NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 18, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 18, 2021

Recaps of Wednesday’s action, including Connor McDavid tallying his 500th career point, injury updates and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: Connor McDavid collected two assists to pick up his 500th career NHL point as the Edmonton Oilers edged the Winnipeg Jets 3-2. McDavid accomplished the feat in his 369th NHL game, tying Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby as the eighth fastest player to reach that milestone. Leon Draisaitl scored twice for the Oilers, who’ve won four of their last five.

Edmonton Oilers captain Connor McDavid (NHL Images).

Earlier in the day, the Jets placed center Pierre-Luc Dubois on injured reserve with a lower-body injury. Dubois could return to action on Friday against the Vancouver Canucks.

Toronto Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews tallied his league-leading 14th goal as his club nipped the Ottawa Senators 2-1. Matthews also extended his points streak to 14 games. Alex Kerfoot tallied the game-winner in the third period. Brady Tkachuk replied for the Senators. Earlier in the day, the Leafs announced defenseman Rasmus Sandin is out indefinitely with an injured foot.

Jonathan Huberdeau scored twice (including the game-winner in overtime) and collected an assist in the Florida Panthers 4-3 victory over the Carolina Hurricanes. The Panthers overcame a 2-0 deficit but Vincent Trocheck tied the game for the Hurricanes to force the extra frame.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Huberdeau (20 points) sits among the NHL’s top-10 scorers. He’s among the key factors behind the Panthers’ strong performance this season.

Chicago Blackhawks rookie goaltender Kevin Lankinen made 29 shots for his first career NHL shutout to blank the Detroit Red Wings 2-0. Philipp Kurashev and Alex DeBrincat scored for the Blackhawks in their third straight victory.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Blackhawks have 22 points and sit in second place behind the Panthers in the Central Division. Neither club was expected to be in those positions when the season began. The Panthers were coming off an offseason of numerous roster changes while the Blackhawks began the season without an established starting goalie and three key players (Jonathan Toews, Kirby Dach and Brent Seabrook) sidelined by illness and injuries.

Brock Boeser had a goal and two assists as the Vancouver Canucks rolled to a 5-1 win over the Calgary Flames. Braden Holtby made 35 saves while J.T. Miller and Bo Horvat each had a goal and an assist for the Canucks.

THE DALLAS MORNING NEWS: Ongoing power outages related to recent winter storms in Texas have forced the postponement of tonight’s game between the Stars and the Tampa Bay Lightning.

NEW YORK POST: Rangers defenseman Jacob Trouba will be sidelined four-to-six weeks with a broken thumb suffered during Tuesday’s 5-2 loss to the New Jersey Devils. Sidelined winger Artemi Panarin and defenseman K’Andre Miller are expected to return to action tonight against the Philadelphia Flyers.

THE BUFFALO NEWS: For the first time since Feb. 1 the Buffalo Sabres no longer have players on the COVID-19 protocol list. Casey Mittelstadt became the ninth Sabre to come off the list yesterday.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The number of players on the list has steadily declined in recent days. Eighteen players were still on the list yesterday, seven of those members of the Philadelphia Flyers.










NHL Rumor Mill – February 6, 2021

NHL Rumor Mill – February 6, 2021

The latest on Johnny Gaudreau, Brock Boeser and Phillip Danault plus an update on Sam Bennett in today’s NHL rumor mill.

SPORTSNET: Luke Fox recently noted the strong play this season of Calgary Flames left wing Johnny Gaudreau and Vancouver Canucks right wing Brock Boeser has silenced the trade chatter that arose about the two during the offseason.

Vancouver Canucks winger Brock Boeser (NHL Images).

Fox pointed out the Gaudreau speculation seems to stem from the notion the Flames might need to make major changes if they are to stop coming up short in the playoffs. The Boeser conjecture arose from the Canucks’ limited salary-cap space in the offseason.

