NHL Rumor Mill – June 11, 2024

NHL Rumor Mill – June 11, 2024

Will the Canucks pursue Jake Guentzel and re-sign Elias Lindholm? Will the Jets trade Nikolaj Ehlers? Are the Canadiens out on Martin Necas and Trevor Zegras? Find out in today’s NHL Rumor Roundup.

LATEST CANUCKS SPECULATION

THE PROVINCE: Ben Kuzma reports the Vancouver Canucks have long had Jake Guentzel in their crosshairs as a trade target. He wonders if they’ll get into the bidding as the Carolina Hurricanes are willing to trade the 29-year-old winger’s signing rights. The asking price is said to be a mid-round draft pick.

Kuzma noted the Canucks reportedly considered flipping Elias Lindholm to the Boston Bruins before the trade deadline to clear room to acquire Guentzel from the Pittsburgh Penguins. The Canucks were also linked to Martin Necas but the Hurricanes seek “star power” in return.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Acquiring Guentzel’s signing rights would be more affordable for the Canucks than what it would’ve cost to get him before the March trade deadline. However, he could prove too expensive to re-sign.

The Canucks possess over $25 million in cap space with 14 active roster players under contract for next season. Their notable unrestricted free agents include Lindholm, Nikita Zadorov, Tyler Myers and Dakota Joshua while Filip Hronek and playoff hero Arturs Silos are restricted free agents.

Guentzel could seek between $8.5 million and $9.5 million per season on a long-term extension. That wouldn’t leave much cap space for the others

Winnipeg Jets winger Nikolaj Ehlers (NHL Images).

Meanwhile, Lindholm’s encouraging postseason performance put him back in the Canucks’ roster conversation. Head coach Rick Tocchet likes his hockey smarts and versatility. However, the Bruins have a continued interest in the 29-year-old center. Even if the Canucks offered a seven-year deal worth $7 million annually, it might not be enough to keep Lindholm from testing the market.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Lindholm’s departure would make it easier to re-sign their other free agents, including Guentzel if they acquire him from the Hurricanes. 

TRADE RUMORS SWIRLING ABOUT NIKOLAJ EHLERS

WINNIPEG SUN: Scott Billeck cited a report by The Fourth Period’s Dave Pagnotta claiming Nikolaj Ehlers wasn’t willing to sign a contract extension with the Jets. A source wouldn’t confirm it but said Ehlers had a year left on his contract and they’d see where it went from there. The source added that constant dialogue exists with Jets general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff.

Billeck noted that Ehlers consistently produced well whenever he saw top-line minutes but didn’t spend much time in that role under coaches Rick Bowness, Dave Lowry and Paul Maurice. If new bench boss Scott Arniel is the same, it may be time to part ways with Ehlers, whose production tends to drop during the postseason.

The Boston Bruins, Seattle Kraken, Ottawa Senators, Columbus Blue Jackets, Carolina Hurricanes and New Jersey Devils are reportedly among the potential suitors. Billeck believes the Jets would seek a top-four defenseman if they peddle Ehlers this summer.

THE ATHLETIC: Murat Ates believes the Jets are prepared to shop Ehlers before the NHL Draft (June 28-29) in Las Vegas. He thinks they’ll seek a first-round pick and a good non-elite player in return.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The rumblings about Ehlers started soon after the Jets’ first-round elimination by the Colorado Avalanche in April. Ates pointed out that he carries a 6 million cap hit for next season and a 10-team no-trade list. He’s previously suggested the Senators, Hurricanes, Utah franchise, Buffalo Sabres, Detroit Red Wings and Pittsburgh Penguins as potential destinations for Ehlers.

CANADIENS OUT ON NECAS AND ZEGRAS?

THE ATHLETIC: Arpon Basu reports the Montreal Canadiens are still exploring the possibility of acquiring Hurricanes forward Martin Necas or Anaheim Ducks forward Trevor Zegras. However, the acquisition price could prove too expensive and the timing doesn’t seem right.

