NHL Rumor Mill – February 11, 2021

NHL Rumor Mill – February 11, 2021

Are the Predators and Bruins interested in Canucks forwards Jake Virtanen and Adam Gaudette? What’s the latest on the Senators and Blue Jackets. Find out in today’s NHL rumor mill.

HIGHLIGHTS FROM FRIEDMAN’S LATEST “31 THOUGHTS”

SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman reports it sounds like the Nashville Predators are among the teams interested in Vancouver Canucks winger Adam Gaudette. He also indicated the Boston Bruins were among the clubs checking out Canucks winger Jake Virtanen but he doesn’t know where that stands. He also said the San Jose Sharks had an interest in Virtanen during the offseason.

Vancouver Canucks winger Jake Virtanen (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Vancouver Province’s Patrick Johnston recently reported the Canucks have been trying to move either (or perhaps both) Virtanen and Gaudette. However, sources say interest in the pair is “lukewarm at best.” He suggested Gaudette’s lower salary-cap hit makes him “somewhat more appealing” than Virtanen.

Johnston doubted either player would fetch much of a return that provides immediate help for the struggling Canucks. Any player they acquire from an American club would be unavailable for two-to-three weeks due to quarantine restrictions. Gaudette, meanwhile, claims he’s unconcerned about the trade speculation.

Speaking of the Predators, Friedman noted forward Nick Cousins was a healthy scratch from their 6-1 loss earlier this week to Tampa Bay. Cousins has had a rough start in Nashville and Friedman believes there would be interest from other clubs depending on what the Predators do.

SPECTOR’ S NOTE: Cousins for Gaudette? Discuss…

Friedman reports the Ottawa Senators were looking to ease their crowded blueline once Erik Brannstrom got up to speed. He felt Mike Reilly was the most likely to move but that may have changed now that Brannstrom is sidelined. He also claims they’re trying to move center Derek Stepan closer to his family in Arizona.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Athletic’s Ian Mendes commented on Senators general manager Pierre Dorion’s remarks about Stepan during his appearance yesterday on TSN 1200. Dorion said the center hasn’t requested a trade to be close to his family. However, Mendes also pointed out Dorion, when asked point-blank about Stepan’s status, merely replied he’s a member of the team.

Mendes feels there might be a team interested in Stepan’s services. However, he doesn’t expect the Senators would get much back in return. My guess is a draft pick or prospect.

Friedman said the sudden retirement this week of Mikko Koivu has the Columbus Blue Jackets considering all options at center.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That will include trades and waivers. Hey, Nick Cousins is a versatile two-way forward who can play center or wing. Hmmm…










NHL Rumor Mill – February 9, 2021

NHL Rumor Mill – February 9, 2021

Updates on Sam Bennett, Tony DeAngelo and Jake Virtanen in today’s NHL rumor mill.

BENNETT

SPORTSNET: Luke Fox recently wondered if Calgary Flames forward Sam Bennett would be a good fit with the Toronto Maple Leafs. He noted Leafs general manager Kyle Dubas reportedly expressed some level of interest.

Despite Bennett’s sluggish start, Fox listed his strong postseason play, the lack of a cross-border quarantine, and his RFA status this summer among the upside. The downside would be Bennett’s $2.55 million cap hit for this season, the Flames’ preference for a roster player in return and their wariness of dealing within the division.

Fox had heard defenseman Travis Dermott mentioned but doesn’t like that option, pointing to the Leafs still aren’t comfortable with Mikko Lehtonen and the need to maintain blueline depth with injuries inevitable. He wondered if the Flames might take a chance on Pierre Engvall.

Eric Francis subsequently reported the Flames have moved Bennett to skating along with Johnny Gaudreau and Sean Monahan. The move gave hope to Flames fans that his trade request can be ignored or rescinded. Francis said the team has no desire or imminent plans to part with its annual playoff MVP.

Francis points out Bennett’s trade request hasn’t caused a rift among his teammates as they understand his wishes to play a more prominent role. If he plays well with Gaudreau and Monahan, the club’s goal of retaining him until the summer can be met.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s up to Bennett how this plays out. There’s undoubtedly some interest in him in the trade market and it wouldn’t be surprising if the Leafs are among the suitors. However, his inconsistent play this season combined with limited cap space and difficulty trading with American-based clubs because of border restrictions brought on by COVID-19 makes finding a suitable return difficult to come by.

New York Rangers defenseman Tony DeAngelo (NHL Images).

DeANGELO

NEW YORK POST: Larry Brooks reports the Rangers’ efforts to move Tony DeAngelo have stalled. While there have been some discussions, the trade market for the 25-year-old defenseman has dried up over concerns of fan backlash.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Brooks had reported the Flames were interested in DeAngelo. That gave rise to a possible swap for Bennett but that doesn’t appear likely now.

