NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 29, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 29, 2022

The Panthers win the Presidents’ Trophy, Hurricanes goalie tandem Frederik Andersen and Antti Raanta win the Jennings Trophy, Dustin Brown announces his retirement following the playoffs and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: The Florida Panthers won the Presidents’ Trophy for the first time in franchise history by blanking the Ottawa Senators 4-0. With 122 points, the Panthers hold the NHL’s best record this season. Spencer Knight turned in a 27-save shutout performance while Carter Verhaeghe tallied twice.

Carolina Hurricanes goaltender Frederik Andersen (NHL Images).

Carolina Hurricanes goaltender Antti Raanta kicked out 27 shots while Jesperi Kotkaniemi had a goal and two assists in a 6-3 victory over the New Jersey Devils. The Hurricanes have won six straight. Raanta and Frederik Andersen won the William M. Jennings Memorial Trophy for allowing the fewest goals (202) this season. Earlier in the week, the Hurricanes clinched first place in the Metropolitan Division. Devils winger Andreas Johnsson missed the game with a non-COVID illness.

Vancouver Canucks winger Brock Boeser scored twice, including the overtime winner, as his club overcame a 2-0 deficit to beat the Los Angeles Kings 3-2. Before the game, Los Angeles winger Dustin Brown announced he’ll retire following the playoffs. The Kings clinched a playoff berth several days ago, sitting third in the Pacific Division with 99 points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Brown captained the Kings to two Stanley Cups in 2012 and 2014. A versatile and physical forward, he’s spent his entire 18-season career with the Kings, scored 325 goals and 387 assists for 712 points in a franchise-leading 1,296 regular-season games.

Boston Bruins captain Patrice Bergeron tallied a hat trick while Linus Ullmark stopped 37 saves to shut out the Buffalo Sabres 5-0. Bergeron also became the fourth player in franchise history to score 400 career goals. The Bruins hold the first wild card spot in the Eastern Conference with 107 points.

Minnesota Wild winger Kirill Kaprizov’s 46th goal of the season came in overtime to snuff out the Calgary Flames 3-2. Flames winger Johnny Gaudreau scored his 40th of the season, joining teammates Matthew Tkachuk and Elias Lindholm in the 40-goal club. The Flames clinched first place in the Pacific Division earlier this week (111 points) while the Wild sit two points ahead of the third-place St. Louis Blues with 111 points. Both clubs will face each other in the opening round of the playoffs next week.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Gaudreau, Tkachuk and Lindholm are the first Flames trio to reach 40 goals in a season since Theo Fleury, Robert Reichel and Gary Roberts did it in 1993-94.

A shootout goal by Matt Duchene lifted the Nashville Predators to a 5-4 win over the Colorado Avalanche. Predators defensemen Roman Josi and Mattias Ekholm each had a goal and an assist while David Rittich made 42 saves for the win. The Predators (97 points) hold a one-point lead over the Dallas Stars for the first Western wild-card berth with both clubs having one game left. The Avalanche hold first overall in the Western Conference with 119 points.

The Edmonton Oilers nipped the San Jose Sharks 5-4 on an overtime goal by Zach Hyman. Edmonton captain Connor McDavid collected an assist for his league-leading 123rd point while Noah Gregor scored two goals for the Sharks. The Oilers recently clinched a playoff spot and sit second in the Pacific Division with 102 points.

Columbus Blue Jackets forward Oliver Bjorkstrand had a goal and an assist as his club upset the Tampa Bay Lightning 5-2. With the loss, the Lightning (108 points) failed to clinch third place in the Atlantic Division, sitting one point ahead of the Bruins with both clubs having a game remaining.

New York Islanders center Mathew Barzal collected three assists as his club upset the Washington Capitals 5-1. The Capitals (100 points) recently clinched the final Eastern Conference wild-card spot. Islanders defenseman Ryan Pulock missed this game with a non-COVID illness.

IN OTHER NEWS…

SPORTSNET: Hundreds of hockey fans, hockey personalities and journalists paid their final respects to Hockey Hall of Famer Mike Bossy yesterday during a funeral service north of Montreal. Bossy passed away from lung cancer on April 14 at age 65.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Rest in peace, Mike Bossy. He was one of the greatest goal scorers in NHL history and a key part of the New York Islanders Stanley Cup dynasty from 1980 to 1983.

WINNIPEG SUN: TSN broadcaster Dennis Beyak will retire from his role as the Jets play-by-play man. He held that job since the club relocated to Winnipeg in 2011.

NBC SPORTS CHICAGO: The Blackhawks hired Jeff Greenberg as their associate general manager. Greenberg, 36, is an assistant general manager with MLB’s Chicago Cubs.










NHL Rumor Mill – February 2, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – February 2, 2022

Check out the latest on the Canadiens, Stars, Canucks, Ducks, Panthers, Predators, Wild, Kings and Coyotes in today’s NHL rumor mill.

