NHL Rumor Mill – November 19, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – November 19, 2022

Could the Capitals be interested in Canucks captain Bo Horvat or Sharks defenseman Erik Karlsson? Should the Penguins make a move for a third-line forward? What’s the latest on the Flames? Find out in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.

LATEST CAPITALS SPECULATION

WASHINGTON HOCKEY NOW: Sammi Silber cited Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman wondering if the Capitals might pursue Bo Horvat if sidelined center Nicklas Backstrom’s playing career is over.

Vancouver Canucks captain Bo Horvat (NHL Images).

Friedman noted that the Vancouver Canucks center is a shooter rather than a passer like Backstrom. The Capitals already have a shooter in captain Alex Ovechkin.

SPORTSNET (via NHL WATCHER): During the latest “32 Thoughts” podcast, Elliotte Friedman suggested the Capitals as a possible destination for Erik Karlsson if the San Jose Sharks defenseman would agree to a trade.

Friedman observed the Capitals only have one defenseman under contract for 2023-24. He also suggested the Florida Panthers as a destination as they’ll have money coming off their salary-cap payroll next season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Earlier in the week, Silber speculated Capitals general manager Brian MacLellan might want to consider making a trade to bolster his struggling lineup while they’re still in playoff contention with the season still young. She noted recent rumors linking the Capitals to the Montreal Canadiens and Ottawa Senators.

Acquiring someone like Horvat or Karlsson will be costly. Silber recently wondered at what point the Capitals would consider trading struggling sophomore center Connor McMichael. I think he’d almost certainly have to be part of a package for an impact player such as Horvat or Karlsson.

Whether such a deal can be made, however, is another story. The Capitals could lack sufficient tradeable assets to pry either guy away from their current teams.

SHOULD THE PENGUINS MAKE A MOVE OR TWO?

THE ATHLETIC: Rob Rossi suggested two moves the Pittsburgh Penguins could make to snap them out of their current rut.

One is placing Kasperi Kapanen on waivers due to his disappointing performance. Rossi doubted anyone would claim the underachieving winger’s contract and believes he should be sent to their AHL affiliate in Wilkes-Barre/Scranton once he clears waivers.

Rossi also believes the Penguins must find a role player with an edge for their third line. He suggested making a move for Nashville Predators winger Tanner Jeannot.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I agree with Rossi’s take on Kapanen. He’s been in and out of the lineup of late and hasn’t contributed when he is playing. He could become a distraction for their farm team if he’s unhappy with demotion but, as Rossi suggests, the Penguins must be confident enough in their AHL coaching staff to handle the situation.

Adding a gritty role player like Jeannot is a good idea but I don’t believe the Predators are keen to part with him, at least not yet. The positives he could bring to the Penguins could also make him valuable to their current club. Perhaps that might change if the Preds fail to rise in the standings. For now, if the Penguins are in the market for such a forward they might have to consider other options.

UPDATE ON THE FLAMES

CALGARY HOCKEY NOW: Steve Macfarlane wonders if Adam Ruzicka’s recent promotion to the Flames’ top line might take them out of the trade market for a scoring forward. The 23-year-old winger has played well in that role thus far after being a healthy scratch in 10 of the Flames’ first 11 games.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Macfarlane admits we’ve only seen a small sample size of Ruzicka’s play on the top line thus far. In the five games since his promotion, however, he has two goals and five points. If Ruzicka can maintain that chemistry with Elias Lindholm and Tyler Toffoli, it would take the pressure off management to shop around for another scorer.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 31, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 31, 2022

Connor McDavid reaches 100 points again, Leon Draisaitl and Chris Kreider make the race for the Richard Trophy interesting, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: Connor McDavid netted his league-leading 100th point of the season and Leon Draisaitl tallied his 49th goal of the campaign as the Edmonton Oilers downed the Los Angeles Kings 4-3. Both players also scored in the shootout for the Oilers. Alexander Edler and Carl Grundstrom each had two points for the Kings (82 points), who hold a one-point lead over the Oilers for second place in the Pacific Division.

