NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 16, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 16, 2021

Jarome Iginla and Marian Hossa are among the Hockey Hall of Fame Class of 2020 inducted on Monday, COVID-19 derails the Senators schedule, Alex Ovechkin tops the three stars of the week and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: Jarome Iginla and Marian Hossa were among the six inductees of the Hockey Hall of Fame’s class of 2020 on Monday. Kevin Lowe and Doug Wilson were the other notable former NHL players to be inducted. Canadian women’s hockey star Kim St. Pierre was also inducted into the players’ category while Edmonton Oilers general manager Ken Holland was inducted into the builders’ category.

Jarome Iginla, Marian Hossa and Kevin Lowe are among the Hockey Hall of Fame’s Class of 2020. (NHL.com).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Congratulations to the HHoF Class of 2020. Their induction ceremony was delayed a year due to COVID-19. The pandemic also meant there would be no inductees for 2021 as the decision was made to allow last year’s class to enjoy the same ceremony as those of previous classes.

OTTAWA SUN: The NHL has postponed the Senators’ three games this week due to the outbreak of COVID-19 that has sidelined 10 players and assistant coach Jack Capuano. The expectation is the Senators will return to action next Monday against the Colorado Avalanche.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The NHL is the first major North American sports league to postpone games this season. This recent outbreak among the Senators reached the point where the club depleted their AHL affiliate calling up replacements. The San Jose Sharks endured a recent outbreak that sidelined seven players and head coach Bob Boughner but it didn’t reach the point where they could no longer call up replacements from the minors.

Everyone on the Senators and Sharks was fully vaccinated against COVID-19. Breakthrough infections, however, can still occur, especially among athletes in close contact with each other despite protocols to limit the spread. The NHL’s protocols had been loosened for this season as COVID restrictions eased throughout North America.

The Senators will make up those postponed games at later dates. Whether this leads to any tightening of the NHL’s COVID protocols remains to be seen.

Washington Capitals left winger Alex Ovechkin, Boston Bruins defenseman Charlie McAvoy, and Anaheim Ducks winger Troy Terry were the NHL’s three stars for the week ending Nov. 14, 2021.

GAME RECAPS

Brayden Point had a goal and an assist and Victor Hedman collected two assists to give the Tampa Bay Lightning a 4-1 victory over the New York Islanders, handing the latter their third straight loss. The Lightning has won six of their last 10 games while the Islanders (5-5-2) sit at the bottom of the Metropolitan Division.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s been an uneven start for the Isles. They were projected to be a Stanley Cup contender after reaching the Eastern Conference Final in 2020 and the semifinal last season.

The Columbus Blue Jackets overcame 2-0 and 3-2 deficit to beat the Detroit Red Wings 5-3. Yegor Chinakhov tied the game for the Jackets with his first career NHL goal and Zach Werenski tallied the game-winner. Red Wings forwards Dylan Larkin and Lucas Raymond each had a goal and an assist.

IN OTHER NEWS…

NBC SPORTS PHILADELPHIA: Two days after returning from injury, Flyers defenseman Ryan Ellis is once again sidelined by a lingering lower-body injury. His status is listed as week-to-week.

COLORADO HOCKEY NOW: Avalanche forward J.T. Compher will be sidelined for approximately a month with an upper-body injury.

WASHINGTON POST’s Samantha Pell reports Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby won’t face supplemental discipline for throwing Capitals defenseman Martin Fehervary into the boards during Sunday’s game.

VEGAS HOCKEY NOW: Golden Knights forward William Carrier entered COVID protocol while defenseman Alec Martinez remains sidelined after suffering a facial laceration requiring 50 stitches in last Thursday’s game against the Minnesota Wild.

ARIZONA REPUBLIC: Coyotes forwards Christian Fischer and Dmitrij Jaskin were placed on injured reserve while Johan Larsson entered COVID protocol.

TSN: The St. Louis Blues placed forward Kyle Clifford on waivers.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 7, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 7, 2021

The Panthers snap the Hurricanes’ winning streak, the Coyotes finally get a win, Islanders GM Lou Lamoriello reaches a milestone, the Blackhawks fire coach Jeremy Colliton and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: The Carolina Hurricanes’ season-opening win streak ended at nine games as they fell to the Florida Panthers 5-2. Anthony Duclair led the way with two goals and two assists while Spencer Knight made 29 saves for the win. The Panthers played without captain Aleksander Barkov, who’s day-to-day with a lower-body injury. Hurricanes goalie Frederik Andersen was pulled after giving up four goals on 15 shots in the first period but returned in the second after backup Antti Raanta suffered an upper-body injury following a collision with Panthers forward Ryan Lomberg. The Panthers are now the only team unbeaten in regulation (10-0-1) this season.

