NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 27, 2023
Recaps of Sunday’s games, Barry Trotz to replace David Poile as Predators GM, Tanner Jeannot to the Lightning, Ivan Barbashev to the Golden Knights, Evgenii Dadonov to the Stars, and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.
NHL.COM: Minnesota Wild winger Kirill Kaprizov tallied a hat trick (including the game-winner in overtime) to defeat the Columbus Blue Jackets 3-2. The win propelled the Wild (33-21-6) into second place in the Central Division with 72 points, one point up on the Colorado Avalanche. Elvis Merzlikins stopped 41 shots as the Blues Jackets fell to 19-35-6 on the season.
A five-goal second period lifted the Pittsburgh Penguins to a 7-3 victory over the Tampa Bay Lightning. Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and Brian Dumoulin each had a goal and an assist as the Penguins as they improved to 29-21-9 and hold the final Eastern Conference wild-card berth with 67 points. Nikita Kucherov and Brayden Point also had a goal and an assist each for the 37-18-4 Lightning as they’ve dropped four of their last six and sit in third place in the Atlantic Division with 78 points.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kucherov reached 700 career points and sits fourth all-time among Lightning scorers with 701.
The Buffalo Sabres dumped the Washington Capitals 7-4 as Dylan Cozens tallied his first NHL hat trick while Tage Thompson netted his 40th goal of the season. The Sabres (31-23-4) sit one point back of the Penguins. Dylan Strome collected two points and Alex Ovechin scored his 33rd of the season for the Capitals as they’ve slipped to 29-27-6 and sit three points behind the Penguins and two points behind the Sabres.
New York Islanders goaltender Semyon Varlamov made 23 saves to shut out the Winnipeg Jets 4-0. Bo Horvat, Alexander Romanov, Brock Nelson and Adam Pelech were the goal scorers as the Islanders rose to 31-25-7 and hold the first Eastern wild-card spot with 69 points. The Jets (35-24-1) have dropped four straight games and fell into the first Western Conference wild-card berth with 71 points.
The New York Rangers got two goals and an assist from Vincent Trocheck in a 5-2 victory over the Los Angeles Kings. Igor Shesterkin turned aside 26 shots as the Rangers (34-17-9) snapped a four-game losing skid and sit third in the Metropolitan Division with 77 points. Phillip Danault collected two assists for the Kings as they fell to 33-20-8 and remain in second place in the Pacific Division with 74 points.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Rangers defenseman K’Andre Miller was ejected in the first period for spitting on Kings defenseman Drew Doughty. Miller reached out to Doughty following the game claiming it wasn’t on purpose and he felt bad about it.
The Rangers also sat Ryan Carpenter and Braden Schneider for salary-cap purposes as they continue to work toward an expected trade for Chicago Blackhawks winger Patrick Kane.
Toronto Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews scored two goals to defeat the Seattle Kraken 5-1. Mitch Marner had three assists while Ilya Samsonov kicked out 26 shots as the Leafs improved to 37-15-8 as they moved to within one point of the third overall New Jersey Devils with 82 points. Vince Dunn scored the only goal for the Kraken (32-21-6) as they dropped into the final Western wild-card berth with 70 points.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Kraken were jockeying for first place in the Pacific Division not too long ago. They’ve dropped seven of their last 10 games which could prompt general manager Ron Francis into making a move before the March 3 trade deadline to bolster his roster.
The Nashville Predators got two goals by Roman Josi in a 6-2 win over the Arizona Coyotes. Josi finished with three points as did Matt Duchene and Tommy Novak as the Predators (29-22-6) sit six points behind the Kraken with 64 points. The Coyotes are 20-30-9 on the season.
THE TENNESSEAN: A source said Nashville Predators general manager David Poile intends to retire at the end of this season. He’s been their GM since the club’s inception in 1997 and sits third all-time in wins (1,519) among NHL general managers. His replacement is expected to be Barry Trotz, who was the club’s first head coach during its first 15 seasons.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: It will be the end of an era for the Predators. Poile’s tenure was mostly a successful one, qualifying for the playoffs 15 times since their inaugural season in 1998-99. They reached the Stanley Cup Final in 2017 and won the Presidents’ Trophy in 2018. Since then, however, the Predators have been in a slow but steady decline. They risk missing the playoffs this season for the first time since 2014.
THE TENNESSEAN/TAMPA BAY TIMES: Speaking of the Predators, they traded forward Tanner Jeannot to the Tampa Bay Lightning in exchange for a first-round pick in 2025, a second-round pick in 2024, a third, fourth and fifth-rounder in 2023 and defenseman Cal Foote.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: That’s one helluva haul for Jeannot, a middle-six power forward who had 24 goals and 41 points as a rookie last season but slumped to five goals and 14 points in 56 games this season. The 25-year-old winger is a restricted free agent this summer.
The Lightning appear to have overpaid for Jeannot. However, Daily Faceoff’s Matt Larkin points out that they could see something awesome in him just like they did with Brandon Hagel, Nick Paul, Blake Coleman and Barclay Goodrow at previous trade deadlines. If he helps the Lightning return to the Stanley Cup Final it will be considered a wise investment, especially if they re-sign him to an affordable extension.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: A versatile forward who can play center or wing, Barbashev should provide a boost to the Golden Knights’ middle-six lines. Dean, 20, is a 2021 first-round pick who was ranked third among Vegas’ top prospects in The Athletic’s midseason prospect pool rankings.
The Golden Knights might not be done dealing as they still have over $7 million in projected deadline cap space. However, their lack of sufficient draft and prospect capital to use as trade bait could hamper efforts to acquire a more notable talent.
THE DALLAS MORNING NEWS/MONTREAL HOCKEY NOW: The Stars traded winger Denis Gurianov to the Montreal Canadiens in exchange for winger Evgenii Dadonov. The Canadiens also retain half of Dadonov’s $5 million cap hit.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Gurianov is a former 20-goal scorer who struggled over the last two seasons with the Stars. If he regains his form in Montreal, the rebuilding Canadiens could re-sign him or use him as a trade chip in the offseason.
Dadonov has only 18 points in 50 games but enjoyed a 20-goal, 43-point performance last season with Vegas. He could rediscover his scoring touch with the playoff-bound Stars.
COLORADO HOCKEY NOW/NBC SPORTS CHICAGO: The Blackhawks traded defenseman Jack Johnson to the Colorado Avalanche for blueliner Andreas Englund. Johnson played for the Avalanche last season and helped them win the Stanley Cup.
DETROIT HOCKEY NOW: Red Wings forward Michael Rasmussen is sidelined indefinitely with an injured kneecap.
TSN: The Vancouver Canucks placed defenseman Ethan Bear (upper body) on injured reserve.