NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 13, 2024

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 13, 2024

The Blackhawks’ Connor Bedard matches two franchise records, the Panthers and Rangers expand their leads in their respective divisions, and former player Anson Carter heads a group that wants to bring a franchise to Atlanta. Details on these and other stories in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.


NHL.COM: Chicago Blackhawks rookie star Connor Bedard had a goal and four assists in a 7-2 rout of the Anaheim Ducks. Bedard matched the single-game franchise records for assists and points (five) by a rookie. Nick Foligno and Philipp Kurashev each had four points for the 18-43-5 Blackhawks. Brett Leason tallied twice for the 23-39-3 Ducks.

Chicago Blackhawks center Connor Bedard (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Bedard also became the fifth 18-year-old player in league history to have a five-point game, joining Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (2011), Ilya Kovalchuk (2002), Dale Hawerchuk (1982) and Jack Hamilton (1943). The young Blackhawks star has eight points in his last two games and 10 in his last four. He leads this season’s rookie class with 51 points (13 more than Minnesota Wild defenseman Brock Faber) and 20 goals (three more than the Wild’s Marco Rossi).

The league-leading Florida Panthers scored three unanswered third-period goals to nip the Dallas Stars 4-3, snapping the latter’s five-game win streak. Aleksander Barkov scored twice while Sam Reinhart tallied his 46th goal of the season for the 45-17-4 Panthers (94 points), who opened a three-point lead over the Vancouver Canucks and Boston Bruins atop the overall standings. Joe Pavelski, Jason Robertson and Wyatt Johnston each had a goal and an assist for the Stars (40-18-9), who sit in first place in the Central Division with 89 points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Panthers played without forward Evan Rodrigues due to a lower-body injury.

New York Rangers goaltender Igor Shesterkin made 28 saves for his second straight shutout to blank the Carolina Hurricanes 1-0. Adam Fox scored for the 43-18-4 Rangers (90 points) to open a six-point lead over the second-place Hurricanes atop the Metropolitan Division. Pyotr Kochetkov stopped 23 shots for the 39-20-6 Hurricanes.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Before the game, Rangers rookie center Matt Rempe received a four-game suspension by the NHL department of player safety for elbowing New Jersey Devils defenseman Jonas Siegenthaler in the head on Monday.

The Colorado Avalanche moved closer to the Central-leading Stars with a 6-2 victory over the slumping Calgary Flames. Nathan MacKinnon had a goal and an assist to extend his points streak to 13 games while Mikko Rantanen has two goals and two assists for the 41-20-5 Avalanche (87 points) as they’re two points back of the Stars. Dan Vladar made 29 saves for the 31-29-5 Flames, who have lost three straight games.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: MacKinnon leads all scorers with a career-high 113 points. Three key Flames players were absent from this game. Goaltender Jacob Markstrom is day-to-day with a lower-body injury, forward Andrei Kuzmenko was a late scratch with an upper-body injury, and winger Andrew Mangiapane was sidelined with an illness.

Speaking of slumping teams, the Detroit Red Wings suffered a 7-3 upset at the hands of the Buffalo Sabres. Defenseman Bowen Byram scored twice and Zach Benson had a goal and two assists for the 31-30-5 Sabres (67 points), who moved to within five points of the New York Islanders for the final Eastern Conference wildcard berth. Lucas Raymond had a goal and an assist for the 33-26-3 Red Wings (72 points), who lost their sixth straight game and slipped out of that wildcard spot.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: When this month started, the Wings held the first Eastern wildcard berth with 72 points with a seven-point lead over the ninth-overall Washington Capitals and the 10th-overall Islanders. The Isles now have the same number of points as the Wings but they hold that wildcard spot with a game in hand.

Jack Eichel’s 200th career goal came in overtime to lift the Vegas Golden Knights over the Seattle Kraken 5-4. Eichel also had two assists while Jonathan Marchessault tallied twice for the Golden Knights (35-23-7), who hold the final Western Conference wildcard spot with 77 points. Philipp Grubauer stopped 29 shots for the 28-24-12 Kraken.

Philadelphia Flyers winger Owen Tippett snapped a 2-2 tie as his club defeated the San Jose Sharks 3-2. Travis Konecny and Morgan Frost each had two points for the Flyers (34-24-8), who hold third place in the Metropolitan Division with 76 points. Filip Zadina scored both goals for the 16-41-7 Sharks.

