NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 21, 2023

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 21, 2023

The Avalanche’s Nathan MacKinnon and the Penguins’ Jake Guentzel reach scoring milestones, Canucks fans voice support for embattled coach Bruce Boudreau and Hurricanes winger Max Pacioretty is sidelined again. Details and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: The Colorado Avalanche picked up their fourth straight win by downing the Vancouver Canucks 4-1. Nathan MacKinnon collected two assists and Mikko Rantanen had a goal and an assist for the Avalanche (24-17-3), who moved ahead of the Calgary Flames into the final Western Conference wild-card berth. Both clubs have 51 points but the Avs hold three more wins and two games in hand over the Flames. Elias Pettersson replied for the Canucks (18-24-3), who’ve now lost six of their last seven contests.

Vancouver Canucks head coach Bruce Boudreau (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: MacKinnon reached the 50-point mark for the eighth consecutive season.

Meanwhile, Vancouver fans supported embattled Canucks coach Bruce Boudreau by serenading him with cries of “Bruce, there it is!” Another fan unfurled a sign that read, “We Stand With Bruce”.

There’s been intensifying rumors over the last two weeks suggesting Boudreau could be replaced by TNT hockey analyst and former Arizona Coyotes coach Rick Tocchet. The Canucks’ front office (specifically, president of hockey operations Jim Rutherford and general manager Patrik Allvin) has the power to make coaching changes if they wish.

Boudreau was already in the job when they took over and he isn’t the guy they want behind the bench. The problem, however, is they’re just letting him twist in the wind.

Everyone knows, Boudreau included, that he’s going to be replaced by Tocchet. If they don’t want him, they should’ve replaced him with an interim coach until they brought in his permanent replacement.

Their shabby treatment of Boudreau reflects poorly on the franchise and deepens the frustration among their fans over the club’s direction under team owner Francesco Aquilini.

Pittsburgh Penguins winger Jake Guentzel scored two goals and collected an assist in a 4-1 win over the Ottawa Senators. Tristan Jarry made 44 saves in his first start for the Penguins since Jan. 2 following an injury as the Penguins (23-15-7, 53 points) hold a two-point lead over the New York Islanders for the final Eastern Conference wild-card spot. Brady Tkachuk replied for the Senators, who dropped to 20-22-3 on the season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Guentzel reached the 20-goal, 40-point plateau for the sixth straight season. Penguins defenseman Jeff Petry also returned to action for the first time since Dec. 10. Meanwhile, winger Kasperi Kapanen missed this game with a lower-body injury and is listed as week-to-week.

HEADLINES

THE NEWS & OBSERVER: Bad news for Carolina Hurricanes winger Max Pacioretty as an MRI revealed he tore his right Achilles tendon for the second time since August. The 33-year-old winger made his season debut on Jan. 5 and appeared in five games with the Hurricanes.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This injury not only ends Pacioretty’s season but could potentially derail his career. He’s slated to become an unrestricted free agent on July 1. The Hurricanes could pursue a potential replacement before the March 3 trade deadline.

TSN: The Minnesota Wild will scratch defenseman Matt Dumba for Saturday’s game against the Florida Panthers. He was also scratched from Thursday’s contest with the Carolina Hurricanes.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Dumba’s been the subject of growing trade speculation. I’ll have more later today in my NHL Rumor Mill update.

DETROIT HOCKEY NOW: Oft-injured Red Wings forward Tyler Bertuzzi suffered a lower-body injury during their 3-2 win over the Vegas Golden Knights on Thursday. He’s not expected to be out of the lineup for long.

MONTREAL GAZETTE: Canadiens defenseman Mike Matheson was fined $5,000.00 for interference on Florida Panthers center Eric Staal during their game on Thursday.

Speaking of the Canadiens, former Hab P.K. Subban helped raise $6.3 million for Montreal’s Children’s Hospital. The original goal was to raise $10 million by 2022 but fundraising was slowed by the pandemic. Subban said he’ll extend the pledge to 2025 to reach the $10 million goal and he hopes to continue his partnership with the hospital for the long term.

