NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – August 1, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – August 1, 2021

Evander Kane to be investigated that he bet on games, why Jack Eichel wants a disc replacement, plus a roundup of Saturday’s notable free-agent signings in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NBC SPORTS BAY AREA: The NHL intends to launch an investigation into an allegation claiming San Jose Sharks winger Evander Kane gambled on NHL games. The Sharks also released a statement indicating its support for a full and transparent investigation.

San Jose Sharks winger Evander Kane (NHL Images).

The allegation was raised on an unverified Instagram account attributed to Kane’s wife, Anna, claiming the winger abandoned her and their two children to go on a European vacation while their home was being repossessed. She then accused Kane of betting on his own games.

Kane, 29, was sued by a Las Vegas casino in 2019 over $500K in unpaid gambling debts but the suit was dropped the following year. In January, he filed for bankruptcy claiming nearly $27 million in debts, including $1.5 million in gambling losses. He’s also facing six active lawsuits from lenders.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kane’s bankruptcy and previous gambling issues are well-documented but his wife’s allegations raise that issue to an entirely different level. Sharks management stood by him during his bankruptcy. He recently claimed in an interview that fatherhood had changed and matured him. His wife’s comments, however, paint a very different picture.

Kane’s personal issues didn’t affect his on-ice performance as he led the Sharks in scoring this season with 49 points in 56 games. However, reports emerged indicating significant friction between the winger and his teammates this season, with several expressing frustration to management in their season-ending exit interviews.

Kane has four years remaining on his contract with an annual average value of $7 million. The outcome of this investigation, however, could determine whether he’ll get the opportunity to complete that contract.

SPORTSNET: Jeff Marek and Elliotte Friedman interviewed Colorado neurosurgeon Dr. Chad Prusmack, who provided Jack Eichel with a recommendation to correct a herniated disc in his neck with artificial disc replacement surgery. Prusmack explained the procedure, the risk and recovery and why it would be more beneficial than neck fusion surgery.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Eichel and Sabres’ management are in disagreement over whether he can undergo this procedure. Under the CBA, the Sabres have the final say but that’s become an area of contention between the two sides, prompting considerable speculation over his future.

EDMONTON JOURNAL: The Oilers signed winger Warren Foegele to a three-year contract worth $2.75 million per season. Foegele was acquired last week from the Carolina Hurricanes

THE DETROIT NEWS: The Red Wings re-signed winger Tyler Bertuzzi to a two-year contract worth $9.5 million. Bertuzzi has resumed off-ice training following back surgery in April and is expected to be ready for training camp next month.

TORONTO SUN: The Maple Leafs signed Nick Ritchie to a two-year contract worth $2.5 million per season.

MONTREAL GAZETTE: The Canadiens signed winger Artturi Lehkonen to a one-year, $2.3 million contract.

THE DALLAS MORNING NEWS: The Stars signed forward Joel Kiviranta to a two-year, $2.1 million contract.

THE NEWS & OBSERVER: The Carolina Hurricanes signed Derek Stepan to a one-year, $1.35 million contract.

WINNIPEG SUN: The Jets signed forward Riley Nash to a one-year deal worth $750K.










NHL Rumor Mill – July 16, 2021

NHL Rumor Mill – July 16, 2021

The latest on Ryan Suter, Darcy Kuemper, Zach Hyman and Tyler Bertuzzi in today’s NHL rumor mill.

INTEREST GROWING IN SUTER

DAILY FACEOFF: Frank Seravalli reports of growing interest in Ryan Suter after the 36-year-old defenseman was bought out earlier this week by the Minnesota Wild. He could be an affordable option for cap-strapped contenders such as the Vegas Golden Knights, Tampa Bay Lightning, and New York Islanders. Seravalli also thinks the Boston Bruins could be a landing spot.

WASHINGTON HOCKEY NOW: Sammi Silber reports sources suggested the Capitals and the Los Angeles Kings are two clubs that could pursue Suter on July 28, when he can officially sign with a new team.

Former Minnesota Wild defenseman Ryan Suter could draw lots of interest in the free-agent market (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Suter could be a reliable second-pairing left-side defenseman for a contender on an affordable short-term contract. NBC Sports Boston’s Nick Goss believes the veteran rearguard would be a good addition to the Bruins.

