NHL Rumor Mill – November 24, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – November 24, 2022

Check out the latest Canadiens speculation plus a look at some other potential blueline trade targets for the Leafs in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.

LATEST ON THE CANADIENS

MONTREAL HOCKEY NOW: The New Jersey Devils’ rumored interest in Josh Anderson apparently hasn’t waned since the offseason. Canadiens podcaster and former broadcaster Tony Marinaro reports Devils general manager Tom Fitzgerald wants the 28-year-old Canadiens winger badly.

Montreal Canadiens winger Josh Anderson (NHL Images).

Marinaro wonders if the Devils would part with a promising youngster such as Luke Hughes, Simon Nemec or Alexander Holtz in a package deal. It remains to be seen if Canadiens GM Kent Hughes (no relation to Luke or Devils winger Jack Hughes) would be willing to move Anderson.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Marinaro also claims there are a couple of teams besides the Devils who would take Anderson. Assuming the Canadiens are willing to move him, they probably aren’t in any rush to do so at this stage in the season.

If there is interest in Anderson, it might be best to wait until the March 3 trade deadline approaches to start considering serious offers. His value in the trade market could be much higher by that point.

Marco D’Amico recently listed Sean Monahan, Joel Edmundson and Christian Dvorak as the Canadiens’ top-three most valuable trade chips.

D’Amico noted TSN’s Pierre LeBrun recently linked Monahan to the Colorado Avalanche, who could be among several clubs that will be in the market for a second-line center. Edmundson has apparently been the subject of conversations between Hughes and his peers, while the recent improvement of Dvorak could bolster his trade value.

Speaking of Anderson, D’Amico speculated the Calgary Flames and Edmonton Oilers could present irresistible offers to Hughes at some point.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I believe Monahan, Edmundson or Dvorak could be moved before Anderson. Much will depend on where the Canadiens are in the standings leading up to the March 3 trade deadline and what the market is for those players. Given the plethora of defensemen the Canadiens are carrying, maybe Edmundson gets traded first.

MONTREAL GAZETTE: Stu Cowan reports the Canadiens possess a logjam of defensemen with Mike Matheson’s recent return from injury and the rise of promising blueliners like Kaiden Guhle, Jordan Harris, Arber Xhekaj and Johnathan Kovacevic. He also noted there were 19 scouts at Tuesday’s game between the Canadiens and Buffalo Sabres.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Some of those scouts would’ve been there simply because their teams will be playing the Canadiens or Sabres in the near future. However, I daresay some could be there to check out some potential trade bait.

LIST OF POTENTIAL BLUELINE TRADE TARGETS FOR THE LEAFS

THE SCORE: Sean O’Leary recently published a list of 10 defensemen the Toronto Maple Leafs could target to bolster their injury-ravaged blueline.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: O’Leary’s list came out before the Leafs acquired promising rearguard Conor Timmins from the Arizona Coyotes on Nov. 23. However, they could perhaps pursue one of his suggested trade targets if Timmins doesn’t pan out or if Morgan Rielly, Jake Muzzin and TJ Brodie are sidelined longer than expected.

Pending unrestricted free agent options include the Columbus Blue Jackets’ Vladislav Gavrikov, the Washington Capitals’ Dmitry Orlov, the Minnesota Wild’s Matt Dumba, the New Jersey Devils’ Damon Severson, the Seattle Kraken’s Carson Soucy and the Vancouver Canucks’ Luke Schenn.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: As I’ve mentioned before, I don’t see Orlov, Dumba, Severson and Soucy going anywhere as long as their respective teams remain in playoff contention. Gavrikov could be shopped if he hasn’t signed a contract extension before the trade deadline. Schenn will likely become available if the Canucks fail to gain ground in the standings.

Notable defensemen with term remaining on their contracts include the Arizona Coyotes’ Jakob Chychrun, the Boston Bruins’ Mike Reilly and Matt Roy and Sean Walker of the Los Angeles Kings.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The high asking price for Chychrun is likely too rich for the Leafs. Reilly could be a good option but the Bruins may be reluctant to trade him to a division rival. Leafs general manager Kyle Dubas has a trade history with Kings GM Rob Blake so perhaps Roy or Walker would be more likely options here.










