Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – August 9, 2020

Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – August 9, 2020

Check out the latest on the Penguins, Wild, and Predators in this Sunday’s NHL rumor roundup.

PENGUINS

PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE: Matt Vensel examined several pressing questions facing the Pittsburgh Penguins in the wake of their elimination from the playoff qualifying round.

Pittsburgh Penguins goaltender Matt Murray (NHL Images).

He wondered if Matt Murray will return, believing it’ll come down to how much the restricted free agent will seek on his new contract. Backup Tristan Jarry is also an RFA and showed potential as a starting goalie this season.

Murray was also on Vensel’s list of Penguins who might not return next season. Unrestricted free agents such as Patrick Marleau and Justin Schultz probably skate away, while Conor Sheary will have to accept a bargain-basement deal to stay.

Vensel suggests Nick Bjugstad and Jack Johnson as cost-cutting trade options, though moving the latter could prove difficult. He also proposed shopping Kris Letang after the emergence of John Marino.

The Pens must find two new defensemen to plug into their top-six, with promising Pierre-Olivier Joseph as an option. They also need to sort out their third-line center position and their bottom-six forwards.

It’s unlikely they’ll consider trading Evgeni Malkin unless he asked to be traded. So far, he’s given no indication he wants to move on.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Cap Friendly indicates the Penguins have over $68.2 million invested in 15 players for 2020-21. Unless Murray’s taking a hometown discount for a year or two with the promise of bigger bucks down the road, or the Penguins shed salary to make room for his new contract, I don’t see how they can afford to keep him and Jarry.

Unless Malkin wants out, he’ll be back with the Penguins next year. So will Johnson, who’s earning an annual average value of $3.25 million through 2022-23 and isn’t capable of being a decent third-pairing defenseman anymore. They’ll have to package him with a sweetener to make him palatable, but his age (33) and the remaining years on that contract are serious sticking points.

Bjugstad has a year remaining at $4.1 million. If he hasn’t recovered from spinal surgery they could place him on long-term injury reserve to start next season. They can’t buy him out as long as he’s still recovering from surgery.

As I noted yesterday, trading Letang won’t be easy. He has an 18-team list of preferred trade destinations, but the oft-injured rearguard is 33 and carries a $7.25 million AAV through 2021-22.

PREDATORS

THE TENNESSEAN: Paul Skrbina wondered what the Nashville Predators will look like next season following their qualifying-round elimination.

He suggested buying out Kyle Turris’ contract, though that would cost $2 million annually against their salary cap through 2027-28. They could also let Craig Smith and/or Mikael Granlund depart via free agency and replace them with prospects such as Eeli Tolvanen and Philip Tomasino.

THE ATHLETIC (subscription required): Joe Rexrode advocates buying out Turris and bidding farewell to Granlund. However, the hard part is figuring out if a major trade is necessary to push the Preds back into relevance.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: If Predators GM David Poile intends to make a big move, the question becomes which player hits the trade block? Not Filip Forsberg or defensemen Ryan Ellis and team captain Roman Josi. Rexrode doubts Poile will shop Matt Duchene only a year after signing him to a long-term contract. Ryan Johansen and Viktor Arvidsson comprise the Predators’ best line alongside Forsberg, but there’s been some grumbling over Johansen’s reliability as a first-line center.

Poile has a history of making big moves that no one saw coming. If he considers going that route again, my guess is Johansen becomes the trade candidate, provide a taker can be found for his $8 million AAV through 2024-25.

WILD

STARTRIBUNE.COM: Sara McLellan suggests Kirill Kaprizov could address some of the Minnesota Wild’s scoring woes. He’ll make his NHL debut next season, but other reinforcements might be necessary.

It remains to be seen what happens to captain (and pending UFA) Mikko Koivu. McLellan feels the Wild need better depth on defense and wonders about the status of their goaltending after Alex Stalock replaced Devan Dubnyk as their starter. Both are under contract for next season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Wild have over $65 million tied up in 17 players. With Jordan Greenway and Luke Kunin coming off entry-level contracts, GM Bill Guerin could ink them to affordable bridge deals to ensure sufficient space for other moves.

Unless Koivu’s willing to accept a one-year, bonus-laden deal with a low base salary, the 37-year-old probably played his final game for the Wild, or as an NHL player. They’ll probably stick with the Dubnyk-Stalock tandem and see how things shake out next season. Stalock’s signed through 2021-22 while Dubnyk is a UFA next year.










