NHL Rumor Mill – June 14, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – June 14, 2022

Is Ducks goalie John Gibson open to a trade? Could the Canadiens trade winger Josh Anderson? What’s the latest Tyson Barrie speculation? Find out in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.

DOES GIBSON WANT OUT OF ANAHEIM?

THE HOCKEY NEWS: Steven Ellis cited a tweet by Sportsnet’s Nick Alberga claiming John Gibson has informed the Anaheim Ducks that he’s open to being dealt. The 28-year-old goaltender has five years remaining on his contract with an annual salary cap hit of $6.4 million.

Anaheim Ducks goaltender John Gibson (NHL Images).

It’s unclear where Gibson would want to play. Ellis listed the Toronto Maple Leafs, Buffalo Sabres, New Jersey Devils and Edmonton Oilers among four clubs that would be looking to address their goaltending this offseason.

WASHINGTON HOCKEY NOW: Sammi Silber believes the Capitals should at least inquire if Gibson is open to a trade. However, the Ducks would have to retain some salary to make it worthwhile for the Capitals.

TSN: Bryan Hayes reported Gibson’s agent dismissed Alberga’s report, claiming there was nothing to it and they don’t want out of Anaheim. Nevertheless, he and panelists Jamie McLennan and Jeff O’Neill didn’t rule it out. McLennan observed Gibson’s contract provides cost certainty, suggesting his stats would improve with a better team in front of him.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I don’t doubt there would be teams willing to gamble on Gibson if he and the Ducks agree it’s time to part ways. As the TSN panel observed, he’ll be in his early-30s and nearing the end of his contract when the rebuilding Ducks are ready to become contenders. He could be unwilling to waste what remains of his playing prime in that situation.

However, Gibson’s $6.4 million annual average value is a sticking point. Ducks general manager Pat Verbeek could be reluctant to retain any portion of that contract given how many years remain on his contract. There’s also his 10-team no-trade clause, which could feature some of the teams mentioned by Ellis and Silber.

I’m not suggesting there isn’t a market for Gibson. I just believe that moving him could prove easier said than done when the salary cap is only rising by $1 million for next season.

COULD THE CANADIENS SHOP JOSH ANDERSON?

MONTREAL HOCKEY NOW: Marco D’Amico recently reported Canadiens general manager Kent Hughes is getting lots of calls from some rival GMs expressing interest in Josh Anderson. The 28-year-old winger has five years left on his contract with an annual cap hit of $5.5 million.

D’Amico believes Anderson could be an excellent trade chip for the Canadiens if Hughes decides to capitalize on the power forward’s strong reputation around the league. He also cited Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman telling Oilers Now host Bob Stauffer that Anderson is a hot commodity right now.

A high-ranking NHL executive told D’Amico the Canadiens haven’t floated Anderson in trade talks. However, they are willing to listen if case a team is willing to meet their high price.

NYI HOCKEY NOW: Stefen Rosner wondered if the New York Islanders could pry Anderson away by offering up the 13th overall pick in this year’s draft. The Canadiens are pressed for cap space and Hughes could have little choice but to unload some players.

The Islanders also have limited cap space for next season. Based on that, Rosen also proposed they offer Quebec native Anthony Beauvillier ($4.15 million annually) for Anderson.

EDMONTON JOURNAL: David Staples cited Bob Stauffer suggesting to Elliotte Friedman it might be a good idea for the Oilers to acquire Anderson if they were to lose winger Evander Kane to free agency.

Friedman countered by suggesting the Oilers would be better off re-signing Kane as they lack the draft picks to meet the Canadiens’ high asking price. Failing that, he recommended finding Kane’s replacement via free agency rather than chasing players through trades.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I wouldn’t rule out the possibility of the Canadiens listening to offers for Anderson. The fact they’ve set an expensive price tag on him indicates how highly they think of him as a player and a person. Sure, Hughes could move him if someone’s willing to overpay but I doubt he’ll be upset if nobody does.

Would Hughes listen if Isles GM Lou Lamoriello offered up that first-rounder plus Beauvillier? Maybe, but we don’t know if Lamoriello is even looking at anyone on the Canadiens roster. His focus could be elsewhere.

LATEST ON TYSON BARRIE

PITTSBURGH HOCKEY NOW: Dan Kingerski suggested the Penguins should consider Tyson Barrie as a replacement for Kris Letang if the latter departs this summer via free agency. He believes the 31-year-old defenseman would fit the Penguins’ style well and would cost nearly $3 million less than the $7.25 million AAV of Letang’s current contract.

