NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 12, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 12, 2021

The Sabres traded Taylor Hall to the Bruins, the Kings ship Jeff Carter to the Penguins, plus recaps of Sunday’s action and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

OVERNIGHT TRADES

TSN: The Buffalo Sabres trade left wing Taylor Hall and center Curtis Lazar to the Boston Bruins in exchange for winger Anders Bjork and a second-round draft pick in 2021. The Sabres also retain 50 percent of Hall’s $8 million cap hit to facilitate the trade.

Buffalo Sabres trade Taylor Hall to the Boston Bruins (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Bruins hope Hall will regain his offensive form and provide them with much-needed secondary scoring. Lazar should bring some depth to their checking lines.

It’s a disappointing return for the Sabres, who were believed seeking at least a first-round pick for Hall. It’s indicative of perhaps how much the former Hart Trophy winner’s stock has fallen this season. Bjork struggled to play up to expectations in Boston and might benefit from a fresh start in Buffalo.

TRIBLIVE.COM: The Los Angeles Kings traded forward Jeff Carter to the Pittsburgh Penguins in exchange for a conditional third-round pick in the 2022 NHL Draft and a conditional 2023 fourth-rounder. The Kings also retain 50 percent of Carter’s $5.272 million cap hit.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The conditions are based on how long the 36-year-old Carter plays. He has a year remaining on his contract. Carter’s tallied 20 goals 11 times in his career but his offense has declined in recent years. He has just 19 points in 40 games this season. Nevertheless, he should be a solid addition to the Penguins’ injury-depleted bottom-six forward lines.

TORONTO SUN: The Maple Leafs acquired goaltender David Rittich from the Calgary Flames in exchange for a 2022 third-round pick. The Flames also retained 50 percent of the pending UFA’s $2.75 million cap hit.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This move provides additional experienced goaltending depth for the Leafs behind Frederik Andersen and Jack Campbell. It also raises questions over how long Andersen could be sidelined by a lower-body injury.

NHL.COM: The Ottawa Senators traded defenseman Mike Reilly to the Boston Bruins in exchange for a third-round pick in the 2022 NHL draft. They also shipped blueliner Braydon Coburn to the New York Islanders for a 2022 seventh-rounder.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: Colorado Avalanche captain Gabriel Landeskog had a goal and two assists to lead his club over the Anaheim Ducks 4-1. Nathan MacKinnon had a goal and an assist as the Avs hold a four-point lead atop the Honda West Division with 60 points and moved into first in the overall standings.

Vegas Golden Knights goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury moved into fourth place on the NHL’s all-time wins list by blanking the Arizona Coyotes 1-0. Fleury now has 484 career victories and also picked up his 66th career shutout. Tomas Nosek tallied the only goal as the Golden Knights remain four points behind the Avalanche in the West. With 43 points, the Coyotes remain one point behind the fourth-place St. Louis Blues.

Two-goal performances by T.J. Oshie, Lars Eller and Conor Sheary carried the Washington Capitals to an 8-1 romp over the Boston Bruins. The Capitals are tied with the New York Islanders with 58 points but hold first place in the MassMutual East Division on the basis of regulation wins with 20. The Bruins, meanwhile, remain in fourth place with 48 points.

Speaking of the Islanders, they edged the New York Rangers 3-2 on an overtime goal by Ryan Pulock. Kyle Palmieri tallied his first goal since joining the Isles in a trade from the New Jersey Devils.

A hat trick by Jake Guentzel powered the Pittsburgh Penguins past the New Jersey Devils 5-2. Colton Sceviour also scored twice for the Penguins (56 points), who sit two points back of the Capitals and Islanders.

Three goals late in the third period by Jeff Skinner, Rasmus Asplund and Casey Mittelstadt rallied the Buffalo Sabres over the Philadelphia Flyers 5-3. Sabres goalie Linus Ullmark finished with 40 saves. The loss moved the Flyers into a tie with the Rangers (44 points) but the latter hold fifth place with 16 regulation wins.

The Nashville Predators edged the Dallas Stars 3-2 on a shootout goal by Ryan Johansen. The Predators sit in fourth place in the Discover Central Division, holding a four-point lead over the Chicago Blackhawks.

IN OTHER NEWS…

NEW YORK POST: Washington Capitals goaltender Henrik Lundqvist announced on social media yesterday he will not be returning to play this season. Lundqvist said he’s making progress since undergoing heart surgery in January but it will be a few more months before he’s fully recovered.

