NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 6, 2019

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 6, 2019

The Islanders extended their winning streak to 10 games, Zdeno Chara plays his 1,500th career NHL game, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: The New York Islanders extended their league-leading win streak to 10 games with a 4-1 victory over the Ottawa Senators. Cal Clutterbuck and Casey Cizikas each had a goal and an assist while rookie Cole Bardreau tallied his first career NHL goal on a penalty shot.

Boston Bruins defenseman Zdeno Chara played in his 1,500 career NHL game (Photo via NHL Images).

The Montreal Canadiens blew three leads but managed to defeat the Boston Bruins by a score of 5-4. Victor Mete tallied twice for the Canadiens. Bruins winger David Pastrnak scored a goal to extend his points streak to 13 games while teammate Brad Marchand’s 13-game point streak came to an end. Bruins captain Zdeno Chara skated in his 1,500th career NHL game while Montreal Canadiens bench boss Claude Julien coached his 1,200th career NHL contest.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Chara received a nice ovation for his achievement from the Bell Centre fans. Despite the long-running rivaly between the two clubs, Chara is respected by Canadiens fans.

The New Jersey Devils nipped the Winnipeg Jets 2-1 on shootout goals by Nikita Gusev and Jesper Boqvist. Mackenzie Blackhawks made 32 saves for the Devils. Jets center Bryan Little left the game in the third period after being struck in the head by a slapshot from teammate Nikolaj Ehlers. A further update on his condition is expected today. Jets defenseman Nathan Beaulieu made his season debut.

Ben Bishop made 36 stops and Radek Faksa scored twice as the Dallas Stars picked up their fourth straight win by beating the Colorado Avalanche 4-1. After going 1-7-1 to open the season, the Stars are 7-1-0 in their last eight games. It was a costly win for the Stars as defenseman John Klingberg left the game with a lower-body injury. He could be sidelined for at least two weeks. Following a hot start to the season, the Avs have dropped five straight games.

The San Jose Sharks downed the Chicago Blackhawks 4-2 to pick up their first win in six games. Timo Meier tallied a goal and an assist while teammate Patrick Marleau became the sixth player in league history to skate in his 800th consecutive NHL game. The Sharks also welcomed back defenseman Radim Simek. He’d been sidelined since March 12 recovering from a knee injury. Earlier in the day, it was reported Sharks winger Evander Kane was being sued by a Las Vegas casino over $500,000 in unpaid gambling markers.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kane is his own worst enemy. This is the latest in a string of questionable off-ice behavior stretching back to his days with the Winnipeg Jets and Buffalo Sabres.

Reilly Smith scored twice as the Vegas Golden Knights edged the Columbus Blue Jackets 2-1, extending the latter’s winless skid to five games. Vegas goalie Marc-Andre Fleury picked up the win with a 29-save performance.

Third-period goals by Auston Matthews and William Nylander 30 seconds apart lifted the Toronto Maple Leafs to a 3-1 win over the Los Angeles Kings. Matthews and Nylander finished the night with two points each.

The Calgary Flames overcame 2-0 and 3-1 deficits to beat the Arizona Coyotes 4-3 in overtime. Matthew Tkachuk scored twice, including the winning goal.

Jaden Schwartz scored on a 3-on-none rush in overtime to give the St. Louis Blues a 2-1 victory over the Vancouver Canucks. The Blues have won five in a row.

Unanswered third-period goals by Travis Konecny, Joel Farabee, and Claude Giroux carried the Philadelphia Flyers to a 4-1 win over the Carolina Hurricanes. Flyers goaltender Carter Hart turned aside 33 shots for the win.

Third-period goals by Mats Zuccarello, Eric Staal, and Zach Parise enabled the Minnesota Wild to double up the Anaheim Ducks 4-2. Zuccarello finished with two points as the Wild picked up their first road win in five games.

IN OTHER NEWS…

THE ATHLETIC: (Subscription required) There is concern over synthetic drugs like cocaine and molly (a pill form of MDMA also known as Ecstasy) becoming more popular among some younger NHL players.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This is a fascinating in-depth examination of the topic of drug use by NHL players. The piece notes the subject is “often shrouded in secrecy, protected by confidentiality and mostly kept obscured, save for the odd rumor that gains traction on Twitter or hockey message boards.” It attempts to answer how common drug use is in the NHL, the most prevalent drugs, and what the league and the players association are doing to address the issue. It’s well worth the read.

ESPN.COM: In a recent poll of NHL players, the Washington Capitals have the worst visitors’ dressing room while Winnipeg is considered the worst road city.

