NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 15, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 15, 2022

The Coyotes down the Senators, Auston Matthews suspended, the Ducks trade Josh Manson to the Avalanche, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines

NHL.COM: Arizona Coyotes forward Lawson Crouse tallied his first career hat trick in a 5-3 victory over the Ottawa Senators. Nick Schmaltz and Clayton Keller extended their points streak to six games with two points each while Scott Wedgewood made 40 saves for the win. Josh Norris scored two goals for the Senators.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Coyotes defenseman Jakob Chychrun missed this game and will be sidelined two-to-four weeks with a lower-body injury. He’s been the subject of frequent trade speculation over the past couple of months but this injury could dampen his value in this season’s trade market.

TORONTO SUN: The NHL department of player safety handed a two-game suspension to Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews for cross-checking Buffalo Sabres defenseman Rasmus Dahlin during Sunday’s Heritage Classic game in Hamilton.

Anaheim Ducks trade Josh Manson to the Colorado Avalanche (NHL Images).

 NHL.COM: The Anaheim Ducks traded defenseman Josh Manson to the Colorado Avalanche in exchange for prospect defenseman Drew Helleson and a second-round pick in the 2023 NHL Draft.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This is the first major trade of this calendar year since the Calgary Flames acquired Tyler Toffoli last month from the Montreal Canadiens.

Cap Friendly indicates the Ducks also retained 50 percent of Manson’s $4.1 million cap hit. That gives the Avs’ some flexibility to make another deadline addition, especially if they place captain Gabriel Landeskog on long-term injury reserve following his knee surgery on Monday.

Manson, 30, will help to shore up the Avalanche’s blueline depth. Samuel Girard is out for four weeks plus there’s ongoing uncertainty over Bowen Byram’s status as he remains sidelined by concussion symptoms.

It’s not a bad return for the Ducks. Helleson is a well-regarded prospect who could blossom into a full-time member of their blueline.

Ducks general manager Pat Verbeek recently indicated he would trade his pending unrestricted free agents if he can’t re-sign them before the trade deadline. Manson’s departure casts a brighter spotlight on UFAs Hampus Lindholm and Rickard Rakell, who will have greater value than Manson in the trade market.

NHL.COM: Chicago Blackhawks right wing Patrick Kane, Calgary Flames goaltender Jacob Markstrom and New York Islanders captain Anders Lee are the NHL’s three stars for the week ending March 13, 2022.

THE DALLAS MORNING NEWS: Stars goaltender Braden Holtby remains sidelined by a nagging lower-body injury.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Holtby’s been mentioned as a possible trade candidate but I don’t think they intend to trade him while they’re jockeying for a wild-card spot in the Western Conference. It’s even less likely with Anton Khudobin reportedly undergoing hip surgery on Monday. They will probably want to keep Holtby as Jake Oettinger’s backup for the remainder of the season.

NBC SPORTS WASHINGTON: Capitals center Lars Eller was placed on COVID protocol after a positive test yesterday. It’s his second positive test this season and it’s uncertain when he’ll be back.










NHL Rumor Mill – February 22, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – February 22, 2022

The latest on Conor Garland and Cal Clutterbuck plus my analysis of Daily Faceoff’s updated trade targets list in today’s NHL rumor mill.

LATEST ON GARLAND AND CLUTTERBUCK

NESN.COM: Mike Cole suggests the Boston Bruins should consider acquiring local boy Conor Garland from the Vancouver Canucks. The Bruins attempted to land the energetic 25-year-old winger from the Arizona Coyotes before they shipped him last summer to the Canucks, who inked the two-way forward to a five-year extension worth an annual average value of just under $5 million.

Vancouver Canucks winger Conor Garland (NHL Images).