The Hurricanes reportedly want “star power” in return for Necas. The Canadiens won’t part with their good young core pieces. It could cost them top defenseman Mike Matheson, leaving a big hole in their blueline. Re-signing Necas could also prove too costly for the Habs right now.

Zegras has two years left on his contract with an AAV of $5.75 million. However, the Canadiens would be asked to part with significant pieces for a financial commitment in a player that they’re not sure will fit in well within their system.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Basu acknowledged that asking prices for Necas or Zegras could drop and priorities might change. However, he pointed out that the Canadiens dodged a bullet last summer when they were linked to Pierre-Luc Dubois. While they need more scoring, it might be best to avoid taking a risk on Necas or Zegras and find better options.










Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – June 9, 2024

Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – June 9, 2024

Check out the latest on Elias Lindholm, Linus Ullmark and Nikita Zadorov plus an update on the Senators in the Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup.

LATEST ON ELIAS LINDHOLM AND NIKITA ZADOROV

THE ATHLETIC: In his latest mailbag segment, Fluto Shinzawa was asked what free agents the Boston Bruins could prioritize this summer.

He sees them making a big push for Vancouver Canucks center Elias Lindholm. He feels his style of play would make him an excellent fit at center. Shinzawa acknowledged Lindholm struggled after being traded to Vancouver but felt the arc of the 29-year-old center’s career remains high.

SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman said the Canucks remain interested in re-signing Lindholm and fellow former Calgary Flame Nikita Zadorov. However, how negotiations go this month remains to be seen.

Vancouver Canucks center Elias Lindholm (NHL Images).

Friedman said Lindholm enjoyed his time in Vancouver. The Canucks could offer a seven-year contract with an average annual value of $7 million. However, Friedman’s not sure if they’ll get it done.

As for Zadorov, Friedman believes he might accept a little less than market value to stay in Vancouver. The Canucks aren’t far from that number but they haven’t reached it yet.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Lindholm played with a nagging wrist injury during the season’s second half, which affected his performance. While that could adversely affect his market value, getting a seven-year offer worth $7 million annually is still a pretty good raise over the $4.85 million AAV of his current contract. Whether the Bruins or another club will get that high remains uncertain.

WHAT’S BRUIN WITH ULLMARK?

THE ATHLETIC: Eric Duhatschek recently looked at what the future could hold for Linus Ullmark. The Boston Bruins goaltender has a year left on his contract with a $5 million cap hit and a modified no-trade clause.

Revisiting Ullmark’s season-ending comments, Duhatschek pointed out that the 30-year-old goaltender prefers staying in Boston. Ullmark understands that if he stays in Boston beyond next season, it’ll likely be on a one-year contract unless he agrees to accept a big pay cut and a lesser role backing up Jeremy Swayman, which he’s unlikely to do.

Duhatschek wondered if Ullmark would accept a trade to the Los Angeles Kings. He said when talks at the trade deadline broke down, there was an understanding the two teams would circle back in the summer. The Kings might consider it if Ullmark agreed to a contract extension, but they don’t appear to be improved. Duhatschek also mentioned the Ottawa Senators or Detroit Red Wings as possible destinations.

NEW JERSEY HOCKEY NOW: James Nichols cited Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman suggesting the Carolina Hurricanes as a destination for Ullmark. He noted that the Hurricanes and Bruins discussed the goaltender before the trade deadline.

Nichols believes the Hurricanes could win a bidding war for Ullmark if winger Martin Necas were offered up as part of the return to the Bruins.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Ullmark’s situation is intriguing because of the reports that he supposedly rejected a trade to a team on his no-trade list (rumored to be the Kings) because he didn’t want to uproot his family at the time.

Ullmark’s comments following the Bruins’ playoff elimination suggest he’s not in a hurry to move out of Boston this summer. He has a 16-team no-trade list that drops to a 15-team list on July 1. He could still end up on the move if the Bruins get a solid offer from a club that is not on that list.

