NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 16, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 16, 2022

The Leafs’ John Tavares tallies his 400th career goal, the Devils extend their win streak to 10 games, the latest on the sale of the Senators, the Hurricanes owner is sued for $184 million, and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: Toronto Maple Leafs captain John Tavares tallied his 400th career NHL goal in a 5-2 victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins. Matt Murray made 35 saves in his first game for the Leafs (9-5-3) since being sidelined following their season-opener on Oct. 12 while Michael Bunting scored twice. Sidney Crosby and Rickard Rakell scored for the Penguins as they fell to 6-7-3.

Toronto Maple Leafs captain John Tavares (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Penguins forward Teddy Blueger was activated off injured reserve for this game.

The New Jersey Devils extended their winning streak to 10 games by downing the Montreal Canadiens 5-1. Jack Hughes led the way with two goals and an assist while Vitek Vanecek made 25 saves for the win as their record rose to 13-3-0. Evgenii Dadonov scored his first of the season for the 8-7-1 Canadiens.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Canadiens announced before the game that Jonathan Drouin would miss four-to-six weeks with an upper-body injury while Joel Armia is also out with an upper-body injury. Meanwhile, Canadiens executive VP Jeff Gorton revealed they’re laying the groundwork on a contract extension for winger Cole Caufield.

An overtime goal by Alex Killorn lifted the Tampa Bay Lightning to a 5-4 win over the Dallas Stars. Killorn also collected two assists for the Lightning (9-6-1) while teammate Steven Stamkos picked up his 500th career assist. Joe Pavelski, Jason Robertson and Miro Heiskanen each had two points for the 9-5-2 Stars.

Back-to-back third-period goals by Carter Verhaeghe gave the Florida Panthers a 5-2 victory against the Washington Capitals. The Panthers improved to 9-6-1 as Sergei Bobrovsky stopped 41 shots while Matthew Tkachuk collected three assists and Aleksander Barkov had a three-point night. John Carlson had two points for the Capitals (7-9-2) as they’ve lost seven of their last nine games.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Capitals head coach Peter Laviolette returned behind the bench after being sidelined by a bout with COVID-19.

Nashville Predators center Matt Duchene collected his 700th career assist and scored the game-winning goal as his club held off the Minnesota Wild 2-1. Juuse Saros kicked out 32 shots for the Predators (7-8-1) while Frederick Gaudreau scored for the 7-7-2 Wild.

The San Jose Sharks (6-9-3) picked up their third straight win with four unanswered third-period goals to defeat the Vegas Golden Knights 5-2. Logan Couture, Erik Karlsson and Alexander Barabanov each had two points for the Sharks. Jack Eichel scored for the Golden Knights (13-4-0) to reach his 400th career point.

An overtime goal by Vladislav Gavrikov gave the Columbus Blue Jackets a 5-4 victory over the Philadelphia Flyers. Boone Jenner scored twice for the Jackets as they move to a record of 5-9-1. Travis Konecny, Kevin Hayes and Noah Cates each had two points for the 7-6-3 Flyers.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The injuries continue to mount for the banged-up Blue Jackets. Goaltender Elvis Merzlikins left the game in the second period with an injured left leg while defenseman Jake Bean left with an undisclosed injury later in the period. Earlier in the day, the Flyers announced winger Wade Allison will miss at least three weeks with an oblique strain and a hip pointer.

Vancouver Canucks captain Bo Horvat had a goal and two assists as his club hung on to beat the Buffalo Sabres 5-4. Jeff Skinner tallied twice for the 7-9-3 Sabres, who’ve now dropped six straight games. The Canucks improved their record to 5-9-3.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Before the game, the Canucks announced center Jack Studnicka was being placed on injured reserve with an undisclosed injury. Meanwhile, the Sabres welcomed back defenseman Henri Jokiharju off injured reserve after missing 11 games with a facial fracture.

The Anaheim Ducks nipped the Detroit Red Wings 3-2 on an overtime goal by Ryan Strome. Trevor Zegras and Cam Fowler each collected two assists while John Gibson made 31 saves for the Ducks (5-10-1). Rookie Jonatan Berggren tallied his first career NHL goal for the 7-5-4 Red Wings.