Montreal Canadiens goaltender Cayden Primeau kicked out 41 shots for his second shutout of the season in a 3-0 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets. Brendan Gallagher, Juraj Slafkovsky and Joshua Roy were the goalscorers for the 25-30-10 Canadiens. Elvis Merzlikins gave up three goals on four shots and was replaced by Daniil Tarasov as the Blue Jackets sank to 22-33-10.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Blue Jackets forward Yegor Chinakhov left this game in the first period with an upper-body injury.

A two-goal performance by Kirill Kaprizov gave the Minnesota Wild a 4-1 victory over the Arizona Coyotes. Kaprizov also collected an assist for the 32-27-7 Wild. Nick Bjugstad replied for the 26-35-5 Coyotes.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Wild center Joel Eriksson Ek left the game with an undisclosed injury in the third period. Meanwhile, the Coyotes played without forward Barrett Hayton as he could be out longer than day-to-day with a lower-body injury.

The Ottawa Senators snapped a seven-game skid as they downed the Pittsburgh Penguins 2-1 on an overtime goal by Drake Batherson. Joonas Korpisalo made 34 saves and Jake Sanderson also scored for the 26-33-4 Senators. Michael Bunting replied for the 28-27-9 Penguins.


SPORTSNET: Former NHL player-turned-broadcaster Anson Carter is heading a group that made a formal request to the league to begin the process of adding an expansion franchise to Atlanta.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Three times the charm after two previous teams (Flames and Thrashers) were relocated from Atlanta. Meanwhile, potential ownership groups in Salt Lake City and Houston have also expressed interest in bringing NHL franchises to their cities.

While the league continues to play coy over the possibility of expanding into new markets, it seems inevitable that it will grow by at least another two teams before the end of this decade. One of those cities could become the next home of the Arizona Coyotes if their current owner’s efforts to build a new arena in the Phoenix area fall through.

NHL.COM: Vancouver Canucks goaltender Thatcher Demko is listed as week-to-week with a lower-body injury. He is expected to return before the Stanley Cup playoffs begin next month.

TSN: The Canucks also placed winger Dakota Joshua (injured hand) on long-term injury reserve.

THE TENNESSEAN: Nashville Predators defenseman Dante Fabbro is out for two to three weeks with an upper-body injury.

THE SCORE: The Buffalo Sabres and New Jersey Devils will open the 2024-25 season on Oct. 4 and 5 in Prague, Czechia. The following month, the Dallas Stars and Florida Panthers will face off in Tampere, Finland on Nov. 1 and 2. These games are part of the NHL’s 2024 Global Series.

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 9, 2024

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 9, 2024

The Bruins shut out the Canucks in the battle of the league’s top teams, the Hurricanes’ Martin Necas nets a quick hat trick, and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.


NHL.COM: Two shorthanded first-period goals by Brad Marchand and Danton Heinen powered the Boston Bruins to a 4-0 victory over the Vancouver Canucks in the battle of the league’s top-two teams. Linus Ullmark made 17 saves for the shutout while David Pastrnak, Pavel Zacha and Charlie Coyle each had two points for the 32-10-9 Bruins, who sit first in the Eastern Conference and sit second in the overall standings with 73 points. The Canucks (73 points) maintain first overall with two more victories (34-12-5) than the Bruins.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Canucks head coach Rick Tocchet summed it up best following this game when he said the Bruins’ best players turned up to play while those on his club did not. Giving up two shorthanded goals in the first period put the Canucks on the back foot for the rest of the game.

Carolina Hurricanes forward Martin Necas (NHL Images).

A natural hat trick by Martin Necas in the opening 16:51 carried the Carolina Hurricanes over the Colorado Avalanche 5-2. Teuvo Teravainen collected four assists for the Hurricanes (29-16-5) as they sit in second place in the Metropolitan Division with 63 points. Zach Parise scored his first goal of the season for the 32-16-4 Avalanche as they remain in second place in the Central Division with 68 points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Hurricanes goaltender Antti Raanta with a lower-body injury while defenseman Brett Pesce missed this game due to illness. Meanwhile, Avalanche center Nathan MacKinnon was held scoreless and remains in second place in the NHL scoring race with 85 points.

Philadelphia Flyers forward Travis Konecny had a Gordie Howe hat trick (a goal, an assist and a fight) in a 4-1 win over the Winnipeg Jets, leaving the latter winless in five games (0-4-1). Samuel Ersson stopped 28 shots while Ryan Poehling had a goal and an assist for the 27-19-6 Flyers, who remain in third place in the Metropolitan Division with 60 points. Kyle Connor scored for the Jets (30-14-5) as they sit third in the Central Division with 65 points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Less than a month ago, the Jets were jockeying for first place in the overall standings. There’s plenty of time for them to pull out of this current skid but this is reminiscent of last season when the Jets stumbled down the stretch following a strong first half of the season and barely made the playoffs.

