NHL Rumor Mill – March 16, 2024

NHL Rumor Mill – March 16, 2024

What next for the Ducks? Could the playoffs factor into a new contract with the Rangers for Kaapo Kakko? Find out in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.


THE ATHLETIC: Eric Stephens believes the Anaheim Ducks must stop being sellers and become buyers in the trade market if they hope to progress in rebuilding their roster.

Stephens isn’t suggesting they blow their cap space on expensive free agents or that they shouldn’t trade a roster player or two for future assets. However, it’s time for general manager Pat Verbeek to use his projected $34 million in cap space and draft capital to add players who can help promising youngsters like Leo Carlsson, Mason McTavish, Trevor Zegras and Pavel Mintyukov.

Anaheim Ducks forward Trevor Zegras (NHL Images).

Verbeek brushed aside the trade rumors about Zegras. He said he wasn’t shopping the 22-year-old forward nor did he receive any calls about him leading up to the March 8 trade deadline.

We want “Z” to play with us,” said Verbeek following the trade deadline. “Hopefully, he can get through this injury pretty quick and get back on the ice.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Ducks could be worth monitoring during the offseason.

They are well-stocked with young talent on their roster and within their prospect pipeline. With seven picks in the first three rounds of this year’s draft (including two first-rounders), they can afford to use some of it to acquire an established player or two. Verbeek could target clubs that are trying to shed salary this summer.

Zegras has been sidelined since Jan. 11 with a broken ankle. His recovery timeline was six to eight weeks. I don’t doubt that Verbeek wants to hang onto Zegras but I wouldn’t be surprised if the trade rumors flare up again in the weeks leading up to the NHL Draft in late June.


NEW YORK POST: Mollie Walker believes the 2024 playoffs could determine Kaapo Kakko’s next contract with the Rangers. The 23-year-old winger is slated to become a restricted free agent this summer with arbitration rights.

Kakko missed 21 games earlier this season with a lower-body injury. His production has been limited to eight goals and 12 points in 45 games as he’s bounced between the first and third lines.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kakko was the subject of some trade speculation before the March deadline. His performance over the rest of this season (including the playoffs) will factor into what type of contract he gets from the Rangers. It won’t be surprising if his name comes up in offseason trade speculation.

NHL Rumor Mill – February 29, 2024

NHL Rumor Mill – February 29, 2024

Check out the latest on the Canucks, Stars, Bruins, Senators, Predators, Rangers, Islanders, Leafs, Flyers, Kraken and Capitals in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.


THE TORONTO STAR: Nick Kypreos reported hearing the latest offer to Elias Pettersson from the Vancouver Canucks is an eight-year, $96 million contract.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This was published before Daily Faceoff’s Frank Seravalli reported the Canucks had made progress in negotiations with the Petersen camp on a possible eight-year deal. $96 million over that period is an average annual value of $12 million. Stay tuned!

Kypreos expects the Dallas Stars could pursue another defenseman after adding Chris Tanev and only taking on 50 percent of his salary.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Flames retained 50 percent of Tanev’s $4.5 million cap hit with the Devils picking up $1.125 million and the Stars $1.125 million. Nevertheless, as Kypreos points out, the Stars have the cap space ($2.05 million) to add another defenseman if they wish by the March 8 trade deadline.

The Boston Bruins are pushing hard to acquire Noah Hanifin. The Calgary Flames seek “three significant pieces” from the Bruins for the 27-year-old defenseman.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I jokingly suggested Jake DeBrusk for Hanifin yesterday. In reality, it will be daunting for the Bruins to pull this off. They don’t have any picks in the first three rounds of this year’s draft to draw on for trade bait, their prospect pool is shallow and there aren’t many roster players they can afford to part with.

I’m not saying the Bruins can’t meet the Flames’ asking price but other clubs with more cap space, draft picks and prospects could outbid them.

The goalie market is shrinking. Marc-Andre Fleury, John Gibson and Juuse Saros are unlikely to be moved by the trade deadline. Meanwhile, teams could be less willing to pitch a mind-blowing offer to the Flames for Jacob Markstrom.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Since this was published, the Wild stated they’re not trading Fleury while the Predators intend to hang onto Saros while they’re in playoff contention. Gibson’s contract remains too expensive for the Ducks to move in the offseason. The Devils were interested in Markstrom but the Flames aren’t willing to retain half of his $6 million average annual value, which runs through 2025-26.