The rumors also came about because of where the two players are from. Boeser is a Minnesota native which seemingly makes him a great fit with the Wild. Gaudreau gets linked to the Devils because he grew up in New Jersey.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Gaudreau always seemed more likely to be moved last year than Boeser because he’s a year away from UFA status and there’s a feeling of uncertainty over whether his future remains in Calgary.

Boeser, on the other hand, becomes a restricted free agent with arbitration rights at the end of next season. With Cap Friendly indicating the Canucks have just over $27 million invested in five players for 2022-23, they have a good chance of re-signing Boeser to a big raise.

That cap space, however, will shrink substantially once Elias Pettersson, Quinn Hughes and Thatcher Demko are re-signed this summer. Still, there should be enough to keep Boeser in the fold.

MONTREAL GAZETTE: Stu Cowan reports Phillip Danault still hopes to complete his career with the Canadiens. The 27-year-old center is slated to become an unrestricted free agent at season’s end.

Questions have been raised over Danault’s future in Montreal with the rise of young center Nick Suzuki and Jesperi Kotkaniemi. There are reports claiming he rejected a six-year, $30 million contract offer from the Canadiens during the offseason.

Danault has declined to discuss his contract status but it could be weighing on him. Cowan points out he’s one of only two Canadiens yet to score a goal this season, though he does have five assists.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Cowen also suggests Danault’s stats could be affected by the ice time he’s getting thus far. Nevertheless, his future with the Canadiens will remain an open question throughout the season. There’s little fear he’ll be traded if the Habs continue playing as well as they have but it still could come up before the April 12 trade deadline.

THE JOURNAL NEWS: Vincent Z. Mercogliano reports sources confirmed to the USA TODAY Network the New York Rangers are interested in Calgary Flames forward Sam Bennett. Of course, it depends upon the Flames’ asking price.

Mercogliano notes recent reports suggesting the Flames had an interest in Rangers defenseman Tony DeAngelo. However, he points out a one-for-one swap isn’t possible because DeAngelo’s cap hit ($4.8 million) is higher than Bennett’s $2.55 million. The Flames lack sufficient cap space to take on those extra dollars.

The Rangers aren’t willing to absorb half of DeAngelo’s cap hit but it’s less certain if they’ll pick up 25 percent. Mercogliano suggests the cheaper option for the Rangers is to keep DeAngelo on the taxi squad and buy him out at season’s end.

 










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 31, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 31, 2021

Recaps of a busy Saturday, injury updates and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM:Connor McDavid scored twice, including the winner in overtime, to lead the Edmonton Oilers to a 4-3 victory over the Toronto Maple Leafs. Leon Draisaitl and Tyson Barrie each collected two assists while John Tavares had two assists for the Leafs.

Edmonton Oilers captain Connor McDavid (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: McDavid’s end-to-end power-play goal in the second period is my candidate for goal of the year. I realize it’s very early in the season and lots of great goals are coming but it will be difficult for McDavid – or anyone else – to top that tally.

Jack Eichel tallied the only goal in a shootout as the Buffalo Sabres edged the New Jersey Devils 4-3. Sabres winger Taylor Hall collected two assists. Devils defenseman Ty Smith scored to move into a tie with Minnesota’s Kirill Kaprizov (seven points) for the rookie scoring lead.

Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby’s overtime goal lifted his club to a 5-4 win over the New York Rangers. Rookie defenseman Pierre-Olivier Joseph had three assists for the Penguins, who lost blueliner Kris Letang to a lower-body injury. Rangers center Colin Blackwell left the game in the first period with an upper-body injury.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: An update on Letang’s status could be coming later today. The Penguins already have four regular defensemen on the shelf with injuries.

The Philadelphia Flyers edged the New York Islanders 3-2 on an overtime goal by Scott Laughton. Carter Hart kicked out 26 shots for the win. It’s the Islanders’ fourth consecutive defeat.

Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin scored in overtime to nip the Boston Bruins 4-3. It was Ovechkin’s first game since being placed on COVID-19 protocol list a week ago. Capitals center Nicklas Backstrom had a goal and two assists. This was Zdeno Chara’s first game against the Bruins since signing with the Capitals. Bruins winger David Pastrnak collected an assist in his first game of the season following his recovery from offseason hip surgery.

