NHL Free Agents & Trade Candidates – Winnipeg Jets
Three stars and top rookie of the month for December, Canadiens, Sabres, and Flames get busy in the trade market, milestones reached by Zdeno Chara, Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.
NHL.COM: Nathan MacKinnon’s four-point performance (one goal, three assists) led the Colorado Avalanche to a 7-3 thumping of the St. Louis Blues. Nazem Kadri scored twice and Samuel Girard collected four assists. Robert Thomas scored twice for the Blues.
The Vancouver Canucks picked up their sixth straight win by holding off the Chicago Blackhawks 7-5. J.T. Miller had a four-point effort while teammates Elias Pettersson, Bo Horvat, and Tanner Pearson each collected three points. Patrick Kane scored two goals for the Blackhawks while teammate Adam DeBrincat had three helpers.
The San Jose Sharks defeat the Pittsburgh Penguins 3-2 on an overtime tally by Brent Burns. Joe Thornton picked up his 1,080th career NHL assist to move into seventh on the all-time assists leader list. Patric Hornqvist scored both Penguins goals.
The Toronto Maple Leafs are unbeaten in their last nine games (8-0-1) after downing the Winnipeg Jets 6-3. William Nylander scored two goals and set up another while teammate Frederik Andersen kicked out 45 shots. Earlier in the day, the Jets announced defenseman Nathan Beaulieu will miss at least a month with a lower-body injury.
Sean Monahan’s third-period goal gave the Calgary Flames a 4-3 win over the New York Rangers. Johnny Gaudreau had a goal and an assist for the Flames while Rangers defenseman Adam Fox collected three assists.
The Vegas Golden Knights scored four first-period goals and hung on to beat the Philadelphia Flyers 5-4. Max Pacioretty scored twice for the Golden Knights, who killed off a 6-on-3 Flyers power-play in the final 90 seconds of the third period. Vegas winger Jonathan Marchessault missed the game with a lower-body injury.
A four-goal second period carried the Florida Panthers to a 6-3 victory over the Ottawa Senators. Evgenii Dadonov tallied twice and added an assist for the Panthers.
The Columbus Blue Jackets edged the Boston Bruins 2-1 on an overtime goal by Pierre-Luc Dubois. The Jackets’ point streak has reached 12 games (8-0-4). Bruins winger David Pastrnak tallied his league-leading 30th goal of the season.
Jack Eichel’s penalty-shot goal in overtime completed a 3-2 comeback by the Buffalo Sabres over the Edmonton Oilers. The Sabres overcame a 2-0 deficit on regulation goals by Curtis Lazar and Sam Reinhart. Sabres rookie winger Victor Olofsson left the game in the third period with a lower-body injury.
Tampa Bay Lightning goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy’s 38-save performance carried his club over the Montreal Canadiens 2-1. The Habs played without winger Brendan Gallagher, who’s out indefinitely with a concussion.
Nico Hischier tallied the game-winner as the New Jersey Devils nipped the New York Islanders 2-1. The Devils are 4-0-1 in their last five games. New Jersey center Jack Hughes missed the game with an upper-body injury and is listed as day-to-day. Islanders defenseman Adam Pelech (lower-body injury) also missed this contest.
The Arizona Coyotes doubled up the Anaheim Ducks 4-2 following a three-goal third period. Goaltender Antti Raanta made 26 saves for the win.
Florida Panthers winger Jonathan Huberdeau, Pittsburgh Penguins goatender Tristan Jarry, and New York Rangers winger Artemi Panarin are the NHL’s three stars for December 2019. Buffalo Sabres winger Victor Olofsson is rookie of the month for December.
Boston Bruins defenseman Zdeno Chara and San Jose Sharks forwards Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau are the 12th, 13th, and 14th players in NHL history to play at least one game in four or more different decades.
