NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 21, 2024

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 21, 2024

The Bruins downed the Leafs and the Hurricanes beat the Islanders in the opening games of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Get the details plus the latest on other postseason clubs in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.


NHL.COM: Boston Bruins winger Jake DeBrusk scored twice and collected an assist as his club rolled to a 5-1 victory over the Toronto Maple Leafs in Game 1 of their best-of-seven opening-round series. Bruins goaltender Jeremy Swayman kicked out 35 shots as David Kampf was the only Leaf to score in this contest. Game 2 of this series goes Monday night in Boston.

Boston Bruins winger Jake DeBrusk (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Leafs’ efforts to establish a physical presence against the Bruins backfired. They were undisciplined, took too many bad penalties and were sloppy defensively against savvy opponents who emerged victorious by sticking to their game plan.

Leafs forwards William Nylander and Bobby McMann missed this game due to injuries. We have no more details because the Leafs won’t have daily injury updates during the playoffs.

The Carolina Hurricanes drew first blood against the New York Islanders by beating them 3-1 to take a 1-0 lead in their first-round series. Hurricanes goaltender Frederik Andersen stopped 33 shots while Evgeny Kuznetsov and Martin Necas each had a goal and an assist. Kyle MacLean replied for the Islanders. Game 2 is Monday in Carolina.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Islanders dominated large stretches of this game defensively, especially in the second period. However, they were unable to capitalize offensively. Andersen played a big part in that but the Isles best scorers didn’t get more quality scoring chances against him.


NHL.COM: Four other first-round series begin on Sunday. The Tampa Bay Lightning face off against the Florida Panthers (12:30 ET), the Washington Capitals meet the New York Rangers (3 PM ET), the Colorado Avalanche square off against the Winnipeg Jets (7 pm ET) and the Nashville Predators face the Vancouver Canucks (10 pm ET).

COLORADO HOCKEY NOW: The Avalanche announced on Saturday that winger Jonathan Drouin will miss the series against the Jets with a lower-body injury.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: A tough break for Drouin and the Avalanche. The 29-year-old winger enjoyed a career-best 56-point performance this season.

LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL: Vegas Golden Knights captain Mark Stone (lacerated spleen) and defenseman Alex Pietrangelo (appendectomy) are good to go for Game 1 of their first-round series against the Dallas Stars on Monday.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Golden Knights general manager Kelly McCrimmon sought to address critics for his club placing Stone on long-term injury reserve for the second straight year. They used the salary cap savings to bring in Anthony Mantha, Noah Hanifin and Tomas Hertl before the trade deadline.

It was originally reported that Stone wouldn’t be ready to return until later in the playoffs if the Golden Knights advanced past the first round. His clearance for Game 1 of their opening-round series drew accusations of salary-cap circumvention from their critics.

McCrimmon said the NHL is “100 percent involved in any of these LTIR situations”, pointing out the league had access to all medical information on Stone’s condition.

The Golden Knights did nothing wrong. Per the collective bargaining agreement, every NHL team can use LTIR for salary-cap relief whenever their players are sidelined for at least 10 games and 24 days of the regular season. Every club has at some point since LTIR was implemented in 2005.

Nevertheless, these instances have drawn grumbling in some corners that could lead to changes in LTIR rules, perhaps by making the salary cap count during the playoffs. Those changes, however, won’t occur until the next round of collective bargaining between the NHL and NHL Players Association in 2026.


SAN JOSE HOCKEY NOW: Sharks captain Logan Couture hopes that next season is better for him than the current one. The 35-year-old center missed all but six games due to a deep groin injury revealed to be Osteitis pubis.

Couture plans to resume skating in July. He said he’s drawn encouragement from other players around the league who suffered a similar condition. The Sharks medical staff are optimistic he’ll be ready for training camp in September.

THE HOCKEY NEWS: Chicago Blackhawks rookie star Connor Bedard will suit up for Canada at next month’s IIHF World Championships in Czechia.

