NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 1, 2023

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 1, 2023

The Penguins’ Tristan Jarry scored the first “goalie goal” of the season, the Flames trade Nikita Zadorov to the Canucks, the latest on Corey Perry and much more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.

NHL.COM: The Pittsburgh Penguins’ Tristan Jarry scored the first “goalie goal” of the season with an empty-netter to seal his club’s 4-2 comeback win over the Tampa Bay Lightning. Jarry also finished the night with 39 saves while Jeff Carter broke a 2-2 tie in the third period as the Penguins improved to 11-10-1 on the season. Nikita Kucherov collected two assists as he remains atop the NHL scoring race with 39 points for the 10-9-5 Lightning.

Pittsburgh Penguins goaltender Tristan Jarry (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Jarry is the first goaltender in Penguins history to score a goal. 

Vegas Golden Knights center Jack Eichel commemorated his 500th career game with a goal and two assists as his club defeated the Vancouver Canucks by a score of 4-1. The Golden Knights (15-5-4) snapped a three-game losing skid to reclaim first place in the overall standings with 34 points. Thatcher Demko stopped 40 shots and Andrei Kuzmenko scored for the 15-8-1 Canucks.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Golden Knights goaltender Adin Hill left the game following the second period for precautionary reasons due to a lower-body injury. Logan Thompson replaced him for the third period.

Before the game, the Canucks acquired defenseman Nikita Zadorov from the Calgary Flames in exchange for a fifth-round pick in 2024 and a third-round pick in 2026.

The Canucks were rumored to be interested in Zadorov for some time. The big rearguard brings size and physical defensive skill to their blueline corps. He’s slated to become an unrestricted free agent next July unless he and the Canucks agree to an extension before then. For now, he’s a welcome addition to their defense for the remainder of this season.

It was surprising that Flames general manager Craig Conroy was willing to ship Zadorov to a division rival, especially one that they’ll be facing as soon as Saturday. Nevertheless, he believes it’s a fair deal for both clubs.

Zadorov punched his ticket out of Calgary with a public trade request through his agent on Nov. 10. The Canucks were willing to take on his full $3.75 million cap hit, enabling the Flames to avoid any salary retention in the deal. While they didn’t get a useful roster player, top prospect or high draft pick in return, they added two picks to their draft stockpile.

Trading away Zadorov will likely ramp up trade rumors regarding the Flames’ notable pending UFAs such as Elias Lindholm, Noah Hanifin and Chris Tanev. Those three haven’t requested trades (not publicly, at least). With the Flames rising in the standings, Conroy can wait until the March 8 trade deadline to decide if he’ll move any of them.

Speaking of the Flames, an overtime goal by Nazem Kadri gave them a 4-3 victory over the Dallas Stars. Jonathan Huberdeau collected two assists while MacKenzie Weegar scored the tying goal late in the third period for the 10-10-3 Flames (22 points), who sit one point out of the final Western Conference wild-card berth. Mason Marchment scored twice for the 13-5-3 Stars.

Boston Bruins goaltender Jeremy Swayman had a 26-save shutout in a 3-0 blanking of the San Jose Sharks. Pavel Zacha had a goal and an assist while David Pastrnak picked up two assists as the Bruins (15-4-3) snapped a three-game losing skid to sit one point back of the Golden Knights in the overall standings with 33 points. Mackenzie Blackwood turned aside 34 shots for the Sharks (5-16-2) as they remain winless (0-10-0) on the road this season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Sharks center Tomas Hertl returned to the lineup after undergoing kidney stone surgery on Monday. “It was a pretty s***ty situation. It was pretty painful,” said Hertl, who said he felt good for Thursday’s game. Having passed a kidney stone myself years ago, I know exactly what he means.

The Toronto Maple Leafs nipped the Seattle Kraken 4-3. Mitch Marner tallied a hat trick in regulation and netted the game-winner in the shootout as the Leafs rose to 12-6-3. Jared McCann scored twice for the 8-10-6 Kraken.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Before the game, the Leafs announced defenseman Mark Giordano is listed as week-to-week with a broken finger. Meanwhile, the Kraken revealed that winger Jaden Schwartz (lower body) was placed on injured reserve.

Washington Capitals winger Tom Wilson picked up a hat trick as his club held off the Anaheim Ducks 5-4. Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin had two assists and now sits with 1,499 career points as his club improved their record to 12-6-2. Brett Leason and rookie Tristan Luneau each had a goal and an assist for the Ducks (9-14-0) as they’ve dropped eight straight games.

