Notable NHL Trades – March 8, 2024

Notable NHL Trades – March 8, 2024

The San Jose Sharks traded center Tomas Hertl and two third-round picks (2025 and 2027) to the Vegas Golden Knights for Vegas’ 2025 first-rounder and prospect center David Edstrom.

New Jersey Devils trade winger Tyler Toffoli to the Winnipeg Jets (NHL Images).

TSN’s Darren Dreger reports the Winnipeg Jets have acquired winger Tyler Toffoli from the New Jersey Devils. TSN reports the return is a 2024 third-round pick and a 2025 second-rounder. 

TSN’s Pierre LeBrun reports the Washington Capitals traded center Evgeny Kuznetsov to the Carolina Hurricanes for a 2025 third-round pick. The Capitals also retain 50 percent of Kuznetsov’s $7.8 million annual cap hit through 2024-25. 

Montreal Canadiens traded goaltender Jake Allen to the New Jersey Devils in return for a conditional third-rounder in 2024. The Canadiens also retain half of Allen’s contract.

ESPN’s Kevin Weekes reports the New Jersey Devils traded goaltender Vitek Vanecek to the San Jose Sharks for goalie Kaapo Kahkonen. 

Buffalo Sabres traded winger Kyle Okposo to the Florida Panthers in exchange for minor-league defenseman Calle Sjalin and a conditional 2024 seventh-round pick. 

Minnesota Wild traded forward Pat Maroon to the Boston Bruins for a conditional 2026 sixth-round pick and minor league winger Luke Toporowski.

New York Rangers acquire Jack Roslovic from the Columbus Blue Jackets for a conditional fourth-round pick. 

Arizona Coyotes traded defenseman Matt Dumba and a 2025 seven-rounder to the Tampa Bay Lightning for a 2027 fifth-round pick. 

Arizona Coyotes trade winger Jason Zucker to the Nashville Predators for a 2024 sixth-round pick.

Buffalo Sabres traded defenseman Erik Johnson to the Philadelphia Flyers for a 2024 fourth-rounder.

Boston Bruins trade defenseman Jakub Zboril to the Columbus Blue Jackets for defenseman Andrew Peeke. 

NHL Rumor Mill – March 4, 2024

NHL Rumor Mill – March 4, 2024

The trade deadline is Friday at 3 pm ET. Check out the latest on the Bruins, Stars, Sabres, Predators, Leafs, Lightning, Avalanche and Canadiens in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.


SPORTSNET: Jeff Marek shared some interesting trade speculation in his latest “Rink Fries” column.

Marek pointed out that Boston Bruins goaltending prospect Brandon Bussi will require waivers next season. He speculates they could draw on their depth between the pipes to address other roster needs. That doesn’t mean they’ll trade Linus Ullmark at the trade deadline as they can wait until the summer or next season to move him. Getting Jeremy Swayman signed is also a consideration.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Boston Hockey Now’s Jimmy Murphy cited a source claiming a market exists for Ullmark, citing Western clubs such as the Edmonton Oilers, Colorado Avalanche and Los Angeles Kings that need help between the pipes.

Boston Bruins goaltender Linus Ullmark (NHL Images).

Ullmark and Swayman are among the reasons the Bruins exceeded expectations by jockeying for first place in the overall standings in what’s supposed to be a transition season.

Moving one of them could help them add a center or a defenseman but it’s rare nowadays for a goalie (even a former Vezina Trophy winner) to fetch a significant return in the trade market. Bussi’s inexperience at the NHL level could weaken them down the stretch and into the playoffs.

Ullmark’s $5 million cap hit through next season won’t be easy to move. Too many teams have limited cap space. His 16-team no-trade clause also complicates things.

The Dallas Stars could look to add to their blueline despite acquiring Chris Tanev last week from the Calgary Flames. He speculates they could target Philadelphia Flyers defenseman Nick Seeler.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Flyers head coach John Tortorella recently said his club isn’t shopping Seeler. Nevertheless, they could listen to offers if someone is willing to overpay by offering up a first-round pick. If not, they’ll be content to stick with Seeler as they attempt to secure a playoff spot.

Buffalo Sabres captain Kyle Okposo could be on the move by the deadline. Marek cited his colleague Elliotte Friedman suggesting the New York Rangers as a trade destination. He also indicated that defenseman Erik Johnson’s name is in the rumor mill.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Rangers seek a reliable right winger to skate alongside Mika Zibanejad and Chris Kreider on their second line. Okposo, 35, might be unable to address that need at this point in his career. The Blueshirts are linked to Anaheim Ducks winger Frank Vatrano.

