NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 4, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 4, 2022

The Rangers go up 2-0 over the Lightning in the Eastern Conference Finals, Carey Price wins the Masterton Trophy, Charlie McAvoy is among three Bruins defensemen to undergo surgery, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: Igor Shesterkin made 29 saves as his New York Rangers held off the Tampa Bay Lightning for a 3-2 victory in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Finals. Mika Zibanejad’s goal early in the third period proved to be the game winner though the Lightning cut the lead to 3-2 late in the period on a goal by Nicholas Paul. Adam Fox and Chris Kreider each had two assists for the Blueshirts while Nikita Kucherov had a goal and an assist for the Lightning.

With the win, the Rangers take a 2-0 lead in the best-of-seven series, which moves to Tampa Bay for the next two games. Game 3 goes Sunday afternoon at 3 pm ET.

New York Rangers goaltender Igor Shesterkin (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This game was closer than Game 1’s 6-2 blowout. Nevertheless, the Rangers still controlled the play for most of this game, out-hustling and out-chancing the Lightning while thwarting the latter’s scoring opportunities.

Shesterkin is winning the goaltending duel with the Bolts’ Andrei Vasilevskiy, who looks vulnerable high to the blocker side and is having difficulty at times controlling the puck. Shesterkin also acts as a third defenseman with his skillful stickhandling and accurate outlet passes to his teammates.

This is the first time since 2019 that the Lightning has lost consecutive postseason games. They face a big challenge bouncing back on home ice against the hungry Rangers. The ongoing absence of sidelined center Brayden Point is also becoming a factor in this series. The Bolts are missing his clutch scoring and reliable two-way presence.

MONTREAL GAZETTE: Canadiens goaltender Carey Price is the 2022 winner of the Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy. He underwent knee surgery last summer and voluntarily entered the NHL/NHLPA player assistance program in October to deal with substance-abuse issues. Price missed most of this season recovering from his knee surgery before returning for five games late in the season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Price worked hard to recover from complications arising from his surgery while also seeking treatment for substance abuse. His future as an NHL player remains uncertain as he continues to encounter post-game swelling in his knee. Nevertheless, there’s no question he’s show perseverance in attempting to overcome the obstacles he’s faced this season.

NBC SPORTS BOSTON: The Bruins announced top defenseman Charlie McAvoy underwent surgery on his left shoulder with a recovery time of six months. Blueliner Matt Grzelcyk had a procedure on his right shoulder and is expected to require five months to recover. Rearguard Mike Reilly underwent right ankle tendon repair and removal of bone fragments and will require three months to recover.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Bruins will have a depleted roster to start next season. Reilly could be back in the Bruins’ lineup in October. McAvoy, however, won’t be back until January given his recovery timeline while Grzelcyk could be out until December, which is also when winger Brad Marchand is expected back from his recent hip surgeries. Factor in the possible retirement of captain Patrice Bergeron, and 2022-23 could be a grim season for the Bruins.

EDMONTON JOURNAL: Oilers captain Connor McDavid must find a way to break through against the Colorado Avalanche’s defense with his club down 2-0 in the Western Conference Finals. Game 3 is tonight in Edmonton.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: McDavid had three points in Edmonton’s 8-6 loss in Game 1 but was shut down by the Avs in Game 2. The Oilers need more from all their scorers but McDavid remains their offensive linchpin. They’ll need him to find a way to break through if they’re to have a chance to come back in this series.

TSN: Speaking of the Oilers, winger Zack Kassian was fined $2,500.00 for unsportsmanlike conduct in Game 2 for ripping Bowen Byram’s helmet off his head after the Avalanche defenseman was checked over the boards.

THE DENVER POST: The Avalanche hope to extend their perfect road record in this postseason. They are 5-0 heading into Game 3.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Avs have given the Oilers fits with their speed, depth and puck possession. Should that trend continue, their road record could reach 7-0 and they’ll be heading to the Stanley Cup Final.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – May 16, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – May 16, 2022

The Flames and Rangers advance to the second round of the Stanley Cup playoffs. Recaps and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: The Calgary Flames defeated the Dallas Stars 3-2 in Game 7 on an overtime goal by Johnny Gaudreau to win their first-round series four games to three. Gaudreau and Matthew Tkachuk each had a goal and an assist while Tyler Toffoli also scored for Calgary. Jamie Benn and Vladislav Namestnikov replied for Dallas while Jake Oettinger made 64 saves in a losing cause. Stars center Roope Hintz was a late scratch with an upper-body injury while Flames defenseman Chris Tanev missed this game with an undisclosed injury suffered in Game 6.

