NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 8, 2024

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 8, 2024

The Penguins trade Jake Guentzel to Carolina on the eve of the trade deadline, another scoring milestone for Connor McDavid, a hat trick for the Predators’ Filip Forsberg and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.


NHL.COM: The Pittsburgh Penguins traded winger Jake Guentzel and defenseman Ty Smith to the Carolina Hurricanes for winger Michael Bunting, prospects Vasili Ponomarev, Cruz Lucius and Ville Koivunen, a conditional 2024 second-round pick that becomes a first-rounder if the Hurricanes win the 2024 Stanley Cup, and a conditional 2024 fifth-round pick if the Hurricanes win the Cup. The Penguins also retained $1.5 million of Guentzel’s $6 million cap hit.

Pittsburgh Penguins trade winger Jake Guentzel to the Carolina Hurricanes. (NHL Images)

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Hurricanes are bucking their recent tradition of avoiding big-ticket rental players at the trade deadline. This is a clear indication that they’re going for it this season. A lack of scoring depth has been an ongoing issue for the Hurricanes. Adding a proven scorer and playoff performer like Guentzel should boost their pursuit of the Cup this season.

Penguins general manager Kyle Dubas reportedly wanted prospects and younger players over draft picks for Guentzel. Bunting played for Dubas when the two were with the Toronto Maple Leafs and is an energetic two-way winger. Ponomarev, Koivunen and Lucius were considered mid-range prospects in The Athletic’s recent ranking of the Hurricanes’ top-15 prospects.


NHL.COM: Nashville Predators winger Filip Forsberg tallied a hat trick in a 4-2 victory over the Buffalo Sabres. Gustav Nyquist collected three assists as the Predators pushed their points streak to 10 games (9-0-1) as they hold the first Western Conference wildcard berth with 75 points (36-25-3). Bowen Byram had a goal and an assist in his debut with the 29-30-5 Sabres.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Sabres played without center Tage Thompson. He’s listed as day-to-day with an upper-body injury.

Edmonton Oilers captain Connor McDavid collected an assist to extend his assists and points streak to 13 games in a 4-2 loss to the Columbus Blue Jackets. He also became the third player this season to reach 100 points. Daniil Tarasov kicked out 29 shots while Dmitri Voronkov scored what proved to be the winning goal for the 22-31-10 Blue Jackets. The Oilers (38-21-2) sit second in the Pacific Division with 78 points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: McDavid became the sixth player in NHL history with at least seven seasons of 100-plus points.

New Jersey Devils forward Timo Meier netted a hat trick and collected an assist to lead his club over the St. Louis Blues 4-1. The Devils (31-28-4) are six points out of the final Eastern Conference wildcard spot with 66 points. Brandon Saad scored for the slumping Blues (32-28-3) as they won just three of their last 10 games and sit six points out of the final Western wildcard berth.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Before this game, the Blues announced they signed forward Oskar Sundqvist to a two-year contract extension worth an average annual value of $1.5 million. Meanwhile, Sundqvist was also fined $2,000.00 by the NHL department of player safety for embellishment during a Feb. 28 game against the Oilers.

The Vancouver Canucks picked up their third straight win by defeating the Vegas Golden Knights 3-1. Thatcher Demko stopped 27 shots while Phillip Di Guiseppe scored the game-winner for the 41-17-7 Canucks as they sit in second place in the overall standings with 89 points. The Golden Knights (33-23-7) now hold the final Western Conference wildcard spot and are 2-8-1 in their last 10 games.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Golden Knights recently placed defenseman Alec Martinez on injured reserve with a lower-body injury.

Philadelphia Flyers forward Garnet Hathaway snapped a 1-1 tie in a 2-1 upset of the Florida Panthers. Samuel Ersson made 29 saves for the Flyers (33-23-8) as they hold third place in the Metropolitan Division with 74 points. The 43-17-4 Panthers remain on top of the overall standings with 90 points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Earlier in the day, the Panthers announced they signed defenseman Gustav Forsling to an eight-year contract extension with an average annual value of $5.75 million. Forsling is often overshadowed by fellow blueliners Aaron Ekblad and Brandon Montour but he’s become an invaluable (and underrated) part of their defense corps.

