Rick Nash Trade Tree Continues to Sprout Roots for Rangers
Auston Matthews sets an NHL record for American-born players, Logan Couture sidelined, the Flames re-sign Rasmus Andersson, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.
NHL.COM: Toronto Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews became the first American-born player to score 30 goals in each of his first four NHL seasons in a 4-3 shootout loss to the Winnipeg Jets. Matthews reached the milestone by scoring twice against the Jets, who took the game on Blake Wheeler’s game-winner. With the win, the Jets hold the first wild-card berth (52 points) in the Western Conference. Before the game, Leafs defenseman Morgan Rielly admitted he’s been playing through a lower-body injury this season.
Kevin Hayes’ shorthanded second-period goal proved to be the game-winner as the Philadelphia Flyers held off the Washington Capitals 3-2, snapping a four-game losing skid.
The Dallas Stars picked up their fifth straight win by edging the Los Angeles Kings 2-1. Anton Khudobin made 30 saves while Jamie Benn and Blake Comeau scored within 37 seconds in the second period.
NBC SPORTS BAY AREA: San Jose Sharks captain Logan Couture reportedly fractured an ankle during his club’s 3-2 loss to the St. Louis Blues on Tuesday. He’s listed as week-to-week and could be sidelined for at least six weeks.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Losing their leading scorer could be the death blow to the Sharks’ fading playoff hopes.
CHICAGO SUN-TIMES: Blackhawks goaltender Robin Lehner is ready to return from a knee injury, but center Dylan Strome will miss at least one game with a sprained ankle.
THE ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER: Despite Corey Perry’s suspension, the Anaheim Ducks still intend to honor his tenure with the club during tonight’s game against the Dallas Stars. Perry spent 14 seasons with the Ducks, helping them win the Stanley Cup in 2007 and winning Hart and Maurice Richard trophies in 2011. He signed with the Stars last summer after the Ducks bought out his contract.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Perry’s chippy style of play aside, he was one of the best players in Ducks’ history. He sits second in games-played (988) and goals (372) and third in assists (404) and points (776). For a time, he was also among the league’s elite scorers.
TWINCITIES.COM: Minnesota Wild defenseman Matt Dumba donated $11.2K to help with Australia’s wildfire relief. He spent over two weeks last spring touring the country’s east coast and credits the experience with helping him mentally overcome a pectoral injury that cost him half of last season.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Andersson, 23, has quickly established himself as a key member of the Flames’ defense corps. This is a good move by management, locking him into a long-term deal that could become a bargain as he continues his development as a top-pairing rearguard.
TSN: Montreal Canadiens forward Nick Cousins was fined over $2,600.00 for boarding Detroit Red Wings defenseman Mike Green.
New York Rangers defenseman Ryan Lindgren won’t face supplemental discipline for his hit on Colorado Avalanche winger Joonas Donskoi.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Maybe the department of player safety decided he suffered enough punishment after getting his butt kicked by Nazem Kadri following that hit.
TRIBLIVE.COM: The Pittsburgh Penguins placed Joseph Blandisi on waivers.
STLTODAY.COM: Blues goaltender Jordan Binnington has agreed to a shootout challenge with pop star Justin Bieber with the proceeds going to a charity of the winner’s choice. It appears the challenge will take place during the offseason.
MLIVE.COM: Detroit Red Wings fans sang “O Canada” prior to Tuesday’s game against the Montreal Canadiens after the anthem singer’s microphone malfunctioned.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Classy move by Wings fans.
Latest on the Bruins, Wild, Canadiens, and Coyotes in your NHL rumor mill.
BRUINS INTERESTED IN COYLE?
THE ATHLETIC: With Patrice Bergeron sidelined at least four weeks with a rib injury, Joe McDonald reports the Boston Bruins are looking at the possibility of trading for a center. That will depend on whether Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson can handle the first-line center role in Bergeron’s absence.
McDonald claims the Bruins could revisit their offseason interest in Minnesota Wild center Charlie Coyle, with either Ryan Donato, Danton Heinen, or Anders Bjork packaged with a draft pick heading the other way. Coyle would be seen as a stopgap measure until Bergeron’s return, providing much-needed depth down the middle for the Bruins for the remainder of the season.
