NHL Rumor Mill – December 13, 2021

NHL Rumor Mill – December 13, 2021

Analysis of a list of suggested Canadiens trade candidates in today’s NHL rumor mill.

TVA SPORTS: asked their NHL analysts for their picks of which players the Montreal Canadiens could move before the March 21 trade deadline and those they keep.

Renaud Lavoie believes the Canadiens should shop goaltender Jake Allen and retain Brendan Gallagher.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Allen is among the few bright spots in an otherwise dismal season for the Canadiens. He’s signed through 2022-23 with an affordable $2.875 million cap hit. Clubs seeking experienced depth between the pipes could have an interest in Allen. However, I doubt the Habs would consider moving him until Carey Price returns to action. Even then, his affordable contract and reliability as Price’s backup make it likely that they’ll hang onto him.

Montreal Canadiens winger Brendan Gallagher (NHL Images).

Teams love Gallagher’s work ethic and feisty style but they won’t be enamored of his $6.5 million cap hit through 2026-27. The Habs would have to pick up a healthy chunk of his annual average value to move him. His six-team no-trade list could also be a bit of a sticking point. Moving Gallagher seems like something that would occur in the offseason than at the trade deadline when teams have more salary-cap space to work with.

Patrick Lalime suggests shopping Jonathan Drouin and retaining Nick Suzuki.

Drouin has had consistency issues but he could flourish on a deeper club. He’s got a $5.5 million cap hit but only one season left on his deal plus a three-team no-trade list. It could be worth exploring the trade market to gauge his value.

Suzuki’s not going anywhere unless he demands a trade. The Canadiens signed the 22-year-old to an eight-year deal that kicks in next season at an annual cap hit of $7.875 million. He remains a key part of the Canadiens’ future despite the recent management change.

Felix Seguin proposed peddling Joel Armia and retaining Artturi Lehkonen.

Armia has three more seasons at $3.5 million annually on his contract. He’s affordable but his streaky play could hurt his trade value. .

Lehkonen is a restricted free agent with arbitration rights next summer who will also be a year away from UFA eligibility. The Canadiens could try to move him at the trade deadline if he’s only seeking a one-year deal. However, they can afford to wait until the summer or next season’s trade deadline.

Louis Jean recommended trading Carey Price and retaining head coach Dominique Ducharme.

Price won’t be going anywhere at the trade deadline. He’s still rehabbing his way back from offseason knee surgery. His $10.5 million cap hit through 2025-26 and full no-movement clause makes it very difficult to move him during the season.

Trading Price might have to wait until the offseason and could require the Habs retaining half of his cap hit. They might also need to get a third team involved willing to pick up half of the remainder for a sweetener like a draft pick to facilitate shipping him to any interested club.

Jean believes Ducharme deserves another chance after having little time to prepare last season and a shortened offseason heading into 2021-22. Canadien executive VP of hockey ops Jeff Gorton said Ducharme would remain as head coach for the rest of the season. Whether he’s still behind the bench next season isn’t a certainty.

Guillaume Latendresse believes Jeff Petry should be moved and Ryan Poehling retained.

Petry has had a horrible season but the 34-year-old defenseman reached 40 points last season for the fourth straight year. He carries a $6.25 million annual cap hit through 2024-25 and a 15-team no-trade clause. Still, there could be a playoff contender willing to bet on Petry regaining his form on a better blueline.

Poehling had difficulty cracking the Canadiens roster in the past but the 22-year-old has shown potential this season. He’s signed through 2022-23 at a very affordable $750K. He’ll be staying put.

Maxime Lapierre felt they should trade Ben Chiarot and hang onto Alexander Romanov.

Chiarot is slated to become a UFA next summer. There’s talk he could fetch a first-round pick. That makes him their most likely trade candidate.

Romanov is only 21 and still has plenty of potential as a top-four defenseman. His future remains in Montreal.










NHL Rumor Mill – December 7, 2021

NHL Rumor Mill – December 7, 2021

Which players could the Canadiens trade? Will the Canucks make big roster changes? Should the Bruins sign Tuukka Rask? Read on for the latest in today’s NHL rumor mill.