HEADLINES

OTTAWA SUN: NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly indicated there’s been “a fair level of interest” in the Senators since the club was put up for sale by its current ownership. He said several groups have come forward expressing interest in buying the franchise.

A condition of the purchase is the Senators must remain in Ottawa. Daly didn’t give a timeline for the completion of the sale but cautioned it wouldn’t be quick.

Sources told the Sun that Toronto-based businessman Paul Rivett is trying to put together a wealthy group of investors to buy the club. Meanwhile, Andre Desmarais of Montreal-based Power Corp is teaming up with former Pittsburgh Penguins minority owners Jeffrey and Michael Kimel to partner on a deal to purchase the Senators and build a new arena.

Other potential buyers could include Toronto billionaire Michael Andlauer, who owns the OHL’s Hamilton Bulldogs. Oshawa Generals owner Rocco Tullio could also be in the mix.

THE ATHLETIC: Carolina Hurricanes owner Tom Dundon is being sued for at least $184 million by the Alliance for American Football. The suit alleges Dundon tanked the startup when there were financial alternatives. Dundon, meanwhile, is suing the AAF’s founder, Charlie Ebersol, for $70 million alleging he was misled over the financial start of the AAF.

DAILY FACEOFF: The NHL’s bi-annual general managers’ meetings discussed whether to ask the NHL Players’ Association about making the wearing of cut-resistant gear mandatory. This comes days after Edmonton Oilers winger Evander Kane suffered a gruesome wrist injury when he was accidentally slashed by the skate blade of Tampa Bay Lightning forward Pat Maroon.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The league cannot unilaterally impose that ruling on the players. As per the collective bargaining agreement, they need the PA’s concurrence.

BOSTON HOCKEY NOW: The Bruins have hired former U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch to conduct an independent review of their player-vetting process. This comes following the club’s ill-advised signing of Mitchell Miller to an entry-level contract. They’re now attempting to get out of that deal after learning of Mitchell’s bullying and physical assault of a disabled Black classmate as a teenager.

NHL.COM: Ottawa Senators forward Mathieu Joseph was fined $5,000.00 for high-sticking New York Islanders defenseman Sebastian Aho on Monday.










NHL Rumor Mill – November 7, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – November 7, 2022

What’s the latest on the Canadiens’ efforts to shop a surplus forward? Could the Golden Knights become a trade target for teams seeking a goalie? Find out in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.

THE LATEST ON THE CANADIENS

MONTREAL HOCKEY NOW: Marco D’Amico recently listed Evgenii Dadonov, Jonathan Drouin and Christian Dvorak as the Canadiens’ most likely trade candidates.

Montreal Canadiens center Christian Dvorak (NHL Images).

Dadonov and Drouin are both pending unrestricted free agents who are struggling with the Canadiens and might benefit from a change of scenery. Dvorak could be more enticing to other clubs. He carries an affordable $4.45 million average annual value through 2024-25 and his play is improving after a slow start.

D’Amico suggested Dvorak’s strengths as a penalty killer and winning faceoffs could interest the Ottawa Senators and Philadelphia Flyers. The Senators apparently had an interest in Dvorak during the offseason and recently lost center Josh Norris to shoulder surgery while Flyers center Sean Couturier is out for at least four months due to back surgery.

Dadonov or Drouin could be a fit with the injury-ravaged Capitals’ forward lines if young Connor McMichael or call-up Sonny Milano fail to stick. The rebuilding Anaheim Ducks could also be a destination for either guy. The Canadiens have the luxury of retaining 50 percent of Dadonov’s or Drouin’s salary to facilitate a trade.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Dvorak is the best of this bunch but I think Canadiens general manager Kent Hughes prefers to retain him for the time being. The very things that could make him attractive in the trade market also make him a key player as their second-line center.