THE PROVINCE: The Vancouver Canucks plan to open their practice facility was postponed to Monday after sidelined forward Jay Beagle was placed on the NHL’s COVID-19 protocol list. The Canucks are scheduled to return to action on Friday against the Edmonton Oilers.

FLORIDA HOCKEY NOW: The Panthers signed winger Nikita Gusev to a prorated one-year, $1 million contract. Gusev became an unrestricted free agent on April 10 after his contract with the New Jersey Devils was terminated.

NHL.COM: The department of player safety suspended Nashville Predators forward Michael McCarron two games for an illegal hit to the head of Tampa Bay Lightning forward Yanni Gourde.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 4, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 4, 2021

Recaps of Wednesday’s action, more game postponements, plus the latest on Henrik Lundqvist, Petr Mrazek, Blake Wheeler and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: The Boston Bruins overcame a 3-1 deficit to upset the Philadelphia Flyers 4-3 on an overtime goal by Patrice Bergeron. David Pastrnak tallied a hat trick, including the Bruins’ final two goals in regulation to force the extra frame. He also had an assist on Bergeron’s winner while the Bruins’ captain also collected three assists.

Boston Bruins winger David Pastrnak (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It appears Pastrnak is quickly returning to game shape following his recovery from offseason hip surgery. That was an impressive performance on his part in the third period. Penalties proved costly for the Flyers as the Bruins’ final three goals all came on the power play.

Three goals within the first five minutes of the first period power the Tampa Bay Lightning to a 5-1 victory over the Detroit Red Wings. Victor Hedman and Blake Coleman each had two points. The Red Wings are winless in their last seven contests.

TWINCITIES.COM: The Minnesota Wild’s schedule is on pause to at least next Tuesday after five more players were added to their COVID-19 protocol list. Nick Bjugstad, Nick Bonino, Joel Eriksson Ek, Marcus Johansson and Jared Spurgeon joined Marcus Foligno on the list.

THE DENVER POST: One of the postponed Wild games involved Thursday’s contest with the Colorado Avalanche, who placed forward Tyson Jost on the COVID-19 protocol list.

WGR 550: Tobias Rieder and Brandon Montour have joined Taylor Hall and Rasmus Ristolainen on the Buffalo Sabres COVID-19 protocol list. The Sabres schedule is paused until at least Feb. 8 with four games postponed.

PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE: Defenseman John Marino is the first member of the Penguins to be placed on the COVID-19 protocol list.

NEW YORK POST: Henrik Lundqvist is in good spirits and said he’s feeling well a month after undergoing open-heart surgery.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Best wishes to King Henrik in his ongoing recovery.

NHL.COM: Carolina Hurricanes goaltender Petr Mrazek has undergone surgery on his right thumb. A timetable for his return is expected in the next several days.

THE SCORE: Winnipeg Jets head coach Paul Maurice ripped into critics of captain Blake Wheeler’s defensive play. “He’s got f*****g 11 points in 10 games,” said Maurice. While he doesn’t have a problem with criticism of Wheeler’s play, he claims he wants it to be accurate. “You’ll do your deep dives and analytics, and god, they do a horses**t job of telling you what five guys do.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Wheeler has been on the ice for more five-on-five goals against the Jets than the rest of his teammates. It’s fair to note that point but Maurice is right to say it doesn’t tell the whole story of his overall performance.

CBS SPORTS: Los Angeles Kings defenseman Sean Walker is expected to be sidelined two-to-four weeks after undergoing surgery on his nose. He took a slapshot to the face during a recent game against the Minnesota Wild.

TSN: The Ottawa Senators placed defenseman Braydon Coburn on waivers.

NEW YORK POST: Rangers assistant general manager Chris Drury has taken himself out of the running for the vacant position of Pittsburgh Penguins GM.

TSN: Hockey Canada announced St. Louis Blues general manager Doug Armstrong has been named GM of Canada’s Men’s Olympic Hockey Team at the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics. Joining him will be Edmonton Oilers GM Ken Holland, Seattle Kraken GM Ron Francis, Boston Bruins GM Don Sweeney and Florida Panthers executive Roberto Luongo.

THE TENNESSEAN: The Nashville Predators will make a limited number of tickets available for six February home games beginning Friday.










NHL Rumor Mill – January 1, 2021

NHL Rumor Mill – January 1, 2021

The Blue Jackets signed Pierre-Luc Dubois but trade rumors persist, plus the latest on the Senators in the first NHL rumor mill of 2021.

