NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 16, 2020

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 16, 2020

The Kings upset the Avalanche in their Stadium Series matchup, Evander Kane blasts the NHL department of player safety, injury updates, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.


NHL.COM: Tyler Toffoli’s hat trick power the Los Angeles Kings to a 3-1 win over the Colorado Avalanche as part of the 2020 NHL Stadium Series before a sellout crowd of 43,574 at Falcon Stadium at the United States Air Force Academy. Toffoli becomes the first player in league history to tally three goals in an NHL outdoor game. Avalanche goalie Philipp Grubauer left the game in the third period with a lower-body injury. With the loss, the Avalanche (72 points) slipped to third place in the Central Division.

Tyler Toffoli’s hat trick gave the LA Kings a 3-1 win over the Colorado Avalanche in their 2020 NHL Stadium Series game (Photo via NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Long rumored on the trade block, Toffoli’s hat trick performance could boster his value leading up to the Feb. 24 trade deadline.

The Boston Bruins picked up their eighth win in their last nine games by beating the Detroit Red Wings 4-1. David Pastrnak tallied his 42nd goal of the season while Brad Marchand collected two assists for the Bruins (84 points). They remain one point ahead of the Tampa Bay Lightning for first place in the overall standings.

Tampa Bay Lightning goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy extended his franchise-record points streak to 21 games in a 5-3 victory over the Philadelphia Flyers. Nikita Kucherov, Steven Stamkos, and Victor Hedman each collected two points as the Lightning stretched their winning streak to 10 games. The Flyers hold the final Eastern Conference wild-card berth with 71 points.

Auston Matthews tallied his 42nd of the season as the Toronto Maple Leafs doubled up the Ottawa Senators 4-2. The Leafs (70 points) hold a four-point lead over the Florida Panthers for third in the Atlantic Division. Matthews and Pastrnak are tied for first place in the NHL goal-scoring race.

Mikael Granlund’s third-period goal held up as the game-winner as the Nashville Predators edged the St. Louis Blues 4-3. Kyle Turris had a goal and two assists as the Predators (63 points) remain three points out of a Western Conference wild-card spot. The Blues (74 points) have dropped four straight and hold a one-point lead over the surging Dallas Stars for the top spot in the Conference.

Tyler Seguin scored twice, including the winner in overtime, as the Dallas Stars overcame a 3-0 deficit to nip the Montreal Canadiens 4-3. Habs head coach Claude Julien voiced his displeasure over the poor officiating during a post-game interview, which could earn him disciplinary action from the league. The Canadiens (62 points) have dropped four straight and sit eight points behind the Leafs in the Atlantic Division.

Edmonton Oilers winger Kailer Yamamoto scored and set up two others in a 4-1 win over the slumping Florida Panthers. Leon Drasaitl (92 points) picked up two points to extend his lead in the scoring race by 10 over the Bruins’ David Pastrnak. The Oilers (68 points) are one point behind the Pacific Division-leading Vancouver Canucks.

Mark Andre Fleury posted a 19-save shutout as the Vegas Golden Knights blanked the New York Islanders 1-0. Reilly Smith was the goal-scorer as the Golden Knights (68 points) hold third place in the Pacific Division. With 72 points, the Isles cling to third place in the Metropolitan Division.

Third-period goals by Phil Kessel and Lawson Crouse gave the Arizona Coyotes a 3-1 win over the Washington Capitals. Antti Raanta picked up the victory with 36 saves for the Coyotes (66 points), who hold the final Western Conference wild-card spot. Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin failed to score for the fourth straight game, leaving him two goals shy of 700 for his career.

The Chicago Blackhawks thumped the Calgary Flames 8-4. Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews lead the way with each collecting a goal and two assists. Elias Lindholm and Sam Bennett each scored twice for the Flames (66 points), who hold the first wild-card berth in the Western Conference. The Blackhawks (60 points) picked up their first win in six games, but remain six points behind the Flames and Coyotes.

San Jose Sharks netminder Martin Jones kicked out 39 shots to shut out the Minnesota Wild 2-0. Dylan Gambrell and Melker Karlsson were the goal scorers. It was the Wild’s first game under interim coach Dean Evason. With 61 points, they’re five behind the Coyotes.


ESPN.COM: Thousands of fans missed a portion of the Kings-Avalanche Stadium Series game owing to a major traffic jam. Many left before the game’s conclusion. It took some fans over four hours to reach the stadium.

