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 Morning Coffee Headlines – December 3, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 3, 2022

Recaps of Friday’s games featured a big night for Senators captain Brady Tkachuk, the latest on Joe Thornton plus updates on the injury statuses of Thatcher Demko, Jakub Voracek, Tyler Bertuzzi and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: Ottawa Senators captain Brady Tkachuk had a “Gordie Howe hat trick” to a 3-2 overtime victory over the New York Rangers. Tkachuk scored the tying and winning goals, collected an assist on Tim Stutzle’s goal, and fought Rangers defenseman Jacob Trouba. Tkachuk’s game-tying tally was also his 100th career goal as the Senators improved their record to 9-13-1. Vitali Kravtsov and Mika Zibanejad replied for the 11-9-5 Rangers.

Ottawa Senators captain Brady Tkachuk (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: There was a scary moment prior to Kravtsov’s goal when he fired a shot that struck Senators defenseman Travis Hamonic in the throat. Hamonic left the game but returned in the second period and played the remainder of the contest.

Columbus Blue Jackets winger Patrick Laine scored twice to lead his club over the Winnipeg Jets by a score of 4-1. Laine had missed the previous seven games with an ankle injury. Johnny Gaudreau collected three assists and Joonas Korpisalo made 37 saves for the Blue Jackets (8-12-2). Pierre-Luc Dubois replied for the 14-7-1 Jets.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Before this game, the Blue Jackets announced that winger Jakub Voracek is out indefinitely with a concussion. Defenseman Zach Werenski underwent successful surgery to repair a torn labrum and will be sidelined for six months while blueliner Jake Bean (shoulder surgery) is out for four-to-six months.

The Nashville Predators picked up their third straight win by downing the New York Islanders 4-1. Kevin Lankinen kicked out 48 shots for the win and Matt Duchene had a goal and two assists as the Predators improved to 12-9-2. Mathew Barzal scored for the Islanders as they sit at 15-10-0.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Predators captain Roman Josi had a goal and an assist in this game. With 562 career points, he’s just four points away from David Legwand’s franchise record of 566 points.

HEADLINES

THE MERCURY NEWS: Joe Thornton has been seen attending San Jose Sharks practices and home games with members of the team’s front office in recent weeks. Thornton, 43, hasn’t announced his retirement as an NHL player but is said to be carefully considering his next move.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: My guess is Thornton will officially bring his playing career to a close once he decides what his off-ice career will be. One of the greatest playmakers in NHL history, he’s a certain first-ballot Hall of Famer.

DAILY FACEOFF: Vancouver Canucks goaltender Thatcher Demko is expected to miss at least six weeks with a lower-body injury suffered during Thursday’s 5-1 loss to the Florida Panthers.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The fate of the Canucks’ playoff hopes could rest upon the performance of backup Spencer Martin and call-up Collin Delia.

DETROIT HOCKEY NOW: Oft-injured Red Wings forward Tyler Bertuzzi will spend six more weeks on injured reserve. He underwent successful surgery on Friday to repair damage to his left hand after being struck by a shot from teammate Ben Chiarot during Wednesday’s 5-4 loss to the Buffalo Sabres.

CBS SPORTS: The Carolina Hurricanes removed Teuvo Teravainen (upper body) from injured reserve on Friday. His availability for Saturday’s game against the Los Angeles Kings remains to be determined.

TSN: The Tampa Bay Lightning placed defenseman Philippe Myers on waivers. He was acquired last summer from the Nashville Predators and signed to a two-year contract by the Lightning. Myers has appeared in 11 games this season.

The New Jersey Devils have recalled winger Andreas Johnsson.

 










NHL Trade Roundup: Reviewing the Deals Last Week

NHL Trade Roundup: Reviewing the Deals Last Week

 










Blackhawks Trade Saad to Avs for Zadorov, Leafs Trade Johnsson to Devils

Blackhawks Trade Saad to Avs for Zadorov, Leafs Trade Johnsson to Devils

NBC Sports Chicago’s Charlie Roumeliotis reports the Blackhawks traded winger Brandon Saad and defenseman Dennis Gilbert to the Colorado Avalanche for defensemen Nikita Zadorov and Anton Lindholm.

Chicago Blackhawks trade Brandon Saad to the Colorado Avalanche (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’ S NOTE: The Blackhawks are also retaining $1 million of Saad $6 million salary-cap hit for 2020-21.

