NHL Rumor Mill – August 28, 2020

NHL Rumor Mill – August 28, 2020

The latest on the Canadiens, Oilers, and Red Wings in today’s NHL rumor mill.

CANADIENS

THE ATHLETIC (subscription required): Arpon Basu and Marc Antoine Godin examined how the Montreal Canadiens could use their cap space and their stockpile of draft picks and prospects to acquire players who otherwise wouldn’t be available at bargain prices.

Montreal Canadiens winger Max Domi (NHL Images)

They believe the Canadiens don’t have to trade winger Max Domi, who’s a restricted free agent with arbitration rights. Despite his tepid playoffs, they feel he still has value to the Canadiens as a skilled offensive player. However, that could also make Domi valuable to other clubs. The Canadiens could swap him for another RFA like Detroit’s Anthony Mantha or Columbus’ Josh Anderson, package him with a first-round pick in hopes of landing an impact player or swing a hockey trade by shopping him to a club like the Minnesota Wild for defenseman Jonas Brodin.

Basu and Godin wonder whether the Habs would shop the first-round pick (16th overall) in this year’s draft for immediate help. The Habs could also use the flattened salary cap to their advantage by re-signing players like Brendan Gallagher, Phillip Danault, Tomas Tatar, Joel Armia, and Jesperi Kotkaniemi to value deals. They could go the free-agent route to fill minor holes in the lineup, such as their backup goaltending.

They also suggested looking at trade targets on cap-strapped teams, pointing to Tampa Bay’s Alex Killorn, Dallas’ Stephen Johns, and Columbus’ Markus Nutivaara. Killorn would bolster their forward lines (provided he waives his no-trade clause), while Johns or Nutivaara are right-side defensemen.

MONTREAL GAZETTE: Pat Hickey reports Danault could face an uncertain future in Montreal with the rise of promising young centers like Kotkaniemi and Nick Suzuki. The two-way center was employed in a defensive role during the playoffs but indicated he wouldn’t want to limit himself to that specific part. With what he’s contributed in Montreal, Danault doesn’t expect his role will change, pointing out his offensive and defensive contributions.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Canadiens general manager Marc Bergevin is expected to be busy in the off-season. He has a lot of assets to draw upon. Cap Friendly indicates the Canadiens have over $63 million invested in 16 players for next season, giving him plenty of room to take on a salaried player or two. He’s also got 14 picks in this year’s draft, including three in the second and fourth rounds and two in the third and fifth rounds He also holds eight picks through rounds three, four, and five of the 2021 draft.

It’ll be interesting to see what happens with Domi in the offseason. He’s considered the Habs’ most likely trade chip, but that will depend upon how contract discussions go and his value in the trade market.

Danault’s remarks about playing solely a defensive role prompted some fans and pundits to speculate he could be on his way out of Montreal, but I don’t think that’s the case. Reading his full remarks, he indicated he believes his role won’t change. I agree with him. He remains the Habs’ best two-way forward. Suzuki and Kotkaniemi played well in the postseason, but they still have limited NHL experience. I think Bergevin will stick with Danault centering one of his top-two lines for next season and see how things unfold.

As Basu and Godin point out, Bergevin must be careful not to overspend. He has a lot of cap space to work with for next season, but Danault, Gallagher, Petry, Armia, and Tartar become unrestricted free agents in 2021. The Habs GM can’t take on so much salary this year that it adversely affects efforts to retain most of those pending UFAs next summer.

RED WINGS

MLIVE.COM: Ansar Khan recently examined the unrestricted free agent goaltending options for the Detroit Red Wings. Among them are Calgary’s Cam Talbot, Washington’s Braden Holtby, Vegas’ Robin Lehner, Vancouver’s Jacob Markstrom, Chicago’s Corey Crawford, Dallas’ Anton Khudobin and the Islanders’ Thomas Greiss.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Khan also listed Philadelphia’s Brian Elliott and Edmonton’s Mike Smith, but I don’t believe either guy can help the Wings between the pipes. They need an experienced starter.

