NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 27, 2023

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 27, 2023

Recaps of Sunday’s games, Barry Trotz to replace David Poile as Predators GM, Tanner Jeannot to the Lightning, Ivan Barbashev to the Golden Knights, Evgenii Dadonov to the Stars, and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.


NHL.COM: Minnesota Wild winger Kirill Kaprizov tallied a hat trick (including the game-winner in overtime) to defeat the Columbus Blue Jackets 3-2. The win propelled the Wild (33-21-6) into second place in the Central Division with 72 points, one point up on the Colorado Avalanche. Elvis Merzlikins stopped 41 shots as the Blues Jackets fell to 19-35-6 on the season.

Minnesota Wild winger Kirill Kaprizov (NHL Images).

A five-goal second period lifted the Pittsburgh Penguins to a 7-3 victory over the Tampa Bay Lightning. Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and Brian Dumoulin each had a goal and an assist as the Penguins as they improved to 29-21-9 and hold the final Eastern Conference wild-card berth with 67 points. Nikita Kucherov and Brayden Point also had a goal and an assist each for the 37-18-4 Lightning as they’ve dropped four of their last six and sit in third place in the Atlantic Division with 78 points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kucherov reached 700 career points and sits fourth all-time among Lightning scorers with 701.

The Buffalo Sabres dumped the Washington Capitals 7-4 as Dylan Cozens tallied his first NHL hat trick while Tage Thompson netted his 40th goal of the season. The Sabres (31-23-4) sit one point back of the Penguins. Dylan Strome collected two points and Alex Ovechin scored his 33rd of the season for the Capitals as they’ve slipped to 29-27-6 and sit three points behind the Penguins and two points behind the Sabres.

New York Islanders goaltender Semyon Varlamov made 23 saves to shut out the Winnipeg Jets 4-0. Bo Horvat, Alexander Romanov, Brock Nelson and Adam Pelech were the goal scorers as the Islanders rose to 31-25-7 and hold the first Eastern wild-card spot with 69 points. The Jets (35-24-1) have dropped four straight games and fell into the first Western Conference wild-card berth with 71 points.

The New York Rangers got two goals and an assist from Vincent Trocheck in a 5-2 victory over the Los Angeles Kings. Igor Shesterkin turned aside 26 shots as the Rangers (34-17-9) snapped a four-game losing skid and sit third in the Metropolitan Division with 77 points. Phillip Danault collected two assists for the Kings as they fell to 33-20-8 and remain in second place in the Pacific Division with 74 points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Rangers defenseman K’Andre Miller was ejected in the first period for spitting on Kings defenseman Drew Doughty. Miller reached out to Doughty following the game claiming it wasn’t on purpose and he felt bad about it.

The Rangers also sat Ryan Carpenter and Braden Schneider for salary-cap purposes as they continue to work toward an expected trade for Chicago Blackhawks winger Patrick Kane.

Toronto Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews scored two goals to defeat the Seattle Kraken 5-1. Mitch Marner had three assists while Ilya Samsonov kicked out 26 shots as the Leafs improved to 37-15-8 as they moved to within one point of the third overall New Jersey Devils with 82 points. Vince Dunn scored the only goal for the Kraken (32-21-6) as they dropped into the final Western wild-card berth with 70 points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Kraken were jockeying for first place in the Pacific Division not too long ago. They’ve dropped seven of their last 10 games which could prompt general manager Ron Francis into making a move before the March 3 trade deadline to bolster his roster.

The Nashville Predators got two goals by Roman Josi in a 6-2 win over the Arizona Coyotes. Josi finished with three points as did Matt Duchene and Tommy Novak as the Predators (29-22-6) sit six points behind the Kraken with 64 points. The Coyotes are 20-30-9 on the season.