Speaking of the Panthers, forward Nick Cousins was fined $2,000.00 by the NHL department of player safety for embellishment during a Feb. 27 game against the Buffalo Sabres.

The Boston Bruins beat the Toronto Maple Leafs 4-1. Jeremy Swayman turned aside 28 shots, David Pastrnak netted his 39th goal of the season while Brad Marchand and Jake DeBrusk each collected two assists for the 37-13-15 Bruins (89 points) as they sit third in the overall standings. Mitch Marner replied for the Leafs (36-19-8) as they hold third place in the Atlantic Division with 80 points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Maple Leafs forward Matthew Knies left this game in the first period with a suspected knee injury. There was no update on his condition following the game.

Carolina Hurricanes goaltender Frederik Andersen stopped 24 shots in a 4-1 win over the Montreal Canadiens. It was Andersen’s first game since being sidelined by a blood-clotting issue on Nov. 2. Brady Skjei tallied two goals for the Hurricanes (37-19-6), who sit second in the Metropolitan Division with 80 points. Sam Montembeault made 35 saves for the 24-29-10 Canadiens.

Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin netted his 840th career NHL goal in a 6-0 thumping of the Pittsburgh Penguins. Charlie Lindgren turned in a 39-save shutout for the 29-23-9 Capitals (67 points) as they sit five points behind the Tampa Bay Lightning for the final Eastern Conference wildcard berth. The Penguins dropped to 28-25-8 and are eight points behind Tampa Bay.

Speaking of the Lightning, they dropped a 6-3 decision to the Calgary Flames. Yegor Sharangovich got a career-high four points (two goals, two assists) for the 31-26-5 Flames (67 points) as they sit six points behind the Golden Knights for the final Western wildcard spot. Nick Paul had two assists for the 33-25-6 Lightning (72 points) as they’re 1-4-1 in their last six home games.

The surging New York Islanders picked up their fifth straight win by crushing the San Jose Sharks 7-2. Bo Horvat had a goal and two assists for the 28-20-14 Islanders (70 points) as they’re just two points behind the Lightning. Mike Hoffman netted his 10th goal of the season for the 15-40-7 Sharks.

An overtime goal by Kevin Fiala gave the Los Angeles Kings a 4-3 win over the Ottawa Senators. Anze Kopitar collected two assists for the Kings (32-19-11) as they sit in third place in the Pacific Division with 75 points. Drake Batherson had a goal and an assist for the 25-32-4 Senators.

The Minnesota Wild scored four unanswered third-period goals to drop the Arizona Coyotes 5-2. Mats Zuccarello collected three assists while Kirill Kaprizov tallied his 30th goal for the 30-27-6 Wild. Clayton Keller scored his 23rd goal of the season for the 25-33-5 Coyotes.

NHL Rumor Mill – December 28, 2023

NHL Rumor Mill – December 28, 2023

Check out recent speculation about the Maple Leafs, Sabres, Predators, and Senators in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.

THE ATHLETIC: Jonas Siegel recently looked at what the Toronto Maple Leafs have for potential trade assets in their quest to add a defenseman. He noted their lack of prospect depth and draft picks doesn’t leave them very much to bargain with.

Possible trade bait includes their 2024 first-round pick, promising goaltender Dennis Hildeby, forward prospect Fraser Minten and Easton Cowan, forward Nick Robertson and defenseman Topi Niemela.

Toronto Maple Leafs forward Matthew Knies (NHL Images).

Siegel thinks rival clubs could be interested in forward Matthew Knies but he’s too valuable to their present and their future.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Siegel isn’t saying the Leafs will move those assets but is showing the potential cost if they intend to bolster their blueline for the playoffs. General manager Brad Treliving will likely make a move or two by the March 8 trade deadline. What he gets will depend on what he’s willing to part with. Stay tuned!

THE BUFFALO NEWS: Mike Harrington reported last week that Sabres GM Kevyn Adams continues to resist making knee-jerk moves to help his struggling club. Nevertheless, he wonders what moves Adams could have in store if they hope to turn things around.

