NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 16, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 16, 2022

Alex Ovechkin takes over third place on the all-time goal list, Connor McDavid, Chris Kreider, Roman Josi and Mitch Marner also reach scoring milestones, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin tallied his 767th career NHL goal as his club downed the New York Islanders 4-3 on a shootout goal by Anthony Mantha. Evgeny Kuznetsov collected two assists for the Capitals while Brock Nelson had a goal and an assist for the Islanders. With 76 points, the Capitals hold the second wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference.

Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Ovechkin surpassed Jaromir Jagr to move into sole possession of third place on the all-time goal-scoring list, becoming the top European goal scorer in NHL history. He now sits 34 goals behind Gordie Howe for second place.

Edmonton Oilers captain Connor McDavid had two points and Evander Kane tallied twice to give the Edmonton Oilers a 7-5 win over the Detroit Red Wings. Warren Foegele snapped a 5-5 tie while Leon Draisaitl, Duncan Keith and Kailer Yamamoto also collected two points for the Oilers, who sit in third place in the Pacific Division with 70 points. Marc Staal scored two goals for the Red Wings.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It was McDavid’s 200th career multi-point game. It’s the most among all players since his debut in 2015-16.

New York Rangers winger Chris Kreider became the sixth active skater to score at least 20 power-play goals in a season as his club nipped the Anaheim Ducks 4-3. Adam Fox had three points (including the winning goal in overtime) and Artemi Panarin collected three assists. The Rangers are tied with the Pittsburgh Penguins with 81 points but hold second place in the Metropolitan Division with a game in hand. The Ducks (65 points) have dropped five straight and sit three points out of the final Western Conference wild-card berth.

Speaking of the Penguins, they dropped a 4-1 decision to the Nashville Predators. Roman Josi collected three assists, becoming the third place in franchise history to record 50 assists in a season. Josi also leads all defensemen in scoring this season with 69 points while his club moved into third place in the Central Division with 74 points. Penguins captain Sidney Crosby picked up an assist to extend his points streak to 10 games.

Toronto Maple Leafs rookie goaltender Erik Kallgren turned in a 35-save shutout in his first NHL start to blank the Dallas Stars 4-0. Mitch Marner collected two assists to surpass the 40-assist mark for the sixth straight season. With 81 points, the Leafs are one back of the second-place Tampa Bay Lightning in the Atlantic Division. The loss puts the Stars one point behind the Vegas Golden Knights (68 points) for the final Western wild-card berth.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This was the first of two games the Leafs will play without Auston Matthews as he serves his suspension for cross-checking Buffalo Sabres defenseman Rasmus Dahlin during Sunday’s Heritage Classic.

The Golden Knights, meanwhile, suffered their fifth straight defeat as they fell 7-3 to the Winnipeg Jets, who’ve won four of their last five games. Kyle Connor led the way for the Jets with a goal and two assists while Connor Hellebuyck made 35 saves for the win. They now sit just two points behind the Golden Knights. Jets forward Andrew Copp missed this game with an upper-body injury.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Six weeks ago, the Golden Knights sat atop the Pacific Division with 57 points. The combination of injuries to team captain Mark Stone and starting goalie Robin Lehner has contributed to their decline since then. They’re in danger of dropping out of the playoff race.

Vancouver Canucks captain Bo Horvat scored twice and added an assist to lead his club over the New Jersey Devils 6-3, snapping a 12-game losing skid against New Jersey. Canucks center J.T. Miller extended his points streak to 13 games with three assists as his club sits one point behind the Golden Knights. Devils forward Pavel Zacha is doubtful for his club’s game tonight against the Calgary Flames after suffering an upper-body injury in this contest.

The league-leading Colorado Avalanche became the first team to reach 90 points this season (91) by beating the Los Angeles Kings 3-0. Darcy Kuemper made 23 saves for his second straight shutout while Mikko Rantanen and Valeri Nichushkin each had a goal and an assist. Josh Manson logged over 18 minutes in his first game with the Avs since they acquired him from the Ducks on Monday.

