NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 15, 2023

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 15, 2023

The Kraken set a league record for consecutive road wins, Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin ties another scoring record, the Blue Jackets’ Patrik Laine nets a notable hat trick, and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.

NHL.COM: The Seattle Kraken became the first team in NHL history to sweep a seven-game road trip by downing the Chicago Blackhawks 8-5. Jared McCann scored three times while Matty Beniers had a goal and an assist as the Kraken (26-12-4) moved into second place in the Pacific Division with 56 points. Seth Jones had three assists and Taylor Raddysh had a goal and two assists for the 11-26-4 Blackhawks as they sink to the bottom of the overall standings.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Kraken are riding an eight-game win streak. Seattle winger Jordan Eberle collected an assist in what was his 900th career NHL game. Teammate Jaden Schwartz missed this game and is listed as day-to-day with an undisclosed injury.

Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin (NHL Images).

Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin tied an NHL record for the most 30-goal seasons but his club dropped a 3-1 decision to the Philadelphia Flyers. Ovechkin and Mike Gartner each have 17 30-goal seasons. Carter Hart made 39 saves and Scott Laughton had a goal and an assist for the Flyers as they improved to 18-18-7. The Capitals (23-16-6) hold the first Eastern Conference wild-card berth with 52 points.

The Columbus Blue Jackets snapped a 10-game road losing skid by holding off the Detroit Red Wings by a score of 4-3. Patrik Laine netted the 10th hat trick of his career while Johnny Gaudreau collected two assists for the 13-27-3 Blue Jackets. Olli Maatta, Jake Walman and Lucas Raymond scored third-period goals for the Red Wings as they slipped to 18-16-7.

A late goal by Matt Grzelcyk lifted the Boston Bruins to a 4-3 win over the Toronto Maple Leafs. David Pastrnak scored his 33rd goal of the season as the league-league Bruins (33-5-4) maintained a nine-point lead over the Carolina Hurricanes with 70 points. Mitch Marner and Michael Bunting each had two points for the 26-11-7 Maple Leafs, who sit in second place in the Atlantic Division with 59 points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Following the game, the Bruins announced they reached an agreement with winger Pavel Zacha on a four-year contract worth an average annual value of $4.75 million. Zacha, 25, was acquired from the New Jersey Devils last summer and has five goals and 25 points in 42 games this season as the Bruins’ third-line left winger. He’s completing a one-year, $3.5 million deal.

As for the Hurricanes, they got a 34-save performance from Frederik Andersen to nip the Pittsburgh Penguins 2-1. Brady Skjei and Jalen Chatfield scored for the Hurricanes as they improved to 27-9-7 and sit atop the Metropolitan Division with 61 points. Rickard Rakell replied for the Penguins (21-15-6) as they’ve dropped eight of their last 10 contests. With 48 points, they’ve fallen one point of the final Eastern Conference playoff spot.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Hurricanes winger Max Pacioretty missed this game with a lower-body injury and will likely miss Sunday’s game against the Vancouver Canucks. He could return for Thursday’s game against the Minnesota Wild. Meanwhile, Penguins defenseman Marcus Pettersson remains sidelined by illness.

Speaking of road records, the New Jersey Devils became the first team in league history to win 17 of their first 20 road games in a season with a 5-2 win over the Los Angeles Kings. Jack Hughes, Ryan Graves and Yegor Sherangovich each had two points while MacKenzie Blackwood stopped 35 shots as the Devils (28-12-3) sit two points back of the Hurricanes in the Metro Division. Kevin Fiala and Anze Kopitar replied for the Kings (25-15-6) as they slipped to third place in the Pacific Division with 56 points.

The New York Islanders, meanwhile, vaulted one point ahead of the Penguins into that wild-card spot by holding off the Montreal Canadiens by a 2-1 score. Casey Cizikas and Anthony Beauvillier scored first-period goals for the 23-18-3 Islanders. Sam Montembeault turned aside 36 shots while Nick Suzuki scored for the 17-23-3 Canadiens, who also lost forward Jake Evans in the first period to an apparent knee injury.