CBS SPORTS: Detroit Red Wings defenseman Trevor Daley was placed on injured reserve.










NHL Rumor Mill – January 10, 2018

NHL Rumor Mill – January 10, 2018

James van Riemsdyk could be an expensive re-signing for the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Updates on James van Riemsdyk, Evander Kane, Rick Nash, Brock Nelson and more in your NHL rumor mill.

LATEST ON VAN RIEMSDYK

TSN: NHL insider Darren Dreger appeared on Leafs Lunch yesterday discussing what it might cost the Toronto Maple Leafs to re-sign left wing James van Riemsdyk, who’s due to become an unrestricted free agent on July 1. Noting colleague Bob McKenzie suggested it could take a five-year deal in the range of $6 million annually as the starting point in negotiations, Dreger believes JVR would take $6 million annually to stay with the Leafs on a six-year deal. He doesn’t think there’s been any serious contract talks between the two sides thus far.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Because of van Riemsdyk’s UFA status, there’s some fan speculation suggesting the Leafs should shop him at the trade deadline for a top-four defenseman. While anything’s possible, I don’t believe they’ll go that route because they don’t want to sacrifice the offense van Riemsdyk gives them. They’ll stick with him for the remainder of the season and try to hammer out an agreement on a new contract before July 1. 

UPDATES ON KANE, JAGR AND SEABROOK

TSN: During Tuesday’s insider segment, Pierre LeBrun reported the Buffalo Sabres’ asking price (if they have their way) for pending UFA left wing Evander Kane “will be a first-round pick, plus a prospect, plus potentially a conditional pick in case he signs with that new team.” While there’s no firm timeline as to when the Sabres could move Kane, LeBrun suspects it’ll be near the Feb. 26 trade deadline.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I think the Sabres will wait until the days leading up to the deadline to move Kane in hopes of maximizing his trade value. Teams could be leery of parting with a first-round pick but a club looking at making a run for the Cup this season could go for it. Perhaps the Tampa Bay Lightning could consider making a pitch? 

Darren Dreger reports most believe right wing Jaromir Jagr’s time with the Calgary Flames is drawing to a close, but he’s still being treated for an injury and he wants to be healthy before determining his playing future. The Flames could try to trade him but Dreger said it doesn’t appear as though there’s much of a market for Jagr’s services.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I hate to say it but I think Jagr’s NHL playing days are over. I’ll be very surprised if he gets traded. 

Regarding the Chicago Blackhawks making Brent Seabrook a healthy scratch from Tuesday’s game against the Ottawa Senators, LeBrun said this wasn’t about setting up a trade or that Seabrook’s days as a key member of the Blackhawks are coming to an end. He feels it was done to send a message to Seabrook and his teammates regarding their performance.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Even if the Blackhawks wanted to trade Seabrook, his hefty contract ($6.875 million annual average value through 2023-24 plus a no-movement clause) makes him almost impossible to move. 

SHOULD RANGERS LISTEN TO OFFERS FOR NASH?

NEW YORK POST: Larry Brooks reports there’s a belief the Rangers could attempt to add a piece or two to offset the loss of Chris Kreider to potentially season-ending rib surgery. However, he calls upon management not to be deluded by their 22-15-15 record, citing the team’s lack of focus and intensity, defensive-zone deficiencies and the fact they’re being kept afloat by the goaltending tandem of Henrik Lundqvist and Ondrej Pavelec.

Brooks believes they should be listening to offers on pending free agent winger Rick Nash. While the decline in Nash’s production hurts his trade value, Brooks suggests “it only takes two teams believing that No. 61 can be a missing link to a title in order to generate a bidding war.” While landing a first-round pick would be ideal, he suggests entertaining offers “including a second-rounder, plus.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Nash’s offensive decline screams “buyer beware”. Sure, the Rangers could listen to offers but I doubt they’ll get many serious ones. 

LATEST ON NELSON AND GUDBRANSON

SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman reports New York Islanders forward Brock Nelson is “starting to creep out there” in the rumor mill. With defensemen Johnny Boychuk and Calvin de Haan sidelined, the Isles need blueline help. Friedman believes there will be interest in Nelson. He also wonders if the Isles might take a look at Buffalo Sabres goaltender Robin Lehner.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Nelson, 26, reached 20 goals and 40 points in each of the last three seasons but he’s currently on pace for only 17 goals and 27 points. Still, I think he could be enticing for clubs with blueline depth seeking a second-line forward with good size who can play center or wing. As for Lehner, I don’t think the Sabres want to part with him. 