THE ATHLETIC: Fluto Shinzawa cited an NHL hockey operations executive saying it would be a gutsy move by the Boston Bruins to trade goaltender Linus Ullmark before the trade deadline.

The executive gave Shinzawa three reasons why it would make sense to move Ullmark. It would allow them to upgrade other areas of the roster, and free up $5 million in cap space, and Jeremy Swayman is ready to be the full-time starter.

However, Shinzawa believes moving Ullmark would require adding an experienced backup for Swayman as promising Brandon Bussi hasn’t played an NHL game yet. Finding a suitable trade partner for Ullmark, who has a 16-team no-trade clause, could be difficult.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: We can’t rule out trading Ullmark by the deadline but that move seems more likely in the offseason. A strong goalie tandem has enabled the Bruins to jockey for first overall in the standings in what was supposed to be a transition season for the club.

Shinzawa also considered it unlikely that the Bruins would move defenseman Matt Grzelcyk at the trade deadline. That would mean risking his departure this summer as an unrestricted free agent.

BOSTON HOCKEY NOW: Jimmy Murphy reports winger Jake DeBrusk confirms his contract extension talks with Bruins management have stalled. That’s raised questions over whether the 27-year-old winger will be traded to a team like the Edmonton Oilers by the March 8 deadline.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I don’t see the Bruins trading DeBrusk solely because of his pending UFA status. They won’t move him (or Ullmark or Grzelcyk for that matter) for draft picks or prospects. They’ll want a return that helps them contend for the Stanley Cup this season.

They could move one of them for picks and prospects to clear cap space to move another player for immediate roster help. If that’s not possible, they’ll likely keep DeBrusk as an “own rental” for the playoffs and deal with his contract situation after that.


TSN: Ottawa Senators general manager Steve Staios told TSN’s Pierre LeBrun and Ryan Rishaug there was no truth to social media rumors claiming captain Brady Tkachuk was on the trade block.

Ottawa Senators captain Brady Tkachuk (NHL Images).

That could not be further from the truth,” said Staios. “There’s obviously no truth to that. We’re building this team around Brady Tkachuk and the type of person, player, and leader that he is.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That hasn’t stopped some pundits from speculating over the possibility of the team they cover acquiring Tkachuk. If you’re gonna dream, dream big.

Staios also addressed recent Jakob Chychrun rumors, once again expressing his disappointment that the defenseman’s name has been mentioned again. However, he acknowledged that conversations come up with other clubs and names get bandied about.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Staios also expressed disappointment last month over Chychrun’s name surfacing in the rumor mill. At that time, he said he hoped to re-sign the 25-year-old blueliner, who has a year remaining on his contract. By the sound of things, teams are asking Staios about Chychrun. It doesn’t sound like he’s shopping him but he could at least be listening to offers.

The Senators GM also said Vladimir Tarasenko is drawing some interest in the trade market. However, he didn’t commit to moving the 32-year-old winger.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The rumored asking price for Tarasenko is a second-round pick and a prospect.


THE ATHLETIC: Pierre LeBrun reports the Nashville Predators’ surge up the standings will affect how general manager Barry Trotz approaches the trade deadline. He’s balancing long and short-term needs but LeBrun believes he’s in a hold or add position.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: They won’t be trading away Juuse Saros unless someone is willing to overpay for the privilege. They’ll also likely hang on to defenseman Alexandre Carrier.

THE TENNESSEAN: Alex Daugherty noted that Trotz hopes to re-sign forward Tommy Novak, a player he’s mentioned as someone he didn’t want to lose to free agency this summer. He listed the New York Rangers, Edmonton Oilers and Tampa Bay Lightning as possible destinations if Trotz decides to move Novak by the deadline.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Novak is another that Trotz could hang on to even at the risk of losing him to free agency. If he doesn’t move Novak, a contract extension is possible.


