NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 16, 2023

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 16, 2023

Recaps of Wednesday’s games include comeback wins by the Canucks and Oilers, plus the latest on the Sabres’ Tage Thompson, the Kings’ Pierre-Luc Dubois and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.


NHL.COM: An overtime goal by Quinn Hughes lifted the Vancouver Canucks over the New York Islanders 4-3. Hughes, Brock Boeser and J.T. Miller each had a goal and two assists as the Canucks overcome a 3-1 deficit to move into first overall in the Western Conference with 25 points (12-3-1) to sit one point back of the first overall Boston Bruins. Mathew Barzal collected two assists for the slumping Islanders (5-6-4) as they’ve won just three of their last 10 games.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Vegas Golden Knights have an identical record but the Canucks hold first place in the West with 11 regulation wins.

Vancouver Canucks defenseman Quinn Hughes (NHL Images).

The Canucks are off to an impressive start to this season. A big reason is they’re getting strong performances thus far from Hughes, Boeser, Miller, Elias Pettersson and Thatcher Demko.

Hughes, Pettersson and Miller are tied for the league lead in points with 26, Boeser is tied with Toronto’s Auston Matthews and Winnipeg’s Kyle Connor for the goal-scoring lead (13), Hughes is the overall assists leader (20) and Demko is among the goaltending leaders with a 2.04 goals-against average, a .932 save percentage and two shutouts.

The Canucks got some bad news earlier in the day as they announced defenseman Carson Soucy will be sidelined for up to eight weeks with a leg injury.

The Edmonton Oilers got a natural hat trick from Evander Kane as they overcame a 3-1 deficit to defeat the Seattle Kraken 4-3 on an overtime goal by Kane. Evan Bouchard collected three assists for the 5-9-1 Oilers, who’ve won three straight games. Jared McCann tallied his seventh goal of the season for the Kraken as they slipped to 5-8-4.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kraken winger Jordan Eberle returned to action in this game after being sidelined for a week by a deep cut to one of his legs from a skate blade during practice.

Colorado Avalanche defenseman Cale Makar collected three assists while Valeri Nichushkin scored twice in an 8-2 rout of the Anaheim Ducks. Joel Kiviranta had a goal and two assists for the Avalanche as they improved to 10-5-0 on the season. Sam Carrick and Max Jones replied for the Ducks as they dropped to 9-7-0.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Avalanche defenseman Josh Manson missed this game against his former club as he’s listed as day-to-day with an upper-body injury.

The Philadelphia Flyers got a 31-save performance from Carter Hart to upset the Carolina Hurricanes 3-1. Owen Tippett, Travis Konecny and Ryan Poehling scored for the Flyers (8-7-1) while Stefan Noesen replied for the 9-7-0 Hurricanes.


TSN: Buffalo Sabres center Tage Thompson is expected to miss at least a month with an injured left wrist.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Sabres will look to Casey Mittelstadt and Dylan Cozens to step up and fill the void during Thompson’s absence.

LOS ANGELES TIMES: Pierre-Luc Dubois is drawing criticism for his “uninvolved, hesitant” play this season. He was acquired from the Kings during an offseason trade with the Winnipeg Jets.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The article points out that when Dubois is playing his best within the Kings’ well-defined system he’s difficult to stop. However, they haven’t seen enough of that version of the 25-year-old center thus far. He has four goals and eight points in 14 games.

THE HOCKEY NEWS: The Arizona Coyotes are shedding their losing reputation this season. They’re playing as a team, believe in themselves and play hard to the very end of every game.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I said at the start of this season not to sleep on the Coyotes. They’ve got a rising star in Clayton Keller, a reliable offensive presence in a healthy Nick Schmaltz, a promising rookie in Logan Cooley, a confident goal scorer in Lawson Crouse, a solid playmaker in Matias Maccelli and a defense bolstered by the offseason addition of Sean Durzi. They could be in the playoff hunt throughout 2023-24.

THE HOCKEY NEWS: Winnipeg Jets defenseman Rasmus Kupari will be sidelined for four to six weeks with an injured shoulder.

DAILY FACEOFF: The Columbus Blue Jackets placed forward Emil Bemstrom on waivers.

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 10, 2023

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 10, 2023

The Sharks upset the Oilers, Connor Bedard sets a Blackhawks record while the Jets’ Kyle Connor and the Bruins’ Charlie Coyle enjoy hat-trick performances. Details on these stories and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.