The NHL Buyout Barometer – Central Division (Part I)

The NHL Buyout Barometer – Central Division (Part I)

 










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 5, 2019

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 5, 2019

John Carlson leads the Capitals over the Kings, Evander Kane and Ryan Johansen fined, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: Washington Capitals defenseman scored twice, including his 100th career NHL goal, in a 3-1 victory over the Los Angeles Kings. Carlson has 42 points in 30 games this season. The Capitals have won five straight games.

Washington Capitals defenseman John Carlson tallied his 100th career NHL goal (Photo via NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Face Off Hockey Show host Scotty Wazz points out Carlson is on pace to become the first defenseman since Ray Bourque (1993-94) to exceed 90 points in a season. He’s currently on track for 115 points.

The Ottawa Senators snapped a five-game losing streak by upsetting the Edmonton Oilers 5-2. Tyler Ennis led the way for the Senators with a goal and two assists. The Senators held Oilers captain Connor McDavid off the score sheet while Leon Draisaitl was limited to an assist.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s not easy to contain McDavid and Draisaitl. Any team that can have a chance of beating the Oilers.

Tristan Jarry had a 28-save shutout performance backstopping the injury-depleted Pittsburgh Penguins to a 3-0 victory over the St. Louis Blues. Pittsburgh defenseman Jack Johnson (illness) joined Sidney Crosby, Patric Hornqvist, Bryan Rust, Nick Bjugstad, Brian Dumoulin and Justin Schultz on the sidelines. The Penguins are 7-0-2 in their last nine home games.

Colorado Avalanche goaltender Philipp Grubauer kicked out 38 shots to down the Toronto Maple Leafs 3-1. Nathan MacKinnon tallied a goal and picked up an assist for the Avs. During the game, Avs center and former Leaf Nazem Kadri was honored with a video tribute by the Leafs and a nice ovation from Toronto fans.

HEADLINES

NBC SPORTS BAY AREA: San Jose Sharks winger Evander Kane was fined $5,000.00 by the NHL’s department of player safety for elbowing Washington Capitals defenseman Radko Gudas on Tuesday.

TSN: Nashville Predators center Ryan Johansen also received a $5,000.00 fine for elbowing Tampa Bay Lightning center Brayden Point on Tuesday.

TWINCITIES.COM: Minnesota Wild defenseman Jared Spurgeon is expected to miss two weeks with an upper-body injury. Captain Mikko Koivu is day-to-day with a lower-body injury.

SPORTSNET: Vancouver Canucks defenseman Alex Edler will be sidelined at least two weeks with an upper-body injury.

CBS SPORTS: Philadelphia Flyers winger Michael Raffl (finger) is on injured reserve.

The Winnipeg Jets claimed forward Nick Shore off waivers from the Toronto Maple Leafs.

STAR-TRIBUNE.COM: A Minnesota judge ruled former NHL player Mark Pavelich is mentally ill and dangerous, ordering him committed to a secure treatment facility. Another hearing is scheduled in February to determine if he’ll be committed for an indefinite period.

Pavelich, a member of the 1980 “Miracle on Ice” US Olympic team, faced criminal charges for beating a friend with a metal pole following a fishing trip. His family is convinced he’s suffering from chronic traumatic encephalopathy related to repeated concussions during his NHL career.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 4, 2019

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 4, 2019

The Devils fire head coach John Hynes, the Canadiens snap a lengthy losing skid, changes could be coming for NHL coaches, and more in today’s morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: Hours before their game against the Vegas Golden Knights, the New Jersey Devils fired head coach John Hynes, replacing him on an interim basis with Alain Nasreddine. The move, however, could prevent the Devils from dropping a 4-3 decision to the Vegas Golden Knights. Jonathan Marchessault tallied a natural hat trick in the third period for the win.

The New Jersey Devils yesterday fired head coach John Hynes (Photo via NHL.com).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Given the Devils’ poor performance thus far, it’s not surprising Hynes was fired. He deserves his fair share of the blame, but can’t be faulted for the lousy goaltending, weak secondary scoring, and lack of defensive depth. Nevertheless, the club’s lack of effort in his final two games was indicative that he’d lost the players.