Calgary Flames winger Johnny Gaudreau (NHL Images).

The Flames will face off against the Edmonton Oilers in the first “Battle of Alberta” playoff series since 1991.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Gaudreau silenced critics of his previous postseason performances by stepping up with his best playoff game in his career. The 28-year-old left winger leads the Flames with eight points in seven games. Goaltender Jacob Markstrom was superb in this series, finishing with a 1.53 goals-against average and .943 save percentage.

Oettinger, however, was outstanding, with a 1.81 GAA and .954 SP. He was the reason the Stars pushed this series to overtime in Game 7 and came close to pulling off the upset. The 23-year-old has emerged as a franchise goaltender.

New York Rangers winger Artemi Panarin’s overtime goal lifted his club to 4-3 victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins in Game 7 of their first-round series, eliminating the Penguins four games to three. Mika Zibanejad had a goal and two assists, Chris Kreider and K’Andre Miller also scored and Igor Shesterkin made 42 saves for the Rangers, who will face the Carolina Hurricanes in the second round.

Jake Guentzel, Danton Heinen and Evan Rodrigues replied for Pittsburgh. Sidney Crosby, Tristan Jarry and Rickard Rakell returned from injury for this game. Crosby picked up an assist and Jarry made 26 saves. Forward Brian Boyle missed this contest with a lower-body injury.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: There was some controversy prior to Zibanejad’s game-tying goal in the third period as teammate Alexis Lafreniere wrestled the helmet off the head of Penguins defenseman Marcus Petterson. The incident was uncalled by the on-ice officials.

Under NHL rules, Pettersson had to immediately leave the ice as he cannot play without a helmet, leaving the Penguins scrambling to replace him and creating that scoring opportunity for Zibanejad. The Penguins were upset over that uncalled infraction, which was yet another in a seemingly endless parade of botched or missed calls by NHL officials throughout the first round.

Nevertheless, this was a hard-fought victory by the Rangers. The aging Penguins pushed them to the limit, doing so with key players sidelined at various stretches during this series. Shesterkin shook off a couple of shaky performances and was the difference-maker in Game 7 while Panarin, Zibanejad and Kreider stepped up when it mattered most.

HEADLINES

NHL.COM: The second round of the Stanley Cup playoffs begins on Tuesday, May 17 with the Florida Panthers facing off with the Tampa Bay Lightning while the Colorado Avalanche tangle with the St. Louis Blues.

The Carolina Hurricanes meet the New York Rangers while the Calgary Flames battle the Edmonton Oilers starting on May 18.

ASSOCIATED PRESS: Washington Capitals center Nicklas Backstrom was hampered through this season by a hip injury that caused him to miss the first two months of this season. It’s the same hip he had surgery on in 2015 and there’s some concern it could prove career-ending.

Capitals winger Tom Wilson could be facing off-season surgery to repair a knee injury suffered in Game 1 of their series against the Florida Panthers. Meanwhile, winger Carl Hagelin hopes to continue his career following an injury suffered in practice in March that nearly cost him his left eye.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Capitals general manager Brian MacLellan said Backstrom intends to explore all his options in hope of being physically comfortable to play again. The 34-year-old center had 31 points in 47 games and six points in as many games against the Panthers.

THE NEWS & OBSERVER: Boston Bruins defenseman Charlie McAvoy and Carolina Hurricanes blueliner Brendan Smith each received fines from the NHL department of player safety for their actions in Game 7 of their first-round series. McAvoy was fined $5,000.00 for tripping Hurricanes rearguard Brady Skjei while Smith was tagged for $2,000.00 for tripping Bruins winger David Pastrnak.

