NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 18, 2024

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 18, 2024

The Devils defeat the Flyers in their Stadium Series matchup, Auston Matthews tallies another hat trick, and more from a busy Saturday in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.

NHL.COM: The New Jersey Devils defeated the Philadelphia Flyers 6-3 in front of 70, 328 fans at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey in their NHL Stadium Series. Nico Hischier led the way with two goals and an assist, Nathan Bastian scored twice and Nico Daws made 45 saves for the 28-22-4 Devils (60 points), who sit two points out of the final Eastern Conference wild-card berth. Owen Tippett tallied two goals for the Flyers (29-20-7) as they hold third place in the Metropolitan Division with 65 points.

Toronto Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews (NHL Images).

Toronto Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews netted his second straight hat trick and his sixth of the season in a 9-2 drubbing of the Anaheim Ducks. Matthews also collected two assists, Bobby McMann scored twice and added an assist and Timothy Liljegren picked up three assists as the Leafs (29-16-8) vaulted over the Tampa Bay Lightning into third place in the Atlantic Division with 66 points. Ryan Strome had a goal and an assist for the 19-33-2 Ducks.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Matthews now has a league-leading 48 goals, nine more than second-place Sam Reinhart of the Florida Panthers. Leafs captain John Tavares missed this game with an undisclosed injury and is listed as day-to-day while defenseman William Lagesson left the game with an upper-body injury. The Ducks, meanwhile, activated Alex Killorn (knee surgery) off injured reserve for this game and placed winger Brock McGinn (upper body) on IR retroactive to Feb. 10.

Speaking of the Lightning, they were crushed 9-2 by the Florida Panthers as they picked up their fifth straight win. Matthew Tkachuk and Sam Bennett each had two goals and two assists while Carter Verhaeghe scored twice and picked up an assist for the 36-15-4 Panthers as they lead the Eastern Conference with 76 points. Brandon Hagel and Brayden Point scored for the Lightning (30-21-5) as they slipped into the first Eastern wild-card spot with 65 points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Panthers defenseman Aaron Ekblad missed this game with a lower-body injury and is listed as day-to-day. Lightning forward Tanner Jeannot also didn’t play as he’s day-to-day with an undisclosed injury.

Los Angeles Kings rookie defenseman Brandt Clarke scored his first NHL goal in overtime to lift his club over the Boston Bruins 5-4. Anze Kopitar scored the tying goal late in the third period while Pierre-Luc Dubois picked up two assists for the 26-16-10 Kings, who hold the first Western Conference wild-card berth with 62 points. James van Riemsdyk scored twice and collected an assist for the 32-12-11 Bruins, who had a 3-1 lead at one point in this contest. With 75 points, they sit second overall in the Eastern Conference.

A four-point performance by Mark Schiefele (one goal, three assists) carried the Winnipeg Jets to a 4-2 victory over the Vancouver Canucks. Gabriel Vilardi scored two goals and picked up an assist while Connor Hellebucyk stopped 35 shots for the Jets (33-14-5) as they moved past the Colorado Avalanche into second place in the Central Division with 71 points. Noah Juulsen and Tyler Myers replied for the 37-13-6 Canucks as they remain in first place in the overall standings with 80 points.

The Edmonton Oilers nipped the Dallas Stars 4-3 on an overtime tally by Evan Bouchard, who finished the game with two goals. Leon Draisaitl and Corey Perry each had two points for the Oilers (32-18-1) as they’re perched in third place in the Pacific Division with 65 points. Matt Duchene had a goal and two assists for the Stars (34-14-7) as they hold first place in the Central Division with 75 points and sit second overall in the Western Conference.

Third-period goals by Seth Jarvis and Stefan Noesen gave the Carolina Hurricanes a 3-1 win over the Vegas Golden Knights. Seth Martin turned aside 29 shots for the 32-17-5 Hurricanes, who sit second in the Metropolitan Division with 69 points. Jonathan Marchessault replied for the Golden Knights (31-17-6), who sit second in the Pacific Division with 68 points.

