NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 26, 2022
Cale Makar sets an Avalanche record, Johnny Gaudreau reaches a goal-scoring milestone, the ongoing fallout from the overturned Dadonov trade, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.
NHL.COM: Cale Makar set a Colorado Avalanche record in his club’s 6-3 victory over the Philadelphia Flyers. Makar scored twice to set the club’s single-season record for most goals by a defenseman with 24. Nazem Kadri had a goal and two assists for the Avalanche, who’ve won five of their last six games and sit atop the overall standings with 97 points. Flyers winger Travis Konecny missed this game with a lower-body injury and is listed as day-to-day.
Calgary Flames winger Johnny Gaudreau scored his 200th career goal in a 4-2 victory over the Arizona Coyotes. Gaudreau also had two assists while Matthew Tkachuk had two points for Calgary (86 points), who hold a seven-point lead over the Los Angeles Kings for first place in the Pacific Division. Flames center Sean Monahan was a healthy scratch.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Monahan hasn’t been the same since struggling through a hip injury last season which ultimately required surgery last May. It generated speculation the Flames could attempt to trade him before the recent trade deadline.
The New York Rangers downed the Pittsburgh Penguins 5-1. Chris Kreider scored twice to tie the Edmonton Oilers’ Leon Draisaitl for second place in the goal-scoring race with 44. Andrew Copp tallied his first goal since the Rangers acquired him at the trade deadline from the Winnipeg Jets. Pittsburgh (88 points) hold a one-point lead over the Rangers for second place in the Metropolitan Division. Penguins center Evgeni Malkin missed the game with an undisclosed illness.
Speaking of the Jets, they kept their playoff hopes alive with a 4-3 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets, spoiling Patrik Laine’s return to Winnipeg for the first time since being traded to the Jackets last year. Nikolaj Ehlers scored the winner in overtime while teammate Kyle Connor netted his 41st goal of the season. Laine was held scoreless. With 72 points, the Jets are three points behind the Dallas Stars for the final wild-card berth in the Western Conference.
Shootout goals by Evgeny Kuznetsov and Alex Ovechkin lifted the Washington Capitals over the Buffalo Sabres 4-3. Ovechkin also scored in regulation and has 41 on the season while Jeff Skinner scored twice for the Sabres. The Capitals (82 points) sit two points back of the Tampa Bay Lightning for the first wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference.
TSN: Pierre LeBrun believes the NHL is going to push for changes to the submission process of a player’s no-trade list. This comes after the league overturned a trade that would’ve sent winger Evgenii Dadonov from the Vegas Golden Knights to the Anaheim Ducks following confusion about whether Dadonov filed his no-trade list on time last summer.
Under the current system, the list is submitted solely between the player’s agent and the club. The NHL and the NHLPA don’t keep track of no-trade lists. LeBrun believes the league seeks a change whereby the NHL Central Registry and the PA each get copies of the lists.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I find the current setup unusual given how a modified no-trade clause gives a player a measure of control over possible trade destinations. It’s surprising it took this long before a screw-up (like what happened to Dadonov) took place.
THE SCORE: Speaking of Dadonov, he admitted having “a stressful couple of days” awaiting a decision by the league. The Ducks were on his no-trade list that the Golden Knights and the league mistakenly believed hadn’t been filed on time. He had felt “upset” at the time but “wasn’t really mad” about the situation.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Following the league’s decision, Dadonov received a big cheer from Golden Knights fans on Thursday after being named the second star in their 6-1 win over the Nashville Predators.
CAP FRIENDLY: The Golden Knights placed winger Reilly Smith on long-term injury reserve yesterday. His annual cap hit is $5 million.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Golden Knights attempted to trade Dadonov to free up salary-cap space in order to eventually take Alec Martinez or Mark Stone off LTIR before the end of this season. It was assumed they might have to make a cost-cutting trade with a non-playoff club. Putting Smith on LTIR could address that problem provided he’s out for the remainder of the regular season.
DAILY FACEOFF: More bad news for the Golden Knights as winger Max Pacioretty suffered a setback in his recovery from an undisclosed injury and isn’t available in the near future.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Pacioretty could become another LTIR candidate if the setback was serious.
SPORTSNET: Montreal Canadiens winger Jonathan Drouin is out indefinitely with an upper-body injury while teammate Brendan Gallagher is out one week with a lower-body injury.
The Edmonton Oilers are suing four of their insurance companies over unreimbursed losses suffered during the COVID-19 pandemic.