NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 22, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 22, 2021

Recaps of Sunday’s action featuring a hat trick for Bruins winger David Pastrnak plus injury updates and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: David Pastrnak tallied a hat trick to lead the Boston Bruins to a 7-3 romp over the Philadelphia Flyers in the Honda NHL Outdoors Sunday at Lake Tahoe. It was Pastrnak’s second hat trick of the season and the 10th of his career. James van Riemsdyk had a goal and two assists for the Flyers, who pulled goaltender Carter Hart after the second period. Bruins defenseman Jeremy Lauzon left the game early in the first period with an undisclosed injury.

Boston Bruins winger David Pastrnak (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Any lingering concerns over the effects of offseason hip surgery on Pastrnak’s performance must be alleviated by now. He’s picking up where he left off last season and climbing up the NHL stat board. Hart, meanwhile, appeared to have trouble tracking the puck in the outdoor environment.

Winnipeg Jets forward Pierre-Luc Dubois scored twice, including the winner in overtime, in a 4-3 victory over the Vancouver Canucks. Dubois also added an assist in his first game since being sidelined by a muscle injury 10 days ago. Blake Wheeler and Mark Scheifele also each collected three points. Elias Pettersson scored twice for the Canucks.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Jets moved Dubois to left wing on the top line alongside Wheeler and Scheifele while moving Kyle Connor down to the second line. It’ll be interesting to see if that becomes a permanent change.

The Washington Capitals got two power-play goals from T.J. Oshie and another from Alex Ovechkin to hold off the New Jersey Devils 4-3. Kyle Palmieri and Andreas Johnsson each had two points for the Devils.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Ovechkin now has 712 career NHL goals, putting him five back of Phil Esposito for sixth on the all-time goalscoring list.

Brady Tkachuk’s overtime goal lifted the Ottawa Senators over the Montreal Canadiens 3-2. Senators’ goalie Matt Murray made 30 saves for the win while Habs netminder Jake Allen made 36 stops. Montreal winger Jonathan Drouin left the game in the first period with an undisclosed injury.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Canadiens were lucky to escape with a point as they were outplayed by the lowly Senators. The Habs bolted from the gate this season with a 7-1-2 record, leading the league in scoring and jockeying with the Toronto Maple Leafs for first place in the overall standings. They have since dropped five of their last seven games, managing just 13 goals during that stretch and slipping to fourth in the North Division.

HEADLINES

WGR 550: Buffalo Sabres winger Jeff Skinner could become a healthy scratch in their upcoming game against the New York Islanders. He’s hasn’t scored a goal in 14 games this season.

THE ATHLETIC: John Vogl reports there’s concern Sabres defenseman Jake McCabe may have suffered a season-ending knee injury on Saturday. The results of his examination are expected today and a source said they’re bracing for ligament damage.

TSN: Columbus Blue Jackets goaltender Elvis Merzlikins suffered an upper-body injury during Saturday’s game against the Nashville Predators. He’s listed as week-to-week.

THE ATHLETIC: Multiple sources tell Jeremy Rutherford St. Louis Blues defenseman Colton Parayko has a back injury. It’s not known if he’ll require surgery. The club intends to rest him for now and see how he responds.

OILERS NATION: Edmonton Oilers defenseman Slater Koekkoek suffered a broken collarbone during the club’s 7-1 win on Saturday over the Calgary Flames.

NHL.COM: The Department of Player Safety fined Los Angeles Kings defenseman Austin Strand over $3,100.00 for cross-checking Arizona Coyotes forward Conor Garland on Saturday.

LOS ANGELES TIMES: The Anaheim Ducks have recalled top prospect Trevor Zegras from their AHL affiliate in San Diego. The young prospect had nine points in eight games in the AHL.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Zegras was the MVP of the 2021 World Junior Championship as he led Team USA to a gold medal in the tournament. The Ducks hope the youngster will provide a boost to an anemic offense with a league-worst 1.83 goals per game average.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 28, 2020

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 28, 2020

Mike Hoffman joining the Blues and two significant trades by the Senators highlights this roundup of the notable Christmas holiday weekend news in the NHL morning coffee headlines.