MIAMI HERALD: Florida Panthers forward Mason Marchment could miss Game 1 of his club’s second-round series against the Lightning with an unspecified injury.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 7, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 7, 2022

Bryan Rust had his third straight multi-point game as the Penguins get their 10th straight win, Nathan MacKinnon has a five-point performance, Joe Thornton and Jakub Voracek reach milestones and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: Bryan Rust had his third straight multi-point game (two goals, one assist) as his Pittsburgh Penguins beat the Philadelphia Flyers 6-2 to pick up their 10th straight win. Jake Guentzel also tallied twice while Kris Letang collected three assists. With 45 points, the Penguins have a comfortable hold on the first wild-card berth in the very tight Eastern Conference playoff race. The Flyers (32 points) have lost three straight and sit four points behind the Boston Bruins for the final wild-card spot.

Speaking of the Bruins, they failed to gain ground on the Penguins by dropping a 3-2 decision to the Minnesota Wild, who snapped a five-game losing skid. Matt Boldy scored what proved to be the game-winner in his NHL debut while teammate Kirill Kaprizov left the game in the second period following what Wild coach Dean Evason called a “predatory hit” by Bruins forward Trent Frederic. Minnesota (42 points) holds the first wild-card spot in the Western Conference but sits just five points out of first in the Conference. Bruins defenseman Charlie McAvoy missed the game with a lower-body injury.

Colorado Avalanche center Nathan MacKinnon (NHL Images).

The Colorado Avalanche’s top line of Nathan MacKinnon, Mikko Rantanen and Gabriel Landeskog combined for 12 points in a 7-1 drubbing of the Winnipeg Jets. MacKinnon had a goal and four assists, Landeskog tallied a hat trick and collected an assist while Rantanen has a goal and two helpers as the Avs (42 points) picked up their third straight win to move into third place in the Central Division.

Tampa Bay Lightning winger Nikita Kucherov picked up two assists in his first game since Oct. 16 to help his club defeat the Calgary Flames 4-1. Tampa Bay forwards Corey Perry, Brayden Point, Ondrej Palat and Alex Killorn were the goal scorers as the Lightning sits atop the overall standings with 51 points. The Flames (40 points) are third in the Pacific Division.

The Vegas Golden Knights tallied four unanswered goals to down the New York Rangers 5-1, spoiling the return of Rangers coach Gerard Gallant and winger Ryan Reaves to Vegas. Jonathan Marchessault scored twice for the Golden Knights, who sit atop the Western Conference with 47 points.

Nashville Predators goaltender Juuse Saros kicked out 46 shots as his club doubled up the Los Angeles Kings 4-2. Filip Forsberg and Roman Josi each had two points on the night as the Predators sit one point behind the Golden Knights.

Shootout goals by Joe Pavelski and Jason Robertson lifted the Dallas Stars to a 6-5 win over the Florida Panthers. It was the Stars’ first game in 16 days. Aleksander Barkov scored twice for the Panthers while Joe Thornton played in his 1,700th NHL game. The Panthers (49 points) sit second in the Eastern Conference while the Stars (34 points) are four points out of a wild-card spot in the West.

New Jersey Devils center Jack Hughes extended his career-high points streak to five games with a goal and two assists in a 3-1 victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets. MacKenzie Blackwood made 31 saves for the win. Blue Jackets winger Jakub Voracek played in his 1,000th NHL game. With the win, the Devils (33 points) are just three points out of a wild-card spot in the East.

The San Jose Sharks (37 points) moved within one point of a Western Conference wild-card spot by holding off the Buffalo Sabres 3-2. Tomas Hertl had a goal and an assist while goalie Adin Hill turned aside 37 shots.

A hat trick by Johan Larsson carried the Arizona Coyotes to a 6-4 victory over the Chicago Blackhawks. Travis Boyd collected a goal and two assists for the Coyotes. Earlier in the day, the Coyotes announced forward Jay Beagle is out “long-term” with a lower-body injury and claimed forward Riley Nash off waivers from the Tampa Bay Lightning.

HEADLINES

SPORTSNET: St. Louis Blues winger Vladimir Tarasenko and New York Rangers goaltender Igor Shesterkin were among the latest players placed on the COVID protocol list.

