NHL Rumor Mill – June 9, 2021

NHL Rumor Mill – June 9, 2021

Dougie Hamilton’s contract status is the Hurricanes’ offseason priority, the Kings seek two top-six forwards, and the latest on the Rangers’ search for a head coach in today’s rumor mill.

WHAT NEXT FOR THE HURRICANES?

ESPN.COM: Emily Kaplan considers it crucial for the Carolina Hurricanes to re-sign Dougie Hamilton, pointing out their defense is built around him and Jaccob Slavin. The 27-year-old blueliner is due to become an unrestricted free agent this summer.

Carolina Hurricanes defenseman Dougie Hamilton (NHL Images).

Hamilton’s outplayed his current $5.75 million annual cap hit. While there’s mutual interest in a new deal, the two sides tabled contract negotiations until after this season. Kaplan speculates he could get as much as $8.5 million per season on the open market but the Hurricanes could be uncomfortable going that high.

THE NEWS & OBSERVER: Luke DeCock isn’t optimistic about the Hurricanes’ chances of re-signing Hamilton. He believes the rearguard has “almost certainly played his last game” for the Canes. The same goes for pending UFAs such as Jordan Martinook, Brock McGinn and Petr Mrazek.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The flattened salary cap could limit the number of teams willing to get into a bidding war for Hamilton’s services in this summer’s free-agent market. Nevertheless, there will be a team that will pay him over $8 million annually if the Hurricanes won’t do it.

The emergence of rookie goaltender Alex Nedeljkovic likely spells the end of Mrazek’s tenure with the Hurricanes. James Reimer is also a UFA this summer but it wouldn’t be surprising if he returned as Nedeljkovic’s backup.

Kaplan also considers re-signing head coach Rod Brind’Amour a priority. Sources indicate the two sides are believed to have the framework of a deal in place. However, Brind’Amour also wants his three assistant coaches taken care of as well. She also believes they could lose Brady Skjei, Warren Foegele or Morgan Geekie to the Seattle Kraken in next month’s expansion draft.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: DeCock believes Hurricanes owner Tom Dundon would be insane to let Brind’Amour depart. I can see Hamilton hitting the free-agent market but not Brind’Amour, who’d be quickly snapped up by another club.

KINGS SEEKING TWO TOP-SIX FORWARDS

TSN: Darren Dreger reports the Los Angeles Kings could attempt to acquire two top-six forwards via this summer’s trade or free-agent markets.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: There’s no indication as to who the Kings could target. Unrestricted free agent options include Edmonton’s Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Boston’s Taylor Hall, Toronto’s Zach Hyman, Tampa Bay’s Blake Coleman, St. Louis’ Jaden Schwartz, Colorado’s Brandon Saad, and the New York Islanders’ Kyle Palmieri.

I spoke with John Hoven of the Kings’ site Mayor’s Manor yesterday about Dreger’s report. He believes they’re seeking established scorers around 27 years old on short-term contracts of two-three years.

That would mean they won’t become a suitor for Buffalo Sabres’ center Jack Eichel. Maybe they’d have an interest in Eichel’s teammate Sam Reinhart? We’ll find out who’s on their radar in the coming weeks.

LATEST ON THE RANGERS COACHING SEARCH

NEW YORK POST: Larry Brooks reports Gerard Gallant remains the favorite to become the new head coach of the Rangers. However, general manager Chris Drury is waiting to see if there is fallout from the second round of the playoffs that could make another candidate or two available.

Brooks believes the Rangers will watch Rod Brind’Amour’s contract negotiations with the Hurricanes. It’s believed those two sides were discussing a deal worth $1.8 million annually. Brind’Amour could be in line for $4 million per season with the Rangers but a source told Brooks he’d become the Seattle Kraken’s top choice if he goes to market.

The Blueshirts are also monitoring Paul Maurice’s situation with the Winnipeg Jets and Bruce Cassidy’s with the Boston Bruins. There’s talk Jared Bednar’s job as coach of the Colorado Avalanche could be in jeopardy if they fall to the Golden Knights but it’s not clear if he’d become a candidate for the Rangers’ job.

Former Arizona Coyotes coach Rick Tocchet remains a viable candidate after creating a favorable impression with Drury following two interviews with the Rangers.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Gallant is probably atop most coaching wish lists this summer. He’ll land an NHL head-coaching gig this summer, be it the Rangers or another club. Brind’Amour would also be pursued by a number of clubs if the Hurricanes are foolish enough to let him walk.

Maurice has been the Jets’ bench boss for seven seasons but there’s no indication the Jets intend to shake things up behind the bench. I don’t think Cassidy will lose his job if the Bruins fall to the Islanders.