NHL Rumor Mill – November 17, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – November 17, 2022

Could the Senators attempt to bring back Erik Karlsson or are there better trade options for them with the Canadiens or Penguins? Should the Leafs target Karlsson or are there better alternatives to address their defense? Check out the latest in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.

COULD THE SENATORS TRY TO REACQUIRE ERIK KARLSSON?

SAN JOSE HOCKEY NOW: Sheng Peng cites Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman speculating the Sharks may have had conversations with the Ottawa Senators regarding Erik Karlsson. In 2018, the Senators traded Karlsson to the Sharks, who signed him to an eight-year contract with an average annual value of $11.5 million.

San Jose Sharks defenseman Erik Karlsson (NHL Images).

Karlsson has never lost his affection for the city of Ottawa and he and his family still maintain a home there. With the 32-year-old defenseman enjoying the best start of his career, Sharks general manager Mike Grier earlier this week indicated he was willing to entertain offers for the blueliner.

Peng points out that trading Karlsson will be difficult given how few teams can afford his contract, which also contains a full no-movement clause. He also noted that Friedman doubted the Senators could afford to do so even if the Sharks agreed to retain 50 percent of Karlsson’s cap hit. That’s because they still want to re-sign winger Alex DeBrincat and defenseman Artem Zub.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Grier’s comments combined with Senators GM Pierre Dorion telling reporters he’s still actively shopping for a defenseman prompted some folks to suggest a reunion with Karlsson. If the Sens had more long-term cap space perhaps there would be a possibility, assuming that Karlsson would waive his NMC to return to Ottawa.

The Senators have $21.7 million of cap space for 2023-24 if the cap only rises by $1 million as originally projected with just 10 players under contract. DeBrincat, Zub and Shane Pinto will eat up a big chunk of that cap room as well as pending UFA goaltender Cam Talbot if they attempt to re-sign him. If not, replacing Talbot could also prove to be expensive.

There is also the question of the Sharks’ asking price. They’re not going to just give Karlsson away, especially if they have to retain a portion of his cap hit to facilitate a trade. They’ll want a decent return, perhaps in the form of a package containing a first-round pick, a high-end prospect and a promising young player like Pinto or Jake Sanderson. And if it becomes a three-team trade to spread the cap hit around, that third team will also want a sweetener.

ARE THERE OTHER BLUELINE TRADE OPTIONS FOR THE SENATORS?

TVA SPORTS: Louis Jean wondered why the Senators didn’t attempt to sign David Savard in 2021 when he became an unrestricted free agent. He felt the 32-year-old rearguard would’ve been a perfect complement for Thomas Chabot.

Savard is currently signed with the Montreal Canadiens through 2024-25 with an AAV of $3.5 million. Jean wondered if Dorion might put in a call to Habs GM Kent Hughes.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Anything’s possible, I suppose, but I don’t see that call taking place. If Dorion wasn’t interested in Savard in 2021, he’s probably not interested now.

PITTSBURGH HOCKEY NOW: Dan Kingerski recently wondered if the Penguins and Senators could become trade partners. In addition to needing defensemen, the Senators could use some help at center with Josh Norris sidelined until at least January with a shoulder injury.

Kingerski suggested Brian Dumoulin and Jeff Carter as short-term options for the Senators since both are slated to become UFAs next summer. Other options could include center Teddy Blueger and defensemen such as Mark Friedman or Ty Smith.

In return, Kingerski suggested the Senators part with Alex Formenton. The Sens have until Dec. 1 to sign the RFA winger or he’ll become ineligible to play in the NHL this season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Senators could be on Dumoulin’s 10-team no-trade list and I don’t see Carter agreeing to waive his no-movement clause to go to Ottawa. If Dorion were interested in the Penguins’ defensemen I believe he’d prefer Marcus Pettersson or Pierre-Olivier Joseph than Friedman or Smith.