Detroit Red Wings goaltender James Reimer turned in a 38-save shutout to blank the Calgary Flames 5-0. Patrick Kane and Lucas Raymond each had a goal and an assist for the Red Wings (28-20-6) as they hold the final Eastern wild-card spot with 62 points. Jacob Markstrom got the hook after giving up four goals on 12 shots as the 25-25-5 Flames (55 points) have lost three straight and sit five points behind the St. Louis Blues for the final Western wild-card berth.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: A rough outing for Markstrom but he didn’t get much help from his teammates in this game. I’ll have more about the Flames in the Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup.

Speaking of the Predators, they rolled to a 5-2 win over the Blues. Juuse Saros kicked out 35 shots while Filip Forsberg and Ryan O’Reilly each had a goal and an assist for the 28-25-2 Predators (58 points) as they picked up their first regulation win in seven games. They sit two points behind the 29-23-2 Blues (60 points), who got goals from Jordan Kyrou and Nathan Walker.

The Washington Capitals kept their playoff hopes alive by downing the Montreal Canadiens 4-3. Aliaksei Protas snapped a 3-3 tie while Anthony Mantha had a goal and an assist for the 24-21-8 Capitals (56 points) as they sit six points behind the Red Wings. Nick Suzuki scored to extend his points streak to 10 games while linemate Juraj Slafkovsky collected an assist as his points streak reached eight games for the Canadiens, who dropped to 22-25-8 on the season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Capitals defenseman Martin Fehervary left this game with a lower-body injury.

An overtime goal by Henri Jokiharju lifted the Buffalo Sabres to a 3-2 win over the Minnesota Wild. Casey Mittelstadt and Dylan Cozens also scored for the Sabres (24-26-4) while Joel Eriksson Ek and Declan Chisholm replied for the 25-23-6 Wild (56 points) as they moved to within four points of the Blues for that final Western wild-card berth.

Chicago Blackhawks rookie Connor Bedard had a goal and an assist as his team downed the Ottawa Senators 3-2. Petr Mrazek made 40 saves for the 15-37-3 Blackhawks while Tim Stutzle had a goal and an assist for the 22-27-5 Senators.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Bedard has picked up from where he left off when he was sidelined on Jan. 5 with a fractured jaw. He now has three points in two games since his return to action and has regained the rookie scoring lead with 36 points.

A late goal by Boone Jenner gave the Columbus Blue Jackets a 4-3 win over the San Jose Sharks. Johnny Gaudreau, Yegor Chinakhov and Erik Gudbranson each had two assists for the 17-26-10 Blue Jackets while Anthony Duclair tallied twice for the 15-34-5 Sharks.

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 7, 2024

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 7, 2024

The Golden Knights snap the Oilers’ 16-game win streak, Elias Lindholm and Andrei Kuzmenko scored in their first games with their new teams, the Blackhawks will host another Winter Classic game, and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.


NHL.COM: The Vegas Golden Knights ended the Edmonton Oilers’ win streak at 16 games by defeating the latter 3-1. Chandler Stephenson snapped a 1-1 tie in the third period, William Karlsson scored an empty-netter and Adin Hill made 30 saves for the 30-15-6 Golden Knights as they hold second place in the Pacific Division with 66 points. Oilers captain Connor McDavid scored for the Oilers (29-16-1) as they sit seven points behind Vegas in the Pacific Division with 59 points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This will add fodder to the growing rivalry between these two clubs. The Golden Knights also eliminated the Oilers from the second round of the 2023 playoffs during their march to the Stanley Cup.

Vancouver Canucks center Elias Lindholm (NHL Images).

Elias Lindholm had a memorable debut with the Vancouver Canucks, scoring twice in a 3-2 win over the Carolina Hurricanes. J.T. Miller netted the game-winner in the third period while Quinn Hughes and Brock Boeser each collected two assists for the league-leading Canucks (34-11-5, 73 points) as they extended their points streak to 12 games (10-0-2). Jordan Martinook and Sebastian Aho replied for the 28-16-5 Hurricanes as they sit in second place in the Metropolitan Division with 61 points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Lindholm was acquired from the Calgary Flames by the Canucks on Jan. 31.

