NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 23, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 23, 2022

Zdeno Chara reaches a milestone, the Predators drop the Panthers, Patrik Laine extends his points streak as his Blue Jackets upset the Leafs, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: Zdeno Chara tied Chris Chelios for most games played by an NHL defenseman (1,651) as his New York Islanders sunk the Seattle Kraken 5-2. Zach Parise scored two goals and collected an assist for the Islanders while Chara collected an assist while logging 20:15 of ice time. The Kraken has dropped five straight games.

New York Islanders defenseman Zdeno Chara (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Chara can break the record when the Islanders face off against the San Jose Sharks on Thursday.

The Nashville Predators scored three straight third-period goals to overcome a 4-3 deficit and defeat the Florida Panthers 6-4, snapping the latter’s nine-game home winning streak. Tanner Jeannot scored twice, Filip Forsberg had a goal and two assists and Roman Josi netted a goal and picked up an assist as the Predators (62 points) hold a three-point lead over the Los Angeles Kings for the first wild-card spot in the Western Conference. Jonathan Huberdeau and Sam Reinhart each finished the night with two points for the Panthers, who sit atop the Eastern Conference with 75 points.

Patrik Laine scored twice, including the game-winner in overtime, to extend his points streak to 10 games as the Columbus Blue Jackets upset the Toronto Maple Leafs 4-3. Auston Matthews had a goal and two assists for the Leafs, who are 0-2-1 in their last three contests but remain in third place in the Atlantic Division with 68 points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Some observers are raising concerns about the Leafs’ goaltending as Jack Campbell and Petr Mrazek gave up 15 goals over the last three games. However, they haven’t been helped by their teammates’ sloppy defensive play around their net. It’s an ongoing issue that could get worse with Jake Muzzin in concussion protocol for the second time this season. That’s sparking speculation the Leafs could go shopping for help if Muzzin ends up on long-term injury reserve. I’ll have more about that in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.

St. Louis Blues goaltender Jordan Binnington made 25 saves for his first win since Jan. 9 as he backstopped his club to a 4-1 victory over the Philadelphia Flyers. Ivan Barbashev had a goal and an assist and Vladimir Tarasenko potted the winning goal. With 66 points, the Blues moved one point ahead of the Minnesota Wild into second place in the Central Division.

Speaking of the Wild, they were upset by the Ottawa Senators 4-3. Thomas Chabot scored twice for the Senators (including the winning goal) and collected an assist while Anton Forsberg got the win with a 40-save performance.

A shootout goal by Trevor Zegras lifted the Anaheim Ducks over the San Jose Sharks 4-3. Rickard Rakell scored twice, including the game-tying goal, as the Ducks sit just outside the final Western Conference wild-card spot with 59 points. Brent Burns had a three-point performance and Logan Couture scored twice for the Sharks, who sit nine points behind the Ducks and Kings.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Keep an eye on the Sharks as the trade deadline approaches if they don’t gain any ground in the playoff chase. They’re getting closer to becoming sellers and that will stoke rumors over the fate of pending free agent center Tomas Hertl’s future in San Jose.

HEADLINES

TSN: Arizona Coyotes winger Andrew Ladd will miss the next four-to-six weeks with a lower-body injury.

NHL.COM: Speaking of the Coyotes, they made a minor trade with the Boston Bruins by shipping them the rights to college defenseman Michael Callahan in exchange for a seventh-round pick in 2024.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Coyotes general manager Bill Armstrong has been busy in the trade market. This was the third trade he’s made since Feb. 19, acquiring Nick Ritchie from the Leafs and also shipping goalie Carter Hutton to Toronto.

THE ATHLETIC: Former Anaheim Ducks general manager Bob Murray has reportedly joined the Calgary Flames as a scout.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Murray resigned from the Ducks last fall amid reports he’d mistreated his employees. He indicated at the time of his resignation that he was entering an alcohol abuse program. Here’s hoping he got the help he needed and gets his career back on track.

CBS SPORTS: The Philadelphia Flyers placed forward Derick Brassard (hip) on injured reserve.

Nashville Predators defenseman Mark Borowiecki is day-to-day with a lower-body injury.