VANCOUVER HOCKEY NOW: Rob Simpson suggested Barrie could be a good fit with the Canucks. He doesn’t consider him too old at 31, believing he’d bring qualities and depth that the Canucks could use on their blueline.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Barrie is signed through 2023-24 with an annual cap hit of $4.5 million and lacking no-trade protection. Some observers suggest he could become a cost-cutting casualty for the cap-strapped Oilers. His improved play this season could have teams like the Oilers, Canucks or perhaps the Dallas Stars looking into his availability this summer.










NHL Rumor Mill – May 12, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – May 12, 2022

Could the Canucks attempt to trade Oliver Ekman-Larsson? Are they laying the groundwork for a potential offer sheet? Could Ducks winger Max Comtois hit the trade block this summer? Find out in today’s NHL rumor mill.

LATEST CANUCKS SPECULATION

DAILY HIVE: cited Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman speculating the Vancouver Canucks could attempt to trade Oliver Ekman-Larsson. During a recent interview with CHEK TV’s Don Taylor and Rick Dhaliwal, Friedman said he anticipated the Canucks will be “a very aggressive team” in the offseason. He thinks they’ve looked around to see if there’s a market for the 30-year-old defenseman.

Vancouver Canucks defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Canucks’ previous management acquired Ekman-Larsson last summer. Daily Hive’s Rob Williams pointed out the blueliner played well defensively this season, sitting second among the Canucks in ice time. However, his 29 points were his lowest during a full 82-game schedule.

Williams also noted that moving Ekman-Larsson’s contract could be a herculean task. The Canucks carry $7.26 million of his $8.25 million annual salary-cap hit with the Arizona Coyotes picking up the rest.

Ekman-Larsson is signed through 2026-27 and still carries a full no-movement clause. Even if he agreed to waive that clause to go to a club of his choosing, his cap hit and the remaining term of his contract will be tough to move with the salary cap rising by only $1 million to $82.5 million for 2022-23.

I’m not saying it can’t happen. However, it will take some salesmanship on the part of Canucks general manager Patrik Allvin and president of hockey operations Jim Rutherford to pull it off.

SPORTSNET: Jeff Marek recently suggested the Canucks could also be laying the groundwork for a potential offer sheet this summer. He pointed out the Canucks got back their own third-round draft pick in this year’s draft from the Ottawa Senators in the Travis Hamonic trade.

Marek pointed out that successfully signing a restricted free agent to an offer sheet this summer worth between $4.1 million and $6.1 million would require giving up their own first and third rounders as compensation.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Marek said he’s not sure if the Canucks will play the offer sheet game this summer but commended them on “getting as many weapons together as possible.” Going that route would also mean shedding some salary, which might in part explain the Ekman-Larsson speculation.

This could be worth monitoring when the free-agent market opens on July 13. Offer sheets are rare and only two players in the salary-cap era (the latest being Jesperi Kotkaniemi) have been successfully signed away. Nevertheless, we can’t rule out that possibility if the Canucks can dump some salary beforehand.

WILL COMTOIS BECOME A TRADE CANDIDATE?

THE ATHLETIC: Eric Stephens recently reports Max Comtois’ disappointing season with the Anaheim Ducks saw his name pop up in trade rumors. There was some thought that the 23-year-old winger might benefit from a change of scenery.

Comtois, however, hopes to stay put. He lacks a no-trade clause and acknowledged it is up to management to decide. Still, he said he likes the team and hopes to help this rebuilding club succeed.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Comtois led the low-scoring Ducks with 16 goals and 33 points in last season’s COVID-shortened campaign. He got off to a slow start to this season before being sidelined for six weeks by a hand injury and struggled to regain his form following his return.

New general manager Pat Verbeek could still see Comtois as an important part of his roster rebuild. He’s signed through next season with an affordable $2.037 million cap hit. Still, Verbeek showed his willingness to wheel and deal before the trade deadline. He could consider Comtois as a potential trade chip this summer.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – May 12, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – May 12, 2022

The Rangers stave off elimination, the Panthers and Flames take 3-2 leads in their opening-round series, the Calder Trophy finalists are announced and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: The New York Rangers avoided elimination from their first-round series with the Pittsburgh Penguins with a 5-3 victory. Filip Chytil snapped a 3-3 tie with a power-play goal early in the third period while Igor Shesterkin made 29 saves as the Rangers overcame a 2-0 deficit in the second period with three straight goals. Jake Guentzel tallied twice for the Penguins. Game 6 is in Pittsburgh on Friday with the Penguins holding a 3-2 series lead.

Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Hanging over this game was the departure of Penguins captain Sidney Crosby in the second period after receiving an unpenalized elbow to the head by Rangers defenseman Jacob Trouba. Until that moment, the Penguins were controlling the game with a 2-0 lead. The Rangers tallied three straight times after Crosby’s departure.

Crosby has a well-documented history of concussions. Pittsburgh coach Mike Sullivan said he was still being evaluated. It would be a significant blow for the Penguins if their captain is sidelined from this series.

Sullivan was obviously displeased by Trouba’s actions during the postgame press conference but maintained his composure. “Did you see the hit?”, he said when questioned by a reporter. “You probably have the same opinion as I do.”

The Florida Panthers overcame a 3-0 deficit to defeat the Washington Capitals 5-3 in Game 5 of their opening-round series. Carter Verhaeghe lead the way with two goals and three assists while Claude Giroux netted the insurance goal and Sergei Bobrovsky stopped 30 shots. T.J. Oshie tallied twice for the Capitals, who are on the brink of elimination as the series returns to Washington for Game 6 on Friday.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: During a post-game interview, Capitals center Nicklas Backstrom said his club gave this game away. He’s not wrong. They seemed to have this game under control early in the second period up 3-0 but soon gave up three unanswered goals in that period that shifted the momentum in the Panthers’ favor.

Three unanswered third-period goals lifted the Calgary Flames to a 3-1 win over the Dallas Stars in Game 5 of their series. Calgary forwards Andrew Mangiapane and Mikael Backlund each had a goal and an assist. Stars netminder Jake Oettinger made 29 saves. With the win, the Flames hold a 3-2 lead and can finish off the Stars in Game 6 on Friday.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Flames have been the better team for most of this series. Oettinger is the reason the Stars have won two of five games thus far. He leads all playoff starters with a .956 save percentage while his 1.63 goals-against average is tied for second with Colorado’s Darcy Kuemper. Unless he gets more goal support from his teammates, however, this series could be over on Friday.

HEADLINES

NHL.COM: Toronto Maple Leafs winger Michael Bunting, Anaheim Ducks center Trevor Zegras and Detroit Red Wings defenseman Moritz Seider are the finalists for the Calder Memorial Trophy as NHL rookie of the year.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: These three have promising NHL futures. Seider is considered the favorite, leading all rookies in ice time per game (23:02) and power-play points (21) while finishing fourth in scoring with 50 points.

SPORTSNET: Boston Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy anticipated Hampus Lindholm will return to action for Game 6 against the Carolina Hurricanes tonight. The defenseman has been sidelined since Game 2 following a bit hit from Hurricanes winger Andrei Svechnikov.

NHL.COM: Edmonton Oilers defenseman Darnell Nurse received a one-game suspension by the department of player safety for head-butting Los Angeles Kings center Phillip Danault in Game 5 on Tuesday. Oilers winger Zack Kassian, meanwhile, received a $5,000.00 fine for cross-checking Kings defenseman Sean Durzi.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Nurse’s undisciplined actions could prove costly to his team. Down three games to two and facing elimination by the Kings, the Oilers enter the most crucial game of their season without their best defenseman.

THE PROVINCE: Bruce Boudreau is expected to finalize details of his return behind the Vancouver Canucks’ bench by as early as next week. Hired in December with the Canucks at the bottom of the standings, the club went 32-15-10 under Boudreau’s coaching and narrowly missed the postseason.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: There was concern Boudreau could hit the open market this summer if he declined the option year in his contract by the June 1 deadline. President of hockey operations Jim Rutherford recently said the club wanted to bring him back under that deal.

