NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 6, 2024

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 6, 2024

Recaps of Tuesday’s games feature a five-point performance by the Stars’ Wyatt Johnston, the Golden Knights acquire Anthony Mantha, and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.


The Ottawa Senators trade Vladimir Tarasenko to the Florida Panthers for a 2025 third-round pick and a conditional 2024 fourth-rounder that becomes a third-round pick if the Panthers win the 2024 Stanley Cup. The Senators also retain 50 percent of Tarasenko’s $5 million cap hit.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Senators reportedly sought a first or second-round pick plus another asset. It appears Tarasenko’s trade value wasn’t as high as rumored. 


NHL.COM: Dallas Stars forward Wyatt Johnston tallied his first career NHL hat trick and collected two assists in a 7-6 win over the San Jose Sharks. Roope Hintz scored in overtime as the Stars overcame a 6-3 deficit on three unanswered third-period goals with Johnston scoring two of them. Jamie Benn and rookie Logan Stankovan each had four points for the Stars (38-17-5) as they moved ahead of the Winnipeg Jets into first place in the Central Division with 85 points. Anthony Duclair scored twice and had two assists for the 15-39-7 Sharks.

Dallas Stars forward Wyatt Johnston (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Stankovan now has five goals and eight points in six games for the Stars. Meanwhile, Duclair’s improved performance of late could bolster his trade value.

The Jets, meanwhile, dropped a 4-3 decision to the Seattle Kraken as Andre Burakovsky broke a 3-3 tie late in the third period. Jared McCann had a goal and two assists while Joey Daccord stopped 30 shots for the 28-23-11 Kraken. Adam Lowry had a goal and an assist for the Jets (39-17-5) as they sit two points back of the Stars in the Central Division.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Kraken held center Alex Wennberg out of the lineup for the second straight game. I’ll have more about Wennberg in today’s Rumors update.

Edmonton Oilers forward Leon Draisaitl scored the tying and winning goals in a 2-1 overtime victory over the Boston Bruins. Oilers captain Connor McDavid collected two assists for the Oilers (38-20-2), who’ve won five straight games and sit in second place with 78 points in the Pacific Division. Pavel Zacha replied for the 36-13-15 Bruins, who slipped into third place in the overall standings with 87 points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: McDavid (99 points) sits six points behind league leaders Nikita Kucherov of the Tampa Bay Lightning and Nathan MacKinnon of the Colorado Avalanche in the scoring race. Meanwhile, Bruins winger James van Riemsdyk played his 1,000th career NHL game.

The league-leading Florida Panthers (90 points) picked up their sixth straight win (43-16-4) by beating the New Jersey Devils 5-3. Sam Reinhart tallied his 45th goal of the season, Nick Cousins scored twice and Aaron Ekblad collected an assist to become the all-time assist leader (230) among Panthers defensemen. Jack Hughes had a goal and an assist for the 30-28-4 Devils, who were playing their first game under interim head coach Travis Green.

An overtime goal by J.T. Miller lifted the Vancouver Canucks to a 2-1 win over the Los Angeles Kings. Elias Pettersson scored the tying goal while Quinn Hughes collected two assists for the 40-17-7 Canucks, who moved into second place in the overall standings with 87 points. Trevor Moore replied for the Kings (31-19-11) as they sit third in the Pacific Division with 73 points.

Montreal Canadiens captain Nick Suzuki scored in overtime to defeat the Nashville Predators 4-3, snapping the latter’s eight-game win streak. Suzuki and linemate Cole Caufield each had two points for the 24-28-10 Canadiens. Ryan O’Reilly had a goal and two assists for the Predators (35-25-3) as they hold the final Western Conference wildcard berth with 73 points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Before the game, the Canadiens placed forward Colin White (upper body) on injured reserve.

The New York Islanders picked up their fourth straight by doubling up the St. Louis Blues 4-2. Kyle Palmieri had a goal and an assist while Brock Nelson and Adam Pelech each collected two assists for the Islanders (27-20-14) as they sit four points out of the final Eastern Conference wildcard spot with 68 points. Joel Hofer made 29 saves for the 32-27-3 Blues.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Before the game, the Islanders placed defenseman Scott Mayfield (lower body) on long-term injury reserve as he’s expected to be sidelined for four to six weeks. Meanwhile, Isles general manager Lou Lamoriello said his club won’t be a seller at the upcoming trade deadline.