Colorado Avalanche goalie Pavel Francouz turned in a 29-save shutout in a 7-0 drubbing of the Ottawa Senators. Mikko Rantanen, Artturi Lehkonen and Alex Newhook each had two goals as the Avalanche improved to 21-17-3. With 45 points, they’re six back of the Edmonton Oilers for the final Western Conference wild-card spot. The Senators slide to 19-20-3 and also lost defenseman Artum Zub in the second period to a lower-body injury.

The Edmonton Oilers picked up their third straight win by dropping the Vegas Golden Knights 4-3. Leon Draisaitl scored twice while Zach Hyman collected two assists and Mattias Janmark had a goal and an assist. The Oilers (24-18-3) are tied in points with the Calgary Flames but the latter has a game in hand. Logan Thompson made 33 saves for the Golden Knights (28-14-2), who lead the Western Conference with 58 points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: In other Golden Knights news, Robin Lehner filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy due to his ownership of an exotic snake farm in Missouri. The 31-year-old goaltender underwent hip surgery in August and is sidelined for the season.

Speaking of the Flames, they took a 6-1 lead over the Dallas Stars and held on for a 6-5 victory. Jonathan Huberdeau, Nazem Kadri, and MacKenzie Weegar were among five Flames to collect two points in this contest. The Flames maintained their hold on the first Western Conference wild-card spot with a record of 21-14-9. Joe Pavelski scored two third-period goals for the Stars (25-12-7) as they slipped to second place in the Central Division with 57 points.

Tampa Bay Lightning forward Brayden Point scored twice and collected an assist in a 4-2 win over the St. Louis Blues. Lightning defenseman Nick Perbix left the game in the second period with an undisclosed injury. The Bolts (27-13-1) sit third in the Atlantic Division with 55 points while the Blues (21-20-3) slipped to 45 points and six points out of a Western wild-card spot.

The Minnesota Wild got a 27-save effort from Marc-Andre Fleury to defeat the Arizona Coyotes 2-1. Mats Zuccarello and Frederick Gaudreau scored for the Wild (24-14-4) as they sit in third place in the Central Division with 52 points. Lawson Crouse replied for the Coyotes as they dropped their eighth straight and fell to 13-24-5 on the season.

Florida Panthers goalie Sergei Bobrovsky made 35 saves (including 14 in the third period) in a 4-3 win over the Vancouver Canucks. Aleksander Barkov scored what proved to be the game-winner while Aaron Ekblad had a goal and an assist for the 20-20-4 Panthers. Bo Horvat tallied his 30th goal of the season as his Canucks fell to 17-22-3.

Third-period goals by Kyle Okposo and Jack Quinn lifted the Buffalo Sabres over the Nashville Predators by a score of 5-3. Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen kicked out 38 shots as the Sabres improved to 21-18-2. Ryan Johansen had a goal and an assist as the Predators slipped to 19-17-6.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 14, 2023

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 14, 2023

Oilers captain Connor McDavid celebrates his birthday with a three-point performance, the Jets’ Cole Perfetti sets a franchise rookie record, Connor Bedard is named the top North American skater in midseason prospect rankings, and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: Edmonton Oilers captain Connor McDavid celebrated his 26th birthday with two goals and an assist in a 7-1 drubbing of the San Jose Sharks. Leon Draisaitl and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins each had a goal and two assists as the Oilers (23-18-3) hold the final Western Conference playoff berth with 49 points, opening a four-point lead over the St. Louis Blues. The Sharks fell to 13-23-8 on the season.

Edmonton Oilers center Connor McDavid (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: McDavid is riding a 12-game points streak. He’s currently the league leader in goals (37), assists (45) and points (82) in just 44 games.

The Winnipeg Jets picked up their seventh win in their last eight games by dropping the Pittsburgh Penguins 4-1. Mark Scheifele scored twice while Cole Perfetti collected three assists. With 57 points, the Jets (28-14-1) are tied with the second-place Dallas Stars in the Western Conference but the latter holds that spot with 22 regulation wins. The 21-14-6 Penguins remain one point up on the New York Islanders for the final Eastern Conference playoff spot with 48 points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Perfetti became the first rookie in Jets history to have multiple games with three-plus assists in a single season. He’s tied with Arizona’s Matias Maccelli for most assists (19) among this season’s rookies and third in rookie points with 25.