NHL.COM: The Anaheim Ducks announced Joel Bouchard has been relieved of his duties as head coach of their AHL affiliate in San Diego. Assistant coaches Daniel Jacob and Max Talbot were also let go. Meanwhile, Ducks assistant coach Geoff Ward has left the club for personal reasons.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Before heading to San Deigo, Bouchard spent three seasons as head coach of the Montreal Canadiens AHL affiliate in Laval. It’ll be interesting to see if he ends up returning to the Canadiens’ organization in some capacity.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – May 4, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – May 4, 2022

The Penguins down the Rangers in triple OT, the Avalanche bury the Predators, the Flames blank the Stars and the Capitals tame the Panthers in the opening games of their first-round playoff series. Details and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: Evgeni Malkin scored in triple overtime as the Pittsburgh Penguins downed the New York Rangers 4-3 in Game 1 of their best-of-seven first-round series in the 2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs. Jake Guentzel scored two goals in regulation, Bryan Rust had a goal and two assists and Sidney Crosby collected two assists. Rangers goaltender Igor Shesterkin made 79 saves in the six-period marathon while Chris Kreider and Mike Zibanejad each had two points.

Pittsburgh Penguins center Evgeni Malkin (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Penguins’ third-string goalie Louis Domingue got the win after replacing Casey DeSmith in the second overtime when the latter suffered a lower-body injury. DeSmith is being evaluated and his status is listed as day-to-day. Penguins starter Tristan Jarry’s been out since April 14 with a lower-body injury.

DeSmith wasn’t the only Penguin injured in this game. Winger Rickard Rakell suffered a head injury following a hit by Rangers defenseman Ryan Lindgren in the first period and didn’t return. He’s also being evaluated.

A five-goal first period carried the Colorado Avalanche to a lopsided 7-2 victory over the Nashville Predators in the first game of their best-of-seven opening-round series. Nathan MacKinnon, Cale Makar and Mikko Rantanen led the way with three points each. Matt Duchene scored both Nashville goals while Predators goalie David Rittich got the hook after giving up five goals on 13 shots.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: To say the Predators missed sidelined starting goaltender Juuse Saros in this contest is an understatement. Nevertheless, the Predators still would’ve lost this game even with a healthy Saros between the pipes, only it wouldn’t have been quite so one-sided. The Avalanche dominated this game from the opening puck drop. The Predators will need a better team effort as well as better goaltending or this series will be over quickly.

Calgary Flames goalie Jacob Markstrom had a 16-save shutout and Elias Lindholm scored the only goal in a 1-0 blanking of the Dallas Stars in Game 1 of their first-round series. Stars goaltender Jake Oettinger acquitted himself well in his first-ever playoff game with 25 saves.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: A line brawl broke out during the first period after Flames forward Matthew Tkachuk hit Dallas defenseman John Klingberg behind the Stars net. Tkachuk wound up scrapping with Michael Raffl while Klingberg wound up tangling with Flames defenseman Rasmus Andersson. Both blueliners received game misconducts.

The Washington Capitals got three third-period goals from Evgeny Kuznetsov, T.J. Oshie and Lars Eller to double up the Florida Panthers 4-2 in Game 1 of their first-round series. Panthers goalie Sergei Bobrovsky made 34 saves in a losing cause. It was a costly win for the Capitals as winger Tom Wilson left the game in the first period with a lower-body injury. He is being evaluated and his status for Game 2 remains uncertain.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Wilson’s injury was the only blight on what was a solid defensive effort by the Capitals in neutralizing the Panthers’ vaunted offense.

HEADLINES

THE PROVINCE: Vancouver Canucks president of hockey operations Jim Rutherford said head coach Bruce Boudreau will not receive a contract extension. They are instead willing to bring him back on his current deal, which has an option year in which either side can opt-out by June 1.

Rutherford praised Boudreau’s performance after the club went 32-15-10 when he took over from Travis Green in December. However, the club president pointed out his interim bench boss did not coach a full season. He said that Boudreau was informed that the club wants him back next season on his current deal.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: So the decision now rests with Boudreau if he’ll return for next season or look elsewhere for a long-term coaching job. He shouldn’t have any trouble finding a new team given the fine work he did in reversing the Canucks’ sagging fortunes this season.

Rutherford’s announcement also gives the impression he’d like to bring in a coach of his choosing. He inherited Boudreau, who was hired days beforehand.

NHL.COM: Toronto Maple Leafs forward Kyle Clifford receive a one-game suspension for boarding Lightning forward Ross Colton in Game 1 of their first-round series on Monday. Lightning forwards Pat Maroon and Corey Perry and Leafs winger Wayne Simmonds received fines for unsportsmanlike conduct during that contest.

Minnesota Wild captain Jared Spurgeon was fined $5,000.00 for cross-checking St. Louis Blues winger Pavel Buchenvich during the first game of their opening-round series on Monday.