Pittsburgh Penguins winger Reilly Smith had a goal and two assists in a 5-3 victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets. Evgeni Malkin had a goal and an assist for the 28-24-8 Penguins. Jack Roslovic and Andrew Peeke each had a goal and an assist for the 21-31-10 Blue Jackets.

The Chicago Blackhawks beat the Arizona Coyotes 5-2. Seth Jones scored twice as the Blackhawks (16-42-5) ended their 22-game road losing skid. Connor Ingram made 27 saves for the 25-32-5 Coyotes, who held winger Jason Zucker out of this game for trade-related reasons.


VEGAS HOCKEY NOW: The Golden Knights acquired winger Anthony Mantha from the Washington Capitals in exchange for a 2024 second-round pick and a 2026 fourth-rounder. The Capitals also retained half of Mantha’s $5.7 million cap hit.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Mantha reached the 20-goal plateau this season for the first time since 2018-19. He should be a good rental scorer for the Golden Knights. They might not be done adding to their roster as they still carry over $4.4 million in salary cap flexibility.

STARTRIBUNE.COM: The Minnesota Wild signed defenseman Zach Bogosian to a two-year, $2.5 million contract extension. Bogosian, 33, averages over 17 minutes of ice time per game, blocking 51 shots and sitting second among the Wild with 80 hits.

THE ATHLETIC’s Kevin Kurz reports Philadelphia Flyers blueliner Nick Seeler could miss a bit of time with an undisclosed injury but isn’t expected to be sidelined for long.

CALGARY HOCKEY NOW: The Flames plucked defenseman Joel Hanley off waivers yesterday from the Dallas Stars.

CALGARY SUN: Meanwhile, Flames forward Martin Pospisil faces a disciplinary hearing with the league on Wednesday for a dangerous hit on Kraken defenseman Vince Dunn on Monday.

TSN: The Edmonton Oilers placed forward Sam Gagner on waivers.

NHL Rumor Mill – March 5, 2024

NHL Rumor Mill – March 5, 2024

The trade deadline is 3 PM ET on Friday, March 8. Check out the latest on Jake Guentzel, Noah Hanifin, Jacob Markstrom, Pavel Buchnevich, Vladimir Tarasenko, Adam Henrique, and many more trade candidates in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.

SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman did a quick summary on Monday of where each club stands leading up to Friday’s trade deadline. Here are the more notable tidbits:

Friedman’s big question regarding Jake Guentzel is whether the Pittsburgh Penguins will grant permission for interested clubs to discuss a contract extension with the 29-year-old winger. They also prefer to receive prospects rather than draft picks as part of the return for Guentzel.

Pittsburgh Penguins winger Jake Guentzel (NHL Images)

Interested clubs could include the Vegas Golden Knights, Florida Panthers, and Carolina Hurricanes with the Edmonton Oilers and Vancouver Canucks seen as longer shots. Other Penguins who could garner trade interest include winger Reilly Smith and goaltender Alex Nedeljkovic.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: TSN’s Pierre LeBrun included the Canucks and Oilers among six-plus suitors for Guentzel.

Turning to the Calgary Flames, Friedman believes defenseman Noah Hanifin remains locked in on joining the Tampa Bay Lightning. He thinks the Lightning are interested in Hanifin but if was that easy it would’ve been done by now.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Lightning’s lack of a first-rounder in the 2024 and 2025 drafts is likely a complicating factor, especially if they’re trying to outbid other teams.

Friedman noted the Boston Bruins are believed to have contacted the Flames about Hanifin. Their limited cap space means they’d have to move a roster player. That’s why goaltender Linus Ullmark has been mentioned in the rumor mill. Ullmark’s 16-team no-trade gives him some control plus the tandem of Ullmark and Jeremy Swayman gives the Bruins their best chance to win the Cup this season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Athletic’s Pierre LeBrun reports the New Jersey Devils have looked into Ullmark’s availability if they can’t swing a deal with the Flames for Jacob Markstrom.

Speaking of Jacob Markstrom, his disappointment over how management handled a potential trade to New Jersey hasn’t affected his performance.

The Devils haven’t given up on acquiring Calgary Flames goaltender Jacob Markstrom. They could revisit that attempt in the offseason if a deal isn’t reached by the trade deadline. Friedman isn’t convinced that the Devils could trade winger Tyler Toffoli.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Calgary Hockey Now’s Trevor Neufeld cited Daily Faceoff’s Frank Seravalli claiming Flames ownership spiked the deal that would’ve sent Markstrom to the Devils. If so, we can forget about the 34-year-old goaltender going anywhere at the trade deadline. It would also cast doubt over any potential offseason deals unless Markstrom asks to be moved.

