NHL Rumor Mill – February 22, 2024

NHL Rumor Mill – February 22, 2024

Check out the latest on the Penguins, Panthers and Avalanche plus updates on Noah Hanifin, Chris Tanev, Juuse Saros, Pavel Buchnevich and more in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.


PITTSBURGH HOCKEY NOW: Dan Kingerski reports Penguins general manager Kyle Dubas said his club’s performance over the next couple of weeks would determine his plans for the March 8 trade deadline.

Dubas made it sound as though Jake Guentzel might not be with the Penguins for much longer. The 29-year-old winger is slated to become an unrestricted free agent on July 1, sparking speculation he could be moved at the trade deadline if the Penguins remain out of playoff contention.

The Penguins GM said he understands how valuable Guentzel is as a teammate and to the community. However, he also pointed out that the Penguins need to get younger, noting they have several players over 30 on long-term contracts.

SPORTSNET: In his latest “32 Thoughts” column, Elliotte Friedman reports there are teams that believe the Penguins will take another run at re-signing Guentzel, suggesting perhaps team captain Sidney Crosby might use his influence in this situation.

Pittsburgh Penguins winger Jake Guentzel (NHL Images)

Friedman also noted that there are teams interested in Guentzel who want to know if they can talk to him about a contract extension before agreeing to a trade. That would hurt a team like the Edmonton Oilers, who’ve been linked to Guentzel but have limited salary-cap space.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Guentzel situation remains the same: Dubas could retain him for the rest of the season if they’re in a playoff spot by the trade deadline but could move him if they’re not. Looking at where the Penguins are now in the standings, it’s getting to the point where Guentzel could be moved by March 8 if a club makes a solid offer.

As for attempting to re-sign Guentzel, Kingerski noted that the Penguins GM didn’t mention contract extension talks during his press conference yesterday.

Kingerski and Friedman also noted that Dubas said he attempted to shake up his roster with a trade several weeks ago. However, the opportunities to do so weren’t there. He also indicated that he didn’t want to move his draft capital to bolster the roster, though he would consider doing so if it brought in young NHL-ready players.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: TSN yesterday reported Dubas was willing to entertain offers for anyone except Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and Kris Letang. Kingerski pointed out that the Penguins have 13 players carrying no-movement or no-trade clauses. Those clauses likely hampered Dubas’ efforts to make a trade to shake up his roster.

Friedman also mused about whether the Ottawa Senators might consider bringing back Erik Karlsson from the Penguins and reuniting him with former teammate turned assistant coach Daniel Alfredsson.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Friedman indicated that isn’t based on anything he’s heard but is something he’s just musing over. I don’t see it happening. Karlsson loved Ottawa and still maintains a residence there but I think the new ownership and management have plans that don’t include the former Senators defenseman.

Friedman also wondered about Penguins winger Reilly Smith returning to the Florida Panthers.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Smith spent two seasons with the Panthers before joining the Vegas Golden Knights. Panthers GM Bill Zito would like to add a top-nine forward but he noted that they don’t come cheap.

The Panthers lack a first-round pick in the 2024 and 2025 drafts and they don’t have a second-rounder in this year’s draft. Unless Zito is willing to part with some prospects, Smith probably won’t be returning to Florida.


SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman indicated that there’s no official confirmation yet that Calgary Flames defenseman Hanifin is going to the free-agent market but that’s where it’s headed.

He doubted the Tampa Bay Lightning could put together a suitable package to entice the Flames into parting with Hanifin. He also noted that the Toronto Maple Leafs made a pitch and would like to know if they can sign him but he appears headed to an American club on a long-term contract.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Leafs would also be hard-pressed to put together an enticing offer for Hanifin. They could pitch their 2024 first-round pick but if they’re not willing to part with a top prospect they’re unlikely to outbid other clubs.

Speaking of Hanifin, Friedman recently speculated the Panthers could be among the suitors. Based on Zito’s comments regarding the expense of landing a top-nine forward, I don’t like their chances of getting the Flames defenseman.

The Dallas Stars, Oilers, Leafs, Vancouver Canucks and Colorado Avalanche have an interest or have had an interest in Flames blueliner Chris Tanev. The Flames seek a first-rounder or something comparable.

Some folks believe there’s a 50-50 chance that Juuse Saros stays with the Nashville Predators. Speaking of the Predators, center Tommy Novak is a UFA this summer and he could draw interest if they can’t re-sign him.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Saros is signed through next season so there’s no rush to move him by the trade deadline, especially when the Predators are jockeying for a wild-card berth. A summer move seems more likely if they can’t work out a contract extension.

