Game recaps, waiver info plus updates on Brian Gionta, Chris Kelly, Jordan Staal and more in your NHL morning coffee headlines.
NHL.COM: Rick Nash’s debut with the Boston Bruins wasn’t particularly memorable as he was held scoreless in a 4-1 loss to the Buffalo Sabres. Nash was dealt to the Bruins by the New York Rangers earlier in the day. The Bruins also announced the signing of free agent Brian Gionta to a one-year, $700K contract. Gionta, 39, was the captain of Team USA Men’s Olympic hockey team.
Speaking of the Rangers, they fell 3-2 in overtime to the Detroit Red Wings on an overtime goal by Trevor Daley. Ryan Spooner, who was acquired by the Blueshirts earlier in the day in the Rick Nash trade, tallied two assists with his new club. The Rangers honored Hall of Famer Jean Ratelle by retiring his No. 19 in a pre-game ceremony. The club also intends to retire the No. 11 of Ratelle’s linemate Vic Hatfield next year.
Connor McDavid’s shootout goal gave the Edmonton Oilers a 6-5 win over the Anaheim Ducks (Photo via NHL Images)
The Edmonton Oilers blew two two-goal leads before Connor McDavid’s shootout goal gave them a 6-5 victory over the Anaheim Ducks. McDavid also collected three assists. Anaheim’s Rickard Rakell potted a hat trick while Corey Perry also had three helpers. The Ducks also signed free-agent forward Chris Kelly to a one-year pro-rated contract. Kelly captained Canada’s Men’s Olympic hockey team to a bronze medal in Pyeongchang.
Pekka Rinne had a 27-save shutout performance backstopping the Nashville Predators to a 4-0 win over the St. Louis Blues. Predators forward Kevin Fiala tallied his 20th goal of the season. The Blues have lost four in a row and fallen out of a playoff berth in the Western Conference. The Predators also made a minor move yesterday, acquiring forward Brandon Bollig and goaltender Troy Grosenick from the San Jose Sharks in exchange for a sixth-round pick in the 2018 NHL Draft.
Jared Spurgeon’s overtime goal lifted the Minnesota Wild to their fourth straight win by edging the San Jose Sharks 3-2.
Daniel Sedin scored twice and Jacob Markstrom kicked out 41 shots to give the Vancouver Canucks a 3-1 win over the Arizona Coyotes.
THE NEWS & OBSERVER: The infant daughter of Carolina Hurricanes center Jordan Staal died on Sunday. The club issued a statement mourning her death and asking the public to respect the Staal family’s privacy at this time.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: My sincere condolences to Staal and his family.
SPORTING NEWS: Former NHL forward Ilya Kovalchuk confirmed he’ll attempt to return to the league this summer as an unrestricted free agent. Kovalchuk helped the Olympic Athletes from Russia (OAR) win Olympic gold in Men’s hockey.
NEWSDAY: Barclays Center CEO Brett Yormack called the New York Islanders ” a rent-a-team” that never fully embraced Brooklyn and vice versa.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Well, me-ow.
Waivers today: Holland (NYR) clears. Chris Breen (BOS), Paul Postma (BOS), Jussi Jokinen (CBJ), Cody Golobeuf (CgY), Lance Bouma (CHI), Chris Stewart (MIN), Alex Burrows (OTT) on waivers.
NHL Rumor Mill Afternoon Update – February 24, 2018
Quick updates on the Senators, Sharks and Panthers in your NHL afternoon rumor update.
The San Jose Sharks have contacted the Ottawa Senators regarding defenseman Erik Karlsson (Photo via NHL Images)
SHARKS INTERESTED IN KARLSSON
TSN: Pierre LeBrun reports the San Jose Sharks are among several teams to contact the Ottawa Senators about defenseman Erik Karlsson. LeBrun doubts there’s a fit there but noted Sharks GM Doug Wilson reputation for pursuing name talent in the past. He also points out the Sharks have the cap space to make this move, especially if Senators winger Bobby Ryan is to be included in the deal.
