NHL Rumor Mill – May 25, 2021

NHL Rumor Mill – May 25, 2021

Could the Flyers land Dougie Hamilton via free agency this summer? Should the Rangers attempt to acquire Nazem Kadri from the Avalanche. What’s the latest on J.T. Miller? Check out the latest in today’s NHL rumor mill.

COULD THE FLYERS SIGN HAMILTON?

NBC SPORTS PHILADELPHIA: Jordan Hall examined the possibility of the Flyers signing Dougie Hamilton. The Carolina Hurricanes defenseman is slated to become an unrestricted free agent this summer.

Carolina Hurricanes defenseman Dougie Hamilton (NHL Images).

Signing Hamilton away from the Hurricanes won’t be easy. They finished among the league’s top teams this season and he’s in a good spot there. There’s mutual interest between Hamilton and Hurricanes management in getting a deal done.

The Flyers must also be cognizant that Claude Giroux and Sean Couturier will be due for new contracts after next season, with the latter due for a big raise.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Hall cited Flyers GM Chuck Fletcher saying his club will have to get creative to address their roster issues. With over $69 million invested in 17 players for 2021-22 (as per Cap Friendly), that creativity will require freeing up sufficient cap room for someone like Hamilton without tying up too much for future signings like Couturier. That could prove too daunting a challenge.

SHOULD THE RANGERS PURSUE KADRI?

NEW YORK POST: Larry Brooks suggests the Rangers should consider acquiring Nazem Kadri if the Colorado Avalanche dangles the 30-year-old center on the trade market this summer. Kadri is serving his third playoff suspension in four years and the sixth overall in his nine NHL season.

Despite Kadri’s suspension history, Brooks thinks he could be the type of “nasty, jagged-edge, checking-type center who can score” that the Rangers need.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Maybe Rangers GM Chris Drury would consider it if Kadri is shopped this summer. However, they would better off acquiring a physical forward who isn’t as reckless as the Avalanche center.

LATEST ON J.T. MILLER

THE PROVINCE: Steve Ewen reports the agent for Vancouver Canucks forward J.T. Miller said his client loves Vancouver and hasn’t asked for a trade. Brian Bartlett said Miller “has loved Vancouver and we’ve never discussed him wanting out.” He added this stemmed from a meme with a fake quote attributed to his client.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman also cited a source over the weekend citing Miller saying he didn’t want to leave the Canucks. There could be some changes to the Canucks roster over the summer. Some players could be traded or bought out but Miller won’t be among them.










Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – May 23, 2021

Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – May 23, 2021

What’s the future of J.T. Miller with the Canucks? Could Panthers coach Joel Quenneville have his eye on the Kraken’s coaching job? Could the Flames make a management change? Check out the latest in the Sunday NHL rumor roundup.

MILLER NOT SEEKING A TRADE FROM CANUCKS

SPORTSNET (via KUKLA’S KORNER): Elliotte Friedman reported there were lots of questions last week about J.T. Miller’s future with the Vancouver Canucks. He reached out to a source who indicated Miller doesn’t want to be traded and has no intention of leaving the Canucks.

Vancouver Canucks forward J.T. Miller (NHL Images).

SPECTORS’ NOTE: Earlier in the week, Friedman speculated one or two members of the “upset” Canucks players could ask for a trade. I don’t have the context as to what those players would be upset about. It could be the way the season turned out or perhaps unhappiness that Jim Benning is staying on as general manager.

Miller has two years remaining on his contract with an annual average value of $5.25 million. He’s one of the Canucks top players and among their leadership core. His outspoken concern over the way the NHL was handling the club’s return to action from a COVID-19 outbreak forced the league to move that date ahead by a few days to allow the Canucks more time to adjust.

Benning indicated some changes will be coming this summer. I don’t see Miller being part of them unless he requests a trade. We now know that’s not something he wants to do.

IS QUENNEVILLE EYEING KRAKEN COACHING GIG?

NEW YORK POST: Larry Brooks reports of speculation suggesting Florida Panthers bench boss Joel Quenneville could have his sights set on becoming head coach of the Seattle Kraken when this season is over. Brooks thinks that might be the reason why Kraken GM Ron Francis is moving so slowly to reach a decision.