This move should take the Avalanche out of the bidding for unrestricted free agent left wing Taylor Hall. Saad, 26, will skate on left wing on the Avs’ second line. He’s a former two-time Stanley Cup champion with the Blackhawks who tallied 20-plus goals in five of the last six seasons, including 21 in 58 games last season. Saad is slated to become an unrestricted free agent next summer.

Gilbert, 23, is a physical defenseman who split last season between the Blackhawks and their AHL affiliate. He’s in the third year of his entry-level deal at a more affordable $925k, far cheaper than what it would’ve cost the Avs to re-sign Zadorov, a restricted free agent coming off a one-year, $3.2-million contract. Whether he’ll earn a full-time role with the Avs remains to be seen.

The 6-foot-6, 235-pound Zadorov will bring size and physicality to the Blackhawks’ blueline. Cap Friendly reports he’s already agreed to a one-year. $3.2 million deal with the Hawks. Lindholm, 25, spent parts of the past four season between the Avs and their minor-league affiliate.

Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman reports the Toronto Maple Leafs traded forward Andreas Johnsson to the New Jersey Devils for forward Joey Anderson.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Friedman’s colleague Chris Johnston reports the Devils are acquiring Johnsson’s full $3.4 million annual average value through 2022-23. Anderson, 22, is a restricted free agent who played 52 games over the last two seasons with the Devils.

This is an obvious salary dump by the Leafs to clear cap space following yesterday’s signings of T.J. Brodie and Wayne Simmonds. The Leafs were above the $81.5 million cap by over $1 million following those signings. This will provide some additional cap space but they could need a little more to re-sign Anderson and fellow restricted free agents Travis Dermott and Ilya Mikheyev.

Johnsson will provide some much-needed depth to the Devils’ forward lines. While the 25-year-old winger was hampered by injury last season, he’s a good skater with a decent scoring touch. He tallied 20 goals and 43 points as a rookie in 2018-19.










NHL Rumor Mill – August 26, 2020

NHL Rumor Mill – August 26, 2020

What next for the Leafs and Penguins following yesterday’s Kasperi Kapanen trade? Check out the latest in today’s NHL rumor mill.

TORONTO SUN: Lance Hornby singled out the Maple Leafs’ acquisition of a first-round pick (15th overall) and prospect forward Filip Hallander while freeing up salary-cap space from shipping winger Kasperi Kapanen to the Pittsburgh Penguins yesterday. Leafs general manager Kyle Dubas isn’t ruling out shopping that pick if it would help his team. “If there’s another Jake Muzzin, we’d be interested, to put it mildly,” he said.

Dubas also suggested he might not be done dealing. “I don’t think this will be it for us,” he said. “We need to gain greater (cap) flexibility than what we have.” The Leafs GM pointed out they have to re-sign restricted free agents Travis Dermott and Ilya Mikheyev and he’d like more space to address other needs.

Could Frederik Andersen become the next player traded by the Toronto Maple Leafs? (NHL Images)

Hornby’s colleague Michael Traikos wondered if the Leafs will trade another third-line winger, or replace goaltender Frederik Andersen with a more affordable (but unproven) option, or break up their core. He feels they need a defenseman or two and a scoring forward who plays with a snarl like former Leafs Nazem Kadri is doing with the Colorado Avalanche.

Traikos suggested trading Kapanen opens up cap room to perhaps pursue Boston’s Torey Krug, Calgary’s T.J. Brodie or Travis Hamonic or Vancouver’s Chris Tanev via free agency. They could even pursue St. Louis’ Alex Pietrangelo if Dubas moves out another player like Andreas Johnsson, Alexander Kerfoot, or even William Nylander.

Signing Pietrangelo, however, could cost between $8 million and $11 million annually. Traikos also warns there’s no certainty those free-agent blueliners will sign with the Leafs. “After all, it’s not like the team has won anything lately.”

THE SCORE: Josh Gold-Smith cites The Athletic’s Pierre LeBrun reported the Leafs also spoke to the Anaheim Ducks, Carolina Hurricanes, Chicago Blackhawks, Minnesota Wild, Nashville Predators, and New Jersey Devils before trading Kapanen to the Penguins. The Leafs attempted to reacquire the pick they sent to the Hurricanes last summer but the Canes weren’t interested in parting with the 13th overall selection. The Blackhawks also balked on moving their first-round pick (17th overall).

THE ATHLETIC (subscription required): James Mirtle cites sources indicating Kapanen wasn’t the only player dangled by Dubas in the trade market since the Leafs were eliminated from the qualifying round two weeks ago.