Speaking of the Flames and memorable debuts, Andrei Kuzmenko scored in their 4-1 upset of the Boston Bruins. Jonathan Huberdeau and Nazem Kadri each collected three points for the 23-22-5 Flames (51 points) as they moved within three points of the final Western Conference wild-card berth. Pavel Zacha scored for the Bruins (31-10-9) as they lead the Eastern Conference with 71 points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kuzmenko was part of the return to the Flames in last week’s Lindholm trade with the Canucks. he had good chemistry skating alongside Huberdeau in this game. It’ll be interesting to see if the duo can maintain it over the rest of the regular season. Meanwhile, Flames forward Martin Pospisil received a five-minute major penalty and a game misconduct for cross-checking Bruins captain Brad Marchand in the face during the first period.

The New Jersey Devils downed the Colorado Avalanche 5-3, ending Avs center Nathan MacKinnon’s points streak at 14 games. Nico Hischier, Jesper Bratt and Erik Haula each had two points for the 25-20-3 Devils (53 points) as they sit five points out of the final Eastern Conference wild-card spot. Jonathan Drouin collected two assists for the Avalanche (32-15-4) as they sit in second place in the Central Division with 68 points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Devils activated forward Tomas Nosek off injured reserve for this game. He’d been sidelined for three months with an injured foot.

Pittsburgh Penguins goaltender Tristan Jarry stopped 23 shots for his league-leading sixth shutout of the season to blank the Winnipeg Jets 3-0, spoiling Sean Monahan’s debut with the latter following his trade last Friday from the Montreal Canadiens. Kris Letang, Jeff Carter and Bryan Rust were the goal-scorers for the Penguins (23-17-7) as they sit five points out of the final Eastern wild-card berth with 53 points. The Jets are now winless in their last four (0-3-1) and sit third in the Central Division with 65 points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Jets defenseman Brenden Dillon received a five-minute major penalty and a game misconduct for an illegal hit to the head of Penguins forward Noel Acciari in the second period. Acciari left the game with help from his teammates and was undergoing evaluation following the game.

The Dallas Stars got a 47-save performance from Jake Oettinger to nip the Buffalo Sabres 2-1, picking up their fourth straight win. Sam Steel broke a 1-1 tie in the third period for the 31-13-6 Stars as they hold first place in the Central Division with 68 points due to a game in hand over the Avalanche. Tage Thompson scored for the Sabres (22-24-4), who got 28 saves from Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Before this game, the Sabres placed defenseman Mattias Samuelsson on injured reserve and activated blueliner Erik Johnson off IR. 

A third-period goal by Noah Cates lifted the Philadelphia Flyers to a 2-1 victory over the Florida Panthers. Travis Konecny also scored and Samuel Ersson stopped 20 shots for the 26-19-6 Flyers as they snapped a five-game losing skid and hold third place in the Metropolitan Division with 58 points. Carter Verhaeghe scored for the 31-15-4 Panthers, who sit second overall in the Eastern Conference with 66 points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Panthers forward Sam Reinhart was held scoreless as his 13-game points streak came to an end. The Panthers activated forward Nick Cousins off injured reserve while the Flyers activated winger Owen Tippett off IR for this game.

The Montreal Canadiens beat the Washington Capitals 5-2. Nick Suzuki and Juraj Slafkovsky each scored twice, Cole Caufield picked up an assist to extend his points streak to 10 games, and Sam Montembault kicked out 37 shots for the 21-21-8 Canadiens. Alex Ovechkin tallied his 10th goal of the season for the 22-19-7 Capitals.


