NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 26, 2024

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 26, 2024

The Oilers win their 15th straight game, Steven Stamkos and Brad Marchand reach notable milestones, and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines


NHL.COM: The Edmonton Oilers picked up their 15th consecutive win by blanking the Chicago Blackhawks 3-0. Calvin Pickard turned in a 27-save shutout while Connor McDavid scored twice and collected an assist for the 28-15-1 Oilers, who sit third in the Pacific Division with 57 points. Petr Mrazek stopped 31 shots for the 14-33-2 Blackhawks as they dropped into last place in the overall standings with 30 points.

Tampa Bay Lightning captain Steven Stamkos (NHL Images).

Tampa Bay Lightning captain Steven Stamkos had a goal and an assist to reach his 1,100th career NHL point in a 6-3 victory over the Arizona Coyotes. Nikita Kucherov regained first place in the scoring race (83 points) with a goal and two assists for the Lightning (26-18-5), who sit third in the Atlantic Division with 57 points. Clayton Keller had a goal and an assist for the 23-21-3 Coyotes (49 points) as they sit four points out of the final Western Conference playoff berth.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Stamkos is the 29th player in NHL history to record 1,100 points with a single team and the sixth active player to do so, joining Pittsburgh’s Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin, Washington’s Alex Ovechkin, Patrick Kane (Chicago) and Los Angeles’ Anze Kopitar.

The Boston Bruins blew a 2-0 lead but defeated the Ottawa Senators 3-2 on an overtime goal by Brad Marchand. David Pastrnak had a goal and an assist while Jeremy Swayman turned aside 35 shots for the 30-9-9 Bruins, who hold first place in the Eastern Conference with 69 points. Thomas Chabot had a goal and an assist for the 18-24-2 Senators.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Bruins are tied with the Vancouver Canucks in points but the latter holds first place in the overall standings with 32 wins.

Detroit Red Wings goaltender Alex Lyon made 30 saves to shut out the Philadelphia Flyers 3-0. Dylan Larkin scored to extend his points streak to 10 games as the Red Wings (25-18-5) hold the final Eastern Conference wild-card berth with 55 points. Samuel Ersson made 14 saves on 17 shots for the 25-18-6 Flyers as they’ve dropped four straight but remain in third place in the Metropolitan Division with 56 points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Earlier in the day, the Wings sent goalie Ville Husso to their AHL affiliate in Grand Rapids on a conditioning stint. This is a positive sign that he could soon return to action as he’s missed the past 16 games with a lower-body injury.

The Carolina Hurricanes held off the New Jersey Devils 3-2 for their 10th win in their last 13 games. Teuvo Teravainen had a goal and an assist for the 27-15-5 Hurricanes (59 points) as they hold a three-point lead over the Flyers in second place in the Metro Division. Jesper Bratt scored to collect his team-leading 49th point for the 24-19-3 Devils (51 points) as they sit four points behind the Red Wings.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Devils winger Ondrej Palat returned to action after missing 10 games with a lower-body injury. They also placed forward Jack Hughes on injured reserve retroactive to Jan. 5 and placed defenseman Dougie Hamilton (torn pectoral) on long-term injury reserve. The latter move enables the Devils to exceed the salary cap by over $6.7 million, which will allow them to add a player or two by the March 8 trade deadline. They’re believed to be in the market for a goaltender and perhaps a defenseman.

An overtime goal by Thomas Harley left the Dallas Stars to a 4-3 victory over the Anaheim Ducks. Miro Heiskanen scored for the 29-13-6 Stars in his first game since being sidelined by an injury on Jan. 4. With 64 points, the Stars sit third in the Central Division. John Gibson made 40 saves for the 16-30-2 Ducks.

The Nashville Predators scored three third-period goals to nip the Minnesota Wild by a score of 3-2. Roman Josi had a goal and an assist while Ryan O’Reilly collected two assists for the 26-21-1 Predators, who hold the final Western Conference wild-card berth with 53 points. Kirill Kaprizov collected two assists while Joel Eriksson Ek tallied his 21st goal of the season for the 21-22-5 Wild.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Earlier in the day, the Wild acquired defenseman Will Butcher from the Pittsburgh Penguins in exchange for forward Maxim Cajkovic. Butcher will report to the Wild’s AHL affiliate in Iowa.

