NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 13, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 13, 2021

Bruins edge the Rangers, Blues down the Coyotes, plus the latest on Steven Stamkos, Matt Murray, Zach Werenski and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: The Boston Bruins extended their points streak to 10 games by blanking the New York Rangers 1-0. Jaroslav Halak made 21 saves for the shutout while Nick Ritchie scored the only goal in a chippy affair that totaled 58 minutes in penalties with most of those in the second period. Earlier in the day, the Rangers announced winger Artemi Panarin would miss this game due to a lower-body injury.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Bruins (22 points) opened a four-point lead atop the East Division and moved to within a point of the first-overall Toronto Maple Leafs. The Rangers, meanwhile, have just three victories in their last 10 games.

Justin Faulk scored twice (including the game-winner) and collected an assist as the St. Louis Blues rolled to a 4-1 victory over the Arizona Coyotes. Brayden Schenn had a two-point night for the Blues. The Coyotes played without John Hayden as he was added to the NHL’s COVID-19 protocol list.

Tampa Bay Lightning captain Steven Stamkos (NHL Images)

Earlier in the day, Blues winger Vladimir Tarasenko surprised his teammates with an appearance during an optional practice. He’s recovering from offseason shoulder surgery and his return to action is still weeks away.

TAMPA BAY TIMES: The Lightning placed captain Steven Stamkos on the COVID-19 protocol list. The development is unrelated to the lower-body injury that sidelined him from Thursday’s game against the Florida Panthers.

TSN: Ottawa Senators goaltender Matt Murray is listed as day-to-day with an upper-body injury and won’t play in today’s game against the Winnipeg Jets.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Senators will need a better effort from backup Marcus Hogberg. He’s winless in five appearances with a 4.86 goals-against average and .836 save percentage.

CBS SPORTS: Columbus Blue Jackets defenseman Zach Werenski returns to the lineup today against the Chicago Blackhawks after being sidelined for three games with a lower-body injury.

TWINCITIES.COM: Matt Dumba and Mats Zuccarello joined a depleted Minnesota Wild roster in the club’s first practice since their schedule was paused by COVID-19 10 days ago. Dumba could be ready to return to action for the Wild’s game on Tuesday against the Los Angeles Kings.

THE DENVER POST: Colorado Avalanche defenseman Devon Toews could be ready to return to the lineup after being sidelined since Jan. 28 with an injured foot. The Avs are slated to play the Vegas Golden Knights on Sunday in their first game since their schedule was paused by the coronavirus.

NBC SPORTS PHILADELPHIA: The list of Flyers on the protocol list grew to seven as Oskar Lindblom and Scott Laughton were added yesterday.

THE SCORE: NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly confirmed the league is working on changing the draft lottery. While Daly didn’t divulge details, TSN’s Pierre LeBrun reports there were a number of people around the league who felt it unfair that the rebuilding Detroit Red Wings, who finished dead last in 2019-20, ended up with the fourth-overall pick in last year’s draft rather than selecting first overall. Changes to the draft are expected to be discussed with the league board of governors at a future date.

USA HOCKEY: announced New York Rangers associate general manager Chris Drury has been named the general manager of the 2021 US National Men’s Team.










NHL Rumor Mill – June 30, 2020

NHL Rumor Mill – June 30, 2020

Updates on the Blues and Senators in today’s NHL rumor mill

STLTODAY.COM: In a recent live chat with Blues fans, Tom Timmermann was asked how the club could afford to keep Justin Faulk if they re-sign Alex Pietrangelo. Doing so would involve freeing up some salary-cap space by trading two well-paid players. Timmermann also suggested Faulk could be exposed in the 2021 NHL expansion draft.

St. Louis Blues defenseman Justin Faulk (Photo via NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Blues have over $79.4 million invested in 20 players (stick tap to Cap Friendly) with Pietrangelo and blueliner Vince Dunn as their notable free agents to re-sign. There’s been speculation for weeks over which players the Blues could trade (or buy out) to free up cap room for those two, with Tyler Bozak ($5 million annually through 2020-21) and Alexander Steen ($5.75 million through ’20-’21) considered the likely candidates. Bozak has a 10-team no-trade list while Steen’s no-trade expires on Feb. 1.

Maybe Blues general manager Doug Armstrong surprises us by trading Faulk at season’s end after re-signing him last fall to a long-term extension, but that would mean he waives his no-trade clause. It’s assumed Faulk was acquired and re-signed as insurance in case Pietrangelo departs via free agency later this year.