THE ATHLETIC: Jeremy Rutherford reports the St. Louis Blues signed free agent Mike Hoffman to a professional tryout offer. Hoffman can negotiate with other clubs while training with the Blues. However, Rutherford believes the two sides have in place a one-year deal worth between $3.5 million and $4.5 million, and they’re waiting to officially announce it because of salary-cap implications.

Mike Hoffman joins the St. Louis Blues on a professional tryout offer (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I doubted the Blues would sign Hoffman unless he was willing to reduce his rumored asking price of between $5.5 million and $6.5 million. He’s apparently done so to join a Stanley Cup contender.

Hoffman will provide some much-needed short-term offense with sniper Vladimir Tarasenko sidelined by offseason shoulder surgery. A solid performance could improve Hoffman’s chances of a more lucrative deal in next year’s UFA market.

Cap Friendly shows the Blues with $1.175 million in cap space with Vince Dunn to be signed. They will get cap relief by placing Alexander Steen and his $5.75 million annual average value on long-term injury reserve at the start of the season.

Rutherford points out having Hoffman on a PTO gives Blues general manager Doug Armstrong time to determine how much it’ll cost to re-sign Dunn. It could also allow time to make a cost-cutting trade, though they could also get some wiggle room if necessary by placing Tarasenko ($7.5 million AAV) on LTIR.

ARIZONA SPORTS/OTTAWA SUN: The Senators were busy in the trade market on Sunday. Their first move saw them ship a 2021 second-round draft pick (originally owned by the Columbus Blue Jackets) to the Arizona Coyotes in exchange for center Derek Stepan.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: A good move by both clubs. The Coyotes wanted to shed some salary and the rebuilding Senators sought some short-term experience and leadership at center.

PuckPedia pointed out this deal gives the Coyotes a projected $3.7 million in salary-cap space without having to place Marian Hossa on long-term injury reserve (LTIR). They can accrue cap space to put toward this season’s trade deadline and their performance bonuses earned won’t automatically carry over into next season. That extra second-rounder will offset their lack of a third-round pick in the ’21 draft.

Some folks wondered why the Senators took on Stepan when (in their minds) they could’ve pursued better options. One reason is Stepan will get more playing time with the Sens than he was getting with the Coyotes. Another is he lacked no-trade protection. His actual salary is another factor. While his annual average is $6.5 million annual average value for this season (the last of his contract), his actual salary is just $2 million.

Critics feel the Senators gave up too much for Stepan by parting with a second-round pick. This, however, was a move they could afford to make. They still have two second-round picks in the ‘21 draft and could land another second-round pick if they decide to peddle Stepan at the trade deadline. Failing that, they could get a third-rounder. Some will scoff at that notion but one must never underestimate the willingness of general managers to overpay at the deadline.

OTTAWA SUN/TAMPA BAY TIMES: The Senators’ second deal saw them send the contracts of winger Marian Gaborik and goaltender Anders Nilsson to the Tampa Bay Lightning in exchange for defenseman Braydon Coburn, forward Cedric Paquette, and a second-round pick in 2022.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Gaborik hasn’t played since 2017-18 while Nilsson is expected to miss this season with concussion symptoms. The Lightning will place their combined salaries ($7.5 million) on LTIR, allowing the club to become cap compliant when this season begins.

Like Stepan, Coburn and Paquette will provide the Senators with short-term experience and leadership. Both will be unrestricted free agents next summer, though there’s a chance the Sens could sign the 27-year-old Paquette to an extension if he plays well this season.

OTTAWA SUN: The Senators also signed top prospect Tim Stuetzle yesterday to a three-year entry-level contract. He was given his release by Adler Mannheim in the German league Sunday in order to sign with the Sens.

SPECTOR’ S NOTE: This signing isn’t surprising considering how well Stuetzle’s performed for the COVID-ravaged German squad thus far in the 2021 World Junior Championship. The 18-year-old winger is expected to finish the tournament with Germany and join the Senators’ training camp following a seven-day quarantine in Ottawa.

TSN: Ilya Kovalchuk has officially signed a two-year contract with KHL club Avangard Omsk.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That should bring Kovalchuk’s second tenure in the NHL to a permanent close. He’s no longer the scoring threat he once was, bouncing last season from the Los Angeles Kings to the Montreal Canadiens to the Washington Capitals.