THE NEWS & OBSERVER: The Carolina Hurricanes will host a 2021 NHL Stadium Series game at N.C. State’s Carter-Finley Stadium on Saturday, Feb. 20, 2021. Their opponent has yet to be determined.

NBC SPORTS: San Jose Sharks winger Evander Kane blasted the NHL’s department of player safety over its inconsistencies in handing down supplemental discipline after receiving a three-game suspension for elbowing. Kane released a public statement singling out player safety head George Parros. He also cited examples where similar infractions by others went unpunished or received lighter penalties.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kane’s critics will accuse him of whining, but he’s making a fair point. The department of player safety’s sometimes erratic decisions has left more than a few fans and pundits puzzled and sometimes outraged. It’s also believed many players share Kane’s views, though he’s the first to publicly criticize the department in this manner.

SPORTSNET: Speaking of the Sharks, their crappy season got worse as defenseman Erik Karlsson is out for the season with a broken thumb.

WINNIPEG SUN: Jets center Brian Little is also finished for the season because of a damaged eardrum he suffered in November. He’ll undergo surgery with an expected three-month recovery period.

WGR 550: Buffalo Sabres defenseman Zach Bogosian was assigned to his club’s AHL affiliate in Rochester after clearing waivers yesterday.

SPORTSNET: The Anaheim Ducks re-sign forward Nicolas Deslauriers to a two-year, $2-million contract extension.

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 15, 2020

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 15, 2020

Wild fire head coach Bruce Boudreau, Oilers winger Zack Kassian receives a seven-game suspension, an update on Jay Bouwmeester, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.


NHL.COM: Third-period goals by Melker Karlsson and Timo Meier rallied the San Jose Sharks to a 3-2 victory over the Winnipeg Jets. The loss leaves the Jets (63 points) one point behind the Arizona Coyotes for the final wild-card spot in the Western Conference.

Jason Zucker scored his first two goals as a Pittsburgh Penguin in a 4-1 win over the Montreal Canadiens (Photo via NHL Images).

Jason Zucker tallied his first two goals with the Pittsburgh Penguins in a 4-1 win against the Montreal Canadiens. Penguins captain Sidney Crosby collected three assists for the Penguins (76 points), who sit three points behind the first-place Washington Capitals in the Metropolitan Division. The slumping Canadiens (61 points) remain seven points behind the third-place Toronto Maple Leafs in the Atlantic Division.

The New York Rangers picked up their fourth straight win by downing the Columbus Blue Jackets 3-1. Chris Kreider had a goal and an assist while Alexandar Georgiev made 36 saves. The Jackets (71 points) hold the final Eastern Conference wild-card berth while the Rangers are seven points behind them.

Nino Niederreiter and Martin Necas each had a goal and an assist as the Carolina Hurricanes beat the New Jersey Devils 5-2. With 69 points, the Hurricanes sit two points behind the Blue Jackets.


TWINCITIES.COM: The Minnesota Wild yesterday fired head coach Bruce Boudreau, replacing him on an interim basis with assistant coach Dean Evason.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Some observers questioned why this move was made when the Wild have won six of their last 10 games and sit just three points out of a wild-card spot in the Western Conference. General manager Bill Guerin believes the club could benefit from a different voice behind the bench. Considering Guerin also traded winger Jason Zucker earlier this week to Pittsburgh, it appears he’s trying to motivate his club over the remainder of the season. It’ll be interesting to see how the players respond to his move.

TSN: The NHL department of player safety handed Edmonton Oilers winger Zack Kassian a seven-game suspension for kicking Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Erik Cernak in the chest on Thursday.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kassian’s critics wonder why he didn’t receive a harsher punishment. Perhaps the fact Cernak wasn’t injured explains the league’s rationale behind the decision. Regardless, I believe Kassian’s skating on thin ice. He’s a repeat offender, having been previously suspended seven times by the league, including a two-game suspension last month for roughing Calgary Flames winger Matthew Tkachuk. One more suspendable offense after this one could lead to a punishment harsher than the 20-game one he received in 2010.

STLTODAY.COM: Blues defenseman Jay Bouwmeester had an implantable cardioverter-defibrillator placed in his chest to monitor and control his heartbeat. The Blues will provide another update on his condition next week. Bouwmeester suffered a cardiac incident during a game on Tuesday against the Anaheim Ducks and had to be revived with a defibrillator.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Former Sportsnet analyst John Shannon said there’s nothing in the CBA that prevents Bouwmeester from returning to action with a pacemaker. Nevertheless, it’s not a certainty that he will.