UPDATE ON THE SENATORS

OTTAWA CITIZEN: Bruce Garrioch reported last week that the Senators will go into next season with their young core of Brady Tkachuk, Tim Stutzle, Drake Batherson, Jake Sanderson, Thomas Chabot, Shane Pinto, Josh Norris and Ridly Greig. He also indicated that veteran Claude Giroux isn’t going anywhere.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This is in response to speculation suggesting the Senators might listen to trade offers for Tkachuk. General manager Steve Staios rejected that talk as “pure BS”. Tkachuk’s not going anywhere unless he requests a trade and there’s no indication he’s even considered that possibility.

It’s expected Staios will seek a goaltending upgrade, trying to see what he can get in return for defenseman Jakob Chychurn, and improving his checking lines.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Chychrun is a year away from UFA eligibility and has been frequently mentioned as a trade candidate. In return, Staios could prefer a goalie or a top-four, right-shot defenseman.

A league executive told Garrioch the Senators could try to trade forward Mathieu Joseph before the draft.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That would be a cost-cutting move for the Senators. They have over $12.4 million in cap space next season with 16 active roster players under contract.

The Senators could push to sign Dallas Stars defenseman Chris Tanev if he hits the open market on July 1.










Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – May 26, 2024

Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – May 26, 2024

Check out the latest on Jake Guentzel, Steven Stamkos, Elias Lindholm, and the other top unrestricted free agents in the Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup.

THE ATHLETIC: Pierre LeBrun reported the latest speculation on some of this summer’s top NHL unrestricted free agents.

Jake Guentzel and the Carolina Hurricanes have a mutual interest in negotiating a new contract. LeBrun wonders if an eight-year contract at $8 million per season might keep him in Carolina.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Guentzel could seek a higher annual cap hit but the eight-year term offers greater long-term security.

Tampa Bay Lightning captain Steven Stamkos (NHL Images).

Contract extension talks between the cap-strapped Tampa Bay Lightning and Steven Stamkos continue even after reacquiring Ryan McDonagh (and his $6.75 million cap hit) from Nashville last week. LeBrun speculates this could go right up to when the free-agent market opens on July 1.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Lightning have just over $4.1 million of cap space for next season with 18 active roster players under contract. They’ll have to shed salary to re-sign Stamkos unless he’s taking the biggest pay cut in franchise history.

The Vancouver Canucks could make a strong push to re-sign Elias Lindholm. However, LeBrun believes he could be too expensive to retain.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Lindholm is coming off a six-year deal earning an average annual value of $4.85 million. This is his best opportunity to land a big money deal. He’ll find it somewhere else on July 1 if he can’t get it from the Canucks.

The Vegas Golden Knights have made re-signing Jonathan Marchessault their priority. Both sides are expected to begin discussions soon and could get a deal done.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Golden Knights have $1.79 million of cap space with 18 roster players under contract for next season. They’ll get $5 million in cap relief if Robin Lehner remains on long-term injury reserve.

Marchessault is completing a six-year contract with an AAV of $5 million. Assuming he accepts a similar salary, there won’t be enough to fill out the rest of the roster. That’s prompted speculation suggesting Shea Theodore ($5.2 million cap hit for next season) could become a cost-cutting trade chip.

LeBrun believes Winnipeg Jets winger Tyler Toffoli will be heading to the free-agent market. He wondered if the Nashville Predators might be interested as they could use more offense.

LeBrun was surprised that the Hurricanes haven’t yet gotten Brady Skjei under contract. He reported contract talks have been ongoing since last summer and feels Skjei is their priority on defense to get re-signed. The 30-year-old blueliner could get a six or seven-year deal with an AAV of $6 million but LeBrun thinks he’d accept a little less to stay in Carolina.

Brett Pesce is likely heading to market. The 29-year-old Hurricanes defenseman could get a six-year contract at between $6 million and $6.5 million annually.

The Toronto Maple Leafs have held contract discussions with forwards Tyler Bertuzzi and Max Domi. No numbers have been discussed yet.

