Updates on the Jets, Islanders and Red Wings – April 19, 2017

Updates on the Jets, Islanders and Red Wings – April 19, 2017

Could the Winnipeg Jets target Los Angeles Kings goaltender Ben Bishop via free agency?

Another look at the goaltending of the Winnipeg Jets and New York Islanders and a painful rebuild in the works for the Detroit Red Wings in your NHL rumor mill. 

WINNIPEG SUN: Ken Wiebe recently reported the Winnipeg Jets could pay a high cost to improve their goaltending. While Eric Comrie has promise, Wiebe feels he needs another season in the AHL. The Jets don’t want to give up on Connor Hellebuyck and don’t wish to risk losing him to waivers.

They could look at bolstering their goalie depth via trade, though that likely won’t happen until before the NHL draft weekend (June 23-24). It wouldn’t make sense for them to swing a deal before the expansion draft as that would mean exposing Hellebuyck instead of Michael Hutchinson. Wiebe wonders if they should pursue an established starter such as Pittsburgh’s Marc-Andre Fleury or try to find a young goalie on the verge of breaking out. 

Los Angeles Kings netminder Ben Bishop could be on the Jets’ radar via free agency, but they’ll have competition from other clubs and he will seek a lucrative new deal.  Other options could include Chicago’s Scott Darling and Ottawa’s Mike Condon. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I expect the Jets will make a move via trade or free agency this summer to bring in an established starter. If the Jets are looking for a breakout goalie they should look at someone like the New York Rangers’ Antti Raanta or the Washington Capitals’ Philipp Grubauer. Both could hit the trade block before the expansion draft, but as Wiebe points out, acquiring one of them before that draft could mean exposing Hellebuyck. Darling or Condon would be more affordable options via free agency, but the Jets will have competition pursuing them. 

NEWSDAY: Arthur Staple recently analyzed the New York Islanders’ weird year in goaltending. Inconsistent veteran Jaroslav Halak has a year remaining on his contract at a cap hit of $4.5 million. Staple expects he’ll be unprotected in the expansion draft but doubts the Vegas Golden Knights will select him.

J-F Berube, 25, is a Group 6 free agent and appears ready to move on after being the third wheel for most of the past two seasons. Staple wouldn’t be surprised if Halak and Thomas Greiss are the Isles goalie tandem when training camp opens in September. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I believe the Isles should buy out the final season of Halak’s contract and look for an upgrade between the pipes. Greiss seemed unable to the heavy workload of a starter and they seem to lack confidence in Berube. Remains to be seen what GM Garth Snow does, but the Isles must bolster their goaltending or risk missing the playoffs again next season.

DETROIT FREE PRESS:   Red Wings GM Ken Holland might not believe in a long-term rebuild, but George Sipple believes otherwise. He points out the Wings lack a No.1 defenseman, really don’t have a No. 2, and getting one is an “almost-impossible task.” Sipple also feels the Wings need more from their core of younger players, including Gustav Nyquist, Justin Abdelkader, Danny DeKeyser and Petr Mrazek, but it’s possible those players won’t get better. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Landing a top defenseman will be a costly undertaking. They could target clubs deep in good young blueliners at risk of losing one via the expansion draft or in need of scoring depth, but that’ll mean parting with one or two promising young players. Of those core players noted by Sipple, none will bring the Wings a good defenseman unless they’re bundled into a larger deal.












NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 17, 2017

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 17, 2017

Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby scores in overtime against the Winnipeg Jets.

Game recaps, Crosby tallies 1,000th point, Vermette suspended & more in your NHL morning coffee headlines. 

NHL.COM: Sidney Crosby’s assist on Chris Kunitz’s first-period goal gave the Pittsburgh Penguins’ captain his 1,000th career point as his club edged the Winnipeg Jets 4-3.

Crosby also scored the winner in overtime and finished the night with a goal and two assists. He’s the 86th player to reach the 1,000 point mark and 12th fastest to do so in NHL history.

It was a costly victory for the Penguins, as defensemen Justin Schultz (head or neck injury) and Olli Maatta (possible hand injury) left the game. Earlier in the day, the Jets learned blueliner Tobias Enstrom (lower-body injury) underwent surgery and will be sidelined 2-3 weeks. 

Connor McDavid scored and set up two others in the Edmonton Oilers’ 6-3 win over the Philadelphia Flyers. McDavid currently leads the NHL scoring race with 66 points. 

Mike Smith made 41 saves whiles Brendan Perlini and Jordan Martinook each scored twice to give the Arizona Coyotes a 5-3 win over the Los Angeles Kings. 

Andrew Ladd scored twice as the New York Islanders doubled up the New York Rangers 4-2, stretching their home record over the last 10 games to 8-0-2. They’re now within a point of a wild-card berth in the Eastern Conference. 

