NHL Rumor Mill – July 3, 2021

NHL Rumor Mill – July 3, 2021

Are the Blackhawks and Flames interested in Jack Eichel? Will Duncan Keith be traded to the Oilers? Check out the latest in today’s NHL rumor mill.

COULD EICHEL LAND WITH THE BLACKHAWKS OR FLAMES?

THE ATHLETIC: Scott Powers reports a source said the Chicago Blackhawks aren’t planning to get into the bidding for Jack Eichel. They cited the fact the club already has two $10-million players on the roster (Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews) and don’t see how they can have a third.

Buffalo Sabres center Jack Eichel (NHL Images).

Powers said the Blackhawks are already preparing to pay Alex DeBrincat between $8 million and $9 million on his next contract. He has two years left on his current contract. He also advised not to put much stock into any trade scenario involving DeBrincat or Kirby Dach as they’re among the club’s untouchables.

CALGARY SUN: Wes Gilbertson mused over whether the Flames could pursue a deal for Eichel. He speculates general manager Brad Treliving could be interested in the 24-year-old Sabres captain so long as there aren’t any long-term concerns regarding his neck injury.

The Flames lack a high first-round pick or an obvious stud prospect. Gilbertson thinks the Sabres asking price could start with wingers Matthew Tkachuk and Andrew Mangiapane plus a promising player and more.

SPORTSNET: Eric Francis recently dismissed the notion of the Flames acquiring Eichel, calling it little more than a pipe dream. He doesn’t believe they have sufficient tradeable assets to make a successful bid. He also expressed concern over Eichel’s big contract and the uncertainty regarding his neck injury.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I wouldn’t be surprised if Treliving or Blackhawks GM Stan Bowman contacted their counterpart in Buffalo to inquire about Eichel’s availability and the asking price. Unless Sabres GM Kevyn Adams gets desperate and lowers his asking price, don’t expect to see Eichel in a Blackhawks or Sabres jersey anytime soon.

LATEST ON KEITH AND THE OILERS

THE ATHLETIC: Scott Powers reports Duncan Keith was the one who initiated discussions with the Chicago Blackhawks about a potential trade this summer. A team source said the veteran defenseman wants to be closer to his son in Penticton, BC.

The question is whether a team will take on the 37-year-old’s $5.538 million annual cap hit over the next two seasons. A league source thought the Edmonton Oilers could be a destination, citing their need for a defenseman and their asset to make a deal.

Powers colleague Daniel Nugent-Bowman reports the Oilers are thought to be among Keith’s preferred destinations. A team source indicated the interest is mutual but only at the right price and circumstances.

The Oilers want the Blackhawks to absorb part of Keith’s cap hit or take back a bad contract (such as James Neal, Zack Kassian or Mikko Koskinen) in the deal. They also don’t expect the Hawks to just give him away because he’s a legacy player. The Oilers don’t view Keith as a top-pairing defenseman but that’s not an issue because they have Darnell Nurse as their top left-hand blueliner.

Hanging over this is uncertainty over Oscar Klefbom’s status following shoulder surgery in March. Nugent-Bowman feels the writing’s on the wall here because Klefbom’s agent said they probably couldn’t provide any clarity until the fall.

EDMONTON JOURNAL: David Staples cited Oilers insider Bob Stauffer saying he’s heard the Blackhawks don’t want to take salary back on Keith as they’re hoping to use the savings to put toward acquiring Columbus’ Seth Jones or Carolina’s Dougie Hamilton.

Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman said the Oilers want to maintain cap flexibility in any trade for Keith. He also said there are whispers the Blackhawks would like to acquire Oilers blueliner Caleb Jones in hopes of reuniting him with Seth. He wondered if it would make sense for the Blackhawks to acquire a player from the Oilers in a Keith trade that they can buy out.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Oilers may be interested in Keith but they’re not under any pressure to make this move. If they can’t make a deal work they can just walk away and seek more affordable blueline options elsewhere.