Speaking of Pietrangelo, Timmermann thinks the odds of the Blues captain staying put have slightly increased because he’s unlikely to get a lot of lucrative contract offers if the salary cap remains flat for next season. If Pietrangelo agrees to a short-term deal, the Blues have a better chance of re-signing him. Nevertheless, Timmermann reminds us it only takes one team with lots of cap space to put an end to that.

OTTAWA SUN: Bruce Garrioch expects Senators GM Pierre Dorion will be working the phones between now and whenever the 2020 NHL Draft is held. With 13 selections, including potentially three in the first round and seven in the first two rounds, Garrioch expects Dorion will use some of those picks to move up or down in the draft order or to acquire NHL players.

TSN analyst Craig Button points out the Senators also have lots of salary-cap space for next season. That will work to their advantage as there will be teams looking to shed salary to become cap compliant.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I expect Dorion could use some of those picks and his cap room to bring in one or two good, young NHL players. The Senators have only $41.9 million invested in nine players. 

Much of that cap space will be invested in re-signing RFAs like Connor Brown, Chris Tierney, and Anthony Duclair, and perhaps one or two UFAs like Ron Hainsey or Mark Borowiecki. I doubt they’ll be a cap team, but I do believe they’ll be willing to invest in some NHL talent if it will help them over the long term.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 9, 2020

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 9, 2020

The Red Wings and Hurricanes pull off upset victories, Sportsnet and NBC Sports make NHL history with all-female broadcast crews, and more in today’s morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: Shootout goals by Dylan Larkin and Robby Fabbri carried the Detroit Red Wings to a 5-4 upset of the Tampa Bay Lightning. The Bolts rallied from a 4-2 deficit to force overtime and the shootout frame. Anthony Mantha and Tyler Bertuzzi each had a goal and three assists. Brayden Point tallied twice for the Lightning (92 points), who sit six points back of the league-leading Boston Bruins. Tampa Bay defenseman Ryan McDonagh returned to the lineup after missing 14 games with a lower-body injury, but Victor Hedman (lower body) missed the game and is listed as day-to-day.

Detroit Red Wings forward Anthony Mantha had a four-point performance in a 5-4 upset over the Tampa Bay Lightning (Photo via NHL Images).

Carolina Hurricanes rookie Morgan Geekie scored twice in his NHL debut to help his club down the Pittsburgh Penguins 6-2. Justin Williams also scored twice for the Hurricanes (76 points), who surged ahead of the New York Islanders into the final Eastern Conference wild-card spot. The slumping Penguins (84 points) sit third in the Metropolitan Division, but they’ve dropped eight of their last 10 contests.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Penguins were playing better when their roster was depleted by injuries. They’re struggling despite a healthier lineup bolstered by recent additions made before the Feb. 24 trade deadline.

St. Louis Blues goalie Jake Allen turned in a 29-save shutout in a 2-0 win over the Chicago Blackhawks. Robert Bortuzzo and Alex Pietrangelo were the goal scorers. Blues defenseman Justin Faulk missed his second straight game with an upper-body injury. Blackhawks defenseman Adam Boqvist left the game with a suspected concussion after being elbowed in the head by Blues forward Oskar Sundqvist. In the subsequent scrum, Chicago forward Drake Caggiula left the game after injuring his wrist in a fight with the Blues’ Vince Dunn. The Blues (92 points) remain two points ahead of the Colorado Avalanche for first place in the Western Conference.

The Avalanche, meanwhile, kept pace with the Blues by nipping the San Jose Sharks 4-3. Nathan MacKinnon and Gabriel Landeskog led the way with a goal and two assists each. Sharks captain Logan Couture left the game after being struck in the face with the puck. He was placed in concussion protocol but could return to action on Wednesday.

The red-hot Vegas Golden Knights (84 points) defeated the Calgary Flames 5-3 to regain first place in the Pacific Division. Third-period goals by Shea Theodore and Jonathan Marchessault carried Vegas to victory after the Flames overcame a 3-1 deficit. The Flames (79 points) sit third in the Pacific.

An overtime goal by Kevin Fiala lifted the Minnesota Wild to a 4-3 win over the Anaheim Ducks. It was Fiala’s second goal of the game for the Wild (77 points), who moved into the first wild-card spot in the Western Conference. Jakob Silfverberg and Rickard Rakell each had three points for the Ducks.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Fiala is blossoming into a star for the Wild this season. He’s their leading scorer with a career-high 54 points and is tied with Zach Parise and Joel Eriksson Ek for second in game-winning goals with four.

Elvis Merzlikins returned to the Columbus Blue Jackets net for the first time since Feb. 24 to backstop his club to a 2-1 victory over the slumping Vancouver Canucks. With 81 points, the Jackets moved into the first Eastern Conference wild-card spot, while the Canucks (76 points) cling to the second Western wild-card berth.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Canucks are in trouble, winning just three of their last 10 contests. They definitely miss starting goaltender Jacob Markstrom, who’s been sidelined since late February with a knee injury.

