NHL Rumor Mill – January 26, 2023

NHL Rumor Mill – January 26, 2023

Check out the latest on Ryan O’Reilly, Bo Horvat, Jakob Chychrun, Anthony Mantha and Andrei Kuzmenko in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.

O’REILLY HOPES TO REMAIN WITH THE BLUES

THE ATHLETIC: Jeremy Rutherford reports St. Louis Blues captain Ryan O’Reilly sounds like he doesn’t want to be moved by the March 3 trade deadline.

This is where I really want to be,” said the 31-year-old center. “I hope I don’t get moved, but I think things will probably progress, especially with the deadline coming up and the talks with that. We’ll see how it goes. We’re starting to get into that.”

St. Louis Blues captain Ryan O’Reilly (NHL Images)

O’Reilly was referring to his contract negotiations. He’s slated to become an unrestricted free agent on July 1 and is earning an average annual value of $7.5 million on his current contract. He also lacks no-trade protection. O’Reilly is currently sidelined with a broken foot until mid-February.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: TSN’s Darren Dreger reported on Tuesday night that O’Reilly was “officially in play” in the trade market. General manager Doug Armstrong could be gauging the market on the 2019 Conn Smythe Trophy winner in case discussions fail to produce a new contract by the trade deadline.

It’s believed the Blues would prefer to retain their captain but he’ll have to accept a short-term contract with a lower salary cap hit.

O’Reilly will draw interest in the trade market. Boston Hockey Now’s Jimmy Murphy believes Bruins GM Don Sweeney should give the Blues a call but cautions against pursuing him if the asking price is similar to what the Vancouver Canucks seek for Bo Horvat. Speaking of Horvat…

LATEST CANUCKS SPECULATION

TORONTO STAR: Nick Kypreos is hearing that the Dallas Stars and New Jersey Devils are among the teams that could aggressively pursue Canucks captain Bo Horvat. He said both clubs want an extended playoff run this spring and seem willing to pay for it.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Horvat’s also been linked to the Carolina Hurricanes, Colorado Avalanche, Detroit Red Wings, Minnesota Wild and Seattle Kraken in recent trade conjecture.

Teams will be interested in him as a rental player but I think they’ll pay larger returns if they can sign him to a contract extension. So far, the Canucks reportedly haven’t allowed his agent to speak with other clubs yet.

CHEK TV’s Rick Dhaliwal reports agent Dan Milstein said contract discussions have started with the Canucks regarding his client Andrei Kuzmenko. His camp’s preference is for a short-term “bridge deal.”

THE PROVINCE: Ben Kuzma reports Kuzmenko’s representatives seek a two-year contract worth an average annual value of between $5 million and $6 million.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kuzmenko is an unrestricted free agent on July 1. He’s steadily improved this season as he adjusted to the NHL game, sitting second among Canucks scorers and 22 goals and third in points with 43 in 47 games.

Kuzma pointed out that the Canucks’ rabid fan base prefers management sell high on Kuzmenko at the trade deadline for a return that helps them rebuild instead of retooling. However, I think we’ll see him re-signed to a two-year deal worth $5.5 million per season, especially if they end up moving Bo Horvat at the trade deadline and Brock Boeser in the offseason.

ISLANDERS EYEING CHYCHRUN?

NYIHOCKEY.COM: Stefen Rosner cited Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman reporting someone told him the New York Islanders were looking around at Jakob Chychrun. He said they’d previously had an interest in the 24-year-old Arizona Coyotes defenseman. However, Friedman doesn’t think the Islanders should pay the Coyotes’ high asking price.

THE ATHLETIC: The Islanders are also on Shayna Goldman’s list of potential trade destinations for Chychrun. She noted the Isles need offense and he can provide it from the blueline. However, their more pressing need is for a high-end winger.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Going after Chychrun would be a desperate move by Isles GM Lou Lamoriello at this stage in the season with his club sliding out of playoff contention. He spent last summer trying in vain to land a scoring forward and I believe that’s where his priority lies this summer.