The Montreal Canadiens snapped their eight-game winless skid by doubling up the New York Islanders 4-2. Brendan Gallagher and Shea Weber each had a goal and an assist for the Habs, who commemorated their 110th anniversary by honoring 11 former captains in a pre-game ceremony. Among the notables were Hall-of-Famers Yvan Cournoyer, Bob Gainey, Chris Chelios, and Guy Carbonneau. Saku Koivu, the captain from 1999 to 2009, received the biggest cheer.

Four first-period goals powered the Vancouver Canucks to a 5-2 win over the Ottawa Senators. Antoine Roussel scored on his first shift in his season debut after being sidelined eight months by a knee injury. Before the game, former Canucks winger Alex Burrows’ name was added to the club’s ring of honor.

Boston Bruins goaltender Jaroslav Halak turned in a 24-save shutout in a 2-0 victory over the Carolina Hurricanes. Charlie Coyle and David Krejci tallied both goals in the third period. The Bruins have won eight straight games.

Minnesota Wild goalie Kaapo Kahkonen kicked out 44 shots in a 4-2 win over the Florida Panthers. The Wild are unbeaten in their last 10 games (7-0-3).

Five third-period goals powered the Philadelphia Flyers over the Toronto Maple Leafs 6-1. Flyers defenseman Philippe Myers collected three assists while Travis Konecny and Shayne Gostisbehere each had a goal and an assist. Before the game, the Leafs placed Nick Shore on waivers, recalled defenseman Martin Marincin, and announced Trevor Moore (shoulder injury) is weeks away from returning to the lineup.

A three-point performance by Carl Soderberg helped the Arizona Coyotes defeat the Columbus Blue Jackets 4-2. Coyotes goalie Darcy Kuemper made 33 saves for the win.

Nikita Kucherov scored in overtime as the Tampa Bay Lightning edged the Nashville Predators 3-2. Kucherov and Steven Stamkos each had two points on the night. Kyle Turris had a goal and an assist for the Predators. Nashville center Ryan Johansen was ejected from a game for elbowing Lightning center Brayden Point in the face.

The Winnipeg Jets picked up their seventh win in their last nine contests by downing the Dallas Stars 5-1. Jets winger Kyle Connor had a goal and two assists. Earlier in the day, the Jets announced defenseman Dmitry Kulikov will be sidelined for two months with an upper-body injury.

Washington Capitals defenseman John Carlson collected three points while teammates Jakub Vrana and Garnet Hathaway each scored twice in a 5-2 victory over the San Jose Sharks.

HEADLINES

TSN: Former NHL player Akim Aliu believes big changes are coming to the NHL after meeting with commissioner Gary Bettman and other officials at the league’s office in Toronto yesterday. Aliu’s claims that Bill Peters made racist remarks to him a decade ago led to the latter’s stepping down last week as Calgary Flames head coach.

Frank Seravalli reports some of the topics discussed at the meeting include “comprehensive harassment and discrimination policy, whistleblower and retaliation protection for players, encouraging more diversity and inclusion and breaking the culture of silence.”

The NHL Coaches’ Association released a statement yesterday affirming there is no room for abusive behavior by coaches at any level. They are working with the league and the NHL Players Association to ensure respectful working environments for everyone.

CHICAGO TRIBUNE: Sean Avery spoke out in support of Blackhawks assistant coach Marc Crawford, who was placed on leave as the club investigates allegations of abuse against him. Avery recently said Crawford kicked him during a game but defended the coach’s actions. “He had every right in the world to kick me in the ass. He should have spanked my ass a little bit more. I deserved it. I loved Crow.” He went on to call Crawford his second-favorite NHL coach.

OTTAWA SUN: Senators players Dylan DeMelo and Mark Borowiecki claim they had a good relationship with Crawford during his tenure with the club. Former Senator and Canucks Alex Burrows praised Crawford for helping him become an NHL player.

Another former Canuck, Harold Druken, accused Crawford of physical and verbal abuse when he broke into the league. “I can’t believe he’s still coaching, I wouldn’t let him coach my dog,” said Druken.

LOS ANGELES TIMES: Kings coach Todd McLellan believes players and coaches do their best not to cross the line between right and wrong. However, he acknowledged the changes in the game and society means that line has also changed. He believes it’s important to build trust and treat his players with respect, and expecting it in return.

