NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 25, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 25, 2022

Milestones reached by Alex Ovechkin, Phil Kessel, and Shane Pinto, the Canucks’ winless streak continues, the three stars of the week are revealed, Carey Price talks publicly about his future, and much more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin scored what proved to be the winning goal in a 6-3 victory over the New Jersey Devils. Ovechkin moves past Gordie Howe into second place on the all-time game-winning goals list with 122. Goaltender Charlie Lindgren got the win with a 38-save performance while Devils netminder Mackenzie Blackwood got the hook after giving up five goals on 18 shots.

Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Jaromir Jagr is the all-time leader in NHL game-winning goals with 135. The Capitals are 4-3-0 while the Devils drop to 3-3-0.

Vegas Golden Knights winger Phil Kessel tied the NHL’s Ironman record by appearing in his 989th consecutive game as his club downed the Toronto Maple Leafs 3-1. Kessel also picked an assist on the Golden Knights’ game-opening goal. Chandler Stephenson and Michael Amadio scored in the third period to give Vegas the win.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kessel appeared to have scored his 400th career goal in this game but it was overturned as offside by a coach’s challenge. Leafs captain John Tavares briefly left the game after being struck in the leg by a shot but returned and finished the contest. The Golden Knights improved to 5-2-0 while the Leafs are 4-3-0.

Ottawa Senators center Shane Pinto set a franchise rookie record during a 4-2 victory over the Dallas Stars. Pinto scored to extend his goal streak to five games while teammate Brady Tkachuk scored and collected an assist. Stars forward Denis Gurianov was a healthy scratch. The Senators’ record is now 4-2-0 while the Stars are 4-1-1.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Senators backup Magnus Hellberg made 29 saves as starter Anton Forsberg sat out this game with an undisclosed injury. Before this game, they learned center Josh Norris could be sidelined for at least two weeks with an injured shoulder.

The Vancouver Canucks’ winless streak extended to 0-5-2 as they fell 3-2 to the Carolina Hurricanes(4-1-1). Third-period goals by Sebastian Aho and Jesper Fast snapped a 1-1 tie while J.T. Miller scored twice for the Canucks and teammate Thatcher Demko made 36 saves.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The score flatter the Canucks as they were dominated by the Hurricanes for most of this game. They managed just 16 shots on goal while Demko was peppered by the Canes. The loss capped a lousy day for the Canucks as they learned defenseman Quinn Hughes is week-to-week with a lower-body injury while winger Brock Boeser is day-to-day with an undisclosed ailment.

Leon Draisaitl had a goal and two assists to rally the Edmonton Oilers from a 3-1 deficit to defeat the Pittsburgh Penguins 6-3. Evander Kane, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Zach Hyman each had a goal and an assist for the Oilers while Penguins Rickard Rakell and Jason Zucker each had two points. The Oilers improved to 3-3-0 while the Penguins are 4-1-1.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Oilers captain Connor McDavid left the game after crashing awkwardly into the Penguins’ net but would return to action.

Winnipeg Jets goalie Connor Hellebuyck made 25 saves to shut out the St. Louis Blues 4-0, handing the latter their first loss of the season (3-1-0). Mark Scheifele tallied what proved to be the game-winning goal as his club improved to 3-3-0. Jets head coach Rick Bowness sat out this game as he’s still feeling the after-effects of his bout with COVID-19. 

HEADLINES

NHL.COM: Buffalo Sabres defenseman Rasmus Dahlin, Ottawa Senators captain Brady Tkachuk and New Jersey Devils goaltender MacKenzie Blackwood are the NHL’s three stars for the week ending Oct. 23, 2022.

MONTREAL HOCKEY NOW: Canadiens goaltender Carey Price said he has no plans to retire despite a career-threatening knee injury that is expected to sideline him for the entirety of this season.