Cole feels Garland could improve the Bruins’ five-on-five scoring (23rd overall) and points out some pundits believe the winger could garner lots of interest in the trade market. Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman mentioned the New York Rangers, Calgary Flames and New Jersey Devils in a report three weeks ago.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: As always with the Bruins, it comes down to whether they have sufficient assets to outbid other clubs for Garland if he’s available before the March 21 trade deadline. The Flames’ acquisition last week of Tyler Toffoli takes them out of the market. However, the Rangers and Devils have plenty of cap space and depth in promising young players and prospects to make competitive offers. The Bruins could offer up Jake DeBrusk but I don’t think the Canucks would be interested having shown none thus far since his trade request in late November.

NYI HOCKEY NOW: Stefen Rosner noted Colorado Avalanche general manager Joe Sakic took in Sunday’s game between the Islanders and Montreal Canadiens. A league source believes he was scouting Isles forward Cal Clutterbuck.

NEW YORK POST: Larry Brooks believes Clutterbuck would be a good addition to the Rangers’ bottom-six forwards. However, he doubts Islanders GM Lou Lamoriello would make a deal with his club’s long-time rival, pointing out he never made a trade with the Blueshirts during his 28 years as GM of the Devils nor has he made one with them since joining the Isles four years ago.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Clutterbuck has value among playoff contenders seeking a gritty checking-line forward. It remains to be seen if he ends up with the Avalanche given their supposed interest in Philadelphia Flyers captain Claude Giroux. I agree with Brooks that Lamoriello shipping Clutterbuck to the Rangers is probably fantasy.

ANALYSIS OF DAILY FACEOFF’S UPDATED TRADE TARGETS LIST

DAILY FACEOFF: Frank Seravalli added Buffalo Sabres winger Victor Olofsson, Dallas Stars goaltender Braden Holtby, Ottawa Senators goalie Anton Forsberg and Chicago Blackhawks center Ryan Carpenter to his trade targets list.

Olofsson, 26, debuts at No. 12. He’s a restricted free agent with arbitration rights this summer, which could prompt the Sabres to move him. Holtby (No. 15) is an unrestricted free agent this summer carrying an affordable $2 million cap hit. With Jake Oettinger getting more starts, Seravalli suggests the Stars could shop Holtby and recalled Anton Khudobin.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Olofsson’s production has declined since his 20-goal, 42-point debut in 52 games in 2019-20. It wouldn’t be surprising if the rebuilding Sabres shipped him to a playoff contender willing to gamble on him regaining his form with a deeper roster.

The Athletic’s Pierre LeBrun believes Stars general manager Jim Nill could wait until the final couple of games leading up to the March 21 trade deadline to decide if he’s a buyer or seller. I believe he’ll be the latter if the Stars fall out of contention by then, which could see them peddle their pending UFAs like Holtby, John Klingberg and perhaps Joe Pavelski.

Seravalli speculates the Senators could shop Forsberg (No. 17 on the list) if they feel comfortable with Matt Murray as their starter going forward. The 29-year-old Forsberg is slated to become a UFA this summer. Carpenter (No. 20) is a 31-year-old hardworking defensive forward who’s also UFA-eligible this summer. Seravalli wonders if he might be a fit with the New York Rangers.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Ottawa Sun’s Bruce Garrioch speculates teams could inquire about Forsberg. He mentioned the Edmonton Oilers’ well-documented goaltending issues but suggests they might want a netminder with more of a pedigree.

As for Carpenter and the Rangers, their need seems to be for a scoring right winger. Still, they have considerable cap space if they wish to make a depth addition to their checking lines.










NHL Rumor Mill – January 21, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – January 21, 2022

Could the Oilers target a Stars goalie? Will the Blackhawks shop Marc-Andre Fleury? How many teams could have an interest in Jakob Chychrun and John Klingberg? Could the Canucks shop J.T. Miller soon? Find out in today’s NHL rumor mill.

WILL THE OILERS GO SHOPPING FOR A GOALTENDER?

TSN: Pierre LeBrun reports the Edmonton Oilers are looking at all options around the NHL to address their goaltending issues. They’ve kicked tires on Columbus Blue Jackets netminder Joonas Korpisalo, who’s an unrestricted free agent this summer.

