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 Morning Coffee Headlines – March 12, 2023

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 12, 2023

The Bruins become the fastest team in history to reach 50 wins, Leafs winger Mitch Marner collects four points to beat the Oilers and Lightning captain Steven Stamkos sidelined by an injured leg. Details and much more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.

NHL.COM: The Boston Bruins defeated the Detroit Red Wings 3-2 to become the fastest team in league history to reach 50 wins in a season by doing so in their 64th game. They overcame a 2-0 deficit on goals by Hampus Lindholm, Patrice Bergeron and Garnet Hathaway. With a record of 50-9-5, the Bruins lead the league with 105 points and became the first team this season to clinch a playoff berth. The Red Wings fell to 29-27-9 on the season.

Toronto Maple Leafs winger Mitch Marner (NHL Images).

Toronto Maple Leafs winger Mitch Marner had a goal and three assists as his club overcame a 3-1 deficit to beat the Edmonton Oilers 7-4. John Tavares and Noel Acciari each scored two goals while Auston Matthews tallied his 30th of the season for the 40-17-8 Maple Leafs, who sit in second place in the Atlantic Division with 88 points. Connor McDavid had a goal and two assists for the Oilers (36-23-8) as they hold the first Western Conference wild-card berth with 80 points.

The Tampa Bay Lightning’s 3-1 win over the Chicago Blackhawks was overshadowed by a leg injury suffered by captain Steven Stamkos during the first period. Brayden Point scored twice for the 39-21-6 Lightning (84 points) as they remain four points back of the Leafs in third place in the Atlantic Division. The Blackhawks dropped to 22-38-6.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Early indications are the injury may not be as serious as originally feared. He was seen in the dressing room following the game walking normally without a limp.

A 33-save performance from Jonathan Quick carried the Vegas Golden Knights to a 4-0 shutout of the Carolina Hurricanes. Jonathan Marchessault, Reilly Smith, Paul Cotter and Brett Howden scored for the Golden Knights (40-20-6), who sit atop the Western Conference with 86 points. The Hurricanes (43-13-8) sit second in the overall standings with 94 points.

New Jersey Devils forward Dawson Mercer collected an assist to extend his points streak to 12 games in a 3-1 win over the Montreal Canadiens. Nico Hischier had a goal and an assist for the 43-16-6 Devils as they moved to within two points of the Hurricanes in third overall. The Canadiens (26-34-6) have dropped six straight games.

The Winnipeg Jets defeated the Florida Panthers 5-4 on two goals by Mark Scheifele, including the winner in overtime. Kyle Connor, Nikolaj Ehlers and Vladislav Namestnikov each had three points as the Jets improved to 37-26-3, sitting in the final Western Conference wild-card berth with 77 points. Matthew Tkachuk scored twice and collected an assist as the Panthers (33-27-7) sit three points out of the final Eastern Conference wild-card spot with 73 points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It was a costly win for the Jets as Josh Morrissey and Adam Lowry left this game with lower-body injuries. They’re doubtful for today’s game against the Lightning.

An overtime goal by Cale Makar gave the Colorado Avalanche a 3-2 win over the Arizona Coyotes. Nathan MacKinnon and Mikko Rantanen each collected two points for the 36-22-6 Avalanche, who sit third in the Central Division with 78 points. Connor Ingram made 41 saves for the Coyotes as they slipped to 23-32-11.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Makar set a franchise record for Avalanche defensemen with five overtime goals.

Minnesota Wild goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury stopped 35 shots to down the San Jose Sharks 5-2. Mats Zuccarello, Jared Spurgeon, Matt Boldy and Marcus Johansson each had a goal and an assist for the Wild (38-21-7), who sit second in the Central Division with 83 points. Erik Karlsson collected an assist to set a single-season points record for Sharks defensemen with 84 points. The Sharks dropped to 19-36-12.

Pittsburgh Penguins head coach Mike Sullivan picked up his 400th career NHL win in a 5-1 victory over the Philadelphia Flyers. Jake Guentzel and Mikael Granlund each had a goal and an assist for the 33-22-10 Penguins as they hold the first Eastern wild-card berth with 76 points. The Flyers fell to 24-31-11.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Penguins center Nick Bonino underwent a surgical procedure to repair a lacerated kidney suffered during Thursday’s loss to the New York Islanders. He’s listed as week-to-week.

