NHL Rumor Mill – November 23, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – November 23, 2022

A look at the early season trade targets in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.

ANALYSIS OF THE EARLY-SEASON TRADE TARGETS

DAILY FACEOFF: Vancouver Canucks center Bo Horvat top Frank Seravalli’s first list of trade targets for 2022-23. He pointed out there hasn’t been much talk about a contract extension between the pending free agent and Canucks management since prior to training camp. Seravalli suggests “Colorado, Detroit, Boston and Edmonton” among the clubs that could use a top-flight center like Horvat.

Vancouver Canucks captain Bo Horvat (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman reports Canucks president of hockey operations Jim Rutherford is in no hurry to decide what to do with Horvat. That’s understandable since the trade deadline isn’t until March 3 so there’s no reason for Rutherford to rush into a decision regarding his captain at this point.

Nevertheless, the longer Horvat remains unsigned the more speculation over his future will increase as the trade deadline approaches. We’ll find out in due course if those clubs mentioned by Seravalli actually get into the bidding for the Canucks captain.

Chicago Blackhawks forwards Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews sit second and third on Servalli’s list.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Seravalli indicated the Blackhawks are expected to start a conversation with Kane in December to gauge his interest in a trade. He and Toews have complete control over their fates given their no-movement clauses.

Friedman wonders whether the Los Angeles Kings would make a pitch for Kane. He indicates they have the picks and prospects to make this move. Provided Kane is willing to accept a trade to Los Angeles, I question whether the Kings can comfortably afford to pick up the remainder of his $10.5 million cap hit.

Arizona Coyotes defenseman Jakob Chychrun and Anaheim Ducks blueliner John Klingberg sit fourth and fifth on this list.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Friedman reported the Coyotes are still asking for “two first-rounders (upcoming picks or recently-drafted prospects), plus something else.”

TSN’s Pierre LeBrun believes the Coyotes based their high asking price for Chychrun on what the Ducks received from the Boston Bruins last season for Hampus Lindholm. That package included a first-round pick and two second-rounders. He also cited the two first-round picks the Chicago Blackhawks received as part of the return from the Tampa Bay Lightning in the Brandon Hagel deal.

As for Klingberg, Seravalli reminds us that the pending UFA’s no-trade clause is lifted on Jan. 1. We can expect to hear his name more frequently in trade rumors between New Year’s Day and March 3.

San Jose Sharks winger Timo Meier, Florida Panthers winger Anthony Duclair, Columbus Blue Jackets defenseman Vladislav Gavrikov, Los Angeles Kings blueliner Sean Walker and Sharks rearguard Erik Karlsson fill positions six through 10.

Seravalli points out Meier’s expensive qualifying offer ($10 million) will have teams looking at him as a rental player than as a restricted free agent…Duclair is only on the list because the Panthers will have to shed salary when he’s ready to return from his offseason Achilles tear but he might not necessarily be the player who gets traded. He carries a $3 million cap hit.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Meier could be shopped unless he and the Sharks can agree to a new deal with a more affordable cap hit. Given his RFA status next summer, the Sharks can wait until the offseason to shop him if they don’t get any offers they like before the trade deadline.

As for Duclair, I think the Panthers intend to keep him after he rediscovered his game playing for them last season. They’ll have to shed around $3 million to become cap compliant.

Gavrikov is a pending UFA but I’m not convinced the Blue Jackets will move him unless contract talks go south before the trade deadline…Seravalli pointed out the Kings have a glut of defensemen. They don’t want to move Walker but he could be the odd man out given his injury history.

Karlsson would help any NHL club but, as Seravalli notes, his $11.5 million annual cap hit and full no-movement clause significantly limit the number of potential trade destinations. That could be a trade that happens in the offseason provided Karlsson is willing to waive his NMC and the Sharks retain a big chunk of his cap hit.