The Oilers also internally discussed the Dallas Stars’ Anton Khudobin but the extra year on this contract at $3.33 million makes him less appealing. Stars goalie Braden Holtby could be more interesting as he’s a UFA at the season’s end. However, the real question is whether any of these options are better than Mikko Koskinen for the Oilers.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: No. No, they’re not. That doesn’t mean the Oilers might not acquire one of them in the hope they’ll provide some sort of upgrade. Khudobin did carry the Stars to the 2020 Stanley Cup Final but really struggled this season and wound up demoted to the minors. Holtby’s play has improved this season but his best days remain well behind him. Korpisalo failed to seize the starter’s job after Sergei Bobrovsky left town which is why the Jackets signed Elvis Merzlikins to a five-year extension.

Darren Dreger noted Chicago Blackhawks netminder Marc-Andre Fleury has also come up in the rumor mill but he’s not a fit in Edmonton for salary-cap reasons. When asked about trade possibilities, Fleury said he’s not thinking about that now as he’s trying to help the Blackhawks reach the playoffs.

Dreger expects there will be contract extension talks between the two sides. He also points out there’s an agreement with the Hawks that Fleury isn’t going anywhere unless he asks for a trade.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Fleury might consider a trade if the Blackhawks fail to gain ground in the standings over the next six weeks. His $7 million cap hit and 10-team no-trade clause probably keep him away from Edmonton. Some have linked him to the Colorado Avalanche and Washington Capitals. There’s even talk of a reunion with the Pittsburgh Penguins despite Tristan Jarry’s solid play this season. Whether he ends up with one of those clubs or heads elsewhere remains to be determined.

Arizona Coyotes defenseman Jakob Chychrun (NHL Images).

THE LATEST ON CHYCHRUN AND KLINGBERG

SPORTSNET: Jeff Marek and Elliotte Friedman discussed potential landing spots for Arizona Coyotes defenseman Jakob Chychrun. They suggested the Anaheim Ducks, Boston Bruins, Calgary Flames, Columbus Blue Jackets, Los Angeles Kings, New York Islanders, New York Rangers and St. Louis Blues as possibilities.

Both of them felt the Florida Panthers could be in on Chychrun, citing management’s ongoing efforts to build up their blueline. They felt the Panthers need one more big piece on their defense corps. Marek believes the Coyotes would want Spencer Knight, Anton Lundell and a first-round pick in return but Friedman felt that’s the price to be paid if they’re going all-in this season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Panthers GM Bill Zito has to consider if it’s worthwhile giving up that much of his club’s future to pursue the Stanley Cup this season. Granted, this move wouldn’t be for a rental player. The 23-year-old Chychrun is under contract for three more seasons who led all defensemen in goals last season.

The first-round pick is easy to part with given the Panthers’ depth and position in the standings. Giving up Knight would be tough but perhaps necessary with Sergei Bobrovsky carrying an almost untradable contract for four more seasons. Moving Lundell, who’s enjoying a solid rookie campaign, could be a bridge too far for Zito.

THE ATHLETIC: Shayna Goldman and Saad Yousef recently examined potential trade destinations for Dallas Stars pending UFA defenseman John Klingberg. Their three contenders are the Anaheim Ducks, Los Angeles Kings and Carolina Hurricanes, with the Pittsburgh Penguins, Nashville Predators and Toronto Maple Leafs as dark horses.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Ducks, Kings and Predators have the cap space and depth in promising young players to dangle for Klingberg if they wish to go that route. The Hurricanes showed a willingness to make big deadline deals, acquiring Vincent Trocheck and Brady Skjei two years ago. Their lack of cap space, however, would require some creativity to make the dollars fit.

The Penguins and Leafs are pressed for cap space. Both could stand pat or opt for more cost-effective options by the deadline. I’m not ruling out the possibility one of them swings a three-team deal to land someone like Klingberg. However, there’s no certainty they or the Hurricanes can find a third club to broker the deal given how many clubs have limited cap space this season.

WILL THE CANUCKS TRADE J.T. MILLER?

THE ATHLETIC: Thomas Drance cited Daily Faceoff’s Frank Seravalli saying he could see a scenario where the Vancouver Canucks trade J.T. Miller soon, perhaps before they officially hire a new general manager.