Darcy Kuemper made 34 saves as the Minnesota Wild topped the Dallas Stars 3-1, handing the latter their sixth straight road loss. 

Mike Condon turned in a 21-save performance for his fifth shutout of the season backstopping the Ottawa Senators to a 3-0 victory over the New Jersey Devils. 

Kevin Shattenkirk collected three assists while Vladimir Tarasenko netted the game winner as the St. Louis Blues edged the Vancouver Canucks 4-3. 

Robin Lehner kicked out 23 shots as the Buffalo Sabres blanked the Colorado Avalanche 2-0. 

THE ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER: Anaheim Ducks center Antoine Vermette received a 10-game suspension for abuse of an official during a recent game against the Minnesota Wild. Vermette intends to file an appeal with league commissioner Gary Bettman. 












NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 13, 2017



NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 13, 2017

Edmonton Oilers forward Leon Draisaitl snipes the game winner against the New Jersey Devils.

Game recaps, injury news, latest on Martin St. Louis & more in your NHL morning coffee headlines. 

NHL.COM:  Leon Draisaitl had a three-point performance, scoring the winning goal in overtime to give the Edmonton Oilers a 3-2 win over the New Jersey Devils. Former Oiler Taylor Hall had a goal and an assist in his first game in Edmonton since he was traded to New Jersey last June. 

Nino Niederreiter scored twice and Eric Staal collected three points as the Minnesota Wild crushed the Montreal Canadiens 7-1. Habs goalie Carey Price gave up those seven goals on 24 shots but refused to be pulled from the game. “I’d rather just stick it out,” said Price. “Nobody else has the opportunity to get pulled from a game.”

Jake Muzzin and Tanner Pearson each scored twice to give the Los Angeles Kings a 5-1 victory over the St. Louis Blues. It marked the third time in five starts that Blues goaltender Jake Allen was pulled from a game. He’s now won only three of his last 11 starts.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Allen’s slump is worth keeping an eye on. If he doesn’t snap out of his funk soon, the Blues could be in the market for a goalie. 

Mike Condon kicked out 29 shots and Erik Karlsson had two assists as the Ottawa Senators beat the Pittsburgh Penguins 4-1. It’s the first time this season the Pens lost back-to-back games in regulation. 

Juuse Saros made 35 saves and Filip Forsberg netted the game-winner as the Nashville Predators edged the Boston Bruins 2-1. Bruins goalie Tuukka Rask left the game in the first period after taking a shot to the neck, while Predators defenseman Roman Josi was sidelined with an upper-body injury from a hit by Bruins defenseman Anton Blidh. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: After the game, Rask said that he’s going to be okay. It’s uncertain how long Josi will be sidelined

A third-period goaltending change helped the Philadelphia Flyers overcome a 4-3 deficit in a 5-4 shootout win over the Vancouver Canucks. Michael Neuvirth relieved Steve Mason and made 14 saves while Claude Giroux tallied the only goal in the shootout. Markus Granlund scored twice for the Canucks. 

 In his first game since Dec. 20, goaltender Ben Bishop made 24 saves to carry the Tampa Bay Lightning to a 4-2 victory over the Buffalo Sabres. 

John Gibson made 33 saves and Rikard Rakell had two points as the Anaheim Ducks defeated the Colorado Avalanche 4-1. The Ducks have now won four of their last five games. 

Antti Niemi turned in a 31-save performance backstopping the Dallas Stars to a 5-2 win over the Detroit Red Wings. Earlier in the day, the Stars revealed defenseman Jamie Oleksiak will be sidelined two weeks with a hand injury.

 TAMPA BAY TIMES: Former Tampa Bay Lightning star Martin St. Louis hasn’t attended an NHL game since his retirement in 2015. That’s because he’s been busy coaching the Mid Fairfield Junior Rangers of Connecticut. The Lightning will retire St. Louis’ number 26 tonight in a ceremony before their game against the Columbus Blue Jackets. 

THE NEWS & OBSERVER: The Carolina Hurricanes and Make-A-Wish made young Chase Bass’ wish come true. The seven-year-old met several team members, played a street hockey game with Jeff Skinner, Cam Ward, Jordan Staal and several others, then signed a one-day “contract” with the club. Bass suffers from a rare form of white blood cell cancer. 










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 3, 2016



NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 3, 2016

Montreal Canadiens goalie Carey Price makes one of his 42 saves against the Vancouver Canucks.

Montreal Canadiens goalie Carey Price makes one of his 42 saves against the Vancouver Canucks.

Game recaps, Senators acquire Condon from Penguins, injury updates & more in your NHL morning coffee headlines.  

NHL.COM: Carey Price put in a 42-save shutout performance as the Montreal Canadiens blanked the Vancouver Canucks 2-0. The victory was the Habs eighth straight, lifting their record to 9-0-1 on the season. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Price is showing no ill effects from the knee injury that sidelined him for most of last season. He’s now second among goalies in wins (six) and save percentage (.964) and third in goals-against average (1.17). 