Florida Panthers winger Anthony Duclair (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Lomberg received a five-minute major and a game misconduct but I felt he shouldn’t have been penalized. He was in a puck race with Hurricanes defenseman Tony DeAngelo when Raanta came out of his net between the faceoff circles to play the puck. Lomberg had nowhere to go and inadvertently crashed into Raanta. I don’t feel there was a deliberate attempt to injure on his part.

The Arizona Coyotes overcame a 3-1 deficit to pick up their first win of the season (1-10-1) with a 5-4 victory over the Seattle Kraken. Lawson Crouse scored the winning goal just 13 seconds after the Kraken’s Mark Giordano tied the game late in the third period. Crouse had two goals on the night while teammate Shayne Gostisbehere collected three assists. Scott Wedgewood (27 saves) picked up the win replacing Karel Vejmelka after the latter gave up two goals on two shots within the first minute of the opening period.

A 24-save shutout by Ilya Sorokin carried the New York Islanders over the Winnipeg Jets 2-0. Anders Lee and Brock Nelson were the goal scorers. It was the 1, 500th career win for Islanders general manager Lou Lamoriello, moving him just six wins behind Glen Sather for second place on the all-time list. Nashville Predators GM David Poile is the leader with 1, 558 wins.

Calgary Flames goaltender Jacob Markstrom made 22 saves to pick up his league-leading fourth shutout of the season in a 6-0 rout of the New York Rangers. The Flames (7-1-3) have points in 10 consecutive games. Matthew Tkachuk had a goal and three assists while Johnny Gaudreau scored twice and set up another goal.

Mitch Marner collected four points (one goal, three assists), Auston Matthews and John Tavares each scored two goals and Jack Campbell kicked out 42 shots to give the Toronto Maple Leafs a 5-2 win over the Boston Bruins. Taylor Hall and David Pastrnak replied for the Bruins. The Leafs have won five straight games.

The Minnesota Wild overcame a 4-2 deficit to beat the Pittsburgh Penguins 5-4 on a shootout goal by Nick Bjugstad. Jared Spurgeon and Ryan Hartman tallied for the Wild to tie the game with the latter’s goal coming with just 2.2 seconds remaining. Kasperi Kapanen netted a hat trick for the Penguins while Bryan Rust add two assists in his first game since missing seven games to injury.

Three-point performances by Brayden Point (three assists) and Ondrej Palat (one goal, two assists) powered the Tampa Bay Lightning over the Ottawa Senators 5-3. Brady Tkachuk scored in his first game as the Senators’ new captain. After a slow start to the season, the Lightning are 6-3-2.

The Columbus Blue Jackets extended their record to 7-3-0 by doubling up the Colorado Avalanche 4-2 on three unanswered third-period goals by Alexandre Texier, Cole Sillinger and Oliver Bjorkstrand. Andre Burakovsky scored twice for the Avalanche, whose record drops to 4-5-1.

Martin Jones made 31 saves as the Philadelphia Flyers held off the Washington Capitals 2-1. Derick Brassard and Sean Couturier scored in the second period for the Flyers while Brett Leason netted the Capitals’ only goal. The Flyers are 6-2-2 in their opening 10 games.

Robin Lehner made 36 saves as the Vegas Golden Knights overcame a 2-0 deficit to down the Montreal Canadiens 5-2. Chandler Stephenson and Alex Pietrangelo each had a goal and an assist for the Golden Knights. The Canadiens are now 3-10-0 on the season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Canadens dominated Vegas in the first period, outshooting them 20-1. If not for Lehner this could’ve been a blowout win for the Habs. Instead, they came out of that period with a 2-0 lead and collapsed in the second after the Golden Knights got their first goal.

The Detroit Red Wings snapped a four-game losing skid with a 4-3 overtime win over the Buffalo Sabres. Rookie defenseman Moritz Seider got the winner, netting his first career NHL goal. Tyler Bertuzzi scored twice and added two helpers while rookie winger Lucas Raymond had three assists.