The 35-year-old netminder admitted it’s been an emotional roller coaster to go from the 2021 Stanley Cup Final to where he is today. He acknowledged the possibility of undergoing another surgery but knows it has a 50 percent success rate and could come with risks to his quality of life away from the game. Price is signed through 2025-26 with an average annual value of $10.5 million.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Price revealed the possibility of another surgery to The Athletic’s Arpon Basu but this is the first time he’s spoken publicly about it. He hasn’t given up hope of resuming his career but he seems fully aware that it could be a long shot.

MONTREAL GAZETTE: Speaking of the Canadiens, rookie winger Juraj Slafkovsky is considered day-to-day after undergoing tests for an upper-body injury.

THE ATHLETIC: Boston Bruins defenseman Brandon Carlo is getting close to returning to the lineup after suffering the fifth concussion of his career during an Oct. 15th game against the Arizona Coyotes. He indicated that his vision went black in one of his eyes and he couldn’t follow the play following the hit so he went to the locker room where he was diagnosed with a concussion.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Carlo is aware of the risk of accumulating concussions but insists he still feels very good from a hockey aspect. Nevertheless, he’s reached a worrying level of concern with these injuries that could become career-threatening.

NEW YORK POST: Rangers center Filip Chytil will miss the next four games with a suspected concussion.

TSN: Tyler Ennis has signed with SC Bern of the Swiss National League. The 33-year-old forward scored 144 goals and 202 assists in 700 games over 13 NHL seasons with the Buffalo Sabres, Minnesota Wild, Toronto Maple Leafs, Edmonton Oilers and Ottawa Senators.










Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – October 16, 2022

Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – October 16, 2022

Is there a deal to be had between the Coyotes and Senators for Jakob Chychrun? Could the Bruins shop one of their left-side defensemen? Find out in the Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup.

SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman reports sidelined defenseman Jakob Chychrun is scheduled to join the club later this week to at least skate with his teammates. However, there remains no firm timeline for his return to action.

Arizona Coyotes defenseman Jakob Chychrun (NHL Images).

The Ottawa Senators have been linked to Chychrun in the rumor mill. However, Friedman cites multiple sources claiming there currently isn’t a path for a deal between the two clubs, though that might change once he resumes skating.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Chychrun has requested a trade and Coyotes general manager Bill Armstrong is willing to accommodate him. However, until he’s back playing and remains healthy and productive, he’ll likely remain with the Coyotes for a while.

As always, the combination of the Coyotes’ high asking price and Chychrun’s injury history makes it difficult for the club to ship him to the Senators or any other interested team.

BOSTON HOCKEY NOW: Jimmy Murphy reports the Bruins will have five left-side defensemen once Matt Grzelcyk returns from injury in the near future. He noted that Bruins GM Don Sweeney intends to keep an open mind regarding moving one of those blueliners to clear some salary-cap space or to provide depth should injuries occur.

Mike Reilly appears the likely trade candidate. He cleared waivers last week and sources claimed the Bruins were shopping him prior to putting him on waivers. The fact he went unclaimed was due to so many teams possessing insufficient cap space to take on his $3 million cap hit.

Murphy also mentioned some speculation suggesting the Bruins might shop right-side rearguard Brandon Carlo if he doesn’t round into everything they’ve envisioned. One scout said to Murphy he wouldn’t be surprised if Sweeney shopped Carlo for “a big going-for-it move” at the March 3 trade deadline.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Sweeney could attempt to move Reilly in a cost-cutting deal once Brad Marchand or Charlie McAvoy come off long-term injured reserve later this season. Perhaps by that point, there will be interested clubs that have accrued sufficient cap space to take him on.

Carlo suffered what looked like another head/concussion injury during last night’s game against the Arizona Coyotes. Given his concussion history, that could adversely affect his trade value if he’s sidelined again for any length of time.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 16, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 16, 2022

Game recaps, the league finds no evidence to support anonymous allegations against Ian Cole, and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: Sidney Crosby had his second straight three-point game to lead his Pittsburgh Penguins to a 6-2 victory over the Tampa Bay Lightning. Tristan Jarry got the win with a 34-save performance while Jake Guentzel and Jeff Carter each had two points for the Penguins. Lightning forwards Steven Stamkos and Nikita Kucherov each had two points.

Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It was also the second straight game that the Penguins scored six goals.

Toronto Maple Leafs goaltender Ilya Samsonov turned aside 26 shots and Justin Holl snapped a 2-2 tie to nip the Ottawa Senators 3-2. Claude Giroux had a goal and an assist for the Senators. Samsonov got the start when Matt Murray suffered an adductor injury that will sideline him for four weeks. The Leafs recalled Erik Kallgren as Samsonov’s backup.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It didn’t take long for Murray to be sidelined again, bringing into question the decision by general manager Kyle Dubas to acquire the oft-injured netminder this summer. The Leafs had better pray Samsonov remains healthy and plays well given their limited cap space and lack of depth in quality goalies within their system.

The Los Angeles Kings tamed the Minnesota Wild 7-6 on a third-period goal by Adrian Kempe, who finished the night with two goals and an assist. Anze Kopitar collected three assists while Kevin Fiala notched three points against his former team. Mats Zuccarello had a goal and two assists for the Wild, who pulled goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury after he gave up four goals on 14 shots.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Wild overcame a 3-0 deficit and had tied the game at six before Kempe’s game-winning tally. It was a sloppy defensive contest for both clubs. Zuccarello didn’t mince words about his team’s performance. “Sometimes we play defense like we’re a f**king junior team. It’s the whole team. We have to sharpen up,” he said.

Vladimir Tarasenko scored two goals while Pavel Buchnevich and Brayden Schenn each had two points as the St. Louis Blues rolled to a 5-2 victory against the Columbus Blue Jackets. Johnny Gaudreau collected an assist for the Jackets, who have dropped three straight to start the season.

The Calgary Flames got a three-point performance from defenseman Michael Stone and two points from Nazem Kadri as they held off the Edmonton Oilers 4-3. Connor McDavid scored a goal and Leon Draisaitl had two assists for the Oilers.

Detroit Red Wings captain Dylan Larkin had a goal and two assists to lead his club over the New Jersey Devils 5-2. Goaltender Alex Nedeljkovic turned aside 37 shots for the win. Devils captain Nico Hischier returned to the lineup after being sidelined by a hamstring injury during preseason play.

The Dallas Stars defeated the Nashville Predators by a score of 5-1. Roope Hintz had two goals and an assist, Jason Robertson a goal and two assists while netminder Jake Oettinger kicked out 29 shots.

Vegas Golden Knights winger Jonathan Marchessault tallied twice and Adin Hill made 31 saves to beat the Seattle Kraken 5-2. The Golden Knights have won three straight. Andre Burakovsky had two assists for the Kraken.

Boston Bruins winger A.J. Greer scored twice and set up another in a 6-3 victory over the Arizona Coyotes. Charlie Coyle, Nick Foligno and Pavel Zacha each had a goal and an assist for the Bruins, who also lost defenseman Brandon Carlo in the first period to a possible head/concussion injury following a hit by Coyotes forward Liam O’Brien. Coyotes defenseman Conor Timmins left the game with an upper-body injury.

Defensemen Robin Salo and Scott Mayfield each scored twice and Anders Lee collected three assists as the New York Islanders crushed the Anaheim Ducks 7-1. Mathew Barzal, Anthony Beauvillier and Oliver Wahlstrom each had two points. Isles forward Cal Clutterbuck returned from injured reserve but Sebastian Aho went on IR with an upper-body injury.