TSN: The Montreal Canadiens yesterday traded defenseman Mike Reilly to the Ottawa Senators for a fifth-round pick in 2021 and minor-leaguer Andrew Sturtz. They also acquired defenseman Marco Scandella from the Buffalo Sabres in exchange for a fourth-round pick in 2020.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: With these moves, the Canadiens add some much-needed veteran experience to their blueline in Scandella while shedding a $1.5-million salary-cap hit for 2020-21 by moving out the frequently-scratched Reilly. Eligible for UFA status this summer, Scandella can be considered a rental to keep the Habs’ flickering playoff hopes alive. The Senators, meanwhile, needed defensive depth with Dylan DeMelo, Nikita Zaitsev and Ron Hainsey sidelined by injuries.
The Sabres, meanwhile, flipped that draft pick they received from the Canadiens to the Calgary Flames for winger Michael Frolik.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Sabres needed help up front. That they only had to part with a fourth-rounder speaks to the decline in Frolik’s stock. The Flames were reportedly close to moving Frolik at last year’s trade deadline to the Minnesota Wild in a deal for winger Jason Zucker but it fell through at the last minutes. Frolik might not be the only move the Sabres have in store, while the Flames could also be active in the trade market leading up to this year’s deadline. I’ll have more later this morning in my daily Rumors update.
THE ATHLETIC: Los Angeles Kings captain Dustin Brown returned to practice yesterday following a stint in hospital recovering from pneumonia.
USA TODAY: Carolina Hurricanes center Erik Haula and his wife, Kristen, released a statement yesterday mourning the passing of their unborn daughter.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: My sincere condolences to the Haulas.
The Bruins crush the Canadiens, the Flames continue an investigation into allegations of racism and abuse leveled at coach Bill Peters, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.
NHL.COM: David Pastrnak tallied a hat trick to lead the Boston Bruins to an 8-1 thumping of the Montreal Canadiens. He now has a league-leading 23 goals on the season. Teammates Brad Marchand, Charlie Coyle, and Sean Kuraly each collected three points. Canadiens goalie Carey Price was pulled early in the second period after giving up five goals on 11 shots. The Habs are winless in their last five games.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Canadiens’ defensive weaknesses have been on full display over the last five games. Price can usually offset those issues, but when he’s not on his game – which he hasn’t been lately – the Habs suffer. Some pundits believe the Canadiens could pursue a big-ticket scorer like Taylor Hall. They’d be better served to shore up their blueline.
Corey Crawford turned in a 32-save shutout backstopping the Chicago Blackhawks to a 3-0 win over the Dallas Stars, snapping the latter’s seven-game winning streak. Brandon Saad, Patrick Kane, and Connor Murphy were the goal scorers.
Minnesota Wild goaltender Kaapo Kahkonen made 32 saves in his NHL debut in a 3-2 victory over the New Jersey Devils. Ryan Suter’s broke a 2-2 tie in the third period as the Wild extended their points streak to seven games.
CALGARY SUN: Bill Peters will not be behind the Flames’ bench when they face off tonight against the Buffalo Sabres. Management is investigating allegations of racism and abuse leveled at Peters by two former NHL players.
Akim Aliu said Peters hurled racist remarks at him when the two were with the AHL’s Rockford Icehogs in 2009-10. On Tuesday, Michal Jordan claimed Peters kicked and punched him from behind on the bench during a game in 2015-16 when they were with the Carolina Hurricanes. Both incidents have been confirmed by multiple sources.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: At one point yesterday there was a report claiming the Flames had fired Peters, but the club quickly denied it. Nevertheless, there’s a growing sense among the punditry that management could have little choice but to relieve him of his duties.
Jordan’s allegation is also raising questions over the handling of his situation by the Hurricanes management and coaching staff at the time. That includes current head coach Rod Brind’Amour, who was an assistant under Peters when the incident allegedly took place. Brind’Amour declined to comment.
The Peters situation comes on the heels of allegations of abusive behavior leveled at former Toronto Maple Leafs coach Mike Babcock following his firing last week. Some observers believe this could be the start of a culture shift as players speak out against the abuse by so-called old-school coaches.
LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL: Vegas Golden Knights goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury left the team yesterday for Quebec because of a family illness.
LOS ANGELES TIMES: Kings defenseman Alex Martinez is expected to make a full recovery following surgery for a wrist laceration suffered during Monday’s 4-3 loss to the San Jose Sharks.
THE DETROIT NEWS: Red Wings forward Anthony Mantha will be sidelined at least two weeks with a lower-body injury.
WINNIPEG SUN: Jets defenseman Nathan Beaulieu is sidelined seven-to-ten days with an upper-body injury.
TAMPA BAY TIMES: Lightning defenseman Erik Cernak received a two-game suspension for elbowing Buffalo Sabres blueliner Rasmus Dahlin, who’s sidelined with a concussion.
The Islanders extended their winning streak to 10 games, Zdeno Chara plays his 1,500th career NHL game, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.
NHL.COM: The New York Islanders extended their league-leading win streak to 10 games with a 4-1 victory over the Ottawa Senators. Cal Clutterbuck and Casey Cizikas each had a goal and an assist while rookie Cole Bardreau tallied his first career NHL goal on a penalty shot.
The Montreal Canadiens blew three leads but managed to defeat the Boston Bruins by a score of 5-4. Victor Mete tallied twice for the Canadiens. Bruins winger David Pastrnak scored a goal to extend his points streak to 13 games while teammate Brad Marchand’s 13-game point streak came to an end. Bruins captain Zdeno Chara skated in his 1,500th career NHL game while Montreal Canadiens bench boss Claude Julien coached his 1,200th career NHL contest.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Chara received a nice ovation for his achievement from the Bell Centre fans. Despite the long-running rivaly between the two clubs, Chara is respected by Canadiens fans.
The New Jersey Devils nipped the Winnipeg Jets 2-1 on shootout goals by Nikita Gusev and Jesper Boqvist. Mackenzie Blackhawks made 32 saves for the Devils. Jets center Bryan Little left the game in the third period after being struck in the head by a slapshot from teammate Nikolaj Ehlers. A further update on his condition is expected today. Jets defenseman Nathan Beaulieu made his season debut.
Ben Bishop made 36 stops and Radek Faksa scored twice as the Dallas Stars picked up their fourth straight win by beating the Colorado Avalanche 4-1. After going 1-7-1 to open the season, the Stars are 7-1-0 in their last eight games. It was a costly win for the Stars as defenseman John Klingberg left the game with a lower-body injury. He could be sidelined for at least two weeks. Following a hot start to the season, the Avs have dropped five straight games.
The San Jose Sharks downed the Chicago Blackhawks 4-2 to pick up their first win in six games. Timo Meier tallied a goal and an assist while teammate Patrick Marleau became the sixth player in league history to skate in his 800th consecutive NHL game. The Sharks also welcomed back defenseman Radim Simek. He’d been sidelined since March 12 recovering from a knee injury. Earlier in the day, it was reported Sharks winger Evander Kane was being sued by a Las Vegas casino over $500,000 in unpaid gambling markers.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kane is his own worst enemy. This is the latest in a string of questionable off-ice behavior stretching back to his days with the Winnipeg Jets and Buffalo Sabres.
Reilly Smith scored twice as the Vegas Golden Knights edged the Columbus Blue Jackets 2-1, extending the latter’s winless skid to five games. Vegas goalie Marc-Andre Fleury picked up the win with a 29-save performance.
Third-period goals by Auston Matthews and William Nylander 30 seconds apart lifted the Toronto Maple Leafs to a 3-1 win over the Los Angeles Kings. Matthews and Nylander finished the night with two points each.
The Calgary Flames overcame 2-0 and 3-1 deficits to beat the Arizona Coyotes 4-3 in overtime. Matthew Tkachuk scored twice, including the winning goal.
Jaden Schwartz scored on a 3-on-none rush in overtime to give the St. Louis Blues a 2-1 victory over the Vancouver Canucks. The Blues have won five in a row.