The St. Louis Blues have set an asking price of “two firsts or something like it” for winger Pavel Buchnevich, who has a year remaining on his contract.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Like the Predators with Saros, the Blues could be reluctant to move Buchnevich while they’re still battling for a wild-card spot.

Canadiens defenseman David Savard doesn’t wish to leave Montreal. Meanwhile, teams have asked Buffalo about Alex Tuch but the Sabres value him.

The Colorado Avalanche’s search for a center could have them eyeing Arizona Coyotes’ Nick Bjugstad, former Av Alex Kerfoot or Michael Carcone.

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 15, 2023

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 15, 2023

Tuesday’s action saw the Bruins regain first place in the overall standings while the Ducks set a league record for comeback wins. Check out the recaps plus the latest on the Devils’ Jack Hughes, the Oilers’ Leon Draisaitl and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.


NHL.COM: The Boston Bruins (12-1-2) took over first place (26 points) in the overall standings with a 5-2 victory over the Buffalo Sabres. David Pastrnak had a goal and two assists while Charlie McAvoy and Pavel Zacha each collected two assists. Victor Olofsson scored both goals for the Sabres (7-8-1), who also lost scoring center Tage Thompson for what could be a “significant” amount of time with an injured left wrist.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Losing Thompson comes at a time when the Sabres are struggling to gain some traction in the standings. They face a big challenge offsetting his absence if he’s sidelined for a long time.

Speaking of the Bruins, winger Jake DeBrusk has been having trouble finding the back of the net through the early going. Coming off a 27-goal performance last season, he’s managed just one goal in 14 games thus far.

Third-period goals by Radko Gudas and Adam Henrique lifted the Anaheim Ducks over the Nashville Predators 3-2, setting an NHL single-season record with their sixth comeback third-period win through the first 15 games of the season. John Gibson stopped 29 shots for the Ducks as they improved to 9-6-0 on the season. Filip Forsberg and Roman Josi scored for the Predators as they slipped to 5-10-0.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Earlier in the day, the Predators placed forward Tommy Novak (upper body) on injured reserve. He’s expected to miss four to six weeks.

The Washington Capitals blanked the Vegas Golden Knights 3-0. Netminder Charlie Lindgren turned in a 35-save shutout performance while Dylan Strome, Connor McMichael and Beck Malenstyn tallied for the Capitals (8-4-2). Logan Thompson turned aside 28 shots for the Golden Knights (12-3-1), who sit atop the Western Conference with 25 points but slipped to second in the overall standings following the Bruins win over the Sabres.

Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby (NHL Images).

Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby tallied a hat trick to lead his club over the Columbus Blue Jackets 5-3. Crosby finished with four points while Erik Karlsson and Jake Guentzel each had a goal and an assist for the 8-6-0 Penguins. Elvis Merzlikins made 36 saves for the Blue Jackets (4-8-4) as they sit last in the Eastern Conference with 12 points.

Winnipeg Jets wingers Kyle Connor and Nikolaj Ehlers each tallied twice to defeat the New Jersey Devils 6-3. Josh Morrissey collected four assists for the 8-5-2 Jets as Connor moved into a tie with Toronto’s Auston Matthews for the league lead in goals with 13. Timo Meier, John Marino and Dawson Mercer replied for the slumping Devils (7-6-1) as they’ve dropped their third straight contest.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Devils got some good news as sidelined center Jack Hughes could return to their lineup as early as Saturday when they host the Rangers. However, team captain Nico Hischier (head) was placed on injured reserve retroactive to Oct. 27. Meanwhile, Jets defenseman Rasmus Kupari left this game in the first period with a possible shoulder or arm injury.

An overtime goal by Matt Duchene lifted the Dallas Stars to a 4-3 win over the Arizona Coyotes. Tyler Seguin tied the game late in the third period as he and Duchene each finished with a goal and an assist. Clayton Keller, Jason Zucker and Lawson Crouse scored for the 7-6-2 Coyotes while the Stars (11-3-1) won their fourth straight to sit atop the Central Division with 23 points.

The Calgary Flames got a 34-save performance from goaltender Jacob Markstrom in a 2-1 win over the Montreal Canadiens. Nazem Kadri and Conor Zary scored for the Flames (5-8-2) while Gustav Lindstrom replied for the Canadiens, who dropped to 7-7-2.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Canadiens defenseman Kaiden Guhle avoided a serious facial injury when he was accidentally clipped in the face by the skate of Flames center Elias Lindholm. Guhle went straight to the dressing room but returned to the game after getting treatment for a small cut to his mouth.

St. Louis Blues goaltender Jordan Binnington kicked out 30 shots to shut out the Tampa Bay Lightning 5-0. Jordan Kyrou scored two goals and Pavel Buchnevich collected two assists for the Blues (8-5-1), who’ve won three games in a row and five of their last six. It’s the third straight loss for the Lightning (6-6-4) and their second straight shutout loss.