New Jersey Devils forwards Jack Hughes and Jesper Bratt each tallied two goals in a 6-2 victory over the Anaheim Ducks. Damon Severson collected three assists while Vitek Vanecek stopped 31 shots for the Devils (27-12-3) as they moved to within two points of the Metropolitan Division-leading Carolina Hurricanes with 57 points. Adam Henrique and Trevor Zegras replied for the Ducks as they fell to 12-27-4.

HEADLINES

NHL.COM: Connor Bedard of the WHL’s Regina Pats is the No. 1 North American skater as NHL Central Scouting released its midseason rankings of the top prospects. The 17-year-old center is the WHL’s leading scorer and was named MVP of the 2023 IIHF World Junior Championship. He could become the first WHL player to be chosen as the NHL’s first overall draft pick since Ryan Nugent-Hopkins in 2011.

Leo Carlsson, a center with Orebro HK of the Swedish Hockey League, is ranked No. 1 among international skaters.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Bedard is the crown jewel of the 2023 prospect class. He could become the most impressive draft pick since Connor McDavid was chosen first overall by the Oilers in 2015.

NBC SPORTS CHICAGO: The Blackhawks sent winger Lukas Reichel back to their AHL affiliate in Rockford in anticipation of Patrick Kane’s return to the lineup. Kane’s missed three games with a lower-body injury.

VEGAS HOCKEY NOW: Golden Knights captain Mark Stone is listed as week-to-week with an upper-body injury suffered during Thursday’s game against the Florida Panthers.

NHL.COM: Arizona Coyotes forward Clayton Keller was fined $5,000.00 by the department of player safety for cross-checking Ottawa Senators defenseman Erik Brannstrom on Thursday.

Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Mikhail Sergachev was fined $5,000.00 for roughing Vancouver Canucks winger Conor Garland during Thursday’s game between the two clubs.

THE PROVINCE: The NHL Players Association is looking into concerns raised over treatment received by Vancouver Canucks winger Tanner Pearson for a broken hand suffered earlier this season. Reports emerged claiming Pearson has undergone three or four procedures and could be sidelined for the remainder of this season. That’s raised speculation that the situation could be career-ending.

Canucks defenseman Quinn Hughes on Thursday suggested Pearson’s injury “wasn’t handled properly.” He clarified his remarks the following day, saying he wasn’t trying to direct blame at anyone and was expressing concern for his teammate.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Sportsnet reported the Canucks are conducting an internal investigation into the handling of Pearson’s injury.

PHILLY HOCKEY NOW: Flyers coach John Tortorella has banned players from using Ipads on the bench during games to evaluate or review their play. He considers them distracting and wants his players’ attention focused elsewhere, preferring they be more engaged with each other.

Someone mentioned that Tortorella will be perceived as “old school” because of his approach. “I don’t give a flying s**t how I’m perceived,” he said.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Tortorella made it clear a long time ago that he didn’t care about the perception of fans and media over how he does his job.

THE BUFFALO NEWS: Former NHL forward Brian Gionta has joined the Niagara University hockey coaching staff as director of player development. Gionta spent 16 seasons in the NHL and retired as a player in 2018. He was inducted into the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame in 2019.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 12, 2023

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 12, 2023

The Oilers’ Connor McDavid maintains his points streak, the Flyers’ Travis Konecny enjoys a hat-trick performance, the coaches for the 2023 All-Star Game are announced, plus the latest on Carey Price and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: Edmonton Oilers captain Connor McDavid extended his points streak to 11 games with a goal and an assist to defeat the Anaheim Ducks 6-2. Klim Kostin tallied twice as the Oilers improved to 22-18-3 and hold the final Western Conference wild-card berth with 47 points. Sam Carrick and Simon Benoit replied for the Ducks as they dropped to 12-26-4.

Edmonton Oilers center Connor McDavid (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: With a league-leading 35 goals and 79 points in 43 games, McDavid is on pace to become the NHL’s highest-scoring player since Mario Lemieux netted 161 points in 1995-96.

Ducks forward Max Jones returned to action for the first time since Dec. 12. Sidelined forward Isac Lundestrom (fractured finger) could join the club on its next road trip.

A hat-trick performance by Travis Konecny powered the Philadelphia Flyers to a 5-3 victory over the Washington Capitals. Scott Laughton had a goal and two assists for the Flyers (17-18-7). T.J. Oshie, Marcus Johansson and Garnet Hathaway tallied for the 23-15-6 Capitals, who hold the first Eastern Conference wild-card spot with 52 points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Konecny is among the few bright spots for the struggling Flyers this season. He has a team-leading 24 goals and 46 points in 36 games and is currently riding a 10-game points streak.