The New York Rangers got an overtime goal from Artemi Panarin to nip the Buffalo Sabres 2-1. Patrick Kane also scored for the Rangers (37-19-9) as they sit third in the Metropolitan Division with 83 points. Jeff Skinner replied for the 32-28-5 Sabres, who sit seven points behind the New York Islanders for the final Eastern wild-card spot.

Speaking of the Islanders, they dropped a 5-1 decision to the Washington Capitals. Rasmus Sandin collected three assists for the Capitals (32-28-7), who sit five points back of the Islanders with 71 points. Pierre Engvall scored for the 34-26-8 Islanders, who welcomed back Cal Clutterbuck into the lineup after he missed 20 games with a lower-body injury.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Before this game, the Capitals announced the signing of Trevor van Riemsdyk to a three-year, $9 million contract extension. The average annual value is $3 million.

A shootout goal by Matt Duchene lifted the Nashville Predators over the Los Angeles Kings 2-1. Tommy Novak also scored and Kevin Lankinen made 26 saves for the 32-24-7 Predators, who sit six points behind the Jets for the final Western wild-card berth. The Kings (38-20-9) played without Kevin Fiala, who is day-to-day with a lower-body injury. They sit second in the Pacific Division with 85 points.

The Dallas Stars got an overtime goal from Miro Heiskanen in a 4-3 win over the Seattle Kraken. Heiskanen and Roope Hintz each finished with two points while Joe Pavelski tallied the tying goal for the 36-17-13 Stars, who hold first place in the Central Division with 85 points. Vince Dunn had two assists for the 37-22-7 Kraken as they sit third in the Pacific Division with 81 points.

St. Louis Blues forward Jordan Kyrou tallied a hat trick to beat the Columbus Blue Jackets 5-2. Sammy Blais had a goal and two assists for the 29-31-5 Blues while Patrik Laine and Boone Jenner replied for the 20-38-7 Blue Jackets.

The Vancouver Canucks got two goals from Andrei Kuzmenko in a 5-2 win over the Ottawa Senators. The Canucks improved to 28-32-5 and have gone 7-2-1 in their last 10 games. Tim Stutzle collected two assists for the 33-28-4 Senators as they sit six points out of the final Eastern wild-card berth.

NHL Trade Deadline Tracker – March 3, 2023

NHL Trade Deadline Tracker – March 3, 2023

We’ll keep a running tally of today’s notable trades. It will be updated throughout the day.

Anaheim Ducks traded John Klingberg to the Minnesota Wild in exchange for Andrej Sustr, a fourth-round pick in 2025 and prospect Nikita Nesterenko. The Ducks are retaining 50 percent of Klingberg’s $7 million salary. 

Anaheim Ducks trade John Klingberg to the Minnesota Wild (NHL Images)

Calgary Flames ship Brett Ritchie and Connor Mackey to the Arizona Coyotes in exchange for Troy Stecher and Nick Ritchie. 

Nashville Predators acquire Rasmus Aspland from the Buffalo Sabres for a 2025 seventh-round pick. 

Los Angeles Kings trade Austin Wagner to the Chicago Blackhawks for future considerations.

Philadelphia Flyers trade Patrick Brown to the Ottawa Senators for a 2023 sixth-round pick.

Minnesota Wild acquire forward Oskar Sundqvist from the Detroit Red Wings in return for a fourth-round pick in 2023.

Calgary Flames acquire winger Dryden Hunt from the Toronto Maple Leafs in exchange for winger Radim Zahorna.

The Minnesota Wild traded winger Jordan Greenway to the Buffalo Sabres in exchange for a second-round pick in 2023 (originally from the Vegas Golden Knights) and a 2024 fifth-rounder.

Anaheim Ducks trade Dmitry Kulikov to the Pittsburgh Penguins for Brock McGinn and a third-round draft pick.

Winnipeg Jets acquire Vladislav Namestnikov from the San Jose Sharks for a 2025 fourth-rounder. 

Los Angeles Kings trade Brendan Lemieux and a fifth-round pick in 2024 to the Philadelphia Flyers for Zack MacEwen

The New Jersey Devils acquire Curtis Lazar from the Vancouver Canucks in exchange for a 2024 fourth-round pick. 