The Florida Panthers doubled up the Washington Capitals 4-2 on third-period goals by Ryan Lomberg and Eetu Luostarinen. Matthew Tkachuk had a goal and two assists for the Panthers (32-15-4), who sit in second place in the Eastern Conference with 68 points. Alex Ovechkin netted his 11th goal of the season for the 22-20-7 Capitals, who are winless in their last six games (0-5-1).

New York Islanders forwards Bo Horvat and Mathew Barzal each had a goal and an assist to thump the Tampa Bay Lightning 6-2. Ilya Sorokin turned aside 18 shots for the 22-17-12 Islanders (56 points) as they sit two points out of the final Eastern Conference wild-card berth. Nikita Kucherov scored for Tampa Bay (27-20-5) as he holds a two-point lead over Colorado’s Nathan MacKinnon in the scoring race with 87 points. The Lightning hold the first Eastern wild-card spot with 59 points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Lightning defenseman Mikhail Sergachev could be out for the season after undergoing surgery on Thursday to repair a fractured tibia and fibula in his left leg suffered during Wednesday’s game against the New York Rangers.

A three-goal first period enabled the Vegas Golden Knights to hold off the Arizona Coyotes by a score of 3-2. Jonathan Marchessault and Nicolas Hague scored 58 seconds apart for the Golden Knights (31-15-6), who sit second in the Pacific Division with 68 points. Connor Ingram got the hook after giving up three goals on six shots for the 23-23-9 Coyotes.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Coyotes forward Barrett Hayton returned to action after missing nearly three months with an upper-body injury.

The Calgary Flames kept their playoff hopes alive with a 5-3 win over the New Jersey Devils. Jacob Markstrom kicked out 37 shots, Connor Zary and Andrew Mangiapane each had a goal and an assist and Andrei Kuzmenko tallied his second goal in as many games with the Flames (24-22-5) as they sit one point out of the final Western Conference wild-card berth with 53 points. Ondrej Palat tallied twice and Jesper Bratt had three assists for the 25-21-3 Devils (53 points) as they sit five points out of the final Eastern wild-card spot.


STLTODAY.COM: Blues defenseman Justin Faulk and Scott Perunovich are listed as week-to-week with lower-body injuries.

THE DALLAS MORNING NEWS: Stars forward Mason Marchment was fined $5,000 by the NHL department of player safety for interference against Toronto Maple Leafs defenseman Jake McCabe on Wednesday.

OTTAWA SUN: Senators defenseman Jake Sanderson is expected to miss Saturday’s game against the Maple Leafs with a lower-body injury.

THE HOCKEY NEWS: San Jose Sharks winger Anthony Duclair recently held a groundbreaking ceremony for a new outdoor synthetic ice surface on the campus of Boyd H. Anderson High School in Lauderdale Lakes, Florida.

USA HOCKEY: Minnesota Wild general manager Bill Guerin has been named the GM of Team USA for the NHL’s 2025 4 Nations Face-off tournament and the 2026 Winter Olympics.

DETROIT HOCKEY NOW: Former NHL defenseman Janne Niinimaa was recently found guilty by a Helsinki court of tax fraud for failing to report over 300,000 euros in earnings from the United States in 2020. It was determined that he still owes nearly 55,000 euros in income tax in his native Finland. Niinimaa, 48, received a four-month suspended sentence and must pay those back taxes as well as cover the court costs and pay a standard crime victim fee.

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 18, 2023

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 18, 2023

William Nylander continues his points streak as the Leafs rally to beat the Red Wings in Sweden while Aaron Ekblad and Brandon Montour return to the Panthers lineup. Details on these and other stories in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.


NHL.COM: Toronto Maple Leafs winger William Nylander extended his season-opening points streak to 16 games in a 3-2 victory over the Detroit Red Wings at the NHL Global Series in Sweden. The Leafs were down 2-0 but Nylander rallied his teammates in the third period with a goal and two assists and was named the game’s first star. John Tavares also had a goal and two assists as the Leafs improved to 9-5-2. Daniel Sprong and Lucas Raymond scored for the 8-6-3 Red Wings.