St. Louis Blues general manager Doug Armstrong has set a very high asking price for winger Pavel Buchnevich. There’s been what Friedman calls “non-stop noise” over winger Jordan Kyrou.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Speaking of Kyrou, The Athletic’s Jeremy Rutherford recently suggested the odds are 50-50 that the Blues trade him before his no-trade clause begins in July 2025. If that move takes place my bet is it’s more likely an offseason trade.

Ottawa Senators winger Vladimir Tarasenko could be a consolation prize for teams that don’t get Jake Guentzel. The Senators could also look into the goalie market.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Score cited the Ottawa Sun’s Bruce Garrioch claiming the Florida Panthers, Boston Bruins, Carolina Hurricanes, New York Rangers, Vegas Golden Knights, and Edmonton Oilers have kicked tires on Tarasenko. The 32-year-old has a $5 million cap hit and a full no-trade clause but is expected to waive it to join a contender.

Speaking of the Senators, The Athletic’s Pierre LeBrun reports there is growing interest in defenseman Jakob Chychrun from clubs seeking more than a playoff rental. However, the Senators remain in listening mode and haven’t set an asking price for him yet.

Friedman believes the Florida Panthers could pursue a winger such as Guentzel or Tarasenko. He said he’s heard mixed responses that they might have an interest in Hanifin.

The asking price is high for Anaheim Ducks winger Frank Vatrano. It’s more likely that pending UFAs like Adam Henrique and Sam Carrick will be moved.

With the Vegas Golden Knights placing Mark Stone on LTIR, they will be buyers. Friedman thinks they could pursue one or two wingers, including one of those near the top of the market like Buchnevich and Guentzel.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Golden Knights always try to make a big splash near the NHL trade deadline. With over $7.3 million in cap flexibility, they will try and land a big fish by the deadline.

Jake Guentzel, Vladimir Tarasenko or Tyler Toffoli (if available) would be perfect fits for the Carolina Hurricanes. They have the prospect depth to make competitive bids. Meanwhile, Friedman believes the Martin Necas situation is coming to a head.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Necas has been floated recently as a trade candidate if the Hurricanes decide to pursue a big-ticket scorer.

It’s believed the Colorado Avalanche remains in the market for a second-line center. They’re looking at short-term options like Adam Henrique and medium-term ones like Arizona’s Nick Bjugstad and Alex Kerfoot.

Defensemen remain a priority for the Toronto Maple Leafs. Friedman believes they’ve been linked to most of the notable trade candidates. He also thinks they’ve looked at adding another forward.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Toronto Sun’s Terry Koshan wonders if Leafs GM Brad Treliving might pursue a center such as Adam Henrique.

The Edmonton Oilers have been looking at adding a defenseman. They have also been linked to Adam Henrique and his teammate Sam Carrick in a rumored “double deal.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Speaking of the Oilers, winger Warren Foegele has popped up as a possible trade candidate as the deadline nears.

There was some social media speculation suggesting the New York Islanders might move Brock Nelson. Friedman dismissed it, pointing out among other things that the Isles aren’t giving up on the playoff race.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: No one knows what secretive Islanders GM Lou Lamoriello has in store for his team. Nevertheless, I agree with Friedman’s dismissal of the Nelson trade rumors.

The asking price for Philadelphia Flyers center Scott Laughton is high, creating doubt that they want to move him. Contract talks continue with defensemen Sean Walker and Nick Seeler.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: With the Flyers still in the thick of the playoff race, I don’t see them moving those guys unless someone is willing to overpay for them.

Friedman felt Arizona Coyotes defenseman Matt Dumba might be a good fit with the Toronto Maple Leafs as they looked into him before signing John Klingberg last summer. However, he said he received pushback on that idea.

Teams are assessing whether Columbus Blue Jackets goaltender Elvis Merzlikins could benefit from a change of scenery. Meanwhile, Ivan Provorov could become available as the Jackets deal with a blueline backlog.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Merzlikin’s $5.4 million AAV through 2026-27 and inconsistent play will likely keep him in Columbus for the rest of this season. As for Provorov, he has a year left on his contract. The Jackets can wait until the summer to shop him if they don’t get any suitable offers now.