FLORIDA HOCKEY NOW: The Panthers have assigned goaltender Spencer Knight to their AHL affiliate in Charlotte for a conditioning stint.

THE SEATTLE TIMES: The Kraken will take to the ice for their warmups before Saturday’s game against the Avalanche wearing jerseys to honor the Year of the Rabbit.

DEFECTOR: Vox Media yesterday announced layoffs that will shut down all but six of their SB Nation NHL websites as well as most of their MLS websites. 130 employees will be affected.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This will affect a number of sites such as Blueshirt Banter, Broad Street Hockey, Copper and Blue, Davy Jones Locker Room, Die By The Blade, Five for Howling, Hockey Wilderness, Japers Rink, Knights on Ice, Nucks Misconduct, On The Forecheck, Pension Plan Puppets, Raw Charge, Second City Hockey, The Cannon and Winging It in Motown.

Many of those sites began as blogs between 15 and 20 years ago. I followed most of them for years and got to know some of the good folks who wrote for them, showcasing their work for several years with my Hockey Blog Beat.

Those blogs/websites provided an invaluable hockey community for fans and aspiring writers to share their views on their favorite teams and on the NHL in general. I know how painful it is to be laid off so I really feel for those who worked so hard to contribute to and maintain those sites. It’s such a shame to see them cast aside like this. Here’s hoping those sites can live on in some form.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 18, 2023

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 18, 2023

Ivan Provorov cites religious reasons for his refusal to wear Pride Night jersey during warm-ups before the Ducks-Flyers game, Mitch Marner sets a Leafs points record and Evander Kane returns to the Oilers lineup. Details and much more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.

NHL.COM: The Philadelphia Flyers’ 5-2 win over the Anaheim Ducks was overshadowed by Ivan Provorov citing his religious beliefs for his refusal to participate in pregame warmups when the Flyers were wearing jerseys to commemorate Pride Night in support of the LGBTQ+ community. Kevin Hayes had a hat trick as the Flyers improved to 19-19-7 on the season while the Ducks fell to 12-28-5.

Philadelphia Flyers defenseman Ivan Provorov (NHL Images).

Provorov, who is Russian Orthodox, said he respected everyone and their choices during a post-game press conference. “My choice is to stay true to myself and my religion.” Flyers head coach John Tortorella also spoke to reporters following the game. “It’s one thing I respect about Provy, he’s always true to himself,” said Tortorella.

The Flyers released a statement following warmups indicating they are committed to inclusivity and proudly support the LGBTQ+ community and would continue to do so. They pointed out that a number of their players support their local LGBTQ+ communities.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Provorov’s stand earned him condemnation and support on social media. Meanwhile, Flyers forwards Scott Laughton and James van Riemsdyk met with around 50 people in the LGBTQ+ community following the game. Laughton said that overall the Flyers had a “great, great night that brings a lot of awareness.” He expects there will be more conversations with Provorov. “I don’t hold anything against anyone,” he said.

Toronto Maple Leafs winger Mitch Marner collected two assists to extend his home points streak to a franchise-record 19 games in a 5-4 overtime victory over the Florida Panthers. William Nylander scored the tying and winning goals as the Leafs (27-11-7) sit in second place in the Atlantic Division with 61 points. Aleksander Barkov had a goal and an assist for the 21-20-5 Panthers as they sit three points out of a wild-card berth in the Eastern Conference with 47 points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Leafs overcame a 4-1 deficit after replacing starting goalie Matt Murray with Ilya Samsonov. Murray has struggled of late, allowing at least four goals in four of his last seven games.

The Edmonton Oilers extended their wins streak to four games by defeating the Seattle Kraken 5-2. Zach Hyman had a goal and two assists while Connor McDavid tallied his league-leading 38th goal of the season. The Oilers improved to 25-18-3 and hold the first Western Conference wild-card spot with 53 points. The Kraken (26-14-4) remain two points behind the first-place Vegas Golden Knights in the Pacific Division with 56 points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Evander Kane returned to the Oilers lineup for the first time since suffering a gruesome wrist injury on Nov. 8. He was held scoreless but led all skaters in this game with seven shots on goal. To accommodate Kane’s return, the cap-strapped Oilers placed defenseman Ryan Murray and winger Kailer Yamamoto on long-term injury reserve.

