NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 13, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 13, 2022

Recaps of Wednesday’s games, the Sabres sign head coach Don Granato and defenseman Mattias Samuelsson to contract extensions, Andy Greene retires and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: Connor McDavid tallied a hat trick as the Edmonton Oilers overcame a 3-0 deficit to defeat the Vancouver Canucks 5-3. McDavid netted the game-winning and insurance goals, Leon Draisaitl had a goal and two assists while Darnell Nurse had a goal and an assist. J.T. Miller had a goal and an assist for the Canucks.

Edmonton Oilers center Connor McDavid (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Oilers dressed just 17 skaters as wingers Kailer Yamamoto and Warren Foegele missed this game with undisclosed injuries. Salary-cap constraints limited them to 11 forwards and six defensemen.

The Colorado Avalanche celebrated their 2021-22 Stanley Cup banner raising with a 5-2 victory over the Chicago Blackhawks. Artturi Lehkonen scored twice and collected an assist, Valeri Nichushkin tallied two goals and Mikko Rantanen had four assists. Jonathan Toews and Max Domi replied for the Blackhawks.

Montreal Canadiens winger Josh Anderson’s goal with 19 seconds remaining in the third period lifted his club to a 4-3 upset of the Toronto Maple Leafs. Cole Caufield scored twice and Nick Suzuki picked up two assists. John Tavares and William Nylander each had two points for the Leafs.

David Krejci had a goal and two assists in his first NHL game since 2020-21 as the Bostons Bruins beat the Washington Capitals 5-2. David Pastrnak led the way with a goal and three assists while Linus Ullmark made 33 saves for the win. It was a costly victory as Jake DeBrusk left the game in the second period with what appeared to be an injured right arm.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Krejci looked good in his return to the Bruins after spending last season playing in his native Czechia. However, it was Pastrnak who was the standout in this contest. He was dominant throughout this game and is already making the case for a big raise on his next contract.

The Carolina Hurricanes rolled to a 4-1 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets. Martin Necas had a goal and two assists while Frederik Andersen made 31 saves for the win. Patrik Laine scored for the Jackets but left the game in the second period with an injured right arm following a collision with Hurricanes defenseman Brett Pesce.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: No word yet on the severity of Laine’s injury. Jackets starting goalie Elvis Merzlikins missed this game due to a non-COVID-related illness.

Anaheim Ducks forward Troy Terry opened and closed the scoring in his club’s 5-4 overtime victory over the Seattle Kraken. Terry and Ryan Strome finished with three points while Trevor Zegras had two points. Kraken rookie center Matty Beniers had a goal and an assist.

HEADLINES

WGR 550: The Buffalo Sabres announced the signing of head coach Don Granato to a two-year contract extension. They also announced defenseman Mattias Samuelsson agreed to a seven-year, $30 million contract extension.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Granato’s extension was no surprise given the improvement of the Sabres thus far under his watch. The length of Samuelsson’s deal raised some eyebrows given his limited body of NHL action with just 54 games over the past two seasons.

Sabres management evidently believes Samuelsson’s going to be a key part of their blueline in the coming years. The 22-year-old’s average annual value starting next season will be over $4.285 million starting in 2023-24. If he develops as projected this contract could turn into a bargain for the Sabres.

TSN: Andy Greene retires as a member of the New Jersey Devils after signing a one-day contract with them. Greene spent 14 seasons with the Devils and was their captain from 2015 to 2020 before getting traded to the New York Islanders. The 39-year-old defenseman finishes with 264 points in 1,057 career games over 16 NHL seasons. He was part of the Devils’ run to the 2012 Stanley Cup Final.

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

SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman reports Tampa Bay Lighting defenseman Ian Cole met with NHL security yesterday but there was no formal announcement or resolution in the aftermath. The league and the NHL Players Association declined to comment. Cole was suspended with pay pending an investigation following a social media post accusing him of sexual assault and grooming.

NEW YORK POST: Rangers winger Vitali Kravtsov will miss the club’s current two-game road trip with an upper-body injury. It’s hoped he’ll rejoin his teammates next week but there is no definitive timeline for his return.

TSN: The Colorado Avalanche reclaimed goaltender Jonas Johansson off waivers from the Arizona Coyotes.