MONTREAL GAZETTE: The Canadiens have extended their break from all activities until Saturday due to COVID-19. Twenty-two of their players are currently on the COVID protocol list.

NBC SPORTS BOSTON: Tuukka Rask signed a professional tryout contract with the Bruins AHL affiliate in Providence in the latest step toward his eventual return with the club. The 34-year-old goaltender is working his way back from offseason hip surgery and is expected to be back with the Bruins by sometime next week.

TSN: Seattle Kraken winger Jaden Schwartz is out four to six weeks with a hand injury.

TORONTO SUN: The Maple Leafs placed winger Nick Ritchie on waivers.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Leafs general manager Kyle Dubas’ gamble on Ritchie failed to pay off. However, his other affordable offseason additions (Michael Bunting, Ondrej Kase and David Kampf) are working out rather well for the Leafs.

CTV SASKATOON: The Winnipeg Jets are looking into the possibility of playing some of their home games in Saskatoon due to strict COVID-19 capacity restrictions in Manitoba.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 5, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 5, 2021

Alex Ovechkin reaches more scoring milestones, the Wild and Rangers extend their points streaks, plus updates on Igor Shesterkin, Mitch Marner, Charlie McAvoy and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: Alex Ovechkin scored his 750th career goal and his 118th game-winner as the Washington Capitals downed the Columbus Blue Jackets 3-1. He’s now 16 goals behind Jaromir Jagr for third place on the all-time goal-scoring list, tied for third with Phil Esposito for the most game-winning goals, and tied with Jagr, Marcel Dionne, Brett Hull and Mats Sundin for the third-most consecutive 20-goal seasons. The Capitals played without Trevor van Riemsdyk, joining teammate Nic Dowd in COVID protocol.

Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin (NHL Images).

Kirill Kaprizov’s shootout goal lifted the Minnesota Wild over the Toronto Maple Leafs 4-3, extending their winning streak to six games while snapping the Leafs’ five-game streak. The Wild (35 points) hold a seven-point lead over the St. Louis Blues for first place in the Central Division. Jason Spezza scored twice and added an assist as the Leafs overcame a 3-0 deficit. Leafs winger Mitch Marner missed this game following a collision in practice with teammate Jake Muzzin. He’s also expected to miss Sunday’s contest with the Winnipeg Jets.

The New York Rangers picked up their sixth straight victory by holding off the Chicago Blackhawks 3-2. Artemi Panarin and Ryan Strome each had a goal and two assists while Alexandar Georgiev picked up the win with a 25-save performance. Earlier in the day, the Rangers placed goaltender Igor Shesterkin (lower body) on injured reserve. Blackhawks’ Patrick Kane and Seth Jones each had two points.

Florida Panthers forward Sam Reinhart’s shootout goal gave his club a 4-3 win over the St. Louis Blues, marking the third straight game the Panthers overcame a deficit to claim victory. Maxim Mamin tallied twice for the Panthers while Blues goalie Ville Husso made 48 saves. With 37 points, the Panthers return to first place in the overall standings.

Jake Guentzel extended his points streak to 12 games with a hat trick and an assist as the Pittsburgh Penguins beat the Vancouver Canucks 4-1. Sidney Crosby had a goal and two assists and Kris Letang chipped in three helpers. The Canucks sit at the bottom of the Pacific Division with 18 points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Canucks fans expressed their displeasure late in the game by calling for general manager Jim Benning to be fired. Whether the club’s ownership takes them up on their suggestion remains to be seen.

The Tampa Bay Lightning nipped the Boston Bruins 3-2 on an overtime goal by Steven Stamkos. Lightning goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy kicked out 37 shots for the win. The Bruins forced the extra frame on goals by Charlie Coyle and Curtis Lazar. Boston defenseman Charlie McAvoy missed the game with a non-COVID-related illness.

An overtime goal by Moritz Seider lifted the Detroit Red Wings over the New York Islanders 4-3, leaving the latter winless in 10 straight games. Oliver Wahlstrom tallied twice for the Isles while the Wings have won five straight.

The Ottawa Senators blew a 5-2 lead but an overtime goal by Brady Tkachuk gave them a 6-5 victory over the Colorado Avalanche. Tkachuk and Tim Stutzle each scored twice and added an assist.