Blue Jackets center Jack Roslovic, Washington Capitals defenseman Nick Jensen, Blackhawks winger Andreas Athanasiou, Coyotes blueliner Shayne Gostisbehere and Sharks goalie James Reimer coming in at spots 11 through 15.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Roslovic’s inconsistency really hurts his trade value…The Capitals could peddle Jensen if they’re out of playoff contention leading up to the trade deadline. The same goes for Athanasiou and Reimer…I would place Gotisbehere higher on this list, perhaps in the bottom half of the top 10. The puck-moving defenseman had 51 points in 82 games last season on the offensively anemic Coyotes and has 10 points in 17 games this season. He should draw plenty of interest near the trade deadline from teams seeking offense from the blueline.

Canucks winger Brock Boeser, Blackhawks center Max Domi, New York Rangers winger Ryan Reaves, Canadiens center Sean Monahan and Pittsburgh Penguins winger Kasperi Kapanen round out the remainder of this list.

If the Canucks continue to spiral they could start unloading expensive contracts like Boeser’s…Reaves has been a healthy scratch in recent games. The Rangers wouldn’t want much in return as they’d prefer the cap flexibility.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Boeser’s a scoring threat when healthy but his injury history could make him difficult to move…Domi would draw interest from contenders seeking a versatile depth rental…Reaves’ toughness should make him an affordable and enticing option for contenders seeking postseason grit…Monahan’s having a solid season (11 points in 17 games) with the Canadiens and would make a good depth center on a playoff contender…Kapanen’s trade value is so low right now that the Penguins probably couldn’t give him away at this point.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 3, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 3, 2022

The latest on Kirill Kaprizov, Patrik Laine, Anthony Duclair and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

CBS SPORTS: cited The Athletic’s Michael Russo reporting Kirill Kaprizov underwent minor surgery. The 25-year-old Minnesota Wild left winger is expected to be ready “well in advance” of training camp.

THE ATHLETIC: Aaron Portzline reported contract talks are continuing between the Columbus Blue Jackets and the agent for left wing Patrik Laine. Jackets general manager Jarmo Kekalainen said the discussions are amicable. However, Portzline wrote that it doesn’t sound as though a deal is close. Kekalainen doesn’t expect it will affect the club’s plans for the upcoming NHL draft in Montreal.

Minnesota Wild winger Kirill Kaprizov (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Cap Friendly indicates Laine is a restricted free agent with arbitration rights. He’s coming off a one-year, $7.5 million contract.

ESPN.COM: Anthony Duclair underwent surgery to repair an Achilles tendon injury. The 26-year-old Florida Panthers winger is expected to be sidelined until midway through the 2022-23 season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Duclair carries a $3 million annual average value. With the Panthers having just $3 million in salary-cap space for next season and with 17 players under contract, they could place him on long-term injury reserve to garner some cap relief to sign another player. However, they’ll have to be cap compliant when Duclair is ready to return to action.

MONTREAL HOCKEY NOW: The Canadiens can take their time negotiating a new contract with Alexander Romanov. He has only two seasons with 10 or more games played, he falls under the status of a 10.2(c) restricted free agent. That makes him ineligible to sign an offer sheet with another team as Jesperi Kotkaniemi did last summer.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Canadiens management is currently focused on the upcoming NHL draft in Montreal. Once that’s completed, they’re expected to turn their attention toward their RFAs.

STLTODAY.COM: Blues forward Alexei Toropchenko underwent shoulder surgery and will miss the first two months of next season. The 23-year-old is on a one-year, $750K contracts for 2022-23.

THE NEWS & OBSERVER: PNC Arena, home of the Carolina Hurricanes, could be getting a major facelift and overhaul over the next several years. Opened in 1999, the venue is expected to undergo renovations that were put off for the past two years by the COVID-19 pandemic.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 30, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 30, 2022

Nazem Kadri hoping to remain with the Avalanche, the aftermath of the Kevin Fiala trade, Anthony Duclair suffers a major Achilles injury, an update on Ryan Ellis, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

SPORTSNET: Nazem Kadri said he’d love to return with the Colorado Avalanche. The 31-year-old center is slated to become an unrestricted free agent on July 13 and is coming off a career-best 87-point regular season. He was also a key contributor to the Avs’ march to the 2022 Stanley Cup.

Colorado Avalanche center Nazem Kadri (NHL Images).