Montreal Canadiens center Sean Monahan scored twice and collected an assist in a 4-3 win over the New York Islanders. Nick Suzuki and Cole Caufield had a goal and an assist while Sam Montembeault kicked out 43 shots for the 20-21-7 Canadiens as they blew a 3-0 lead until Monahan’s game-winning goal. Noah Dobson collected three assists while Mathew Barzal, Bo Horvat and Kyle Palmieri had a goal and an assist for the 20-17-11 Islanders (51 points) as they sit four points out of the final Eastern wild-card berth.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Canadiens winger Brendan Gallagher is expected to face supplemental discipline after receiving a match penalty for elbowing Isles defenseman Adam Pelech in the head. Pelech, who has a history of concussions, left the game and didn’t return. After winning their first game under new head coach Patrick Roy, the Isles have dropped two straight games.

The Columbus Blue Jackets defeated the Calgary Flames 5-2. Adam Fantilli, Yegor Chinakhov and Damon Severson each had a goal and an assist for the 14-23-9 Blue Jackets. Connor Zary and MacKenzie Weegar replied for the 21-22-5 Flames.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Oliver Kylington returned to action for the Flames for the first time since May 2022 as he dealt with mental health challenges…Flames winger Jonathan Huberdeau received a five-minute major and a game misconduct for boarding Blue Jackets forward Jack Roslovic…Calgary forward A.J. Greer left this game with an injured left leg…Earlier in the day, the Flames lost Adam Ruzicka and Nick DeSimone to waivers. The Arizona Coyotes claimed Ruzicka while the New Jersey Devils picked up DeSimone.

Turning to the Blue Jackets, they activated Zach Werenski off injured reserve and demoted David Jiricek to their AHL affiliate in Cleveland. Werenski collected an assist in this game.

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 8, 2023

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 8, 2023

The Sharks get their first win of the season, Rangers winger Artemi Panarin extends his points streak, Flames winger Jonathan Huberdeau gets benched, the Oilers place Jack Campbell on waivers, and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.


NHL.COM: The San Jose Sharks ended their 11-game season-opening winless skid by holding off the Philadelphia Flyers 2-1. Anthony Duclair and William Eklund scored while Mackenzie Blackwood stopped 38 shots for the 1-10-1 Sharks. Joel Farabee replied for the Flyers as they dropped to 5-7-2.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Blackwood was the hero for the Sharks with a stellar performance in this game. It’s just the third game that they managed to score more than once. Meanwhile, Sean Couturier returned to the Flyers lineup after missing the last two games with a lower-body injury while Morgan Frost was a healthy scratch.

New York Rangers winger Artemi Panarin (NHL Images).

New York Rangers winger Artemi Panarin had a goal and an assist to extend his season-opening points streak to 12 games as his club clipped the Detroit Red Wings by a score of 5-3. Vincent Trocheck scored twice while Chris Kreider and Erik Gustafsson each had two points as the Rangers (9-2-1) lead the Metropolitan Division with 19 points. Michael Rasmussen, Klim Kostin and Andrew Copp scored for the Red Wings as they slipped to 7-5-1.

The Calgary Flames scored four straight goals to double up the Nashville Predators 4-2. Nazem Kadi and Yegor Sherangovich each had two points for the 4-7-1 Flames while Michael McCarron and Kiefer Sherwood tallied for the 5-7-0 Predators.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The surprise of the night was Flames winger Jonathan Huberdeau getting benched for the entire third period as his teammates staged their comeback win. Flames coach Ryan Huska said he made the move because he felt Huberdeau had an off-night.

Huberdeau has been struggling since last season to regain the high-scoring form that earned him an eight-year contract with an average annual value of $10.5 million. Whether this move lights a fire under him remains to be seen.

An overtime goal by Martin Necas lifted the Carolina Hurricanes to a 3-2 victory over the Buffalo Sabres. Tony DeAngelo and Brady Skjei also scored for the Hurricanes as they improved to 8-5-0. Alex Tuch and Rasmus Dahlin replied for the 6-6-1 Sabres.