NHL Rumor Mill – March 27, 2024

NHL Rumor Mill – March 27, 2024

What will Sidney Crosby’s next contract with the Penguins look like? Have the Bruins set the table for some big moves in the offseason? Check out the latest in today’s NHL Rumor Mill. 


THE ATHLETIC: Rob Rossi noted that “a lot of people” have opined that Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby should finish his career with a team like the Colorado Avalanche. However, he shoots down that notion by pointing out that Crosby had publicly and privately indicated he intends to finish his career with the Penguins. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Penguins’ decline into also-ran status has fueled media speculation about Crosby’s future. Some suggested he should orchestrate a trade to join his good friend Nathan MacKinnon in Colorado or sign with the Avalanche next summer as a free agent. 

Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby (NHL Images).

The earliest the Penguins can open contract extension talks with Crosby is July 1. If he’s not signed on that date, Rossi suggests it could be because he’s still on vacation. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The longer it takes for the Penguins and Crosby to reach an agreement the more questions over his future in Pittsburgh will appear in the media. If he’s not signed when training camp opens, the media buzz over his future will continue to increase. 

Crosby’s current annual average value is $8.7 million. Rossi speculates a three-year extension at $10 million annually would be fair. He believes Crosby will want to stick around and help shape the next great Penguins team. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: General manager Kyle Dubas has to sell his vision of the club’s future to Crosby. If he can do that, his captain could be up for the challenge of guiding the next group of young Penguins stars. 


BOSTON HOCKEY NOW: Jimmy Murphy cited an NHL executive suggesting Bruins general manager Don Sweeney has “set the table” for some big moves in the offseason. 

Look at all the cap space he has, and his two biggest trade targets are still set to become free agents.” 

The Bruins have a projected salary-cap space of $21.7 million for 2024-25. With potentially eight roster spots opening up, Murphy speculates they could re-sign Danton Heinen, James van Riemsdyk and perhaps Kevin Shattenkirk on team-friendly contracts. Winger Jake DeBrusk remains a wildcard as he has not heard back from management about a contract extension as of the March 8 trade deadline. 

Murphy noted the two trade targets his source referred two are Vancouver Canucks center Elias Lindholm and Vegas Golden Knights defenseman Noah Hanifin. Both players were linked to the Bruins in the rumor mill this season. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Bruins could get more cap space if they trade goaltender Linus Ullmark, who has a year left on his contract with an AAV of $5 million. 

Sweeney has his club in a good position cap-wise heading into this summer. I don’t doubt that he’ll look at bolstering his roster with one or two free-agent signings and perhaps through the trade market. Whether he lands Lindholm and/or Hanifin remains to be seen.

NHL Rumor Mill – March 23, 2024

NHL Rumor Mill – March 23, 2024

Check out the latest on the Blackhawks and Senators in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.


THE ATHLETIC: Scott Powers believes the Chicago Blackhawks must bring in some forwards this summer who can provide support for franchise star Connor Bedard.

His suggested options include Jonathan Marchessault of the Vegas Golden Knights, Teuvo Teravainen of the Carolina Hurricanes, Tyler Bertuzzi of the Toronto Maple Leafs, Jake DeBrusk of the Boston Bruins or Tyler Toffoli of the Winnipeg Jets.

Vegas Golden Knights winger Jonathan Marchessault (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Blackhawks attempted to add experienced depth last summer by acquiring Taylor Hall and Nick Foligno and signing Corey Perry. Hall suffered a season-ending knee injury but still has a year left on his contract. Foligno played well enough to earn a two-year extension. Perry’s contract was terminated last November following an off-ice incident.

The Blackhawks have plenty of cap space ($38.2 million) to make one or two additions up front via free agency. Most of those players would come in on short-term contracts as the Hawks continue to promote younger players into their lineup.

Landing any of those players on Powers’ list will depend on the type of contracts they’re seeking and if they want to join a rebuilding team. Playing with a rising star like Bedard could be enticing for some players.


OTTAWA SUN: Bruce Garrioch looked at the Senators’ top-five head coaching candidates for next season.