Florida Panthers forward Frank Vatrano scored the game-tying and overtime goals to lift his club to a 3-2 win over the San Jose Sharks. It was Panthers center Joe Thornton’s first game back in San Jose against his former club since his departure in 2020. The Panthers (88 points) move one point ahead of the Carolina Hurricanes into first place in the Eastern Conference.

The Boston Bruins (79 points) remain three points ahead of the Capitals for the first Eastern Conference wild-card berth by downing the Chicago Blackhawks 2-1 on an overtime goal by Matt Grzelcyk. Blackhawks goalie Marc-Andre Fleury made 46 saves in a losing cause.

A 36-save effort by Karel Vejmelka gave the Arizona Coyotes a 6-3 win over the Montreal Canadiens for their sixth victory in their last seven contests. Clayton Keller and Lawson Crouse each had a goal and an assist. Cole Caufield tallied twice in eight seconds for the Canadiens.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Canadiens held trade candidate Ben Chiarot out of this game while Josh Anderson missed this matchup with a lower-body injury. The Habs also indicated Ryan Poehling was placed on injured reserve with an upper-body injury.

IN OTHER NEWS…

THE DENVER POST/TWINCITIES.COM: The Colorado Avalanche made their second trade in as many days, shipping forward Tyson Jost to the Minnesota Wild for forward Nico Sturm.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This move adds more size to the Avalanche roster while also swapping Jost’s $2 million salary-cap hit through 2022-23 for the pending free agent Sturm’s more affordable $725K. Avs general manager Joe Sakic could be setting the table for a bigger move before the March 21 trade deadline.

As for the Wild, this deal is being seen as GM Bill Guerin’s attempt to inject some life into a roster that’s struggled over the past month. He believes Jost will have a better chance to showcase his skills with the Wild.

THE DALLAS MORNING NEWS: Stars goaltender Anton Khudobin underwent season-ending hip surgery on Monday. He’s expected to make a full recovery but will be sidelined for six months.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That should put an end to the Braden Holtby trade rumors. The Stars won’t shop their backup while they’re jockeying for a playoff spot. He’s currently sidelined by a lower-body injury though he skated with his teammates during practice yesterday.

NEW YORK POST: Former NHL defenseman Jean Potvin passed away last night at age 72. An 11-year NHL veteran, he spent two tenures totaling seven seasons with the New York Islanders, winning two Stanley Cups with brother Denis Potvin. He also served stints with the Los Angeles Kings, Philadelphia Flyers, Cleveland Barons and Minnesota North Stars. Potvin netted 287 points in 613 total games between 1970-71 and 1980-81.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: My condolences to Potvin’s family, friends and former teammates.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 15, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 15, 2022

The Coyotes down the Senators, Auston Matthews suspended, the Ducks trade Josh Manson to the Avalanche, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines

NHL.COM: Arizona Coyotes forward Lawson Crouse tallied his first career hat trick in a 5-3 victory over the Ottawa Senators. Nick Schmaltz and Clayton Keller extended their points streak to six games with two points each while Scott Wedgewood made 40 saves for the win. Josh Norris scored two goals for the Senators.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Coyotes defenseman Jakob Chychrun missed this game and will be sidelined two-to-four weeks with a lower-body injury. He’s been the subject of frequent trade speculation over the past couple of months but this injury could dampen his value in this season’s trade market.

TORONTO SUN: The NHL department of player safety handed a two-game suspension to Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews for cross-checking Buffalo Sabres defenseman Rasmus Dahlin during Sunday’s Heritage Classic game in Hamilton.

Anaheim Ducks trade Josh Manson to the Colorado Avalanche (NHL Images).

 NHL.COM: The Anaheim Ducks traded defenseman Josh Manson to the Colorado Avalanche in exchange for prospect defenseman Drew Helleson and a second-round pick in the 2023 NHL Draft.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This is the first major trade of this calendar year since the Calgary Flames acquired Tyler Toffoli last month from the Montreal Canadiens.

Cap Friendly indicates the Ducks also retained 50 percent of Manson’s $4.1 million cap hit. That gives the Avs’ some flexibility to make another deadline addition, especially if they place captain Gabriel Landeskog on long-term injury reserve following his knee surgery on Monday.

