NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 11, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 11, 2021

The hockey world remembers 9/11 victims Ace Bailey and Mark Bavis, Zach Parise signs with the Islanders and the Flames ink Erik Gudbranson and Michael Stone. Details and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

THE ATHLETIC: Twenty years after the September 11, 2001 attacks on New York and Washington, the hockey world remembers Los Angeles Kings scouts Garnet “Ace” Bailey and Mark Bavis, who perished aboard highjacked United Airlines Flight 175 when it was deliberately crashed into the South Tower of the World Trade Center in New York City.

Garnet “Ace” Bailey and Mark Bavis (NHL.com).

Wayne Gretzky shared his memories of Bailey, who mentored The Great One early in his pro career and became his close friend. Mike Bavis recalled identical twin brother Mark’s path to becoming a scout.

Former NHL coach Bruce Boudreau talked about how would’ve been on the same flight with Bailey and Bavis if he hadn’t flown to Los Angeles a day earlier to attend a dinner of all the coaches in the Kings’ organization. At the time, Boudreau was the head coach of the Manchester Monarchs, an AHL affiliate of the Kings.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Please spare a thought for the families and friends of Bailey, Bavis, and the other innocent people who perished during the attacks on that terrible day and for the survivors, many of whom still bear the physical and mental scars.

NEWSDAY: The worst-kept secret of the offseason was officially confirmed yesterday as the New York Islanders announced Zach Parise had signed a one-year contract. Financial terms for the former Minnesota Wild winger were not disclosed.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Parise recently confirmed he’d signed with the Isles earlier in the season and would soon be on his way to Long Island for training camp.

TSN: The Calgary Flames signed free-agent defenseman Erik Gudbranson to a one-year, $1.95 million contract yesterday. They also brought back blueliner Michael Stone on a one-year deal worth $750K.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Gudbranson’s critics believe his style of play no longer fits into today’s fast-paced game. Nevertheless, he keeps finding teams willing to pay for his leadership and physical shutdown game. The Flames are the well-traveled blueliner’s seventh NHL team.

THE SCORE: Columbus Blue Jackets goaltender Elvis Merzlikins revealed a new mask honoring his late friend and teammate Matiss Kivlenieks, who perished in a fireworks accident on July 4.

THE ATHLETIC’s Michael Russo tweeted former Minnesota Wild captain Mikko Koivu will be joining the club’s prospect camp and training camp. It’s believed he’ll eventually have a position within the organization. Koivu announced his retirement in February after 16 NHL seasons.

USA HOCKEY: announced Ryan Kesler will be a volunteer assistant coach for the organization’s National Team Development Program.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Cap Friendly shows Kesler under contract with the Anaheim Ducks this season. However, he’s all but retired after being sidelined by a hip injury. This announcement indicates Kesler is taking the first step toward what could be a coaching career in the pro ranks.

SPORTSNET: The Ottawa Senators announced a proof of vaccination and mask-wearing will be required for fans attending their home games this season.










NHL Trades – Monday, April 12, 2021

NHL Trades – Monday, April 12, 2021

Check out the details of all the significant trades that took place on deadline day:

Buffalo Sabres trade forwards Taylor Hall and Curtis Lazar to the Boston Bruins for winger Anders Bjork and a second-round pick in the 2021 NHL draft. The Sabres retain half of Hall’s $8 million cap hit.

Los Angeles Kings trade forward Jeff Carter to the Pittsburgh Penguins for a conditional 2022 third-round pick and a conditional fourth in 2023. The Kings retain half of Carter’s $5.273 million cap hit.

Washington Capitals trade Jakub Vrana, Richard Panik, a 2021 first-round pick and a 2022 second-rounder to the Detroit Red Wings in exchange for winger Anthony Mantha.

Calgary Flames trade Sam Bennett to the Florida Panthers for a 2022 second-round pick and prospect winger Emil Heineman. 

Philadelphia Flyers trade forward Michael Raffl to the Washington Capitals in exchange for a fifth-round pick. 

Ottawa Senators trade defenseman Erik Gudbranson to the Nashville Predators for a seventh-rounder in 2023. 

Montreal Canadiens acquire defenseman Erik Gustafsson from the Philadelphia Flyers in exchange for a seventh-round pick in 2022. 