The Colorado Avalanche remain unbeaten at home (4-0-0) after defeating the New Jersey Devils 6-3 to move into first place in the Central Division with 16 points. Mikko Rantanen and Cale Makar each had three points and Nathan MacKinnon and Miles Wood both had two points for the 8-3-0 Avalanche. Tyler Toffoli and Dougie Hamilton each had two points for the 7-4-1 Devils.

A four-goal first period powered the Tampa Bay Lightning over the Montreal Canadiens by a score of 5-3. Nick Paul tallied two goals while Nikita Kucherov, Steven Stamkos and Victor Hedman each collected two points for the Lightning (6-3-4). Canadiens goalie Jake Allen was replaced by Sam Montembeault after giving up four goals on nine shots as the Habs sank to 5-5-2 on the season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: A tough outing for Allen, who was the club’s Molson Cup recipient as their top star in October. Meanwhile, Lightning forward Conor Sheary left the game in the first period with an upper-body injury.

Third-period goals by Kirill Kaprizov and Joel Eriksson Ek gave the Minnesota Wild a 4-2 win over the New York Islanders. Marc-Andre Fleury made 27 shots as the Wild improved to 5-5-2. Noah Dobson and Oliver Wahlstrom replied for the Islanders as they dropped to 5-3-3.

The Winnipeg Jets got two goals from Kyle Connor to beat the St. Louis Blues 5-2. Connor and Mark Scheifele each finished with three points while Alex Iafallo collected four assists for the 6-4-2 Jets. Robert Thomas and Brayden Schenn scored for the Blues as they fell to 5-5-1.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Part of the return to Winnipeg in the June trade that sent Pierre-Luc Dubois to the Kings, Iafallo has fit in well with the Jets. He’s third among their scoring leaders with 10 points in 12 games.

A shootout goal by Nick Bjugstad lifted the Arizona Coyotes to a 4-3 win over the Seattle Kraken. Clayton Keller and Nick Schmaltz each had two points in regulation while Connor Ingram made 35 saves for the 6-5-1 Coyotes. Matty Beniers and Eeli Tolvanen each had two points for the Kraken (4-6-3).

Pittsburgh Penguins goaltenders Tristan Jarry and Magnus Hellberg combined for 32 saves to shut out the Anaheim Ducks 2-0. Radim Zohorna and Sidney Crosby were the goal scorers as the Penguins improved to 5-6-0. John Gibson made 34 saves for the Ducks (7-5-0).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Jarry left this game in the third period with a head injury as he suffered a cut over his right eye. There was no update on his condition following the game.


EDMONTON JOURNAL: The Oilers yesterday placed goaltender Jack Campbell on waivers to assign him to their AHL affiliate in Bakersfield. They’re expected to call up Calvin Pickard to back up Stuart Skinner.

Campbell, 31, is in the second season of his five-year, $25-million contract. He’s struggled since last season to establish himself as their starter. The Oilers are dead last in the NHL in save percentage this season with Campbell (.873) having one win in five starts while Skinner (.856) has one win in six starts.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: No one is claiming Campbell and his contract off waivers. The Oilers will have to hope that this stint in the AHL helps him regain his form and confidence. They will only get $1.15 million in cap relief by sending him to the minors. 

This move has also sparked speculation that more changes could be coming for the struggling Oilers. I’ll have more on this in today’s Rumors update.

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – May 2, 2023

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – May 2, 2023

The Devils eliminate the Rangers, the Flames fire head coach Darryl Sutter and the Panthers limit ticket sales for fans of the Maple Leafs. Details and much more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.

NHL.COM: The New Jersey Devils blanked the New York Rangers 4-0 in Game 7 of their best-of-seven first-round series. Akira Schmid turned in a 31-save shutout while Michael McLeod, Tomas Tatar, Erik Haula and Jesper Bratt scored for the Devils, who advance to the second round of the playoffs for the first time since 2012. They’ll face off with the Carolina Hurricanes with Game 1 starting Wednesday.

