NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 12, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – March 12, 2022

A hat-trick performance for the Capitals Evgeny Kuznetsov, Islanders coach Barry Trotz reaches a milestone, the Stars re-sign Joe Pavelski, Marc Staal set to join his brothers in an elite club, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: A hat-trick performance by Evgeny Kuznetsov set the stage for Lars Eller’s overtime goal as the Washington Capitals downed the Vancouver Canucks 4-3. Washington captain Alex Ovechkin picked up an assist but remains tied with Jaromir Jagr for third on the all-time goal list with 766. Defenseman Quinn Hughes had three points and Bo Horvat scored twice for the Canucks (65 points), who sit two points behind the Dallas Stars for the final wild-card berth in the Western Conference. The Capitals hold the final Eastern wild-card spot with 74 points, one back of the Boston Bruins.

Washington Capitals center Evgeny Kuznetsov (NHL Images).

New York Islanders head coach Barry Trotz picked up his 900th career victory as his club rolled to a 5-2 win over the Winnipeg Jets. Trotz sits third on the all-time list, 69 wins behind second-place Joel Quenneville. Josh Bailey scored two goals while Semyon Varlamov picked up his first win since Jan. 18 with 27 saves. Kyle Connor netted his 36th goal of the season for the Jets (62 points), who remain five points out of a Western wild-card spot.

The Pittsburgh Penguins got a 40-save effort from Tristan Jarry and three unanswered third-period goals to defeat the Vegas Golden Knights 5-2. Bryan Rust and Jeff Carter each had a goal and an assist while Sidney Crosby collected an assist to extend his points streak to eight games. With 79 points, the Penguins move two points ahead of the New York Rangers into second place in the Metropolitan Division. The Golden Knights cling to third place in the Pacific Division with 68 points.

Zach Werenski’s tying goal late in the third period set the stage for Yegor Chinakhov’s shootout winner as the Columbus Blue Jackets upset the Minnesota Wild 3-2. Mats Zuccarello had a goal and an assist for Minnesota. It was a costly win for the Blue Jackets as Jakub Voracek and Patrik Laine left the game with apparent leg injuries. With 72 points, the Wild are one back of the second-place St. Louis Blues in the Central Division.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Wild forward Marcus Foligno could face supplemental discipline for kneeing Voracek. The Jackets winger returned to the bench for overtime and the shootout but didn’t see a shift.

HEADLINES

THE DALLAS MORNING NEWS: The Stars yesterday signed forward Joe Pavelski to a one-year, $5.5 million contract extension with a full no-movement clause.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Pavelski is taking a pay cut to stay in Dallas, completing a three-year deal worth an annual average value of $7 million. He was slated to become an unrestricted free agent this summer and frequently surfaced in the rumor mill as a trade candidate.

However, Pavelski indicated he and his family love living in Dallas and he remains committed to helping the Stars become a winner. The 37-year-old is their leading scorer with 59 points skating alongside Roope Hintz and rising star Jason Robertson. He’s a big reason why the Stars are jockeying for a wild-card spot in the Western Conference.

NHL.COM: Detroit Red Wings defenseman Marc Staal is set to play in his 1,000th career NHL game tonight against the Calgary Flames. He’ll join Eric and Jordan as the first three brothers in league history to reach the thousand-game milestone.

DETROIT FREE PRESS: Speaking of the Red Wings, forward Robby Fabbri is out for the remainder of the season after suffering a torn ACL in his right knee during Thursday’s loss to the Wild.

TRIBLIVE.COM: Pittsburgh Penguins forward Brock McGinn is listed as week-to-week with an undisclosed injury.

FOX 13 SEATTLE: Kraken forward Joonas Donskoi (undisclosed) was placed on injured reserve on Friday.

THE PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER: The floundering Flyers are on pace for the worst average attendance in 49 years. Their average announced home attendance is 16, 505 in an arena that seats over 19,000 fans. With the team in last place in the Metropolitan Division and a roster ravaged by injuries, fans have been tuning out.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The article points out the number of actual fans at recent Flyers games is actually much lower than the announced paid attendance.










NHL Rumor Mill – January 28, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – January 28, 2022

The Canucks’ new management faces some big decisions by the trade deadline, updates on Carey Price and Jake DeBrusk, and the latest Red Wings speculation in today’s NHL rumor mill.

CANUCKS NEW GENERAL MANAGER FACING BIG DECISIONS

SPORTSNET: Iain MacIntyre reports Patrik Allvin, the new general manager of the Vancouver Canucks, faces some big decisions over the next couple of months leading up to the March 21 trade deadline.