NHL.COM: The San Jose Sharks got a 39-save performance from Mackenzie Blackwood to hold off the Edmonton Oilers 3-2. Tomas Hertl and Fabian Zetterlund each had a goal and an assist for the 2-10-1 Sharks. Darnell Nurse and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins replied for 2-9-1 Oilers, who are tied with the Sharks with a league-worst five points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The arse has gone out of it for the free-falling Oilers. This could be Jay Woodcroft’s final game as their head coach. Whether a new bench boss can save their season remains to be seen given their porous goaltending, sloppy defensive play and lack of production but they have to do something.

Chicago Blackhawks center Connor Bedard (NHL Images).

Chicago Blackhawks rookie Connor Bedard became the youngest player in franchise history to have a multipoint game in a 5-3 upset of the Tampa Bay Lightning. Bedard scored twice and set up two others while Nick Foligno collected three assists for the Blackhawks (5-7-0). Anthony Cirelli, Nikita Kucherov and Steven Stamkos replied for the Lightning as they slipped to 6-4-4.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Bedard is also the youngest player since 1944 with a four-point game. He now leads all rookies this season with seven goals and 11 points. Meanwhile, Blackhawks winger Andreas Athanasiou left the game in the second period with an undisclosed injury.

The Boston Bruins downed the New York Islanders 5-2 thanks to Charlie Coyle potting his first career NHL hat trick. Coyle finished with four points while David Pastrnak had a goal and two assists as the Bruins (23 points) took over first place in the overall standings with a record of 11-1-1. Ilya Sorokin made 30 saves for the Islanders as they dropped to 5-4-3.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Bruins activated forward Jakub Lauko off injured reserve but he didn’t skate in this game. They also placed forward Morgan Geekie (upper body) on injured reserve. Meanwhile, Islanders defenseman Adam Pelech missed this contest with a lower-body injury.

Winnipeg Jets winger Kyle Connor tallied a hat trick to lead his club over the Nashville Predators by a score of 6-3. Connor finished the night with four points while Mark Scheifele had four assists as the Jets rose to 7-4-2. Filip Forsberg scored twice for the 5-8-0 Predators.

An overtime goal by Cole Caufield lifted the Montreal Canadiens over the Detroit Red Wings 3-2, snapping their four-game losing skid. Cayden Primeau made 27 saves for the win in his first game since Oct. 24 while Mike Matheson had a goal and two assists as the Canadiens improved to 6-5-2. Christian Fischer and JT Compher replied for the 7-5-2 Red Wings as they’re winless in their last four (0-3-1).

New York Rangers winger Artemi Panarin collected a goal and an assist to extend his season-opening points streak to 13 games in a 4-1 victory over the Minnesota Wild. Alexis Lafreniere and Vincent Trocheck each had a goal and two assists while Louis Domingue stopped 25 shots in his first NHL game since 2021-22 as the Rangers improved to 10-2-1. Brandon Duhaime replied for the Wild as they fell to 5-6-2.

The Vancouver Canucks (10-2-1) extended their win streak to five games and pushed their points streak to nine games as they beat the Ottawa Senators 5-2. Elias Pettersson took over the lead in the NHL scoring race (24 points) with a goal and two assists while Ilya Mikheyev tallied twice. Drake Batherson and Artem Zub replied for the 5-7-0 Senators as they’re at the bottom of the Eastern Conference standings with 10 points.

Dallas Stars forward Matt Duchene had a goal and two assists as his club overcame a 2-0 deficit with a 5-2 victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets. Jake Oettinger stopped 27 shots as the Stars improved to 8-3-1 on the season. Boone Jenner and Kirill Marchenko replied for the Blue Jackets as they dropped to 4-6-3.

St. Louis Blues center Robert Thomas scored the game-winner as his club nipped the Arizona Coyotes 2-1. It was Thomas’ fifth straight goal as his club improved to 6-5-1. Lawson Crouse replied for the 6-6-1 Coyotes.

The Seattle Kraken (5-6-3) blew a 3-1 lead but still defeated the Colorado Avalanche 4-3 as Oliver Bjorkstand scored his second goal of the game with 32 seconds remaining in the third period. Nathan MacKinnon had a goal and two assists for the 8-4-0 Avalanche as they dropped their first home game of the season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Avalanche also lost forward Artturi Lehkonen in the second period after falling face-first into the boards. He was taken to a local hospital as a precaution and is reportedly alert, responsive and has full movement of his limbs. An update on his condition could be released on Friday.