Darren Dreger reports the Ottawa Senators scratched defenseman Johnny Oduya from today’s game against Philadelphia as a precautionary measure. Dreger said there’s no deal in place for Oduya but the club is working on it.
Dreger also reports the Sharks have asked veteran winger Joel Ward for his six-team no-trade list.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Can’t say I blame Wilson for inquiring about Karlsson, but I agree with LeBrun that there doesn’t seem to be a fit there. Unless, of course, a third club gets involved and they hammer out a complicated three-way deal akin to the Brassard trade on Friday.
PANTHERS PURSUING McDONAGH?
SPORTSNET: John Shannon tweeted the Florida Panthers appear to have interest in New York Rangers defenseman Ryan McDonagh.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: McDonagh has a modified no-trade. If the Panthers are on that list, he won’t be going there.
Latest on the Senators, Flames, Oilers, Maple Leafs and Canadiens in an all-Canadian edition of your NHL rumor mill.
WHAT NEXT FOR THE SENATORS?
THE ATHLETIC: Prior to the Ottawa Senators shipping center Derick Brassard to the Pittsburgh Penguins yesterday, Pierre LeBrun noted Tampa Bay Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman’s apparent unwillingness to part with roster players in a trade. The Lightning have been linked to Senators defenseman Erik Karlsson. LeBrun also noted the Senators’ preference to include winger Bobby Ryan and his $7.25-million salary-cap hit could complicate a potential Karlsson trade and wonders if a three-team deal might get it done by the 3 pm ET trade deadline.
TAMPA BAY TIMES: Joe Smith also noted Yzerman’s reluctance to part with roster players and how the Senators’ desire to include Ryan in the deal complicates things further. He points out the Lightning are still believed in on New York Rangers blueliner Ryan McDonagh, who could be an expensive acquisition but far more affordable than Karlsson. Detroit’s Mike Green and Columbus’ Jack Johnson could be affordable rental options.
The Ottawa Senators’ hope to include Bobby Ryan in any potential Erik Karlsson trade. (Photo via NHL Images).
TSN’s Travis Yost cites sources claiming ” Ottawa in serious discussions to engage third and fourth-party teams to further develop an Erik Karlsson trade. Working to include Bobby Ryan.” Yost added, “Tampa Bay is working Ottawa extremely hard and has been for three days now.”
OTTAWA SUN: Bruce Garrioch reports the Senators decision to trade Brassard likely means they won’t be shopping center Jean-Gabriel Pageau, as his role with the club will likely expand with Brassard gone. The Senators are also talking to teams about Erik Karlsson, while the futures of forwards Mike Hoffman and Zack Smith and defenceman Johnny Oduya remain uncertain.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The three-way deal that sent Brassard to the Penguins certainly adds credence to the possibility of the Sens bringing in a third or fourth team to move Karlsson and Ryan. Pulling it off, however, remains difficult.
The Brassard deal was complex and at one point had to be reworked after it was rejected by NHL headquarters. A three- or four-team swap involving Karlsson and Ryan could get quite complicated. I’m not saying it can’t happen before Monday’s trade deadline, but it could become so complex that it becomes a Rube Goldberg machine that fails to pass the league’s smell test. At this point, it’s more likely Hoffman, Smith or Oduya get moved at the deadline.
FLAMES AND OILERS
SPORTSNET: Eric Francis recently examined the Calgary Flames’ needs approaching the trade deadline, suggesting they require a top-six winger and potentially a goaltender if currently sidelined starter Mike Smith is out longer than expected. He also feels their third line, which he called “an embarrassment this year”, is in dire need of an upgrade.
Francis lists forward Sam Bennett, defenseman T.J. Brodie and prospects Jon Gillies and Adam Fox as possible trade chips. While Brodie could fetch the Flames a top-six winger, Francis doesn’t see him getting moved.