Toronto Maple Leafs winger Mitch Marner snapped a 1-1 tie late in the third period to nip the Nashville Predators 2-1. Matt Murray made 32 saves while John Tavares scored his 20th goal of the season for the Leafs (26-9-7) as they hold a two-point lead over the Carolina Hurricanes for second place in the Eastern Conference with 59 points. Filip Forsberg replied for the Predators (19-15-6) as they sit three points behind the Oilers.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Leafs center Auston Matthews missed this game with an undisclosed ailment.

The Los Angeles Kings held off the San Jose Sharks 4-3 on third-period goals by Gabriel Vilardi and Drew Doughty scored 53 seconds apart. Quinton Byfield had a goal and an assist for the 25-14-6 Kings as they sit in second place in the Pacific Division. Timo Meier had a goal and an assist for the Sharks as they fell to 13-22-8 on the season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Kings and Vegas Golden Knights have the same number of points but the latter holds first place in the Pacific with two more victories and three games in hand.

HEADLINES

NHL.COM: The head coaches for the 2023 NHL All-Star Game were announced yesterday. The Carolina Hurricanes’ Rod Brind’Amour will represent the Metropolitan Division, the Boston Bruins’ Jim Montgomery will be behind the Atlantic Division bench, the Dallas Stars’ Peter DeBoer will coach the Central Division while the Vegas Golden Knights’ Bruce Cassidy will coach the Pacific Division.

SPORTSNET: Montreal Canadiens goaltender Carey Price discussed his exposure in the 2021 NHL expansion draft during an episode of the podcast La Poche Bleu with former teammates Guillaume Latendresse and Maxim Lapierre.

Price said he had no problem with then-Canadiens general manager Marc Bergevin asking him to waive his no-movement clause to be exposed in the expansion draft. “I had a feeling they (Seattle Kraken) wouldn’t pick me because of my contract and the stage of my career,” he said. “I felt like we could do a solid here if we exposed me because I really doubt that it was going to happen. So I felt like it was a tactical move to be able to protect another player.”

The long-time Canadiens goaltender also revealed that he entered the NHL/NHLPA player assistance program to address his alcohol abuse that was tied to dealing with his social anxiety. He was grateful for the help he received in the assistance program.

Price praised former teammate P.K. Subban for the upbeat energy and attitude that he brought to the Canadiens during the defenseman’s tenure in Montreal. He also applauded Shea Weber for his leadership and for holding his teammates accountable. The Canadiens traded Subban in 2016 to the Predators for Weber.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: An interesting look behind the scenes regarding how Bergevin approached Price about waiving his NMC in the Kraken draft. Good on him as well for having the courage to seek assistance in dealing with his alcohol abuse. Meanwhile, Price’s playing career remains in limbo due to complications from a knee injury.

Speaking of the Canadiens, winger Brendan Gallagher will be sidelined for at least six weeks with a lower-body injury.

DAILY FACEOFF: New York Rangers winger Chris Kreider will miss Thursday’s game against the Dallas Stars with an upper-body injury.

SPORTSNET: The Carolina Hurricanes activated goaltender Frederik Andersen off injured reserve. He’s been out since Nov. 6 with a lower-body injury.

PITTSBURGH HOCKEY NOW: The Penguins placed goaltender Tristan Jarry and forward Ryan Poehling on injured reserve and returned defenseman Mark Friedman to their AHL affiliate in Wilkes-Barre/Scranton.

CBS SPORTS: Columbus Blue Jackets defenseman Vladislav Gavrikov could return to the lineup for Thursday’s game against the Carolina Hurricanes after suffering an upper-body injury on Tuesday against the Tampa Bay Lightning. Meanwhile, the Jackets placed winger Carson Meyer on IR with an oblique strain.

TSN: The Rangers claimed forward Jake Leschyshyn off waivers from the Vegas Golden Knights. Meanwhile, defenseman Casey Fitzgerald was plucked off the waiver wire by the Florida Panthers from the Buffalo Sabres.