Manson, 30, will help to shore up the Avalanche’s blueline depth. Samuel Girard is out for four weeks plus there’s ongoing uncertainty over Bowen Byram’s status as he remains sidelined by concussion symptoms.

It’s not a bad return for the Ducks. Helleson is a well-regarded prospect who could blossom into a full-time member of their blueline.

Ducks general manager Pat Verbeek recently indicated he would trade his pending unrestricted free agents if he can’t re-sign them before the trade deadline. Manson’s departure casts a brighter spotlight on UFAs Hampus Lindholm and Rickard Rakell, who will have greater value than Manson in the trade market.

NHL.COM: Chicago Blackhawks right wing Patrick Kane, Calgary Flames goaltender Jacob Markstrom and New York Islanders captain Anders Lee are the NHL’s three stars for the week ending March 13, 2022.

THE DALLAS MORNING NEWS: Stars goaltender Braden Holtby remains sidelined by a nagging lower-body injury.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Holtby’s been mentioned as a possible trade candidate but I don’t think they intend to trade him while they’re jockeying for a wild-card spot in the Western Conference. It’s even less likely with Anton Khudobin reportedly undergoing hip surgery on Monday. They will probably want to keep Holtby as Jake Oettinger’s backup for the remainder of the season.

NBC SPORTS WASHINGTON: Capitals center Lars Eller was placed on COVID protocol after a positive test yesterday. It’s his second positive test this season and it’s uncertain when he’ll be back.










NHL Rumor Mill – February 12, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – February 12, 2022

What’s the latest on Jakob Chychrun, Claude Giroux, Marc-Andre Fleury and other top NHL trade candidates? Check out my analysis of TSN’s latest trade bait list in today’s NHL rumor mill.

TSN: Arizona Coyotes defenseman Jakob Chychrun, Montreal Canadiens blueliner Ben Chiarot and Chicago Blackhawks goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury fill the top-three positions in TSN’s Feb. 11 trade bait list. Philadelphia Flyers forward Claude Giroux and Dallas Stars defenseman John Klingberg round out the top five.

Philadelphia Flyers captain Claude Giroux (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I’ve written at length regarding Chychrun, Fleury and Giroux for The Hockey News over the past week. I don’t dismiss the possibility of Chychrun moving by the March 21 trade deadline but the Coyotes’ high asking price suggests this could be an offseason move.

The Colorado Avalanche reportedly has interest in Fleury and Giroux but their limited cap space means they can’t afford both. In either case, they’ll have to get the losing club to retain salary and could still need a third team to get involved in order to broker the deal by spreading out the remaining cap hit. The Avs could also be forced to part with some promising prospects.

Chiarot’s been at or near the top of most trade bait lists since December. It’s assumed the Canadiens could get a first-round pick for him. There were reports last month indicating the Stars were trying to move Klingberg but there’s been nothing of note since then. Much could depend on where the Stars are in the standings in a month’s time.

San Jose Sharks center Tomas Hertl, Seattle Kraken defenseman Mark Giordano, Columbus Blue Jackets forward Max Domi, Vancouver Canucks center J.T. Miller and the Coyotes salary cap space fill spots six through 10.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: No certainty Hertl will be traded following a report this week indicating the Sharks are talking contract extension with his agent. It could depend on how much cap space they’ll have following the outcome of Evander Kane’s grievance over his contract termination.

TSN’s Pierre LeBrun reports Kraken GM Ron Francis is expected to sit down with Giordano soon to discuss the possibility of a trade. He mentioned the Florida Panthers as a possible destination. The well-traveled Domi recently surfaced in trade rumors but there’s no indication which teams might be interested in him.

Miller’s been a hot topic for trade chatter since November. However, recent trade rumors regarding teammate Conor Garland have led some observers to suggest the Canucks prefer not only retaining Miller but perhaps signing him to a contract extension this summer if they can find sufficient salary-cap flexibility.

The Coyotes carry plenty of cap space to help other clubs looking to offload salary or perhaps broker a three-team deal by the deadline. They’re already retaining salary on two contracts (Darcy Kuemper and Oliver Ekman-Larsson) and can only take on one more as the CBA allows just three retained salaries per season.