The Carolina Hurricanes beat the Dallas Stars 4-1 to hand the latter their first loss of the season. Vincent Trochek scored twice for the Hurricanes, who chased Stars goalie Anton Khudobin after he gave up four goals on 16 shots. Hurricanes goalie Petr Mrazek left the game early in the first with an upper-body injury.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Khudobin didn’t get much help from his teammates in this contest. The defense was sloppy, giving up three power-play goals.

A four-goal second-period outburst carried the Tampa Bay Lightning over the Nashville Predators 4-3. Lightning rookie Callan Foote tallied his first NHL goal while Steven Stamkos scored the eventual game-winner. Filip Forsberg had two assists for the Predators.

Aleksander Barkov had a goal and an assist while Aleksi Heponiemi scored his first career NHL goal in overtime to lift the Florida Panthers over the Detroit Red Wings 3-2. The Panthers extended their season-opening points streak to five games (4-0-1).

The Calgary Flames blanked the Montreal Canadiens 2-0 to hand the latter their first regulation loss of the season. Jacob Markstrom kicked out 37 shots for the shutout while Johnny Gaudreau and Mikael Granlund were the goal scorers as the Flames halted their three-game losing skid. Canadiens winger Josh Anderson left the game following the first period with flu-like symptoms. He tested negative for COVID-19 but will be retested today.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Flames winger Dillon Dube got away with a blindside headshot on Canadiens center Jesperi Kotkaniemi. It’s unlikely he’ll receive supplemental discipline. Kotkaniemi was shaken up but returned to action.

Nathan MacKinnon, Mikko Rantanen, Brandon Saad, Andre Burakovsky, and Samuel Girard each collected two points as the Colorado Avalanche downed the Minnesota Wild 5-1, handing the latter their third loss in their last four games. Wild defenseman Matt Dumba left the game with a leg injury in the third period. Earlier in the day, the Wild revealed prospect Marco Rossi returned to Austria to rest due to complications from COVID-19. He’s expected to return to the Wild sometime in March.

The St. Louis Blues scored their fastest three game-opening goals (2:06) in franchise history on route to a 6-1 thrashing of the Anaheim Ducks. Jordan Kyrou scored two of those three goals. Ducks goalie John Gibson was pulled after giving up those three goals on just six shots.

Brock Boeser scored twice to lead the Vancouver Canucks over the Winnipeg Jets 4-1 for their fourth straight win. Canucks goalie Thatcher Demko made 23 saves for the win while Jets netminder Connor Hellebucyk turned aside 35 shots.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 29, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 29, 2021

Recaps from another busy night of action and more in the NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: Patrice Bergeron scored two goals as the Boston Bruins defeated the Pittsburgh Penguins 4-1 to sweep their two-game series. The Bruins have now won four in a row. Boston defenseman Matt Grzelcyk was forced to leave the game with a lower-body injury.

New York Rangers winger Alexis Lafreniere (NHL Images).

2020 first overall pick Alexis Lafreniere’s first career NHL goal came in overtime as the New York Rangers snapped their five-game winless skid by downing the Buffalo Sabres 3-2. Artemi Panarin had a goal and an assist for the Rangers while Sabres winger Sam Reinhart also had a goal and an assist.

The Philadelphia Flyers swept their two-game series with the New Jersey Devils with a 3-1 victory. Goaltender Carter Hart made 33 saves for the win while teammate Claude Giroux netted his first goal of the season.

John Carlson scored the game-winner as the Washington Capitals overcame a 3-0 deficit to beat the New York Islanders 6-3. Conor Sheary scored twice and Zdeno Chara tallied his first goal with the Capitals as they extended their points streak to eight games. Islanders captain Anders Lee played his 500th career NHL game while teammate Josh Bailey (872 games) tied Clark Gillies for fourth on the Islanders all-time list.

