Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – January 1, 2023

Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – January 1, 2023

Start off your New Year with a look at the Leafs’ trade deadline priorities, the future of Max Domi, trade options for the Flyers and more in the first Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup of 2023.

THE LATEST “32 THOUGHTS” TRADE RUMORS

SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman reports the Toronto Maple Leafs could still attempt to take a big swing at landing a defenseman before the March 3 trade deadline. However, the improved performance of their blueline this season has some wondering if they might change their approach. They have limited cap space and don’t have a lot of draft picks but they do possess plenty of prospects.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Young blueliners like Rasmus Sandin, Timothy Liljegren and Conor Timmins stepped up with Jake Muzzin likely done for the season and Morgan Rielly sidelined for 15 games by a knee injury. There could still be some question over whether those rearguards can maintain that level of play in the postseason but their performances over the next couple of months could alleviate that concern. If so, the Leafs could shift their focus toward adding a scoring winger by deadline day.

Chicago Blackhawks forward Max Domi (NHL Images).

Jeff Marek reports Max Domi signing a one-year contract last summer with the Chicago Blackhawks seemed to suggest the 27-year-old forward would be shopped by the trade deadline, However, Domi has fit in well with the rebuilding club. There are ongoing discussions between his agent and Blackhawks general manager Kyle Davidson. With Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews potentially moving on at the trade deadline, a Domi trade no longer seems as certain as it once was.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Davidson could still move Domi if he gets a solid offer like a first-round pick, a high-end prospect or a good young NHL player. As Marek indicated, however, that might not be the done deal everyone thought it was last summer.

Speaking of the Blackhawks, Friedman wondered if defenseman Jake McCabe could end up being a trade target for the Edmonton Oilers.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: McCabe, 29, is in the second season of a four-year deal with an average annual value of $4 million. He also carries a seven-team no-trade list. The Oilers don’t have a lot of projected trade deadline cap space ($1.6 million) so they might need the Blackhawks to retain some salary if they can’t move out enough in this deal or in a separate cost-cutting deal.

LATEST ON THE FLYERS

THE ATHLETIC: In a recent mailbag segment, Charlie O’Connor was asked if any teams might be interested in Philadelphia Flyers forward Kevin Hayes or if his contract would be too expensive to move. O’Connor doesn’t rule out a deadline move but thinks it would be more likely to occur in the offseason. Hayes’ $7.1 million cap hit through 2025-26 won’t draw much interest but that could improve if the Flyers retained half of it.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: All of this arose from recent reports of tension between Hayes and Flyers coach John Tortorella. O’Connor also suggested that teams would be less interested in making a trade for Hayes if there’s a feeling the Flyers will buy him out this summer. That possibility recently arose in the rumor mill but I think it’s premature to make that assumption. It’s also possible that the talk of tension between Hayes and Tortorella is overblown. Nevertheless, their relationship could be worth monitoring over the remainder of the season.

O’Connor was also asked if it would be wise for the Flyers to attempt to move winger Travis Konecny now while his value is high right now. He believes the 25-year-old winger could fetch a first-round pick and a B-level prospect at least. However, O’Connor thinks Konecny is young enough to still deliver for the Flyers as the club turns the corner considering he’s also signed through 2024-25.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Konecny probably isn’t going anywhere as long as Chuck Fletcher remains the GM and the club’s focus isn’t on rebuilding but retooling around their current core. So far, there’s no indication of any shift in the club’s plans.










NHL Rumor Mill – December 20, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – December 20, 2022

The holiday roster freeze is in effect until Dec. 27 but the NHL rumor mill hasn’t stopped churning. Check out the latest on the Flyers and Canadiens.

PHILLY HOCKEY NOW: Sam Carchidi cited Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman wondering if the Flyers and Kevin Hayes could be headed toward a buyout. Friedman mentioned what appears to be growing tension between Hayes and head coach John Tortorella, who has complained about the 30-year-old forward’s defensive play and benched him three times already this season.

Philadelphia Flyers center Kevin Hayes (NHL Images).

Hayes is the Flyers’ most productive offensive player with 29 points in 31 games. Nevertheless, Friedman observed most of the $14 million of bonus money in Hayes’ contract is almost paid off. If bought out at the end of this season, he’ll earn on average $2 million annually.

