NHL Rumor Mill – April 1, 2023

NHL Rumor Mill – April 1, 2023

It’s no April Fool’s, the Ducks and Flyers could be making some notable trades this summer. Check out the latest in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.

THE PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER: Olivia Reiner and Giana Han looked at whether the Flyers will be looking at moving out some veteran players this summer and which ones are the likeliest to move.

Philadelphia Flyers center Kevin Hayes (NHL Images).

Han believes they’ll take calls on Kevin Hayes based on head coach John Tortorella’s comments before the March 3 trade deadline claiming the 30-year-old’s name came up in trade discussions. She also thinks defenseman Travis Sanheim could be another candidate based on the way Tortorella talks about him.

Reiner agrees with Han regarding Hayes, citing Tortorella’s comments about “addition by subtraction” since the start of the season. She noted how he’s been bumped from top-line center with Sean Couturier sidelined this season to a bottom-six center and sometimes winger earning over $7.142 million per season for the next three years.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: There was speculation linking Hayes to the Columbus Blue Jackets and Colorado Avalanche before the trade deadline. His contract (which also contains a 12-team no-trade list) is the biggest obstacle in the path toward a deal with another club.

The Flyers could end up retaining some salary or taking back a comparable contract in return. There was also chatter about a possible buyout but that would count as two-thirds of the remaining value over twice the remaining term. That’s likely the last option they’ll consider.

THE ATHLETIC: In a recent mailbag segment, Eric Stephens was asked if Anaheim Ducks general manager Pat Verbeek will attempt to upgrade the blueline via free agency by pursuing someone like Matt Dumba, Damon Severson or Ryan Graves.

Stephens is leery about Dumba given his declining performance unless he’s willing to accept a two-year contract at $3 million annually. Severson and Graves are very serviceable but he cautions against investing too much in an established defenseman given the promising depth within their prospect pipeline.

Asked about struggling winger Max Comtois, Stephens doesn’t expect they’ll spend $2.55 million to qualify his rights. He noted that the 24-year-old pending restricted free agent was on the trade block this season but Verbeek couldn’t find any takers.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Verbeek could peddle Comtois again around the draft in late June to see if he can get something for him. Otherwise, as Stephens noted, the Ducks GM could do what he did last summer with Sonny Milano and let him walk.

NHL Rumor Mill (Part 2) – February 23, 2023

NHL Rumor Mill (Part 2) – February 23, 2023

Check out the latest on Brock Boeser, Sam Reinhart, Mattias Ekholm, J.T. Miller, Boone Jenner, Adam Henrique and more in Part 2 of today’s NHL Rumor Mill.


SPORTSNET: With the March 3 trade deadline over a week away, Elliotte Friedman examined each NHL club.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: We looked at the first 16 teams in Part 1 earlier today. Here’s a summary of the remaining 16 clubs.

Calgary Flames: They looked into acquiring Vancouver’s Luke Schenn but the price looks like it was higher than they wanted to pay. The Flames also kicked tires on Vancouver winger Brock Boeser.

Vancouver Canucks winger Brock Boeser (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Calgary Sun’s Wes Gilbertson observed the Flames are in a difficult position here given their position sitting just outside of a Western Conference wild-card berth. General manager Brad Treliving appears to be in wait-and-see mode with the club’s performance over the next seven days likely to decide whether he buys or sells.

Buffalo Sabres: Friedman believes they should do something no matter how small to bring in someone to help their roster.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Sabres GM Kevyn Adams isn’t likely to make a major acquisition by the deadline. However, with his rebuilding club sitting tantalizingly close to a playoff spot, I’ll be surprised if he doesn’t make an affordable rental addition to add a little more experience and leadership to the room.