THE DETROIT NEWS: Former Red Wings defenseman Vladimir Konstantinov has joined opponents of Michigan’s 2019 auto no-fault insurance law in criticizing a fee cut that would slash payments to medical providers almost in half. Konstantinov was left permanently disabled following a limousine crash in 1997. He stands to lose the round-the-clock care he’s received at home for near 25 years.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 14, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 14, 2021

Check out the recaps from Saturday’s action in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: Nashville Predators captain Roman Josi had a hand in all of his club’s goals in a 4-1 win over the Arizona Coyotes. Josi scored two goals and assisted on two others. The Coyotes have lost 14 of their first 15 games of this season. Before the game, Coyotes winger Andrew Ladd entered COVID-19 protocol.

Nashville Predators captain Roman Josi (NHL Images).

A four-point performance by Drake Batherson (two goals, two assists) powered the depleted Ottawa Senators over the Pittsburgh Penguins 6-3. Evan Rodrigues scored twice for the Penguins. Nikita Zaitsev was placed on COVID protocol before game time after coming off the list early Saturday. The Senators have nine players on the list. They also lost center Shane Pinto as he left the game during the second period with a possible shoulder surgery.

Colorado Avalanche defenseman Samuel Girard scored a goal and set up three others in a 6-2 victory over the San Jose Sharks. Nazem Kadri had a goal and two assists for the Avs. Erik Karlsson and Timo Meier were among seven Sharks players to return to the lineup from COVID protocols. Earlier in the day, the Avs claimed forward Nicolas Aube-Kubel off waivers from the Philadelphia Flyers.

Rookie Rem Pitlick netted a natural hat trick as the Minnesota Wild doubled up the Seattle Kraken 4-2, handing the latter their fourth straight loss. Ryan Hartman collected assists on each of Pitlick’s goals.

Brad Marchand scored twice as the Boston Bruins downed the New Jersey Devils 5-2 to snap the latter’s four-game points streak. Charlie McAvoy collected three assists while Patrice Bergeron and David Pastrnak each had two points for the Bruins.

The New York Rangers scored three goals in 62 seconds in the second period to beat the Columbus Blue Jackets 5-3. Rangers forward Artemi Panarin and Chris Kreider each scored twice. Blueshirts goalie Igor Shesterkin left in the third period following a collision with Blue Jackets forward Alexandre Texier but got a clean bill of health after the game. Earlier in the day, the Rangers placed center Filip Chytil on injured reserve with an upper-body injury retroactive to Nov. 6.

Vegas Golden Knights forwards Jonathan Marchessault and Evgenii Dadonov both scored twice as their club rolled to a 7-4 victory over the Vancouver Canucks. Vegas captain Mark Stone picked up an assist as he returned to action after several weeks on injured reserve. The Golden Knights have won three straight. Canucks forward Nils Hoglander scored twice and collected an assist.

Detroit Red Wings captain Dylan Larkin scored twice, including the winner in overtime to down the Montreal Canadiens 3-2. Canadiens goalie Jake Allen left the game with a concussion following a first-period collision with Larkin after the latter was shoved from behind by Habs defenseman Jeff Petry. Following the game, the Canadiens called up netminder Cayden Primeau from their AHL affiliate in Laval.

Mark Scheifele’s first goal of the season came in overtime in the Winnipeg Jets’ 3-2 win over the Los Angeles Kings, ending the latter’s seven-game win streak. Jets goaltender Connor Hellebuyck made 27 saves for the win.

Toronto Maple Leafs goalie Joseph Woll made 23 saves to win his NHL debut 5-4 over the Buffalo Sabres. Morgan Rielly tallied the winning goal with 12 seconds remaining in the game. Rielly and John Tavares each had a goal and an assist. Jeff Skinner scored twice for the Sabres.

Brayden Point’s overtime tally lifted the Tampa Bay Lightning to a 3-2 win over the Florida Panthers, extending the latter’s winless skid to four games. The Panthers overcame a 2-0 deficit to force the extra frame. The Lightning’s point streak is now at seven games.

