NHL Rumor Mill – April 27, 2024

NHL Rumor Mill – April 27, 2024

Is there a deal that could work for the Flyers and Ducks? Could the Wild trade Filip Gustavsson and Marco Rossi this summer? Who are the potential candidates to become the next head coach of the Senators? Find out in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.


PHILLY HOCKEY NOW: Jonathan Bailey noted the recent remarks by Anaheim Ducks general manager Pat Verbeek indicating he’s in the market for a right-shot top-six forward or a right-shot top-four defenseman.

Philadelphia Flyers winger Travis Konecny (NHL Images)

The two clubs made a big move in January when the Ducks sent defenseman Jamie Drysdale to the Flyers in exchange for promising winger Cutter Gauthier. Bailey wondered if the two clubs might swing another move that works for both sides.

Bailey noted the Flyers have plenty of wingers but lack depth at center while it’s the opposite for the Ducks. He suggested Trevor Zegras or Mason McTavish might be available for the Flyers. Meanwhile, Flyers winger Travis Konecny will be due for a big-money extension and is already in his playing prime.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Bailey is just musing about what each club has that could help the other. Still, the two teams have that recent trade history so we can’t rule out another deal between them this summer.

I doubt the Flyers will part with Konecny unless he prices himself out of their comfort zone in contract talks. If they offered him to the Ducks, they’d likely want McTavish in return. He would adapt better under Flyers coach John Tortorella’s system than the free-wheeling Zegras.


THE ATHLETIC: In their recent mailbag segment, Michael Russo and Joe Smith were asked what Filip Gustavsson might fetch for the Minnesota Wild.

The signing of Marc-Andre Fleury to a one-year contract indicated the 25-year-old goaltender could hit the trade block this summer. There’s no guarantee he’ll be moved but the Wild would like to make room for up-and-comer Jesper Wallstedt.

Moving Gustavsson’s $3.75 million cap hit for next season and replacing him with Wallstedt’s $925K would save the cap-strapped Wild $2.825 million. That’s assuming they move him for a high draft pick and/or a prospect.

Gustavsson struggled this season following a fine performance in 2022-23 plus there will be a lot of goaltenders in this summer’s trade market. Still, the volatility of the position around the league suggests a team could bet on unlocking his full potential.

Gustavsson could fetch a second-round pick for the Wild but they could prefer a middle-six winger. They could also use him as a trade chip to move up in the first-round draft order.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Gustavsson could be pursued by teams that lose out in the bidding for big-name netminders like Calgary’s Jacob Markstrom or Boston’s Linus Ullmark this summer. He could also be a tempting target for clubs in the market for more affordable goaltending.

Russo and Smith also think there’s a good chance the Wild trade Marco Rossi this summer if they can get the same level of high-end prospect who’s bigger and faster. They were interested in Cutter Gauthier before the Philadelphia Flyers traded him to the Anaheim Ducks in January. That’s the type of player they might consider for Rossi.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Chosen ninth overall in the 2020 draft, Rossi’s progress was stalled when he contracted COVID-19 in 2020, sidelining him for all but one game with Switzerland’s ZSC Lions the following season. He had one point in 19 games with the Wild in 2022-23 but put up 51 points in 53 games that season with their AHL affiliate in Iowa.

The 22-year-old center finished this season sitting second among NHL rookies with 21 goals and fifth in points with 40. He could draw plenty of interest if the Wild put him on the trade block but they might not get the type of player described by Russo and Smith. Rossi will likely remain with the Wild when next season begins.


TSN: recently cited the Ottawa Sun’s Bruce Garrioch reporting Senators GM Steve Staios has already had meetings or plans to meet with three coaching candidates.

They include former Minnesota Wild bench boss Dean Evason and former St. Louis Blues head coach Craig Berube. It’s also believed (but unconfirmed) that Staios has spoken with former Los Angeles Kings coach Todd McLellan.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It was speculated that Toronto Marlies coach John Gruden and Philadelphia Flyers assistant coach Brad Shaw would also be candidates. However, it appears Staios seeks someone with plenty of NHL head-coaching experience for this job.

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 10, 2024

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 10, 2024

Wild goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury defeats the Penguins on the night commemorating his two recent career milestones, the Rangers and Oilers pick up victories in Friday’s action, and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.

NHL.COM: On the night the Minnesota Wild honored Marc-Andre Fleury for recently reaching the 1,000-game and 552nd career win milestones, he backstopped them to a 3-2 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins with a 34-save performance.