McDonald also suggests St. Louis Blues center Tyler Bozak or Arizona Coyotes center Derek Stepan as alternative trade options.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Coyle’s name surfaced last season in the trade-rumor mill. As we’ll see below, he’s considered by some as a potential trade chip for the Wild. If the Bruins are in the market for a center, Coyle seems a more likely trade option than Bozak or Stepan.
The Blues signed Bozak last summer and I don’t think they’re looking at making trades just yet, especially involving one of their recent veteran additions. Given the Coyotes’ lack of depth at center, I don’t think they’re keen to move Stepan unless they’re getting a proven center in return.
WILD TRADE CANDIDATES
THE ATHLETIC: Michael Russo recently speculated over possible Minnesota Wild trade candidates and if the club could pursue a deal to acquire Toronto Maple Leafs restricted free agent William Nylander before Dec. 1.
He dismissed the notion of the Wild landing Nylander, pointing out whatever interest management may have had a month ago has waned since the Wild 11 of their last 16 (13 of their last 18 since Nov. 23). Russo also cites a source claiming general manager Paul Fenton isn’t going there as it’s too complicated, with the Leafs likely to ask for defenseman Matt Dumba and Nylander reportedly seeking over $8 million per season.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Unless the Leafs are willing to accept Jared Spurgeon instead of Dumba and if the Wild can convince Nylander to accept a more affordable contract, I don’t see the young Swede continuing his NHL career in Minnesota.
Russo considers Charlie Coyle and Nino Niederreiter among the Wild’s most likely to move candidates. He also suggests they might consider trading pending unrestricted free agent Eric Staal if their season goes off the rails by the trade deadline.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: If the Wild remain in playoff contention Staal isn’t going anywhere. Russo believes Coyle isn’t a finisher and just lacks a killer instinct while Niederreiter’s current struggles have to be troubling for Wild management. Still, I believe there is a market for either guy if Fenton puts one or both on the trade block.
POTENTIAL CANADIENS TRADE CANDIDATES
THE ATHLETIC: Arpon Basu lists Charlie Hudon, David Schlemko, Tomas Tatar, Andrew Shaw, and Jordie Benn as possible Montreal Canadiens’ trade candidates, with little-used forward Nikita Schebak as the most likely to go.
Canadiens coach Claude Julien isn’t pleased with Hudon’s defensive shortcomings. Schlemko’s injury history and $2.1-million salary-cap hit could make him difficult to move. Tatar’s play this season has increased his trade value but also his value to the retooling Canadiens. Shaw is having success skating alongside Max Domi and Jonathan Drouin but Basu speculates GM Marc Bergevin might listen if the price is right.
NICHOLS ON HOCKEY: During an appearance yesterday on Calgary’s Sportsnet 960, NHL insider Elliotte Friedman discussed the Florida Panthers’ potential interest in Montreal Canadiens third-string goaltender Charlie Lindgren. He believes the Panthers had interest in the promising Lindgren last season but believes the Canadiens could set a high asking price.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: If the Canadiens become sellers it’ll likely be in the New Year, probably in the weeks leading up to the Feb. 25, 2019 trade deadline. Of those who could move, Benn seems the likely option as the Habs will soon have a logjam on the blueline when Shea Weber and Noah Juulsen return from injuries. If call-up Brett Kulak keeps playing as well as he did in last night’s game against Buffalo, it could increase the likelihood of Benn hitting the trade block.
As for Lindgren, he’s in the first season of a three-year contract and the Canadiens aren’t in any rush to move him. Still, they could use him as trade bait at some point to address another roster need.
POSSIBLE COYOTES TRADE CANDIDATES
THE ATHLETIC: Craig Morgan recently listed Brendan Perlini, Richard Panik, Dylan Strome, and perhaps Alex Goligoski as potential Arizona Coyotes’ trade candidates. Perlini is struggling to produce, Panik’s a frequent resident in coach Rick Tocchet’s doghouse, while flaws in Strome’s game raise questions over where he’d be playing if Christian Dvorak weren’t sidelined. Meanwhile, Jakob Chychrun could soon be ready to take Goligoski’s place among the Coyotes’ top-four defensemen.
Latest on the Flames, Penguins, and Oilers in your NHL rumor mill.