Bednar’s done a fine job in Colorado but his coaching of the Avs has come under criticism during their current series with the Golden Knights. It’ll be interesting to see what GM Joe Sakic does if his club fails to advance.










NHL Rumor Mill – May 5, 2021

NHL Rumor Mill – May 5, 2021

Could the Capitals shop Evgeny Kuznetsov in the offseason? Is Jets coach Paul Maurice in danger of losing his job? Will the Senators leave Matt Murray exposed in the expansion draft? Check out the latest in today’s NHL rumor mill.

TSN: Pierre LeBrun reports the Washington Capitals could be willing to listen to trade offers this summer for Evgeny Kuznetsov. The 28-year-old center has four years remaining on his contract with an annual average value of $7.8 million, plus a modified no-trade clause.

Washington Capitals center Evgeny Kuznetsov (NHL Images).

LeBrun noted Kuznetsov and teammate Ilya Samsonov were scratched by the Capitals from Monday’s game against the New York Rangers for disciplinary reasons stemming from missing a team function. The center also missed time earlier this season when he ran afoul of COVID-19 protocols. Two years ago, he was suspended by the league for three games for “inappropriate conduct.”

Kuznetsov’s play over the last couple of years has been inconsistent. LeBrun said he’s hearing it’s starting to irritate some members of the Capitals’ organization.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman also the Capitals could be running out of patience with Kuznetsov, pointing to head coach Peter Laviolette saying the club is “working through things inside the room.”

Kuznetsov is a talented player but his stats have tumbled since his career-best 83-point performance in 2017-18. His on-ice inconsistency, recent off-ice issues and a hefty contract could make him difficult to move, especially with the salary cap remaining around $81.5 million next season.

WINNIPEG FREE PRESS: Mike McIntyre suggests this season could be Paul Maurice’s last as head coach of the Jets if the club makes another early playoff exit. While the Jets are certain to clinch a postseason berth they’re mired in a seven-game losing skid.

McIntyre doesn’t expect Jets general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff will make an immediate move to replace Maurice. Nevertheless, the pundit noted the Jets’ bench boss has made some questionable choices lately.

Maurice keeps playing Tucker Poolman with Josh Morrissey when it’s clear that defense tandem isn’t working while keeping Dylan DeMelo stuck on the third pairing. He has also relied heavily on the struggling first line of Kyle Connor, Mark Scheifele and Blake Wheeler and hasn’t found a way to get Pierre-Luc Dubois going.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Winnipeg Sun’s Paul Friesen doesn’t see Maurice losing his job before the playoffs. He noted the loyalty Cheveldayoff and team chairman Mark Chipman have toward their head coach. Friesen also pointed out the players aren’t showing any sign of quitting on Maurice. Still, he doesn’t rule out Maurice losing his job if the Jets get bounced from the opening round.

OTTAWA SUN: Ken Warren believes the Senators won’t protect Matt Murray in this summer’s expansion draft. He doubts the Seattle Kraken will select a goaltender “with a 10-13-1 record, 3.38 average, .893 save percentage, injury question marks and with three years and $21 million remaining on his contract.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Agreed. Even if Murray had better stats this season his injury history and remaining salary should scare off the Kraken.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 4, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 4, 2021

Recaps of Wednesday’s action, more game postponements, plus the latest on Henrik Lundqvist, Petr Mrazek, Blake Wheeler and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: The Boston Bruins overcame a 3-1 deficit to upset the Philadelphia Flyers 4-3 on an overtime goal by Patrice Bergeron. David Pastrnak tallied a hat trick, including the Bruins’ final two goals in regulation to force the extra frame. He also had an assist on Bergeron’s winner while the Bruins’ captain also collected three assists.

Boston Bruins winger David Pastrnak (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It appears Pastrnak is quickly returning to game shape following his recovery from offseason hip surgery. That was an impressive performance on his part in the third period. Penalties proved costly for the Flyers as the Bruins’ final three goals all came on the power play.

Three goals within the first five minutes of the first period power the Tampa Bay Lightning to a 5-1 victory over the Detroit Red Wings. Victor Hedman and Blake Coleman each had two points. The Red Wings are winless in their last seven contests.

TWINCITIES.COM: The Minnesota Wild’s schedule is on pause to at least next Tuesday after five more players were added to their COVID-19 protocol list. Nick Bjugstad, Nick Bonino, Joel Eriksson Ek, Marcus Johansson and Jared Spurgeon joined Marcus Foligno on the list.

THE DENVER POST: One of the postponed Wild games involved Thursday’s contest with the Colorado Avalanche, who placed forward Tyson Jost on the COVID-19 protocol list.