NO TRUTH TO “MANTHA-TO-MONTREAL” RUMORS

WASHINGTON HOCKEY NOW: Sammi Silber reported Anthony Mantha’s recent scratching from the Capitals’ lineup sparked trade rumors about the 28-year-old forward. One of them had the Montreal Canadiens shipping defenseman Joel Edmundson to the Capitals for Mantha. However, a source told Silber that there haven’t been any trade discussions involving Mantha between those two clubs.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The oft-injured Mantha’s had a frustrating season in Washington. He’s been healthy but managed just nine goals and 24 points in 46 games.

Mantha is a native of Longueuil, a suburb of Montreal, which might explain why this rumor popped up linking him to the Canadiens. I don’t see him as a fit with the rebuilding Habs.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 24, 2023

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 24, 2023

A four-point second period for the Leafs’ William Nylander, Johnny Gaudreau has his first game in Calgary since leaving the Flames, the three stars of the week are announced, the Senators’ Josh Norris will undergo season-ending surgery and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: Toronto Maple Leafs winger William Nylander scored two goals and collected two assists – all in the second period – in a 5-2 victory over the New York Islanders. John Tavares had a goal and an assist and Auston Matthews scored but Mitch Marner’s 20-game home points streak came to an end. The 29-11-8 Leafs are tied with the Carolina Hurricanes for second overall in the Eastern Conference with 66 points but the Hurricanes hold two games in hand.

Toronto Maple Leafs winger William Nylander (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Anders Lee scored both goals for the Islanders (23-21-5) as they’ve dropped five in a row and sit three points out of the final Eastern Conference wild-card berth with 51 points. The Isles also activated Kyle Palmieri and Adam Pelech from injured reserve for this game.

An overtime goal by Dillon Dube lifted the Calgary Flames over the Columbus Blue Jackets 4-3, spoiling Johnny Gaudreau’s first game in Calgary since the former Flame signed with the Jackets last summer. The Flames’ Andrew Mangiapane had a goal and an assist as did the Blue Jackets’ Patrik Laine. Gaudreau collected two assists. The Flames (23-16-9) regained the final Western Conference wild-card spot with 55 points while the 14-30-3 Jackets sit at the bottom of the Eastern Conference with 31 points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Gaudreau was booed by Flames fans every time he touched the puck. Calgary Hockey Now’s Steve Macfarlane suggested that’s rooted in frustration by Flames fans over what was lost when the playmaking Gaudreau signed with Columbus. It was a costly win for Calgary as defenseman Chris Tanev left the game with an upper-body injury.

The Buffalo Sabres nipped the Dallas Stars 3-2 on an overtime goal by Owen Power. Tage Thompson collected two assists while Craig Anderson stopped 29 shots as the Sabres improved to 24-19-3 to sit three points out of the final Eastern wild-card spot with 51 points. Roope Hintz collected an assist as he returned to the lineup after missing seven games with an upper-body injury. The Stars (28-13-8) moved one point up on the Winnipeg Jets for sole possession of first place in the Western Conference with 64 points.

New York Rangers center Mika Zibanejad scored twice and collected an assist to beat the Florida Panthers 6-2. Adam Fox and Artemi Panarin also had three points each while Igor Shesterkin made 33 saves for the 26-14-7 Rangers as they sit in third place in the Metropolitan Division with 59 points. Carter Verhaeghe and Aleksander Barkov scored for the Panthers (23-21-5) as they remain three points out of the final Eastern wild-card berth with 51 points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Rangers winger Sammy Blais was scratched from this game for the second straight contest and the sixth time in the last 16 games. He’s struggled to regain his form since suffering a serious knee injury 14 months ago. Blais is slated to become an unrestricted free agent on July 1. The New York Post’s Larry Brooks believes his NHL career could be in jeopardy.