The Pittsburgh Penguins re-acquire center Nick Bonino from the San Jose Sharks in a three-team deal involving the Montreal Canadiens. The Sharks received a fifth-rounder in 2024 and a seventh-rounder in 2023 from the Penguins plus a minor-league defenseman Arvid Henrikson from the Canadiens. The Sharks flipped the fifth-rounder to the Canadiens for retaining 50 percent of Bonino’s $2.050 million cap hit. The Habs also received defenseman Tony Sund from the Penguins. 

The Detroit Red Wings ship winger Jakub Vrana to the St. Louis Blues in exchange for minor-league center Dylan McLaughlin and a 2025 seven-round pick.

NHL Rumor Mill – March 3, 2023

NHL Rumor Mill – March 3, 2023

The Trade Deadline is 3 pm ET today. Check out the latest in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.


THE ATHLETIC: Charlie O’Connor explains why the Philadelphia Flyers haven’t been active leading up to deadline day. It’s because the Flyers lack the kind of assets that other teams believe should be prioritized. They’re either fall-back rentals (James van Riemsdyk) or veterans with expensive contracts (Kevin Hayes) that can be difficult to move by the deadline.

Philadelphia Flyers winger James van Riemsdyk (NHL Images).

TSN: Chris Johnston believes van Riemsdyk remains on the Vegas Golden Knights’ radar. The Winnipeg Jets could also be interested. The Flyers could retain half of his $7 million cap hit to facilitate a trade.


TSN: Pierre LeBrun reports a couple of teams are interested in Montreal Canadiens defenseman Joel Edmundson. One of them could be the Calgary Flames.

SPORTSNET: Eric Engels also cited a couple of sources claiming at least two playoff-bound clubs are interested in the 29-year-old Canadiens defenseman. Edmundson has a year remaining on his contract with a $3.5 million cap hit.


CALGARY HOCKEY NOW: Steve MacFarlane reports there’s some late-breaking trade buzz around Flames forward Mikael Backlund as the club could be trending toward selling at the deadline. MacFarlane cited Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman reporting that the Carolina Hurricanes are among the clubs calling the Flames to see whether they’re buying or selling.


CHEK TV’s Rick Dhaliwal reports the Vancouver Canucks are still working the phones. They’ve had talks with the Florida Panthers but he’s hearing it’s nothing major. Dhaliwal also shot down speculation linking J.T. Miller and Brock Boeser to the Pittsburgh Penguins.


WINNIPEG SUN: Scott Billeck cited a report from Bally Sports’ Andy Strickland claiming defenseman Logan Stanley has asked the Jets for a trade.


TORONTO STAR: Nick Kypreos believes the Maple Leafs could be in the market for some goaltending depth behind Ilya Samsonov.


SAN JOSE HOCKEY NOW: Sheng Peng listed Nick Bonino, James Reimer and Alexander Barabanov among his list of 10 Sharks who could be trade candidates. He also speculated recently acquired forward Vladislav Namestnikov could be flipped to a playoff contender.


NYI HOCKEY NOW: Stefen Rosner reported league sources claimed the Islanders have been in discussions with the Nashville Predators and St. Louis Blues. Isles GM Lou Lamoriello could be looking at acquiring a defenseman. Rosner mentioned a source believes Lamoriello should be looking at Predators blueliner Dante Fabbro.


TSN: Chris Johnston reports the Ottawa Senators are still working the phones. They could be seeking another center.

Darren Dreger believes the Winnipeg Jets aren’t done dealing after acquiring winger Nino Niederreiter on Feb. 25. He thinks they’re still seeking a forward. He also thinks the Vegas Golden Knights could still be active.

Pierre LeBrun reports the Carolina Hurricanes are still trying to add to their roster. However, they have no appetite to part with their first-round pick for a rental player.

NHL Rumor Mill – January 28, 2023

NHL Rumor Mill – January 28, 2023

Check out the recent speculation on Dylan Larkin, Vladislav Gavrikov and Lars Eller plus the latest on the Sharks and Kraken in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.


MLIVE.COM: Ansar Khan considers the Detroit Red Wings trading Dylan Larkin as highly unlikely. The 26-year-old center is slated to become an unrestricted free agent on July 1.

Detroit Red Wings captain Dylan Larkin (NHL Images).

Khan believes trading Larkin would set back the Red Wings’ rebuild. They’re more likely to get futures (a young player, prospect, draft picks) than a player who could have an immediate impact.