Minnesota Wild goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury (NHL Images).

Kirill Kaprizov broke a 2-2 tie in the third period and also collected an assist while Matt Boldy and Jonas Brodin each had a goal and an assist for the 23-23-1 Wild (51 points) as they moved within three points of the final Western Conference wild-card berth. Reilly Smith and Sidney Crosby scored against their former teammate as the 23-18-7 Penguins (53 points) remain five points out of the final Eastern Conference wild-card spot.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This game could also be Fleury’s last against the Penguins, with whom he played 13 of his 20 NHL seasons. The 39-year-old goalie is in the final year of his contract amid speculation he could retire at the end of this season.

Wild defenseman Brock Faber set franchise records for single-season assists (27) and points (31) by a rookie defenseman. This game also had a bit of controversy as Kaprizov scored after the puck seemed to rebound off the netting above the glass behind the Penguins’ goal. The on-ice officials didn’t see it and a video review following a coach’s challenge proved inconclusive.

Edmonton Oilers winger Evander Kane tallied a hat trick in a 5-3 victory over the Anaheim Ducks. Connor McDavid collected three assists for the Oilers (30-16-1) as they sit third in the Pacific Division with 61 points. Ryan Strome tallied twice and Adam Henrique had two assists for the 18-31-2 Ducks.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Ducks goaltender John Gibson left this game following the second period with a lower-body injury. The Ducks also played without center Mason McTavish as he missed this contest with an upper-body injury.

The New York Rangers blew a 3-1 lead to the Chicago Blackhawks before winning the game 4-3 on an overtime goal by Mika Zibanejad. Chris Kreider and Adam Fox each had two points while Igor Shesterkin stopped 28 shots in his first start since Jan. 26 for the Metropolitan Division-leading Rangers (33-16-3) as they moved into second place in the Eastern Conference with 69 points. Alex Vlasic, Nick Foligno and Jason Dickinson scored for the 14-35-3 Blackhawks.

MONTREAL GAZETTE: Canadiens center Alex Newhook will return to the lineup for Saturday’s game against the Dallas Stars after being sidelined since Nov. 30 with a high ankle sprain.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Newhook’s return is timely considering the Canadiens traded center Sean Monahan last Friday to Winnipeg. He had seven goals and 13 points in 23 games but had points in four of his previous seven contests at the time of his injury.

CBS SPORTS: St. Louis Blues winger Kasperi Kapanen returns to action on Saturday against the Buffalo Sabres. He’d missed the last seven games with a lower-body issue.

DAILY FACEOFF: The Calgary Flames placed goaltender Dan Vladar on injured reserve with a lower-body injury and recalled netminder Dustin Wolf from their AHL affiliate.

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 5, 2023

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – December 5, 2023

The Lightning defeat the Stars during a milestone game for Victor Hedman, the Jets re-sign Nino Niederreiter, the latest projection for next season’s salary cap, and much more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.


NHL.COM: The Tampa Bay Lightning celebrated Victor Hedman’s 1,000th career NHL game with a 4-0 victory over the Dallas Stars. Andrei Vasilevskiy made 25 saves for the shutout and Anthony Cirelli scored twice as the Lightning (11-10-5) snapped a four-game losing skid. Jake Oettinger stopped 19 shots for the 14-6-3 Stars.

Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Victor Hedman (NHL Images).

Winnipeg Jets goaltender Laurent Brossoit kicked out 42 shots as his club held off the Carolina Hurricanes 2-1. Kyle Connor and Nikolaj Ehlers each had a goal and an assist as the Jets improved their record to 14-8-2 (30 points) to sit one point back of the second-place Stars in the Central Division. Martin Necas replied for the 14-9-1 Hurricanes.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Earlier in the day, the Jets announced the signing of Nino Niederreiter to a three-year contract extension worth an average annual value of $4 million. It’s the same AAV on the 31-year-old winger’s current contract. Acquired from the Nashville Predators last season, Niederreiter quickly fit in well with the Jets. He’s got 14 points in 24 games on their third line.

A five-goal first period carried the Arizona Coyotes to a 6-0 drubbing of the Washington Capitals. Nick Schmaltz tallied two goals, Alex Kerfoot had three assists and Connor Ingram turned aside 26 shots for the shutout as the Coyotes (13-9-2) picked up their fifth straight win. The Capitals made Evgeny Kuznetsov a healthy scratch from this game following a disappointing performance in a 4-1 loss on Saturday.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Coyotes hold the first wild-card spot in the Western Conference with 28 points. Meanwhile, their ongoing saga for a new arena could be testing the patience of some of the NHL governors, who are currently meeting in Seattle.