The Minnesota Wild thumped the Nashville Predators 6-1 with Connor Dewar tallying his first career NHL hat trick. The win was John Hynes’ second behind the bench for the Wild (7-10-4) in as many games. Juuso Parssinen replied for the Predators (11-11-0) as their six-game win streak ended.

New Jersey Devils rookie defenseman Luke Hughes’ overtime goal gave his club a 4-3 win over the Philadelphia Flyers. Akira Schmid kicked out 44 shots while Luke’s brother Jack had a goal and two assists as the Devils (11-9-1) have won three straight games. Travis Konecny collected two assists for the 11-10-2 Flyers.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Flyers center Garnet Hathaway received a match penalty for boarding Luke Hughes in the first period. Hughes went to the dressing room but would return and play over 21 minutes in this contest. Meanwhile, Devils defenseman Brendan Smith faces a hearing with the league’s department of player safety for slashing Konecny across the chest late in the third period.

The New York Islanders downed the Carolina Hurricanes 5-4 on an overtime goal by Mathew Barzal, who also collected three assists on the night. Noah Dobson set up three goals while Semyon Varlamov stopped 39 shots as the Islanders improved to 9-7-6. Jordan Staal had a goal and an assist while Sebastian Aho sent the game into overtime for the Hurricanes (13-8-1)with just three seconds remaining in regulation time.

Detroit Red Wings forwards J.T. Compher and Robby Fabbri each scored two goals to lead their club over the Chicago Blackhawks 5-1. Alex Lyon made 34 saves for the 12-7-3 Red Wings. Lukas Reichel replied for the Blackhawks (7-14-0) with an assist from Connor Bedard.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Before the game, former Blackhawks winger Corey Perry released a statement for the first time since his contract was terminated by the club. He apologized to the entire organization and his family and friends, expressing shame and embarrassment for his actions that led to his dismissal.

Perry also vehemently denied the sickening and baseless rumors on social media that arose during the investigation into his conduct and apologized directly to those who may have been affected by them. He indicated that he is working with experts in the mental health and substance abuse field to discuss his struggles with alcohol, vowing he’ll take whatever steps are necessary to ensure this never happens again.

A four-goal third period saw the Florida Panthers romp to a 5-1 win over the Montreal Canadiens. Aleksander Barkov and Evan Rodrigues each had a goal and an assist for the 14-7-2 Panthers. Johnathan Kovacevic scored for the 10-11-2 Canadiens.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Canadiens forward Alex Newhook will be re-evaluated on Friday after injuring his left leg during an awkward fall into the net early in the third period.

The St. Louis Blues blew a 3-0 lead but went on to beat the Buffalo Sabres 6-4. Jordan Binnington made 42 saves while Brayden Schenn and Jake Neighbours each tallied twice for the 12-9-1 Blues. Rasmus Dahlin, Zach Benson and Peyton Krebs each had a goal and an assist for the 10-11-2 Sabres.

Edmonton Oilers center Leon Draisaitl snapped a 1-1 tie as his club went on to a 3-1 win over the Winnipeg Jets. Ryan McLeod had a goal and an assist as the Oilers (9-12-1) picked up their fourth straight win. Connor Hellebuyck made 36 saves while Cole Perfetti scored for the 12-8-2 Jets, who’ve now lost three straight games.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Jets defenseman Josh Morrissey underwent and clear concussion protocol following a second-period hit by Oilers forward Mattias Janmark. Morrissey and Jets coach Rick Bowness felt it was blatant interference and a pick by Janmark.

An overtime goal by Nick Bjugstad gave the Arizona Coyotes a 4-3 upset of the Colorado Avalanche. Connor Ingram made 28 saves for the win as the Coyotes (11-9-2) held the final Western Conference wild-card spot with 24 points. Mikko Rantanen and Cale Makar each had two points for the Avalanche (15-6-1), who hold first place in the Central Division with 31 points.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 14, 2023

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 14, 2023

Recaps of Friday’s game, the Avalanche sign Devon Toews to a new contract, plus updates on Zach Werenski, Taylor Hall and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: Evgeni Malkin had a goal and three assists and Sidney Crosby tallied twice as the Pittsburgh Penguins blanked the Washington Capitals 4-0. Tristan Jarry made 19 saves (one of those on an Alex Ovechkin breakaway) for the shutout while Jake Guentzel picked up two assists. Charlie Lindgren stopped 31 shots for the Capitals as he filled in for Darcy Kuemper, whose wife gave birth to their first child (a boy) on Thursday.

