Flyers Acquire Ellis From Predators in Three-Team Trade
The Philadelphia Flyers acquired defenseman Ryan Ellis from the Nashville Predators in exchange for defenseman Philippe Myers and forward Nolan Patrick. The Predators then traded Patrick to the Vegas Golden Knights for forward Cody Glass.
Philadelphia Flyers acquire Ryan Ellis from Nashville Predators (NHL Images).
SPECTOR’S NOTE: A major move right before the 3 pm ET expansion-draft roster freeze. This signals a shakeup among the Predators’ core, a big move by the Flyers to improve their defense, and the possibility of a change of scenery helping two former first-round draft picks get their once-promising careers back on track.
The Flyers see the 30-year-old Ellis as the solution to their need for a top-pairing, right-side defenseman. A skillful two-way blueliner, the 5’10”, 180-pounder exceeded 30 points in five straight seasons from 2015-16 to 2019-20.
Ellis has also been hampered by injuries in recent years. He played just one full season (2018-19) in the last four. When healthy, he should provide that veteran experience, skill and leadership the Flyers were lacking on their blueline this season. However, his health could be a concern going forward, especially carrying a $6.25 million annual cap hit for the next six seasons.
Myers, 24, struggled in his sophomore campaign with the Flyers. The 6-foot-5, 210-pounder has potential as a shutdown rearguard and could realize his full potential with the Predators. He’s signed through 2022-23 at an affordable $2.25 million per season.
Centers Patrick (second overall, 2017 draft) and Glass (sixth overall, 2017) both had difficulties playing up to expectations as high first-round picks. Patrick also battled migraines that sidelined him for the entire 2019-20 season. He could fill a checking-line role in Vegas. Glass struggled to earn a regular roster spot with the Golden Knights but could get more playing time on the retooling Predators.
The latest on the return-to-play plan and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.
PHILLY.COM: In the wake of Friday’s news of 11 NHL players testing positive for COVID-19 since June 8, Sam Carchidi wonders if the league’s return-to-play plan is worthwhile.
“Why not just bag the season and start the next campaign after a vaccine has been developed? The NHL would lose lots of TV revenue — estimates are around $500 million — but it would gain respect for putting lives ahead of dollars.”
Could recent COVID-19 tests threaten the NHL’s return-to-play plans?
Carchidi advocates a wait-and-see approach but feels the league should shut down plans to complete the season and look toward starting 2020-21 on time if virus cases balloon if/when training camp opens next month.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: One factor behind the NHL’s plans is the concern of a possible second wave of the pandemic keeping arenas empty throughout autumn. Staging the tournament from August through early October in empty arenas would allow the league to recoup perhaps half of its estimated $1.1 bn in losses. It would also enable the league to hold its off-season from late October to the end of December. It’s believed they intend to stage a full 2020-21 schedule starting on New Year’s Day in hope social distancing rules ease to allow fans back into the arenas.
The course of the pandemic, however, could upset those plans. League officials claim a handful of tests won’t shut things down as they’re confident their testing, contact tracing, and quarantine arrangements could keep the coronavirus in check. The training camp period, set to open next month, will test that theory.
STARTRIBUNE.COM: Sarah McLellan believes upcoming days will become more urgent for all parties to preserve July 10 as a viable start date for teams to reconvene. That’s when training camps are slated to open for the 24 teams involved in the playoff tournament.
An agreement between the league and NHL Players Association must be implemented soon to provide sufficient time for players to travel to their NHL cities. It’s unclear what effect the recent positive COVID-19 tests will have upon those plans.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The league issued a terse statement on Friday acknowledging 11 players have tested positive under Phase 2. They also announced they’ll issue a weekly update of the number of tests administered to players and the results, though they won’t reveal the identities of those who test positive and what teams they play for.
I suspect the league will be pressed for further details as July 10 approaches. Recent reports suggest a comprehensive agreement between the league and PA could be revealed soon, perhaps by the end of this week.