Defenseman Kris Letang and goaltender Matt Murray returned from injury to lead the Pittsburgh Penguins to a 5-1 thumping of the Anaheim Ducks. Letang scored a goal and set up another, while Murray made 32 saves. The Ducks were playing without first-line forwards Ryan Getzlaf  (day-to-day, upper-body injury) and Nick Ritchie (concussion protocol). Earlier in the day, the Ducks placed winger Mason Raymond on unconditional waivers in preparation for a mutual termination of his contract. 

Mark Streit scored the game-tying goal late in the third and Jakub Voracek potted the winner in overtime to lift the Philadelphia Flyers to a 4-3 victory over the Detroit Red Wings. 

TSN: The Ottawa Senators yesterday acquired goaltender Mike Condon from the Pittsburgh Penguins in exchange for a fifth-round pick in 2017. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: With Andrew Hammond injured and Matt O’Connor still not fully ready for prime time, the Senators needed a quality backup for starter Craig Anderson, whose wife was recently diagnosed with cancer. Condon is an affordable short-term option for Ottawa. 

THE TENNESSEAN’s Adam Vingan reports Nashville Predators center Mike Fisher is day-to-day with an upper-body injury. 

Los Angeles Kings defenseman Tom Gilbert faces a disciplinary hearing today for boarding/charging Anaheim Ducks forward Nick Ritchie in a recent game. 

NHL.COM: St. Louis Blues placed defenseman Robert Bortuzzo (lower-body injury) on injured reserve. 

NBC SPORTS:  The league is investigating the poor ice conditions at Barclays Center, home of the New York Islanders.

THE WASHINGTON POST: Capitals and Wizards owner Ted Leonsis hints at a possible moves of those teams out of their downtown Washington arena.  He stresses he’s not actively seeking to move those franchises to Virginia or Maryland and hasn’t had any active discussions about leaving Verizon Center. Leonsis danced around the suggestion of moving to the current site of RFK Stadium.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Sounds to me like Leonsis is eyeing a new stadium to house his teams sometime within the next 10 years. 










NHL Rumor Mill – October 28, 2016



NHL Rumor Mill – October 28, 2016

Anaheim Ducks unlikely to trade Cam Fowler.

Anaheim Ducks unlikely to trade Cam Fowler.

Updates on Cam Fowler, Jacob Trouba, Ryan Murphy, Mike Condon and more in your NHL rumor mill.

TSN: Pierre LeBrun reports the Anaheim Ducks re-signing defenseman Hampus Lindholm puts to rest the Cam Fowler trade rumors, at least for this season. That’s because concussed blueliner Simon Despres ($3.75 million) is on long-term injury reserve and could be sidelined for most of this season.

Ducks GM Bob Murray seemed to hint that the concussion issues aren’t the only ones at play right now, calling it a sensitive issue. Murray intends to push for a Stanley Cup run this season with his current group.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Murray’s comments regarding Despres’ status seem cryptic. Either his concussion injury is more serious than originally believed or there’s other issues at work here. For now, with Despres and Thompson on LTIR and Shea Theodore, Jacob Larsson and Emerson Etem buried in the minors, the Ducks have just enough room for Lindholm’s new contract. 

Darren Dreger reports it’s believed the Winnipeg Jets are willing to offer restricted free agent defenseman Jacob Trouba a six-year deal worth $5.5 million per season. The Trouba camp, however, maintains it’s not about money but where he fits on the Jets blueline. Dreger also reports a couple of general managers told him there has been “Canadian interest directed at Winnipeg”, but Trouba apparently doesn’t see a fit in Canada.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: So much for the “Trouba to the Leafs” chatter I’ve seen in recent weeks in the comments section…;)

Dreger also reports Carolina Hurricanes defenseman Ryan Murphy could become trade bait. He only needs less than 40 NHL games to qualify for exposure in the expansion draft. He speculates Hurricanes GM Ron Francis could try to move Murphy, a young right-handed blueliner, before that.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Murphy, 23, had considerable promise as a puck-moving blueliner but he’s been hampered by injuries. Indeed, he’s currently on IR with a lower-body injury. Considering their depth in young rearguards (notably Jaccob Slavin and Noah Hanifin), the Hurricanes can afford to move Murphy. Given his injury history, however, they probably won’t get much of a return. 

Bob McKenzie reports it’s Peter Budaj or bust for the Los Angeles Kings, who have starter Jonathan Quick sidelined up to three months and backup Jeff Zatkoff on the shelf for a week. They signed Anders Lindback to a PTO, but he can only play in the AHL. McKenzie speculates the Kings might be interested in Pittsburgh Penguins goalie Mike Condon if he’s exposed to waivers, but Penguins GM Jim Rutherford prefers to hang onto him for added depth between the pipes. He could be willing to trade Condon, but not put him on waivers.