“The line between pushing a player — I’m not talking physical — but getting the player to maximize his physical talents and to get a team to pull together and go further into their toolbox than they ever have, is delicate,” McLellan said. “Sometimes feelings are hurt. There’s never an intention behind it, but there are feelings that get hurt.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: There’s no place in the league, or anywhere else. for racism, which was what resulted in Peters’ downfall. There’s no place for physical abuse, which is what he was also accused of by two other former NHLers.

Crawford, Mike Babcock, and Darryl Sutter weren’t accused of racism, but emerging stories of alleged physical and verbal abuse toward their players have made headlines in recent days. Those tactics may have been effective but it appears they sometimes went too far. Some players shrugged it off or accepted it as part of the game, but others felt tormented by those actions.

Just because many former players tolerated unnecessary abuse by a few coaches doesn’t mean today’s players have to. A coach can motivate and improve their players without resorting to bullying, humiliation or threats.

CBS SPORTS: Chicago Blackhawks defenseman Duncan Keith could miss at least two more games with a nagging groin injury.

TRIBLIVE.COM: Pittsburgh Penguins forward Patric Hornqvist will be sidelined “longer term” with an undisclosed injury.

SPORTSNET: Former NHL player Matt Stajan announced his retirement. Stajan played 14 seasons and 1,003 games with the Toronto Maple Leafs and Calgary Flames. He spent last season playing in Germany for EHC Red Bull Munchen.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Here’s wishing Stajan and his family all the best in his future endeavors.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 19, 2019

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 19, 2019

Game recaps, Ryan Johansen suspended, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines. 

NHL.COM: Thomas Greiss made 19 saves as the New York Islanders blanked the Washington Capitals 2-0. During a break in the first period, the Capitals honored Islanders bench boss Barry Trotz, who coached the Capitals to the Stanley Cup last season. With the win, the Islanders take over first place in the Metropolitan Division and extend their win streak to four games. 

Vancouver Canucks rookie goalie Thatcher Demko made 36 saves in his season debut to backstop his club to a 4-3 victory over the Buffalo Sabres. Canucks forwards Brock Boeser and Bo Horvat each had two points for the Canucks (50 points), who vaulted over the Minnesota Wild, Edmonton Oilers and Anaheim Ducks into the final wild-card spot in the Western Conference. 

Two power-play goals by Sam Bennett helped the Calgary Flames defeat the Detroit Red Wings 6-4 (Photo via NHL Images).

Three power-play goals and a shorthanded tally carried the Calgary Flames to a 6-4 win over the Detroit Red Wings. Sam Bennett netted two of their power-play goals. Red Wings center Dylan Larkin also scored twice. The Flames sit first overall in the Western Conference with a three-point lead over the Winnipeg Jets.  Flames defenseman Travis Hamonic returned to action after missing two games tending to his daughter, who became seriously ill last weekend and was rushed to the Alberta Children’s Hospital. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Best wishes to the Hamonic family as their daughter recovers from her illness. 

The Florida Panthers snapped a seven-game losing streak by downing the Toronto Maple Leafs 3-1. Panthers forward Vincent Trocheck made his return after missing 27 games to an ankle injury and assisted on Mike Matheson’s game-winning goal. 

Montreal Canadiens forwards Tomas Tatar and Joel Armia each scored twice in a 4-1 victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets. Canadiens goaltender Carey Price made 34 saves as his club won its fourth straight contest while ending the Jackets four-game win streak. 

The Ottawa Senators collected their fourth win in their last five games by beating the Carolina Hurricanes 4-1. Anders Nilsson kicked out 33 shots for the win. 

Phil Kessel scored in overtime as the Pittsburgh Penguins edged the Arizona Coyotes 3-2. 

The NHL Department of Player Safety suspended Nashville Predators center Ryan Johansen for two games for high-sticking Jets center Mark Scheifele on Thursday. 

NBC SPORTS BOSTON: Bruins forward Anders Bjork underwent season-ending surgery on his left shoulder on Friday. His recovery will last five-to-six months. 

NBC SPORTS: Former Buffalo Sabres forward Patrik Berglund told a Swedish publication he’s at peace with his decision to quit the club just a little over two months into this season. He claimed he lost some of his passion for hockey after being traded by the St. Louis Blues last summer. He added his emotions had nothing to do with playing in Buffalo and he apologized to Sabres fans for betraying them. 