NEW YORK POST: Larry Brooks reports Anaheim Ducks general manager Pat Verbeek scouting the Rangers’ 4-1 win last night over Columbus. The Rangers have been linked to Ducks forwards Adam Henrique and Frank Vatrano. It’s unclear who he was scouting unless it’s Kaapo Kakko, which doesn’t make sense to Brooks unless it’s for a blockbuster deal involving Trevor Zegras. Brooks indicated there’s no indication that sort of deal is on the table.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Rangers don’t face the Ducks again this season. Neither do the Blue Jackets.


NEW YORK POST: Ethan Sears wondered if the Islanders might move Jean-Gabriel Pageau to free up some cap space. It doesn’t seem likely given his $5 million AAV through 2025-26 and his 16-team no-trade clause. However, he could help a playoff team that needs a middle-six forward with defensive acumen.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I can see the Isles moving Pageau if they agree to retain half his cap hit. Otherwise, no. 


TORONTO SUN: Terry Koshan noted the Maple Leafs pressing need is a right-shot defenseman. The heat is increasing on GM Brad Treliving to address this issue, especially after the Stars acquired Chris Tanev from the Flames. Koshan listed Arizona’s Matt Dumba, Philadelphia’s Sean Walker, Anaheim’s Ilya Lyubushkin, and Nashville’s Alexandre Carrier as trade options.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Walker and Carrier could be unavailable with their current clubs holding playoff positions.


PHILLY HOCKEY NOW: Jonathan Bailey believes the Flyers could get a first-round pick for Sean Walker.

THE HOCKEY NEWS: Sammi Silber cited Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman saying Washington Capitals center Nic Dowd remains “very much” on the Edmonton Oilers’ radar. Capitals winger Anthony Mantha could also draw some interest from the Oilers.

THE SEATTLE TIMES: Kate Shefte reports struggling Kraken winger Kailer Yamamoto could become a trade candidate if the club becomes a seller by the March 8 deadline.

NHL Rumor Mill – February 6, 2024

NHL Rumor Mill – February 6, 2024

In today’s NHL Rumor Mill: the latest on Flames defensemen Chris Tanev and Hanifin, updates on the Canadiens and Rangers, and a hypothetical trade to send Penguins winger Reilly Smith back to the Golden Knights.


CALGARY SUN: Wes Gilbertson reports Flames defenseman Chris Tanev has become a top target in the trade market for playoff contenders seeking a missing piece for their respective bluelines.

A pending free agent, the 34-year-old Tanev is a dependable right-shot shutdown defenseman. He could fetch the Flames a couple of meaningful assets like a prospect and a draft pick. The New Jersey Devils, Toronto Maple Leafs and Vancouver Canucks could be among the suitors for Tanev.

Calgary Flames defenseman Chris Tanev (NHL Images).

Gilbertson also noted the Flames have made a big-money contract offer to Noah Hanifin. Like Tanev, the 27-year-old blueliner is slated to become an unrestricted free agent on July 1. Gilbertson believes Hanifin is likely a goner if he’s not re-signed soon.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Tanev is the most likely to move of the two. There’s still a chance that Hanifin and the Flames reach an agreement on a contract extension by March 8. However, the longer he remains unsigned, the more likely he will also be on the move by deadline day.


TVA SPORTS: Maxim Lapierre believes the Montreal Canadiens have the assets to use as trade bait to make a significant addition to their lineup.

The Canadiens got a 2024 first-round pick from the Winnipeg Jets in last Friday’s Sean Monahan trade. They also have an additional first-rounder in the 2025 draft. Lapierre thinks that gives general manager Kent Hughes the tools to make a big trade to bolster the roster.

Lapierre noted that some Canadiens fans would like to see Hughes acquire center Trevor Zegras from the Anaheim Ducks. However, he’d like to see the Habs GM bring in “a playoff player” comparable to Boston captain Brad Marchand or former Bruins captain Patrice Bergeron.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Hughes has noted that he has sufficient assets in draft picks and prospects that he could use some of them as trade bait to add an established talent. He’ll likely keep a close eye on the trade market leading up to the March 8 deadline but also in the offseason, especially around the draft in June.

I understand why some Canadiens followers want Hughes to acquire Zegras. He’s young, possesses dazzling offensive skills and carries a reasonable short-term bridge contract. However, I agree with Lapierre that Zegras hasn’t reached the stage where he’s proven he can help a team win the Stanley Cup. So far, he’s all flash but little substance.


