NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 18, 2020

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 18, 2020

The latest return-to-play news, more reaction on the Sabres’ front-office purge, and updates on Jonathan Drouin, Pavel Datsyuk, and much more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

RETURN-TO-PLAY UPDATES

TSN: The NHL’s bottom line could face a short-term blow from the COVID-19 pandemic. Last season, the league cracked $5 billion in revenue for the first time. Former Buffalo Sabres managing Larry Quinn speculates that could be cut in half in the short term. It’s already being felt among several clubs, with at least 10 having laid off or furloughed employees and executives taking pay cuts.

Could an influx of NHL players in Las Vegas increase coronavirus rates in the area?

The players, meanwhile, are bracing themselves for lost salaries with an ongoing deferral of their final paychecks for this season. Hockey analyst and former NHL GM Brian Burke reported one option being discussed is the further deferral of part of players’ wages until revenues bounce back.

Gate revenue will be affected as long as fans are prohibited by COVID-19 restrictions from attending games. The reduced value of the Canadian dollar will also take a toll on league revenue, as well as uncertainty over the league’s next U.S. television deal. That’s led to questions over what the salary cap will look like and the effect upon a new collective bargaining agreement.

Sports attorney Irwin Kishner believes the NHL must consider out-of-the-box promotional ideas to generate revenue.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That’s why the league and the NHL Players Association is considering starting next season on Jan. 1, 2021, in hopes fans will be allowed back in arenas by then.

Various reports suggest both sides could maintain the salary-cap at $81.5 million for next season to ensure teams don’t have to significantly slash player payrolls. There’s also talk of a CBA extension implemented before the playoff tournament begins in August.

It will be interesting to see the effect of the pandemic beyond next season. The league wants a full 82-game schedule starting next January, but a second COVID-19 wave could force them to scrub part of it and reducing hockey-related revenue for 2021-22.

SPORTSNET: Iain MacIntyre weighed the pros and cons of Edmonton, Toronto, and Vancouver as one of the NHL’s two proposed host cities for its playoff tournament.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The biggest sticking point is Canada’s mandatory 14-day quarantine period for anyone arriving from abroad. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau indicated his government is comfortable with one of those Canadian cities as an NHL hub provided local health officials are ok with it. So far, officials in those three cities have expressed support.

LAS VEGAS SUN: With Las Vegas considered a lock as one of the two NHL host cities, Justin Emerson reports local officials believe the presence of players from 12 NHL teams won’t spread the coronavirus further into an area that’s already infected.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The 12 NHL teams will be quarantined away from the general public in a bubble area encompassing the arena, training facilities, and hotels where they’ll be staying. The players will be tested daily and anyone testing positive will be quarantined.  A greater concern is whether rising COVID-19 numbers in the Las Vegas area poses a threat to the players. 

ASSOCIATED PRESS: Equipment changes, such as full-face shields, haven’t been part of the ongoing return-to-play talks between the league and the PA. Both sides are focused on off-ice protection from the coronavirus.

MORE REACTION TO THE SABRES’ FRONT-OFFICE PURGE

THE ATHLETIC (subscription required): Pierre LeBrun was critical of the Sabres’ constant hirings and firings, especially among their management and coaching staff. League officials told LeBrun it takes around five years for a general manager’s program to take hold. Former Sabres GM Jason Botterill and his predecessor, Tim Murray, each had three years in the role.

THE HOCKEY NEWS: Ryan Kennedy believes Kevyn Adams, the Buffalo Sabres new general manager, will be scrambling to replenish his club’s scouting and development after those departments were gutted in a front-office purge earlier this week. Compounding the problem is finding suitable talent to fill those roles during a pandemic.

TSN’s Frank Seravalli posted the complete list of those who were fired by the Sabres. Their scouting department was hardest hit, slashed from 21 down to seven.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Time will tell if the Sabres’ moves will pay off. If recent history is anything to go by, don’t expect much improvement. It doesn’t help that some observers are already writing off Adams as a yes-man for Sabres owners Terry and Kim Pegula.

IN OTHER NEWS…

MONTREAL GAZETTE: Fully recovered from wrist and ankle injuries, Canadiens forward Jonathan Drouin is looking forward to participating in the playoff tournament.