WINNIPEG SUN: The Jets signed winger Brad Lambert to a three-year entry-level contract. The 30th overall pick in this year’s draft, he will start the season with their AHL affiliate.

CAP FRIENDLY: The New York Islanders loaned forward Richard Panik to Swiss League team Lausanne HC for the season. His contract will still count against the Isles’ salary-cap payroll at the amount for players demoted to the minors.

THE MERCURY NEWS: Former San Jose Sharks general manager Doug Wilson will attend a pregame ceremony in his honor before the club’s game on Saturday against the Chicago Blackhawks. Wilson stepped down from his post for medical reasons last year.

NHL.COM: The Pittsburgh Penguins named Kerry Huffman as their director of professional scouting.

The Tampa Bay Lightning extended their AHL affiliation with the Syracuse Crunch through the 2026-27 season.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 12, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 12, 2022

The Rangers and Golden Knights win their season openers, the latest on Carey Price plus some contract signings, injury updates and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: Mika Zibanejad scored twice and Igor Shesterkin made 26 saves as the New York Rangers opened their 2022-23 season with a 3-1 victory over the Tampa Bay Lightning. Barclay Goodrow also scored for the Rangers while Steven Stamkos replied for the Lightning.

New York Rangers forward Mika Zibanejad (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It was a costly win for the Rangers as winger Vitali Kravtsov left the game with an upper-body injury in the first period following a collision with Lightning defenseman Victor Hedman. Kravtsov is listed as day-to-day.

Mark Stone’s snapped a 3-3 tie with 26 seconds remaining in the third period as the Vegas Golden Knights nipped the Los Angeles Kings 4-3. Logan Thompson made 27 saves for the win. Alex Pietrangelo, William Karlsson and Chandler Stephenson each had two points. Jonathan Quick kicked out 47 shots for the Kings.

HEADLINES

THE ATHLETIC: Carey Price will undergo Osteochondral Autograft Transfer (OAT Surgery) in what could be a long-shot gamble to resume his playing career. The 35-year-old Montreal Canadiens goaltender said he’s still plagued by swelling in his knee and is trying to reach a place where he’ll be at least pain-free in his everyday life.

In an exclusive interview with Arpon Basu, Price revealed he has a large hole in the cartilage in the joint of his injured knee. Describing the OAT procedure, he said, “They would basically take a plug of bone and cartilage out of a lower-wear area in my knee, and then place that plug into the damaged area of my knee.”

Basu cites two studies indicating the estimated long-term success rate to be 72 percent, and that is for a pain-free, normal life. Price acknowledged that he might not be able to resume his playing career following the procedure but won’t give up hope.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It sounds like it would take a miracle for Price to not just resume his career but regain the form that made him one of the best goaltenders of his generation.

TSN: Speaking of the Canadiens, they placed forward Paul Byron (hip injury) on long-term injury reserve and recalled defenseman Arber Xhekaj from the Laval Rocket. Byron’s annual average value is $3.4 million.

WASHINGTON HOCKEY NOW: Capitals winger Carl Hagelin underwent arthroscopic surgery to address a chronic hip injury. He’s out indefinitely and is listed as an injured non-roster player.

BOSTON HOCKEY NOW: The Bruins have signed Anton Stralman to a one-year, $1 million contract. The 36-year-old defenseman had been on a professional tryout offer.

NEWSOBSERVER.COM: The Carolina Hurricanes signed forward Derek Stepan to a one-year, $750K contract. He’d attended training camp on a PTO contract.

CALGARY SUN: The Flames signed Michael Stone to a one-year, two-way contract worth $750K at the NHL level. He’d been on a PTO contract with the club.

ESPN.COM’s Kevin Weekes reports he’s been told the Edmonton Oilers and defenseman Jason Demers are discussing the possibility of his signing an AHL contract.

CBS SPORTS: Winnipeg Jets forward Mason Appleton was moved to injured reserve with an upper-body injury retroactive to Oct. 5.

TSN: Hockey Canada’s board of directors announced their resignations yesterday. The move came amid calls for a change in the organization’s leadership following its mishandling of sexual assault allegations against players from Canada’s 2003 and 2018 World Junior teams.

