NHL Rumor Mill – May 15, 2021

NHL Rumor Mill – May 15, 2021

In today’s NHL rumor mill, Drew Doughty calls upon Kings management to add experienced depth plus a look ahead at possible offseason moves by the Senators and Canucks.

DOUGHTY WANTS KINGS TO MAKE BIG MOVES THIS OFFSEASON

THE SCORE: Josh Gold-Smith cites Drew Doughty calling upon Los Angeles Kings management to bring in more experience to their rebuilding roster. The 31-year-old defenseman feels he and veteran teammates Anze Kopitar, Jonathan Quick and Dustin Brown are running out of time.

Los Angeles Kings defenseman Drew Doughty (NHL Images).

Doughty acknowledged the club’s been rebuilding but feels they have the salary-cap space to make some big moves. “There’s no point in just waiting for these prospects to develop when you’ve got guys in their prime, hungry to win, and sick of losing,” he said. When asked if he’d be happy if big moves aren’t made, Doughty simply replied, “No.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kings general manager Rob Blake has patiently built up his roster with promising youngsters but his veteran core wants to return to playoff contention and a shot at winning the Stanley Cup again.

Doughty has six more seasons left on his contract with an annual average value of $11 million. Kopitar has three more at $10 million annually, Quick has two years at $5.8 million and Brown one year at $5.875 million. Blake could trade one or two of those players but their age or hefty contracts would be difficult to move.

Cap Friendly shows the Kings with over $20 million in cap space for 2021-22 with all their core players under contract. There’s room to make a big offseason move to accelerate the rebuild. That’s why the Kings have been linked to Buffalo Sabres center Jack Eichel in recent trade rumors.

We’ll have to wait and see what Blake has in store for his roster this summer. If he sticks with his current plan, however, he’ll have an unhappy No. 1 defenseman on his hands. And that will raise questions about Doughty’s future in Los Angeles.

LATEST ON THE CANUCKS AND SENATORS

THE ATHLETIC: Thomas Drance included reallocating salary-cap space among his list of offseason priorities for the Vancouver Canucks. Once restricted free agents Elias Pettersson and Quinn Hughes are re-signed, there won’t be enough cap room to rebuild the blueline, upgrade their bottom-six forwards and add a top-six winger.

They could get some relief if the Seattle Kraken select goalie Braden Holtby (4.3 million) in this summer’s expansion draft. A contract buyout or two is possible. Drance also proposed bundling a future asset to move an additional contract or attempt to move Micheal Ferland’s contract to a cap-strapped team.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Canucks have over $65 million tied up in 15 players. Most of that will be used up signing Pettersson and Hughes.

GM Jim Benning could be squeezed by the Kraken for a draft pick to take Holtby off his hands. Ferland and Jay Beagle could start next season on long-term injury reserve. However, it would be less complicated if one or both could be shipped to teams better equipped than the Canucks to carry those contracts. Those moves also mean including a draft pick, prospect or young NHL-ready player into the deal.

Benning attempted to trade disappointing winger Jake Virtanen this season but couldn’t find any takers. His $3.4 million in actual salary for next season combined with his recent off-ice issues could give Benning little choice but to buy out Virtanen.

THE ATHLETIC: Ian Mendes includes the acquisition of a top-four defenseman among his suggested offseason priorities for the Ottawa Senators. He feels they need a veteran blueliner who can log over 20 minutes per game.

Mendes proposed targeting teams with expansion draft protection issues or those with salary-cap issues in the trade market. They could also go the free-agent route.

OTTAWA SUN: Bruce Garrioch reports the Senators want to add another center and perhaps a top-four defenseman. GM Pierre Dorion could attempt to address those needs from within but could shop around first.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Senators have over $53 million invested in 17 players with Brady Tkachuk and Drake Batherson as their notable free agents. They’ll have plenty of salary cap room once those two are re-signed, but that depends on how close to the $81.5 million cap owner Eugene Melnyk is willing to spend.










What Next For the Los Angeles Kings?

What Next For the Los Angeles Kings?

 










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 10, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 10, 2021

Recaps of Tuesday’s action, the Penguins hire Ron Hextall as GM and Brian Burke as head of hockey ops, Mikko Koivu retires, and more game postponements related to COVID-19 in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: The Florida Panthers edged the Detroit Red Wings 2-1 on a tie-breaking third-period goal by Patric Hornqvist. Jonathan Huberdeau collected two assists for the Panthers. Wings forward Luke Glendening was unavailable due to an upper-body injury and is expected to miss at least one additional game.