A late goal by Brendan Smith gave the Carolina Hurricanes a 3-2 win over the St. Louis Blues. Sebastian Aho, Andrei Svechnikov and Tony DeAngelo each collected two points for the Hurricanes while Robert Thomas had two assists for the Blues.

The Dallas Stars picked up their first regulation victory of the season by defeating the Philadelphia Flyers 5-2. Roope Hintz and Luke Glendening each had a goal and an assist for the Stars while Anton Khudobin kicked out 31 shots for the win. Kevin Hayes and Ryan Ellis returned to the Flyers lineup after injuries sidelined them for several weeks.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 17, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 17, 2021

98 percent of NHL players expected to be vaccinated for the coming season, Sidney Crosby hopes Alex Ovechkin breaks Wayne Gretzky’s goal record, plus the latest on Evander Kane, Carey Price, P.K. Subban and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

TSN: NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly estimates 98 percent of players will be vaccinated against COVID-19 when the 2021-22 season opens on Oct. 12. That will leave between 10 and 15 players unvaccinated among 700 players on 32 teams.

The NHL and NHL Players Association didn’t impose a vaccine mandate on players, but restrictions (including restrictions at the Canada – US border requiring lengthy quarantine) contributed to the high number of vaccinations. Teams can also suspend unvaccinated players without pay if they cannot participate in hockey activities as part of its protocols.

Fully vaccinated players will have any positive COVID-19 tests treated as hockey injuries and continue to be paid. Unvaccinated players will have their movements restricted during road trips. Regular COVID testing will remain in place for vaccinated players. Coaches and staff must be vaccinated as a condition of employment.

THE PROVINCE: Patrick Johnston reports Daly confirmed that teams who suspend players without pay under the terms of the league’s COVID protocols will receive salary-cap relief from that player’s daily salary-cap hit.

Unvaccinated players can be ruled exempt from suspension if they have legitimate medical reasons for avoiding vaccination or if it conflicts with “sincerely held religious beliefs”.

Johnston also reported at least one Caucks remains unvaccinated but the team declined to comment citing medical privacy.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The NHL isn’t fooling around with its protocols this season after a number of game postponements due to COVID-19 outbreaks over the course of last season led to a series of scheduling changes. It took a physical toll on the players as they endured multiple games within a much more compressed period of time.

Unvaccinated players will have a more difficult time navigating through those strict protocols this season. Those restrictions could encourage the remainder who lack medical exemption to get vaccinated. The risk of suspension without pay for a positive test is too great over the course of the season.

SPORTSNET: Daly indicated the salary cap for the 2022-23 season is expected to increase by $1 million to $82.5 million.

Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin (NHL Images).

  NBC SPORTS WASHINGTON: Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin has the support of a long-time rival in his quest to break Wayne Gretzky’s goal-scoring record. Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby said he told Ovechkin he hopes he does it. “It would be awesome. He’s in range, “ said Crosby. “He can score anywhere from insider the blue line.”

Crosby added one caveat. “I just hope that all his goals that he gets are against the other teams as he’s trying to add toward it.” Gretzky has 894 goals while Ovechkin sits at 730 to start the season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Ovechkin’s legacy is secure as this generation’s greatest goal scorer and one of the all-time greats. Most of Gretzky’s records are out of reach of today’s players, so the opportunity for the Capitals superstar to break the goal record would be a phenomenal achievement.

NBC SPORTS BAY AREA: Evander Kane remains confident that the league will clear him of allegations by his estranged wife that he gambled on NHL games. In an interview with ESPN’s Linda Cohn, the San Jose Sharks winger called the allegations “incredibly false”, claiming he’s never bet on any NHL games or intentionally altered the way he plays.

The NHL opened an investigation into the allegations in July. Deputy commissioner Bill Daly said he anticipates it will wrap up soon and to have a full report by the start of training camp.

Kane admitted he has a gambling addiction which led to his filing for bankruptcy in July. He also downplayed reports claiming some of his Sharks teammates don’t want him back.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Athletic’s Kevin Kurz believes it’s what’s Kane didn’t say during the interview that’s newsworthy. “This was a missed opportunity for him to signal to his teammates/organization that he’s ready to come back, change his ways, and be a solid teammate. Instead, nothing’s changed.”