HEADLINES

NHL.COM: Edmonton Oilers winger Zach Hyman, Tampa Bay Lightning captain Steven Stamkos and Anaheim Ducks center Trevor Zegras are the three stars for the week ending Jan. 22, 2023.

OTTAWA SUN: Bad news for the struggling Senators as Josh Norris will undergo season-ending shoulder surgery. It was the same shoulder that sidelined him for 38 games and was reinjured during a 5-1 loss to the Winnipeg Jets on Saturday.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Norris’ absence was a contributing factor hampering the Senators’ anticipated improvement this season. Speaking of the Senators, they activated defenseman Nikita Zaitsev off injured reserve.

TSN: New Vancouver Canucks head coach Rick Tocchet will earn $2.75 million per season through 2024-25. He replaced Bruce Boudreau, who was fired on Sunday. The Canucks will be paying Boudreau the remainder of his $2 million salary for this season as well as the $2.75 million owed to Boudreau’s predecessor Travis Green.

NBC SPORTS CHICAGO: The Blackhawks placed forward Tyler Johnson (left ankle) on injured reserve.

MONTREAL HOCKEY NOW: A tight roster, limited salary-cap space and being close to their contract limit for this season explain why the Canadiens only plucked one player (Johnathan Kovacevic) off waivers this season.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 15, 2023

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 15, 2023

The Kraken set a league record for consecutive road wins, Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin ties another scoring record, the Blue Jackets’ Patrik Laine nets a notable hat trick, and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.

NHL.COM: The Seattle Kraken became the first team in NHL history to sweep a seven-game road trip by downing the Chicago Blackhawks 8-5. Jared McCann scored three times while Matty Beniers had a goal and an assist as the Kraken (26-12-4) moved into second place in the Pacific Division with 56 points. Seth Jones had three assists and Taylor Raddysh had a goal and two assists for the 11-26-4 Blackhawks as they sink to the bottom of the overall standings.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Kraken are riding an eight-game win streak. Seattle winger Jordan Eberle collected an assist in what was his 900th career NHL game. Teammate Jaden Schwartz missed this game and is listed as day-to-day with an undisclosed injury.

Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin (NHL Images).

Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin tied an NHL record for the most 30-goal seasons but his club dropped a 3-1 decision to the Philadelphia Flyers. Ovechkin and Mike Gartner each have 17 30-goal seasons. Carter Hart made 39 saves and Scott Laughton had a goal and an assist for the Flyers as they improved to 18-18-7. The Capitals (23-16-6) hold the first Eastern Conference wild-card berth with 52 points.

The Columbus Blue Jackets snapped a 10-game road losing skid by holding off the Detroit Red Wings by a score of 4-3. Patrik Laine netted the 10th hat trick of his career while Johnny Gaudreau collected two assists for the 13-27-3 Blue Jackets. Olli Maatta, Jake Walman and Lucas Raymond scored third-period goals for the Red Wings as they slipped to 18-16-7.

A late goal by Matt Grzelcyk lifted the Boston Bruins to a 4-3 win over the Toronto Maple Leafs. David Pastrnak scored his 33rd goal of the season as the league-league Bruins (33-5-4) maintained a nine-point lead over the Carolina Hurricanes with 70 points. Mitch Marner and Michael Bunting each had two points for the 26-11-7 Maple Leafs, who sit in second place in the Atlantic Division with 59 points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Following the game, the Bruins announced they reached an agreement with winger Pavel Zacha on a four-year contract worth an average annual value of $4.75 million. Zacha, 25, was acquired from the New Jersey Devils last summer and has five goals and 25 points in 42 games this season as the Bruins’ third-line left winger. He’s completing a one-year, $3.5 million deal.

As for the Hurricanes, they got a 34-save performance from Frederik Andersen to nip the Pittsburgh Penguins 2-1. Brady Skjei and Jalen Chatfield scored for the Hurricanes as they improved to 27-9-7 and sit atop the Metropolitan Division with 61 points. Rickard Rakell replied for the Penguins (21-15-6) as they’ve dropped eight of their last 10 contests. With 48 points, they’ve fallen one point of the final Eastern Conference playoff spot.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Hurricanes winger Max Pacioretty missed this game with a lower-body injury and will likely miss Sunday’s game against the Vancouver Canucks. He could return for Thursday’s game against the Minnesota Wild. Meanwhile, Penguins defenseman Marcus Pettersson remains sidelined by illness.