WGR 550: Tobias Rieder and Brandon Montour have joined Taylor Hall and Rasmus Ristolainen on the Buffalo Sabres COVID-19 protocol list. The Sabres schedule is paused until at least Feb. 8 with four games postponed.

PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE: Defenseman John Marino is the first member of the Penguins to be placed on the COVID-19 protocol list.

NEW YORK POST: Henrik Lundqvist is in good spirits and said he’s feeling well a month after undergoing open-heart surgery.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Best wishes to King Henrik in his ongoing recovery.

NHL.COM: Carolina Hurricanes goaltender Petr Mrazek has undergone surgery on his right thumb. A timetable for his return is expected in the next several days.

THE SCORE: Winnipeg Jets head coach Paul Maurice ripped into critics of captain Blake Wheeler’s defensive play. “He’s got f*****g 11 points in 10 games,” said Maurice. While he doesn’t have a problem with criticism of Wheeler’s play, he claims he wants it to be accurate. “You’ll do your deep dives and analytics, and god, they do a horses**t job of telling you what five guys do.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Wheeler has been on the ice for more five-on-five goals against the Jets than the rest of his teammates. It’s fair to note that point but Maurice is right to say it doesn’t tell the whole story of his overall performance.

CBS SPORTS: Los Angeles Kings defenseman Sean Walker is expected to be sidelined two-to-four weeks after undergoing surgery on his nose. He took a slapshot to the face during a recent game against the Minnesota Wild.

TSN: The Ottawa Senators placed defenseman Braydon Coburn on waivers.

NEW YORK POST: Rangers assistant general manager Chris Drury has taken himself out of the running for the vacant position of Pittsburgh Penguins GM.

TSN: Hockey Canada announced St. Louis Blues general manager Doug Armstrong has been named GM of Canada’s Men’s Olympic Hockey Team at the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics. Joining him will be Edmonton Oilers GM Ken Holland, Seattle Kraken GM Ron Francis, Boston Bruins GM Don Sweeney and Florida Panthers executive Roberto Luongo.

THE TENNESSEAN: The Nashville Predators will make a limited number of tickets available for six February home games beginning Friday.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 13, 2020

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 13, 2020

The Canucks retire the numbers of Daniel and Henrik Sedin, David Pastrnak regains the lead in the NHL goal-scoring race, an update on Jay Bouwmeester, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: The Vancouver Canucks retired the numbers of future Hall-of-Famers Daniel and Henrik Sedin in a pre-game ceremony before going on to blank the Chicago Blackhawks 3-0. Jacob Markstrom turned in a 49-save shutout while Brandon Sutter had a goal and two assists. With the win, the Canucks (69 points) widened their lead over the Edmonton Oilers atop the Pacific Division by three points. The Blackhawks (58 points) remain six points away from the final Western Conference wild-card spot.

The Vancouver Canucks retired the numbers of Daniel and Henrik Sedin on Wednesday (Photo via NHL.com).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The cermony was a fitting tribute to the two greatest players in Canucks history.

David Pastrnak tallied a hat trick as the Boston Bruins rolled to a 4-1 win over the Montreal Canadiens. With 41 goals, Pastrnak regained the lead in the league goal-scoring race. The Bruins (82 points) opened a three-point lead atop the overall standings over the surging Tampa Bay Lightning, while the fading Canadiens remain seven points behind the Toronto Maple Leafs for third in the Atlantic Division. Earlier in the day, the Habs also learned defenseman Shea Weber will be sidelined four-to-six weeks with a lower-body injury.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The lengthy absence of their captain and top defenseman could be the final nail in the coffin for the Canadiens’ playoff hopes.

The Los Angeles Kings snapped a five-game losing skid by upsetting the Calgary Flames 5-3. Cal Petersen kicked out 35 shots while Anze Kopitar collected two assists. The Flames (64 points) cling to the first wild-card spot in the Western Conference.

HEADLINES

THE SCORE: St. Louis Blues general manager Doug Armstrong said defenseman Jay Bouwmeester is doing well after suffering a cardiac incident during Tuesday’s game against the Anaheim Ducks. He’s undergoing a battery of tests, but Armstrong said things are looking “very positive.” Medical staff used a defibrillator to revive Bouwmeester after he collapsed on the bench during the first period. The game was subsequently postponed.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Best wishes to Bouwmeester for a speedy recovery.

WINNIPEG FREE PRESS: The Jets agreed to a multi-year contract extension with head coach Paul Maurice. Contract terms weren’t disclosed.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Maurice’s future with the Jets was in doubt after the club’s early exit from the 2019 playoffs and their slow start to this season. However, his efforts to keep the club competitive with a depleted defense corps convinced ownership he remains the right man for the job.