Marek suggests keeping an eye on Nashville Predators defenseman Alexandre Carrier. He’s on an expiring contract “and most likely to be moved” to make room for promising Spencer Stastney.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Predators have surged up the standings over the last three weeks. They might not be as keen to move Carrier as they might’ve been a month ago. Still, Predators GM Barry Trotz could listen to offers if someone is willing to overpay for him.


TORONTO SUN: Terry Koshan reports rumors link the Maple Leafs to right-shot defensemen such as Matt Dumba of the Arizona Coyotes, Sean Walker of the Philadelphia Flyers and Nashville’s Alexandre Carrier.

Koshan noted that Leafs GM Brad Treliving has two fewer assets to work with after trading a third-round pick and a sixth-rounder to acquire Ilya Lyubushkin from the Anaheim Ducks last week. Lyubushkin was injured in Saturday’s game against the New York Rangers and the Leafs are hoping he won’t be out of the lineup for long.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Coyotes beat writer Craig Morgan believes Dumba’s value might be a third-round pick. However, that could rise to a second-rounder if the Coyotes are willing to retain half of his $3.9 million cap hit.

Like Seeler, the Flyers aren’t shopping Walker but could listen to offers. They reportedly seek a first-round pick for the 29-year-old blueliner. They’re content to stick with him for the rest of the season if no one meets their asking price.

As I mentioned, Carrier surfaced in the rumor mill several weeks ago when the Predators faced falling out of the Western Conference playoff race. Their recent surge into the first wild-card position could make them less interested in moving him.

TAMPA BAY TIMES: Eduardo A. Encina believes Lightning GM Julien BriseBois will be in the market for players with term remaining on their contracts or those they believe they can keep beyond this season.

He noted that rumors have linked the Lightning to Calgary Flames defenseman Noah Hanifin. They need a replacement for blueliner Mikhail Sergachev as the latter is out for the season recovering from leg surgery. Placing him on long-term injury reserve frees up nearly $7.4 million in salary-cap flexibility.

Encina noted that the Lightning doesn’t have much draft capital to draw on for trade bait. They might have to use prospects such as Isaac Howard and Ethan Gauthier as trade bait.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Lightning hold the final wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference. BriseBois could swing a deal to shore up his defense corps and perhaps add a gritty checking forward. Given his recent trade history and the reports of Tampa Bay being Hanifin’s preferred destination, we can’t rule out the Lightning making another big splash.

THE DENVER POST: Corey Masisak noted the Colorado Avalanche garnered more salary-cap flexibility by trading Kurtis MacDermid to the New Jersey Devils. That’s prompted speculation they’re preparing to be buyers at the upcoming trade deadline.

Trying to outbid other teams will be challenging for the Avalanche. They lack a second and a third-round pick in this year’s draft and could end up dangling prospects such as Calum Ritchie, Mikhail Gulyayev and Sean Behrens as trade bait. Future salary-cap complications could result in a defenseman like Bowen Byram or Samuel Girard becoming a trade candidate if the Avs hope to land an impact player.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Peddling Byram or Girard should only be for a player they can retain beyond this season. It would be a waste of a quality asset to ship out one of them for a rental player.

THE ATHLETIC: Arpon Basu noted there’s no certainty the Montreal Canadiens will trade defenseman David Savard by the deadline. He has a year remaining on his contract with a cap hit of $3.5 million. The Canadiens aren’t eager to move him because he mentors their young blueliners. What is clear is the asking price starts with a first-round pick if a team wants the Canadiens to retain half of that cap hit.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Basu noted that Toronto Maple Leafs assistant GM Ryan Hardy has attended a few Canadiens games lately. He could be scouting Savard or conducting due diligence as the two clubs face each other on March 9 following the trade deadline.

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 3, 2024

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 3, 2024

Connor McDavid exceeds 900 career points with a five-point performance, Sidney Crosby and Alex Ovechkin move up in the all-time points lists, the three stars and rookie of the month are revealed and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.