LATEST LEAFS SPECULATION

TORONTO STAR: Nick Kypreos proposed a way for the Maple Leafs to acquire Erik Karlsson. “Could the Leafs get the Sharks to take (Jake) Muzzin’s contract back, retain salary, and build a deal around top prospect Matthews Knies?”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Why would the Sharks want Muzzin’s contract? He’s earning a $5.6 million AAV through 2024-25 with a full no-trade clause this season. They could agree to that if the Leafs are taking Karlsson’s full cap hit through 2026-27 off their books, assuming Muzzin agrees to be shipped to the Sharks.

I’m assuming the “retain salary” bit refers to the Sharks’ absorbing part of Karlsson’s $11.5 million AAV. However, if they’re taking on Muzzin’s contract, why would they retain any part of Karlsson’s cap hit? Sorry, I don’t see that happening.

DAILY FACEOFF: Frank Seravalli lists six trade options for the Leafs to replace Muzzin by using his placement on long-term injured reserve to acquire a defenseman.

The Anaheim Ducks’ John Klingberg tops Seravalli’s list, followed by the Columbus Blue Jackets’ Vladislav Gavrikov and the Los Angeles Kings’ Matt Roy. The Seattle Kraken’s Carson Soucy and the Washington Capitals’ Nick Jensen or Dmitry Orlov round out the list. He also suggested keeping an eye on the Minnesota Wild’s Matt Dumba.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Those defensemen likely won’t be available until close to the March 3 trade deadline.

Klingberg isn’t a shutdown blueliner like Muzzin so I don’t see him as a good fit for the Leafs. Gavrikov could be a better option but I think the Jackets intend to re-sign him.

Seravalli points out the Kings have a surplus of defensemen and Roy has another year on his contract. However, they could be reluctant to part with him given his adaptability and ability to play big minutes. Seravalli also admitted Soucy might not be available yet given the Kraken have exceeded expectations thus far this season. I agree that he could be an intriguing option if the Kraken are out of playoff contention by March and looking to sell.

The Capitals could go into sell mode if they’re out of a playoff berth before the March trade deadline. However, I see them improving as their injury-ravaged roster gets healthier, which could put Jensen or Orlov out of reach. As for Dumba, his status could depend on where the Wild are in the standings as March approaches.










NHL Rumor Mill – November 15, 2022

NHL Rumor Mill – November 15, 2022

Four unexpected early-season trade candidates plus speculation over how the Leafs will replace the sidelined Jake Muzzin in today’s NHL Rumor Mill.

FOUR UNEXPECTED EARLY-SEASON TRADE CANDIDATES

SPORTSNET: Rory Boylen lists the Vancouver Canucks Bo Horvat and Thatcher Demko, St. Louis Blues captain Ryan O’Reilly and San Jose Sharks defenseman Erik Karlsson as four trade candidates we didn’t expect to see.

Horvat, 27, is slated to become an unrestricted free agent next July. With the Canucks struggling, his future in Vancouver has come under question. There’s speculation it could cost them $8 million annually for eight seasons to re-sign their captain.

As for Demko, Boylen indicates he’s not the sole reason behind the Canucks’ difficulties this season. However, the 26-year-old goaltender’s inconsistent play has been a contributing factor that could take him out of the franchise’s core of untouchable players.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: With the losses piling up in Vancouver there’s a sense that something’s gotta give. There’s talk that head coach Bruce Boudreau could be replaced which seems the more likely option given how difficult it is at this stage of the schedule to swing a season-saving trade.

Of the two, Horvat is the more likely trade candidate given his contract status. Demko’s struggles are tied in part to the porous defense in front of him. Besides, trading Demko would only create the additional headache of finding a suitable replacement carrying an annual cap hit comparable to his reasonable $5 million per season.

If Canucks management shakes up the roster I suspect it’ll be in the New Year when we get closer to the March 3 trade deadline. Horvat would draw considerable interest from playoff contenders and should fetch a quality return.

San Jose Sharks defenseman Erik Karlsson (NHL Images).