New Jersey Devils goaltender Akira Schmid (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That’s a big step forward for the Devils emerging from years of rebuilding. Schmid was their MVP in this series, taking over in Game 3 with his club down 2-0 in the series and winning four of five games. His goaltending inspired his teammates as their overall play improved over the course of this series.

Credit also goes to head coach Lindy Ruff, whose gamble on Schmid paid off handsomely for the Devils. Haula, Jack Hughes and Nico Hischier were among the Devils who stepped up as this series went on.

Devils winger Timo Meier left the game in the third period following a thundering hit by Rangers defenseman Jacob Trouba. He left the game but return to the Devils’ bench late in the third. Ruff had no update on Meier following the game but felt that Trouba made contact with the winger’s head. No penalty was called on the play.

For the Rangers, this is a major letdown after their run to the Eastern Conference Finals last season. They loaded up for a run at the Stanley Cup by acquiring Vladimir Tarasenko and Patrick Kane but they tallied four goals between them in seven games.

They’re not solely to blame for this defeat. The only Rangers who played well consistently in this series were goalie Igor Shesterkin and winger Chris Kreider.

Mika Zibanejad was limited to one goal and four points while Artemi Panarin had just two assists. The Kid Line of Filip Chytil, Kaapo Kakko and Alexis Lafreniere wasn’t as effective as they were in last year’s playoffs. Meanwhile, the blueline struggled to contain the speedy Devils forwards.

CALGARY HOCKEY NOW: The Flames yesterday announced they fired head coach Darryl Sutter. The move came two weeks after Brad Treliving stepped down as general manager. Treliving’s replacement has yet to be named but whoever takes over that role will choose the Flames’ next head coach.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Flames must still honor Sutter’s two-year contract extension worth a reported $8 million. They evidently felt it was worthwhile eating that deal considering how the club struggled this season amid reports of growing unhappiness among the players over Sutter’s coaching style.

Winger Jonathan Huberdeau admitted he and Sutter “really didn’t click” and there were rumors that Sutter was clashing with center Nazem Kadri. Centers Elias Lindholm and Mikael Backlund hinted they might depart as free agents next summer though Lindholm seemed to suggest he would see what direction the club took in the coming months.

Speaking of the Flames, Oliver Kylington will return to the club next season. The 25-year-old defenseman missed the entirety of this season for personal reasons.

FLORIDA HOCKEY NOW: The Panthers are limiting tickets being sold on their website for the first two home games of their series against the Toronto Maple Leafs to those with a billing address in the United States. Team president Matthew Caldwell called it “an access thing so our fans can get tickets.” He said they will eventually allow tickets to be sold to Toronto fans.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: In other words, the Panthers want to ensure their fans aren’t outnumbered by fanatical Leafs supporters. However, there will be plenty of “snowbirds” who live in Florida that are Leafs fans. They will likely make their presence felt at those games.

BOSTON HOCKEY NOW: According to ESPN’s Kevin Weekes, Bruins goaltender Linus Ullmark played through a “debilitating and painful injury that limited his mobility and technique.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That explains why Ullmark (the favorite to win the Vezina Trophy as this season’s top goalie) at times didn’t seem like himself in the first-round series against the Panthers. It calls into question the coaching staff’s decision to allow him to play through that injury rather than give more starts to a healthy Jeremy Swayman.

TWINCITIES.COM: Minnesota Wild center Joel Eriksson Ek said he suffered a broken leg while blocking a shot during an Apr. 6 game against the Pittsburgh Penguins. He attempted to play in Game 3 of the Wild’s first-round series with the Dallas Stars but left after one shift. He had surgery on his fibula shortly following that game.

NEW YORK POST: The Islanders signed winger Hudson Fasching to a two-year, one-way contract worth $775K annually.

THE HOCKEY NEWS: The Capitals signed top prospect Ivan Miroshnichenko to a three-year entry-level contract after he and his KHL club Avangard Omsk mutually agreed to terminate his deal. The 19-year-old forward was chosen 20th overall by the Capitals in the 2022 NHL Draft

THE SCORE: Rapper Snoop Dogg is part of a bid fronted by Los Angeles entrepreneur Neko Sparks interested in purchasing the Ottawa Senators. He’s the latest celebrity connected to a bid for the Senators, joining actor Ryan Reynolds.