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 5, 2017

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 5, 2017

Game recaps, stars of the week plus updates on Alex Ovechkin, Roberto Luongo and more in your NHL morning coffee headlines. 

NHL.COM: Alex Ovechkin tallied his league-leading 20th goal of the season as the Washington Capitals defeated the San Jose Sharks 4-1. He became just the 11th player in NHL history to tally 20-plus goals in his first 13 seasons. It was also Ovechkin’s 578th career goal, taking over sole possession of 20th overall on the league’s all-time goal-scoring list. However, it was a costly win for the Capitals, as winger T.J. Oshie left the game in the second period following a hit to the head by Sharks center Joe Thornton. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Oshie is expected to be reevaluated today. No word if Thornton will receive supplemental discipline. 

Mathew Barzal scored the only goal in a shootout to give the New York Islanders a 5-4 victory over the Florida Panthers, who also lost goaltender Roberto Luongo to an apparent right-leg injury in the second period. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Luongo suffered the injury making what seemed a routine right-pad save. He had to be helped off the ice and it’s feared he could be sidelined for a lengthy period. 

The Philadelphia Flyers snapped their 10-game losing streak with a 5-2 win over the Calgary Flames. Flyers goalie Brian Elliott made 43 saves against his former club and Scott Laughton scored two goals. Flames defenseman Travis Hamonic was ejected from the game for an illegal hit to the head of Flyers forward Dale Weise.

Earlier in the day, Flyers general manager Ron Hextall maintained his embattled head coach Dave Hakstol would remain in his job for the rest of the season and beyond. “Dave Hakstol is our coach and he will remain our coach. Period,” Hextall said, forcefully. “I’ve said it over and over, and I’m not going to say it again.”

Craig Smith netted two goals and set up another while Pekka Rinne made 37 saves to give the Nashville Predators a 5-3 win over the Boston Bruins. The Preds were playing without center Ryan Johansen, who’s listed as day-to-day with an upper-body injury. 

Winnipeg Jets winger Blake Wheeler, Montreal Canadiens goalie Carey Price and Nashville Predators forward Kevin Fiala are the NHL stars for the week ending Dec. 3, 2017.

TRIBLIVE.COM: Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby is on a roll of late. Since snapping an 11-game goalless drought against Buffalo on Nov. 14, he’s been the league’s leading scorer over the last nine games with seven goals and nine assists. He’s also netted at least a goal and an assist in each of his last five games, marking the first time in his career he’s had a streak like that, and the first Penguin since Jaromir Jagr in 1999 to accomplish that feat. 

THE BUFFALO NEWS: The Sabres were busy yesterday. They acquired forward Scott Wilson from the Detroit Red Wings in exchange for a fifth-round pick in the 2019 draft and placed veteran winger Matt Moulson on waivers for the purpose of sending him to the minors. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: With the Sabres floundering at the bottom of the standings, GM Jason Botterill has seen enough. Consider these moves the first of what could be an ongoing roster shakeup that could continue up to the Feb. 26 trade deadline and into the offseason. Wilson, who played for the Pittsburgh Penguins when Botterill was their assistant GM, will be a depth addition to the Sabres roster.

Moulson, a former 30-goal scorer, was a frequent healthy scratch who was held pointless in 14 games this season. He has a year remaining on his contract with an annual salary-cap hit of $5 million. It’s unlikely he’ll be claimed by noon ET today by another club. If he’s demoted as expected the Sabres will get less than $1 million in salary cap relief. 

ARIZONA SPORTS: The Coyotes signed Charlottetown Islanders defenseman Pierre-Olivier Joseph to a three-year entry-level contract. Joseph was their first-round pick (23rd overall) in the 2017 NHL Draft. 

THE SEATTLE TIMES: The Seattle City Council voted 7-1 to approve “a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the city and the Los Angeles-based Oak View Group (OVG)” for a $600 million renovation of KeyArena that could attract NHL and NBA franchises to that city. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Athletic’s Katie Strang reports there’s nothing imminent regarding any NHL plans to bring a franchise to Seattle and the league made no promises to the city to do so. However, the vote is considered a significant first step toward Seattle perhaps landing an expansion team. The league board of governors are meeting later this week in Florida. While expansion isn’t on the agenda, Strang said it would be shocking if the subject wasn’t discussed.