NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 15, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 15, 2022

The Panthers and Wild romp to lopsided wins, the Avalanche tie a franchise record plus the latest suspensions, COVID updates, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: Sam Bennett and Jonathan Huberdeau each had four-point performances as the Florida Panthers crushed the Dallas Stars 7-1. Bennett tallied a hat trick while Huberdeau collected three assists. Anthony Duclair scored and set up two others as the Panthers (55 points) reclaimed first place in the overall standings.

Florida Panthers forward Sam Bennett (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Score indicates the Stars have one of the worst road records (4-11-1) in the league, with just one regulation win away from Dallas. Head coach Rick Bowness wasn’t pleased with his club’s performance. “We have some guys who are very comfortable playing at home and very uncomfortable playing on the road,” he said.

The Minnesota Wild tallied four third-period goals (including two within four seconds early in the period) to down the Anaheim Ducks 7-3. Mats Zuccarello scored twice and picked up an assist while Kirill Kaprizov had two helpers. With 46 points, the Wild holds the first wild-card spot in the Western Conference. The Ducks (45 points) remain in second place in the Pacific Division but have just three wins in their last 10 contests.

A shootout goal by Nazem Kadri lifted the Colorado Avalanche over the Arizona Coyotes 4-3. The Avs tied a franchise record by picking up their 13th straight home victory as they overcame 2-0 and 3-2 deficits. With 49 points, they’re one point back of the Western Conference-leading Nashville Predators. Coyotes goaltender Ivan Prosvetov made 44 saves.

HEADLINES

NYI HOCKEY NOW: Islanders forward Ross Johnston received a three-game suspension from the NHL department of player safety for an illegal hit to the head of New Jersey Devils forward A.J. Greer on Thursday.

TSN: Chicago Blackhawks defenseman Calvin de Haan was fined $2,500.00 for a dangerous trip (slew foot) on Montreal Canadiens winger Cole Caufield on Thursday.

OTTAWA SUN: Senators forward Connor Brown is listed as week-to-week with a suspected broken jaw.

SPORTSNET: St. Louis Blues winger Pavel Buchnevich and Toronto Maple Leafs Justin Holl, Ondrej Kase and Nick Ritchie were placed on the NHL’s COVID protocol list.

TSN: Former Arizona Coyotes star Shane Doan is taking over as the general manager of Canada’s Men’s Olympic Hockey team and former NHL coach Claude Julien takes over as head coach.

NBC SPORTS: Aisha Visram is believed to be the first woman to work on the bench during an NHL game as she filled in for the Los Angeles Kings’ sidelined athletic trainer during their 6-2 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins on Thursday. Visram is the head trainer of the Kings’ AHL affiliate in Ontario, California.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 14, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 14, 2022

Tuukka Rask makes a triumphant return to the Bruins, the 2022 All-Star Game rosters and captains are revealed but several notable players are passed over, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: Tuukka Rask made 25 saves in his season debut as he backstopped the Boston Bruins over the Philadelphia Flyers 3-2. David Pastrnak tallied all of the Bruins’ goals, including the game-winner on the power play to snap a 2-2 tie in the second period. Cam Atkinson had a goal and an assist for the Flyers while teammate Carter Hart turned aside 33 shots. With 44 points, the Bruins moved to within three points of the Pittsburgh Penguins for the first wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference.

Boston Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask (NHL Images).

Speaking of the Penguins, they fell 6-2 to the Los Angeles Kings as the latter tallied four unanswered third-period goals, including three in a span of 1:23. Kings captain Anze Kopitar scored twice and set up another while Sean Durzi had a three-point performance and Jonathan Quick made 27 saves. The Kings (43 points) move into third place in the Pacific Division.

Nikita Kucherov collected two assists and Andrei Vasilevskiy kicked out 24 shots as the Tampa Bay Lightning doubled up the Vancouver Canucks 4-2. The Lightning holds a two-point lead over the Florida Panthers for first place in the overall standings with 55 points. The Canucks have lost three of their last four contests.