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 16, 2023

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 16, 2023

The three stars from the final week of the regular season are announced, notable news from locker clean-out day for eliminated clubs, and notable updates involving several playoff teams in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.


NHL.COM: Dallas Stars winger Jason Robertson, Carolina Hurricanes defenseman Brent Burns and Vegas Golden Knight goaltender Laurent Brossoit are the three stars for the week ending April 14


SAN JOSE HOCKEY NOW: Sharks defenseman Erik Karlsson once again emphasized that he still likes playing for the Sharks but winning remains his priority. He once again shrugged off the trade rumors dogging him throughout this season, adding that he’s focusing on the present. Karlsson intends to take some time to enjoy himself and resume training for next season.

San Jose Sharks defenseman Erik Karlsson (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Karlsson is handling this diplomatically as he has all season but that won’t make the trade speculation disappear. There were teams interested in him but his hefty contract proved difficult to move during the season. It’s expected trade chatter involving Karlsson will pick up in June when teams have more cap space to work with for next season.

CALGARY HOCKEY NOW: Flames winger Jonathan Huberdeau vowed to bounce back next season from his lackluster performance in 2022-23. Following a career-best 115-point performance last season with the Florida Panthers, he managed just 55 points this season with the Flames.

I didn’t lose my talent in five months. I’m not a different player from what I was last season,” said Huberdeau. He acknowledged that he found it challenging playing under head coach Darryl Sutter’s system and struggled to adjust to playing right wing after spending his career on the left side.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Moving to Calgary after 10 seasons with the Panthers likely required some adjustment for Huberdeau. Struggling to play up to expectations after signing an eight-year contract extension worth $10.5 million annually was probably another factor that affected his play.

THE PROVINCE: Six months after injuring his left hand and several surgeries later, Vancouver Canucks winger Tanner Pearson is trying to get his career and life back on track. He didn’t comment about the quality of care he received from the Canucks but it’s expected he’ll file a grievance against the club with the help of the NHL Players’ Association. “I’m just trying to get my hand back,” he said.

Canucks winger Brock Boeser made it clear that he wants to continue his career in Vancouver. “To be completely honest with you, I don’t want to be traded,” he said. The 26-year-old winger struggled through a difficult first half following the death of his father last year, sparking speculation that he would be traded.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The rumors seemed to suggest that the Canucks were listening to offers for Boeser but they weren’t actively shopping him. They could move him for the right price as they’re reportedly looking to garner salary-cap flexibility for next season but they could consider other options before going that route.

THE PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER: Flyers winger Cam Atkinson is looking forward to 2023-24 after missing all of this season with a herniated disc in his neck that required surgery after a few misdiagnoses and conflicting information from doctors. Despite the confusion at the start of his recovery, Atkinson said he has full confidence in the Flyers’ medical staff and is feeling better now.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The report noted that head coach John Tortorella said earlier in the season that the club was focused on increasing trust between the players and the medical staff after a new head trainer was brought in.

THE HOCKEY NEWS: Washington Capitals winger T.J. Oshie revealed he underwent a minor procedure to address lingering back issues. He’s looking forward to a full summer of training, claiming he’s feeling good and is optimistic moving forward.

PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE: Penguins forward Jeff Carter said he and his family love living in Pittsburgh and he intends to finish the final season of his contract.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Bang goes the fantasy of those Penguins fans hoping the club’s new management would convince the 38-year-old Carter to waive his no-movement clause. They could buy him out but because it’s a 35-plus contract they won’t get any cap relief from doing so.

THE ATHLETIC’s Aaron Portzline reports Columbus Blue Jackets goaltender Elvis Merzlikins won’t be playing for Latvia in next month’s IIHF World Championships. He’s at a career crossroads after struggling this season and is putting his offseason focus on preparing for 2023-24.

OTTAWA SUN: Senators center Josh Norris will be spending the summer preparing for next season after undergoing shoulder surgery in January…Defenseman Thomas Chabot revealed he fractured a bone and tore ligaments in his wrist…Blueliner Travis Hamonic injured the meniscus and medial collateral ligament in his right knee late in the season…Rearguard Jakob Chychrun was sidelined by a hamstring injury.