NEW YORK POST: Larry Brooks believes the Rangers will be buyers leading up to the March 8 trade deadline. He believes they need to bring in a third-line center, a right winger for the Mika Zibanejad-Chris Kreider line, and a physical left-side third-pairing defenseman.

Anaheim Ducks center Adam Henrique would address that third-line need. Brooks considers it unlikely that Rangers GM Chris Drury would part with a first-round draft pick or a young player like Kaapo Kakko for a rental player like Henrique.

If Ducks right winger Frank Vatrano became part of the equation, Brooks believes it would become “a more nuanced conversation.” Unlike Henrique, Vatrano has a year remaining on his contract at a more affordable cap hit ($3.65 million).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Athletic’s Arthur Staple and Eric Stephens recently reported the Rangers were interested in Henrique and Vatrano. Landing one or the other won’t be easy largely because Ducks GM Pat Verbeek has a reputation as a tough negotiator. Acquiring both will likely involve parting with a first-rounder or someone like Kakko as part of the return. Verbeek won’t just give


THE ATHLETIC: Jesse Granger believes the Vegas Golden Knights would look for a winger if they become buyers at the trade deadline. He suggested they reacquire Reilly Smith, who was traded last summer to the Pittsburgh Penguins in a cost-cutting move.

Smith has the third-most goals and points in Golden Knights history. He hasn’t clicked with the Penguins this season and could become a trade candidate if they become sellers leading up to March 8. He’d likely welcome a return to Las Vegas. However, it would require some salary-cap gymnastics to fit his $5 million average annual value within their cap payroll.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This is merely a suggestion on Granger’s part. He isn’t saying the Golden Knights and Penguins have discussed a trade involving Smith. Still, it would be an interesting move by both clubs if it did come to pass. Smith wouldn’t be the first player in NHL history to struggle on a new club only to regain his form once traded back to his old team.

NHL Rumor Mill – February 2, 2024

NHL Rumor Mill – February 2, 2024

The ongoing fallout of the Elias Lindholm deal on the trade market, plus the latest on the Predators and Blackhawks in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.


THE ATHLETIC: Pierre LeBrun reports Sean Monahan of the Montreal Canadiens moves to the top of the list of available centers who are pending unrestricted free agents heading toward the March 8 trade deadline.

Montreal Canadiens center Sean Monahan (NHL Images).

He believes the Winnipeg Jets and Colorado Avalanche want to add a second-line center. The Boston Bruins and New York Rangers also make sense as destinations for Monahan.

The Anaheim Ducks’ Adam Henrique is probably next on that list. LeBrun also wondered if Scott Laughton could end up on this list if the Philadelphia Flyers fall out of the playoff race. He cited colleague Darren Dreger reporting the Flyers are getting calls about Laughton, who has two years left on his contract with an annual cap hit of $3 million. While general manager Daniel Briere isn’t keen to move the 29-year-old center he’s willing to listen to offers.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Monahan’s bounce-back performance this season and his affordable $1.9 million cap hit account for why he’s likely the top center in the trade market leading up to March 8. The Canadiens could even retain half of that cap hit but they’ll likely want a first-round pick and maybe a prospect or a promising young NHL player in return.

Laughton could be moved if someone pitches a significant offer to Briere, who isn’t deviating from his rebuilding plans despite his club sitting third in the Metropolitan Divison. As he said, however, he won’t make trades just for the sake of doing so. Briere indicated the trade market would determine what moves (if any) he’ll make.

LeBrun believes the Flames’ focus now shifts toward pending UFA defensemen Noah Hanifin and Chris Tanev. He thinks they’re still trying to re-sign Hanifin but will have to fish or cut bait by March 8.

It’s more likely that Tanev gets moved by deadline day. The Flames’ asking price is believed to be a second-round pick plus another asset but a club could have him right now if they’re willing to part with a first-rounder.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: LeBrun believes the Flames are rebuilding on the fly rather than engaging in a full roster teardown. They could seek a young roster player for Hanifin as he has more value than Tanev.