DeAngelo has considerable offensive skills but his well-documented personal baggage has obviously become a factor. Nevertheless, there could be a GM willing to take a chance on him at some point in this season.

VIRTANEN

SPORTSNET: Iain MacIntyre reports the Vancouver Canucks have placed winger Jake Virtanen on the trade block. However, the club’s current losing skid leaves GM Jim Benning dealing not from a position of strength but one of necessity as he tries to shake up his struggling roster. He also points out Adam Gaudette is being shopped. Both forwards were healthy scratches during Saturday’s game against the Leafs.

MacIntyre cited colleague Elliotte Friedman reporting the Boston Bruins were among the clubs with an interest in Virtanen. However, he doubts the Canucks will get back a prime asset in the middle of a pandemic with the Canada-US border close and most teams capped out.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Virtanen and Gaudette were both back in the lineup for last night’s game against the Leafs but did nothing to improve their trade value or improve the Canucks’ performance. Even without the restrictions imposed upon this season by COVID-19, I doubt Benning would get anything worthwhile for either guy that would make an immediate positive impression on his roster.










Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – February 7, 2021

Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – February 7, 2021

Are the Maple Leafs interested in Flames forward Sam Bennett? Are the Canucks shopping Jake Virtanen and Adam Gaudette? What’s the latest on Senators center Derek Stepan? Find out in the Sunday NHL rumor roundup.

LEAFS INTERESTED IN BENNETT?

SPORTSNET: NHL insider Chris Johnston appeared on Hockey Central on Friday where he was asked about the trade status of Sam Bennett. The 24-year-old Calgary Flames forward was a healthy scratch from Thursday’s loss to the Winnipeg Jets, stoking speculation he could be moved soon.

Should the Toronto Maple Leafs acquire Sam Bennett from the Calgary Flames? (NHL Images)

Johnston didn’t feel a trade was imminent but didn’t rule out the possibility. He believes the Toronto Maple Leafs have some level of interest in Bennett but wasn’t sure if they had the right trade piece to tempt the Flames.

TORONTO SUN: Steve Simmons believes the Leafs could use a player like Bennett to bring an edge to their third line. He doesn’t expect they could land him in a one-for-one swap of Alex Kerfoot but suggested adding a sweetener could get the deal done.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: There was some suggestion Bennett could be considered as having played his final game with the Flames if he was scratched from Saturday’s tilt with the Edmonton Oilers. He was back in the lineup for that contest, scoring his first goal of the season. Perhaps they were showcasing him in that game for a trade or maybe he was scratched to send a message that he needs to pick up his play.

Cap Friendly indicates the Flames don’t have much salary-cap space. Bennett carries an annual average value of $2.55 million and becomes a restricted free agent this summer while Kerfoot is signed through 2022-23 with an AAV of $3.5 million. If the Leafs are interested in Bennett, the sweetener suggested by Simmons should be picking a big chunk of Kerfoot’s cap hit. However, that might not be possible given the Leafs’ cap situation.

CANUCKS FLOATING VIRTANEN & GAUDETTE IN TRADE MARKET

THE PROVINCE: Patrick Johnston reports the struggling Vancouver Canucks have floated the names of forwards Jake Virtanen and Adam Gaudette in the trade market. Given their poor performances, however, there doesn’t seem to be any interest in either player.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That isn’t surprising. Virtanen has potential as a second-line scorer but his inconsistency has damaged whatever trade value he may have had. Gaudette showed some promise last season with 12 goals and 33 points in 59 games but he had a disappointing effort in the 2020 playoffs and hasn’t improved since.

LATEST ON STEPAN

SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman reported the Ottawa Senators are exploring trade possibilities for Derek Stepan. Friedman feels it’s more to do with family issues than performance. “He’s away from his family and I think they want to get him closer.” The Senators acquired Stepan from the Arizona Coyotes before the season began. He left his family in Arizona when he joined the Senators.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Former Sportsnet insider Nick Kypreos and Ottawa Sun reporter Bruce Garrioch first broke this report last week. They also indicated this was being considered for family reasons. There’s no indication where they could ship Stepan. It’s unlikely he’ll return to the Coyotes as they traded him as a cost-cutting measure.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 20, 2020

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 20, 2020

Long-time NHL broadcaster Doc Emrick retires, the latest notable contract signings and more in today’s morning coffee headlines.

NBC SPORTS: Mike “Doc” Emrick yesterday announced his retirement after 47 years as an NHL broadcaster. He was the lead play-by-play man for NBC Sports’ NHL coverage for the past 15 years.

Mike “Doc” Emrick announced his retirement (NHL.com).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Emrick was the voice of NHL hockey in the United States for many years. He belongs among the all-time greats with Foster Hewitt, Danny Gallivan, Bob Cole and Dan Kelly.