Pittsburgh Penguins center Evgeni Malkin (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Reilly Smith also scored his first goal with the Penguins. He was acquired from the Vegas Golden Knights in June.

Shootout goals by Nick Bjugstad and Nick Schmaltz lifted the Arizona Coyotes to a 4-3 upset of the New Jersey Devils. Schmaltz had a goal and an assist in regulation time, rookie Logan Cooley collected two assists in his first NHL game, and Karel Vejmelka kicked out 33 shots for the win. Jesper Bratt scored two goals and collected an assist and Jack Hughes had three assists for the Devils.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I know that it’s very early in the season but keep an eye on the Coyotes this season. They’re a promising club that’s made steady improvement over the past couple of years. The addition of Cooley this season could provide a welcome boost to their offense.

HEADLINES

COLORADO HOCKEY NOW: The Avalanche yesterday signed Devon Toews to a seven-year contract extension with an average annual value of $7.25 million. The 29-year-old defenseman was slated to become an unrestricted free agent next July.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Toews partners with Cale Makar on the Avalanche’s top defense pairing so it’s not surprising that they’ve got him under wraps on a long-term deal. The Avalanche still consider themselves Stanley Cup contenders and need Toews patrolling their blueline to remain in that position.

The length of the deal could be a concern. It kicks in next season when Toews will be 30, heading into a period when he’ll reach an inevitable decline in his performance during the final half of that deal. Nevertheless, the Avalanche feel it’s worth it if his play on the front end of his contract keeps them in Cup contention.

Cap Friendly indicates the Avalanche have just $2.6 million in cap space for 2024-25 with 14 active roster players under contract. They could get $7 million in wiggle room if sidelined captain Gabriel Landeskog remains on long-term injury reserve. Otherwise, they’ll have to shed some salary to fill out the rest of the roster.

DAILY FACEOFF: The Columbus Blue Jackets placed defenseman Zach Werenski (quadriceps contusion) on injured reserve for one to two weeks. They also recalled blueliner David Jiricek.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The good news for the Jackets is Werenski won’t be sidelined for too long though they will miss his puck-moving abilities while he’s on the sidelines. Still, this will give them an opportunity to get the promising Jiricek into the lineup for a few games.

NHL.COM: Speaking of Werenski, Philadelphia Flyers forward Garnet Hathaway was fined $5,000.00 for kneeing the Blue Jackets defenseman on Thursday resulting in the latter’s injury.

THE HOCKEY NEWS: Chicago Blackhawks winger Taylor Hall has been downgraded from being sidelined week-to-week with an upper-body injury suffered on Wednesday against the Boston Bruins to day-to-day. The 31-year-old winger was skating on his own following the club’s practice on Friday.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Hall could return to the Blackhawks lineup at some point in the coming week.

SAN JOSE HOCKEY NOW: The Sharks placed center Mikael Granlund on injured reserve after he reaggravated a lower-body injury during Thursday’s 4-1 loss to the Vegas Golden Knights. He’s expected to be out for at least a week.

THE PROVINCE: Vancouver Canucks defenseman Carson Soucey (knee injury) practiced with his teammates on Friday in a non-contact jersey and will travel with the club to face the Oilers in Edmonton on Saturday. Meanwhile, forward Teddy Blueger is out week-to-week with a bruised knee.

EDMONTON JOURNAL: The Oilers signed forward Adam Erne to a one-year, $775K contract and placed defenseman Markus Niemelainen on waivers for the purpose of sending him to their AHL affiliate in Bakersfield.

TSN: The Ottawa Senators have brought back former captain Daniel Alfredsson in a player development and coaching role.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Alfredsson was previously named as a senior advisor of hockey operations for the Senators in 2015 but left the position two years later as the two sides couldn’t agree on a new contract. This new job ensures he’ll have a more hands-on role with the club compared to his previous gig.

TSN: Former Edmonton Oilers winger Jesse Puljujarvi hopes to return to NHL action in November. He’s been rehabbing from the double hip surgery he underwent in June.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Someone looking for affordable depth on the wing might take a chance on Puljujarvi at some point this season. He’s now an unrestricted free agent as he didn’t receive a qualifying offer from the Carolina Hurricanes, who acquired him from the Oilers in February.