Toronto Marlies’ head coach John Gruden topped Garrioch’s list. He was also head coach of the OHL’s Hamilton Bulldogs from 2016 to 2018 when they were owned by Michael Andlauer, who bought the Senators last year. Senators general manager Steve Staios was the Bulldogs’ GM at the same time that Gruden was their coach.

Former San Jose Sharks head coach Todd McLellan, former Minnesota Wild bench boss Dean Evason, and former St. Louis Blues coach Craig Berube are also on Garrioch’s list, followed by Philadelphia Flyers assistant coach Brad Shaw.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Andlauer stuck with who he knew best by having Staios take over as general manager last November. It wouldn’t be shocking if they hired Gruden provided the Toronto Maple Leafs would allow him to speak to the Senators about their head-coaching job.

SPORTSNET: Wayne Scanlan reports Senators assistant coach Daniel Alfredsson said he hasn’t thought about if he’d like to take over the head-coaching role. He’s been busy adjusting to what he called a steep learning curve from the coaching side of things.

The former Senators captain was hired on an interim basis along with head coach Jacques Martin back in December.

Alfredsson admitted he has caught the coaching bug, hinting that this season might not be his last behind the bench. However, he might not be the ideal candidate to take over the reins as the Senators’ head coach.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Maybe the new head coach will keep Alfredsson as an assistant coach.

Garrioch also speculated whether the Senators might attempt to improve their goaltending during the offseason. He doesn’t see them buying out the remaining four years of Joonas Korpisalo’s contract.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Senators are stuck with Korpisalo. Perhaps they’ll try to ditch backup Anton Forsberg and bring in a more reliable backup.

The defense also needs improvement, especially on the right side where Garrioch believes they need a “rugged top-four blueliner.” He doesn’t see the Senators trading blueliner Thomas Chabot unless they’re willing to retain part of his $8 million average annual value. Rearguard Jakob Chychrun’s future remains murky.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s no secret the Senators are interested in signing Dallas Stars defenseman Chris Tanev if he becomes a free agent on July 1. Chabot’s contract is tough to move. Staios has said he’d like to re-sign Chychrun but I wouldn’t be shocked if he was traded this summer for a player who can provide immediate help to their roster.

Changes also need to be made among the forward lines. Garrioch doesn’t expect Brady Tkachuk, Tim Stutzle, Shane Pinto, Drake Batherson, Ridly Grieg and Claude Giroux to be moved. However, the checking lines could use more depth.

Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – March 10, 2024

Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – March 10, 2024

The trade deadline has passed but that hasn’t stopped the rumor mill. Check out the latest on the Bruins’ Linus Ullmark and Jake DeBrusk plus a look at the Senators’ offseason plans in the Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup.


SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman reported a deal was in place before the trade deadline that would’ve sent Linus Ullmark to a team on his 16-team no-trade list. The Boston Bruins goaltender declined to waive the clause as is his right.

It’s rumored that Ullmark rejected a trade to the Los Angeles Kings. Neither Ullmark nor Bruins general manager Don Sweeney would confirm or deny it.

Friedman also said the Bruins had conversations with teams that weren’t on Ullmark’s no-trade list. He said it was an emotionally difficult week for the 30-year-old goalie, who loves living and playing in Boston and doesn’t want to leave.

Boston Bruins goaltender Linus Ullmark (NHL Images).

Ullmark has one more season remaining on his contract with a $5 million cap hit. Friedman believes Sweeney could revisit efforts to move the 2023 Vezina Trophy winner during the summer.

BOSTON HOCKEY NOW: Jimmy Murphy noted that Ullmark was relieved and grateful to remain with the Bruins. He also pointed out that this situation hasn’t affected his play. Murphy believes trading the popular Ullmark at the deadline would’ve hurt the roster down the stretch.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Murphy reported Friday that a source told him the rumored trade was not with the Kings. He also cited a source claiming 14 of the 16 clubs on Ullmark’s no-trade list were Western Conference teams.