LATEST PETRY SPECULATION

TSN: Pierre LeBrun reports a league source suggested a scenario that the Dallas Stars could become a team with interest in Montreal Canadiens defenseman Jeff Petry if they move John Klingberg, a pending free agent who has requested a trade. The idea would see them replace Klingberg with the 34-year Petry.

LeBrun added the Canadiens are telling teams they don’t have to move Petry, who’s signed through 2024-25. They’re also not moving him at a discount simply because he’s struggling this season.

SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman reports a few teams have indicated they see a Petry move being more likely to occur in the offseason than at the March 21 trade deadline. Despite his difficulties and those of the Canadiens this season, he put up good stats last season and that hasn’t gone unnoticed.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Petry’s stats could improve playing on a better team. However, he’s a 34-year-old defenseman carrying a $6.25 million annual cap hit through 2024-25 and a 15-team no-trade clause. Meanwhile, the salary cap is flattened for the foreseeable future. If the Canadiens don’t intend on retaining part of his cap hit or agree to take back a toxic contract, they’ll have to include a sweetener to convince an opponent to pick up the full remainder of his contract.

The Stars acquiring Petry as a replacement for Klingberg would make sense if they were a Stanley Cup contender. They’re not. They’re a struggling club with $19.45 million invested in past-their-prime forwards Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin through 2024-25. They’ve already got nearly $18 million invested in blueliners Miro Heiskanen, Esa Lindell and Ryan Suter. Restricted free agents Jason Robertson, Denis Gurianov and Jake Oettinger must be resigned while UFAs Joe Pavelski and Alexander Radulov must be re-signed or replaced.

Finding a deal that works for the acquiring club, the Canadiens, and Petry is easier said than done. It will be quite an accomplishment for Habs rookie GM Kent Hughes if he can pull it off.

RUMORS FROM FRIEDMAN’S LATEST “32 THOUGHTS”.

SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman believes the Vancouver Canucks could be considering re-signing J.T. Miller instead of trading him. That’s one reason why other names like Conor Garland have surfaced in the rumor mill. Canucks president Jim Rutherford wants to create room and that’s why he’s exploring all possibilities.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Friedman is referring to cap flexibility, something the Canucks haven’t had for a while. It doesn’t mean Rutherford’s going to engage in a fire sale of his best players or make cost-cutting deals before the trade deadline. However, that could change if his club fails to gain ground in the playoff chase by the March 21 deadline.

Anaheim Ducks defenseman Hampus Lindholm (NHL Images).

Whoever becomes the new Anaheim Ducks general manager faces a big decision regarding the future of pending UFA defenseman Hampus Lindholm. Friedman doesn’t believe the Ducks can afford to keep him post-deadline even if they’re in playoff contention unless they know he’s staying. He also mentioned the Ducks have many options with UFA blueliner Josh Manson, including keeping him.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I can also see them retaining Lindholm, Manson and fellow UFA Rickard Rakell as “own rentals” if they’re still holding a playoff spot by deadline day.

The Ducks haven’t been in the postseason since 2018. Like every team, they’ve endured revenue losses during this pandemic. Ownership could be unwilling to jeopardize potential playoff money this season by trading away a key player or two even at the risk of losing them to free agency this summer.

Friedman cited colleague Jeff Marek recently mentioning Florida Panthers forward Owen Tippett as a possible trade candidate. He also suggested Frank Vatrano as another.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Panthers’ focus is reportedly on bolstering their blueline depth. It wouldn’t be surprising if they draw on their forward depth to address that need.

Nashville Predators GM David Poile said he likes his team and doesn’t want to make many changes. “We’re content where we are,” he said.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That’s understandable given the Predators’ improvement this season. It’s probably safe to say Poile won’t be shopping pending UFA winger Filip Forsberg, who’s played a key role in the Preds’ performance. Poile could be a buyer by deadline day but it will probably be a minor move or two.

There have been no current contract discussions between the Minnesota Wild and winger Kevin Fiala, who is a restricted free agent with arbitration rights this summer.

Los Angeles Kings GM Rob Blake will meet with winger Dustin Brown during the all-star break to discuss his future. The Kings have no desire to move goaltender Jonathan Quick. They are in the market for a big left-shot defenseman. Blake declined to comment about Arizona Coyotes defenseman Jakob Chychrun.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Brown is a UFA this summer while Quick has a year remaining on his deal. I can see Blake signing Brown to an affordable one-year deal. Chychrun would be a terrific fit with the Kings but the Coyotes seek a good young NHL player, a first-round pick and a top prospect in return.

COYOTES ARE ONCE AGAIN WILLING TO TAKE ON CONTRACTS

TSN: Chris Johnston reports teams in need of salary-cap relief could be in touch with the Arizona Coyotes before the trade deadline. The Coyotes have let it be known they’re willing to take on contracts or money in exchange for future assets like they did last summer. It will depend upon the length of the contract and the type of player being brought in.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: They could also become a third-party broker between two clubs, retaining part of a player’s cap hit in exchange for a draft pick or prospect.