Colorado Avalanche defenseman Sean Walker is one of several right-shot defensemen who could draw plenty of interest in this summer’s free-agent market. LeBrun wondered if he might get a five-year deal at $5 million annually.










NHL Rumor Mill – May 25, 2024

NHL Rumor Mill – May 25, 2024

Will the Senators offer up Jakob Chychrun to the Bruins for Linus Ullmark? Which forwards could the Bruins pursue this summer? What’s the latest on Martin Necas? Find out in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.

ULLMARK FOR CHYCHRUN?

OTTAWA SUN: Bruce Garrioch reports Senators general manager Steve Staios made a failed bid to acquire Linus Ullmark from the Boston Bruins before the March trade deadline. It’s expected Staios will make another pitch for the 30-year-old goaltender before the NHL Draft (June 28-29) in Las Vegas.

The Senators, Los Angeles Kings and New Jersey Devils were among several clubs attempting to acquire Ullmark before the deadline. It’s believed he declined to change his 15-team no-trade list, potentially scuttling a trade to the Devils. (Note: Cap Friendly indicates it’s a 16-team NTC until July 1, when it drops to a 15-team NTC).

It’s believed the Senators offered up Joonas Korpisalo as part of their original pitch for Ullmark but the Bruins declined it. Garrioch cited a league executive suggesting the Senators would have to offer up defenseman Jakob Chychrun and a first-round pick plus another selection to land Ullmark, provided he’s willing to go to Ottawa. The Bruins might be willing to take back Senators goalie Anton Forsberg and his $2.75 million cap hit as a short-term backup option for Swayman.

Boston Bruins goaltender Linus Ullmark (NHL Images).

Garrioch expects the Devils could revisit their interest in Ullmark

BOSTON HOCKEY NOW: Jimmy Murphy offered his take on the Chychrun proposal. Bruins GM Don Sweeney might be reluctant to trade Ullmark to a division rival but it wouldn’t matter if he got that offer.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Sweeney would do everything he could to convince Ullmark to accept a trade to Ottawa if Staios offered up Chychrun, a first-rounder and another draft pick. The Senators need a reliable starting goaltender but this would be a big overpayment by Staios.

Ullmark is a Vezina Trophy winner but goaltenders in the salary cap era rarely fetch a big return.

Swapping him for Chychrun or a first-rounder is more realistic. Staios will also want assurances that Ullmark will agree to a contract extension before pulling the trigger on that deal.

WHICH FORWARDS WILL THE BRUINS TARGET THIS SUMMER?

THE ATHLETIC: Fluto Shinzawa doesn’t see the Bruins pursuing Sam Reinhart, Jake Guentzel or Steven Stamkos in this summer’s free-agent market. GM Don Sweeney indicated he’s seeking secondary scoring.

Possible candidates include former Bruin Tyler Bertuzzi, Anthony Duclair, Patrick Kane, Jonathan Marchessault and Vladimir Tarasenko.

NBC SPORTS BOSTON: Nick Goss wondered if the Bruins will pursue Elias Lindholm to upgrade their depth at center. He cited Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman anticipating they’ll be in on the 29-year-old Vancouver Canucks center if he hits the open market on July 1. Friedman also thinks they could pursue Chandler Stephenson of the Vegas Golden Knights.

The Bruins were reportedly interested in Lindholm leading up to the March trade deadline. He’s a more talented and complete player than Stephenson.

BOSTON HOCKEY NOW: Jimmy Murphy cited NYI Hockey Now’s Russell Macias discussing the pros and cons of the Islanders trading Brock Nelson or Jean-Gabriel Pageau. Murphy believes the Bruins should pursue Nelson if he becomes available. He has a year left on his contract with a cap hit of $6 million.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Bruins have a projected cap space of $23.5 million for 2024-25 with 14 active roster players under contract. They could free up another $5 million if they trade Ullmark this summer. Sweeney is expected to use those dollars to bolster his roster through trades and free-agent signings in the coming weeks.