Minnesota Wild captain Jared Spurgeon tallied twice as his club doubled up the Washington Capitals 4-2. Filip Gustavsson stopped 34 shots for the Wild (25-14-4) as they sit third in the Central Division with 54 points. Alex Ovechkin collected two assists as the Capitals dropped to 24-17-6, holding the first Eastern Conference wild-card berth with 54 points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Before the game, the Capitals announced forward Nic Dowd remains sidelined by a lower-body injury suffered on Monday against the New York Islanders. He’s likely to be listed as day-to-day.

The Montreal Canadiens got two goals from Evgeni Dadonov to upset the Winnipeg Jets by a score of 4-1. Sam Montembeault stopped 25 shots as the Canadiens improved to 19-23-3. Kyle Connor tallied his 200th career NHL goal as the Jets (29-15-1) remain in second place in the Central Division with 59 points. The Dallas Stars have the same number of points but hold first place on the basis of regulation wins.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Canadiens defenseman Mike Matheson collected an assist in his first game since being sidelined by a lower-body injury on Dec. 17. Meanwhile, the Habs announced forwards Joel Armia (upper body), Jake Evans (lower body) and Juraj Slavkovsky (lower body) were placed on injured reserve.

Nashville Predators goalie Kevin Lankinen made 39 saves to hold off the Columbus Blue Jackets 2-1. Cody Glass and Yakov Trenin scored in the second period for the Predators as they boosted their record to 21-17-6. With 48 points, they’re three behind the Calgary Flames for the final Western wild-card berth. Gustav Nyquist replied for the 13-29-2 Blue Jackets, who’ve dropped 14 of their last 17 games.

Chicago Blackhawks defenseman Seth Jones scored the tying and winning goals in a 4-3 overtime win over the Buffalo Sabres. Philipp Kurashev had a goal and two assists for the Blackhawks (12-26-4). Tage Thompson tallied his 32nd goal of the season for Sabres as they fell to 21-19-3 on the season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Before this game, the Sabres recalled forward Peyton Krebs from their AHL affiliate and loaned goalie Ukka-Pekka Luukkonen to Rochester. Meanwhile, Blackhawks goaltender Alex Stalock entered concussion protocol on Tuesday following a collision in practice on Monday.

The Arizona Coyotes snapped a nine-game losing skid by downing the Detroit Red Wings 4-3 on shootout goals by Nick Schmaltz and Nick Bjugstad. Lawson Crouse collected three assists while Connor Ingram picked up the win with a 37-save performance for the Coyotes (14-25-5). The Red Wings slipped to 18-17-8.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 18, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 18, 2022

The Bruins are the first team to reach 50 points this season, Alex Pietrangelo returns for the Golden Knights, the once red-hot Devils suffer their fifth straight loss, and much more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.

NHL.COM: The Boston Bruins are the first team to reach 50 points this season as they doubled up the Columbus Blue Jackets 4-2, extending their home points streak to 18 games. David Pastrnak tallied his 20th goal of the season while Jeremy Swayman made 31 saves and narrowly missed scoring an empty-net goal. The Bruins (24-4-2) hold a five-point lead over the Vegas Golden Knights for first place in the overall standings. Patrik Laine had a goal and an assist for the 10-18-2 Blue Jackets.

Boston Bruins winger David Pastrnak (NHL Images).

Speaking of the Golden Knights (22-10-1), they suffered their fifth straight home loss by dropping a 5-2 decision to the New York Islanders. Semyon Varlamov made 35 saves for the win despite leaving late in the third period with an undisclosed injury. Zach Parise and Brock Nelson each had a goal and an assist as the Islanders improved to 18-13-1.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Golden Knights defenseman Alex Pietrangelo returned to the lineup for the first time since taking a leave of absence for personal reasons on Nov. 27. He explained that his four-year-old daughter took ill over the American Thanksgiving weekend resulting in a lesion on her brain that required hospitalization. Her condition has since improved and she is expected to make a full recovery.