Harrington speculates on how close Victor Olofsson, Tyson Jost or Eric Comrie are to going on waivers. Perhaps the Chicago Blackhawks will be interested in Olofsson with the losses of Taylor Hall and Corey Perry. He believes Adams must bolster his bottom-six forwards and improve their defense. It’s clear Erik Johnsson is their No.7 option on the blueline

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Harrington also pointed out the difficulty the Sabres face in making trades given how many clubs have limited salary-cap space right now. He recently acquired depth forward Eric Robinson from the Blue Jackets so I daresay he’s monitoring the trade market to see if there’s another deal to be had to improve his roster’s depth.

THE TENNESSEAN: Paul Skrbina examined why defenseman Dante Fabbro has been a frequent healthy scratch this season, which has resulted in his name surfacing in trade rumors.

Head coach Andrew Brunette said part of the problem was the Predators’ logjam on defense. Meanwhile, Fabbro isn’t making waves over the situation and tries not to think about his name popping up in the rumor mill.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Fabbro’s situation could be alleviated if the Predators can find any takers for blueliner Tyson Barrie, who recently requested a trade. His agent received permission from GM Barry Trotz to speak with other clubs but it doesn’t appear a deal is coming soon.

OTTAWA SUN: Bruce Garrioch wonders what Senators president of hockey ops and interim GM Steve Staios has in store for the club in the New Year.

The expectation is that suspended center Shane Pinto will sign a one-year deal in the range of $875K. He knows he has no leverage and reportedly appreciates that Staios has been supportive in preparations for when he’s eligible to return to action on Jan. 21. He will be allowed to start skating with the club 10 days beforehand.

Pinto’s return could make Dominik Kubalik expendable. Garrioch claims the Senators have received some calls about the 28-year-old winger, who is slated to become an unrestricted free agent in July.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kubalik could indeed become the odd man out once Pinto returns but it could take some time to move him. Just because some teams have called doesn’t mean a deal will take place right after Pinto comes back.

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – May 6, 2023

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – May 6, 2023

The Hurricanes take a 2-0 series lead over the Devils while the Jack Adams Award finalists are announced. Details and much more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.

NHL.COM: The Carolina Hurricanes thumped the New Jersey Devils 6-1 to take a 2-0 lead in their best-of-seven second-round series. Jesperi Kotkaniemi tallied twice as the Hurricanes took a 4-0 lead in the first period while Frederik Andersen picked up the win with a 28-save performance. The series shifts to New Jersey for Game 3 on Sunday.

Carolina Hurricanes center Jesperi Kotkaniemi (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Hurricanes are dominating this series, outscoring New Jersey 11-2 in the first two games and outperforming them in every aspect. Following Game 2, Devils captain Nico Hischier said he and his teammates should be “pissed off” over how poorly they’ve played. That sentiment won’t mean much if they don’t find a way to get back into this series.

Devils winger Timo Meier returned to action in this contest after missing Game 1 due to an upper-body injury suffered during Game 7 of his club’s first-round series with the New Jersey Devils.

Dave Hakstol of the Seattle Kraken, Jim Montgomery of the Boston Bruins, and Lindy Ruff of the Devils are the finalists for the Jack Adams Award as the NHL’s coach of the year in 2022-23.

FLORIDA HOCKEY NOW: Panthers forward Sam Bennett was fined $5,000.00 by the NHL player safety department for a cross-check to the neck of Toronto Maple Leafs winger Michael Bunting on Thursday.

TORONTO SUN: Bennett went unpunished for a hit that concussed Leafs rookie forward Matthew Knies in the same game. Knies will miss Games 3 and 4 and could be sidelined for the remainder of the series if it goes beyond Game 4. The Panthers lead two games to none.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Bennett gets a fine for a dangerous hit to an opponent’s neck and nothing for injuring another by slamming him to the ice. And the league wonders why fans and pundits have so much disdain for its so-called “player safety” department.

SPORTSNET: Edmonton Oilers forward Leon Draisaitl left practice early yesterday after being nicked by a puck. Head coach Jay Woodcroft said it was “a little bit of playoff makeup, I think he probably had one or two sutures. He’ll be just fine.”

TAMPA BAY TIMES: The Lightning signed forward Mikey Eyssimont to a two-year contract with an average annual value of $800K.

YARDBARKER: Dallas Stars prospect Lian Bichsel underwent surgery to repair a broken ankle. His recovery time is six-to-eight weeks. He was training in preparation to play for Switzerland in the upcoming IIHF World Championship.

