NHL Rumor Mill – February 18, 2021

NHL Rumor Mill – February 18, 2021

Check out the latest on the Bruins, Wild and Stars in today’s NHL rumor mill.

SHOULD THE BRUINS PURSUE EKHOLM?

NBC SPORTS BOSTON: Nick Goss’ belief the Bruins should make acquiring a defenseman a trade-deadline priority was among his five takeaways of the club’s performance at the quarter-point of the season.

Should the Boston Bruins pursue Nashville Predators defenseman Mattias Ekholm? (NHL Images)

Goss expressed some concern about the Bruins’ scoring depth but felt they still need more experience and physicality on the blue line. He also pointed out Charlie McAvoy is the only Bruins’ rearguard with more than three points, suggesting they could use a blueliner who can generate some offense.

BOSTON HOCKEY NOW: Jimmy Murphy took note of TSN’s Pierre LeBrun reporting Nashville Predators defenseman Mattias Ekholm could be available. With Matt Grzelcyk in and out of the lineup due to injuries, Murphy wonders if Bruins general manager Don Sweeney will try to fill that second-pairing left slot with Ekholm. Murphy also noted the Bruins’ offseason interest in Vancouver Canucks winger Jake Virtanen.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Ekholm is a solid all-around defenseman carrying an affordable $3.75 million salary-cap hit through 2021-22. He could be a good addition to the Bruins or any other NHL roster.

The Bruins have over $4 million in projected cap space so there’s room for Ekholm’s cap hit, though it would be a tight squeeze. Depending on the Predators’ asking price, the Bruins could send them a player to free up some cap room. Winger Anders Bjork ($1.6 million annual average value) often comes up in Bruins’ trade chatter. Maybe the Predators would be interested in the 24-year-old winger if they decide to get younger.

SOME RECENT WILD SPECULATION

THE ATHLETIC: In a recent mailbag segment, Michael Russo was asked what it would take for the Minnesota Wild to acquire Calgary Flames forward Sam Bennett or Ottawa Senators center Derek Stepan.

Russo acknowledged the Wild’s need for depth at center. Stepan’s $6 million cap hit, however, would be a concern, as would Bennett’s arbitration number this summer. The Wild have limited salary-cap space and the Flames or Senators would have to take a contract in return. Bennett’s inconsistency was also a concern for Russo.

Asked about Matt Dumba’s trade status, Russo feels the defenseman’s performance over the remainder of the season will make him more or less likely to be moved. His $6 million cap hit, his play last season and the fact that the acquiring club might have to alter their expansion draft protection list plans could make the 26-year-old blueliner difficult to move. Asked if Dumba might be a fit with the Vancouver Canucks, Russo said he got the impression the Canucks’ interest in him was nil.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: As with most capped-out NHL teams, the Wild probably won’t make a major move before the Apr. 12 trade deadline. They could swing a minor deal or two if necessary provided they can make the dollars fit. Otherwise, what you see is what you get with the Wild this season. Any significant moves on their part (Dumba?) could take place in the offseason before the July expansion draft.

DON’T EXPECT BIG MOVES BY THE STARS

THE DALLAS MORNING NEWS: In a recent mailbag segment, Matthew DeFranks was asked if the Dallas Stars should use Esa Lindell or John Klingberg as trade bait for draft picks and prospects to restock their system as they haven’t seemed to develop any real NHL level talent recently. DeFranks disagreed with that premise and doesn’t believe they should shop Lindell or Klingberg. If they were to move either defenseman, he felt the package would be around NHL talent with the Stars championship window currently open.

DeFranks was also asked if the Stars would be a player in this year’s trade market. If they do become active it won’t be a big move. He also pointed out center Tyler Seguin and goaltender Ben Bishop will be returning to the lineup from offseason surgeries later this season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Stars have struggled to score and kill penalties in recent weeks. I daresay those would be the areas they would address if they decide to test the trade market.

Lindell and Klingberg are their top-pairing defense. They’re not going anywhere.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – May 17, 2019

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – May 17, 2019

Bruins sweep the Hurricanes to advance to the 2019 Stanley Cup Final. Check out the recap plus the latest notable news in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines. 

NHL.COM: For the third time in nine years, the Boston Bruins are going to the Stanley Cup Final. Tuukka Rask turned in a 24-save shutout and Patrice Bergeron scored twice as the Bruins blanked the Carolina Hurricanes 4-0 in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Final. The Bruins took the series in four straight games. The Bruins played without captain Zdeno Chara (undisclosed injury), but he’s expected to be ready for the Final. 

The Boston Bruins are the 2019 Eastern Conference Champions (Photo via NHL.com)

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Bruins were just too powerful for the upstart Hurricanes in this series. They outscored the Canes 17-5 and were lethal on the power play, going seven for 15 with the man advantage. They also killed all but one of 14 penalties against them. Their best players all stepped up, especially Rask. At this point, he’s my Conn Smythe Trophy candidate.

Despite the disappointing performance in the Conference Final, this was a successful season for the Hurricanes. They reached the playoffs for the first time in a decade, upset the defending Cup champion Washington Capitals, and swept the New York Islanders to reach the Conference Final. They’ve got some promising youngsters in guys like Sebastian Aho and Andrei Svechnikov. They must build upon their achievements this season. 

Boston’s Don Sweeney, Carolina’s Don Waddell, and St. Louis’ Doug Armstrong are the 2019 finalists for NHL General Manager of the Year.