THE ATHLETIC: Aaron Portzline cites colleague Pierre LeBrun yesterday reporting a few NHL clubs were made aware that Pierre-Luc Dubois is looking at a change of scenery after just three seasons with the Columbus Blue Jackets. Dubois and the Jackets yesterday reached an agreement on a two-year, $10 million contract.

Despite re-signing with the Columbus Blue Jackets, there’s speculation Pierre-Luc Dubois wants to be traded (NHL Images).

Neither general manager Jarmo Kekalainen or Dubois’ agent would comment on the young center’s rumored request for a trade. Portzline cites a source claiming the relationship between Dubois and the organization changed during contract negotiations in the fall.

The Jackets apparently wanted a long-term contract but Dubois sought a short-term deal that would allow management sufficient time to trade him for a return commensurate with his value. It also keeps Dubois from being locked-in long term with the Jackets.

Dubois didn’t sign an offer sheet but Portzline indicates he did speak with other clubs. It was in those discussions that his desire to leave Columbus became clear.

Portzline suggests Kekalainen’s tendency to take a hard line in contract talks with young players has the consequence of damaging the relationship between the two sides. He cites former Jackets Ryan Johansen and Josh Anderson as notable examples.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: We’ll probably learn more in the coming days from various league insiders over Dubois’ situation, especially regarding the teams he spoke with during his contract negotiations. It’s also been suggested Dubois might not have the best relationship with head coach John Tortorella, who has a reputation as a tough-minded bench boss.

Whatever the reason, Dubois could become a subject of interest in the rumor mill over the course of this season. If there is friction between the center and Kekalainen and/or Tortorella, it could result in his departure via trade this year or next for a player of equal or potentially better value.

Kekalainen could make a one-for-one deal involving Dubois. He shipped Johansen to Nashville for defenseman Seth Jones in a move that proved to be a winner for the Jackets. Anderson was dealt in October to Montreal for Max Domi. Time will tell which club got the better of that move.

OTTAWA SUN: Earlier this week, Ken Warren examined how the recent moves by the Senators have created a logjam at center and on defense. The additions of Derek Stepan and Cedric Paquette gives them five centers. Because there’s limited room to move a center to the wing, Warren suggested moving on from Artem Anisimov. He also believes they’ll have to make a decision on Logan Brown, who’s heading into his third pro season trying to win a permanent spot on the roster.

Warren also pointed out it’s a packed house on the blueline, “with Thomas Chabot, Nikita Zaitsev, Erik Gudbranson, Braydon Coburn, Mike Reilly, Josh Brown, Christian Wolanin, Erik Brannstrom, Artem Zub, Lassi Thomson and Christian Jaros all searching for playing time.” He speculates some of the veterans could be moved by the trade deadline.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Warren believes it could be difficult moving Anisimov because he’s slowed and there might not be many takers for the $1.5 million in actual salary remaining on his contract. Perhaps not now, but he could draw some interest from a playoff contender leading up to the Apr. 12 trade deadline. I expect pending UFA blueliners like Gudbranson, Coburn or Reilly could also hit the trade block later in the season.










Assessing Five Recent Notable NHL Player Moves

Assessing Five Recent Notable NHL Player Moves

 










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 28, 2020

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 28, 2020

Mike Hoffman joining the Blues and two significant trades by the Senators highlights this roundup of the notable Christmas holiday weekend news in the NHL morning coffee headlines.

THE ATHLETIC: Jeremy Rutherford reports the St. Louis Blues signed free agent Mike Hoffman to a professional tryout offer. Hoffman can negotiate with other clubs while training with the Blues. However, Rutherford believes the two sides have in place a one-year deal worth between $3.5 million and $4.5 million, and they’re waiting to officially announce it because of salary-cap implications.

Mike Hoffman joins the St. Louis Blues on a professional tryout offer (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I doubted the Blues would sign Hoffman unless he was willing to reduce his rumored asking price of between $5.5 million and $6.5 million. He’s apparently done so to join a Stanley Cup contender.

Hoffman will provide some much-needed short-term offense with sniper Vladimir Tarasenko sidelined by offseason shoulder surgery. A solid performance could improve Hoffman’s chances of a more lucrative deal in next year’s UFA market.

Cap Friendly shows the Blues with $1.175 million in cap space with Vince Dunn to be signed. They will get cap relief by placing Alexander Steen and his $5.75 million annual average value on long-term injury reserve at the start of the season.