NBC Sports Washington’s J.J. Regan points out the Capitals have three left-side defensemen in Michal Kempny, Dmitry Orlov and Brenden Dillon plus two promising left siders in Martin Fehervary and Alex Alexeyev. He feels adding Suter would make sense only if they shed a left-side defenseman via trade or the expansion draft.

THE ATHLETIC: Michael Russo speculated over which players the Minnesota Wild could pursue to replace Suter and Zach Parise, who was also bought out earlier this week. Defense options could include Alec Martinez and Alex Goligoski. Forwards could include Nick Foligno and Paul Stastny.

AVALANCHE, LEAFS, KRAKEN TARGET KUEMPER

DAILY FACEOFF: Frank Seravalli reports the Colorado Avalanche and Toronto Maple Leafs have contacted the Arizona Coyotes regarding goaltender Darcy Kuemper. Both clubs are considering the goalie market at large. The Avalanche’s Philipp Grubauer and the Leafs’ Frederik Andersen are slated to become unrestricted free agents on July 28.

The Seattle Kraken is also believed interested in the 31-year-old Kuemper, who has a year remaining on his contract with an annual average value of $4.5 million. His camp has informed the Coyotes they’re not interested in a contract extension.

AZ COYOTES INSIDER: Craig Morgan also reported the Avalanche has an interest in Kuemper. The netminder’s performance for Canada in this year’s World Championships improved his trade value after being sidelined by a knee injury in March. Morgan suggests shopping him to a contender for a late first-round draft pick, proposing Colorado, Carolina and Edmonton as possible trade partners.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Picking up Kuemper would be a good short-term option for the Avalanche if they lose Grubauer. I guess Jack Campbell didn’t do enough this year to establish trust among Leafs brass that he’s ready to be a starter if they’re looking at Kuemper or bringing back Andersen. That’s not a knock on Campbell, by the way. I felt he played well enough this season to be their starter going forward.

The Hurricanes have a promising starter in Calder Trophy finalist Alex Nedeljkovic but could use a reliable backup. Kuemper would be an expensive option and would give the Hurricanes a 1A and 1B goalie tandem. The Oilers are reportedly talking to Mike Smith about returning for another season. Unless they shed Mikko Koskinen, there’s no room for Kuemper. The Edmonton Journal’s Jim Matheson reported they’re trying to do just that.

LEAFS LET HYMAN SPEAK TO OTHER CLUBS

TORONTO SUN: Lance Hornby reports the Maple Leafs gave permission to Zach Hyman’s agent to speak with other clubs to explore trade possibilities for the 29-year-old pending UFA winger.

Suitors are believed lining up for Hyman. If a suitable deal can be found, the Leafs would trade his rights to another club before July 28 in exchange for a player or something to improve their depleted draft stockpile.

The Detroit Red Wings have been speculated as a destination. It’s believed the Leafs would prefer shipping Hyman out of the Atlantic Division, preferably to a Western team.

THE PROVINCE: Patrick Johnston cites a report in the Toronto Star indicating the Edmonton Oilers, Calgary Flames and Vancouver Canucks are front-runners for Hyman while the Pittsburgh Penguins, Boston Bruins, Florida Panthers and Red Wings also have an interest.

Hyman would reportedly stay with the Toronto Maple Leafs on an eight-year deal worth $5 million annually with a no-movement clause. He’s already received offers higher than that. The Canucks are also believed to be interested in signing St. Louis Blues winger Jaden Schwartz.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: If those reports are true, I must question the sanity of the general managers making those offers. Hyman’s a good player and deserves a raise over the $2.25 million AAV of his recent contract. Something like $4 million annually on a four-year deal is reasonable. I also don’t fault him and his agent for trying to get the best deal they can.

However, Hyman’s not worth over $5 million annually on a long-term deal. He’s just not. To offer well over that when the salary cap is flattened for the next several seasons is irresponsible management.

UPDATE ON TYLER BERTUZZI

THE ATHLETIC: Max Bultman cited colleague Craig Custance reporting teams believes Detroit Red Wings general manager Steve Yzerman is open to trading Tyler Bertuzzi. However, he’s not in a hurry to move the 26-year-old winger. Bertuzzi is a restricted free agent with arbitration rights. So far, there have been no contract discussions but that’s not uncommon among their notable RFAs right now.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: There was speculation the Maple Leafs had an interest in Bertuzzi as a possible replacement for Hyman. Detroit Hockey Now’s Kevin Allen doubted he’ll be traded unless the Wings get an offer too good to refuse. He’s expecting the Wings will re-sign him.