The Philadelphia Flyers overcame a 2-0 deficit to upset the Vancouver Canucks 3-2. Travis Konecny scored the game-winner and assisted on Scott Laughton’s game-tying goal while Carter Hart made 28 saves for the win. Canucks defenseman Tucker Poolman left the game following the first period with an undisclosed injury.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Flyers are 2-0-0 while the Canucks have lost their first two games. Canucks star J.T. Miller is frustrated by his performance, acknowledging he’s been on the ice for all eight goals scored against his team thus far. Speaking of the Flyers, they placed winger Owen Tippett on injured reserve with an upper-body injury.

Three unanswered second-period goals by Conor Sheary, Anthony Mantha and T.J. Oshie lifted the Washington Capitals over the Montreal Canadiens 3-1. Oshie finished with two points. Nick Suzuki scored for the Canadiens, who remain scoreless in 10 power-play opportunities thus far this season.

The Florida Panthers held off the Buffalo Sabres 4-3. Matthew Tkachuk had a goal and an assist while Aleksander Barkov chipped in two assists. Alex Tuch and Rasmus Dahlin each had a goal and an assist for the Sabres.

Two second-period goals by Sam Lafferty helped the Chicago Blackhawks overcome a 2-0 deficit to down the San Jose Sharks 5-2. The Sharks have dropped four straight games.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Before the game, the Sharks honored former general manager Doug Wilson, who stepped away from the role last season for health reasons.

HEADLINES

NHL.COM: The league announced Saturday it had concluded its investigation into anonymous allegations of sexual assault on social media made against Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Ian Cole, finding no evidence to substantiate the allegations.

The league conducted two interviews with Cole as well as interviews with NHL club personnel and other individuals with potentially pertinent information. It conducted a detailed review of online and social media, public data, court records and law enforcement checks, as well as attempted to contact the source of the allegations.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Reaction to this report on social media has been mixed, with some claiming the league didn’t go far enough with its investigation, expressing skepticism over the findings or insisting they turn this over to the police. That’s understandable given Kyle Beach’s allegations that he was sexually assaulted by a former Chicago Blackhawks video coach were so poorly handled.

However, I don’t see this as sweeping it under the table. The league took the allegation seriously and suspended Cole with pay while conducting what appears to have been a thorough investigation.

I’m not saying the anonymous source shouldn’t be listened to or believed but if they’re unwilling to speak to the league or the police then there’s not really much else that can be done. Cole, meanwhile, will be reinstated but this incident has tarnished his personal life and reputation.

THE ATHLETIC’S Peter Baugh reports there’s still no timeline for Gabriel Landeskog’s return to the Colorado Avalanche lineup. He remains sidelined with a lower-body injury.

WINNIPEG FREE PRESS: Jets head coach Rick Bowness hopes to return behind the bench on Wednesday. He’s currently sidelined after testing positive for COVID-19.

SPORTSNET: The Washington Capitals are reportedly poised to sign free-agent winger Sonny Milano to a one-year, $750K contract.










Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – October 9, 2022

Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – October 9, 2022

Should the Bruins attempt to acquire Patrick Kane? Will John Klingberg be with the Ducks for long? What’s the latest on the Islanders? Find out in the Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup.

SHOULD THE BRUINS PURSUE KANE?

THE BOSTON GLOBE: Kevin Paul Dupont wonders what it might take for the Bruins to acquire Patrick Kane if the Chicago Blackhawks winger became available in the trade market. The 33-year-old Kane remains among the league’s elite forwards. Adding him alongside Patrice Bergeron or David Krejci would give the Bruins two dynamic forward lines.

Chicago Blackhawks winger Patrick Kane (NHL Images).

Kane carries a $10.5 million salary cap hit. Assuming he’d agree to waive his no-movement clause to join the Bruins, Dupont suggested they offer up winger Jake DeBrusk ($4 million cap hit), defenseman Brandon Carlo ($4.1 million) and either Jack Studnicka or Jakub Zboril. That package would make the dollars fit plus provide the Blackhawks with more ready assets than a return of futures.