NBC SPORTS CHICAGO: The Blackhawks signed free-agent center Carl Soderberg to a one-year contract worth $1 million.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This move comes after Blackhawks promising young center Kirby Dach suffered a fractured wrist last week playing for Canada at the World Juniors.

THE SCORE: The Capitals signed free-agent goaltender Craig Anderson to a professional tryout contract. This signing comes less than two weeks after Henrik Lundqvist was sidelined for the season by a heart condition.

EDMONTON JOURNAL: The Oilers signed free-agent defenseman Slater Koekkoek to a one-year contract worth $850K.

THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH: The Blue Jackets signed free-agent defenseman Michael Del Zotto to a professional tryout contract. He’ll compete for either a roster spot or a place with the Jackets’ taxi squad.

TSN: Buffalo Sabres defenseman Casey Nelson has opted out of playing the 2020-21 NHL season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The deadline for player opt-outs was Dec. 27.

THE SCORE: Forward Mark Letestu announced his retirement yesterday after 11 NHL seasons. He tallied 93 goals and 210 points in 567 games with the Pittsburgh Penguins, Columbus Blue Jackets, Edmonton Oilers and Winnipeg Jets.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Best wishes to Letestu in his future endeavors.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – May 14, 2019

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – May 14, 2019

Blues beat the Sharks to tie the Western Conference Final, Ryan Kesler undergoes another hip surgery, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines. 

NHL.COM: Robert Bortuzzo snapped a 2-2 tie in the second period as the St. Louis Blues doubled up the San Jose Sharks 4-2 in Game 2 of the Western Conference Final. The series is tied at a game apiece. Logan Couture scored both goals (one of them shorthanded) for the Sharks. Game 3 will be Wednesday at 8 pm ET in St. Louis.

St. Louis Blues defenseman scored the game-winning goal in Game 2 of the Western Conference Final (Photo via NHL Images)

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Blues took a 2-0 lead only to see Couture erase it before Bortozzo restored their lead. Bortuzzo’s teammate Jaden Schwartz picked up his ninth goal of the postseason. This was a big game for the Blues, who bent but didn’t break against the Sharks offensive attack.

Couture, who was the leading scorer of the 2016 playoffs, is having another fine postseason. He leads all scorers with 13 goals and 19 points. 

SPORTSNET: Anaheim Ducks center Ryan Kesler underwent right hip resurfacing surgery last week. He could miss the entire 2019-20 season. The procedure is less invasive than hip-replacement surgery and allows the possibility for the 34-year-old Kesler to continue his playing career.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kesler, 34, underwent hip surgery two years ago. Here’s hoping he makes a full recovery and resumes his NHL career.

Speaking of the Ducks, they were granted permission by the New York Islanders to Lane Lambert for their vacant head-coaching position. Lambert is the Islanders associate coach. 

NEWSOBSERVER.COM: Carolina Hurricanes coach Rod Brind’Amour is playing coy over whether he’ll replace Petr Mrazek in goal with Curtis McElhinney for Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Final. The Boston Bruins hold a 2-0 lead in that best-of-seven series.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Mrazek had his difficulties against the Bruins in Games 1 and 2 but he wasn’t to blame for the Hurricanes’ lopsided losses. Switching goalies might provide the shake-up the Hurricanes need to pick up their play in Game 3 tonight.

NBC SPORTS: The Chicago Blackhawks re-signed defenseman Slater Koekkoek to a one-year, one-way contract extension worth $925k. The Blackhawks acquired Koekkoek from the Tampa Bay Lightning in January. 

WGR 550: Buffalo Sabres rookie defenseman Lawrence Pilut underwent shoulder surgery and will be sidelined five-to-six months. 










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 12, 2019

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 12, 2019

Game recaps, Rick Nash retires, an update on Sergei Bobrovsky, the latest trades and contract signings, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.com: Buffalo Sabres winger Jeff Skinner scored his 30th of the season in his first game against the Carolina Hurricanes since they trade him last summer, but it was the Hurricanes that emerged with a 4-3 win. Sebastian Aho scored twice, Micheal Ferland had a three-point night and Curtis McElhinney made 30 saves as the Hurricanes held on for the victory.