Like Horvat, O’Reilly is due to become a UFA next summer. He turns 32 in February and will be in line for a hefty new deal. However, the Blues are transitioning toward younger talent while O’Reilly is struggling to score this season. They could peddle their captain if it looks like they’ll miss the playoffs.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: O’Reilly has stated he wants to remain with the Blues beyond this season. I doubt he’ll be going anywhere if the Blues rebound and are a playoff contender by the trade deadline. Whether he and Blues management can agree to a contract extension is another matter.

If they’re out of contention by then it wouldn’t be surprising if GM Doug Armstrong trades him. He has parted ways with previous captains, letting Alex Pietrangelo and David Backes depart via free agency. Armstrong could look at getting something for O’Reilly rather than lose him for nothing.

Karlsson’s terrific start to this season for the lowly Sharks has sparked some musings about his trade status. Boylen observed first-year GM Mike Grier traded away Brent Burns to Carolina in July. Karlsson carries a hefty $11.5 million cap hit and a full no-movement clause. However, a trade might be possible if he’s willing to waive the clause to join a playoff contender and if the Sharks are willing to retain a healthy chunk of his cap hit.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Burns was easier to move because his contract was shorter and more affordable than Karlsson’s. He’s signed through 2024-25 with an average annual value of $8 million, which made retaining $2.7 million of that AAV easier to do. Karlsson is signed through 2026-27, which is a far longer period to be carrying dead cap space.

I’m not saying Karlsson can’t or won’t be traded, only that his contract won’t be easy to move. I think Grier will want to retain as little of that big cap hit as possible.

WILL THE LEAFS SEEK A REPLACEMENT FOR MUZZIN?

TORONTO SUN: With Leafs defenseman Jake Muzzin sidelined until at least February by a cervical spine injury, Terry Koshan believes GM Kyle Dubas should determine what’s available in the trade market regarding veteran blueliners.

THE JEFF MAREK SHOW (stick tap to “NHL Watcher”): Marek suggested Anaheim Ducks rearguards John Klingberg and Kevin Shattenkirk as trade options to replace Muzzin. Elliotte Friedman disagreed as he doesn’t believe they’re the type of defenders the Leafs need.

Friedman also noted the Leafs have been tied to Arizona Coyotes defenseman Jakob Chychrun. However, he expressed concern over Chychrun’s injury history and the Coyotes’ high asking price.

THE ATHLETIC: Jonas Siegel suggested pending UFAs such as the Washington Capitals Dmitry Orlov, the Ottawa Senators’ Artem Zub and the New York Islanders Scott Mayfield. He also mentioned the Chicago Blackhawks’ Connor Murphy, who has three more seasons left on his contract with an AAV of $4.4 million. However, he wondered if it could cost them a defenseman like Timothy Liljegren or Rasmus Sandin or perhaps forward Nick Robertson in order to get a serious return.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Koshan and The Toronto Star’s Dave Feschuk reported Dubas intends to see if Liljegren and Sandin can elevate their play before going the trade route. They’ve managed to make do with Muzzin missing most of this season thus far. T.J. Brodie is also sidelined but he’s expected to be out for just a couple of weeks.

Dubas won’t go shopping for help as long as the Leafs can keep their heads above water while Muzzin is sidelined. If the blueliner is ruled out for the remainder of the regular season during his February re-evaluation, the Leafs GM will keep him on long-term injury reserve and probably use the cap relief to bring in a rental defenseman. The trade market will likely contain better options by that point.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 6, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 6, 2022

Alex Ovechkin tallies another goal-scoring record, the Golden Knights take over first overall, commissioner Gary Bettman weighs in on the Bruins signing controversial prospect Mitchell Miller, and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin tallied his 787th career goal in his club’s 3-2 loss to the Arizona Coyotes. He moved past Gordie Howe to set the record for the most goals scored by one player on one NHL team. However, Washington blew a 2-0 lead as Arizona rallied for the win on two goals by Nick Ritchie. The Capitals dropped to 5-6-2 while the Coyotes improved to 4-6-1.

Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The injury-ravaged Capitals suffered another blow as defenseman Dmitry Orlov left the game in the first period with a lower-body injury. Earlier in the day, they claimed forward Nicolas Aube-Kubel off waivers from the Toronto Maple Leafs.

The Vegas Golden Knights (11-2-0) took over sole possession of first place in the overall standings with 22 points as they held off the Montreal Canadiens 6-4. Reilly Smith scored two goals as the Golden Knights rode a four-goal third period to victory. Nick Suzuki tallied twice and Kirby Dach collected three assists for the Canadiens as their record falls to 5-6-1.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Canadiens winger Josh Anderson received a match penalty and could face supplemental discipline for boarding Golden Knights defenseman Alex Pietrangelo, who was unhurt on the play.

Auston Matthews scored twice as the Toronto Maple Leafs held on for a 2-1 lead over the Boston Bruins (10-2-0), dropping the latter two points behind the Golden Knights in the overall standings and snapping their seven-game winning streak. Brad Marchand replied for the Bruins on a penalty shot for his 800th career point. Mitch Marner collected two assists for the Leafs as they raise their record to 6-4-2.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Leafs goalie Ilya Samsonov left this game with a knee injury, leaving them with just one healthy goalie in third-stringer Erik Kallgren. Following the game, the Leafs signed Toronto Marlies netminder Keith Petruzzelli to a one-year, two-way NHL contract. Meanwhile, Bruins center David Krejci returned to the lineup after missing three games with an upper-body injury.

Colorado Avalanche stars Nathan MacKinnon and Cale Makar each had three assists to lead their club over the Columbus Blue Jackets 5-1 at Nokia Arena in Tampere, Finland, sweeping their two-game Global Series. The Avalanche elevated their record to 6-4-1 while the struggling Blue Jackets are 3-9-0 thus far.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Blue Jackets winger Jakub Voracek missed this game with an upper-body injury and is considered day-to-day.

The Dallas Stars got a hat trick from captain Jamie Benn and a three-point performance from Jason Robertson to down the Edmonton Oilers 6-2. Leon Draisaitl and Darnell Nurse scored for the Oilers (7-5-0) while the Stars rise to 8-3-0.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It was another rough game for Oilers starting goaltender Jack Campbell, who acknowledged his performance thus far this season has been “pathetic”. Signed to a five-year, $25 million contract by the Oilers in July as a free agent, the 30-year-old Campbell has a bloated 4.20 goals-against average and a measly save percentage of .874. Backup Stuart Skinner could see more starts in the coming games. He’s among the league leaders with a sparkling .944 save percentage and a 2.10 GAA in five games.

New Jersey Devils winger Fabian Zetterlund scored twice, including the winner in overtime, in a 4-3 victory over the Calgary Flames. The Devils (9-3-0) have won seven straight games to sit second overall in the Eastern Conference with 18 points. Elias Lindholm and Nikita Zaitsev scored as the Flames (5-4-1) rallied from a 3-1 deficit to force overtime.

Nikita Kucherov had a goal and three assists to lead the Tampa Bay Lightning over the Buffalo Sabres by a score of 5-3 to improve their record to 7-4-1. Brandon Hagel had a goal and two assists for the Lightning. Owen Power collected two assists for the Sabres as they drop to 7-5-0.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The banged-up Sabres blueline had to make do without star defenseman Rasmus Dahlin for this match. He’s listed as day-to-day with an upper-body injury.

Winnipeg Jets goaltender Connor Hellebuyck kicked out 30 shots to shut out the Chicago Blackhawks 4-0. Pierre-Luc Dubois and Josh Morrissey each had a goal and an assist as the Jets move to 7-3-1. The Blackhawks (5-5-2) had to turn to fifth-string goalie Dylan Wells after Arvid Soderblom left the game in the second period with an undisclosed injury.

