TSN: The Halifax Mooseheads announced they will be retiring former star Nathan MacKinnon’s No. 22 during their Quebec Major Junior Hockey League home opener on Sept. 22 against the Charlottetown Islanders.
MacKinnon played his junior hockey with the Mooseheads from 2011-12 to 2012-13 before being chosen first overall in the 2013 NHL Draft by the Colorado Avalanche. He led them to the 2013 Memorial Cup and was named tournament MVP.
Colorado Avalanche center Nathan MacKinnon (NHL Images).
“It’s a true honour to have my jersey retired by the Mooseheads,” he said in a statement. “I can’t wait to share this moment with everyone back home in moose country.”
MacKinnon is the first member of the Mooseheads to be a first-overall NHL draft pick. He also joins Jean-Sebastien Giguere, Alex Tanguay and Jody Shelley as the only Mooseheads to have their numbers retired.
FLORIDA HOCKEY NOW: Sam Reinhart is slated to become an unrestricted free agent next summer. However, the 27-year-old Panthers winger hopes to stay in Florida. “It’s not something I stress over or lose sleep over too much,” said Reinhart. “They know I want to be here, I know they want me here.”
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Reinhart is in the final season of a three-year contract worth an average annual value of $6.5 million. He scored 31 goals last season, marking the second straight year that he exceeded the 30-goal plateau. Reinhart also had eight goals and 13 points in 21 playoff games during the Panthers’ Stanley Cup run last spring.
CAROLINA HOCKEY NOW: Martin Necas is in the final season of his two-year, $6 million contract. The 24-year-old forward will be a restricted free agent with arbitration rights next summer.
Necas said he’s putting his focus on improving his play rather than on a new deal. “Whatever is going to come is going to come,” he said.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Necas enjoyed a breakout regular season with a career-best of 28 goals and 43 assists for 71 points in 82 games but was limited to just seven points in 15 playoff contests. He’s hoping to build on last season’s efforts and improve his postseason performance.
Boeser, 26, also understands he needs to be better than last season’s 18-goal performance. He was hampered by a broken hand at the start of training camp and was still grieving the death of his father earlier in the year.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: This season will be a crucial one for Boeser and the current core of Canucks players. He could be among some big changes for the club if they miss the playoffs for a fourth straight year.
STLTODAY.COM: Blues winger Kasperi Kapanen has been accused of aggravated drunken driving in Finland. The case was brought to court in late August but few details were provided. Further information is expected following a court hearing in February 2024. Kapanen, 27, made a statement indicating he made “an unacceptable error in judgment” and would take “full responsibility.”
SPECTOR’S NOTE: It doesn’t sound like Kapanen will face a suspension by the Blues or the NHL. St. Louis general manager Doug Armstrong released a statement indicating the club was aware of the incident. He expressed disappointment in Kapanen’s “lapse of judgment” but is “entrusting him to make the necessary changes to avoid putting himself in a similar situation in the future.”
A three-time winner of the James Norris Memorial Trophy (twice with the Blackhawks), he spent nearly nine seasons with the Hawks from 1990-91 until traded to the Wings in Feb. 1999. Chelios also spent over nine seasons (1998-99 to 2008-09) with the Red Wings, winning two Stanley Cups.
Bruins goalie Linus Ullmark scores in his 30th win of the season, the Sharks retire Patrick Marleau’s number, the Jets acquire Nino Niederreiter, the Blues claim Kasperi Kapanen off waivers, and much more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.
NHL.COM: Boston Bruins goaltender Linus Ullmark celebrated his 30th win of the season by scoring an empty-net goal in a 3-1 victory over the Vancouver Canucks. Ullmark had 26 saves while Hampus Lindholm and Brad Marchand also scored for the 45-8-5 Bruins, who opened a nine-point lead over the Carolina Hurricanes for first place in the overall standings with 95 points. Brock Boeser scored for Vancouver as they dropped to 23-31-5 on the season. Canucks defenseman Ethan Bear left the game in the first period with an upper-body injury.
Boston Bruins goaltender Linus Ullmark (NHL Images)
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Earlier in the day, the Canucks acquired winger Vitali Kravtsov from the New York Rangers in exchange for winger Will Lockwood and a seventh-round pick in 2026. The 23-year-old Kravtsov was the ninth overall pick in the 2018 draft but struggled to establish himself with the Rangers. He becomes an affordable reclamation project for the rebuilding Canucks. The Rangers, meanwhile, shed some cap space ($875K) for perhaps another move at the March 3 trade deadline.