A shootout goal by Damon Severson gave the New Jersey Devils a 3-2 win over the San Jose Sharks, giving them their first win in four games. Devils goalie Jonathan Bernier made 25 saves for the win.

The Chicago Blackhawks yesterday fired head coach Jeremy Colliton after the club lurched to a 1-9-2 start to this season. Rockford IceHogs coach Derek King was named as Colliton’s replacement on an interim basis.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Blackhawks had to do something to try and shake things up following this dreadful start to the season. Their poor performance is not entirely Colliton’s fault. As The Athletic’s Mark Lazerus observed, Colliton was the fall guy for management’s poor roster planning and shifting priorities. This is ultimately on former general manager Stan Bowman.










NHL Rumor Mill – November 6, 2021

NHL Rumor Mill – November 6, 2021

The Leafs are shopping a defenseman but have yet to open contract talks with Jack Campbell, while trade chatter grows about Blue Jackets goaltender Joonas Korpisalo. Check it out in today’s NHL rumor mill.

SPORTSNET: Luke Fox cited Elliotte Friedman and Nick Kypreos reporting the Toronto Maple Leafs have let the rest of the league know Travis Dermott or Justin Holl are available for the right price. Fox speculates that price is either “an upper-mid-round draft pick” or “perhaps a rugged d-man with less term on his contract.”

The cap-strapped Leafs have no space to add a salaried player, they hold just three draft picks in the 2022 draft, and management must clear cap space for the short and long term. Holl is signed through next season with a $2 million cap hit and a 10-team no-trade list while Dermott is earning $1.5 million annually through 2022-23.

Toronto Maple Leafs goaltender Jack Campbell (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’ll be interesting to see which one gets moved. Holl, 29, is more expensive and his no-trade complicates efforts to move him. He’s struggled this season but played well over the previous two campaigns. The 24-year-old Dermott is younger, more affordable and he lacks no-trade protection but he’s had consistency issues and been relegated to mostly third-pairing duty.

TORONTO SUN: Michael Traikos reports agent Kurt Overhardt, who represents Leafs goaltender Jack Campbell, denied reports contract extension talks are underway with his client. “Whoever said we’re talking is full of crap,” said Overhardt.

Traikos believes the Leafs have already waited too long to ink Campbell to an extension, believing it should’ve taken place during the summer. As the 29-year-old goaltender’s value rises, Traikos believes he could be playing elsewhere next season the longer it takes the two sides to start contract talks.

Campbell is slated to become an unrestricted free agent next summer. His current annual cap hit is $1.65 million but Traikos believes the Leafs will be lucky to get him for twice that amount if his strong play continues throughout this season. He pointed to Philipp Grubauer getting a long-term deal worth $5.9 million annually from the Seattle Kraken and Cal Petersen earning $5 million annually on a three-year contract.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Leafs have little choice but to sign Campbell for probably between $5.5 million and $6 million annually. They’ve got no one in their system capable of challenging him for the starter’s job, there aren’t better options in the trade market and Cap Friendly shows few suitable long-term alternatives via next summer’s free-agent market.

That explains in part why they’re looking to move one of their defensemen. They must free up cap space before next season to absorb Campbell’s new contract.

THE ATHLETIC: Aaron Portzline recently reported trade chatter was increasing about Columbus Blue Jackets goalie Joonas Korpisalo. He said there were whispers around the league claiming Columbus general manager Jarmo Kekalainen was fielding calls for the 27-year-old netminder.

Portzline spoke with three NHL front-office sources about potential destinations for Korpisalo. They suggested the Arizona Coyotes, Buffalo Sabres and Montreal Canadiens as likely possibilities.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Korpisalo is a UFA relegated to backup duty behind Elvis Merzlikins. He could be on the move at some point before the March 21 trade deadline.

The Coyotes seem like a prime landing spot given their struggles this season but they could be reluctant to acquire someone who could bolt via free agency next summer. . The Sabres are getting surprisingly good goaltending from 40-year-old Craig Anderson and backup Dustin Tokarski but that could change as the season goes along.

Sloppy defensive play and inconsistent offense are the Canadiens’ biggest problems this season. I doubt they’ll pursue Korpisalo with Carey Price set to return to the lineup in the coming weeks and Jake Allen doing a decent job between the pipes in his absence.










NHL Rumor Mill – November 5, 2021

NHL Rumor Mill – November 5, 2021

The Golden Knights face a potential salary-cap crunch after acquiring Jack Eichel plus speculation on the Flames’ next move after losing the Eichel sweepstakes in today’s NHL rumor mill.