Buffalo Sabres winger Jeff Skinner scored his 30th goal of the season on Friday and was also voted into the NHL All-Star Game by the fans. (Photo via NHL Images)

Speaking of Skinner, he joined Colorado Avalanche captain Gabriel Landeskog, Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Kris Letang, and Edmonton Oilers forward Leon Draisaitl as the “Last Men In” to skate for their respective divisions in the upcoming NHL All-Star Game in San Jose.  

Jake Guentzel tallied a hat trick as the Pittsburgh Penguins rallied from a 3-0 deficit to thump the Anaheim Ducks 7-4, handing the latter their 10th consecutive defeat. Evgeni Malkin had a four-point performance, Phil Kessel had three points and Tanner Pearson scored twice for the Penguins.  Earlier in the day, the Penguins announced the re-signing of backup goaltender Casey DeSmith to a three-year extension worth an annual average value of $1.25 million. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Ducks have slipped out of a wild-card berth and are in danger of tumbling out of playoff contention altogether if they don’t snap out of this tailspin soon. Getting Cam Fowler and Rickard Rakell back from injury should help but general manager Bob Murray could be under pressure to do something, be it a trade or a coaching change, to reverse this season-threatening skid.

As for the DeSmith signing, it’s an affordable move by the Penguins to ensure a measure of stability behind oft-injured starter Matt Murray. It could turn into an incredible bargain if DeSmith goes on to outplay Murray and take over the starter’s role, or easily moveable if Tristan Jarry should supplant him from the backup job. 

Winnipeg Jets goaltender Laurent Brossoit kicked out 33 shots and teammate Kyle Connor collected three points to lead their club to a 4-2 victory over the Detroit Red Wings. 

The Calgary Flames overcame a 2-0 deficit to edge the Florida Panthers 4-3. Michael Frolik led the way with a goal and two assists. 

SPORTSNET: After 15 NHL seasons, multiple concussions have forced Rick Nash to announce his retirement. A six-time all-star, Nash tallied 437 goals, 368 assists, and 805 points in 1,068 games with the Columbus Blue Jackets, New York Rangers and Boston Bruins. He won the Maurice Richard Trophy in 2003-04 as the league’s leading goal scorer. He captained the Blue Jackets for over four seasons (2007-08 to 2011-12. He also won two gold medals (2010, 2014) playing for Canada’s Men’s Olympic Hockey teams.

SPECTOR’S NOTE:  A dazzling goal scorer, Nash remains the Blue Jackets’ all-time offensive leader. Those who ran the Blue Jackets during his tenure with them did an insufficient job building around his scoring talent. His playoff scoring stats weren’t as impressive as his regular-season numbers, at times making him a target for criticism. Those concussion injuries often took a lengthy toll upon his performance. With better health, he would’ve been a more dominant scorer. 

THE ATHLETIC (SUBSCRIPTION REQUIRED): Following a meeting with Blue Jackets management, coaches and players, Sergei Bobrovsky has returned to the lineup. The club had disciplined him following an incident during a loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning on Tuesday. He spoke to the media following the meetings, acknowledged he allowed his emotions to get the better of him, apologized to his teammates, said the air has been cleared and they’re all moving on from the incident. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I’m guessing Bobrovsky snapped after he was pulled from the game and verbally lashed out at his teammates. Whatever the reason, the proof of whether he and the club have put this situation behind them will be determined by their play. 

DENVER POST: Colorado Avalanche center Nathan MacKinnon apologized for getting into a spat on the bench with head coach Jared Bednar during a 5-3 loss to the Calgary Flames on Wednesday. He said he felt embarrassed after seeing the footage and took responsibility for handling the situation poorly. He defended Bednar and said he and his teammates enjoy playing for him. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Good on MacKinnon for owning up to his mistake. 

THE TENNESSEAN: Nashville Predators forward Austin Watson publicly shared his struggles with alcoholism and mental illness on Friday. Last summer, he pleaded no contest to misdemeanor domestic abuse and received an 18-game suspension by the league. He said he and his girlfriend, who also struggled with alcohol, are now in a better place, have put the incident behind them, and remain committed to their sobriety. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Best wishes to Watson and his family as they work to improve their lives with the help of the resources available to them from the league, the NHLPA and the Predators, as well as the support of their families. 

TSN: The St. Louis Blues placed forwards Tyler Bozak (concussion) and Robert Thomas (shoulder) on injured reserve.