NBC SPORTS CHICAGO: The Blackhawks will host the 2025 Winter Classic at Wrigley Field where they’ll face the St. Louis Blues. It will be the seventh time the Blackhawks have taken part in the Winter Classic.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Call it the Connor Bedard effect. The Blackhawks are the worst team in the league but the presence of their talented young rookie resulted in an 18.9 percent increase in home attendance through their first two months of the season, drawing an average of 3,005 more fans per game compared to the same period last season. The league is banking on a promising young Blackhawks team led by a healthy Bedard drawing a huge crowd at Wrigley and big TV ratings as a result.

THE HOCKEY NEWS: The Columbus Blue Jackets are one of only three NHL teams not to participate in an outdoor game. However, that could change as it’s believed they will host a 2025 NHL Stadium Series game against the Detroit Red Wings at Ohio Stadium on or around March 1, 2025.

TSN: The New York Rangers placed center Nick Bonino on unconditional waivers yesterday for the purpose of contract termination. He’s currently on a one-year, $800K deal.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Chris Johnston reported Bonino might not have to wait long to land with a new NHL team as there have been inquiries. He must sign before the March 8 trade deadline to be eligible to play in the postseason.

NEW YORK POST: Speaking of the Rangers, captain Jacob Trouba returns to action on Wednesday against the Tampa Bay Lightning. He served a two-game suspension for elbowing Golden Knights forward Pavel Dorofeyev on Jan. 26.

NHL Rumor Mill – February 2, 2024

NHL Rumor Mill – February 2, 2024

The ongoing fallout of the Elias Lindholm deal on the trade market, plus the latest on the Predators and Blackhawks in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.


THE ATHLETIC: Pierre LeBrun reports Sean Monahan of the Montreal Canadiens moves to the top of the list of available centers who are pending unrestricted free agents heading toward the March 8 trade deadline.

Montreal Canadiens center Sean Monahan (NHL Images).

He believes the Winnipeg Jets and Colorado Avalanche want to add a second-line center. The Boston Bruins and New York Rangers also make sense as destinations for Monahan.

The Anaheim Ducks’ Adam Henrique is probably next on that list. LeBrun also wondered if Scott Laughton could end up on this list if the Philadelphia Flyers fall out of the playoff race. He cited colleague Darren Dreger reporting the Flyers are getting calls about Laughton, who has two years left on his contract with an annual cap hit of $3 million. While general manager Daniel Briere isn’t keen to move the 29-year-old center he’s willing to listen to offers.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Monahan’s bounce-back performance this season and his affordable $1.9 million cap hit account for why he’s likely the top center in the trade market leading up to March 8. The Canadiens could even retain half of that cap hit but they’ll likely want a first-round pick and maybe a prospect or a promising young NHL player in return.

Laughton could be moved if someone pitches a significant offer to Briere, who isn’t deviating from his rebuilding plans despite his club sitting third in the Metropolitan Divison. As he said, however, he won’t make trades just for the sake of doing so. Briere indicated the trade market would determine what moves (if any) he’ll make.

LeBrun believes the Flames’ focus now shifts toward pending UFA defensemen Noah Hanifin and Chris Tanev. He thinks they’re still trying to re-sign Hanifin but will have to fish or cut bait by March 8.

It’s more likely that Tanev gets moved by deadline day. The Flames’ asking price is believed to be a second-round pick plus another asset but a club could have him right now if they’re willing to part with a first-rounder.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: LeBrun believes the Flames are rebuilding on the fly rather than engaging in a full roster teardown. They could seek a young roster player for Hanifin as he has more value than Tanev.

LeBrun also wondered what effect Lindholm’s trade might have on Flames goalie Jacob Markstrom as the two are good friends. Markstrom is signed through 2025-26 with an AAV of $6 million and a no-movement clause. If he wants out, moving him might have to wait until the offseason.


THE TENNESSEAN: Paul Skrbina doesn’t see the Nashville Predators parting with starting goaltender Juuse Saros by deadline day. They’re jockeying for a wild-card berth in the Western Conference and promising Yaroslav Askarov isn’t NHL-ready yet. The only way he thinks that could happen is if a desperate general manager is willing to overpay to get him.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Somebody could pitch Preds GM Barry Trotz an offer too good to refuse but I don’t think anyone’s going to do that by the trade deadline. Maybe in the offseason if Saros’ contract extension talks get difficult.