Kadri indicated his first choice is signing with the Avalanche. He called the club’s ownership “great supporters of mine”, going on to say both sides will try to work together toward a new contract. However, he intends to make the most of his free-agent opportunity. “I’ve shown what my worth is and I’m just looking forward to watching this all develop,” he said.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kadri is completing a six-year contract worth an annual average value of $4.5 million. He’s set to cash in next month either with the Avalanche or another club, perhaps landing a five-year deal worth over $7 million per season on the open market.

Kadri could price himself out of Colorado. Cap Friendly shows the Avalanche with over $25 million in cap space and 14 players under contract for 2022-23. Darcy Kuemper, Valeri Nichushkin and Josh Manson are also slated to become UFAs while Artturi Lehkonen is a restricted free agent who’s also a year away from UFA status. The Avs must also ensure long-term cap space to pay Nathan MacKinnon the massive raise it’ll take to keep him out of next summer’s UFA market.

TWINCITIES.COM: Minnesota Wild general manager Bill Guerin explained why he traded Kevin Fiala yesterday to the Los Angeles Kings for a 2022 first-round pick and University of Minnesota defenseman Brock Faber.

Guerin admitted a lack of salary-cap space made it impossible for the Wild to sign Fiala to the big raise he would seek coming off a career-best 85-point season. While other clubs were also interested in the 25-year-old winger, the Wild GM said only the Kings were willing to meet his asking price.

We need younger guys,” said Guerin. “We need guys that don’t make millions and millions of dollars. We just have to do it that way.”

THE ATHLETIC: Michael Russo reported the New Jersey Devils, Ottawa Senators and New York Islanders also showed interest in Fiala. With only $7.8 million in cap space, they need to add two forwards (one could be promising Marco Rossi), sign defenseman Jake Middleton and either bring back Marc-Andre Fleury or find another goaltender to share the duties with Cam Talbot.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That limited cap space is due to the $12 million in dead cap space from buying out Zach Parise and Ryan Suter last summer. It jumps to $14 million for 2023-24 and again for 2024-25. That means Guerin might not be done trading some key players over the next two years.

TSN: Florida Panthers winger Anthony Duclair faces potential surgery for an Achilles tendon injury suffered during his offseason training. The recovery would require several months.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Duclair could end up missing the opening weeks of the 2022-23 season. That might force the Panthers to find a short-term replacement via trade or free agency.

THE PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER: Flyers GM Chuck Fletcher provided an update on Ryan Ellis’ lengthy rehab from a “multilayered” core injury. While the 31-year-old defenseman is progressing with his recovery, there’s still no timeline as to when he’ll return to action next season.

Fletcher also indicated Sean Couturier (back injury) and Kevin Hayes (groin) are doing well and are expected to be ready for training camp in September.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Fletcher is hoping for a clearer picture of Ellis’ return before the start of next season. I anticipate he’ll miss the opening weeks of the 2022-23 campaign if he hasn’t recovered by the time training camp opens.

THE NEWS & OBSERVER: Carolina Hurricanes GM Don Waddell is pleased with what he’s heard regarding upgrades to his club’s home arena. The team would like to add a sportsbook into the arena plans but an online gambling bill failed to pass last week in the state’s general assembly.

Waddell indicated the Hurricanes definitely want to bring back restricted free agent defenseman Tony DeAngelo. He sounded less certain over whether UFA forwards Vincent Trocheck and Nino Niederreiter will return.

THE SEATTLE TIMES: The Kraken intend to lower their entry-level ticket pricing following “listening sessions” with their fans. They intend to make more single-game seats available at $40 and lower to broaden the team’s appeal.

DAILY FACEOFF: The Saint John Sea Dogs are the 2002 Memorial Cup champions. The tournament hosts defeated the OHL champion Hamilton Bulldogs 6-3 in the championship game. Eight NHL prospects make up the Sea Dogs, including tournament MVP (and New York Islanders prospect) William Dufour.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Congratulations to the Sea Dogs on winning the Memorial Cup for the second time in franchise history.

SPORTSNET: Former NHL forward Jim Pappin died Wednesday at age 82. He spent 14 seasons with the Toronto Maple Leafs, Chicago Blackhawks, California Golden Seals and Cleveland Barons from 1963-64 to 1976-77.

