NHL Rumor Mill – May 19, 2020

NHL Rumor Mill – May 19, 2020

Check out the latest on the Leafs and Oilers in today’s NHL rumor mill.

SHOULD THE LEAFS PURSUE MURRAY OR HEISKANEN?

SPORTSNET: During a recent mailbag segment, Luke Fox was asked what a contract extension for Toronto Maple Leafs goaltender Frederik Andersen might look like, and if the Leafs should attempt to acquire Matt Murray. He believes they could push Andersen’s extension to 2021 and dismissed the notion of acquiring Murray.

Should the Toronto Maple Leafs dump Frederik Andersen in favor of Pittsburgh’s Matt Murray? (Photo via NHL Images)

Despite Murray’s two Stanley Cup rings, Fox is not convinced that the Pittsburgh Penguins netminder is better than Andersen, pointing out the latter has more wins over the past four seasons and a better career save percentage. Murray is also a restricted free agent with arbitration rights this summer.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Forget about the comparisons of Andersen’s and Murray’s career stats, the Leafs can’t afford the latter even if they wanted to acquire him. As per Cap Friendly, they have almost $77 million invested in 16 players for 2020-21, with $6.65 million going to Andersen and Jack Campbell. Unless they intend on trading Andersen (and I don’t believe they do), there’s no room to take on Murray. 

Fox was asked if the Leafs should trade Mitch Marner to the Dallas Stars for Miro Heiskanen. He doesn’t see the Stars parting with their 20-year-old stud defenseman. He also cites Stars beat reporter Sean Shapiro declaring Heiskanen untouchable but speculates they could be willing to part with blueliner John Klingberg.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: So, Marner for Klingberg, Leafs fans? Discuss! 

LATEST PULJUJARVI SPECULATION

EDMONTON JOURNAL: Kurt Leavins cited a New York source claiming there was “renewed smoke” over the possibility of a trade that would see the Oilers ship winger Jesse Puljujarvi to the New York Rangers for center Lias Andersson. However, word out of New York is Oilers general manager Ken Holland would also demand a first-round pick from the Rangers, with the Oilers including another mid-level prospect in a two-for-two swap. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Under that scenario, I envision it ending with Rangers GM Jeff Gorton rolling his eyes skyward, politely thanking Holland for his offer, and hanging up the phone. 

Jim Matheson doesn’t expect to see the Oilers trading Puljujarvi to the Florida Panthers for center Henrik Borgstrom. The Panthers currently value centers over wingers, especially after trading away Vincent Trocheck. The Panthers also don’t need Puljujarvi when they’ve got Owen Tippett and Grigori Denisenko in their pipeline. Speaking of Tippett, sources consider swapping him for Puljujarvi a non-starter.

Regarding a recent suggestion of the Oilers shopping Puljujarvi to the Ottawa Senators for their third first-round pick in the 2020 draft, Matheson said sources indicate the Senators are lukewarm on the Oilers winger because they’re deep in farm forwards ready to make the jump to the NHL. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Matheson also indicates Holland won’t be talking to other GMs about Puljujarvi’s rights until hockey resumes. In other words, the aforementioned rumors are probably just media spitballing. 










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 17, 2020

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 17, 2020

A milestone night for Alex Ovechkin and Patrice Bergeron, Dougie Hamilton suffers a serious leg injury, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin’s hat trick carried his club to a 5-2 win over the New Jersey Devils. Ovechkin tied Mike Gartner by starting his NHL career with 15 consecutive 30-goal seasons. He also needed four stitches after being clipped in the mouth by a high stick from Devils winger Miles Wood in the first period. With 689 goals, Ovechkin is one shy of Mario Lemieux for 10th on the all-time list.

Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin has reach the 30-goal plateau for the 15th consecutive season (Photo via NHL Images).

Patrice Bergeron tallied his 20th goal of the season as the Boston Bruins beat the Pittsburgh Penguins 4-1. Bergeron has reached 20 goals in seven straight seasons. Bruins defenseman Torey Krug got into a rare tussle by dropping the gloves with Penguins winger Patric Hornqvist. Sidney Crosby tallied the lone goal for the Penguins. Earlier in the day, the Bruins placed goaltender Tuukka Rask (concussion) on injured reserve.

