NHL Rumor Mill – July 5, 2021

NHL Rumor Mill – July 5, 2021

The Predators look to make an expansion draft deal with the Kraken plus the latest on Duncan Keith in today’s NHL rumor mill.

DAILY FACEOFF: Cam Lewis cited Nashville Predators general manager David Poile appearance on ESPN 102.5 The Game last Thursday saying he’d like to make a side deal with the Seattle Kraken to have a certain player selected. He didn’t indicate which player it would be.

Could the Nashville Predators try to move Matt Duchene to the Seattle Kraken? (NHL Images)

Given their depth in defensemen, Lewis speculates the Predators could go with the eight-skater protection. Trading Vikor Arvidsson last week to the Los Angeles Kings for draft picks gives them one less player to worry about protecting.

One move Poile could have in mind is offering up draft picks to the Kraken to select center Matt Duchene in the expansion draft. Duchene has five more seasons remaining on his contract with an annual average value of $8 million. He’s amassed just 55 points in 100 games with the Predators thus far.

THE TENNESSEAN: Gentry Estes also took note of Poile’s appearance on ESPN 102.5 last week. He focused on the GM’s comment suggesting Arvidsson was ok with being traded to the Kings because he was unhappy with where he was on the Predators.

Estes wondered who else on the Predators might be feeling the same way as Arvidsson did. While the infusion of promising young players replacing sidelined veterans helped to save the Predators’ season, the question was never asked as to why the veterans lacked intensity in the first place. He also wondered if the traits that head coach John Hynes values most in his players (effort, physical play, toughness) might not have meshed with the roster he inherited when he took over midway last season as head coach.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Predators featured prominently in this season’s rumor mill through February and March. Mattias Ekholm, Ryan Ellis and Filip Forsberg were among the players floated as possible trade candidates by the media. That talk faded away as the Predators staged their impressive second-half turnaround and died out when Poile didn’t become a seller at the trade deadline.

Poile, however, doesn’t intend to stand pat this summer. The Arvidson trade signaled he plans to shake things up. The rise of those young players, such as Eeli Tolvanen and Alexandre Carrier, seems to have emboldened him.

Ekholm and Forsberg are a year away from UFA eligibility. Poile prefers re-signing them but that will depend on what they’re seeking on their next contracts and if they still believe their futures lie in Nashville. If those extension talks get difficult, maybe one of them gets shopped this summer.

Poile will have to come up with some tasty sweeteners to convince the Kraken to take Duchene and his big contract. He might have to absorb some of that $8 million cap hit to get it done.

EDMONTON JOURNAL: Kurt Leavins reports there are two northwestern NHL cities (Edmonton and Seattle) that Duncan Keith would waive his no-movement clause for. The 37-year-old defenseman has asked the Chicago Blackhawks to look into a trade that would move him closer to his son in Penticton, B.C.

Leavins believes the Oilers are the front-runners for Keith because they’re far closer to winning than the Kraken and have a stronger supporting cast. He also doubts the Blackhawks want to absorb half of the blueline’s $5.538 million annual cap hit for the next two seasons, suggesting they could be comfortable picking up around 25 percent. However, he feels they’d be more comfortable taking back a contract and buying it out.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Oilers could welcome a respected veteran like Keith in their dressing room. He wouldn’t be a top-two defenseman but could work on their second pairing.

Getting the dollars to fit appears the sticking point. That could involve the Blackhawks absorbing part of his cap hit, taking back a contract to buy out, or both. Maybe there’s a third team with cap space willing to get involved and pick up part of the cap hit in return for a draft pick or prospect.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – May 6, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – May 6, 2021

The Jets clinch a playoff spot, T.J. Oshie get a hat trick the day after his father’s passing, Marc-Andre Fleury and Anze Kopitar reach milestones, the Blues salute David Backes and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: The Winnipeg Jets became the third team in the Scotia North Division to clinch a playoff spot by blanking the Calgary Flames 4-0. Connor Hellebuyck made 32 saves for the shutout, Blake Wheeler collected his 800th career point and Mark Scheifele got his 500th career point. The win moved the Jets into third place in the division with 59 points, two up on the Montreal Canadiens.