The New York Rangers Rangers got a 37-save shutout from Igor Shesterkin in a 3-0 win over the San Jose Sharks. Chris Kreider scored twice, including his first NHL shorthanded goal. Braden Schneider scored in his first NHL game. The Rangers (52 points) sit atop the Metropolitan Division while the Sharks (41 points) still cling to the final Western Conference wild-card berth with a one-point lead over the Calgary Flames.

Speaking of the Flames, they were upset 4-1 by the Ottawa Senators. Nick Paul tallied twice while Matt Murray made 27 saves for his first win of the season. The Flames have dropped four straight games.

Connor Hellebuyck picked up the shutout with a 33-save performance to blank the Detroit Red Wings 3-0. Andrew Copp scored two goals and Kyle Connor scored shorthanded. The Jets (39 points) are two points behind the Sharks and one back of the Flames.

A four-goal third period carried the Columbus Blue Jackets to a 6-0 thumping of the Carolina Hurricanes. Elvis Merzlikins turned in a 31-save shutout and Yegor Chinakhov scored two goals. The loss leaves the Hurricanes two points behind the Rangers in second place in the Metropolitan Division.

Third-period goals by Robert Thomas and Pavel Buchnevich lifted the St. Louis Blues over the Seattle Kraken 2-1. The Blues extended their home points streak to 13 games while the Kraken have lost eight straight. With 49 points, the Blues are one point behind the first-place Nashville Predators in the Central Division.

The Predators, meanwhile, saw their five-game win streak halted in a 4-1 loss to the Buffalo Sabres. Jeff Skinner tallied twice while Aaron Dell made 29 saves for the Sabres.

Mathew Barzal broke a 2-2 tie to lift the New York Islanders over the New Jersey Devils 3-2 Barzal’s teammates Zach Parise and Josh Bailey each collected two points as the Isles’ played their first game in 11 days.

Philipp Kurashev scored in overtime as the Chicago Blackhawks defeated the Montreal Canadiens 3-2, handing the latter their five straight loss. Blackhawks star Patrick Kane also scored to snap a 13-game goalless drought. The Canadiens played without goalie Jake Allen, who is sidelined for a week with a lower-body injury. Teammate Chris Wideman also missed this game as he’s serving a one-game suspension for head-butting Boston Bruins forward Erik Haula.

HEADLINES

Minnesota Wild winger Kirill Kaprizov, New York Rangers defenseman Adam Fox and Colorado Avalanche blueliner Cale Makar were among the notable first-time selections for the 2022 Honda NHL All-Star Game to be held in Las Vegas at T-Mobile Arena on Feb. 5.

Washington Capitals winger Alex Ovechkin, Toronto Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews, Colorado Avalanche center Nathan MacKinnon and Edmonton Oilers center Connor McDavid were named captains of their respective division squads as chosen by fan voting.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Follow the link to see the full rosters as well as the candidates for the “Last Man In” for each division to be decided by fan voting.

THE SCORE: Boston Bruins winger Brad Marchand, Calgary Flames goaltender Jacob Markstrom, Colorado Avalanche winger Mikko Rantanen, Florida Panthers defenseman Aaron Ekblad, and New York Rangers goaltender Igor Shesterkin were among the notables passed over for selection.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The exclusion of Markstrom, Rantanen and Ekblad could be a result of being overshadowed by their more well-known teammates. Marchand’s snub is likely tied to his well-earned reputation for questionable play.

Shesterkin still isn’t as well-known as he should be, though his profile should improve if the Rangers remain among the league’s top clubs. It won’t help him become a participant in this year’s All-Star Game but could help him garner recognition for next season’s event.

EDMONTON JOURNAL: A partial tear in a thumb tendon has sidelined Oilers goaltender Mike Smith for at least a week, possibly two. The club has recalled Stuart Skinner from their AHL affiliate in Bakersfield.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Signing Evander Kane could help resolve that issue…oh, wait, he’s not a goaltender…never mind…

SPORTSNET: Boston Bruins defenseman Matt Grzelcyk, Chicago Blackhawks forward Kirby Dach and Dylan Strome, New York Rangers winger Alexis Lafreniere and Winnipeg Jets center Paul Stastny are among the notable players added to the NHL’s COVID protocol on Jan. 13.