MORE TRADES TO COME FOR THE GOLDEN KNIGHTS?

LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL: Ben Gotz examines the salary-cap crunch facing the Golden Knights following their acquisition yesterday of Jack Eichel from the Buffalo Sabres. The move gives them the NHL’s second-most expensive quartet in Eichel ($10 million annual cap hit), Mark Stone ($9.5 million), Alex Pietrangelo ($8.8 million) and Max Pacioretty ($7 million).

Vegas Golden Knights winger Reilly Smith (NHL Images).

Eichel, Stone and Pacioretty are on long-term injury reserve, giving the Golden Knights some flexibility for now. However, they’ll have to shed about $10 million in cap space when the trio returns to action later in the season. With $78.395 million invested in 16 players for 2022-23, more cost-cutting moves could take place in the offseason.

LAS VEGAS SUN: Justin Emerson believes the Golden Knights can shed around $3 million by “moving off” Jonas Rondbjerg, Jake Leschyshyn, Michael Amadio and Ben Hutton. A $5 million winger such as Reilly Smith or Evgenii Dadonov could become a cost-cutting casualty. Smith seems the likely candidate as he’s slated to become an unrestricted free agent in July. They could also attempt to shop a defenseman like Brayden McNabb ($2.5 million), who’s also a UFA next summer.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Those players Emerson suggested the Golden Knights “move off” each make under $1.125 million and thus their full salaries can be buried in the minors. The rest, however, will involve a salary-dumping deal. The Golden Knights will likely want only draft picks, prospects, or a player earning less than $1 million in return.

Smith and McNabb could draw interest from playoff contenders as the trade deadline draws closer. We can expect to hear more Golden Knights trade speculation at some point between January and the March 21 trade deadline as those sidelined stars start returning to the lineup.

WHAT NEXT FOR THE FLAMES?

TSN: Pierre LeBrun reported Buffalo Sabres general manager Kevyn Adams denied rumors the Calgary Flames offered up winger Matthew Tkachuk as part of their offer for Jack Eichel. However, he said the Flames came very close to landing Eichel as one of the few clubs willing to acquire him presurgery.

LeBrun said the Carolina Hurricanes kept tabs on the Eichel trade talk but the Sabres wanted promising forward Seth Jarvis or forward Martin Necas as part of a package return. The Arizona Coyotes were also interested in being a third-party broker to absorb part of Eichel’s cap hit in exchange for a draft pick but the Golden Knights were able to do it on their own.

THE ATHLETIC: Hailey Salvian heard from sources that, at the time of ESPN’s report listing the Flames and Golden Knights as finalists for Eichel, the question wasn’t which team would get him but when he’d go to Vegas. That didn’t stop the Flames from trying to swing a deal including draft picks, prospects and a roster player but they didn’t offer up anyone comparable to Peyton Krebs, the prospect the Sabres eventually received from the Golden Knights.

Salvian also cited multiple sources saying the report about Tkachuk being offered didn’t come from the Flames camp. It appears Flames GM Brad Treliving spoke with Tkachuk on Wednesday regarding the rumor. The winger said he wasn’t concerned about it. Smoothing the situation was important so as not to have it affect contract negotiations next summer when Tkachuk becomes a restricted free agent with arbitration rights.

Salvian believes the Flames’ interest in Eichel confirms they’re in the market for a center. She wondered if they might turn their focus toward San Jose’ Tomas Hertl. He’s slated to become a UFA next summer and wouldn’t cost as much to acquire as Eichel.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Treliving made the right decision to speak with Tkachuk and clarify the situation. However, I wonder if he did the same for Sean Monahan, who also popped up in the Eichel trade chatter. Monahan is signed through 2022-23 and carries a 10-team no-trade list. Perhaps the latter made it unnecessary for Treliving to have a similar discussion with him.