THE TENNESSEAN: A source said Nashville Predators general manager David Poile intends to retire at the end of this season. He’s been their GM since the club’s inception in 1997 and sits third all-time in wins (1,519) among NHL general managers. His replacement is expected to be Barry Trotz, who was the club’s first head coach during its first 15 seasons.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It will be the end of an era for the Predators. Poile’s tenure was mostly a successful one, qualifying for the playoffs 15 times since their inaugural season in 1998-99. They reached the Stanley Cup Final in 2017 and won the Presidents’ Trophy in 2018. Since then, however, the Predators have been in a slow but steady decline. They risk missing the playoffs this season for the first time since 2014.

THE TENNESSEAN/TAMPA BAY TIMES: Speaking of the Predators, they traded forward Tanner Jeannot to the Tampa Bay Lightning in exchange for a first-round pick in 2025, a second-round pick in 2024, a third, fourth and fifth-rounder in 2023 and defenseman Cal Foote.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That’s one helluva haul for Jeannot, a middle-six power forward who had 24 goals and 41 points as a rookie last season but slumped to five goals and 14 points in 56 games this season. The 25-year-old winger is a restricted free agent this summer.

The Lightning appear to have overpaid for Jeannot. However, Daily Faceoff’s Matt Larkin points out that they could see something awesome in him just like they did with Brandon Hagel, Nick Paul, Blake Coleman and Barclay Goodrow at previous trade deadlines. If he helps the Lightning return to the Stanley Cup Final it will be considered a wise investment, especially if they re-sign him to an affordable extension.

VEGAS HOCKEY NOW/STLTODAY.COM: The Vegas Golden Knights acquired winger Ivan Barbashev from the St. Louis Blues in exchange for prospect Zach Dean.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: A versatile forward who can play center or wing, Barbashev should provide a boost to the Golden Knights’ middle-six lines. Dean, 20, is a 2021 first-round pick who was ranked third among Vegas’ top prospects in The Athletic’s midseason prospect pool rankings.

The Golden Knights might not be done dealing as they still have over $7 million in projected deadline cap space. However, their lack of sufficient draft and prospect capital to use as trade bait could hamper efforts to acquire a more notable talent.

THE DALLAS MORNING NEWS/MONTREAL HOCKEY NOW: The Stars traded winger Denis Gurianov to the Montreal Canadiens in exchange for winger Evgenii Dadonov. The Canadiens also retain half of Dadonov’s $5 million cap hit.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Gurianov is a former 20-goal scorer who struggled over the last two seasons with the Stars. If he regains his form in Montreal, the rebuilding Canadiens could re-sign him or use him as a trade chip in the offseason.

Dadonov has only 18 points in 50 games but enjoyed a 20-goal, 43-point performance last season with Vegas. He could rediscover his scoring touch with the playoff-bound Stars.

COLORADO HOCKEY NOW/NBC SPORTS CHICAGO: The Blackhawks traded defenseman Jack Johnson to the Colorado Avalanche for blueliner Andreas Englund. Johnson played for the Avalanche last season and helped them win the Stanley Cup.

DETROIT HOCKEY NOW: Red Wings forward Michael Rasmussen is sidelined indefinitely with an injured kneecap.

TSN: The Vancouver Canucks placed defenseman Ethan Bear (upper body) on injured reserve.

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 29, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 29, 2022

The Bruins and Golden Knights get identical shutout victories, Islanders winger Josh Bailey scores in a milestone game, the Hurricanes trade Ethan Bear to the Canucks, and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.


NHL.COM: Boston Bruins goalie Linus Ullmark stopped 30 shots for his first shutout of the season in a 4-0 victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets, dropping the latter’s record to 3-6-0. David Pastrnak had a goal and an assist to move into first place in the NHL scoring race with 17 points while the Bruins lead the league with a record of 8-1-0.

Boston Bruins winger David Pastrnak (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Brad Marchand took a scheduled game off from this one after making his season debut on Thursday. He underwent double hip surgery in May.

Vegas Golden Knights goaltender Logan Thompson made 29 saves for his league-leading second shutout of the season to blank the Anaheim Ducks 4-0. Reilly Smith and William Karlsson each had a goal and an assist for the Golden Knights, who are 7-2-1 thus far this season. The Ducks, meanwhile, fell to 1-6-1.