In other Golden Knights news, Paul Cotter missed this game and is listed as day-to-day with an upper-body injury. Vegas sits first overall in the Western Conference with 45 points. Meanwhile, the Islanders played without Cal Clutterbuck and Kyle Palmieri, who are day-to-day with upper-body injuries.

The Florida Panthers dropped the New Jersey Devils 4-2, handing the latter their fifth straight loss. Sam Reinhart scored twice and Sergei Bobrovsky stopped 30 shots as the Panthers improved to 15-13-4. John Marino and Erik Haula replied for the 21-8-2 Devils, who sit second overall in the Eastern Conference with 44 points and a game in hand over the Toronto Maple Leafs.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It was a costly win for the Panthers as captain Aleksander Barkov left the game late in the first period with a possible knee injury.

Washington Capitals defenseman Erik Gustafsson tallied his first career hat trick to lead his club to a 5-2 win over the Maple Leafs. Sonny Milano collected three assists and Charlie Lindgren made 34 saves as the Capitals move to 16-13-4 on the season. Auston Matthews had a goal and an assist for the Leafs (19-7-6).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Capitals winger T.J. Oshie left this game with an upper-body injury. The Caps were already shorthanded entering this contest with Nic Dowd (lower body) and Hunter Shepard (upper body) on the sidelines.

An overtime goal by Martin Necas lifted the Carolina Hurricanes over the Dallas Stars 5-4 to extend their points streak to 10 games. Necas, Andrei Svechnikov and Teuvo Teravainen each had a goal and an assist as the Hurricanes (18-6-6) moved to within two points of the Devils in the Metropolitan Division. Jason Robertson collected three assists for the 18-8-6 Stars, who sit atop the Central Division with 42 points.

The Winnipeg Jets (20-9-1) moved to within a point of the Stars in the Central with a 5-1 win over the Vancouver Canucks. Kyle Connor and Sam Gagner each had a goal and an assist while Pierre-Luc Dubois picked up three assists. Bo Horvat replied for the Canucks as they fell to 13-14-3.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Jets played without Blake Wheeler (groin injury) and Nate Schmidt (upper body) as they’re both sidelined for at least a month. Canucks forwards Elias Pettersson and Brock Boeser missed this contest with a non-COVID illness.

Tampa Bay Lightning forward Brandon Hagel scored twice and chipped in an assist as his club dumped the Montreal Canadiens 5-1. Nikita Kucherov had a goal and an assist for the Lightning (20-9-1) as they move to within three points of the Maple Leafs in the Atlantic Division. Nick Suzuki replied for the Canadiens (14-15-2) as they fall into the bottom of their division with 30 points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Canadiens defenseman Mike Matheson returned to the lineup following a four-game absence with a lower-body injury. Earlier in the day, the Habs moved blueliner David Savard to injured reserve retroactive to Dec. 4.

The New York Rangers extended their winning streak to six games with a 6-3 win over the Philadelphia Flyers. Artemi Panarin and K’Andre Miller each had a goal and an assist as the Rangers (17-10-5) sit fourth in the Metropolitan Division with 39 points. Carter Hart made 29 saves for the 10-15-7 Flyers.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Earlier in the day, the Flyers placed winger Cam Atkinson on injured reserve. He’s been sidelined the entire season with an upper-body injury.

Colorado Avalanche defenseman Cale Makar had a goal and an assist in a 3-1 win over the Nashville Predators, handing the latter their sixth straight defeat. Alexandar Georgiev made 25 saves for the win as the Avalanche improved to 16-11-2 and sit fourth in the Central Division with 34 points. Matt Duchene scored for the 12-13-4 Predators.

Buffalo Sabres center Tage Thompson scored his 25th goal of the season in a 5-2 win over the Arizona Coyotes. Jeff Skinner returned to the Sabres lineup following a three-game suspension and tallied twice. The Sabres (15-14-2) have won three straight. Connor Ingram kicked out 38 shots for the Coyotes as they drop to 10-15-4.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Coyotes played without Liam O’Brien as they announced earlier in the day that he’s week-to-week with an upper-body injury.