Coyotes winger Phil Kessel, Buffalo Sabres defenseman Mark Pysyk, Blackhawks defenseman Calvin de Haan, Detroit Red Wings defenseman Nick Leddy and Winnipeg Jets center Andrew Copp sit at positions 11 through 15.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kessel isn’t the scorer of his youth but could still be a worthwhile addition to a team seeking a winger with playoff experience. With 28 points in 44 games, the versatile Copp will draw interest if the Jets got into sell mode in March. Pysyk, de Haan and Leddy could be affordable options for contenders seeking blueline depth.

Canadiens defenseman Jeff Petry, Boston Bruins left wing Jake DeBrusk, Sabres defenseman Colin Miller, Stars goalie Anton Khudobin and Flyers defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen are at 16 through 20.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Petry’s garnered lots of recent trade rumor buzz but his contract ($6.25 million cap hit through 2024-25, 15 team no-trade clause) and declining production this season makes the 34-year-old difficult to move at a time when a large number of teams have little salary-cap wiggle room.

DeBrusk made a trade request in late November but there’s no indication the Bruins are close to moving him or receiving much interest from other clubs. Miller is midway through an expected six-week absence due to surgery for an undisclosed ailment. The Stars placed Khudobin on waivers in December but couldn’t find any takers. Ristolainen might garner some interest but he’s dogged by a reputation for sloppy defensive play.

New York Rangers winger Vitali Kravtsov, Ottawa Senators center Chris Tierney, Red Wings defenseman Marc Staal, Kraken forward Calle Jarnkrok and Coyotes center Johan Larsson round out the list.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kravtsov is playing in the KHL and cannot return to the NHL until their season is over. Tierney and Jarnkrok could be affordable depth forward additions. There’s talk the Wings could bring back Staal on another one-year deal as they value his leadership and experience. Larsson underwent sports hernia surgery and isn’t expected to return to action until early April.










NHL Rumor Mill – January 21, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – January 21, 2022

Could the Oilers target a Stars goalie? Will the Blackhawks shop Marc-Andre Fleury? How many teams could have an interest in Jakob Chychrun and John Klingberg? Could the Canucks shop J.T. Miller soon? Find out in today’s NHL rumor mill.

WILL THE OILERS GO SHOPPING FOR A GOALTENDER?

TSN: Pierre LeBrun reports the Edmonton Oilers are looking at all options around the NHL to address their goaltending issues. They’ve kicked tires on Columbus Blue Jackets netminder Joonas Korpisalo, who’s an unrestricted free agent this summer.

The Oilers also internally discussed the Dallas Stars’ Anton Khudobin but the extra year on this contract at $3.33 million makes him less appealing. Stars goalie Braden Holtby could be more interesting as he’s a UFA at the season’s end. However, the real question is whether any of these options are better than Mikko Koskinen for the Oilers.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: No. No, they’re not. That doesn’t mean the Oilers might not acquire one of them in the hope they’ll provide some sort of upgrade. Khudobin did carry the Stars to the 2020 Stanley Cup Final but really struggled this season and wound up demoted to the minors. Holtby’s play has improved this season but his best days remain well behind him. Korpisalo failed to seize the starter’s job after Sergei Bobrovsky left town which is why the Jackets signed Elvis Merzlikins to a five-year extension.

Darren Dreger noted Chicago Blackhawks netminder Marc-Andre Fleury has also come up in the rumor mill but he’s not a fit in Edmonton for salary-cap reasons. When asked about trade possibilities, Fleury said he’s not thinking about that now as he’s trying to help the Blackhawks reach the playoffs.

Dreger expects there will be contract extension talks between the two sides. He also points out there’s an agreement with the Hawks that Fleury isn’t going anywhere unless he asks for a trade.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Fleury might consider a trade if the Blackhawks fail to gain ground in the standings over the next six weeks. His $7 million cap hit and 10-team no-trade clause probably keep him away from Edmonton. Some have linked him to the Colorado Avalanche and Washington Capitals. There’s even talk of a reunion with the Pittsburgh Penguins despite Tristan Jarry’s solid play this season. Whether he ends up with one of those clubs or heads elsewhere remains to be determined.

