NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 10, 2018

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 10, 2018

Game recaps and more in your NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: Elias Pettersson had five points (one goal, four assists) and Brock Boeser tallied a hat trick to lead the Vancouver Canucks to a 6-1 beatdown of the hapless St. Louis Blues. Following the game, Blues winger Vladimir Tarasenko apologized to his team’s fans for their poor performance this season.

Vancouver Canucks center Elias Pettersson had a five-point performance in a 6-1 win over the St. Louis Blues (Photo via NHL Images)

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Calder Memorial Trophy is Pettersson’s to lose this season. “The Alien” dominates the rookie scoring leaders in goals, assists and points. Barring injury or a second-half collapse, Pettersson will become the second player in Canucks history (Pavel Bure being the first) to win the Calder.

As for the Blues, an apology from their best scorer won’t make up for their terrible performance this season. Inconsistent goaltending, sloppy defense, and a lack of speed has them buried near the bottom of the Western Conference standings. Little wonder there are trade rumors swirling around Tarasenko, defenseman Alex Pietrangelo, and goaltender Jake Allen. If they don’t turn things around soon, the Blues will be sellers by the February trade deadline. 

Mark Scheifele collected three assists and Josh Morrissey had a goal and two assists as the Winnipeg Jets crushed the Philadelphia Flyers 7-1. Flyers defenseman Robert Hagg was ejected from the game following his second-period hit from behind on Jets winger Kyle Connor, who left the game briefly following the hit.

Carey Price made 37 saves and Tomas Tatar tallied the game-winner as the Montreal Canadiens edged the Chicago Blackhawks 3-2. Patrick Kane netted both Blackhawks goals. The Hawks sit at the bottom of the Western Conference standings with just nine wins in 31 games. Since firing Joel Quenneville as head coach last month, they’ve won just three times. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Price stole this one for the Canadiens, who blew a 2-0 lead and would’ve lost this contest if not for their goaltender’s heroics. Price’s performance has noticeably improved since defenseman Shea Weber’s recent return to the lineup. 

Shootout goals by Daniel Sprong and Ryan Getzlaf gave the Anaheim Ducks a 6-5 victory over the New Jersey Devils. Ondrej Kase had three points for the Ducks, who lost goaltender Ryan Miller to a lower-body injury after he was hurt in a goalmouth collision.

Connor McDavid scored the only goal and goalie Mikko Koskinen kicked out 24 shots as the Edmonton Oilers blanked the Calgary Flames 1-0.

The Boston Bruins squeaked past the Ottawa Senators 2-1 on an overtime goal by Torey Krug. Senators goaltender Mike McKenna made 42 saves in a losing cause. Senators defensemen Dylan DeMelo and Christian Jaros missed the game with injuries.

The Vegas Golden Knights picked up their eighth win in 10 games by doubling up the Dallas Stars 4-2. Vegas goalie Marc-Andre Fleury turned aside 22 shots.

ARIZONA SPORTS: Bad news for the Coyotes as starting goalie Antti Raanta is sidelined indefinitely with a lower-body injury and could miss the remainder of the season. 

TORONTO SUN: Maple Leafs forward Zach Hyman received a two-game suspension by the NHL department of player safety for a late hit on Boston Bruins defenseman Charlie McAvoy on Saturday. 

THE NEWS & OBSERVER: The Carolina Hurricanes have recalled goaltender Scott Darling due to an injury to Curtis McElhinney.

NEWSDAY: The New York Islanders have recalled winger Josh Ho-Sang. 


NHL Rumor Mill – October 31, 2018

NHL Rumor Mill – October 31, 2018

Latest on Tyler Myers,  Zack Kassian, Jesse Puljujarvi, Joshua Ho-Sang and (yes, again!) William Nylander in your NHL rumor mill.


NICHOLS ON HOCKEY: During an appearance on Vancouver’s TSN 1040, Darren Dreger was asked if the Toronto Maple Leafs might consider trading William Nylander if unable to get him re-signed and which clubs could become potential suitors. He noted colleague Pierre LeBrun pointed out the Carolina Hurricanes have an ongoing interest in Nylander.