Washington Hockey Now’s Sammi Silber acknowledged TSN’s Pierre LeBrun’s recent report of the Canadiens talking trade with the Capitals. However, she doubts they’ll be enticed by Dadonov, Drouin or the equally struggling Mike Hoffman. The Capitals’ recent claim of Nicolas Aube-Kubel off waivers from the Toronto Maple Leafs probably brings any further trade discussion with the Habs to a close for now.

WILL TEAMS COME CALLING FOR A GOLDEN KNIGHTS GOALTENDER?

VEGAS HOCKEY NOW: Owen Krepps speculates the Golden Knights could draw interest from clubs in need of goaltending depth. They currently using Logan Thompson and Adin Hill as their goalie tandem while Laurent Brossoit is with their AHL affiliate on a conditioning stint after returning from offseason hip surgery.

The Golden Knights currently lack sufficient cap space to bring Brossoit back into the lineup. They could decide to trade him.

Krepps believes there are several clubs in need of help between the pipes. The Toronto Maple Leafs are relying on AHL call-ups with Matt Murray and Ilya Samsonov sidelined. So are the Chicago Blackhawks with Petr Mrazek and Alex Stalock on the shelf. Boston Bruins netminder Jeremy Swayman is week-to-week while the Minnesota Wild tandem of Marc-Andre Fleury and Filip Gustafsson has struggled through the early going.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Leafs recently indicated Murray could return within the next few days while the Blackhawks expect Mrazek back in the lineup soon. The Bruins will likely ride things out with Linus Ullmark and call-up Keith Kinkaid for the time being while Fleury and Gustafsson have improved since their shaky starts in October.

Nevertheless, one of those clubs could express an interest in Brossoit if their injured players suffer a setback or their regular tandems continue to struggle.










NHL Rumor Mill – November 4, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – November 4, 2022

The Canadiens are talking trade with the Capitals regarding a forward plus the latest on the Leafs and the Penguins in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.

CANADIENS TALKING TRADE WITH CAPITALS AND OTHER CLUBS.

TSN: Pierre LeBrun reports the Montreal Canadiens have been talking about a trade with the Washington Capitals though they haven’t progressed beyond the discussion stage.

Montreal Canadiens winger Evgenii Dadonov (NHL Images)

Washington winger Connor Brown is out six-to-eight months, given the Capitals $3.6 million of cap space to work with. For now, they’re content to explore their internal options to replace Brown, including their recent recall of winger Sonny Milano.

LeBrun reports the Canadiens have also reached out to several other teams looking to create a trade market for their glut of forwards. He mentioned Evgenii Dadonov, Jonathan Drouin and Mike Hoffman as trade candidates.

MONTREAL HOCKEY NOW: Marc Dumont suggested the Canadiens could grease the skids to moving one of those forwards by agreeing to retain 50 percent of their salary-cap hit. That would mean Drouin would only cost the Capitals (or another club) $2.75 million. Dadonov would come in at $2.5 million while Hoffman would be $2.25 million.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Canadiens have placed Dadonov on injured reserve for now though earlier reports claimed he was suffering from a non-COVID-related illness. They could demote Juraj Slafkovsky to their AHL affiliate in Laval because he’s waiver-exempt but it appears they’d prefer to keep the promising 18-year-old rookie winger in the lineup.

Dadonov, Drouin or Hoffman could also be placed on waivers and demoted if they go unclaimed, though that would only provide the Habs with $1.125 million in cap relief. The preference for the Habs seems to be getting their entire cap hit off their books. Dadonov and Drouin are eligible for unrestricted free agent status next July while Hoffman is signed through 2023-24.

Dadonov’s and Drouin’s pending UFA status could make them enticing to contenders as rental players, especially at 50 percent salary retention. The rebuilding Canadiens could seek a draft pick or a prospect for either guy or perhaps a young, affordable defenseman.

The problem, however, is Dadonov, Drouin and Hoffman aren’t playing well this season. Maybe their production would improve by joining a playoff contender with a deeper roster but that doesn’t make them any easier to move.

LATEST LEAFS SPECULATION

TSN: Chris Johnston speculated the Toronto Maple Leafs could be in need of a defenseman if Jake Muzzin should become sidelined for the season with a neck injury. That would provide them with additional cap space ($5.625 million) to play with.