MORE POSSIBLE FLAMES GOALIE TARGETS
SPORTSNET: Sergei Bobrovsky of the Columbus Blue Jackets, Cory Schneider of the New Jersey Devils, and Jimmy Howard of the Detroit Red Wings top Rory Boylen’s list of possible trade targets if the Calgary Flames decide to go shopping for a goaltender. The others are Jaroslav Halak of the Boston Bruins, Charlie Lindgren of the Montreal Canadiens, Ryan Miller of the Anaheim Ducks, and Craig Anderson of the Ottawa Senators.
Several of these goalies (Bobrovsky, Schneider, Howard, and Lindgren) were discussed by Elliotte Friedman during a recent appearance on Calgary’s Sportsnet 960. Boylen noted Bobrovsky’s no-movement clause makes it unlikely he’ll come to Calgary. He also observed Schneider’s been struggling to regain his form following offseason hip surgery.
Friedman suggested Howard might be a better option, even though there are rumors that he’s looking at signing a short-term contract extension with the Red Wings. He doubts the Flames can pry Halak away from the Bruins and thinks Lindgren could be a more affordable acquisition than Howard.
Boylen wonders if Miller might be an option near the trade deadline if the Ducks are out of playoff contention by that point. Anderson expressed interest in a trade during the summer as he was growing weary of the drama surrounding the team. However, their surprising play this season and lack of a quality goalie in their system who can step into the starter’s job could make the Senators reluctant to move him.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Bobrovsky’s not joining the Flames via trade. Even if he was willing to accept a move to Calgary, the Blue Jackets’ asking price and the high cost of re-signing him could hurt the Flames more than he could help. Schneider’s difficulties won’t make him an attractive option for the Flames, assuming he’s willing to waive his no-trade clause.
Howard’s played a crucial role in the Wings’ recent resurgence. He wants to stay in Detroit and the Wings appear keen to keep him. Unless things go off the rails in the coming weeks, I don’t think Howard’s available. Tuukka Rask’s inconsistency this season means the Bruins aren’t parting with Halak.
Anderson could become available if Senators owner Eugene Melnyk decides to blow things up but that’s unlikely to happen as long as the club continues to exceed expectations this season. As for Miller, his wife is actress Noureen DuWulf so I don’t think he’s keen to leave Anaheim even if the Ducks continue to struggle this season.
Of those on this list, Lindgren seems the most likely trade option but there’s no certainty the Canadiens will part with him. Montreal general manager Marc Bergevin could prefer keeping Lindgren as insurance in case Carey Price or Antti Niemi get hurt at some point in the season.
MORE PENGUINS SPECULATION
SPORTSNET: Chris Johnston reports the Pittsburgh Penguins aren’t likely to stop at their recent addition of winger Tanner Pearson, especially when they’re sitting at the bottom of the Eastern Conference and GM Jim Rutherford remaining keen to deal.
Johnston noted younger winger Daniel Sprong has surfaced in the trade-rumor mill and defenseman Olli Maatta’s name has popped up as well. “There have even been some renewed whispers about Phil Kessel’s availability — although the Penguins need more scoring behind Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin, not less, and Kessel has an eye-popping 115 points to show for his last 100 games.”
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I don’t see Kessel going anywhere. He’s their leading goal scorer (nine goals) and sits second in points (23) behind Evgeni Malkin. Sprong and Maatta are more likely trade candidates. Forwards Bryan Rust and Riley Sheahan could also be available.
I’m sure Oilers have sniffed around Nylander too but would take Larsson because Leafs need R shot D
— Jim Matheson (@NHLbyMatty) November 18, 2018
Game recaps, Senators ship Dion Phaneuf to Kings in multi-player deal, injury updates and more in your NHL morning coffee headlines.