Buffalo Sabres GM Kevyn Adams has rebuffed requests from other clubs to discuss winger Alex Tuch. He’s prepared to move pending UFAs such as Erik Johnson. Friedman wondered if team captain Kyle Okposo would be a fit with the New York Rangers.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Rangers need a top-six right wing but they’re probably eyeing other options. Meanwhile, The Buffalo News’ Lance Lysowski reports Adams is open to trading notable young players but only if it’s a move that helps the Sabres now. In other words, he’s not interested in a return of draft picks and prospects.

Seattle Kraken defenseman Adam Larsson is coveted in the trade market but Friedman would be shocked if he got traded. There’s been contract extension talk with winger Jordan Eberle. Forward Brandon Tanev could be a trade deadline wild card.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Friedman published this column hours before the Kraken scratched center Alex Wennberg from their game last night against the New York Rangers for trade-related reasons. The 29-year-old Wennberg seems the most likely to be moved out of Seattle.

Speaking of the Rangers, Friedman noted they’ve asked about Anaheim’s Frank Vatrano and Buffalo’s Alex Tuch. He thinks they could also look at Pittsburgh’s Reilly Smith or St. Louis’ Pavel Buchnevich.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Again, this was published before the report about Wennberg becoming a healthy scratch for trade-related reasons amid speculation the Rangers were pursuing him.

Friedman still wonders if Edmonton Oilers GM Ken Holland might have an interest in Washington Capitals winger Anthony Mantha. Holland knows him from their days with the Detroit Red Wings.

Speaking of Mantha, Friedman thinks he’d be a good fit with the Winnipeg Jets if Gabriel Vilardi should be sidelined longer than expected.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Winnipeg Sun’s Paul Friesen anticipates the Jets will make another move before the deadline. He believes GM Kevin Cheveldayoff would like to add a puck-moving defenseman.

There’s nothing on the front burner for the Montreal Canadiens. Defenseman David Savard wants to stay and they can sit back and say, “Make us consider it.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Athletic’s Pierre LeBrun said there are some teams interested in acquiring goalie Jake Allen after this season when he’ll have just one year left on his contract with a $3.85 million cap hit. Teams could have the same approach toward Savard. Either way, the Canadiens seem fine with both players remaining on their roster beyond the trade deadline.

Friedman reports the Minnesota Wild are working on a contract extension for defenseman Zach Bogosian.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: TSN’s Chris Johnston believes the Maple Leafs could be interested in Bogosian if he and the Wild fail to agree to an extension by March 8.

The San Jose Sharks have been open for business for a while but it’s been quiet. They’re trying to move as many of their pending UFAs as possible. Friedman noted there’s been talk about players with term left on their contracts like Mario Ferraro and Mikael Granlund but they’re more costly to acquire.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It was recently reported the Sharks aren’t shopping Ferraro but could be willing to listen to offers. At this point, I’ll be surprised if he or Granlund are moved.

The Nashville Predators surge up the standings since mid-February has turned them into buyers rather than sellers.

Friedman sees the Detroit Red Wings doing something to secure a playoff berth. He wondered if they’d pursue Jake Guentzel but GM Steve Yzerman isn’t much for signing 30-year-old player to term.

The Los Angeles Kings aren’t expected to do anything major. Forward Arthur Kaliyev has been in and out of the lineup and isn’t guaranteed to move.

After acquiring Chris Tanev from Calgary last week, the Dallas Stars could make one more depth move before the deadline.

The Vancouver Canucks must soon decide if they’ll sign free agent Phil Kessel if they hope to have him for the playoffs.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The deadline for signing free agents to be eligible for the postseason is the same as the trade deadline.

NHL Rumor Mill – February 27, 2024

NHL Rumor Mill – February 27, 2024

Which teams are linked to the Flames’ Noah Hanifin and Chris Tanev? What forwards could the Oilers pursue? What’s the latest on the Sharks and Avalanche? Find out in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.


SPORTSNET: Eric Francis observed that the Calgary Flames have a stranglehold on the trade market as they carry three of the most desirable trade targets in defensemen Noah Hanifin, Chris Tanev and goaltender Jacob Markstrom.

The likelihood of Markstrom getting traded remains low. He has two years left on his contract and has full control of the situation thanks to his no-movement clause, while his $6 million cap hit and the Flames’ high asking price make him too expensive for most teams to afford this late in the season.

