NHL Rumor Mill – March 2, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – March 2, 2022

Check out the latest Blackhawks speculation plus updates on Jake DeBrusk, Claude Giroux, John Klingberg and more in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.

WHAT’S NEXT FOR THE BLACKHAWKS UNDER NEW GM DAVIDSON?

THE ATHLETIC: Mark Lazerus and Scott Powers suggested Kyle Davidson, the Chicago Blackhawks’ new full-time general manager, should attempt to craft a trade package that will help the club gain a first-round pick in this year’s draft. The Hawks traded their first-rounder to the Columbus Blue Jackets last summer in the Seth Jones trade.

Chicago Blackhawks goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury (NHL Images)

Trade candidates could include free agents such as Marc-Andre Fleury, Dominik Kubalik, Calvin de Haan, Ryan Carpenter and Dylan Strome. Of these, only Fleury could fetch a first-rounder but goalies are difficult to trade. In Fleury’s case, the Blackhawks intend to honor the promise made by former GM Stan Bowman giving the netminder total control over whether and where he goes.

Davidson’s intent to rebuild also raises questions over the futures of long-time Blackhawks stars Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews. Both have a year remaining on their contracts. Will one or both be re-signed and if so, will they be on long- or short-term deals?

DAILY FACEOFF: Matt Larkin also weighed in on those factors. He thinks Davidson should try to convince Kane, who’s still a star, to stick with the rebuilding club as they try to build around Jones, Alex DeBrincat and Kirby Dach.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: TSN’s Chris Johnston reports it sounds like Fleury might not be inclined to move by the trade deadline and seems to be leaning toward finishing the season in Chicago. The 37-year-old goalie could change his mind if a Stanley Cup contender comes calling. If he prefers to stay, however, it will rob the Blackhawks of a valuable bargaining chip leading up to the March 21 trade deadline.

There’s been some speculation suggesting the Blackhawks could listen to offers for Alex DeBrincat. However, I’m in agreement with Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman, who said he’d be surprised if the Hawks traded the 24-year-old scoring winger. They need a player like him to build around.

DEBRUSK STILL WANTS TO BE TRADED

TSN: Pierre LeBrun reports agent Rick Valette, who represents Boston Bruins winger Jake DeBrusk, said his client’s trade demand made back in November still stands. Valette also said he’s spoken with other clubs (with the Bruins’ permission) to let them know they’re willing to negotiate a contract extension if it will facilitate a trade.

DeBrusk, 25, is a restricted free agent this summer with arbitration rights. LeBrun said interested clubs are concerned about the $4.4 million qualifying offer it would take to retain his rights after this season. He speculates perhaps an agreement on an extension at a cheaper price might send everyone home happy.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: DeBrusk’s performance has improved in recent games after being moved up to the club’s top line in what was considered an attempt by management to showcase him for a trade. That may have improved his trade value but could also make him valuable to the Bruins as they push to secure a playoff berth. They could decide to retain him if they don’t get any suitable offers now and then try to trade him in the offseason.

LATEST FLYERS SPECULATION

TSN: Pierre LeBrun reports Philadelphia Flyers captain Claude Giroux has yet to tell management he’s ready to waive his no-movement clause. LeBrun believes things could pick up next week. He indicated the Flyers have told teams Giroux could arguably be the most impactful player at this year’s trade deadline. That means it could be expensive to acquire him, perhaps a first-round, a young player, and a prospect or two assets of higher quality.

Darren Dreger reports Rasmus Ristolainen’s fate could be decided as early as this week. There will be contract talks between his agent and Flyers management but he could be shopped if the contract doesn’t make sense for the Flyers.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Flyers can set that high price for Giroux and they might get it. However, the closer we get to the deadline the more they risk driving interested parties toward other cheaper options. Whatever return the Flyers get isn’t going to make their fans happy. It’ll be a big win if they can get a first-rounder, a quality prospect and a promising young player.

TRADE RUMOR TIDBITS FROM FRIEDMAN’S LATEST “32 THOUGHTS”

SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman reports the San Jose Sharks are “taking its run at keeping Tomas Hertl.

Friedman sees Dallas Stars defenseman John Klingberg landing with the Seattle Kraken either at the trade deadline or as a free agent this summer.