The Anaheim Ducks got a 46-save performance by Lukas Dostal to upset the Edmonton Oilers 4-3. John Klingberg broke a 3-3 tie for the Ducks (9-20-3) after the Oilers (17-14-1)had overcome a 3-1 deficit to tie the game in the third period. Oilers captain Connor McDavid extended his points streak to 12 games with a goal and an assist.

Special teams made the difference for the Ottawa Senators as they clipped the Detroit Red Wings 6-3, tallying three power-play goals and two short-handed tallies. Alex DeBrincat had three assists as the Senators improved to 14-14-2. Olli Maatta returned to the Red Wings (13-11-6) following a four-game absence due to a non-COVID illness. The Wings have now lost five straight contests.

Shootout goals by Kevin Fiala and Trevor Moore gave the Los Angeles Kings a 3-2 win over the San Jose Sharks. Phillip Danault and Josh Anderson-Dolan scored for the Kings (17-12-5) while Timo Meier and Kevin Labanc replied for the Sharks as they fell to 10-16-6.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 14, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 14, 2022

Game recaps, Blue Jackets winger Patrik Laine sidelined, the Flyers re-sign Travis Sanheim, and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: Sidney Crosby lead the Pittsburgh Penguins over the Arizona Coyotes 6-2. The Penguins captain had a goal and two assists while Kris Letang, Jake Guentzel, Bryan Rust, Danton Heinen and Jason Zucker each collected two points. Nick Ritchie scored both goals for the Coyotes, who also lost center Nick Schmaltz in the first period with an upper-body injury.

Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Crosby set the franchise record for most seasons by a Penguins player with 18, one more than Mario Lemieux. He also scored his club’s first goal of the season for the first time in his career.

The New York Rangers thumped the Minnesota Wild 7-3. Rangers winger Artemi Panarin scored a goal and chipped in three assists while teammate Chris Kreider tallied twice. Matt Boldy had two goals for the Wild.

Toronto Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews snapped a 2-2 tie as his third-period goal gave his club a 3-2 win against the Washington Capitals. Leafs goaltender Ilya Samsonov stopped 24 shots to defeat his former club while teammate Morgan Rielly picked up two assists.

John Tortorella picked up his first win as head coach of the Philadelphia Flyers as they downed the New Jersey Devils 5-2. Travis Konecny and Morgan Frost each scored twice while Carter Hart made 35 saves for the win. Alexander Holtz and Damon Severson replied for the Devils.

The Dallas Stars gave Peter DeBoer his first victory as their head coach by dropping the Nashville Predators 4-1. Mason Marchment scored twice, Tyler Seguin collected three assists and rookie Wyatt Johnston netted his first career NHL goal. Ryan Johansen had the Predators’ only goal.

Jonathan Huberdeau and Nazem Kadri each collected an assist in their first game with the Calgary Flames in a 5-3 win over the Colorado Avalanche. MacKenzie Weegar picked up two assists in his first game in Calgary. Flames coach Darryl Sutter earned his 700th career NHL coaching victory. Avalanche center Nathan MacKinnon had a goal and an assist.

Buffalo Sabres goaltender Craig Anderson kicked out 35 shots while Victor Olofsson scored two goals in a 4-1 home-opening win over the Ottawa Senators. Sabres rookie J.J. Peterka netted his first NHL goal. Brady Tkachuk tallied the Senators’ only goal.

Third-period goals by Patric Hornqvist and Matthew Tkachuk lifted the Florida Panthers past the New York Islanders 3-1, handing Paul Maurice his first win as their bench boss. Sergei Bobrovsky made 32 saves for the Panthers.

The Seattle Kraken got second-period goals from Brandon Tanev and Alex Wennberg in a 4-1 victory over the Los Angeles Kings. Martin Jones made 26 saves for the win. Alex Iafallo netted the Kings’ only goal.

A second-period goal by Vegas Golden Knights forward Paul Cotter stood as the game-winner to beat the Chicago Blackhawks 1-0. Logan Thompson stopped 27 shots for the shutout while Blackhawks netminder Alex Stalock made 36 saves.