The Carolina Hurricanes nipped the Tampa Bay Lightning 1-0 on an overtime goal by Martin Necas. It was the Hurricanes’ first game since Jan. 18 after several players wound up on the club’s COVID-19 protocol list.

A shootout goal by Alexandre Texier lifted the Columbus Blue Jackets over the Florida Panthers 3-2, snapping the latter’s three-game win streak. Max Domi and Mikko Koivu each tallied their first goals with the Jackets.

The Montreal Canadiens remain unbeaten in regulation (5-0-2) after doubling up the Calgary Flames 4-2 in their first home game of the season. Tyler Toffoli tallied a shorthanded goal while Jesperi Kotkaniemi and Jonathan Drouin each had two assists.

A three-goal first period powered the Minnesota Wild over the Los Angeles Kings 5-3. Marcus Johansson had a goal and an assist while teammate Kevin Fiala was ejected for boarding Kings defenseman Matt Roy, who left the game and was still being evaluated by the game’s end. Anze Kopitar, Dustin Brown and Drew Doughty each had two points for the Kings.

The Dallas Stars are 4-0-0 to start the season after defeating the Detroit Red Wings 7-3. Goaltender Jake Oettinger made 20 saves for his first career NHL victory. Miro Heiskanen and Denis Gurianov each had three-point performances for the Stars. Wings goalie Jonathan Bernier left the game in the second period following a collision with teammate Anthony Mantha.

Philipp Grubauer’s 21-save shutout performance backstopped the Colorado Avalanche over the San Jose Sharks 3-0. Nazem Kadri scored twice for the Avalanche.

The Arizona Coyotes nipped the Anaheim Ducks 3-2 thanks to a two-goal performance by Christian Dvorak.

Braden Holtby turned aside 36 shots to give the Vancouver Canucks a 4-1 victory over the slumping Ottawa Senators to sweep their three-game series. Brock Boeser scored twice and set up another for the Canucks. The Senators have dropped seven straight games.

Auston Matthews snapped a 3-3 tie with a power-play goal as the Toronto Maple Leafs held on for a 4-3 win over the Edmonton Oilers. Jason Spezza had a goal and an assist for the Leafs while Leon Draisaitl scored twice for the Oilers. The Leafs have won four straight games.

LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL: The Vegas Golden Knights game against the St. Louis Blues was postponed due to some recent positive COVID-19 tests within the organization. Defenseman Alex Pietrangelo was added to their COVID-19 protocol list.

NBC SPORTS CHICAGO: The Blackhawks signed defenseman Madison Bowey to a one-year, two-way contract.

THE DETROIT NEWS: Former Red Wings goaltender Jimmy Howard officially announced his retirement.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Reports of Howard’s retirement plans circulated last week. He spent his entire NHL career with the Wings. Best of luck to him and his family in their future endeavors.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 14, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 14, 2021

Recaps of the first games of the season, the Golden Knights and Red Wings name their new captains, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: Morgan Rielly scored in overtime as the Toronto Maple Leafs edged the Montreal Canadiens 5-4. William Nylander scored twice and collected an assist while John Tavares had a goal and two assists. Josh Anderson scored twice for the Canadiens and teammate Jonathan Drouin had three assists.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: A close, fast-paced contest between these long-time rivals. Some observers credit Wayne Simmonds’ fight with Ben Chiarot as the turning point when the Leafs were down 3-1 in the second period, but it was penalties by Anderson and Nick Suzuki leading to two Toronto goals that changed the course of the game.

Tampa Bay Lightning captain Steven Stamkos (NHL Images).

The Tampa Bay Lightning unveiled their 2019-20 Stanley Cup championship banner before thumping the Chicago Blackhawks 5-1. Lightning captain Steven Stamkos led the way with a goal and two assists. The Blackhawks played without defenseman Brent Seabrook, who missed training camp with a back injury.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Stamkos showed no lingering effects from the surgery he underwent in the offseason to address the core muscle injury that sidelined him for all but one game in the 2020 Stanley Cup playoffs.