As long as league commissioner Gary Bettman supports the Coyotes’ efforts to remain in the Phoenix area and has the support of the majority of league governors, it won’t matter if a handful of the others are growing weary of this situation.

An overtime goal by Pavel Buchnevich lifted the St. Louis Blues over the Vegas Golden Knights by a score of 2-1. Jordan Binnington made 33 saves while Alexey Toropchenko also scored for the Blues as they improved to 13-10-1. Jack Eichel scored for the Golden Knights (16-5-5), who remain in first place in the Western Conference with 37 points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Golden Knights played without defenseman Shea Theodore (upper body) as he was placed on long-term injury reserve on Saturday. The earliest he could return to action is Dec. 17.

The Philadelphia Flyers nipped the Pittsburgh Penguins 2-1 on an overtime goal by Sean Couturier. Carter Hart stopped 31 shots, Tyson Foerster also scored and Travis Konecny collected two assists for the 13-10-2 Flyers. Sidney Crosby scored for the Penguins as they fell to 11-10-3.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Penguins played without forward Matt Nieto (lower body) as he was placed on injured reserve on Saturday.

Montreal Canadiens center Sean Monahan scored two goals as his club doubled up the Seattle Kraken 4-2. Sam Montembeault stopped 31 shots while Josh Anderson finally tallied his first goal of the season as the Canadiens boosted their record to 11-11-3. Vince Dunn had a goal and an assist for the 8-12-6 Kraken.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Earlier in the day, the Canadiens loaned defenseman Arber Xhekaj to their AHL affiliate in Laval. He’d been sidelined since Nov. 16 with an upper-body injury.


DAILY FACEOFF: NHL commissioner Gary Bettman informed the league Board of Governors yesterday that the salary cap is on track to reach $87.7 million for 2024-25. The cap is currently at $83.5 million and has been flattened since the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020.

The $4.2 million increase is in line with the “lag formula” contained in the 2020 Memorandum of Understanding between the NHL and NHL Players Association coming out of the pandemic. The two sides can negotiate for a higher formula, something NHLPA executive director Marty Walsh hinted at during a recent interview with Frank Seravalli.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The PA could push to have it increased to between $88 million and $89 million. As Seravalli indicates in his report, however, achieving that goal would mean the PA having to make a concession, something the league isn’t planning on based on their report on Monday to the Board of Governors.

NHL.COM: Arizona Coyotes goaltender Connor Ingram, New York Islanders center Mathew Barzal and New Jersey Devils center Jack Hughes are the league’s three stars for the week ending Dec. 3.

CALGARY SUN: Flames goaltender Jacob Markstrom left practice yesterday after suffering an injury to his right hand. An update on his condition could be made today.

CBS SPORTS: Anaheim Ducks forward Mason McTavish did not travel with his club for their upcoming two-game road trip. He suffered an upper-body injury during Saturday’s game against the Colorado Avalanche.

THE MERCURY NEWS: The San Jose Sharks placed forward Ryan Carpenter and defenseman Ty Emberson on injured reserve.

NHL.COM: The 2024 IIHF World Junior U-20 Championship begins on Dec. 26, 2023, and will end with the gold medal game on Jan. 5, 2024 The tournament opens with the United States facing off against Norway while defending champion Canada meets Finland in preliminary round action. Slovakia will also face Czechia while Sweden takes on Latvia.

Speaking of the IIHF, all players participating in their tournaments will be mandated to wear a neck laceration protector.

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 13, 2023

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 13, 2023

The Islanders clinch an Eastern Conference playoff berth as the Penguins are eliminated from contention and the Stars’ Jason Robertson reaches another scoring milestone. Details on these and other stories are in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.


NHL.COM: The New York Islanders clinched an Eastern Conference playoff berth by doubling up the Montreal Canadiens 4-2. Brock Nelson scored twice for the Islanders as they hold the first wild-card berth with 93 points, one up on the Florida Panthers who qualified for the postseason earlier this week. The Islanders’ win eliminated the Pittsburgh Penguins from playoff contention.

New York Islanders center Brock Nelson (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That ends the Penguins’ streak of consecutive playoff appearances at 16 seasons stretching back to 2006-07. Meanwhile, only one opening-round playoff series has been set (Toronto Maple vs Tampa Bay Lightning). The rest should be determined tonight as most of the remaining playoff clubs will be playing their final regular-season games.