BOSTON HOCKEY NOW: Bruins center David Krejci returned to practice on Saturday after missing the last six games of the regular season. However, captain Patrice Bergeron skipped practice for precautionary reasons as he’s still feeling the effects of an upper-body injury suffered on Thursday.

Winger Brad Marchand left practice for precautionary reasons after experiencing some soreness. Meanwhile, Nick Foligno and Derek Forbort resumed scrimmaging with their teammates.

TSN: New Jersey Devils winger Timo Meier missed practice on Saturday due to food poisoning.

Florida Panthers forward Sam Bennett missed the final 12 games of the regular season with an undisclosed injury but could return at some point in his club’s first-round series with the Bruins.

WINNIPEG SUN: Jets winger Nikolaj Ehlers said he was merely winded from a heavy hit by Minnesota’s Ryan Hartman, did not suffer a head injury, and is ready to play in Game 1 of his club’s first-round series with the Vegas Golden Knights on Tuesday.

TWINCITIES.COM: Speaking of the Wild, sidelined center Joel Eriksson Ek is progressing faster than expected after being listed as week-to-week following a lower-body injury suffered on April 6. He’s resumed skating, prompting speculation he might at least travel with the team as they start their first-round series this week against the Dallas Stars.

NHL Rumor Mill – April 12, 2023

NHL Rumor Mill – April 12, 2023

Questions over Tony DeAngelo’s future with the Flyers plus the latest Flames speculation in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.


NBC SPORTS PHILADELPHIA: Jordan Hall recently reported eyebrows were raised when Flyers defenseman Tony DeAngelo was made a healthy scratch for three straight games. He felt the move probably wasn’t due to his on-ice performance, especially when DeAngelo’s benching for Sunday’s game against the Bruins left the Flyers with just five defensemen.

Philadelphia Flyers defenseman Tony DeAngelo (NHL Images).

DeAngelo leads all Flyers blueliners this season with 42 points. Hall speculated he hasn’t played as well defensively as head coach John Tortorella would prefer.

THE ATHLETIC: Charlie O’Connor reports Tortorella offered no explanation for benching DeAngelo for the Flyers’ 4-3 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets on Tuesday. “He’s out. And I’ve talked to him,” Tortorella told reporters yesterday. “He knows where he stands with me. And that’s where we’re gonna go with it.” The Flyers coach declined to say if DeAngelo would play in the club’s season finale against the Chicago Blackhawks on Thursday.

O’Connor felt it might be due to assistant coach Rocky Thompson’s remarks following the Flyers’ loss to the St. Louis Blues in which he said some of his players didn’t seem to be trying.

It is raising questions about DeAngelo’s future with the rebuilding club after this season. If the Flyers were to trade DeAngelo this summer, O’Connor believes they’ll have to retain some salary. He has a year remaining on his contract.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: DeAngelo played his way off the New York Rangers in 2020-21 after clashing with teammates early in that season. He had a solid bounce-back performance last season with the Carolina Hurricanes but they opted not to re-sign him.

As Hall and O’Connor observed, Tortorella frequently defended DeAngelo this season but things seem to have soured of late. Both sides are keeping this to themselves thus far.

The Flyers could find it difficult to trade DeAngelo this summer. He lacks no-trade protection but is earning $5 million annually on his current contract. The 27-year-old defenseman generates offense from the blueline but his defensive game has long been an issue.


SPORTSNET: Eric Francis wondered about the future of the Calgary Flames after they were eliminated earlier this week from playoff contention. He believes neither general manager Brad Treliving or head coach Darryl Sutter are certain to return next season.

Treliving’s contract expires at the end of this season. Despite an earlier offer from ownership, he could opt to depart this summer. Sutter’s two-year contract extension ($4 million annually) is set to start next season but ownership could have questions over his inability to get the most out of his players this season.