Speaking of the Canadiens, they failed to secure a playoff berth by falling 5-1 to the Ottawa Senators. Erik Brannstrom collected three assists and Shane Pinto tallied his first NHL goal as the Senators have won seven of their last nine games.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: With 57 points, Montreal still holds a 10-point lead over Calgary, though the latter has a game in hand. The Flames playoff hopes, however, are now hanging by a thread.

Washington Capitals winger T.J. Oshie (NHL Images).

T.J. Oshie scored a hat trick the day following his father’s death as the Washington Capitals doubled up the New York Rangers 4-2. Oshie’s performance, however, was overshadowed by several brawls between the two clubs in the fallout over Capitals winger Tom Wilson receiving a fine for roughing Pavel Buchnevich and injury Artemi Panarin in the previous game between the two clubs. Wilson left the game in the first period with an upper-body injury while Buchnevich received a major penalty and game misconduct for cross-checking Capitals winger Anthony Mantha in the face.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: My condolences to Oshie and his family. His hat trick was a fitting honor to his father and a better story than that clown show of a game. With the win, the Capitals regained first place from the Pittsburgh Penguins in the MassMutual East Division with 73 points and hold a game in hand over the Penguins.

The Dallas Stars playoff hopes suffered another blow as they fell 6-2 to the Tampa Bay Lightning. Erik Cernak had a goal and two assists for the Lightning, putting them into a tie with the Florida Panthers in the Discover Central Division. Both clubs have 75 points but the Lightning holds second place with a game in hand. With 56 points, the Stars remain four back of the fourth-place Nashville Predators.

Meanwhile, the Predators dropped a 4-2 decision to the Columbus Blue Jackets. Oliver Bjorkstrand scored twice and collected an assist for the Jackets.

Marc-Andre Fleury picked up his 490th career victory as the Vegas Golden Knights nipped the Minnesota Wild 3-2 on an overtime goal by Alex Pietrangelo. Fleury moved into sole possession of third place on the all-time wins list. Kirill Kaprizov scored twice for the Wild. The Golden Knights (76 points) maintained a four-point lead over the Colorado Avalanche for first place in the Honda West Division.

As for the Avalanche, they blew a 2-0 lead to fall 3-2 to the San Jose Sharks. Tomas Hertl scored twice and Evander Kane collected three assists for the Sharks. With 72 points, the Avs are one point ahead of the third-place Wild.

The St. Louis Blues failed to clinch a playoff spot in the West Division following a 3-2 shootout loss to the Anaheim Ducks. Troy Terry tallied the winner in the shootout. During the game’s first timeout, the Blues honored Ducks winger David Backes with a video tribute commemorating his 10 seasons in St. Louis.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Backes, 37, is in the final season of his contract and is expected to retire.

Anze Kopitar collected his 1000th career NHL point to lead the Los Angeles Kings over the Arizona Coyotes 4-2. Sean Walker collected three points and Gabriel Vilardi tallied twice for the Kings to keep their slim playoff hopes alive. The Coyotes, meanwhile, have been eliminated from postseason contention.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kopitar’s been a model of consistency for the Kings throughout his 15 NHL seasons. He has 50 points on the season, marking the 14th time he’s reached that plateau.

HEADLINES

TSN: Toronto Maple Leafs winger Nick Foligno is day-to-day with an upper-body injury and will miss tonight’s game against the Canadiens and likely Saturday’s contest as well.

CBS SPORTS: Boston Bruins center Charlie Coyle suffered an undisclosed injury during Tuesday’s game against the New Jersey Devils and should be considered day-to-day.

NBC SPORTS PHILADELPHIA: Flyers defenseman Shayne Gostisbehere received a two-game suspension for boarding Pittsburgh Penguins blueliner Mark Friedman.

MLIVE.COM: Detroit Red Wings forward Bobby Ryan is recovering from triceps surgery three weeks ago. An unrestricted free agent at season’s end, Ryan hopes to remain with the Wings. Meanwhile, teammate Tyler Bertuzzi underwent back surgery last Friday and is expected to be fully recovered in time for next season.

OTTAWA SUN: The Senators signed goaltender Anton Forsberg to a one-year, $900K contract.