NHL.COM: Edmonton Oilers captain Connor McDavid scored a goal and set up four others to exceed 900 career points in a 5-2 victory over the Philadelphia Flyers. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins tallied twice and collected an assist while Zach Hyman had a goal and two assists for the 19-15-1 Oilers (39 points), who sit one point behind the Arizona Coyotes for the final Western Conference wild-card berth. Travis Konecny and Joel Farabee each had two points for the Flyers (19-13-5) as they slipped into the first Eastern Conference wild-card spot with 43 points.

Edmonton Oilers captain Connor McDavid (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: With 903 points in 602 NHL regular-season games, McDavid is the fifth-fastest player to reach the 900-point plateau. Wayne Gretzky is the all-time leader, accomplishing the feat in 382 games, followed by Mario Lemieux (463), Mike Bossy (582) and Peter Stastny (599). He also moved into third place in this season’s scoring race with 53 points.

The Washington Capitals scored four goals in the first period and held on to defeat the Pittsburgh Penguins 4-3. Tom Wilson, Beck Malenstyn, Martin Fehervary and Alex Ovechkin were the goals scorers for the Capitals (18-11-6) as they hold the second Eastern wild-card berth with 42 points. Rickard Rakell, Sidney Crosby and Jake Guentzel replied for the 18-14-4 Penguins, who sit two points behind the Capitals.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Crosby had a goal and an assist to collect his 1,540th career point to take over sole possession of 12th place on the all-time points leaderboard. Ovechkin picked up his 1,507th career point for the seventh-most with a single franchise, sitting behind the sixth-place Crosby.

Penguins winger Bryan Rust returned to the lineup after being sidelined since Dec. 6 with an upper-body injury while Matt Nieto (lower body) was shifted to long-term injury reserve.

The Boston Bruins regained top spot in the overall standings with 52 points in a 4-1 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets. James van Riemsdyk led the way with a goal and two assists for the 23-7-6 Bruins while Linus Ullmark got the win with a 26-save performance. Kent Johnson scored for the 12-19-8 Blue Jackets.

Carolina Hurricanes winger Andrei Svechnikov scored two goals and Brady Skjei collected three assists in a 6-1 drubbing of the New York Rangers. Pyotr Kochetkov made 28 saves for the Hurricanes (21-13-4) as they’ve won four straight games and moved into second place in the Metropolitan Division with 46 points. Chris Kreider scored for the Rangers (25-10-1) as they slipped into second place in the overall standings with 51 points.

The Vancouver Canucks scored five goals in the first period in a 6-3 win over the Ottawa Senators. Elias Pettersson and Pius Suter each tallied twice while Thatcher Demko kicked out 35 shots for the Canucks (24-10-3) as they hold first place in the Western Conference with 51 points. Vladimir Tarasenko had two goals for the 14-19-0 Senators.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Canucks forward Phillip Di Giuseppe left this game in the first period with an undisclosed injury.

An overtime goal by Nathan MacKinnon lifted the Colorado Avalanche over the New York Islanders by a score of 5-4. MacKinnon also picked up two assists, Valeri Nichushkin netted two goals and Cale Makar collected three assists for the 24-11-3 Avalanche as they hold first place in the Central Division with 51 points. Brock Nelson had a goal and an assist for the 17-10-10 Islanders as they sit third in the Metropolitan Division with 44 points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Islanders also lost goaltender Semyon Varlamov in the first period and defenseman Robert Bortuzzo in the second to injuries. There was no postgame update regarding their conditions. The Avalanche sit second overall in the Western Conference as the Canucks hold a game in hand.

The Winnipeg Jets extended their points streak to nine games by doubling up the Tampa Bay Lightning 4-2. Connor Hellebuyck turned aside 32 shots while Vladislav Namestnikov collected three assists for the Jets (23-9-4) as they sit one point behind the Avalanche in second place in the Central Division. Steven Stamkos and Nikita Kucherov scored for the 18-16-5 Lightning (41) as they sit one point out of the final Eastern Conference wild-card spot.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kucherov collected two points and leads all scorers with 63 points, two ahead of Colorado’s Nathan MacKinnon. The Lightning also played with five defensemen as Erik Cernak is day-to-day with an upper-body injury while Haydn Fleury (upper body) is week-to-week.