OTTAWA SUN: NHL commissioner Gary Bettman believes it would be a plus for the Senators to have a Hollywood celebrity as part of its potential new ownership group. However, he believes the bids must stand on their own merit. Actor Ryan Reynolds and rapper Snoop Dogg are part of two competing groups bidding for ownership of the Senators. The deadline for binding bids is May 15.

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 10, 2023

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 10, 2023

The Bruins set the single-season wins record as David Pastranak reaches the 60-goal plateau while the Avalanche take over first in the Central Division as Mikko Rantanen reaches 100 points. Details and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.


NHL.COM: The Boston Bruins collect their 63rd victory to set the league’s single-season win record by downing the Philadelphia Flyers 5-3. David Pastrnak had a hat trick to reach the 60-goal plateau for the first time while Tyler Bertuzzi collected three assists as the Bruins sit atop the overall standings with 131 points. Owen Tippett and Joel Farabee each had a goal and an assist for the Flyers.

Boston Bruins winger David Pastrnak (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Pastrnak is the first Bruin to score 60 goals in a season since Phil Esposito in 1974-75. He’s now four goals behind Edmonton’s Connor McDavid for the lead among this season’s top goal-scorers with both players having two games remaining in the schedule.

The Bruins played without goaltender Linus Ullmark as he missed this game with “a lower-body issue.”

An overtime goal by Nathan MacKinnon lifted the Colorado Avalanche to a 5-4 win over the Anaheim Ducks. MacKinnon scored twice and collected an assist, Devon Toews had three assists and Mikko Rantanen had two goals and two assists to reach the 100-point plateau for the first time. The Avalanche improved to 49-24-6 to take over first place in the Central Division with 104 points. Frank Vatrano tallied twice for the Ducks.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: MacKinnon (107 points) and Rantanen (102 points) are the first Avalanche duo to reach 100 points in a season since Joe Sakic (120 points)and Peter Forsberg (116) in 1995-96.


THE PROVINCE: Former Vancouver Canucks captain Bo Horvat raised some eyebrows over the weekend when the New York Islanders center was asked what he thought he thought of the energy in the Isles arena and their fans. “I mean it’s been unbelievable. A lot better than Vancouver, I can tell you that for free,” he said.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Canucks fans could feel slighted by Horvat’s remarks. The team’s management, however, should be worried.

They’re trying to retool the roster and create a winning environment after the Canucks spent years wallowing through failed retooling efforts by the previous management. Horvat’s words validate concerns about the sour atmosphere that’s hung over the franchise for some time. It could make it difficult for management to attract and retain talent in their quest to build a winning roster.

TORONTO SUN: The Maple Leafs signed top prospect and Hobey Baker Award finalist Matthews Knies to a three-year entry-level contract.

LA KINGS INSIDER: Speaking of signing promising players to entry-level contracts, the Kings did the same with center Alex Laferriere.

TWINCITIES.COM: So did the Wild with defenseman and Minnesota native Brock Faber.

Speaking of the Wild, they recalled forwards Marco Rossi and Nic Petan.

CBS SPORTS: The Seattle Kraken recalled goaltender Joey Daccord on an emergency basis.

NHL Rumor Mill – December 23, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – December 23, 2022

Will the Maple Leafs attempt to acquire a notable forward like Ryan O’Reilly, Bo Horvat or James van Riemsdyk at the March trade deadline? Read on to find out in today’s NHL rumor mill.

NOTE: I will be taking my annual Christmas break from Dec. 24 to Dec. 26. The next update to this site will be Tuesday, Dec. 27, 2022.

SPORTSNET: After the Toronto Maple Leafs shipped Denis Malgin to the Colorado Avalanche for Dryden Hunt earlier this week, Luke Fox felt they still needed to address a vacancy among their top-six forwards. “That move should still be coming,” wrote Fox. “It will just need to wait until after the holidays.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: But how long after the holidays will the Leafs need to wait? What vacancy do they need to fill? Which players could they pursue to address that issue? Don’t worry, they’re plenty of answers to those questions. Read on…

Fox believes Maple Leafs general manager Kyle Dubas must be very bold at the March 3 trade deadline. He suggests Dubas follow the example of Tampa Bay Lightning GM Julien BriseBois, whose moves in the last three trade deadlines helped the Lightning win the Stanley Cup in two of their three straight trips to the Finals since 2020.