Toronto Maple Leafs forward William Nylander (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Nylander has been the Leafs’ best player thus far this season. He’s their leading scorer with 25 points and sits second in goals with 11. He’s also among the league leaders in both categories. At this pace, he’ll become a serious candidate for the Hart Memorial Trophy as his team’s MVP.

Nylander’s strong performance in his contract year will also make the cost of re-signing him even more expensive for the Leafs. Reports out of Toronto since July claimed his camp was seeking an annual average value of $10 million. That figure could be between $11 million and $12 million now.

Red Wings defenseman Jake Walman left this game in the second period with an apparent upper-body injury. There was no postgame update on his condition.

Florida Panthers defensemen Aaron Ekblad and Brandon Montour made their season debuts as their club nipped the Anaheim Ducks 2-1. Eetu Luostarinen and Oliver Ekman-Larsson scored for the Panthers (11-5-1) as Anthony Stolarz made 34 saves for the win. Frank Vatrano replied for the Ducks (9-8-0) as John Gibson stopped 33 shots.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Ekblad and Montour had been sidelined by offseason shoulder surgeries. They were held scoreless but their return to the blueline was a welcome sight for the Panthers.

It was a costly win for the Panthers as team captain Aleksander Barkov left the game with an injured left knee in the third period after Ducks defenseman Jackson Lacombe stuck out his leg and struck Barkov. Lacome was initially assessed a five-minute major but it was reduced on review to two minutes. There was no postgame update on Barkov’s condition.

The Winnipeg Jets held off the Buffalo Sabres by a score of 3-2. Connor Hellebuyck turned aside 26 shots, Cole Perfetti extended his goal streak to five games while Nino Niederreiter and Vladislav Namestnikov each collected two assists for the 9-5-2 Jets. Alex Tuch and JJ Peterka replied for the Sabres as they slipped to 7-9-1.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Sabres activated goaltender Eric Comrie and winger Zach Benson off injured reserve for this game while placing center Tage Thompson (left-hand injury) on IR.


THE HOCKEY NEWS: Arizona Coyotes center Barrett Hayton will be sidelined for four to six weeks as he undergoes surgery for an upper-body injury suffered against the Columbus Blue Jackets on Thursday.

Hayton’s teammate Matias Maccelli also left that game after being struck in the face by a puck. While he required “major dental surgery” he’s expected to be okay though it’s uncertain as to when he’ll return to the lineup.

MONTREAL GAZETTE: Canadiens defenseman Arber Xhekaj is listed as day-to-day after leaving Thursday’s game against the Vegas Golden Knights with an apparent injury to his left shoulder.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: There was concern that Xhekaj could miss considerable time if the injury was serious. That’s understandable considering he underwent season-ending surgery to his right shoulder in February. This news suggests that he might not be laid up for too long.

SAN JOSE HOCKEY NOW: Sharks center Nico Sturm will miss the next two games as he takes a leave of absence to attend to a personal matter.

WASHINGTON HOCKEY NOW: Capitals defenseman Trevor van Riemsdyk (lower-body injury) and winger Anthony Mantha (ruptured eardrum) will return to the lineup for today’s game against the Columbus Blue Jackets.

PITTSBURGH HOCKEY NOW: Penguins backup goaltender Alex Nedeljkovic scored a goal for the club’s AHL affiliate in Wilkes-Barre/Scranton on Friday against the Providence Bruins. It’s the second time he’s scored in AHL action during his career. He’s on loan to the Penguins’ farm team on a conditioning stint.

THE HOCKEY NEWS: The government of Quebec is facing criticism for paying upwards of $7 million to the Los Angeles Kings to play two preseason games next season in Quebec City against the Boston Bruins and Florida Panthers.

Critics believe that money could’ve been better spent on more pressing issues, especially when it was revealed that the Montreal Canadiens were willing to play some preseason games in Quebec City for free.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Someone on social media joked that Quebec City wanted to see real NHL teams rather than the Canadiens. It’s part of the province’s efforts to bring a team back to Quebec City. However, it’s unlikely to succeed given the more lucrative markets in Houston, Atlanta and Salt Lake City that are expected to be the next destinations for NHL expansion franchises. 

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 21, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 21, 2022

As training camps begin, check out the latest on Ryan Ellis, Joe Thornton, Tyler Bertuzzi and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.

THE PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER: Ryan Ellis continues to rehab a pelvic injury suffered during preseason last year. There is no timetable for the 31-year-old defenseman’s return to the lineup. Daily Faceoff first reported Ellis’ status on Tuesday. He played just four games with the Flyers last season. 