With over $47 million invested in 11 players for 2020-21, the Wings have plenty of salary-cap space to go shopping for goalie help in the UFA market. Nevertheless, GM Steve Yzerman will have to sell them on the merits of joining his rebuilding club. Markstrom and Crawford will likely stay with their current clubs. Lehner, too, if Vegas decides to part ways with Marc-Andre Fleury.

THE ATHLETIC: (subscription required) Max Bultman recently examined possible ways the Wings could address their second-line center position. He suggested Toronto’s Alex Kerfoot or Colorado’s Tyson Jost as trade options. Nashville’s Kyle Turris could be a free-agent option if the Predators buy out his contract.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Bultman’s article appears before the Leafs traded winger Kasperi Kapanen. Leafs GM Kyle Dubas hinted more changes could come but that doesn’t mean Kerfoot could follow Kapanen out the door.

OILERS

EDMONTON JOURNAL: David Staples cited NHL insider Brian Lawton speculating the Oilers could trade two of their top-four defensemen. Oscar Klefbom, Adam Larsson, Darnell Nurse, and Ethan Bear currently hold those spots.

Staples doesn’t see Bear going anywhere and thinks Nurse’s leadership, skating, physical play, and even-strength scoring should keep him in Edmonton. He took note of the recent speculation suggesting Larsson could be shopped, and also felt Klefbom could be moved if the right offer (No. 1 goal, top-line forward) came along.

THE ATHLETIC (subscription required): Allan Mitchell recently listed Florida winger Mike Hoffman, Vegas goaltender Robin Lehner, and Boston defenseman Torey Krug among his suggested free-agent targets for the Oilers.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Oilers have over $70.4 million committed to 16 players next season. Unless they shed considerable salary, they can’t afford guys like Hoffman, Lehner, or Krug. If GM Ken Holland were to trade Larsson and/or Klefbom in cost-cutting moves, that would free up sufficient cap space for a proven starting goalie or a top-line forward.










NHL Rumor Mill – August 14, 2020

NHL Rumor Mill – August 14, 2020

Is it time for the Jets to rebuild? Should the Oilers trade a top-four defenseman? Are changes coming for the Predators? Find out in today’s NHL rumor mill.

SHOULD THE JETS REBUILD?

WINNIPEG SUN: Paul Friesen believes Jets general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff has spun his wheels since his club reached the Western Conference Final two years ago, suggesting the club is heading in the wrong direction.

Friesen acknowledged Dustin Byfuglien’s unexpected departure and an injury-ravaged roster contributed to the club’s struggles this season. Nevertheless, the Jets lack depth on defense and the forward lines. He feels it’s time for Cheveldayoff to make a big move for a second-line center and a top-four defenseman.

With several teams affected by the flat salary cap and the Jets carrying additional cap room after Byfuglien’s contract termination, Friesen believes Cheveldayoff has the cap flexibility to address his roster issues.

WINNIPEG FREE PRESS: Mike McIntyre believes Cheveldayoff will feel the pressure during the off-season to reverse the Jets’ fortunes. He wonders how much rope the club’s ownership is willing to give their GM before deciding they need to go in a different direction. McIntyre feels Cheveldayoff will have to make a big move via the off-season trade or free-agent markets.

Could the Winnipeg Jets pursue Alex Pietrangelo in the free-agent market? (NHL Images)

If sidelined center Bryan Little (eardrum surgery, post-concussion symptoms) cannot play next season, they can place him on long-term injury reserve, potentially freeing up his $5.29-million cap hit for next season. Trading or buying out Mathieu Perreault could clear some more salary from their books. McIntyre considers fixing the blueline to be Cheveldayoff’s priority.

SPORTSNET: Ken Wiebe suggests Andrew Copp could be the internal solution to replace Little if the latter remains sidelined. External options could include Montreal’s Max Domi or Philadelphia’s Nolan Patrick as both could use a change of scenery. Wiebe also pondered the possibility of Cheveldayoff pursuing a big-ticket player like St. Louis Blues defenseman Alex Pietrangelo.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Cap Friendly indicates the Jets have over $65.9 million invested in 13 players. All their core players are under contract, so Cheveldayoff could re-sign his RFAs to affordable, short-term deals. Still, he might need a little more cap space if he intends to land a big-ticket player, especially via the UFA market. He can send some salary the other way if he’s acquiring a player via trade.