The Bruins have a projected $22.4 million in cap space for next season. Moving Ullmark’s $5 million cap will provide more room to bolster his roster’s depth.

Sweeney could gauge the market for Ullmark this summer, but the goalie’s no-trade clause will remain an obstacle. It drops by one team to a 15-team NTC for 2024-25.

THE ATHLETIC: Fluto Shinzawa believes it’s time for Jake DeBrusk to maximize his worth with a strong postseason performance. Sweeney is expected to continue contract talks with the 27-year-old winger’s agent. However, Shinzawa anticipates that DeBrusk will test the free-agent market on July 1.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: DeBrusk is in the final season of a two-year contract with an average annual value of $4 million. A strong performance in this year’s playoffs could land him a lucrative long-term deal. Time will tell if it’ll be with the Bruins or another club.

In the past, I assumed that DeBrusk would be traded. Both times, the Bruins held onto him. This time, however, his pending UFA status makes it feel like this season will be his last in Boston.


OTTAWA SUN: Bruce Garrioch reports Senators general manager Steve Staios attempted to wheel and deal at the trade deadline. His only significant move was trading winger Vladimir Tarasenko to the Florida Panthers.

However, Staios believes his discussions with other general managers could lay the groundwork for some offseason transactions to bring him some help for his roster.

There was some interest in Senators defenseman Jacob Bernard-Docker but no one was willing to pay Staios’ asking price. Most of the Senators’ core players, including Thomas Chabot, Drake Batherson, Jakob Chychrun and Claude Giroux, aren’t going anywhere soon. However, Garrioch believes Staios should be willing to listen to offers.

It’s believed Staios had serious discussions with several teams about moves that could’ve addressed the Senators’ needs. He’s seeking a pair of veteran players to help lead the club’s young core.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Changes are coming to the Senators following another disappointing season. This club has been spinning its wheels for the last three years.

They risk wasting the best years of those core players and untouchables such as Brady Tkachuk, Tim Stutzle and Jake Sanderson. Another lackluster season could push those players’ patience to the breaking point.

Staios will be active in this summer’s trade and free-agent markets. He’ll try to bring in the veteran leadership he believes this club needs to become a playoff contender. It could come at the cost of a core player not named Tkachuk, Stutzle and Sanderson.

NHL Rumor Mill – February 29, 2024

NHL Rumor Mill – February 29, 2024

Check out the latest on the Canucks, Stars, Bruins, Senators, Predators, Rangers, Islanders, Leafs, Flyers, Kraken and Capitals in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.


THE TORONTO STAR: Nick Kypreos reported hearing the latest offer to Elias Pettersson from the Vancouver Canucks is an eight-year, $96 million contract.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This was published before Daily Faceoff’s Frank Seravalli reported the Canucks had made progress in negotiations with the Petersen camp on a possible eight-year deal. $96 million over that period is an average annual value of $12 million. Stay tuned!

Kypreos expects the Dallas Stars could pursue another defenseman after adding Chris Tanev and only taking on 50 percent of his salary.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Flames retained 50 percent of Tanev’s $4.5 million cap hit with the Devils picking up $1.125 million and the Stars $1.125 million. Nevertheless, as Kypreos points out, the Stars have the cap space ($2.05 million) to add another defenseman if they wish by the March 8 trade deadline.

The Boston Bruins are pushing hard to acquire Noah Hanifin. The Calgary Flames seek “three significant pieces” from the Bruins for the 27-year-old defenseman.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I jokingly suggested Jake DeBrusk for Hanifin yesterday. In reality, it will be daunting for the Bruins to pull this off. They don’t have any picks in the first three rounds of this year’s draft to draw on for trade bait, their prospect pool is shallow and there aren’t many roster players they can afford to part with.

I’m not saying the Bruins can’t meet the Flames’ asking price but other clubs with more cap space, draft picks and prospects could outbid them.