WHO STAYS OR GOES FOR THE CANADIENS?

TVA SPORTS: Jonathan Bernier examined which Montreal Canadiens players with long-term contracts could be traded if executive VP of hockey operations Jeff Gorton decides a rebuild is in order. Gorten recently told Bernier’s colleague Renaud Lavoie he and the club’s next general manager will initiate discussions with several players to take stock of their careers.

Montreal Canadiens goaltender Carey Price (NHL Images).

Bernier believes Carey Price should be traded. While he has a no-movement clause, he might lift it for an opportunity to join a Stanley Cup contender. Given his $10.5 million contract over the next four seasons, the Canadiens will have to absorb part of it to facilitate a trade or take back a bad contract.

Shea Weber’s career is likely over. His $7.857 million annual cap hit could be placed on long-term injury reserve again if the club remains near the cap ceiling should they attempt to sign an unrestricted free agent or re-sign one of their promising players next summer.

Defenseman Jeff Petry likely won’t want to be part of a rebuild. He has three seasons remaining on his contract with an annual cap hit of $6.25 million and a 15-team no-trade clause. His struggles this season could also make him difficult to move.

Bernier also suggests shopping wingers Brendan Gallagher and Joel Armia and defenseman David Savard. Gallagher has five years remaining on his deal at $6.5 million annually with a six-team no-trade clause. Armia could be easier to shop with three years left on his contract at an AAV of $3.4 million. Savard has three years at $3.5 million and Bernier believes his fate could be tied to Petry and pending UFA blueliner Ben Chiarot.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’ll be interesting to see how Gorton and his GM handle this situation. If it’s to be a rebuild, it has to start with moving Price. That means picking up half of his cap hit and perhaps getting a third team involved that’s willing to pick up another portion of his salary in exchange for a decent draft pick or prospect.

Gallagher would also involve some salary retention or taking back a comparable contract. Petry’s age and struggles this season could affect his trade value but there could be a general manager out there willing to bet he’ll regain his 40-point form on a better club. Armia could be the easiest to move of the bunch. Bernier said there’s speculation the Boston Bruins are interested in him.

Renaud Lavoie, meanwhile, spoke with player agent Kent Hughes, who was mentioned by Sportsnet’s Elliott Friedman as a possible GM candidate for the Canadiens. “I don’t control speculations,” said Hughes. “I had no discussions regarding the GM job.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Friedman also said the Canadiens hadn’t held any talks yet with Hughes but he was believed high on their list of potential candidates. That could still be the case even though they haven’t had any discussions yet. Hughes also didn’t say he had no interest in the job.

LATEST ON THE CANUCKS

THE HOCKEY NEWS: Ryan Kennedy reports former Canadiens general manager Marc Bergevin is said to be high on the Vancouver Canucks’ list of candidates to replace Jim Benning as general manager. Bergevin was fired as Canadiens GM over a week ago.

SPORTSNET: Iain MacIntyre reports Canucks chairman Francesco Aquilini said he hasn’t yet spoken to Bergevin. He also hasn’t ruled out bringing back a former employee such as former GM Mike Gillis.

Aquilini indicated the club will conduct a thorough and exhaustive search for the club’s next general manager. He also suggested the possibility of hiring a president of hockey operations.

MacIntyre doubts the Canucks will embark on a rebuild and sell off assets even if the new general manager decides a rebuild is necessary. He pointed to the club’s handful of core players 26-and-younger including Bo Horvat, Thatcher Demko, Conor Garland, Brock Boeser, Elias Pettersson and Quinn Hughes. They also have promising youngsters such as Vasily Podkolzin and Nils Hoglander.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: A lot will depend upon the club’s performance over the remainder of this season under new head coach Bruce Boudreau. I don’t see there being many changes if they show significant improvement and claw their way back into playoff contention. As MacIntyre points out, their young core gives them plenty for the next GM to work with going forward.

SHOULD THE BRUINS PASS ON RASK?