An overtime goal by Bryan Rust gave the Pittsburgh Penguins a 4-3 win over the Los Angeles Kings (8-2-3). Penguins captain Sidney Crosby had his 450th career multipoint game with a goal and an assist while Erik Karlsson collected two assists as the Penguins improved to 6-6-0 with their third straight victory. Los Angeles Kings captain Anze Kopitar collected an assist to move into second place on the franchise’s all-time points list with 1,155.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kopitar has a ways to go to catch franchise leader Marcel Dionne’s 1,307 points.


THE PROVINCE: Former Vancouver Canucks great Trevor Linden slammed the club’s former general manager Jim Benning. Linden, who as team president hired Benning in 2014, claimed the former GM probably wouldn’t have chosen Elias Pettersson in the 2017 NHL Draft if he’d had the choice.

Benning refuted Linden’s story, claiming the decision to select Pettersson was a group one. “We were always going to draft Pettersson. The whole group like Petey,” he said.

Benning added that he felt the scouting group hadn’t watched other players enough and wanted them to conduct their due diligence. He called rumors that he liked another player over Pettersson “simply not true,” adding that he told team owner Francesco Aquilini he was drafting the young center the night before the draft.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This sad little attempt at a pissing contest serves no purpose and changes nothing regardless of whose side of the story you believe. The Canucks chose Pettersson, who is currently the NHL’s leading scorer and a big reason why the club is off to its best start in years.

THE ATHLETIC: Peter Baugh reports Kraken winger Jordan Eberle is doing well after suffering a deep cut to his leg from a skate blade during practice on Wednesday. He’s listed as day-to-day.

CBS SPORTS/DAILY FACEOFF: The Washington Capitals placed defenseman Trevor van Riemsdyk (lower body) on injured reserve and announced winger Anthony Mantha is day-to-day after taking a puck to the ear during Wednesday’s game against the Florida Panthers.

CALGARY SUN: The Flames have recalled goaltender Dustin Wolf amid speculation that starting goalie Jacob Markstrom could be nursing an injury.

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 9, 2023

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 9, 2023

Anze Kopitar reaches a milestone goal as his Kings extend their road wins streak, a four-point night for the Senators’ Tim Stutzle, and the Wild make two trades. Get the details on these and other stories in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.


NHL.COM: Los Angeles Kings captain Anze Kopitar scored his 400th career goal as his club beat the Vegas Golden Knights 4-1 to extend their season-opening road win streak to seven games. Kopitar and Adrian Kempe each had a goal and an assist while Cam Talbot made 37 saves as the Kings improved to 8-2-2. William Karlsson scored for the Golden Knights (11-2-1) as they’ve lost two straight but remain on top of the overall standings with 23 points.

Los Angeles Kings captain Anze Kopitar (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Kings are road warriors but they’ve won only once (1-2-2) on home ice. Meanwhile, the Golden Knights were without center Chandler Stephenson as he is sidelined with an upper-body injury. He’s expected to miss one more game.

The Ottawa Senators defeated the Toronto Maple Leafs 6-3. Tim Stutzle had a goal and three assists, Claude Giroux and Dominik Kubalik each tallied twice and Mathieu Joseph collected three assists for the 5-6-0 Senators. William Nylander had a goal and an assist to extend his season-opening points streak to 13 games but his Leafs dropped to 6-5-2.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Senators were short three regular defensemen for this game with Thomas Chabot, Artem Zub and Erik Brannstrom sidelined. However, it was the Leafs who struggled defensively in this contest.

An overtime goal by Sam Reinhart lifted the Florida Panthers to a 4-3 victory over the Washington Capitals. Reinhart, Aleksander Barkov, Evan Rodrigues and Oliver Ekman-Larsson each had a goal and an assist as the Panthers improved to 7-4-1. Anthony Mantha tallied two goals for the 5-4-2 Capitals.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Speaking of the Capitals, they placed center Nicklas Backstrom (hip) on long-term injury reserve. He’s taken time away from the team and isn’t expected to return to action this season.


STARTRIBUNE.COM: The Minnesota Wild made two trades on Wednesday. They shipped defenseman Calen Addison to the San Jose Sharks in exchange for winger Adam Raska and a fifth-round pick in the 2026 NHL Draft. They also acquired defenseman Zach Bogosian from the Tampa Bay Lightning in exchange for a 2025 seventh-round pick.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Bogosian is in the final season of a three-year contract with an average annual value of $850K while Addison is on a one-year deal worth $825K.