AHL’s Iowa Wild signed Eric Staal to a professional tryout contract.

TSN: The International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) said individual active NHL players will not be permitted to take part in the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: In other words, any player under an NHL contract cannot participate in the Beijing Olympics.

THE SCORE: NHL commissioner Gary Bettman told Quebec finance minister Eric Girard the league isn’t aware of any opportunity at this time that would lead to a franchise returning to Quebec City.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: As one observer noted on Twitter, that was Bettman’s polite way of saying, “Don’t call us, we’ll call you.” Oh, and for those of you saying, “What about the Arizona Coyotes?”, should that club be relocated, it’ll likely be to another American city in the Western Conference such as Houston.










NHL Rumor Mill – January 12, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – January 12, 2022

Check out the latest on Evander Kane, John Klingberg, Jakob Chychrun, Tomas Hertl, Max Domi and more in today’s NHL rumor mill.

OILERS AMONG THREE TEAMS INTERESTED IN EVANDER KANE

TSN: Darren Dreger reports the Edmonton Oilers, Florida Panthers and Tampa Bay Lightning are believed to be the top-three clubs interested in signing Evander Kane. Oilers captain Connor McDavid is said to be on board with adding the former San Jose Sharks winger.

Kane and his agent continue to conduct due diligence here holding Zoom calls with general managers and coaches. Meanwhile, Chris Johnston said it could take several weeks for Kane’s grievance hearing with the Sharks to take place. The league and the NHLPA are comfortable with the winger signing with another club and resuming his NHL career while this process is ongoing.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman also wondered if the Carolina Hurricanes could also get into the bidding. Meanwhile, there are reports suggesting Kane could sign with the Oilers before the end of this week.

Dallas Stars defenseman John Klingberg (NHL Images).

Earlier this week, there was speculation suggesting the Oilers had an interest in Montreal Canadiens winger Brendan Gallagher. We can put that to rest if the Oilers sign Kane.

KLINGBERG, GIORDANO AMONG NOTABLE DEFENSEMEN IN TRADE MARKET

TSN: Darren Dreger reports several pending unrestricted free agent defensemen could draw interest in the trade market. Right-side blueliners include the Dallas Stars John Klingberg, Buffalo Sabres’ Colin Miller and (potentially) the Anaheim Ducks’ Josh Manson, while the Montreal Canadiens Ben Chiarot and (potentially) the Seattle Kraken’s Mark Giordano.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Miller and Chiarot are the most likely to be shopped given their clubs’ low position in the standings. I initially had doubts about the Kraken shopping Giordano but recent reports suggest it could happen before the March 21 trade deadline. I don’t see Klingberg or Manson getting moved as long as their clubs remain in playoff contention by deadline day.

RUMORS TIDBITS FROM FRIEDMAN’S LATEST “32 THOUGHTS”

SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman reported there was some speculation that the Sharks could use the money freed up from terminating Kane’s contract to re-sign pending UFA center Tomas Hertl. However, that currently seems to be a premature assumption.

Friedman believes the Carolina Hurricanes and Colorado Avalanche are going to appear in almost every trade rumor.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That’s because both clubs are considered Stanley Cup contenders in “go-for-it” mode. I would also include the Florida Panthers, who are linked to Evander Kane and are said to be shopping around for blue-line depth.

Friedman includes the Hurricanes with the Anaheim Ducks, Los Angeles Kings and St. Louis Blues with interest in Jakob Chychrun. He believes the contract of the 23-year-old Arizona Coyotes defenseman ($4.6 million through 2024-25) is right in the Hurricanes’ wheelhouse.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Cap Friendly shows the Ducks and Kings in better shape cap-wise to take on Chychrun’s contract at the trade deadline than the Hurricanes and Blues. They also have more tradeable assets in terms of promising prospects.

Friedman said some teams believe the Coyotes could prefer shipping the blueliner to an Eastern club. However, I don’t think that’s set in stone, especially if a Western club is willing to meet their asking price.

Speaking of Chychrun, the Ottawa Sun’s Bruce Garrioch reports the Senators may have kicked tires but he doubts they’ll acquire him. Garrioch believes he “likely doesn’t fit the bill for what the Senators are trying to accomplish here.”