Rick Westhead reports members of the Canadian parliament will continue to investigate Hockey Canada’s historical response to those allegations. They’ll also want answers about any severance package offered to chief executive Scott Smith, who stepped down on Tuesday.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It took several major sponsors and provincial hockey organizations withdrawing their support of Hockey Canada for those directors to finally step down. It’s a long overdue step in the right direction but it will take more than just sweeping aside the former leadership to restore trust in Hockey Canada. This organization needs a massive overhaul.

NHL.COM: Former Buffalo Sabres head coach Joe Crozier has died at age 93. Crozier took over as coach in January 1972. In his three seasons behind the Sabres bench, he put together the famous French Connection line of Gilbert Perreault, Rene Robert and Richard Martin. Crozier also guided the Sabres to their first-ever playoff appearance in 1972-73.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Crozier was head coach of the Toronto Maple Leafs in 1979-80 and 1980-81. He achieved success with the AHL’s Rochester Americans, coaching them to three Calder Cups in four seasons from 1964-65 to 1967-68. He also guided the WHL’s Vancouver Canucks to a championship in 1968-69 and the OHL’s Kitchener Rangers to a Memorial Cup championship in 1981-82. My condolences to Crozier’s family, friends, and to the players he coached over his long career.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 13, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 13, 2022

The latest on the Colorado Avalanche and Tampa Bay Lightning as they prepared for the Stanley Cup Final, the Rangers sign Vitali Kravtsov, the Panthers fire two assistant coaches, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

SPORTSNET: Colorado Avalanche forwards Nazem Kadri and Andrew Cogliano could return to action at some point in the upcoming 2022 Stanley Cup Final. Both were sidelined by hand injuries during the Western Conference Finals against the Edmonton Oilers.

Colorado Avalanche center Nazem Kadri (NHL Images).

  THE SCORE: cited Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman saying Tampa Bay Lightning center Brayden Point is “extremely probable” to play in the Stanley Cup Final. Point has been sidelined by a lower-body injury suffered during Game 7 of the Lightning’s first-round series with the Toronto Maple Leafs.

COLORADO HOCKEY NOW: The Avalanche are considered the favorites to win the Stanley Cup according to most sportsbooks. They’ve been the favorite for most of this season.

THE DENVER POST: The Avalanche are preparing for the challenge of facing the defending back-to-back Stanley Cup champion Lightning. “To be the best you’ve got to beat the best,” said Avs captain Gabriel Landeskog.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Ric Flair couldn’t have said it better. The oddsmakers may have the Avs as the favorites but the Lightning are still the defending champions. Take them lightly at your peril.

TAMPA BAY TIMES: The Lightning’s smothering defense was key to their elimination of two of this year’s highest-scoring teams in the Florida Panthers and Toronto Maple Leafs.

TSN: Vitali Kravtsov is reportedly returning to the New York Rangers after spending this season in the KHL. The 22-year-old right winger’s agent said his client signed a one-year, one-way contract with the Rangers.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Cap Friendly indicates he’ll earn a base salary of $800K with a $75K signing bonus. Kravtsov was the subject of trade speculation earlier this season for refusing to report to the Rangers’ AHL affiliate in Hartford. It’ll be interesting to see if he’s with the Blueshirts next season or ends up getting traded now that he’s signed an affordable one-year NHL contract.

FLORIDA HOCKEY NOW: cites a report by ESPN’s Kevin Weekes indicating the Panthers have relieved assistant coaches Ulf Samuelsson and Derek MacKenzie of their duties. Sportsnet’s Jeff Marek has also reported the Panthers will likely bring back Andrew Brunette as head coach with a coaching staff of his own.

BOSTON HOCKEY NOW: A source claims the Bruins have been in contract with former Providence Bruins head coach Jay Leach and former NHL coach Jim Montgomery about their vacant head coaching job.










NHL Morning Coffee Headline – June 7, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headline – June 7, 2022

The Avalanche sweep the Oilers to advance to the Stanley Cup Final, the Bruins fire coach Bruce Cassidy and Kyle Connor wins the Lady Byng Memorial Trophy. Details and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: The Colorado Avalanche are heading to the Stanley Cup Final after defeating the Edmonton Oilers 6-5 in Game 4 of the Western Conference Finals. Artturi Lehkonen scored in overtime as the Avs swept the Oilers, sending them to the Final for the first time since 2001.