St. Louis Blues captain Ryan O’Reilly (NHL Images)

The Leafs will have sufficient cap space to make moves leading up to the deadline with defenseman Jake Muzzin and his $5.625 million cap hit on long-term injured reserve until the postseason and perhaps beyond. Fox believes Dubas must address the Leafs’ need for a second-line left wing by acquiring a natural winger or a center and shifting John Tavares or the new center to the left side.

Fox mentioned Vancouver’s Bo Horvat, St. Louis’ Ryan O’Reilly and Chicago’s Patrick Kane among possible options. Others include Chicago’s Jonathan Toews, Detroit’s Tyler Bertuzzi, St. Louis’ Vladimir Tarasenko or Ivan Barbashev, San Jose’s Timo Meier, and Columbus’ Gustav Nyquist.

He also listed potential trade targets to bolster the blueline. The most expensive option would be Arizona’s Jakob Chychrun. Other defensemen who could be available include Arizona’s Shayne Gostisbehere, Anaheim’s John Klingberg, Columbus’ Vladislav Gavrikov and Vancouver’s Luke Schenn.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Most of those players could become available leading up to deadline day. Which ones could the Leafs afford to acquire? Let’s take a look, shall we?

THE ATHLETIC (subscription only): Joshua Kloke and Harman Dayal examined three potential trade proposals the Leafs could make for the Canucks’ Bo Horvat. The Canucks seek a package that includes multiple young players. They aren’t expected to have much interest in a futures-only package.

Kloke’s proposals involve a young player like Timothy Liljegren or a prospect such as Matthew Knies. Ultimately, Kloke and Dayal are skeptical that the Leafs can put together a sufficient offer to land Horvat.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Never say never, I suppose, but the Canucks would have to be desperate for the Leafs to have a decent shot at acquiring Horvat. By that, I mean the Canucks fail to find any teams willing to meet their asking price and are forced to accept lesser offers.

There’s nothing wrong with Liljegren and Knies has NHL potential. Nevertheless, there’s just not enough there in Kloke’s proposals that I believe would put the Leafs over the top in a bidding war.

TSN (stick tap to NHL Watcher): During a recent appearance on Leafs Lunch, Darren Dreger was asked what it would cost the Leafs to land Blues captain Ryan O’Reilly. He doesn’t think they’ll part ways with Knies and would be shocked if he doesn’t sign with them once his NCAA season is over. Dreger also wondered about Nick Robertson and if he could be moved.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Blues are enduring an up-and-down season thus far. If they drop out of the race they could entertain offers for O’Reilly if they can’t get him under contract before March 3. However, I don’t like the Leafs’ chances of landing him if they’re unwilling to include Knies in the deal.

TORONTO SUN: Michael Traikos wondered if Dubas would bring back James van Riemsdyk at the trade deadline. The 33-year-old winger spent the best seasons of his career with the Leafs and said he loved playing in Toronto.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: van Riemsdyk would be a more affordable option than Horvat or O’Reilly. However, he’s at the stage in his career where his best seasons are behind him. “JvR” might not fit well within their current system.

TORONTO STAR: Nick Kypreos wondered if Dubas would wait to sign Knies in the hope that he makes a big splash directly out of college hockey the way Cole Caufield did for the Montreal Canadiens in 2021. If not, Kypreos suggested Arizona Coyotes forward Lawson Crouse or Canadiens winger Josh Anderson would be available at the right price.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I expect Dubas will make a significant move or two by the March trade deadline. His job probably depends on it. The Leafs’ impressive regular-season performance won’t mean squat if they can’t win a playoff round. I don’t see how Dubas keeps his job if the Leafs make another first-round exit.

Again, I’m not fully ruling out the Leafs landing someone like Horvat or O’Reilly but I doubt they’ll get either guy without including Knies and perhaps their first-round pick as part of the return. The same goes for Kane, Toews, Tarasenko, Meier, and Chychrun.

The others shouldn’t cost the Leafs a first-rounder and/or their top prospect. Nevertheless, the asking prices could rise if there are multiple teams bidding for their services. Clubs like the Coyotes and Canadiens will want returns that suit their rebuilding plans. Their respective general managers have been able to get solid returns in the trade market.