Dallas Stars winger Jason Robertson collected three assists in a 5-2 win over the St. Louis Blues. He now has the most points in a single season (109) by a US-born player who is 23 or younger. With the win, the Stars (106 points) vaulted one point ahead of the Colorado Avalanche into first place in the Central Division.

The Calgary Flames defeated the San Jose Sharks 3-1. Nikita Zadorov netted his first career hat trick while Dustin Wolf made 23 saves to win his NHL debut. The Flames were eliminated from playoff contention earlier this week.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Sharks defenseman Marc-Edouard Vlasic missed this game with a lower-body injury. It’s not considered a long-term injury and won’t require surgery.


TWINCITIES.COM: Minnesota Wild forward Ryan Hartman received a one-game suspension by the NHL department of player safety for interference when he leveled Winnipeg Jets winger Nikolaj Ehlers with a hard hit during Tuesday’s game between the two clubs.

NHL.COM: Jets defenseman Neal Pionk was fined $5,000.00 for cross-checking Wild forward Marcus Johansson during Tuesday’s game.

CBS SPORTS: Florida Panthers forward Sam Bennett (groin) was placed on injured reserve Wednesday.

Anaheim Ducks forward Mason McTavish will miss his club’s final game of the season tonight with an upper-body injury requiring one-to-two weeks of recovery.

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – August 21, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – August 21, 2022

Canada defeats Finland in overtime to win gold at the 2022 World Junior Championship, Nathan MacKinnon enjoys his day with the Stanley Cup in Halifax, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: An overtime goal by Columbus Blue Jackets center Kent Johnson lifted Canada over Finland 3-2 in the Gold Medal Game at the 2022 IIHF World Junior Championship in Edmonton. It’s Canada’s 19th tournament championship and its first since 2020.

Anaheim Ducks center Nathan McTavish (NHL Images).

Canada took a 2-0 lead in the game on goals by Joshua Roy (Montreal Canadiens) and William Dufour (New York Islanders) with Mason McTavish (Anaheim Ducks) collecting assists on both. McTavish also saved the game for Canada in overtime by blocking a shot at the goal line, setting the stage for Johnson’s game-winner.

Finland rallied to force the extra frame on goals by Aleksi Heimosalmi (Carolina Hurricanes) and Joakim Kemell (Nashville Predators). They take home the silver medal for its 17th top-three finish in tournament history.

In the consolation game earlier in the day, Sweden won the bronze medal with a 3-1 victory over Czechia. Minnesota Wild goaltender Jesper Wallstedt made 27 saves while teammates Fabian Lysell (Boston Bruins), Isak Rosen (Buffalo Sabres) and Linus Sjodin (Sabres) scored for Sweden.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: McTavish was named the tournament’s most valuable player and the top forward. Wallstedt was named the top goaltender and Finland’s Kasper Puutio was the top defenseman. McTavish also topped The Hockey News‘ ranking of the tournament’s top-20 players.

TSN: Nathan MacKinnon celebrated his day with the Stanley Cup with a parade through downtown Halifax. The 26-year-old Colorado Avalanche superstar is a native of Cole Harbour, part of the Halifax municipality. It’s also the home of Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby. MacKinnon spent two seasons with the QMJHL’s Halifax Mooseheads before joining the Avalanche in 2013-14.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: As MacKinnon observed in an interview, returning to Halifax with the Stanley Cup brings his playing career full circle. In his final season with the Mooseheads, he helped them win the QMJHL’s Presidents’ Cup and the Memorial Cup.

PHILLY HOCKEY NOW: The Philadelphia Flyers rank at the bottom of The Athletic’s fan confidence level survey. The Flyers had the fourth-most entries (1,000) by fans upset over the team’s direction and management’s inability to deliver on its promise earlier this year of an “aggressive retool”. The Flyers received a D-minus ranking in roster building, cap management, drafting and development, trades, free agency and vision.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Flyers’ only significant addition this summer was hiring John Tortorella as head coach.

NHL.COM: The Carolina Hurricanes extended its affiliation agreement with the ECHL’s Norfolk Admirals through the 2022-23 season.

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 21, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 21, 2021

Connor McDavid extends his season-opening points streak, the league-leading Panthers home-winning streak continues, the Islanders debut in their new arena, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.