Edmonton Oilers captain Connor McDavid (NHL Images).

An overtime goal by Andrew Copp lifted the New York Rangers over the Detroit Red Wings 5-4. Chris Kreider’s game-tying goal was his 46th of the season while Artemi Panarin had a goal and two assists for the Rangers (93 points) as they sit three points behind the first-place Carolina Hurricanes in the Metropolitan Division.

Vegas Golden Knights goaltender Logan Thompson made 22 saves for his first NHL shutout to blank the Seattle Kraken 3-0. Shea Theodore, Michael Amadio and Jonathan Marchessault were the goal scorers as the Golden Knights (78 points) regained the final wild-card berth in the Western Conference, sitting one point up on the Dallas Stars.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Kraken became the fourth team officially eliminated from playoff contention, joining the Arizona Coyotes, Montreal Canadiens and Philadelphia Flyers.

Blake Wheeler potted the deciding goal in the shootout in the Winnipeg Jets’ 3-2 win over the Buffalo Sabres. Connor Hellebuyck got the win with a 35-save performance while Zemgus Girgensons scored twice for the Sabres. The Jets have won seven of their last 10 games and sit two points behind the Golden Knights.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Jets played without leading scorer Kyle Connor and defenseman Nate Schmidt after both entered COVID protocol yesterday.

The St. Louis Blues regained third place in the Central Division by holding off the Vancouver Canucks 4-3. Ryan O’Reilly had a goal and an assist for the Blues, who sit three points behind the second-place Minnesota Wild with 83 points. With 73 points, the Canucks are five points behind the Golden Knights.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s the second straight loss for the Canucks, putting their playoff hopes in jeopardy. Earlier in the day, they also learned forward Nils Hoglander may be done for the season after suffering a groin injury during practice on March 16.

Arizona Coyotes goaltender Karel Vejmelka made 39 saves and Jan Jenik scored two goals in a 5-2 victory over the San Jose Sharks. It was a costly win for the Coyotes as leading scorer Clayton Keller was stretchered from the game in the third period after falling awkwardly into the boards. Keller was transported to a hospital for further examination.

HEADLINES

OTTAWA SUN: Anthony LeBlanc, the Senators president of business operations, confirmed the club had held talks with Quebec City, but only about entering a joint bid to host the 2023 IIHF World Junior Championship.

A report in La Presse yesterday claimed NHL commissioner Gary Bettman had spoken to the Quebec government about the Senators playing five of its home games in Quebec City next season. LeBlanc said the possibility of playing neutral site games there was floated but never really discussed. “The idea that we (Senators) are going to be playing in Quebec City is very disingenuous,” said LeBlanc.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Some folks seem to be jumping to conclusions by taking this story as an indication the Senators could be relocated to Quebec City. Coming two days after the death of Senators owner Eugene Melnyk, the La Presse report stirred unease for a fan base that is, according to the Ottawa Sun’s Ken Warren, insecure over the franchise’s future in Ottawa.

Part of that is uncertainty over what Melnyk’s successors intend to do with the Senators. However, Bettman recently indicated an ownership structure is in place and he anticipated the franchise will continue operating as it has. Part of it could also be tied to the late Melnyk’s attempts to build a new arena in downtown Ottawa.

If the Melnyk family decides to sell the Senators, the priority will be to find a buyer who will keep the team in its current location. Any sale of the franchise has to be approved by the NHL board of governors.

NHL.COM: The NHL department of player safety fined Boston Bruins winger Taylor Hall $5,000.00 for roughing Toronto Maple Leafs defenseman Ilya Lyubushkin on Tuesday. Nashville Predators forward Tanner Jeannot was fined $2,000.00 for kneeing Ottawa Senators winger Brady Tkachuk on Tuesday.

CBS SPORTS: The Maple Leafs placed winger Ondrej Kase on long-term injury reserve. He’s been sidelined by a concussion since March 19.

SPORTSNET: Former NHL player Jake Virtanen will go to trial starting on July 18 for sexual assault charges.