NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 6, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 6, 2021

Oilers stars Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl enjoy multi-point performances against the Rangers, Carey Price will soon return to the Canadiens, Brady Tkachuk named captain of the Senators, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: Connor McDavid’s game-tying goal set the stage for Leon Draisaitl’s overtime winner as the Edmonton Oilers overcame 4-1 and 5-4 deficits to defeat the New York Rangers 6-5. McDavid, Draisaitl and Tyson Barrie each finished the night with a goal and two assists while Jesse Puljujarvi tallied twice and Darnell Nurse collected three assists for the Oilers. Mika Zibanejad scored two goals for the Rangers. Before the game, the Oilers honored former defenseman Kevin Lowe by retiring his No. 4 jersey.

Edmonton Oilers captain Connor McDavid (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: McDavid’s highlight-reel goal was another example of why he’s the best hockey player in the world right now. He stickhandled through four Rangers inside the New York blueline at high speed before tucking the puck past a sprawling Alexandar Georgiev. Draisaitl (23 points) and McDavid (22) are currently the NHL’s leading scorers.

Unanswered goals by Matt Duchene and Philip Tomasino lifted the Nashville Predators to a 3-2 victory over the Vancouver Canucks. Predators goalie Juuse Saros made 26 saves while teammate Mikael Granlund picked up two assists. Brock Boeser and Nils Hoglander scored for the Canucks.

The Winnipeg Jets downed the Chicago Blackhawks 5-1. Andrew Copp collected three assists while Kyle Connor and Nikolaj Ehlers each had a goal and an assist. The Jets (6-2-2) are off to their best start since relocating to Winnipeg in 2011 while the sad-sack Blackhawks fall to 1-9-2.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Something’s gotta give for the Blackhawks soon. It could be a trade or a coaching change but this is a team badly in need of a shakeup. Another month of this and they can kiss their already fading playoff chances goodbye. Then again, whatever they do will probably already be too late to reverse their fortunes this season.

Anaheim Ducks goaltender Anthony Stolarz made 28 saves to backstop his club over the Arizona Coyotes 3-1. Adam Henrique had a goal and an assist for the Ducks, who honored team captain Ryan Getzlaf before the game for becoming the highest-scoring player in team history. The Coyotes have yet to win a game this season, sitting 0-10-1.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This game highlighted two rebuilding clubs going in different directions. The Ducks (5-4-3) are off to a better than expected start while the Coyotes are feeling the effects of management’s offseason teardown moves that depleted the club’s depth, especially in goal. The Ducks still aren’t guaranteed to reach the playoffs but they’re showing early signs of becoming more competitive. The Coyotes, meanwhile, are going to endure a very long and difficult season.

The Los Angeles Kings nipped the New Jersey Devils 3-2 on an overtime goal by Alex Iafallo. Adrian Kempe and Arthur Kaliyev also scored for the Kings while Jesper Bratt and Pavel Zacha replied for the Devils.

HEADLINES

MONTREAL GAZETTE: Canadiens goaltender Carey Price will rejoin the club on Monday following a 30-day stint in the NHL/NHLPA player assistance program. However, there’s no timetable for when he’ll return to action.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Price was recovering from offseason knee surgery prior to entering the program. It will likely take some time, perhaps several weeks, before he’s ready for game action. Nevertheless, it’s good to see that Price feels well enough mentally to make this first step toward resuming his career.

OTTAWA SUN: The Senators named Brady Tkachuk as their new captain on Friday. The Senators also placed winger Auston Watson in COVID protocol.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Senators haven’t had a team captain since trading Erik Karlsson to the San Jose Sharks in 2018. It’s an unsurprising choice as it had been speculated Tkachuk or Thomas Chabot would be named captain at some point this season. He leads by example on the ice and has become the face of the franchise.

Brady’s brother, Calgary Flames winger Matthew Tkachuk was fined $5,000.00 for high-sticking Dallas Stars defenseman John Klingberg.

THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH: Blue Jackets winger Patrik Laine will be sidelined for four-to-six weeks with a strained oblique.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: A tough setback for Laine, who was off to a good start with 10 points in nine games before the injury. He had just 21 points in 45 games with the Jackets last season.

NBC SPORTS WASHINGTON: Capitals forward Anthony Mantha is sidelined indefinitely after undergoing shoulder surgery.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Injuries continue to plague Mantha, who’s been sidelined in recent years with an injured lung, a broken hand, a fractured finger and a groin injury.

STLTODAY.COM: The St. Louis Blues placed Torey Krug and Niko Mikkola in COVID protocol and announced center Brayden Schenn will be sidelined for two games with an upper-body injury. Ryan O’Reilly has come out of COVID protocol.