Speaking of the Hurricanes, their five-game winning streak ended after dropping a 3-2 decision to the Anaheim Ducks. John Gibson kicked out 51 shots while Trevor Zegras and Ryan Strome each collected two assists for the 19-34-7 Ducks. Jesperi Kotkaniemi and Jesper Fast replied for the Hurricanes (39-11-8) as they sit second in the overall standings with 86 points.
As for the Rangers, their winless skid stretched for four games (0-3-1) after falling 6-3 to the Washington Capitals. Evgeny Kuznetsov scored twice and collected two assists while T.J. Oshie also tallied twice for the 29-26-6 Capitals as they sit one point out of the final Eastern Conference wild-card berth with 64 points. Chris Kreider and Mika Zibanejad each had two points for 33-17-9 Rangers as they sit in third place in the Metropolitan Division with 75 points.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Rangers defenseman Ryan Lindgren left the game in the first period with an injured left shoulder following a hit into the boards by Oshie. Earlier in the day, they also placed forward Jake Leschyshyn on waivers in what’s expected to be a cost-cutting move for the upcoming trade deadline.
The Pittsburgh Penguins reclaimed that final Eastern wild-card spot with a 3-2 win over the St. Louis Blues on an overtime goal by Bryan Rust to snap their four-game losing skid. Rust, Evgeni Malkin and Marcus Pettersson each had a goal and an assist as the Penguins (65 points) improved to 28-21-9. Jordan Binnington made 45 saves for the Blues as they fell to 26-28-5.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Before this game, the Blues claimed winger Kasperi Kapanen off waivers from the Penguins. The 26-year-old winger did not play in this game. The Blues did the Penguins a favor as this move cleared Kapanen’s $3.2 million cap hit through 2023-24 off their books, providing some cap flexibility to perhaps make a move before the trade deadline.
A four-point performance by Connor McDavid couldn’t prevent the Edmonton Oilers from falling 6-5 to the Columbus Blue Jackets. McDavid scored twice and set up two other goals as his Oilers overcame a 4-0 deficit to tie the game but Columbus rallied with two more goals and held on for the win. Jack Roslovic also had two goals and two assists as the Blue Jackets improved to 19-35-5. The Oilers (32-20-8) sit third in the Pacific Division with 72 points.
New Jersey Devils goalie Akira Schmid made 23 saves for his first NHL shutout in a 7-0 drubbing of the Philadelphia Flyers. Jonas Siegenthaler had a goal and two assists while Dawson Mercer scored to extend his goal streak to six games for the Devils (39-15-5) as they sit three points back of the Hurricanes with 83 points. The 23-28-10 Flyers played without winger Travis Konecny (upper body) as he was placed on injured reserve.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Flyers winger James van Riemsdyk didn’t play in this game. Head coach John Tortorella claimed he was “a little banged-up.” The 33-year-old van Riemsdyk is expected to be moved by the March 3 trade deadline.
The Dallas Stars ended a five-game losing streak by nipping the Vegas Golden Knights 3-2 on shootout goals by Jason Robertson and Roope Hintz, who also tallied the game-tying goal with 38 seconds remaining in regulation. Jake Oettinger stopped 41 shots for the 31-16-12 Stars as they hold a three-point lead over the Winnipeg Jets for first place in the Central Division with 74 points. Jack Eichel netted his 20th goal of the season for the Golden Knights (35-18-6) as they sit atop the Western Conference standings with 76 points.
Tampa Bay Lightning netminder Andrei Vasilevskiy made 45 saves to blank the Detroit Red Wings 3-0. Brayden Point, Nikita Kucherov and Alex Killorn were the goal scorers as the Lightning improved to 37-17-4 and sit two points behind the second-place Toronto Maple Leafs in the Atlantic Division with 78 points. Detroit (28-22-8) sits one point out of the final Eastern Conference wild-card berth with 64 points. Red Wings forward Michael Rasmussen left the game in the first period with a lower-body injury.
The Colorado Avalanche beat the Calgary Flames 4-1. Mikko Rantanen scored for the fourth straight game while Alexandar Georgiev made 28 saves as the Avalanche (33-19-5) moved past the Winnipeg Jets into second place in the Central Division with 71 points. Tyler Toffoli scored his 25th goal of the season as his Flames fell to 27-21-12 and four points out of the final Western Conference wild-card spot with 66 points.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Avalanche also acquired minor-league goaltender Keith Kinkaid from the Bruins in exchange for forward Shane Bowers. Bringing in Kinkaid could be an insurance move as Pavel Francouz remains sidelined with a lower-body injury.