Carchidi notes Hayes is making $7.1 million per season. If he’s bought out in June, it’ll cost the Flyers $2.25 million against their cap for 2023-24, followed by $4.75 million annually for the next two seasons before dropping to $1.6 million annually for the final three seasons.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I wonder if the Flyers might attempt to trade Hayes rather than buy him out. He now carries a 12-team no-trade list giving management 20 potential destinations. His cap hit, of course, is a big sticking point but that could be alleviated if the Flyers agree to retain half of it.

That’s over $3.5 million of dead cap space annually over the next three seasons but that’s better than carrying six years from a buyout. It’s also more affordable than having $4.75 million annually counting against their cap for 2024-25 and 2025-26 from the buyout.

The Flyers might not get much back from trading Hayes. Still, they could get a draft pick, a prospect, or a struggling young player in need of a change of scenery.

MONTREAL HOCKEY NOW: Speaking of the Flyers, Marco D’Amico cited Friedman saying the Flyers attempted last summer to trade James van Riemsdyk with the goal of dumping his full $7 million cap hit for this season. The 33-year-old winger is slated to become an unrestricted free agent in July.

The Flyers wanted to shed van Riemsdyk’s cap hit in hope of clearing enough cap space to sign Johnny Gaudreau in last summer’s free-agent market. The Canadiens, Arizona Coyotes and Anaheim Ducks were among those the Flyers spoke to but the asking price was for their 2023 first-round pick to be included in the deal.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I mention this because Friedman’s colleague Jeff Marek reported on Saturday that the Flyers have made “JvR” available in the trade market. The Flyers are said to be willing to retain salary to facilitate a deal.

Such a move probably won’t occur until the weeks leading up to the March 3 trade deadline. And no, the Flyers won’t be bundling him with their 2023 first-rounder. Given how their season is going, it could become the first-overall pick if the draft lottery balls fall their way.

D’Amico also wondered if the Canadiens and Washington Capitals might rekindle trade discussions now that Capitals center Nicklas Backstrom could be ready to return from offseason hip surgery in the next several weeks.

The Capitals will have to clear some cap space to make room for Backstrom. With Carey Price on LTIR for the season, the Habs have the cap flexibility to take on an expiring contract or by targeting a slumping forward like Anthony Mantha in exchange for one of their veteran forwards at 50 percent salary retained.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Earlier this season, the Canadiens were believed to have spoken to the Capitals. It was said they offered the Capitals one of their veteran forwards (Mike Hoffman, Joel Armia or Jonathan Drouin) but nothing came of it.

Maybe the Canadiens could get involved to take on a contract (bundled with a draft pick, of course) from the Capitals. However, the Habs won’t be the only team the Caps will speak to and they could get a better deal elsewhere.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 20, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 20, 2022

Game recaps feature a four-point game for Bruins captain Patrice Bergeron, the three stars of the week are revealed, two trades go down before the holiday freeze goes into effect, the Oilers re-sign Stuart Skinner and much more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: The Boston Bruins extended their home points streak to 19 games by dumping the Florida Panthers 7-3. Boston captain Patrice Bergeron scored twice and collected two assists while Brad Marchand collected three assists as the Bruins (25-4-2) opened a seven-point lead over the Vegas Golden Knights for first place in the overall standings with 52 points. Sam Reinhart and Carter Verhaeghe each had two points for the 15-14-4 Panthers.

Boston Bruins captain Patrice Bergeron (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Bruins are showing no signs of cooling off from their hot start to this season as they approach the holiday season. They’re widening their lead over the teams chasing them in the overall standings.

Speaking of the Golden Knights, they dropped a 3-2 decision to the Buffalo Sabres. Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen made 41 saves to hold off Vegas while Tage Thompson tallied his 26th goal of the season as the Sabres improved to 16-14-2. Chandler Stephenson and Reilly Smith replied for the Golden Knights (22-11-1) as they hold a one-point lead over the Dallas Stars for first place in the Western Conference with 45 points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Sabres defenseman Ilya Lyubushkin returned to the lineup after missing nine games with a lower-body injury.

The Stars (19-8-6), meanwhile, nipped the Columbus Blue Jackets by a score of 2-1. Jake Oettinger made 27 saves while Wyatt Johnston and Jason Robertson were the goal scorers. Kent Johnson replied for the Blue Jackets, who have lost four in a row and dropped to 10-19-2.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Blue Jackets forward Yegor Chinakhov left this game with an upper-body injury. The Jackets also played without captain Boone Jenner as he’s sidelined for four weeks with a broken thumb.