NBC SPORTS BOSTON: D.J. Bean observes it’s becoming increasingly likely the Bruins will sign goaltender Tuukka Rask once he’s ready to return to action next month. Doing so, however, would mean demoting Jeremy Swayman to the minors as Linus Ullmark has a no-movement clause.

Bean suggests the Bruins should pass on Rask and stick with their current tandem of Swayman and Ullmark. They’re a fringe playoff team and not a Cup contender. Swayman has a solid .918 save percentage and sending him back to the minors could be a step backward for him. If they still want to sign Rask, they should find another way to make room for him.

There’s a slim possibility the Bruins could trade Swayman for help at forward or defense but Bean doesn’t expect they’ll go that route. He believes it would be a stupid move that would be harmful to the team.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I’ve encapsulated Bean’s article and I suggest folks read the entire thing before piling on him for daring to suggest the Bruins pass on Rask. He makes a good point given Swayman’s development and where the Bruins are this season as a playoff contender. However, even he acknowledges they’re probably going to bring Rask back and Swayman will likely be demoted to make room for him.










NHL Rumor Mill – November 19, 2021

NHL Rumor Mill – November 19, 2021

Should the fading Canadiens start shopping players like Brendan Gallagher or Ben Chiarot? Are the Rangers and Panthers in the market for a forward? Check out the latest in today’s NHL trade rumors.

SHOULD THE CANADIENS SHOP GALLAGHER OR CHIAROT?

TVA SPORTS: Anthony Martineau and Nicolas Cloutier weighed in on which Montreal Canadiens players they’d attempt to trade if they were the general manager.

Montreal Canadiens winger Brendan Gallagher (NHL Images).

Martineau suggested shopping Brendan Gallagher. He felt the 29-year-old winger’s $6.25 million cap hit through 2026-27 could become burdensome for the Canadiens over the long term. The reporter also accused the hard-working winger of selfish play, saying the last few times Gallagher got angry was over missing an empty net, or at teammate Alexander Romanov for too intense coverage in a recent practice or sucker-punching New York Rangers forward Barclay Goodrow.

Nevertheless, Martineau feels Gallagher’s reputation for hard work would make him enticing for some clubs. He thinks the Canadiens would have to retain part of the winger’s salary but it would be worthwhile to make room on the roster and salary cap for younger players to build around.

Cloutier, meanwhile, suggested packaging defenseman Ben Chiarot with versatile forward Joel Armia for a first-round pick and a prospect. He considers them big players built for postseason hockey who could help a contender to reach another level. When asked who would replace them on the Canadiens roster, Cloutier proposed Jesse Ylonen and one of their many left-shot prospects in their system.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Gallagher has definitely lost much of the spark that made him effective as an agitating, heart-and-soul top-six winger. Perhaps playing for a better club will rekindle that fire.

The Canadiens would have to retain part of Gallagher’s cap hit if they don’t want to take back a big contract in return. He also has a six-team trade list and a no-movement clause that prevents him from being demoted to the minors.

Some might chuckle at Cloutier’s suggestion of Chiarot and Armia fetching a first-rounder and a prospect. However, Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman believes Chiarot alone could land a first-round pick. “He’s playoff-tested, he’s not a high maintenance guy,” said Friedman. 

As for the left-side defensemen in the Habs system to replace Chiarot, 2020 first-round pick Kaiden Guhle best fits that description. The earliest he could make his NHL debut is next season as they’ll keep Guhle in Junior hockey for this season.

Bear in mind there’s no indication the Canadiens are about to beat the trade deadline rush and engage in an early firesale of veterans. That likely won’t start until sometime in January leading up to the Olympic break in February. Time will tell if Gallagher, Chiarot and Armia become trade candidates. 

LATEST ON THE RANGERS AND PANTHERS

TSN: Darren Dreger reports the New York Rangers have been in the market for a middle-six forward for some time. It can be a third-liner or someone who can skate on the top-six. That search became amplified by Sammy Blais recently suffering a season-ending injury. The trade market is quiet right now but things could pick up around the American Thanksgiving holiday next week.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The trade market is slow right now with only three deals taking place since the start of the season. The Blueshirts’ search could extend beyond the end of this month.