Speaking of road records, the New Jersey Devils became the first team in league history to win 17 of their first 20 road games in a season with a 5-2 win over the Los Angeles Kings. Jack Hughes, Ryan Graves and Yegor Sherangovich each had two points while MacKenzie Blackwood stopped 35 shots as the Devils (28-12-3) sit two points back of the Hurricanes in the Metro Division. Kevin Fiala and Anze Kopitar replied for the Kings (25-15-6) as they slipped to third place in the Pacific Division with 56 points.

The New York Islanders, meanwhile, vaulted one point ahead of the Penguins into that wild-card spot by holding off the Montreal Canadiens by a 2-1 score. Casey Cizikas and Anthony Beauvillier scored first-period goals for the 23-18-3 Islanders. Sam Montembeault turned aside 36 shots while Nick Suzuki scored for the 17-23-3 Canadiens, who also lost forward Jake Evans in the first period to an apparent knee injury.

Colorado Avalanche goalie Pavel Francouz turned in a 29-save shutout in a 7-0 drubbing of the Ottawa Senators. Mikko Rantanen, Artturi Lehkonen and Alex Newhook each had two goals as the Avalanche improved to 21-17-3. With 45 points, they’re six back of the Edmonton Oilers for the final Western Conference wild-card spot. The Senators slide to 19-20-3 and also lost defenseman Artum Zub in the second period to a lower-body injury.

The Edmonton Oilers picked up their third straight win by dropping the Vegas Golden Knights 4-3. Leon Draisaitl scored twice while Zach Hyman collected two assists and Mattias Janmark had a goal and an assist. The Oilers (24-18-3) are tied in points with the Calgary Flames but the latter has a game in hand. Logan Thompson made 33 saves for the Golden Knights (28-14-2), who lead the Western Conference with 58 points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: In other Golden Knights news, Robin Lehner filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy due to his ownership of an exotic snake farm in Missouri. The 31-year-old goaltender underwent hip surgery in August and is sidelined for the season.

Speaking of the Flames, they took a 6-1 lead over the Dallas Stars and held on for a 6-5 victory. Jonathan Huberdeau, Nazem Kadri, and MacKenzie Weegar were among five Flames to collect two points in this contest. The Flames maintained their hold on the first Western Conference wild-card spot with a record of 21-14-9. Joe Pavelski scored two third-period goals for the Stars (25-12-7) as they slipped to second place in the Central Division with 57 points.

Tampa Bay Lightning forward Brayden Point scored twice and collected an assist in a 4-2 win over the St. Louis Blues. Lightning defenseman Nick Perbix left the game in the second period with an undisclosed injury. The Bolts (27-13-1) sit third in the Atlantic Division with 55 points while the Blues (21-20-3) slipped to 45 points and six points out of a Western wild-card spot.

The Minnesota Wild got a 27-save effort from Marc-Andre Fleury to defeat the Arizona Coyotes 2-1. Mats Zuccarello and Frederick Gaudreau scored for the Wild (24-14-4) as they sit in third place in the Central Division with 52 points. Lawson Crouse replied for the Coyotes as they dropped their eighth straight and fell to 13-24-5 on the season.

Florida Panthers goalie Sergei Bobrovsky made 35 saves (including 14 in the third period) in a 4-3 win over the Vancouver Canucks. Aleksander Barkov scored what proved to be the game-winner while Aaron Ekblad had a goal and an assist for the 20-20-4 Panthers. Bo Horvat tallied his 30th goal of the season as his Canucks fell to 17-22-3.