Drance, however, is skeptical of that scenario becoming reality. While sources told him there are teams interested in Miller, the Canucks can afford to wait because he’s under contract through next season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Drance also acknowledged the Canucks will have to make a decision about Miller’s future in Vancouver. Unless a rival club is willing to make an offer too good to refuse by the trade deadline, Canucks management could wait until the offseason to move Miller when teams have more cap room and willingness to pursue players of his caliber.

That should also be a decision that should involve the new general manager. Otherwise, team president Jim Rutherford shouldn’t waste everyone’s time hiring a GM if he’s going to make all the decisions himself.










Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – January 16, 2022

Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – January 16, 2022

The latest on John Klingberg and Evander Kane plus some suggested goalie options for the Capitals in the Sunday NHL rumor roundup.

LATEST ON JOHN KLINGBERG AND EVANDER KANE

SPORTSNET: Jeff Marek reports the Dallas Stars are stepping up efforts to move John Klingberg before the March 21 trade deadline. This comes a week after the 29-year-old defenseman expressed his frustration over his stalled contract extension talks with Stars management. He’s slated to become an unrestricted free agent in July.

Dallas Stars defenseman John Klingberg (NHL Images).

Marek believes Klingberg is going to get traded. “Hard to exactly when, but Dallas does seem aggressive in wanting to get something done soonish,” he said. Klingberg’s ice time has been declining over the past five games. He carries a $4.25 million cap hit for this season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I believed the Stars would be reluctant to part with Klingberg as long as they remained in the playoff chase. That no longer seems to be the case.

With 38 points, the Stars are four points out of the final Western Conference wild-card berth. They possess one of the worst road records (4-12-1) in the league this season, including losing their last seven away from home.

A shakeup could be coming to the Stars if their fortunes don’t change soon. Klingberg lacks no-trade protection and his affordable cap hit would make him an enticing rental player for postseason contenders like the Calgary Flames, Florida Panthers, Los Angeles Kings or Nashville Predators.

Elliotte Friedman reports there are a couple of teams hoping for “clarity” on whether Evander Kane will face any further penalty for allegedly crossing the border from the United States into Canada on Dec. 29.

The 30-year-old winger was with the San Jose Sharks AHL affiliate at the time. He tested positive for COVID-19 and then flew to Vancouver on Dec. 29, when he would’ve still been in the AHL’s 10-day COVID protocol. The NHL and the Canadian Border Services are investigating but there’s no timetable when the investigation will conclude.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Edmonton Oilers general manager Ken Holland acknowledged speaking to Kane’s agent last week. One report suggested the Oilers could already have him signed to a one-year, prorated deal but there’s been no confirmation of this. The Carolina Hurricanes and Florida Panthers are also said to be interested in the former Sharks forward.

PROPOSED GOALTENDING OPTIONS FOR THE CAPITALS

THE ATHLETIC: Tarik El-Bashir recently observed the inconsistency of goaltenders Vitek Vanecek and Ilya Samsonov could be a concern for the Washington Capitals. He speculated GM Brian MacLellan could trade for an upgrade if they don’t improve in the coming weeks.

Three options who’ve won Stanley Cups are the Chicago Blackhawks’ Marc-Andre Fleury, the Dallas Stars Braden Holtby (who won with the Capitals in 2018) and the Los Angeles Kings’ Jonathan Quick.

Fleury would make the most sense given his solid play behind a lousy Blackhawks club. However, he has a 10-team no-trade clause. The Blackhawks could be in the market for futures in return.

Holtby would be a sentimental favorite whose performance has improved this season with the Stars. However, there’s no certainty they’ll part with him. Meanwhile, Quick is enjoying a resurgence in his play while the Kings are in the midst of the Western Conference playoff chase.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: If any of those goalies were available the struggling Edmonton Oilers would be all over them given their weakness between the pipes. Perhaps one of them hits the trade block before the March 21 trade deadline but the Capitals could be stuck with their current tandem for the remainder of this season.