Carolina Hurricanes winger Teuvo Teravainen scored twice and Vincent Trocheck had a goal and two assists in a 6-2 drubbing of the Buffalo Sabres. Sebastian Aho collected three assists for the Hurricanes as they snapped a three-game losing skid. Carolina winger Andrei Svechnikov was a late scratch with an injured finger.

Filip Forsberg’s overtime goal gave the Nashville Predators a 4-3 win over the Montreal Canadiens. Predator forward Luke Kunin had a goal and an assist. Canadiens goalie Jake Allen stopped 40 shots while teammate Cole Caufield had two assists. Earlier in the day, the Canadiens claimed defenseman Kale Clague off waivers from the Los Angeles Kings. They’re also rumored to have player agent Kent Hughes on their radar as a potential general manager candidate though they haven’t yet contacted him about the job.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Hughes is a bilingual Montreal native whose clients include Bruins captain Patrice Bergeron and Penguins defenseman Kris Letang.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 16, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 16, 2021

Recaps of Friday’s action, a look at Charlie McAvoy’s contract extension with the Bruins, plus the latest on Nathan MacKinnon, Dylan Larkin, Brady Tkachuk and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: Jack Hughes scored twice, including the game-winner, as the New Jersey Devils kicked off their season with a 4-3 overtime victory over the Chicago Blackhawks. Dougie Hamilton opened the scoring with his first goal as a Devil. The Blackhawks overcame a 3-1 deficit to force the extra frame on third-period goals by Kirby Dach and Dominik Kubalik.

New Jersey Devils center Jack Hughes (NHL Images).

The Vancouver Canucks blew a 4-2 lead in the third period but went on to defeat the Philadelphia Flyers 5-4 on a shootout goal by J.T. Miller, who also had a goal and two assists in regulation. Elias Pettersson and Alex Chiasson each had a goal and an assist for the Canucks. Travis Konecny and Claude Giroux scored for the Flyers to tie the game.

Marcus Foligno snapped a 1-1 tie with eight seconds remaining in the third period to lift the Minnesota Wild to a season-opening 2-1 win over the Anaheim Ducks. Jakob Silfverberg opened the scoring for the Ducks early in the second but Kevin Fiala tied it late in the period. Ducks backup Anthony Stolarz made 46 saves filling in for John Gibson, who’s listed as day-to-day with a lower-body injury suffered when he was run by the Winnipeg Jets’ Anthony Copp on Wednesday.

HEADLINES

BOSTON HOCKEY NOW: The Bruins yesterday signed Charlie McAvoy to an eight-year, $76 million contract extension. It’s the richest deal in franchise history as the 23-year-old defenseman will earn an annual average value of $9.5 million.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This contract ensures McAvoy will spend his prime playing years in Boston. He’s being paid in line with other talented young defensemen who recently signed new contracts such as Colorado’s Cale Makar ($9 million) and Columbus’ Zach Werenski ($9.58 million). McAvoy’s a better all-around defenseman than those two and will be worth every penny for the Bruins going forward.

THE DENVER POST: Colorado Avalanche head coach Jared Bednar returns behind the bench for tonight’s game against the St. Louis Blues after emerging from COVID protocol. Center Nathan MacKinnon remains asymptomatic and sidelined for tonight’s game. Winger Valeri Nichushkin is week-to-week with an upper-body injury.

DETROIT HOCKEY NOW: Red Wings captain Dylan Larkin received a one-game suspension for throwing a punch with a gloved hand at Tampa Bay Lightning forward Mathieu Joseph after the latter hit him from behind. Larkin was injured on the play and could be sidelined longer as he missed practice on Friday to see a specialist. He missed the end of last season with a neck injury that require weeks of physical therapy.

WINNIPEG SUN: Jets center Mark Scheifele makes his season debut tonight against the San Jose Sharks. He was serving a four-game suspension for charging Montreal Canadiens center Jake Evans during Game 1 of their 2021 second-round playoff series.

OTTAWA SUN: Brady Tkachuk took part in his first practice with the Senators on Friday after signing his new seven-year contract on Thursday. He won’t be playing in tonight’s game against the Toronto Maple Leafs but could make his season debut on Sunday against the Dallas Stars or Thursday against the San Jose Sharks.