ARIZONA SPORTS: The Coyotes are unsure of the timeline for goaltender Darcy Kuemper’s return. He was scheduled to return to action from a lower-body injury on Monday but reaggravated it during the morning skate.

SPORTSNET: The Edmonton Oilers placed winger James Neal on injured reserve and recalled Tyler Benson from their AHL affiliate in Bakersfield.

NEW YORK POST: Islanders forward Casey Cizikas will miss three-to-four weeks with a leg laceration.

TWINCITIES.COM: Minnesota Wild defenseman Matt Dumba was fined $5,000.00 by the NHL department of player safety for slashing Vegas Golden Knights winger Ryan Reaves on Tuesday.

TORONTO SUN: The Maple Leafs re-signed forward Pierre Engvall to a two-year contract extension worth an annual average value of $1.25 million.

SPORTING NEWS: NBC Sports confirmed Jeremy Roenick will not return as their hockey analyst. Roenick was suspended in December for making inappropriate remarks about his co-workers.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 9, 2020

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 9, 2020

Auston Matthews sets an NHL record for American-born players, Logan Couture sidelined, the Flames re-sign Rasmus Andersson, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: Toronto Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews became the first American-born player to score 30 goals in each of his first four NHL seasons in a 4-3 shootout loss to the Winnipeg Jets. Matthews reached the milestone by scoring twice against the Jets, who took the game on Blake Wheeler’s game-winner. With the win, the Jets hold the first wild-card berth (52 points) in the Western Conference. Before the game, Leafs defenseman Morgan Rielly admitted he’s been playing through a lower-body injury this season.

Toronto Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews is the first American-born player to score 30 goals in each of his first four NHL seasons (Photo via NHL Images).

Kevin Hayes’ shorthanded second-period goal proved to be the game-winner as the Philadelphia Flyers held off the Washington Capitals 3-2, snapping a four-game losing skid.

The Dallas Stars picked up their fifth straight win by edging the Los Angeles Kings 2-1. Anton Khudobin made 30 saves while Jamie Benn and Blake Comeau scored within 37 seconds in the second period.

HEADLINES

NBC SPORTS BAY AREA: San Jose Sharks captain Logan Couture reportedly fractured an ankle during his club’s 3-2 loss to the St. Louis Blues on Tuesday. He’s listed as week-to-week and could be sidelined for at least six weeks.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Losing their leading scorer could be the death blow to the Sharks’ fading playoff hopes.

CHICAGO SUN-TIMES: Blackhawks goaltender Robin Lehner is ready to return from a knee injury, but center Dylan Strome will miss at least one game with a sprained ankle.

THE ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER: Despite Corey Perry’s suspension, the Anaheim Ducks still intend to honor his tenure with the club during tonight’s game against the Dallas Stars. Perry spent 14 seasons with the Ducks, helping them win the Stanley Cup in 2007 and winning Hart and Maurice Richard trophies in 2011. He signed with the Stars last summer after the Ducks bought out his contract.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Perry’s chippy style of play aside, he was one of the best players in Ducks’ history. He sits second in games-played (988) and goals (372) and third in assists (404) and points (776). For a time, he was also among the league’s elite scorers.

TWINCITIES.COM: Minnesota Wild defenseman Matt Dumba donated $11.2K to help with Australia’s wildfire relief. He spent over two weeks last spring touring the country’s east coast and credits the experience with helping him mentally overcome a pectoral injury that cost him half of last season.

CALGARY SUN: The Flames re-signed defenseman Rasmus Andersson to a six-year contract extension worth an annual average value of $4.55 million.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Andersson, 23, has quickly established himself as a key member of the Flames’ defense corps. This is a good move by management, locking him into a long-term deal that could become a bargain as he continues his development as a top-pairing rearguard.

TSN: Montreal Canadiens forward Nick Cousins was fined over $2,600.00 for boarding Detroit Red Wings defenseman Mike Green.

New York Rangers defenseman Ryan Lindgren won’t face supplemental discipline for his hit on Colorado Avalanche winger Joonas Donskoi.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Maybe the department of player safety decided he suffered enough punishment after getting his butt kicked by Nazem Kadri following that hit.

TRIBLIVE.COM: The Pittsburgh Penguins placed Joseph Blandisi on waivers.

STLTODAY.COM: Blues goaltender Jordan Binnington has agreed to a shootout challenge with pop star Justin Bieber with the proceeds going to a charity of the winner’s choice. It appears the challenge will take place during the offseason.