CHICAGO SUN-TIMES: The Blackhawks acquired defenseman Slater Koekkoek from the Tampa Bay Lightning in exchange for defenseman Jan Rutta.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Koekkoek struggled to crack a very deep Lightning blueline. He’ll have a better opportunity becoming an NHL regular with the Blackhawks, whose blueline depth has steadily eroded in recent years. 

NBC SPORTS: The Philadelphia Flyers traded center Jordan Weal to the Arizona Coyotes in exchange for minor-league defenseman Jacob Graves and a sixth-round pick in the 2019 NHL Draft. 










NHL Rumor Mill – January 10, 2019

NHL Rumor Mill – January 10, 2019

Latest on Wayne Simmonds, Dougie Hamilton, Micheal Ferland, and more in today’s NHL rumor mill. 

LATEST SIMMONDS SPECULATION

NICHOLS ON HOCKEY: Appearing on NBCSN, TSN insider Bob McKenzie reported the Philadelphia Flyers are getting calls about pending UFA winger Wayne Simmonds but they haven’t reached a decision yet if they’ll re-sign or move him before the Feb. 25 trade deadline. McKenzie considers it more likely than not that Simmonds gets traded but it’s not a certainty. He believes there will be a high demand for the power forward. 

The Philadelphia Flyers must soon decide if they’ll re-sign or trade Wayne Simmonds before the trade deadline. (Photo via NHL Images)

Appearing on Ottawa’s TSN 1200, McKenzie’s colleague Pierre LeBrun also believes there will be no shortage of interest in Simmonds if the Flyers decide to trade him. LeBrun suggested adding Simmonds to a powerful club like the Tampa Bay Lightning to give them more muscle for the playoffs is a scary thought, though he adds he has no evidence to suggest the Lightning are interested in Simmonds and was merely using them as an example. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Flyers general manager Chuck Fletcher could be listening to offers from other clubs while negotiating with Simmonds’ agent to determine if a workable new contract can be reached before the trade deadline. Perhaps he’ll try to re-sign Simmonds to a three- or four-year deal provided he’s not seeking much over $5 million annually. If the winger seeks a more lucrative long-term contract, Fletcher will shop him before the deadline for the best deal.

While there may be no indication of the Lightning having interest in Simmonds, they’ve proven their willingness in the recent past to swing significant deals near the trade deadline to bolster their lineup for the postseason. It wouldn’t be surprising if they become a serious suitor for Simmonds. 

RUMOR HIGHLIGHTS FROM FRIEDMAN’S LATEST “31 THOUGHTS”.

SPORTSNET: In his latest “31 Thoughts” column, Elliotte Friedman believes the Carolina Hurricanes could trade Dougie Hamilton because they’re heavy with right-shot defensemen. He also noted Hamilton has had more games playing under 16 minutes (four games) than those where he’s played over 20 minutes (three games). The Hurricanes need scoring and there are clubs in need of scoring blueliners so Hamilton has value.  

Friedman also reports the Hurricanes and pending unrestricted free agent winger Micheal Ferland remain far apart in contract negotiations. The Hurricanes are determined not to let their UFAs depart for nothing. Friedman suggests the Pittsburgh Penguins or Edmonton Oilers as possible destinations for Ferland. The Hurricanes have also told teams they prefer to wait a little longer before reaching decisions on goalies Curtis McElhinney and Petr Mrazek. They’re also trying to re-sign winger Jordan Martinook. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Hurricanes apparently aren’t actively shopping Hamilton but, as Friedman indicated last Saturday, they could be willing to listen if someone offers them a scoring forward. We know Hurricanes GM Don Waddell had interest in Toronto Maple Leafs winger William Nylander prior to his re-signing a new contract with the Leafs and there’s been talk that he also likes Leafs winger Kaspari Kapanen. Maybe he would consider swapping Hamilton for Kapanen plus a draft pick or prospect.

Penguins GM Jim Rutherford isn’t shy about making significant in-season deals and perhaps Ferland could be a fit. However, the Penguins surge up the standings since early-December had Rutherford recently suggesting he might not be as busy near the deadline this time around. The Oilers need all the help they can get but their priority (as always) is their blueline and Ferland can’t improve that area of concern.