Nashville Predators: Friedman doubts forward Tanner Jeannot is going anywhere with the club opening talks on a long-term contract extension. It would take a “strong package” to pry away defenseman Mattias Ekholm.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s believed GM David Poile is willing to listen on most of his players. However, he’d got a lot of veterans on expensive long-term deals and those types of players usually don’t move before the trade deadline. And no, I don’t see him peddling goaltender Juuse Saros or captain Roman Josi. Moving on…

New York Islanders: Friedman isn’t sure what GM Lou Lamoriello could be up to. He’s already made a major move by acquiring Bo Horvat. He doesn’t see pending free-agent defenseman Scott Mayfield getting moved while they’re still in playoff contention.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I wouldn’t rule out Lamoriello making another addition if the Isles can strengthen their grip on the first Eastern Conference wild-card spot. It won’t be as big a splash as the Horvat deal but one that provides some affordable depth. Much could depend on how long center Mathew Barzal will be sidelined by his lower-body injury.

Florida Panthers: They’ve climbed back into the playoff race and winger Anthony Duclair should soon return to the lineup. Friedman’s heard Sam Reinhart’s name come up in the rumor mill but isn’t sure about the timing.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Reinhart would be a trade chip if the Panthers were still wallowing near the bottom of the standings. He’s not going anywhere now that they’ve played their way back into the playoff race. GM Bill Zito could be a buyer but getting Duclair back into the lineup could be just as good as acquiring someone via trade.

Washington Capitals: GM Brian MacLellan is open to discussing his pending unrestricted free agents in the trade market. He’s not close to a new contract with Dmitry Orlov. Other UFAs include Garnet Hathaway, Connor Sheary, Marcus Johansson and Trevor van Riemsdyk.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Capitals are just two points out of a wild-card spot with Alex Ovechkin returning to the lineup following the death of his father. I expect MacLellan will remain patient for the next week to see how his club responds.

Ottawa Senators: Friedman pointed out they’ve inquired about every available defenseman this season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Daily Faceoff’s Frank Seravalli said the Senators have also expressed an interest in St. Louis defenseman Colton Parayko. Also, their shipping away Nikita Zaitsev to Chicago for “future considerations” (and including two draft picks in the deal) suggests they could be preparing for a significant acquisition. Maybe it’s Parayko or another notable defenseman. We’ll see…

St. Louis Blues: They’ve now got three first-round picks in the 2023 draft. It’s believed they’ve inquired about San Jose’s Timo Meier and Arizona’s Jakob Chychrun. If Meier’s unavailable, Friedman also wondered if GM Doug Armstrong might pursue Alex DeBrincat if he doesn’t re-sign with Ottawa.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch believes the Blues must clear more salary-cap space if they intend on making a quick rebuild. Trading away Ryan O’Reilly, Vladimir Tarasenko, Niko Mikkola and Noel Acciari didn’t free up any cap room for next season because they were all on expiring contracts. Thomas wondered if Armstrong would try to trade a defenseman such as Colton Parayko or Torey Krug but noted they’ve got expensive contracts with full no-trade protection.

Philadelphia Flyers: Friedman doesn’t see forward Travis Konecny going anywhere. James van Riemsdyk’s a scoring option for a few teams. Kevin Hayes is available and Felix Sandstrom could end up on waivers. The Flyers are looking for centers.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: A pending UFA, van Riemsdyk’s a goner though I expect interested clubs will want the Flyers to retain half of his $7 million salary-cap hit. Hayes carries a $7.1 million cap hit through 2025-26 with a 12-team no-trade clause. That’s a contract that gets moved in the offseason, not the trade deadline.

Montreal Canadiens: Injuries to Sean Monahan and Joel Edmundson rule them out as trade chips. Winger Evgenii Dadonov might go for a later-round draft pick.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The expectation is the Canadiens could have a quiet trade deadline. It would be a different story if Monahan and Edmundson were healthy and productive. GM Kent Hughes could surprise us but unless he’s shopping someone like Josh Anderson I don’t see him making many moves this year.

