks downed the Los Angeles Kings 5-2. The surging Sharks sit three back of the Coyotes.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The race for that final playoff berth in the West is getting interesting. The Coyotes are trying to hang on, the Blues are battling to overcome a recent season-threatening losing skid while the Sharks are trying to keep their postseason hopes alive.


THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH: Blue Jackets defenseman Zach Werenski will undergo season-ending sports hernia surgery next week.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: A difficult season for the Blue Jackets just got a lot worse with their best puck-moving defenseman on the shelf. This could be the last nail in the coffin for their playoff hopes.

THE DETROIT NEWS: Red Wings forward Bobby Ryan appears to be done for the season after suffering an upper-body injury.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Ryan was expected to draw some interest in the trade market leading up to Monday’s deadline. Nagging injuries have plagued the 34-year-old winger throughout this season.

ESPN: The Nashville Predators placed winger Filip Forsberg on injured reserve and announced winger Eeli Tolvanen (lower body) and defenseman Dante Fabbro (upper body) are week-to-week. Right wing Mathieu Olivier will be sidelined for four-to-six weeks with a lower-body injury.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Predators surged into playoff contention in recent weeks in the Discover Central Division. This latest rash of injuries could threaten their efforts to clinch a postseason berth.

TSN: Vancouver Canucks general manager Jim Benning said many of his 21 players who tested positive for COVID-19 are feeling better. He expects his club will be able to complete its 56-game schedule, adding none of his players want to opt-out of the remainder of the season. Benning anticipates most of his players will be back on the ice once the team receives clearance to reopen its practice facility.

MONTREAL GAZETTE: Canadiens prospect Cole Caufield is the 2021 winner of the Hobey Baker Award as the top player in US college hockey.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Caufield celebrated by scoring two goals in his pro debut as the Laval Rocket downed the Toronto Marlies 5-3 in AHL action on Friday.

TORONTO SUN: The Maple Leafs acquired center Riley Nash from the Columbus Blue Jackets in exchange for a conditional seventh-round pick in 2022.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Nash is sidelined for four-to-six weeks with a sprained knee. However, Leafs general manager Kyle Dubas can place him and his $2.75 million cap hit on long-term injury reserve, giving them the flexibility to perhaps make another move before Monday’s trade deadline. A clever move by Dubas, who’s done this sort of thing in the past to provide himself some much-needed cap relief. Nash will also join the Leafs for the playoffs.

TORONTO STAR: Speaking of the Leafs, winger William Nylander will be sidelined for a week on the NHL’s COVID-19 protocol list after coming in contact with someone who tested positive for the coronavirus.

THE DENVER POST: The Colorado Avalanche reacquired defenseman Patrik Nemeth from the Detroit Red Wings in exchange for a 2022 fourth-round pick. Nemeth spent two seasons with the Avalanche (2017 to 2019). The Wings are also retaining half of his $3 million salary-cap hit.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Avalanche also have $5.4 million in cap wiggle room with Erik Johnson and Pavel Francouz on LTIR. GM Joe Sakic might not be done dealing as concern remains over the Avs’ goaltending depth.

NJ.COM: The New Jersey Devils placed winger Nikita Gusev on unconditional waivers for the purpose of terminating his contract. He’ll become an unrestricted free agent if he clears at noon ET today.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Gusev had a promising NHL debut with 44 points in 66 games last season but struggled under head coach Lindy Ruff this season and has just five points in 20 games. The 27-year-old winger might regain his scoring touch with another club.

WGR 550: The Buffalo Sabres claimed forward Drake Caggiula off waivers from the Arizona Coyotes.


  1. Ovie is incredible. I never thought anyone would touch the top 5 in all time scoring. What a treat it’s been, watching his entire career.

    Cole Caufield will be an impact NHL player. That boy can score from the parking lot.

    Wonder if the Bruins shouldn’t give Sway the start after yesterday’s sad news, regarding the passing of Coach Gendron. Could go either way. Grief is a weird emotion. Condolences to his family, friends and players, both current and former.

    • Yes, Ovie is something else. He, Bergeron and Crosby continue to put up age defying numbers.