The Blackhawks will have to retain part of Keith’s contract or take back a contract they can buy out to make the dollars fit here. Maybe they can acquire a contract from the Oilers and flip it to another team for a draft pick or prospect.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – May 10, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – May 10, 2021

The Flames stay alive in the North Division playoff chase, John Tortorella parts ways with the Blue Jackets, Rick Tocchet leaves the Coyotes, plus the latest suspensions and fines in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: The Calgary Flames kept their playoff hopes alive by thumping the Ottawa Senators 6-1. Johnny Gaudreau and Matthew Tkachuk each had a goal and two assists as the Flames (49 points) moved to within eight points of the fourth-place Montreal Canadiens in the Scotia North Division.

Calgary Flames winger Johnny Gaudreau (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Calgary holds two games in hand over Montreal, who have two games remaining in their schedule. However, the Canadiens need just one point to clinch.

A two-goal performance by Alex DeBrincat gave the Chicago Blackhawks a 4-2 win over the Dallas Stars. DeBrincat has 31 goals and 54 points in 51 games.

TSN: Columbus Blue Jackets general manager Jarmo Kekalainen released a statement yesterday indicating John Tortorella won’t be returning as head coach. The decision was a mutual one. Tortorella’s contract expires after this season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Athletic’s Aaron Portzline leaked this story yesterday hours before Kekalainen made it official. Tortorella departs the Jackets as the most successful coach in franchise history, winning the second of his Jack Adams Awards for his efforts in turning the Jackets into a playoff club in 2016-17. They reached the playoffs four times during his six seasons behind their bench, winning their first-ever playoff series in 2019. I’ll have more about the Jackets in the Rumors section.

ARIZONA SPORTS: The Coyotes and Rick Tocchet mutually agreed to part ways. Tocchet was their head coach for four seasons, during which the club underwent a change of ownership in 2019 and a change in management last when GM John Chayka suddenly departed on the eve of the postseason.  His contract was expiring after this season. The Coyotes reached the playoffs last season, upsetting the Nashville Predators in the qualifying round before falling in the first round to the Colorado Avalanche.

SPORTSNET: Tampa Bay Lightning forward Pat Maroon received a one-game suspension for unsportsmanlike conduct during Saturday’s game against the Florida Panthers. Brandon Montour of the Panthers was fined $5,000.00 for spearing Maroon while teammate MacKenzie Weegar was fined $5,000.00 for high-sticking Maroon’s teammate Mathieu Joseph.

The NHL’s department of player safety fined Montreal Canadiens defenseman Joel Edmundson $1,000.00 for a dangerous trip on Toronto Maple Leafs center John Tavares on Saturday.










What Next For the Chicago Blackhawks?

What Next For the Chicago Blackhawks?

 










NHL Betting: Matthews Still A Rocket Richard Favorite But Others Lurk

NHL Betting: Matthews Still A Rocket Richard Favorite But Others Lurk

 










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 8, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 8, 2021

Recaps of Sunday’s action plus the latest injury and COVID-19 updates and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: Scott Laughton tallied his first career NHL hat trick while a returning Sean Couturier scored twice and added an assist as the Philadelphia Flyers beat the Washington Capitals 7-4. Joel Farabee collected three assists for the Flyers. Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin scored twice and set up two others while Tom Wilson had a four-point game.

Philadelphia Flyers forward Scott Laughton (NHL Images).

Before the game, Flyers defenseman Travis Sanheim entered the league’s COVID-19 protocol list, resulting in rapid testing of both clubs. Once those tests returned negative the game was allowed to proceed.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The NHL and NHLPA are reportedly looking into implementing more rapid testing league-wide in hope of flattening the rising COVID-19 curve among the teams. The Buffalo Sabres, Colorado Avalanche, Minnesota Wild and New Jersey Devils are currently sidelined because a number of their players are on the COVID protocol list.

A third-period goal by Chandler Stephenson lifted the Vegas Golden Knights to a 4-3 win over the Los Angeles Kings. Stephenson scored twice while teammate Zach Whitecloud tallied his first NHL regulation goal. Kings’ rookie Jaret Anderson-Dolan netted his first career NHL goal. The Kings played without forward Martin Frk as he was unavailable due to a lower-body injury.