Vancouver Canucks: Defenseman Luke Schenn has been held out of the lineup for trade-related reasons. Friedman’s getting mixed messages regarding Washington’s supposed interest in Brock Boeser. Teams want to see what they’ll do with J.T. Miller but Friedman considers it unlikely that anything happens with him.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Schenn is the most likely to go given his affordable salary ($800K) and his playoff experience. The Canucks could probably move Boeser at the trade deadline if they agree to retain half of his $6.65 million cap hit. Miller’s no-trade clause doesn’t kick in until July 1 but I agree that he’s unlikely to be moved.

Arizona Coyotes: Jakob Chychrun’s been held out of the lineup for trade-related reasons since mid-February. Friedman doubts Boston is in on him because of salary-cap issues. That leaves Columbus, Los Angeles, St. Louis and perhaps Winnipeg as possible destinations. Shayne Gostisbehere is another Coyotes defenseman worth watching.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It was assumed Chychrun was heading to the Kings earlier this month but that appears to have fallen through for now. I still expect he’s going to get moved by deadline day. Gostisbehere is also likely to be on the move.

San Jose Sharks: Suitors for Timo Meier include Carolina, New Jersey, St. Louis, Vegas and Winnipeg. Freidman wondered if it could cost Western suitors more for Meier than Eastern ones. Erik Karlsson to Edmonton appears unlikely. Pending free agents such as Nick Bonino and James Reimer are worth watching.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Meier’s a goner, it’s just a question of where. The Devils, Hurricanes and Blues appear to be the front-runners. Karlsson’s not going anywhere because his hefty contract is too difficult to move in-season. It won’t be easy to shop him this summer. I think Bonino and Reimer will be changing teams by March 3.

Chicago Blackhawks: Patrick Kane’s decision regarding a trade is expected any day now. It’s down to picking one team to get traded to or making a decision to look after his health beyond this season and address his nagging hip issue.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: In Part One, I noted that there remains a possibility Kane ends up with the New York Rangers after all. We’ll find out soon enough if that’s the case and how they’ll pull it off.

Columbus Blue Jackets: Vladislav Gavrikov has been taken out of the lineup for trade-related reasons. Friedman wondered if the Blue Jackets will try to pursue Arizona’s Jakob Chychrun. Joonas Korpisalo and the sidelined Gustav Nyquist could also become trade candidates. Some teams have looked at Boone Jenner but there aren’t many who can handle his contract.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Gavrikov is gone given his UFA status and affordable $2.8 million cap hit. Chychrun to Columbus makes no sense if reports that he doesn’t want to go there are true unless the Jackets intend to flip him to another team. A team in need of cap flexibility could acquire Nyquist’s contract, put him on LTIR and use the savings to add another player.

Anaheim Ducks: John Klingberg is available. Friedman believes it’s time to move Maxime Comtois. He also believes the Ducks and goalie John Gibson would love to find a way to get him to a new home. There are also teams interested in Adam Henrique but the Ducks could demand a premium to retain salary.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Ducks GM Pat Verbeek was very busy leading up to last year’s trade deadline, shipping out Hampus Lindholm, Josh Manson and Rickard Rakell. It’ll be interesting to see what moves he makes this year and what returns he might get.

Gibson’s hefty contract means he’s not moving at the deadline. Henrique has a year left on his deal with a $5.8 million cap hit and a 12-team no-trade clause. Comtois is a restricted free agent with arbitration rights carrying an affordable $2.037 million cap hit.

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 21, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 21, 2022

Matthew Tkachuk expected to be traded after telling the Flames he won’t sign a long-term extension. Check out the latest plus updates on J.T. Miller, Alex Ovechkin, Carey Price and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.

SPORTSNET: The Calgary Flames are expected to trade Matthew Tkachuk “imminently” after he informed management that he doesn’t intend to sign a long-term extension. On Monday, the Flames filed for club-elected salary arbitration to make the 24-year-old winger ineligible to receive an offer sheet from a rival club.