      I am cautious about Caufield – still worried about his size. Great start in his pro debut but Ryan Poehling scored three goals in his NHL debut and has all but disappeared. Not saying that is Caufield’s future but just reining in my expectations. Not sure if Caufield is shaving yet …

  2. Love the high scoring games👍👍 Knights 7-4 (BTW loved the Kolesar steal and shoot goal ); 9-1 for Blues; 6-4 Pens

    Pens … 2 points out of first while having the league leading man-games lost 👍👍👍👍

    Just get a 3C please Hextall 🤞🙏🤞🙏

    • When /if Malkin & Blueger return the Pens have more than enough down the middle, there’s only so much ice time out there … Pens need to fortify their 4th line and bring in some toughness … and maybe a depth d-man, you know somebody is going to get hurt soon …

    • Pengy

      Turris is available for free on the waiver wire.

      Does PIT make a claim?

      • Mmmmm… no

        Hextall waived Sceviour and Roikola to create space 👎👎😡🤬

        Sceviour won’t get picked up; Riikola just might

        Why is Hextall waving a player that just may get picked up for the sake of a measly $114 K extra in space (over waiving Ruhweedel…. who no one will pick up)

        Pens have tons of space now with Malkin’s LTIR and what they already gained from Dumo’s and Zucker’s stint on LTIR

  3. Re Gusev…. would have to be mutually agreed termination of contract… have heard anything about him breaching

    So he’s walking away from about $1.6 M gross in the hopes that some contender signs him at league min… so he can showcase for next contract….. if he re-signs immediately at say $800 K annually….. he’ll be out in the range of $1.28 M gross maybe $650K – $750 K net (take-home)

    Who will sign him??

    • I hope holland signs him for league min , I would guess that several teams will try and whatever situation he likes best , he signs . Sell him on an opportunity beside draisaitl on second line , not a promise , an opportunity . Not about the money like you pointed out so I doubt an extra 100-200k will be the difference. High upside , low risk for whoever gets him

    • I’d give him a shot, Habs have a history of bringing out the best in Russian players.

      I took a look at how he was being used and it sure looks like it had a lot to do with his production.

      TOI is way down, he’s on a 4th line, he’s with a coach (Lindy Ruff) who rewards a backcheck more than a scoring chance (exaggeration I know)

      The guy is treated like a scrub in NJ and a change of scenery might do wonders. If not meh, you don’t resign him.

    • Hi Craig and HabsFan30

      My thoughts were the same as yours… Oil or Habs…. offer League min

  4. Cole Caufield can take the pressure, can find open spaces, has a nose for the puck and has the hands of a sniper.

    He’s done it at every level and was at ease in his first AHL game.

    Don’t know if he can replicate it in the NHL but he sure looks at home in Ovie’s office

    • Please, let’s wait a little while before we put Cole Caufield into the Hockey Hall of Fame …

    • habfan30 – a lot … I mean A LOT … of very good players have had solid careers without getting a nod for the Hall of Fame ,,, so ignore comments to that end. I hope Caufield has a great career ahead of him ,,, and that the one he nosed out for the Baker Award – Shane Pinto – does the same in Ottawa.

    • ed and George

      I think my comment of:

      “Don’t know if he can replicate it in the NHL” was pretty clear that I’m not counting chicken before they hatch.

      There is no way to know how a prospect will pan out till they actually play in the NHL.

      With that being said the fact that he stepped right in at the next level (AHL) without missing a beat deserves notice.

      The Hobie Baker is meaningless with regard to NHL performance, 7 players in 41 years of the award living up to high potential. CHL player of the year has lived up to hype 17 times over the same 41 years, as well as a number of serviceable/very good players.

  5. Ok Dubas you acquired Nash for a 7th as I suggested earlier this week. Now let’s get Niemi and put him on ltir as well as a solid D in same injury situation. Then you can take your big swing for a top 6 forward.

    Carnac (holding envelope to his forhead: “Nicaragua”

    Tears envelope, blows into it and reads :

    “What you should be careful not to do when shaving your aguas”

    • LOL (in my best Ed McMahon mimic)

  6. If Dubas was “clever” to use Nash for LTIR flexibility, then might someone come calling Dorion about Stepan?

    Note : what a boneheaded overpay that was by PD.

    • It was – in hindsight anyway Banger. But I can’t help wondering what kind of contribution he might have made as a mentor for the young Cs had his mind not been on his wife and newborn thousands of miles away in the middle of a world-wide pandemic.

      Under different circumstances, and without that season-ending injury, he might have at least showed enough to be attractive to someone at the trade deadline. We’ll never know.

      Maybe Holland could deal for his contract to free up some cap space to use where needed most. Sweeney is another.