ESPN.COM: The NHL has Mexico City in its sights among its short list of locations for future international games.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 2, 2023

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 2, 2023

Islanders re-sign Ilya Sorokin to a long-term extension, Rangers sign Jonathan Quick, Panthers trade Anthony Duclair to the Sharks, and much more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: You can see my listing of notable NHL signings and trades during the opening hours of free agency on July 1 by following this link. The following is a compilation of those that occurred later in the day or in the evening.

NEW YORK POST: The Islanders signed goaltender Ilya Sorokin to an eight-year contract with an average annual value of $8.25 million.

New York Islanders goaltender Ilya Sorokin (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: A smart move by the Isles to get their starting goalie under a long-term extension. In just three NHL seasons, the 27-year-old Sorokin has established himself among the league’s top netminders. It’s also a reasonable AAV that could become a bargain over the long term if he maintains his caliber of play over that period, especially as the salary cap rises in the coming years.

Speaking of goaltenders, the New York Rangers signed Jonathan Quick to a one-year, $825K contract with a maximum of $100K in performance bonuses.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Quick is no longer the elite goalie of a decade ago when he was backstopping the Los Angeles Kings to two Stanley Cups in three years. Nevertheless, the 37-year-old could be a reliable 20-25 game backup for starter Igor Shesterkin, who could also benefit from Quick’s experience.

TSN: The Florida Panthers traded winger Anthony Duclair to the San Jose Sharks in exchange for forward Steven Lorentz and a fifth-round pick in 2025.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This was a salary dump by the Panthers to free up salary cap space. There’s speculation they could be making an addition via the free-agent market. We’ll find out if that’s the case soon enough.

The 27-year-old Duclair has reached or exceeded 20 goals and 40 points three times in his nine NHL seasons but was limited to just nine points in 20 games in 2022-23 by a torn Achilles tendon. He carries an AAV of $3 million for 2023-24 and will be a UFA next summer.

Duclair should provide a boost to the Sharks offense but might not fit into the rebuilding club’s long-term plans. Don’t be surprised if they shop him near the 2024 trade deadline.

The Toronto Maple Leafs signed defenseman John Klingberg to a one-year, $4.15 million deal.

DETROIT HOCKEY NOW: The Red Wings inked defenseman Shayne Gostisbehere to a one-year, $4.125 million contract.

DAILY FACEOFF: The Philadelphia Flyers signed forward Garnet Hathaway to a two-year, $4.75 million contract.

NEW JERSEY HOCKEY NOW: The Devils acquired defenseman Colin Miller from the Dallas Stars in exchange for a 2025 fifth-round pick.

COLORADO HOCKEY NOW: The Avalanche inked defenseman Bo Byram to a two-year contract with an AAV of $3.85 million.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This is a bridge deal for Byram, who was completing his entry-level contract and lacked arbitration rights. The talented 22-year-old blueliner has been limited by injuries to 72 games over the past two seasons.

TSN: The Arizona Coyotes signed forward Alex Kerfoot to a two-year, $7 million contract.

SPORTSNET: The Detroit Red Wings signed goaltender Alex Lyon to a two-year, $1.8 million deal.

DAILY FACEOFF: Tyler Bertuzzi and  Vladimir Tarasenko are among the notable players still available in this summer’s unrestricted free-agent market.

Others include Max Domi, Patrick Kane, Matt Dumba and Jonathan Toews.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Don’t expect Kane or Toews to be signing new contracts right away. Kane is recovering from hip resurfacing that could sideline him for at least four months while Toews is mulling whether to return to action or retire.

THE HOCKEY NEWS: Adam Fantilli won’t be returning to the University of Michigan, signing a three-year entry-level contract with the Columbus Blue Jackets. The 18-year-old center was chosen third overall by the Blue Jackets in the 2023 NHL Draft.

MONTREAL GAZETTE: Canadiens general manager Kent Hughes is asking the club’s fans to be patient with David Reinbacher before judging his performance. Some Canadiens fans were upset over the Habs’ selection of the 18-year-old Austrian defenseman with the fifth-overall pick in the 2023 NHL Draft, so much so that several of them sent hateful messages to Reinbacher on social media.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s one thing to disagree with a team’s first-round selection during the draft. It’s another to attack the player on his social media account. People who do this are cowards who get off on saying things to people through social media that they wouldn’t dare say to their faces. You’re not the type of fan your favorite team wants or needs.










