NHL Free Agents & Trade Candidates – Colorado Avalanche
Alex Ovechkin moves closer to 700 goals, Joe Thornton reaches his 1,500th career point, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines
NHL.COM: A natural hat trick by Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin rallied his club over the Los Angeles Kings 4-2. He now has 698 career goals and reached the 40-goal mark for the 11th time in his career. Teammate John Carlson had a three-point performance while Kings forward Jeff Carter scored twice.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Ovechkin has taken over sole possession of first place in this year’s goal-scoring race. He’s just 10 goals away from his ninth 50-goal season, which would tie the record held by Wayne Gretzky and Mike Bossy. He also needs just 11 more goals to surpass Mike Gartner (708 goals) for seventh on the all-time scoring list.
San Jose Sharks center Joe Thornton became the 14th player in NHL history to reach 1,500 career points during a 3-1 win over the Calgary Flames. The 40-year-old Thornton picked up two assists. Flames defenseman Mark Giordano left the game in the second period with a lower-body injury.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Jumbo Joe also sits seventh among the league’s all-time assist leaders with 1,085.
Tuukka Rask turned in a 25-save shutout as the Boston Bruins blanked the Vancouver Canucks 4-0. Charlie Coyle had a goal and an assist as the Bruins (76 points) sit one back of the Capitals for the top spot in the Eastern Conference and the overall standings.
A four-point performance by Andre Burakovsky (one goal, three assists) powered the Colorado Avalanche to a 6-1 drubbing of the Buffalo Sabres. Valeri Nichushkin had a goal and two assists. The Avalanche have won four of their last five contests.
Tampa Bay Lightning goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy tied a franchise-record 16-game points streak as his club doubled up the Vegas Golden Knights 4-2. Brayden Point had a goal and an assist for the Bolts while captain Steven Stamkos tallied the game-winning goal. The Bolts are on a four-game win streak.
Brayden Schenn and Zach Sanford each scored twice as the St. Louis Blues downed the Carolina Hurricanes 6-3. Blues center Ryan O’Reilly collected three assists.
An overtime goal by Anthony Beauvillier gave the New York Islanders a 4-3 victory over the Dallas Stars. Beauvillier scored two goals for the Isles (66 points), who hold the first wild-card berth in the Eastern Conference.
The Columbus Blue Jackets nipped the Florida Panthers 1-0 on an overtime goal by Zach Werenski. Elvis Merzlikins picked up the shutout with 32 saves.
The Arizona Coyotes got their first win in six games by shutting down the Edmonton Oilers 3-0. Antti Raanta posted a 30-save shutout while Lawson Crouse had a goal and an assist. With 61 points, the Coyotes hold the first wild-card spot in the Western Conference.
Matt Dumba tallied in overtime and Kevin Fiala scored twice as the Minnesota Wild beat the Chicago Blackhawks 3-2. Blackhawks winger Patrick Kane was held scoreless for the first time in 12 games. The Wild (54 points) are six points out of a Western Conference wild-card berth, while the Hawks are three points out.
Mikael Granlund scored in overtime as the Nashville Predators downed the Winnipeg Jets 2-1. With 57 points, the Predators and Jets are three points out of a Western Conference wild-card spot.
Ilya Kovalchuk scored the only goal in the shootout as the Montreal Canadiens edged the New Jersey Devils 5-4. The Habs scored four straight times to overcome a 3-0 deficit before Kyle Palmieri forced the game into extra time with a power-play goal in the dying seconds of regulation. Montreal (57 points) sits seven points behind the Florida Panthers for third in the Atlantic Division.
Shootout goals by Ondrej Kase and Rickard Rakell gave the Anaheim Ducks a 3-2 win over the Ottawa Senators. The Ducks have won five of their last seven, while the Senators have dropped three straight.
TORONTO SUN: Maple Leafs goaltender Frederik Andersen is day-to-day with a neck injury. The Leafs have recalled Kasimir Kaskisuo from the Toronto Marlies to back up Michael Hutchinson in tonight’s game against the New York Rangers.
William Nylander changes his jersey number, the Avalanche re-sign Andre Burakovsky, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.
SPORTSNET: Toronto Maple Leafs winger William Nylander announced he’ll be changing his jersey number to 88. He wore that number when he played in Sweden. He’s hoping for a bounce-back season after a sub-par performance in 2018-19.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Nylander’s decision caused a bit of a stir yesterday among some denizens of Leafs Nation. Hall of Famer and former Leafs Eric Lindros wore No. 88 and some Leafs fans felt Nylander was either being disrespectful of Lindros’ legacy or should’ve asked his permission. That’s just ridiculous. Patrick Kane, Brent Burns, David Pastrnak and Andrei Vasilevskiy didn’t need anyone’s permission to wear 88. Besides, Lindros only played 33 games for the Leafs and he probably doesn’t give a crap who wears that number.