Philadelphia Flyers defenseman Ryan Ellis (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This news comes a day after the Flyers announced first-line center Sean Couturier is sidelined week-to-week with an upper-body injury. Having two of their best players on the shelf for the opening weeks of 2022-23 is a major setback for a club hoping to bounce back from one of the worst seasons in franchise history.

THE MERCURY NEWS: The San Jose Sharks released their training camp roster yesterday and Joe Thornton was not among the 34 forwards. The 43-year-old Thornton has taken part in informal “captain’s skates” with several of his former Sharks teammates in recent weeks, sparking speculation he might attend camp on a professional tryout offer.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Sharks general manager Mike Grier said he isn’t sure if a PTO is in Thornton’s future but he’s happy to have him and former Shark Patrick Marleau around the team. It sounds like Grier’s angling for one or both to join the club in an off-ice capacity. So far, there’s no word from Thornton or Marleau regarding their plans.

DETROIT HOCKEY NOW: Tyler Bertuzzi might not have to miss games in Canada this season. The Canadian government will lift the COVID-19 vaccination requirement to cross the border on Sept. 30 pending cabinet approval. Bertuzzi was the only NHL player unvaccinated last season and wasn’t allowed to play in Canada.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: “Personal choice. Freedom of choice. And life choice,” explained Bertuzzi last season of his decision to be unvaccinated. The Red Wings won just two of its nine games in Canada last season without him in the lineup.

TORONTO STAR: Defenseman Timothy Liljegren will miss the start of Maple Leafs training camp with an undisclosed injury. The team is expected to provide an update on the 23-year-old defenseman on Wednesday but he could be for a long-term period. It’s also believed forward Pierre Engvall could also be injured heading into camp.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The report also indicates Liljegren’s absence isn’t expected to put more pressure on Leafs management to sign restricted free agent blueliner Rasmus Sandin.

TORONTO SUN: Speaking of the Leafs, they’ll have a “Milk” advertising patch on the right breast of their sweaters for this season. It’s part of their ongoing marketing partnership with the Dairy Farmers of Ontario.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This news will likely enrage purists who are udderly against ad patches on NHL sweaters. It’s just part of each team’s desire to milk as much advertising revenue as possible but there will be fans who’ll find the whole scheme rather cheesy.

THE NEWS & OBSERVER’s Luke DeCock reports Jake Gardiner isn’t expected to join his Carolina Hurricanes teammates in training camp this week. He’s likely to end up on long-term injury reserve again.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Gardiner spent all of last season on LTIR recovering from hip surgery. This could spell the end of his playing career. The 32-year-old defenseman is entering the final season of his four-year contract with an average annual value of $4.050 million.

ARIZONA SPORTS: The Coyotes signed restricted free agent Barrett Hayton to a two-year contract. The 22-year-old center will earn an average annual value of $1.775 million.

TSN: St. Louis Blues defenseman Marco Scandella will undergo surgery on his right hip joint. He’s expected to be re-evaluated in six months.

The Colorado Avalanche have reportedly signed forward Alex Galchenyuk to a professional tryout offer. Galchenyuk, 28, had 21 points in 60 games last season with the Arizona Coyotes.

Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – September 11, 2022

Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – September 11, 2022

A recent look at the notable remaining restricted free agents in the Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup.

SPORTSNET: Luke Fox recently examined the status of the remaining notable restricted free agents.

Dallas Stars forward Jason Robertson (NHL Images)

Topping his list is the Dallas Stars’ Jason Robertson. The 23-year-old winger has blossomed into a first-line scorer who was the Calder Trophy runner-up in 2021. Fox wonders if the Stars will attempt to sign Robertson to a long-term deal that could look like a bargain down the road or ink him to a bridge deal that hands the winger more leverage for his next contract.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman believes it’ll be a bridge deal, pointing out the Stars couldn’t do a long-term deal for Jake Oettinger, who recently signed a three-year, $12 million contract.

Cap Friendly shows the Stars carrying $6.3 million in cap space with 22 players under contract. My guess is Robertson agrees to a two-year deal worth $5 million annually to put himself in line for a major pay raise in 2024. That’s when the salary cap is expected to significantly increase.

Los Angeles Kings defenseman Sean Durzi and Ottawa Senators winger Alex Formenton are second and third on Fox’s list. He reported Kings general manager Rob Blake continues to negotiate with the Durzi camp. Meanwhile, Senators GM Pierre Dorion said his discussions with Formenton’s agent were positive and he expects the 22-year-old will be under contract prior to training camp.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: On Saturday, the Kings re-signed blueliner Mikey Anderson to a one-year, $1 million contract. With $1.3 million remaining in cap space, I wouldn’t be surprised if Durzi gets a similar deal. Both rearguards completed their entry-level contracts last season.