NHL Rumor Mill – July 13, 2021

NHL Rumor Mill – July 13, 2021

The latest on Vladimir Tarasenko, Matthew Tkachuk, Pavel Buchnevich, Reilly Smith and more in today’s NHL rumor mill.

SERAVALLI UPDATES NHL TRADE TARGETS LIST

DAILY FACEOFF: Frank Seravalli added some new names to his NHL summer trade targets list.

Debuting at No. 3 is Vladimir Tarasenko. Seravalli reported last month the 29-year-old St. Louis Blues winger provided the club with a list of preferred trade destinations. It’s a mutual parting of the ways. After two botched shoulder surgeries, Tarasenko is now fully healthy after a third surgery conducted by doctors outside the Blues’ organization.

STLTODAY.COM: Jim Thomas wondered if the Blues might package their 2021 first-round pick (16th overall) with Tarasenko. He believes the Boston Bruins, New York Rangers, Washington Capitals and possibly the New York Islanders might have an interest in the former 30-goal scorer. He also pondered the possibility of the Blues bundling that first-round with defenseman Vince Dunn and another sweetener to the Calgary Flames for winger (and St. Louis native) Matthew Tkachuk.

THE ATHLETIC: Arthur Staple cites two sources claiming Tarasenko would be open to a trade to the Islanders. He also said the winger’s list of teams he’s willing to be traded to is “double digits.” Find room to absorb Tarasenko’s $7.5 million annual average value won’t be easy for the cap-strapped Islanders.

St. Louis Blues winger Vladimir Tarasenko (NHL Images).

It won’t be as easy as trading winger Jordan Eberle and another player, as Eberle has three more years left on his contract. Acquiring Tarasenko post-expansion if Nick Leddy is traded or selected by the Seattle Kraken would make more sense. A package of Tarasenko and Vince Dunn to the Islanders would also be difficult as there would be a lot of moving parts.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Tarasenko will draw interest in the trade market. However, a limited number of clubs can comfortably afford his cap hit and have sufficient assets to interest the Blues. I’m not suggesting it won’t take place but finding the right fit could take time.

As for the Blues acquiring Tkachuk, reports out of Calgary denied rumors he wanted a trade to St. Louis. It could take more than Dunn, a first and another sweetener to pry him away from the Flames.

Vegas Golden Knights winger Reilly Smith checks in at No. 6. Seravalli believes the 30-year-old winger could be shopped to improve the Golden Knights’ depth at center. He has a year left on his contract with an annual average value of $5 million.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Vegas will be seeking someone to center one of their top-two lines and improve their power play. Finding such a forward won’t be easy. Those willing to part with one could prefer Alex Tuch rather than Smith in return.

New York Rangers winger Pavel Buchnevich is No. 8. Sources claim Blueshirts GM Chris Drury is talking about the possibility of moving the 26-year-old winger. He’s a restricted free agent with arbitration rights coming off a career-best 20-goal, 48-point performance in 54 games. Seravalli anticipates he’d get more than $4.54 million via arbitration, which would also take him up to UFA status next summer.

THE ATHLETIC: Rick Carpiniello reports it’s uncertain if Drury is shopping Buchnevich or if teams are making inquiries. The Rangers have over $22 million in projected cap space and will get more when they buy out Tony DeAngelo.

However, Drury must spend that cap room wisely because he must ensure he has sufficient space over the next couple of years to re-sign Mika Zibanejad, Adam Fox, Kaapo Kakko and Igor Shesterkin. Carpiniello also suggested the possibility of acquiring Jack Eichel from the Buffalo Sabres but dismissed the notion of swapping Buchnevich for Vladimir Tarasenko. They also have two promising wingers in Kakko and Vitali Kravtsov.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Drury is willing to examine all his options with Buchnevich. Moving him now while his value is high could fetch a solid return for the Rangers. The deal would also make room for Kakko and Kravtsov to move up on right wing. It’ll be interesting to see how this plays out.

Vancouver Canucks defenseman Nate Schmidt comes in at No. 12. The Canucks denied a report claiming the 29-year-old blueliner wanted out of Vancouver, but Seravalli notes his first season with the Canucks didn’t go well.