MLIVE.COM: Detroit Red Wings fans sang “O Canada” prior to Tuesday’s game against the Montreal Canadiens after the anthem singer’s microphone malfunctioned.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Classy move by Wings fans.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 5, 2020

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 5, 2020

Game recaps, injury updates and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: Mikko Rantanen tallied his second career NHL hat trick as the Colorado Avalanche beat the New Jersey Devils 5-2. Linemate Nathan MacKinnon picked up two assists.

Colorado Avalanche winger Mikko Rantanen picked up his second career NHL hat trick in a 5-2 win over the New Jersey Devils (Photo via NHL Images).

The Buffalo Sabres took a 3-0 lead over the Florida Panthers and held on for a 3-2 victory. Sam Reinhart and Marcus Johansson each picked up two points for the Sabres. Panthers goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky was pulled after giving up three goals on seven shots, further highlighting what’s been a miserable performance this season by the former two-time Vezina Trophy winner.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Bobrovsky’s stats are truly horrid, sporting the second-worst goals-against average (3.33) and seventh-worst save percentage (.895) among NHL goalies with at least 15 games-played this season. To say this is not what the Panthers expected from Bob when they signed him last summer to a seven-year, $70-million contract is an understatement.

A three-goal third period carried the Tampa Bay Lightning to a 5-3 victory over the Ottawa Senators. Victor Hedman picked up two assists for the Lightning, who’ve won six straight and moved into third place in the Atlantic Division.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It was only a matter of time until the talent-laden Lightning overcame their slow start to the season and surged back among the playoff contenders.

An overtime goal by Eric Staal gave the Minnesota Wild a 3-2 win over the Winnipeg Jets. Staal’s teammate Zach Parise made contact with Jets goalie Connor Hellebuyck in the crease but it was ruled he was shoved into Hellebuyck. Jets coach Paul Maurice disagreed with the call but withheld further criticism of the officiating. “It’s goalie interference all day long for me and there’s not a lot of gray area on that one, but I’m not giving them any money. Not one dime,” he said in his postgame press conference, referring to recent fines levied at Columbus Blue Jackets coach John Tortorella for his tirade last week against officials.

Arizona Coyotes forward Clayton Keller scored two goals in a 6-2 win over the Philadelphia Flyers. It was a costly victory for the Coyotes as goaltender Antti Raanta left the game with a lower-body injury following the second period.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Coyotes starter Darcy Kuemper is still sidelined with a lower-body injury. They’ll be hoping Raanta won’t be sidelined for long.

The Vancouver Canucks extended their winning streak to seven games by nipping the New York Rangers 2-1. Jacob Markstrom made 38 saves for the win as Tyler Myers tallied the game-winner late in the third period.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Canucks have recovered nicely from what appeared to be another season-threatening swoon a month ago. They’re now third in the Pacific Division with 50 points.

Mike Smith’s 35-save performance carried the Edmonton Oilers over the slumping Boston Bruins 4-1. Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl scored for the Oilers while Bruins winger David Pastrnak tallied his league-leading 31st goal. The Bruins have won just four of their last 15 games (4-5-6).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Once again, the Bruins lack of secondary scoring is coming back to haunt them. Expect general manager Don Sweeney to try and address that issue in the coming weeks.

The Vegas Golden Knights overcame a 3-0 deficit to edge the St. Louis Blues 5-4 on an overtime goal by Chandler Stephenson. Vegas has won four straight. Blues winger David Perron had a three-point performance.

Toronto Maple Leafs backup Michael Hutchinson turned in a 33-save shutout in a 3-0 victory over the New York Islanders. Auston Matthews and Mitch Marner each had two points.

Brandon Tanev’s overtime goal lifted the Pittsburgh Penguins over the Montreal Canadiens 3-2. The Penguins have won eight of their last 10 while the Canadiens are winless in their last five (0-4-1). Artturi Lehkonen tallied twice for the fading Habs.

The San Jose Sharks held off the Columbus Blue Jackets 3-2, ending the latter’s 12-game points streak. Kevin Labanc potted the game-winner while Zach Werenski scored both Blue Jackets goals.

The Nashville Predators snapped a three-game losing skid by downing the Los Angeles Kings 4-1. Predators captain Roman Josi extended his points streak to nine games by collecting two assists. Kings defenseman Alec Martinez returned to action for the first time since having his wrist slashed by a skate blade on Nov. 25.

CHICAGO SUN-TIMES: Blackhawks goaltender Robin Lehner is day-to-day with lower-body injury suffered during Thursday’s loss to the Canucks.

CBS SPORTS: Anaheim Ducks winger Ondrej Kase missed practice yesterday tending to a bone bruise.