NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 30, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 30, 2021

The Canucks remain unbeaten since their coaching change, the Flyers’ Claude Giroux reaches a milestone, changes made to COVID protocol rules, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: The Vancouver Canucks extended their winning streak to seven games with a 2-1 win over the Anaheim Ducks on an overtime goal by J.T. Miller. Ducks Sam Carrick opened the scoring but Tanner Pearson tied it for the Canucks. It was a costly loss for the Ducks as defenseman Cam Fowler suffered an upper-body injury in the first period.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: An impressive turnaround by the Canucks since hiring Bruce Boudreau as their head coach. With 32 points, they’re just four points out of a wild-card spot in the Western Conference.

Philadelphia Flyers captain Claude Giroux (NHL Images).

Claude Giroux collected his 600th career assist as his Philadelphia Flyers picked up a 3-2 overtime victory against the Seattle Kraken. Giroux now sits second all-time among Flyers scorers with 884 career points. James van Riemsdyk scored twice including the game-tying goal that set the stage for Ivan Provorov’s game-winner. Martin Jones made 34 saves for the win.

The Washington Capitals blew a 3-0 lead but rallied to down the Nashville Predators 5-3 on third-period goals by Evgeny Kuznetsov and Carl Hagelin. Washington defenseman John Carlson finished the night with a goal and three assists. With 45 points, the Capitals moved to within one point of the Tampa Bay Lightning for first place in the overall standings.

Third-period goals by MacKenzie Weegar, Carter Verhaeghe and Anthony Duclair carried the Florida Panthers to a 4-3 win over the New York Rangers. Sergei Bobrovsky kicked out 30 shots for the Panthers as they picked up their league-leading 15th home win. Rangers forwards Artemi Panarin and Mika Zibanejad each had a goal and an assist.

The St. Louis Blues extended their home points streak to 10 games by doubling up the Edmonton Oilers 4-2. Jordan Kyrou and Vladimir Tarasenko each had a goal and two assists for the Blues. With 41 points, they’re one back of the Western Conference-leading Vegas Golden Knights. Oilers goalie Mike Smith made 29 saves in his first game since being sidelined by an ankle injury on Oct. 19.

New Jersey Devils forwards Jack Hughes and Jesper Bratt each had a goal and two assists to lead his club over the Buffalo Sabres 4-3. The win snaps a six-game losing skid for the Devils. Sabres forward Tage Thompson scored twice.

HEADLINES

NHL.COM: The NHL and NHL Players Association agreed to reduce the isolation period for a positive COVID test from 10 days to five for fully vaccinated players and hockey operations staff, including coaches. That’s in line with new guidelines announced earlier this week by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control. However, the 10-day isolation period remains in effect in Canada based on federal and provincial guidelines.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: No indication yet if the federal and respective provincial governments in Canada will also lower their isolation guidelines or provide exemptions for the NHL.

SPORTSNET: Vancouver Canucks winger Brock Boeser and Pittsburgh Penguins Kasperi Kapanen were among a handful of players added to the COVID protocol yesterday.

NHL.COM: The International Ice Hockey Federation yesterday canceled the remainder of the 2022 World Junior Hockey Championship after the United States, Czechia and Russia forfeited games when players tested positive for COVID-19.

THE HOCKEY NEWS: IIHF president Luc Tardiff said the federation hopes to continue the WJC in the summer of 2022 in Canada.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: A number of NHL draft picks were participating in this tournament. It was also an opportunity for fans to catch their first glimpse of notable prospects such as the Kingston Frontenac’s Shane Wright, considered the favorite to be the first-overall pick in the 2022 NHL Draft.

There’s also talk that players in this tournament who turn 20 before next summer will be allowed to participate in the IIHF’s plans for a summer event. There are also said to be plans afoot to stage other canceled tournaments this summer, including the recently canceled Women’s Under-18 Championship.

LOS ANGELES TIMES: Anze Kopitar recently picked up his 673rd career NHL assist to move past Wayne Gretzky into second place among the Kings’ all-time scorers in that category. The milestone came during the Kings’ 6-3 loss on Tuesday to the Vegas Golden Knights.










Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – August 8, 2021

Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – August 8, 2021

Could the Boston Bruins go shopping for a center? Which defenseman could the Islanders pursue in a trade? Check out the latest in the Sunday NHL rumor roundup.