SPORTSNET: Toronto Maple Leafs forward Andreas Johnsson requires surgery on his right knee and could be sidelined for eight weeks.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That timeline means Johnsson won’t return until the playoffs. The Leafs can place him on long-term injury reserve and use the cap savings ($3.4 million) to add a replacement before the Feb. 24 trade deadline. Because there’s no salary cap in the postseason, the Leafs wouldn’t have to shed salary when Johnsson returns to the lineup.

LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL: The Vegas Golden Knights have yet to provide an update on the status of winger Alex Tuch, who injured his left leg against the Blues on Thursday.

TSN: The Vancouver Canucks announced winger Micheal Ferland suffered concussion-like symptoms during an AHL rehab game last night. His last game with the Canucks was Dec. 10.

WGR 550: The Buffalo Sabres placed defenseman Zach Bogosian on waivers. Bogosian has only appeared in 19 games since returning from hip surgery in November.

OTTAWA SUN: Senators defenseman Mark Borowiecki suffered a high-ankle injury on Thursday.

NHL Rumor Mill – January 16, 2020

NHL Rumor Mill – January 16, 2020

Suggested defense targets for the Leafs, possible destinations for former Vegas coach Gerard Gallant, updates on the Sabres, and much more today’s NHL rumor mill.


SPORTSNET: Sonny Sachdeva compiled a list of seven potential trade targets for the Toronto Maple Leafs to bolster their injury-depleted defense corps. They include T.J. Brodie or Travis Hamonic of the Calgary Flames, Brenden Dillon of the San Jose Sharks, Alec Martinez of the Los Angeles Kings, Nikita Zadorov or Ian Cole of the Colorado Avalanche, and Zach Bogosian of the Buffalo Sabres.

Could Alec Martinez be a trade target for the Toronto Maple Leafs? (Photo via NHL Images)

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Brodie, Hamonic, Dillon, and Martinez would be the best bests. Brodie and Hamonic were rumored to be available earlier this season, recent speculation linked Dillon to the Leafs, while the Kings are reportedly willing to entertain offers for Martinez. I’m not convinced the Avs intend to shake up their blueline, while the oft-injured Bogosian would be too risky.

The Flames could seek a skilled, affordable forward like Kaspari Kapanen or Andreas Johnsson for Brodie or Hamonic. That could also be the rebuilding Kings’ asking price for Martinez. I believe Dillon could be had for a draft pick and a prospect.


THE HOCKEY NEWS: Jared Clinton lists the Calgary Flames, Chicago Blackhawks, Dallas Stars, Detroit Red Wings, New Jersey Devils, and the Seattle expansion franchise as potential destinations for former Vegas Golden Knights head coach Gerard Gallant, who was fired yesterday along with long-time assistant coach Mike Kelly.

SPORTSNET: Rory Boylen includes the Colorado Avalanche, Minnesota Wild, San Jose Sharks, and Winnipeg Jets among his list of possible suitors.

THE DETROIT NEWS: Ted Kulfan wonders if Gallant will be reunited with former Red Wings teammate and long-time friend Steve Yzerman in Detroit.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: A well-respected “players’ coach” who won the Jack Adams Award guiding the then-expansion Golden Knights to the 2018 Stanley Cup Final, Gallant won’t be unemployed for long. The Wings seem like the best fit, as Yzerman could prefer bringing in his own man after inheriting coach Jeff Blashill. With the Wings’ rebuild stalled, a shakeup behind the bench could be necessary.

The Wild could be ready for a coaching change if they miss the playoffs. The Devils have shown some improvement under interim bench boss Alain Nasreddine, but probably not enough to ensure he keeps the job. I wouldn’t be surprised if Seattle general manager Ron Francis checks to see if Gallant would like to coach another expansion franchise.

Most of the other candidates will be determined by how those clubs finish this season. I don’t think the Avs will part ways with Jared Bednar, who’s done a fine job helping to mold that club into a perennial playoff club. The Flames could stick with interim coach Geoff Ward. Paul Maurice deserves credit for juggling the Jets’ depleted blueline, though a strong performance by goalie Connor Hellebuyck is the biggest factor there. The Blackhawks could stay the course with Jeremy Colliton if they reach the postseason. The Stars are doing well under Rick Bowness so there’s no certainty he’ll be replaced this summer.