New York Islanders winger Josh Bailey scored in his 1,000th career NHL game in a 6-2 victory over the Carolina Hurricanes. Brock Nelson tallied twice and Ilya Sorokin made 33 saves for the Islanders, who improved their record to 4-4-0. Brent Burns scored his first goal for the Hurricanes, who are 4-2-1 in their first seven games.

An overtime goal by Blake Wheeler gave the Winnipeg Jets a 3-2 victory over the Arizona Coyotes, spoiling the latter’s home opener at the 5,000-seat Mullet Arena in Tempe. The Coyotes (2-4-1) opened the scoring on two goals by Christian Fischer but the Jets (5-3-0) rallied on goals by Cole Perfetti and Mark Scheifele to set the stage for Wheeler’s winner.

Vancouver Canucks captain Bo Horvat scored twice to lead his club over the Pittsburgh Penguins 5-1. Spencer Martin turned aside 34 shots to give the Canucks their second win of the season (2-5-2) while the Penguins (4-3-1) have dropped three straight games.

The New Jersey Devils got a 24-save shutout from Vitek Vanecek and a goal from Jack Hughes to upset the Colorado Avalanche 1-0. The win moves the Devils to 5-3-0 while the Avs drop to 4-3-1. The Avalanche were without winger Valeri Nichushkin, who is listed as day-to-day with a lower-body injury


THE NEWS & OBSERVER: The Carolina Hurricanes traded defenseman Ethan Bear and prospect forward Lane Pederson to the Vancouver Canucks in exchange for a fifth-round pick in 2023. The Hurricanes also retained 18 percent of Bear’s $2.2 million salary for this season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This move wasn’t unexpected. The Hurricanes had been shopping Bear for several weeks as he became the odd man out on their deep defense corps. The Canucks were in the market for a right-side defenseman and were reportedly quite interested in Bear.

DETROIT HOCKEY NOW: The NHL department of player safety suspended Red Wings forward Michael Rasmussen for two games for high-sticking Boston Bruins center David Krejci, who is listed as day-to-day with an upper-body injury.

NEW YORK POST: Rangers center Filip Chytil has resumed practicing with his teammates but is still expected to miss the next two games with what is believed to be a head injury.

OTTAWA SUN: Senators defenseman Artum Zub is out for one-to-two weeks with an upper-body injury.

NHL Rumor Mill – October 27, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – October 27, 2022

More speculation on Jakob Chychrun, the latest on Ethan Bear and more in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.


SPORTSNET: In his latest “32 Thoughts” column, Elliotte Friedman reports Jakob Chychrun remains a couple of weeks away from rejoining the Arizona Coyotes. Teams that are interested in acquiring him will want to see if he’ll be immediately impactful.

Arizona Coyotes defenseman Jakob Chychrun (NHL Images).

The New York Islanders could be a suitor. However, Friedman wonders if it would make sense for them to part with draft picks right now.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I don’t see Chychrun as a fit with the Islanders because I don’t see their defense as an issue. They’re middle of the pack (16th) in shots-against per game (31.7), their penalty-killing is at 100 percent as of last night’s action and they have the sixth-best goals-against per game (2.57). Granted, their goaltending plays a big part in those last two stats but I don’t believe they need to bolster their blueline.

Scoring, however, is another matter. They’re 19th overall in goals-per-game (3.14) while their 12.5 power-play percentage ranks 25th overall.

Chychrun’s offense from the blueline could help but what they really need is a scoring forward. General manager Lou Lamoriello reportedly tried to acquire J.T. Miller from the Vancouver Canucks and came up short trying to sign Johnny Gaudreau and Nazem Kadri during the offseason.

GOPHNX.COM: In a recent mailbag segment, Craig Morgan was asked why the Arizona Coyotes haven’t traded Chychrun yet. Put simply, it’s because they haven’t received an offer that would bring requisite value. He also thinks interested clubs want to see him play before committing assets in a trade.