TAMPA BAY TIMES: The NHL department of player safety handed down a two-game suspension to Lightning defenseman Mikhail Sergachev for an illegal hit to the head of Toronto Maple Leafs winger Mitch Marner on Thursday.

NBC SPORTS BAY AREA: The San Jose Sharks reassigned winger William Eklund to his Swedish Hockey League club, Djurgardens IF, to save a year of the 19-year-old rookie’s contract.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It was a difficult decision by the Sharks. Eklund collected four assists in nine games and show considerable potential. The youngster is disappointed by the move but I expect he’ll be back full-time with the Sharks next season.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – May 23, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – May 23, 2021

Golden Knights and Lightning take commanding series’ leads while Leafs and Islanders get big wins to tie their respective series. Details and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: Marc-Andre Fleury turned in a 35-save shutout as the Vegas Golden Knights blanked the Minnesota Wild 4-0 to take a 3-1 lead in their best-of-seven opening-round series. Fleury moved into a tie with Curtis Joseph for third place among the all-time playoff shutouts leaders with 16. Nicolas Roy scored twice and Mark Stone tallied a shorthanded goal. The Golden Knights can wrap things up in Game 5 on Monday in Vegas.

Vegas Golden Knights goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: An apparent game-tying goal by the Wild’s Joel Eriksson Ek was overturned on a coach’s challenge for goaltender interference. Eriksson Ek also had a goal overturned in Game 3 as offside on a coach’s challenge.

The Tampa Bay Lightning took a 3-1 lead in their series with a 6-2 win over the Florida Panthers. Nikita Kucherov and Alex Killorn each collected four points while Andrei Vasilevskiy kicked out 41 shots. Panthers’ netminder Sergei Bobrovsky was pulled after giving up five goals on 19 shots. Game 5 goes Monday in Sunrise.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This was the worst-officiated game of these playoffs thus far. The Athletic’s Joe Smith pointed out this game took an ugly turn after Kucherov left the game with a leg injury from a slash by Panthers’ winger Anthony Duclair and teammate Mikhail Sergachev was shaken up following a blindside hit by Patric Hornqvist.

Smith also noted the game finished with 26 penalties and five misconducts, many of which stemmed from a brawl late in the third period. Lightning coach Jon Cooper struggled to keep his emotions in check talking about the officiating during the postgame press conference. No word following this game over the conditions of Kucherov and Sergachev.

Auston Matthews had a goal and two assists as the Toronto Maple Leafs beat the Montreal Canadiens 5-1 to even their first-round series at a game apiece. William Nylander and Mitch Marner each had two points while Jack Campbell made 22 saves for his first-ever NHL playoff win. Jesperi Kotkaniemi replied for the Canadiens. The series shifts to Montreal for Game 3 on Monday.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The first period was evenly matched but Toronto blew it open in the second as the Canadiens spent most of that frame on the penalty kill. The Leafs adjusted well to the Habs’ physical play while bringing their speed and offensive depth to bear.

The New York Islanders squared their series with the Pittsburgh Penguins at two games apiece with a 4-1 victory. Ilya Sorokin got the nod as the Islanders’ starting goalie over struggling Semyon Varlamov and turned aside 29 shots for the win. Isles winger Oliver Wahlstrom had a goal and an assist. The series returns to Pittsburgh on Monday for Game 5.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Islanders are doing a fine job shutting down the Penguins’ top line. Sidney Crosby, Jake Guentzel and Bryan Rust each have just one point in this series. Meanwhile, a banged-up Evgeni Malkin has two assists in as many games but was also held off the score sheet in Game 4.

HEADLINES

TORONTO SUN: Maple Leafs general manager said team captain John Tavares suffered no structural damage to his head, face, neck or spine after being accidentally struck by the knee of Canadiens winger Corey Perry in Game 1. However, he has a concussion and also a sprained knee. He’ll be sidelined for at least two weeks.

TSN: Washington Capitals winger Anthony Mantha was fined $5,000.00 by the NHL department of player safety for goaltender interference against Boston Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask during Game 4 of their first-round series.

The league also fined Carolina Hurricanes captain Jordan Staal $5,000.00 for a dangerous trip on Nashville Predators winger Luke Kunin during Game 3 of their first-round series.

STLTODAY.COM: St. Louis Blues defensemen Justin Faulk and Robert Bortuzzo remain doubtful for Game 4 today against the Colorado Avalanche. Blueliner Vince Dunn’s status is also uncertain.