Alex DeBrincat scored twice, including the winner in overtime, as the Chicago Blackhawks edged the Dallas Stars 2-1. Patrick Kane had two assists and Malcolm Subban kicked out 31 shots for the win.

The Detroit Red Wings upset the Florida Panthers 4-1, handing the latter their first regulation loss of the season. Wings forward Givani Smith had a Gordie Howe hat trick with a goal, an assist and a fight with Panthers defenseman Aaron Ekblad following Smith’s hit to the head of Panthers’ blueliner MacKenzie Weegar. No word if Smith will face supplemental discipline. Wings forward Anthony Mantha was a healthy scratch from this contest.

A controversial offside call in the second period overshadowed the Carolina Hurricanes 6-5 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets. Officials overruled an offside challenge by the Jackets on a goal by Hurricanes center Vincent Trocheck and assessed the Jackets a bench penalty. The officials subsequently decided the play was offside after all and waved off the final 45 seconds of the Hurricanes power-play but still allowed Trocheck’s goal to stand.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Usually outspoken Jackets coach John Tortorella declined to offer his opinion following the game. “You know what? I’m gonna let the league explain it,” said Tortorella. Jackets winger Patrick Laine, who scored twice in the game, didn’t shy away from expressing his view. “I think that’s the biggest joke I’ve ever seen,” said Laine.

HEADLINES

WGR 550: Buffalo Sabres forwards Dylan Cozens, Curtis Lazar and Casey Mittelstadt joined teammates Taylor Hall, Rasmus Ristolainen, Brandon Montour, Tobias Rieder and Jake McCabe on the NHL’s COVID-19 protocol list.

STARTRIBUNE.COM: Minnesota Wild defenseman Brad Hunt joined teammates Nick Bjugstad, Nick Bonino, Ian Cole, Joel Eriksson Ek, Marcus Foligno, Marcus Johansson, Jared Spurgeon and Nico Sturm on the COVID protocol list.

TORONTO SUN: Maple Leafs winger Wayne Simmonds could be sidelined up to six weeks after getting hit in the hand with a shot during Saturday’s game against the Vancouver Canucks.

SPORTSNET: The Leafs signed forward Scott Sabourin to a one-year, two-way contract.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Sabourin signing is a further indication Simmonds could miss significant time.

SPORTSNET: The Edmonton Oilers activated goaltender Mike Smith off long-term injury reserve.

TSN: San Jose Sharks defenseman Radim Simek was fined $5,000.00 for spearing Anaheim Ducks forward Adam Henrique during Saturday’s game between the two clubs.

FOX SPORTS MIDWEST: The St. Louis Blues activated defenseman Robert Bortuzzo off injured reserved, placed winger Robert Thomas (broken thumb) on IR and recalled winger Jacob de la Rose.

NHL.COM: Former NHL forward Ralph Backstrom died Sunday at age 83 following a lengthy illness. Backstrom won the Calder Memorial Trophy as rookie of the year in 1959 and won six Stanley Cups with the Montreal Canadiens. He tallied 278 goals and 639 points in 1, 032 NHL games with the Canadiens, Los Angeles Kings and Chicago Blackhawks, as well as 214 points in 234 games in the WHA.

Backstrom went on to coach the University of Denver, scouted for the St. Louis Blues and founded the Colorado Eagles, now the AHL farm club of the Colorado Avalanche.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Backstrom lived a full, productive life in hockey and the game is better for it. My condolences to his family, friends, teammates and associates.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 27, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 27, 2021

Recaps from a very busy night in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: The Boston Bruins edged the Pittsburgh Penguins 3-2 on an overtime goal by Craig Smith. Brad Marchand had a goal and an assist for the Bruins, who lost winger Jake DeBrusk to a lower-body injury following an open-ice hit by Penguins captain Sidney Crosby. Jason Zucker scored and collected an assist for the Penguins.