NHL.COM: Connor McDavid’s season-opening points streak reached 17 games with a goal and an assist as his Edmonton Oilers downed the Chicago Blackhawks 5-2, snapping the latter’s four-game winning streak. Leon Draisaitl (35 points) also had a goal and an assist to maintain his three-point lead over McDavid atop the scoring race. Alex DeBrincat netted both Blackhawks goals.

Edmonton Oilers captain Connor McDavid (NHL Images).

The Florida Panthers remain undefeated at home (10-0-0) by holding off the Minnesota Wild 5-4. Frank Vatrano scored two goals and collected an assist while Sergei Bobrovsky made 35 saves. Kirill Kaprizov and Joel Eriksson Ek each had a goal and an assist for the Wild.

Calgary Flames winger Andrew Mangiapane tallied twice in a 5-2 victory over the New York Islanders, spoiled the latter’s first game at UBS Arena. Jacob Markstrom made 34 saves and Noah Hanifin had three assists for the Flames. Brock Nelson scored both goals for the COVID-depleted Islanders, who placed Adam Pelech, Andy Greene and Anthony Beauvillier in the protocol before the game, joining Anders Lee, Ross Johnston and Josh Bailey.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Despite the loss, it was great to see the Islanders finally play in their new arena. This was a long-time dream come true for the team and their fans following years of delays due to local political machinations amid concerns about a possible relocation of the franchise.

Martin Necas goal with 34 seconds remaining in regulation gave the Carolina Hurricanes their fourth straight win with a closely contested 5-4 victory over the Los Angeles Kings. Sebastian Aho and Derek Stepan each had a goal and an assist while Frederik Andersen made 39 saves. Adrian Kempe scored two goals for the Kings. With 28 points, the Hurricanes sit one back of the league-leading Panthers.

Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin scored twice and chipped in an assist to blank the San Jose Sharks 4-0. Ilya Samsonov made 22 saves for his second straight shutout while Conor Sheary also potted two goals. Sharks winger Kevin Lebanc missed this contest as he was serving a one-game suspension for slew-footing St. Louis Blues center Tyler Bozak.

Four unanswered third-period goals powered the New Jersey Devils to a 5-3 upset of the Tampa Bay Lightning. Yegor Sharangovich scored twice and set up another as the Devils ended a three-game losing skid.

Pittsburgh Penguins goaltender Tristan Jarry turned aside 26 shots for his second straight shutout to down the Toronto Maple Leafs 2-0. Jake Guentzel and Jeff Carter scored the only goals in the first period as they snapped the Leafs’ five-game win streak.

The Montreal Canadiens rode a 5-0 lead to a 6-3 win over the Nashville Predators. Ryan Poehling scored two goals with 37 seconds in the second period while Tyler Toffoli had a goal and two assists. Matt Duchene collected the hat trick for the Predators.

Boston Bruins defenseman Derek Forbort had the first two-goal game of his NHL career as his club dropped the Philadelphia Flyers 5-2. David Pastrnak and Craig Smith each had a goal and an assist for the Bruins as they collected their third straight victory. Derick Brassard scored both goals for the Flyers.

Third-period goals by Reilly Smith and Mattias Janmark lifted the Vegas Golden Knights over the Columbus Blue Jackets 3-2. Laurent Brossoit picked up the win with a 27-save effort. Blue Jackets forward Max Domi rejoined the lineup after being activated off their COVID protocol list.

Two shorthanded goals by Roope Hintz helped the Dallas Stars defeat the St. Louis Blues 4-1. Stars captain Jamie Benn had a goal and an assist.

The Arizona Coyotes picked up their third win of the season (3-13-2) as they nipped the Detroit Red Wings 2-1 on an overtime goal by Clayton Keller, handing the Wings their fourth straight loss.


THE JOURNAL NEWS: The New York Rangers had a bit of a scare when center Mika Zibanejad missed practice on Saturday after being placed in COVID protocol. However, it was subsequently determined to be a false positive and he’s slated to play in today’s game against the Buffalo Sabres. Zibanejad contracted the coronavirus last January, missing a portion of last season’s training camp.

THE ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER: The Anaheim Ducks returned center Mason McTavish to his OHL team in Peterborough for the remainder of the season. Selected third-overall by the Ducks in the 2021 NHL Draft, he scored two goals and added an assist in his nine games with the Ducks.

SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman reported Fenway Sports Group had explored the possibility of a merger with Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment before pursuing their plans to purchase the Pittsburgh Penguins. Those discussions didn’t get far as MLSE was not ready for that kind of move yet.