NHL Rumor Mill – January 6, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – January 6, 2022

Some suggested goaltending trade targets for the Oilers plus the latest on the Rangers and Kraken in today’s NHL rumor mill.

FLEURY, HOLTBY AMONG SUGGESTED OILERS GOALIE TARGETS

SPORTSNET: Marc-Andre Fleury of the Chicago Blackhawks and the Dallas Stars’ Braden Holtby are two of Rory Boylen’s suggested targets to address the Edmonton Oilers’ struggling goaltending.

Could the Edmonton Oilers target Chicago Blackhawks goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury? (NHL Images)

The others include the Seattle Kraken’s Chris Driedger, the Columbus Blue Jackets’ Joonas Korpisalo, the New York Islanders Semyon Varlamov and the Montreal Canadiens’ Jake Allen.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Boylen goes into detail examining the pros and cons of each option and I recommend giving it a read. I’m just going to offer up my brief take.

I don’t think the Oilers can afford to take on Fleury’s $7 million annual average value given their limited cap space. They’ll have to get the Blackhawks to retain part of it and that’s going to mean tossing a sweetener into the deal. They could try to get another club to act as a third-party broker but it could end up costing the Oilers their first-round pick. That’s assuming the Oilers aren’t on Fleury 10-team no-trade list.

The Stars could peddle Holtby if they’re out of playoff contention by the trade deadline but I think they’d be keen to retain him beyond this season as a mentor for promising Jake Oettinger. Holtby could be willing to stick around as playing in the Lone Star State seems to agree with him. They are willing to part with Anton Khudobin, who’s in the minors after passing unclaimed through waivers last month. Teams are said to be calling about Khudobin but we don’t know if the Oilers are among them. He carries an affordable $3.33 million cap hit but has another year left on his contract.

Driedger could be available but he’s got two more years on his contract and I think the Oilers are more interested in a rental at this stage. Besides, I don’t see him as an upgrade over the current crop of Oilers goaltenders.

The Isles could be willing to move Varlamov if they’re comfortable with Ilya Sorokin as their full-time starter. However, his 16-team no-trade list and $5 million cap hit likely take him out of the equation for the Oilers.

Uncertainty over what the Canadiens’ new management will have in store for their roster at the trade deadline accounts for Allen’s inclusion on this list. He’s got a year left on his contract with an affordable $2.875 million cap hit but the Habs aren’t under any pressure to move him out, especially given Carey Price’s undetermined future. I wouldn’t rule it out but I also wouldn’t be surprised if the Habs hang onto Allen.

Korpisalo seems the more realistic trade target. He’s an unrestricted free agent this summer and isn’t expected to be back after the Blue Jackets committed to Elvis Merzlikins as their starter. Promising Daniil Tarasov could be Merzlikins’ full-time backup next season. Kopisalo has an affordable cap hit ($2.8 million) and lacks no-trade protection.

LATEST ON THE RANGERS AND KRAKEN

THE ATHLETIC: Arthur Staple looked at possible rental defense options for the New York Rangers. The most expensive would be the Canadien’s Ben Chiarot but Staple is skeptical that their newly install hockey ops VP Jeff Gorton would be interested in helping the club that spectacularly dumped him last May.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: He might if they offered up a first-round pick for Chiarot, which some pundits believe is the going rate for a blueliner of his caliber.

Staple also mused about the Chicago Blackhawks’ Calvin de Haan, the Seattle Kraken’s Mark Giordano, and the Blue Jacket’s Vladislav Gavrikov.

NEW YORK POST: Ethan Sears cited ESPN analyst Kevin Weekes suggesting the Rangers could use another top-six winger. He suggested the Canadiens’ Tyler Toffoli as a possibility.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Rangers have plenty of promising young assets to use as trade bait if they wish to seek immediate help, especially for someone with term on their contract carrying an affordable cap hit like Toffoli. Whether there’s a deal to be made with the Canadiens is another matter, especially if Gorton turns out to be as reluctant to help the Rangers as Staple believes.