Montreal Canadiens captain Nick Suzuki had a goal and an assist as his club held off the Dallas Stars 4-3 to snap a three-game losing skid. Jordan Harris also had a goal and an assist while Sam Montembeault made 30 saves for the 16-16-5 Canadiens. Mason Marchment picked up two assists for the Stars (22-10-4) as they sit third in the Central Division with 48 points.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Canadiens winger Josh Anderson left the game with an apparent injury to his right leg midway through the third period. He will be re-evaluated once the Canadiens return to Montreal.

The Florida Panthers picked up their fifth straight victory by downing the Arizona Coyotes 4-1. Carter Verhaeghe had a goal and an assist as the Panthers (23-12-2) sit in second place in the Atlantic Division with 48 points. Karel Vejmelka stopped 35 shots for the Coyotes (19-15-2) as they cling to the final Western wild-card spot with 40 points.

Toronto Maple Leafs netminder Martin Jones made 31 saves to blank the Los Angeles Kings 3-0. William Nylander potted two goals to reach 50 points on the season as the 18-10-7 Leafs hold third place in the Atlantic Division with 43 points. Cam Talbot made 26 stops for the Kings (20-9-5), who sit third in the Pacific Division with 45 points.

Nashville Predators goaltender Juuse Saros turned in a 21-save shutout in a 3-0 win over the Chicago Blackhawks. Gustav Nyquist and Ryan O’Reilly each had a goal and an assist for the 21-16-1 Predators as they hold the first Western Conference wild-card berth with 43 points. Arvid Soderblom stopped 33 shots for the 11-24-2 Blackhawks.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Blackhawks winger Anthony Beauviller joined their growing list of sidelined veterans as he left this game with an injured left wrist.

The Calgary Flames defeated the Minnesota Wild 3-1. Jonathan Huberdeau scored his first goal since Nov. 20 while Jacob Markstrom stopped 28 shots for the 16-16-5 Flames. Marc-Andre Fleury made 30 saves for the 16-16-4 Wild.

Detroit Red Wings forward David Perron scored two third-period goals in a 5-3 victory over the San Jose Sharks, handing the latter their ninth straight loss. Lucas Raymond had three assists for the 18-16-4 Red Wings as they sit two points out of an Eastern wild-card spot with 40 points. Mario Ferraro collected two assists for the 9-26-3 Sharks.


NHL.COM: Colorado Avalanche center Nathan MacKinnon, Toronto Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews and Winnipeg Jets goaltender Connor Hellebuyck are the NHL’s Three Stars for December 2023. For the second straight month, Chicago Blackhawks center Connor Bedard was named Rookie of the Month.

Minnesota Wild forward Ryan Hartman was fined $4,427.08 for high-sticking Winnipeg Jets forward Cole Perfetti on Sunday.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Following Hartman’s fine, Perfetti told reporters that the Wild forward told him the infraction was retaliation for uncalled cross-checks by Jets defenseman Brenden Dillon on Wild winger Kirill Kaprizov that forced the latter from the game. Perfetti was wearing a microphone for this game and said the exchange was recorded.

If so, and the league didn’t take that into account when handing down their verdict, it’s yet another example of why so many fans and pundits have a low opinion of the league’s department of player safety.

NEW JERSEY HOCKEY NOW: Devils winger Timo Meier is sidelined with a “mid-body injury” Head coach Lindy Ruff is hopeful Meier won’t be sidelined for long.

BUFFALO HOCKEY NOW: Sabres captain Kyle Okposo is out week-to-week with a lower-body injury.

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 14, 2023

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 14, 2023

The Oilers get their first win under new head coach Kris Knoblauch, Henrik Lundqvist, Tom Barrasso, Mike Vernon and Pierre Turgeon are inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame, and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.


NHL.COM: Third-period goals by Zach Hyman, Connor McDavid and Evander Kane lifted the Edmonton Oilers over the New York Islanders 4-1, giving new head coach Kris Knoblauch his first NHL victory. Leon Draisaitl scored the tying goal for the 4-9-1 Oilers and finished the night with a goal and three assists while McDavid had two points. Mathew Barzal tallied for the Islanders (5-6-3) as they’ve lost four straight games.

Edmonton Oilers captain Connor McDavid (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Speaking of McDavid, he denied having anything to do with the club’s decision to replace Jay Woodcroft as bench boss with Knoblauch, who coached the Oilers captain during his Junior A days with the OHL’s Erie Otters.

McDavid said he’s aware of a perception that he’s had a hand in the decision to make the coaching change but insisted nothing could be further from the truth. “I woke up to a text, like probably a lot of you guys as well,” he said.