NHL.COM: The postponed Dec. 27 game between the Blue Jackets and Sabres has been rescheduled for Friday, April 14, 2023, at Nationwide Arena in Columbus.










NHL Rumor Mill – January 11, 2023

NHL Rumor Mill – January 11, 2023

What’s the latest on Erik Karlsson? What’s going on with the Canucks? Are the Flyers gauging the trade market for Ivan Provorov? Could the Wild shop Matt Dumba? Are the Oilers shopping around for a defenseman? Check out the latest in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.

TEAMS ARE CALLING ABOUT ERIK KARLSSON

TSN: Pierre LeBrun reports that teams have spoken with the San Jose Sharks about what a trade might look like for Erik Karlsson. The 32-year-old is this season’s highest-scoring blueliner with 55 points and is on pace to become the first rearguard since Brian Leetch in 1991-92 to reach 100 points in a season.

San Jose Sharks defenseman Erik Karlsson (NHL Images).

LeBrun still thinks this would be an off-season move it if happens at all. Karlsson has a full no-movement clause and would have to agree to be traded.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I concur that this is a potential move that probably doesn’t happen until the offseason when teams have more cap space and a greater willingness to make big trades.

Getting Karlsson to waive his NMC isn’t the biggest hurdle. It’s sorting out how to move a talented defenseman who is approaching his mid-30s’ carrying a contract with an average annual value of $11.5 million through 2026-27. There’s also the matter of what the Sharks would want in return.

THE LATEST ON THE CANUCKS

THE ATHLETIC: Pierre LeBrun reports teams are still poking around about Vancouver Canucks winger Brock Boeser. He doesn’t think a trade is close to happening but interested clubs are giving consideration to how to make a deal work.

The Minnesota Wild have spoken to the Canucks about bringing Boeser back to his home state. However, LeBrun doesn’t think they can make it work cap-wise. The 25-year-old winger has two more seasons left on his contract with an AAV of $6.65 million.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Wild have over $14 million in dead cap space for 2023-24 due to their buyouts of Zach Parise and Ryan Suter. Matt Boldy, Calen Addison and Sam Steel are restricted free agents this summer.

I can’t see Boeser landing in Minnesota unless the Canucks retain a portion of his salary (which they reportedly don’t want to do) or the Wild shed sufficient salary for Boeser and those RFAs.

LeBrun also reports teams are calling the Canucks about Andrei Kuzmenko. The 26-year-old winger is enjoying a fine NHL debut season but he’s also slated to become an unrestricted free agent this summer. He currently carries an affordable $950K cap hit.

The Canucks haven’t started contract extension talks yet but LeBrun said they haven’t given up hope of re-signing him. He indicated the winger enjoys playing in Vancouver but it could cost $6 million on a short-term deal to keep him there.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: With 35 points in 39 games, Kuzmenko’s been a bright spot in a turbulent season for the Canucks. Perhaps if they can move Boeser it’ll free up sufficient space to keep the Russian winger.

FLYERS LISTENING ON PROVOROV

THE ATHLETIC: Pierre LeBrun reports multiple sources confirmed the Philadelphia Flyers are listening to offers for Ivan Provorov. The 25-year-old defenseman has two more years remaining on his contract with an average annual value of $6.75 million so there’s no urgency to move him before the March 3 trade deadline.

SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman also doesn’t think there’s anything imminent regarding a Provorov trade. However, he feels they could be heading in that direction.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Appearing on NHL Network, Friedman said he believes the Flyers will consider just about everything over the next 12 to 18 months. He also said they’re concerned that Provorov could blossom elsewhere so they’ll want a really good return.

COULD THE WILD SHOP MATT DUMBA?

TSN: Darren Dreger reports the Edmonton Oilers and Ottawa Senators have reached out to the Minnesota Wild regarding Matt Dumba. The 28-year-old defenseman is slated to become an unrestricted free agent on July 1 and lacks no-trade protection.

However, the Wild are playing pretty well right now and they still need Dumba as they jockey for a playoff spot. They’re not sure yet if they can move him even though they can’t afford to re-sign him given their salary-cap constraints for next season. Dreger believes their asking price for Dumba would be high and they would have to potentially hit the trade market to find a replacement for him.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I don’t see Dumba going anywhere before the March 3 trade deadline unless the Wild fall out of contention or they ship him to another club in exchange for a comparable defenseman. He could become their “own rental” for the 2023 playoffs.