Domi’s status has been a hot topic in the Montreal media throughout this season. That chatter recently intensified with Domi currently seeing fourth-line minutes in the postseason. Patrick, however, has been sidelined this season by a migraine disorder, which (as Wiebe also noted) would make him a risky acquisition.

Pietrangelo would be a big catch for the Jets, but that’s assuming the Blues captain wants to play in Winnipeg if he tests the UFA market. If he doesn’t, Cheveldayoff would have to look elsewhere, and the pickings for top defensemen are slim beyond Pietrangelo and Boston’s Torey Krug.

SHOULD THE OILERS SHOP A TOP-FOUR DEFENSEMAN?

EDMONTON JOURNAL: David Staples cites Bob Stauffer’s recent interview with Brian Burke in which the Sportsnet analyst suggested the Oilers trade a defenseman like Adam Larsson, Darnell Nurse, or Oscar Klefbom.

Burke felt the Oilers defense didn’t play well enough, believing one or two of their blueliners might need a change of scenery. He acknowledged such moves might be difficult given the Oilers’ limited cap space for next season.

The former NHL GM agreed with Stauffer’s suggestion the Toronto Maple Leafs might be a trading partner, proposing a swap of Larsson for a winger like Kasperi Kapanen or Andreas Johnsson.

Former NHL GM turned analyst Brian Lawton agreed there could be some changes to the top four. He expressed concern over Klefbom’s injury history. Sportsnet’s Mark Spector, meanwhile, believes Larsson could be the likely trade candidate.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Of those three Oilers defenseman, Nurse could fetch the best return. The 25-year-old is two years younger than Klefbom and Larsson and his style would make him attractive for clubs seeking a mobile, physical rearguard. Klefbom’s injury history could hurt his trade value, while Larsson’s UFA eligibility next summer could be a deal-breaker for some clubs.

Staples feels the Oilers should try and move out Kris Russell. He’s also a year away from UFA eligibility, but his 15-team no-trade clause could make that difficult.

LATEST ON THE PREDATORS

THE TENNESSEAN: Paul Skrbina reports Nashville Predators GM David Poile pulled no punches assessing his club’s performance this season. “This is unacceptable”, he said. “This is how we have to view this result is that we have to be better and it’s not acceptable.”

Poile indicated the club’s direction in the last two years made it “clear to me that we need to make some changes.” While the Preds GM said “everything is on the table,” Skrbina doesn’t expect a complete roster overhaul.

Pending UFAs Mikael Granlund and Craig Smith might not be back. The Predators could look in-house to address some of their needs, perhaps promoting Eeli Tolvanen and Philip Tomasino. Skrbina also speculates Poile could try again to trade center Kyle Turris or buy him out.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: With over $72.2 million invested in 17 players, Poile will have to cut some salary if he intends to look to the trade or free-agent markets for help. Trading Turris could mean absorbing part of his $6 million annual salary or packaging him with a top draft pick or prospect. A contract buyout will leave them with $2 million annually in dead cap space to 2028.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 8, 2020

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 8, 2020

The Panthers retire Roberto Luongo’s number, David Pastrnak moves closer to 50 goals, updates on the playoff race, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: On the night the Florida Panthers retired Roberto Luongo’s No. 1, they also gained ground in the Eastern Conference playoff race by downing the Montreal Canadiens 4-1. Mike Hoffman and Aaron Ekblad each had two points for the Panthers (76 points), who moved within three of the idle Toronto Maple Leafs for third place in the Atlantic Division.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: A big win for the Panthers as they struggle to keep their playoff hopes alive. The Leafs have done the Panthers a favor with their sputtering play of late, but the Panthers must start capitalizing if they hope to overtake the Leafs and clinch a postseason berth.