Friedman said there’s no shortage of people who believe Vancouver Canucks defenseman Erik Gudbranson “will be better on a better, more structured team.” The Canucks, however, are trying to drive up his price.

UPDATES ON THE STARS

THE DALLAS MORNING NEWS: During a recent live chat, Mike Heika was asked which big-name player on the Dallas Stars was most likely to be traded. While he doubts any of them will be moved this season, he suggests center Jason Spezza as a candidate.

While Spezza’s minutes have been reduced this season, Heika notes he has some control over a possible trade. He thinks the veteran center wants to stay in Dallas and help the Stars win. Unless the Stars fall apart down the stretch, Heika doesn’t believe they’ll become sellers at the trade deadline.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Spezza surfaced briefly in the rumor mill earlier this season. However, his age (34), declining production and contract ($7.5 million annual cap hit through 2018-19 with a modified no-trade clause) should ensure he finishes this season in Dallas. If the Stars become active in the trade market leading up to the deadline, it’ll be as buyers. 

 











NHL Rumor Mill – December 30, 2016



NHL Rumor Mill – December 30, 2016

Did the NY Islanders have interest in Colorado Avalanche star Matt Duchene?

Latest on Matt Duchene, Ondrej Pavelec and Mark Fayne plus an update on the Buffalo Sabres in your NHL rumor mill. 

EDMONTON SUN: Jim Matheson reports the New York Islanders looked into acquiring Colorado Avalanche forward Matt Duchene earlier this season, but the asking price was too high. He presumes the Avs were looking at “Matt Barzal, Anthony Beauvillier and Travis Hamonic.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: If the Avs decide to move Duchene, they will set a high asking price. Trading a player of his caliber usually doesn’t happen in-season. 

 If the Oilers aren’t comfortable with backups Jonas Gustavsson or Laurent Brossoit before the March 1 trade deadline, Matheson suggests they inquire about former Winnipeg Jets starter Ondrej Pavelec, who’s currently toiling for the Jets’ AHL affiliate, as a rental backup. Pavelec is an unrestricted free agent in July. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Not a bad suggestion, but if the Jets remain in playoff contention, they could hang onto Pavelec as insurance down the stretch. 

With the New Jersey Devils scrambling on defense, Matheson wonders if they might take back Oilers blueliner Mark Fayne. With a year remaining on Fayne’s contract worth $3.625 million, he doubts that’s possible.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Doubt it. While the Devils have over $8.8 million in cap space for this season and over $20 million for 2017-18, Fayne’s declining play and cap hit makes it unlikely they’ll want him back. 

FANRAG.COM: Chris Nichols cited a recent appearance by NHL insider Pierre LeBrun on Montreal’s TSN 690 where he discussed the plight of the Buffalo Sabres. While LeBrun still believes Sabres winger Evander Kane could be had for the right price, the club won’t just give him away. He believes the Sabres would like to acquire help on the blueline. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: If the Sabres are still willing to trade Kane, I suspect that move will have to wait until the offseason. Interested clubs will want to see how well he performs over the remainder of this season. Even then, the Sabres could find it difficult acquiring a defenseman to help their blueline. 










Updates on the Canucks, Canadiens & Kings – November 3, 2016



Updates on the Canucks, Canadiens & Kings – November 3, 2016

Don't expect the Vancouver Canucks to dangle Jannik Hansen as trade bait for a scoring winger.

Don’t expect the Vancouver Canucks to dangle Jannik Hansen as trade bait for a scoring winger.

Latest on the Vancouver Canucks search for a score and the Montreal Canadiens need for another defenseman, plus an update on the Los Angeles Kings’ goalie situation.

THE PROVINCE: Jason Botchford weighs in on a recent report claiming the Vancouver Canucks are in the market for a goal scorer, noting that’s been tops on GM Jim Benning’s to-do list for some time. He said they want a young, strong 20-goal scorer, but finding one isn’t easy.

Botchford claims the Canucks’ most asked-for players were Chris Tanev and Jannik Hansen, but he doesn’t see Benning moving either guy. The Canucks lack of depth at center means Bo Horvat’s not going anywhere. Defenseman Alex Edler won’t waive his no-trade clause, the Canucks can’t move any of their high-end prospects and they can’t afford to take on a bad contract.

Botchford notes they could have an extra second-round pick in 2017 (Columbus’) to use as a trade chip. He doubts that pick, plus a couple of prospects, will pry Evander Kane away from the Buffalo Sabres. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I wouldn’t be so sure regarding Kane. The Sabres were reportedly keen to move him this summer. He’s currently sidelined for weeks with fractured ribs so he’s not an option for the Canucks right now. Given Kane’s baggage and $5.25 million cap hit, however, he’s not a good fit for them. 