If Quenneville departs for Seattle, Brooks feels it would be money-related. He thinks that would also be a reason to rethink whether the Panthers would re-sign captain Aleksander Barkov before his UFA eligibility next summer.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Cap Friendly indicates Quenneville is signed through 2023-24 earning a league-high $5.25 million per season. He’d have to break that contract to join the Kraken and that could get legally complicated. The Kraken would also have to make it financially worth his while.

The Panthers could fire Quenneville if they lose their first-round series to the Lightning. However, I don’t see that happening after he guided them to their best regular-season performance in years.

FRONT OFFICE CHANGE COMING TO THE FLAMES?

FLAMES NATION: Ryan Pike cited former TSN insider Frank Seravalli suggesting there could be management change coming to the Calgary Flames. During his recent appearance with Jason Gregor on the DFO Hockey Rundown podcast, he disagreed with general manager Brad Treliving’s end-of-season assessment that his club was a good team that had a bad year.

Seravalli pointed out the Flames have had the same core for a while. They doubled down on it last year by adding Jacob Markstrom and Chris Tanev but it didn’t pan out. He feels the Flames need a new look, be it a change in management or blowing up the core by moving Johnny Gaudreau or Sean Monahan.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: No indication thus far as to whether Treliving returns as general manager. He reportedly has two more years left on his contract. Ownership could give him at least one more year to try and get this club back on track.

If they intend to dump Treliving and hire a new general manager they must act soon. The expansion draft is July 21, the NHL Draft follows soon afterward (July 23-24) and the free-agent market opens on July 28. His replacement needs time to prepare for those important off-season events.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – May 23, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – May 23, 2021

Golden Knights and Lightning take commanding series’ leads while Leafs and Islanders get big wins to tie their respective series. Details and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: Marc-Andre Fleury turned in a 35-save shutout as the Vegas Golden Knights blanked the Minnesota Wild 4-0 to take a 3-1 lead in their best-of-seven opening-round series. Fleury moved into a tie with Curtis Joseph for third place among the all-time playoff shutouts leaders with 16. Nicolas Roy scored twice and Mark Stone tallied a shorthanded goal. The Golden Knights can wrap things up in Game 5 on Monday in Vegas.

Vegas Golden Knights goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: An apparent game-tying goal by the Wild’s Joel Eriksson Ek was overturned on a coach’s challenge for goaltender interference. Eriksson Ek also had a goal overturned in Game 3 as offside on a coach’s challenge.

The Tampa Bay Lightning took a 3-1 lead in their series with a 6-2 win over the Florida Panthers. Nikita Kucherov and Alex Killorn each collected four points while Andrei Vasilevskiy kicked out 41 shots. Panthers’ netminder Sergei Bobrovsky was pulled after giving up five goals on 19 shots. Game 5 goes Monday in Sunrise.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This was the worst-officiated game of these playoffs thus far. The Athletic’s Joe Smith pointed out this game took an ugly turn after Kucherov left the game with a leg injury from a slash by Panthers’ winger Anthony Duclair and teammate Mikhail Sergachev was shaken up following a blindside hit by Patric Hornqvist.

Smith also noted the game finished with 26 penalties and five misconducts, many of which stemmed from a brawl late in the third period. Lightning coach Jon Cooper struggled to keep his emotions in check talking about the officiating during the postgame press conference. No word following this game over the conditions of Kucherov and Sergachev.

Auston Matthews had a goal and two assists as the Toronto Maple Leafs beat the Montreal Canadiens 5-1 to even their first-round series at a game apiece. William Nylander and Mitch Marner each had two points while Jack Campbell made 22 saves for his first-ever NHL playoff win. Jesperi Kotkaniemi replied for the Canadiens. The series shifts to Montreal for Game 3 on Monday.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The first period was evenly matched but Toronto blew it open in the second as the Canadiens spent most of that frame on the penalty kill. The Leafs adjusted well to the Habs’ physical play while bringing their speed and offensive depth to bear.

The New York Islanders squared their series with the Pittsburgh Penguins at two games apiece with a 4-1 victory. Ilya Sorokin got the nod as the Islanders’ starting goalie over struggling Semyon Varlamov and turned aside 29 shots for the win. Isles winger Oliver Wahlstrom had a goal and an assist. The series returns to Pittsburgh on Monday for Game 5.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Islanders are doing a fine job shutting down the Penguins’ top line. Sidney Crosby, Jake Guentzel and Bryan Rust each have just one point in this series. Meanwhile, a banged-up Evgeni Malkin has two assists in as many games but was also held off the score sheet in Game 4.