The Flames will have to wait a while if they do turn their sights to Hertl. He’s hopeful of opening contract extension talks with Sharks GM Doug Wilson at some point in the season. The 27-year-old center could become available by the March 21 trade deadline if those contract discussions fail to materialize or an agreement on an extension cannot be reached before then.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 27, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 27, 2021

Stan Bowman steps aside as Blackhawks general manager as the Blackhawks make front office changes in the wake of an investigation into sexual assault allegations involving their former video coach. Details plus recaps of Tuesday’s game and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines

NBC SPORTS CHICAGO: Chicago Blackhawks team president and general manager Stan Bowman stepped aside following the release of details of an independent investigation into sexual assault allegations made against former video coach Bradley Aldrich by a former player over a decade ago. Senior VP of hockey operations Al MacIsaac was also relieved of his duties. The news was announced in a virtual press briefing yesterday that included Blackhawks chairman Rocky Wirtz, CEO Danny Wirtz and Jenner & Block lead investigator Reid Schar.

Former Chicago Blackhawks general manager Stan Bowman (NHL.com).

In addition, the NHL has fined the Blackhawks $2 million for “the organization’s inadequate internal procedures and insufficient and untimely response” in its handling of this matter. Aldrich left the Blackhawks following the 2009-10 season.

The investigation found Bowman and MacIsaac met with then-president and CEO John McDonough, executive VP Jay Blunk, assistant GM Kevin Cheveldayoff, head coach Joel Quenneville and mental skills coach James Gary after the Blackhawks advanced to the Stanley Cup Final in May 2010 to discuss the allegations. However, nothing was done until three weeks later after the Blackhawks won the Cup.

TSN: NHL commissioner Gary Bettman intends to meet personally with Cheveldayoff and Quenneville in the near future. Cheveldayoff is now the GM of the Winnipeg Jets and Quenneville is the head coach of the Florida Panthers.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The full 107-page report, based on interviews with 139 people, has been released to the public (warning: contains graphic and disturbing details). It reveals the Blackhawks organization ultimately put winning a championship over pursuing prompt action against a sexual predator in their midst.

When they finally acted, they didn’t go to the police. Instead, Aldrich was given the choice of stepping down or being subjected to an internal investigation. He got severance pay, a playoff bonus, a day with the Cup and a complimentary reference letter from Quenneville. Nearly four years later, Aldrich was sentenced to nine months in jail and five years probation on criminal sexual conduct charges stemming from his alleged involvement with a high school player.

At every level, the Blackhawks failed to protect “John Doe”, who was also reportedly later ostracized and mocked by several teammates following his ordeal. They chose to cover it up for years, doing immeasurable harm to Aldrich’s victims and tarnishing a once-proud organization. The only positive to come out of this is “John Doe” finally received some measure of justice for his ordeal.

This story never would’ve seen the light of day without the determined reporting by TSN’s Rick Westhead and The Athletic’s Katie Strang. Their reports earlier this year led to the long-overdue investigation into the allegations.

The fallout from this story is ongoing and the aftermath will be felt by the Blackhawks, and the NHL, for a long time. We can only hope there will be lessons learned by the league to ensure victims of sexual assault at any level within its ranks never have to face what “John Doe” endured for the past decade.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: The Seattle Kraken won its first home game in franchise history by downing the Montreal Canadiens 5-1. Brandon Tanev scored twice and Yanni Gourde collected a goal and an assist. The hapless Habs have lost five of their first six games this season. Earlier in the day, Canadiens winger Jonathan Drouin said sidelined teammate Shea Weber is essentially retired though he hasn’t officially done so.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Drouin said out loud what everyone knows. Injuries have ended Weber’s career but he’s still under contract through 2025-26. He’ll remain on long-term injury reserve. If he officially retires, the Canadiens would only face a salary-cap recapture penalty of $200K per season until his contract expires. His former club, the Nashville Predators, would get hit with $6.1 million annually as they were the ones who matched his contract offer sheet from the Philadelphia Flyers.

Nikolaj Ehlers scored the tying and winning goals 19 seconds apart in the third period to give the Winnipeg Jets a 4-3 victory over the Anaheim Ducks. Andrew Copp also had a goal and two assists for the Jets. Trevor Zegras and Sonny Milano had a goal and an assist for the Ducks.

The Calgary Flames picked up their fourth straight win by dropping the New Jersey Devils 5-3. Andrew Mangiapane scored two goals for the Flames. Pavel Zacha replied with two for the Devils.

A 28-save performance by Andrei Vasilevskiy gave the Tampa Bay Lightning a 5-1 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins. It was the Lightning’s first regulation win of the season. Alex Killorn, Ondrej Palat and Ryan McDonagh each had a goal and an assist.

The Vegas Golden Knights picked up their second win of the season by beating the Colorado Avalanche 3-1. Robin Lehner made 26 saves while Chandler Stephenson had a goal and an assist. Both clubs have 2-4-0 records.