In other Canadiens news, Hall-of-Famer Bob Gainey raised over $300K from the sale of his hockey memorabilia. A portion will be donated to the Canadiens Children’s Foundation.

NHL.COM: Boston Bruins defenseman Kevan Miller isn’t considering retirement after undergoing four surgical procedures on an injured kneecap. He hasn’t played since April 2019 and is an unrestricted free agent following this season.

BOSTON HERALD: Bruins blueliner John Moore has fully recovered from the shoulder surgery that limited him to 24 games this season.

LOS ANGELES TIMES: Calgary Flames assistant GM Chris Snow is showing remarkable resilience as he battles ALS. Given six to 18 months to live, an experimental drug has lengthened his horizon and maintained his quality of life.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Best wishes to Snow in his ongoing fight with this dreadful disease.

DETROIT FREE PRESS: A report from Russia Today claimed Hall-of-Famer Pavel Datsyuk was said to be holed up with his family with a rogue priest at a Russian monastery. Keith Gave, author of “The Russian Five”, said he spoke with Datsyuk’s agent, who said the Datsyuk family is actually spending time at their cottage.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Dan Milstein posted a video this morning showing his client splitting wood at his cottage.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 5, 2019

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 5, 2019

Latest on Zdeno Chara, Connor McDavid, Pavel Datsyuk, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

SPORTSNET:  Boston Bruins captain Zdeno Chara may have suffered a broken jaw after being struck in the face by a puck during Game 4 of the 2019 Stanley Cup Final. His status for Game 5 on Thursday in Boston is uncertain. The Bruins have yet to reveal the official diagnosis.

Boston Bruins captain Zdeno Chara reportedly suffered a broken jaw in Game 4 of the 2019 Stanley Cup Final (Photo via NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: If Chara is unable to play it’ll be a serious blow to the Bruins blueline. They’re already shorthanded with Matt Grzelcyk (undisclosed) and Kevan Miller (lower-body) also sidelined. 

STLTODAY.COM: Blues winger Zach Sanford has once again found offensive chemistry with Ryan O’Reilly and David Perron. He recently returned to the lineup after spending 18 games as a healthy scratch. 

TSN: Speaking at a recent promotional event wearing a brace and limping, Edmonton Oilers captain Connor McDavid remains mum on the status of his knee injury. McDavid suffered the injury two months ago during the club’s final regular-season game. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Following McDavid’s injury, the club released a statement claiming their captain wouldn’t require surgery and would be ready for training camp in September. Yesterday’s report has Oilers fans understandably concerned. Some feel the club should release an update to address those worries.

THE DETROIT NEWS: Don’t expect a reunion between the Red Wings and Pavel Datsyuk. His agent said the former Wing appears likely to remain in the KHL and sign with his hometown team Avtomobilist Yekaterinburg. Datsyuk retired from the NHL in 2016 to finish his playing career in Russia. 

CHICAGO SUN-TIMES: The Blackhawks have hired Marc Crawford as an assistant coach. Crawford spent the past three seasons with the Ottawa Senators.

THE TENNESSEAN: Former WHL Spokane Chiefs head coach Dan Lambert is joining the Nashville Predators as an assistant coach. 

SPORTSNET: The Newfoundland Growlers captured the ECHL’s Kelly Cup with a 4-3 victory over the Toledo Walleye in Game 6 of their series. It’s the first time a team has won the Kelly Cup in its inaugural series since the Greensboro Monarchs in 1990. The Growlers are an affiliate of the Toronto Maple Leafs. 










NHL Rumor Mill – May 2, 2019

NHL Rumor Mill – May 2, 2019

Can the Oilers ship Milan Lucic to the Canucks? Will Pavel Datsyuk return to the Red Wings? What’s the latest on the Golden Knights and the Leafs efforts to re-sign Andreas Johnsson? Find out in today’s NHL rumor mill. 

LATEST OILERS SPECULATION

EDMONTON JOURNAL: David Staples cites Oilers left wing Milan Lucic telling Vancouver’s Sportsnet 650 he doesn’t rule out finishing his NHL career with the Canucks. Lucic, a Vancouver native, admitted things haven’t gone well for him with the Oilers. The club is set to hire a new general manager and head coach this summer.