HEADLINES

TORONTO SUN: Maple Leafs general manager said team captain John Tavares suffered no structural damage to his head, face, neck or spine after being accidentally struck by the knee of Canadiens winger Corey Perry in Game 1. However, he has a concussion and also a sprained knee. He’ll be sidelined for at least two weeks.

TSN: Washington Capitals winger Anthony Mantha was fined $5,000.00 by the NHL department of player safety for goaltender interference against Boston Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask during Game 4 of their first-round series.

The league also fined Carolina Hurricanes captain Jordan Staal $5,000.00 for a dangerous trip on Nashville Predators winger Luke Kunin during Game 3 of their first-round series.

STLTODAY.COM: St. Louis Blues defensemen Justin Faulk and Robert Bortuzzo remain doubtful for Game 4 today against the Colorado Avalanche. Blueliner Vince Dunn’s status is also uncertain.

BOSTON HOCKEY NOW: Bruins defenseman Kevan Miller will miss Game 5 today against the Washington Capitals. He was sidelined in Game 4 by a high hit to the head by Capitals defenseman Dmitry Orlov.

NBC SPORTS PHILADELPHIA: Flyers forward Kevin Hayes will reportedly undergo sports hernia surgery next week in Philadelphia. His recovery time is expected to be six weeks.

THE DALLAS MORNING NEWS: The Stars promoted Rich Peverley to Director of Player Personnel. He’s served as their Player Development Coordinator for six years.










What Next For the New York Rangers?

What Next For the New York Rangers?

 










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – May 9, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – May 9, 2021

Connor McDavid reaches 100 points in 53 games, the Leafs and Penguins secure division titles, the Predators clinch a playoff spot, John Tortorella reportedly won’t return next season as Blue Jackets coach, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: Edmonton Oilers captain Connor McDavid reached 100 points in his 53rd game of the season in a 4-3 win over the Vancouver Canucks. McDavid had a goal and three assists to become the first player to score at least 100 points in the same number of games since Mario Lemieux (126 points) and Jaromir Jagr (101) in 1995-96. Teammate Leon Draisaitl scored twice to reach his 500th career point. With 68 points, the Oilers are assured of second place in the Scotia North Division.

Edmonton Oilers captain Connor McDavid (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That was a remarkable achievement by McDavid. He’s the favorite to win the Hart Memorial Trophy this season as the most valuable player.

The Toronto Maple Leafs won its first division title in 21 years with a 3-2 victory over the Montreal Canadiens, preventing the latter from clinching a playoff spot. The Leafs overcame a 2-0 deficit with second-period goals by Peter Engvall, William Nylander and Mitch Marner. They sit atop the North Division with 76 points. The Canadiens played without center Phillip Danault, who suffered a concussion during Thursday’s game between the two clubs.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Montreal holds a 10-point lead over the Calgary Flames but the latter has three games in hand while the Canadiens have two games left in the schedule. The Habs need just one point or the Flames to lose one of their remaining games to clinch a playoff berth.

Ottawa Senators rookie Tim Stutzle tallied his first career hat trick as the Ottawa Senators doubled up the Winnipeg Jets 4-2. Mark Scheifele tallied his 200th career goal for the Jets (57 points), who remain just two points ahead of the fourth-place Canadiens.

The Pittsburgh Penguins clinched first place in the MassMutual East Division by blanking the Buffalo Sabres 1-0. Maxime Legace made 26 saves for the shutout while Jeff Carter scored the only goal. The Penguins finish the season with 77 points, two up on the Washington Capitals.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Carter’s offense has really picked up since the Penguins acquired him from the Los Angeles Kings at the trade deadline. After collecting just 19 points in 40 games with the Kings, Carter has nine goals and 11 points in 14 games with the Penguins.

An overtime goal by Conor Sheary saw the Capitals squeak past the Washington Capitals 2-1. Craig Anderson kicked out 28 shots for the win as the Capitals sit four points ahead of the third-place Boston Bruins.

The Bruins, meanwhile, dropped a 5-4 decision to the New York Rangers. Mika Zibanejad scored twice, including his 200th career goal while Boston winger David Pastrnak also tallied the 200th of his career. The Bruins (71 points) hold a one-point lead over the New York Islanders with a game in hand.