Jonathan Huberdeau and Nazem Kadri struggled in their first seasons with the Flames. Francis wondered if they or other players might ask to be traded if Sutter stays. He also noted that those players eligible for unrestricted free agent status next summer (including Elias Lindholm, Tyler Toffoli, Mikael Backlund, and Noah Hanifin) might not wish to sign contract extensions.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The priority will be deciding Treliving’s fate. If he returns, perhaps the Flames decide this season was an aberration and hope for a better outlook in 2023-24. A new general manager, however, could opt to shake things up.

Flames ownership might not be keen to replace Sutter and have those two years of his contract extension burning a hole in their wallets. Perhaps they’ll decide they need to bring in players better suited for his system.

I’ll be surprised if Huberdeau and Kadri ask to be traded. However, those players slated for UFA status next summer could force the issue for themselves by telling management they won’t re-sign.

It’s going to be another interesting summer in Calgary.

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 18, 2023

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 18, 2023

The Maple Leafs acquire Ryan O’Reilly in a three-team trade, Connor McDavid reaches the 100-point plateau again, Patrick Kane reaches a scoring milestone, and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.


NHL.COM: The Toronto Maple Leafs acquired Ryan O’Reilly and Noel Acciari from the St. Louis Blues in a three-team trade involving the Minnesota Wild.

The Blues received the rights to forward prospect Josh Pillar from the Wild for O’Reilly, then traded him and Acciari to the Maple Leafs for Toronto’s first-round pick in the 2023 NHL Draft, the Ottawa Senators’ third-round pick this year, Toronto’s second-round pick in the 2024 NHL Draft, and forwards Mikhail Abramov and Adam Gaudette.

Minnesota received Toronto’s fourth-round pick in the 2025 NHL Draft.”

CAP FRIENDLY: The Blues retained 50 percent of O’Reilly’s $7.5 million cap hit with the Wild and Leafs each taking on 25 percent.

The St. Louis Blues ship Ryan O’Reilly to the Toronto Maple Leafs in a three-team trade (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Of the previous moves made by Leafs general manager Kyle Dubas leading up to the annual trade deadline, this one is the biggest. O’Reilly was among this season’s top trade candidates. The 32-year-old center is a former winner of the Conn Smythe Trophy the Selke Trophy and the Lady Byng Trophy. He is considered among the league’s elite two-way forwards despite the decline in his production this season and a broken foot that sidelined him for nearly six weeks.

I admire the creativity of Dubas and his capologist in finding a way to land a notable player despite carrying limited cap space. It’s the second time he’s gone the three-team trade route, with his previous effort being the 2021 acquisition of Nick Foligno.

Leafs fans will be hoping that the O’Reilly deal has better results than the Foligno trade. So will Dubas, whose future as Leafs GM could be determined by his club’s performance over the remainder of this season and in the playoffs.

O’Reilly should help the Leafs at both ends of the rink. Acciari, meanwhile, is a good bottom-six winger who should help their penalty kill. However, I remain concerned about their blueline and goaltending depth in their quest to get over the postseason hump.

The Blues roster rebuild (retool?) continues just over a week after they shipped Vladimir Taransenko to the New York Rangers. They now have three first-round picks and two third-rounders in this year’s draft as well as two second-round selections and two fourth-rounders in the 2024 draft. The Blues also receive a veteran depth forward in Gaudette for the rest of this season plus a young center in Abramov who might have a future in St. Louis.

Wild GM Bill Guerin used his cap space to buy himself a fourth-round pick. He still has over $12.8 million in projected trade deadline cap room to make other deals before the March 3 deadline.


NHL.COM: Edmonton Oilers captain Connor McDavid collected two assists to become the first player this season to reach 100 points in a 5-4 shootout loss to the New York Rangers. Alexis Lafreniere tallied the game-winner and Chris Kreider scored twice in regulation as the Rangers overcame a 4-1 deficit. Winners of seven straight, the Rangers (33-14-8) sit one point behind the second-place New Jersey Devils in the Metropolitan Division with 74 points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: McDavid has now reached the 100-point mark six times in eight years. It’s also the fifth time he’s been the first player in a season to reach that plateau, sitting behind Mario Lemieux and Phil Esposito (six teams each) and Wayne Gretzky (nine times).