The Colorado Avalanche scored five unanswered goals as they rolled to a 5-1 victory over the Seattle Kraken. Nathan MacKinnon collected three assists while Mikko Rantanen, Cale Makar, Devon Toews and Tomas Tatar each had two points as the Avalanche improved to 9-5-0. Brandon Tanev netted his first of the season for the 5-8-3 Kraken.


HHOF.COM: Former NHL stars Henrik Lundqvist, Tom Barrasso, Mike Vernon and Pierre Turgeon were officially inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame on Monday.

Joining them were former Colorado Avalanche general manager Pierre Lacroix, former NHL coach Ken Hitchcock and Canadian women’s star Caroline Ouellette.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Congratulations to the Class of 2024 for their well-deserved induction into the Hall of Fame.

NHL.COM: Florida Panthers forward Sam Reinhart, Winnipeg Jets winger Kyle Connor and Toronto Maple Leafs forward William Nylander are the league’s three stars for the week ending Nov. 12.

VEGAS HOCKEY NOW: The Golden Knights visited the White House on Monday where they were honored by President Joe Biden on their Stanley Cup win.

TAMPA BAY TIMES: Lightning goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy practiced with his teammates yesterday for the first time since undergoing back surgery in late September. He indicated that he’s at least two weeks away from coming off the injured reserve list.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This was a big step forward for Vasilevskiy and a promising sign that he could be back in action by the end of the month at the earliest.

THE ATHLETIC: Minnesota Wild winger Kirill Kaprizov’s absence from practice on Monday sparked speculation he’s been nursing an injury. The 26-year-old winger has 15 points in as many games but hasn’t looked like himself for much of this season. Head coach Dean Evason said Kaprizov was a “little banged up” but was vague as to whether it’s been something that’s been bothering him for a while.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Having their best player hampered by an injury could in part explain why the Wild are off to a 5-8-2 start to this season.

DAILY FACEOFF: Speaking of the Wild, they placed forward Frederick Gaudreau on long-term injury reserve retroactive to Oct. 24. The move makes him eligible to play for the Wild against the Toronto Maple Leafs in Sweden this weekend. It also allows them to add Jesper Wallstedt to the roster as their third goaltender.

WGR 550: Buffalo Sabres captain Kyle Okposo will play in his 1,000th career NHL regular-season game on Tuesday against the Boston Bruins.

DAILY FACEOFF: The Anaheim Ducks placed center Trevor Zegras (lower body) on injured reserve. He has just two points in 12 games and was sidelined for their last two contests.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Zegras missed training camp and preseason play due to a contract dispute that wasn’t resolved until Oct. 3. That could account for his slow start and his lower-body injury.

THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH: Blue Jackets center Jack Roslovic is out for four to six weeks with a fractured ankle suffered during Sunday’s game against the New York Rangers. The club has recalled defenseman David Jiricek from their AHL affiliate in Cleveland.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: A big blow for Roslovic and the Jackets. He had eight points in 14 games before his injury.

THE SCORE: Speaking of the Blue Jackets, rookie Adam Fantilli isn’t happy with his club’s losing skid. The 19-year-old rookie acknowledged they have a young team “but that does not matter,” he said. Fantilli added that he hates to lose and doesn’t want to get used to it. “I’m not happy about the series of losses we’ve had,” he said.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It hasn’t taken long for Fantilli to become a key player for the Blue Jackets. He’s tied for the club lead in scoring with nine points and sits fourth among this season’s rookie scorers.

BOSTON HOCKEY NOW: Bruins winger Milan Lucic suffered a setback rehabbing his injured ankle which has delayed his return to the lineup by a week. He’s been sidelined since Oct. 21 and was placed on long-term injury reserve on Oct. 27.

CBS SPORTS: Chicago Blackhawks forward Andreas Athanasiou is week-to-week with a lower-body injury.

THE HOCKEY NEWS: NHL Players Association Executive Director Marty Walsh expressed his frustration and concern on Monday over the Arizona Coyotes’ search for a new arena.

Walsh cited rumors of the NHL adding two more expansion clubs but felt the Coyotes are like an expansion club because of their arena woes.

They’re playing right now in a college arena, 5,100 fans that go to those games, and they don’t sell out. I think that’s the first thing we have to do – figure out what is the long-term play on Arizona.”