VANCOUVER SUN: Ed Willes observed recent reports claim Vancouver is among six locales under consideration to become one of the two host cities for the NHL playoff tournament. He wonders if that’s a good idea for the city and the province after reducing their COVID-19 numbers due to strict social distancing guidelines. Willes doesn’t think it’s worthwhile for a tournament that will only benefit a couple of hotels and the foodservice industry.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The city council and provincial government made the pitch for Vancouver as a host city, assured by the league’s self-quarantine plan that the influx of 12 teams won’t be a risk to the general public. While the benefit to the local economy appears minimal, the city and the province see it differently.
NEWSDAY: Rangers winger Pavel Buchnevich was expected to arrive in New York yesterday after spending the scheduled pause in Russia. Other European Rangers, including Henrik Lundqvist and Mika Zibanejad, are expected to follow.
LAS VEGAS SUN: Vegas Golden Knights rookie Cody Glass isn’t expected to be on the club’s roster for the playoff tournament. He underwent knee surgery in March and isn’t expected to be fully recovered when the tournament begins.
THE DETROIT NEWS: Red Wings dietician Lisa McDowell revealed she contracted COVID-19 in March, leaving her very sick for three weeks. She suffered a high fever for over a week, difficulty breathing, and bleeding gums when brushing her teeth. McDowell said she was rarely around the team leading up to the pause in the schedule and hadn’t exposed anyone to the virus. She recovered in early April and feels stronger each day but indicated she’s not back to full strength yet.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Much is made about how NHL players could be less affected by COVID-19 because they’re high-performance athletes. McDowell isn’t in the same athletic class but she’s an accomplished runner. The virus could hit an NHL player just as hard.
NHL.COM: Martin Brodeur said he’s not interested in the role of New Jersey Devils general manager right now, even if the job was available. He told The Hockey News he’s happy in his current role as the club’s executive vice president of hockey operations and senior advisor.
The Panthers retire Roberto Luongo’s number, David Pastrnak moves closer to 50 goals, updates on the playoff race, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.
NHL.COM: On the night the Florida Panthers retired Roberto Luongo’s No. 1, they also gained ground in the Eastern Conference playoff race by downing the Montreal Canadiens 4-1. Mike Hoffman and Aaron Ekblad each had two points for the Panthers (76 points), who moved within three of the idle Toronto Maple Leafs for third place in the Atlantic Division.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: A big win for the Panthers as they struggle to keep their playoff hopes alive. The Leafs have done the Panthers a favor with their sputtering play of late, but the Panthers must start capitalizing if they hope to overtake the Leafs and clinch a postseason berth.
Vincent Trocheck’s first goal since joining the Carolina Hurricanes was an overtime winner in a 3-2 win over the New York Islanders. The goal came with some controversy as Carolina winger Andrei Svechnikov clanged the puck off the crossbar with what appeared to be a high stick, enabling Trocheck to bury the rebound. However, the NHL situation room upheld the goal, claiming Svechnikov’s stick was below his shoulders when he made contact with the puck. The Islanders (79 points) cling to the first Eastern Conference wild-card spot, while the Hurricanes (77 points) sit two points behind the Isles and Columbus Blue Jackets.
The Blue Jackets, meanwhile, dropped a 4-1 decision to the Edmonton Oilers. Mikko Koskinen made 45 saves and Alex Chiasson tallied a goal and picked up an assist for the Oilers (82 points), who moved into a first-place tie with the Vegas Golden Knights for first place in the Pacific Division. The Oilers (82 points) hold the edge over Vegas based on goals scored and ROW (regulation and overtime wins). Oilers defenseman Oscar Klefbom returned to action for the first time since Feb. 16. Blue Jackets defenseman Ryan Murray missed the game with an undisclosed injury.
The New York Rangers failed to gain ground in the Eastern Conference playoff race by falling 6-4 to the New Jersey Devils. Travis Zajac and Kyle Palmieri each scored twice for the Devils as Rangers goalie Igor Shesterkin was pulled after giving up four goals on 11 shots in the second period. It was Shesterkin’s first game since suffering a rib injury in a car accident on Feb. 23. The Rangers (76 points) sit three points out of the final Eastern Conference wild-card spot.
Boston Bruins winger David Pastrnak tallied his 48th goal in a 5-3 loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning (Photo via NHL Images).