Speaking of the Islanders, they got two goals from Brock Nelson to beat the New Jersey Devils 5-1. Mathew Barzal had a goal and an assist for the fourth-place Isles.

The Nashville Predators clinched the final playoff spot in the Discover Central Division by beating the Carolina Hurricanes 3-1. Luke Kunin scored two goals for the Predators (62 points), who will face the Hurricanes in the opening round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: No one saw the Predators in this position two months ago. A six-game winning streak in late March sparked an impressive season-saving surge in the standings.

A hat trick by Alexander Wennberg carried the Florida Panthers over the Tampa Bay Lightning 5-1. The Panthers (77 points) have won five straight games to move two points ahead of the Lightning into second place in the Central. These two teams will face off in the opening round of the playoffs. Lightning defenseman Victor Hedman missed this game with a lower-body injury.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Sportsnet’s Chris Johnston reports Hedman’s been dealing with this injury since March 30 and he could face surgery following the playoffs. A hobbled Hedman will affect the Lightning’s efforts to successfully defend their Stanley Cup title.

The Vegas Golden Knights maintained their lead atop the Honda West Division with a 4-1 victory over the St. Louis Blues. Reilly Smith netted his first career hat trick as the Golden Knights (80 points) hold a four-point lead over the second-place Colorado Avalanche.

Defenseman Devon Toews scored twice as the Avalanche nipped the Los Angeles Kings 3-2. Andre Burakovsky extended his points streak to five games with two assists. The Avs (76 points) sit one point ahead of the third-place Minnesota Wild with a game in hand.

An overtime goal by Victor Rask gave the Wild a 4-3 win over the Anaheim Ducks. It was the final game of Ducks goaltender Ryan Miller’s NHL career.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Wild saluted Miller following the game by lining up to shake his hand. He ends his career with 391 victories, a 2.64 goals-against average, .914 save percentage and 44 shutouts.

Phil Kessel scored in overtime in his 900th consecutive game as the Arizona Coyotes downed the San Jose Sharks 5-4. Kessel also reached the 20-goal mark for the 12th time in his career.

An overtime goal by Max Domi lifted the Columbus Blue Jackets over the Detroit Red Wings 5-4. Seth Jones collected three assists for the Jackets.

HEADLINES

THE ATHLETIC: Aaron Portzline cites sources saying John Tortorella won’t be returning as head coach of the Columbus Blue Jackets next season. His contract expires after this season. Tortorella is the winningest coach in franchise history, guiding them to four playoff appearances in six seasons, including the first playoff series win in franchise history.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Tortorella won the second of his Jack Adams Awards in 2016-17 for his efforts in getting the Jackets into the playoffs that season. However, the club struggled throughout most of this season, sparking speculation some of the players were growing weary of his demanding ways. He reportedly intends to continue his NHL coaching career.

NHL.COM: The league will relax its COVID-19 restrictions on fully vaccinated teams and players for the upcoming Stanley Cup Playoffs.

TSN: Some players on Canadian teams have started receiving their COVID-19 vaccinations in accordance with Canadian federal and provincial protocols. The Toronto Maple Leafs will begin receiving their shots today.

NBC SPORTS CHICAGO: Blackhawks defenseman Duncan Keith and forward Brett Connolly are both in the NHL’s concussion protocol and won’t complete the club’s final two games of the season.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – May 2, 2021

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – May 2, 2021

The Islanders clinch a playoff spot, Marc-Andre Fleury reaches another milestone, the top rookie and players of April are announced and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NHL.COM: The New York Islanders clinched a playoff berth by downing the New York Rangers 3-0. Semyon Varlamov picked up his third straight shutout with a 28-save performance while Anthony Beauvillier scored twice. The Isles hold third place in the MassMutual East Division with 67 points.

Pittsburgh Penguins goaltender Tristan Jarry made 24 saves to shut out the Washington Capitals 3-0. Bryan Rust tallied two goals for the Penguins (71 points), who sit two points ahead of the Capitals in first place in the East Division. Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin missed his fourth straight game with a lower-body injury.

A hat trick by Craig Smith powered the Boston Bruins over the Buffalo Sabres 6-2. David Krejci collected three assists and Taylor Hall had two. With 66 points, the fourth-place Bruins move within a point of the third-place Islanders. Sabres goaltender Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen left the game following two periods with an apparent lower-body injury.

Vegas Golden Knights goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury (NHL Images).