Florida Panthers center Noel Acciari could be an under-the-radar name to watch as the trade deadline approaches.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 3, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 3, 2022

Recaps of Wednesday’s action, Blackhawks chairman Rocky Wirtz berates reporters during town hall event, Alex Ovechkin sidelined from the upcoming All-Star Game, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: The Edmonton Oilers blew an early 3-0 lead but recovered on two goals by Ryan Nugent-Hopkins for a 5-3 victory over the Washington Capitals. Connor McDavid, Leon Draisaitl and Evander Kane also scored for the Oilers (49 points), who remain three points behind the Calgary Flames for the final wild-card spot in the Western Conference.

Edmonton Oilers forward Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (NHL Images)

Speaking of the Flames, they maintained their lead over the Oilers by doubling up the Arizona Coyotes 4-2. Chris Tanev scored and collected three assists while Blake Coleman tallied twice. Clayton Keller had a goal and an assist for the Coyotes.

Los Angeles Kings center Phillip Danault netted two goals in a 5-3 win over the Detroit Red Wings. The Kings are tied with the Anaheim Ducks with 55 points but sit in second place in the Pacific Division with a game in hand. Red Wings forward Tyler Bertuzzi scored his 22nd goal of the season.

The Minnesota Wild got a 30-save shutout from goaltender Cam Talbot to blank the Chicago Blackhawks 5-0. Kevin Fiala extended his points streak to 12 games with a goal and an assist. The Wild sit in third place in the Central Division with 59 points.

Seattle Kraken goalie Philipp Grubauer turned in a 19-save shutout in a 3-0 win over the New York Islanders. Mason Appleton and Jared McCann each had a goal and an assist.

HEADLINES

CHICAGO SUN-TIMES: Blackhawks chairman Rocky Wirtz lost his temper during a town hall meeting yesterday when The Athletic’s Mark Lazerus asked him about the club’s work to protect their players in the aftermath of Kyle Beach’s sexual assault allegations.

We’re not going to talk about Kyle Beach. We’re not going to talk about anything that happened. We’re moving on, “ said an obviously angered Wirtz. “What we’re doing today is our business. I don’t think it’s any of your business. You don’t work for the company. If somebody in the company asks that question, we’ll answer it.”

Asked the same question by another reporter, Wirtz angrily told them to “get off that subject.”

Wirtz later issued an apology to the reporters and the fans, saying his remarks “crossed the line.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: You can see Wirtz’s outbursts in this link. The Blackhawks’ chairman has been roundly condemned for his petulant remarks. Wirtz acted as though the investigation into Beach’s allegations was an annoyance to be forgotten instead of a very serious issue that still resonates among fans and media. He undid everything his club had done since the investigation concluded to assure the public that what happened to Beach will never happen to another player again.

TSN: Pierre LeBrun reports former NHL star Pat Verbeek is set to become the next general manager of the Anaheim Ducks. Verbeek spent 21 seasons as a player and has worked with Steve Yzerman as an assistant GM with the Tampa Bay Lightning and Detroit Red Wings.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Ducks could make the official announcement as early as today. Verbeek has had considerable experience working with one of the league’s best general managers. The Ducks interim GM, Martin Madden, was considered among the front-runners for the role. It’ll be interesting to see if he remains as their assistant GM.

Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin will miss the upcoming NHL All-Star Game after being placed in COVID protocol yesterday. He will be replaced by teammate Tom Wilson while Philadelphia Flyers forward Claude Giroux will take over from Ovechkin as captain of the Metropolitan Division. Vegas Golden Knights winger Jonathan Marchessault was also added to the All-Star Game roster.

The Columbus Blue Jackets report forward Eric Robinson will be sidelined for six weeks by a knee injury.

CBS SPORTS: The Florida Panthers have sent forward Noel Acciari to their AHL affiliate in Charlotte on a conditioning stint. He has yet to play this season due to an undisclosed injury.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 8, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 8, 2021

Carey Price enters the league’s player assistance program, the USA, Finland and Czech Republic name their first players to their respective Olympic men’s hockey teams, Blake Coleman suspended, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

MONTREAL GAZETTE: Canadiens goaltender Carey Price entered the NHL’s player assistance program. The 34-year-old had been recovering from offseason knee surgery. General manager Marc Bergevin said Price could be absent from the team for at least 30 days but didn’t rule out a longer absence.