ARIZONA SPORTS: The Coyotes signed forward Christian Fischer to a two-year, one-way contract worth an annual average value of $1 million.

THE PROVINCE: The Vancouver Canucks signed center Adam Gaudette to a one-year, $950K contract and free-agent Jayce Hawryluk to a one-year, two-way deal worth $800K at the NHL level.

CALGARY SUN: The Flames signed former Boston Bruins winger Joakim Nordstrom to a one-year, $700K contract.

TORONTO STAR: The Maple Leafs and Ilya Mikheyev have submitted their paperwork in the latter’s upcoming arbitration case. Mikheyev seeks a one-year, $2.7 million contract while the Leafs countered with a two-year, $2 million offer. His hearing is slated for Wednesday but the two sides can continue to negotiate.

ICETHETICS.COM: Photos of what appears to be the “reverse retro” alternate sweaters for the Philadelphia Flyers and Pittsburgh Penguins have apparently been leaked.

IIHF.COM: The schedule for the 2021 World Junior Championships has been announced, with the tournament starting on Christmas Day 2020.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: TSN’s Bob McKenzie has a lengthy Twitter thread regarding which junior players (including those selected in the 2020 NHL Draft) might be eligible or allowed to play for Team Canada by their respective NHL clubs.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 25, 2019

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 25, 2019

Leon Draisaitl and Connor McDavid rally the Oilers over the Capitals, Vladimir Tarasenko and Matt Duchene sidelined, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: Leon Draisaitl’s overtime goal completed a 3-1 comeback as the Edmonton Oilers upset the Washington Capitals 4-3. Draisaitl and linemate Connor McDavid each collected three points in this contest. Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin sniped two goals.

Leon Draisaitl’s overtime goal gave the Edmonton Oilers a 4-3 victory over the Washington Capitals (Photo via NHL Images).

Brayden Schenn’s two-goal effort helped the St. Louis Blues defeat the Los Angeles Kings by a score of 5-2. It was a costly win for the Blues as winger Vladimir Tarasenko left the game in the first period with an upper-body injury. An update on his condition could be made today.

The Nashville Predators blanked the Minnesota Wild 4-0 as Pekka Rinne turned in a 26-save shutout performance. Predators center Matt Duchene left the game in the second period with a lower-body injury. An update on his condition has yet to be made. Colton Sissons scored a goal and collected an assist.

Matthew Tkachuk scored twice in regulation and the winner in a shootout as the Calgary Flames nipped the Florida Panthers 6-5. Aleksander Barkov collected four assists for the Panthers, extending their points streak to seven games.

The New York Islanders picked up their fifth straight victory by down the Arizona Coyotes 4-2, snapping the latter’s four-game win streak. Islanders winger Josh Bailey had a goal and an assist. Earlier in the day, the Islanders activated Casey Cizikas off injured reserved but winger Leo Komarov’s (illness) status remains uncertain.

Evander Kane scored two power-play goals, Tomas Hertl collected three assists, and Aaron Dell kicked out 35 shots as the San Jose Sharks doubled up the Montreal Canadiens 4-2.

Cam Atkinson scored in overtime as the Columbus Blue Jackets edged the Carolina Hurricanes 4-3, handing the latter their third straight loss. Jackets blueliners Ryan Murray and David Savard each had two-point performance.

The New York Rangers ended a five-game losing skid with a 6-2 drubbing of the Buffalo Sabres. Ryan Strome scored twice while Rangers defensemen Brady Skjei and Tony DeAngelo each had two points.

Claude Giroux tallied his first goal of the season as the Philadelphia Flyers beat the Chicago Blackhawks 4-1. James van Riemsdyk scored and collected an assist. Flyers forward Michael Raffl left the game in the third period with an injured leg after blocking a shot.

Two first-period goals by Denis Gurianov gave the Dallas Stars a 2-1 win over the Anaheim Ducks. It was Stars winger Corey Perry’s first game against his former club since his contract buyout this summer. Dallas goalie Ben Bishop made 27 saves, handing the Ducks their third straight loss. Ducks defenseman Josh Manson injured his left leg while winger Ondrej Kase left the game with an upper-body injury.

IN OTHER NEWS…

NBC SPORTS: Former Montreal Canadiens defenseman Andrei Markov returned to the KHL, signing a professional tryout contract with Lokomotiv Yaroslavl. Markov had hoped to sign with an NHL club this summer after spending the last two seasons with KHL club Ak-Bars Kazan.

MLIVE.COM: Detroit Red Wings forward Luke Glendening is expected to be sidelined with an undisclosed injury.

VANCOUVER SUN: The Canucks assigned forward Adam Gaudette to their AHL affiliate in Utica.