CHICAGO SUN-TIMES: Blackhawks TV analyst Ed Olczyk will become the lead NHL game analyst for Turner Sports. He’ll join Kenny Albert as Turner’s top team on TNT when the network’s seven-year contract begins next season.

SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman reported if the Seattle Kraken select a player in this summer’s expansion draft who received a bonus on July 1, they will have to re-pay that player’s previous team. The Kraken must also draft at least $48.9 million under the salary cap.

FLYERS ALUMNI: tweeted the passing of former NHL player Jim Johnson at age 78. Johnson spent eight seasons in the NHL with the New York Rangers, Flyers and Los Angeles Kings from 1964-65 to 1971-72. An original member of the Flyers, he spent nearly five seasons with the club. In 302 NHL games, Johnson had 75 goals and 186 points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: My condolences to Johnson’s family, friends and former teammates.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 10, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 10, 2021

Game recaps, the latest on Zach Werenski, Bobby Ryan and William Nylander, the Avalanche reacquire Patrik Nemeth, the Leafs deal for Riley Nash, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin tallied career goal 727 in a 4-3 win over the Buffalo Sabres. Capitals defenseman Justin Schultz had a goal and two assists. Ovechkin is four goals shy of Hall of Famer Marcel Dionne for fifth on the NHL’s all-time goals list. The Capitals are tied with the New York Islanders with 56 points but hold first place in the MassMutual East Division on the basis of regulation wins (21).

The Islanders, meanwhile, dropped a 4-1 decision to the New York Rangers. Alexandar Georgiev made 31 saves for the win in his first start in 11 games while teammate Adam Fox’s point streak ended at 12 games. Blueshirts winger Artemi Panarin collected two assists.

PIttsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby (NHL Images).

Sidney Crosby scored and added two helpers to lead the Pittsburgh Penguins over the New Jersey Devils 6-4. Pittsburgh winger Bryan Rust scored two goals and chipped in an assist while Devils winger Miles Wood tallied twice. The Penguins have won seven of their last nine contests and sit two points behind the second-place Islanders.

Colorado Avalanche goaltender Jonas Johansson made 28 saves for his first career NHL shutout in a 2-0 blanking of the Anaheim Ducks. Valeri Nichushkin and Mikko Rantanen were the goal scorers as Colorado won their sixth game in their last seven outings. They canceled their practice earlier in the day after Bo Byram was placed on the NHL COVID-19 protocol list. The Avs sit atop the Honda West Division with 58 points.

A four-goal first period powered the Vegas Golden Knights to a 7-4 victory over the Arizona Coyotes. Reilly Smith scored two goals for the Golden Knights, who remain four points back of the Avalanche in second place. Phil Kessel collected three assists for Arizona and took over sole possession of fifth place on the NHL’s Ironman list by skating in his 885th consecutive game. The Coyotes are in fourth place with 43 points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kessel is quite durable for someone who is sometimes mocked because his physical appearance isn’t that of a prototypical NHL player. As the old saying goes, don’t judge a book by its cover.

St. Louis Blues center Ryan O’Reilly tallied a hat trick in a 9-1 thumping of the Minnesota Wild. Jaden Schwartz scored twice while Justin Faulk and Sammy Blais each had a goal and two assists. The Blues moved within one point of the Coyotes while the Wild remain in third place with 50 points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Blues made winger Mike Hoffman a healthy scratch for the second straight game. He’s among the top names being bandied about the NHL rumor mill and could be on the move before Monday’s trade deadline.

Brent Burns collected three assists and Martin Jones made 32 saves as the San Jose Sharks downed the Los Angeles Kings 5-2. The surging Sharks sit three back of the Coyotes.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The race for that final playoff berth in the West is getting interesting. The Coyotes are trying to hang on, the Blues are battling to overcome a recent season-threatening losing skid while the Sharks are trying to keep their postseason hopes alive.

HEADLINES

THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH: Blue Jackets defenseman Zach Werenski will undergo season-ending sports hernia surgery next week.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: A difficult season for the Blue Jackets just got a lot worse with their best puck-moving defenseman on the shelf. This could be the last nail in the coffin for their playoff hopes.