This would’ve been an ideal opportunity for Vitali Kravtsov. However, he’s now on loan to KHL team Traktor Chelyabinsk and cannot return to the Rangers until the KHL season is over.

Pierre LeBrun reported the Florida Panthers aren’t in the market for a replacement center for sidelined captain Aleksander Barkov. He’s out for three-four weeks with a sprained knee that won’t require surgery. They feel they have the depth to compensate for his absence.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Panthers moved Sam Bennett into Barkov’s spot on the first line and rookie Anton Lundell into the second line spot, with the returning Joe Thornton sliding into the third-line center role.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 28, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 28, 2021

On the eve of the free-agent market, the Avalanche re-sign Gabriel Landeskog, the Lightning trade Tyler Johnson to the Blackhawks and the Canucks ship Nate Schmidt to the Jets. Get the details plus other signings and trades in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

THE DENVER POST: The Colorado Avalanche re-signed Gabriel Landeskog to an eight-year, $56 million contract. The annual average value is $7 million.

The Colorado Avalanche re-sign captain Gabriel Landeskog (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: A big name off the market just hours before free agency begins at noon ET today. The cap hit isn’t too bad but the term is lengthy for a forward turning 29 in November. Still, it should be worthwhile during the first half of the deal if Landeskog’s performance doesn’t decline during that period. It could get costly over the latter half of the contract if his skills deteriorate.

Landeskog is the Avs’ captain and their first-line left-winger. They need his skill and leadership to remain a Stanley Cup contender over the next four years. His cap hit, however, leaves the Avs with $12.3 million in cap space for 2021-22. That could make it difficult to re-sign goaltender Philipp Grubauer and to fill out the remaining roster spots.

TAMPA BAY TIMES/NBC SPORTS CHICAGO: The Tampa Bay Lightning trade winger Tyler Johnson to the Chicago Blackhawks in exchange for defenseman Brent Seabrook’s contract and a second-round pick in 2023.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Lightning were expected to trade Johnson this summer to free up salary-cap space. By taking on the permanently sidelined Seabrook’s contract, they’ll free up around $5 million in cap space by placing him on long-term injury reserve. That contract is worth an annual average value of $6.875 million through 2023-24.

Johnson’s contract also expires in ’23-’24 and he carries a $5 million annual cap hit. The Blackhawks now have around $2.5 million in cap room, though they can get $3.9 million more if necessary by placing permanently sidelined forward Andrew Shaw on LTIR.

THE PROVINCE/WINNIPEG SUN: The Vancouver Canucks trade defenseman Nate Schmidt to the Winnipeg Jets in exchange for a third-round pick in 2022.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: A salary dump by the Canucks, shedding $5.95 million through 2024-25 from their books. With over $26 million in cap space, they have sufficient room to re-sign young stars Elias Pettersson and Quinn Hughes. It should also allow them to fend off any offer sheet attempts for Pettersson.

The Jets, meanwhile, add their second defenseman in as many days after acquiring Brenden Dillon from the Washington Capitals. A lack of depth among their top-four blueliners was an area of concern last season. Schmidt and Dillon should help them address that issue.

THE ATHLETIC: The Seattle Kraken are expected to sign winger Jaden Schwartz when the free-agent market opens at noon ET today.

SPORTSNET: Patrik Laine is accepting the Columbus Blue Jackets’ $7.5 million qualifying offer for 2021-22.

BOSTON HOCKEY NOW: The Bruins are reportedly closing in on a new contract for center David Krejci.

NBC SPORTS BOSTON: The Bruins have re-signed defenseman Mike Reilly to a three-year deal worth $3 million per season.

MONTREAL GAZETTE: The Canadiens re-signed forward Joel Armia to a four-year, $13.6 million contract. The annual average value is $3.4 million.