WGR 550: In a recent interview, Buffalo Sabres GM Jason Botterill said he wants to make trades that will add to his roster. He denied that he’s waiting for the trade deadline to make moves. “We’re open to trying to find something that can certainly add to our group, but it hasn’t materialized. We’ll continue to look at it, and there’s no use to saying that we’re close on a trade or this and that. Until it actually happens and we announce something, it’s just talk.”

THE BUFFALO NEWS: In a recent mailbag segment, Lance Lysowski said the Sabres are stuck salary-cap wise for this season. However, they’ll have $33 million in projected salary-cap space next season and would be best served waiting until the summer to make significant trades. Lysowski also said Botterill currently refuses to trade defensemen Rasmus Ristolainen and Brandon Montour.

THE ATHLETIC: Joe Yerdon recently explored the limited trade scenarios for Sabres defenseman Zach Bogosian. One would be a money-in, money-out deal, or attempting to swap him for another club’s unhappy player. Otherwise, the Sabres could be faced with either a mutual contract termination or he finishes the season in Buffalo and departs in the summer as a free agent.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Sabres have featured prominently for months in the rumor mill. They’ve already made a couple of deals, shipping Marco Scandella to Montreal for a draft pick and flipping that pick to Calgary for Michael Frolik. However, they’ve yet to make the big move that brings them a much-need scorer.

The fact Botterill cannot find a suitable deal suggests rival clubs are attempting to exploit the Sabres’ desperate plight this season. It could also indicate there’s no interest in the players Botterill is shopping.


SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman reported there’s been at least one legitimate offer for New Jersey Devils defenseman Sami Vatanen, with more expected to come. Devils captain Andy Greene said he hasn’t discussed his future with management. Winger Wayne Simmonds would prefer to stay with the Devils. The trio is due to become unrestricted free agents in July.

Friedman also wonders what the Devils will do with veterans who have term remaining on their contracts, such as Kyle Palmieri and Blake Coleman. He always assumes New York Islanders GM Lou Lamoriello wants Travis Zajac.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I expect Vatanen will be moved before the trade deadline. There could be a market for Greene or Simmonds, but I wouldn’t be surprised if both are still with the Devils after the 3 pm ET deadline on Feb. 24. Palmieri has come up a lot in recent rumors, most of which link him to the Boston Bruins.

Friedman expects the Golden Knights will continue their search for a defenseman.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: They’ve been linked to the Devils’ Sami Vatanen. They could also kick the tires on Los Angeles Kings blueliner Alec Martinez. Given their limited cap space, it’ll have to be a dollar-for-dollar deal or they’ll have to make a salary-dumping move to clear sufficient cap room.

Friedman also repeated his previous report suggesting San Jose Sharks GM Doug Wilson isn’t interested in blowing up his roster core. Friedman expects interest in defenseman Brenden Dillon and winger Melker Karlsson, and wonders if there’s a market for goalie Aaron Dell. He also anticipates Wilson will be aggressive this summer.

He also said the Anaheim Ducks are willing to use their cap space to help a cap-strapped rival, provided they’re willing to part with young assets.

Updates on NHL Players Who Have Requested Trades This Season

Updates on NHL Players Who Have Requested Trades This Season


NHL Rumor Mill – January 3, 2020

NHL Rumor Mill – January 3, 2020

Having made the first NHL trades of 2020, the Buffalo Sabres, Calgary Flames, and Montreal Canadiens might not be done dealing. Check out the latest in today’s rumor mill.


SPORTNET’s Eric Francis, the Calgary’s Sun’s Wes Gilbertson, and The Athletic’s Scott Cruickshank report the Calgary Flames freed up salary-cap space by shipping winger Michael Frolik to the Buffalo Sabres for a fourth-round draft pick in 2020. The move clears $4.3 million from the Flames’ cap payroll.

Does Calgary Flames GM Brad Treliving have more moves in store? (Photo via NHL.com).

Gilbertson and Cruickshank report Flames general manager Brad Treliving doesn’t intend to sit on his new-found cap space. Gilbertson believes this allows Treliving the flexibility to go shopping for another roster piece. Cruickshank speculates the Flames GM could be in the market for a big, top-six winger, preferably on the right side.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The New York Rangers’ Chris Kreider would fit the bill, though he skates on the left side. So would Chicago Blackhawks left-winger Brandon Saad, but his $6-million annual average salary through 2020-21 could be tricky to accommodate unless a salaried player heads to Chicago or the Blackhawks pick up part of his cap hit. The LA Kings’ Tyler Toffoli would be a natural right-side fit. It’ll be interesting to see if Treliving pursues one of those guys before the Feb. 24 trade deadline.