The Oilers activated winger Kailer Yamamoto off injured reserve. Rather than trade or waive Jesse Puljujarvi as many observers anticipated to make room for Yamamoto, they instead loaned Dylan Holloway and Vincent Desharnais to their AHL affiliate in Bakersfield.

Chicago Blackhawks winger Patrick Kane scored two goals as his club rallied from a 3-1 deficit to defeat the Ottawa Senators 4-3 on an overtime goal by Andreas Athanasiou. Max Domi and Jake McCabe each had two assists for the 17-32-5 Blackhawks. Brady Tkachuk and Claude Giroux scored for the Senators (26-24-4) as they sit seven points behind the New York Islanders for the final Eastern Conference wild-card spot with 56 points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kane moved into third place among American-born NHL players with 1,217 points. He’s now 15 points behind Phil Housley for second overall but he has a long way to go yet to catch Mike Modano, who is 157 points ahead with 1,374.

Before the game, former Senator Chris Neil was honored by having his number 25 raised to the rafters in the Canadian Tire Centre. Neil is the third player in modern Senators history to have his number retired, joining Daniel Alfredsson and Chris Phillips.

Speaking of the Islanders, they overcame a 4-3 deficit on third-period goals by Brock Nelson and Zach Parise to defeat the Pittsburgh Penguins 5-4. Ilya Sorokin kicked out 40 shots while Nelson and Anders Lee each scored two goals as the Islanders (28-23-7) vaulted over the Washington Capitals into the final Eastern wild-card spot with 63 points. Rickard Rakell tallied twice for the Penguins (27-18-9), who also have 63 points but sit in the first wild-card berth with four games in hand over the Isles.

The Minnesota Wild dimmed the Dallas Stars 2-1 on shootout goals by Frederick Gaudreau and Matt Boldy. Filip Gustavsson stopped 29 shots while Mats Zuccarello scored in regulation for the 29-21-5 Wild as they hold a two-point lead over the Calgary Flames for the final Western Conference wild-card berth with 63 points. Jamie Benn scored in regulation for the Stars (30-14-12) as they remain on top of the Western Conference with 72 points.


CALGARY HOCKEY NOW: Flames winger Jonathan Huberdeau said critical comments made on Twitter by his agent aimed at the club’s recent struggles didn’t represent his opinion about the club or head coach Darryl Sutter.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Huberdeau’s agent is Allan Walsh, who created a stir during the 2020 playoffs with a tweet insinuating that client Marc-Andre Fleury was being stabbed in the back by head coach Peter DeBoer. Fleury was the starting goalie for the Vegas Golden Knights while DeBoer was their head coach.

SPORTSNET: The Toronto Maple Leafs moved goaltender Matt Murray to long-term injury reserve following the acquisition of Ryan O’Reilly and Noel Acciari. Once third-string goaltender Joseph Woll is ready to return to the AHL, the Leafs will have enough room to activate Murray and his $4.6 million salary when he’s healthy again.

THE PROVINCE: The Vancouver Canucks placed winger Tanner Pearson on LTIR with a season-ending hand injury suffered on Nov. 9.

GOPHNX.COM’s Craig Morgan tweeted that Arizona Coyotes coach Andre Tourigny said defenseman Shayne Gostisbehere could return to the lineup on Sunday against the Columbus Blue Jackets. Gostisbehere’s been sidelined since Jan. 24 with an upper-body injury.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Gostisbehere’s return will be watched closely by playoff contenders seeking an experienced puck-moving defenseman.

NJ.COM’s Ryan Novozinsky tweeted that the Devils sending Alexander Holtz to their AHL affiliate to the minors isn’t in anticipation of a trade but to give the young forward some game play.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Holtz has only appeared in 19 games this season and doesn’t see much ice time when he does play. I’ve mentioned him as a possible trade chip if they intend to pursue a notable winger such as San Jose’s Timo Meier at the trade deadline.

THE ATHLETIC: Nashville Predators 2021 first-round pick Zachary L’Heureux received a 10-game suspension by the QMJHL for poking at a fan with a stick following a Feb. 8 game.

Former NHL referee Tim Peel is accused of berating teenage youth hockey officials following a Jan. 15 game at St. Peters (Missouri) Rec-Plex.