The Detroit Red Wings got a 24-save shutout from Ville Husso in a 3-0 victory over the New York Islanders. Dominik Kubalik had a goal and an assist for the 6-3-2 Red Wings while the Islanders drop to 7-5-0. It was a costly win for the Wings as forward Filip Zadina left the game in the second period with an injured right leg.

A tie-breaking goal late in the third period by Brandon Tanev lifted the Seattle Kraken over the Pittsburgh Penguins 3-2. Yanni Gourde had a goal and two assists as the Kraken rise to 7-4-2. Sidney Crosby and Jake Guentzel replied for the Penguins (4-6-2) as their winless skid extends to seven games.

The Los Angeles Kings got a tie-breaking goal by Gabriel Vilardi late in the third period to nip the Florida Panthers 5-4. Anze Kopitar and Viktor Arvidsson each had two points for the 7-6-1 Kings while Carter Verhaeghe scored twice for the 6-5-1 Panthers.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Panthers winger Patric Hornqvist missed this game with an upper-body injury and is considered day-to-day.

Ottawa Senators forward Claude Giroux tallied his 300th career goal against the Philadelphia Flyers but his former club went on to win this game 2-1 on goals by Kevin Hayes and Zack MacEwen. Carter Hart made 31 saves for the Flyers (6-3-2) while the Senators’ record sits at 4-6-2.

A shootout goal by Matt Duchene gave the Nashville Predators (5-6-1) a 4-3 win over the Vancouver Canucks, dropping the latter’s record to 3-6-3. The Predators overcame a 3-0 deficit with Jordan Gross scoring his first two goals of his NHL career.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Blown leads continue to plague the Canucks this season and will be their downfall if they don’t address this issue soon.

The Anaheim Ducks improved their record to 4-7-1 by downing the San Jose Sharks 5-4 on a shootout goal by Adam Henrique. Trevor Zegras, Mason McTavish and Brett Leason each had two points and Antony Stolarz made 48 saves for the win. Tomas Hertl and Timo Meier each had a goal and two assists for the 3-8-3 Sharks.

COMMISSIONER BETTMAN WEIGHS IN ON BRUINS SIGNING MITCHELL MILLER

NHL.COM: Commissioner Gary Bettman said the league was not consulted by the Boston Bruins before they signed controversial prospect Mitchell Miller on Friday. Speaking at the 2022 NHL Global Series on Saturday at Tampere, Finland, Bettman stated that Miller is not eligible to play in the NHL.

What I understand and I’ve heard through the media anecdotally, what (Miller) did as a 14-year-old is reprehensible, unacceptable,” said Bettman. He indicated he’s spoken with Bruins president Cam Neely since the signing on Friday.

He’s not coming into the NHL, he’s not eligible at this point to come into the NHL”, said Bettman. “I can’t tell you that he’ll ever be eligible to come into the NHL.” He added that if Miller ever reached that point, the league will have to clear him and his eligibility based on first-hand information at the time.

ESPN.COM: Greg Wyshynski reports the NHL Players Association said the league hasn’t informed them about any suspension for Miller or anything that would impact his eligibility. They added they require more information from the league regarding Bettman’s statements.

Wyshynski also reported a source claims Miller’s contract has been registered with the league and there was nothing official preventing the Bruins or any other club from signing him.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I don’t think we’ve heard the end of this story. Suffice it to say that this has become yet another black eye for a league reeling from ongoing revelations of abusive behavior at various levels of the sport.

Miller’s defenders suggest he just “made a mistake”, claiming his physical and verbal bullying and racist behavior toward Isaiah Meyer-Crothers was an isolated incident by a teenager who didn’t know any better.

Meyer-Crothers’ parents, however, indicate their disabled son was tormented for years by Miller. They said he has never apologized to them for his actions and only reached out to their son on Snapchat about a week before he was signed by the Bruins.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 7, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 7, 2022

Recaps of Thursday’s preseason action, NHL commissioner Gary Bettman weighs in on Hockey Canada scandal as more sponsors withdraw support for the organization, and more in today’s Morning Coffee Headlines.