Hanifin and Tanev are more likely to be moved as they’re pending unrestricted free agents who won’t be re-signing with the Flames. Patience by the club’s management could result in better returns for both players as the March 8 trade deadline approaches and more potential buyers accrue cap space.

Francis believes Hanifin could fetch a first-round pick, a top prospect and a roster player. The return for Tanev could be two pieces, including a second-rounder. However, the goal is to net a first-round pick.

Calgary Flames defenseman Noah Hanifin (NHL Images).

THE ATHLETIC: Pierre LeBrun cited league sources as saying the Dallas Stars have shown strong interest in Tanev. Other right-shot defense options include Arizona’s Matt Dumba, Philadelphia’s Sean Walker and Anaheim’s Ilya Lyubushkin.

Sean Gentile believes it’s possible for the Tampa Bay Lightning to acquire Hanifin. It could include giving up a prospect such as Isaac Howard or Ethan Gauthier and their 2026 first-round pick as part of the return.

Jonas Siegel considered Hanifin and Tanev among the logical fits for the Toronto Maple Leafs.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: One reason there’s been no activity in the trade market since Feb. 2 is because teams are waiting to see where Hanifin and Tanev are traded. The longer the Flames wait, the more likely the possibility of buyers stepping up to meet their price for both blueliners.

The Stars could be better positioned to land Tanev. They’re trying to win the Stanley Cup this season and might be willing to part with a first-rounder.

As for the Lightning and Hanifin, that might make sense if they intend on signing him to a contract extension. Still, they’ve depleted a lot of their prospect pool over the years trying to maintain a Cup contender. They also have 16 active roster players under contract for next season with $10 million in projected cap space and captain Steven Stamkos to re-sign or replace.

Hanifin would be too expensive for the Leafs and wouldn’t address their need for a right-shot defenseman as Tanev would.


BOSTON HOCKEY NOW: Jimmy Murphy cited an NHL source wondering if the Bruins will retain Jake DeBrusk for the playoffs or trade the pending UFA winger to a club like the Edmonton Oilers seeking a postseason rental forward.

There’s been no indication that DeBrusk’s representatives and Bruins management are any closer to a contract extension as the trade deadline approaches. Meanwhile, Murphy cited a belief around the league that the winger’s hometown Oilers or the Calgary Flames would try to bring him home to Alberta.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Noah Hanifin straight up for DeBrusk with both players agreeing to contract extensions with their new clubs. I’m kidding of course…or am I?(Insert wink emoji here).

Meanwhile, the Oilers could have some interest in DeBrusk but I don’t think they’d have what the Bruins would want in a trade package. The Bruins will probably stick with him for the rest of this season even at the risk of losing him to free agency on July 1.

SPORTSNET: During their latest “32 Thoughts” podcast episode, Jeff Marek and Elliotte Friedman discussed the possibility of the Edmonton Oilers acquiring Anthony Mantha from the Washington Capitals. The 29-year-old winger is putting up good numbers this season with 18 goals and 29 points in 52 games.

Friedman noted that Oilers general manager Ken Holland drafted Mantha during Holland’s tenure as GM of the Detroit Red Wings. He also mentioned the Oilers have been linked to Anaheim Ducks forwards Adam Henrique and Sam Carrick and San Jose Sharks forward Luke Kunin.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Acquiring Mantha only works for the Oilers if the Capitals retain half of his $5.7 million cap hit. The same goes for the Ducks and Henrique with his $5.825 million. Carrick and Kunin are much more affordable for the Oilers in terms of cap hit and return.


THE MERCURY NEWS: Curtis Pashelka reports Anthony Duclair said he hasn’t had any contract extension talks with San Jose Sharks management. That’s another indication that Sharks GM Mike Grier intends to move the 28-year-old winger by the March 8 trade deadline.

Duclair said he’s seeking a long-term contract and was open to re-signing with the rebuilding Sharks.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Florida Hockey Now’s George Richards believes the Panthers should bring back Duclair, pointing out how well he played for them over the previous two seasons. The Panthers traded him to San Jose last summer as a cost-cutting measure.

SAN JOSE HOCKEY NOW: Sheng Peng reports the agent for Sharks defenseman Mario Ferraro said the club isn’t actively shopping his client. Peng observed that doesn’t mean Ferraro won’t be traded if a club made a tempting offer. Nevertheless, he believes they’ll hang onto the 25-year-old defenseman.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Grier might listen if someone offered up a first-round pick for Ferraro. However, Peng cited league sources saying clubs would trade a second or third-round pick for him.