BOSTON HOCKEY NOW: Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy is tinkering with his top-four defense pairings for Game 2 of their series against the Carolina Hurricanes on Wednesday. Matt Grzelcyk will move up alongside Charlie McAvoy on the left side of the first pairing while Hampus Lindholm drops to the second pairing with Brandon Carlo.

VEGAS HOCKEY NOW: Golden Knights head coach Peter DeBoer said he’ll be meeting with club management to discuss his future with the franchise. He has a year remaining on his contract. DeBoer also confirmed starting goalie Robin Lehner will undergo shoulder surgery on Wednesday while backup Laurent Brossoit will require an offseason medical procedure.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: DeBoer expressed his hope to return with the Golden Knights next season. We’ll find out soon if management gives him that opportunity after the club missed the playoffs for the first time in franchise history.

NBC SPORTS PHILADELPHIA: Multiple knee injuries have forced Flyers defenseman Samuel Morin to end his playing career. The 26-year-old has spoken with management about an off-ice role with the club.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Morin was a highly-touted blueliner who was chosen 11th overall by the Flyers in the 2013 NHL Draft. He made his NHL debut in 2017 but the knee injuries began soon afterward, derailing what could’ve been a promising career.

THE ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER: The Anaheim Ducks hired St. Louis Blues director of player personnel Rob DiMaio as their new assistant general manager.

THE ATHLETIC: The Seattle Kraken parted ways with goaltending coach Andrew Allen.

MONTREAL GAZETTE: Former and current Canadiens, hockey luminaries, politicians and fans bide a final farewell to Hall-of-Famer Guy Lafleur during his state funeral in Montreal on Tuesday.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Rest in peace, Flower. You will never be forgotten.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 27, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 27, 2022

Auston Matthews tallies his 60th goal of the season, Steven Stamkos reached 100 points, the Hurricanes clinch the Metropolitan Division, the Predators and Kings secure playoff berths, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: Auston Matthews scored twice to reach the 60-goal plateau as the Toronto Maple Leafs blanked the Detroit Red Wings 3-0. Matthews is the first player to score 60 goals in a season since Steven Stamkos in 2011-12. He’s also the first American-born player to reach that mark. John Tavares also scored and Jack Campbell made 20 saves for the shutout. Toronto defenseman Jake Muzzin returned to the lineup after missing six games with an undisclosed injury. With the win, the Leafs (113 points) secure second place in the Atlantic Division and home-ice advantage for the opening round of the 2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Toronto Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews (NHL Images).

Speaking of Stamkos, the Tampa Bay Lightning captain reached the 100-point plateau for the first time in his career in a 4-1 victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets. Stamkos scored twice and collected two assists while Nikita Kucherov also had a four-point performance. The Lightning have won four straight games and sit in third place in the Atlantic with 108 points. Before the game, the Blue Jackets confirmed Boone Jenner and Sean Kuraly will be sidelined for the remainder of the season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: If the season ended today, the Leafs and Lightning would face each other in the first round. We’ll find out for sure by week’s end.

The Carolina Hurricanes (114 points) clinched first place in the Metropolitan Division by holding off the New York Rangers 4-3. Sebastian Aho scored to reach his 400th career point, Vincent Trocheck and Brady Skjei each collected two points and rookie goalie Pyotr Kochetkov got the win with a 31-save performance. Rangers winger Chris Kreider tallied his 52nd goal of the season. His teammate, Andrew Copp, returned to action from a lower-body injury but left the game in the second period. So did winger Artemi Panarin but it appears both were held out of this contest for precautionary reasons. The Rangers sit second in the Metro with 108 points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Hurricanes were hopeful that sidelined starting goalie Frederik Andersen would be ready to return to action for the opening game of the playoffs next week. ESPN’s Greg Wyshynski reports the current expectation is he’ll miss the Hurricanes’ first few games of the first round.

An overtime goal by Elias Lindholm gave the Calgary Flames a 5-4 win over the Nashville Predators, but the latter still secured a playoff spot in the Western Conference with 95 points. Matthew Tkachuk scored in the final second of regulation to tie the game and set the stage for Lindholm’s winner. Both players have 41 goals on the season. Filip Forsberg scored twice for the Predators to reach 42 goals while teammates Matt Duchene and Mikael Granlund each had three points. The Flames (110 points) recently clinched first place in the Pacific Division.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Predators goaltender Juuse Saros left the game in the third period with what appeared to be an injured left leg. An update on his condition could come on Wednesday.

