Johnson, Perry, Eriksson Among Notable On The NHL Waiver Wire
The Dallas Stars remain sidelined by COVID-19, an update on the Canucks after they canceled yesterday’s practice, the latest contract signings and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.
SPORTSNET: The Dallas Stars remain sidelined by a COVID-19 outbreak among six players and two staff members. The club last practiced on Wednesday. Their regular-season schedule has been revised with their season-opener now slated for Jan. 19.
Meanwhile, the Vancouver Canucks will resume practice today after canceling activities on Sunday as a precautionary measure due to potential COVID-19 exposure.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: COVID-19 remains a factor despite the league’s health and safety protocols. Expect more canceled practices and perhaps future game postponements over the course of this season similar to those in other major pro sports leagues in recent months.
NJ.COM: The New Jersey Devils signed winger Jesper Bratt to a two-year, $5.5 million deal. The restricted free agent’s contract standoff sidelined him from the Devils’ opening week of training camp.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: It will still take some time for Bratt to join his teammates. He’s still in Sweden awaiting a work visa, after which he’ll have to quarantine for seven days after traveling to New Jersey. He’ll miss their opening two games of the season on Jan. 14 and 16 and perhaps more depending on how long it takes to get his visa sorted out.
LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL: Golden Knights winger Alex Tuch is listed as day-to-day with an undisclosed injury and could miss their season-opener on Jan. 14 against the Anaheim Ducks.
NEWSDAY: New York Islanders forward Casey Cizikas left yesterday’s practice nursing what appeared to be an injured left hand or lower-left arm.
TSN: The Columbus Blue Jackets signed Michael Del Zotto to a one-year, two-way contract. He was attending their training camp on a tryout basis.
SPORTSNET: Free-agent defenseman Ben Hutton signed a professional tryout offer with the Anaheim Ducks.
THE SCORE: Promising prospect Tim Stuetzle had his first practice session with the Ottawa Senators yesterday. The 18-year-old center was selected third overall by the Senators in the 2020 NHL Draft.
TWINCITIES.COM: Minnesota Wild prospect Marco Rossi is sidelined indefinitely with an upper-body injury. Rossi is the Wild’s first-round pick (ninth overall) in the 2020 draft.
Common question regarding waivers & Taxi Squad:
If a team acquires a player on waivers, can they loan them to the taxi squad?
The answer is no, the new team would need to put the player on waivers again, and only after clearing could the player be put on the taxi squad.
— CapFriendly (@CapFriendly) January 10, 2021
The latest on the notable restricted free agents in today’s NHL rumor mill.
SPORTSNET: Luke Fox examined the latest regarding the remaining notable NHL restricted free agents.
New York Islanders general manager Lou Lamoriello reportedly hopes to sign center Mathew Barzal to around $7.5 million per season. The young center’s camp would prefer a higher figure. Fox feels it’s highly unlikely a rival club will sign Barzal to an offer sheet worth $10.9 million or more per season as the compensation to the Isles would be four first-round picks.
Speaking of the Isles, Fox considers it a no-brainer they’ll sign defenseman Ryan Pulock after trading Devon Toews to the Colorado Avalanche in a cost-cutting move last month. Pulock’s arbitration hearing is on Nov. 6.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: An offer sheet for Barzal remains possible but increasingly unlikely. With Cap Friendly indicating 23 of the Isles rivals have less than $10 million in cap space (22 of those with less than $7 million), the possibility of an offer sheet remains remote.
Whatever Pulock gets on his contract will put a big bite into the Isles’ $8.9 million cap space. They’re allowed to exceed the cap by 10 percent during the offseason but must be cap compliant when next season begins. Lamoriello must shed some salary to sign Barzal and ensure he’s under the cap.
The Tampa Bay Lightning continue having difficulty freeing up salary-cap space to sign Anthony Cirelli and Mikhail Sergachev. GM Julien BriseBois has attempted to move veteran winger Tyler Johnson but his difficulties doing so indicate how hard it is to shed salary under the current economic conditions.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: BriseBois will have to package Johnson with a good draft pick or a quality prospect as a sweetener. Even then, he might have to pick up part of his $5 million salary-cap hit. He could find it easier trading Alex Killorn but could still be squeezed to add a pick or prospect in the deal.
Contract talks between the Columbus Blue Jackets and center Pierre-Luc Dubois have stalled but GM Jarmo Kekalainen remains unconcerned. He pointed out Zach Werenski didn’t sign last year until just before training camp.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Dubois is coming off his entry-level contract and lacks arbitration rights. The Jackets also have over $12 million in cap space as a sufficient offer-sheet deterrent. No wonder Kekalainen isn’t worried.