Andersen could apparently be had in a salary-dumping deal, leading Mirtle to wonder if the Edmonton Oilers might be interested if they can find the cap room. Kerfoot, Pierre Engvall, and Johnsson were also mentioned. The Leafs could free up $17 million if they could move all four.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Dubas is not done making moves after yet another disappointing postseason performance. I concur with Traikos that the Leafs GM must bolster his blueline and bring in a physical scorer. Perhaps he’ll revisit talks with some of those clubs he spoke with regarding Kapanen. 

I wouldn’t be surprised if Dubas shops that first-round pick. Their core players – Nylander, Auston Matthews, Mitch Marner, John Tavares, and Morgan Rielly – will be between 22 and 29 when next season begins. The Leafs don’t want to waste their playing primes.  They’re in “win-now” mode and could use that pick to bring in a player who can immediately address a roster need. If there are no suitable offers, Dubas can retain that pick and perhaps use the prospect selected as part of a deal in the near future to bring in an impact player.

Signing any of those UFA defensemen listed by Traikos will require freeing up more salary-cap payroll. Cap Friendly indicates the Leafs have $73.7 million tied up in 16 players. Signing one of those blueliners will eat up most or all of that cap room, leaving nothing for Dermott and Mikheyev.

Landing Pietrangelo won’t be easy. Indeed, it might not be possible, as the Blues captain already stated his wish is to stay in St. Louis. And no, he’s not going to accept less than whatever the Blues offer to “come home” to Toronto. St. Louis is his home now and it’s where he wants to stay. If that’s not possible, he’ll seek a lucrative deal in the UFA market despite the flattened salary cap for next season. If the Leafs want him, they’ll have to pay a lot to sign him.

Krug will also be expensive, though nowhere near as much as Pietrangelo. Figure it could cost between $6-$7 million annually. Brodie, Hamonic or Tanev won’t cost that much but they’ll still eat up a big chunk of change, perhaps over $5 million annually. Assuming the flat cap hurts their UFA value, they could seek cap hits similar to what they’re making now.

Moving Andersen is dangerous unless Dubas intends to add a better option and that might not be readily available. He could pursue Braden Holtby or Robin Lehner via free agency, but either guy could cost more than Andersen’s current $5 million AAV. In Holtby’s case, it would be ponying up for what appears to be a declining asset.

It’ll be interesting to see what Dubas and his capologist have in mind. They proved capable of salary-cap gymnastics last summer, but those moves failed to improve the Leafs. He must do better this time around and that won’t be easy given the current economic landscape.

PITTSBURGH TRIBUNE-REVIEW: Seth Rorabaugh believes the Penguins’ addition of Kapanen rules out re-signing pending UFA winger Conor Sheary. He also suggests it clouds the futures of restricted free agent goalies Matt Murray and Tristan Jarry and forwards Jared McCann and Dominik Simon.

THE ATHLETIC (subscription required): Pierre LeBrun suggests Murray could be the next Penguin on the move. Rutherford already indicated he needs to trade one of his goalies and sources told LeBrun his focus is on moving Murray. His RFA status (with arbitration rights) is a sticking point. One source said they’re worried the goalie could command $6 million in arbitration, after which he’s eligible for unrestricted free-agent status.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Murray’s injury history and inconsistent play could also be a concern. Rutherford might have to package him with a draft pick or prospect if teams are worried about his contract for next season.










NHL Rumor Mill – August 14, 2020

NHL Rumor Mill – August 14, 2020

Is it time for the Jets to rebuild? Should the Oilers trade a top-four defenseman? Are changes coming for the Predators? Find out in today’s NHL rumor mill.

SHOULD THE JETS REBUILD?

WINNIPEG SUN: Paul Friesen believes Jets general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff has spun his wheels since his club reached the Western Conference Final two years ago, suggesting the club is heading in the wrong direction.

Friesen acknowledged Dustin Byfuglien’s unexpected departure and an injury-ravaged roster contributed to the club’s struggles this season. Nevertheless, the Jets lack depth on defense and the forward lines. He feels it’s time for Cheveldayoff to make a big move for a second-line center and a top-four defenseman.

With several teams affected by the flat salary cap and the Jets carrying additional cap room after Byfuglien’s contract termination, Friesen believes Cheveldayoff has the cap flexibility to address his roster issues.