NHL Rumor Mill – June 22, 2023

NHL Rumor Mill – June 22, 2023

Check out the latest on Kevin Hayes, Elias Lindholm, Juuse Saros, Pierre-Luc Dubois, Blake Wheeler and more in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.

LATEST “32 THOUGHTS” TRADE AND FREE-AGENT SPECULATION

SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman and Jeff Marek discussed the latest NHL trade and free-agent speculation.

FLYERS OPEN FOR BUSINESS

Friedman believes the Philadelphia Flyers are prepared to do a lot of things. He said a couple of teams told him they believe the Flyers will have one more first-round pick than they already have. They currently hold the No. 7 and No. 22 picks. Kevin Hayes, Travis Konecny, Travis Sanheim and Scott Laughton are out there as trade candidates.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Athletic’s Charlie O’Connor also weighed in on the Flyers, indicating that general manager Daniel Briere is listening on “pretty much every single one of their players”. Daily Faceoff’s Frank Seravalli claims prospect Cutter Gauthier is their only untouchable.

O’Connor includes Hayes among a group of players (along with defenseman Tony DeAngelo) that the Flyers would like to move but lack value in the trade market.

They don’t want to buy out Hayes, who has three years at $7.14 million annually left on his contract. However, they’re having trouble drumming up interest in him. The Flyers are willing to retain some of his average annual value.

O’Connor believes Konecny, Sanheim and Laughton are among the players the Flyers aren’t necessarily trying to trade but they could if they receive a dazzling offer. Carter Hart is also among that group.

COULD THE FLAMES RE-SIGN LINDHOLM?

Friedman thinks the Calgary Flames and Elias Lindholm are discussing a contract extension comparable to what Bo Horvat signed with the New York Islanders. Horvat’s new deal is for eight years with an AAV of $8.5 million starting in 2023-24.

Calgary Flames center Elias Lindholm (NHL Images).

Lindholm, 28, is a year away from unrestricted free-agent eligibility. He reportedly wants to know that the Flames are still trying to compete and won’t stage a full roster rebuild before he commits. He speculates the club is awaiting Lindholm’s decision before turning to their other 2024 free agents.

Friedman also said he’s heard that Jacob Markstrom wants to return with the Flames so that should quell the trade rumors about the 33-year-old goaltender.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Lindholm’s decision could have a domino effect on the other Flames who are a year away from UFA status like Mikael Backlund, Tyler Toffoli and Noah Hanifin. There’s already talk that the Flames are entertaining trade offers for Hanifin.

COULD THE PREDATORS TRADE SAROS AND PURSUE DUBOIS?

NASHVILLE HOCKEY NOW: Nick Kieser cited Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman expressing his views on recent trade rumors dogging Predators goaltender Juuse Saros.

Friedman believes the Saros rumors weren’t started by the Predators but by other teams interested in the 28-year-old netminder. He thinks those teams saw the bold moves the Preds made at the trade deadline and wondered if they would be willing to trade their starting goaltender.

SPECTOR’S: Predators general manager Barry Trotz has indicated he’s open to offers for his players. However, it’ll take a significant deal to pry Saros out of Nashville. Unless Trotz is going to rebuild, I think he sticks with his starting goalie.

Michael Gallagher, meanwhile, focused on whether Pierre-Luc Dubois might be on the Predators’ radar. The 24-year-old Winnipeg Jets center is a restricted free agent and multiple reports suggest he’s on the trade block.

Gallagher cited Friedman questioning the feasibility of acquiring Dubois, pointing out that the center reportedly seeks an eight-year deal worth an AAV of $9 million. While the Predators have $15 million in cap space, Gallagher points out a new contract for Dubois would eat up 70 percent of it.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Unless the Predators are moving out a high-salaried player like Ryan Johansen, Matt Duchene or Filip Forsberg to clear the cap space for Dubois, I don’t see them getting into the bidding.

WHEELER’S TIME WITH THE JETS COMING TO AN END?

TSN: Darren Dreger reports the Winnipeg Jets are getting some trade interest in Blake Wheeler. The 36-year-old winger and former Jets captain has a year left on his contract with an AAV of $8.25 million.