Given their previous interest in Lindholm, it wouldn’t be surprising if they signed him on July 1. Bertuzzi could be back for the right price based on his solid performance during his short tenure with the Bruins last season.

Nelson would be a good addition but turns 33 this fall and could be an expensive short-term pickup.

CANUCKS INTERESTED IN NECAS

THE JEFF MAREK SHOW: Elliotte Friedman said the Vancouver Canucks could be among the teams interested in acquiring Martin Necas if the Carolina Hurricanes put him on the trade block. The 25-year-old forward is a restricted free agent on July 1 with arbitration rights.

Friedman said the Canucks like Necas. He cited what Vancouver GM Patrik Allvin was talking about in his end-of-season press conference regarding his need to find a top-six winger.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Province’s Patrick Johnston pointed out the Canucks attempted to acquire Jake Guentzel and Tyler Toffoli before the March trade deadline.

It’s believed Necas wants a top-line role, which ticks a box for the Canucks. However, it’s said that he wants to be a center, not a winger. With Elias Pettersson and J.T. Miller as their top two centers, they won’t move one of them to the wing to accommodate Necas. He’d have to be comfortable staying as a winger for this to work for the Canucks.










NHL Rumor Mill – May 21, 2024

NHL Rumor Mill – May 21, 2024

Check out the latest on the Canucks, Bruins, Hurricanes and Flyers in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.

WHAT’S NEXT FOR THE CANUCKS

ESPN.COM: Ryan S. Clark looked at what the offseason could hold for the Vancouver Canucks following their elimination from the 2024 Stanley Cup playoffs.

They’ll have to focus on rebuilding their blueline as defensemen Tyler Myers and Nikita Zadorov are among two of their four pending unrestricted free agents. Filip Hronek will be seeking a raise as a restricted free agent.

Vancouver Canucks center Elias Lindholm (NHL Images).

Forwards Elias Lindholm and Dakota Joshua are also slated to become UFAs. Whatever the Canucks do with their forwards will also be with an eye on new contracts for Brock Boeser and Nils Hoglander next year.

THE ATHLETIC: Thomas Drance believes the Canucks pending UFAs, including forwards Teddy Blueger and Sam Lafferty and defenseman Ian Cole, set themselves up as in-demand players entering this summer’s free-agent market. That means it’ll cost more for the Canucks to retain them.

The Canucks’ to-do list includes maintaining or replacing the size advantage that Zadorov, Myers and Joshua bring to their roster and Lindholm’s two-way skills. Contract negotiations with Hronek could be tricky given his arbitration status, inconsistent playoff performance and what they gave up to acquire him from Detroit last season. They must also add more offense.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: After years in the wilderness, the Canucks emerged this season among the NHL’s top teams. It won’t be easy to maintain and build on that.

The Canucks have a projected cap space of $24.7 million for 2024-25 with 14 active roster players under contract. They can’t afford to sign all their pending UFAs while Hronek’s contract situation gets complicated because of his erratic postseason play. Lindholm will likely prove too expensive to retain. So could Zadorov. Joshua should be an affordable re-signing but could be tempted by free agency.

LATEST ON THE BRUINS

THE ATHLETIC: Fluto Shinzawa believes trading Linus Ullmark should be an offseason priority for the Boston Bruins. The 30-year-old goaltender has a year left on his contract a cap hit of $5 million. Trading him would clear the way for a Jeremy Swayman-Brandon Bussi goalie tandem and clear cap room for re-signing Swayman.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: We covered this in yesterday’s NHL Rumor Mill.

Shinzawa also believes the Bruins must acquire an impact center, a scoring right winger and a left-shot defenseman.

NBC SPORTS BOSTON: Nick Goss believes the Bruins desperately need to find another elite scoring forward to take some of the burden off David Pastrnak. If they trade Ullmark, they’ll have over $26 million in salary-cap space to address that issue.

Goss suggested Vancouver’s Elias Lindholm as the free agent that makes the most sense. The Bruins were linked to the 29-year-old center before the trade deadline.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Bruins could revisit their interest in Lindholm this summer if he isn’t re-signed by the Canucks.