Rutherford points out having Hoffman on a PTO gives Blues general manager Doug Armstrong time to determine how much it’ll cost to re-sign Dunn. It could also allow time to make a cost-cutting trade, though they could also get some wiggle room if necessary by placing Tarasenko ($7.5 million AAV) on LTIR.

ARIZONA SPORTS/OTTAWA SUN: The Senators were busy in the trade market on Sunday. Their first move saw them ship a 2021 second-round draft pick (originally owned by the Columbus Blue Jackets) to the Arizona Coyotes in exchange for center Derek Stepan.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: A good move by both clubs. The Coyotes wanted to shed some salary and the rebuilding Senators sought some short-term experience and leadership at center.

PuckPedia pointed out this deal gives the Coyotes a projected $3.7 million in salary-cap space without having to place Marian Hossa on long-term injury reserve (LTIR). They can accrue cap space to put toward this season’s trade deadline and their performance bonuses earned won’t automatically carry over into next season. That extra second-rounder will offset their lack of a third-round pick in the ’21 draft.

Some folks wondered why the Senators took on Stepan when (in their minds) they could’ve pursued better options. One reason is Stepan will get more playing time with the Sens than he was getting with the Coyotes. Another is he lacked no-trade protection. His actual salary is another factor. While his annual average is $6.5 million annual average value for this season (the last of his contract), his actual salary is just $2 million.

Critics feel the Senators gave up too much for Stepan by parting with a second-round pick. This, however, was a move they could afford to make. They still have two second-round picks in the ‘21 draft and could land another second-round pick if they decide to peddle Stepan at the trade deadline. Failing that, they could get a third-rounder. Some will scoff at that notion but one must never underestimate the willingness of general managers to overpay at the deadline.

OTTAWA SUN/TAMPA BAY TIMES: The Senators’ second deal saw them send the contracts of winger Marian Gaborik and goaltender Anders Nilsson to the Tampa Bay Lightning in exchange for defenseman Braydon Coburn, forward Cedric Paquette, and a second-round pick in 2022.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Gaborik hasn’t played since 2017-18 while Nilsson is expected to miss this season with concussion symptoms. The Lightning will place their combined salaries ($7.5 million) on LTIR, allowing the club to become cap compliant when this season begins.

Like Stepan, Coburn and Paquette will provide the Senators with short-term experience and leadership. Both will be unrestricted free agents next summer, though there’s a chance the Sens could sign the 27-year-old Paquette to an extension if he plays well this season.

OTTAWA SUN: The Senators also signed top prospect Tim Stuetzle yesterday to a three-year entry-level contract. He was given his release by Adler Mannheim in the German league Sunday in order to sign with the Sens.

SPECTOR’ S NOTE: This signing isn’t surprising considering how well Stuetzle’s performed for the COVID-ravaged German squad thus far in the 2021 World Junior Championship. The 18-year-old winger is expected to finish the tournament with Germany and join the Senators’ training camp following a seven-day quarantine in Ottawa.

TSN: Ilya Kovalchuk has officially signed a two-year contract with KHL club Avangard Omsk.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That should bring Kovalchuk’s second tenure in the NHL to a permanent close. He’s no longer the scoring threat he once was, bouncing last season from the Los Angeles Kings to the Montreal Canadiens to the Washington Capitals.

NBC SPORTS CHICAGO: The Blackhawks signed free-agent center Carl Soderberg to a one-year contract worth $1 million.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This move comes after Blackhawks promising young center Kirby Dach suffered a fractured wrist last week playing for Canada at the World Juniors.

THE SCORE: The Capitals signed free-agent goaltender Craig Anderson to a professional tryout contract. This signing comes less than two weeks after Henrik Lundqvist was sidelined for the season by a heart condition.

EDMONTON JOURNAL: The Oilers signed free-agent defenseman Slater Koekkoek to a one-year contract worth $850K.

THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH: The Blue Jackets signed free-agent defenseman Michael Del Zotto to a professional tryout contract. He’ll compete for either a roster spot or a place with the Jackets’ taxi squad.

TSN: Buffalo Sabres defenseman Casey Nelson has opted out of playing the 2020-21 NHL season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The deadline for player opt-outs was Dec. 27.

THE SCORE: Forward Mark Letestu announced his retirement yesterday after 11 NHL seasons. He tallied 93 goals and 210 points in 567 games with the Pittsburgh Penguins, Columbus Blue Jackets, Edmonton Oilers and Winnipeg Jets.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Best wishes to Letestu in his future endeavors.










NHL Rumor Roundup: UFA Pool Growing Shallow

NHL Rumor Roundup: UFA Pool Growing Shallow