MONTREAL GAZETTE: Canadiens goaltender Carey Price took to the ice yesterday in full equipment with a member of the team’s training staff. It’s believed the first time he’s skated since undergoing knee surgery in July. He spent 10 minutes on the ice doing stretching and skating drills.

TORONTO STAR: New Jersey Devils defenseman P.K. Subban is an executive producer on an upcoming docuseries entitled, “Black Life: A Canadian History.”

THE ATHLETIC: Andrew Ladd is looking forward to the opportunity to play in the NHL again. He was traded this summer to the Arizona Coyotes by the New York Islanders. He played just 30 NHL games over the past three seasons with the Islanders.

TORONTO SUN: The Maple Leafs and Buffalo Sabres will face off in the 2022 Heritage Classic on March 13 at Tim Hortons Field in Hamilton, Ontario.

THE SCORE: Two suspects were arrested in the robbery of a St. Louis Blues prospect and a woman on the grounds of the Gateway Arch. The name of the prospect has not been released.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 18, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 18, 2021

Carey Price, Vladimir Tarasenko, Gabriel Landeskog are among the notables to be left unprotected in the upcoming expansion draft, Miro Heiskanen among several players inking new contracts, and a roundup of yesterday’s notable trades in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NOTE: The NHL expansion draft roster freeze went into effect at 3 pm ET on Saturday. It will remain in effect until 1 pm EST on Thursday, July 22.

MONTREAL GAZETTE: Canadiens goaltender Carey Price has agreed to waive his no-movement for the upcoming NHL expansion draft. He made that decision to enable the Canadiens to protect backup goalie Jake Allen.

Montreal Canadiens goaltender Carey Price (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The gamble here for Price and the Canadiens is the Kraken could be put off by his contract, which has five years remaining at an annual average value of $10.5 million.

There are a couple of poison pills in this contract. If the Kraken select Price, they’ll have to pay him the $11 million signing bonus due in September. His no-movement clause would follow him to Seattle as he’s only waiving it in this instance for the expansion draft, not a trade. In other words, the Kraken would need his permission to trade or demote him.

THE DENVER POST: The Colorado Avalanche will expose Gabriel Landeskog in the expansion draft. The 28-year-old left-winger is slated to become an unrestricted free agent on July 28. This allows the Kraken to exclusively negotiate with Landeskog and perhaps sign him to a new contract before the draft on Wednesday night. If he does, he would become the Kraken’s expansion draft selection from the Avalanche.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: There’s speculation Landeskog seeks a long-term deal worth between $9 million and $10 million annually. That would be a big contract for the Kraken to take on so early in their existence. They could, however, try to ink him to a multi-year deal worth around $7 million annually. It’ll be interesting to see how this plays out.

STLTODAY.COM: The St. Louis Blues are believed to have left winger Vladimir Tarasenko exposed in the expansion draft. They could also leave defenseman Vince Dunn unprotected.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Blues have been shopping both players. The Athletic’s Jeremy Rutherford reports a source said Tarasenko can’t believe he hasn’t been traded yet. Blues GM Doug Armstrong has told the winger’s camp that no teams are interested in him.

The source also said several teams have an interest in Tarasenko but Armstrong hasn’t found a suitable return. Another source told Rutherford there’s limited interest in the winger, who’s coming off three shoulder surgeries and carries a $7.5 million annual cap hit for the next two seasons.

SPORTSNET: cites Daily Faceoff’s Frank Seravalli reporting the Los Angeles Kings will expose goaltender Jonathan Quick in the expansion draft.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: No surprise here. The Kings want to protect Quick’s heir apparent Cal Petersen. The 35-year-old netminder has two years remaining on his contract with an annual average value of $5.8 million.

FLORIDA HOCKEY NOW: The Kraken are reportedly close to signing Chris Driedger. The 27-year-old goaltender is slated to become a UFA on July 28. His camp received permission from the Panthers to speak to other clubs. If the Kraken sign Driedger, he’ll count as their selection from the Panthers.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That’ll be a big win for the Panthers as they won’t have to worry about losing another player from their expansion list. They had to protect goalie Sergei Bobrovsky because of his no-movement clause. Promising netminder Spencer Knight is exempt from this draft.