Calgary Flames winger Matthew Tkachuk (NHL Images).

The move buys the Flames some time to work out either a sign-and-trade deal or trading Tkachuk’s rights to another club. Arbitration hearings begin July 27 and run through Aug. 11 but a date for his hearing has not yet been set.

Tkachuk will become the second major star to leave the Flames this summer. Johnny Gaudreau last week stunned the hockey world by signing with the Columbus Blue Jackets.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: As a restricted free agent, Tkachuk lacks no-trade protection. However, The Athletic reported he has provided the Flames with a list of preferred trade destinations with whom he would agree to a long-term extension.

A source told The Athletic those teams included the St. Louis Blues, Vegas Golden Knights, Nashville Predators, Dallas Stars, New Jersey Devils and New York Rangers. However, Sportsnet’s Eric Francis reports the “alleged list” is not accurate.

The Calgary Sun’s Wes Gilbertson believes would-be suitors will seek permission from the Flames to speak with Tkachuk’s agent about a new contract before any trade is finalized. I’ll have more on possible trade destinations for Tkachuk in the Rumor Mill.

TSN: The agent for J.T. Miller believes there’s a realistic path toward a contract extension for his client with the Vancouver Canucks. The 29-year-old center earns an average annual value of $5.2 million on his current deal. He’s slated to become a UFA next summer.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Miller’s free-agent status in 2023 and the Canucks rebuilding process made him the frequent subject of ongoing trade speculation. I daresay that path is a pay raise worth between $8 million and $9 million per season due to his career-best 99-point performance last season. Whether that’s a path the Canucks wish to go down remains to be seen.

WASHINGTON HOCKEY NOW: The Capitals have no concerns about Alex Ovechkin and Dmitry Orlov being allowed to return from Russia to rejoin the club in the coming season. Russian law dictates men between the ages of 18-27 must serve one year in the military. Ovechkin is 37 and Orlov 31.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Those concerns arose due to Philadelphia Flyers prospect Ivan Fedotov being detained and deployed to a Russian naval base while Minnesota Wild star Kirill Kaprizov faces allegations of draft dodging. However, other Russian players of military age, such as the New York Islanders’ Alexander Romanov and the Vancouver Canucks’ Ilya Mikheyev, are back in North America to begin training for the upcoming season.

MONTREAL GAZETTE: Former Canadiens goaltending coach Stephane Waite expects Carey Price will be ready to return to the net for 2022-23. The 34-year-old netminder continues to receive treatment to address complications arising from last summer’s knee surgery.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I’ll believe it when I see Price suited up for the Canadiens’ season-opener on Oct. 12.

SPORTSNET: Hockey Canada said in a statement that its National Equity Fund will “no longer be used to settle sexual assault claims,” effectively immediately. An investigation by The Globe & Mail revealed those funds came from revenue from hockey registration fees.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Well, that’s a relief…yes, I’m being sarcastic. The fact that the people running Hockey Canada thought it was a good idea to settle sexual assault claims by using funds drawn from money that parents paid to put their kids in hockey says all we need to know about their character and competence.

Speaking of Hockey Canada, their executives along with the president of the Canadian Hockey League will be back in Ottawa next week to answer questions from members of parliament over the organization’s handling of a sexual assault allegation involving eight members of Canada’s 2018 world junior team and the out-of-court settlement earlier this year. Public outrage over the investigation and settlement prompted the investigation to be reopened.

TSN: Anaheim Ducks forward Maxime Comtois is the latest member of Canada’s 2018 world junior team to issue a statement denying involvement in that alleged sexual assault of a young woman in 2018.

THE TENNESSEAN: The agent for Nashville Predators defenseman Dante Fabbro said his client was not involved in that incident and knew nothing about it. He added that Fabbro fully complied with the initial investigation and will continue doing so in any forthcoming investigations.