PRESEASON GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: Claude Giroux’s third-period goal stood as the game-winner as the Ottawa Senators held off the Montreal Canadiens 4-3 in the Kraft Hockeyville game in Gander, NL. Tim Stutzle led the way with a goal and two assists for the Senators.

Ottawa Senators forward Tim Stutzle (NHL Images).

The New York Islanders downed the New Jersey Devils 5-2. Anthony Beauvillier, Aatu Raty and Noah Dobson each had a goal and an assist while Semyon Varlamov made 26 saves.

A third-period power-play goal by Brandon Montour lifted the Florida Panthers over the Tampa Bay Lightning 3-2. Lightning goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy made 38 saves in a losing cause while defenseman Mikhail Sergachev left the game in the first period with an undisclosed injury.

The Columbus Blue Jackets thumped the St. Louis Blues 7-0. Andrew Peeke collected four assists while Daniil Tarasov turned in a 24-save shutout.

Mats Zuccarello, Marco Rossi and Sam Steel each had a goal and an assist to give the Minnesota Wild a 4-1 victory over the Chicago Blackhawks.

Vegas Golden Knights winger Reilly Smith scored twice and collected an assist in a 6-4 win against the Los Angeles Kings. Jack Eichel and Mark Stone each collected two assists. Kings defenseman Sean Durzi had a goal and two assists.

HEADLINES

MONTREAL GAZETTE: NHL commissioner Gary Bettman weighed in on Hockey Canada’s ongoing scandal over its handling of sexual assault allegations involving players of Canada’s 2003 and 2018 World Junior teams and its refusal to implement a change in its leadership.

I think the response from Hockey Canada certainly needs work”, said Bettman, who was in Gander for the game between the Senators and Canadiens. “I’m not sure I fully understand why they’re responding the way they are.”

Bettman said he was very disappointed at the current state of affairs with Hockey Canada. The league is conducting its own investigation into the situation. The commissioner wouldn’t speculate on what might happen to those junior players who could have been involved in the alleged sexual assaults who are now playing in the NHL. He indicated that will be determined once he’s received and read the final report.

THE GLOBE & MAIL: Hockey Canada continues to lose support from corporate sponsors. Esso, Canadian Tire, Sobeys and Chevrolet Canada joined Tim Hortons, Scotiabank and Telus in withdrawing support for men’s hockey for 2022-23, with Canadian Tire permanently taking away its support.

THE HOCKEY NEWS: Hockey Nova Scotia joined Hockey Quebec and the Ontario Hockey Federation in formally suspending fees it pays to Hockey Canada. “Until our values at Hockey Nova Scotia are reflected by Hockey Canada’s senior leadership, we simply cannot support hockey’s national governing body,” the organization said in a statement.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Hockey Manitoba has called for the resignation of Hockey Canada’s senior leadership but Hockey Canada still stubbornly refuses to heed those calls. It’s growing more costly for the organization and could lead to its total downfall and potential replacement with a new national governing body.

NHL.COM’s Dave McCarthy reports Anaheim Ducks coach Dallas Eakins said that Trevor Zegras is expected to join his teammates in a full practice on Friday. The 21-year-old center has been sidelined since suffering an injury during a preseason game on Monday.

WASHINGTON HOCKEY NOW: Capitals defenseman Dmitry Orlov and winger T.J. Oshie are listed as day-to-day with injuries.

THE ATHLETIC: Montreal Canadiens winger Paul Byron could end up on long-term injury reserve due to an ongoing hip injury. The 33-year-old is in the final season of his contract with an average annual value of $3.4 million.

EDMONTON JOURNAL: The Oilers released winger Jake Virtanen from his professional tryout offer.

They also announced former Oilers defenseman Steve Staios has been hired as a special advisor with a focus on prospect development. Staios was president and general manager of the OHL’s Hamilton Bulldogs, who won the OHL championship in 2022.