THE ATHLETIC: The Columbus Blue Jackets will expose Max Domi in the expansion draft. They’re betting Domi’s injured shoulder will deter the Kraken. He’s recovering from shoulder surgery and could miss the opening month or two of 2021-22.

NHL.COM: The Dallas Stars signed defenseman Miro Heiskanen to an eight-year contract extension worth an annual average value of $8.45 million.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This was a wise long-term investment by the Stars. Heiskanen, 21, is completing his entry-level contract but he’s earned this new deal.

Over the past three seasons, he’s become the Stars’ best all-around defenseman. He regularly leads them in ice time, plays in every situation, and was their leading scorer in the 2020 postseason during their run to the Stanley Cup Final. This kid is a future Norris Trophy contender. His new contract will look like a bargain in a few years.

In other signings yesterday, the New York Islanders re-signed defenseman Andy Greene to a one-year, $1 million contract, the Anaheim Ducks signed winger Alexander Volkov to a one-year, $925K contract extension, and the Tampa Bay Lightning inked defenseman Fredrik Claesson to a one-year, two-way contract.

Several trades were made yesterday, the biggest being the Nashville Predators shipping Ryan Ellis to the Philadelphia Flyers in a three-team deal. You can read my take here. Other deals of note:

The New York Rangers acquired forward Barclay Goodrow from the Tampa Bay Lightning in exchange for their seventh-round pick in the 2022 draft. The Rangers also traded forward Brett Howden to the Vegas Golden Knights in exchange for a fourth-round pick in the 2022 draft (originally belonging to the Winnipeg Jets) and impending free-agent defenseman Nick DeSimone.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The first piece of the Lightning’s 2021 Stanley Cup championship roster has departed. Expect more cost-cutting moves by the Bolts in the coming days/weeks as they attempt to become cap compliant for next season.

The Toronto Maple Leafs acquired forward Jared McCann from the Pittsburgh Penguins in exchange for prospect forward Filip Hallander and a seventh-round pick in 2023.

The Vancouver Canucks acquired forward Jason Dickinson from the Dallas Stars in exchange for their third-round pick in the 2021 NHL Draft.

The Arizona Coyotes acquired winger Andrew Ladd, a second-round pick in the 2021 draft, a second-round pick in 2022 and a third-round pick in 2023 from the New York Islanders. The Coyotes also traded goaltender Adin Hill to the San Jose Sharks for goaltender Josef Korenar and a second-round pick in 2022.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This move comes on the heels of the Islanders shipping Nick Leddy to the Detroit Red Wings on Friday. They have been trying to move Ladd’s contract for some time. He spent all of this season with their AHL affiliate. He has two seasons remaining on his contract with an annual average value of $5.5 million, giving the Isles some much-needed cap space for other moves, such as re-signing restricted free agents Anthony Beauvillier, Adam Pelech and Ilya Sorokin.

It’s interesting that there was nothing listed in the Ladd trade report of the Coyotes sending anything the other way to the Isles. Perhaps they’re getting “future considerations.”










NHL Rumor Mill – March 20, 2021

NHL Rumor Mill – March 20, 2021

The latest Mattias Ekholm speculation plus updates on the Hurricanes, Blackhawks, Golden Knights, and Senators in today’s NHL rumor mill.

POTENTIAL DESTINATIONS FOR EKHOLM

SPORTSNET: Emily Sadler recently listed the Winnipeg Jets, Boston Bruins, Montreal Canadiens, Toronto Maple Leafs and Philadelphia Flyers as five potential trade destinations for Mattias Ekholm. The Nashville Predators asking price for the 30-year-old defenseman is reportedly a first-round pick and two quality prospects.

Nashville Predators defenseman Mattias Ekholm (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Sadler’s list appeared before Leafs general manager Kyle Dubas stated his intent to pursue a top-six forward before the April 12 trade deadline. We can probably take them off this list.