Speaking of the Senators, goaltender Matt Murray has been placed on injured reserve retroactive to Oct. 12 due to a non-COVID-related illness.

TSN: Winger Mike Hoffman could make his season debut with the Montreal Canadiens on Tuesday against the Sharks or Thursday against the Carolina Hurricanes. He signed a three-year contract with the Habs during the summer but suffered a lower-body injury during offseason training.

NEW YORK POST: Rangers center Ryan Strome will be sidelined for two games due to COVID-19 protocol.

THE PROVINCE: Travis Hamonic has not reported to the Vancouver Canucks’ AHL affiliate in Abbotsford but has not been suspended. He has been absent since the start of training camp to what is believed related to the league’s COVID-19 vaccination protocol. Hamonic passed unclaimed through waivers last week.

WGR 550: Buffalo Sabres forward Casey Mittelstadt (upper-body injury) and defenseman Henri Jokiharju (lower-body) are expected to miss at least two weeks.

TSN: The Los Angeles Kings placed defenseman Christian Wolanin on waivers.










NHL Rumor Mill – October 14, 2021

NHL Rumor Mill – October 14, 2021

An update on Vladimir Tarasenko, the Bruins could be close to re-signing Charlie McAvoy, Blackhawks GM addresses the Dylan Strome trade speculation, and more on Vitali Kravtsov in today’s NHL rumor mill.

DAILY FACEOFF: Frank Seravalli advises keeping an eye on Vladimir Tarasenko’s start with the St. Louis Blues. While both sides are playing nice and saying the right things, the 29-year-old winger “still strongly desires a trade”, said Seravalli.

St. Louis Blues winger Vladimir Tarasenko (NHL Images).

Tarasenko has let it be known he’s fully recovered from the surgeries on his right shoulder. Whether he can regain his 30-goal form is another matter. He’s signed through 2022-23 with an annual average value of $7.5 million. If he gets off to a hot start, Seravalli believes a trade could materialize.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Asked about the possibility of the Anaheim Ducks acquiring Tarasenko, The Athletic’s Eric Stephens cited the winger’s health and contract as significant sticking points. He also pointed out the Blues won’t be moving him for pennies on the dollar. Those issues are likely shared by general managers with a potential interest in the winger’s services but leery about making the investment.

BOSTON HOCKEY NOW: Joe Haggerty reports Bruins president Cam Neely suggested a new contract for Charlie McAvoy could be in the works. He said management has been working closely with the 23-year-old defenseman’s representatives in recent days. He’s hopeful of a new deal “in short order”.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Haggerty believes it’ll be a long-term deal comparable to those in the $9 million per season range signed this summer by several top young defensemen. Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman believes it’ll be an eight-year contract with a hefty salary though not one in double-digits. TSN’s Pierre LeBrun cautions nothing is imminent as there’s still some work to be done by both sides.

NBC SPORTS CHICAGO: Charlie Roumeliotis reports Blackhawks general manager Stan Bowman attempted to downplay trade rumors swirling about Dylan Strome. He struggled to find a regular spot among their forward lines and was a healthy scratch for their season-opening loss last night to the Colorado Avalanche. Roumeliotis believes it wouldn’t be surprising if the Blackhawks try to give the 24-year-old center a fresh start with another club.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Inconsistency and injuries hampered Strome over the past two seasons. He’s proved he can play well when skating alongside talented wingers. Perhaps a club seeking depth at center will take a chance on him. He signed through this season with an annual average value of $3 million.

THE ATHLETIC: Rick Carpiniello reported a source informed him Vitali Kravtsov’s demotion by the New York Rangers to their AHL affiliate in Hartford had nothing to do with him being waiver-exempt. Instead, it was based on his mediocre performance during training camp, the lower-body injury that cost him part of camp and preseason play, and the belief of GM Chris Drury and head coach Gerard Gallant that the winger needed more developmental time.

Kravtsov has been suspended by the Rangers for his unwillingness to report to the minors and his agent has been given permission to speak to other clubs about a trade. Carpiniello also indicated the young winger at times butted heads with Drury during 2019-20 in Hartford.