Colorado Avalanche goaltender Alexandar Georgiev turned in a 26-save shutout and Evan Rodrigues scored the only goal in a 1-0 shootout victory over the New York Islanders. Ilya Sorokin stopped 46 shots for the 18-13-2 Islanders. The Avalanche improved to 17-11-2.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Avalanche defenseman Cale Makar provided a fine example of sportsmanship by telling the referees not to call a tripping penalty on Isles center Mathew Barzal. The call was reversed after Makar told the official that he wasn’t tripped by Barzal but merely slipped and fell down.

Before the game, Islanders general manager Lou Lamoriello said goaltender Semyon Varlamov (lower-body), Cal Clutterbuck and Kyle Palmieri (upper body) are day-to-day. Defenseman Adam Pelech remains sidelined with an upper-body injury but it’s not believed to be long-term. The Isles also terminated the contract of Nikita Soshnikov.

An overtime goal by Alexander Carrier lifted the Nashville Predators over the Edmonton Oilers 4-3. Juuse Saros kicked out 30 shots for the Predators (13-13-4) as they end a six-game skid. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins scored twice and Connor McDavid (two assists) extended his points streak to 13 games. The Oilers sit at 17-14-2.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Before the game, the Oilers announced they’ve signed goaltender Stuart Skinner to a three-year contract extension worth an average annual value of $2.6 million. Skinner has outplayed Jack Campbell ($5 million AAV) and taken over the starter’s job from the struggling Campbell.

Washington Capitals defenseman Dmitry Orlov’s overtime goal gave his club a 4-3 win over the Detroit Red Wings. Nic Dowd scored twice in 11 seconds during the second period for the Capitals as they move to 17-13-4 on the season. Ville Husso made 38 saves for the 13-11-7 Red Wings.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Capitals goalie Darcy Kuemper returned to the lineup after missing seven games with an upper-body injury. He backed up Charlie Lindgren for this contest.

A hat trick by Jordan Kyrou carried the St. Louis Blues over the Vancouver Canucks 5-1. Vladimir Tarasenko collected three assists and Jordan Binnington made 33 saves for the Blues as they improved to 16-15-1. Ilya Mikheyev scored for the Canucks as they drop to 13-15-3.

An overtime goal by Mike Hoffman gave the Montreal Canadiens a 3-2 win over the Arizona Coyotes. Sam Montembeault stopped 37 shots while Cole Caufield netted his 19th goal of the season for the Canadiens (15-15-2). Nick Schmaltz and Matias Macelli replied for the Coyotes as they slide to 10-15-5.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Before the game, the Canadiens announced they’ll honor former Habs defenseman P.K. Subban prior to their Jan. 12 game at the Bell Centre against the Nashville Predators. Subban played for both clubs but he spent seven of his 13 NHL seasons with the Canadiens, winning the Norris Trophy in 2012-13. He retired before the start of this season.

HEADLINES

NHL.COM: Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin, Buffalo Sabres center Tage Thompson and Minnesota Wild winger Mats Zuccarello are the three stars for the week ending Dec. 18, 2022.

PHILLY HOCKEY NOW: Flyers winger Cam Atkinson’s season is over before it had a chance to begin. He’ll undergo neck surgery on Dec. 21 and is expected to make a full recovery.

Meanwhile, Flyers center Kevin Hayes didn’t believe he deserved to be a healthy scratch for the club’s 6-3 loss to the Islanders on Saturday. “I wasn’t happy but it’s not my decision,” said Hayes.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Tensions appear to be rising between Hayes and Flyers coach John Tortorella. I’ll have more about that in today’s Rumor Mill update.

NHL.COM: The department of player safety suspended San Jose Sharks forward Tomas Hertl for two games for high-sticking Calgary Flames forward Elias Lindholm during Sunday’s game between the two clubs.

TORONTO SUN: The Maple Leafs traded forward Denis Malgin to the Colorado Avalanche in exchange for forward Dryden Hunt.

THE ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER: The Anaheim Ducks acquired defenseman Michael Del Zotto in a three-team trade involving the Detroit Red Wings and Florida Panthers. Del Zotto was traded first by the Panthers to the Red Wings for blueliner Giavani Smith. The Wings then flipped him to the Ducks for center Danny O’Regan. All three will be reporting to their new minor-league teams.