CBC EDMONTON: Oilers owner Daryl Katz has been accused in a civil suit of paying $75,000 to a teenage ballet dancer for her “sexual favors.” The unproven allegations are in response to a sexual abuse lawsuit filed against a dance teacher and his wife.

Katz’s lawyer said his client never engaged in a sexual relationship with the young woman and intends to vigorously defend his reputation against the “baseless and scurrilous” claims in the lawsuit. He said the money Katz arranged to be sent to her was funding for a film project, calling the allegation “a distraction and a shakedown.”

BOSTON HOCKEY NOW: Former Bruins defenseman John Gruden has been named as their new assistant coach. He spent the past four seasons as an assistant coach with the New York Islanders.

NHL Rumor Mill – May 12, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – May 12, 2022

Could the Canucks attempt to trade Oliver Ekman-Larsson? Are they laying the groundwork for a potential offer sheet? Could Ducks winger Max Comtois hit the trade block this summer? Find out in today’s NHL rumor mill.


DAILY HIVE: cited Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman speculating the Vancouver Canucks could attempt to trade Oliver Ekman-Larsson. During a recent interview with CHEK TV’s Don Taylor and Rick Dhaliwal, Friedman said he anticipated the Canucks will be “a very aggressive team” in the offseason. He thinks they’ve looked around to see if there’s a market for the 30-year-old defenseman.

Vancouver Canucks defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Canucks’ previous management acquired Ekman-Larsson last summer. Daily Hive’s Rob Williams pointed out the blueliner played well defensively this season, sitting second among the Canucks in ice time. However, his 29 points were his lowest during a full 82-game schedule.

Williams also noted that moving Ekman-Larsson’s contract could be a herculean task. The Canucks carry $7.26 million of his $8.25 million annual salary-cap hit with the Arizona Coyotes picking up the rest.

Ekman-Larsson is signed through 2026-27 and still carries a full no-movement clause. Even if he agreed to waive that clause to go to a club of his choosing, his cap hit and the remaining term of his contract will be tough to move with the salary cap rising by only $1 million to $82.5 million for 2022-23.

I’m not saying it can’t happen. However, it will take some salesmanship on the part of Canucks general manager Patrik Allvin and president of hockey operations Jim Rutherford to pull it off.

SPORTSNET: Jeff Marek recently suggested the Canucks could also be laying the groundwork for a potential offer sheet this summer. He pointed out the Canucks got back their own third-round draft pick in this year’s draft from the Ottawa Senators in the Travis Hamonic trade.

Marek pointed out that successfully signing a restricted free agent to an offer sheet this summer worth between $4.1 million and $6.1 million would require giving up their own first and third rounders as compensation.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Marek said he’s not sure if the Canucks will play the offer sheet game this summer but commended them on “getting as many weapons together as possible.” Going that route would also mean shedding some salary, which might in part explain the Ekman-Larsson speculation.

This could be worth monitoring when the free-agent market opens on July 13. Offer sheets are rare and only two players in the salary-cap era (the latest being Jesperi Kotkaniemi) have been successfully signed away. Nevertheless, we can’t rule out that possibility if the Canucks can dump some salary beforehand.


THE ATHLETIC: Eric Stephens recently reports Max Comtois’ disappointing season with the Anaheim Ducks saw his name pop up in trade rumors. There was some thought that the 23-year-old winger might benefit from a change of scenery.

Comtois, however, hopes to stay put. He lacks a no-trade clause and acknowledged it is up to management to decide. Still, he said he likes the team and hopes to help this rebuilding club succeed.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Comtois led the low-scoring Ducks with 16 goals and 33 points in last season’s COVID-shortened campaign. He got off to a slow start to this season before being sidelined for six weeks by a hand injury and struggled to regain his form following his return.

New general manager Pat Verbeek could still see Comtois as an important part of his roster rebuild. He’s signed through next season with an affordable $2.037 million cap hit. Still, Verbeek showed his willingness to wheel and deal before the trade deadline. He could consider Comtois as a potential trade chip this summer.

Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – March 6, 2022

Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – March 6, 2022

Check out the latest on the Canadiens plus updates on Claude Giroux, Tomas Hertl, Hampus Lindholm and more in the Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup.


SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman reports the Montreal Canadiens are trying to move Shea Weber’s contract. The 36-year-old defenseman has been sidelined this season amid speculation his playing career may be over because of injuries. He has four years remaining on his deal worth an annual average value of nearly $7.9 million but only $6 million in total actual cash. They could attempt to move him to a cap-strapped team seeking long-term injury room or a club hoping to reach the cap floor that doesn’t want to spend very much over the next couple of seasons.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Vegas Golden Knights could be a club that could be interested in Weber’s LTIR space. They have $82.3 million already committed to next season’s payroll. Teams that could use Weber’s contract to reach the cap floor after next season could include the Arizona Coyotes, Anaheim Ducks, Buffalo Sabres and Ottawa Senators.

MONTREAL HOCKEY NOW: Marco D’Amico cites a well-placed NHL source claiming the Canadiens and Dallas Stars are engaged in trade discussions. The Stars have been linked to Canadiens defenseman Jeff Petry in the rumor mill. They’re believed to be exploring trade options for pending free-agent blueliner John Klingberg as well as how to replace the right-shot rearguard.

Montreal Canadiens defenseman Jeff Petry (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I still don’t see the Stars shipping out Klingberg while they’re still in the thick of the Western Conference playoff chase. That could change if they slide out of contention over the next week or two. If they’re reportedly unwilling to invest over $7 million annually on the 29-year-old Klingberg on a long-term deal over concerns his performance will decline, it’s puzzling why they would consider adding a 34-year-old blueliner carrying $6.26 million annually for three more seasons.


SPORTSNET: Jeff Marek reports Philadelphia Flyers general manager Chuck Fletcher and his staff were scouting their AHL farm team’s recent game against the Charlotte Checkers, who are the farm team of the Florida Panthers. Marek mentioned speculation linking Flyers captain Claude Giroux to the Panthers, suggesting the Flyers staff were scouting winger Owen Tippett.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Panthers general manager Bill Zito was believed seeking a top-four defenseman. Perhaps he’d consider instead adding a versatile two-way forward like Giroux if efforts to land a quality blueliner don’t pan out. I expect he’ll make a significant move before March 21.


SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman reports the San Jose Sharks are taking a real run at trying to sign Tomas Hertl to a contract extension…The Anaheim Ducks are leery on term for Hampus Lindholm…Things are quieter regarding Nashville Predators winger Filip Forsberg and Calgary Flames winger Johnny Gaudreau…The Vancouver Canucks have been testing the trade market on some of their notable players. They’re also evaluating what it could cost to re-sign those due for new contracts. What could be the tipping point is if the Canucks can get a young defenseman out of this.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Lindholm cap could seek a seven or eight-year deal while the Ducks could be considering something around five years. Term is also said to be important to Hertl.

Predators GM David Poile recently denied a report claiming he was shopping Forsberg, insisting he’s trying to sign him before the March 21 trade deadline. Assuming the Flames and Gaudreau haven’t reached an agreement by the trade deadline, I don’t see them trading him. He’s been invaluable to their improvement this season.

The Athletic’s Thomas Drance and Rick Dhaliwal recently reported the Canucks priority is to carve out salary-cap space to improve their roster this offseason and beyond. They’re also seeking draft picks, prospects and younger players between 20-25 at multiple positions.

They indicated the Canucks inquired about Arizona’s Jakob Chychrun but didn’t call back once they heard what the asking price would be. There’s also speculation linking them to Colorado Avalanche blueliner Bowen Byram.

Drance and Dhaliwal also reported winger Nils Hoglander was garnering interest around the league, with the Los Angeles Kings and Minnesota Wild said to be interested. However, the team sees the 21-year-old Hoglander as the type of young player they need more of going forward.