Walsh said the NHLPA would support a plan for a new arena but noted there is currently no plan or conversation on the matter. “So that, to me, is showing that there’s no urgency on their side.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman recently reassured fans that he and the league are committed to keeping the Coyotes in Arizona. He expressed the hope that the club could announce its new arena plans later this season.

In mid-October, Coyotes president Xavier Gutierrez said the team is hoping to announce a new arena plan within the next 60 days. That suggests they should have something in place by mid-December.

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – May 25, 2023

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – May 25, 2023

The Panthers advance to the Stanley Cup Final, Stars captain Jamie Benn is suspended for two games, the finalists for general manager of the year are revealed, and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.

NHL.COM: The Florida Panthers are going to the Stanley Cup Final after defeating the Carolina Hurricanes 4-3 in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Final. Matthew Tkachuk scored twice, including the winning goal with 4.3 seconds remaining in regulation. Sergei Bobrovsky stopped 36 shots as the Panthers win the Prince of Wales Trophy for the first time since 1996.

Florida Panthers pose with Prince of Wales Trophy (

Hurricanes defenseman Jaccob Slavin left the game early in the first period with an apparent concussion after a hard hit by Panthers forward Sam Bennett behind the Hurricanes net. He was sidelined for the remainder of the game with a suspected concussion. Following the game, Slavin said the hit was clean.

Slavin’s teammate Stefan Noesen suffered an upper-body injury in the first period. He returned in the second period but was not on the bench for the third.

The Panthers await the winner of the Western Conference Final. The Vegas Golden Knights hold a 3-0 series lead over the Dallas Stars and can close out the series with a win tonight in Game 4.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: A well-earned win by the Panthers in both this game and in a series where each game was closely contested and decided by one goal. Bobrovsky and Tkachuk were their dominant players but this sweep of such a strong opponent was definitely a team effort. Captain Aleksander Barkov tied with Tkachuk for the club lead in points (five) in this series while forwards Anthony Duclair, Carter Verhaeghe, Sam Reinhart and Bennett each had three points.

This was the third time dating back to 2009 that the Hurricanes were swept in the Conference Final. However, this one probably hurts the most. Head coach Rod Brind’Amour believes they deserved better and he has a point. The Hurricanes controlled the play but were stymied offensively by Bobrovsky’s goaltending. Losing Slavin in Game 4 was a big blow to their blueline.

THE DALLAS MORNING NEWS: Stars captain Jamie Benn received a two-game suspension for cross-checking Vegas Golden Knights captain Mark Stone in Game 3 of their Western Conference Final series.

Benn’s teammate Max Domi was fined $5,000.00 for slashing Stone in the third period of that game.

Evgeni Dadonov is doubtful for Game 4. The Stars winger suffered a lower-body injury in Game 3 and didn’t return.

SPORTSNET: Stars president and CEO Brad Alberts issued an apology to the Golden Knights after fans littered the ice with debris late in the second period of Game 3.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The fallout from the Stars’ horrible performance in Game 3 will have consequences for tonight’s game against the Golden Knights. They must now try to avoid elimination without their captain, whose undisciplined antics have taken him out of this series at a crucial time when they need his leadership and experience the most.

NHL.COM: Jim Nill of the Stars, Don Sweeney of the Boston Bruins and Bill Zito of the Florida Panthers are this season’s finalists for the Jim Gregory General Manager of the Year Award.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This award, like all NHL individual awards except for the Conn Smythe Trophy, is based on regular-season performance. Thus, I think Sweeney will win it because of his club’s record-setting performance with 65 wins and 135 points.

WGR 550: The Buffalo Sabres announced that Kyle Okposo has agreed to a one-year, $2.5 million contract. Okposo, 34, served as the Sabres captain last season. In 75 games, he had 11 goals and 27 points.

Okposo also earned the Rick Martin Memorial Award, “presented to the player who fans believe best embodies what it means to be a Sabre through on-ice excellence, resilience, and dedication to the community.”

WASHINGTON HOCKEY NOW: Capitals defenseman Rasmus Sandin is listed as day-to-day with a lower-body injury. Playing for Sweden at the IIHF World Championship, Sandin was injured following a knee-on-knee hit by Team USA’s Michael Eyssimont, who was ejected from the game.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Capitals are probably breathing a sigh of relief that it was much worse. Sandin is expected to play a big role among their top-four defensemen next season.