Colorado Avalanche re-acquire center Carl Soderberg from the Chicago Blackhawks in exchange for minor-league center Josh Dickinson and prospect winger Ryder Rolston. 

Toronto Maple Leafs acquire defenseman Ben Hutton from the Anaheim Ducks in exchange for a fifth-round pick in 2022. 

Chicago Blackhawks trade Mattias Janmark and a fifth-round pick in the 2022 NHL Draft to the Vegas Golden Knights in exchange for a second-round pick in 2021 and a third-round pick in 2022. TSN’s Pierre LeBrun reports the San Jose Sharks will receive a fifth-round pick from the Golden Knights for brokering the deal. The Blackhawks and Sharks retain 50 percent of Janmark’s salary. 

Edmonton Oilers acquire defenseman Dmitry Kulikov from the New Jersey Devils in exchange for a conditional fourth-round pick in the 2021 NHL draft. The pick becomes a third-rounder if the Oilers win a playoff round (as per TSN’s Gord Miller and Bob McKenzie)

Vancouver Canucks trade defenseman Jordie Benn to the Winnipeg Jets for a sixth-round pick. 

Chicago Blackhawks acquire forward Adam Gaudette from the Vancouver Canucks in exchange for center Matthew Highmore.

Carolina Hurricanes trade defenseman Haydn Fleury to the Anaheim Ducks in exchange for defenseman Jani Hakanpaa.










NHL Rumor Mill – March 16, 2021

NHL Rumor Mill – March 16, 2021

Check out the latest on the Predators, Canadiens, Islanders, Blackhawks, Jets and Capitals in today’s NHL rumor mill.

PREDATORS

THE ATHLETIC: Adam Vingan reports Pekka Rinne wants to retire as a Nashville Predator. The 38-year-old goaltender is in the final year of his contract and could be in his final NHL season but the thought of joining a contender as a rental player hasn’t crossed his mind. He indicated as of last week there haven’t been any conversations with management regarding his future. He has a modified no-trade clause in which he submits 10 potential trade destinations before the start of the season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Vingan also noted last month’s report by Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman indicating the Predators prefer Rinne finish his career in Nashville. Even if the veteran goalie wanted to be traded his declining performance probably wouldn’t attract many suitors.

Nashville Predators defenseman Mattias Ekholm (NHL Images).

Speaking of Friedman and the Predators, he said yesterday on his “31 Thoughts” they sought a “Muzzin-like package” of two prospects and a first-round pick for Mattias Ekholm. He said the Boston Bruins and Winnipeg Jets were in but received conflicting reports about the Montreal Canadiens’ interest (stick tap to “NHL Watcher”).

Friedman also questioned if the Toronto Maple Leafs would be in the Ekholm bidding as that would give them three lefties on their blueline with Jake Muzzin and Morgan Rielly. He also considered the Philadelphia Flyers as a wild card because of the effect it would have upon their expansion draft protection list.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Bruins, Jets and Canadiens have the cap space to acquire Ekholm. The Leafs can’t do it unless the Preds retain part of Ekholm’s cap hit. Even then, they might have to move out a player to clear sufficient cap space. The Flyers won’t be the only club concerned about how acquiring Ekholm could affect their expansion protection lists.

CANADIENS

THE ATHLETIC: Arpon Basu noted the Canadiens could get some salary-cap relief to pursue a player at the trade deadline by placing sidelined defenseman Ben Chiarot on long-term injury reserve. The problem, however, is uncertainty over how long he’ll be sidelined. He’s listed as out six-to-eight weeks. If it’s the former he’d return before the end of the season, meaning the Habs would have to clear cap space for his return. If it’s the latter, he’d return after the regular season ends on May 8.

TVA SPORTS: Renaud Lavoie suggests Ottawa Senators defenseman Erik Gudbranson could be a good trade target for the Canadiens. He wouldn’t have to be quarantined for 14 days and would bring a measure of toughness and shot-blocking to their roster, “and he speaks French very, very well.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: A player who speaks French very, very well is the last thing the Canadiens should look at if they’re trying to bolster their roster. Gudbranson is a right-side blueliner skating on the Senators’ third defense pairing. The Habs need help on the left side of their top-four pairings, hence the rumors linking them to Ekholm.