Detroit Red Wings forward Tyler Bertuzzi is No. 15. If not for a season-ending back injury, Seravalli believes there would’ve been plenty of suitors for the 26-year-old. His back surgery in April and his RFA status (with arbitration rights) could scare off possible suitors.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman recently said the Leafs had an interest in Bertuzzi before his back injury. Perhaps they’ll revisit that option if they lose Zach Hyman to free agency.

Toronto Maple Leafs forward Alexander Kerfoot is No. 20. It’s believed the Seattle Kraken could select Kerfoot if he’s left exposed in the expansion draft. Seravalli wonders if the Leafs will try to trade him elsewhere before the expansion draft.










NHL Rumor Mill – July 10, 2021

NHL Rumor Mill – July 10, 2021

Check out the latest on Jack Eichel, Duncan Keith, Jakub Voracek, Seth Jones, Tyler Bertuzzi and more in today’s NHL rumor mill.

LATEST EICHEL SPECULATION

SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman reported several sources denied a story suggesting Buffalo Sabres center Jack Eichel had backed away from disk replacement surgery and would undergo a fusion instead.

He speculates an Eichel trade could happen after the July 21 expansion draft. Possible destinations could include the Anaheim Ducks, Calgary Flames, Minnesota Wild and Vegas Golden Knights, with the Boston Bruins, New York Rangers and perhaps the Los Angeles Kings on the periphery.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Ducks, Rangers and Kings have plenty of promising assets and the cap space to swing a deal for Eichel. Whether they’re willing to pay the hefty price in terms of his expensive contract and the return to the Sabres (an equivalent of four first-rounders) is another story. The ongoing uncertainty over his neck injury remains a serious sticking point for every potential suitor.

The Athletic’s Michael Russo reported last month the Wild had preliminary talks with the Sabres. He indicated general manager Bill Guerin could be reluctant to mortgage his club’s future. Guerin also has to get Kirill Kaprizov and Kevin Fiala under contract.

Cap space isn’t an issue for the Bruins but their focus is on adding a top-four, left-side defenseman. They’re in talks with pending UFA winger Taylor Hall and could bring back Tuukka Rask and David Krejci on short-term deals for one more run at the Stanley Cup. They also don’t have enough tradeable assets to meet the Sabres’ high asking price.

Absorbing Eichel’s $10 million annual cap hit would be a problem for the Flames and Golden Knights. Like the Bruins, they lack sufficient depth in promising assets to outbid the others on Friedman’s list.

I’m not saying Eichel won’t be traded or won’t end up on one of those teams. I’m merely pointing out that it’s going to take considerable work to pull it off, especially if the Sabres are reluctant to lower their asking price or absorb a portion of his salary.

KEITH TRADE BETWEEN BLACKHAWKS AND OILERS FALLING APART?

Chicago Blackhawks defenseman Duncan Keith (NHL Images).

SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman reports the Chicago Blackhawks and Edmonton Oilers are reaching a point of “Does it happen or not” regarding a Duncan Keith trade. The Oilers have rejected most of what the Blackhawks sought in return, which may have include Ethan Bear and/or Ryan McLeod.

DAILY FACEOFF: Frank Seravalli said the Blackhawks don’t want to retain any portion of Keith’s $5.53 million annual cap hit. The Oilers’ interest has waned and they’ve pulled back on the assets they were willing to send to Chicago in return. Seravalli believes Caleb Jones was part of it. He also said the Oilers have tabled a “take it or leave it” offer and there’s only a certain price they’ll pay if the Blackhawks won’t retain salary.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Looks like Oilers general manager Ken Holland is taking a firm approach here. He’s under no pressure to acquire Keith. The Oilers could use a second-pairing left-side defenseman but they can find more affordable options if the Hawks won’t retain salary. There’s also no indication the Hawks will take on someone like James Neal or Mikko Koskinen for the purpose of buying them out. If the Blackhawks won’t bend, this deal falls apart.

MORE NOTABLE RUMORS FROM FRIEDMAN’S LATEST 31 THOUGHTS

The Philadelphia Flyers and Jakub Voracek have discussed that it might be time for a change. The 31-year-old winger was told he’ll be left unprotected in the upcoming expansion draft.