Montreal Canadiens goaltender Carey Price (NHL Images).

Bergevin said Price has the support of the club and his teammates. “Today, I’m not thinking about Carey Price, the goalie for the Montreal Canadiens, but Carey Price the human being,” he said.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Canadiens will miss Price between the pipes while some fans are wondering why he’s reached out for assistance. None of that is important and the latter is none of our business. What matters is Price gets the help and time he needs to get his life and health back on track.

Speaking of the Canadiens, winger Jonathan Drouin missed Thursday’s game against the Ottawa Senators with a non-COVID-related illness.

Meanwhile, the Canadiens don’t intend on providing any updates on GM Bergevin’s contract situation until the end of the season. His deal is slated to expire at season’s end.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: You can read more about Bergevin’s contract status in today’s Rumor Mill. 

TSN: Team USA named Toronto Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews, Chicago Blackhawks winger Patrick Kane and Blackhawks defenseman Seth Jones to their 2022 Olympic men’s hockey team on Thursday.

Finland named Carolina Hurricanes center Sebastian Aho, Florida Panthers center Aleksander Barkov, and Colorado Avalanche winger Mikko Rantanen to their men’s Olympic squad.

NHL.COM: The Czech Republic named Tampa Bay Lightning winger Ondrej Palat, Boston Bruins winger David Pastrnak and Columbus Blue Jackets winger Jakub Voracek to their Olympic team.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The IIHF requested countries submit the names of their first three players several weeks ago. Canada and Sweden submitted theirs earlier this week.

NHL.COM: Calgary Flames forward Blake Coleman was suspended for the club’s final preseason game and their first regular-season contest for boarding Winnipeg Jets forward Jansen Harkins during Wednesday’s preseason game.

THE DENVER POST: Colorado Avalanche goaltender Pavel Francouz will miss three to four weeks with a lower-body injury. He also suffered a lower-body injury in the 2020 playoffs and missed all of last season. The Avs also announced head coach Jared Bednar tested positive for COVID-19 and will miss the club’s final two preseason games. It’s unclear when he’ll return behind the bench.

OTTAWA SUN: Senators center Colin White requires surgery to repair a dislocated right shoulder. He’s expected to be sidelined for four-to-six months. Meanwhile, the club announced they’ve signed winger Tyler Ennis to a one-year, $900K contract.

FLORIDA HOCKEY NOW: Panthers winger Noel Acciari could miss significant time with an upper-body injury.

SPORTSNET: Edmonton Oilers winger Zack Kassian struck his head on the ice during a fight with Vancouver Canucks’ Zack MacEwen in last night’s preseason game between the two clubs. Kassian had to be helped from the ice but was reportedly talking to teammates in the dressing room and in good spirits.

NEW YORK POST: A power failure in part of the Prudential Center led to the cancellation of the preseason game between the New Jersey Devils and New York Islanders.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 7, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 7, 2021

Recaps of Saturday’s action, Tom Wilson receives a seven-game suspension, Wayne Gretzky eulogizes his father Walter, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: The New York Rangers got two goals from Ryan Strome to defeat the New Jersey Devils 6-3, handing the latter their fifth straight loss. Adam Fox opened the scoring for the Rangers with a beautiful end-to-end goal.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Devils (16 points) looked like they could contend for a playoff berth several weeks ago. Their recent skid sent them tumbling toward the bottom of the MassMutual East Division standings, one point ahead of the Buffalo Sabres. They could be joining the list of potential sellers at the April 12 trade deadline.

Speaking of the Sabres, they dropped their sixth straight in a 5-2 loss to the New York Islanders. Mathew Barzal’s between-the-legs game-tying goal launched was the start of a four-goal outburst in the second period for the Islanders as they extended their points streak to seven games.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: With the win, the Islanders (32 points) sit atop the East Division.

Pittsburgh Penguins center Evgeni Malkin (NHL Images)

Evgeni Malkin scored and collected an assist as the Pittsburgh Penguins held off the Philadelphia Flyers 4-3. Flyers winger Travis Konecny also had a goal and assist as his club is tied with the Penguins (27 points) but holds fourth place in the East on win percentage (.643) with two games in hand.