The Ottawa Senators swept their season series with the Montreal Canadiens with a 5-2 win. Derick Brassard had a goal and an assist while Mads Sogaard stopped 30 shots as the Senators improved to 28-26-4 to sit five points out of the final Eastern wild-card spot with 60 points. Nick Suzuki tallied his 20th goal of the season for the 25-30-4 Canadiens.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Canadiens also announced defenseman Arber Xhekaj will undergo season-ending shoulder surgery. Center Kirby Dach is out indefinitely with a lower-body injury while forward Joel Armia is day-to-day with an upper respiratory infection.
Chicago Blackhawks goalie Petr Mrazek turned aside 45 shots in a 4-3 win over the San Jose Sharks on a shootout goal by Philipp Kurashev. The Blackhawks improved to 21-32-5 while San Jose sank to 18-30-12. Before the game, the Sharks retired Patrick Marleau’s No. 12 in a pregame ceremony.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Marleau is the Sharks’ all-time leader with 1,607 games played, 522 goals and 1,111 points. He’s also second in assists with 589. Marleau is the first player in franchise history to have his number retired.
IN OTHER NEWS…
WINNIPEG SUN: The Jets acquired winger Nino Niederreiter from the Nashville Predators in exchange for a 2024 second-round pick.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: A nice pickup by the Jets to bolster their scoring depth. The 30-year-old Niederreiter is a big-bodied winger who is on pace (18 goals) to reach the 20-goal plateau for the sixth time in his career. He’s not a rental player as he carries a $4 million annual cap hit through 2023-24. The Jets might not be done making moves as Cap Friendly shows they’ve got over $5.4 million in projected trade deadline cap space.
SPORTSNET: The Buffalo Sabres placed winger Alex Tuch on injured reserve with an undisclosed injury.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: This could be a big blow to the Sabres’ playoff hopes. Tuch is second in scoring with 28 goals and 62 points. This could prompt management to shop for a replacement if he’s sidelined for a long period.
TSN: The Toronto Maple Leafs will send a second-round pick in 2025 to the Arizona Coyotes to complete last February’s trade that sent forward Nick Ritchie to the Coyotes in exchange for defenseman Ilya Lyubushkin and forward Ryan Dzingel.
The Sabres move into a wild-card berth, Brad Marchand gets another fine, Erik Cernak gets a suspension, Penguins GM Ron Hextall responds to his critics, and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.
NHL.COM: The Buffalo Sabres moved into the final Eastern Conference wild-card berth with a 3-1 win over the Florida Panthers. Craig Anderson made 53 saves, Jeff Skinner scored twice to reach 600 career points and Tage Thompson collected three assists as the Sabres improved to 30-23-4 (64 points) to sit ahead of the Detroit Red Wings (28-21-8). Anthony Duclair had an assist in his season debut with the Panthers, who also have 64 points but drop to 29-26-6.
Buffalo Sabres winger Jeff Skinner (NHL Images).
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The race for the Eastern Conference wild-card berths is heating up. Five points separate the New York Islanders (67 points) and the Washington Capitals (62 points) with the Sabres, Red Wings, Panthers and Pittsburgh Penguins (63 points) in between. The Capitals and Penguins, however, are fading while the Sabres, Wings and Panthers are surging.
Earlier in the day, the NHL and NHL Players Association released a joint statement indicating that Panthers goaltender Spencer Knight was taking a personal leave of absence to receive care from the Players’ Assistance Program. Best wishes to Knight as he undergoes treatment.
Carolina Hurricanes goalie Antti Raanta stopped 32 shots to shut out the Ottawa Senators 4-0. Brent Burns, Seth Jarvis, Martin Necas and Brady Skjei scored for the 39-10-8 Hurricanes (86 points) as they sit seven points behind the league-leading Boston Bruins in the overall standings. The Senators slipped to 27-26-4.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Raanta’s record is 9-0-1 at home while the Hurricanes are 14-1-1 in the last 16 contests.
Colorado Avalanche center Nathan MacKinnon had a goal and an assist for his sixth straight multi-point game in a 5-1 romp over the Winnipeg Jets. Mikko Rantanen and J.T. Compher also each had a goal and an assist as the 32-19-5 Avalanche (69 points) sit one point behind the Seattle Kraken while opening a three-point lead over the Calgary Flames in the final Western Conference wild-card spot. Mason Appleton scored for the Jets (35-23-1), who’ve dropped four of their last five but remain one point behind the first-place Dallas Stars in the Central Division with 71 points.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The only reason the Jets are still close behind the Stars is that the latter has won just two of their last 10 games. The news got worse for the Jets as they announced before this game that rookie Cole Perfetti will be sidelined for the remainder of the regular season with an undisclosed injury.