ISLANDERS

THE ATHLETIC: Arthur Staple listed Buffalo’s Taylor Hall, New Jersey’s Kyle Palmieri and Columbus’ Nick Foligno among the pending UFA forwards of his suggested trade targets for the New York Islanders to replace sidelined captain Anders Lee. The Isles recently place Lee on long-term injury reserve, allowing them to exceed the salary cap by the equivalent of his $7 million annual average value.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Islanders general manager Lou Lamoriello will take his time to consider his options before the April 12 trade deadline. It helps that his club is currently the hottest team in the league and jockeying with the Florida Panthers for the lead in the overall standings. He could pursue a rental forward to replace Lee or consider a more affordable option and look at adding a veteran defenseman.

Staple also included some players with term left on their contracts like Nashville’s Filip Forsberg and Anaheim’s Rickard Rakell. However, I think the asking prices for those players will be more expensive than for rental forwards.

BLACKHAWKS

CHICAGO SUN-TIMES: Ben Pope listed 10 players the Blackhawks could target if they wished to use their LTIR space. They could afford to take on another $21 million in LTIR space for this season and still have quite a bit of space for next season too.

Pope suggested using some of that space to take on another team’s bad contract and get some draft picks and prospects in the deal. His suggested targets include Vancouver’s Loui Eriksson, the Islanders’ Andrew Ladd, Edmonton’s James Neal or Carolina’s Jake Gardiner.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Blackhawks are exceeding expectations this season by hanging on for a playoff spot in the Discover Central Division. GM Stan Bowman could have room to take up Pope’s suggestion and have enough to acquire an affordable depth rental player. It’ll be interesting to see what he does with that LTIR space.

JETS

SPORTSNET: Winnipeg Jets GM Kevin Cheveldayoff isn’t ruling out making another trade this season if the fit and the dollars are right. In January he shipped Patrik Laine and Jack Roslovic to Columbus for Pierre-Luc Dubois and a draft pick.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Recent conjecture linked the Jets to Nashville’s Mattias Ekholm, Columbus’ David Savard and Vancouver’s Travis Hamonic. One of them could be coming to Winnipeg in the near future. Hamonic said he’d like to stay with the Canucks but that could depend on where that club sits in the standings by deadline day. He’s slated to become a UFA this summer.

CAPITALS

THE ATHLETIC: Tarik El-Bashir reports the Washington Capitals are doing due diligence in case the opportunity arises between now and the April 12 trade deadline to add a goaltender in a dollar-in, dollar-out trade. They have no projected trade deadline cap space because they’ve already allocated the relief it gained from placing Henrik Lundqvist and Michael Kempny on LTIR.










NHL Rumor Mill – March 9, 2021

NHL Rumor Mill – March 9, 2021

An update on Ryan Getzlaf, the Blue Jackets seek a center and the latest on the Oilers and Senators in today’s NHL rumor mill.

DUCKS HAVEN’T ASKED GETZLAF TO WAIVE NMC

NHL.COM: Anaheim Ducks general manager Bob Murray said he has not asked team captain Ryan Getzlaf to consider waiving his no-movement clause. The 35-year-old center is in the final season of an eight-year deal and is eligible to become an unrestricted free agent this summer.

Anaheim Ducks captain Ryan Getzlaf (NHL Images).

I’m tired of hearing this from Toronto anymore, how his name is out there (in media rumors),” said Murray. “The only way Ryan Getzlaf would go anywhere is if he came to me and said, ‘Bob, can you try and trade me to a contender?’ He added, “he’s not going anywhere.”

Murray said he’s spoken with Getzlaf after next year and they’ve agreed to see how he feels after this season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s apparent Murray would prefer if Getzlaf stayed on during the club’s ongoing rebuild but will leave that decision up to him. Maybe the long-time Ducks captain will decide in the coming weeks he’d like one more shot at winning another Stanley Cup before hanging up his skates. Maybe not.

BLUE JACKETS SEEK A FIRST-LINE CENTER

TSN: cited Columbus Blue Jackets GM Jarmo Kekalainen tell The Athletic his club is in the market for a top-line center. “It’s a challenge because they’re just not available,” said Kekalainen. “You usually have to draft and develop one. We did that with one player and now he’s not here.”