Arizona Coyotes defenseman Jakob Chychrun (NHL Images).

THE LATEST ON CHYCHRUN AND KLINGBERG

SPORTSNET: Jeff Marek and Elliotte Friedman discussed potential landing spots for Arizona Coyotes defenseman Jakob Chychrun. They suggested the Anaheim Ducks, Boston Bruins, Calgary Flames, Columbus Blue Jackets, Los Angeles Kings, New York Islanders, New York Rangers and St. Louis Blues as possibilities.

Both of them felt the Florida Panthers could be in on Chychrun, citing management’s ongoing efforts to build up their blueline. They felt the Panthers need one more big piece on their defense corps. Marek believes the Coyotes would want Spencer Knight, Anton Lundell and a first-round pick in return but Friedman felt that’s the price to be paid if they’re going all-in this season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Panthers GM Bill Zito has to consider if it’s worthwhile giving up that much of his club’s future to pursue the Stanley Cup this season. Granted, this move wouldn’t be for a rental player. The 23-year-old Chychrun is under contract for three more seasons who led all defensemen in goals last season.

The first-round pick is easy to part with given the Panthers’ depth and position in the standings. Giving up Knight would be tough but perhaps necessary with Sergei Bobrovsky carrying an almost untradable contract for four more seasons. Moving Lundell, who’s enjoying a solid rookie campaign, could be a bridge too far for Zito.

THE ATHLETIC: Shayna Goldman and Saad Yousef recently examined potential trade destinations for Dallas Stars pending UFA defenseman John Klingberg. Their three contenders are the Anaheim Ducks, Los Angeles Kings and Carolina Hurricanes, with the Pittsburgh Penguins, Nashville Predators and Toronto Maple Leafs as dark horses.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Ducks, Kings and Predators have the cap space and depth in promising young players to dangle for Klingberg if they wish to go that route. The Hurricanes showed a willingness to make big deadline deals, acquiring Vincent Trocheck and Brady Skjei two years ago. Their lack of cap space, however, would require some creativity to make the dollars fit.

The Penguins and Leafs are pressed for cap space. Both could stand pat or opt for more cost-effective options by the deadline. I’m not ruling out the possibility one of them swings a three-team deal to land someone like Klingberg. However, there’s no certainty they or the Hurricanes can find a third club to broker the deal given how many clubs have limited cap space this season.

WILL THE CANUCKS TRADE J.T. MILLER?

THE ATHLETIC: Thomas Drance cited Daily Faceoff’s Frank Seravalli saying he could see a scenario where the Vancouver Canucks trade J.T. Miller soon, perhaps before they officially hire a new general manager.

Drance, however, is skeptical of that scenario becoming reality. While sources told him there are teams interested in Miller, the Canucks can afford to wait because he’s under contract through next season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Drance also acknowledged the Canucks will have to make a decision about Miller’s future in Vancouver. Unless a rival club is willing to make an offer too good to refuse by the trade deadline, Canucks management could wait until the offseason to move Miller when teams have more cap room and willingness to pursue players of his caliber.

That should also be a decision that should involve the new general manager. Otherwise, team president Jim Rutherford shouldn’t waste everyone’s time hiring a GM if he’s going to make all the decisions himself.










NHL Rumor Mill – January 5, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – January 5, 2022

Growing speculation over the Oilers’ goaltending situation, an update on Jakob Chychrun and the latest on Tuukka Rask, Claude Giroux, Mark Giordano and Ben Chiarot in today’s NHL rumor mill.

WHAT WILL THE OILERS DO ABOUT THEIR GOALTENDING?

TSN: Darren Dreger reports Edmonton Oilers general manager Ken Holland is looking at his goaltending as the club has stumbled through a 2-8-2 record in their last dozen games. Available trade options are being considered plus the club is also still searching for a third-line center. Dreger also cited a source claiming head coach Dave Tippett isn’t in immediate danger of losing his job.

SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman reports Holland has already dismissed rumors linking the Oilers to former Toronto Maple Leafs coach Mike Babcock. He wondered if Holland might pursue a rental player like Chicago Blackhawks goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury or Montreal Canadiens defenseman Ben Chiarot.