BOSTON HOCKEY NOW: Jimmy Murphy recently reported NHL sources confirmed Bruins general manager Don Sweeney remains open to acquiring a center but the trade market has gone stale in recent days. For now, the club intends to use Charlie Coyle as their second-line center after David Krejci announced he’s returning to the Czech Republic to finish his playing career.

Are the Boston Bruins targeting Arizona Coyotes center Christian Dvorak in the trade market? (NHL Images)

Recent speculation suggests Sweeney could use winger Jake DeBrusk and defenseman Jakub Zboril as trade bait to land a center. The Bruins had serious trade discussions with the Arizona Coyotes regarding Christian Dvorak over two weeks ago but those talks hit a stalemate. There’s no indication if DeBrusk and/or Zboril were mentioned in those talks.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Murphy also noted Sweeney hinted David Krejci could return to the Bruins later this season. However, he’d have to sign before Dec. 15 to avoid passing through waivers. After that, he’d had to sign before the trade deadline but there’s no guarantee he won’t get snapped up by a rival club on the waive wire.

The Bruins are among several clubs linked to Dvorak but Coyotes GM Bill Armstrong could be reluctant to part with the 25-year-old two-way center. He might accept DeBrusk or Zboril but could want a first-round pick as part of the return. Other clubs could also out-bid the Bruins.

THE ATHLETIC: Arthur Staple recently speculated the New York Islanders could turn to the trade market to fill the gap on the left side of their defense corps after trading Nick Leddy to Detroit.

He listed Seattle’s Vince Dunn, Anaheim’s Hampus Lindholm, Chicago’s Calvin de Haan, Columbus’ Vladislav Gavrikov, Carolina’s Jake Gardiner, Nashville’s Mattias Ekholm, Anaheim’s Cam Fowler, Winnipeg’s Nathan Beaulieu and New Jersey’s Damon Severson as possible trade targets.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Dunn avoided salary arbitration with the Kraken by signing a two-year, $8 million contract soon after Staple’s piece was published. It doesn’t appear they intend to part with him. Lindholm could be available but the rebuilding Ducks could seek a couple of quality futures in return.

I don’t see the Blue Jackets parting with Gavrikov as he’s expected to fill the left-side position on their second pairing. Staple indicated Gardiner’s awaiting surgery that could sideline him for several weeks past the start of this season.

Predators GM David Poile is said to be intent on re-signing Ekholm so he’s probably not available. As Staple observed, Fowler would be expensive in both contract and assets. He also has a four-team trade list and the Islanders might not be on it. Staple also acknowledged Severson’s a right-side defenseman, which doesn’t really make him a viable solution.

Beaulieu and de Haan could be available. However, I don’t think either guy can suitably fill that second-pairing role. The Isles might have to be patient and see what develops in the trade market over the course of the season.










NHL Rumor Mill – July 1, 2020

NHL Rumor Mill – July 1, 2020

Which players could the Devils pursue in the off-season? Check out the latest in today’s NHL rumor mill.

THE ATHLETIC (subscription required): In a recent mailbag segment, Corey Masisak was asked if he saw the New Jersey Devils signing any big-name free agents or try to pull off any offer sheets in the off-season. He doesn’t see them going the offer-sheet route because they don’t have their second-round pick in 2021.

Masisak doesn’t rule out anything regarding free agent signings because we don’t know what the market will look like. If prices remain the same for a typical year, he doesn’t expect the Devils to be a factor with stars like St. Louis’ Alex Pietrangelo, Boston’s Torey Krug, Washington’s Braden Holtby, or Vancouver’s Jacob Markstrom. He also doesn’t see them bringing back winger Taylor Hall.

Could the New Jersey Devils pursue Florida Panthers winger Evgenii Dadonov via free agency? (Photo via NHL Images)

Regarding their potential UFAs in 2021, Masisak expects they’ll try to re-sign Kyle Palmieri, Nikita Gusev, and Travis Zajac.

NJ.COM: Randy Miller cites Devils TV analyst Steve Cangialosi suggesting Florida Panthers winger Evgenii Dadonov could be a fit. He’s averaged 27 goals and 61 points over the past three seasons and would be reunited with former KHL teammate Nikita Gusev. Dadonov won’t be cheap, as Miller speculates Philadelphia Flyers forward Kevin Hayes (seven years, $50 million) could be comparable.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Hanging over all of this is the uncertainty over who will be the Devils general manager when the off-season finally begins. They could remove the interim label from Tom Fitzgerald, or hire a more experienced replacement.