If the Seattle Kraken doesn’t select him, the Flyers will look elsewhere. Voracek has three years remaining on his contract with an annual average value of $8.25 million. There’s also a chance they can’t move him via trade and he stays put.

Friedman also reported the Seth Jones-to-Philadelphia trade discussions are off for now. They can’t get the commitment they want from the Columbus Blue Jackets defenseman.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Voracek’s still an effective top-six winger. He lacks no-trade protection but his cap hit will dampen his trade value unless the Flyers pick up part of it or take back an equivalent salary. Perhaps a three-team deal can be made involving draft picks to spread that cap hit around.

If Jones is unwilling to sign an extension with an acquiring team it could kill his value in the trade market. Teams are definitely interested but they don’t want to part with assets on a player who could depart next summer as a free agent.

Friedman wondered if the Carolina Hurricanes will qualify the rights of goaltender Alex Nedeljkovic over concerns of what he might get via arbitration. Same thing with winger Warren Foegele.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: If the Hurricanes don’t qualify their rights they become unrestricted free agents on July 28. They would lose both players to other teams for nothing, though they’d probably try to trade them before then. Nedeljkovic was a finalist for the Calder Memorial Trophy and would draw considerable attention in the UFA market.

Friedman took note of Montreal Canadiens general manager Marc Bergevin acknowledging how tough the past year was for him mentally and his intention to honor the final year of his contract. He wondered if Bergevin might move into a President of Hockey Operations role with the Canadiens after next season while Scott Mellanby or Martin Lapointe takes over as GM.

Canadiens center Phillip Danault confirmed turning down a long-term extension prior to this season. Friedman believes the two sides were $500K to $750K per season apart. Bergevin indicated he hopes Danault remains with the team.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The statuses of Bergevin and Danault will be the hot topics for the Montreal media in the coming weeks. Danault is slated to become an unrestricted free agent on July 28. It’ll be interesting to see if the Canadiens increase their previous six-year, $30 million offer or if Danault will test the market.

The Toronto Maple Leafs had an interest in Detroit’s Tyler Bertuzzi until the 26-year-old left winger suffered a season-ending injury. Pending UFA winger Zach Hyman probably won’t be back with the Leafs. The Red Wings could be among Hyman’s suitors.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Perhaps the Leafs will revisit that interest in Bertuzzi if he’s fully recovered from his back surgery. He is a restricted free agent who exceeded 45 points in consecutive seasons prior to this year. He’ll be costly to the Leafs in terms of salary and return to the Wings if the latter intends to part with him.

Teams are showing interest in Arizona Coyotes center Christian Dvorak. He’s under contract for four more years with an AAV of $4.45 million.

Friedman wouldn’t be surprised if the Los Angeles Kings attempted to land a winger such as Colorado’s Brandon Saad or St. Louis’ Jaden Schwartz.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Kings were in the market for two top-six wingers in the trade market, preferably in their late-20s with some term left on their contracts. Saad and Schwartz are in the right age group but they’re due to become UFAs by July 28. The Kings might be interested but perhaps on deals for no more than four years.

The Blues could go after Gabriel Landeskog if he hits the open market and they trade Vladimir Tarasenko. Friedman thinks Landeskog will stay with the Colorado Avalanche.

There will be plenty of interest in Tampa Bay Lightning UFA forwards Blake Coleman and Barclay Goodrow.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – May 21, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – May 21, 2021

The Canadiens win over the Leafs overshadowed by Tavares injury, the Panthers rally back against the Lightning, the Penguins and Golden Knights take 2-1 leads in their respective series. Details and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: A shorthanded goal by Paul Byron late in the third period lifted the Montreal Canadiens to a 2-1 victory over the Toronto Maple Leafs in Game 1 of their much-anticipated first-round series. Canadiens goalie Carey Price made 35 stops while Josh Anderson opened the scoring. William Nylander tallied for the Leafs.

Toronto Maple Leafs captain John Tavares (NHL Images).

The Habs win was overshadowed by a scary injury to Leafs captain John Tavares in the first period. Checked to the ice by Ben Chiarot, Tavares was accidentally struck in the head by the knee of Corey Perry as the latter attempted to avoid the fallen Leaf. He was stretchered from the ice and spent the night in hospital, where he was reportedly conscious, communicative, and passed all tests.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Tavares’ status for Game 2 on Saturday is unclear. Here’s hoping he makes a full recovery and returns to this series.