The Athletic’s Adam Vingan believes the Canadiens and the Flyers have the organizational depth to meet the Predators’ asking price for Ekholm. Whether either club will make a serious bid remains to be seen.

Canadiens GM Marc Bergevin recently pointed out salary-cap constraints and the mandatory 14-day quarantine on players joining Canadian teams from American clubs as factors that could hinder his efforts in the trade market.

Flyers GM Chuck Fletcher could be reluctant to invest in a notable player with his club struggling to stay in the MassMutual East Division playoff picture. Ekholm has a year remaining on his contract and that could mess up Fletcher’s expansion draft protection list for his blueliners

BLACKHAWKS CONSIDERING TRADE OPTIONS

CHICAGO SUN-TIMES: Ben Pope reports Blackhawks GM Stan Bowman is “actively having conversations” regarding trade possibilities with other clubs as deadline day approaches. Bowman suggested he could be a buyer and seller. He’s seeking players who can be a part of the club’s future but won’t ship out players he feels can be part of their long-term plans.

Bowman could use his salary-cap space to acquire a bad contract from another club if the return also includes valuable prospects and/or draft picks. He could shop pending unrestricted free agents such as Carl Soderberg and Mattias Janmark, a pending restricted free agent such as Lucas Wallmark, or defenseman Calvin de Haan as he’d be exposed in this summer’s expansion draft. He could also acquire a young player with term remaining on his contract, though they must be mindful they’re two contracts away from the 50-contract limit.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Athletic’s Arthur Staple and Scott Powers recently discussed the possibility of the New York Islanders trading for Janmark, citing his affordable cap hit ($2.25 million), versatility and playoff experience. They also speculated that Bowman’s willingness to take on a bad contract might lead to discussions about bringing Andrew Ladd back to Chicago.

LATEST ON THE GOLDEN KNIGHTS, HURRICANES, SHARKS & SENATORS

LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL: David Schoen reports the Vegas Golden Knights are unlikely to make moves before the trade deadline. They’ve made big splashes during the last two deadlines by acquiring Mark Stone and Robin Lehner but GM Kelly McCrimmon believes his club is in a different position now. He also pointed out his club has limited salary-cap space.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: With his club atop the Honda West Division, McCrimmon doesn’t have to make a move if he doesn’t want to. The Golden Knights GM could surprise us with a dollar-in, dollar-out deal. He also has defenseman Alex Pietrangelo (upper body) and his $8.8 million cap hit on long-term injury reserve but he’d have to shed salary to make room for Pietrangelo’s return.

THE NEWS & OBSERVER: Luke Alexander reports Carolina Hurricanes head coach Rod Brind’Amour was asked about the possibility of Eric Staal returning to the Hurricanes via trade. “That’s a question that’s probably for further up the chain than me, but I think we know he’s an awesome person,” said Brind’Amour of his former teammate.

Carolina Hurricanes GM Don Waddell didn’t mention Staal but pointed out his club has a little bit of salary-cap space heading toward the trade deadline but not a lot. Alexander suggests if injuries continue the Hurricanes could be interested in a veteran at the right price.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Alexander also pointed out the Hurricanes’ winning record and solid performance through the first half of the schedule. Waddell won’t be under any serious pressure to make a move if the club continues playing well.

NBC SPORTS BAY AREA: Dalton Johnson reports San Jose Sharks GM Doug Wilson intends to reset his roster going forward by giving younger players more opportunities. Wilson also indicated he’s not trading his 2021 first-round pick at the trade deadline. Any decision on whether he’ll be an offseason buyer or seller will depend upon the club’s performance over the remainder of the season.

OTTAWA SUN: Bruce Garrioch reports Ottawa GM Pierre Dorion has been working the phones. However, he thinks the coming trade deadline could be a quiet one for the Senators because of teams with limited cap space and the restrictions on travel at the Canada-US border.

Garrioch speculates veteran defensemen Erik Gudbranson, Mike Reilly and Braydon Coburn could draw interest from playoff contenders. He also thinks Dorion has a decision to make with defenseman Christian Wolanin given his limited role and playing time.