The Dallas Stars moved closer to clinching the final playoff berth in the Western Conference after downing the Vegas Golden Knights 3-2 on a shootout goal by Miro Heiskanen. Jason Robertson scored twice to reach 40 goals on the season while Jake Oettinger kicked out 33 shots. The Stars hold the final wild-card spot with 95 points. With 91 points, the Golden Knights’ playoff hopes now hang by a thread while the Stars’ victory means the idle Los Angeles Kings have clinched a postseason berth with 96 points. They will face the Edmonton Oilers in the first round.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Golden Knights still have a slim chance if they win their final two games and the Stars lose their last two in regulation, thus ensuring they’d take the wild-card berth on the basis of regulation wins. The Stars, however, need just one to qualify for the postseason.

Speaking of the Oilers, they secured second place in the Pacific Division with 100 points by dropping the Pittsburgh Penguins 5-1. Oilers captain Connor McDavid had a goal and three assists to reach a career-high 122, widening his lead in the scoring race by seven points over the Florida Panthers’ Jonathan Huberdeau. Mike Smith kicked out 33 shots for his 10th straight win.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Penguins winger Jason Zucker left the game in the first period with an undisclosed ailment. The Penguins (101 points) have already secured a playoff berth but hold a one-point lead over the Washington Capitals for third place in the Metropolitan Division.

As for the Capitals, they failed to overtake the Penguins after falling 4-1 to the New York Islanders. Ilya Sorokin made 32 stops for the Islanders. Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin missed this game as he’s listed as day-to-day with an upper-body injury.

The Colorado Avalanche gained ground on the Florida Panthers for first place in the overall standings with a 5-3 victory over the St. Louis Blues, snapping the latter’s 16-game points streak. Darcy Kuemper made 29 saves for the win while Valeri Nichushkin had a goal and an assist as the Avalanche (118 points) moved within two points of the Panthers. Blues center Ryan O’Reilly scored twice and collected an assist. The Blues remain in third place in the Central Division with 109 points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Avalanche defenseman Devon Toews returned to the lineup after sitting out the last four games dealing with undisclosed minor injuries. Sidelined teammates Gabriel Landeskog and Mikko Rantanen are both expected to return in time for the playoffs next week.

Meanwhile, the Panthers dropped a 4-2 decision to the Boston Bruins. Brad Marchand, Tayler Hall and David Pastrnak each collected two points as the Bruins (105 points) sit three points behind the Lightning for third place in the Atlantic Division. The Panthers sit first overall with 120 points.

The Minnesota Wild remains tied with the Blues with 109 points following a 5-3 loss to the Arizona Coyotes. Karel Vejmelka got the win with a 35-save performance while Shayne Gostisbehere collected three assists. Kirill Kaprizov had two assists for Minnesota, who holds second place in the Central over the Blues with a game in hand. Wild forward Marcus Foligno returned to the lineup after missing the past four games due to a bout of COVID-19.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Wild and Blues will face each other in the opening round of the playoffs. The outcome of their final games will decide which one gets home-ice advantage in their upcoming series.

Quinn Hughes set a single-season record for Vancouver Canucks defensemen by reaching 66 with a goal and two assists in a 5-2 victory over the Seattle Kraken. The Canucks were officially eliminated from playoff contention by the Stars’ win over the Golden Knights. Vancouver goalie Thatcher Demko missed this game as he’s listed as day-to-day with an unspecified injury.

Ottawa Senators forward Drake Batherson scored twice, including the winner in overtime, to down the New Jersey Devils 5-4. Tim Stutzle had two goals and two assists and Brady Tkachuk picked up three helpers for the Senators. Nolan Foote tallied twice for the Devils.

The Anaheim Ducks beat the San Jose Sharks 5-2. Max Comtois and Sonny Milano each had a goal and an assist for the Ducks.

MONTREAL GAZETTE: Canadiens goaltender Carey Price is traveling with his teammates to New York, where he has a medical appointment concerning his surgically repaired knee. He’s listed as day-to-day.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That’s sparked speculation in Montreal over whether Price will play in the Canadiens’ final game of the season on Friday against the Panthers as well as concerns about whether he can continue his playing career. TSN’s Pierre LeBrun reports Price still plans on being in net for Friday’s game and he wants to play next season. Nevertheless, we can expect questions about Price’s future to carry over into the offseason.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 18, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 18, 2022

The Wild and Capitals clinch playoff berths, the Leafs and Blues set franchise records, the Panthers remain red hot and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: The Minnesota Wild clinched a playoff berth with a 5-4 overtime victory over the San Jose Sharks. Jared Spurgeon scored twice, including the game-winner, Kevin Fiala had a goal and three assists and Frederick Gaudreau collected three assists for the Wild, who sit in third place in the Central Division with 101 points. The Sharks have lost 10 straight games.