FLORIDA HOCKEY NOW: The Panthers are reportedly re-signing defenseman Brandon Montour to a three-year deal worth $3.5 million per season.

NBC SPORTS PHILADELPHIA: The Flyers are expected to sign defenseman Keith Yandle to a one-year, $900K contract. Yandle was bought out of his former contract by the Florida Panthers.

NEW YORK POST: The Carolina Hurricanes are expected to sign former Rangers defenseman Tony DeAngelo.

WGR550.COM: The Buffalo Sabres re-signed forward Drake Caggiula to a one-year, $750K contract.

TSN: The Winnipeg Jets re-signed goaltender Eric Comrie to a one-year, $750K deal.

THE PROVINCE: The Canucks bought out the final season of goaltender Braden Holtby’s contract.

NBC SPORTS BAY AREA: The San Jose Sharks bought out the remaining three years of goaltender Martin Jones’ contract.

EDMONTON JOURNAL: The Oilers bought out the remaining two years of winger James Neal’s contract. They’re also believed to be working on a four-year contract extension for defenseman Darnell Nurse.

THE DENVER POST: The Avalanche acquired defenseman Kurtis MacDermid from the Seattle Kraken in exchange for a 2023 fourth-rounder.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 29, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 29, 2021

The Lightning thump the Canadiens in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final, expansion and NHL draft TV info announced, information on special events for 2021-22 revealed, and much more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: The Tampa Bay Lightning took Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final with a convincing 5-1 victory over the Montreal Canadiens. The Bolts broke the game open in the third period as Nikita Kucherov scored twice and set up Steven Stamkos for the fifth goal. Brayden Point had three assists on the night.

Tampa Bay Lightning winger Nikita Kucherov (NHL Images).

It was a rough game for Canadiens winger Brendan Gallagher. He skated away with a bloodied head after tangling with Lightning defenseman Mikhail Sergachev.

Canadiens winger Joel Armia took a private jet from Montreal to Tampa Bay to rejoin his teammates after emerging from COVID protocol on Monday. He had been held out of the lineup after entering the protocol on Sunday. His spot in the lineup for Game 1 was taken by Jake Evans, playing his first game since being sidelined by a concussion in Game 1 of the Habs second-round series against the Winnipeg Jets.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This was a dominating performance by Tampa Bay from start to finish. Despite the score being 2-1 after two periods, there was a sense that it was a matter of time before they blew the game open.

The Canadiens seemed tentative through much of this contest as they struggled to adjust to the Lightning’s game plan. This series will be over quickly if the Habs fail to find a solution.

Poor puck management proved costly for the Canadiens. The Lightning’s first three goals came from offensive-zone turnovers. Lightning coach Jon Cooper also used his home-ice advantage of having the last line change to good effect in keeping the Point line away from the Canadiens shutdown line.

NBC SPORTS WASHINGTON: NHL commissioner Gary Bettman defended the performance of the league’s officiating during the 2021 Stanley Cup Playoffs. “It seems every season, it’s a playoff ritual for me to address some aspect of the officiating,” said Bettman. “Let’s be clear. Our officials are not only the best hockey officials in the world, they’re the best officials in any sport.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s an annual playoff ritual because there’s an obvious difference over how games are called during the regular season and how they’re called in the playoffs. The commissioner, however, seems unconcerned that this is a growing issue for fans and pundits.

ESPN2, NHL Network and Sportsnet will broadcast the NHL expansion draft on Wednesday, July 21 at 8 pm ET. The first round of the 2021 NHL Draft will be televised on ESPN 2, Sportsnet and SN NOW on Friday, July 23 at 8 pm ET.

The Vegas Golden Knights will host the 2022 NHL All-Star Game with the date to be determined. The 2022 NHL Winter Classic will be held on Jan. 1, 2022, at Target Field in Minneapolis between the Minnesota Wild and St. Louis Blues. The 2022 Stadium Series game will be held Feb. 26 , 2022, at Nissan Stadium in Nashville between the Predators and Tampa Bay Lightning. The league also plans to stage a Tim Horton’s Heritage Classic game in March 2022.