Dreger also indicates they could buy him before the end of the current buyout period on June 30 if unable to trade him before then. It would clear $5.5 million of cap space from their 2023-24 salary-cap payroll, leaving a cap charge of $2.75 million for next season and for 2024-25.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Dreger didn’t indicate which teams had an interest in Wheeler. The Jets would probably have to retain some salary in the deal. How much could make the difference between a trade and a buyout

LATEST ON THE BRUINS

BOSTON HOCKEY NOW: Jimmy Murphy cited Eliotte Friedman saying the Bruins are still talking with pending UFA forwards Tyler Bertuzzi and Garnet Hathaway in hopes of re-signing both players. Murphy points out the Bruins have just over $4.16 million in salary-cap space next season.

Friedman said Bruins GM Don Sweeney is burning up the phone lines trying to make a cost-cutting move to free up enough cap space for Bertuzzi and Hathaway. Bruins such as Linus Ullmark, Taylor Hall, Matt Grzelcyk and Derek Forbort are being bandied about in the rumor mill.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Bruins’ recent signing of goalie Brandon Bussi to a one-year, $775K contract has fueled speculation that they’ll trade Ullmark and go with a tandem of Bussi and Jeremy Swayman once they get the latter re-signed. Swayman’s a restricted free agent with arbitration rights.

Moving Ullmark would clear $5 million in cap space but the Vezina Trophy finalist has a full no-movement clause that he’d have to waive to make a trade happen.










NHL Rumor Mill – March 20, 2023

NHL Rumor Mill – March 20, 2023

Can the Bruins afford to re-sign Dmitry Orlov, Garnet Hathaway or Tyler Bertuzzi? Did the Maple Leafs make a mistake trading Rasmus Sandin to the Capitals? Find out in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.

CAN THE BRUINS AFFORD ORLOV, HATHAWAY OR BERTUZZI?

THE ATHLETIC: That’s the question Fluto Shinzawa recently set out to answer. While the Boston Bruins have re-signed trade-deadline acquisitions such as Taylor Hall and Hampus Lindholm, their limited cap space for 2023-24 will make it difficult to retain Dmitry Orlov, Garnet Hathaway or Tyler Bertuzzi.

Boston Bruins defenseman Dmitry Orlov (NHL Images)

Shinzawa noted that the Bruins have under $75 million for 2023-24 invested in 15 players as of March 17. They’re also facing up to $4.5 million in bonus overages due to performance bonuses for Patrice Bergeron and David Krejci.

Re-signing Orlov or Bertuzzi would mean trading away Matt Grzelcyk or Derek Forbort or perhaps both to free up sufficient cap room. They’d also have to find a way to resolve their dilemma with Mike Reilly ($3 million), who’s currently in the minors for cap purposes. Unless Hathaway is willing to accept “small term and dough”, he’ll find better offers in the free-agent market.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Bruins can’t afford to keep all three without first shedding some contracts. These three are UFA-eligible for the first time. This is their best opportunity to land lucrative long-term contracts.

I wouldn’t rule out the possibility of retaining Orlov if they can make the dollars fit. However, he’ll likely get better offers elsewhere.

DID THE LEAFS MAKE A MISTAKE TRADING SANDIN?

TORONTO STAR: In a recent mailbag segment, Kevin McGran replied to a reader who felt the Maple Leafs made a mistake trading Rasmus Sandin to the Washington Capitals.

McGran disagreed, believing Sandin would’ve been a healthy scratch for the remainder of this season with the Leafs. He believes it was a worthwhile move to add a veteran defenseman like Erik Gustafsson as well as add a first-round draft pick. McGran’s happy for the young defenseman, who’ll get the chance in Washington that he wasn’t getting in Toronto. He also observed the Leafs are already flush with smallish but skilled defensemen such as Mac Hollowell.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Granted, this isn’t a trade rumor but since media trade chatter has largely dried up following the deadline, I felt this was worth noting.

Sandin, 23, has played well offensively for the Capitals with 11 points in his first eight games. There remains some concern about his defensive play but that could be in part attributed to the Capitals’ depleted, banged-up lineup. I’d like to see how he does during a full season with a healthier Caps roster.

Leafs management felt this move was necessary to add a more experienced puck-moving defenseman in Erik Gustafsson plus they got the first-round pick that originally belonged to the Bruins. Granted, it could end up being 32nd overall but it replaced the first-rounder they traded away in the Ryan O’Reilly deal.