Lucic believes the Canucks are a growing, exciting team and praises Vancouver GM Jim Benning and coach Travis Green. Staples suggests the Oilers would have to take back a bad contract, such as that of Canucks winger Loui Eriksson, to facilitate a Lucic swap with Vancouver. 

Could the Edmonton Oilers ship Milan Lucic to the Vancouver Canucks? (Photo via NHL Images)

SPECTOR’S NOTE: While anything’s possible, I don’t think Lucic-for-Eriksson is a winner for the Oilers. While Eriksson has less time left on his contract (three years) than Lucic (four), he’s also three years older. Taking him on simply to shed Lucic is just swapping one problem for another and won’t improve the Oilers. The same applied to the Canucks. 

SPORTSNET: Mark Spector suggests the Oilers package defenseman Adam Larsson with a draft pick or prospect for Toronto Maple Leafs winger Kasperi Kapanen, or swapping blueliner Kris Russell for a solid, penalty-killing third-line winger. He then proposes signing a veteran shutdown defenseman like Montreal’s Jordie Benn, Toronto’s Ron Hainsey, or Winnipeg’s Ben Chiarot to a short-term deal via free agency. That blueliner would fill the gap until the younger rearguards within their system are ready to go. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Larsson would certainly fetch a quality scoring winger for the Oilers but his departure would leave a big hole on their blueline in the short term. It’ll be interesting to see what the next Oilers GM has in store for their roster this summer. Trading Larsson might not be in his plans. 

COULD DATSYUK RETURN TO THE RED WINGS?

DETROIT FREE PRESS: Helene St. James reports former Red Wings star Pavel Datsyuk is visiting Detroit with his family. That’s sparking speculation about a possible NHL comeback with the Wings. His agent, Dan Milstein, said he’s had no discussions with Wings GM Steve Yzerman regarding his client. He spent the past three seasons playing for St. Petersburg in the KHL.

In 2016, the Wings traded Datsyuk’s contract to the Arizona Coyotes, who own his rights until his contract expires on June 30. He’ll become an NHL UFA on July 1. If Datsyuk desires an NHL return, Milstein said the Wings are the only club he’ll want to play for. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: In his prime, Datsyuk was a great player who helped the Wings reach three Stanley Cup finals (2002, 2008, 2009) and win two championships. But he’s 41 now, and his play was obviously in decline during his final two NHL campaigns. The Wings are rebuilding with youth and I doubt he’d fit into their plans. 

JOHNSSON REJECTED LEAFS EXTENSION AT TRADE DEADLINE

TSN: During an appearance earlier this week on Toronto’s TSN 1050, Darren Dreger indicated Maple Leafs winger Andreas Johnsson rejected two contract extension proposals at the trade deadline. The Leafs reportedly offered a two-year. $4.2-million contract and a four-year, $10.4-million deal. Johnsson, 24, is eligible for salary arbitration this summer. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Coming off a one-year, $787K contract, Johnsson is due for a significant raise following a 20-goal, 43-point performance. The Leafs, meanwhile, have over $74 million tied up in 17 players with Johnsson, Mitch Marner, and Kasperi Kapanen due for new contracts as restricted free agents while pending UFAs Jake Gardiner and Ron Hainsey must be re-signed or replaced.

Marner, of course, will be getting an expensive new deal from the Leafs, pushing them over next season’s projected salary cap of $83 million. They’ll get some cap relief by placing Nathan Horton ($5.3 million) on long-term injury reserve, but not enough to re-sign the others without cutting more costs via trades. Even then, there might not be enough for everybody they want to keep.

Johnsson could price himself out of the Leafs market, though we don’t know yet how much he’s seeking. Suffice to stay it’s not within $2.4 – $2.6 million, which is what he would’ve received had he accepted one of the Leafs offers back in February. 

POSSIBLE OFFSEASON MOVES FOR THE GOLDEN KNIGHTS

LAS VEGAS SUN: Justin Emerson lists Cody Eakin, Colin Miller, Ryan Reaves, and Nick Holden as possible cost-cutting trade candidates for the Vegas Golden Knights. The club is bumping against next season’s projected $83-million salary cap and they must shed salary to free up room to re-sign restricted free agent William Karlsson.