Pappin won two Stanley Cups with the Leafs in 1964 and 1967. His best seasons were with the Blackhawks on a line with Pit Martin and Dennis Hull. He reached or exceeded 70 points three times with the Hawks, including a career-best 92 points in 1972-73. In 767 career regular-season games, Pappin scored 278 goals and 573 points, as well as 33 goals and 67 points in 92 playoff contests.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: My condolences to Pappin’s family, friends and former teammates.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 16, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 16, 2021

The Avalanche trade Ryan Graves to the Devils, the Panthers buy out Keith Yandle, Ben Bishop agrees to waive NMC for the expansion draft, Leafs give Zach Hyman permission to speak to other clubs, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

THE DENVER POST/NORTHJERSEY.COM: The Colorado Avalanche last night traded defenseman Ryan Graves to the New Jersey Devils in exchange for forward Mikhail Maltsev and a second-round pick in the 2021 NHL draft.

The Colorado Avalanche trade Ryan Graves to the New Jersey Devils (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Avalanche risked losing Graves to the Seattle Kraken for nothing in next week’s expansion draft. They get a promising young forward in Maltsev and replace the second-round pick they shipped to the New York Islanders last fall for Devon Toews. The move also gives the Avs some much-needed salary-cap relief, replacing Graves’ $3.21 million annual average value with Maltsev’s $925K for 2021-22.

Graves, 26, established himself as a quality top-four defenseman during his tenure with the Avalanche. The 6’5”, 220-pounder brings a good mix of size, physical play and a solid defensive game to the Devils’ blueline.

NBC SPORTS: The Florida Panthers have bought out the remaining two years of Keith Yandle’s contract. The 34-year-old defenseman had an annual average value of $6.35 million. The first year of the buyout will count as $2.34 million against the Panthers’ cap for 2021-22, jumping to $5.3 million for 2022-23, and dropping to $1.24 million annually for the final two seasons.

They also re-signed winger Anthony Duclair to a three-year, $9 million contract and defenseman Gustav Forsling to a three-year, $7.98 million deal.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Things were coming to a head between Yandle and the Panthers this season. He was nearly a healthy scratch to start the season, which would’ve threatened his Ironman consecutive games streak. He was scratched from three postseason games. This move freed up immediate cap room to address other needs.

THE DALLAS MORNING NEWS: Stars goaltender Ben Bishop agreed to waive his no-movement clause for the upcoming expansion draft. That will allow the Stars to protect goalie Anton Khudobin as promising Jake Oettinger is exempt from the draft.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Bishop missed all of this season recovering from a knee injury. His lengthy injury history likely means the Kraken will pass on selecting him in next week’s draft.

THE SCORE: cited TSN’s Darren Dreger reporting the Toronto Maple Leafs are allowing Zach Hyman to speak with other teams. The 29-year-old left-winger is slated to become an unrestricted free agent on July 28.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: There’s a chance the Leafs could match the best offer but that appears slim. I’ll have more on Hyman in today’s Rumor Mill.

TSN: Darren Dreger speculates Shea Weber’s situation could end in a dispute between the NHL and NHLPA if the league doesn’t allow the Canadiens to put the 35-year-old defenseman on long-term injury reserve. Weber’s career is in jeopardy from the effects of multiple injuries suffered over the past four seasons. He’s reportedly expected to miss the entire 2021-22 season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Everyone is waiting for clarity on this before deciding what to do next. Weber is reportedly getting a second medical opinion. Dreger indicated the timing of this situation is what’s clouding the issue with the expansion draft coming up.

THE SCORE: Columbus Blue Jackets goaltender Elvis Merzlikins said Matiss Kivlenieks died a hero during the memorial service for his late teammate. Kivlenieks died at age 24 from chest trauma from a fireworks mortar blast. The tube tilted and started firing toward a hot tub. Merzlikins and his pregnant wife were nearby. He said the young goaltender sacrificed his life to protect others

SPECTOR’S NOTE: RIP Matiss, your last save was your biggest.

CALGARY SUN: The Flames signed winger Brett Ritchie to a one-year, $900K contract.