NBC SPORTS CHICAGO: The Blackhawks activated Alex Stalock from injured reserve and sent Arvid Soderblom to their AHL affiliate in Rockford. They also placed Jarred Tinordi (facial fracture) on IR retroactively to Dec. 18.

NHL.COM: Former NHL goaltender Andrew Hammond has announced his retirement. He spent six seasons with the Ottawa Senators, Colorado Avalanche, Montreal Canadiens and New Jersey Devils from 2013-14 to 2021-22 with a record of 31 wins, 20 losses and 7 overtime losses. He had a career goals-against average of 2.56 and a .916 save percentage with four shutouts.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Hammond is best remembered for his 20-1-2 run with the Senators to carry the club into the 2015 playoffs. Best wishes to “The Hamburglar” in his future endeavors.










Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – December 11, 2022

Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – December 11, 2022

Will the Devils make a splash at the trade deadline? Could the Flyers buy out Kevin Hayes? Are the Canadiens interested in Brock Boeser? What’s the latest on the Oilers and Jesse Puljujarvi? Find out in the Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup.

COULD THE DEVILS BECOME MAJOR PLAYERS AT THE TRADE DEADLINE?

NEW YORK POST: Larry Brooks believes the New Jersey Devils have the assets to swing a major move by the March 3 trade deadline if they wish.

Top prospects Luke Hughes and Simon Nemec would probably be off-limits but Seamus Casey and Alexander Holtz could be available. He also suggested shopping pending unrestricted free agent defenseman Damon Severson and his $4.1 million cap hit to create some cap space.

Brooks acknowledged the Devils’ salary-cap restrictions plus the eventual return of sidelined winger Ondrej Palat could eliminate the need to seek a high-end rental player.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The high-flying Devils could be worth watching as the trade deadline approaches. They could make a move or two if they decide to go all-in for a Cup run. Then again, they could stick with their current lineup or only make a tweak or two with an affordable rental player.

Philadelphia Flyers center Kevin Hayes (NHL Images).

WILL THE FLYERS TRADE OR BUY OUT KEVIN HAYES?

NEW YORK POST: Larry Brooks observed that Philadelphia Flyers center Kevin Hayes has three seasons remaining on his contract with an average annual value of over $7.14 million. He believes a buyout is inevitable unless the Flyers can move Hayes while retaining 50 percent of his cap hit. The buyout would cost between $1.6 million and $4.75 million against the cap for the next six seasons.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: As per Cap Friendly, the breakdown is $2.25 million for 2023-24, jumping to $4.75 million for 2024-25 and 2025-26 before dropping to $1.6 million per season for the final three seasons of the buyout.

We don’t know what plans Flyers general manager Chuck Fletcher has in mind for Hayes or anyone else on his roster. Heck, Fletcher might not even be the GM by the end of this season.

Nevertheless, a buyout seems more likely than a trade even at retaining half of Hayes’ contract. The Flyers would also likely have to include a draft pick or prospect in that deal.

COULD THE CANADIENS HAVE AN INTEREST IN BROCK BOESER?

MONTREAL HOCKEY NOW: cited the Dec. 9 episode of the Sekeres and Price Show podcast during which NHL insider Rick Dhaliwal said the Montreal Canadiens have had a longstanding interest in Vancouver Canucks winger Brock Boeser.

Dhaliwal said he’s heard that former Canadiens GM Marc Bergevin offered up defenseman Alexander Romanov plus a draft pick for Boeser and would’ve also taken on a bad contract in return. However, then-Canucks GM Jim Benning said no.

Dhaliwal suggested Canadiens center Sean Monahan would be the type of player on an expiring contract that the Canucks would be interested in acquiring in a deal for Boeser. He thinks Monahan would help if the Canucks decide to trade Bo Horvat at the trade deadline.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Canucks don’t want to retain any part of Boeser’s $6.65 million annual cap hit through 2024-25. They also aren’t interested in adding a sweetener like a draft pick or a prospect to convince another team to take on Boeser’s contract.

However, they are willing to take back a contract (preferably an expiring one) as they want to clear free up cap space beyond this season. They’d also want a draft pick, prospect or affordable young NHL player as part of that return.

Bergevin may have had an interest in Boeser but we don’t know if current Canadiens GM Kent Hughes shares that keenness for the Canucks winger. He might not want to take on Boeser’s cap hit for the next couple of seasons, especially when he’s got rising star Cole Caufield due for a big raise as a restricted free agent this summer.