BOSTON HOCKEY NOW: Bruins defenseman Kevan Miller will miss Game 5 today against the Washington Capitals. He was sidelined in Game 4 by a high hit to the head by Capitals defenseman Dmitry Orlov.

NBC SPORTS PHILADELPHIA: Flyers forward Kevin Hayes will reportedly undergo sports hernia surgery next week in Philadelphia. His recovery time is expected to be six weeks.

THE DALLAS MORNING NEWS: The Stars promoted Rich Peverley to Director of Player Personnel. He’s served as their Player Development Coordinator for six years.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 14, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 14, 2021

Anthony Mantha has an impressive debut with the Capitals, Artemi Panarin breaks a Rangers record, Milan Lucic reaches a career milestone and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: The Washington Capitals thumped the Philadelphia Flyers 6-1 to open a two-point lead over the New York Islanders atop the MassMutual East Division with 60 points. Anthony Mantha tallied a goal and an assist in his first game with Washington since being acquired from the Detroit Red Wings on Monday. Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin tallied his 728th career goal to move within three of Marcel Dionne for fifth on the overall list.

Washington Capitals winger Anthony Mantha (NHL Images).

Artemi Panarin broke Mark Messier’s franchise record for the most points (138) in the first 100 games with the New York Rangers in a 3-0 win over the New Jersey Devils. Igor Shesterkin made 27 saves for his first career NHL shutout while Pavel Buchnevich had a goal and an assist. The Rangers sit in fifth place with 46 points in the East Division.

Shootout goals by Jake DeBrusk and Charlie Coyle lifted the Boston Bruins past the Buffalo Sabres 3-2. Taylor Hall was held scoreless in his Bruins debut after being acquired from Buffalo before Monday’s trade deadline. Sabres goaltender Linus Ullmark left the game in the first period with an undisclosed injury. The Bruins (50 points) hold a four-point lead over the Rangers.

The Calgary Flames edged the Toronto Maple Leafs 3-2 on an overtime goal by Johnny Gaudreau. Flames winger Milan Lucic collected an assist and a fighting major in his 1,000th career NHL game. John Tavares had two helpers for the Leafs, who sit in first place in the Scotia North Division with 60 points.

A two-goal performance by Viktor Arvidsson powered the Nashville Predators to a 7-2 drubbing of the Tampa Bay Lightning. Defenseman David Savard had a plus-minus of minus-4 in his first game with Tampa Bay since they acquired him on Saturday from the Columbus Blue Jackets. The Predators (49 points) opened a four-point lead over the Chicago Blackhawks in the Discover Central Division.

An overtime goal by Frank Vatrano gave the Florida Panthers a 3-2 victory over the Dallas Stars. The Panthers are tied with the Lightning and Carolina Hurricanes with 58 points, but the Hurricanes hold first place in the Central and the Lightning second place on the basis of games in hand. The Panthers played without winger Carter Verhaeghe, who’s listed as week-to-week with an upper-body injury.

ESPN.COM: The Canadian Hockey League yesterday announced the 2021 Memorial Cup tournament has been canceled. It’s the second straight year the prestigious trophy won’t be awarded to Canada’s top junior team because of COVID-19.










NHL Trades – Monday, April 12, 2021

NHL Trades – Monday, April 12, 2021

Check out the details of all the significant trades that took place on deadline day:

Buffalo Sabres trade forwards Taylor Hall and Curtis Lazar to the Boston Bruins for winger Anders Bjork and a second-round pick in the 2021 NHL draft. The Sabres retain half of Hall’s $8 million cap hit.

Los Angeles Kings trade forward Jeff Carter to the Pittsburgh Penguins for a conditional 2022 third-round pick and a conditional fourth in 2023. The Kings retain half of Carter’s $5.273 million cap hit.

Washington Capitals trade Jakub Vrana, Richard Panik, a 2021 first-round pick and a 2022 second-rounder to the Detroit Red Wings in exchange for winger Anthony Mantha.

Calgary Flames trade Sam Bennett to the Florida Panthers for a 2022 second-round pick and prospect winger Emil Heineman. 

Philadelphia Flyers trade forward Michael Raffl to the Washington Capitals in exchange for a fifth-round pick. 

Ottawa Senators trade defenseman Erik Gudbranson to the Nashville Predators for a seventh-rounder in 2023. 

Montreal Canadiens acquire defenseman Erik Gustafsson from the Philadelphia Flyers in exchange for a seventh-round pick in 2022. 

Colorado Avalanche re-acquire center Carl Soderberg from the Chicago Blackhawks in exchange for minor-league center Josh Dickinson and prospect winger Ryder Rolston. 