THE ATHLETIC: Pierre LeBrun believes the Leafs should go the trade route if things don’t improve instead of making a coaching change. He acknowledged the difficulty of making moves this early in the season under a flat cap but pointed to the recent moves made by the Vancouver Canucks in acquiring center Jack Studnicka and defenseman Ethan Bear. “Nothing big, but they’re tweaks that could help the team,” he wrote.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: LeBrun wrote this before the Leafs’ win over the Flyers on Wednesday. Nevertheless, he thinks it’s too early for panic in the Toronto market and anticipates they’ll soon reverse their fortunes.

As for Muzzin, the Leafs are still awaiting clarity on his condition and how long he could be sidelined. If he’s out for the season, however, I think they’ll go shopping for a suitable replacement, preferably by the March trade deadline when the market has improved.

NO TRADES COMING FOR THE PENGUINS?

THE ATHLETIC: Following the Pittsburgh Penguins’ loss to the Buffalo Sabres, Josh Yohe wrote that he didn’t expect they’ll be making a big trade anytime soon.

Who are they going to trade? Who would they be willing to part with that another team would covet,” wrote Yohe. He believes the only solution to their six-game losing skid is for them to start playing better.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: After winning three of their first four games and picking up points in each of those contests, the Penguins have been in free fall. Their best players simply haven’t played like it for long stretches. Worse, they’re looking slower than their opponents, which could be the kiss of death in a league that’s trending toward speed and skill.

As for trade candidates, Pierre-Olivier Joseph was a frequent topic of media trade chatter throughout October. However, the 23-year-old defenseman hasn’t been mentioned much recently in the rumor mill over the past week or so. Regardless, he won’t fetch the type of significant return the Penguins need to shake things up and reverse their fortunes.










NHL Rumor Mill – November 2, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – November 2, 2022

How will the Canadiens address their surplus of forwards? What’s the latest on the Senators’ contract talks with Alex Formenton? Find out in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.

LATEST ON THE CANADIENS

THE ATHLETIC: Arpon Basu reports the Montreal Canadiens will face a delicate balancing act of managing their surplus of forwards this season. They’re currently carrying 15 forwards but will have to move one of them once defenseman Joel Edmundson returns from injury.

The Canadiens could send rookie Juraj Slafkovsky to their AHL affiliate as he’s exempt from waivers. However, the 18-year-old winger’s performance thus far doesn’t merit demotion.

Montreal Canadiens winger Evgenii Dadonov (NHL Images)

Basu believes they don’t want to put affordable forward Michael Pezzetta on waivers because he’d likely be claimed by another club. He speculates it could instead be a veteran such as Jonathan Drouin, Evgenii Dadonov or Mike Hoffman who could get waived and demoted.

MONTREAL GAZETTE: Stu Cowan believes Dadonov could become the odd man out among the Canadiens forwards. He suggested a trade would be best for the 33-year-old winger as he clearly doesn’t have a future in Montreal.

Dadonov was a healthy scratch during their 7-4 win over the St. Louis Blues on Saturday and didn’t practice or play with the club against Minnesota on Tuesday. Cowan points out the Russian winger has no points in eight games and carries a cap hit of $5 million for this season, though he’ll earn $6.5 million in actual salary.

TVA SPORTS: Marc-Andre Perreault reports Dadonov’s absence was due to a non-COVID-related illness.

Perreault also spoke with Canadiens general manager Kent Hughes during last night’s game against the Wild. Hughes told him Dadonov’s agent called him on Friday to discuss his client’s situation, something he understood as a former agent himself. Perreault reported Dadonov met with Hughes on Saturday.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Dadonov hasn’t really done much this season to earn more playing time with the Canadiens. As Cowan pointed out, his performance combined with his contract makes him tough to move at this stage of the season. The Habs will have to retain part of his cap hit if they want to do that right now.

Slafkovsky has made steady improvement thus far but the Canadiens will soon have to reach a decision with the 18-year-old winger. He’s played seven games and can only play two more before the Canadiens can send him down to Laval if they want to push the start of his entry-level contract ahead to next season. That would be the easiest way to address the issue but Basu doesn’t believe that would be the right decision.