THE NEWS & OBSERVER: Carolina Hurricanes broadcaster Mike Maniscalco underwent successful surgery this week to remove a large non-cancerous mass from his abdomen.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Here’s hoping Mansicalco has a speedy recovery.

THE SCORE: Defenseman Dennis Seidenberg has announced his retirement. He spent 15 seasons in the NHL with the Philadelphia Flyers, Arizona Coyotes, Florida Panthers, Boston Bruins, and New York Islanders. Seidenberg’s longest tenure was with the Bruins (over six seasons), helping them win the Stanley Cup in 2011 and reach the 2013 Stanley Cup Final. In 859 NHL games, he collected 251 points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Best wishes to Seidenberg in his future endeavors.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 7, 2018

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 7, 2018

Game recaps, Mike Matheson fined, Patrick Sharp to retire and more in your NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: Patrik Berglund tallied a hat trick to lead the St. Louis Blues to a 4-1 victory over the Chicago Blackhawks. With the win, the Blues (94 points) moved one point ahead of the Colorado Avalanche for the final wild-card berth in the Western Conference, setting the stage for their showdown tonight to decide who qualifies for the 2018 Stanley Cup playoffs.

Tampa Bay Lightning winger Nikita Kucherov tallied his 100th point of the season in a 7-5 win over the Buffalo Sabres (Photo via NHL Images)

The Tampa Bay Lightning widened their lead over the Boston Bruins for first overall in the Eastern Conference by defeating the Buffalo Sabres 7-5. Lightning winger Nikita Kucherov had a goal and an assist to reach 100 points for the first time in his career. Teammate Yanni Gourde set a franchise record for goals (25) and points (64) by a rookie. Tampa Bay captain Steven Stamkos sat out the game with a lower-body injury but is expected to be ready for the playoffs.

The Pittsburgh Penguins (100 points) secured home-ice advantage in the upcoming 2018 Stanley Cup playoffs with a 4-0 shutout of the Ottawa Senators. Sidney Crosby and Phil Kessel each collected two points while goaltender Casey DeSmith made 35 saves. The Penguins sit in second place in the Metropolitan Division.

SPECTOR’S NOTE:  For the first time in Crosby’s career, he played in every game during the regular season. 

Jakob Silfverberg scored a goal and set up two others as the Anaheim Ducks (99 points) downed the Dallas Stars 5-3 to take over third place in the Pacific Division.

If the Philadelphia Flyers and Florida Panthers end the season tied for the final Eastern Conference wild-card spot, they’ll play a one-game play-in on Tuesday to determine which one qualifies for the postseason.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Flyers have 96 points with one game remaining while the Panthers have 92 points with two games left. The Flyers face the New York Rangers this afternoon. If they win that game or pick up a point in an overtime/shootout loss, they’ll clinch that playoff berth and the Panthers will be eliminated. 

Vancouver Canucks center Adam Gaudette is the winner of the 2018 Hobey Baker Award as the top player in NCAA Division 1 hockey.

CHICAGO TRIBUNE: Blackhawks winger Patrick Sharp has indicated his intent to retire at the end of this season. He spent 14 seasons in the NHL, 11 of those with the Blackhawks, helping them win three Stanley Cup titles.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Sharp had a productive NHL career, tallying 20-or-more goals and 40-plus points eight times. Over the last two seasons, however, it was apparent that age and the wear-and-tear of his long career had taken a toll upon the 36-year-old winger. Best wishes to him in his future endeavors. 

SUN-SENTINEL: The NHL’s department of player safety has fined Florida Panthers defenseman Mike Matheson $2,000.00 for diving.

NEW YORK TIMES: Jaromir Jagr isn’t ruling out a possible return to the NHL next season. Jagr began this season with the Calgary Flames but was released from his contract on Jan. 28 and returned to the Czech Republic to play for his hometown team Kladno. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Jagr’s age (46) and his on-ice struggles with the Flames this season will scare off most clubs. An NHL return could depend on him swallowing his pride and accepting a professional tryout offer. 

THE PLAYERS’ TRIBUNE: Hall of Fame goaltender Ken Dryden once again calls upon NHL commissioner Gary Bettman to take action in the prevention of head injuries. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Dryden is right that Bettman is the league’s central decision maker and could implement significant rule changes when it come to concussions and hits to the head. However, Bettman’s reluctance to do so could be tied to the lawsuit the NHL is currently embroiled in with former players who believe the league didn’t do enough to protect them from head injuries. 

OTTAWA SUN: The Senators were saddened yesterday to learn of the death of 17-year-old Jonathan Pitre, the youngster who suffered from a rare, painful disease called epidermolysis bullosa. In 2014, the Senators signed Pitre to a contract making him a scout for a day. They also closely supported his fight against the disease. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Rest in peace, Jonathan. My condolences to his family, friends and the Senators organization.