Buffalo Sabres captain Jack Eichel’s first goal of the season held up as the game-winner in a 3-2 victory over the slumping New York Rangers, sending the latter to their fourth straight loss. Earlier in the day, the Rangers learned center Filip Chytil will be sidelined four-to-six weeks with an upper-body injury.

Philadelphia Flyers winger James van Riemsdyk (NHL Images).

James van Riemsdyk scored two goals and Ivan Provorov had a goal and two assists to give the Philadelphia Flyers a 5-3 win over the New Jersey Devils. Claude Giroux also collected two assists for the Flyers.

The Washington Capitals nipped the New York Islanders 3-2 when Justin Schultz scored with 27 seconds remaining in the third period. John Carlson had a goal and an assist for the Capitals, who extended their points streak to seven games. Mathew Barzal scored and picked up an assist for the Islanders, who earned scorn from head coach Barry Trotz over his club’s lack of urgency. “It’s playoff mentality right now and I’m not sure we have our playoff mentality yet,” said Trotz. “And it’s pissing me off.” The Islanders were playing with Anthony Beauvillier as he was placed on injured reserve with a lower-body injury.

Patric Hornqvist’s shootout goal gave the Florida Panthers a 4-3 victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets. Anthony Duclair and Carter Verhaeghe each collected two points for the Panthers.

The Nashville Predators ended a three-game skid by downing the Chicago Blackhawks 3-2 on an overtime tally by Roman Josi. Mikael Granlund had a goal and an assist for the Predators. The Blackhawks skated without winger Alex DeBrincat and defenseman Adam Boqvist as both are expected to miss two weeks due to COVID-19 protocols.

Nikolaj Ehlers scored and set up three others as the Winnipeg Jets rallied from a 3-1 deficit to beat the Edmonton Oilers 6-4. Adam Copp also had a four-point night (two goals, two assists) and Adam Lowry had a three-point performance for the Jets. Oilers stars Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl each had two points while blueliner Darnell Nurse chalked up three assists.

The Los Angeles Kings picked up their third win in four games by beating the Minnesota Wild 2-1 on a third-period goal by Carl Grundstrom. Kings goalie Cal Petersen kicked out 32 shots for the win.

An overtime goal by Jason Dickinson lifted the Dallas Stars over the Detroit Red Wings 2-1. Stars defenseman John Klingberg had a goal and an assist while Joe Pavelski collected his 800th career point. The Stars have won their first three games.

The St. Louis Blues defeated former captain Alex Pietrangelo and the Vegas Golden Knights by a score of 5-4 on a shootout goal by Brayden Schenn. David Perron scored twice for the Blues while Max Pacioretty tallied a hat trick for the Golden Knights, who played without their coaching staff behind the bench after one of them tested positive for COVID-19. General manager Kelly McCrimmon took over as head coach and called up several coaches from their farm team as assistants. The Golden Knights are closing their facilities today as they determine their next steps under the league’s coronavirus protocols.

A third-period goal by Mitch Marner gave the Toronto Maple Leafs a 4-3 victory over the Calgary Flames. Marner, Auston Matthews and Morgan Rielly each had two points for the Leafs, who swept their two-game series against the Flames. Johnny Gaudreau tallied twice for the Flames. There were fireworks at the game’s end when Leafs defenseman Jake Muzzin flipped the puck at Flames winger Matthew Tkachuk, touching off a scrum that landed Muzzin a meaningless unsportsmanlike conduct penalty. The incident was likely tied to Tkachuk injuring Leafs backup goalie Jack Campbell in their previous game, leaving Campbell sidelined “for weeks”.

The Colorado Avalanche rolled to a 7-3 beat down of the San Jose Sharks. Brandon Sand scored twice, Cale Makar picked up three assists and Mikko Rantanen extended his goal-scoring streak to six games. The Sharks, meanwhile, are hoping to ready soon to their home arena after the state of California lifted its regional stay-at-home order that had been in place since Dec. 3.

John Gibson turned in a 31-save shutout and Danton Heinen scored the only goal as the Anaheim Ducks blanked the Arizona Coyotes 1-0.