They could put Dadonov, Drouin or Hoffman on waivers and demote one of them, though that means they’ll only get $1.125 million in cap relief by doing so. Those three have been disappointing thus far with a grand total of four points between them. Finding a taker for one of them in the trade market is a daunting challenge.

UPDATE ON FORMENTON’S CONTRACT TALKS WITH THE SENATORS

TSN: Darren Dreger reports there hasn’t been much progress in contract talks between the Ottawa Senators and Alex Formenton. He claimed the Senators “have reasons for slow-playing this situation”. However, they have until Dec. 1 to sign Formenton or else he becomes unavailable to play the remainder of this season.

Dreger said some believe a trade is more likely. He also suggested, “Europe, long term, could be an option as well”.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Formenton is a 23-year-old winger who completed his entry-level contract last season. He’s a restricted free agent lacking arbitration rights who showed promise last season with 18 goals and 32 points in 79 games.

It’s been radio silence from the Senators and Formenton’s camp on this situation. That’s sparked speculation that he could be one of the players involved in the sexual assault allegations leveled against members of Canada’s 2018 World Junior team. Formenton didn’t attend training camp and hasn’t made any statements or conducted any interviews.

Whatever the reason behind the stalemate, the clock is ticking regarding his playing status in the NHL for this season.










NHL Rumor Mill – October 14, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – October 14, 2022

Will the Oilers pursue a trade for Coyotes defenseman Jakob Chychrun? What’s the latest on Canadiens forward Jonathan Drouin and Leafs winger Wayne Simmonds? Find out in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.

COULD THE OILERS PURSUE CHYCHRUN AT THE TRADE DEADLINE?

THE ATHLETIC: In his recent bold predictions for 2022-23 for the Edmonton Oilers, Daniel Nugent-Bowman believes they’ll make a splash at the March 3 trade deadline. He claims they have had varying degrees of interest in Chicago Blackhawks winger Patrick Kane and Arizona Coyotes defenseman Jakob Chychrun.

Arizona Coyotes defenseman Jakob Chychrun (NHL Images).

Given their salary cap constraints, Nugent-Bowman believes the Oilers will need to give up a salaried player such as Jesse Puljujarvi or Warren Foegele to make the dollars work. Nevertheless, he felt this is the season where they should bring in a player of the caliber of Kane or Chychrun.

In a recent mailbag segment, Nugent-Bowman was asked what the Oilers might have to give up to acquire Chychrun. He doesn’t see the Coyotes retaining part of the blueliner’s contract given he’s signed through 2024-25 with an affordable $4.6 million annual cap hit. He also doubts they’d have much interest in Puljujarvi.

The return would have to include defenseman Philip Broberg but that would be almost a non-starter for the Oilers. Nugent-Bowman also has concerns about Chychrun’s injury history. However, he feels comfortable in parting with Broberg in order to acquire the Coyotes rearguard provided he has no chronic ailments.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Chychrun’s been a fixture in the rumor mill since last season and will likely remain so well into this season. His injury history, however, is a cause for concern that is holding up a possible trade. As Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman recently observed, teams are reluctant to meet the Coyotes’ high asking price in part because of Chychrun’s previous injuries.

GOPHNX.com’s Craig Morgan recently rattled off Chychrun’s list of ailments. In his six-year NHL career, he’s had surgery on both knees, shoulder ligament surgery, ankle surgery to remove a bone spur, two wrist surgeries and at least one concussion. Morgan believes that’s why interested general managers will want to see him play this season before committing to a trade.

UPDATES ON DROUIN AND SIMMONDS

TSN: Darren Dreger provides an update on Jonathan Drouin, who was scratched from the Montreal Canadiens’ season-opening lineup. He’s been dealing with some issues, including a bad flu that held him back during training camp.

Drouin is expected to return to the lineup any day now. Dreger said the winger has had open communication with head coach Martin St. Louis, who assured him there is a fit for him in the lineup.