HEADLINES

THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH: Bad news for the Blue Jackets as winger Patrik Laine will be sidelined for three-to-four weeks with a sprained elbow. He suffered the injury during the club’s season-opening loss on Wednesday against the Carolina Hurricanes.

PHILLY HOCKEY NOW: The Philadelphia Flyers yesterday announced they’d reached an agreement with Travis Sanheim on an eight-year, $50 million contract. The 26-year-old defenseman will earn an average annual value of $6.25 million starting in 2023-24.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Sanheim is getting a significant raise over the $4.675 million AAV of his current contract. Cap Friendly indicates he’s also getting a full no-trade clause in the first four seasons followed by a 12-team no-trade clause for the final four seasons.

Sanheim has made steady improvement with the Flyers. He was their best defenseman and among the few bright spots for what was an otherwise miserable 2021-22 season for the club, netting 31 points and a team-leading plus-minus of plus-9 while logging nearly 23 minutes per game.

The Flyers will have over $23 million invested in Sanheim and fellow defensemen Ivan Provorov, Rasmus Ristolainen and Tony DeAngelo for next season. That’s not counting the $6.25 million of sidelined rearguard Ryan Ellis.

TSN: The Winnipeg Jets named Mark Scheifele, Josh Morrissey and Adam Lowry as their alternate captains for 2022-23.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Jets head coach Rick Bowness stripped Blake Wheeler of the captaincy last month and will leave that position vacant this season.

NHL.COM: The department of player safety fined Edmonton Oilers defenseman Darnell Nurse $5,000.00 for interference against Vancouver Canucks defenseman Kyle Burroughs on Wednesday.

MONTREAL GAZETTE: Canadiens defenseman Mike Matheson is expected to miss at least eight weeks with an abdominal sprain.

THE PROVINCE: Kevin Bieksa is going to officially retire from the NHL and will do so as a member of the Vancouver Canucks. He will sign a one-day contract next month and will be honored by the team in a pregame ceremony on Nov. 3.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Bieksa’s last NHL game was in 2017-18 but he hadn’t officially hung up his skates until now. The retirement ceremony was two years in the making as COVID-19 affected NHL scheduling.

Bieksa spent 10 of his 13 seasons with the Canucks, playing a key role in the club’s march to the 2011 Stanley Cup Final. He had 278 points in 808 career NHL games and now works as an in-studio NHL analyst for Sportsnet.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 17, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – July 17, 2022

The reaction to the Penguins’ acquisitions of Jeff Petry and John Marino, what’s next for the Canadiens after trading Petry, David Pastrnak could get Johnny Gaudreau money, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

MONTREAL GAZETTE: Canadiens general manager Kent Hughes explained why he shipped Jeff Petry and Ryan Poehling to the Pittsburgh Penguins on Saturday in exchange for Mike Matheson and a fourth-round pick in the 2023 draft.

Montreal Canadiens traded defenseman Jeff Petry to the Pittsburgh Penguins (NHL Images).

Hughes was acting on a trade request Petry made for family reasons during the season. He said the 34-year-old defenseman was appreciative that he was going to an American-based team that would be easier on his family, as well as one that’s going all in to try and win the Stanley Cup.

Matheson was a former client of Hughes’ from his days as a player agent. The Canadiens GM praised the Montreal native’s skating ability and character, adding that he’ll fit in well into head coach Martin St. Louis’ system.

The addition of Poehling in the deal was due to the Penguins’ belief that they’ll need a little more depth at center. With the Canadiens’ addition of Kirby Dach, Hughes felt they were solid enough at that position that they could afford to part with Poehling.

The move also freed up sufficient salary-cap space for the Canadiens to bring back Rem Pitlick on a two-year, $2.2 million contract. Hughes explained they had decided earlier this month not to qualify the 25-year-old center’s rights because their limited cap space would’ve made it difficult to meet what he might’ve received through arbitration.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Those moves leave the Canadiens with over $1.2 million in salary cap space and 21 roster players under contract for 2022-23.