CALGARY SUN: Francis followed up by reporting GM Brad Treliving has until the trade deadline to determine if his club needs to bring in a goaltender. With Smith sidelined, the Flames are making due with rookies such as Gillies and David Rittich as they struggle to remain in the Western Conference playoff race. He notes Carolina’s Cam Ward and Buffalo’s Robin Lehner are available but wonders if either guy would be an upgrade.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: With the Hurricanes jockeying for a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference, I don’t think Ward’s available. The Sabres could entertain offers for Lehner but I’m not certain they’re ready to part ways with him yet. I agree with Francis that the Flames are unlikely to shop Brodie. If they do make a move for a winger or a goalie, I expect they’ll draw from their prospect depth.
SPORTSNET: Mark Spector recently examined the Edmonton Oilers’ needs at the NHL trade deadline. He pointed out their ongoing need for a right-handed defenseman who can run the power play and for speedy wingers. He noted pending free-agent winger Patrick Maroon as a possible trade chip, linking him to the Boston Bruins and St. Louis Blues. Spector also doubts they’ll be able to dump winger Milan Lucic and his $6-million annual cap hit. He suggested a bold move would be shipping center Ryan Nugent-Hopkins for a No. 1 defenseman, such as Colorado’s Tyson Barrie. Spector said he’d be shocked if the Oilers shopped their 2018 first-round pick at the deadline.
EDMONTON JOURNAL: Terry Jones reports Oilers GM Peter Chiarelli indicated yesterday he had no interest in blowing up his roster but will attempt to remodel it. In other words, perhaps moving assets for “almost-ready-for-prime-time prospects,” especially those with speed. He’s also not shopping prized players such as Leon Draisaitl. Chiarelli also acknowledged receiving interest in pending UFAs Maroon and Mark Letestu.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I expect Maroon and Letestu will be goners, likely for draft picks and/or prospects. Chiarelli’s most significant “remodeling” attempts will likely come in the offseason. I don’t see Nugent-Hopkins getting dealt at the trade deadline, but I wouldn’t rule it out for the offseason if there’s a good return to be had. I agree with Spector that Chiarelli won’t trade his 2018 first-rounder at the deadline. He’ll could perhaps peddle it leading up to the 2018 Draft.
LEAFS AND CANADIENS
SPORTSNET: Luke Fox recently examined the trade needs for the Toronto Maple Leafs approaching the trade deadline. He feels they require a top-four, right-shot defenseman and more depth at center. He speculated they could look at “Detroit’s Luke Glendening, Edmonton’s Mark Letestu, or New York’s David Desharnais as a bottom-six centre.” Potential trade assets could include winger Matt Martin, forwards Josh Leivo and Kasperi Kapanen and goalies Calvin Pickard and Garret Sparks.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: While the Leafs have been linked to the Rangers’ Ryan McDonagh, Fox points out he’s a left-handed shot. The Leafs could instead look at a rental such as Mike Green and perhaps seek that right-shot rearguard via trade or free agency this summer. I expect they’ll make a move but it could be for short-term depth. Having dealt away Nikita Soshnikov last week to St. Louis, I don’t see Kapanen going anywhere. Leivo or one of those goalies could be used as trade bait.
Volume of calls started to pick up on Plekanec today as soon as news leaked out of Brassard trade. Habs should have enough there by Monday to make a decision.
Evgeni Malkin hopes to speak with Pittsburgh Penguins ownership regarding Olympic participation.
Olympic participation update, roundup of latest contract signings & more in your NHL morning coffee headlines.
THE HOCKEY NEWS: NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly poured cold water on talk of an alternative schedule that gave rise to the slim hope of the league’s possible participation in the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea.
“There is not an alternative schedule. Having NHL Players participate in the 2018 Winter Olympic Games is not an available option,” said Daly. “All of the international federations are planning appropriately for constructing teams that will not include NHL players. I anticipate there will be federation announcements in the coming days that should eliminate any and all continuing doubt or skepticism about the issue.”