Third-period goals by Kyle Okposo and Jack Quinn lifted the Buffalo Sabres over the Nashville Predators by a score of 5-3. Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen kicked out 38 shots as the Sabres improved to 21-18-2. Ryan Johansen had a goal and an assist as the Predators slipped to 19-17-6.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 4, 2023

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 4, 2023

Hat-trick performances by the Sabres’ Tage Thompson and the Panthers’ Matthew Tkachuk while Auston Matthews sets a Leafs franchise record. Details and much more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.

NHL.COM: Buffalo Sabres center Tage Thompson tallied in overtime for his third hat trick of the season in a 5-4 win over the Washington Capitals. Thompson finished the night with four points while Alex Tuch had a goal and two assists for the Sabres, who improve to 19-15-2. Alex Ovechkin tallied twice for the 21-13-6 Capitals.

Buffalo Sabres center Tage Thompson (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Thompson has 30 goals on the season and sits three back of Edmonton Oilers captain Connor McDavid for the goal-scoring lead. The Sabres, meanwhile, have won seven of their last 10 games. With 40 points, they’re six back of the New York Islanders for the final wild-card berth in the Eastern Conference.

Before the game, the Sabres entered Capital One Center in Washington wearing t-shirts that read, “Love for 3” to honor Buffalo Bill safety Damar Hamlin, who remains hospitalized in critical condition after collapsing during Monday’s NFL game against the Bengals. Sabres general manager Kevyn Adams released a statement in support of Hamlin and the Bills’ organization.

Matthew Tkachuk tallied his first hat trick with the Florida Panthers as they downed the Arizona Coyotes 5-3. Eric Staal also scored twice for the Panthers (17-18-4) while Clayton Keller had two points for the 13-18-5 Coyotes, who’ve lost 10 straight road games.

Toronto Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews collected two points to become the fastest player in franchise history to reach 500 points (445 games) but his club fell 6-5 to the St. Louis Blues. Brayden Schenn tallied the winner in the shootout while Brandon Saad scored two goals for the Blues, who improved to 18-17-3. Michael Bunting scored twice and William Nylander had a three-point performance for the 23-8-7 Maple Leafs.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Speaking of Bunting, the Leafs have reportedly opened preliminary talks about a contract extension for the winger, who’s slated to become an unrestricted free agent in July.

The Tampa Bay Lightning picked up their fourth straight victory by defeating the Chicago Blackhawks 4-1. Former Blackhawk Brandon Hagel had a goal and an assist in the third period against his former club as the Lightning rose to 24-11-1 on the season. Seth Jones replied for the Blackhawks, who dropped to 8-25-4.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Blackhawks winger Patrick Kane left this game in the second period with a lower-body injury. An update on his condition is expected on Wednesday.

Three unanswered third-period goals by Artemi Panarin, K’Andre Miller and Filip Chytil gave the New York Rangers a 5-3 win over the Carolina Hurricanes, snapping the latter’s 11-game win streak. Paul Stastny collected two assists for Carolina (25-7-6) while the Rangers improved to 21-12-6. With 56 points, the Hurricanes remain six back of the league-leading Boston Bruins.

Los Angeles Kings goaltender Pheonix Copley stopped 28 shots to backstop his club over the Dallas Stars by a score of 3-2. Adrian Kempe snapped a 2-2 tie in the third period as the Kings (22-13-6) reach the 50-point plateau, sitting four points behind the Pacific Division-leading Vegas Golden Knights. Roope Hintz collected two assists for the 23-10-6 Stars as their four-game win streak came to an end. With 52 points, they’re two back of the Golden Knights for first overall in the Western Conference.

The Winnipeg Jets got a 33-save performance from Connor Hellebuyck in a 3-2 victory over the Calgary Flames. Sam Gagner tallied the tie-breaker in the third period as the Jets improved to 24-13-1 and sit three points behind the first-place Stars in the Central Division. The Flames’ record fell to 18-14-7 on the season.