Minnesota Wild winger Kevin Fiala (NHL Images).

William Nylander scored the game-winning goal as the Toronto Maple Leafs doubled up the New York Islanders 4-2. The Leafs set single-season franchise records with 50 wins and 106 points as they sit in second place in the Atlantic Division. They also officially eliminated the Islanders from playoff contention, meaning the Washington Capitals have secured a postseason berth with 94 points as they sit in the final Eastern Conference wild-card berth.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Leafs sat out Auston Matthews from this game as he’s nursing a minor injury. He’s listed as day-to-day but head coach Sheldon Keefe wasn’t concerned his condition might worsen.

The eight Eastern Conference playoff clubs have now been determined. What follows over the remaining games of the regular season will be jockeying for position to determine home-ice advantage in the opening round of the 2022 postseason.

The St. Louis Blues erupted for seven second-period goals to set a club record for most goals in a single period as they crushed the Nashville Predators 8-3. Brayden Schenn, Jordan Kyrou and Calle Rosen each scored twice while Vladimir Tarasenko had a goal and two assists for the Blues, who sit one point ahead of the Wild in second place in the Central Division. It was also the most goals the Predators have ever given up in a single period as they drop behind the Dallas Stars into the final Western Conference wild-card spot.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Predators (91 points) are tied with the Stars but the latter holds a game in hand. Earlier in the day, the Predators announced defenseman Jeremy Lauzon would not play as he’s week-to-week with a lower-body injury.

Blues coach Craig Berube provided an update on Nick Leddy’s condition after he had been cut under one eye during Saturday’s win over the Wild. He said the defenseman was feeling better and doesn’t think he’ll be sidelined for very long.

Florida Panthers rookie Anton Lundell scored twice and goaltender Spencer Knight made 33 saves in a 6-1 victory over the Detroit Red Wings. Florida winger Jonathan Huberdeau’s point streak ended at 13 games. The Panthers have won 10 straight games and sit atop the Eastern Conference with 114 points, two behind the first overall Colorado Avalanche.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Fun fact: the Panthers have lost only once in the 13 games they’ve played since acquiring Claude Giroux from the Philadelphia Flyers.

The Anaheim Ducks snapped a 13-game winless skid by downing the Columbus Blue Jackets 6-4. John Gibson made 31 saves for his first victory since March 1 while Troy Terry scored twice and collected an assist. Jackets winger Patrik Laine missed the game with an upper-body injury and Zach Werenski left the game early in the first period with a facial injury.

Buffalo Sabres forwards Victor Olofsson and Tage Thompson each scored twice in a 5-3 win over the Philadelphia Flyers. Kevin Hayes and Noah Cates each had a goal and an assist for the Flyers.

HEADLINES

TSN: Carolina Hurricanes goaltender Frederik Andersen will undergo an MRI for a lower-body injury suffered during Saturday’s loss to the Colorado Avalanche.

CBS SPORTS: Avalanche defenseman Devon Toews is dealing with “some nagging things” and could sit for Monday’s game against the Capitals.

TSN: Montreal Canadiens forward Michael Pezzetta will have a hearing with the NHL’s department of player safety regarding an illegal check to the head of Capitals winger T.J. Oshie on Saturday.

MONTREAL HOCKEY NOW: Speaking of the Canadiens, they’ve set an NHL record for the most man-games lost to injury with 700.

THE ATHLETIC: Pierre LeBrun reports Donald Fehr’s tenure as executive director of the NHL Players Association could come to an end before next season.

A report released Friday by the law firm Cozen O’Connor cleared Fehr and the PA of any individual or systemic wrongdoing over their handling of the Kyle Beach investigation. That report, however, has come under criticism, raising speculation about concerns among the PA membership.

LeBrun reports Fehr, 74, was facing pressure to come up with a succession plan prior to the report’s release. That process could be accelerated, especially with another round of collective bargaining with the NHL coming in five years’ time.