An overtime goal by William Nylander lifted the Toronto Maple Leafs over the Minnesota Wild 2-1. David Kampf also scored for the Leafs and Ilya Samsonov kicked out 24 shots as they improved to 36-15-8 to hold a four-point lead over the Tampa Bay Lightning for second place in the Atlantic Division with 80 points. Brandon Duhaime replied for the Wild (32-21-6) as they sit in third place in the Central with 70 points, just one back of the second-place Jets.
The Los Angeles Kings scored three goals in the second period as they held off the New York Islanders by a score of 3-2. Phillip Danault, Arthur Kaliyev and Gabriel Vilardi scored for the 33-19-8 Kings. They hold a two-point lead over the Edmonton Oilers for second place in the Pacific Division with 74 points and sit one point back of the first-place Vegas Golden Knights. Noah Dobson and Adam Pelech replied for the Islanders (30-25-7) as they hold the first wild-card berth in the Eastern Conference with 67 points.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kings goaltender Jonathan Quick picked up his 370th career win to surpass Tom Barrasso for the third-most wins by an American-born NHL goaltender. John Vanbiesbrouck is second with 374 and Ryan Miller holds first place with 391.
Montreal Canadiens winger Jesse Ylonen had a goal and an assist in a 5-2 victory over the Philadelphia Flyers. Chris Tierney also scored in his first game with Montreal after being claimed off waivers on Thursday. The Canadiens (25-29-4) have won five of their last seven games while the Flyers (23-27-10) have dropped six of their last seven contests.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Flyers winger Joel Farabee dismissed rumors yesterday claiming his representatives have expressed their displeasure over how their client’s season is going under head coach John Tortorella.
“I think for me right now, I’m 100 percent committed to being a Flyer,” said Farabee. Tortorella, meanwhile, was more blunt, telling reporters that if Farabee’s agent is leaking information he should “just shut up,” adding he “doesn’t give a damn” what he thinks.
BOSTON HOCKEY NOW: Bruins winger Brad Marchand was fined $5,000.00 for a dangerous trip on Seattle Kraken winger Oliver Bjorkstrand.
TAMPA BAY TIMES: Lightning defenseman Erik Cernak received a two-game suspension for elbowing Buffalo Sabres captain Kyle Okposo.
PITTSBURGH HOCKEY NOW: Penguins general manager Ron Hextall downplayed calls from some fans calling for his firing as his club slides in the standings. He said it won’t change how he conducts business, adding that he won’t spend big assets like a first-round pick to add a rental player before the March 3 trade deadline.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Hextall didn’t say he wouldn’t trade a first-round pick for a player under contract beyond this season. That’s what he’s likely shopping for if he’s looking for help in the trade market.
THE SCORE: St. Louis Blues center Robert Thomas took offense over head coach Craig Berube accusing his core players of not caring about the team during their loss to the Vancouver Canucks on Thursday. “I’ve been a part of this team for a long time,” said Thomas. “What he said couldn’t be further from the truth. I know everyone in that room cares.”
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Berube doubled down with his comments on Friday, saying he hoped his comments sparked a response from his players. Meanwhile, general manager Doug Armstrong sought to diffuse the situation by saying the club needs to come to grips with the current situation, puts its past behind them and turn the page.
RUMOR TIDBITS FROM FRIEDMAN’S LATEST “32 THOUGHTS” COLUMN
SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman reports there were rumors that Patrick Kane would prefer to play out this season with the Chicago Blackhawks and decide his future in next summer’s free-agent market. However, sources told him that’s not the case.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: As Friedman noted, we can expect more clarity on what Kane and fellow UFA Jonathan Toews want in the New Year. It’s believed Blackhawks management will meet with both players at some point this month to discuss their futures.
San Jose Sharks defenseman Erik Karlsson (NHL Images).
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Karlsson carries a no-movement clause. Assuming he’d agree to be traded to the Panthers, they can’t afford his $11.5 million cap hit through 2026-27 without shedding salary and having the Sharks retain a healthy chunk of it.
The cost in terms of return would also be high, including at least one first-round pick. That’s something the Panthers don’t have, having traded away their first-rounders for 2023, 2024 and 2025.
The Philadelphia Flyers are at the 50-contract limit and thus cannot promote Artem Anisimov from their AHL affiliate. Friedman wonders if they might make a move to address that issue.