The Wild wanted an experienced physical presence on their blueline. They traded away Addison to free up room and salary-cap dollars to take on the 33-year-old Bogosian, who appeared in just four games this season with the Lightning. Raska is a 22-year-old winger with eight games of NHL experience who is likely heading to the Wild’s AHL affiliate.

Addison could use a fresh start after struggling with the Wild over the past two years. The 23-year-old blueliner should get plenty of opportunities to get his NHL career back on track in San Jose.

THE SEATTLE TIMES: Kraken winger Jordan Eberle suffered a deep cut from a skate blade to the upper part of his leg during practice on Wednesday. General manager Ron Francis said Eberle appeared to avoid serious injury but was taken to a hospital for an MRI to determine if there was any tendon damage. The Kraken have called up Shane Wright as an emergency replacement.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Francis believes Eberle “dodged a bullet” but they won’t know for certain until they get the results of the MRI. An update on his condition could be released today.

NEW YORK POST: Rangers goalie Jonathan Quick joined starter Igor Shesterkin on the “day-to-day” list. They’ve recalled netminders Louis Domingue and Dylan Garland.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Rangers are being cautious with Shesterkin and Quick, who have experienced “soreness” from recent play. Shesterkin participated in an optional practice on Wednesday so he could be ready for their matchup tonight with the Wild.

NHL.COM: League commissioner Gary Bettman has upheld the four-game suspension of Boston Bruins defenseman Charlie McAvoy.

BOSTON HOCKEY NOW: Speaking of the Bruins, forward Morgan Geekie is listed as week-to-week with an upper-body injury. Defenseman Derek Forbort (undisclosed) remains questionable for Thursday’s contest with the New York Islanders.

TSN: Edmonton Oilers goaltender Jack Campbell cleared waivers yesterday and has been sent to their AHL affiliate in Bakersfield. The Oilers are expected to recall netminder Calvin Pickard.

DAILY FACEOFF: Colorado Avalanche forward Ross Colton was fined $5,000.00 by the department of player safety for crosschecking New Jersey Devils winger Timo Meier on Tuesday.

Arizona Coyotes defenseman Travis Dermott is expected to miss some time with an undisclosed injury.

CBS SPORTS: San Jose Sharks defenseman Jacob MacDonald could be out for at least a week with an undisclosed injury.

PITTSBURGH HOCKEY NOW: The Penguins placed forward Andreas Johnsson on waivers to terminate his contract. Johnsson, 28, is expected to return to his native Sweden.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Johnsson tallied a career-best 20 goals and 43 points with the Toronto Maple Leafs in 2018-19 but never regained those heights again.

NHL Rumor Mill – September 26, 2023

NHL Rumor Mill – September 26, 2023

Check out the latest on the Wild, Kraken and Sharks in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.


THE ATHLETIC: Michael Russo and Joe Smith pointed out that the Minnesota Wild have three key forwards – Marcus Foligno, Mats Zuccarello and Ryan Hartman – slated to become unrestricted free agents next summer. They wonder if management will be patient or attempt to re-sign the trio as soon as possible.

Foligno, 32, is in the final season of a three-year contract earning an average annual value of $3.1 million. Russo and Smith are betting the Wild offer him the same contract again.

Minnesota Wild winger Mats Zuccarello (NHL Images).

The 36-year-old Zuccarello is in the final year of a five-year deal with an AAV of $6 million. General manager Bill Guerin would likely sign him for two or three years but he’ll have to accept a pay cut.

Hartman, meanwhile, is in the last season of his three-year contract with an AAV of $1.7 million. If the Wild can’t re-sign the 28-year-old center/winger, he could become a valuable trade chip at the March 8 trade deadline.

Russo and Smith get the feeling that Wild management has at least started contract talks with those three to determine the cost of re-signing them. They could be willing to extend their contracts now.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: As Russo and Smith also point out, the Wild’s salary-cap space for next season will also be a determining factor in negotiations with those three players. They have $24.6 million in projected cap space for next season with 12 players under contract.

Guerin will also have to find suitable replacements for goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury and defenseman Alex Goligoski. Both are also due to become UFAs and it’s expected they won’t be offered new contracts.


THE SEATTLE TIMES: In a recent mailbag segment, Geoff Baker was asked what type of contract Kraken center Matty Beniers will get once he comes off his entry-level deal next summer.

Baker pointed out that a two- or three-year bridge contract would leave Beniers primed for a big raise before hitting the open market if he chose to do so. If the Kraken believes he’ll become a star player, it might be best to lock him up to an eight-year deal where they’ll get a cheaper back-end deal on some of his UFA seasons.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Beniers won the Calder Memorial Trophy last season as NHL Rookie of the Year. If he builds on that during his sophomore campaign, he could take a page from the playbook of Toronto Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews and push for a lucrative short-term contract that expires when he’s a year or two away from UFA eligibility.