THE MERCURY NEWS: The San Jose Sharks re-signed center Dylan Gambrell to a one-year, $1.1 million contract.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 31, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 31, 2021

The Canadiens get a shutout win in their first game in 10 days, the injury bug bites the Panthers again, the Flyers put Shayne Gostisbehere on waivers, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: Montreal Canadiens goaltender Carey Price made 17 saves for his 49th career shutout to blank the Edmonton Oilers 4-0. Brendan Gallagher had a goal and an assist for the Canadiens in their first game since March 20. With 39 points, the Habs opened a four-point lead over the Calgary Flames for fourth place in the Scotia North Division with five games in hand. The Oilers (45 points) remain a point back of the second-place Winnipeg Jets.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: A good start for a rested Canadiens squad in their first game in 10 days after COVID-19 protocols postponed four of their games. The Oilers were a tired bunch playing their third game in four nights.

New York Rangers winger Artemi Panarin (NHL Images).

Artemi Panarin had a goal and two assists as the New York Rangers tallied four unanswered third-period goals in a 5-2 win over the Washington Capitals. Igor Shesterkin kicked out 30 shots for the Rangers (36 points), who sit five points behind the fourth-place Boston Bruins in the MassMutual East Division. The first-place Capitals (50 points) remain two points up on the New York Islanders and Pittsburgh Penguins.

The Bruins, meanwhile, overcame a 4-2 deficit to defeat the New Jersey Devils 5-4 on shootout goals by Charlie Coyle and David Pastrnak. Devils goaltender Mackenzie Blackwood made 44 saves. Bruins winger Marchand returned after missing one game to COVID-19 protocols while defenseman Brandon Carlo played his first game since being sidelined by an upper-body injury on March 5. With 41 points, the Bruins sit three up on the fifth-place Philadelphia Flyers in the East Division.

An overtime goal by Eeli Tolvanen lifted the Nashville Predators over the Dallas Stars 3-2. Tolvanen and Calle Jarnkrok each had a goal and an assist while Juuse Saros made 33 saves as Nashville picked up their sixth straight victory. With 39 points, the Predators sit fourth in the Discover Central Division.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Predators’ playoff hopes were fading away two weeks ago and they seemed destined to become sellers before the April 12 trade deadline. Management might be rethinking its trade plans as they surge back into postseason contention.

A 31-save performance by Kevin Lankinen enabled the Chicago Blackhawks to hold off the Carolina Hurricanes 2-1. Alex DeBrincat tallied his 19th goal of the season for the Blackhawks, who are tied with the Predators but sit fifth in the Central because of two fewer regulation wins. The Hurricanes (49 points) are third in the division, one point back of the Tampa Bay Lightning and Florida Panthers.

The Panthers, meanwhile, got two goals from Carter Verhaeghe to down the Detroit Red Wings 4-1. Sergei Bobrovsky made 35 stops for the win. Florida winger Anthony Duclair left the game with an upper-body injury and is expected to be sidelined a week to 10 days. The Panthers are tied with the Lightning with 50 points but sit in second place in the division as the latter hold a game in hand.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Duclair joins Aleksander Barkov (lower-body), Patric Hornqvist (undisclosed) and Aaron Ekblad (fractured left leg) on the Panthers’ injury list. Eklad is done for at least the regular season following surgery on Monday.

Columbus Blue Jackets goalie Elvis Merzlikins made 37 stops in a 3-1 upset of the Tampa Bay Lightning. Nick Foligno had two assists for the Blue Jackets (36 points), who sit three points behind the Predators in the Central. The Lightning (50 points) have lost three straight.

NBC SPORTS PHILADELPHIA: The Flyers raised eyebrows yesterday by placing Shayne Gostisbehere on waivers, generating speculation over the 27-year-old defenseman’s future with the club.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Gostisbehere has struggled since Alain Vigneault became the Flyers head coach in 2019. His $4.5 million salary-cap hit makes it unlikely he’ll be claimed. The Flyers could put him on their taxi squad or demote him to their AHL affiliate if he clears waivers at noon ET today. There’s also talk he could be traded if he goes unclaimed.