Another reader pointed out Chychrun’s 10-team no-trade clause kicks in after this season. Morgan acknowledged it could make it difficult to move the blueliner to clubs with more tradeable assets. However, he feels the Coyotes will attempt to move him before the March 3 trade deadline.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Rival general managers could be counting on that in the hope that Coyotes GM Bill Armstrong will lower his asking price by then.


Friedman also followed up on his weekend report regarding the Carolina Hurricanes looking at moving Ethan Bear. Two sources told him the 25-year-old defenseman made a trade request during the summer. The Vancouver Canucks have shown real interest. So did the Washington Capitals around the draft. The Toronto Maple Leafs could also be poking around.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Friedman reiterates that the Hurricanes still see Bear as a legitimate NHL defenseman. They’re not willing to retain any portion of his $2.2 million salary for this season to facilitate a trade. He could end up on waivers and he’d be willing to report to their AHL affiliate to get in some playing time.

Washington Hockey Now’s Sammi Silber doesn’t see the Capitals revisiting their earlier interest in Bear. They’ve now got Erik Gustafsson on their blueliner with Matt Irwin as their seventh defenseman plus several options they can recall from the minors if necessary.


With blueliners Mattias Samuelsson and Henri Jokiharju sidelined by injuries, Buffalo Sabres general manager Kevyn Adams could be examining the trade market to see what’s available.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: So far, they’re relying on call-ups Lawrence Pilut and Kale Clague. That could change if Samuelsson and/or Jokiharju are out longer than anticipated.

Friedman also doubts the Vancouver Canucks are in a hurry to replace head coach Bruce Boudreau. Part of the reason is financial as they still paying former coach Travis Green $2.75 million for this season. Boudreau’s salary pushes that to over $4 million.

NHL Rumor Mill – October 24, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – October 24, 2022

In today’s NHL Rumor Mill: an update on John Klingberg plus a couple of suggested blueline targets for the Canadiens.


THE ATHLETIC: Pierre LeBrun recently interviewed Anaheim Ducks general manager Pat Verbeek regarding the state of the club’s rebuild. Among the topics was Verbeek’s plan for defenseman John Klingberg, who signed a one-year, $7 million contract with the Ducks as a free agent in July.

Anaheim Ducks defenseman John Klingberg (NHL Images).

Verbeek doesn’t rule out re-signing the 30-year-old Klingberg if both sides are willing to agree to an extension. However, LeBrun suggested the blueliner could become a valuable trade deadline asset if the Ducks are out of playoff contentions by then.

Whatever happens, Verbeek said he’ll let Klingberg know where he stands before the trade deadline. That’s what he did last March with Hampus Lindholm, Josh Manson and Rickard Rakell.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Klingberg has two points in six games thus far with the Ducks, who are off to a sputtering start this season. Maybe he’ll be interested in sticking around and being part of their rebuild. That will depend upon his role and what type of contract the Ducks are willing to offer.

I think Klingberg gets shopped at the deadline just like Lindholm, Manson and Rakell. While it’s worthwhile for a rebuilding club to have some veterans in the lineup to take some of the burdens off their promising young players, Klingberg’s UFA status next summer likely means he’ll be moving on next summer. Best to get something for him by the trade deadline.


MONTREAL HOCKEY NOW: Marco D’Amico recently cited an NHL source claiming the Los Angeles Kings are looking to resolve the logjam on the right side of their defense corps. That could draw the interest of the Montreal Canadiens given their need for some veteran help on their blueline. D’Amico suggested Sean Walker as a possible trade target, noting the Canadiens could draw upon their excess of forwards to help the Kings boost their bottom-six forward lines.

D’Amico also noted the potential availability of Carolina Hurricanes rearguard Ethan Bear as Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman speculated he could be traded or waived. The Canadiens still have priority on waivers for another week, giving them first crack at Bear if he becomes available.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Bear is on a one-year contract earning $2.2 million. Friedman said the Hurricanes came close to moving him a couple of times but interested parties wanted them to retain part of his salary. That could be a sticking point for the Canadiens.