With the Bruins finally signing Tuukka Rask, Friedman wondered if Columbus Blue Jackets forward Max Domi would be a good fit in Boston.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: They could prefer finding a new home for Jake DeBrusk first. Hey, maybe a DeBrusk-for-Domi swap? If not, maybe DeBrusk for Lawson Crouse? Friedman’s colleague Jeff Marek recently noted the Bruins had been linked to the Arizona Coyotes forward.

Oilers GM Ken Holland all but confirmed he’s not interested in trading his 2022 first-round pick. He’d floated that notion earlier this season if this club was in a strong contender position but that’s not the case now.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 11, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 11, 2022

Recaps of Monday’s game, the three stars of the week are revealed, Evander Kane is free to sign with another team while NHLPA files a grievance on his behalf, the latest COVID updates and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: The Boston Bruins overcame a 2-0 deficit to thump the Washington Capitals 7-3. Matt Grzelcyk scored and picked up four assists while Brad Marchand and David Pastrnak each scored twice and collected an assist. The Bruins (40 points) opened a four-point lead over the Detroit Red Wings for the final Eastern Conference wild-card berth while the Capitals (49 points) are winless in their last four contests

Boston Bruins defenseman Matt Grzelcyk (NHL Images).

A third-period goal by Nazem Kadri lifted the Colorado Avalanche over the Seattle Kraken 4-3 to extend their home winning streak to 12 games. Nicolas Aube-Kubel tallied twice for the Avalanche while Kraken goaltender Philipp Grubauer made 31 saves against his former club. The Avs (46 points) sit one point behind the second-place St. Louis Blues in the Central Division.

The Los Angeles Kings picked up their fourth win in their last five games by dropping the New York Rangers 3-1. Kings goalie Cal Petersen turned aside 22 shots while teammate Trevor Moore collected two assists. Mika Zibanejad scored for the Rangers. With the win, the Kings (41 points) moved into third place in the Pacific Division.

HEADLINES

Colorado Avalanche captain Gabriel Landeskog, Nashville Predators goaltender Juuse Saros and San Jose Shark center Tomas Hertl are the NHL’s three stars for the week ending Jan. 9.

NBC SPORTS BAY AREA: As expected, the NHL Players Association filed a grievance on behalf of Evander Kane when the San Jose Sharks terminated his contract Sunday after the 30-year-old winger cleared unconditional waivers. The process will now go before arbitration but there’s no date set yet for a hearing with an independent arbiter.

For the moment, the Sharks are free and clear of the remainder of Kane’s seven-year, $49 million contract signed in May 2018. The winger is now an unrestricted free agent and can sign with another NHL club. If the NHLPA wins the grievance, he would have two valid NHL contracts, so there will have to be contingencies in place to prevent that.

SAN JOSE HOCKEY NOW: Sheng Peng spoke with NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly, who indicated Kane is free to sign and play with another NHL team right away, with details and contingencies to be worked out later.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s rather unusual that a player could sign a contract with another NHL club while awaiting the outcome of his grievance over the termination of his former contract. If the PA grievance is successful, the Sharks would have to pay Kane the remainder of his contract. It might have to count against their cap hit or perhaps it would be “off-the-books” payments. We won’t know until an arbiter makes their ruling and that could be weeks away.

Meanwhile, there’s reportedly plenty of interest in Kane around the league despite his off-ice issues and reputation as a troublesome teammate. I’ll have more on that in today’s NHL rumor mill.

PITTSBURGH HOCKEY NOW: Evgeni Malkin could be ready to make his season debut tonight against the Anaheim Ducks. The Penguins superstar has been recovering from offseason knee surgery.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The addition of a healthy and productive Malkin should be a significant boost to the Penguins’ offense. It would be like acquiring a player of his talent via trade, which could make it less likely they’ll be major buyers by the March 21 trade deadline.

SPORTSNET: Gabriel Landeskog and New York Rangers forward Barclay Goodrow and Winnipeg Jets winger Nikolaj Ehlers are among the latest players to enter COVID protocol.

NHL.COM: Tonight’s game between the Carolina Hurricanes and Philadelphia Flyers has been postponed for COVID-related reasons.