The goalie market is shrinking. Marc-Andre Fleury, John Gibson and Juuse Saros are unlikely to be moved by the trade deadline. Meanwhile, teams could be less willing to pitch a mind-blowing offer to the Flames for Jacob Markstrom.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Since this was published, the Wild stated they’re not trading Fleury while the Predators intend to hang onto Saros while they’re in playoff contention. Gibson’s contract remains too expensive for the Ducks to move in the offseason. The Devils were interested in Markstrom but the Flames aren’t willing to retain half of his $6 million average annual value, which runs through 2025-26.


THE ATHLETIC: Fluto Shinzawa cited an NHL hockey operations executive saying it would be a gutsy move by the Boston Bruins to trade goaltender Linus Ullmark before the trade deadline.

The executive gave Shinzawa three reasons why it would make sense to move Ullmark. It would allow them to upgrade other areas of the roster, and free up $5 million in cap space, and Jeremy Swayman is ready to be the full-time starter.

However, Shinzawa believes moving Ullmark would require adding an experienced backup for Swayman as promising Brandon Bussi hasn’t played an NHL game yet. Finding a suitable trade partner for Ullmark, who has a 16-team no-trade clause, could be difficult.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: We can’t rule out trading Ullmark by the deadline but that move seems more likely in the offseason. A strong goalie tandem has enabled the Bruins to jockey for first overall in the standings in what was supposed to be a transition season for the club.

Shinzawa also considered it unlikely that the Bruins would move defenseman Matt Grzelcyk at the trade deadline. That would mean risking his departure this summer as an unrestricted free agent.

BOSTON HOCKEY NOW: Jimmy Murphy reports winger Jake DeBrusk confirms his contract extension talks with Bruins management have stalled. That’s raised questions over whether the 27-year-old winger will be traded to a team like the Edmonton Oilers by the March 8 deadline.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I don’t see the Bruins trading DeBrusk solely because of his pending UFA status. They won’t move him (or Ullmark or Grzelcyk for that matter) for draft picks or prospects. They’ll want a return that helps them contend for the Stanley Cup this season.

They could move one of them for picks and prospects to clear cap space to move another player for immediate roster help. If that’s not possible, they’ll likely keep DeBrusk as an “own rental” for the playoffs and deal with his contract situation after that.


TSN: Ottawa Senators general manager Steve Staios told TSN’s Pierre LeBrun and Ryan Rishaug there was no truth to social media rumors claiming captain Brady Tkachuk was on the trade block.

Ottawa Senators captain Brady Tkachuk (NHL Images).

That could not be further from the truth,” said Staios. “There’s obviously no truth to that. We’re building this team around Brady Tkachuk and the type of person, player, and leader that he is.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That hasn’t stopped some pundits from speculating over the possibility of the team they cover acquiring Tkachuk. If you’re gonna dream, dream big.

Staios also addressed recent Jakob Chychrun rumors, once again expressing his disappointment that the defenseman’s name has been mentioned again. However, he acknowledged that conversations come up with other clubs and names get bandied about.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Staios also expressed disappointment last month over Chychrun’s name surfacing in the rumor mill. At that time, he said he hoped to re-sign the 25-year-old blueliner, who has a year remaining on his contract. By the sound of things, teams are asking Staios about Chychrun. It doesn’t sound like he’s shopping him but he could at least be listening to offers.

The Senators GM also said Vladimir Tarasenko is drawing some interest in the trade market. However, he didn’t commit to moving the 32-year-old winger.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The rumored asking price for Tarasenko is a second-round pick and a prospect.


THE ATHLETIC: Pierre LeBrun reports the Nashville Predators’ surge up the standings will affect how general manager Barry Trotz approaches the trade deadline. He’s balancing long and short-term needs but LeBrun believes he’s in a hold or add position.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: They won’t be trading away Juuse Saros unless someone is willing to overpay for the privilege. They’ll also likely hang on to defenseman Alexandre Carrier.