THE DENVER POST: That was the topic discussed by Sean Keeler and Corey Masisak following word that winger Valeri Nichushkin had returned to practice with the Colorado Avalanche.

Masisak believes they need a center who can play second or third-line minutes but admitted that could be difficult to achieve given their salary-cap limitations. Keeler would like to see them add a playoff-worthy 1B goaltender.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Avalanche have just $1.2 million in projected trade deadline cap space with Gabriel Landeskog and Pavel Francouz on long-term injury reserve. They’ll have to move out some salary if they hope to address either need.

NHL Rumor Mill – February 17, 2024

NHL Rumor Mill – February 17, 2024

Another Flames defenseman surfaces as a trade candidate, the Senators are linked to Matt Dumba, the latest on Jake Guentzel and Tony DeAngelo plus updates on the Leafs and Capitals in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.


ESPN’s Kevin Weekes tweeted that Calgary Flames defenseman Rasmus Andersson is drawing some interest in the trade market. Weekes believes he’d be an attractive option for suitors given his age (27) and his $4.55 million annual average value through 2025-26.

Calgary Flames defenseman Rasmus Andersson (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: With the Flames listening to offers for blueliners Chris Tanev and Noah Hanifin I don’t doubt that some clubs are expressing interest in Andersson. However, there is a big difference between listening to offers and shopping a player.

By all accounts, the Flames are peddling Tanev and will do the same with Hanifin if he’s unwilling to sign a contract extension. However, there’s no indication that they’re looking to move Andersson.

Earlier this week, Flames general manager Craig Conroy indicated that he’s not staging a full roster rebuild but is instead attempting to retool. Moving Andersson along with Tanev and Hanifin constitutes a full rebuild as it would significantly deplete their blueline. Unless Andersson is asking to be traded, Conroy has no reason to move him.

Bear in mind that Conroy is under no pressure to trade Andersson as he still has two more seasons left on his contract. If a rival team were to pitch a significant offer for him involving a good young NHL player along with a first-round pick and a quality prospect, Conroy would probably give it serious consideration. Otherwise, I don’t see Andersson getting moved.


DAILY FACEOFF: Frank Seravalli doesn’t expect Jake Guentzel’s upper-body injury will hurt his value in the trade market. The 29-year-old Pittsburgh Penguins winger is sidelined for four weeks, putting his recovery period beyond the March 8 trade deadline.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It won’t hurt Guentzel’s value but it will have interested general managers seeking full assurances that he’s on track to return to action by mid-March. I wouldn’t be surprised if some of them attempt to attach conditions to their offers based on his injury.


Freelancer Graeme Nichols cited the Ottawa Sun’s Bruce Garrioch recently reporting the Senators were taking a look at Matt Dumba. The 29-year-old Arizona Coyotes defenseman is on a one-year, $3.9 million contract and is slated to become an unrestricted free agent on July 1.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s well-documented that the Senators are seeking veterans with experience and leadership to help some of their younger stars. If they acquire Dumba they could look at signing him to a short-term contract extension.


SPORTSNET: Citing colleague Nick Kypreos, Justin Bourne believes the Toronto Maple Leafs will use their 2024 first-round pick as trade bait to bolster their roster leading up to the trade deadline.

Bourne believes the Maple Leafs badly need a couple of defensemen. If they want to get anyone meaningful, they have to trade a legitimate asset. They don’t want to move their prospects so that leaves their first-rounder.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Leafs have been linked to Calgary’s Chris Tanev and Philadelphia’s Sean Walker in the rumor mill. Giving up a first-rounder for either guy would be an overpayment but the Leafs are in “win-now” mode and that means overpaying for one of them.

Otherwise, they’ll have to find cheaper, less-talented depth or stick with what they’ve already got and hope for the best. Either option ensures the Leafs will struggle again to advance in the playoffs. That means wasting another season for superstar forwards Auston Matthews, William Nylander and Mitch Marner while they’re still in the prime of their careers. It also means captain John Tavares watches his Stanley Cup hopes recede further into the distance along with his playing prime.

Parting with a first-rounder for Tanev or Walker doesn’t guarantee a trip to the Stanley Cup Final. Hell, it doesn’t assure getting beyond the opening round. Nevertheless, it gives them a better shot than standing pat or making cheap additions that don’t move the needle. If they’re unwilling to part with their promising prospects (and I agree that they shouldn’t), trading the first-rounder is their only option.