SPORTSDAY: The Dallas Stars re-signed defenseman Esa Lindell to a six-year contract worth an annual average value of $5.8 million. He “set career highs in goals (11), assists (21), points (32) and ice time (24:20 per game) this season. He averaged a team-high 3:14 per game on the penalty kill and was second leaguewide in total time short-handed”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Cap Friendly indicates the 25-year-old Lindell will also get a full no-movement clause in the final four years of the deal. He was slated to become a restricted free agent.

Lindell blossomed into a top-pairing all-around blueliner with the Stars. If he maintains this season’s level of performance over the term of his new contract, his annual cap hit will be considered a bargain. 

STLTODAY.COM: Blues defenseman Vince Dunn’s status for Game 4 of the Western Conference Final is uncertain. He left Game 3 after taking a puck to the face, suffering damage to his teeth. It’s also possible he suffered a broken jaw and/or a concussion. He’s currently listed as day-to-day. 

WGR 550: Buffalo Sabres defenseman Brandon Montour suffered a sprained MCL playing for Canada at the 2019 World Championships. His recovery time is six weeks. 

EDMONTON JOURNAL: Oilers executive Craig MacTavish is heading to the KHL to coach Lokomotiv Yaroslavl.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This decision could be tied to the Oilers recent hiring of Ken Holland as the Oilers new GM. MacTavish spent the past two seasons in charge of the Oilers AHL affiliate in Bakersfield. 

TSN: Jim Schoenfeld has resigned as vice president and assistant general manager of the New York Rangers.

THE TENNESSEAN: The Nashville Predators inked a 30-year lease extension with Bridgestone Arena. 

LOS ANGELES TIMES: Manchester Monarchs, the Kings ECHL affiliate, is folding. They’ve been associated with the Kings since 2001.

 










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – May 1, 2019

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – May 1, 2019

Sharks and Blue Jackets take 2-1 leads in their respective second-round series, injury updates, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: Logan Couture tallied his first NHL playoff hat trick as the San Jose Sharks doubled up the Colorado Avalanche 4-2 to take a 2-1 lead in their second-round series. Timo Meier had a goal and two assists for the Sharks, who had blown a 2-0 lead as the Avs tied it on goals by Nathan MacKinnon and Matt Nieto.

Logan Couture’s hat trick powered the San Jose Sharks to a 4-2 win over the Colorado Avalanche in Game 3 of their second-round series (Photo via NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Avalanche made a game of this by battling back to tie it but Couture quickly snuffed their hopes for a win just over a minute after Nieto’s goal. Couture leads all playoff scorers with nine goals and is tied with MacKinnon and Vegas’ Mark Stone (12 points each) for the points lead.

Sergei Bobrovsky made 36 saves (15 in the third period) as the Columbus Blue Jackets held off the Boston Bruins 2-1 to take a 2-1 lead in their second-round series. Boone Jenner and Matt Duchene scored for the Jackets while Jake DeBrusk replied for the Bruins. There are calls for Bruins winger Brad Marchand to face supplemental discipline following his sneaky blow to the head of Jackets defenseman Scott Harrington.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This game wasn’t pretty, folks. Both clubs came into this game with a grinder’s mindset and it showed. We can probably expect the rest of this series to be a physical, closely contested low-scoring defensive tilt.

As for Marchand, he’s earned his fair share of fines and suspensions for his cheap-shot antics over the years but I doubt he’ll get more than a warning (if anything) from the league for his latest action. At the very least, this should put a stop to the “Marchand has changed his ways” narrative that crept into this spring’s coverage of the Bruins. 

TSN: Carolina Hurricanes coach Rod Brind’Amour suggested goaltender Petr Mrazek’s lower-body injury might not be serious but declined to say when he’ll return to action. He’s expected to miss Game 3 tonight against the New York Islanders. Winger Micheal Ferland (upper-body injury) could be ready to return for Game 4.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Hurricanes are a banged-up bunch, with six players (Mrazek, Ferland, Andrei Svechnikov, Trevor van Riemsdyk, Jordan Martinook and Saku Maenalanen) on the sidelines. Their depleted depth could take a toll on their performance in tonight’s game against an Islanders team looking for their first win of this series.

NEW YORK POST: Speaking of the Islanders, they could be without the services of checking-line winger Cal Clutterbuck, who was helped off the ice late in Game 2 with an undisclosed injury. Clutterbuck traveled with his teammates to Carolina as the series shifted to Raleigh for Games 3 and 4.

STLTODAY.COM: Dallas Stars defenseman Esa Lindell’s embellishment efforts to draw a penalty in Game 3 against the St. Louis Blues has made him the subject of online mockery.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s disappointing to see a talented blueliner like Lindell going to such ridiculous lengths to draw a penalty. Here’s hoping we’ve seen the last of his flopping antics. 

NEW YORK DAILY NEWS: The New York Rangers acquired 2019 Hobey Baker Award finalist Adam Fox from the Hurricane in exchange for a 2019 second-round pick and conditional 2020 third-round selection.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Fox wasn’t expected to sign with the Hurricanes and would’ve become an unrestricted free agent this summer. The Rangers are reportedly close to getting Fox under contract. For those of you wondering why the trade took place now instead of following the postseason, the Rangers are a non-playoff club and Fox was a non-roster player for the Hurricanes.