Joel Farabee scored and collected three assists to lead the Philadelphia Flyers over the Pittsburgh Penguins 6-3. Michael Raffl snapped a 3-3 tie with the game-winner in the third period. Flyers forward Nolan Patrick scored in his first game since missing last season to migraines. Penguins captain Sidney Crosby tallied his first goal of the season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Flyers exploited the Penguins’ sloppy defensive play throughout this game, especially in the third period.

Two third-period goals by Brock Boeser helped the Vancouver Canucks down the Edmonton Oilers 5-3. Braden Holtby made 28 saves in his Canucks’ debut as he and his teammates successfully killed four Oilers power-play opportunities.

St. Louis Blues forward Oskar Sundqvist scored two goals and Robert Thomas collected two assists as their club rolled to a 4-1 victory over the Colorado Avalanche. The Blues played without offseason acquisition Mike Hoffman as he missed the game due to a work visa issue. They also placed winger Vladimir Tarasenko (shoulder surgery) on long-term injury reserve.

HEADLINES

THE SCORE: The NHL revealed 22 players on 16 different clubs were unavailable for the start of the season due to COVID-19 protocols. They include Avalanche defenseman Erik Johnson, Columbus Blue Jackets center Mikko Koivu, Oilers winger James Neal, Flyers defenseman Shayne Gostisbehere, Canucks forward J.T. Miller and Winnipeg Jets winger Nikolaj Ehlers.

TSN: NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly revealed he tested positive for COVID-19 in December. He said he’s feeling fine and has fully recovered from the coronavirus.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: A reminder that no one is immune from COVID-19. We’re bound to see more instances of positive tests over the course of this season. The best the league can do is take the necessary steps to limit exposure and spread of the coronavirus.

LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL: The Vegas Golden Knights announced winger Mark Stone was named their first captain in franchise history.

THE DETROIT NEWS: The Red Wings named center Dylan Larkin as their 37th captain in franchise history and the first since Henrik Zetterberg retired in 2018.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It was a foregone conclusion Larkin would get the Wings’ captaincy but the Golden Knights played coy about naming their first full-time captain. Fine choices by both clubs.

TSN: The Washington Capitals signed goaltender Craig Anderson to a one-year, $700K contract and placed him on waivers yesterday for the purpose of placing him on their taxi squad if he clears.

CBC SPORTS: The Jets signed forward Trevor Lewis to a one-year, $750K contract.

CBS SPORTS: The Florida Panthers signed Kevin Connauton to a one-year, two-way deal and placed him on waivers yesterday. He’ll join their taxi squad if he clears.










NHL Rumor Mill – September 18, 2020

NHL Rumor Mill – September 18, 2020

The latest on Matt Dumba, Brock Boeser, Darcy Kuemper, Frederik Andersen, Phillip Danault and more in today’s NHL rumor mill.

SPORTSNET: In his latest “31 Thoughts”, Elliotte Friedman believes Minnesota Wild general manager Bill Guerin will continue trying to build up his depth at center. There’s interest in defenseman Matt Dumba, a good player signed to a good contract.

Friedman suggested the Winnipeg Jets, Vancouver Canucks, and Calgary Flames could be among the suitors. The Jets can’t offer up a center but perhaps the Wild might be interested in a skilled winger. Same goes for the Canucks though Friedman isn’t convinced they’d move winger Brock Boeser. He feels the Flames could do it.

He also noted Guerin’s predecessor pursued Toronto Maple Leafs forward William Nylander. However, the Leafs weren’t inclined to move him then and Friedman isn’t convinced that’s changed.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: There’s media speculation suggesting Patrik Laine or Nikolaj Ehlers could be available, but I don’t see the Jets parting with either guy for Dumba. Boeser told The Province he doesn’t want to be traded and doesn’t expect to be. Boeser-for-Dumba seems reasonable, but it wouldn’t address the Wild’s need for a first-line center unless they flip Boeser to another team for a center.