This deal could backfire on the Leafs if they suffer yet another early playoff exit and Sandin goes on to become a star in Washington. On the other hand, most denizens of Leafs Nation will feel it was a price worth paying if this move could help them win their first Stanley Cup since 1967.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 24, 2023

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 24, 2023

Connor McDavid and the Oilers humiliate the Penguins, the Bruins acquire Dmitry Orlov and Garnet Hathaway from the Capitals, and much more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: Edmonton Oilers captain Connor McDavid scored two goals and collected two assists in a 7-2 drubbing of the Pittsburgh Penguins. Leon Draisaitl scored to extend his goal streak to six games as the Oilers (32-19-9) vaulted into second place in the Pacific Division with 72 points. Kris Letang tallied both Penguins goals as his club dropped its fourth straight game as they fell to 27-21-9 (63 points) to sit one point out of the final Eastern Conference wild-card berth.

Edmonton Oilers center Connor McDavid (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: McDavid now has a career-high 46 goals to lead the goal-scoring race. Teammate Ryan Nugent-Hopkins had a goal and an assist to reach 600 career points. As for the Penguins, this high-profile match-up was a disaster, prompting their hometown crowd to vent their unhappiness with general manager Ron Hextall with chants of “Fire Hextall!”

The Penguins’ loss was good news for the Detroit Red Wings as they leaped into the final Eastern wild-card berth by downing the New York Rangers 4-1. Andrew Copp led the way with a goal and two assists against his former team while Ville Husso made 30 saves for the 28-21-8 Red Wings (64 points). Vincent Trocheck replied for the Rangers (33-16-9) as they remain in third place in the Metropolitan Division with 75 points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Rangers sat out Vitali Kravtsov and Jake Leschyshyn from this game, prompting speculation they could be close to acquiring Chicago Blackhawks star Patrick Kane. I’ll have more about that later today in the Rumors section.

Boston Bruins winger Jake DeBrusk scored the game-winner with 1:38 remaining in the third period for a 6-5 victory over the Seattle Kraken. David Pastrnak, Patrice Bergeron, Brad Marchand and David Krejci each had a goal and an assist for the league-leading Bruins (44-8-5), who’ve won five straight and hold a nine-point lead over the Carolina Hurricanes in the overall standings with 93 points. Matty Beniers, Vince Dunn and Jamie Oleksiak each had a goal and an assist for the 32-20-6 Kraken as they dropped into the first Western Conference wild-card berth with 70 points.

The Vegas Golden Knights overcame a 3-1 deficit to burn the Calgary Flames 4-3 on an overtime goal by Alex Pietrangelo. Jack Eichel had a goal and an assist as the Golden Knights improved to 35-18-5 to hold a three-point lead over the Oilers for first place in the Pacific Division with 75 points. Mikael Backlund and Jakob Pelletier each had a goal and an assist for the Flames (27-20-12) as they sit one point behind the Colorado Avalanche for the final Western Conference wild-card berth with 66 points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Golden Knights center Nicolas Roy missed this game as he’s listed as day-to-day with a lower-body injury.

An overtime goal by Dawson Mercer lifted the New Jersey Devils over the Los Angeles Kings by a score of 4-3. Mercer finished the night with two goals and an assist while Nico Hischier sent the game to overtime with 39 seconds remaining in the third period. The Devils improved to 38-15-5 and sit in second place in the Metropolitan Division with 81 points, three back of the first-place Carolina Hurricanes. Anze Kopitar, Kevin Fiala and Sean Durzi each had two points for the Kings (32-19-8) as they sit in third place with 72 points in the Pacific Division.

The Buffalo Sabres upset the Tampa Bay Lightning 6-5 on an overtime goal by Ilya Lyubushkin. Tage Thompson had his fourth hat trick of the season for the Sabres as they improved to 29-23-4 (62 points) to sit two points out of the final Eastern wild-card berth. Brayden Point had a goal and three assists for the Lightning (36-17-4) as they sit two points behind the second-place Toronto Maple Leafs in the Atlantic Division with 76 points.

Minnesota Wild goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury made 30 saves to shut out the Columbus Blue Jackets 2-0. Brandon Duhaime and Kirill Kaprizov scored for the Wild (32-21-5) as they sit in third place in the Central Division with 69 points, two back of the second-place Winnipeg Jets. The Blues Jackets sank to 18-35-5 on the season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Before the game, the Wild placed defenseman Jonas Brodin (lower-body) on injured reserve.