Skrbina expects Tyson Barrie to be the more likely candidate following his recent public trade request. Pending free agents such as Tommy Novak, Yakov Trenin, Alexandre Carrier and Kevin Lankinen and pending restricted free agent Dante Fabbro could also become trade bait.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Not all of those pending free agents could hit the trade block. In Fabbro’s case, Trotz doesn’t have to move him by March 8 as he could wait for the offseason to gauge his market value if he doesn’t have a long-term future in Nashville.


CHICAGO HOCKEY NOW: Nate Brown noted a recent report indicating the New York Rangers are taking calls on winger Kaapo Kakko and wondered if the Blackhawks should look into it if they haven’t already done so.

Kaapo, 22, could be an affordable acquisition and he still has time to reach his potential. However, Brown noted that the young Rangers winger has had ample opportunity to do so and hasn’t reached it yet. He also noted the Blackhawks are dealing with a struggling young winger of their own in Lukas Reichel.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Blackhawks already have enough promising youngsters on their club and within their system. They need more established young talent to help their rebuild and provide some much-needed depth around budding superstar Connor Bedard.

NHL Rumor Mill – January 30, 2024

NHL Rumor Mill – January 30, 2024

Updates on the Flames, Penguins, Blues, Flyers and Blue Jackets plus the latest on Adam Henrique, Jakob Chychrun, Andrei Kuzmenko, and Arthur Kaliyev in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.


NHL NETWORK: Elliotte Friedman provided an update on Calgary Flames center Elias Lindholm, defensemen Noah Hanifin and Chris Tanev, and goaltender Jacob Markstrom.

Friedman believes there’s “a ton of interest” in Lindholm, listing the Vancouver Canucks and Colorado Avalanche as possible destinations. He thinks the 28-year-old center will get traded.

Calgary Flames center Elias Lindholm (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: CHEK-TV’s Rick Dhaliwal also interviewed Friedman, who told him Lindholm is high on the Canucks’ radar but it could cost them a little more because they’re dealing with the Flames.

The Athletic’s Corey Pronman and Julian McKenzie had the Avalanche and Canucks on their list of proposed trade destinations for Lindholm. They also included the Boston Bruins, Dallas Stars, Vegas Golden Knights and Winnipeg Jets.

Hanifin will have to decide over the All-Star break as to whether he sees his future in Calgary or somewhere else. At one point, the two sides seemed close to a contract extension but Hanifin changed his mind as the club struggled early in the season. They have reportedly resumed discussions.

There’s a big market for Tanev. The Ottawa Senators have an interest in him but he might not accept a trade this season to a non-contender. Maybe they’ll have a better chance of signing him as a free agent this summer.

As for Markstrom, Friedman said he doesn’t like the trade speculation. He believes that there’s an unwritten agreement between the goalie and Flames management that they won’t ask him about waiving his no-movement clause unless they’ve got an offer too good to pass up or he tells them that he wants to go somewhere. Neither scenario has happened yet.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Either scenario seems more likely to happen in the offseason given Markstrom’s $6 million AAV. I’m not saying either one will, just pointing out that it’s easier to move expensive contracts during the offseason when clubs have more cap space.


NHL NETWORK: Friedman was asked if the Pittsburgh Penguins might make some big moves to retool their roster for next season. He doesn’t believe they’ll be buyers and that may be playing a role in the contract talks with pending UFA winger Jake Guentzel. They won’t trade their first and second-round picks and top prospects for playoff rentals. The Penguins could attempt to do a “soft rebuild” over the next couple of years.


NHL NETWORK: Friedman cited the New York Post’s Larry Brooks saying the Rangers might not want to pay a big price for a center to replace Filip Chytil because they haven’t played well lately.