Communication between Wings general manager Steve Yzerman and Larkin’s agent, Pat Brisson, has been good, with both sides talking regularly. Khan writes that the two sides have agreed on the maximum eight-year term but remain apart on the average annual value. The Wings prefer $8 million while the Larkin camp seeks $9 million.

Larkin’s next contract would also affect other contracts. Khan reports they’d like to bring in a top-line scoring center and believes they could be among the teams pursuing Bo Horvat if the Vancouver Canucks captain hits the open market on July 1.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I doubt Larkin gets shopped by the March 3 trade deadline even if he remains unsigned or the Wings are out of playoff contention by that point. It wouldn’t be surprising if both sides compromise on a figure between $8 million and $9 million per season.

The Wings have over $41 million in projected cap space for 2023-24 so there’s plenty of room for Larkin’s new contract. However, they must also re-sign or replace fellow UFAs like Tyler Bertuzzi, Pius Suter, Adam Erne Oskar Sundqvist, Olli Maatta and Alex Nedeljkovic.

THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH: Brian Hedger recently reported the Blue Jackets are exploring trade scenarios involving defenseman Vladislav Gavrikov. The club has granted permission for rival teams to speak with him and his agent.

Gavrikov, 27, is eligible to become an unrestricted free agent on July 1. He carries an affordable $2.8 million cap hit for this season. Hedger indicated a scenario exists where the Jackets could match the best contract offer for Gavrikov generated through those trade discussions.

Hedger believes the long Gavrikov goes without a new contract the more likely he’ll be traded. The Edmonton Oilers and Toronto Maple Leafs have emerged as potential trade destinations. It’s believed the Jackets will seek a first and a third-round pick in return. If Gavrikov gets a contract extension from a rival club, it could increase the return to the Jackets.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Trading away Gavrikov could also ensure the Blue Jackets finish dead last in the overall standings by season’s end. That would improve their odds of winning the 2023 draft lottery and securing the rights to top prospect Connor Bedard.

WASHINGTON HOCKEY NOW: Sammi Silber cited The Athletic’s Pierre LeBrun and Eric Duhatschek reporting Capitals center Lars Eller has come up in the rumor mill. They suggest he could be used as a trade chip to add a defenseman. Duhatschek speculated the Los Angeles Kings as a destination as they’re deep on the right side of their blueline and could part with Sean Walker or Matt Roy.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Much will also depend on how long Capitals defenseman John Carlson remains sidelined. Silber also mentioned that winger Anthony Mantha has been the odd man out this season. The Capitals might prefer moving Mantha over Eller.


THE MERCURY NEWS: Curtis Pashelka reported San Jose Sharks GM Mike Grier might not be done dealing after shipping out Matt Nieto and Ryan Merkley to the Colorado Avalanche earlier this week.

The Sharks have other pending UFAs in forward Nick Bonino and goaltender James Reimer who could draw interest in the trade market leading up to the March 3 deadline. Winger Timo Meier could also attract plenty of attention if Grier decides to move him.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Bonino and Reimer seem likely to be playing elsewhere on March 3. Meier could be shopped but he’s a restricted free agent this summer. If Grier didn’t receive sufficient offers, he can simply wait until the offseason to peddle him.

SEATTLE HOCKEY INSIDER: Rob Simpson examined possible trade chips for the Kraken if GM Ron Francis becomes a buyer at the trade deadline.

Prospects Jagger Firkus, Ryker Evans and Jani Nyman could become trade bait. Francis also carries three second-round picks in the 2023 draft.

Simpson believes the Kraken’s priorities will be shoring up their depth on defense and at center.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Francis could put more emphasis on using those draft picks as trade bait rather than draw from his shallow prospect pool.

NHL Rumor Mill – December 21, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – December 21, 2022

In today’s NHL Rumor Mill: some suggested trade destinations for Bo Horvat plus the latest on Tyler Myers and Nick Bonino.


SPORTSNET: Ryan Dixon and Jason Bukala suggested the Montreal Canadiens, Carolina Hurricanes, Detroit Red Wings and Boston Bruins as four potential trade destinations for Bo Horvat.

They proposed the Canadiens send veteran defenseman David Savard, prospects Jayden Struble and Owen Beck, the 2023 first-rounder they received from the Florida Panthers and a 2024 third-rounder.

Vancouver Canucks captain Bo Horvat (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Follow the link above for Dixon’s and Bakula’s detailed explanations behind their proposals. Having done my own suggested destinations for Horvat earlier this season, I appreciate the efforts and rationale they put into theirs.