If the Flames are willing to move Sean Monahan, a Dumba-for-Monahan swap would work, but that would leave the Flames in need of a first-line center. Nylander can play center but he’s at his best on the wing. Guerin may be willing to take a chance on Marcus Johansson as a center but I don’t think he’s going to take any chances with his first-line center spot.

Friedman believes players who’ve been paid their bonuses and have low actual salaries for 2020-21 will be attractive trade targets. They include Leafs goaltender Frederik Andersen, Arizona Coyotes center Derek Stepan, and New Jersey Devils defenseman P.K. Subban, though he has an additional year remaining on his contract. Friedman also said Leafs GM Kyle Dubas has reached out twice to Andersen to say teams are interested in him, but he’s not actively shopping him and isn’t interested in any offer he doesn’t consider an improvement.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Credit Dubas for being upfront with Andersen about the trade chatter. If he doesn’t get offered a better goaltender, Andersen won’t be going anywhere. Stepan or Subban could interest clubs looking to reach the cap floor. Both have seen their stock tumble over the last couple of years so there might not be much interest in either guy.

Friedman speculates Florida Panthers GM Bill Zito is going to be asked about Aleksander Barkov, Aaron Ekblad and Jonathan Huberdeau. He doesn’t see Barkov going anywhere but expects Zito will move one of the big tickets on his blueline to create flexibility.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I’ll be very surprised if Ekblad gets moved. Keith Yandle ($6.35 million through 2022-23) has a full no-movement clause while Anton Stralman ($5.5 million through 2021-22) carries a 16-team no-trade list. The most likely candidate is Mike Matheson ($4.875 million through 2025-26). He lacks no-trade protection and has popped up in this season’s rumor mill.

The Calgary Flames, Carolina Hurricanes, Chicago Blackhawks, Edmonton Oilers and San Jose Sharks are among the clubs asking about Coyotes goaltender Darcy Kuemper. The Boston Bruins, Flames and Oilers have inquired about Coyotes defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson while the Colorado Avalanche asked about Niklas Hjalmarsson.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Lots of speculation about the status of those Coyotes in recent weeks, especially given recent reports of the club’s money troubles. However, they’ve hired an experienced executive in Bill Armstrong as their new GM. Depending on what ownership wants, I feel he’s the right guy to navigate this situation.

Coyotes insider Craig Morgan recently cast doubt on the idea of the Coyotes trading Kuemper for draft picks and prospects. If they shop Ekman-Larsson and he’s willing to waive his no-movement clause, Morgan suggested the Boston Bruins as a destination if they lose Torey Krug to free agency next month. He thinks cost-controlled young players like defenseman Brandon Carlo and winger Jake DeBrusk could be attractive to the Coyotes.

Speaking of the Oilers’ rumored interest in Kuemper, the Edmonton Journal’s David Staples feels they could stick with Mikko Koskinen. Jim Matheson feels the Oilers would be better off acquiring a 1-A like Minnesota’s Devan Dubnyk or a promising young goalie like the New York Rangers’ Alexandar Georgiev, though he’s probably out of reach.

Friedman claims Montreal Canadiens center Phillip Danault’s name is “out there” and there’s definitely interest, but rival general managers aren’t sure what Canadiens GM Marc Bergevin will do.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Danault’s name may be out there but Friedman doesn’t say if he’s being actively shopped or if clubs are calling to make inquiries. I think the Habs would be foolish to part with Danault and I’m not the only one who shares that view.

The Chicago Blackhawks and goalie Corey Crawford initially weren’t seeing eye-to-eye on the dollar value of a contract extension. Crawford knew there would be a pay cut but the amount was the issue.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: NBC Sports Chicago’s Charlie Roumeliotis noted Friedman’s inclusion of the Blackhawks among the clubs making inquiries about Kuemper, who has a two-year deal worth $4.5-million annually. Rather than part with assets to acquire Kuemper, Roumeliotis suggests simply paying Crawford a similar contract.

If the Vegas Golden Knights were willing to buy out Marc-Andre Fleury, Friedman wouldn’t be surprised to see him return to the Pittsburgh Penguins. However, he doubts Vegas would go that route in this economy.