SPORTSNET: The Montreal Canadiens will host the 2022 NHL Draft.

THE SCORE: The NHL’s participation in the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing remains “a work in progress,” according to deputy commissioner Bill Daly. He suggested the continued uncertainty over COVID-19 and the games being held halfway around the world doesn’t make it necessarily an ideal Games to elect to go to. NHL participation remains contingent on negotiations with the International Olympic Committee as per the CBA extension agreement with the NHLPA.

YARDBARKER: The NHL confirmed the Arizona Coyotes will move to the Central Division as part of its realignment with the addition of the Seattle Kraken. The decision to move the Coyotes was made by the league board of governors in December 2018.

CBS BOSTON: Bruins star David Pastrnak and his family are mourning the heartbreaking death of their infant son on June 23. He was five days old.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: My sincere condolences to Pastrnak and his family on their loss. 

CHICAGO SUN-TIMES: The Blackhawks have hired the law firm Jenner & Block to lead an “independent review” of sexual assault allegations against former video coach Bradley Aldrich and the Blackhawks’ internal handling of those allegations.

SPORTSNET: Commissioner Gary Bettman said the league only recently learned of the allegations, adding it will await the results of the independent investigation before deciding how to proceed.

WASHINGTON HOCKEY NOW: Capitals defenseman Zdeno Chara was honored at a ceremony celebrating his home country of Slovakia’s 28th anniversary “for extraordinary merits in the field of sports and for extraordinary dissemination of the good name of the Slovak Republic abroad.”

NEW YORK POST: ESPN has hired Chris Chelios to join fellow Hockey Hall-of-Famer Mark Messier as part of the network’s top hockey studio team.

NHL.COM: The Seattle Kraken announced the Charlotte Checkers will be their AHL affiliate starting in 2021-22.

TSN: The Hockey Hall of Fame announced it is moving forward with its induction ceremony for 2020-2021 on Nov. 15.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 22, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 22, 2021

Recaps of Thursday’s action, Pierre-Luc Dubois benched, an update on the four Capitals sidelined under COVID-19 protocols, and a lengthy list of injuries in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: Tyler Toffoli scored twice as the Montreal Canadiens thumped the Vancouver Canucks 7-3 in the second game of their three-game series. With the score tied 2-2 following the first period, the Canadiens blew the game open with four unanswered second-period goals.

Montreal Canadiens winger Tyler Toffoli (NHL Images).

Montreal winger Joel Armia also scored twice but suffered a concussion late in the third period from a blindside hit by Canucks defenseman Tyler Myers, who received a five-minute major and a game misconduct. Habs forward Paul Byron also left in the third after being struck in the leg by a shot from teammate Shea Weber. Canucks defensemen Travis Hamonic and Alexander Edler missed the game with upper-body injuries, while blueliner Jalen Chatfield suffered a first-period upper-body injury.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Toffoli now has five goals in two games against his former club this season. It’s uncertain if Myers will receive supplemental discipline for his cheap shot on Armia. The Canadiens and Canucks will play the final game of this series on Saturday, with the Habs unbeaten in regulation (3-0-2) thus far.

Jake DeBrusk tallied the only goal in a shootout to give the Boston Bruins a 5-4 win over the Philadelphia Flyers. Nick Ritchie had a goal and an assist while David Krejci collected two assists. James van Riemsdyk tallied twice and Jakub Voracek collected three assists for the Flyers, who gave up 43 shots in this contest. The Flyers played without forward Morgan Frost (dislocated shoulder, injured reserve) and defenseman Philippe Myers (fractured rib, week-to-week).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s a big win for the Bruins, who entered this game sitting dead-last in goals for per game (1.00). A porous defense saw the Flyers blow 2-0 and 3-2 leads in this game. The injuries are piling up for the Flyers, who were also playing without Sean Couturier and Shayne Gostisbehere.