Toronto Maple Leafs acquire defenseman Ben Hutton from the Anaheim Ducks in exchange for a fifth-round pick in 2022. 

Chicago Blackhawks trade Mattias Janmark and a fifth-round pick in the 2022 NHL Draft to the Vegas Golden Knights in exchange for a second-round pick in 2021 and a third-round pick in 2022. TSN’s Pierre LeBrun reports the San Jose Sharks will receive a fifth-round pick from the Golden Knights for brokering the deal. The Blackhawks and Sharks retain 50 percent of Janmark’s salary. 

Edmonton Oilers acquire defenseman Dmitry Kulikov from the New Jersey Devils in exchange for a conditional fourth-round pick in the 2021 NHL draft. The pick becomes a third-rounder if the Oilers win a playoff round (as per TSN’s Gord Miller and Bob McKenzie)

Vancouver Canucks trade defenseman Jordie Benn to the Winnipeg Jets for a sixth-round pick. 

Chicago Blackhawks acquire forward Adam Gaudette from the Vancouver Canucks in exchange for center Matthew Highmore.

Carolina Hurricanes trade defenseman Haydn Fleury to the Anaheim Ducks in exchange for defenseman Jani Hakanpaa.










NHL Rumor Mill – March 2, 2021

NHL Rumor Mill – March 2, 2021

A look at TSN’s latest trade-bait board in today’s NHL rumor mill.

TSN: With the NHL’s Apr. 12 trade deadline six weeks away, Frank Seravalli lists Nashville Predators defenseman Mattias Ekholm, Columbus Blue Jackets blueliner David Savard, New York Rangers rearguard Tony DeAngelo, Buffalo Sabres defender Brandon Montour and Sabres winger Taylor Hall among the top-five players on his trade-bait board.

Ekholm has a year remaining on his contract and could fetch more than Savard, who’s an unrestricted free agent this summer. However, Seravalli believes the latter’s playoff experience and right-hand shot will draw interest from postseason contenders. It remains to be seen, however, if Jackets general manager Jarmo Kekalainen will move him.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: NBC Sports Philly’s Jordan Hall observed recent trade speculation linked Ekholm to the Philadelphia Flyers. However, he believes the club’s performance over the next month will determine if they need external help on their blue line.

Seravalli notes Kekalainen tends to let pending UFAs play out their contracts but that might change if the Jackets fall further out of playoff contention. DeAngelo remains available but his banishment from the Rangers over his personal issues makes rival general managers reluctant to take a chance on him right now.

Buffalo Sabres winger Taylor Hall (NHL Images)

It’s only a matter of time until the Sabres become sellers. Montour and Hall are both pending UFAs but the latter has a full no-movement clause. His camp was reportedly interested in talking contract extension with the Sabres but that might have changed given the club’s ongoing poor play. His $8 million cap hit could be difficult for most contenders to absorb. 

Predators winger Mikael Granlund, Detroit Red Wings forward Bobby Ryan, Vancouver Canucks winger Jake Virtanen, Calgary Flames forward Sam Bennett and Canucks winger Tanner Pearson round out the top ten.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Granlund, Ryan and Pearson are pending UFAs on teams with fading playoff hopes. Granlund was linked to the Toronto Maple Leafs while Ryan acknowledged the possibility he could be traded but hopes to return to the Wings this summer as a free agent.

Virtanen and Bennett are fixtures in this year’s rumor mill. The Canucks reportedly attempted to ship him to the Anaheim Ducks over the weekend for Danton Heinen but his $3.75 million in actual salary for next season was a rumored sticking point. The Athletic’s Thomas Drance believes this shows the Canucks still hope to get something decent back in return.

The Bennett trade chatter picked up a month ago when his agent went public with a trade request. Flames GM Brad Treliving recently stated his club will decide the versatile forward’s fate and not his agent. Treliving may be reluctant to move Bennett this season because he ramps up his game in the playoffs. However, he could change his mind at the trade deadline if the struggling Flames fail to improve.

Red Wings forward Luke Glendening, St. Louis Blues defenseman Vince Dunn, Sabres center Eric Staal, Wings blueliner Marc Staal and Senators winger Ryan Dzingel fill the final five spots on the list.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Like Ryan, Glendening and Marc Staal are both pending UFAs who could be shopped at the deadline for draft picks. The latter still has a no-movement clause but could waive it for a contender.  Detroit Sports Nation cited a report in The Athletic quoting an NHL executive’s belief that Wings GM Steve Yzerman could shop a young forward like Tyler Bertuzzi or Anthony Mantha if the right deal came along. Bertuzzi could draw more interest but Yzerman could prefer moving the talented-but-inconsistent Mantha, who also has a bit of an injury history. He’ll likely seek a good young player in return.