Edmonton Oilers goaltender Mikko Koskinen made 40 saves in a 3-2 victory over the Ottawa Senators. Oilers stars Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl were held pointless for the first time in 10 games. Earlier in the day, the Oilers revealed winger Zack Kassian is week-to-week with an undisclosed injury. The Senators, meanwhile, announced defenseman Erik Brannstrom was placed on injured reserve for seven-to-10 days.

Tampa Bay Lightning captain Steven Stamkos (NHL Images).

Steven Stamkos and Mathieu Joseph each scored twice as the Tampa Bay Lightning extended their win streak to six games by thumping the Nashville Predators 6-1. Brayden Point and Mikhail Sergachev each collected three assists.

The Chicago Blackhawks picked up their third straight victory by nipping the Dallas Stars 2-1 in overtime. Kevin Lankinen kicked out 34 shots while Pius Suter tallied the game-winner.

Zach Whitecloud snapped a 4-4 tie in the third period to give the Vegas Golden Knights a 5-4 victory over the Anaheim Ducks, who had overcome 3-0 and 4-1 deficits. Following the game, the Golden Knights canceled its virtual post-game press conference citing COVID-19 concerns. The club also canceled today’s practice, adding there would be no media availability to answer questions. The Ducks’ post-game presser was also cut short.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Golden Knights returned to action on Feb. 5 after having three games postponed when a coach tested positive and defenseman Alex Pietrangelo was added to the NHL’s COVID-19 protocol. Their next game is slated for Thursday against the Ducks.

The San Jose Sharks nipped the Los Angeles Kings 4-3 in a shootout. Evander Kane tied the game late in the third period and Logan Couture netted the winning goal. Sharks forward Patrick Marleau passed Jaromir Jagr for third place on the all-time games played list with 1,734. Dustin Brown scored twice for the Kings, who lost defenseman Drew Doughty to an apparent arm injury after blocking a shot in the third period.

Pierre-Luc Dubois’ debut with the Winnipeg Jets was spoiled as they fell 3-2 to the Calgary Flames. Elias Lindholm got the winner on a power-play goal late in the third period. Dubois was held scoreless while Nikolaj Ehlers tallied twice for the Jets.

HEADLINES

TRIBLIVE.COM: The Pittsburgh Penguins hired Ron Hextall as general manager and Brian Burke as president of hockey operations.

The former GM of the Philadelphia Flyers and an advisor to the Los Angeles Kings hockey ops department, Hextall brought in many of the players currently on the Flyers roster and helped build the Kings into a two-time Stanley Cup champion.

Burke is a former general manager of the Hartford Whalers, Vancouver Canucks, Anaheim Ducks and Toronto Maple Leafs, winning a Stanley Cup with the Ducks in 2007. He was also president of hockey operations for the Calgary Flames.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Hextall’s hiring wasn’t a shock as he was considered among the front-runners for the job. Burke’s hiring was surprising as he seemed comfortable in his recent role as an in-studio hockey analyst for Sportsnet.

This will make an interesting mix of personalities. Hextall is patient to a fault when it comes to building a roster. His reluctance to make trades to speed up the Flyers’ rebuild led to his dismissal. Burke, meanwhile, is known for his outspokenness, his love of physical hockey and his willingness to tinker with his rosters. How well they mesh will play a big role in determining the direction of the Penguins.

The hiring of Hextall and Burke have given rise to questions over how they’ll run the Penguins. I’ll have more in the Rumors section.

THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH: Blue Jackets center Mikko Koivu announced his retirement, bringing his 16-season NHL playing career to an end. Koivu signed with the Blue Jackets after 15 seasons with the Minnesota Wild. He was their captain from 2008-09 to 2019-20, becoming their franchise leader in games played (1,028), assists (504) and points (709) while finishing second all-time with 205 goals. He had one goal and one assist in seven appearances with the Jackets.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Best wishes to Koivu and his family in their future endeavors. His retirement, however, leaves the Jackets even thinner at center.

THE SCORE: Speaking of the Blue Jackets, Patrik Laine’s benching during the club’s 3-2 win over the Carolina Hurricanes on Monday was reportedly the result of his being disrespectful to a member of the Jackets’ coaching staff.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s been an interesting week thus far for the Jackets.

NHL.COM: Last night’s game between the Philadelphia Flyers and Washington Capitals was postponed after Flyers’ Claude Giroux and Justin Braun were added to the league’s COVID-19 protocol list. Teammate Travis Sanheim was placed on the list Sunday. The league has postponed 32 games thus far due to COVID-19.