The Blackhawks will also seek a first-round pick. Dupont believes that would be a deal killer unless it was made conditional on Kane signing a contract extension with the Bruins.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Dupont is merely speculating here. He’s not saying the Bruins have made a pitch for Kane or that the winger is willing to waive his NMC to come to Boston.

Any interest Bruins management might have in Kane will depend on where the club sits in the standings as the March 3 trade deadline approaches. Dupont’s suggested trade package isn’t bad but I doubt it’s enough to convince the Blackhawks to part with the future Hall-of-Famer. There could be other clubs with more tradeable assets capable of outbidding the Bruins.

WILL THE DUCKS MOVE KLINGBERG AT THE TRADE DEADLINE?

THE SCORE: The Anaheim Ducks trading John Klingberg at the March 3 trade deadline is among John Matisz’s 23 predictions for the coming NHL season. He pointed out that the rebuilding Ducks only signed the 30-year-old defenseman to a one-year, $7 million contract.

Klingberg also carries a modified no-trade clause preventing him from being moved before Jan. 1, after which he submits a 10-team no-trade list.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Ducks and Klingberg could surprise us by agreeing to a contract extension if his tenure goes well with them. Nevertheless, I concur with Matisz that the puck-moving rearguard is likely to be shopped by the March trade deadline.

HOW WILL BARZAL’S NEW CONTRACT AFFECT THE ISLANDERS?

NYI HOCKEY NOW: Stefen Rosner examined how Mathew Barzal’s eight-year, $73.2 million contract extension could impact the New York Islanders going forward.

Kieffer Bellows and Oliver Wahlstrom will be restricted free agents next summer. Rosner speculates Bellows could become a trade chip while Wahlstrom’s next contract will depend on his offensive production this season.

Defenseman Scott Mayfield and goaltender Semyon Varlamov are slated to become unrestricted free agents next July.

Rosner wonders if Mayfield could become the odd man out on their blueline with the Isles having their top-four defense already under contract and promising Robin Salo in the lineup. As for Varlamov, the Isles could keep him if he’s willing to accept a 50 percent pay cut from his current annual average value of $5 million.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Wahlstrom will likely be re-signed but I wouldn’t rule out the possibility that he becomes a trade candidate if his performance doesn’t improve this season. I think they’d like to keep the steady Mayfield but another solid season on his part could make that too expensive to pull off.

Varlamov, 34, has terrific chemistry with Ilya Sorokin. Maybe he’ll accept a cut in pay to around $3 million for 2023-24 to return as Sorokin’s backup.










Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – May 29, 2022

Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – May 29, 2022

The latest on the Flames and Bruins plus the market value of Andrew Copp in the Sunday NHL rumor roundup.

FLAMES EXPECTED TO START TALKS WITH GAUDREAU AND TKACHUK SOON

SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman believes the Calgary Flames won’t waste time starting contract talks with Johnny Gaudreau and Matthew Tkachuk. Gaudreau, 28, is slated to become an unrestricted free agent this summer while the 24-year-old Tkachuk is a restricted free agent with arbitration rights who is a year away from UFA eligibility.

Friedman believes the team will approach negotiations quickly and aggressively to find out where things stand with both players. That will determine whether they can re-sign them or what their next course of action will be.

CALGARY HOCKEY NOW: Steve Mcfarlane reports Gaudreau sounded like he’d very much like to remain with the Flames during his end-of-season press conference on Saturday. He spoke of how much he and his wife enjoy living in Calgary and admitted he could have a considerable legacy if he remains with the Flames. The winger indicated he’ll sit down with his agent sometime this week to discuss what’s best for himself and his family.

Calgary Flames winger Matthew Tkachuk (NHL Images).

Flames general manager Brad Treliving said earlier this season he’d move heaven and earth to retain his club’s best offensive player. During Saturday’s presser, he reiterated his intent to sign Gaudreau.