Dunn was the hot topic of trade chatter a month ago but that has died out as the Blues deal with an injury-ravaged roster. Eric Staal still has a 10-team no-trade list but his experience could make him an invaluable addition to a playoff club. Dzingel was recently acquired by the Senators from the Carolina Hurricanes but could also be moved by the trade deadline for a draft pick.










NHL Rumor Mill – February 13, 2021

NHL Rumor Mill – February 13, 2021

Five players who could use a change of scenery, more Victor Mete trade speculation and some suggested changes for the Predators in today’s NHL rumor mill.

FIVE PLAYERS WHO COULD USE A TRADE

SI.COM/THE HOCKEY NEWS: Matt Larkin believes the Calgary Flames’ Sam Bennett, the Toronto Maple Leafs’ Travis Dermott, the St. Louis Blues’ Vince Dunn, the Detroit Red Wings’ Anthony Mantha and the Vancouver Canucks’ Jake Virtanen need fresh starts on new teams.

St. Louis Blues defenseman Vince Dunn is among several players who could use a change of scenery (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I agree with Larkin but there are various reasons why these players might not be moved this season, if at all.

The Flames are reportedly reluctant to move Bennett because of his value as a proven playoff performer. Larkin also noted if they move him they’ll have to protect someone else in this summer’s expansion draft.

Dermott’s having trouble earning a full-time spot this season on Toronto’s blueline. Larkin points out he’s in nearly every Leafs rumor and would be perfect trade bait to add another forward. The Athletic’s Jonas Siegel suggested a Dermott-for-Sam Bennett swap if they can make the dollars work.

Dunn is probably the most likely on this list to get traded. Larkin feels it’s only a matter of time until he’s moved. The Blues reportedly seek a first- or second-round pick in return. There are several clubs that could use him but finding the right fit is the sticking point. The Blues at this point don’t seem in a hurry to trade him.

Mantha’s a big, fast forward with good offensive skills but his inconsistency and injury history hurt his trade value. So does his $5.7 million annual average value.

Virtanen has come up a lot of late in trade rumors but reports out of Vancouver suggest there’s not much of a market for him. He’s brought that on himself with his poor play. Maybe he’ll finally reach his full potential on a different team but there doesn’t appear to be a general manager out there willing to take a chance on him.

MORE METE SPECULATION

SPORTSNET: Mike Johnston lists the Red Wings, Flames, Pittsburgh Penguins, Anaheim Ducks, Arizona Coyotes and Buffalo Sabres as clubs that could show interest in Victor Mete. The agent for the Montreal Canadiens defenseman recently went public with a trade request for his client, angering Canadiens general manager Marc Bergevin.

Mete’s been a frequent healthy scratch as he’s become the odd man out on the Canadiens’ blueline. However, they haven’t sent him to their taxi squad because another club could scoop him up off waivers.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Like the Flames with Bennett, the Canadiens aren’t rushing to ship out Mete. They’d prefer hanging onto him as insurance in case injuries strike their defense corps.

Steven Ellis of SI.com/The Hockey News believes Mete would be a good value pickup for teams seeking blueline depth. Those clubs listed by Johnston could be potential destinations for the 22-year-old rearguard whenever Bergevin decides to honor his trade request. However, that move probably won’t happen until the offseason unless one of those clubs makes an irresistible pitch before the Apr. 12 trade deadline.

LATEST ON THE PREDATORS

THE ATHLETIC: In a recent mailbag segment, Adam Vingan was asked what the struggling Nashville Predators should do to avoid sliding into years of becoming a bad team with bloated contracts.

Vingan believes the Predators should become sellers by the April trade deadline if they’re still out of the playoff running by then. He advocates moving players on one-year contracts (Erik Haula, Mikael Granlund, Brad Richardson) for draft picks. They should also consider moving defenseman Mattias Ekholm, who has one year remaining on his cap-friendly contract.

The next step is trying to unload Matt Duchene or Ryan Johansen in this summer’s Seattle expansion draft. He suggested using some of the draft capital acquired at the trade deadline and/or throw in a player to sweeten the deal.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Vingan acknowledged all of this is easier said than done. Nevertheless, I agree with his take. The Predators have been trending downward since winning the President’s Trophy in 2017-18. They’re near the bottom of the Central Division and the overall standings. It’s time for GM David Poile to acknowledge the obvious that his roster needs at least a significant retooling.