Dreger also believes the Vegas Golden Knights definitely have interest, pointing out they have salary-cap space to sign him. He also raised the question of how much Nylander will sign for. “If he’s unwilling to budge off a $7.5-8-plus million Average Annual Salary, is Carolina willing to pay that? That doesn’t sound likely. What about Vegas or any other team that’s interested.”

TSN: Bob McKenzie reports there’s no sign of progress in contract talks between the Maple Leafs and Nylander. At the moment, the Leafs aren’t necessarily any closer to trading Nylander if they can’t sign him. However, the longer this continues the more teams could come calling about Nylander’s availability. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s one thing to speculate about which teams might have interest in Nylander. As Dreger and LeBrun have pointed out, the cost of signing him must also be taken into consideration. A club could be interested in Nylander but not at the cost of over $7.5 million per season on a long-term deal. If he’s unwilling to move from that, it will narrow the number of clubs pursuing him.

Jesse Puljujarvi’s status with the Edmonton Oilers is starting to attract attention. (Photo via NHL Images)


EDMONTON JOURNAL: Derek Van Diest reports Oilers winger Zack Kassian “was forced to put out the fire started by his agent Rick Curran this past weekend.” Over the weekend, reports emerged the Oilers had given Curran permission to explore trade options if his client wasn’t happy in Edmonton.

Kassian claims he never requested a trade and is still happy living and playing in Edmonton. He explained Curran called Chiarelli after he was a recent healthy scratch from the lineup to see what was going on. “They both acknowledged I’ve been off to a slow start and there has been an indirect conversation that other teams might be interested and he was granted permission to talk to them.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE:  The Oilers could move Kassian (who lacks no-trade protection) if they get a decent offer. I doubt they’ll get anything that can provide immediate help to the lineup. Unless Kassian requests a trade, he’s probably not going anywhere unless the Oilers fall out of playoff contention later in the season. By that point, they could be looking at shedding salary and would likely accept a draft pick or prospect. 

TSN: Darren Dreger reports it’s caught the attention of teams around the league that Oilers winger Jesse Puljujarvi has been a healthy scratch from several games. “That’s not to say Edmonton Oilers GM Peter Chiarelli’s phone is ringing off the hook, that’s not the case. And the Oilers are adamant they’re not going to trade Puljujarvi any time soon”. Dreger said what the Oilers need is for Puljujarvi to improve and lock down his roster spot.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Some promising prospects take longer to develop than others and that could be the case with the 20-year-old Puljujarvi. The last thing the Oilers want is to give up on him too soon and watch him blossom into a star elsewhere. Still, the longer it takes him to reach expectations the more he’s going to pop up in the rumor mill. 


TSN: Pierre LeBrun reports the Winnipeg Jets have no intention of trading Tyler Myers even if he’s still unsigned by this season’s trade deadline. The veteran defenseman is slated to become an unrestricted free agent in July. There haven’t been any contract discussions but Myers agent JP Barry recently met with Jets general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff to get some clarity on where things are.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: As LeBrun points out, the Jets are all-in this season as they hope to contend for the Stanley Cup. Unless thing goes wildly off the rails by the trade deadline I don’t see them shopping any of their pending free agents. 


NEW YORK POST: Brett Cyrgalis reports winger Joshua Ho-Sang feels he’s being buried within the New York Islanders system. He said the club told him they see him as a top-six forward but he’s not even playing that role with their AHL affiliate.

Ho-Sang feels the Isles made up their minds about what their club would look like and his role within it before training camp, as he didn’t see much action in preseason play. Crygalis points out Ho-Sang’s play away from the puck remains an issue as he has only four assists in nine games with Bridgeport with an ugly plus-minus of minus-eight.

NICHOLS ON HOCKEY: During an appearance on Vancouver’s Sportsnet 650, Elliotte Friedman was asked about Ho-Sang’s trade status. He believes it depends on the Islanders’ asking price. “I think there’s a lot of teams in the NHL that would be happy to trade for a guy who is talented and would be kind of a devalued asset on his second team, as long as the price wasn’t too high.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Ho-Sang’s brought a lot of this upon himself but he also might flourish with a change of scenery and the right coach. If the Isles try to trade him, however, I doubt they’ll get much back in return. He’s in the final season of his entry-level contract and at his current pace, he might not get a qualifying offer from the Isles next summer. For now, they’re probably going to stay patient with him and hope he starts showing real signs of consistent improvement. 



NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 17, 2018

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 17, 2018

Latest notable contract signings and more in your NHL morning coffee headlines. 

ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER: The Anaheim Ducks yesterday re-signed center Adam Henrique to a five-year contract extension worth an annual average value of $5.825 million. The new deal begins in 2019-20.

The Anaheim Ducks re-signed center Adam Henrique to a five-year contract extension (Photo via NHL Images)

SPECTOR’S NOTE: As per Cap Friendly, the 28-year-old Henrique’s new deal also contains a modified no-trade clause. He’s in the final season of a six-year, $24-million contract. Anaheim acquired Henrique in a Nov. 30, 2017 trade with the New Jersey Devils. Because he re-signed with the Ducks, the Devils will get their third-round pick in the 2019 NHL Draft. He had a solid season with the Ducks, tallying 20 goals and 36 points in 57 games.

CALGARY SUN: The Flames avoided arbitration with forward Elias Lindholm by inking him to a six-year worth an annual salary-cap hit of $4.85 million. They also re-signed goaltender Jon Gillies to a two-year contract worth $750K, with the first year being a two-way deal. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Lindholm was acquired from the Carolina Hurricanes as part of that multiplayer swap during the 2018 NHL Draft. He’s getting quite a nice pay bump, having earned $2.7-million annually on his previous contract. It’s expected he’ll fill a top-six role with the Flames.

THE TENNESSEAN: The Nashville Predators signed backup goaltender Jusse Saros to a three-year, $4.5-million contract and forward Ryan Hartman to a one-year, $875K deal. 

NEWSDAY: Young forward Josh Ho-Sang has a clean slate with the new management and coaching staff of the New York Islanders. Entering the final season of his three-year entry-level contract, the 22-year-old Ho-Sang will be expected to compete for a top-six role with the Islanders in training camp. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This season could be Ho-Sang’s last opportunity to make a positive impression with the Islanders. If he fails to earn a full-time roster spot they could attempt to trade him before the Feb. 25, 2019 trade deadline or not qualify his rights next June. 


NHL Rumor Mill – May 25, 2018

NHL Rumor Mill – May 25, 2018

Latest on the New York Islanders, Montreal Canadiens and Edmonton Oilers in your NHL rumor mill.

With Lou Lamoriello as their new president of hockey ops, the New York Islanders could make a big push to re-sign John Tavares (Photo via NHL Images).


NEWSDAY: Andrew Gross reports Lou Lamoriello, the new president of hockey operations for the New York Islanders, isn’t planning to rebuild their roster. “He wants to win now,” a league source said of Lamoriello, 75. “He took the job because he thought he had the assets.”

The Isles need a proven starting goaltender, which could come at the cost of one of their first-round selections (11th and 12th overall) in this year’s draft. They also need at least one, perhaps two, top-four defensemen. Toronto Maple Leafs left wing James van Riemsdyk and former New Jersey Devils winger Ilya Kovalchuk are both unrestricted free agents this summer and have previous ties to Lamoriello.

FRS NETWORK: Chris Nichols cited Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman telling NHL Network on Wednesday that he believes the Islanders brought in Lamoriello in part to convince team captain John Tavares to stay. Tavares is due to become an unrestricted free agent on July 1. He feels the organization is going to make a serious push to re-sign him.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Lamoriello could be planning on a couple of bold moves prior to July 1 in hopes of convincing Tavares to stay put. The Isles have two picks in each of the first two rounds in this year’s draft. Lamoriello could use one or two of those as trade bait to bring in a goaltender and a defenseman. He could package those with some of the promising prospects within his system, such as Kieffer Bellows or Joshua Ho-Sang. He could also peddle a veteran such as forward Brock Nelson.


MONTREAL GAZETTE: Stu Cowan believes Evander Kane’s new seven-year, $49-million contract with the San Jose Sharks is great news for Canadiens left wing Max Pacioretty, who’s due to become an unrestricted free agent next July. The 29-year-old Canadiens captain is a five-time 30-goal scorer. The question now is whether Pacioretty will be negotiating that deal with Montreal GM Marc Bergevin or with another club. Cowan speculates Pacioretty could be headed elsewhere via trade. 