Of the four, Emerson believes Eakin and Miller are the likely trade candidates. Eakin has a year remaining on his contract with a $3.85-million cap hit. Miller has two years left and is Vegas’s third-highest paid defenseman at $3.875-million annually. He doesn’t expect unrestricted free agents Brandon Pirri or Ryan Carpenter to be re-signed but doesn’t rule out Deryk Engelland or Pierre-Marc Bellemare returning next season. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Golden Knights have no choice but to shed salary this summer. Can’t disagree with Emerson’s take on the likely trade candidates. They could try to bring back Engelland or Bellemare but that’ll depend on how much cap space they can free up and how much it costs to re-sign Karlsson. 










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 24, 2019

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 24, 2019

Game recaps, injury updates, and more heading into the All-Star break in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines. 

NHL.COM: Nazem Kadri’s hat trick powered the Toronto Maple Leafs to a 6-3 win over the Washington Capitals, handing the latter their seventh consecutive defeat. Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin scored a goal and tied former teammate and mentor Sergei Fedorov for the most career NHL points (1,179) by a Russian player. 

Nazem Kadri’s hat trick powered the Toronto Maple Leafs to a 6-3 win over the slumping Washington Capitals (Photo via NHL Images)

Montreal Canadiens goaltender Carey Price made 30 saves for his 20th win of the season by edging the Arizona Coyotes 2-1. Mike Reilly tallied the tie-breaker in the third period. 

Eric Staal scored two goals as the Minnesota Wild beat the Colorado Avalanche 6-2 to pick up their fourth victory in their last five games. 

Nashville Predators netminder Juuse Saros kicked out a career-high 47 saves in a 2-1 win over the Vegas Golden Knights. Predators defenseman P.K. Subban claimed Golden Knights forward Pierre-Edouard Bellemare bit his finger during a scrum in front of the Nashville net. Bellemare wasn’t penalized on the play. Speaking of the Golden Knights, they recalled goalie Oscar Dansk and demoted Maxime Legace. 

The St. Louis Blues downed the Anaheim Ducks 5-1, handing the latter their seventh straight home loss. Before the game, the Blues activated forwards Tyler Bozak and Zach Sanford off injured reserve. The pair each scored a goal in this contest. The Ducks, meanwhile, received bad news as winger Ondrej Kase will undergo season-ending surgery to repair a torn labrum. They also placed defenseman Andrej Sustr on waivers

Nino Niederreiter scored twice to lead the Carolina Hurricanes to a 5-2 win over the Vancouver Canucks. Teuvo Teravainen had a three-point night for the Hurricanes. 

MLIVE.COM: Player agent Dan Milstein recently floated the notion that his client Pavel Datsyuk could return to the NHL. The Arizona Coyotes own Datsyuk’s NHL rights until July 1, when he’ll become an unrestricted free agent. The Detroit Red Wings traded Datsyuk’s rights to the Coyotes in 2016 after he decided to return to Russia for family reasons. Milstein suggested the future Hall of Famer could consider returning to the Red Wings. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Milstein also indicated Datsyuk hasn’t ruled out staying in the KHL. If he does decide to return to the NHL there’s no certainty the Red Wings will sign him, though I daresay they’ll be willing to consider the option. 

SPORTSNET: NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said he’s not looking to pick a fight with the NHLPA over the decision not to stage a World Cup of Hockey in 2020. He noted both sides wanted to avoid staging a tournament if negotiations over a new collective bargaining agreement are ongoing at that time. The league and the PA have the option this September to opt out of the current agreement, bringing it to an end in September 2020. Bettman remains hopeful of avoiding another work stoppage by working out a new collective bargaining agreement with the PA.  










Where Are The 2008 Detroit Red Wings Today?

Where Are The 2008 Detroit Red Wings Today?

Ten years ago, the Detroit Red Wings were the NHL’s dominant team. They and their fans were basking in their 2008 Stanley Cup championship, marking their fourth title in 11 years. Despite the departures of long-time stars such as Steve Yzerman, Sergei Fedorov and Brendan Shanahan, the Wings remained atop the NHL mountaintop as a perennial Cup contender.

Those glory days have since passed. The following season, the Wings fell to the Pittsburgh Penguins in their Stanley Cup Final rematch, beginning a lengthy decline that saw them bottom out by missing the playoffs in each of the last two seasons.

As the Wings rebuild their roster, here’s a look at where the notable players from their last championship team are today.