OILERS TRYING TO MOVE PULJUJARVI

SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman reports there was a conversation before the start of the season between Edmonton Oilers management and the agent for winger Jesse Puljujarvi regarding the possibility of moving him if things didn’t go well this season.

Friedman noted Puljujarvi’s comments last week to a Finnish sportswriter regarding his concerns over his performance. He believes a trade could be coming for the Oilers winger but it will take some time. Their roster is banged up and they don’t have a salary-cap issue until Evander Kane returns to the lineup.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Friedman also said that a couple of teams indicated that Puljujarvi seems more comfortable and puts less pressure on himself when he’s not playing alongside Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl. It could be that he needs a change of scenery to get his playing career back on track.

Puljujarvi’s carrying a one-year contract worth $3 million. However, there might not be many potential trade partners given the high number of teams squeezed for cap space this season.

The Oilers reportedly didn’t find any offers to their liking during the offseason. Given Puljujarvi’s lack of confidence and low production this season, his value in the trade market is probably at rock bottom. They could end up having to bite the bullet and accept whatever they can to make this deal happen.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 13, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 13, 2022

The Canadiens name Nick Suzuki as their new captain, an update on Carey Price, the Avalanche sign Evan Rodrigues, plus the latest on Sean Couturier, Kevin Hayes, and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.

MONTREAL HOCKEY NOW: The Canadiens yesterday announced Nick Suzuki had been named as the 31st captain in franchise history. The 23-year-old center succeeds Shea Weber, whose playing days were cut short by injuries. Brendan Gallagher and Joel Edmundson were named alternate captains.

Montreal Canadiens center Nick Suzuki (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Sportsnet’s Eric Engels pointed out that this is a departure from the old way of doing things when it comes to choosing the Canadiens captain. In the past, the honor was bestowed upon a long-time veteran of the team.

Suzuki is the youngest captain in franchise history with just three seasons under his belt. The move is in line with the club’s efforts to build around promising young talent. His best seasons remain ahead of him and he would be in a better position to lead by example.

The new Canadiens captain is already facing pressure from Quebec politicians to learn French, something he’s been doing during the offseason. Suzuki also has the support of Gallagher and Edmundson, who praised his maturity and pointed out how quickly he garnered respect in the dressing room.

MONTREAL GAZETTE: Carey Price isn’t expected to suit up with the Canadiens this season. However, the 35-year-old goaltender intends to spend the season in Montreal and be around the team as he continues receiving treatment for his nagging knee injury.

Price has four years remaining on his contract with an average annual value of $10.5 million. He’s been placed on long-term injury reserve for the coming season. The indications are he’d like to play again if he can. That could require more surgery on his knee.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Spending time with the Canadiens could also serve as a stepping stone toward scouting, coaching or a management role for Price if he’s unable to continue his playing career.

The Canadiens will also be among seven NHL teams that will take advantage of a new league rule allowing them to carry advertising on their jerseys. They’ll sport a small RBC patch on their right chests.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That news generated howls of protests on social media among some Canadiens followers and other fans who are against ad patches on NHL jerseys. I don’t have a problem with it as long as they don’t end up looking like the jerseys of some European leagues where they’re covered in ad patches. The league has limited them to just two small patches per jersey.

We’ll soon see every team in the league sporting those patches because they can earn between $5 million and $10 million annually from jersey ad deals. It’s part of hockey-related revenue, which will help to increase the salary cap, making it a little easier for your favorite team to retain your favorite players.

Besides, it’s silly to get upset over a couple of small ad patches on jerseys. As ESPN’s Greg Wyshynski pointed out, you’ve been watching a game for years in arenas named for corporations where the boards and ice have been covered with ads.

COLORADO HOCKEY NOW: The Avalanche signed Evan Rodrigues to a one-year, $2 million contract. The 29-year-old center was an unrestricted free agent who spent last season with the Pittsburgh Penguins, enjoying a career-high 43-point performance.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Rodrigues didn’t get much term on this contract but he does get a nice pay raise over the $1 million he received last season. He’s expected to fill the second-line center position with the Avalanche vacated by Nazem Kadri after he signed with the Calgary Flames last month.

A strong effort with the defending Stanley Cup champions should ensure Rodrigues gets a more lucrative contract next summer, either with the Avalanche or another club via free agency.