THE DETROIT NEWS: Red Wings forward Bobby Ryan appears to be done for the season after suffering an upper-body injury.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Ryan was expected to draw some interest in the trade market leading up to Monday’s deadline. Nagging injuries have plagued the 34-year-old winger throughout this season.

ESPN: The Nashville Predators placed winger Filip Forsberg on injured reserve and announced winger Eeli Tolvanen (lower body) and defenseman Dante Fabbro (upper body) are week-to-week. Right wing Mathieu Olivier will be sidelined for four-to-six weeks with a lower-body injury.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Predators surged into playoff contention in recent weeks in the Discover Central Division. This latest rash of injuries could threaten their efforts to clinch a postseason berth.

TSN: Vancouver Canucks general manager Jim Benning said many of his 21 players who tested positive for COVID-19 are feeling better. He expects his club will be able to complete its 56-game schedule, adding none of his players want to opt-out of the remainder of the season. Benning anticipates most of his players will be back on the ice once the team receives clearance to reopen its practice facility.

MONTREAL GAZETTE: Canadiens prospect Cole Caufield is the 2021 winner of the Hobey Baker Award as the top player in US college hockey.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Caufield celebrated by scoring two goals in his pro debut as the Laval Rocket downed the Toronto Marlies 5-3 in AHL action on Friday.

TORONTO SUN: The Maple Leafs acquired center Riley Nash from the Columbus Blue Jackets in exchange for a conditional seventh-round pick in 2022.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Nash is sidelined for four-to-six weeks with a sprained knee. However, Leafs general manager Kyle Dubas can place him and his $2.75 million cap hit on long-term injury reserve, giving them the flexibility to perhaps make another move before Monday’s trade deadline. A clever move by Dubas, who’s done this sort of thing in the past to provide himself some much-needed cap relief. Nash will also join the Leafs for the playoffs.

TORONTO STAR: Speaking of the Leafs, winger William Nylander will be sidelined for a week on the NHL’s COVID-19 protocol list after coming in contact with someone who tested positive for the coronavirus.

THE DENVER POST: The Colorado Avalanche reacquired defenseman Patrik Nemeth from the Detroit Red Wings in exchange for a 2022 fourth-round pick. Nemeth spent two seasons with the Avalanche (2017 to 2019). The Wings are also retaining half of his $3 million salary-cap hit.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Avalanche also have $5.4 million in cap wiggle room with Erik Johnson and Pavel Francouz on LTIR. GM Joe Sakic might not be done dealing as concern remains over the Avs’ goaltending depth.

NJ.COM: The New Jersey Devils placed winger Nikita Gusev on unconditional waivers for the purpose of terminating his contract. He’ll become an unrestricted free agent if he clears at noon ET today.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Gusev had a promising NHL debut with 44 points in 66 games last season but struggled under head coach Lindy Ruff this season and has just five points in 20 games. The 27-year-old winger might regain his scoring touch with another club.

WGR 550: The Buffalo Sabres claimed forward Drake Caggiula off waivers from the Arizona Coyotes.










Predators No Longer Sellers In NHL Trade Market?

Predators No Longer Sellers In NHL Trade Market?

 










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 1, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 1, 2021

No April Fooling as the Sabres end a long losing streak, Nathan MacKinnon is ejected during Coyotes-Avalanche game, the Canucks re-sign Thatcher Demko, Connor McDavid fined, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: The Buffalo Sabres snapped an 18-game winless skid by defeating the Philadelphia Flyers 6-1. It was the longest stretch for a team without a victory in the shootout era. Brandon Montour scored twice, rookie Steven Fogerty tallied his first NHL goal, and Linus Ullmark made 31 saves for the win. The Sabres played without Dylan Cozens, who’s sidelined for about a week with an upper-body injury.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s good to see the Sabres finally bring that horrible losing streak to an end. Their playoff hopes are dashed but perhaps this can be something they can build on for the remainder of the season. As for the Flyers (38 points), this loss caps what’s been a horrible month as they sit three points behind the fourth-place Boston Bruins in the MassMutual East Division.

Colorado Avalanche center Nathan MacKinnon (NHL Images).