The Florida Panthers picked up their fifth straight win with a 5-3 victory over the San Jose Sharks. Sam Reinhart, Aleksander Barkov and Matthew Tkachuk each had two points for the 10-4-1 Panthers. Mike Hoffman, Tomas Hertl and Luke Kunin replied for the 2-13-1Sharks, who remain at the bottom of the overall standings with five points.


TSN: NHL general managers discuss cut-proof equipment and tweaking the rules for regular-season overtime during their annual meeting in Toronto on Tuesday.

Interest in cut-resistant equipment came to the forefront of conversation following the death of former NHL player Adam Johnson after his neck was cut by a skate blade during an EIHL game in England on Oct. 28.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Speaking of Johnson, British police have arrested EIHL player Matt Petgrave and charged him with manslaughter following a three-week investigation into the incident.

As for those tweaks to overtime, they could include a shot clock or preventing teams from continuously leaving the offensive zone to retain possession. NHL executive Colin Campbell said they haven’t considered a change to the format such as making the overtime period longer or eliminating the shootout.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I’d ditch the shootout, have 3-on-3 20-minute overtime periods until there’s a winner and get rid of the “loser point”. What changes would you make? Let me know in the comments below.

TSN/EDMONTON JOURNAL: The NHL department of player safety fined Edmonton Oilers forward Leon Draisaitl $5,000.00 for a dangerous trip on New York Islanders center Bo Horvat on Monday.

The Oilers also announced that forward Dylan Holloway could be out long-term after suffering a knee injury against the Islanders on Monday. They’ve also returned forward Raphael Lavoie to their AHL affiliate in Bakersfield.

CBS SPORTS: Philadelphia Flyers goaltender Carter Hart is ready to return to action after missing the last five games with a mid-body injury followed by a bout with food poisoning.

THE PROVINCE: Canucks defenseman Carson Soucy is listed as week-to-week after suffering a leg injury during Sunday’s game against the Canadiens.

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 9, 2023

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – February 9, 2023

The Stars tame the Wild, the Rangers down the Canucks and Oilers GM Ken Holland seeks “dollar-in, dollar-out” trades. Details on these and other stories in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.


NHL.COM: It was a milestone game for Dallas Stars captain Jamie Benn as his club tamed the Minnesota Wild by a score of 4-1. Benn opened the scoring with his 20th goal of the season, marking his 10th career 20-goal season. Jake Oettinger made 38 saves and Jason Robertson collected two assists as the Stars (30-13-10) extended their points streak to seven games. Joel Eriksson Ek replied for the Wild as they slipped to 27-19-4 on the season.

Dallas Stars captain Jamie Benn (NHL Images)

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Stars opened a five-point lead over the Winnipeg Jets for first place in the Western Conference with 70 points. The Wild, meanwhile, dropped into the final wild-card berth in the West with 58 points.

The New York Rangers held off the Vancouver Canucks 4-3. K’Andre Miller collected three assists while Filip Chytil scored to extend his goal streak to five games as the Rangers improved to 29-14-8. Quinn Hughes collected two assists while J.T. Miller picked up an assist for his 500th career point as the Canucks fell to 20-27-4.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Rangers sit in third place in the Metropolitan Division with 66 points.


TSN: Edmonton Oilers general manager Ken Holland told the Got Yer Back podcast that he would like to make a move before the March 3 trade deadline to help his roster. However, he indicated it would have to be a “dollar in, dollar out” move.

The Oilers have $1.125 million in cap space with winger Kailer Yamamoto ($3.1 million average annual value) eligible to come off long-term injury reserve on Saturday. Holland explained that will force him to make some difficult decisions regarding his bottom-of-the-roster players. “They can’t all stay,” he said.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Trade rumors link the Oilers to left-shot defensemen such as the Arizona Coyotes Jakob Chychrun, the Columbus Blue Jackets Vladislav Gavrikov and the Montreal Canadiens Joel Edmundson. A dollar-in, dollar-out deal could involve winger Jesse Puljujarvi ($3.5 million AAV) as the Oilers have been trying to move him for months.

THE HOCKEY NEWS: Adam Proteau doesn’t expect much to change for the NHL Players Association now that US Secretary of Labor Marty Walsh is expected to become their new executive director.

Proteau doubts Walsh will make the PA more aggressive in its collective bargaining negotiations with the NHL. He points out that the players have taken the money they’re getting under the current CBA and kept the waters calm. The league, meanwhile, isn’t about to change a system that is working well for the owners of the 32 teams.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I agree with Proteau’s take. He noted the PA could decertify, which would allow all the players to become unrestricted free agents able to negotiate any contract with any team. However, they haven’t shown any inclination to go that route and it’s unlikely they’re going to do so in four years’ time when the current CBA is due to expire.