CALGARY SUN: Wes Gilbertson and Daniel Austin report Tkachuk is open to a long-term deal with the Flames. “Absolutely,” he said. “I’ve loved it here. I’ve grown up here.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The cost of re-signing Gaudreau and Tkachuk will take a big chunk out of their salary-cap payroll for years. It could end up costing a combined $20 million to keep them in the fold.

Cap Friendly shows the Flames with $55.575 million invested in 12 players for 2022-23. They can afford to sign Gaudreau and Tkachuk but won’t have much left for Mangiapane or to fill out the rest of the roster and address their roster weaknesses, such as bolstering the blueline depth.

As I’ve said before, Treliving will have to shed salary to make this work. Sean Monahan is frequently mentioned as a trade candidate but his $6.35 million cap hit, 10-team no-trade list and the ongoing decline in his performance due to nagging hip injuries make him difficult to move.

Mikael Backlund has been suggested as a trade option. He’s signed through 2023-24 with an annual average value of $5.35 million and a 10-team no-trade list. The 33-year-old’s age could be a concern but he’d still have value as a middle-six center.

LATEST ON THE BRUINS

NBC SPORTS BOSTON: Nick Goss believes the Bruins’ top-three offseason priorities are finding a top-six center, adding a scoring winger and bringing more young players into their lineup.

The Bruins will desperately need a center if captain Patrice Bergeron retires. If he returns, it’ll still be a pressing issue for their second line. Neither Erik Haula or Charlie Coyle are legitimate top-six centers. Free-agent options include Claude Giroux, Evgeni Malkin and Nazem Kadri but the Bruins would have to clear cap space to add one of them.

What happens with Jake DeBrusk could affect efforts to add a scoring winger. DeBrusk intends to take some time to determine if he’ll withdraw last November’s trade request. The Bruins can’t afford to move him unless they get a similar player in return.

THE ATHLETIC: Fluto Shinzawa points out the Bruins need to clear salary-cap space if they intend to add a center. He proposed trading Mike Reilly ($3 million through 2023-24) or Craig Smith ($3 million through 2022-23) or buying out Nick Foligno ($3.8 million through 2022-23).

BOSTON HOCKEY NOW: Jimmy Murphy wondered if the Bruins will consider moving blueliner Brandon Carlo in a deal for a top-six center. He also noted Bruins fans clamoring for the club to shop Matt Grzelcyk. Murphy indicated Connor Clifton was “out there in the trade market” at various points this season so it wouldn’t be surprising if he is again.

If the Bruins aren’t going to go all-in building up their depth at center, Murphy suggested bolstering their top-four defense. Dallas Stars rearguard John Klingberg could be worth looking into in the UFA market.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This summer will be challenging for Bruins general manager Don Sweeney. He faces the potential retirement of first-line center Patrice Bergeron, first-line left winger Brad Marchand will miss the opening two months of the season recovering from hip surgery, and he must free up cap room to address the roster weaknesses.

The Bruins are screwed at center if Bergeron retires. That’s why I wouldn’t be surprised if he returns for one more season to buy the club time to shore up their depth at that position.

DeBrusk or Carlo could be used as trade bait to add a center or a winger. However, interested clubs could insist the Bruins included a decent draft pick or prospect in the deal.

Trading Reilly or Smith or buying out Foligno will help clear cap space. Those savings, however, are no certainty that Bruins management can find the right players to address their roster needs in this summer’s trade and free-agent market.

A LOOK AT CONTRACT COMPARABLES FOR COPP

SPORTSNET: Jeff Marek examined the possible contract comparables for Andrew Copp. The 27-year-old forward was a great trade acquisition by the New York Rangers. He’s slated to become a UFA in July.

Marek speculates Copp’s next deal could be somewhere between what Phillip Danault got from the Los Angeles Kings last summer and what Zach Hyman received from the Edmonton Oilers. Danault got six years and $33 million while Hyman’s was seven years and $38.5 million.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Danault and Hyman are each earning $5.5 million annually. Copp’s current contract pays him $3.64 million this season.