THE ATHLETIC: Pierre LeBrun reports the Dallas Stars are getting some calls about Anton Khudobin, who cleared waivers last month and was sent to their AHL affiliate. The Stars would have to retain part of his $3.33 million cap hit or take back a contract in return. LeBrun wondered if the Oilers might take a chance on Khudobin even though he has another year remaining on his contract and they have zero salary-cap space.

Could the Edmonton Oilers target Chicago Blackhawks goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury? (NHL Images)

EDMONTON JOURNAL: Terry Jones believes goaltending is the Oilers’ Achilles heel right now and feels they have to be finished with struggling Mikko Koskinen while starter Mike Smith remains sidelined. He thinks Holland’s first move of the New Year is to find a new starting netminder.

Robert Tychkowski doesn’t put all the blame for the Oilers’ slump on Koskinen’s shoulders but acknowledges they need help between the pipes. He also cites a lack of goal production beyond superstars Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Things are getting really ugly in Edmonton right now. Koskinen’s difficulties over the past month have proven costly, to the point where Tippett blamed the goaltender for their recent loss to the New York Rangers.

Firing Tippett might provide a spark that improves the Oilers’ goal production but it won’t turn Koskinen into a better netminder or magically make Mike Smith a healthy starter. Holland has no choice but to find a suitable solution between the pipes.

The most immediate should be giving Stuart Skinner more opportunities. While he only won four of nine starts this season he put up better stats (2.70 GAA, .916 SP) than Koskinen.

As for those trade options, Fleury is being mentioned because he’s a pending unrestricted free agent playing for a bad team in Chicago. However, there is no indication Blackhawks management is in any hurry to ship out the 37-year-old goaltender, let alone if the Oilers are among his preferred trade destinations.

Khudobin could be an easier option but the Oilers’ limited cap space means Holland will have to get creative to find a way to make the dollars fit. The 35-year-old Stars netminder could be motivated for redemption after his struggles earlier this season sent him tumbling down the pecking order behind Braden Holtby and Jake Oettinger.

Maybe Holland puts in a call to the Columbus Blue Jackets for Joonas Korpisalo. Like Fleury, he’s due to become a UFA this summer. He isn’t expected to be back with the Jackets after they signed Elvis Merzlikins to a long-term extension. Korpisalo carries a more affordable $2.8 million cap hit and lacks no-trade protection.

I’ve also read and heard some suggestions about Holland acquiring Carey Price from the Montreal Canadiens but that’s just nonsense at this point. Price hasn’t played a single game this season as he’s still recovering from offseason knee surgery. Even if he agreed to waive his no-movement clause, the Oilers can’t afford his $10.5 million annual average value. I doubt there’s any team willing to be a third-party broker right now to take on part of his hefty cap hit for the next four years.

UPDATE ON CHYCHRUN

TSN: Darren Dreger reports teams are calling Arizona Coyotes GM Bill Armstrong and making offers for defenseman Jakob Chychrun. However, Armstrong isn’t in a rush to move the 23-year-old blueliner. The asking price is said to be a “Jack Eichel type of return”.

THE ATHLETIC: Pierre LeBrun doesn’t believe a Chychrun deal is imminent but the fact they’re fielding calls suggests the possibility of a deal before the March 21 trade deadline. However, he points out they’re under no obligation to move Chychrun by then. The blueliner carries an affordable $4.6 million annual cap hit through 2024-25.

SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman believes Chychrun could potentially be the first big trade of 2022. He also noted Coyotes winger Phil Kessel and pending UFA forward Lawson Crouse could be available.

GOPHNX.COM: Craig Morgan dismissed a rumor claiming Chychrun and his agent requested a trade. He also believes Armstrong could be doing Chychrun a favor by moving him to a team where he’d have a better chance at success than having him burn through several years of his playing prime with a rebuilding club.