Teams have been calling about center J.T. Miller, who’s signed to a bargain contract running through 2022-23. The Canucks aren’t under pressure to move him now but the offers might be better for him at this year’s trade deadline compared to next year’s.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: TSN’s Pierre LeBrun believes the Canucks need to restock their prospect pipeline. He thinks they would listen if a club offered up three or four prospects or three or four assets. Whether they get that offer remains to be seen.

Vancouver Canucks winger Brock Boeser (NHL Images).

Winger Brock Boeser is owed a $7.5 million qualifying offer after this season. If the Canucks are uncomfortable with that, do they attempt to trade him at the deadline, wait until the offseason or attempt to re-sign him for a lower annual average value?

Backup goalie Jaroslav Halak will soon trigger $1.5 million in bonus money. The Canucks will have to carry that overage into next season when he could be playing with another club. They could try to move him at the trade deadline, but he carries a no-movement clause. Winger Tyler Motte is also slated to become an unrestricted free agent this summer and could also draw interest from contenders.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I don’t see the Canucks becoming sellers unless they fall out of playoff contention by March. They could get solid offers for Miller or Boeser at the trade deadline but they aren’t under pressure to move either guy by that point.

Moving Miller would be understandable given his age and UFA eligibility next summer but Boeser’s only 24 and considered to be part of their long-term plans. Moving him would likely be an offseason decision if they’re unable to work out a suitable contract.

They could find a team capable of absorbing Halak’s bonus clause. However, his no-movement is a serious sticking point. Still, he could waive it if a contender shows interest.

UPDATES ON PRICE AND DEBRUSK

TVA SPORTS: Kent Hughes, the new general manager of the Montreal Canadiens, acknowledged the importance of Carey Price to the organization, calling him “untouchable”. However, he needs to get more answers about the 34-year-old goaltender’s health before determining what comes next in terms of his future. The option of a contract buyout doesn’t appear to be in his plans. “I can’t answer that right now, but I don’t think so,” said Hughes.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Lot of suggestions about the Canadiens perhaps shopping Price at the trade deadline after Hughes was hired last week. It’s not going to happen. He carries a hefty $10.5 million annual average value through 2025-26 plus a full no-movement clause and he remains sidelined recovering from offseason knee surgery.

Buying him out would count as $10.8 million against the Canadiens cap next season, followed by three seasons of $9.08 million annually before dropping to $583K annually for the remaining four seasons of the buyout. So yeah, I also don’t think this is an option.

THE ATHLETIC: Fluto Shinzawa reports there’s no trade imminent for Boston Bruins winger Jake DeBrusk. His inconsistent play means the Bruins won’t get top assets in return. A trade might not help him smooth out the peaks and valleys in his game.

DeBrusk’s contract is also an issue. He’s a restricted free agent this summer due for a $4.41 million qualifying offer. The Bruins are unlikely to meet that QO but that would make him an unrestricted free agent this summer. They must find a team willing to qualify DeBrusk or at least take the risk of negotiating a new contract. Otherwise, acquiring him would be like trading for a rental player.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Bruins GM Don Sweeney reportedly sought a player of equal value. Given Shinzawa’s assessment, DeBrusk could end up spending the rest of this season in Boston. Still, we shouldn’t rule out the Bruins finding a taker by the trade deadline but it’s doubtful they’ll get equal value.

LATEST ON THE RED WINGS

MLIVE.COM: Ansar Khan was asked about which players the Detroit Red Wings could realistically move at the trade deadline for draft picks during a recent mailbag segment.

The Red Wings gave up a second-round draft pick for Nick Leddy. Khan doubts they can get a similar return but feels they’ll take what they can get for a player they aren’t going to re-sign. Forward Vladislav Namestnikov is having a good season and would draw interest if the Wings decide not to re-sign him. They could re-sign defenseman Marc Staal for another season for his leadership.

Khan speculated they could attempt to move Thomas Greiss but there usually isn’t a big market for goaltenders at the trade deadline. He doesn’t expect Troy Stecher, Danny DeKeyser, Sam Gagner and Carter Rowney will attract much interest.










NHL Rumor Mill – May 21, 2021

NHL Rumor Mill – May 21, 2021

Reaction to rumors linking Jack Eichel to the Coyotes, plus the latest on the Flames and Red Wings in today’s NHL rumor mill.

ARE THE COYOTES INTERESTED IN EICHEL?