THE TENNESSEAN: Alex Daugherty noted that Trotz hopes to re-sign forward Tommy Novak, a player he’s mentioned as someone he didn’t want to lose to free agency this summer. He listed the New York Rangers, Edmonton Oilers and Tampa Bay Lightning as possible destinations if Trotz decides to move Novak by the deadline.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Novak is another that Trotz could hang on to even at the risk of losing him to free agency. If he doesn’t move Novak, a contract extension is possible.


NEW YORK POST: Larry Brooks reports Anaheim Ducks general manager Pat Verbeek scouting the Rangers’ 4-1 win last night over Columbus. The Rangers have been linked to Ducks forwards Adam Henrique and Frank Vatrano. It’s unclear who he was scouting unless it’s Kaapo Kakko, which doesn’t make sense to Brooks unless it’s for a blockbuster deal involving Trevor Zegras. Brooks indicated there’s no indication that sort of deal is on the table.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Rangers don’t face the Ducks again this season. Neither do the Blue Jackets.


NEW YORK POST: Ethan Sears wondered if the Islanders might move Jean-Gabriel Pageau to free up some cap space. It doesn’t seem likely given his $5 million AAV through 2025-26 and his 16-team no-trade clause. However, he could help a playoff team that needs a middle-six forward with defensive acumen.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I can see the Isles moving Pageau if they agree to retain half his cap hit. Otherwise, no. 


TORONTO SUN: Terry Koshan noted the Maple Leafs pressing need is a right-shot defenseman. The heat is increasing on GM Brad Treliving to address this issue, especially after the Stars acquired Chris Tanev from the Flames. Koshan listed Arizona’s Matt Dumba, Philadelphia’s Sean Walker, Anaheim’s Ilya Lyubushkin, and Nashville’s Alexandre Carrier as trade options.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Walker and Carrier could be unavailable with their current clubs holding playoff positions.


PHILLY HOCKEY NOW: Jonathan Bailey believes the Flyers could get a first-round pick for Sean Walker.

THE HOCKEY NEWS: Sammi Silber cited Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman saying Washington Capitals center Nic Dowd remains “very much” on the Edmonton Oilers’ radar. Capitals winger Anthony Mantha could also draw some interest from the Oilers.

THE SEATTLE TIMES: Kate Shefte reports struggling Kraken winger Kailer Yamamoto could become a trade candidate if the club becomes a seller by the March 8 deadline.

NHL Rumor Mill – February 27, 2024

NHL Rumor Mill – February 27, 2024

Which teams are linked to the Flames’ Noah Hanifin and Chris Tanev? What forwards could the Oilers pursue? What’s the latest on the Sharks and Avalanche? Find out in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.


SPORTSNET: Eric Francis observed that the Calgary Flames have a stranglehold on the trade market as they carry three of the most desirable trade targets in defensemen Noah Hanifin, Chris Tanev and goaltender Jacob Markstrom.

The likelihood of Markstrom getting traded remains low. He has two years left on his contract and has full control of the situation thanks to his no-movement clause, while his $6 million cap hit and the Flames’ high asking price make him too expensive for most teams to afford this late in the season.

Hanifin and Tanev are more likely to be moved as they’re pending unrestricted free agents who won’t be re-signing with the Flames. Patience by the club’s management could result in better returns for both players as the March 8 trade deadline approaches and more potential buyers accrue cap space.

Francis believes Hanifin could fetch a first-round pick, a top prospect and a roster player. The return for Tanev could be two pieces, including a second-rounder. However, the goal is to net a first-round pick.

Calgary Flames defenseman Noah Hanifin (NHL Images).

THE ATHLETIC: Pierre LeBrun cited league sources as saying the Dallas Stars have shown strong interest in Tanev. Other right-shot defense options include Arizona’s Matt Dumba, Philadelphia’s Sean Walker and Anaheim’s Ilya Lyubushkin.

Sean Gentile believes it’s possible for the Tampa Bay Lightning to acquire Hanifin. It could include giving up a prospect such as Isaac Howard or Ethan Gauthier and their 2026 first-round pick as part of the return.