LATEST ON CHYCHRUN
SPORTSNET: Adam Vingan took note of Arizona Coyotes defenseman Jakob Chychrun’s recent return to action following off-season wrist surgery. The 24-year-old blueliner’s youth, size and affordable $4.6 million salary-cap hit combined with his puck-moving abilities continue to make him enticing for teams seeking a rearguard with his skills.
Vingan also cited Chychrun’s injury history and is prone to turnovers. Nevertheless, he considers him to be a “well-rounded defenseman” who can lead a breakout, control a power play and hold his own against tough competition.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Those interested clubs will want to see Chychrun play some games this season before bidding for his services. The asking price is heavy on futures (draft picks, especially first-rounders, plus prospects and/or a good young NHL player) which is why teams will be cautious given his injury history.
Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman said the Kings seek a left-hand shot on their blueline. While linked to Chychrun and carrying the type of assets the Coyotes would want, he believes there’s no guarantee it happens. Friedman also thinks Chychrun has let management know that he prefers getting moved to a contender.
Coyotes general manager Bill Armstrong could push to move Chychrun this season. The blueliner’s 10-team no-trade clause kicks in next July, giving him more control over where he could be dealt.
SENATORS FACE DEADLINE TO SIGN FORMENTON
OTTAWA SUN: Bruce Garrioch reports the Senators have until 5 pm ET on Dec. 1 to sign Alex Formenton. The 23-year-old winger is a restricted free agent. If he’s unsigned by that deadline, he’ll be ineligible to play in the NHL this season. Garrioch doesn’t anticipate a rival club tending Formenton an offer sheet.
DAILY FACEOFF: Frank Seravalli wonders if the Senators will attempt to trade Formenton to a club willing to sign him before that deadline. There’s speculation the winger could face discipline for his potential involvement in the Team Canada 2018 World Junior team’s sexual assault case. He’s among the few players who have not responded to the allegations directly or indirectly.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The results from the investigation are expected soon but probably not in time for the deadline. It could be that the Senators or clubs potentially interested in Formenton are leery of signing or acquiring him because of this situation. We’ll find out soon enough.
CAN THE PENGUINS FIND A TRADE PARTNER FOR KAPANEN?
PITTSBURGH HOCKEY NOW: Dan Kingerski recently wondered if the Pittsburgh Penguins can find a trade partner for Kasperi Kapanen by swapping him with another player with a comparably bad contract. The 26-year-old winger is in the first season of a two-year deal with a $3.2 million average annual value.
Kingerski suggested the Edmonton Oilers’ Jesse Puljujarvi, Calgary Flames Milan Lucic and San Jose Sharks Kevin Labanc as trade targets.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I doubt there’s any market for Kapanen after being a healthy scratch through most of November. Pujujarvi was the subject of trade rumors for months but nothing’s come of it. Lucic is aging and slowing down but he remains a popular dressing-room leader for the Flames.
Labanc is the more productive of that group with 13 points in 25 games. If the Sharks were to shop him I don’t see them wanting Kapanen in return.
Which forwards could the Golden Knights target in the trade market? Should the Oilers attempt to acquire Kasperi Kapanen? Are the Wild in the market for more scoring? Find out in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.
TRADE TARGETS FOR THE GOLDEN KNIGHTS
VEGAS HOCKEY NOW: Owen Krepps has Vancouver Canucks center Bo Horvat at the top of his list of six potential trade candidates for the Golden Knights to boost their forward depth. He admits, however, the Canucks could set an asking price that’s too expensive for Vegas.
Krepps acknowledged the cap-strapped Golden Knights will have to shed some salary. One way could be shopping goaltender Laurent Brossoit ($2.3 million) as Logan Thompson and Adin Hill are playing well as the goaltending tandem. Another option could be shopping defenseman Alec Martinez.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I doubt the Golden Knights can free up sufficient cap space to acquire Horvat and they probably can’t afford the Canucks asking price in terms of picks and prospects. Monahan’s $6.4 million cap hit also probably prices him out of their market unless the Habs agree to retain some of his salary, and that will mean parting with a sweetener they probably can’t afford to give up. The same goes for Nyquist and his $5.5 million cap hit.
Domi ($3 million), Puljujarvi ($3 million) and Kapanen ($3.2 million) are more affordable and likely obtainable targets. Domi is the best of this bunch. While inconsistent, he’s putting up better stats this season (14 points) than Puljujarvi and Kapanen combined (nine points). However, the Golden Knights might not be able to outbid other clubs if he continues playing as well as he has for the rebuilding Blackhawks.
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.
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.