Four straight second-period goals carried the Seattle Kraken over the Edmonton Oilers 5-2. Jaden Schwartz had a goal and two assists for the Kraken (20-12-4) as they sit in third place in the Pacific Division with 44 points, one up on the Flames and two ahead of the Oilers. Connor McDavid netted his league-leading 33rd goal of the season for the Oilers (20-17-2) as they dropped their fifth straight home game.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Leon Draisaitl returned to the Oilers lineup after being sidelined for two games with what was believed to be a core muscle strain.

A three-point night by Mathew Barzal carried the New York Islanders to a 6-2 victory over the Vancouver Canucks. Jean-Gabriel Pageau scored twice for the Isles, who improved to 22-15-2 and hold the final wild-card berth in the Eastern Conference with 46 points. Bo Horvat scored twice for the Canucks as they dropped to 16-18-3.

Ottawa Senators goalie Anton Forsberg turned in a 22-save shutout to blank the Columbus Blue Jackets 4-0. Tim Stutzle and Claude Giroux each had two points for the Senators (18-17-3) while the Blue Jackets slide to 11-23-2 on the season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Speaking of the Senators, a source told the Ottawa Sun that it could take until March to determine who the club’s new owner will be. Even then, the paperwork to complete the sale might not be done until June.

The Nashville Predators downed the Montreal Canadiens 6-3, handing the latter their fifth straight loss and leaving them with just one win in their last 10 games. Nino Niederreiter had three assists for the 16-14-6 Predators. Cole Caufield netted his 22nd goal of the season for the 15-20-3 Canadiens.

IN OTHER NEWS…

DETROIT HOCKEY NOW: The Red Wings placed winger Jakub Vrana on waivers yesterday. The move comes as the club attempts to create roster space for sidelined players such as Robby Fabbri, Tyler Bertuzzi and Filip Zadina slated to return soon to their lineup.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Vrana missed most of this season in the NHL/NHLPA player assistance program and is currently with the Wings’ AHL affiliate in Grand Rapids on a conditioning stint.

A rival club interested in bolstering their scoring could pluck Vrana off waivers today by the noon ET deadline. He’s under contract through next season but also carries a $5.25 million annual average value. Given the high number of teams that Cap Friendly indicates have less than that in cap space, it’ll be interesting to see if he gets plucked off the waiver wire later today.

The Red Wings are carrying three goaltenders. However, they decided against putting Alex Nedeljkovic or the well-traveled Magnus Hellberg on waivers for the purpose of sending one of them to the minors for the time being.

LAS VEGAS SUN’s Danny Webster took to Twitter yesterday to report the Golden Knights have taken center Jack Eichel off injured reserve.

PHILLY HOCKEY NOW: The Flyers activated promising winger Bobby Brink off injured reserve and have sent him to their AHL affiliate in Lehigh Valley.

PITTSBURGH HOCKEY NOW: The Penguins have recalled goalie Dustin Tokarski from the AHL affiliate in Wilkes-Barre/Scranton. They’ve also placed defenseman Kris Letang on their non-roster list as he’s joined his family in Montreal following the recent death of his father.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 30, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 30, 2022

Thursday’s games saw Aleksander Barkov, Mark Scheifele and Kyle Okposo enjoy hat-trick performances while Erik Karlsson becomes the first defenseman to reach 50 points this season. Details and much more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: Florida Panthers captain Aleksander Barkov had a five-point performance (including a first-period hat trick) in a 7-2 drubbing of the Montreal Canadiens. Barkov had missed three games with a lower-body injury. Matthew Tkachuk scored twice for the Panthers as they improved to 16-16-4. The Canadiens (15-18-3) have dropped four straight games.

Florida Panthers captain Aleksander Barkov (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Canadiens welcomed back Brendan Gallagher after he was sidelined for 13 games by a lower-body injury. Habs defenseman Kaiden Guhle left this contest late in the third period with an apparent leg injury. There was no post-game update regarding his condition.