NHL training camps will start by Sep. 21 so look for the Senators to have Formenton’s new contract sorted by then.

Fox cited Arizona Coyotes insider Craig Morgan recently reporting center Barrett Hayton should have a new deal before training camp. He doesn’t see the two sides being far apart. Fox pointed out the Coyotes have plenty of salary-cap room. He recommended a bridge deal but observed the club has a tendency of signing their promising young players to long-term contracts.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Mikey Anderson was also on Fox’s list but he was re-signed on Saturday by the Kings.

Rasmus Sandin’s contract talks with the Toronto Maple Leafs reportedly remain at a standstill. Meanwhile, Vegas Golden Knights GM Kelly McCrimmon recently said re-signing defenseman Nicolas Hague before training camp was his top priority.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I covered Sandin’s situation in yesterday’s Rumor Mill. As for Hague, McCrimmon reportedly has had little dialogue with Hague’s representatives since early July.

Both defensemen are coming off ELCs and have no leverage other than refusing to report to training camp. We’ll find out within the next 10 days if they’ll end up signing bridge deals before camps open on Sep. 21.

Edmonton Oilers center Ryan McLeod and Calgary Flames forward Adam Ruzicka complete Fox’s list. He reported there’s little concern in Edmonton over getting McLeod signed before training camp. Meanwhile, Fox believes Flames GM Brad Treliving must decide if Ruzicka is ready to be a full-time NHLer or if he will sign him to a two-way contract.

Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – October 24, 2021

Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – October 24, 2021

​Check out the latest on Jack Eichel and Vitali Kravtsov plus updates on the Coyotes in the Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup.

SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman reports Jack Eichel could consider filing a grievance through the NHL Players Association to force a resolution to his standoff with the Buffalo Sabres. He speculates that could happen within the next couple of weeks if he’s not traded before then.

Buffalo Sabres center Jack Eichel (NHL Images).

Eichel’s been sidelined since March with a herniated disc in his neck. He wants to undergo artificial disc replacement surgery but Sabres doctors prefer neck fusion. The NHL CBA gives the team the final say on medical treatment. The 24-year-old center requested a trade but this stalemate has complicated efforts to move him.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The subject of a grievance was raised by Friedman and others last week. Most observers doubt that move will go Eichel’s way because the CBA gives the Sabres’ the last word on his medical treatment.

Jeff Marek reports New York Rangers general manager Chris Drury seeks a top prospect in exchange for unhappy winger Vitali Kravtsov, who recently returned home to Russia awaiting a trade. Marek said Drury isn’t budging from that asking price right now.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: With the Rangers off to a terrific start, Drury can set that price because he’s under no pressure to move Kravtsov right now. That might change if injuries start depleting the Rangers’ depth. Ryan Strome (COVID protocol) and Kaapo Kakko (upper-body injury) are currently out of the lineup but that hasn’t adversely affected the club’s performance.

Drury could also set that price knowing no one will pay it. That could force Kravtsov to have a change of heart and return to the Rangers.

GOPHNX.COM: Craig Morgan recently took note of the Arizona Coyotes using Phil Kessel on their top power-play unit instead of defenseman Jakob Chychrun. They could be showcasing the 34-year-old winger for a trade but could also be trying to get him up to speed after missing all of training camp and preseason play with an injured foot. Morgan also observed 15 scouts who attended the Coyotes’ recent game against the St. Louis Blues.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kessel will be moved at some point before the March 21 trade deadline. A free agent next July, he doesn’t fit into their long-term plans and he wants a change of scenery. Trading him early in the season, however, will be difficult.

The Coyotes carry $6.8 million of his $8 million cap hit. Even with $5 million of his actual $6 million salary for this season paid out in a signing bonus, few clubs have sufficient room to add his cap hit at this point in the season.

SPORTSNET: Jeff Marek reports Coyotes center Barrett Hayton also came up in trade speculation this week. The fifth-overall selection in the 2018 draft, Hayton is currently playing for the Coyotes’ AHL affiliate in Tucson.

Hayton’s agent Pat Morris shot down rumors his client asked for a trade. Marek said it looks like he’ll be staying with the Coyotes as head coach Andre Tourigny thinks highly of him. Tourigny made Hayton the captain of Team Canada at the 2020 World Juniors.