NBC SPORTS: Dallas Stars head coach Rick Bowness was fined $25,000.00 by the NHL for smashing a stick on the bench in a post-game meltdown over the officiating in Sunday’s 2-1 loss to the St. Louis Blues.

THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH: The Blue Jackets have suspended forward Gregory Hofmann for refusing to return to the club to complete his one-year contract. The Jackets gave Hofmann permission to return to Switzerland in late December for the birth of his first child. He signed a one-year, $900K contract last summer with the Jackets and had seven points in 24 games.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 10, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 10, 2022

The Blues defeat the Stars, the Ducks clip the Red Wings, the Coyotes’ Tempe arena proposal could be in trouble, the Kings extend GM Rob Blake & hire Marc Bergevin, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: Two power-play goals by Ryan O’Reilly and Jordan Kyrou within the final minute of the third period lifted the St. Louis Blues over the Dallas Stars 2-1. Kyrou’s goal was the result of a controversial penalty call against Stars defenseman Miro Heiskanen for slashing Kyrou after he was hauled down by his stick by Blues forward Brayden Schenn.

Anaheim Ducks forward Trevor Zegras (NHL Images).

Trevor Zegras’ shootout goal gave the Anaheim Ducks a 4-3 win over the Detroit Red Wings. The Ducks rookie had a goal and an assist in regulation time. Detroit forward Tyler Bertuzzi also had a goal and an assist but left the game in the final seconds of overtime after suffering a wrist laceration but he wasn’t seriously hurt. Wings captain Dylan Larkin was injured in the first period and didn’t return to the game.

HEADLINES

GOPHNX.COM: Craig Morgan reports the Arizona Coyotes’ Tempe arena proposal is on thin ice as two sources said the club currently doesn’t have the votes on the Tempe City Council to approve the project. There are three yes votes, two no votes and two undecided but leaning toward no after the Coyotes’ recent failure to pay taxes and bills owed to the city of Glendale.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Morgan reports the Coyotes’ arena proposal wasn’t rejected during a recent city council executive session in December. If it isn’t approved, Morgan cites a source saying the Coyotes could pursue a deal with nearby Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community. “It would be right on Tempe’s border so Tempe would get all the problems including the traffic, and get none of the revenue,” the source said.

MAYOR’S MANOR: Multiple sources say it will soon be announced that the Los Angeles Kings have signed general manager Rob Blake to a multi-year contract extension believed to be four-five years in length.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Blake was hired in April 2017 and the Kings have been rebuilding under his watch for the past three seasons. They are showing improvement this season in part due to players he’s acquired through the draft, via trades and free agency. They’re jockeying with the San Jose Sharks, Edmonton Oilers, Winnipeg Jets, Dallas Stars and Vancouver Canucks for the final wild-card berth in the Western Conference.

MONTREAL GAZETTE: Speaking of the Kings, they’ve hired former Canadiens GM Marc Bergevin as a senior advisor to Blake.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I’m not surprised by this news. There was speculation prior to Bergevin’s firing in November that he could join the Kings once his contract with the Habs was completed at the end of this season.

SPORTSNET: Evander Kane cleared unconditional waivers on Sunday. The San Jose Sharks can terminate his contract, making the winger an unrestricted free agent. However, the NHLPA is expected to file a grievance on his behalf.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It could be several weeks before this situation is sorted out by an arbiter. Until it is, don’t expect a rival club to approach Kane’s agent about a new contract.

New York Rangers head coach Gerard Gallant, Edmonton Oilers winger Warren Foegele, and New Jersey Devils defenseman Damon Severson are among the latest to be included on the NHL’S COVID protocol list.

TSN: The Edmonton Oilers canceled practice yesterday while the NHL postponed the Oilers Jan. 15 game against the Ottawa Senators and tonight’s game between the Tampa Bay Lightning and New Jersey Devils.










Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – January 9, 2022

Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – January 9, 2022

John Klingberg addresses his contract standoff with the Stars plus the latest on Evander Kane and Jakob Chychrun in the Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup.