SPORTSNET: Eric Engels believes the Montreal Canadiens’ acquisition of defenseman Marco Scandella from the Buffalo Sabres indicates they’re not giving up on their playoff hopes this season. Scandella will provide some welcome left-side blueline depth and will likely line up alongside young Cale Fleury on their third defense pairing. If this move pays dividends for the Habs, Engels speculates GM Marc Bergevin could make more to keep his club’s postseason dreams alive.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Acquiring Scandella proved a cost-effective depth move for the Canadiens, giving up just a fourth-round pick in 2020 to acquire him. The Habs still have three picks (including their own) in the fourth round. With over $5.5 million in cap space, Bergevin has room to make another addition or two before the deadline.

That’ll depend, of course, on where they are in the standings. Sidelined forwards Jonathan Drouin, Brendan Gallagher, Joel Armia and Paul Byron should be back in the lineup by month’s end. If they’re still in the hunt by then, perhaps Bergevin will go shopping for a top-four defenseman.

TSN’s Darren Dreger reported via Twitter the Buffalo Sabres could have more moves coming. “Sounds like Buffalo is still on the hunt and willing to move other pieces,” he wrote.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Adding Michael Frolik from the Flames will provide experienced right-wing depth to their forward lines, but they could use a scorer to take some of the offensive burdens off their top line and perhaps offset the absence of sidelined winger Jeff Skinner. With the Sabres’ struggling to stay in the playoff race, perhaps their next move will come in the following days.

 They still have depth on their defense to draw upon as trade bait. Blueliner Zach Bogosian has requested a trade, as has forward Evan Rodrigues, but it could take some creativity on management’s part to find a suitable return.

NHL Rumor Mill – December 28, 2019

NHL Rumor Mill – December 28, 2019

With the NHL holiday roster freeze lifted, here’s the latest on the Rangers and Sabres in today’s NHL rumor mill.


NEW YORK POST: Larry Brooks reports sources claiming there’s little interest in Rangers forward Lias Andersson. He’s been suspended without pay since walking out on the club’s AHL affiliate in Hartford on Dec. 20 after requesting a trade. The seventh-overall selection in the 2017 NHL Draft, the 21-year-old Andersson has just nine points in 66 NHL games.


New York Rangers forward Lias Andersson attracting little interest in the NHL trade market (Photo via NHL Images).

Brett Cyrgalis recently speculated Rangers general manager Jeff Gorton could stage another trade deadline sell-off as his club’s playoff hopes dim. He lists forwards Chris Kreider, Jesper Fast, Ryan Strome, and goaltender Alexandar Georgiev as possible trade chips.

THE ATHLETIC: If the Rangers decide to trade Georgiev, Shayna Goldman recently suggested it’s less likely they’ll do it during the season. Goalie deals aren’t common in-season and the Blueshirts could be reluctant to rush promising netminder Igor Shesterkin.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: No surprise regarding Andersson, who’s been a big disappointment thus far. Maybe his performance will improve with a different club, but it appears there aren’t many willing to give him that opportunity. If the Rangers aren’t in the postseason chase by February, Gorton could start shopping a couple of pending free agents for draft picks and prospects as he continues to rebuild the roster.

Unless Shesterkin is threatening to return to the KHL unless he sees NHL action this season, there’s no reason for the Rangers to move Georgiev. You can’t rule it out if a rival club is willing to overpay for Georgiev’s services, but I don’t think anyone’s reached that point right now.


THE BUFFALO NEWS: Mike Harrington recently proposed Sabres GM Jason Botterill should take care of business following the NHL holiday roster freeze. He points out they need help up front while they wait for Jeff Skinner to rediscover his game. They must also decide on defenseman Zach Bogosian, who reportedly sought a trade after being a recent healthy scratch.

THE ATHLETIC: In a recent mailbag segment, Joe Yerdon was asked if Botterill will ever move a defenseman for a forward and the type of return Bogosian could fetch. While Yerdon expects that move will happen, it’s anyone’s guess when. A center would be preferable but a winger would also help. He expects Bogosian’s trade stock is low right now.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I have no doubt Botterill’s been working the phones shopping a blueliner for a forward, but finding a suitable deal isn’t easy at this time of year. There aren’t many sellers and those that are might not have what the Sabres need.

Botterill could be forced to wait another four-to-six weeks for the market to improve as the Feb. 24 trade deadline approaches. That could be too late to help the Sabres.