THE DENVER POST: The Colorado Avalanche re-signed winger Andre Burakovsky to a one-year, $3.25-million contract. He’ll be a restricted free agent next summer with arbitration rights. He was acquired in a trade with the Washington Capitals on June 28.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: This is a “show-me” contract. Burakovsky has size, speed and offensive skills but he struggled to put forth a consistent performance during his years with the Capitals. Perhaps skating with new teammates will help him reach his full potential.
THE SCORE: Forward Sonny Milano has accepted the Columbus Blue Jackets’ qualifying offer. It’s a one-year contract worth over $874K.
NEWSOBSERVER.COM: The Carolina Hurricanes re-signed forward Clark Bishop to a one-year, two-way contract.
SPORTSDAY: Former Dallas Stars captain Brenden Morrow returns to the club as the director of business and hockey development. He spent 13 of his 15 NHL seasons with the Stars.
ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER: The Anaheim Ducks hired Kevin Dineen as their new head coach of their AHL affiliate in San Diego.
NEW YORK POST: Former NHL player Sean Avery “rejected a plea deal Monday in Manhattan Criminal Court for hitting a car with his scooter after it blocked a bike lane in Greenwich Village.”
The Golden Knights trade Colin Miller to the Sabres, the Capitals ship Andre Burakovsky to the Avalanche. Details and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.
LAS VEGAS SUN/WGR550.COM: The Vegas Golden Knight yesterday traded defenseman Colin Miller to the Buffalo Sabres in exchange for “a 2021 second-round pick originally owned by the St. Louis Blues and the Sabres’ own 2022 fifth-round pick.”
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Another straightforward salary dump by the Golden Knights. This move clears MIller’s $3.875 million annual average value from their books. As per Cap Friendly, Vegas now sits roughly $900K over the $81.5-million salary cap for 2019-20. They could make another cost-cutting trade. However, it’s assumed they’ll place permanently sidelined winger David Clarkson ($5.225 million AAV) on long-term injury reserve.
Miller brings puck-moving depth to the Sabres’ blueline. He tallied 29 points in 65 games last season. They’re now overloaded on the right side of their defense. This could add fodder to the Rasmus Ristolainen trade speculation. However, it’s worth remembering Miller can also play on the left side. Zach Bogosian could also miss the start of the season recovering from recent hip surgery so the Sabres don’t have to rush into moving a right-side rearguard.
NBC SPORTS WASHINGTON/DENVER POST: The Washington Capitals traded winger Andre Burakovsky to the Colorado Avalanche in exchange for “minor-league forward Scott Kosmachuk and second- and third-round picks in the 2020 draft.”
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Burakovsky frequently surfaced in this season’s trade-rumor mill. Capitals GM Brian MacLellan seemed reluctant to move him. However, the 23-year-winger recently requested a trade. Burakovsky, a former first-round draft pick, has offensive potential but struggled with consistency and confidence during his tenure in Washington.
Burakovsky will get a fresh start with the Avalanche, who seem him as a potential top-six winger. This move could quiet speculation linking the Avs to pending UFA winger Artemi Panarin.
With over $38 million in salary-cap space, some observers believed the Avalanche could be major players in this summer’s free-agent market. However, a big chunk of their cap space will be taken up re-signing several key players.
The Avs have 11 restricted free agents (including Burakovsky, Mikko Rantanen, Alex Kerfoot, Nikita Zadorov, and J.T. Compher) to re-sign. They also need a reliable backup goaltender for Philipp Grubauer.
TSN: The Toronto Maple Leafs officially announced the re-signing of winger Kasperi Kapanen and Andreas Johnsson yesterday. Kapanen will receive a three-year contract worth an annual salary-cap hit of $3.2 million, while Johnsson’s is a four-year deal at $3.4 million annually.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Leafs GM Kyle Dubas is getting well-deserved plaudits for getting those two under reasonable short-term contracts. His focus remains on re-signing Mitch Marner, who is seeking considerably more than what Kapanen and Johnsson received.
NEWSOBSERVER.COM: The Carolina Hurricanes re-signed goaltender Alex Nedeljkovic to a two-year contract extension. He’ll receive “$725,000 at the NHL level or $70,000 at the AHL level with a $125,000 guarantee in 2019-20. In 2020-21, the contract is a one-way deal paying $750,000.”
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Assuming Curtis McElhinney departs via free agency and Petr Mrazek re-signs, the Hurricanes could use Nedeljkovic as Mrazek’s backup.
CHICAGO SUN-TIMES: The Blackhawks re-signed forwards Dylan Sikura and John Quenneville to two-year contracts.