A hat trick by Noel Acciari powered the Florida Panthers over the Nashville Predators 6-2. Jonathan Huberdeau, Aaron Ekblad and Frank Vatrano each had a goal and an assist for the Panthers (34 points), who are tied with the first-place Tampa Bay Lightning in the Discover Central Division. Earlier in the day, the Predators placed center Matt Duchene on injured reserve. He will be sidelined three-to-five weeks with a lower-body injury.

Brock Boeser and J.T. Miller each had a goal and two assists as the Vancouver Canucks doubled up the Toronto Maple Leafs 4-2 to sweep their two-game set. Canucks goaltender Thatcher kicked out 37 shots for the win.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Demko’s play has improved since mid-February. He’ll likely get the bulk of the starts in the coming weeks as the Canucks (24 points) sit four points out of a playoff spot in the Scotia North Division.

The Arizona Coyotes overcame a 2-0 deficit to defeat the Minnesota Wild 5-2. Darcy Kuemper made 32 saves while Lance Pitlick tallied twice for the Coyotes. The win puts Arizona (25 points) just two behind the Wild for the fourth and final playoff berth in the Honda West Division.

Carey Price turned aside 28 shots, Brendan Gallagher notched two goals and Tomas Tatar collected three assists as the Montreal Canadiens thumped the Winnipeg Jets 7-1. Josh Anderson scored in his first game with the Habs after being sidelined for three games by a lower-body injury.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That was the most convincing Canadiens win since their 6-2 victory over the Canucks on Feb. 1. They’re now 2-1-2 in their first five games under interim coach Dominique Ducharme.

The Anaheim Ducks snapped a nine-game winless skid with a 5-4 overtime win over the Colorado Avalanche. The Ducks blew a 2-0 lead but overcame a 4-2 deficit on goals by Troy Terry and Kevin Shattenkirk to set the stage for Ryan Getzlaf’s game-winner in the extra frame. Terry scored twice and Rickard Rakell had a three-point night. Mikko Rantanen replied with two of his own for the Avalanche.

Dallas Stars goaltender Jake Oettinger made 21 saves for his first career NHL shutout to blank the Columbus Blue Jackets 5-0. Roope Hintz had a goal and an assist for the Stars to snap their four-game losing skid.

Vladimir Tarasenko’s season debut following offseason shoulder surgery couldn’t help the St. Louis Blues from dropping a 4-3 overtime decision to the Los Angeles Kings. Adrian Kempe tallied the game-winner while Anze Kopitar scored twice for the Kings. Tarasenko was held scoreless while teammate David Perron had a goal and an assist. With 25 points, the Kings sit two back of the fourth-place Wild in the West Division.

Vegas Golden Knights netminder Marc-Andre Fleury picked up his league-leading fourth shutout in a 4-0 victory over the San Jose Sharks. Alex Tuch scored twice to extend his goal streak to four games. Golden Knights captain Mark Stone left the game in the first period with an undisclosed injury. Vegas sits atop the West Division with 33 points.

The Edmonton Oilers got goals by Kailer Yamamoto and Connor McDavid to edge the Calgary Flames 3-2. McDavid also had two assists on the night. The Oilers (30 points) sit two up on the fourth-place Canadiens in the North Division and two back of the Jets.

HEADLINES

NBC SPORTS WASHINGTON: The NHL suspended Capitals winger Tom Wilson for seven games for boarding Boston Bruins defenseman Brandon Carlo on Friday. Carlo was taken to the hospital for treatment overnight but was released yesterday.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Given Wilson’s history of reckless hits resulting in four fines and three suspensions it’s not surprising the league handed down this judgement. He’s now been suspended for a total of 30 games in the NHL career.

SPORTING NEWS: Wayne Gretzky eulogized his father Walter during the latter’s funeral yesterday in Brantford, Ontario. “He was a remarkable man who loved life, loved family,” said Wayne. “We’d be a way better world if there were so many more people like my dad.” He also pointed out COVID-19 played no part in Walter’s passing, indicating he’d suffered a bad hip injury several weeks ago. He passed away last week at age 82.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Rest in peace, Walter. Your legacy will live as long as your son’s.

LAS VEGAS SUN: The Vegas Golden Knights were left scrambling for new accommodations after the San Jose hotel they were staying in abruptly closed due to bankruptcy.

THE SCORE: A small number of NHL players in the United States have begun receiving COVID-19 vaccines. Some received it because of the city where they lived where the vaccine became available.