Kekalainen was referring to Pierre-Luc Dubois, who asked to be traded and was subsequently shipped to the Winnipeg Jets in January along with a draft pick for forwards Patrik Laine and Jack Roslovic. He added there could be some centers available in this summer’s free-agent market.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Whatever the reason behind Dubois’ trade request, the fact remains the Jackets are in a difficult spot without a reliable first-line center.

The Blue Jackets tried to bolster their depth at center before the season began by acquiring Max Domi and Mikko Koivu but the former has struggled to adapt while the latter retired after only seven games. They’ve been using Roslovic and Nick Foligno to plug the gap at the first-line center spot but it’s not working out.

Pickings will be slim for first-line centers via this year’s UFA market. The best of the bunch is Edmonton’s Ryan Nugent-Hopkins but there’s no certainty he’ll be available. The Blue Jackets will face stiff competition signing him if he decides to test the market. The remainder are aging stars like Anaheim’s Ryan Getzlaf, Boston’s David Krejci, Buffalo’s Eric Staal and Winnipeg’s Paul Stastny or a struggling center such as Montreal’s Phillip Danault.

LATEST ON THE OILERS AND SENATORS

THE ATHLETIC: Allan Mitchell recently suggested several targets for the Edmonton Oilers leading up to the April 12 trade deadline. Mitchell believes trading for a true No. 1 goaltender would do more to bolster the current roster than anything else. He wonders if GM Ken Holland could find a way to “switch out (Mikko) Koskinen” and acquire Darcy Kuemper from the Arizona Coyotes.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Anything’s possible but Holland faces long odds acquiring Kuemper. The Coyotes are battling for the final playoff spot in the Honda West Division so they have no reason to trade their starter unless they tumble out of the race before April 12. Even then, they’ll be reluctant to move him with a year remaining on his contract.

A more likely trade option would be Arizona backup Antti Raanta, who becomes a UFA this summer. But as long as the Coyotes remain in the playoff chase they won’t break up their current goalie tandem.

OTTAWA SUN: Bruce Garrioch reports the Senators will have decisions to make regarding their eight pending UFAs leading up to the trade deadline. He considers it “highly doubtful” alternate captain Erik Gudbranson would get moved while Ryan Dzingel only recently joined the lineup from a 14-day quarantine following his acquisition from Carolina last month. Mike Reilly would be an attractive option for teams seeking blueline help but he’s stabilized the Senators’ second pairing with Artem Zub.

Garrioch believes GM Pierre Dorion will listen if a team comes calling and want to give something in return. Given the current environment, however, this could be a quiet deadline for him.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 3, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 3, 2021

Mika Zibanejad and Victor Olofsson start training camp on the sidelines, Travis Hamonic signs PTO with the Canucks and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

THE SCORE: cites the New York Post’s Larry Brooks reporting Mika Zibanejad is listed as day-to-day and won’t be taking to the ice for the Rangers’ first practice session on Monday. No word as to what’s ailing the 27-year-old center.

New York Rangers center Mika Zibanejad listed as day-to-day (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Zibanejad is the Rangers’ first-line center. He tallied a career-high 41 goals and 75 points in 57 games last season.

CBS SPORTS: Buffalo Sabres winger Victor Olofsson exited practice yesterday with an apparent arm injury after crashing into the net during a one-on-one drill. No details this morning as to the 25-year-old Swede’s condition but he’s considered day-to-day.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Sabres are also without captain Jack Eichel, who’s day-to-day with an upper-body injury.

TSN’S Rick Dhaliwal this morning tweeted former Calgary Flames defenseman Travis Hamonic will join the Vancouver Canucks in training camp on a professional tryout offer. Dhaliwal wonders how the Canucks will fit him in under their limited cap space if he makes the club. He also indicated they stopped calling the agent for free-agent defenseman Sami Vatanen two days ago.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Hamonic would be a welcome addition to the Canucks’ blueline. Cap Friendly shows the Canucks sitting above the $81.5 million salary cap by just over $1.5 million. However, they could get some cap relief if winger Micheal Ferland’s ongoing post-concussion symptoms keep him on the sidelines to start the season.