While Perry’s collision with Tavares was accidental, Leafs winger Nick Foligno felt the Habs winger had to answer for his “transgression” by fighting him on the next faceoff. Had Perry deliberately attempt to injury Tavares it would’ve been justified. That wasn’t the case in this instance. Even former NHL enforcer Matthew Barnaby questioned Foligno’s actions.

The Canadiens didn’t emerge entirely unscathed from this game. Center Jake Evans left the game with an undisclosed injury and didn’t return.

The Florida Panthers clawed their way back into their series with the Tampa Bay Lightning with a 6-5 overtime victory. Ryan Lomberg tallied the game-winner as his club overcame a 5-3 deficit on third-period goals by Patric Hornqvist and Gustav Forsling. Jonathan Huberdeau collected three assists for the Panthers as did the Lightning’s Victor Hedman. The Lightning holds a 2-1 series lead with Game 4 set for Saturday afternoon.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Panthers defenseman Keith Yandle was a healthy scratch for the first time since 2009. However, this doesn’t affect his consecutive-games streak of 922 as only regular-season games are counted.

Jeff Carter scored twice, Kris Letang collected three points and Brandon Tanev netted the winning goal as the Pittsburgh Penguins nipped the New York Islanders 5-4 to take a 2-1 lead in their series. Cal Clutterbuck scored twice for the Islanders. Game 4 is on Saturday afternoon.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This was a wild contest that saw the Islanders overcome 1-0, 3-1 and 4-3 deficits before Tanev put the game away. A wild scrum near the Penguins net in the third period resulted in nine roughing minors.

The Vegas Golden Knights overcame a 2-0 deficit to drop the Minnesota Wild 5-2 and take a 2-1 lead in their first-round series. Mark Stone led the way with two goals for the Golden Knights. Game 4 is on Saturday night.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Wild were the better team in the first period. They appeared to take a 3-0 lead on a goal by Joel Eriksson Ek but that was overturned as offside on a coach’s challenge. Had that goal stood, perhaps it would’ve changed the outcome of this game. Instead, the Golden Knights rallied with a strong effort over the remaining two periods.

HEADLINES

THE DENVER POST: Colorado Avalanche center Nazem Kadri faces a suspension for his hit to the head of St. Louis Blues defenseman Justin Faulk in Game 2 of their first-round series. Kadri was offered an in-person hearing with the league’s department of player safety.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kadri has two prior postseason suspensions. He could be gone for at least the remainder of this series. His punishment is expected to be handed down today.

NBC SPORTS WASHINGTON: Capitals center Evgeny Kuznetsov confirmed he tested positive for COVID-19 for a second time earlier this month. He returned to action for Game 3 of his club’s series against the Boston Bruins. It was his first game since May 1. He had also tested positive in January.

THE DETROIT NEWS: Red Wings forward Tyler Bertuzzi said he’s feeling well following back surgery on April 30. He was limited to just nine games this season and hopes to be ready for training camp in September.

THE PROVINCE: The Vancouver Canucks are reportedly close to signing head coach Travis Green to a new contract. His current deal expires at the end of this season. Meanwhile, Canucks center Elias Pettersson said his season was ended on March 1 by a hyperextended wrist. He said it’s almost 100 percent healed and doesn’t expect any issues for next season.

THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH: The Blue Jackets signed general manager Jarmo Kekalainen to a two-year contract extension.

OTTAWA SUN: Senators owner Eugene Melnyk said he’d like to build a new arena in Kanata to replace the Canadian Tire Centre. However, he also hinted at moving across the Gatineau River into Quebec, though the team would still be within the Ottawa region.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 23, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 23, 2021

The Avalanche clinch a playoff berth, a big night for Jakub Vrana, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: The Colorado Avalanche are the second team to secure a playoff spot by doubling up the St. Louis Blue 4-2. Andre Burakovsky scored twice and Nathan MacKinnon collected three assists for the Avalanche, who were playing their first game since their schedule was postponed by a COVID-19 outbreak last week. They sit two points behind the first-place Vegas Golden Knights in the Honda West Division. Jaden Schwartz scored both goals for the Blues (44 points), who remain one point behind the fourth-place Arizona Coyotes.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Jared Bednar surpassed Bob Hartley as the Avalanche’s longest-tenured head coach with his 360th game. He’s now in his fifth season in that role and has done a magnificent job coaching this former bottom-feeding club into a Stanley Cup contender.