LeBrun also wondered what effect Lindholm’s trade might have on Flames goalie Jacob Markstrom as the two are good friends. Markstrom is signed through 2025-26 with an AAV of $6 million and a no-movement clause. If he wants out, moving him might have to wait until the offseason.


THE TENNESSEAN: Paul Skrbina doesn’t see the Nashville Predators parting with starting goaltender Juuse Saros by deadline day. They’re jockeying for a wild-card berth in the Western Conference and promising Yaroslav Askarov isn’t NHL-ready yet. The only way he thinks that could happen is if a desperate general manager is willing to overpay to get him.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Somebody could pitch Preds GM Barry Trotz an offer too good to refuse but I don’t think anyone’s going to do that by the trade deadline. Maybe in the offseason if Saros’ contract extension talks get difficult.

Skrbina expects Tyson Barrie to be the more likely candidate following his recent public trade request. Pending free agents such as Tommy Novak, Yakov Trenin, Alexandre Carrier and Kevin Lankinen and pending restricted free agent Dante Fabbro could also become trade bait.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Not all of those pending free agents could hit the trade block. In Fabbro’s case, Trotz doesn’t have to move him by March 8 as he could wait for the offseason to gauge his market value if he doesn’t have a long-term future in Nashville.


CHICAGO HOCKEY NOW: Nate Brown noted a recent report indicating the New York Rangers are taking calls on winger Kaapo Kakko and wondered if the Blackhawks should look into it if they haven’t already done so.

Kaapo, 22, could be an affordable acquisition and he still has time to reach his potential. However, Brown noted that the young Rangers winger has had ample opportunity to do so and hasn’t reached it yet. He also noted the Blackhawks are dealing with a struggling young winger of their own in Lukas Reichel.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Blackhawks already have enough promising youngsters on their club and within their system. They need more established young talent to help their rebuild and provide some much-needed depth around budding superstar Connor Bedard.

NHL Rumor Mill – January 31, 2024

NHL Rumor Mill – January 31, 2024

The Rangers could pursue Elias Lindholm while Kaapo Kakko could become trade bait, plus an update on Chris Tanev and the latest on the Canucks and Capitals in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.


NEW YORK POST: Larry Brooks reports sources tell him the Rangers have Elias Lindholm at the top of their wish list and had done so before Filip Chytil was ruled out for the rest of the season with a suspected concussion.

Lindholm, 29, is a skilled two-way center slated to become an unrestricted free agent on July 1. Brooks noted that he’s not a bruising checking-line forward that would make the Rangers a tougher playoff opponent. However, he would improve the Rangers at five-on-five.

While the Flames could still attempt to re-sign him he could become what Brooks calls the “prize deadline rental property.” The asking price could be a first-round pick along with “at least one legitimate prospect and perhaps a young, NHL-ready player.

Calgary Flames center Elias Lindholm (NHL Images).

It could take Kaapo Kakko and a first-rounder for the Rangers to land Lindholm. “Or maybe the Flames would prefer Will Cuylle or Brennan Othmann”. The Blueshirts have the cap room to absorb Lindholm’s $4.85 million cap hit but it would leave them little room to address other issues. Brooks believes the Flames’ asking price could increase if the Rangers asked them to retain 40 or 50 percent of Lindholm’s cap hit.

TSN: Darren Dreger reported Kakko is an asset that Rangers general manager Chris Drury could use as trade bait. He said multiple sources claim Drury is taking calls about the 22-year-old winger, who was chosen second overall in the 2019 draft. Dreger speculates Kakko could be used to acquire “a significant piece” leading up to the March 8 trade deadline.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Rangers ownership and management consider themselves to be Stanley Cup contenders since reaching the 2022 Eastern Conference Final. They went big in last year’s trade deadline by acquiring Patrick Kane and Vladimir Tarasenko but were eliminated from the opening round of the 2023 playoffs by their arch-rival, the New Jersey Devils.

It shouldn’t come as a surprise that the Rangers will swing for the fences again this year. They must address their depth at center and have the cap space to do so with Chytil on long-term injury reserve for the rest of the season.