The Rangers are believed to be interested in re-signing him but he could price himself out of their market. They’ve got $12 million in cap space with Ryan Strome also slated to become a UFA while winger Kaapo Kakko is coming off his entry-level contract and backup goalie Alexandar Georgiev is an RFA with arbitration rights.










NHL Rumor Mill – May 25, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – May 25, 2022

Check out the latest roundup of Bruins and Canadiens speculation in today’s NHL rumor mill.

THE BOSTON GLOBE: On Sunday, Kevin Paul Dupont speculated this could be the summer Bruins general manager Don Sweeney takes some bold risks to address his depth at center, especially if it appears captain Patrice Bergeron intends to retire.

Colorado’s Nazem Kadri, Florida’s Claude Giroux and Pittsburgh’s Evgeni Malkin could be available in this summer’s unrestricted free agent market. The best fit would be Kadri as the 31-year-old is coming off a career-best 87 points this season. Dupont felt it almost unfathomable that the fiery ex-Maple Leaf would be considered a fix for the Bruins’ depth at center but he doesn’t dismiss the possibility.

Boston Bruins winger Jake DeBrusk (NHL Images).

Winger Jake DeBrusk and defenseman Brandon Carlo could be used as trade chips in pursuit of a prime center in his mid-twenties. Dupont also suggested the Bruins look into acquiring promising Kirby Dach from the Chicago Blackhawks.

Dupont pointed out the Bruins had an interest in Alec Martinez last summer before the left-shot defenseman signed with the Vega Golden Knights. The 35-year-old Martinez carries a $5.25 million cap hit.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Cap Friendly shows the Bruins with $80.1 million invested in 22 players for 2022-23. They’ll have to shed salary to re-sign Bergeron or ink his replacement via free agency.

Packaging DeBrusk and Carlo would free up $8.1 million and could bring in a quality center in his playing prime. Nevertheless, I don’t see any team willing to part with that type of player for that package. This is why I wouldn’t be surprised if Bergeron returns for at least one more season to buy the Bruins time to find a suitable replacement.

As Dupont observed, the Blackhawks haven’t re-signed Dach yet. However, they’re not in any hurry to do so. He’s coming off his entry-level contract and lacks arbitration rights. I can see the rebuilding Hawks signing the 21-year-old center to an affordable bridge contract.

The Bruins addressed their need for a top-four left-shot defenseman by acquiring Hampus Lindholm. I don’t see them going after Martinez, especially if they need cap space to address their greater need at center.

MONTREAL HOCKEY NOW: Speaking of Dach, Jimmy Murphy referenced Dupont’s suggestion that the Bruins should look into acquiring the young Blackhawks center. He felt that’s something the Canadiens should also consider.

While they’re expected to select top prospect Shane Wright with this year’s first-overall pick and recently signed promising Riley Kidney to an entry-level deal, their NHL roster still isn’t that deep at center and they could use someone of Dach’s size and skill. Murphy suggested offering up the Calgary Flames’ first-round pick that they received in February’s Tyler Toffoli trade bundled with a roster player like Jeff Petry, Josh Anderson or Mike Hoffman and a top prospect.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Blackhawks general manager Kyle Davidson said he’s in the market for a first-round pick as his predecessor traded away this year’s selection as part of last summer’s Seth Jones trade. If the Blackhawks were looking at playoff contention next season, perhaps Davidson would be enticed to acquire a veteran player like one of those mentioned by Murphy. However, the Hawks GM has frequently indicated he’s rebuilding the roster, so I don’t see him parting with Dach for that offer.

Murphy colleague Marco D’Amico points out why the Canadiens don’t need to worry about a rival club attempting to sign away Alexander Romanov this summer with an offer sheet. As per the collective bargaining agreement, he hasn’t accrued three professional seasons, making him ineligible to receive an offer sheet coming out of his entry-level contract.