Two shorthanded goals by Sebastian Aho carried the Carolina Hurricanes to a 4-2 win over the Florida Panthers. Carolina’s Martin Necas picked up three assists while Florida captain Aleksander Barkov scored twice. The Hurricanes sit in first place in the Discover Central Division with 67 points, two up on the second-place Panthers. They also played without defenseman Brady Skjei as he remains sidelined indefinitely by a concussion.

The Tampa Bay Lightning defeated the Columbus Blue Jackets 3-1 to sit one point back of the Panthers. Blake Coleman scored twice and Ondrej Palat netted the game-winner.

Detroit Red Wings forward Jakub Vrana (NHL Images).

Detroit Red Wings forward Jakub Vrana scored four goals to lead his club over the Dallas Stars 7-3. Thomas Greiss made 43 saves for the win. The Stars (50 points) remain two points behind the fourth-place Nashville Predators in the Central. The Wings played without captain Dylan Larkin (upper-body injury) and announced Tyler Bertuzzi is done for the season with an upper-body injury.

Auston Matthews tallied his 34th goal of the season as the Toronto Maple Leafs downed the Winnipeg Jets 5-3. Mitch Marner scored twice and Nick Foligno collected an assist in his debut with the Leafs. Mark Scheifele had two points for the Jets, who lost center Adam Lowry following a headshot from Leafs winger Alex Galchenyuk. The Leafs played without defenseman Zach Bogosian, who’s sidelined for more than a week with an undisclosed injury.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: With 63 points, the Leafs now hold a six-point lead over the Jets for first place in the Scotia North Division.

Shootout goals by Nicklas Backstrom and Evgeny Kuznetsov gave the Washington Capitals a 1-0 victory over the New York Islanders. Ilya Samsonov made 26 saves for his second shutout of the season. The Capitals (64 points) hold a one-point lead over the Islanders and Pittsburgh Penguins for the top spot in the MassMutual East Division.

Speaking of the Penguins, Sidney Crosby, Bryan Rust, Kasperi Kapanen and Teddy Blueger each had a goal and an assist in a 5-1 win over the New Jersey Devils, Kapanen returned to action after missing 13 games with a lower-body injury. The Penguins hold second place over the Islanders with 30 wins.

The Boston Bruins picked up their sixth straight win by beating the Buffalo Sabres 5-1. David Pastrnak and Brad Marchand each had a goal and an assist and Jeremy Swayman kicked out 29 shots. The Bruins sit in fourth place in the East Division with 60 points, three behind the Islanders and eight up on the New York Rangers.

Two power-play goals by James van Riemsdyk powered the Philadelphia Flyers to a 3-2 victory over the Rangers. Brian Elliott made 33 saves for the Flyers (49 points), who sit three points back of the fifth-place Rangers in the East Division.

Matt Murray had a 31-save shutout as the Ottawa Senators blanked the Vancouver Canucks 3-0. Drake Batherson had a goal and an assist as the Senators have won four of their last five games.

IN OTHER NEWS…

SPORTSNET: Arizona Coyotes winger Conor Garland is listed as week-to-week with a lower-body injury.

STAR-TRIBUNE.COM: The Minnesota Wild re-signed forward Ryan Hartman to a three-year, $5.1 million contract extension. The annual average value is $1.7 million.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Hartman accepted a slight pay cut from his currently $1.9 million AAV for the security of an extra year. Cap Friendly indicates the signing leaves the Wild with $59.6 million invested in 13 players for 2021-22.

TSN: Only four players were on the NHL’s COVID-19 list yesterday. Three of them were the Avalanche’s Joonas Donskoi, Philipp Grubauer and Mikko Rantanen. The fourth was the Devils’ P.K. Subban.

Frank Seravalli reports the NHL and NHLPA have given the International Olympic Committee until the end of May for a financial commitment for the 2022 Winter Olympics because they need to set their schedule for next season.

THE SEATTLE TIMES: The Seattle Kraken are being sued by Seattle’s Kraken Lounge for $3.5 million. The lawsuit alleges the risk of irreparable harm to their brand name due to the team’s name choice and plans to open the Kraken Bar & Grill at their planned training facility.