2022 Western Conference Champion Colorado Avalanche (NHL.com).

The Avalanche opened the scoring but the Oilers took leads of 3-1 and 4-2 before the Avs regained the lead on third-period goals by Gabriel Landeskog, Nathan MacKinnon and Mikko Rantanen. Zack Kassian scored late in the third to tie the game at five and force the extra frame.

Avalanche defenseman Cale Makar finished the night with a goal and four assists while Landeskog and Lehkonen each had a goal and an assist. Leon Draisaitl had four primary assists, Zach Hyman tallied twice and Connor McDavid had a goal and an assist for the Oilers.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This game was the most exciting of this short series but it also had an air of inevitability about it. Despite the Oilers taking two 2-goal leads they simply lacked the goaltending and defensive depth to hold it.

The Avalanche are a much deeper club, enabling them to overcome those deficits and prevail in overtime. That included adjusting to the absence of center Nazem Kadri, who returned to Denver to repair a broken thumb suffered in Game 3. His return for the remainder of the postseason is questionable.

Injuries to some key players also hurt the Oilers in this series. Despite Draisaitl’s offensive heroics, he was pretty much playing on one leg after suffering an ankle injury during their first-round series with the Los Angeles Kings. Defenseman Darnell Nurse revealed he’d played the entire postseason with a torn hip flexor. Winger Kailer Yamamoto missed Game 4 with an upper-body injury suffered in Game 2.

BOSTON HOCKEY NOW: The Bruins yesterday announced they fired head coach Bruce Cassidy. During Cassidy’s six-year tenure behind the bench, they reached the playoffs six times, including the Stanley Cup Final in 2019.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Athletic’s Fluto Shinzawa cited front office unhappiness with Cassidy’s offensive tactics and approach to optimizing player performance (especially those of the younger players) as the reasons behind this move. However, he’s among the pundits who are critical of this move, suggesting the club’s Stanley Cup window is now closed. Some believe Cassidy is taking the fall for management’s missteps over the past six seasons.

WINNIPEG SUN: Jets winger Kyle Connor won the Lady Byng Memorial Trophy. He enjoyed a career-best performance (47 goals, 93 points) while collecting just four penalty minutes in 79 games. That was the fewest among the league’s top-100 scorers with at least 50 games played.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Congratulations to Connor for this well-deserved award. Like all the previous winners, he’s a fine example that this game can be played at a high level without resorting to questionable behavior or taking costly infractions.

TAMPA BAY TIMES: Lightning center Brayden Point remains sidelined by a lower-body injury and won’t suit up for Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Finals against the New York Rangers.

NHL.COM: Rangers center Ryan Strome is expected to play against the Lightning tonight after leaving Game 3 on Sunday with a lower-body injury.

TSN: Speaking of the Rangers, prospect winger Vitali Kravtsov has rejected an extension to his KHL contract and appears to be eyeing a return to the NHL next season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Time will tell if he’s back with the Rangers or another club. His falling-out with management over his playing time earlier this season prompted considerable trade speculation.

STLTODAY.COM: Blues captain Ryan O’Reilly said the lingering effect of COVID-19 took a toll on his performance this season. He had just five goals in 27 games before the Christmas break. His performance improved over the remainder of the campaign, finishing with 21 goals and 58 points, as well as seven goals and 12 points in 12 postseason games.

THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH’s Brian Hedger tweeted that Blue Jackets winger Patrik Laine has fully recovered from the back injury that sidelined him from the final seven games of the season. There’s no update, however, on the status of the restricted free agent’s contract negotiations.

MONTREAL GAZETTE: The Canadiens signed defenseman Chris Wideman to a two-year, $1.525 million contract.

CHICAGO SUN-TIMES: Long-time Blackhawks forward Eric Nesterenko passed away Monday at age 88. He spent 21 seasons in the NHL, starting in 1951-52 with the Toronto Maple Leafs before joining the Blackhawks in 1956-57, spending the remaining 16 seasons in Chicago and helping them win the Stanley Cup in 1961. He had 250 goals and 574 points in 1,219 games. Nesterenko appeared in the 1986 movie “Youngblood” and also served as a consultant on the film.