Canadiens GM Kent Hughes has said he’d like to add a veteran right-side defenseman and could draw upon his forward depth for trade bait. So far, he’s yet to swing that deal, perhaps because his club is playing better than expected through their first six games of this season. We’ll find out soon enough if Hughes is interested in Bear or one of the Kings’ surplus blueliners.

Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – October 23, 2022

Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – October 23, 2022

The Jakob Chychrun trade speculations keep rolling along, Hurricanes defenseman Ethan Bear could be on the move plus the latest on the Bruins in the Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup


SPORTSNET: Jeff Marek reports the Arizona Coyotes management wants to trade Jakob Chychrun, who has asked to be moved to a contender. However, their asking price for the 24-year-old defenseman remains high.

It’s essentially the equivalent of two first-round picks, plus. So, that would be a combination of prospects, picks and players as well,” said Marek. He indicates Chychrun remains sidelined as he continues to rehab from offseason wrist surgery but is expected to make his season debut in a couple of weeks.

Arizona Coyotes defenseman Jakob Chychrun (NHL Images).

Rumors have linked Chychrun to the Ottawa Senators for some time. However, Marek said they don’t want to part with “Shane Pinto or Ridley Greig or Jake Sanderson or anyone like that.” He wonders if another club deep in promising talent, like the Los Angeles Kings, could become more involved.

OTTAWA SUN: Bruce Garrioch claims the Senators, Kings, Toronto Maple Leafs, Florida Panthers, St. Louis Blues, Anaheim Ducks and the Columbus Blue Jackets are believed to have spoken to Coyotes general manager Bill Armstrong about Chychrun.

DAILY FACEOFF: Matt Larkin considers the Senators and Kings as the favorites to land Chychrun. He believes the Leafs are in the hunt while the Panthers and Vancouver Canucks are long shots.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I know some of you are growing weary of the constant Chychrun rumors. However, this is the way it typically goes in the early-season trade market in the salary-cap era. Too few players are available and too many teams have limited salary-cap space to make any significant moves.

That means whatever notable player becomes a trade candidate will be the focus of endless conjecture. Chychrun is the biggest name available because he’s asked to be traded and the Coyotes are trying to accommodate him. Chicago Blackhawks winger Patrick Kane occasionally surfaces in the rumor mill. That’s because of pundits speculating over his future and not because of anything Kane or Blackhawks management has done.

Chychrun will continue to dominate media trade gossip until he’s finally moved or other players of note become available or teams accrue sufficient cap space to start wheeling and dealing.

As for potential trade destinations, none of those listed should come as any surprise to those of you who frequent this site. Only the Senators and Ducks have sufficient cap space and depth in tradeable assets to acquire him and they don’t appear willing to meet the Coyotes’ asking price.

It will take some creativity on the part of those cap-strapped clubs to acquire Chychrun. It’ll have to be dollar-in, dollar-out or a three-team deal that spreads his cap hit around. I don’t see the Coyotes agreeing to the latter as they probably won’t want $2.3 million in dead cap space on their books through 2024-25, which is the final season of his contract.


SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman reports the Carolina Hurricanes are expected to reach a decision soon regarding Ethan Bear. The 23-year-old defenseman has not yet suited up this season.

Bear wants to play but hasn’t been able to crack the Hurricanes roster. They’ve been shopping him and came close to a trade a couple of times. However, interested clubs want the Hurricanes to retain half of his $2.2 million salary for this season which they don’t want to do. The Canucks could be among the suitors.

Friedman believes the situation will be resolved soon. He believes a team will make an offer that the Hurricanes will find agreeable, or he gets into the lineup or ends up on waivers.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Bear was considered a promising young puck-moving defenseman when he began his NHL career with the Edmonton Oilers but struggled to adjust with the Hurricanes after contracting COVID-19 last season. Perhaps a fresh start with a new club can help him get back on track.