THE PROVINCE: Vancouver Canucks forward Adam Gaudette tested positive for COVID-19 yesterday. He was participating in practice when informed of the test results and left the ice immediately. Tonight’s game between the Canucks and Flames will depend upon the results of contact tracing and additional testing of players and staff.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Gaudette was retested yesterday and will be tested again today.

SPORTSNET: Canucks forward Justin Bailey underwent season-ending shoulder surgery on Monday. He’s been sidelined since Feb. 11.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 2, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 2, 2021

Recaps of Monday’s action, the three stars of the week, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: A third-period goal by Vincent Trocheck set the stage for Martin Necas’ overtime winner as the Carolina Hurricanes edged the Florida Panthers 3-2. Necas also collected two assists while Alex Nedeljkovic made 44 saves for the win. The Panthers (30 points) remain in first place in the Discover Central Division, one point ahead of the Hurricanes and Tampa Bay Lightning. They also played with winger Anthony Duclair as he’s sidelined at least a week with a lower-body injury suffered during Saturday’s game against the Hurricanes.

Ottawa Senators winger Drake Batherson scored twice to extend his franchise-record goal streak to six games in a 5-1 upset of the Calgary Flames. Matt Murray got the win with 27 saves and Senators rookie Tim Stutzle picked up two assists. The Flames (22 points) have dropped three of their last four games and remain one point behind the fourth-place Montreal Canadiens in the Scotia North Division.

Vancouver Canucks goaltender Thatcher Demko made 27 saves for his first NHL shutout in a 4-0 upset of the Winnipeg Jets. Elias Pettersson and Nate Schmidt each had a goal and an assist for the Canucks, who moved to within three points of the Canadiens.

Vegas Golden Knights captain Mark Stone (NHL Images).

Mark Stone collected five primary assists as the Vegas Golden Knights overcame a 4-2 deficit to nip the Minnesota Wild 5-4 in overtime, snapping the Wild’s six-game win streak. Max Pacioretty scored twice, including the game-winner. Marcus Foligno tallied twice for the Wild (25 points), who remain two points back of the first-place Golden Knights in the Honda West Division.

The St. Louis Blues got two goals and an assist from Zach Sanford to hold off the Anaheim Ducks 5-4. The Blues sit one point behind the Golden Knights. Ducks forward Isac Lundestrom collected his first career NHL hat trick.

Toronto Maple Leafs goaltender Michael Hutchinson kicked out 31 shots in a 3-0 shutout over the Edmonton Oilers. William Nylander and Morgan Rielly each had a goal and an assist for the Leafs, who blanked the Oilers for the second straight game.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Leafs accomplished this feat with leading goal scorer Auston Matthews and starting goalie Frederik Andersen sidelined by injuries.

The San Jose Sharks scored six unanswered goals in a 6-2 drubbing of the Colorado Avalanche. Evander Kane had a goal and two assists while Timo Meier collected three helpers. The Avalanche played without defenseman Cale Makar, who returned to Denver for further evaluation regarding an upper-body injury suffered during Friday’s game against the Arizona Coyotes.

HEADLINES

Tampa Bay Lightning goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy, Chicago Blackhawks winger Patrick Kane and Minnesota Wild winger Mats Zuccarello are the NHL’s three stars for the week ending Feb. 28.

THE ATHLETIC: Aaron Portzline reports Columbus Blue Jackets general manager Jarmo Kekalainen is expected to make public comments today supporting head coach John Tortorella, who’s in the final season of his contract.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Tortorella’s future has become the topic of speculation as the Jackets has dropped five straight games and seven of their last eight, leaving them seven points behind the fourth-place Chicago Blackhawks in the Central.

EDMONTON JOURNAL: The Oilers claimed goaltender Alex Stalock off waivers yesterday from the Wild.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Stalock revealed he was diagnosed with the heart condition myocarditis after testing positive for COVID-19 last November. He received clearance to resume training in mid-January but was unable to regain his spot on the Wild’s goalie tandem. As he’s crossing the US-Canada border he must quarantine for two weeks before joining the Oilers.

THE PROVINCE: Former NHL forward Todd Bertuzzi was arrested for drunk driving in Michigan over the weekend.