Shipping out Petry also leaves them short of a right-shot defenseman. Hughes indicated he’s open to adding that type of blueliner. He’s also still willing to make another cost-cutting trade.

PITTSBURGH HOCKEY NOW: Prior to acquiring Petry, the Penguins traded defenseman John Marino to the New Jersey Devils in exchange for blueliner Ty Smith and a third-round pick in 2023.

Dan Kingerski reports the move freed up the cap space the Penguins needed to add Petry, who is a bigger, more accomplished rearguard than Marino. He also cited Hextall expressing confidence in Poehling as a big-bodied forward who will have an opportunity to improve in Pittsburgh.

Hextall also thinks Smith has plenty of upside and the ability to regain the form from his promising rookie season after struggling through his sophomore campaign of 2021-22.

While the addition of Petry improves the Penguins’ right-side blueline depth, trading away Matheson to Montreal weakens them on the left side.

NHL.COM: Devils GM Tom Fitzgerald explained his addition of Marino by singling out his competitive nature and puck-handling abilities.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Like Hughes, Hextall might not be done making moves this summer. He could be in the market for an affordable left-side defenseman via free agency or the trade market as insurance in case Smith struggles to adjust with the Penguins.

THE BOSTON GLOBE: Kevin Paul Dupont believes Bruins winger David Pastrnak is in line to receive a contract similar to (or perhaps exceeding) Johnny Gaudreau’s $9.75 million average annual value with the Columbus Blue Jackets. Only five players have scored more goals than Pastrnak over the past six seasons.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Bruins GM Don Sweeney and the Pastrnak camp are currently in contract extension talks. Dupont believes he could get an eight-year, $80 million deal with the Bruins. If the two sides fail to reach an agreement, the 26-year-old winger will probably land a seven-year deal exceeding $10 million annually on the open market.

TWINCITIES.COM: Minnesota Wild owner Craig Leipold admitted he’s feeling some nervousness over unconfirmed reports claiming winger Kirill Kaprizov is being detained in Russia while authorities investigate an alleged attempt to evade military service.

Leipold said Kaprizov is laying low and doing the right things, adding he just wants to be in his home country during the NHL offseason and visiting his family. The Wild owner doesn’t expect any problems with Kaprizov returning to his club in the coming season and remains hopeful there won’t be.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: There have been no new developments regarding Kaprizov’s situation since it was reported over a week ago. Perhaps no news is good news in this case.

DAILY FACEOFF: The Panthers signed forward Chris Tierney to a one-year, two-way contract.










Canadiens Trade Jeff Petry to the Penguins

Canadiens Trade Jeff Petry to the Penguins

The Montreal Canadiens traded defenseman Jeff Petry and center Ryan Poehling to the Pittsburgh Penguins in exchange for defenseman Mike Matheson and a fourth-round pick in the 2023 NHL Draft.

Montreal Canadiens defenseman Jeff Petry (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Canadiens general manager Kent Hughes had been patiently seeking a suitable trade partner for Petry since the 34-year-old blueliner requested a trade last season. He finally found one with the Penguins, but it’s not going down well with Habs fans on social media.

One complaint is that Hughes didn’t clear that much cap space swapping Petry’s $6.25 million average annual value through 2024-25 for the 28-year-old Matheson’s $4.875 million through 2025-26. That’s true over the long term given the extra year on the latter’s contract, but it does free up $1.375 million for the coming season. Poehling’s $750K for 2022-23 also comes off the Canadiens’ books.

While Petry has better offensive stats than Matheson, the latter also skates well, putting up a career-best 31 points last season with the Penguins. He’s a local boy who plays a solid all-around game and could maintain a reliable veteran presence on the rebuilding Canadiens’ defense.

Penguins management still has faith in their aging core and remains in “win-now” mode. Petry’s smooth-skating style, puckhandling skills and postseason experience should fit well within their system. He’ll take some of the offensive burdens from blueline stalwart Kris Letang.

Poehling, meanwhile, was hampered by injuries earlier in his career and struggled at times to establish himself as a roster regular with the Canadiens. He’ll get a fresh start in Pittsburgh and an opportunity to become part of their long-term plan.