Dangling Kakko as the centerpiece of an offer for Lindholm could give the Rangers the edge in a bidding war. He’s struggled with injuries and consistency in his five NHL seasons but still has the potential to become a reliable top-six forward, especially after last season’s promising 40-point performance. A change of scenery could be just what he needs to reach his potential.


TSN: Darren Dreger reports multiple teams are in the mix for Calgary Flames defenseman Chris Tanev. Among them are the Ottawa Senators and Toronto Maple Leafs.

The Senators would see Tanev as a foundational fit as they would be interested in signing him to a contract extension. Dreger also indicated some of the teams looking at Tanev are non-contenders like the Senators.

Dreger believes it comes down to whether Tanev is chasing the Stanley Cup this year. If he is, it will factor significantly into his decision as to where he wants to go.

OTTAWA SUN: Bruce Garrioch cites league sources claiming as many as 10 teams have reached out to the Flames about Tanev, including the Senators, Maple Leafs, Los Angeles Kings and Vancouver Canucks. It’s thought that Leafs general manager (and former Flames GM) Brad Treliving has made acquiring the blueliner a priority.

There aren’t many right-shot defensemen in this year’s trade market which is why Tanev is so coveted this season. Carolina Hurricanes blueliner Brett Pesce is the only other top-end right-shot blueliner available.

It’s believed the Flames asking price for Tanev is at least a first-round pick plus a prospect.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: A first-rounder plus a prospect seems like a lot to pay for a 34-year-old pending UFA defenseman. However, it wouldn’t be the first time a team has overpaid for such talent leading up to deadline day.

As for Pesce, his name was out there in the rumor mill earlier this season. With the Hurricanes rising in the Eastern Conference standings, I doubt that he’s available now. Like Tanev, he’s slated to become a UFA in July but the Hurricanes could be willing to hang onto him for the rest of the season and deal with his contract situation once the playoffs are over.


CHEK-TV’S Rick Dhaliwal reports agent Dan Milstein doesn’t believe rumors that the Vancouver Canucks could trade client Nikita Zadorov at the trade deadline.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The basis of that speculation had the Canucks moving Zadorov as a cost-cutting measure to free up cap room to acquire someone like Calgary’s Elias Lindholm or Pittsburgh’s Jake Guentzel.

Zadorov has struggled at times since joining the Canucks but he plays with a physical style that could prove invaluable in the heat of playoff competition. A more likely trade candidate would be Andrei Kuzmenko, who carries a $5.5 million AAV through next season. However, his declining performance this season could make him tougher to trade.


THE HOCKEY NEWS: Sammy Silber cited Daily Faceoff’s Frank Seravalli including Washington Capitals forward Nic Dowd on his list of trade targets. He’s among the league’s best defensive forwards and has a year left on his contract with a cap hit of $1.3 million.

Silber expects Dowd will be a trade candidate if the Capitals become sellers at the March 8 trade deadline. So will pending UFA winger Anthony Mantha. Max Pacioretty, Joel Edmundson and Nicolas Aube-Kubel could also draw some interest as could defensemen Nick Jensen and Trevor van Riemsdyk.

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 28, 2023

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 28, 2023

Three division leaders suffering upset defeats, the Panthers’ Sergei Bobrovsky reaches a career milestone and the Wild fire head coach Dean Evason. Details on these and other stories in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.


NHL.COM: Buffalo Sabres winger Alex Tuch scored two goals as his club upset the league-leading New York Rangers 5-1. Casey Mittelstadt had a goal and two assists and Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen stopped 25 shots as the Sabres improved to 10-10-2 on the season. Mika Zibanejad replied for the Rangers (15-4-1), who remain in first place in the overall standings with 31 points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Rangers also lost winger Kaapo Kakko as he left the game in the second period with what appeared to be an injured left knee. There was no postgame update regarding his condition.

The Boston Bruins suffered their third straight defeat as a result of a 5-2 upset at the hands of the Columbus Blue Jackets. Yegor Chinakhov had a goal and an assist while Spencer Martin made 31 saves for the Blue Jackets (7-12-4), who’ve won three of their last four games following a nine-game losing skid. Matthew Poitras and John Beecher scored for the Bruins, who also have 31 points but remain behind the Rangers with a record of 14-4-3.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Bruins’ defensive play was becoming a legitimate concern before this game, in part because they’ve faced tougher opponents in recent games. Those worries won’t be alleviated by falling to the lowly Blue Jackets while giving up five goals for the fourth time in five games.