Friedman adds winger Pat Maroon to the list of available St. Louis Blues… He also reports the Tampa Bay Lightning are trying to find a new home for little-used defenseman Slater Koekkoek…There’s interest in Vancouver Canucks blueliner Michael Del Zotto but those clubs are waiting until closer to the trade deadline to save salary-cap space. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Just spitballing here, but if the Lightning were to pursue Wayne Simmonds, maybe they’ll offer up Koekkoek as part of the return. 

Teams could be watching to see how the Winnipeg Jets handle backup goalie Laurent Brossoit and winger Brandon Tanev. Brossoit is a year away from UFA eligibility while Tanev is eligible this summer. The Jets have received inquiries about Jack Roslovic but have no interest in moving him.

SHARKS COULD BE BUSY AGAIN NEAR THE TRADE DEADLINE

THE MERCURY NEWS: Paul Gackle reports San Jose Sharks GM Doug Wilson is open to the idea of pursuing rental talent at this year’s trade deadline. It’s possible he could pursuing a scoring forward such as Philadelphia’s Wayne Simmonds or Ottawa’s Matt Duchene or Matt Stone. Goaltending, however, is an issue this year as the Sharks’ tandem of Martin Jones and Aaron Dell are struggling this season. Still, Wilson expressed confidence in the duo, pointing to Jones’ playoff record. Gackle noted Wilson lacks a first- and second-round pick in this year’s and lacks a first the 2020 NHL Draft. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Throughout his long career as a general manager, Wilson has proven capable of pulling off significant in-season trades. I wouldn’t rule out the possibility of him landing a substantial rental asset this year. 










NHL Rumor Mill – October 2, 2018

NHL Rumor Mill – October 2, 2018

Latest on the Islanders, Lightning and Canucks in your NHL rumor mill.

ISLANDERS

NEWSDAY: The free-agent status of top-six forwards Anders Lee, Jordan Eberle and Brock Nelson are among Andrew Gross’ five things to watch for the New York Islanders this season. He believes they cannot allow those three to depart as UFAs without compensation as they did with John Tavares this summer. General manager Lou Lamoriello could face some tough decisions by the Feb. 25, 2019 trade deadline.

New York Islanders could face a tough decision with pending free agents such as Anders Lee. (Photo via NHL Images)

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Player and team performance will determine the fates of those three. Of the trio, Nelson could be most likely to be shopped if he fails to impress as their second-line center. 

Big seasons from Lee and Eberle could land them new contracts with the islanders, but that will also depend upon how much they’re seeking. Lee is earning $3.75 million annually on his current contract and could look to double that, while Eberle is earning $6 million per season and could try to stay in that neighborhood. 

LIGHTNING

THE ATHLETIC: Joe Smith reports the Tampa Bay Lightning have tried to move a defenseman, telling teams they’re open to trading Slater Koekkoek or Braydon Coburn. It remains to be seen if a deal will be made. For now, they’ve sent promising Erik Cernak to their AHL affiliate in Syracuse. Both blueliners still hold depth value for the Lightning. Of the two, Smith thinks Koekkoek could be more open to a change of scenery.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I think Koekkoek is the most likely trade candidate, as he’s younger (24), lacks no-trade protection and carries an affordable $865K salary this season. That move might not happen right away but could take place later this season, especially if there’s a need to create more room on a crowded blueline. He could be an affordable blueline depth acquisition for a rival club as the season unfolds. 

CANUCKS

THE ATHLETIC: Jason Brough feels the Vancouver Canucks placing Sam Gagner on waivers could be a warning of more moves to come. He wonders if veterans Brandon Sutter and Alexander Edler become trade candidates later this season. He acknowledges Edler has a no-trade clause but perhaps he’d waive it if he were told in no uncertain terms that he wasn’t getting re-signed.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: If Gagner clears waivers today they could send him down to their AHL affiliate or attempt to trade him. He’s signed through 2019-20 with an annual cap hit of $3.15 million, which could make clubs leery of claiming him. Even via trade, the Canucks could be asked to absorb part of that cap hit. 

Sutter will be a tough sell. Cap Friendly indicates he carries a $4.375-million cap hit through 2020-21 with a full no-trade clause this season. Edler, on the other hand, should attract plenty of interest near the trade deadline if he’s willing to waive his no-trade.