STARTRIBUNE.COM: Cam Talbot and Jonas Brodin joined the Minnesota Wild’s growing list of players on the protocol list. They now have 12 players on that list.

NEW YORK POST: Rangers goaltender Alexandar Georgiev declined to elaborate on his altercation with former teammate Tony DeAngelo following a game on Jan. 30. The incident resulted in DeAngelo’s banishment from the Rangers. “Emotions happened and that’s all I can say,” said Georgiev. “I wish Tony the best moving forward.”










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 14, 2020

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 14, 2020

More on the league’s plans to possibly resume this season, plus the latest on Drew Doughty, Brandon Carlo, Dale Hawerchuk and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: Commissioner Gary Bettman told CNN the league continues to explore all options to resume the 2019-20 season while awaiting word for clearance from authorities. “When we’ll have an opportunity to return depends on things that we have absolutely no control over, because it all starts with everybody’s health and well-being,” said Bettman. “And until there’s a sense that people can get together, not just to fill our arenas but even our players to get together to work out, we don’t know when we can come back.”

NHL commissioner Gary Bettman (Photo via NHL.com).

Bettman also said the league and the NHL Players Association discussed the length of time it would take for the players to prepare for the resumption of the season. While the players are training at home, Bettman said it would take between two-to-three weeks to get back into playing shape.

THE SCORE: cites TSN’s Pierre LeBrun reporting the NHL is willing to delay the start of 2020-21 to November to conclude this season. It would cancel the All-Star Game and the accompanying bye weeks, and extend the post-season into late June. The league also prefers playing some regular-season contests before the playoffs and would condense the postseason if necessary.

LOS ANGELES TIMES: Kings defenseman Drew Doughty is skeptical about finishing this season. “We have no idea when this virus is going to be over,” he said. “We’re just sitting here waiting, working out, getting ready to hopefully return at any point. I would think the NHL or whoever has to make a decision will make some type of decision on that soon. It seems like it’s going to be pretty tough to return, to resume the season or the playoffs.”

NBC SPORTS BOSTON: Bruins defenseman Brandon Carlo is among those hopeful the league can resume in some fashion and complete this season. “It’s been great to hear that we’re going to work as hard we can to establish as many games as we can for this season and still try to make the ultimate goal of awarding a Stanley Cup happen,” said Carlo, the Bruins NHLPA player rep. “I’m trying to do everything I can to stay in shape because I am optimistic about the season returning.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Like most of you, I doubt this NHL season is salvageable. Nevertheless, I don’t fault the league and the PA exploring every option to return to action. While the pandemic will likely stretch through the summer and into the fall, there’s nothing wrong with being prepared in case the coronavirus runs its course faster than projected or a vaccine is discovered and distributed quicker than anticipated. 

PITTSBURGH HOCKEY NOW: Pierre McGuire predicts the salary cap could decline by 25 percent to 40 percent. A 25 percent drop would put next season’s cap at $61 million, while 40 percent would lower it to $49 million. McGuire believes the NHL and NHLPA will have to come up with some creative ideas to address this potential problem. On a positive note, he said he’s never seen better cooperation between the two sides in his 31-year hockey career.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s already been reported several times by different sources that the league and PA won’t let the cap drop for next season. There’s talk of setting an artificial number at $81.5 million. It’ll be interesting to see how they address this situation.

SPORTSNET: Hall-of-Famer Dale Hawerchuk completed his final round of chemotherapy for stomach cancer.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Best wishes for a full recovery.

CTV NEWS SASKATOON: A highway memorial involving hundreds of cars lined the highway to Battleford, Saskatchewan to show support for the family of the late Colby Cave, who passed away last week. Cave was originally from North Battleford.

THE ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER: Anaheim Ducks players and families pledged 200 meals a day for the staff at UCI Medical Center.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 30, 2020

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 30, 2020

Alex Ovechkin reaches another goal-scoring milestone, the Leafs set a team scoring record, the Oilers re-sign Zack Kassian, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin tallied his 693rd career goal, but it wasn’t enough to prevent his club falling 5-4 to the Nashville Predators. The Capitals capitalized on three Predators’ blunders to take a 4-3 lead into the third period, but goals by Ryan Johansen and Yannick Weber sealed the deal for the Preds. Ovechkin moved past Steve Yzerman for ninth on the all-time goals list, one goal behind Mark Messier.

Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin is ninth on the NHL’s all-time goal-scoring list (Photo via NHL Images).

Fists were flying as the Calgary Flames picked up a 4-3 shootout victory over the Edmonton Oilers in the latest round of the Battle of Alberta. Oilers winger Zack Kassian and Flames winger Matthew Tkachuk squared off for the second time in as many games, while the most surprising bout featured Calgary center Sean Monahan and Oilers center Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. Andrew Mangiapane scored twice in regulation for the Flames while Monahan potted the only shootout goal. Speaking of Kassian, he signed a four-year, $12.8-million contract extension.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kassian’s critics will claim his new deal is too much for too long. It’s actually right around where a winger of his skills would be. The $3.2 million salary-cap hit isn’t that bad, nor is a four-year deal for a 29-year-old physical forward with decent offensive ability.

The Toronto Maple Leafs defeated the Dallas Stars 5-3, setting a club record with four-or-more goals (discounting shootouts) in eight straight road games. Auston Matthews and Tyson Barrie each had a goal and an assist for the Leafs. Alexander Radulov tallied twice for the Stars, who learned earlier in the day that winger Roope Hintz is day-to-day with an upper-body injury.

Quinn Hughes and Tanner Pearson had a goal and an assist as the Vancouver Canucks picked up their fourth straight win by downing the San Jose Sharks 5-2. The Canucks (62 points) maintain a three-point lead over the Flames for first place in the Pacific Division.

The Tampa Bay Lightning overcame a 2-0 deficit to double up the Los Angeles Kings 4-2. Steven Stamkos led the way with two goals and an assist. Kings defenseman Drew Doughty’s ironman streak ended at 460 games as he sat out this contest with an undisclosed injury.

Adam Henrique scored twice to give the Anaheim Ducks a 4-2 victory over the Arizona Coyotes, who are 1-5-1 in their last seven contests.

WGR 550: Buffalo Sabres goaltender Linus Ullmark will miss three-to-four weeks with a lower-body injury.

STLTODAY.COM: St. Louis Blues forward Oskar Sundqvist is on injured reserve with a lower-body injury.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 14, 2019

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 14, 2019

Taylor Hall a healthy scratch from Devils-Avalanche game, Flyers’ Oskar Lindblom diagnosed with rare bone cancer, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: The Colorado Avalanche’s 3-1 victory over the flailing New Jersey Devils was overshadowed by the Devils making star winger Taylor Hall a healthy scratch for precautionary reasons. That move prompted speculation Hall could be traded soon.

Nathan MacKinnon scored and set up another as the Avalanche are unbeaten in their nine games (8-0-1). Devils goaltender Louis Domingue left the game in the second period with an apparent lower-body injury.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I’ll have more on the Hall trade chatter later this morning in the Rumors section. Looks like there’s a good chance Hall will be moved before the start of the Dec. 19-26 holiday trade freeze.

Max Pacioretty scored in overtime as the Vegas Golden Knights edged the Dallas Stars 3-2. Stars captain Jamie Benn tallied in the third period to force the extra frame. Mark Stone collected two assists for the Golden Knights.

Philadelphia Flyers winger Oskar Lindblom diagnosed with bone cancer (Photo via NHL Images).

HEADLINES

NBC SPORTS PHILADELPHIA: Flyers winger Oskar Lindblom was diagnosed with Ewing’s sarcoma, a rare form of bone cancer. General manager Chuck Fletcher released a statement indicating Lindblom will miss the rest of the season as he undergoes further testing and treatment.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Best wishes to the 23-year-old Lindblom for a speedy recovery and resumption of his NHL career.

SPORTNET: Los Angeles Kings defenseman Drew Doughty believes fighting is necessary in hockey. “We need fighting. I know people don’t like it, some of you, but then you’re just going to have all those meatheads running around, little guys being rats out there, and that’s just the way it’s going to go.” He believes players must protect their teammates and themselves.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The rules are supposed to protect the players. Unfortunately, the league is doing a poor job enforcing them and setting a good example.

Doughty’s view is shared by many people within the game and those who follow it. I’ve enjoyed a good hockey fight as much as the next fan. However, the growing concern over the short- and long-term effects of head trauma among players is the main reason fighting is trending out of the game.

STLTODAY.COM: Blues defenseman Carl Gunnarsson (upper body) was placed on injured reserve.

OTTAWA SUN: A broken finger has sidelined Senators defenseman Dylan DeMelo for a month.