TVA SPORTS: Pittsburgh Penguins star Evgeni Malkin told Russia’s Soviet Sport he intends to meet with team owner Mario Lemieux to discuss the 2018 Olympics. “It will be difficult to go if the league refuses. Mario may not be able to influence their decision. But I want to talk to the owners,” said Malkin.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The league has already indicated it would take a dim view of players under NHL contracts taking part in the 2018 Games. This situation could worsen the reportedly deteriorating relationship between the league and the NHL Players Association. It also raises the possibility of a star player prematurely retiring from the NHL in order to play for their country in Pyeongchang.
WGR 550: Buffalo Sabres winger Kyle Okposo wrote a thank you letter to the hockey community for its support during his recovery from an undisclosed illness tied to medication to treat a concussion that ended his season in March 2017. He expects to be ready to go for training camp in September.
TSN: Free agent winger Jaromir Jagr remains hopeful of signing with an NHL team for 2017-18.
TRIBLIVE.COM: The Pittsburgh Penguins avoided arbitration with defenseman Brian Dumoulin, re-signing him to a six-year contract worth an annual average value of $4.1 million.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Over the past two seasons, Dumoulin came into his own as a reliable top-four defenseman, playing a significant role in helping the Penguins win back-to-back Stanley Cup championships. He also played through the 2017 postseason with a broken hand. Fortunately, he doesn’t require surgery.
THE TENNESSEAN: The Nashville Predators and forward Austin Watson also avoid arbitration, reaching agreement on a three-year, $3.3 million contract. He earned $575K annually at the NHL level on his previous contract.
OTTAWA SUN: The Senators signed veteran defenseman Johnny Oduya to a bonus-laden one-year deal. He’ll earn $1 million in base salary and could earn an additional $1.25 million.
WINNIPEG SUN: The Jets re-signed goaltender Connor Hellebuyck to a one-year, $2.25 million contract. He was slated to have an arbitration hearing on August 1.
NEWSDAY: The New York Islanders re-signed defenseman Adam Pelech to a four-year deal worth an average annual value of $1.6 million.
THE PROVINCE: The Vancouver Canucks avoided arbitration with winger Reid Boucher by signing him to a one-year deal worth over $687K at the NHL level.
BOSTON HERALD: Bruins forward Ryan Spooner seeks a one-year, $3.85 million contract. The club is offering $2 million. His arbitration hearing is slated for July 26.
Anaheim Ducks captain Ryan Getzlaf (center) celebrates his empty-net goal over the Calgary Flames in Game 4 of their opening round series.
Ducks eliminate Flames, Senators push Bruins to brink & more in your NHL morning coffee headlines.
NHL.COM: John Gibson made 38 saves to backstop the Anaheim Ducks to a 3-1 win over the Calgary Flames, eliminating the latter from the opening round of the 2017 Stanley Cup playoffs in four straight games. Patrick Eaves, Nate Thompson and Ryan Getzlaf scored for the Ducks, while Sean Monahan tallied the Flames’ only goal. The Ducks await the winner of the Edmonton Oilers-San Jose Sharks series.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Ducks were simply too strong defensively for the Flames. Brian Elliott’s shaky goaltending was a key factor in the Flames’ demise. He’s likely played his final game for Calgary.
Bobby Ryan scored the only goal and Craig Anderson had a 22-save shutout as the Ottawa Senators blanked the Boston Bruins 1-0, taking a 3-1 series lead and pushing the Bruins to the brink of elimination. Senators forward Tom Pyatt left the game with an upper-body injury in the first period and didn’t return. Bruins defenseman Colin Miller returned to action after missing Games 2 and 3 with an injury.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Senators are doing a fine job clogging up the neutral zone and stymieing the Bruin’s attack. While Ryan’s been a clutch scorer for the Sens, captain Erik Karlsson is the dominant player of this series so far. His playmaking is a big reason the Sens hold a 3-1 series lead.
Four first-period goals, including two by winger Tom Wilson, helped the Washington Capitals to a 5-4 win over the Toronto Maple Leafs, tying their series at two games apiece returning to Washington for Game 5. T.J. Oshie also scored twice for the Caps, including the game winner in the third period. Leafs forwwards William Nylander and Mitch Marner each collected two assists.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The score flattered the Leafs, as the Capitals dominated most of the play in this game and never surrendered the lead.