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










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 14, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 14, 2022

The Avalanche sets franchise records in a lopsided win over the Kings, Martin St. Louis clarifies his future plans with the Canadiens, the Flames are poised to clinch a playoff berth and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: The Colorado Avalanche set franchise records with their 53rd win of the season by crushing the Los Angeles Kings 9-3. Nathan MacKinnon had a hat trick and collected two assists, Cale Makar had a goal and three assists while Valeri Nichushkin and Nicolas Aube-Kubel each scored two goals. The Avalanche also set a franchise record with their 29th home victory, sitting on top of the overall standings with 112 points.

Colorado Avalanche center Nathan MacKinnon (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Avs’ franchise record for points in a season is 118 in 2000-21. With nine games remaining in their schedule, they can break that record with four more wins. The Kings, meanwhile, cling to third place in the Pacific Division with 88 points, holding a three-point lead over the Vegas Golden Knights.

New York Rangers goaltender Alexandar Georgiev made 28 saves to shut out the Philadelphia Flyers 4-0. Kaapo Kakko scored twice while Jacob Trouba and Barclay Goodrow each had two assists. With 102 points, the Rangers sit two points behind the first-place Carolina Hurricanes in the Metropolitan Division.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Flyers suffered their 40th loss of the season, marking the second time in franchise history they’ve reached that level. They dropped 48 games in 2006-07.

The Columbus Blue Jackets got two goals from Jack Roslovic and three points from Patrik Laine in a 5-1 victory over the Montreal Canadiens.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Canadiens head coach Martin St. Louis indicated he’d like to return behind the Habs bench following yesterday’s morning skate. He said he was brought in to finish the season and that’s where he was putting his focus, but added his goal would be to be back with the club next season.

St. Louis was clarifying earlier comments where he seemed to suggest he might not return after this season, raising some concern among Canadiens fans. He’s in his current position on an interim basis but general manager Kent Hughes recently said he’d like to keep him on as their full-time bench boss.

HEADLINES

CALGARY SUN: The Flames can clinch a playoff berth with a win over the Vegas Golden Knights tonight. They sit in first place in the Pacific Division with 99 points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: They’ll have their hands full against a determined opponent battling for a wild-card spot.

SPORTSNET: The NHL department of player safety fined Minnesota Wild forward Ryan Hartman $4,250.00 for unsportsmanlike conduct for flipping off Edmonton Oilers winger Evander Kane on Tuesday.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Hartman can afford that fine but that hasn’t stopped Wild fans (and Kane’s estranged wife Anna) from chipping in to an online fund to help him pay it off. I suspect he’ll donate that money to charity.

NEW YORK POST: Vitaly Kravtsov will not be joining the Rangers for the upcoming playoffs. However, he remains in good standing with the organization and plans are being made for him to come to New York this summer to get an early start on training camp. Kravtsov, 21, spent this season on loan to the KHL after refusing to report to the Rangers’ AHL affiliate last fall.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kravtsov was a hot topic for early-season trade speculation. He could resurface in this fall’s rumor mill if he fails to secure a full-time roster spot with the Rangers. It’s also possible he gets traded during the offseason if the Rangers get a suitable trade offer.

NHL.COM: Boston’s Fenway Park will host the 2023 NHL Winter Classic on Jan. 2 as the Bruins face off against the visiting Pittsburgh Penguins.

THE ATHLETIC: Jonas Siegel makes the case for Toronto Maple Leafs winger Michael Bunting to receive votes for the Calder Memorial Trophy despite the 26-year-old rookie’s age and his previous (albeit limited) NHL experience with the Arizona Coyotes.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I consider Detroit Red Wings defenseman Moritz Seider and Anaheim Ducks center Trevor Zegras as the front-runners for this award, with Seider my choice as rookie of the year.

I acknowledge Siegel’s point that Bunting had to rise to the challenge of dealing with the pressure of playing alongside superstars Auston Matthews and Mitch Marner in hockey’s biggest market. However, Seider and Zegras are already establishing themselves as invaluable players on rebuilding clubs lacking big-name talent.

The Leafs would still be a playoff club this season regardless of whether Bunting played on their top line. Seider and Zegras, however, are budding impact players already playing important roles on their respective teams.

TSN: The Chicago Blackhawks signed forward Reese Johnson to a two-year contract extension with an annual average value of $800K.