Friedman acknowledged how well-connected Brooks is regarding the Rangers but he wonders if that’s a bit of a smokescreen. They have the eighth-best winning percentage in the NHL and if goaltender Igor Shesterkin regains his form there’s no reason that they can’t win their division in the playoffs.

The Rangers were seeking a fourth-line center before Chytil was sidelined for the season. Now they could be seeking another center. He believes the Anaheim Ducks’ Adam Henrique makes a lot of sense for them and he thinks that could be determined over the next month.

NEW JERSEY HOCKEY NOW: James Nichols cited Friedman on his latest “32 Thoughts” podcast speculating that the Devils may have checked into Henrique’s availability. The 33-year-old center began his career with the Devils and spent over seven years with them before being traded to Anaheim during the 2017-18 season.

Nichols noted the Devils need to improve their goaltender and defensive depth and have sufficient centers to offset the indefinite absence of Michael McLeod. However, Henrique would generate more offense and would be stronger in the faceoff circle than anyone the Devils have beyond Jack Hughes and Nico Hischier.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: If the Rangers want Henrique they might have to ask the Ducks to retain part of his cap hit, and that’s going to raise their asking price. The Devils have more cap space than the Rangers and could easily absorb Henrique’s $5.85 million cap hit.

I wouldn’t be surprised if general manager Tom Fitzgerald has looked in his availability. However, I think his focus remains on improving his goaltending and blueline depth.


SPORTSNET: During his latest “32 Thoughts” episode, Friedman indicated that St. Louis Blues general manager Doug Armstrong had a lot of his players in the trade market but there wasn’t a lot of interest.

One player who would’ve drawn interest was winger Pavel Buchnevich. However, he doesn’t think Armstrong wants to move the 28-year-old winger, who’s second in team scoring with 39 points in 48 games.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: With the Blues having climbed into a wild-card spot in the Western Conference, perhaps Armstrong will stand pat and see how the season unfolds.


SPORTSNET: During the latest “32 Thoughts” podcast, Friedman suggested the Chicago Blackhawks should look into acquiring Vancouver Canucks winger Andrei Kuzmenko. He felt the Nashville Predators could’ve been a destination but the Blackhawks are struggling to score.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kuzmenko continues to struggle this season following his 74-point campaign in 2022-23. He’s signed through next season with a $5.5 million annual cap hit.

The Blackhawks can easily afford Kuzmenko’s contract. However, he also has a 12-team no-trade clause and might not be keen to join a rebuilding team.


NHL NETWORK: Friedman believes Jakob Chychrun’s future with the Senators will come down to what he seeks on his next contract. He has one year remaining on his contract with an AAV of $4.6 million and will seek a big raise. That will force management to make some decisions.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That decision could be moving Chychrun but that might not take place until the offseason.


SPORTSNET: During the latest episode of his “32 Thoughts” podcast, Friedman believes the Los Angeles Kings are willing to trade winger Arthur Kaliyev. He believes they would swap him for a depth forward who plays with a bit of an edge to his game.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kaliyev is only 22 and in the final season of his entry-level contract. He could make be an affordable reclamation project for an aging team or a rebuilding club.


NHL NETWORK: Friedman thinks the Philadelphia Flyers will attempt to sign pending UFA defenseman Nick Seeler to a contract extension and they could take a run at re-signing Travis Konecny, who has a year remaining on his contract.

It seems less likely that they’ll re-sign Sean Walker since their recent addition of Jamie Drysdale. The 30-year-old defenseman has been linked to the Edmonton Oilers, Tampa Bay Lightning and Toronto Maple Leafs.


NHL NETWORK: Friedman noted rookie defenseman David Jiricek’s public frustration with his usage by the Columbus Blue Jackets. This comes at the worst time with the Jackets poised to miss the playoffs again but he thinks Jiricek handled it well by reporting to their AHL affiliate in Cleveland.

Friedman believes there could be big changes coming for the club and wondered how high up they could go.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It starts with a new president of hockey operations, a new general manager and a new head coach. This franchise has been mired in mediocrity for years. The fans and players deserve better.