Placing Ferland on long-term injury reserve to start the season would give the Canucks about $2 million in wiggle room, enough to ink Hamonic to a cost-effective one-year deal. They could also free up additional space if necessary by placing a player on waivers and putting him on their taxi squad.

OTTAWA SUN: Following Germany’s elimination Saturday from the 2021 World Junior Championships, winger Tim Stuetzle headed to Ottawa to join the Senators. He’ll join his new teammates following a week of quarantine and four negative COVID-19 tests.

The Senators will be playing without a captain again this season, but they named Thomas Chabot, Erik Gudbranson and Brady Tkachuk as their three alternates.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Stuetzle was dazzling at the WJC, showing the world why he was such a coveted prospect in this year’s draft. If he adjusts well to the NHL game, the Senators will have a potential superstar in their midst.

THE TENNESSEAN: The Nashville Predators brought back defenseman Yannick Weber on a professional tryout offer. Weber played with the Predators from 2016-17 to 2019-20 before becoming an unrestricted free agent.










NHL Rumor Mill – January 1, 2021

NHL Rumor Mill – January 1, 2021

The Blue Jackets signed Pierre-Luc Dubois but trade rumors persist, plus the latest on the Senators in the first NHL rumor mill of 2021.

THE ATHLETIC: Aaron Portzline cites colleague Pierre LeBrun yesterday reporting a few NHL clubs were made aware that Pierre-Luc Dubois is looking at a change of scenery after just three seasons with the Columbus Blue Jackets. Dubois and the Jackets yesterday reached an agreement on a two-year, $10 million contract.

Despite re-signing with the Columbus Blue Jackets, there’s speculation Pierre-Luc Dubois wants to be traded (NHL Images).

Neither general manager Jarmo Kekalainen or Dubois’ agent would comment on the young center’s rumored request for a trade. Portzline cites a source claiming the relationship between Dubois and the organization changed during contract negotiations in the fall.

The Jackets apparently wanted a long-term contract but Dubois sought a short-term deal that would allow management sufficient time to trade him for a return commensurate with his value. It also keeps Dubois from being locked-in long term with the Jackets.

Dubois didn’t sign an offer sheet but Portzline indicates he did speak with other clubs. It was in those discussions that his desire to leave Columbus became clear.

Portzline suggests Kekalainen’s tendency to take a hard line in contract talks with young players has the consequence of damaging the relationship between the two sides. He cites former Jackets Ryan Johansen and Josh Anderson as notable examples.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: We’ll probably learn more in the coming days from various league insiders over Dubois’ situation, especially regarding the teams he spoke with during his contract negotiations. It’s also been suggested Dubois might not have the best relationship with head coach John Tortorella, who has a reputation as a tough-minded bench boss.

Whatever the reason, Dubois could become a subject of interest in the rumor mill over the course of this season. If there is friction between the center and Kekalainen and/or Tortorella, it could result in his departure via trade this year or next for a player of equal or potentially better value.

Kekalainen could make a one-for-one deal involving Dubois. He shipped Johansen to Nashville for defenseman Seth Jones in a move that proved to be a winner for the Jackets. Anderson was dealt in October to Montreal for Max Domi. Time will tell which club got the better of that move.

OTTAWA SUN: Earlier this week, Ken Warren examined how the recent moves by the Senators have created a logjam at center and on defense. The additions of Derek Stepan and Cedric Paquette gives them five centers. Because there’s limited room to move a center to the wing, Warren suggested moving on from Artem Anisimov. He also believes they’ll have to make a decision on Logan Brown, who’s heading into his third pro season trying to win a permanent spot on the roster.

Warren also pointed out it’s a packed house on the blueline, “with Thomas Chabot, Nikita Zaitsev, Erik Gudbranson, Braydon Coburn, Mike Reilly, Josh Brown, Christian Wolanin, Erik Brannstrom, Artem Zub, Lassi Thomson and Christian Jaros all searching for playing time.” He speculates some of the veterans could be moved by the trade deadline.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Warren believes it could be difficult moving Anisimov because he’s slowed and there might not be many takers for the $1.5 million in actual salary remaining on his contract. Perhaps not now, but he could draw some interest from a playoff contender leading up to the Apr. 12 trade deadline. I expect pending UFA blueliners like Gudbranson, Coburn or Reilly could also hit the trade block later in the season.