WINNIPEG FREE PRESS: Mike McIntyre believes Cheveldayoff will feel the pressure during the off-season to reverse the Jets’ fortunes. He wonders how much rope the club’s ownership is willing to give their GM before deciding they need to go in a different direction. McIntyre feels Cheveldayoff will have to make a big move via the off-season trade or free-agent markets.

Could the Winnipeg Jets pursue Alex Pietrangelo in the free-agent market? (NHL Images)

If sidelined center Bryan Little (eardrum surgery, post-concussion symptoms) cannot play next season, they can place him on long-term injury reserve, potentially freeing up his $5.29-million cap hit for next season. Trading or buying out Mathieu Perreault could clear some more salary from their books. McIntyre considers fixing the blueline to be Cheveldayoff’s priority.

SPORTSNET: Ken Wiebe suggests Andrew Copp could be the internal solution to replace Little if the latter remains sidelined. External options could include Montreal’s Max Domi or Philadelphia’s Nolan Patrick as both could use a change of scenery. Wiebe also pondered the possibility of Cheveldayoff pursuing a big-ticket player like St. Louis Blues defenseman Alex Pietrangelo.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Cap Friendly indicates the Jets have over $65.9 million invested in 13 players. All their core players are under contract, so Cheveldayoff could re-sign his RFAs to affordable, short-term deals. Still, he might need a little more cap space if he intends to land a big-ticket player, especially via the UFA market. He can send some salary the other way if he’s acquiring a player via trade.

Domi’s status has been a hot topic in the Montreal media throughout this season. That chatter recently intensified with Domi currently seeing fourth-line minutes in the postseason. Patrick, however, has been sidelined this season by a migraine disorder, which (as Wiebe also noted) would make him a risky acquisition.

Pietrangelo would be a big catch for the Jets, but that’s assuming the Blues captain wants to play in Winnipeg if he tests the UFA market. If he doesn’t, Cheveldayoff would have to look elsewhere, and the pickings for top defensemen are slim beyond Pietrangelo and Boston’s Torey Krug.

SHOULD THE OILERS SHOP A TOP-FOUR DEFENSEMAN?

EDMONTON JOURNAL: David Staples cites Bob Stauffer’s recent interview with Brian Burke in which the Sportsnet analyst suggested the Oilers trade a defenseman like Adam Larsson, Darnell Nurse, or Oscar Klefbom.

Burke felt the Oilers defense didn’t play well enough, believing one or two of their blueliners might need a change of scenery. He acknowledged such moves might be difficult given the Oilers’ limited cap space for next season.

The former NHL GM agreed with Stauffer’s suggestion the Toronto Maple Leafs might be a trading partner, proposing a swap of Larsson for a winger like Kasperi Kapanen or Andreas Johnsson.

Former NHL GM turned analyst Brian Lawton agreed there could be some changes to the top four. He expressed concern over Klefbom’s injury history. Sportsnet’s Mark Spector, meanwhile, believes Larsson could be the likely trade candidate.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Of those three Oilers defenseman, Nurse could fetch the best return. The 25-year-old is two years younger than Klefbom and Larsson and his style would make him attractive for clubs seeking a mobile, physical rearguard. Klefbom’s injury history could hurt his trade value, while Larsson’s UFA eligibility next summer could be a deal-breaker for some clubs.

Staples feels the Oilers should try and move out Kris Russell. He’s also a year away from UFA eligibility, but his 15-team no-trade clause could make that difficult.

LATEST ON THE PREDATORS

THE TENNESSEAN: Paul Skrbina reports Nashville Predators GM David Poile pulled no punches assessing his club’s performance this season. “This is unacceptable”, he said. “This is how we have to view this result is that we have to be better and it’s not acceptable.”

Poile indicated the club’s direction in the last two years made it “clear to me that we need to make some changes.” While the Preds GM said “everything is on the table,” Skrbina doesn’t expect a complete roster overhaul.

Pending UFAs Mikael Granlund and Craig Smith might not be back. The Predators could look in-house to address some of their needs, perhaps promoting Eeli Tolvanen and Philip Tomasino. Skrbina also speculates Poile could try again to trade center Kyle Turris or buy him out.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: With over $72.2 million invested in 17 players, Poile will have to cut some salary if he intends to look to the trade or free-agent markets for help. Trading Turris could mean absorbing part of his $6 million annual salary or packaging him with a top draft pick or prospect. A contract buyout will leave them with $2 million annually in dead cap space to 2028.