A hat trick by Joonas Donskoi powered the Colorado Avalanche to a 9-3 mauling of the Arizona Coyotes. Colorado forwards Gabriel Landeskog and Andre Burakovsky each tallied two goals, while teammate Nathan MacKinnon was ejected in the final minutes of the third period after throwing a helmet at Coyotes forward Conor Garland following a brief scrum between the two. MacKinnon received a 10-minute misconduct and four minutes for roughing.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: MacKinnon, the 2020 Lady Byng Memorial Trophy winner, picked up more penalities for that incident than he had throughout last season. Meanwhile, the Avalanche vaulted past the Vegas Golden Knights into first place in the Honda West Division with 50 points. The Coyotes remain in fifth place with 37 points, one point back of the St. Louis Blues.

Speaking of the Golden Knights, they dropped a 4-2 decision to the Los Angeles Kings. Cal Petersen kicked out 40 shots while Andreas Athanasiou had a goal and an assist for the Kings, who snapped a three-game losing skid and sit three points back of the Coyotes. Golden Knights winger Ryan Reaves was a late scratch with a lower-body injury while Zach Whitecloud left the game in the third period.

The Toronto Maple Leafs strengthed their hold on first place in the Scotia North Division by downing the Winnipeg Jets 3-1. Leafs center Auston Matthews tallied his league-leading 24 goals, Zach Hyman had a goal and an assist and Jack Campbell turned aside 26 shots. Jets captain Blake Wheeler left the game following the second period with an undisclosed injury. With 49 points, the Leafs are three up on the Jets with a game in hand.

The San Jose Sharks doubled up the Minnesota Wild 4-2. Tomas Hertl collected two assists and Martin Jones made 26 saves. The Wild remain in third place in the West with 44 points, five behind the Golden Knights.

Last night’s game between the Calgary Flames and Vancouver Canucks was postponed after two Canucks players and a member of their coaching staff were placed on the NHL COVID-19 protocol list.

THE PROVINCE: Speaking of the Canucks, they signed goaltender Thatcher Demko to a five-year, $25 million contract extension. The 25-year-old Demko is in the final year of a two-year, $2.1 million contract.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: A hefty raise on a long-term deal for Demko but one that could prove worthwhile if his performance in last year’s playoffs and throughout March is any indication of his abilities as a starter. As The Province’s Patrick Johnston observed, Demko has a career .911 save percentage in 62 starts, slightly above the NHL average. He’s also outperforming his predecessor Jacob Markstrom this season.

Cap Friendly indicates Demko’s new deal leaves the Canucks with over $60 million invested in 12 players for 2021-22 with Elias Pettersen and Quinn Hughes coming off entry-level deals and in line for significant raises. They’ll have to shed some salary in the offseason to re-sign those two and fill out the remainder of their roster.

EDMONTON JOURNAL: Oilers captain Connor McDavid was fined the league maximum of $5,000.00 by the NHL department of player safety for elbowing Montreal Canadiens center Jesperi Kotkaniemi on Tuesday.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That was a dangerous elbow by McDavid. Oilers fans would’ve been justifiably upset had the roles been reversed.

CBS SPORTS: Nashville Predators winger Filip Forsberg is listed as week-to-week with an upper-body injury. He’s been out of the lineup since Saturday.

PITTSBURGH HOCKEY NOW: Penguins goaltender Tristan Jarry missed practice yesterday and is listed as day-to-day with an upper-body injury.

NBC SPORTS CHICAGO: Blackhawks general manager Stan Bowman was named GM for Team USA’s 2022 Olympic Mens’ hockey team. Minnesota Wild general manager Bill Guerin was named assistant GM.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 18, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 18, 2021

Recaps of Wednesday’s action features a record-tying performance by Mika Zibanejad and three-point performances from Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl, plus the latest on Anders Lee, Robin Lehner, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: Mika Zibanejad tied an NHL record with six points in the second period as his New York Rangers crushed the Philadelphia Flyers 9-0. Zibanejad had a natural hat trick and collected three assists. Teammate Pavel Buchnevich enjoyed a four-point performance (including two goals) during that period. Alexandar Georgiev picked up the shutout with 26 saves. The loss leaves the Flyers (31 points) three points behind the fourth-place Boston Bruins in the MassMutual East Division.

New York Rangers center Mika Zibanejad (NHL Images).