OILERS CALLING AROUND FOR A DEFENSEMAN

TSN: Pierre LeBrun reports Edmonton Oilers general manager Ken Holland has been calling around the league in search of a defenseman. It’s believed he’s spoken to the Arizona Coyotes about Jakob Chychrun and the Montreal Canadiens regarding Joel Edmundson.

However, asking prices are high right now for blueliners in the trade market. LeBrun expects Holland won’t panic and will remain patient. He also believes it’ll take more than a trade to resolve the Oilers’ current struggles as the message internally is, “We need to play better”.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Oilers supporters howling at Holland to do something – ANYTHING! – to acquire a defenseman overlook that he’s handcuffed by his limited cap space. He’s also dealing from a position of weakness right now. If it was possible to unload, say, Jesse Puljujarvi or Warren Foegele for a top-four left-side blueliner, that deal would’ve gone down by now.

The Coyotes reportedly seek two first-round picks (though one of those could be a former first-rounder) along with a high-end prospect or good young NHL player for Chychrun.

It’s believed the Canadiens hope to land a first-rounder for Edmundson. Before you scoff, remember that they got a first-round pick from the Florida Panthers last March for Ben Chiarot. Edmundson also has a year remaining on his contract so there’s cost certainty there ($3.5 million) for an interested team.

Maybe those prices go down as the trade deadline nears. Then again, they could remain high if more clubs get into the bidding for Chychrun or Edmundson.










NHL Rumor Mill – January 10, 2023

NHL Rumor Mill – January 10, 2023

Could the Flyers and Ivan Provorov part ways? What’s the market value for the Predators’ Mattias Ekholm? Find out in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.

COULD THE FLYERS TRADE PROVOROV?

PHILLY HOCKEY NOW: Ariel Melendez cited Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman speculating that we could start hearing Flyers defenseman Ivan Provorov’s name come up in the trade market. He believes things just haven’t worked for Provorov with the Flyers for whatever reason.

Philadelphia Flyers defenseman Ivan Provorov (NHL Images).

Friedman said there’s a growing sense that Provorov, who turns 26 on Jan. 13, is frustrated with the situation around him and that the team has an equal amount of frustration. Jeff Marek mentioned that the Flyers haven’t found him the right defense partner. Friedman wondered if Provorov might flourish somewhere else.

Marek suggested the Vegas Golden Knights as a trade destination. Provorov would be reunited with Vegas general manager Kelly McCrimmon, who coached the Flyers blueliner for two seasons with the WHL’s Brandon Wheat Kings (2014-15 and 2015-16).

Friedman doesn’t think the Golden Knights can make it work. Marek believes Provorov could benefit from playing for Winnipeg Jets coach Rick Bowness, citing how Bowness played a key role in developing defensemen like Tampa Bay’s Victor Hedman and Dallas’ Miro Heiskanen.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: If the Flyers’ front office remains intent on its plan to aggressively retool its roster, they’ll need Provorov to be part of it. On the other hand, they could consider shopping him if they decide to rebuild. The blueliner could also force the issue by requesting a trade but there’s no indication thus far that he’s gone that route.

Provorov is signed through 2024-25 with an average annual value of $6.75 million. He lacks no-trade protection but that salary will be difficult to move in-season unless the Flyers agree to retain a portion of it, which they could be reluctant to do. The other option would be taking back an equivalent salary. Trading him could be something that occurs in the offseason when teams have more cap space to work with.

LATEST ON EKHOLM

DAILY FACEOFF: Frank Seravalli recently examined the trade value of defenseman Mattias Ekholm, who reportedly could be shopped before the March 3 trade deadline by the Nashville Predators.

Seravalli considers Ekholm, 32, to be a smart shutdown defenseman who logs big minutes and moves the puck quickly out of the defensive zone. However, there are some concerns over his skating and mobility. Seravalli views him as a reliable 5-on-5 middle-pair defender.

Potential destinations include the Edmonton Oilers, New York Rangers, Toronto Maple Leafs and Florida Panthers.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Ekholm lacks no-trade protection and would be a good fit with the Oilers, Leafs and Panthers. I believe the Rangers’ bigger priority is addressing their lack of reliable scoring punch on right wing.