An overtime goal by MacKenzie Weegar lifted the Calgary Flames to a 2-1 victory over the Vegas Golden Knights. A.J. Greer also scored while Dan Vladar got the win with a 25-save performance as the Flames boosted their record to 9-10-3, sitting in the final Western Conference wild-card berth with 21 points. William Karlsson tallied for the Golden Knights (14-5-3), who remain in first place in the Western Conference with 31 points and third in the overall standings.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Flames were forced to use an emergency backup goalie named Dusty Nickel after starter Jacob Markstrom was sidelined by an illness. There was a moment early in the first period when it appeared Nickel would have to relieve Vladar after the latter was briefly shaken up but he was able to finish the game.

The Colorado Avalanche got two goals from Ryan Johansen to beat the Tampa Bay Lightning 4-1, extending their win streak to four games. Alexandar Georgiev kicked out 37 shots while Cale Makar had a goal and an assist as the Avalanche (15-6-0) sit atop the Central Division with 30 points, one back of the Golden Knights in the conference standings. Anthony Cirelli scored for the Lightning as they slipped to 10-7-5.

Florida Panthers goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky (NHL Images).

Florida Panthers goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky made 20 saves for his 40th career shutout in a 5-0 blanking of the Ottawa Senators. Sam Reinhart tallied twice while Aleksander Barkov collected three assists for the 13-7-1 Panthers. Joonas Korpisalo made 33 saves for the Senators (8-9-0), who dropped into last place in the Eastern Conference standings with 16 points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Panthers and Senators combined for 167 penalty minutes with most of those coming in the third period as a result of a line brawl with 7:22 remaining in the frame. That resulted in every player on the ice receiving 10-minute misconducts.

A third-period goal by Luke Kunin carried the San Jose Sharks over the Washington Capitals 2-1. Fabian Zetterlund also scored while Mackenzie Blackwood turned aside 33 shots for the 5-12-2 Sharks, who remain at the bottom of the overall standings with 12 points. Evgeny Kuznetsov had the only goal for the 10-6-2 Capitals.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Sharks got the win without Tomas Hertl as he was sidelined with an injury to his midsection. He is listed as day-to-day. Meanwhile, the Capitals placed winger T.J. Oshie (upper body) on injured reserve and activated defenseman Martin Fehervary off IR.


STARTRIBUNE.COM: The Minnesota Wild fired Dean Evason as head coach on Monday, replacing him with John Hynes.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Coming off a 103-point performance last season, the Wild have been in a swoon since October. They are in the midst of a seven-game losing skid which prompted general manager Bill Guerin to make the coaching change.

Guerin had defended Evason earlier this month, stressing that improvement would have to come from within. That’s because the cap-strapped Wild can’t afford to make a significant trade to shake things up in a league where only five teams have at least $5 million in cap space.

Perhaps the Wild can rediscover their winning ways under a proven NHL bench boss like Hynes. If not, a roster retool could be next starting at the trade deadline when clubs will accrue sufficient cap room to make deals with each other.

Speaking of the Wild, Ryan Hartman received a two-game suspension from the NHL department of player safety for tripping Detroit Red Wings forward Alex DeBrincat on Sunday.

NHL.COM: Edmonton Oilers captain Connor McDavid, Tampa Bay Lightning winger Nikita Kucherov and Nashville Predators goaltender Juuse Saros are the league’s three stars for the week ending Nov. 26.

NYI HOCKEY NOW: Islanders defenseman Sebastian Aho (upper body) was placed on IR retroactive to Nov. 24.

PITTSBURGH HOCKEY NOW: The Penguins and Panthers will honor Patric Hornqvist during their Dec. 8 game in Florida. Hornqvist played for both clubs during his 15-season NHL career before retiring due to injuries following last season.

NHL.COM: The player draft will be returning to NHL All-Star Weekend this season as part of a new event called NHL All-Star Thursday.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The player draft was one of the few ideas that worked to make the All-Star Game a little more interesting than the pond-hockey yawnfest it usually tends to be.