NEW YORK POST: Ethan Sears reports the Islanders announced they will avoid rainbow jerseys and tape during their Pride Night warmups. They will be making donations to the LGBT Network and the New York Gay Pride Association, as well as carrying out other Pride-based initiatives.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Isles are following the lead of the New York Rangers, which did the same thing during their recent Pride Night. It’ll be interesting to see if any more teams follow suit.

NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman recently said he doesn’t want the issue of rainbow jerseys overshadowing the league’s support of the game community. Sears points out that may be already happening.

FLORIDA HOCKEY NOW: Panthers captain Aleksander Barkov skipped practice yesterday but head coach Paul Maurice doesn’t consider his injury to be serious. Barkov left Monday’s game against the Tampa Bay Lightning after being struck in the hand by a shot.

THE PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER: The Flyers have told their season-ticket holders that if they renew, they’ll refund the price of all their April games and apply the credit toward next season.

TSN: The Nashville Predators re-signed forward Tommy Novak to a one-year, $800K contract extension.

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 25, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – June 25, 2022

The Lightning stay alive with a Game 5 win in the Stanley Cup Final, Barry Trotz is in no hurry to return to coaching, the Blackhawks will name Luke Richardson as their new coach, Chris Kreider and Joel Farabee undergo surgery, and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.

NHL.COM: Ondrej Palat’s third-period goal lifted the Tampa Bay Lightning to a 3-2 victory over the Colorado Avalanche in Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Final.

Tampa Bay Lightning winger Ondrej Palat (NHL Images).

Andrei Vasilevskiy picked up the win with a 35-save performance, Jan Rutta and Nikita Kucherov also scored while Corey Perry and Mikhail Sergachev each collected two assists for the Lightning.

Valeri Nichushkin and Cale Makar replied for the Avalanche, whose lead in the series has been cut to three games to two. Nichushkin tied a franchise record with his fourth goal in a Stanley Cup Final.

The series returns to Tampa Bay on Sunday for Game 6.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: For the third time in this postseason, the Lightning battled back with a hard-fought victory when facing elimination. Once again, Vasilevskiy was stellar in a must-win game. And once again, it was Palat with a clutch goal, giving him a team-leading three game-winners in this postseason and 12 playoff winners for his career, ranking third in that category among active players.

The breaks went the Lightning’s way in this contest. After the Avalanche got lucky in Game 5 with a missed too-many-men call during Nazem Kadri’s game-winner in overtime, they were tagged this time with 2:43 remaining in regulation, all but snuffing out an opportunity to pull their goalie and push for the equalizing goal. The Bolts also benefited when a tripping call on Makar led to Kucherov’s 4-on-3 power-play goal in the second period.

WINNIPEG SUN: Former New York Islanders coach Barry Trotz turned down the opportunity to coach the Jets, basing his decision on spending more time with his family.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The report indicated Trotz was impressed by the Jets’ approach in both their patience as he considered their offer and willingness to accommodate his needs if he accepted the job.

Sources told the Sun that Trotz was reluctant to face the grind of another NHL season after 23 straight years of coaching. The Islanders also owe him another season of salary ($4 million), allowing him time to step back, spend more time with his family and ponder his future.

DAILY FACEOFF: Frank Seravalli reported the Chicago Blackhawks are expected to name Luke Richardson as their new head coach next week. Richardson has spent the past four seasons as an assistant coach with the Montreal Canadiens.

NEW YORK POST: Rangers winger Chris Kreider underwent surgery to remove a small bone fragment from his wrist. His expected timeline of recovery is two-to-four weeks.

PHILLY HOCKEY NOW: Flyers forward Joel Farabee could miss the start of the 2022-23 season after undergoing disc-replacement surgery in his cervical area on Friday. He’s expected to make a full recovery in three-to-four months.

VANCOUVER HOCKEY NOW: The Canucks have hired former Florida Panthers general manager Dale Tallon as a senior advisor.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Tallon’s NHL career has now come full circle. He began his playing career with the Canucks in 1970-71.

TRIBLIVE.COM: The Pittsburgh Penguins named Tom Kostopoulos as director of player development. He replaces Scott Young, who was named the Canucks director of player personnel on Friday.

NHL.COM: The Nashville Predators signed forward Cody Glass to a one-year, two-way contract worth over $874K at the NHL level.

TSN: Minnesota Wild prospect Pavel Novak is taking time away from hockey to deal with an oncological disease.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Best wishes to Novak in his treatments. Here’s hoping he makes a full recovery and resumes his playing career.