Jonas Siegel considered Hanifin and Tanev among the logical fits for the Toronto Maple Leafs.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: One reason there’s been no activity in the trade market since Feb. 2 is because teams are waiting to see where Hanifin and Tanev are traded. The longer the Flames wait, the more likely the possibility of buyers stepping up to meet their price for both blueliners.

The Stars could be better positioned to land Tanev. They’re trying to win the Stanley Cup this season and might be willing to part with a first-rounder.

As for the Lightning and Hanifin, that might make sense if they intend on signing him to a contract extension. Still, they’ve depleted a lot of their prospect pool over the years trying to maintain a Cup contender. They also have 16 active roster players under contract for next season with $10 million in projected cap space and captain Steven Stamkos to re-sign or replace.

Hanifin would be too expensive for the Leafs and wouldn’t address their need for a right-shot defenseman as Tanev would.


BOSTON HOCKEY NOW: Jimmy Murphy cited an NHL source wondering if the Bruins will retain Jake DeBrusk for the playoffs or trade the pending UFA winger to a club like the Edmonton Oilers seeking a postseason rental forward.

There’s been no indication that DeBrusk’s representatives and Bruins management are any closer to a contract extension as the trade deadline approaches. Meanwhile, Murphy cited a belief around the league that the winger’s hometown Oilers or the Calgary Flames would try to bring him home to Alberta.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Noah Hanifin straight up for DeBrusk with both players agreeing to contract extensions with their new clubs. I’m kidding of course…or am I?(Insert wink emoji here).

Meanwhile, the Oilers could have some interest in DeBrusk but I don’t think they’d have what the Bruins would want in a trade package. The Bruins will probably stick with him for the rest of this season even at the risk of losing him to free agency on July 1.

SPORTSNET: During their latest “32 Thoughts” podcast episode, Jeff Marek and Elliotte Friedman discussed the possibility of the Edmonton Oilers acquiring Anthony Mantha from the Washington Capitals. The 29-year-old winger is putting up good numbers this season with 18 goals and 29 points in 52 games.

Friedman noted that Oilers general manager Ken Holland drafted Mantha during Holland’s tenure as GM of the Detroit Red Wings. He also mentioned the Oilers have been linked to Anaheim Ducks forwards Adam Henrique and Sam Carrick and San Jose Sharks forward Luke Kunin.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Acquiring Mantha only works for the Oilers if the Capitals retain half of his $5.7 million cap hit. The same goes for the Ducks and Henrique with his $5.825 million. Carrick and Kunin are much more affordable for the Oilers in terms of cap hit and return.


THE MERCURY NEWS: Curtis Pashelka reports Anthony Duclair said he hasn’t had any contract extension talks with San Jose Sharks management. That’s another indication that Sharks GM Mike Grier intends to move the 28-year-old winger by the March 8 trade deadline.

Duclair said he’s seeking a long-term contract and was open to re-signing with the rebuilding Sharks.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Florida Hockey Now’s George Richards believes the Panthers should bring back Duclair, pointing out how well he played for them over the previous two seasons. The Panthers traded him to San Jose last summer as a cost-cutting measure.

SAN JOSE HOCKEY NOW: Sheng Peng reports the agent for Sharks defenseman Mario Ferraro said the club isn’t actively shopping his client. Peng observed that doesn’t mean Ferraro won’t be traded if a club made a tempting offer. Nevertheless, he believes they’ll hang onto the 25-year-old defenseman.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Grier might listen if someone offered up a first-round pick for Ferraro. However, Peng cited league sources saying clubs would trade a second or third-round pick for him.


THE DENVER POST: That was the topic discussed by Sean Keeler and Corey Masisak following word that winger Valeri Nichushkin had returned to practice with the Colorado Avalanche.

Masisak believes they need a center who can play second or third-line minutes but admitted that could be difficult to achieve given their salary-cap limitations. Keeler would like to see them add a playoff-worthy 1B goaltender.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Avalanche have just $1.2 million in projected trade deadline cap space with Gabriel Landeskog and Pavel Francouz on long-term injury reserve. They’ll have to move out some salary if they hope to address either need.