TVA SPORTS: Dallas Stars winger Antoine Roussel said he’d be willing to sign with the Canadiens if he’s unable to reach an agreement with his current club. Roussel, 28, is due to become an unrestricted free agent on July 1. He’s still hoping to re-sign with the Stars. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: If Pacioretty, who was hampered by injuries this season, regains his 30-goal form next season, he’ll easily get over $7 million annually on a long-term deal. However, I doubt it’s going to be with the Canadiens.

There were plenty of rumblings this season suggesting Pacioretty could be dealt. While they didn’t come to pass, there’s an expectation he could be shopped this summer or before next season’s trade deadline. As for Roussel, the Habs are in need of more scoring and blueline depth, so he might not suit their needs. 


THE ATHLETIC: Allan Mitchell recently noted the Edmonton Oilers will have to shop on a budget this summer to address their need for a backup goaltender, a puck-moving defenseman for their power play and perhaps a winger or two. The recent signing of KHL goaltender Mikko Koskinen makes him the front-runner for the backup spot.

The changes in Carolina Hurricanes management could make it possible for the Oilers to land a promising forward such as Warren Foegele and Lucas Wallmark. Mitchell also suggests New York Islanders winger Joshua Ho-Sang could be available.

While Mitchell believes the Oilers should be aggressive pursuing a puck-moving blueliner, he considers free agents such as John Carlson and Mike Green or attempting to acquire Ottawa’s Erik Karlsson as non-starters for the Oilers. GM Peter Chiarelli could instead make a smaller move, perhaps by targeting defensemen such as Colorado’s Tyson Barrie, Winnipeg’s Tyler Myers, Boston’s Torey Krug or the Islanders’ Nick Leddy.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s widely assumed Chiarelli could make a big trade to bring in a puck-moving rearguard. That could be easier said than done. Chiarelli does hold an enticing trade chip with his first round pick (10th overall), which he could package with a top prospect. There’s also speculation that Oscar Klefbom could be a trade candidate.

I doubt that Barrie, Myers and Leddy will be available. Krug could be, though he’s not a right-handed shot and carries a $5.25-million cap hit for two more years with a modified no-trade clause that kicks in on July 1. 


NHL Rumor Mill – March 30, 2018

NHL Rumor Mill – March 30, 2018

Latest on the Sedins, Pavel Datsyuk and Joshua Ho-Sang plus an update on the Chicago Blackhawks and Florida Panthers in your NHL rumor mill.

Vancouver Canucks GM Jim Benning is expected to meet soon with the Sedin Twins to determine their future plans (Photo via NHL.com).


TSN:  Pierre LeBrun reports Vancouver Canucks general manager Jim Benning intends to meet with Daniel and Henrik Sedin over the next few days to determine where they’re at in terms of their plans beyond this season. Their decision could spill into the offseason. One factor could be what role the twins will play if they decide to return with the Canucks next season. They’re currently seeing second-line duty this season. Retirement could be a possibility for the Sedins.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Sedins will likely take their time considering their options. While Benning could be patient, he’ll likely want a decision before late-June. By then, he’ll want to know if he’s investing in the twins for another season or on other players via trade or free agency. 


SPORTSNET: In this week’s “31 Thoughts” column, Elliotte Friedman reported of some wild rumors suggesting Pavel Datsyuk might return with the Detroit Red Wings next season. However, his agent said that’s not true.

The Florida Panthers are trying to trade 2016 second-round pick Adam Mascherin, who’s a 40-goal scorer this season with the OHL’s Kitchener Rangers. He’s informed the Panthers he won’t be signing with them, meaning he’ll go back into the draft unless they can trade his rights before then. Friedman suggests interested clubs could be reluctant to give up much in a trade for a player they could instead have the opportunity to draft.

There was some speculation the Chicago Blackhawks might consider trading their lottery draft pick for immediate help. However, GM Stan Bowman doesn’t appear keen on the idea. “I would be surprised if we traded it. Maybe if it was for a 22- or 23-year-old, who would be a couple of years ahead of draft age. But not for a 25- or 26-year-old.”