Nicklas Lidstrom. One of the greatest defensemen in hockey history, the former Wings captain retired in 2012 and was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2015. He lives in Sweden with his family where he coaches his sons. He co-owns an assets company and also works in real estate.

Henrik Zetterberg. Winner of the 2008 Conn Smythe Trophy, Zetterberg is now the captain of the Red Wings. Hampered in recent years by back injuries, his status is unclear for the 2018-19 season.

Pavel Datsyuk. Considered among the best two-way players of all time, Datsyuk retired from the NHL in 2016. Returning to Russian, he joined the KHL’s SKA St. Petersburg, captaining them to the Gagarin Cup championship in 2017. He signed a one-year contract extension in April. 

Chris Osgood. The often under-appreciated “Ozzie” backstopped the Wings to the 2008 Stanley Cup. It was his third Cup title and his second as a starter. Osgood would play three more seasons with the Wings before retiring in 2011, becoming just the 10th goalie in NHL history to reach 400 wins. He’s gone on to work in the Red Wings organization, as well as providing analysis for Wings games on Fox Sports. He’s also part-owner of the OHL’s Saginaw Spirit.

Dominik Hasek. 2007-08 was the final NHL season for “The Dominator.”  He was Chris Osgood’s backup during the postseason, seeing action in four games. Hasek spent 2009-10 in the Czech Extraliga and 2010-11 in the KHL before retiring. Ranked among the greatest goaltenders of all time, he was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2014. Today, he’s an entrepreneur in the Czech Republic and also stays involved in hockey and charities.

Chris Chelios. One of the NHL’s great defensemen, Chelios returned with the Wings in 2008-09 and briefly saw action the following season with the Atlanta Thrashers before ending his 26-year NHL career. He spent several seasons with the Wings in the front office and coaching staff before joining the Chicago Blackhawks in July 2018 as a team ambassador. Chelios was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2013.

Brian Rafalski. The skilled puck-moving defenseman played three more seasons with the Red Wings before retiring at age 37 in 2011 to spend more time with his family. They currently reside in Florida where he works with a local hockey program.

Johan Franzen. Multiple concussion injuries cut short Franzen’s playing career. Though still under contract with the Red Wings through 2019-20, he hasn’t suited up since 2015. In May 2018, Franzen’s wife revealed her husband was going through “intensive treatment” for brain injury as he continues to deal with post-concussion syndrome.

Niklas Kronwall. Since Lidstrom’s retirement, Kronwall became the linchpin of the Red Wings’ defense corps. Now 37, his physical style of play has led to injuries that in recent years limited his effectiveness.

Tomas Holmstrom. A long-time physical presence in front of opposition nets, Holmstrom spent four more seasons with the Wings before retiring prior to the start of the lockout-shortened 2012-13 campaign. He lives with his family in Sweden and coaches youth hockey.

Jiri Hudler. After four more seasons with the Wings, including one he missed when he played in the KHL during a season-long contract dispute, Hudler spent his final five NHL seasons with the Calgary Flames, Florida Panthers and Dallas Stars, winning the Lady Byng Trophy in 2015. Last fall, he was involved in an incident aboard an international flight in which he reportedly used cocaine in the washroom and threatened a flight attendant.

Kris Draper. Following three more seasons with the Wings, Draper retired in 2011 and joined the Wings’ front-office staff. He is now a special assistant to general manager Ken Holland.

Mikael Samuelsson. After another season with the Wings, Samuelsson spent parts of four campaigns with the Vancouver Canucks and Florida Panthers before returning to Detroit for a last hurrah in 2013. Retiring in 2015, Samuelsson is a European Development Coach with the Chicago Blackhawks.

Valtteri Filppula. Departed the Wings as a free agent in 2013 to sign with the Tampa Bay Lightning. In 2017, he was traded to the Philadelphia Flyers. He recently signed a one-year deal with the New York Islanders.

Brad Stuart. Following four more seasons with the Wings, Stuart returned to the San Jose Sharks (where he began his NHL career) for two seasons and signed a two-year deal with the Colorado Avalanche. A back injury ended his playing career in 2016.

Dallas Drake. The 2007-08 season was Drake’s last, retiring after 15 NHL seasons. He lives with his family in Michigan and coaches youth hockey.