They could also look at other UFA options but they’re unlikely to chase an expensive big fish like Tampa Bay’s Steven Stamkos, Florida’s Sam Reinhart or Carolina’s Jake Guentzel. Signing one of them would leave the Bruins having to make do with cost-effective lesser talent to address other problem areas.

As for adding a defenseman, Shinzawa suggested Carolina’s Brady Skjei as a worthwhile free-agent option.

WHAT ARE THE HURRICANES’ OFFSEASON PRIORITIES?

THE NEWS & OBSERVER: Chip Alexander reports Carolina Hurricanes general manager Don Waddell mentioned the issues he hopes to address during the offseason now that head coach Rod Brind’Amour has signed a new contract.

They include deciding which of their unrestricted free agents to re-sign, working out a deal with the KHL to bring over promising defenseman Alexander Nikishin, and finding a right-shot center. Their UFAs include forwards Teuvo Teravainen, Jake Guentzel, Jordan Martinook and Stefan Noesen; defensemen Brady Skjei, Brett Pesce, Jalen Chatfield and Tony DeAngelo; and goaltender Antti Raanta.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Pesce is speculated to be heading to market but they could re-sign Skjei. DeAngelo and Raanta won’t be back. It’s expected they’ll push hard to re-sign Guentzel. It’s uncertain whether Teravainen, Martinook, Noesen and Chatfield will be back. I’d love to hear what Hurricanes fans have to say about this topic.

Alexander didn’t mention Martin Necas in his report. It’s believed the 25-year-old restricted free-agent forward could be shopped this summer.

UPDATE ON THE FLYERS

PHILLY HOCKEY NOW: Jonathan Bailey cited a report from Russia’s Sport-Express indicating Matvei Michkov could terminate his contract with KHL team SKA St. Petersburg. That would clear the path for the 19-year-old winger to join the Philadelphia Flyers next season. The Flyers selected Michkov with the seventh overall pick in the 2023 NHL Draft.

Bailey indicated the Flyers are aware of the report but unable to confirm it at the time. He subsequently reported that SKA St. Peterburg CEO and VP Roman Rotenberg said there has been dialogue with the Flyers.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 6, 2024

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 6, 2024

The Oilers, Leafs and Lightning clinch playoff berths and the Masterton Trophy nominees are announced. Details and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: The Edmonton Oilers got two goals from Connor McDavid and Evander Kane to defeat the Colorado Avalanche 6-2 and clinch a playoff berth. With a record of 46-24-5, the Oilers sit second in the Pacific Division with 97 points. Jonathan Drouin and Ross Colton replied for the Avalanche (48-23-6) as they sit sixth in the overall standings with 102 points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Avalanche also lost winger Mikko Rantanen, who left the game in the second period with an upper-body injury following a heavy, clean hit by Oilers defenseman Mattias Ekholm. Following the game, Avs head coach Jared Bednar said Rantanen would be under evaluation for a while.

Edmonton Oilers captain Connor McDavid (NHL Images).

McDavid and Avalanche center Nathan MacKinnon gained some ground on Tampa Bay Lightning winger Nikita Kucherov, who leads the league this season with 133 points. MacKinnon collected an assist and sits second with 131 points while McDavid sits third with 128. Speaking of scoring, Oilers forward Leon Draisaitl became the fifth player in franchise history with five 100-point seasons.

The Oilers overcame a poor start to this season to secure a postseason spot. They were 10 points out of contention and third-last in the overall standings by the US Thanksgiving holiday on Nov. 23.

Carolina Hurricanes center Sebastian Aho snapped a 2-2 tie in a 4-2 victory over the Washington Capitals, leaving the latter winless in their last five games (0-4-1). Jake Guentzel tallied twice and collected an assist as the Hurricanes improved to 48-22-7 to rise into fourth in the overall standings with 103 points. Alex Ovechkin scored both goals for the Capitals (36-30-10), who sit one point out of the final Eastern Conference wildcard berth with 82 points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Ovechkin has 851 career goals, leaving him 43 behind all-time leader Wayne Gretzky (894). After scoring eight goals in his first 43 games this season, the Capitals captain has 21 goals in his last 30 games. He’s poised to reach the 30-goal mark for the 18th time, which will set an NHL record.