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 29, 2024

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 29, 2024

Recaps of Sunday’s game, Patrik Laine enters the player assistance program, and Filip Chytil is out for the season. Details and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.


NHL.COM: The St. Louis Blues won in overtime for the third straight game by defeating the Los Angeles Kings 4-3. Brayden Schenn scored the winning goal while Jordan Kyrou had a goal and two assists for the 26-20-2 Blues, who picked up their fifth straight victory to move into the final Western Conference wild-card berth with 54 points. Adrian Kempe, Jaret Anderson-Dolan and Phillip Danault replied for the struggling Kings (22-15-10) as they’ve won just twice in their last 16 games and cling to the first Western wild-card spot with 54 points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Blues defenseman Scott Perunovich left this game with a lower-body injury in the third period. There was no postgame update regarding his condition. The Blues also announced blueliner Justin Faulk (lower-body injury) will likely remain sidelined through the upcoming All-Star break.

Seattle Kraken winger Jordan Eberle (NHL Images)

Seattle Kraken winger Jordan Eberle scored twice and collected an assist in a 4-2 victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets. Jared McCann tallied his 20th goal of the season and Joey Daccord made 30 saves for the 21-18-10 (52 points) as they sit two points behind the Kings and Blues. Yegor Chinakhov scored both goals for the 15-24-10 Blue Jackets.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Blue Jackets rookie Adam Fantilli left this game with a lower-body injury in the second period while hitting McCann into the boards. There was no postgame update regarding his status but he’s considered questionable for Tuesday’s game against the Blues.


THE HOCKEY NEWS: Blue Jackets forward Patrik Laine has entered the NHL/NHLPA player assistance program. In an Instagram post, the 25-year-old winger indicated he’s taking time to work on prioritizing his mental health and well-being. Blue Jackets general manager Jarmo Kekalainen issued a press release saying Laine has the full support of the team.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Laine has been struggling with injuries since being acquired by the Blue Jackets in 2021. He has nine points in 18 games this season.

NEW YORK POST: Rangers forward Filip Chytil is sidelined for the remainder of this season with a suspected concussion. He’s been out since Nov. 2 and suffered a setback in his recovery on Friday while skating with his teammates during morning practice. The Rangers have placed him on long-term injury reserve.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Chytil took to Instagram saying he’s staying positive and hopes to return stronger than ever. However, there’s genuine concern that the oft-injured Chytil’s career could be in jeopardy. He’s been sidelined 10 times by injuries since 2018-19. This news will only fuel speculation that the Rangers will look to the trade market for a short-term replacement.

NHL.COM: Vancouver Canucks defenseman Tyler Myers was fined $5,000.00 for elbowing Blue Jackets forward Sean Kuraly on Saturday.

THE GLOBE & MAIL: Unsigned Ottawa Senators forward Alex Formenton turned himself in to London, Ontario police on Sunday to face a charge of sexual assault. It’s in connection with allegations that five members of Canada’s 2018 World Junior team attacked a woman at a hotel.

Formenton’s lawyers issued a statement saying their client will “vigorously defend his innocence”, asking people not to rush to judgment until hearing all the evidence.

CBS SPORTS: Vegas Golden Knights forward William Karlsson has been activated off LTIR following a 12-game absence with a lower-body injury.

INSIDE AHL HOCKEY’s Tony Androckitis reports the Carolina Hurricanes have loaned goaltender Pyotr Kochetkov to the AHL’s Chicago Wolves during the upcoming NHL All-Star break. The move is believed to be a paper transaction designed to allow the Hurricanes to accrue some salary-cap space.

NBC SPORTS CHICAGO: The Blackhawks set a franchise record with their 1-0 loss on Saturday to the Calgary Flames. It was their 20th straight road defeat.

NHL Rumor Mill – January 27, 2024

NHL Rumor Mill – January 27, 2024

What trade targets could put the Canucks or Jets over the top? Could the Golden Knights make a big splash at the trade deadline? What’s the latest on the Blackhawks? Find out in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.