NHL.COM: The Pittsburgh Penguins 6-3 win over the Ottawa Senators was overshadowed by the news of the Senators pulling defenseman Dion Phaneuf from the game during the second period and announcing he’d been dealt to the Los Angeles Kings. The Sens shipped Phaneuf and forward Nate Thompson to the Kings in exchange for forwards Marian Gaborik and Nick Shore. The Senators also retained 25% of Phaneuf’s $7.5-million annual cap hit over the three-plus years remaining on his contract.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Two years after being traded to Ottawa, Phaneuf is on the move again. Even with taking on Gaborik’s $4.875-million annual cap hit, the deal saves the Senators $5.5 million in actual salary between now and when Phaneuf’s contract expires in 2021. Those savings could be put toward re-signing captain Erik Karlsson. That’s likely the only thing making this deal worthwhile for the Sens, as the oft-injured 36-year-old Gaborik’s best seasons are well behind him. This move might not be the last before the deadline for the Senators.
The Kings, meanwhile, shed the contract of a fading forward in Gaborik and receive a player who can contribute more to their lineup. Phaneuf will provide another measure of veteran depth to the Kings’ blueline as they jockey for a playoff spot in the Western Conference.
Speaking of the Kings, they were thumped by the Carolina Hurricanes 7-3. Carolina defenseman Justin Faulk tallied his first career hat trick. They also announced earlier in the day that forward Trevor Lewis was placed on injured reserve retroactive to Feb. 9.
Patrice Bergeron and Riley Nash each scored twice to lead the Boston Bruins to a 5-2 victory over the Calgary Flames. Earlier in the day, the Flames learned starting goaltender Mike Smith is listed as day-to-day with a lower-body injury.
The Buffalo Sabres upset the Tampa Bay Lightning 5-3, narrowing the Lightning’s lead over the Bruins in the Eastern Conference to one point. Sabres center Ryan O’Reilly had a three-point game and teammate Sam Reinhart scored two goals.
The Columbus Blue Jackets peppered New York Islanders goaltender Jaroslav Halak with 51 shots on route to a 4-1 victory. Zach Werenski collected three assists for the Jackets.
A shootout goal by Drew Stafford lifted the New Jersey Devils to a 5-4 victory over the Philadelphia Flyers to snap a four-game losing skid. Taylor Hall had two goals as the Devils overcame a two-goal deficit to tie the game. Earlier in the day, the Flyers announced goaltender Brian Elliott underwent core muscle surgery and will miss the next five-to-six weeks.
Jimmy Howard made 32 saves as the Detroit Red Wings edged the Anaheim Ducks 2-1.
A penalty shot goal in overtime by Filip Forsberg gave the Nashville Predators a 4-3 victory over the St. Louis Blues. Austin Watson also netted two goals for the Predators.
Three first-period goals were enough for the Minnesota Wild to hold off the New York Rangers 3-2. Wild goalie Devan Dubnyk made 32 saves.
Tyler Myers scored in overtime as the Winnipeg Jets nipped the Washington Capitals 4-3. Mark Scheifele scored twice, including the game-tying goal, for the Jets.
A four-goal third-period outburst by the Vegas Golden Knights lifted them to a 5-2 win over the Chicago Blackhawks, handing the latter their seventh straight defeat.
Alex Goligoski’s second-period goal held up as the winner to give the Arizona Coyotes a 2-1 win over the San Jose Sharks. Coyotes goalie Scott Wedgewood made 28 saves but left the game early in the third period with an upper-body injury following a collision with Sharks forward Timo Meier.
Vancouver Canucks forward Markus Granlund underwent ankle surgery and will miss the next seven-eight weeks.
MONTREAL GAZETTE: The Canadiens re-signed goaltender Charlie LIndgren to a three-year, $2.25- million contract.
SEATTLE TIMES: “A group led by billionaire David Bonderman and Hollywood producer Jerry Bruckheimer on Tuesday filed an application for an NHL expansion team to play at a revamped KeyArena.”
SPECTOR’S NOTE: One step closer, Seattle hockey fans….
Latest on the Penguins, Blue Jackets, Senators, Hurricanes and more in your NHL rumor mill.
COULD BRASSARD BE A GOOD FIT IN COLUMBUS?
SPORTSNET: Noting the Columbus Blue Jackets’ search for a center, Elliotte Friedman suggests a reunion with the Ottawa Senators’ Derick Brassard. He points out Brassard played well for Jackets head coach John Tortorella during their time with the New York Rangers.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: An interesting suggestion from Friedman. Brassard could be a good fit in Columbus. The Jackets have the cap space to absorb his $5 million annual cap hit, especially if they send a salaried player to Ottawa. Such a move, however, depends upon whether the Jackets are on his no-trade list, as well as the Senators’ asking price. Maybe the Jackets offer up Alexander Wennberg, who tallied 59 points in 2016-17 but is struggling this season and might benefit from a change of scenery.