Vincent Trocheck’s first goal since joining the Carolina Hurricanes was an overtime winner in a 3-2 win over the New York Islanders. The goal came with some controversy as Carolina winger Andrei Svechnikov clanged the puck off the crossbar with what appeared to be a high stick, enabling Trocheck to bury the rebound. However, the NHL situation room upheld the goal, claiming Svechnikov’s stick was below his shoulders when he made contact with the puck. The Islanders (79 points) cling to the first Eastern Conference wild-card spot, while the Hurricanes (77 points) sit two points behind the Isles and Columbus Blue Jackets.

The Blue Jackets, meanwhile, dropped a 4-1 decision to the Edmonton Oilers. Mikko Koskinen made 45 saves and Alex Chiasson tallied a goal and picked up an assist for the Oilers (82 points), who moved into a first-place tie with the Vegas Golden Knights for first place in the Pacific Division. The Oilers (82 points) hold the edge over Vegas based on goals scored and ROW (regulation and overtime wins). Oilers defenseman Oscar Klefbom returned to action for the first time since Feb. 16. Blue Jackets defenseman Ryan Murray missed the game with an undisclosed injury.

The New York Rangers failed to gain ground in the Eastern Conference playoff race by falling 6-4 to the New Jersey Devils. Travis Zajac and Kyle Palmieri each scored twice for the Devils as Rangers goalie Igor Shesterkin was pulled after giving up four goals on 11 shots in the second period. It was Shesterkin’s first game since suffering a rib injury in a car accident on Feb. 23. The Rangers (76 points) sit three points out of the final Eastern Conference wild-card spot.

Boston Bruins winger David Pastrnak tallied his 48th goal in a 5-3 loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning (Photo via NHL Images).

Shorthanded goals by Anthony Cirelli and Mikhail Sergachev just over a minute apart powered the Tampa Bay Lightning over the Boston Bruins 5-3 in a penalty-filled contest. Bruins winger David Pastrnak tallied his league-leading 48th goal of the season. The Bruins four-game winning streak came to an end, but they remain atop the overall standings with 98 points. The Lightning (91 points) sit second in the Atlantic Division.

Nic Dowd scored two goals and collected an assist as the Washington Capitals beat the Pittsburgh Penguins 5-2. The Capitals (89 points) are tied with the Philadelphia Flyers for first in the Metropolitan Division, but hold the edge due to ROW and goals scored. The Penguins (84 points) remain in third in the Metro.

The red-hot Flyers, meanwhile, picked up their ninth straight victory with a 3-1 win over the Buffalo Sabres. Claude Giroux netted two goals and Carter Hart made 38 saves.

Jusse Saros turned in a 37-save shutout and Ryan Ellis scored the only goal as the Nashville Predators nipped the Dallas Stars 1-0. With 76 points, the Predators hold the final wild-card spot in the Western Conference over the Winnipeg Jets (76 points) based on goals scored (211) and holding a game in hand. The Stars (82 points) sit third in the Central Division, but they’ve won just three of their last 10 games.

Los Angeles Kings winger Dustin Brown tallied a hat trick in a 7-3 upset of the Minnesota Wild, Kings captain Anze Kopitar had a goal and two assists. The Wild (75 points) sit one point behind the Predators and Jets.

The Ottawa Senators edged the San Jose Sharks 2-1 on an overtime goal by Chris Tierney. The Senators have won four of their last five games.

HEADLINES

THE SCORE: The NHL is recommending teams close its dressing rooms to reporters to combat the spread of the coronavirus. Only a couple of teams have done so, but it could become more widespread in the coming days.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Most of the players probably won’t mind getting a break from having to provide the same stock answers to the same question from reporters. Nevertheless, the league appears serious in its efforts to prevent the coronavirus from spreading into NHL dressing rooms. Its effects are already being felt through the hockey world, as the IIHF has canceled the 2020 Women’s World Championships.

SPORTSNET: The Rangers have reportedly extended the contracts of general manager Jeff Gorton and assistant GM Chris Drury.

LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL: Vegas Golden Knights rookie Cody Glass underwent season-ending surgery on his right knee. He’s expected to recover in time for training camp in September.