The Buffalo Sabres kept their playoff hopes alive by doubling up the Philadelphia Flyers 4-2. Jack Quinn potted two goals and Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen made 32 saves for the 37-35-5 Sabres (79 points) as they sit four points behind the Flyers, who dropped to 36-30-11 and slipped into the final Eastern wildcard spot with 83 points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The idle Toronto Maple Leafs clinched a playoff berth with the Flyers and Capitals’ losses on Friday.

The Flyers overachieved for most of this season and have held a playoff berth since last fall. However, the wheels are coming off as they’ve won just twice in their last 10 games. The New York Islanders have knocked them out of third place in the Metropolitan Division. They’re now in danger of being overtaken by the Sabres, Capitals, Detroit Red Wings or Pittsburgh Penguins if any of those clubs can string a few wins together.

New York Rangers forward Barclay Goodrow tallied two goals in a 4-3 win over the Detroit Red Wings. Chris Kreider netted his 37th goal of the season and Jonathan Quick turned aside 31 shots for the league-leading Rangers (52-21-4) as they opened a three-point lead (108) over the second-overall Dallas Stars. Red Wings captain Dylan Larkin scored his 30th goal as his club fell to 37-31-8 and are one point behind the Flyers.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: With the Wings, Flyers and Capitals losing their games, the idle Tampa Bay Lightning secured a playoff spot. Only two berths in the East remain available with six teams having a legitimate shot at clinching them.

Larkin is the first Red Wing to have three straight 30-goal seasons since Henrik Zetterberg from 2005-06 to 2008-09.

The Arizona Coyotes scored six unanswered third-period goals to upset the Vegas Golden Knights 7-4. Michael Carcone tallied the tying and winning goals for the 32-39-5 Coyotes. William Karlsson had a goal and an assist for the Golden Knights (42-26-8) as they remain in third place in the Pacific Division with 92 points.

Seattle Kraken center Shane Wright scored twice and picked up an assist to lead his club to a 3-1 win over the Anaheim Ducks. Oliver Bjorkstrand had two assists for the 32-31-13 Kraken. Leo Carlsson replied for the 25-48-4 Ducks.

HEADLINES

NHL.COM: The Professional Hockey Writers Association announced the 32 finalists for the 2023-24 Bill Masteron Memorial Trophy, awarded each year “to the player who best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to ice hockey.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Follow the link above for the complete list. Among the notables are Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby, Columbus Blue Jackets defenseman Zach Werenski, Dallas Stars center Matt Duchene, New York Rangers goaltender Jonathan Quick, Ottawa Senators forward Claude Giroux, Philadelphia Flyers center Sean Couturier, and Vegas Golden Knights defenseman Alex Pietrangelo.

My congratulations to all 32 players as they are worthy nominees.

I’m not a member of the PHWA but if I were, my choice would be Calgary Flames defenseman Oliver Kylington, who returned to action this season after a year and a half away from the game dealing with mental health issues.

SPORTSNET: Toronto Maple Leafs winger Mitch Marner will return to action on Saturday against the Montreal Canadiens. He’s been sidelined by a high-ankle sprain for 12 games. He will start on the second line with center John Tavares and winger Bobby McMann.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Marner usually skates alongside Auston Matthews on the first line. Leafs coach Sheldon Keefe wants to keep the line of Matthews, Tyler Bertuzzi and Max Domi intact for at least this game.

THE PROVINCE: Vancouver Canucks center Elias Lindholm resumed practicing with his teammates on Friday after being sidelined with a wrist injury since March 23. It’s not known when he’ll return to the lineup but it’s a promising sign that he might be back before the end of the regular season.