CALGARY SUN: The Flames released forwards Sonny Milano and Cody Eakin from their professional tryout offers.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 20, 2022

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – January 20, 2022

Recaps of Wednesday’s action, the league announces updates to its 2021-22 schedule, the Canadiens introduce Kent Hughes as their new GM, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

GAME RECAPS

NHL.COM: Colorado Avalanche goaltender Pavel Francouz turned in a 34-save shutout to blank the Anaheim Ducks 2-0. Samuel Girard and Nazem Kadri were the goal scorers as the Avalanche picked up their fourth straight win and their ninth in the last 10 games. They also opened a four-point lead over the St. Louis Blues atop the Western Conference with 55 points.

New York Rangers forward Ryan Reaves (NHL Images).

The New York Rangers overcame a 3-1 deficit and rolled to a 6-3 victory over the Toronto Maple Leafs. Adam Fox and Ryan Reaves each scored two goals as the Rangers moved into first place in the Metropolitan Division with 56 points. Mitch Marner had a goal and an assist for the Leafs, who remain in third place with 51 points in the Atlantic Division.

Arizona Coyotes goalie Karel Vejmelka kicked out 35 shots in a 4-1 win over the New Jersey Devils. Lawson Crouse and Loui Eriksson each had two points. Coyote defenseman Jakob Chychrun picked up an assist in his return to action after being sidelined for 11 games by an upper-body injury and COVID protocols.

HEADLINES

NHL.COM: The league will play 95 games from Feb. 7 – 22 as part of its comprehensive update to its 2021-22 schedule. That three-week window was originally scheduled for the 2022 Winter Olympic break. With the NHL withdrawing from the Beijing Games, this period will be used to make up a number of games postponed by COVID protocols.

THE SCORE: Newly appointed Montreal Canadiens general manager Kent Hughes held his introductory press conference yesterday at the Bell Centre. His plans for the club include building an offensive-minded club with a focus on speed and puck possession.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Hughes will have two months to determine which players he could shop before the March 21 trade deadline. Pending UFAs such as Ben Chiarot are the most likely to be moved. There are also questions over the futures of veterans such as Carey Price, Brendan Gallagher and Jonathan Drouin over whether they’ll want to be part of a full rebuild if that’s the direction the Habs take under Hughes. Those will likely be addressed in the offseason given their expensive contracts.

NHL.COM: Jack Eichel will be traveling with the Vegas Golden Knights on its four-game road trip next week. However, head coach Peter DeBoer said the 25-year-old center is at least a month or two away from making his debut with the club. The Golden Knights acquire Eichel from the Buffalo Sabres in November and he underwent artificial disk replacement surgery on Nov. 12. He started skating with the club earlier this month in a non-contact jersey.

SPORTSNET’s Nick Kypreos reports he’s heard the NHL will need until the end of this week to complete its investigation into whether Evander Kane violated COVID protocols during his tenure with the San Jose Sharks AHL affiliate. No decision is expected until next week at the earliest.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: There’s speculation Kane could soon sign a new NHL contract if the league rules in his favor, perhaps with the Edmonton Oilers.

NBC SPORTS WASHINGTON: Capitals defenseman Dmitry Orlov received a two-game suspension by the NHL’s department of player safety for a knee-on-knee hit on Winnipeg Jets winger Nikolaj Ehlers on Tuesday.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Ehlers is expected to be sidelined for at least three games.

SPORTSNET: Montreal Canadiens winger Jonathan Drouin was fined $5,000.00 for cross-checking Dallas Stars center Tyler Seguin on Tuesday.

Los Angeles Kings center Phillip Danault received a $5,000.00 fine for a dangerous trip of Tampa Bay Lightning forward Brayden Point.

MLIVE.COM: The Detroit Red Wings claimed center Gemel Smith off waivers from the Tampa Bay Lightning. He’s the older brother of Red Wings winger Givani Smith.

NBC SPORTS: One day after the Boston Bruins retired Willie O’Ree’s No. 22, the U.S. House of Representatives unanimously passed a bill to award the 86-year-old the Congressional Gold Medal. He was a hockey pioneer by becoming the first black man to play in the NHL.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Congratulations to O’Ree for this recognition of his work as a hockey trailblazer during and after his playing days.