THE ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER: Anaheim Ducks defenseman Hampus Lindholm (upper-body injuries) could be sidelined for weeks. He’s already missed five games after crashing heavily into the boards in a Feb. 25 game against the Oilers.

SPORTSNET: Montreal Canadiens center Jesperi Kotkaniemi suffered a splenic injury in a recent game with the Habs’ AHL affiliate. He returned to Montreal for evaluation yesterday and there’s no timetable for his recovery.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 19, 2020

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 19, 2020

Sidney Crosby has a four-point game, an update on Jay Bouwmeester, the Senators honor Chris Phillips, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby picked up four points in a 5-2 victory over the struggling Toronto Maple Leafs. Bryan Rust collected three points as the Penguins (80 points) moved into first place in the Metropolitan Division. Auston Matthews tallied his league-leading 43rd goal of the season for the Leafs (70 points), who cling to third place in the Atlantic Division. Penguins center Evgeni Malkin was a late scratch due to illness. Earlier in the day, the Penguins also revealed forward Zach Aston-Reese is week-to-week with a lower-body injury.

Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby led his club to a 5-2 win over the Toronto Maple Leafs (Photo via NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Not to take anything away from the Penguins’ dominant performance, but that was a pathetic effort by the Leafs in a must-win game. They’ve dropped six of their last nine and remain in danger of slipping out of a playoff spot.

St. Louis Blues goaltender Jordan Binnington made 17 saves to shut out the New Jersey Devils 3-0, snapping his club’s five-game losing skid. It was their first victory since Jay Bouwmeester suffered a cardiac incident last week in Anaheim. Bouwmeester released a statement yesterday indicating he’s on the road to recovery. With 76 points, the Blues hold a two-point lead over the Dallas Stars for first place in the Western Conference. Devils’ Will Butcher and Nick Merkley left the game with injuries.

The Ottawa Senators honored former defenseman Chris Phillips by retiring his number and thumping the Buffalo Sabres 7-4. They tallied four goals in a 3:29 span in the first period and sealed the two with two third-period goals. Jean-Gabriel Pageau led the way with two goals and two assists while Artem Anisimov also scored twice. Brandon Montour scored twice for the Sabres, who remain eight points behind the Leafs in the Atlantic.

Travis Konecny had a three-point performance as the Philadelphia Flyers rolled to a 5-1 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets, leaving the latter winless in their last six games. The Flyers (73 points) vaulted over the New York Islanders and the Blue Jackets into third in the Metropolitan Division.

Carolina Hurricanes center Sebastian Aho scored to extend his points streak to 10 games in a 4-1 win over Nashville Predators. The Hurricanes (72 points) hold the final wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference, while the Predators (65 points) remain three points out of a Western Conference wild-card berth.

Blake Wheeler and Nikolaj Ehlers each had three points as the Winnipeg Jets beat the Los Angeles Kings 6-3. With 67 points, the Jets are one point out of a Western Conference wild-card spot.

The Montreal Canadiens blew a 3-1 lead to fall 4-3 to the lowly Detroit Red Wings, who swept their four-game regular-season series. Andreas Athanasiou scored twice for the Wings, handing the Habs their fifth straight defeat.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: And with that, we can close the book on the Canadiens’ playoff hopes for 2020. Earlier in the day, they traded defenseman Marco Scandella to the St. Louis Blues for two draft picks. More moves are likely in store leading up to the Feb. 24 trade deadline. The Wings, meanwhile, won 15 games thus far this season. Four of those came against the Canadiens.

HEADLINES

SPORTSNET: Colorado Avalanche winger Mikko Rantanen received some good news when an MRI on his upper-body injury revealed no requirement for surgery. He’s expected to return before the end of the regular season.

TSN: Vancouver Canucks winger Brock Boeser will be sidelined eight weeks with a rib cartilage fracture.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Canucks already made a significant move to address Boeser’s absence by acquiring Tyler Toffoli earlier this week. They might not be done dealing.

CBC.CA: A shoulder injury will sidelined Edmonton Oilers defenseman Oscar Klefbom for the next two-to-three weeks.