BOSTON HOCKEY NOW: Jimmy Murphy believes the Bruins’ immediate focus will be shoring up the right side of their defense if they decide to explore the trade market. Charlie McAvoy is sidelined until December and Brandon Carlo is on injured reserve with an upper-body injury.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Hurricanes have a right-shot defenseman they’re trying to move who might fit the bill for the Bruins…

NHL Rumor Mill – September 20, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – September 20, 2022

The fallout from the Rangers shipping Nils Lundkvist to the Stars plus the latest on Jake Allen, Jesse Puljujarvi, Ethan Bear and Brett Ritchie in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.


NEW YORK POST: Larry Brooks weighed in on the Rangers trading Nils Lundkvist yesterday to the Dallas Stars for a conditional first-rounder in 2023 and a conditional fourth-rounder in 2025.

Brooks feels Rangers general manager Chris Drury “has acquired a critical asset he can move for immediate help” at the March trade deadline. He suggests Drury will have potentially two first-rounders to play the rental market, or what Brooks calls “the Patrick Kane derby”.

New York Rangers traded defenseman Nils Lundkvist to the Dallas Stars on Sept. 19. (NHL Images)

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Brooks has suggested the Rangers should pursue Kane if the 33-year-old Chicago Blackhawks superstar becomes available by the trade deadline. Having that extra first-round pick could give Drury an advantage if he decides to get into the bidding. Something to keep an eye on depending on how the Rangers’ season shakes out.

THE DALLAS MORNING NEWS: Matthew DeFranks reports the Lundkvist deal is the first time Stars GM Jim Nill has traded a first-round pick for a player. He also thinks that move could affect efforts to free up salary-cap space.

Perhaps the first-rounder rids the Stars of Anton Khudobin? Perhaps the fourth-rounder entices a team to bite on Radek Faksa?”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Lundkvist could pan out for the Stars if the 22-year-old blossoms into a reliable puck-moving right-side defenseman. As for what else Nill could’ve used those picks for, maybe he’s working on something else that moves Khudobin or Faksa to clear the cap space necessary to re-sign restricted free agent Jason Robertson.


MONTREAL HOCKEY NOW: Marco D’Amico reports teams are continuing to ask Canadiens GM Kent Hughes about Jake Allen, who is in preliminary contract talks with the Habs. Given the interest in the 32-year-old goaltender, D’Amico’s source wonders if Hughes could be weighing the pros and cons of extending him.

D’Amico also reported Hughes continues working the phones in search of a defenseman. He’s reportedly willing to draw from his depth of forwards for trade bait. Mike Hoffman, Joel Armia and (to a lesser extent) Christian Dvorak are those who could be available.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: As D’Amico also observed, it would be shocking if the Canadiens traded Allen now with Carey Price expected to miss the coming season. Maybe that’s a move that happens later in the season (perhaps by the March trade deadline?) if Allen decides to test next summer’s free-agent market.


SPORTSNET: Mark Spector wonders if the Edmonton Oilers will move Jesse Puljujarvi if Jake Virtanen impresses during his professional tryout offer. The 24-year-old winger is earning $3 million this season. Spector doesn’t believe the Oilers can get anything of value for Puljujarvi and lack depth on right wing to deal for a draft pick.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’ll be interesting to see how Oilers GM Ken Holland handles this. They must clear cap space if they’re to sign RFA forward Ryan McLeod and become cap compliant when the season begins. They could ice fewer players for the coming season but it would be better to either demote or trade someone.

Iain MacIntyre reports the Vancouver Canucks could have Ethan Bear on their radar in their search for a defenseman before the start of the coming season. The 25-year-old blueliner is on a one-year contract worth $2.2 million and becomes a restricted free agent with arbitration rights next summer.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Bear struggled in his first season with the Hurricanes. He suffered a bout with COVID-19 that subsequently hampered his performance. If he’s no longer suffering any lingering ill effects, he could be a worthwhile pickup if available.

Eric Francis reported hearing the Flames are closing in on a one-year contract for Brett Ritchie.