THE HOCKEY NEWS: Sammi Silber recently reported on the trade rumors dogging the Washington Capitals as they struggle to remain in the Eastern Conference playoff race. If the Capitals become sellers by the trade deadline it might not become a total sell-off.

The New York Rangers could look into the availability of checking-line center Nic Dowd. Given how thin the trade market is on centers, he could fetch a first-round pick. The shrinking market in quality forwards might also work to their advantage with winger Anthony Mantha given the improvement in his goal production this season.

Max Pacioretty, Joel Edmundson and Nicolas Aube-Kubel could also be shopped.


THE ATHLETIC: Cory Lavalette reports Carolina Hurricanes defenseman Tony DeAngelo has been the subject of trade rumors with the Hurricanes shopping him. He’s due to become a UFA this summer and has been a frequent healthy scratch this season.

DeAngelo and his agent have met with Hurricanes management to discuss what’s best for both sides. He admits that his reputation and his past could be holding up a potential trade.

NHL Rumor Mill – February 5, 2024

NHL Rumor Mill – February 5, 2024

The Rangers are believed interested in two key Ducks’ forwards plus the latest on the Hurricanes and Capitals in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.


THE ATHLETIC: Arthur Staple and Eric Stephens report the New York Rangers have an interest in Anaheim Ducks center Adam Henrique as a playoff rental replacement for the sidelined Filip Chytil.

It’s also rumored that the Rangers might be interested in a reunion with winger Frank Vatrano. The 29-year-old winger played well for the Blueshirts two years ago before signing as a free agent with the Ducks.

Anaheim Ducks center Adam Henrique (NHL Images).

Vatrano is Anaheim’s leading scorer but he might not fit into the club’s rebuilding plans. Ducks general manager Pat Verbeek could try moving him while his value is high.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Given Verbeek’s reputation as a tough negotiator it won’t be easy for the Rangers to land one or both players. Reports emerged last week claiming Blueshirts GM Chris Drury was taking calls about winger Kaapo Kakko. Perhaps he’d be part of an offer to the Ducks that would also likely include some draft picks and one or two prospects.


THE ATHLETIC: Cory Lavalette recently looked at some possible targets for the Carolina Hurricanes leading up to the March 8 trade deadline.

Lavalette doesn’t seem them pursuing a blockbuster trade for an expensive goalie such as Calgary’s Jacob Markstrom, Nashville’s Juuse Saros or Anaheim’s John Gibson. They could stick with Pyotr Kochetkov and Antti Raanta and it’s possible sidelined Frederik Andersen could return. If they go the trade route it could be for more affordable options like Minnesota’s Marc-Andre Fleury, Detroit’s James Reimer or San Jose’s Kaapo Kahkonen.

It’s expected the Hurricanes will try to trade defenseman Tony DeAngelo before the deadline. Washington’s Joel Edmundson could be one possibility if they wish to acquire a blueliner while forwards such as San Jose’s Anthony Duclair and Alexander Barabanov or Chicago’s Colin Blackwell would be cost-effective forward options.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Lavalette pointed out that Hurricanes GM Don Waddell acquired players over the last four trade deadlines. With over $6.6 million in projected trade deadline cap space, he’s got the room to make one or two affordable depth additions.


THE HOCKEY NEWS: Sammi Silber recently wondered if the thin market for centers could work to the Washington Capitals’ advantage if they become sellers leading up to the trade deadline.

Checking-line center Nic Dowd should receive some interest. He’s got a year remaining on his contract with an average annual value of $1.3 million.

Silber also mused over whether the thin market might increase interest in center Evgeny Kuznetsov. Signed through next season with a $7.8 million AAV, his contract and inconsistent play make him difficult to move.

Winger Anthony Mantha could also be worth watching. He’s on pace for a career-best 27 goals this season, which should improve his value in the trade market.

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 18, 2023

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 18, 2023

William Nylander continues his points streak as the Leafs rally to beat the Red Wings in Sweden while Aaron Ekblad and Brandon Montour return to the Panthers lineup. Details on these and other stories in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.