Asked about Jordan Eberle, Baker indicated the 33-year-old winger would love to re-sign with the Kraken. “I’ve made my stance clear as far as I love it here,” said Eberle. “I want to be here. And I want to be part of a winning group. I think we have one here.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s not surprising that Eberle would like to stay. The Kraken surprised everyone last season with their solid performance in just their second NHL season. He’s also at the stage in his career when he’d prefer the stability of a winning club over the uncertainty of the UFA market.

However, if the Kraken stumbles through this campaign Eberle could become a bargaining chip by the March 8 trade deadline. That will depend on the status of his contract negotiations by then. He’s in the final season of a five-year deal with an annual cap hit of $5.5 million.

The Kraken has over $27 million in projected cap space for 2024-25 with 14 players under contract and Beniers in line for a substantial pay raise. Given his age, he’ll likely have to accept a pay cut to stay in Seattle.


SAN JOSE HOCKEY NOW: Sheng Peng reports Alexander Barabanov hopes to re-sign with the Sharks. The 29-year-old winger is in the second season of a two-year contract ($2.5 million AAV) and is slated to become a UFA next July.

He’s been very productive for the Sharks since they acquired him from the Toronto Maple Leafs in April 2021, netting 93 points in 147 games. On the one hand, his age and his next contract might not fit with the Sharks’ rebuild plans, making him a potential trade candidate by the March 8 deadline. On the other hand, it’s always good to keep a few veterans around to lead the way.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Sharks have over $36 million in projected cap space for 2024-25 with 14 active roster players under contract. Depending on Barabanov’s asking price, they can easily afford to re-sign him if they see him as a key piece going forward.

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 22, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 22, 2021

The Kraken unveil their roster, the Bruins close to re-signing Taylor Hall, the Oilers reportedly ink Mike Smith, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: The Seattle Kraken finally have a full roster as they made their 30-player selections in their expansion draft yesterday. Mark Giordano, Jordan Eberle and Yanni Gourde were among the notable players chosen by the Kraken.

The Seattle Kraken officially announced their roster on July 21. (NHL.com).

Gourde will have to wait for a little way to make his debut with the Kraken after undergoing shoulder surgery this week. His recovery period is estimated to be four months.

Adam Larsson, Chris Driedger and Jamie Oleksiak were considered draft selections from the Edmonton Oilers, Florida Panthers and Dallas Stars respectively after signing new contracts with the Kraken. The trio was slated to become unrestricted free agents on July 28 but the Kraken had a three-day window to exclusively negotiate with free agents exposed in the draft.

Larsson signed a four-year, $16 million contract. Driedger’s new deal is for three years and is worth an annual average value of $3.5 million while Oleksiak’s is for five years with a $4.6 million AAV.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The unofficial Kraken roster I posted yesterday based on media links throughout the day turned out to be the official list. You can read my take on the expansion draft on Bleacher Report.

The Kraken’s home opener is slated for Oct. 23 against the Vancouver Canucks. The NHL’s full 2021-22 schedule will be released on Thursday.

No side deals emerged during the draft despite weeks of hype. General manager Ron Francis was asked if he has any trades in hand that could be unveiled when the expansion draft roster freeze is lifted at 1 pm ET today. “Probably a lot less than you guys think there might be,” he said.

In other news…

TSN: The Boston Bruins are reportedly closing in on a new deal for left wing Taylor Hall. Darren Dreger expects it’ll be a four-year contract worth close to $24 million in total.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Not a surprise. Most of the speculation about Hall’s negotiations with the Bruins suggested a three-to-four year contract worth around $6 million annually.

SPORTSNET: Mike Smith is reportedly returning to the Edmonton Oilers. The 39-year-old goaltender is expected to ink a two-year deal worth around $2 million annually.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Not a bad cap hit but it’s still a bit of a gamble to invest more than one year into a goalie who turns 40 in March. It remains to be seen who will share the netminding duties with Smith. The Oilers are reportedly shopping Mikko Koskinen. He has a year left on his deal worth $4.5 million but they can’t find any takers. There are no immediate plans to buy him out.

Speaking of the Oilers, they’ve engaged in preliminary contract talks with Tyson Barrie after losing defenseman Adam Larsson to the Kraken in the expansion draft.