Cam Talbot made 22 saves as the Minnesota Wild held off the Vancouver Canucks 3-2. Matt Dumba scored the eventual game-winner as the Wild have won five straight games. The Canucks announced defenseman Travis Hamonic has traveled to Vancouver and will join their AHL affiliate in Abbotsford. He did not report to the club in September and was placed on leave while dealing with a personal matter.

Nashville Predators captain Roman Josi had two assists and goaltender Juuse Saros kicked out 28 shots in a 3-1 win over the San Jose Sharks. Matt Duchene, Filip Forsberg and Mikael Granlund tallied for the Predators.

IN OTHER NEWS…

STLTODAY.COM: Blues captain Ryan O’Reilly was placed on the non-roster COVID-19 protocol list yesterday, joining winger Brandon Saad. They will be sidelined at least 10 days.

NBC SPORTS CHICAGO: Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews and center Henrik Borgstrom were placed on the club’s COVID protocol list.

ABC 6: Columbus Blue Jackets defenseman Dean Kukan will be sidelined eight weeks after fracturing his wrist in Monday’s game against the Dallas Stars.

AZCENTRAL.COM: Coyotes goaltender Carter Hutton is expected to miss two to four weeks with a lower-body injury. Defenseman Conor Timmins is out eight-to-12 weeks (lower body) while winger Ryan Dzingel has suffered an upper-body injury.

NEW YORK POST: The Islanders signed forward Ross Johnston to a four-year contract extension. He’ll earn $1.1 million annually.










Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – October 24, 2021

Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – October 24, 2021

​Check out the latest on Jack Eichel and Vitali Kravtsov plus updates on the Coyotes in the Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup.

SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman reports Jack Eichel could consider filing a grievance through the NHL Players Association to force a resolution to his standoff with the Buffalo Sabres. He speculates that could happen within the next couple of weeks if he’s not traded before then.

Buffalo Sabres center Jack Eichel (NHL Images).

Eichel’s been sidelined since March with a herniated disc in his neck. He wants to undergo artificial disc replacement surgery but Sabres doctors prefer neck fusion. The NHL CBA gives the team the final say on medical treatment. The 24-year-old center requested a trade but this stalemate has complicated efforts to move him.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The subject of a grievance was raised by Friedman and others last week. Most observers doubt that move will go Eichel’s way because the CBA gives the Sabres’ the last word on his medical treatment.

Jeff Marek reports New York Rangers general manager Chris Drury seeks a top prospect in exchange for unhappy winger Vitali Kravtsov, who recently returned home to Russia awaiting a trade. Marek said Drury isn’t budging from that asking price right now.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: With the Rangers off to a terrific start, Drury can set that price because he’s under no pressure to move Kravtsov right now. That might change if injuries start depleting the Rangers’ depth. Ryan Strome (COVID protocol) and Kaapo Kakko (upper-body injury) are currently out of the lineup but that hasn’t adversely affected the club’s performance.

Drury could also set that price knowing no one will pay it. That could force Kravtsov to have a change of heart and return to the Rangers.

GOPHNX.COM: Craig Morgan recently took note of the Arizona Coyotes using Phil Kessel on their top power-play unit instead of defenseman Jakob Chychrun. They could be showcasing the 34-year-old winger for a trade but could also be trying to get him up to speed after missing all of training camp and preseason play with an injured foot. Morgan also observed 15 scouts who attended the Coyotes’ recent game against the St. Louis Blues.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kessel will be moved at some point before the March 21 trade deadline. A free agent next July, he doesn’t fit into their long-term plans and he wants a change of scenery. Trading him early in the season, however, will be difficult.

The Coyotes carry $6.8 million of his $8 million cap hit. Even with $5 million of his actual $6 million salary for this season paid out in a signing bonus, few clubs have sufficient room to add his cap hit at this point in the season.

SPORTSNET: Jeff Marek reports Coyotes center Barrett Hayton also came up in trade speculation this week. The fifth-overall selection in the 2018 draft, Hayton is currently playing for the Coyotes’ AHL affiliate in Tucson.

Hayton’s agent Pat Morris shot down rumors his client asked for a trade. Marek said it looks like he’ll be staying with the Coyotes as head coach Andre Tourigny thinks highly of him. Tourigny made Hayton the captain of Team Canada at the 2020 World Juniors.