The Tampa Bay Lightning picked up their third straight win by edging the Columbus Blue Jackets 3-2 on an overtime goal by Brayden Point. Blue Jackets center Pierre-Luc Dubois was benched for almost the entire game, seeing less than four minutes of ice time in the first period.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Bolts victory was overshadowed by Dubois’ benching. This is ramping up speculation over the 22-year-old center’s future with the Blue Jackets and his relationship with head coach John Tortorella. I’ll have more in the Rumors section.

New York Islanders winger Jordan Eberle tallied twice in a 4-1 victory over the New Jersey Devils. Isles center Mathew Barzal had a goal and two assists. Josh Bailey returned to the Isles lineup after spending one day on the club’s COVID-19 absence list. The Devils were without starting goaltender Mackenzie Blackwood, who was placed on the club’s COVID list, though that doesn’t mean he’s tested positive for the coronavirus.

Mark Scheifele and Nikolaj Ehlers each had a goal and an assist to lead the Winnipeg Jets over the Ottawa Senators 4-1. The Jets took control of the game with three unanswered second-period goals. Jets winger Patrik Laine missed his third straight game with an upper-body injury.

The Los Angeles Kings got their first win of the season by doubling up the Colorado Avalanche 4-2. The Kings overcame a 2-0 deficit with Adrian Kempe netting the game-winner in the third period. Nathan MacKinnon and Mikko Rantanen each had a goal and an assist for the Avs.

HEADLINES

NBC SPORTS WASHINGTON: Capitals goaltender Ilya Samsonov has tested positive for COVID-19. Samsonov, Alex Ovechkin, Evgeny Kuznetsov and Dmitry Orlov were placed on the NHL’s COVID protocol-related absence list on Wednesday. Ovechkin, Kuznetsov and Orlov will miss at least four games while Samsonov could be sidelined longer. It remains to be seen if the other three tested positive.

Samsonov’s positive test triggered contact testing within the Capitals dressing room, leading to the NHL discovering the four players spent time socializing in the team hotel without facial coverings on multiple occasions. The league fined the Capitals $100K.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Some pundits and fans questioned the NHL’s protocols when this story broke on Wednesday. The bottom line is the Capitals, and every other team in the league knew what the protocols were before this season started. The NHLPA voted for them. Every player had the opportunity to opt-out of playing this season. The players involved in this incident broke those rules and must now suffer the consequences.

The NHL’s COVID protocols were based on CDC and Health Canada guidelines enabling the 31 NHL teams to stage this season in their home arenas. They must also follow local guidelines.

Those rules have had an effect upon this season. A ban on non-essential travel at the Canada-US border has limited Canadian teams to playing among themselves during the regular season. The San Jose Sharks started this season on the road because Santa Clara County has prohibited all sports activities due to high local COVID levels.

The NHL has already postponed games involving the Dallas Stars and Carolina Hurricanes because of COVID outbreaks. They cannot risk further spread jeopardizing the season because some players won’t adhere to the rules.

TRIBLIVE.COM: Pittsburgh Penguins defensemen Marcus Pettersson and Juuso Riikola will each be sidelined several weeks with undisclosed injuries.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That could have Penguins general manager Jim Rutherford shopping for help. I’ll have more about that in the Rumors section.

SPORTSNET: Anaheim Ducks defenseman Josh Manson is sidelined for six weeks with an oblique muscle injury.

THE DALLAS MORNING NEWS: Stars defenseman John Klingberg (medical reasons) is questionable for his club’s season-opener on Friday against the Nashville Predators.

TORONTO SUN: Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews left practice early yesterday as he wasn’t feeling great, according to head coach Sheldon Keefe. His status will be updated today. Forward Joe Thornton is expected to miss some games with an upper-body injury.

CALGARY SUN: Flames winger Dillon Dube is listed as day-to-day with a lower-body injury.

WGR550: Buffalo Sabres goaltender Carter Hutton will miss at least two games with a head injury. Sabres starter Linus Ullmark revealed he missed Monday’s game against Philadelphia as he was grieving the death of his father in Sweden. Ullmark returned to practice and is slated to travel with the club for their upcoming two-game series against Washington.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: My condolences to Ullmark during this difficult time.