THE BUFFALO NEWS: The Sabres have started contract discussions with Rasmus Dahlin. The 21-year-old defenseman is a restricted free agent after coming off his three-year entry-level contract.

MONTREAL GAZETTE: The Canadiens hired Trevor Letowski as an assistant coach. He spent the past 10 years coaching in the Ontario Hockey League, the last three as head coach of the Windsor Spitfires.

Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – July 4, 2021

Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – July 4, 2021

Some recent Seth Jones speculation plus updates on the Islanders, Rangers and Red Wings in Sunday’s roundup of NHL rumors.


THE ATHLETIC: Aaron Portzline recently reported Columbus Blue Jackets general manager Jarmo Kekalainen has heard from “just about every GM in the league” regarding Seth Jones. The Chicago Blackhawks, Colorado Avalanche, Los Angeles Kings and Philadelphia Flyers are believed the front-runners to land the prized defenseman.

Columbus Blue Jackets defenseman Seth Jones (NHL Images).

Portzline brought up the Erik Karlsson trade in 2018 as a possible comparable. While Jones is a better all-around defenseman, Karlsson had a more impressive career at that point with two Norris Trophies on his resume. He anticipates the Jackets will get a smaller return for Jones than what the Senators got for Karlsson.

FLORIDA HOCKEY NOW: Jimmy Murphy of Boston Hockey Now cited a league source claiming the Toronto Maple Leafs were among the clubs interested in Jones from the beginning. He also believes Detroit Red Wings GM Steve Yzerman could be up to something.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I believe Jones could also be interested in going to a team where he can play a leadership role. He could get that opportunity on teams like the Blackhawks, Kings and Flyers where there could be a turnover in veteran leadership in the next couple of years as contracts expire.

The Leafs could’ve kicked tires on Jones. I doubt they have sufficient cap room to sign him to a long-term contract extension or sufficient resources to outbid the clubs listed by Portzline.

With plenty of cap space and depth in draft picks and prospects, the Red Wings have the assets to make a competitive bid for Jones. However, they could also be on the blueliner’s 10-team no-trade list. The Wings could certainly use someone like Jones but he might not be keen to join a team still in the midst of a rebuild.


NEW YORK POST: Larry Brooks recently proposed the Islanders need to land a reliable scoring winger for Mathew Barzal’s line. He believes they need someone “more dynamic and reliable than (Jordan) Eberle,” who has two years remaining on his contract worth an annual average value of $5 million. They could leave him exposed in the upcoming expansion draft but there’s no certainty the Seattle Kraken will take him.

He also wondered if they might move defenseman Nick Leddy. That would free up $5.5 million of cap space to find an upper-echelon talent to skate alongside Barzal.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Islanders need more scoring punch up front. They were 21st overall during the regular season. Eberle had four goals and 11 points in 19 playoff games this year but at 31 he doesn’t have many productive years left. As Brooks pointed out, they must improve the quality of talent on Barzal’s right side.

The Islanders could also try to move Eberle and/or Leddy simply to free up cap room to re-sign restricted free agents Ilya Sorokin, Adam Pelech and Anthony Beauvillier. Perhaps they cut a deal with the Kraken to take one or the other. Maybe they get shopped to other clubs this summer.

Brooks doesn’t think the Rangers have room on their roster to add an unrestricted free agent such as Montreal’s Phillip Danault or Tampa Bay’s Blake Coleman or Barclay Goodrow. He also doesn’t see them pursuing Toronto’s Zach Hyman because of their depth on left wing. To address the club’s deficiencies, he feels GM Chris Drury can’t add players without subtracting in two-for-one or three-for-one deals.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That’s why the Rangers are being linked to Buffalo’s Jack Eichel and Calgary’s Matthew Tkachuk in the rumor mill. They have the depth in young assets to bundle into solid trade offers for an established young center or power forward. We’ll find out over the coming weeks if Drury will make that kind of move.

DETROIT HOCKEY NOW: Kevin Allen speculates the Red Wings could use their plentiful cap space this summer to acquire good contracts or players that have to be moved by cap-strapped teams. He thinks Yzerman will call the St. Louis Blues about Vince Dunn. The Pittsburgh Penguins, Carolina Hurricanes and Minnesota Wild could also shop a defenseman to cut costs or because they can’t protect them in the expansion draft.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Yzerman also has 11 picks in the 2021 draft, including two in the first round, three in the second and two in each of the following three rounds. He could draw upon them as bait for clubs looking to moving a blueliner leading up to the draft weekend (July 23-24).