NHL.COM: Toronto Maple Leafs winger William Nylander extended his season-opening points streak to 16 games in a 3-2 victory over the Detroit Red Wings at the NHL Global Series in Sweden. The Leafs were down 2-0 but Nylander rallied his teammates in the third period with a goal and two assists and was named the game’s first star. John Tavares also had a goal and two assists as the Leafs improved to 9-5-2. Daniel Sprong and Lucas Raymond scored for the 8-6-3 Red Wings.

Toronto Maple Leafs forward William Nylander (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Nylander has been the Leafs’ best player thus far this season. He’s their leading scorer with 25 points and sits second in goals with 11. He’s also among the league leaders in both categories. At this pace, he’ll become a serious candidate for the Hart Memorial Trophy as his team’s MVP.

Nylander’s strong performance in his contract year will also make the cost of re-signing him even more expensive for the Leafs. Reports out of Toronto since July claimed his camp was seeking an annual average value of $10 million. That figure could be between $11 million and $12 million now.

Red Wings defenseman Jake Walman left this game in the second period with an apparent upper-body injury. There was no postgame update on his condition.

Florida Panthers defensemen Aaron Ekblad and Brandon Montour made their season debuts as their club nipped the Anaheim Ducks 2-1. Eetu Luostarinen and Oliver Ekman-Larsson scored for the Panthers (11-5-1) as Anthony Stolarz made 34 saves for the win. Frank Vatrano replied for the Ducks (9-8-0) as John Gibson stopped 33 shots.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Ekblad and Montour had been sidelined by offseason shoulder surgeries. They were held scoreless but their return to the blueline was a welcome sight for the Panthers.

It was a costly win for the Panthers as team captain Aleksander Barkov left the game with an injured left knee in the third period after Ducks defenseman Jackson Lacombe stuck out his leg and struck Barkov. Lacome was initially assessed a five-minute major but it was reduced on review to two minutes. There was no postgame update on Barkov’s condition.

The Winnipeg Jets held off the Buffalo Sabres by a score of 3-2. Connor Hellebuyck turned aside 26 shots, Cole Perfetti extended his goal streak to five games while Nino Niederreiter and Vladislav Namestnikov each collected two assists for the 9-5-2 Jets. Alex Tuch and JJ Peterka replied for the Sabres as they slipped to 7-9-1.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Sabres activated goaltender Eric Comrie and winger Zach Benson off injured reserve for this game while placing center Tage Thompson (left-hand injury) on IR.


THE HOCKEY NEWS: Arizona Coyotes center Barrett Hayton will be sidelined for four to six weeks as he undergoes surgery for an upper-body injury suffered against the Columbus Blue Jackets on Thursday.

Hayton’s teammate Matias Maccelli also left that game after being struck in the face by a puck. While he required “major dental surgery” he’s expected to be okay though it’s uncertain as to when he’ll return to the lineup.

MONTREAL GAZETTE: Canadiens defenseman Arber Xhekaj is listed as day-to-day after leaving Thursday’s game against the Vegas Golden Knights with an apparent injury to his left shoulder.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: There was concern that Xhekaj could miss considerable time if the injury was serious. That’s understandable considering he underwent season-ending surgery to his right shoulder in February. This news suggests that he might not be laid up for too long.

SAN JOSE HOCKEY NOW: Sharks center Nico Sturm will miss the next two games as he takes a leave of absence to attend to a personal matter.

WASHINGTON HOCKEY NOW: Capitals defenseman Trevor van Riemsdyk (lower-body injury) and winger Anthony Mantha (ruptured eardrum) will return to the lineup for today’s game against the Columbus Blue Jackets.

PITTSBURGH HOCKEY NOW: Penguins backup goaltender Alex Nedeljkovic scored a goal for the club’s AHL affiliate in Wilkes-Barre/Scranton on Friday against the Providence Bruins. It’s the second time he’s scored in AHL action during his career. He’s on loan to the Penguins’ farm team on a conditioning stint.

THE HOCKEY NEWS: The government of Quebec is facing criticism for paying upwards of $7 million to the Los Angeles Kings to play two preseason games next season in Quebec City against the Boston Bruins and Florida Panthers.

Critics believe that money could’ve been better spent on more pressing issues, especially when it was revealed that the Montreal Canadiens were willing to play some preseason games in Quebec City for free.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Someone on social media joked that Quebec City wanted to see real NHL teams rather than the Canadiens. It’s part of the province’s efforts to bring a team back to Quebec City. However, it’s unlikely to succeed given the more lucrative markets in Houston, Atlanta and Salt Lake City that are expected to be the next destinations for NHL expansion franchises.