NHL Rumor Mill – February 23, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – February 23, 2022

Will the loss of Jake Muzzin send the Leafs into the trade market? Could Zdeno Chara be shipped to a playoff contender? What is the latest on the Canadiens? Check out the latest in today’s NHL rumor mill.

LATEST ON THE LEAFS

TSN: Darren Dreger points out the Toronto Maple Leafs could free up over $5.6 million in salary-cap space if sidelined defenseman Jake Muzzin (concussion) ends up on long-term injured reserve (LTIR). Dreger suggested options such as the Anaheim Ducks’ Hampus Lindholm, the Dallas Stars’ John Klingberg, the Montreal Canadiens’ Ben Chiarot or the Seattle Kraken’s Mark Giordano, though he called them “pie in the sky options” right now. He also said the Leafs would like to add a top-six forward to compliment the second line.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: We don’t know yet how long Muzzin could be sidelined. If he goes on LTIR, there’s no certainty he’d be out for the remainder of the regular season. He’d have to be for the Leafs to take on one of those blueliners without it causing a salary-cap headache if he returns before the postseason.

Dreger’s colleague Pierre LeBrun indicated the Ducks have reached out to Lindholm’s agent regarding a contract extension so he might not be available by the March 21 trade deadline. Sportnet’s Elliotte Friedman (stick tap to The Hockey Writers’ Kevin Armstrong) recently said the Leafs had considered Klingberg but they don’t want to part with a first-round pick or one of their top prospects for a rental.

Dallas Stars defenseman John Klingberg (NHL Images).

Speaking of Friedman, he thinks things could get interesting for Leafs general manager Kyle Dubas if he’s willing to use that LTIR space. “I’m on the J.T. Miller train,” said Friedman, referring to the Vancouver Canucks center. Miller wouldn’t be a playoff rental as he has a year remaining on his contract with an annual average value of $5.25 million. However, I don’t think they could win a bidding war with teams like the New York Rangers that have lots of cap space and promising young players to draw upon for trade bait.

CHARA ON THE TRADE BLOCK?

TSN: Pierre LeBrun reports teams are calling the New York Islanders expressing interest in Zdeno Chara. The 44-year-old New York Islanders defenseman lacks a no-trade clause but it’s though GM Lou Lamoriello could approach him to see if he wants to move.

NYI HOCKEY NOW: Stefen Rosner cites a league source claiming the Islanders will explore the trade market for Chara once he breaks the league record for most games played by a defenseman later this week. Rosner wonders if Chara could return to the Boston Bruins or if the Pittsburgh Penguins and Toronto Maple Leafs might take a flier on him.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Chara has slowed considerably but there appear to be clubs interested in him for his leadership in a third-pairing role. It’ll be interesting to see if he’s keen for one more crack at the Cup.

LATEST ON THE CANADIENS

MONTREAL HOCKEY NOW: Jimmy Murphy cites Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman recently musing over whether the Montreal Canadiens would consider trading Josh Anderson. Friedman said he’s getting mixed reactions over whether the Canadiens will keep the 27-year-old winger. Murphy feels they should retain Anderson, suggesting he has the look of a future Habs captain.

Marco D’Amico, meanwhile, took note of recent speculation by TSN’s Pierre LeBrun linking the Canadiens to the New York Rangers, citing the ties Canadiens hockey ops executive VP Jeff Gorton has with his former team. LeBrun felt the Habs would prefer prospects over draft picks and pointed out the Rangers’ depth in that department.

D’Amico suggested Vitali Kravtsov could be on their radar, pointing to the Habs’ recent hiring of former Rangers director of European Scouting Nick Bobrov as their new co-director of Amateur Scouting.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Judging from social media, trading Anderson wouldn’t go down well with Canadiens fans. I wouldn’t be surprised if the Habs are listening to offers on most of their players but Anderson could be someone they prefer retaining going forward. Then again, I said the same thing about Tyler Toffoli. Anderson, however, is younger and bigger than Toffoli and those factors could keep him in Montreal.

It wouldn’t be surprising if the Canadiens acquired Kravtsov, who’s been playing in the KHL this season awaiting a trade. The 22-year-old was unhappy with his playing time with the Rangers and would get plenty of opportunities to prove himself with the rebuilding Habs.