SPORTSNET: The New York Rangers acquired minor-league winger Julien Gauthier from the Carolina Hurricanes in exchange for minor-league defenseman Joey Keane.










NHL Injury Outlook: Week Before NHL Trade Deadline Reeks of Chaos

NHL Injury Outlook: Week Before NHL Trade Deadline Reeks of Chaos

 










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 6, 2019

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 6, 2019

Game recaps, Alex Ovechkin and Patrice Bergeron reach notable milestones, injury updates, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines. 

NHL.COM: Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin picked up an assist to become the highest-scoring Russian-born player in NHL history (1,180 points) in a 3-2 win over the Vancouver Canucks. During a timeout, the Capitals honored Canucks center Jay Beagle for his 10 seasons with the club. Beagle signed with the Canucks last summer as a free agent. 

Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin is now the highest-scoring Russian player in NHL history (Photo via NHL Images).

Earlier in the day, the Canucks learned defenseman Alexander Edler suffered a concussion and required stitches during Monday’s game against Philadelphia. An injury to backup goalie Thatcher Demko on Monday prompted the Canucks to call up Mike DiPietro on an emergency basis

Boston Bruins center Patrice Bergeron celebrated his 1,000th career NHL game by scoring twice in a 3-1 victory over the New York Islanders, ending the latter’s eight-game points streak.

Sam Reinhart scored the only goal in the shootout frame as the Buffalo Sabres edged the Minnesota Wild 5-4. The Sabres (58 points) are three points out of a wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference

The St. Louis Blues overcame a 2-0 deficit with three unanswered third-period goals to beat the Florida Panthers 3-2. Vince Dunn tallied the game-winner. The Blues (53 points) sit one point out of a wild-card berth in the Western Conference

A four-goal third period powered the Los Angeles Kings to a 5-1 victory over the New Jersey Devils. Tyler Toffoli scored two straight goals while Ilya Kovalchuk tallied in his first game back in New Jersey since departing the Devils in 2013 for the KHL. 

Carolina Hurricanes goaltender Curtis McElhinney made 23 saves to blank the Pittsburgh Penguins 4-0. The Hurricanes (58 points) are also three points out of wild-card contention in the Eastern Conference. 

Montreal Canadiens winger Brendan Gallagher scored two first-period goals to lead his club to a 4-1 victory over the Anaheim Ducks. The Canadiens also learned earlier in the day that forward Paul Byron did not suffer a fracture to his left forearm on Sunday. The Ducks announced defenseman Korbinian Holzer has left the team and returned home for personal reasons. 

The Vegas Golden Knights snapped a four-game losing streak by beating the Tampa Bay Lightning 3-2 on a shootout goal by Alex Tuch. Lightning goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy made 35 saves. 

Nashville Predators captain Roman Josi scored a goal and set up two others in a 5-2 victory over the Arizona Coyotes, handing the latter their fourth straight loss. 

San Jose Sharks captain Joe Pavelski’s shorthanded overtime goal enabled his club to down the Winnipeg Jets 3-2. Jets head coach Paul Maurice was appearing in his 1,500th career NHL game. Sharks defenseman Erik Karlsson remains sidelined by an illness but could rejoin his teammates later in their four-game road trip. 

A three-goal outburst in the third period gave the Columbus Blue Jackets a 6-3 win over the Colorado Avalanche. Pierre-Luc Dubois scored twice for the Jackets. 

The Chicago Blackhawks tallied five straight third-period goals to thump the Edmonton Oilers 6-2. The Blackhawks now sit three points out of a wild-card berth in the Western Conference. Oilers defenseman Oscar Klefbom returned to the lineup after missing 21 games with a broken finger. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That was an ugly collapse by the Oilers, who are also three points out of playoff contention but also have just three wins in their last 10 games. The Blackhawks, meanwhile, have won five straight to play themselves into the postseason picture after spending most of this season wallowing near the bottom of the conference. 

SPORTSDAY: Dallas Stars forward Tyler Pitlick will miss the next eight weeks recovering from wrist surgery.