THE ATHLETIC: Arthur Staple reports New York Islanders winger Joshua Ho-Sang isn’t happy with being buried in the minors this season. Stressing that he loved his Isles teammates and knows how hard they’re working this season, he feels he was unfairly singled out for his defensive issues when the entire team is struggling in that department. “I know they’re working hard. But I got sent down for defense and what are they in goals against in the NHL? I only played (22) games up there this year. I don’t think it’s my fault. They really painted it like it was my fault at the beginning of the year and I didn’t like that.”

Ho-Sang acknowledged there are aspects of his game that need improvement. “But I do think a lot of the stuff was unwarranted, especially in terms of the rope that other people were given. I understand I have a history and that might be a factor. I don’t know. But it’s frustrating to me.”

Ho-Sang said he and his agent haven’t requested a trade. Staple, however, thinks it would be hard to imagine there are other clubs clamoring for the young forward. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Ho-Sang has promising offensive skills but there are concerns over his defensive play and his immaturity. The 22-year-old must work on those issues if he intends to crack the Isles roster full time. It wouldn’t surprise me if management explores his trade value leading up to the 2018 NHL Draft in Dallas. 


NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 16, 2017

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 16, 2017

Game recaps, injury updates, Senators owner talks relocation and more in your NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: Sam Gagner score in overtime as the Vancouver Canucks edged the San Jose Sharks 4-3 to snap their four-game losing skid.

Markus Granlund scored twice while Daniel and Henrik Sedin each collected three assists for the Canucks, who learned earlier in the day defenseman Chris Tanev will be sidelined two-three weeks by a groin injury. Brent Burns tallied two goals for the Sharks while their leading scorer Logan Couture left the game in the third period after being struck in the jaw by the shoulder of Canucks forward Alexander Burmistrov.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: An update on Couture is expected today. It would be a serious blow to the offensively anemic Sharks if he’s sidelined for a significant period of time. 

Rick Nash’s late third-period goal was the game winner as the New York Rangers doubled up the Los Angeles Kings 4-2. Kings forward Marian Gaborik, playing in his 1000th career NHL game, had a goal and an assist.

The Carolina Hurricanes blew a 4-2 lead but an overtime goal by Jaccob Slavin gave them a 5-4 win over the Buffalo Sabres, spoiling the hat trick scored by Sabres star Jack Eichel. The teams combined for six goals in the third period.

Brian Boyle scored twice, including his 100th career NHL goal, to lead the New Jersey Devils to a 5-2 victory over the Dallas Stars.

Danny DeKeyser, Trevor Daley and Tomas Tatar scored as the Detroit Red Wings downed the Toronto Maple Leafs 3-1.

TSN: On the eve of his club facing off against the Montreal Canadiens in the NHL 100 Classic at Lansdowne Park in Ottawa, Senators owner Eugene Melnyk said he doesn’t intend to sell the club but hinted at the possibility of relocation. Melnyk cited his frustration over the decline in ticket sales in recent years, adding that his front office is running on a shoestring budget and suggesting cuts to player salaries could be next. While the Senators are in talks with the National Capital Commission about developing land at LeBreton Flats for a new downtown arena, Melnyk said it wasn’t a certainty that the project will take place.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Melnyk has the right to air his frustrations whenever he wants. Doing so prior to his team hosting its first outdoor game in Ottawa, however, is poor timing and won’t sit well with the local fan base. As Ottawa is a government town, the ongoing screw-ups with the Phoenix pay system could be one reason behind the decline in ticket sales. Another could be the fact the Sens are no longer the dominant franchise they were a decade ago. Melnyk could also be subtly trying to put public pressure on the city of Ottawa in an attempt to garner himself a favorable arena deal. 

TAMPA BAY TIMES: Lightning winger Ryan Callahan is out three-four weeks after suffering an upper-body injury (possibly his right arm) during Thursday’s game against the Arizona Coyotes.

EDMONTON SUN: The Oilers have activated starting goaltender Cam Talbot off injured reserve.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: They’ll need Talbot to quickly regain his form if they hope to gain ground in the Western Conference. Lousy goaltending is one of the reasons they’ve sunk toward the bottom of the standings. 

WINNIPEG SUN: Jets coach Paul Maurice recently set a dubious milestone, surpassing Al Arbour for the most regulation losses (578) by a head coach in NHL history. “Now in his 20th NHL season, Maurice has amassed a record of 618-578-99-106.”