A hat trick by Mark Scheifele carried the Winnipeg Jets (22-13-1)over the Vancouver Canucks by a score of 4-2. Jets forward Pierre-Luc Dubois scored on a penalty shot while teammate Sam Gagner skated in his 1,000th career NHL game. Collin Delia made 35 saves for the Canucks, who drop to 16-16-3.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It was a costly victory for the Jets as defenseman Josh Morrissey left the game in the third period following a hit by Canucks blueliner Tyler Myers. Head coach Rick Bowness claimed Morrissey had a “little bit of a lower-body injury” but anticipates he’ll be able to play on Saturday against the Edmonton Oilers.

Buffalo Sabres captain Kyle Okposo also had a hat trick while Casey Mittlestadt tallied twice in a 6-3 victory over the Detroit Red Wings. The Sabres (17-14-2) have won five straight games. Dominik Kubalik scored two goals for the Red Wings as they dropped to 15-12-7.

The San Jose Sharks’ Erik Karlsson became the first defenseman to reach 50 points this season but his club fell 4-3 to the Philadelphia Flyers (12-17-7) on an overtime goal by Tony DeAngelo. Karlsson collected two assists to extend his points streak to 11 games while teammate Tomas Hertl scored twice for the 11-19-7 Sharks. Travis Konecny tallied twice for the Flyers as they overcame a 3-1 deficit to force overtime.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Karlsson is having what could become a career-best performance. With 50 points in just 37 games, he’s on pace to exceed his previous high of 82 points and could become the first blueliner to reach 100 points since Brian Leetch in 1991-92.

The Dallas Stars (22-9-6) moved into first place in the Western Conference by beating the Minnesota Wild 4-1. Tyler Seguin scored two goals and Jake Oettinger kicked out 23 shots as the Stars are tied with the Vegas Golden Knights with 50 points but hold first place with a game in hand. Kirill Kaprizov tallied his 20th goal of the season for the 20-13-2 Wild.

Tampa Bay Lightning forward Brayden Point scored his 20th goal of the season as his club downed the New York Rangers 2-1 on a shootout goal by Alex Killorn. Andrei Vasilevskiy made 45 saves through regulation and the shootout as the Lightning rose to 22-11-1. Mika Zibanejad scored for the Rangers (19-12-6) in regulation while Igor Shesterkin made 39 stops.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Point became the fifth player in Lightning history to reach the 20-goal plateau in at least six straight seasons. Meanwhile, there were some raised eyebrows when the Rangers announced former first-overall pick Alexis Lafreniere was a healthy scratch for this game.

The Arizona Coyotes scored four unanswered goals (two by Jack McBain) to upset the Toronto Maple Leafs 6-3. Barrett Hayton had a three-point performance for the 13-16-5 Coyotes while Conor Timmins collected two assists for the 22-8-6 Maple Leafs.

A shootout goal by Viktor Arvidsson lifted the Los Angeles Kings to a 5-4 win over the Colorado Avalanche. Arvidsson also collected two assists in regulation as the Kings (21-12-6) extended their points streak to seven games (6-0-1). With 48 points, they’re now two behind the Pacific Division-leading Vegas Golden Knights.

Ottawa Senators winger Alex DeBrincat scored the game-tying and winning goals to defeat the Washington Capitals 4-3. Claude Giroux picked up two assists as the Senators improved to 16-16-3. Alex Ovechkin and Evgeny Kuznetsov scored for the 20-13-5 Capitals.

The New York Islanders topped the Columbus Blue Jackets 2-1 on goals by Jean-Gabriel Pageau and Mathew Barzal. The Islanders improved to 21-14-2 with their third straight victory while the Blue Jackets (10-22-4) suffered their seventh straight defeat.

Goals by Calle Rosen and Brandon Saad gave the St. Louis Blues (17-16-3) a 3-1 win over the Chicago Blackhawks to snap a three-game losing skid. Patrick Kane scored for the Blackhawks (8-22-4), who have lost 18 of their last 20 contests.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Blues winger Vladimir Tarasenko sat out this game with a non-COVID-related illness.