LATEST ON THE PENGUINS
Speaking of Brassard, Friedman also notes Pittsburgh Penguins coach Mike Sullivan was Tortorella’s assistant during that time and the Pens are also in the market for a center. Some opposing team executives consider the Pittsburgh Penguins’ recent acquisitions of Jamie Oleksiak and Michael Leighton “the tip of the iceberg.”
NBC SPORTS: In the wake of the Pittsburgh Penguins acquisitions of Oleksiak and Leighton, James O’Brien wonders who the Penguins should trade for next. He mentions Toronto’s Tyler Bozak and James van Riemsdyk, Ottawa’s Mike Hoffman or Derick Brassard, and Detroit’s Gustav Nyquist or Andreas Athanasiou as possible fits, but doubts those Eastern rivals would want to enrich the Penguins’ roster.
O’Brien also suggests several players on expiring contracts. They include Buffalo’s Evander Kane, Vegas’ James Neal or Jonathan Marchessault, Florida’s Radim Vrbata or Edmonton’s Patrick Maroon or Ryan Strome.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I believe the Penguins would jump at the opportunity to land Brassard from the Senators. However, they’ll have to clear sufficient room for his cap hit or convince the Sens to pick up part of it. If Ottawa GM Pierre Dorion decides to move Brassard, I suspect he’ll wait until the trade deadline in hopes of sparking a bidding war for the center.
Unless the Leafs tumble out of the playoff race I don’t see them moving Bozak or van Riemsdyk, even if it means possibly losing them for nothing to free agency in July. The Senators and Wings could be reluctant to deal with an Eastern Conference club but that doesn’t mean they won’t do it if the Penguins were to make a better offer. The Wings could be willing to move Nyquist but they likely see Athanasiou being part of their unspoken rebuild.
Kane’s a possibility but he won’t address the Pens’ need for a third-line center. Ditto Maroon and Strome. Golden Knights GM George McPhee recently said he wouldn’t stage a fire sale at the trade deadline if his club remained in playoff contention, so don’t expect Neal or Marchessault to be available.
HOW WILL THE HURRICANES IMPROVE THEIR OFFENSE?
THE ATHLETIC: Pierre LeBrun wonders if the Carolina Hurricanes might shop a defenseman in hopes of adding an impact forward. While it’s believed they kept tabs on Matt Duchene before he was traded by Colorado to Ottawa, LeBrun doubts they were heavily involved in pursuing him.
LeBrun believes adding a piece up front has to be a priority before the Feb. 26 trade deadline. While they could draw upon their depth on the blueline as trade bait, they don’t want to risk addressing one problem while creating another. He thinks the Canes want to keep their defense corps intact. “Perhaps there’s another way to upgrade up front at some point before Feb. 26.”
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Trading one of their defensemen for a scoring forward could create a hole on the blueline that’s tough to fill. Then again, perhaps they can fill that gap from within their system, via waivers or with a cheap trade pickup. If they’re unwilling to take the gamble by moving one of their blueliners, they’ll have to consider shopping their first-round pick and/or one or two of their top prospects.
OTHER HIGHLIGHTS FROM FRIEDMAN’S “31 THOUGHTS.”
SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman reports some teams inquired about Senators forward Mark Stone but were told he’s not available. He suspects there will be interest in forwards Jean-Gabriel Pageau, Mike Hoffman, Cody Ceci and Zack Smith. Senators GM Pierre Dorion could be seeking young NHL players, draft picks and/or prospects.
Friedman has a hunch the Vancouver Canucks could make an increased effort to trade pending free agent defenseman Erik Gudbranson. He also speculates the Edmonton Oilers could move forward Anton Slepyshev.
Friedman thinks some teams have asked Montreal Canadiens GM Marc Bergervin about his plans for goaltender Charlie Lindgren. While it’s difficult to know because Bergevin doesn’t discuss trade possibilities, “the fact nothing’s happened tells you something.”
The Winnipeg Jets sent a note around the league last week indicating forward Shawn Matthias is available.