Devan Dubnyk made 28 saves as the Minnesota Wild shut out the St. Louis Blues 2-0 to stave off elimination. Charlie Coyle and Martin Hanzal scored for the Wild. The Blues hold a 3-1 lead in the series as it head back to Minnesota for Game 5 on Saturday.
THE BUFFALO NEWS: Sabres center Jack Eichel and his agent yesterday denied a report citing team insiders claiming he wouldn’t sign a contract extension if Dan Bylsma remained as head coach. Eichel is in the second season of a three-year entry-level deal.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The report added more spice to an offseason of intrigue for the Sabres. With the club missing the playoffs and failing to notable improve, speculation is swirling over Bylsma’s future. Eichel made headlines earlier this month by calling out some of his teammates for sub-par play.
EDMONTON SUN: Oilers forward Leon Draisaitl was fined $2,569.44, the maximum allowable under the collective bargaining agreement, for spearing San Jose Sharks forward Chris Tierney in the crotch during the Sharks 7-0 win over the Oilers in Game 4.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Draisaitl had no previous history of suspensions or fines, hence the reason he got off lightly for jabbing Tierney in the junk.
NHL.COM: Boston Bruins center Patrice Bergeron, Anaheim Ducks center Ryan Kesler and Minnesota Wild center Mikko Koivu are the finalist for the 2017 Frank J. Selke trophy honoring the league’s top defensive forward.
COLUMBUS DISPATCH: NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said the league has no plans to change the playoff format.
TORONTO SUN: NHL Hall of Famer Lanny McDonald has been inducted in the Canadian Sports Hall of Fame.
CHICAGO SUN-TIMES: The Blackhawks could scratch veteran defenseman Johnny Oduya from Game 4 of their series against the Nashville Predators.
The Montreal Canadiens trade David Desharnais to the Edmonton Oilers for defenseman Brandon Davidson.
The Montreal Canadiens trade center David Desharnais to the Edmonton Oilers in exchange for defenseman Brandon Davidson. The Canadiens also retained $700K of Desharnais’ $3.5 million cap hit.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: No surprise that Desharnais, an unrestricted free agent, is on his way out of Montreal. His production steadily declined from his career-best 52 point season in 2013-14. He missed time earlier this season to a knee injury and in recent games was a frequent healthy scratch.
The Oilers were reportedly seeking a third-line center who was strong in the faceoff circle. Desharnais is ok in that department (47.8 percent). However, the Oilers were looking at big guys like Martin Hanzal and Brian Boyle before their recent trades to Minnesota and Toronto respectively. Having lost out on those guys, perhaps the Oilers opted for speed and offensive skills. Perhaps they can plug Desharnais into their second line and move Ryan Nugent-Hopkins down to the third line.
The Habs, meanwhile, acquire their second defenseman in as many days, having dealt for Jordie Benn yesterday. Davidson, 25, is in only his second full NHL season. He missed over 30 games earlier this season to injury. The 6’2″, 210 pounder has good size and plays a physical game.
The Canadiens were lacking skilled depth at center before trading Desharnais to Edmonton. With this move, one has to assume the Habs aren’t done dealing. Having added Davidson, perhaps they intend to shop another blueliner in hopes of adding a center.
The Chicago Blackhawks acquired defenseman Johnny Oduya from the Dallas Stars in exchange for minor-league forward Mark McNeill and a conditional fourth-round pick in 2018. Should the Blackhawks reach the 2017 Western Conference Final and Oduya play in at 50 percent or more of their games, that pick becomes a third rounder.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Oduya spent nearly four seasons with the Blackhawks from 2011-12 to 2014-15, helping them win two Stanley Cups. Signed by the Dallas Stars to a two-year deal, it’s clear he no longer had a future with the Stars after this season. He’s now at the tail end of his career, but the 35-year-old Oduya should be a solid depth addition to the Hawks as they look to add another championship.
Earlier today, the Ottawa Senators acquired forward Viktor Stalberg from the Carolilna Hurricanes in exchange for a 2017 third round pick.