AZ COYOTES INSIDER: Craig Morgan said a report earlier this week claiming the Arizona Coyotes were a “serious contender” to acquire Buffalo Sabres captain Jack Eichel appears to be inaccurate. His understanding is the Coyotes aren’t interested in trading for Eichel and he doesn’t think they’ve even talked to anyone about the Sabres star.

Buffalo Sabres center Jack Eichel (NHL Images).

Morgan acknowledged the Coyotes could use Eichel, noting they haven’t had a legitimate first-line center in 20 years. However, they forfeited their first-round pick in this year’s draft, which would be a crucial part of the Sabres’ asking price.

The Coyotes cannot afford to give away any more first-round picks. Concerns about Eichel’s neck injury, leadership and his willingness to be in Arizona would also be worrying issues.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I believe the Los Angeles Kings could be the front-runners if the Sabres put Eichel on the trade block. They’ve got the cap space, plenty of draft picks, and considerable depth in prospects and promising roster players to make a competitive bid if general manager Rob Blake is so inclined.

The Rangers would be next but their proximity to Buffalo would make trading Eichel to New York a sticky issue for Sabres management. Their preference could be moving him as far away as possible.

UPDATE ON THE FLAMES

CALGARY SUN: Wes Gilbertson reports Flames general manager Brad Treliving acknowledged his club must make changes following this season’s disappointing performance. Whether he’ll be sticking around to make those changes remains to be seen. While Treliving is said to have two years left on his contract, he indicated he hasn’t heard from team ownership yet about his own job security.

Gilbertson also reported captain Mark Giordano could be left exposed in this year’s expansion draft, where he’d be a tempting target to be plucked away by the Seattle Kraken. Giordano said he wants to remain with the only NHL club he’s ever played for. However, the Flames can’t risk leaving younger defensemen like Rasmus Andersson, Noah Hanifin or Chris Tanev exposed.

Daniel Austin reports winger Johnny Gaudreau is willing to discuss a contract extension. He’s slated to become an unrestricted free agent next summer. Gaudreau said he loves the city and loves playing there. Austin considers the winger to be their best trade chip and re-signing him won’t be easy.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Big decisions are coming for the Flames this summer, starting with whether Treliving remains as the general manager. If he does, he’ll likely be working more closely with head coach (and former Flames GM) Darryl Sutter on addressing their roster needs.

The Flames’ best option with Giordano is exposing him in the draft but cutting a side deal with the Kraken so they’ll take someone else from their protected list. Otherwise, they’ll have to hope Kraken GM Ron Francis will be put off by Giordano’s age (37) and the single year left on his contract.

Gaudreau’s been the whipping boy for fans and pundits for the Flames’ recent struggles. Nevertheless, I think he’s sincere about wanting to sign an extension. He’s going to seek a hefty raise over his current $6.75 million annual average value.

Given the decline in Gaudreau’s production over the last two seasons, the Flames must decide if he’s worth that kind of long-term investment. If not, they could shop him this summer. for the best possible return.

LATEST ON THE RED WINGS

THE ATHLETIC: Max Bultman reported Detroit Red Wings GM Steve Yzerman believes his club must add more scoring and shore up the depth on the left side of his blue line.

Bultman speculates Yzerman could turn to free agency or trades to address those issues, especially for a left-shot defenseman. He also noted the Wings GM would consider trading draft picks and prospects for a 26-or-young scorer who would fit in with the club’s current young forwards.

THE DETROIT NEWS: Ted Kulfan reports Marc Staal is open to returning with the Wings next season. The 34-year-old defenseman is an unrestricted free agent this summer, completing a six-year, $34.2 million contract. He’s also open to playing with brother Eric (who’s also a pending UFA with the Canadiens) or Jordan in Carolina.

MLIVE.COM: Ansar Khan reports Jonathan Bernier is also interested in returning with the Wings. Like Staal, the 32-year-old netminder is an unrestricted free agent this summer.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Look no further than Jakub Vrana for the type of young forward Yzerman would like to add to his roster. He acquired Vrana from the Washington Capitals (along with two draft picks and veteran winger Richard Panik) in exchange for Anthony Mantha at last month’s trade deadline. Yzerman didn’t give up draft picks and prospects in that deal but he would to in order to land another comparable young scorer.

If Staal and Bernier are willing to accept affordable short-term deals then there’s probably a place for both with the Wings. However, that will depend on what moves Yzerman has in store during the summer. Both could be replaced by younger options via trades or free agency.