The Nashville Predators got two-goal performances from Mikael Granlund and Nino Niederreiter in a 6-2 victory over the San Jose Sharks. Matt Duchene collected three assists as the Predators improved to 28-22-6 (62 points) to sit five points out of the final Western Conference wild-card berth. The Sharks dropped to 18-30-11.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Predators got some bad news before the game as they announced that center Ryan Johansen underwent emergency surgery on his right leg on Wednesday after being cut by a skate blade during Tuesday’s game against the Vancouver Canucks. He’ll be sidelined for 12 weeks.

Anaheim Ducks goaltender John Gibson kicked out 41 shots in a 4-2 upset of the Washington Capitals. Troy Terry scored as he came off injured reserved after being sidelined since Feb. 6 as the Ducks (18-34-7) ended a six-game losing skid. Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin was held scoreless as his club dropped its sixth straight game and sit two points out of the final Eastern wild-card spot with a record of 28-26-6 (62 points).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Ducks placed center Adam Henrique on injured reserve before this game.

The Vancouver Canucks downed the St. Louis Blues 3-2 on an overtime goal by Elias Pettersson, who finished the game with three points. J.T. Miller scored his 20th goal of the season for the 23-30-5 Canucks. Jordan Binnington made 38 saves for the Blues as they fell to 26-28-4. Pavel Buchnevich and Brandon Saad were activated off injured reserve for this game

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Blues are 0-3-1 in the four games since trading Ryan O’Reilly to the Toronto Maple Leafs. Blues head coach Craig Berube criticized his top players following this game, accusing them of not caring about the team.

HEADLINES

BOSTON HOCKEY NOW: The Bruins acquired defenseman Dmitry Orlov and forward Garnet Hathaway from the Washington Capitals in a three-team trade involving the Minnesota Wild.

The Capitals receive forward Craig Smith, a 2023 first-round pick, a 2025 second-round pick and a 2024 third-round pick. The Capitals also retain 25 percent ($2.5 million) of Orlov’s $5.1 million annual cap hit. The Wild retained 25 percent ($1.2 million) of the remainder of Orlov’s cap hit after the Bruins sent them a 2023 fifth-rounder and prospect Andrei Svetlakov. The Bruins pick up the remaining $1.2 million of Orlov’s cap hit.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Bruins general manager Don Sweeney continues his impressive streak of making significant moves before the trade deadline to bolster his roster for the playoffs. Orlov will provide an experienced physical shutdown presence to the left side of the Bruins’ defense corps while Hathaway will bring additional grit and depth to their checking lines.

This move might not seem as significant as Sweeney’s previous acquisitions of Taylor Hall and Hampus Lindholm. Nevertheless, the additions of Orlov and Hathaway make the Bruins a tougher team. That’s crucial for the postseason when the games get more physical. It’s also bad news for whoever faces them in the 2023 playoffs.

Orlov and Hathaway are slated to become unrestricted free agents this summer. Capitals GM Brian MacLellan explained he made this move to “acquire draft capital, infuse youth and restock the system”. It’s also a clear sign that MacLellan doesn’t believe his club can win if they reach the playoffs. This may not be the start of a rebuild for the Capitals but it’s at least the start of a roster retool that could continue during the offseason.

This is the second time in as many weeks that Wild GM Bill Guerin has used his cap space to be a third-party trade broker, having done the same in last week’s Ryan O’Reilly deal. He can only make this type of move once more as teams are only allowed to have three retained salaries on their books.

Cap Friendly indicates the Wild have $11.5 million in projected trade deadline cap space so Guerin might not be done as a third-party broker. He could also make a move that directly benefits his roster for the remainder of this season.

MONTREAL HOCKEY NOW: The Canadiens claimed forward Chris Tierney off waivers yesterday from the Florida Panthers. They also announced that center Kirby Dach’s non-COVID-related illness symptoms were in fact related to a lower-body injury.

OTTAWA SUN: Former Senators captain Daniel Alfredsson indicated he’d like to meet with whoever becomes the club’s new owner to discuss a potential front-office job.

SAN JOSE HOCKEY NOW: Former San Jose Sharks captain Patrick Marleau is in discussions with the club about rejoining the organization in a front-office role.