Dreger added the hope is Drouin can play his way into a meaningful role this season and perhaps improve his trade value before the March 3 deadline.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Drouin is slated to become an unrestricted free agent in July. His cap hit for this season is $5.5 million and he carries a three-team no-trade list. The Montreal Gazette’s Stu Cowan recently speculated Drouin is likely to be shopped at some point this season.

Chris Johnston reports Toronto Maple Leafs winger Wayne Simmonds remains in limbo after clearing waivers on Monday. He still wants to play and would prefer to stay with the Leafs. However, something would have to change within the roster such as injuries or something in the salary-cap picture for him to rejoin their lineup.

Simmonds is being patient and is skating with the Leafs’ injured players. He’s open to being traded, preferably to a contender.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Simmonds could be waiting for a while. The Leafs let it be known last weekend that he’s available to be traded. They aren’t concerned with the return but want to do what’s best for him. Despite an affordable $900K cap hit this season, there haven’t been any takers thus far.










NHL Rumor Mill – October 13, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – October 13, 2022

Which Flyers could become trade candidates this season? Is Jonathan Drouin on the outs in Montreal? What’s the latest on the Avalanche, Kings and Flames? Find out in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.

WHICH FLYERS COULD BECOME TRADE CANDIDATES?

THE PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER: Who becomes trade bait is among the 15 things Gustav Elvin will watch regarding the Flyers this season. There’s a real chance this turns into a rebuilding year for the club which could lead to a roster shakeup.

Philadelphia Flyers winger James van Riemsdyk (NHL Images).

Winger James van Riemsdyk is likely to be moved by the March 3 trade deadline. Winger Travis Konecny and defensemen Ivan Provorov and Travis Sanheim have also surfaced in trade speculation. Trading Sanheim seems far more unlikely but (like van Riemsdyk) he’s in the final year of his contract.

PHILLY HOCKEY NOW: San Carchidi also believed van Riemsdyk will be shopped by the deadline. He also believes defenseman Justin Braun will be a trade candidate by then.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This is shaping up to be a difficult year for the Flyers unless they surprise the experts and thrive under new head coach John Tortorella. Pending UFAs like van Riemsdyk, Braun and perhaps Sanheim could hit the trade block if they’re out of playoff contention heading into next March.

Provorov and Konecny are both signed through 2024-25 so they could have roles to play in a potential rebuild. However, that could change if general manager Chuck Fletcher (or his successor) decides to tear it all down in a full-fledged roster rebuild. They could also be useful as trade chips as teams could prefer acquiring good players in their mid-twenties with term still remaining on their contracts.

IS DROUIN ON THE OUTS IN MONTREAL?

MONTREAL GAZETTE: Stu Cowan took note of Jonathan Drouin being a healthy scratch for the Canadiens’ home-opening win over the Toronto Maple Leafs last night. The 27-year-old forward is slated to become an unrestricted free agent next summer and carries a $5.5 million cap hit this season.

Drouin has struggled in Montreal and dealt with numerous injuries. Cowan believes it’s obvious he doesn’t have a future with the Canadiens beyond this season and expects GM Kent Hughes will likely look to trade him if he can.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I don’t see Drouin as part of the Canadiens after this season. However, they’ll have to play him if they hope to boost his stock in this season’s trade market. His cap hit and three-team no-trade list will also be sticking points in any attempt to move him.

LATEST ON THE AVALANCHE, KINGS AND FLAMES

THE ATHLETIC: Pierre LeBrun believes the Colorado Avalanche will be the most aggressive team at the March 3 trade deadline. He thinks they’ll leave no stone unturned in trying to repeat as Stanley Cup champions.

LeBrun also believes the Los Angeles Kings will trade one of their right-handed defensemen but not anytime soon. They’re stacked with right-shot blueliners but management could prefer to be patient and see how the season unfolds before moving one of them.

CALGARY HOCKEY NOW: Steve Macfarlane reports the Flames are still seeking a forward for their third line. Sonny Milano and Cody Eakin weren’t successful in their training camp tryouts so it’s unlikely the Flames will circle back to them.