The Canucks’ problem is it’s too early in the season to find the type of scorer they need. Not saying it can’t happen, but such moves as this point in an NHL season are rare in the salary-cap era. To get what they need means parting with a quality asset, and they don’t have that much to offer up right now. 

TODAY’S SLAPSHOT:  Elliotte Friedman appeared on the NHL Network Monday to discuss the Montreal Canadiens options for landing a top-four defenseman. He believes there’s blueliners available right now, but none that are top-four caliber other than Jacob Trouba of the Winnipeg Jets. Nobody’s sure if the Jets want to deal Trouba unless they get a king’s ransom in return. Friedman notes Canadiens GM Marc Bergevin has dealt for a defenseman in November, acquiring Sergei Gonchar two years ago from the Dallas Stars.

Bob McKenzie, appearing on TSN 690, said the word is Bergevin wants to acquire a defenseman but he’s not really prepared to give anything up. McKenzie notes NHL trade talks in general could pick up at the meeting of general managers in Toronto on Nov. 15. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Bergevin is among the most active GMs in the trade market. However, to find what he seeks could mean waiting until the March 1 trade deadline approaches. That’s when non-playoff clubs start ditching pending free agents they can’t or won’t re-sign. I doubt he’ll be able to pry Trouba away from the Jets. 

NBC SPORTS: Jason Brough reports Los Angeles Kings head coach Darryl Sutter pour cold water on expectations his club will bolster its goaltending via trade. “There’s nobody coming in on a white horse to play goal for us or score goals or to come up from [the AHL],” said Sutter. This is our team. I’ve said it early, meaning two or three games ago, and I’ll say it again. Our responsibility is not to use the injuries as an excuse. The responsibility is to try and stay in the race.” The Kings are trying to make due with starter Jonathan Quick sidelined up to three months with a groin injury. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: In other words, don’t expect to see Jaroslav Halak or Ondrej Pavelec donning a Kings jersey anytime soon. 










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 1, 2016



NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 1, 2016

Minnesota Wild goalie Devan Dubnyk was named one of the NHL's three stars for the week ending Oct. 30.

Minnesota Wild goalie Devan Dubnyk was named one of the NHL’s three stars for the week ending Oct. 30.

Stars of the week, notable demotions, recalls, injury updates & more in your NHL morning coffee headlines. 

NHL.COM:  Ottawa Senators goaltender Craig Anderson, Minnesota Wild goalie Devan Dubnyk and Montreal Canadiens defenseman Shea Weber are the NHL’s three stars for the week ending October 30, 2016.

THE BUFFALO NEWS: A plea agreement will see the harassment and trespassing charges against Buffalo Sabres left wing Evander Kane dismissed, provided he remains out of trouble for the next six months.

THE HOCKEY NEWS:  The NHL intends to restrict All-Star Game participants to “bona fide players.” That could mean no repeat of a marginal player being selected via fan voting, such as what happened with enforcer John Scott last year. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Scott situation had a happy ending for the league. However, I see the sense in restricting this sort of thing from happening again. Just because the Scott story ended well doesn’t mean another scenario involving a player who is clearly not All-Star caliber couldn’t become an embarrassment for the league. 

THE MERCURY NEWS:  Despite being pointless in his last seven games, Mikkel Boedker will continue to skate on the San Jose Sharks’ top line with Joe Thornton and Joe Pavelski. 

TWINCITIES.COM: Injuries and limited salary-cap space prevented the Minnesota Wild from icing a full lineup for practice yesterday. 

THE DALLAS MORNING NEWS:  Stars winger Ales Hemsky is sidelined five-to-six months following hip surgery.

BOSTON HERALD: Bruins forward David Backes (day-to-day, elbow surgery) will miss the club’s upcoming road trip to Florida. 

THE GLOBE & MAIL’s James Mirtle reports the Toronto Maple Leafs placed defenseman Matt Hunwick on injured reserve. 

NBC SPORTS:  The injury-riddled Los Angeles Kings recalled defenseman Rob Scuderi. 

NJ.COM: Promising center Pavel Zacha is expected to remain with the New Jersey Devils beyond the nine-game deadline for returning him to his junior club. 

ARIZONA SPORTS:  The Coyotes assigned forward Christian Dvorak to their AHL affiliate in Tucson. 

MONTREAL GAZETTE: The Canadiens sent defenseman Mikhail Sergachev back to his OHL club in Windsor. 