Contract talks between the New Jersey Devils and Mackenzie Blackwood are expected to pick up shortly. The Devils bought out Cory Schneider and brought in a suitable mentor for Blackwood in Corey Crawford. Fox speculates he could seek a deal comparable to the two-year, $8 million contract of Columbus goalie Elvis Merzlikins. He also doesn’t expect the Devils will have much difficulty signing winger Jesper Bratt.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Devils have over $17 million in cap space. Even if they don’t spend to the cap, they’ve got enough for Blackwood and Bratt.
Fox thinks second-line winger Jake DeBrusk’s contract talks have taken a back seat to the Boston Bruins’ attempts to reshape their blueline after losing Torey Krug to free agency. That’s led to DeBrusk popping up in the trade rumor mill. With over $6 million in cap space, the Bruins have room to sign him but they’re also poking around the UFA market.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: DeBrusk lacks arbitration rights so the Bruins could ink him to an affordable bridge contract. That would leave enough cap room to add a defenseman via the UFA market.
Ryan Strome’s upcoming arbitration case could be worth watching. Fox cited the New York Post’s Larry Brooks back in April speculating the Rangers would prefer signing the center to a one-year contract without going through arbitration. The Rangers had debated not qualifying Strome’s rights before doing so.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Brooks reported Strome filed for a one-year contract worth $5.7 million with an arbitrator while the Rangers countered with $3.6 million. He speculated they could walk away if the arbiter awards Strome over $4.538 million.
Florida Panthers defenseman MacKenzie Weegar surfaced in trade speculation but GM Bill Zito insisted he remains a member of the Panthers. The blueliner is slated for arbitration on Nov. 8. Fox speculates Weegar could use Bruins defenseman Matt Grzelcyk’s four-year, $14.75 million contract ($3.687 million AAV) as a comparable.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Weegar’s situation could also bear watching if it takes arbitration to settle his contract. Perhaps Zito attempts to trade the rearguard if an arbiter-awarded salary is more than the Panthers are willing to pay.
Fox suggests St. Louis Blues defenseman Vince Dunn could end up with an affordable bridge contract. The 23-year-old is coming off his entry-level deal. The same goes for Edmonton Oilers blueliner Ethan Bear.
Fox also projected the next salary for forward Roope Hintz could come in around $3 million, which will fit within the Dallas Stars’ $4.1 million cap space. It’s expected the Philadelphia Flyers will sign defenseman Philippe Myers to a short-term deal but there could be some benefit to locking him up to a longer-term deal.
It was a night of NHL milestones for several players and one coach. Check out the details in today’s morning coffee headlines.
NHL.COM: Montreal Canadiens goaltender Carey Price tied Jacques Plante for most wins by a Habs goalie (314) with a 28-save effort in a 3-1 victory over the Los Angeles Kings. Teammate Brendan Gallagher scored his 30th of the season. Canadiens rookie Jesperi Kotkaniemi was a healthy scratch for the first time this season as coach Claude Julien felt the 18-year-old could use a bit of rest. With the win, the Canadiens (79 points) hold the second wild-card berth in the East.
Sidney Crosby scored his 30th goal of the season and added two assists to reach 1,200 career points to lead the Pittsburgh Penguins over the Florida Panthers 3-2. Jake Guentzel scored twice, including the winner in overtime. The Penguins also honored center Matt Cullen for playing in his 1,500th career NHL game. With 79 points, the Penguins hold the first wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference.
Tampa Bay Lightning right winger Nikita Kucherov collected two assists to tie a franchise record of 108 points in a 5-2 victory over the Winnipeg Jets. Winnipeg goaltender Connor Hellebuyck was shaken up after taking a Kucherov shot off his mask in the second period but returned to finish the game.
New York Islanders head coach Barry Trotz picked up his 800th career victory as his club edged the Ottawa Senators 5-4. It was a costly win for the Isles as starting goaltender Robin Lehner left the game late in the third period following a collision with Senators winger Brady Tkachuk. Earlier in the day, the Islanders recalled forwards Joshua Ho-Sang and Michael Dal Colle on an emergency basis. The Isles (89 points) move into a tie for first place in the Metropolitan Division with the Washington Capitals,
SPECTOR’S NOTE: An update on Lehner’s status will likely be revealed today. It’s assumed he left the game for concussion protocol.