Shorthanded goals by Anthony Cirelli and Mikhail Sergachev just over a minute apart powered the Tampa Bay Lightning over the Boston Bruins 5-3 in a penalty-filled contest. Bruins winger David Pastrnak tallied his league-leading 48th goal of the season. The Bruins four-game winning streak came to an end, but they remain atop the overall standings with 98 points. The Lightning (91 points) sit second in the Atlantic Division.
Nic Dowd scored two goals and collected an assist as the Washington Capitals beat the Pittsburgh Penguins 5-2. The Capitals (89 points) are tied with the Philadelphia Flyers for first in the Metropolitan Division, but hold the edge due to ROW and goals scored. The Penguins (84 points) remain in third in the Metro.
The red-hot Flyers, meanwhile, picked up their ninth straight victory with a 3-1 win over the Buffalo Sabres. Claude Giroux netted two goals and Carter Hart made 38 saves.
Jusse Saros turned in a 37-save shutout and Ryan Ellis scored the only goal as the Nashville Predators nipped the Dallas Stars 1-0. With 76 points, the Predators hold the final wild-card spot in the Western Conference over the Winnipeg Jets (76 points) based on goals scored (211) and holding a game in hand. The Stars (82 points) sit third in the Central Division, but they’ve won just three of their last 10 games.
Los Angeles Kings winger Dustin Brown tallied a hat trick in a 7-3 upset of the Minnesota Wild, Kings captain Anze Kopitar had a goal and two assists. The Wild (75 points) sit one point behind the Predators and Jets.
The Ottawa Senators edged the San Jose Sharks 2-1 on an overtime goal by Chris Tierney. The Senators have won four of their last five games.
THE SCORE: The NHL is recommending teams close its dressing rooms to reporters to combat the spread of the coronavirus. Only a couple of teams have done so, but it could become more widespread in the coming days.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Most of the players probably won’t mind getting a break from having to provide the same stock answers to the same question from reporters. Nevertheless, the league appears serious in its efforts to prevent the coronavirus from spreading into NHL dressing rooms. Its effects are already being felt through the hockey world, as the IIHF has canceled the 2020 Women’s World Championships.
SPORTSNET: The Rangers have reportedly extended the contracts of general manager Jeff Gorton and assistant GM Chris Drury.
LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL: Vegas Golden Knights rookie Cody Glass underwent season-ending surgery on his right knee. He’s expected to recover in time for training camp in September.
THE ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER: Anaheim Ducks defenseman Hampus Lindholm (upper-body injuries) could be sidelined for weeks. He’s already missed five games after crashing heavily into the boards in a Feb. 25 game against the Oilers.
SPORTSNET: Montreal Canadiens center Jesperi Kotkaniemi suffered a splenic injury in a recent game with the Habs’ AHL affiliate. He returned to Montreal for evaluation yesterday and there’s no timetable for his recovery.
Oilers captain Connor McDavid dazzles against the Maple Leafs, the Predators fired head coach Peter Laviolette, the three stars of the week and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.
NHL.COM: Connor McDavid tallied a highlight-reel goal to lead his Edmonton Oilers over the Toronto Maple Leafs 6-4. McDavid also collected three assists while teammate Leon Draisaitl had a goal and an assist.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: This looks like a goal of the year candidate.
Connor McDavid had a four-point performance leading the Edmonton Oilers to a 6-4 win over the Toronto Maple Leafs (Photo via NHL Images).
Ilya Kovalchuk picked up an assist in his first game with the Montreal Canadiens, but it wasn’t enough to prevent the Habs from suffering a 3-2 defeat at the hands of the Winnipeg Jets. Blake Wheeler and Nikolaj Ehlers each had two points for the Jets, while former Jet Ben Chiarot tallied both Montreal goals. The Canadiens are winless in their last six games (0-5-1).
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Stick a fork in the Habs, their playoff hopes are done like dinner. They’re six points out of a wild-card spot and struggling to score with four of their top forwards (including Jonathan Drouin and Brendan Gallagher) on the shelf. Die-hards will point to the St. Louis Blues rallying from dead-last in the league at this stage last season to win the Stanley Cup, but that was an anomaly. The Canadiens lack the Blues’ depth of talent to reach the playoffs, let alone win the Cup.
Former Colorado Avalanche goaltender Semyon Varlamov turned in a 32-save shutout against his old club backstopping the New York Islanders to a 1-0 victory. Anders Lee tallied the game’s only goal.