NBC SPORTS BOSTON: Nick Goss cited Sportsnet’s Nick Kypreos claiming the Bruins were among several teams in the mix for Chychrun. Others include the New York Islanders, Los Angeles Kings, Anaheim Ducks, Edmonton Oilers, Florida Panthers and Toronto Maple Leafs.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Armstrong can afford to wait for the right offer for Chychrun. Maybe that comes before the March trade deadline but I think it’s more likely to take place in the offseason when some clubs will have more salary-cap space and a willingness to make big trades to address roster weaknesses.

LATEST ON RASK, GIROUX, GIORDANO AND CHIAROT

NHL.COM: Amelie Benjamin reports Tuukka Rask is making progress in his recovery from offseason hip surgery and could make his debut with the Boston Bruins AHL affiliate in Providence this weekend should he receive medical clearance.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Athletic’s Fluto Shinzawa wondered what Rask’s contract could be once he signs with the Bruins. He thinks it will most likely be an affordable one-year deal. How much they pay him could depend on whether they can free up some cap space by honoring winger Jake DeBrusk’s trade request.

SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman doesn’t get any sense of urgency from the Philadelphia Flyers to ship out pending UFA center Claude Giroux as they’re still battling for a playoff spot. He considers it unlikely Mark Giordano will stay with the Seattle Kraken as he’ll have considerable value at the trade deadline. He also wondered if the St. Louis Blues might attempt to acquire Canadiens defenseman Ben Chiarot.










NHL Rumor Mill – December 15, 2021

NHL Rumor Mill – December 15, 2021

Are the Coyotes willing to entertain offers for Jakob Chychrun? What’s next for Stars goaltender Anton Khudobin after clearing waivers? Find out in today’s NHL rumor mill.

COYOTES TEST MARKET FOR CHYCHRUN

SPORTSNET: In his latest “32 Thoughts”, Elliotte Friedman indicated most teams he’s spoken with said trade talks are “quiet”. However, he reported that it sounds like the Arizona Coyotes “are gauging the market on Jakob Chychrun.” Coyotes GM Bill Armstrong declined to comment on the speculation.

Arizona Coyotes defenseman Jakob Chychrun (NHL Images).

Friedman said the asking price is “massive” but it’s not deterring interest in the 23-year-old defenseman. He’s got three more seasons left on his contract with an annual average value of $4.6 million.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Chychrun has just seven points in 26 games with a plus-minus of minus-29 but that’s more indicative of the weakened roster around him. He had a career-high 41 points in 56 games last season and was considered by some observers as a potential candidate for Team Canada at the 2022 Winter Olympics.

Until now, all the Coyotes trade rumors claimed Chychrun was their only untouchable. Perhaps that’s changed but Armstrong could be simply curious about what the young blueliner might fetch in return. Interested clubs could try to talk him down but I think Armstrong would keep the asking price high, whatever it may be.

Armstrong isn’t in any rush to move Chychrun unless the rearguard has requested a trade and there’s no indication he has. Unless someone’s willing to pay big, Chychrun will remain a Coyote.

WHAT NEXT FOR KHUDOBIN?

THE DALLAS MORNING NEWS: Matthew DeFranks reports the Stars sent Anton Khudobin to their AHL affiliate after he cleared waivers yesterday. The 35-year-old goaltender hadn’t played since Nov. 18 and was a healthy scratch in the Stars’ last eight games.

The Stars attempted to trade Khudobin but his performance and contract were considered deterrents. He has a 3.73 goals-against average and .873 save percentage in seven games and is signed through next season with an annual average value of $3.33 million.

A source told DeFranks some teams show an interest in Khudobin but wanted to see him play more games first. Given his current minimal trade value, the Stars might have to package him with a draft pick or absorb part of his cap hit to move him.

PITTSBURGH HOCKEY NOW: Dan Kingerski believes Khudobin would make a better backup for Penguins starter Tristan Jarry than Casey DeSmith. He pointed to Khudobin replacing sidelined Ben Bishop in the 2020 playoffs and backstopping the Stars to the Stanley Cup Final. Kingerski acknowledged the Penguins would have to shed some salary to take on Khudobin’s cap hit if the Stars won’t retain part of it.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Interest in Khudobin could improve if he plays well in the AHL. His cap hit, however, will remain a sticking point for cap-strapped playoff contenders like the Penguins.