THE ATHLETIC: Thomas Drance and Harman Dayal recently looked at what the Vancouver Canucks should add if they hope to stage a Stanley Cup run this season.

Calgary Flames center Elias Lindholm (NHL Images).

Adding a top-six center such as the Calgary Flames’ two-way center Elias Lindholm would be a primary trade target. Failing that, acquiring a productive, play-driving winger would be a good consolation prize.

A depth puck-mover would be another good addition. They suggested someone such as the Anaheim Ducks Gustav Lindstrom, the Arizona Coyotes’ Travis Dermott or the Ottawa Senators’ Erik Brannstrom if the Senators retained half of his salary. The Canucks could also use one more solid penalty-killing forward.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Canucks have been linked to Pittsburgh Penguins winger Jake Guentzel. He would address that need for a top-six winger if they couldn’t land a top-six center.

Salary-cap space, however, is an issue as the Canucks have little to worth with. They’ll have to shed a contract to make it happen as part of the return or in a separate deal. Andrei Kuzmenko and his $5.5 million average annual value through 2024-25 could be a prime candidate.


WINNIPEG SUN: Scott Billeck recently listed 10 trade targets that could put the Winnipeg Jets over the top this season. They need a second-line center who can help them improve in the faceoff circle, scoring depth and a middle-pairing defenseman.

Calgary’s Elias Lindholm, the Montreal Canadiens’ Sean Monahan, and Anaheim Ducks’ Adam Henrique could address that second-line center issue. Calgary’s Chris Tanev, the Philadelphia Flyers’ Sean Walker or Nick Seeler and the Ottawa Senators’ Jakob Chychrun could be blueline options. Billeck’s dark-horse candidates include Arizona’s Nick Schmaltz, Anaheim’s Frank Vatrano, and Philadelphia’s Travis Konecny.

The Jets have depth in draft picks and prospects to use as trade bait. Their lofty position in the standings could offer a player a chance to skate with a winner, which could make Winnipeg a more tempting destination.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Jets have around $5.4 million in projected trade deadline cap space so they’ve got some flexibility to make a substantial move or two leading up to March 8.

I think high-ticket guys like Lindholm will be out of the Jets’ price range. They could have a realistic shot at Monahan, Henrique, Tanev, Walker or Seeler.

Senators general manager Steve Staios recently poured cold water on the notion of trading Chychrun. The Coyotes aren’t moving Schmaltz and the Flyers aren’t peddling Konecny. As Billeck pointed out, Vatrano could prove expensive to acquire given his 21 goals and 34 points in 48 games with the low-scoring Ducks.


ESPN.COM: Emily Kaplan asked one Eastern Conference general manager which team could make a big splash at this year’s trade deadline. He believes it’ll be the Vegas Golden Knights.

She noted the Golden Knights have been aggressive in the trade market during their short NHL existence. They made an impressive pitch to Patrick Kane before he signed with the Detroit Red Wings.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Golden Knights have over $7 million in trade deadline cap space with players such as Shea Theodore and William Karlsson on LTIR. If they remain sidelined for the rest of the regular season, it would provide them with the cap room to make a significant addition.

It could cost them their first and second-round picks for this year and the next two given their rather shallow prospect pool. Nevertheless, they’ve had no hesitation in using futures to bring in immediate help to their roster. It wouldn’t be shocking if the defending Stanley Cup champions make a major move by deadline day.


THE ATHLETIC: With the Chicago Blackhawks having re-signed Nick Foligno, Jason Dickinson and Petr Mrazek, Mark Lazerus and Scott Powers wondered what awaits the club’s remaining free agents.

They anticipate that Joey Anderson, Lukas Reichel and Cole Guttman will be re-signed. Forwards Colin Blackwell and Tyler Johnson could be shopped by the trade deadline. MacKenzie Entwhistle, Nikita Zaitsev and Anthony Beauvillier will be among those allowed to depart this summer as free agents.