Whoever is sitting in the GM’s chair probably won’t pursue any big-ticket talent regardless of the market. Those players cited by Masisak could prefer signing with playoff contenders. The Devils would have to overpay for their services.

That doesn’t mean the Devils won’t be active in the UFA market. With $55.2 million invested in 13 players for 2020-21 (stick tap to Cap Friendly), they have room to re-sign RFAs like Mackenzie Blackwood and Jesper Bratt and sign a UFA or two, but I expect they’ll seek affordable second-tier talent.

Masisak also recently examined the risky trade options to improve the Devils’ defense. They included Anaheim’s Cam Fowler, Boston’s Brandon Carlo, Buffalo’s Rasmus Ristolainen, and Colorado’s Nikita Zadorov.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Masisak has also looked at solid blueline targets for the Devils, including Anaheim’s Josh Manson, Calgary’s T.J. Brodie, Columbus’ David Savard, Tampa Bay’s Mikhail Sergachev, and St. Louis’ Vince Dunn.

Considering the difficulty the Devils could face landing one of those rearguards, they could be forced to consider riskier options. I doubt Fowler or Carlo will be available, and Ristolainen no longer seems a trade candidate for the Sabres. Zadorov is a possibility, though it wouldn’t surprise me if the Avs decide to keep him.

That’s not to say the Devils can’t acquire any one of those players. However, the asking prices could be more than they’re willing to spend.










NHL Rumor Mill – May 20, 2020

NHL Rumor Mill – May 20, 2020

Could Shayne Gostisbehere become a Flyers’ off-season trade chip? Could the Ducks trade one of their top-three defensemen? Find out in today’s NHL rumor mill.

COULD GOSTISBEHERE BECOME AN OFF-SEASON TRADE CHIP?

NBC SPORTS PHILADELPHIA: Jordan Hall reports Shayne Gostisbehere remains the subject of frequent trade speculation. The 27-year-old defenseman is in his playing prime with offensive skills and an attractive contract that could make him enticing to other clubs.

Philadelphia Flyers defenseman Shayne Gostisbehere (Photo via NHL Images).

Following the Feb. 24 trade deadline, Flyers general manager Chuck Fletcher admitted teams had made inquiries about Gostisbehere but he wasn’t shopping the blueliner. Nevertheless, Hall doesn’t dismiss the possibility he could become an off-season trade chip.

The development of prospect Egor Zamula, efforts to re-sign pending UFA rearguard Justin Braun, and whenever promising college prospect Cam York turns pro could factor into Gostisbehere’s future in Philadelphia.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Gostisbehere also lacks no-trade protection, making it easier for Fletcher to move him. I don’t doubt there was interest in “Ghost Bear”, but his stock has tumbled this season. Despite his offensive abilities, he’s been criticized for sloppy defensive play.

If Fletcher were inclined to move Gostisbehere, he’d probably want a decent scoring forward in return. That deal probably isn’t available right now. 

DO THE DUCKS RECENT SIGNINGS SUGGESTS A BLUELINE CHANGE?

THE ATHLETIC: Eric Stephens recently mused over the Anaheim Ducks’ blueline plans in the wake of their signing Christian Djoos, Brendan Guhle, and Jani Hakanpää to new contracts. He feels the Ducks are trying to fill a pressing need for depth among their bottom-three defense.

The new contracts for Djoos and Hakanpää are ‘show me’ deals based on their promising auditions this season, while Guhle’s contract indicates they want to iron out the inconsistencies in his game. Stephens doubts Cam Fowler, Hampus Lindholm, or Josh Manson will be subtracted from an already question-filled blueline corps. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Fowler and Manson frequently surfaced in trade rumors this season. At one point, Fowler was linked to the Montreal Canadiens, while Manson is often suggested as a trade target for the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Given the Ducks’ defensive woes over the last two seasons, I don’t think they’ll make a bad situation worse by shopping any of those three. Besides, Fowler has a four-team trade list while Manson has a 12-team no-trade list. 










Off-Season NHL Trade & Free Agent Candidates: Anaheim Ducks

Off-Season NHL Trade & Free Agent Candidates: Anaheim Ducks

 










What Are Bob Murray’s NHL Off-Season Plans For The Anaheim Ducks?

What Are Bob Murray’s NHL Off-Season Plans For The Anaheim Ducks?