KLINGBERG UNHAPPY OVER CONTRACT TALKS WITH STARS

THE DALLAS MORNING NEWS: Matthew DeFranks reports John Klingberg admitted he doesn’t feel like he’s been appreciated in his stalled contract negotiations with the Dallas Stars. The 29-year-old defenseman made the comments while speaking with the media yesterday following the Stars 3-2 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Dallas Stars defenseman John Klingberg (NHL Images).

Addressing a rumor that he requested a trade, he said, “I don’t think that’s entirely true,” explaining that general manager Jim Nill agreed that he and his agent could speak with other GMs and see where they were at. “It’s not like I’ve been going out there and asking, ‘I want to get traded now’, or something like that. It’s something that’s been going on with the negotiations and stuff like that.”

Klingberg said he wants to stay in Dallas and indicated to management after last season that he wanted to negotiate right away. He pointed out other players had signed right before the season began and he wanted to do the same. However, he’s grown frustrated in recent years feeling that he’s had to prove himself. He also indicated things have gone quiet on the Stars side “negotiationwise.”

THE ATHLETIC: Saad Yousef reports Klingberg said he got one offer from the Stars “way back” but they haven’t really moved at all. He said he and his agent have been trying to come up with different numbers and years to meet them. The blueliner added he didn’t know if the club intends to sign him.

SPORTSNET: Jeff Marek reports he spoke with Klingberg’s agent, who said in late November or early December that he asked if a trade could be accommodated for his client if an agreement on a contract extension couldn’t be reached. Marek also said Klingberg seeks an eight-year, $63 million deal.

NEW YORK POST: Larry Brooks believes we can add Klingberg to the “endless list of potential marquee rental properties” who will be linked to the Rangers leading up to the March 21 trade deadline. He pointed out GM Chris Drury has the cap space and prized prospects “to get anyone (any two?) he would want.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Klingberg acknowledged the business side of this situation and understands the Stars already have a lot of money invested in their blueline corps. Nevertheless, he also has to look out for his best interests.

Yousef pointed out the Stars have sufficient cap space for next season to re-sign Klingberg but they also have to account for future signings of players such as Roope Hintz, Jason Robertson and Denis Gurianov. Ponying up $8.5 million annually for Klingberg would take a big bite out of their cap space next season.

As I noted yesterday, I don’t see the Stars shopping Klingberg unless they fall out of playoff contention before the trade deadline or if he forces the issue. However, I don’t think he’s a fit with the Rangers as they already have Norris Trophy winner Adam Fox and Jacob Trouba as their top-two right-side defensemen.

UPDATES ON JAKOB CHYCHRUN AND EVANDER KANE.

SPORTSNET: Jeff Marek said he can confirm at least 10 teams have contacted the Arizona Coyotes to inquire about Jakob Chychrun. “A couple of offers have given the Coyotes cause for pause,” he said.

Marek said the Coyotes seek a young player, a high-end prospect and a first-round pick. Teams with the assets to do that who could be interested include the Los Angeles Kings, St. Louis Blues and the Anaheim Ducks, who might lose Hampus Lindholm this summer to free agency.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That return sounds more reasonable than the recent reports claiming the Coyotes want something comparable to what the Vegas Golden Knights gave up to the Buffalo Sabres last fall for Jack Eichel.

It’s still a significant haul for the 23-year-old defenseman who led all blueliners last season with 18 goals. His production has suffered this season as a result of the depleted depth around him on the Coyotes.

Bear in mind the Coyotes aren’t under any pressure to move Chychrun. With the blueliner under contract for three more years at an affordable cap hit of $4.6 million, they can take their time and wait for the right offer. We’ll find out soon enough if there’s a rival club willing to make that move before the trade deadline.

Elliotte Friedman believes there are teams who will want to sign Evander Kane if the San Jose Sharks successfully terminate his contract.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: There’s been speculation since late November suggesting there were teams interested in acquiring Kane if the Sharks would either absorb half his $7 million annual cap hit or find another team to become a third-party broker to further spread that cap hit around.

Kane has considerable personal baggage and a growing reputation as a dressing room cancer. Nevertheless, there could be some playoff contenders willing to take a chance on him because of his power-forward skills, especially if they can get him on an affordable one- or two-year contract.