NHL Rumor Mill – April 18, 2023

NHL Rumor Mill – April 18, 2023

Check out the latest on J.T. Miller, John Gibson, Thatcher Demko and Ross Colton, plus an update on the Flames in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.


SPORTSNET: In his latest “32 Thoughts” column, Elliotte Friedman weighed in on the rumors leading up to the trade deadline that had the Pittsburgh Penguins and Vancouver Canucks discussing a trade of Canucks center J.T. Miller. He believes the Canucks sought two first-round picks and a good prospect but the Penguins didn’t want to go there.

THE HOCKEY NEWS: Nick Horwat writes there were reports that Jason Zucker and a pair of first-round picks would’ve headed to Vancouver in that proposed deal. He believes the Penguins’ management changes last week likely mean they won’t be pursuing Miller this summer.

THE ATHLETIC: Thomas Drance recently pondered whether the Canucks need for salary-cap flexibility could lead them to peddle Miller again as they reportedly did at the March 3 trade deadline. He feels it’s a now-or-never proposition given his new contract (with its full no-movement clause) kicks in on July 1.

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

Drance also suggested Conor Garland could be a cost-cutting candidate for the Canucks.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: We can’t rule out a Miller trade before July 1 but it will be much harder to pull off after that. The Canucks won’t just give him away. If there’s no suitable return to be found for Miller, they’ll look at moving out someone like Garland, who’s on a more affordable contract.

Speaking of Zucker, Friedman believes the Penguins want to re-sign him but he doesn’t see how that’s possible. They have the cap space to do so but the new management could prefer adding younger, more affordable talent.

Ottawa Senators general manager Pierre Dorion talked about trading for a goaltender. Friedman believes the Anaheim Ducks’ John Gibson would be a good fit. He wants to play for a winner and the Ducks are willing to accommodate him.

Gibson has four years and $25.6 million remaining on his contract. Friedman acknowledged that issues like Gibson’s health, his willingness to go to Ottawa and the type of deal are among the considerations.

Speaking of the Senators, they would be interested in bringing back pending UFAs Austin Watson and Travis Hamonic on one-year contracts.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Gibson’s supposed unwillingness to play for the Toronto Maple Leafs has also sparked speculation that he wouldn’t be interested in playing for any Canadian team. Perhaps we’ll find out this summer if that’s the case. He could become a target for the Penguins as they’re not expected to bring back pending UFA Tristan Jarry.

Speaking of the Canucks and goaltenders, Friedman believes there was a time they would’ve considered trading Thatcher Demko this summer. However, that’s over considering how well he played following his return from injury.

Tampa Bay Lightning forward Ross Colton is a restricted free agent this summer with arbitration rights who is also a year away from UFA eligibility. Friedman suggested he could become a trade candidate given the Lightning’s tight salary-cap situation for next season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Colton, 26, is a versatile two-way depth forward for Tampa Bay who’s completing a two-year deal worth $1.125 million annually. Cap Friendly indicates the Lightning have just $2.4 million in projected cap space for 2023-24 with 15 roster players under contract.

The Bolts will free up another $6.875 million by placing permanently sidelined Brent Seabrook on long-term injury reserve. They must also re-sign RFA winger Tanner Jeannot and re-sign or replace UFAs Alex Killorn, Corey Perry and Brian Elliott. That could make Colton an enticing trade option or perhaps a tempting target for an offer sheet.

There’s no truth to the rumor that former Washington Capitals head coach Peter Laviolette would retire instead of coaching again.

Friedman expects Buffalo Sabres captain Kyle Okposo wants to play in 2023-24 rather than retire.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: As I mentioned yesterday, the Sabres have the cap space to bring him back for another season on an affordable short-term 35-plus contract.


SPORTSNET: Eric Francis believes the list of potential replacements for departed Flames GM Brad Treliving will be a long one, and will include assistant general managers Craig Conroy and Brad Pascall. He felt the club’s culture needs fixing, making this hire one of the most important in franchise history.

Francis noted the bulk of seven core players could depart the Flames next summer via free agency. How many of them will need to be traded this summer will be among the priorities facing the new GM.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Those pending UFAs include Elias Lindholm, Mikael Backlund, Tyler Toffoli, Noah Hanifin, Chris Tanev and Nikita Zadorov. Lindholm and Backlund were non-committal about their futures while Toffoli and Zadorov expressed interest in contract extensions.