IN OTHER NEWS…

PITTSBURGH HOCKEY NOW: Penguins captain Sidney Crosby received an appointment for the Order of Canada for “being one of the greatest hockey players of all time and for supporting community service initiatives for youth.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Congratulations to Crosby on receiving one of Canada’s highest honors.

Speaking of the Penguins, defenseman Kris Letang missed practice on Thursday with a lower-body injury. His status for Friday’s game again the New Jersey Devils remains uncertain.

TSN: Speaking of the Devils, winger Andreas Johnsson cleared waivers yesterday and was assigned to their AHL affiliate in Utica.

DETROIT HOCKEY NOW: Former NHL winger Barry Cullen passed away on Dec. 16 at the age of 87. He spent five seasons in the league between 1955-56 and 1959-60 with the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Red Wings, finishing with 32 goals and 84 points in 219 games. Cullen’s brothers, Brian and Raymond, also played in the NHL. In his post-playing career, he owned a successful car dealership in Guelph, Ontario.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Cullen’s son, John, spent 10 seasons in the NHL from 1988-89 to 1998-99. My condolences to the Cullen family as well as Barry’s friends and former teammates.










NHL Rumor Mill – December 29, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – December 29, 2022

What teams could be bidders for the Coyotes’ Jakob Chychrun? Which clubs could be trade destinations for the Blackhawks’ Patrick Kane? Find out in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.

LATEST ON JAKOB CHYCHRUN

THE BOSTON GLOBE: Matt Porter recently reported a half-dozen teams have Arizona Coyotes defenseman Jakob Chycrun on their wish lists.

Arizona Coyotes defenseman Jakob Chychrun (NHL Images).

Porter believes the Toronto Maple Leafs, Los Angeles Kings, St. Louis Blues and Ottawa Senators have a need for a left-side blueliner like Chychrun.

He felt the Edmonton Oilers are an obvious fit given their desperate need to bolster their left-side depth beyond the overworked Darnell Nurse. The New York Islanders could also do it if they let goaltender Semyon Varlamov depart next summer as a free agent. Chychrun’s $4.6 million cap hit fits into Varlamov’s expiring $5.5 million tag.

Porter noted the Coyotes’ wish to land a big haul for Chychrun. Their asking price is said to exceed that which the Boston Bruins paid last March to acquire Hampus Lindholm from the Anaheim Ducks. Two first-round picks and a high-end prospect could be of similar value.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Kings, Senators and Islanders could have the assets to meet the Coyotes’ asking price. Whether they want to remains to be seen. While Chychrun’s been a fixture in the rumor mill since last season, I think we could see him moved by the March 3 trade deadline as long as he remains healthy and productive.

UPDATE ON PATRICK KANE

SPORTSNET: The New York Rangers top Ryan Dixon’s list of five potential trade destinations for Patrick Kane. The long-time Chicago Blackhawks star is slated to become an unrestricted free agent in July and is expected to meet with management in January to decide his future. He has a full no-movement clause but could agree to waive it to join a contender as a playoff rental.

The Rangers seem a plausible landing spot. They carry two first-round picks and could put one of them on the table along with a second-rounder for Kane.

Other destinations include the Boston Bruins, Pittsburgh Penguins, Carolina Hurricanes and New York Islanders.

The Bruins are in win-now mode with aging stars Patrice Bergeron, David Krejci and Brad Marchand. Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin are playing well for the Penguins. The Hurricanes and Islanders need an offensive boost.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: All the clubs on this list would need the Blackhawks to retain part of the remainder of Kane’s $10.5 million cap hit. In my opinion, the Rangers and perhaps the Islanders are the only ones on this list with the depth in assets (draft picks and promising young players) to make a suitable bid to tempt the Blackhawks.

If those clubs aren’t interested, however, perhaps one of those others could scrap together a sufficient trade package. Kane could also decide he wants to go to just one team, which would also affect the type of return the Blackhawks get.