THE ATHLETIC: Ryan S. Clark believes the Seattle Kraken could be in a good position to use the March 21 trade deadline to their advantage. They have six players on expiring contracts, including Mark Giordano, Calle Jarnkrok and Marcus Johansson. Those three could have value to playoff contenders, allowing the Kraken to acquire some future assets while clearing some cap space.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Giordano will draw considerable attention and would fetch the best return. Jarnkrok’s versatility and two-way play would also generate interest. Johansson’s injury history and declining production could hurt his trade value.










NHL Rumor Mill – November 25, 2021

NHL Rumor Mill – November 25, 2021

A look at possible Canucks trade candidates plus the latest Stars speculation in today’s NHL rumor mill.

LATEST ON THE CANUCKS

THE ATHLETIC: With trade rumors swirling about the Vancouver Canucks, Thomas Drance looked at which players are likely to become trade candidates if management decides to shake things up or being overhauling the roster.

Vancouver Canucks forward J.T. Miller (NHL Images).

Drance believes J.T. Miller’s competitive style, experience and versatility would interest clubs in “win-now” mode. He said there are teams monitoring the Canucks fortunes with Miller’s short-term future in mind, including the Minnesota Wild.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Miller, 30, is also signed through 2022-23 with an annual cap hit of $5.25 million and lacking no-trade protection. However, his agent told Drance’s colleague Rick Dhaliwal they haven’t had any conversations with Canucks management about trades.

Drance also addressed recent speculation about Canucks winger Brock Boeser. While acknowledging the 24-year-old winger’s talent as a sniper, he felt Boeser’s $7.5 million in actual salary this season is too expensive for most clubs in a flat-cap era. He’s a restricted free agent next summer with arbitration rights.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Dhaliwal also reported Boeser’s agent said he doesn’t believe his client will be traded but he’s aware it could happen. He said Brock has faith in the Canucks team and his teammates to get through their struggles.

Players slated to become unrestricted free agents next summer, such as Jaroslav Halak and Tyler Motte, are the most likely to be moved if the Canucks become sellers by the March trade deadline.

Drance also suggested Micheal Ferland’s permanent long-term injury reserve status could have some value for cap-strapped clubs seeking creative solutions. He also didn’t rule out the possibility of moving players like Travis Hamonic, Jason Dickinson and Tanner Pearson who still have term on their contracts.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Canucks could surprise by moving one of their talented core players. However, I think Drance’s assessment is spot on and I recommend reading the entire piece if you have a subscription to The Athletic.

A rival club could make an offer for someone like Miller or Boeser before the trade deadline that’s too good for general manager Jim Benning (or his replacement?) to pass up. Still, it could be difficult to put that type of deal together during the season.

COULD THE STARS MOVE A GOALIE SOON?

THE DALLAS MORNING NEWS: Matthew DeFranks recently observed promising goaltender Jake Oettinger is giving Stars management something to think about. He’s outplaying veteran Anton Khudobin but there’s a logjam in goal with Braden Holtby (lower-body injury) expected to return soon from a lower-body injury.

With three goalies on the roster, the Stars don’t have enough cap space to call up any extra forwards or defensemen. DeFranks indicated they could trade Holtby ($2 million) or Khudobin ($3.33 million) but that would deplete depth between the pipes as sidelined starter Ben Bishop’s status remains unclear.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Stars signed Holtby not because they lacked confidence in Oettinger but rather they wanted him to get a little more seasoning in the AHL before bringing him into the roster on a full-time basis. His performance this season shows his effort in the shortened 2020-21 campaign was no fluke.

Oettinger remains waiver-exempt so the Stars can send him down to their AHL affiliate once Holtby returns from his lower-body injury. Trading Holtby or Khudobin, however, would be an easier way to address this. The uncertainty over Bishop, however, remains a nagging issue. He’s reportedly eligible to come off LTIR but still isn’t physically ready to play.

The Stars shouldn’t have much difficulty moving Holtby or Khudobin if they go that route later in the season. There are already some clubs (hello there, Buffalo Sabres) in need of experienced goalie depth who could come calling.