Unanswered third-period goals by Travis Konecny, Joel Farabee, and Claude Giroux carried the Philadelphia Flyers to a 4-1 win over the Carolina Hurricanes. Flyers goaltender Carter Hart turned aside 33 shots for the win.
Third-period goals by Mats Zuccarello, Eric Staal, and Zach Parise enabled the Minnesota Wild to double up the Anaheim Ducks 4-2. Zuccarello finished with two points as the Wild picked up their first road win in five games.
IN OTHER NEWS…
THE ATHLETIC: (Subscription required) There is concern over synthetic drugs like cocaine and molly (a pill form of MDMA also known as Ecstasy) becoming more popular among some younger NHL players.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: This is a fascinating in-depth examination of the topic of drug use by NHL players. The piece notes the subject is “often shrouded in secrecy, protected by confidentiality and mostly kept obscured, save for the odd rumor that gains traction on Twitter or hockey message boards.” It attempts to answer how common drug use is in the NHL, the most prevalent drugs, and what the league and the players association are doing to address the issue. It’s well worth the read.
ESPN.COM: In a recent poll of NHL players, the Washington Capitals have the worst visitors’ dressing room while Winnipeg is considered the worst road city.
CBS SPORTS: Detroit Red Wings defenseman Trevor Daley was placed on injured reserve.
Evander Kane suspended plus updates on Sidney Crosby, Dylan Larkin, David Krejci, and more in your season-opening NHL morning coffee headlines.
NBC SPORTS BAY AREA: San Jose Sharks winger Evander Kane received a three-game suspension for shoving an on-ice official during a preseason game against the Vegas Golden Knights.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kane’s fortunate he didn’t receive more than that. His suspension had some Sharks fans wondering if it might open the door for a return by Patrick Marleau but that’s not going to happen.
TRIBLIVE.COM: Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby rejoined his teammates in practice yesterday for the first time since suffering an undisclosed injury over the weekend. Meanwhile, the club is expected to put sidelined winger Bryan Rust (upper body) on long-term injury reserve to start the season.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Placing Rust and defenseman Zach Trotman on LTIR, along with yesterday’s demotions of goaltender Casey DeSmith and defenseman John Marino, ensures the Penguins will be cap compliant to open the season.
THE DETROIT NEWS: Red Wings center Dylan Larkin left practice yesterday following a collision. The club will learn more about his status later today.
NBC SPORTS BOSTON: Bruins center David Krejci (lower-body) remains uncertain for the club’s season-opener on Thursday against Dallas. Meanwhile, contract extension talks have begun between Bruins management and defenseman Torey Krug.
WINNIPEG SUN: Jets center Bryan Little (concussion) is sidelined indefinitely while blueliner Nathan Beaulieu (upper body) will miss at least four weeks. The Jets also lost goaltender Eric Comrie via waivers to the Arizona Coyotes and claimed Chicago Blackhawks defenseman Carl Dahlstrom off waivers.
STARTRIBUNE.COM: Minnesota Wild defenseman Greg Pateryn (sports hernia surgery) will be sidelined up to six weeks.
MONTREAL GAZETTE: The Canadiens demoted forward Ryan Poehling to their AHL affiliate in Laval. A concussion limited him to just two preseason games.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s only a matter of time until Poehling is back with the Canadiens. He’s a promising young forward with a potentially bright future in Montreal.
WGR 550: Buffalo Sabres assistant coach Don Granato is on a leave of absence after being hospitalized with severe pneumonia. He’s expected to make a full recovery.
SPORTSNET: After 13 seasons with ten NHL clubs, forward Lee Stempniak has announced his retirement. In 911 career games, Stempniak tallied 203 goals and 266 points in 469 games. His best season was his sophomore campaign in 2006-07, tallying 27 goals and 52 points with the St. Louis Blues.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Best wishes to Stempniak and his family in their future endeavors.