Vegas Golden Knights goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury picked up his 489th career NHL victory by beating the Arizona Coyotes 3-2 on an overtime goal by Jonathan Marchessault. Fleury is now tied with Roberto Luongo for third place on the all-time wins list. The Golden Knights sit in first place in the Honda West Division with 74 points.

Mikko Rantanen and Nathan MacKinnon each had a goal and an assist as the Colorado Avalanche held off the San Jose Sharks 4-3. The Avs (70 points) sit four back of the Golden Knights in second place. Tomas Hertl and Alexander Barabanov had a goal and an assist for the Sharks.

An overtime goal by Kevin Fiala capped a three-goal rally by the Minnesota Wild to beat the Blues 4-3. The Wild remain two points back of the Avs in third place while the Blues (53 points) hold a three-point lead over the Coyotes for fourth place. St. Louis defenseman Torey Krug missed the game with an upper-body injury.

Auston Matthews scored twice to lead the Toronto Maple Leafs to a 5-1 win over the Vancouver Canucks. With 71 points, the Leafs hold a nine-point lead over the Edmonton Oilers for first place in the Scotia North Division. Matthews leads the league this season with 38 goals.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Barring injury, Matthews will reach 42 goals in 52 games. That’s a big achievement in this pandemic-shortened season.

Connor McDavid had a goal and two assists and Leon Draisaitl collected four assists to douse the Calgary Flames 4-1. The Oilers (62 points) opened a five-point lead over the third-place Winnipeg Jets.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: McDavid now has 87 points with seven games remaining in the season. He still has a good shot at finishing with 100 points.

Montreal Canadiens rookie Cole Caufield’s first NHL goal came in overtime as his club overcame a 2-0 deficit to nip the Ottawa Senators 3-2. Jeff Petry and Tyler Toffoli each had a goal and an assist as the fourth-place Canadiens (55 points) moved within two points of the third-place Jets.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Canadiens now hold an eight-point lead over the Flames with both clubs having six games left.

An overtime goal by Dougie Hamilton lifted the Carolina Hurricanes to a 2-1 victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets. Hurricanes goaltender Alex Nedeljkovic kicked out 31 shots and collected an assist on Hamilton’s goal. The Hurricanes sit atop the Discover Central Division with 75 points, two up on the second-place Florida Panthers.

Speaking of the Panthers, Anthony Duclair scored twice and picked up an assist in a 5-4 win over the Chicago Blackhawks. Aleksander Barkov had a goal and an assist and Sam Bennett collected two helpers. The Panthers sit two points up on the third-place Tampa Bay Lightning.

The Lightning, meanwhile, dropped a 1-0 decision to the Detroit Red Wings. Thomas Greiss made 33 saves for the shutout while Sam Gagner tallied the winner in a shootout. Lightning goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy was a healthy scratch as head coach Jon Cooper alluded to a plan for his starter down the stretch.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It sounds like Cooper intends to rest Vasilevskiy as much as possible over the remainder of the regular season in preparation for the upcoming playoffs.

An overtime goal by Erik Haula lifted the Nashville Predators over the Dallas Stars 1-0. Juuse Saros made 28 stops for the shutout as the Predators (58 points) opened a three-point lead over the Stars for the fourth and final playoff spot in the Central.

Anaheim Ducks goalie Ryan Miller made 23 saves in his final home game in a 6-2 victory over the Los Angeles Kings. Danton Heinen and Jacob Larsson each had a goal and two assists. Miller is retiring at the end of this season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Kings lined up following the game to congratulate Miller while the Ducks honored the goaltender and his family with a center-ice ceremony.

The New Jersey Devils defeated the Philadelphia Flyers 4-1. Jack Hughes collected two assists and Mackenzie Blackwood made 31 saves for the Devils.

Carolina Hurricanes center Sebastian Aho, Colorado Avalanche center Nathan MacKinnon, Boston Bruins winger Brad Marchand and Toronto Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews were named the NHL’s stars of the month for April 2021. Dallas Stars left wing Jason Robertson was named rookie of the month for April.

THE PROVINCE: The Vancouver Canucks placed Jake Virtanen on leave and are taking part in an independent investigation into allegations of sexual misconduct by the 24-year-old winger.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: People will rush to judgment on Virtanen but we don’t know all the facts. The accuser must be heard and have their claim fully investigated but Virtanen also has the right to defend himself. Remember, innocent until proven guilty.