THE PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER: Good news for the Flyers entering training camp as Sean Couturier and Kevin Hayes both received clean bills of health. Hayes missed 34 games last season due to two abdominal injuries and an infection in his groin area. Couturier, meanwhile, was sidelined for 54 games due to persistent back problems that required season-ending surgery.

CALGARY SUN: Michael Stone has accepted a professional tryout offer with the Flames. The 32-year-old defenseman has spent the past six seasons in Calgary.

THE DALLAS MORNING NEWS’ Matthew DeFranks reports former Stars goaltender Ben Bishop has been hired as their player development coordinator.

THE ATHLETIC: Ian Mendes recently reported Chris Phillips has returned to the Ottawa Senators as their vice president of business operations. The former Senators defenseman had severed ties with the club last summer by announcing his departure from the Senators Community Foundation. Phillips’ return is seen as another step by the franchise to repair the relationship with the local community.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 12, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 12, 2022

The Oilers win their first game under new coach Jay Woodcroft, Brad Marchand to appeal his six-game suspension, Flyers center Sean Couturier undergoes season-ending surgery, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: The Edmonton Oilers won their first game under new head coach Jay Woodcroft by downing the New York Islanders 3-1. Connor McDavid collected two assists, Mike Smith made 37 saves and Zach Hyman scored what proved to be the winning goal. With 51 points, the Oilers are four behind the Anaheim Ducks for the final wild-card spot in the Western Conference.

Edmonton Oilers captain Connor McDavid (NHL Images).

An overtime goal by Jason Robertson lifted the Dallas Stars to a 4-3 win over the Winnipeg Jets. Robertson reached the 20-goal mark for the first time in his young NHL career while teammate Jamie Benn had a goal and an assist. Jets center Mark Scheifele also had a goal and an assist. The Stars sit one point ahead of the Oilers and three behind the Ducks while the Jets (46 points) are nine points out of a wild-card spot.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Jets have dug themselves a deep hole in the Western Conference standings. They could become sellers if they haven’t gained ground by the time the calendar flips to March.

The Ducks, meanwhile, dropped a 4-3 decision to the Seattle Kraken. Jordan Eberle broke a 3-3 tie late in the third period while teammate Ryan Donato scored twice for the Kraken. Ducks forward Isac Lundestrom tallied two goals.

Steven Stamkos scored two goals as the Tampa Bay Lightning held off the Arizona Coyotes 4-3. Teammate Corey Perry netted his 399th career goal. Clayton Keller had a goal and an assist for the Coyotes. With 68 points, the Lightning sits one point behind the first-place Florida Panthers in the Atlantic Division.

HEADLINES

TSN: The NHL Players Association has filed an appeal on behalf of Boston Bruins winger Brad Marchand over the six-game suspension he received by the NHL department of player safety. Marchand was handed the ban for roughing Pittsburgh Penguins goalie Tristan Jarry and then high-sticking him on his mask during Wednesday’s game between the two clubs.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Marchand’s suspension history likely contributed to his latest punishment. League commissioner Gary Bettman will review the appeal and determine if it will stand or be reduced.

THE PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER: Flyers center Sean Couturier underwent season-ending back surgery on Friday. A decision whether Ryan Ellis (lower-body) will require surgery could be made in the coming weeks. Center Kevin Hayes could require a third abdominal surgery after having fluid drained from his adductor on Jan. 18.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Injuries to those three key players are significant reasons why the Flyers are on the cusp of missing the playoffs for the second straight year.

MONTREAL GAZETTE: Canadiens general manager Kent Hughes said he’d like to bring former client Vincent Lecavalier into the organization in some capacity. “It’s not going to be assistant GM, despite all the rumors,” said Hughes. “But if we can find a way to do it then we’d absolutely like to do it.”

NEW YORK POST: Rangers winger Kaapo Kakko will remain sidelined for another both with an unspecified upper-body injury.

TORONTO SUN: The Leafs yesterday signed Joseph Woll to a three-year contract extension on Friday. He’s currently playing for their AHL affiliate, the Toronto Marlies. The first year of the deal is a two-way contract and becomes a one-way deal in the final two years.

The Leafs also got some good news on forward Ondrej Kase, who was shaken up during Thursday’s game against the Calgary Flames but could return to the lineup on Saturday.