LeBrun reports the Las Vegas expansion franchise will have a 48-hour window ahead of the expansion draft to speak to any restricted or unrestricted free agents left unprotected by the other 30 NHL teams. If any of those teams lose a pending free agent to Las Vegas during that period, they cannot lose another player in the expansion draft.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: While it seems unlikely the Las Vegas franchise would draft players eligible for UFA status, being able to talk with potential targets first gives them an opportunity to woo one of them into signing if selected in the expansion draft. That should add an interesting bit of intrigue into next June’s expansion draft and the UFA market. 

SPORTSNET: Rory Boylen reports the Ducks remain thin at forward, speculating over defenseman they should trade to address this need. While the recently re-signed Hampus Lindholm would fetch the best return, Boylen considers it unlikely that he’ll be moved. Sami Vatanen is under a good cap hit, signed through 2020-21 at $4.875 million per season and could be a good trade candidate. Boylen considers Cam Fowler the least valuable of the trio, but his skill set still makes him valuable in today’s NHL.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: While it now appears unlikely the Ducks will move one of those defensemen, we can’t dismiss the possibility. That lack of scoring punch at forward, especially at left wing, is a concern. If the Ducks are in danger of falling out of playoff contention before the March 1 trade deadline, they could be forced to shop a blueliner for a scoring winger.

EDMONTON JOURNAL: Jim Matheson reports the Detroit Red Wings need a defenseman and have their sights set on Anaheim’s Cam Fowler. Ideally, the Ducks prefer moving Clayton Stoner but no one wants his $3.25 million annual cap hit.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Buffalo Sabres were also reportedly quite keen on Fowler. For now, it doesn’t appear that he’ll be going anywhere. 










NHL Rumor Mill – October 27, 2016



NHL Rumor Mill – October 27, 2016

Anaheim Ducks reportedly not shopping defenseman Hampus Lindholm.

Anaheim Ducks reportedly not shopping defenseman Hampus Lindholm.

Updates on Hampus Lindholm, Jacob Trouba, Mike Condon and Dylan McIlrath in your NHL rumor mill. 

Note: Following links via Today’s Slapshot’s Chris Nichols

TSN’s Darren Dreger reports he spoke with someone close to the contract situation of Anaheim Ducks restricted free agent defenseman Hampus Lindholm. They claimed the line in the sand has been drawn in the sand regarding the negotiations, pointing out they’re still about $250K per season apart.

Dreger also said there was a conversation about two weeks ago between the Ducks and Colorado Avalanche, with Avs captain Gabe Landeskog being mentioned for Lindholm. However, Ducks GM Bob Murray wants nothing to do with trading the young blueliner.

When asked about a possible move of Lindholm to the Toronto Maple Leafs, Dreger said he thought “that’s a pretty significant stretch.”

Dreger’s colleague Bob McKenzie also reported he gets the sense that discussions between Lindholm and the Ducks have heated up and if a deal gets done, it wouldn’t surprise him if it occurred within the next 24-48 hours. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: If we take Murray at face value (always a dangerous thing to do with NHL GMs), he has no intention of trading Lindholm and still hopes to re-sign him, even though it’ll mean a tricky juggling act with his limited cap space.

Interesting speculation regarding Lindholm-for-Landeskog. It’s not the first time this year the Avs captain surfaced in the trade rumor mill. I wonder if that was the Ducks asking price, or if the Avs are seriously considering moving their captain for a top-two defenseman?  I’d love to read the views of Ducks and Avs fans on this one. 

McKenzie also weighed in on the status of Pittsburgh Penguins goalie Mike Condon, who’s been the subject of trade/waiver speculation with Matt Murray rejoining the lineup. McKenzie said the Pens aren’t adverse to trading Condon, but won’t put him on waivers. They want to hold onto him as long as possible as he gives them flexibility down the road. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: If the Penguins place Condon on waivers he’ll be quickly snapped up by one of the clubs (Kings, Bruins, Coyotes) in need of a boost between the pipes. Better to put him on the trade block in hopes of getting a draft pick or a player in return. 

SPORTSNET’s Elliotte Friedman believes the New York Rangers want Winnipeg Jets restricted free agent defenseman Jacob Trouba, but claims the Jets’ asking price is too high. Regarding Rangers defenseman Dylan McIlrath, Friedman thinks they’re really trying to move him before having to place him on waivers. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Jets asking price is reportedly a good, young top-four defenseman with a left-handed shot. The only Blueshirt who comes close to fitting that description is promising Brady Skjei, but he’s not at the same skill level as Trouba. The Rangers will have to add a sweetener with Skjei to pull this off.