Darren Helm. The 31-year-old winger is entering his 12th season with the Red Wings.

Dan Cleary. Following seven more seasons with the Wings and one with their AHL affiliate in Grand Rapids, Cleary retired in 2017. He’s now the Red Wings’ co-director of player development.

Darren McCarty. After one more season with the Wings, McCarty retired in 2009. He published his autobiography in 2013  detailing his free-wheeling lifestyle and battles with addictions. He lives in Detroit where he works for a real-estate company and is also trying his hand at stand-up comedy.

Kirk Maltby. The long-time Red Wings checking-line forward played two more seasons before retiring in 2010. He soon joined the Wings as a pro scout and remains in that role today.

Andreas Lilja.  The Swedish defenseman spent two more seasons with the Wings. After spending three seasons with the Anaheim Ducks and Philadelphia Flyers, Lilja spent two years playing in Sweden before retiring as a player. Next season, he’ll be an assistant coach for Kristianstad. 

 











NHL Rumor Mill – March 30, 2018

NHL Rumor Mill – March 30, 2018

Latest on the Sedins, Pavel Datsyuk and Joshua Ho-Sang plus an update on the Chicago Blackhawks and Florida Panthers in your NHL rumor mill.

Vancouver Canucks GM Jim Benning is expected to meet soon with the Sedin Twins to determine their future plans (Photo via NHL.com).

CANUCKS GM TO SEEK ANSWERS ON SEDINS’ PLANS

TSN:  Pierre LeBrun reports Vancouver Canucks general manager Jim Benning intends to meet with Daniel and Henrik Sedin over the next few days to determine where they’re at in terms of their plans beyond this season. Their decision could spill into the offseason. One factor could be what role the twins will play if they decide to return with the Canucks next season. They’re currently seeing second-line duty this season. Retirement could be a possibility for the Sedins.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Sedins will likely take their time considering their options. While Benning could be patient, he’ll likely want a decision before late-June. By then, he’ll want to know if he’s investing in the twins for another season or on other players via trade or free agency. 

HIGHLIGHTS FROM FRIEDMAN’S LATEST “31 THOUGHTS”

SPORTSNET: In this week’s “31 Thoughts” column, Elliotte Friedman reported of some wild rumors suggesting Pavel Datsyuk might return with the Detroit Red Wings next season. However, his agent said that’s not true.

The Florida Panthers are trying to trade 2016 second-round pick Adam Mascherin, who’s a 40-goal scorer this season with the OHL’s Kitchener Rangers. He’s informed the Panthers he won’t be signing with them, meaning he’ll go back into the draft unless they can trade his rights before then. Friedman suggests interested clubs could be reluctant to give up much in a trade for a player they could instead have the opportunity to draft.

There was some speculation the Chicago Blackhawks might consider trading their lottery draft pick for immediate help. However, GM Stan Bowman doesn’t appear keen on the idea. “I would be surprised if we traded it. Maybe if it was for a 22- or 23-year-old, who would be a couple of years ahead of draft age. But not for a 25- or 26-year-old.”

HO-SANG UNHAPPY IN THE MINORS

THE ATHLETIC: Arthur Staple reports New York Islanders winger Joshua Ho-Sang isn’t happy with being buried in the minors this season. Stressing that he loved his Isles teammates and knows how hard they’re working this season, he feels he was unfairly singled out for his defensive issues when the entire team is struggling in that department. “I know they’re working hard. But I got sent down for defense and what are they in goals against in the NHL? I only played (22) games up there this year. I don’t think it’s my fault. They really painted it like it was my fault at the beginning of the year and I didn’t like that.”

Ho-Sang acknowledged there are aspects of his game that need improvement. “But I do think a lot of the stuff was unwarranted, especially in terms of the rope that other people were given. I understand I have a history and that might be a factor. I don’t know. But it’s frustrating to me.”

Ho-Sang said he and his agent haven’t requested a trade. Staple, however, thinks it would be hard to imagine there are other clubs clamoring for the young forward. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Ho-Sang has promising offensive skills but there are concerns over his defensive play and his immaturity. The 22-year-old must work on those issues if he intends to crack the Isles roster full time. It wouldn’t surprise me if management explores his trade value leading up to the 2018 NHL Draft in Dallas.