Like Provorov, Ekholm’s contract is difficult to move this season. He’s carrying an AAV of $6.25 million through 2025-26, which the Oilers, Leafs and Panthers can’t afford to acquire this season unless Nashville retains a big chunk of it or take back a comparable contract. This sounds like another potential off-season move depending on how this season plays out for the Predators.










Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – January 8, 2023

Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – January 8, 2023

Could the Kraken and Avalanche have an interest in Bo Horvat? What’s the latest on Jakob Chychrun, Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews? Find out in the Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup.

SPORTSNET: Jeff Marek and Elliotte Friedman listed Vancouver Canucks center Bo Horvat, Arizona Coyotes defenseman Jakob Chychrun and Chicago Blackhawks forwards Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews as possible trade targets over the next few weeks.

Friedman believes the Canucks will go back to Horvat and see if they can make a deal on a contract extension. However, he thinks it’s “extremely unlikely” to happen because they aren’t willing to spend more on Horvat than they did on J.T. Miller (seven years, $56 million).

Vancouver Canucks captain Bo Horvat (NHL Images).

Friedman wonders if the Seattle Kraken would be interested. Marek said a lot of people have mentioned the Colorado Avalanche as a destination for Horvat.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Interesting suggestion linking Horvat to the Kraken. Friedman mentioned they’re an improved club but I wonder if he also thinks that the Canucks captain might not want to stray too far from Vancouver?

The Kraken can afford to take on Horvat’s prorated $5.5 million cap hit for this season. They have depth in draft picks and prospects to offer up as trade bait plus they have sufficient cap space for next season (over $20 million) to re-sign him.

However, I’m not sold on Kraken general manager Ron Francis deviating from his current roster-building plans. This is a competitive club in just its second season with an emerging franchise player in Matty Beniers, a promising youngster in their system in Shane Wright and a solid core of experienced veterans.

Let’s not also forget reports claiming the Canucks seek young NHL talent that can provide them with immediate, long-term help rather than a return of futures. If that’s the case, the Kraken lack sufficient depth with those types of players unless they’re willing to part with Beniers and I don’t see them doing that.

As for the Avalanche, The Athletic’s Peter Baugh and The Denver Post’s Bennett Durando pointed out their lack of trade chips necessary to make a competitive bid for Horvat or other big-ticket stars such as St. Louis’ Ryan O’Reilly and Chicago’s Jonathan Toews. Even if they were to acquire one of them, they lack sufficient cap space next season to re-sign any of them.

Marek reports the Arizona Coyotes are in no hurry to move Chychrun. They’re looking for “three big pieces” for the 24-year-old blueliner: a young prospect, a first-round pick plus another first-rounder or an equivalent.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That equivalent would be a former first-round pick, either a high-end prospect or a young NHL player.

Friedman reports Kane and Toews have not yet met with Blackhawks management to determine what they’re doing. Kane was injured last week and missed a game but it’s hoped he’ll play against the Calgary Flames. There are “rumblings” that it may be a nagging injury that needs to be “cleaned up” at some point but the hope is that he’ll be able to play through it.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Speaking of Kane, The Athletic’s Fluto Shinzawa was asked what it would cost the Boston Bruins to acquire the long-time Chicago winger.

Shinzawa believes the Bruins would have to part with their first-round pick, a high-level prospect and at least one more young player. The Blackhawks would also have to retain half of Kane’s remaining cap hit plus take some salary back in the deal.

I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Bruins make a move at the trade deadline to bolster their roster for the playoffs. However, they’re not under any pressure to do so at the moment given their lofty position atop the overall standings.

If the Bruins maintain that perch by the March 3 trade deadline, any moves they make by then will be to tweak their lineup with affordable depth instead of taking on someone like Kane.

Friedman talked about the Edmonton Oilers’ need for a left-side defenseman. The club is looking around the league to see who could be available. They want to give young blueliner Philip Broberg a chance to play for a while before making any permanent decisions.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Sportsnet’s Mark Spector and Adam Vingan recently examined whether Jakob Chychrun would be the right fit for the Oilers. They believe their biggest need is a left-shot shut-down defenseman and don’t consider Chychrun as someone who will address that need. They also reminded us that they recently reported the Oilers will not pursue Chychrun and are standing by their story.