The Boston Bruins extended their points streak to 17 games with a 4-3 overtime victory over the Carolina Hurricanes, who were playing in Hartford Whalers jerseys. David Krejci scored the winning goal. Sebastian Aho tallied twice for the Hurricanes. Bruins winger Marcus Johansson left the game in the second period following a hard shoulder-to-shoulder hit by Hurricanes left winger Micheal Ferland. Johansson was taken to hospital but coach Bruce Cassidy said the news of his condition could be “encouraging“. The Bruins (89 points) opened a three-point lead over the Toronto Maple Leafs for second place in the Atlantic Division.
Ryan Johansen scored the only goal in a shootout as the Nashville Predators nipped the Minnesota Wild 5-4. Wild winger Kevin Fiala scored twice against his former team. With the win, the Predators (83 points) move one point ahead of the Jets for the top spot in the Central Division. The Wild (72 points) hold a two-point lead over the Colorado Avalanche for the final Western Conference wild-card spot.
Dallas Stars goalie Ben Bishop turned in a 28-save shutout performance and John Klingberg scored the only goal in a 1-0 victory over the New York Rangers. Dallas forward Alexander Radulov was a healthy scratch as punishment for being late for a morning team meeting. The Stars (73 points) hold a one-point lead over the Wild.
Nathan MacKinnon’s overtime goal gave the Colorado Avalanche a 4-3 victory over the Detroit Red Wings. MacKinnon had two points while linemate Mikko Rantanen had a three-point game. Red Wings defenseman Mike Green will be sidelined seven-to-ten days due to the recurrence of a liver virus.
Shootout goals by Cam Atkinson and Artemi Panarin gave the Columbus Blue Jackets a 2-1 win over the New Jersey Devils, snapping a three-game losing skid. Devils forward Jesper Bratt left the game in the second period with an undisclosed injury. The Jackets (77 points) remain two points out of a wild-card berth in the Eastern Conference.
The Anaheim Ducks defeated the Arizona Coyotes 3-1 to snap the latter’s six-game winning streak. The Coyotes (69 points) sit three points behind the Wild. Defenseman Jason Demers returned to the Coyotes lineup after being sidelined for four months.
VANCOUVER SUN: Canucks center Brandon Sutter will undergo season-ending sports-hernia surgery.
CHICAGO SUN-TIMES: The Blackhawks recalled goaltender Collin Delia as veteran Cam Ward is out seven-to-ten days with a knee injury.
CALGARY SUN: Flames defenseman Michael Stone has been assigned to the club’s AHL affiliate in Stockton on a conditioning stint. Stone’s been sidelined since November 22 by a blood clot in his arm.
STLTODAY: Blues center Brayden Schenn will rejoin the lineup after being sidelined since Feb. 19 with an upper-body injury.
TORONTO SUN: The Maple Leafs re-signed backup goalie Garret Sparks to a one-year, $750K contract extension.
TSN: NHL general managers could recommend a rule change forcing players to skate directly to the bench if they lose their helmet during gameplay. The players could also be forced to wear their helmets during pre-game warmups. Those recommendations will require the endorsement of the NHL Players Association. Another proposed change could give a team with a power play the choice of which side of the offensive zone they’ll take the faceoff.
Game recaps plus updates on Travis Hamonic, Tom Wilson and more in your NHL morning coffee headlines.
NHL.COM: Erik Karlsson got his first point with the San Jose Sharks, collecting an assist on Kevin Labanc’s overtime goal in a 3-2 victory over the Los Angeles Kings. Evander Kane and Timo Meier also tallied for the Sharks while Anze Kopitar and Tyler Toffoli scored for the Kings.
Rod Brind’Amour got his first victory as an NHL head coach as his Carolina Hurricanes defeated the Columbus Blue Jackets 3-1. Goaltender Curtis McElhinney also got his first win with the Hurricanes after being claimed off waivers from Toronto earlier this week. Sebastian Aho and Micheal Ferland each collected a goal and an assist.
NJ.COM: New Jersey Devils forward Jesper Bratt was placed on injured reserve after suffering a broken jaw during Thursday’s practice in Gothenburg, Sweden. He’s expected to be sidelined two-to-three weeks. The Devils also signed free-agent forward Drew Stafford to a one-year, $810K contract.
CALGARY SUN: Flames defenseman Travis Hamonic is listed as week-to-week following a facial fracture suffered during a fight with Vancouver Canucks blueliner Erik Gudbranson during Wednesday’s season opener.
TSN: The NHL Players Association has filed an appeal on behalf of Washington Capitals winger Tom Wilson, who received a 20-game suspension earlier this week by the NHL’s department of player safety for an illegal hit to the head of St. Louis Blues forward Oskar Sundqvist during a preseason game.