NHL Rumor Mill – January 9, 2021

NHL Rumor Mill – January 9, 2021

Suggested trade destinations for Pierre-Luc Dubois and what could be holding up the Islanders’ attempt to sign Mathew Barzal in today’s NHL rumor mill.

THE ATHLETIC: Pierre LeBrun listed the Calgary Flames and Chicago Blackhawks among seven teams he believes would make sense as trade destinations for Pierre-Luc Dubois. The 22-year-old center has reportedly sought a trade despite re-signing with the Columbus Blue Jackets last week.

LeBrun feels the Flames could be an attractive trade partner for the Jackets if they seek a return that can help them right away. He spitballs a deal involving Dubois for Sean Monahan. LeBrun suggests Dubois would be the kind of young core piece that would fit into the Blackhawks’ current direction. However, he believes the Jackets would want promising center Kirby Dach as part of the return.

Should the Calgary Flames consider acquiring Pierre-Luc Dubois? (NHL Images)

SPECTOR’S NOTE: LeBrun also pitched the Anaheim Ducks, Los Angeles Kings, Montreal Canadiens, New York Rangers and Winnipeg Jets. He discussed them during a recent TSN “Insider Trading” segment. You can get the details and my thoughts on those clubs as Dubois trade destinations by following this link.

As for the Flames and Blackhawks, I can’t disagree with LeBrun’s assessment of Dubois’ impact upon those clubs and the Jackets’ asking price. The Flames could consider shaking things up if this season ends in disappointment so I wouldn’t dismiss a Dubois-for-Monahan swap. I don’t see the Blackhawks moving Dach so Dubois probably isn’t landing in Chicago.

LeBrun’s colleague Lisa Dillman examined the pros and cons if the Kings tried to acquire Dubois. Pros include Dubois filling a need for a No. 1 center as Anze Kopitar ages as well as their depth in promising assets to tempt the Jackets. Cons include what could be an expensive asking price (Quinton Byfield?) by the Jackets and the cap hit required to keep Dubois in Los Angeles after his current deal expires.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I agree with Dillman that the Kings should at least explore the option of acquiring Dubois. If the asking price is Byfield, however, that could be a deal-breaker.

OTTAWA SUN: Don Brennan believes the Senators should contact the Jackets about Dubois’ availability and the asking price. He feels the Sens have the depth in prospects, especially young defensemen, to make a serious pitch. Dubois would address the Senators’ need for a first-line center now and for the future.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Senators and Jackets have a trade history. While the Sens have plenty of promising youngsters to offer up a trade bait, the Jackets probably want a return that provides immediate help to their roster.

The Jackets are not a rebuilding club but one that sees itself building toward Stanley Cup contention. I think they’ll want a scoring forward (preferably a center) in return rather than budding young NHL defensemen unless those prospects are flipped to another team to acquire a scoring center.

The Senators would also want assurances from the Dubois camp that he’ll commit to a long-term deal with them after his current contract expires at the end of next season. Otherwise, it’ll be a waste of assets to acquire a player who doesn’t want to be there.

Turning to Mathew Barzal’s contract negotiations, THE ATHLETIC’s Arthur Staple reports it’s believed New York Islanders general manager Lou Lamoriello is trying to unload another contract in order to sign the 23-year-old center to a lucrative long-term deal. Once completed, Staple suggests Barzal could get perhaps a six, seven or even an eight-year contract at an annual average value close to $10 million.

Staple speculates defenseman Thomas Hickey ($2.5 million AAV, $3.75 million in actual salary for this season and next) and forward Leo Komarov ($3 million AAV, $3.5 million in actual cash) as potential trade candidates. Trading Johnny Boychuk’s contract is another option but that would take away the Isles’ long-term injury reserve flexibility for this season. It doesn’t appear anyone’s taking Andrew Ladd and his $5.5 million AAV off their hands.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Lamoriello attempting to make a cost-cutting trade to free up cap space for an expensive long-term contract for Barzal would explain why the young center remains unsigned a week into training camp. Perhaps this can be sorted out during this weekend.

However, Barzal’s missed a week of practice and scrimmages with his teammates. That’s not going to help his preparation for the upcoming season.