HEADLINES

THE SCORE: Sportsnet and NBC Sports made NHL history yesterday with all-female broadcast crews calling the Golden Knights-Flames and the Blue-Blackhawks games.

NBC SPORTS: Nashville Predators captain Roman Josi was fined $5,000.00 for cross-checking Dallas Stars winger Corey Perry on Saturday.

ARIZONA SPORTS: The Coyotes’ playoff hopes took a hit as leading scorer Conor Garland is listed as week-to-week with a lower-body injury.

WINNIPEG FREE PRESS: Jets forward Adam Lowry is expected to return to action tonight after missing 20 games with an upper-body injury.

CBS SPORTS: The Detroit Red Wings re-signed Alex Biega to a one-year, $875K contract.

SPORTSNET: The NHL has tentatively finalized April 9 as the date for the 2020 NHL Draft Lottery.










NHL 2019-20 Season Preview: St. Louis Blues

NHL 2019-20 Season Preview: St. Louis Blues

 










What Are The Jets’ Options if Dustin Byfuglien Retires?

What Are The Jets’ Options if Dustin Byfuglien Retires?

 










NHL Rumor Mill – September 21, 2019

NHL Rumor Mill – September 21, 2019

Updates on Mikko Rantanen, Justin Faulk, and Rasmus Ristolainen in today’s NHL rumor mill.

RANTANEN

TSN: cited The Athletic’s Ryan S. Clark reporting “it is understood” the Colorado Avalanche are looking at signing Mikko Rantanen to a six- to eight-year contract worth between $8.4 million and $8.75 million.

How much will it cost the Colorado Avalanche to re-sign winger Mikko Rantanen? (Photo via NHL Images)

On Thursday, Pierre LeBrun reported the Avs made a long-term offer to the 22-year-old winger earlier this month but there’s been little progress since. LeBrun said the Avalanche are unwilling to pay Rantanen a deal comparable to Mitch Marner’s six-year contract ($10.9 million annual average value) with the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Some observers wondered if Columbus Blue Jackets general manager Jarmo Kekalainen might attempt to sign Rantanen to an offer sheet. LeBrun doubts that will happen. While the Jackets have plenty of cap space, the Avalanche have much more and would easily match it.

COLORADO HOCKEY NOW’s Adrian Dater subsequently took to Twitter citing Rantanen’s agent, Mike Liut, calling reports about a possible deal between $8.4 to $8.75 million “inaccurate.”

Dater reports the Rantanen camp seeks around $9.5 million annually. He believes something “like a five-year, $47.5 million offer would close a deal right now. Or, a two-year, $19 million offer would close a deal right now. Or a three-year, $28.5 million offer would close a deal right now.” Beyond five years is harder to nail down.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Avs could be trying to keep as much long-term cap space open as possible for other significant signings (Gabe Landeskog, Cale Makar, Tyson Jost, Nikita, Zadorov, to name a few) over the next two years. Maybe the two sides will agree to something closer to $9 million than $9.5 million.

Don’t expect anyone to try and offer sheet Rantanen. Cap Friendly indicates they have over $15.6 million in cap space, more than enough to match an offer right now.

FAULK AND RISTOLAINEN

THE ATHLETIC: Pierre LeBrun recently reported it’s widely known Carolina Hurricanes defenseman Justin Faulk is available while the Buffalo Sabres are listening to offers for blueliner Rasmus Ristolainen, who would apparently welcome a change of scenery.

A potential trade that would’ve sent Faulk to the Anaheim Ducks fell through. Sources claim the Ducks checked in with the Sabres on Ristolainen but the asking price was high. Given the Winnipeg Jets’ depleted blueline and uncertainty over Dustin Byfuglien’s future, it would make sense for them to be monitoring Faulk or Ristolainen.

LeBrun also noted the Columbus Blue Jackets could be moving a defenseman in the coming weeks. He speculated left-side blueliner Ryan Murray and right-side rearguard David Savard would attract the most interest. One source recently said the Florida Panthers could be in the market for a left-side shutdown d-man but it’s not an urgent need.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Despite the trade speculation swirling around Faulk, he told NHL.com’s Tom Gulitti he’s blocking out the rumors and preparing for the upcoming season as a member of the Hurricanes. It could take time to move Faulk but I think he’s aware his days are numbers in Carolina. Much will depend upon whether the Canes can get a decent return and their own blueline depth.

Same goes for Ristolainen. If Bradon Montour’s recent hand injury turns out to be more serious than expected, Ristolainen won’t be going anywhere for a while.