The Columbus Blue Jackets edged the Carolina Hurricanes 3-2 on a late goal by captain Nick Foligno. Hurricanes defenseman Dougie Hamilton left the game in the second period with an apparent left leg injury that coach Rod Brind’Amour said doesn’t look good.

Pete DeBoer got his first win as head coach with the Vegas Golden Knights as they doubled up the Ottawa Senators 4-2. Golden Knights winger Mark Stone had a goal and an assist in his first game in Ottawa since getting traded to Vegas last February.

Ilya Kovalchuk scored twice, Carey Price made 40 saves, and Tomas Tatar collected three points as the Montreal Canadiens downed the Philadelphia Flyers 4-1. Canadiens sophomore Jesperi Kotkaniemi also got into the first fight of his career.

The Calgary Flames picked up their sixth win in seven games by downing the Toronto Maple Leafs 2-1. Flames goaltender David Rittich made 35 saves for the win as teammate Matthew Tkachuk scored the only goal in the shootout.

Sam Montembeault made 23 saves coming off the bench to replace sidelined Chris Driedger as the Florida Panthers held on for a 4-3 win over the Los Angeles Kings. Anze Kopitar had a goal and two assists for the Kings.

Buffalo Sabres goalie Linus Ullmark made 28 saves as his club defeated the Dallas Stars 4-1. It’s the Sabres fifth win in their last seven contests. Stars defenseman Miro Heiskanen left the game in the second period with an upper-body injury and is listed as day-to-day.

Philipp Grubauer had a 27-save shutout as the Colorado Avalanche blanked the San Jose Sharks 4-0. It’s the Avs first win in five games.

The Vancouver Canucks picked up their 10th win in their last 13 games by beating the Arizona Coyotes 3-1. Jacob Markstrom made 34 saves while Elias Pettersson collected two assists.

A late power-play goal by Chris Kreider lifted the New York Rangers over the New York Islanders 3-2. Rangers goalie Alexandar Georgiev kicked out 38 shots.

The Anaheim Ducks snapped a four-game losing skid by upsetting the Nashville Predators 4-2. Rickard Rakell and Josh Manson each had a goal and an assist. The Predators have dropped seven of their last 10 games and sit six points out of the final wild-card spot in the Western Conference.

The Minnesota Wild held on for a 3-2 win over the Tampa Bay Lightning for their first win in five games. Nikita Kucherov scored both Lightning goals.

IN OTHER NEWS…

TSN: Arizona Coyotes coach Rick Tocchet will replace Gerard Gallant as coach of the Pacific Division at the upcoming 2020 NHL All-Star Game. Gallant was fired earlier this week as head coach of the Vegas Golden Knights.

MLIVE.COM: Gallant’s firing raised questions about Jeff Blashill’s future as bench boss of the Detroit Red Wings. Blashill remains unconcerned and is focused on trying to find solutions to help his club.

THE SCORE: As expected, the NHL is talking to the Calgary Flames and Edmonton Oilers to ensure the next two games between the clubs don’t get out of hand. Senior VP of Player Safety George Parros will attend the Jan. 29 game in Edmonton. Tensions were raised after Oilers winger Zack Kassian received a two-game suspension for an on-ice altercation with Flames winger Matthew Tkachuk.

Winnipeg Jets center Mathieu Perreault is incensed that Vancouver Canucks forward Jake Virtanen won’t be suspended for elbowing him in the face during a recent game between the two clubs. “Player safety, my ass!,” he told a Winnipeg Sun reporter. “This is literally an elbow to the face of a guy that didn’t have the puck,” Perreault added he could take measure into his own hands the next time a rival player does that to him. “I’m the smallest guy (on) the ice so I can’t really fight anybody. The only thing I can do to defend myself is use my stick, so the next guy that does that to me is gonna get my f—— stick. And I better not get suspended for it.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I have a feeling Perreault is going to get a phone call from Parros over his comments.

CHICAGO TRIBUNE: The Blackhawks placed center Dylan Strome (right ankle sprain) on injured reserve.

NEWSDAY: Nassau County Executive Laura Curran has asked the NHL to consider moving all Islanders games to Nassau Coliseum next season before they open their Belmont Park arena in 2021.