SPORTSNET: Jeff Marek reports Ducks winger Maxime Comtois is starting to be heard in the rumor mill. He’s been hampered this season by injury and COVID-19. Comtois was the Ducks’ leading scorer last season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Maybe Ducks GM Pat Verbeek packages Comtois with one of his pending UFAs by the deadline in hope of landing a bigger return including a promising young player or a high draft pick?

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 20, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 20, 2021

The Avalanche thump the Kraken after signing coach Jared Bednar to a contract extension, the Canucks get a much-needed win, plus the latest injury and COVID updates in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: Cale Makar scored twice and collected an assist as the Colorado Avalanche thumped the Seattle Kraken 7-3, handing the latter their sixth straight loss. Andre Burakovsky also tallied two goals for the Avalanche as they collected their fourth straight victory.

Colorado Avalanche defenseman Cale Makar (NHL Images).

The Avalanche also announced head coach Jared Bednar inked a two-year contract extension. He’s two wins shy of tying Bob Hartley’s team record for most wins (193) as head coach.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: So much for the rumor suggesting Bednar was on the hot seat following the Avs second-round elimination from the 2021 playoffs and their shaky start to this season. They’re climbing back up the Western Conference standings, sitting just outside of a wild-card berth.

Vancouver Canucks goaltender Thatcher Demko kicked out 37 shots as his club held on for a 3-2 victory over the Winnipeg Jets to snap a five-game losing skid. Conor Garland scored what became the winning goal in the second period. The Jets’ Pierre-Luc Dubois tallied in the third period to make it interesting.

TSN: Montreal Canadiens general manager Marc Bergevin has tested positive for COVID-19. He will be monitored by the club’s medical staff and follow the protocols by the NHL and public health officials.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Yet another hit for the reeling Canadiens in what’s becoming a season from hell for the Stanley Cup finalist.

EDMONTON JOURNAL: Oilers defenseman Darnell Nurse will be sidelined until early-to-mid December with a broken finger and blueliner Slater Koekkoek will miss three to four weeks with an undisclosed injury. Meanwhile, the status of injured goaltender Mike Smith has relapsed from day-to-day to week-to-week.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The loss of Nurse will be a big blow to the Oilers’ defense corp. Smith’s status will put more pressure on netminders Mikko Koskinen and Stuart Skinner.

THE ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER: Anaheim Ducks winger Max Comtois will be sidelined for six weeks after undergoing surgery to remove a small bone in his right hand.

OTTAWA SUN: After five days without a positive COVID-19 test, the Senators are ready to emerge from quarantine and resume skating on Saturday. Their last three games were postponed as a result of a COVID outbreak but they’re scheduled to face off against the Avalanche in Denver on Monday. Eight of the 10 players who contracted the coronavirus will return to the ice today after completing their 10-day quarantine.

THE PROVINCE: The police investigation into sexual misconduct allegations against former Vancouver Canucks winger Jake Virtanen has been handed over to crown prosecutors. The police will be waiting to hear if there will be charge approval.

DAILY FACEOFF: Quebec premier Francois Legault will be meeting with NHL commissioner Gary Bettman in the coming months with regards to bringing an NHL franchise back to Quebec City.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Easier said than done. The league has no plans for further expansion and there’s no indication an existing franchise will be relocated.

The relocation of the Atlanta Thrashers to Winnipeg a decade ago happened very quickly as the league had to find a new home for the Thrashers after their dysfunctional ownership couldn’t find investors willing to keep the club in Atlanta. Perhaps a similar situation takes place with another franchise but Quebec City hockey fans shouldn’t hold their breath.

TSN: Canada is closing its border to unvaccinated professional and amateur athletes on Jan. 15. It won’t adversely affect the NHL or NBA as the percentage of unvaccinated players in both leagues is negligible.