The Rangers also accomplished this feat with their entire coaching staff missing the game due to COVID-19 protocols. Hartford Wolf Pack head coach Kris Knoblach, associate coach Gord Murphy and assistant general manager Chris Drury were behind the bench for this game.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Hey, maybe the Rangers should stick with those replacements even if the current coaching staff is cleared to return. Don’t change the luck, right? (Insert winky face emoji here).

Edmonton Oilers stars Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl each had three points in a 7-3 drubbing of the Calgary Flames, handing the latter their first defeat under new head coach Darryl Sutter. Oilers defenseman Tyson Barrie collected four helpers. The Oilers remain in third place in the Scotia North Division with 38 points while the Flames (31 points) are three points behind the fourth-place Montreal Canadiens.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: With 56 points in 32 games, McDavid sits seven points ahead of Draisaitl in the scoring race. Chicago’s Patrick Kane is third with 42 points. If McDavid remains healthy, he’s assured of winning the Art Ross Trophy.

Speaking of the Canadiens (34 points), they dropped a 4-3 decision to the Winnipeg Jets on an overtime goal by Nikolaj Ehlers. The Habs overcame a 3-1 deficit to force the extra frame on third-period goals by Brendan Gallagher and Tyler Toffoli. Kyle Connor scored twice and Pierre-Luc Dubois had three assists for the Jets (38 points) as they maintained their hold on second place in the North Division, two points back of the first-place Toronto Maple Leafs.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Canadiens are 0-5 in overtime and 0-3 in shootouts this season.

A four-goal third period rallied the Vegas Golden Knights over the San Jose Sharks 5-4 for their fourth straight victory. Shea Theodore had a goal and two assists for Vegas while Evander Kane replied for the Sharks with a goal and two helpers. With 41 points, the Golden Knights sit in first place in the Honda West Division with a four-point lead over the Minnesota Wild.

The Los Angeles Kings rode a three-goal first period to a 4-1 win over the St. Louis Blues. Anze Kopitar had a goal and an assist as the Kings (30 points) moved to within three points of the fourth-place Blues in the West Division. The Blues have dropped five straight contests.

A shootout goal by Adam Gaudette gave the Vancouver Canucks a 3-2 victory over the Ottawa Senators. Thatcher Demko made 30 saves for the win. The Senators overcame a 2-0 deficit to force overtime and the shootout but goalie Joey Daccord left the game in the third period with an apparent injury to his left knee. The Canucks (32 points) are one point behind the Canadiens in the North Division. Earlier in the day, they claimed forward Jimmy Vesey off waivers from the Toronto Maple Leafs while the Senators claimed goalie Anton Forsberg from the Jets.

HEADLINES

SPORTSNET: The New York Islanders announced captain Anders Lee is sidelined for the remainder of the season as he undergoes surgery to repair a torn ACL in his right knee.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Isles also placed Lee on long-term injury reserve, meaning they can use his $7 million cap hit to bring in a player or two by the April 12 trade deadline.

THE DALLAS MORNING NEWS: Sidelined Stars Tyler Seguin and Ben Bishop still aren’t close to practicing with their teammates. Seguin underwent hip surgery on Nov. 2 while Bishop had knee surgery on Oct. 21. It’s expected they could return by mid-April.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That won’t be in time to save the Stars’ season. With 25 points in 25 games, they’re eight points behind the fourth-place Chicago Blackhawks in the Central Division. They hold five games in hand on the Blackhawks but they must start stringing some wins together soon.

SPORTSNET: Vegas Golden Knights goaltender Robin Lehner revealed he suffered a concussion that kept him out of the lineup since the second week of February. He chose to disclose the injury to combat baseless rumors that his absence was linked to the mental health issues he revealed back in September 2018.

I said this many times before, without going on a rant, the stigma around mental health is insane,” said Lehner. He spoke about the difficulty it creates for people struggling to make progress with those issues. “I think I should get the benefit of the doubt because I’ve been honest with it. If I had those issues again, which are not happening, I would be honest about it.”

TWINCITIES.COM: Minnesota Wild defenseman Carson Soucy received a one-game suspension by the league for a high hit on Arizona Coyotes forward Conor Garland.