Horvat is slated to become an unrestricted free agent in July. He’s on pace for a career-high of 50 goals this season, meaning he’ll cost well over $8 million per season to re-sign on a long-term deal. The Canadiens, Hurricanes, Red Wings and Bruins will need assurances that Horvat will sign with them before pulling the trigger on this deal. Otherwise, they risk giving away prime assets on a player who could bolt on July 1.

Montreal Hockey Now’s Marc Dumont does a good job explaining why the Canadiens won’t get into the bidding for Horvat. It’s not the right time for the rebuilding Habs to pursue a player like Horvat. Management won’t be interested in mortgaging the future for an aging asset on an expiring contract.

Subtracting Savard’s $3.5 million from the Canadiens’ cap payroll, they’d have over $65 million invested in 15 roster players for 2023-24. They’ll likely get $10.5 million in cap relief if necessary if Carey Price is unable to continue his playing career but they won’t know that until the offseason. Meanwhile, winger Cole Caufield is coming off his entry-level contract and is in line for a significant pay raise on his next contract.

Given those factors plus the likelihood of a flattened salary cap for 2023-24, I wouldn’t hold my breath waiting for the Canadiens to acquire and sign Horvat.

Their Hurricanes deal would see Horvat and prospect Aiden McDonough heading to Carolina for forwards Seth Jarvis and Stefan Noesen, prospect defenseman Scott Morrow and a 2023 third-rounder.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Hurricanes are chugging along right now but they continue to have a big hole at the second-line center position. They’d have the cap space to comfortably re-sign Horvat next summer.

Acquiring Horvat now would give the Hurricanes his exclusive negotiating rights until July 1. However, they could consider a more affordable second-line center rental option for the playoffs like Montreal’s Sean Monahan and pursue Horvat in the free-agent market without giving up a promising asset like Jarvis.

Dixon and Bukala also suggest the Horvat-McDonough package for the Red Wings in exchange for prospect goaltender Sebastian Cossa, prospect defenseman Shai Buium, plus a 2023 first-rounder and the second-rounder they got from the St. Louis Blues.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Like the Hurricanes, the Red Wings can easily afford an expensive new contract for Horvat. They could certainly be interested if unable to re-sign captain Dylan Larkin. If he stays, Horvat would provide them with a solid one-two punch at center.

This pitch depends on whether Wings GM Steve Yzerman will part with a projected future starting goalie like Cossa, especially given Alex Nedeljkovic’s struggles over the past two years in the Wings’ crease. He could be reluctant to do that.

Horvat and McDonough are also part of their Bruins’ pitch with prospect forwards Fabian Lysell and John Beecher along with their 2023 first-rounder and sixth-rounder going to Vancouver.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Horvat could be a great fit with the Bruins, especially if this season proves to be the last for Patrice Bergeron and/or David Krejci. Acquiring him now provides them with additional depth at center for the remainder of 2022-23 as they pursue the Stanley Cup.

The Bruins have been very much in “win-now” mode for several years. They’ll have a projected $56.9 million invested in 12 players for next season with winger David Pastrnak due for a big raise. It could cost a combined $20 million to do it, leaving next to nothing for the rest of the roster under a flattened cap for next season.

All in all, the Hurricanes and Red Wings seem the more likely destinations given the depth in promising assets that both clubs possess as well as plentiful cap space to afford his new contract. Whether those teams get into the bidding remains to be seen.


TSN: Darren Dreger reports Tyler Myers is maybe being overlooked as a secondary trade chip for the Vancouver Canucks. He’s got a year remaining on his contract with a $6 million cap hit and a modified no-trade clause.

Myers wants to stay in Vancouver. However, Dreger said there’s a belief there could be interest in the big veteran defenseman, suggesting he improve playing on a more structured team.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Myers will be owed $6 million in actual salary next season. However, $5 million of that is a signing bonus on July 1.

I think interested clubs will either want the Canucks to retain up to half of his cap hit now or else they’ll just wait until after his signing bonus is paid in July and then attempt to acquire him.

THE ATHLETIC: Corey Masisak suggests San Jose Sharks forward Nick Bonino could draw interest from playoff contenders seeking an experienced versatile two-way forward. He’s an unrestricted free agent carrying an affordable $2.050 million cap hit this season and a five-team no-trade list.