Midseason NHL Sophomore Stock Watch for 2019-20

Midseason NHL Sophomore Stock Watch for 2019-20

 










An Early Look at the Top 2019-20 NHL Sophomores

An Early Look at the Top 2019-20 NHL Sophomores

 










NHL Most Important Players: Dallas Stars

NHL Most Important Players: Dallas Stars

 










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 11, 2019

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 11, 2019

Blue Jackets rally to defeat Lightning, Islanders down Penguins in overtime, and Stars defenseman Miro Heiskanen’s record-setting performance highlight the opening night of the 2019 Stanley Cup playoffs in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines. 

NHL.COM: The Columbus Blue Jackets scored four unanswered goals (three in the third period) to overcome a 3-0 deficit to edge the Tampa Bay Lightning 4-3 in Game 1 of their opening-round series. Seth Jones tallied the game-winner while Josh Anderson had a goal and an assist. Game 2 goes Friday night in Tampa Bay. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The first period was all Lightning as they rolled to a 3-0 lead and appeared poised to run the Blue Jackets out of the building. Credit the Jackets for not rolling over as they turned things around in the second with a much better effort, forcing the Bolts into costly turnovers and defensive breakdowns, especially on Anderson’s game-tying shorthanded goal and David Savard’s Orr-like tally that preceded it. The Bolts were also their own worst enemies, doing a poor job protecting their lead and failing to play with the same level of intensity that they showed in the opening period.

A breathtaking rush by Mathew Barzal set the stage for Josh Bailey’s overtime goal to give the New York Islanders a 4-3 Game 1 victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins. Barzal dipsy-doodled his way into a prime scoring chance with a backhander that clanged off the right post and right to Bailey who cashed in on the rebound. Isles goalie Robin Lehner made 41 saves and Jordan Eberle scored his first career playoff goal. Evgeni Malkin and Justin Schultz each had a goal and an assist for the Penguins. The two clubs clash again in Game 2 on Friday.

Dallas Stars rookie defenseman Miro Heiskanen had a record-setting performance in his club’s 3-2 victory in Game 1 of their opening-round series against the Nashville Predators (Photo via NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That was a great individual effort by Barzal in overtime. Looks like he handled the heat of his first career playoff game just fine. 

Dallas Stars rookie Miro Heiskanen made history by scoring twice in a 3-2 victory over the Nashville Predators in Game 1 of their first-round series. The 19-year-old became the youngest defenseman in franchise history to score a playoff goal and the third teenage blueliner in league history to have a multi-goal playoff game. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: No nerves for Heiskanen in his postseason debut, playing like a poised veteran in this one. The Predators did themselves no favors with their special-team play, going oh-for-four with the man advantage and giving up a power-play goal. 

Brent Burns, Erik Karlsson, and Marc-Edouard Vlasic each collected two points to lead the San Jose Sharks to a 5-2 victory in Game 1 of their series with the Vegas Golden Knights. Evander Kane and Tomas Hertl each had a goal and an assist while captain Joe Pavelski scored the opening goal of the game with his face. He left the game but returned in the second period wearing a full-face visor. The two clubs meet again for Game 2 on Friday. 

Third-period goals by David Perron and Tyler Bozak enabled the St. Louis Blues to nip the Winnipeg Jets 2-1 in a physical opening game to their series. Blues goalie Jordan Binnington made 24 saves for his first career NHL playoff victory. Patrik Laine tallied the sole Jets goal. Game 2 goes Friday night in Winnipeg. 

Earlier in the day, Binnington had to address controversial tweets he made in 2013 and 2014 regarding women in burkhas and cab drivers who speak different languages. “I was a teenager and that’s what life’s about. You live and learn and you grow as a human so, you know, I’m just here to play a couple hockey games,” he said. League deputy commissioner Bill Daly released a statement that didn’t condone Binnington’s tweets but added there wasn’t any basis to address five-year-old tweets from a player who wasn’t part of the league at the time.

TSN: Colorado Avalanche right wing Mikko Rantanen will return to action in Game 1 of his club’s opening-round series tonight against the Calgary Flames. He’d been sidelined since March 21 with an upper-body injury. 

Boston Bruins forward David Backes will be a healthy scratch for Game 1 tonight against the Toronto Maple Leafs. 

SPORTSNET: The NHL Player Association has filed an appeal on behalf of former Los Angeles Kings defenseman Slava Voynov over his suspension for the 2019-20 season and 2020 playoffs.