THE NEWS & OBSERVER: The Carolina Hurricanes placed forward Martin Frk on waivers for the purpose of demotion to the minors. 

THE HOCKEY NEWS: Check out the 10 best costumes worn by NHL players this Halloween. 










NHL Rumor Mill – October 10, 2016



NHL Rumor Mill – October 10, 2016

Could Tampa Bay Lightning RFA winger Nikita Kucherov receive an offer sheet?

Could Tampa Bay Lightning RFA winger Nikita Kucherov receive an offer sheet?

Latest on Nikita Kucherov, Johnny Gaudreau, Jacob Trouba and more in your NHL rumor mill. 

SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman believes agent Scott Greenspun, who represents Tampa Bay Lightning right wing Nikita Kucherov, has met with at least one team regarding an offer sheet for his client. Friedman cautions there’s a big difference between talking about it and a team actually doing it.

Friedman notes Greenspun declined to comment about his client’s contract negotiations. He speculates it doesn’t appear as though there’s much movement in those talks. Given the Lightning’s limited salary-cap space, Friedman thinks they’re trying to get Kucherov to follow the lead of teammates Steven Stamkos and Victor Hedman to accept less money. It’s also believed Kucherov’s preference is to stay in Tampa Bay. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: If Kucherov was to get an offer sheet, I believe he would’ve gotten it well before now. Only eight teams (Calgary Flames, Buffalo Sabres, Anaheim Ducks, Edmonton Oilers, Winnipeg Jets, Florida Panthers, New Jersey Devils and Carolina Hurricanes have sufficient cap space (over $7 million) to pitch an offer sheet to Kucherov.

Of those clubs, the Flames, Sabres, Ducks and Jets have RFAs of their own to re-sign. The Oilers must think ahead about retaining sufficient cap space to re-sign Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl within the next two years. The Panthers are already loaded with young forwards. The Devils and Hurricanes certainly could use Kucherov, but I have my doubts they’ll go the offer sheet route. 

Calgary Flames GM Brad Treliving recently met with Johnny Gaudreau’s agent and the Gaudreau family. Friedman believes they’re grinding toward trying to close a deal. 

Friedman believes ” Arizona, Buffalo, Boston, Colorado, Detroit and the Rangers” are in on Winnipeg Jets defenseman Jacob Trouba, and guesses “Dallas and Tampa Bay” could be lurking. He claims a couple of sources doubt Montreal is interested, while Florida’s offseason moves likely takes them out of the picture. Friedman believes the asking price is high, saying he wouldn’t be surprised , for example, if the Jets asked for Sabres defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen.  The Trouba camp also told the Jets they weren’t interested in signing if the status quo on the right side of defense remains status quo. With some of the interested teams lacking the assets to meet the Jets’ asking price, some of them are trying to get third parties involved. 

It sounds like the Anaheim Ducks are closer toward a new contract with RFA forward Rickard Rakell than they are with defenseman Hampus Lindholm, but Friedman cautions that doesn’t mean a deal is imminent. As the Ducks don’t wish to lose defenseman Cam Fowler to next year’s expansion draft, Friedman wonders if Fowler could help another team land Trouba. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It would be interesting to see one of those clubs with interest in Trouba try to bring in another team like the Ducks to get a deal done. Three-way trades are quite rare but they do occasionally take place. I’ve previously written (here and here) about what it could cost most of these teams to get Trouba.

Given the Lightning’s efforts to re-sign Kucherov, I don’t see them being a serious suitor. I don’t believe the Stars have that left-shooting defenseman of comparable age and skill the Jets reportedly seek as a return for Trouba. Further complicating things for any team interested in Trouba is signing him to a new contract. It could cost over $5 million per season – perhaps more – on a long-term deal to do so.

Friedman says he’s hearing there’s not much movement on the Sabres contract talks with Ristolainen. Speaking of the Sabres, Friedman noted they placed Evander Kane with Jack Eichel and Sam Reinhart. He wonders if Kane will be there to stay or if the move was made as an attempt to raise his trade value. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I think the Sabres understand they’re stuck with Kane this season. Given his off-ice issues and $5.25 million cap hit, I don’t believe there’s much of a market for him right now. Maybe that changes over the course of the season if he cleans up his act on and off the ice. 

OTTAWA SUN: Ken Warren speculates over who will take the concussed Clarke MacArthur’s spot on the Senators roster. They could look to within by considering Ryan Dzingel, Zack Smith, Phil Varone and Matt Puempel. Warren also claims Sens GM Pierre Dorion spent this weekend looking at trade options and the waiver wire.