Columbus Blue Jackets netminder Elvis Merzlikins kicked out 35 shots as his club doubled up the Los Angeles Kings 4-2. Gustav Nyquist and Pierre-Luc Dubois each collected two points for the Jackets, who are 9-1-4 in their last 14 contests.
THE TENNESSEAN: The Nashville Predators yesterday fired head coach Peter Laviolette and associate coach Kevin McCarthy. During his 5 1/2 seasons with the Predators, he guided them to a 248-143-60 record. They also marched to the 2017 Stanley Cup Final and won the Presidents’ Trophy in 2018.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Predators were hoping to contend for the Cup this season, but they’re sitting second-last in the Central Division and in danger of missing the playoffs. This move is being interpreted as general manager David Poile not giving up on the season, but it might not be his only move if the club fails to respond. Laviolette’s replacement is expected to be announced later today.
Colorado Avalanche center Nathan MacKinnon, Winnipeg Jets center Mark Scheifele, and Columbus Blue Jackets defenseman Zach Werenski are the NHL’s three stars for the week ending Jan. 5.
AZCENTRAL.COM: The Arizona Coyotes are seeing a significant increase in attendance and local TV ratings since acquiring winger Taylor Hall last month.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Coyotes are jockeying with the Vegas Golden Knights for first place in the Pacific Division. Barring a total collapse in the second half, they have the look of a playoff club.
Capitals stage late rally to upset the Sharks, an update on the NHL and the Olympics, and more in today’s morning coffee headlines.
NHL.COM: Goals by Jakub Vrana and T.J. Oshie within the final minute of regulation set the stage for Lars Eller’s overtime tally as the Washington Capitals upset the San Jose Sharks 5-4. Vrana scored twice for the Capitals while Sharks winger Evander Kane netted a hat trick.
Lars Eller’s overtime goal lifted the Washington Capitals over the San Jose Sharks 5-4 (Photo via NHL Images).
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Sharks seemingly put this out of reach after Logan Couture made it 4-2. They collapsed defensively in that final minute, snatching defeat from the jaws of victory.
The Tampa Bay Lightning extended their win streak to eight games by defeating the Carolina Hurricanes 3-1. Lightning captain Steven Stamkos had a goal and an assist. Bolts blueliner Ryan McDonagh missed the game with an upper-body injury. The Hurricanes have dropped five of their last seven contests.
Ryan Getzlaf’s shootout winner gave the Anaheim Ducks a 5-4 victory over the Nashville Predators. Getzlaf also collected three assists while teammate Adam Henrique scored two goals and chipped in an assist. Predators captain Roman Josi collected an assist to extend his points streak to 10 games, setting the team record for defensemen. Craig Smith scored twice for the Predators.
Florida Panthers goaltender Chris Driedger made 31 saves in a 4-1 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins. Mike Hoffman and Frank Vatrano each had a goal and an assist.
A shootout goal by Dillon Dube put the Calgary Flames over the Minnesota Wild by a score of 5-4. Flames forwards Johnny Gaudreau and Mikael Backlund each collected two assists, while Wild winger Marcus Foligno scored twice.
The Chicago Blackhawks overcame a 2-0 deficit to double up the Detroit Red Wings 4-2. Corey Crawford picked up the win in his first start since Dec. 23. Adam Boqvist tallied the winner in the third period.
TSN: International Ice Hockey Federation chief Rene Faisel said the NHL must decide by August if it intends to participate in the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing. He wants to ensure his organization has more time to make the appropriate preparations one way or the other. “We are working on an early decision made by the NHL and NHLPA,” Fasel said. “We need to know before that.”
SPECTOR’S NOTE: NHL players remain keen to participate in the Olympics. The league, on the other hand, is still cool to the idea, largely because the International Olympic Committee declined to pick up the costs of travel, insurance, and accommodations for NHL players. I daresay they’d also like a share of the sponsorship and media revenue. If the IOC maintains its previous position, we can forget about NHL participation in any future Olympics.
CBS SPORTS: Vegas Golden Knights rookie Cody Glass is suffering from a bone bruise on his leg and won’t require surgery. He suffered the injury during Saturday’s win over the St. Louis Blues.